President Trump, Intelligence Committee, House Intelligence Committee discussed on The Lawfare Podcast
Yes see of thirty nine if you were to receive credible evidence as deny that individual was undermining icy objectively and furthering agenda. Would you immediately removed individual? Yes and De will you or any of your staff emplo impose a political litmus test for icy employees? No finally if confirmed would you? Reassure your workforce that loyalty tests are not allowed with the IC. I won't if such occurs. Would you commit to informing Congressional Intelligence Committee committees and immediately stopping such efforts? I would thank you next question. Can you give me a case where you have ever publicly differed with this president? Yes please do briefly gamble. I can think of most recently was. I think it was October. The president's decision to withdraw troops from Syria there was a a resolution considered regarding daddy issue. that I supported that I think was referred to by some as a rebuke of the president. I think I think I think I'm right on the specifics of that. I'm sure there are. I don't recall any as I'm sitting here in your position as a member of the House intelligence committee or as the nominee for deny. Have you seen any intelligence that finds with high confidence? Were any confidence for that matter. That the corona virus originated in a lab in Wuhan rather than the market. I have not thank you. You can fight go ahead. I only wanted to caveat in the sense of because of the pandemic I want to say that the last classified briefing I had was sometime in. It's been awhile since I've had a classified briefing on the crow virus. Pandemic that's accurate macabbi. That's the answer that I gave this morning myself. You like me. You have not seen any intelligence product indicates. I have not thank you. You took the oath this morning from the chair and said You will agree to appear and share information with the committee. Will you appear before this committee if the president or an official in the White House tells you not to of course and you will bring us? I think there's been some the worldwide threat hearing when I am not again. Not Caveat and say You gave her the right answer. I I wouldn't qualify and I'll leave it alone but the point was I want to make sure we were talking about to appear in connection with a worldwide threat here. No I'm talking about just this committee request. Your attendance to testify in the White House. Says do not go will euch honor the oath you took this morning. I will I will. I understood the question properly. Thank you. The president has stated that he feels that so called enhanced interrogation such as waterboarding has value in produces valuable results. John McCain has said repeatedly that it does not who do you agree with McCain or the President I follow the law always follow the law? And so you belong ordering is a violation of the anti-torture law my understanding that the law makes clear in several places that torture is illegal and and and that would be That would be the financing in the army field manual and this has nothing to do with your personal opinion. You're you're simply saying I'll follow the law. But if the law was changed to allow waterboarding or or other forms of torture would you say that was okay? I I think the obligation that I have. Senator is to follow the law The constitution law of the country is the oath that I take in any role as deny as a member of Congress. I don't WanNa get into policy decisions about. Which deny should not be involved in. I'm a policymaker now but you're considering me for role where I would not be making policy or I would I would follow the law as legislators create laws or as the Supreme Court interprets those laws. Thank you one final question in your if you were running for reelection and your campaign manager shared pulling data which included cross tabs and detailed information about where your campaign stood with a with an agent of a foreign government. Would you believe that was okay? No thank much of what we know about. The virus is the result of publicly reported information or social media evidence from Wuhan in the early days and so forth. How critical is the role of that kind of unclassified public information in the analysis that our intelligence committee should be conducting? It's vitally important. I think one of the things that we're seeing is oh sent or open source. Intelligence is increasingly valuable and we need to find ways to make sure that we're collecting it and analyzing a huge because it's large sets of data that we need to be processing there and so it's a challenge but it's a it's a tremendous source of information and should be utilized by the intelligence community going forward. I couldn't agree more. I think there's always a bias towards thinking it. If a secret is not stolen through clandestine means than it's not valuable information when all of these pieces of information whether we're talking about the Chinese corona virus or what Russia is up to in Europe or Ron's nuclear program stitch together into a mosaic mosaic. Usually is a question of circumstantial evidence that you can use commonsense to reach the best conclusion. Not Direct Evidence. Not conclusive proof. You want to respond. I was just GonNa say to give you an example of how we might sort of forward looking on this issue open source intelligence. If we used open source intelligence tools we may be able to get earlier. Warnings around pandemics like this viruses like this as their as their beginning. So those are the types of when I was referring to how the intelligence community can can leverage open source information. That's what I was referring to last week. The Acting Director of National Intelligence released a statement saying the intelligence community will continue to rigorously examined emerging information and intelligence to determine whether the outbreak began through contact with infected animals or if it was a result of an accident