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tv   Andrew Mc Carthy Ball of Collusion  CSPAN  September 29, 2019 8:45am-10:01am EDT

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all of the supreme court justices of the state of west virginia. so the breakdown, the decline of political compromise ice as the most serious problem now threatening the united states, because democracy is a great form of government but democracy involves compromise. and if there's not compromise then it's not a democracy. >> to watch the rest of this talk about his new book, "upheaval" visit and type the author's name in the search bar at the top of the page. [applause] >> thank you. getting it. thank you for coming. it's wonderful to see so many of you have had like also welcome our friends on ink over to my left and after the q&a they will be selling the new book and andy
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will be signing them for you, ,o that's an advanced announcement for that. some of you may remember that andy with your three years ago at effect it was august for august meeting, so we are conservatives and stories i guess we have to do that the same way. and the to extreme planning on andy and my part, including dumb luck, i am so thrilled to announce that this here tonight is the world premiere of andy at the release of his book which happened today. [applause] sometimes it just works out. those of you who were here three years ago you may recall that andy spoke about the blind sheikh and some of those passing, so he was at the center of attention for that. he was in the center of attention of course for the mullah probe in the book of collusion and also some thoughts
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on the other case. his eyes at the center of attention. thank you so much for coming and ladies and gentlemen, mr. andrew mccarthy. [applause] >> thank you so much, erika. thank you, joel. eric says it's a dumb luck. i think erika was planning this from the start. but the light to be back here. i think we started to talk about coming back four or five months ago, and that such a a great time here the last time i didn't need to be asked twice and it just think share for two at eight that turns out to be the date the book came out. the book is a big deal even for people who do what i do for living. a book is something you really point yourself into, so this ts
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a big day and i'm just thrilled to spend it with you. and i was even more thrilled -- may be not more thrilled, but i stepped off the plane and my phone was exploding because it turned out that rush limbaugh had talked about the book on the radio today, and he likes it which is important because you want to make sure he likes it. so it's just then, i was totally blown away by that. i did know he was going to do that. when i got to the hotel, the first thing i did was dash them off a little note to thank him. and he is great, so of course he got back to me instantly and he
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said there was something i forgot to say and i'm going to hit that tomorrow. so it's a doubleheader for me. it's just a great day all around. and while we're talking about rush, how many, you guys come married guys will know this. how many married guys in the room? okay. so what is -- one of his favorite stories or lines is, if a a man is out in the forest and he's all by himself, nobody around, if he makes a statement, is he still wrong? [laughing] and i was reminded of that today, not only because it's a great line and rush was so great today, but because what actually
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got me into or deeply into the collusion caper, which at the time i get into it i don't think there even was a collusion caper yet. it seemed to me it was the clinton emails e-mails caper at kind of evolved into collusion. but what made me so interested in the collusion narrative, which is what the book is about, is, and this is an uncomfortable confession to make, but it's got to be made. i was fabulously, spectacularly wrong about something that turned out to be very basic, and that is back when i was a prosecutor i insisted eight ways to send it in a very indignant way that it was impossible, that it would never ever happen, that
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the justice department and the fbi would use what are known as their counter intelligence authorities as a pretext to conduct what actually was a criminal investigation that was done without a criminal predicate. and just so you know where i'm going with this, the theory behind "ball of collusion", and this will be any surprise to any of you who have followed this close to all this time, is that i think it really was collusion in connection with the 2016 election. but the real collusion was not this fable about donald trump and russia. the real collusion was that the obama administration put the law enforcement and intelligence apparatus of the united states government in the service of the hillary clinton campaign, and that included at its heart
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exploiting the counter intelligence powers that our government is given in order to protect the united states from foreign enemies, using those powers to actually monitor the opposition campaign. and when trump, against all odds, i think even the president himself would think it was against all odds, when he won, that investigation was used basically as a monitor on his administration, to tie his hands and trying to undermine his administration and make him unelectable, which i think was the main goal. just so you get the progression, i think what happened here is you have these counterintelligence powers and they were used as a pretext to conduct a criminal investigation without a crime. the criminal investigation was done as a pretext for
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impeachment chatter, and the impeachment chatter is a pretext for what is the real agenda here, and that is that by something at the top of the autumn of 2020, their hope is to make donald trump unelectable. and i think that was what this was about from the beginning and it was a political narrative from the beginning. now, what was i so wrong about? erika was good enough to mention that back eons ago, i think was the pleistocene era, i was a federal prosecutor, and toward the end of my tenure as a federal prosecutor i started to handle national security cases. it happened not out of any planning whatsoever. the planning was done by the jihadists. they carried out the bombing of the world trade center in february of 1993, and it caught all of us flat-footed.
