Former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says she has ‘no reason to doubt’ Robert Mueller’s findings

PHOTO: Janet Napolitano speaks onstage at Women Rule: The L.A. Summit at NeueHouse Hollywood, June 5, 2018, in Los Angeles. PlayEmma McIntyre/Getty Images
WATCH Former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano speaks with ABC News' Devin Dwyer

Former Homeland Security head Janet Napolitano said Wednesday that she has no reason to doubt the recent findings from special counsel Robert Mueller, who she worked with during his time as FBI director.

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"Right now I have no reason to doubt him," Napolitano told ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl and Political Director Rick Klein Wednesday, on the Powerhouse Politics podcast. Napolitano said she has the utmost respect for Mueller and his team of prosecutors.

Napolitano added that she doesn’t want to lose track of what she sees as the "more pertinent question at this point in time: where are we for 2020?"

"The one thing that is clear is that the Russians were all over our 2016 election," she said. "What are we doing to sanction the Russians for directly interfering in our democracy? What are we doing to strengthen our election systems?"

Napolitano also said that she believes the president’s continuous focus on border security has left the country "distracted” from some of the biggest threats facing the nation.

"To me the larger risks to the safety of the American people are not the conditions at the Southwest border, which are far from crisis conditions," Napolitano said.

Instead, Napolitano said she believes the Department of Homeland Security should be focused on security concerns stemming from issues such as climate change, cybersecurity and mass gun violence.

Napolitano has considerable experience with border politics, having served as the attorney general and then governor of Arizona until 2009, when she took over the helm of Homeland Security under President Barack Obama. In 2013 she stepped down and became president of the University of California, a position she still holds.

Earlier this week, Napolitano was interviewed about her new book, written with Karen Breslau, at an event at the New York Public Library. The conversation was led by former Vice President Joe Biden, but the topic of his possible 2020 presidential bid was not discussed.

"We didn't talk about it," Napolitano said Wednesday. "But you know I think he would certainly enter the race as an extraordinarily strong candidate."

PHOTO: Janet Napolitano speaks onstage at Women Rule: The L.A. Summit at NeueHouse Hollywood, June 5, 2018, in Los Angeles. Emma McIntyre/Getty Images
Janet Napolitano speaks onstage at 'Women Rule: The L.A. Summit' at NeueHouse Hollywood, June 5, 2018, in Los Angeles.

On Tuesday, Biden again expressed regret for the treatment Anita Hill received during her testimony in Clarence Thomas’ Supreme Court confirmation hearings in 1991. Biden had served as the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which oversaw the hearings.

Napolitano was a member of Hill's legal team, and in her new book, "How Safe Are We?: Homeland Security Since 9/11," she writes, "Our client was treated horribly by the Judiciary Committee."

She told Karl and Klein on Wednesday: "Anybody who's had a long career in public service is going to have moments that in retrospect they regret and would handle differently."

Napolitano then pointed to Justice Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing, during which Christine Blasey Ford, a college professor, testified that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her when they were both in high school.

"I think in retrospect he would have handled it differently," she said of Biden. "What's interesting to me is that the Senate as an institution still seems to have made no progress since 1991.”

Klein asked Napolitano whether she believes Biden should apologize to Hill directly.

"That's his judgment.” she said.

Whether or not Biden joins the 2020 race, she said she’ll be looking for candidates with good policy aspirations, but also pragmatic paths to achieve those aspirations.

"The field is still young yet, so we'll have to see,” Napolitano said.

Her position as the head of the University of California has brought her in contact with major headlines in higher education news over the past month.

On "The Briefing Room" Wednesday, ABC News Senior Washington reporter Devin Dwyer asked Napolitano about allegations that parents paid bribes of up to $6.5 million to get their children into elite universities. On March 13, Napolitano announced an investigation into any University of California involvement with the scandal.

"That whole case makes me so angry," Napolitano told Dwyer on Wednesday. "Angry because college admission is such a valuable ticket. It's a ticket to a future, and to kind of rig the system that way is so improper."

Then, on March 21, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that would deny certain federal research and education grants to colleges if they failed to comply with free speech standards that the administration outlined.

Napolitano told Dwyer that conservative speech is "absolutely not” under attack in California.

Powerhouse Politics podcast is a weekly program that posts every Wednesday, and includes headliner interviews and in-depth looks at the people and events shaping U.S. politics. Powerhouse Politics podcast is hosted by ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl and ABC News Political Director Rick Klein.

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