tv Public Affairs Events CSPAN October 25, 2016 8:07am-10:08am EDT
you behave. his language about women is completely unacceptable and behavior toward women which is completely unacceptable and women coming forward and behavior toward i am min grants and people of color and he reiterates it. hillary clinton is respected secretary of state and u.s. senate. you don't turn in this world and say under your breath, not very much, nasty woman, you know, women are sick of it. we're not taking it anymore. and so i think his own behavior has disqualified him, whether it is being sexist, racist, against disabled people, whether bully or temperment to be president. one of the things that i think is really interesting is the validator ads on tv right now that are 2/3 of the ads that are running against donald trump right now. frankly the two most powerful ones are gentleman who was had his, who was in control of the nuclear codes, who said, you know, i was one at the other end
of the red phone and i prayed that call never came. i too, thank you, general for your service, keeping all of us safe so we can be safe in our prayers, that is a very powerful ad. that is the most powerful ad in the cycle. mom of a disabled child who said this is not how we treat people, this is not how we respect people. >> let's pick up on that. >> talk about wikileaks which you asked her about. >> general you worked for presidents since the '50s. many presidents. talk a little bit about the from the particular trump supporter but also as u.s. military officer, about donald trump's temperment and address that concern that is out there in hillary clinton campaign is pushing that he is not the right person to be commander in chief and temperment for the job. >> first of all, recently on cnn i don't know if you saw it, pretty good interview as president dewey was asked about the uk voting to stay in the
european union. you know, i don't think you need to count anybody out in any election. i think it is foolish to think that, you just never know, it could be embarrassing to somebody said it is really over and it's not. i wouldn't go there at all. part of the reason i would say that, i was with mr. trump in grand junction, colorado, other day, first time i ever done it. i don't know how crowds work. i don't know crowds meaning size, we were told as coming in colorado springs there would be 3500 people at airport at grand junction. there were 4,000 in the hangar. 4,000 outside hang hangar. 2,000 on the sidelines. traffic is six miles long. somebody tell me about crowds like that. they were old, they were young. half were women, they were disabled. i saw that in earlier in colorado springs. i saw it up in had son, green bay, wisconsin. so i don't know what crowds mean. i don't know if that enthusiasm what i have seen, what i have seen is america out there i'm very, very confident and what
they have done and what is going on. when you talk to temperment, i wouldn't be with mr. trump if i didn't i think he had temper meant. united states. i have skin in the game. a lot of people up there and out there don't have skin in the game. what i mean by that, my son-in-law, spent four tours, two in afghanistan, two iraq. he will teach at west point. my youngest son is platoon leader in 82nd airborne in afghanistan. my daughter spent a year in afghanistan. i have friends an relatives serving in military and going for the and doing work of this nation going forward. if i didn't believe that he was the right guy, i wouldn't be with him. i wouldn't put my son in that level. we have 200 former flag officers, admirals and generals with him, including two former delta commanders. we have former four-star commanders. people served on joint chiefs. senior commanders in europe and combat. 23 medal of honor recipients.
talk about temperment, if you have that many people saying hey we're with you, okay. when they talk about, i think it is flawed. i think you need to sit back and think about it. this is first time i've ever been involved in political campaign. never seen it before. probably be the last one for sure. enough is enough. but i trust men and i believe in the man. i've been with him long enough to know sit sitting in close quarters the type of individual he is. my daughter said dad, what you ought to do? you write a story called behind closed doors. and explain what he is really like when he is behind there and when he is talking to you. i said, well, one i have a five-page nda, i don't want to go there. i look at him i see what he talks about and how he talks. he asks hard questions. he ask what i call edge questions. edge question is question when you're asked the question do you really want to answer it because it is so hard? questions for example, he would say, do we need a nuclear triad? you go, yeah. well, don't we have to modernize
it at $45 billion a year? yeah. where are you getting money from. i takes you down the rabbit holes that are hard. former secretary of defense recently said we don't need a nuclear triad. i believe we do. i look at his temperment. decision making. the way he is. i'm not talking about the visual person out there on tv, everywhere else. i'm liking behind closed doors, how he talks. second one. >> i like this comment told by somebody else. family matters. family matters. look at his family. pretty good family. pretty good people. so i don't like petting involved in rhetoric we're talking about he said what to whom what is going on there. i think last debate was the best because the first two debates started off with personality questions. first question the last debate was on supreme court. that is what you ought to be concerned about. >> that was great start of a debate and that is where we need to go. i think if the people that talk
abouters personalities i think it is mistake. this nation has too many issues out there have to be solved, sit back, i was asked on tv show. what would do? every american who votes, take a minute before they go into the voting booth and sit back and reflect on this nation. not on personalities. but on what where this nation is going to go. do we want status quo election or change election. how you want it to go and then vote. >> ej, you want to jump in on that? >> no. i didn't particularly on that but, why don't you go on. we'll be happy to answer later on. >> okay. actually want to pick up something recently that you mentioned at beginning, you've been in somewhat in jest, general, "brexit." political establishment in the united kingdom, many of the polls, leave without a doubt were pretty sure that the united kingdom would stay part of the
european union. we now know that hasn't happened. a lot of, awful lot of parallels some say between people who voted in leave european union and trump phenomenon. so peter, can you imagine that the elite in this town, that the pollsters, that the establishment may just be wrong on this one as -- >> i couldn't accept that idea. >> point out on list of popular careers, there is pollsters and then below that there lawyers and journalists and -- [inaudible] but, pollsters are not very popular this time. >> nope, they aren't. and let me just say -- >> that is poll that told you that. [laughter]. >> exactly. and let me just say that, i've gotten the "brexit" question at every forum i've gone to, and it is a fair question and an important question.
it really goes to the question of turnout. and difference between "brexit" and the presidential election is one, was, what i call a referendum. a referendum on ideas and essentially it has no structure, and so, people who turned out or chose to turn out or how the polls got it, it obviously was a turnout question. what i'm telling you is, we have party identification, we have a set of, set group of ideas that we're able to play off of with a lot of history. given all of that, i don't see it. i don't think that it is there. i guarranty you that there will be a one poll that will show donald trump winning or multiple polls but if you look at the vast preponderance of things i would pick up from where karen started, that is we're going to have to see a awful lot of change in 14 days to be able to see the difference. the major thing i would say is
the question of turnout. and at this stage of the game, both in early voting and what we see in our polls, it would suggest that the turnout is going to be strong on the democratic side. >> there are polls -- "rasmussen poll" has donald trump ahead right now. "l.a. times" tracking poll has trump and clinton tied. some in the polling community have problem with methodology of those polls. they're out there, who knows. >> can i say on "brexit," there are a couple things about that. it is a bit of a kinard to say "brexit" was, the polls all showed "brexit" was going to lose. i'm quoting from a "bloomberg news" report that morning, and it says three of four sure is vase published wednesday depict ad contest too close to call, with two points or less separating the camps. fourth poll showed a clear lead for remain. "brexit" we didn't have in "brexit" the kind of polling we have at the moment. again we don't know what is
going to happen between now and election day, but if polls stay at all like they are now, it is hard to see trump winning. secondly, take a look at that map behind us, if you give trump all of those yellow states that are uncertain, then take florida and nevada away from clinton, florida, biggest state, she still has electoral vote majority. so she is sitting there in very clear place. general and i have disagreements on a lot of issues but i think when he said personalities, i don't think that's the point. i think, celinda was right when she talked about threshold questions, trump, look at, that last debate. trump did reasonably well, at least passibly for the first half hour, when it was all about issues. where he broke down was on these questions of suitability for office, right temperment. he qualified to be president.
