NOTE: The below transcript comes from C-SPAN and is generally terrible, with many omissions. It often turns into total gibberish. However, there are some key sections carefully transcribed by Diane Smoley that are accurate. These are marked at the beginnings and ends by XXX.
Next if the eye director James Comey testified about national security and was asked about the bureau’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. The house judiciary committee chaired by ott goodlatte of virginia. [inaudible conversations] .. Before I begin this hearing I want to take a few minutes to recognize the subcommittee on crime, terrorism, homeland security investigation and caroline lynch after 15 years working on capitol hill she decided to move back to her home state of arizona to be closer to her family and pursue their next steps in her career. Needless to say we are very sad to see her go. During her time she worked for representative john shadegg and then asked the council of the public policy committee. In 2006, caroline came to work for the judiciary committee and in 2008 became keith davies co. Chief counsel of the crime subcommittee. The committee caroline has had an enormous impact on the reform of the criminal national security wall. Wall. Few people have done as much to promote the safety. Caroline has overseen the drafting negotiation and passage of critical legislation regarding the foreign intelligence surveillance act, the electronic communications privacy act and the most sweeping set of reforms the government practice in 40 years the usa freedom mac among many other priority of legislative initiatives. Anyone who has met caroline knows she is immensely intelligent, hard-working, loyal and a discerning chief counsel and of course those people she has negotiated would have with have found her to be a skillful and formidable but fair advocate. Her team at the subcommittee know her to be a determined leader and a steadfast friend. I’d appreciate if caroline’s deep knowledge of criminal laws, strength of her convictions and courage to speak the truth. We wish her well in her new endeavors and thank her for her dedicated service to the committee’s U.S. House of representatives and the American people. [applause] this is indeed a unique moment on behalf of the democratic staff and the democratic members of the committee I want to recognize caroline lynch for her hard work and dedication the past ten years the chief crying council she worked with her democratic colleagues on a broad range of criminal justice issues issues. The crime subcommittee is legislatively the busiest of all of Congress and every crime related though that has been enacted during her time here has had the benefit of her expertise. There are many examples of this, but I would cite her role in helping the members find common ground on section 215 of the patriot act so we can enact important reforms in the freedom act. This important law will safeguard the national security and our civil liberties. And it set a precedent for how we can proceed on such issues in the future work on this legislation was essential to the ultimate success. We will miss her insight on these issues as well as her friendship and friendliness as she meets the committee for other endeavors in her home state of arizona. We wish you all the best. [applause] I think you would agree with me in saying while the work isn’t quite done, she’s also been very critical to the bipartisan work we have been doing here the past few years culminating in 11 bills so far dealing with criminal justice reform and we thank you for the contribution that you have made for that and that work has been very bipartisan, so we thank you all. We now welcome director Comey to the fourth appearance before the house judiciary committee since your confirmation as the director of the FBI. Needless to say, the past year since the last oversight hearing has been challenging on a number of fronts and we hope to review with you today. I want to begin by commending the men and women of the FBI and the nypd new jersey police departments for their action in apprehending the cold cowardly acts of terrorism last week injured 29 American citizens. This was the latest in a string of attacks stretching back to the 2013 boston marathon bombing continuing through the attacks in san bernardino, orlando and minneapolis. They share a common thread mainly radical islam. The administration including the FBI has claimed this with the euphemism of countering violent extremism. The FBI and the rest of the national security apparatus continues about focusing on the issues of extremism on the mission to protect the American people will always be one of following up on the the trigger for some aftermath. I look forward to hearing from you about how we are working to combat the terrorism and put an end to this string of violence while it is a malignancy that must be purged, other events have called into question the confidence Americans have historically held in a blind and impartial justice system. Secretary of state Hillary Clinton and the investigation into the criminal conduct is a case in point. It seems clear the former secretary of state committed multiple felonies involving the passing of the classified information through her private email server however declined to refer the case for prosecution on some very questionable pieces. This past friday afternoon, the FBI released additional investigative documents from the investigation which demonstrate among other things that more than 100 of the emails on Secretary Clinton’s private server contained classified information and emails preserved under federal law were destroyed. Even more we’ve recently learned president Obama used a pseudonym to converse with her on the email server. Why is this relevant? As the top aide when informed by the FBI between her boss and the president, how is that not classified? Armed with knowledge of the president’s now known to be false claims that he only learned of Clinton’s private email account, quote, the same time everybody else learned it through the news reports did the FBI review why the president was also sending classified information in fact this president and former secretary of state and properly transmit communications were nonsecure channels placing the nation’s secrets in harm’s way. The decision to play fast and loose with our national security concern not only her daughter’s wedding planning work and yoga routine but according to you, send an email chains concerned matters that were classified in the top-secret special access program level when they were sent and received. The top-secret special access programs contained some of the most sensitive secret information maintained by the government. This is a truly remarkable fact for anyone of lesser notoriety guilty of doing this that person would already be in jail. For Americans unsure of what the special access program is, it is the kind of information a war planner would use to defeat an enemy or clandestine intelligence operation. “the wall street journal” explained that the sap usually refers to the highly covert technology programs involving weaponry. Knowledge of the programs are usually distracted to small groups of people on the need to know basis. For those wondering whether this kind of information on the unsecured server is a problem, read no further than the Huffington Post which reported February Clinton’s private email server containing tens of thousands of messages from the tenure as the secretary of state with the attempts from China, South Korea and Germany after she stepped down in 2013. To conclude, let me ask everyone to engage in a thought experiment. One of the signature accomplishments in the war on terror was the raid of Pakistan in may of 2011 that resulted in the killing of Osama bin Laden. That operation was conducted by a team of the special operators and was of course highly classified. Now imagine if you will that classified information was passed through the nonsecure email server with access by nations or individuals, hostile to the United States. Rather than a highly successful covert operation, we might have had a team of dead U.S. Servicemen. Hillary Clinton chose to send and receive top-secret information over a unsecured server house in her home and placed in a bathroom closet. These actions without a doubt hand piece communications to the interception fight the enemies interceptions by the enemies and those who wish America harm. Use facts and not the imagined history I’ve asked you to contemplate the basis of the investigation by the FBI, and these are the fact that chose to hold on the recommendation to prosecute saying that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case. We as Congress and the American people are troubled on how such gross negligence are not published and why there seem to be a different standard for the politically well-connected. I look forward to your testimony today and at this time I’m pleased to recognize the ranking member from Michigan for his opening statement.
Thank you Mr. Chairman. While both an icann in again director for your appearance here today. The FBI mission is a complex undertaking to protect the United States from terrorism and to enforce our criminal law and to lead the nations law enforcement community. That ought to mirror our own priorities in this committee. In the past few days, for example, we have written this attack in minnesota, New York and new jersey. These attacks underscored the growing fear that individuals can be moved to violence at home and at the propaganda of other terrorist groups abroad even though they have no direct connection to those organizations. To me, this threat is dire. We should be doing all he can in the communities within the constitutional framework to mitigate the danger that while the majority here in the house used her house used her time today to discuss these attacks, I suspect they will not be in their focus in this campaign season. In charlotte and pulls out and Dallas, right here in Washington and other cities across the country, our citizens demand answers to questions about race and policing and the use of lethal force by law enforcement. Our police are under siege, often under resourced and in some cases hard pressed to build trust with the communities they serve. Director, your work to foster the lines of communication between police officers and the general public is commendable and necessary if we are to keep our citizens safe from harm. But will my colleagues discuss this issue with the director of the FBI for its leadership his leadership and law enforcement community as paramount? I hope so. I am also afraid the focus may be elsewhere. The FBI is the lead agency in the investigation of the of this type or paste terrorism, online sexual exploitation and fraud. We have known for some years about the persistent cyber threat to our critical infrastructure. Now we hear reports of the new threat to the very basis of our democratic process. Twice this summer I wrote to you with my fellow ranking members to ask you to look into reports that the state actors are working to undermine in the process. Without objection I ask that both of these be placed in the record. It is now a consensus of the intelligence community that the Russian government was behind the hack of the democratic national committee and is not as some suggested somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds. On friday we learned from one report that the United States intelligence officials over to determine whether an American businessman identified by Donald Trump as one of his former policy advisor is opened up private communications with senior Russian officials including talks about the possible lifting of economic sanctions if the republican nominee becomes president. The report cites an unnamed senior U.S. law enforcement official, which I presume means someone in your order to Mr. Director. Without objection I ask for this article be placed into the record. Let me be clear if true, this represents a danger to national security and a violation of federal law which prohibits this type of negotiation. And I am not alone in describing the nature of the threat. The speaker himself said Russia is led by a devious thug and Putin should stay out of this. Well the majority press you on this problem today instead I believe the focus of the hearing will be more of the same come and attack on you and your team at the Department of Justice for declining to recommend criminal charges against secretary Hillary Clinton. In recent weeks, this line of attack has been remarkable only for its lack of substance. The character assassination and procedural minutia like the scope in the agreement in your decision to protect the identities of individuals unrelated to the investigation. I consider that an unfortunate waste of time with so many problems confronting the nation and so many of the challenges in your jurisdiction and powers you would think my colleagues would set their priorities differently. I hope they do and they listen to our conversation today. Ii thank the chair man and yield back.
Without objection all other members opening statements will be made a part of the record. We welcome the distinguished witness and if you please rise I will begin by swearing un. Do you swear the testimony you are about to give will be the truth and nothing but the truth so help you god? Like the record reflect the witness answered in the affirmative. FBI director James Comey at the college of william and mary and university of chicago law school. Served as the United States attorney for both the southern district of New York and eastern district of virginia he’d returned to become the U.S. Attorney for the southern attorney for the southern district of New York and in 2003 served as the deputy attorney general and the Department of Justice. We look forward to your testimony, the written statement will be entered in its entirety and we ask that you summarized your testimony in five minutes. You may begin. Welcome.
Thank you Mr. Chairman. Members of the committee is good to be back before you as the chairman said for the fourth time, I have six more to go and I look forward to the conversations each time I know this morning there will be questions about the email investigation and I’m happy to answer those at the best of my ability. In July when we closed the case I promised the transparency and I think we delivered on that and frankly in an unprecedented way I will do my best to be transparent in every way possible. What I thought I would do because I know we will talk about that quite a bit, I want to focus on some of the other things the FBI has been doing and my objective is to make it clear to you the quality of the people that have chosen to do this with their lives that isn’t about money or living but it’s about the life they make and I just picked for different examples of things that we have been working on that illustrate the quality of the focus of the scope of the work that is extraordinary and the importance of partnerships because it is true that the FBI does nothing allowed to just to pick off for different parts of the organization as the chair and Mr. Conyers both mentioned in the last couple of weeks, our folks have been working with their partners of federal, state and local organizations of all kinds to bring to justice very quickly the bomber in the new jersey attacks and that was done in a way that would have been hard to imagine 15 years ago in a time of battles and worry about my jurisdiction coming your jurisdiction. They showed you how it should be and must be done and we should all be proud of them. Second, within the last week, a hacker from kos about that worked for the so-called state on taking the information from american military employees and then giving it to the islamic states so they could target these people was sentenced to 20 years in jail. Our folks together with lots of partners around the world found him in malaysia and they arrested him and brought him back to virginia where he was sentenced to 20 years. A terrific work by the cyber investigators and as you know through the intelligence investigators to understand just what mistress is russia up to and that his work that goes on all day every day about which I implemented in terms of answering questions but I want you to know that as a part of our work we don’t talk about an awful lot that the core of the FBI and last I want to mention two weeks ago, a six-year-old girl was kidnapped on her front lawn in eastern north carolina and a stranger kidnapping. All of law enforcement searched on that case. When he rolled up a team that is a capability we have built around the country to help in these situations they are agents and analysts that are expert at doing what has to be done in the gold in 24 hours you have two try to save a child so we worked with our partners at state and local levels and overnight we found that little girl chained by her neck to a tree of life than godalive to god and she was rescued. The picture they showed me that morning with her wide eyes and hair with a thick chain around her neck is one I will never be able to get out of my head because it is both terrible and wonderful, terrible because of what happened but wonderful because together we found her and saved her. I called the sheriff’s and the team to thank them and they said they were relieved and they all stood in the command center and cried together because it almost never ends this way. I said I wish we didn’t live in a world where little girls were to up off their front lawns where we had to do this kind of work but unfortunately we do and I’m so glad of those people and the rest of the people that worked in that world because we are safer and better and they’ve chosen to do this with their lives the best part of my job is to people like to watch to see their work and admire their work in any way that I can they are doing extraordinary work for the American people across an array of responsibilities. I know you know that if we are grateful for the support you gave the men and women and look forward to the conversation about that work.
