tv Outnumbered FOX News January 15, 2019 9:00am-10:00am PST
seconds later, this is the scene. you get the splashdown between manhattan and new jersey. the fairies and the commuters helped to rescue everybody on board, and that was a great dayr new york. it was a great day for america. ten years ago today. >> a lot of heroes that day. a cold day. ten years ago! all right. thank you very much for doing this. our coverage of the barr confirmation hearing continues on "outnumbered." >> >> melissa: fox news alert, the confirmation hearing for president trump's attorney general nominee, william barr, set to resume just minutes from now. mr. barr facing lawmakers on the senate judiciary committee, answering a range of questions from whether he will protect the special counsel to how he will handle any potential interference from the white house. plus, mr. barr defending his decision to write a memo critiquing the mueller probe and even discussed his opinion of robert mueller. >> do you believe mr. mueller would be involved in a witch hunt against anybody?
>> i don't. i don't believe mr. mueller would be involved in a witch hunt. >> some have said, on both sides of the aisle, that it looks like a job application. i also think over the past 18 months you, rather harshly, prejudged the investigation and some of your writings. >> do trust him to be fair to the president and the country as a whole? >> yes. that's ludicrous. if i wanted the job and was going after the job, there are many more direct ways of me bringing myself to the president's intention. >> you also publicly criticize the russian probe. >> however i criticize the russian probe? >> you don't have any criticism close to mexico not at all. >> melissa: chief intelligence course on an catherine herridge is live on that with the latest. >> we are just in the pods right now of those confirmation hearings. to recap, william barr made clear this morning that it will
be a priority for him to safeguard the special counsel robert mueller investigation. he said that any final report should be public to the full extent possible, and he believes a credible report will really be in the best interest of the administration and also the american people. he was asked by a senior democrat whether he saw any circumstances under which the report or the investigation would be shut down. here is that exchange. >> are there any circumstances that would cause you to terminate the investigation? or any component of it? or, significantly restrict its funding? >> under the regulations, bob mueller could only be terminated for a good cause. frankly, it's unimaginable to me that bob would ever do anything that gave rise to good cause. >> william barr also took a series of questions about a memo he wrote last year, and was sent to the deputy attorney general
rod rosenstein. barr testified today that that memo was written in his personal capacity, and it was only based on media reporting. it was about whether there was a lawful foundation for an obstruction of justice case against the president for firing fbi director james comey. barr said today he never meant to leave the impression that no obstruction of justice case could ever be pursued against any president. there is also a series of questions from the new chairman, lindsey graham, about whether mr. barr -- if he is confirmed -- will look at some of the issues in the 2016 election and specifically issues of political bias of the fbi and the justice department. here is that exchange. >> march 4th, 2016. page two peter strzok. "god, trump is a little dull my human being." october the 28th, 2016. "trump is a effing idiot." how do these statements sit with you? >> i was shocked when i saw
them. >> "please go to the bottom of it. i promise you we will protect the investigation, but we are relying upon you to clean this place up." >> in the last few minutes, fox news has obtained a letter that was sent by the ranking republican of the house oversight committee to the u.s. attorney in connecticut. the letter is based on testimony given in october from former general counsel james baker, the top lawyer at the fbi as well as the attorney who was present for that session. according to the letter, baker confirmed to lawmakers that he is the subject of a criminal investigation for leaking to the media during the 2016 campaign. as soon as we get some response for bigger and the attorney's office, we will bring that information to you, melissa. >> melissa: very newsy, catherine. thank you for that. judge, let me bring it out to you on the subject of william barr. he talked about this idea that it is common for officials, former officials, to weigh in
through the use of a memo when they see things that they disagree with. putting their experience out there, to say, "i don't know if you're going about this the wrong way." but he doesn't like to see the law "torqued," the word he used. specifically, for anyone case. because that can backfire later. he used for case of -- he also wrote a memo about senator menendez, who he says he does not agree with politically. he thought, for example, that that prosecution was based on a false theory, and that it had long-term ramifications that were negative. so here is the case where he didn't agree with the person but he weighed in in memo form to say, "i don't think this is right, either." what did you make of those arguments? >> judge napolitano: it's not uncommon for former government officials to opine on technical matters of the law to those who occupy the office they once held. so i'm not surprised to hear that. bill barr not only is a very savvy thinker, and keeps getting referred to as the "adult in the
