tv A Higher Loyalty Roundtable Discussion CSPAN May 1, 2018 8:33am-9:31am EDT
[applause] >> earlier this month a discussion on the impact of james comey's book, "a higher loyalty." jamie raskin and former deputy assistant attorney general victoria toensing debate the book and spoke about issues related to mr. comey's career and firing by president trump. this is one hour. >> host: not one booktv a discussion on james comey's book, "a higher loyalty." joining us to dissect what's in this book are two people very experienced inside washington and washington politics, victoria toensing was an official in the reagan department of justice and she is also a high-profile lawyer here in washington, and representative jamie raskin is a
democrat from maryland and a member of the judiciary committee. before we get into the book, congressman raskin, what are your overall impressions of james comey and his public service? >> let's see, let's do with james comey the man because i was interesting to me. i never met him. i don't really know him, and in the book he comes off as someone who is very boy scout like in terms of his respect for rules and the rule of law. the first several chapters involve his hatred of bullies and how he was bullied as a kid. he was a big pretty wasn't all it got a high school he reports here you can see how there could be a company character clash and collision between him and donald trump of course affects the style of the bully frequently and comey doesn't like bullies.
his key personality flaw perhaps, it may not be a flop but there's a certain kind of sanctimonious that he's aware that he writes about that he likes to be a little bit holier than thou and is very much by the book. that can rub you the wrong way when you see them making certain decisions that are very questionable as when he decided to go public with the idea that there were more e-mails found and he is going to reopen the investigation into hillary clinton two weeks before the election that was of course what caused such a strong protest among democrats. we could get into the legality of that, but, i mean, he strikes me as a decent person and one who is clearly flabbergasted and dumbfounded by the trump presidency and by donald trump as a mentor evasively called the presidency a forest fire. there some very funny part in the book where he reports
different things that donald trump says, and he clearly has no respect for the man's intellect and less respect for his character and his virtue. the running theme is that trump wanted to make sure that, first, he wasn't going to pursue the investigation into michael flynn, about his lying about his connection with the russians and his contacts with russians, but even more excessively was trump's concerned that the report in the infamous dossier would come out about trump's alleged contacts with russian prostitutes and various lured activities that he entice them into engaging in. and so i think comey and trump are sort of opposites of each other and declared sets of the book in such a way as different as a contrast. >> host: do you find the book convincing? >> entirely convincing terms of the facts, i think somebody who
is held about trying to the truth. it's a kind of thin book. there's not a lot of analytical or theoretical depth to. there are a few points when he tries to show more self reflection, and clearly about the hillary stuff i think is extremely nervous. essentially what he says is he felt he had an obligation to review that they're going to go after congressman wieners laptop, you know, whom abdul aberdeen, collectivist emails and make it public despite the fact there were doj regulations, disfavoring felicity strongly during the election time angela because nothing had been cut anyway but he said he thought it was clear hillary clinton was going to become president and the subtext is he did want to be responsible for that. because you did want to be responsible for it he felt like he needed to tell the world they were reopening the investigation, there might be more e-mails that could change the outcome of what it announced
earlier in july was the end of the investigation. i've got crushed what he did there because usually what prosecutors decide there is not grounds for prosecution they just say we are not prosecuting. they don't launch into an hour-long dissection of the motives of the person and how they showed that judgment and extreme recklessness and causes and so on. that struck me as bizarre picked is as big as a constitutional law professor, that he would entertain such an in-depth dissection of hillary clinton. the basic point was he seemed not to want to be responsible for hillary clinton when, and in the process by paying so much attention to politics and may become responsible at least partly responsible for a trump win. i think that's the underlying impulse of the book is to try to
say i didn't do any of this deliberately to make trump presidency and it's almost as if he wants to blow the whistle trump now that he feels so implicated, your opening statement. >> i just want to react to your last point so people don't miss it. and that is it was a new wants. comey didn't say he wanted to be responsible for was president he said i thought hillary is going to be president and sure it was legitimate and he found out about this investigation afterwards there may be a problem if i hadn't brought it forth. here is, this is right in the craw of his personality. he hates bullies, he hates bullies, they are so bad. what does he do in college? he folded somebody who has a really neat room and went along with the gang, with everybody as he admits, maybe i just want to be part of the gang because it
