tv Andrew Mc Carthy Ball of Collusion CSPAN September 15, 2019 1:01pm-2:12pm EDT
>> i have the same pole. thank you. >> thank you so much. >> this program is available as a podcast. they can be viewed on our website book tv.org. [applause] >> thank you. that evening. thank you for coming. so wonderful to see so many of you here. i would like to welcome everyone they will be selling andy's new book and he will be signing them for you. some of you may remember that andy was here three years ago. it was august. our august meeting. i guess we will have to do that
the same way. due to extreme planning on andy and my part, i am so thrilled to announce that this here tonight is the world premiere of andy after the release of his book which happened today. [applause] sometimes it just works out. you may recall that andy spoke about the blind shake and some of those passings. he is in the center of attention for that. the molar probe in the book of collusion which you will be hearing about. also, some thoughts on the epstein case. if there is is time, he can talk about that as well. thank you so much for coming. andy mccarthy. [applause]
>> thank you so much. erica says it is dumb luck. i think she was planning this from the start. [laughter] it is a delight to be back here. i think we started to talk about coming back four or five months ago. i had such a great time here the last time, i just think it is sheer fortuity that it turned out to be the day that the book came out. it is a big deal, even for people that do what i do for a living. it's something you really pour yourself into. this is a big day. i am thrilled to spend it with you. i was even more thrilled, maybe not more thrilled, but i step off the plane and my phone was
exploding because it turned out that rush limbaugh had talked about the book on the radio today and he likes it, which is important. if you're going to talk about it, make sure he likes it. i was totally blown away by that. i did not know he was going to do that. when i got to the hotel, the first thing i did was get him a little note to thank him. he is great. of course he got back to me instantly and he said, you know, there, there was something i forgot to say and i will hit that tomorrow. [laughter] it is a doubleheader for me. it is a great day all around. while we are talking about rush,
married guys will know this, how many married guys in the room? one of russia's favorite stories or lines is, if a man is out in the forest and he is all by himself, there is nobody around, if he makes a statement, is he still wrong? [laughter] i was reminded of that today. not only because it was a great line and rush was so great today, but because what actually got me into, more deeply into the collusion paper which, at the time i got into it, i don't even think there was one yet, the clinton e-mails and that
kind of evolved into collusion. what made me so interested in the collusion narrative which is what the book is about, and this is an uncomfortable confession to make, but it's got to be made, i was fabulously, fabulously, spectacularly wrong about something that turned out to be very basic. and that is, back when i was was a prosecutor, i insisted eight ways to sunday, in a very indignant way, that it was impossible, that it would never ever happen, that the justice department and the fbi would use what is known as their counter intelligence authorities as the pretext to conduct what actually was a criminal investigation that was done.
just so you know where i am going with this, the theory behind this, this will be any surprise to all of you that i followed this closely for all of this time, i think there really was collusion in connection with the 2016 election, but the real collusion was not this fable about donald trump and russia, the real collusion was the obama administration put the law enforcement and intelligence apparatus of the united states government in the service of the hillary clinton campaign. that included, at its heart, exploiting the counter intelligence powers that our government has given in order to protect the united states from foreign enemies. using those powers to actually monitor the opposition campaign and when trump, against all
odds, i think even even the president himself would think it is against all odds, when he won that investigation was used, basically, as a monitor a monitor on his administration. tie his hands and try to monitor his administration and make him unelectable, which i think was the main goal. i think what happened here is you have the counter intelligence towers and they were used as a pretext to conduct a criminal investigation without a crime. the criminal investigation was done to impeachment chatter and the impeachment chatter is a pretext for what is the real agenda here and that is by some time at the top of autumn 2020, their hope is to make donald trump unelectable.
