tv Former Attorney General Eric Holder at Christian Science Monitor CSPAN February 14, 2018 12:23pm-1:24pm EST
toward privatization have meant. it's meant the largest peace-time expansion in our history. and i can guarantee you, they won't want to throw that away for a return to budgets beholden to the liberal special interests. >> watch american history tv every weekend on c-span3. >> up next, former u.s. attorney general eric holder discusses his service during the obama administration and his current work with the national democratic redistricting committee. reporters asked him about the house intelligence committee memos, redistricting, the trump administration's handling of various cases within the fbi, and the justice department. the christian science monitor hosted this event last week. >> okay, good morning,
everybody. i'm linda feldman. our guest today is former attorney general eric holder. chairman of the national democratic redistricting committee. this is his first appearance at our breakfast. welcome, thanks so much for coming. i'll dispense with the lengthy bio since we all know who he is. >> well, if it contains the positive things, feel free to share it. people need to be reminded. >> your judgeship, you are an appointee of ronald reagan, which is a sign of an earlier era. >> i was one of dutch's favorite judges. >> i'll note mr. holder was the nation's 82nd attorney general, serving six years under president obama from 2009 to 2015. and he continues to collaborate with president obama today in his advocacy on redistricting. we are also joined by kelly
ward, to mr. holder's right. she is executive director of the national democratic redistricting committee. thank you, kelly, for joining us. and now for the ground rules. we're on the record, please, no live blogging or tweeting. in short, no filing of any kind while the breakfast is under way. there's no embargo when we finish at 10:00 a.m. and we will e-mail pictures of the session to all the reporters here as soon as the breakfast ends. as you know, from my predecessor dave cook, that if you'd like to ask a question, please send me a subtle, non-threatening signal, and i will happily call on as many of you as time permits. >> do you have to say that, non-threatening? >> non-threatening. well, you know, it's the times. >> all right. >> since we are a big crowd today, i ask that you limit yourself to one question. and then if everybody gets a question, then we can go for a second round. and now, mr. holder, if you'd like to make brief opening
remarks, the floor is yours. >> okay. well, thank you so much for inviting us to spend some time with at least a few people who i know and a lot of people who i don't personally know, but have seen on television or whose stories i've read. i want to thank you all for the job that you are doing, and actually before i get into this, to say that i think the job that you all are doing now is maybe more important than it has ever been. i think that it is really incumbent on you all to be fearless in your reporting, fact-acquisition and to bring to the american people the truth about the situation that we face in a number of contexts. so i applaud you for the job that you have done and hope that, as a citizen of this great country, that you will continue in the way that you have shown these past few months. this midterm is expected to be the most expensive in history. there are going to be a record number of candidates, party committees and interest groups
who will be spending unprecedented amounts of resources. much of the focus is going to be here in washington, d.c., centered around the battle for congress and whether there's going to be a wave in 2018. but there are key gubernatorial and senate races -- state senate races that will decide who actually controls the redistricting process that will occur after the census in 2021. within all this activity, the national democratic redistricting committee is the only organization looking at this year's electoral map strictly through a redistricting lens. that's very important, only through a redistricting lens. during the redistricting process that occurred in 2011, republicans used new technology to take gerrymandering to what i would say were unprecedented levels by creating safe districts, they locked themselves into power over this past decade and shut out, i
believe, voters from the electoral process. now, in many cases, it has been communities of color, african americans, latinos that have been the most adversely affected by gerrymandering. it's not a coincidence that where we see the greatest amount of gerrymandering during the last round of redistricting in texas, in wisconsin, and in north carolina, you also see those states have passed some of the most oppressive and unnecessary voter i.d. laws. ndrc is the first and only strategic hub that is focused on redistricting. now, no two states are the same. we've analyzed all of the states and looked at each of them. we are executing a comprehensive, four-pronged approach to influence the redistricting process that is tailored to what we have found in our analysis of each of the states. this is going to enable us to tailor or work so we can be most effective in each of the states. let me just go through the four ways in which we're going to do our work. first, we will support reform
efforts, including ballot initiatives in states that would create a fairer redistricting process in the state. second, we're building a very aggressive advocacy campaign to achieve fair outcomes in the redistricting process, including raising public awareness, engaging grass-roots activists and building state-of-the-art infrastructure. we have established a relationship with organizing for action, which is the -- i'd say the committee that grew out of -- the group that grew out of the obama campaign. third, we have a robust strategy in places where maps have been drawn unconstitutionally. we have lawsuits in five states, considering the filing of lawsuits in other states as well. and we're also going to be focused on, fourth, focused on electing democrats, who are committed to fairness in
