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tv   Washington Journal Nelson Cunningham  CSPAN  June 5, 2018 12:23pm-12:53pm EDT

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theologians over just how far he can push the church to change,t the church can change without breaking faith with the new testament, the gospel, jesus christ. >> "q&a" sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span. >> presi trump tweeted this morning, the russian witch-hunt hoax continues all because jeff sessions didn't tell me he was going to recuse himself. so much time and money wasted, so many lives ruined and sessions knew better than most that there was noolluon. this morning we talked with a formal federal prosecutor about the igatiti and robert mueller. th is "washington journal." st: m president and cofounder of mccarty associates. a longtime observer of investigations particularly of a presidential nature and joining us to talk about the state of
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the robert mueller investigation. guest: pleasure to be here. your good you folks history? guest: i started life as a lawyer. a litigator at a law firm. i was lucky to be hired by rudy giuliani in new york to be one of his young assistant u.s. attorneys. that was 30 years ago last month really swarming in. i spent -- rudy swarming in. me in. for most of the six years i was there, just down the hall from me was jim comey who started life in that office. i moved from there to work for joe biden when he was chairman of the senate judiciary committee. i became his general counsel on the committee working on constitutional and criminal law issues. in 1994. in 1995i moved to the clinton white house where i spent two years as general counsel for the
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ofte house office administration, working on all of the underpinnings of the white house. reonhey brought in a former prosecutor and former senate official was because of the independent counsel investigations and congressional investigating committees that were just starting to investigate president clinton. that was my life at the white house for two years. i went on to foreign policy which is where i spent most of the last 20 years. host: with that scope what do you think about the current state of robert mueller's instn? results?before we see to it as someone who worked on complex white-collar investigations guest:, somebody who has watched the clinton impeachment go forward, who has watched many c washington scandals unfold, to get a feel for these things. i matched my thinking about
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watching the mueller investigation with what we know coming out in the press. wrote a couple of pieces in politico that laid out what i think will be happening in the coming months. howfirst piece looked at mueller will wrap up his investigation. there are a couple of things that are clear to me. mueller is reaching the end of his investigation. i know there are new revelations every day. newspapers are full of it. you have to understand, as outsiders, we only know a fraction of what is going on in a criminal investigation. it's like an iceberg. 7/8 is underwater and we only see a fraction of it. often we only see it a month later. something that happened in january or february, we learned today. mueller is further along than most people would think. one of the reasons i believe that is because of the discussions that have been going on over whether to interview president trump. that is clearly going to be one of the final stages of an
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investigation such as this. how do jim comey and his e-mail investigation of hillary clinton? july 2 they had the interview with her, july 5 he announced findings. that is the way a prosecutor will work on this but you feel he's coming to an end. host: let me invite callers to ask questions. (202) 748-8001 for republicans. (202) 748-8000 for democrats a independents. you can make your thoughts or questions on twitter. -- and independents, (202) 748-8001. guest: this is the issue bill clinton faced. he was sued in the paula jones case. he challenged it it went all into the part -- to the supreme court. the supreme court decided unanimously that a president must be subjected to a civil case. the president must accept
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process. if called to testify the president must testify. the court made clear he the president you have to make alnc. you have to do it in ways that fit his schedule. he has important responsibilities. the court unanimously said a civil case can go forward and that the president can be required to testify in that civil case. in a criminal case it's even stronger. any judge will tell you a criminal subpoena trumps a civil subpoena. if bob mueller subpoenas the president, there is clear precedent, clinton versus jones supreme court case and earlier the unanimous u.s. versus nixon watergate case, requiring richard nixon to comply with a subpoena and turn over the watergate tapes. there is no debate at all about whether or not the president would be required to testify, if he is handed a subpoena. no president wants to be handed that subpoena.
