tv A Higher Loyalty Roundtable Discussion CSPAN April 30, 2018 8:13pm-9:13pm EDT
[inaudible] >> a packed house tonight at george washington university. our coverage wrapping up. earlier this month we held a discussion on the impact of james comey about a higher loyalty with congressmen and attorney general. they debated the book and spoke about issues related to mr. comey's career and firing by president trump. this runs one hour. >> and now a discussion on james comey's book, higher loyalty, joining us to dissect what's in this book are two people very
experienced inside washington in washington politics. victoria was a high profile lawyer in washington. representative jamie is the representative for marilyn. before we get into the book, what are your overall impressions of james comey and his public service? >> the start with james comey the man. i never met him and don't really know him. the book he comes off as some a very boy scout like and respect to the rules of law. the first several chapters involve hatred of bullies you
can see how there'd be a coming character class inclusion between him and donald trump. that affects the style of a bully frequently. cummings key personality flaw perhaps there's a certain sanctimonious he likes to be a little bit holier than the very much by the book. back and rub you the wrong way when you see in making certain decisions that are questionable as when he decided to go public and he would reopen the investigation with hillary clinton two weeks before the election. so we could get into the legality of that.
he's a decent person and one who is dumbfounded by the trump presidency. he's basically call that a forest fire. there's very funny parts were he clearly has no respect for the man and less respect for his character and virtue. the running theme is that trump wanted to make sure first that he was meant going to pursue the investigation with michael flynn and then more accessibly was trumps concern the reports in the infamous dossier would, about trumps contacts with russian prosecutes in various activities that he would entice them into engagement.
i think comey and trump are opposite of a child. >> do you find the book convincing? >> entirely convincing of the phalanx there's not a lot of analytical or theoretical gift to it. and clearly about the hillary stuff is extremely nervous. essentially what he says as he felt he had an obligation to reveal their and ago after and to go after those e-mails and make it public despite their doj regulations did favor the string the election process. he thought it was clear hillary clinton would be president
didn't want to be responsible for that. he felt like he needed to tell the world there are reopening the investigation. there could be more e-mails that could change the outcome. i've got questions about their two. usually when there's not grounds they say were not prosecuted. they don't launch into an hour-long dissection of the motives of the person. that struck me as bizarre. and how you would entertain such in-depth dissection of hillary clinton. he seemed not want to be responsible for hillary clinton win. he may have been responsible for
a trump win. i think that's the underlying impulse of the book so to do this deliberately to make trump president thomas like he wants to blow the whistle on the. >> i just want to react to your last one, do not say you wanted to be responsible he said i thought hillary was going to be president and i wanted to make sure it was legitimate and it people found out about afterwards there might be a problem. >> here's the problem.
he hates bullies yet what is he doing college, he bully someone anyone along with the gang with everybody maybe you wanted to be part of the day and that to me is the theme of all of what he says he says i'm not political yet he does everything political. that is the central thing that i see in the book. also you said it was just a little bit holier than now. there's a reasonable they kong cardinal comey. when lawyers would disagree with him they disagree all the time and look at the disagree or and say your moral compass is askew.
people did not appreciate that attitude. >> do you know james comey in your circles? >> i have met him but not worked with him. i know the stories in here because i have live some of them. i have only met him and not worked with him. >> is the book convincing to? >> some of it is. there's a whole segment of scooter and i'm scooters lawyer. and he did not do the facts well in this version. >> i want to read this quote from the book and get your impression i went here for me as well congressmen. there is intention of having political leaders atop the justice department because the administration of justice must
be evenhanded. >> that's true. i think one of the most underrated and best attorney general server was. i remember once when smith was asked to go to lunch and was someone in during the luncheon is asked to do something for somebody under investigation. he got up and left it when he came back a bunch of people were in trouble friedman setting it up. you can be a political person, he was ronald reagan's personal lawyer. but when you get in the justice department you better be straight. never seen the justice department that one after anything but issues. we all rolled her eyes when -- but there issues.
it wasn't about personality. it wasn't going after somebody. >> will get back to jager hoover because that's ways heavily in the book. maybe we should engage in the moment about bowling. you're right identify the story that, he tells where he says i've always hated bullies and i let myself down the most amazing college and part of the scene where we were ridiculing and harassing a kid on our floor. he races that himself to say this is something i hate and i'm ashamed about that i was part of it.