wasn't always in high school. and bullied and trashed somebody's room and that to me is the theme of all of what he says in here because he says i'm not political and yet he does all kinds of things that are political. i'm not a bully. i hate bullies. he became a bully when it suited his interest. that is the central theme that i see in the book also you said he was just a little bit holier than thou. oh, no. there is a reason he has the nickname cargo comey, and that is because when he is at the justice department lawyers would disagree with him, lawyers disagree all the time, he would look at the disagree and say you are moral compass is askew. people around there did not appreciate that kind of attitude. >> host: do you know james comey in your circles? >> i have met him but have not worked with him. i know the stories in your
because i lived some of them but i've only met him and not worked with him. >> host: is the book convincing to you? >> well, , no. some of it is but there's a whole segment on scooter libby. i am scooters more and i know the facts and he did not do the facts well in that version. it could've been carelessness i do nobody did really know what the facts were turn what i want to read this quote from the book to you, get your compression since you justice department. want to you from you as well, congressman. but there is a tension in having political leaders atop the justice department because the administration of justice must be evenhanded. >> yes, that's true. i worked with one of the most underrated and best attorney generals there ever was and i remember once when smith was out to go to a luncheon at some of
hillary no, one of the staff people set up and he went to the luncheon and during that luncheon he was asked to do something for somebody who is under investigation. he got up, , left the luncheon t québec and four, there were whole bunch of people in trouble for even setting up this luncheon without knowing what it was about. you can be a political person. he was ronald reagan's personal lawyer, but you get in that justice department, better be straight. i've never seen a justice department when i i was there t went after anything but issues. we all rolled our eyes a lot when he set up a pornography -- but it was issues. it wasn't about personality. it wasn't going after somebody. that was back in the hoover days. >> host:
>> we can get back to j. edgar hoover because that figures highly in mr. comey's book. maybe we should engage her moment on this point about bullying because you write to identify this story which comey himself tells, where, this is in the style of ruth owes confessions where he says i've always hated bullies and i let myself down the most when i was in college and i was part of a scene where we were basically ridiculing and harassing a kid on our floor, a kid in the dorm. he raises that himself to say this is something that i hate and i'm ashamed about that i was never part of it. i assume you don't present that as like a a revelation that soe of your puncturing his hypocrisy. he did raise that in so to say that all of us can be drawn into bullying and what we need to counter is whole political systems or bureaucracies or
presidencies that are based on a bullying principle. i think that he does successfully advance that point and he strikes the somebody who really is an anti-bully. he is a bit impressed on his own moral stature, and i think -- >> more than that. >> okay. as much as you would like, he's very invested in his miranda. it's not the worst thing you can say that somebody. i prefer sanctimonious to criminality or to viciousness or cruelty or portrayal of your wife. there are lots of other sins or vices that are worse than sanctimony. >> but you have to understand i am a product of the department of justice, and when i hear that comey says well, when loretta lynch the attorney general called it a a matter and not a criminal investigation, it wasn't worth the fight. i can't ever imagine accepting that. i cannot wait i was there ever,
ever. he says are not political but then he does all these political -- >> that's the next point. i agree that once told himself to a non-political standards but there are a lot of . where he makes concessions to politics. one of them was during the whole anthony weiner episode when he decided he had to go public two weeks before the election with the idea that there might be other emails e-mails found thad be relevant. when there were not -- >> backup. backup to join. >> that is part of the recent trump claim to have fired and so we don't need to disagree about that. republicans were all over him. trump debunked that rational by saying i argue over the russian investigation. >> june 27 when bill clinton had a chance meeting with loretta lynch like days before hillary was supposed to be interviewed, i don't know, you were never at the justice department.
i know you refine constitutional lawyer but that is appalling to me. that is appalling and in his book he said i didn't think much of it. until phone call started coming in. are you kidding? if i were a direct of the at the time i would've called in that fbi detail and say tell me how this happened, this chance meeting, and why, why fbi detail redirecting people not to take any photographs? now, that sets up the july 5 press conference, and again i am appalled as a former justice department. he's not a lawyer, even though he has a law degree he's the investigator, chief investigator. no chief investigator decides he was to be prosecuted and who isn't to be prosecuted. in that position it was contrary. >> you and i agree he went way overboard in laying out his whole condemnation of hillary clinton would also need to say was we're not proceeding -- >> he couldn't even say that.
