tv Washington Journal Paul Rosenzweig CSPAN March 25, 2019 4:13pm-4:46pm EDT
>> once tv was simply three giant networks and a government-supported service called pbs. then in 1979, a small network with an unusual name rolled out a big idea. let viewers decide all on their own what was important to them. c-span opened the doors to washington policy making for all to see. bringing you unfiltered content from congress and beyond. in the age of power to the people this was true people power. in the 40 years since, the landscape has clearly changed. there's no monolithic media, broadcasting has given way to narrow casting, youtube stars are a thing. but c span's big idea is more vellvant today than ever. no government money supports c-span. it is funded as a public service by your cable or satellite provider, on television and online, c-span is your unfiltered view of government. so you can make up your own mind. is us, paul rosen flag
joining us this morning, the former senior counsel for the whitewater investigation. as a national security and sever security senior fellow. let's begin with the first part of these principal conclusions outlined by william barr. what did you make of what mr. barr wrote in that letter yesterday when it comes to russian interference? paul: there are two parts to that question. the first part is that he was quite clear that the special counsel had found that russia did interfere in the 2016 election. both through social media efforts and through hacking of the dnc. that boxes off one issue and kind of negates a theme that the
president has been talking about is that there is no evidence of russian interference. the president famously said that putin told me it didn't happen. know that is not true. conspiracy between the trump campaign manager the russian government, mueller was also clear. and we also have to tentatively accept those conclusions, that there was no affirmative coordination or collusion between the campaign and the russian government. and fundamentally, that is good news. it is good news for america. the president wasn't conspiring with russia and it is very good news for president trump. when it comes to obstruction of justice, he writes that because of difficult issues of fact and law, the special counsel did not conclude
that the president obstructed justice and left it to the attorney general to make that decision. the attorney general made that decision over the weekend. that is getting critics back up. general wouldney make that decision after 48 hours when the special counsel took 22 months. what do you think? paul: one of your collars made the point that it is a bit of an unfair criticism. most of the activity that we have been talking about is already in the public domain. firing jim comey, harassing jeff .essions and the deputy attorney general pullingnstein has been for the premise of the investigation since day one. rosenstein was a hero for defending the mueller investigation.
a can't automatically become traitor to the investigation because he reached a conclusion based on the evidence that mueller found. laying out the facts on both sides is probably the right way to go. both for theision attorney general and ultimately for congress and the american public when the full scope of this issue comes out. to get your reaction to the president yesterday. he leaves florida after spending the weekend there. he is on his way back to washington, d.c. this is what he told reporters. after a longmp: .nvestigation after so many people have been so badly hurt. after not looking at the other side.
a lot of bad things happened. a lot of horrible things happened. announced there was no collusion with russia, the most ridiculous thing i have ever heard. there was no collusion with russia. there was no obstruction. none whatsoever. it was a complete and total exoneration. it is a shame our country had to go through this. to be honest, it is a shame that your president has had to go through this before i even got elected. it began and legally. and hopefully, someone will look at the other side. takedownan illegal that failed. and hopefully, somebody will be looking at the other side.
it is complete exoneration. no collusion. no obstruction. well, i wish the president in a moderate his behavior way that conveys accurately what has happened. that accordingt to mr. barr, there was no evidence of a conspiracy between his campaign and russia. is not right that the special counsel found no evidence of obstruction. contrary, the special norsel neither condemned exonerated the president because of the difficult legal and factual issues we have talked about. and for the president to return to the tired trope that this was an illegal investigation or that there was worse on the other
is really unfortunate since there is almost no evidence of any of that at all. he should take his victory and move on. but i guess it is not in his nature. host: when the attorney general rights this about the making ation -- "after thorough investigation, the special counsel considered whether to evaluate the conduct under governing and determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment." what is he telling us? paul: that the president's case is unique, which is a fair summary. it is an assessment of whether or not the evidence gathered can beyond a reasonable doubt and
if the resources are worth the investment of prosecutorial time and energy. there are cases where it is quite clear that someone has imported a small amount of drugs but the prosecutor will decline because the case is not big enough to waste his time on. judgment the types of a prosecutor makes. he asks if this will deter other people from similar conduct. those are all encompassed in the principles of federal prosecution which are an internal department of justice manual. is thatis telling us rather than go through that calculus of assessing the provability of his case, the deterrence value, and the investment of resources, the --er factors of resources
the special counsel chose to do something differently. to list at the evidence that obstruction or evidence that might have negated obstruction. and to not make a final determination as to whether or not charges should be brought. reaction tos your what you just laid out? and the criticism that mr. mueller could not make that determination because he did not get to talk to the president. intentd not get to because he did not get to talk to him. neil patel writes an opinion piece that that is the problem with mr. barr's letter that there was no obstruction because neither one talked to the president. that is almost certainly
theof the factors that led special counsel and mr. mueller to affirmatively decline to develop a final view on whether or not obstruction could or should be charged. also, however, one of the realities that makes investigating the president unique. sought testimony , i am sure that that would have engendered a lengthy delay. with the resolution that i am not at all sure which way it would come out in the end. and so for mr. mueller's perspective, i think you made a judgment-- he made a as he couldr without starting fights like that. rather than investigating time
and resources in an 18 month long fight. it may not have changed the result in the end. i hear neil patel's criticism. he is accurate. it didnfortunate that not happen. but i'm not sure what else mueller should have done, nor am i sure that anybody could've secured the president's testimony when he is unwilling to give it. host: cause are waiting for you. charlie, a question or comment have been a i democrat since 1960. let's move on. let's get it over with. to have people call up and criticize mueller is terrible. host: what do you think? is over, -- it is over, move on?
