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Senate Hearing on The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Aired 11:3-12p ET

Aired June 7, 2017 - 11:30   ET

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


COLLINS: And I'm interested in what process you go through to decide whether or not to undertake a task that's been assigned by the president -- by any president.

ROGERS: So, off the top of my head, I would say we comply unless we have reason to believe that we are being directed to do something that is illegal, immoral or unethical.

COLLINS: Thank you.

ROGERS: In which case, we will not execute that.

BURR: Senator Heinrich?

HEINRICH: Director McCabe, did -- did Director Comey ever share details of his conversations with the president with you? In particular, did Director Comey say that the president had asked for his loyalty?

MCCABE: Sir, I'm not going to comment on conversations the director may have had with the president. I know he's here to testify in front of you tomorrow. You'll have an opportunity to ask him those...

(CROSSTALK)

HEINRICH: I -- I'm asking you, did you have that conversation with Director Comey?

MCCABE: And I've responded that I'm not going to comment on this conversation.

HEINRICH: Why not?

MCCABE: Because -- for two reasons. First, the -- as I mentioned, I'm not in a position to talk about conversations that Director Comey may or may not have had with the president.

HEINRICH: I'm not asking you that. I'm asking about conversations that you had with Director Comey.

MCCABE: And I think that those matters also begin to fall within the scope of -- of issues being investigated by the special counsel, and -- wouldn't be appropriate for me to comment on those today.

HEINRICH: So you're not invoking the executive privilege, and obviously it's not classified. This is the oversight committee. Why would it not be appropriate for you to share that conversation with us?

MCCABE: I think I'll let Director Comey speak for himself tomorrow in front of this committee.

HEINRICH: We certainly look forward to that. But I think your -- your unwillingness to share that conversation is -- is an issue.

Director Coats, you've said as well that it would be inappropriate to answer a simple question about whether the president asked for your assistance in blunting the Russia investigation.

I -- I don't care how you felt. I'm not asking whether you felt pressured. I'm simply asking, did that conversation occur?

COATS: And once again, Senator, I will say that I -- I do believe it's inappropriate for me to discuss that in an open session.

HEINRICH: You realize -- and -- and obviously this is not releasing any classified information -- but you realize how simple it would simply be to say, "No, that never happened"? Why is it inappropriate, Director Coats?

COATS: I think conversations between the president and myself are, for the most part...

HEINRICH: You seem to apply that standard selectively.

COATS: ... no, I'm not applying it selectively. I'm -- I'm saying I don't think it's appropriate...

HEINRICH: You could clear an awful lot up by simply saying that never happened.

(CROSSTALK)

COATS: I -- I don't share -- I do not share with the general public conversations that I have with the president or many of my colleagues within the administration that I believe are -- should not be shared.

HEINRICH: Well, I think your unwillingness to answer a very basic question speaks volumes.

COATS: It's -- it's not a matter of unwillingness...

HEINRICH: Mr. Rosenstein...

(CROSSTALK)

COATS: ... Senator, it's a matter...

HEINRICH: It is a matter of unwillingness (ph). (CROSSTALK)

COATS: ... it's a matter of how I share it and whom I share to. And when there are ongoing investigations, I think it's inappropriate to...

(CROSSTALK)

COATS: ... involved in that (ph).

HEINRICH: So you don't think the American people deserve to know the answer to that question?

COATS: I think the investigations will determine that. And your part...

HEINRICH: Mr. Rosenstein, did you know, when you wrote the memo that was used as the primary justification for firing Director Comey, that the administration would be using it as a primary justification?

ROSENSTEIN: Senator, as I know you're aware, I have -- there are a number of documents associated with me that are in the public record. The memorandum I wrote concerning Director Comey is in the public record.

The order appointing the special counsel is in the public record. The press release I issued accompanying that order is in the public record. And a written version of the statement that I delivered to 100 United States senators...

HEINRICH: Were you aware that it would be...

(CROSSTALK)

HEINRICH: ... a (ph) primary justification for his firing by the...

