tv House Judiciary Hearing on Justice Department Oversight Part 1 CSPAN June 25, 2020 2:52am-7:01am EDT
d.c. statehood legislation. thursday at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. the house will debate and vote on the police reform bill, the floyd justice refarm osket. then friday, the house will vote on legislation to go designate the district of columbia as a state. watch this week live thursday and friday on c-span, online on listen live on the free radio app. >> next the house judiciary committee holds an oversight committee on justice department operations. former and current officials testify boo the actions of william barr and decisions in the department involving the roger stone case and other d.o.j. cases. this is just over four hours. >> the committee will come to
order. the chairs authorized to declare recess at any time. we welcome everyone to the hearing, oversight of the department of justice. political interference and threats. before we begin, i want to remind members we have established a distribution list dedicated to circulating written materials members might want to offer as part of the hearing. if you want to submit materials, send them to the email address previously distributed to your offices and we will circulate them to members and staff as quickly as possible. i want to remind all members the nodance of the office says face-to-face is required. required here is to follow guidance. this is for the health and safety of our staff and loved ones we will return to at the end of the day. i expect all members to wear a mask, except when you are
speaking. i but recognize myself for an opening statement. >> mr. chairman, the point of -- last friday,er: william barr announced that geoffrey berman was "stepping down." this was, of course, untrue. he had not resigned. in a statement, he made clear he had no intention of resigning. and every intention of moving forward with his work, without delay or interruption. he emphasized that point. he wanted to stay on the job to ensure his work would continue. in order to understand the standoff, it is important to note that the work of mr. berman's office has concluded a number of criminal investigations aimed and individuals close to president trump, among them michael:, -- michael cohen and rudy giuliani,
his direct line to kiev. on saturday, mr. barr attempted to fire mr. berman directly. even then, mr. berman resisted. only when he was certain that his deputy would take his place is acting u.s. attorney did he relent and step aside. so what are we to make of these events? if this had been an isolated incident, if the attorney general had simply misjudged the situation and about that mr. berman would go quietly, then we might chalk this up to simple miscommunication and incompetence. but make no mistake, this was not an isolated incident. the effort to remove mr. berman is part of a pattern of conduct that began when mr. barr took office and continues till this day. mr. barr's actions made clear in his department of justice the president's allies get special treatment, his enemies, real and
imagined, are targeted for scrutiny. and the needs of the american people and the needs of justice are generally ignored. mr. barr's practice of using the department a shield the president and his allies go back to the beginning of his tenure. last year, when the special counsel had completed his investigation, when mr. barr had the report in hand, but before the public could read it, he blatantly mischaracterized the findings and did so on the president's behalf. mr. barr pretended that compelling evidence of obstruction of justice, including evidence at that the president may have lied directly to the special counsel, simply did not exist. his deception seems blatant. but do not take my word for it. the special counsel wrote to mr. barr directly to complain about the inaccuracies, which lingered uncorrected for weeks. a federal judge later said that
mr. barr's inconsistencies were so misleading and distorted, he questioned his credibility and in turn could not trust the department's assurances about the content of the robert mueller report. mr. burr has also worked to undermine criminal cases stemming from the special counsel's report. early this year, after the president's associate roger stone was convicted, mr. barr overruled his career prosecutors and recommended a lighter sentence for president trump's friend. one of those prosecutors will testified today about that experience. we should be clear about the timeline in the stone case. if nothing else, it helps explain why mr. berman refused to go quietly over the weekend. in january, mr. barr removed the u.s. attorney for the district of columbia and replaced her with his longtime aide. in february, president trump
tweeted his feelings about stone's ongoing criminal case. the president was outraged that his friend might be punished for obstructing justice. quickly thereafter, mr. barr reached into the case come overruled prosecutors, and submitted a lenient recommendation for mr. stone. caseour prosecutors in the immediately withdrew. president trump tweeted his congratulations to mr. barr. isolated case wasn't incident either. in may, mr. barr abruptly reversed the prosecution of michael flynn, the former national security advisor to the president, who pled guilty to lying to the fbi about his conversations with the russian ambassador. once again, the president tweeted his feelings about the case. once again, mr. barr reached into the proceedings come
overruled his career prosecutors, misrepresented statements by department officialsand asked the court to dismiss charges against mr. flynn. once again, the president tweeted his delight at the outcome. the former federal judge john gleason, appointed by the court the unprecedented motion against mr. flynn, argued "the facts surrounding the motion constitute clear evidence of gross prosecutorial abuse." dismisss a decision to that is based on the fact that flynn is a political ally of president trump. judge gleason was not alone. ons after mr. burr insisted dropping charges against mr. flynn, almost 2000 former fbi agent and the department of justice officials wrote an open letter calling for his resignation. now, my republican colleagues
may try to explain these events or incidents the way, they may you that his attempts to fire berman were harmless, that flynn and a stone should be excused for their crimes, and mr.stice department. those excuses ring hollow. there is injustice at the justice department, as there is extensive injustice in our justice system nationwide. we have rightly focused on one major aspect of that injustice in recent weeks. since the murder of george floyd at the hands of law enforcement. but as we prepared to address that injustice on the house floor, in the single largest sweeping package of police reforms in our history, i cannot help but notice the members who shout loudest about witchhunts, also stand in opposition to these commonsense reforms. ask yourselves, what are you saying to the american people
when your commitment to justice means you will stand up for stone and flynn and barr,? but go no further? mr. barr's work has nothing to do with correcting injustice, he is the president's fixer. he has shown us there is one set of rules for the president's friends commend another set for the rest of us. and to be clear, there are plenty of reasons to be angry with the attorney general. it is unacceptable and that he would order the antitrust division to initiate investigations into industries he and the president do not like , simply because they do not like them. we will have that testimony today. it is dangerous for him to threaten frivolous litigation against state and local officials who are doing their best to contain the epidemic in.
their communities it is irresponsible for him to do in the absence of guidance from the white house or leadership from the president. and it is outrageous that mr. barr occupy the city with a federal police force, in paramilitary gear, then turn it on peaceful protesters in lafayette square, spraying them with teargas and physically knocking them back, all to arrange for an awkward photo op for president trump. the images from that day or so disturbing, that we cannot blame mr. barr for trying to avoid responsibly for his role in the event. but please understand that these are merely the symptoms o f underlying disease. we must address his abuse of the department of justice as a weapon to serve the president's private interests. the cancer that we must root out is the decision to place the president's interest above the interests of the american people.
when is it today was beat to the extremes to which mr. burr has reached to carry out the president's bidding. currentteful to them, department employees, for their bravery in appearing before the committee. this administration has a record of witness intimidation and have no doubt that they will try to exact a price for your testimony, but you are patriots and you have done your duty here today. it gives me hope for what may come at the department of justice, when bill barr is finally removed. i thank the witnesses for being here. and i look forward to your testimony. i now recognize the ranking member of the judiciary committee, the gentleman from ohio, mr. jordan for his opening statement. rep. jordan: the department is about correcting injustice. you almost have to laugh at this, they do you have a hearing going after barr and alleging
that there is politics there, the very day we get the order from the court of appeals. the order says, dismissing the flynn case, the district court will grant the motion to dismiss, the district court's order is vacated. they are not political, they are just right. this is not politics. again, you almost have to laugh at it. attorney general holder said he was obama's wingmen. his department attacked investigative journalists. if a risen said this, president there is a whistleblower in jail for trying to talk to a reporter, you will have one man to thank, barack obama. hat's not me talking, that is the new york times, when the justice department for obama went after him. we know about operation chokepoint.
and even though the chairman always does not want to talk about this, we know how political the justice department was in the russian hoax. remember this, the obama biden department of justice spied on a four american citizens. that is the big thing you have with william barr, the first time he testified he used the word spying, everybody went crazy. but they spied on american citizens associated with a political campaign, an investigation we now know was bogus because we have released all the transcripts from all the people involved in the intelligence community, and they all said there was nothing there. the obama biden justice department, in order to spy on those americans, what did they do? they lied it to the fisa court 17 times, they used the famous dossier, the one that jim comey said was fallacious and unverified. they did not say the guy who wrote it was being paid by the clinton campaign to
put it together. and the used that to get a warrant to spy on a palouse his sin and you think it is no big deal. william barr thinks it is a big deal. that is why they are doing the investigation. you know who else thought it was a big deal? the inspector general of the justice department, michael horowitz, who wrote a 400 page report talking about the 17 lies, talking about the abuses in the comey-biden justice department. the judiciary, committee did not even get a chance to ask questions of mr. horwitz about the report, because the german won't bring him into testified. i do not know if i've ever seen anything like it. a 400 page report written by the inspector general of the justice department, scathing report about the pies a court, and the won't of the committee, w even let him testify. here is what the u.s. district judge and pfizer presiding judge
rosemary collier said about the findings in the report, quote, "the frequency with which representations made by fbi personnel turned out to be think about" -- that, unsupported. that is a nice way of saying that they lied. or contradicted by information in the position, "with which they withheld information," another way of saying that they lied, "calls into question if whether information is reliable." what the judge was saying is you lied to us so many times, how are we supposed to believe anything you bring in front of the court. that was in the report, but jerry nadler will not even let the inspector come to answer our questions and go into detail about the report. yet today, the day we get the ruling from the court of appeals, the chairman says it is
the trump doj that is political. guess what happened in the final days of the obama administration, guess what else 8 -- michael3 flynn's name. six people at the treasury department. everyone. this is between election day and inauguration day. william barr wants to get to the bottom of all this and somehow that is political, when in fact the politics was in the previous administration and he is trying to stop it. here is how we know this was all egypt. c -- was all a joke. said he did not see anybody conspiring with the russians. yet, we had a two-year investigation.
susan riser, "i do not recall anything i would consider evidence." and "i do not believe anybody reached a conclusion yet." they had nothing to me? this entire investigation. some of the powers and said the same thing. all these key people, they all knew there was no predicate for the investigation and it happened, and somehow the bar justice department is political. they are not political, they are just right. we saw that with the decision today. finally, i have never seen anything like this. this is the truth. i have never seen an agency where this happened, the top people, the very same people, the testimony that william barr gave when he talked about, where he talked about spying, he said "there was a failure of leadership in the upper echelon of the fbi in the previous demonstration." that is the understatement of the year. leaked memos in order to put the country through
what we went through. andrew mccabe, deputy director, fired. referred by that same ig for prosecution. baker, investigate by the u.s. attorney in connecticut, took information from the d&c lawyer. and of course, peter strzok and page, who ran the clinton investigation, who ran crossfire hurricane and crossfire razor, trump russia investigation, they were both kicked off of robert mueller's team. we know the bias that had against president trump. we saw it in hundreds of text messages that we have now become familiar with. the politics was in the previous demonstration. barr is doing the lords work, so it doesn't happen again. i will say it in closing again, in a statement a little over a year ago, where he said, "if they can do it to a president,
they can lied to get a warrant to go after president, go after a major campaign, if they can do it do a president imagine what they can do to you and i, imagine what they can do to the folks we get the privilege of representing back home." that is why this is important. that is why the work bill barr is doing is important. you continue to play your political games, bill barr will get to the truth. >> i have a parliamentary inquiry. chairman nadler: thank you. without objection, all other opening statements will be included in the record. without objection, three letters from bradley why sherman, the associate deputy and turn general will be admitted into the record. >> mr. chairman. it is a point of order. what provision of the democrats a new house rules allows for a duly subpoenaed witness to appear and provide testimony by video? chairman nadler: the rousseau
provides. i went out and reduce -- >> the copy of the subpoena that we have. chairman nadler: the gentleman -- >> does not allow for this. the chair has not answered the inquiry. chairman nadler: section four -- >> i appeal the ruling of the chair. the witnesses are not allowed to attend by video under the subpoena the german issued. chairman nadler: section four, f 1 under the rules of the house, house resolution 965 allows subpoenas for remote participation. required toereby appear before the court. chairman nadler: i will not introduce the witnesses. >> i appeal the ruling. mr. chairman. chairman nadler: the deputy attorney general under george w. bush. he joined the department -- >> mr. chairman.
you simply cannot go forward without -- >> rules do not matter here. >> 18 months -- chairman nadler: it was not -- >> point of order. i challenge of subpoena that he can appear remotely. i and making it a point of order. i challenge the ruling of the chair. chairman nadler: you cannot appeal -- >> i challenge the ruling of the chair. [gavel pounding] chairman nadler: donald served -- >> here we go again. you cannot overlook that. >> you cannot interrupt the proceedings committee mike people deserve to know the truth. >> this has nothing to do with the truth. chairman nadler: there has been no ruling of the chair. >> i made a point of order, you ruled. i appeal the ruling of the chair
on not recognizing the rule of order. nothing changes around here. chairman nadler: we are introducing donald -- who served under george w. bush. he joined at the department as an assistant u.s. attorney and held a number of other positions, including u.s. attorney and the eastern district of california, and under president reagan. he previously clerked for justice rehnquist and malcolm wilkie of the d.c. circuit judge. after his career in public service, he was in private practice and has taught extensively at law schools around the country. he received his b.a. from harvard.and j.d. from aaron zelinski is an assistant u.s. attorney for the district of maryland. previously coming he served as a special assistant to the u.s. attorney in the district of columbia, as an assistant special counsel and special counsel robert mueller's office
and as an advisor in the state department. previously come he clerked for justice kennedy before his retirement from the supreme court. and for stevens after his retirement, as well as for judge griffith. rom yceived his b.a. fo ale. zelensky's personal counsel is participating in the hearing on the webex software platform. attorneyes is a trial in the antitrust division of the department of justice. since joining the department into thousand six, he has served in a variety of roles, including acting chief of staff. in 2015, following a detailed to the white house's presidential personnel office, he joined the office of the associate attorney general, where he had served as counsel and chief of staff. he received his j.d. from stanford and b.a. from yale.
michael mukasey served as a u.s. as the u.s. attorney general from november 2007 to january 2009, under president george w. bush. prior to his services attorney general, he served as a judge in the southern district of new york, becoming chief judge in 2000. previously come he served as an assistant u.s. attorney for the southern district of new york. he is currently in private practice. he received his law degree from yale, b.a. from columbia college. of ourome all distinguished witnesses and thank them for their participation. i will begin by squaring you in. swear under penalty of perjury that the testimony you are going to give is true and correct to the best of your knowledge, so help you god? but the record show the
witnesses answered in the affirmative. please be seated. let me extend a special welcome sey.udge muka >> can we get a vocal, always so was his hand up? i guess not. chairman nadler: each of your written statements will be entered into the record. i asked that you summarize your testimony in five minutes. to help me stay within the time, for the witnesses in person, there is a timing light on your table. when the light switches to yellow, you have one minute to conclude testimony. when it turns red, your five minutes have expired. fror mr. zelensky, there is a timer on your screen to help you keep track of time. you may begin. your mic. >> good afternoon chairman nadler in members of the committee, thank you for inviting me to appear today.
i was privileged to serve under two republican and one democratic president, and i am here because i believe william barr poses the greatest threat in my lifetime to our rule of law. that is because he does not believe in its core principle that nobody is above the law. since taking office, he has worked to advance his lifelong conviction that the president should hold autocratic powers, including immunity from nearly all checks and balances and being able to get special treatment for himself and friends. the system that he is working to tear down was put in place in the aftermath of the watergate scandals, which involved extensive corruption and caused a loss of trust. after president nixon resigned, edward leiby acted swiftly to restore trust by supporting reforms to prevent abuses, including statutes like the first inspector general act, expansion of foya, and or the whistleblower protection act. he knew that trust depended on
people believing not ours was a government of trust and laws, that had special significance for the department of justice, whose work you saw imbued with a judicial nature. demandedme powers orderly decision-making processes subject to review on multiple levels and free from improper personal considerations or political interference. he emphasized the critical role of the dedicated professional staff who would bring zeal and determination integrate concern for fairness and impartiality. this vision has been an inspiration to generations of lawyers. william barr's service has been an attack on edward leiby's reforms, indeed on the very idea that a person is above the law. barr has sought to give the president unlimited powers by overwriting many independent processes that operate important checks on the executive branch. here are some things he has done. he has worked to defeat any meaningful oversight, either by
congress or reviewing the courts, through litigation and his own speeches. he has refused to show up in response to requests to appear before congress. he has worked to undermine congress by litigating the president's right to divert funds to pay for his border wall, which congress refused to fund. he has regularly undermined the authority of independent decision-making processes and career professionals whose disinterest he saw as a key element justifying public trust. he has done this by his own statements, such as last march when he whitewashed the extensive findings on obstruction of justice. and last december when he publicly contradicted key conclusions reached by inspector general horwitz in's election interference probe. he vocally reaffirmed positions advanced in presidential tweets. he has also done by enlisting various political cronies to
review into reverse decisions of experienced attorneys, or by simply replacing them and handling members -- matters of personal interest to the president. this is how he accomplished other reversals in the cases of trump associates roger stone and michael flynn, urging a much lighter sentence in one case and outright dismissal and the other. in a number of other matters, such as the intake of information from rudy giuliani and the investigation of requests during the obama administration, barr has set aside certain subject matter to be handled by people in his political inner circle, rather than by career officials who would deal with them in ordinary courts. he has willingly supported the removal of officials when their attention to duty proves politically inconvenient to the president. the treatment of u.s. attorney's jesse lewis in the district of columbia and geoffrey berman last friday, are blatant examples. so is his voicing support of donald trump during april and may of this year, removing five
inspectors general who long served as an important check on executive branch correction. an ever greater extent this spring, you used of the powers of the department of justice to advance the president's political interests and undermine constitutional rights in the functioning of our democracy. consider his apparent role in overseeing law enforcement action on june 1 to deny the right of peaceful protest in lafayette park, or the frivolous motion filed on friday to deny one day later to a joint publication of john bolton's book for disclosing facts embarrassing to the president. or worst of all his flamboyant media discussions of the facts supposedly unearthed by the special commission investigation he is personally conducting with the help of john durham. he has echoed the president's tweets and has characterized the fbi investigation of russian interference as an effort to spy
on the drum campaign, and as he put it, one of the greatest travesties in american history. he has hinted that indictments are likely. this conduct is a textbook violation of justice manual rule bars publicch comment on criminal investigation before charges are filed. as wrong is much worse here, barr is using a criminal investigation to produce fodder further campaign propaganda mill of the president, even though it is false. his conduct gives cause for great concern about what barmaid do next. and 30 seconds. it needs to be said that bill barr does regularly lie in ways of that impact official action. along with his continuing media project to make americans believe that the fbi conspired against donald trump, his statements about the mueller report and his own role in the
events in lafayette park come quickly to mind, so does his practice of shrouding himself in the rhetoric and trappings of the rule of law, even as he desecrates and undermines the institutions and that make it possible. to make him his crowning dishonesty -- of every leiby that a recent article was shown hanging on the wall of his conference room as if -- chairman nadler: the witness will conclude. >> we are way beyond regular order. chairman nadler: the witness can continue. >> to me, his crowning dishonesty is a portrait of edward leavy -- man -- touman -- chair stop the disruption of this meeting. i cannot hear the witness. this is a very important witness. >> he is way beyond his time. if there are no rules, then --
there are no rules about when you commit noise. -- can make noise. chairman nadler: the witness will conclude. >> mr. chairman, this is outrageous. do you have no respect for the rules? chairman nadler: the witness will conclude. >> he is two minutes beyond concluding and you do not let us have that kind of time. you gavel immediately. you are being grossly unfair. this man has a written statement. he new decoded to five minutes. -- knew to cut it to five minutes. either we have roles or we don't. chairman nadler: the witness will conclude. >> bill barr does regularly lie in ways of that impact official action. >> there is no order in the room. >> no, there certainly is not. >> will you have them removed? -- him removed?
