tv House Oversight Hearing on Document Production by the Trump Administration... CSPAN August 2, 2019 4:08pm-5:18pm EDT
policy. we'll hear about u.s./japanese relations after world war ii, the containment theory and the vietnam war. later, a behind the scenes look at the cuban revelation. "american history tv" is tonight on c-span3 starting at k8 eastern. i live in a country where there are no public transportation, where there are no that i can walk and a woman to leave the house, to do anything h in her life, she needs a car and to function and drive this car, she needs a man. >> sunday night on "q&a" saudi arabian women rights activist manal al sharif talks about her book, "daring to drive." >> for us, daring to drive is more act of civil disobedience because woman is not supposed to drive. we show that we are able, we are capable, of drive iing our own
life, being in the driver's seat. this civil act of disobedience. >> wash sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's "q&a." house oversight subcommittee on operations held a hearing on federal agencies' compliance with congressional information request. some members of the subcommittee said the trump administration has withheld documents that have been requested. >> subcommittee will come to order. without objection, the chair is authorized to declare recess to the committee at any time. the subcommittee is convening a hearing on the document production efforts on the office of personnel management, the federal bureau of investigation and the general services administration in response to various committees and
subcommittee document request. i now recognize myself for an opening statement. i want to thank the witnesses for being here. although i know there could be more comfortable hearings to attend. i regret we need to have this hearing. we're here because they have not substantially complied with the committee's request for documents from several months ago. we witnessed a stunning lack of cooperation across the administration in response to multiple congressional investigations. for this committee to perform its important constitutional oversight mission, we must have documents and information requested from agencies. and that in turn requires cooperation. when the committee or a subcommittee sends a request for documents or written response for answers, we expect meaningful and timely compliance and not stall tactics and on vi obvuscation. today we'll be asking you to
justify your respective agency's troublesome track record and identify those hurdles preventing full compliance. and too offer ta offer tangible. this morning, we will examine the status of the responses to three committee and subcommittee investigations. first, the committee is investigating the administration's plan to abolish the office of personnel management. we believe on our side, certainly, it's a reckless proposal that lacks merit, justification, or coherent rationale. frankly, doubts have been raised about it on a bipartisan basis. the subcommittee has requested basic documents from opm, an agency that runs programs that serve our federal government's 2.7 million active employees, more than 2.5 million federal retirees and more than 8 million family members who receive health care benefits. we requested documents that any project manager would have
required for efven a simple restructuring of an organization. we ask for a legal analysis of the administration's authority to eliminate opm, a cost/benefit analysis and a timeline. these aren't intrusive requests. we wanted to know whether this would work and whether the administration had done its homework such that it could persuade us as to the merits. we've concluded it won't and they haven't. we've received next to mog noth in response to this straightforward document request and no information provided shows how this will improve services to former federal employees or their families. if we've been unclear thus far, let me take the opportunity to clarify that from our point of view, this half-baked proposal is going to be dead on arrival here on capitol hill. the administration's intention
to dismantle opm is reckless. opm's acting director has reportedly boasted about, quote, planning to play chicken with congress, unquote, by furloughing or taking hostage 150 employees of ofm. this is not a game. these are real lives at stake. opm's blanket refusal to provide the information the committee has requested is unacceptable. opm offered additional records just this week. it's ironic that the new records make reference to the documents we've been asking for without providing them. the latest documents convince us even more that the administration is attempting an end run in order to eliminate more than 130 years of merit-based nonpartisan civil servant.
second, the committee is investigating the abrupt decision to abandon the long-term plan to move the fbi headquarters to a suburban location and replace it with a costly plan to keep pennsylvania avenue location, demolish the j. edgar hoover facility, and construct a new one on the same site. in order to make that pivot, the administration had to abandon some of the compelling criteria that dominated this well over eight years. consolidation of the workforce, 21st century forensics and dna research, and getting safe setbacks which cannot be achieved at the current location which has inherently urban setbacks that are inherently insecure. in february of 2018, i wrote the gsa inspector general and requested that she investigate the gsa's decisionmaking role and the role of the white house, if any, in influencing the
decision. in august of 2018, the inspector general issued a report that noted inaccuracies in the cost estimates presented to congress to the tune of more than a half a billion dollars. and revealed that the president was personally participating in discussions regarding this revised plan and there are pictures to prove it. yet, despite all parties within the administration claiming the fbi, alone, made the decision, the fbi has turned over just 1,300 pages in the last 3 1/2 months and that includes the last-minute production last night. i might add, in talking to the fbi, i was assured that they have gone through and filtered 1.5 million documents and if that's -- when we had that conversation, we were in possession of 490 of them. some of them redacted. some of them redundant. while we can admire the production going on at the fbi, we're not so sure we admire the responsiveness to this km
committee's request. to say congress continues to have questions about the fbi's years-long plan and the change of heart involved direct communications where the chief executive of the country, is an understatement. third, the committee is actively investigating the federal lease of the old post office building between gsa and the trump organization. because president trump refused to completely divested himself as a global web of business interests, he's currently both the landlord and the tenant, technically, of what is now called the trump international hotel. to date, gsa has refused to turn over financial documents relevant to the committee's investigation that would shed light on any potential conflicts of interest or constitutional concerns with respect to the emolument clause. finally, i want to address the troubling development across several committee and subcommittee investigations. all three agencies represent
