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tv   Washington Journal Carrie Johnson Discusses the Future Leadership of the...  CSPAN  July 13, 2017 8:36am-9:03am EDT

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book "the road to camelot." >> i was a junior in college in 1960. it was the first time i ever heard the word charisma. it was because he had charisma. richard nixon did not have charisma. [laughter] >> lbj did not have charisma. [laughter] >> jack kennedy had charisma. could have possibly tipped the balance in some people's mines. smart as hell, too. >> for a complete schedule, go to c-span.org. >> washington journal continues. host: at our table this morning, justice correspondent for npr about thenson to talk fbi nominee christopher wray testifying on capitol hill
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yesterday. i want to show viewers a little bit of his testimony where he was asked about his independent. [video clip] thatbelieve to my core there is only one right way to do this job and that is with strict independent by the book, playing it straight, faithful to the constitution, faithful to our laws, faithful to the best practices of the institution. fear, without favoritism, and certainly without regard to any partisan, political influence. that is the commitment that i brought to my years to duty as a line prosecutor. that is the commitment that i brought to my time as a head of the criminal division. that is a commitment that i think the american people rightly expect of the fbi director. that is the commitment i would make to this committee and to the country if confirmed. andve way too much respect
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affection, frankly, for the men and women of the fbi to do anything less than that. i would just say that anybody who thinks that i would be pulling punches as the fbi director sure does not know me very well. host: carrie johnson, he also said he is loyal to the constitution and that he would resign if ever pressured to drop an investigation. on capitolements hill yesterday reflect his actions from his career over the years? guest: christopher wray had one central challenge yesterday, to demonstrate independence from the white house without openly criticizing president trump, who nominated him. that is what you heard him give a series of statements citing his loyalty to the constitution and the rule of law, not to the white house. in fact, he said numerous times that he would quit if president trump asked him to do something illegal or unacceptable.
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there is an episode from his background that does demonstrate he might do just that. in 2004, during the george w. bush administration, there was a big standoff over warrantless wiretapping in the government. then deputy attorney general james comey, then fbi director robert mueller, and criminal division chief christopher wray all threatened to resign over that program. the bush white house caved, but christopher wray and his friends say that demonstrates he does have an independence of mind and spirit and he will go if he feels his principles are going to be violated. host: when did he begin his career and where? guest: he was a line attorney and an assistant u.s. attorney in atlanta prosecuting regular cases. of the georgert w. bush administration, he came to washington. he played a big behind the scenes role as a chief operating officer of the justice department. he later went on to serve as
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head of the criminal division. he was confirmed by the senate via voice vote, which means he was noncontroversial. he served for a couple of years in that post. he managed and oversaw some big corporate fraud prosecutions, cases, and hen played a big role in national security policy in the years after september 11 and the attacks. host: one thing that came up from the work after the 9/11 attacks was torture memos. he was asked about that yesterday. what was his role in them and how did he and the questions? guest: this was one of his biggest challenges before the hearing. out that aints database it got by suing the federal government, christopher memos name appeared on 29 in connection with that torture program, that enhanced interrogation program. the aclu and many democratic senators, led by dianne
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feinstein, wanted to know what exactly he did. yesterday at his hearing, he said he doesn't ever remember offering approving, or comment on any of those memos, which inspired techniques like waterboarding and other harsh tactics used against detainees in the war on terror. he said late in his tenure at the criminal division in 2004, he may have signed off on one memo, but he was not making a value judgment, and he pointed out yesterday that his criminal division actually prosecuted a cia contractor for going too far, killing a detainee and afghanistan. host: let's listen to christopher wray in his own words when he is asked his views on torture. [video clip] >> first, let me say, my view is that torture is wrong, it is unacceptable, it is illegal, and i think it is an effective. second, let me say -- >> good beginning. [laughter] >> exactly.
