November 01, 2019

Preet Bharara

Former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara says that President Trump should be impeached for abuse of power. Bharara discusses what is ahead in the impeachment proceedings and Attorney General William Barr’s criminal investigation into the origins of the counterintelligence probe. Bharara also addresses his brief tenure in the Trump administration before he was fired.

Read Full Transcript EXPAND

HE WAS THE TOP FEDERAL PROSECUTOR IN DONALD TRUMP’S HOME TOWN UNTIL THE PRESIDENT SAID, YOU’RE FIRED.
THIS WEEK ON ‘FIRING LINE.’
AS U.S. ATTORNEY FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK, PREET BHARARA TOOK ON TERRORISTS MAFIA BOSSES AND CORRUPT POLITICIANS AND WALL STREET INSIDERS.

TODAY WE UNSEALED CHARGES AGAINST SEVEN HEDGE FUND INDIVIDUALS.

THE FIRST MEETING BETWEEN PREET BHARARA AND THE PRESIDENT WAS FINE.

BUT LATER —
I WAS FIRED BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

NOW INVESTIGATING THE PERSONAL ATTORNEY RUDY GIULIANI OVER HIS DEALINGS WITH UKRAINE.

SO YOU DID ASK UKRAINE TO LOOK INTO JOE BIDEN.

OF COURSE I DID.

YOU JUST SAID YOU DIDN’T.

ALL AS IT COMES TO A HEAD.

YOU HAVE A PERFECT — I MEAN PERFECT CONVERSATION.

WHAT DOES PREET BHARARA SAY NOW?

Announcer: ‘FIRING LINE WITH MARGARET HOOVER’ IS MADE POSSIBLE BY THE MARGARET AND DANIEL LOVE FOUNDATION AND ADDITIONAL FUNDING PROVIDED BY — CORPORATE FUNDING IS PROVIDED BY STEVENS INC.

> WELCOME TO ‘FIRING LINE’ PREET BHARARA.

THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

YOU’RE NOW THE HOST OF A PODCAST, STAY TUNED WITH PREET AND A PROFESSOR AT NYU LAW SCHOOL AND AUTHOR.
AND I WANT TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT IMPEACHMENT.

SHOCKING.

DO YOU THINK THERE IS ENOUGH EVIDENCE AT THIS POINT THAT PRESIDENT TRUMP COULD BE
I DO.

WHAT ARE THE OFFENSES OF HIS ABUSE OF POWER?

LOOK, THERE IS A LONG HISTORY OF THINGS THAT HE’S DONE THAT HAVE DOCUMENTED IN THE MUELLER REPORT BUT PUT THAT ALL ASIDE BECAUSE THERE IS A NEW NARRATIVE THAT STARTED DEVELOPING A FEW WEEKS AGO WITH RESPECT TO THE CRANE SCANDAL AND EVEN THOUGH PEOPLE DON’T KNOW AND NOT A TALKING POINT, YOU NEED NOT FOR IMPEACHMENT SHOW A VIOLATION OF A CRIMINAL STATUTE.
THERE ARE OTHER WAYS IN WHICH A PRESIDENT IS IMPEACHED AND IT MAY BE THE CASE THAT A SMALL VIOLATION OF THE LAW AND ACTUAL VIOLATION OF THE CRIMINAL STATUTE MAYBE CONGRESS WOULD FIND IF IT DIDN’T AFFECT THE NATIONAL INTEREST, MAYBE YOU WOULDN’T IMPEACH IN THAT RESPECT.
SO WITH RESPECT TO WHAT HAPPENED WITH UKRAINE, THE FOUNDERS BELIEVED THERE HAS TO BE A PROCESS BY WHEN YOU REMOVE A PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES AND FOR AMONG OTHER THINGS ABUSE POWER AND BEFORE YOU GET TO THE QUID PRO QUO WITH RESPECT TO CRANE THE IDEA THAT THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES CALLS UP ANOTHER PRESIDENT OF A KUSH, IN THIS CASE PRESIDENT ZELENSKY OF UKRAINE, TO ANNOUNCE AN INVESTIGATION OF A POLITICAL RIVAL BY JOE BIDEN AND THAT IS A ABUSE OF POWER AND LEGITIMATE FOR MEMBERS OF CONGRESS VOTING ON IMPEACHMENT AND TALKING ABOUT CONVICTION AND THE POSSIBILITY OF THAT LATER, THIS IS A LEGITIMATE EXERCISE OF REPRESENTATIVES AUTHORITY AND OBLIGATION TO FIND THAT TO BE ABUSE OF POWER THAT IMPEACHMENT IS PROPER.

AND EXPLAIN WHY IT IS ABUSE OF POWER.