that question usually yields about 65% around there saying no. those are very hard numbers for a candidate to overcome. which is why you have so many republicans out there who have a, who are on the ballot with him, having helloish time dealing with him. they don't know which way to go. kelly ayote in new hampshire good example, same day he was role mod he did, a few hours later he said he wasn't. joe heck in nevada. a lot of republicans don't know where to be with trump. if they had more confidence on core questions he wouldn't have problems and they wouldn't be having them. >> on "brexit" the more interesting question, whether the polls were accurate about "brexit" or not what produced "brexit" produced trump too. i think what produced "brexit" and trump to certain extent produced bernie sanders, what produced all three of them is
producing anti-immigrant movements all over the europe and united states and raise as far more fundamental question for postelection whoever is in charge what that challenge is. to me i think there are at least three major factors we really need to grapple with as country very, very important for the future of our country. i think your audience of millenials are really leaders on these questions. one is, we have had, if you're 50-year-old white worker in the united states, white blue-collar worker you worked entire life and never seen a raise in real dollars. now something is fundamentally wrong. and to that same white worker, white blue-collar worker, 85% of you think your kids will be worse off than you are. you worked your brains out. didn't even get a race and your kids will not have a chance. >> put your finger on the core of the trump movement, that there is entire group of americans who feel left out. forgotten about. >> right. >> they're out there. they may have also been same voters in birmingham voted for
"brexit." >> right. >> karen, what about those voters has, have we in washington, in media certainly, political establishment missed? because i don't think in the last few elections we spent a lot of time talking about working class voters white, working class men, for example? >> four years ago, when the republican party and mitt romney were convinced he was going to win and surprised when he didn't, the republicans went out on big project to remake themselves. came a sense how do we reach out to women, how do we reach without to young people. the assumption in washington was immigration overhaul was foregone conclusion because that was how the party was going, only way it could survive. let me tell you, six days after the 2012 election, when this was, this wisdom was setting in as to how the party was going to have to go, gentleman on
fifth avenue, in new york, wrote a 300-dollar check to the patent and trademark office in washington and sent in an application to trademark the phrase, make america great again. and donald trump six days after the 2012 election, and i've got all this stuff saved on -- >> [inaudible] >> totally. and i've got it saved on my desk desktop. finding on internet two years of fighting block lettering, sketched out -- >> karen, you bring up a good point if i may. but, and -- >> [inaudible] >> rarely. i congratulate that. but it's, i think what you, you simply put it very simply in what his view is and to me it's
come down to something very, very simple. the election is either status quo or change. it is that simple. if you like what's happened last four, eight, 12, 16, notice i'm going back to republicans as well, your path is very clear. and you vote for hillary clinton. if you're tired of what happened out there and see the change environment about possibility of change, then you vote for donald trump. both of them have flaws. both of them sometimes have some issues that you may be concerned about but that is what it really comes down to. when you look at americans that have gone out there, go to allegheny county in pennsylvania, track that one on election night. when president obama he won allegheny county by 100,000 votes. that is pittsburgh. you go out there, you start looking at signs out there and who is behind them, trump signs. go around neighborhoods. have you noticed that the signs this year are not as prevalent that you've seen in past
elections. i live in the, like to say the peoples republic of arlington, virginia and you look out there, i, coming over here tonight, all right, coming towards 395 and over here. you know how many hillary clinton signs i saw on medians? i can tell you how many other signs. you know how many i saw? none. in arlington county i walk my tag the don't see any trump signs. i think people are frustrated with what is going on out there, they're trying to find a way to change. that is really what we're into. reason i said i got this thing about people. i got this thing about percent in thes. i got all of that, but i think there is frustration of american people. why i got involved they're saying when are we really going to see change? when are we really hear about it, every four years, two years, change, thank r change. nothing ever happens at all. >> i want to just mention, pri
and brookings have a poll coming out tomorrow and we asked a question about -- >> [inaudible] >> i want to cite one question that we talk about, that talk about one question where the question is, asked, do you think america was better off 50 years ago or better off now? it splits the country down the middle, and what you have are african-americans and latinos are better off now, for obvious reasons given progress that has been made. upscale americans, college-educated americans say we are better off now. but non-college-educated americans say we are worse off now. the title on the poll is america 2050 or 1950? and they i think the blue-collar component comes in two parts. some of it is the minuting mess that a lot of non-college votes have been in for a long time and i think personally, if, hillary
clinton wins, i think she should spend three months between election day and january traveling to appalachia and some of the small mill towns in the country where she will get clobbered, talk about the fact grievances people have in those places are absolutely legitimate. but other side of it is a reaction on race, on religion, a real sense that the country is not the same country people grew up in largest group for those who say we're worse off are evangelical christians. with the trump phenomenon you have to be candid talking about element, very conservative, right-wing, whatever word you want to use on race and immigration. another piece overlapping, you can't completely separate these things, people with real economic grievances given what happened to them as celinda describe so well. the second is huge problem for
the country, it doesn't matter if you're democrat or republican we have to do something about. the divisions, cultural and racial divisions are something together we have to find a way to do something about. >> paris, i want to get to you and general help walk through a path to victory for trump before we take questions. this map, that you see here -- [inaudible]. changes every two days. so don't take this gospel. yellow states, true battleground states. light blue states, states currently leaning toward clinton light red states leaning toward trump. [inaudible] so, i want to start by, if you wouldn't mind, turn all the yellow states red. give donald trump the yellow states. and then, paris, give me your path to donald trump becoming president of the united states.
we have very lofty conversations talking about groups of people, talked about change, all of these things are important. but at end of the day, these contests only work if you can convince voters in certain repaining states that donald trump is the guy. >> i'm gop commentator, not a pollster. i worked for karl rove. if you give him florida. >> okay. >> see this is rigged election. you see what just happened? come on. to me, i expect more from georgetown. i went to pepperdine. >> do it again. >> some happening chads. so florida, i would look at pennsylvania. there is some traction there. >> you got it. >> so the point is, that, there is the victory. see. >> any other states, that you
don't win pennsylvania? >> i'm voting for him in virginia. give him virginia. there he is. there you go. this is good point i want to make that speaks to this. there is growing group of individuals, look, you talked about those white people over 50 that don't have, haven't had a raise. i don't know what polls you look at or who you talk to, but, if times are hard for middle class white people, past 10 years, it is really hard for black people. i know that because i happen to be black. i'm republican, so people try to pull my black card all the time. i tell you based on my own family, my own friends, people i speak to regular basis in community, there is growing sense that they, we, the black community are left behind in this economy. if you have 8.4%, if you believe that number of unemployment in the black community, if you have more black people owning homes in great depression than you do now, we have some severe problems. so there is a lot of black
people who look at mr. trump, say, all right, i'm not going to say this publicly but in terms of making america great again, which bill clinton, president clinton said multiple times throughout the years in the past, there is a real sense that america can be great again. look, my grandfather worked and sears roebuck and company, 30 years, retired opened up his own air-conditioning refrigeration business, what he did 30, 40 years ago was able to buy all of his children a car. give them down payment for their home. when i went to pepperdine for undergrad, my mother was not able to do any of that for me. my mother, i actually, i have always made more money than my mother. so when you look at the economy, when you look at jobs, you look at plight of black americans in certain urban centers like detroit, like chicago, like, baltimore, these are real issues. so they may not come out and say, i'm for donald trump but they go and vote, what has secretary clinton who is from
chicago done for me lately while she was secretary of state, while she was first lady, while she was united states senator? what has she specifically done, i believe there is growing contingent of african-americans, millenials, student loan debt has not improved under this administration, it will not improve if you look what she is proposing, there is growing number people will go to the ballot box to vote for him. so this map is not including them. >> melinda, trump campaign will say that trump voters are not -- in the polls, if you wouldn't mind, paris's point, americans or latinos. what's your, what's your spoons to paris deduction there will be fair amount more african-americans voting for trump than we're expecting so far? >> since many polls show 0%, 1% would be 100% increase, maybe. the thing of it is, i would say one thing, that i would give
both general and paris. hillary clinton has to make sure that her exceptional qualifications and leadership do not become argument for status joe. . . hold a speech up. it is one of, i don't care what you think of barack obama. it's one of the most inspirational speeches of our lifetime. he said i'm on the ballot. our ideas are on the ballot. our freedom is on the ballot. our legacies on the ballot. i think that the african-americans thing.
