Transcript for Incoming House Judiciary chair: 'I don't think' Whitaker appointment is legal
I'm going to vote for her and encourage my colleagues to vote for her. Congressman Cummings, thank you. Thank you. We're joined by Jerrold Nadler. Let's pick up there. Does Nancy Pelosi have your vote? Will she be the next speaker? I believe she will be the next speaker. She was wonderful speaker. She's been a great minority leader. She's one of the greatest legislative crafters of our time. Without her leadership, we would not have had the affordable care act. We have would -- we wouldn't have pre-existing conditions. She most certainly has my support. Several of these new members coming in including your colleague from Staten Island max rose say they're not going to support Nancy Pelosi. How serious is that? There's a number of people that won't support her. I think she'll have the overwhelming support of the democratic caucus. I think she will be speaker. You chair the judiciary committee. The president just appointed Matt Whitaker. Do you believe the appointment was legal? I don't think it was. There was no advice and consent. I don't think the attorney general can be appointed without the advice and consent of the senate -- without the consent of the senate. I'll go further. His appointment is part of the attack on the investigation of Robert Mueller, the special counsel. It's part of the pattern by the president. It's a pattern of interference by the president, a pattern of obstructing that investigation. That investigation is very important to assure the rule of law and to assure that we know what happened when the Russians attempted to subvert our election with the alleged complicity of people in the trump campaign. It's very important that the integrity of our elections be assured. We have to protect that investigation. For the reasons I state and to show that not the president, not anybody, is above the law. You say his choice is a pattern of obstruction. When you put all the pieces together over the past year and a half, do you believe the president has obstructed justice? I'm not prepared to say that yet. Let's say there's a lot of evidence to that effect. It's what we'll be looking at. It's what the judiciary committee should have been having proper investigation about. The Republicans in congress didn't want to hold the president accountable. They surrendered their constitutional responsibility to provide checks and balances. We will not. That's part of what we have to look at. The president will learn he's not above the law. That's what we'll hold accountable. Matt Whitaker said he won't recuse himself from the Russian investigation. If he restricts Mueller and blocks a subpoena to the president and refuses to release a final report from Robert Mueller, what recourse do you have? We could subpoena the final report. We could subpoena Mueller and ask him in front of the committee, what was in your final report? Those are things we could do. Any such interference would be a pattern of obstruction of justice especially since -- he should recuse himself. He's expressed total hostility to the investigation. He said the investigation shouldn't go forward. Someone who said that should not be in charge of deciding on the investigation. If Matt Whitaker is the acting attorney general when you become chair of the judiciary committee -- We will make sure that Matt Whitaker -- one of the first orders of business will be to invite him or subpoena him to appear before the committee. You would be responsible for any potential impeachment hearings. You're facing a lot of cross pressure. You laughed. You have top Democrats saying Democrats must pursue impeachment. You have others warning that would be overreach if you've went too quickly. How will you balance that? It's too early to make that determination. You have to be reluctant to do an impeachment. I criticized the Republicans for the Clinton impeachment. I thought it was not based. We'll have to see from the Mueller investigation and whatever we find, because congress should be active in their own investigations and our own responsibility to hold the administration accountability and providing checks and balances. We have to look into all kinds of questions. If we find the president has or has not committed impeachable offenses and whether they rise to the gravity which would necessitate putting the country through the trauma of an impeachment process. What is your top oversight priority? Right now our top priority is to protect the Mueller investigation, to protect the integrity of the investigation from the white house to stifle it and interfere with it. Last time on the program you talked about the possibility of investigating justice Kavanaugh is that still on the table? Ets -- it's not a question of investigating justice Kavanaugh. We have the responsibility to investigate the process under which the FBI was stifled in its investigation bay the white house. When the FBI was asked to investigate, it wasn't a complete investigation. A lot of witnesses who volunteered to come forward weren't interviewed and so forth. We have to look into that with a view toward making sure that future FBI investigations are not subject to the same white house interference and can be relied upon. That's the part we have to look at, not with a view toward doing anything to justice Kavanaugh. He's there unfortunately. With you with a view to making sure the integrity of the process is there going forward. Last two weeks we saw two deadly shootings. Some of your colleagues were elected based on gun control. That comes under the umbrella of the judiciary committee. What are you going to do? We're pursue sensible gun control legislation. That's one of our priorities. I just campaigned in Georgia for Lucy Mcbeth who won her district in an issue that was -- That was newt Gingrich's district. She was a mother whose son was murdered with a gun six years ago in 2012 over a dispute about loud music. She got involved in gun control -- in the gun control cause. She was involved especially after the parkland shootings and the fact that congress has done nothing about this to protect the American people motivated her to run. She'll be an invaluable member of congress for many reasons, among others, the personal experience she brings to bear. We're getting to the point where we're having mass shootings every week now. It's hardly news. We're told by the NRA and others than the problem is mental health. You look at western Europe and Japan. They have 50 gun deaths, 125 gun dates, 150 gun dates. We have 133,000 a year. It's a slander on the American people to say our folks are ten times more mentally ill than the people in Europe or Japan. The problem is the military type weapons, the lack of appropriate background checks. We have to deal with this. Congressman, thank you for your time. Thank you.
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