tv Americas Newsroom With Bill Hemmer and Sandra Smith FOX News February 8, 2019 6:00am-9:00am PST
with his new sibling who weighed in at nearly 11 pounds. dad says he wants to be a linebacker. congratulations to the family. >> bill: good morning, everybody. after a lot of drama and uncertainty the acting attorney general matthew whitaker is set to testify before the house judiciary committee in 30 minutes. this only a day after the acting a.g. threatened to cancel that appearance over a threatened subpoena from the committee chairman jerry nadler. we'll watch the hearing and we'll bring it to you as it happens. a bit of disbelief as liberal democrats unveil a sweeping green new deal proposal. it is involved, it is expensive, it is friday. good morning. i'm bill hemmer. welcome back. >> i'm julie banderas in for sandra smith.
it has energized both republicans and democrats alike. some of what this massive overhaul aims to do. make all tbltion in the entire nation 100% energy efficient. also make air travel obsolete and aims to insure economic prosperity for all. >> bill: one thing it does not include is a price tag. >> this is such a major watershed moment. we are going to transition this country into the future. >> they're excited about it and i welcome the green new deal. >> one of the things was to try to eliminate air travel. >> that would be pretty hard for hawaii. i very much support the green new deal. it is focusing on the damage that is happening worldwide. >> it is almost like a get well card to the climate. it is not real policy. >> we're live from capitol hill. this is raising eyebrows.
>> it is raising eyebrows. an estimated price tag of $7 trillion. nobody knows exactly what it will cost. alexandria ocasio-cortez has been in office a month is spearheading this. to say the least as you mentioned it is ambition, from zero to 100 in many different ways. >> when our default is renewable and default investments are clean, then all of us by default, regardless of income, will have access to those energy sources. >> the plan would move america to 100% clean and renewable energy by 2030 by investments in solar and wind power and modernize u.s. infrastructure. upgrade and replace buildings for economic efficiency. economic safety net for low-income communities. several of the 2020 hopefuls are endorsing this deal jumping
on board including senators warren, harris, gillibrand and booker. they use words like bold and excited in supporting the resolution. former vice president al gore says it's good and something he wants to get behind. house speaker nancy pelosi in an interview with "politico" referred to the green new deal as the green dream or whatever they call it. nobody knows what it is but they're for it, right? >> i haven't seen it. i do know it's enthusiastic and we welcome all the enthusiasms that are out there. >> congresswoman ocasio-cortez is leading the effort and not selected to be on the climate committee by house speaker nancy pelosi when asked specifically why she wasn't on that climate select committee she brushed it off and said she is pushing forward with her green new deal. something people are paying attention to because she brought up the green new deal but not on the committee. >> do we expect it to take off? if so, when?
>> this is a non-binding resolution. that's key. it is non-binding. you can bet it will be a huge point in 2020 among those candidates. >> bill: back to matthew whitaker about to testify before the house judiciary committee. a member of that committee is with me now, john ratcliffe. welcome back to our program and watching the hearing room. if something moves we'll bring our viewers there. what gives in this hearing now that democrats have the majority? >> well, bill, as you know, president trump has a constitutionally grounded right to privileged communications with his senior advisors including the attorney general. democrats tried to get the attorney general to waive that privilege on behalf of the president yesterday and what the subpoena fight was about. they lost. so today what that means is that the attorney general won't be answering questions about confidential communications with donald trump. but it does not mean that the democrats won't be asking those questions anyway.
>> if he doesn't answer them to their satisfaction they could still subpoena him at a later date, couldn't they? he is in the final days of his job at acting attorney general. >> they could subpoena him sometime next week and a motion to quash and a federal judge would decide the issue. at that point in time the democrats would be left arguing to a federal judge why they were subpoenaing a private citizen to the department of justice. good luck with that. >> bill: adam schiff wants to carry on his investigations of the president and dipping into personal finance issue. richard burr said today that after an almost two-year investigation he saw no evidence of russia collusion. we don't have anything that would suggest there was collusion by the trump campaign in russia in quotes by senator burr. thank you, says the president. how far can adam schiff take that investigation? >> he can take it as far as
other democrats on the house intelligence committee will let him. they've got more members than republicans do. the bottom line is, bill, the senate intelligence community didn't find collusion, house and senate judiciary committees didn't find it. it doesn't exist at this point. the only one left out there looking is apparently bob mueller. we should find out shortly. but i think the democrats have put all their eggs in the bob mueller basket. at the end of the day if he doesn't deliver them from donald trump, they could have egg on their face. >> bill: one more question on this. nancy pelosi was asked about the tax returns. she was cautious. almost hesitant suggesting it is not as easy as you think. do you think this will happen? >> i think that they will try. nancy pelosi is still accountable to an increasingly socialist left wing of the democratic party that is demanding this with respect to
donald trump. these investigations, bill, whether it's in the house intelligence committee or whether it's through nancy pelosi and other members really is about opposition research against donald trump for 2020. that's what is really driving these investigations going forward. that's what we'll see today. an oversight hearing of the department of justice should be about the attorney general's -- what's happened on his watch and his vision for the future. today we're having an oversight hearing for a guy who had the job for less than two months and less than another five or six days. nothing to do with oversight. this is trying to get to donald trump. >> bill: bill barr expected to be confirmed next week as the new attorney general. thank you for your time. we're waiting and watching inside that room. john ratcliffe. thank you. a lot more to talk about. the new green deal we mentioned there, white house deputy press secretary hogan gidley coming up at 9:30. there might be a deal on border security. a lot to pack in with hogan gidley in 20 minutes. seven past the hour.
>> the world's richest man making bombshell accusations. jeff bozos accusing the national inquirer's parent company of blackmail and extortion saying he was threatened with the publication of salacious pictures if he did not end an investigation into how the magazine acquired texts related to his divorce. the "new york post" is being talked about. >> this is a sordid tale to be sure. the richest man in the world bezos is alleging in a blog last night on the website medium the parent company of the national inquirer tried to blackmail him into lying because he was investigating the inquirer. it starts with the story that ran last month shortly after bezos and his wife announced they were getting divorced.
it had texts between he and his girlfriend. bezos hired his head of security to find out how they got the texts and the inquirer followed bezos and sanchez across five states and 40,000 miles to get the story. in last night's post bezos published what he says are emails from ami which owns the national inquirer and appear to show extortion. in one allegedly from an ami attorney telling bezos to drop his investigation of the national inquirer and go public with acknowledgement from the bezos parties released through a news outlet affirm they have no knowledge or basis for suggesting that am's coverage was politically motivated. an ami replicates he has compromising pictures of bezos and sanchez one below the belt selfie. here was the reply from bezos.
rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail i've decided to public what they sent me despite the personal cost and embarrassment they threatened. ami have had no response so far. >> all right. >> bill: matthew whitaker now in the room about to testify, arriving on capitol hill a moment ago. this could be an explosive hearing, too. we're watching it closely and bring you that testimony live here today. >> virginia still dealing with a political crisis of its own as the state's top three democrats are reeling from big scandals. we'll ask a former virginia congressman what she thinks will happen next. >> she had reported it to the "washington post". >> you knew this -- >> not before the "washington post". i don't know what the facts are. . if i would've known that i was gonna be 50 times happier...
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supreme court justice roberts siding with the court's liberal members to block louisiana from forcing new restrictions on abortion clinics. it would require abortion providers to have admitting privileges at nearby hospital. a moves critics claim will force all but one clinic in the state to close. now, the block will remain in place pending a full review of the case. >> we have acted on this scale before and we must do it again. our energy future will not be found in the dark of a mine but in the light of the sun. >> we choose to assert ourselves as a global leader in transitioning to 100% renewable energy. everything from the great society to the new deal started with a vision for our future. >> bill: liberal democrats on the hill laying out plans for a massive overhaul of the energy sector and a lot more, too. called the new green deal and
my next guest helped craft some of president trump's roll backs. the epa office of air and radiation, good morning, how did i do on name? >> you resigned yesterday to start an advocacy group, yes? you were part of the team that helped craft the decision for the president to withdraw out of paris and the climate accord. a significant decision. let me come back to that. what did you think of the news from yesterday, mandy? >> the news on the green new deal is a complete disaster and it is a liberal energy fantasy. it is going to cost up to $5 trillion by some estimates. it is going to put in peril 10 million american jobs, hard working american jobs in the coal, natural gas, and oil industry. what we're not really sure it would do is do anything good for the environment. >> bill: it's a long way from becoming real and it is just a
resolution right now. some would argue the movement toward this was crafted 15 years ago. how realistic do you believe this is in 2018? >> i don't think it's realistic at all. you've seen divisions among the democrat party talking -- casting criticisms against it. you saw nancy pelosi yesterday cast her criticism towards it. so it is not realistic. it wasn't realistic 15 years ago and certainly isn't any more realistic today. >> bill: it does get on the minds of those running for president. you had several on the democratic side who leant their support yesterday. >> absolutely. and i just think it shows that they aren't thinking critically about what this country really needs, which is what we worked on in the trump administration, ideas oriented, practical solutions to improve the economy, improve the environment and expand energy development. >> bill: why was paris not a good deal and advise the president that way? >> the paris climate accord was
a bad deal because it undermines american competitiveness nationwide and does little to actually improosh the environment and cost millions of american jobs. >> bill: we've heard that from the president, too. part of the new green deal upgrade all existing buildings. working with farmers to eliminate pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, guaranteed job with a family sustaining wage, high-quality healthcare. there is a lot in this. kimberly -- here is the tweet from her. by the end of the green new deal resolution and accompanying fact sheet i was laughing so hard i nearly cried. if a bunch of republicans -- this is beautiful, hashtag green new deal. once this is public how does it become a campaign issue, do you think? >> yeah, once it becomes public
it obviously is instantly thrust into the centerfold discussion on prevailing campaign issues. i think democrat candidates for the president are quick to line up against anything that excites their base. the problem is, that's not the direction this country should go. the direction the country should go is getting behind the president, working with the president, and helping him get his very proactive and successful economic growth. we've seen historic economic growth averaging 3% gdp. something people said couldn't be done while reducing our global emissions significantly. in fact, more than anyone else in the world. >> bill: you see this coming? >> yeah, we did see it coming. people have been talking about it for a long time. there really isn't much new in the green new deal. it is a lot of recycled bad ideas that have failed even under democratic control in the senate and under the last administration. >> bill: all right. your new fund is called the energy 45 fund. i know you'll be working on
behalf of the president. hence the resignation from yesterday with our advocacy group. we'll see where it goes. more to come. thanks. >> thanks, bill. >> julie: one of president trump's biggest themes from the state of the union was calling out a growing socialist movement on the left. hogan gidley joins us shortly. >> bill: matthew whitaker is now on the hill geared up for the big hearing. we saw him walk in a moment ago. we'll take you there live. don't move, this could be hot. we'll watch it together and see what we get coming up. and automatically adju sts to keep you both comfortable. save 50% on the sleep number 360 limited edition smart bed. plus, 24-month financing on all smart beds. only for a limited time.
