FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies before Senate

Channel: Fox Business
Published: 05/07/2019 03:14 PM

FBI Director Christopher Wray will testify before the Senate Appropriations Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Subcommittee on the FBI's 2020 budget request. FOX Business Network (FBN) is a financial news channel delivering real-time information across all platforms that impact bot...

Good morning, everyone, our subcommittee hearing on commerce, justice, science and related agencies will come to order. We welcome the director of the fbi christopher a ray. Thank you for your presence here and director senator shaheen, and i have decided we will forego our opening statements in order to enhance the chances that we can get our questions and questions of all of our members answered ...
and we also have a closed session that follows This public hearing director you and i just had a conversation with senator shaheen about blue mass. It is the reason for your need to depart, and i would take this moment on behalf of the united states senate. My colleagues here today toexpress our condolences our respect and gratitude for those who serve our country in all forms of law enforcement, and we appreciate your service as well so with, unless under shaheen wants to say anything, we will go directly to your opening statement and please Proceed. Thank you mr. chairman, and ranking member shaheen and members of the subcommittee, i'm honored to be here today, representing the men and women of the fbi. Our people, nearly 37,000 of them, are the heart of the bureau and every day i see them tackling their jobs, with perseverance, with professionalism and with integrity, and i've now had the opportunity to visit all 56 of our fbi field offices over the past yearand. A half and not just meeting with our folks but also meeting with state and local law enforcement partners for every state represented on this subcommittee and people in your communities and to hear from them about the issues that matter most to them. And i'm grateful for their support and their insights as we work together to keep 325 million americans safe and to help make our community stronger. I want to thank this subcommittee for the funding you've provided in the past. Without your support, we wouldn't be able to do all the important work we do.

As this subcommittee knows, we face unprecedented threats from homegrown violent extremists to domestic terrorists, foreign terrorist organizations, hostile foreignintelligence services, cyber criminals, violent gangs, white-collar criminals, child predators and the list just goes on and on all of these threats are ever-changing. We'Ve got to be even more agile and predictive. We'Ve also got to help our law enforcement partners in your districts across the country and around the world, and we can't do any of that without your support. There are lots of areas where we need help, but there are four areas in particularly where i'm particularly interested in working with this subcommittee to ensure that we have sufficient resources; first, cyber and analytics second transnational, organized crime, third counterintelligence and fourth technology investments. Given the extensive threats we face, the expectations for the fbi havenever been higher. The men and women of the fbi, in my experience, continue to meet and exceed those expectations every day. So thank you for this opportunity to discuss their work. I look forward to your questions. Thank you very much. Let me begin with follow up on the hearing we had last week with attorney general barr a few weeks ago in that budget hearing he indicated that he believes spying on the trump campaign did occur in the 2016 election, and the question was whether that spying was Legal, the attorney general stated he intended to look into the legality of these actions and i believe, that's a value. Have you initiated any internal reviews, ofthe fbi's action during the 2016 election? Well, mr. chairman they're a couple things going on.

First, there is, of course, the ongoing inspector general's investigation, that's being conducted by the independent office of inspector general and our folks are assisting them with their effort. And then, second, as you alluded to the now that the special counsel investigation is completed and having only recently returned to the department, the attorney general is seeking to understand better the circumstances at the department and the fbi relating to how this investigation started and we're working To help him get that understanding, i think that's part of his job and part of mine. The molar report, as you indicated, has been releasedcould. You elaborate on it and it did find that the russians did interfere with the 2016 election. Could you please elaborate on the fbi's role in election security and actions taken by the bureau during the 2016 election to mitigate foreign interference? Well, as to the 2016 election, i think i'll. Let the special counsels report speak for itself. You know it's. 450 pages long represents a lot of hard work by a large team of professionals over almost two years. But one of the things that i said in motion almost immediately after starting in this role, was to create a foreign influence task force, which is a measure not just of how seriously i take and wetake the foreign malign influence threat, but also, i think, a recognition Of the need for better coordination, this is a multidisciplinary problem requiring a multidisciplinary solution, so the foreign influence task force brings together our cyber resources, our counterintelligence resources, our criminal resources and even our counterterrorism resources, because there's a little bit of a domestic terrorism wrinkle to some Of this and acts as sort of the hub with the spokes, going out to our field offices and coordinating with department, homeland security, odni nsa and in particular, working much more closely with state and local election officials, along with department, homeland security and the tech sector. In silicon valley, because on the foreign influence threat in particulari, think it's very important for americans to understand that this is a threat that is not just a government threat. We need to have the partnership with the social media companies in particular, and we've had really significant progress in that regard going into the midterms, and there were a lot of successes in the 2018 midterms through that kind of team effort is the election interference broader than Just when we talk about foreign interference in our elections, is it broader than just russia? Well, there's different kinds of maligned foreign influence, certainly other countries, other adversaries are engaged in different kinds of maligned foreign influence. The specific form of sowing divisive, nough sand discord through the bullhornthat social media, provides you know the trolls, bots, etc.

