President Trump, Attorney, Jeff Sessions discussed on Washington Today
Time of lying to congress yet identity theft failure to register as a lobbyist and conspiring to violate lobbying laws. And then several obstruction and lying to investigators. And I've read all of those lying to investigators charges as well. So I guess my question for Mr. Malcolm when we are talking about dealing with us in the totality of the circumstances. How important is not having the underlying crime of conspiracy. When we look at these, when we look at these obstruction charges. I, I certainly think it's very important factor in terms of what would motivate the president to do what he did he was being deviled by allegations that he knew to be false, and it was casting upon the legitimacy of his presidency and impeding his ability to govern. He had no problem looking into Russian interference in the election. I disagree with all due respect to the characterisation by professor mcquaid about what he was asking Bob Muller to do, but he clearly wanted him. Call me to say that he wasn't involved in any kind of conspiracy or collusion and he was frustrated by the ongoing cloud over his presidency. And then just requestion is Mr. Trump wanted to fire, Bob Mueller. Could he have President Trump fire? Bob Mueller could have done it at any time. Sure if he wanted to fire Jeff Sessions could he fired him at any time, if he would have wanted to fire about Mcgann could he have fired him at any time, certainly could? So as we're dealing with endeavor, which endeavors really just attempt. I mean it's endeavored to obstruct as the same as an attempted crime. And when we typically deal with tempt, we do with it, and it's important that we have, because if I determined, I'm going to rob a Bank, or I'm going to murder somebody. There are underlying factors that could cause me to not complete that action, you would agree, right? Yes. I mean, you, you have to look at what people do you also have to consider what they say. But venting venting? And this is a president who likes event, but to look at what he does. And in fact, he did not do any of the things that, you know, he was talking about doing and even more. So when we walked through with the people who he was venting to none of them as far as the Miller report is concerned. None of them really appeared to have. Any consequences as well. Did they that is correct? Even people who knew that he was venting and didn't do it. He asked him to do now I'm gonna I just wanna walk through. I can't I would love to walk through each actually one of the obstruction charges, but. Have you read inspector Horowitz's inspector general report as it related to the Clinton administration and the FBI in a while? But yes, and you would agree that a ton Mr. Horowitz found a ton of bias in impure. Ax or at least thoughts. I mean we have text messages. Some of those salacious have made the news conducted by the FBI agents. Right. Regrettably, he did. And but in his final conclusion, he has he I mean, he basically asserted that because while there may have been a potential impure thought there were also legitimate reasons for why they were conducting that action. So he didn't hold. He didn't recommend any real true accountability to the FBI agents at that point. Right. Yeah. Inspector general Harwood. Looked at the realm of reasonable decisions made by the investigators and prosecutors and wherever possible gave him the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes he just couldn't because on duck involved. And I guess that's just my overall general question when you're dealing with some of these issues if you have illegitimate reasons and legitimate reasons and you have no underlying crime. How do you prove the intent that is precisely the danger here because you are talking about trying to determine what is illegitimate or legitimate motive for core prison? Discretionary actions. It's easy to do in the face of facially criminal conduct satang bribe or witness tampering with threatening witness but not with the sex of the actions that the president under Tokyo, whether you like them or not. And then I'll just end with we've talked about tweets that age. Well, our donates. Well, this is a tweet from our president on June fifteenth, two thousand seventeen they made up a phony collusion with the Russian story funk zero proof. So now they go for obstruction of Justice on the phony story. Nice. So with that, I'll yield back. Goes back the gentleman from California, MS Lou, this is the House Judiciary committee hearing from earlier today. Looking at less learned from the Miller report, testifying, there was, John Malcolm Heritage Foundation legal and judicial studies director about to ask questions, here, Ted lieu, democrat from California. This is C span radio. WCS PFM ocean. Thank you miss a cheer. So let's talk about Jeff Sessions recused as well known dinner trains. You know Jeff Sessions founded advice department Justice ethics officials recuse himself on March second 2017 investigation related to twenty sixteen presidential elections, age fifty one. The report goes on to detail meeting between the president and the train journal, and it says, quote that weekend sessions, mcgaugh flu Tamara Lago to meet with the president sessions recall that president podium aside is feed to him alone, and such as that session should unrequir- us from the Russia investigation. So former prosecutor always white Vance. What do you make an? Recusals is not a question that the Justice department considers infrequently recusals conflict concerns come up in all sorts of situations. Maybe as a prosecutor, you knew someone personally or your family owned stock in a Bank, so you recused from that case. And when those situations come up the prosecutors obligation is to go to the office and the Justice department that considers those concerns and gets advice. That's what attorney general sessions did that was dispositive conclusion that he had conflicts that meant that he could not be involved in any cases that we're looking into the twenty sixteen elections. So this request from the president that he revisit that it's not just improper. It's income per Hensel. There is no such thing as unrecognizable. Thank you for prosecutor crate, you also US attorneys, correct. Yes. Per that. He prime Justice rules is a turning general are the. Personnel allowed to unilaterally on recused themselves. No, there's no such thing as unreachable. Think of it as he was tainted, a determination was made that he can be the attorney general for many other cases, but not this one because of his political connections to President Trump. He correctly asked them to assess whether he could serve as attorney general over this matter. They studied the matter and concluded that he could not that he was tainted and he was unable to handle this case, and so two unrequir- oneself would be to ignore the taint and to commit an unethical act. Thank you page, seventy eight volume of the report says, and I quote, when sessions toe the president that a special house have appointed presence slump back in his chair and said, oh, my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I'm. The president became angry inland. Bassett attorney, Jennifer his decision to recuse investigation stating how could you let this happen? Jeff Sessions, we call that presence that you're supposed to