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and the army taught me a lot about commitment. which i apply to my life and my work. at comcast we're commited to delivering the best experience possible, by being on time everytime. and if we are ever late, we'll give you a automatic twenty dollar credit. my name is antonio and i'm a technician at comcast. we're working to make things simple, easy and awesome. >> bill: the tributes pouring in for john dingell today, he died yesterday at the age of 92. president obama writing, quote, congressman dingell reminds us change doesn't always come with
a flash but instead with steady, determined effort. he led the charge of so much of the progress we take for granted today. president bush thanked him for being an example for those following him in the public arena. he was a gentleman who showed great respect for our country and for people. john dingell, democrat from michigan served in the house for 59 years working with 11 different presidents, 1955 to 2015. his wife, congresswoman debbie dingell, says he died peacefully at his home in dearborn, michigan. >> julie: political crisis in virginia. fox news learning bobby scott heard about the sexual assault allegation against lieutenant governor justin fairfax more than a year ago. this just coming to light after doctor vanessa tyson publicly accused fairfax of assaulting her at the 2004 democratic convention. here is congressman scott
yesterday. >> i don't have any information. >> she told you a while ago. >> she did not tell me. she reported it to the "washington post". >> have you spoken with dr. tyson? she says are you friends. >> not recently. >> julie: let's bring in barbara comstock, resident fellow at the harvard institute for politics. thank you for taking the time this morning. this is a bipartisan issue. republicans, democrats alike have been accused of sexual misconduct and coming out strong against this one as well making this bipartisan. it should be inappropriate sexual behavior whether recent in the past has no place to public office. a public official gets accused of this, does an investigation warrant fairfax to step down or wait it out until kavanaugh did? >> a year ago when dr. tyson first came forward and talked to people like congressman
scott and the "washington post", we were in the midst of #metoo moment and passing legislation. i passed a bill that required training on capitol hill. we had democrats and republicans resigning and we had democrats and republicans alike calling for people to resign. so it is very painful to hear this story was known at that time and they allowed this to stay here. unfortunately it has not been bipartisan in calling for there to be hearings about lieutenant governor fairfax and to hear from this woman. and let me remind you in 2017, we had a lot of women, democrats who were elected to the state legislature and they are now sitting down there every day where lieutenant governor fairfax present sides over the senate and not a single one of them have called for hearings or called for him to resign. and the hypocrisy is really stunning. the only reason that hasn't happened is because they now
have a problem where all three of their guys, these are all guys there, all democrat guys, the governor and attorney general are the ones who had the problem appearing in blackface and now you have this very serious sexual assault which, if true, is a crime and there needs to be a process like there always has been. there needs to be due process, you need to hear from the victim. this is a democrat woman that a lot of these democrats know and they ignored her. >> julie: some of the democratic women speaking of democrats here newly elected to the house, they are coming out strong as well. this isn't just republicans coming after him. >> they didn't call for hearings. >> julie: they expressed anger at the way fairfax handled the claims leveled against him by vanessa tyson, a college professor from california. there are reports that fairfax
used profanity in a private meeting to describe her claims. he denies that. kamala harris calls dr. tyson's claims credible. you have a democrat coming out against it. she says there should be an inquiry and she pushed al franken to step down. it doesn't seem there is a disconnect here as far as putting the pressure on -- >> i was talking about virginia democrat women who sit there every day none of whom has said everything. i commend senator harris for speaking up. >> julie: all right. congresswoman, thank you very much for talking to us. we appreciate it. >> bill: 27 past. moments from now back on capitol hill now the acting attorney general matthew whitaker about to testify before the house judiciary committee. he is on the hill and in the room in a matter of moments and we'll explain why it's so important and critical and how far will matthew whitaker go trying to address the concerns of democrats and how contentious could this hearing
member on the other side and whitaker now will be in the hot seat. give you a sense about how heated this whole thing has become. there is a threat of a subpoena on behalf of chairman nadler that went all day yesterday and what whitaker said is that he will not appear unless you remove the threat of a subpoena. late yesterday afternoon a subpoena was removed and here is whitaker. said he was willing to testify. done a lot of preparation to be there. as the gavel comes to order here democrats, they wanted whitaker to recuse himself of all matters that related to mueller. now, whitaker in his acting job as the acting attorney general oversees the mueller issue until william barr is confirmed by the full senate, which we expect to happen next week. in a recent interview with "the new york times" donald trump said that whitaker did not give him any indication whether or not he faces any sort of criminal exposure. i don't even talk to him about
it, said the president. so the acting a.g. also 10 days ago suggested the mueller matter may be coming to a close. what was important, i think, julie, about the comment he made in that he said i think. and just like every analyst we've had and every member of congress or even the white house, everybody has said i think or i believe. we thought this thing could come to a close at any day. others have suggested it could go on for another year. nonetheless, matthew whitaker may or may not choose to address that question. >> julie: it was interesting the circulating getting subpoena had to come in to testify. he said i'll come in voluntarily but not coming in if i need to be on a subpoena. he is voluntarily coming in to testify. it will be interesting anything about former attorney general jeff sessions and how that plays into the fact. jeff sessions stepped down or was fired from that job. the president unhappy about the fact that jeff sessions did
recuse himself from the russia investigation. now you have whitaker here who will be questioned about that very same investigation, which he has said not only should be coming to a close but he also questioned it in the past. and now he is voluntarily going to be answering a lot of really tough questions. >> bill: i think the white house and republicans will realize what happens when you lose power in the house and the committee chairs flip across the board and they have lined things up in a significant way not only jerry nadler but adam schiff has threatened to go deep into tax returns on behalf of donald trump. see whether or not that goes anywhere. john ratcliffe a moment ago we asked him how far it will go. nancy pelosi said it will take awhile. this isn't something where you fire off a letter and get an answer immediately. hogan gidley, deputy white house spokesperson with me now from the north lawn. good morning to you. thank you for your time. i want to squeeze a few questions in here before we get underway. i know the president is not happy with adam schiff, he made that quite clear.
how far do you think adam schiff can go with his inquiries? >> that's a question for adam schiff. the president outlined a message at the state of the union which was very clear. the democrats have a choice here. they can choose america's greatness, they can choose to move forward this country and help out the american people or meier this country in endless, pointless, needless investigations that have no merit and no time whatsoever. it is pointless to have these conversations when the president has done nothing wrong. everyone knows it. years of investigations, years of paperwork and countless interviews and conversations. the president did nothing wrong. he has been very clear about that and they have a choice to make here. there is a big and bold agenda the president laid out to move this country forward to do all types of things from infrastructure to immigration reform, changing drug prices to make them lower, healthcare and if they'll sit back and choose investigations, they will waste a lot of time, money and energy that should be spent elsewhere.
>> bill: what do we learn today from matthew whitaker's testimony? >> i can't get ahead of that. chairman nadler tried to force private conversations to be public when he knows they are protected by law. and so that right there tells you he is playing politics, that is petty and pointless and he needs to focus instead, as i mentioned before, on moving the president's agenda forward. the agenda of the american people, doing things for them. the average man and woman across this country instead of focusing on petty partisan politics. it was a hackish move. he is a political hack and we have to move forward here. >> bill: a few more topics before we go to the hearing. there is a call to -- on behalf of mick mulvaney to go to camp david over the weekend for the members of congress working on the border security committee. does the white house sense a deal is about to be made? >> well, one thing about that i just talked to the chief of
staff mick mulvaney moments ago. this has no agenda whatsoever. he wants to build relationships with former colleagues and friends in congress. but also forge new relationships with those who have just come into office. he thinks it's important for us to move forward. the agenda for the president is bold and robust and he wants to talk to them about. there is no agenda or no set conversation about border security. i'm sure it will come up but not a formal meeting. that being said -- >> bill: to assume that you are closer to getting a deal here would not be accurate, right? >> i wouldn't say that. listen, our staffs are in constant contact with folks in the conference committee. we expect them to put forth a package that protects the american people. keeps open the government and funds it as responsible level. the president is clear. he is to protect the american people. we gave them a few more days to figure it up. we're coming up on the deadline.
it's a time crunch and they have to come to a solution that actually does what they promised they would do, which is protect the american people. we expect no less. quite frankly, the american people deserve it. >> bill: new green deal. what's the reaction of the white house that was unveiled yesterday from democrats? >> it is quite rich for congresswoman ocasio-cortez to point out the fact that we need to ruin our economy and stop all air travel and stop all cars in several years when she said the world will end in 12 anyway. the whole thing seems pointless. the economy is robust like it has never been before. the president has single handedly turned it around and democrats are running on crushing all those gains, crushing the middle class and destroying any opportunity we have for growth in the future. the line has been drown here. the american people got to see what the democrats didn't stand up for. they didn't stand up for
america's greatness and this new green deal has no chance of going anywhere. >> bill: we're crunched on time as you can clearly see. thank you from the north lawn. matthew whitaker, this is the democrat from new york jerry nadler, the chairman of the house judiciary committee. let's drop in. >> some cases targets of the investigation. i also take issue with your written testimony which we did not receive until almost midnight last night when you suggest that you quote will continue the longstanding executive branch policy and practice of not disclosing information that may be subject to executive privilege, close quote. in other words, you reserve the right to refuse to answer the question forever. that's not how it works. nearly three weeks ago i provided you with a list of questions related to communications you may have had with the white house about the circumstances of your hiring, the termination of mr. sessions and insight you may have into the special counsel's investigation, among other topics. i gave you those questions in
advance so that you would have time to consult with the white house of any possible executive privilege. i understand you may disagree with the committee and as a consequence you may not fully respond to every question we asked today. i'm willing to work with the department in those disagreements on a case-by-case basis. i take your reluctance to answer guess about these communications as a deeply troubling sign. when our members ask if you conveyed sensitive to the information to the president or ignored ethics advice at the direction of the president or worked with the white house to orchestrate the firing of your predecessor, the answer should be no. your failure to respond fully to our questions today in no way limits the ability of this committee to get the answers in the longer run. even if you are a private citizen when we finally learn the truth. although i am willing to work with the department to obtain this information, i will not allow that process to drag out for weeks and months. the time for this
administration to postpone accountability is over. it is my intent that there be no surprises today. we have laid all of the ground work for this hearing out in the open. we have given you months to prepare. we have publicly documented ever request we have made. we have provided our republican colleagues to weigh in on the process. we have nothing to hide from you or anyone else. we hope you have nothing to hide from us. despite the ethics advice you were given, mr. whitaker, you insisted on remaining in charge of the special counsel's investigation. a job that comes with responsibility to protect the special counsel until his work is complete. your testimony here today is vital for that responsibility and to our shared responsibility to find the truth. to protect the department and to follow the facts and the law to their conclusion. thank you. it is now my pleasure to recognize the ranking member of the judiciary committee, the gentleman was georgia, mr. collins, for his opening statement. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, acting attorney
general for being here. i'll start off this. thank to chairman for a show of honesty. we now have the reason for this hearing. it has nothing to do with the oversight of d.o.j. it has everything to do as we found out this morning in a document dump from the democratic side of this committee and also another committee that this is nothing more than a character assassination and we're going to also decide to see if we can just do something and get at the president while we have the chance. yesterday i want to tell you a story. my kids are now grown. 26 and down to 20. i used to always love the easter season and the time of hide and seek and going to find eggs and that look on their face when they found that last egg they were looking for. the look of surprise. yesterday was that for me again. i was back being a father again. yesterday was nothing but pure political theater. it was wonderful. it was a time for hide and seek.
