tv Texas Tribune Festival - Trump Ethics the Law CSPAN November 4, 2017 6:12am-7:18am EDT
buffalo, new york, i did buy research. applause] >> i will give the same disclaimer as well. disappointing my former ut professors on the american presidency. i think if you look at modern history, never before has there been a press and who is under investigation for a fraction of that startedcts seven days after he took office. we've never had a president under investigation fractions that happened during his -- during his campaign before who is in office. not just the campaign, but actually a challenge of what reporters have to cover in washington who care about washington is donald trump sucks up so much attention, we miss a lot of the other kind of institutional corruption happening across washington.
treasuryns about the secretary flying on plants, the hhs secretary traveling on planes. when you look at the way this people,ration vetted appointed people who i never served in government before which is fine and theory, there are quality of standing people but ignore the lives about people. setting up appointees free from conflict of interest. i think you are going to see, we have seen a huge ethical challenge to start. there are problems we will only begin to find out about in the next few months. richard: i told my 12-year-old son the other day, when i was 12 years old my eyes were glued to the television watching the watergate hearings. i still remember sam ervin, you didn't want to mess with him.
president nixon went down. i have got to say, i think resident nixon is really given a raw deal. he was a crook, but at least it was our crack. crook. if you look at watergate, breaking into the democratic party headquarters. kgb agents.x collusion.o just the meeting at the trump tower with a bunch of russians. chairs -- and applause and cheers] >> i think at this point, president nixon has moved to ethics issues.
>> i cannot think of a parallel. your question does remind me nationalreagan's first security adviser was gone almost out the immediate outset because of the kinds of questions raised with respect to general flynn. untidyave been administrations in the past but usually it takes a while to see these kinds of issues develop as issues.to the coming in also to have a campaign manager, although dismissed from the campaign, with now this rocket full of legal issues. i say,s to, shall question of people in foreign places with strange-sounding names. i think it is completely unique. quantitatively, would have to honestly go back and look at the untidy administration of ulysses
s grant. that administration got in trouble pretty early because of corruption. corruption had been an enormous problem in the civil war. they said, we need a statute and it was called the false claims act that really goes after these very bad characters. some of those very bad characters found their way into government. i don't know about quantitatively, but this is terrible for the country. it is terrible for the country when our presidents get into trouble at whatever time. if it is self-inflicted you just say they should've done this or that, but i think i will go ahead and jump ahead and say, i think we all hope that bob mueller gets to the bottom of things. that the intelligence committee gets to the bottom of things. i am sure will chat about what i see about the confluence. not just the mueller investigation but what is hill.ing on capitol
i'm so glad that richard mentioned senator sam ervin because the breakthrough in the watergate tapes came out of the united states senate. >> we're talking about ethics in the law because as we now, even what we know is what is patently unethical is not what is known as illegal. do you believe donald trump at this point has done anything that, in your estimation, would be considered illegal lord you think that is going to have to of what in the wash could still be a many months investigation? >> the laughter. latter. i was nervous that the president was having all these meetings. it is very unwise. very imprudent. former director comey's
testimony as to what happened, i orked and listened very fully. i am pretty familiar with obstruction of justice, it did not amount to obstruction from what i heard. from what i heard. iscourse, bob mueller gathering the entirety of the evidence and from that making the conclusions. for the job? man absolutely. >> not that he was sent off with either donald trump or the others. >> depending on the day, it would be a saturday night massacre because robert a, the deputy attorney general is a -- because the president would, in this doomsday scenario, have to fire because the attorney general has already recused himself so that it becomes again, the saturday night massacre. not just the fall of archibald
cox. we lost to general and attorney general who had made commitments at their confirmation that they would protect the independence of the prosecutor. now we have special counsel. in, when i read the regulations of the department of justice guide the exercise and judgment with respect to the appointment of special counsel, i think if donald trump, heaven forbid, said "he's got to go." rod rosenstein would say, i hereby resign. what's the point if the senate judiciary committee and other special counsel because the regulation stash and i'm sorry -- one loss point, the regulations have the force of the law but they can be -- in contrast of the special prosecutor independent counsel provisions which were law passed
into law bysigned the president of the united states. so they could be rescinded but before they are by the return he general they have the force of law -- by the attorney general, they had the force of law. i think judge starr in mr. miller could tell us all just how long investigations take before they uncover their final findings. there has beenut a legality but we cannot know for sure yet and we should keep an open mind as the facts develop. i think we do know and judge starr alluded to this, we have had some very significant departures from the ethical and civic norms of the executive branch and indeed, our country as a whole. when of the problems with that is the ethic laws in particular lot were predicated on the idea there are certain norms. a lot factors into that.
