Skip to main content

tv   CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto  CNN  April 9, 2019 6:00am-7:00am PDT

6:00 am
can spare yourself the disservice of jail. not a nice play. >> you are always our agent of reality. thank you very much. >> thank you, alisyn. attorney general bill barr's testimony begins in moments. "cnn newsroom" has live coverage now. good morning to you, it's a big morning, lots of news today, we will bring it to you, i'm js. >> and i'm mooem. we are just minutes away from attorney general bill barr facing lawmakers on capitol hill. it will be his first face-to-face testimony with those lawmakers since he took the nearly 400-page mueller report and boiled it down to a four-page summary. democrats plan to gill him over that summary while barr plans to talk about the justice department's nearly $30 billion budget. that is because this hearing was a preplanned one meant to be about the budget, but don't go anywhere because you know there will be all sorts of questions asked about mueller's findings. >> barr is not the only trump
6:01 am
cabinet member on the hill today. steve mnuchin testifying before two committees. democrats expected to question him about the president's tax returns, other ethics issues, still up in the air, we are just about 30 minutes away from the attorney general's hearing. here to give us a look at what to expect cnn's senior congressional precedent manu raju. there will be a lot of tough questions coming barr's way. will he answer those questions? >> reporter: that's the big question, how much will he say? we don't expect him to get into the investigative details about the contents of the mueller report, but we do expect some discussion about the process that he is undergoing right now as part of the redaction process for the mueller report, how he plans to move forward and release that redacted version and the question is how much more does he provide to congress, does he anything more than he has said already in these written letters and the correspondence with the house and senate judiciary committee. this is a hearing that's supposed to be about the justice
6:02 am
department's budget, but democrats have made no secret about it, they want to understand exactly the process that is going on right now, why bill barr took certain actions like not charging the president with obstruction of justice and how he developed that four-page letter. the chairman of this committee in excerpts of his opening statement he is about to deliver says this, he says the american people have been left with many unanswered questions, serious concerns about the process by which you formulated your letter and uncertainty about when we can expect to see the full report. i had a chance to talk to one of the congressman matt cartwright who will be doing the questioning today and he said a big question for him is all about those redactions. >> well, i think what's on everybody's mind right now is how much is he going to redact? i hope that he takes a very sparing approach to his redactions because he knows that everybody is going to want to know what's hand the black ink.
6:03 am
>> reporter: so this is just the first of two days of testimony before the house appropriations subcommittee, tomorrow before the senate appropriations subcommittee. we don't expect the full mueller report to be released as he is on capitol hill or even a redacted version of that, but the house judiciary committee still has those subpoenas in its back pocket for jerry nadler, the chairman, to issue to demand the full unredacted mueller report. he told us last night he still has not decided exactly when to deliver those subpoenas, but we will hear how much that barr plans to divulge in just a matter of moments here, guys. >> a big week. got the testimony, you may see the report later this week. thanks very much. barr's plans to talk about funding requests will likely be overshadowed by democrats who want answers on the release of the full mueller report. these are live pictures. there is the attorney general bill barr arriving on capitol
6:04 am
hill. just about 27 minutes before his testimony is set to begin. we will bring you that as soon as it does start. as we wait let's going to the justice department, our justice correspondent laura jarrett is with us for more. obviously he is going to be asked these questions, we know some of what the democrats are going to say about what they feel about the four-page summary. do you have any sense of how he's going to answer those questions? there is not a single word about the mueller report in his prepared opening statement. >> no, not a single word, poppy. i would expect you should see the attorney general pivot, deflect and do everything he can to avoid the elephant in the room. we know that he's prepared to talk about the department's priorities, this was supposed to be appropriations hearing, and so he's coming armed to talk about everything from reducing violent crime, addressing the immigration issues, combating the opioid crisis, prepared to talk about national security concerns. really core department priorities, but, of course,
6:05 am
democratic lawmakers as manu pointed out want to talk about the special counsel report. that's what's on everybody's mind right now. barr has not put out the report yet but has said it is coming in mid-april, if not sooner. so we could expect it any day now. there also is the fact that he has agreed to testify next month, may 1st and 2nd in front of the house and senate judiciary committee. so the democrats on capitol hill are going to get another crack at him, but that will not stop them today from pressing him on the redactions and, of course, the reporting from last week that showed sort of the break in the special counsel's team and how they were disturbed about his four-page summary i'm sure is likely to come up as well. with he will see how he answers all of that, but i think we should expect him to try to pivot and deflect. >> okay. laura jarrett, thank you very much. joining us now former federal prosecutor laura coates and former president adviser david gergen. laura, i want to start with you
6:06 am
