tv Hearing Examines Lessons Learned from Concurrent Congressional and... CSPAN July 12, 2017 4:00am-5:48am EDT
order. senator whitehouse is on his way and is okay starting with senator klobuchar. the purpose of the hearing is explore the distinct roles of congress and the executive branch respect to conducting investigations and discuss best practices. we have an incredible panel here who have been down this road many times. criminal investigations are designed to find out if a crime was committed and hold somebody upon. congress has a broader mandate. we're not prosecutors but our goal is to shed light on information that may be lie significant but not necessarily criminal, a just policy is needed, change laws when appropriate, but in a particular
circumstance, find out what happened, not as a prosecutor but as a policymaker. the power of congress. mr. rosenberg, one of the leading experts on congressional oversight, said in the absence of a countervailing constitutional privilege or self-imposed statutory restriction upon its authority congress and hit commit years have the power to compel production of information needed to discharging their legislative functions. think that's true but is i bounded by the respect for the criminal process. so, we're trying to find out where that boundary line exists, how to navigate the problem, and proceed in an orderly man sore we do not get in the way of mr. mueller but we discharge our duties to the public at large. after having cult -- cut my phone off i'll swear in the witnesses. please rise. do each of you swear that the
testimony you give before this committee this truth, the whole truth, and nothing built truth so help you god? thank you. well, as i indicated, we have a really incredible group of people who would be very helpful to this committee how he move forward. m-richard ven -- from 59 to 96 he acted as chief counsel on the whitewater committee, from 73 to '745 was chief hoff the water watergate task force. he because one over ten commissioner only the 9/11 commission welcome and thank you for coming. mr. daniel bryan has been the exec consecutive director of the project on government oversight since 18993, and issued a report recently entitled necessary and proper best practices for congressional investigations and that's what we're trying to find
out, the best practices. mr. andrew frye, represented the government in the mets of the iran-contra condition of admiral poindexter in seeking the supreme court review of the rehearsal of convictions of admiral poindexter and colonel north. we're trying avoid getting the way of the prosecutor. he was the general counsel acting and general counsel to the u.s. house of representatives, assistant legal counsel of the united states senate from 1979 to 1984. each of you and your own way have a tremendous insight into how congress should behave when there's a conflict between a congressional investigation and a potential crime, and just as he is known for, perfect timing, senator whitehouse will now give his opening statement. >> thank you, chairman graham.
his office. in the meantime the subcommittee is doing its job. if the function of congress is to be preferred even to its legislative function. from senator truman's investigation of the defense contractors to the army mccarthy hearings to the watergate hearings, the senate function has always been important even if sometimes imperfect.
to proceed in parallel without harm to either. we are pleased to have experts in the area shed light to their study and experience. one particular issue is the still undisclosed tax returns of donald trump and the separate means for criminal investigations and congressional investigations to gain access to such materials. the bottom line is this. while it would be wrong for the senate investigations to peer over the shoulders of the investigations and look at the content of the files, there is nothing wrong with both investigations looking at the same evidence acquired separately and consistent with law carey at one last point before we turn to the witnesses, the assertion in the website of hearings of executive privilege.
i've read those memos and one focuses on the broad power of the query to expose corruption and the executive branch and emphasizes the limits on executive privilege. the second memo of the attorney general can't temporarily hold off congressional inquiries while the president decides whether to assert executive privilege. answers may be held while the president makes the privilege determination. ultimately, the president must assert executive privilege or
on the overlapping the distinguishable responsibilities to the. of the prosecutor of the office of watergate special prosecution force, chief minority counsel to the committee, chief counsel and senate hearings chaired by both senator childs the republican of pennsylvania that is a defense lawyer and the criminal case brought by the special prosecutor.