(CROSSTALK)

ROSENSTEIN: Pardon me, Senator -- 100 United States senators and 435 congressmen -- is in the public record. I answered many questions in the closed briefings of the 100 senators...

(CROSSTALK)

HEINRICH: But you're not answering this question.

ROSENSTEIN: ... and, as I explained in those briefings, Senator, I support Mr. McCabe on this. We have a special counsel who is investigating -- now responsible for the Russia...

HEINRICH: OK. At this point, you filibuster better than most of my colleagues.

So I'm going to move on to another question and say that, given that the president stated that the FBI director -- that his firing was in response to investigations into Russia, which he made very clear in Lester Holt's interviews, you've talked with both the president and the attorney general about this firing.

In light of Mr. Sessions's recusal, what role did the attorney general play in that firing? And was it appropriate for him to write the letter that he wrote in this case?

ROSENSTEIN: I'm not trying to filibuster, Senator. I think I only took about 30 seconds but I -- I am not going to comment on that matter. I'm going to leave it to Special Counsel Mueller to determine whether that is within the scope of his investigation. And I believe that's appropriate for Mr. McCabe and me to do that, and we recognize...

(CROSSTALK)

HEINRICH: OK, so you can't comment on recusal and what's in and -- inside and outside the scope of that recusal?

(UNKNOWN): Mr. Chairman, let -- we ought to let the witness answer the question.

(UNKNOWN): (OFF-MIKE)

(UNKNOWN): Second the motion.

ROSENSTEIN: So I'm sorry, your specific question is what's in the recusal, and my understanding is the recusal you're referring to is also in the public record, and I believe speaks for itself.

HEINRICH: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

BURR: Senator Blunt?

BLUNT: Director McCabe, on May the 11th, when you were before this committee, you said that there has been no effort to impede the Russian investigation. Is that still your position?

MCCABE: It is, but let me clarify, Senator. I think you're referring to the exchange that I had with Senator Rubio. And my understanding -- at least my intention in providing that answer was whether or not the firing of Director Comey had had a negative impact on our investigation.

And my response was then, and is now, that the FBI investigated and continues to investigate, and now, of course, under the rubric of the special counsel, the Russia investigation in a appropriate and unimpeded way, before Director Comey was fired and since he's been gone.

BLUNT: Well, I think, as I recall that conversation, it was a discussion about whether there were plenty of resources, whether the funding was adequate. And what you were reported to have said -- I haven't looked at the exact transcript, but I have looked at the news article -- was that you were aware of no effort to impede the Russia investigation.

MCCABE: We did talk about resource issues and whether or not we had asked for additional resources to pursue the investigation. And I believe my response at the time was we had not asked for additional resources, and that we had adequate resources to pursue the investigation. That was true then. It's still true today.

BLUNT: And you would characterize your quote as -- "No effort to impede the Russian investigation," as still accurate?

MCCABE: That's correct.

BLUNT: On the 702 issue, when -- when the FBI wants to -- wants to follow up on or pursue a U.S. person in or outside the United States, what court do you go to get that to happen? Do you go to the FISA Court, as well?

MCCABE: If we are seeking -- collection under 702?

BLUNT: No, if -- well, if you're -- how -- how do you relate to 702? Do you ever seeks (ph) collection under 702?

MCCABE: Sure, yes, we do. So when -- well, so let me step back just a minute. So, of course, when the FBI seeks electronic surveillance collection on a U.S. person, we go to the FISA Court and get a Title I FISA order to do so.

If we have an -- a -- an open, full investigation on a foreign person in a foreign place, and the collection is for the purpose of collecting foreign intelligence, we can nominate that person, or that -- as we refer to it internally, the selector -- whether it's an e- mail address, or that sort of thing -- we can nominate that for 702 coverage. We convey that nomination to the NSA and they pursue the coverage under their authority.

BLUNT: But you would be the person that would pursue coverage for a U.S. person, either here or outside the United States?

MCCABE: That's correct, Senator. We are...

BLUNT: You being (ph) the FBI.

