July 24, 2017: THE RUSSIA PROBE

Presidential Advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner faced the Senate Intelligence Committee and in a prepared and unsworn statement declared he did not collude with Russian operatives during the election.  Now we wait for Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort to do the same.  Former Watergate Special Prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks will be here with analysis.

TRANSCRIPT

WE TURN NOW TO NATIONAL POLITICS AND THE ONGOING RUSSIA INVESTIGATION WHICH APPEARS TO BE EXPANDING TO INCLUDE SOME OF PRESIDENT TRUMP'S FAMILY MEMBERS AND THEIR BUSINESS DEALINGS.

TO DATE, TRUMP'S SON-IN-LAW AND SPECIAL ADVISER JARED KUSHNER WAS INTERVIEWED BEHIND CLOSED DOORS AND NOT UNDER OATH BY STAFF OF THE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE FOR RUSSIAN MEDDLING.

LET ME BE VERY CLEAR, I DID NOT COLLUDE WITH RUSSIA, NOR DO I KNOW OF ANYONE ELSE IN THE CAMPAIGN WHO DID SO.

THE PRESIDENT'S ELDEST SON, DONALD TRUMP JR., AND FORMER CAMPAIGN MANAGER PAUL MANAFORT ARE ALSO SET TO BE INTERVIEWED BY CONGRESSIONAL INVESTIGATORS.

THAT, TOO, IS NOW SCHEDULED TO HAPPEN PRIVATELY AND NOT UNDER OATH.

THIS ALL COMES AMID REPORTS THAT THE PRESIDENT IS LOOKING FOR WAYS TO DISCREDIT THE SPECIAL COUNCIL INVESTIGATION LED BY ROBERT MUELLER, WHILE AT THE SAME TIME EXPLORING HIS PRESIDENTIAL PARDONING POWERS.

JOINING ME TO TALK GOOD WHERE THINGS STAND AND WHERE THIS COULD ALL BE HEADED, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT WHO SERVED AS ASSISTANT SPECIAL PROSECUTOR DURING THE WATERGATE INVESTIGATION.

JILL, WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM ONCE AGAIN.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME AS A GUEST.

NOW, JILL, IT SEEMS CLEAR THAT ROBERT MUELLER IS EXPANDING THIS INVESTIGATION TO LOOK INTO AT LEAST SOME OF PRESIDENT TRUMP'S BUSINESSES, AND AS I MENTIONED, AS WE KNOW, SOME OF HIS FAMILY MEMBERS.

IN THE PAST, THESE INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATIONS HAVE TENDED TO EXPAND, CLEARLY, FOR EXAMPLE, WHITEWATER ENDED UP IN IMPEACHMENT OF THE PRESIDENT FOR HIS SEXUAL DEALINGS WITH MONICA LEWINSKY.

IS THERE A CONCERN, DO YOU HAVE A CONCERN THAT THIS INVESTIGATION WILL EXPAND EVEN IF THEY DON'T FIND IT THERE REGARDING RUSSIAN INTERFERENCE?

I DO NOT HAVE ANY FEAR THAT IT WILL EXPAND BEYOND RUSSIA.

IT SHOULD FOLLOW THE EVIDENCE.

AND THAT MEANS WHEREVER IT GOES.

MY CONCERN IS THE THREATS FROM THE PRESIDENT TO NOT ALLOW THE INVESTIGATION TO CONTINUE TO FOLLOW THE EVIDENCE.

THAT WOULD BE A SERIOUS PROBLEM.

HE CANNOT DO THAT.

HE SHOULD NOT DO THAT.

IT COULD LEAD TO A HUGE PUBLIC OUTCRY AS HAPPENED IN WATERGATE.

WE'LL GET TO THAT IN ONE MOMENT.

BUT LET ME ASK YOU, SINCE YOU WERE INVOLVED IN WATERGATE, DO YOU SEE ANY SIMILARITIES BETWEEN THE RUSSIAN PROBE AT THIS STAGE AND THE WATERGATE INVESTIGATION IN ITS EARLY DAYS?