first because it's a legal question. if i was in that room and the big question folks want answered is what evidence did mueller turn up of wrongdoing by the president, if any, both for collusion and obstruction of justice and then what was your rationale, mr. attorney general, for determining that there was no obstruction of justice, kind of a decision that the special counsel punted to him. will barr feel pressure? will he have to answer those questions or will he say that's secret, i didn't want to sully anyone's expectations? >> i think he will be pressured to answer but this will be more form over a substantive hearing. he will be asked a lot of questions and fairly right that he will be asked questions about the process, about the redaction, about the real big question here which is why did you decide to actually make a recommendation or a decision about the obstruction aspect of it? that's not asking him what the actual evidence is, it's asking him whether mueller actually intended for him to be the final arbiter and decision-maker here. therefore, he can't punt and try to go around the issue of what's
6:07 am
in the substantive, it's about why he chose to make the decision. i think that's really fair game more than the questions right now pre pre daks about what he will actually provide. in addition to that questions about whether or not he will provide a redaction sort of log that says, look, you've identified four different categories from classified information to prejudicial information for peripheral third parties so information about grand jury and the like. do you intend to let us know which particular black ink marks correspond to which section or will we all be in the dark? those are process questions that don't have anything to do with the substance and he should answer those questions. >> david, we know a little bit of what the democrats, the chairwoman of the appropriations committee what she's going to say, democrat of new york, she's going to call his handling unacceptable, she's also going to say that the fact that he did this summary in just 48 hours is more suspicious than impressive. i'm interested if you find it as specious as she does?
6:08 am
>> do i find it what? >> she finds it suspicious that he did this summary in 48 hours, do you? >> i don't think it's time to make a judgment on that. when we see the report i think we can determine whether it was too hasty, especially if there are discrepancies between what he said, the four-page summary, and the report itself, or are there implications in the four-page summary that led us in one direction when, in fact, there was a lot of evidence -- >> so is there a risk for democrats to make statements like that like we know she's going to do, of going too far too fast? >> i think there is some risk for the democrats. in retrospect did the democrats, did the press overplay the nature of what was coming? there was certainly an assumption that it was going to be a blockbuster negative report that might bring down the president and when it wasn't it gave enormous relief to the white house, but it also let them make the argument, fake news, you people have been
6:09 am
misreporting this the whole time. i don't think that was a fair argument on the part of the white house, but nonetheless gave them ammunition to make that kind of argument. so i think here this process is going to play itself out over the next few weeks. i think we should be careful about rendering judgment now even as we press for more information. we simply have to have more information to make intellige intelligent -- >> and we're going to get it soon. the request he is just how much we're going to get. >> and what's his philosophy of redaction? is it to be sweeping or is it to be quite limited. >> yeah, we don't know. >> laura coates, he has telegraphed his philosophy of redaction a bit. early on he made the case in public comments that you don't want to sully the reputations of folks who you may have discovered of possible wrongdoing, but if you don't meet the standard of criminal wrongdoing you don't want to just lay it all out there because some folks will view that as prosecuting in the
6:10 am
public sphere as opposed to in the courts. is that a fair argument for the attorney general to make? >> it is. i mean, it's a policy at the doj, you don't want to tar and feather in the public square and don't bring a case. we have seen that illustrated time and time again particularly with the comey press conference with respect to hillary clinton. we do not want that to happen. having said that is correct however, there is a wide variety of information that can be made available aside from that kind of peripheral third-party disparaging comment. we know that there was grand jury testimony, we know that there was actually voluntary witnesses as well and voluntary interviews. we have search warrants and subpoena requests that all could be made public without that same gravitas about trying to shield the prejudice against people who are not going to be charged. the question will be given the fact that there are policy and guidelines and judicial redaction that should be made public, well, what is your approach going to be to identifying those aspects that you do redact to alert the congress why you have redacted
6:11 am
it. it cannot be simply that page after page is black inked out because it would not actually be able to be confirmed what the process was. so if he's promising transparency as a floor and not a ceiling, he has to be accountable to actually inform as to why he's made certain redactions. >> david gergen, one thing we know from barr's summary is -- and this is a quote from what he wrote -- most of the obstructive actions by the president have been publicly reported. the word "most" is something that a lot of people struck on when we read that the first time so i'm going to assume folks will ask him what he means by most. >> they should. that 20% could be explosive, we don't know that. i do think that there is a time tested device on washington that could be used on these redactions. that is, okay, we appreciate we're going to get redacted stuff, we're going to see black marks.