MCCABE: We are the U.S. person agency, that's right.

BLUNT: And, Admiral Rogers, Senator Feinstein mentioned that last year, 1,139 U.S. persons were -- the phrase we're using now -- unmasked for some purpose. Is that a number you agree with?

ROGERS: It's in the 2016 ODNI-generated transparency report. From memory, the number is actually 1,934 -- from memory.

FEINSTEIN: (OFF-MIKE) what I said.

ROGERS: Could be wrong, but...

(CROSSTALK)

BLUNT: I'm sorry, so I misheard. But 1,900 -- what would the number have been in 2015? ROGERS: To be honest, I don't know. I'd have to take that one for the record. I -- I do know that we didn't start with the -- the transparency commitment that we made, partnering with the DNI -- we didn't start that until the latter end of 2015.

So the 2015 data that's been published as a matter of public record is a subset of the entire calendar year. 2016 is the first calendar year where we have published all the data for the entire year.

BLUNT: Director Coats, do you have any information on that?

COATS: Well, I -- I've seen the number. I don't recall what it was, and I just asked my staff if we have it (ph)...

(CROSSTALK)

BLUNT: All right. I guess what I'm -- what I'm asking, and we can -- you can take this for the record, is, was there an increase in 2016? Did you have significantly more requests, based on your subset in '15, happen in '16 than you had had -- than you had had...

(CROSSTALK)

COATS: I don't know, off the top of my head. We'll take it for the record. But I will say this: 702 collection has continued. The amount of total collection has increased, generally, every year. It's more and more impactful for us. It generates more and more value.

BLUNT: And when you have -- when 702 generates information that would indicate there was a U.S. person involved in a -- in criminal activity, what do you do with that information?

COATS: If we become -- we report it to either -- to DOJ and the FBI, because we're not a criminal organization.

BLUNT: And what -- what do you do if you get that information at DOJ, Mr. Rosenstein? Information from a 702 collection...

(CROSSTALK)

ROSENSTEIN: ... if we become aware...

BLUNT: ... that clearly indicates there's a crime involving a U.S. person.

ROSENSTEIN: I -- I hesitate only because that's actually an FBI issue, so I would defer to Mr. McCabe.

BLUNT: All right. Mr. McCabe?

MCCABE: Sure.

So we take that referral, and if that's a U.S. person, we begin to build an investigation, aiming towards Title I FISA collection.

BLUNT: With adequate protections for U.S. persons in that entire chain...

MCCABE: Of course. BLUNT: ... of transmission of...

MCCABE: Of course.

BLUNT: ... of material?

MCCABE: That's right.

BLUNT: Thank you, Chairman.

BURR: Senator King.

KING: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

First, on 702, like Senator Feinstein, I want to express my support for this important tool for our intelligence agencies. I do have a concern, which we can discuss, perhaps, in closed session, about the -- the process by which American names which are incidentally collected are then queried. I'm concerned by the distinction between query and search, and where we run into the Fourth Amendment.

It strikes me as bootstrapping to say, "We collected it legally under 702, and then we can go and look at these American persons." And I'm -- I believe that the Fourth Amendment imposes a warrant requirement in between that step, which is not present in the present process. We can discuss that at greater length.

Mr. McCabe, I -- I'm puzzled by your refusal to answer Senator Heinrich's question about a conversation you may have had with Director Comey. What's the basis of your refusal to answer that question?

MCCABE: Sir, as I stated, I think, first, I can't sit here and tell you whether or not that -- those conversations that you're referring to...

KING: Why not? Do you not remember them?

MCCABE: No, no -- I'm sorry, sir. I can't -- I don't know whether conversations and -- along the lines that you've described fall within the purview of what the special counsel is now investigating.

KING: Is there some prohibition in the law that I'm not familiar with that you can't discuss an item in -- that you've been asked, directly, a question?

MCCABE: It would not be appropriate for me, sir, to discuss issues that are potentially within the purview of the special counsel's investigation.

KING: And that's the basis of your refusal to answer this question?

