'This Week' Transcript 12-16-18: Rudy Giuliani, Sen. Dick Durbin, Sen. Susan Collins
STEPHANOPOULOS: And we are joined now by President Trump's current attorney Rudy Giuliani. Mayor, thanks for joining us this morning.
You just saw Michael Cohen right there. He says the president directed him to arrange the payments. The president knew it was wrong and he was trying to help his campaign. Your response?
STEPHANOPOULOS; He's saying the president knew it was wrong and directed him to do it anyway.
GIULIANI: Well, the president said that's false. And he said it was false under oath. He said it was false in his tape recorded conversation with Chris Cuomo. He said it was false on five other tape recorded conversations. He said on those tape recorded conversations that he did it on his own to start and then he brought it to the president and then the president reimbursed him.
Clear as a bell under oath, must have said it 10 times.
OK, now he says the opposite. You're going to tell me which is the truth? I think I know what the truth is. But unless you're god, this man you will never know what the truth is. He lies to fit the situation he's in.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The Southern District seems to be backing him up. I want to put on the screen a sentence from the sentencing memo. They write, with respect to both payments, Cohen acted in coordination with and at the direction of individual one. That’s in their own words. Of course individual one, the president.
GIULIANI: Yes, but there’d be no way they would know that other than taking Cohen’s word for it. I mean, the conversations they had, even that tape recorded conversation that we listened to is just the two of them. So --
STEPHANOPOULOS: But they wouldn’t write that if they didn’t have corroborating evidence, would they?
GIULIANI: They don't have corroborating evidence. I’m sure (ph). They don’t have corroborating evidence. Plus, they didn’t let Capone (ph) plead guilty to a conspiracy. I ran that office. I know what they do. If I’m going to use a cooperator, I make them plead guilty to a conspiracy. Because then when he goes on the witness stand, I’m able to say this -- this is who we fill in as the co-conspirator. He pleads guilty to an individual crime, that isn't even a crime, he's going to be ripped apart on the witness stand. Can you imagine what would happen on the witness stand?
This is a guy who stood up in court and said I’m fiercely -- I was fiercely loyal to Donald Trump, that’s why I did it, I was fiercely loyal to him. No he wasn't. He was taping him surreptitiously, lying to him. His client. That’s outrageous. Can you imagine how a jury’s going to react to that?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well that's not the only evidence they have, though. The other evidence they have, of course, they’ve also cut a deal with David Pecker and AMI. And from the statement of facts on that deal, they talk about an August 2015 meeting between David Pecker, Michael Cohen and an individual from the campaign believed to be President Trump. Here's what they say.
At the meeting, Pecker offered to help deal with negative stories about that presidential candidate’s relationship with women by, among other things, assisting the campaign in identifying such stories so they could be purchased and their publication avoided. Pecker agreed to keep Cohen apprised of any such negative stories. So it’s not just Michael Cohen, it’s David Pecker, it’s AMI. And that's why David Pecker got immunity. And that’s why Corsi doesn’t get immunity, because Corsi won’t say what they want him to say. So I don't know. I don't know how true that is.
So you’ve got a -- you’ve got a serial liar who taped his own client and lied about it and deceived him and taped about 10 reporters and lied to them and deceived them and you got a guy who’s been given complete immunity --
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you just said you ran that office. You know how the Southern District is run. You know exactly how the Southern District is run.
GIULIANI: No, I don’t know -- actually, I don’t know how the Southern District --
STEPHANOPOULOS: They wouldn’t have put that in the statement of fact if they didn’t believe --
GIULIANI: I’m disgusted with the Southern District. I’m going to tell you another thing. You see what we’re talking about? It’s not a crime. It’s not a crime, George. Paying -- paying $130,000 to Stormy whatever and paying $130,000 to the other one is not a crime. The Edwards case determined that. She was paid a million one to be a no-show in his campaign.
STEPHANOPOULOS: As you know, Mayor, the Edward case is actually quite different. The judge in that case said that if --
GIULIANI: George, it’s not the judge, it’s the FEC. The FEC ruled on the Edwards case before they prosecuted it. The FEC ruled it’s no violation of the campaign finance law. The Justice Department went ahead and prosecuted it anyway and they were embarrassed.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And the judge said that if it was in part to help the campaign, that would be illegal. You're right that the jury did not convict John Edwards --
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- but the evidence in this case is actually quite different.
GIULIANI: Wrong, wrong, wrong instruction. It has to be for the sole purpose. If there's another purpose, it's no longer a campaign contribution. If there’s a personal purpose. Now think about this. Suppose he tried to use his campaign funds to pay off Stormy Daniels. It would (ph) be totally illegal. If it’s not a campaign expense, it can’t be a campaign contribution. These are not campaign contributions.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But the corporate -- the corporate contribution from AMI would be clearly illegal.
GIULIANI: No -- no it would not be. It's not a contribution. It's not a contribution. If it’s intended for a purpose in addition to the campaign purpose. In the case of Rio Hunter (ph), right, the payment of $1.1 million was intended to shut her up and was intended to avoid embarrassment with his wife and with his children. Now, which is worse?
GIULIANI: The campaign problem or the wife and children.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But what you did -- that’s -- that’s that case. Let’s talk about the president’s case.
STEPHANOPOULOS: In this case you have contemporaneous witnesses saying it was for the campaign, you have a statement of facts saying the president met -- Donald Trump met with David Pecker a year before -- right after the campaign --
GIULIANI: And I -- and I can produce -- I can produce an enormous number of witnesses that say the president was very concerned about how this was going to affect his children, his marriage, not just this one but similar -- all those women came forward at that point in time, that -- that tape with Billy Bush and all of that. It's all part of the same thing. And I know what he was concerned about and I can produce 20 witnesses to tell you what he was concerned about.
