tv Senator Mike Lee on Written Out of History CSPAN June 8, 2017 7:40am-8:03am EDT
yesterday, ahead of today's testimony by the former fbi, james the comey. this committee room is where the celibate -- senate intelligence committee will be gathering. mr. wyatt is one of 15 people who will get to ask the director questions. we are joined by senator mike lee, republican of utah. i invited him as well to talk about his latest book, "written out of history. we will get to that. senator, if you were on the committee, what would you ask the former director? sen. lee: i would want to know what he would do if you was still there. i do not know what he's going to say, and that is why some people are tuning in. they want to know his reaction, and his answers to those questions. host: why do you think it is
important how he felt, because that seems to be a part of yesterday's questioning with admiral rodgers and director coats when they said i did not feel pressured. democrats on the committee are saying i do not care what you felt. a longtimeogers is law enforcement person. he once told me, will be up in the middle of the night and asked me who are you? i said i was an assistant u.s. attorney and give them my asa credentials. so the words in his written statement, there are a bunch of different ways this could be interpreted. i would like an objective assessment. host: do believe director comey that the president asked him for his loyalty? sen. lee: i have no reason to doubt what he said. i have not seen him entering questions today, so i do not have that to go on. i have an inclination to believe
him because he is known, not personally, but when i was a federal prosecutor 12 or 13 years ago, he was the assistant deputyy general and the attorney general, and i have respected him from afar. i do not the key is something -- i do not think he is someone who just makes things up. host: do you think the president asked him for loyalty? sen. lee: honest loyalty, there is nothing wrong with that. the fbi director serves at the leisure of the president. the president is attacking him, and things are getting leaked maliciously, i do not think that is too much to ask. host: what does honest loyalty mean to you? sen. lee: i do not know. if i was asked that a deposition, there are a whole host of factors that would qualify. do nothink it would be deliver the trip me up, set a trap or me, or make me look bad.
host: and the conversations mr. comey had with the president -- could youynn see the way to letting this go. how would you characterize that? sen. lee: that is going to require some explanation. i would love to know more about what he has to say about his sense at the time of what that meant. there are plenty of ways that could be interpreted. one could say by chance, there is nothing there. it will sure be prudent to have that clear. it would be good to know if you think there is nothing there and know that quickly. it might be some thing else. i do not know. host: what you think about the president doing that, and calls from democrats who are saying that looks like obstruction of justice? sen. lee: there are multiple ways you could interpret that, what is subjective or not. mr.: what could or would
comey say that would make that obstruction of justice? sen. lee: i do not know. i will not play on every hypothetical scenario, but we will know it when we see it. host: let's hear what our viewers have to say. carolina, north charles, a republican. good morning. you, i love the program. i had a couple of comments. to put this in perspective here, mr. comey investigated hillary clinton for months and months, came out and actually said he -- she mishandled byssified information setting up a private email emails woundhose up on anthony weiner's computer. he said she broke rules and but did not think any court in the land would actually convict her. but she did break rules.
i would like some of these guys to ask is to comey today -- mr. comey today which is worse -- a few offhand comments that he , ore in a novel type way what mrs. clinton did also, just a comment on the russian .nvestigation all those wikileaks things that came out -- of the washington post or new york times, a reporter had actually reported on some of the things that came out in wikileaks, they would have won an award or pulitzer to suppressspiracy bernie sanders, given the messages, given those questions to hillary, all of the things that came out. i think this has been an incredible witchhunt against mr. trump and i would like to hear your thoughts. sen. lee: first of all, it is important to remember that the
whole decision in which jim comey found himself last summer was odd. it was untenable. i felt bad for him being in that position in the first place. and it does and did at the time make me wonder why he agreed to be in that position in the first place. it is unprecedented to have the fbi director in a position at all. the fbi director, rather than the attorney general will be making decisions about whether to prosecute, and then holding a press conference to announce the decision not to prosecute, that is highly unusual. in fact, i'm not sure if there is any precedent for it anywhere. it is the attorney general's job and the java be up -- the job of thedepartment of justice, u.s. attorney, assistant u.s. attorney somewhere to make those decisions. never the f ei. i can take -- fbi.
