tv House Judiciary Chair Rep. Nadler Speaks to Reporters CSPAN July 26, 2019 6:19pm-6:52pm EDT
an august recess. so i would imagine that the folks who work in senior roles for senator shelby and senator leahy, if they go to the beach, they better have good internet access when they get there. host: we'll keep an eye on it. from niels lesniewski, senior senate reporter for c.q. "roll call," he's on twitter. thanks so much for joining us. reporter: thank you. cred red fdic -- [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] >> jerrold nadler held a news conference earlier today to discuss the robert mueller report. and mr. mueller's testimony this week in front of congress. he said his committee is still considering whether or not to recommend articles of impeachment against president trump. this is half an hour.
mr. nadler: good afternoon. i am joined today by many of my colleagues from the house judiciary committee. we want to say a few words about director mueller, what we learned from his testimony and next steps in our work to hold president trump accountable for his conduct. robert mueller is a man of honor and integrity. he has led a life defined by service to his country. some have argued that because director mueller was reluctant to testify and seemed older than some remembered him his work is somehow diminished. it is not. before he ever stepped into our hearing room, the director had rendered our country a great and ecessary public service. he showed through his report and his indictments that the united states was attacked and remains under siege by a foreign adversary.
he showed that the trump campaign both welcomed and benefited from this attack on our country. and he showed that the president repeat think lied to cover it up. if that were not enough, director mueller's testimony removed all doubt. he told us that donald trump obstructed justice and abused his office by tampering with witnesses, attempting to block the investigation, and attempting to fire the special counsel. he told us that donald trump lied to the public about the trump tower meeting in new york, lied to the public about his plans for trump tow for the moscow, and lied in his written responses to the special counsel. he told us in a remarkable exchange with mr. lieu that but for the department of justice olicy prohibiting him from doing so he would have indicted president trump.
indeed, it is clear that any other citizen of this country who behaved as the president has would have been charged with multiple crimes. notably, my republican colleagues were unable to refute a single one of these facts. so where do we go from here? we will continue to seek testimony from key witnesses. as many of you know, the committee has authorized several additional subpoenas. our work will continue into the august recess and we will use those subpoenas if we must. we will also continue to seek important documents from the department of justice and the white house. we have made some progress on this front. there appears to be compelling evidence of the president's misconduct outside of the four corners of the redacted version of the mueller report and we will work to uncover that evidence as well. finally, today, we are filing an application for the grand jury
material underliing the mueller report. that information is critically important for our ability to examine witnesses, including former white house counsel don mcgahn and to investigate the resident's misconduct. i will not comment on reports of our ongoing negotiations with mr. mcgahn but unless he omplies with our accommodation efforts in very short order, we expect to file an additional suit to enforce our subpoena for his testimony. that would be next week, or early next week. i should note that the committee could not have brought these lawsuits without the help and support of speaker pelosi, who is as dedicated to holding this president accountable for his crimes as any of us gathered here today. before i share -- before i take your questions, let me share
just a few sentences from the petition we are filing with the court today. quote, because department of justice policies will not allow prosecution of a sitting president, the united states house of representatives is the nly institution of the federal government that can now hold president trump accountable for these actions. to do so, the house must have access to all the relevant facts and consider whether to exercise its full article 1 powers including a constitutional duty power of the utmost gravity, recommendation of articles of impeachment. that duty falls in the first instance to the house committee on the judiciary. close quote. as i said, that's from the court filings today. we take that responsibility seriously. no one can be above the law. not even president trump. we'll now take some questions. reporter: half of the members up here. mr. nadler: let me just say, you can ask members of the committee
to field questions as well. reporter: half of the members up here have come out in -- come out in support of impeachment. how are you dealing with disagreement with the speak own this issue, especially heading into this six-week-long recess, do you expect this to go on? mr. nadler: i don't know that there are disagreements with the speaker, i refer you to her comments when she said we must make the strongest case. if we are going to have articles of impeachment, we must make the best case. reporter: will you break from the speaker and announce publicly your support for impeachment. mr. nadler: we are, as i said, and this is clear in the court filings, we are exercising our
full article i authority. we are looking, we are continuing investigation of the president's malfeasances, and we ill do what we feel -- we will consider what we have to consider including whether we should recommend articles of impeachment to the house. that's the job of our committee. we may decide to recommend articles of impeachment at some point. we may not. that remains to be seen. and there's no point in speculating on whether the speaker or anybody else will agree with our decision at that point. reporter: what's holding you back from publicly voicing your support for impeachment? ms. scanlon: if i can jump in -- impeachment -- impeachment isn't a binary thing that you either are or you aren't. what we've been saying and what we've been doing is starting a process, we're engaging in an investigation to see if we