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our government decided to treat a national security challenge as if the were a crime wave, and instead of the marines at the front line, what you got was me. which is why we didn't do so hot for the first number of years. but i had never worked -- i been a prosecutor for a fairly long time but i never worked national security cases. none of us had because there are not cases generally speaking, when you're national security case and unity expression foreign counterintelligence, these are not powers that we use, generally speaking, to create criminal cases, to develop evidence that you can present in tort. the reason those powers are there is to protect the united states from threats of potential attacks by foreign powers. and the idea of these powers is to allow us to monitor those
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threats and tried to stop bad things happening. i'm from law enforcement, and law enforcement, what happens, it didn't happen into trump rush investigation, , but what's supposed to happen in this country is a crime gets committed -- trump russia -- in lease assigned a prosecutor to investigate the crime come right? we usually don't say there's a person like donald trump, go out there and tried to find a crime on him, which is pretty much what we saw for the last number of years. so i knew nothing about how counterintelligence worked. and i barely knew, even though i'd been a prosecutor for the better part of a decade, that the fbi actually has a night job. i cite from being our premier law enforcement agency -- aside
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-- the fbi is also our domestic security agency. what does that mean? in a lot of countries, there's a role that has to be carved out for government agencies to protect the homeland against foreign threats, and those foreign threats can come from outside attacks or they can come from people who are for agents working on behalf of the foreign power operating inside the united states. in some countries like britain, for example, the idea is we are better off separating the law enforcement function from this national security function of detecting the country against foreign threats. in our country what we've always thought was the best way to handle the challenge of foreign threats to security is to have both the law enforcement and
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national security mission housed in the same agency, the fbi. so they had one side of their agency is the criminal law enforcement side, and the other site is what's known as foreign counterintelligence, or national security. and the reason we do it that way is the idea is that two missions can actually leverage each other. one of the best ways you can get intelligence from people is by developing criminal cases on them. because when you feel like they may be prosecuted that gets them to talk. so sometimes our criminal prosecutions can help our intelligence mission, and it can work the other way as well. so from the time the trade center cut bond in about 1993, up until the 9/11 attacks, we treated terrorism essentially as a criminal justice problem.
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but that never made the national security component of it go away or the national security mission. and the reason that's important for what we're talking about tonight is, of the national security side you have a whole different set of powers than what criminal law enforcement and prosecutors commonly use. so when i was a prosecutor, if we had them off the case or the drug case or something like that and i needed to get an wiretap for my investigation working with the fbi, we would use the criminal statutes that are available. the reason it's important to use the criminal statutes is because we are dealing in the american criminal justice system, mainly did dealing with americans, although a an awful lot of non-americans. we're all presumed innocent, and our criminal law enforcement laws that congress has enacted
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account for and build in and assume all of our due process rights as americans. so there are protections built in for people in the criminal justice rules. the national security powers in foreign counterintelligence are different in the sense that the concentration on foreign counterintelligence is not american. the concentration is the foreign power that may be a threat to the united states. and very often even when we're d with agents of foreign powers who are here in the united states, there are non-americans, working for foreign government, then have the same array of rights. for one of the things that would happen in the eight years in aroma that i mentioned was when an investigation started, the fbi and the justice department would try to figure out right at the beginning, is this going to be a criminal case that were
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going to try to do in court, or is this a national security case when which is going to try to collect evidence, or collect intelligence to try to protect the country? and that went on for a long time. and it really shouldn't be the kind of a thing that is a paralyzing decision to make. we should be able to go back and forth, if everybody is acting in good faith. .. and what kind of abuse did they have in mind? they imagined a situation in which you had rogue agents or a set of rogue agents who didn't have enough evidence
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to make a criminal case. so rather than drop the case which is generally what you do in the justice department, we have lots of cases and if you don't have enoughevidence to make a case you usually move onto the next one. there's not time to be doing the stuff they were worried about . what they worried about was what if you had rogue agents who didn't have criminal evidence and then rather than drop the case, in order to continue investigating because they really felt like the people they were investigating were worthy of investigation or maybe for corrupt reasons they wanted to try to make acase on them , then rather than drop the case that they would fabricate a national security angle so that they could exploit the government's foreign counterintelligence powers and conduct what was really a criminal investigation without a criminal predicate under the
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rock guys of our national securitypowers . and this worry that they had that could happen which there was no evidence of it ever having happened before, it was something they decided to cook up and worry about, that resulted in something that the number of people, i'm sure a lot of people in this room will remember notoriously known as the wall . people remember the wall. this is a long time ago. this was all the rage and a big controversy in the mid-1990s but the wall was a set of regulations that justice department interposed between the criminal investigation side of the fbi's house and the intelligence side which made it impossiblefor though two sides as a practical matter to cooperate and compare evidence . remember all the talk back in the day about connecting the
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dots andthe idea you have to know what the dots are before you can connect them ? what we did for those eight years was basically the left-hand didn't know whatthe right hand was doing and it was a catastrophe . it probably led to the failure of our intelligence agencies including the fbi to detect the 9/11 plot before it happened . please understand what i'm saying. i'm not blaming the government for the terrorist attack, the terrorists are responsible for the terrorist attack but our failure to detect it, our failure to do intelligence collection and analysis was because we put this cockamamie administrative wall between the two sides and it was a disaster for americans in terms of our security because we couldn't get the full measure of what they call the threat mosaic. we couldn't understand where the threats were coming from