GIULIANI: Damn right. And he was -- he was concerned about all of it. How do you think that --
STEPHANOPOULOS: Did he ever make any payments like that in the past?
GIULIANI: Nobody else asked for -- in the past, I can't speak to. I wasn’t his lawyer in the past. But at that point, these were the only two that were asking for money. And the amount of money is consistent with harassment, not truth. I have been (ph) involved in cases like this. When it’s true and you have the kind of money the president had, it's a $1 million settlement. When it's not true, when it’s a harassment settlement and it’s not true, you give them $130,000, $150,000. They went away for so little money that it indicates their case was very, very weak.
And look, Stormy Daniels now has to pay the president legal fees. I mean, it’s -- this is ridiculous.
GIULIANI: And they’re -- and they’re going around with this -- and you’re talking about all these other investigations. I’m telling you, George, they’re going to go try to look for unpaid parking tickets and see if they can nail him for unpaid parking tickets.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, as you know, the southern district said this is far more serious than an unpaid parking ticket. They said this strikes at the heart of our democratic system …
GIULIANI: Oh – oh, right. A campaign finance violation? Give me a break. Obama paid, what, $2 million in fines for campaign – this is a $200 (ph) payment. How come Obama wasn’t treated the same way …
STEPHANOPOULOS: Those were reporting violations but why didn’t (ph) …
GIULIANI: No, they were not reporting violations. He has people who donated to him that don’t exist. They do not exist. They’re not human beings.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Here’s the question I have for you. Why do you have so much trouble with the southern district? The southern district’s being run – this case being run by Robert Khuzami, a Republican appointed by the Trump administration, spoke at the Republican …
GIULIANI: His interpretation of the campaign finance law is completely erroneous. And to be – even if – and even if you want to make some argument that there’s some validity to it, you do not pursue a president of the United States for a questionable interpretation of the statute. That is completely wrong, it’s harassment. This is – this special prosecutor was there for collusion. Then he went to obstruction. Campaign finance.
STEPHANOPOULOS: This isn’t the special prosecutor, this is the southern district of …
GIULIANI: I know but where did it come from? It is refer (ph) – and who is on top? Rosenstein’s on top. He’s on top of both. So these things are connected. Why were they both in court? They’re passing the guy back and forth. Cohen is trying to figure out – now that he got the three years where he got slammed by the southern district …
GIULIANI: … For not cooperating, which means he’s lying. So he’s – they believe him on this and he’s lying about that. That doesn’t work that way.
GIULIANI: I guarantee you this man never gets in front of a jury. Never. And that’s why he didn’t plead guilty to conspiracy.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The special counsel does believe him. And I asked Michael Cohen …
GIULIANI: Of course. He believes anybody that tells him something about the president. They told Corsi – they wrote out a statement for him, a three-page statement, implicating the president. And they said, if you – if you recite this – if you recite this, you get probation. Go free. This is your jail free card. Of course, he said go to hell. And he …
STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you think Jerome Corsi’s your best witness? He’s the guy who questioned whether 9/11 was an inside job.
GIULIANI: He’s not my witness. I don’t even know Jerome Corsi. Never met him. I’m just telling what they did to him. That’s a setup. They setup Flynn. Look what they did with Flynn. At the direction of Comey, who says he wouldn’t have gotten away with it if it was an experienced administration, meaning he wouldn’t have gotten away with unethical behavior. He tells them to not – don’t tell him he has to have a lawyer, or he should have a lawyer.
They put Flynn through questioning and he says something wrong and they got a document there that contradicts it. If they were searching for the truth, they’d show him the document and they’d say, General, does this refresh your recollection? Tell us the rest of it now. But they weren’t. They hid it so they could jam him for perjury. And now you’ve got the FBI saying he told the truth and you’ve got …
STEPHANOPOULOS: That’s not what the FBI says. The FBI says that he didn’t have the characteristics of somebody who was deceiving even though they believed he was deceiving.
GIULIANI: No. Just the opposite. Strzok. Strzok – Peter Strzok wrote in one of his texts that he didn’t seem to be – he didn’t seem to be lying, wasn’t acting like a person (ph) …
STEPHANOPOULOS: He didn’t show the characteristics and body language of someone who lied …
STEPHANOPOULOS: … Even though they believed he was lying.
GIULIANI: And Comey reported at the time that they didn’t believe that he was lying, way back when it was going on.
GIULIANI: And then – so – so we have not lying, we have prosecution were lying (ph), and we have no explanation. We have no explanation in the middle. But we do have a guy that was deprived of counsel, we do have a guy that was not shown a document that could have refreshed his recollection because they had it hidden under the table so they could come back and jam him. That’s what I talk about when I say perjury trap. And actually had to be very careful with unethical process (ph) …
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let’s talk a little bit more about the special counsel. I want to show what Michael Cohen said about Russia and the special counsel.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The special counsel did say you were doing your best to tell the truth about everything related to their investigation, everything related to Russia. Do you think President Trump is telling the truth about that?
MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER LAWYER TO DONALD TRUMP: No.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Now, the special counsel went on to say that they found Cohen credible, provided valuable information about Russia-related matters for its investigation, also that his contacts with persons connected to the White House in 2017 and 2018, they seem to be getting at, there, both collusion and obstruction.