assume you don't present that is a revelation, he did raise that himself to say all of us can be drawn and what we need to counters whole systems are bureaucracies or presidencies based on a boeing principle. i think he does advance that point. he strikes me as someone who is anti- bully. he's and then impressed by his own moral stature. >> is very in depth in his morality. it's not the worst thing you can say about a person. i prefer that to lots of other sins that are certainly worse and sanctimony. >> i am a product of the department of justice. when i hear he says when loretta
lynch called it a matter not a criminal investigation it wasn't worth the fight. i cannot imagine accepting that. he says it not going to but the. >> i agree with that. he wants to hold himself to nonpolitical standard but there are points where he makes concessions and politics. one was in the whole episode where he wanted to go to east before the election thinking there might be other e.u. e-mails found and then there were. and then trump fired him. trump debunked that by saying i fired him over the russian investigation.
>> when bill clinton had a chance meeting with loretta lynch, days before hillary was to be interviewed, you weren't at the justice department, that's appalling to me. in his book he said i didn't think much of it. are you kidding? if i were the director of the fbi i would've called in that detail and say tell me how this happened and why? why were you directing people not to take photographs? now that sets up the july 5 press conference and again i'm appalled. he's not a lawyer is the investigator. no chief investigator decides who's to be prosecuted and who's not. but assuming that position is
contrary to any rule i know. >> we agree he went overboard and laying out the combination of hillary clinton when he just said were not proceeding. >> it's a screwed up justice department. loretta lynch said i'm kind of recusing myself. but she didn't sign the papers. but if comey was upset about that he had to say i make an array mentation to sally. he didn't do it. he didn't follow procedures. that set up the october. if he hadn't done the first one he would've done the second one. >> at most you could of said do
the investigation and if there reason to believe the whole investigation were reopened he could go to congress and samo spoke before. there could be reasons to go ahead and indict ms. clinton. but it showed nothing. all of the polling showed it to real the clinton campaign for nine or ten days. that's why the democrats are so outrageous. >> will the way he conducted the investigation was like nothing i ever heard. he opened it in july 2015. set i didn't open a grand jury. july 2015 was a year. you opened a grand jury. when you don't open a grantor
thinning have subpoena power. they're negotiating these witnesses give you will just skip up your computer. he allowed hillary clinton to say i deleted 30,000 of my e-mails. when you say you want evidence you get the evidence. if there's a question you get a mutual party or but you don't delete them to say that nobody could see the when you say nothing was wrong. there were e-mails on the laptop that showed she had not turned over everything they may not of
and pulled out of bed naked. this is a very different standard going on. >>host: >> but that is not factual predicate to launch a grand jury at that point. >> that you need a factual predicate if there is the accusation that something is happening. >> the left be specific collusion is not a climb but lying to the fbi is a crime. >> but she had e-mailed in her basement on unclassified machinery whatever it was her river that is 794 right there.
>> on that we should launch a grand jury investigation into the trumpet administration also has reversed to declassify classified information. >> they knew that it was classified. >> as you both know james call me has been on a media to her and recently appeared on the view and making mccain had questions. >> i want to believe you're not a political person but when you read with you are on the verge of tears that we will miss him said you are dreading the next four years with trump so to hear those things about my party that his ego driven i am a republican who has many issues with trump and that is reflective of my party as a whole but i don't
want to know your politics and a lot of things you say are highly political i just don't understand what you gain by bringing things like this up. >> i don't think of it as my politics but my values. >> you talk about your wife at the women smart she was very sad on election night but why bring up politics now? no matter your take i want to know what you know about national security. >> i wasn't asked about it. [laughter] [applause] that's a question i do get that but in the book i'm telling a story. >> am talking about the interview this morning so it sounds like a political commentator to me. >> i don't care people support a republican or democrat because i'm not either i don't care who they support i hope
the conversation starts with values and policy second we will always fight about policies and taxes and immigration we are only a collection of values that is what unites republicans and democrats. [applause] >> what do you think of what he had to say? mickey had a good answer there is a growing division within the republican party you have the boy scout waiting which actually believes in the rule of law despite what he said right there that he's not political he has been republican almost all of his life until his encounters of donald trump but now he was very clear he did not vote for barack obama ever but was impressed over time with his leadership and his intellect and character. the first administration in history that nobody went to jail.