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and a lot of people died. so back when the wall was first established, there was a lot of controversy in the justice department and it pitted a number of people who were working terrorism cases like myself who objected to it vigorously at the time. and for one thing, the objection was on the basis of our honor. basically we're saying you're saying that if we have these powers to protect the united states at our disposal, we will use them. we will lie to the courts, use them pretextual he which is, we were pretty indignant about that and i think that seems understandable at the time but the other thing, the more practical thing and this is what i was now,we finally get to what i was so wrong about . if you assumed a rogue agent,
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i thought it was absolutely absurd to think that a rogue agent no matter how bad would ever exploit counterintelligence powers to fabricate a criminal case. and the reason i was so confident about that wasn't because i think everybody'san angel and nobody would ever do something they shouldn't do . the reason was it didn't make sense forthem to do it . if you assumed a rogue is a whole different layer and set of rungs of approval that you have to go through in the government and in the justice department to use the national security powers, they're not easy. you haveto get a ton of approvals . so from where i sat, and this was as somebody who was working day today with the people doing these cases, if
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you had a rogue agent and rogue prosecutors or whoever it would be much easier for them to fabricate evidence to try to use the criminal procedures and to fabricate a national securityangle to try to use those powers . and what i said again and again was that that would be crazy to do because the bureau would never let anyone get away with it. and if the bureau let them get away with it, the justice department would be there to backstop it so i was absolutely certain it couldn't happen because you would have to get toomany approvals, there would have to be too many people in on it so why was i so wrong ? what i failed to assume was that there could be a case where the wrongs of approval, the adult leadership, the people who run the organization actually decide to do the investigation themselves . the idea in the justice department and in the fbi and
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it's a very good idea is that we want investigations to be conducted in the places where either a threat to the united states exists or where the crime happens. that's not only consistent with the constitution, it also is good practice for two reasons. one, the people who are closest to the event are always going to be the most efficient in gathering the evidence of it. they're going to have the best contacts, the best knowledge of the community. but the other thing the fbi and justice department want is for investigations to happen and dependent of the politics in washington. if the fbi orders an investigation, there right there in the thick of all the politicking so the idea is we want to insulate investigations from those kinds of considerations. so for that reason, what the
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fbi likes to do and what the justice department likes to do is have investigations carried out in the district office where the relevant crime happens or the evidence is and then the fbi and the justice department headquarters can play the traditional role that headquarters is supposed to play. which is they are the leadership, they are the guardians ofour standards. they make sure that everybody stays on the straight and narrow . i can tell you having been a prosecutor for 20 years there has never been a prosecutor and i'm as guilty of this as anyone who ever spent five minutes doing what i used to do. there's never been anyone who hasn't been tempted to press the envelope in theirown cases. when you're working on an investigation, especially if you're dealing with something like terrorism or violence crime , you become convinced
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that yourbad guys are the worst bad guys in the history of bad guys . and you rationalize. you want to cut corners. you want to say why do i have to satisfy this threshold because what i'm dealing with here is a real problem with bad people and even if i don't have all the evidence i need , if we get a wiretap, we will get the evidence and we will figure it all out. you want to cut corners. not because you're a bad person, you convince yourself you're dealing with peopleand this is the higher calling . it's the better way to deal with it . and because we're all human and because we are all subject to that temptation, we need to have supervision there which is detached and which tells us know, wedon't do that kind of stuff .we don't take an opposition research screed. from somebody who is working for a political campaign and
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is operating on hearsay information that two and three times removedfrom the facts . and we don't slap a caption on the front of that and bring it to court and say here's our warrant. we don't do that kind of stuff. you're supposed to have your supervision there to say you we have rules that say for example if you want to go to the foreign intelligence surveillance court which is the court that handles national security cases, you must verify the information before you submit an application to the court. and while that is always important, it's always critical for the honor of the justice department and credibility of the justice department with the court, it's always important to corroborate your information before you bring it to a court . it's especially important in foreign counterintelligence. in fbi investigations, what
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we're allowed to do is monitor people who the government says there is probable cause not that they committed a crime necessarily but that they are agents of a foreign power. that they are operating on behalf of a foreign power in the united states in a clandestine way against our people and against our government and against our nation . that's what these powers allow us to do. they are intelligence gatheringpowers. they are not againfor building a criminal investigation . you know why that's important ? criminal investigation keeps people honest. in a criminal investigation it's true that if i went to get a search warrant or i went to get a wiretap or i went to get some other source of information where there was something in the law that allowed me to go to a court and get an order that compelled someone to surrender the evidence to me,
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it's true that i was allowed to go to the judge with my agent by ourselves. no defense lawyer there, no defendantthere, no suspect, just us and the judge . but in a criminal investigation, everybody operates under the assumption that eventually there's going to be a trial. eventually there's going to be a prosecution. the reason we're doing this is were going to file an indictment and arrest people and when we arrest people all the representations we make to the court in order to get evidence are going to be turned over to the defense and to the defense lawyers and they are going to go over every single line of every single submission to see did we mislead the court? did the court applied the correct evidentiary standards ? every single motion attacking the underlying basis of collecting evidence is going to be fleshed out .