Chairman Goodlatte: We will now begin questioning under the 5-minute rule and I will begin by recognizing myself. You testified that the FBI did not investigate the veracity of Sec Clinton’s testimony to the Select Bengazi Committee under oath. We referred the matter to the US Attorney for the District of Columbia. Is the FBI now investigating the veracity of Sec Clinton’s testimony to the Select Bengazi Committee?
Director Comey: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The Department has the referral. I think that there were two separate referrals. Has the referrals. Now it is pending, so I am not going to comment on a pending matter at this point. But the matter has been received by the Department of Justice, they have the letters from the committee.
Chairman Goodlatte: But you cannot tell us whether or not you are indeed investigating?
Director Comey: I can’t.
Chairman Goodlatte: When do you expect that you will be able to tell us more about this pending matter before the FBI?
Director Comey: I don’t know, sir.
Chairman Goodlatte: Paul Combetta, with PRN, posted to Reddit, asking how to strip out a VIP’s, very VIP email address from a bunch of archived email. He went on, “the issue is that these emails involve the private address of someone you’d recognize and we are trying to replace it with a placeholder address as to not expose it.” This clearly demonstrates actions taken to destroy evidence by those operating Sec Clinton’s private server and by her staff. Certainly, Combetta did not take it upon himself to destroy evidence but had been instructed to do so by SC or her staff.
My first question to you is: was the FBI aware of this Reddit post prior to offering Mr. Combetta immunity on May 3, 2016?
Director Comey: I am not sure. I know that our team looked at it. I don’t know whether they knew about it before then or not.
Chairman Goodlatte: Isn’t this evidence of obstruction of justice and a violation of Mr. Combetta’s immunity deal?
Director Comey: Not necessarily, no.
Chairman Goodlatte: Why not?
Director Comey: It depends on what his intention was, why he wanted to do it. I think that out team concluded that what he was trying to do was when they produced emails not have the actual address but have some name or placeholder instead of the actual dot com address in the from line.
Chairman Goodlatte: Last week, the American people learned that Cheryl Mills, SC’s longtime confidant and former State Department Chief of Staff and Heather Samuelson, counsel to SC in the SD were granted immunity for production of their laptops. Why were they not targets of the FBI’s criminal investigation?
Director Comey: Well, target is someone on whom you have sufficient evidence to indict a subject whose conduct at some point during the investigation falls within the scope of the investigation, so certainly with respect to Ms. Mills, at least initially, because she was an email correspondent, she was a subject of the investigation.
Chairman Goodlatte: Did the FBI find classified information on either of their computers?
Director Comey: I think there were some emails still on the computer that were recovered, that were classified, that is my recollection.
Chairman Goodlatte: Is that a crime?
Director Comey: Is what a crime, sir?
Chairman Goodlatte: Having classified information on computers that are outside of the server system of the Dept of State, unsecured?
Director Comey: No. It is certainly something without knowing more you couldn’t conclude whether it was a crime you would have to know what were the circumstances, what was the intention around that, but it certainly something, it is the reason we conducted a year-long investigation, understand where emails had gone on an unclassified system that contained classified information.
Chairman Goodlatte: And what did you determine with regard to the emails found on her computer?
Director Comey: I hope that I am getting this right and my troops will correct me if I am wrong, but they were duplicates of emails that been produced, was the emails had been used to sort before a production.
Chairman Goodlatte: Now both Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson were granted immunity for production of these computers, laptops. Why were they then allowed to sit in on the interviews with Sec Clinton?
Director Comey: The DOJ reached a letter agreement with the two lawyers to give them what’s called act of production immunity, meaning nothing that’s found on their, the laptop they turn over will be used against them directly. And. Which is a fairly normal tool in investigations. They were, Ms Mills in particular was, a member of the SC’s legal team and so SC decides which of her lawyers come to voluntary interviews with the FBI.
Chairman Goodlatte: Is it usual to allow a witness or a potential witness in a subsequent prosecution, had one been undertaken, to be present in the room when the FBI interviews another witness and potential target of an investigation?
Director Comey: The FBI has no ability to exclude or to include any lawyer that a subject being interviewed chooses to have there.
Chairman Goodlatte: Even if the lawyer is a witness in a case? Can you cite any other instance in which a witness to a criminal investigation who has already been interviewed by the FBI has been allowed to accompany and serve as legal counsel to the target of that investigation?
Director Comey: I can’t from personal experience. It wouldn’t surprise me if it happened. The Dept of Justice, excuse me, the FBI has no ability to decide who comes to an interview in a voluntary interview context. If it was a judicial proceeding, a judge could police who could be there. Obviously lawyers are governed by cannons of ethics to decide what matters they can be involved in but it doesn’t fall to us to say, you can be in; you can’t be in.
Chairman Goodlatte: But wouldn’t you agree that it is a conflict of interest for them to serve as attorneys for SC in this matter having been interviewed by the FBI as witnesses?
Director Comey: That’s a question a lawyer has to answer for him or herself.
Chairman Goodlatte: You’re a lawyer, Director Comey. What’s your opinion of that?
Director Comey: Oh, I don’t want to offer an opinion on that but that is something a lawyer has to decide for themselves. I assume with counsel and consulting our cannons of ethics what matters you can be involved in and those that you cannot but again, the Bureau’s role in conducting a voluntary interview is to interview the subject. Who they bring is up to them.
Chairman Goodlatte: How can you trust the veracity of SC’s answers knowing that witnesses previously interviewed by the FBI were allowed to participate in the interview?
Director Comey: We assess the answers based on what is said and all the other evidence we have gathered.
Chairman Goodlatte: In consultation with her “attorneys” who are also witnesses to what was previously done earlier and may have in fact themselves violated the law for which they requested and were granted immunity.
Director Comey: The answer is the same. We make the assessment based on what the witness says and the other evidence we have gathered in the case. Who is sitting there, to me is not particularly germane.
Chairman Goodlatte: Thank you. My time has expired.
I recognize the gentleman for Michigan, Mr. Conyers.
Thank you. Thank you so much, director James Comey, twice this past week the city of charlotte, north carolina has been shaken by the shooting death of black men, it is only one city out of many in this country looking for answers about the use of force by police. We come on this committee are looking for answers to. You are a vocal advocate for better collection of information about violence it and encounters between police and civilians. Has the FBI’s ability to collect this information been proved in the year since we have less discussed it? And why are these statistics so important to our current discussion on the use of force by police?
Thank you. We are having passionate, important conversations conversation in this country about please use of force in connection with encounters with civilians, especially with African-Americans. All of the conversations are uninformed today. They’re all driven by anecdote because as a country we simply do not have the information to know, do we have an epidemic of violent structure by law enforcement against black folks? To have an evident regarding from folk or white folk. We don’t know. An absence of that data they’re driven by anecdote and that’s a very bad place to be. I don’t know if there’s an epidemic of violence. My instincts tell me there isn’t but I don’t know. I can’t tell you whether. I can’t tell you whether shootings involving people of any different color are up, down, sideways nor can anybody else in this country. So to discuss the most important things that are going on in this country we need information. The government should collect it. I can’t think it. I can’t think of something more inherent in lee governmental than the need to use deadly force in encounter during law-enforcement work. So what what has changed in the last year for which is good news with is that everybody and leadership in law-enforcement and the United States has agreed and they’ve agreed that the FBI will build and maintain a database, so we collect important information about all encounters involving the use of deadly force. That will allow us to know what is going on in the country so we can have a thoughtful conversation and resist being ruled by individual anecdotes. That’s what matters. We’re making progress, will have it done, we would like it done in the next year or two years, this database will be up and running because everybody gets white matter so much.
Thank you on August 30, I wrote to you regarding Donald Trump’s expensive connections to the Russian government. The letter cites to a number of troubling reports some that suggest mere conflicts of interest, others that might suggest evidence of a crime. Last Friday, we read a new report suggesting that Mr. Trump’s foreign policy advisor has been meeting with high-ranking sanctioned officials in Moscow to discuss lifting economic sanctions. If Mr. Donald Trump becomes president. The same report quotes this is a senior United States law-enforcement official who says this relationship is being quote actively monitored and investigated, and quotation. Is the FBI investigating the activities of Mr. Trump or any advisor to the Trump campaign with respect to any line of communication between the campaign and the Russian government?
I cannot say sir. As I said in response to different question we do not confirm or deny investigations.
More generally then, is it lawful for a private citizen to enter into official government negotiations with a foreign nation?
I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to answer that hypothetical.
Well, in my view our research shows that it is not. The 18 usc section 953 prohibits this conduct in my view. And finally just Mr. Trump currently receive intelligence briefings from the FBI?
At both candidates and their running mates are offered on a regular basis briefings from the entire intelligence community. Some portion of the first briefing including an FBI segment, so yes.
Does his staff attend those meetings as well?
No, just the candidate and the vice presidential candidate.
And finally, if a member of either —
No, I’m wrong. I have to be correct. Each was allowed to bring two people, as I recall Trump did bring to individuals with clearances to the briefing. Secretary Clinton did not. I’m sorry, I miss stated that.
Okay. Finally, if a member of either campaign were engaged in secret back channel communications with a foreign adversary, could that line of communication pose a threat to national security? I don’t think it’s appropriate given that I’m not commenting on it might make me look at whether we have an investigation side prefer not chance of us are.
Well, thank you for being here today. I think the chairman and I yelled back.
The chairman think the gentleman away recognize the gentleman from Wisconsin, Mr. Sensebrenner.
Thank you Mr. Chairman, director, welcome. Who authorized Cheryl Mills’ immunity?
The decision was made by the Department of Justice, I don’t know what level.
In our investigation any kind of immunity comes from the prosecutors not the investigators.
Okay, did she request immunity?
I don’t know for sure what the negotiations involved, I believe her lawyer asked for active production immunity with respect to the production of her laptop. That is my understanding. But again the FBI was not a part of those conversations.
Now it is been a matter of public record that Secretary Clinton brought nine people into the room where two FBI agents were questioning her. Is that normal practice?
It is a normal practice, I’ve, I’ve done interviews with a big crowd, and some with just the subject, it’s unusual to have that large of a number, but not unprecedented in my experience.
Now Cheryl Mills, also stated that she was an attorney. I’m very concerned that when a fact witness represents a client who might be the target of an investigation there is a conflict of interest, rather than letting this Ms. Mills make the determination, would the FBI be willing to refer the matter, a fact witness of Ms. Mills in this case representing a target Secretary Clinton in this case to the appropriate bar association for investigation?
That is not a role for the FBI. Even though I happen to be a lawyer, were not lawyers, were investigators. That’s a question for the legal part of the Department of Justice.
Okay. Why did Ms. Mills request immunity? Was she hiding something or was she afraid something would incriminate her that was on her laptop?
I do not know. I’m sure that is a conversation she and her lawyer had and then her lawyers had with department I just do not know.
Okay. There was an op-ed by professor Jonathan Turley that appeared in the media that says there were a lot of good cases scuttled by granting immunity and there is lots of immunity that was granted here. Doesn’t it concern you as an investigator that your chiefs in the Justice Department decided to become an immunity producing machine for many people who would have been very key witnesses should there have been a prosecution?
