tv Trump Administration and the Rule of Law CSPAN June 29, 2017 11:53am-12:59pm EDT
eastern. then we'll talk to sally yates who will discuss the russian interference in the 2016 election. sally yates was joined by a former acting solicitor for discussion on the rule of law. #. >> so before we begin the discussion, it's worth a word on the concept of the rule of law, the concept of rule of law goes back to the greeks and it's meaning has evolved over time. but eventually what it's come to mean is basically a fundamental way in which society prevents the situation in which there is an oligarchy or dictatorship.
you have to understand that it has several requirements. both officials and their agents are accountable under the rule of law. second is that laws are protective of the fundamental right of citizens, including among others the rights to the freedom of speech and the freedom of press. a third is that laws are made in an open and public manner and that they are fair minded. and the fourth is that the enforcement of law as done by independent tribunals, by adjudicators who are independent of the forces that be. with that, i will begin by asking our commentators to talk a little bit, before we turn to the more meaningful issues for their perspective drawn from their backgrounds.
neil is one of the nation's leading supreme court advocates, he's argued 34 cases before the supreme court of the united states and one of those involved guantanamo detainees, so neil, if you could talk a little bit about that experience and how that lilluminates the rule of law. >> thank you, and thank you, sally for being here. so that was my very first case, and you know i come into the clinton administration, and i was national security advisor to the justice department there and i just loved it and i thought my dream job to be one day to be national security advisor to the president. and i taught constitutional law and my students would always tease me and say you think whatever the president does is constitutional, you're such a hawk on these issues, then on
november 13, 2001, i was watching cnn a couple of months after the nation had been horribly attacked and i saw that news ticker at the bottom. and it says president issues military tribunal for prisoners at guantanamo bay. we tried to do that after the embassy bombings and it was declared unconstitutional. and i looked at this violation, and it had the same platte violations, no accountability, no presidential tribunal. the president was hand picking everyone for these tribunals, in essence creating a black hole in guantanamo. i had never litigated a supreme court case before. we created a test case and i respected bin laden's driver. and i had argued the case in the
district court and for 10 months i was trying to meet him, bin laden's driver, or try to go to gitmo. and at first the department of justice said, oh, you have no security clearances, i said look me up, i have more clearances than you ever heard of. they said, yeah, it looks like you do. so you have no need to know. you have the requisite level of determination. you can make these arguments and you don't have to actually meet your client, the theoretical constitutional requirements. i thought, no, wait a minute, he's the client, the driver, i should get to meet him. so i asked for that in writing, so i got to go to gitmo right away because they knew i would get a court order. if i go to gitmo, the pentagon was really savvy about it. they made it a 30-hour trip for
me. it takes three hours when the prosecutors do it. but eventually i get there, after 30 hours and i meet my client for the first time, mr. hamdan. he looks at me, he kicks the military attorneys out of the room. he says everyone has to leave the room except my attorney and my translator. he had not seen a human face for 10 months. food was passed through a slot. you do this to someone for three days and it causes permanent psychosis. i looked at him and he smiled and he said why are you doing? why are you representing me? your last client was al gore, and that didn't turn out so well. why are you doing this? and i paused for like 40 seconds
when he asked me that, and i remember in my head thinking about this, i thought this is why you can't be a law professor neil, because you can't answer a simple question. justice ginsburg when you ask her a question, she'll often pause up to a minute before answering it. and i thought about telling him that, and i thought, he doesn't know who the hell justice ginsburg ask. this is the answer to your question, jeff, sorry for the long leadup. i told him that my parents came here from india, they didn't come here for the quality of its sports team, they came here for a simple idea that they could land on these shores and their kids will be treated fairly. i told this driver that was always my experience, having the best schools, opportunities in
the government, you know, to be in the deputy attorney general's office. all sorts of things, and that when the president issued this order, for the first time in american history, a president had said if you are one of the 5 billion foreigners, or the 12 million green card holders and you commit a crime, you get sense to gitmo. but if you're an american, you get the cadillac of justice, the american trial. i said that's why i'm doing this. i didn't tell him this, but i'll say it to you, words of equal protection, the first amendment is to all persons, not to all citizens. because the writer of the -- the line in dregs scott versus sanford said that only citizens have constitutional rights. so to me, that's what the hallmark of the rule of law is,
those things this jeff mentioned, but i would also add quality to that. and that is what i think we need to fight for in the days to come. [ applause ] >> if i can add just one thing to that, i actually wrote an i ami -- in the japanese supreme court from almost 60 years earlier in which the supreme court upheld the internment of japanese americans. and brigham actually wanted to litigate the case. i think you have heard of sally yates.