BY DEFINITION THAT IS ABUSING YOUR POWER BECAUSE YOU’RE NOT DOING IT IN THE INTEREST OF YOUR COUNTRY.
YOU’RE TRYING TO GET SOMETHING FOR YOURSELF.
WE HAVE CAMPAIGNS FOR THAT.
WE HAVE CAMPAIGN FINANCE DISCLOSURE LAWS FOR THAT AND ALL SORTS OF WAYS TO REGULATE THAT.
IT WOULD NOT BE THAT DIFFERENT FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES CALLING UP A SITTING U.S.
ATTORNEY SOMEWHERE, THE JOB I USED TO HAVE AND SAY, HEY, YOU KNOW, WHAT I NEED YOU TO OPEN UP AN INVESTIGATION AGAINST ELIZABETH WARREN OR KAMALA HARRIS OR ANYONE ELSE.
YOU COULD MAKE AN ARGUMENT THAT THAT IS NOT VIOLATION OF THE CRIMINAL STATUTE, BUT I DON’T THINK THAT IS THE KIND OF COUNTRY ANYONE WANTS TO LIVE IN AND IF THAT IS HAPPENING BEFORE YOU GET TO THE ISSUE OF A QUID PRO QUO AND ADD ON TOP OF THAT CLEAR CONTINUING GROWING EVIDENCE THERE WAS AN EXCHANGE OR EXTORTION GOING AND THE PRESIDENT WAS ASKING THE PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE TO DO IT AND OPEN THE INVESTIGATION BUT UNDER PENALTY OF NOT GETTING $419 MILLION IN MILITARY AID.
IT HAS BEEN APPROVED BY CONGRESS.
SO THAT IS EXTORTION.
AND THERE IS EVIDENCE OF IT.
AND PEOPLE HAND PICKED BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES AND MIKE POMPEO AND OTHERS SAID, WE THOUGHT IT WAS APPROPRIATE AND IT LOOKS LIKE A QUID PRO QUO.
EVERY DAY SOMEONE COMMITS A QUID PRO QUO.
YOU GO INTO A STORE AND YOU BUY A COKE AND YOU GIVE THEM SOMETHING AND THAT IS TOTALLY FINE AND THE PRESIDENT DOES THAT AND SENATORS DO THAT AND WE SEE CHANGE YOUR FOREIGN POLICY BUT YOU CAN’T USE THE PRIST EENL AND POWER AND AUTHORITY OF YOUR OFFICE TO SAY DO THIS THING THAT HELPS ME PERSONALLY, NOT THE COUNTRY, BUT HURTS A POLITICAL RIVAL OF MINE OTHERWISE WE WON’T GIVE YOU $400 MILLION IN AID.
WE’VE ONLY HAD IMPEACHMENT TWICE IN THE HISTORY OF THE COUNTRY AND NONE OF THEM INVOLVE THIS KIND OF INTERACTION WITH A FOREIGN POWER THAT THE FOUNDERS WROTE AT GREAT LENGTH AT THE START OF THE REPUBLIC, THE THING THEY WERE CONCERNED ABOUT WAS FOREIGN INFLUENCE AND ENTANGLEMENT.

AND WASHINGTON IS CLEAR ABOUT THAT.
TELL ME, DO YOU THINK CLINTON’S BEHAVIOR WARRANTED IMPEACHMENT?

I DON’T KNOW.
I WAS FOLLOWING AS A CITIZEN.
I WASN’T FOLLOWING AS CLOSELY AS I FOLLOW MORE RECENT THINGS.
I THINK THERE IS AN ARGUMENT TO BE MADE THAT HE COMMITTED THE CRIME OF PERJURY AND YOU COULD DECIDE AS A KSH LEGISLATOR, AS A MEMBER OF CONGRESS, YOU WOULD IMPEACH.
THE PRESIDENT SHOULD BE HELD TO A HIGH STANDARD AND IF THE PRESIDENT COMMITTED A CRIME AND IT IS PERJURY AND IT RELATED TO A PERSONAL MATTER THAT YEAH THEY COULD BE IMPEACHED.
AND THE CONCLUSION THAT IS BETTER IS THAT AT THE END OF THE DAY IT DIDN’T INVOLVE THE NATIONAL INTEREST, IT WAS A PRIVATE THING.
SHOULDN’T HAVE HAPPENED.
THERE ARE OTHER PENALTIES.
CHARGE THE PERSON AFTER HE LEAVES OFFICE.
YOU COULD TAKE AWAY HIS BAR LICENSE WHICH I THINK HAPPENED BECAUSE IT DIDN’T HAVE THE SAME IMPLICATION OF INVOLVEMENT OF AMERICA AND AMERICAN POWER.

SO WE’RE HEADING INTO THE PUBLIC PHASE OF THE IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY WHERE THE PUBLIC IS GOING TO BE ABLE TO HEAR WITNESS TESTIMONY AND IN A WAY THEY HAVEN’T YET?

RIGHT.

HOW DO YOU THINK THE PROCESS IS GONE SO FAR IN THE SENSE THAT MUCH OF IT HAS BEEN BEHIND CLOSED DOORS AND THE LITTLE THAT THE PUBLIC HAS LEARNED IS THROUGH LEAKS, WHAT IS YOUR PERCEPTION OF HOW THIS HAS UNFOLDED TO THIS POINT?

