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Chief House Intel Republican on Russia/Trump Probe; Wisconsin Governor Scott walker Speaks in Front of White House; Trump Speaks to Reporters Following Health Care CEOs Meeting. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired February 27, 2017 - 11:30   ET


[11:30:00] REP. DEVIN NUNES, (R-), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: That's one of the contentious issues right now of where the information is housed. We'll probably have some here, some may remain at the agencies.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Do you have any evidence at all about anyone in the White House directing Mr. Flynn to discuss the issue, any issues with the Russian ambassador? Did anyone in the White House that?

NUNES: Look, I think this whole issue with General Flynn, General Flynn is an American war hero, one of the -- put together one of the greatest military machines in our history, providing the intelligence to basically eliminate al Qaeda from Iraq. And he was the national security adviser designee. He was taking multiple calls a day from ambassadors, from foreign leaders. I know this, because the foreign leaders were contacting me trying to get in touch with the transition team and folks that wanted to meet with President Trump or President- elect Trump and Vice President-elect Pence.

RAJU: Did President-elect Trump at the time tell Flynn to talk to the Russian ambassador?

NUNES: I would find that hard to believe, because they were so busy. These conversations were all very short.

Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Can you finalize and release the scope of the investigation? Also do you plan to coordinate with the Senate side to have joint --


NUNES: We're separate bodies. But we will -- so we'll have a scoping document that should be approved, I think it's finished now. And then probably just have some brief outlines of what we'll be looking at. But look, you guys all know what we're going to be looking at. It's not rocket science.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Will you coordinate with the Senate so you don't muck up --

(CROSSTALK) NUNES: I wouldn't rule it out. I wouldn't all rule it out. We'll try to work with the Senate where possible. I view this as two separate branches of the legislative branch of government.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Is there a difference between the White House asking you to call a reporter and asking the FBI to knock down particular stories?

NUNES: Well, look, I don't think -- first of all, the White House talking to -- having a reporter, if a reporter asks the White House, hey, can you get ahold of whatever member of Congress, I don't think there's any issue there, I don't know what the story is about. As it relates to -- as it relates to the FBI, what I believe happened with the White House, as I understand it in the limited conversation that I've had, I think it was an obvious question that one would ask, if there's no evidence here, can you talk about it. And the FBI of course normally doesn't talk about leaks and whether or not they're investigating or other issues of who is under investigation. I think it's pretty standard for the FBI not to comment on this. It's pretty unusual if they do comment. And so, you know, obviously when -- so I don't even know how true that story is. I mean, I would go to the White House and ask, you know, what conversations actually occurred. But I don't think very many. I think they were pretty simple.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Can you give us an idea of how far along you are in the investigation?


NUNES: Just to make sure you understand, what caused me to go out a year ago, and say the biggest intelligence failure since 9/11 was our failure to understand Putin's plans and intentions. What caused that was because we were constantly investigating the Russia problems. So all we're doing is we're adding additional things we're looking at, which include -- which will include the election issues.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: You say there's no evidence right now of Russian contacts with campaign officials. But you also say you're just in the scope gathering process of the investigation.

NUNES: No, we're putting together a scope, working with -- bipartisan with my counterpart, Mr. Schiff, so we make sure we're on the election, as it relates to the election. But look, we've always been very, very interested in what the Russians are up to. So this is basically part of an ongoing investigation that I was hopeful would have never been out in the press like it is, but now it is, and now we're expanding the scope of the investigation to include what we will look at as it relates to the election. But in terms of evidence, some we have, some evidence we do have, obviously, we're looking for more evidence. Most importantly as it relates to American citizens, if you all have American citizens that you know were talking to Russian agents, if you want to come to our committee and be whistleblowers yourselves, I would be interested in having it.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: But you'll continue to look at evidence?

NUNES: We'll continue to take evidence and follow the facts where they need.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The Obama administration's wiretapping of the transition team and the campaign, was it just Flynn, or do you think this was a regular process of listening into what Trump was doing?