IN THE EARLY DAYS OF WATERGATE, WE HAD TWO THINGS GOING FOR US.

WE HAD McCORD, WHO WAS ONE OF THE BURGLARS, HAD WRITTEN A LETTER TO THE JUDGE IN THE BURGLARY TRIAL SAYING THAT THERE WERE HIGHER-UPS INVOLVED, THAT PEOPLE HAD LIED DURING THE TRIAL, PEOPLE HAD SAID, I DON'T REMEMBER WHEN THEY DID, AND THAT THERE HAD BEEN HUSH MONEY PAID.

AND WE THEN VERY QUICKLY HAD JOHN DEAN, WHO WAS THE WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL AND KNEW ABOUT THE PRESIDENT'S KNOWLEDGE TESTIFY.

WHAT WE DIDN'T HAVE IS ANY WAY TO CONFIRM AND CORROBORATE THOSE STATEMENTS UNTIL JULY, WHICH WAS ACTUALLY ONLY A FEW MONTHS AFTER WE WERE APPOINTED.

IN JULY, ALEXANDER BUTTERFIELD TESTIFIED THERE WAS A TAPING SYSTEM, AND THAT'S WHAT GAVE US EVENTUALLY EVERYTHING WE NEEDED TO CORROBORATE WHAT JOHN DEAN WAS SAYING.

AND I THINK IN THIS CASE, WE HAVE E-MAILS, WHICH ARE THE EQUIVALENT OF OLD-FASHIONED TAPE RECORDINGS, THAT WILL NEED TO BE FOLLOWED.

AND IT'S NOT ENOUGH TO TAKE WHATEVER THE SUBJECT GIVES YOU, FOR EXAMPLE, KUSHNER HAS PROVIDED A CHAIN OF E-MAILS -- I'M SORRY, DONALD TRUMP JR.

PROVIDED THE CHAIN OF E-MAILS.

IT'S NOT ENOUGH TO PROVIDE THE CHAIN, I WANT TO SEE HIS COMPUTER.

I WANT TO TEST IT TO SEE WHAT'S BEEN DELETED AND KNOW ALL OF THE E-MAILS HE GOT.

SPECIAL COUNSEL MUELLER IS PROBABLY SAYING THE SAME THING I'M GUESSING.

I'M GUESSING THAT'S PROBABLY TRUE.

IT SEEMS VERY OBVIOUS TO ME.

ONE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THIS INVESTIGATION, OR THIS INCIDENT, AND WATERGATE IS THAT SO MANY OF HIS FAMILY MEMBERS ARE PART OF THE INNER CIRCLE IN THE WHITE HOUSE.

HOW DOES THAT CHANGE THE TENOR OF THE INVESTIGATION, OR THE NATURE OF THE INVESTIGATION DO YOU THINK?

I THINK IT DOES COMPLICATE THINGS.

I THINK WHAT YOU NEED TO LOOK FOR IS WHO IS GOING TO BE THE JOHN DEAN OF THIS CASE.

AND IT'S MUCH MORE UNLIKELY TO BE HIS SON OR HIS SON-IN-LAW, EVEN THOUGH THEY APPEAR TO HAVE THE KIND OF KNOWLEDGE THAT WOULD BE HELPFUL.

BUT IT COULD BE SOMEONE LIKE PAUL MANAFORT WHO IS NOT RELATED AND WHO IS IN CLEAR LEGAL JEOPARDY FOR A VARIETY OF THINGS, INCLUDING POSSIBLE MONEY LAUNDERING.

IT COULD BE MICHAEL FLYNN WHO WAS HIS FORMER SECURITY DIRECTOR, WHO IS OBVIOUSLY IN CLEAR TROUBLE FOR PERJURY, FOR VIOLATING PENTAGON RULES, FOR WHO KNOWS WHAT ELSE.