sally has served for 13 years in the department of justice. first as united states attorney for the northern district of georgia, in that capacity, she litigated a wide range of cases including issues involving cases of political corruption and terrorism. in 2013, president obama appointed sally to be deputy attorney general of the united states and during her confirmation hearings, then senator jeff sessions asked sally offensive she would refuse to enforce a president's unlawful order, to which she replied that she would have an obligation in all circumstances to follow the law and the constitution. a commitment that she later had an opportunity to fulfill. so, sally on this initial point,
you hpoint, -- >> the core for the department of justice is the concept of the actual application of the laws, that the law is to be applied impartially. that's why lady justice has the blindfold on, that it applies to the rich and the poor, the weak and the strong the same. and the department of justice should not be making decisions on outside influence, particularly not with political influence. the lawin ings should not be us punish your political enemies or to protect your political friends. this is not law, this is not provided in the constitution per se, it's not a statute, it's really part of the fabric of the law that's developed over the years. just shortly after i became u.s. attorney, all of the u.s. attorneys went to the white
house for what was termed as the new president in the white house. the president comes in and one of his aides had given him talking points to read to us which he promptly tossed aside. he looked at us and he said, i appointed you, but you don't represent me, you represent the people of the united states. but the fact of the matter is, that wasn't a particularly -- of drawing a line between doj and the white house. and doj is really different than any of the other federal agencies. the department of justice is obviously part of an administration, but there obviously has to be an independence and a separation from that. and that's been a time honored concept through democratic and republican imageries at least going back to the post nixon
world. i think the doj is the only agency that has a written memo that lays out what the rules are for compacts between the white house and the department of justice on specific cases. noll necessar not necessarily on policy, because the department of justice will be involved in policy decisions in specific cases, and the rules, according to eric holder's memo of 2009, that there are really only two people at the department of justice that the person can contact and that is the attorney general or the deputy attorney general. and there's only three people you're supposed to be contacting at the white house, and that is the president, but this has been a tradition of the department going back administrations. i think it's absolutely essential that that tradition be protected. not just to be sure that decisions are not politically
impacted. but there's merely the appearance of it. because with the appearance of it i think that can destroy the public's confidence in the department of justice and if the public loses confidence in its own department of justice, that's a bad thing. >> i want to turn our attention to that. neil by the way represents the state of hawaii in that case in the supreme court. and sally, of course, was involved in the department of justice there. so sally, i would like to begin with you. how did you get involved in this. what were you views, why did you hold the views you did? why did you do what you did and were you surprised by what happened? >> yes to all of it. i'll try to make this brief because i don't want to hog the whole thing here. i got involved in this, it was friday evening, late afternoon,
i was in the car on the way to the airport on friday january 27. i had actually just finished a meeting at the white house that's now known as the mike flynn situation, and i was in the car going back to a dinner honoring my husband. as acting attorney general, effort able to -- you're not going to believe this. but i was just on the "new york times" website and it looks like the president instituted some sort of travel ban. >> i'm on my way to the plane, i've got my ipad. i'm seriously trying to figure out what it was. i'm literally going online to try to find a copy of the
executive order so we could get some sense of what this was. and so over the course of that weekend, it was a whole lot of trying to figure out what the heck is this thing and to whom does it apply. because at the time i made my decision, it was the first executive order, not the second one that neil is litigating now. at that time we were getting conflicting signals, but when the music stopped, we were getting mixed signals, but at the time we were told that people that had green cards, they would not be allowed to come back into the country, it would apply to people with visas. so we spent the weekend trying to figure out what is this and what are they trying to accomplish here. and by the next morning, we had to go to court and file actions on behalf of states. you can defend on procedural
grounds, meaning if a case is muted out, you can continue on procedural grounds. we have to actually figure out if this is constitutional. come monday morning, i learned that the next day, we are going to have to take a position on whether it's constitutional. so we gathered all the folks that were involved in this in the justice department in my conference room. and that included the trump administration appointees, as well as the doj career people. civil people and otherwise that were involved in this litigation and i had gone through, i mean this is all happening so fast, i'm willing to go along with the briefs and challenges to see what the challenges are to the travel ban. so we went around the table asking them, tell me why this is lawful, how are we going to defend this? and without revealing sort of
our internal discussions here, at the end of that, i was not comfortable that it was in fact lawful or constitutional and kept the senior trump appointee back to tell him that i was very uneasy with where we were and i wasn't sure what i was going to go. so i went back to the office and talked to some people. and they said lawyers in the department of justice in the court to say that this ban had nothing to do with religion. it was all based on national security, had nothing to do with religion. i do not believe that to be a defense that's grounded in truth. i couldn't say the department of justice lawyers in to defend something based on a defense that i did not believe was grounded in truth. which then left the dilemma of, okay, so do you just resign at this point then or do you direct