i don't did you call any group of people. you can call montanans and say you can do this country as bunch of races and hope you get our vote. >> that's not what he said. let's be accurate. and minute ago you said something about trump talking about coming after african-americans and calling them racist and retreats been. that's patently false. if we will make these claims i think we should be accurate. he did not say that. each other one thing you said that the negative towards african-americans. you can't do it because he hasn't said it. let's be accurate. >> i'm sorry. he said they come here, they break the law, a all right this. in he said some of them are nice people. he said that work. that's just a fact. it some day. in terms of the african-american community, a want to agree with you on one thing which is the very forces that have been hitting the working-class white american can hit the inner city about 30 years ago. you're right, african-americans
have been hammered by the same forces of the industrial motion. his appeal to african-americans essentially made the whole african-american community look like they were in a state of absolute catastrophe. >> when were you in detroit? have you been to baltimore? have you been to baltimore? >> his picture was of the entire african-american community. i think we can play the tape and then we can argue. >> played the tape speed this is what i said i was going to do this one time. [laughter] because what's happened is, we talk about the enormity of the problems we have in this nation. all we get down to is who said what about whom. you can go back to hillary clinton about the deplorable. get away from that. my concern is about the issues that are out there for this nation. there's a lot more importance
than sit around and talk about some of these things that you see in the press and in the news. that's why i'm asking people when i go on talk shows, sit back and think really hard about things like the supreme court. when you talk about the supreme court, the first question, the second amendment, our decision which was not about kids. it was about gun control in a seat. that was a 5-4 decision to that was followed by another 5-4 decision that codified gun control in the second and in the united states. those are things that are important to the americans that are out there to make up for the supreme court, the make up of immigration. all of those things are board. i've asked people to think hard, where don't want this nation to be that i am part of an that we get there? that's the reason i said step back. what i'd like to do, the comment you made about the map because i've a special map. i've got especially when i would
really like to see happen. because i think hillary will carry virginia. start again and i'll show you where we will be out. give us the yellow. >> aven mcmullan is going to carry -- >> you will love this one. will give trump florida. give us colorado. virginia is going to be a blue state. when you look at maine, actually that i think where the shot out there, a shot at nevada. actually what i was going for out there isn't one to go to 269-269. that's where we really want to be. spewing second amendment --
[inaudible] >> second district of maine. and there we are. talk about having fun and one to remember. but the house backs decides this one -- let the house of representatives decide this and. i think we all be fitting for us to go there on this election. >> that would unite the country. everybody would be unhappy. >> i would just like to say one of these maps might actually be true. >> head towards the microphone. >> can i pick up -- let me pick up something is people are going forward. i think the big point we really need to come back to is, celinda and dj evan talking about, and that is the division that is here in america. we picked it up in early focus groups all the way back in january of 15.
it was both bernie sanders and donald trump, two sides of the same coin and it was a vote against the status quo. this is a change election but the reason hillary clinton is ahead in this change election is not because of her programs over she's at, but voters to reject the donald trump. it may be a situation where he hasn't gotten his point across but it does come down to demean and behavior. i think celinda had a right on for the same thing we've seen from the beginning. >> some are arguing hillary clinton can be seen as an agent of change. she is the most establishment figure in america, and when i've been out talking to trump supporters, these are people who have seen the last three presidents in a row and liked it on this idea that somehow i can make washington the system work
better. and they don't buy it anymore. their basic premise is you've got to blow it up, and that's what donald -- so henry clay than, you talk about her proposals. they are primarily as barack obama argues, building on what he has already done. she really can't position herself as an agent of change can do what you to do and unsuccessfully and donald trump has certainly helped is just reminded people of what they find unacceptable about donald trump. >> the reason this cannot be a change election is because you have the right track wrong track number which suggested is commend your president obama's approval number which is about 53, 54% which as it is in the argument for continuity and actually appeal to people about a third or more of the people who say wrong track are actually democrats or that the republicans so we are divided.
so that's why i think it's a mistake just to see that as a change election. >> one thing i would also add is that underpinning a lot of these, and he goes back to peter's original point, the country is divided partisanly. it is polarized. in some ways it's reflecting that good people gone back to their corners the one of the divisions we have is role of government which is what of the things that underpins the gender gap. a solid majority of women believe there is a golfer government. it doesn't elected government every day. a majority of men say it's good that when government hasn't hurt you. and government does more harm than good when used to pull up the system that's a great message to independent men. it's not a great message and women who think you can do a lot of destruction. there could be a lot peripheral drama and when you couple of the system. how about revamping the system.
so that message have already in it and in the gender gap. >> i want to take questions. renumber there are trump supporters in this room, the are clinton supporters in this room so be respectful. as you ask your question, no speeches, no statements. by definition of the speeches he didn't last more than 15 seconds. you get to go first. >> thank you so much for this great but i have two questions. first -- >> one question still if mr. trump wins the election how would he managed to use china relations? with his emphasis, how would that affect u.s. policy towards taiwan and its trilateral relations? and also some of them talk about hillary clinton on u.s.-china relations.
>> just take a moment, talk about foreign policy, donald trump has said he's going to rewrite the deal. he's going to have fair trade. is going to end the bad deals that we have. his remarks on the, how is he going to do that? >> there were three questions instead of one. really relations with china. frankly, it's the same thing he will do with the russians. sometimes i do miss the soviets. they were predictable. with the chinese it will be mutual respect that's out there but they also have to understand there is on 10 -- they are an important trading partner. based on what's happened in the south china sea and building up the islands and even though the hague said that was illegal, going forward, that's a huge, there's over $40 billion of
trade goes through their annually so it's important part of the world. i think his relationships will be at before nation is one of respect. sort of like with the russians. whether you like doing or not the factitious to treat a global nuclear power with respect. president reagan did with gorbachev. he called them the evil empire but you still able to work with them. i think we can do that with all nations. you asked a great question. that's a huge question and a ticket to establish those good relationships between senior partners that are out there. >> thank you so much for coming. great, interesting conversation. so if the polls, if the trends continue democrats would have won the popular vote in the last five out of six elections. on the other side republicans seem to have taken a wave during the midterms. with a coalition of democrats seem to be pretty -- but a coalition of republicans take
the house in congress. moving forward how do you see the american political parties realigning effect indeed happens? >> i will ask e.j. as you enter that, you start you mentioned earlier the down ballot races. >> thank you. it's a good question. i think all republicans should read the autopsy published in 2013 which if you read what it said about the problems republicans were creating themselves with latino voters, with young people, with women, everything written into a 13 could be about this campaign. and i think when, if you want to build a future for the republican party, they cannot lose all of these groups by the margins that the law some in the last election or this one. that's what all things being equal, clinton is ahead and probably will win.
the very disadvantage republicans have in presidential elections is a huge advantage in midterms. because the republicans are much stronger with older white voters. older white voters are a larger share of the midterms electric. there were 40-45 million missing voters, if you look at 2008-2010 or 2012-2014. that's 40-45 million missing voters. i think, that the democrats problem. they've got to turn out their core constituencies better but i also think you have to begin to cut their losses again among white working-class voters. because when they did well in midterms back in '06 the margins were much, the republican margins were much smaller in that group. i think through a bunch of
senate races that seemed to have shifted favorably to the democrats in the last couple of weeks so that i think the odds of taking the senate are higher here not a lock but i think they're much better shape. in the house i think they will gain at least in the teens, possibly the high teens. on a really good night built in the '20s. it's a very hard for them to get to 30 seats. it would take an extraordinary blowout for them to get the majority back in the house. >> cannot add -- the electoral college works against republicans. it's a given. here's a cautionary note. i think people make a huge mistake. mr. trump is a populist. attacking a republican level. let me give you a comment made the other day. a person in northern virginia said i'm voting for trump that i'm not voting for barbara comstock. he's a republican.
interesting comment because she said republican congresswoman. what happens in the republican party, i don't know if and when it's caught onto this yet but have to be very, very careful because, because tha they have t unified much like the democrats have unified beyond hillary clinton there will be a disenfranchised element that if they lose it i guarantee, i guarantee you the next in this comes around they will not win the president election. i don't care if peter pan runs. there's a real frustration from a lot of people out there that the republican party has to come together unlike the democratic party. and you'll see that in the future. people need to sit back in the autopsy of the election, they should probably sit back and look at that because i think it's going to be a huge issue. [inaudible]
>> general, you served in vietnam. i was in the streets with lots of others trying to stop the war and bring the troops home. >> you failed miserably. i was in two tours. [laughter] >> i was also i can't assert and poll watcher for george mcgovern. i remember that election as being about change as well. aside from the fact that he made lots of money, what does come to think was a really great about those times that we should change it back speak with not talking about going back. donald trump isn't that the doctor when we talk about a change election, and, frankly, the reason i joined up with him the frustration a lot of people but is it was said earlier, it's just that the republicans. democrats but republicans as well. everybody talks that change, we
will do this, everything will happen. it doesn't happen. the frustration you get someone like me out there, we can't even get a budget passed on time. you can get a balanced budget going. the national defense authorization act that supports our military has yet to be passed this year. go figure. we've got kids on the front lines doing stuff like that. you look at washington, d.c., added rather listen to the people in washington and kansas than the people of washington, d.c. because the frustration i get. that's really what is going to do. that's the reason why a lot of us have come online to do it. nobody's perfect. we got that but that's what i talk about if you want the status quo. because i don't think, i'm a big believer in patterns. what i mean by patterns is people don't change who they really are over the long term. people in washington, d.c., once you come into the system and you
stay eight, 10, 12, 16 years, 20 years, you are investing in washington, d.c. and it's really, really hard to change. that's the reason why he cannot on this whole concept about constitutional amendment on term limits for congressmen and senators to change the constitution. maybe it's about time we did something like that. my brother was in state government in california. there were term limits in california, take with me because what you want to go. i do know. >> real quick, mr. companies that make america great, no one put a year on a. that was the hillary clinton campaign single go back to the time to slavery, go back to the times of jim crow. make america great again means what it means for you. when was america great for you? if the past four years, eight years have been good for you, your jobs is kind of come to students of the -- students don't have student loan debts, if things are great, congratulations.