you cannot name a number of anybody who went to jail. >> can i say something what about eric holder because they did not prosecute. >> we will talk about that another time but so call me i think was drawn into politics because president trump tried to demand a personal loyalty test that is what the book is about he said i need loyalty i expect loyalty to which comey said i will give you honesty that i want honesty please that i will give you honest loyalty which is ambiguous he should have set it on all you loyalty i went to the constitution of the united states but the rule of law so now he's scrambling to say i
will stand up for the rule of law to say the donald trump presidency is a threat to america. this is an assault on the rule of law and the constitution. and the way fbi and law enforcement have always done this. not for partisan reasons. it is not a partisan plot. >> it seems to me you do have to look at some of the things that comey did with the lack of investigation in politics. >> they were never interviewed by the fbi. how is that an investigation?
and in 2013 the only time mitchell was contacted that asked if she was testifying and the investigation was a sham but they insisted to bring somebody that was harassing the victim from the irs. so as i look at the investigation i don't see dishonesty except for james call me. mom -- comey. >> would you can see this is an accurate report to demand personal loyalty? >> that is how donald trump talks. >> can we agree this is clearly how he talks but now
there is a growing division within the republican party that those people who believe in the rule of law and official neutrality and then there is the trump wing that he describes in the book like a mafia family to show absolute loyalty to the boss, anybody can my mind -- my. >> just like your client. right? wasn't he lying? >> would you like to hear about the case? comey did not get it right. >>host: so comey writes about
scooter libby. >> there is no underlying crime she had to be covert she was not there was no underlying crime whatsoever. but richard armitage, fitzgerald and comey who is the mom -- knew that from day number one and they pursue the criminal system for almost five years for karl rove and tutor may be that he said he talked to them and they did not support him the only one left was to just another one -- miller and she recanted because they misled her about valerie playing undercover they saw that was undercover
so therefore she recanted and said i convicted an innocent man she did not commit a crime. >> we learn in the book that scooter libby at one point was marc rich's attorney. >> that is what the prosecution is all about so in the southern district of new york it was actually comey that opened the investigation i have always had the position that is the unfettered authority.
>> they did. she gave hundreds of thousands of dollars i know the case very well. >> you cannot achieve a pardon by corrupt means. >> no no no. >> so comey tells the story of scooter libby in his book. >> victoria knows more about the case than i do but everything i have seen suggest the absolutely perjured himself and he lied and went through the criminal process found by a jury of his peers beyond a reasonable doubt that he had lied and one has recanted. >> but did they go to the court and reverse the verdict? be my guest. with the d.c. court of appeals
they gave him back his law license. >> the criminal conviction was reversed? >> it was taken away but in any event you know the facts of the case you work for that convicted per juror. >> forcibly who respects the constitution shame on you to say that. and the chief witness that should be wonderful the not to be convicted of anything give him a fair break and let him have due process. >> back to higher loyalty page 6065 right a city where everyone seems to question everybody's loyalties and
motivations most often when they were not in the room. >> that's a true statement about washington. >> i'm not in the political scene but with barry goldwater i went over to the justice department so my world is a lawyer. >> but that's fair to say? >> i do have a conservative philosophy but i don't go to national conventions or things like that. >> what about washington the city where everybody questions everybody's loyalty? especially not in the room? >> there is a big city here of people a large population of people living in the capital city that is something of a scandal but if you say that
power elite turns on each other and goes after them then it seems to be a fair assessment now these are republicans they are attacking komi spent his life as a republican and he has been a devoted u.s. attorney and they try to trash his career because he is outside of the mafia family and they try to destroy him i am put in a weird position to defend the rule of law republican simply because they try to destroy him. >> what you think of comey thoughts on several different elected officials and
presidencies that are critical of cheney or sessions or george w. bush? a lot of officials don't. >> i sympathize with the philosopher that says you are law enforcement from the politicians and what they are doing this is a sign of the times that trump has dragged everybody down where people make fun of each other's looks and dress and personal comments about people it is embarrassing for the country and i don't think he needed to go there. he is clearly angry with donald trump and guess it through humorous episodes but there is one scene in the book where he is invited for a one-on-one dinner with the
president he got to see president obama twice over the years but within a few weeks he had meetings because trump was so concerned about the russian prostitute segment coming out wanted to make sure what they wanted to do to stop the leak although he had to explain it is not a leak it is a public document not private. so then it is a funny story because they have little nameplates that were hand-drawn and the president sits down and says lovelies are hand-drawn and comey seth yes calligraphy and the president looked at him puzzled and said hand-drawn as if he didn't understand the word calligraphy. and that irritated him and