room" if you compare them with some of the people we are talking about. yes, he is the adult in the room. he is a very serious and almost academic-like finger. i agree with the memo on senator menendez. the memo that he wrote about bob mueller examined one of the five obstruction of justice sections of the statute, and argued that this one could not be applied to the president. there are arguments in favor of what bill barr said, and their arguments against it. but he did acknowledge this morning, "i don't know what the facts are. i don't know what they gathered about the president prayed i was making an academic argument as a private citizen. my mind may be changed the day after i am confirmed, if i am, when i see what bob mueller has." i thought that came across very credibly, and in a way that made republicans and democrats feel comfortable. >> don't ask >> melissa: harris question xp 11 thing that kind of struck me, though -- he was offering a history of his
relationships. he may have done that as a citizen, but he had access to rod rosenstein. and he even had a moment of levity there, talking about that, "i want to make sure, is he a 1-page kind of guy? does he like a legal brief?" he was saying this is centigram. my guest yesterday, guy lewis, who had worked with him at the doj has said that this is a man who also has a strong relationship with bob mueller. it was a limited and to find that out. and then in the green room i find out that jessica tarlov really likes him and thinks that he's an interesting guy, as well. so i'm wondering if there is some meat on the bone for democrats, here. just like there was all those years ago when they voted unanimously. >> judge napolitano: you know, i think the republicans thought that the president chose him in large measure because of the memo of criticism, and discovered after the nomination he's been friends with mueller for 20 years. >> jessica: that doesn't
alleviate the concerns people have. what i've been struck with in impressed with is how much he took on the concerns that both republicans and democrats who are supportive of the mueller investigation had voiced, and made sure to address them straight on. to say, "it should not be misconstrued that i think bob really would be associated with anything even remotely like a witch hunt. times have changed since the 1990s. i am supportive of the first step act." for instance, he made clear that his ideas about criminal justice reform have evolved. these are things that people on both sides, as i said before, have been concerned with. i'm sure people will continue to have objections. dianne feinstein, she jumped right in there, as is her usual fashion. >> harris: the back-and-forth is very nice. >> jessica: very collegial. nobody was trying to get in a one-liner. >> melissa: that was amazing. the >> jessica: it was not grant's aging. i don't know if spartacus is coming out again, but it didn't feel like that was what this is about. >> lisa: can be also just admit -- yeah, if you have a lot of trump supporters, you can look at the fact that he is a very cozy religion with mueller.
perhaps that makes them nervous. can we make the case now and admit the fact that is intellectually dishonest to say that trump is going to try and stop the mueller investigation? this has been going on since may of 2017. they have active participants. giuliani said previously they had access to 1.4 million documents, thirtysomething witnesses. they submitted questions. he's not going to stop the investigation. like everything with the trump administration, this is being overhyped and sensationalized. additionally, he is not the only person who has expressed concerns with the investigation. michael mckusick, former attorney general, has also said there was never a basis for the special counsel investigation to begin with. >> melissa: along those lines, senator durbin said it would be a mattis moment. >> when is your jim mattis moment? when the president has asked you to do something which you think is inconsistent with your oath? >> i'm not going to do anything that i think is wrong. i will not be bullied into doing anything i think is wrong.
by anybody, whether it be editorial boards or congress or the president. i'm going to do what i think is right. >> harris: this is not to say that the predecessors, all of them, have not walked into the room with confidence and all that. this is a man, when he speaks, he has gravitas. jessica, i want to put a fine point on this -- you are critical when it comes to these types of income as we all are. when you say, "i like him," some of that is about confidence, i think. this is not a man who flinches. >> judge napolitano: he does have gravitas, and he had it 30 years ago. when he was at half his present age, and was the attorney general under george w. bush. his stewardship of the justice department brought accolades from both sides of the aisle, it was basically unremarkable. there were no extremes in either direction. he did his job and he did it credibly. >> melissa: there are those who make the point that he would be a shot in the arm to the department. you believe that? >> judge napolitano: i do.
i think the department needs it. >> melissa: coming up, the democrats. up next, sheldon whitehouse resumes his questioning of attorney general nominee william barr. we are going to bring you back their lives, next newday va home loan for veterans. it lets you borrow up to 100 percent of your home's value. not just 80 percent like other loans. and that can mean a lot more money for you and your family. with our military service, veterans like us have earned a valuable va benefit. the right to apply for a va home loan. the newday va loan lets you refinance your mortgages, consolidate your credit card debt, put cash in the bank, and lower your payments over 600 dollars a month. newday usa has been granted automatic authority by the va. they could close your loan in as little as 30 days. so call newday usa. they look at your whole financial picture, not just your credit score. and they'll do everything they possibly can to get you approved.
