tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC May 11, 2019 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT
thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. big, big show for you tonight. we've got a big interview tonight that i'm both stressed about and excited about. and of course since the news gods no longer celebrate weekends or tgif there's a lot going on tonight just as we are getting close to airtime tonight. lots of news breaking including this that slipped into our inboxes just before the close of business tonight. you'll see the all important headline there, subpoena. why the authority of the house of representatives by the
congress of the united states of america subpoenaed to the honorable steven mnuchin, secretary of the united states department of the treasury and charles redding, commissioner of the internal revenue service. quote, you are commanded to here by appear of the house ways and means to produce the things on the attached schedule. the federal individual income tax returns of donald j. trump. number two, all administrative files for all each requested federal individual income tax return of donald j. trump. number three, the following income tax returns for the entities tied to the president and number if you, all administrative files for each income tax returns of the entities listed above. tonight the chairman of the ways and means committee in the house, massachusetts congressman richard neal issued these subpoenas to the head of the irs
and to the secretary of the treasury to get the president's tax returns. now, part of the drama here and part of what's interesting about this is this isn't the exact same kind of fight as all these other confrontations we're seeing right now in washington. he's not supposed to need a subpoena to see the president's taxes. under federal law he has the clear right to obtain the tax returns of any american taxpayer for any legislative reason. all he's supposed to do is say give me that one and the irs is supposed to say, yes, sir, here you go. nobody's ever broken this law before. but this administration is just refusing to turn over the president's tax returns as they are required to do under law. so the ways and means chairman took out his pen, whipped up these subpoenas tonight demanding to see the president's taxes making it a different kind of legally binding request than it already was. just like in his initial request a month ago chairman richard neal is asking to see the last
six years of the president's taxes. the deadline for the treasury and irs to comply with the subpoena is a week from now. it's this coming friday at 5:00 p.m. now, this isn't a total surprise. we were expecting congressman richard neal, the chairman of the ways and means, we were expecting him to announce some sort of next steps today in terms of how he was going to try to force treasury and the irs to comply with this legal request. we weren't, though, necessarily expecting a subpoena. at least i wasn't necessarily expecting a subpoena. my expectation and i think some other peoples expectation was that chairman neal might skip the subpoena and head straight to federal court. "the new york times" spoke to a staffer on the ways and means committee. he said house lawyers ultimately decided not to do that. they decided going straight to the courts might carry serious risk. but the president and his administration refusing to comply with any request for testimony or documents, whether or not it comes with a fancy subpoena orb it's unclear
tonight if they've avoided that additional risk by issuing these subpoenas today rather than going straight to court, whether it puts their demand for these tax returns on stronger or weaker legal footing. we don't know what the practical implications wilg be of the subpoenas issued tonight to get the president's tax returns. we don't know if the trump administration will be anymore likely to comply now that we've had this marginal escalation from chairman neal, and it's no longer just a threat subpoenas might be coming. they've actually arrived. the treasury department confirmed tonight they did receive the subpoena. we'll keep you posted over the course of this hour if we hear anything further. we're also following the late breaking news tonight that came first from wall street journal. quote, this headline, don mcgahn rebuffed white house request to say donald trump didn't obstruct justice. you might remember in robert mueller's report don mcgahn recounts in detail how the
president ordered mcgahn to fire the special counsel robert mueller. don mcgahn said no, he wouldn't fire the special counsel, said he would resign if the president tried to force him to do it. the president then told don mcgahn to create a false record denying that any of that ever happened. mcgahn also declined to do that. according to this new reporting from "the wall street journal" tonight, though, the president was not done asking don mcgahn for things even after he left the white house. right after robert mueller's report was submitted to the justice department, after mueller's report was submitted to the justice department and shown to the white house so they could see how don mcgahn was this key witness of all these incidents of alleged obstruction of justice by the president, the president we now know from this reporting by "the wall street journal" and later confirmed by "the new york times" and nbc news, the president had his new white house counsel reach out to the old one asking mcgahn to put out a statement telling the