I don’t think of it that way. It doesn’t strike me that there is a lot of immunity issued in this case. I know it’s a complicated subject. But there are many different kinds of immunity, probably three different kinds featured in this case. It’s fairly typical in a complex white-collar case especially as you to try to work your way up towards your subject. My overall reaction is that this looks like ordinary investigative process to me.
Will the target was not an ordinary target, I think we all know that. Since you announced that there be no prosecution of Secretary Clinton in July there have been several, very material issues that are troubling. Would that not require a reopening of the investigation to solve those issues?
I’ve not seen anything that would come near to that kind of situation.
There’s lots of questions and lots the controversy and very proud of the way this is done.
Now, with all due respect, since you made this announcement there have been many more issues that came up that were not on the table prior to your announcements that the investigation against Secretary Clinton had been dropped. I think the American public is entitled to answers on this, particularly since we have to know the extent of the classified information which ended up being in the private email server. All of us on this committee have got security clearance of some kind or another. I’m kind of worried that you know if I got some classified information and went back to my office and used in unsecure server to send it to somebody who may also have had a classified information, I would be in big trouble and I should be in big trouble if I did something like that. There seems to be different strokes for different folks on this. That’s what Americans are concerned about. Particularly when we’re looking to elect someone to the highest office of the land and the leader of the free world. I do not think your answers are satisfactory at all Mr. Comey. I do have a great deal of respect for you, but I think there is a heavy hand coming from someplace else and with that, I yield back.
That you think the gentleman to recognize the gentleman from New York, Mr. Nadler, for five minutes.
Thank you Mr. Chairman, first let me express my admiration and thanks to the FBI for the professional manner and the excellent work they did in the bombings that occurred in New York about a block out of my district to apprehend the suspect within 48 hours and do everything it was a very good indication of teamwork and I congratulate you on that. Secondly, let me say that I think the mud that is being thrown on the other side of the table only continue because the ongoing presidential election. In the case in which the FBI decided there’s nothing to prosecute, it’s over. We all know nobody would be talking about it if one were not, if Hillary Clinton were not a presidential candidate for this is a political maneuvering. Is political maneuvering. Let me talk about a case that may pose a current national security threat to the United States. The earlier remarks and the reference on August 30 letter asked if the FBI was investigating the Trump campaign officials. And whether they contributed to the illegal hacking of the democratic national committee and the democratic national campaign committee. You’re familiar with that letter ?
I’d like you to ask you a few questions. The letter said that on August 8, 2016 roger stone, Donald Trump stone, Donald Trump confidant revealed that he has communicated with someone with it release of additional illegally hacked democratic documents. He made the statements during republican campaign event will answer a question about a potential October surprise. Obviously if somebody is stating publicly that his intercommunication with the organization that obtained these illegally hacked documents, I assume the FBI would want to talk to that person. Has the FBI interviewed stone about his relationship or how he got these documents?
I cannot comment on that.
Mr. Stone stated that his knowledge about upcoming leaks of additional illegally hacked documents, has the FBI asked about those mutations?
I also cannot comment on that.
Because of the on-going investigation.
I don’t want to confirm whether there is or is not it investigation, that’s how I answer the question.
They knowledge and public statements and testimony that it was acknowledged that it was investigating Secretary Clinton’s use of private email service and that was while the investigation was still ongoing, now you can’t comment on whether there is investigation. Is there different standard for Secretary Clinton and Donald Trump, if not way is a consistent standard?
Our standard is we do not confirm or deny the existence of investigation for the exception for that is when there’s a need for the public to be reassured that when it’s apparent given the activities and public activities at the investigation is ongoing. Our overwhelming rule is that we do not, except in certain exceptional circumstances.
Are these exceptional circumstances when close officials to a candidate of a major political party for the United States says publicly he think medication with foreign officials and anticipates further illegal activity?
I do not think so.
Mr. Trump’s campaign manager resigned after failing to disclose his role in a pro-Russian party of ukraine. Associated Press reported in a quote, Donald Trump’s campaign chairman help the pro-Russian party in the ukraine the ukraine secretly with 2,200,000 dollars in payments to put $2 million in payments to two prominent Washington lobbying firms in 2012. They did so in a way that effectively obscured the form political parties to influence U.S. policy. Has the FBI interviewed Mr. Manafort about it this?
Have to give you the same answer.
Has the FBI interviewed were rick gates who work for the Trump campaign?
Same answers are.
After you investigated Secretary Clinton, you made a decision to explain publicly who you interviewed and why, he also disclosed also disclosed documents including those from this interview. Why shouldn’t the American people have the same level of information about your investigation of those associated with Mr. Trump?
I’m not confirming that we are investigating people associated with Mr. Trump. In a matter of emailing investigation it was our judgment, my judgment of the rest of the FBI’s judgment that those were exceptional circumstances where the public needed to know.
My final question, you investigated Secretary Clinton’s emails and so forth, everything we’ve been talking about. You concluded I believe that there’s nothing to prosecute and you announced in my opinion quite properly, that you had investigated it there is nothing in, nothing to prosecute. That was proper. But having announced and that prosecutorial agency announces that we’ve investigated so-and-so and decided that we’ve decided to prosecute because all we’ve investigated and we decided not to prosecute because, why is it appropriate for that prosecutorial agency to go further and say, even though we decide not to prosecute, we still think this person did this that or the other thing and I was proper and improper, why is it proper prosecutorial agency to characterize your opinion of the propriety of the actions of someone whom you have announced that you’d decided there’s nothing criminal should not be prosecuted?
That’s her decision that is why the it is the exception to the rule. You do risk of damaging someone who is not convicted. The judgment I made in this case is given the unusual, I thought on net — it was not an easy call. I wrestled with it.
Let me just say before my time expires that I think and I just talking to myself that was highly inappropriate with having determined that there is nothing to prosecute and having announced that quite properly but prosecuting agencies and the Department of Justice to comment with commas that will be looked upon as authoritative that what she did was right or wrong, good, are back, not the appropriate role of the prosecuting agency and risks not in this case but I talk really now because of the future, don’t want to see that happen again regards anybody because it puts anybody who did not commit a crime, who you have determined did not commit a crime and there’s no evidence to prosecute it puts them at the mercy of the opinion of an individual or individuals within the prosecuting agency and that’s not right.
I you’ll back.
The chair recognized gentleman from Texas for five minutes.
Think Mr. Chairman. Director, thank you for those examples of the FBI’s good work in your opening statement. I think we all appreciate what the FBI has done. My first question is this: would you reopen the Clinton investigation if you discovered new information that was both relevant and substantial?
It is hard for me to answer in the abstract. We would certainly look at any new and substantial information.
In general, and let’s personalize it, in general if you discover new information that was substantial and relevant, you would reopen an investigation, would you not?
Again, even in general I don’t think we can answer that in the abstract. What we can say is that any investigation if people have new and substantial information we would like to see it so we can make an evaluation.
Let me give you some examples mentions several new developments that I think have occurred and ask if you have become aware of them.
The first example is what the chairman mentioned a while ago. An employee at a company that managed former Secretary Clinton’s private email server said that I need to strip out a vip’s, very vip email address from a bunch of archived emails. Basically they don’t want the vip’s email address exposed to anyone. I assume you are aware that.
I’m aware of that.
The same employee called a new retention policy designed to delete emails after 60 days, quote Hillary cover-up operation and you saw that, did you not?
This aiming ploy called the new retention policy to delete emails after 60 days a Hillary cover it cover-up operation.
I don’t know that particular language.
We’ll give you a source but you can take my word for it that is what he said.
Another example, former Clinton foundation employee who also manage the Clinton server destroyed devices used by former Secretary Clinton by smashing them with a hammer. You are aware that.
Yes. Two employees of a company that managed former Secretary Clinton’s recently put the fifth amendment to Congress to avoid self-incrimination.
Your aware of that? Yes.
Yes. Lastly, 15000 more work-related emails were discovered and there have been an attempt to wrongly delete them. Your aware of that?
I think we discovered them.
To me, what I cited is not the actions of innocent people. There’s a distinct possibility that Mrs. Clinton or her staff directed others to destroy evidence in a government a government investigation which of course is against the law. So, I would urge you to reopen your investigation. Do you want to comment on that?
I do not.
I do not. I know you can’t tell us whether you have or have not, but I believe I’ve given evidence of new information that is relevant and substantial that would justify reopening the investigation. My next question is this. I know you granted immunity to a number of individuals. If you had new information that was relevant and substantial, you would be able to investigate them further, wouldn’t you?
The FBI doesn’t grant immunity to anybody, the Department of Justice can grant different kinds of immunity. Immunity. Immunity, if new and substantial evidence develop that either someone lied or under a grant of use immunity or any kind of immunity, that Department of Justice can pursue it. Nobody gets lifetime immunity.
Thank you. The last question is as chairman of the science committee I issued the FBI subpoena on September 19, 2016. The due date for response was two days ago, September 26. Your staff. Your staff has still not provided the requested information and documents. Yesterday we pointed out to them that the science committee has jurisdiction for the national institute of standards and technology which sets standards for the federal information security modernization act of 2014. I trust you intend to comply with the subpoena?
I intend to continue the conversations we’ve been having about the subpoena. As you know we’ve made a lot of documents available to at least six committees and the question of whether we should make them available to an additional committee is something were struggling with but talking to folks about.
To me there’s no struggle, we have clear jurisdiction which we can demonstrate a think it obligate you to comply.
Yes sir, were not trying to be disrespectful. We continue to talk about it. Thank you.
Thank you. With the gentleman yield.
Rep Smith: I will yield to the gentleman from California.
Rep Issa: Thank you. The Chairman of the full committee had asked something earlier and I just want to point out and ask that this be placed in the record, according to the Maryland Code of Ethics 19-301.11, it specifically prohibits a former or current government officer or employee from acting as a counsel to someone that they represented in government. I would like that to be placed into the record.
Chairman Goodlatte: Without objection will be made part of the record.
Rep Issa: In light of the fact that the Maryland Bar has this prohibition would that have changed your view of allowing her in and saying you had no authority.
DC: I am not qualified nor am I going to answer questions about legal ethics in this forum. The FBI has no basis to exclude somebody from an interview who the subject of the interview says is on their legal team.
Rep Issa: Thank you Director Comey, Thank you Mr. Chairman, I yield back.
Of the chair thank the gentleman the requisite gentleman. Lofgren is from California, for five minutes.
Thank you. Thank you director coming for once again appearing before this committee as you appear before somebody committees in the house. Sometimes I wonder how you get any work done at all because you are called appear so frequently. There has been a lot of focus on the private email that Secretary Clinton used as her predecessor Powell used. So there’s no forensic evidence that there is a breach of that service although theoretically you could intrude in that evidence. There has been very little focus on the breach at the State Department email system, it has been reported in the press that this breach of the State Department emails was one of the largest ever of the federal system and was accomplished by, according to the press either China or Russia. I’m wondering if you are able to give us any insight into whether it was in fact the Russians who had been to the State Department email system or whether that is still under investigation?
Not in this open form I cannot.
Okay, I’m hoping we can get some insight in an appropriate classified setting on that. Now, we have watched was some concern, I know you are also concerned about the Russian intrusion into our election system. It is been reported to us that the Russian hacked into the democratic national committee database, they also hacked into the democratic Congressional campaign committee. It seems that they are making an effort to influence the outcome of this election. We have been warned that the information stolen my not just be release but also be altered and forged and then leaked in an effort to impact the election here in the United States. Yesterday there was press reports and I don’t know if they’re accurate, I’m interested if you’re able to tell us that the Russians have also hacked a telephone of democratic staffers and there is a request for democratic staffers to bring their cell phones into the FBI to have the mirrored area can you tell us anything about that?
