- Views & Opinions
The House Intelligence Committee on March 20 held an unusual open hearing on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and related issues.
Here are key quotes from the hearing, where FBI director James Comey and National Security Agency director Admiral Michael Rogers testified:
“With respect to the president’s tweets about alleged wiretapping directed at him by the prior administration, I have no information that supports those tweets, and we have looked carefully inside the FBI. The Department of Justice has asked me to share with you that the answer is the same for the Department of Justice and all its components.” — James Comey
“Let me be clear: we know there was not a wiretap on Trump Tower. However, it’s still possible that other surveillance activities were used against President Trump and his associates.” — Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes
“I have been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election and that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts.” — Comey
“That would be expressly against the construct of the Five Eyes (intelligence-sharing) agreement that’s been in place for decades. … I have seen nothing on the NSA side that we engaged in any such activity.
“The claim “clearly frustrates a key ally of ours.” — Rogers
“Numerous current and former officials have leaked purportedly classified information in connection to these questions. We aim to determine who has leaked or facilitated leaks of classified information so that these individuals can be brought to justice.” — Nunes
“Leaks have always been a problem. I read over the weekend something from George Washington and Abraham Lincoln complaining about them. But I do think in the last six weeks, couple of months, there’s been … a lot of conversation about classified matters that’s ending up in the media.” — Comey.
“I think that was a fairly easy judgment for the community. Putin hated Secretary Clinton so much that the flip side of that coin was he had a clear preference for the person running against the person he hated so much.” — Comey
“They’ll be back in 2020. They may be back in 2018 and one of the lessons they may draw from this is that they were successful because they introduced chaos and division and discord.” — Comey
“We will never know whether the Russian intervention was determinative in such a close election. … What does matter is this: The Russians successfully meddled in our democracy and our intelligence agencies have concluded they will do so again.” — Ranking committee Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle, Warren Strobel and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)