For the Record with Greta, Transcript 3/20/2017

Guests:
Mike Quigley, Michael Turner, Ron Hosko, Matthew Miller, David Preiss, Robby Mook, Kelly Ayotte, Peter Alexander, Kristen Welker
Transcript:

Show: For the Record with Greta
Date: March 20, 2017
Guest: Mike Quigley, Michael Turner, Ron Hosko, Matthew Miller, David Preiss, Robby Mook, Kelly Ayotte, Peter Alexander, Kristen Welker 

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, NBC NEWS HOST FOR THE RECORD: Good evening. In a rare
public hearing a short time ago FBI Director James Comey taking the
historic and rare step of confirming a counterintelligence investigation
into whether there was coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian
officials.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: As you know, our practice is not to confirm the
existence of ongoing investigations. Especially those investigations that
involve classified matters. But in unusual circumstances where it is in
the public interest, it may be appropriate to do so. As justice department
policies recognize. This is one of those circumstances. 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. As with any
counterintelligence investigation, this will also include an assessment of
whether any crimes were committed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAN SUSTEREN: The other major revelation, the FBI director shooting down
President Trump stunning twitter allegation that President Obama had
wiretapped him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ADAM SCHIFF, 28TH CA REP: Director Comey was the present statement that
Obama had his wires tapped in Trump tower a true statement?

COMEY: 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. The department
has no information that supports those tweets.

No individual in the United States can direct electronic surveillance of
anyone. It has to go through an application process, ask a judge, the
judge can then make the order.

SCHIFF: So President Obama could not unilaterally order a wiretap of
anyone?

COMEY: No president could.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAN SUSTEREN: Meanwhile just blocks away from where I am at the White
House, the White House refusing to walk back that wiretap accusation. That
didn`t stop President Trump from getting back on twitter today and tweeting
from the official presidential account. Quote the NSA and FBI tell
congress that Russia did not influence electoral process. And then what
happened after President Trump tweeted that? Well, Director Comey was then
asked about that tweet.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIM HIMES, CONNECTICUT CONGRESSMAN: This tweet has gone out to millions of
Americans, 16.1 million to be exact. Is the tweet as I read it to you, the
NSA and FBI telling congress that Russia did not influence the electoral
process? Is that accurate?

COMEY: Well, it`s hard for me to react to that. Let me tell you what we
understand the state of what we`ve said is. We`ve offered no opinion, have
no view, and have no information on potential impact, because it`s never
something we looked at.

HIMES: Ok. So it`s not too far of a logical leap to conclude that the
assertion that you have told the congress, that there was no influence on
the electoral process is not quite right?

COMEY: Right. It certainly wasn`t our intention to say that today,
because we don`t have any information on that subject. That is not
something that was looked at.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAN SUSTEREN: With me Congressman Mike Quigley Democrat from the great
city of Illinois, who serves in the House Intelligence, nice to see you
sir?

MIKE QUIGLEY, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Thank you.

VAN SUSTEREN: Listening to director Comey saying he has no information
that President Obama wiretapped President Trump, it`s either right or it`s
wrong or it`s wrong that it was either the president tweeted that based on
that he was mistaken or did it intentionally. What do you think this is?

QUIGLEY: I`m not sure what`s worse. The president of the United States
lying about this or watching Breitbart and tweeting it or actually
believing that it`s true. And adding insult to injury, the president of
the United States tweeting about that during perhaps the most important
investigation since Watergate`s first hearing is extraordinary, a surreal
day on the hill.

VAN SUSTEREN: So, what can you do or what`s the recourse? What do you
tell the American people? Where does congress take it beyond this hearing
on that particular issue?

QUIGLEY: I think what comes out of today`s hearing (inaudible) the
American public knows this investigation has to move forward. That this
isn`t just, smoke somewhere, that there is there. And we can`t be stymied.
We are going to need resources to do this investigation.

VAN SUSTEREN: the same two issues, one is the tweet that President Trump
made that President Obama wiretapped him. That seems now has been put to
rest, although the White House is still standing behind it. The other is
the investigation into whether there was collusion or improper contact
between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. Is that right?

QUIGLEY: That is right. And what we`re waiting for is the next
distraction. What we sense that this whole thing was about Trump tower was
the president in typical fashion trying to find a distraction, because he
didn`t like the news cycle.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. How fast do you want this to go or how fast can
it go as to whether or not Russia and Trump campaign were included in a
way, because this is hanging over the administration and when it hangs over
the administration it has a profound impact on how everything operates in
Washington.

QUIGLEY: Yes. I mean, this is a complicated, layered, textured
investigation. It`s going to require compelling people to testify who
really don`t want to testify. We`re probably going to have to get people
immunity if that is possible. So we`re going to need cooperation from the
Republicans. It would help a great deal if we got cooperation from the
White House. I think what we`re going to see is obstruction.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right there are two things that could happen. If you
get here on Capitol Hill and bring people to testify and giving them
immunity, you run that applying in the courtroom should it end up in a
criminal venue? So I mean, even what you do, you have to do carefully.