informing the public of providing fact-based grounds for critical legislation. investigations of organized crime, union busting, union corruption on wall street banking practices, the ku klux klan and vietnam are but a few areas that important societal changes have resulted from congressional inquiries. i have a appreciatio appreciatie invaluable benefit to our society of congressional inquiries that have allowed disinfecting some light into dark corners that otherwise might remain hidden from the view. and of course it is the result of the oversight responsibilities that there is sometimes a bit of dumping and
bruising with prosecutors function of the bringing lawbreakers to justice. sometimes high-profile investigations prosecution has been too focused on detecting prosecutorial options to appreciate the larger issues of the public's right to know. they went to block the senate watergate committee to granting immunity to john dean. this wasn't the finest hour. if i forward with immunity and provided congress with the publiand the publicwith criticat needed to know about misconduct of extraordinary scope at the
highest reaches of government. it was corroborated by presidential tape recordings. in spite of senate watergate committee and approved essential building blocks to our work in the special prosecutor's office and completing the investigation and bringing indictments and trials. despite procedures since watergate, the lesson remains that sometimes exposing serious public corruption. they will provide prosecutors all the flexibility they decide.
they shouldn't proceed concurrently. the system works best when the congressional committees are in internal sync with the chair and ranking member speaking with one voice. it will be both appropriately aggressive and at the same time thoughtfully differential to the legitimate prosecutorial objectives. in my view, the best example of this kind of bipartisan cooperation was seen in the relationship between tom kane as the chairman of the 9/11 commission and lee hamilton as vice chair demonstrating how much intellectual energy and investigative firepower can be harnessed when political beings put the national interest above
the narrow party goals. in conclusion, unlike the congress's goal of educating and informing the public, prosecutors are bound by the rules that promote secrecy and discourage even criminalize extra judicial exposure of the work process indeed with tremendous power, prosecutors must have the experience and judgment to separate and exercise discretion in deciding to bring or not to bring charges. in the investigation of the ramifications of russian state interference in america's 2016 presidential election, congress has the responsibility to collect by the way of public hearings why this deserves
serious attention. they have an additional obligation in my view they be permitted to complete the work that has been appointed to oversee including a fair and thorough investigation into the interference in the election and whether any u.s. citizen was complicit or aided and abetted that interference. it must be made clear that serious constitutional remedies would follow any improper attempt to curtail or interfere with the special counsel. thank you, and i thank the members of the subcommittee for your attention.
>> churning grassley, ranking member white house, thank you for inviting me to testify today. the mission has included working to strengthen the capacity to fact-based oversight and the congressional oversight initiatives educated over 1,000 staffers during the past decade from both sides of the aisle and both chambers about the oversight powers and responsibilities of the congress. thank you senator grassley for being a cohost of that work. as to the subject of the hearing let me be clear congress and the executive branch are capable of conducting concurrent investigations. it is essential to legislating in holding the executive branch accountable and ensuring the system of checks and balances is
working. the presidential election demand the common understanding across the country on the fact of what did or did not happen and whether the rule of law is being properly followed in the damaging rift to the democracy. it is the role of the congress to provide the public with the fact. as the chairman mentioned, we released a report on the history of the congressional investigation that shows the public benefits in both the legislative and executive branch examines the same event and we identified four important elements for the successful investigations that vb bipartisan, have a clear scope that they have leadership support and the chairman hear evidence of that and forth as being well resourced which is
something we can talk about in the q-and-a later. investigations led by the special counsel can play a critical role but they are limited in scope and of course remain vulnerable to the executive branch pressure. congress is positioned to consider the solutions to the systemic problems. congressional committees investigated but iran contra 1996 campaign-finance and jack abram lobbying scandals. they need not occur if it be limited to the criminal law enforcement. the committee's work led to the passage of improved campaign-finance laws and other landmark good governance reform legislation including the strength and information act, inspector general's act and the
governor's act. in the wake of the 1996 presidential election whether it made its way into the conference of candidates and political parties proceeded while the justice department successfully obtained convictions and guilty pleas from the same individuals under the same scrutiny. the senate investigation conducted an investigation with numerous prosecutions. as well as the creation of the congressional ethics. it's important to note that sometimes it's more important to get to the bottom of a systemic problem and find solutions than it is to hold one or two individuals accountable in the criminal proceedings. in the affair to convictions are discussed before because of the granted immunity by congress.