perhaps in a sanctimonious ways tries to stop somebody who tramples the rule of our somebody who doesn't respect the rule of law. that is why there is a sea of litigation from playboy models or porn stars or. >> that you bring up the prostitutes this is another example for me in the interview that you talk about where trump as a husband would be upset to say we have allegations of prostitutes and they would tell him the source and trump said if there is a 1% chance that she believes this but comey says and criticizes him i thought as a
wife that was a caring comment but i don't want my wife to hear these things but comey tortured thinking process is there is a 1% chance. >> reading that passage it also struck me page 241 that for all my flaws there is a 0% chance that there would be the allegation i was with hookers in moscow. but what he was commenting is the president kept calling him to say we have to get to the bottom of the golden showers and those documents with the dossier and he said is not leaked it is not a government document it came from a ford or british intelligence officer.
>> but it was a conservative newspaper. >> no that's not correct. that was for opposition research but then it was taken over by the dnc. >> in other words you don't think it was conservative opposition research on the president? >> i'm sure but i had to do with the dossier. >> best theologian that referenced is quite a bit and the quote by martin luther here ice-t and i can do no other did you see that? >> none whatsoever because i did not follow along with him.
>> he wrote his senior thesis and about jerry falwell and that was two different types of religions and which calls people to a moral imperative and to act the best they can in the imperfect world versus the exploitation and manipulation of religion that is what falwell dead as a fraudulent exploitation of religion and cited himself in the other direction and you can see the growing split between the republican party to say and do anything just to win and those who wanted to adhere to rule of law. >> you say fight like hell? please. there is a lot of good republicans and democrats who are out there so don't cast
dispersions but i'm talking about comey what he sets up is the old-fashioned republican principal. >> go back to the view care is a question that was asked of james comey. >> president troll trump told lester holt he had russia on his mind and he had a decision to fire you. he recently tweeted this morning that it wasn't a factor that james comey the worst in history was not fired because of /s/ investigation. but he didn't say it. why do you believe you are fired? >> i don't know. i took him at his word when he told that to lester holt he also said that proudly
russians the next day i took him at his word. two days tweet which i have seen i don't follow him i actually think that illustrates part of the problem i try to bring up that it matters the president is not committed to the truth so i don't know what to make of it. >>host: victoria toensing what did you hear? >> those that were beating on the white house door saying get rid of comey he should not be fbi director from day number one. and actually criticism when he did not fire him one day number one. in fact i called a dear friend of mine that had to work with mr. comey and said watch your back. we never supported him
basically because of the reinvestigation and then to violate the justice department which we have gone over thought it was a disgrace whether working for us or working for you. >> working for the fbi you are not working for democrats or republicans hopefully for the american people that is the attitude that comey is reacting against. there were a lot of problems that he is reacting against the idea you don't oil royalty to the president over the rule of law and the constitution. >> all my gosh when you all your loyalty to stand in front
of amon non- majority. >> i'm not freezing this very well but did comey come across as a good bureaucratic insider and is that important. >> it is important in the city but a very good bureaucratic insider i just thought he had poor judgment and tortured reasoning and i thought of several of those instances today nobody that worked with him trusted the justice department thought he was a drama queen and i see him continue to do that.
>> here is a quote, jamie raskin talking about president obama. i cannot believe someone with such a supple mind actually got elected president. president obama is about the only person who doesn't get criticized in a higher loyalty. >> he talks about how he had very little interaction with the president which is the tradition and how it should operate because the fbi director is not on the staff or an intern and told he has 100% loyalty to the president. and in the authoritarian state those that were corrupted by the women of the dictator of the autocrat in the liberal democratic state and those
that try to uphold the values of society. and to have that perspective. and then to be caught in the meatgrinder. >> do you agree that trump should have fired comey id number one? >> know. it is a ten year appointment only one removal ever before in the middle of a term. >> but that means that he goes
beyond what the he can serve the president which is eight years one thing that i think is not fair is they respect him. but if you speak to those of the agents judiciary committee they thought they have held the descent values and calling out his conduct one of the biggest criticisms why is he writing a book with an investigation going o on the mackie says there is no classified information.
