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Senate Intelligence Committee Hearing on Russian Meddling; Orlando Crowd Chants MVP to Westbrook; Aired 10:30-11a ET
Aired March 30, 2017 - 10:40 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:30:00] ROY GODSON, PROF. OF GOVERNMENT EMERITUS, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: Particularly interested in do seem to be exceptional. We don't have very many other examples of where they interfered with election machinery, electrical apparatuses. What we do have are many, many examples of where the Soviets, working together, were able -- with their allies abroad, their agents of influence abroad -- to actually affect the elections in many, many countries in the 20th and early 21st century.
The Soviets and their Russian successors took the view and take the view that they are able to hit above their weight. They can fight above their weight if they take -- use active measures. They don't want to go to war. Neither of us wants go to war, but they take the view that they can actually achieve a lot of what they want to do through their active measures. That is, the combination of overt and covert techniques and resources, overt and covert combined together in one pattern, and that they have the authority and the responsibility as leaders of the country to be able to do that, and they put this into practice.
In the '20s and '30s, they created an enormous apparatus in the world. Russia was a poor, weak country, and yet, Russia in the '20s and '30s set up whole organizations, overt and covert, throughout the world that were able to challenge all the major powers of Europe and the United States. We may not have realized that these organizations were being set up, but they were considerable, and it took a lot of effort and skill on their part to -- to do this.
In the war of -- Second World War, they used this apparatus to be able to influence the politics of Europe after the war. Yes, they also used it during the war to help them, and sometimes us, in fighting the Nazis and the Italian fascists, but in -- in their sort of major -- in a major way, they were also preparing for being able to influence the outcome of the struggle for the balance of power in Europe during World War II.
So while they were an ally, they were also planning to undermine democratic and liberal parties, including in the United States at that time. In fact, they were able to take advantage of the fact that they were friendly and that we were working together. That Uncle Joe was -- was a friend of the United States at that time, they thought, and they were able to use that very successfully.
And so, as a result, they were nearly able to take over the balance of power in western Europe. It was a closely run contest, and of course, we're all glad that they lost, but it was a very closely run conflict, and we did emerge successfully from it.
In the 1980s, they were on another roll. They used their apparatus, which built up in the -- as I say, '20s and '30s, '40s, '50s, and '60s, to be able to achieve a great deal in the -- late '70s and '80s. They nearly were able to split Europe and split NATO in Europe in the 1980s. They started that in the last years of the Carter administration and continued into the Reagan years and fortunately, we noticed this in time, and our rearmament of NATO went ahead, and it wasn't because the Soviets wanted it but because we were able to outmaneuver them.
The '90s were sort of chaotic there, and so it was their active measure apparatus wasn't very effective and it didn't have the kind of leadership that it had had before. And the kind of leadership it has gained since Vladimir Putin came to power. It's maybe a little bit too soon to do an assessment of their effectiveness. So far, as was pointed out earlier by the chairman and the vice chairman, we do think that they were effective in an important way to us, and we understand that the committee is going to be looking into this and studying this.
But in any event, they have this apparatus. They have modernized it. They were spending billions of dollars a year before. They have maybe 10,000 to 15,000 people in this apparatus, at least, worldwide in addition to the trolls and other kinds of -- cyber capabilities they have. But the Soviets are not --
[10:35:10] SEN. RICHARD BURR (R), CHAIRMAN, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Dr. Godson, I'm going to interrupt you for just a second just to make members aware that the second vote has started, and it's our intent to work through this second vote, so I'd ask members as they feel comfortable to leave for the vote, come right back, if you will. As soon as we get through the panel, we'll start questions.
And Dr. Godson, I'd just ask you to summarize as quickly as you can.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Chairman (INAUDIBLE) is around so that we can --
BURR: Five-minute recognitions.
GODSON: Well, they're not 10 feet tall. They have used their capabilities effectively, but they don't always win out. The United States for the first time responded in a major way to them in the late 1940s through the 1960s. We did, in fact, cauterize their active measures apparatus, and they were not able to successfully use this in western Europe and other parts of the world.