when those are not followed, we suddenly discover how completely vulnerable our system is and so it begins with a president who railed against his rival for being connected to a not-for-profit unionization. you know, i grew with those who say she would've had to resolve that conflict of interest, but again we're talking about a not-for-profit organization. suddenly we have a president retaining an interest in a four-profit organization that is not running around fighting aids in africa, it is funneling money directly to that president. that first departure from our ethical norms set the tone from the top that has been trickling down to the administration and i can tell you from my dealings with them that it was no debate dealing with his white house at past white house is common to illustrate what that is used to look like i will give you one brief anecdote.
and i were working on a nominee during the bush administration who was a very high-profile nominee. normally they are not announced until we are done with all of our work and we can say, ok go ahead and announced some and then you can send to the senate. in this case, there were time sensitivities, an event the person had to be yet, so we got most of the work done but we did not want to give the white house the announcement, we don't think there are any showstoppers but work.e to keep up the the attorney general he pushed back on one of the details as may be an attorney getting paid by clients would do to see what the best deal they can get for their client has, in all of a -- yourichard screaming client does not have to have this job! tot came at incredible cost
richard because the president had already stuck his neck out and said he would handle nominating, be nominating this. and i would not want to be in said, i gotn they rid of your guy. he is not going forward. the richard took a strong stand whate said, this is a guy, are we going to do. i tried to live up to the standard richard said but that was because richard knew he had a president who agreed with government ethics. he agreed with the policies and views of president bush or president obama. i will tell you, both of those white house's work extremely supportive of the government ethics programs. and the experience we are having now is very consistent with a president say, i cannot have conflicts of interest, i am going to keep my money.
in my holdings. and i'm going to go to all of my properties and announce when i'm going there and i'm going to endorse private companies solely because they supported me and i'm going to wear hats i am hawking online while i am speaking at a hurricane disaster session with the press. i don't think you could paint a starker contrast. >> that raises the question of whether the president is above the law. you work at the department of justice. where do you see this falling? theoretically, there are a number of laws he is exempt from. there are a number of norms that residents have always adhered to in the past that donald trump just does not care about. if you look at all of them, the one that has always worried me the most is the thing that kind of prevents america from becoming a banana republic.
the traditional independence of department. this idea that do matter what else happens, the justice department makes its own decisions about who it investigates, who does not investigate, who it prosecutes, who not to prosecute. there is nothing in the constitution, the law, and it whirls. the president could theoretically call the attorney generals and say, lock her up. i want you to look up my former political opponent and that is perfectly legal. attorneys general and presidents have always recognized, especially in the post-watergate era, that fundamentally from the rule of law that needs to be removed from politics. , whenck her up chanting he opened up whether hillary should be prosecuted, not president can do, and then office,nine months in he does not care about that in a theoretical sense. i don't think he was ever
seriously, don't think the prosecution of hillary clinton was ever anything taken seriously by him or attorney general sessions, but in a sense it really matters when you have him asking the fbi director for a loyalty oath. when you have him asking to back off an investigation into his former national security advisor and you have the president firing the fbi director when he will not do it. it matters in name very real sense. i think we are still going to find one really big flashpoint before the end of the russian investigation where robert mueller is going to get too close to a member of donald trump's family, too close to the present himself, and the president is going to force a situation where he will try to theind the roles with about appointment of the special prosecutor so he can fire him. whether he pardons everyone involved in the case. to that andnd
whether republicans in congress he then as a red line is going to answer that question of whether the president is above the law or not. >> a moment ago, the idea of political norms. you have presidents in modern history who more or less would adhere to certain standards. there was sort of a john mccain might say, regular order of the way presidents would act. the campaign and also wet and also went in office. everything from how they release their health care records to their tax returns. we did mention a dozen of them. do we need more laws? does congress need to weigh in in a way that would in effect take those norms and codify them? put them into law? that -- t think applause] >> for example, i have a role
bed after you wind an election coming you don't keep trashing the person you just be in the election whether or not she won the popular election. you just do your job as president. anyone in the bush office mouthing off about al gore or barry the way the president mouth saw off about hillary, we would have fired them on the spot. [applause] >> the things that seemed to happen over there two days ago, i look at that, is this sense -- huntsville, our in 2017 or nuremberg, germany? your people in the clouds theming "lock her up -- in up."s screaming "lock her