public that despite all of these things don mcgahn described to robert mueller which mueller laid out as potential incident of the president obstructing justice. the president wanted don mcgahn to make a public statement saying he mcgahn, even though he was a key witness to all these matters, he didn't consider anything the president did to be obstruction of justice. once again don mcgahn said no to that request from president trump. he refused to put out that i didn't think it was obstruction statement. as i mentioned "the wall street journal" was first. "the new york times" has since matched this reporting in "the journal." the times kpaactually adds the president asked mcgain to make that claim he didn't think the president obstructed justice not once but twice. the news mcgahn said no, he refused this dammemand comes of course as the white house
continues to say don mcgahn will not be allowed to obey a subpoena that requires him to testify before congress. the house judiciary committee wants him to come testify and provide documents to them about what he testified to robert mueller about. the committee has subpoenaed him both for those documents and for his testimony. since he has defied the subpoena thus far on the first part of it, which was the documents part of it, they have threatened to hold him in contempt. i mean, the white house says they're going to block don mcgahn for sitting for questions later on this month. we don't exactly know how they are going to do that, but now after this bombshell reporting from "the wall street journal" tonight the chairman of the judiciary committee, nadler says this directive cannot stand. quote, this is why it's critical for mcgahn to come before our committee and answer questions for the american people. the president cannot keep don
mcgahn from testifying says judiciary chairman jerry nadler. so like i said, the news gods do not believe in casual fridays. there's a lot going on tonight, and the news is a little topsy-turvy. we're going to keep you posted throughout the hour if any of these spinning plates come crashing down while we're on the air. but i want to start tonight with some dramatic and headline grabbing testimony from james comey. not the jaw dropping congressional testimony he gave in the summer of 2017 after he was fired as fbi director from president trump, that's when he detailed disturbing mafia-like conversations with the president. that's when he memorably told congress, lordy, i hope there were tapes. also not his testimony months earlier when he was still fbi director and he announced publicly for the first time the fbi was investigating any potential coordination, which in the trump campaign and the russian operatives who attacked the 2016 election as part of the fbi's counter intelligence authorities, no, this is
different. super dramatic james comey testimony. this is testimony he gave a full decade before all of that. to give you just an idea how long ago that was when james comey gave this time in may of 2007, this is when george h.w. bush was president, when rudy giuliani was the leading presidential contender. what? but james comey told the senate judiciary committee a story that was absolutely riveting, and it was about a confrontation he had had with the george w. bush white house when he was working with the deputy attorney general. the current attorney general at the time was in the hospital. and the story was about how he james comey and some of his colleagues including robert mueller who was then the fbi director, they intercepted top white house officials who were trying to get something done around them, around their
authority by showing up at the hospital bed of the seriously ill attorney general. >> sounding like a movie plot, it happened three years ago in this washington, d.c. hospital. lying in bed there the attorney general john ashcroft, standing at his bed side then white house counsel and the white house chief of staff. they wanted him to approve an extension of the secret nast warrant list eaves dropping program over strong justice department objections even though ashcroft was seriously ill. also there the number two man of justice james comey, the acting attorney general. he said today the scene started a crisis that nearly brought mass resignations from the justice department. >> i thought i just witnessed an effort to take advantage of a very sick man. >> he said ashcroft recited reasons why it should not be approved. later that night comey says an agitated card summonhead imto the white house.
