Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) talks about the intelligence community, oversight of PPP funds, and reopening Florida in an interview Wednesday on 'FOX & Friends.'
AINSLEY EARHARDT, FOX & FRIENDS CO-HOST: Let’s bring in Florida’s GOP Senator, Macro Rubio, Interim Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Good morning to you, Senator.
MARCO RUBIO (R-FL) SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: Good morning. Thank you for having me.
EARHARDT: Good morning. You're welcome. So Ron Johnson asked to declassify that email that she sent to herself, Susan Rice did. He says it shows that the former administration was trying to sabotage the next administration. Do you agree?
RUBIO: Well, I think that’s a legitimate question to ask, but let me – let me point something out. I think one of the key things that people are missing if you look at the timestamp of that email, it was after 12 o’clock that day. That email actually happened while Donald Trump was already sworn in as President of the United States. It’s the reason why Mr. Grenell and the administration had access to that email and it came under the Trump administration because it was actually – it was kind of an email written to herself after Trump had sworn in, so it’s kind of bizarre in that sense.
I think the other relevant thing to look at in that email is it actually makes it abundantly clear that this is actually at that point no longer an intelligence community issue. This was an FBI issue, which is why I believe that the hearings and judiciary is the proper form to look at how the FBI handled this entire process and sort of figured out if there was any wrongdoing in the way it was approached.
STEVE DOOCY, FOX & FRIENDS CO-HOST: Senator, one of the things that she wrote in the email was that the president said I want everybody to do everything by the books and then James Comey said we’re doing this all by the books. From what you have seen so far, did they do it by the books?
RUBIO: Well you know, there’s a process by which the FBI comes in to talk to somebody. You consult with the White House Counsel, you potentially show the individual you're asking questions of a transcript, and by the way you're asking questions that are relevant to a potential crime in essence that are material to an ongoing and legitimate investigation. And there are questions about two of those three things.
We know they didn’t show them the transcripts of what it is they were asking about. We know that they didn’t coordinate with the White House Counsel. They actually went in there sort of under false pretenses and in what appears to be an effort to entrap them. This whole thing makes no sense. Michael Flynn was a long-time member of the intelligence community.
He would have known that any time anyone talks to a foreign official there are chances are that -- that those calls are being intercepted potentially by multiple agencies around the world. I mean, you know, this happens all the time. And he would certainly know what's out there and who listens to what, including other countries for that matter.
And so, you know, again, I think that -- I think all of this is a bizarre turn of events and there's a lot of legitimate questions to ask about whether, in fact, the FBI did not follow normal protocols here.
We know, for example, from public disclosures now, that the FBI’s agents all said that they didn't think Mr. Flynn had lied. And, I don't know, Mr. Flynn, I'm not one -- I just think it's really important to protect the integrity and the trustworthiness of agencies is important as the FBI and things like this undermine it.
The damage that's been done to the intelligence community, but particularly to the FBI by the behavior of a handful of individuals and his post career behavior especially by Mr. Comey have -- have been, I think, incredibly damaging to a very important agency, who's overwhelming number of employees are not the kinds of people that would do this.
But obviously there are some people there that decided to, for whatever reason, act in a way that has damaged that -- that agency and the bureau.
BRIAN KILMEADE, FOX & FRIENDS CO-HOST: If Lindsey Graham gets a chance to question some of these people in front of his committee, with Sally Yates and Brennan and Comey and others, I think they're going to say that they actually thought they were turning over the country to Russia, because how else would you describe this behavior?
Rick Grenell was doing an outstanding job as the Acting DNI Director on disclosing a lot of this after leaving as Ambassador of Germany for now, until John Ratcliffe takes over, assuming he's confirmed, said this yesterday in his Cabinet meeting that was --
RUBIO: He will be confirmed.
KILMEADE: -- yes, I'm sure he will. He got out of the committee. Here's what he said yesterday about the intel community.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD GRENELL, ACTING DIRECTOR OF THE U.S. NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: I have heard from hundreds of members of the current intel community who are extremely pleased with transparency of their work and that's what they're shooting for, that's what they want to provide to policy makers, is information that is not politicized by politicians in any way on any side of the aisle, but to be able to protect their intelligence estimates, we all know that they're estimates, and they are proud to give them when not manipulated by others.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KILMEADE: What else do you need to know Senator? He -- I'm sure he'll tell you. What else -- what other questions do you have?
RUBIO: Look, I mean -- I -- well first let me just say it's an important thing to remind everybody, the intelligence community gathers information from a variety of sources, including open source reporting and everything else.
They analyze -- then they have analysts who look at all of that and they tell policymakers, here's what has happened and here's what we think it means. And then ultimately it's up to policymakers to make decisions on the basis of that.
And by the way, sometimes policymakers look at that information and disagree with the analysis. It is really important that our agencies provide analysis that is accurate, that it collects information, provides accurate analysis, but not analysis that biased for political purposes or analysis that's designed to further a political narrative.
It's also really important that stuff like this not be put out in the public domain to further political narratives. At the end of the day, elements of a phone call between Mr. Flynn and the Ambassador from Russia at the time were leaked -- were leaked to the press.
Someone broke the law. Someone took that information, gave it to members of the press and broke the law. And I think that alone is cause for -- for accountability to find out who did it.
Obviously, that is information that was owned, not by the intelligence community, it was owned by the FBI, they had possession of it, and so I think it's very valid to ask who knew about this information, because it narrows the list of the people who are responsible or could be responsible for putting this in the public domain, which should never have happened.
You cannot have a law enforcement agency, have people within it that break the law. This is a valid area of inquiry and I'm confident that the Judiciary Committee is going to do a good job of getting to the bottom of it.