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>> harris: as we continue our coverage of breaking news on fox news channel today, take a look at the center of your screen. senators lindsey graham and chuck grassley speaking before this is set to reconvene. the president's choice for the job of attorney general is william barr, and william barr is holding the first of two days of hearings, answering questions from the judiciary committee. there you have a bit of a conversation before we get set to go, here. we are still on a break. set to begin right about now, so there is a tiny bit of a delay. we will continue to talk about some interesting testimony that came this morning. judge andrew napolitano's our guests in the center seat on "outnumbered" today. what sticks out to you that we need to watch more on? >> i think he is so amiable and so smart, and has such a great m his first time around. i say that a somebody who didn't always agree with him in those days. i was on the bench in new jersey. >> harris: just a teenager, i
might add. [laughter] >> judge napolitano: that he is disarming to the democrats. one of you, maybe it was jesse, said we are going to see another spartacus moment from senator booker. is senator harris going to walk out like she and senator booker did? i don't think so. >> harris: do you think so? >> judge napolitano: those are for things to look for, but i don't expect them to heaven. this is not brett kavanaugh, there are no personal allegations against him. this is somebody that was confirmed unanimously 30 years ago. albeit, by a different senate in a different era. he has as many friends on the democratic side as he does on the republican, because he is just a good, smart lawyer doing the right thing. as he says, at age 68, he doesn't care about politics. >> harris: the reason i ask it that way as we know sometimes lawmakers like to grandstand. >> judge napolitano: yes, they do. >> harris: all of them, lisa. not just the ones you agree with her don't agree with. so kamala harris and cory booker, those people you are talking about on the left side of the aisle, indicating that they might put a hat in may
be. but they will run for president. maybe if you make a little something going on at william barr's confirmation hearing, does that get you some positive attention among your political supporters? >> lisa: well, sure. that's why they do it. i worked on capitol hill as a committed commission's director, so part of my job was to capture these moments during hearings and get out to the press for your boss. but it's also the danger in swinging and missing, like cory booker did. remember, he grant stated. "i am spartacus," making this huge moment. it turns out -- >> harris: he's not spartacus? [laughter] >> lisa: remember, those documents he was making a big deal about were clear to be released already prayed he looked stupid. it was embarrassing. >> jessica: it was embarrassing to people who were paying attention to the minutia like we do. the far left are coming out, they don't care. because you can kind of flip it anyway you want. >> harris: that's not fair, they care about the facts! >> jessica: what they care about is that he is someone no matter what he will stand up to
republicans and say, "this is wrong, and bill barr is walking in." >> judge napolitano: does this resonate with the democratic base the way they were so fixated on the kavanaugh hearing? >> harris: i'm going to step in here for a moment. the nominee for attorney general has just been seated at the center table, and the questioning will continue now. we knew that there would be a break this afternoon. it happened. we expected him to be back a couple minutes ago, so they are very close to being on schedule now. you saw one senator lindsey graham took his seat -- he has been kind of a central person today. judge, your quick thoughts? >> judge napolitano: senator graham relishes this job. he's a former judge himself. he knows how to handle this. >> harris: let's watch and listen together. because my first chance at a committee hearing to graduate you want to give a gavel, here. we worked well together when you were chairman of the crime and terrorism subcommittee, and i hope that will continue here. mr. barr, welcome. did you make it a condition of taking this job that rod
rosenstein had to go? >> just to be clear, so we are not bandying words, here, did you request or signal or otherwise communicate in any way that you wanted rod rosenstein to go? >> no. the president said that the decision on the deputy was mine. anything i wanted to do on the deputy. >> so we will find no william barr fingerprints on rosenstein's departure? >> no, rod and i have been talking about his plans. he told me he viewed as a 2-year stint, and would like to use -- if i am confirmed -- my coming in as an occasion to leave. but we talked about the need for a transition, and i asked him if he would stay for a while. he said he would. as of right now, i would say there is no -- he has no
concrete plans, i have no concrete plans in terms of his departure. we are going to sort of play it by ear and see what makes sense. >> and you have not undertaken to run him out in any way? >> absolutely not. >> that leaves an opening at the dag position. whenever you work this out. can you tell us, since attorneys general are very often defined by the immediate appointments around them, the chief of staff incremental chief, what are the characteristics and qualifications you will seek as you feel, particularly, that position? but all three that i mentioned. >> i'm sorry, the deputy and what was the other one? >> deputy chief of staff incremental chief. >> if there was already a criminal chief. >> i know. there's already a deputy attorney general, but he's leaving. >> well, for deputy, i would like someone who is a really good manager and who has good management experience run the