in pursuing its own inquiry instead of the congress must after consulting in the justice department determined for itself what the course is in the best interest of the nation. congress can consider a broader set of issues including for the future. significant public policy questions about the attempted interference in the 2016 elections will remain unanswer unanswered. for the application of justice to be politicized one of these questionthat thesequestions wily criminal prosecution and
therefore i strongly encourage you to continue your work with confidence. thank you for the opportunity to testify. >> thank you for the opportunity to offer my thoughts on the subject of today's hearing. i think i may be carrying calls and i talk about the overarching issue with the committees differ and abandoned anyway its investigations because i get the sense everybody has agreed that the committee should not for the reasons that should have been expressed by the speakers that have preceded me.
the functions of th that the coe will perform are different from the functions that the criminal investigation performs. they are looking to gather the facts and report to the american people what happened and to inform and guide their own actions in terms of what legislation may be needed and what corrections and governmental action may be necessary. but the emphasis is forward-looking. what can be done to safeguard the 2018 and 2010 elections by the other foreign powers to help our allies in europe from the same thing happening to them. criminal investigation is obviously very different, they are backward looking, there is
no interest in the public accounting for events. if people are not indicted it is the policy of the department of justice to say nothing about the circumstances surrounding their involvement if any in the events questioned and even successful prosecutions are likely to produce an overview of the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. they might get half of the pieces but you can't make out the picture with half of the pieces, whereas the committee hopefully conducts its investigations and would be in a position to paint a complete picture. the situation that exists on the statute.
the council is limited for the attorney general and its confidential it's not public. they cannot be served by the criminal investigation. and we're it meets the expedition the congressional inquiry needs to proceed without delay. with the destruction of the finding by the admiral that occurred in november 1985 and the decision of the court of appeals in the case was in november of 1991, six years later. so it takes a while. we don't know how long the special counsel's investigation but you can't count on a speedy resolution of the investigation.
at the same time it cannot become divided of the prosecution. that's what happened in the iran contra cases. i'm told in part. it's hard to predict because the two judges can compound any prediction that is made. as a practical matter, immunity is the issue that poses the greatest risk to the success of the investigations. and i'm sure that you'll find
witnesses are unlikely to testify without the granting of the immunity and you're going to have to work in close cooperation with the special counsel and i've made some suggestions about mechanisms that may work for reducing the risk of immunity grants and often damage the prosecution we can talk about during the question and answer period. the point i want to close with a few may find there is an irreconcilable difference between the testimony for the crucial witness in the special counsels need to avoid in order to expose the successful prosecution and the responsibility for balancing the interest of the prosecution against the interest of full disclosure for the legislative purposes. thank you, very much.
>> im professor at the city of baltimore law school. in 1987 i was on the iran contra committee as the deputy chief counsel. for four years here in 11 years in the other place when mr. frey talked about which counsels were over optimistic about the way that immunity would play out in the court, i'm one of the people he was talking about. of the iran contra scandal involved in short the national security council staff, principally over north and
poindexter did off the books investigations contrary to the law coming into the ultra- taboo technology of trading with iran on the arms for hostages. like the imperious today there were two types of thing on as explained by committees like the ones here and by special prosecutors now down there. there are certain problems i want to deal with in the congressional investigations not immunity that make trouble for the investigations and a special counsels. i don't regard them as particularly serious in practice. for example, the financial defendants to get a kind of discovery by seeing the witnesses against them in public hearings, but that hearing is tactical and minimal and it does not change outcomes.