GIULIANI: Isn’t that prosecution by innuendo? I have no idea what they’re talking about. Beyond what you just said, I have no idea what they’re talking about …
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, let me ask you a few specifics.
GIULIANI: I have no – I have no idea – I know that collusion is not a crime. It was over with by the time of the election. I don’t know what evidence (ph) …
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, let me ask you specifically – let me ask you a few specific questions, then …
GIULIANI: If it didn’t happen, I can’t imagine how (inaudible) …
STEPHANOPOULOS: Did the president – did Donald Trump know that Michael Cohen was pursuing the Trump Tower in Moscow into the summer of 2016?
GIULIANI: According to the answer that he gave, it would have covered all the way up to – covered up to November, 2016. Said he had conversations with him but (ph) the president didn’t hide this. They know (ph) …
STEPHANOPOULOS: Earlier they had said those conversations stopped in January, 2016.
GIULIANI: I don’t -- I mean, the date -- I mean, until you actually sit down and you look at the questions, and you go back and you look at the papers and you look at the -- the -- you’re not going to know what happened. That’s why -- that’s why lawyers, you know, prepare for those answers.
STEPHANOPOULOS: OK. Then let me ask a second -- a second question, did the president know about Don Jr.’s Trump Tower meeting with the Russians at the time?
GIULIANI: No. That is -- that is definitely he didn’t know about it and I think that’s consistent testimony, even Cohen. At one time, Lanny Davis went out saying that Cohen could be able to contradict that. They had to withdraw that in an embarrassing faux pas.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And did Roger Stone ever give the president a heads-up on WikiLeaks’ leaks concerning Hillary Clinton, the DNC?
GIULIANI: No. I don’t believe so. But again, if Roger Stone gave anybody a heads-up about WikiLeaks’ leaks, that’s not a crime. It would be like giving him a heads-up that the Times is going to print something. One the -- the crime -- this is why this thing is so weird, strange -- the crime is conspiracy to hack; collusion is not a crime, it doesn’t exist.
STEPHANOPOULOS: No. Conspiracy to defraud the government, you’re right, conspiracy to hack that is the crime. We don’t know whether …
GIULIANI: Yes. Did Donald Trump engage in a conspiracy to hack with the Russians? They’ve been going at it. The counterintelligence investigation came to the conclusion no evidence. They are gasping for straws now.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, they’re also looking at obstruction. Did anyone connected to the president ever suggest in any way to Michael Cohen that he would get a pardon if he stayed on the team?
GIULIANI: I had this specific conversation with his lawyers and that liar can say what he wants, I told his lawyers there will be no discussion of a pardon. That doesn’t mean the president doesn’t have the -- nobody’s giving away any power, but do not consider it in your thinking now. It has nothing about what you should decide about yourself. I think that’s one of the reasons why he double-crossed.
STEPHANOPOULOS: CNN and The New York Times reporting this week that you’re still in discussions with Robert Mueller about whether the -- about an interview with the president, are those discussions still going on?
GIULIANI: I’m actually not allowed to -- to say that. But -- but the agreement we had did contemplate that there’d be a period of time after the questions that we would have a discussion about whether there should be any further questions. So I’m not saying we are or we aren’t, but that’s in the agreement.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And -- and -- and President Trump isn’t that secret person who was discussed in court on Friday?
GIULIANI: No, if they’re -- if -- if he is then we’ve got some outrageous violation of legal ethics. We’ve got to be served with papers if they’re -- now, we might be under seal but we’re not. We’re not under seal on anything.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So is it -- is it still possible the president’s going to talk to Robert Mueller?
GIULIANI: All I can tell you is the agreement contemplates our having discussions if there are any further follow-ups or questions, and there’s been no change in that agreement. And when it’s concluded, we’ll -- we’ll tell you. I have to say, quite honestly, watching some of the things they’re doing like letting Cohen get up and say he was fiercely loyal to Donald Trump, even though at the very time he was fiercely loyal to him he was taping him and lying to him, something a lawyer never does, he was never fiercely loyal to Donald Trump. He’s fiercely loyal to him -- to himself and excused (ph) …
GIULIANI: … Oh, he -- I have a client and I’m fiercely loyal to him, and I tape him, and I hide it and I don’t tell him? That’s not fiercely loyal. That’s called fiercely disloyal. He’s the opposite. It shows all I’m thinking about is me, my own skin. And the Southern District says you can get out of jail if you do this, you’ve got three years now. There’s a real motivation to sing like crazy. He’s got to do a lot of singing to get out of the three years and he will say whatever he has to say. He’s changed his story four or five times.
GIULIANI: The president’s not under oath. And the president tried to do the best he can to remember what happened back at a time when he was the busiest man in the world. And I can’t -- I was with him most of that time, I can’t remember a lot of the stuff that goes on there. But …
GIULIANI: … But boy, if it’s -- same way, if I go under oath, then I really think about it and I really say -- you know, I can’t remember that. I -- I was wrong about who was with me on September 11th. I always thought the Fire Commission was with me in the building we were trapped in. Turns out later, (inaudible) I met you after. That happens when you’re in the middle of difficult events; you know that from experiencing it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I do know that from my time in the White House. Final question: Mueller almost done?
GIULIANI: He is done. I don't know what else -- I told you. No, the only thing left are the parking tickets and jaywalking.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Thank you. Thanks for your time this morning.