he should be there to act residential, talk about policies. i have not actually heard any proposals. to this is why what i want do is better. todd about what he is going to do for our country rather than trashing on the media. that is another thing reminiscent of what was going on in germany in the 30's. i know the president did not like the press but the constant ranting about the media and the press, we have never seen that from an american president before. then there is a lack of respect for the united states constitution, the role of judges. white judges, black judges, mexican judges. we have judges. he is not showing respect for
the anticorruption provisions in the constitution and that includes the clause. when they drafted the constitution, growing up in the 1970's they would've called it "payola." government profits or benefits for anyone in the united states government without the consent of congress. you might disagree, you can go to congress and work a deal out with the republican congress, tax returns take a look and see how many wearable weren't there. -- how many ripples were there. -- rupees were in there. [applause] -- hics >> anyway, what do you think richard? [laughter]
>> glad i don't have to follow that. >> you have people around the country who voted for donald trump and said, we knew exactly what we were getting. all of america's sugar. we voted for him because we believe he could make america great again and you know what? he is running a different kind of presidency than his predecessors. we do that and he is now president of the united states. what do you say to that? let him do it that way? we elected him to do it that way. comfortable.re just like those people who bought those new jersey tuxedos. but that doesn't change the fact they let the free markets patent it did not do the job. so you know, to people voted for him believing he could make this transition and be an effective president by they did not vote for him to come into office and continually rant about the person he defeated for the
election. they did not vote for them to come into the office and ignore the constitution. they did not vote to have a national security adviser who will lie about his contacts with the russians. this goes on and on. voted for donald trump to be president and of course with the constitution of the united states, for it not to be at tech. people did not vote to rescind the constitution. with the do his job constitution or he has to get out of there. the latell clinton in 1990's or bill clinton in the late 2010s, which one posed a greater concern in your estimation for the country? and, what more so than the other? >> well, my mission was very specific and focused and obviously grew.
[laughter] that's for the attorney general of the united states jenna rina. >> investigation started and 1993. >> it actually started earlier. it had a long history. it was targeted. we are now looking at it as an fs. the biggest -- as in if those. the biggest i can remember is there was a sense of hubris. a sense of arrogance. charming, but nonetheless arrogant illustrated by the firing of the hapless seven career persons. of with their heads! not a crime, but not very pretty. these were career civil servants who by definition had served in republican and democratic organizations.
a gentleman named livingston was brought in early on. off with their heads! so the heads of those people were sent packing and craig living stone, and i have nothing against craig livingstone, but what were his qualifications? sensitive information, personal information, enhance of government. -- in the hands of government. he had taken -- and he had , dressing up as a chicken that campaign rallies. a certain jacksonian quality i thought, and a lack of respect for what we have heard. the traditional norms. there are certain functions even in the white house that are best carried on by career people. who know what they are doing. so, i think presidents would be
well advised to be -- i think this is one of our themes, to be aware of those norms, be respectful of those norms. even if you have been broadened as a transformational president in a very narrow election, losing the popular vote quite handily by 3 million votes, that suggest to me the wisdom of "let's build a coalition, reach across the aisle." that is not what we have seen. that is not what he intends to do. i should not say that. look what he is done recently. a deal.t's make i was told by the way, if you read is "the art of the deal" you will understand him. not like newt gingrich understanding truck. ." d "the art of the deal he is here to make deals. that is all the more reason he needs lots of lawyers around
them. betweene any difference bill clinton being impeached and donald trump today being investigated gorsuch is not a comparison? -- being impeached and donald trump today being investigated, or is it not a comparison. >> one of the fascinating things we now understand about the strategic decision made by president clinton in 1998 was the revelations of this relationship, get worse, by his , who had advised the president. he helped orchestrate the reelection campaign and 1996. so the president is chatting with him, this is all according -- what did you
do and so forth. in so he posed, morris posed to questions in the overnight call. will the american people forgive annexed extramarital relationship? the answer was yes. will the american people forgive perjury? "no." wer was very interesting. when the entire episode unfolded, it became clear there were these serious questions. there was a huge bipartisan cry for the president to testify truthfully before the grand jury and then what happened, happened. i think if there had been a to -- let'siscussed have censorship plus -- with some kind of punishment that i think lawful people would have rallied around it. there was not a sense of
impeachment on nothing. because andrew was censured and he went on like before. that's when i think people that was it a proper response to what happened. most peopley, which that was proven, was insufficiently related to the conduct of office. is one of thet things to come back to donald trump. is his activity, did he commit , and ofd of crime section of justice? if you look at the charge of robert mueller you will see perjury, abstraction of justice, intimidation of witnesses, what constitutes intimidation. so there are going to be some questions. all to say, you can say what you want to on twitter, but if you are under oath, be very, very cautious. >> will match, chuck star of course during the 1990's was independent counsel and with that came certain hours.