>> i responded i had not meet with him without a witness present. >> eventually he said president bush diffused the crisis based on justice department concerns. >> the story is a shocking one. makes you almost gulp. >> there were several gulp moments in that testimony. comey testified told the congress that day when he heard that white house officials were heading to the sick attorney general's hospital room to try to get the ill attorney general to sign-off on this warrantless surveillance program that the justice department had already said they wouldn't sign-off on comey and fbi director mueller both raced to the hospital. robert mueller ordered fbi agents at the hospital to not allow comey to be removed from the attorney general's hospital room under any circumstances. after that hospital room confrontation president bush
initially decided he would just go ahead with this warrantless surveillance program without justice department approval. it was only when comey and mueller and a whole bunch of other doj senior people threatened they would resign, actually drafted their resignation letters that bush finally backed down and the program was changed to account for the legal objections to it at the justice department. and that story about the hospital room confrontation, it's a story you may have heard, right? it's a story that has resurfaced several times in recent years because the players from that drama have all come back into the public eye in one way or another. james comey of course went onto succeed robert mueller as fbi director. and then after comey was fired by president trump robert mueller was appointed special counsel to investigate comey's firing among other things. and rarms egardless of your fee about mueller and your feelings about comey, i know you have a lot of them. regardless of your feelings about the bush administration's warrantless surveillance programs and all the
government's surveillance programs that have descended from them, i think that hospital room confrontation story remains compelling and keeps getting told over and over again because it is this clear and dramatic story of government officials standing up against something they viewed as illegal. blocking the white house and white house officials from doing something they believed was illegal, going to physically dramatic extremes in order to stop that thing from happening, threatening to resign unless the white house did the right thing. forcing the white house to do the right thing by their integrity and by their standing up and by their being unafraid of the consequences. and so it's a paraable about the character of those people involved in it, and it's important as they go onto become interesting and important characters in american history. it's also something important for us to tell ourselves as americans in terms of what we value and expect and respect
when it comes to integrity and bravery from public officials who are in powerful positions. i think we as americans like to know that sometimes happens. and so heres something else to know about that time and about that incident in american history. james comey and robert mueller have been sort of the stars of that story every time it's been told ever since. but james comey and robert mueller were not the point of the spear. they were not the first people at the bush justice department to raise the alarm about that illegal warrantless eavesdropping program the white house had started. they weren't the first people to try to stop it basically, to put their own jobs on the line in order to stop it. when an inspector general's reports was finally released to it public in 2015 we learned the first person at the justice department to raise red flags to try to stop it, to insist that program had to be put on a real
legal footing or it could not proceed, the first person who actually did that, who threw himself on the machinery was the head of the justice department's office of counter -- excuse me, office of intelligence policy. a man who was named james baker. not a high profile position at that time. not a high profile justice department official, but somebody who played an incredibly important role and did it first in that standoff. from that inspector general's report, quote, james baker told us while standing outside the justice department one evening he was approached by an fbi colleague who said, quote, there's something spooky going on that it appeared domestic communications were being collected without a warrant from the foreign intelligence surveillance court. and from that quote, some fbi personnel were getting nervous. baker said several weeks later a particular passage in that application leapt out at him.