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so it's not that people who work in criminal law are more honest than other people. they know it's in their self-interest to be straight with the court because if they're not, somebody isgoing to find out about it down the road and if that happens there's going to be repercussions . that's not how it works in foreign counterintelligence. in fci because we're only there to gather intelligence, not looking to make a case about somebody down the road, what the justice department and fbi are allowed to do is to go to a secret court that congress created in 1978. and create an application that says the person they want to surveillance, the person they want to spy on is an agent of a foreign power. the only due process, let's say you have an american. let's say you have carter page as we had in the trump russia investigation.
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you have an american citizen they want to say is operating as an agent of russia. the only due process that american is ever going to get is if the justice department and fbi plate straight with the court and the court forces them to comply with their own regulations which include making sure that you bring verified information only to the court. and if they don't follow their own rules and if the judge doesn't make them followtheir own rules , then you basically have surveillance going on against people who are presumed innocent and who have a full array of constitutional rights and they never find out aboutit . and what we found out in this investigation was that was precisely what they did, but they did it for thepurpose of monitoring a political
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campaign . that's what this was about through and through. when i started to write what became ball of collusion ultimately i had a different idea about what it was going to be . i thought the way to do this is to compare the summary clinton emails investigation with the trump russia investigation. and ask whether any objective person could look at both of them and say that the same degree of justice was afforded to both sides. to take the case where they bent over backwards not to make the case, where they had a mountain of evidence of criminal activity and in the mueller investigation you lied to the fbi you got prosecuted. the clinton investigation, youlied to the fbi they gave youa metal and immunity . no grand jury to speak of .
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make all kinds of arrangements in the mueller investigation, they showed up at 6:00 in the morning or before if they needed to break into your house, they broke into your house they grabbed evidence they wanted. in the clinton investigation they said pretty please and if the person said no they would make a deal to get the evidence but not look at it. or not look at the big sections of it. you're talking about the situation where they bent over backwards not to make a case when they actually had real criminal evidence versus gorging the earth to try to find a case where there wasn't one and after two years they still weren't able to do it. my idea was to try to compare these two investigations and just pose that question. whether you're a liberal or a conservative, your whether you're a democrat or republican and you look at these two investigations and say right away, these two
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investigations which were conducted by the same agents, the same investigators, the same justice department personnel and say that they did blind justice. there's not a chance. so that was my idea. and i think over time i got away from it and the reason i didn't get completely away from it but it turned out to be -- the hardest thing for a writer about something like this is to write something about a story that isn't over yet . where it's all a moving target and you don't know if you plant your feet and say this is what happened, you find out three weeks after the book comes out or three hours before the book comes out and russia isn't there to help you. you find out you were wrong about something and i've been wrong about enough if i haven't been clear enough about that.
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so the challenge here i think became to try to break off a piece of this that it was sensible to treat, that you could explain what really happened and that it was important enough to rate writing a book about. and i think the collusion narrative fits all that. and what i hope people take away from the book is a couple of things. number one, the collusion narrative that was fun for you never had a chance of being true. it's not just that itwasn't true, it never had a chance of being true . it was built on things that were absolutely false and preposterous. getting with the idea, have you noticed that they talked about paul manafort as the big linchpin of all this. the guy who he was trump's campaign chairman for a few months and he had years and years that he dealt with
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ukrainian oligarchs who were darkly described as tied to the kremlin and all that jazz. did you notice that mueller threw the bookat manafort . everything you can imagine. tax evasion, money laundering . stuff that they never prosecuted before like foreign, failing to register as a foreign agent. something that had been prosecuted half a dozen times in 50years before they used in this investigation . did you ever notice what they never charged them with western mark they never charged them with being an agent of russia. think about that. this is the guy the whole thing is built on. again and again, it's one thing to say that they never brought a collusion case against him . they never even alleged that he was an agent of russia. the guy this whole thing is built on. so there are a number of things that are strong throughout this.
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not just the steel dossier which is sometimes, if it wasn't so serious, some of it is laugh out loud falls. but this thing, is not just that they didn't have a case, they never had a chance of making this theory. and i believe that mueller must have known that very soon after he took over the case. the second thing and i'll leave it at this so we can have some dialogue back and forth. the second thing is i'm hoping that this collusion narrative gets placed in a context maybe we haven't thought about. up until now. we've been so focused on the collusion story in a vacuum. i thought it was necessary or would be at least valuable to put it in context. and when i tried to demonstrate in the book is that the obama administration had an eight year record of politicizing intelligence and
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using law-enforcement processes to punish political enemies and scapegoats. so the question is when it got to the hillary campaign losing ultimately to trump and they needed a rationale for why they lost, why would anyone think that they wouldn't be able to come up with one? because this is what they do. and the last thing i'll say about that is this. let me bring you back to the last candidate debate between clinton and trump. at one point, hillary screeches, she was probably just speaking, iheard it as a screech . but she said something along the lines of portable or horrifying. you know what she was talking about? she was talking about trump refusing three weeks before
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the election to say that the election was absolutely legitimate . trump was they are saying it could be rigged and she saying well, and american tradition we always say the voters speak and everybody accepts the results. can't you accept the results and he said i'm not going to accept the results until after i see what happens in the election.and she said this is unbelievably horrifying that somebody could question the legitimacy . he's attacking our democracy. and when she was finished saying he was attacking our democracy, obama went out on the stump the next day and said the same thing. he's attackingour democracy. he wants accept the legitimacy of our elections . now, the reason i want you to remember that is this . in real-time, as it was going on. the fbi and the intelligence
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agencies of the government, the cia in particular new as it was happening what russia was doing tometal in the election . they knew going back to 2015 that russia had wheedled its way into the democratic email accounts. brennan said, brendon was the head of the cia. he said he confronted his counterpart in the russian government in august of 2016. and then obama in september 2016 glared at putin and said we know what you'redoing. stop . were not going to put up with that . now, when hillary clinton reamed out trump and obama it afterwards for the last three weeks of the campaign saying how on earth could you question the legitimacy of our elections?