the chairman had a hearing. let's do a subpoena. we'll stand tough. let's just do the timeline real quick. we get through with it and as i had warned this committee, a preemptive subpoena was not a good idea. it chills all the witnesses coming before this committee and will have a detrimental effect to the acting attorney. i'm the minority, who cares? we do it. the acting attorney general office responded. 5:00 the chairman sent a letter saying we know will examine it on a case-by-case basis. the attorney general said we have to be assured you won't issue a subpoena yesterday or today. back and forth. d.o.j. said no, that's not enough assurance. we were informed around a certain time last night 7:00 last night that an agreement had been made and it was a full cave by the committee chairman. no subpoenas today. so everything that we did
earlier in the day was a complete waste of time. now, what was even worse about this. let's talk about twitter accounts. last night around 8:00 the chairman's twitter account said acting attorney general is going to show up today at 9:30. the interesting thing about that is they linked to the 5:00 letter, not this letter which i ask now to be admitted to the record which by the way i was cced on but we'll put this into the record now. the letter to the acting attorney general in which the chairman of this committee says there will be no subpoena tomorrow and any differences we have we'll work on later. i ask that be entered into the record. so at 8:00 we decide to send out a tweet which many in the media picked up on and ran story the reason the attorney general is company and doesn't
(roll call continues) >> are there any other members wishing to vote? >> the gentleman from texas. are there any other members who wish to vote who haven't voted? >> mr. ratcliffe votes aye. >> report. mr. chairman 24 nos, and 10 ayes. >> the motion to adjourn is not approved. i will now introduce today's
witness. matthew g. whitaker is the acting attorney general of the united states. previously mr. whitaker served as chief of staff to attorney general jeff sessions. he was appointed as the u.s. attorney for the southern district of iowa on june 15, 2004 by president george w. bush. before that he was a managing partner of the des moines based law firm whitaker, llp. also the executive director for fact between 2014 and 2017. he graduated with a master of business administration, law degree and bachelor of arts from the university of iowa. we welcome mr. whitaker and thank him for participating in today's hearing. if you would please rise i'll begin by swearing you in. raise your right arm. do you swear or affirm under
penalty of perjury the testimony you are about to give is true and correct to the best of your knowledge, information and belief so help you god? thank you. let the record show the witness answered in the affirmative. thank you and please be seated. please note that your written testimony will be entered into the record in its entirety. accordingly i ask you summarize your testimony in five minutes. to help you stay within that time there is a timing light on your table. when the light switches from green to yellow you have one minute to conclude wrur testimony. when the light turns red the time is expired. mr. whitaker. >> thank you, mr. chairman and ranking member collins for the opportunity to testify before the committee today. i'm looking forward to discussing with you some of the accomplishments and priorities of the department of justice. before i start i would also like to acknowledge the passing of former chairman dingell. he was a statesman and leader
and it is a sad day on this committee, i'm sure. first of all let me say it's an honor to represent the 115,000 men and women of the department of justice. the department is blessed with extremely talented, highly principled public servants dedicated to upholding our great constitution and the laws of the united states. i saw that up close during my 5 1/2 years as united states attorney for the southern district of iowa. we kept the people of iowa safe. i personally prosecuted several important criminal cases and worked with the men and women of the atf, dea, fbi and u.s. marshall service and state, local and federal partners. it was a privilege. in 2017 i returned to the department and served for 13 months as chief of staff to former attorney general jeff sessions, a man for whom i have great respect. he led the department within integrity, with dedication to the rule of law, and with a commitment to carrying out the
poll seals -- policies of the president united states. i'm honored the president selected me to continue this work at the department. the senate will soon consider president's nomination for our next attorney general and let me just say this, no one is more qualified than bill barr. i am working to insure that he will inherit a strong, confident and effective department of justice and i believe that he will. for the last three months, i have had the privilege of serving as acting attorney general and i am impressed every single day by the dedication and hard work of our agents, our attorneys, and our support staff. over this time i have visited a number of our offices and met with federal prosecutors from across the country. for example, in december we held our project safe neighborhoods conference where employees from nearly every u.s. attorney's office and hundreds of our state and local partners celebrated our successes and reductions in violent crime. our hard work is paying off.
i firmly believe that your constituents are safer because of the work that we have done over the past two years. under this administration, crime is down and police morale is up. in fiscal year 2017 the justice department charged the largest number of violent crime defendants since we started to track this category when bill barr was attorney general the last time and we broke the record again in 2018 by a margin of nearly 15% and also charged more defendants with gun crimes than ever before. in fact, we broke that record by a margin of 17%. the department is also banned bump stocks, improved the background check system and prosecuted those who lied to get a gun. our work is having an impact. in 2017 after two years of increases under the previous administration, violent crime and homicide rates went down nationwide. we do not have official numbers
yet for 2018 but one estimate projected that the murder rate in our 29 biggest cities would drop by 7.6%. those are real lives being saved. much of the crime in this country is related to drug abuse and drug trafficking. but under this administration prescriptions for the seven most frequently abused prescription drugs are down more than 21% to the lowest level in at least a decade. at the same time, the de as has lord the legal limits of production of the active ingreed yens in prescription opioids by 47% since 2016. there is no doubt in the law enforcement community that the vast majority of the illegal drugs in this country are coming through our southern border. there is also no doubt that criminals and cartels seek to exploit weaknesses in our southern border for their own profits and purposes including by subjecting women and children to dangerous and unspeakable conditions in an attempt to smuggle them into the united states. of course, the dangers of our
porous southern border become all the more apparent every time an illegal alien causes harm or death to an innocent american across this country such as what happened to an outstanding young woman from my home state sarah rude. for this reason and others we continue our efforts to restore the rule of law at the border and in our immigration system. in fiscal year 2018 we charged more defendants with illegal entry than in any other year in american history. in fact, we charged 85% more defendants with illegally entering america than we did the previous year. at the same time, we increased the number of felony illegal reentry prosecutions by more than 38%. whatever our views on immigration policy, we should all be opposed to illegal immigration and we should support these efforts. the department is also taking decisive action against human trafficking both domestically and internationally. human traffickers like other
criminal enterprises take advantage of our southern porous border to smuggle women and children to the the united states to exploit them. we're bringing prosecutions to dismantle trans national trafficking networks that lure victims across our borders and traffic them for profits. last year the department of justice secured a record of 526 human trafficking convictions. a 5% increase from the previous year. the department is also doing its part to aggressively prosecute hate crimes. under this administration, we indicted 50 hate crime defendants and obtained 30 hate crime convictions in fiscal year 2018. in november the department provided election monitoring around the country. the civil rights division deployed personnel to 35 districts in 19 states to monitor compliance with federal voting rights laws. our public integrity
prosecutors served as subject matter experts for people nationwide while working with the f.b.i. at these strategic information and operations center. over my time as acting attorney general i have done everything in my power to continue regular order at the department of justice. the department has continued to make its law enforcement decisions based upon the facts and the law of each individual case in accordance with established department practices and independent of any outside interference. at no time has the white house asked for nor have i provided any promises or commitments concerning the special counsel's investigation or any other investigation. since becoming acting attorney general, i have run the department of justice with fidelity to the law and to the constitution. during my time as the leader of the department of justice, the department has complied with the special counsel regulations and there has been no change in how the department has worked with the special counsel's
office. over the past day the department and the committee have exchanged letters concerning the prerogatives of the legislative and executive branchs. i'm glad we reached an agreement for me to appear here voluntarily and each branch would seek to accommodate each other and if we have differences we'll try to work them out in good faith before resorting to subpoenas or other formal legal processes. i will answer the committee's questions as best i can. but i will continue the longstanding executive branch practice of not disclosing information that may be subject to executive privilege such as the contents of conversations with the president. as the supreme court has recognized this executive privilege is fundamental to the operation of government and rooted in the separation of powers under the constitution. i have spent nearly one-third
of my professional career at the department of justice and i am personally committed to its success and integrity. i hope that today's hearing will be constructive and help us partner together to address the priorities of the american people. the men and women of this department are proud of our accomplishments but we know that congress can help us to achieve even more. as our agents and our prosecutors have shown you again and again, they deserve your support. thank you once again for the opportunity to testify today and for your attention to the matters facing the department of justice. >> thank you for your testimony. we'll now proceed under the five-minute rule with questions. i'll begin by recognizing myself for five minutes. we fully intend to examine substantive questions of department policy but part of our job is to make sure that core investigations at the
department have not been compromised. so at a press conference last week, sir you said you have been fully briefed on the special counsel's investigation. i would like to better understand that comment. yes or no, since your appointment as acting attorney general have you been briefed on criminal or counter intelligence matters within the special counsel's purview? >> thank you for that question. as you know, i cannot talk about ongoing investigations. >> you can say whether you've been briefed or not. >> as you commented about my recent press conference as it relates to the special counsel's investigation, i have been briefed on it. >> the answer is yes, thank you. were you briefed on those matters serving as chief of staff to attorney general sessions? >> chairman, i know you are very interested in the special counsel investigation and i want to be very clear about
this. because general sessions was recused from the special counsel's investigation i was -- had no involvement in special counsel. >> the answer is no. thank you. how many times were you briefed about the special counsel's work and when did the briefings take place? >> mr. chairman, i have said all that i'm planning on saying about the number of times or the briefings i've received. the subject matter of an ongoing invest ition it would be improper. >> whether or not you were briefed. >> the number of times i've been briefed and involvement in the investigation, sir. >> it's our understanding that at least one briefing occurred in december before your decision not to recuse yourself on december 19th and christmas day, is that correct? >> what's the basis for that question, sir? >> yes or no. it is our understanding that at
least one briefing occurred between your decision not to recuse yourself on december 19th and six days later, christmas day, is that correct, yes or no? >> mr. chairman, again, what is the basis for your question. >> i'm asking the questions. i only have five minutes. please answer yes or no. >> no, mr. chairman. you were asking me a question it is your understanding. can you tell me where you get -- >> i'm not going to tell you that. i'm just asking you if that's correct or not. is it correct were you briefed in that time period between december 19th and christmas day, simple question, yes or no. >> congressman, if every member here today asked questions based on their mere speculation i have no factual basis for the question it is difficult to answer. >> at any point since that briefing have you communicated any information you learned in that briefing to president
trump? >> mr. chairman, i know that there is a unique special interest in this. >> yes or no question. have you communicated anything you learned in that briefing about the investigation to president trump, yes or no. >> mr. chairman, as i've said earlier today in my opening remarks, i do not intend today to talk about my private conversations with the president of the united states. to answer your question, i have not talked to the president of the united states about the special counsel's investigation. >> to any other white house official? >> again, mr. chairman, as i mentioned in my opening statement i do not intend today to talk about my private conversations with the president, nor white house officials but i will tell you consistent with what i've already said i have not talked about the special counsel's investigation with senior white house officials. >> okay.