That was something that was really fairly unique to the russians, but certainly we know that other countries have been eyeing those efforts and entertaining whether or not to take a page out of that book director. When you appeared before this subcommittee last year, i asked you about issues related to the nasr investigation, dr. nasir and the olympics. You indicated an answer was difficult to give because of an oig investigation. Since that time, the fbi has conducted an internal investigation that led to that review by the inspector general, and we await that conclusion. I guess at this point unless you're willing to share more information. Thanyou were a year ago in this regard, which i would welcome. Hearing from you beyond that, i would ask you to assure me that the fbi will prioritize and take the oig s results in recommendations seriously. Well, certainly, mr. chairman, you know. First, i should say that our heart breaks and aches for the victims of that particular matter. As you said, there's an inspector general independent inspector general investigation going on into the handling of that matter, and i expect to take very seriously the recommend nations that we get out of the office of inspector general, but that's very much still an ongoing review.

Thank you, sir senator shaheen. Thank you mr. chairman, and thank youvery much director ray for being here this morning. I'D like to follow up on senator moran's question about the hearing we had with attorney general bar, because i was very concerned by his use of the word spine, which i think is a very loaded word. It conjures of criminal connotation and i want to ask you and i'd appreciate a yes or no answer, if possible, when fbi agents conduct investigations against alleged mobsters suspected terrorists other criminals, do you believe that they're engaging in spine when they're following fbi, investigative policies and procedures? Well, that's not the term, i would use thank you so so i would, i would say, that's a no to that question welli mean look, there are lots of people have different, colloquial phrases. I believe that the fbi is engaged in investigative activity and part of investigative activity includes surveillance, activity of different shapes and sizes, and to me the key question is making sure that it's done by the book consistent with our lawful authorities. That'S the key question. Different people use different colloquial phrases and, as part of the investigative process, do fbi agents secure warrants for relevant evidence. I'M sorry could you repeat the question? Yes, as part of an investigative process like the investigative process into the 2016 presidential campaign, do fbi agents secure warrants for relevant evidence. Certainly securing warrants is a very important step. Thatwe take every day in the fbi and lots and lots of investigations. So i would take that, as yes did, fbi agents get warrants for information as part of their counter-surveillance investigation into russian interference in the 2016 election.

Well, i want to be a little bit careful about what i can discuss here, but i think it's been publicly disclosed. There were a number of relevant warrants. They were secured in the course of that investigation. Thank you, and do you believe director rea that the fbi and its agents spied into the 2016 presidential campaign operation? Well again, i want to be careful about how i answer that question here, because there is an ongoing inspector generalinvestigation. I have my own thoughts based on limited information, i've seen so far, but i don't think it would be ripe or appropriate for me to share those at this stage, because i really do think it's important for everybody to respect the independent inspector general's investigation, which i Think this question start his line of questioning starts to implicate and i think it's very important for everybody to be able to have full confidence in his review and at this time, do you have any evidence than any illegal surveillance into the campaign's or individuals associated with The campaign's by the fbi occurred, i don't think i personally have any evidence of that sort. Thank you. Now. Againthe attorney general stated that he was assembling a team to look into the situation of illegal surveillance into the trump presidential campaign and stated that he expected to work closely with you on this. Has the attorney general asked you to look into or review the actions undertaken by the fbi regarding the counterintelligence investigation? Well, as i said, he's trying to get a better understanding of the circumstances at the department and the fbi surrounding the initiation of this particular investigation. He and i have been in fairly close contact about it and we're trying to work together to help him get the understanding that he needs on that subject. I think that's appropriate, as you pointed outthe evidence, and the muller report is very clear - that the russians interfered in our 2016 election and there have been a variety of news reports suggesting that they intend to do that again and we had testimony and the armed services Committee about the their interest in interfering in the twenty twenty election. Can you talk about what the fbi is doing to coordinate with other branches within government, a response to ensure that that does not happen in the 2020 election? Well, i appreciate the question.