the question by the special counsel and again by the investigative committees does create multiple statements and it could contain something inconsistent in them. again, this is tactical and minimal. to cut to the point of most interest as mr. dry laid out well, the witnesses in iran contra and probably in the russian thing will take the amendment and say they won't testify without immunity. in the case of two thirds of a full committee, two thirds of the committee you don't have to worry that you are going to trip into it because one senator or congressman is an enthusiast. you have to have the full committee. it's going to be solved through. we planned what we did back in iran contra working in consultation with the independent counsel as we have every expectation he would work
in consultation with. let's take out of the 26 witnesses that are immunized, the 24th are not all over north and john poindexter whose testimony we needed and have done by immunity in large measure, witnesses who are not prosecution targets were likely to face prosecution take the fifth because they don't want for the personal reasons to testify. they were loyal back then to the people on the national security side of the administration on iran contra and they will be loyal this time take for example people on the campaign staff of candidate trump. the only way i can say this is
by taking the fifth, so i will take the fifth. there is a proper course for congress. the easiest thing for the witnesses who are most likely and readily taking this when they don't have an actual expectation is to wait until he himself immunizes them as he will end as he wants to get their information and then in consultation with him follow up with your own immunization. there is no prosecution could jeopardize the circumstances. the independent counsel who says of those four roger stone, today's excitement in the news
but then you work with the council and say isn't it going to come at the point they will go ahead and not take the fifth i am saying by the way, that would be the mistake that we made with poindexter. i'm not suggesting that and i'm going to end with a brief comment in the judiciary committee you oversee the fbi, you oversee the administration of the law and define what is criminal. don't give them away to the intel. >> thank you very much. on that note, senator grassley. >> i would like a point of personal privilege to respond to something senator white house said in regards to if we are doing enough to investigate the
firings are just to sho of justt accusation is not true, they get information from government agencies and private individuals. i've even placed more of a hold on the nominees of the senate floor and begin the committee to get the cooperative agencies to respond. including the documents and briefings unfortunately the agencies and private parties still have a lot more to do to respond but we will keep after them. ranking member feinstein and i are in the process of working on the interviews and the staff is supposed to meet with the special counsel's office again this week.
we are methodically moving forward and i think everything that shows up on television sometimes that requires a lot of hard work behind the scenes that is not going on. my first question would be for everybody, but you don't have to repeat from one person with another person says. so, for the whole panel, any and all, excuse from answering congress because they may have evidence relative to another
he retained those copies in fact, and then directing all questions to the special counsel so in the united states worse in 1929 the congressional resolution authorized the appointment of a special counsel said the supreme court upheld the conviction knowing the existence of the special counsel and then to provide any copies of the memo to testify about them
notwithstanding element -- any relevance and the supreme court 1929 interpret it. >> and to conduct investigations in the fact that there was a hearing and with the privilege so that factual scenario that you laid out provide better defense than on production. with up a special counsel's staff so try to understand
what the professor is talking about and make that decision based on the factual record. >> i would not accept the profs explanation but it the special counsel had a concern that is one thing. but the professors freestanding concern seems not to carry very much weight. the special counsel had a concern and to explain that to it and something you should listen to and in devaluate. >> under what circumstances
might congress seek the immunity order from a court from witness' testimony to decline to seek immunity order?. >> from the beginning and regular ones and to be told to notify it and the image that the writers have in mind that makes hour for the of prosecution please do not do that to the witness we may want to go after bigger pressure him.
core is required to give that immunity order with the circumstances. >> so if that's as the law provides that certain amount of time with court action and it may be that the constituencies of the investigation and that they would agree that there would be a time limitation before you wracked for the community. >> senator grassley historians have reviewed
what happened after the everyone can try -- iran contra affair and the lessons learned perhaps the immunized witnesses giving testimony in executive session would help to preserve the prosecution or pushing that specifically for colonel north and to provide testimony in the defense attorneys show the rights of congress for that testimony that you senator have a great history with your current work to fight the recent legal counsel opinion is such important so
to help train congress for that authority oversight there are members of congress set that day restricted access stew make sure you are exerting europe 30 your authority. >> thank you for a the witnesses thank you for joining us the questions in my opening statement with the congressional committee looking at the same piece of evidence.