opm, jsa and the fbi suggested they are withholding many documents because they're draft documents regarding decisionmaking. there's a problem. that decisionmaking is exactly the focus of the committee and subcommittee's investigations. not a new thing to this congress. whether it's the decision to abolish a federal agency that serves in the federal workforce, a multibillion dollar construction decision affecting thousands of fbi staff and, frankly, the security and safety of the country, or the decision to allow our president to serve as both landlord and tenant of his own hotel which is on government-owned property, such decisionmaking documents are critical toward our examination and investigation. last week, as i said, the fbi deputy director david boudade called me personally to discuss the agency's compliance or lack, thereof, and as i said, while i
thanked him for the outreach at 1.5 million documents he said that have been examined, i did give him specific directions in terms of what would satisfy the committee's inquiry and, unfortunately, those conditions have not met. it's my hope that today's hearing will provide some answers and prod our fellow federal employees to cooperate with the committee of jury dicti jur jurisdiction so we don't have to resort to methods of compulsion. with that, i turn to my distinguished ranking member, my friend, mr. meadows. >> thank you, mr. chairman, thank you for your leadership. thank you all for being here this morning. candidly, document production is something that i know a little bit about, and i guess i've expressed more than a little frustration with some document production. so let me just instead of doing a prepared remarks, let me
perhaps get into where the chairman and i agree. if you of you are here today to say that it's part of the deliberative process that somehow congress can't see the documents, i would urgery str y strongly not to go there. you will find the full force of both republicans and democrats coming together to acknowledge that that is not a legitimate reason for you to withhold documents. secondly, if you think that somehow, the lack of giving documents to this committee is serving a greater purpose, i would assure you that it is not. ms. tyson, you've been very helpful and i want to just say thank you for your help in trying to get through some of the documents to address some of the concerns, and certainly as with regards to the fbi building and working with mr. borden and gsa, guys, let me just tell you,
i don't agree that we should be building the fbi building and tearing it down and doing it there, and i can tell you that i have been vocal about that. i think it's the wrong decision from a real estate perspective. i think it's the wrong decision in terms of efficiency. that being said, it's not my call. i -- what is my call is understanding the parameters that went into that decision. i can tell you in talking to the administration at the highest levels, there's agnostic on whether it gets built in d.c. or virginia or maryland or wherever it needs to go. i think northeast of thmost of i understand, ms. tyson, was more of an fbi direction than an executive branch decision at 1600 pennsylvania avenue.
keeping documents would allude to a nefarious purpose that does not exist. the more you can be transparent on that, on the democrat side, they'll have a divided concern on whether the fbi goes in d.c. or somewhere else, in maryland, in virginia. i'm not divided, and on our side, i think what you do is keep a small footprint for the fbi headquarters to allow them to work with doj and you move the majority of the fbi folks to a more efficient location. that's my take, but, again, we have to have the documents to do that. as it relates to the trump hotel and some of those documents that are in the custody of gsa or othe others, guys, let me tell you, everybody would have had to believed this president was going to get elected when he started those negotiations and nobody believed it, and so holding back documents on potentially nefarious purposes
to the trump hotel, we're all celebrating the fact the old post office is going to be renovated and used for something other than a food court and museum. everybody was applauding that including the mayor of d.c. until the president became the president. so giving us documents that allow us to get to the bottom of this and they're not fully redacted is key. from an opm standpoint, here's one of the areas that i'm very troubled. i don't agree with the decision to take the security clearances and move them to dod. i think i've been very open about that. here's the problem. congress voted for that and now what we got is a situation where over the objection of mr. connolly and i, they voted to move the security clearances to dod, now we're implementing that.
we're coming up with all kinds of problems. i was very troubled at the i.t. capacity of opm. we have got to do something. whether that's consolidation. whether that's moving the gsa. but let me just tell you, we have a third-world computing system for opm. no wonder we got hacked. and maybe we're not as vulnerable to hacks because we have a third-world computing system because all the hackers are on a much more complicated system so in going there, i just want that say thank you to the opm folks for allowing me to really see firsthand, what is there, we got to find a solution. this is not about downsizing jobs or getting rid of jobs. in fact, i want the opm folks to know that that is very, very clear from astandpoint. we want to make sure that their jobs are protected.
we can't continue to do business the way we're doing business from a computing standpoint at opm. i'm using that to say the more documents you give us in a transparent fashion, even if you think it gives the wrong impression, it is better than the impression of us not getting the documents believing that there are bad things that you're keeping from us. does that make sense? as you have your testimony today, if you do not go to the deliberative process that we don't have a right to it because you will find a very unified pshbaps pushback, and with that, i'll yield back. >> i thank my distinguished ranking member and also thank him, he is consistent and i really want to thank him and express my admiration. look, whether its the democratic administration or republican administration, all of us have a stake and the integrity of document requests.
all the of us need to be consistent in insisting on compliance with those requests. what we end up doing with, that's a different matter. we may -- we may part ways on some decisions. >> per se. >> but although i would agree with almost everything you said, both about the fbi and opm, no one's denying there's a problem, but how we get at the solution is -- it has to be examined and that's really what we're trying to do. i see the distinguished chairman of the full committee is here and i want to give mr. cummings an opportunity to make whatever statement he wishes to make with respect to the subject. welcome, mr. cummings. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. i want to commend you, chairman connolly, for holding this hearing and i want to commend mr. meadows, our ranking member, for not only for his statement that he just made, but for his spirit of cooperation.
