MSNBC: Quigley: We Believe Witnesses Other Than Cohen Were Untruthful Before Our Committee
HUNT: Welcome back. Michael Cohen's guilty plea for lying to Congress is getting some interest from the incoming House majority. That’s an understatement. One House Democrat this week referred to Cohen as the “perfect witness” and many are calling for him to return to Capitol Hill. Joining me now from Chicago is Democratic Congressman Mike Quigley of Illinois who sits on the Intelligence Committee. Congressman, great to see you again, thanks for coming on.
QUIGLEY: Thank you. Glad to be here.
HUNT: So let's start with what we now know Michael Cohen lied to your committee about. We know that the communications continued beyond January into June of 2016 during the presidential election. Is there anyone else that you think testified before your committee who lied about that set of facts?
QUIGLEY: Well, it certainly calls into question everybody involved in the Trump financial world who testified, because obviously he's acknowledging something the President himself denied. The President said he had zero business interest in Russia, zero, nothing at all, and obviously knew it went on much longer than that. And yet, the President said that Mr. Cohen was lying. Later that day his attorney, Mr. Giuliani said “Well, we recollect the same time frame and the same recollection of what took place.” So I think anyone in the Trump financial world including the President's son or anyone else who would have been involved in those, they would be fair game to talk about this time frame.
HUNT: Adam Schiff, the incoming chairman of the committee has said that one of the first things you all are interested in doing is sending the transcripts of your interviews over to Robert Mueller. Which of those transcripts do you think is going to be of most interest to the Special Counsel?
QUIGLEY: I think that's our first order of business. We asked in September Mr. Nunez, the Chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, and his colleagues to turn the transcripts over immediately to the Special Counsel and they rejected that and of course, we need their votes to do so. Why in the world would anybody reject that? If what we're trying to do is get to the truth and Mr. Mueller clearly has the quickest lane to that truth, why would you deny his ability to connect the dots if you weren't concerned about him getting to the truth, or you weren't concerned about other people including Mr. Cohen perjuring themselves. There’s a lot of testimony there including Mr. Cohen’s, which I would like to know more about, and I think it's going to take some consultation and cooperation, hopefully with special counsel and Mr. Cohen to get to all this. Who else communicated with the Russians? How do those communications involve the Trump financial world? Who met with the Russians? When did Mr. Cohen meet with them if at all and what were those circumstances? There’s a lot of missing pieces, there’s a lot of connect the dots to do, there’s any number of transcripts, which would be helpful to Mr. Manafort, I mean to Mr. Mueller and vice versa.
HUNT: I want to show you a little bit of what Adam Schiff had to say about potentially other situations where the committee might have been misled. Take a look and we'll talk.
SCHIFF: I think Michael Cohen’s guilty plea also underscores the importance of something else, and that is we believe other witnesses were untruthful before our committee. We want to share those transcripts with Mr. Mueller. In this case, the Special Counsel only had the advantage of written testimony that the witness made public. We think that the Special Counsel ought to have the benefit of the transcripts, not only Mr. Cohen’s testimony but other witnesses like Roger Stone who may similarly have tempted to mislead the committees.
HUNT: He mentions Roger Stone in particular. Do you have reason to believe that Roger Stone lied to Congress?
QUIGLEY: I do. I saw his interview earlier and I’ve seen the number of those. I was one of those who questioned Mr. Stone before Congress. My first reaction was if they ever make a movie out of this entire mess, only Roger Stone can play Roger Stone. I’m reminded that as the campaign went forward, he was bragging before various groups about his connections and communications, his friendship with Julian Assange and his relationship and, again, communications with WikiLeaks. We now know more than he let on. There are any number of witnesses who were similarly situated. Subsequent information and documentation we received led us to believe that they were perjuring themselves. So that will come. The fact is when the Ranking Member, Mr. Schiff, becomes the Chairman in January, our first goal is to protect the Mueller investigation. Our second task is to see what still needs to be done. Part of that will be releasing those transcripts and bringing people in who either were lying to us, who were less than candid, or who refused to answer questions because they were under a White House gag order that Chairman Nunes allowed – just unheard of in a congressional testimony.
HUNT: To continue through part of your witness list, do you have reason to believe that Don Jr. lied to your committee?
QUIGLEY: I wouldn't say that I know for sure that Don Jr. lied to us. I think that he had some failures of memory. I wouldn't be surprised if lied he us. Some circumstances about his communication with his father about the meeting at Trump Tower – that's what comes to mind first and foremost. I think Steve Bannon said in the book something that was pretty accurate, given what we know about the President and his son's relationship, that there was zero chance that dad didn't know about the Trump Tower meeting or they didn't go there directly to the father's office afterwards to talk about what took place. And of course, we know there was this decision and co-operation with the President to have some sort of statement made up about what took place at the Trump Tower meeting. So I think it's very likely. I’m not going to say for certain until we get these gentlemen back before us.
HUNT: Yeah, there’s also a lot of focus on this blocked phone call that came from Don Jr.'s phone. What tools do you have at your disposal to figure out if that was in fact a call to the President?
QUIGLEY: Well, there are a lot of witnesses that we weren’t allowed to call, weren’t allowed to subpoena so when they testified, they didn't have to answer questions and there are a lot of documents that we were not allowed to subpoena including those telephone records that would allow us to find out who that blocked call was between, Trump Jr. He said at one time he didn't communicate with anyone then and another round of testimony he wasn't certain if he talked to anybody about it. Again, given their relationship, it's strange credibility … his credibility to believe he didn't talk to his father before or shortly thereafter.
HUNT: All right, interesting times ahead. Congressman Mike Quigley, thanks very much for coming on sir.
QUIGLEY: Thank you. Take care.