Roundtable II: This Week in Politics

Rep. Peter King, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Jim Avila, and Maggie Haberman.
11:40 | 05/26/13

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Transcript for Roundtable II: This Week in Politics
I have not done anything wrong. I have been advised by my counsel to assert my constitutional right. Not to testify. That's not the way it works. That was irs official lois lerner who has been placed on administrative leave and may be called before congress following her performance this week. Congressman peter king and congresswoman debbie wasserman schultz are back. And we're joined by jim avila and politico's maggie haberman. Welcome to all of you. Let me start with you, congresswoman, did lois lerner did anything wrong? What did you think of that testimony? I think we don't yet know. A continuing investigation is imperative. The president has called for a deeper dive on whether anyone at the irs actually did commit any crimes and to see what can be done down the road to make sure that it never happens again. At the end of the day, an agency as powerful as the irs should never exchange in any conduct that treats taxpayers less than neutrally. The president called the conduct that occurred here outrageous and unacceptable. Congressman king, how can you convince anyone that this isn't political? How can president obama convince voters that this wasn't political? I think by laying out all of the facts. I agree with debbie. This was a, as I see it, a terrible abuse of power. The only question involving the president, how close to his inner circle did this get? We learned that his chief of staff knew about it this week, correct? Yes. That's sort of the time line. When his counsel knew about it. When the chief of staff knew about it. And as far as the white house counsel, I don't think it's their job to insulate the president. They didn't want to tell the president because they didn't want him to brought in to it. Let's be clear, the reason the president wasn't informed was because, until -- just like darrell issa didn't reveal what he knew through the investigation, giving the president piecemeal and incomplete information dusht make any sense. You want to bring the president a complete picture. The actions taken could be done comprehensively. It's important to understand that there is nothing has put to outside influence or any political motivations here and nothing has point to president obama's involvement. There's an ongoing scandal. The president as the chief executive officer has the obligation and responsibility to stop it and wait until the investigation is done. More damage may be done by then. I think the president should have been told. Unless it involves somebody close to him which it didn't. If it's an action by a department or agency, the president should be told about it. Why didn't issa, chairman of the oversight investigation who knew about it all of the way through never revealed what he knew, never brought it before his committee because he said you don't do that until you have a complete investigation? He's not the president of the united states. Maggie, should he had intervened, should he told the president? Do you think more heads are going to roll? I do think more heads are likely to roll. We don't know, the question you're deliberating, we don't know the answer yet. We don't know exactly the scope of what's going on. We don't know the answer to that. I think you have seen the crush of the excitement of this slowing down a bit. We're heading into congressional recess. The problem for lois lerner is when you take the fifth, the presumption is not of innocence and that's not fair. It's supposed to be. But that's the political calculation. At the white house this is the one of the three scandals that the president and the white house really want to be careful about, the press scandal, the people in the country don't really care about us. About who's being investigated. That's not their issue. They might care about the information they're not getting eventually. But it's not at the forefront and certainly benghazi is a bit confusing to someone. They understand the irs. They fear the irs. They don't want the irs in our business and in other people's businesses when they're not supposed to be. The president understood that from the beginning. He did speak out right away. He took action. There was a clear difference in the way they addressed this. Jim, let's move to the big issue you covered this weekend, the immigration bill making it through committee, lot of celebrating up on the hill. Let's take a look. It's gratifying to see the momentum behind these reforms. That's how we move legislation forward, for the greater good. Compromise. I must observe repeat many of the mistakes of the past. That's harry reid celebrating, by the way. I think that's as excited as he gets. Jim, what happens now? I think maybe the celebrating will level out a little bit here. Well, celebration because this was the first step and it's a long road, the senate did in fact work and there was some celebration about that. That there was government working here. There was compromise amongst senators here. There was of course self-interest in all of this. Because the democrats have a huge -- a lot at stake. They promised, they received support from the latinos in particular, and the republicans, in order to be continued to be a national party in this country, have to somehow get back some of that latino support and immigration is the only way to do it. Senator bob menendez told univision that they don't have the 60 votes yet to avoid filibuster, is that correct? That is correct. At the end of the day, the real work is going to take place on the floor and this is going to be very messy. Privately, some democrats will say they do not think they have the votes. They're not certain it's going to pass. They know they're going lose some democrats up for re-election in 2014. That's just in the senate. That's just in the senate. Let's move over to the house. Let's move over here. Where does this go from here? I can only speak for myself. My concern is about security. We're in this position now, with 11 million illegal immigrants, because there's not adequate security, eight guys coming out of a room showing there's going to be security. Isn't enough for me. I grew up in an immigrant neighborhood. New york as you know, immigrants everywhere. We come to accept it. It's part of our tradition. I want to encourage more legal immigration. If we can find to legalize 11 million -- I want to make sure that we're serious about security. If that can be done I would certainly vote for it. There are 11 million undocumented immigrants in here. That deserve a path to citizenship. It's wonderful. It's huge progress that this judiciary committee passed this. The jury is still out. Peter kingy conservative tea party colleagues have no interest in passing this. The concern ultimately -- I'm concerned that maggie thinks it might not get out of the senate. But we certainly have a battle coming inside the house. At the end of the day, the republicans politically need to do this. If they don't, they'll lose the hispanic vote for generations. The question about getting it done right. Yes, if we can legalize them, fine. But we have to make sure that the systems are in place. We're not going through a feel-good process. Where we say there's security and it isn't really there. Another big issue not just this week but for months and months and months. That's the issue of military sexual assault. You heard president obama talk about it. You heard secretary of defense chuck hagel talk about it. This is a huge issue. You heard general allen talk about it. That it's a matter of leadership. But is it more than that? Does more need to happen? 26,000 sexual assaults in 2012 alone. Men and women. I mean, the person who was responsible for sexual assaults and their accountability was accused of sexual assault. What has to happen here is legislation to ensure that we can take the reporting out of the chain of command and make sure that reporting can go straight to a military prosecutor. And the military will argue that will interrupt good order and discipline that the commander has to be in charge of those units. Look, you can't -- no woman or man who's accusing someone of sexual assault can be expected to bring it up one above them in the chain of command, especially if that person is the person. I have the same concern that senator levin has about the chain of command. Having said that -- it has to be done. There has to be legislation. Fine-tuned in a way to make sure that the chain of command is not broken. Anyone who has a daughter or even a son in the military, whatever, or relative, it's absolutely offensive that they could be sexually abused and proper action not taken. Jim avila, I have heard zero tolerance. It will change. It hasn't. Do you really believe it will change because of what the president said this week? Having covered the wars in iraq as you did, and I saw the number, it's the numbers, martha, the fact there are so many men and so few women, i believe, the women are uncomfortable. They're uncomfortable in iraq. When I saw them in the barracks it wasn't a comfortable situation. They're uncomfortable in the academies. It's terrible. Sexual assaults happen to men as well. It does, but not in the numbers. What's bad for the military here is -- what's happening is, women they aren't getting the best and the brightest anymore, because they're not going to want into the military. They've got to fix it. Final point, anthony weiner back in a run for mayor, does he have a chance? He has a chance because this field is pretty lackluster and nobody is capturing the imagination of the public. I have yet a single professional to think that anthony weiner will be the next mayor. one. And do you think he'll change? Do you think he'll be the same old anthony weiner in this campaign or the same kind of cantankerous guy or mr. Apology? The same kind of guy. I don't think he's changed much. Thanks very much to all of you. And maggie is sticking around to answer your questions for our web extra.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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