under this administration, we are witnessing simply a stunning lack of cooperation that is hampering multiple congressional investigations and appears to be a part of a large-scale coordinated pattern of obstruction. i do not say that lightly. it is frustrating when you cannot get documents. it hampers us in doing our job, and it literally takes away power from the congress of the united states of america. it takes away our power. clear and simple. the documents that we seek in investigations we will discuss today are documents that we would have received in previous administrations. many of them without any redactions and without a fight. some of them are even the types of documents that we did receive
in the beginning of the trump a administration before the president declared that he and his administration were, and quote, fighting all subpoenas. come on, now. this is united states of america. fighting all subpoenas? congress has a constitutional duty. we have a duty to conduct oversight over decisions that have been made in the executive branch. especially regarding leases or contracts that impact taxpayers. it is our job to ensure that these decisions are being made in the most cost-effective and efficient fashion. without favoritism or abuse. the committee is conducting two separate investigations involving gsa.
one, of its role in the decisions to cancel the plan to move the fbi headquarters to a new site. suburban campus. and the other of gsa's management of the lease for the trump hotel in the district of columbia. my interest in these topics is not new and should not be a surprise to gsa. i wrote my first letter on the trump hotel and questions about a possible breach of the lease shortly after the president was elected in the fall of 2016. along with several members of congress that first wrote to administratiadd strait administrator emily pumurphy raising questions about the fbi headquarters eight months ago. eight months ago. after becoming the committee chairman, chairman connolly and his great wisdom and i and others sent new requests letters
on these topics. one category of documents we have sought, a monthly report that the trump organization is required to file to gsa about the trump hotel in the district of columbia. at the beginning of the administration, we received those reports but then something worrisome happened. without explanation, gsa reversed course and just stopped peru producing it. it is now two years later. after democrats were voted in to the majority, we again requested that these monthly financial reports be done. but now instead of producing these documents, gsa questioned the committee, and i quote, legitimate legislative purpose, end of quote. i got to tell you, at some point, it, again, this is the kind of language that becomes
very frustrating and courts have ruled on this very issue. if that language sounds familiar, it is because it's the same language and the same baseless line of obstruction that the president's personal attorneys have been using to challenge congress' authority to conduct oversight in other areas. a federal court has objected this argument decisively. it was an ace. slam dunk. airtight case. i told my staff i've been practicing law for 40 years and i've never seen a case this tight. in missouri. he wrote this, this is the quote, "as long as congress investigates on a subject matter upon which legislation could be had, congress acts as
contemplated by article 1 of the constituti constitution." to our witnesses here today, as i close, any other executive branch agency that may be watching, we want the message to be abundantly clear, and i have no doubt about it, congress must obtain the documents necessary to fulfill our constitutional responsibilities. stop obstructing us. stop blocking us from doing the job that the voters sent us here to do and to do the job that we swore we would do. if you will not provide those documents willfully, willingly, we'll issue subpoenas to compel them. in closing, let me say this. th of the story. i appreciate that the agencies have made some movement toward
compliance in anticipation of today's hearing. but what you have offered is simply not enough. you have not committed to provide us with the unredacted documents that actually explain your decisions. and to mr. chairman and to mr. meadows, again, i thank you for the cooperative spirit that we have on this subcommittee. i got to tell you, when i listen to meadows and i listen to connolly, they're bending over backwards and to work with you all, but at some point, you feel like you're getting slapped in the face. i don't know how they feel. that's how i feel. as if you're thumbing your nose at us, say, we don't care. we got to go better than that. last point, you know, a lot of times people will do things and they assume, they'll say, oh, congress, i did this, i sent you a million -- well, you're
supposed to do that. that's what withdrew are payou . you don't get any brownie points for doing what you're supposed to do. if any member of congress -- if our employees are not doing the things that they're supposed to do, they're fired. period. and we have got to get back to what is normal. i know there are going to be debates, but as mr. meadows said, don't throw stuff out there that is just -- just goes against court decisions. i mean, things that you know is basically rope-a-doping. with that, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> i thank the distinguished chairman and thank him very much for his guidance on this subject because i think it's a widely shared view certainly on this subcommittee as expressed by my distinguished ranking member and
myself. if -- i want to now turn to the testimony of our witnesses. we have three witnesses, mr. stephen billy, deputy chief of staff of the office of personnel management. jill tyson, assistant director for the office of congressional affairs for the federal bureau of investigation. robert borden, chief of staff for the general services administration. if the three of you would rise and raise your right hand. it is the tradition of our committee to swear in witnesses. do you swear or affirm that the testimony you're about to give is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you god? let the record show that all three answered in the affirmative. and i thank you. and if you would be seated. without objection, your written statements will be entered into the record in full. and we now are going to give you five minutes to summarize that testimony and we'll begin with you, mr. billy. >> thank you, mr. chairman. chairman connolly, ranking member meadows and members of the subcommittee, thank you for
the opportunity to discuss with you today the administration's plan to modernize the infrastructure that supports our merits-based civil service system and the entire federal workfor workforce. i appear before you today weeks before acting director margaret weicert testified before this subcommittee. at that hearing, the committee expressed the need for additional information to help provide clarity behind the proposed reform. in our effort to further accommodate the committee and be as transparent as possible, opm has redoubled our efforts and is in the process of continuing to gather and provide additional responsive documents to this committee. the discussion during the recent hearing clarified that broad and bipartisan agreement exists. that fundamental changes are needed to ensure we are capable of meeting the responsibility entrusted to us under the civil service reform act of 1978 to promote an efficient civil service. there's reason for optimism that now, possibly for the first time in decades, congress seems willing to acknowledge root causes in a way that will
