tv MSNBC Live With Hallie Jackson MSNBC May 8, 2019 7:00am-8:00am PDT
jackson. >> i am hallie jackson in washington where, yes, it is a busy hour. we are watching that explosive fight between house democrats and the attorney general over the mueller report. any minute on the left side of your screen, you're looking live at the room where the house judiciary committee will vote on whether to hold bill barr in contempt of congress. because he's refused to make everything in that report available to congress. after last-minute negotiations between the two sides fell apart overnight. >> do you think bill barr cares if he is held in contempt by the house? >> don't know. doesn't matter. >> we've got our team with the high stakes and the high drama on this and all the other stories we're bringing you this hour. but, let's start with my msnbc colleagues and kelly o'donnell, pete williams and hans nichols at the white house. kelly, what do we expect to go down over the next 30 to 60 minutes in this mark up that
could maybe last for a couple hours, right? >> exactly. this is not a come in quick vote and leave. this is a process. and some of it might be akin to paint drying if they decide to read the entire. meaning have every page, i think it's 20 some pages read allowed and into the record. in addition, we'll see debate he here. we were at the intersection of all things happening on capitol hill today with respect to this issue of attorney general barr and the mueller report. the heart of this, of course, is the house judiciary committee led by new york democrat jerrold nadler wants access to congress for the complete report. so none of the redacted material in the public report that all of us were able to read, those sections blacked out, they want access to this. negotiations back and forth
trying to reach an accommodation. part of that material is grand jury related. and under law that typically can never be passed to congress. so, they are looking for ways to negotiate around that and other areas that deal with some of the referred cases. things that came out of the mueller investigation, but were not in his purview. so, sent to other prosecutors to look at. and we don't know, really, what those are. the michael cohen material which reports he is serving a prison sentence. so, what happens today? it is possible that the white house will choose to exert executive privilege. there was a letter overnight saying that it is the hope of the department of justice that this committee will put the break brakes on things and allow the white house to make such a determination. that is a big signal that the white house will consider the mueller report and everything in it under executive privilege and that is, of course, because the document is a part of the department of justice, which is
a part of the executive branch. and here we are at a separate and co-equal branch on capitol hill. so, this is a constitutional fight, a separation of powers fight and an oversight fight. it's all of those things and the debate will unfold behind these doors over the next hour or so. we're not quite sure how long it will go, but expect this to be very partisan as members have a chance to argue their views on whether william barr, the attorney general, should be held in contempt of congress which is a notable offense. rare as it is. the penalty is unclear, but it is certainly a blemish, if it comes to that. >> kelly o'donnell, stand by for a second. first to pete williams because you have new reporting on how the doj is pushing back on some of this narrative, explaining what they have been trying to, do right? >> i think the best way to put this is that the justice department's position is that the house democrats seem more interested in the fight than actually getting their hands on the materials.
so, in doj's telling the house has had one single position and give us everything and that the justice department is the one making accommodations. they point out, of course, that the rules governing the special counsel don't call for a public report at all. supposed to be confidential. nonetheless, barr decided to share it. he had a version that is only lightly redacted and only the grand jury material available for inspection. members have balked at that saying they don't want to have to come down to the justice department and look at it. doj said we'll send that version up to the hill for mr. nadler to look at and decide what material he needs. all offers not good enough by the house. so, this, i think you're seeing the justice department and all these letters to congress sort of building a record that they can use, if this does go to court. because it seems pretty clear that the house is going to vote to find him in contempt and then
the option is for them to sue the attorney general in court. and then the judge will, you hope, a little less partisan way on both sides say, all right, who is making accommodations here? where can we find common ground? that is the way these things tend to be worked out when it comes to congress wanting documents. and the justice department also says, number one, we can't, by law, share grand jury material. we're just simply forbidden to do that. and, secondly, for a century it's been the justice department's policy under both republicans and democrats not to give congress materials about still pending open criminal investigations. so, doj's position is there is only so much we can do here. >> pete, i'll ask you to stand by, as well, as we look now at this live shot of the committee room beginning to fill up. we expect to hear opening statements from the chairman and ranking member in the judiciary committee and we will bring those to you when they begin. hans at the white house. as kelly alluded to at the top