I can’t at this point. What I can say in response to the first part of your question, any hacking is something we take very seriously. Any hacking in connection with this nation’s election system is something we take extraordinarily served seriously. It’s something that we’re spending a lot of time on right now to try to understand. What are they up to them what is it involved it was a the scope of it, to equip the president to decide upon the appropriate response per that is why we are to be very careful about what I say about it. That work is ongoing. I should make clear to folks when we talk about our election system there’s been a lot of press reporting about attempts to intrude into voter registration databases. Those are connected to the internet. That’s very different than the electoral mechanism in the country.
We had a hearing and a hearing and I had a chance to talk with alex was a secretary of state in california. Number when they crip their database, number two, number two, even if you were to steal it, there is backups that you cannot steal. You can’t really manipulate that. But you could cause a lot of damage. You could create chaos on election day and you could target that chaos to areas where voters had a tendency to vote for one candidate over another in an attempt to influence the outcome. It’s not a benign situation certainly had one that we want to worry about. I want to quickly touch on a concern I have also on cyber on rule 41 and how the FBI is interpreting that. I’m concerned that the change is understood by the FBI would allow for one word for multiple computers but would include allowing the FBI to access victims computers in order to clean them up. Cyber security experts that I have been in touch with have raised very strong concerns about that provision, specially using malware zone signaling system to disable the malware. The cyber experts who have talked and express concerns believe that it ultimately could trigger attacks. I’m wondering if you have any comments on how the FBI intends to use rule 41 vis-a-vis malware victims computers.
It your time with a gentleman has expired you will be permitted to answer the question.
Thank you. I’m nonexpert but one of the things that we deal with these botnets is how do we execute a search warrant to try to figure out where the bad guys are and get them away from those innocent people. What the challenge we’ve been facing is to go to every single jurisdiction and get a warrant would take literally years. So were charter. How can we use reporting want to have one judge give us that authority.
I know my time, just like to close by expressing the hope that the FBI might seek the guidance of some of the computer experts at our national labs on this very question of triggering malware attacks and I yelled back.
The point is well taken. We recognize the gentleman from Ohio for five minutes.
Thank you Mr. Chairman. Mr. Comey, the chairman in his introduction of you mentioned you are a graduate of the college of william and mary and you may know I’m a graduate from there as well. You may remember that our alma mater is very proud of something called the honor code. I checked out the wording of the honor code to make sure that I was correct on it now will tell you exactly what it says, it says is a member of the women marry community a pledge in my honor not to lie, cheat, or steal either my academic work personal life. One of the people whose behavior you investigated, Hillary Clinton didn’t have the good fortune to attend college of women married but she did attend wesley. I wonder if whether they had not honor code and I found out, I looked it up they do. They did and here’s what it says. At the wesley college student I will act with honesty, integrity and respect in making this commitment I am accountable to community and dedicate myself to a life of honor. Let me repeat that I will act with honesty. I’m sure young women attending wesley today of those would have attended in the past are proud that one of their own could be the next president of the United States. But, the majority of American people have come to the conclusion that Hillary Clinton is not honest. And cannot be trusted. It’s about two about 221. Who say that she is dishonest. The latest poll for example the question being, would you say that Hillary Clinton is honest or not, 65% said no and only 32% said yes she is on us. Republicans and democrats not surprisingly were overwhelmingly one-way the other but independence, 80% said no she’s not honest and only 19% said she is. So director, since you and your people would want to investigate it Hillary Clinton’s email scandal I would just like task couple of questions. Hillary Clinton claimed over and over that none of the emails that she sent contain classified information. Was she truthful when she said that?
As I said when I testified in July, there were, forgetting the exact number but there were 80 or so emails that contain classified information.
So she said they did not contain classified information and they did so that sounds to me not being truthful, I not trying to put words in your mouth but I think that’s what that means. Hillary Clinton I came back on a fallback position as well, none of the emails I sent were marked classified, but that that wasn’t true either was it?
There were three as I recall three emails that were within the body of the text portion market classify the confidential.
And again that putting words in your mouth that that means no she did not tell the truth in that particular instance. Hillary Clinton said she decided to use a personal email server system for convenience and that she would only have to carry around one blackberry, was she being truthful when she said she just use one device?
During her tenure as secretary of state she is multiple, not at the same time but sequentially.
Again I’m going to take that as she said one and it was more. So therefore it [inaudible] us. In fact, some of the devices were destroyed with a hammer, as that has already been mentioned. Is that the type of behavior that you would expect from someone who is fully cooperative with an investigation, destroying devices with a hammer?
We uncovered no evidence that devices were destroyed during our investigation. So, why people destroy devices when there is no investigation is in a question I’m not able to answer.
Thank you. Mr. Director a little less than two months ago Hillary Clinton, talking about her emails claim that you said, and I quote, that my answers were truthful. Pull in effect gave this a pants on fire rating. Did you say that she was telling the truth with respect to her email claim?
I did not. I never say that about anybody. Our business is not to say whether we believe someone our businesses to say what evidence is there to not believe that person it’s an odd window look at the world.
It must’ve been very awkward for you, your task with investigated a person who could be the next president of the United States. In the current president of the United States has already pre-judge the case and telegraph to you and the entire Justice Department that he, your boss has come to the conclusion that there is not even a smidgen of corruption, his own words before you have even completed your investigation. You are aware that he said that, weren’t you?
Yes, saw the report in the press.
Finally, just seems to me that there is clearly a double standard going on. Like for example if anybody else had done this like a soldier, serviceman who did virtually the same thing, they would’ve been prosecuted but not Hillary Clinton and that is a double standard. And that is not the way it is supposed to work in America. I’m out of time, you’ll back.
I disagree with that characterization.
The gentleman is permitted to respond.
I don’t think so. I think if we were to direct that should be prosecuted be a if someone else did this year be discipline. You not be prosecuted, that would not be fair.
The time of the gentleman has expired. We recognize a gentleman from Texas for five minutes.
Thank you. Many americans have come to see hillary clinton as a dedicated servant, but i believe this is an porton, my colleagues have our ready made it and i look for to may be coming back to washington in dealing with the potential intrusion on the elect shouldn’t system. I’m not asking at this time, and also the issue of connecting the dots as we deal terrorism across america. I want to acknowledge eric williams and the outstanding detail for this and thank him for the service. I want to thank those in houston for helping us with a shooting in houston. He gave us a great deal of fear and scare a couple of days go. My republican colleagues have questions and attacked you and your team of FBI agents. They disagree with the results of the investigation, they want you to prosecute or as the DOJ to prosecute Clinton regardless of the fact. They engage in a daily ritual of trying to tear down the investigation. Any recommendations. Any recommendations. I believe you testified previously that your recommendation in that case was unanimous in your investigation was carried out by what you call an all-star team of career agents and prosecutors. Is that that right?
Yes. These are some of our very best. I’m like enough to be the person who represents the FBI people think it’s my conclusion, sure it’s my conclusion, but I’m reporting what the team thought and their supervisors and so on. This is painful as it is for people, this is not a close call.
Let me continue. You say continue. You say that the case was not a cliffhanger.
Recently Republicans have attacked the decision to provide limited immunity to individuals during the investigation for example, when Congressman Chaffetz learned about this he stated and I quote, no wonder they couldn’t prosecute a case, they’re handing out immunity deals like candy. I understand the FBI does not make the final call on immunity agreement, that that was DOJ. Sustainment was just wrong but.
Our job is to tell them what facts we want access to. The prosecutor’s job is to figure out how to do that. They negotiated five agreements of different kinds.
Did you or anyone ever object to these decisions to grant immunity, did you think it made sense. It was fairly ordinary stuff. Did the FBI or DOJ handing out immunity agreements like candy?
That’s not how I saw it.
Congressman Gaudy, good friend also objected to granting immunity, he said there’s two people Bryan Pagliano and Paul Combetta and those are the two that you would want to prosecute see you give immunity to the trigger people and everybody goes free. Do you agree with this assessment. Did the FBI screw up and let everybody go for because of these limited immunity deals?
No, I don’t so. The goal in an investigation like this is to work up. The people have information that their lawyers who are telling you you’re not gonna get without some limited form of immunity and they’re lower down you try to get that information to get a case against her subjects.
Congressman Gaudy also said this, I’ve been underwhelmed by an agency that I once had tremendous respect for. Let me just say sitting on this judiciary committee for many years, going to a number of investigations, I’ve never been proud of an agency that has always been there when vulnerable people are hurting and when there’s a need for great work. My question is what is your response to that director, do you believe the criticisms are fair?
I think questions are fair. I think criticism is healthy and fair. I think reasonable people can disagree with how I announced it and how I should’ve done it. What is not fair is any implication that the bureau acted in anyway other than honestly here. That’s not true. I knew this was going to be controversial. I knew there’d be rocks thrown, but this organization and the people who did this are honest, independent people. We do not carry water from one side or the other. It’s from one side or the other. It’s hard for people to see because we see things through sides. We are [inaudible] anybody side. This was done exactly the way you would want it to be done. That said questions and feedback are fair.
Absolutely but the foot soldiers, you take issue of whether they’re compromised or if they’re adhering to someone else’s messages.
Absolutely. You can call us wrong but do not call us weasels, we are not. We are honest people. We did this in that way whether you agree or disagree with the result.
You are able to learn what others said and if anyone provided seems to the FBI had actually provided evidence that Secretary Clinton has committed a crime, would you then have recommended prosecution to the DOJ ?
The case was there, very aggressively.
Re: sure you want to been nervous about doing so, little intimidated?
No, I really don’t care.
I have a ten year term that’s a beauty this. One of the great things is that a certain amount of job security so no, either way we would’ve done what the facts said to do.
So are you now second-guessing your decision regarding Hillary Clinton?
The time of the gentleman has expired.
Mr. Chairman I want to thank the director and asked my colleague to give the respect that this agency in this instance deserves. Think of her service. I yelled back.
Thank you I reckon is the gentleman from California for five minutes, Mr. Issa.
Representative Issa: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Director, I have a lot of concerns but one of them refers to Reddit. At the time that the Department of Justice at your behest, or your involvement, gave Paul Combetta immunity, did you do so knowing about all of the posts he had on Reddit and capturing all of those posts and correspondence where he was asking how to wipe or completely erase on behalf of a very, V-VIP, so to speak?
Director Comey: I am not sure sitting here. My recollection is and I’ll check this and fix it if I am wrong, that we had some awareness of the Reddit posts, I don’t know whether our folks had read them all or not. We had a pretty good understanding of what we thought he had done, but that is my best recollection.
Rep. Issa: OK, in the last week, in mass, he has been deleting them from Reddit posts. Is that consistent with preserving evidence, and I say that because there is still an ongoing interest by Congress and only, in spite of Reddit’s own senior, what they call flak team, trying to hide it only because a few people caught it do we even know about it and is this another committee interested in getting the backups that may exist on these deletions. You know, I guess my question to you is, is he destroying evidence relevant to Congressional inquiries and I will answer it for you: Yes he is. And what are you going to do about it?
Director Comey: That’s not something I can comment on.
Rep. Issa: Let me go into something that concerns this body in a very specific way. As a former chairman, issuing subpoenas, I issued a subpoena and additionally I issued preserve letters, and in addition to that, now Chairman Chaffitz issued what were effectively preserve letters, some of them were directly to Hillary Rodham Clinton while she was still Secretary. Others, the subpoena in 2013 was to Secretary Kerry, these individuals destroyed documents pursuant or took it out of Federal custody pursuant to our subpoena and our discovery, as a result, they committed crimes. My question to you is, when I was a chairman, and I wanted to grant immunity to somebody, I had to notice the Department of Justice and you were consulted, isn’t that correct?
Director Comey: In a particular matter?
Rep. Issa: In any matter.
Director Comey: I don’t know whether the FBI is consulted in that circumstance.
Rep. Issa: OK, for the record, yes. The Department of Justice does not grant immunity without checking with federal law enforcement to see whether it will impact any ongoing investigation. That’s the reason we have a requirement to give notice. When the reverse was occurring, you were granting, handing out like candy, according to some, immunity did you, or to your knowledge Department of Justice confer with Chairman Goodlatte, Chairman Chaffitz, Chairman Smith, or any of the other chairmen who had ongoing subpoenas and investigations?