STEPHANOPOULOS; That was June 2012 when the Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate for Obamacare. But now a federal judge in Texas has ruled that that mandate is it's unconstitutional, striking down the whole law, creating uncertainty for millions, and a course of condemnation from Democrats, including our next guest, the Senate's number two Democrat, Dick Durbin of Illinois. Senator Durbin, thank you for joining us this morning.
And I want to get to that health care ruling. But, first, your reaction to Mayor Giuliani. You just heard him say that even if the president authorized these payment to Stormy Daniels, to Karen McDougal, that it wouldn't be a crime. Your response?
SEN. DICK DURBIN, (D) ILLINOIS: I can just tell you this, George, I think the responsibility of congress is very clear: park yourselves on the sidelines and let Mueller complete this investigation. Don't interfere in any way, shape, or form. There's a law -- at least a bill pending, a bipartisan bill, that would guarantee that, that Senator McConnell does not want to call.
The second thing I'll tell you, at the end of the day when Mueller's investigation is complete, whenever that may be, it should be disclosed to the American public. They ought to see it in detail, understand everything that's transpired.
STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, let's talk about the Obamacare ruling. What did the judge get wrong here in your view?
DURBIN: Well, I think the judge, the Republican attorneys general who brought this lawsuit, didn't do the Republican Party any favor. The largest issue in the last election, November 6 election, that moved 40 seats from the Republican column to the Democratic column in the House, the biggest single issue was the Affordable Care Act and whether it would cover people with pre-existing conditions. These Republican attorneys general have set out to abolish this law and to end the protection for people with a medical history.
And now this the issue is alive and well again. The Republicans have no alternative to the Affordable Care Act, and they've been refusing, up until this point, to even sit down us...
STEPHANOPOULOS: The president says he wants to sit down with you and talk about it.
DURBIN: Well, of course, we would be happy to do that. But you have to look at the history of this president. For two years, he's done everything in his power to put an end to the protections included, now he found a judge in Texas who agrees with him on that position. It has to be appealed for sure. But in the meantime, the Republicans will once again face the question do you believe we should have health insurance, accessible, affordable, and cover those with pre-existing conditions? That was the issue, the issue that decided, I believe more than any other issue, this last election.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you think the higher courts will uphold the ruling of this federal judge?
DURBIN: I don't know. It's hard to say. You know, Chief Justice Roberts found an argument which was salient to him the last time it came before the Supreme Court, if it reaches that level. It, of course, goes up now to the circuit level, whether they agree with this judge or not it remains to be seen.
But keep in mind, during this entire period of time, this issue is roiling. It once again puts Republicans in Washington on the spot. If you're going to take away the Affordable Care Act, how will you protect the millions of people currently using it for health insurance for their family?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's talk about that Oval Office showdown this week between Senator Schumer and Leader Pelosi and the president. It did seem after that meeting that we're headed for a shutdown over this issue of the wall. Do you agree?
DURBIN: I think it's entirely in the hands of President Donald Trump, and he bragged that this was his decision. I'll shut it down, he said, you know, if I don't believe I can get my wall, my $5 billion sea to shining sea wall. And you can jsut see that this president has really fixatated on this issue. If we are talking about border security, George, we ought to pay attention to something else that came out last week, the Center for Disease Control said the most deadly narcotic in America today if fentanyl. Fentanyl is flowing accross that border from Mexico into the United States and killing thousands of innocent people.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The president says that's why we need a wall.
DURBIN: What will the wall do to stop it? Virtually nothing? Pardon me?
STEPHANOPOULOS: That's as I said, the president says that's why we need a wall.
DURBIN: 80 percent of the narcotics coming in to the United States are coming through ports of entry, official openings in the so-called barrier or wall between the United States and Mexico. What we could do came out in testimony this week. We could be scanning the vehicles coming into the United States to see if they contain contraband, narcotics, firearms, even victims of human trafficking. Fewer than 1 out of 5 vehicles are being scanned now.
I asked the people at Customs and Border Protection what would it cost to have scanner scan all the vehicles coming in? They said $300 million. That's a far cry from $5 billion, and a much more effective way to have a secure border.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Would it be worth to give the president some sort of downpayment on the wall in order to keep the government open?
DURBIN: What we're trying to give the administration and the experts at the Department of Homeland Security the resources they need. They tell us they need technology and personnel. We put in $1.3 billion on the table for barriers, if they are necessary, and we define them in the way so we aren't building some medieval wall, but using them in a smart fashion.
It's up to the president to accept this. I don't think he will, but for the good of this country I hope he does.
STEPHANOPOULOS: It does seem like there's a glimmer of bipartisanship this week, the possibility of passing this bipartisan criminal justice reform, the first step back. I know that leader McConnell has been resistant to that, but you think it will get done?
DURBIN: Well, it depends on Leader McConnell. Again, if he will set up a floor process, which is fair to both sides, I think it can be achieved in a few days. In fact, we're going to start the debate on it Monday night. But he can't just turn to the Republican senators who oppose it -- and there are about four or five who do -- and say you get amendments and no one else can. I think we’ve got to be able to respond to amendments from the other side. I hope that Senator McConnell will be even-handed in his approach.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Durbin, thanks for your time this morning.
STEPHANOPOULOS: We are back with the Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine. Senator Collins, thank you for joining us this morning.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's talk about health care. You heard Senator Durbin say that this judge's ruling is a real problem for Republicans now. What's your reaction to the judge's ruling?
COLLINS: The judge's ruling was far too sweeping. He could have taken a much more surgical approach and just struck down the individual mandate and kept the rest of the law intact. I believe that it will be overturned.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You say it’s going to be overturned. He based his rulings, you said, on last year's tax bill which brought the tax penalty for violating that mandate down to zero and then he said that invalidated the whole law. Any second thoughts on your vote for that bill because of this?
