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CNN: Quigley Discusses Second Summit with Kim Jong Un & Michael Cohen’s Testimony Before HPSCI

Feb 22, 2019
In the News

BLITZER: Joining us now, Congressman Mike Quigley, a Democrat who serves on the House Intelligence Committee. Congressman, thanks so much for joining us. What would President Trump have to accomplish in this second summit with Kim Jong-un for you to visit -- to view it as a success? 

QUIGLEY: Look, I wish the president well. This is, under the best of circumstances, an extraordinarily difficult set of circumstance. I share the concerns that the president would make concessions without checking with his advisers, and, more importantly, working with our allies in the region. It's important to recognize a couple things, though. No matter what they agree to, this all goes through Beijing, and to a lesser extent, Moscow. Unfortunately, they haven't been showing a great willingness to make the accommodations we need to force the hand there.  And, finally, it is very hard for me to imagine that the North will ever give up these weapons. It is going to take a whole 'nother level of pressure exerted on a worldwide basis with our allies and with China and Russia. So any movement toward that end would be welcome and seen as a victory. I, again, share the concern of the advisers and others that the president, who would like to get something accomplished, given the noise and everything else that's happening in his world, to distract from other considerations. 

BLITZER: Yes, I have been told by experts the North Koreans are very sensitive to the fact that Moammar Gadhafi of Libya gave up his nuclear program, and we all know what eventually happened to him. They're very sensitive to that. Let's turn, Congressman, to the investigations into President Trump that are under way right now. "The New York Times" just reporting that Michael Cohen, his former lawyer, has been speaking to the Southern District of New York, the U.S. attorney there, about irregularities within the Trump Organization, the family business, including insurance claims. Do you predict other avenues of investigation will continue, even after the special counsel, Robert Mueller, concludes his work, presumably in the coming days?

QUIGLEY: Oh, absolutely. If the president or anyone else imagines that this is somehow magically over when the special counsel files his report, he's sadly mistaken. We know of a number of other criminal investigations that are taking place. The fact that this report will reveal extraordinary information that, when Congress eventually gets, it will have to address, and we simply don't know what the full scope of the special counsel's investigation involved, and what is left, what gaps exist for Congress to investigate. One of the things we have learned, what we will be learning with Manafort filings today, Mr. Cohen's testimony next week, and the oversight investigation into Saudi Arabia and General Flynn is -- let me put it this way. Richard Nixon said the American public has a right to know if their president is a crook. We have a pretty good idea that the president was surrounded by crooks. How far that went into the White House, we're going to learn, especially now that we have the gavels.  But I think what's more important is, how did those financial dealings by Manafort, by Flynn, by Mr. Cohen and others affect our foreign policy and kept us safe?  We have learned in previous filings of the connections with Mr. Kilimnik and a Ukrainian peace plan favorable to the Russians. We're going to learn from Mr. Cohen hopefully more about the Trump Tower Moscow meeting, and the fact that the president, as candidate, was seeking a relief from sanctions so that his deal could go forward.  So, not just, is the president involved in these dealings? It's, did it impact national and international policy? 

BLITZER: I know you're going to be questioning Michael Cohen behind closed doors, your House Intelligence Committee, next week here in Washington. Are there restrictions what you can ask him?

QUIGLEY: I'm not aware of how the restriction -- I'm aware that there's concerns and restrictions that involves the meeting that will be in public. Some of that has to do with the classified nature...

BLITZER: That's the House Oversight Committee. 

QUIGLEY: That's correct. In the meeting he has with the House Select Committee on Intelligence, I'm not personally aware if there are restrictions on what he's willing to answer. Given that it's a classified setting, I would like to think he'd be more willing to talk about everything, but also obviously matters that dealt with the connections between himself or other Trump associates and the Russians, how financial dealings worked with them. And the Trump Tower Moscow meeting obviously is of great concern. So I think there's a lot of questions out there. I'm hoping that he's willing to cooperate with us as well. And I don't believe this will be a contentious hearing. I take Mr. Cohen at his word that, when he joined the Trump world, he joined the world of darkness, and he wants to come out from that darkness. And it's my desire that this be a cooperative meeting and that a large part of what Mr. Cohen wants is the American public to understand what he was working with and just who the president of the United States is.

BLITZER: Cohen will be testifying Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday before various House and Senate committees. Congressman Quigley, thanks so much for joining us. 

QUIGLEY: Glad to be here. Thank you.