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clinton was handed that i can starr.st buy ken a limitednegotiated time the president was able to testify from the white house. he did not have to have the indignity of walking to the grand jury room. lawyers sitting next to them, which is not what you would have if you went to the grand jury. watched itr is live on tv. what we are seeing this loud back and forth, all just loud negotiating tactics coming to a fairly predictable solution. mueller has subpoena power and the president does not want to be subpoenaed. he would rather do it voluntarily. host: rudy giuliani directly involved in this process. at you imagine his role is in trying to negotiate? guest: he is obviously a very good negotiator. he is also someone who i think
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ear.the president's i think what rudy has been doing in the last couple of weeks, sometimes in the law precision helps. sometimes obfuscate and helps. he is throwing up a lot of arguments, a lot of issues. one of his goals i think is to make the whole thing seem to the public so confusing and so vague and so on the one hand, either they begin to lose interest or frankly they think whatever mother does -- whatever mueller does may not be that important. i do think mueller will issue his report this summer. he does not want to interfere with the midterm elections. it's a principal drilled into prosecutors. one of the reasons jim comey was criticized. he did it too close to the elections. will finish his
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investigation. i don't think he will invite the president. the constitutional rabbit hole. you could go down that for months or years he wants to find the facts. he will produce a report. that report goes to rod rosenstein at the justice department and this is where it is different from the starr report. star was on special operating under a statute that required him to write a report and required him to send a report to congress. that statute is expired. the special counsel regulations governing this matter are very different. rosenstein gets to report and he can just sit on it. no requirement that he make it public. if he does, of course, he has to comply with grand jury secrecy rules. he has to comply with classified information rules. it makes you wonder will we ever see a whole report in public because of the classified nature and grand jury secrecy involved. once that report goes to
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rosenstein, if he chooses to make part of it public or forward it to the congress for their consideration, that is when you reach a moment of potential constitutional crisis. president trump has made it clear he does not want that report to go forward. st: weave some calls lined up for you. we will start with don, republican line in michigan. you're on with nelson cunningham to talk about the state of the mueller investigation. caller: they keep comparing this to clinton and that than. we have a president that there is actually a contrived situation that was set up to try to make it look like something happened andow we are wanting the president to comment on that in an interview. i think that does not make sense. foris going to interview something they never set up in the first place? really a contrived situation from what appears from the fbi
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and cia. brennan, clapper of all of that. guest: you are referring to what's been called the spy gate incident. how did this investigation begin? there are a couple of things i think it is important to note. it is clear from the facts and from what's come out that the investigation began because of george papadopoulos and the information he passed on in the spring of 2016 that he heard the russians had tons of e-mails from the democrats. in july, when e-mails were dumped through wikileaks, the fbi began an investigation. based on george papadopoulos. when they heard there were efforts perhaps by the russians to contact the trump administration, they went to one of their longtime sources, a republican political appointee .'s been identified
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ask his help to contact these individuals and see whether they'd heard from the russians. he did that. i know it has been called spy gate. i don't view it as contrived. i view it as what any of us would want the fbi to do if we had evidence that there was a foreign government trying to interfere with the political party. caller: i worked under the state department and i know the intelligence business well. i think robert mueller is doing a great job. your guest is a breath of fresh air. . like what you are saying allow him to go
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forward. who is standing up for the united states of america i swore on the bible that i would protect the united states of america. nelson, your question for our guest specifically? suggest --do you can you inform our people, the republicans and the democrats and all the people across the nation -- host: thanks. guest: this is why i think someone like mother is what we need. he is a longtime republican political appointee. he has put together a staff of current and former prosecutors. i know there are claims there are angry democrats. stackedr's edition was with many republicans including rod rosenstein.
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the current secretary of labor worked for ken starr. the later solicitor general. the team was heavily republican. republican.f was what we have here is mueller, who is himself a republican reported -- appointed by a republican, appointed by donald trump. mueller, for 30 years, has been a legend in the law enforcement communities. since long before he was fbi director. he is someone who has widespread trust. until this investigation began few ever questioned his ethics, his standing, is worth it -- his work ethic. at the end of the day come he is to answer as many questions as possible and try to lay this matter to rest. we are lucky to have someone like mueller.