We did some things pretty well from -- the '40s to the '60s. Unfortunately, in the '60s, there was a -- the coalition between liberals and conservatives, the consensus between the Congress and the administration started to fall apart. And then with the criticisms that the intelligence community had to take in that time, our countermeasures started to fall apart, and we were sort of disarming ourselves, if I can say that.
And so, from the '60s through the late 1970s, we did not have a very effective counter active measures capability, and the Russians, of course, took advantage of that in numerous places in the world. In the '80s, though, that changed. Late '70s-'80s, that changed, and we did start to do things well again.
I'll just summarize the fact that we started to develop a strategic approach to counter measures. It wasn't a bit here and a bit there and -- and so on. It was actually a strategic approach with warning and anticipation of active measures. We actually would actually study them so well that we were able to often anticipate what they were going to do with active measures, and so, therefore, we could then use other measures to limit them and avoid the -- the effectiveness of these active measures.
We also started to support liberal elements abroad that we thought would be helpful to us in preventing Soviet active measures from furthering Soviet objectives in those societies. So we were fairly successful in the '80s in doing this, and -- and in both using overt and covert methods to -- to do this.
As in other -- sort of victories that we've had after World War I or after World War II, after the Cold War, we thought that this wasn't such an important thing to be doing anymore. And so our activities waned. They didn't stop, but they waned. We had some units that remained in the government that were concerned with this, but on the whole, the government actually disarmed itself. And so -- although there were some in the government and outside the government who warned about the Soviet use of active measures, and I do know when looking over the Web site of your committee that some of the people in this room actually went to the government and asked the government to be more mindful of Soviet active measures starting in 2016 and -- and presumably, they should be mindful of it afterwards.
Unfortunately, the government did not take the warnings as seriously as it could have and made this known to the public in a useful fashion so we would not be so surprised when this took place in the -- or appears to have taken place in 2016. But the Soviets have -- could not have done this. The Russians cannot have done this without having an active measures apparatus. It's visible. One can find it -- can find everything about it, but we have historically, we know that we can find it, we can anticipate it, and we can take a number of measures.
And so I hope you will have time to consider maybe in the questioning some of the measures we could now take to do that. Thank you.
BURR: Thank you, Dr. Godson. Dr. Rumer.
EUGENE RUMER, RUSSIA AND EUROPE PROGRAM DIR., CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT: Chairman Burr, Vice Chairman Warner, distinguished members of the committee, I'm honored to be here today. Russian active measures and interference in our presidential campaign is one of the most contentious issues in our national conversation. [10:40:39] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: All right, there you have it,
the beginning statements from those testifying in this first day of what is going to be a week-long hearing. A lot of testimony in front of the Senate Intel Committee.
You heard opening statements from Chairman Richard Burr, the Republican of North Carolina, as well as the vice chairman, Mark Warner, the Democrat of Virginia. Both with the real headlines, this is not political, we are working together. This is about getting to the bottom of how Russia impacted this election.
Let's bring back in our panel, Kirsten Powers is with us, David Drucker, Nia-Malika Henderson, Bob Baer and Mike Allen.
Mike, I didn't get to you before it began so let me get to you first. Especially given the fact that you were the director of the House Intelligence, whether you have this experience. Just listen to what both the Republican and the Democrat leading this committee had to say about what has become politicized over the past few days. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RICHARD BURR (R), CHAIRMAN, SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: The vice chairman and I realized that if we politicize this process, our efforts will likely fail.
SEN. MARK WARNER (D), VICE CHAIRMAN, SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Chairman Burr and I trust each other, and equally important, we trust our colleagues on this committee that we are going to move together and we're going to get to the bottom of this and do it right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: What do you make of that? I mean, it's clearly a message in the midst, Mike, of what's happening on the House side.
MICHAEL ALLEN, FORMER MINORITY STAFF DIRECTOR, HOUSE INTEL COMMITTEE: I agree. They're standing up in the middle of the storm and saying, hey, listen, we're the grown-ups here. Be calm. We've got this. We've got the horsepower, we've got the track record to be able to tackle a big investigation about a serious national issue. And look, I think they're starting off on the right foot. It's -- we can look back on this as an educational series of hearings, maybe even historic, as we as a country try to wake up and look at what Russia is doing, not only to our democracy, but they're working against the United States across the world, and while they may have favored Hillary Clinton over President Trump, they still aren't all of a sudden looking to be friendly with the United States. They are working against us --
HARLOW: While who may have favored Hillary Clinton?
