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tv   Senators Cassidy Leahy Cornyn and Blumenthal on Special Counsel for...  CSPAN  May 18, 2017 7:37pm-7:54pm EDT

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committee will meet their responsibility is still think there's more to be done i think there should be independent bipartisan commission to ask what will we do the next time putin decides to come after every elections?. >> there is a lot of questions about details. but in each instance he made it very clear that this had the danger to go too far as to the president is referred to a special counsel?. >> it is outrageous statement in debate and as director mahler his service to our country in the military as a federal judge and director as the fbi to characterize a witch hunt is not fair. >> he shed light on the director comey memo to question mark?.
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>> not directly. >> your impression?. >> robert was assigned the responsibility from the memo that he wrote or if not?. >> i think the responsibility for the decisions is that executive branch decision and executive action and that is within the context of it he avoided giving any answers to circumstances around the memo did somebody read you that to say that to read a province of the investigation because he totally backed away from that.
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>> did he tell you a eighth was the day the he knew that he was terminated?. >> and is the opening of the opening statement. >> so does this now cross the threshold from intelligence to a criminal matter?. >> he did not go beyond that but to say that would prejudice people's opinion he said there is no pre-determination of a crime. >> if that could negatively impact congress' ability?. >> is your understanding that he knew, we would be fired before he wrote the memo? gimmicky did comment. [inaudible conversations] the president said a council hurts the country terribly do you agree?.
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>> what do you make that he would fire him before the conversation?. >> no action is final before its final you can imagine the president's frustration but until that happens you don't know. >> to the president directing to write the memo? >> i don't recall that. >> the white house said he made the decision to based on rudenstine but now it turns out. >> that was raised as a point in he deferred the rest of that to mr. mueller. >> now talk about joe lieberman. >> i have not heard that. >> when the democrat said he did not think any politician should be nominated. i think joe qualifies as a
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politician. >> some say mr. mueller -- senator leahy?. >> was just take away. i will go into the briefing itself or the questions and it but i felt before the briefing that the public deserves the oversight by the congress and how russia tries to influence our country is still tries to influence our country could be dangerous robert mahler is a good man and an honest man with integrity i have known him for years.
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i think that was very critical for him it does not mean that the job is done. >> do they make that independent investigation?. >> they have two different things that congress may not have but the public has every reason to wonder what has happened to our government to be manipulated by russia that does not have our best interest at heart. >> senator?. >> we just got through with
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a very important briefing with the spent the major role former director into the russian issue one of the issues raised with him is my concern that we have multiplicity of congressional committees investigating the same matter and how could we best coordinate those activities with director mueller and the fbi so we go in and burn the interfere or compete his investigation. we understand the importance of the executive branch and director mahler as special counsel me to want to do anything to get in the way but it seems to me when all these oversight investigations are occurring judiciary, the senate intelligence, oppose committee and subcommittee it is a trade war iraq reading to happen -- train wreck waiting to happen and
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so perhaps we did have some sort of agreement with the deputy attorney general rose and stein asked for which is a single point of contact to coordinate and facilitate. we could well inadvertently indeed an investigation and basically make it impossible for them to take the matter to court and we don't want to do that. >> be surprised to learn the president had already decided to fire james toney before?. >> the fbi director serves at his pleasure so he is not entitled to rationale i do understand it was one of the our rationale but not completely. >> -- i heard the same thing you heard that was not me. >> so lieberman has emerged
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as the top of the list?. >> i think in a very divided nation's capital joe lieberman is probably the only person neck to get 100 votes in the senate. >> the president said this is a witch hunt and convert our country do you agree?. >> what he is talking about his activities there is no basis but clearly russia was very much involved to undermine public confidence in our elections it is a serious matter we're conducting with broad bipartisan investigation with the committee that i sit on to get access to the most sensitive raw intelligence. we're taking this enormously seriously senate can you narrow down the scope of the investigation?. >> no. there will be a lot of
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request made at the fbi and department of justice as part of the investigation we need to coordinate as a designated special counsel how we seek witnesses and documents because you can imagine the multiple request from different committees that create confusion i don't think anybody is interested in a delay to impede or impair this investigation. >> we need to be focused on our role we're not the fbi are department of justice but conducting oversight investigations and that is inappropriate role. >> what are the repercussions?. >> i assume this is a counterintelligence investigation primarily. but the deputy attorney general rose and stein said it is up to director mahler
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under special counsel. >> senator bloom involve -- they accuse. >> i will say briefly i will not go into the substantive answer except to say those answers really to be given to the american people in public under oath to come before the judiciary committee to tell the american people what he told us and i urge him to do so because it is important to the confidence and trust of the american people in the criminal-justice process. i was disappointed in some of his answers that were less forthcoming than i think they should have been but i will delay judgment and though i hear more as we
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go along. >> were some of the biggest questions?. >> the complications of the others in the reasons for the firing of the director komi i unsatisfied bob mueller can follow the evidence including not only the trump campaign with the russians interfering but also the potential obstruction of justice by the president of the united states. >> there is mounting evidence no conclusion yet that there was but the evidence needs to be pursued and there are a variety of pieces of evidence the firing of the director may be one of them. >> so looking at the firing.
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>> the special counsel must pursue all of the evidence whether the firing of director komi or memos per pair of their documents or the witnesses that may have knowledge of the interference and collusion to end that potential obstruction we talk about potential and allegations bob mueller has the guts to stand up to anyone in the department of justice who tries to interfere or inhibit that investigation we will know if that is occurring in the response given to us today the deputy attorney general is very sensitive to the fact the
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scope and mandate has to be of limited as evidence could be forthcoming related to the russian meddling or the possible traub campaign pollution. >> some say it is no longer intelligence but it is a criminal investigation is it ?. >> bob mahler is doing a criminal investigation as a special investigation of criminal allegations they are extremely serious including possible obstruction of justice there are a number of pieces of evidence that indicates it could well have been the investigation and that a half to follow wherever the evidence leaves die and satisfied the attorney general means what he says
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in the mandate anything related to those allegations can be and will be pursued is more than counterintelligence. >> your predecessor to be the next fbi director would he make a good fbi director? >> what i said is i will not comment until someone is nominated i do believe in the nominee for the fbi director as somebody with a background and expertise in ought to have no political connections senate that would rule out joe lieberman >> i am not ruling out any one i am not commenting.
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>> just to be clear you be the indication he could be under investigation for obstruction of justice. >> no progress said the evidence needs to be pursued not that any individual person is under investigation i have no knowledge what a special prosecutor may pursue i was one of the first of not the first to ask for a special prosecutor i told rosa stein i would go against him if he failed to commit and i did believe member of the judiciary committee that did. i said i am glad he has appointed a special prosecutor but the specific charges at this point are up to a special prosecutor
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because there may be others that are not even known at this point spirit the deputy attorney general says he will have the resources he needs. >> can i asked him specifically. >> that was a very important point the special prosecutor has to have the independence resources and unlimited mandate. >> we just completed an hour and a half session with the deputy attorney general. i think that it helped to inform a lot of the members and not on the intelligence committee

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