protect me or words to that effect. A Mr. dean understanding where Kurdish Watergate, and in your experience, you believe it is a row. Attorney general to protect the president. At certainly wasn't the case during the Nixon presidency as a former employee of the department of Justice. I served as the associate deputy attorney general. I know there's a proud and professional workforce at the Justice department that doesn't do anything out of represent the American people. I don't think the attorney general is task is to represent the president. John Mitchell, who was the initial attorney general followed by Richard Kleindienst. And then former Senator Saxby and Elliot Richardson. I really don't think they looked upon their job is to represent with Richard Nixon. So this is sort of unprecedented view from Mr. Trump as to what the attorney general should, and should not be doing. Thank you. Former US attorney McRae, what is your understanding of the role of the general attorney general is bid lawyer for the people of the United States? He is to support and defend the constitution. And he's represe-. The people he has not the personal attorney for the president. Thank you page one seven volume two of the documents. Some point f may seventeen twenty seventy appointment special counsel sessions recall that the president called him at home and asked if session would recuse himself, according to sessions, the president asked him to reverse his recused, so that sessions could direct the department Justice to investigate and prosecute Hillary Clinton. And the just the conversation was the president wanted sessions to recuse from all of it, including the special counsel Russia investigation so formula seventy McKay. What is your reaction to that phone call? It demonstrates to me that President Trump was persistent in his efforts to get attorney general sessions to recuse himself because he was so desperate to limit the scope of the investigation. He was concerned about a number of things. I know that the congressman said, if there's no underlying crime, and there's nothing to cover up, but I disagree with that, number one as a matter of law. That's not correct. But President Trump knew that there were a number of things that could be exposed about him the payment of hush money that caused him to be named as individual one is an unindicted co conspirator in the southern district of New York. The meeting at Trump Tower with Russians that, but for definitions of willfulness, and thing of value could have amounted to a crime. The conversations with WikiLeaks, all of those things, I believe, were matters that were our collusion and could have concerned President Trump about discovery and exposure. Thank you. The gentleman yields back the. Gentleman. Florida mississippi. Thank you. Mr chairman. Fascinating to me that the majority brings Michael Cohen convicted liar, who lied to congress, as a witness, and now, the majority brings you Mr. dean who's convicted of obstructing Justice and is paid by cable, networks and others to open against the president. So instead of legitimizing Mr. dean's present here today. I'll ask my questions to Mr. Malcolm. Mr. Malcolm, isn't it true that the president could have exerted executive privilege and prevented Mr. Mcgann and others from cooperating with special counsel? Yes. And in fact, not only did he encourage Mr. began to cooperate he allowed twenty White House officials to testify, including eight people from the White House counsel's office. Correct. Isn't it true that the president has full constitutional authority without reason to fire, the FBI director, anytime? Yes. So how would it be obstruction to fire FBI director, don't think it was? I would also point out that the report also indicates that others within the intelligence community attorney general sessions himself had suggested that the president ought to do that, before the president decided to do it, isn't, it also true that if the special counsel had decided on the question of obstruction he could have stated that there was evidence, the president committed obstruction and recommended that he charged with obstruction and not kicked decision to the he could have done that. Yes. And he could have he could have recommended any form of charges that he wanted to, to recommend including if he had found anything on Russian collusion or conspiracy, or any of the matter, while recognizing that it would not result in an indictment. He could've said the evidence was there to convict the president, if he could be charged. Guess which he did not kick the decision to the attorney general, the United States who said and I quote, there's not sufficient. Int- evidence to establish the president committed, and obstruction of Justice defense. That's correct. Could you walk me through as an attorney, who's been a number of years practicing in the courtroom and having numerous clients could you walk me through the chilling effects that this is all having on future, presidents having honest in open and Frank conversations with their White House, general counsel and the president's engage in one they solicited, vice sometimes the advice, if they're seeking to do something stupid? Sometimes it may be to do something illegal. That's why they have these conversations and get advice from trusted people with this is that even having the conversation or saying something publicly or privately about it one could be subjected to criminalise, there are all sorts of actions, that price might take that might be aggressive, some of which are covered in the report with to appointee certain executive branch officials firing certain executive branch officials considering issue, certain certain pardons engaging in executive order. Offers. Voting. The take care clause of the constitution to actually involve oneself at an ongoing investigation, everything to being unfairly conducted all of those things can either be legitimate or illegitimate depending on one motives, and it would chill a president. I would think to the bone to think that some prosecutor is going to be the person who's going to be making the determination about which actions legitimate, which is a legitimate, whether there's this with mixed mode of pure motive or an improper motive, the mere fact that, that inquiry could take place would have a chilling effect, which is why there is no clear statement that this obstruction of Justice law should apply to the president, and which is why the independent counsel should have focused on facially illegal acts. Well, you said it better than I could send it. I just think that I don't care if you're Republican or democrat. I think if you're going to be in the White House, in the future that all of this is going to have way on, whoever that president may or may not be in the decisions that he makes about having Frank and open conversations with his council who should be able to have. Very private thought process. What do you think about this in confidence knowing that the White House general counsel isn't gonna be subpoenaed to testify about very conversations that they had about what is going on in the White House? And so I thank you for your testimony here today, and I'll yield the remainder my time to Mr. Jordan. Mr. Malcolm, just let me go back to where we're a few minutes ago in the mall reported says report does not include the president committed a crime..