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second, both of my predecessors, director comey and director mueller, had a policy, which i think is the right policy and i would expect to continue, that the fbi is going to play no part in the use of any techniques of that sort. third, i would say that when i was assistant attorney general for the criminal division, one of the things that i think that we did that i was most proud of his we investigated and in one particular case i can remember successfully prosecuted a cia contractor who had gone overboard and abused a detainee that he was interrogating. host: gary johnson? becausehis is important during the war on terror, the fbi was among the federal agencies that was mounting a of these harshe interrogation tactics. there were people inside the fbi who did not want to engage in this kind of behavior. then if the eye director robert mueller pulled his agents out of
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these interrogations because he was protesting tactics that the cia contractors were using. the fbi played a watchdog role. host: what kind of relationship does he have with bob mueller? guest: bob mueller has been a mentor to chris wray. james comey has been a mentor to him. he had strong words of support for both of them yesterday. he said in response to questions about president trump calling this rush investigation a witchhunt that bob mueller does not engage in witchhunts and he had some very strong words of support for james comey's character, although he offered some blunt criticism of his approach to the hillary clinton email investigation last year. host: you heard senator feinstein in that clip say, "that is a good start." what are you hearing about the prospects of him being confirmed as fbi director?
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what does it mean to senators that you have a nominee who has been part of the justice department and has worked his way up? guest: surprisingly, in washington, which is really contentious and partisan right now, i can away from watching five hours of that hearing yesterday thinking christopher pathhas a relatively easy to winning confirmation with bipartisan support because senators were convinced that he does respect the rule of law and he does come from the department tradition. host: if you missed the five hours and would like to watch all five, you can go to c-span.org. let's hear what viewers have to say about christopher wray and his nomination to head the agency. iris in michigan, an independent. caller: hi, greta. host: good morning to you. caller: good morning to you, lovely. i watched this hearing and i a lot oft they laid
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pressure on this gentleman and i saw his family sitting behind him, his sons. if everyone in washington could face the same music, wouldn't that be great? because everyone who works for our government is supposed to take an oath of and defend the government against those who would harm us both foreign and domestic. personally, i feel that the , director comey started going haywire when he was mentioning that some of the calls that came to hillary clinton came from a blackberry and that everything went crazy. i believe that the president did not use the word fire. he told him that he did not think he could do his job properly because i feel that president trump felt that director comey was going to keep getting called back for hearings
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, so that the russian deal would come along. the russians are coming, the russians are coming. who cares about past references? who owns a blackberry in washington? host: can i ask you about christopher wray's response to senators question and along the lines of would you have done what james comey did to talk about not investigating the hillary clinton email server? caller: actually, i think they put him, director comey, under such pressure, that he got a little cramped and he went ahead and did something to not only protect himself, but the integrity of the entire agency, the fbi because they were not going to let go of him. the democratic side was going to and he gotd pump him
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really upset when they mentioned that blackberry. , the carrie johnson response from christopher wray. the line of questioning. would you have done what james comey did? guest: he said he could not imagine a situation in which you would be holding a press theerence about a person justice department had decided not to charge with any wrongdoing and then speak openly about allegations with them. he said he felt his hands were tied because that attorney general loretta lynch had met with bill clinton on the tarmac in arizona last year and created an appearance of impropriety. i will point out and christopher actions that comey's are under investigation by the justice department inspector general and we make it more on that later this year. canthe real reasons, if we find them, for his firing by president trump, are also under
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investigation by special counsel robert mueller and his crackerjack team of lawyers. host: why would chris wray and others be critical of what james comey did? why would he say, i can't iagine circumstances where would do this? what is justice department protocol? guest: prosecutors are supposed to make decisions about charging, not the director of the pi. -- the fbi. they make recommendations and the justice department decides whether to follow it. you are not supposed to be sharing negative details you have come up with in the course of your investigation. if you have decided not to charge someone with wrongdoing. what christopher wray said yesterday was it is not fair, it is simply not fair. if you decide to charge some but he with wrongdoing, there will be a criminal process, a trial proceeding before a judge where they can defend themselves. if you've decided not to charge
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someone, there is no way for them to defend themselves and that is why, in his view, talking too much about somebody who has not been charged with a crime or convicted is the wrong idea. host: but fear from joy in bethany, oklahoma. caller: good morning. i did watch the hearings yesterday and really liked mr. wray. when i watch these kind of , i kind for nominations of look to the view of how can i hel what side of the aisle is on? i could not tell. i think ms. johnson is right. has broad support, democrats and republicans. i think he is confident, he seemed like a man who would stick to his principles. he said if he was cornered by president trump that he would resign and that i just really like him.