MCCABE: Yes, sir, and -- that and knowing, of course, that Director Comey will be sitting behind this table tomorrow.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: So you -- it's your position that the special counsel's entitled to ask you questions about this, but not a -- an oversight committee of the United States Congress?

MCCABE: It is my position that I have to be particularly careful about not stepping into the special counsel's lane, as they have now been authorized by the Department of Justice...

(CROSSTALK)

MCCABE: ... to investigate these matters.

KING: I don't understand why the special counsel's lane takes precedence over the lane of the United States Congress in an investigative and oversight committee. Can you explain that distinction? Why does the special counsel get deference, and not this committee?

MCCABE: Sir, I'd be happy to...

(CROSSTALK)

KING: ... some legal basis for the distinction?

MCCABE: I would be happy to take that matter back, to discuss it more fully with my general counsel and with the department. But right now that's the...

KING: On the record, I would like a legal justification for your refusal to answer the question today, because I think it's a straightforward question. It's not involving discussions with the president, it's involving discussions with Mr. Comey.

The -- gentlemen, Mr. -- Director Coats and Admiral Rogers -- I think you testified, Admiral Rogers, that you did discuss today's testimony with someone in the White House?

ROGERS: I said I asked what -- did the White House intend to evoke (ph) executive privileges associated with any interactions between myself and the president of the United States.

KING: And what was the answer to that question?

ROGERS: I -- to be honest, I didn't get a definitive answer, and both myself and the DNI are still talking...

(CROSSTALK)

KINGS: Then I'll ask both of you the same question. Why are you not answering these questions? Is there an invocation by the president of the United States of executive privilege? Is there, or not?

ROGERS: Not that I'm aware of.

KING: Then why are you not answering? ROGERS: Because I feel it is inappropriate, Senator.

KING: I -- what you feel isn't relevant, Admiral. What's -- what -- what you feel isn't the answer.

ROGERS: I stand accountable...

(CROSSTALK)

KING: The answer is -- why are you not answering the questions? Is it an invocation of executive privilege? If there is, then let's know about it. If there isn't, answer the questions.

ROGERS: I stand by the comments that I've made. I'm not interested in repeating myself, sir. And I don't mean that in a -- in a -- in a contentious way.

KING: Well I do mean it in a contentious way.

ROGERS: Yes, sir.

KING: I don't understand why you're not answering our questions. You can't -- when -- when you were -- when you were confirmed before the Armed Services Committee, you took an oath: Do you solemnly swear to give the committee the truth, the full truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

ROGERS: I do.

KING: You answered yes to that.

ROGERS: And I've also answered that those conversations were classified, and it is not appropriate in an open forum to discuss those classified conversations.

KING: What is classified about a conversation involving whether or not you should intervene in the FBI investigation?

ROGERS: Sir, I stand by my previous comments.

KING: Mr. Coats, same series of questions. What's the basis for your refusal to answer these questions today?

COATS: The basis is that -- what I've previously explained. I do not believe it is appropriate for me to get into it...

(CROSSTALK)

KING: What's that basis? I'm not satisfied with "I do not believe it is appropriate" or "I do not feel I should answer." I want -- I want to understand a legal basis. You swore that oath to tell us the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. And today, you are refusing to do so.

What is the legal basis for your refusal to testify to this committee? COATS: I'm not sure I have a legal basis, but I'm -- I'm more than willing to sit before this committee and in it's -- in -- during its investigative process in a closed session and answer your question.

KING: Well, we're going to be having a closed session in a few hours. Do you commit to me that you're going to answer these questions in a direct and unencumbered way?

COATS: Well, that -- that closed session you're going to have in a few hours involves the staff going over the technicalities of a number of these issues, and doesn't involve us. But...

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Well, is it your testimony that...

(CROSSTALK)

KING: ... when you are before this committee in a closed session, you will answer these questions directly and unequivocally and without hesitation?

COATS: I -- I plan to do that. But I do have -- I do have to work through the legal counsel at the White House relative to whether or not they're going to exercise executive (OFF-MIKE).