QUIGLEY: Absolutely, and that is true. That is why we`re going to need
cooperation with the FBI.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. You`re a former criminal defense lawyer,
presumption of innocence. A lot of names get thrown around today. A lot
of suppositions, a lot of things – you have some sort of empathy for the
names being thrown around here as possible? I know Paul Manafort has
issued a statement saying he is got nothing to do with this and his name
got drag through today.

QUIGLEY: Look, these are important charges. And I recognize that.
People`s names get thrown out there. I didn`t hear anybody`s name thrown
out there that didn`t have a tremendous amount of evidence out there
suggesting that they played a role. They were particularly close to the
Trump campaign and particularly close to the Russians. And there`s enough
smoke there to connect them to this. Any investigation begins with some
inference of understanding that there`s a problem afoot. From there they
have the entire protection of our criminal justice system.

VAN SUSTEREN: As a former trial lawyer in the courtroom, who`s the one
person – if you only give one person one question in this investigation,
who do you want to speak to and what`s your question?

QUIGLEY: It`s tough. I mean, obviously I`d like to get General Flynn to
tell us exactly what took place.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you expect he is going to testify before your hearing?

QUIGLEY: I do.

VAN SUSTEREN: Has he been called?

QUIGLEY: I wouldn`t know that. I don`t think anybody`s been called yet.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why would you bring him out to testify? He is not going to
talk or you`re going to give him immunity. If he is got other problems
down the road, then you have a bigger problem.

QUIGLEY: The problem is we have to get to the truth somehow and they can`t
just go on forever as you suggest. This is difficult for the reasons you
just stated. I`m not saying it`s easy. To answer your question, I want
General Flynn to tell us exactly what took place.

VAN SUSTEREN: And you are going to get to the bottom of this?

QUIGLEY: I think we`re going to get to the bottom of this. We`re going to
need the public pressuring all the congress and the White House to release
information to cooperate.

VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman, thank you, nice to see you. Hope you come
back.

QUIGLEY: You too. Thanks again.

VAN SUSTEREN: One name we heard many times in today`s hearing, James
Clapper, the former director of national intelligence who earlier this
month denied that the Obama administration wiretapped Trump tower. Now,
former DNI Clapper also said there was also no evidence of collusion
between the Trump campaign and Russia.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL TURNER, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: We obviously have the statements
of Mr. Clapper that there`s no evidence of collusion with Russia. He just
left the intelligence community. And as you were aware, we now sit,
because as you said admiral Rogers, the Russians wanted to put a cloud over
our system. And Mr. Comey by your announcement today, there is now a cloud
that undermines our system.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAN SUSTEREN: And then today NBC news received a new statement from
Clapper which read as follows. Quote, former director of national
intelligence James Clapper has been clear that while he was not aware of
any conclusive evidence related to collusion between Trump campaign
officials and Russians prior to leaving government he could not account for
intelligence or evidence that may have been gathered since inauguration on
January 20th. And as I mentioned Paul Manafort the president`s former
chairperson was also mentioned repeatedly at today`s hearing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOAQUIN CASTRO, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Surprise to say, Paul Manafort was
a major part of the Trump campaign including serving as its chairman,
convention manager and chief strategist before departing campaign in August
2016. Is Paul Manafort a subject in your investigation?

COMEY: I`m not going to comment on that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAN SUSTEREN: And moments ago, Manafort released this statement in part.
Quote, I had no role or involvement in the cyber attack on the DNC or the
information gained from the attack. I have never spoken with any Russian
government officials or anyone who claimed to have been involved in the
attack.

With me Congressman Michael Turner Republican of the great state of Ohio,
who serves in the intelligence, nice to see you sir?

TURNER: Good seeing you, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you not find it significant that former DNI Clapper said
while he was at DNI that there was no evidence of collusion between the
Trump campaign and the Russians. He goes right up to January 20th.

TURNER: Right, absolutely. Remember. Comey today is announcing that his
investigation dates back to July. So from the period of July coming into
January, you have the director of national intelligence said he saw no
evidence of collusion. Remember even though the FBI director today had
announced there had been an ongoing investigation, he also said draw no
conclusions from the fact that there is an investigation.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you find it unusual? I find it stunning but we`re in an
awkward position that the FBI director would even be talking about an
ongoing investigation. That is usually kept under wraps.

TURNER: It is. But certainly I think it`s also shocking for us to have
now public discussions about the fact that the FBI director had both the
Democrat and Republican campaigns under investigation as we were coming to
a close from the campaigns. You also have to remember that this public
hearing today comes hours after we`ve had classified briefings with all of
these people testifying multiple times. These are questions that involve
(inaudible).

VAN SUSTEREN: But you haven`t heard from General Flynn, have you?

TURNER: We have not. But – what is important is, the witnesses today
they`re testifying, many of their questions they said they were not able to
answer in this forums. They are able to answer them in forums where we are
able to receive the answers and this was all a part of our Chairman Nunes
bringing fort to the public this discussion.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. The three issues, there`s President Trump
tweeting that President Obama wiretapped him. He denies it, but there`s
been no evidence there`s been any wiretap and whatsoever. Then there is
question whether it is (inaudible) between the Trump campaign and the
Russians during the course of the election. DNI Clapper said that he has
found no evidence, there may be evidence but at least that is what he is
saying. And we got the Russians messing around with our election, hacking
into the DNC. Those are the three primary issues?