the department not to defend the travel ban. and this is all happening in a very compressed time. this is monday afternoon now. some people think i should have just resigned. but sort of the bottom line on that was is that i didn't feel like i would be doing my job if i just essentially said, i'm out of here. you guys figure this out, it's up to you to go in there and to make a defense that at least we were not comfortable it's grounded in truth, but at least i wouldn't be part of it. that would have protected my personal integrity. but i didn't believe it would protect the integrity of the department of justice and it wouldn't have been doing my job, so i issued a directive to the department of justice, unless and until i was convinced it was lawful that the department of justice would not defend the travel ban. that was late in the afternoon, and not surprisingly, i got a
memo, or actually a letter got 9:00 that night firing me. so that was that. >> are you aware of other situations where an attorney general or acting attorney general refused to obey the orders of the president? >> i'm not, but this was a very unusual situation, in that i have learned in the course of this, that our office of legal counsel had been instructed not to tell me about the work on the travel ban until after it was over, until after the president had executed it. so normally, what you would have would be a process in this kind of situation, where it's a national security reason to do something, you would confer with the national security agencies before doing it. and you would also confer with the national security experts at
the department of justice that are going to have to defend it and that would apply to our civil securities division. so i'm not aware of another situation like -- where the attorney general has done that, but i'm also not aware of a factual situation as before. >> of course in the nixon administration, it was referred to referred -- attorney general or deputy attorney general. both refused to comply to president nixon's order that they hire a special prosecutor archibald cox. and they of course took the choice of resigning and rather than simply disobeying and waiting to be fired, which of course they would have been. neil as i mentioned is
representing the state of hawaii in this case, in the supreme court. why don't you talk about your experience in the case, and what's happening and what's going to happen and all that cool stuff. >> okay, sure, i just want to situate sally's remarks within the role of the justice department. when you're the solicitor general, you have two kinds of traditions that are not about zealously advocating for winning cases but just to do justice. those two cases are being willing to -- every solicitor general, i did this and my democratic and republican predecessors did. they go to the supreme court and say, that case that we won, we should have lost, so hear this case and rule against the
justice department. i don't think there's a better way of underscoring what sally's remarks are, about being the public's lawyer, not the administration's lawyer. so i think sally, when she did what she did on monday, she was harkining back to the best traditions of what the department is about. and resignation doesn't deserve that set of rejections. it didn't explain the reasons, so i'm glad you wrote the letter that you did. after that letter was written, there is folks that have these lawsuits after they won in the district court, president trump called them a so-called judge, the judge who ruled against it and so on, and if it went to the court of appeals and was unanimously struck down there as well. the president then pulled back, issued a new executive order a month later, and that new
executive order is very much like the new executive order. instead of 7, it has a more extensive description of when someone can apply for a waiver and it says in there that green card holders are not covered. it tried to provide some facts, because in the court of appeals in the first executive order, the administration was constantly being asked by the judges, what national security justification do you have, and it was as you said, as sally said, nothing in the first executive order. they spent a month and they came up with two things, one that two citizens of the united states had come to the united states and a engaged in troicerrorism. they forgot that they exempted iraq. and second that one of those
was -- so plus the idea that we're going to bar refugeeings who are two years old who need to be here on humanitarian grounds because one day 20 years later might go out and do something, really strikes me as not where the country is on this set of issues. so in any event, after the first executive order was issued, i started talking to that team including the attorney general of hawaii, doug chin who is an astounding individual who carries, i think, the best traditions of justice that sally exemplifyings to the state of hawaii and brings a challenge. to that point, there are other challenges in the system. for the second executive order, we are ready to go, we thought it was virtually the same, we filed the lawsuit right away and blocked it from going into effect on the day it was supposed to go into effect march
15 and this was probably the most unusual oral argument i have ever had because it was live carried on all the news networks. normally supreme court arguments there are no cameras at all. so it did change, i think, a bit the dynamics of the argument. but also so cool for the public to be able to see this, and people around the world to see a full argument. won it in the court of appeals last week, or two weeks ago. then yesterday we had a supreme court decision on this and the details, it's a complicated decision, they have set the case for argument in the fall, so we'll argue in the first or second week of october. but they did cut back a little bit on the injunction that the district court had issued in our case. the district court had said, no travel ban, that is the sixth countries, people from the six countries who are blocked from coming in, they said all of them could come in, plus the refugee ban.