chairman nadler: the witness will conclude. >> that is what you said and he didn't. chairman nadler: the gentleman will suspend. >> the last thing i want to sum up with, the last point i want to make is i think his crowning dishonesty in the face of what he is doing to the justice department is the picture that i saw in the new york times a fee weeks ago, a portrait of edward leavy on the wall of his conference room, as though the current incumbent has anything but disdain for his predecessor. thank you. >> mr. chairman, i have a parliamentary inquiry. is it not appropriate for the chair to exercise discretion in extending the five-minute rule as the chair sees fit? chairman nadler: it certainly is appropriate. >> is it authorized under the
rules of this committee? chairman nadler: it certainly is. callen cannot the chair the sergeant of arms to maintain order winning member of this panel is out of order? we will -- chairman nadler: we will move on. >> parliamentary inquiry. parliamentary inquiry. point of order. chairman nadler: there is no point of order. >> here we go again. >> the gentleman is completely out of order. >> the point of order is according to the house rules, the chairman cannot change the rule, it has to be fairly implied. that is not what has happened. that.ot about half of >> you are ruling on my point of
order? chairman nadler: the gentleman has not stated a point of order. >> i said the rules are being violated by a chairman not following the rules of the house by arbitrarily deciding when the five-minute rule will be applied and will not be applied. chairman nadler: the chairman has discretion. a waye you not stated of running the committee in 18 months? chairman nadler: the gentleman has not stated a recognizable point of order. you blewearlier and over it. >> good afternoon, mr. chairman, ranking member jordan and members of the committee. i'm a career attorney with the department of justice. i joined at the department into thousand six, and over the past 14 years i have served under six attorneys general and three presidents. i have spent my entire legal career at the department. although i am a current department attorney, my
testimony is personal and does not represent the views of the department. throughout my career in federal service, i have been taught to do the right thing, for the right reasons and in the right way. that is why earlier this year i asked the doj inspector general to examine whether multiple investigations launched under attorney general william barr were abusive of authority or other misconduct. the first matter i referred to the ig concern to 10 investigations the antitrust division launched into merger activity in the cannabis industry. even mergers were not close to meeting established criteria for these kinds of investigations, yet these cannabis investigations accounted for a full 29% of the division's full review of investigations. these kinds of investigations are rare. 2% of the, only 1% to thousands of transactions that come before the division each
year get a full review. in the first of the cannabis investigations, the merger -- the career attorneys examined and determined the transaction did not call for further review. the staff reached the conclusion using the criteria under the merger guidelines at that have guided the division predicted. 2019,r, on march 5, attorney general william barr called the antitrust division leadership to his office and ordered the division to proceed with a full investigation. the division staff complied, issuing burdensome, 15 page subpoenas that compelled documents from 40 personnel, all at the expense of the companies. although the division ultimately found no evidence of problems, the companies abandoned the merger. the antitrust division went on to conduct smaller investigations of nine other mergers in the cannabis
industry. division staff continued to document at the outset the lack of bona fide interest issues. in some cases, the companies operated in completely different geographies and did not compete at all. nonetheless, the division andinued to issue subpoenas compel the production of millions of documents from these businesses. at one point, the office of agriculture became so overwhelmed with investigations and had to pull in attorneys from telecommunications, media and technology offices. in response, the staff's concerns about the investigations, the assistant attorney general, acknowledged at an all staff meeting that the cannabis industry is "unpopular on the fifth floor," referring to the doj headquarters. the personal dislike of an industry is not a valid basis upon which to ground an antitrust investigation. the next investigations that i
reported concerned an arrangement announced in july of 2019 between california and automakers to limit fuel emissions. after reports at that the president was enraged, he criticized of the deal on twitter. the day after the tweets, antitrust division political leadership constructed -- instructed staff to initiate an investigation that very day. ordinarily, decisions of and $36 billion investigation would take time to calculate. in a hurried investigation, staff acknowledged it had only partially examined public information. members of the committee, i have undertaken -- and am here today because i recognize that the imperative for law enforcement to operate in good faith. i recorded and reported these
matters to the ig, because they are evidence that our antitrust laws were being misused. the laws have protected american markets and consumers for more than a century. the hundreds of career staff at the antitrust commission take this seriously. i thank you for examining these issues and i will be happy to answer your question's. -- your questions. chairman nadler: thank you. general mukasey. mukasey: thank you. good afternoon. thank you for inviting me to testify. the topic of the hearing, claims of a little is asian of the justice department, is serious and important, because the duty of the department is to pursue equal justice under the law and we should expect no less. as you may know, i was
privileged to lead the men and women of the justice department during the george w. bush administration, and before that i served for over 19 years as a district judge in the southern district of new york. that is the perspective i bring to the testimony today. the department needs capable, experienced a leadership, the components reach across the country and of the world, and a handles matters as diverse as antiterrorism and antitrust, and it takes an experienced leader to manage such a department effectively and without reservation. this country that is fortunate that william barr leads one of the most important government department. i do not have firsthand involvement in the particular matters discussed today, but based on my own experience i can assure you those are not issues of first impressions in the department or from the federal courts. the justice department is not politicized because senior officials disagreed with the sentencing recommendations for mr. stone. trial lawyers in the department
as zealous advocates, that is their job, but zeal does not confer perfection or assure justice. my views on this case are no secret, i set them out on a piece written in the wall street journal, where we pointed out that the sentencing guidelines, adopted in 1987 initially as binding on the courts, have been -- under supreme court law. both as a judge and attorney general, have declined to follow sentencing recommendations from trial lawyers. as i attorney general, and wrote, prosecutors are supposed to seek justice, not to play the sentencing guidelines at like a pinball machine to see how many times they can ring the bell. or tractor pressure a judge to impose a harsher sentence, thereby casting doubt on the competence of the government by reading guidelinesin a didactic way. without applying the one element that must be present when you read any laws, whether statute
or guidelines, and that is common sense. case, itly publicized was not only proper but also advisable for the attorney general to assure that the sentencing recommendations not promote that unworthy end. the decision to lower the recommendations was raised by others as well, including career lawyers, one of whom signed the lobar recommendation. attorney general william barr said publicly he believed mr. stone's prosecution was warranted and with his conviction, his sentence was warranted. and that the jail sentence was appropriate. i believe the trial judge agreed that the original recommendation was overly harsh, as her sentence reflects. the justice department is not politicized because prosecutors dropped charges against a general plan. as you heard this morning, the d.c. circuit judge issued a writ of mandamus saying that the prosecution should stop. as i understand, former fbi
director said he sent agents to interview michael flynn without following protocol, and not using proper protocol was not simply a delicate problem of etiquette, like using a fish fork instead of a salad fork, he followed the deputy director's assurance to general plan that he didn't need a lawyer present, and having agents based their investigation on a violation of the law, the logan act, which has never been prosecuted probablylly, is unconstitutional and no rational person would apply to a potential national security advisor in any event. this might, we saw documents showing that that theory was discussed on january 4, 2017, at a meeting in the oval office, which is to say the interview was a pretext for getting general plan, as one senior fbi official put it, "to either lie or admit to something that could not happen."
the duty of the department is to do justice, that is not end after a guilty plea, particular when that plea is procured with a threat to prosecute the defendant's son, which is concealed from the department so it would not have to be disclosed later. that is a particularly gag it is not unheard of for a prosecution to be dropped even after a guilty plea following the disclosure of new information that shows continued prosecution with miss justice. mistustice.to be -- it is helpful to consider a few data points. skepticism about robert mueller's investigation, he allowed the investigation to run its course. he supported the decision not to prosecute the former deputy fbi
director, a frequent critic of the president, despite evidence he lied and berated others for the leaks to deflect suspicion from himself. >> point of order. we are being disturbed by tapping as the chair exercises his discretion in letting the witness testified be on the five-minute rule. i would like for that tapping to stop. if it does not. i would like for the -- in order. >> you're not presiding over this hearing. >> the members will show courtesy to the witnesses. the witness may proceed. >> thank you. as far as the claim that william barr services somehow a , i should point out
these were hung when i was attorney general. he served proudly as attorney general barr's chief of staff. the attack is unjustified. i have had many discussions with general bar about the law and -- general barr about the law and policy issues. it motivates him and his decisions. that is all that motivates his decisions. i think we are fortunate to have a person with his convictions during this difficult time in history. i thank you very much for your indulgence, mr. chairman. >> thank you. we will now proceed under the five-minute rule with questions. --ore i recognize myself i am sorry. we have mr. zelensky on video.
mr. zelensky will not testify -- will now testify. >> good afternoon. aboutere today to testify --ted states purchased united states versus roger stone. i think the committee to allow me to appear remotely today for family reasons -- remotely today, for family reasons, i cannot attend in person. justiceis to see the done in every case without fear or favor, without party or politics. it is unusual for a prosecutor like myself to testify about a criminal case. there may be reasons why my be limited in some respects.
the department of justice has cleared me today to discuss matters related to the roger stone sentencing. let me now turn to the stone case. the first thing that everyone learns is that we treat every defendant equally and fairly. in the u.s., we do not prosecute people based on politics or cut them a break based on politics, either. but that is not what happened here. roger stone was treated differently because of politics. at the time of these events, february of 2020, i was assisting the u.s. attorney. i was not privy to discussions with the political leadership at the department of justice. what happened is based on two things, what i saw and what i heard. what i saw was that roger stone was being treated differently from every other defendant. received breaks that
are unheard of. all the more so for a defendant in his circumstances. the defendant who lied to congress, who remained unrepentant, and made threats against the judge and a witness in his case. thati heard repeatedly was this was happening because of stone's relationship to the president. wasacting u.s. attorney receiving heavy pressure from the highest levels of the department of justice. his instructions to us were based on political consideration. i was told that the acting u.s. attorney was giving stone a break because he was afraid of the president of the u.s. i believe that was wrong. i immediately and reputedly said so. our objections were not heeded. when we refused to go along, we were instructed to disregard the
recommendntirely and a lower sentence for mr. stone. i was told to the best of anyone's recollection, such a recommendation has never been at the united states attorney's office. when we again refused, we were told we could be fired if we did not go along. i notified the office i intended to withdraw from the case rather than file a memo that was a result of wrongful political pressure. while this was happening, i was repeatedly told the department's actions were not based on the law or the facts, but rather political considerations, mr. stone's political relationships, and fear of the president. shortly after my intent to withdraw, they allowed us to file a memorandum regulating the guidelines. we filed a memo and heard nothing. that morning, the
president tweeted the memo was very unfair and cannot allow this miscarriage of justice. we learned the department was going to wish a new sentencing memorandum mischaracterizing the application of the sentencing guidelines and asking for a downward departure for mr. stone. to feed at allowed new proposed memo. at this point, i made a difficult choice to resign from the case and my assignment in the u.s. attorney's office in d.c. resent, because not following orders would violate the oath i took. i am not here to criticize. this is about process. the department of justice rated roger stone's treated roger stone differently than everyone else. i was told the department cut roger stone a break because of his relationship to the president. i take no satisfaction in criticizing the part that -- criticizing the actions of the
department of justice. i have always been and will be brought to be a united states attorney. it pains they to describe these events. jackson said in this case, truth still matters. i will be happy to answer any questions. >> will now proceed under the five-minute rule of questions. before i recognize myself for questioning, without objection, it will be entered into the record. these letters establish the parameters in which they are allowed to testify. i will now recognize myself for five minutes. a. zelensky, you recommended sentence of seven to nine years in prison for roger stone's felony crimes. was your recommendation based on department guidelines? >> yes, it was. years at theour 14
department, did you believe recommendation was warranted? you,want to correct chairman. i've been at the department for about six years this november, based on my experience, i did believe the recommendation was warranted. >> the leadership of the department wanted a lower sentence. when you asked the department why they wanted a below guideline sentence from mr. stone -- for mr. stone, you were told it was "political and because the u.s. attorney was afraid of the president." is that correct? >> that is correct. >> what did you understand that to mean? it to mean that political considerations were weighing in the u.s. attorney's decision, and the concern about the president was driving his decision-making process. >> what were you told could happen to you if you refuse to go along with this recommendation?
>> we were told that we could be fired. >> now, you have described treatedthe department roger stone differently than any defendant because of his relationship to president trump. is this against the department policy? >> it is. >> is it wrong? >> it is. >> is it unethical? >> it is. >> you wrote in your written testimony that it pains you to describe these events. can you explain why it pains you? oath when i took this job, as did all of my across the country. we are in mentally proud of what we do. we are proud to serve in the department of justice. we are proud to prosecute without fear or favor. to describe an education of responsibility like this -- an abdication of her facility like
this -- an abdication of responsibility like this is deeply painful. >> we just heard from mr. zelensky how the department violated its own policies just to appease the president's whu-- whims. the department pursue antitrust investigations against the career attorneys to satisfy the political and personal wins of president trump and senior leadership at doj. >> that is correct. >> do you think these investigations are in the best interest of the american people? >> i do not. >> should the department of -- should the department prioritize investigations that benefit people and set of the president's political vendettas? >> the department should be using its resources in a way that fulfill their mission, yes. to you,ld like to turn you have decades of experience in public service at the highest level of the department of justice.
these witnesses confirm that the attorney general's weaponize and government resources. taxpayer dollars. to pursue investigations that do not in any way benefit americans but advance the president's political agenda. what is the impact on our justice system if barr is allowed to get away with this? >> that may correct one thing. i don't have decades. have a little over one decade. nonetheless, to enter your question. --hink the question is answer your question. i think the number is there are a finite number of resources to be spent to advance a whole lot of areas of our justice system. so you are throwing money away. that is the first thing. the more important thing is that by channeling enforcement efforts into an appropriate ofgets for the purpose harassing people, which i think is often what we are dealing with, and also for channeling
resources and spending time trying to give a special deals -- trying to give special deals to other people, you are not only spending money, you are totally undermining public trust in the system. you are creating a situation -- we are on a worry -- somethingour way to worse then watergate. it's becoming very transparent many things are being done essentially for things that are completely unrelated to the merits of the case. >> mr. zelensky, you testified and came forward because telling the truth still matters. -- i, too,e -- believe the truth still matters. general barr will be held accountable. i recognize a gentleman from ohio. >> today's hearing is yet another attempt to smear this president and his administration. my democratic colleagues were shocked and deeply offended that
the presidency in the first place. they are still grieving they failed to remove him from office through their phony impeachment debacle. now they are targeting administration officials, in this case, attorney general barr, for merely acting within the scope of their duties. where was the outrage when the obama-biden justice department investigated journalists? or when they retaliated against whistleblowers? it is hypocrisy. most people are going to see right through it. it just shows that the majority will stop at nothing and attempting to distract and harass this president and his administration. their efforts are particularly disturbing at a time when a global pandemic has negatively country us all, and the has been rocked by racial strife
and civil unrest. there are other more important things we ought to be focusing our time and attention on. despite an exemplary career, democrats are now going after attorney general barr. why? because he is cleaning up the mess of the previous administration and restoring integrity and honor to the doj and the fbi. messes,g about for the steeleng dossier in the mueller investigation led to a lot of our time and taxpayer dollars. mr. zelensky, you were part of that mueller came -- mueller team, weren't you? >> i was. teamat supposedly unbiased of 17 attorneys consisted of 13 democrats. that doesn't sound very unbiased to me, does it to you? >> i would disagree with the
premise of your question. we are, as i said, career professionals. prosecutors do our job and we do it regardless of party or politics. >> 13 democrats out of 17. there has been public reporting to that effect. attorney,mer deputy general rosenstein, your boss, testified before the senate they hadthat he wished chosen a more politically diverse group. you think he has a point -- don't you think he has a point? >> i don't think it would be appropriate to choose in politics, that is not with the special counsel did in that circumstance. the special counsel, if they had tried to weigh the politics of the prosecutor when choosing them, that would have been
far more deeply problematic than what he did. a coincidental 13 out of 17. something else i would like to point out that shows there was a deep bias on the mueller team they had given $3000 to republican candidates in the past, but $60,000, $62,000 to democrats. do you believe that the department of justice, under attorney general barr, has become politicized? as my colleagues on the other side are alleging? >> as i said, i do not. >> would you agree the attorney general has worked to root out politics and bring transparency back into the department? >> he has spent every effort to try to run the department the way it should be run and conduct investigations on the merits. >> do you believe the attorney
general makes decisions based upon political calculations or upon the relevant facts and the law? >> i believe he makes decisions based on the relevant facts and the law. >> absolutely. i completely agree. i am almost out of time. let me conclude with this. mr. chairman, this hearing is just another sad attempt by you and the majority to attack this administration. attorneylly, the general, unfairly. and it is a shame. because they're so much other important work we should be engaged in -- because there is a so much other important work we should be engaged in. with that, i yield back. >> the gentleman yields back. the gentlelady from california. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
given the appearance of political influence exhibited by and basedistration, on the testimonies presented to us, i am concerned about the integrity of our elections. in february, the attorney general outlined restrictions and policy through campaign related investigations. i would like to make a copy of that memo available in the record. the memo requires no investigations to be opened or initiated of a declared candidate for president or vice president, etc. this is a departure from previous campaign investigation protocol. having heard from witnesses today about the significant political influence affecting the department of justice raises the specter to investigate presidential campaigns could be politically motivated.