should recommend articles of impeachment. it's a process. we started it some months ago. while waiting for re-- for the report and holding hearings we've already had. it's an ongoing process, the court filing today are the next steps and we'll continue down that road to see whether we have the strong case that is needed to put to the american people. reporter: what about the idea that at the hearing on wednesday, speaker pelosi said they crossed a threshold, caused it his -- called it historic. what did robert mueller fail to do? you said he should not be diminished by his presentation but what would you have like and otten from him in that presentation? mr. nadler: he didn't fail anything. reporter: we heard from members on your side of the aisle that he failed to breathe life into that report. mr. nadler: if you expected a broadway show, sure. he said the trump campaign welcomed russian interference and when the police investigated it, they took great lengths to
cover it up, including the president. mr. swalwell:the president is the only person who would be shielded from being held accountable from what they did. that's pretty cut and dry. what you've seen is not members who have called for impeachment aying take me off of that call in light of what mr. mueller aid. six members since have come forward and said add me to that call for impeachment. ms. scanlon: the one thing robert mueller failed to do in that hearing is he failed to exonerate the president. that i think is the answer to the questions. mr. nadler: when members answer, please identify yourself. that was mary scanlon. ms. jackson lee: throughout the entire time of mr. mueller's presence, he evidenced elements f a crime.
he was not in any way shortchanging his answers that crimes had been committed. he said yes to the three elements of obstruction. he said yes that one element of obstruction could result in jail time. he also said that, and answered questions that said you did not have to have an underlying crime to be able to be convicted of obstruction. i don't think the american people have ever heard that in that manner before. know there are some who may have read both volumes. but they never heard it as it
was laid out with the members of this committee that when you finish the judiciary committee's questioning and then you started with chairman nadler who did an enormous job on framing our questioning by getting right to the meat of the issue of obstruction and then exoneration which director mueller openly and, i think, quite vividly, said that he was not the president exonerated, and then we continue methodically to reinforce that to the extent that the elements of obstruction, which i wanted to just say for a moment, the obstructive act, was associated with the actions of this president. the american people have never heard that. i will close by simply saying on this question that you ask, for those of us who have seen director mueller before the committee over a number of years as f.b.i. director, he's always been stoic and a former marine. right to the point. certainly has an enormous talent of investigation.
so when he came today, or yesterday, wednesday, he made true on what he said to the committee. he was going to stick with the report. he did that. but in doing so, every single question that would warrant someone being convicted of a crime was answered. mr. nadler: steve cohen. mr. cohen: i would like to add one thing. mr. mueller made a point of saying in response to a question from mr. buck which i think he probably would like to take back that the president could be indicted after he left office. now, mr. mueller earlier said that maybe in the -- and maybe in the report, one of the reasons to get all that information was to get witnesses while it was fresh in their mind and to preserve it for later use. if you didn't believe you had a criminal act, why would you want to preserve the evidence? so by the very fact that he preserved the evidence and said
it was necessary to get these people while it was fresh in their mind and best recollection, meant that he was basically saying, he obstructed justice and the time may have to come after his first term. or his last term. which will be his first term. mr. nadler: let me just summarize one thing here. i believe that the hearing with director mueller was an inflection point. it was an inflection point ecause it accomplished two things. one, you heard director mueller say that we were attacked by the russians, the trump campaign welcomed the attack, welcomed the assistance of the russians, that substantial evidence of crimes of obstruction of government, i'm sorry,
obstruction of justice by the president and that he was not exonerated. and that the mantra that the president and attorney general have been telling the country for months now that they found no collusion, no obstruction, and that the president is totally exonerated is totally untrue. it changed that. even, you heard the president now saying that the nvestigation was treasonous he wouldn't be saying that if he still thought he could get away with saying that the investigation established no on instruction, no collusion, and exonerated him he broke the lie that's been prop gated by the attorney general and by the president and we can -- and presented to the american people to start conclusions which we can now fill out by getting other evidence and getting the itnesses and so forth. ms. dean: i just want to say two things. one about the performance of mr. mueller. i have nothing but the highest regard for mr. mueller and his
life of service to this country. and what i believe we really should be focused on is not the performance of mr. mueller. but the performance or behaviors of this president. obstructing justice. that's the performance you need to be examining. the performance of the trump administration welcoming, walllowing in, interference by russia. the performance of russia interfering with our elections in massive and sweeping ways that will continue and a senate yesterday that did nothing, in fact, blocked attempts to take kear of or protect our elections. those are the performances we need to be looking at. those are the behaviors. trump, his campaign, russia, and obstruction. that's what we need to be looking at. reporter: mr. chairman you've been fighting for the grand jury materials for some time and you've been in a process with the department of justice, they allowed you to view some documents. even in a may letter you said you're not seeking any information or documents that are properly subject to rule 16, the grand jury material.