government programs. i want a first-rate lawyer, and someone whose judgment i feel comfortable in. experienced in the department? >> not necessarily. with experience in government at a high level. >> when we met, i give you a letter that you have seen so that none of these questions would be a surprise, so i hope it is no surprise to you that i'm going through some of them. if you are confirmed, what will be the to parton's rule regarding communications between white house and department of justice officials regarding criminal and investigative matters? who at the doj will be able to have those conversations with the white house, and who at the white house will you entertain those conversations from at the doj? >> i have looked through the existing regime and my instinct is to keep it. maybe even tighten it up a little bit. i remember when george w. bush's
in this region was command, my advice was to start tate and as you realize who has a judgment and so forth you can go back -- >> they went the other way and it was a bad day for attorney general gonzales and the hearing room when that was brought to his attention. what is your understanding right now of who at the department of justice is authorized to have communications with the white house? >> it depends what it is. on criminal matters, i would just have the ag and the deputy. >> what do you think the rule is now in the department? >> i think that's what it is. >> okay. so, if the reports are true that, as chief of staff, mr. mr. whitaker was involved in conversations with the white house about bringing criminal investigations against the president's political enemies, that would not be consistent with your understanding of that policy. >> well, it would depend upon what his understanding is with
the attorney general. >> well, the attorney general was recused. hard to step into the shoes of a recused attorney general on that matter, right? >> i don't know what the commune occasions were related to. i'm not really sure what you're talking about. >> well, i hope you will become sure when you get there. because there is a fair amount of, i think, questionable behavior that has gone on and does not reflect well on the department. that i hope will get your attention. i also asked you about the special counsel investigation, and to give us a clear exposition about how that memo came to be. who you talk to, when, who was involved in it. there were a number of questions in that letter that come at this point, you have not answered. you have, i gather, told the chairman of the names of some dozen or so people whom you contacted. as i understand it, once the memo was written but it's not clear. do you have any objection to answering the questions that i wrote as questions for the
record, so that the committee can understand who you worked with, who you talked with about this idea? who you worked with in preparing the memo? who helped you with things like citations that people at your level don't often do yourselves? where it was circulated and vetted and what edits were made and so forth? >> no, i have no objection to that. just to be clear, no one helps me write the memo, and i know how to do legal citations. [laughs] which i do. >> welcome a lot of people know how. >> i do. i did it. >> you might want to get out of that habit. >> [laughs] >> you may have a fix to look at. >> i like to have some fun in life. [laughs] >> you're not going to have the problems some other nominees have had. my letter to you also asked about the bork to order that set out a series of protections for the then-independent counsel
operation. do you have any objection to any of those rules or principles applying, or should be those rules and principles -- which i gave you as being adopted in those statements you made earlier about your protection of the mueller investigation from political interference. >> i looked at them. i think the current regime is what i am with. in other words, i wouldn't change the current rule. those rules were put in place at the end of the clinton administration. i think it's sort of reflects the back on back experience of the reagan-bush years, and the clinton years, and then sort of justice department's thinking under the clinton administration as to how to balance of the equities. i think it's working well. >> is there anything you would
disagree with in the so-called board rules? i would ask you to explain that in a follow-up. >> okay. >> also in my letter to you i expressed my concern that mr. whitaker was paid at $1.2 million through what i consider to be a front group that has very little reality to it. that the funding that came to that front group to pay him the million dollars came through another entity that is essentially an identity-laundering operation that has no independent business operation. the result of all of this is that somebody out there arranged to get over a million dollars to mr. whitaker, and we have no idea who that somebody is. as i mentioned to you in our conversation, i don't see how the department can do a proper