to any third party not already briefed about this special counsel's investigation who might have conveyed that information to the president or his legal team? >> who do you consider third party individuals? >> it is really for your consideration. to any third party not already briefed about that investigation who might have conveyed -- who you think might have conveyed that information to president trump or his legal team. >> third persons who i think may have conveyed that information? >> yes. >> as i sit here in this chair right now, mr. chairman, you know, that's an impossible question for me to ask. i don't believe i've briefed third party individuals outside of the department of justice. i have received the briefings myself and i am usually the endpoint of that information. >> but you won't answer the question. >> i just did answer your question. >> i don't think you did but let me just say this.
your iteration of the department's longstanding policy appears to delay answering these questions as long as possible. i find that unacceptable. i understand the role of executive privilege and respect its value in our system of governance. however, congress is a co-equal branch of government and responsibility to conduct oversight. this is a responsibility we take very seriously. i have repeatedly tried to work with your office first in delaying the hearing until february and then in providing you our questions in advance. i did this because the executive branch's own rules governing assertions of privilege say it is up to the president whether or not he wants to exert executive privilege. you can't say the president might want to assert privilege. i have given you a fair opportunity to speak with the white house in advance and prepare for the hearing to avoid this fight in the first place but you don't appear to have done any of that. the department's failure to do
its due diligence to me is deeply troubling and i do not believe that issuing a subpoena would correct the problem but i'll give you the opportunity to rectify the situation. after today's hearing we'll attempt to obtain answers to these questions. as part of that process, i ask for your commitment to return for a deposition before this committee in the following -- in the coming weeks under oath with the understanding that the transcript will be released to the public as soon as practical there after. any questions unanswered today or require consultation with the white house will be asked again at that proceeding and i expect either a clean answer or a proper assertion of privilege claimed by the president. i would ask members on both sides of the aisle to make those questions clear for the record so we know what must be addressed at this future proceeding. now, in your capacity as acting attorney general, have you ever been asked to approve any request or action to be taken by the special counsel?
>> mr. chairman, i see that your five minutes is up and so -- i am here voluntarily. we have agreed to five-minute round. >> the committee will -- i will point out that we didn't enforce the five-minute rule on acting attorney general whitaker. >> i was just saying it might be a good breaking point at that time for you. >> the attorney general was in the middle of saying something. answer the question, please. should i ask the question? in your capacity -- let me repeat the question so people remember what we're talking about. in your capacity as acting attorney general have you ever been asked to approve any requests or action to be taken by the special counsel?
>> mr. chairman, as the acting attorney general, i am under the special counsel's rules. i am the person that is ultimately in charge of the investigation. and i have exercised that authority under the special counsel's regulations under the department of justice. >> i assume the answer is yes you have been asked to approve request or action and you've said yes or no? >> mr. chairman, i want to be very clear what you are asking me. are you asking me if i asked the special counsel to do something? >> regular order, mr. chairman. >> i'm asking if -- i think my words were clear enough. ever been asked to approve any requests or action to be taken by the special counsel. last week you commented on the status of the investigation stating it was close to being
completed, unquote. this was said despite the fact you recognized moments before it was ongoing stating i'm not going to talk about an open and ongoing investigation otherwise, close quote. all i'm asking you is have you been asked to approve or disapprove a request or action to be taken by the special counsel? >> point of order, mr. chairman. >> i've asked the question. we're not operating under the five-minute rule anymore then? >> the witness will answer the question. >> i want to be very specific about this, mr. chairman. i think it will allay a lot of fears that have existed among this committee, among the legislative branch largely, and maybe among some american people. we have followed the special counsel's regulations to a t. there has been no event, no decision, that has required me to take any action and i have not interfered in any way with the special counsel's
investigation. >> very good. my time is expired. i recognize the ranking member, the gentleman from georgia, mr. collins. >> thank you, mr. chairman. again, it is playing out exactly as we thought. this is my colleagues across the aisle, when we had questions about the f.b.i.'s operation and investigations it was we don't want to get close to mueller. the chairman even said it's no longer await for robert mueller. get ready. this is all this is going to be, doj oversight. there is some things interesting here that you did point out in your opening statement that do need addressing. voting rights issues, civil rights issues and other things. i get that. but i'm also going to deal with something that is directly under your oversight provision and we'll talk about something i've written a letter about. i believe that lying before this body or any body is wrong
especially underoath. it's tactics. my question is, were you aware of roger stone's indictment before it became public? >> congressman, that's as you know, an important question. it is also mr. stone is part of an ongoing investigation. but i have again been briefed on the special counsel's investigation. that would have been considered a development that i would have been briefed on and i was briefed on that. >> are you familiar that a cnn reporter was camped outside of stone east house when the f.b.i. arrested him? >> i am aware of that. it was deeply concerning to me how cnn found out about that. >> i'm glad we're going down that road. did somebody at the department of justice seemingly share a draft indictment with cnn prior
to stone's arrest or the finding of a true bill? >> ranking member collins, the court had a sealed indictment that after mr. stone's arrest was unsealed consistent with all its prior indictments the doj's basic policy for transparency in criminal cases is that the indictment is posted on the doj website after it's unsealed and media outlets were notified. we do not know -- i do not know of any other special counsel's office notice or doj notice to media outlets regarding mr. stone's indictment or his arrest. otherwise i really -- as i sit here today i don't have any other information i can talk about regarding mr. stone. >> bill: given your answer just then it does seem concerning given the timing of this reporter's knowledge and other things that there seems to have been a gap in that discovery.
just another question, if anybody -- would you view this as a problem? it looks like this is something in your final dailies here, would this be a problem with doj for looking at the timing doesn't match up? it seems to appear this was given prior knowledge not going through the normal channels. if it was given through normal channels every media outlet would have been there but only one was. >> mr. collins, i share your concern with the possibility a media outlet was tipped off to mr. stone's indictment or arrest before that information was available to the public. >> one of the other issues, this is -- since we'll go down this, a question not unfamiliar and it should be. is bruce ohr still employed with the department of justice? >> to answer your question directly, mr. collins, bruce ohr is currently employed with
the department of justice. >> is there any process at this point or that you can comment on, you are aware of the discussions and implications spanning from congress with bruce ohr's involvement in many of the problems we've seen in doj? >> i'm generally aware of mr. ohr being -- questions being raised about his behavior at the department of justice. >> knowing what you know and seeing what you have seen and using your past experience and prior knowledge do you believe that mr. ohr was operating outside normal channels and appropriate channels in which he was operating under that was been publicly reported? >> this is a very important question for many people both in this body and in the general public. the office of inspector general is currently looking at the carter page, fisa application,
and it is also being reviewed at the same time by mr. john huber, who is the u.s. attorney from utah asked by attorney general sessions to conduct a review of certain matters at the department of justice. and so together with fact that any situation regarding mr. ohr's employment would be part of a confidential human resources, i'm not able to talk any more about mr. ohr, his involvement in any matters that could be subject to either an inspector general's investigation or human resource matter. >> barring the now again as we had another part to our play this morning we're finding out that you may be subpoenaed to come back and do a deposition, any way around this to continue this if the investigation of the president, this is again is just amazing. i want to say one in your last few days, you know, do your best, do your job and continue to do that part but also at a
certain point in time many on our side of the aisle as well as the other side of the aisle that have been very concerned with what we've seen at the department of justice especially in the f.b.i. and especially over the last few years. concern every citizen, when there is ever a perception -- i've shared this with other that came before you to testify. whenever there is a perception there is not equal treatment on either side, that's a problem that needs to be addressed. i hoping when bill barr comes in it will be one of the first steps. you've attempted to do that. this will a long day and we chase a lot of rabbits. when we get to the end of the day the good men and women in the department of justice, this is not going to be an oversight hearing. it will be more of a rabbit chase down a lot of holes. with that i yield back. >> mr. chairman, may i answer his question? i think it's important as we sit here today that we
understand that this is not a confirmation hearing. that i am probably going to be replaced by bill barr in the next week. oversight hearing for the department of justice and i am surprised as we've both had the chairman and the ranking member talk about what they want to talk about that we haven't talked anything about the work regarding violent crime, we haven't talked about the opioid crisis, religious liberty, free speech on our college campuses and a whole host of other issues that i know are very important to you. i look forward to talking about the substance of the work at the department of justice. but if this -- it is your five minutes and you can ask the questions that are of most interest to you but as i sit here today i would like to talk about the incredible work we have been doing at the department of justice since i was chief of staff and now acting attorney general. >> i appreciate that. if you would have been glued to a tv yesterday morning you found out this is not what this was going to be about.
>> there are votes on the floor. 11 minutes left. we will strictly enforce the 15-minute rule. the committee will stand in recess until after -- immediately after the last in this series of votes. >> bill: a couple things that have gone on here. matthew whitaker pressed present seatedly. i have not talked to the president about a special counsell's investigation or white house officials about the special counsel's investigation and on and on the questions went. >> julie: interesting he also men'sed, this is not a nomination. he hasn't been nominated to take over. he is being questioned on his knowledge of the investigation and whether he has translated that to white house officials. >> being asked to approve or disapprove an action taken by the special counsel. answer. i want to be very specific. we've followed special counsel's regulations to a t.