KING: Admiral Rogers, will you answer these questions in a closed session?

ROGERS: I likewise respond as the DNI has. I certainly hope that that is what happens. I believe that's the appropriate thing. But I do have to acknowledge, because of the sensitive nature and the executive privilege aspects of this, I need to be talking to the general counsel and the White House.

I hope we come to a position where we can have this dialogue. I welcome that dialogue, sir.

KING: I hope so, too. And I would just add, in conclusion, that both of you testified you had never been pressured under three years (ph). I would argue that you have waived executive privilege by, in effect, testifying as to something that didn't happen.

And I believe you opened the door to these questions. And I -- I -- I -- it is my belief you are inappropriately refusing to answer these questions today.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

BURR: Before I turn to Senator Lankford, let me say that the vice chairman and I have had conversations with acting Attorney General Rosenstein when the special counsel was named.

And, as I had shared with the members of this committee prior to that, that as we carried out an investigation, there would come a point in time, either with an investigation that was currently ongoing at the FBI, or, if there was a special counsel, with the special counsel, where there would be avenues that this committee could not explore.

And it was my hope that already the vice chair and I would've had that conversation with the special counsel. We have not. We've made the request. We intend to have it. And I think that both of us anticipated that we would reach this point at -- at some point in the investigation.

We -- we are there, where there are some things that will fall into the special counsel and/or an active investigation. Vice Chairman.

WARNER: Let me just say, though, that, at this point, we've not had that conversation with Mr. Mueller. We've not been waved off on any subject, and the way I'm hearing all of you gentlemen is that Mr. Mueller has not waved you off from answering any of these questions. Is that correct?

COATS: I've had no conversations with Mr. Mueller. I've -- I've been out -- out of the country for the last nine days...

WARNER: I would just let you (ph)...

(CROSSTALK)

COATS: ... so I haven't had an opportunity (ph) to talk to him.

WARNER: ... have -- have any of you had -- because if you've not have questions waved off with Mr. Mueller, I think, frankly -- and I understand your commitment to the administration -- but that Senator King, Senator Heinrich and my questions deserve answers, and at some point, the American public deserves full answers.

BURR: I'm going to ask Mr. Rosenstein to address that.

ROSENSTEIN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I'm -- I'm sensitive to your desire to keep our answers brief, and my full answer, actually, would be very lengthy.

But my brief answer, from my perspective at the Department of Justice -- and I've been there for 27 years, and Mr. McCabe also is a career employee of the Department of Justice -- our default position is that, when there's a Justice Department investigation, we do not discuss it publicly.

That's our default rule, so nobody needs to...

WARNER: Is that the rule for the president of the United States, as well?

ROSENSTEIN: I -- I don't -- I don't know what...

WARNER: Because that is what the questions are being asked about, reports that nobody -- nobody has laid to rest here that the president of the United States has intervened directly in an ongoing FBI investigation. And we've gotten no answer from any of you. And frankly, we've at least heard from Director Coats and Admiral Rogers that they've not been asked to recuse an answer because of Director Mueller. And I don't understand why we can't get that answer.

ROSENSTEIN: So, I'm not answering for Director Rogers or Director Coats. I'm answering for Director McCabe and myself with regard to the Department of Justice.

BURR: Senator Lankford.

LANKFORD: Director McCabe, can I ask you -- do you feel confident at this point the FBI is fully cooperating with special counsel for any requests in communication and setting up of the coordination between the offices for documents, work products, insights, anything the special counsel -- as they're trying to get organized and get -- and get prepared for the investigations they're taking on?

Is everyone in the FBI fully cooperating with special counsel?

MCCABE: Absolutely, sir. I'm absolutely confident of that. We have a robust relationship with the special counsel's office, and we are supporting them with personnel and resources in any way they request.

LANKFORD: Thank you.

Admiral Rogers, this spring, NSA decided to stop doing "about" queries. That was a long conversation that's happened there. It's now come out into public about that conversation -- that that was identified as a problem. The court agreed with that, and that has been stopped.

