tv House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes at Conservative Political... CSPAN February 25, 2018 6:32am-7:01am EST
go out, do what you do. do your job, do something, take a chance, be american. prove to people capitalism, this capitalistic system works. we have been the envy of the world for the past. we can do so in the future. take a chance, do what you want to do, be successful and the government will not be in your way if you want to do that. deneen:meeting in washington, d. [applause] >> very nice.
>> i don't know mr. chairman, i think they like you. [applause] rep. nunes: thank you very much. thank you for the warm welcome, i really appreciate it. >> you have been a longtime friend of the conservative movement. you're getting another award from us. i think what people most respect and know about you recently, is your courage in spending up to what looks to be a very troublesome set of facts. so thank you for that. [applause] in these days, it seems like news is breaking all the time. i think it is thus important for of the cpac attendance to know that there is news breaking right now with the news of this adam schiff memo. they will hear from you first. what do they need to know about what is going on and about the release of this memo? >> thank you. it just posted, the website
probably crashed. russian bots again, i am sure. [laughter] i would say, we actually wanted this out. it has been held for over two weeks. the fbi and the doj had told the democrats what was wrong with their memo, or their response to our memo, and they waited for 2 weeks before they actually did the redaction's necessary to get this out. we wanted it out because we think it is clear evidence that the democrats are not only trying to cover this up, but there are also colluding with parts of the government to help cover this up. i think that as you read it, you you will see personal attacks on myself, personal attacks on the chairman, with a lot of really interesting things that sound really bad, like what has been happening with the russian investigation over the course of the last year. what you are not going to see,
is anything that actually rejects what was in our memo. what was the point of our memo? the point of our memo was for one purpose only, that was to show that fisa of these had occurred. had occurred. to have a secret court getting abused like this is totally an acceptable it falls on the job of the legislative branch which created all of this, to provide oversight and let the american people know and all of our congressional colleagues know. so what you basically will read in the democratic memo is that they are advocating that it is ok for the fbi and the doj, to use political dirt paid for by one campaign, against the other campaign. i do not care who you are, republican, democrat, independent -- in the united states of america, that is unacceptable. [applause]
host: so you have two issues there. you have the fact that as you call it, fisa abuse, the abuse of this sacred trust that we put in our government to actually have the power to look at the most intimate areas of our life. you have the abuse of that number number one, then you have this question, the bold charge of a cover-up. covering up the fact that it ever happened. explaining it in a way that does not really give clarity to the american people. rep. nunes: let me give you an example of cover up. one of the things in the memo in , a footnote for the fisa court, they have put in a very complicated answer to something that was at the end of the application. saying that this was politically motivated.
you will all be able to read it shortly. would it not have been a lot easier to just say, hey, mr. judge, we want to let you know that the hillary clinton campaign and the democratic party paid a lawyer who hired a firm who hired a foreign agent to go to the russians to get dirt on president trump? it was have been a lot easier to just say that. we are not going to have a fisa court in this country any longer if the fbi and the doj will continue to obfuscate like that. host: i can speak on this but after september 11, extra steps were taken to allow the courts leeway to fight our enemies. we were told, when people said, what if anybody were to misuse this? i remember the answers even in
the corridors of previous republican administrations, that there would be many safeguards, that nobody could ever use it in a way that would be separate from our national security. do we not have these safeguards? >> let us make one thing clear. this is our ability to track down terrorists and bring them to justice. it is critically important. so is this court. what i believe happened, ultimately there is going to be an investigation done by somebody over at doj and f yet -- and fbi who can look at it all. [applause] rep. nunes: in that investigation, they will have to determine whether or not there was abuse or not, whether or not the law needs to be changed. and hold people accountable who did this abuse.