i continue to wonder why on earth did director comey agreed to take that position? everything about that is strange to me, and i hope we have more opportunities to asking questions about that. host: deborah and iowa, a democrat. good morning. lot of i agree with a what your senator there from utah is saying about how things are peculiar. didlt like he did what he because they put him in an awkward position, mcconnell and jackrabbit them in an awkward position to begin with. host: put who in an awkward position? caller: comey, back in the summer. kind of chastising him for not
informing them or whatever, and so that he felt like he had to take a letter to mcconnell, and the mcconnell kept it a secret and did it let it out -- did not let it out, and then it did come -- iand so i felt like only say this because i'm a government employee and have been vetted and protocol, and all of that means an awful lot to me. machines havecal priority oftype of what their position is to the country? i feel like people of service like the fbi, inspector , anyone in law has a more -- what
are they call it -- do they call it? they investigate more, they are investigated more. they know how to read people. host: i see your point. we will have the senator respond. sen. lee: first of all, the suggestion that leader mcconnell and speaker ryan were the ones who put director comey in that position, such that he had to make the prosecutorial decision, hold a press conference on july 5, 2016 is, utterly inaccurate. is, in my opinion, utterly inaccurate. he is not a chain of authority to him, he has no response ability -- response ability -- responsibility to report to them. but the fact that mcconnell and ryan were in charge of him rather than the resident of the united states at the time and
hacking the attorney general on this issue at the time, that is preposterous. the only people who put him in this position were those in the obama administration who assigned him to do it. the only other person who put him in a position was james comey himself. i think it is even more strange that he agreed to do it. going back to the russia issue that is happening today, do you see some constitutional issues at play? >> -- we are-- sen. lee: causally talking about separation of power issues, every time there is an investigation going on conducted by members of congress, they are looking into their own oversight in the investigative branch. whose job it is to investigate angst within the executive
branch. a top of that, we have council, special counsel that is conducting its own investigation. separation ofhe powers is a big issue for you, something you have written about before and now you are writing this book "written out of history." why did you decide to write this book? just explain for viewers who may be do not know you as well as others who see you on the floor. why are you so passionate about this? am a big believer in federalism, the separation of powers, and the bill of rights. structural issues in the constitution keep everything in balance. they are not public and, democrat, -- republican, democrat, conservative, liberal, these are american issues. people who contributed
substantially to our country have been forgotten altogether. we think primarily of white male landowners, some of them slaveholders. there were some who were none of things. they were women, they were minorities, and they have been forgotten. an indian chief was actually responsible for transmitting the subsequent translation of our understanding of federalists. it came from an old -- from in iroquoischief -- san chief, and his legend is profound and few people know his name. i think we restore the memory of these forgotten founders, we can restore the constitutional framework and the separation of powers between the state and federal government, the re-branches of federal -- three branches of federal government, and the american political discourse.
all, the reaction to the broadway play "hamilton" was extraordinary, and i remember becoming show was all the rage. it occurred to me that there was something intuitive to americans, regardless of where you are in the political spectrum. we know we have something pretty significant. this is no utopian society, to be sure. but you have this farseeing vision, they have the ability to foresee certain things that are important to us today. i think this book helps reconnect people with the story. figuresd one of those shown in hamilton, aaron burr, is much more complicated than what you have seen if you have the opportunity to watch it. sen. lee: that's right. with ehrenberg, the problem is burr, the with aaron
problem is that he was a fool who shot hamilton. but he was also thomas jefferson's vice president. he conducted the trials of some lyricals jefferson's enemy -- political enemies. .e was a very impartial person he also won a certain amount of resentment from thomas jefferson, who, during his second term when burr was no longer his vice president, had urr prosecuted -- b prosecuted. reminder that even thomas jefferson, who many of us is oned revere and who of the office of the declaration of independence, abused his power. that is why it is important that to respect the constitution, we respect the limits of places on government officials.