6:12 am
we would like to have the full report with no redactions that's available only for the leadership of our committees, the investigatory committees. maybe in a closed room where nobody can take the oath but you will -- >> just like an intelligence briefing. they will get things in private that they don't share in public. >> exactly. that seems to me to be a fair way to plans this out. >> stand by. don't go anywhere. we're watching live pictures of the hearing room right now. laura coates, david gergen, stick with us as we prepare to hear from bill barr, the first time he has testified since the summary of the mueller report. still to come the white house is weighing a so-called binary choice for migrants, stay together indefinitely in a detention facility or be separated at the border. this as the president ordered a partial border shutdown backing off that demand, though, but just a few weeks ago. those details ahead. this as we are waiting to hear from attorney general barr facing tough questions on capitol hill just minutes from now. we will bring that to you live
6:13 am
when it kicks off. there are people out there who see things others can't. they're the ones who see a city that can make those who live in it feel a little safer. who see cars that can talk to each other and share their best shortcuts. who see the efficient shape and design of the ocean's wonders as the future of aerodynamics. ♪ why? because they can see the infinite possibilities of the power of data flowing through our world. at dell technologies we see it too. and we can help make your digital future real so you can move the world forward in beautiful, unimaginable ways.
6:14 am
if you'd like to transform your business, talk to us. and together we'll show the world what impossible looks like... when it's made real. has been excellent. they really appreciate the military family and it really shows. with all that usaa offers why go with anybody else? we know their rates are good, we know that they're always going to take care of us. it was an instant savings and i should have changed a long time ago. it was funny because when we would call another insurance company, hey would say "oh we can't beat usaa" we're the webber family. we're the tenney's we're the hayles, and we're usaa members for life. ♪ get your usaa auto insurance quote today. ♪
6:15 am
a lot will happen in your life. wrinkles just won't. neutrogena® rapid wrinkle repair's derm-proven retinol works so fast, it takes only one week to reveal younger looking skin. making wrinkles look so last week. rapid wrinkle repair® pair with new retinol oil for 2x the wrinkle fighting power. neutrogena® visionworks can do more than the right pair of glassesat. can make you look amazing, too. get two complete pairs of single vision glasses for $59 or two progressives for $99. and choose from over 500 frames. visionworks. we're here to help you. (thunderclap) if your day doesn't unfold as predicted. unfold this. new neutrogena® makeup remover single. and remove 99% of makeup. 100% rain or shine. neutrogena®. 100% rain or shine.
6:16 am
our because of smoking.ital. but we still had to have a cigarette. had to. but then, we were like. what are we doing? the nicodermcq patch helps prevent your urge to smoke all day. nicodermcq. you know why, we know how. -it's our confident forever plan. -welcome to our complete freedom plan. -it's all possible with a cfp professional. ♪ -find your certified financial planner™ professional at letsmakeaplan.org. blended with purpose, for fragile hair. -find your certified financial planner™ professional with revitalizing ginger, known to recover strength, and golden honey. as a whole blend, it provides twice the breakage protection. to make hair stronger instantly. blended makes us better. whole blends. by garnier, naturally.
6:17 am
live pictures there from capitol hill just minutes from now, the attorney general will face a house committee and face hard questions on his decisions regarding the mueller report. we will bring that to you live. stay with us. all right. cnn has also learned that president trump is pushing to reinstate his controversial family separation policy at the southern border. this is a big deal. this reporting according to a senior administration official that under discussion is a binary choice. this would give families the option to stay together as a family while detained or agree to be separated while the parents go through the process. >> joining us know joe johns who is live at the white house.