further the ability of the executive branch to manage the federal personnel system and advance merit-system principles through improving hiring, financial, the processing of retirement and health care benefits. opm is committed to work bing with the subcommittee and providing you information. as the acting director expressed last month, opm leadership fully respects the oversight function of congress and in this committee. if line with chairman connolly's desire for a reset, opm is open to continuing to engage with members of the committee and committee staff. the agency already invited multiple members of congress to visit our offices for a briefing on the opm office of the chief information officer and retirement operations. we look forward to having the chairman and interested members of the subcommittee participate in that briefing. acting director weicart was pleased to host ranking member meadows last week for this briefing. his staff conveyed to us the
visit highlighted the operational challenges facing opm and highly impressed by the commitment of service of opm employees. opm leadership also holds this high regard for our employees. opm leadership shares that there's no substitute for seeing firsthand the hard work of our federal employees as they overcome technological barriers to serve the american people and we see this briefing as a critical way to continue the dialogue between congress and opm. additionally, we're compiling thousands of pages of information to share with the committee. while we must strive to respect executive branch, we're committed to continuing to engage with the subcommittee members and staff to provide information and receive constructive feedback on the reorganization proposal. as you are aware, the transfer of opm background investigations functions and related staff and resources to the department of defense derives from a congressional mandate. this transfer will create a funding gap for opm that compounds existing structural challenges that the agency faces. on june 13th, opm and dod held a
meeting to finalize the dod buyback of general services opm would continue to provide support background only rations during fiscal year 2020 after the transfer of those functions. that same afternoon opm staff briefed staff of this subcommittee and committees from the appropriations and the senate on those deliberations. this is an example of our commitment to transparency and engagement with congress and what we will continue to display moving forward. thank you for having me here today. opm leadership is heartened that congress has acknowleding ackno fundamental issues facing our agency, and we are optimistic that together we can work toward solutions. i look forward to answering your questions and continuing to engage with the committee as we work together toward reforms that best serve the american people. thank you, chairman. >> thank you, mr. billy. i had the opportunity to go to a demonstration outside of opm earlier this week, and a
reassuring message to know how committed leadership is to its workforce at opm because morale was pretty low. mr. borden. >> chairman connolly, chairman cummings, members of the subcommittee, good morning, and thank you for the opportunity to answer your questions about gsa's ongoing efforts to assist the committee. i i joined gs a as chief of last last year. i spent 23 years working in the house of representatives includiinclude ing eight at this committee -- >> mr. borden, excuse me, i think you also worked for my pred predecessor, did you not? >> yes, sir. much of my career was dedicated do -- i'm glad his portrait is now hanging. >> thank mr. cummings. took a democrat to put the pictures back on the wall. >> much of my career in the house was dedicated ed td to ot and investigations. i worked on significant investigations at the educational labor committee as well as two select investigative committees.
i've had the honor of serving two majority leaders as director of oversight. i've also had firsthand experience conducting oversight over four different administrations. i believe no one has a greater respect for the value of congressional oversight or this committee's role as the house's principal investigator. the administrator murphy, herself a former congressional staffer, shares my respect. the last seven months g sarks p gsa coordinated working groups to respond to each of your requests. we provided more than 17,000 pages of documents to this committee regarding a revised fbi headquarters plan and nearly 16,000 pages of documents regarding the old post office. finally, our staff have stayed in regular communication with the committee offering to focus production efforts on your priorities, sharing our search terms, and at your request, broadening the scope of document searches. while i understand i am not here today because you're satisfied with our efforts, i do hope my
testimony will convey the sincerity of our interests in complying with your requests. we do want to work with you to accommodate the legislative branch's oversight interests while safeguarding the executive branch's legitimate confidentiality interests. i thank you for your time and look forward to your questions. >> thank you, mr. borden. ms. tyson. >> good morning, chairman connolly, chairman cummings, ranking member meadows, and other members of the committee. my name is jill tyson. aisle assistant director of the fbi. i oversee the office of congressional affairs and manage an outstanding team of special agents, professional staff, and attorneys. i'm honored to be here today representing the fbi's 37,000 dedicated men and women. as a career doj employee, i've worked with many members of this committee and also with your staff. however, this is a new vantage point for me as it's my first time testifying. my comfort zone is definitely sitting behind the witness. i'm here today to discuss the fbi's significant ongoing
efforts to provide information to this committee regarding the fbi headquarters project. we've taken a number of steps to respond to the committee including producing documents on a rolling basis, providing a briefing by subject matter expert, and offering a second subject matter expert to brief the committee. before i get into the specifics of those efforts, i'd like to briefly discuss the fbi's need for a new headquarters facility. the fbi appreciates the committee's interests in fbi headquarters because as you know, the building has been deteriorating for some time. the fbi headquarters project really began to take shape in 2013. the procurement was canceled in july 2017, however, due to a lack of dedicated appropriated funding. this gave the newly confirmed director, christopher wray, an opportunity to take a fresh look at the project. as director wray has said repeatedly, it is the fbi's strong preference to remain at our current location at 935 pennsylvania avenue. this is in order to balance
overall mission requirements, including improved security, optimal transportation options for fbi employees, close proximity to our partners and public visitors, and a consolidation of the fbi's national capital region footprint. now turning to oversight. the fbi values the important role of congressional oversight. as director wray and attorney general barr have stated, the fbi and the department of justice are committed to accommodating the committee's informational needs. in every instance, we strive to provide congress as much information as possible. we must do so without compromising our law enforcement and national security efforts as well as our investigative and prosecutorial responsibilities. we are committed to working in good faith to accommodate this committee's legitimate oversight interests. we hope the committee will in turn continue to engage in good faith with the fbi and recognize the importance of our law enforcement and confidentiality