IT IS BEEN LIKE THREE WEEKS — FOUR OR FIVE WEEKS AND HASN’T BEEN THAT LONG SO ALL OF THIS DISCUSSION AND CRITICISM OF HOW IT HAS GONE IS SHORT-SIGHTED BECAUSE IT HASN’T BEEN THAT LONG, NUMBER ONE.
NUMBER TWO, I RAN INVESTIGATIONS NOT OF THIS MAGNITUDE OBVIOUSLY BUT WHEN I WAS A CHIEF COUNSEL ON THE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE 15, 12 YEARS AGO.
AND YOU KNOW HOW WE DID THEM?
WE HAD DEPOSITIONS BEHIND CLOSED DOORS AND STAFF MEMBERS LIKE ME, UNKNOWN AND NAMELESS AND HARD-WORKING STAFF MEMBERS WOULD TAKE LONG DEPOSITIONS OF PEOPLE UNDER OATH WHO WERE SPECIAL WITNESSES AND DO IT FOR HOURS AND HOURS AND THEN THERE WILL BE PUBLIC HEARINGS COMING FOLLOWING THAT BUT WE DIDN’T WASTE THE PUBLIC’S TIME AND THEN THE MEMBERS OF THE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE WILL HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY BASED ON WHAT THE STAFF HAD DONE, ASK MORE DIRECTED QUESTIONS, STREAMLINE QUESTIONED AND THE PRELIMINARY WORK TO BUILD THE CASE SO THAT OTHER PEOPLE CAN LATER DO THEIR JOB IN PUBLIC AND THAT WILL HAPPEN NOW.
BUT A SENATE TRIAL IS NOT LIKE A CRIMINAL TRIAL.
I’LL GIVE YOU A WAY IN WHICH IT IS RADICALLY DIFFERENT.
IN A CRIMINAL TRIAL, THE JURORS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THE CASE OR MUCH LESS GO ON TELEVISION SHOWS AND TALK ABOUT IT, THEY ARE NOT ALLOWED TO KNOW THE DEFENDANT, LITERALLY EVERY SINGLE SENATE, ALL 100 OF THEM ARE ON THE RECORD IN SOME WAY FOR BEING FOR OR AGAINST THE PRESIDENT AND EVERY SENATOR SHOULD BE STRUCK FOR CAUSE BUT THE FOUNDERS ENVISIONED THIS SYSTEM SO IT IS NOT FAIR AND NEUTRAL IN THE WAY THAT WE THINK OF A REGULAR CRIMINAL TRIALS.
AND THAT SHOULD BE POINTED OUT.
IT IS A GOOD POINT TO MAKE.
BUT THAT IS NOT THE PROCESS THEY ENVISIONED.

IT IS A POLITICAL PROCESS AND HAMILTON MADE IT CLEAR THAT —
IT IS NOT ABOUT — IN THE SAME WAY I SAID IT IS NOT ABOUT CRIME NECESSARILY, PART OF THE REASON IS IT IS NOT A CRIME BECAUSE THE END RESULT IS NOT PRISON.
THE END RESULT IS BEING FIRED FROM YOUR JOB.
WHICH IS ANOTHER BASIS TO SAY IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE A TECHNICAL VIOLATION OF THE STATUTE FOR IT TO RISE TO THE LEVEL OF IMPEACHMENT.

I WANT TO PUT YOU IN A POSITION THAT IS PROBABLY NOT ONE YOU ARE IN OFTEN OR THINK ABOUT OFTEN.
BUT IMAGINE THAT YOU WERE DEFENDING THE PRESIDENT.

YEAH.

WHAT IF YOUR THE PRESIDENT’S ATTORNEY RIGHT NOW, WHAT ARE YOUR SERIES OF CHOICES IN TERMS OF MAKING A PLAUSIBLE DEFENSE FOR HIM.

THAT IS A GREAT QUESTION.
GOOD DEFENSE LAWYERS AND I WRITE THIS IN MY BOOK, GOOD DEFENSE LAWYERS COULD SEE THINGS FROM TIME TO TIME.
AND YOU SAY MY CLIENT IS TERRIBLE, HE’S A BAD GUY AND I’VE SEEN — I’VE SEEN BRILLIANT DEFENSE LAWYERS SAY THIS, YOU MAY NOT LIKE HIM OR THINK WHAT HE DID WAS NOT GOOD OR MORAL OR ETHICAL BUT IT WASN’T A CRIME.
AND THAT IS WHY HE DID IT AND YOU HUMANIZE THE PERSON.
I THINK THAT THESE HOUSE MEMBERS AND SENATORS, THEY’RE IN A MIND SO THEY CAN’T DO THIS BUT WHAT THEY SHOULD DO IF THEY HAD A REASONABLE ALLY IN THE PRESIDENT, SHOULDN’T HAVE CALLED THE UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT AND NOT A GOOD THING AND DIDN’T KNOW WHAT HE WAS DOING AND USE THE NON-INTENTIONAL CRIME DEFENSE AND HE DOESN’T KNOW WHAT HE’S DOING DEFENSE AND SAY SO IT IS BAD AND HE SHOULDN’T DO IT AGAIN AND HE NEEDS TO GET — SAT DOWN BY THE CHIEF OF STAFF AND STOP MAKING THESE KIND OF CALLS BUT YOU KNOW WHAT, YOU CAN’T IMPEACH THE PRESIDENT FOR THIS AND MAKE THE ARGUMENT AS FAR AS YOU CAN BUT YOU CONCEDE.
BLUE BUT THE PROBLEM IS SAYING TO EVERYBODY TO SAY IT WAS PERFECT.