he couldn't figure out where the information that was being cited in that application had come from. he surmised it might have come from this program that he had not been read in on, but that he had been warned was something spooky going on. james baker chased it down alone. when he finally convinced someone to tell him what the heck was going on, he said he immediately felt that spying program was on shaky legal footing. it was legally problematic, and he refused to take those surveillance warrant applications to the court unless the court would be informed of the program. those judges are being asked to sign-off on surveillance applications they actually didn't know were the information in those applications was coming from. and so he insisted the court be told. the white house resisted. at least one official at the bush white house tried to have him fired for resisting it. but james baker at the justice department was convinced he was right and he was stubborn. and eventually he won. the white house had been intent
ongoing around that court and overtly denying the court any information about that new spying program. and they ended up getting forced to inform the court about because of the way james baker stood up to them. i mean, more officials -- he convinced more officials that he was right about it. more officials raised objections. the program ultimately became public. congress intervened in craft's surveillance legislation. and again you may not be a big fan of the legislation congress ult ultimately created about this. but before this was a spying program being run more or less off the books without any court oversight at all just by the white house. the inspector general report on this spying program, which it was a program called code name stellar wind, this report was put together by inspectors general from five different agencies. on this matter it concluded with this, quote, we believe that the justice department and fbi
officials who resisted the pressure to recertify the stellar wind program because their belief that aspects of the program were not legally supportable, those officials acted courageously and at significant professional risk. the inspectors general highlights several people by name including robert mueller and james comey and james baker, singled them out by name to say they acted, quote, in accord with the highest professional starmds standards of the justice departments. when james comey became director of the fbi years later he tapped that same james baker, praised for his integritity y, he picke james baker to be his top position at the fbi. a person who serves as general counsel is almost hand picked by the fbi director. and so james baker was there at the very top of the fbi, at the top legal job of the fbi when the country first started to
realize within law enforcement and intelligence circles that russia was attacking the 2016 election for the purms pose of trying to get donald trump installed in the white house, and they were simultaneously becoming aware they were numerous somewhat inexplicable contacts between a particular presidential campaign which happened to be the trump campaign and people associated with the kremlin at the same time that russian attack was going on, right? and that must have been a remarkable thing to go through, right in 2016, to be in a senior law enforcement, senior intelligence role, to realize what was happening. you'd have to call on all of your years of experience, all of your personal gumption to deal with this absolutely unprecedented situation, to run a counter intelligence investigation into a hostile foreign power's investigation targeting our election while that elukz was ongoing and while there appeared to be numerous unexplained contacts between the
united states that was benefitting from that foreign intervention and people associated with that foreign power. what is even more remarkable since then is how all of those people who were in all of those leadership roles at the time that attack was happening, they were realizing what was going on, they were starting the investigations into it. all of the people in senior leadership, law enforcement and intelligence roles at that time have just been systematically destroyed by the trump administration ever since, right? james comey of course was fired. his deputy who then became acting fbi director as soon as comey was fired. andrew mccabe got fired, got his pension reduced on the way out the door, has been referred for possible prosecution, and peter struck a veteran russia counter intelligence agent. he gets forced out, his reputation destroyed. bruce orr, he escapes by the skin of his teeth, still technically has a job right now but was moved into a basement
filing room or something and is basically daily attacked by the president and increasingly by republicans in congress as well. the former cia director, the man who was cia director at the time of the russia attack and at the time of the investigation into it started, john brennen gets his security clearance yanked by president trump. he also put out a whole list of other obama national security officials whose security clearances he might try to yank, right, including the national security advisor at the time of the attack, the deputy attorney general who became the acting attorney general who came to the white house and warned them about their national security advisor being compromised by russia, and puts them all on a list, this enemies list saying they might have their security clearances revoked to, because of, quote, their baseless accusations of improper contact with russia. i don't need to mention there are now 100 pages of a report by none other than robert mueller who say those accusations were far from baseless. all of these people with all of
these decades of leadership experience, the people in all the key roles of trying to understand and assess and help the country understand and assess the attack by russia, people trying to understand that attack and thwart it and get to the bottom of it, the people who led that effort are all the ones thus far have paid the price for it, and that includes james baker who's the top legal official at the fbi. the president attacked james baker by name several times for his ostensible role in this witch hunt in the russia hoax. fox news and other conservative media outlets have repeatedly pillared james baker for supposedly being part of some plot to mount a coup. james baker left the fbi a year after james comey was fired. in all of that time of being a punching bag he could not speak publicly about what he did as a top security official during the
russia attack. he "k" couldn't talk about the investigation into russia and the trump campaign. he couldn't say what he knew. but now he can. with the mueller report completed and released to the public with his testimony to the judiciary committee on these matters having been released to the public by republicans on that committee somewhat inexplicably former fbi counsel james baker says he's unable to speak out about these matters have have become public knowledge. it sounds like what he wants the american people to know above all despite the unprecedented situation, despite the pressure at the time, he says the fbi did things by the book, we should have confidence in what they did. today james baker told wit s had the situation not been done by the book, had it improperly launched an investigation, quote, he would not have tolerated it whatsoever. this is james baker today,
quote, i have gone to the mat in the past with my career with stuff i thought was inappropriate. there was no way in hell i was going to allow some coup or coup attempt to take place on my watch or any conspiracy to do anything unlawful. no way. and of course when james baker says he would go to the mat he says is unlawful, he would threaten to resign to stop it, there's reason to believe it. he has cashed that check before, right? he has done it before. and now tonight he's here to talk to us about what it was like to be at the top of the fbi during this remarkable period in our history, what it's like to be targeted in the way he has since then. james baker joins us live in the studio next. james baker joins us live in the studio next. oh i love it. it's a great razor. it has that 'fence' in the middle. it gives a nice smooth shave. just stopping that irritation...