i think that is what this is about from the beginning. a political narrative from the beginning. now, what was i so wrong about? erica was erica was good enough to mention that back eons ago, i was a federal prosecutor. towards the end of my tenure as a federal prosecutor, i started to handle national security cases. it happened not out of any planning whatsoever, the planning was done by the jihadist, there he carried out the bombing of the world trade center in february 1993 and it caught all of us flat-footed. our government decided to treat a national security challenge as if it were a crime wave. instead of the marines, what you got was me. which is why we did not do so
hot, for the first number of years. i had never worked. i'd been a prosecutor for a fairly long time. i had never worked national security cases. none of us had. when you hear national security case and you hear the expression foreign counterintelligence, these are not powers that we use generally speaking to create criminal cases, to develop evidence that you can present in court. the reason they are there is to protect the united states from threats and potential attacks by foreign powers. the idea of these powers is to allow us to monitor those threats and try to stop bad things from happening. i am from law enforcement and law enforcement, what happens, it did not happen in the trump russia investigation, but what
is supposed to happen in this country, a crime gets committed and then we assign a prosecutor to investigate the crime. we usually do not say there is a person, like donald trump, go out there and try to find a crime on him. which is pretty much what we've sought for the last few years. i knew nothing about how counter intelligence worked. i barely knew, even though i had been a prosecutor for the better part of a decade, that the fbi actually has a night job. aside from being our premier law enforcement agency, the fbi is also our domestic security agency. what does that mean? in a lot of countries, there is a role that
has to be carved out for government agencies to protect the homeland against foreign threats. those foreign threats can come from outside attacks or they can come from people who are foreign agents working on behalf of of the foreign power operating inside the united states. in some countries, like britain britain for example, better off separating the law enforcement function from this national security function of protecting the country against foreign threats. in our country, what we've always thought is the best way to handle the challenge of foreign threats to security is to have both the law enforcement and national security mission housed in the same agency, the fbi. one side side of their agency is the criminal law enforcement side and the other side is what
is known as foreign counterintelligence, or national security. the idea is the two missions can actually leverage each other. one of the best ways you can get intelligence from people is conducting criminal cases on them. when they feel like they might get prosecuted, that gets them to talk. sometimes it can help our intelligence mission and it can work the other way as well. so, from the time the trade center got bombed in 1993, up until the 9/11 attacks, we treated terrorism, essentially, as a criminal justice problem. that never made the national security component of it go away
or the national security mission. the reason that is important for what we that is important for what we're talking about tonight is, on the national security side, you have a whole different set of powers than what criminal law-enforcement and prosecutors commonly use. when i was a prosecutor and we had a mafia or a big drug case or something like that and i needed to get a wiretap for my investigation working with the fbi, we would use the criminal statutes that are available. we are dealing in the american criminal justice system, mainly dealing with americans, an awful lot of non-americans, we are all presumed innocent. our criminal law-enforcement laws that congress has enacted, account for and assume all of our due process rights as americans. protections built in four people in the criminal justice rolls. the national security powers in
foreign intelligence are different in the sense that the concentration on foreign counterintelligence is not americans. it is the foreign power that may be a threat to the united states. very often, even when we are dealing with agents of foreign powers that are here in the united states, they are not americans. they are working for a foreign government. they don't have the same array of rights. one of the things that happened in the eight year in a room that when an investigation started, they would try to figure out right at the beginning, is this going to be a criminal case that we try to do in court or is this a national security case where we are just going to try to
collect evidence, or collect intelligence to try to protect the country. that went on for a long time. it should not be the thing that is a paralyzing decision to make. we should be able to go back and forth if everyone is act in good faith. the justice department got to get very nervous, they are nervous guys, but, what they kind of wrong their hands over was the specter, the hypothetical possibility of abuse. what kind of abuse did they have in mind? they imagined a situation in which you had a rogue agent or a set of rogue agents who didn't have enough evidence to make a criminal case. so, rather than drop the case, which is generally what you do in the justice department, if you don't have enough evidence, you usually move onto the next
one. what they worried about was what if you had rogue agents who did not have criminal evidence and then rather than drop the case, in order to continue investigating because they really felt like the people they were investigating were worthy of investigation, may be four corrupt reasons they wanted to try to make a case on them, what they would do is fabricate a national security angle so that they could exploit the government foreign counterintelligence powers and conduct what was really a criminal investigation without a criminal predicate under the eyes of our national security powers. this worry that they had that that could happen, which there was no evidence of it ever
happening before, something they just decided to worry about, that resulted in something i am sure a lot of people will remember, notoriously known as the wall. people remember the wall. this is a long time ago. all the rage and a big controversy in the 1990s. the wall was a set of regulations that the justice department interposed between the criminal investigation side of the fbi and the intelligence side which made it impossible for those two sides as a practical matter to cooperate and compare evidence. remember all the talk back in the day about connecting the dots and the idea you have to know what the dots are before you can even connect them? what we did for those eight years was the left hand did not know what the right hand was doing. it was a catastrophe. it probably led to the failure of our intelligence agencies