recusal and conflict analysis for somebody when the player who delivered the million dollars is still hidden behind the curtain. is that something that you will help us fix? >> [clears throat] first, i don't think there was anything wrong done. >> we don't know that yet, because we don't know what the facts are. >> i'm just saying, the fact that you said -- he doesn't necessarily mean there was anything wrong done. what you are saying is that if the ultimate financial backers are behind some entity and the current ethics laws require only the reporting of the entity, you are not really sure where the money is coming from. and that -- i think that raises a very interesting point, that i think i would like to review with the affix people and experts. even the oge to talk about that. the more i thought about it, the more i thought the trick is going to be deciding what kind
of entities and how far back you go, because that can be set up a lot of different kinds of entities. sometimes you have -- >> if the departments muttering laundering folks would give his operation,t as almost amateurish and simple, and something quite easy to penetrate. and it would be quite easy, simply, to ask mr. whitaker what he knew. you ask whoever is still at fact what they knew, and to ask donors trusts to cough up the identity of the donor. and then he could do your homework. if they refuse to do that, nothing guarantees anybody a job at the highest levels of government who is not willing to provide those disclosures. >> as i said, my first consideration always is "where do you draw the line?" and also with the applications are for other kind of entities. because there are membership groups and first amended amendt
interest, you don't want to disclose -- >> my point was, if monday laundering folks to go cap back, they would be able to show that it's something that looks different than that. my time has expired. see you in the second round. thank you. >> filling in for senator cruz? >> melissa: they change questioners right here, so we will take a one minute break and return to these confirmation hearings. don't go away.
>> melissa: let's listen back in as republican joni ernst continues the questioning of william barr. >> he had a strong record of trying to make sure we are correcting wrongs in the system. how do you as attorney general plan on making sure we are restoring the rule of law and our immigration system? >> [clears throat] well, first, that sounds like a very commonsensical bill. and something that i would certainly be inclined to suppor
support. i think one of our major problems as the president says is that the immigration laws just have to be changed. to provide sensible and common sense ways of processing immigration and claims of asylum, right now -- this goes all the way back 27 years. we were facing exactly the same kind of problem. maybe on a smaller scale, but congress has to -- people are abusing the asylum system, coming in, they are being coached as to what to say, and once they come and we don't have the facilities to keep them. and they are released into the population. this was a big abuse, as i say, 27 years ago. and it has gotten worse. so, we need to change the laws to stop that kind of abuse, and
enable us to run a lawful immigration system were reprocessed people into the country who are entitled to come into the country, and we keep out those who are flouting our laws. it is long overdue, and the president's right to that, until we are able to do that, we are just not going to be able to get control over illegal immigration. it creates a lot of unsafe conditions for many people. >> absolutely. i appreciate your thoughts on that. this is a very important issue. i think all of us understand that immigration is so vital to our country, but it has to be done in the right manner. for those who are causing bodily injury and death to those here in the united states, we want to make sure that they are brought to justice. in this case, that illegal undocumented was not brought to
justice. i feel a lot of empathy for that family. i will move into another situation that is really important to iowans. according to the u.s. department of health and human services, after drug dealing, human trafficking is tied with arms dealing as the second-largest criminal industry in the world. it generates about $32 billion each year. the department of justice has said that 83% of sex trafficking victims identified in the united states are u.s. citizens. the average age of the victim is 12 and 14 years. 12 and 14 years. since 2007, there have been over 300 cases of human trafficking in iowa alone, and iowa is very rural.
300 cases. that's very concerning to my constituents back home. what do you see as the main contributor to human trafficking here in the united states, and how can the doj impact and combat and prevent those heinous crimes? >> this is an area that, frankl frankly, wasn't very much on the radar scope of the department of justice when i was last there. i know -- it's been a area of criminality and i know the department and attorney general sessions have been focused on. they have put in place various programs and entities within the department to focus on and work with state and local law enforcement on it. i'm not sure with the major contributed contributed to it is. it's an area that i'm going to have to study when i get into the department, and see what are
the factors contributing to it. >> okay. i appreciate that. as i mentioned in my question, as well, drugs and drug trafficking are also a very big industry. in fiscal year 2017, 65% of drug-related prison in iowa were related to methamphetamine. we talk a lot about the opioid crisis, but in iowa it still is meth. in 2016, there were over 1500 founded child abuse reports relating to methamphetamine being found in the child's body. according to the dea, most of the meth is being produced in mexico and smuggled across our southern border. how do you see the situation of the southern border contributed to the prevalence of controlled substance use here in the united states?