with the appearance of political influence over investigation into presidential campaigns, brace by this memo -- raised by this memo, concern you? >> it does. it is one of the number of things that does. august the, the election is upcoming. it is hugely important. -- obviously, the election is upcoming. it is hugely important. the idea that we are not going to be handling a possible investigation related to the selection, we are not going to be handling them in the ordinary course by the professionals were trained to do it, but we are going to have them handled in some special way, which i don't think we know quite how it is. we know it is a number of people mr. barr has set aside and said we will handle this. this is one of a number of areas he has done this. we know of some. i am afraid there are others that we don't. it gets turned over to someone he can trust and set of someone who was trained in the handling
of it. >> i want to talk about concerns -- thee eternal attorney general was abusing. in the statesurt have the authority to send states.ons governing california has applied for and received more than [indiscernible] none have been revoked. as a result, the average cleaner from 99% the 1970's. as we know, the trump administration has attempted to curtail california's action. following that, carmakers in california worked together to emissions that
would work for california. this is important. rateve the highest asthma among children in the united states. a lot of that is because of the i-5 and highway 99. aw thiss announcement, i thought, he is just trying to scare these automakers, to let them know that they are going to have to spend a lot of money if they deal with california, if the law permits them to do so. , initially,ation was or any antitrust concern? or was it simply an effort by ffle thenistration to mu auto companies into not dealing
with the state of california? >> the coincidence and time of the opening of the investigation was the day after the trumped week. -- trump tweet. staff had looked through public if it would see be permissible or not. to answer your question, no, i don't believe there was a proper basis to actually go forward with it. >> well, it looks to me like the department announced these investigations and a bad-faith manner after the president -- in a bad-faith manner. this matters. not in an academic way, but it matters to the l ungs of the children in the sit of california. it is a direct example of how misconduct and political
corruption in the department of impacts one adverse the people of america, and most specifically in this case, the people of california. i would just like to note, i, too, was around during the watergate matters. some parallels, but actually, this is worse than watergate, worse than nixon. i see my time is up, i yield back. >> mr. gomert. >> this is incredible. you call jeff jensen a 20-year -- you callcutor,
jeff jensen, a 20-year prosecutor, a political crony. you just showed your lack of cleta withur lack of credibility little basis in fact. rarely, we have anybody with the chip you have on your shoulder come before us. said bill barr was the first deputy ahead, that was two years after i got into the job. you understand -- i understand you got fired by thornburg. he said he proved to have exaggerated notions of his responsibility to present my resent my --
confidence, soon developing a chip on the shoulder, he took actions in conflict with my wishes. once he sent a letter containing recommendations for corporate sentencing guidelines, now resignation was [indiscernible] hadproved to be the deputy needed from the beginning. i can understand why you would be resentful 30 years later, but hesome point, thoughtfully, will get over his chip. the fact that mr. zelensky, i was going to ask him questions, i understand family matters. i am grateful to my wife for sticking with me for 42 years today. and there are family matters. she is a lot more fair than we are getting around here.
42 years. thank you, kathy. some of us have family matters, too, that are very pressing, but this is very pressing, too. and i will not try to compare those. mr. barr has come and testify, and he is coming again soon, so statements that he would not come here, that is just not true. and you know what? i have not heard anybody, any of these three democrat witnesses concern for the justice department under president obama going after local law enforcement. why? because in the opinion of the justice department they violated peoples civil rights. and a.g. barr had the
same concern that civil rights were being violated by local an irities, and -- and if he had no right, administration also have no right. it is absolutely incredible that people can come in here and after the justice department, dod wasintel, even paying come all these people were involved in trying to prevent a republican from theseng president, and three witnesses do not have any problem whatsoever with that? history will not judge you the days ahead, whether we get to continue this little experiment in self-government or not, because
you have been an accomplice after the fact to what has occurred in the justice department, and you are so biased, you cannot even see it. i don't have a lot of questions for people who don't have credibility, have chips on their shoulders. elias, for heaven's sake, you come in here with your complaints -- it is a shame we do not have a serious hearing. it is just a sideshow. o be called for what it is. if we are concerned about justice, we need to get after the people that created the injustice through the last administration. i yield back. the gentleman kneels back. the gentlelady from texas. >> mr. chairman, i know that we
are not here to discuss personal matters of the witnesses. the generalwledge for his presence here today. we have certainly worked together in the past. let me at knowledge three witnesses -- let me acknowledge three witnesses. i thank you for your service. i am reminded of the time at the doj when those of us, during the civil rights movement, looked to the doj for the relief of been the assistant attorney general for civil rights. honest, straightforward, dealing with not the prices, but the bloodshed of the south. in the midst of fighting for freedom. they were a hand that we held onto. i am disappointed that we now face the circumstances of a drunken party gone wild. sadly, the department of justice has gone wild.
so i think it is important that moveghlight and begin to on correcting the wildness, the -- the out of controlness, and work for the american people. we heard today from all of you about the effects of the president's politicization of his justice department for his own ends. my colleagues on the other side of the aisle would like to suggest this is not true. they want to cover their ears to this injustice. c., ask them what jonathan similar to some of you here in his recent op-ed. if the department truly acted because of the commitments to legal positions, then where is the evidence of those commitments and other cases that do not involve friends of the president?
where are the narcotics cases in which they have filed overruling career prosecutors? where are the attorneys that would not go quietly into the night? there are none. all of the cases are political cases, friends of the president. -- is that because attorney generals regularly led to the american people? when in reality he is being t for prosecuting the president and his circle? of course not. what the department of justice is doing is an unprecedented erosion of our constitutional system. it has gone wild. my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have been refused
to acknowledge the truth for a while. about lafayette square, they said they did not see it firsthand. it is not acceptable to turn a blind eye to injustice. thousands of officials are now coming out to speak truth to power. there are literally thousands of who signed a letter. it is a great threat to the administration in this nation -- and this nation. we are all equal before the law. a person should not be given special treatment in a criminal prosecution. thousands of department the flynnwrote after prosecution expressing the same sentiment. yesterday, members of george washington's law school did the same. over 1000 former doj talked about the rule of law. affidavit is a clear and present danger. -- i believe it is a clear and present gender. and i believe the attorney general must be held accountable
, who yes, has been invited to this committee and has refused over and over again. are these thousands of people right? -- is barr currently a danger to the constitutional order rule of law? an evenhanded administrator of justice? is attorney general barr a current and present danger? yes, congressman jackson lee. i think he is. that was the theme of what i tried to say before. i think essentially, it is for two reasons. he has a personal belief that the president should be above the law, and he has worked very negatingchieve that by the checks and balances, making the president not accountable, stonewalling the congress, stonewalling the southern -- i'mt of new york
sorry, the district attorney's office trying to do a criminal investigation. so preventing information from coming out. and otherwise, essentially putting the president be on the law. the second thing he is doing, this has accelerated this -- he is getting involved in a very political wing. ssentially in using that -- in a very political way. in using the justice department. comments he made about opening up the country, the activities in lafayette square. the most serious problem i am concerned about is his accelerating recitation of this deeptive about obamagate, state conspiracy, whatever it is. the thing we are hearing from ranking member jordan earlier, he is using the fact that he has his own investigation going on
as a basis for supposedly facts to assert that these things are true. number one, i don't believe they are true. more importantly, that is a totally improper misuse of the department of justice. even if those facts were true, to would be a violation of the justice department rules to be reporting to the public on things that he is supposedly finding in that investigation. submitted look at my testimony, you will see just a --y concise, chronicle concise chronicle of the number of times he has gone on television to make these about the in detail things that are going on. one of the ones that i had to chuckle about was on sunday. b., he actually said he was surprised that the public does not seem to be paying attention to the things that he has been saying about these
outrageous things that have been uncovered. he does not understand why people are not paying enough toention to israel or its -- his reports on the durham investigation. that is gross violation of the justice department's policy, even if the facts were true. which i think they clearly are not. we have a real problem here. the trump misbehavior is accelerating as we get closer to the election. i don't know what is next. but am scared to think about what it might be. to submittedke into the record doj alum statement regarding the sentencing of roger stone and the statement on mr. flynn and the doj alum statement to the inspector general. i want to place these at the record at this time. >> without objection. as i notified members during the
markup, i view the wearing of face masks as a safety issue. it is an important matter for order in the courtroom. i am responsible for preserving order and decorum in this committee. i am requiring staff in this hearing to wear face masks. the chairs authority to enforce -- the chair's authority derives from one of the house. the chair will simply appalled at the core of the committee by complying with these reasonable safety standards. whoing that, any member fails to wear a mask will not be recognized. mr. collins.ze >> i would look to make a couple of statements. rule 11, you do not have discretion under the five-minute
questionable to continue that. abouta just and we took political consideration a prosecutor said it. i have a problem going on right now in georgia, where a prosecutor has put political motivations at the heart of going after the atlanta police department. just as was said earlier, it is never acceptable to turn a blind eye to unfairness. this needs to stop. mr. howard does need to remove himself. and the investigation that has never been done and finished needs to continue so right can be done by all parties. you consider yourself -- to be aider yourself career professional? leave my politics at home, yes. >> as a nonpolitical career stuff, did you give the toast of
this committee's majority, staff -- give details to this committee's majority? did you ask it to be detailed to this majority staff? >> had a very preliminary conversation. >> you did have a conversation. was it to work on antitrust policy >>? it was. -- was it to work on antitrust policy? >> it was. i may have also asked for oversight at one point with the blessing of the assistant attorney. nonpolitical career staffer, you are asking to work on impeachment, you wanted to come work for the majority during the impeachment of donald trump. is that not correct? i understand how that answer would be troubling. i think it was a year prior.
i honestly think it was. >> we were the majority before him. this was to the majority. >> it was early 2019. we were starting every investigation known to man at that point. you asked to come to this committee. let's just leave it there. go to your excellent testimony. contendof the -- you that few of the documents produced in response were ever reviewed by antitrust division staff. requests were made for purposes of burdening the company. you cited complaints with the inspector general. is that correct? >> yes. the office of special counsel handed it to the office.
>> as you are reading, and that letter indicated they conducted a thorough review without merit. is that not true? >> they concluded even if the investigation were motivated by animosity, that would still comply with the doj. >> what did the letter say? the review found support for the response. ae industry provided challenge, and it was reasonable to seek additional information from the industry. contrary to the whistleblower
allegation, the documents provided reflect significant and successful negotiations considering the narrowing of the scope of the sector request. the internal memorandum recommended the closure of the regarding the competitive impact of the proposed orders. often explaining how the regulators state competitive concerns, undercutting the discussions you had. this is an adjusting one. in your written testimony, you are not conducting interviews of customers. marijuana is not a schedule one drug. correct? is it a schedule one or not? >> it is on one of them, yes. >> you're part of an antitrust and did not know how it was scheduled? credibility is going downhill quickly here. mr. chairman, at this point in
time, i am entering into the basically letter clearing anything that was done in doj. i ask it to be submitted into the record. >> without objection. the gentleman yields back. elias'to note that mr. political inclinations and prospects have absolutely no bearing with the serious allegations he is making about the attorney general. that is the subject of this hearing. everything else is a personal attack and is a distraction from the corruption he has uncovered in the department. know why some members may want to change the subject. i hope we focus on the issue at hand. >> thank you, mr. chair. it is interesting how all these things kind of come together. today, a three-judge federal that the flynn case could be dismissed.
the person that wrote that opinion was judge rao. had been the agency that reviews regulations and does what trump likes best, which is jeopardize the safety air and water of the american and give into industry and profits and pollution. what he was most well-known for was overriding president obama's regulations on automobile exhaust. she became a judge a year ago. she said today the district ould resultions w in specific harm. if evidence comes to light coming into question the integrity of purpose of an underlying criminal investigation, gives a get of branch must have the authority to decide that for the prosecution is not in the interest of justice. judge rao, who is supposed to look into the
executive branch when what they do is not in the interest of justice? it should have been judge rao. it was one of the three judges. maybe the full panel will review it. they should. the other way to do it is impeachment. impeachment is the process by which the justice department and the executive branch are not pursuing the interest of justice . even if the senate is impotent to see the truth and exercise discretion in keeping with the american public rule of law, we should pursue impeachment of bill barr, because he is raining terror on the role of love. it is questionable when he is doing. -- terror on the rule of law. it is questionable when he is doing. ,ou disparage him because it was an old law that
you did not choose to prosecute? >> -- it.ou disparaged >> i said it was not prosecuted successfully. it was prosecuted twice. in the beginning of the 19th century, both unsuccessfully. it is probably unconstitutional. barr used to the insurrection act of interfere -- that interfere with first amendment rights so he could walk into a church so he can have a photo op with the bible in front of our church. at the secretion of the bible and a desecration of that church. that was in 1807 law. he testified to cases that justice took up concerning areas that otherwise you didn't think were worthy of any trust and
investigations. one was cannabis. -- wast costa that costa folks a lot of money? >> absolutely. -- was that cost to folks a lot of money? >> absolutely. it all comes back to one place, bill barr does not like marijuana, marijuana is seven times more likely to be enforced against young african-americans, breeding discontent with police, breeding directions with police, and barr does not care about that type of stuff, because he doesn't like marijuana, that is ok. that is one of the breeding grounds of distrust and african-americans and police and the. african american contacted problems. . very unfortunate. brought of the antitrust case with the automobile many fractures. did mercedes-benz not join in on that case later? >> that is correct. >> why did you think they did
not join in on the case? i read news reports the german government discouraged that from joining because of the doj investigation. i don't have firsthand knowledge of the events. >> president trump did not like what governor newsom did, got his way, and kept mercedes-benz out of it and was able to try to change them from taking the position to be similar. let me ask you this, mr. zelensky testified that for the , it was on heard of, noe in stone's case, that time, no one in the fraud and public corruption center of the come at noes in d.c. time did he ever recall or anyone recall where the government did not seek guidelines except for trial. do you know of any time they did not seek guideline representation? >> no. >> there is not a case, but bill
barr did it. >> the witness is trying to answer the question. >> i have the time. this [indiscernible] this is another case where politics is overcoming the rule of law and destroying america. i yield back the balance of my time. >> the gentleman yields back. mr. johnson. >> thank you, mr. chairman. questions for mr. zelensky. where are you physically located today? >> i am in my attorney's office. >> what state is that, sir? >> the district of columbia. >> how far are you from where we sit right now? >> i guess about a half-mile. >> what is your reason for not appearing here today, sir? >> thank you for allowing me to clarify. as a prosecutor, particularly, with the experience, i am
hesitant to discuss my family publicly. >> you have family concerns, is what you said earlier? >> have a newborn child, congressman -- we have a newborn child, congressman. we discussed the matter. >> mr. zelensky, because you are an attorney, you know that having a witness appear for cross-examination in person is much more effective and reliable than one who phones it in. thent to point out gentleman who showed up from new york, he has quarantine himself after this hearing. is improper.man the witness is complying with the rules of the house. there is no dissension between people present physically and people present by video. >> it is not an appropriate. you don't get to decide how i asked my questions.
>> yes, i do. >> said in your opening, mr. zelensky, that we don't prosecute people based on politics. do you investigate people based on politics? >> no. you couple of questions for related to the report outlining the fbi's improper surveillance. you are familiar with that, correct? have read press reports regarding it. i have read some of the reports. i have not studied it totally. >> you know what role christopher steele played in the fbi? >> i only know what has been publicly reported and what is th -- what is in the report. >> it states "we concluded teams received election supports in 2016 with a central and essential role in the decision by the fbi odc support
the request targeting carter page as well as of the permit decisionepartment ," is that correct? >> have no reason to doubt your accurately reading from the report. i have been asked by the department not to discuss matters related to the counsel's office. i am happy to go back to the toldtment, as i have been that i should do, to asked them if i can answer your question, and if i am able to, provide an answer at a later time. i am told by the department my testimony today has been cleared only for matters related to the u.s. versus roger stone. >> that is pretty convenient. the subpoena that you were issued said that you are hereby commanded to be and appear before the committee on the judiciary. touching matters of inquiry committed to set committee or subcommittee.