What I need to ask you is who first identified that as a problem.

ROGERS: The National Security Agency did.

LANKFORD: OK. So how did you report that? Reported that to who? How did that conversation go once you identified we -- we're uncomfortable with this type?

ROGERS: So, in 2016, I had directed our office of compliance, let's do a fundamental baseline review of compliance associated with 702.

LANKFORD: OK.

ROGERS: We completed that effort, and my memory is I was briefed on something like October the 20th. That led me to believe the technical solution that we put in place is not working with the reliability that's necessary here (ph).

I then, from memory, and -- had (ph) through -- went to the Department of Justice and then on to the FISA Court. At the end of October -- I think it was something like the 26th of October -- and we informed the court we have a compliance issue here, and we're concerned that there's an underlying issue with the technical solution we put in place. We told the court we were going to need some period of time to work our way through that. The court granted us that time. In -- in return, the court also said, "We will allow you to continue 702 under the '16 authorizations, but we will not -- will not reauthorize '17 until you show us that you have addressed this."

We then went through an internal process, interacted with the Department of Justice as well as the court, and by March, we had come to a solution that the FISA Court was comfortable with. The court then authorized us to execute that solution and also, then, granted us authority for the '17 702 effort. LANKFORD: So you reported initially to the court, "This is an issue," or the court initially came to you and said, "We have an issue"?

ROGERS: I went to the court and said, "We have an issue."

LANKFORD: And the court said, "We agree, we have a problem as well"?

ROGERS: Check (ph).

LANKFORD: And then it got held up, went through the process of review, and then the court is now signed off on the other 16 (ph)?

ROGERS: That is correct.

LANKFORD: So how -- how does this harm your collection capabilities, to be able to not do the "about" collections?

ROGERS: So I -- I acknowledge that, in doing this, we were going to lose some intelligence value. But my concern was I just felt it was important -- we needed to be able to show that we are fully compliant with the law. And the technical solution we had put in place, I just didn't think was generating the level of reliability. And as a result of that, I said we need to make the change.

I will say this, and the -- FISA's court opinion also says the same thing. I also told the court at the time, if we can work that technical solution in a way it generates greater reliability, I would potentially come back to the Department of Justice and the court to recommend that we reinstitute it. And in fact the court acknowledged that in their certification.

LANKFORD: When you say greater reliability, tell me what you mean by that.

ROGERS: Because it was generating errors. Our -- our office of incompliance (ph) highlighted the specific number of cases in 2016. And I thought to myself, "Clearly it's not working as we think it is." We were doing queries unknowingly to the operator, in a handful of situations, against U.S. persons. And I just said, "Hey, that is not in accordance with the intent of (ph) the law."

LANKFORD: Yeah. Clearly -- clearly it's not. Not only the intent, it's actual statute itself that (ph)...

(CROSSTALK) ROGERS: Correct, right. The statute (ph).

LANKFORD: ... that -- that we protect U.S. persons from...

(CROSSTALK)

ROGERS: Yes, sir.

LANKFORD: ... foreign-directed.

So what I'm hearing from you is the accountability system worked.

ROGERS: Yes, sir.

LANKFORD: That -- the issue rose up, we're collecting, we do have information on U.S. persons. We don't want to get (ph) that information. Immediately, the process started going through to be able to stop it. The court then put the final stop on it. It was corrected, and then that's now cleared.

ROGERS: Yes, sir. And, in fact, we're purging the data as well. I don't know if (ph) we stopped doing it, but we're purging the data that we had collected under the previous authorization.

LANKFORD: So the issue on 702 -- most Oklahomans that I interact with don't know the term "702." But it -- if I asked them, "Should we collect information on terrorist organizations and terrorists overseas who are planning to carry out attacks on us and our allies?" They don't hesitate. They say absolutely we should do that.

Now, they don't want collection on themselves and their mom, but they absolutely want us to be able to target terrorists. And so the issue that I think we've been talking about, when we talk about 702 on this dais, is a normal conversation back home that, if we miss something internationally, everyone says, "I thought we were doing this. Why aren't we?"