starr'sremember the report they came at the end of the work you did was laid out the case you made. today, 20 years or so later, does the mueller investigation had the requisite tools to do a proper investigation? tothis in a there waiting happen or because there will be no mueller report, there is a different between what happened between 20 years ago and today, will this fizzle if donald trump does nothing at all? >> i think the only way of muellerwill be if bob completes his investigation and finds the president did not do anything wrong, in which case one of the things about appointing someone like bob mueller who is so widely respected, evan comes to that conclusion, i agree with them. it is probably the right outcome. i trust bob mueller to come to that inclusion. there are a number ways this can end.
at the question of whether or not the president can be indicted. some outside scholars included said yes. special prosecutor's team during water great looked at the same -- watergate looked at the same question and said yes. i think that would be difficult to accomplish. i think the president would raise all kinds of questions that would ultimately go to the supreme court. bob mueller can at the end read report of his own net the end or if you look at president, he finished the investigation, and that the number of people which i think is pretty clear there will be people indicted as a result of this investigation. paul manafort likely, general flynn. he named richard nixon as an unindicted co-conspirator. with the judge's approval, he turned that grand jury report over to the impeachment committee, the watergate committee, and that sort of game like the star report.
purpose.f surf that some mueller had, think we all understand the investigative opinion he had but he has a lot of tools that is disposal at the end in terms of reaching conclusions and if he decides indictment is not the appropriate way, if he decides the president by late the law, but that investigation is in the way forward, there are a couple different ways to put that in the hands of congress with the question of whether they are able to look at those questions and ask. >> of course, he could go on for many months. this all started really around the issue of whether there was any collusion with russians via personally, himself family members of his campaign. do you think the investigation jingo forward in different elections as related to potentially but not necessarily at the core of the original purpose for going forward for this? >> if you look at his original
mandate, it is very broad. it talks about any links between the president or associates of russianaign and the government. that can include links on the campaign, links from the president's financial dealings if he had any dealings with the russian government or intermediaries. it includes any matters resulting directly from the investigation. i think bob miller with rod rosenstein would agree, if i am turning over rocks about this but i turn up or something not related but that i see, i had the ability to go look at it. so i think he has a very broad mandate. in terms of timing, typically department of justice investigations take a long time. bob mueller is not the kind of person that lets grass grow under his feet. if you look at the way he living already, there was a lot of people surprised at how he sounded to paul manafort, the fbi agent who showed up it is the regimental
will come up. they are moving so quickly with indictment. take a look at bob mueller's standpoint. we kind of get a daily barrage of this afternoon that happened. take a step back and look at the president's son had a meeting the a russian lawyer, pretext of which was to receive information about how the russian government wanted to help elect the government -- present. they were overheard on intercept either talking with russian intelligence officials or intermediaries. the president's national security adviser was overheard on intercept talking with the russian ambassador. we don't know exactly about what justicegh department of that it was inappropriate and warned the white house. the president himself in a public storm statement can be best described as being extremely solicitous of the russian government. so if you ask, why is bob
mueller moving so quickly and this is not like a white color investigation but as a criminal enterprise and taking it like a drug trafficking enterprise, this is in some ways the most important investigation the department of justice has ever conducted. ofgoes to the question whether the president of the united states has been compromised by a foreign power. you are dam right it should be done as quickly as it can. [applause] >> with everything matches that is a backdrop, why did you leave and july? ! [applause] >> to put up his good fight as i can, they started sort of adapting to the strategies inside reached the point i did not think i could achieve more there. rights would you say i'd acting, was there anything specific that really made you distressed --
cross when you say that, was there -- >> when you say that, was there anything that may you really distressed? laughter] >> some of it was the sheer non-transparency. with the president in the senate og had a lotion, of leverage. we were able to tell the nominees you are not going to get a hearing in till the work is done. that was one of the winds we had. we use that leverage effectively. i had to really fight for it because the senate started threatening to at the hearings even without waiting for og to finish. if they had done that, we would have lost our leverage so i did write some fairly hot letters.