COLLINS: Not at all. I think it's important to keep in mind what the impact of the individual mandate was. Eighty percent of those who paid the penalty under the individual mandate earned less than $50,000 a year. So this disproportionately affected lower and middle income families. In addition, not one Democratic senator offered an amendment to strike the repeal of the individual mandate, although they had the opportunity to do so.
And that’s because it was probably the most unpopular and unfair provision of the Affordable Care Act. There are many good provisions of the law. Those should be retained.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And you voted for this after being promised for more funding for lower premiums but that never happened. So what needs to happen with Obamacare now?
COLLINS: Actually, we did bring a bill to the floor that would have reduced premiums in the individual marketplace by as much as 40% over the past two years. That came to the floor in early March and regrettably was blocked, much to my surprise, by a member of the Democratic leadership. It's something we should still pursue because affordability is a real problem for so many Americans who do not receive the subsidies under the Affordable Care Act because they make just a little more than 400 percent of the poverty rate.
STEPHANOPOULOS: It sure seems like we're only about five days away from a partial government shutdown. We heard the president this week say he needs wall funding, wants that $5 billion for the wall. We just heard Senator Durbin say the Democrats aren’t going to help provide that. Is there anyway to thread this needle and keep the government open?
COLLINS: There is and we should. There's absolutely no excuse to shut down government on this issue or any other issue. I have suggested that we revisit a compromise proposal that we brought forth earlier this year. I helped craft it, it was offered by Senators King and Rounds and it provided $2.5 billion this year and over the next ten years to fully fund the border security initiative. That includes not only physical barriers like fences and walls, but also technology, more border patrol agents, more roads to get into these remote areas.
It was a comprehensive package that was put together by the experts at the Department of Homeland Security. Forty-six out of 49 Democrats voted for this package and I think that that's a possible avenue for a compromise.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Is it good enough for the president? He wants that concrete wall.
COLLINS: I hope it would be good enough for the president because keep in mind that the president's budget this year had $1.6 billion for the wall and the broader security package was $2.5 billion that we worked out with Homeland Security to meet the other parts of border security, which are at least equally important. There's a compromise and people will come to the table in good faith on both sides. We have to prevent a government shutdown.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let -- let me ask you about your work on the Senate Intelligence Committee. Adam Schiff, who’s going to be the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee going forward told The New Yorker just this week that he wants to investigate, when he’s in charge of the House Intelligence Committee, whether President Trump shaped policy to expand his fortune, look at Russia, Saudi Arabia’s business interests, other nations in the Middle East and he went on to say the American people have the right to know that their president is working on their behalf, not his family's financial interests.
Right now I don't think any of us can have the confidence that's the case. Do you have that confidence?
COLLINS: Well that's why the special counsel's report is -- and investigation are so important. And the special counsel must be allowed to complete his work unimpeded with no interference. We on the Senate Intelligence Committee are pursuing the counter intelligence investigation. It's been a very bipartisan investigation. More than 200 witnesses have been interviewed. And I think that will wrap up early next year. And we too will produce a report on the counter intelligence aspects. That's different, obviously, from the criminal prosecutions and the investigation that the special counsel is undertaking.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Collins, thanks for your time this morning.
December 16, 2018
Sources: ABC News
ritten, or redistributed. ©2019 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes. </p><p>"Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: she has the media, she has the followers, but bless her heart, she has some terrible ideas," Nix says. "Guaranteeing government jobs for some, while killing small-town jobs for others. Her green deal is a bad deal for North Carolina."</p><p>Nix concludes: "I'll stand up to socialism. Congress needs a good, strong dose of conservative, mature common sense."</p><p>More than a dozen other Republicans and several Democrats have entered the district race, with a primary set for April 30 and runoffs tentatively scheduled for July 9 if needed. The general election will either occur in July or September, depending on whether a primary runoff is necessary.</p><p>A Gallup poll released Friday shows that Ocasio-Cortez's unfavorable rating has risen by 15 points since last September, when she had yet to win the general election, increasing from 26 percent to 41 percent of the American adults polled.</p><p>However, despite the blowback from top Democrats and her own constituents, the 29-year-old freshman congresswoman has also managed to increase her favorability rating, if only by seven points. About 31 percent of surveyed people view her favorably, compared to 24 percent in September, according to Gallup.</p><p>Nearly three-quarters of Republican respondents say they view her negatively, with only 5 percent having a positive view. Among the Democrats, 56 percent of respondents had a favorable view of Ocasio-Cortez, compared to only 15 percent of the Democrats polled who don’t support her.</p><p>“Laughing at Trump, as the libs did, sure stopped him from being POTUS,” right-wing activist Mike Cernovich tweeted late last year. “Laughing at AOC, as the cons are doing now, sure is hurting her.”</p><p>This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2019 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p>
