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Stormy Behind Picture of Crying Girl on Border; Stone Admits Meeting with Russian Offering Direct on Hillary; Lawmakers Grill Horowitz, Wray on Clinton Probe. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired June 18, 2018 - 14:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[14:30:00] JOHN MOORE, PHOTOGRAPHER, GETTY IMAGES: In fact, the people there, I don't think they knew that they might be separated from their kids after these pictures were taken. Of course, I knew that that might be the case and probably the case and for me it was much more emotional taking these photographs this time because I had an inkling, I had some knowledge of what would happen next.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Do you know what happened next to this little girl?

MOORE: They were all driven away to a processing center where they would be documented more, and one assumes many separated from their parents. I can't say what happened to this little girl. I wish I knew.

BALDWIN: And why were her shoelaces removed?

MOORE: The Border Patrol, as a matter of protocol, has everyone remove their shoelaces. And, in fact, all their personal effects, except for their clothes, is all gathered into bags, each one, and put into a Homeland Security bag, and as they're loaded up and taken off, everyone drops those bags into a pile and they'll receive their personal effects when they're either released or deported.

BALDWIN: Here's my last question for you because, you know, we've seen these pictures inside some of these detention centers and the thermal blankets. I know the thermal blankets were there under the Obama administration. The chain link fences were there under the Obama administration. But, again, these are images a lot of people are seeing for the first time. These are images released by the government. Can you tell me what we're not seeing, what stories are not being told?

MOORE: Well, I went to some of those same detention centers back in 2014 myself. They're very sterile. There's chain link fences. Yes, children have all that they need in one sense. They have food, they have milk, they have clothes, they have medicines. What they don't have is their parents. And I think what we're seeing now is a very different scene than we saw under the Obama administration. And it's playing out in the news every day.

BALDWIN: John Moore, thank you. Thank you for these images as well. Appreciate it.

MOORE: Thank you, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Just in, a United States Senator calling on the Homeland Security secretary to resign. Why Kamala Harris -- what she's saying about Kiersten Nielsen.

Plus, former Trump advisor, Roger Stone, saying he had forgotten about a meeting with a Russian who offered dirt on Hillary Clinton in exchange for millions of dollars. What suddenly jogged his memory? We'll discuss that next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:36:40] BALDWIN: Now to a major development in the Russia investigation. Another Trump campaign member met with a Russian to get dirt on Hillary Clinton, and former campaign advisor, Roger Stone, admits he failed to bring it up when he testified before the House Intelligence Committee. Who set up the meeting for Roger Stone? A man named Michael Caputo, a former communication official for the Trump campaign.

Josh Green and Tara Setmayer are back with us.

I want to begin with CNN crime and justice reporter, Shimon Prokupecz, on this.

It's like, the list is growing of these undisclosed meetings, right, between the Trump folks and the Russians. Tell me about this exchange.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME & JUSTICE REPORTER: Right. This is the third instance where we've learned that someone associated with the campaign had a meeting with a Russian where dirt was offered. We had Don Jr, the infamous Trump Tower meeting. George Papadopoulos turned FBI informant. He was talking to someone who promised dirt. And now it's Roger Stone who, as you said, was set up with Michael Caputo to meet with this Russian. The meeting happening in Florida during the campaign. And essentially after that, there was an exchange of text messages between Michael Caputo and Roger Stone about the meeting.

I'm going to go ahead and read it about the crazy Russian. And Michael Caputo asks Stone, "How crazy is this Russian?" And then Roger Stone responds, "He wants big money for the info." And then Stone says, "It was a waste of time." Caputo responds, "Well, that's the Russian way. Anything at all interesting?" And Roger Stone says, "No."

What's interesting is that this doesn't come out until really over the weekend after the lawyers for the two guys, Roger Stone and Michael Caputo, send letters to Congress saying they want to amend their testimony.

BALDWIN: Hang on, Shimon. I'm going to have to cut you off.

We're going to head over to Capitol Hill. This is the hearing underway. The FBI getting grilled on their investigation into the Hillary Clinton private e-mail server. We know the I.G. report came out last week. Let's dip in.

SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY, (R-IA), CHAIRMAN, SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: More and more people are starting to believe the Mueller investigation lacks fairness. The report noted that Director Comey pressured the team to close the case before the party convention and he had already made up his mind to close it before all the work was done. Question number one, isn't it improper to set a deadline to close a case based upon political calendar?

MICHAEL HOROWITZ, INSPECTOR GENERAL, U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT; Mr. Chairman, I think if that's the only basis for setting the deadline, that would be an area of concern. And that was something we did ask about in connection with our report given the various areas where Director Comey raised the concern about the political calendar. We had some information from some folks indicating that he separately suggested that, in addition to concern about the political calendar, that they also should follow up as need be for their work. So that was the evidence we had before us.