of the show, potentially a fight over this invocation of executive privilege. if this vote goes down as the expectation is for bill barr to be held . >> in legal terms, they're almost preserving the legal option. you saw that very clearly in the letter yesterday morning that you had from the white house counsel to jerry nadler talking about not having don mcgahn hand over documents. the ability to do executive privilege down the line. let me read to you a key part of that letter. under long-standing constitutional privileges because they implicate executive branch confidentiality interests and executive privilege. they're talking about it. as pete has mentioned, as well, they haven't invoked executive privilege. that is a higher threshold. but it's clear that they're preparing for it and it's clear that they want to make sure that
mcgahn doesn't testify and that they don't want mueller to testify. the issue with mueller is how will they stop him and what sort of legal justification. the president has changed his mind on this and he shouldn't testify and not got as far as saying he will testify and that is a key issue you should be watching for in the coming hours. hallie. >> hans nichols at the white house. the others joining us on set. cynthia is joining us, former federal prosecutor and msnbc political analyst. kelly, let me quickly go back to you here on the timing of this as it relates to possibly getting on the house floor as chair jerry nadler now enters the room. you can see him working his way past. this committee vote is just the first step. this eventually has to go to the full house. >> for people newer to this, yes, i hear you fine, hallie, i
hope you hear me. this is a committee thing. they refer it to the full house and then a decision about what goes to the floor belongs to the speaker. and, so, speaker nancy pelosi has now said publicly that she supports holding william barr in contempt of congress. so, that certainly seems like a green light. this can be a one chamber only issue. this is not the kind of situation where the senate has to be inuvl vavolved. a multi-step process. but one where democrats hold the cards because of they majority. the majority party has more seats, therefore, it's conceivably baked in that the outcome is known. so, all the republicans on the committee can fight this vigorously and still not have enough votes to prevent it. the committee makes this referral to the full house. the timing on when it will all play out still to be decided and i'm sure that is something where
there is a lot of strategy involved in terms of other things on the agenda, when it could have most political impact and how it fits in to everything else. that is something that will give us more things to talk about down the line. but the committee is the gateway on this. they have the subject expertise. they are spending the time on this. it's their jurisdiction and that's why we begin here and the power in the hands of jerrold nadler, the committee chairman who served on this committee a long time and has the gavel and has circumstances that he says are absolutely essential to deal with these constitutional issues and issues of oversight and the responsibilities and powers that belong to the congress in this fight with the executive branch. so, this is the kind of thing that people will talk about for years to come in terms of the struggle between the executive and legislative. there are always some. it's just how high does it kind of light up in terms of the d.c. crisis meter. this one is pretty big. so, jerrold nadler will lead
this conversation today in what is known as a mark up where they have an opportunity to change the document that will go to the full house for consideration, as it defines the issues. it sort of, consider it like a lawsuit or a statement of facts or a statement of at least views from the committee that the full committee will vote on and then it goes to the house. that is sort of the school house rock of what will happen here. >> pete, as we wait now for chairman nadler to gavel this in. quickly, i want to talk about what it will mean to have the attorney general held in contempt of congress. we have seen other top officials held in contempt before. talk if this is different of previous instances if this vote goes the way we assume it does. >> i don't think so. eric holder was found in contempt. life goes on for them. they do become a defendant in a civil lawsuit, i would think is the most likely option here. that the house could refer this
to the u.s. attorney and ask that there be criminal contempt proceedings but that typically goes no where, especially if the government is thinking about asserting executive privilege. the more likely event they will sue the attorney general and it will go to court. as i say, the judges, this is what happened in the holder case where the house wanted documents to an abortive atf operation to try to trace guns that were smuggled across the border into mexic mexico. and the house did end up with some documents. they didn't get everything they wanted and that's the likely outcome here, as well. as a judge tries to decide, well, what is the house legally entitled to? what should the government give. but, remember, as you head to this, this is not going to be a quick process. it's going to take months to resolve in court. >> we are going to now listen in here as chairman jerry nadler begins the proceedings. stay with us.
>> pursuant to committee rule 2 and house rule 11 clause 2, the chairman postpone proceedings today on the question of approving any matter and a vote for the yeas and nays. >> i call up the committee report for a resolution recommending that the house of representatives find william barr, attorney general, u.s. department of justice in contempt for refusal to comply. for purposes of mark up and move that the committee reported favorably to the house. >> mr. chairman, i demand the question of consideration. >> before we read the bill? >> i believe this is when the motion lies.