why is this material so important to you? what do you think you will find? and will it hurt the accommodation process with the department for the other documents you want? mr. nadler: well. we have been -- all right, we have been engaged in accommodation processes with the justice department and various other witnesses to get testimony and to get documents and so forth. it has been largely fruitless. but it was necessary to do that if you're going to go into court to enforce your subpoenas. which we're doing. with respect to 6-e, grand jury testimony, we have not requested previously, you have to go to court and request it. in previous cases, the special prosecutor, i'm sorry, the committee went into court and requested this, 20 years ago, 40 years ago, and the attorney general went into court and supported the application. this time, we're going into court today, i don't expect the attorney general to support the
application, he may oppose it. but we want -- we have to see the underlying grand jury material. there are a lot of things about the mueller report which will be very informative to us. reporter: but doesn't it set a dangerous precedent if it gets leaked out? why is this information so important? mr. nadler: the information is important and i can't characterize the specific mportance because it's specific, because i don't know the specific contents obviously. because it sets the foundation. much of the investigation by the special prosecutor or special counsel was in the form of grand jury presentations. that's what we -- you have to see that the committee in both cases was given access to information and we need that
information too to make a lot of different judgments. reporter: mr. chairman, there's a bigger debate in your caucus about whether to open impeachment, given what you said in the file, are you all beginning to shade into impeachment inquiry even if you haven't held a formal vote of he house? is that what's going on here? mr. nadler: what's going on -- [laughter] mr. nadler: what's going on is, i think too much has been made of the phrase an impeachment inquiry. we are doing what our court filings said we are doing, what i said we are doing. using our full article 1 powers to investigate the conduct of the president and to consider whether to -- what remedies there are. among other things we will consider are obviously recommending articles of impeachment.
we may not do that, we may do that. that's a conclusion at the end of the process. ou may want to wall it -- call it an inquiry or not. i think when people think of an inquiry, they think of a formal house vote to direct the committee that's happened in the past. their votes have been -- there have also been instances where it didn't happen. the committee is exercising its authority to investigate all these scandals and decide what to do about them which could include articles of impeachment and we filed that with the court, we told the court. reporter: you believe you already are at that point of an inquiry? you believe what the judiciary committee is doing right now in inquiries of impeachment? mr. nadler: we are doing exactly what i said a moment ago we are
doing. we are examining and investigating the various malfeasances and crimes and so forth of the president. we will reach -- we are going into court and asking for more information, to enforce subpoenas. we are telling the court we are doing this not just as part of normal oversight but also because it's part of our article 1 authority and responsibility to consider all remedies, including possibility of articles of impeachment, and that's what we're doing to do. whether you call that an inquiry or whatever you want to call it, that's what we've been doing and will continue to do. reporter: do you have a deadline? it could take a while, but do you have a deadline in mind as to when you all will make this decision? mr. nadler: first of all, it's not this decision, there's a lot of different decisions, and no i don't. reporter: you mentioned the idea of having the strongest possible case before you go to court. isn't the strongest possible
case to begin an impeachment inquiry. mr. nadler: the strongest possible case is to tell the court what we're telling the court. i think we'll give you copies of the court filings. quoted part of the relevant paragraph. nd that is that we are -- i'll read it again. the house must have access to ll relevant facts and consider whether to exercise its full article 1 powers including a constitutional power of the utmost gravity. recommendation of articles of impeachment that falls in the first instance to the house committee on the judiciary. what we are telling the court,
and this is -- one of the purposes of telling the court is to say we are exercising our highest authority -- is that we are considering the malfeasances of the president. we're considering what remedies we can do. including the possibility of articles of impeachment. mr. raskin: there's no formal or statutory or house rule for how an impeachment inquiry is to begin. a lot of people believe we've been in an impeachment inquiry since we started looking into high crimes and isdemeanors. other people think an impeachment inquiry doesn't begin until you have articles of impeachment. would say we're in an