Director Comey: Not to my knowledge.
Rep. Issa: So isn’t there a double standard that when you granted immunity to these 5 individuals you took them out of the reach of prosecution for crimes committed related to destruction of documents or withholding or other crimes pursuant to congressional subpoenas?
Director Comey: I don’t think anybody was given transactional immunity…
Rep. Issa: Oh, really? Now we are not allowed to make your immunities public but I am going to take the privilege of making one part of it public. I read them. You gave immunity from destruction to both of those attorneys. Not just turning them over, the documents over, specifically destruction. You did the same thing with these other two individuals, Brian and Paul Combetta. You gave them immunity from destruction.
Director Comey: I don’t think, again I could always be wrong, but I don’t have it in front of me, either.
Rep. Isaa: Well because you don’t let us take them out of the SCIF, it’s a little hard for us, too. But the fact is, when you read them.
Director Comey: Can I give my answer? I am pretty sure that what was granted was use immunity. In the case of those two people coextensive with 18 USC 6001 which means no statement you make can be used against you directly or indirectly, transactional immunity is sometimes given also by prosecutors, you will not be prosecuted in any event for this set of facts. I don’t think that there was any transactional immunity.
Rep. Issa: Well, when I read for both of the attorneys that immunity was granted, it in both cases said destruction, in addition to the turning over. Why was that, why would you believe that was necessary or do you believe that would be necessary. You wanted the documents, you wanted the physical evidence why did you have to give them immunity from destruction of materials?
And, because my time is expiring, when you look into it, and hopefully get back to this committee, I’d like to know does that immunity apply only to destruction on the computers delivered so that other destructions by Cheryl Mills could still be prosecuted?
Director Comey: My recollection is that no transactional immunity was given, a protection of statements was given to the Combetta guy and Mr. Pagliano.
Rep. Issa: Thank you Mr. Chairman.
Rep. Issa: Oh, Mr. Chairman, I would ask unanimous consent, quickly, that a group of documents be included and I will summarize them. They are basically the letters, the subpoenas that led up to the destruction of documents that were previously held for preservation. Additionally, the blog posts from Reddit, if those could all be placed in the record.
Chairman Goodlatte: Without objection, they will be part of the record. (1:21:34)
We recommend that you live from Tennessee for five minutes.
Mr. Chairman, I asking him this consent quickly that a group of documents being included in our summarize them. They’re basically the letters and subpoenas that led up to the destruction of documents or previously held for preservation. Additionally the blog post from Reddit if those can be placed in the record.
Thank you sir. Director, would you consider the FBI’s most important job presently, fighting terrorism and threats to the homeland?
That is our top priority.
Time to think the FBI and you have spent responding to congressional inquiries and on this particular email investigation? Could you give me an idea of how many man months or years have been expended on responding to the different committees that have called you in time after time and repetitious lady accused you of doing politics rather than be in an FBI director?
I can’t. I don’t have any sense.
Would it be months of cumulative man-hours are years?
I don’t know. A lot of folks have done a lot of work to try to provide the kind of transparency we promise. It has been a lot by lotta people. I just don’t have a sense.
How many hours have you spent before Congress on this?
Testimony, four hours and 40 minutes without a bathroom break I want to know for the record. And whatever today is, those of be the two main appearances. I was asked questions that senate homeland yesterday about this and then house homeland in July. I’m guessing ten hours or so.
And he prepared for this.
Ten hours is just the iceberg.
Could your time and the FBI times it better be used fighting terrorist threats in America?
We are still doing it all. No one should think that we have taken a play off because we are also doing oversight. We do both.
And the case in New York where Mr. Romney tried to — bonds. They tried to — did the FBI in her view him when he was in jail about his possible trips to Pakistan.
I’m trying to be very circumspect to on how to answer these because he’s entitled to fair trial. I don’t do anything that would allow him to argue that he lost the ability to have a fair trial. We. We did not interview him when he was in jail. In 2014.
Why would that be? You interviewed the father I believe, you may have talked to the brother or friend, the best evidence with him. He’s in jail. Why did they not going talk to him?
Sitting here I don’t want to answer that question yet. I have commissioned as I doing all these cases a deep look back. Were trying to make the case now but will go back carefully and try to make a look at the decisions and whether there’s learning from that. I don’t want to answer just now because I be speculating.
Thank you. Some people suggested you made it legal calculation in your recommendation until he was Secretary Clinton in the emails. Did you make a political calculation your ultimate decision?
None. Some said that a national television that Secretary Clinton’s emails were destroyed after a director from the Clinton campaign. Units are decision and stated publicly that we found no evidence that Secretary Clinton’s were intentionally deleted to conceal them a second?
Others have said they lost confidence in the investigation question the genuine effort which was carried out. Did the FBI make a genuine effort to carry out a thorough investigation?
Yes, very much.
Did you take some hits from the position you talk when you announce your decision?
A few. Yes. Difficult.
I just thought it was the right thing to do. I’m not loving this but I think it is important to come and answer questions about it criticize people have questions I’ll try to answer it.
Do you need a bathroom break?
I will let you know at 4:40 p.m.
An FBI bill we know they should not be named in you know my position on that and I hope you keep that will mine. You are credit the FBI and government service. And to your alma mater. I yield back my time.
Recognize the gentleman from Iowa for five minutes, Mr. King.
Thank you Mr. Chairman. In listening the exchange between yourself and Mr. Issa I would just like to confirm that you were confirming that Mr. Combetta made the Reddit posts?
I’m confirming it, I think he did, it is my understanding. That’s my understanding, I think he did. I haven’t dug into it myself. I’ve been focused on other things as we’ve been talking about, but I think that’s right.
I like to just go back to the interview with Hillary Clinton and how that all came about on that July 2 date. First, I’m look at the dates of the conditional immunity documents I have reviewed. And I see that Mr. Pagliano had one dated December 22nd and one December 28th. Can you tell me why the first wasn’t adequate and if there was an interview with Mr. Pagliano in between those dates of December 22 and 28th of 2015?
I think what it is, the first was queen for the day agreement which was to govern an interview. A limited use immunity and the second was an agreement was for use immunity in connection with the investigation. So it was sort of a tryout for him to be interviewed and for that investigators to poke at him and then the second is an agreement they reached.
If we’re going to go any further will go off of it December 28 agreement.
I think they’re both important to him and his lawyer, but the first is an intermediate step to the second.
Thank you. Were you aware of the president’s statement on October 9, 2015 when he reported on October 9, 2015 that he said that Hillary Clinton would not have endangered national security?
I don’t know the dates but I remember public reporting on a statement like that.
I will stated as October 9. Then again on April 10, 2016 it was reported that the president had said Hillary Clinton was careless but not intentionally endangering national security. Were you aware of that as well?
If you could characterize the interview sometime around May 16 it was reported that you said you intended to interview Hillary Clinton personally.
I never said that because I never intended that. I’m sure I did not say that publicly.
Where you aware of the report that that was your public statement?
Yes. I think I read it and smiled about it. People imagine the FBI director does things that the FBI director doesn’t do.
In fact, and I’m not disputing your answer, I’m just simply for the record, this is a record that is dated September 28, 2016, Buffalo News had your picture on it and it takes us back to, that’s when it was printed, excuse me, it takes us back to a document May 16, 2016 has a picture of you in the front of it and I’ll ask to introduce it to the record. It says FBI Director James Comey told reporters that he would personally interview Hillary Clinton quote in coming days closed quote. And I’d ask unanimous consent to introduce this article into the record.
And not as a matter of indictment, I don’t dispute your word on this, it’s what the public expectation was hanging out there is my real point. Then, with that public expectation I think the public was surprised to learn about who was or wasn’t in that room. Can you tell us who was in that room involved in either listening to or conducting the interview of Hillary Clinton on that date of July 2nd, 2016?
I can’t tell you for sure, I can give you a general sense. For the witness and her legal team, and then on our side of the table, our agents, prosecutors for the Department of Justice. I don’t know if any of our analysts were in there or not. But certainly our team, their team.
How many on your team, how many FBI investigators?
I don’t know for sure. I think we probably had eight to ten people on our side, prosecutors and agents. That’s a knowable fact, I just don’t know it sitting here.
Prosecutors. Loretta Lynch, she have her people in there?
You mean Department of Justice lawyers? Sure.
So how many Department of Justice lawyers would have been there?
I don’t know for sure. Again, I think it was about eight people, probably four lawyers and four from the FBI. But again I could be wrong.
Light general tell you for sherbet egg king give you a general sense of the witness stand her the gold team and on our side of the table the agents prosecutors from the Department of Justice and of the analysts are in there are not more dash or not.
Comedy FBI investigators crack.
I don’t know for sure sitting here. I think maybe eight or 10 people prosecutors.
Prosecutors? Did the redolent have heard people? Connect apartment adjust as lawyers? Yes.
I think it was about four lawyers but I could be wrong.
With four investigators for potential prosecutors from the DOJ that would set the scene?
Hillary Clinton’s team was bigger than that but I don’t remember the exact number.
flicking at the recommendation of privilege, add to go through this quickly to review a videotape for a transcript to have to rely upon the everything for those in the room on the investigative team.
The agents that conducted the interview.
They write them up with the FBI.
Sunday but had access to your investigators and out of that came a piece of advice to you that she already said she would have the responsibility or for tea you to make that recommendation whether or not to indict Hillary Clinton?
I am not sure I follow entirely.
My team formed a recommendation but to be uncoordinated from the Department of Justice. To make that final comment.
Russian hacking into the database of the democratic Congressional campaign committee with the voter registration system in arizona to serve on this warning to the American people of the electoral process in the modern era. With those damn email’s. And then closed his perth’s convicted after five years of fruitless investigation. And then those persecutions. It is increasingly focused with that infrastructure. But on Monday the ranking members issued enjoyed statement to set forth the status of this investigation. That the Russian intelligence agency to influence and then to put the state and now to the American public. But is that statement accurate?
I cannot comment in this forum. In what the Russians may be up to in connection with political institutions. But I don’t want to comment at this point.
A compromise of a disruption of the elections process is something that this Congress certainly should be looking into. Du agree with that?
With the FBI looking into this very hard. To take this extraordinary seriously.
Estates officials are attempting to penetrate the election system. The title was with the state board elections peeler disclosed the FBI is currently investigating cyberattacks and later with the Russian assault on the election system offering to provide cybersecurity experts for those vulnerability is the end of the cedras security helping to defend the election system. But director since these / alerts went out by appreciate you letting us know to have more attacks on state operations spinet there is a variety of scanning activities with that voter registration database from July and August we are urging the state’s two major the deadbolts are on to get the best information they can then this is very different in it was very hard to hack into and dispersed and they’re not connected to the internet that we urge the states to make sure you have the most current intermission. No doubt some bad actors have been poking around.
With the FBI can control through a witness to come into an interview I have seen a lot of the FBI agents tell people who can come into an interview and who can not. and then this case I am sure you have heard the questions raised by this more lawyers about providing immunity to people like Cheryl Mills in return for her presenting a laptop with every authority to get a subpoena and a request for a search warrant based what we now know to get it anywhere that you want and in fact, talking to the people that say if we give immunity to a witness to get out laptop then I would ask the FBI can you explain where you chose to give immunity laptop to Cheryl Mills was she was an important witness.
Sure. I will give it my best shot. What you are talking about the details we want to give you a thing we will use anything we find.
I understand that. And that is what is so shocking. Working directly with Hillary Clinton and the evidence indicates with so many of those email’s that pretty much at what have been usable. And can you clean the slate?
Some of the immunity’s it was proper so was it proper of what the witness would say before those immunity deals were given?
Can answer first? Why that made sense.
My time is so limited.
It is an important question. I fidelista in one of the cases.
Guess or no. Was it proper as to what they would say before you give him immunity?
And it’s one of them to understand what they would say.
