Not surprisingly, most of the conversation had to do with the reports from the Mueller investigation last week, including information about multiple contacts between Russians and people close to the president during the campaign.
Joining Raddatz today were Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT).
Rubio, in response to a question on whether Trump was lying when he said there was no contact between anyone on his campaign and Russians was all over the map. Basically, we know more now than we did but we don't know everything and I support the investigation and always have, you know but we need the truth and all of the facts and did I tell you I support the investigation? And, oh by the way, the Senate Intelligence Committee is also great, and working bipartisanly hard on stuff but everyone needs all the facts. And so on. And so on. And so on.
Raddatz pressed him after the rambling non-response, noting there were at least five people who were 'receptive' to Russian outreach: Cohen and Manafort, Flynn and Papadopoulos, and Donny Jr., and could all of that really be coincidence?
Look... there's no way to spin this... this has not been a positive development for the people that are involved in this. But I just think, and we have learned over time, that it is important for all of this to be out there before us, within full context, compared to other information, before we begin to make political judgments.He added that no one's above the law and stuff, but political judgments are different, and we need all of the info, and so on. And so on. .
Raddatz tried to get Rubio to say whether he agreed with the president or Mueller's team on Michael Cohen's statements; there was more call for more information, including about corroboration, but that:
And now you have the testimony of a witness who is facing criminal charges and looking for leniency vs. someone who denied that it occurred the way they said it occurred.It was at this point that I wondered why he was booked on so many shows today - and then, I found out. He did offer an opinion -- alert the media! -- on whether Trump should pardon Paul Manafort.
I think it would be a terrible mistake if he did that, I do. I believe it would be a terrible mistake. You know, pardons should be used judiciously. They're used for cases with extraordinary circumstances... I don't believe that any pardon should be used with relation to these particular cases. Frankly, not only does it not pass the smell test, I just -- I think it undermines the reason why we have presidential pardons in the first place. And it think, in fact, if something like that were to happen it could trigger a debate about whether the pardon powers should be amended given these circumstances.Moving on to Sen.Murphy, he wouldn't say whether impeachment was the right path, as was suggested by Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), but that
We have reached a new level in the investigation. The special counsel is starting to show his cards, and these are very serious allegations. This is a president who is now named as an unindicted co-conspirator, the allegation is he committed at least two felonies to manipulate the 2016 elections.But, he also noted, Rubio is not wrong that all of the facts need to come out. He just got there a whole lot more quickly, and with a whole lot more clarity. As to the question if there are any impeachable offenses,
So listen, I think you are beyond the stage that led to impeachment proceedings against President Clinton, whether or not you think that was worthy of impeachment or not. I still think it's important for Congress to get all of the underlying facts and data and evidence that the Special Counsel has before we make that determination.He also suggested that all of those facts that he and Rubio were talking about need to come, and soon.
I mean I think it's important for the special investigator to give Congress what he has sometime early in 2019 so that Congress can make a determination. If the president did, in fact, collude with Michael Cohen, it doesn't really make sense for Congress to get that report from the special investigator in 2020, we need that next year. We need that as soon as possible.Raddatz asked if Murphy still felt that Mueller's investigation needs 'protection' and if he would consider holding up a budget vote in order to pass such a protection bill.
You know, I am certainly going to look at all of our options to try and force a vote on legislation that would protect the special counsel. I'm also worried about General Kelly leaving the White House. I imagine that he was one of the people that was attempting to convince the president not to fire Mueller, to not issue pardons as a means of trying to influence the investigationAnd who replaces Kelly, Murphy says, is important and potentially makes his legislation more important too, as Mueller could be at increased risk. He also thinks things have moved into a new phase, and
...this investigation is now starting to put the president in serious legal cross hairs, and he should be worried and the whole country should be worried... Listen, nobody's rooting for the president to go down in this manner. This isn't good for democracy but this investigation may ultimately lead to Congress taking action.Murphy had previously said he wasn't planning on running for president in 2020; Raddatz wanted to know if that was still true. He was sort of non-committal, talking generally about 2020 but about himself saying only
...we need a candidate who's 100% authentic, who is tough and can challenge this president on both domestic policy and foreign policy and I'm simply going to make sure that we have a candidate that fits that bill.He Rubio'd on any of the potential candidates Raddatz mentioned - Biden, Sanders, Warren, Booker - but said a big field is good and that there "a lot of different models that would eventually work," whatever that means.
See you around campus.