interests. the fbi has found the committee's march 6th letter to present some unique challenges given its breadth and the multiagency, multiyear complexity of the headquarters project, itself. due to the nature of the search for fbi headquarters and renovation and similar terms, our initial collection yielded an exceptionally broad return. we are actively working through it and taking a surgical approach based on what we believe the committee has articulated it is seeking. consistent with longstanding and well-accepted accommodations process, the fbi has already taken significant steps to respond to the committee's request for information. those include the fbi hasresour. assigned additional attorneys and professional staff to work on the committee's request and support the document review. second, the fbi has provided a briefing by a subject matter expert. third, the fbi has offered the committee an opportunity to
interview the most senior official who oversaw the fbi headquarters project. and fourth, the fbi has produced approximate lly 1,300 pages of relevant document. these documents include substantive agency communications, information about relevant meetings, and documents pertaining to the decision to demolish and rebuild the fbi headquarters. we appreciate the committee's efforts, particularly in the last week, to focus some aspects of its requests. in fact, because of your input, fbi and gsa were able to make a large production of dozens of reports yesterday totaling approximately 800 pages. we believe these are directly responsive to the committee's interests. such input from the committee will help us be more efficient in our processing of documents and more targeted in the information that we produce of interest to the committee. this is the type of collaboration that the fbi welcomes and hopes the committee will continue. in conclusion, the fbi and the department of justice recognize
that congressional oversight is an important part of our system of government. we remain optimistic that by working together cooperatively, we'll be able to satisfy the committee's oversight interests. we can do this while safeguarding the independence, integrity, and effectiveness of the fbi's vital law enforcement and national security responsibilities. i would be happy to answer the committee's questions. thank you. >> thank you. i would just say before i call on the distinguished chairman for his questioning, two points. one is, the use of the word, legitimate inquiry, one needs to be very careful. the legislative branch will not be lectured by the executive branch as to what constitutes a legitimate inquiry. that's our business. we decide what's a legitimate inquiry, not you. we will not be delimited by the executive branch in our inquiries. i'll point out court holdings -- i'll turn to my professor friend, mr. raskin, a little bit
late tore confir to confirm thi. every court that's ruled on this said it's an inherent function of the legislative branch and it's up to them to decide the nature of an inquiry. not you. and i don't know if that's what you meant, ms. tyson, in the use of the word, legitimate, we'll get into that. i just want to assert that. secondly, while i appreciate your version of history in terms of the fbi headquarters, unfortunately, for you, there's an eight-year history that goes before mr. wray's decision or somebody's decision to abruptly change the terms of reference and actually pull the plug on what was about to be an award. and that has more than our curiosity. so we have different versions of history, and we'll certainly explore that. the chair now calls upon the distinguished chairman of the full committee, my friend, mr. cummings from maryland. >> thank you very much, mr.
chairman. first of all, let me go back, mr. chairman, to what you just said. i agree with you a million percent with regard to legitimate interests and what we investigate. we are blessed on this committee to have broad jurisdiction and as was stated in the mazers case, i mean, we -- they reiterated what you just said. i want to thank you for saying that. now, ms. tyson, this committee has asked the fbi to produce documents and memorialize the administration's decision to reverse the longstanding plan to move fbi headquarters to a suburban location. we have been told that no final documents exist. ms. tyson, is that correct?
i can't hear you. >> congressman, as you're aware, the fbi is in the process of reviewing and processing and producing documents. i can only speak to the 1,300 pages or so that we've produced thus far. >> so are there -- so are there really no formal decision documents related to this project? >> i believe in the course of our production, sir, you'll find a number of documents that do, in fact, indicate the direction and decisions of the fbi headquarters project. >> so if true, i find it highly troubling that a decision, you know, relocating thousands of fbi staff and costing billions of taxpayer dollars would be made without significant paperwork explaining that decision. ms. tyson, we've already requested all of the other documents relating to these discussions and this decision. ms. tyson, will you commit to provide that material to the
committee? >> sir, again, we are absolutely committed to pulling, reviewing, processing, and producing documents to the committee. >> how many people working on that particular production? peo that particular production. >> sir we have multiple divisions working on it. i believe there are three or four at this point. we also surge resources in recent weeks in terms of taking agents -- professional staff and attorneys off other projects in order to expedite the production. >> yesterday you provided drafts of a joint presentation that was made to the senate. this was a welcome first step. but you did not produce the communications around the presentations as we have requested. now miss tyson a mr. borden, will you commit to providing the communications related to the development of this presentation soon? >> chairman cummings, we have had discussions with your staff
regarding the email communications that surround these draft reports that were put together. my understanding and i could be -- could be mistaken but we asked for a date range of the emails and haven't received that yet. >> i promise you we will get them immediately to you. and so you -- if we get you that date range you will work within that daet range to get us what we want. >> we haven't put eye balls on the emails so we don't see any reason not to turn them over but we need to look at them first. >> we'll give you the date range. >> miss tyson a mr. borden the committee is peskly requesting decision making materials draft and final. we have worked with your staff to prioritize those of highest interests and will continue to do so. the documents are key to our investigation as we are trying to understand how the decisions were made, what factors were considered, pan who influenced the decision. have your agencies decided not
to provide the committee with the documents, certain documents? >> no, sir, i have not received such instructions. >> can you commit today to providing the committee with the documents. >> as my colleague mr. borden said, we are in the process of pulling and reviewing documents. i can't make a blanket commitment without having seen the documents. but we are certainly exited to working with the committee and providing as much information as we can. >> i understand that many of the documents have gotten stuck in an interagency group that has not decided to produce the documents to us yet. how long have those discussions been going on? what is taking so long? and why has the decision not been made? first of all is there a spat interagency, mr. borden. >> sir, i'm not aware of any disagreement between the agencies. it does definitely draw out the time it takes to be responsive when we have -- we have a lot of agencies to coordinate with.