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i watched my side of the aisle, like feinstein and mr. -- i forget his name -- they questioned him pretty hard. i really like him. i want to jump over a little bit to comparing it to jeff sessions. we all know that he was in the senate and he was a republican and i think i did see his, whenever he has been in a hearing, i've seen the republican side of him come out and i don't think that our justice department needs that. of course, everybody has a side. but when they are in a hearing, i don't believe it should show. host: that is interesting. joy, i don't know if you saw james comey's nomination hearing. did you? if you are a c-span junkie, you might have. caller: i did not. i did not see his original hearing. host: people might have said the same thing about james comey wasre this investigation
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underway. what is it about how people view the position of the fbi director versus the position of the attorney general? guest: remember, the fbi director is a 10-year term. this was an stated after j edgar hoover ran the bureau for ,ecades, perhaps too long accrued to much power. one of the ideas behind a 10-year term is that the tenures insulates somebody from politics and the election cycle in a lot of ways. one of the reasons why people were concerned. james comey was fired by president trump less than halfway through his term. he had only served three years. he had seven years left to go. it is the president's right to fire and fbi director, but there are questions about the reasons for that, which is why christopher wray wanted to present himself as a nonpartisan, by the book, along the lines, straight edged former prosecutor. host: have most attorneys
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that isgrafted policy reflected of their politics? some might say the same about loretta lynch and the folks before her. guest: the relationship between the justice department and the white house is always a fraught one. president kennedy appointed his brother to be attorney general over the united states, which did not go over very well. the lines appear to be drawn in this way. if you are talking about policy on immigration, decisions about prioritiesc, civil rights enforcement, for instance, or human trafficking, which this administration is concerned thingsdrug abuse, those are totally ok for the white house and the justice department to be discussing on an ongoing basis. but there is a line. the line is when you are talking about ongoing criminal prosecutions or investigations of lawmakers, public officials
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in states around the country, you are not supposed to be discussing those with people in the white house in a political context. host: let's hear from raymond in texas. a democrat. good morning. caller: how are you doing? good morning. i think mr. wray is a pretty good choice to be the fbi director. thought.e one i don't like a senator lindsey graham had to coach him into entitythat if a foreign -- heinto our election should not have to tell him to say this. graham saying, you want to be the director of the fbi, pal. guest: this got a lot of attention and for good reason. it was kind of a dramatic moment in a hearing that went on for a long time.
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one thing is that christopher wray was trying not to beat up the president of the united states, who has nominated him, but he is also a by the book guy. many people from political campaigns, republican and democrat, have said over the last couple days that if they got approached by a foreign government or individual, that they would call the fbi or call law enforcement right away. christopher wray had to be walked into saying that by senator graham. he eventually did comply and said the fbi would want to know, so people should call the fbi if they get such approaches. my sense is that he was reluctant to take on the white house directly in the course of an ongoing investigation. this is all under investigation by the special counsel. host: if he is confirmed as fbi director, what kind of contact will he have with bob mueller and the special counsel? guest: he promised yesterday to meet with bob mueller, who he
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has known for a long time and has a great deal of rec for, to make sure that mueller has all the resources he needs. there was a point of controversy earlier this year about whether the russia investigation was fully resourced. he said he would talk to all or and make sure he needs -- to robert mueller and make sure he gets everything he needs to do the job right. host: let's go to our republican color -- caller. caller: it is a very dangerous tool, the fbi is. $550 million. they took all the electronic equipment. how come hillary did not go to them? they came with guns drawn and everybody is there and they itfiscated the wood because was illegal. were they involved in the oregon thing? notes to the press. why did come we do that? why would anybody do that?