GRASSLEY: Is it a fair inference, General Horowitz, for people to think about the time pressure and the predetermined decision not to charge Clinton explained the lack of interest in trying charge.

[14:39:52] HOROWITZ: It's certainly, as we've laid out here, one of the reasons given by the prosecutors with regard to certain of their decisions, that they felt it would have dragged on the investigation for too long and that that was, in fact, a factor in their consideration on how to resolve certain issues.

GRASSLEY: The second point would involve you and the director of the FBI. The report notes that department prosecutors did not believe there was a substantial federal interest to charge the I.T. worker who deleted Clinton's e-mails with obstruction and false statements. However, it was clear he lied to the FBI twice about deleting Clinton's archived e-mails. The e-mails had been subpoenaed and were subject to congressional preservation notice. The technician knew that when he deleted them.

Question number one to both of you, is granting immunity the only way to obtain truthful testimony from a witness? And isn't there a substantial federal interest in determining obstruction of congressional investigations?

HOROWITZ: It isn't the only way to get testimony from individuals or information from individuals. Obviously, depends on the facts and also, as we laid out in the report, we found the conduct to be particularly serious.

GRASSLEY; Director Wray?

CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR: Likewise, I think there are a number of ways to secure truthful testimony from witnesses, not just one. And certainly my own view is that efforts to obstruct investigations are something we need to take extremely seriously at the federal level.

GRASSLEY: OK. Thank you.

To the -- Mr. Horowitz, did officials specifically tell you that obstructing Congress was not a matter of substantial federal interest?

HOROWITZ: They didn't specifically say that to us. We asked them for their reasons and they explained various other reasons that we lay out in the report.

GRASSLEY: OK. Former Director Comey said on television that the inspector general interviewed him about the handling of his memos of conversations with President Trump. Some of those memos contained classified information. Comey said he did not expect a report on his handling of classified information because, quote, unquote, "that's frivolous." I don't happen to think that it is frivolous.

Question number one to Mr. Horowitz, are you investigating Comey's handling of his memos? And does that include the classification issues? And should Mr. Comey expect a report when it is complete?

HOROWITZ: We received a referral on that from the FBI. We are handling that referral and we will issue a report when the matter is complete consistent with the law and we will -- and a report that's consistent and takes those into account.

GRASSLEY: OK. In the FBI's response to the inspector general's report the FBI said, quote, "There's no indication that any classified material ever transited former Director Comey, Ms. Page's or Mr. Strzok's personal devices or accounts." But I thought neither the inspector general nor the FBI actually looked at their personal devices. I sent a letter to you, Director Wray, this morning on this topic, but I wanted to ask you, how can the FBI conclude no classified material was on the personal devices if you didn't even look at their devices?

WRAY: Mr. Chairman, first as to your letter, I haven't obviously seen your letter of today, but I'm happy to take a look at it and make sure we're being responsive to you on that.

On the second part of your question and the words in our response to the inspector general's report, I don't think we're attempting to characterize some independent investigation of our own but, rather, to refer to the language in the inspector general's report and to clarify that the findings that we're reacting to did not themselves identify any passage of classified information.

GRASSLEY: OK. During the course of the review, you found that several of the people investigating Secretary Clinton for using personal e-mail were doing the same thing themselves. Each agency and every employee has an obligation to comply with the Federal Records Act. Question number one to Mr. Horowitz, in light of the law's recordkeeping requirements, how did you try to get access to their personal devices or accounts?

HOROWITZ: One of the challenges we had as we note in the report is that to gain access to personal e-mails would have required either a grand jury subpoena or a search warrant given the facts of this case, and so we were limited because our administrative subpoena authority doesn't cover this to ask for voluntary cooperation. We were given oral representations, we were not given access to the e-mail accounts.

[14:45:04] GRASSLEY: Yes.

So I don't go over my eight minutes, I think I'll reserve my 24 seconds.

Senator Feinstein?

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN, (D), CALIFORNIA: Thanks very much, Mr. Chairman.

During the 2016 presidential election, in addition to investigating Hillary Clinton's use of the private e-mail server, the FBI was actively investigating whether the Trump campaign was coordinating with Russian officials to influence the election. Although the FBI revealed the existence of the Clinton investigation to the public, it kept the existence of the Trump campaign investigation secret. Director Comey made several public statements about the Clinton investigation during the election. Was there any information about anyone making public statements about the Trump campaign investigation during the election?

HOROWITZ: I'm not aware of any. And we lay out here the discussion about whether or not to speak to that issue.

FEINSTEIN: There were also several leaks to the press about Clinton investigations during the election. Was there any evidence of leaks to the press about the Trump campaign investigation during the election?