-- you're not theen department committee or subcommittee. we think it is very unfortunate not make europe areas here today, especially since you are half a mile away riskthers took great to be here. this is a very important matter for the country. i think we all agree to that. we have concerned that this is being politicized and that the current attorney general's office is being accused of politicizing something when when he is trying to do was clear up and clean up messes made by the previous administration. many can draw their conclusions. >> will the gentleman yield? >> i will not yield. what theem is not only
process, but with the an equal administration of the rules here. but with the way the committee's time is being used right now, with all the important issues that are within our scope of jurisdiction, with all the pressing matters facing the country right now. this is a farce. we are really sorry you could not be here for it. >> will you yield? >> i will yield. >> when you say with all the pressing issues, is there any issue more pressing than the integrity of the administration? my time.ming we would love to have hearings about the origins of the russia collusion thing you guys wasted the country's time on for five or six months. i yield back. that your time. >> the gentleman -- not your time. >> the gentleman's time has expired. thank you mr. zelensky, mr.
elias, you put duty over country, and you have come to testify today putting your job at risk. youi think the nation owes both a debt of gratitude coming forward as whistleblowers. mr. elias, last summer, the state of california announced that it had reached an agreement with four automakers on air quality standards that would be jumpter than the rules the administration would adopt with the country, correct? >> yes. that is correct. >> president trump in clear that he did not like -- made clear that he did not like that agreement. >> criticized the agreement on twitter, yes. 20, 2019, the new york times reported he was "enraged by california's deal." mr. trump apparently called a white house meeting to retaliate because he resented the fact that california and the four automakers would dare to
undermine his air quality emissions standards. the next day, august 21, trump went public and threatened the automakers, saying these companies "will be out of business" if they do not get in line. ,hen the day after those tweets august 22, the justice department followed through on that threat. --t is when attorney general the assistant attorney general gave an instruction to your division to start an antitrust investigation immediately into those four automakers. is that correct? >> that is when the instruction happened, on august 22. outo the president tweets threats, than the next, the automakers get hit with an antitrust investigation. that is what happened, didn't it? >> normally, for significant
complicated matters, people but time and attention into assessing -- >> they didn't have any time to do that, because the president made the order on august 21, and the investigation began august 22. >> there was very little time between those two events. >> do you you believe the department commits that investigation based on good faith? belief that they had committed a violation of the anti-press laws, or not? >> the career staff saw some very obvious state action. you really have to twist things to get around those. it did not appear to be in good faith, no. >> that investigation did not have anything to do with protecting the american people. from anticompetitive behavior. did it? >> the career staff who reviewed
great concerns about opening it. especially with people who were charged with actually conducting the investigation. and documented their concerns with the legal underpinning of the case. eventuale immune from prosecution for something, because you have a legal defense, you should be immune from investigation. >> bottom-line, it was not a legitimate antitrust investigation. was it? >> that is what my complaint alleges. >> if it had been, the first step would have been for the department to get with california officials and get the facts from those officials, but
>> hasn't said i'm not here to conduct -- critique the judge's sentence. >> you write a 13 page statement where your statement to this committee, you allege all kinds of politics, you go to the justice department and bill barr , you file a sentencing memo in february 10 recommending seven to nine years, the next day your boss files a supplemental metal recommend three to four years and nine days later, judge furman jackson picks the three for your sentence. i don't agree with the premise of your question on two levels. the first is -- >> tell me what in that fact pattern is wrong. nothe supplemental memo did recommend three to four years, a
sentence of incarceration. the supplemental memo mischaracterized other public guidelines. >> i've looked at the supplemental memo and it says 37 to 47 months. the enhancement, those with the numbers in the memo and judge furman jackson picked 40 months. she didn't pick seven to nine years. she sentenced mr. stone to 4 -- 40 months, correct. those in thectly supplement to memo. did you talk to bill barr but your concerns? >> as i stated i did not talk to the attorney general. >> did you talk to the deputy attorney general? >> i was not provided the opportunity. >> did you talk to mr. shea, the u.s. attorney? >> i requested to but was not given a meeting braden >> you
didn't talk any the people who made these decisions did you. >> i requested to speak with the u.s. attorney -- >> i didn't ask if you requested, you -- i asked if you talk to. who is the supervisor? which supervisor are >> you referring to? > the one you referenced about six times in your testimony. it was told to me at the time by my supervisor the u.s. attorney's office. i i just want to be sure that get the right supervisor because there are a couple of supervisors who told me things. the supervisor for the question
you're asking is the supervisor of the fraud and public corruption section at the time of the u.s. attorney's office. >> who? >> his name is j.p. cooney. >> all right, who else. office,e time in the there was a first assistant, a criminal chief, they were all involved in these discussions to my knowledge. >> did any of them talk to the attorney general, the attorney general or mr. shea? >> yes. my understanding is they did. >> did they are didn't they. >> congressman i can only tell you what i know. i can tell you from what i understand. >> it sounds like you heard stuff. you are now bringing to this committee as fact. so-and-so says to someone what they told someone else and you bring that here is fact. yet you didn't talk to the attorney general, deputy attorney general, u.s. attorney made the decision and the judge
sided with their supplemental memo, not the one you signed. >> congressman as i said i don't agree with the premise or use of your question and i'm happy to explain further involving sentencing. my understanding is all the people i mentioned were all in meetings with acting u.s. attorney shea. bad -- this is as bad as the old impeachment, the anonymous whistleblower who had no firsthand knowledge and was biased against the president had worked for joe biden, now we have a so-called whistleblower with no firsthand knowledge who didn't talk to any of the people who make the decisions and who is obviously biased against the attorney general. it seems just as bad as what we went through just a few months back. haveems to be as others pointed out, i know my time is winding down, the real politics here was in some of the investigation and when we have some time i would look to get into that as well. i yelled back.
>> the gentleman yield -- i yield back. >> thank you mr. chairman. mr. zelensky a would like to follow-up on the questions asked about the severity of roger stone's crime. he was convicted on one count of witness tampering and six counts of obstructing a congressional investigation by making numerous false statements, is that right? >> he was convicted on one count of investigation, five counts of lying to congress and one count of tampering with a witness. >> what did he lie about? he lied on a number of things that he was doing in 2016 relating to wikileaks and what he was telling the trump campaign about. >> he lied about providing information -- providing trimt campaign regarding will release material yes. >> were these minor
misstatements? or did they impact the investigation? found and itudge was argued that they impacted the select committee investigation braden -- investigation. >> roger stone to medicated with wikileaks and then lied when he said he didn't tell the trump campaign staff, even donald trump himself, isn't that right? what hetone lied about told the trump campaign regarding wikileaks, that's correct. >> what did roger stone do that threatened a witness? things, he number of told a witness to prepare to die, he threatened the witness's dog, threaten to harm the career of one of the witnesses friends, he written a slew of mass -- nasty messages. >> i know we've been talking about this for a while, it's worth pointing out, he told the
witness to prepare to die, did it these threats worked? did it impact the witnesses testimony? >> it did. help us understand, how do you come up with a seven to nine year recommendation? did you follow guidelines? was it at the top or bottom of the range? incoming to the recommendation come we do it we do in every case, we consult a report prepared by the court, we consult relevant criminal justice policies and look at the guidelines. it's important to understand the guidelines in the application, it was not -- weer looking at that determine what a reasonable sentence would be in this case. >> normally the department
defends recommendations with guidelines reached. >> it is the policy of the department reiterated in 2017 for guideline recommendations. >> in your written testimony you stated it is pressured to submit inaccurate guidelines calculation that would result in a lower sentencing range. what was the nature of that pressure? >> there were meetings members of my team had with the acting u.s. attorney where he sought to get us not to ask for the guidelines that we applied. >> after the pressure you submitted your sentencing memo and then the department leadership submitted a new sentencing memo for lighter sentence, that is very much outside the normal practices. unprecedented and virtually unheard of. >> after your sentencing
recommendation is overruled you and your entire team withdrew from the case. >> we took an oath to prosecute without fear. >> mr. zelensky, it was political pressure that got roger stone a lighter sentence than he deserved. mr. stone got special treatment because of his connection to the president, that is not justice. the rule of law is supposed to mean equality under the law. now this case is a glaring example of bill barr corrupting the doj, undermining equality in our legal system and it's one of the reasons we are here today. you did your job and filed a recommendation to hold roger stone accountable. in the middle of that very night, the president tweeted and bill barr's doj snapped into action the next day to take the pressure off. that is not justice.
i yield back. mr. nadler: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. mr. johnson. mr. mcclintock. mr. biggs. mr. biggs: am i recognized, mr. chairman? mr. chairman, am i recognized? mr. nadler: yes. mr. biggs: thank you, mr. chairman. so, i do find it -- the setting for this to be deliciously ironic. on the day that the circuit court dismissed the flynn prosecution. because, you see, the flynn case typifies the previous administration's abuse of the process for political reasons. you have a political appointee who is attacked, leveraged. they went after him for
political purposes. used and abused the power of the authority they have. in fact, they knew it was bogus all along. stroke's en peter notes indicate pretty clearly that director comey acknowledged that general flynn's phone calls appear legit. and those were the basis for trying to invoke even the logan act. i mean, that's really kind of the way it is. but i think judge -- i thank judge mckasey for being here today. chairman sey, the indicated in his opening that he views attorney general barr as a fixer for president trump. d yet what we have here is attorney general barr saying that president trump has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case. and wishes that he would stop tweeting because it makes it impossible for me to do my job. does that sound like a guy who
ho is a fixer? how about this. , you heard somebody say this that i'm still the president's wing man so, i'm there with my boy, does that sound maybe like -- if that's coming from an attorney general, does that sound like somebody who may be more of a fixer? mr. zelinsky: i don't know about fixer. if i ever said anything like that and i was attorney general, i would have expected to return to the department and find the building empty with a pile of resignations on my desk. mr. biggs: that statement was made by former attorney general holder. my question is, we know that under attorney general holder, d.o.j. went after multitudes of investigative journalists. judge mckasey, you have heard or do you have any information whether -- under william bar,
for whatever reason, that he's gone after investigative journalists? >> i do not. mr. biggs: then we know that under that department, that justice department, they prosecuted whistleblowers. i know president trump has expressed exasperation and disapprobation of certain whistleblowers and wished they were prosecuted. do you know of any prosecutions administered by this administration under william barr of whistleblowers? >> i don't. mr. biggs: we could go over a whole plethora of these types of things. civil rights division. u.s. commission on civil rights. they dismissed voter intimidation lawsuits. i guess my question for you is, do you know of any dismissal of voter intimidation lawsuits on the part of william barr? >> no. although i have to say, i've not made a particular study of
that area. mr. biggs: fair enough. i don't know of any. the fast and furious issue. in that particular situation, attorney general holder would not come in for over a year to testify. attorney general barr has been in to testify, he's indicated a willingness to come back in and testify. the whole plethora of abuses by the previous administration's politicized attorney general's office leads me to ask this question. of my colleagues. and i think it's been typified of what we've seen here today. we've gone through here, there's been -- running over of the minority by the rules. it's really problematic. it really is problematic. if you want to know why this body, this group, this committee gets out of hand from time to time, people talking
across each other, i'm going to tell you what it is. it's when you don't invoke and follow the rules, you become a little bit chippie and that's what we have in this committee. and it's because we don't have the rules fairly and evenly followed. and that's the crying shame of this, mr. chairman. with that, i yield back. mr. nadler: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. mr. richmond. mr. richmond: thank you, mr. chairman. mr. chairman, let me start by saying that part of our colleagues said that the whole hearing is here so we can embarrass the president. let's just be clear. if we wanted to embarrass the president, we would sit back and do nothing and just let him continue to embarrass himself and say that you should drink bleach or disinfectant to cure covid-19, that he slowed down testing, that it will magically go away. or the statement that he's done
more for black people than abraham lincoln. law we just say the thing speakses for itself. so instead of trying to embarrass the president, we would just let him continue to do it himself. what we're here today to talk about is the abuse of power, the miscarriage of justice. let me just go to you, mr. zelinsky. i want to follow up on what mr. deutch was talking about and that is to really understand why roger stone got such special treatment, but make sure we focus on the context of his crime. so what his crime was, was lying to congress about his dealings with the trump campaign. one of the convictions, right? mr. zelinsky: that was one of his crimes, yes. mr. richmond: and the summer before the elections, stone told the trump campaign that he had, quote, a plan to save trump's butt and he knew how,
but -- to win, but it wouldn't be pretty. do you recall that? mr. zelinsky: yes, congressman. i think you've replaced the pro fanity with another one. but that is correct. mr. richmond: then also, mr. zelensky, what was mr. stone's plan? mr. zelinsky: testimony at trial indicated that this was elated -- [indiscernible] -- roich rich did he >> did you find evidence stone was talking a trump? >> yes.
mr. richmond: in fact, witnesses also testified that >> mr. gaetz testified that a and mr. manna foretold that to the special counsel's office. >> did you all find any records of these calls? nsky: as i discussed earlier, it's difficult to know because we can't get content. we can only see -- recall detail records, when calls happened. there certainly are calls within that time period. but it's impossible to know the content, only the people on the calls or anyone that overheard them would know the answer to hat. mr. richmond: he denied being ware that stone was having
information. you found evidence from multiple sources that roger stone regularly communicated with the trump campaign about stolen information. you also found evidence from multiple sources that roger stone talked to president trump, his friend of 30 years, directly during this time? and you have phone records corroborating all of this but yet the president doesn't remember speaking to roger stone. then when you recommend seven to nine years for stone's crimes, all of a sudden your department gets pressure from the top to give stone an unprecedented favorable treatment. is that a correct characterization? mr. zelinsky: congressman, i want to be very careful on how you describe the phone records
that would give corroboration. we have call detail records, they don't give the full universe of possible calls because we only have them for the number that we have. so if, for example, a conversation took place on a line that we had not subpoenaed, or someone else's phone, we wouldn't have them. as i said before, we do not know the content of the calls we know only what people testified. so i want to be very careful as to what we say about call detail records. mr. richmond: that's fair. but let me tell you, as a former defense attorney and lawyer, it's clear to me what happened here. roger stone got special treatment because he was covering up the president's misconduct. and the attorney general made it possible. the double standard here is absolutely sinful. the president's long-time pals, if you're conferring -- covering up his wrongdoing, you're getting special favors. but if you're peacefully protesting brutality, you get tear gassed. with that, mr. chairman, i
yield back. mr. nadler: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the committee will stand in recess for five minutes. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2020]
mr. nadler: the committee will come back to order. mr. mcclintock. mr. mcclintock: thank you, mr. chairman. first, i want to protest the chair's continued practice of denying seats on the dias to members of the committee who cared enough to be personally present out of respect both to the committee process and to the magnitude of the issues before us. this impedes and diminishes our work as members of the committee and it's an
abrogation of the chairman's responsibility to maintain fair and equal access to the committee's proceedings to all members of the committee. now the business at hand. this morning an appeals court issued a highly unusual writ, ardording the trial court to dismiss the flynn case. this came about because of overwhelming evidence illegally with held by d.o.j. prosecutors for years, that the prosecution was contrived, politically motivated and directed not by career prosecutors, but by political operatives at the very highest levels of our government. mr. flynn's attorney, sydney powell, told us she believes mr. flynn was targeted because he knew exactly the extent of corruption in our intelligence agencies and that his appointment as national security advisor was a direct threat to these forces within those agencies. now, we give to our
intelligence and justice agencies the most terrifying powers our government possesses. the power to spy on american citizens, the power to strip people of their privacy, of their livelihoods, of their liberty, and to destroy their lives and even their families' lives. when these powers can be turned against our democratic principles and our republican institutions, we forfeit our constitution and all of the blessings of liberty that it protects. we now know that political activists did that. they took a document that they knew was false and they used it as a pretext to initiate investigation, accusing a presidential candidate of colluding with a foreign power, leaked the existence of that investigation in an attempt to influence the 2016 presidential election, and having failed to do that, then to use it to undermine and obstruct the duly elected president of the united
states. as the truth comes out, and we just saw a bombshell today in the comey notes in the flynn case, the other shoe is about to drop. as tennyson said, the wheels of the gods grind slow but they grind compete exeed little fine -- exceedingly fine. so now we have a concerted effort to undermine these investigations by travesties like the proceedings today. attorney general barr has a responsibility to uphold the rule of law, the equal protection of our laws, and the impartial administration of these laws. that is exactly what he is doing. and that's exactly what makes him such a threat to those who abuse their powers and undermine the rule of law. judge, what happens if our justice and intelligence agencies can target rival candidates, if the incoming n.s.a. director can be targeted
at the highest levels of our government and set up to be maliciously prosecuted, if excessive sentences can be sought against politically disfavored defendants in direct contravention to sentencing guidelines, judge, you devoted your life to the equal protection of the law. what's your assessment of the events that i've referenced and where are we going if these bad actors can go unchallenged and unpunished? >> i think the matters you reference are a serious threat to the faith that people have to have in the functioning of their government in order for this country to continue to function. i was a great supporter and still am of the intelligence community. when people in that community abuse their power, that really shakes people's faith in the work product of that group and in their government generally.