if they are not come at the time in your life when things were better, a time in your parents like our grandparents like when things are better, i can only speak to me, there's things -- that's what it means. if you enjoy to have a time when things are at a better place for you economically or for your family that's what makes america great again means that it does not mean what the liberal study said is but a date or time on it to make this narrative that mr. trump is someone trying to put people back in chains like vice president joe biden said during the campaign which didn't get a lot of traction by the media. >> we just do that would be a great question to add to it will is when we things better for you? i would like to see what it was for you or your family. i'd like to see the answer to that. >> and under and i. my question is actually for turn
one, my former professor. >> great to see you. my favorite student. [laughter] >> i have to make this point. i'm not -- i'm african-american from baltimore per we are not all uneducated and living in a. my standing is physical proof of that. you can put all of us in a group in one box. have to say that. my question is how much do you think, obama ran against a well-established politician in hillary clinton. i think that helped them make the primary. how much they think running against an antiestablishment figure in the primary, a populist was much bigger crowds than she did, much energy supposedly, how much do you think that's going to help her image an election running against a populist was even bigger crowds than she is and getting all these headlines? >> that's interesting. i'm curious what my colleagues
think on what did you do do do hillary come essential issue question. party that is mobilize whole lot of new people to politics just like barack obama did which i think is important for the long haul and very good for the long haul, if, after think bernie and desoto county keep them involved, and they should keep themselves involve. i think there was a period when is going to be a little bit iffy for her whether this is going to help, whether the bernie constituency was so disappointed at losing, that they were not so much going to vote for trumpeter a poster prints in the choices for young people are clinton, third party or the couch. trump wasn't much in that calculation. i think because of what people did, because of what clinton did in the platform and to specific issues like student loans, and
because with all due respect to my comp colleagues go because of some of things donald trump has been too great a sense of urgency about the election, i think and people are going to vote. i think one of the most useful things translated is that he restored our sense of what the political spectrum looked like. for a long time a user say when people called barack obama a socialist, i have friends who are socialist. they were insulted when barack obama was called a socialist. [laughter] we had a truncated view of the political spectrum. i think bernie has given a much fuller sense of what the full range of debate is. i think that's hugely useful for the country. [inaudible] >> they are home. to be perfectly honest. the one person who united them with donald trump. when we look in june, 9% of bernie voters have positive views of donald trump. 81% had negative views. so the idea that some other out
there to be grabbed or simply mentioning them in his speech just we had no resonance. the only question is, as turn one second would they vote. i still think there's some doubt challenge on that but my guess is they're going to turn out. there will be a lot of people who will be sitting back rather than actively involved. the one thing that has been mentioned here tonight is when this election is over the chapter that is going to be written is michelle obama and barack obama without a doubt. those other two people who drove this election as much as anything in terms of both moral terms and in terms of being able to stimulate the groups that hillary clinton needed to have. >> we have time for only one more question. >> thank you. as far as i'm work neither your
former boss know his father had willing to endorse the republican candidate. do we assume the polls today are correct and the republicans are going to take a something? tell me from a gp strategy perspective, what goes on inside the heads of the list of the party on the morning of november night? >> they will be celebrating speak action of some of the polls are correct. >> now, i can't do that. i'm not going to because i don't assume the post a trick because i assumed their input. but you have to remember is this is not some of some unprecedented time of history when political division is going on. if you recall back in the democratic midterm election how the democrats run away from president obama in terms of metric and the laws. if you go back with senator mccain was running and he didn't even have, when he did not invite president bush to speak at the convention and he didn't campaign together.
it's not uncommon for past republicans cannot attend or speak at the convention. i can't even understand what democrats don't invite jimmy carter to speak to that's a whole other story. it's an america that some of republicans presidents not endorse or being on the campaign trail for the incoming number and is just not true. what it boils down to is what you have to do politically. that's why mr. trump has said in private do what you have to do. at the end of the day speaker ryan knows that in order to advance the opportunity agenda that he wants to do, for every american including minority of women and children, especially those in d.c., he's going to have to do that with a president donald trump and knows he cannot enact any of the with a president that hillary clinton. that's what he's going to support donald trump. that's why he had supported donald trump and that's why the leadership is staying behind donald trump because they know the alternative is so much more dire of the american people and
for the legislative agenda. that's what the majority of republicans are going to stick with mr. trump. they can do what they have to do politically to guess that the answer to the base or to the their donors or lobby for whoever. they're going to vote i promise you for donald trump. >> will. [inaudible] >> i think that it's going to depend come if donald trump wins it's going to depend in large part on the size of the defeat. i think if it is a close election, the most interesting purely political story of the next year or two is going to be the recriminations within the republican party between the people who blame the part of the party that nominated somebody who couldn't get elected, and the other side which blends the people who wouldn't get behind. i think the party will have to work through the recriminations before they can get to the point of figuring out the path forward
speed and we can do this all night. you've just gotten a taste of why this is such a remarkable election. it's really one of the most fascinating elections. thank you. it's been a terrific conversation. thank you all very much. [applause] >> first of all, thank you all for coming. a quick lightning round. who wins? >> donald trump, 270. >> e.j.? >> clinton, 347. >> clinton,. >> general? >> to want it 69, 269. >> that's the best answer of the night. >> clinton, 371. >> i can't go there because of
thank you for being with us. >> thanks out of me. you been talking to republican operatives. do they see a path to 270? >> most of them do not. many of them have been warning since he was nominated that it would be our uphill battle. and at this point there are very, very to republican operatives who is a publicly or privately that they feel confident that trump has passed. >> early voting is in place over half the country. what do the trends indicate for the democrats, for the republicans? >> they are relatively encouraging for democrats. in florida where republicans have consistently outperformed democrats in mail in early voting, that narrow advantage has narrowed further this year, and democrats tend to outperform and in person or voting which is
just now starting this week. in north carolina republicans in 2012 totally dominated democrats in terms of mail in early voting. that margin has shrunk considerably. in both places republicans need those margins to be competitive. out in nevada we saw a very, very well organized effort by democrats with the help largest of unions this weekend to get people to the polls to point a lot of surrogates. katy perry, for example, was out in nevada this weekend urging people to get to the polls early. overall it's positive for democrats. disgorging for republicans. >> you write about utah which is not good for democrats since 1964. right now the polls showing a tight race within a deep into the potentially taking up the state the first time since 1968. evan mcmullen. what can you tell us about that race?