HOROWITZ: I don't know, as I sit here.

FEINSTEIN: Is there any reason for this disparity in treatment between the two investigations?

HOROWITZ: We -- our focus in this review was on the Clinton e-mail review. We laid out quite clearly why we thought Director Comey should not have been making the public statements he made back when he made them.

FEINSTEIN: So I guess what you're saying is that the better approach is not to make public statements, and that goes to everybody, but you didn't specifically criticize or find criticism?

HOROWITZ: That's correct. I mean, we looked at this one decision and what occurred. We laid out what the decision was with regard to other investigations, both Russia and, by the way, the Clinton Foundation investigation, where a decision was made also not to speak about it.

FEINSTEIN: On October 25th, Trump's surrogate, Rudy Giuliani, appeared on FOX News and bragged that the Trump campaign had, quote, "a surprise or two you're going to hear about in the next few days. I'm talking about some pretty big surprises. And I do think that all of these revelations about Hillary Clinton finally are beginning to have an impact." Three days later, Director Comey announced that the FBI would be re-opening its investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private e-mail server. On November 4, when asked whether he had heard about the FBI's reopening of the e-mail investigation, Giuliani said, "Did I hear about it? You're darn right I heard about it." He went on to say, "I had expected this for the last -- honestly, to tell you the truth, I thought it was going to be three or four weeks ago."

Were you able to determine how Mr. Giuliani received this information?

HOROWITZ: Senator, I'm not going to speak to any of the investigative steps we may or may not have taken for the very reasons we describe in here about what's appropriate to do in terms of following policy.

FEINSTEIN: Well, what actions, if any, have been taken against the individuals responsible for disclosing this information to Mr. Giuliani?

HOROWITZ: As we noted in the report, our investigative work is still ongoing. We put this in here so that the readers could see our concern about the numbers of contacts with media and what was going on systemically. But I'm not in a position at this point to speak to any investigative outcomes.

FEINSTEIN: Do you believe disclosures of this sort, especially during an election, are appropriate? Are they lawful?

HOROWITZ: I don't believe disclosures of this sort are appropriate at any time in a criminal investigation. I was a former prosecutor. Worked extensively with FBI agents in my prior capacity, and all of us would have thought that was entirely inappropriate.

FEINSTEIN: The report says that you, and I quote, "will separately report on those investigations as they are concluded." Does this mean that this league investigation is ongoing?

HOROWITZ: Our work is ongoing, and when we can do that consistently with the I.G. Act, the law and policy, we will do so.

[14:49:44] FEINSTEIN: Republicans in Congress have pressured the Department of Justice to reveal details about Special Counsel Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the '16 election and possible obstruction of justice. As a result, sensitive information about this ongoing investigation is now in the public domain. For example, a possible confidential informant has been identified. Is disclosure of the identity of a possible source in an ongoing investigation consistent with the "stay silent principle" identified in the report?

HOROWITZ: Senator, I obviously can't speak to any specific factual circumstances beyond what's in our report. I haven't done work on it. I will say, just generally, it goes to my prior answer as well, which is, if there's an ongoing investigation, disclosing information related to that through leaks is inappropriate.

FEINSTEIN: Thank you.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

GRASSLEY: Senator Hatch?

SEN. ORRIN HATCH, (R), UTAH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Listen to these findings from the inspector general's report on the handling of the Clinton e-mail investigation. Error of judgment. Serious error of judgement. Extremely poor judgement. And a gross lack of professionalism. These are conclusions that were drawn respectively about the conduct of former attorney general of the United States, the former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and FBI special agents assigned to one of the highest- profile investigations in the bureau's history. In my opinion, this is appalling. And the significance of these findings cannot be overstated. The report identifies missteps at every level at the Department of Justice from our nation's chief federal law enforcement officer to special agents in the field.

Director Wray, I have to say that I was disappointed by your response last week to the inspector general report. And while you admitted that the report found errors of judgment, you took pains to emphasize that the report focused on, quote, "a small number of FBI employees," unquote. Well, let's remember who that small number of employees was. The director of the FBI, the deputy director of the FBI, the leader of both the Clinton e-mail investigation and the Russia investigation. These were not junior field agents. These were senior agency officials. They were running two of the most important investigations in the bureau's history and they were insubordinate, grossly unprofessional in the communications and even untruthful. So let's not pretend that this was some one-off problem. There's a serious problem with the culture at FBI headquarters.

Your statement last week suggests we shouldn't worry too much about the events detailed in the inspector general report because the report focuses on a small group of individuals and events. Well, I think that's exactly backwards. If we can look at only one or two investigations and find this much bias and unprofessionalism, I can only imagine what else is out there and what the inspector general found about the conduct of senior bureau leadership. I'd have to say that he found out that it would certainly, in my opinion, be damming.