the block on refugees for 120 days, that was also something the president couldn't do, because as sally was saying, this is motivated by religion, and that's basically what the president campaigned on. i'm calling for a complete and total shutdown of all this immigration, even when he signs the first executive order, he reads the title. looks up at the camera and says we all know what that means. and there were a whole bunch of other things that the president has done while president to re-enforce the idea that this is rule a muslim ban. so with the supreme court yesterday said, that's absolutely fine, the challenge, we're going to let it stand for people who have some connection to the united states, so a refugee who was sponsored by a church group has made contact, or a university of hawaii student who's coming, or we also represent the imam in the mosque in honolulu, who has a mother in
honolulu. the president declared victory yesterday. and i guess it's a victory compared to his resounding 100% losses in every other court. but if those are the kind of victories the president has, i hope he has more of them, because at the end of the day, it's a 6-3 decision yesterday from the united states supreme court saying the vast, vast bulk of the muslim ban, the refugee ban, the travel ban, cannot go into effect until they hear argument in october and i am not aware of another instance in united states history in which a president in his first 150 days has been told by the courts you can't do something that you claim you need on national security grounds, i mean that is an astounding thing to happen in the first 150 days and underscores why this panel is so
important. because we are seeing an unprecedented threat by the rule of law by this president. i don't think this is a republican issue or a democratic issue, this is just a pure public rule of law issue. >> in the formulation of the ban, why does the court distinguish between these two parts of the ban? either of you. >> so, i don't think the courts distinguish between the refugee and travel provisions with respect to its effect on the denigration of muslims, saying this is all motivated by anti-husbaanti anti-muslim sentiment. the vast, vast majority of mu muslims coming in are refugees. when you think back to the grand
first amendment, congress and the executives shall have no establishment of religion. i think the founders were really worried about using immigration to try and create a religious state, indeed, virginia had done precisely that by barring catholics from coming in in 1885. it is our american tradition, when you come on the shores, we don't care who you pray to we're going to treat you fairly. and this president has done something very different by saying, well, everyone else can come, but not if you're from one of these muslim countries, which is 98% muslim, that is a very scary thing for the rule of law. >> three justices took a different view, who are they and what were they thinking.
. >> so justice thomas yesterday wrote a second opinion, he said that the entire ban should go into effect. that it wasn't a likelihood of success on the merits. and i don't know if that's what president trump was referring to when he declared a unanimous victory, but that was of courth justices, justice thomas, alito and gorsuch. i think it's fair to say that at least those three justices have signaled that they think the administration is on stronger legal footing than certainly the lower courts have. >> so take a more general view of this, sally what threats do you see today to the rule of law and our nation? >> neil alluded to some of president trump's comments about judges, and i think it's not just that the president is making comments under mining the
legitimacy of justices who issue opinions that he doesn't like, it's what kind of impact can that have beyond just espousing his own personal opinions in undermining confidence in the system more broadly. we have got a delicate balance there between the three branches of government, and that balance has served us pretty darn well, for many, many years now, and the idea that that balance is being thrown out of kilter by not just disagreeing with what a court might do. but attempting to delegitimize it. that seems very different to me than the kind of not just rhetoric, but feelings that seems to evoke to some in the public. out seems to me thata can be really destruct ty and further divisive. it seems like we can't get more divided, but that is not in the long-term interest of our country either. >> if you think about it, the judiciaries are our crown jewel.