of the tax code and to get authorization and for that individual but to have a resolution of the senate. >> and there is nothing about a criminal investigator having a piece of evidence that limits congress's ability to its own devices to get the same piece of evidence we are not allowed to go on special counsel door to say what do you have that's interesting. >> but if we find stuff on our own we can get the same documents. >> so with the iran contra i
got oliver north tax records. and got the authority established we did not go to the committee to say give us your copy. it to go through other bits of evidence that the note that director call me to look that was provided to special counsel so we did not have to take that evidence out of the files of special counsel there is a reason we should not have access to the same evidence as special counsel. correct?. >> correct there is no reason for the senate not to have access but if you talk with any other kind of evidence. >> that counsel generated
records rejected the congressional subpoena but they granted the grand jury in the trial subpoena issued with the up coming watergate trial. so there may be examples that dichotomy of the availability of certain types of evidence. >> with that executive privilege claim and the would be learning of the grand jury proceedings learning about the prosecutor's. >> deadly dull with that.
and we can use with a grand jury sitting as the impeachment proceeding to have the ability to receive evidence that the prosecutor has generated in that is the example at that point in time that we provided the court with important evidence including the of a presidential tape recordings that is unavailable at that time.
so the court granted our application based on the need and the constitutional process the materials would be provided. >> thanks for being here today. i want you to imagine you are a senior advisor to the president of the united states. any president. not necessarily this president. with the issue of the of white house with the attorney general to appoint a special counsel and the fbi was investigating, if you were subpoenaed would
you can testify. >> your senior advisor to the president and to be involved in an issue you were involved with an issue that is now being investigated by the fbi -- fbi is special counsel but putting privilege aside there were two privileges one is the attorney privilege when is the executive privilege i am not
sure that i could refuse that. >> here is what i getting to. the i am sure you could talk a long time about the very eloquently but why would anybody, testified? why would anybody testify before congress brought the subject of a criminal investigation so that depends on the nature of involvement for those criminal charges that might be asserting a privilege but if you don't assert the of privilege to have no basis as a citizen of this country. >>.
>> why wouldn't everybody who refuse to cooperate with united states congress?. >> with their without the threat of going to jail i would hope that citizens of this country respect to the congress of the united states to the extent of responding to legitimate questions and is trying to understand is to be involved in a matter. >> but your honor. >> let me finish my question. >> there are two pieces to that psi would come what i testified? that is a
different question and the answer is if you hypothesize and then to protect those certain indications. >> we also have the fifth amendment. >>. >> that would be remotely criminal but had to make that assumption?. >> senator russell think you're talking about hypothetical circumstances it is difficult to answer the question if your senior counsel to the president as one of the few non lawyers in the room but and then to
exert executive privilege? so if the senator is told by their president you're not allowed to call because he is my counsel then it is not a voluntary question by the witness you're asking why would they voluntarily and then to make the point with respect for the institutions. >> but then the senate has the opportunity to refusing to voluntarily testify with the subpoena and if they refuse that. >> i and the stand that. >> if i could have another 30 seconds i will not argue with you. >> we lived in the real world. let's take it out of the
white house. unifies the secretary and the fbi investigator and it is so serious that they appoint the special counsel but if i come to you as be a to say, with united states congress then i feel a lot better. where did you just parachute from? and you will say maybe the fbi thinks differently. so i agree it is good to have the two parallel paths
if they thought that they would go to jail. >> that changes the premise quite substantially and that puts into the question that there is a reasonable basis that we could have been caught up as a target in the investigation. >> there is always a reasonable basis. >> but to take your point during watergate president nixon waived executive privilege. >> so what about whitewater?
>> at all about whitewater but there is nothing determined for the appointment of special counsel. so president clinton handed on a silver platter. so have anything to do with whitewater we don't need to argue that with you. in the tone is incredulous. and then the question migrated to a different suppositions. >>. >> so for the reality is and
that does cooperate and then when it comes time to decide. senator blue with paul?. >> and to have some experience in that area the night begins important for us but that is the granting of immunity. in that is a potential obstacle of the of criminal charges. and then to be familiar with the law as a practical
matter. is based upon your experience what would you recommend as up practical mechanics? should be recharged to a special prosecutor? of those you should not be granted immunity? if somebody is unwilling to testify? i realize that without a wage war in the circumstances you may have difficulty prescribing the general rule but in the sense and with
federation. >> if held the view should assume that is subordinate sublet not have the general rule. >> the special council authorizes you to do that. >> i definitely would if you are discussing that with the special counsel but they have to say. so in some instances to minimize the risk so in some instances for those that were granted immunity and other arabs so with that
privilege as a practical matter and then to plead guilty so to violate the air iran sanctions but also in the russian election with those activities they are investigating you can confine your questions under that subject to stay away from the area as a strong case or to hold off on sentencing. for that area that you're interested in.