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we are lucky he comes from republican roots. i think that will help persuade many that this was a fair investigation. host: nelson cunningham, our guest. (202) 748-8001 four republicans. (202) 748-8000 for democrats. for independents, (202) 748-8002 . caller: good morning. a couple of questions for you. was bought andt paid for that generated some of the interest in this collusion, repeatedly brought to the attention of american people just cashed out on everything about this investigation. it was just the start of a small conspiracy. in my mind it cashed out. as a republican, i voted for the , i'mdent. as a republican
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supporting the fact that a lot of positive things are happening in the country. obama did some good things. trump has done some good things. it is time to shake of trade deals. i'm looking forward to getting to the bottom of it. i don't think it has to be the absolute forefront of the news each day. the hate has to be spewed from every news station. just get to the bottom of the investigation, take a look at what happened and take action. let's keep in mind on thing we are missing. we seem to share all of our projects with russia. we depend to get back from the space station with russia. an economy about the size of texas. they are not our largest threat. i'm noat worried about russia. guest: you make a very good point, which is that it would be good if this all happened more quietly.
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it would be good if the investigation could proceed without as much noise as there is. investigators do their best work when they're able to put their heads down, review the documents hout aaw conclusions wit cacophony of noise around them. we have two reports we can look forward to that will give us a lot of answers in the coming months. one is the inspector general report with the department of policemanhe internal at the department of justice who's been asked to look into how the clinton e-mail investigation was handled. how did the investigation into the trump campaign begin. michael horowitz, the inspector the hall onwas down the other side from us when we were young prosecutors in new york. we all worked together. michael horvitz is a serious investigator.
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we will learn a lot from his report. i think it would be good for all of us to hold our breath a little bit and wait to draw judgments on whether things were contrived or whether someone is the devil, until we have reports in front of us. host: the president raising out the possibility for the ability for an department himself. what is the legal standing and what do you think about him raising the issue? guest: nobody knows whether president can pardon himself. decided by the supreme court. we have the proposition that no man is above the law and that suggests someone should not be his own adjudicator and pardon himself. but it has not been tested. etiquette is a red herring. the president might have the power to pardon himself, he clearly does not have the power to pardon himself from
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impeachment. the constitution itself says in the pardon clause the president shall have power to confer pardons except in cases of impeachment. i don't believe mueller is going to indict the president. i don't think he's going to bring him to bear on criminal charges so the president won't have a need to pardon himself. if you recommend to impeachment the constitution is clear the president cannot pardon himself from impeachment. host: let's go to texas. democrats line. you are on with nelson cunningham. caller: good morning. why is there a russian around every corner with this trump it's just ridiculous. we know that trump has the ability -- the way him and cohen use llcs, they have the ability to launder and hide money. .e acts so guilty
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he will do anything to win and that means colluding, conspiracy with russia. manhe asked what the guilty . what can we say? guest: mueller has put together a team that is perfectly designed to get into the issues you raise. he has some of the best prosecutors and former prosecutors out there on criminal tax fraud. on international money flows. on money laundering, complex criminal oatio. on cybercrime. these are the best we have. they had been spending a year investigating this, gathering all the documents, interviewing all the witnesses. if there is a there there, they will find it. they all come out of career prosecutorial service.
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if there is not, they will knowledge it. host: new charges against paul manafort from robert mueller, witness tampering. what do you think about that charge in a larger scope of the investigation and how does paul manafort play into the larger scope? guest: manafort is in a key position. person -- only american indicted by mueller who has not yet pleaded guilty. the others, michael flynn, papadopoulos, even rick gates, have pleaded guilty. manafort sits out there. one trial in july, one in september. just looking at this from a cold-blooded prosecutor standpoint, he's a dead man walking. 69 years old, facing counts in both jurisdictions that are ironclad. he took millions of dollars from the ukrainians.