>> he set up a most species loretta lynch said i am kind of recusing myself as you did knew what she had to do, sign the papers and direct sally yates then the deputy ag to do it. but if, was all upset about all that only had to do was say i'm making a recommendation to the deputy attorney general sally yates because loretta lynch is wishy-washy. he didn't do it. he didn't follow procedures because he thought only he could save the world. that set up the october because if he hadn't done the first one he would not of had to do the seguin. >> he didn't have to do the second one because of most you could've said go ahead and do the investigation of the extra e-mails that were found, and if there were some reason to believe that the whole investigation needs to be reopened and with some problem, then he could go to congress and say i misspoke before, there may be a reason to go ahead and open
a criminal investigation or two and died ms. clinton. but, in fact, they came back and anthony weiner e-mail showed nothing a dentist big press conference and all of the polling showed that it really derailed the clinton campaign for nine or ten days, the last few weeks of the campaign and that's why the democrats were so outraged. >> the democrats should that be to outraged. the way he conducted the investigation is like nothing i heard an investigation department. he opened it in july of 2015. he says later i didn't open a grand jury because i was in such, no time. no, july 2015 was a whole year of an investigation. you open a grand jury. i've done many of them. so would you don't open the grand jury, then you don't have subpoena power. they are the prosecutor of negotiating with witnesses, with people like we will give you
community if you will just give up your computer. he allowed hillary clinton to come out and say i deleted 30,000 of my e-mails. you never, never ever do that. when you say you want evidence, you get the evidence. if there's a question you have the person who's getting the documents over, get them all to a court or some neutral party to say over these can we don't think she gave him. she got to delete this and nobody could see them to test whether they are verifiably personal stuff. you see nothing was on the weiner e-mails. there were e-mails on that, on anthony weiner's laptop what everything was that showed that should not turn over everything that was work related. they might have been classified as she's not turn forcing -- everything work with. i cannot recognize this as investigation. >> host: when james comey writes about that in "a higher loyalty" does he present a strong argument to you?
did you take apart that part of the book? >> like a former justice department person, former prosecutor, he doesn't ever explain. he just says this is what i did. i taught english before i went to law school so i can say the writing is well done. if literate and it flows and maybe had a good editor. i don't know how it all worked out at that's the best thing i could say about this but because he doesn't explain, he doesn't go into this visually compelling me not have grand jury. you don't have investigation without grand juries. look at the trump people are being treated. just go into a lawyers office at the documents here paul manafort's home was broken into by the law enforcement and his wife was pulled out of bed naked. there's very different standard going on. >> comey sort of disagree.
there was not a factual predicate to launch a grantor at that point. they had all of the evidence. >> the fact, the problem of e-mail server, that was his actual predicate. i've open many a a grand jurie. >> i'm not following that. you need a factual predicate. you just don't impanel a grantor whenever there's an accusation. >> you mean like russian collision? >> for example, let's be specific. collusion is not a crime. lying to the fbi is a crime. >> i know. make up a crime that when she had e-mails in her basement on unclassified machinery, whatever it all was, a server and whatever, that's a 794 right there. >> but on the cake we should be launching grand jury investigation into a dozen members of the trump administration who have used their private servers also to engage in -- >> still classified information. >> we don't know into we
launched the investigation could use mixing let's go out and impanel a grand jury in order to look at all speedy they knew it was classified and it was. >> i don't know. seems like old news to me. >> host: james comey has been on an media to her and he recently appeared on the view. making mccain had some questions for him. >> i want to believe you're not a political person. you are the head of the fbi but you're right about how you on the verge of tears saying you're going to miss him. he also said you're dreading the next four years with trial. very insincere things about my party this morning. it's transactional and ego driven. i'm a republican as many issues with trump. he is not reflective of my party as hell. the big issue is i don't want to know your politics and a lot of things you're saying and doing a highly political and they just don't understand what you can try to clear the deck by bringing things like this. >> that's a good question. i don't think of it as my politics. i think of it as my values.
>> you talked about how your wife was at the women's march and she was very sad on election night. but why bring up politics now? no disrespect but what your take on the current repugnant party is more interesting what you know about national security. >> because is asked about it. [applause] >> which i do understand how this looks republicans, okay? >> i think that's a good question i get that, the republicans are thinking that but in the book and telling a story about the decision that include -- >> entente but your interview this morning. i'm ego driven and service to trump's ego. i just understand why, you celica political commentator to me. >> i don't care what the people support a republican or a democrat because i'm not either. i don't care who they support. i hope the conversation will start with values and come to policy second where are you going to fight about guns and taxes and immigration but all we are is a collection of values and that's what unites republicans and democrats.
