Quigley Discusses Mueller’s Testimony with CNN

Quigley Discusses Mueller’s Testimony with CNN

BLITZER: Let’s go to a member of the House
intelligence committee, Democratic Congressman Mike Quigley of Illinois who did some of the
questioning today. Congressman, thanks so much for joining us. QUIGLEY: Thank you! BLITZER: You asked Robert Mueller if he was
disturbed by Donaldd Trump’s public encouragement of Wikileaks during the 2016 Presidential
campaign, let me play that exchange you had with Mueller. [clip]
QUIGLEY: “This just came out… Wikileaks, I love Wikileaks.” -Donald Trump, October 10, 2016; “This Wikileaks
stuff is unbelievable… It tells you the inner heart, you gotta read
it.” -Donald Trump, October 12, 2016; “This Wikileaks
is like a treasure trove.” -Donald Trump, October 31, 2016; “Boy, I love
reading those Wikileaks.” -Donald Trump, November 4, 2016. Do any of those quotes disturb you Mr. Director? MUELLER: I’m not sure and I would say um –
QUIGLEY: How do you react to those? MUELLER: It’s – problematic is an understatement… BLITZER: Mueller went on to say, Congressman,
that he was worried that kind of encouragement could give some hope or some boost to what
is and what should be, he said, illegal activity. What did you make of that response from the
former Special Counsel? QUIGLEY: It was nice to see him open up. I think he was a little reserved in the rest
of this hearing. I think all this – it’s important to remember
– it’s also on the heels of my reminding him that as CIA director, Mr. Pompeo called Wikileaks
“a hostile intel agency.” We gotta remember, they’re dangerous, they
are a threat to the American way to life and our security, and here you have a President
of the United States praising them, and I suppose now calling all that news “fake news.” I welcomed the Special Counsel opening up,
I think his years of law enforcement reminded him of how dangerous Wikileaks is. It gave him an opportunity to say what the
American public needed to hear. BLITZER: Mueller was clearly disturbed by
that kind of behavior from the Trump campaign, Congressman, but do you think he adequately
explained his decision not to prosecute for that kind of conduct? QUIGLEY: Look, I have all the respect in the
world for the Special Counsel. There are a few things that still trouble
me. I thought that he bent over backwards not
only not indicting the President of the United States but refusing to come out in terms of
whether or not he obstructed. He clearly could have done that, it was just
as he said – an abundance of fairness. He doesn’t indict the President’s son because
he was ignorant of the law, and of course today he talked about this, he refused to
subpoena the President of the United States because of time constraints. This is the most important investigation of
our lifetime. Whether or not – the President of the United
States gets to decide whether he responds to a subpoena because he’ll act out poorly
and fight this out in the courts, that was the wrong choice. BLITZER: At times, it seemed like Mueller
wasn’t necessarily entirely familiar with sections of his 448 page report. Do you believe he had full command of the
facts? QUIGLEY: Look, this was a tough day for him. It’s not just 7 hours in front of an often
hostile audience, the first half of this was absolutely brutal. He had my Republican colleagues yelling at
him for 4 and a half minutes and when he attempted to answer they would interrupt them. They were extraordinarily disrespectful to
him. They have absolutely no respect for someone
who had, coming into this investigation, the highest credibility on a bipartisan basis,
a war hero, and a true American. BLITZER: You’re among, at least by our count,
93 House Democrats who want to begin formal impeachment proceedings, but most lawmakers
in your own party don’t want to go down that path, at least not yet. Do you think Mueller’s testimony today changed
enough minds in your party to build momentum towards impeachment? QUIGLEY: I think it begins organically from
the public. Obviously we know that only about 3% of the
American public had read the report before today, so the fact that they got 7 hours or
reinforcement on that will certainly help. It takes a long time to move people to move
that needle. Obviously, they’re concerned about the front-liners
in those districts where people haven’t decided. And we also have to remember that a lot of
this was poisoned by the fact the first time people heard about this report, it came from
the Attorney General telling people, lying to the American public, about what was in
the report, saying that the President was exonerated. That’s a lot to overcome, never mind the 3
years in which the President obstructed the investigation and worked hand in glove with
people like Chairman Nunes to defeat every effort to find out what took place. BLITZER: The President, as you just heard,
is taking a victory lap right now. He’s saying this whole thing for the Democrats
was an embarrassment, a waste of time, the Democrat’s hurt themselves very badly, he
went on and on and on. Do you worry that the testimony today from
Mueller may have backfired? QUIGLEY: Look, if all you take from this testimony
today was the fact that the Russians attacked our democratic process, and that process they
invited. They incorporated the assistance they got
from the Russians into their campaign plan. Nobody called the FBI, and in fact they attacked
the FBI. If that helps the President, well then our
country has bigger problems. BLITZER: Do you think Mueller’s reluctance
to go beyond the scope of his report underscores the need to bring in witnesses like the former
White House Counsel, for example, Don McGahn? QUIGLEY: I think it does. I think the bigger part of that – well look,
this is the most important investigation and report of our lifetime, but as important as
that is what is not in there. The Special Counsel referenced the counterintelligence
information, the questions of the possibility of money-laundering. Was the President of the United States, or
is the President of the United States compromised? That affects our national security. So, that’s why this still has to go forward. The fact that we were obstructed all along,
and that the Special Counsel wasn’t looking into the financial aspects tells us there’s
still much work to do. I’d like to bring in the FBI director to get
questions. What are they doing on the counterintelligence
investigations, where are they, and how are they affecting our national security? BLITZER: So, what’s your strategy now, where
do you go from here? QUIGLEY: Look, everyday in this investigation
is important. But it’s like a football game when someone
says “that was the most important play of the game,” until the next play. The investigation continues because the work
really matters. The issues of counterintelligence should come
first. BLITZER: Alright, Congressman Quigley, thanks
so much for joining us. QUIIGLEY: Thank you.

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