Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell Weighs In On Mueller Investigation

18 hours ago
Originally published on March 22, 2019 8:36 pm
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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Attorney General William Barr says he may be in a position to advise of the principal conclusions as soon as this weekend. The principal conclusions he's talking about are the conclusions of the Mueller report. It is done. Barr says he is reviewing the report from special counsel Robert Mueller, and it is up to Barr to decide how much to release. Now, among the many outstanding questions are, what's it say and how much of it will ever be made public?

I want to bring in Eric Swalwell. He is a California Democrat who sits on both the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees. Congressman, welcome.

ERIC SWALWELL: Thank you, Mary Louise, for having me back.

KELLY: What is your understanding of when you will get to see the Mueller report and how much of it you may get to see?

SWALWELL: We want to see it now. And actually, because the president is a subject of the investigation, I believe Congress and the American people should see it contemporaneously as he does. He should not be allowed to edit it or restrict any of its findings.

KELLY: You're - are you raising a concern here that it will go to the White House first, and he may attempt - or the White House, his advisers, may attempt to edit what makes its way out into the public?

SWALWELL: We don't want it to get a White House scrub. We want the American people to see it. And precedents is on our side in the courts. So eventually - and maybe not as fast as we want, but - the American people will see every word, every comma, every period because the president is outnumbered. The American people gave us a majority in this most recent election to put a balance of power on abuses of power, and we have a judiciary that will back us up.

KELLY: Although, to remind of the process, as I understand it's supposed to unfold, is that the attorney general will deliver whatever he chooses to hand to Congress, to you and, specifically, the Judiciary Committee which you sit on.

SWALWELL: That's right. But we want the full report. We don't want any sanitized report. We don't want the president, you know, asserting any privileges. Privileges in the law do not apply when criminal conduct is contemplated. And so if this president truly did nothing wrong, has nothing to hide, he will allow the American people, as soon as possible, to see the full report.

KELLY: I want to put to you something that our correspondent Carrie Johnson is reporting out of the Justice Department at this hour. She is quoting a senior Justice Department official who says the special counsel is not recommending additional indictments. Congressman, can you confirm that, and what's your response?

SWALWELL: I can't confirm that. I do believe the investigation is concluded. What I want to make sure - and my job now is to make sure that it was concluded at Robert Mueller's behest, not the behest of anyone serving the president's interest. I think we ultimately will have to hear from special counsel Mueller to verify that. I don't think the American people will accept anything less than his work.

KELLY: So walk me through your plans for your weekend, which, I guess just was shot by the (laughter) release of this report. But how do you expect this to unfold, in terms of once you get your hands on the report? What happens next?

SWALWELL: Well, we'll take Attorney General Barr's word and hope that he does brief the Judiciary Committee, which I'm a part of, this weekend. But we want the American people to see the full report, and we want that to be as soon as possible. If that's not the case, we have the subpoena power, and we are ready to use it. And as I said, going back to the...

KELLY: What would that mean? That would mean subpoenaing Robert Mueller to come up here? Public testimony, or how would that work?

SWALWELL: Subpoenaing the document. And of course, I think we would have to hear from special counsel Mueller. I'll leave that specific to our chairman, Jerry Nadler. But we do believe that, as I said, the precedents from the Nixon era, the Watergate litigation, is on our side and that, ultimately, the American people will see this full report.

KELLY: This is, of course, the big breaking story of the hour, is everyone trying to figure out what is in the Mueller report. But I, in the minute or so we've got left, want to just remind of the bigger picture, which is that whatever is in the Mueller report, there are lots of avenues of investigation under way in Congress. This is everything from campaign finance, to looking into the Trump organization and so on. Those will continue?

SWALWELL: They will continue. And this is about a rule of law in our country that has had a wrecking ball taken to it. This is a true test right now for our democracy, and we must make sure that the rule of law still stands because it guarantees every freedom that we enjoy. And that's what we're going to be fighting for in these next days and, perhaps, years.

KELLY: The last thing before I let you go, Congressman, which is just, did you have any idea this was coming this afternoon? Did you get warning?

SWALWELL: No. No heads-up. And I think that goes to the credibility of the Mueller team. There were no leaks in this entire investigation. The president received due process despite all of his attacks on the report. And I also want to just conclude - because the president, it looks like, never went under oath to the Mueller team despite being given the questions, I don't think he'll have any credibility in attacking the report. The state of the evidence does not include his testimony.

KELLY: Congressman, thank you.

SWALWELL: Thank you.

KELLY: That is Eric Swalwell, Democrat. He sits on both the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees. And as you just heard, he is hoping to get his hands on the Mueller report sometime this weekend or in the coming days. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.