i have not interfered in any way with the actions of this special counsel. we get the a-team here. david asman, shelby holliday and juan williams. let's go to catherine to give us a measure and moment. we get catherine up to tell us where we are. here in new york david asman. what do you think the critical issue is at the moment here as democrats continue to pound away at something, keeping in mind that matthew whitaker is under oath with everything? >> i'll answer that in one second. in keeping with the testimony we just saw i want to throw in a point of my own. i thought the best line was your five minutes are over, mr. chairman. he actually dictated to the chairman of the committee his timing with regard to the questions. very contentious. clearly the acting attorney general is a little bit nervous about what might happen, the repercussions of some of his answers. you say one little thing that's incorrect and you could spend a
year of your life incurring lawyers fees and all kinds of possible subpoenas and everything. it gets to the heart of the point that the president made during his state of the union when he said that he hopes partisan investigations are not going to be affecting the business of the government. and clearly in the eyes of the president and the eyes of mr. whitaker this is more of a show than a search for truth. on the other hand, there are some serious questions not only from democrats but as we heard from a republican who was asked about roger stone's arrest and whether or not information about that arrest leaked out from the special counsel's office because, of course, as we all know cnn had a camera crew there at 6:00 in the morning. so there are some very interesting questions on both sides, i think, that deserve to be asked and deserve to be answered. the question is whether mr. whitaker will answer those questions. >> julie: it is interesting to
watch him come out as strongly as he did. what did you think first of all of his overall performance right out of the gate he came out with his punching gloves on? >> i think he was preparing that he was going through extensive preparation but you can't hide the fact that he looked nervous and unstable in his answers and seemed combative almost as if he was trying to say we shouldn't be here, there is no need for this. he was initially under threat of subpoena. no subpoena was going to be issued and then he appeared. >> bill: he also talked about his willingness to appear. >> making a voluntary. >> anything he says can be later held up as having lied or misled the congress of the united states. the big issue here is the mueller investigation. later today or early next week there will be a vote on bill barr. he have has just cleared
committee yesterday. the judiciary committee in the senate. the question there, much as we see the question for mr. whitaker, is will the mueller report be made public. is the trump white house interfering with the mueller investigation at the moment? did mark whitaker as attorney general act as a conduit to that interference? he said he didn't speak to the president, he did not speak to top white house officials. so that's where jerry nadler, the chairman, was going with this. i can see what mr. whitaker says he would rather talk about violence prevention or something like that. >> bill: at the department of justice, which is what he said the hearing was all about. i don't know how much further they go, shelby. if the questions are going to go on the democratic side the way they have gone and the answers have been quite apparent from whitaker. >> he made it clear he wouldn't talk about any conversations he had with the president but he
has been willing to while answering some questions, give those answers that chairman nadler wanted. he didn't want to talk about his conversations but said he didn't have those conversations with the president. he has now said that under oath. another point jerry nadler wanted to hit on is whether or not he had briefed any third parties who may have told the president. that's when things got contentious and whitaker wanted to invoke the five-minute rule. it was an important question. i don't think we got much of an answer. he didn't give the flat out no comment no answer on that one. >> bill: a few sound bites. the one david referred to about the five-minute rule. doug collins suggested the hearing is irrelevant and william barr is confirmed a week from now. the exchange so far that most will remember. >> in your capacity as acting attorney general, have you ever been asked to approve any request or action to be taken
by the special counsel? >> mr. chairman, i see that your five minutes is up and so -- >> acting attorney general whitaker has said clearly on the record he has had no conversations with president trump about the special counsel investigation. the tension with the democrats has been over whether whitaker has been willing to get into some of the details or granularity, if you will, of
his discussions with anyone in the administration about the special counsel and on that basis whitaker has declined to answer those questions saying that's really an issue for executive privilege. a couple other things that have jumped out at me. we have had confirmation from the acting attorney general the carter page fisa surveillance warrant obtained by the f.b.i. and justice department in october of 2016 for trump campaign aide and more specifically the contact the senior f.b.i. and justice department officials about that dossier are under two reviews. one is by the inspector general. the other is by a u.s. attorney in utah. the reason that matters is that under both investigations, depending on the findings that could proceed to criminal referral. that gives you a window into the status of that investigation, julie. >> bill: is it your sense if we have seen the way it's going with the committee chairman, jerry nadler, we aren't going to follow a lot of new ground
today? >> i don't want to speculate about what may happen later in the hearing but i can tell you in the last 24 hours i think both sides have laid down markers as to how far they're willing to go on the special counsel. the acting attorney general and justice department has said on background and then also in letters that he will state on the record as he has this morning there was no ask or request for changes on the special counsel investigation by the president or other people within the white house. but they also indicated they would not get into the granularity or the specifics of communications with the president citing executive privilege as a longstanding shield, if you will, that used by multiple administrations. they laid out their side and for the democrat nadler he has been consistent he wants more detail. he wants to know the ins and outs of this communication and where the whole issue of
threatening to subpoena the acting attorney general came into play especially in the last 24 hours. >> julie: i want to talk to you real quick. nadler made it clear on thursday basically saying he didn't want to have to subpoena him but he would do so if he didn't show up and it turned into the back and forth. what was that all about? >> it was about laying down markers for today. if i can just cut to the chase, folks at home can read this letter that's now available online and it is from the democratic chairman to the justice department and what it states very specifically reached an agreement with the justice department to issue a subpoena if there are any differences m views regarding the treatment of your communications involving the president it can be taken up at a later date. republicans have said this is really -- democrat of political
theater in this case. >> bill: whitaker was the chief of staff for jeff sessions when he was fired in november. elevated to acting a.g. get a break here. they broke around 22 past is hour and take a 15-minute break with votes on the floor. they should start again in five minutes. we won't miss a minute. more coming up here. doug collins, who i mentioned a moment ago. >> we now have the reason for this hearing. it has nothing to do with the oversight of d.o.j. it has everything to do, as we found out this morning, in a document dump from the democratic side of this committee and also another committee. this is nothing more than a character assassination. we're going to also decide to see if we can just do something and get at the president while we have the chance. liberty mutual customizes your car insurance
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i'm sorry? >> is a "yes" or "no" question, have you communicated anything to president trump, yes or no? >> mr. chairman, as i said earlier today in my opening remarks, i did not intend today to talk about my private conversations with the president of the united states. but to answer your question, i have not talk to the president of the united states about the special counsel. as well here in new york. just so our viewers are reminded, whitaker is the acting ag because he was elevated to that job when jeff sessions was fired last fall and so much of this question, the circling squad here. i can't say there firing any bullets just yet but circling in a way that all of this is intended back toward the white house and back towards this president. what they are looking for is whether or not whitaker shared any information about the
special counsel's job. today, he has not confessed any of that, in fact is under oath right now. >> i shall be pointed out, he said he wasn't going to answer any questions then did answer a question about whether he shared any information he had received to the president. he denied that he is said i have not shared any information directly with the president. he was then asked to follow-up, how about second and third party sources that may have gotten back to the president about that and that question he would not answer. but it seems clear to me that here you have a new chairman of this committee in terms of the democrat picking on mr. whitaker, but an easier target than mr. barr. mr. barr will presumably become the attorney general if he is approved and seemingly, he will be. as a much more seasoned political operator. he would not be as easy to get
as mr. whitaker, and clearly this is that kind of moment for the democrats. they now control this committee in congress, they want to use that power to get as much information from the department of justice as they possibly can because let's face it, after all, they are going after trauma. if >> julie: i want to ask you, basically the mueller probe is close to being completed. that's indicating that perhaps it's going to wrap up any time. is it inappropriate for him to be disclosing that sort of information and how much of that will fold into today do you think? >> i think he has rebuffed that line of questioning because to his mind, it's an ongoing investigation and he says he shouldn't be required to answer that, but that is the focal point of all the questions not only from him but what i expect will be questions from the democrats. the idea that whitaker was put in jeff sessions place to rein
in the mueller probe. he has been highly critical of the probe itself that it was an exercise in excess, and not only has he said that, bill barr likely to be his successor said that he thought it was an errant errand and of course, the president and the state of the union this week said he thought it was evidence of some kind of witch hunt. so what we have here is a situation where they're trying to see if whitaker who has seen by that as a strong man gotten involved in influencing what happened with mueller pro. had to approve anything, any request from the mueller investigation. he refused to answer that question. >> bill: as we wait on the scum of the room is largely empty. i don't believe whitaker is back in the chair. no question that catherine herridge a moment ago
is whether or not the plow and new ground and said it's too premature to suggest that. she's exactly right about that, had this question about the roger stone indictment and whitaker said had a sealed indictment saying how good of the cap and because of that? the application for all this began in september 2016 now being investigated by at least two government entities, that has been confirmed as well a moment ago. >> that's a good point and we are not seeing just democrats that want answers but we are seeing republicans pushing for answers so i expect to hear more about size fisa from the repub. i would expect someone to ask about that response we heard from mueller last week to the buzzfeed story, busby had published the president trump had directed michael cohen to congress and said that is not accurate. if we do not have testimony that
relates to that. and questions about whether he was a middleman or whether he was involved in any way. i wouldn't be surprised if we hear that question, it's unclear if you would actually answer it but we do have to take a step back and realize part of the reason that occurs in a bit of a corner is because he did go on the record voluntarily at that press conference on the justice department indicted he was willing to answer questions. he had been briefed, he believes the investigation would wrap up soon, the way he answer that question raised more questions about whether or not he actually had inside information and new in the report was coming but i think he going on the record voluntarily is a big reason why he's sitting here and sort of being pushed to answer a lot of questions he's not comfortable answering. speak to the chairman basically said to the point where whitaker had to say this is a pointless dog and pony show which is also
very much the republican mantra about the whole witch hunt thing and now the democrats are trying to on barry or uncover something that they believe exists but at this point it hasn't proven any collusion whatsoever. in >> i must say one thing he said is a ridiculous partisan investigation, i don't think he was talking about the mueller investigation. he was talking about what exactly we are seeing here now. nobody should be surprised that congress is having a partisan investigation. when republicans are in charge for what's "happening now" when democrats are in charge. by congress when it was controlled by the republicans, so there is a history here of
investigative committees using their powers, their power to subpoena or the powers asked questions and people for partisan purposes. no one should be surprised at the president said this was going to happen. he was opposed to it but he kind of acknowledged that there was nothing less he could do about it because that's the way congress operates. >> bill: in a statement yesterday from a political theater's for the purpose of an oversight hearing would not allow that to be the case. we have seen some already. a bit more after the break here, they will come back in the room we expect in a matter of moments as our coverage continues keeping an eye on capitol hill. matthew whitaker back in the room momentarily. if >> since becoming the acting attorney general, i have run the department of justice with fidelity to the law and to the constitution. during my time as the leader of the department of justice, the department has complied with the regulations and there is no change to how they have worked with a special counsel's office.
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>> the office of inspector general is currently looking at the carter page size application which is very much a concern and it is also in being reviewed at the same time simultaneously by the u.s. attorney from utah he was asked by attorney general sessions to conduct a review of certain matters of the department of justice. >> bill: a bit of news they are just to recap. the carter page application going back to 2016. been linked to the dossier itself was still employed in the department of justice. in bringing back juan williams and as we await, we thought they would be back but since they are not, it is our job to talk and figure it out. >> julie: will be ever figure it out?