>> well, as has been pointed out earlier, it is the major avenue by which drugs come into the country. heroine, fentanyl, all the serious drugs are coming across that border. again, i feel that it's a critical part of border security, that we need to have barriers on the border. we need a barrier system on the border. to get control over the border. i think there are some places where more of the traffic comes over than others, but unless you have a system across the border, you are not going to be able to deal with it. if you build the barrier in one place, you will displace it to another. we need a barrier system across the border.
part of that is illegal immigration, but a big part of it also is preventing the influx of drugs. >> absolutely. you stated earlier that, really, the head of the snake lies across the united states. is there a way that doj can be working with additional ideas, methodology, with other departments that you might think would help? >> yes, this is an area -- i don't know how it's functioning, how the drug war is being coordinated. but i think justice can play a big role in pushing for partners like the state department, the defense department, the intelligence agencies, and so forth to help deal with this. to me, it's not just the law enforcement program. if the national security problem. >> you mentioned, as well, the situation on the border where we do need barriers in place to
control the influx of whether it's drugs, human trafficking, gun trafficking, so forth. do you believe that sanctuary cities play a role in harboring some of those activities? >> yes, i do. there are a number of -- there are factors that have a hydraulic effect, in that they pull people into the united states or induce them to take the hazards of coming into the united states. coming up hundreds of miles to mexico, and so forth. things like sanctuary cities, where they feel they will be able to come up and hide and be protected, is one of those factors that i think is irresponsible. because it attracts the illegal aliens coming in.
obviously, i think that the main problem with sanctuary cities is that they are not giving us information about criminals that they have in their custody. this is not chasing after, you know, families or anything like that. this is going after criminals who the state and local law enforcement have in custody. and not allowing us to take custody of them and get them out of the country. that's the problem with sanctuary cities. >> correct, we could be the situation that edwin mejia, who killed several roots. we would love to see that man brought to justice. thank you for your time. >> thank you. just a follow up on that, senator klobuchar. >> harris: as they get set now to change questioners, joni ernst there a viable, the senator has wrapped up.
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>> harris: a new question are now at the attorney general confirmation hearing. now senator amy klobuchar, of minnesota. watch. >> -- that also had money for border security. >> the point is, we need money right now for border security. including barriers and walls and slats end of the things. anything that makes sense in different areas of the board. >> okay, in different areas. that's a good point. so, president george h.w. bush said in 1980 that he didn't want to to a c6 and 8-year-old kids made to feel that they are living outside the law. you were the attorney general. he also said that immigration is not just a link to america's past, but a bridge to america's future. do you agree with those statements? >> as i said, i think illegal immigration -- we have a great
system potential. i think it needs reforming, but legal in immigration has been good for united states. it's been great for the country. >> that's why we were trying to work on that reform. i want to briefly turn to fbi leadership. the president has made statements accusing the fbi of making politically-motivated decisions. many of us up here and in the senate have confidence in director wray and the leadership at the fbi, and believe they could do their jobs without politics getting the way. do you agree with that? >> if i'm confirmed, i am looking forward to getting to know christopher wray. from what i know, i think very highly of him. >> okay, thank you. in the memo from back in june -- the one comment that senator grassley made, he talked about how much the mueller investigation was costing. did a little googling here, there was a cnbc report that could bring in more money than it costs because of the wealthy people being prosecuted that
manafort's assets could be well over $40 million. i don't know if that includes that ostrich jacket, but do you think that's possible based on your experience with white-collar crime? >> i don't know enough about it. >> okay. in your memo, you talked about the comey decision and obstruction of justice, and you already went over that, which i appreciate. you wrote on page 1 that a president persuading a person to commit perjury would be obstruction. is that right? >> yes. well, any person who persuades another -- yeah. >> you also said that a president or any person convincing a witness to change testimony would be obstruction. is that right? >> yes. >> okay. and on page two you said that a president deliberately impairing the availability of evidence would be obstruction. is that correct? >> yes.