THE PRESIDENT CAN’T CONCEDE.
HE’LL GET YOU FIRED —
THAT IS THE ARGUMENT MADE ON BEHALF OF PRESIDENT CLINTON.
WHATEVER YOU MIGHT THINK OF HIM.
HE ALLOWED HIS ALLIES TO MAKE THE ARGUMENTS.
NO ONE CONDONES WHAT HE DID AND SHOULDN’T HAVE HAD THE RELATIONSHIP OR LIED ABOUT IT AND SHOULDN’T HAVE LIED ABOUT IT UNDER OATH BUT, MY GOD, ARE WE REALLY GOING TO DERAIL A PRESIDENCY OVER THIS THING.
AND THAT HAS PERSUASIVE FORCE AND I THINK IF PRESIDENT CLINTON HAS TAKEN THE SAME POSITION AS TRUMP WITH RESPECT TO HIS CONDUCT, IT WAS BEAUTIFUL, A PERFECT RELATIONSHIP AND PERFECT STATEMENT, I THINK THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN MORE VOTES TO CONVICT.

THAT IS A COMMUNICATION STRATEGY NOT A LEGAL TACTIC.

YEAH.

WITH THE PRESIDENT’S LAWYERS ARE SAYING THAT HE HAS BROAD PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

THEY TAKE EXCESSIVE POSITIONS.

THAT IS WHAT I WANT TO ASK YOU ABOUT.
REMEMBER BACK ON THE CAMPAIGN WHERE WHERE PRESIDENT TRUMP SUGGESTED HE WAS GOING TO BE ABOVE THE LAW IN ALL CASES.
LET’S TAKE A CASE.

THEY SAY I HAVE THE MOST PEOPLE.
WHERE I COULD STAND IN THE MIDDLE OF FIFTH AVENUE AND SHOOT SOMEBODY AND I WON’T LOSE ANY VOTERS OKAY.
IT IS INCREDIBLE.

SO INTERESTINGLY THIS COMES UP IN COURT INCREDIBLY RECENTLY WHERE MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEY IS SUBPOENAING TRUMP TAX RECORDS AND THE LAWYERS ARGUED THAT THE PERSON WHO SERVED AS THE PRESIDENT WHILE IN OFFICE ENJOYED ABSOLUTE IMMUNITY FROM CRIMINAL PROCESS OF ANY KIND.

OF ANY KIND.
NOT JUST INDICTMENTS BUT ALSO INVESTIGATIONS.

ALSO INVESTIGATIONS.
IT IS PREPOSTEROUS.

ULTIMATELY THE JUDGE SHOT THAT DAY.
BUT WHAT HAPPENED?
IF THE PRESIDENT SHOT SOMEBODY IN THE MIDDLE OF FIFTH AVENUE.

I THINK HE WOULD BE CHARGED BY WHATEVER D.A. WAS RESPONSIBLE IN THE COMMUNITY —
BUT THE ARGUMENT THE LAWYERS ARE MAKING IS THAT HE’S COMPLETELY IMMUNE.

THAT ARGUMENT IS GOING TO FAIL AND IT FAILED TO IMPRESS THE JUDGE.
THE KIND OF THING THAT I THINK EARNS NO CREDIBILITY ON THE PART OF THE PRESIDENT’S DEFENDERS.
THERE ARE ARGUMENTS TO MAKE.
THESE ARE NOT GOOD ONES.

SO WHAT IS A GOOD ARGUMENT?

I THINK THEY WOULD DO BETTER TO KEEP THEIR MOUTH SHUT A LITTLE BIT.
AND AS I SAID, CONCEDE THE CONDUCT WAS NOT GREAT BUT THEN HOLD THE LINE AT WHETHER OR NOT THAT CONDUCT MEETS WHATEVER THRESHOLD.
AND —
ABUSE OF POWER.

ABUSE OF POWER OR ANYTHING ELSE.
AND ALSO, THE PROBLEM, ON WHATEVER PLAIN YOU WANT TO CONSIDER IT, MORAL, ETHICAL, LEGAL, POLITICALLY, OPTICS, IT IS INDEFENSIBLE FOR THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES TO HAVE MADE THOSE PHONE CALLS AND TO DEFEND THEM SO VIGOROUSLY AND WHAT DOES A DEFENSE LAWYER DOES WHEN HE HAS TERRIBLE FACTS, YOU HAVE TO ARGUE THE STANDARD.
YOU HAVE TO SAY IT IS NOT GREAT OR GOOD.
YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE DONE IT.
HE DOESN’T KNOW WHAT HE’S DOING BUT IT DOESN’T RISE THE LEVEL OF A CRIME OR AN IMPEACHABLE DEFENSE AND NOT SOMETHING TO TEAR THE COUNTRY APART OVER AND IT IS THOSE RHETORICAL ARGUMENTS THAT YOU MAKE BECAUSE THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED SATES — HE TRIED TO MAKE ENTERTAINMENTS, I CARE ABOUT CORRUPTION.
THERE IS NO REASON TO CALL ANOTHER COUNTRY ABOUT CORRUPTION AND HE MENTIONED ONLY ONE FAMILY.
THE BIDEN FAMILY AND THE GREATEST COINCIDENCE IN HISTORY OF AMERICA IS HIS CHIEF POLITICAL RIVAL.
REALLY?
NOBODY BUYS THAT KIND OF ARGUMENT AND YOU LOSE CREDIBILITY AND IT FRUSTRATED PEOPLE.

