Clinton campaign chief testifies before House intel committee behind closed doors

John Podesta, who headed up Hillary Clinton's campaign for president, testified before the House Intelligence Committee on the Obama administration's lack of action in dealing with Russian cyber-attacks on the election.

Podesta gave his testimony behind closed doors.


Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman, John Podesta, on Tuesday appeared before the U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, which has begun interviewing witnesses in its probe of how Russia may have influenced the 2016 election.

Committee members declined to comment on the discussion to reporters as they left the panel's secure hearing room. Podesta stopped and commented briefly.

"They asked me to come forward to give to the best of my knowledge what I knew about that, and I was happy to cooperate with the committee in their investigation of Russian interference with the democratic process in the United States," he said.

Republican President Donald Trump, who defeated Clinton in the election, recently has accused former Democratic President Barack Obama of doing too little to address Russian cyber attacks while he was still in the White House.

On Monday, Trump demanded on Twitter that investigators apologize for looking to Russian interference and possible collusion with his campaign. He accused Obama of having "colluded or obstructed," without providing evidence. 

Asked whether he thought Obama had done enough, Podesta said, "I think the president and the entire administration were dealing with an unprecedented incidence of the weaponization of the fruits of Russian cyber activity and making the best judgments they could on behalf of the American people."

Was the information possessed by Podesta so sensitive that he couldn't testify in an open hearing?  Podesta appeared without being subpoenaed, which means his closed-door testimony was probably negotiated before his appearance.  Why would his lawyer make one of the conditions of his testimony that it be kept secret?

You don't have to be a conspiracy-monger to believe that there is more to the Obama administration's lack of response to Russian hacking than has been revealed to date.  It could be that what the Obama administration told the Clinton campaign about the hacking differed from what it told the Trump campaign.  It could also be a question of the Obama administration playing politics with the information, refusing to do anything about the hacking for fear it would validate Trump statements about a "rigged" election.

Any way you look at it, the Russian investigation in Congress has become more complicated than Democrats bargained for.

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