until that happens, i think you are going to see a very skeptical congress as it relates to what can and cannot be brought before the court. host: the one question i have, you have been courageous, you have stepped up. partly due because of this really important role that you have, to be the chair of the house intelligence committee. one of the most important jobs in congress. usually, it does not get a lot of press or attention. was the first thing that caused you to really go after this, to really go after the truth? what was the trigger? rep. nunes: there were a lot of flags. i would say that the first flag -- let me back up a little bit on this. let me tell you, on the house intelligence committee, we prefer to stay out of the press, at least the republicans do. we prefer to be done in the basement, helping out the
intelligence agencies, only making appearances when there is an issue of national emergency, or, when we need to go out and talk about things that the american people or congress need to know. that is the way that we normally did our work. let's talk about russia. in 2013, 2014, 2015, the republicans had been warning the obama administration that russia was a problem, and vladimir putin was a problem. not only that, that was an administration who -- a lot of people were talking about, what is the trump administration doing against the russian threat . let's talk about what the obama administration did with the policy that actually created and emboldened vladimir putin to be in a position to be such a threat. [applause] so, just a few fact that people
forget. 1, we went through a whole reset, we hit a reset button with hillary clinton. [laughter] then, we said that we were going because we were going to be friends with the russians. we went through a evaluation process of our military situation in europe. we abandoned a lot of our capability in the north atlantic in order to attract russian forces. we had the president who said on a hot mic to russians at the time and say hey, tell vladimir putin, he will have to wait until after the election. that was president obama who said that. at the same time, mitt romney in 2012 said that russia was a great threat, and president obama had the great line, it was really funny at the time, all
the media laughed about it, that the 80's wanted their foreign-policy back. something like that. everybody laughed. so, who created this russian threat? it was the last administration that put us in this position. [applause] but here's the kicker to all of this, it culminated finally with great frustration on my part, when in april of 2016, just months before the election, i came out and said on a national television that the biggest intelligence failure since 9/11, was our failure to understand putin's plans and intentions. this was in april of 2016. and now, all of a sudden, fast forwarding to now -- what were the signs that there could be a problem? it was by late summer when people were coming to me and saying, we could have a problem with the russians. oh, thank you, we have been
saying that now for four years, i am glad that you guys finally figured it out. then, after the presidential election, president trump is elected a couple of days later. i was asked to serve on the transition team. it was at that point i began getting accused by all sorts of media and platforms that i was some sort of secret russian agent. [laughter] if you had told me, of anybody in the congress, that i would be accused of being a russian agent, i would have been at the bottom of the list, after all the democrats in congress. [applause] now today, the media and the democrats would have you believe that the democrats control the media, because basically, it is one and the same -- they would have you believe that i am working with the kremlin. this is total nonsense. i said look, we will conduct an
investigation, and if we see collusion we still do not see , any evidence of collusion. host: we have seen a no evidence of republicans, colluding. is that fair? rep. nunes: absolutely. [applause] all of this that has happened the last year and a half, it really is something to be a part of, to be in the center of. i will tell you, the american people deserve to know the truth, and the house intelligence committee will continue to plow through our work with or without the support of the media, and we will get the facts. [applause] host: so the bigger the democrats and their allies in the national media make the charge about russian interference, which i know we all find repugnant in our election or in our society generally, the bigger they make the charge that there was apparently something untoward
about trump and russian collusion, it is important for all of us to remember, they are indicting the obama administration. the obama administration did not keep us safe. instead, they took the information and used it to go after team trump. is that a fair statement? rep. nunes: yes, there is clear evidence of collusion, you alluded to it. the only evidence we have of collusion, which is not circumstantial it's clear , evidence, it's not even circumstantial. people tried to get around it by saying it was a law firm that hired another guy. well, wait a second, this is money from the hillary clinton campaign, and the democratic party, making its way into the hands of an agent who was either paying russian agents or getting information from russian agents, that was dirt on the trump campaign.
that they of course, used later. it is clear evidence of collusion. there is nothing that is any clearer than that. and you would think some of you might want to do some research on that and figure out who really was colluding with russians. what are these contacts? well, you are the one who asked these questions, right? host: you asked a series of questions to some former officials. do you expect to get answers. rep. nunes: the media has not reported on this yet, but that is the next phase. early this week, we sent a questionnaire to what will likely be a couple dozen former members of the executive ranch -- the executive branch which ask very simple, straightforward questions like -- when did you first learn of the dossier? when did you learn that the democrats in the hillary clinton campaign had paid for the dossier?
did you be -- brief president obama on this? these are all questions, these are 10 simple questions. we hope by the end of next week, that we will have the answers, but i am not going to hold my breath. host: so we have this term, "cover-up." i keep thinking, i turn 50 this year, i'm getting old. i think about when i was told about watergate. there are all these terms out there that came out of that investigation. it seems like when there is a republican president, it seems like there was a lot of investigating -- i don't know if it is a coincidence or not -- is it fair to ask, what did president obama know? when was he briefed? was it after the fact? did they get direction from the white house? these are the answers that you are trying to get to with these questions. rep. nunes: we need to know all of the officials, at the time, when they knew about this. when we move forward, we will get through this as a country.
but we have to make sure people are held accountable, so that everyone knows that it's never going to be ok to take dirt from a foreign actor that was essentially made up out of whole cloth, and then use it against the other campaign. no matter whose campaign that is. [applause] we just cannot allow that to happen. there are a lot of people here, when you walk down the halls of cpac, you run into many military who are retired, return it law -- retired law enforcement, many people who work at the doj and fbi it is hard not to read , all the coverage of this and not feel like they have been tarnished by this politicization of these agencies. what do they do to fix this and get us on the right track? rep. nunes: i would like to say, the first thing that you have to do is admit that you have a problem. that would be a good start.
once that begins to happen, then you will start to see the types of reform that are needed. but i want to stress, it is just at the top. we do not have any evidence that anybody down below in your local field office was playing politics, playing politics at a level that was unprecedented. we do not see that. it will have to be christopher wray, the new director will have to take this upon himself to make sure that he brings back confidence of the american people. host: do you see that happening? rep. nunes: we will oversee it. [applause] host: at the beginning of this process a year ago, they did something that we call in kansas, they tried to "hogtie" you. as soon as you are making progress, going after the truth,
they started lobbing charges about you in order to stop you. >> it has turned into that. i think this is a great example of what you have seen as the collapse of the media. it is really sad. i think all of us have known that most of the media are left. for the most part, we tolerated it because you had many people who had certain standards that you could count on, that they would at least be fair. thank you for asking the question. a lot of people do not really understand what happened last spring, when i went to the white house. i like to say it real simple, like this -- when i got the information, i briefed the republicans on the committee -- the democrats i didn't because they would run to the press and talk about it -- i went to the media and held a press conference, totally transparent.