ritten, or redistributed. ©2019 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes. </p><p>Scalia took particular issue with an idea advanced by South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg in which the Supreme Court would have 15 members, five of whom would "only be seated by unanimous agreement of the other 10," as Buttigieg told "Fox News Sunday."</p><p>"The problem with that," Scalia told "Your World with Neil Cavuto" Wednesday, "is, obviously Section 2, Article II of the Constitution makes very clear that the president has the power and authority to nominate and, with the advice and consent of the Senate, to appoint Supreme Court justices. So, I mean, I don't know what ... these candidates are talking about, but they certainly can't have justices appoint their colleagues. So, that would require an [constitutional] amendment that I just don't think has a snowball's chance anywhere of being ratified."</p><p>Buttigieg is not the only Democratic candidate who has raised the prospect of overhauling the Supreme Court if they win the White House. Other 2020 contenders, including Sens.Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Kirsten Gillibrand have mused about adding seats to the court or, in Booker's case, implementing term limits on what has traditionally been a lifetime appointment.</p><p>Scalia said the proposals echo Franklin D. Roosevelt's "court-packing" scheme from the 1930s, which the 32nd president eventually abandoned.</p><p>Despite that, Scalia argued that FDR's proposal "did have an effect. It kind of intimidated a Supreme Court – or so, kind of the conventional wisdom goes – into being more amenable to what he was trying to do with the New Deal.</p><p>"So, he didn’t get more justices, but he did get a lot of what he wanted done, done," he added. "And it’s possible that the Democrats, just by raising this threat of packing the court are trying to do something similar."</p><p>The Constitution does not enshrine a set number of Supreme Court justices; that is up to Congress. The number of justices has been set at nine since 1869, but the tally has been as low and six and as high as ten.</p><p>Scalia said that the latest proposals by Democrats are the latest step in a political war over the judiciary that has lasted for nearly two decades.</p><p>"This goes back to the early 2000s when Democrats filibustered a lot of President Bush’s nominees and Republicans responded in kind by filibustering a lot of Obama’s nominees, and so the Democrats responded by ending the filibuster for lower court nominees, and then Republicans when the Democrats filibustered [Neil] Gorsuch, Republicans got rid of the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees," he said. "It goes on and on. So, if the Democrats try to do this, try to pack the court, I don’t know why they’re under the impression that the next time they have the Senate and the next time they have the president, Republicans will never be in power again because they’re on the right side of history and history will finally meet its ultimate end."</p><p>This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2019 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p>
ritten, or redistributed. ©2019 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes. </p><p>Stone -- who was indicted last month on charges of obstruction, making false statements and witness tampering -- denied to Fox News that evidence of such communications exists.</p><p>“There is no such evidence,” Stone said in a text message.</p><p>In a Friday motion, Mueller’s team said that “search warrants were executed on accounts that contained Stone’s communications” with an organization widely believed to be WikiLeaks.</p><p>Last month’s indictment does not charge Stone with conspiring with WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy website that published the emails, or with the Russian officers Mueller says hacked them. Instead, it accuses him of witness tampering, obstruction and false statements about his interactions related to WikiLeaks' release.</p><p>The indictment says Stone spoke to Trump campaign officials during the summer of 2016 about WikiLeaks and information the organization had that might be damaging to the Clinton campaign. It also says Stone was contacted by “senior Trump campaign officials” to inquire about future WikiLeaks releases of hacked Democratic emails.</p><p>Earlier Friday, Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the federal court for the District of Columbia instituted a partial gag order, ordering that Stone “refrain from making statements to the media or in public settings that pose a substantial likelihood of material prejudice to this case.”</p><p>Jackson further ordered that any participants in the case, including witnesses and counsel, “refrain” from making any statements to the media or public when they are near the courthouse that could “influence any juror, potential juror, judge, witness or court officer or interfere with the administration of justice.”</p><p>This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2019 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p>
FBI scrambled to respond to Hillary Clinton lawyer amid Weiner laptop review, newly released emails show
ritten, or redistributed. ©2019 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes. </p><p>South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham demands answers from FBI about heavy-handed raid on Roger Stone's home.</p><p>The FBI did not respond to Fox News' request for comment on the released emails.</p><p>On the afternoon of Oct. 28, Clinton lawyer David Kendall demanded answers from the FBI -- and the agency jumped into action, the emails showed.</p><p>New text messages between Strzok and Page were 'leaking like mad' in the lead up to the Trump-Russia probe.</p><p>Although Kendall's email was redacted, Baker continued: "He said that our letter was 'tantalizingly ambiguous' and made statements that were 'inchoate and highly ominous' such that what we had done was worse than transparency because it allows people to make whatever they want out to make out of the letter to the prejudice of Secretary Clinton. ... I told him that I could not respond to his requests at this time but that I would discuss it with others and get back to him.</p><p>"I suggest that we have some kind of follow up meeting or phone call with this group either this evening or over the weekend to address this and probably other issues/questions that come up in the next 24 hours," Baker concluded. "Sound reasonable?"</p><p>Strzok added that a team was coming in to "triple-check" his methodology and conclusions.</p><p>“It is big news that, just days before the presidential election, Hillary Clinton’s personal lawyer pressured the top lawyer for the FBI on the infamous Weiner laptop emails,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “These documents further underscore that the fix was in for Hillary Clinton. When will the Justice Department and FBI finally do an honest investigation of the Clinton email scandal?”</p><p>"Jason Herring will be providing you with three 302s [witness reports] of current and former FBI employees who were interviewed during the course of the Clinton investigation," Page wrote. "These 302s are scheduled to be released to Congress in an unredacted form at the end of the week, and produced (with redactions) pursuant to FOIA at the beginning of next week.</p><p>Page continued: "As you will see, they describe a discussion about potential quid pro quo arrangement between then-DAD in IOD [deputy assistant director in International Operations Division] and an Undersecretary at the State Department whereby IOD would get more LEGAT [legal attaché] positions if the FBI could change the basis of the FOIA withhold re a Clinton email from classified to something else."</p><p>Through it all, the trove of documents suggested that top to bottom, FBI brass were convinced they were acting appropriately.</p><p>Home security footage of the FBI raiding Roger Stone's home in Florida on 'Tucker Carlson Tonight.'</p><p>In response to a press release from Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley that criticized the FBI for failing to release unclassified information in a timely matter to Congress, Comey quoted Emerson's 1841 essay "Self Reliance."</p><p>"Outstanding. ... I should have added that I'm proud of the way we have handled this release," Comey wrote to his subordinates, including Strzok, on Sept. 2, 2016. "Thanks for the work on it. Just another reminder that Emerson was right when he said, 'To be great is to be misunderstood.' Have a great and quiet weekend."</p><p>Page forwarded the email along to her colleagues, including Strzok, and added a smiley face.</p><p>This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2019 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p>