6:18 am
joe, so many folks in this administration were opposed to this policy, many of whom have now been sent out the door. who is with the president on this decision to reinstate separating parents from their children? >> reporter: interesting question. what we do know, of course, is that stephen miller the influential presidential adviser who has been there all along has now gotten immigration as part of his portfolio and he's looking at all options, however few. there are certain concerns in this administration that there aren't any good options left. we are told that this binary choice is one of the things they are going to look at very carefully under discussion, under careful consideration. we know also that the incoming national security director kevin mcaleenan also is taking a look at it as well. it's a very difficult choice
6:19 am
this binary choice, if you will. it's a choice for parents to after 20 days of detention either decide with their children whether the family should separate or whether they should stay together. it's important also to say that the immigration process can take years, so that's a choice, if you will. we have that graphic that we can show you. choice number one the whole family remains in detention, choice number two the families agrees to be separated as the parents go through the process together. very controversial idea, of course, especially because the united states there is a rule that says when the government takes control of a child, they have to do so in the best interest of that child. the question would be what happens to the child? >> call it what you like, binary, i mean, straight up do you want to say with your kids or not, imagine answering that question? >> joe johns, thanks very much. let's talk about this with john
6:20 am
sandwhich c sandwick. nice to have you here. i should preface this by saying you've been very complementary of kevin mcaleenan who now has this job, you've said he is as good as they come, et cetera. that said, is he in an impossible position here? >> well, potentially. what we've seen so far is that the administration has pushed these policies on the department. they've been ineffective, incompetently managed and in many instances unlawful. if nick alienen is required to implement white house policies which are a series of symbols but no strategy, with he continue to see the number of people at the border he is in an unwinnable position. >> one issue that is attracted a lot of attention is the president directing it seemed on his visit to the border, u.s. border agents, to violate u.s. law. to turn folks away at the border when law requires that they be
6:21 am
dealt with and that appears to be a central air of i can't disagreement with his departing dhs secretary kirstjen nielsen. tell me the significance of a sitting president because he doesn't like the law telling folks not to follow the law as it relates to asylum seekers. >> yeah, i mean, that's -- listen, there is an existing framework of laws that are in place and this president has consistently shown a resistance to enforcing those laws, instead he is soo he can to go modify the laws. we have laws that have managed mass migrations like this in the past. the problem is the numbers of individuals showing up now are straining knows resources greatly. all we need to do is urge resources into frankly the immigration courts and the adjudication officers who decide these asylum claims, process these claims quickly and get these people out. instead we've seen this family separation and then this remain in place in mexico, both of which have been explicitly found to be unlawful by federal courts. they have been ineffective. ins the implementation there was
6:22 am
no dip in the numbers after family separation was implemented. there has been no dip in the numbers since remain in place in mexico has been implemented. >> evan auto if it is meant for deterrents you're saying it's not working. let's get you on this, so the question now becomes who replaces kirstjen nielsen, will kevin mcaleenan get the job full time? we don't know. there are some who are wondering if it's going to be former kansas secretary of state kris kobach. he was on fox news last night. here is the case he made. >> leadership at that agency for the past two years ever since the president took office has been unwilling to execute many of the president's plans and i can say from direct personal experience i have been in the room when the president has given express orders to leadership at dhs and been assured that, yes, those orders will be carried out and then a year later nothing has happened. so there has been deliberate foot dragging. >> he's saying this is all just because people aren't doing what
6:23 am
the president says. what do you say? >> well, first of all, i think that would be an interesting confirmation hearing to see kris kobach go through the senate. nielsen her legacy is tarnished and i think rightfully so by family separation. i think the way she handled that, the way she misled the public she deserves some blame for that. at the end of the day the failure at the border falls on the white house not on the department. this is not an issue of trying to be someone more tough or less tough. tough is just a sound bite, it's not a strategy. what we are not seeing is an effective strategy to manage what's going on at the border within the framework of laws that we have. this administration is not enforcing the current law, instead they're trying to push the margins of the law because i think it sounds good or it sounds tough and that their base is going going to enjoy t the simple solution here and this administration refuses to adopt it but to blame nielsen who oversaw one of the frankly cruelest and if you will toughest policies that we have ever implemented at our border that was ineffective to say somehow it was an execution
6:24 am
issue that is unfair. >> john, good to have you come back and join us because this issue is not going weiwei. >> it's hard to pass new laws so it would be easier to just to break the existing one but we have laws. >> you can't do that in this count country. moments there now william barr will face tough questioning from democrats on the hill. how will he answer questions about how he handled the mueller report, what's in it. we will bring you the hearing live. we are moments away from the opening bell on wall street. investors are set to watch key corporate earnings today including boeing set to announce the number of planes it has delivered since all of those 737 max jets were grounded.
6:25 am
you should be mad at people whos forget they're in public. and you should be mad at simple things that are unnecessarily complicated. but you're not mad, because you're trading with e*trade, which isn't complicated. their app makes trading quick and simple so you can strike when the time is right. don't get mad, get e*trade and start trading today. brushing only reaches 25% of your mouth. listerine® cleans virtually 100%. helping to prevent gum disease and bad breath. never settle for 25%. always go for 100. bring out the bold™ wgreat tasting, heart-healthys the california walnuts.ever? so simple, so good. get the recipes at walnuts.org. do you want ready to wear clothing without all the hassle? you can, with bounce dryer sheets. we dried one shirt without bounce,
6:26 am
and an identical shirt using bounce. the bounce shirt has fewer wrinkles, less static, and more softness and freshness. bounce out wrinkles, bounce out static. it's way day! yes. it's wayfair's biggest sale of the year, and you're invited! starting april 10, score our lowest prices since black friday on best-selling furniture, decor, and way more. plus, everything ships free on way day. everything? everything. and flash deals launch all day long. hey guys, check out the flash deal i just scored! our biggest sale of the year only lasts 36 hours so shop way day starting april 10 at wayfair.com. run with us. on a john deere x300 series mower. because seasons may change... ♪ ...but true character doesn't. ♪ wow, you've outdone yourself this time. hey, what're neighbors for?