[applause] >> i hope that's not a political statement. >> host: congressman, what did you think of what he had to say? >> he had a good answer. there's a growing division within the republican party. you've got the boy scout of the republic of part of which please rule of law. despite what mr. comer just said that he's not political, it comes out he's been a republican almost all of his life up until these close encounter with donald trump now he says he's independent or what have you. he was very clear he had not voted for barack obama ever but that he grew more impressed over time with barack obama's leadership and his intellect and his character. the first administration in history that produce nobody going to jail. there were no thermal prosecution. you can't name a cabinet member in the obama administration the winter chill. >> may i say something about that? thank you, eric holder and loretta lynch because they didn't prosecute people.
[talking over each other] >> let's talk about another time. i do want to stick with comey. so call me i say has been drawn into politics precise because president trump tried to demand a personal loyalty from him and us with the is about. trump said i need loyalty. i expect we'll see. i want her loyalty, which comey in classic fashions and i will give you honesty. he said but i what loyalty. he said okay, i will give you honest loyalty, which is ambiguous. he should've just said i don't owe you loyalty. i owe loyalty to the constitution of the united states. to the rule of law. now he scrabbling to say i'm going to stand up for the rule of law and say that the trump presidency threat to america. he says this is a forest fire. it is an assault on the rule of law, an assault on the constitution. it's an assault on the way the
fbi and law enforcement have always govern themselves in our history. that's what is trying to say nap and is not doing it for partisan reasons. obviously he, like attorney general sessions and the vestment root of the people at the fbi, republicans. it's not some kind of partisan plot. >> well, it seems to me that we do have to look at some of the things that comey did, his lack of investigation in politics i bring up the irs investigation, lois lerner here that investigation i can tell you that the lawyer for most of, many, many of the victims, they were never interviewed it never interviewed by the fbi. now, how is that an investigation? and give it much loretta lynch, if that ever happen, baby was eric holder, 2013 so what have been loretta lynch. the only time that she was contacted by the fbi to initiate a victim was after she bent on
the hill testifying investigation was a sham and they called her and said we are going to do it but insisted on bringing somebody there he would then harassing the victim from the irs. she had to call it off. we are talking about, as i look at his investigations, i don't see this honesty there except when it's convenient for james comey. you talk about, the conversation, the white house, you don't know was that. you weren't there. >> okay. would you concede this is an act report that it was an improper of the president to demand personal loan from the fbi director? >> that's all donald trump talks. [talking over each other] >> this is quite how he talks constantly for what i'm saying is there's there is now a growg division within the republican party. there are those people like mccabe, like comey who believe in the rule of law and who believe in a facial neutrality,
at least aspire to that and there's the donald trump wing which comey describes in his book as a mafia family which is usual after loyalty to the boss or anybody can lie. >> fifteen the lawyer? [talking over each other] >> we don't need to -- >> who the ig found lied. three times under oath. >> just like your client in the plaintiff, right? he was convicted of lying, was indeed? >> would you like to hear about the case? i would like to tell you because comey doesn't get it right. >> host: play a part in this book. he writes about come james comey writes about scooter libby. if you like to switch the conversation -- >> first of all there was no underlying crime. i negotiated every single clause and she had to been covert within five years but she was not so does the underlying crime
whatsoever, the person who leaked her name was richard ima taj, comey and fitzgerald, special prosecutor knew that from day one. and yet they pursued the criminal system for almost five years of karl rove and scooter libby. i won't get too far down in the read back to reporters said he talked to them about matt cooper and judith miller. matt cooper his notes did not support him and the jury acquitted scooter on that. the only one left was judith miller and she recounted. why? because patrick fitzgerald said they miss letter about salaries undercover and she didn't understand her own notes until she saw that she had been at the bureau undercover and, therefore, she recanted and said i helped convict an innocent man. she came out and applauded it is that somebody who commit a a ce
was given a pardon. this is ideally what pardons are for. >> host: victoria toensing, we learn in the book that scooter libby was at one point mark which is attorney. >> that's with the prosecute was all about because james comey and patrick fitzgerald would wee together in the southern district of new york when marc rich got his partner from none other than bill clinton, by the way. .. . >> well, she did, she gave bill clinton hundreds of thousands and i know because i represented jack quinn.