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the man who's here for the interview tonight is the former counsel of the fbi. he served as the agency's top lawyer from january 2014 to december 2017. as that top fbi lawyer james baker was in the room for many of the major decisions made during the fbi's investigation into russian interference in the 2016 election, and of course the issue of potential coordination with people associated with the trump campaign.
baker's currently the director of national security and cyber security at the art street institutes a non-profit public policy research institution. mr. baker, thank you for being here. it's a real honor having you here. >> thank you for having me. >> you spent more than 20 years at the justice department and the fbi. since you left last year you you have under investigation by the inspector general for the handling of the investigation into the president's campaign. the president has made a sport out of suggesting you personally acted, you know, treasonously and attempted a coup. you've become a star in conservative media, always pillaring you. just as a human being the transition in your life before to your life after just feels precipitous. how are you? >> no, i'm fine, thank you for asking. yeah, it's been, you know,
horrible. i mean, basically. and i've used the word trauma to describe what happened with respect to starting with the clinton investigation, all the way through starting the russia investigation, the transition, the comey firing and the kinds of things you outlined before. these are people that i worked with every day. especially with jim comey, i've known him for years, he's my friend. care about him deeply. i think he's a fantastic leader. and he got fired in a way that, you know, was terrible and very humiliating -- in a very rumi humiliating way. quite frankly having it talked about endlessly in the media doesn't help. you sort of have to like relive it every day, and there's no escape because it's just on everywhere. so it's been challenging. >> i did a podcast last year about spearee agnew and the way his vice-presidency ended, and it struck me when i preparing to talk to you today that one of
the signs is when in speeches he started naming individual justice department officials and individual prosecutors who he believed should not just be blamed for what he was going through but he wanted his supporters to go after them. he wanted to train national ire, his supporter's ire by people who individually by name he would call out. and it was sort of that point people realized agnew would be over. and he has to resign and the whole thing. it's now common not only from the president himself but from the president's supporters, from the conservative media, from now republicans in congress to not just name people like you individually and to take you on by title and as a person but to pursue you, to say that you're the scandal and you and all of your other colleagues involved outside of this investigation, you are the problem in the
country. i feel like this is unprecedented. i saw the only thing i've ever seen before like this is agnew. do you feel this ever snaps back? do you feel it's now become normalized, this is the way we do it from here on out? >> i'm concerned about that. it seems like it's become no normalized. it shouldn't be, and people who disagree with some of these views need to speak out and try to do the best they can. but i'm worried about it, yeah. i think it could have a significant negative impact in the long run because people are worried about their careers. people are worried about their reputations. and when the president of the united states starts to go at you on twitter it's an out of body experience as i've described it. it's unnerving, and if you're concerned about your reputation and your long-term career you're going to be i think -- you're more likely to be hesitant to do things that will attract that
type of ire. >> do you believe the president's actions of this type or indeed the specific allegations of obstructive conduct that were described in the mueller report, any of those behaviors by the president have materially affected the behavior of the justice department or fbi? do you know of investigations either being curtailed or kiboshed or softened or not being taken up because of what you're saying? >> not that i'm confirmed. the fbi and the justice department, the career officials there, it's a highly resilient professional organization, both of the organizations. and they're going to resist that kind of thing as much as they can. but to think that it won't have some affect as they pursue certain types of investigations especially as they start to touch the political system or political leaders, that's what you have to worry about. and the fbi really is a specialist in dealing with