How can you ensure Congress and the American people that you are taking seriously the problems identified when your very first response to the report was to downplay its significance?

WRAY: Senator, I don't intend in any way to downplay the significance of the report.

HATCH: I don't think you do, but I'd like to know why.

WRAY: Right. And I think the fact that the very first press conference I've held in my 10 months as an FBI director is on this, that's a measure of how important I think this is. Let's start that.

Second, the steps that I've outlined that we're going to be taking are very significant, including, just as an example, but I could go on and on, convening every single SES employee in the entire FBI to come for a full day of training specifically focused on this as a measure of how seriously I take this. We'll have the people whose conduct is highlighted in the report handled through our disciplinary process and held accountable as is appropriate.

But my comments the other day are a measure of my view of the FBI. I don't have to imagine what happens in the FBI. I see the FBI up close every day, investigation after investigation after investigation, including in Utah, including in the states of every state representative up on this dais, and I can tell you that the conduct, the character, the principle that I see in those people every day is extraordinary and would be an inspiration to the members of this committee, and that was my point.

[14:55:02] HATCH: OK. There should be no doubt that these errors cast a cloud over the FBI's handling of the Clinton e-mail investigation and the investigation's credibility.

Now even more troubling is the irreparable harm for neutral fact finding and political independence. Where do we go from here? You've kind of indicated that.

WRAY: I think we start by reminding everyone in the FBI, which as I said, I think the vast, vast, vast majority of people that work there already know this, but I'm not going to leave that to doubt.

HATCH: OK.

WRAY: That objectivity and the appearance of objectivity have to permeate everything we do. That starts with much of the lessons that have been described in this report, chronicle, that starts with being focusing on not just the result but on the way you get to the result. That means following our processes, following out guidelines, following our long-established norms --

(CROSSTALK)

HATCH: I want to thank Inspector General Horowitz and, you, FBI Director Wray, for being here today to help answer that question.

I want to focus on two issues identified in the report. The first is improper disclosures to the media, and the second is the political bias evidenced in text messages between FBI employees.

The FBI has a policy that strictly limits the employees who are authorized to speak to the media. This is appropriate for any organization that quietly investigates with an eye towards prosecution in a court of law rather than the court of public opinion. The inspector general found that this policy was widely ignored by employees at all levels of the FBI. The report goes so far as to describe a culture of unauthorized media contacts including instances where FBI employees improperly received tickets, golf outings, drinks, and other benefits from reporters. Now as you know, this is totally inappropriate.

Director Wray, attachments to the report identify more than 50 FBI employees, 50, who apparently had unauthorized contact with members of the media. If the inspector general identified 50 employees in connection with this review of this one investigation, a counterintelligence investigation no less, I'm afraid that the number of employees engaged in such unauthorized conduct across the bureau is likely to be far greater. Now clearly, additional action is needed to identify other personnel engaged in leaks and unauthorized media contacts. I'm not interested in hearing about additional training, which is certainly necessary, but not sufficient.

Director Wray, what are you doing to identify those who violate the FBI's policy and what consequences will those employees face?

WRAY: So, a couple things we're doing that I'll mention. First, we -- in addition to creating a new policy to make it painfully and crystally clear so no one can have any excuse that they don't know what the rules are, I changed -- I put in place a new policy in November.

Second, we've created a dedicated leak investigation unit inside the bureau specifically focused to ensure that those investigations have priority.

Third, we have an insider threats center that we have elevated to the assistant director level that's focused on pulling together all that -- because these kinds of issues raise insider threat type of concerns from my view.

I've also asked the head of our OPR to report back to me promptly about whether or not there are additional things that she would need to make sure the penalties are even more severe. And we won't hesitate to throw the book at people who violate our rules on this.

HATCH: OK. Thank you.

I think my time is up.

GRASSLEY: Senator Leahy?

SEN. PATRICK LEAHY, (D), VERMONT: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

It's an interesting hearing in practice. Irony doesn't begin to describe President Trump and his allies exploiting this report for partisan gain. Clearly, Mr. Strzok's text messages were inappropriate. But if the FBI were trying to throw the election to Hillary Clinton, it could not have done a worse job. The front pages of every newspaper leading up to the election, every single misstep by the FBI damaged Hillary Clinton, helped Donald Trump. All FBI personnel, including Mr. Strzok, kept quiet about the Russian investigation, as they should. The same can't be said about the Clinton investigation. Rudy Giuliani, James Kallstrom, apparently, even Devin Nunes received highly sensitive leaks. Leaks from the New York field office may have contributed to Director Comey's decision to send the now infamous October 28th letter, a letter that could not have come at a worse time, and likely impacted the election.

Last year, I asked him, Director Comey specially, about leaks to Mr. --