NUNES: Well, as I understand it, this was inadvertent collection to where then Mr. Flynn's name was then unmasked, someone had to make that decision. Somebody very high up within the government would have had to do that, or multiple people, and we're very interested in figuring out who those people were because they have questions to answer as to why -- what laws did they use to decide to unmask General Flynn's name.

[11:35:13] UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: To follow up with that, if there was ongoing contact between the Russians and the Trump campaign, wouldn't other names pop up inadvertently, so if this was the only incident that popped up, would that knock down the idea that there was regular contact?

NUNES: Yeah, look, there is no evidence that I've been presented of regular contact with anybody within the Trump campaign. The only one that's obvious is General Flynn's discussions with the Russians, which I would still contend that was he doing what he was supposed to do, which is prepare the president-elect for office by getting as many leaders in front of him as possible.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Is it a major crime for leakers to discuss classified information relating to these communications and elsewhere, why is it not inappropriate for the White House and you and Senator Burr to call reporters and give your own interpretation of, again, a continuing investigation that involves classified information? Isn't that a counter leak, as it were? You're still discussing the investigation.

NUNES: I would never talk about classified information with any of you, because that would be a crime. So --

SCIUTTOR: But the message that was coming from you and others was that we've looked at the information, there's nothing there. An ongoing investigation, based on, at its core, classified information about contacts between --


NUNES: Right, but there was no release of classified information in that. And I'm a little confused by your question, because either you -- I mean, the White House has been very critical of a lot of you. So here you have the White House actually trying to communicate with many of you and trying to communicate with the Congress about what they're doing, and now suddenly that's wrong. There's nothing wrong with that. If you look at the last administration, and I think a lot of the

Democrats were being honest with you, they know the relationship between the last White House and Congress was extremely poor. What we're trying to do have a very good working relationship with the executive branch of government at all levels. So I would anticipate and hope that we have more coordination with the White House and all the appropriate agencies and that we actually, on one side, we're a separate branch of government and we will conduct rigorous oversight, which, look, I've been very clear, if I find out that Reince Priebus was talking to Russian agents, you can bet that Reince Priebus will get a subpoena and appear before the Congress.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. Chairman, Jim Comey, FBI director, was he appeared before your committee, have you asked for him to come?

NUNES: We've had discussions with the FBI director and others within the FBI. And I do expect that they will be briefing us again either this week or next.


NUNES: What's that?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you disagree with the attorney general recusing himself?

NUNES: That's way above my pay grade. I have no idea. I don't know what the attorney general --


NUNES: -- what would he recuse himself from.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Because of his relationship with the Trump campaign.

NUNES: Right, but the way this works, if the FBI is -- at some point, if they're conducting an investigation, they would have to go to the appropriate authorities to get a warrant, to do something. And as far as I know, none of that's happened.

RAJU: Do you have any concerns with Reince Priebus talking to the number two at the FBI to back down stories about this, given the clear restrictions between discussing --


NUNES: Look, I think you need to ask them. I think they've been pretty clear about the discussions. The FBI regularly briefs both branches of government. The FBI would brief the president, vice president, the chief of staff, any other appropriate personnel, the same way they brief the Senate and the House. And so it would not be unusual in any of those cases for us to make requests of the FBI or any other intelligence agency.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Is there anything in the Trump dossier that has been verified?

NUNES: Not that I'm aware of.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What the White House was telling you earlier, you said it was not about knocking down "The New York Times" report.

NUNES: That's a good point. You guys were the ones that were there.

As a matter of fact, I think you were there when I think I spoke to you the morning of that story breaking.

I was very clear with all of you about what I thought about that "New York Times" story. This was way in advance of the White House sending me one phone number. And I still don't understand what would be the problem with the White House sending me a number of a press person to call. Isn't the whole point of the press to be transparent? You guys normally want to talk to me. That's why I wanted to create this press availability today, so that I can talk to all of you so that it's more organized versus you guys chafing me around in press scrums.

[11:40:18] UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Did the White House give you any guidance on this?