I agree with you that this is a particularly important issue. I think one of the things people out there would benefit from understanding is that this is not just an electioncycle threat that the maligned foreign influence threat, which is different from some effort to interfere with election infrastructure, is something that continues pretty much 365 days a year And we've seen it continues since 2016 and we expect it to continue going into 2020. The foreign influence task force that i set up at the fbi works very closely with a similar kind of vehicle at the department of homeland security and similar structures at the office of the director of national intelligence and at nsa. So those four agencies in particular are kind of the key ones kind of at the at the center of this. But then we work closely with, as i said, to the chairmanwith silicon valley, on the foreign influence side and then dhs in particular, works with state local election officials on some of the election infrastructure piece. So, there's a lot of activity, better coordination, in my view than what i found when i first walked in the door, but we make no mistake. The threat just keeps escalating and we're gon na have to keep upping our game to stay ahead of it. Thank you. I'M out of time, but can you just tell me who is in charge of that effort? So is there one person who's been designated to coordinate all of those efforts? Well, i think each of us has our piece of it. We coordinate closely togethermuch, as we do on say, counterterrorism or any number of other national security threats. So does that mean that there's currently not one person who has been designated as the leader of that effort? Well, the fbi has the lead on foreign influence. The department of homeland security takes the lead on election for structure, hardening and so forth.

The office of the director of national intelligence takes the lead in terms of information and out information, intelligence analysis but, like i said in my experience, not unlike we do with any number of other threats facing this country. We all work together and each of us has our piece of the pie, which i think is the wayit should be. Thank you senator collins. Thank you. Mr. chairman, director ray. I want to follow up on the point that was just made by my two colleagues. Here are the facts. As i see them, we know that the russians were relentless in their efforts to influence the 2016 campaign and to further divide and polarize our society. We know that this effort did not end with the 2016 campaign. It both preceded it and continues to this very day. Third, we know that it's not just the russians, but other foreign states and other malicious actors are targeting our democratic society.

There are 17 intelligence agencies, and each of them seems to have a piece of thisyou talked about that just now. It concerns me that there is not one agency that is in charge of the overall strategy should that be the fbi. Well, senator collins! First, let me say i agree with your framing of the predicament that we face in terms of the the threat itself in terms of coordination. I think the fbi has a lead role to play in aspects of that. I think the nsc provides a useful construct for us to coordinate. I have not found a significant impediment to our coordination with former homeland security nsa in particular and odni, and i have found that to be fairly similar to, as i say, the way we deal withcounter terror, a number of other national security threats. So at the moment that hasn't struck me as one of the biggest barriers we face. I think the bigger issues for us are making sure that we continue to lean in and are working with, silicon valley, the tech sector on the foreign influence side and with the state local election officials who, after all, really control the election infrastructure side. I think that part of it is where we need to keep upping our game as we as we anticipate 2020, the threat being even more challenging than it has been. So let me ask you what key lessons has the fbi learned today that we should be implementingright now? Well, certainly i'll speak to the foreign influence piece. In particular, i think that the there is enormous value to be had in our cooperation with the tech sector and social media, in particular on the foreign influence threat. The reality is foreign influence, malign foreign influence.

As you, i think quite rightly, summarized is not unique to this particular moment in time, nor unique to this particular foreign adversary. But what is different right now is the incredible amplification that our adversaries get through social media, and so one of the things that changed dramatically from 16 to 18 was our coordination with social media and in terms of blunting and mitigating that effect and and whatwe saw In 2018, which i think we're going to need to do even more of in 2020 in terms of lessons is that when we supply leads and information to the social media, companies there's all kinds of ways we can, they can leverage their own tools and kick some Of these accounts off of their platforms very very quickly in a way that would be hard for any agency of government to do, and there were a lot of success stories in that regard in 2018. In return, one of the things we learned was that they were then able to provide us lead information about accounts that we might not have known about techniques we might nothave seen, and so you start creating this sort of virtuous cycle, and i think now, having figured That out with the midterms, we need to see even more of that for the 2020. That cooperation is essential with the private sector less. Let me turn to a different issue very quickly. Last week in maine, the fbi and maine law enforcement charged 25 individuals with drug trafficking crimes, and particularly alarming to me, is the quantity of fentanyl that was discovered. One man was found to have more than 265 grams of fentanyl a fraction of that amount. Just 3 milligrams is sufficient to kill someone. How is the fbi targeting resources specifically toward fentanyl crimes, so senator ithink you've put your finger on what i think we would all agree. Is a deadly epidemic plaguing communities all over the country the it requires. Unfortunately, it has grown to a point where it's a multidisciplinary problem requiring multidisciplinary approach, the fbi's role in that is trying to really focus on. Where do we uniquely add value, and so there's a number of things we're doing on that? First, we have a prescription drug initiative, that's geared towards essentially medical providers, medical professionals, pharmacists pill, mills, doctors, etc, who are over prescribing, which is a big part of the the spinning up of this problem, and we tack tap into our healthcare fraud, expertise and resources.