public corruption in government, and so if they are intimidated in any way, then, yeah, that's very dangerous. again, they're very professional. i think they'll resist that. but it's a risk. >> and when you say you've heard rumors that that dynamic may be at work you mean currently? >> yes. >> can you say anything else about that? >> no. just speculation. it's rumors i've heard and don't want to go any further than that. >> there was an awkward moment last week in the senate judiciary committee when senator kamala harris of california was asking questions of attorney general barr and she asked if the president or had white house had ever put pressure on the justice department -- put pressure on the attorney general to initiate an investigation against one of the the president's enemies for political purposes. and attorney general barr wouldn't answer directly. since then we have seen the president openly call for former secretary of john kerry to be
prosecuted and he says he's talked to people about that. since then we've seen the president's allies in congress say they want to pursue congressional investigations of fbi and justice personnel who were involved in the russia investigation. that side of it, not just getting shy about things they might otherwise pursue, but actually being used as a weapon against the president's enemies, that seems so far-fetched to me for so long and i feel the attorney general is even denying that possibility. are you were aid about that, too? >> i have great respect for him with the attorney general. i have always viewed him as a person of integrity. obviously this kind of conduct is outside of the norm of what we're used to in this country where the president is recommending criminal investigations and their prosecution of individual citizens. and so that's alarming. and again, it would require the department of justice individuals of the department of justice to resist that kind of thing if they didn't think it
was warranted. so it's just not normal for this kind of country to have political leaders especially the president of the united states singling out individual people and saying they should pea prosecuted. but as you said he's doing it blatantly. >> i try to imagine you talk about somebody with integrity in the justice department standing up and stopping that from happening, try to imagine what that would look like in realtime right now and i'm an employee of the justice department but i know it's wrong, i just imagine what happens to that person in this environment. >> you have to be willing to resign or to go to congress or the inspector general. you have to be willing to give up your career. i've thought about this a lot. the only way to really be successful in my opinion as a national security lawyer in particular is to be willing to have your career destroyed. because if you fear it, if you're afraid that will happen you won't be able to have --
frankly, you won't have the courage i think to do the things you need to do and say the things you need to say if you're afraid of sacrificing, if you're afraid your career will be messed up. >> were you afraid of the effect on your career before you took some of the actions you took here? >> absolutely. >> and you did it anyway. >> i did it anyway because it seemed like i was being entrusted by the american people with certain responsibilities, and i owe a duty to them to do what i thought was right, and do what i thought what they expect me to do, to do what i was being paid for. and honestly in the long run to do things i thought my children and my family would be proud of me doing when it eventually came out, because all this stuff eventually comes out. so i think you be to think of the long-term interests of yourself and your country and not your short-term career interests. >> former fbi counsel james baker is our guest. we'll be right back with him after this. guest we'll be right back with him after this look limu. a civilian buying a new car.