But what I have seen 30 years ago, and the FBI would say and the DOJ just like it is in the FBI job to find a reasonable prosecutor should version not due to give them the evidence and let them decide. To say this is what my client will say. Based on the offering here is the plea in the immunity and the deal is off. It is nothing substantial it is the investigation determined instead of getting a warrant where the people that you would need to make a case. We have people across the aisle to say only because she is of president happens to be in my case I don’t care she is a presidential candidate or not. With the civilization of justice and fairness. If they’re treated fairly across the board ended does not appear in this case that FBI agents and they tell me they have never seen anything like this. And there was 700 pages of material for those who would go undercover. It was wiped out because some of the people that were not indicted or co-conspirators of the holy land foundation, they do not allow agents what was put into the 700 pages that was so accurate that we could invent them without chitin and they would not suspect them. You need to start training your FBI agents so san bernardino or orlando or new jersey they can talk to radicalized islamist to determine if they are radicalized. Otherwise you can never spot them and we will keep having people die.
Your time has expired. You may respond.
I have nothing at this point.
Director Comey last year I asked about the cases of U.S. Citizens who were arrested by the FBI and accused of different crimes of the espionage for china. Since the day last testified kind New York not personally familiar or may not be inclined to comment but could he be willing to provide a written explanation to clarify how New York?
With the privacy act but I would certainly consider that.
We will take a look at what we can do but not in the open forum.
I appreciate that.
I will address a different topic. With the on-line initiative about violent extremists them this was designed for teachers and students towards violent extremism however the national education groups the way in which presents the of problem and what is particularly troublesome that they should look for warning signs with the slope of violent extremism of what may or may not be indicative. What website encourages them to report to use unusual language or suspicious places. And it is left to draw inferences or what language is unusual. For example, a trip to france or germany that may not sound suspicious but home to various muslims in the possibly would. August night in American federation when n number of national groups in a letter written to you for the record. Among disconcert earns is the initiatives to exacerbate the profiling of the middle eastern background so how do respond to the concern about the impact of the FBI dolby a puppet?
I’m glad they share their feedback. Before or after I have done it but I cannot understand the concerns but one of the big challenges of the kids go sideways towards violence had to a get them to a place where they have common-sense judgment they may be headed in a very dangerous direction? All clients of civic groups with good common sense and education for kids and teachers. We should meet with them they can show us what part is problematic and it is my overall reaction.
So what place in is suspicious? Or what was you consider to be unusual language.
With the unusual language it been speaking in the unusual way and if somebody is talking to classmates about going to syria the teacher ought to be sensitized.
Do you have evidence to show that is recruiting the efforts quick.
I don’t but it makes sense to be. To equip the kids coming from radical islamist or the hate groups of different kinds. It isn’t perfect but we welcome feedback but the general idea.
Did gentleman from Ohio, Jordan.
To say this was an unusual case. The three ede’s for Secretary Clinton is interviewed one of those was the chief of staff five people get some kind of immunity. And then they take the fifth in front of Congress one doesn’t even bother to show up with the subpoena and of course, the attorney general announces she would not follow your recommendations even though she does not know what they are. We have never seen anything like that. And use said earlier so let’s examine it now. And they don’t want that cip email address. So when I hear the email address food from these two sentences.
Into is a vip?
Is it likely this a very important person is it likely that is Secretary Clinton could.
That it refers to the staff greg.
Add-on know that either her lawyers.
What is important July 24 if, 2014. To remember that timeframe or directly after that. With those reports that were given to us this said during the summer of 2014 they indicated the State Department as a request but none the same page the house select committee to reach an agreement with the State Department regarding production of documents July 23rd 2014. That is interesting then from your report reviewing several documents and after reviewing July 24 he explained that Cheryl Mills was concerned of what would be disclosed.
And also they are urging to cover that up.
It sure seems they’re trying to strip out the actual email address.
But here is the take away in my mind. In the summer of 2014 July 23rd the day before they reached an agreement on production of documents. He goes to try to figure out how he can get rid of the males even though he is not successful. And then just last week he tries to cover up his tracks and cover-up the cover-up. So in light of all of this big about reopening the investigation.
Ed don’t understand about the deleting the Mills.
Maybe I misunderstood?
But my question the guy that you gave immunity and to change evidence that will not testify in front of Congress and Cheryl Mills who walked out of certain questions and that is pretty compelling as well.
Node doubt it was involved in defeating the Mills per after conversations with Cheryl Mills becky had a moment that he told us and it is very important for us who told you to do that corrects that is why.
Trying to cover up your post to figure of ’02 cover-up the email address so just the day before with the State Department that they want the very documents . I find that compelling. This is just one more on that blessed — rommel listed as high unusual.
The director is permitted to respond.
The chair recognizes the gentleman from florida.
Director — director Comey there is serious response abilities of public corruption and as I told you enter agents all women and men of the dedication innermost grateful. With those laws involving because director Comey never American national goes outside government channels on behalf of the United States that would violate the Logan Act which were violated the law would they take allegations in your jurisdiction?
And if that violated the Logan Act?
We have done many over the years.
Amide correct that the publicly quoted comments that has targeted the United States?
I am aware of the published reports. Those that had been sanctioned by the United States of the policy in violation of the Logan Act. At ’01 to answer that is to close if we have an investigation.
But that is clearly from the jurisdiction. You are confirming? Because everything that I just outlined apparently happened already. They were violated by carter page. So now the campaign appears to give the attention to his negotiations. I read reports from last week looking into this issue but Russia who is a nation that hacks America to enable the saudi regime — to go against the european allies it is a dangerous violation of federal law that Donald Trump’s advisor is engaging in freelance negotiations with Russia as we know in march it gave the foreign policy adviser to travel to moscow and during the trip meeting with the Russian officials of member of the inner circle that was sanctioned by the United States under executive order prohibiting from traveling to the United States as a clear personal interest the U.S. Sanctions put in place by president Obama, if these two men in that for those defects over the Trump administration this would be concerned. Also seeking to determine has opened up private officials with the possible lifting of sanctions in that with Russians to talk of lifting the sanctions and I am grateful for research that they would investigate those potential violations by any individual with a foreign government and I remind them that Donald Trump invited them for breaking the long standing commitment of U.S. Sanctions against Russia. Is there a connection of these dangerous policy proposals of the Logan Act? We appreciate the vigilance and I yield back.
84 being here. We worked on a couple of cases together would you clarify something for me? That goes beyond the scenario you last for a computer from a witness and asking for immunity and my interpretation the agent that has that in his or her hands and is immune from getting on the stand because they gave it to be. Or was there additional och — additional immunity are the tingles the could be on the computer?
The active production community if you give us this computer and the thing we find directly against you in connection with prosecution with classified and permission.
With that goes beyond the act of production and I can I get on the stand to say they simply gave that to me this sounds like more additional immunity and what is done this we cannot hold against you.
I think of it as an active production that is allied characterize that agreement but one that simply says the fact that you give up this object to my be used against you directly. But I take your point.
That is what this community was given with the investigative grand jury and to have the ability to get this information and to take the fifth weather-related is immunity and you have that authority. We will take you before a judge and then you will sit in jail until you answer the questions. And most of the time.
It is a reasonable question. I don’t want to talk about grand jury we’d know we’re never to talk about that publicly but I can’t serve generally. When you talk about a computer from a lawyer. Please let me interrupt you.
Why did you go to the investigative grand jury? Not the target but to justify we have done that thousands of times this was too convoluted.
1/2 to steer clear of grand jury use in general with my experience to do things faster especially interacted with lawyers investigative team really wanted tax and access to the laptop that is a very complicated thing but they could navigate pretty well.
Mrs. Clinton said 41 times I do not remember is that accurate?
I don’t know.
Is a that taken into consideration? Site that nature and quality
The time is expired.
The woman from Washington state.
Day que director Comey for spending all this time with us today. In 2010 to process and implement in 2014 to give the government day process to determine how and when to disposable ability and then to address those older abilities and there was disclosure in April the dade informed apple, they security flaw. With that equity process but may of this year the cyber division warned the private-sector of the device charger that could log the strokes of the wireless keyboards 15 months after the of the liabilities they stated if placed strategically in an office or other location where they may use wireless devices, a malicious cyberafter could have personally identify able information with trade secrets or other sensitive information. But other instances that they are scarce and a and is rare for that process and what is the view quick.
The process seems to be in a structured fashion that could have an optic on this to talk about how do we think about disclosing that vulnerability to the private sector to those that are its stake in terms of national security? In makes sense when we come across that color ability — vulnerability with those particular sum the 15 month delay and to reacted the open forum but that is my overall reaction.
But in terms of understanding clerics will make you have to know the of liability and to be exploited. We bought access we did not know the vulnerability are what was behind it.
Is there a process you might use quite.
Dino there would make a disclosure, but I don’t know of a process.
You are not shirt and every situation to? To make that sounds like a circular and serve. We could have somebody talk to you about it benefits falls of the attention then of course, redo.
Diatribe to understand if there is a vulnerability in ashley dash why would that be in? To academy of there is a set that would fall outside the process or hollowed to me deal with that? Been mecca if you have other feedback and I would appreciate it. Stake to others to have an adult’s conversation. Would you agree there is room to work together that don’t include a mandate the of back door? I would to mandate but we have to figure how to solve the of problem together because eveready cares about coming to talk about it. I can see the. But there less than lunacy effective for us what to do and house to do it is.
Your recognize for five minutes.
A want to start by elegy the support that we do so of those nine straight democrats without cascade for immunity. That is a record. Ken vice suspect they have not asked is they would say they have done nothing wrong. I find that interesting because that is exactly what and dash lace that is just a few days ago the FBI considered line and dishroom said this” this is the chair — that nothing is wrong.
You are shirring the subjects are targets that they had done nothing wrong what are you seeking given seed every the fund said the mutiny was not for the laptop. And to receive immunity for the classified information and the federal records it came from and it could be for both budget did the bureau interview that originated the email that went to Secretary Clinton. But not everyone. And my opinion doesn’t matter. But in my judgment you read them into the statutes and then we had a discussion about intent. So why we do not interview the originator of the bill? But the team decided but one was the civilian in japan and classified mendoza had written things that were classified. Nearly everyone was interviewed but they decided it wasn’t worth the resources.
If the originators of the email. And then I encountered what we did not have. Them with our obligations under the law. Did they announce ahead of time all this crime on this date I will do it that rarely have things so if they would head intended to set up the safe department system if they should have known that his or her job involved handling classified in formation whether or not with the use of multiple devices and that had bed hacked ended she took any remedial steps after for somebody who has been dealing with you prolifically and whether or not those false statements I am rather have a false exculpatory statement than a confession of a rather have somebody like to be proving that it is allied that I neither sent nor received classified information or I turned over but that goes to the issue of intent require a two more questions so for those in the future but what they had to do to warrant your recommendation. If all that was not be enough, shirley you cannot be argued have to have the intent for the prosecution? That is not a violation of the statute still beg you have to prove beyond reasonable doubt of the of lawfulness of your conduct of what you should our should not do then they need to consider what circumstances because it is all about prosecutorial judgment so can you prove that person do criminal intent?
The way to prove that is if they took the steps to conceal or destroy what they have done that is the evidence that you have that they did was wrong.
Is very good evidence I was with delicate with the subjects said about their conduct.
There is a lot. Did assault under the heading of the false exculpatory statement. But thought you started off by giving examples and everyone of us working with the FBI the one that saved the girl and north carolina is the FBI but when you have five community agreements allow witnesses to happen to be lawyers or targets to sit-in on the interview this is not the FBI that I work with so I have been careful not to criticize you is somebody corrupting? No. I disagree. But you have to help us understand but it looks like things were done differently that I don’t recall and with that I yield back.
I hope some day when the political craziness is over this is the FBI you know, and love.
The chair recognizes the gentleman from rhode island.