>> bill: just think about this now, the country has been trying to grapple with this for about three years, and i don't know if we or any closer to a conclusion. >> i was fascinated by his mention of john uber. that's a name we haven't heard for a while. he was the guy -- i don't know what his official title, but special prosecutor. he is to look into those issues that republicans were concerned about with regard to the fisa application that the fbi had presumably with the dossier which has a lot of points that have been completely refuted as evidence that we should be able to spy on american citizens, carter page. so the fact that they are working with whitaker release they are aware of what each other is doing in terms of trying to find out whether or not there was for lack of a better word, a conspiracy within the justice department under the obama administration to spy on
people that were affiliated with the trump campaign. there's a lot of evidence at least as much evidence i would suggest of russian collusion with trump as there is evidence that the obama administration was trying to spy on the trump campaign and apparently, that investigation is ongoing. i would love to know two things, one, exactly what happened with the mueller investigation, hopefully we will get all that evidence eventually and to kokomo would happen with the obama administration, whether they did actively tried to spy on the trump administration. sp when i don't over going to get that today. >> not today. >> bill: healthy wishful thinking. we do these days, you really don't. when we are waiting for the hearing to resume, so stand by and we will take you back inside. the sweeping new proposal, details on that and a lot more coming up on friday.
air travel and phasing out all fossil fuels. that fired up republicans and some democrats, live on the hill for day two of this. >> good afternoon to you. this is also big news on capitol hill today. this green new deal modeled after fdr's new deal which rescue the united states from that great depression and has a lot of people on both sides talking with some concerns. specifically, the deal is a nonbinary resolution, part of a movement and a no official costs announced. if it's put in place, it will cost around $7 trillion. >> it is not a bill, it is a resolution. and what does resolution is doing is saying this is our first step, our first step is to define the problem and define the scope of the solution. so we are here to say that small incremental policy solutions are not enough.
they can be part of a solution, but they are not the solution unto itself. >> hopes to expand rail travel to eventually make air travel minimal and obsolete. because to replace buildings for energy efficiency, create an economic safety net for low income communities, something important. alexandria ocasio-cortez is not selected to be part of the select climate committee by house speaker nancy pelosi. when we will talk to you real soon. back to the hearing restarting it a moment, acting attorney general matthew whitaker will be back in that chair in a matter of moments. a quick break back after this. o, now's the time to use your valuable va home loan benefit. newday usa can help you refinance and get 54,000 dollars or more and lower your payments by 600 dollars a month. and since they've been granted automatic authority by the va, newday can say yes when banks say no. so if you're a veteran homeowner who needs cash,
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the most common side effects are pain, redness or swelling at the injection site and constipation. talk to your doctor about aimovig. and be there more. >> bill: the russia pro-back in focus this morning as the acting attorney general matthew whitaker telling the house judiciary committee did not speak with the committee about the investigation. thought of it would've resume via now. >> julie: a 15 minute break. a bit more than that. it's me when i am bill hemmer, brand-new hour begins right now. the gray atonement over the office. how are you doing? >> julie: i'm good, that has been fun. forgot the popcorn at home. so any minute now, we are expected to get to that hearing. it is supposed to get back on their way after we took a 15 minute break and it's been more than that by now. raising questions about matthew whitaker's role as overseer of
the special counsel's russia investigation. >> i do not believe i have briefed third-party individuals i am usually the end point of that information. >> julie: the end point of that information. chief intelligence correspondent catherine herridge is covering this live on capitol hill. >> it has already proven to be extremely tense between all of the parties, and it was pretty difficult getting to this point as well. there were such a series of letters and discussions. he wanted mr. whitaker to appear
and answer questions about conversations with the president, republicans point to this letter the point where he gives a written assurance that he will not issue a subpoena and any remaining questions about presidential communications will be worked out at a later date. republicans have pointed to this letter as evidence that this is really a character assassination on mr. whitaker and political theater but democrats insist that this is about getting to the truth of the special counsel oversight and that they simply want answers. >> why did resident from tried to replace attorney general jeff sessions is an outspoken critic of the special counsel incentive qualified individuals who had received confirmation. we met we were told that an agreement had been made and it was a full cave by the committee chairman.
earlier in the day was a complete waste of time. >> is a mention, we are in a holding pattern right now, the house members are passive, casting votes and we expect them to return to the committee room shortly. there were several key lines of questioning before we hit this recess or this pause and one had to do with any communication between acting attorney general matt whitaker and the president over the special counsel investigation. mr. whitaker was very clear that there had not been any, but he also refused to get into any details or granularity about conversations with the acting attorney general matt whitaker. >> i do not intend to talk about my private conversations with the president of the united states. but to answer your question, i have not talked to the president of united states about the special counsel's investigation. i have not talked about the special counsel's investigation with senior white house officials.
>> so the acting attorney general did not get into detail about the special counsel investigation but he did get into some detail about two other investigations that are being run by the inspector general at the justice department and also an attorney in utah. mr. whitaker confirm their ongoing investigation into surveillance warrants, the handling of that application in the fall 2016 for carter page and also specifically contacts between senior justice department and fbi officials over the handling of the dossie dossier. followed by the dnc and the clinton campaign that form part of the basis for that surveillance warrant. in either scenario, there could be terminal referrals in those cases. >> julie: catherine herridge, thank you. >> bill: liberal democrats unveiling a sweeping green new deal. a proposal, energize republicans
and energize some democrats alike. he was a glimpse of what some of the massive overhaul would plan to do. if it would make all of the buildings in the entire country 100% energy efficient. it would make air travel obsolete. concluding health care for all americans. one thing the resolution has not included as a price tag. >> this is such a major watershed moment. we are going to transition this country into the future. >> i would be pretty hard for hawaii. >> i very much support the green new deal because it is really focusing on the damage that is happening worldwide. >> it is not real policy. we would a lot of reactions on the senate continues.
chris wallace with me now, nice to see you. watching this now and a pipe dream? how realistic some of these democrats running for president already declaring they would support it. i was a conversation go from here? >> i think this is more a political debate that it is a serious policy debate. i'm sure that alexandria ocasio-cortez and some other people who are serious proponents of this idea, but all you have to do is look at the dismissive way in which speaker pelosi dealt with it and even more interestingly, the fact that she set up a climate change commission panel and didn't even put her on the panel to note that this has no chance at all. you can be sure the republicans are going to make as much political hay as they can out of it and understandably so, the president has clearly decided
and you can see it in his state of the union address that he is going to make the argument basically that he is defending capitalism and the democrats are advancing socialism, promised in the speech of the u.s. will never be a socialist country, but i can tell you that the leaders of the democratic party. the leaders have no interest in doing much more than paying lip service to this. retrofitting every building in america in ten years. >> bill: they are chasing at these ideas, that's how you were explaining it. if you just look at the polls
who are concerned about the rough edges of capitalism and are pushing some ideas that you consider socialism, it would consider it liberal progressive politics, so you certainly want to harness their energy. on the other hand, and an effort to actually enact the green new deal in the next year were to be politically disastrous and would bankrupt the country. other than that, it's a heck of a good idea. when you are exactly right about it. the span of three days, you've got socialism and a new deal. >> to the degree that republicans are the democrats are looking for a smoking gun here that will indicate that the president is interfering were matthew whitaker is an agent in
interfering i do find it kind of rich that republicans are so outraged that they would be this kind of a hearing they investigated benghazi, they investigated fast and furious, investigated the irs and of those are all legitimate issues to investigate. that's part of oversight and as barack obama physically said, republicans have oversight of a branch of congress are house of congress and they're investigating a democratic president, the court to make life difficult for them and how the democrats are in control of the house and have control of these committees. elijah cummings set oversight, they're going to make life
difficult for members of the trump administration. >> bill: that's what they want to know, did you share any information about what bob mueller was doing? i have not talked to anyone in the white house and the special counsel investigation. if he doesn't waver from that, if you don't have information to rebut that, i think you're exactly right. >> he probably raises a lab that now if he said nothing about the investigation in public, you don't say anything, you don't get in any trouble and of
course, another reason why people are arguing that there is a pointlessness to this, in a week or two, isn't going to be in this job. bill barr who is already been reported out of the tertiary committee has been confirmed by the senate. a full-time attorney general and he will be in charge of it. as i say, it is in the nature of the beast that when one party controls the house, they're going to try to make life difficult and make people sweat within the administration to the other party, republicans and democrats. >> bill: how are the clocks working there in d.c.? 15 has turned into 50 quickly and still counting. who is coming up? i hear senator shelby, senator tester, is that right? >> part of what we are going to have. there's got to be a settlement will quickly is that conference committee which is investigating for turn come up with a compromise border security, the
wall, all of those things, either a shutdown or declaration of a national emergency which republicans as well as democrats don't seem to want either of those things so these are two top members of the conference committee. we'll see whether they are able to reach a deal. they almost have to have it by sunday because it takes about a week for this to be written up and then the house has now got a new rule, believe this or not that you have three days to read the bill before you vote on it. actually are going to say going to read legislation before they vote on it. >> bill: we had hogan gidley on two hours ago, he was not giving us any optimism for these deals. it may be holding his cards back that mick mulvaney has sent his invitation for all these lawmakers to go to camp david and hammer out a deal. he was not given much as to whether or not they are closer. sometimes a talk about, nice to see you. chris wallace in d.c., thank you. >> julie: u.s. officials setting a target date to pull
american troops out of syria. what is it mean for the fate of isis in that region? we are going to take a closer look. >> bill: also a political crisis in virginia are growing worse by the day. the state's top three democratic officials so far resisting all the calls to step down as we get new information on an assault allegation against the lieutenant governor, a gentleman by the name of justin fairfax. that story continues with senator tim kaine in virginia. >> this week has just made me sick. it's made me sick. from friday to now, it's been one bit of bad news after the next and it's all been shocking. your home and take out 54,000 dollars or more to pay credit card debt, or just put money in the bank. it even lowers your payments by over 600 dollars a month. as a veteran, you've earned the powerful va home loan benefit that lets you refinance up to 100 percent of your home's value. and with home values rising,
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>> bill: we expected this to be the story of the morning. it still is. however, the hearing has been adjourned for almost an hour. they were both on the floor of the house, waiting for the judiciary committee to come back in that room. we haven't seen matthew whitaker since about 10:00, which was almost 57 minutes ago. when it begins, we will get you back inside for all the questions as that hearing continues. >> it is something that is painful for most of us to see, to hear about. and to think about. for that reason, it is deeply troubling that anyone in the 20th or the 21st century would engage in that kind of behavior. it should be taken very seriously. >> new calls for ralph northam to set down. the states not congressional democrats issuing a joint