NUNES: No, no, no. It was just this person wants to talk about the "New York Times" story and I got the number and called the reporter.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: On the Flynn phone call, I'm not sure I understand the distinction you made between the Ukraine sanctions and the sanctions that President Obama imposed. It wasn't just --


NUNES: So, look, let me just describe it bluntly.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Individuals with the GRU, contractors that participated in the hacking. I guess the question is, if General Flynn telegraphed to the Russian ambassador that those sanctions, whether or not you think they were serious enough or strong enough, would be lifted, would that not be concerning?

NUNES: Let me be very clear. So I think that, when I apply common sense to this, those were not sanctions. Those were petty. They're not taken seriously by anybody who knows this. When every conversation I've ever had about Russian sanctions, with any of our allies, it's always been about the Russia sanctions dealing with the invasion of Ukraine.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: But you realize there were sanctions imposed --


NUNES: You guys can call them that if you want. But I wouldn't call them that.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: That's what they were called by the White House. The question is, did General Flynn in any way suggest to the Russian ambassador that he didn't have to worry, that Vladimir Putin didn't have to worry about these sanctions because President Trump would either ease or lift them?

NUNES: Well, I think if the discussions occurred around ensuring there was no overreaction by the Russian government so that the new administration could do like all the previous administrations who think they could work with Putin, which all three have been wrong, they cannot work with Putin, if that was -- if that was what General Flynn did, which is to try to keep the lines of communications open and to see -- make sure the Russians didn't overreact and maybe have some reciprocal attacks on our diplomats or other embassies around the world, that did us a big favor. We should be thanking him, not, not what happened.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: It sounds like he was telling the Russian ambassador don't worry about what the president just announced, we're going to do something different when we get --


NUNES: I don't know that that's what was said but if that was said, I don't know what the problem would be with that. That's exactly what he should be doing.

SCIUTTO: Isn't that one U.S. administration negotiating --


NUNES: Logan Act? You're a Logan Act guy?

SCIUTTO: I didn't mention the Logan Act. I just said if one administration --

NUNES: The Logan Act is ridiculous. You guys all know that's ridiculous.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Are you planning on asking for Trump's tax returns?

NUNES: To do what with them?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Subpoena Trump's tax returns.

NUNES: No. No, we're not going to do that.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: About Jeff Sessions recusing himself, if I understood correctly, you said I don't know why he should because you didn't know of any investigation going on.

NUNES: I don't think there's any evidence to go after anyone at this point, is my point. At that point, it would be up to the attorney general and others.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Is the FBI not investigating leaks? NUNES: The FBI should always be investigating leaks. I would hope

they're taking the leaks that have occurred over the course of the last couple of months very seriously.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: If you're looking into leaks, is that rolled into the Russian investigation or is that something separate?

NUNES: It would all be rolled into the investigation.

New questions?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Your Democratic colleagues are not here at this briefing today, we understand they were not aware it's happening. Why should Americans be confident that what you're doing is in, in fact, bipartisan?

NUNES: The whole point of me calling this press availability is because I didn't want to have like we had the last week where there were multiple press scrums. I often had times to have to continue to repeat myself. And then as I saw these stories roll out I looked at all this and said this can't possibly be true, because I was very open, transparent with all of you. I was willing to go on the record right away about what had happened or not happened with the "New York Times" story, what I knew at the time. So I just want to make sure -- what I'm trying to bring to this is actually more transparency so that we can have a normal engagement with all of you that's regularly scheduled in advance, for two reasons, one, so it's all on the record, so you all know we're being transparent, but two, I don't like to have to repeat myself all week on the same thing.


[11:44:58] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. You're listening there to the chairman of the House Intel Committee offering a lot of really important and interesting information coming out about the committee's ongoing investigation into Russian involvement in the U.S. election. Of course, the most recently, reports of, including CNN reports, of Trump campaign advisers having contact with Russians known to U.S. Intelligence.

A couple of important points that Devin Nunes announced, he said there's no evidence of Trump advisers speaking to Russians and saying we can't go on witch hunts because people turn up in news stories.