6:27 am
it's beautiful. nothing runs like a deere™. run with us. save $300 on x330 and x350 select series lawn tractors. at participating john deere dealers. you wouldn't accept an incomplete job from any one else. why accept it from your allergy pills? flonase sensimist relieves all your worst symptoms, including nasal congestion, which most pills don't. and all from a gentle mist you can barely feel. flonase sensimist.
6:28 am
xfinity watchathon week. television is back! now through april 14, enjoy free access to the best shows and movies from hbo, showtime, epix and more. what! so, you can get more into what you're into. whether it's more laughs, oops. epic escapes, or high-flying thrills, get more into what you're into. just say "watchathon" into your x1 voice remote, or download the xfinity stream app. xfinity watchathon week, free. now through april 14.
6:29 am
well, that chair you're looking at there facing all those cameras, you could describe that as a hot seat, i think. attorney general bill barr about to face lawmakers on capitol hill. lots of questions. >> his first testimony since he released his four-page summary of the mueller report. before the actual report is released to congress our senior congressional correspondent manu raju is live on capitol hill. we are about to get into these opening statements at any moment. what are you expecting? >> reporter: bill barr is here, he arrived about 25 minutes ago, he's been in the holding room right across from this hearing room. lawmakers are arriving. expect the tone to be set right at the beginning of these opening statements particularly by the democrats to make it clear they are not satisfied with the four-page letter that bill barr released summarizing the top line conclusions of the mueller report, expect them to say there are lots of questions that they need answers to in
6:30 am
addition to why he's taking -- >> speaking -- >> democrats -- >> manu, but you're speaking bill barr there just sitting down before the committee there right on time. it was supposed to start at 9:30. it just hit 9:30. there is the attorney general shaking hands. finish your statement. a poll skrees apologies for interrupting. >> reporter: no problem. we don't expect him to talk about his thinking of the mueller report. we will see if he deviates at all, but his written statement that he gave to this committee did not broach that topic at all, but we do expect when he's ask asked about the mueller report to you can at that about the process that he's undergoing right now to redact the mueller report. we don't expect him to get into any of the details on the investigation, the contents of the report. he's probably going to sidestep questions about that. will that satisfy democrats on
6:31 am
this subcommittee? unlikely. there this satisfy democrats in the house judiciary committee who are defending the full unredacted report, almost certainly it will not satisfy them. no matter what barr says today he is bound to anger particularly democrats who control the house. theres a subpoena fight looming in the house judiciary committee that could be served shortly potentially depending on what bill barr says about the redactions that he plans to undertake as part of the mueller report, but a key moment here, the first time we are hearing from the attorney general since the end of the mueller investigation, what will he say? will he shine any more light than he has said before? all questions as he's about to deliver his opening remarks. >> manu raju, thanks very much. just a sense of the order here, of course, democrats control the house, so democrats have the chairmanship of this committee. the chairman will give the opening comments first and then we will hear from republicans and we will hear from bill barr. let's listen in. >> subcommittee will come to order. today we welcome the new
6:32 am
attorney general william barr before the subcommittee. as the attorney general during the george h.w. bush administration he has testified before this committee in the past, but this is his first time in quite a while. welcome and congratulations to your new and old position, sir. we also welcome assistant attorney general for administration lee loftus. because attorney general barr was not confirmed when this year's budget proposal was largely formulated he has asked that the assistant attorney general be allowed to join him in the table -- at the table to answer some of the nuts and bolts questions that we will ask regarding the budget. this year we have held several hearings for components of the department including the fbi, the atf, the civil rights division and the executive office for immigration review.