continue congress investigation or get access to this report? i think it is a value in greater transparency as to what is in the report with respect to the obstruction piece we have been talking about because the equity. seems to be in counsel,nk the special if what he said is that all accurate, i think the special counsel with over two years and hundreds of subpoenas and thousands of interviews has done about a thorough his job -- as thorough a job as he could. -- a bit like a have going after the white whale. host: john, go ahead. caller: good morning.
i just want to say that there had to be some sort of baseline support of the american people. of some of myy friends and facebook friends and i got a bunch of people that supported the mueller report. 25 out of 100 white people supported it. 30 out of 100 ages -- asians. support amongd the american populace for this investigation. i still support it. host: any thoughts? mr. mueller's writ was very narrow. any possible connections between russian interference and
the trump campaign. is done and we should probably draw a line under that. there are other aspects of the that are's behavior worthy of continued examination. both by congress in its oversight role and ongoing criminal investigations in the southern district of the pre-presidential behavior which probably seems worth continuing given what you know on the record of that. not: given mr. mueller found collusion and that the ag has ruled no obstruction of justice, was this worth it? paul: absolutely. thing, it was useful in a systematic way by
demonstrating america's adherence to the rule of law and our belief that everybody is subject to the law. and they can be investigated. a great procedural lesson to the american public and the rest of the world that we mean what we say when we say nobody is above the law. importantly,ually on the fundamental question of there werenot problems with the 2016 election, and inquiry gave us -- think when it becomes more fully public, it will give us great confidence, to conclusions. that the president did not conspire. it which is good news. there is a that fundamental weakness in the way in which we conduct our elections that the russian government attempted to, and did, exploit to some degree.
a we are going to maintain functioning democracy in which americans are masters of their own choices and not subject to outside influences that are surreptitious and covert, we will have to do some real hard work over the next 18 to 24 months and over the next two or three years to fix that. that is a good message that was worth learning as well. is a nationalols security professor and writes a piece that says, still unsolved. mystery of trump and russia. likemr. barr writes terms knowingly, associates, and government -- excuse me, when mr. mueller writes that, he is doing work. does this past the test of campaign associates?
knowingly working with the russian government. for a lawyer, perhaps not. stone was not associated with the campaign and julian assange is not part of the russian government. following the breadcrumbs, it is an easier call. when a lawyer can prove and when a counterintelligence analyst might believe with a high degree of certainty are not the same thing. your reaction to that? paul: tom is accurate in the difference between a criminal investigation and a counterintelligence investigation. mr. mueller's criminal investigation needs ultimately to determine if the proof beyond a reasonable doubt that would satisfy an unbiased jury. he has concluded there is not. in the counterintelligence world where tom works and where i used to work, we work on supposition, circumstantial evidence, coincidences that we impute a
nation to. all of which are perfectly -- too.e an explanation all of which are perfectly fine. that is what the cia and nsa do every day. they make conclusions with low, medium, and high degrees of confidence. but those are not provable in a court of law. and they are not provable in a court of public opinion since the facts are often gathered through covert sources that can't be publicly disclosed. share times view -- tom's view that there is reason to be concerned that some men trump's were under the influence of or in communication with the russian government.
and it may be that congress chooses to look further into that. and it may also be that a counterintelligence investigation of that sort ought to see too much letter day for reasons of national security in the first instance. happen if, ford those people that had been in contact with russian officials -- maybe not russian government officials. what happens to those people? ofl: there is a number things. some like roger stone get indicted for their connections. others should be removed from positions of trust. they should lose their security clearances. particularly that it might bear on the continued service of jared kushner and ivanka kushner, a ivanka trump
in the administration. counterintelligence conclusions could get processed through the system. that is a legitimate concern. but criminal law is reserved for crimes that can be proven. much good to hope that we can do more with criminal law than it is capable of achieving. it is a narrow set of facts and questions. that is the way the system is built. host: let's go to rob, republican. caller: you are looking very nice this morning. i would like the liberal democrats to call in and explain swayed russia collusion them to vote for donald trump. i have never seen that proven. there was never a voting machine that was changed by russia.