redistricting and we're going to be focusing on positions that will play a role in the next round of redistricting. we're going to continue to execute all four prongs of our strategy this year and for the years to come, but i want to focus today on that last prong ask that is our electoral efforts. we'll focus on electing democrats committed to fair redistricting in key races that will have an impact on that process. this will help the stage for new, fair maps in 2021. new maps are drawn every -- are drawn following the census every ten years, and the officials elected to four-year terms in 2018 will be the people sitting at the table when it comes to 2021. and these are the people who will be responsible for drawing those maps. this makes the elections in 2018 very vital. these are, in some ways, the first critical step for putting in place people who will take power back from politicians and give it to the people. we have a system now where
politicians are picking their voters, as opposed to citizens choosing who their representatives are going to be. that's a fundamental affront to our system of democracy. we've identified 12 key states that represent, we believe, our best opportunities to unrig the republican gerrymandering in this country and bring about fairer maps that reflect the will of the people. we have an additional eight states that we've placed on a watch list. and i believe everybody has a copy of those maps. within those 12 key states, our targets include nine gubernatorial races, 20 legislative chambers, and several key down-ballot races. our targets include the seven states that the brennan center found have the most extreme partisan bias in their congressional maps and account for the republicans gaining what they termed a, quote, durable majority, unquote, of 16 to 17 seats in the house of
representatives. the other states are opportunities for democrats to protect against republican gerrymandering. michigan, for example, is a swing state, where republicans gained a trifecta, that is, the governorship, as well as both houses of the legislature. they gained trifecta control of the process in 2011 and have rigged the map so they control ten of the 14 congressional seats. though it is a swing state. our electoral targets there include the open governor's seat, the state seat as well as the house. we also believe there could be an opportunity to support a citizen-led measure to put a ballot issue on the bat lllot ao how redistricting should be done. georgia is another state where we could make gains that could protect against republican gerrymandering. through the national redistricting foundation, we have active litigation there that is challenging the mid
cycle. i will emphasize, the mid cycle redistricting that was done by the state house in 2015. arizona is an example of a state that's on our watch list. although they currently have a non-partisan commission. in some ways, i hold out arizona and california as good examples of places that have these non-partisan commissions. the republicans in the state legislature there have put forward potential changes that could weaken that process that is in place and make it more political. wisconsin is also a state that we'll be looking at. wisconsin is a state where republicans got less than 50% of the vote in the last cycle and yet control about two-thirds of the state legislative seats and about two-thirds of the congressional delegation. that's one of the cases that is before the supreme court now. and the facts there, i think, are as good as they possibly could, for those of us who are
in support of reform in this process. the ndrc will be investing time and resources in these races, using our position as the strategic hub for redistricting to focus energy into these races to ensure that all redistricting targets are covered and to engage young people, african americans, people of color, in these areas in this year's election. now i personally plan on traveling to many of our targeted state to campaign for individual candidates and to condition raising awareness around the issue of gerrymandering. in particular, i'll be focused on making sure that african americans, people of color, understand the long-term implications of these elections so that they're organized and energized to get out and vote come november. earlier this week, i sat down with president obama for a couple of hours. this is something that he and i have been talking about, ooh, for a great many months and actually before i left the department. but i had a meeting with him this week to brief him on our
plans and strategy and i expect that later this year, you will see him campaigning. he'll be focused on the races that will matter for redistricting. he has identified this as his chief political activity in his post presidency. now, while there are strong indications this is going to be a good year for democrats, i'm a little concerned. we keep talking about this wave that we expect for democrats. as we saw in virginia this last fall, democrats are at a distinct structural disadvantage in many houses, many state houses, even after what i would call a democratic landslide in virginia, a democratic wave. republicans still hold a 51-49 advantage in the house of delegates, even though democrats got 9 to 10% greater number of votes. so over the course of this year, we'll continue to analyze where we can be the most effective in using our resources within each state and drive far into the map as is possible.
