tv House Judiciary Committee Democrats on Special Counsel CSPAN May 24, 2018 7:29pm-7:57pm EDT
coverage of the wreath-laying ceremony at the tomb of the unknown soldier. c-span2, in depth with novelist david baldock to -- baldacci. and on c-span3, programs representing the centennial of world war i. this memorial day weekend on the c-span network. go to www.c-span.org for more programs and times. >> house democratic lawmakers led by judiciary committee a news member held conference today on the special counsel investigation into russian interference. they were critical of president trump for justice department investigation into whether the fbi used an informant to spy on the presidential campaign. this is about half an hour. >> they will still get the nobel
peace prize. ready? good morning, everybody. and a thankr coming you to the democratic members of the house judiciary committee for joining me this morning. our nations democratic norms mean little to president trump. has attacked of independence and integrity of the department of justice before taking office. he has shown contempt for due process and little regard to the rule of law. he is assessed with the special counsel's investigation to the point of distraction. but this week, president trump crossed a . "demanded" that the department of justice investigate whether that fbi infiltrated or surveilled his campaign.
this is not normal, this is not acceptable. it is important to the american people to understand why. the president of the united states must not make decisions about law enforcement investigations. that job belongs to the department of justice, which may only open a criminal investigation if it is properly predicated on evidence of a crime. president trump is engaging in a propaganda campaign of disinformation, branding it stir public emotions and undermine our democratic institutions. he is deliberately turning the for hislaw upside down own personal interests, which can only erode the justice system. the president may not interfere in a criminal investigation of which he is a subject. it should surprise no one president trump made his latest demand to serve his own interests. he has no evidence whatsoever that an informant infiltrated
trump tower or his campaign for any purpose, let alone an improper purpose, but he is willing to take the unprecedented step of both demanding a criminal investigation, in an ill-conceived attempt to protect himself by distracting attention and engaging in continued attacks against the department of justice and the fbi. cap worst of all, as he works to advance this latest conspiracy very, he has exposed a at thential source center of a controversy -- i should say, may have exposed a confidential source. this is reckless, stupid and dangerous. moreover, the decision to out this operative is probably a crime. ask theday i will department of justice to investigate the source of this disclosure, which never should
have happened, and hold the perpetrators accountable. me, are if you, like tired of the president and his legal team complaining about the special counsel's investigation, i will direct you to a letter my colleagues and i just transmitted to the president. in this letter we advise the president to stop stalling, stop blaming the investigation for his political troubles,. posturing to the media with his endless advisors, and have an interview with special counsel mueller. the interview was all but inevitable. robert mueller is well within his rights to compel the president's testimony through a subpoena. it is hard to imagine the special counsel's investigation will be complete without the president's testimony. if the president wants the investigation to be completed as rapidly as possible, he will agree to sit for an interview without forcing special counsel to spend months enforcing a subpoena.
yesterday the president's your, rudy giuliani, told the washington post he was concerned about the interview because "the truth is relative." shame on him. the truth is not relative. special counsel mueller is charged with following the facts wherever they lead. when his work is complete, the judiciary committee will be withd with the the same -- the same. the special counsel will submit his findings in a report and the report will be made public so the american people can see the facts for themselves. thank you very much. sheila, sheila jackson lee of texas. >> mr. chairman, thank you so very much. as secretary pompeo testified this week, there is no deep state. there is no deep state.