What does that mean in terms of investigations into Russian meddling in the U.S. elections? He's offering serious pushback on reports that the White House coordinated with the chairman and as well as the CIA Director Mike Pompeo in order to push back against -- to knock down stories that were coming out about Russian contacts with the Trump campaign. A lot going on here. We'll get to much more on this in just a second.

We now need to head over to the White House. You're looking at Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker speaking in front of the White House. Let's listen here. SCOTT WALKER, (R), WISCONSIN GOVERNOR: -- the quality of affordable

health care, but go further when comes, particularly to things like Medicaid, and that is empowering the states to help people transition from government dependence to true independence through the dignity that comes from work. As governors, we are committed to doing that. And we are so happy to have a president and a vice president that's willing to collaborate with us, to partner with us. And who most importantly, and I think we'll start to hear it tomorrow night, will start laying out how he understands, as we do, that many people are scared because of what's happening with Obamacare. They need our compassion now more than ever to recognize that we hear their concerns, and that we're going to fix the problems of Obamacare, and we're going to lay out a path going forward that ensures that people have the choices that they want, not that the government wants when it comes to health care.

And so we're pleased to be here with the president today. We'll defer to his State of the Union later in the week. We'll be laying out some of the things that we hope for out of that. But we, out of deference to the president of the United States, want to give him a chance to lay out details of where he would like to see things head. Later this week, we'll be laying out some of the specifics that we've been talking with him and his administration about. And I don't know if --

BOLDUAN: So from outside the White House, talking about health care and their meetings, the governors there, let's go inside the White House where President Trump has been meeting with the CEOs of leading health insurance companies from across the nation. President Trump spoke to reporters. Let's listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You have the big ones. You have the biggest of the big, right?


That's very impressive.

Thank you for being here.

Just had a great meeting with the governors on the horrible effects that Obamacare has had and we're going to change it and straighten it out and make -- we have a plan that's going to be I think fantastic. It will be released fairly soon. We'll be talking about it tomorrow night during the speech. But I think it's going to be something special and we're going to talk about it right now, because we're going to get you on and I think you're going to like what you hear.

Again, thank you for being here.

I want to thank also Secretary Tom Price, who is with us, and who is doing a phenomenal job on a very complex subject, the subject of health care. He's an advocate for the patient. Tom is all about the patients. That's what he wants, he wants to have a great health care system. Obamacare has been a disaster and it's only getting worse. Last year

alone, Obamacare premiums increased by double digits. Since it has gone into effect, premiums are up by almost 100 percent in many areas. And I think that this year, it's going to be really the year that I've always predicted. '17 is going to be a catastrophic year for Obamacare, for payments. And you just take a look at what's happening in various states like Arizona, I believe it was up 116percent. It's going to be worse this year.

Obamacare forced providers to limit the plan options they offered to patients and caused them to drive prices way up. Now a third of United States counties are down to one insurer. And the insurers are fleeing. You people know that better than anybody. Since Obamacare went into effect, nearly half of the insurers are stopped and have stopped from participating in the Obamacare exchanges. It has gotten so bad that nearly 20 million Americans have chosen to pay the penalty or received an exemption rather than buy insurance. That's something that nobody's ever heard of or thought could happen. And they're actually doing that rather than being forced to buy insurance.

We must work together to save Americans from Obamacare. And people know that and everyone knows that at this point. To create more competition and to bring down the prices substantially. The chaos that Obamacare has created and for which congressional Democrats -- and you see that -- are alone and responsible for, and requires swift action.

[11:50:24] I actually told the Republicans that if we did nothing, just do nothing for a two-year period, let Obamacare totally implode, which it's doing right now anyway, that would be from a political standpoint the best thing we could do. Let it implode. And then people will come begging. The Democrats will come begging to do something to help them out of a jam.

Once we start doing it, we sort of inherit the problem. We take over the problem. It becomes ours. It's the right thing to do for the American people. I think allowing this to go on, this disaster to go on is a mistake.

I'm asking Secretary Price to work with you to stabilize the insurance markets and to insure a smooth transition to the new plan. And the new plan will be a great plan for the patients, for the people, and hopefully for the companies. It's going to be a very competitive plan and costs will come down. And I think the health care will go up very, very substantially. I think people will are going to like it a lot. We've taken the best of everything we can take.