i remember when i won that first gitmo case, the first argument, and i went out on the courthouse steps, i said this briefly yesterday, there's 500 cameras out there and they're all asking what does the decision mean? they hadn't read it yet because it was so long. i said this means you could have a guy that's the worst guy ever, the driver for bin laden, but the world's most powerful man, the president of the united states, and he brings this case not in traffic case, but he brings it to the highest court in the land and he wins. that's something remarkable about our system, our founders knew that our government was going to make mistakes, our presidents are going to make mistakes, men are not angels, that's why governments are necessary. they have laced that into the
system, now you have a president that says no, no, no, i get to make the decisions. he filed a brief, i have never seen this before in my life time, a brief in the court of appeals, saying the mere -- this is a ludicrous proposition, i mean, you know, bush and cheney in their darkest days never said anything like that. and then to undermine the authority of them to even pronounce anything, to call them so-called judges and things like that. i can't imagine something more corrosive or to american democracy and our system of checks and balances than a president who takes these views. you think of things that the president has done. all the good things that the court has done in moderating the
worst -- and then to have a president who says i know better. i don't think we have ever had a president that knew better than our system. >> we'll tell you that we'll move to questions from the audience in five or six minutes. so you should be thinking about questions you might want to ask. what does that tell us about justice gorsuch? >> well, i would imagine president trump is pretty pleased with his nominee at this point. i don't think we should be terribly surprised by it. i i mean i think this is consistent with where he was. but this is a couple of opinions, we got to give the guy a chance here, so i think we should sit back and see how it all plays out, and this is just at the injunction stage as well. i think everyone should have expected that justice gorsuch was going to be a conservative judge and i wouldn't think that
this would come as any great surprise. neil may have a different view. >> justice gorsuch has been on the court a whopping two months at this point. i think it's important to let the process, even in this case, which after all has been set for argument in the fall, i did take a position on him in his confirmation hearings and did support him on the grounds that i was very upset when democrats voted -- actually republicans voted against our democratic nominees, i felt like the same yardstick should apply to the other side. we're only a couple months in, i supported the chief justice's confirmation, and i reason -- he always voted doctrine, i think we have seen gorsuch to more --
i think, let's wait and see, i don't think it's -- i think we got a lot of time with justice ambassad gorsuch on the court. but i think we just have to wait and see. >> a primary concern with justice gorsuch being on the court is how he got there. is what the republicans in the senate did to chief judge merrick garland in his nominati nomination, the rule of law doesn't mean just the law in the narrow sense, but policies and conventions. so was the -- >> i think you wrote a column or two on this. >> yes, i did. >> you want to answer your own question? >> no, no, no, i'm the moderator, i'm supposed to be moderate. >> consistent with the rule of law, i mean it's certainly not
skechb consistent with how we operate as a country or how we ought to operate. it was troubling to me that president obama didn't even get an opportunity to even get a hearing for his nominee, much l less to be able to make an appointment. that's like your last year in office is for fitted. whether that's a violation of the rule of law or not, but it's not how we ought to be operating. >> merrick garland was the most qualified nominee, not just in our lifetimes, perhaps in the history of the united states supreme court. our nation's second highest court, never overruled once by the supreme court. it was extraordinary. so it was unforgivable. and it was a really sad thing for our system. >> so what do you think has brought us to that point? is it simply the election of donald trump or other things
going on in our society and in politics that combine with that to create a real danger to the rule of law? >> well, i do think that there is a kind of up for grabs nature about truth and law right now. and maybe it's engendered by social media as you mentioned yesterday. but there is a sense that there is no law out there anymore, it's all just politics, and it's really us old-fashioned people, that there actually is a law out there and there's a text and there's intentions and those things mean something and they constrain judicial decisions, and we're seeing that break down. and it's actually broken down far more on the conservative side. so you have the supreme court time and again striking down things that president obama did on grounds that are, you know, as far as i can tell just made up, because it's raw politics and power that they have been able to engage in at times.