likely the immunized testimony will take the testimony of the other witnesses. the end of the grand jury can still be prosecuted. men the same thing can be done in very and that is not as the secrecy of a grand jury i of the key to do that with north or poindexter anyway that is part of was important with iran contra
and without this growing the prosecutorial potential. >> wed you look through the history of the congressional investigation we only have that one example even going back to a teapot to ian and watergate with the '86 campaign finance investigation with abramoff and of those resulted in a problem and there is some thoughtful analysis done on what could be done differently but i do think that part of the situation and the testimony ended up not being that valuable. in to interview those witnesses and to have the
of a the circumstance refusing to be interviewed in advance of the grant of immunity bin normally that would be very on why is the bus you were have the threat of that perjury prosecution so with each and every circumstance i think the only thing you can take from that is what i understand you are in fact, doing witches to meet with representatives of the special counsel that only tuesday conflict also go for
word mention in my opening remarks it is important to speak with one voice to have its act together essentially and then approach the users from special counsel with deference and skepticism. special counsel does not want to give up anything there are many reasons that it should be in and the kurds so each one gets a measure of what it leads. >> for the record i would say which is more important for the investigation. >> at this point which is
confirmed by experience that is the usefulness and how that can be confirmed. >> let me comment on that. >> if you are dealing with oliver north in do not necessarily get the truth from the nsa. >> let me put this into perspective that individual appearing before congress if they believe that can incriminate to you agree
with that?. >> if we ask for documents to incriminate them could they assert that a fourth of the underprivileged?. >> unless producing that document itself is incriminating they may assert a privilege but there is a wide variety of documents. >> you can argue the fifth amendment. >> so if we ask them to do, like any other american citizen because of the fifth amendment privilege and then to give them immunity?. >> that is a remedy.
>> but the other remedy is to moody turban what the special counsel will do with that and by your time. >> is there a campaign privilege? if you were working on a campaign there is no privilege. >> so what they did gore did not do. so they cannot assert campaign privilege. had to grant immunity. >> that is the prudent way.
>> so when it comes to documents former director comey said we have vast for that matter how can you think of a good reason why we should not be allowed to share the memo with the public and then to be expose in front of a congressional hearing?. >> of the department of justice tells us with regard to law-enforcement and what is generated it is possible by helping that is a question that has been resolved. >> there are portions of the of the ball that it could retain. >> that it would have to assert that privilege. >> weld think that could be
used to withhold information from you. of the the public. >>. >> but here's the question. >> he talked about of them now that he made we all want to know what is it that the ball so now you say if he thought it was essential evidence in a criminal case case?. >> so director comey with his testimony as i recall said that he constructed of metal in a way so that it
would not be classified. so i have my doubts if they said anything in that memo that could be shielded. >> that is different than if it is classified. so a conversation between the president and director comey is not classified could that exert executive privilege over the memo?. >> that committee as a whole >>. >> so what we're trying to do the boundaries i'd want to screw up. >> so that permitted way to proceed is to meet with
special counsel to find out if he has specific objections to this committee receiving that memo. >> he is allowed as the ranking germany and the memo >> it is objectionable. the bid to hold that for congress and from those that families they receive them. >> this is very interesting where different committee investigating the same manner. but here's the problem i am aware of the fact that director comey testified and gave information to the ranking member about the
reason he got involved jumping into the clinton e-mail investigation. and before those two committees to say the main reason between the tarmac is to the effect that the russians may have intercepted in the mail with the doj and the dnc with the department of justice and whether that is true or not what type of process would reduce suggest for those two committees to get the information?. >> i must say that this is new information for me so i am not just think about that
because i want to know whether or not the department of justice would compromise so i started over to the senator. >> things for holding this important hearing had i had to leave for a little slow just pick back up where senator graham was asking and that is the issue we have heard many witnesses that refuse do discuss the nature of the private conversation when it has not invoked executive privilege so is there any legal basis in what authorities doesn't
have those compelling issues ? and i'll start with you because you work with my husband. [laughter] >>. >> the strong tradition going back to 1961 to claim executive privilege to be made by the president himself and the explanation for that is 2 million people working at the federal government so that is the short answer people should not claim that unless they can back it up. >> so we have to compel answers?. >> back gaby exercised so much sand and tell -- unless and and tell you have those
documents. >> if you have to you could go to the courts for contempt of congress if they don't subject themselves but also to the point the chairman was raising because of those jurisdictional boundaries those are self-imposed the you could collectively decide to have joint hearings in closed session. >> you just walked into where i was going. >>. >> i can only say that assertion of executive privilege. >> and is kind of bizarre.