>> so, what if a president told a witness not to cooperate with investigation? or hinted at a pardon? >> i would have to know the specifics. the specific facts. >> okay. he wrote on page 1 that if a president knowingly destroys or alters evidence, that would be obstruction. >> yes. >> so what if a president dropped a misleading statement to conceal the purpose of a meeting? would that be obstruction? >> again, i would have to know the specifics. >> all right. you would seek the advice of career ethics officials in the department of justice for any recusal, and i appreciate that. and he said in the past but you commended attorney general sessions for following the advice of those ethics lawyers. but you did not commit today to following that advice. is that right? >> i didn't commend him for following the advice. as the agency head, he is the
one responsible for making the recusal decision. i don't know why he said -- why he locked himself into following the advice. that's an abdication of his own responsibility. >> so, what did you think about what acting attorney general whitaker did when he rejected the justice department ethics advice to recuse himself, out of an abundance of caution? >> i haven't seen the advice he got. and i don't know the specific facts. abundance of caution suggests that it could have gone either way. >> you have committed to recuse yourself from matters regarding the law firm where you currently work. are you aware of any of your firm's clients who are in any way connected to the special counsel investigation? >> i'm not aware. to tell you the truth -- i am of
counsel there, and i have one client who i'm representing. i don't pay very much attention -- >> you can also supplement that. no problem. will you commit to make public all of the reports conclusions, the mueller report, even if some of the evidence supporting those conclusions can be made public? >> that certainly is my goal and intent. it's hard for me to conceive of a conclusion that would run afoul of what's currently written. but that is my intent. >> secure elections, you and i had a talk about that in my office. do you think back up paper ballots are a good idea? this is a bill that senator lankford and i have introduced with senator graham senator graham and senator harris. >> i don't know it's a good idea and a better idea right now. because i haven't gotten into this area. >> i will just tell you, backup
paper ballots is a good idea. we could talk about it later. as well as audits. along the lines of voting, state election officials in north carolina, as you know, contacted the justice department about the integrity of their elections. the justice department may have failed to take action in a timely manner. what steps would you take to make sure these failures don't occur again? >> not specifically with respect to north carolina. you are talking generally cost direct yet. as i say, i want to make one of my priorities integrity of elections. this is not an area i have been involved with deeply before. when i get to the department, if i'm confirmed, i will start working with the people and making sure those kinds of things don't happen. >> part of this, of course, his voting rights. our concern about some of the changes in department policy. i hope you will seriously look
at that. the last thing we should be doing is suppressing voting, and that's what we have been seeing under this current administration. my dad was a reporter, so i grew up knowing the importance of a free press. we obviously have the tragic case of a journalist who worked right here at "the washington post," jamaal khashoggi, particular concern. i want to ask you something i ask attorney general sessions. if you are confirmed, will the justice department job report is for doing their jobs? >> i think -- i know there are guidelines in place, and i can conceive of situations where, as a last resort, and we are a news organization has run through a red flag or something like that,
knows that there -- there could be situation worse nobody could be held in contempt. >> attorney general sessions said he could look at potentially changing that rules at one point. i want you to maybe respond in writing to this. because that was very concernin concerning. when you and i were last in my office, we talked about your work with time warner, with this major merger on appeal from the justice department. i just wanted you to commit today to what you committed to me in the office, that you would recuse yourself from any matters regarding that appeal. >> absolutely. >> you were on the board of time warner at the time, and you signed a sworn affidavit questioning whether the justice department's decision to block the merger was politically motivated given -- and this is from the affidavit -- "the president's prior public animus
toward the merger." are you talking here about his view on cnn? what did you mean by "prior public animus?" >> i'm sorry, could you repeat that? >> sure. you were on the board of time warner and you signed a sworn affidavit questioning whether the justice department's decision to block the merger was politically motivated given the president's prior public animus toward the merger. what did you mean by that? >> the affidavit speaks for itself. at that meeting, i was concerned that the antitrust division was not engaging in some of our arguments. and they got concerned that they weren't taking the merits seriously as i hoped they would. but i have -- you know, i have
no -- i am not sure why they acted the way they did. >> okay. very good. i will ask you more on antitrust, policy wise come in the second round. i appreciated the discussion we had on that. it's very department thank you very much. >> melissa: we will squeeze in a quick one of a break here, as there is a change of the person doing the questioning of william barr. we'll be right back this is huntsville, alabama. aka, rocket city, usa. this is a very difficult job. failure is not an option.
more than half of employees across the country bring financial stress to work. if you're stressed out financially at home, you're going to be too worried to be able to do a good job. i want to be able to offer all of the benefits that keep them satisfied. it is the people that is really the only asset that you have. put your employees on a path to financial wellness with prudential. bring your challenges. >> melissa: with jump back in here as ted cruz takes over the questioning of the senate judiciary committee in the conversation confirmation hearing of william barr. >> -- i think it's a good step for the department, and a good step for strengthening the department. i would note, 27 years ago when you did this previously, when you were last nominated to be attorney general -- and i think you might have been about liam's age at the time -- it was a different time.