>> the question of consideration is not debatable. the question is, shall the committee consider the committee report. all those in favor say aye. opposed? >> no. >> the ayes have it. >> roll call, please. >> the clerk will call the roll. >> mr. nadler. yea. >> ms. lofgren reports yea. >> mr. cohen? >> mr. cohen votes. mr. richmond votes. >> you are watching what is
called a mark up on capitol hill. not something we typically would be showing you. sort of how the sauceling is made, but in this instance it is critically important. pete, they're calling the role on a republican maneuver to have a question of consideration here hold off reading the bill for now. . >> any doubt if this is a partisan affair. this is a largely ceremonial vote and the republicans know it will not succeed, but they want to draw the process out as long as they can. t. >> cynthia? >> it will be interesting. go to d.c. court and that will take a very long time because questions of law and fact which the judge will have to make determinations and a second track on this. they have one option to go to
judge burl who is the judge in charge of the grand jury. former united states attorney and judiciary staff and highly experienced and she will make the determination about 6e material. interestingly in the barr letter that came out last night, he suggested that justice department could not go to the j judge and that just isn't true. that is interesting how she factors that into her decisionmaking on analyzing the 6e material. certainly the justice department has a history in big, public hearings of actually turning over the 6e material. i would expect that she would give that to congress after we have the battle. >> as we have been watching this vote role call vote. we received a statement from the white house from sara sanders. this has popped into our inboxes in the last 30 seconds.
we will read it to you here. sarah sanders says that the american people see through chairman nadler's desperate ploy to distract from our booming economy. neither the white house nor attorney general barr will comply with the unlawful and reckless demand. goes on to talk about how transparent the attorney general has been through the process accusing democrats on the committee of not liking the results of the report and wanting a redo. this is a critical point here. sanders says that faced with chairman nadler's blatant abuse of power and at the attorney general's request, the president has no other option than to make a protective assertion of executive privilege. pete, i want to go to you to put in context wh. >> i guess he is saying he has made that assertion. what that means is that there is a long-standing memo that goes back to the reagan administration that sort of
sketches out how the federal government is supposed to do this. >> yeah. >> so, what they do is they basically say we're claiming executive privilege. >> i'm going to interrupt you because they are reading now the report on contempt. we want to listen in to this. >> opening statement. >> today, we consider a report recommending that the house of representatives hold attorney general william barr in contempt of congress for defying a valid subpoena issued by this committee. this is not a step we take lightly. it is the caulmination of three months of requests and negotiations with the department of justice for the complete unredacted report by special counsel mueller into russian interference in the 2016 election, along with the underlying evidence. i appreciate the fact that the department responded to the offer we made to them last week and met with us yesterday in a last-minute effort to reach an accommodation. we heard the department out. we responded to them in good
faith. and after all was said and done, we unfortunately were still unable to reach agreement and we proceeded with our mark up today. as i have said before, we remain ready and willing to consider any reasonable offer made by the department even after today's vote. but if a letter i received late last night from the department is any indication, i'm concerned that the department is heading in the wrong direction. in response to our latest good faith offer, the department abruptly announced that if we move forward today it will ask president trump to invoke what on all the materials subject to our subpoena. just minutes ago, it took that dramatic step. besides misapplying the doctrine of executive privilege, since the white house waived these privileges long ago and the department seemed open to sharing these materials with us just yesterday, this decision represents a clear escalation and the trump administration's
blanket defiance of congress constitutionally mandated duties. i hope that the department will think better of this last-minute outburst and return to negotiations. as a co-equal branch of government, we must have access to the materials that we need to fulfill our constitutional responsibilities in a manner consistent with past precedent. this is information we are able to receive and constitutionally obligated to review. i would remind the members that the mueller report is no ordinary run of the mill document. it details significant misconduct involving the president, including his campaign's willingness and eagerness to accept help from a hostile foreign government and numerous misstatements from outright lies considering those acts and 11 separate incidents of obstructive behavior by the president and more than 700 former prosecutors told us. if congress is not entitled to the full unredacted mueller
report, one must wonder what document we would be entitled to. exhaust negotiations with the department of justice unfortunately left us back where we began with unprecedented obstruction by the administration that has now announced its intention to block all attempts at congressional oversight of the executive branch. it is our constitutional duty to respond. let me be clear. information we are requesting is within our legal rights to receive and no different than from what has been provided to congress on numerous occasions going back nearly a century. we do not need to go back that far to find a precedent. as recently as the last congress under republican control, the department produced more than 880,000 pages of sensitive investigative materials pertaining to its investigation of hillary clinton, as well as voluminous other material relating to the russia investigation and other ongoing investigations.