statement yesterday. he demands that he resign over a disgraced photo on the about page, as a's top three officials, all democrats, are embroiled in scandal. ellison barber is following this from richmond, virginia. hi. >> hi, julie. all of the lawmakers who are present virginia in washington, d.c., say that it is time for to go. they publicly called for mr. dunn a few days ago. they reiterated those calls last night, but they did not call for attorney for justin fairfax to resign. the attorney general admitted to dressing in black faces 19-year-old. the lieutenant governor is accused of sexual assault in 2004. one of the lawmakers who signed on to that statement, representative jennifer wexton, tweeted, "i believe dr. vanessa tyson." but it seems that that calls for her resignation. instead it says, "we are deeply disturbed by the account detailing the alleged actions of
lieutenant governor fairfax. we believe these allegations need to be taken fiercely. we will continue in dialogue from one another in our constituents of the coming days, and evaluate additional information as it comes to light." two democrats have called for the lieutenant governor to design. instead, most of them say that they believe the allegations which are coming from a woman named dr. vanessa tyson. that they are credible. but they believe there needs to be an investigation to determine exactly what the truth is. it's hard for people of the political or the real world who say that governor ralph northam should stay in office. most are saying that he should go. we have seen protests here to that effect. when it comes to the other officials tied up in scandals of their own, it's more of a mixed bag. reverend al sharpton says he flew to richmond, virginia, specifically to urge the governor to step down. also, it says that the attorney general needs to step down. he said this at a college here
in virginia. yesterday. they are trying to reduce this to an act of "boys would be date doll like boys." it's deeper than that. he went on to say, "yes, they can be forgiven, but forgiven without a price is not forgiveness. it's a pass." one thing worth mentioning as well as others state senator by the name of tommy norman who oversaw your book at his days at the military institute in the late 1960s that had a lot of racist photos, a lot of racial slurs. he had said he wasn't in charge of overseeing the photos, but it's worth noting we really haven't heard a lot from republicans on whether or not he should step aside. however, he is saying he didn't have anything to do with those photos. julie? >> julie: ellison barber, thank you. >> bill: a commemoration for john to go from michigan after his passing at age 92 yesterday. that's happening out on the floor of the house. the hearing, rather, will resume shortly. meanwhile, there is this. the richest man in the world making bombshell accusations,
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prevent problems, and to help provide the most reliable service possible. my name is tanya, i work at the network operations center for comcast. we're working to make things simple, easy and awesome. >> bill: another alert, new details on the shocking claims from jeff bezos, the richest man in the world. the "national enquirer"'s parent company says that it will investigate the amazon founder's allegation that it tried to him. he alleges the company issued the threat to stop him from investigating how the tabloid acquired protech because it is girlfriend. right outside amazon headquarters comes a train track this one down. dan? >> hey, bill. amazon founder is in a sordid game of chicken with american media. the parent company of the "national enquirer." he may just be winning it. he launched a personal
investigation of the inquirer after it ran a story about his and don't like alleged affair the day he announced he and his wife of 25 years were getting a divorce. he wanted to know how reporters got text messages between him and laura sanchez, and whether this story was politically motivated. ami ceo david packer is an ally of president trump, who has gone after jeff bezos for the cover of him. he owns the post, which yesterday ran the story on the investigation of ami. now jeff bezos is publishing on a blog website detailing that there is proof he is being blackmailed and they are dropping his investigation. he was told the "national enquirer" would publish up to ten, rising photos of jeff bezos and sanchez, including a "below the belt selfie," unless there was acknowledgment from his party released through an agreeable news outlet agreeing they have no knowledge or basis for
suggesting that the coverage was politically motivated. instead of caving, jeff bezos wrote yesterday, "rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail, i've decided to publish exactly what they have sent me despite the personal cost and embarrassment they threatened." in in a response today, ami apps to be backing down and says that email is a little bit. they say they are part of a good-faith negotiation. while they believe this reporting on jeff bezos was lawful, the statement says, "in light of the nature of the allegations published by mr. bezos, the board has convened and determined that it should properly and thoroughly investigate the claims." it goes on to say that after the investigation is done -- action is necessary. obviously -- >> bill: that's a shame. i could hear you, dan. dan springer. sorry about that. outside amazon headquarters. >> julie: any menu now we are
expecting faster as is your committee to reconvene it's with matthew whitaker, they age are in for recess a little over an hour ago. it was supposed to be a quick 15 minute recess for a vote. it's unclear why they fit to return. we wait and see. the >> bill: the proposed green new deal, they met with concern and disbelief by some. can the specs are every democrats? can be the stress of "the wall street journal" in the moment is writing about this today. the title -- "the socialist that could." that's next. >> we are in this together. we are 100% in this together. [applause] we have different solutions and different mechanisms. different cars we've got to drive to get there. but we've got to take a lot of different paths.
alexandria ocasio-cortez revealing a sweeping new green deal proposal with no price tag. the cost estimates suggest it may be in the trillions. prompting headlines like this one -- "the wall street journal." "the socialist that could. meet alexandria ocasio-cortez, the secret publican weapon for 2020." it's offer, from the wall street editorial journal for them. i read your piece commence rather cutting. go ahead and give us your take on what you heard from yesterda yesterday. >> i saw chris wallace on earlier, and he was saying "this isn't ever going to become law." i agree with that, except it's still very dangerous for democrats. here's why. aoc 'school here is just to get a vote on this. that's why she wrote it specifically as a nonbinding resolution. once she does that, democrats are going to have to go on record of being in support of this or not. so they either risk alienating their progressive base, or exposing to the country that they are on board with a plan
that essentially puts the government in control of vast swaths of the economy and micromanages people's everyday lives. neither of those is a great place to be. >> bill: go ahead and outline what was made public yesterday. we are hearing about train travel, no more planes? we are talking about significant changes of farming in america. we are talking about -- guaranteed income was a part of this? so, too, his health care. go ahead and stack that up. >> the main pieces of it are so unrealistic as to be almost mind-boggling. 100% renewable electricity generation within ten years? this would require making -- the government, by the way, building tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of wind turbines onshore and offshore. it would require retrofitting or carrying down every building in the country. crisscrossing the country with high-speed rail. not that that would help hawaii much, since we have to get rid of airplanes. no more combustion engines.
say goodbye dear cars, your trucks, or lawn mowers. your chainsaws. this is micromanagement. tens of trillions of dollars in costs. >> bill: it would be tough on tourist to the bahamas, as well. especially with the train travel. i think wallace's point is that it's a political talking point without a sensible reality at the end of it. nonetheless, this is what people are talking about now. the point you make about forcing a vote on the floor of the house -- when you take this relationship now between nancy pelosi and this 29-year-old congresswoman, who i think has been a d.c. 45 days now officially in office, how do you see this relationship developing in the following sets? yesterday, nancy pelosi appoints a climate committee, right? ocasio-cortez is not on it. on the same day she goes to the house and links up with the liberal senator from massachusetts, and brings out
this green new deal. the question then becomes, how does nancy pelosi manage this relationship? does she like what she's hearing? does she want to be occupied with three or four days answer questions about this, and the calls for socialism? that were responded to on tuesday night on behalf of the president? where is that relationship? >> i think there are two aspects to this relationship. one, it's probably personal. nancy pelosi does not like people to defy her. we know this. member, one of aoc's first stops when she got to washington was to go support all the protesters who were engaged in a sit in a nancy pelosi's office. on a personal level, probably not a lot of love there. nancy pelosi is a smart lady and she knows that aoc is a threat to the party. she's the republican secret weapon for 2020. every time she opens her mouth, she gives the republican something to say, "look, this is with the crazy democrats want to do to the country! you keep them in the house, he
put them in the white house or you give them the senate, they are going to tell you whether or not you can ride on an airplane anymore." and aoc now has this anonymous megaphone that arguably rivals nancy pelosi's. at some point, pelosi is going to decide -- right now she is gently trying to put her in her place, but that might have to be more aggressive in the future. >> bill: but you have a primary battle, too. elizabeth warren and kamala harris have lent support. i've heard something about kirsten gillibrand and bernie sanders come as well. cory booker was asked about about an hour ago paid i will read this too. "people say the deal could be done. if we would govern like that when we went to the moon, we would not have done that." we need to be bold again in america." all right, so, this has become a question for the primary campaign, kimberly. >> i think republicans are applauding every time one of them says this. because who doesn't want to go into a debate for the presidential election against a
cory booker or kamala harris and say, "really? you want to stop domestic air travel? you want it to be hard for people to go visit their families on christmas? want to make electricity prices six, seven, or eight times what they are now, and you so you can connect with the average guy out there?" it's a real problem. it's an elitist plan for the democratic party that supposedly wants to make a populist pitch to the country this year. >> bill: have you been watching matthew whitaker today with the hearing customer did you see an event to the? >> of course, right here on fox. >> bill: what do you think we will learn from it? >> in the category washington hearings, there are boring hearings and pointless hearings. this one falls into the category of more pointless. they called him and because they really want to make this or around every turn person that there is some grand conspiracy to undermine the mueller probe and code in the president was going on. he shut down that line of questioning. it's interesting, we found out
there is still work being done within the doj from the inspector general on this question of the fisa application paid that's a good news. that's about the most important detail we've gotten out of it today >> jessica: the hearing will resume in a matter of moments. keep watching. thank you for that, kimberly. yeah, the fisa information. the question is about how cnn had a camera at roger stone's house. ultimately, that's a sealed indictment. there is no telling as to whether or not matthew whitaker would answer that, but he said pretty much that if any information got out on that don't like it would pretty much upset him. let's get a last comment on all that. >> looked, he is a short-timer there at the doj. he's been put in a tough spot. i think he's done exactly what you would want and the attorney general to do, which is not to reveal too many details about ongoing investigations. not to want leaks out of the
department. this is a problem that we had with the doj over the past couple of years. to the extent that leadership is more concerned with that, that's good news. >> bill: kimberly, thank you. from "the wall street journal" "wall street journal," kimberley strassel. asked to talk to you. will speak again, thank you. >> julie: a sad day in the sports world as we learned that legendary first baseman and outfielder, frank robinson, has died. he was the only player to be named mvp in both the american and national leagues. his playing career spanned two decades, then he became the very first african-american manager of the major league baseball team, for the cleveland indians in 1975. he holds the number ten spot for career home runs. baseball, saying goodbye to a true trailblazer. frank robinson, 83 years old. >> bill: going up in ohio, he was prominent. we salute him today. are you ready for hearing?
>> julie: >> julie: the alchemie going to happen? >> bill: matthew whitaker testing on this hill. they are still in recess. they had a moment to honor the life of john dingell. that could be the reason for the delay. house democrats are eager to continue to put down my questioning the acting ag and his final few days in that job about his oversight of the russian matters. when it continues, you will be there with us. >> i did not intend today to talk about my private conversation with the president of united states. to answer your question, i have not talked to the president of the united states about the special counsel investigation.