now, as i've said, we have those four pillars to our strategy and one of them is supporting democratic candidates in that overall strategy. we will continue to monitor ballot initiatives, both litigate and -- also bring litigation against unconstitutional gerrymanders and built the infrastructure that we need to have a fair resdriblr redistricting process in 2021. what i i'micizemphasize, we're for a fair process. we're not looking for democrats who will do what republicans did in 2011, that is gerrymander on behalf of democrats. ifery have a fa if we have a fair redistricting process and make it a battle between conservative ideas and progressive ideas, democrats and conservatives will do absolutely fine. there's no need for us to replicate what the republicans did in 2011. in some ways, i think of this
effort as a partisan effort at good government. we're trying to get back to, i think, what the framers intended, and as i said earlier, have the people pikt their representatives instead of having politicians picking their voters. >> all right, thank you very much. i'll start with a question and then we'll take it around the room. in your list of the most gerrymandered states, you didn't mention maryland, right next door, which of course has a gerrymandering -- partisan gerrymandering case before the supreme court. i'm curious, if you could comment, on maryland's governor has a long-standing proposal to set up a non-partisan redistricting commission. and i'm wondering why is that not better than having a district that looks so gerrymandered, at least according to the plaintiffs in the state, a state that was gerrymandered by the state's democrats. and then second part, i'm going to break my own rule,
one-question rule. perhaps you saw the column by john delanie, the member who represents that district, the sixth district of maryland, calling -- he's got a bill to end -- in congress, to end bipartisan gerrymandering -- to end partisan gerrymandering by requiring that all states use commissions for congressional redistricting. so i just would like you to address the whole maryland question in the context of the ndrc's plans. >> sure. and i think the first part of your question is correct. we're focused on looking at those states that are most gerrymandered. and maryland is not one of those states. now, we can argue about what happened in that one district in maryland. the supreme court has taken up the case and they'll render a decision there, also they'll render a decision when they come to look at wisconsin. but if you care -- if you compare what's going on in wisconsin, to what's happened in -- if you look at what's
happened in maryland and compare that to what's happened to wisconsin, michigan, pennsylvania, ohio, north carolina, texas, you're really comparing apples and oranges. so you can talk about that one district, but we're focusing on states that have had substantial gerrymandering problems. i'm not had a chance to read the article, but i actually think that a movement towards non-partisan commissions is in some ways, the purest way to do this. there are some state constitutions that do not allow for that to occur. in some instances, citizens don't have the ability to go straight to the ballot, as you can in michigan where that's now being considered. in texas, you have to go through the state legislature, and the gerrymandered state legislature is never going to allow that to happen. but in a theoretical sense, i think that is the best way to do it. but i deal with reality. and between now and 2021, we're not going to get, you know,
commissions in all of these states. and so we are trying to use aulg the techniques that we have, lawsuits, advocacy work, supporting commissions where that is possible. and then putting in place people who will commit themselves, as ralph northam did in virginia. he said he would not sign a bill, a redistricting bill that did not come from a commission, or that was not fairly drawn. >> all right, thank you. do you have any thoughts on that sixth district of maryland? are you bothered at all by the way those lines were drawn, or is it because it's just the one seat in maryland? >> yeah, i think we should look at it. and the same standard that i think should be applied to republicans, should be applied to democrats. but i think it would be a mistake to look at that one district and to think that that is in some ways equivalent to what we've seen done on a statewide basis. in some ways, a nationwide basis, by one of our political parties. >> all right, thank you.