There. Second, wehave a we have safe streets task force's all over the country which focus on dismantling the gangs that distribute opioids and fentanyl related substances all over the country. Third, we have something called j code which features prominently in our budget request. I might mention which is focused on the darknet, because a lot of the opioid trafficking happens on the darknet more and more so, and we've had a number of successful operations. We just had a couple in the last few months that really are aimed at being disrupting and dismantling both the enterprise's that are dependent on the darknet to traffic in opioids and fentanyl, but also to break down their supply chains. And then forthwe have, through our transnational organized crime program, we focus on the transnational criminal organizations, which are the the principal source of the supply coming into the u. s. We also have things like we did. A documentary with dea called chasing the dragon, which we've pushed out to schools all over the country to try to raise awareness that way, so there's a lot of different things. We'Re trying to do but make no mistake. This is a problem that is mushroomed to a degree where it's going to really require all hands on deck.

Thank you. I recognize the vice chairman of the full committee, senator leahy. Thank you very much. Miss chairman and director ray good to seeyou. Again, it's interesting listening to the evolution of the fbi. I remember as young prosecutor, i was on the executive board of the national da's association having a meet meeting with j edgar hoover. He told us there's no such thing as organized crime. Our biggest problems were hippies and communists, and the new york times was close to being a communist paper and he was preparing to investigate it. As such, it was it was. It was an interesting. It was an interesting conversation for many reasons he passed away shortly. Thereafter.

Now one of my concerns, following last week's hearing with the attorney general, is a a reluctance of the part of the administration saying at thetop to acknowledge what russia did was wrong. An american campaign knowingly benefiting from or encouraging a foreign adversaries attack. Our elections is also wrong. Quite wrong. I think we'd all agree. 2020 is around the corner friday. The president long conversation with russian president putin. He didn't even bring up future election interference. He first, the last investigation is treasonous claims. The fbi was leading a coup. I suspect that you probably have a different view of this. I think we, those are going to enforce our laws, have to be crystal clear about the ongoing threat.

So i'm going to ask you this: if a foreign government offers assistance to a political campaign, opposition research, stolen information, socialmedia campaign or otherwise, what would you as director the fbi, if you discovered it as that campaign to do well, senator, as i think i've said, even Back to my confirmation hearing before the senate judiciary, that's why i asked when senator graham asked me a similar question. Then you know, i think my view is that if any public, official or member of any campaign is contacted by any nation state or anybody acting on behalf of a nation state about influencing or interfering with our elections and that's something that the fbi would want to Know about if they did not make it such things available to the fbi and you found out about it later. Wouldthat trouble. You well, as i said, we'd like to make sure people tell us information promptly, so that we can take appropriate steps to protect the american people. The president says he would like to use the justice department as a political weapon targeting his opponent. The attorney general's have been asked about this: is the white house ever communicated to you directly or indirectly any desire interest in having the fbi initiate an investigation of anyone, not that i can think of certainly there's all kinds of public commentary, but you know my view: Is we base our investigations on the facts, the evidence and proper predication and that's been my practice since the day i walked inthe door. The question only because i like to think it's a different fbi than the first time i sat down an fbi director and with jagger hoovered, heard his discussions of obviously being interested in political investigations. This is your position. You would not be one of the fbi initiate a an investigation is done for political purpose, not for a criminal purpose. My strong view and my commitment is to making sure that the fbi, under my leadership, does things by the book and that includes making sure that we base our investigations on proper predication, the facts, the evidence and adherence to the rule of law and nothing else. The hate crime statistics act requires hate, crimesbe reported the fbi, but we find that in 2017, 16,000 law enforcement agencies in the country 14,000 did not report hate crimes to you. Well, the crime victimization survey estimates born a quarter of a million hate crimes.

The urate was only reported seven thousand 175, based on what was reported. You are you concerned that you're not being that these hate crimes are not being reported to you and if you are concerned about it, how do we improve them? So it's a good question. I do think that historically, hate crimes have gone underreported. I think that's probably still true to a certain extent. I do think it's getting better, so some of the uptick in numbersreported may reflect closing the gap between what's happening and, what's being reported, we have tried to do a number of things to the second part of your question, to try to raise awareness out with state Local law enforcement with community groups and so forth to try to increase the likelihood that hate crimes will be reported. I'M a big believer in the idea that everybody benefits law enforcement, the community, etc. When discussions about these things are based on the facts and the real data, as opposed to relying instead on what would fill the gap, otherwise, which is just media commentary, which i have found to be much less reliable. Thank you today on a personal, mattermr. , chairman hi. I have to applaud your the video you put out talking about the shutdown when you talk to the men and women. The fbi said the shutdown mind-boggling, short-sighted, unfair, when, when senator shelby - and i, with our two counterparts from the house, met my office to broker a deal that was taught to shut down, you had both republicans and democrats applauding what you said to the fbi's. Thank you chairman.