It's our hope that Democrats will stop the obstruction and resistance, and that's what they have. In fact, they have sign resist, resist. They want to resist everything, including cabinet members, and there are many cabinet members that haven't been approved yet, people that are extraordinary. All of whom are going to be approved, but they just take forever. It's called obstruct and resist. I hope I didn't give them a new phrase because their real phrase is resist. I think I just gave them another word. I shouldn't have done that. I'm good at branding. (LAUGHTER)

You're going to see them now come out obstruct and resist. All right. Well, at least I can take credit for it.

And they work with us. We are going to hopefully work with the Democrats because, ultimately, we're all people that love this country and we want to do the right thing, including reforms, like expanded health care savings accounts, state flexibility, and the ability to purchase across state lines.

The state lines are so important for competition. Everybody has wanted to do it for years. What's not to do? That's going to be very important.

I want to thank you all for being here. I want to know and I want you to know that it's an honor to do business with you. It's a great honor to have you in the White House, and we look forward to providing health care that is extraordinary, better than any other country anywhere in the world, and we can do that. We have the talent. We have the capacity, and we have the people. So we'll work on that together.

Maybe before the press leaves we can just introduce yourself and your company and the public will get to see what you are about and then if things aren't working out, I'm blaming you anyway. You know that.


We'll start with Brad.

BOLDUAN: All right. You're listening right there, President Obama speaking during a roundtable meeting with -- President Trump, rather. I'm sorry -- speaking to health care CEOs as he is starting off that meeting. About this right now. What's happening to the fate of Obamacare, right now, in the balance.

Let's bring in CNN senior economics analyst, Stephen Moore, a former senior economic advisor to the Trump campaign; and CNN global economic analyst, Rana Foroohar, a "Financial Times" columnist and author of "Makers and Takers."

Rana, health care, Obamacare is -- the latest reporting that we're seeing is not only is the president today meeting with governors across the nation talking about this big issue. He is it also meeting with health care CEOs and with Republican leaders, and Republican leaders, they're concerned that they're not on the same page.

RANA FOROOHAR, CNN GLOBAL ECONOMIC ANALYST: Right. That reflects what a mess the U.S. health care system is in general. Obamacare has gotten -- come in for a lot of criticism on both sides of the aisle. In a way, I think that's because it was always a band-aid on a bigger problem, which is that the U.S. health care system stands alone in the global context being the fact that most Americans get health care through corporations. It's actually very unusual. It's a competitive disadvantage for U.S. corporations. Obamacare wasn't perfect, but it did cover a lot of people. And my concern is by throwing everything out, you're going to get into a situation where, again, many Americans are going to be cycling in and out of poverty because of a health care emergency. Already one-third of Americans that do cycle in and out of poverty every year do so because they don't have health care. What's going to replace it? What's the plan going to look like? How are we going to avoid an even bigger mess by throwing things out?

BOLDUAN: Stephen, of course, one of the problems with it is it's complicated. If you have been -- if you or anyone who covered the process of it being put together or were a lawmaker involved in it, I think anyone would agree that it is, where do they go now? What do you see as being the same page as the president and his Republican lawmakers will be getting on, do you think?

STEPHEN MOORE, CNN SENIOR ECNOMICS ANALYST: A couple of things. First of all, the costs have $ exploded far more than people thought, and that's making health care less affordable to people, not more so. You just heard the president --


BOLDUAN: Especially in certain states like Arizona and such. Yes.

[11:55:14] MOORE: That's right. So on average about 20 percent increases in premiums. That's -- I think actually Obamacare was one of the reasons that Trump won the election, but you are also right that Republicans can't take people off of the health insurance rolls that are getting health insurance now, and that's the trick. How do you provide more affordable care to people with lower premiums but make sure that people don't lose the coverage that they have? That's what Republicans respect grappling with right now.