TURNER: That is the important issue.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why did (inaudible).

TURNER: Yes. But even more so it`s what are we going to do this doesn`t
happen again. There`s a fourth issue, Greta. As the FBI director said,
there are classified leaks that are absolute criminal acts. The FBI
director said that today. He also said there are many stories that are
being leak and classified but are not true, that are in the Washington Post
and New York Times that is important for now.

VAN SUSTEREN: What about the president`s tweet, accused the former
president of wiretapping him. What do you say about that as a fellow
Republican?

TURNER: Well, you have to ask the president.

VAN SUSTEREN: What do you say? Your constituents must ask you, right?

TURNER: You heard the president`s tweet. You heard the answers today. I
think the answers were certainly clear. As of defending this tweet, you
have to talk to Donald Trump himself.

VAN SUSTEREN: Don`t you want to say something? He is going to keep
tweeting. He was tweeting this afternoon.

TURNER: There certainly is. There clearly was chatter of information
about communications that were happening in the Trump campaign that have
been leaked to the wants and “the New York Times”.

VAN SUSTEREN: He says wiretapping.

TURNER: That is not to the level of what the president is saying. I think
even though we all know that this chatter and this communications was
happening, the president needs to explain.

VAN SUSTEREN: How fast cans this investigation will be, because this does
hang over Washington and the administration. We`ve got health care,
possible tax reform. We`ve got immigration reform perhaps. We`ve got so
much going on in this country. Infrastructure bill and now this is sort of
consumed all the oxygen.

TURNER: This is really troubling. As the people testifying today said,
the goal of the Russians is to cause havoc and to bring questions about the
Democratic process. This announcement of this investigation of course
causes that sort of questioning. The FBI director said the investigation
has been going on since July. Clapper has said so far had no evidence up
until January. I think we`re all hoping and encouraging the FBI director
let`s get this done and to the bottom of this and move on.

VAN SUSTEREN: How did we get so vulnerable to the Russians?

TURNER: Well clearly this is something that is part of our process so we
can bolster ourselves and ensure our election process for the future. As
we go forward, we have to make sure there`s no meddling.

VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman, nice to see you.

TURNER: Thanks Greta, great seeing you.

VAN SUSTEREN: And so we learned a lot today. The FBI looking into
possible ties between the Trump team and Russia and there is no evidence of
wiretapping, but there is so much so that we still don`t know.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you say with any specificity what kind of
coordination or contacts you`re looking at in your investigation generally
when confronted with something like this.

COMEY: I can`t.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you brief President Obama on any calls involving
Michael Flynn?

COMEY: I`m not going to get into either that particular case, that matter,
or any conversations I had with the president.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: With respect to any ongoing investigation whether the
specificity of the person otherwise, you can`t comment on any of that?

COMEY: Correct. I`m not going to confirm any conversations with either
President Obama or President Trump or when President Trump was the
President-Elect.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not the conversation, even the fact you gave it to him.
Could you tell us who was in the room for that briefing you gave?

COMEY: You`re saying later ended up in the newspaper?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

COMEY: My talking about who was in the room would be a confirmation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We all know that four of you went to Trump tower for
the briefing. That is not classified, is it?

COMEY: How do we all know that though? Please don`t draw any conclusions
from the fact that I may not be able to comment on certain topics.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAN SUSTEREN: With me former Assistant FBI Director with Ron Hosko who
worked for Director James Comey in 2014.

RON HOSKO, FORMER ASSISTANT FBI DIRECTOR: Good to be with you.

VAN SUSTEREN: The fact the FBI director even says an ongoing investigation
is unusual, is it not?

HOSKO: I think it`s incredibly unusual, but I think it is driven by the
stakes here, the intense public scrutiny. The fact it is the former
president being accused by the current president. And so I think a
conclusion was reached between the director and DOJ that he had to say
something.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know journalists love leaks. Leaks are not good for
national security at all times. Sometimes you could have the rare
situation where they are. But, you know, what`s being done about these
leaks internally.

HOSKO: I`m confident that they are looking as the director defined today.
They`re looking at that subset of persons who might have had access to
relevant sensitive information. That is your starting point. As he also
made reference to, it isn`t necessarily that person who had that immediate
access. It`s somebody they shared it with who is chirping on the side. So
every hop out, every further ripple from the center that you get, the
investigation gets much more complex.

VAN SUSTEREN: How is it that we are so vulnerable? That it got to the
point where the Russians actually invaded the DNC and then poisoned the
system. I mean, how is it that we have allowed ourselves to get so
vulnerable?

HOSKO: First, my prevailing view is that America needs a crisis to truly
act and respond. There has been a buildup of cyber intrusions, Chinese,
Russian, and Iranian, other foreign actors, and North Korean, over the last
ten years. The FBI sees this. The director testifies about it. But our
collective guard is down. Our collective guard is way too low. And when
you have foreign adversaries whose job it is to collect on us like we
collect on them, they are most assuredly testing us and testing the medal
of our leaders. Russia has been doing that.

VAN SUSTEREN: The Russian ambassador, I don`t know what he was doing in
the RNC but we have a lot of instances where this is a lot of contacts
between the Trump campaign and Russia. So it`s reasonable to be suspicious
when we have the hacking. That is not unusual to be suspicious. Even
having it started, have knowledge in July. And it`s still apparently was
going on up until several months later.