host: only a few minutes left with the senator, so i wanted to give our viewers another opportunity to talk to you. nancy, austin, texas, independent. hi, i consider you one of the good guys, so it is nice to talk to you. i do want to mention from the last segment, something you do say -- the trump bashing thing you like to do, the washington journal recently reported that 96% of the coverage of trump -- this was back in the beginning -- has been negative. i think this is important, particularly when that lady called in saying that trump was guilty of collusion already has been taken in by the media. i would like to ask you senator, about clapper. clapper, didn't he -- didn't we
know he actually lied to congress about whether or not they were spying on american citizens? and did anything happen to him? why is he not indicted or whatever? what about lois lerner? why have charges not been brought up against against -- against her for using the iraq's politics -- for using the irs as politics. sen. lee: it is my understanding that and pretty well-established that james clapper gave some testimony that was not true. senatestimony before the intel committee ended up being clarified by james clapper later, where he said it was not accurate. this is how the american people chose to discover some of the details behind the nsa's former practice of bulk telephone
metadata collection under protection to 15 of the patriot of the patriot act. this led to the usa freedom act. i was a sponsor of that bill, along with my cosponsor senator hatley from vermont. he is a liberal democrat, i have never been described that way, but we agreed that we have no business collecting that kind of data, who you call, who called you, how long you talk, any information that the government can glean a lot of private information about you. it is none of the government's business and obtained without a warrant. to my recollection, he did clarify that a short time later, so your question on him and as to lois lerner as to what ramifications there might be for either one of them currently? i do not know. i have no reason to believe that either one of them were investigated or considered for
prosecution the time, and i do not know if that will change in this administration. a good question, i appreciate you asking it. i wish i could answer but i do not know. fort lauderdale, paul, a republican. caller: senator, i wonder if you would agree with me that the democrats are playing a very dangerous game here, and they are really setting the standards for how a future democratic president will be treated. in other words, an investigation into voter fraud with the is under the guise to try to seek impeachment of president, a nuanced statement like "honest loyalty" is something they are trying to use for obstruction of justice. they did their happy dance with obamacare getting the 51 vote
majority. aren't they kind of eating themselves into another happy dance that they will regret very, very much? host: senator? sen. lee: i do not know. only time will tell. i see what you're saying, and i appreciate your characterization of the honest loyalty question. it was part of what i was saying earlier. there are so many ways that could have been said, meaning the intonation, the facial expression, other things surrounding that conversation. at the end of the day, as i admitted earlier, when you are dealing with a presidential conversation, conversation between a president and someone who served in the executive branch of government, not another branch but the executive branch as one who serves at the pleasure of the president, it is not unusual and not extraordinary, not improper for that president to hold and
expect that that person would not deliberately go out of his or her way to trip up the president, to try and make the president look bad, leak information that is not supposed be leaked, for example. it could well be that that is what the president and so sure, any time you open the door, it could create a president that causes problems for the party initially raising it. i think that is a legitimate question to ask. host: indiana, democrat. if you could make it quick, the senator has a full schedule. caller: ok. briefly to congratulate everyone. country is doing quite well, checks and balances, and we get to see the process. there are emotions in anger and i don't know why the hillary thing keeps coming up here this is not about hillary.
placey she has gotten her -- host: i will jump in and have senator responsible congratulations that there are checks and balances. guest: yes, those are important in government and we need to have them. one thing i discuss in my look is that we have drifted from the checks and balances. the first, the form of federalism and the form of separations and powers. of government that recognizes the limits of power even though it was always -- rather than numerous and indefinite. powere got lawmaking invested in agencies. last year, we had 200 pages of flawed by congress. and thenegulations
finalized with 97,000 pages long. have checks and balances but some are out whacked. we need to restore that balance and put legislative branch back in charge of legislating. senator mike lee, the forgotten founder who fought the government, thank you for being here this morning. we appreciate your time. here leadinguing up to today plus testimony by the former fbi director, james comey. our coverage letting you tell washington what you think. the cameras are locked down and you can see inside to 16 that staff are getting prepared for today's hearing. the former director will be sitting right there before the members of the senate intelligence committee, and we wi