AND ONE OF YOUR PREDECESSORS, RUDY GIULIANI —
YES.

RUDY HAS NOW IT APPEARS UNDER INVESTIGATION SINCE LAST MARCH BY THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK.
WHAT IS YOUR ASSESSMENT BASED ON WHAT YOU KNOW, EITHER OPEN OR NOT, OF HOW MUCH TROUBLE IS RUDY GIULIANI?

I DON’T KNOW.
AND I’M NOT IN THE BUSINESS OF SPECULATING ON WHETHER OR NOT SOMEBODY WILL BE CHARGED. IT COULD BE GIVEN HOW SLOPPY IT APPEARS THAT RUDY GIULIANI HAS BEEN, IT COULD BE THAT HE WAS CONCERTING WITH PEOPLE WHO WERE ENGAGED IN BAD CONDUCT.
THERE IS ALSO — AGAIN FROM WHAT IS REPORTED IN THE PAPERS, HE’S BEING LOOKED AT UNDER FARRAH, FOREIGN AGENT REGISTRATION ACT.

THAT HE DIDN’T REGISTER AS A LOBBYIST.

AND HE SAID HE WAS DOING IT AT BEHEST OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
I DON’T KNOW HOW YOU LOBBY ON GOVERNMENT AT BEHEST OF YOUR OWN GOVERNMENT’S HEAD.
THAT DOESN’T MAKE A LOT OF SENSE.
SO I DON’T KNOW THAT THERE IS ANY PARTICULAR JEOPARDY BUT HE CERTAINLY HAS GOTTEN OFF THE STAGE.

IN OTHER WORDS HE STOPPED TALKING PUBLICLY.

RECENTLY.

SINCE HE REALIZED HE WAS UNDER INVESTIGATION BY THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT.

I DON’T KNOW IF THERE IS A CONNECTION THERE.
IT COULD HAVE BEEN THAT PEOPLE COULD HAVE THOUGHT HE WASN’T BEING PARTICULARLY HELPFUL TO THE PRESIDENT.

I MAY HAVE BEEN BORN YESTERDAY BUT — I WANT TO TALK ABOUT ANOTHER INVESTIGATION HAPPENING RIGHT NOW WHICH IS IN COMMONLY REFERRED TO THE INVESTIGATION OF THE INVESTIGATORS AND INVESTIGATE THE INVESTIGATORS WHICH IS AN INVESTIGATION BY THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT TO REVIEW THE COUNTERINTELLIGENCE OPERATION INTO THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN IN 2015 AND 2016.
IS THERE A THERE-THERE.
CERTAINLY IT IS HAPPENING AND ATTORNEY GENERAL BARR HAS REPORTED A RESPECTABLE U.S.
ATTORNEY, JOHN DURHAM, WHO IS CONSIDERED TO BE BIPARTISAN, NON-PARTISAN AND HONEST BROKER —
JOHN DURHAM IS RESPECTED GUIDELY.
BUT THAT IS A GOOD THING THAT BARR APPOINTED DURHAM TO TAKE OVER THAT ROLE.
WHY, THEN, BILL BARR, IF THE REPORTS ARE CORRECT, IS FLYING ALL OVER THE WORLD TO BE PERSONALLY INVOLVED IN SOMETHING LIKE THAT IS BEE FUDDLING TO ME.
THE WHOLE POINT OF HAVING SOMEBODY WIDELY RESPECTED AND NON-PARTISAN IS TO GIVE YOURSELF DISTANCE FROM THAT SO YOU DON’T CAUSE PEOPLE THINK THIS IS POLITICAL DECISION AND YOU WALK BACK AND STEP AWAY.

AND YOU’RE REFERRING TO BILL BARR FLEW TO ITALY WITH JOHN DURHAM FOR SOME UNCLEAR REASON.

YOU DO A GOOD THING AND SAY I WANT PEOPLE TO HAVE FAITH AND CONFIDENCE THAT THIS INVESTIGATION OF THE INVESTIGATORS AS WE’VE BEEN CALLING IT IS BEING DONE IN GOOD FAITH.
THE PROBLEM IS WHEN YOU DO INVESTIGATIONS WHEN IT LOOKS LIKE THEY’RE BEING DONE FOR POLITICAL REASONS AND JUSTICE MUST BE DONE AND SEEN TO BE DONE AND IT ALL STINKS BECAUSE THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, THE MOST POWERFUL PERSON IN THE KURN WITH THE LARGEST BULL HORN IN THE WORLD KEEP CLAMORING FOR IT AND THEN IT HAPPENS.
MAYBE IT SHOULD HAPPEN.
BUT BOY DOES IT STINK TO THE MINDS OF ORDINARY NONPARTISAN AMERICANS AFTER THE PRESIDENT SAID IT HAPPENS AND IT IS CLEAR EVERYONE IN THE VICINITY OF THE FBI AND THE DOJ, THE BOSS WILL BE PLEASED IF IT HAPPENS.
SO MAYBE IT IS APPROPRIATE TO OPEN UP AN INVESTIGATION AND INVESTIGATE THE INVESTIGATORS BUT THE PROBLEM IS THE PRESIDENT TAINTS ALL OF IT.
HE INFECTS ALL OF IT BY MAKING IT SEEM CLEAR IN A HE WANTS TO DO IT FOR VINDICTIVENESS.