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>> julie: at any moment now we should expect the acting attorney general, matthew whitaker, to continue his hearing before the judicial committee. they had taken a 15 minute break that has turned into more than an hour. we are now about two hours in, continuing questioning. we will continue by the house judiciary chairman, jerry nadler, and several others that are in attendance asking him
essentially the center question. whether or not he actually has discussed the mueller investigation with the president of the united states. he said no, and a lot more questions to follow. chief intelligence correspondent catherine herridge's live in washington. she's watching it with us as well as you at home. >> as you mentioned, we had this sort of break right now. it was supposed be 15 minutes, but it has been extended, largely due to some votes that they had to get done in the house. that has capped off what has been a pretty dramatic hour of testimony so far. just to break it down for folks who are joining us, the democrats have had a number of issues that they wanted to explore with the acting attorney general. his feelings about the special counsel investigation, any steps that he has taken with the special counsel investigation, any conversations he has had with the white house, and specifically the president, about that investigation. as you've mentioned, acting attorney general whitaker has testified that -- >> the meeting will come to order again. >> about that investigation.
i will throw back to you. it sounds like it's just about to begin again, julie. >> julie: it sounds like the house judiciary chairman, jerry nadler, is back in session. and they are going to continue the question. let's listen. >> i generally 28th, you made a statement. i'm trying to understand more about that. you mentioned -- and this is a direct quote -- "right now, the investigation is close to being completed." what was the basis for that statement that you made, mr. whitaker? >> thank you for that question, congresswoman. i had a press conference announcing an important indictment related to huawei and their alleged stealing a intellectual property of an american company. during the course of that press conference, i was asked questions about the special counsel investigation. i prefaced that answer by saying
i can't talk about an ongoing investigation like the special counsel investigation. as i sit here today, i really don't have anything to add to what i said. >> well, it seems to me that you did talk about an ongoing investigation. therefore, you can understand, i'm sure, that we would like to know what you meant by what you said. in that same statement you said, you were "comfortable that the directions that were made will be reviewed to the various means we have." what does that mean? >> congresswoman, thank you for that question. i would refer you to the special counsel regulations that, again, the question -- the answer that i gave to the inquiry was regarding the timing of the special counsel's investigation.
i have nothing, as i sit here, to add to that. but i do want to mention that the special counsel regulations, by their very nature, say that the attorney general will receive a report. that that would be a confidential report, and that report will cover the decisions. i was talking about as attorney general, if as acting attorney general -- if and when i receive that report. i have only a week, as you know, before mr. barr comes on board -- that i would review those provisions pursuant to the airport. >> is it fair to say that you are saying the special counsel investigation is proceeding within the scope of the authority set forth in deputy attorney general rosenstein about events may 2017 order? >> congress meant, thank you for an opportunity to clarify that. i think what i just explained to you is that the special counsel's investigation is proceeding consistent with the regulations that outline why
appointment happened. consistent with mr. rosenstein's appointment. >> thank you very much for that clarification. i would just like to know, to some extent it is hard to ignore that the willingness to discuss ongoing investigations has not been applied evenly. you've just mentioned today, the roger stone indictment. and that's an ongoing matter. let me get back to an opportunity you have two clear the air. many have speculated that your appointment was based on your public appearances that harshly criticize the special counsel's investigation. prior to your hiring as chief of staff to then-attorney general jeff sessions, i would like to know -- did you discuss or share
your private opinions of the special counsel investigation with president trump or other white house officials such as mr. kelly or trump family members? public surrogates like mr. mr. giuliani? i would note, this is not covered by executive privilege. because at that time, you are a private citizen. >> congresswoman, thank you for that question. i came to washington, d.c., in october of 2017 to be attorney general sessions' chief of staff. i have the greatest respect, as you know, for general sessions. i am really honored to carry out the role of acting attorney general. >> if i may, that's very nice, but that was not the question i asked. >> as you know, as i mentioned, i am honored to serve as acting attorney general and i'm honored that the president selected me to be the acting attorney general. i can assure this committee
that, before appointing me to this position, the president did not ask for it and i did not provide any commitments, promises, with concern to the special counsel of the station or any other investigation. >> that's of the question i asked, sir. i see that my time is about to expire. mr. chairman, i would like to add -- i know that we will have a follow-up deposition -- >> i will allow you to ask the question again more specifically, and asked the witness to answer the question specifically and not to continue filibustering. >> the question is whether you shared your private opinions of the special counsel investigation with president trump, other white house officials such as john kelly, trump family members, public surrogates such as rudy giuliani, at the time that i'm referencing you a private citizen. before you were hired. so it is not covered by executive privilege. did you do that? >> congress woman, just be clear, you are asking me whether or not i talk to anybody in the presence or goal or at the
white house about my views of the special counsel and desiccation? >> correct. >> when i was a private citizen? >> correct. >> no, i did not. >> all right. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. acting attorney general, as you mentioned earlier, there are other important matters within the purview of the justice department and within the oversight responsibilities of this committee. besides fishing expeditions, trying to get the goods on this president, in an apparent effort to impeach him. for example, 70,000 americans died from drug overdoses in 2017. i'm old enough to remember back in the mid-'80s when president ronald reagan and his wife felt so compelled to do something about the scourge of drugs in this country that the
effort to just say no began, and other efforts following that. that was because back at that time we had 10,000 deaths a year due to drug overdoses. we now have over 70 thoughts deaths so unfortunately come over time, it has gotten worse, not better. most of the increase in deaths in 2017 were due to synthetic drugs. synthetic opioids specifically, like fentanyl, which accounted for a significant number of those deaths. this is clearly an epidemic, which has been declared a state of emergency nationwide by the president. it has deeply affected families in my home state of ohio, as well as families all across this nation. what efforts and resources has or does the justice department intend to use to combat this
growing epidemic, and what help can congress provide to assist you in your efforts? >> congressmen, i appreciate that question. i know how ohio has been dramatically affected by the opioid crisis. we have done a lot at the department of justice, and i would like to partner with this committee. i'm sure general barr would come as well. to combat and have additional tools to combat this opioid crisis. some of the things we have done is we set up in 2017 the opioid fraud and detection unit, which was a way that the justice department could utilize data to help combat the devastating opioid crisis. we did the largest health care fraud takedown in june of 2018. we set up the pill task force, otherwise known as the prescription interdiction and litigation task force, in february of 2018. we set up a really innovative way, called "operation sos."
that's "synthetic opioid surge." general sessions and i went down to tampa, florida, where we saw manatee county had taken in a usa and embedded them once a week into the sheriff's office in order to take every fentanyl overdose case. they dramatically reduced the number of deaths in manatee county. we decided to take that model and apply it to the most affected states and districts that could really make a dramatic difference in saving lives. we also -- >> if i could, let me stop you there. i just have a follow-up question along the same topic. the president addressed this to considerable degree in the state of the union the other night. do you have an opinion, is there a relationship between enhancing border security, particularly at our southern border? making at least some progress in reducing the scourge of drug addiction in this country?
>> congressman, absolutely there is a connection between the drugs that are being imported to our southern border -- which is a large majority of those drugs -- at the opioid crisis we now face. in fact, i went to china in august as chief of staff for than i for general sessions. he asked me to go to talk to the chinese about what more they could do to reduce the amount of fentanyl that is being produced in china. we had a nice dialog with some high-level government officials, and the president come as you know, has agreed with president xi to reduce fentanyl and eliminate production in china. one of the ways they do that is by scheduling the analogs of fentanyl. it's a very serious problem and i know that oh, i was do medically affected by it. >> thank you very much. i've only got about 30 more seconds. let me touch on one last thing. i know you've only got a week left, so you want -- >> less than a week, actually. >> yesterday, this committee in a bipartisan manner passed the no oil producing and exporting
cartels act of 2019. this is something that i've introduced almost 20 years ago, along with my democratic colleague, kok john conyers, who was a ranking member of this committee over the years. to bring suit against cartels when they artificially manipulate the prices that we'll pay for at the gas pump time and time again. i know we've been in contact with the justice department. we look forward to working with your successor in that effort. i don't know if you have any comments you would like to make about that. >> congressman, i am fully aware of that bill. i look forward to the department of justice working with you to successfully not only pass it, but informative. >> thank you. i would like to give mr. nadler and some of our democratic colleagues, and others, a lot of credit for that as well. thank you very much.
[coughing] >> i think the treatment very much prethese are extra ordinary times, mr. attorney general we know that these former direcr of the fbi testified to the house intelligence can dull my committee and open hearing. there was an active investigation into the associates of the drum campaign and he was fired subsequently. mr. mueller was hired, investigations have secured numerous indictments, convictions or guilty pleas, and of course a deal with perjury charges like obstruction of justice, perjury, false statements. so, at the current rate, we are seeing so many of the trump organization being indicted. with the short time that i have, i want to make sure that your questions are answered in a "yes" or "no" manner. this is a first over siding meeting we have had in the justice apartment for over 14 months. you did not have coverage in hearing any of not appeared. yes or no? yes or no?
>> congressman, i am the acting -- >> yes or no. have you appear before an oversight hearing in the congress? >> come soma, have not -- >> the witness will answer the question is asked, please. >> mr. chairman -- >> if he has -- if a "yes" or "no" is appropriate, he will answer lias or. if he doesn't feel the poor become he will answer properly. as many of the officials have done for perry this is unreal. >> the member has only 5 minute 5 minutes. if we -- >> we just discovered that -- >> she is entitled to it. i will not allow the witness to stall and waste the number of is time. >> where were you when mr. -- >> mr. chairman, may i have my time restored? if he was at 4 minutes. >> yes, you may. >> thinking. >> again, mr. attorney general, the question is, did you have a confirmation hearing and has in more than ten years since you testified before congress?
can the clock be restored? >> it was. >> i'm sorry, what was her -- i don't know if your time has been or not. [laughter] >> mr. attorney general, we are not joking here. your humor is not acceptable. you are here because we have a constitutional duty to ask questions and the congress has the right to establish government rule. the rules are that you are here. so i need to ask the question, and i need to have my time restored so that you can behave appropriately. i will behave appropriately as a member of the judiciary committee. i am asked the question. did you have a confirmation hearing, and have you not yet appeared for an oversight hearing? >> congresswoman, i am an acting attorney general. i have been appointed according to the vacancies reform act. i have never appeared in front of congress for any hearing, even when i was united states
attorney. >> i have asked where yes-or-no answer. let me -- so you have never appeared. let me quickly ask a question. prior to the firing of former attorney general jeff sessions, did you discuss or share your private opinions of the special counsel investigation with the chief of staff's, trump family members, and others question a "yes" or "no"? >> as i previously answered, congresswoman -- >> yes or no, sir? >> as a previous answer, congressman, i have not -- >> yes or no? >> as i have previously answered, congresswoman, i have not discussed -- >> since you are appointed acting attorney general, did you discuss or share your private opinions with special counsel? >> again, the special counsel investigation is an ongoing investigation and i have nothing more to say than what i have already said. >> who are denying reports that you shared many one-on-one calls with president trump and his then-chief of staff john kelly when he was still attorney general? >> again, conzelmann, is there
somebody provides you the basis for a question or is it anonymously sourced? >> i am asking the quencher, questions, sir. answer the question cummings or no. >> could you please repeat the question? >> you are denying reports that he shared many one-on-one calls and present tremendous then-chief of staff john kelly customer are you denying that? >> don't like it sooner. >> as i mentioned several times to the in the open exhibit or otherwise, i have not talked about the conversations i've had with the president of the united states or chief of staff. >> so that is a "no"? >> i don't think you can assume anything from that. >> me pursuing my line of questioning. since the investigation secured numerous indictments, i would like to pursue the line of questioning with respect to your understanding of the mueller investigation and the review that you have given. have you given an extensive review?