and so, you know, it's certainly something the left had played in the warren court as well. so i don't mean to say that one side is innocent of this. but the result of this is really we don't have a stable consensus on the law today that i think we did at other points in the our history. >> what about the issue of political polarization, to what extent has that contributed to the challenge to the rule of law, the notion that there's an increasing division in this society where people are less trusting of one another and of government as a sort of entity that will look out for the well-being of the larger society, is that contributing to this, do you think? >> it seems that we're in the midst of a toxic swirl of sorts, when neil mentioned, you know, the issue of the truth and facts, you know, it seems sometimes that facts will be thrown out there, they're
demonstrably untrue, it's established they're untrue, and we just move on the next day to the next story, and there are no consequences for that. we just seem to move on, and it's almost as if we need to keep kicking the rhetoric up, to be able to get people's attention and, you know, it's like the lid's about the blow off. there are no limits anymore in terms of what you can say or claim, and that just starts throwing all of those norms out the windows that have really governed not just how we litigate but how we operate as a society as well. i don't know if that's contributing to the polarization or that's just contributing to that phenomena, i'm not sure. >> the framers were very
concerned about trust and separation of powers and having judicial review are all designed to deal with the risks of bad behavior within government. one of the questions is that we're at a point that the protections against that bad behavior are breaking down. to the extent that's true, that's a real threat to the democracy and the future. let's get some questions from the audience, there are two microphones. >> so my question is for both of you. i'm from the -- ms. yates'
firing is the first thing that made me spit out my coffee, if you will. and the fight against the travel ban really helped cement my faith in the justice system of the united states in the face of this dilemma. and as a result, i think i and i think many of us here view both of you as among the great leaders of this era. so thank you. [ applause ] so my question is fairly simple and straight forward, and and that's the i-word, impeachment. there have been calls for impeachment and i don't think they had much legitimacy at first. from trump's firing of ms. yates, to the firing of comey, to the potential firing of robert mueller, it seems like there's a case to be made for the obstruction of justice.
one can imagine, for instance, if president obama had done the same thing, mcconnell and ryan would have already constructed and instituted the impeachment proceedings. the majority of the house and senate clearly do not agree. so is there a tipping point between a modern saturday night massacre, at which point the senate and house republicans will reach a tipping point? >> well, as a country, yes, i would assume that there is a tipping point. i wouldn't presume to know what that might be. but one of the things that's concerned me a little bit as folks have talked about the special counsel investigation that's going on now that bob mueller is doing.
i know bob mueller and folks ought to have tremendous confidence in him. i mean he is the consummate professional. he's going to call it like he sees it, he's going to be doing it the right way, but bob mueller is going to be determine whether or not crimes have been committed that can be used for prosecution or impeachment. clearly that's not our bar, that's not the standard of conduct that we're looking for from our president or our administration. it shouldn't just be whether you committed a felony or not. it should also be whether or not you're observing the kind of norms that we have been talking about here today, that are so essential to really the fabric of the rule of law, so while i have total confidence in bob mueller and his ability to conduct this investigation. i don't think that we should just be putting all of our hopes in that will tell us whether anything bad happened here, because there's potential and i
don't know what the facts are, so i'm not drawing conclusions about what he may ultimately determine. but there are facts here that should be alarming to us as a country that fall short of fact that is would establish a basis for impeachment or for prosecution. >> i can't improve on that. >> 88 si would say by the way republicans will come to that view when it is clearly within their political self-interest to do that and not otherwise. yes, over here? >> two questions, a lot of what you have said has to do with the department of justice.