Thank you. In order for us to have plenty of time for the executive session, i'm going now that senator leahy and senator shaheen have completed their question. I'M gon na try to hold everybody to their five minutes better than i have so far. Todate senator bozeman. Thank you mr. chairman, and thank you director for being here very very much. As you know, we in arkansas, as well as every other state in the union, is struggling with. Our communities are struggling with violent crime and the substance abuse epidemic that we have going on in your testimony. You mentioned state local, tribal law enforcement parts as crucial to the fbi to better under stand a community in their needs. Can you elaborate elaborate on the partnerships and task forces that are created within these communities? How does the bureau work across jurisdictions and communities to do this very, very important work in fighting against these things? Well, senator. I think you haverightly identified a really significant problem facing this country. I'Ve had the opportunity to visit the little rock field office and meet with state local law enforcement there to talk about this very issue and there's some very good work, even within a whole fbi of good work.

Some particularly good work being done on the violent crime problem in the little rock area. I think the keys to the violent crime problem from from my perspective are number one partnership and number two intelligence by that: meaning intelligence, driving prioritization. So one of the things we have found is that in almost every community around the country - and it's true in little rock - but it's true in every communityin - this nation - is that there's almost always some tail or tails that are wagging the dog, meaning some particular gang. That'S disproportionately accounting for the homicide rate or some particular neighborhood or some particular corridor on a highway. I mean it's varies from community to community, but what it doesn't vary is that there's always that disproportionate effect and so using good intelligence to prioritize and be disciplined about where we're gon na maximize our impact and then taking the partnership with state and local law enforcement. To as i like to say, not just put two plus two to get four but get two plus two to make five or six or seven by finding synergies and that's what'shappening in the little rock area. That'S what's happening. A number of the other communities represented up here on the subcommittee and that's where you start to see very promising very promising reductions in the violent crime rate, the assault rate, the homicide rate, sometimes in a very short period of time - and that's translates to kids. Who can go out in the front yard and play after dark and people who can walk home and people who don't have to be afraid in their own neighborhoods? And that's the that's the impact we're after one of the things that seems to be at play? Right now, in a very, very significant ways: the mail and our postal authorities postalinspectors do a great job. They don't have a lot of resources. Is that something that that we do have coordination with people like you and the rest of the agencies? I'M sorry. The coordination between us and and and the postal inspectors, so much of this is, is male or alize.

Oh, you know, as i visit with my county sheriff's and others particularly out in the well really every place, but it seems like that's an area that perhaps we haven't again not because our postal inspectors are not doing a good job. They haven't had a lot of resources. Are we coordinating to somehow try and bring that under control? We are i we have actually andi go back to my earliest days as a baby prosecutor working with postal inspection agency, so they're incredibly great partner. I would say that just give one good example, the this says our sayaka investigation from back in the fall, the sort of package, ie d cases that got so much attention around the country. We were worked incredibly closely with postal there to help each other to again get that plus two plus two to get five or six effect and there's a lot of great work. They'Re done not just by the fbi's folks, but by postal. Your budget is fairly modest. How can we help you? Well, there are a number of places where we wereally need significant help. I mentioned a few of my opening statement on the cyber side, i would say that the threat has grown exponentially in terms of actors, methods targets, and so we need personnel and tools there in a big big way and just to give you some frame of reference In terms of the data context, you know, the entire library of congress has about seven petabytes of data. The las vegas shooting which everybody on this subcommittee is familiar with. Just that one investigation generated one petabyte a day. That'S one investigation and out of the thousands we do so we're in serious need of both cyber tools and data, analytic tools on the counter intelligenceside we're facing a nikla challenging time in terms of foreign investment, foreign influence, china, russia and north korea.