mr. mcclintock: what would you tell the american people they need to know? mr. mukasey: how long do you have? i think the people are going to find out what they need to know in due course when investigations now under way run their course and we'll find out what happened. mr. mcclintock: are you concerned that there is a converted effort to derail those investigations before they're completed and the truth is out? mr. mukasey: i don't know about derail -- derail. mr. mcclintock: these proceedings, for example? mr. mukasey: these could have the effect of tainting the attorney general and through him john durham. but john durham has been at this for a long time. he had the faith of three ttorneys general at least. he's had four. mr. mcclintock: hopefully the truth will out and justice will be served. thank you.
mr. nadler: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. jeffries. mukasey, i mr. represent you but these proceedings are a part of the co-equal branch of government. we don't work for donald trump or any other president. we work for the american people. we have a constitutional responsibility to serve as a check and balance on an out-of-control executive branch, the attorney general and the department of justice under his leadership is out of control. works for general the people. he's not the white house counsel. he's the attorney general and the department of justice should be an agent of liberty and justice for all americans regardless of political affiliation. now, mr. zelinsy, you testified
that -- zelinsky, you testified that the in the many cases you've been privileged to work in your career, you've never seen political influence play any role in presidential decision making, with one exception. united states vs. roger stone. is that correct? mr. zelinsky: that's correct. mr. jeffries: and you were the lead prosecutor on the roger stone case, which included a variety of different criminal charges such as lying to congress and witness tampering, is that that right? mr. zelinsky: i was a lead prosecutor on the roger stone case. mr. jeffries: and these were serious offenses, is that correct? mr. zelinsky: yes. mr. jeffries: they undermined the rule of law, true? mr. zelinsky: true. mr. jeffries: now your prosecution team was pressured by the highest levels of the department of justice to cut roger stone a break. is that correct? mr. zelinsky: that is correct. mr. jeffries: and specifically,
you were pressured to ask for a substantially lower sentence for roger stone than what you believed the facts justified, is that true? mr. zelinsky: in addition to mitt -- sured to [indiscernible] -- yes. mr. jeffries: you were also pressured to distort the events that transpired during the course of the trial, is that right? mr. zelinsky: both during the course -- the events leading up to the trial, mr. stone's criminal conduct, and some events in the trial itself. yes. mr. jeffries: can you give us one example of the type of distortion that you were asked to engage in? mr. zelinsky: so, for example, involving mr. -- the witness that was intimidated by mr. stone, he both testified at trial and submitted a letter after the fact. the letter seemed to indicate that he wasn't as worried about the witness intimidation, but
he had previously testified before the grand jury and he also said at trial that he was concerned about what others might do as a result of mr. stone's actions. we were pressured to say that the witness had no concerns and express nod worries as a result of mr. stone's obstructive conduct. mr. jeffries: the reason you were pressured to modify your overall sentencing recommendation was because of roger stone's close relationship with president donald trump, is it that correct? mr. zelinsky: that is what i was told. mr. jeffries: you were even warned that if you did not toe the line and give roger stone special and preferential treatment, you could, quote, lose your job, closed quote, is that correct? mr. zelinsky: that is correct. mr. jeffries: are you also told that the acting u.s. attorney was giving roger stone favorable treatment because he was afraid of president trump, is that right? mr. zelinsky: yes. mr. jeffries: notwithstanding
this pressure, you refused to cut roger stone a break and you filed your sentencing recommendation, which included seven to 10 years in a proposed prison sentence, that right? mr. zelinsky: i believe the upper end of the range guidelines as we filed was nine. mr. jeffries: seven to nine years. just a few hours after your filing, the president tweeted that it was, quote, horrible and very unfair situation, cannot allow this miscarriage of justice, closed quote. is that true? mr. zelinsky: yes. mr. jeffries: and the department of justice thereafter quickly filed a new sentencing recommendation for roger stone that reduced the number of years proposed that he would serve in prison for his crimes, is that true? mr. zelinsky: yes. actually reduced the number of potential years to zero because it said that he should have a sentence of incarceration, but it provided no information as
to what that sentence should be. mr. jeffries: finally the department of justice gave roger stone special treatment because of his close relationship with president trump, is that fair to say? mr. zelinsky: that is what i was told. mr. jeffries: thank you. i yield back. mr. nadler: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. mr. gaetz. mr. gaetz: thank you, mr. chairman. roger stone should be pardoned, i believe roger stone will be pardoned. and then this proceeding will look even more ridiculous than it does today. i fear that my democrat colleagues tend to behave the worst when they are caught, undoubtedly the obama administration and their allies in the deep state were caught entirely offguard by the election of president trump. they believed that their smears and coup attempts against him would be like an insurance policy in the event that you die before you're 40. they believed he should lose 100 million to zero. then of course he won. and democrats were caught yet again. this time the d.n.c. and the
hillary clinton campaign, colluding with russia, utilizing a dossier that we now know had its subsources targeted by russian intelligence. it's not a debate point. that is a finding by the inspector general. and now we see house democrats caught yet again with a failed impeachment, with the lack of an agenda. and as we sit here today, america's cities are burning. our monuments are being desecrated. our history is being presumably erased by people who are ashamed of the united states of america. and we have the audacity to have a meeting about the rule of law on a case that's already over, on an impeachment that is already failed when there is real work for this committee to do. it's a joke. i yield to mr. jordan. mr. jordan: i thank the gentleman for yielding. i thank him for his well-stated comments. you took issue a few minutes ago when i said there was just
one problem, the judge disagreed with you. i want to read for the committee and for those viewing what judge jackson said. she said, i agree with the defense and with the government's second memo. so she didn't agree with your memo, she agreed with the second supplemental memo and the defense team for mr. flynn. you also mentioned a few minutes ago that the supervisors, in your testimony you said that you were told at the time by my supervisors in the u.s. attorney's office, and i didn't get those names. so if you could give me nimes i would appreciate it -- names, i would appreciate it. mr. zelinsky: so, congsman, i had earlier indicated that my supervisor, my immediate supervisor in the office, was the head of the fraud and public corruption section. i told you his name was j.p. kuehne.
mr. jordan: your testimony says my supervisors. it's plure -- plural. who else? mr. zelinsky: the first assistant in the u.s. attorney's office. mr. jordan: that is who? mr. zelinsky: alesio -- i will have to get back to you. off the top of my head, i confess, he's no longer the first assistant. his last name escapes me at this moment. but i will tell you immediately when it comes to my mind. mr. jordan: something this important, you can't remember the person's last name who told you. you're here as a so called whistleblower. where the the chairman of this committee indicated he wants to impeach bill barr. this is amazing. how about on page 10 where you said, i was explicitly told that the motivation for changing the sentencing memo was political and because the u.s. attorney was, quote, a afraid of the president, who told you that? mr. zelinsky: that was the supervisor of the fraud and public corruption section that i referenced earlier. mr. jordan: mr. kuehne? or the name you can't remember? mr. zelinsky: mr. kuehne.
mr. jordan: ok. tell me about joseph -- mr. zelinsky: congressman, i apologize that it took me a moment to come up with the name. aless yo, the first assistant's name is evangelista. mr. jordan: tell me why the special counsel didn't charge joseph with lying to the f.b.i. he lied three times. you charge everybody else, you charged flynn and stone and 13 russians, no one had ever seen. we know that the flynn charge was wrong. as evidenced by what happened today. but why didn't you charge joseph who lied to you guys back in february of 2017? mr. zelinsky: i have been told by the department of justice that my testimony today should adhere to the four corners of the special counsel's office report. the privilege issues going outside of that, i would be happy to consult with them, see if they will -- mr. jordan: you were awful quick just a few minutes ago, here's the sentence. manafort told the special counsel. sourp fine talking to democrats about what manafort told the
special counsel. i'm asking you a simpler question. joseph, the guy who first tells papadopoulos that they have dirt on the clintons, papadopoulos then tells the foreign diplomat who tells the f.b.i. and then we get this investigation takes there's years. when you interview him, he lies three times. i'm just asking why you didn't charge him? mr. zelinsky: i want to address your issue as to why -- mr. nadler: the time of the gentleman has expired. mr. cicilline. mr. cicilline: thank you, mr. chairman. you are courageous american heroes. because of you and others like you, our justice department has been the envy of the world. equal justice is a founding rinciple of our great country. justice without fear or favor,
without party or politics. we say in our pledge of allegiance, liberty and justice for all. those words mean something. and in the face of staggering evidence of corruption, of misconduct, of lawlessness, we hear the same refrain from our colleagues on the other side of the aisle. you just don't like the president. but of course the answers is we love our country. we love the rule of law. we love our system of justice and we love the integrity of the department of justice. and we're deeply troubled by the testimony that's being presented today and what it says about this attorney general and this president. so, as the chairman of the anti-trust subcommittee, i'm extremely troubled by the testimony that you have provided that confirms that the trump administration has weaponized the department's anti-trust division to reward friends and punish enemies. for years public reporting has suggested that the trump administration has been wielding anti-trust in this abusive way. from the at&t-time warner merger, which was blocked at the president's direction, to the sprint-t-mobile merger and
disney-fox transactions, both of which the d.o.j. approved despite serious anti-competitive concerns, allegedly due to personal ties to president trump. i'm coming back to the fact on why the investigation into four mainly automakers was ever opened. because there seems to be no evidence to support it. in fact, at a senate hearing last year, the chief of the anti-trust division told senators, and i quote, i have nothing. when he was asked if he had any information of misconduct, to justify this investigation of automakers. your testimony today seems to confirm without question that there was in fact simply no basis to support the investigation. but i want to be clear. do you have any evidence that these automakers did anything wrong when they agreed to adhere to california's strict admissions standards? >> i would say they had clear legal defenses for what they were doing under well-established anti-trust procedures. mr. cicilline: was there any
evidence that this investigation would in any way help the american people? >> i'm not aware of any, no. mr. cicilline: but there is evidence in your mind that this investigation was opened in bad faith to cater to the president's political whims, isn't that correct? >> i think the coincidence in time between the president's tweets and the instruction the next day to open the investigation could lead to the infor instance that you're describing. mr. cicilline: i'm correct in saying that the investigation was closed without any evidence of wrongdoing found, correct? >> correct. mr. cicilline: your testimony makes clear to me that this investigation was meritless, had nothing to do with protecting the american people or consume, and everything to do with helping the president retaliate against automakers and support the president's feud against a specific state. and what's worse, the attorney general used taxpayer money to do this. you've described an entire division, writing a memo and all staff meeting, weeks and weeks of work. given this investigation was clearly not about protecting the interests of the american people, and my -- am i correct that it still required the
expenditure of significant resources? mr. elias: it did require some staff and attorney time and use of funds that did not ultimately yield a real violation. mr. cicilline: so rather than pursuing meritless investigations in support of the president's personal vendetta, the resources could have been used and better spent elsewhere, do you agree? mr. elias: yes. mr. cicilline: finally, what has been the effect on morale in your division, given that the attorney general is pursuing investigations based on the president's tweets and not on what is best for the american people. mr. elias: i do know that in the survey, the anti-trust division is now ranked 404 out of 420. mr. cicilline: thank you. the president is of course free to pursue an anti-environment agenda within the confines of the law but there's a line of the department prioritizing executive policies and prosecuting companies and
individuals solely to retaliate against the president's perceived political answermy -- enemies. can you describe the difference between the department prioritizing an administration's policies and what happened here? and what effect does it have on our justice system and democratic institutions if the president uses the department to attack those he disagrees ith without legal cause? >> [indiscernible] -- the whole premise of a system of justice is that it will be brought to bear on the facts as they are and proceed pursuant to the best assessment that hard-thinking and hard work can bring to it in terms of what action is appropriate. and the citizens of the country need to have trust that things are being done in an evenhanded way for good reasons. the problem comes when there starts to be a widespread sense
of concern or doubt that the government is actually taking an often harsh action, sometimes punitive and criminal actions, other times civil enforcement actions, and -- or otherwise in civil cases acting in a way to help special for someone reasons that are totally unrelated to the public or any evenhanded considerations. then trust breaks down as it did after watergate. that's not a place we want to be as a country. because order starts to deteriorate. mr. nadler: the time of the gentleman has expired. mr. cicilline: i have unanimous consent request. mr. nadler: the gentleman will state his request. mr. cicilline: i ask unanimous consent that this letter signed by over 1100 former u.s. attorneys and justice department officials, both republicans and democrats, would strongly condemns president trump and attorney general barr's interference in the administration of justice and calls on the attorney general of the united states to resign be made part of the record. mr. nadler: without objection.
mr. cline. mr. cline: thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank our witnesses for being here. mr. zelinsky, i wish you were here in person. i want to ask you in particular, you've already been asked about the 13 of the 17 attorneys in the special counsel team registered democrats. what was andrew weissmann's role in the special counsel investigation? mr. zelinsky: he was a senior assistant special counsel, i believe, was his title. mr. cline: were you aware that he sent an email to then-deputy attorney general sally yates saying he was, quote so, proud and in awe, end quote, of her, after she disobeyed president trump? were you mr. ayotte: wear of that? mr. zelinsky: i'm familiar with that press report, yes. mr. cline: do you in this compromised the appearance of an independent investigation? mr. zelinsky: i think that the office did our job and we did our job fairly and truthfully. mr. cline: so you don't think that that email compromised the appearance of an independent
investigation? mr. zelinsky: i think the investigation was independent and i am not able to comment beyond the confines of the report. but i can tell you that -- [indiscernible] -- we follow the law. mr. cline: what did special counsel mueller do after he found out about the email? he didn't remove him, correct? mr. cline: -- mr. zelinsky: -- i'm sorry, remove her. no, remove weissmann. mr. zelinsky: i want to be very careful, congressman, for the same reason that the congressman referenced earlier. i have to go to the department to be able to talk about matters that are outside the scope of the special counsel office's report and receive their permission to do. so the government has -- the department of justice has given me permission today to discuss matters related to the stone sentencing. they have not given me permission to discuss internal matters in a special counsel's office that are outside the scope of the four corners of
the special counsel office's report. if you would like, i can go to the department and i will ask them for permission to answer your questions. mr. cline: you've spoken to things you have read in the press or seen in the public sphere, correct? [talking simultaneously] are you aware that weissmann agreed to host a fundraiser for candidate joe biden's victory fund? mr. zelinsky: i read press reports to that effect. mr. cline: ok. are you aware of unauthorized press leaks coming out of the special counsel's office? mr. zelinsky: no. mr. cline: ok. has the justice department office of inspector general ever contacted you about unaltogether rides -- unauthorized leaks to the media? mr. zelinsky: they have not. mr. cline: are you aware of justice department of inspector general has contacted anyone else at special counsel's office about unauthorized leaks to the media? mr. zelinsky: i am not. mr. cline: all right. with that, i'm going to yield to the gentleman from ohio. mr. jordan: i thank the gentleman for yielding. mr. mukasey. i want to you look at this
chart up here. this is in my mind, what politics at a justice department looks like. hillary should win 100 million to zero. trump's not ever going to become president, right? that's from lisa page to peter strzok. peter strzok answered no, no, he's not. we'll stop it. this is not just any old person saying we'll stop it. this is peter strzok, deputy head of counterintelligence at the f.b.i. and the guy who ran, ran the investigation into hillary clinton, code name midyear exam, and ran the investigation, crossfire hurricane, into the trump-russia, so call trump-russia collusion. that's what politics at the justice department looks like. not what the democrats are serving up today. your response, mr. mukasey? mr. mukasey: that's not the only exchange, i think, that suggests politics. in fact, there's one that hasn't gotten very much attention that occurred on the
night that ted cruz withdrew and donald trump became the only candidate for the republican nomination. and there was an exchange where one said to the other, i can't believe this guy is going to be the nominee. and the response was, this raises the pressure to terminate m.y.e. m.y.e. was midyear exam. how the candidacy of donald trump could raise the pressure to terminate n.y.e. has been something that's mystified me ever since i saw that. mr. jordan: no kidding. it shouldn't matter who the candidate is for the other party, determining how and when and why you close an investigation or what you do in an investigation. mr. mukasey: right. mr. jordan: thank you very much. yield back. mr. nadler: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. mr. swalwell. mr. swalwell: mr. zelinsky, on
july 24 of last year, special counsel mueller described in his testimony to this committee that there were identified gaps in his investigation that he could not account for. do you recall that testimony? mr. zelinsky: i do. al swal -- mr. swalwell: and that includes lies, deletion of text meanings and obstruction of justice. is that right? mr. zelinsky: it is what the special counsel's office report says. mr. swalwell: defendants are rewarded for accepting responsibility early in the proceedings for their sentences, is that right?
we saw that with national security advisor. withd secret conversations the russians as former national advisor. lied to vice president pence. lied to the f.b.i. and twice admitted that he had guilty. pleaded then comes trump. he tweets repeatedly this never have happened, and mr. flynn -- the zelinsky, this has been dropped. is that correct? zelinsky: that's what i heard. mr. swalwell: michael cohen, former lawyer to president trump, charged with counts of statements.d false
pleads guilty early in the proceedings. president trump said he wants prison.s in michael cohen was sentenced try years, is that correct? i have no reason to doubt what you're saying. zelinsky, l: so mr. you're a career prosecutor. you just want to follow the evidence. how does that make you feel as a how does it make your colleagues feel when you see your hard work and evidence being sidelined for political preferences? zelinsky: congressman, in the wake of the stone motion, i heard from many united states attorneys country.t the many of whom i did not know about how disappointed they were with what happened.