including the fbi to detect the 9/11 plot before it happened. please understand what i am saying. i am not blaming the government for the terrorist attack. the terrorists are responsible for the terrorist attack, but our failure to detect it, because we put this administrative wall between the two sides and it was a disaster for americans in terms of our security because we could not get the full measure of what they call the threat mosaic. we could not understand where the threats were coming from. a lot of people died. so, back when the wall was first established, there was a lot of controversy in the justice department. it pitted a number of people who
were working terrorism cases like myself who objected to it vigorously at the time. the one thing the objection was on the basis of our honor, basically, we are saying, you are saying, if we have these powers to protect the united states at our disposal, we will use them. we will lie to the court. we will use them pre-textually. we were pretty indignant about that. pretty understandable at the time. the other thing, the more practical thing, and this is what we finally get to about me being so wrong about, if you assume the rogue agent, i thought it was absolutely absurd to think that a rogue agent, no no matter how bad, never explored to fabricate a criminal
case. the reason i was so confident about that was not because i think everybody is an angel and nobody would ever do something they should not do, the reason was, it did not make sense for them to do it. if you assumed the rogue, there is a whole different layer and set of approval that you have to go through in the government and justice department to use the national security powers. they are not easy. you have to get a ton of approvals. from where i sat, and this was somebody that was working day today with the people doing these cases, if you had a rogue agent and rogue prosecutors, it would be much easier for them to fabricate evidence to try to use
criminal procedures than to fabricate a national security angle to try to use those powers. what i said again and again, that would be crazy to do because the bureau would never let anyone get away with it. if the bureau let them get away with it, the justice department would be there to backstop it. i was absolutely certain that could not happen. you would have to get too many approvals. why was i so wrong? what i failed to assume was that there could be a case where the wrongs of approval, the adult leadership, the people that run the organization, actually decide to do the investigation themselves. the idea in the justice department and in the fbi is a very good idea is that we want investigations to be conducted in the places where either a threat to the united states exists or where the crime happened. that is not only consistent with the constitution, it also is
good practice, for two reasons. one, the people people closest to the event will always be the most efficient in gathering the evidence of it. they will have the best knowledge of the community. the other thing that the fbi and justice department wants is for investigations to happen independent of the politics of washington, if the fbi headquarters does an investigation, they are right there in the thick of all the politics. the idea is we want to insulate investigations from those kinds of considerations. for that reason, what the fbi likes to do, what the justice department likes to do, have investigations carried out in the district office where the relevant crime happened, or the evidence is, and then the fbi in the justice department headquarters can play the traditional role that
headquarters is supposed to play which is, they are the leadership, they are the guardian of our standards. they make sure that everybody stays on the straight and narrow. i can tell you, having been a prosecutor for for 20 years, there has never been a prosecutor, and i am as guilty of this as anyone spends five minutes doing what i used to do, there's never been anyone -- in their own cases. when you are working on an investigation, especially if you are dealing with terrorism or violent crime, you become convinced that your bad guys are the worst bad guys in the history of bad guys. and you rationalize. you want to cut corners. why do i have to satisfy. even if i don't have all the
evidence that i need, if we get a wiretap we will get the evidence and we will figure it all out. you convince yourself that you are dealing with people. this is a better way to deal with it. because we are all human and we are all subject to that temptation, we need need to have supervision. it tells us we don't do that kind of stuff. we do not take in opposition research screen from somebody who has a political campaign and is operating on hearsay campaign that is two or three times removed from the fax and we don't slap a caption on the front of that and bring it to court and say here is our
warrant. we do that kind of stuff. you are supposed to have your supervision there to say, we have rules. if you want to go to the foreign intelligence surveillance court which handles national security cases, you must verify the information before you submit an application to the court. while that is always important, it is always critical for the honor of the justice department and the credibility, it is always important to corroborate your information before you bring it to a court. especially important in foreign counterintelligence. an fbi investigation, what we are allowed to do is monitor people who the government says there is probable cause, not that they committed a crime necessarily, but that they are
operating on behalf of a foreign power in the united states in a clandestine way against our people and against our government. that is what these powers allow us to do. they are intelligence gathering powers. they are not for building a criminal investigation. you know why that is important? criminal investigation keeps people honest. in a criminal investigation, it is true if i went to get a search warrant or i went to get some other source of information where there was something in the law that allowed me to go to a court and get an order that compelled someone to surrender the evidence to me, it is true that i was allowed to go to the judge with my agent by ourselves. no defense lawyer there. no defendant there. just us and the judge.