>> i think it's not an unfettered, you cannot achieve-- >> when james comey tells the story about scooter libby in his book, do you agree with what he was writing? >> look, victoria obviously knows a lot more about the indicates than i do, but everything i have seen shows that he perjured himself and pardoned for it. and it was in front of a jury of his peers. >> you've got a problem there and-- >> and they go to the court and reverse the verdict? >> no, should the cabinet end when she did, and you don't do that. >> and the d.c. court of appeals will get what they reverse, give him back his law license, based on the recantation. >> they reversed it. >> i don't know hoy long it was
taken away. >> you know the facts of the case because you're working for a convicted perjurer. >> for somebody who respects the constitution, shame on you for saying that. >> he was convicted of perjury and you did a great job-- but the chief witness, who was-- that should be wonderful and-- >> i'm only in response to mccabe who hasn't been convicted of anything, okay? your guy was convicted and he wasn't, give him a fair break. >> back to "a higher loyalty", james comey writes, washington is a city where everyone seemed to question everyone's loyalties and motivations especially when they weren't in the room. is that a true statement about washington. >> new washington is different. i'm not in the political scene. i worked for barry goldwater on
the hill and over to the justice department and practiced law since then. so my world is lawyering. >> you're active in conservative circles? >> i'd say i have a conservative philosophy, but i don't go to national conventions or things like that, no, i don't. >> and what about washington being a city where everyone seems to request he other people's loyalties, especially when they're not in the room? >> first of all, you've got to distinguish official washington from local washington. of course, there's a big city here of hundreds of thousands of people who are actually the last population of people living in a capital city who are not represented in their own legislature which is something of a scandal and something that should be addressed, but for the power elites, turns on each other and goes after them, that seems to be a pretty fair assessment of the way that they treat each other, but these guys are republicans that are attacking,
james comey has been a devoted u.s. attorney. he's given his whole life to law enforcement and they're trying to trash his career. the same thing they're doing with robert mueller, who is a war hero and a lifelong republican, but because he's outside of the mafia family as comey describes it of the trump administration, they're trying to destroy him. i'll put him in the weird position of defending these rule of law republicans simply because they're trying to destroy them. >> well, congressman rafkin, you're somebody who stood in the arena for election, both in maryland and now in congress. what do you think of james comey's take on several different elected officials and several different presidencies quite critical of dick cheney, of al gerto gonzales, jeff sessions, george w. bush. a lot of officials don't add up for him. >> i sympathize a little with
his interlockter and that it's a sign of the time at that donald trump dragged everybody down know this tabloid reality where people are making fun of each other's looks and making fun of each other's-- the way they dress and making personal comments about people. it's kind of embarrassing for the country where we've gone and i don't think he needed to go there. i mean, he's clearly angry with donald trump and he gets it in through a lot of sort of humorous little episodes, you know, that there's one scene in the book where he's invited for a one-on-one dinner with the president and he talks about, you know, he got to see, you know, president obama twice over the period of many years, but with trump within a few weeks he'd have four or five calls because trump was so concerned about the so-called
p-tapes, the russian prostitute tapes coming out and make sure the fbi was going to do whatever they can to stop the leak and comey explained it wasn't a leak because it wasn't a public document, it was a private document circulated and they had dinner together and it's a funny story because they have little name plates that have been and drawn and the president sits down and sort of showing off to comey and he says look, these are and drawn, and then comey says to you, yes, calligraphy and the president looked at him puzzled and said hand drawn, as if he didn't understand the word calligraphy. so he gets a lot of swipes in there at trump who irritated him a lot. and in sanctimonious ways tried to stop somebody who tried to some p on the rule of law and
engulfing the president from porn star and playboy models as well and trump hotels. >> you're bringing up the p-tapes about the prostitutes is another example for me of comey's tortured thinking and i can't remember, i don't know if it was in the book, but interview for trump, and upset as a husband, my husband would be upset if somebody came in and said you have allegations that you were with prostitutes and so forth, and didn't tell him the source of it, of t-- to do so, but trump said if there's one percent chance my wife believes this i need to get this straightened around and comey comes out and says, my wife would say-- and it's a comment about my wife doesn't want to hear these
things and comey's tortured thinking process, and if there's a one percent chance then-- >> read that passage because it struck me, too, on page 241 for all my flaws there's a zero percent chance, absolutely zero that patrice was -- would credit that i was with hookers peeing on each other in moscow. and trump would say we have to get to the bottom of the golden showers thing and the leaked document and the dossier and comey has to explain it's not leaked, it's not a government document. it came from a former british dossier. >> and hillary clinton's campaign. >> and from a british newspaper-- >> no, they paid for opposition research on donald trump, but when the dossier had come in it was taken over by the hillary