that production included highly classified material, notes from fbi interviews, internal text messages and law enforcement memorand memorandum. with respect to grand jury information, in past cases involving allegations of presidential misconduct or misconduct by other high-ranking public officials, the department of justice is a matter of course sought the permission of a court through a least relevant information to congress if not to the public. notably this includes several cases not impeachment inquiries. and the iran contra investigations, as well as other investigations not governed by inindependent counsel law. no matter the fact that they support the release to congress this kind of information, the trump administration has taken obstruction of congress to new heights. unfortunately, the attorney general has been all too willing to support the president in this endeavor. i would also like to respond to two of the concerns often raised
by my good friend the ranking member. he asks, how can the committee hold the attorney general in contempt f contempt. and how can we hold him in contempt allow me to see certain redacted portions of the report. the answers are simple. first, we issued a valid subpoena for the full report and all the underlying evidence. the department has come no where close to satisfying its obligations under that subpoena. the department has never cited a legal basis for withholding the underlying evidence, including last night's threat to invoke privilege which was utterly without credibility, merit or legal or factual basis as is the assertion or the statement that they will assert executive privilege by the white house this morning. to the extent that we have asked for access to grand jury information, which is protected by the federal law, all we have ever asked that the department join us in petitioning the court to determine if it is proper for
us to have access to this material. the department, as i said, has done this on many occasions in the past. we ask for commitment to join us in that effort, again, last night. as it is done in many previous cases and the department refused. second, with respect to the offer to lift some of the redactions for me and the handful of my colleagues, the department has placed unacceptable limitations on access to that information. their offer would block the members of this committee from reading those sections of the report for themselves. require me to leave my notes behind at the department of justice and prevent me from speaking with my colleagues and other members of the committee about what i might see. what good is it? of what use can this committee make of information that i have but can't discuss with any other member of the committee? i have consistently stated that if we are to do our jobs as members of the house judiciary committee, all of the members
require meaningful access to the report and the underlying documents. we need to be able to confer with each other about what we have seen. we need to be able to take official action on what we have seen if warranted. and if necessary, we need to be able to inform a court of law of what we have learned, even if perhaps under seal. if we can find an accommodation that satisfies those basic princip principles, i would be happy to continue negotiating with the department of justice. that process has come to a screeching halt. the administration has announced, loud and clear, that it does not recognize congress' as a co-equal branch of government with independent constitutional oversight authority and it will continue to wage its campaign of obstruction when the administration says it will oppose all subpoenas, it is saying that it does not recognize congress having a constitutional oversight authority over the executive branch. and to those who consider the
matter case closed and the words of some of our leaders and who urge us to simply move on. i would say to do so is to announce loud and clear that such a course of action has the effect of aiding and abetting in the administration's campaign of total blanket and unprecedented obstruction. the trump administration and its enablers may brazenly try to cover up the misdeeds uncovered by the special counsel but in this committee we will represent the american people and ensure the truth is known. i urge my colleagues to think about how the department's latest position and their insistence on ignoring our subpoena affects our committee over time. our fight is not just about the mueller report, although we must have access to the mueller report. our fight is about defending the rights of congress as an independent branch to hold the president, any president, accountable. every day we learn of new efforts by this administration to stonewall congress. and through congress to stonewall the american people. the ways and means committee has
been denied the president's tax returns when the law states clearly that they're entitled to them upon request. the chairman of the oversight and reform committee has been sued in his personal cupapacica. the president has stated that his administration will oppose all subpoenas and, in fact, virtually all document requests are going unsatisfied. witnesses are refusing to show up at hearings. this is unprecedented. if allowed to go unchecked, this obstruction means the end of congressional oversight. as a co-equal branch of government, we should not and cannot allow this to continue or we will not be a co-equal branch of government. i urge my colleagues whether or not you care to see the full mueller report and we should all want to see the complete report. to stand up for the institution we are proud to serve. i expect that we will have a full debate today on the measure before us.
i hope that at the end of it we will do what is right. no person and certainly not the top law enforcement officer in the country can be permitted to flout the will of congress and to defy a valid subpoena. no person, not the attorney general, not the president can be permitted to be above the law. that is what is at stake today. i urge all of my colleagues to support this report. i now recognize the ranking member, the gentleman from georgia, mr. collins, for his opening statement. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. chairman, this and to the folks watching here, this log continues. last week i urged you and my felly memb ow members to protec conduct business accordingly. we still have a crisis on our southern border and, yet, here we are wasting another valuable week of legislating calendar
against the war against the administration. hold attorney general bill barr in contempt of congress. let's take a few moments and go through this. what is the justification for holding attorney general barr in contempt of congress? perhaps that he failed eed abi the spence counsel regulation? no he went above and beyond by transmitting the report to congress with limited redactions. could it be the attorney general, no, he offered to let the chairman and five other leaders at the department of justice including a 99.9% unredacted volume. in an odd move for anyone demanding access to information, the chairman and other elected democrats give an access of decline to review that report. the attorney general also volunteered to testify before this committee about the conlution aco conclusion. on monday, the justice
department offered to meet to discuss accommodations. yesterday they made a reasonable offer and, once again, they were rebuffed and the chairman declined. perhaps then the democrats believe that there have been an unreasonable delay in the justice department response to their subpoena. no, that's not true either. the chairman is moving to this resolution at lightning speed. it's been less than 20 days since chairman nadler subpoenaed documents. when the oversight department held attorney general in contempt, more than 450 days passed between the committee's initial request to the justice department and the committee's contempt vote. judiciary democrats are moving more than ten times faster than oversight did with holder. they have moved from request to contempt vote in only 43 days.
