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MSNBC: Quigley: Manafort’s Lies Underscore Importance of Regaining Our Oversight Authority

Nov 28, 2018
In the News


HAYES: Joining me now, Democratic Congressman Mike Quigley from Illinois, Member of the House Intelligence Committee, as someone who sat through hearings, circumscribed as they were and sort of disrupted as they often were, is the information we're learning now surprising to you? Expected? What do you think?

QUIGLEY: You know, I don't know if anything surprises me anymore. You said this is new to you—maybe you just haven't been around the block enough to have seen someone like this—let me assure you, no one has seen anything like this. And I had a ringside seat to the testimony of everybody we're talking about with the exception of obviously Mr. Corsi. It is a very sad chapter in American history. And today's bizarre circumstances, I’m thinking of Hunter Thompson, the great gonzo journalist, what comes to mind is when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. We've got some strange people. The word crack pot was used—I'm not going to use the word crack pot—these are very odd characters and somehow they found each other all under the Trump campaign, working with an entity which for decades had been our greatest adversary, the Russians. And somehow that all worked together toward the Trump victory in November of 2016. It's just beyond belief.

HAYES: You're on that Intelligence Committee, of course, the inquiry that was pursued was controversial, to say the least, many felt it was circumscribed, disrupted, subverted. I saw this bit of news today that the House Democrats plan on going after a sort of very obvious red flag, a piece of information which is that after Don Jr. sets up the meeting with Emin Agalarov, the famous Trump Tower meeting, he gets on the phone with Emin Agalarov, they set up the meeting. He then makes a call, that call was to a blocked number, and the Republicans in the majority when they're running the committee didn't want to know what that number was, my understanding is you do. What do you do about that?

QUIGLEY: Look, I think, let me quote of all people Steve Bannon. I think in the book, “Fire and Fury," he said there was zero chance that dad didn't know about this meeting in one way or another. I don't think we leave our common sense at the door when we investigate these things. Right? This is not a weak father/son relationship. So it's all the more reason for us, as an independent, separate government to conduct and regain our oversight authority. And in January, under Democratic control, we have subpoena authority, subpoena the documents like this, and key people to come back under subpoena, because they didn't have to answer our questions, and often they didn't. They didn't have to appear. And they were often allowed to follow the White House gag order. This wasn't an investigation of an independent sort. It was obstructed from its very beginning. My Republican colleagues, unfortunately, were complicit with the administration in obstructing the investigation and working hand in glove with them to make this as difficult as possible, and that's just that. But to attack the ability and the independence of the Justice Department and the intelligence community to do their job. In the final analysis what we may say about all this is what the Russians did to our country was an extraordinary attack. Mike Morell called it the political equivalent of 9/11, but the Trump administration's response may have a greater long-term impact on the rule of law in our country.

HAYES: Congressman Mike Quigley, thank you so much.

QUIGLEY: Anytime, thank you.