Transcript for Top House intel Democrat weighs in on Nunes' Russia probe comments
United. I saw what do I must tell yourself what do I very much appreciated the fact that. They found what they found but I shall what do. Newman talking about how. Team T is using yesterday's bombshell some balance claims this and they were right about wiretapping but the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. How much different take (%expletive) all of this and congressman that ship is joining us via satellite Hank congressmen welcome up. Thank you six Leon. Cole also. All of this insanity happen yesterday I mean what do you guys feel about it. I did you feel blind side and you've how do you Phelan about it. Well you know silly blind side but mostly just mystified. Here we're trying to conduct a credible investigation. Into a variety of allegations involving Russian hacking of our elections including whether there were trump but campaign associates who colluded in some way with the Russians. And to have our chairman that take evidence that he received perhaps in the dead of night. And not bring it to the committee and we still haven't seen it today neither Democrats nor Republicans. But bring it to the White House when its associates of this presidents who were under investigation. It was just a complete. A head scratch your and then. Today I saw an interview. With the chair where his asked whether he got the materials from the White House and he wasn't willing to rule that out so it just gets more and more mystifying. And what concerns me is you know we need to do a real investigation of this. And we need to do a credibly we need to do it in nonpartisan way. And we can't have or chair. Not acting as a compromise. As a surrogate for the administration that he has to either of the surrogate role or the chairman role but he can't do both. Congress a guy yeah. Today that unions privately apologized to the Intel committee it is not true attention to that. You know we did have a private discussion in the committee among all the members I really don't want to go into the private discussions but. Certainly can say that you know we shared our concerns with the chair in with a majority about. What happened yesterday and how the investigation is. Being conducted we expressed our continuing desire to. Get to the bottom of this all the facts where they may but. The actions of yesterday really put a significant cloud over where that's possible and I think it did underscore. Something we've been urging really all along and that is we really do need an independent commission. Completely separate apart from congress that conducted that this. And expect to see those reports and when can be find out what was actually in his reports which we actually to this date to this minute to not know where they came from. You know I don't know we certainly ask the chairman that he wasn't able to tell us so when we might get them if we might get them. Right now the only basis we have to know about anything in them is what the chair has related. So obviously it's impossible to evaluate any of this. I can't say even on the basis of what the chairman has said are represented about these. Intercepts. Nothing in it vindicates the president in any way by even according to chairman's own. Representation. It didn't involve the Russian investigation there's no evidence that the intercepts were anything but lawfully collected which means that they weren't targeted at the president. So nothing in that contradicts what the director of the FBI said the director of the NSA said the Department of Justice said which is essentially. There's no basis for the president slanderous accusations. Against his predecessor. Okay this is. What do you think is his motivation and as he went to opt for Ryan before you went to the press before you and of course he went to trop. Before you went trop of course is the subject of the investigation. What was the motivation isn't it. You know I really don't know you'd have to ask him that I I have to. Imagine that they he's having difficulty separating his role as a surrogate for the administration. With his role as a committee chairman that has to do and very important. Arguably heavily important investigation and he's Oakley gonna have to make that decision but he can't do both of these roles and it really compromises the work that we're doing. I think members on boasts is sides of the aisle want to get to the bottom of this. They realize this really merits a serious investigation. But this just made that that much more difficult. You know he's beans newness has been so critical of leaks did he did he totally contradicts himself by. Giving out this information including basically revealing that the alleged wiretapping was legal and done under a fight the Warren. Will we shouldn't be talking about finds a surveillance. And I think all the members including the chairman have to be. Very careful about that there is certainly an irony here. And again in the administration has been so critical about anybody talking about finds that particularly in the context of Michael Flynn. That the chair would now start talking about buys a publicly. And mentioned that members of the trump transition team were incidentally collected that's really not something to be talking about publicly. So you're actually right I think it is more than a bit ironic. Congressman necessary means do you think it was ever appropriate that a former trump transition team member was heading up this investigation in the first place. And do you think the chairman should now be removed from his role on the committee. I wouldn't say that you know someone's involvement in the campaign papers say makes them unqualified to work on investigation even chair investigation. But if you take actions like this word calls into question your objectivity calls into question whether you'll be willing to conduct the kind of investigation that's necessary. Then it's a real problem. At the end of the day it's the speaker's decision about whether he thinks the chair can continue and be credible in this investigation. But I will say this I think yesterday more than any single event. Underscored why an independent commission is so essential here. The congress can continue to do its investigation and should. But I would sleep better knowing that there was a body that was truly a part from the congress. That had no political considerations to weigh that was looking at all this evidence. Congressman you need yesterday what some idea eat a provocative statement by saying that there is more than circumstantial evidence now that the trump can't colluded with Russia Senator John McCain was critical that others have been critical that. Can you defend that statement. Yes and I you know I don't view it is the same bombshell that apparently they did. Look I've said that I thought there was circumstantial evidence of collusion or coordination. And that there was direct evidence of deception. I know one had an issue with that I don't think anyone really contested that. On the basis of the information we keep getting I can say in my opinion it's now not purely circumstantial. We had the FBI director testify in open session about this acknowledge an FBI investigation obviously this is now public. And I think it's fair to say that that FBI investigation is justified. That that wouldn't be done on the basis of not credible allegations and and so I think it's appropriate to talk in general terms about the evidence. But I don't think it's important I don't think it's appropriate for us to go into specifics and say. This is what we know we you know from this piece of class when information. We're this what we know from this witness. But I do think in this investigation where the public is hungry for information is important that we try to keep the public in the loop that's why we're having public hearings. Well you know you all have to hear your work cut out for you got this health care bill you vote on tonight and you know. Let's hope that it does not pass as it's not a good bill I. It's. Next time you know when this sort of dust settles you should come up and just sit with us because I think cute you might have a good time with us that we can pepper you with lots more questions. Clarkson.
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