and yet the justice department is at the negotiating table waiting for the democrats to arrive in good faith? why this rush? without any legislative reason we can only assume the democrats to bill barr's good name and reputation to accomplish two goals. first, democrats are angry the special counsel's report did not produce the collusions they expected. i feel compelled to remind everybody the report found no one from the trump campaign knowingly conspire would the russian government. you can't help but notice the phrase russian collusion has vanished from the talking points and left a void in the narrative. since the special counsel did, the deputy attorney general did so as law enforcement officials while giving no credence to the office of legal counsel. as a result, they're angry. they're angry at our chief law enforcement had the audacity to
decide the evidence did not support charges into something the president didn't do. second, democrats are afraid of what the attorney general will find when he completes his own ongoing review and including how the russia investigation began. multiple news report suggest that they could be explosive and end careers and lead to criminal prosecution. rather than face that, they neutralized bill barr by attacking his office and career. this is the first step. what a sin mean step it is. our economy is urging unemployment among serveral groups as at historic low and support for impeachment and the democrats have no plans, no purpose and no viable legislative agenda but attacking this administration. the house is more than four months into a democratic majority and how many bills passed by this committee have been signed into law? mr. chairman, i implore you to
see reason and i ask that you recognize the politics that seem to be yielding no dividends for the american people. we have talked on multiple occasions and proved at last week's pharmaceutical mark up that i stand with you ready to promote solutions i will not become a bystander in this committee. our democracy deserves better. finally, mr. chairman, i'd like to quote a fellow member of congress. as a member of congress, i treat assertions of executive privilege very seriously. i believe they should be used only sparingly. in this case, it seems the clearer the administration was forced into a position by the committee's insistence on pushing forward with contempt. dephyte the attorney general's good faith offer, mr. chairman, it did not have to be this way. we could have postponed today's vote and accept the attorney general's office. instead not offering to seek accommodations when possible, the prestige of this committee has been diminished. as a result, that should concern us all. i quote elijah comings, in that
case, of course, the committee did seek accommodations and in this case, this committee did not. just a difference of opinion between me and the chairman. no escalation of this except on the side of the majority. you have to have both sides at the table for accommodations. that's the way this process works. that's what i just laid out. ten times faster than even eric holder. and when we get into the other issues that have been here and how we deal with this is going forward with what will be the precedent for the future and the precedent for what we have. with that, i yield back. >> thank you, mr. collins. with that objection, all other opening statements will be included in the record. i now recognize myself for offering an amendment in the nature of a substitute. the clerk will report the amendment. >> amendment in the nature of a substitute to the committee report for a resolution recommending that the house of representatives find william --
>> the amendment will be considered as read and shall beerbe considered as base text. i will explain the amendment. contains a technical change to page two of the committee report. simply change the reference to judiciary committee to the committee on the judiciary. with this modest change, i urge the committee to support the amendment. i now recognize the ranking member mr. collins for any comments he may have on the amendment. >> on the amendment itself i don't have any. i will make one comment that was made in your previous opening statement. the chairman of the now oversight committee was not sued in his official but as we go forward, i have no objection. >> any amendments to the amendment in the nature of a substitute? >> mr. chairman.