were you ll: why disappointed? mr. zelinsky: i was disappointed took an oath to do our job, to follow the law, to department's policy and to do what's right and what happened here was wrong. attorney ll: has general barr ever publicly mischaracterized findings from report?ler mr. zelinsky: i can speak to the counsel's office's report. i have not been authorized by the department to characterize attorney general's comments on it. of n ask the department justice whether or not i will be given authority to answer that will come itted i back and answer it. mr. swalwell: mr. zelinsky, you give us hope. forward.come you're currently working in the administration and you're doing it in the spirit of people like holmes who testified during the impeachment inquiry, working as a political officer, people like bill people like fiona hill
and marieio voinovich. your courage today to talk about political preferences in this prosecution inspires and begets future forward. to come you did withdraw from the case and left the d.c. office. why you did us that? mr. zelinsky: i did that because what had happened was wrong and did not want to be a part of what had happened. and so i withdrew. you.walwell: thank mr. chair, i'd ask unanimous consent to enter into the record bipartisan letter from 159 new r southern district of york prosecutors expressing heir extreme concern about the resignation/firing of mr. berman district.thern i yield back. mr. nadler: without objection, the gentleman yields back. mr. rushen that aller. chairman.ou, mr.
i want to thank you the witnesses who had the decency to thank you.rson so now, once again, just aptly disappointed but not surprised across the eagues aisle are continuing to waste our time chasing ghosts rather working for the american people. certain, a.g. barr, who is a serious law enforcement fficer, he has a sterling reputation, to runaround and say e's interfering, he's running political interference for the president, it's absolutely laughable. cleaning up what are the ruins of the obama-biden d.o.j. particular, he's cleaning up rom jim comey who weaponized and politicized the f.b.i. look at ubt me, just the treatment of former national flynn.y advisor michael those were political abuses. gamesmanship ical
that was orchestrated by f.b.i. director comey and what i call married band of never trumpers. omey's f.b.i. used the logan act. for those of you that don't highly e logan act is problematic and frankly highly unconstitutional. it makes it illegal for u.s. in zens to engage unauthorized foreign diplomacy. despite this, the f.b.i. act general flynn even though they knew he would never obscure d with the offense. in fact, since its enactment, usedogan act has only been twice to prosecute individuals. 1802 and one in 1852. and both were acquitted. go afterhy use this to flynn? well, according to the handwritten notes, the f.b.i.'s was, quote, truth/admission so we can im to lie
prosecute him or get him fired, end quote. time the the same t.b.i. was dooeding -- the doodling these notes, former secretary of state john meetings with ng the palestinian authority. senator feinstein had dinner yienian foreign minister. yet, neither of those individuals were questioned logan act violations. so clearly the charges against lynn were politically motivated. i should note this morning an ppeals court noted that -- the appeals court ruled in flynn's favor, ordering dismissal of the case. if the d.o.j. recognized the logan act's futility, f.b.i. was not supported of using the law -- still use the law to entrap flynn. an f.b.i. lawyer, in county if a, testified before congress and viewed the logan act as, quote, untested. would lead an act
the d.o.j. to vulnerable risk, unquote. but that didn't stop director comey from using it to attempt sabotage the trump transition team. if my democrat colleagues want to accuse someone of d.o.j., they he should start with director comey. mr. zelinsky, what's your view counsel -- the special counsel's office toward the logan act? zelinsky: congressman, i'm broken sound like a record, but i have been told by the department of justice that deliberative process concerns that the discussion of the special counsel's office and there outside the confines of the report, i'm happy to discuss the special office's report as i am happy to go to the -- mr. reschenthaler: how do you explain the discrepancy the of general flynn and secretary kerry and senator
feinste feinstein? mr. zelinsky: congressman, i'd need to consult with the department of justice before i question.t mr. reschenthaler: reclaiming my time. let's switch gears and talk probe.he mueller's i was following the news and it seemed like there were a lot of leaks during that time. did you talk to the press during mueller investigation? mr. zelinsky: never. know schenthaler: do you of anybody that talked to the press? sorry.insky: i'm i'm not quite sure i heard your question. know schenthaler: do you of anyone that talked to the press? that was working on the investigation, did you know on that team that was talking to the press? mr. zelinsky: aside from our relations professional, no. mr. reschenthaler: judge, in d.o.j., did youe ever use the logan act? >> sorry? mr. reschenthaler: did you ever use the logan act? >> no.
not?eschenthaler: why >> i was never -- i was never aware of any situation that conceivably been covered by it. mr. mukasey: had i been, i think i would be have been hesitant to use it. umber one, i believe it's unconstitutional. mr. reschenthaler: thank you. mr. chairman, i yield my time. my time has expired. mr. nadler: the time of the gentleman has expired. mr. lieu. thank you, chairman nadler. contact why we are even here today. we're here because the russians and systematically 2016. our elections in roger stone also coordinated with members of the trump campaign and spoke to donald himself. the trump campaign embraced the stone emails, planned their messaging based on the russian hack. was hen after roger stone
convicted multiple times, bill justice hadtment of the recommendation. that's a per version of justice. i'm a former prosecutor. and it's clear to me that the only reason we're able to take of extraordinary step mocking people up -- locking people up in prison because the believe that the processes are fair and based on the facts. one of the greatest dangers to is when people start elieving that prosecutors are tainted based on who the defendant happens to know. unfortunately, under bill barr's epartment of justice, friends of donald trump get grace and special favors from the epartment of justice that no ordinary american could ever get. y questions are for mr. zelinsky. mr. zelinsky, before you worked at the department of justice, clerked for judge thomas griffith of the d.c. circuit. a republicanted by president, correct? mr. zelinsky: that's correct. by president ed
george w. bush. then you clerked reagan.president mr. zelinsky: that's correct. before you became a judge you had to take an oath before the united states correct?ion, mr. zelinsky: before i became an assistant united states attorney on d to take a similar oath a number of occasions, including clerkships you just said, congressman. mr. lieu: so your client is not barr. trump or bill it's the constitution of the united states and the american people, isn't that right? correct.sky: that is mr. lieu: on behalf of the american people you and career submitted a sentencing memo of seven to nine roger stone, is that right? mr. zelinsky: that aptly describes the sentencing yes.andum, you ieu: when judge asked
to support that recommendation, she said -- zelinsky: the sentencing memo complied with all law and practice and was supported by record. mr. lieu: after you submitted that sentencing recommendation, president of the united states went nuts and said it was unfair.le, another memo was submitted by the people above you. were you told why they submitted memo of a lower sentencing recommendation? that linsky: i was told the u.s. attorney taking action he was afraid by the president. earlier.d that i was told there was heavy political pressure from the highest levels of the department a justice to cut roger stone break. r. lieu: did any career assistant attorney signed that lower sentencing recommendation? none.linsky: mr. lieu: in the memo you submitted initially, were you
portions of ve roger stone's misconduct? zelinsky: we were. unusual? is that mr. zelinsky: i never had that before. lieu: to be clear, that is not your problem what happened. not that something was asked you about the sentencing guideline. was the process. the reason it was done is because roger stone was a friend president trump and the acting u.s. attorney was scared of the u.s. president, is that right? r. zelinsky: that's one of the problems. there were flaws in the sentencing -- second sentencing shoulddum that i believe not have been submitted as well esides the recommendation itself. mr. lieu: and you believe those flaws were done because roger friend of donald trump? mr. zelinsky: i was told that acting united states attorney was taking the actions because he was afraid of
donald trump. i was not told why the second memorandum was done the way it was because by the i had was filed withdrawn from the office and i was not given the ability to review the materials, nor was i who was writing it. mr. lieu: thank you. my last question. do not prosecute people because of politics. you wrote, we don't cut them a of their politics either. was roger stone cut a break to use of his connection donald trump? mr. zelinsky: that is what i was told. and that is what appears to have happened to me. mr. lieu: thank you and i yield back. nadler: the gentleman's time has expired jabs # -- the gentleman yields back. mr. raskin. mr. raskin.
unmute your mic rone phone. -- microphone. ok. ms. jayapal. ms. jayapal: thank you. mr. zelinsky, let's make this simple for the american people. you testified today that you were told the motivation for rogering the sentence for stone, the president's long time riend, was because the u.s. attorney was afraid of president trump, is that correct? zelinsky: correct, among other things. ms. jayapal: and in other justice r, the department leadership based a sentencing recommendation not on law, not based on
whether roger stone deserved the sentence, but simply to appease the president, is that right? waszelinsky: that is what i told. ms. jayapal: thank you, mr. zelinsky. u.s. attorney the was afraid to go against the u.s. president. jeffrey berman said his the tigations, including president's close inner circle, ould continue without fear or favor. and now he's gone. clear -- the rules of this president and attorney general barr are clear, that is, give the president's friends treatment, keep your job. but dare to pursue justice, dare to hold the , dare president's friends accountable, and you will be removed. but mr. zelinsky, you went ahead your sentencing recommendations in spite of these pressures and threats. can you tell us why? zelinsky: because it was the right thing to do. ms. jayapal: and you're there to do the right thingnd a i appreciate that and your coming
this.d to discuss mr. elias, i'd like to switch opics and go back to the department's investigation about 10 can bass companies -- cannabis companies to make sure consider those to be sham investigations, investigations predicated on the interests of the attorney general and the president rather than the facts or the desire to consumers.rican approximately how many d.o.j. staff were pulled to work on investigations? mr. elias: congresswoman, there staff, ens of paralegals, economists and worked on these various cases. ms. jayapal: and they produced documents from the files of 40 employees at the d.o.j.'s risk, is that correct? the first ofat was 10, yes. ms. jayapal: so potentially 10 the numbers were applied. and when the d.o.j. received these documents, is there any that the entirety of these documents were even
reviewed? think a small number of the documents were reviewed. ms. jayapal: in one of the some documents were not even uploaded, is that correct? r. elias: they were uploaded after the closing process had been initiated as if they were ir-re to the investigation and the process. ms. jayapal: so they were equested, enormous resources, taxpayer dollars were used, these documents were not really relevant to the investigations and so to be clear, at attorney general departmentction, the expendz countless taxpayer esources to force companies to ultimately produce millions of pages of evidence and doesn't some of at or upload that evidence before admitting there's a violation. given your as, experience in public service, have you ever seen anything this taxpayer dollars to conduct an investigation over he course of months on an entire industry and not even uploading evidence before
there's no violation? mr. elias: in my experience, which includes 14 years at the department, at many different levels in the antitrust division, no, i have seen anything like that. ms. jayapal: can you explain to the american people, why is it concerning? mr. elias: it's concerning the investigations and the work of the antitrust division need to be done in good faith. done eed to be evenhandedly. both for the sake of everybody involved and for the sake of the public's perception of the rule of law. nd the justice department is being -- calling balls and strikes as they truly are. disregard the usual what rds and the law on counts for an antitrust investigation is improper and an abuse. ms. jayapal: you're just saying the justice department should be pursuing justice. yes.lias: ms. jayapal: i want to thank you for your bravery in coming here today. think we all have to ask ourselves what this means for know.e do not even
this is a pattern that has been consistent. bill barr lied to the american mueller report. he ordered the military to tear gas peaceful protesters just so could have a photo power ofw is using the the justice department for corrupt purposes in these instances that we are today.gating he's doing all of these things, what else is happening that we even know about? bill barr appears to be a hench president's likes and dislikes, not the attorney general of the united states justice under the law. he's abandoned his responsibility to uphold the constitution. longer working for the american people, and we must stop that. you, mr. chairman, and i yield back. mr. nadler: mr. nadler: the gentlelady yields back. mr. raskin. ok.
mrs. demings. mrs. demings: thank you so much, mr. chairman. chairman, i care about the rule of law. office bout the oath of that i've taken and that we've all taken and what it means to that oath of office to heart. r. zelinsky, first of all, congratulations on the birth of your child. want to thank you for career nonpartisan prosecutor who treats people equally and fairly. i believe that those would be welcome words, especially time in our nation when we're seeing civil unrest 50 states. a justice department that treats people equally and fairly. we know that most people in a fixer ry don't have
title attorney general. your linsky, in testimony -- i think it's so important we keep our eye on the ball. heard so many distractions here today, but i'm to keep ing my eye on the ball, to work hard to make we do create a more perfect justice. mr. zelinsky, in your testimony, you stated that political ressure resulted in the virtually unprecedented decision o override the original sentencing recommendation and he filling of a new sentencing memorandum that includes the tatements and assertions that are contrary to the department of justice policy. in the on to say that fraud and public corruption
of the united states attorney's office for the columbia, you could never recall -- you couldn't even recall a case where the did not seek a guideline sentence after trial. that correct?is mr. zelinsky: that's correct. else in the one u.s. attorney's office recall such a situation. to be clear, you could not recall and nor could else in that office recall it either, is that what you just said? zelinsky: yes. mrs. demings: thank you, mr. zelinsky. mukasey, during your onfirmation hearing, you said, i appreciate these words, i served in the department and the attorney's office, sdny, 35 ago. i was never asked what my
politics were. know the politics of women there. and still do not. not matter, it had nothing to do with our job, othing to do with the way we did it and could not have anything to do with the job -- cannot have anything to do ith the jobs of the people in the justice department today. as we find ourselves in this moment, mr. mukasey, do you stand by your statement? mr. mukasey: i do. and could you please explain to me why you do stone l that the roger case has anything -- the ecisions that had been made in this case has nothing to do with politics and do not compromise here today and statement you head during your confirmation? the initial sentencing recommendation was wildly inappropriate.
resultedanding that it from a mechanical application of the guidelines. only person who determined the sentence in that case was the judge. he could have sentenced the defendant to any term of imprisonment or no term of imprisonment. sentence him to a term of 40 months which was ithin the second recommendation. that sentence second changed nothing so far as the bottom line result the se the jung judge is only -- because the judge is the only person that determines the sentence. the demings: do you believe president nor the attorney attorney who has been acting like the president's personal fixer have not engaged in politics as it ertains to the president's friends? mr. mukasey: i can't speak for the president. the president is by definition a political -- mrs. demings: based on your professional decision, olitical -- professional experience, do you believe the president has engaged in a
as it pertains to sentences or what happens to his friends? attorney y: the general himself criticized the president for tweets that he -- mrs. demings: so that's a yes? it's a -- mr. mukasey: it's a maybe. but -- the demings: do you believe attorney general has engaged in politics in carrying out the wishes?t's mr. mukasey: short answer is no. mrs. demings: mr. chairman, i yield back. thank you very much. mr. nadler: the gentlelady yields back. mr. raskin. mr. raskin: thank you, mr. chairman. his is the most devastating testimony i have ever seen, an attorney general of the united of es corrupting the rule law in pursuit of a political genda for the president of the united states. all of america can see right now on.tly what's going the attorney general acting not of lawampion of the rule r the constitution but as a
sycophant of the president and to kill cases that trump's chosen ones. despite overwhelming evidence against them and despite guilty them.by some of now, it's going to take us a the full to sort out litany of unregistered foreign liars and felons and rauds who have gotten a get-out-of-jail-free card by attorney general william barr at donald trump. and we should track all of that down. america immediately, faces two problems where attorney general barr is, again, threatening the rule of law and justice. is the response to the andemic which cost more than 120,000 americans their lives. and the other is the fall people's hich is the
opportunity to speak, if allowed so, without election interference by foreign powers or by the government of the itself in an effort to intimidate and repress the vote. to mr. ayer.come testifiedstimony, you that attorney general barr has orked to, quote, create an authoritarian president, and i wrote down some of your basic points here. e obviously don't have time to get into all of them but you ay, undermine the work of fact finders, such as the f.b.i. he ignored and trampled congress powerses under the appropriations cause. walled orically stone state criminal subpoenas. he attacked and undermined the inspectors' general. used political cronies to review and decide issues in interests to the president. he reversed government provisions in the stone and flynn prosecutions.