this is like the movie where the head wag the tail. vote swayedybody's by russia? it has never been proven. is peterbeen proven stroke, l.a. page, susan rice, and the ex-president, mr. obama. guys have a reversed situation of us by -- of spying on a guy running for presidency. and there is an effort to take the guy down. that is my comment for this morning. well, i guess it is stuckunate that we are
arguing about hillary's alleged connections to the russians which have as little providence as the president's have proven to. the investigation began when one to an advisers boasted australian ambassador that the campaign was getting dirt on hillary from the russians. we know that now. it was a legitimate fact to inquire about. and we are quite glad to prove that the guy was probably just posting in his drunken cups and did not have much to show for what he was saying. that is where we should draw the line. as for proof that nobody was influenced, in some ways, the caller makes the point that social media can perpetuate
meemes and ideas that don't have much grounding in fact. likelyn we do, it is that that influences how people perceive their voting options. he is quite right that there is no evidence of votes being changed. there were apparently significant efforts to hack into election systems, another area that we should be working on. evidencealso ample laid out in painstaking detail in two of mr. mueller's , extensive social media campaigns to influence the and createblic dissension. government'sssian
affirmative successful efforts to steal information from hillary clinton's campaign and from the dnc, working with wikileaks to release it to the public. conclusionst the about the president, you have to accept the conclusions about russia as well. host: tom, democrat. you are next. paul: a quick comment and a question for your guest. i think this whole thing could have been avoided if you get rid of the electoral college and we went to be in this fix right now. -- we wouldn't be in this fix right now. starr's report came out, it was rolling off the press the next day. i don't understand why this report has to go through congress, the redacted, -- the
, and be -- be redacted combed through. i think the public should have full disclosure. thank you for letting me speak. host: we will take those questions. asks why this is being done differently than the starr report. there are a couple levels of answers. enstar's report to congress was direct -- ken starr's report to congress was direct to congress. the law at the time mandated that can star give his report to congress. starrt can star -- that give his report to congress. nowadays, the report goes to the attorney general, to congress, and to the public. we changed the law because we
thought the way that the starr report rolled out was a mistake. in 1999, 2000, 2001, congress looked back at the event and decided in a bipartisan manner that what had reportd with the starr going willy-nilly on to the internet without anybody vetting it was an error. they wanted to put filters in between. those filters are in place, working, and some are saying that i want to go back to the way the starr report came out. that is a fair point. we changed the law on purpose. is thath of the matter neither answer is 100% correct. there are good reasons for wanting filters and there are good reasons for not wanting filters. and where we are today is a
reflection of where we were 20 years ago. go back to the other way after this, i think. host: not related to the release if you couldt, explain the difference between an independent counsel like ken starr and the special counsel robert mueller. paul: that is a great question. after watergate in which president nick fired the special prosecutor, congress took the nixon firedident the special prosecutor, congress took the view that we needed someone acting independently of the attorney general and of the president. after watergate, it provided a ,echanism by which the courts at the request of the attorney general, would appoint independent counsel that would report to them.
strictly speaking, they did not work in the executive branch, he worked in the judicial branch. we had that law from watergate to the clinton-lewinsky examination. looked att counsel's the iran-contra affair, and at the end of the 25 years, congress revisited it. it was due to be reauthorized. they decided independent counsels were a bad idea. of them became like a had chasing the white whale. chasing the white whale. they kept going on and on. iran-contra took over three years. whitewater took four years. old way ofack to the
allowing the attorney general to appoint a special counsel. but that guy works for the attorney general, not the court. and we may go back to independent counsels as the pendulum swings back and forth. but today, we are in a post eraewater, post-lewinsky where we don't have an independent reporting requirement. host: let's go today know, independent -- to daniel, independent. caller: i want to ask about the letter excluding huge swathes of what we think of as russian collusion. there was talk of no collusion. it is all about the hacking. there is no mention of the real estate deals, no mention of the ukraine platform. there is no mention of the sanctions deal. there is a lot of what we talk about, that there is public reporting and court filings not
.entioned in the bar letter should we read that as mueller didn't touch it? or that william barr is only giving part of the story? how should we understand that? paul: that is another great question. the honest answer is we should not read it anyway until we see what mr. mueller actually reported, or more of it. it is hard to say. you listed, my speculation is that some of them were examined by mueller and some of them were not. for example, i think that the allegation that the republican platform was changed to be pro-russia and anti-ukraine as part of the campaign was probably deemed by mr. mueller to be inside the scope of his investigation because it related directly to the campaign and rush upon -- and russia's
activities. we will probably find out that he looked at that. hand, the general connection between president trump and russian money that has been put out and some of the public media probably comes from a time that was well before the actual campaign itself. at least in the reporting i have seen. my supposition is that was not in the mueller report and that mr. mueller has spun that investigation off to the southern district of new york that will continue to look at if illegal acts of mortgage fraud, tax fraud, and money laundering occurred in connection with russian sources being used to fund the president's new york business empire. a less clear and less direct connection from what we
know now to the actual election campaign itself. it may have more connection to the policies at this point. you think about michael: testifying before congress that during the campaign, he and felix were working on trump tower in mosco pursua nt >> we're going to break away from this and go live to the floor of the u.s. house. on which a vord vote or the yeas and nays -- a recorded vote or the yeas and nays are ordered, or votes are objected to under clause 6 of rule 206789 the house will resume proceedings on postponed questions at a later time. for what purpose does the gentleman from new jersey seek recognition?