>> under the justice department for an opportunity to ask the president of executive privilege but i greeted of president to exercise the privilege with the contents of negotiation as part of president reagan's memo and that is if he wants to invoke the privilege of not. >> it is understood whether or not to invoke the privilege.
>> edo he raises the issue of jurisdiction and glad that senator warner leads the intelligence committee to make as many hearings as public as possible but that focus is on intelligence is to have jurisdiction over the fbi and the justice department to me it seems they should be under the jurisdiction of the full committee and the subcommittee has been incredible trying to lead the way so based on your past experience and what you think matters?. >> and what i said my prepared remarks when it
comes to the special counsel and director comey was fired that was murky at best with the original reason provided by the white house to be interviewed by the president and the media over the last few weeks there has been discussion whether he will fire special counsel muller and that there is some obligation i hope you undertake that to insure the principal that we are a nation of laws followed in practice and that you've
discussed openly and publicly you but consequences they would be to the improper removal of special counsel mahler from doing his job?. >> certainly not under the intelligence committee when negative committee jurisdiction. >> so one of the issues of the activities is russians to fill in the gaps and it made my head spin of the conduct that exist that occurred although i don't
fully know what it was but to be within of jurisdiction of your committee so not to see the duplication of effort. >> and obviously we would do that. >> no doubt that committee has tremendous importance without foreign registration act with so many policy reforms with this committee's understanding so i would encourage because i learned this morning i was glad to see below street journal the house and senate intelligence committee they
will be those dissenting views as a great model if you cannot reach consensus i would encourage you do is to reach out to the committee to have collaboration but to make that more difficult are a the resources that the committee currently has. in the report that we released for best practices one of those central features. >> jedi and the ranking of the rules committee we have had requests from other committees to bulk up the work in this area the we have not gotten one phone judiciary. that could happen and also the rules committee we also have not had a hearing on the rules committee so the
responses to this to protect our elections are really not in the intelligence committee but we are missing that whole part of the discussion into this intelligence investigation when we could be talking about a lot of editing this other than those repeated request and we need to do our jobs appropriately. >> that is one of the reasons they do the senator mccain's request could capture that variety of issues especially those committees that are already active but the iran-contra committee the church will have 133 the benghazi have
46. not to say that the current staff are not fabulous but they are human beings. >> so let me tell you what we have done. we try to find out the tool box of russia and abroad and sell they have been applied here to come up with solutions to the 20/20 problem we have done that with some very good hearings and quite frankly here is my frustration. i cannot imagine a major witness that congress would want. resawed e-mail today everybody wants them to explain what was that about?
i imagine he would be interested. what was your advise us to do?. >> so pretty a close to the top of the food chain and to build an investigation to work your way up to jump over middle management. but i suggest the committee and i don't think it is such a gradient to discuss it but the committee itself needs to get its marching orders
and order and to find agreement. the worse thing that could happen is different voices coming from the same committee is difficult enough as we have heard to have little practical of vice when there are struggles within the congress. so on the investigative parody's question you need to sit down and get your act together to determine what areas of collaboration and cooperation. >> there was already one meeting. [laughter] and there was a series of meetings but pretty much everybody agrees.