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understand they knew everything we now know about russia's interference in the election. there's nothing that we've learned whether it's through mueller's investigation or through what the cia and other agencies put out in january 2015. there's nothing that we've been told that's important about russia's operations against the election that they didn't know when she was standing there staring at trump saying how could you question whether this is legitimate? so you heardabout collusion for one reason . she lost. thank god. thank you all for coming. i look forward to your question. [applause] >> doesn't it kind of make you mad but anyhow, we will
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hear about it some more. ushers are in the aisles with index cards if you'd like to pose a question. we won't have a chance to get all of them but will do the best we can. >> keep the answers short. >> card but that's okay. before we start, were going to have some levity here. this camefrom one of our board members . we want to know is it true fox news won't let a person appear until they present a living for him and i was thinking this dovetails into something we had heat instead before you, few people were here for that. and andy, you'll be on fox and friends thursday? so you may want to record it, i'm sure you'll hear what a great time he had. >> if not, you can get it from my mom. >>. >> he has always been big. he told me that himself.
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>> we had fun with him here. so we will start probably with the real questions in a few minutes. >> when we grab a couple and we can start. >> essays is right. has anyone from inside any of these agencies acknowledged what's right and what's wrong with the market are they coming clean, are they still obfuscating or i know he's under investigation but whatever you can say . >> it's interesting. michael horowitz was the inspector general at the justice department. which is an office that reports to both justice and the congress. we were told by attorney general bar i think it was back in april that horowitz
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investigation, he's looking at the fisa abuse and other things. that might be finished as early as may . it's still going on. once you here in washington is the reason it still going on is more people came forward to provide more information. if that's true, i attribute it to attorney general bar creating a serious tone and making it clear to people that he actually does intend to get to the bottom of this, is not just he's going to get to the bottom of it so i think that's why that's been delayed and i'm hoping in early to mid september we will hear from horwitz and be able to answer that one easier . >> for those of us old enough to remember watergate which is probably most of this. do you see this where it all comes out will it be as big as watergate, not as big west and mark i understand the media is a lot different than it was. >> a problem with the
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watergate comparison is it's such a different media environment today than it was in 1972, 73, 74 in it such a big difference in terms of a scandal when the media is the wind at your back versus the wind in your face. so i mean, if some of the things that happened here are what's alleged to have happened here and the powers got abuse and there was spying that was done on the campaign , that should be one of the biggest scandals in american history. do i think it will be treated that way? i hope it will be treated that way in the history books if that's how it comes out but i'm not holding my breath for the media treated that way. i would note though and this i think is worth noting. , we talk about the media all the time but they lose a lot.
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trump is president notwithstanding that the media pushed against him with all its might and they're going to do it again but i bet you if you got to ask the president what one of the best things he has going for him is, he would say that his attacks on the media and the unfairness of the coverage really does resonate with people. so i think there'spushback against the media . they're much more openly ideological than they used to be between fox news national review and a lot of the alternative media we have plus the internet giving us the ability to research things on our own, i just don't think the media punches above its weight used to. >> we have questions that resonate together and mueller, two years ago, why
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did he keep going understanding that on the public side were getting fabricated so to my mind unless he came up with something huge it would be well, that's all old news now or and also along the lines of why didn't the fisa judge complain? >> first part first and then will get to the fisa judges. remember the famous text peter strzok and lisa page where they talk about the insurance policy and the idea in the highly unlikely event that trump one they needed an insurance policy. the insurance policy is not something we all know. insurance policy is not there to prevent the bad thing from happening . the insurance policy kicks in after the bad thing has happened. and the bad thing here from their perspective was trump being elected president and the insurance policy i believe was to have an
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investigation that would be a monitor on trump and that would straight jacket him in terms of his pursuit of his agenda that the powers that be in the obama administration, many of whom carried over into the next administration in their infinite wisdom decided were bad for america as it reelected them insteadof trump . so you know, the reason i think the investigation continued is because the point of it was not necessarily to make a case as it was to i mean, they were hoping to make a case but they wanted i think you have that monitor on trump and here's something i think is interesting. they went back to get fisa lawrence on carter page and each fisa warrant says the fbi believes carter page had and perhaps others connected to donald trump's campaign were involved in russia's cyber espionage they come right out and say that. they got fisa warrants four
