Quigley on CNN: There is obvious evidence of collusion and obstruction
COOPER: Joining me now are two key Democratic members of Congress. Representative Ro Khanna of the Oversight and Reform Committee. And Representative Mike Quigley, who sits on the House Intelligence Committee, was in that tense hearing today. Congressman Khanna, do you have any concerns that the President and his allies have essentially been able to define the Mueller report based on the four-page Barr summary? And that, by the time whatever is released in the Mueller report, whether it’s all 300 pages or 250 pages—whatever it may be—that people will essentially have already made up their minds and not care?
KHANNA: Anderson, I do. It’s highly unfair because they’re attacking Adam Schiff’s integrity without letting Adam Schiff or the American people read the report and read what Mueller found. You know, when Bill Clinton was investigated and the Ken Starr report took place, that report and all the grand jury hearings were public. People got to decide. That’s all we’re asking for. Before casting aspersions, let the people at least read the report.
COOPER: Obviously, that was a different—it was an independent counsel—a different kind of set-up. Congressman Quigley, you were in the room today when Chairman Schiff responded to the calls to step down. He seemed clearly emotional toward the end. Seems to take it, certainly, personally. What has it been like within the party, and what is the strategy going forward to push back on the President’s narrative about the report?
QUIGLEY: I think the first thing is to point out that it would be funny, if not tragically ironic, that Mr. Nunes led this argument today. When the Russians attacked our democratic process, Chairman Nunes leaped into action and attacked the intelligence community and the independence of the Justice Department with his memo and his now infamous ride to the White House. And the rest of the Republicans have just equal blame involved here. During the middle of this investigation, they dumped it and they shut it down. They refused to call key witnesses to subpoena key documents. They went along with a White House gag order so people didn’t have to answer questions. Again, it’s very cold comfort to the American public that the prosecutor investigating this couldn’t find a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. There is obvious evidence in plain sight and in previous court filings of collusion and obstruction.
COOPER: Congressman Khanna, I had Steve Bannon—talked to him last night— former White House chief strategist. He said that he thinks the president is going to go what he described as “full animal” on his opponents now. He also said he thinks this next year is going to be the most politically divisive year in American history since the Civil War, including the Vietnam War. I want to play something that the president said tonight about Adam Schiff.
TRUMP (clip): Little pencil neck Adam Schiff. He’s got the smallest, thinnest neck I’ve ever seen. He is not a long-ball hitter. But I saw him today. “Well, we don’t really know. There could still have been some Russia collusion.” Sick, sick, these are sick people. And there has to be accountability because it’s all lies, and they know it’s lies.
COOPER: Congressman Khanna, he’s saying what Adam Schiff said today are all lies.
KHANNA: I had lunch with Adam yesterday and he was a bit amused that the president was insulting his golf game and insulting his drive. But the serious issue here is why is the president attacking a separation of powers. And for Steve Bannon, who believes the president should be tough in negotiating with Xi Jinping, and this president can’t take the heat of a divided government, and separation of powers, and a tough press. That’s American democracy. You know, Harry Truman said, “If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.” If this president’s tough, he should respect the process.
COOPER: Congressman Quigley, without the full report, without the full facts, how do you fill in the blanks here? I mean, you say there’s still evidence of collusion. Obviously, it wasn’t enough for Mueller. The president hasn’t seen the report, doesn’t have the answers. He’s already filling in the blanks anyway. How does a message of ‘wait and see’ sell better than what the president is saying?
QUIGLEY: I don’t know what else to do but to file a necessary subpoena next week when they don’t comply with this. Clearly, one of the things that we would get from this paper is the fact that there are gaps. We absolutely have no idea where the special counsel went on money laundering, for example. Knowing what we know about the fact Deutsche Bank did most of the financing for Trumpworld leading up to his presidency and that they were also fined $600 million for illegally laundering money with the Russians. What do we know? What’s left to do? What’s still in those gaps? And I think the answers will come with the report and a frank discussion with Mr. Mueller himself.
COOPER: Congressman Quigley, I appreciate it. Congressman Khanna as well. Thank you very much. One thing that is certain tonight…If and when the full Mueller report is released, the president’s critics and supporters will seek to spin what’s expected to be a tremendous level of detail, depending on how much is released. How much detail the public is prepared to decipher and digest, and for how long, that of course remains to be seen.