DO YOU THINK, JUST IN YOUR ESTIMATION, THE INVESTIGATION OF THE INVESTIGATORS EFFORT IS POLITICAL?

IT LOOKS POLITICAL.
MAYBE IT IS NOT.
IT IS HARD TO SEPARATE ANYTHING OUT WHEN THE PRESIDENT IS BEING SO POLITICAL ABOUT IT.
THIS IS — THIS GOES BACK TO THE QUESTION WHAT IS THE LINE BETWEEN LAW ENFORCEMENT AND POLITICS AND THE REASON WHY WE’VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT IT, ONE OF THE REASONS I MAY HAVE BEEN ASKED TO GO IS THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES CALLED ME ON THE TELEPHONE ON MARCH 9th OF 2017 AND I DON’T THINK IT WAS APPROPRIATE.
I THOUGHT THAT WAS A LINE CROSSED AND HE SHOULDN’T BE CALLING THE LOCAL UNITED STATES ATTORNEY WHO — WHO HAS JURISDICTION OVER HIS PERSONAL INTERESTS AND BUSINESS INTERESTS AND FOUNDATION AND EVERYTHING ELSE, YOU HAVE TO CREATE A WALL BETWEEN THESE THINGS.
DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY TIMES BARACK OBAMA CALLED ME IN SEVEN YEARS?
ZERO TIMES.
DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY PRIVATE CONVERSATIONS I HAD WITH BARACK OBAMA IN SEVEN YEARS?
ZERO.
AND THAT IS HOW IT SHOULD BE.
IT IS ONE THING TO TALK ABOUT ATTORNEY GENERAL ABOUT RESOURCES AND PRIORITIES AND GETTING ALONG WITH WHAT THE AGENDA FOR THE ADMINISTRATION IS ON CRIME.
IT IS ANOTHER THING TO BE CALLING — GOING AROUND THE ATTORNEY GENERAL.
CALLING A LOCAL UNITED STATES ATTORNEY TO CULTIVATE HIM TO MAYBE DOING YOUR BIDDING IN THE FUTURE.

SO THIS ISN’T THE FIRST TIME OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES SAID HE WON’T PARTICIPATE OR COMPLY WITH ANY OF THE INVESTIGATIONS AND WE HAVE SEEN IN THE PAST THE PRESIDENT STONEWALL THE HOUSE INVESTIGATION AND IT HAPPENS THAT IN 1974 ON THE ORIGINAL ‘FIRING LINE’ HOSTED BY WILLIAM BECKLEY JR., RICHARD NIXON’S VICE PRESIDENT, GERALD FORD, SIX WEEKS BEFORE HE RESIGNED FROM OFFICE ON THIS PROGRAM DISCUSSING EXACTLY THAT ISSUE.
I WANT TO YOU TAKE A LOOK.

OH, MY GOODNESS.

MR. VICE PRESIDENT, HAVE YOU AT ANY POINT ASKED THE PRESIDENT WHETHER HE WILL COMPLY WITH THE SUPREME COURT DECISION?
HAVE YOU PERSONALLY ASKED HIM?

I HAVE NOT.

WHY NOT?

I THINK THAT IS A JUDGMENT FOR HIM TO MAKE.

HE’S ALREADY SAID THAT IN HIS JUDGMENT THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH IS PERSONIFIED BY THE PRESIDENT AND NOT SUBJECT TO THE WILL OF THE CONGRESS.
BUT HE DOES NOT NEED TO TURN OVER THE TAPES OR THE OTHER MATERIALS SUBPOENAED BY THE HOUSE COMMITTEE BECAUSE IT IS A SEPARATE BRANCH OF GOVERNMENT.
YOU ARE THEN LEFT IN THE POSITION WHERE THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE HAS NO MEANS OF OBTAINING THE EVIDENCE IT FEELS NECESSARY TO REACH A JUDGMENT.
THIS PRESIDENT HAS BECOME A LAW UNTO HIMSELF.
HOW CAN YOU THEN EXPECT THEM TO REACH ANY SIGN OF INTELLIGENCE DECISION ON HIS FACE.

THEY HAVE TURNED OVER BETTER THAN 20 OF THE TAPES AND TURNED OVER TRANSCRIPTS OF UP TO THE 44 THAT WERE ORIGINALLY ASKED FOR.
NOW, I HAPPEN TO THINK THAT THE PRESIDENT, NUMBER ONE, OUGHT TO ABIDE BY THE SUPREME COURT DECISION.
NUMBER TWO, I THINK HE OUGHT TO BE AS FORTHCOMING AS POSSIBLE IN MAKING TAPES AVAILABLE THAT ARE RELEVANT TO THE IMPEACHABLE PROVISION IN THE CONSTITUTION.