>> caller: it is tight. polls tend to show mcmullen and trump neck and neck with hillary clinton not far behind. clinton is sending more staffers to the state, to point resources late. part of the republic of operatives think mcmullen is the favored. so we could see this conservative mormon independent picking up those electoral votes. any time that you are republican and utah isn't out its assigned not just of trouble but a potential catastrophe. >> i noticed they were democrats are deploy more resources in new hampshire where kelly ayotte the republican senator in a tough battle against the democratic governor running for the seat. want to the polls say in that race? >> caller: polls have been neck and neck earlier this month. if anything giving a slight advantage to kelly ayotte. shia struggle with a position on trump throughout this campaign. she said she was voting for them
but not endorsing him. then with his tape leak path and bragging about sexual assault she totally disavowed him. the latest bold i've seen was last week showing turnout eight points behind which speaks to the pickle the republicans are in. there's a danger embracing trump against many diehard supporters who are more loyal to him and tn they are the republican party. we need candidates is about trump they can also face a penalty. >> where does this put hillary clinton as she tried to run up the score and also pick up some key senate races to put the democrats back in the majority potentially and also some of the other down ballot races where democrats are hoping for the possibility for recapturing the house of representatives? >> caller: they are going on offense now. they are refocusing in many cases on down ballot races. we haven't heard hillary clinton do much senate campaign of on the stump but we harder this we
can go after pat toomey in pennsylvania. that was the first. we're likely to see more of that. we've seen barack obama come out and issued endorsements for largely for house races time to go on offense. take away for that the republican majority there. this is becoming in many ways more story about just how bad the congressional losses are going to be for republicans. >> yet based on all of that, ben schreckinger, how do the democrats make sure the voters to go to the polls on election day? >> caller: that's right. largely comes down to executing on your ground again, democrats again have an advantage. donald trump has barely invest in a get out the vote operation. they have to execute on that and have diminished expectations.
there is a danger for both sides in concluding this race is over. voters will potentially stale if they think that it's a done deal. so managing expectations and executing on ground and. >> bottom line for donald trump and for hillary clinton in the remaining 14 days before the november 8 election. but can we expect what each candidate? what will be their approach? >> caller: with clinton we are going to likely see an increasing focus on congressional races and an increasing focus on giving her the strongest possible for him to play in terms of the congress she's going to be dealing with. as she now is expecting by all indications to win this thing. with trump he has been a wild card. you will continue to be a wildcard. when things got really bad for him about two weeks ago with his allegations of sexual assault coming out, use i'm really
ratchet up its rhetoric that it got more extreme. it's possible as things get down to the wire and it becomes ever more clear where these polls stand that people find new rhetorical extremes to go to. it's possible he will position himself to not -- others to take the blame for an expected loss and it will be interesting given all the speculation about a possible postcampaign media venture to see what he has to say about the. >> we will look for your reporting online at political.com. ben schreckinger, thanks for being with us. we appreciate it. >> live down to a discussion on oversight of the executive branch hosted by the constitution project. we joined in process. >> given serious thought to the congress and the executive branch can work through some of these challenging depends and relationships.
we will have a brief wrap up at noon and then we will adjourn at 12:15 p.m. now i would like to invite virginia sloan to come up and give her welcoming remarks. spent thanks, and good morning. i want to welcome you all here today on behalf of the constitution project, and i want to thank so much 11 center for cosponsoring this event with us today i want to thank also senator levin and my long friend, longtime friend linda. thank you also to mark rosenberg who threaten both the original when congress comes calling for the constitution project and now has updated it was in the process. almost done. we are grateful and delighted for the update is one of the bases for today's discussion. we ran out of the original long ago because is so popular. in such a useful tool for how our government works.
we are pleased that the update will be available in just a few weeks. if you are interested in the update please go back downstairs and pick up one of these forms and we will make sure that you get it. the other day i watched a pbs show on the making of hamilton which i had the pleasure to see a few months ago on broadway. it was an amazing piece of theater but also a great lesson in history. that's really what today's event is about. it's about the history of our government and the balance of powers that has been the fulcrum of our democratic system. hamilton was about the executive branch and the differences of philosophies and personnel these that ended up creating our system of government. it applies just as well today for current system and debate. who controls the government and in what way? what powers does congress have and how are they balanced against and by the executive branch?
and ultimately what role do the courts have been resolve any disputes that cannot be resolved by the political system itself? with credit to one of the best songs in hamilton, everyone wants to be in the room where it happened. our program today is about who gets to be in that room, who makes that decision and how policy is created once a decision is made. hamilton made clear our democracy is not an easy or flawless system. our experts today will discuss what happens when congress comes calling. the tug-of-war between the executive and congressional branches has always existed and always will. while hamilton did not turn out all that well, at least for hamilton himself, the founders created a brilliant system that seems today to some to be on the verge of breaking apart. there's no right or wrong in this tug-of-war but there must be conscientious people of goodwill to exercise their
powers. our democracy depends on it. when congress comes calling gives them the knowledge and the tools to do their jobs responsibly and person to the constitutional powers created during the time hamilton portrayed and developed in the years since then. and now i'm pleased to be able to introduce former senator carl levin. senator levin served for 36 years in the u.s. senate representing the state of michigan. the is, in fact, the longest-serving senator from that state. in the senate to serve as both the chair and ranking member on the armed services committee, and as both chair and ranking member of several oversight subcommittees on the homeland security and governmental affairs committee. including some 15 years on the permanent subcommittee on investigations. senator levin was known for his in depth investigations into complicated issues, a bipartisan
approach to oversight, and his commitment to uncovering the facts. these strengths played up significantly in his oversight of the financial sector, in particular the 2008 mortgage bank crisis, offshore tax shelters of wealthy individuals and multinational corporations and money laundering. he brings a wealth of experience and accomplishments to any discussion of oversight, and we are so pleased to have him join us this morning. senator levin. [applause] >> thank you so much for the introduction. according to the program here, i guess you are part of the welcome and i'm sort of the overview part of that line. so mine will be a little bit longer than a welcome. not quite as long as the papers which i stepped into my pocket but a little longer than the
other remarks. thank you so much for the great work of the constitution project. actually in the teaching id with jocelyn benson at wayne state law school we are now in the of a course on legislation and our main focus in that course is on oversight. and some of the cases and practices that are involved in oversight, we actually use mort's book as one of our text in our course but i hope jocelyn gets year. she until recently was at the dean of wayne state law school, and now she is taking on other responsibilities but she's also going to continue at wayne law as the director of levin center. thank the pew center for the hospitality are today. obviously, and tremendously indebted to linda who is the director, my staff director, the
one who is also the staff director of the subcommittee on investigations and earlier oversight subcommittee which we had which was called the oversight of government management. i walked in, a number of people greeted me. they said is linear? and is here. we all love. everyone told me how much they love linda come with good reason. she's an extraordinary extraordinary human being. we have for students with this year from the levin center. we want to greet them, give them a chance to participate year and watch what goes on here at this particular forum. and let me kick off now just a few oversight remarks, overview remarks of what we're going to be talking about here today. i believe very deeply into the
constitutional responsibility of congress to serve as a check on the operations of the vast expanse of the executive branch. that responsibility has long been recognized as an integral part of our system of checks and balances. act in 1927 the supreme court explicitly stated in the case so-called mcgregor daugherty case quote we are the pain the power of inquiry with the power to enforce it is an essential and appropriate auxiliary to the legislative function. in that position of the supreme court was reinforced in watkins when the court clearly acknowledged congresses inherent power to conduct investigations, stating the was a broad power, including inquiries concerning the administration of existing
laws, needed statutes, defects and social, economic or political system and quote, probes to expose irruption, inefficiency or waste. it was that needed power and existing power of congress that cost me when i came here in 1979, and for the subsequent 36 years that i was in the senate, to choose to dedicate a significant portion of my time as a senator to conducting oversight. in order for oversight to work obviously have to know what's going on in the executive branch. and that means making demands on the executive branch for information. both documents and witnesses. because i take an expansive view of congresses right to know.
i'm concerned about recent court developments, like the holder case where the district court recognized a broad, deliberative, deliberative process, collaborative process privilege. with the growth -- growth of e-mail, in other words, things that can be put into print or lasting, not just oral conversation, with the growth of e-mail and the growth of hacking and leaks, i am somewhat sympathetic, frankly, to the need for the executive branch agency to protect their interest agency and even better interagency communications, to the extent that they are communications in preparation for developing a policy or a position or responding to an outside event. in other words, frank discussion
and decision-making, and decision-making process has real value. so that people can talk and communicate without the fear of being mischaracterized as taking a position, a final position, either through the agency or through the administration, or even a position of the person who is uttering the words. but that recognition like a week and a damn can result in a flood over time and the consequences, if not carefully limited can be devastating to the role of congress and overseeing agency programs. we've actually seen some indication of the overbreadth that is inherent as a possible in that approach, indication of that happening in the house
recent investigation of the obama administration's actions under the affordable care act, where house committees sought information that had been denied based on the administration's claim of quote confidential privileges, closed quote, which is pretty vague. i also fear that if congressional oversight is viewed as highly partisan, as opposed to institutionally sound, the courts may respond with a more protective position than they otherwise would. in other words, if that approach becomes accepted, the unfortunate consequence can be that congress loses its power to know, to know what's going on in the program it creates and in the executive branch, and hence loses its power to act on a
foreign visitor congress does have to go to court, at least theoretically to enforce its subpoenas. it has its own inherent enforcement afford which means it could issue a contempt citation to hold a trial on its own or hearing on a contempt resolution, and if the person is found guilty of contempt, congress could actually put the person in jail, a congressional jail. congress already seems like a jilted some of its members. this is a different kind of jail. this sounds bizarre but the supreme court has recognized his authority, since 1795 congress actually used this power over 85 times. in most cases successfully. it has not been used in 75 years for good reason, but the presence of that inherent contempt authority to speak to the significance of congresses need and it's right to know. in the recent myers case and in
the holder case, the house for the first time adopted resolutions authorizing the house of general counsel to bring a suit in federal court seeking enforcement of its subpoenas. in both of those cases, house committees were seeking information, both the documents and testimony, in the case of myers, and documents in the case of holder, and chose to go to the turkish court to enforce their subpoenas. the reason they did this is because the justice department refused to bring the contempt citation of the house had passed in both instances before a grand jury. despite our laws requirement that it is a quote duty closed quote of the u.s. attorney to do so. and by the way, the myers case
contains some of what words that really reflect my view, and i want to read them to you. congress our i think we possess broad as its power to legislate, and lies at the very heart of congress' constitutional role. indeed, the for businesses or to the proper exercise of the latter. according to the supreme court the ability to compel testament is quote necessary to the effective functioning of courts and legislatures. citing the brian case. thus, congress' use a need for its subpoena power in this case is no less legitimate or important than was the grand jury's in united states versus richard nixon. both involve core functions of a coequal branch of the federal government.