ALLEN: While the Russians may have favored Hillary Clinton over President Trump, they do not now love us or otherwise want to see anything other than sort of swing confusion and a lack of confidence in our institutions here in the United States. And so to the degree that these hearings discuss this Russian disinformation campaign, what they're doing to work against us, around the world, and especially undermine the democracies in western Europe, I think it's a really good thing for us and all of us to pay attention to.
HARLOW: What is your belief based on that you say that the Russians in this election favored Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump? What evidence is that based on?
ALLEN: Well, that's based on what I guess was the January 6th document that the intelligence community put out, and certainly what the FBI director said last Monday in front of the House Intelligence Committee, that they definitely favored one candidate over another. But I mean, the big point is --
HARLOW: They did not go as far as to say Hillary Clinton.
Nia-Malika, weigh in on that, because I read through the January 6th report and I'm not sure what he was referring to.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean -- yes, I mean, I seem to recall the 17 intelligence agencies as well as Comey in his testimony saying that Putin hated Clinton and that they didn't favor her and that they favored another candidate, who is Donald Trump. So I'm not sure if you're just misremembering or misstating. I just don't know what your evidence is here because everything we've seen so far has suggested that this effort was to undermine Hillary Clinton and to ultimately favor Donald Trump.
ALLEN: But, Poppy, also, the larger point remains here is that the Russians aren't our friends. They're working against us in Syria, in Ukraine, in Afghanistan now, and even in Libya. They tried to interfere in our elections here. We're taking that very seriously and that's what's gotten our attention.
ALLEN: I hope we're going to look back on these hearings as a historic look into what Russia's up to.
HARLOW: Let me get the rest of the panel in here.
Kirsten, to you. But just as a point of clarification, Nia's reporting on this is correct. In fact, that January 6th report and Comey's testimony did not say that Russia was favoring Clinton in all of this. Just a point of fact there before we move on.
[10:45:08] Kirsten, one moment that stood out to me in chairman -- Vice Chairman Warner's comments in opening remarks is this. Let's play it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WARNER: I would hope that the president is as anxious as we are to get to the bottom of what happened. But I have to say editorially that the president's recent conduct with his wild and uncorroborated accusations about wiretapping and his inappropriate and unjustified attacks on America's hard-working intelligence professionals does give me grave concern.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Kirsten, to you. I thought it was interesting. In all of the Chairman Richard Burr's remarks, he did not say the word president or Trump once, and then you have Warner go into it and clearly, you know, make some pretty pointed -- there were some pretty pointed moments at the administration.
KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. I mean, I wouldn't necessarily expect Senator Burr to go after the president, which is kind of what I was talking about before.
POWERS: I mean, this is somebody who was very close to President Trump during the campaign and who was one of his advisers, National Security advisers. So, you know, I guess he's going to do the best that he can. But let's remember, his relationship with President Trump. So look, President Trump's behavior I think has raised a lot of questions and I think that that has been sort of the cloud that's been hanging over these investigations, is that you don't really seem to have a president, a White House, some members of Congress who are Republicans on the Hill, and frankly, a lot of Republicans in Washington, who have a lot of curiosity or interest in really trying to find out what happened in terms of Russia's interference in our election and instead are trying to focus on other issues, which may be important but I think are secondary in terms of the masking and unmasking, as bad as that may have been, it certainly cannot rise to the same level as interference in our election.
HARLOW: David Drucker, what did you -- what was your takeaway from the opening remarks that we heard there from Burr and Warner?
DAVID DRUCKER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, look, I think it was interesting that Warner went a lot further in making suggestions than Senator Burr did, but I think, you know, stepping back from all of this, the important thing is what are these investigations going to discover? You know, on the House side, Republicans are focused on improper leaks. Are they going to be able to produce evidence of improper leaks? And on both sides, but especially in the Senate where they're working more closely together, are we going to find out that there was collusion between Russian officials or operatives and Trump associates or not?