steve from "the washington times." >> i was hoping you might comment on a couple of decisions that the current justice department has made. first of all, the arpaio pardon, having looked through a number of pardons yourself, what you make of that decision-making process on arpaio, and then also the current justice department officially apologized to the tea party groups for the irs targeting and reached a completely opposite conclusion of your justice department on lois lerner and her culpability there. i'm wondering what you make of that justice department decision. >> well, with regard to arpaio, the case that was -- i mean, the president's power to pardon is absolute. and, you know, i can't criticize the process that was ultimately the president's decision, but i think it's instructive that that power which is used relatively
sparingly was used by this president to grant some relief to a person who i think is fundamentally undeserving of it. the case that we brought there was appropriate. the finding of the court with regard to how arpaio conducted himself during the course of that process, was appropriate. and i think it was a misuse of the pardon process in that regard. you know, the apology when it comes to irs is kinda typical of what we see in this administration, unfortunately, not giving support to people in the department, in the investigative agencies within the department, who simply do, you know, a good job, and make tough calls. and sometimes those calls don't satisfy people on one side of the political spectrum or the other. but i think at the end of the day, they ought to be respected,
and they certainly ought to be respected by the people who have the responsibility to run these departments. and the notion that the justice department needed to apologize for determinations career people made in the irs case, that apology was unnecessary, unfounded, and inconsistent, it seems to me, with the responsibilities that somebody who would seek to lead the great justice department should have done. >> john gizy from news max. >> thank you, linda. thank you, general. my question is a two-parter, but one question, actually, about your successor. >> you guys bend a lot of rules here. [ laughter ] >> you're not going to prosecute. >> i still have friends. >> general sessions, your successor, one, wants to take a very hardline on marijuana. in addition senator grassley has a revolutionary prison reform bill that people have praised on
both sides of the political spectrum. but general sessions doesn't seem to want to embrace prison reform. your thoughts on his position on marijuana and on prison reform, particularly with regard to the grassley bill. >> well, i think with marijuana, we got it right. you know, the justice department has limited resources and when you're trying to decide how you're going to deploy those resources, what places are you going to place emphasis, the memorandum that is called the cole memorandum said essentially we're going to let the states experiment, but we're going to really cabin that, we're going to put up guard rails. and it was very explicit. we said that when it came to dealing marijuana to minors, you know, the transportation of marijuana across state lines, there were eight or nine factors in the cole memo, said if you cross those eight or nine
factors, then there will be federal government intervention. i remember speaking to the governors of colorado and wisconsin, sharing with them what our concerns were, getting reassurances from them that they were going to put in place a serious regulatory system. and so i think the approach that we took was appropriate. when it comes to, you know, you say prison reform, i'd call it criminal justice reform, that was an issue where i think we had a rare opportunity at a significant, bipartisan reform effort. i remember having a meeting in my conference room. we had representatives from the koch brothers, from the tea party, from the center for american progress and from the aclu, sitting down to talk about what was a shared goal, the notion of criminal justice reform. given again the limited
resources that we have, given the need to bridge the trust gap that exists between people in law enforcement and certain communities in this nation, communities of color in particular, criminal justice reform is something that i think should have occur. you know, i've not read the grassley bill to any great extent, but i think what was being considered during the time -- during the end have had my time, i guess, as attorney general, i thought was a good way in which we ought to be reforming our processes. and, you know, i think if you look at the statistics, after i announced the smart on crime initiative, i guess in 2013-'14, the numbers show that we've seen a decline in crime. we've seen the justice department bringing cases where it ought to be, against king pins, as opposed to -- when it comes to drugs, king pins as
opposed to people who are couriers. more serious cases, people getting these harsh sentences. being held accountable, but getting sentences commensurate with their conduct. so i would hope this administration would get back on that train that was a bipartisan train and start thinking seriously about criminal justice reform. >> alexis simmendinger from "the hill." >> you have read the reports that president trump is amorrous of the relationship that you and president obama shared, his belief that you had the president's back and were loyal to his political and other ambitions. i wonder if you can comment on president trump's perception about that and whether he is correct in suggesting that he would like the same thing with attorney general sessions. >> well, i would say, it would be a good thing for him to have