but i'm not aware of any disagreement there, no, sir. >> miss -- you may go on. >> likewise, mr. chairman, i'm not aware of any disagreements. in fact i think our agencies are working exceptionally well. we have both surged resources and have a great line of communication that are open as part of this production. >> mr. chairman, my last question, finally miss tyson i understand the fbi has agreed to provide mr. richard haley for a transcribed interview in mid-july in response to our request. we accept your offer and thank you for agreeing to make him available. however, i want to make one additional comment. will you commit today to producing mr. healy's documents before the interview? it really works against us if -- it works against us when we get documents after the interview. >> yes, sir, i understand. i believe that we are trying to
process mr. healy's documents as quickly as possible. we had been waiting for several weeks to get a date for his interview. and i certainly appreciate that the committee is going to be willing to do that with us. >> very well. mr. chairman, thank you so much for your courtesy. >> absolutely. thank you, mr. chairman. the gentlemen from georgia mr. hice. >> thank you mr. chairman. mr. bailey how many documents pb i don't believe in your opening statement you gave a figure of how many documents were produced to the kbht. >> to date i believe we produced about 400. we have a few thousand more we are finalizing the production of to turn over to the committee. >> what's taking so long. >> so a lot of the documents as the acting director testified to you a phoenix weeks ago our data and public documents stretching back decades that we use to analyze the proposal we're putting those together, working to categoryize them. that would be the missouri most helpful the way gao is look for them and the chairman of this
committee's request. another piece of in is that we are in ongoing process through the toll gate meetings. we don't have a defined set of documents we are working through. >> how many people are working to get that job done. >> we have multiple people from our general counsel office, congressional affairs office. >> multiple people doesn't take multiple people to get 400 panls that's not a whole lot of pages. it sounds like there is a stall taking place. >> absolutely not sir we are committed to providing information and compiling it and getting it to you. >> any yfd the 400 submitted how much percentagewise have been redacted in. >> not off the top of my head, sir. >> would my friend yield and i'll freeze your time. >> thank you. >> because you are making such a good point. we have a total of 5245 pages almost none responsive to the direct request we made. 461 from opm, 64 from omb but to the point you just made we asked for -- tell us, cite the legal authority that you say you have
to go forward. that's it redacted. the reference the legal authority makes to the meeting they had on the rationale, also redacted. now, how the committee can do an inquiry as dispassion italy for people to make up their own minds when -- that's called responsive. that's part of that just voluminous 400 pages that they broke sweats over to give us, i think any reasonable member of congress can look at that and realize. >> we have a problem. >> we have a problem. >> i thank the gentleman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and your point is right in line with what the concern is mr. billy. you are not doing your job. there is a stall. it does not take multiple people to get 400 pages, particularly -- or 500 whatever it is particularly when those pages are filled with redactions to questions that have no reason to be redacted.
what is the legal basis for redacting basic answers to questions? >> so i'm not an attorney. i'm not able to talk to the specific about that. i know that we are -- our attorneys are working. li to provide as much information as we can. there are some things that -- where the legal analysis hasn't been completed. we don't have a legal analysis to provide at this time. >> mr. billy, that's totally unacceptable, your answer. and we expect to get the information that we request. is that understood? >> yes, congressman. >> a couple of weeks ago acting directing reichert was here and there was a bipartisan call for documents relating to the opm/gsa merger, specifically the legal analysis for the merger. do you have any idea when that analysis will be provided to this committee? >> so attorneys are working across the agencies that are involved in this to finalize the
legal authorities that currently exist. and as soon as that is done, we will provide those -- >> do you have any idea when that will be done. >> i don't have an exact time line no, sir. >> do you have an estimate. >> as soon as they are completed. the attorneys are working daily on this. >> mr. billy frankly you seem quite ill prepared for -- for answers to questions that you should anticipate would come from in committee. what about the $70 million funding gap? we discussed a little bit of that, where that money is going to come from. >> so the $70 million is caused by the mandate from congress to transition mbib operations to dod we have been able to mitigate that number from $70 million down to $23 million. two weeks ago we were in a toll gate meeting with the department of defense where we finalized the buy back numbers cementing
the final funding gap for next year. we left the toll gate meeting with the numbers and came straight to the hill to brief the committee staff from this committee, the apprehensions and senate committee so that everybody knew as soon as we in the information what that final funding gap would be. i know that's information that this committee has asked for as have other committees. and as soon as we had it we brought it to this committee in an effort to continue engagement and be as transparent as possible. >> all right, mr. borden, you've mentioned some 34,000 documents that have been submitted. do you have any idea how -- what percentagewise has been redacted and what you have submitted? >> i should know better. to be clear, 34,000 pages of documents and i could get a document count for you as well. it's a little, you know be shall can dsh happy to do that if that's helpful. i don't believe we've made significant reindexes daxs in what we produced to this committee. i double checked with -- happy to get you a count on how many redactions there are.