>> for what purpose the gentleman from ohio. >> i move to strike. >> our democratic colleagues seem to be on a mission. they're determined to destroy attorney general barr or at least discredit him in the eyes of the american people. the attorney general agreed to appear before this committee last week and was ready to answer any and all questions about the mueller report. however, mr. chairman, you and your democratic colleagues on this committee decided that instead of just answering questions from members of the committee, well, we unprecedentedly were also going to require him to be grilled by a bunch of partisan staff lawyers. of course, the attorney general wisely said, no way. and now you're determined to find him in contempt. in my view as somebody who served on this committee for 23 years, i think it's disgraceful. last week when the attorney general refused to show up for this committee's kangaroo court, the majority set up an empty chair, ate chicken and made a
mockery of this committee. a committee that was once led by the likes of daniel webster. it's worth noting that attorney general did appear before the senate judiciary committee the day before he was scheduled to come here. where the unreasonable demand that he be queried by staff attorneys was not made. senators did the questioning themselves as normal and the same should have been the case here instead of chickengate. let's be clear not a day at the beach in the senate for the attorney general. the senators themselves were perfectly capable of being rude, abusive and arrogant all by themselves. they didn't need their staff to do it for them. so, why this passion to tear into william barr, an attorney general, at least up to this point in his career, considered a person of upstanding, outstanding character. first, our democratic colleagues are apparently really ticked off about the mueller report that it found that the whole russian
collusion thing was a big, fat zero. even though the obstruction of justice allegation wasn't as clear cut, special counsel mueller found that there was insufficient evidence to pursue a charge against president trump or against anyone else for that matter. excuse me. william barr did that. so, democrats are mad about that, but what i think is even more important is that our democratic colleagues are afraid. they're afraid that unlike former attorney general sessions who had recused himself from anything related to the mueller investigation, bill barr is going to dig in to the origins of the bogus russian collusion allegation itself. the clinton campaign funding of the steele dossier was the collusion between the russians and the political campaign. is that something that is finally going to be looked in to? that was the real political collusion with the russians. the fbi's involvement in trying to tip a presidential election in favor of one candidate over
another. peter struck, lisa page, all of that. the idea that trump may have been right. that his campaign really was spied on by elements of the obama administration, despite the fact that this accusation was met with such derision by most of the main stream press at the time. the bottom line is, many democrats on this committee and, in fact, many democrats in both the house and the senate apparently believe that finding out the truth in these matters may not be helpful to them in the upcoming election cycle. the best way to undermine the results of the investigation, the true investigation, which is really about to happen might just be to destroy the credibility of a guy who is doing the investigation, the attorney general, william barr. and let's begin that process apparently according to the folks on the other side of the aisle and the chairman included by finding him in contempt. that's the way we can really
discredit him. at least that is the way i see it and i yield back. >> before i proceed to the next statement. let me just point, clarify a point of confusion. we are not proposing to hold the attorney general in contempt for not just showing up last week. he didn't show up last week, but that hawse nus nothing to do wis motion for contempt. for not satisfying the subpoena for the production of documents, namely the unredacted mueller report and underlying evidence. who seeks recognition? >> mr. chairman. >> gentlelady from texas. recognized. >> i'm pausing for a moment because i do think this is a moment in history. and i appreciate my good friends
on the other side of the aisle. but having received a letter both from a copy of the letter after their purposeful collapse of the negotiations well intentioned by the staff and house judiciary committee the president now seeks to take a wrecking ball to the constitution of the united states of america. for the first time in the history of the united states, a president is now exerting executive privilege over every aspect of life that the american people desire to have information. whether or not the affordable care act is resolving the pre-existing condition and whether or not children are being separated from their parents or the environment is being destroyed. anything that the congress wants to do on behalf of the american people is now being alleged to
be under the jurisdiction of privilege. then, of course, we have to sumize that this is an absolute lawless behavior by this administration. the attorney general actions are insulting to congress, but we are simply the tools it is to the american people. to broaden the executive privilege and ignore the constant accommodations that chairman nadler has made and our staff in working to work out three simple points. give us all of the documents unredacted mueller report for the american people to see. work with us on grand jury materials, not to undermine, if you will, any ongoing investigations. and work with us to list the documents by priority. that is very simple.
to recount facts of yesteryear does not even speak to the fact of the hundreds of investigations that my good friends when president trump and the republican house and senate existed. they never ceased. they never ceased going after secretary clinton, getting 880,000 documents in a benghazi hearing that went forever and ever and never found anything. i happen to believe 700 former prosecutors who indicated that the mueller report describes several acts that satisfy all elements for an obstruction charge conduct. congresswoman jackson lee didn't say this. chairman nadler did not say this precise statement as a former federal prosecutors. 700 who indicated that the actions of this president warrant an obstruction charge. in addition, we have a right to
understand the underlying reasons regarding the collusion report. but the very fact that the collusion part of the mueller report recounts the constant interaction of trump operatives with russian adversary, the american people should be wary and ask us why and we should write legislation. i introduce hr 2353 that says if you interact with a russian operative or foreign adversary as a campaign committee or candidate, you must report it to the fbi. and, so, this is part of our legislative work. and i would argue the case that our friends on the other side of the aisle should not be noted in history of standing at the door of justice in this room and putting up a stop sign that we cannot pursue the truth on behalf of the american people. we have gone over and over and
over again that there are allegations of obstruction of justice that need to be heard in front of this committee. i say this, mr. mueller, a former marine, a man of integrity. i will say to him in the open proceeding. we welcome you to come and explain your position on how disturbed you were that the attorney general characterized your report as an exoneration of this administration. secondarily, i want to say to mr. mcgahn. you are a private citizen. you have every right to present yourself to this body. and, also, that the conduct of president trump described in special counsel mueller's report or in the case of any other person, if not having the office of legal counsel policy against indicting a sitting president would result in felony charges. there are people incarcerated right now because of lesser charges. i don't want to target the
president, mr. chairman. i simply want to find the truth for the american people and that's why we're here today to vote on this citation for lacking and producing of documents. i yield back. >> thank you. >> mr. chairman. >> gentleman from wisconsin for what purposes -- >> strike the last word. >> gentleman is recognized. >> mr. chairman, i think we all have to step back from the political rhetoric and ask exactly what this contempt citation deals with. i'm going to try to use my time to do that. first and foremost and most concerning to every american or at least it should be, is the fact that they want an unredacted report that includes information on grand jury testimony. the committee by making this insistence and issuing this subpoena is telling the attorney general of the united states to commit a crime.