so that is a good case what damage does it do?. >> you will not find out and tell you ask that question but i would suggest most respectfully that you not emulate kiddy soccer referee buddy rushes the ball for all of those put aside. >> i could guide agree with you more but to methodically go through this that would be disastrous and no reason to believe that will happen but you don't need to worry about that. >> so when you go to the meeting the people that you
want and the calendar and that negotiation and he says number one and number two. >> whole purpose of that question to suggest that we can move forward and that is the point even though both groups want to go through that you're telling us we have a right to do that. >> does everybody agree with that concept?. >> so if mr. miller tells us we can tell us whether all powers the regis need to do their responsibly. >> also speaking entirely on
criminality you have a broader conception. >> i feet we're talking about will mature and i can understand from his point of view why it would buy from my point i think your vices good to decide among ourselves were really going and trying to find out what the russians did to make sure they don't do it again. that is the goal level will hold deal. >> that they're not subject to the privilege. >> so what we need to do mr. chairman is what we did with 7-eleven commission -- the 9/11 commission to get the public behind us with the public hearings to have the american public realizes
that they actually did their job and it seems to me that oversight comes into potential conflict with the protection of the substance and the content of an executive investigation and the way that i think this can be worked out but i would like your thoughts as we might not be entitled to ask the investigators what they did in the ongoing investigation, but we are certainly entitled to find out whether people were assigned to the investigation how many there were. there's a differencthere is a de person was assigned to read and has 60 people assigned to it not necessarily to pull through the documents that they've collected that were entitled to find out if they did discovery were their subpoenas and did they ever do
any witness interviews it seems those are legitimate questions to ask that don't intrude on the protection for ongoing criminal investigations. none of the questions would seem to me to interfere with the legitimate protection of an ongoing criminal prosecution or investigation from legislative interference. what are your thoughts in that area, what are the type of questions we can ask in the oversight role to issuer the criminal investigations or frankly even civil investigations were neither botched or buried?
>> i can tell you about one that was done on the house side in 2003 by the chair of the government reform and oversight committee. i think whitey bolger was the name that was used she ran into a full claim of executive privilege by president george w. bush at the time. he said it's tradition we don't want to give an honest with you give me the privilege and he said yes i will give you the privilege. the congressman one.
he was willing to go to content and he got the materials. some things were subject from them but his actual transcripts and things that touch the grand jury. that was a remarkable example because it was not that many committee chairs that are interested in getting that kind of retrospective oversight. >> if you have any further comments on the subject i would like to give you the chance to answer with a answer for the record in writing so that we have a good record of that i think it is an important question and it's a little bit of an angle to what else we've been talking about. i would like to close off we talk a lot about immunity as a potential place where congressional investigations can conflict with criminal
investigations. another place we need to be careful is calling a witness who may be a cooperating witness in a criminal investigation unbeknownst to the rest of the world because they could be asked questions here who's truthful answer would reveal the status as cooperators before the investigation wanted that revealed he could face the more or less constant problem of the witness giving multiple testimonies and creating a quality record exit easier for the defense attorneys later to cause trouble. i used to work with a prosecutor that would say i don't need to choose food, you don't want witnesses to have gon come befoe the place and give testimony. other than those areas, immunity which we've talked about.
creating a confused record of multiple testimonies are there any other red flag areas that we should be alerted to? make it a question for the record so we can follow up. >> as a fellow prosecutor, i will tell you my experience tells me the necessity is the mother of invention in virtually all of these categories. all of these things are things that a prosecutor would rather not have happened. he doesn't want what he regards as a premature revelation of a cooperating witness status.
they are remedied by figuring out workouts around the problem. they are remedied by doing the work to make sure the witnesses prepare adequately before he or she is handed off to some other body that is going to take some testimony. >> areas of hazzard not insurmountable hazard. >> exactly. could finish the thought if you are a chief witness and you have your star witness. makes sense to me. thank you all very much. we are going to see if we can come up with a witness list that serves the benefit of the committee to air on the site of