yet the president of the united states chooses to perpetrate oc on the rule of law. he does it for the nation and the international community. it is important for the president to set a standard of morality and respect for the rule of law and the constitution. his complete rejection of the special counsel's status and legality has permeated and undermined the constitution and the rule of law. it is a sad set of circumstances when the president himself caused the establishment of the special counsel, firing mr. comey and then admitting he fired mr. comey to stop the russian investigation. my point to the president is, stop stalling, stop blaming the investigation for your political troubles, and submit to the interview as indicated by the letter we as democratic members
of the judiciary committee with the responsibility of oversight have asked him to do. in addition, what a sad state of toairs again for seeking undermine the process of investigation of the fbi or any other law enforcement organization. i can imagine what scotland yard is thinking now, jeopardizing the use of a confidential human source is a widely used and effective tool, undermines again the constitution. likely to cast aspersions on the special counsel. i am reminded of the exposure of a cia agent in 2003 when a the iraq war.d this may cause danger not only to the exposed informant, but to others involved in the national security of this nation. it is interesting to note a confidential human resource or source is often used to protect the american people to solve crimes and protect against
terrorism. i wonder what the president is thinking when he is offered -- has offered to say he will not follow the law. finally, zte. it amazes all of us that a president would get in bed with a foreign entity that has been known and found to have violated our national security by selling intelligence. the chinese company. the basis is doing so is that he wants to save the job of chinese workers. mr. president, you have wreaked havoc on the constitution, on the rule of law, on the order of the presidency, and the decorum of the presidency. it is the responsibility of this judiciary committee to perpetrate, to stand for the rule of law, but also to have oversight. my final comments are this. if you want this nation to regain its footing, to uphold the constitution, to have the processes of government work, then you need to do as your lawyer has said. he's got to do it. and that is to sit with the special counsel for an interview
and be able to be heard in whether you are telling the truth or not. mr. nadler: thank you. they've just called votes unexpectedly early. so i'll take my political life in my hands and urge my colleagues to be brief. keep going. >> thank you. i want to quote donald trump. it would be a disgrace to our country and be one of the biggest insults anyone has ever seen and this is on his fantasy spygate. mr. cohen: there's never been anything like this in the history of the country. it would be the biggest political scandal in u.s. history. what would be the biggest political scandal in u.s. history is what robert mueller, i feel confident, will submit to the american people, and that is that a foreign power colluded with a political candidate to win the presidency of the united states of america. he's turning what robert mueller will expose as the biggest
political scandal in history, into something that he has created as fantasy, for the f.b.i. doing their job. this pin i am wearing on my lapel, john yarmuth came up with these, this is what donald trump deserves for his work in preserving democracy and protecting our constitution. i'm going to take a little extra time, not much. today is my birthday. >> happy birthday. mr. cohen: thank you. it's also the birthday of robert zimmerman and i want to quote him today. come gather around, people, wherever you roam, and admit that the waters around you have grown, and soon you'll be drenched to the bone. if your time to you is worth saving, you better start swimming or you'll sink like a time, for the times, they are changing. come writers and critics, keep your eyes wide. that chance won't come again. and don't speak too soon for the wheels still spin and there's no telling who that's naming for the loser now will be later to win. for the times they are achanging.
come senators, congressmen, please heed the call. don't stand in the doorway, don't block up the hall. for he that gets hurt will be he who is stalled. there's a battle outside and it's raging. it will soon shake your windows and rattle your walls, for the times they are achanging. and last line, the line that is drawn, the curse that is cast, the slow one now will later be fast. as the president now will later be passed. the order is rapidly fading and the first one now will later be last. for the times they are achanging. thank you, bob dylan. happy birthday, bob. mr. johnson: thank you. ladies and gentlemen, our government is not a government of, by and for the dictator. our government is of, by and for the people. in america no person, not even the president of the united states, is above the law. yet every day we wake up to new and more disturbing reports about president trump and his accomplices in congress putting
their thumbs on the scale of justice in an attempt to stop the mueller investigation or set up a pretext that would provide them cover for firing key officials who oversee that investigation. make no mistake about it, they are waging an all-out war and an assault on the rule of law in america. we are here today because our republican colleagues are failing to stand up and put country over party and politics. ladies and gentlemen, the integrity of our democracy is at stake. the way that this president and his associates in congress are behaving is unprecedented and the implications and ramifications to our democracy are grave. that is while members of congress should be united in protecting the mueller investigation to its conclusion. the president should stop obfuscating and agree to an interview by the special counsel. then we can expect a final report that will be transmitted
to congress and made available to the public. that is the american way. anything other than that is an attack on our democracy and an affront to notions of fair play and justice. until this republican congress starts standing up to protect the guiding principles of our democracy, this crisis will only get worse. and with that, i yield. mr. gutierrez: thank you. three things. giuliani says that the president can't be indicted. i just want to remind mr. giuliani, the congress of the united states still reserves that right. in the constitution. number one. number two, to me, i think a of fascist regimes during world war ii, i think of pinochet in chile.
i think of regimes around the world where there's only one party. and apparently they believe the same thing. they only need to invite one party to the meeting. well, this is a democracy. not a fascist one-party rule. although that's the way you want to move forward. so we demand that you stop this. now, i know that there's going to be a meeting with everyone. in the afternoon. but why give a separate meeting, when you know that mr. nunes has all but said, i am in the lap of donald trump. i will do his bidding, i will do his work, and has so discredited the intelligence committee and his own office. and deplorable. lastly, as we move forward, this is not about a homophobic
president of the united states. this is not about a racist president of the united states. those are political matters that we will take up with the american people and he will be judged on those matters. this is about a president of the united states that is above the law. and above the constitution. and the committee on the judiciary is here to say, we will defend and protect the constitution of the united states. mr. cicilline: good morning. thank you all for being here. for more than a year, the american people have been asking a simple question. what is donald trump hiding? there have been 22 indictments or guilty pleas as a result of the special counsel's investigation. that includes the president's former campaign manager, paul manafort, who is awaiting trial for conspiracy against the united states of america. but through all of this, the president has refused to come clean with the american people.