because it's a crime for anybody to disclose grand jury material to anybody else. and that includes the attorney general and it includes the prosecutors and the justice department and includes the witnesses who have been subpoenaed and have testified before the grand jury. it means everybody. and if the grand jury system is to work and remember witnesses can't even bring their attorneys into a grand jury, then the secrecy is going to have to be maintained. now, all of us know that it's really impossible for the people who work on this capitol hill to keep a secret. if there is an unredacted version completely unredacted version including the grand jury testimony which is unredacted, it will be on the front page of every newspaper in the country within 48 hours. and talked about on the cable
news shows whether you watch fox news or msnbc. now, i think it is absolutely shocking that the majority of this committee is going to ask the chief law enforcement of of the united states to commit a crime. shocking. no exceptions to what is to be disclosed in this unredacted version. that includes the grand jury testimony. and by citing the attorney general of the united states for contempt of congress, her saying i am standing up for the law. i am not going to break the law by complying with that part of your subpoena shows an overreach on the part of the majority. if we are to be a government of laws and not of men or of people, then we have to obey the law on this pennsylvania avenue, as well as on the other end of pennsylvania avenue.
and we are not doing that. now, what else has been redacted? there has been redactions relative to ongoing investigations. now, do we want to let the people at the justice department who is investigating know all about the ongoing investigations? i don't think the public interest is served by that. whether somebody is guilty or not should be determined by the jury in a trial. that's what the american system is. and that's what a lot of the bill of rights protects. you also have a protection against people who are periphiarily involved in this. they were on the edges of this and inert viterviewed and nothie of the interview because they didn't have any evidence on what was being investigated. there is a character assassination squad running around this town that even if you were on the periphery and
voluntarily talked to the fbi or mr. mueller's team, you know, you're going to end up having your good name and your reputation smeared even though you didn't do anything. so, this is definitely an overreach. those reactions, redactions, excuse me, ended up being justified redactions and i can understand the reluctance on the part of the attorney general or anybody else that watches the way this institution and the people who work here operate that anything that is supposed to not get out in the public realm will get out in the public realm with a leak. and if this place weren't as leaky as a sieve, i would not be opposed to what the chairman is doing because i stood up for oversight during my entire career in this body. but it is leaky as a sieve and i
think what we're doing here is forcing the attorney general to break the law. to place in jeopardy innocent people who are not involved in any of the things that mr. mueller ended up investigating, and shaming ourselves in the process. of my time is up. >> what purposes does the gentlemen from tennessee seek recognition? >> the last word? >> the gentlemen is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chair. the attorney general has been contemptuous of this committee and of the congress. he was contemptuous last week when he didn't come when he couldn't dictate the terms of the hearing. he's contemptuous which week when he will not bring forth papers. the chairman has tried to reach an accommodation with the justice department. all cases in the past, when such issues of race has been raised by grand jury testimony, the
attorney general has gone with the majority party, the chairman, to the district court and asked that that information be released to the committee for its purposes. this attorney general has not done that. if he would have done that and tried to make a reasonable accommodation in joining with us to go to judge howell, we might not be in this situation. but there's been nothing reasonable from this attorney general. mr. sensebrenner talks about people on the periphery. we don't know who those people were, but we know that bill barr decided whose testimony -- which testimony would be redacted because people were on the periphery and to protect their reputations. this is the same person who gave a 3 1/2-page summary of the mueller report, that did not, according to special counsel mueller, who knew it better than anyone else, reflect the character and the spirit of the report. and he knew mr. mueller objected to it for not being an accurate representation of his work, and yet he did it and when asked
about it by mr. crist in committee, he had no idea that anybody in the mueller investigation would have objected. that's not true. he lied when mr. crist asked him that question. that's beyond contempt, that's a lie. so we're beyond determining what the repercussions would suffer. we're talking about the opportunity for congress to do its proper oversight in described in article i of the constitution which is being trampled upon. the trump administration refuses to respond to any subpoenas. destroying article i and congress' prerogatives. now, we had a question, i think it was maybe the ranking member said we should be doing legislation and how many signatures, how many bills have been sign eed into law by this committee? well, ask mitch mcconnell who has decided that the senate is a