We know that Russia meddled in the election. We know going back to October 2015, going back to the 2015 before that, that Vladimir Putin favored Donald Trump because he saw him as a fellow nationalist. He was still angry at Hillary Clinton for, in his view, fomenting democratic demonstrations in Russia some years earlier when she was secretary of State. So we know all of that. But the bottom line here is what are we going to learn?
We may learn, for sure, because we already know that Russia meddled, we may find out that there was no collusion. We've heard about improper leaks. We may find out that it was a really big deal or that it wasn't. So I'm curious to see what the conclusion is going to be, even though we get so caught up in the day-to-day infighting between Democrats and Republicans on the hill on this issue, not to mention the president weighing in here and there with things that are, you know, sometimes factual and sometimes flat-out false.
HARLOW: Bob Baer, final thought.
ROBERT BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY ANALYST: I want to know why a Trump aide was in touch with the person -- the Russian intelligence facility on behalf of the campaign. That is very odd to me. I have seen no good explanation for that, and that's the kind of smoking gun that I hope this committee goes after. But it's already starting to sound partisan to me, but let's wait and see.
HARLOW: All right. We'll wait and see. Thank you all for sticking around. We appreciate it, Kirsten Power, David Drucker, Nia-Malika Henderson, Bob Baer, Mike Allen.
Quick break. I'll be right back.
[10:52:48] HARLOW: The Thunder's Russell Westbrook played so well last night that opposing fans were chanting MVP at him.
Andy Scholes has more in the "Bleacher Report." Good morning, Andy.
ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Poppy. Yes, Russell Westbrook's assault on the NBA record books continuing last night in Orlando, and not only did Westbrook put up crazy stats like he's been doing all season, he hit this clutch three in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter to send the game into overtime. And then in the extra period, check out this move, the spin, the bucket, plus the foul. And it was after that play where Magic fans in Orlando actually started chanting "MVP" at Westbrook.
It was an MVP performance. Westbrook breaking the record for most points with a triple-double in a game. He had 57 points to go along with 13 rebounds and 11 assists as the Thunder beat the Magic, 114- 106.
Final Four teams arriving in Phoenix yesterday ahead of Saturday's games. You've got to check out the hats North Carolina was rocking when they got off the plane. These are custom-made fedoras and cowboy hats, and they were all handmade by Tar Heel freshman forward Shay Rush. Now Rush says he started making hats in high school after watching an instructional video online. He added it takes him about a week to make seven hats. He spent a month making all of these for his teammates.
All right, Snoop is taking the party to the Masters. That's right. Snoop's going to be hosting a bash next Wednesday in Augusta, Georgia. According to the event Web site, the Augusta Jam merges the musical world of country and hip-hop music, proudly driven to unite cultures and celebrate diversity through golf and music. You want to go? Tickets start at 150 bucks. All right, finally, this had the Internet going yesterday. This
bronze bust, it's supposed to be soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo. It's been called both questionable and horrifying. The bust is at an airport in Portugal that has been renamed Cristiano Ronaldo International Airport. And as you can imagine, there were plenty of memes going around the Internet because of this. Someone actually Photoshopped Ronaldo to make him look more like the bust, Poppy.
[10:55:06] And people are saying this is the worst rendition of an athlete since the Tom Brady courtroom sketch. And I want to pull them up. Tell me, Poppy, which one do you think is worse, the bust of Ronaldo or the Brady courtroom sketch?
HARLOW: They're both just awful and Berman is not even here to defend the Brady one. I don't know.
SCHOLES: Yes. Berman would definitely say the Brady one was worse because we all know of his man-crush with Tom Brady.
HARLOW: Right. Exactly. By the way, I got my invite to that Snoop Dogg party.
SCHOLES: Did you? I have not yet. Do you have a plus one?
HARLOW: Yes, you can come with me. My husband can stay at home.
SCHOLES: Awesome. See you there.
HARLOW: Andy, thank you very much.
Thank you all for being with us. We are still keeping a close eye on Capitol Hill right now. The Senate Intel Committee is holding that major public hearing on Russia's role in the election. We got much more of that straight ahead. Stay with us.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. We begin with breaking news. President Trump threatening war against members of his party, oh, and Democrats as well.