in a criminal investigation, everybody operates under the assumption that, eventually, there will be a trial. eventually, there will be a prosecution. the reason we are doing this is we will file an indictment and we will arrest people. when we arrest people, all the representations that we make to the court to get evidence, will be turned over to the defense and to the defense lawyers. they will go over every single line of every single submission to see, did we mislead the court russia mark did the court applied the correct evidentiary standard. every single motion attacking the underlying basis for collecting evidence is going to be flushed out. it is not that people who work in criminal law are more honest than other people, they know it's in their self-interest to be straight with the court because if they're not, someone will find out about it down the road. there will be repercussions. that is not how it works in foreign counterintelligence. in fci, because we are only
there to gather intelligence, we are are not looking to make a case against somebody down the road, what the justice department and fbi are allowed to do is 02 a secret court that congress created in 1978 and present an application that says that the person they want to survey all or monitor, the person they want to spy on is an agent of a foreign power. the only due process, let's say you have an american, you have you have carter page, and we have in the trump russia investigation, you have an american citizen operating as an agent of russia, the only due process that american is ever going to get is if the justice department and the fbi play it straight with the courts and the court forces them to comply with
their own regulations which include making sure you bring verified information only to the court. and if they do not follow their own rules and if a judge doesn't make them follow their own rules, then you basically, you have surveillance going on against people who are presumed innocent and have a full array of constitutional rights and they never find out about it. what we found out in this investigation was that was precisely what they did, but they'd did it for the purpose of monitoring a political campaign. that is what this was about ruin through. when i started to write what became wall of collusion, i had had a different idea about what it was going to be. i thought the way to do this is
to compare the hillary clinton e-mail investigation with the trump russia investigation and ask whether any person could look at both of them and say the same degree of justice was afforded to both sides. [laughter] to take the case where they bent over backwards not to make the case. where they had a mountain of evidence of criminal act to pity and the molar investigation, you lied to the fbi, you got prosecuted. the clinton investigation you lie and get immunity. making all kinds of arrangements in the molar investigation they showed up at the clock in the morning or before. if they needed to break into your house, they broke into your house. they grab the evidence they wanted. they said ready please.
if the person said no, they would make a deal to get the evidence, but not look at it. you are talking about a situation where a bent over backwards not to make a case versus when they actually had real criminal evidence versus scorching the earth to try to find a case where there was not one. after two years, they still were not able to do it. try to compare these two investigations adjust pose that question. whether you are a liberal or a conservative, democrat or republican, can you look at these two investigations and say, by the way, these two investigations which were conducted by the same agents, the same investigators, the same justice department personnel, and say they did blind justice. there is not a chance.
so, that was my idea. i think over time i got away from it. i did not get completely away from it, but the hardest thing for writer about something like this is to try to write something about a story that is not over yet. where it is all a moving target and you don't know if you plant your feet and say this is what happened, you find out three weeks after the book came out for three hours before the book goes out and russia untrimmed rush isn't there to help you, you find out you are wrong about something. and i've been wrong enough. the challenge came to try to break a piece off of this that was sensible to treat that you could explain what really happened in that it was important enough to rate writing
a book about. what i hope people take away from the book is a couple of things. number one, the collusion narrative that was fun for you never had a chance of being true. it is not just that it wasn't true, it never had a chance of being true. it was built on things that were absolutely false and preposterous. beginning with the idea, have you noticed, they talk they talk about paul manafort, the guy who , he was trump's campaign chairman for a few months and he had years and years that he dealt with ukrainian -- darkly described as tied to the kremlin and all that jazz. did you notice that mueller threw the book at manafort.