>> that the trump administration says that public officials they talk about president. >> so the point i am making his first amendment rights. and he has the right to speak obviously he is mad. you have to stand up for the rule of law. a higher loyalty is to say you give 100% of your loyalty to the president no matter what he done what he believes in and with protocol and policy with those investigations still going on. >> do you have an issue with
the former director of the fbi writing a tell-all book? >> with a former assistant director is criticizing him for. >> but for law enforcement the culture that we live in during the trump era everything to be drug into the celebrity culture. >> i wouldn't run away from that. but to go crazy with anger and trashing rule of law. he is mad no doubt about it and by a guy is mad then a former boss check this out. >> that when he went after maxwell that many people
those applications based on the dossier. in the telling of the facts for one thing if the fisa court have to demonstrate to a judge that there is a reason to issue. there was any evidence that is just extra icing on the cake. nobody is relying on the dossier because we have criminal convictions and lots of investigations.
pardon me this is about loretta lynch. at that time we were alerted to some material that had come into the government that came from a class source code source and content of the material remained classified as i write this. had it become public, the unverified material would have been used by opponents to cast a doubt on the attorney general's independence in connection. >> guest: how can you sit there and say i've got information about you. it's classified. i think that was appalling that that was in the book. >> host: there is such little
detail. we are talking about a higher loyalty as well as the attorney general. >> guest: i don't know if we have time to go after the scene with the october opening in the investigation again she called him into the office and gave a big hug and said congratulations. that was a great job and praised him for going up and down on this whole thing and when he left he said to pretend like you've got your doubts. i thought that was bizarre. >> guest: that means that
there is a dimension to public office that comes through where people are putting forth a pretense to doing something else behind the scenes. when he decided to tell the world two weeks before the presidential election that there's more information cominge is more information coming out about hillary clinton through this scandalous anthony wiener affair it turns out to be nothing but in the meantime everybody is left to think. she was so far ahead i thought she was going to become president this would put a cloud over all this stuff.
they near the prosecution and whether you should be going public is an extraordinary thing to do to be going public and telling the story of what we've found in going forward with it. a lot of the democrats are not about it. i think it was a terrible strategic misjudgment to question the legal judgment having said that i do think that he believes in god will love law and he thinks he was right about that. >> host: very quickly, the congressman, are the democrats now that's a higher loyalty is on the market being read widely by the best seller are they rallying a big? >> guest: i don't think so.
in the culture of law enforcement, you have people that come under attack but because they are not in-line with the president and then they've got to defend themselves and they go to the women's march and suddenly they've got to defend that and what their daughters did. that is millions of people that went to the women's march and they want to polarize and factionalized america that you can't even lead a normal life without coming in attack. that is dangerous. so to that extent, they made some mistake and he shouldn't be hounded and vilified because he stood up to the rule of law against donald trump. >> host: >> guest: the longtime supporter --
>> host: you are in the legal circles that you've represented both republicans and democrats. is that a fair statement? >> guest: i have. >> host: is this a friend of yours or acquaintance of yours? before we run completely out of time, what is the status of you and your husband working for donald trump? >> guest: the way the press treats a lot of stuff is because we've represented the three people who as we all discussed it could be a distraction
[inaudible] would it be a mistake if he did? >> guest: not making it an issue, putting microphones that is coming from things president trump is saying. he might fire him then. but congress is after him. how can there be a case where he is a witness, they just don't do that. he enrolled a memo and talked about firing comey and now he is overseeing the investigation that is looking into whatever is behind the constitutional scholar and i do argue constitutional issues that the
president can fire whoever he wants to and that is not obstruction. but then how can he overlook that investigation? >> guest: first they can't resist on the executive point. we wouldn't have a civil service in that case. that can't be right in that proposition. in any event if there was any news today perhaps it is the suggestion that they could be fired. >> they are not in the same category. in the rule of law and civil justice in america. >> host: unfortunately, we are out of time. democrat from maryland and victoria is a law partner with