6:33 am
i appreciate the willingness of the department to come and testify before our subcommittee. even though we may have different opinion on different issues. let me take a moment to describe some concerns prompted by those hearings. we have heard what appears to be a lack of commitment to the department's traditional mission to defend civil rights, disability rights and prevent discrimination. we have discussed what appears to be a clear -- towards policies that protect individuals' healthcare, voting rights, access to education and much, much more. we have discussed the need for additional resources to address gun violence in this country while at the same time hearing atf say that the budget request would result in staffing reductions. we have talked to the head of the executive office for immigration review about the need to protect due process and fairness in our immigration
6:34 am
courts and the many policy changes that make such goals more difficult to achieve. we have heard the fbi describe the threats that our nation faces, but also that their budget request will not fully fund their efforts to address those threats. as we discuss the departments today, we are faced with a budget request that fails to address many of these concerns and raises new problems. and, of course, mr. attorney general, we could not hold this hearing without mentioning the elephant in the room and i'm not referring to my colleagues on the other side. two and a half weeks ago the mueller report was completed in extremely quick fashion. you turned a 300-plus page report into a four-page letter that supposedly summarized the findings. last week "the new york times" reported that the special counsel's office had already created summary documents that
6:35 am
were ignored in your letter and that some investigators within the special counsel's office felt that within the special counsel's office the summary understates the level of malfeasance by the president and several of his campaign and white house advisers. the american people have been left with many unanswered questions. serious concerns about the process by which you formulated your letter and uncertainty about when we can expect to see the full report. i believe the american people deserve to see the full report and to be trusted to make our own determinations on the merits based on what the special counsel has presented. mr. attorney general, if there's one thing i would like to leave with you today, something you already know, but just my role to remind you is that this congress voted unanimously to
6:36 am
see that report. that the congress and the committees of jurisdiction want to see the report and that the american people want to see the report. i think it would strike a serious blow to our system and, yes, to our democracy if that report is not fully seen. when it comes to redactions, we would hope that you could tell us when something was redacted if you feel it has to be what area it covered. i'd just say a blackout doesn't tell us where it came from and why it might have been redacted. we are not here to -- today to be in a confrontational situation with you. we want to help you do your job and you will need to help us do ours, but what cannot happen is that somebody higher than you tells you that you don't have to answer our questions or you don't have to deal with us at all. that's not who we are as a country, that's not who we are as a democracy, that's not who
6:37 am
we are as an appropriations committee. so let me just say this, since 2017 our nation's justice department has too often failed to meet the needs of the american people. i hope that with your ascension to attorney general we can work together to change that. with that said, i would turn to my colleague and friend. >> thank you for yielding, mr. chairman, and i, too, would like to welcome attorney general barr and assistant attorney general loftus to the commerce, justice subcommittee to testify regarding the fy 2020 budget request. your stewardship at the department of justice is important to all our communities and your budget proposes key investments in what we can all agree on are critical criminal justice priorities such as strengthening national security, reducing violent crime, enforcing our nation's
6:38 am
immigration laws, combating the opioid crisis and reducing recidivism. attorney general barr, we recognize that you have an incredible demanding job, your presence here this morning reveals how seriously the take the president's fy 2020 budget request as well as the role of congress in this committee in making funding decisions. so thank you for being here this morning. we want to work with you as the chairman said to ensure that the programs you administer to help keep this country safe are as effective and that they are as efficient as possible. i hope your testimony today will address many of the issues that affect our local communities. i'm particularly interested in the justice department's efforts to help curb the deadly opioid epidemic. i hope to learn more about high tech law enforcement initiatives you're using to disrupt the sophisticated transnational criminal organizations at the heart of this scourge and how we
6:39 am
can best support these efforts. i'm also interested in hearing about your perspective on the humanitarian and the security crisis that we now have on our soren border that we are hearing so much about and how it affects the workload at your department. i look forward to working with chairman serrano on these and many other issues with the appropriations process as we move forward for the fy '20 appropriations process. with that we look forward to your testimony this morning and i yield back. >> thank you, mr. aderholt. let me now turn to the chairman of the full committee, my colleague from new york, mrs. lowey. >> i'd like to thank chairman serrano, robin meade aderholt for holding this hearing and attorney general barr, welcome and thank you for appearing this morning. before getting into your budget request i want to address a series oversight matter, your unacceptable handling of special counsel robert mueller's report.