there is a certain department washington and i was trying to stay within the norms. but, hot within those norms to the senate committee. i sent it out there and then i thought, i hope this works. it did. they backed off and rescheduled the hearings and we moved as fast as we could do it those done. as a result, for while you are seeing ethics holding out a little better at the agencies than the white house. the agency ethics officials on site. the career people are invested in the process and the system working. more recently, the tone from the top we discovered is strictly down. he has these jet flights with a kitchenette and all kinds of things for cabinet officials. the white house appointees, that system is set up
differently. they come into government, we don't get their financial disclosures first, they are not even do until they are in the government for 30 days, the 45-dayouse can give to extension's. they can take anywhere from 60-120 days before they send the reports to og. so we did not have any time to resolve conflicts of interest. united states ethics officials did not only not want to do their responsibilities but they just worked competent to do it. , when they finally started getting these financial disclosures trickling in and we are looking at the potential conflicts of interest white house officials, we then asked whathite house to explain does this person do for a living, what does that person do for a living all day at the white house. they are not telling us. they won't give us information.
hads in a position where i to sign off on financial disclosure reports that were technically compliant with disclosure rules as far as i can tell but i had no information about what the people were doing for a living and i did not want my signature batching for these individuals saying they had no conflicts. but the biggest thing that was sort of a last straw for me was when i fought for 30 days to get my hands on just the basic ethics records. og has the power to collect them in the executive branch. any kind of ethics records. i told them, release the secret ravers. they fought us. they had mick mulvaney, the head and copyetter to me every single general counsel and every single ethics official in the government and the letter was sent to hundreds of people say, we do not think you have the authority to collect this. the thing is, collecting documents and reviewing them is
pretty much what og b does all day long so if we are out of that business, we could just go home. i thought about that and ultimately prevailed and got them to release these waivers. they were saying they were not going to release them and then they released them. i later heard from somebody, a robertthat grassley smith called over there" is something from grassley where he demanded that the obama administration release waivers, so i thought the language fit perfectly here. i put that in. i do not know of that is true or not, if grassley did go over there, in any event they released them. one side, undated, two of them were issued by persons who -- [laughter] >> so the secret of the secret
waivers is they were doing whatever they wanted and when they got caught with their pants down they had to scramble. if you look at the one from medevac, you can see they worked on them now and then, they ginned it up that day. i thought, if these guys were willing to come one step short of purging government records, there is nothing the oge or anyone else can do. that sunk in. i thought, there is not any more i can do in this job. >> your successor, the guy now youg leading the oge, described him as being approach toy in his ethics. do think the oge has been dismissed this -- diminished since you left? >> that is relative. everyone he has ever worked with heard him call himself that same term.
i have questions about what is going on there but i balance that against the fact that i do not know that anybody else could've come in and achieved anything. i have been doing this for a ofade and a half and thought every trick in tactic and leverage i could to get people to follow the ethics rules. oge has a lot of authority but no hour. authority is when a judge endorses an order but the other is when the police show up. we did not have the power to back it up. so i do not know we would be any worse off for better off if i was there or if anyone else was there, because in the end it the only source of authority or power oge had, get we had plenty of authority, was the white house counsel office. the bush administration, i could the on richard poynter and
people in there. in the obama administration, and lots of support and they truly proved to me that ethics has no party. acould equally count on republican or democratic white house to be supportive of the ethics program but the whole program was predicated on oge to be able to call the white house counsel for help. we would have cases where an individual did not want to do something and we would try to work it out and if we could not will call the white house counsel office and almost the the next morning there be a very nervous voice on the other line saying, what can i do for you? they would be whipped into shape by the white house. in this white house, you know, the message was oge can go jump in the late. we're not going to support you. what do we have left but going public? that worked for a while but as they just cut us off on all information there was nothing to go public with and although we can send demands for documents and information, we can not send
goestigators marching into sees it. -- i'm going to open up the for am going to open it up questions. i would like to get for me each panelist a take. there has been some chatter on twitter. some people who knew about the panel may be watching us on the livestream right now. so many articulated in a different way, what can i do as a citizen of the united states to deal with any of the topics we discussed today? people expressing a lot of concern that they feel they are marginalized in some way or they don't feel the government is representing them. very quickly, let's move down the line. >> i think what they can do is say to you their member of congress, i believe in the rule of law. the basic foundational principles. so, would you please do your job hearingsof supervising
or encourage her colleagues to do their job. i, the citizen, what no person to be above the law. i can agree or disagree with a particular policy but we should all agree fundamentally that as we use is in the government, we are determined to square corners. you don't walk against the line. you say, even if i disagree with this law, it is the law until change. we want a rule of law administration in a rule of law congress. is important that we respect the truth and facts, living in a world where there is alternative acts. we just take up massacres out of whole cloth. where the president the united states says his predecessor was spying on him then decides to accuse the british as well. toleratee should not
this in our daily lives anyone who cannot tell the truth. and we should not litter size the truth. -- politicized the truth. get to the bottom of truth, republicans, democrats, point out the facts. that includes where the president gets his money from for the trunk organization. get the facts. get the tax returns and then figure out what to do. no more ignoring the truth, no more lying. no more lying about the contact with russians. if that happened in the bush administration, you would be jammed by now. there is one thing every american can do. >> there is one thing everything every american can do. call your senator, call your member of the house, collier congressman and tell them to support the legislation.