ritten, or redistributed. ©2019 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes. </p><p>Congressional negotiators revealed Monday evening that they've reached "an agreement in principle" on border security funding and other issues that could avert a second partial government shutdown this year.</p><p>When asked if they had an agreement that President Trump would approve, Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, told reporters: "I think so." Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., declined to give details of the deal, but said more should be known by Wednesday. Lawmakers have until 11:59 p.m. Friday to get the agreement through both houses of Congress and signed by Trump before several Cabinet-level departments shut down and hundreds of thousands of federal workers are furloughed.</p><p>Much of the focus will surround how much money will be allotted for Trump's long-promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The White House has asked for $5.7 billion for the barrier, which congressional Democrats have refused to fund. However, Democrats have agreed to at least some money for border structures and have focused on reducing funding for detention beds to curb what they see as unnecessarily harsh enforcement by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).</p><p>This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2019 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p>
ritten, or redistributed. ©2019 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes. </p><p>O'Rourke, meanwhile, will be protesting such a wall with his one-mile march, that will conclude with a speech critical of Trump's push for billions in federal funding for a border wall.</p><p>The continued push for funding comes days before the government funding deadline. If funding isn't approved — a battle which sparked the nation's longest government shutdown in history — the government will face a second partial shutdown on Friday.</p><p>The White House last month agreed to a temporary spending bill to end the 35-day partial shutdown, although Trump said at the time that the move was not a "concession" and that he would not relent on his demands for a wall.</p><p>Earlier Monday, negotiators in Congress announced that they had reached an agreement in principle to fund the government and avoid another partial government shutdown. The emerging agreement was announced by a group of lawmakers, including Republican Sen. Richard Shelby and Democratic Rep. Nita Lowey, after a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill.</p><p>The talks had cratered over the weekend because of Democratic demands to limit immigrant detentions by federal authorities, but lawmakers apparently broke through that impasse Monday evening</p><p>This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2019 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p>
p Hammond finds "extra billions" to spend, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS).</p><p>To preserve current per capita levels of spending across Whitehall departments which do not have ring-fenced budgets, the IFS estimates the chancellor would need to find an additional £5bn a year by 2023-24.</p><p>The think tank also warned that Mr Hammond would need to spend £11bn to avoid day-to-day spending falling as a share of national income.</p><p>The IFS figures follow analysis of the choices facing the chancellor in this year's spending review.</p><p>It claimed that spending increases already promised by the chancellor could be swallowed by commitments to fund the NHS, defence and international aid - potentially resulting in cuts to other departments.</p><p>According to the IFS, a no-deal Brexit would complicate its calculations as taxes would have to rise or spending would have to be cut to account for expected lower economic growth.</p><p>With that Brexit fog in mind, it suggested Mr Hammond may wish to reduce the number of years covered by the spending review - and only set out plans for the 2020-21 financial year.</p><p>The report said: "The provisional totals set out in the autumn budget imply that day-to-day public service spending will increase by 6.1% (£18.2bn) between 2018-19 and 2023-24.</p><p>"This would outstrip population growth, putting per capita spending on an upward trend.</p><p>"But this would not be enough to meet the cost of the government's existing spending commitments on the NHS, defence and overseas aid while avoiding cuts elsewhere.</p><p>"Other 'unprotected' areas are therefore, on current plans, facing further budget cuts of around 0.4% per year in real terms between 2019-20 and 2023-24, and cuts of 0.9% per year in per capita spending.</p><p>"This would slow the pace of the cuts experienced by those areas since 2010, but would by no means represent an 'end to austerity'", the study concluded.</p><p>Report author Ben Zaranko added: "The chancellor needs to decide what period the next spending review should cover and what funding to make available to it.</p><p>"This could be the most important announcement in next month's spring statement."</p><p>Shadow chancellor John McDonnell responded: "The evidence is mounting that despite Theresa May's rhetoric, austerity is not over.</p><p>"Unless Philip Hammond, at the very least, finds another £5bn at the spring statement, departments will be planning for yet more cuts next year.</p><p>"Nine years of brutal Tory austerity have wounded our public services and the whole country which relies on them.</p><p>"The Chancellor has promised a 'Brexit bonus' and any failure to deliver it at the spring statement will be yet more evidence of the Tories' failure to negotiate a Brexit deal that benefits jobs and the economy."</p>