OKAY.
WELL, ULTIMATELY WHAT HAPPENS CENTS SUPREME COURT RULES THAT RULES THAT NIXON HAS TO TURN THE UNRAVELING OF HIS PRESIDENCY AND HIS RESIGNATION.
IN THE CONTEXT OF CURRENT, IS THERE A SMOKING GUN LIKE THE NIXON TAPES OR COULD THERE BE.

I DON’T KNOW.
IT REMAINS TO BE SEEN.

WHAT ABOUT THE TAPE OF THE PHONE CALL.

THE SPECULATION IN THE LAST DAY IS THAT THE TRANSCRIPT OF THE CALL, SO-CALLED TRANSCRIPT OF THE CALL BETWEEN PRESIDENT TRUMP AND PRESIDENT ZELENSKY OF UKRAINE IS NOT COMPLETE.
AND THE PRESIDENT LITERALLY KEEPS GOING IN FRONT OF MEDIA SAY IT IS A WORD BY WORD BY EXPERTS AND IT SAID ON THE DOCUMENT ITSELF IT IS NOT A COMPLETE TRANSCRIPT AND THEN FINALLY YOU HAVE THE DISCREPANCY BETWEEN HOW LONG THE DOCUMENT IS AND HOW LONG THE CALL WAS.
SO IS THERE A RECORDING OF THE CALL?
IT WOULD BE INTERESTING TO HEAR?
IS IT LIKE THE 18 MINUTES IN WATERGATE?
I DON’T KNOW.
BUT THERE COULD BE THINGS TO MAKE THINGS LOOK LIKE A COVER-UP, YEAH, THAT IS POSSIBLE.

I WANT TO ASK YOU ABOUT HUNTER BIDEN WHO HAS SUGGESTED MAYBE HE DID MAKE A MISTAKE BY DECIDING TO SERVE ON THE BOARD OF THE BURISMA, THE UKRAINIAN ENERGY COMPANY THAT PAID THEM TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS WHILE HIS FATHER WAS THE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UDS AND PRESIDENT OBAMA’S POINT PERSON ON UKRAINE.
LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT WHAT HE SAID.

YOU KNOW WHAT, I’M A HUMAN.
AND YOU KNOW WHAT, DID I MAKE A MISTAKE?
WELL MAYBE IN THE GRAND SCHEME OF THINGS, YEAH.
BUT DID I MAKE A MISTAKE BASED ON SOME UNETHICAL LAPSE, ABSOLUTELY NOT.

SO OF COURSE THERE IS CLAMORING FROM THE OTHER SIDE TO INVESTIGATE THE BIDENS.
ALL RIGHT.
BUT WHAT IS IT THAT WOULD PUT THIS TO REST IN THE PUBLIC’S MIND?

I DON’T KNOW IF THERE IS ANYTHING THAT WOULD SATISFY SUB SETS OF PEOPLE IN THE COUNTRY BECAUSE THEY ARE SO POLARIZED AND DO PEOPLE YELL LOCK THEM UP TO THE PRESIDENT AND LOCK HER UP TO HILLARY CLINTON AND THESE ARE SO POLITICIZED THAT THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO SUBSTITUTE THE CRIMINAL JUDGMENT FOR THE POLITICAL PREFERENCES AND WANT TO BELIEVE SOME THINGS ARE TRUE.

WHAT IS THE EFFECT OF THAT CORROSIVENESS ON THE PUBLIC’S UNDERSTANDING OF HOW OUR LEGAL SYSTEMS WORK.

I THINK IT UNDERMINES PEOPLE’S TRUST IN THOSE INSTITUTIONS WHEN YOU BEGIN TO THINK THAT SOME PEOPLE GET AWAY WITH THINGS AND THINK THAT SOME PEOPLE ARE CAUSING INVESTIGATIONS TO HAPPEN ON THE BASIS OF BEING A POLITICAL RIVAL OR MAKING THEM GO AWAY BECAUSE YOUR A POLITICAL FRIEND.
AND BY THE WAY, WE SHOULD BE CLEAR THAT WHATEVER HUNTER BIDEN DID OR DID NOT DO OR A CONFLICT OF INTEREST OR A ETHICAL OR LEGAL VIOLATION OF SOME SORT, WHAT PRESIDENT TRUMP DID, I’LL SAY SOMETHING RADICAL.
EVEN IF HUNTER BIDEN HAD BROKEN A NUMBER OF LAWS, THAT DOESN’T EXCUSE THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES FROM ENGAGING IN EXTORTION TO HAVE THAT CASE INVESTIGATED, RIGHT.
IF THE PRESIDENT CALLED ME AND SAID, START INVESTIGATING SO AND SO BECAUSE I DON’T LIKE THAT.
THAT DOESN’T MAKE IT RIGHT FOR THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES TO CALL FOR THE INVESTIGATION.
THOSE THINGS SHOULD HAPPEN IN THE ORDINARY COURSE AND THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES SHOULD STAY OUT OF IT.

IF YOU BELIEVE THE PRESIDENT HAS COMMITTED IMPEACHABLE OFFENSES, DOES HE DESERVE TO BE REMOVED FROM OFFICE?