HOSKO: Russian intrusions are going on today. They are determined
adversaries. The director and the admiral acknowledged that today. Russia
is out for Russia`s interests. They are trying to penetrate American
defenses today to steal our intellectual property, to steal our defense
secrets, to steal how our government works every day.

VAN SUSTEREN: Sir, thank you very much for joining us.

HOSKO: My pleasure.

VAN SUSTEREN: Right now President Trump is on Air Force One. He is en
route to Louisville, Kentucky. He is going to be there to sell the GOP
health care plan. But will he also talk about today`s big hearing?
Meanwhile, anti-Trump protests have been taken place all in the area all
day long in Louisville. President Trump is expected to land within the
hour. We`ll be monitoring it. Also happening today, right here on the
hill, confirmation hearing from President Trump Supreme Court pick, many
Democrats voicing concerns. And what is the Clinton campaign thinking
today? The Campaign Manager Robbie Mook will be here. And on defense, how
is the White House responding tonight?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COMEY: All I can say is what I said before that we don`t have any
information that supports those tweets.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COMEY: One of the lessons they may draw from her is they are successful,
because they introduced chaos and division and discord. And sowed doubt
about the nature of this amazing country of ours and our Democratic
process. We have to assume they`re coming back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAN SUSTEREN: FBI director Comey saying Russians will try to interfere in
future elections so what is our government and intelligence agency doing
now to protect our democracy? And what about President Trump wiretapping
claim? Director Comey says there was no evidence, but that is not good
enough for President Trump. President Trump still refuses to concede as
does his Press Secretary Sean Spicer, Spicer repeatedly defending the
president`s allegations of wiretapping throughout his press briefing today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`ve got the FBI director denying the wiretapping.
We`ve had a series of officials. When does this end for the president?

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It`s not a question of a date.
It`s a question of when we get answers. The president was clear and I
think there`s continuing to be a very, very literal interpretation of his
tweet which is whether or not there is a wiretapping. The president
understands you don`t literally wiretap people the same way like you did in
`70s and `80s with wires and things.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said that there was no information to support the
allegations that president made against President Obama. So is the
president prepared to withdraw that accusation and apologize to the
president?

SPICER: No. We started a hearing. It`s still ongoing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAN SUSTEREN: David Priess is a former CIA officer and author of the
president`s book of secrets. And Matt Miller is a former spokesperson for
the Department of Justice. Matt, first to you, a former spokesperson, you
listen to Sean Spicer. He is got a tough job.

MATTHEW MILLER, FORMER JUSTICE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: he got a tough job.
He makes it harder for himself. If the White House would just come out and
say with respect to the investigation, look, the president doesn`t believe
he did anything wrong. He doesn`t know of any aides close to him that did
anything wrong. And we have confidence in how this investigation will end
and we hope the FBI director takes it where it would lead. He would be
fine, same thing with the president`s tweets about wiretapping. If they
would just come out and admit they made a mistake and there was nothing to
it now that the FBI director has publicly testified that. But every time
they get into a problem, they make it worse. If you look at what Sean
Spicer did today, that is the textbook definition of flailing. Not only
not explain, not giving answers, but making the problem worst and worst for
himself with every answer.

VAN SUSTEREN: David, today we had the FBI and NSA. Is there any chance –
you`re former CIA. Is there any chance anybody was wiretapping that NSA
and FBI would know about?

DAVID PREISS, FORMER CIA OFFICER: I can`t imagine so. And in fact it is
funny to me to watch this, because you got to establish first what happened
and then determined what was behind it and what the implications were.
Today`s hearing didn`t really get that. You had two different sides
talking about two different topics in the same hearing which raises for me
the topic can this committee and the senate committee really investigate
this to the satisfaction of the American people or is this going to go to
some kind of independent commission like the 9/11 commission years ago?

VAN SUSTEREN: The problem is, though, if they do a rigorous aggressive
investigation up here on Capitol Hill, they may step on a possible criminal
investigation down at the courthouse, because if they give immunity to
someone here, that person could use immunity at the courthouse.

PREISS: Some of those issues came up in the 9/11 commission. You`ll
recall immediately after 9/11, some people were saying we must protect
everything the president sought at all cost. Some people said there may
have been almost criminal negligence on part of the president before 9/11.
They resolve that to the satisfaction of all parties to have that
independent commission.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. The CIA – I mean, the FBI director said that
Russia back in 2018. Can`t the CIA and FBI and NSA protect us from all
this?

PREISS: In the past we have had that. We`ve had them working together in
past issues of foreign threats to America. There`s no reason it can`t
happen now.

VAN SUSTEREN: How`d it happen this time?

PREISS: The issue is it`s a different threat. And it is a different kind
of threat.

VAN SUSTEREN: How did we not know this one was coming? I mean everyone
talks about cyber warfare all the time.

PREISS: People didn`t know how it was going to be applied. But people
were talking about it. The real issue here is what`s the political
implication? In Watergate you had it going out there when did he know it?
Today people were thinking what is the FBI director what he was going to
show. He didn`t show his cards today.