GCSEs should be scrapped.</p><p>Robert Halfon wants to replace them with a baccalaureate, taken at 18, that offers more access to vocation-based technical and creative skills, alongside traditional academic learning.</p><p>The Conservative MP for Harlow will use a speech to education professionals at the Cabinet War Rooms in London to say England's education system needs a radical overhaul.</p><p>He is expected to say: "I fully support the need for every young person to be able to access through their schooling, a working knowledge of our cultural capital, our history and our literature.</p><p>"But it is also essential that we are developing our next generation of engineers, entrepreneurs and designers.</p><p>"All young people should have access to the technical and creative subjects that will give them the skills that employers are looking for.</p><p>"These are not 'soft skills' developed at the expense of knowledge, but the essential skills that will enable young people to interpret, manipulate and communicate that knowledge.</p><p>"We must move from knowledge-rich to knowledge-engaged."</p><p>A Department for Education spokesman defended the value of GCSEs and said so-called "T-levels" - which come in next year and are equivalent to three A-levels - would improve the technical and vocational qualifications on offer.</p><p>"GSCEs are the gold standard qualification at age 16 and a passport to further study and employability," said the spokesman.</p><p>"They were recently reformed so that their demand matches that in other high-performing countries and better prepare students for work and further study.</p><p>"We are also taking forward reforms from the Independent Panel on Technical Education to give students a clear choice between an academic or technical path at aged 16. T-levels, alongside apprenticeships, will form the basis of our high-quality technical education offer."</p>
ritten, or redistributed. ©2019 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes. </p><p>The National Rifle Association and the Second Amendment Foundation have filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging the initiative is unconstitutional. They say its purchasing requirements violate the right to bear arms and stray into the regulation of interstate commerce, which is the province of the federal government.</p><p>Sheriffs in 12 mostly rural, conservative counties — Grant, Lincoln, Okanogan, Cowlitz, Douglas, Benton, Pacific, Stevens, Yakima, Wahkiakum, Mason and Klickitat — along with the police chief of the small town of Republic, have said they will not enforce the new law until the issues are decided by the courts.</p><p>“I swore an oath to defend our citizens and their constitutionally protected rights,” Grant County Sheriff Tom Jones said. “I do not believe the popular vote overrules that.”</p><p>Initiative supporters say they are disappointed but noted the sheriffs have no role in enforcing the new restrictions until July 1, when the expanded background checks take effect. The provision brings vetting for semi-automatic rifle and other gun purchases in line with the process for buying pistols.</p><p>“The political grandstanding is disheartening,” said Renee Hopkins, chief executive of the Alliance for Gun Responsibility, which pushed the initiative. “If they do not (run the background checks), we will have a huge problem.”</p><p>The Parkland shooting, which left 17 dead, fueled a shift in the country’s political landscape regarding gun control. Other state-level measures included requiring waiting periods and banning high-capacity magazines. Nine states have approved laws that allow the temporary confiscation of weapons from people deemed a safety risk, bringing the total to 14 nationwide. Several more are likely to follow in the coming months.</p><p>At the federal level, for the first time in modern history, gun-control groups outspent the NRA on the 2018 midterm elections. President Donald Trump directed the Justice Department to issue regulations to ban so-called bump stocks. And the new Democratic majority in the House last week held its first hearing on gun control in a decade.</p><p>“For far too long, Republicans in Congress have offered moments of silence instead of action in the wake of gun tragedies. That era is over,” Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York said as he convened the House Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday.</p><p>Washington’s initiative targeted semi-automatic assault rifles like the AR-15 used in the Florida shooting and other recent high-profile attacks. Such rifles fire only once for each pull of the trigger but automatically eject and rechamber a new round after each shot.</p><p>Grant County’s sheriff said many residents in his part of the state, known for its vast potato farms, are strong supporters of gun rights. They “have a right to have this challenge and appeals process play out before moving forward,” Jones said.</p><p>Lincoln County Sheriff Wade Magers noted more than 75 percent of voters in his small county just west of Spokane voted against the initiative. He called the new rules unenforceable.</p><p>On the flip side, the sheriff’s offices in King County, which includes Seattle, and Clark County, near Portland, Oregon, have said they will enforce the measure while it is being challenged in court.</p><p>Carla Tolle of Kelso, in Cowlitz County, north of Portland, is an initiative supporter whose grandson was shot to death by a friend wielding a shotgun in 2017 in what was ultimately ruled an accidental shooting.</p><p>She said she was “shocked, devastated, dumbfounded” to learn Cowlitz County Sheriff Brad Thurman said he will not enforce the stricter gun rules until the legal case is resolved.</p><p>“He saw firsthand what happened with an unsecured firearm,” Tolle said. “He saw the effect on both families.”</p><p>Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich has criticized the initiative while also decrying “grandstanding” sheriffs who decline to enforce it.</p><p>Hopkins, of the Alliance for Gun Responsibility, noted only a relatively small number of Washington’s law enforcement leaders are speaking against the measure, while many others support it.</p><p>This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2019 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p>
ritten, or redistributed. ©2019 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes. </p><p>Warren, who officially announced her bid for the Democratic presidential nomination on Saturday, made the remark at the Veterans Memorial Building in Cedar Rapids in front of a crowd of several hundred. The Massachusetts senator argued that Democrats should resist the urge to respond to "a racist tweet, a hateful tweet, something really dark and ugly" when choosing whether or not to spar with Trump.</p><p>“By the time we get to 2020, Donald Trump may not even be president,” she continued. “In fact, he may not even be a free person.”</p><p>Warren's comments come after President Trump took a jab at her on Twitter shortly after she announced her presidential campaign.</p><p>"Today Elizabeth Warren, sometimes referred to by me as Pocahontas, joined the race for President," he tweeted. "Will she run as our first Native American presidential candidate, or has she decided that after 32 years, this is not playing so well anymore? See you on the campaign TRAIL, Liz!"</p><p>This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2019 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p>