the recent pieces are only district court cases. they are not a public cases so their subject to revision and review. the holder case is currently on appeal. but we are on new ground, and we have to recognize that we are now going to face or have a new congress and a new president, and that we have to think through and talk about and see if we can come to some kind of a resolution of the inherent conflict we are talking about between the need of congress and the need for the executive branch. the goal of any document request is actually to avoid conflict between the branches. we are in a political environment where conflict is inevitable, and, of course, that means that the tension between congress and the constitutional
responsibility to oversee the workings of the executive branch, and on the other in the president's claim of executive privilege and deliberative process, to have a free and frank discussion, both have to be recognized, and the resolution of the conflict is something that hope we can talk about here today. and again i just want to emphasize the point which i made briefly before, that in resolving the tension between the need for the legislative branch and the need of the executive branch, that the more tensely partisan oversight becomes, that the more likely it is that the court will protect the equity that is involved in the need for a deliberative process in the administration. i think it through any point
that i would want to be enforced in his remarks it would be that. we have seen some highly partisan investigations without going to be on that and identifying any particular one. there have been some highly partisan oversight hearings and investigations. and if that is going to be the perception of the court in trying to resolve what is the equity in administration, the court is kind of naturally going to say well, if the congress is going to involve itself in highly partisan use of the investigative process, and not do it in a bipartisan basis for the institutional made to use oversight in order to get information, that the court i believe, this is just based on my experience, the courts are likely to respond and to give
greater deference to the equities which are involved in an administration wanting to have free debate without being mischaracterized again as being a decision, merely a discussion. so high partisanship, tense partisanship, jeopardizes the congressional oversight role in that sense, in my view, and in a number of other ways as well. when the new president, a new congress begins in twice 17, it will face the kind of issues which you are going to be discussing today so this is a very meaningful time to review the rights and the rules and the principles that govern this tug-of-war between the branches and to contemplate a path forward. what's needed is, what's needed to ensure that congress can
access the information that it needs to oversee the executive branch, and where necessary, to check the executive branch effectively. and how should congress at the same time be held accountable for using its oversight powers and its tools of oversight appropriately. we look forward to the panelists, and these panelists, we are very grateful to them for coming here today, and for all of you for being with us as we discuss a very what i'm sure is perceived by the public as a very dry and very arcane issue, but an issue that goes right to the heart of government. great being with you. thanks for showing up today. [applause] >> thank you for those very wise remarks that come from decades of experience.
it's my privilege to moderate this first panel, which will look at the development of the law and practice with respect to congressional access to executive branch information, and to assess where we are now in light of recent events have a particular the myers case and the fast and furious case. you will their fast and furious, older and lynch, and those are all the same case. fast and furious is the generic term. older was the name of the case as was brought and now it's become lynch with the attorney general and his because the case is on appeal. for all of those, the name is the same in the same situation. i spent 24 years in the senate doing oversight with senator carl levin. as a member of the then named governmental affairs committee, it's not called homeland security and governmental affairs.
i supervise a number of investigations of the executive branch including dod procurement, irs seizure policy, the operation of social security disability program, department and suspension and campaign finance reform. throughout those investigations, we took a very limited view of executive privilege and the right of executive branch to withhold information. it's a position very similar to the legal argument congressman issa made in the lynch case. and i don't agree with many cases with congressman issa under close to me on this position, i must say. executive privilege to me was limited to communications to and from the president. and even then the privilege was very narrow and dependent upon the nature of the investigation. i gave a little recognition to the deliberative process
exception when it evolved intra-agency communications. i was, nor was one ever claimed. the kind of questions we are asking of the executive branch i don't think ever raised suspicion about the deliberative process exception, but i must say that my attitude towards it was that we would rarely, if ever, recognized collaborative process in the context of an intra-agency communication. in the past few years with the decisions in myers and older, things have changed and there appears to be some greater recognition that the deliberative process documents and conversations are not exempt, can be exempt from congressional access, and that the courts of the mechanisms of subtle these disputes.
we've got to know today what that means for the future of congressional oversight. i wouldn't call that a sea change, but it's a significant change that we need to see if it's an opening to a larger and larger refusal by the executive branch to provide congress with information it needs. join me on this panel this morning are for individuals who not only had direct involvement in fast and furious but also have a distinguished history of working on numerous other congressional investigations. so they can talk from both recent and past experience. ..
next we have ron, ron currently serves as dean at the university of baltimore school of law, prior to that he served as assistant attorney general for legislative affairs in the justice department representing that department on all legislative and oversight matters before congress. he has also served as chief counsel to senators harry reid and received jd from yale. third we have andrew wright. andrew is an society professor at the savannah law school, emphasis on congressional oversight and national security. he previously served as
associate counsel for the president and assistant to the vice president in the obama white house as well as staff director and counsel to a national security subcommittee in the house of representatives and received ba from washington and lee and jd from the university of virginia. so i want to thank you all three for being here today. and each panel will have 10 to 15 minutes to present their comments and i will then ask them a few questions and then after that, we will open it to the audience for additional questions. so let me start with you, steve, you were on the house government reform committee staff for fast and furious, this was the only the second time, first being the mayers's case which the house decided to use subpoena in doing so. can you give us a background on the cases an why the congress felt obligated to seek a declaratory judgment from the
district court, why didn't you use your inherent cob -- contempt authority and why didn't you seek to u.s. the attorney to enforce the subpoena? >> well, thank you, thanks for having me. fast and furious was a gun trafficking case gone wrong. the decision was made along the southwest border to stop interdicting weapons and allow buyers to purchase weapons illegally and walk away with the purpose of allowing the network to develop and while watching the network, the plan was to take the whole network down and to stem the flow of targets to the cartels in méxico and it didn't work and in hindsight it's no surprise that it didn't work and it's a case worthwhile of congressional oversight. nobody has ever said it's not worth worthwhile to look into
what happened. there was a significant things to look at at the local level of atf, u.s. attorney's office in phoenix all the way to senior levels of the justice department. after the investigation commenced, it's very early portion of it, february 4th, 2011, a letter was written to congress that was false denying the charges telling us essentially to go away. the problem with that was we had insiders providing us firsthand accounts and documents and the february 4th letter was wrong. it was false. ten months lathe that letter was withdrawn. part of that investigation was what happened during gun trafficking case gone wrong but another part of the investigation was what happened between february 4th and
december 2nd, 2011, nearly ten months where congress was stone-walled, obstructed, told to go away, it was not a legitimate oversight effort and the justice department blanketly said we were not entitled and we brought contempt on the house floor, both civil contempt and criminal con kept. it was passed in bipartisan fashion. 15 or 11 democrats joined the republicans, but it was presented to the united states attorney and the united states attorney declined to prosecute. so there was a criminal and civil component after the united states attorney declined to prosecute, the president served executive privilege, that certainly is a major factor why the u.s. attorney is not going to prosecute. we filed a civil lawsuit.