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fbi general counsel james baker. mr. baker is able to talk to us tonight about some of these things in part because the mueller report has been published and so that frees you to speak about matters you couldn't otherwise talk about. i have a question about the mueller report and about what it doesn't say that i was expecting it to say. so one issue is mike flynn getting fired, which is something that unfolded while you were general counsel of the fbi. he speak tuesday the russian ambassador, he publicly lies about it. ultimately also lies to the fbi about it, and that's all interesting. that becomes part of a guilty plea in court that he lied to the fbi. but there was another thing we came to learn about his case. sally yates at acting attorney general goes up to the white house in the first week of the administration to tell them not just mike flynn has been in canth with the russians but there's a problem because flynn had that contact. the russians know he had that contact because that's who he was talking to and flynn was lying about it publicly, and that means the russians have
something on flynn. they know about his contacts with them, they can leverage that against them, he's in a compromised position therefore with regard to the russian government. so we learn the criminal part of what flynn did including lying to the fbi, but that counter intelligence concern is what leads us, the american people to understand why it was so important he had to go. i feel like we have a very similar situation with trump tower moskow. the mueller report describes all this factual detail about all the contacts between the kremlin and kremlin connected people and the trump organization about trying to do that russia deal. and we know the president was lying about it at the time. nothing in the mueller report about whether that reflects any compromise, any effort to gain leverage over that presidential candidate, that campaign, ultimately our government. i feel that's the missing piece. was that investigation not done? >> well, i think the mueller report makes clear what they
focused on were the criminal aspects of the counter intelligence investigation that was being conducted. so when the fbi investigates something it comes to it with all of its authorities, which include counter intelligence authorities and criminal authorities and foreign intelligence collection authorities. all the authorities under law and under attorney general guidelines that the bureau has, it brings to the problem. and certain aspects of a situation could be criminal and some might be counter intelligence. and so what i think is missing in large part from the report is an analysis of the counter intelligence aspects of what it is that they found. and i think it's either in the report or some collateral documents where they make quite clear that we're not talking about that here. we have embedded fbi agents with us to deal with the counter intelligence investigation, and that's some other file, some other thing that may or may not be in the report.
and in fact in that part of mueller's report where they describe having other fbi agents basically sitting in and gleaning anything, they explicitly say those agents weren't part of mueller's investigation. on this question for example of trump tower moskow, was there an fbi assessment as to whether or not that was an effort to gain leverage over that presidential campaign? >> i don't think i can confirm or deny that particular thing, but the fbi is the entity that would be empowered to deal with the counter intelligence aspects of this. mueller is like, and he says it in the report, he was like a u.s. attorney. so he's a prosecutor. the fbi is -- can investigate crimes, but it's also part of the intelligence community, and it has different authorities as a result of that under a different supervisory structure. so mueller, it's not fair to really think he was tasked with conducting a purely counter intelligence investigation. he was tasked with at least as i
thought about it, dealing with the criminal aspects of the larger counter intelligence investigation. does that make sense? >> but does anybody have to tell we the american people or perhaps more importantly the intelligence committees in congress whether there was russian leverage over the campaign, whether those contacts and for example the trump tower moskow deal amount today perhaps a successful or unsuccessful effort to gain that leverage? i mean the intelligence committee chairman adam schiff says he hasn't had a briefing on the intelligence implications or findings of any investigation related to this stuff since comey was fired. >> so i can say how i used to handle it, and i used to handle it thinking that the intelligence committees were an integral part of how the united states conducts intelligence and how we maintain the -- we in the intelligence community maintain the trust and confidence of the american people because they need to know that their representatives get access to critical information so that they can understand it. but look, one of the things is,
the reality is that the intelligence community is under the command of the president. and so at the end of the day it's the president's job to deal with the counter intelligence -- with the intelligence threats that we face as a country. >> do you think they implicate him in. >> well, we haven't had to deal with this kind of thing before, so that's tricky. and how you do that is very difficult, so i think this is place where for example the director of national intelligence could step in and try to handle these things in a certain way. i'm not going to describe it as a recusal by the president but it would be safer and advisable for the president to sort of stay out of this part of unless he really has to and delegate some of it to the dni. >> all right, i havemore questions for you on this matter and others. we'll be right back with him after this. d others we'll be right back with him after this all money managers might seem the same,