Iran i could go on and on there we have resources that we're asking for there. We really need help transnational organized crime, something that is diversifying every time we turn around affects americans everyday. I mentioned the j code initiative in response to senator collins's question about the darknet, so we need help there and then again modernizing rit, it's not glamorous, but in today's world technology is at the heart of every threat, we're all concerned about, and we need to be Able to stay ahead of it because if we start falling behind people are less safe, thankyou. Mr. chairman senator reid, thank you mr. director, the special counsel report on the investigation to rush indifference in 2016 presidential election concluded, and i quote the russian government proceeds. It would benefit from a krump presidency and work to secure that outcome report detailed two primary of information warfare operations, one of which was, in their words a russian entity that carried out a social media campaign that favored presidential candidate donald j trump in disparage presidential candidate. Hillary clinton directory based on your intelligence at the moment, do you conclude that the russians still have the same goal and intention to support president trump in next year's election as a special counsels report indicated, and i thinkthat requires a yes or no. I don't know that. I think we have the answer to that at the moment. I think what i would say is the special counsels report speaks for itself in terms of what it found and we continue assess that the russians are. Does our focus on sowing divisive, nough sand discord in this country and pitting us against each other, and that part i think we see alive and well, and but you have no further indication of a preference for a candidate.

At this point, i don't think, there's anything that i could share at this particular point. Would you commit to making public at a point that you have sufficient informationand intelligence, that there is a preference by the russians that is guiding their information operations? I think that would be critical to the american public. Well, certainly, we want to make sure that both the congress and the american public get the information they need to have. We start raising hypotheticals involving counterintelligence efforts. I want to be really careful about what i commit to given my commitment to protecting sources and methods, disinfecting ongoing investigations and protecting our relationships with foreign liaison partners. It'S not about supposed to those. Mr. president, i think there's been a lot of criticism previously and many from our republican colleagues that president obama didn't do enough to alert the american public. Thatthere was a concerted effort directed at supporting president trump, as was established very clearly in the moller report. You know also when it was again, they tell us communities their report in 2017. In january 2017 quote when it appeared to moscow that sector clinton was likely win. The presidency, the russian influence campaign, focused more on undercutting secretary clinton's legitimacy, including by impugning the fairness of the election.

In fact, there was indictment last year in the last october, in the eastern district of virginia of a criminal linked troll group, the internet research agency, posing as america's deployed messages about voter fraud through social media throughout the united states. Are you looking at the 2020 election anticipatinganother attempt to discredit the credibility and the legitimacy of the election? We are keenly focused on preparing for the 2020 election in terms of maligned foreign influence threat. We expect to see efforts to, as i said so, device in is, and discord and likely efforts to use fake news, propaganda, activate, personas, etc, which might be might be done in a way that would be geared towards affecting particular races, but might also be done just To generate chaos either way, but all we're keenly attuned to it and focused on the undermine and legitimacy of the election undermine the legitimacy election, which is interesting because president trump on the campaign trail in 2016 talked about the onlyway they can lose to. The cheating goes on the conscious parallelism, perhaps or unconscious parallelism which, but we are in a position right now where, particularly if their favorite candidate does not prevail, where the russians will do what they were going to do deliberately in 2016 and suggest that machines have been Tampered with that immigrants have voted legally. So what respected and legitimate office of the united states today has been charged with the task collaborating with the states because they run these elections to immediately communicate with american public. On the facts, ie, there was no machine tampering. There were no illegal immigrants or if there are the specifics of those things without that we couldface crisis and a constitutional crisis of immense dimensions, who's going to do that. Well, the principle interface between the federal government and state and local election officials is department of homeland security and we don't have a director, i'm sorry and we don't have a director. Well, we have an acting a connect, the and i think in terms of putting out information what i've experienced during my 20 months on the job when it comes to putting out information about election influence or election interference. Is that we, the office of the director of national intelligence and department of homeland security, all work together? Has the president directed you or anyone else to be prepared to do thisbecause, given what we've observed already, it's highly unlikely that he would be in a position. Particular v was, on the other end of the election, the wrong end to be arbitrary, to be objective and factual and trying to calm the american public rather than to aggravate the situation. Have you been direct, or is he directed you to do that? We have had we, the group that i've described minute ago, meaning fbi od.

I nsa dhs and others have had a number of meetings that some of which included the president himself chairing them that have been focused on our efforts on how we can up our game to protect our elections in our democracy. Thank youthank, you senator kennedy. Thank you. Mr. chairman, thank you mr. director. I want to thank you personally and your entire team for your help in, in catching the punk that burned three of our churches in louisiana. The perpetrator was caught quickly and i don't think we could have done that without the assistance of the fbi and we in louisiana very grateful for that. I want to talk to you for a second i'm about about 2016. I think we can agree that, at least this is my opinion, that the fbi is the the premier law enforcement agency in all of human history, and i think most americans and most of our friends across the world believethat as well. Unfortunately, there's been a has been created, a perception that, given the two investigations of presidential candidates in 2016, that some members of the fbi allegedly acted on their political beliefs - and i think it's important that we get rid of that perception. We'Ve we forgotten also that there were two investigations.