clinton campaign. >> the same thing. >> no, it's not the same thing. >> you don't think there was conservative opposition research on the president that-- of course there was, but nothing to do with the dossier, people who go into complains do opposition research all the time, as you well know. >> all right. the theologian is quoted here i stand and i can do no other as well. did you see that and make any impression on you. >> no, none of his quotes made much impression on me whatsoever because i think that he blathers one thing and he does other when it suits him. so, i the quotes for me, i didn't follow along with him. >> and he wrote his senior thesis at william and mary where he graduated about neeber and one is neeber's
philosophy that calls people to moral imperative and try to act morally the best they can in a pim perfect world versus the exploitation of religion and what he thought jerry falwell did, he thought it was exploitation of religion and sided himself in the other direction and we can see almost from his college thesis the growing split within the republican party, those who would say and do anything just to win and have their team on top tribalisticly and those who did want to adhere to an idea of the rule of law. >> and you're saying, please, don't do that. i mean, that's-- there are a lot of good democrats and republicans and out there doing an honest job and let's not cast an aspersion on-- >> no, i'm talking what comey thought was an old-fashioned
principled republicans and the mafia view. >> and let's go back to the question that sonny halfman told. >> president trump told lester holt he had the russia thing on his mind in making the decision to fire you. he recently tweeted this morning that actually the russia thing wasn't a factor. so james comey, the worst fbi director in history was not fired because of the phony russia investigation, but he said it. he did stay it. >> we have it on tape. >> he changed his mind, joy. >> which do you believe? why do you believe you were fired? >> i don't know. i took him at his word when he told that to lester holt and then i read in the immediately that he said that privately with the russians in his office. today's tweet, i don't follow him on twitter when i see him on tweet, both of those can't be true.
and it brings up the problem that i bring up, it matters that the president is not committed to the truth as a central american value so i don't know what to make of it. >> victoria, what did you hear? >> there were those of us on t the-- who were beating on the white house doors, to get rid of comey. my criticism of the president is that he did not fire him on day one and someone who lived more in the swamp as we have, or known to do so and i called him dear friend of mine, who, that had to work with comey in his job and i said watch your back because he's continuing. so, we have never supported him. basically because of what he did with the hillary investigation. not having one and coming out and violating all of this justice department rules which we've already gone over, i thought it was a disgrace the way he handled the whole thing,
whether it was working for us or working for you. >> anything to say about that. >> when you're working for the fbi you're not shall woulding for democrats or republicans, you're hopefully working for the american people and for the government and that's the tribalistic partisan attitude that i think that comey is rightfully reacting against. but he did. >> there were a lot of problems, but he think he's trying to react against the idea that if you are the fbi director when there's a republican president, you owe your personal loyalty to the president of the united states instead of to the rule of law or the constitution. >> the personal loyalty to the president? you were faulting donald trump for asking for loyalty. you owe your loyalty to the united states of america. that's where you owe it. i've been there, you know. standing up in front of a jury saying i represent the united states of america and it's always given my flutters to do that. >> does it help or did this -- i'm not phrasing this very well, but did james comey come
across to you as a pretty good bureaucratic in-fighter? and is that important in this city? >> well, that's important in this city. i don't know that he was. rod rosenstein is a very bureaucratic insider, but i never looked at comey that way. i just thought that he had poor judgment. i thought that he had tortured reasoning and i brought up several of those today. i didn't think he was a good fbi director and nobody who worked with him trusted him. people at the justice department thought he was a, you know, a drama queen kind of person, you know, he leaked dramatic chinthings and i conti to see him do that. >> jamie raskin, this is a quote from james comey talking about president obama. i can't believe someone with such a supple mind actually got elected president. president obama is about the
only person who doesn't get criticized in a higher loyalty. >> well, he talks about how he had very little interaction with the president and in tradition that's the way it should operate. the fbi director is not on the white house staff, is not an intern for the white house who can be told that he owes 100% loyalty to the president because he's got a law enforcement job to do and that's an essential difference between authoritarian state and a middle democratic state. in authoritarian state all justice is corrupted by the whim of the autocrat, the kleptocrat, by the bully in charge. and in an autocratic state, trying to pursue justice. credit where credit is due. he said, he didn't vote for obama, again, he's a long
lifelong republican, but he thought that president obama ran a very honest administration from that perspective and from a few days of trump being president he was caught in the meat grinder of what he essentially calls the trump crime family. that's from a republican speaking, not me. >> from your side of the aisle do you agree that president trump should have fired james comey on day one? >> i mean, no, it's a tenured appointment. i think there had only been one removal ever before in the middle of a tenured term and that was-- >> and the fbi to build a fence or something. >> and there was an ethical one, but we should stick with that idea. the tenured term means that the fbi goes beyond the longest that a president could serve which is eight years and helps to uphold the nonpolitical nature of it. one thing that victoria said which i think is unfair is that people at department of justice didn't respect comey.