he's promoted conspiracy theories, he's tried to undermine robert mueller, who is an experienced former federal prosecutor, who served as an f.b.i. director under both presidents george bush and barack obama. and i looked up this morning, since january, 2017, he's tweeted the words witch hunt 50 times. he's done just about everything, it seems, except sit down for an interview with special counsel. if president trump has nothing to hide, and he's done nothing wrong, then he should sit for an interview with the special counsel and let this investigation come to a close. and that's why we're sending this letter today, because in the united states of america, no one is above the law. including the president of the united states. and once this investigation is completed, the special counsel will produce a report and the american people will be able to judge the facts for themselves. i'll just close by pointing out that in 2016 the american people elected donald trump in large part because of his promise to drain the swamp. but we've already seen many signs that he's actually made corruption worse. michael cohen charging the ukrainian government $400,000 for a meeting with the president. the beijing boondoggle where the president advocated for saving a chinese company and chinese
jobs. just days after beijing provided one of his properties with a $500 million loan. cabinet secretaries taking personal vacations on the taxpayers' dime, and the list goes on and on. the american people deserve answers about the full extent of the corruption in this administration. and trump's inner circle. and for the first time, the first step really is for the president to sit down with his special counsel and answer his questions. our country and the american people deserve no less. mr. swalwell: thank you, jerry, for convening us. we shouldn't miss the bigger picture here, which is that russia attacked the united states of america. and our democracy in the last election. donald trump's team eagerly sought to work with the russians. from his campaign chairman, to his son-in-law, to his son, for months they moved mountains to take meetings and receive the hacked proceeds that the russians conducted.
that is worth investigating. and that's what this is all about. the fastest way to get to a conclusion in this investigation is, first, for donald trump to sit down and answer the questions that have actually already been provided to him. now, vice president pence says that we need to wrap it up. well, you don't get to work with russians throughout the campaign and then complain that the special counsel is still counting russians. you don't get to take that benefit. and finally, when you lie, investigations take longer. so if donald trump and his team would just stop lying, and we've already had guilty pleas for false statements, this investigation would move a lot faster. we're not helpless in trump's efforts to invade upon the rule of law. and so paul ryan needs to finally be the check on power that congress has given to him.
today there's an opportunity to do that. there's a gang of eight meeting, a bipartisan meeting, to look at many of the bogus claims donald trump has asserted. but what paul ryan is doing represents the worst of washington. he's going to a fundraiser instead. so the corrupting influence of money wins over core democratic principles. paul ryan should stay in town, go to that meeting, finally step up, be a leader, and be a check on an out-of-control president. mr. raskin: thank you very much, mr. nadler. i just have three quick points. the first point is that the president of the united states has one job under article two of the constitution. it's to take care that the laws are faithfully executed. this president wakes up every morning trying to figure out how to thwart the laws of the united states. that's all that he's been doing. and at this point, if you think
about it, he's defying the very basis of the rule of law. we can't think of another president who has directly interfered in a single case, much less a case that involves him directly, and yet that's what this president is doing. so the second point about it is, if you go back to paula jones vs. clinton case, the argument made on behalf of the executive was he shouldn't be subject to , civil process because it would be distracting from his duties and the court rightfully rejected that and our republican colleagues roundly condemned that argument. they said, the president should be subject to civil process, to the rule of law, while in office. and of course that's right. and in the case of donald trump, far from distracting him, if he does the interview, he'll be able theoretically to get back to work. whatever that means in his case. because he spends all of his time on this stuff anyway. so why doesn't he go and do an actual interview and spill his
guts and tell the truth? which he has an obligation to do as a citizen of the united states, as well as the president. and my final point is this. what happens if we allow president trump and the republicans to get away with this sabotage of a criminal investigation and prosecution? in the case involving the president and his men? well, what precedent does that set for every other president to come forward? at that point we're saying that any president can destroy any department of justice investigation that he wants. how dangerous would that be? as my colleagues have said, we have no kings here, we have no queens here, we have no titles of nobility. we have no slaves, we have no serfs. just the rule of law and all of us are equal under it and yet that most precious principle to our country is now being threatened by the president of the united states himself. ms. jayapal: thank you to our