There was an investigation of president trump, but also an investigation of secretary clinton has the if i know the inspector general, as has weighed in on the clinton investigation, and he is weighing in on the trump investigation. But aside from that, can you tell me what the factual predicate was for the investigation of secretary clinton and her alleged email scandal? I don'tknow that i can say sitting here today what the predicate is, as you mentioned, the independent inspector general did a fairly intense and rigorous and thorough investigation of that investigation and provided a pretty long report and testified in front of multiple committees of congress about it. There were a lot of important lessons learned from that, and i think we, the fbi and i at the helm, took those lessons very much to heart immediately, some of them we already had to do that. Can you tell me what the factual predicate was for the investigation of president trump well, the special counsels report goes through a fair amount of detail about the predication for its investigation. Ithink beyond that, as i mentioned to the chairman, i've had a number of conversations and working to help the attorney general get to the bottom of an understanding of what the circumstances surrounding the initiation of that investigation were at the department and the fbi back in 2016. Why don't you just? I know you can't do this on your own, but the president can the president could could declassify with proper redaction all of the documents at the fbi pertaining to the 2016 investigation of secretary clinton and president trump, and then let the american people see them and draw Their own conclusions, why don't we do that? Well, without weighing on the legal question of authority, certainlyi would tell you that when we redact information or when we classify information, there are a number of very, very important principles that are at stake. There. Protection of sources and methods which, without which americans are less safe, protection of ongoing criminal investigations or other investigations without which the american people are less safe. And there are various other legal issues implicated that we go beyond just the power to declassify. And so, while i think it's important that we be as transparent as we can be with the american people and certainly with the congress, i also think it's very important to protect those kinds of information that are the lifeblood of our ability to fulfill ourmission. What are we gon na? Do then, mr. director? How do we remove this perception that there were a handful of people at the fbi and at the justice department in 2016 that acted on their political beliefs and tried to influence the election? How we're gon na lance that boil and i'm talking about what both with respect to the investigations of mrs.

clinton and mr. trump so as to both matters? One case already completed the other case still underway. There have been independent so outside the fbi inspector general investigations that are professional that are apolitical that are rigorous, that are sometimes quite painful for the agency in question and we've taken a number of steps to learnthose lessons from the clinton email investigation. They'Ve been personnel moves, training improvements, policy improvements, all sorts of things that i laid out in great depth last summer in response to that investigation, and i would expect that we will take to heart in a very similar way. Whatever lessons are conveyed through the other inspector general investigation which is pending, but as to the perception, i think it is important for the american people to understand - and you alluded to it in your a very helpful comments at the beginning - that we're talking about two investigations. Two investigations over a bout a 15 month period, as opposed to the thousands and thousands of investigations that the fbi does tokeep americans safe, that are conducted by 37,000 men and women. That, in my experience, our brave professional, rigorous, thoughtful and, i think, deserve better than some of the commentary that has been out there. And so i appreciate your comments about the efforts in new orleans where there have been some really remarkable efforts made, and i think it would be helpful for everyone to take a deep breath and remember that we've had more than two investigations over the last two years. Senator coons, thank you, chairman moran, ranking member sheen. Thank you director ray it's great to have you before us today, and i want to start by thanking you and the 37,000 men and women ofthe fbi for their service and devotion to our country and constitution and the way that they work every day to keep americans Safe, regardless of race, creed or political leanings, this work, as we both know, is often a dangerous and difficult and underappreciated and it saves lives, and i think we need to do a better job here of recognizing the professionalism and dedication of the men and women of The fbi they've recently made a real difference in my home community of wilmington delaware and just the last two months. Fbi in delaware has worked with prosecutors and law enforcement to bring criminal convictions on fraud, bribery, cyber stalking and narcotics cases. I'M from one of thosesmall towns like little rock, where violence was spiraling out of control and real and effective engagement by our fbi office has made a difference in combatting that.