the lawsuit is ongoing. we filed our appeal brief on october 6th, so as it relates to activities at the district court level, although i might have a great appetite to talk about it, i do need to be restrained because, you know, it is in litigation, it could be remanded and, but that being said, a lot of very important oversight actions happened prior to filing a lawsuit. you mentioned inherent contempt, it hasn't been used in the house since 1911, it hasn't been used in the since 1934 and would involve committee passing a contempt citation taking it to the house floor and having the speaker instruct the house sergeant at arms to go arrest the attorney general and bring the attorney general to the
house jail and that hasn't been -- that type of enforcement mechanism hasn't been -- hasn't been used in a very long time. so we certainly are aware of inherent contempt. it certainly is a valid means of enforcement but it hasn't been used in so long that it's hard to, you know, it's hard to consider arresting the attorney general of the united states as an ordinary means of enforcement . >> u.s. attorney declined to prosecute because of executive privilege, but that wasn't process of privilege, maybe you can explain the difference between executive process -- i mean, executive privilege and process of privilege. >> deliver of process would be one component of the executive
privilege umbrella doctrine to llc executive branch doctrine over the years. the president asserting privilege gave it different and from llc's position there was no act of contempt if the attorney general is following executive branch policy under the president's orders than the u.s. attorney's perspective, maybe no criminal act at all. >> the documents being sought were documents that were internal largely to the justice department. they weren't just documents within the executive, within the white house to and from the president. they were also intraagency documents. >> our subpoena had 22 categories. subpoenas are issued at on the early part of the investigation. by the time we got to contempt, we had obtained not necessarily from the justice department but we had obtained many of the documents that we needed to
evaluate the operational component of fast and furious. we ultimately sued on four of the 22 subpoenaed items and we sued on documents that were dated or created after the false letter, after february 4th. >> do you want to respond by the executive branch on fast and furious? >> sure, first, i would like to step back, thank you for hosting the event and the constitution project for cohosting and i want to pick up on something senator said in his introduction. he noted the timeliness of this event because we are two weeks out from a national election and to put a finer point on that, we don't know how that election is going to come out. the polls speculate this and that but we don't know and went know until election day. who will control the agencies of the executive branch and in this
particular election there's a question about who will chair, which party will control which senators and house members will chair the various committees and subcommittees of congress. so we have what sometimes referred to as a veil of ignorance and it's a useful thing in that moment when you don't know who is going to have a benefit or have an interest to consider what the proper principles and practices are no matter who is issuing the subpoena or responding to the subpoena. so i think this is exactly the right moment to ask these questions. i will turn to fast and furious in a minute. let me offer general thoughts as someone who has been on both ends of pennsylvania avenue as linda indicated in introducing me. i worked for senator kennedy and later for senator harry reid and involved in oversight request and assistant attorney general for justice department i was
responsible for speaking for the justice department in response to those requests and let me say at the outset and thank my colleague steve for graceful to say i am the person who signed the february 4th, 2011 letter that was false. i didn't know it was false and i will tell you one story, when i became the assistant attorney general someone who had the job before me. a friend told me that i was going to sign a hundred thousand letters and one was going to blow up in my face and i didn't know, i didn't know in advance which one was going to be. turned out to be february 4th, 2011 on fast and furious. i believe based on my experience over the years both branches of government that oversight is a very important and legitimate function of congress. it's beneficial to the congress in fulfilling its role and making sure that public dollars are well spent in crafting new
legislation or modifying existing legislation, benefits the american people but i also add that it's beneficial to the executive branch agencies. at the justice department we recognize that that kind of oversight kept us on our toes and helped uncover mistakes and programs that were not working as well as they should work and certainly in this case it uncovered a law enforcement operation that was fundamentally flawed. having said that, so indeed, the public has a right to know at the same time i think there's something on the other side of the ledger, there are times when the executive branch has to say no, n-o, and several categories where this becomes acute specially the agency department. just to review quickly, the department is concerned any time there's oversight into open matters. when the department is
conducting a criminal investigation perhaps in middle of prosecution where there may already be indictment, it's very dangerous for congress to be mocking around in there, it can attar the course of that law enforcement operation or prosecution in a very detrimental way. so there we urge congress to be very careful and frankly to withhold oversight while it's open. executive branch officials and certainly in law enforcement decisions need to be able to communicate with each other, so a whole new world when he and i became lawyers. now, we talk to each other electronically, very often and it's very efficient and effect i -- effective way specially in the justice department with many components, not just in
washington but across the country and you can press a button and speak with 25 people at once all that need to know information that you're conveying and want to weigh on strategic questions. sometimes it's merely conversations, figuring out what we are going to do. it's not apronouncement of policy or law enforcement action. so we do seal -- i say we are no longer there but refer to -- to the we there and we feel that for executive branch officials specially in an agency of law enforcement, agency like justice department we need space to talk among ourselves without being revealed. there are also concerns when law enforcement agencies or career people who are making decisions are the subject of oversight and are asked to answer before political body congress for good-faith career law enforcement decisions.
then obviously there's national security issues. those are the kind of considerations on both sides. yes, oversight, but we need to have some boundaries. the cases that have been discussed the meyer's case, fast and furious case does present boundaries. first of all, it must be noted that on the congressional side of it, we now know at least from the two district court decisions, it appears from the two district court decisions that there's a to rum in which the congress can seek enforcement. you don't have to bring the attorney general or the assistant attorney general to jail or basement of the senate chamber or have sergeant of arms watch over him or her and instead go to district of colombia and appears that the judge wills hear the claim that a subpoena hasn't been complied with. but to the discussion in fast and furious case, did say that
there are limits on what the congress can obtain by subpoena. in fast and furious, real briefly, but just briefly, steve lays out the facts, i only quibble in this respect. certainly as the house committee sought to determine what happened in this flawed law enforcement operation, legitimate oversight and i believe the department was reasonably responsive in providing that information. the committee then wanted to determine how it was that a letter was sent from the justice department that denied facts that turned out to be true. that was legitimate and documents were provided that explained it and explained individuals who had knowledge of the matter more closely, had asserted facts that turned out not to be true. but then the dispute was should
the congress get to review how the department responded to the oversight, what we in the department sometimes call memos on memos. and there you are getting right to the heart of the ability of the executive branch to function and so in a rough way, quibble here and there, in a rough way i think the dispute should the department, should any executive branch agency had the ability to say, wait, let us talk among ourselves to let us know how we are going to respond and ultimately after judge jackson's decision, the department released a lot of material that, i think, the department was responding in good faith trying to get to the bottom of the situation that officials in washington didn't fully understand in respecting the prerogative of congress to ask questions that would further legislative purpose. >> ly let you respond. >> one thing -- >> you can give us the more
professorial deal of this case. >> the head of atf nelson came to speak to us and told us that the justice department was trying to keep information from congress, that the justice department was trying to push away evidence from their political officials, so that's a very relevant piece that happened in july of 2011 and, you know, our investigation, you know n part was looking at what happened over the ten months. >> andy, do you want to give us the larger view of the -- >> sure. >> what the significance of these cases are and specially the holder case. >> sure, first of all, disclosure here. i was one of president obama's lawyers during all of this. the white house component, several got letter during that
period, national drug control policy, staff, we had a lawyer who was interviewed by the committee and the president asserted privilege. i was definitely a part of those various roles that have been out in the public domain. i will say this, first of all, based on my experience on the oversight committee i worked with steve before i went to the white house on the democratic side and my time in the executive branch the two white houses, the clinton white house and the obama white house, the two branches see this from totally different perspectives about how the constitution works. that's one thing i want to present you, that's food for thought. congress very much sees this as a legal process like a court and uses all the language, hearings,
subpoenas, you know, all the sort of court proceedings and contempt, all things that we know in law and i think there's validity in that and comes partly from the history of the legislative and judicial functions being separated back before we even were founded, but the executive branch sees it from a perspective of more like negotiation and accommodation where these are coequal branches of government both of whom have legitimate interest recognizeing need for information and also recognizing that the executive branch has that needs to be honored as well. so, you know, there's a cynical side to this. congress can help up end the status quo of the executive having documents by suggesting that they are entitled to them
as a legal process like you would see in a court. that's certainly within the self-interest of congress to do so and certainly within the self-interest to suggest that -- to protect the status quo of not giving documents over to no, n-o, who has the most leverage in a given situation. i also think there's genuinely held views within the two branches going across administrations and different parties that are about how the constitution structure works. it's not a exercise, a generally held belief at the people by the department of justice, another departments in the executive branch that that's more negotiated result than a legal process that's supposed to be fixed as entitlement. there's one point that i throw out there as food for thought to the crowd. in terms of the particular cases, you know, the meyer's case when it came out with the house judiciary committee
bringing that suit resulted in a rejection of the executive branch, this is the bush white house and of a blanket immunity from the white house counsel coming to the hill to testify. and basically the ruling held that there's going to have to be a question by question assertion of privilege in front of the committee. you can't just say this is such a senior adviser and so close to the president that they can't come up under the circumstances of a subpoena and i think tracking that same thinking on the document context, one of the principles that comes out of lynch and holder is the idea that we are not going to have this as at can categorical level. one of the things that the branch try today resist was the idea of having to go to a document by document level because mostly because of burden. if you're asking for every document generated about fast and furious after february 4th
it's getting clip services every day with stories about fast and furious. it's a large volume and the idea that you're going to go through document by document privilege log is a daunting thing. and so i think that's when -- that's one lesson that comes out of both cases. this is going to be fought as a document level when you get into court so you'll not be able to sort of say this category of documents should be off limits. that's a big win for congress in coming out of these -- he's -- at least where the law stands now at the dc circuit. another point that we've mentioned was this principle that deliverrative and there's been two totally separate documents and one internal to executive branch that are like living, you know, mars and venus
basically. congress is taking the position that common low grounded privileges does not apply to congressional request, spousal immunity, et cetera, except privilege outside of narrow presidential component that was recognized as having a constitutional basis in nixon. the executive branch has always believed that executive privilege is a bundle of ideas which include various things including state secrets, including delivery processing, communication privilege, pending adjudications, opening criminal files, et cetera. all of part of executive privilege, all have sort of characterizing functions of the executive branch that need some sort of protection legally and to what's happened the election has brought third branch of
government in a different way and so the two -- the two branches, the political branches aren't able to sort of have their own echo chambers anymore. now they're getting the light of judicial involvement which is going to be, you know, you live by the sword and die by the sword, we are going to get rulings that may or may not fix some of the rules and attar some of the leveraged dynamics between the branches when they are trying to hammer out these disputes. >> is the holder case the first time a court has recognized intraagency documents as subject to deliverative process privilege? >> it is my recall that she had done that. a case that was disputed by both branch, meaning her reading seemed to have adopted a more executive branch gloss on that case.