i think he was very well respected, again, you know an inside group. >> i do. >> and conservative-- but the people lower down loved the guy and they think they he-- >> one assistant director after another calling out comey in the book and tour and one of the biggest criticism, his former assistant director, why is comey writing a book when there's still an investigation going on about some of the things he was involved in? he is supposed to be-- >> he says there's no classified information in there and i think-- >> it couldn't get past the pre-publication review board. >> the trump administration and their champions are the last people who should be saying that public officials or former public officials in this case shouldn't be speaking out of school. we're talking about a president here that says--
>> the former fbi. >> and the point i'm making is that he's got first amendment rights as a private citizen now. donald trump made him a private citizen and interrupted his tenure and he's got the right to speak and obviously he's a mad. there's a split within the republican party. to say we've got to stand up for rule of law "a higher loyalty" is the number of his book. and you give 100% of your loyalty to the united states no matter what you believe in, those are two different value systems. >> everybody is saying that, there's a policy about speaking out in an investigation is still going on that he was involved in do you have an issue with the former fbi
director essentially writing a tell-all book. >> yes and. >> i think it's unbecoming for law enforcement to do it. this is the trump era. everything is dragged into the celebrity culture. >> it's trump's fault that comey wrote a book. >> i wouldn't run away from it. it seems that trump seems to have driven him crazy with anger about the way that he is maligning public officials and trashing the rule of law and he's mad. for those who want to read a book by a former employer. >> and to call one an anthrax terrorist and it was false and made people upset and when he went off critten in new york and it was rebuked by the court of appeals for having pursued him. so, there are things that those
aren't mentioned in the book, by the way. >> right. >> and-- and you're wrong-- . and for any of the problems, many problems we've seen in the department of justice, one of the things i liked a lot about the book, was that he said we've got to be realistic about what the department of justice and fbi have been and he said he kept on his desk a copy of the fbi memo which allowed for the totally outrageous wiretapping of dr. martin luther king and he said and every day i would force myself to look at it to remember there's a lot of power here and it can be used in an abusive fashion. >> then i have to wonder how he allowed those fisa applications based on the dossier, and one has to say, an unverified dossier was allowed to spy on americans.
>> but this is really getting into the weeds, but i'm going to challenge your telling of the facts here. for one thing, it goes to a fisa court and you've got to demonstrate to a judge that there is reason to issue a fisa warrant. >> i've done those, jamie. >> you've done those, so don't give the impression-- >> then don't tell the court that-- >> all the of the investigation of russia began before there was any evidence coming from the dossier. the dossier is j us extra, it's icing on the cake. nobody's relying on the dossier. we've got criminal convictions, we've got pleas, lots of investigations going on based on other people's concessions of dozens and dozens of contacts between people in the trump campaign and in putin's hemisphe hemisphere. >> name one. >> michael flynn, do you accept that one convicted.
>> yes, but-- >> you know, this is why we can't get anyplace because even if you've got a conviction, if they disagree with the conviction they say so-and-so lied and didn't tell the truth. they never would accept anybody on their-- >> leave michael flynn because you'll find things that come out in that thing. >> manafort? >> i don't know him. >> he's not on your team. >> they're all financial crimes committed before he met donald trump so that's why i'm pooh-poohing this stuff. before we run out of time. i want to make sure we get this quote in from page 172. i don't know if-- actually our producer pointed it out and i missed it completely. pardon me. this is about loretta lynch. at that time we were alerted to some materials that had come into the possession of the united states government, that came from a classified source.