used the d.o.j. as a tool of the president's re-election campaign. directed law enforcement forces to violate the first amendment rights of peaceful in lafayette square. and on and on and on. to sacking jeffrey berman just a day or two ago. these things you mentioned almost in passing that he attorney general had tried to provide an echo to the likening presideublic health orders by elected authorities in america, mayors, to house arrest. and he said he would work to the governors into rolling back public health onlys, put in place as the mechanism we have to try to lower the death count and this out-of-control pandemic, which is now ravaging texas, south carolina, louisiana, arkansas. large areas of the south and the
west right now. what is the problem with the ttorney general deciding he wants to jaw-bone the governors and likening their policies to arrest, which we all know phony?letely microphone, our sir. >> the whole issue, how do you public health problems, obviously there are -- there is a role for the federal government and one that's not performed terribly well in terms of coordinating overall supplies. decision-making with regard to how you're going to make the particular decisions of what people need to do, and re very vocal -- local very unique to local areas. mr. ayer: the judgments are to at the state and local level in terms of when to open, etc.uch and what ways, and what appears to have it didn't re -- and
happen once. it appears to have happened several times, is that mr. he really does appear to be echoing statements hat the president has periodically tweeted and made about opening up. obviously, the president's been intense about wanting to get everything opened up. that and, youhoed know, essentially threatened -- jaw-bone but d to also in connection with the question about churches and whether churches are going to be treated in a certain way and are they somehow being treated less they've than others, actually gone to court in some of those instances. court rejected a challenge a couple of weeks to one regard restriction on a church in california. about not heard anything the justice department actually filing anything in connection opening up issues concerning churches. ut he continues to talk about
the need to open up. and fundamentally, it's ironic republican administration intruding so far core local sensitive government, state government as local public health the ations, dealing with particularities of the case. mr. raskin: i want to ask one question, if i might. provided an echo for the president who has voted himself y mail in new york and florida nd whose party encourages its members to go vote by mail. mail makes oting by us vulnerable to foreign influence by counterfeit ballot. s that an appropriate role for the attorney general of the united states? mr. ayar: i -- ayer: it's not. there appears to be no truth in it. here are five states that do nothing but vote by mail. every other state i think virtually every other state uses
mail.y somewhat substapgsly. -- substantially. idea we'll throw a cold water on the notion we should it's te by mail, disreputable. and it's entirely inappropriate. anyway.y isn't his job if there were some law enforcement function there, it might be. echoing ally he's just the president, which is something he does more and more. frankly, my worry is that he's more in do it more and the weeks and months ahead as we election. to the mr. raskin: do you think he's acting more like a campaign operative than like the attorney united states? mr. ayer: as i said in my opening statement, i think he fact, acting as an advocate for whatever fantasies the president wants to advance. is this obamagate nonsense that members of this out as well.w and he's now doing this. but the worst thing about it is, doing it with the backdrop of an investigation which he has
his pocket. nobody knows what that investigation is supposedly with.to come up but he's hinting that he has and incriminating things he's found. and no one's in position to say wrong.rong but he's mr. nadler: the gentleman's time has expired. mrs. lesko. thank you, mr. chair. i apologize. i was in the rules committee hearing. physically. so unlike members that are on oth committees that are virtual, i have to actually physically come down here. just from the short time i've been here, boy, it sounds like this is political here. going on just -- but i yield my time to of my dan, the balance time. thank you. mr. jordan: i thank the gentlelady for yielding. mukasey. i want to read a statement from january, 2017, and get your response to it. says -- i am going to ask you a couple questions about it. goal? our
truth, mission, or to get him to lie so we can prosecute him or him fired. first of all, mr. mukasey, do ou happen to know who wrote that? mr. mukasey: the name escapes me at the moment but it was a senior f.b.i. official. mr. jordan: right. director of f.b.i. counterintelligence division that. wrote this just prior to the flynn.ew of general and what i want to know is -- is motivation that kipcally exists within is it their goal to get someone fire, to prosecute them? i thought the goal was to get to the truth. is supposed toat be the goal. mr. jordan: do you have concerns about that? ayer said it was nonsense to be concerned about things like this. term he - i think the said, we were spewing out things that were nonsense. his doesn't seem to me to be nonsense to be concerned about a senior official at the justice departme
epartment, an important player in the investigation that was going on at the time, that peter seemk was leading, doesn't to be nonsense. r. mukasey: you're asking me whether -- mr. jordan: i'm asking you to comment. go right ahead. the point was it wasn't an isolated example. example among many. nd that phenomenon of that being one among many. the many part is a concern. mr. jordan: the many part. statements we e talked about a few minutes ago i talked about. he two people in the f.b.i. working under mr. prestep, one from mr. mccabe. relative ent they had to the investigation, two important investigations. so it's the combination of all that. how about this fact? how about the fact that 38 people unmasked michael flynn's 49 times? just a volume. and the number of different people. oes that concern you, mr. mukasey? mr. mukasey: well, people who
supposed to state the reasons. don't know what reasons they stated. but the sheer number is -- would be of some interest. r. jordan: in your time in working in government, have you ever seen anything like that in your experience? mr. mukasey: i did not. was actually truthfully not involved in unmasking decisions can't say ons so i whether -- whether and to what extent it happened. supposed to happen clearly when it's necessary. mr. jordan: your first former attorney of the united states, you see 49 different times 38 people in a you get six an, people at treasury, for goodness flynn's king michael name, not just clapper, comey, brennen, biden. want to know the nature of that interest is and why disclose the identity of a citizen. mr. jordan: i do too. i do too. mr. elias, have you ever internal department of justice documents including documents that might be privileged or confidential to nyone outside of the
department? mr. elias: i don't believe i done that. i did produce my inspector this l complaint to committee in response to its subpoena to appear here today. a document that was my own words and not -- hesitation? why the complaint to so-called there otherr but is documents whether other you disclosed? to be sure i ant am truthful. mr. jordan: documents to united states senators, democrat senators? mr. elias: i am fairly confident that i have not done that other whistleblower complaint. given believe that i've other -- i don't believe i have documents.nal mr. jordan: have you ever worked at the white house? as elias: i was on detail career justice department to the white house. mr. jordan: what years?
2015.ias: mr. jordan: ok. thank you, mr. chairman. back.d i have unanimous consent, i apologize. unanimous consent? mr. nadler: the gentleman will state his unanimous consent request. mr. jordan: i have a letter from assistant attorney general 19, 2020. june objection. without mr. -- ms. scanlon. scanlon: mr. elias, we talked about the politicization of the d.o.j. to serve the president's interest -- your microphone. ms. scanlon: i may not be close enough. the estified you believe d.o.j. initiated certain investigations of the california industries because those industries were unpopular with ttorney general barr and the president. and that you believe this improper targeting undermines
of president's perception he d.o.j. as a fair administer -- administrator of justice. this is an allegation, instead using the department of justice to protect the american people, it and the is to pursue the political whims of the president and expending to retaliate es against the president's enemies. did you try to report those concerns to anyone? so, what happened? mr. elias: so i reported those office of the special counsel, the office of he inspector general, and to congress. and there was a referral by the counsel to theal department. review of the initial the facts to be concerning enough they thought the agency should investigate. clarify.uld there is a second whistleblower here and it was her complaint that came in just before mine referred. and the department sent it to he office of professional
responsibility, which conducted a review and it came back with a my rt that -- to knowledge -- was first circulated last night. i have read. number of issues hat i was questioned about by mr. collins, representative collins earlier. what's curious about that report s it says even if the allegations are true, even if hese investigations were motivated by animus and not by bona fide law enforcement reasons, then there's still no problem, that's not a violation of rules or regulations. that's very concerning to me because it seems self-evidence sole motivation is animosity, that's impermissible. rule or is no regulation, then there is one missing because that's obviously wrong. ms. scanlon: so initially the investigation that occurred didn't address your underlying which was these investigations were politically motivated. it just found that no other laws
were violated. mr. elias: i think that's more or less correct. it did say even assuming they were politically motivated, that which is a problem, perplexing to me coming from the office of professional responsibility. ms. scanlon: so it's kind of argument if a president has the power to pardon someone, it doesn't matter why he's if it's someone even an improper use of that power? think that's a great analogy. ms. scanlon: thank you. zelinsky, you testified another way president trump weaponized the department of justice at the expense of the attorney sing general to help save his friends from punishment. you referred specifically to the of roger stone who was convicted on seven counts of bstructing justice, making false statements to investigators, and tampering with witnesses. you reported your concerns that the department was letting the president's political in the ations interfere stone sentencing, what were you told? zelinsky: as i said in my
statement, we reported our occasions, multiple ut we were told we could be fired if we didn't along with it. not we were told this was the hill to die on. ms. scanlon: are u.s. attorneys take an oath to protect and defend the constitution and to without fear or favor. but we're hearing attorneys like mr. zelinsky and others violate rather than those principles. i think it's important that the notican public know this is normal. mr. ayer, you served in emocratic and republican administrations. have you ever seen this many officials express alarm about the politicization of the department with no actions taken? such a problem? mr. ayer: i have not ever seen -- the number of letters filed by -- i think we're up certainly in the thousands now of people
protesting. never seen anything remo remotely like it in my entire life. hat's one of the reasons -- that's one measure -- it's only one -- it's one of the reasons i ay i think i've never in my lifetime been in as great of rule or the future of our of law as i am now because it's happening across the board in a areas. and people who know that system and are part of it realize how this problem is. ms. scanlon: i mean, i think it's worth noting where discussion of the department of justice is coming from the top, from the president and the attorney general, that is the only way that career attorneys can ring the alarm bells and we have to them. to i yield back. mr. nadler: the gentlelady yields back. correa. garcia.ia -- ms. ms. garcia: thank you, mr. chairman. case both nd stone seem to follow a pattern. attorney general barr gives special treatment to the
who break friends the law. colleague, , your jonathan, who was assigned to resigned stone case, fter 10 years because he said, quote, he believed the department abandoned its responsibility to do justice in the roger stone case. zelinsky, do you agree with that assessment? zelinsky: i do. mr. garcia: he wrote after the did case, the department the same thing with michael flynn. politicalting, quote, patronage ahead of the department's commitment to the law.of mr. cravis went on to say that not trained to comment on the sentencing and it as, quote, not easy for him to do so. you also said it pains you to this event.ribe s a former judge, i can
sympathize. public servants are trained not o speak out, to let investigations and facts speak for themselves. but the department's actions are shocking, such an affront to impartial justice that all of have been brave enough to come forward and we thank you. why.ravis explained because if barr is able to get way with all of this, it will, quote, have lasting damage to institutions. i'd like to read a copy of this chairman, i'd . like unanimous consent to enter into the record. op-ed that he found it so compelling that it the testimony today, mr. zelinsky. he said, and i quote, in the the and flynn cases, department undercut the work of career employees to protect an of the president, an to cation of the commitment
equal justice under the law. rosecutors must make decisions based on facts and law, not on the defendant's political connections. when the justice department makes decisions based but a facts and law defendant's political betrays our it system of justice. mr. zelinsky, do you agree with assessment? mr. zelinsky: i agree with the the sment about what government needs to do, what it the impacts. i just want to be very clear, congresswoman. do i ot authorized, nor seek to comment on the developments in the flynn case. you.arcia: thank mr. elias, do you agree with the assessment? r. elias: would you repeat the question? ms. garcia: the question is, in op-ed, mr. cravis said in
the tone and flynn cases, department undercut the work of protect an yees to ally of the president, an abdication of the commitment to law. justice under the prosecutors must make decisions law, not on s and the defendant's political connections. o do you agree with that assessment? mr. elias: i think with the general proposition that to make their e cases based on the assessments of the law and not personal i agree with es, that. ms. garcia: mr. ayer, do you assessment?hat mr. ayer: i do. i do as well. what attorney general barr did to prosecutors who were brave publicly speak out he condemned them despite knowing they could not defend himself. cravis said, this sends an unmistakable message to if the ors and agents, president demands we will throw
bus.nder the hat has been the effect of morale to think the attorney general will, at the president's under the employees bus? you look -- mr. elias: well, when you look around the antitrust division we 404 out of 420. out of 420.404 mr. elias: yes, for agencies of components. ms. garcia: so you are down at bottom? mr. elias: yes. zelinsky, mr. special treatment to a favored friend and ally of the president recommendations of career attorneys? mr. zelinsky: it's in my of.rience unheard ms. garcia: it is unheard of. well, it is unheard of and we've he's done recently to berman. the president and this attorney general has tried to send a anyone who wants to speak out against the president to anyone who is willing to we will throw m,
you under the bus. well, thanks to the brave estimony of some of our witnesses today, the president's tactics didn't work. exposed. was the truth still matters. thank you, mr. chairman. back.yield >> thank you. now mr. neguse is now recognized for five minutes. mr. neguse: thank you, madam chair. thank you to each of the their testimony today. i want to clear something for the record. this ey general mukasey, is not your first time testifying before the house judiciary committee, is that correct? believe that's correct, yes. mr. neguse: when you were under george w. bush, you testified before the is that your e, recollection? mr. mukasey: yes, at least two oversight hearings. mr. me guse: -- neguse: your predecessor, lberto gonzales, he testified
before the judiciary committee for an -- no basis to i have challenge that. i remember my own appearances. his.'t know about mr. neguse: i can tell you, ttorney general mukasey, attorney general ashcroft testified before the house judiciary committee four times for oversight hearings. holder -- ral attorney general holder, janet testified before the committee. the only attorney general who times in modern testified before this committee is william barr. are you aware of that? mr. mukasey: yes. i am also aware of the reason. he was supposed to testify and that appearance was canceled by believe, because of the onset of the covid virus. neguse: that's not entirely accurate because there are prior requests for the attorney general to appear before our he declined.t nonetheless, i will ask you attorney general mukasey, can you name the last attorney general who declined to appear before the house judiciary
before bill barr? i don't.ey: no, i believe -- combus: was -- use: it mr. neguse: it was bill barr bush.george w. while i appreciate our friends on the other side of the aisle o call you here to defend the attorney general is within their purview. i think it's important for the attorney general of the united before this e in committee and testify. while i am appreciative of the based on it appears the news today that the attorney general will appear before the committee, i think this ommittee needs to be prepared o use compulsary process to ensure the attorney general appears before this committee. now, i want to talk a little bit nott something that we have yet discussed today, which is the actions of the attorney peaceful garding a protest -- protests in lafayette
square. you are aware at the direction of the attorney general peaceful forcefully ere emoved from laufayette square after they fired pepper spray barr -- not only the president wanting the picture on steps but account of many officials contradict that, including the d.c. police chief ho, you know, stated, and i'll quote, we heard there was going to be an unscheduled potential movement. a few minutes later, we learned that chemical munitions used, it was deployed minutes later. he timing itself makes it clear -- the clearing of the incident began after 6:30 p.m. the resident trump left white house for the church around 7:02 p.m. r. ayer, would you agree -- would you agree based on the fact that the attorney general's the to forcefully remove protest was so the president
photo op on the steps of the church on lafayette square? mr. ayer: i did watch it on tv. go quite as far but i can go to the point of mr. barr's several follow-up discussions have not him in glory. he's changed his story. he last thing i think i understand is that he admits he ordered the troop movement but it -- this is what i remember -- he said he did it at 2:00 in the afternoon the photo op wasn't until, like you said, early in the evening. nd so he couldn't possibly, therefore, have ordered it in order for the photo opportunity it use he didn't know about at the time. however, he was there at the time. could have unordered it if he wanted to. rather strange comments related to what sort of
used. were he tried to make some meaningful ballsction between pepper or pepper spray or whatever it is and tear gas on the ground hat one wasn't a chemical irritant. to whole discussion of him me -- what exactly he ordered when i am not sure. absolutely sure of is, a, he was the one that ordered it and, b, his handling was such as to give us all enormous basis to distrust says.hing he mr. neguse: let me ask the question this way. all your years ever public the ce, have you ever seen attorney general order the park police to violently clear with protests?eaceful mr. ayer: i have never seen it. i can't tell you if it has never happened. i am not aware of it. nor am i aware instances where attorney general himself has ssumed a role of sort of field
martial and ordering troops around. someone tells me. mr. neguse: i yield back. you.ank before i introduce representative buck, let me remind every member of this that are and people walking into this room that the guidelines have been set forth of the attending physician and the house speaker that members need to be wearing and the chairman stated earlier very clearly that members will not be recognized not wearing masks. now, mr. buck, i will recognize find it mr. jordan, i incredibly disrespectful that you have been sitting here next without wearing a mask. you're putting other people's life and their family -- time i put a very mask on. mucarsel-powell ms. mucarsel-powell: you are recognized. r. jordan: the unmasking that took place at the end of the that administration
obviously -- ms. mucarsel-powell: mr. buck, you are recognized for five minutes. buck: i thank the gentleman for yielding. unmasking. be the 38 people, 49 different times. treasury. at six people at treasury unmasking ichael flynn doesn't make sense. it is important to get back on the record, the attorney general mukasey uled, as mr. said, the attorney general was scheduled to be here -- attorney was scheduled to be here in march and i believe he's coming next month. be here to answer all our questions. i wish -- i wish the committee getting as focused on inspector general horowitz here. let me go back to where i was, mukasey. i want to view it in the context of that statement from mr. reaccept where he said, what's our goal, to get him fired, get him prosecuted or get him to lie, i want to view it in light
today we have learned that took place just a few weeks prior to that. 2017, we learned today that former president obama, james comey, sally yates, joe biden, susan rice discussed the transcripts of michael to proceedls and how further against him. r. obama himself directed, quote, the right person to would gate flynn -- this help make the court's decision. this caused former director obvious, ecognize the general flynn's phone calls legitimate. according to peter strzok's notes, the president raised the logan act. we already discussed the logan act and the vice president did.ng it at the time he what i want to look at is this idea comey says there's nothing phone calls e between mr. flynn and apple bass kizliack and yet 20 days later -- also, at that time, the
any . was ready to drop proceedings, any case against general flynn but they decide not to do. to what were mr. step said, try to get him to ie, try to set him up and 20 days later, jim comey, his words, sneaks two guys into the white house. think you referenced this in statement.g doesn't follow protocol, doesn't notify the white house counsel. and any ld alarm you citizen. your thoughts on that. i'm not -- i've seen notes mary of the strzok that you mentioned. that just came out today, i believe. yep.ordan: mr. mukasey: and the timing, as you say, is disturbing. mr. jordan: mr. jordan: you mentioned the names, give me the other name one more time? >> i believe the name you're looking for is the former assistant for the u.s.
attorney's office, as i dicated earlier, his name is alessio eadvantage lissta. mr. jordan: how many conversations did you have with these two individuals about the stone case? >> i just want to be clear these are not all the supervisors i spoke with. but about the stone case, i would say i spoke to them dozens , maybe 50 times. mr. jordan: about the sentencing recommendation in the stone case. >> at least a dozen times. mr. jordan: after february 10, after you filed it, or before? >> prior to february 10 -- i'm sorry you're asking -- mr. jordan: you filed on the 10th. there's a supplement the next day. the justice department says the supplement is the way to go, not your approach. after february 10 you spoke to mr. cooney and mr. eadvantage
ssta and they -- and mr. evangelista and they indicated -- >> i want to be careful and i want to truthfully answer your question to the best of my abilities. i did not have conversations with mr. evangelista following the filing of the memo. the conversation in my statement is the fraud and political corruption section. mr. jordan: that's when they told you it was politics driving the decision to change the sentencing decision. >> that was one of the times. mr. jordan: who did they get the information from that they passed on to you? who told them it was politics driving it? >> when you say them, it was the head of the -- mr. jordan: who told him or her in who told mr. cooney, whoever that person is? >> i know he was in meetings with senior leadership.