VAN SUSTEREN: It was unusual that he was even speaking. That he got
permission from the Justice Department. He works for the Attorney General,
right?

MILLER: In this case he works for the deputy attorney general. I actually
think this is another problem that Donald Trump created. For months this
investigation had been going on. The FBI director had refused to talk
about it publicly. Were it not for Trump`s tweets accusing the FBI of
illegal wiretapping, I`m not sure you would have confirmed this
investigation today. The justice department had to make sure it hadn`t
broken the law. In doing that they had to brief members. And they end up
confirming the entire investigation.

VAN SUSTEREN: Also had to do that for fast and furious, constantly
answering subpoenas, answering inquiries from Capitol Hill. What does that
do to the day-to-day operations? Is it compartmentalized or is it a big
problem?

MILLER: It`s a huge problem. The attorney general was taken out of the
picture so it`s not a distraction for him. But for the others it`s a huge
problem. That the senior officials at the justice department are dealing
with on a day-to-day basis at the same time they`re conducting that
investigation is extremely difficult. It`s why in previous investigations
like moving forward, they`ve done it with a special council. It`s in the
long run the only you can conduct this type of investigation.

VAN SUSTEREN: What do you think Putin is thinking?

PREISS: Well it raises real issues for the Intelligence and the president
as well, because the president (inaudible) includes information from all
sources on all topics. What`s happening now? If there`s this denial of
any activity with Russia, are they still including that information? All
the intelligence, professionals who are retired and current would say of
course that information so goes to the president, whether it`s about Putin
or other aspects of this, but that raises a real issue as these progresses.

VAN SUSTEREN: I just wonder what the Russians are thinking, what Putin is
thinking as he reads about all the discord and the confusion that we have
right now. I guess we`ll sort it out. Anyway, gentlemen, thank you.

PREISS: Thank you.

VAN SUSTEREN: Breaking news. We have new video from just moments ago
showing crowds outside President Trump`s rally in Louisville, Kentucky. He
is there to sell the GOP health care plan. We`re going to go live there
later in the hour. Also today here on the Hill, more big news, President
Trump`s Supreme Court Nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch, he had his first day as
confirmation hearing before the senate judiciary committee. The Democrats
were talking about President Obama`s former nominee Judge Merrick Garland
and the issue of courtesy. And also here on the Hill, the hearing about
the FBI investigating possible Russian interference in the 2016 election,
Secretary of State`s Clinton`s 2016 campaign manager joins me to respond
next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Knowing what we know now, would the FBI have done
anything different in trying to notify the DNC of what happened?

COMEY: We`d have just kept banging and banging on the door. Knowing what
I know now, we made an extensive effort to notify. I might have walked
over there myself knowing what I know now.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Is it fair to say that you`re still relatively early
in your investigation?

JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: It`s hard to say because I don`t know how much
longer it will take, but we`ve been doing this – all this investigation
began in late July. So for a counterintelligence investigation that`s a
fairly short period of time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOR THE RECORD HOST: FBI director James Comey saying
that since July the FBI has been investigating whether anyone in the Trump
campaign coordinated with Russia, and today someone at Secretary Hillary
Clinton`s campaign questioning why that investigation was not made public
last July during the campaign for president. Director Comey also saying in
retrospect he would have gone – the investigation was not made public last
July during the campaign for president. Director Comey also saying in
retrospect he would have gone directly to DNC headquarters to warn them of
the hacking, and today at the hearing the heads of the FBI and NSA both
saying there`s no evidence of the Russian meddling in the election affected
vote tallies.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEVIN NUNES, U.S. CONGRESSMAN: Admiral Rogers, do you have any evidence
that Russia cyber actors change vote tallies in the state of Michigan?

MICHAEL RODGERS, NSA DIRECTOR: No, I do not. But I would have highlight
we`re a foreign intelligence organization not a domestic intelligence
organization. So it would be fair to say we`re probably not the best
organization to provide a more complete answer.

NUNES: How about the state of Pennsylvania?

ROGERS: No, sir.

NUNES: The state of Wisconsin?

ROGERS: No, sir.

NUNES: State of Florida?

ROGERS: No, sir.

NUNES: State of North Carolina?

ROGERS: No, sir.

NUNES: The state of Ohio?

ROGERS: No, sir.

NUNES: So you have no intelligence that suggests or evidence that suggests
any votes for changed?

ROGERS: I have nothing generated by the national security agency, sir.

NUNES: Director Comey, do you have any evidence at the FBI that any votes
were changed in the states that I mentioned to Admiral Rogers?

COMEY: No.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAN SUSTEREN: And as I noted earlier, the FBI director responding to a
tweet from President Trump during the hearing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIM HIMES, U.S. CONGRESSMAN: Is the tweet as I read it to you, the NSA and
FBI tells congress that Russia did not influence the electoral process. Is
that accurate?

COMEY: Well, it`s hard for me to react to that. Let me tell you what we
understand the state of what we`ve said is we`ve offered no opinion. Have
no view. Have no information on potential impact because it`s never
something that we looked at.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAN SUSTEREN: With me is Robby Mook, Secretary Clinton`s 2016 campaign
manager. Nice to see you, Robby.

ROBBY MOOK, HILLAR CLINTON CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Nice to be here.