I think you can do it. One idea, Kate, that Donald Trump has put on the table, which has always made a lot of sense to me is why not allow somebody like myself in the state of Virginia to buy health insurance policy that might be cheaper in the state of Ohio? You know, I buy -- I have auto insurance. I can buy auto insurance in any state I want to. Why not have that kind of competition with health care?

By the way, the health insurance companies are against that because they don't want competition.

FOROOHAR: You know, there's another simple option, which is just start dropping the age at which folks can utilize Medicare. It's interesting because this is one of the most successful, one of the most popular government programs, and not being cut. That gets exactly to the bigger budgetary conversation.


BOLDUAN: Stephen is levitating out of his chair now.

MOORE: I got to address that. Medicare has trillions of dollars of unfunded liabilities. We want to put more people on the deck of a Titanic? We're going to bankrupt the country if we did that. We have to control the costs of Medicare. Not put more people on Medicare. The costs are going to continue to explode. I don't think that's a very good solution.

FOROOHAR: The key reason that the U.S. has far higher health care costs than any other developed nation is because we have this mishmash of public-private systems. If you look at most other big European nations with a national health care system, much better outcomes, much lower costs. We to fix it at a grassroots level.

BOLDUAN: That sounds so easy.

MOORE: Yeah, but if they can lower costs, then why is it that the two industries in America that have the fastest rising costs are education and health care, and those are the two industries that have the most government involvement. You are saying have more involvement in health care, when I think if you have more private sector competition, you can lower those costs.


FOROOHAR: Pharmaceutical makers are charging $1,000 premiums and they agree with you.


MOORE: They also make life-saving drugs, too.

BOLDUAN: I also see

FOROOHAR: The 1 percent could use.


BOLDUAN: Come on, guys. I also see why the debate not only about Obamacare, but the debate over the budget is going to be so fun.

MOORE: It is.

BOLDUAN: I can't wait.

MOORE: And more people on Medicare is not the solution, for sure. We're going to blow even bigger deficit problems if we do that.

BOLDUAN: I think you and Paul Ryan agree, but what is President Trump going to do about it because he doesn't want to touch it? Let's discuss that later.

Thanks, guys. Really appreciate it.

We have to head back to Capitol Hill after that fiery discussion to get over to a very important press conference that we are listening into just a short time ago.

Chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto, was there.

Jim, I was watching you -- we were all watching you ask questions of the House intel chairman. Please tell me what you think your biggest headline is out of this, because I heard a lot of almost conflicting details coming from the chairman.

SCIUTTO: More than almost conflicting, I would say, Kate. There was a lot of wiggle room left after this press conference. Three headlines for me. The first words out of his mouth were about major crimes committed, referring to leaks. That appears to be his focus. He wants to push on.

And the new talking point that is apparently is McCarthyism because, at the end of the conference -- and I've heard this elsewhere -- they're saying this focus on Americans who may have been talking to Russians or on calling them before a committee smacks of Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s, which echoes the Donald Trump point calling this all a witch hunt. They're anxious to hear from the chairman of the House intelligence committee that will be investigating all of Russian interference writ large. That appears to be where they're pushing.

But on the key point here about contacts between Trump aides, advisors, and Russians, here's the thing, and you heard me drill down on this in the questions. What they keep saying is there's no evidence of communication between Trump advisors and Russian intelligence. OK, that's fine. That's what the "New York Times" reported. That's not what CNN reported. What we've been told by intelligence and law enforcement officials is there is evidence of communications between Trump advisors and Russian officials and others known to U.S. Intelligence.

Why is that important? I asked the chairman about this. Because there are many people in the orbit of the Kremlin, businessmen, diplomats, et cetera, who U.S. Intelligence knows or suspects reports back -- they report back to the Kremlin. And I pressed him and others pressed him multiple times to say, wait, there's no evidence of those kinds of contacts? On that, he did not give a clearance. That's very important.

One final point, Kate, and this caught me. I think it's extremely interesting. On Flynn's contacts, as you know, national security advisor lost his job over this. Contracts with Russians during the transition, the suspicion about sanctions. Nunes said, well, if it was about big sanctions on Ukraine --