i think it is the single most of foreign thing to make sure this investigation goes to his conclusion.natural >> i think the biggest threat is any threat to bob mueller being fired. this is all that stands between us and not having a country based on laws. frankly, if we get to the point where they do pull us into a saturday night massacre, i am going to be in the streets and i hope every last person is. [applause] so, before you start, please ask a question. do not make a speech. it, be concise. andn order to have rules credibility we have to do process. one of the questions i have about what we are saying is on the one side there seems to be a dream team of lawyers with bob
mueller and on the other hand we have lawyers who are practicing outside of their expertise in having public conversations about private matters that are privileged. going forward, after this, what are your concerns to sort of the that it is not clear this is going to be a real fair fight. when it that way. >> i want to answer that because i think that in our country we do not have equal justice. the folks with the most money can hire the best attorneys and get the best justice. so if these guys are hiring clowns who are sitting in a cafe talking about their case and they are overheard, that is inexcusable because they are paying $1500 per hour. talk about a fair fight. billionaires of the they are going after far exceed any budget that bob mueller has.
i think we do have a fair fight because you have very wealthy people who can hire very good attorneys, there are also mechanisms for setting up legal defense funds. legalot opposed to defense funds as long as they are done correctly and in compliance with the law. i think that is the answer. someude's to come out with new guidance for legal defense funds and there is a whole story about why we don't have that now. >> i will say one thing. a number of these matters. president trump is ordered by the department of justice he iscernible] -- defended by the united states department of justice. they are very good lawyer. they were not able to persuade. some of the best lawyers. he would bob conway,
not touch that civil division job. over the clause of the united states constitution there are two other lawsuits. they are good lawyers over there. some excellent lawyers. [indiscernible] -- very good lawyers and the civil division of the government were there. does him good resources. we don't know what currency and how much. [laughter] richard: so i think he has resources to hire tough lawyers. i don't know what his plans are. there are a number of things i don't understand, including the mustache. but he has lawyered up. a lot of them have lawyered up. this is a well-to-do white house. most in decades.
i don't feel sorry for them in terms of their access to legal services. some really good lawyers don't want to work for this type of client. those a good tweet out things exactly the opposite of what you just said on their behalf a couple hours earlier. that is why -- actually went on to twitter -- mr. president, shoot yourself in the foot. i think a lot of the problems he is made he is brought on himself. >> next question. will try to get as many speakers and. >> my name is sam. i would like to ask a speculative question to all of you. assuming that the investigation is finished and the result directy -- there is evidence of the president, you god knows how of
many offenses, do think the republican party in both the house and the senate will have the world gumption -- the moral gumption to stand up to a lot of debates. this is the deep state, fake news, trying to take down the source news of trying to make america great again. how do you think america is going to react and if it is the worst-case scenario, how do we we act? >> i will take it. it depends on two things. smoking gunot the is. you know, that is instruction of justice that is one thing. objection of justice depends on corrupt and 10, it can look different in the eyes of the beholder versus outright evidence the present know about the interference in the election and encouraged it. that is the first thing. the second thing is really a straight political question, what is donald trump's approval ratings the day robert mueller
produces such a smoking gun? will is at 45%, think you see the republican party is it, justified, overlook it. if he is at 28%, dragging them down, it is a much different situation. republican,, as a -- real quick, as a republican, if there is not enough evidence already, if we don't get going we will be going the way of the whigs or the attorney general's or united states football. he is going to be a drag on the party. richard. can match i was going to make one point. the facts will drive us.