6:40 am
it's been reported that the report is 300 to 400 pages, and i use the term reported because we have no idea how long it actually is. all we have is your four-page summary which seems to cherry pick from the report, to draw the most favorable conclusion possible for the president. and in many ways your letter raises more question than it answers. i must say it is extraordinary to evaluate hundreds of pages of evidence, legal documents and finding based on a 22-month-long inquiry and make definitive legal conclusions in less than 48 hours. even for someone who had done
6:41 am
this job before, i would argue it's more suspicious than impressive. your conclusion is something we've seen before. in fact, we've seen it in your own legal writing. in june 2018 you wrote a memo as a private citizen and a former attorney general to the department of justice laying out the president's case against obstruction of justice. your audition clearly went well. i look forward to reviewing the mueller report myself. i know my constituents do as well. i understand that portions of it must be redacted as a matter of law, but my hope is that you will stop there and bring transparency to this process as
6:42 am
soon as possible. the american people deserve the facts. now, to your fy '20 budget request. the request provides a significant increase for immigration judges and a modest increase for most federal law enforcement, however, it either eliminates or significantly cuts respected grant programs at the department of justice that really make a difference in our constituents' daily lives, for example, your request significantly decreases essential programs including the cops program which advances community policing on a state and local level would be cut by $205 million. the dna initiative program which provides grants to reduce the rape kit backlog by ensuring
6:43 am
evidence that could lead to meaningful convictions does not sit on forgotten shelves and that would be cut by $25 million. and the juvenile justice program, which helps prevent youth crime, violence and reduce recidivism which would be cut by $48.5 million. these are simply unacceptable reductions. i look forward to a productive discussion today. i hope you can shed some light on how this budget request can adequately respond to the grave task the department of justice and its grant programs undertake daily. thank you again for appearing before us. i look forward to an open discussion, an honest discussion and address the many challenges before us today. thank you very much. >> thank you. now attorney general barr, you are recognized to give your
6:44 am
opening statement. we ask you please to try to keep it to five minutes and your whole statement will be included in the record. thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. madam chair and robin meade aderholt. i'm pleased to be here today to present to you the president's fiscal year 2020 budget for the department of justice -- >> all right. so william barr, the attorney general, testifying before the appropriations committee and subcommittee here. we have his prepared testimony, it's expected to take 10 or 15 minutes or so, here it is, we've read through it and, you know, jim, not once does he note the mueller report and that is what obviously all the democrats want to ask him about. he's talking about budget requests for about a $30 million budget for fiscal 2020. >> which is the original focus of this hearing but of course democrats can ask whatever they want torques they will ask about
6:45 am
his summary of the special counsel's report. we will bring you his answers to those questions as well. we have an array of folks to break this all down. we will be back in just a moment. stay with us.
6:46 am
6:47 am
♪ ♪ this simple banana peel represents a bold idea: a way to create energy from household trash. it not only saves about 80% in carbon emissions... it helps reduce landfill waste. that's why bp is partnering with a california company: fulcrum bioenergy. to turn garbage into jet fuel. because we can't let any good ideas go to waste. at bp, we see possibilities everywhere. to help the world keep advancing. ( ♪ ) only tylenol® rapid release gels have laser drilled holes. they release medicine fast, for fast pain relief. tylenol®.
6:48 am
discover. hi, what's this social security alert? it's a free alert if we find your social security number on the dark web. good, cuz i'm a little worried about my information getting out. oh, why's that? [bird speaking] my social security number is... 8- 7- 5 dash okay, i see. [bird laughing] is that your daughter? no, it's a macaw. and his name is timothy. timmy, want a cracker? timmy, do you want a cracker? [bird speaking] what do you think, kevin? no. sign up online for free. discover social security alerts. sign up hmm. exactly.ee. and doug. liberty mutual customizes your car insurance, so you only pay for what you need. nice. but, uh... what's up with your... partner? oh. well, we just spend all day telling everyone how we customize car insurance, because no two people are alike, so... limu gets a little confused when he sees another bird that looks exactly like him.
6:49 am
[ loud crash ] yeah. he'll figure it out. only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty, liberty, liberty, liberty ♪ live pictures from the hill. the attorney general delivering his prepared remarks which are focused, we should note, on budget issues. he's already facing a bit of a grilling from democrats, the chairwoman of the appropriations committee called his handling of the special counsel's report unacceptable. to come with the most favorable outcome possible for the president, you can expect a lot of grilling like that from democratic members. >> they called it more suspicious than impressive.