i said i'm going to the white house because i found information, and the president needs to know about this. i told the media this. i went to the white house and briefed the president. outside of the white house, i briefed the white house press corps. what do i get accused of? not being transparent. [laughter] i mean, that was i think the height of hypocrisy. what you are seeing now is that most americans are understanding that no matter where you get your news from, it is going to be biased. i do not know how that is going to be fixed, it will not be fixed in the short run. in the meantime, you have billionaires controlling most of the media outlets, that have their own agendas. you have a press now that is totally reliant on clicks.
they have to rely on click bait, my friends like to tell me that i am now clickbait for the mainstream media. when you put the stories out there just to get clicks, then you will see a disintegration in the quality of reporting. that is what that has been happening. just to come back to this point, how is it possible -- we talked about the questionnaire that we sent out -- no one in the mainstream media has covered it. no one. how is that possible? one of the reason it could be possible, i was reading and watching recently -- there is this show called "morning joe." [audience booing] rep. nunes: i heard they are big fans of mine. host: they had someone who was mocking you and your intelligence because you are a dairy farmer. and because people like you, the
people -- where i come from, in kansas, they are somehow not able to handle the complex issues that the committee undertakes. i would like to give you some time on the cpac stage to -- [cheers and applause]. rep. nunes: i would like to say, this is why donald trump won the election. because, middle america was ignored for way too long, and the power centers of new york, washington, dc, a few other big cities, and of course, hollywood, san francisco and my neck of the woods, the people all in the middle are considered irrelevant. and it is not just former -- >> and stupid. rep. nunes: it is more than that.
they actually despise people who are mechanics, truck drivers, people builders, get their hands dirty. if we did not have these people, not only would we not have any shelter and energy to keep us warm or cold in the respective season, we would not have any food to eat. [applause] i come from the agricultural not mecca of the world, in the san joaquin valley. we have been dealing with these crazy people for a long time, you guys are just now learning what we have been dealing with in the san joaquin valley. i grew up with this lunacy that comes from hollywood and san francisco, the home of the extreme left wing. so, we have seen what they do to people's private property, to their farms, to their businesses. so, we are well aware.
lots of people ask me, how do you deal with this? i grew up with it. i am used to being attacked all the time, and so are my constituents. i hope that you all know, in california, a country in an of itself -- do not hold that against some of us who actually conservative and are actually trying to do the right. trying to be good participants in this great country. [cheers and applause] host: i love that answer. where do our attendees go to get the schiff memo? rep. nunes: you will have to go online. >> we will forgive you if you are looking on your phones. i think it is important for you all to know what is happening. do somethingto special for you, mr. chairman. i would like to bring our acuf vice chairman, millie, please come out. we have a special presentation for you, chairman nunez.
come on out. [applause] >> boy, that was a great conversation. it was very candid, chairman. rep. nunes: i like to be that way. >> so i have heard. we are pleased to have our distinguished closing speaker. we are really honored to bestow you with the american conservative union defender of freedom award. [cheers and applause] rep. nunes: very kind of you.
thank you. [applause] >> chairman, unlike other awards given at cpac, this one is only given when an individual has shown concerted courage, standing up for truth and freedom under intense duress. intense duress. when we considered awardees for this honor, one of the questions that we ask is, what would ronald reagan have done or said? and you sir, and your unwavering valor, and often lonely pursuit of truth on behalf of the american people, have stood out among your colleagues. we salute you, we thank you and sense of humility and your rigorous pursuit of truth for
the american people. [cheers and applause] rep. nunes: thank you. host: i would like to say, thank you all very much. rep. nunes: as you all know, we represent, all of us who are in congress, we represent constituents. i get this, not because of all of you and all the things that i have done, but it is because of the people who allow me to do that. so, i would just like to say thank you again to all of you, but especially to my constituents, who sent me back to washington. the people of san joaquin valley, who as i said just a little earlier, we have been on the frontlines of this fight, and it is really an honor for our region of california to be recognized. thank you so much for this award. thank you. [applause]
host: i cannot think of a more appropriate way to say thank you to all of you, to and cpac 2018, with awarding a man with a prize for freedom. thank you all so much. >> here on c-span this morning, washington journal is next. just before 10:00 a.m., >> coming up on today's "washington journal," david brody talks about his new book on president trump's faith. and then a debate on gun control and other issues with michael
smerconish from serious xm and joins us fromg florida to discuss the shooting at his school and the discussion to address gun violence. host: good morning. congress is back this week after the president's day's recess. no votes for the rest of the week. in the rotunda of the u.s. capitol, the reverend billy graham will lie and honor wednesday and thursday. privatee first citizen since rosa parks to be accorded that honor. the nation's governors continue thr