everything you could imagine. tax evasion, money laundering. stuff that they never prosecuted before. failing to register as a foreign agent. something that has been prosecuted half a dozen times in 50 years before they used it in this investigation. you ever notice what they did not charge them with. an agent of russia. think about that. the guy that the whole thing is built on. again and again. one thing to say that they never brought a collusion case against him. they never even alleged that he was an agent of russia. what this whole thing is built on. a number of things that are through and throughout this period not just the steel dossier, if it wasn't so serious, some of it is laugh out loud false. this thing, it is not just that
they didn't have a case, they never had a chance of making this theory. i believe mueller must have known that very soon after he took over the case. the second thing, and i will leave it at this, so we can have some dialogue back and forth, the second thing, i am i am hoping that this collusion narrative its place in a context that maybe we have not taught about up until now. we have been so focused on the collusion story, i thought it was necessary or would at least be valuable to put it into context. what i try to demonstrate in the book is the obama administration had an eight year record of politicizing intelligence and using law enforcement to punish political enemies and scapegoats. the question is, when it got to the hillary campaign losing ultimately to trump and they
needed a rationale for why they lost, why would anyone think they would not be able to come up with one? this is is what they do. the last thing i will say about that is this. let me bring you back to the last candidate debate between clinton and trump. at one point, hillary screeches, she was probably just speaking, i heard it as a screech -- [laughter] >> she said something along the lines of horrible or horrifying. you know what she was talking about? trump refusing, three weeks before the election to say that the election was absolutely legitimate. trump was there saying it could be rigged.
in american tradition, we always say the voters speak and everybody accepts the results. he said no. i will not accept the results until after i see what happens in the election. and she said, this is just unbelievably horrifying that someone could question the legitimacy. he is attacking our democracy. when she was finished saying he was attacking our democracy, obama went out on the stump the next day and said the same thing he will not accept the legitimacy of our election. now, the reason i want you to remember that is this. in real time, as it was going on , the fbi and the intelligence agencies of the government, the cia in particular, new as it was happening, what russia was doing to metal in the election. they knew going back to 2015 that russia had wheedled its way
into the democratic e-mail accounts. brennan who was the head of the cia, said he confronted his counterpart in the russian government in august of 2016. and then obama in september 2015 glared at putin and said we know what you are doing. stop. we will not put up with that. now, when hillary clinton reamed out trump and obama did afterwards saying how on earth could you question the legitimacy of our elections. understand, they knew everything we now know about russia's interference in the election. there is nothing we have learned through the investigation or through what the cia and other
agencies put out in january january 2016. there is nothing that we've been told about russia's operation against the election. how could you question whether this is a question. you heard about it for one reason. she lost, thank god. thank you all for coming. [applause] i look forward to your questions. [applause] >> thank you. doesn't that kind of make you mad. anyhow. the ushers are in the aisle with index cards if you'd like to pose a question. we will do the best that we can. >> sure. keep the answers short. before we start, this came from
one of our board members. is it true that fox news won't let a person appear until they first speak at the liberty forum? [laughter] pete text us, i think people were here for that. you will be on fox and friends on thursday. [applause] you may want to record it. it is early on our end. >> if not, you can get it from my mom. [laughter] >> pete has always been big. >> that's true. >> he told me that himself. >> we have fun with him here. [laughter] we will start probably with their real questions. >> why don't we grab a couple of them, and we can start.
>> that is right. >> has anyone from inside any of these agencies acknowledged what is right, what's wrong. are they coming coming clean? i know this is under investigation, but whatever you can say about that. >> it is interesting. the inspect your general at the justice department, which is an office that reports to both justice and the congress, we were told by attorney general bar, i think it was back in april, that the investigation, he is looking at the pfizer abuse and other things, it might be finished as early as may. it's still going on. what you hear in washington is more people came forward to
provide more information. if that is true, i attributed it to attorney general bar creating a serious tone and making it clear that he actually does intend to get to the bottom of this. he's not just saying he will get to the bottom of it. i think that that is why that has been delayed weird i'm hoping we will hear an answer that one easier then. >> for those of us that are old enough to remember watergate which is probably most of us, do you think when this comes out it will be as big as watergate #not as big? the media is a lot different. >> the problem with the watergate comparison is, it is such a different media environment today than it was in 1972, 73, 74. it is such a big difference in terms of scandal when the media is the wind at your back versus