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baker. >> my pleasure. >> part of the way the republicans in conservative media have come after you and some of your colleagues is in part by trying to problematize the idea that there were people during the campaign who came across information they thought was worrying related to the russia attack, and the trump campaign and they brought that information to the fbi. that itself is being defined as a scandal, that you as an fbi official received that information and passed it onto investigators, that other people in the justice department or leadership roams were given information and passed it on. what do you make of that sort of becoming the source of scandal? i worry that they're trying to say that nobody should ever bring information to the fbi if they find something that they're worried about. >> that would be a huge problem. the fbi depends on the trust and confidence of the american people, and on people coming forward with all kinds of threat information, especially in counterterrorism, but with
respect to all types of violations in federal and criminal law, and intelligence threats or whatever they think it is that poses that threat to the country or is a violation of law, they should bring it forward to the fbi. they should feel comfortable doing that. >> do you think that you or anybody in the fbi or justice department mishandled any sort of tip or proffered intelligence or the steele dossier or any -- any meetings or anything in terms of the receipt of information which has been problematized by conservative media? do you think that was mishandled? >> i can't talk about that. the information that i took in that became the subject of discussions when i was being interviewed, i felt as though it was lawful for me to obtain that information. it was authorized under fbi policies and procedures, fbi employees are authorized to accept information from the public, so i thought it was
okay, and one thing with respect with all this has gotten me, is look. we don't swallow this hook, line and sinker. we have a jaundiced eye, and we take it seriously, but we vet it, and we don't just assume it's correct because somebody is proffering it to us, and we do question on a regular basis. whys this person bringing me this information? what is it? how reliable is it? let's scrutinize it. let's not, you know, sort of ignore it, but let's -- let's take it seriously, but vet it thoroughly. >> in terms of sources of information to the fbi, obviously the fbi has tip lines, right? >> yes, absolutely. >> they open themselves up to public information. >> tip lines, online. many ways you can submit threat information to the fbi. people should if they haven't. >> the idea that opposition research that was funded by one side of a political campaign might have turned up something that people gave to the fbi because they were concerned about it, or because they were hoping for an fbi investigation that would turn up something damning about the opposite candidate, is that an improper
source of information? it seems to me like private investigators, opposition researchers, opposing political campaigns might at any time turn up anything they were legitimately concerned about. i'm worried at that point -- at this point that that's -- that itself has been defined as such a scandal, those things won't go to the authorities anymore. >> with respect to this information, my recollection is that we knew that it was coming from that type of source, and therefore we had to be skeptical about it. we should have been skeptical about it, but it didn't mean that it was wrong, and so it had to be vetted and analyzed, but with the origin of it in mind, right? so we didn't ignore that. we took it into consideration, but we didn't ignore the information itself and whether it could have been true. >> james baker, former general counsel at the fbi who has been through a hell of a couple of years. actually an amazing career, but really a hell of a couple of years. thank you for coming in and talking us to, and i appreciate the trust level that needed to happen here for you to be able
to do it. >> thank you. appreciate it. >> i don't know how things will go for you, but when you want to talk about what's going on, please come back here. >> thank you very much. >> we'll be right back. stay with us. ou very much >> we'll be right back stay with us 200 indoor and outdoor allergens. like those from buddy. because stuffed animals are clearly no substitute for real ones. feel the clarity. and live claritin clear. when it comes to reducing the evsugar in your family's diet,m. coke, dr pepper and pepsi hear you. we're working together to do just that. bringing you more great tasting beverages with less sugar or no sugar at all. smaller portion sizes, clear calorie labels and reminders to think balance. because we know mom wants what's best. more beverage choices, smaller portions, less sugar. balanceus.org
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that does it for us tonight. i was so excited for that interview. i can't believe we had james baker in here talking about all that stuff. that was amazing. i have the tell you about monday night's show. beto o'rourke will be here. current candidate for the nomination for president. first time he will be here since he has announced he's running. that's monday night right here on set. tonight on "all in" -- >> giuliani plans ukraine trip to push for inquiries that could help trump. oh. >> donald trump's ukraine campaign. >> all i want the ukrainian government to do is investigate. >> tonight the president is at it again. >> russia, if you are listening -- >> congresswoman maxine waters on foreign help of a forei