but i think they've been very minimal if any at all. >> okay. my time is almost gone. miss tyson, i want clarification. was the decision from the fbi location 100% made within the fbi? >> sir, although the decision making predates my tenure in the fbi my understanding is that the decision was in fact made by director wray. i certainly in close consult allegationation with the administrator of gsa. >> so no outside opinions or thoughts or discussions were taken into consideration? >> well, sir, i believe the director said repeatedly that the decision was his. >> thank you. thank you mr. chairman. i yield. >> thank you, mr. hice. and thank you for your commitment too on a bipartisan basis to presentation of documents and the need for unredacted documents. the chair now calls opinion upon the gentleman from maryland my friend mr. raskin. >> mr. chairman thank you for
calling this urgently important meeting. and i also want to salute mr. meadows mr. hice for thoughtful comments and support for a broad and robust congressional investigatory power and the central importance of document production in the exercise of that power. i want to welcome all of our witnesses today, especially mr. borden who is a distinguished former student of mine, a prize pupil from the late 20th century. and i can't tell you his grades because of the privacy laws but maybe another member on the committee will ask him for more document production on that. >> if i could interrupt the distinguished gentleman and freezing his time. the one thing mr. borden didn't fess up was a former student of yours. >> i noted appear detailed autobiography but excluded that point. i don't want to compromise his objectivity. but we never agreed politically but always found him to be intellectually very engaged and
astute. so mr. chairman, you and the chairman of the full committee and mr. meadows i think have made the central point about these hearings, which is that congress has a broad robust and comprehensive power that's been recognized by the supreme court and all the courts to investigate. and that is essential to representative dpkz. i think it was james madison who made the crucial point who said those who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power that knowledge gives. that power which belongs to the american people has been vested in the congress of the united states through the constitution. we exercise the power of the people to obtain knowledge about whatever it is we want to legislate about. and so it is indeed up to us to determine what we're going to legislate about. and so it's up to us to determine what information we're going to get. and that demonstrates the absolute importance of complete
compliance with the document requests of congress. now, i want to tell you a story about our constitution. and i could proceed so kratically mr. borden if you want to answer the questions or else as a little lecture. but there are two provisions in the constitution i want to focus on. one is the foreign ee monthly mts claus in article 1 section 9 everybody in the room and on the floor of congress and the president may not collect a present, emolument which means a payment in office or a title from a king, a prince, a foreign government of any kind whatever. -- of any kind whatever without the consent of congress. okay. and we went for more than two centuries with anybody coming close to creating a problem under the foreign emoluments claus. you know there were presidents who got saddles for horses. presidents gave a percentaging
wrong and they came to congress and congress said no it's too valuable turn it over to the state department or make a deposit with the treasury. there is a another includes emolument article 2 claus 17 section 2. the president say not receive any emolument from the united states or any states beyond his salary compensation. and we can't increase the president's salary. and we can't decrease the president's salary. and he can't get a dollar more from a federal government or agency. now, the story all changes with the presidential election of 2016 and the inauguration of president trump who made a decision not to die vest himself of any businesses and not to put anything into a blind trust. and since then there have been reports that 24 different foreign governments have spent money at different trump enterprises, hotels, office tower, golf courses and so on.
in 2019 alone 17 officials of foreign governments stayed at the trump hotel just? washington, d.c. from 13 different nations including dwoord o bolus nahor a brazilian president and the son of the brazilian president, also the engineer of brexit and the leader of the british party. nigel faraj and official from the administration of filipino president duterte. the kuwaiti embassies spent between 50,060,000 on a national day of celebration. the money is flowing into the trump hotel and president trump collects money from the trump hotel as well as the office tower and other hotels. that hotel has a deal with the u.s. government through the general services administration for the old post office building which is federal property. and they've got a lease in the
lease is a provision which i hope is boilerplate. it should be if it's not but i assume it's boilerplate which just says that no government official no matter how high u.s. government or local in the district of columbia can derive any value or benefit from the lease. that's an echo of the constitutional prohibition on foreign and domestic ee monthly mts. . and yet we know all of this money has been flowing into the administration. mr. borden, is it gsa's position that any of the committee's requests about the lease with the trump organization do not serve a legitimate legislative purpose? >> no, sir. >> well, why is the gsa making arguments that are also being advanced by the president's personal attorneys that we can't obtain information about a government lease, a very valuable property which is controlled, owned by the u.s.
taxpayers, the old post office building. >> yes, sir, i believe we're talking about the financial summaries and all the documents and so forth that are produced to gsa under the lease. and that the top line message i want to leave with you on that is that there are no documents that- that we're not willing to talk about producing to the committee. and working through the accommodation process. with regards to the financial documents, they're -- as many our arrangements with business partners there is a confidentiality provision and the confidentiality provision says that these documents aren't to be produced outside of gsa without. >> it says they may not be turned over to the united states congress. >> i'm going to have to interrupt the gentleman. >> it doesn't reference the congress. >> you may fib finish mr. borden. >> it doesn't reference the congress at all. it does reference foia probably a weakness in the provision that's not in there. but it does say is that with the consent of the tenant we can do
it or if it's required by law. and we are trying to work through the process figuring out whether we can -- and under what terms we can provide those to the committee. >> so you -- in reference to the legitimate legislative purpose when we sought the tenant's consent that was a question that was posed to us. and we were -- we were bringing it back to the committee. it's not our place to answer for you. for this committee i know rule 10 claus 4 c i believe is quite broad and should be easy to answer. >> knowing of your history with this committee we assume that your default is to give us more not less. >> yes, sir. >> yes, that's what i thought. votes have been called. that is to say one vote has been called with respect to the rule. there are about 10 minutes left. we have time, mr. meadows if you want to. >> let me go ahead and go. and maybe. >> then we will recess. >> okay. >> and return. >> all right.