Please convey to the professionals that the FBI my gratitude for their service to the people of this country with the extraordinary and prompt response of the recent bombings and new jersey and in york and new have extraordinary leadership. Many of us have expressed concern of growing gun violence of following the recent mass shootings where five people lost their lives are the same sentiment and charleston. But as more and boost their lives Congress has been absolutely silent to act. I would like to turn to with your career in public-service so with so much experience dealing with the consequences, share with you think something Congress could do to reduce the confinements. I know drave the confirmation hearing you alluded to your support for universal background checks, bans on illegal trafficking and high-capacity magazines. So what is your perspective to help reduce the incidence of gun violence? Been mccue are right. We have a lot of time.
If the kid is important they don’t believe the policy business supply will respectfully avoid your question honestly we should not be the place finish in the fed showed that to haunt dash actual and should not suggest any particular law spit.
/ laski’s specifically. — I will ask specifically when they purchased the gun with the time . That has elapsed, 15,000 sales two prohibited people were allowed to get a gun. 15,000 time someone legislation requires when that happens local law-enforcement is notified that they can’t prosecute the person commission react — executed search warrant greg so a person who should not have a dad bought one so does that make sense with your law enforcement of quick.
I know that atf is notified.
But they have different priorities to execute a warrant but state and local prohibitions but would it also makes sense?
It might I have to figure through the issues that might arise but something to look at.
Mine next question is there is a recent discussion about implementing stop and frisk at the national of all and that targets and after reaching the all-time high high, 53 percent were black 34 percent for latino 9 percent for white of the 685,000 people that were stopped, 80 percent never received a citation or arrested. Do believe this policy is effective to address crime? What would the implementation of look-alike and how can conference and is did we are investigative but the terry stuff that is based on reasonable suspicion is very important tool in the effectiveness depends on the conversation with a spouse. , they are told that I stopped you because we have a report why stop to do this behavior but the dangerous the the room research marks from with its temps by the Russians to achieve freer agent this a ripple of — important responsibility of the agency. I yield back.
Chairman Goodlatte: The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Utah, Mr. Chaffetz and as I do so, I want to thank him, for making, as Chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee this very nice hearing room available to us while the Judiciary Committee hearing room is under renovation. So, the gentleman is recognized for five minutes, with my thanks.
Mr, Chaffetz: Well, and I appreciate the extra 5 minutes of questioning for doing so, so thank you very much. Director, thank you for your accessibility. You have been very readily available and we do appreciate that. This investigation started because the Inspector General found classified information in a nonsecure setting and the FBI went to a law firm and found this information they seized at least one computer and at least one thumb drive. Did you need an immunity agreement to get those?
Dir Comey: It was not, I don’t there was immune…, in fact I am certain there was no immunity agreement used in connection with that.
Mr, Chaffetz: So, did it really take the FBI a full year to figure out that Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson also had computers with classified information on it?
Dir Comey: No, it took us to that point in the investigation to insist that we try to get them.
Mr, Chaffetz: Were you getting them because they had classified information or because there was some other information you wanted?
Dir Comey: No, we thought those were the tools, as we understood it, that had been used to sort the emails and the investigative team very much wanted to understand, if they could, whether there was an electron hail of how that had been done. Big issue was, what did they delete, what did they keep and what…
Mr, Chaffetz: But why did you need an immunity agreement? Why didn’t they just cooperate and hand them over? A law firm did, didn’t they?
Dir Comey: Oh, yes, That’s a question really I can’t answer that’s between a lawyer and her client and the Justice Department lawyers. For whatever reason her lawyer thought it was in her interest to get an active production immunity agreement with the Department of Justice.
Mr, Chaffetz: The FBI interviewed David Kendall’s partner, but did not interview David Kendall. Why didn’t you interview David Kendall?
Dir Comey: I don’t remember. I don’t remember that decision.
Mr, Chaffetz: Going back to this Reddit post, this was put up on July 24th of 2014, you believe this to be associated with Mr. Combetta, correct?
Dir Comey: Yes, think that’s right.
Mr, Chaffetz: This is the one that Mr. Jordan put up about the need to strip out a VIP’s, Very VIP’s email address in a bunch of archived email. This is a…He is referring to a federal record, isn’t he?
Dir Comey: I don’t know what exactly which records he is referring to.
Mr, Chaffetz: How is this not a conscious effort to alter federal records? I mean, the proximity to the date is just stunning.
Director Comey: Sorry, what’s the question?
Mr, Chaffetz: How is this not a conscious effort to alter a federal record?
Director Comey: Well, depending upon what the record was and exactly what he was trying to do and whether there would be disclosure to the people they were producing it to saying we changed this for privacy purposes. I just don’t know, sitting here.
Mr, Chaffetz: These are documents that were under subpoena. These federal records were under subpoena. They were under a preservation order. Did Mr. Combetta destroy documents?
Dir Comey: I don’t know whether that was true in July of 2014 they were under subpoena.
Mr, Chaffetz: Did he ultimately destroy federal records, Mr. Combetta?
Dir Comey: Oh. I have no reason to believe he destroyed federal records.
Mr, Chaffetz: He used BleachBit, did he not?
Dir Comey: Yeah, the question was what was already produced before he used the BleachBit. He definitely, the reason he wanted immunity was he had done BleachBit business after there was publicity about the demand from congress for the records. That’s a potential…
Mr, Chaffetz: Not just publicity, there was subpoena…
Dir Comey: Right. That’s potential for…
Mr, Chaffetz: …and there was communication from Cheryl Mills that there was a preservation order, correct?
Dir Comey: Yes.
Mr, Chaffetz: And he did indeed use BleachBit on these records.
Dir Comey: Sure. That’s why the guy wouldn’t talk to us without immunity.
Mr, Chaffetz: And so when you got immunity, what did you learn?
Dir Comey: We learned no one had directed him to do that. That he had done it –
Mr, Chaffetz: You really think he just did this by himself?
Dir Comey: I think his account, again, it’s his account, I never affirmatively believe anybody except my wife. But the question is, do I have evidence to disbelieve him? And I don’t. His account is credible. That he was told to do it in 2014. Screwed up and didn’t do it. Panicked when he realized he hadn’t and raced back in and did it after congress asked for the records and “the New York Times” wrote about them. That was his “Oh shit” moment. That was credible, again I don’t believe people but we did not have evidence to disbelieve that and establish that someone told him to do that. No email, no phone call, nothing. The hope was if he had been told to do that that would be a great piece of evidence. If we give him immunity maybe he’ll tell us so and so told me to, so and so asked me to, and then we are working up the chain.
Mr, Chaffetz: But he did indeed destroy federal records and he was told at some point to do this, correct? Who told him to do that initially, when he was supposed to do it in December and he didn’t do it. Who told him to do that?
Dir Comey: One of Secretary Clinton’s staff members I can’t remember sitting here. We know that. One of her lawyers, might have been Cheryl Mills. Someone on the team said we don’t need those emails anymore, get rid of the archive file.
Mr, Chaffetz: This is what’s unbelievable about this because there is classified information. There were federal records that were indeed destroyed. And that’s — that’s just the fact pattern. Let’s go back to this — here’s the other thing that I draw to your attention that is new. September 15th of this year I issued a subpoena from the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. on these Reddit posts, four days later they were destroyed or taken down. They were deleted. I would hope the F.B.I. would take that into consideration. Again, we’re trying under a properly issued subpoena to get to this information. Let’s go to Heather Mills real quick. How does the… in the 2016 interview with Cheryl Mills, she says, quote, Mills did not learn — in the interview report, the interview summary from the FBI, Mills did not learn Clinton was using a private email server until after Clinton’s tenure. Back also you have this interview with Mr. Pagliano who said he approached, quote, Pagliano then approached Cheryl Mills in her office and relayed a State Department employee’s concerns regarding federal records retention and the use of a private server. Pagliano remembers Mills replying that former secretarys of state had done similar things to include Colin Powell. It goes then on to a page 10, and this is what I don’t understand. The F.B.I. writes, Clinton’s immediate aides do include mills, Abedin, Sullivan, and a redacted name told the F.B.I they were unaware of the existence of a private server until after Clinton’s tenure at State or when it became public knowledge. But if you look back at the email from Heather Mills, if you go back to 2010, this is to Justin Cooper, OK? Mills to Cooper. Who does not — he works for the Clintons, he doesn’t work for the State Department. F.Y.I., HRC email coming back. Is server OK? Cooper writes back, You are funny. We’re on the same server. She knew there was a server. When there was a problem with Hillary Rodham Clinton’s emails, what did they do? She called the person who has no background in this, who is not a State Department employee, no security clearance. And then tells the F.B.I., well, I never knew about that. But there’s direct evidence that contradicts this. How do you come to that conclusion and write that in the Summary Statement that she had no knowledge of this?
Dir Comey: That’s a question?
Chairman Goodlatte: The time of the gentleman has expired but the Director will answer the question.
Dir Comey: I don’t remember exactly sitting here. All, having done many investigations myself there is always conflicting recollections of facts. some of which are central, some of which are peripheral. I don’t remember sitting here about that one.
Four days later they were taken or deleted per vaughan the hoping viet FBI would take into consideration.
And the judas exceed but those concerns regarding the federal records in use of a private sector but bills was replied the former secretary of state and and the immediate all of the assistance of a private server or when it became public knowledge. Pdf look at the ecl event 2010 with justin cooper. He works for Clinton, not the State Department. Coming back is the server and okay.
We hear of the same server for her but have you come to that conclusion that she has coolidge could better remember about that one.
The chair refuse in f but the of homicides per up 10% did that is startling civic any indication the rate.
But the minnesota stabbing investigation is that confirmed but it is a stack of new October but then to look at those potential victims. I know I need to take responsibility for. Because they will claim response will for any sever jury through the eighth man and for them to huge jury that’s true and. But this sounds about right we have very few fighters from the United States even over the last two years there have been a number of somalis American heritage young men who have gone to fight. I suspect that is one area we have the largest concentration susceptible everybody is dispersed that is the areas loss of committee that seems to be susceptible but in small measure, eight people I think.
What is the FBI doing that may make this problem more significant? Have today, that that?
With lots of partners to make sure those.
That Paul Combetta and I try to figure and a wide have an but he said he has no factual knowledge from the alcohol they did not provide any information.
But I am not sure.
I saw one that said he pled the fifth obviously he was given immunity of the time attorney-client privilege so enshrined to figure out what happens? He had immunity it was much more fresh in his mind in previous conversations would have banned the use said he was credible.
The house spent — sends the subpoena but then they’re all bleach low and behold.
And then conducted them to do that we develop no evidence to contradict. We’re not in the business of believing bell what establishes disbelief? We don’t have any contrary evidence. The accounts are not contradicted by the hard fact civic even if it is a situation with the finger under.
So was a more reasonable to think that I just thought don’t need any direction at all? That is difficult but then you send a memo to your employees that the FBI basically defending the way that you handled this investigation. Why did you send that? The mickey was about transparency whether we were trying to hide stuff I wanted to equip the workforce with transparency how we we’re doing questions from Congress to answer from their family and friends.
You mention former agents and the controversy with former agents quick.
Not within the FBI. I should have bass Mr. Gilbert. If they are concerned or confused please contact me we will get you the transparency that you need.
Where I was in the military potential to have top-secret information. I yield back. Direct but as you stated that no prosecutor civic that is a personal of new but I accept his good faith.
But with those relating to classified information.
And I will need your help to understand how labatt is possible shaking heads and wonder if there is a real possibility that Hillary Clinton navy what about those says joe if this behavior is the. But they’re really seeing a in they could have been received but I don’t care about the decision but since season but that goes to these she benefits due respect the FBI and justice among but those interviews never take place because there is ever any possibility that Hillary Clinton may have said on July 22nd to possibly resulted in criminal charges to possibly result in a trial against or relating to the classified information then use your words directly there is no reasonable prosecutor that would allow too many witnesses.