sally, you wrote a fantastic piece in the "wall street journal" and i would love to see you expand your comments on that. >> first of all, i would say with respect to the department of justice, i was there for 27 years, i have total confidence in the career men and women who were at the department of justice. i mean you all should feel really good about the folks who have committed their professional lives to doing the work of doj. now granted -- absolutely. and those are the folks who are doing the real nuts and bolts work there. so granted, political appointees, like i became a political appointee, they set the policy and the direction of the department, but you have got thousands and thousands of career doj people that are there that care deeply about the mission and the integrity of the department of justice and i put my confidence in them and there are lost good trump appointees that are at the department of
justice as well. i don't think all is lost for the doj, it's going to with stand anything like that. with respect to the second question, on the op-ed, i would take all of your time here. sort of in a nutshell, the gist of this was attorney general sessions had written an opinion piece saying that -- justifying going back toward the mandatory minimums that we took a more measured use of mandatory minimums that that's what was responsible for the increase in violent crime that some cities have experienced across the country, even though some cities have experienced decreases, if we don't go back to locking up drug dealers for as long as we can, i'm paraphrasing here, the country is going to be overtaken by violent crime. i think that is a wrong headed
approach from a public safety standpoint, that is not the best use of our public safety dollars. there is really no evidence that keeping drug violators in prison for-it was in the washington post this past weekend. >> and if you haven't read it, i strongly recommend it, by the way, it's terrific. >> hi, i'm a journalist with the atlantic magazine. for sally yates, first a question, do you believe that mike flynn will be offered an immunity deal from bob mueller amueller? and what would be illegal collusion for the trump campaign or administration following the election if such collusion did exist? >> i don't think i should be telling bob mueller how he
should be doing his investigation, so i'm going to defer on whether with mike flynn should be given immunity or not. >> sorry. >> i'm a physician from atlanta, georgia, and i had to take the hippocratic oath. what is the hippocratic oath for our president. >> the president has to take care that the law is faithfully executed and i think folks need to worry about that right now, there's no question. i did want to pick up on something sally said about the professionalism of the department and mirror something that jeff said because i think it illustrates the traditions of government lawyering.
when i was running the solicitor general office during the summer, i had read something about who the government might have lied to the supreme court in the japanese internment cases, so i pulled off the briefs and the correspondence and started reading it. the two attorneys realized that the entire theory of the defense was just lost. there was actually a report by the office of naval intelligence, saying it's not prejudicial, you know the army had justified it on, well, basically japanese americans were going to the coast line and signaling then my offshore. the fcc had investigated that and found it totally bunk. j. edgar hoover thought that the japanese internment wasn't
justified. all of this was suppressed by the administration, by fdr, so the two lawyers said we're not going to sign this brief, you're suppressing evidence. the solicitor general overruled them and said i'm filing the brief. 15 pages of facts on how japanese americans can't be trusted. and it was a real dark day, i think. but i think that story illustrates one thing that you see time and again with the department, which is the career folks standing up, trying to do the right thing and it's the political folks who come sometimes and say no, no, we're not going to do the right thing. >> back there. >> sally, has ted cruz offered to provide you a reference? >> no. >> no. >> no? >> no. >> could you all discuss the
process for filling off the vacancies in u.s. attorneys around the country, and also whether the vetting process for federal judicial vacancies is likely to provide qualified candidates in the future? >> i know how the process worked in the obama administration, but i don't know how it's working in the trump administration. >> it doesn't seem to be working. but i will say a little bit about the judge side. you know, i actually had been quite impressed with the trump nominees to the courts of appeals. they, you know--look, i suspected they would put judge judy up. so i'm kind of happy, you know. but actually some of the most qualified people in my generation, certainly conservative, but i think reasonable, smart, very accomplished individuals. so that's one, i think, bright spot that we have seen. i don't know anything about the
few u.s. attorneys that they have nominated. i can certainly tell you they have gotten rid of some extraordinary ones. >> back here. >> the states, it's not clear you have a lot of fans, and i wonder what your future holds and if elected office seems to be in the cards for you? >> i don't really see running for office. i'm not entirely sure what i'm going to do next. i'm taking some time with my family and starting to talk to some folks and i want to find an avenue where i can continue to have an impact on issues that i care about. but running for office has never been anything that i could picture myself doing. >> if i could just say something about being a department employee in two different administrations. i don't think a year ago if i saw sally, we would have predicted that she would have been seen as the kind of
political hero, she was considered the consummate department pro, that's what she was known for. and it was these circumstances, these horrible circumstances she was put through from frayed to monday, which have almost, we have lost a little sight of just how many amazing, awesome things that sally yates did for the justice department and for our country. [ applause ] >> so if the rule of law attacks the president and his administration, what's next? is there a multipronged approach and strategy. obviously we're all aware of bob mueller's investigation, but are there other attempts in trying to right these wrongs? >> i think there's two pieces to this.