so miss tyson let me come to you. i think it would be prudent for the fbi and maybe even director wray to come in and meet with the chairman and a few others that are very interested i think would be the best word in where we go with this. and it is very clear to me, having talked with the president directly -- it is very clear with me in talking with a number of people at the white house, that the fbi's location, whether it be in d.c. or anywhere else, they're agnostic all they want to make sure is that director wray and some of the fbi agents can work very closely with doj in the proximity. if you would take the message back, if they're not tuning in,
that really revisiting this situation with mr. borden's team and your team, i know that everybody feels like the decision has been made. it's going to get more complicated than that i'm afraid. but i want to take one thing off the table. if you can get us as many documents as you can to be as transparent as possible with my democrat colleagues to assure them that the president could care less on whether the location is there or anywhere else. if you would personally go back and look for those documents. and then if you get pushback from the director or from the attorney general on giving knows documents, will you let this committee know if you are getting pushback on delivering those types of documents? >> yes, congressman, let me troy to answer your questions. number one i'll talk the mental back. number two yes we are absolutely committed to getting the
committee as many documents as possible as quickly as possible. i'll reiterate the message wove maid to the chairman which we made many times to the staff. the more narrow and focus we can get the request the more expeditiously. >> i'll cut to the chase. what they're looking for -- they're keeping the request broad miss tyson what they're really looking for is where there was undue influence on the decision to move the headquarters. i'm not going to speak for the chairman but i'm going to tell you i bet that is what he is looking for. if you will focus that request on that i think the more do you that the less pressure you'll get from the chairman. okay. and that's -- >> would my friend yield. >> sure. >> not prejudice to his time. he makes a really good point. two things. one is aside from even suspicious thinking -- and i freely confess we have some of that -- it is -- it is a complete puzzlement that the fbi could with a straight face walk
away from a rationale it had been propounding eight years. i've been to many meetings and briefings. i'm particularly struck by both the consolidaten argument and the setback argument which remains a problem on the second site. i think impliedly what my friend is saying is assume there is nothing there. assume this is as innocent as the new born babe. the more fbi holds back on documents, the more it does a disservice to the president, given the suspicious nature of this town. and so maybe it's protecting fbi prerogatives but it's not helping the president. and i restore my friend's time and thank him for allowing my intervention. >> so miss tyson without forcing you to answer. let me say the reason they're
broad is not just because of you because you have been very honest and direct. and you have great credentials from one someone i respect very highly at doj. in saying that, the reason why it's broad is because we have time and time again -- we have witnesses that can come in here and any say you didn't ask for that. when they knew full well that that's really what we were asking for. and so that's why you get the broad requests. and so you're -- in some ways it's a function of the games that get played between the executive branch and the legislative branch. so i don't see you getting that near. that being said, i don't tell the fbi how to do law enforcement. and i think it would serve director wray well to not tell in member of congress how to do real estate well. you know, he is not a real estate guy. and i'm telling you, i'm fundamentally so disagree with
the decision that's made that -- and i'm trying to be -- but it is wrong. it just is wrong. there is no way it is efficient use of the taxpayer's dollars. not to say gnaw shouldn't have a presence there. i believe you have to have a presence there. but the majority of the campus being outside the city will be cheaper. there is just no way. and i know gsa has all the different studies. but when you compare apples to apples there is no way that it could be -- that it just would not be cheaper. that being said, we want to balance that function. and so mr. borden, as y'all look at that, the documents i just want to say, gsa has been pretty good on -- on some of the document requests. i will also say that you've got staffers that work with you. and that i trust.
you and yet they worked with me. didn't work with the chairman. and so in doing that we have really got to get to the bottom of some of the documents as it relates specifically to the trump hotel it's a big deal for him less so for me. yet i know there is nothing to hide. i guess what i'm saying, help us get the documents so we can take the political side of this out and start to make legislative questions. so mr. billy wrb, let me come to you at the end. miss wiechert and i -- i have high respect for her and i believe she is trying to do the very best for our federal government in this remember organization, while we disagree on that we do agree on the fact that no federal employees should be -- it shouldn't be a slippery slope where federal employees have to worry about their job.
they have that commitment from the chairman and from me. some of the lack of information that even in the reorg that we had made the day i'm at opm a headline come out saying that we are furloughing people and caught my by surprise. i'm having a great visit at opm. you were there. some colleagues were there. and i come back to have to answer reporter questions about furloughing employees. it embarrassed me because i felt like some of the opm employees may have thought that i knew about that. and i didn't. and yet it's inconsistent with where i am philosophically. the more information, mr. billy, you can get us as it relates to what you need, the better off we'll be. that make. >> absolutely, congressman we are going towork -- we are remember doubling our efforts to get the information for you and the chairman on this. >> and we may end up prioritizing some stuff. as the chairman prioritizes it,
just assume that we're speaking from, you know, the same voice, okay. >> absolutely. >> and thank you all for your testimony. >> i thank you the gentleman. we're going to have to go into recess because one vote, procedural vote and we will come back as soon as possible. if mr. raskin comes back before us he is authorized to take the chair. and gavel us back into session. we stand in recess.