VAN SUSTEREN: When`d you first learn of the hacking or what was going on
with the Russians vis-…-vis DNC, or the Clinton campaign?

MOOK: Well, we learned that the Russians had hacked into the DNC very
shortly before it became public.

VAN SUSTEREN: When would that be, around July, right from around there?

MOOK: No, because as you probably recall – started releasing DNC
documents in the spring. So it was sometime in spring.

VAN SUSTEREN: What was the sort of – I understand, so the impact I
realize that the FBI director said it didn`t have any impact on the vote
tallies. But what was the sort of the impact on the campaign as you were
hearing pieces of this? Was it disruptive or distracting or you didn`t
paid attention to it?

MOOK: It was totally disruptive on a number of levels. First of all, the
press had new material to report on every single day. And particularly
those last two month of the campaign – excuse me, the last month of the
campaign when all of John Podesta`s e-mails were being released on a daily
basis. It made it really hard for us to talk about anything except for
responding to those e-mails. And certainly when we opened the DNC and the
day before we have our opening, you know, opening programming, the Russians
dump a bunch of information to upset Bernie Sanders supporters. Of course
it was a distraction. And operationally for a campaign, this is a lot to
handle as well.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, in theory, it could easily be as DNI Clapper says
there`s no collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. But the
Russians independently could be causing – I used the term mischief, I
mean, I really understate the magnitude, but they could have been doing
this all themselves. Because it`s reported that at least – and then Comey
today said that Putin hates Hillary.

MOOK: Well, first of all, I think that`s an important point. What
happened here was not just the Russians trying to help Donald Trump. They
were punishing Hillary Clinton because she had been a longtime advocate for
human rights in Russia. That should be really scary to everybody. That if
an American politician speaks out against a foreign dictator that they can
be punish. That`s why we`ve got to do something about this, and why also
not partisan. But I want to go back. We don`t know yet whether there was
collusion.

VAN SUSTEREN: No, I understand. I`m just saying.

MOOK: . between the Trump campaign. It`s really important. That`s what we
need to learn.

VAN SUSTEREN: It`s so early. I mean, there`s so many unanswered questions
at this point. I`m just repeating what somebody said today.

MOOK: Yeah, yeah.

VAN SUSTEREN: It can change so much. What was Secretary Clinton saying
during the time or during the whole lead up to the election with all this?

MOOK: Well, I think she was trying to focus on communicating her message.
You know, she had important things to say about how we create jobs, how we
improve education in this country, how we help a lot of these families that
were really struggling and really frustrated with the way things are, start
to get ahead in their lives. And all we were doing some days was just
dealing with all this incoming. So, I think in that regard what the
Russians tried to do was enormously successful. And as some people said
today at the hearing, the point is not always just to spread OPO, it`s to
spread confusion. It`s to spread misinformation.

VAN SUSTEREN: Or you might just not wonder when the next shoe is going to
drop, so you`re sitting there waiting.

MOOK: Sure. It was obviously intended to create anxiety within our
campaign organization. And I thought – kudos to our team. They did a
great job just focusing and pushing forward every day. But in order for
our democracy to work, we have to have an honest exchange of ideas and
facts need to be relevant and people need to have access to facts. And
what this is doing is just literally taking our – the apparatus of our
democracy and weaponising it against itself.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, you said that – I mean, Putin didn`t like
Secretary Clinton, but I remember the reset with foreign minister Lavrov.
I mean, she seemed to enjoy a good relationship with him, at least publicly
it seemed that way.

MOOK: Well, I think she attempted to try to establish better relations
with Russia. But again, one of the things I was proud of her for was she
always held them accountable on human rights. She always spoke out. That
is exactly why Vladimir Putin did not want her to become president.

VAN SUSTEREN: Secretary Clinton was in Scranton, Pennsylvania, last –
couple of days going Friday on St. Patrick`s Day. So everyone`s buzzing.
What are the odds that we`re going to see her running again?

MOOK: I`m going to let her answer for that.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you want to guess? What are the odds?

MOOK: Here`s the thing. I think what matters right now, we`ve got to get
to the bottom of what happened in 2016 then we can start worrying about the
next cycle. But we`ve really got to make sure that this cannot happen
again in two years or four years to anybody else.

VAN SUSTEREN: Indeed. And I realize you didn`t answer my question, but
good job. Thank you, Robby. Nice to see you. Confirmation fight,
President Trump`s Supreme Court pick here on the hill, will he be
independent from President Trump? Former senator Kelly Ayotte is leading
his confirmation fight. She joins us. And the three days away from a vote
on the GOP health care plan, will it pass? And developing right now,
Ivanka Trump is taking a new role at the White House. We have the very
latest on that. A lot of action right here in D.C. stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: This unprecedented one of the greatest days of the
200-year history of this committee.

TED CRUZ, U.S. SENATOR: We would not consent to a Supreme Court nominee
until the people in the midst of the presidential election were able to
choose.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, the fight is on. President Trump`s Supreme Court pick
Judge Neil Gorsuch on the hot seat. The first day of senate confirmation
hearings was today. Democrats making clear they have not forgotten how
Republicans blocked former President Obama`s Supreme Court nominee Merrick
Garland, and on issues after issues, Democrats and Republicans drawing
clear battle lines over Judge Gorsuch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAZIE HIRONO, U.S. SENATOR: You rarely seem to find in favor of the little
guy.