impeachment investigation. as to the results of the investigation it could lead too articles of impeachment or something else. but from my personal standpoint, i think we are in an impeachment investigation. reporter: somebody says it's not binary. how is this not, not binary? >> when you look at different congresses and the way they addressed it, they've done it different way. nixon was done different than president clinton. mr. swalwell: this is the first time we are saying one remedy we have is impeachment and to consider whether that should be used. that opens up and should activate that grand jury material. i support what mr. raskin said,
this is an impeachment investigation, whether we should recommend articles of impeachment. reporter: you say there's no different difference between what you're doing now and impeachment inquiries. mr. nadler: i suppose there's one difference you could draw. if you said an impeachment inquiry is when you consider only impeachment. that's not what we're doing. we're investigating all of this and will see what remedies we could recommend, including articles of impeachment but not limited to that. that's very much a possibility as a result of what we're doing. reporter: you said there seems to be evidence of the president's misconduct outside the four corners of the mueller report. cowl you elaborate on that? are you looking at financial statements? mr. nadler: for example, even the special counsel referred to -- to manafort giving internal polling data and other information about the trump campaign to someone who was identified as an agent of the russian government, doing that for months that wasn't followed up on by the report. but it raises the obvious question of what use would be detailed polling reports about wisconsin and michigan and so forth for the russians except to help direct their interference, their media operation, their social media operations.
that would be very serious, obviously. we know they were giving this internal polling documentation which is normally a very closely held secret in any campaign, to the russians. for what purpose? why did the russians want it why were they giving it? that was not followed up by the -- what conceivable purpose other than to help them interfere in the election? that was not followed up. also you look at some financial things. also you look at the whole iolation of the emoluments clause, which seems to be systematic and ongoing. there are a lot of different things that weren't investigated by the -- by the mueller investigation which had -- which conceived of its purview as very restricted purview. e have to look at.
[talking simultaneously] reporter: going to court today, is this an escalation in your investigation? mr. nadler: it's the next step in our investigation. yes. [talking simultaneously] >> thank you, guys. thank you, guys. ms. jackson lee: if i can leave you with one thing that seems to be lost. what you have seen, what the hairman has guided the committee in doing very effectively is to establish the misconduct of the presidency of the united states or this president. i think we cannot lose that. on wednesday, it became more embedded not only in our record but should be in the psychic of those who are looking and listening and will see it other and over again. american people cannot ignore the persistent and continuous misconduct we are investigating.
the 6-e materials will help us delve further into aspects of misconduct. the journey of an impeachment inquiry or nonimpeachment inquiry is when you determine there's misconduct you then move to article 1 and you proceed section 2, clause 5, and then you proceed with the idea of articles of impeachment. we're not running away from articles of impeachment. we're building it on the trail of misconduct that was evidenced very deeply on wednesday. and now we're going to make a journey that also includes don mcgahn who if he does not comply will be subject to jail time and fines. this is -- yesterday was yesterday. we're now moving further into the deepness of the investigation or the misconduct of this investigation.
ms. escobar: to answer very clearly, yes, we are crossing a threshold. when you think about the mode that we were operating under before, it really was an oversight function. we're now crossing a threshold with the filing of this -- of this -- with this filing and we are now officially entering into an examination of whether or not to recommend the articles of impeachment. so if we have -- so we have crossed a threshold. i wanted to make that clear. mr. nadler: thank you very uch. reporter: do you think the president will ultimately leave office being impeached by this house, regardless of the timeline? mr. nadler: i don't know. thank you very much. the clerk will designate cred -- [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy.
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