at a laboratory. Wuhan The New York Times subsequently reported that senior National Security Official National Security Council officials urge the intelligence community to collect additional information to the extent possible on the origin and cause of the Wuhan Pandemic The New York Times and other media outlets have somehow suggested that would be inappropriate. Is it inappropriate for the president to set collection priorities on? What he thinks is urgent national questions and for. Us deny to drive those priorities as best you can given the fact that our intelligence officers are able to gather that would be appropriate. Senators congressman the. Us intelligence community has an important role in morning. Our leaders about pandemics cove in nineteen because outbreaks of course and not just a public health matter but also a matter of national security based on public statements and reporting alone. Do you believe that president trump has accurately conveyed the severity of the threat of covert nineteen to the American people? Are you saying presently? We are in the midst of the pandemic presently correct so repeat the question because I guess I'm misunderstanding. I'm sorry has he. Accurately reflected the status of the pandemic conveyed the severity of the pandemic. Yes as he accurately conveyed verity of covert nineteen to the American people. I believe so you do. What would you do if confirmed if you believed? The president was not taking the warnings from the intelligence community. Seriously senator the intelligence that that I would deliver as the director of National Intelligence. The statements that The president said this. None of those things will influence the intelligence that I deliver to this committee and the committee in the House and members of Congress. I made the point in my opening. This is one of the highest. The first priorities is getting answers to the American people who deserve answers and you do as a as a member of the oversight committee and I do if I'm still a member of the Oversight Committee and whatever those answers are Senator. You will get them. They won't be shaded regardless of what anyone says. I will say this One of the things that I've learned as a nominee is that members of the intelligence community will tell you things that they wouldn't tell you. As a as an oversight as an overseer of intelligence and the thing that I want to clear to all the members here is the concern of the of the men and women in the intelligence community is they don't WanNa be leveraged by anyone on either side of the aisle and with all due respect Sir in my experience being on the Intelligence Committee the United States Senate. The intelligence community is a community has been pretty forthright with us when we ask them questions. In Our role of oversight. So what exactly are you referring to just saying the perspective as the conversation that I've had over the past few months as I've been considered for this I've had exposure to a lot of intelligence community members who have just expressed the sentiment that they want to do their job. They want to deliver the best intelligence. And they don't want to be leveraged from anyone on either side of the aisle. That was the only point I wasn't wasn't directed at you. Senator at all. I didn't take it that way. Okay Okay and then the. A in it's in our forth report on Russian interference in should the two thousand sixteen election. This committee has once again. Reaffirmed the unanimous consensus of seventeen intelligence agencies. That Russia interfered with the aim of benefitting then candidate trumps political campaign however you and other allies of the president have sought to cast doubt on the consensus conclusions raising concerns for many of us about your ability to be unbiased which is a necessity to head the Diana will you accept the intelligence provided to you by the men and women of the intelligence community no matter your personal beliefs and do you accept. The findings of the Intelligence Committee commit community as it relates to the Russian interference in the two thousand sixteen presidential election. So to your first question. I will accept to the second question about specific to Russia. Twenty seventeen plenty. Sixteen I'm sorry. Two Thousand Sixteen Earlier in the I made the point that I respect both committees. I think there's a difference of opinion between the House Intelligence Committee and this committee in terms of one specific. Finding I wasn't on the as you point out. I was not on the house. Intelligence Committee at the time of that respectable committees But I haven't seen the underlying intelligence with respect to that one. Finding you touched on point with senator cotton. I'd like to follow up that I think is critically important and the term. I use this conclusion shopping. It's in the nature of any executive to want to be told that intelligence supports whatever policy direction. They want to go in and the this is a constant struggle. It goes back. I don't care whether the president is John F. Kennedy at in Vietnam or Lyndon Johnson in Vietnam George W Bush had welcomes weapons of mass destruction. This is a this is a human nature problem the king said who will rid me of this meddlesome priest and a couple of nights went and killed Beckett. The president doesn't have to give an order. That's my concern and and that's where it worries me that the president apparently has been pressing the intelligence community to find what he wants them to find. The question should be where the virus come from. Not Don't you think it came from a lab? Do you see a distinction. I'm trying to make and why this is so crucial in. It's crucial to the president or herself. Because if they taint the intelligence before it gets to them they're GONNA make bad decisions and we're protecting. The president themselves by by guarding against this Human Nature Problem. Every executive wants to hear what they want to hear. Every person that works for that executive wants.