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MSNBC: Rep. Quigley: MSNBC: Quigley: Trump Falsely Believes He Can Use DOJ to Attack His Enemies

Nov 27, 2018
In the News


MELBER: Nick, stay with me, cause I want prosecutor to ride along with a reaction. From Congress tonight, Democratic Congressman Mike Quigley, who serves on the Intelligence Committee, thanks for joining us on this important story, sir.

QUIGLEY: Glad to be here. Thank you.

MELBER: Let me start with the question to you: What is the significance in this New York Times report? Do you see conduct that could be an element of obstruction or that is unlawful?

QUIGLEY: I see -- it depends exactly what Mr. McGahn says to us. I’m very interested in Mr. McGahn testifying before Congress. What were the circumstances? What exactly was said? How did he respond? Did the President talk to anyone else? How far did this action go? Obviously what people need to understand in the bigger picture is, when the President said that he had complete control and authority over the Justice Department, it wasn't just his belief that he could stop an investigation of himself or his friends. It also meant, like a true autocrat, he could attack his enemies, or those who disagreed with him. This is extraordinarily dangerous.

MELBER: Congressman, and you mentioned McGahn, who's a lawyer, they might try to invoke executive privilege the way they did with Steve Bannon and others to block that. Are you prepared when you take the gavels in January to subpoena Mr. McGahn on these issues if he won't come voluntarily?

QUIGLEY: As a true team player, I’m going to work with the chairman to be, Adam Schiff, on the Intelligence Committee and my colleagues there to come up with a working plan. How do we go forward? Where is the Mueller investigation at that time? Where's the Senate and the House investigations.

MELBER: I take that as an answer TBD, and I understand moving judiciously. Let me play for you as well as we look at the import of this story James Comey, who, what everyone thinks of him, and I’ve criticized him with regard to some of his government tenure, there has never been any evidence whatsoever, any grounds for any kind of criminal investigation. It is only according to this reporting that Donald Trump wanted to blackball an opponent and someone that was dangerous to him in the probe, the probe, of course, that your committee is involved with. Take a listen to James Comey's testimony.

COMEY: It's my judgment that I was fired because of the Russia investigation. I was fired in some way to change or the endeavor was to change the way the Russia investigation is being conducted. That is a very big deal. I don't think it's for me to say whether the conversation I had with the President was an effort to obstruct. I took it as a very disturbing thing, very concerning. I was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting, so I thought it really important to document.

MELBER: James Comey providing the facts as he knew them regarding the President's motivations for the firing. In your view, based on what we know, is it reasonable to probe whether Donald Trump was now trying to get James Comey prosecuted and jailed for that same criminal purpose, and if so, is that an impeachable offense?

QUIGLEY: Let's take it one step at a time. Obstruction often comes in a pattern of behavior. I do believe that the firing of Mr. Comey was for that Russian thing. It is part of a pattern of obstruction by the White House, and those complicit with him as part of the House Intelligence Committee, unfortunately, my Republican side. This is just one more element of that, in addition to his various tweets and other actions by the President to object. I ask the American public to be patient. You talked about the "I" word. Let the Mueller investigation be completed. Let us finish this. Let's go -- we're going to get one shot at this to do the right thing. Let's completely investigate this recent allegation and the information from Mr. McGahn and take the American public -- give the American public all the information it needs.

MELBA: Congressman, I know you're speaking colloquially. I want to be clear, we rarely use the "I" word on this newscast. Tonight, we're using it in the context of reporting that Trump's own top lawyer warned him about the "I" word. Warned him this could lead to impeachment proceedings. That's what brought it into the discussion.


MELBER: Before I let you go, and I’m over on time, but I do want to ask you, one of the things that happens in Congress, they set up special committees to investigate things. There's been a lot of talk about Russia collusion in 2016, and Mueller obviously in the lead on that. But don't you think, and I wonder what you and your colleagues are going to do, if we learn that a President, standing alone, was trying to jail the former FBI director and their political opponent, if that was learned about Barack Obama as a goal against John McCain or Mitt Romney, wouldn't that alone require some greater investigation? Is that something the House Democrats should look at as their own special committee? Are we being normalized into this banana republic conduct that is anything but normal?

QUIGLEY: I don't want to diminish what the House Select Committee on Intelligence can do. I have complete faith that if given subpoena power and the ability to investigate this, they will get to the truth. I think any president that does what Mr. McGahn warned against actually completed, that is an extraordinary abuse of power. I am not minimizing this at all. What the President is doing is a pattern of obstruction. But I want us to be thorough and complete. Let's go through with this investigation and take its natural course. I have faith that we don't need a special committee. I do believe the House Committee on Intelligence can do the work.

MELBA: To wrap the news, because we’ve heard so much from you, Congressman, I appreciate you joining us on the big story. You're saying, number one, you want to hear from McGahn, but whether or not you'd issue a subpoena is a larger conversation with the Chair. Number two, you think the Congress will get to the bottom of this, you don't need a special committee. Number three, you view this type of act, if achieved, as a huge abuse of power. I appreciate you breaking some of that news with us. Nick Ackerman, I’m going to come back to you later in the show on this breaking news kind of night. Thanks to you both.