graveyard for all legislation that has come from the house. we have passed outstanding legislation out of this committee. it has gone to the graveyard, where mitch mcconnell, who first kills supreme court nominees of the last president of the united states in his one year before and voids and frustrates the constitutional prerogative of the president to nominate members to the supreme court, but now frustrates the other house by not having hearings whatsoever. somebody said we're afraid. yes, we're afraid. we're afraid of the loss of the rule of law. we're afraid of the loss of the power of congress to be an independent and co-equal branch of government. and we face that today if we don't stand up. and somebody else said that russia, there are no connections and nothing with russian collusion. well, the mueller report said there was sweeping and systemic efforts by the russians to influence our election and they were done so to help trump. and the mueller report showed lots of connections between the
trump campaign and russia, lots of contacts, and didn't -- but didn't show that he had all of the elements to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they conspired together. there's a lot of difference between not having connections and having guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. then mr. trump gets on the telephone with mr. putin and has a 90-minute conversation or something like that where he can see on a phone call that he smiled at him and he gets flattered, and never broaches the subject of russian interference in our next election or russian interference whatsoever. that was one of the prime parts of the mueller report that the russians interfered and that our intelligence officials had confirmed and told us, and that our fbi has told us, and that we know they did it in 2018 and they're going to do it more in 2020, but our president did not even mention it to mr. putin. that is scary. we are afraid of interference in the 2020 elections. and we need to be.
and we need to be, because we've got a man who has been suggested might be financially dependent on the russians. why would he be financially dependent on the russians? well, we now know he lost over $1 billion over a decade in the '80s and '90s. he was broke. no bank would lend him a penny. if it weren't for him being president, he would be in prison with michael cohen today as individual one and he obstructed justice as the mueller report says so. we are in danger. we need to respond. and we need to act for the people of the united states of america. i yield back the balance of my time. >> for what purpose does the gentlemen from texas seek recognition? >> i ask to strike the last word. >> the gentlemen is recognized. >> thank you. i'm really here in mourning, for a once great judiciary committee. i know my first term, '05 and
'6, i saw our current chairman as a champion for privacy right s, for civil rights, for fourth amendment rights, fifth amendment rights. and something dramatically has changed over the years. there was concern back then about too much power through the fisa courts, through the patriot act, and we shared a number of those concerns. and now this committee's majority is on the wrong side of a very important historic time. we've never had the intelligence community, the fbi, people at the top of the doj, abusing their powers to create a case
against a president where there was none. where assets were actually used to try to set up members of the trump campaign when there was no case. to try to create a case. we ought to be all over that. we ought to be demanding answers from the fisa judge or judges who were either, "a," content to have fraud committed against their courts, or complicit. maybe it was peter strzok's buddy that he bragged about in his texts that was going to be the fisa judge that signed warrants where there was no probable cause of anything. this was an attempted coup and history is bringing that into focus more and more clearly. and what does that committee do
about the abuses, the attempted coup? it comes in and decides, we're going to go after the attorney general who's trying to clean up the mess. christopher wray sure hasn't! instead of asking from the intel community, let us see the 100% certain proof you have that hillary clinton's personal server was hacked by china. no, he covers it up. says, we still haven't seen it. well, they hadn't asked to see it. there there is a disaster that has occurred in our justice system and this committee has oversight responsibilities and we are abusing those. this motion for contempt is not being done in good faith.
i'm not going to call anybody the names that my colleague from tennessee just did in violation of our rules of decorum. but the truth is, we know that this committee majority is not acting in good faith. how? because they're moving for contempt for an attorney general failing to turn over material that this majority, at least some, maybe it's just the staff, but some people know that you can't hold someone in contempt. you can vote to do that, but you can't be in contempt for failing to produce things that were illegal for you to produce. how do we know? somebody over there knows that this is wrong is because there was an offer. look, attorney general barr, if you'll join us in going to court and getting a court order so
that we can get the grand jury proceedings in evidence, then we will just regard the contempt. well, that's evidence of a state of mind by the majority that at least somebody over there knows you cannot be in contempt for failing to produce what would be illegal to produce without a court order. you're on the wrong side of history. and there is no joy here in seeing the abuses. i hope and pray, literally, for the day when we can join forces and quit trying to push this idea of an attempted coup and uncover the abuses that have truly gone on. my time's expired. the committee's has, too. >> thank, the gentle lady. the gentle lady from pennsylvania, for what