Did your long career you never have had that circumstance. Is that correct question mark mecca I never have either been never met a prosecutor that hasn’t. To become the only way but their colleagues of ours but contact me her really. Message value again that after that I did know would happen in that interview. To kick out of illinois and someone is. But this subject would give hendon never have been enough you have defended those who are involved but if a number have been then why? What we have never seen make we are ripest since. In favor terry its.
But the subject was held of recounting. Of course, with the if rehab bet you could think of them differently.
And ben is important price limit it happens all the time it is very important sometimes you prosecute other times you try to sign them up.
But if there life after date forgiven nbd david after the agreement the necks of that is the point you should not have immunity.
Media misunderstood, he admitted he deleted the email.
That according to the documents these interviews to place February march and may this year but.
And I am confused I don’t think that’s right.
Runtime is expired but at this point any laws were broken by Hillary Clinton or her lawyers? Been right-to-life think I don’t think there is establish — as evidence to establish that.
May be not the way she handled classified information but obstructed — obstruction of justice? Office pdf so this comes from the FBI zero report that they did not have the server used for her work email’s but the laptop that thumb drive was thought to be lost in two of the devices did not have the same card 13 mobile devices were lost for district but those a little stuffed by the bank gauzy committee. Have been selected to be wiped clean master they were subpoenaed. And also permanently deleted so they did not review that will flee that is accurate anyone of those in the long list is obstruction of justice and then to ignore them allows just not reasonable prosecutors but this was made a long time ago. With that I yield back similitude nor that which we dell have we make a evaluations using the tools that we have these things that you don’t have led chair recognizes the gentleman.
Thank you for being here director Comey. I know you would fetch rather not be in the hot seat to but here is rather I am coming from you have announced a lot of questions about the Clinton investigation and what I hear with the big picture is just doesn’t simply pass for white colleague from texas with a long list of things would you reopened investigation or what would it take? May have had five people with the median because nothing. And/or interpretation testimony before Congress section 793 requires a standard of gross negligence and that is a long list of things people scratch their heads to save this would happen to me, I would be in the world of hurt and probably in jail. Howdy respond to people who say this is not how the average American would be treated? Just Hillary Clinton.
I have heard that a lot responses when people tell you that they are treated differently then demand from a trustworthy source the details because I believe all — shows a very aggressive prosecutor I went through 40 years of cases and I am telling you under oath to prosecute on these facts would be a double standard million would be in trouble is the unclassified system it would be in big trouble and to be highly confident that is what they tended to lump together and this demonstrates.
Candling classified and I will go back to what you say
But I demanded to know the facts the case is over plywood happy to go through this very different answers.
You tell your FBI agent what we are investigating material from the FBI they could potentially be fired Hillary Clinton did not get any trouble with the State Department has tried to explain to the American people spanish is not a government employees of the normal range is of the did something similar does not apply that is some other reason for their confusion to love these together with their frustration bedded is what it is I can just tell people to demand the facts kahane.
As a hypothetical if somebody here in Congress would send some pacified of rhaetian and it comes to my cellphone I think that probably should not be there but it don’t do anything. To me that is grossly negligent and that is a violation events exactly when Hillary Clinton did. At what point do you get to intent? Pdf does on the and secure server you knew was there and you did not do anything about it to have gross negligence . I would prosecute people for that span game, you wouldn’t bet we will agree to disagree. [laughter]
If you work for us don’t do that.
Again, don’t get frustrated rudy continue to ask questions we do not want to badger you but the American people are upset and they don’t think it was handled appropriately so that is the basis and leader of my questioning.
And a stand there is a lot of questions that people have we try so hard to be transparent the because I understand the question is important I hope people separate the two things the questions about facts and judgment and integrity you can call us wrong but she cannot call was a weasel that is not fair the hope we have gotten to of place rating doesn’t have to be torn down on the integrity basis just to disagree there is not a fair basis that in any way that was not honest that is when I get worked up sari.
I am not a time:– out of time.
Director Comey just as a follow-up specifically with regard to the interview of Secretary Clinton upholding in my hand from the deputy attorney general the memorandum was issued on the policy concerning electronic recording statements are you familiar with the presumption does not exist. San given not magnitude today and with innovation this is specifically important to this discussion.
Get also includes did to the investigative matter. Civic the FBI does not but yes they would encourage us to talk about that.
So then they do not conduct the interview quick.
We do not record vaughan custodial interviews maybe they will change that policy but not for one k.
That is the problem the policy that was issued so if you don’t high assume it is against the Department of Justice.
Those who have them locked up is not inconsistent with not custodial voluntary interviews. Or if that is within your discretion. I am sure that you could. The FBI practices and with regard to refugees and with the syrian refugees we talk about the process but is simply we don’t have the death information to make sure they’re not a threat to our country. And with more capabilities. But I say this because in my district in michigan taking the fourth most refugees and one-third of the most of iraq in the second post from syria. Michigan has a sore denny nervous number of refugees. You can’t understand our concern that we don’t have the deficit — and permission necessary to identify if they are a threat. Can you assuage my concern that we have a system in place but the challenge remains with respect to those in syria that cannot have anything in holdings because of the counteracts they’re there for a long period of time we have biometrics to have the picture of someone coming from syria and what we want folks to be aware of.
Has anything changed dzhokhar tsarnaev the concerns of increased terrorist activity including New York or new jersey? Can you be confident that they don’t plant future attacks on the country? . .
Chairman Goodlatte: Director Comey, during questioning earlier there was a dispute that arose over the contents of one or more of the immunity letters that were issued, particularly with regard to the issue of whether or not it contained immunity for destroying documents, emails. The individual who was questioning you about that was former Chairman Issa of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee and I want him to be able to clarify because we have contacted the Department of Justice and asked them to read the immunity letters to us. So, the gentleman is recognized briefly.
Daryl Issa: Thank you, Mr. Chairman and I will try to be very brief. Under the immunity agreement with one or more individuals, but we will use Cheryl Mills as clearly one of the individuals, she negotiated a very, very good deal from what we can discover. She did not just receive immunity related to the production of the drive, the computer and the contents, but in fact received immunity under 18 USC 793e and f, 18 USC 1924 and the so-called David Petraeus portion, 18 USC 2071. And I will focus on 2071. Her immunity is against any and all taking destruction or even obstruction, the way we read it, of documents classified or unclassified. Now, the only question I have for you is, and I know that you are going to put them to Justice and we may have to ask them separately, for the purposes of what you needed as an investigator, because you were the person that wanted access to the computer. Is that deal make any sense to in return for things which she could have objected to as an attorney and held back, but which had no known proffer of leading to some criminal indictment of somebody else, she received complete immunity as we read it, from obstruction or destruction of documents, classified and unclassified, and that is based on a re-review of the immunity agreement?
Director Comey: I think this is a, and you are right, this is a question best addressed to Justice, but I think you are misunderstanding it. As I understand it, this was a promise in writing from the Department of Justice, if you give us the laptops, we will not use anything on the laptops directly against you in a prosecution for that list of offenses. It’s not immunity for those offenses if there is some other evidence. Now that said, I am not exactly sure why her lawyer asked for it because by that point in the investigation we didn’t have a case on her to begin with.
Darrel Issa: Well I understand that, but based on the Reddit discovery and others, the “they” asked me to do it and you said so yourself it was probably Cheryl Mills, the “they.” You have an immune witness who has to tell you who “they” were if the “they” were told me to delete, and that is Cheryl Mills, then, in fact, you have evidence from an immune witness of a crime perpetrated by Cheryl Mills, the ordering of the destruction of any document, classified or unclassified, which clearly she seems to have done.
Director Comey: But she wouldn’t be protected from that. If we developed evidence that she had obstructed justice in some fashion, all she is protected from is we can’t use as evidence something that is on the laptop she gave us, we can still prosecute her.
Daryl Issa: So the information put into the record today, which included these Reddit discoveries, show that there is a “they” who asked to have the destruction of information under 18 USC 2071. If she doesn’t have immunity for that order she could and by definition should be charged, because ordering somebody else to destroy something as an attorney well after there were subpoenas in place that were very specific, that’s clearly a willful act, isn’t it?
Rep Sheila Jackson Lee (D- Texas): Mr. Chairman, would you yield??
Daryl Issa: Of course.
Sheila Jackson Lee: Your line of questioning. First let me show my cards. I believe that Cheryl Mills has an impeccable character, as my line of questioning has suggested that Director Comey and his staff have impeccable character. But my good friend, there is immunity given and I don’t think this applies to Ms. Mills, and I looked at the sections that you are speaking of if you take local, criminal and state actions given to the worst of characters for a variety of reasons that was not the reason given to Ms. Mills. I am sure that it is was a lawyer that was trying to be the most effective counsel to Ms. Mills as possible.
Daryl Issa: Well, reclaiming my time, the Gentlelady’s point may be true. I am only speaking to the Director based on–Things were done that should not have been done. We now have evidence in front of this committee, in the record, of people destroying records of activities as late as a few days ago. So, the fact that there is still should be an open question, first of all is–Could she be prosecuted? And if in fact the “they” have told me to destroy this, under the exact same statute that included David Petraeus, who was no longer on active duty, 18 USC 2071, there is a least a case to be made.
Now, the problem we have is the lawyer negotiated a set of terms which hopefully doesn’t mean that she gets a free pass even if she willfully ordered the destruction of documents which it does appear she did. And look, my job is not to be judge, jury, or hangman. My job is to look at what has been presented to us, ask the highest law enforcement officer in the land to in fact look into it, because it does appear as though it is there.
Sheila Jackson Lee: A brief yield, my good friend.
Daryl Issa: Of course.
Sheila Jackson Lee: Certainly we have an oversight responsibility, to the Director. I think that he has been very forthright. But none of the actions of destruction can be attributed to, I don’t think that we have anything in evidence that suggests that Ms. Mills contributed to the dictating or directing the destruction, but we can’t speculate here.
Daryl Issa: The gentlelady may not have been here at the time, but the Director, himself, when asked who would the “they” would have been when the order to destroy, at least said it probably was or likely could have been Cheryl Mills. We’re not saying it is, what we are saying is you have an immune witness.
Chairman Goodlatte: The gentleman will suspend.
Daryl Issa: Of course.
Chairman Goodlatte: The purpose of this was to set the record straight as to what the content of the document was. That has been accomplished and debate will continue on outside of this hearing room.
Darrel Issa: And I would only ask that the Director be able to review those documents and follow up with the committee would be very helpful to all of us. I thank the chairman.
Sheila Jackson Lee: State that we cannot speculate.
Chairman Goodlatte: The Director has answered in the affirmative, that he will do that.
Director Comey: Yes. We’ll follow up.
Chairman Goodlatte: First of all I want to thank Director Comey, we didn’t make 4 hours and 40 minutes but we did make almost make 4 hours and I know you have been generous with your time. However, I will also say that I think that a lot of the questions here indicate a great deal of concern about the manner in which this investigation was conducted, how the conclusions were drawn, and the close proximity to that and the meeting of the Attorney General with former president Clinton on a tarmac at the same time she then said well I’m going to recuse myself and then shortly after that you took over and announced your conclusions in this case which are hotly disputed as you can tell.
The committee, and the Oversight and Reform Committee have referred to the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of..for the District of Columbia, a referral based upon her testimony before the Select Committee on Benghazi suggesting that your statement at your press conference and your testimony before the Oversight and Reform Committee very clearly contradicted a number of statements she made under oath before that committee. And I want to stress to you, how important I think that is that we made that referral for the purpose of making sure that no one is above the law. And, in many cases regarding investigations it is not just the underlying actions that are important but they are the efforts of people to cover those up through perjury, through obstruction of justice, through destruction of documents. And so I would ask, that this matter be taken very, very seriously as you pursue whatever actions the department chooses to take, making sure that no one is above the law.
Director Comey: Yes thank you, sir.
Chairman Goodlatte: With that, concludes today’s hearing and I thank our distinguished witnesses for attending and without objection all members will have 5 legislative days to submit additional written questions for the witness or additional materials for the record. The hearing is adjourned.