the wind in your face. if some of the things that happen here are what are alleged to happen here in these powers got abused and there was spine that was done on the campaign, that should be one of the biggest scandals in american history. do i think it will be treated that way? i hope it will be treated that way in the history books, but i'm not holding my breath for the media to treated that way. this, i think, is worth noting, you know, we talked about the media all the time, but they lose a lot. trump is president notwithstanding that the media pushed against him with all of his might. they will do it again. i bet if you got to ask the president what one of the best things going for him, he would
say that his attacks on the media and the unfairness of the coverage really does resonate with people. i think there is pushback against the media. much more openly ideological than they used to be. also, between fox news and national review and the alternative media that we have, plus the internet giving us the ability to research things on our own, i just don't think it punches above its weight like it used to. >> some questions that relate together. why did he keep drawing? on the public side, we are getting saturated. unlucky to my mind, unless he came up with something huge, that is all old news now. why didn't it judge complained? >> let me take the first part
and then we will get to the pfizer judges. remember the famous text between peter and lisa where they talk about the insurance policy. the idea was in the highly unlikely event that trump one, they needed an insurance policy. an insurance policy is not something we all know. it is not there to prevent the bad things from happening. the insurance policy kicks in after the bad thing is happened. the bad thing here is trump being elected president. the insurance policy, i believe, was was to have an investigation which would be a monitor on trump and would straitjacket him in terms of his pursuit of parts of his agenda that the powers that the obama administration, many of whom carried over into the next administration decided were bad for america as if we
elected them and not trump. you know, the reason i think the investigation continued was because the point of it was not necessarily to make a case. they were hoping to make a case. they wanted to have that monitor on trump. here is something i think is very interesting. they went back to get fisa warrants on quarter page and each warrant says that the fbi believes carter page and others connected to donald trump's campaign were involved in russia's espionage. they come out and say that. i think the reason i mention
this, they would have been due to go back to the fisa court in september to get the warrant. if they were going to extend it. they didn't do that. they pulled the plug on the investigation. this whole idea of trump in russia having a conspiracy to steal the election. it was bogus. >> cards next to the name brennan and clinton and obama and these bad actors. will anything happen to them? >> that is the big question everybody has. my attitude about this is twofold. what we really need to find out
is what happened. if we get a solid accounting of what happened, violating in a way that is prosecutable. you can deal with it at that point. the last time i wrote a book where i did not show up in silicon valley the night that it came out, it was a book about impeachment. i didn't have the foresight to wait until trump was president to write an impeachment book. maybe i would have made a couple of books. one of the things that struck me while i was doing the research for the book was a lot of things that are in the nature of abuse of power, are not actually violations of the criminal code. most things, a lot of power that officials have with broad discretion to use and finding abusive power is usually where
the government official is abusing the discussion that the law allows them. the reason that is worth noting is criminal statutes are black-and-white. constitutionally, supposed to be written so a person of ordinary intelligence knows what is forbidden. in a good criminal statute, you you don't really have a lot of room for judgment. bank robbery. no judgment involved. you either rob the bank or you don't. with the exercise of government authorities, should i unmask somebody whose identity has come up in intelligence reporting, well, the law says i can do it if it is necessary to understand the significance of the reporting period who decides that? if i abuse my authority on that,
who will say that is criminal. maybe if i do it 100 times or if i do it once or twice, is that is that a crime? i don't mean to trivialize abuses of power. in fact, there are a lot more important to the country than mere crimes. because abuses of power are offenses against all of us. that is why the framers did not require an indictable criminal defense in order to impeach an officeholder. what it basically says is, if you abuse your power, you can you can be removed. >> this is a wonderfully simplistic question. when it's all said and done, did russia do that much? >> i don't think so. people throw stuff at you in the places where i go when you say that.
russia did what russia does. this is really what obama said right after the election until they flipped the switch and decided this was the crime of the century. you cannot steal a federal election. we don't have a federal election. we have 50 different state elections and they all have different rules and the like. number one, russia has been interfering in american elections and western elections since the bolshevik revolution. this time it got the media's attention because it wasn't designed to help democrats. it was historic. the fact is, this is what russia
does. this is the kind of stuff that they do. because we are now a cyber techno- society, you know, they are advancing their tools. they are not doing anything they didn't always do. the second thing is the country, more than than any other in the world, interferes in the affairs of other countries is ours. [laughter] that is a fact. supposedly whipped up around 2016. he thought hillary clinton interfered in russian affairs back in 2011. obama tried to knock off netanyahu. clinton has publicly said he did years before. obama tried to derail bricks it.