ranking member and my excellent colleagues. since i'm batting cleanup, let me put it this way. number one, donald trump thinks that the institutions and departments that are core to our democracy work for him. he is wrong. they work for the american people. number two, there are critical things that must happen in order for this investigation to continue and to wrap up. number one, he should be interviewed by special counsel mueller. you have heard my colleagues say that. it is a crucial step for the investigation to be taken to its conclusion. number two, mueller must be able to finish that investigation without obstruction and the results of that investigation need to be conveyed to the american people in a report. and number three, the judiciary committee and the american people need these facts so that we can continue to protect our democracy. i think one of the most troubling things to me is that this should not be just the democrats on the judiciary
committee that are standing up for our democracy and for our constitution. this should be a bipartisan effort to protect our constitution. that is more important than worries about whether donald trump is going to bully somebody so that they can win their election. it is more important than anything else that we are given. this is our one duty that we are sent to congress to conduct. and that is to protect our democracy. and protect our constitution. so i hope that the next press conference, we have republicans who stand up here and say that this investigation must continue and that the president must stop what he is doing to undermine our institutions and these critical departments that function for the american people. thank you. mr. nadler: thank you. i want to very quickly summarize what we're saying today. one, the president must not make decisions about individual law enforcement investigations, especially in which he is a subject of the investigation. two, he's engaging in a propaganda campaign of disinformation.
this whole nonsense about spygate. let me mention the obvious elephant in the room. he's trying to say that there was a plot by the f.b.i. and the department of justice to rig the election against him. obviously it's -- if there's any plot, it was the other way around. i'm not saying there was a plot. but the fact is, the fact that hillary clinton was under investigation was publicized by the f.b.i. and could not help her in the election. the fact that trump was under an investigation, his campaign, was kept very secret. if they were trying to rig an election against trump, that would have been very open. third, a deliberate decision to expose the identity of a confidential source is reckless, was made and we will demand an investigation of who was responsible for that. and finally, the president should agree to an interview and we expect that he will. or that there will be an interview in any event and the special counsel will make a report and submit that report to the public. thank you very much. we have time for a brief -- for brief questions. reporter: do you think it's
appropriate for general kelly -- [indiscernible] mr. nadler: no, i do not. i do not think it is appropriate for there to be that classified briefing at all. information about an ongoing -- classified information about an ongoing criminal investigation should not be given. period. this is a capitulation to the pressure by the president. reporter: it turns out this -- [indiscernible] [indiscernible] mr. nadler: well, as i said, i don't think there should be any meeting with anybody. but it's better that there be a gang of eight meeting than just with a couple of republicans on one side. his role as speaker of the house, if he's going to a briefing, is to listen. and then to keep whatever he hears totally quiet. and then keep whatever he hears totally quiet. we must not have information about an ongoing investigation leaked to the press which might sabotage the investigation or prejudice the rights of various worns subjects.
-- various witnesses or subjects. >> paul ryan is going to the partisan meeting. he's not going to the bipartisan meeting. we have not had an effort to directly confront paul ryan on a lot of the alarming behavior by chairman nunes. going to the bipartisan meeting going to the gang of eight , meeting would be an opportunity to do that. instead he's going out of town to a fundraiser, he should stay in town for the meeting. reporter: you say you are asking the doj for an investigation and earlier this week you noticed [indiscernible] is there evidence members of congress are doing this? i have a lot of concerns about that but i won't , make accusations for which i don't have definitive evidence, unlike some other people.
members of congress are not immune from investigation if there's evidence they've -- that they've been involved in giving out classified information or outing a source. if they have, they ought to be prosecuted as anybody else would be. thank you very much. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> secretary of state mike pompeo testified today before the senate foreign relations committee on the departments 2019 budget request. you can watch the hearing in its entirety tonight on c-span at 9:00 p.m. eastern.
watch our live coverage of the utah senate republican primary debate with mitt romney and state lawmaker mike kennedy from brigham young university tuesday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span and c-span.org. or listen for free on the c-span radio app. take c-span your primary source for campaign 2018. senator chris van hollen shares the democratic senatorial campaign committee -- chairs the democratic senatorial campaign committee. he talks about his party's strategy to pick up seats. it was sponsored by the christian science monitor. it is in our -- an hour.