Transcript: Rep. Adam Schiff on "Face the Nation," Sept. 24, 2017

"Face the Nation" sat down Sunday with Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. 

He discussed the investigations into Russian meddling, as well as his viewpoint on North Korea.

What follows is a transcript of the interview, which aired Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, on "Face the Nation."


JOHN DICKERSON: And we're back with California Congressman Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. Congressman, I want to start with a deadline that has passed. The committee has asked the FBI and the Justice Department three times now to give documents related to the so-called "Trump dossier." 

This is the salacious set of allegations that - and the FBI has not responded. What's going on?

ADAM SCHIFF: Well, this is a subpoena that was issued by our Chairman, and what's unusual about it is the chair recused himself, or so we thought, from the Russian investigation. He has issued a subpoena to the attorney general, who has also recused himself. So two people recused that are seeking documents or refusing to provide documents on an investigation they were supposed to be uninvolved with. But more than that, I think what is really at heart is an effort to discredit Mr. Steele, in an essence also to put the government on trial as a way, I think, of distracting our focus from looking into what Russia did during the election.

JOHN DICKERSON: Mr. Steele being the author of that dossier?

ADAM SCHIFF: Yes.

JOHN DICKERSON: Let me ask about another development this week. Facebook turned over some information related to Russian efforts to influence the election. What exactly did they turn over, and why is it important?

ADAM SCHIFF: They're providing us with all of the commercials that Russia used on its platform. But I think what's important for people to know is there are a couple of real significant issues here. One is, of course, the paid advertising was designed not only to help Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, but more fundamentally, to divide Americans to pit one American against another on some very device issues. It's the kind of cynical campaign you would expect of having a KGB operative running a country. There's a lot we don't know yet about it. I think we know only the minimum of the advertising. And, of course, advertising was only one method the Russians used on social media, and this was only one platform. But there's also an issue about the use of Facebook's
algorithms and the way it tends to potentially reinforce people's informational bias. And this is a problem that goes well beyond Russia, but in one example, if you were looking or interested in an article about Hillary Clinton's health, what the Facebook
algorithms result in you're seeing a lot more stories about Hillary Clinton's health and reinforce a misperception or inaccurate information? That is a far broader issue than Russia, but one that we really need to know a lot more about. 

JOHN DICKERSON: And that's a Facebook problem, not a Russia problem. I mean, that's a problem with their algorithm that keeps us all siloed in certain narrow areas.

ADAM SCHIFF: Yes. There's certainly a Russian implication because they use these algorithms to amplify misinformation or slated information. But it's far broader, and we have to ask, "Is this in our society's interest to create these informational silos?"

JOHN DICKERSON: What's the impact, though, of these Russian Facebook ads? I mean, is anybody saying that they had any influence on the election that changed the outcome in any possible way? It seems a small amount to have done anything like that.

ADAM SCHIFF: Well, first of all, that small amount is only what Facebook has thus far confirmed came directly out of Russia. They have acknowledged that they haven't looked or analyzed or completed a report yet on advertising Russia may have done through third countries. So Russia will use proxies in the Caucasus or other parts of Europe to potentially buy ads or amplify misinformation. And, of course, this is just one platform the Russians were using. This has nothing to do with the Russian use of bots on Twitter. So if you look at the full extent of Russian use of social media, was it in any way decisive or determinative? Hard to say because we really have so little information thus far about the extent of Russian use of social media.

JOHN DICKERSON: Let me ask you about some other news that came out this week. There were reports that Paul Manafort, the former chairman of the Trump campaign was, in fact, wiretapped two different periods. President Trump said at one point in a tweet, "The Trump Tower was wiretapped." And he was pretty much ridiculed for that. But now we have reporting that Paul Manafort was wiretapped. He had an apartment in Trump Tower. So maybe the president was right.

ADAM SCHIFF: No, I don't think so at all. And, in fact, not only did Director Comey and Director Mike Rogers of the NSA say there was no truth to the president being wire-tapped at Trump Tower, but the Department of Justice recently confirmed that was false as well. I can't comment on whether Mr. Manafort was ever the subject of surveillance of any kind. Even if he were, though, that doesn't justify or suggest that the president was wiretapped improperly by Barack Obama, so there's no truth to that. I will say with respect to Manafort, though, the allegation that he was reaching out to Russian oligarchs close to Putin, and suggesting that he would offer them useful information to them while he was campaign manager, at the very same time the Russians are reaching out to him to offer information on Hillary Clinton. That is of deep concern to us.

JOHN DICKERSON: But just going back to the president for a minute. I mean, he said Trump Tower was wiretapped, and Manafort lives in Trump Tower. I mean, it might not be precisely letter for letter what was going on, but it's a heck of a lot closer than what people were originally ridiculing the president for.

ADAM SCHIFF: Well, I think this is far from an issue of whether it was letter for letter. The president suggested that Barack Obama was illegally wiretapping him. If the Obama Administration was engaged in legal surveillance of someone they believed may have been an agent of a foreign power, we should want the administration to do that, and that's a far cry from the kind of illegal surveillance the president was suggesting.

JOHN DICKERSON: And important question on North Korea: You oversee the intelligence community. Mike Morrell, the Deputy Director of the CIA, former, who's a CBS senior analyst says the U.S. may not know - North Korea may be further along. Do you worry about that? Further along in their nuclear program.

ADAM SCHIFF: I do worry about it. We have imperfect vision on what North Korea's doing, but we have to assume that in the near future, they're going to be able to marry that nuclear technology with their ICBM technology. So whether they're further ahead, we have to presume that may be true, and we need to act accordingly.

JOHN DICKERSON: All right, Congressman, thank you so much for being with us, and we'll be right back.

ADAM SCHIFF: Thank you.