then-chairman of the judiciary committee joe biden said at the time that he found you to be "honest," and that you "understand and are committed to the responsibility of the office of the attorney general." chairman biden also said that "this commitment to the public interest of all else is a critical attribute in an attorney general, and i will vote to confirm mr. barr." senator ted kennedy likewise noted your dedication to public service. senator fritz hollings said "mr. barr had a distinguished academic background and an interest in the private sector, as well as in public service." most important, bill barr is a known quantity. he has done outstanding job as deputy attorney general for the last year and have, during which time he has worked with many of us in this body earning a respect for his professionalism and competence." and senator cole said that "your willingness to discuss the
issues is a refreshing change in the confirmation process, and it would be wise of future nominees to follow mr. barr's example." at that hearing you are confirmed by this committee unanimously, as you had been twice previously for senior appointments to the department of justice. we all recognize that was a different time. i think given the environment we are in now, if you expect this committee vote to be unanimous. but i would hope those voices from the past, from democrats who are respected by members of this committee, will be heard today, as well. one of the questions you were asked -- if i may paraphrase -- was, "why on earth would you take this job?" in your answer, if i recall correctly, concerned your commitment both to the
department and the rule of law. would you tell this committee, in your judgment, why the rule of law matters? why is that important? >> well -- [sigh] as our framer said in the federalist papers, the art of setting up a government is to have a government that is strong enough to perform the functions that a government has to perform while at the same time not being so strong that it can oppress its own people. the rule of law ensures precisely that the government does not oppress its own people. and that when people are accused of wrongdoing, our system essentially gives them the benefit of the doubt and gives them rights to bring them up to the same level as the governmen
government. the process we go through is there to ensure that justice is not arbitrary but done according to a set of rules. and the basic protection that we have is the rule that applies to one applies to all. that, at the end of the day, is what keeps us all free. that is the protection of individual freedom. to me, the rule of law is exactly that. that we don't allow special rules to go into effect for a particular individual. of rule has to be universalized. anything we do against a has to be universalized he crossed everyone similarly situated. that's our basic protection, and to me, that's what the of law is. >> i don't want to see a republican apartment of justice or a democratic department of justice. i don't want to see a republican
fbi or democratic fbi. we should see, what the american people have a right to see any right to expect, is a department of justice that is committed to and faithful to the constitution and the laws regardless of political party. a corollary to that is a department that is willing to hold anyone who commits criminal conduct accountable regardless of the individual's political party or whatever partisan interest there might be. would you agree with that representation? >> yes, senator . >> i would note, as well -- during the previous administration, there was concerned by many -- including me on this committee -- that the previous administration -- in particular, the irs -- had targeted individual citizens and send groups for etiquette dominic exercising their first amendment rights. and it abused power in doing so.
the current justice department -- i have been dissatisfied with the degree of scrutiny they have given to that potential abuse of power. i'm going to ask you, going forward, if you are confirmed, to examine that conduct and ensure that if laws were broken that individuals are held accountable. let me shift to a different topic. one of the most important safeguards of our liberties is the bill of rights. the attorney general has a unique responsibility, defending the constitution. can you share for this committee, in your view, the importance of free speech? the protections that the first amendment provides to americans to speak and even to speak on unpopular or politically disfavored topics?
>> i think free speech is at the core of our system, because we believe in the democratic process and power shifting through the processes of voting by an informed electorate. free speech is foundational to the ability to have a democratic process. the framers, i think, believed that the dialectic -- the clashing of ideas in the public marketplace -- is the way to arrive at the truth. that is one function. another function of free speech is that it's the substitute for other means of settling differences. in some ways, it's a safety valve. people are allowed to speak
their mind. and persuade their neighbors of their position. i think that performs a very important function in keeping the peace within a community. if speech is suppressed, it can lead to the building up of pressures within society that sometimes can be explosive. >> how about your views on religious liberty? would you share your thoughts on the importance of the religious liberty protections and the first amendment, in terms of protecting our diverse and pluralistic society? >> i think the framers believed that our system -- they said that our system only works if the people are in a position to