mr. jordan: you don't know where he got it, he told you and therefore it has to be true. mr. nadler: the time of the entleman is expired. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i have to say i've been extremely troubled by the events in our country and more so by what we've been hearing today. i'm heartened that our nation has decided that they want to come together. but to come together we need trust and we need trust in our jissties system. some of my colleagues have suggested that you, our witnesses today, have come forward to testify for political reasons. and i do not believe that to be the truth. , elieve that you are paid independent public servants who have stepped forward to tell the truth. i would live to -- like to give
each of you an opportunity briefly to tell us why you're testifying today. mr. elias, how long have you been a public servant and what other roles have you held? >> thank you, congresswoman. i have been a public servant since 2006 and i've held a variety of roles at the d.o.j. including two stints as trial attorney, a special assistant in the office of operations, i have in the associate's office with a few different role there is as well. >> thank you. so why did you feel after all your years public service that it was so important to come and testify before us today? >> i looked at what was happening, which was unlike anything i had ever seen before an didn't feel like a good faith calling of balls and strikes that i had been used to seeing. i care very much about the antitrust laws, their evenhanded enforcement and the institution of the antitrust division where i have spent my entire legal career. when i saw these abuses i
thought the public should get to know about them. that's why i stepped forward. >> thank you so much. i'd like to ask the same question to you you spent most of your career in the department of justice. why did you feel so strongly about complying with our subpoena an coming before us today as well? >> because i took an oath to do so. >> thank you. mr. aer, most of us are familiar with your extensive career in public service and we're grate to feel you for your service. can you briefly explain why you felt the need to come forward today. >> so yeah, in the 10 or 11 years i was in the department in four different positions, i was really inspired by the experience i had in a place where people really went to work to do the right thing. and processes had been put in place, a system was working, people had great deal of respect for each other and for the
process. it worked very well. i ended as deputy attorney general. and it became clear really quickly why it worked so well. it was because of everybody being dedicated and these procedures being in place. i have known bill barr for about four year, never known him well but i've known he was a person who had this idea that he really thought the president ought to be virtually an autocrat. i don't know where he got it but that's his view. i was fearful when he got nominated this time given that president trump would like to be an autocrat too. and when he began doing the things he started doing, i became extremely concerned. so i have -- i've done what i could in terms of writing articles and will continue to. >> thank you so much for that what concerns me about the testimony that we have heard today is that career public
servants are telling us -- what they're telling us, there's supporting facts and evidence and corroborating testimony that the attorney general is pursuing cases based on political vendettas and not to protect americans. you know, i hope that the attorney general would be here today. you know. i hoped to be able to ask the attorney general about his actions, attempting to reverse the a.c.a. i hoped to ask him about what he plans to do to prevent gun violence from increasing during this crisis. i hoped to ask him about the plans to ensure that all americans have access to affordable health care. but he did not show up. so we need now more than ever, we need to come together but we also need answers. d it's in times like these that we, when we're in crisis like this, this is -- these are the kinds of times that define
us. these are moments that define us. so mr. chairman, i ask unanimous consent to submit a letter for the record from 33, 33 former antitrust employees who write that mr. elias is, and i quote, a person of integrity and a person who speaks the truth, and fights to to do what is right. they also say mr. elias is and i quote again respected through the the department of justice for his candor and his commitment to justice. mr. nadler: without objection, the gentlelady yields back. mr. stanton. mr. stanton: thank you very much, mr. chairman. there is deep concern that the attorney general is using the epartment of justice to punish the president's personal and political adversaries. actions are a blatant abuse of our constitutional system. perhaps even more troubling that
in doing so the department of justice's resources are not being used to protect the american people. our witnesses have provided evidence here today that the attorney general is pursuing meritless investigations simply o appease the president. you mention the investigation into automakers in california trying to implement stricter air quality standards that the the environmental protection agency was going to adopt. in other words they wanted to help clean our air. is it correct to state that the department of justice used immense resources including dozens of attorneys an staff to pursue these investigations even when career staff told leadership that there was no need to further pursue these investigations? > d.o.j. did use dozens of
attorneyers in cannabis investigation also featured in my complaint. the emissions investigation was a smaller staff. but yes, public resources were used in pursuit of that investigation. mr. stanton: does that seem like an appropriate allocation of resources to you, to commandeer immense department resources for investigation that career officials said were no longer necessary? >> that appeared to me to be a gross misuse of resources between these various investigations and that's why i made that allegation to the inspector general and asked him to investigate gross misuse of resources. >> would it be fair to say they detracted from legitimate work the attorneys could and should have been doing? >> if attorneys are working on that it does take them away from anything else they could be doing that would potentially further the mission of the anti-truss division.
mr. tanton: using department resources for other activities fails to protect american consumers and in fact harm americans by weakening the department's ability to prosecute legitimate claims. the american people would much rather see the department of justice investigation -- investigate issues of grave concern to us all. for example, companies seeking to price gouge americans by making thepping pay more for essential health prubblingts in the middle of a pandemic. back in apriling, my colleague, congressman gallego, and i brought to light a price gouging chain taking place in arizona. the city of phoenix fire and police departments were being charged nearly 600% more than the usual prices for n95 masks during a pandemic. such egregious and completely unacceptable behavior requires the department of justice to use all of its resources to enforce our laws. what i find so troubling is that
while the department of justice is spending time on illegitimate investigations, it could be working to fight real injustices in our system. americans deserve a department of justice that serves the people and treats all defendants equally under the law regardless of who they know or their political affiliation and above all they deserve a department of justice that follows the law. the testimony today continues to reiterate the urgent need for the attorneys general to appear before this committee. i look forward to having attorney general barr here in july because congress and the american people have serious questions that need immediate answers. i yield back. mr. nadler: the gentleman yields back. ms. dean. ms. dean: thank you, mr. chairman. i thank all the testifiers, all four of our testifiers for coming before us. i admire your sense of duty. i admire your giving of your
time and your public service. america is counting on you. they're counting on congress. they're counting on you. and i thank you for coming before us. mr. ayers, i'd like to go into a little bit
more something that jamie raskin, representative raskin, brought up. the testimony today that most of you have delivered has confirmed what we have feared. that the department of justice is being used by the president and the attorney general as a partisan political tool. it appears that attorney barr's actions toward states amidst the coronavirus pandemic is part of the diverse of justice. we're in a pandemic, we're in a political year, an election year. on april 17 of this year, the president tweeted, and i quote, liberate minnesota, exclamation point, quote, liberate michigan, exclamation point, and in all caps, liberate virginia and save your second amendment. it's under siege.
end quote. shortly thereafter, attorney general barr publishing a memo appointing the assistant attorney general for civil rights in the united states -- and the united states attorney for
the eastern district of michigan to investigate states' stay at home. needless to say the broad order included minnesota, michigan, and virginia. the states the president politically targeted. mr. aer, professor aer, is it standard -- professor ayer, is it standard practice to bring on n against states based the president's proclamation. >> it is not. especially when it's a local problem that varies from place to place but the pattern of mr. barr acting sometimes right after but in any event totally in a consummate matter with somewhat intemperate political
expressions usually tweets by the president, doesn't just happen in this area. it's happening in a lot of different areas. the one i'm most concerned about is the one that relates to this obamagate nonsense that is being spewed by the president and bill barr is echoing it in tv appearances running about every 10 days. he goes on fox news and talks about his investigation and how people are going to get charged and i don't know what's next. ms. dean: i've seen that i fear what's next. even more concerning is a.g. barr has made clear he'll use his powers to strong arm states into doing what he wants regardless of the law. white house health experts publicly emphasized that removing stay at home orders prematurely, these are health experts, prematurely could lead to avoidable deaths and suffering. barr has, as my colleague said, threatened to jawbone governors, his words, who follow public health recommendations. mr. ayer, in your written
testimony you explain that, quote, limitations to protect public safety in a health crisis are uniquely in the province of a state government are highly local and tragically difficult. do you believe the department of justice review of states' challenges, attorney general barr's challenges to stay at home orders is mote vailted by legitimate concern or constitutional overreach? >> i think it was constitutional overreach. i think it was a solution to a problem that didn't exist. because the president wants that interference to occur. that's what i think. >> it's certainly not my grandfather's republican party who believed states' rights were very important to protect. particularly in the area of public health. you even said that chief justice roberts wrote that our constitution principally entrusts the safety and health of the people to the politically
accountable officials to the states to guard and protect. is that correct? >> that is right. ms. dean: as the height of the global pandemic that shuttered 50 states, the president and attorney general conspired to use the might of the department of justice to punish states who took necessary actions. with my remaining time, just very briefly, do you believe, mr. -- do you believe mr. barr is fit to continue serving as attorney general, yes or no? >> no. i don't. i wrote an article about six or eight months ago saying that an it's gotten nothing but worse. mr. dean: finally, mr. zelensky, thank you for being with us. it is not lost on me that in this committee we have hit a new low when members on the other side of the aisle mostly members who will refuse to wear a mask, atempt to paint you, they fail, but attempt to paint you in some negative light for saying -- staying at a remote location to protect a newborn child. i wail say to you what we
believe on this side of the aisle is thank you. for your duty, for your service, for protecting your family, and you newborn baby. i think the only thing we should have said in regards to your reason for not being here is congratulations on the birth of your baby. with that, i yield back. mr. nadler: the gentlelady yields back. ms. mucarsel-powell. mr. mue -- ms. mucarsel-powell: i want to focus on mr. barr's handling of election interference. in florida we have serious concerns about the security of our elections. the russian government hacked florida's election system in 2016. and it is crucial that we ensure the integrity of the election process in november. but attorney general barr is not doing anything to make this happen. he calls the special counsel's investigation into russia's interference, quote, one of the greatest travesties in american history. and said that investigators were trying to, quote, sabotage the presidency, end quote. let's be clear. the special counsel's
investigation confirms that russia attacks our elections. several people were indicted, including members of the trump campaign for lying about their involvement into russia. the intelligence community and the senate intelligence committee also confirmed the russian hacking. even attorney general barr said that, quote, i am confident that russians attempted to interfere in the election, end quote. mr. chairman, i'd like to enter into the record this op-ed published in "usa today" by attorney general barr on february 19, 2020. in the statement with f.b.i. director wray, barr lists russia as a current threat. it says an informed and discerning public is a resilient public, meaning we need to tell the public about russia's threats. but a.g. barr's words mean nothing because he's not here to tell the public anything. he and the president would rather attack the investigation
into interference and protect elections and prevent russian interference. in march, a.g. barr dropped the two-year-long prosecution of a russian company charged with conspiring to defraud the u.s. government, the company was organizing a social media campaign to interfere in the presidential election and is run by a man referred to as putin's chef because of his proximity to vladimir putin. does it concern you that the attorney general is dropping investigations of russian companies who have harmed us? >> i don't know the facts of the cases you're talking about so i can't comment specifically. it does bother me a lot that -- i'm not aware that there's very much being done to deal with the problem of russian interference in our election. it seem there is taught on an enormous priority on that just as there should be an enormous priority on figuring out how people will be able to vote with coronavirus. i'd like to see the priorities somewhere other than the wrong
direction which is some of the areas he's talking about. >> thank you. the attorney general knows that russia is a threat but he is dropping prosecutions against russians who attacked us. what message does it send to other foreign threats like china or iran if our attorney general won't hold russia accountable? mr. ayer you wrote in your testimony that a.g. barr was actively undermining and sub verting the role of independent fact finders put in plates precisely so the public can have trust in the justice system. can you briefly explain this to us? >> it's a couple of different levels of activity. one is the statements he made with regard to the mueller investigation whitewashing the find wgs regard to oob instruction. that was the biggest single part. he just misled us about it in. december, when the i.g. investigation by horowitz of the russian interference investigation came out and they fund it was properly predicated and there was no bias in the
oversight of it, barr immediately went public and i think went on the media and announce head disagreed with that, so he actively intervenes and undermines conclusions but he also acts to replace, to override, to, you know, he has processes he's put many place including his own investigation, duplicative investigation of the russian interference and then these little things that come along like doing intake of information from rudy giuliani. we'll just handle that in-house, we won't let the career people deal with that there's a bunch of those. ms. mucarsel-powell: i share your concern. this should not be about party politics. the stakes are way too high and we all should be focused on protecting the integrity of our elections, mr. ayer. but when the integ i have to law enforcement is corrupted. when men place themselves above the rule of law, nations fail.
i can tell you that because i have witnessed it firsthand in latin america. governments filled with corruption, devolve into chaos when politics are ingested into the justice system. people lose their faith in their leaders and i don't want that to happen in the united states of america. william barr's actions is taking the department of justice down that path. his conduct is corrupt, dangerous and it must be stopped. i yield back. mr. nadler: the gentlelady yields back. ms. escobar. ms. escobar: thank you, mr. chairman. i want to close today by going back to what happened in lafayette square. on june 1, americans were shocked as they watched an incredible scene unfold. here in washington, d.c., peaceful protesters in lafayette square came together in protest, demanding change after watching graphic video of george floyd's murder. they came together in protest demanding change because of our country's horrific history of
police brutality linked to racism. and on june 1, while they peacefully stood in lafayette square, these peaceful protesters were overcome by mounted law enforcement and tear gas. protesters, members of the media, americans watching this at home were all stunned. and wondered why. moments later, the president sauntered over to st. john's episcopal church, the story became more clear. we now know that in lafayette scare, attorney general barr's department engaged in these tactics, forcibly removing protesters with tear gas and pepper spray, using stinger ball grenades, not to uphold the rule of law, not to protect americans, but because the president wanted to pose for a picture. in other words, attorney general barr used the powers of the justice department to help the president's campaign film an ad. the president, rather than understand why he should feel
shame for this, praised the horrific treatment of these protesters, tweeting, quote, the protesters, agitator, anarchists antifa and others were handled very easily by the guard, d.c. police and s.s. great job, end quote. there was immediate, nationwide outrage including condemnation of the grieges abuse of power by archbishop wilton gregory, general jim mattis, former joint chiefs of staff chairman martin dempsey, chairman colin powell and a number of others. couldn't be more clear that attorney general barr as the president's chief enabler is willing to lie and corrupt the department so he can protect and promote the president's personal and political interests at all costs. we have heard today how barr weaponized the department of justice to retaliate against states the president doesn't
like. we have also heard today how the department is granting special favors to defendants who break the law, all because the u.s. attorney was afraid of president trump. and he has reason to believe afraid. we heard today what happened to prosecutors who stand up, like mr. zelensky, and say this is wrong. they are told to get in line or you will lose your job. and we've seen how true that actually is. u.s. attorney jeffrey berman said his office would conduct its investigations without fear or favor. investigations that we know go to the heart of the president's inner circle. and what happened to him? he was fired. we have confirmed today what we have known all along thch eattorney general is willing to corrupt our government, ignore our rule of law, and do whatever it takes to keep trump in power including subverting the upcoming election. and barr will lie to the american people if it helps the
president achieve his goals. he cannot and should not get away with this. mr. ayer, i would like to end by asking you, with your decades in office as a public servant, what happens to our depock -- to our democracy if we do not hold barr account snble can you describe what the effect is on the american people's perception of the justice department if our attorney general is allowed to place the president's wishes above our rule of law? >> i don't want to get too apocalyptic but if you want to just -- if you want just a real life microcosm of it, i think you go back and look at what happened in watergate in watergate we had a real failure. we had -- i won't go through all the facts, some of you remember it, some of you don't, but the justice department failed. and the government, justice system failed and we were very,
very lucky to have president ford nominate edward levy as the attorney general. he saw the problem. the problem is one of trust. not surprisingly when the justice department and the justice system becomes untrustworthy and that's the problem we're talking about here today, when it becomes untrustworthy, guess what, people don't trust it. and when people lose trust in the government and they lose trust in the law, then you don't have law. then you have lawlessness. and you go from there. and you know what ends up happening. so it's very important that we recognize what's happening now. what's happening now is much worse than what happened in watergate. much worse. it's across the board, it's a systematic effort. to undo the checks that were put in place in watergate and others that existed in the constitution. and we need to do something about it. people need to stand up now and demand that something be done about it. this guy has got to go.
and we need to get back on the track of having a system of justice where we care about doing it right and being fair and even handed. >> thank you, mr. ayer. sadly this hearing demonstrates mr. barr is not the only enabler of president trump he unfortunately has way too many. thank you, mr. chairman, i yield back. mr. nadler: the gentlelady yields back. this concludes today's hearing. we thank all our witnesses for participating. without objection, all members will have five legislative days to submit additional written questions if for witnesses or additional materials for the [chatter] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2020] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy, visit ncicap.org] [indistinct conversations]
>> attorney general william barr has agreed to testify before the house judiciary committee next month according to a department spokesman. that hearing is scheduled for july 28. on c-span, "washington journal" is next, live with your phone calls. returns for house speeches and a vote on a police reform bill. this morning, we discussed police reform effort in the house and congressional oversight of the justice
department with two members of the house judiciary committee. we will hear from democratic presented of madeleine dean of pennsylvania and then republican representative mike johnson louisiana. "washington journal" is next. ♪ good morning. it is thursday, june 25, 2020. we begin on the recent efforts i protesters to topple statues and monuments in cities across the country. while protesters say the efforts target temples of oppression, president trump says he will be issuing an executive order protect tech public monuments and punish those who vandalize them. we are asking for your thoughts. you think some monuments should be taken down, and where you draw the line? for those who support the recent statue efforts, the number (202) 748-8000. for those who oppose the efforts, (202) 748-81