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: You`re one of the best judges in the country.

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: You`ve sided with corporations over workers,
corporations over consumers, and corporations over women`s health.

LIDSEY GRAHAM, U.S. SENATOR: Donald Trump deserves to be congratulated for
listening to a lot of people and coming up with I think the best choice
available.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAN SUSTEREN: Judge Gorsuch pledging today that he will not bring his
personal beliefs into the courtroom.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEIL GORSUCH, SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: If judges were just secret
legislators declaring not what the law is, but what they would like it to
be, the very idea of a government by the people and for the people would be
at risk. And those who came before the court would live in fear.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAN SUSTEREN: The question and answer session starting tomorrow morning at
9:00 AM, it could get heated. One Democrat on the judiciary committee,
Senator Richard Blumenthal (TECHNICAL DIFFICULTY)

RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, U.S. SENATOR: Every tool at my disposal, including
filibuster.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAN SUSTEREN: With me former New Hampshire senator Kelly Ayotte who is
leading Judge Gorsuch through the confirmation process. Nice to see you,
senator.

KELLY AYOTTE, FORMER U.S. SENATOR: Great to see you, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: OK. Now, the dirty little secret is if this were 1980, that
this would not be highly contentious. It would probably be – I`m not
saying for or against him, but it`s probably a 9 to 10 vote.

AYOTTE: Oh, easily. Probably unanimous it we were going back to what the
confirmation process used to be like.

VAN SUSTEREN: So what happened?

AYOTTE: You know, I think things have become more politicized,
unfortunately. But no question that Judge Gorsuch is very qualified.
Impeccable educational credentials and also, you know, judge is judge, been
on the tenth circuit for ten years. You had President Obama`s former
solicitor general, gave some very compelling opening today introducing him.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, let me pick on the Republicans now because Merrick
Garland from the U.S. court of appeals, the D.C. circuit, also well liked,
nominated by President Obama last February, I think, never got a hearing by
Mitch McConnell. And the Republicans could have given him a hearing and
voted no if they didn`t like him. But they played politics.

AYOTTE: Well, Greta, I don`t have a doubt in my mind that if the tables
were turned and we were in an election year, that the Democrats would have
held that open too.

VAN SUSTEREN: Yeah, but somebody`s got to stop the cycle of the other guy
did it.

AYOTTE: Yeah, well.

VAN SUSTEREN: I don`t know if these judges should be confirmed or not.
You know, I don`t know – position in making those decisions. But, I mean,
both sides play politics. It`s ugly.

AYOTTE: Well, I have to say that, you know, this nominee I think is
someone where you`ve got members from the bench. You`ve got all these
members from the bar, both sides of the aisle that have said, hey, you
know, he`s a fair judge, and that`s why you`ve had people that have come
out. So if you want a fair judge, you want an independent judge, Judge
Gorsuch is the nominee.

VAN SUSTEREN: He even has a former law clerk who worked in the Obama
administration. The moment I saw the ad.

AYOTTE: Yeah.

VAN SUSTEREN: . she said he`s fair.

AYOTTE: Yes.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, so – I mean, he has said fair. Now, the decision
by the U.S. senate according to the constitution is they provide advice and
consent. I`ve always thought that in the first hour they ought to debate
amongst themselves what that means. What does that mean? What are the
parameters that these senators are supposed to be working within and trying
to decide whether or not to confirm one?

AYOTTE: Well, it really depends on how the senator interprets it. I mean,
you have someone like Senator Lindsey Graham who has actually voted for
Obama Supreme Court justices, and also for President Bush`s Supreme Court
justices. And he made the argument very strongly today, listen, tell me
why Judge Gorsuch is not qualified? He`s imminently qualified (TECHNICAL
DIFFICULTY) judicial temperament. Does he have the qualifications?
Instead of focusing on political issues from both sides of the aisle,
cherry picking opinions that you like or don`t like.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, if it`s qualifications whether you`re smart and you
have the background to make a decision, clearly, you know, I think almost
any nominee comes through is a good nominee. I mean, qualifications,
that`s a pretty easy one. There`s really something else and that`s sort of
getting past a political body that they like you.

AYOTTE: Well, I think, also, you know, will they be independent? Do they
understand separation of powers? Will they make sure even if the president
appoints them if they disagree that they`re going to be independent? And
you see someone like Gorsuch who cites Justice Jackson as one of his
heroes, who was clearly independent, was able to break from the president
that nominated him. And so, he takes judicial independence very seriously.
I think you`re going to hear a lot of talk about that in this hearing.

VAN SUSTEREN: Fairness to sort of my – bottom on this. And I`d love to
have him answer the question, does he thinks that Judge Merrick Garland was
treated fairly, that`s what I want to know. I know he was gracious and
called him when he got nominated. But I want to know if he thinks that was
right what happened to Justice Garland.

AYOTTE: Well, I`ve been to many meetings on this topic, and I can tell you
what he`s going to say.

VAN SUSTEREN: Which is?