THOSE ARE THE PEOPLE YOU MIGHT BE LOOKING AT, AS TO WHO'S GOING TO BE FLIP, AND WHO'S GOING TO COOPERATE TO GET THE BEST DEAL.

THE FIRST IN TO COOPERATE USUALLY GETS THE BEST DEAL.

AND SO THEY NEED SOMEONE TO DO THAT.

DO YOU THINK THERE ARE ALREADY CALLS FOR IMPEACHMENT IN THIS INVESTIGATION?

LEGALLY, YES.

POLITICALLY, THAT'S A DIFFERENT QUESTION.

WHAT I KNOW, AND ASSUMING THAT WHAT THE PRESS IS REPORTING IS TRUE, AND BASED ON COMEY'S TESTIMONY WHICH WAS PUBLIC, THERE'S DEFINITELY BEEN AN OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE IN TRYING TO STOP THE INVESTIGATION.

NOT ONLY WAS IT BECAUSE THAT THE PRESIDENT ASKED COMEY TO STOP THE INVESTIGATION OF FLYNN, BUT BECAUSE HE THEN FIRED COMEY FOR NOT DOING THAT.

THAT'S OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE.

THAT IS AN IMPEACHABLE OFFENSE.

IT WAS THE FIRST ARTICLE OF IMPEACHMENT AGAINST PRESIDENT NIXON.

SO DEFINITELY THAT IS TRUE.

BUT WHETHER THERE'S THE WILL IN CONGRESS IS ANOTHER ISSUE.

BUT GEORGE H.W. BUSH PARDONED CASPAR WEINBERGER DURING THE IRAN CONTRA INVESTIGATION.

HE PARDONED HIM AND HE WASN'T CHARGED WITH OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE.

ALLEN DERSHOWITZ SAID HE CAN'T BE CHARGED WITH OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE BECAUSE HE HAS THE CONSTITUTIONAL POWER TO PARDON OR FIRE THE FBI DIRECTOR.

YOU DISAGREE?

I DISAGREE.

FIRST OF ALL, THE IMPEACHMENT LAW IS EXTREMELY VAGUE.

IT SAYS FOR HIGH CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS, WHICH ARE UNDEFINED.

AND IT MEANS ANYTHING THAT CONGRESS THINKS IS INTERFERING WITH OUR DEMOCRACY.

AND I THINK THAT ONE COULD SAY THAT A RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN AN ADVERSARY, THE RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT, AND THE U.S.

GOVERNMENT, WOULD BE SOMETHING THAT ENDANGERS OUR DEMOCRACY.

THE INTERFERENCE IN OUR ELECTION IS A CLEAR DANGER THAT CANNOT BE ALLOWED TO CONTINUE.

WE MUST GET TO THE BOTTOM OF THAT.

WE MUST FIND OUT WHAT THE RUSSIANS DID AND PREVENT THEM FROM EVER DOING IT AGAIN.

SO I THINK THAT IT'S CLEAR THAT IT IS IMPEACHABLE.

HE MAY BE TALKING ABOUT, YOU KNOW, LEGALLY COULD IT BE OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE IF HE HAD UNFETTERED POWER?

WELL, I WOULD ARGUE HE DOESN'T.

BUT IF HE DOES, IT'S STILL AN IMPEACHABLE OFFENSE.

YOUR QUESTION WAS, IS IT IMPEACHABLE.

IF YOU WERE ADVISING PRESIDENT TRUMP'S LEGAL TEAM, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL THEM?

TAKE AWAY HIS PHONE.

TAKE AWAY HIS PHONE IS THE ANSWER.

AND I KNOW HE WON'T LISTEN TO ANYBODY.

SO I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU CAN DO.

HE IS A NIGHTMARE OF A CLIENT FOR A LAWYER.

OKAY.

JILL, THANK YOU SO MUCH.

WE REALLY APPRECIATE YOU COMING ON.

AND WE'LL INVITE YOU BACK AS THE INVESTIGATION PROGRESSES.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

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