just as in watergate, president nixon's very strong report whether they liked him or not whether they liked him or not had nothing to do with likability. with the facts pointed toward abstraction of justice, his support collapse. when trials with his california said, i am now convinced at least for a time, the president of the united states engaged in abstract of justice, he resign. it was over. i don't think there will be rallying around. there will be, just the facts. what are the facts? honestly, so that if serve in the house of representatives, they are really good and honorable people and they really want to do the right thing as opposed to what the constituents want. this is a moment when you will be privy to the facts and now we need your judgment. >> right. i smite name is adam and my question is, look and be done to ethics and broken
will can be done to prevent them from being broken again. >> they are all looking at me. [laughter] >> well, it is all about coming from the top. i think we can fix it tomorrow if the president will cup, turned it over a new leaf, said i'm going to the vest my assets, stop doing these things. i don't see that happening, right? [laughter] >> but what i am very concerned able is, should he just be to do whatever he once to do because people knew what they were getting. i don't think people knew what they were getting because i don't know this issue has been explored. i think the media claimed they did not think it was and i don't think anybody thought about what they would do if he was. i think the big question is, the goes, the more it
risks becoming a norm and a lot is going to be on the shoulders of the next president. yet, what we are in danger of his let's say the democrats put up somebody fairly unsavory and they say, well you can't question me about it in they would be right. but, we need somebody of good moral fiber to say, that is wrong and i am going to self-impose a level of structure on my behavior that restores norms. be anould just aberration. whether it is a democrat or republican, i hope whoever comes next so i am we in store doing these norms through my behavior and i challenge these press to pose that question specifically to each candidate in the primaries, will you stand up to restore the ethical care or of our executive branch -- character of our executive branch?
>> last question so make it a good one. >> if it undermines the legitimacy of a trump presidency , what does that say to the legitimacy of his presidency -- hence -- prenc -- pence presidency,ryan and how do we move forward? >> given my your answers stand in between now and happy hour. [laughter] >> let's start in reverse order. what mike pence did if anything.
he seems to be strategically absent from a lot of pieces which is not unwise on his part. when donald trump believes whether it is because he leaves at the end of his term or when it is because he is not president ise next going to have an inner miss repair job in this country -- and enormous repair job. sense of decency. not picking fights with nfl players on twitter. i disagree with everything mike pence believes and that i have to think that mike pence would approach the basic questions of how a resident off to behave differently than donald trump does.
>> i think to answer that question, you have to go content neutral on political beliefs of the individual. when you step away from the political views of mike pence or donald trump and our concern is ,bout donald trump's behavior there are those who thought mike thinkwas complicit but i what i can tell you is that i have met with both the attorneys in the council office and the attorneys in mike pence's office.
this is an individual who has an part of government who has a staff of people consistent with government culture in terms of language they speak and behavior. aside the we set politics and look only at the behavior, i think if we had a mike pence residency people could argue over the policies and ethics and have very strong views as matt suggested area i think we would be dealing with a traditional presidency where the question is are you freaked out by a candidate's views or do you agree with a candidate's views but you're not concerned about the container being damaged? institutions of our representative form of government. investigation involves the question of whether crimes have been committed.
he is a special prosecutor. his job is to prosecute crimes. there are many issues that fall outside the scope of his investigation that i'm very worried about and americans ought to be worried about and congress ought to be worried about. this going back and forth with north korea acting like children and an argument. this is an extremely dangerous situation if a president who has said it in the campaign trail that he is going to people from entering the united states based on the free exercise of religion , the list goes on and on. far outside the scope of the investigation. we need to have a congress that will plate and active oversight role. we need balances of power, they
are not doing their job. i would like to see more republicans affair. -- in there. they're not doing their job. >> my view is the system is wonderfully resilient. to -- the question brought to mind the question the -- james earl carter junior. tend toican people respond to voices that say we need a new day but under our constitutional order. the thing about jimmy carter's was that i would never lie to you. there was a hunger for truth and honesty in government area that hunger gave us the ethics in government act of 1978 with