AYOTTE: He`s going to say he thinks the world of Merrick Garland, he
thinks he`s really qualified. However, the advising consent process is an
issue that could come before the court of what that means. So he`s not
going to be able to let her opinion on that.

VAN SUSTEREN: How about the tweet that President Trump said when he called
judges the so-called judge who went out in Washington State?

AYOTTE: Well, I think that he`s certainly talked about that, but he`s
talked about it in the context of any type comments as opposed to specific
comments to the president. And he called them disheartening and
demoralizing if the comments go to the independence of the judiciary not
just the merits of the case. But he`s made very clear he`s not going to
comment on political matters that he can`t on judicial cannon or specific
comments in response to political comments.

VAN SUSTEREN: Some trivial about Senator Ayotte, are you for the Unites
States Supreme Court Justice O`Connor`s last decision.

AYOTTE: Yeah.

VAN SUSTEREN: . when 9-0.

AYOTTE: I did.

VAN SUSTEREN: Anyway.

AYOTTE: Thanks, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: . I thought I`d give you that plug. Thank you for joining
us.

AYOTTE: I appreciate that. Thanks, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: Developing now, Ivanka Trump has taken a new White House
role. We have the very latest on that. And we have live pictures in
Louisville where the crowd is anticipating President Trump`s arrival. It`s
a health care rally, but will he talk about what the FBI director said
today in congress? We`re live in Louisville.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VAN SUSTEREN: Breaking just moments ago, NBC News reporting Ivanka Trump
is joining her father`s staff at the White House. Now, she will not have
an official title or get a salary, but she will have an office right in the
west wing. NBC`s Peter Alexander has more. Peter?

PETER ALEXANDER, NBC NEWS: Hey, good evening to you, Greta. We`ve just
confirmed this information, Ivanka Trump who moved to Washington, D.C.,
with her husband Jared Kushner who, of course, is a senior advisor to the
president, will be taking an office on the second floor of the west wing
where she will be advising her father. Those close to her say that among
her priorities is to, quote, create positive value on a series of issues
that are close to her. For the moment we understand that she`s in the
process of getting security clearance. That she will be receiving
government issued communication devices as well. Important to note, she
will not officially be a federal employee, but she is I am told by sources
familiar with her plans going through all the necessary motions as if that
were the case with all the restrictions applying that she has been
consulting with office of government ethics as well as White House
attorneys. As well as for her business, she`s already taking several steps
to try to distance herself from that business. Among them through the
trust that she has created, the business will not be allow to use her image
or her likeness in anyway in promoting their products, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: Peter, thank you. And the crowd in Louisville gearing up
for President Trump`s arrival, he will hold a health care rally but will
the FBI come up?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VAN SUSTEREN: And those are live pictures from Louisville, Kentucky.
President Trump will arrive any minute. He is pushing the GOP health care
bill. The all-important house vote is in just three days, and at this
moment it is not clear that bill can pass the house or even pass the
senate. NBC counts only 16 house Republicans opposed to or leaning against
this bill. The senate looks to be tough too.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TED CRUZ, U.S. SENATOR: If Republicans hold a big press conference and pat
ourselves on the back that we`ve repealed Obamacare and everyone`s premiums
keep going up, people will be ready to tar and feather us in the streets
and quite rightly. I cannot vote for any bill that keeps premiums rising.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAN SUSTEREN: And there`s more, because on Wednesday former Vice President
Joe Biden will rally with Democrats against the GOP health care plan. One
question about this rally, will President Trump also talk about today`s
intelligence hearing? He`s been tweeting about the hearing all day. NBC`s
Kristen Welker is in Louisville. Kristen, what are you expecting from the
president tonight?

KRISTEN WELKER, NBC NEWS: Greta, good evening. I would be surprised if
President Trump didn`t comment on the hearings on Capitol Hill today. As
you point out, he tweeted about it throughout the day. The White House in
defense stressing that so far the investigation has not shown that Russia
had an actual influence on the election or that there`s been any actual
collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. And as you know at these
rallies he does typically weigh in on the news of the day, headlines.
However, the focus here is going to be on health care, the president really
trying to sell the Republican health care proposal.

This is a state that he won overwhelmingly, Greta. But it`s also a state
where Obamacare has been a success story. A million Kentuckians covered
under Medicaid. Some of them could stand to lose coverage under the
Republican health care law. And consider this, in 2013, 20 percent of the
state didn`t have health care, and that number fell to 7.5 percent just two
years later. So, a lot of Kentuckians say Obamacare is working. But, of
course, it is a mixed picture. I`ve been out talking to the folks here at
the rally. Trump supporters, a lot of them say they`re behind his efforts
to repeal and replace Obamacare. But a number of them also say they want
to make sure that any plan keeps costs low and continues to cover those
with pre-existing conditions. Now, the president`s going to try to rally
support here in Kentucky. But, of course, that push continues tomorrow
when he visits house Republicans on Capitol Hill ahead of their big vote on
Thursday, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: Kristen, thank you. And viewers thank you for watching.
See you back here tomorrow night, 6:00 PM Eastern, if you can`t watch live
set your DVR. Follow me on twitter @greta, that`s where you put all the
anonymous mean things that you want to say about me. Also go to my
Facebook page. Hardball with Chris Matthews starts right now.
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