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times, the last time they went back to get one i believe was june 2017. that's about a month or so after mueller took the investigation. i think he's still sort of getting his arms wrapped around. the reason i mention this is they would have been due to go back to the fisa court in september. to get a warrant. they were going to extend it on page. to do that, that would have required them to reaffirm all the things that were in the steel dossier and they didn't do that. they pull the plug on the investigation so i always look at as the point in time that we can know that they really knew this was, the idea of trump and russia having a conspiracy hughley election was bogus. >> there's a bunch of cards which have the same theme, i mention the names brennan, and clinton and obama, some
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of these bad actors reedit will anything happen to them mark. >> that's the big question everybody has. my attitude about this is twofold. number one, what we really need to findout is what happened . and if we get a solid accounting of what happened, it turned out that people violated the law in a way that's prosecutable, you can deal with it at that point. the last time i wrote a book where i didn't show up in silicon valley the night came out, it was a book about impeachment . and i didn't have the foresight to wait until trump was president to write an impeachment book. maybe it would have made a couple of blocks. but one of the things that struck me while i was doing the research for the book is that a lot of people, a lot of things in the nature of abuse of power are not
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actually violations ofthe criminal code . most things in fact, maybe most things overstated butyou get my point . there's a lot of power that government officials have that they have brought it discretion to use. and where you find abuse of power is usually where the government official is abusing the discretion of law allows them. the reason that is worth noting is becausecriminals statutes are kind of black-and-white . there constitutionally, they're supposed to be written as they say so that a person of ordinary intelligence knows what's forbidden. in a good criminal statute, you don't really have a lotof room for judgment . bank robbery, you don't , there's no judgment involved. you either rob the bank or you don't whereas with the exercise of government authority like should i
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unmask somebody whose identity has, in intelligence reporting? the law says i can do it if it's necessary in order to understand the intelligence higgins of the reporting. and if i abuse my authority on that, who's going to say that's criminal. and maybe if i do it hundred times it is a pattern, that's one thing but if i do it once ortwice , is that a crime after mark so i don't mean to trivialize abuses of power because in point of fact, there are a lot more important to the country than mere crimes. because abuses of power are offenses against all of us, that's why the framers did not require an indictable criminal offense in order to impeach an officeholder. what they basically said is if you abuse your power, you can be removed.
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>> this is a wonderfully simplistic question but when it's all said and done, it russia do that much?>> i don't think so. i think a lot of it has been overstated. people throw stuff that you in some of the places where i go when you say that but russia did what russia does and this is really what obama said right after the election until they flipped the switch and decided this was the crime of the century. we had that five-minute time where they basically said you can't steal a federal election at least as it is presently constituted because we don't have a federal election, we have 50 different state elections and they all have different rules and the like. the other thing, and i tried to make this point in the book. two things to think about with this. number one, russia has been interfering in american elections and western elections and the bolshevik
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revolution.they do this all the time. they always do. this time it's got the media's attention because it didn't happen to be designed to helpdemocrats. it was historic .but the fact is that this is what russia does. russia's lousy, awful regime and this is the kind of stuff they do and because we are now a cyber techno-society, there advancing their tools but they're not doing anything they didn't always do. they always try to disrupt andmetal and the like . the second thing is the country that i think more than any other in the world interferes in the affairs of other countries is ours. that's a fact. we interfere in russia's elections. one of the reasons that putin was supposedly went up about 2016 is because he thought
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hillary clinton interfered in russian affairs back in 2011 in their elections. obama tried to knock off netanyahu, clinton has publicly said that he did years before. obama tried to derail braxton. he said if they do it, the british people will be back in the queue as he put it. this is what, i know you're not supposed to say this but this is what great powers and even not so great powers do in the world when they're dealing with foreign governments that have interests that are of consequence to our interests. we tried to influence them. and we do it and i think one of the really bad things about what's going on for the last two or three years is this is going to make life much harder for american intelligence agents who have to operate in dangerous parts of the world doing what we want them to do which is
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gather intelligence and also interfere with the plans of roguegovernments that might harm the united states . >> when you talk about russian collusion, the next possible step on the part of someamericans is impeachment. are there any grounds there ? i know that word is used ruthlessly but discuss that. >> there is a standard for impeachment, high crimes and misdemeanors. the framers had a solid idea of what they meant by. they had a contemporary example in edmund burke's impeachment of hastings was the governor general, british and her general in india. and hamilton writes about them. he says basically they are medical offenses and what he means by that are they are abuses of power that are directed at the body politic, not ordinary crimes.