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russians sympathizing ukrainians. failed to report himself as a foreign agent. failed to pay taxes on that money and he hid it through offshore accounts. it is cut and dried. has pleaded guilty and is cooperating with the prosecutors. paul manafort is 69 years old. the only way he is going to avoid spending the rest of his life in jail is if you plead guilty and cooperates. what we are seeing right n a bit of a dance between mueller and manafort, trying to get him to cooperate and plead guilty. i think this move of looking to revoke his bail because manafort reached out to witnesses in the case against them and basically said years when i've been saying about what we've been doing. i'm paraphrasing. classic attempt to shape a witness testimony. .ueller is using this
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outrageous for someone to reach out directly. mueller is using it to increase pressure on manafort. if manafort pleads guilty, if he does agree to cooperate, that is the last milestone along with the interview of the president, the last milestone we have yet standing before mueller can complete his investigation. host: from west virginia, republican line. carl, good morning. caller: you are a lawyer and a member of the bar. i will assume you answer my question truthfully and without spin. wasou think hillary clinton a felon because she destroy e-mails subpoenaed by the u.s. congress? call me and the guy that is isorney
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attorney general -- assistant attorney general -- comey and the guy that is assistant attorney 20 yearsago i was an expert in something nobody else knew anything about. i can tell you that keeping documents on a private server was unorthodox. it might not have been wise. i see nothing, never saw
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anything that made it illegal to do so. it's as though the secretary of state took physical papers and decided to keep them in a home office rather than her government office. then you get into the question, classified information or not. it turns out there was a smidgen of classified, the lowest level of classified information in those papers. you can criticize her for that but you cannot say she was a felon for doing that. for keeping her papers as it were in her home office instead of her state department office. you have to but the destruction of els. as i understand it there were some e-mails that were accidentally destroyed by low-level employee. i don't think there's any reason to believe hillary clinton ordered that. here, but iht believe comey was able to reconstruct many of those e-mails from other sources and devices.
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--your good second question i apologize. first full answer to your , i mr. second one. -- i missed your second one. host: on the democrats line, stan in kodiak. caller: i'm on the republican line i thought. i must've missed style. could you tell me where the spy in the hillary campaign was from the government so we know that both were supposedly affected by the russians. why aren't we given the information about the spy clapper used that term, in the hillary campaign? guest: there's not any evidence unaware of -- i am aware of that the russians were reaching out to clinton campaign except ie legally hacking their e-mails. there were no contacts between the clinton campaign and the
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russians. it is simply not the same. -- was there something wrong with getting a fisa warrant. the fbi waited to begin their pfizer investigation until carter page was no longer -- they did not want to be wiretapping and actual campaign advisor. theyaid til he formally -- i think that is important to recognize. there's been a lot of back and
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forth on it. there was a paragraph that indicated to the court that thereas some opposition research that had been involved .n the dossier carter page had been someone who is a target of attempts to recruit him. three years before this happened, repeated attempts by russian intelligence. the fbi met with him and said do not read -- do not meet with the russians. he left them off. carter page makes a trip to russia where he comes back and says he did not meet with russians but the fbi has evidence he met with russian officials connected to intelligence.
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that would raise questions in my mind. host: al in dayton, ohio. you are the last call. go right ahead. caller: ask for c-span. mr. cunningham. very interesting. .'ve been following this one of the going to force -- his tax returns would end this .nvestigation guest: mueller has been on the job about a year i'm confident that one of the first things he did was send over request to the irs. the process by which prosecutors it's veryx returns
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straightforward for prosecutors and i'm confident mueller has .hose i've been impressed with the professionalism and it is impressive they've had these -- --re been no leaks host: nothing cunningham talking about the st >> thursday morning, we're live in lansing, michigan, for the next stop on the c-span bus 50 capitals tour. state senate proterm will be
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our guest on the bus during "washington journal" starting t 7:30 a.m. eastern. >> and here on c-span we'll head back to the house in about an hour, 2:00 eastern time to start the legislative day. bill debate starts at 4:30. seven bills that members will be working on today from the natural resources committee, including making ruth 66 a -- route 66 a national historic trail. any votes will happen after 6:30. you can watch live coverage of the house here on c-span. and betsy devos is testifying today before senate appropriations subcommittee on the 2019 budget request for her department. we'll show the hearing tonight at 10:00 p.m. eastern. >> on wednesday on c-span2, the memorial service marking the 50th anniversary of the assassination of robert f. kennedy from arlington national cemetery. featured speakers include

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