So I fully appreciate the civil liberties conversation, the privacy questions. Those are things I'm also passionate about, and it's very interesting for me to be able to hear from you that you're passionate about and NSA is passionate about -- to make sure that we're not collecting on Americans.

So I appreciate that, and in this case, when it comes out in the public media that this has occurred, it actually shows the system itself worked. When there was a query going on that was collecting on Americans, it was stopped immediately, data's purged. But we're still continuing to be able to target on threats internationally, and I do appreciate that.

Thank you. I appreciate and yield back the time.

BURR: Senator Manchin?

MANCHIN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to thank all four of you for your service, and you all are held

at the highest -- I think, the highest regards by your -- by your colleagues and your peers, and I think that speaks volumes of the character of all four of you, and I appreciate that very much.

We have a committee here, which I'm so proud to be service (ph) -- I'm brand new on the committee, this is my first -- my first time at this, and I don't think there's a person up here that doesn't want to find out the facts and the truth and be able to go back home and explain to the Democrat and Republican colleagues and -- no matter what political persuasion -- that we have gotten the facts.

We got it from our intel, which we truly appreciate and respect the quality of job -- work that you do. And this is our findings. We're having a hard time getting there, as you can tell, and I respect where you all are coming from.

And I hope you could understand that, sooner or later, we're going to have to -- there has to be one element of this government that the public can look at and say, "This is not politically motivated. This is not a witch hunt."

No one's trying to harm anybody, we just want to do the business of our government and our country, and do the best that we can for that and make sure that they have the confidence in the people that they've put at the head and have elected. That's what we're trying to get to. Today's been very difficult -- my (ph) -- me sitting here listening to some of the answers and -- and inability to answer some of the questions.

If the intelligence committee in the Senate cannot get answers we know in an open setting like this, are these answers that we're asking -- the questions that were simply asked today, would they be given into a classified intel setting that we would have?

MANCHIN: Could you -- could you answer differently than what you're giving us in (ph) open session? I think, Director Coats, you said that you would be able to answer differently in (OFF-MIKE)?

COATS: I think I've made that very clear.

MANCHIN: Yes.

COATS: I've tried to (ph).

(CROSSTALK)

MANCHIN: Admiral Rogers, would you be...

ROGERS: ... And likewise, I certainly hope so.

MANCHIN: ... Mr. Rosenstein, would you?

ROSENSTEIN: Senator, speaking for Mr. McCabe and myself, you know, we have been involved in managing the criminal investigation. And so I would ask that you -- as Chairman Burr suggested, it's really appropriate for Director Mueller, since we've turned over control of that investigation to him, to make the determination in the first instance about what we can and can't speak about.

So I would encourage you to use Mr. Mueller as your point person as to whether or not it's appropriate to reveal that information.

MANCHIN: Let's just say the questions that was asked to Mr. McCabe -- I think they weren't anything on the investigation side. It was asked pretty personal and directly. Could you answer differently in -- in a classified setting, sir?

MCCABE: I would reiterate the DAG's comments that it's -- at this point, with the special counsel involved, it would be appropriate for the committee to -- to have an understanding with the special counsel's office as to where those questions would go.

But I would also point out that, as we have historically when we are investigating sensitive matters in which operational security is of utmost importance, members of the intelligence community typically come and brief the leadership -- congressional leadership on sensitive investigative matters.

We have done so. I have done so. Director Comey has done so prior to the appointment of the special counsel. And some of the questions that you have asked this morning were addressed in those closed, very restricted, very small settings.

MANCHIN: Well, let me say this -- that, if it would be the desire of the chairman and vice chairman, if we could, since we have a classified hearing scheduled for 2 o'clock this afternoon, would you all make yourself available?

Since it doesn't linger on -- there's been a lot of questions, a lot of anticipation and a lot of build-up -- anxiety, if you will -- I think you could really help an awful lot of us clear the day up, if you will.

BURR: If I could address the senator's question, this afternoon is set with technical people to walk us through 702.