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and they're much more in the nature of -- i thought they were in the nature of military law more than federal, civil, penal law. ideas like conduct unbecoming,abuse of power . dereliction of duty, that sort of thing so we do have an understanding that people who say high crimes and misdemeanors,what does that mean ? we have an understanding of what it means in a constitutional sense. now also down here onplanet earth , it was about 1970 when gerald ford was the minority leader of the house of representatives and they were trying to impeach william o douglas who was a justice of the supreme court . he was asked about what and impeachable offense is and what ford says is and impeachable offense is whatever the house of
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representatives decides it is at a given moment in history. raw, cynical sheer politics sense, that's true. they can file articles of impeachment about anything . all they need to do, articles of impeachment unlike removing the president which happens in the senate trial, articles of impeachment only require a simple majority in the house of representatives to be filed . you needed twothirds super majority in the senate to remove the president . and that high requirements removal has historically meant that we had almost no impeachment. we had less than a handful of experiences with impeachment and for the most part it's because even in the house, if people think the president deserves to be impeached they realize it's your child to try if the politics and the
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senate will allow for it to happen. so i've always thought the framers designed here is ingenious because the super majority means that no president will ever be removed unless the conduct is so egregious that people on all sides ofthe ideological spectrum and the partisan divide can agree the president needs to be removed and i don't think we're anywhere close to that. >> someone wants to know when we can expect the audiobook . >> that's a great question. this one is kind of a long book so it might take a while to get around that. i hadn't even thought about that but thank you for that question, i'll take that up with roger campbell whose my publisher. >> this goes together regarding the fbi, candidates reputation, and his reputation come back or maybe it shouldn't and would any of
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the higher ups in the fbi face prosecutionwhen it all comes down to it ? >> as far as the prosecution goes i'll just repeat briefly what i said before which is let's find out what happened first and then we will see whether there's anything prosecutable. as far as the reputation of the fbi, it's taken a hit. when your reputation takes a hit, it takes a while to rebuild it. i agree with what attorney general barr has said about this which is from what he's been able to detect so far it seems if there was a failure here, it was at the managerial ranks of the bureau and the justice department, not the rank-and-file where most of the work of most investigations is done. i'm also sensitive to something i thought profound that victor davis hanson wrote. i want to say about two
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months ago which is that a lot of the worst of what we've seen in the conduct of some of the fbi agents, i think victor was talking in particular about peter strzok and andrew mckay. henoted they came up through the ranks . and he deduces from that that there may be something that's and then at an agency that went finally rises to the managerial level, it's problematic. my experience in government is when you bring the people in, that has an electric effect through an agency. and when you bring, when you have people who are not so good then people run amok and you see some of the worst things that you fear. >> this is related to the reaction, the question was will president trump, has
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even fighting back and what can one do in that situation -mark. >> i've been saying from the beginning of the administration that i think what he could have done. there has never been a day since donald trump was president when he could not have declassified and unsealed and publicized any of these intelligence files that he thought were necessary in order for the public to understand what happened here. there may be a variety of good reasons why he hasn't done. it's all in the book about this. for one thing, the way that insurance policy was designed , every time trump did anything to fight back, the other side said he was obstructing the investigation it's a very convenient little box they put him in and if he had unsealed put out publicly a bunch of information, the next thing that would have
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been squealed was that he was obstructing the investigation and undermining mueller's ability to question witnesses without people having their story straight and the like. i wasn't terribly overblown by that explanation terribly persuaded by but i see the sense of it. the other thing i would caution people and this is just on the basis of having written about a zillion search warrant affidavit and wiretap affidavits and the like, every investigation as atheory of the case . and what you write to a court in order to get permission for a search of any kind whether it's wiretapping or a physical search or hurt somebody's house, the submission that you make to the court is going to tend to echo your theory of the case. the fbi and justice
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department's theory of the trunk russia case is that trump was bought and paid for by putin and that putin had him compromised, whether it was in a personal nature or through other varieties of corruption whether it's financial corruption, political corruption and so on . don't get me wrong . i'm not saying these things happened. what i'm saying is if that was the fbi's theory of the case, the justice department's theory of the case, what do you think their underlying submissions and memoranda are going to say mark they're going to be a reflection of that theory. so even if it's not true, even if the things they said about trump being in putin's pocket are true, if that information sees the light of day, it's not going to be flattering to the president and there are a certain percentage of people, we all
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know this , who whether something is true or not is beside the point. can it be used by the tribe? does it help our side? that's the only thing that's important and for that reason i think the president may be gunshot about putting out information and 13, the final thing i'll say is what you notice looking hard at the collusion table and the trunk russia investigation is there's an awful lot of participation by foreign intelligence services. and when we take information from foreign intelligence services, whether we should take it or not, whether they're in the wrong or not, we take it pursuant to agreements we have with that we are never going to compromise the information or where we got from so i'm sure that part of what's going on behind the scenes that we don't see but we hear a little bit about is there's probably a brawl between the political people in the intelligence people, political people would probably like to get a lot of
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misinformation out the intelligence people are telling them if we put this information out it's going to rupture our relationship with ex-wife and as the government and that's not a small thing because we actually do rely on our partners for purposes of security so it's a big problem. >> it was only a matter of time.with ses and i would say. >> i'll never tell. >> one thing i can say, i work for about sounds awful to say this. i worked about a quarter century in the government. and what i've learned is never to assume nefarious conspiracies when sheer incompetence is a possible explanation. [applause] so i see nothing in this equation that i've