at the back of the queue, as he put it. this is what great powers and even not so great powers do in the world when they are dealing with foreign governments that have interests that are of consequence to our interests. we try to influence them. what is going on for the last two or three years. this is going to make life much harder for america intelligence agents who have to operate in dangerous parts of the world doing what we want them to do which is gather intelligence and also interfere with the plans of rogue governments that might harm the united states. >> when you talk about russia and collusion, the next possible step is impeachment. are there any grounds there?
i know that gets used very loosely. >> there is a standard for impeachment. high crimes and misdemeanors. a very solid idea of what they meant i it. they had a contemporary example in edmon berks impeachment of hastings. hamilton writes about them. basically that they are political offenses and what he means by that is they are abuses of power that are directed at the body politic, not ordinary crimes. much more in the nature of military law then federal civil penal law. conduct unbecoming, abusive power, a dereliction of duty,
that sort of thing. we do have an understanding. we do have an understanding of a constitutional sense. also down here on planet earth, it was about 1970 when gerald ford was the minority leader of the house of representatives. william o douglas who was a justice of the supreme court. he was asked about what and impeachable offense was. what ford said was and impeachable offenses whatever the house of representatives decided is at any moment in history. in a raw, cynical sheer sense, that is true. they can file articles of impeachment about anything. articles of impeachment, moving the president which happened in
the senate trial, articles only require a simple majority in the house of representatives to be filed. two thirds super majority in the senate to remove the president. that high requirement for removal has historically meant that we've had almost no impeachment. less than a handful of impeachment. even in the house, if people think the president deserves to be impeached, they realize it is futile. i always thought the framers design here is ingenious because the super majority means that no president will ever be removed unless the conduct is so egregious that people on all sides of the ideological
spectrum and the divide can agree that the president needs to be removed. i think, this one is kind of a long book. it might take a while to get around to that. i had not even thought about that. thank you for that question. i will take that up with roger kimball, who is my publisher. >> going together regarding the fbi. can the reputation come back, or maybe it shown it. would any of the higher up face prosecution when it all comes down? >> as far as the prosecution goes, i will just repeat briefly what i said before. let's find out what happened first and then see if there's anything prosecutable. the reputation of the fbi, it's
taken a hit. when your reputation takes a hit, it takes a while to rebuild it. i agree with what attorney general barr has said about this , which is from what he's been able to detect so far, if there was a failure here, it was at the managerial ranks of the bureau and the justice department, not the rankin trial where most of the work of most investigations is done. i am also sensitive to something i found profound that victor davis hanson wrote. i want to say two months ago which was a lot of the worst of what we've seen in the conduct of some of the fbi agents, i think victor was talking in particular about peter struck and andrew mckay. he noted that they came up through the ranks.
there may be something that is epidemic in the agency when the agency finally rises to the managerial level. it is problematic. my experience in government is, when you bring good people in, that has an electric affect an agency and when you have people who are not so good, people run amok and you see some of the worst things that you fear. .... .... well, i've been saying from the beginning of the administration that i think what he could have done, there has never been a day
since donald trump was president when he could not have declassified and unsealed and publicized any of the intelligence files that he thought were necessary in order for the public to understand what happened here. now, there may be a variety of good reasons why he hasn't done that. i talkin the book about this . you know, for one thing, the way this insurance policy was designed, every time trump did anything to fight back the other side said he was obstructing the investigation so it's a very convenient little box they put him in and if he had concealed and put out publicly a bunch of information, the next thing that would have been squealed was that he was obstructing the investigation and undermining mueller's ability to question witnesses without people having their stories straight and the like . i wasn't terribly overblown by that explanation, terribly persuaded by it but i see the
sense of it. the other thing i would caution people, and this is just on the basis of having written about a zillion search warrant affidavits and wiretapaffidavits and the like ,every investigation as a theory of the case . and what you write to a court in order to get permission to do a search of any kind whether it's wiretapping or a physical surge or search somebody's house , the submission that you make to the court is going to tend to echo your theory of thecase . the fbi and justice department's theory of the trump russia case is that trump was bought and paid for by putin and that putin had him compromised whether it was in a personal nature or through other varieties of corruptionwhether it's financial, political and so
on . don't get me wrong, i'm not saying that these things happened . what i'm saying is if that was the fbi's erie of the case and the justice department's theory of the case, what do you think their underlying submissions and memoranda are going to say? they're going to be a reflection of that theory. so even if it's not true,even if the things that they said about trump being inputin's pocket are true, if that information sees thelight of day, it's not going to be flattering for the president and there are certain percentage of people , we all know this, whether something is true or not , it's beside the point . can it be used by the tribe -mark does it help our side?
