CNN: Quigley Shares Concerns Over Acting AG Whitaker’s Role in Mueller Probe
BERMAN: President Trump in the clearest terms yet says he will likely not sit down for an interview with Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s team.
TRUMP: I think we’ve wasted enough time on this witch hunt and the answer is probably we're finished.
BERMAN: “Probably we're finished.” Joining me now is Democratic Congressman Mike Quigley of Illinois and a Member of the House Intelligence Committee. Congressman, thank you for being with us. Do you think Robert Mueller should issue a subpoena to force the President to testify?
QUIGLEY: I thought he should in the first place. I think he was doing everything he possibly could to show respect for the White House. I think a lot of this will depend on the answers that the President has given to the Mueller investigation. But I do believe that the investigation has absolutely every right to subpoena the president to sit down and answer these questions. The Supreme Court has ruled twice now on civil matters and we would assume a criminal matter has a greater emphasis that the President is not above the law and has to answer these questions.
BERMAN: Of course, my understanding is that now the Acting Attorney General, Matt Whitaker, would have to approve any subpoena. Do you believe that this man would approve such a thing?
QUIGLEY: You know, I heard what the President said about Mr. Whitaker and his efforts here. he said he wouldn't attempt to influence his decisions. The double speak runs long and hard here. He put somebody in place who has been openly critical of the Mueller investigation, firing Mr. Sessions or forcing him out. He puts somebody in place who he knows he will do his bidding and then he says he won't interfere with him. The American public needs to be aware that the risk of constitutional crisis is great and senate leadership has failed to step up. The only Republican Senator I know who has stood up is unfortunately going to be leaving the Chamber come the end of the year.
BERMAN: Have you seen any evidence yet, Congressman? Matt Whitaker has been in place for nearly two weeks, it will be two weeks on Wednesday, and that's a period of time for the Special Counsel to take action. Have you seen any evidence that he has interfered with the investigation at all?
QUIGLEY: No. I think it's a timing sequence that the President is aware of. He has long shown his ability, desires and willingness to fire Mr. Mueller. I think he was held back by his own administration. He finally, right after the election, decided the best thing he could do was to get rid of Mr. Sessions. They put somebody in place who has been critical of the investigation, and I think quite honestly and quite cynically they are waiting a short period of time before Mr. Whitaker does something following the President's orders.
BERMAN: Just to be clear, because I do want to get this out there, you have not seen anything Mr. Whitaker has done yet, is that is that correct?
QUIGLEY: That's correct.
BERMAN: I want to put up on the screen so everybody can see what the President wrote about the man who will be your chairman of your committee, Adam Schiff. He basically he went after Adam Schiff for criticizing the acting attorney general and also compared the acting attorney general to the Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the president incorrectly brought up the fact that Mueller was not approved by the senate, he doesn't need to be approved by the Senate, of course. Mueller was approved by the Senate when he was running the FBI. What do you make of the new nickname that the President has given the man who will be your chairman?
QUIGLEY: I feel like I’m back in seventh grade here where we have juvenile name calling. This is important stuff. We’re talking about protecting the rule of law and the best the President can do is start calling people names. It’s extraordinary at this point in time. Again, I encourage the American public, this is the time to focus. The President waited until after the mid-term to take these actions and to start going after the next chairman. We have important stuff to do. National security issues that we need to work on in a bipartisan basis, we need to restore the fractured relationship with the intelligence community – the community that keeps us safe – we need to protect the Mueller investigation, determine where the House and Senate investigations have left off, what work remains to be done, and in the midst of all this the president resorts to such actions. It's extraordinary.
BERMAN: You sat through the House Intelligence investigation for the last two years when Republicans ran it. Now the Democrats will be in charge – what do you think are the one or two areas you want to go back again and refocus on that you think, in your mind, were missed opportunities?
QUIGLEY: I think there's any number of people who need to be subpoenaed because they refused to answer questions. There are several people who subsequent activities, revelations have come out --
QUIGLEY: We want to bring them back to answer questions.
QUIGLEY: let me just finish the thought. we also have to talk about money laundering. that's an issue where we barely scratched the surface. there are any number of people who are less than candid with it, Mr. Cohen, I believe, the president's son, and our friend from Blackwater, Eric Prince, who flatly refused to answer certain questions, so let's see where the general investigations are. I think we need to focus on money laundering, Deutche Bank financed the Trump finance world for the last 10 years before he became president. They were fined over $600 million for illegally laundering money with the Russians. There's a lot to be done, but I think we do it at a steady pace. Let's just look where the Senate investigation is, the House investigation left off before the Republicans shut it down. Let's see what work remains to be done. We will take it up from there. More importantly we need to protect the Mueller investigation.
BERMAN: You did raise the President's son, Donald Trump Jr., you would like to see him before your committee again?=
QUILGEY: I just think there’s a number of things that have taken place, information we got about the Trump Tower meeting for example, what the President knew about it and when he knew it and what communication took place between the President and his son? I just believe those issues were unclear when that line of questioning was complete. But I think we take this at a steady pace. Let's just take what’s left to be done and focus on that. The American public finds out exactly what took place and who was involved with the process.
BERMAN: Congressman Mike Quigley of Illinois, thank you very much for being with us.