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you do have privilege. anyway. host: i think you are expressing skepticism about trusting the fbi. guest: there certainly has been a long, sordid history of fbi abuses over the years, dating back to the jobs during the nixon administration, for which people were convicted and later pardoned. it is mistreatment of martin luther king jr. and surveillance of officials in the civil rights movement, which remains troubling to a lot of americans to this day. that is why you want to vet fully and fbi director nominee. and make sure he or she is going to do the job by the book and according to the law. with respect to some allegations that former fbi director james comey hedley classified information, his friends have said that is not the case. he did share one memo with a law professor friend of his, who
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then describe the contents to a reporter, but that friend says that was not classified information, it was not top-secret information, and some reports which have moved in that direction this week have been corrected to reflect the reality there. host: we will hear from robert in alabama, a democrat. hi, robert. good morning to you. what is your question or comment. not hearing robert. let's go to dean in south dakota. a republican. caller: yes. a couple quick comments. i do think that call me should have been fired. behink also that he needs to -- host: we are listening. he needs to be? he should, i do think have been fired. i think also he should have been prosecuted for leaking different events.
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back through a private individual to the press, instead of going directly to him. , thathad done that probably would have been his asht after he had been fired a citizen. as far as a special prosecutor, i don't get makes any difference . if the republicans look at when president bill clinton lied under oath to special prosecutors and the democrats stepped up, 50 democrats, 50 republicans, but when they got done, all democrats voted not to impeach and so he stayed in the same place he was and the trial is over. .ost: carrie johnson we are a long way from discussing the word impeachment with respect to this administration. a long way.
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i would say that underlying all of the back-and-forth of the politics of this are serious allegations that the russian government and russian hackers at high-level stride to interfere with the presidential election last year. one of the things that the special counsel is going to try to do is get to the bottom of those allegations. sharepefully be able to in some public process, whether it is an eventual prosecution, a report to the justice department, or statements to the public, what happened, who was responsible for whether anyone from the u.s. was involved. issue oft about this vetting the fbi director nominee? what happens before a vote takes place? guest: sometimes senators have questions for the record. they have more detailed questions. the nominee has time to respond. senator charles grassley has said he wants to see christopher wray confirmed before the august recess.
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that would be unbelievably fast. that said, the fbi has been without a director for two months and change, morality at the organization -- morale at the organization has been very bad. it does make sense to move quickly to fill that job if senators believe christopher wray is the right man to do it. host: what host: so the time line is what christopher wray? guest: he needs a vote within the senate judiciary committee senate. by the full senator grassley seems to think that could happen before the town in mid-august or earlier, we'll see if that holds firm. all right, thanks for the
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information this morning. guest: thank you. to take a going short bake and come back and get on the house investigation into russia's 2016 election the with gregory meeks of new york. we'll be right back. >> with the help of our comcast partners, this weekend the tour takes book t.v. and american history t.v. to concord, massachusetts, where shots of the american revolution are fired and then a s than a century later, writer's revolution takes place, ralph wn becomes home to
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luisa alcott., and where de orchard house the groundbreaking work "little written and what thorough.d henry david "nature" set the -- >> the beginning of the american revolution through the window down the hill and later the revolution of thought, a ism and house with such great history. >> on sunday, 2 p.m. eastern on history t.v., take you to the north bridge where the 1775.e of concord began in >> this is what is considered to americanginning of the revolution because it was here milita ericans, colonial
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and british regulars encounter ne another, shots will be fired, lives lost on both sides, the colognial milita was ordered to fire upon troops, creating an act of treason. >> see the world's largest ollection of materials used during the early days of the revolution displayed at the concord museum. tour of concord, massachusetts, saturday at noon astern on c-span 2 book t.v. and sunday at 2 p.m. on american history t.v. on c-span 3. cable with our affiliates and visiting cities across the country. >> "washington journal" continues. host: and we are back. at our table, representative gregory meeks, democrat of new the foreign affairs committee and also in his former life, a district assistant district attorney and special prosecutor

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