>> so the strongest case we have ever had essentially on recognizing a deliberative process privilege within the agency? >> yeah. the last point i will make. i love congressional oversight having worked on the walter-reid investigation. payment on the taliban on supply chain in afghanistan and i think it's such an important tool for sort of checking the executive branch and for helping congress learn things to be able to legislate wisely but i would just say that i think the biggest impediments to congressional oversight aren't these disputes, the very narrow cristallized dispute that is have to get resolved one way or the other but it's more like resources for the committees and there are a lot of committees that are not just doing a lot of oversight. the oversight committee is an exception as psi, subcommittee
on investigations, long histories of doing penetrating oversight, but, you know, some other committees, i can't remember the last time the house judiciary committee or foreign affairs committee built the kind of investigative infrastructure to do the kind of penetrating oversight that we need. so from my perspective, while i do sort of maintain some of the executive branch views of the legitimacy of the interests, i would like to see much more robust congressional oversight as a function of congress putting its resources towards that goal in a way that's going to make more meaningful efforts for committees in their jurisdiction to do more work. that's just another side editorial point. >> why do you think the other committees aren't doing robust oversight? why is it you feel diminished over the last 20 years or so, ten years? >> i would disagree. i think in the last five years you've seen uptick with numerous congressional committees, the house ways and means committee,
energy and commerce, the judiciary committee in the house, certainly in the senate under senator grassley's leadership. has been doing more rigorous oversight. leadership is in the house has placed a great emphasis on oversight. you know, in 2011, speaker boehner instructed every committee in the house, all 20-some odd committees to have an oversight function, and, you know, whether it's one staffer or, you know, little staffs of 3 and 5, the oversight has been there in the house since 2011. >> if i may, i take the position a little bit between steve and andy. i think there has been a lot of oversight in the sense of a lot of letters sent from committees to executive branch agencies, but really focused oversight effective oversight requires a
lot of time, resources and patience. i think senator working on the bank regulators and he worked on that with a series of members for many years to achieve results over time. i think about the work of congressman also working with his member congressman davis of virginia, and, of course, the standing oversight committees, the house oversight government reform committee and governor, and it takes time, it takes patience and i don't think a lot of committees are devoting resources to that kind of long game. you see a lot of letters and frankly that's not so effective, some of it is just kind of burdensome and done for a quick
press. that's not the most effective and meaningful oversight. >> one thing too in defense of the committees, they do have an authorization cycle that's more robust than the oversight committee which has a really small set of authorization things in its jurisdiction. so there are incentives for the agencies to cooperate with those committees in way that is might not be present that might require subpoena base to -- the department of defense is working with the arms services committee in budget and authorities are all on the line, there are more likely to play ball often times. so that's true. but i do think there's still a lack of infrastructure for the sort of investigative long-game stuff that ron is talking about that i would like to see congress put resources into. >> you know, it may not have made news, do i think in this congress it has changed. five or six house committees now have deposition authority and
have been using it. the house committee on science, ways and means, energy and commerce and deposition authority really goes a long way to getting the facts. it's hard to get to the matter quickly just by asking documents and relying on the executive branch to cooperate. that doesn't happen as much as it should, and so with deposition authority a number of these house committees and, again, it may not have made a lot of national news but there is a lot of very hard-hitting oversight going on in the house currently. >> and the witnesses are often called by subpoena or do they come voluntarily? i mean, you can dye pose somebody but you can only dye pose somebody if they come to the door in response to the testify? >> having the authority to issue a subpoena for a deposition is very helpful to getting voluntary cooperation.
[laughter] >> you know, if you're invited in to participate and q&a over oversight matter and subpoena authority exists, the witnesses are a lot more interested in cooperating. >> can i make one point? the credibility of investigations is a function largely to get both parties together to move these things forward. that's not always going to be possible. if you're representing a client as a private lawyer and they get a legislate, investigate letter, if it's signed by ranking member and the chair that's more credible threat to your client because you can recognize that you're not going to have half of the team up there, maybe, depending on the issue sort of playing defense to a prosecutor.
you're going to be on your own against congress. just the authority itself on congress is more robust when that letter has the both parties working together, maybe to check an executive sx or what's going on in the private sector and i think that's something we really no strive to achieve more often than we are at present. >> well, we saw that in the wells fargo hearing where both parties were clearly in accord on bringing the wells fargo ceo to task for what had happened there. >> it happens a lot more than you think. senator chaffetz works extremely well with cummings, a lot of bipartisan oversight that's happening isn't making the front page of the washington post website. so i do think it's happening a lot more than people give the house and senate credit for. these cases like fast and furious and benghazi, you know, do occupy a lot of headlines,
but a lot of the good oversight is happening at a bipartisan level. >> i agree with that but, steve, that kind of politicized and gives oversight a bad name. we knew it because the house majority leader kevin mccarthy said, suggested in a sense that the committee was created to damage secretary clinton's polls numbers as she prepare today run for president. the speaker today not because he was candid with what was happening with the benghazi committee, other examples of partisan as opposed to the bipartisan oversight that steve and andy are talking about. partisan politicized oversight, that really discuss the public, i think, it's gamesmanship, it is kind of burdensome to the executive branch to deal with it, it's unproductive and we would like to see congress get
back to tradition of bipartisan oversight that is going to benefit the people. >> ron, one of the best defenses, if you have done something wrong, if you're an official, one of the best strategic things you can do is turn it into a partisan food fight and very often the partisanship is caused by the defense and so that is a very real consideration. >> sometimes you walk into the cafeteria earn and there's a food fight going on already. >> there was a survey on and several staffers said that the number one purpose of oversight is political. you have a reaction to that, that to me is to my purpose of oversight to find the facts and to do fact-based public policy
to find good answers based on solid fact-finding but i was shocked that there's an attitude out there that that the real purpose of oversight is political. do you have any observation on that? >> i might tweet sad exclamation point. >> #would be sad. [laughter] >> if i can just say it's a 20 rule. 20% of the overnight matters are cared -- gardnering 20% of the attention and happening at a bipartisan level. 80% of the work is a productive mutually beneficial process. >> do you agree with the senator that the courts may rebe responding to the partisan types of investigations and therefore benefiting more the executive branch out of concern of the merits of the equities involved