one is the litigation strategy to define the worst -- the aclu is doing some of that, there's other organizations doing that, i think that's really important. the other thing we haven't talked about yet, but that is the press, if you think about all the amazing stories the press has done since november. and i understand there's a lot of heartburn about the press before, but i think it does underscore, when our founders thought about checks and balances and separation of powers, they also thought about this first amendment, this idea that the press was going to keep our executives and our congress on their toes and report. it has been breathtaking what we have been seeing, so i think supporting journalism is supporting the constitution of the united states. >> in following up on that i want to say one of the things
that's impressed me enormously in this time, is that traditionally very conservative journalists, commentators, including people like george will and david brooks terrific being able to call this administration. i would not have expecteded that. i think they deserve a lot of credit for doing that. the other thing, ultimately, a lot will depend on republicans who control the house and senate. whether they actually step up and meet their constitutional responsibilities and obligations to look out for the best interests of our nation rath eth rather than operating the political operatives. we're not seeing that. over here. >> right here. >> could you comment on the ab lis ligs of cameras sometimes audio
in spicer's press conferences? >> saves us from having to listen to it? i don't know. >> what's it going to do to "saturday night live"? >> yes, over here. >> got it. >> yes. we assume that everybody in washington is working for the best interest of the country, do you think mitch mcconnell in the thinks he is doing is working for the interest of the people? >> our founders didn't
anticipate political parties when they thought about checks and balances, so that has contributed to large number of problems here as the gentleman before was saying. if the democrats did even one one billion of what telling russians about the israeli spy and all that, any part of this, there would be impeachment proceedings like before within a millisecond. i think there is a real problem, a real double standard here. it is a threat to institutional democracy. no question b about it. >> over here. >> good morning. i teach at a school in san diego with a fairly sizable muslim population. i'm wondering p if there's anything else you might want me to share with my students to help them understand the supreme court's recent decision.
>> i guess i'd like to share with them that hundreds of members of congress have said this isn't who we are. 167 biggest technology companies have said this isn't who we are. that dozens of top national security administration officials from both, from both parties, people like hayden and like that, have said this is not who we are. that this president doesn't speak for what our institutional values have been. and what they will be. >> even when they prove russian collusion, what happens in the rule of law? i mean, if trump gets impeached because of something related to that is one thing, but is it
pence fruit of the poison tree and what would happen? what happens to the laws that trump has signed and the supreme court and all that? >> we have like 15 seconds. >> i think only law professors could answer that question. >> the laws are still going to be in effect. there's a presumgts of regularity. in terms of pence, i suspect thon how this plays out. but you know, i think he's probably off from these other things.
to portland, oregon as we explore its rich history and literary culture. saturday at noon eastern, we'll visit the city of book, covering an entire city block. we'll go inside the to see its vast collections and learn abl about history of one of the world's largest independent bookstores. >> when we first moved in, berp sa,000 square feet of books and now, we're 75,000 retail quar feet. we hear that quite often that this is a resource for them. >> she shares her personal antd professional journey as an african-american growing up in oregon with her book, remembering the power of words, the life of an oregon activist, ledge is later and community leader. >> knowing that we, that i could be a part of the march and
demonstrations and conversations that went on in our local community was very, the word i would use now is is empowering. that's what it was. and connected to what was happening all those many, many miles away. on sunday, we'll step inside the historic pettic mansion built in 1914. the home belonged to the former owner and publisher of the oregonion newspaper and his wife! he worked there for number of years. proved himself invaluable. he kept it going. the owner was rather distracted with politics. he owed henry lot of back wages, so in 1860, thomas drier decided to give the paper to henry for back wages. so henry became the owner of the newspaper. turned it into a success. invested in a lot of real estate
as the town grew. was able to eventually build a house as grand as this one. >> watch the city's tour of portland oregon saturday at noon eastern and sunday at 2:00 p.m. on americhistory working with o cable affiliates and visiting cities across the country. coming up this afternoon here on cspan 3, sarah sanders and treasury secretary will be taking questions at the white house press briefing. we'll go there live when it starts at about 2:00 p.m. eastern and president trump and vice president pence will mark energy week with remarks at the department of energy starting at 3:15. on tuesday, rick perry talked about the administration's agenda for the department of energy at the white house press briefing. here's a look. >> thank you.