that's the only thing that's of importance to them so that's the only reason the president may be gun shy about putting out information and the final thing i'll say is what you notice looking hard at the collusion fable and the trump russia investigation is there's an awful lot of participation by foreign intelligence services. and when we take information from foreign intelligence services, whether we should take it or not, whether they're in the wrong or not we take it pursuant to agreements we have with them that we are never going to compromise the information or where we got it from so i'm sure that part of what's going on behind the scenes that we don't see but we hear a little bit about is there's probably a brawl between the political people and the intelligence people. a political people would probably like to get this information out and the intelligence people are telling them if we put this information out it's going to rupture our relationship with ex-wife and the governmentand that's not a small thing because we actually do rely on our partners on securityso
it's a big problem . >> it was only a matter of time . >> i'll never tell. >> one thing i can say, i've worked for, sounds awful to say this. i worked a quarter century in the government and what i've learned is never to assume nefarious conspiracies when sheer incompetence is a possible explanation. [applause] so i have, i see nothing in this equation that i've seen so far to come apart at all from that rule. the mcc, the metropolitan correctional center in new york is not as terrible as what some of the stories that you've been reading in the last week or so indicate.
compared to a lot of states, it's nirvana probably. but as federal prisons go it's a lousy prison. it's got about 800 -- it's what we call a holding facility. i think the state uses the same thing and that's to distinguish it would be like a designation prison and the distinction is, the holding facility is aplace you keep people while their cases are pending . they have to be able to meet with their lawyers. they're still presumed innocent, having gone to trial yet, having played guilty whereas after your guilty, they send you to some penitentiaries someplace and the rules are much different . and the mcc tends to be grossly understaffed, of the stories that i'm reading in the last week about not only
people being forced to work overtime day after day after day but also taking people who actually worked trained prison guards and putting them in that position. that did not surprise me to read that stuff. what i think people ought to be angry about, and the answer to the question is yes, i think he committed suicide and until we see something that indicates something tothe contrary i'm going to believe that . but epstein, and rich lowry wrote a great piece about thisyesterday or today , but the thing that ought to make people really rabidly angry about epstein is how he was accommodated bythe system at every step of the way . from the time he was committing these atrocities when he was given a slap on the wrist by the florida authorities and even better than a slap on the wrist from the federal authorities to the very end when evidently
he tried to commit suicide or at least there are indications of that, 2 and a half weeks ago and his lawyers, his high-powered lawyers come marching into the prison and they demand that the suicide watch the taken off him. and the present accommodates them. how do you accommodate a guy, if you thought he might have committed to suicide two weeks ago you don't accommodate him. i would have even entertained out meeting with the lawyers about that. so it seems to me, erica and i were talking about this before and a number of the people we were talking to earlier, this whole idea and i started with this though it's probably fitting to get to it again. this idea of two standards of justice. the two-tiered system where people who are insiders and connected or at least friendly to the powers that be, they get one quality of justice and everybody else
gets a different quality of justice and was sickening with epstein is that every step of the way he got a real high quality of justice that the rest of us certainly couldn't expect to get quick i think people are starting to line up for your book so we will end it with these predictions, nonbinding. will president trump the reelected and against whom will he run? >> i think yes, you'll get reelected . there's a long way between here and there and i don't know that we've seen the entire democraticfield yet . this is not my area. there are a lot of people at national review would be better at this than i was. ihave feelings about warren . in some ways it's a hope that she's the candidate. but i just think that from
what i've seen up until now, i think she presents well. i think her ideas are nuts but she's thoughtful about them and she has an energy. i don't think biden is a serious candidate. it's hard to say somebody's not serious when they been the frontrunner for so long but let's see whether he's got a glass or not. >> thank you so much and thanks for your candor. ladies and gentlemen. [applause] >> thank you. it was apleasure to be here, thank you .
>> book tv continues now on cspan2, television for serious readers. >> now on book tv we want to introduce you to author haben girma . she is also a lawyer, ms. girma, what kind of law do you practice? >> would you call me "haben"? >> yes ma'am. >> i focused on using my skills to advance opportunities. >> why did you choose that type of law? >> i was born deaf blind.