6:50 am
how quickly he put together that summary. our experts are here. evan perez, john avlon, along with elie honig and jennifer rodgers. listening to the democrats on the committee, what does that lay out with the next few hours will be like in terms of questioning for barr? >> questions about the mueller report, i think bill barr's answer to some of these questions is the following. it's that it wasn't just 48 hours he was able to put together the four-page summary that he issued after receiving the mueller investigation. obviously, people at the justice department had known for months what the findings were likely to be. they were getting updates. and so some of that was already in the works before the attorney general even took office about a month ago. then i think also, one of the things that we might expect to hear, obviously, in light of everything going on at the department of homeland security in the last few days, you might
6:51 am
hear questions to bill barr about immigration enforcement because the justice department has played a role in cracking down on reentry, immigration judges, who play a role in some of the asylum cases. there's a lot going on at the justice department that handles some of the things that come from the hard-line approach that stephen miller and some of the people at the white house have been pushing. i think you expect to hear a lot of that in the next couple hours. >> barr is already taking questions. we'll have a listen. >> fbi director wray, the national's top counterintelligence investigator told us last week he had not read the special counsel's record. with regard to your march 24th and 29th letters to the judiciary committees, the special counsel mueller or anyone on his team have a role in drafting them or reviewing them and events, did you use any
6:52 am
of the summary documents prepared by the special counsel in drafting these documents? >> 24th and 29th. the letter of the 24th, mr. mueller's team did not play a role in drafting that document, although we offered in the opportunity to review it before we sent it out and he declined that. the letter on the 29th, i don't believe that was reviewed by mr. mueller or than that participated in drafting that letter. but to go back to something you said in your opening statement about the availability of the report, as i said, as you pointed out, since my confirmation, i do think it's important that the public have an opportunity to learn the results of the special counsel's work. and i said then that i would work diligently to make as much
6:53 am
information public as i could and available to congress as i could. you'll recognize that i'm operating under regulation that was put together during the clinton administration and does not provide for the publication of the report. but i am relying on my own discretion to make as much public as i can. now, in my letter of march 29th, i identified four areas that i feel should be redacted. and i think most people would agree. first is grand jury information, 6-a material. the second is information that the i.c.e., the intelligence community believes would revees intelligence sources and methods. the third are information in the report that could interfere with ongoing prosecutions. you'll recall that the special counsel did spin off a number of cases that are still being pursued. and we want to make sure that none of the information in the
6:54 am
report would impinge upon either the ability of the prosecutors to prosecute the cases or the fairness to the defendants. and finally, we intend to redact information that implicated the privacy or reputational interest of peripheral players not to charge them. right now, the special counsel is working with us on identifying information in the reports that fall under those four categories. we will color code the excisions from the report and provide explanatory notes describing the basis for each redaction. so for example, if a redaction is made because of a court order and a pending prosecution, we'll state that and we will distinguish between the various categories. this process is going along very
6:55 am
well. and my original timetable of being able to release this by mid-april stands. so i think that from my standpoint, by within a week, i will be in a position to release the report to the public, and then i will engage with the chairman of both judiciary committees about that report, about any further requests that they have. >> so let me just get one thing clear for the record. my concern during my opening statement that when you redact something, we should know what area it falls under, that you say will happen. >> yes, sir. >> your march 24th letter indicated that some actions the special counsel investigated is potentially raising obstruction
6:56 am
of justice concerns had not been publicly reported. will these actions be identified in the report sent to congress? >> as things stand now, i don't think that they will be redacted so they will be identifiable. >> all right, thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. attorney general, as you know, there is a serious humanitarian crisis at the southern border. in fact, the previous administration explicitly noted that trends, national organized crime in mexico makes the u.s. border more vulnerable because it creates and maintains illicit corridors of border crossings that can be employed by other secondary criminal actors or organizations. of course, your fy 2020 budget proposes an additional $18 million in resources. to help advance the fight against transnational organized
6:57 am
crime. can you talk a bit about the department of justice and how it is addressing the smuggling networks that are endangering so many of the lives being smuggled and trafficked across the southern border and particularly the children? >> yes, sir. the problem we face on our southern border is really unprecedented. not just the volume and the makeup of the people coming across from an immigration policy standpoint. but by the strength of the criminal organizations in mexico. one of the things that has changed a lot in the 30 years prior, where i was attorney general, has been the strengthening of these criminal organizations in mexico. these cartels that are not only involved in multiple kinds of
6:58 am
drugs and the transportation of those drugs and the distribution in the united states, but also into human trafficking. so attacking those transnational criminal organizations is a high priority. the fy 2020 budget requests, in total of $3.2 billion that is targeted at dealing with these transnational organizations, and we're seeking an increase of $109 million this year. we're also seeking $29 million programmatic enhancements, including $18 million to strengthen the fbi's ability to monitor and target the transnational organizations. and $10 million to strengthen dea's ability to operation its judicial wire intercept program
6:59 am
in central america. and another $1.7 million for dea sensitive intelligence unit, which is targeting these groups and their illicit trafficking in narcotics. i personally believe that an important part of securing the southern border is to have a barrier system on the border. and i think that that will help not only in narcotics interdiction but also in suppressing human trafficking and it's an important part of our enforcement. >> let me switch gears just a minute. one of the most sacred rights, as you know, as americans, is the right not to be spied on by the government. aifi fisa order may only be iss on a finding by the surveillance court. that probable cause exists to believe the target of surveillance is the agent of a foreign power.
7:00 am
one of our colleagues, representative nunes, has referred eight persons to the fbi for investigation concerning alleged misconduct during the russia investigation, including the leak of highly classified material and alleged conspiracies to lie to congress and the fisa court in order to spy on then-candidate trump and other persons. i would hope the department of justice will be giving these referrals appropriate and prompt consideration. my question is, now that president trump has been exonerated of russia collusion, is the justice department investigating how it came to be that your agency used a salacious and unverified dossier as a predicate for a fisa order on a u.s. citizen? >> the office of the inspector general has ang

65 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on