I look forward to talking more about that. But let me first just on election interference. I'Ve been encouraged by the clarity with which you've said that foreign interference efforts continue that you have no doubt that russia will attempt to interfere again in our next election. That a campaign should immediately contact the fbi, if offered dirt on an opponent by a foreign power and that you've been in meetings with the dni and with dhs about how to protect our next election. In your remarks, both written and spoken fortoday's hearing, you highlighted the foreign influence task force. You'Ve created what more resources do you need to bolster efforts like that task, force to better protect our society from foreign interference and, specifically, our up coming elections from for interference? Well, senator i appreciate the question and be happy to talk about violent crime in wilmington, in particular also on the foreign influence side, the foreign influence task force that i described. We basically put that together through existing resources with no additional help from congress. At that point, i think it was a significant success, but we view our adversary, in particular russia, in this context as upping its game and we're also expanding our efforts to lookat other nation states as well. So we need, and the budget requests that we've submitted asks for additional personnel and additional tools to help us get through the volumes and volumes of data. In that sense, this threat is not unlike a lot of the other threats that i've been describing through my testimony where the mountains of information that come in, i can't underscore you always hear about the sort of the big data problem. We all hear about that phrase. Well, we've got the big data problem, just like everybody else, and the need for speed has matched up against the volume of data is, is a real concern that i have, and so i think, overthe next few years, and certainly with this budget, we wheat, the more That this subcommittee can help us get the personnel and the tools and the data analytics tools that we need cyber tools that we need.

That'S the best way we're going to get ahead of this threat. Well, i look forward to supporting that request because i think you're hearing widespread concern that we do everything we can to ensure the integrity of election system so that we do not face widespread doubts about that. Let me move to the state and local law enforcement partnership. I, like your two plus two, equals five six or seven synergy view. Nics the national instant criminal background check systemis a key at a central tenant protecting our country from those who would do us harm. You'Ve said that in your written remarks - and i agree - i'm senator toomey and i have introduced a bipartisan bill - the nics denial notification act that would require the federal government to notify state and long state and local law enforcement. When someone lies and tries when a person prohibited by law from purchasing a gun, a convicted felon for exam goes into a gun, store, tries to buy and is denied there were about. I think a hundred and three thousand knicks denials last year that prevented people from buying guns who shouldn't have to buy them. Could you do that withoutlegislation? Could you just as a simple matter of a decision about partnership, decide to notify state law enforcement every time someone tries to buy a gun? Who is a person prohibited and if not, could i have your support for this legislation that i think is exactly the sort of better enforcement of laws on the books that help state and local law enforcement that we ought to be able to do in a bipartisan Basis, well, certainly, i share your concern about trying to make sure that we keep guns out of the hands of people who are legally prohibited from having them. I do know that as to the legal question of whether we would need legislationto share information, i'm enjoying the role of not being a lawyer right now for the first time in my career. So i will defer to the lawyers on the legal question, but i will say that i do know that anecdotally, because i see it come up in the context of investigations. We have that there are plenty of times where we do share denial, information with partners, federal state local out on the ground in the context of existing investigations, and sometimes it's very useful information.

As you say, i would be a little bit concerned about thinking through the resource burden, and this would of course resonate. I would think in particular for you, given the challengesin delaware, what that would mean for state local law enforcement if they were suddenly bombarded with all that information, whether they would have the resources necessary to handle that flow. I'Ll just say in meetings with the police chiefs of my smaller cities and towns, they would welcome knowing, when a resident of their community, who is prohibited from buying a weapon, has gone in to try and buy a weapon, because that's an excellent predictor that they're then Going to go, try and acquire a weapon, some other way, probably from allowing purposes. There are other states where it is the state police who contact the nics. That who can the knicks background check initial contacts so they'reimmediately notified of the denial? Then they're states, like my own, where that's not the case where it goes directly from the federally licensed firearm dealer back and forth to the next system. I'M just trying to fix a small communication piece that i think really could help keep people safer. I know i'm over my time. I would welcome hearing more from you director about the partnership program that psp that you referenced and how we could strengthen resources for state and local law enforcement to benefit from the fbi. Thank you for your service center shots. Thank you, mr. chairman. Thank you director for your service.

I want to talk to you about domestic terrorism and i'd likefor for us to get a better understanding of how the statistics are evolving. I understand it seems to me we're getting better at reporting sort of white nationalist white extremist. Both hate crimes and also terrorist events, and i'm wondering whether you think a do - we have an increasing domestic terrorism problem related to white extremism or whatever you word you would choose to use. I think we assess that domestic terrorism. Well, we put the hate crime category to the side. Second, although you're exactly right that there's a lot of blurring between them, sometimes we're good reason, but on the domestic terrorism side, what i would say is that we assess that domestic terrorism, including including domesticterrorism, conducted by people, subscribing some sort of white supremacist ideology. Is a serious, persistent threat? I don't know that we've seen a noted increase in the threat, but it is a make no mistake, it is a real serious threat and it's persistent and we have a lot of investigations. You know some we're a little short of a thousand that go to domestic terrorism, not just that particular type of domestic area, but all domestic terrorism. The question i have it has to do with the allocation of resources. The.

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