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seen so far to depart at all from that rule. the mcc, the metropolitan correctional center in new york is not as terrible as what some of the stories that you've been reading in the last week or so indicate. compared to a lot of state, his nirvana probably. but as federal prisons go it's a lousy prison. got about 800, it's what we call the holding facility in federal departments. i think the state uses the same thing and that distinguish it from what would be like a designation and the distinction is a holding facility is the place to keep people whiletheir cases are pending. either , they have to be able to meet with their lawyers. they're still presumed innocent. i haven't got to try out or pled guilty whereas after
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your guilty, they send you to some penitentiary someplace. andthe rules are much different . and the mcc tends to be grossly understaffed. a story that i'm reading in the last week about not only people being forced to work overtime day after day but also taking people who actually worked train the prison guards andputting them in that position . that did not surprise me. to read that stuff. when i think people ought to be angry about and the answer to the question is yes, i think he committed suicide until we see something that indicates something to the contrary i'm going to believe that. but epstein and rich lowery wrote a great piece about this either yesterday or today, i just saw it today the thing that ought to make people really rapidly angry about epstein is how he was
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accommodated by the system at every step of the way. from the time that he was committing these atrocities when he was given a slap on the rest by the florida authorities and even better in a slap on the rest from the federal authorities to the very end when evidently he tried to commit suicide or at least their indications of that, two and half weeks ago and his lawyers, his high-powered lawyers come marching in to the prison and they demand that the suicide watch be taken off him. and the present accommodates. how do you accommodate the guy, he thought he might have committed suicide two weeks ago, you don't, to him. i wouldn't a meeting with the lawyers about that. so it just seems to me, erica and i were talking about this before and a number of people were talkingto earlier , this idea and i started with this so this is probably would
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again. this idea of two standards of justice system where people who were insiders and connected or at least friendly to the powers that be, get one quality of justice and everybody else gets a different quality of justice and was really sickening with epstein's every step of the way he got a real high quality of justice that the rest of us certainly couldn't expect to get. >> i see people starting to line up to purchase your book though we will end with always easy to do. well president from the rail acted and against who will you run? >> i think yes, you'll get reelected. there's a long way between here and there. and i don't know that we've seen theentire democratic
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field yet .this is not my area but there are a lot of people and national review would bebetter on this and i would . i have a feeling about 11. i have a feeling in some ways they hope that she's the candidate. but i just think that from what i've seen up untilnow , i think she presents well. her ideas are not but she is thoughtful about them and she has an energy. i don't think biden, i don't think biden is the serious candidate. it's hard to say somebody is not serious when they been the front runner for so long but let's see when they, whether he's got a glassdoor or not. >> thank you so much for coming and thanks for your candor. i think we all feel that. >>. [applause] it's a pleasure to
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be here,thank you . >> in charleston south carolina jennifer haas about her reporting on the 2015 emmanuel church shooting and its aftermath. here's a portion of the program. >> after the shooting the corners office staff had taken care to return eligible items found on the victim's body and in the fellowship hall. one woman had found and clean lisa's first. she was grateful for the woman'sefforts but what felicia wanted back was a vital . you don't want it, the woman had cautioned.
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yes, i do want. we don't think you want. you can keep everything felicia said, i want my bible . bible however had been tossed in the trash, thrown away with other things that seemed to damage to return to the victims families. when police lieutenant jenny antonio caught wind of that conversation, even dismiss lisa's request as a possible. a governing catholic he understood what the bible next to the grieving mother. she also had been working with the national fbi rapid response team that flew in to help local police agencies and victim advocates handle mass casualty event. the team's members and dealt with tragedies in places like sandy hook elementary and brought with them critical lessons learned including that many had wanted their children and their personal effects like backpacks and drawings, no matter how damaged. the fbi team had discovered a texas company could salvage even the most bloodsoaked
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items. five days after the shooting antonio called an fbi counterpart and soon drove the first of two storage the house biohazard that cleaning crews had thrown away. there they hauled out several big plastic bins that contained the life and death of nine people. in suffocating heat with gloved hands, antonio rummaged through six papers that clung to what looked like a dark brownish red bedsheet. she appeared beneath it and there saw dark leather bound by the soaked in blood. the bullet had. its pages. she opened the cover and pried apart two of the pages. between them a little torn off piece of what might have been a receipt or a name felicia sanders .
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antonio and carefully wrapped it up and sent it to a company in texas . a few months later a box appeared in her mail. antonio soon drove down the winding road to felicia's home and knockedon the sanders front door. felicia greeted her . though her eyes were fogged with grief, felicia managedto smile and welcome . antonio is the tremendous effort it took for the survivor to greet the endless stream of people needing to talk with her for the investigation, community members who suddenly wanted to know her and the large circle of family and friends who stopped by. she decided to make it quick. as they walked insideantonio held out the box . alicia took it from her. she opened it gently, tugging aside tissue paper. there sat her black bible which she called her basic instructions before leaving earth . she opened the front cover.
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pinkish hue now tented the gossamer paper inside. a tear barely visible now marked where a bullet and peers the pages. yet despite the gunshot the blood and cleansing, god's words still stared back at her in clear and bold black letters. god was still with her. so felicia brought this bible to her sentencing hearing and she held it up and she took the pages and sprayed them at him and said something to the effect of i have forgiven you but nobody can help you until you help yourself. and i thought it was so interesting she brought with her as if to show him the defiance , no matter what had happened to her and i thought that was a special moment and the fact that this police lieutenant would do that.
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>> to watch the rest of heaven jennifer hall's talk visit our website at and search for her name or the title of her book. grace will lead us home. using the search box at the top of the page. >> .>> .. >> host: now on booktv we want to introduce you to author haben girma. she is also a lawyer. ms. girma, what kind of law do you


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