the source and content of that material remained classified, as i write this. had it become public, the unverified material would undoubted will i have been used by opponents to cast serious doubt on the attorney general's independence in connection with the clinton investigation. >> i'm glad you brought that up. i was appalled, i'm not a great fan of loretta lynch and i would stick up for her, but how can you say hey, i've got information about you, jamie, it's classified, but if people heard about it, it would be really bad. >> i think that was appalling that that was in the book. >> that piques my interest, but so little detail there. >> exactly. >> you don't know-- >> and not happy. >> and he clearly doesn't like loretta lynch. he didn't want to be hugged by her. >> and he didn't want to be hugged by the president either, he talked about it in "a higher
loyalty" as well as attorney general. >> and that's no time to go after that one scene after he did all of this stuff, that she-- with the opening and then in october, opening the investigation again, that she called him into her office and then she gave him a big hug which he was very uncomfortable with, i guess he's not a hugging guy, and said, congratulations or that was a great job or praised him for going through this whole up and down with the hillary thing. and then when he left, he said, just pretend like if you got chewed out. i just thought that was bizarre. if i were loretta lynch, i'd be out there blasting him. >> any comment? >> well, i mean, there's clearly this performative in office that people are pretending to do something and something behind the scenes.
the thing is that he's sanctimonious and overly convinced of his own rightness. for example, when he decided to tell the world two weeks before the presidential election that there's more potentially damning information coming out about hillary clinton through the scandalous anthony weiner affair, and there's a pregnant pause and oh, we are going to learn all of this stuff and hillary clinton blames that single event as the key moment when her big lead in the polls vanished. be that as it may, he shouldn't have been thinking about what's going to happen in the election and he said hillary was so far ahead and i think that she was going to be president and put a cloud over his presidency. all of that should be irrelevant. as a prosecutor you should look at the facts of the case and whether they merit prosecution ar whether you should go public.
that's extreme, going public, we've found some other evidence and might go forward. i think that hillary clinton is rightfully mad about that and a lot of democrats are rightfully mad about that and it's a strategic misjudgment on his part and lead people to question his judgment. and i think he believes the rule of law and thinks he was right about that although i think he was wrong. >> he believes in it, and he sort of violates it every so often. >> exactly, i'll agree with you on that. >> very quickly politically, congressman raskin. >> are the democrats-- how that "a higher loyalty" is out on the market are they rallying around a bit around james comey? >> i don't think so. a lot of them are still mad about what he did. we do think that donald trump is completely transformed the culture of law enforcement, so you have people under law enforcement coming under attack because they're not toeing the
line with the president and they've got to defend themselves and wear wife goes to the women's march and defend that and what their daughters did in greenwich. there were millions of people that went and they want a polarized, factual america that you can't lead a normal life without coming under attack for it. that's really dangerous. to that extent, people think that, look, comey made some mistakes, basically at the expense of the democrats, not the republicans, he should not be hounded and vilified because he stood up for the rule of law against donald trump. >> and lanny davis is out there blasting him all over the place and lanny is a long time clinton supporter. >> victoria toensing, you're in the legal circles and represented both democrats and republicans. is that a fair statement? >> i have, equally vigorously. >> is lanny davis a friend of yours or acquaintance.
>> sure, we know lanny from way back. >> what is it, before we get run completely out of time, what is the status of you and your husband, joe deagageagaide- degenova working for trump. >> and because as we all discussed, it could be a distraction, so, that's, that's-- we talked to him and we it counsel him on many matters. >> if the president and robert mueller plays a pretty large role in "a higher loyalty" as well. if the president fired robert mueller would that be in your view-- >> he's not going to fire robert mueller. >> but would it be a mistake if he did? >> of course, but i get tired of the press, i'm not-- but making it an issue, oh, my gosh, is he going to fire him and putting microphones in
everybody's-- >> they're not exactly making it up, it's coming from things that president trump is saying about rosin stein and-- >> rod rosenstein is a different animal. >> oh, he might fire him-- >> no, no, republicans are after him. >> how can rod rosenstein oversee a case where he is a witness. you don't do that. he wrote the memo and talked to the president of firing comey and now he's overseeing the investigation that is looking into whatever was behind the firing? now i happen to say is a constitutional, not scholar, but i do argue constitution l an issues, that that again is unfettered. the president can fire whoever he wants to and that's not obstruction, but that's being looked into by mueller and how can rod rosenstein overlook that investigation? >> first, i can't resist on
what they call the unitary that the president can fire anybody, we wouldn't have the-- >> if there was any news made it's perhaps the suggestion that rosenstein could be fired because he's-- ments i didn't say that, don't put words in my mouth. i said that rosenstein is not in the same category of mueller because he has a conflict, a conflict. >> and to fire mueller or rosenstein would be a massive assault on the rule of civil law and justice in america. >> unfortunately, we're out of time. congressman jamie raskin is a democrat, a member of the judiciary committee and victorian toensing is a law partner with her husband and a reagan justice official. thank you for joining us. >> thank you for having us. a