YEAH, SO IMPEACHABLE OFFENSES, THE TERMINOLOGY IS WEIRD, RIGHT.
WHEN OUR OFFICE INVESTIGATED SOMETHING, WOULD YOU SAY THE INDICTABLE OFFENSE THAT, DOESN’T MEAN YOU CONVICT, THAT MEANS THERE IS PROOF BEYOND SOME LEVEL, WHICH IS PROBABLE CAUSE, AND THEN WHEN YOU GET TO TRIAL YOU HAVE TO PROVE IT BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT TO A JURY.
NOW GENERALLY SPEAKING PROSECUTORS IN MY OWN LINE OF WORK, YOU JUMP TO THE FINAL THRESHOLD.
YOU DIDN’T INDICT GENERALLY, ONLY ON PROBABLE CAUSE.

BECAUSE YOU DIDN’T THINK YOU WOULD GET —
YOU HAVE TO GO TO TRIAL.
AND IF YOU DON’T HAVE THE EVIDENCE AT THE END OF THE DAY, YOU IMPEACH.
THIS IS A SHORTHAND FOR SAYING SHOULD HE BE CONVICTED AND REMOVED FROM OFFICE AND I THINK IF YOU IMPEACH THE PRESIDENT, ON THIS EVIDENCE, WE’LL SEE WHAT HAPPENS IN THE SENATE, BUT I THINK THE REASONABLE VOTE FOR A SENATOR IS REMOVAL.

SO THAT IS HOW YOU WOULD VOTE IF YOU WERE A SENATOR.

I DON’T KNOW.
I NEED TO SEE THE EVIDENCE.
LOOK, IT IS STILL PRETTY EARLY.
WE HAVE TO SEE WHAT THE VOLUME OF THE EVIDENCE IS AND WHAT DEFENSES ARE.
AND YOU HAVE TO ALSO SEE THE PUBLIC SENTIMENT.
IN THE ORDINARY CASE, PUBLIC SENTIMENT DOESN’T MATTER.
IT IS THE FACTS AND RULES AND LAW.

BUT IF YOU BELIEVE THERE IS ALREADY AN ABUSE OF POWER, REMOVAL IS THE ONLY REASON —
I DO.
BUT I HAVEN’T SEEN EVERYTHING.
MAYBE THERE IS ARGUMENTS OR NEED A BETTER SET OF LAWYERS TO MAKE THESE ARGUMENTS WE’RE TALKING ABOUT AND BE PERSUADED OTHERWISE.

TO THE EXTENT THERE ARE 20 SENATORS TO BE CONVINCED OF THAT POSITION YOU JUST ARTICULATED, DO YOU THINK THAT THERE IS ENOUGH EVIDENCE?

HERE IT IS THE PROBLEM.
TO TALK REAL FOR A SECOND, IMAGINE THERE ARE 20 SENATORS WHO IN THEIR CONSCIOUS THINK THE PRESIDENT SHOULD BE REMOVED AND UNFIT FOR OFFICE AND THEN, BOY, WE’D BE MUCH BETTER OFF IN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY AND AS A COUNTRY AND WORLD IF MIKE PENCE WERE THE PRESIDENT, NOT DONALD TRUMP.
THOSE 20 SENATORS TODAY ALTHOUGH THEY HAVE THAT VIEW, AND THAT IS HOW THEY WOULD VOTE THEIR CONSCIOUS, WON’T VOTE AGAINST THE PRESIDENT BECAUSE THEY HAVE A POLITICAL CONNECTION AND POLITICAL FEAR AND A PRESIDENT WHO THEY KNOW WILL RETALIATE AGAINST THEM.
THAT IS ANOTHER WAY THIS WHOLE PROCESS IS UTTERLY DIFFERENT FROM HOW A CRIMINAL TRIAL WOULD PLAY OUT.
THE IDEA THAT A DEFENDANT MIGHT BE IN A POSITION TO INTIMIDATE THE JURY, POLITICALLY OR OTHER WISE, WOULD CAUSE THE DEFENDANT TO BE REMANDED AND THE LAWYERS TO BE DISBARRED.
NONE OF THAT IS HAPPENING HERE.
AND THE PRESIDENT MADE IT CLEAR THAT ANY SENATOR WHO SUGGESTS HE DID SOMETHING WRONG IS IN A HEAP OF POLITICAL TROUBLE AND ON THE EVIDENCE AND ON PUBLIC SENTIMENT AND WHAT THE VOTERS IN THEIR STATES THINK AND ALSO WHAT KIND OF PRICE THEY’LL HAVE TO PAY IF THEY GO AGAINST THE PRESIDENT.
IT IS NOT A REAL TRIAL AT ALL.

SO IT’S NOT A REAL TRIAL, ISN’T THE BETTER OUTCOME TO ALLOW THE ELECTORATE TO DECIDE —
BECAUSE YOU HAVE A — THERE IS AN ARGUMENT FOR THAT BUT THERESY CONSTITUTIONAL PROCESS AND AT SOME POINT AND YOU COULD SEE THAT FOR ANYTHING, ANY KIND OF IMPEACHABLE OFFENSE, AT SOME POINT CONGRESS NEEDS TO ASSERT ITSELF.

PREET BHARARA, THANK YOU FOR COMING TO THE ‘FIRING LINE.’

APPRECIATE IT.

THANKS.