a relationship and treat the justice department in the same way that president obama treated his justice department. president obama and i are friends, but he also understood, as i understood, that there has to be a wall between the justice department and the white house. and there were things that i did while i was attorney general, decisions that i had to make, that were not communicated to him. my guess is there were more than a couple that he probably did not agree with, and yet i never heard from him anything either privately and certainly not publicly, that was critical of any decision that i made. i would hope that the president would rethink the way in which he has attacked the career people in the fbi, the career people at the justice department, the career people in our intelligence community, and think about, you know, the ways in which he has spoken about his
attorney general, who is actually our attorney general, and understand that there's long-term collateral, negative consequences to such attacks. you know, the mueller probe is going to be unaffected. bob mueller is a strong guy. the people who work for him are strong. they'll do that investigation. but there will be a time, you know, a case will be tried in illinois, mississippi, missouri, where a credibility determination has to be made between an fbi agent saying one thing and, you know, a defendant, a witness saying something else. and having raised questions in the way that the president has, about, you know, the way in which the fbi goes about doing its job, and not only the president, you know, the republican party has done this as well, will raise doubts in the minds of people as they listen to that fbi agent and what she says, in a way that never existed before.
so that the long-term, negative, collateral consequences are substantial, they're real. and i would hope that the president would pull back. righ. i'll just -- a little housekeeping. we have deborah from usa today, ryan riley from you have i think ton post. zak from national journal. and from the hill. >> they don't make themselves known by doing -- next we go to deborah from "usa today". >> how much of the impact does the alabama win play in that and what message will you deliver to people of color on this issue? >> it's interesting that you say that. ths one of the areas we're going to give particular focus.
we've listed our targets and watch list. a variety of techniques that we can use. among things i didn't mention was use of the voting rights act to come up ways in which we make districts more fair or make representation more fair and in the south there are voting rights cases that we can bring and under the voting rights act that was harmed by the shelby county decision. cases that we can bring and we are considering bringing litigation in at least, three southern states. >> which states? >> i don't think we're in a position yet to share that. but we'll have something on that pretty soon. >> jake gibson from "fox." >> i wonder if you can comment about the controversies surrounding the department of justice when it comes to the
fisa process and the republican memo released and the democrats would like the memo released. what do you think about classified information of that and was that process fair that that particular warrant that is in the news? >> i didn't -- i don't think i saw the application that went to the fisa court but i can tell you that these things are scrutinized within the informs gavetive agency that seeks them. strut nic scrutinized by the court that signs them. and i read this stuff, the notion that the fisa court is a rubber stamp because of the percentage they approve. it is high because there's that degree of scrutiny and those things get bounced down and back at the fbi and get bounced back at the justice department.
there's interaction with the court where sometimes pushed back and has to be redone. i'm concerned about the revelation of things that go before the fisa court. the court is designed to do things in secret for a reason. we're talking about some of the most sensitive things that our government does in order to protect the american people and i'm concerned about the memo, because the next time an individual decides that he or she wants to share information in the united states that could be helpful. they are going to think about what does this mean? is my identity going to be revealed and the information going to be revealed and the intelligence agencies have to ask the same question. are they going to be trust worthy partner that they have been over the years. so i'm worried about the memo in
the first instance and it seems to have been pretty inaccurate in a number of ways. i would hope that the white house would ultimately make the determination the shift memo being released. adam shift is not going to reveal in that memo inappropriate things. i assume it is crafted in a way that is protective of our sources and methods and will have the least negative impact on our intelligent gathering capabilities. but it strikes me to hear that the white house is saying we want to listen to the fbi and justice department before we determine on the shift memos. really? did you listen to them when you made the determination to
release the nunes memo? chris ray made a really rare statement coming from an fbi director about his concerns about the release of the memo. he didn't listen to them now but now you decide you're going to listen to them. it will be interesting to see that process. >> ryan rylee ""huffington post. >> you are no longer obligated to give legal add surprise how should democrats think about james comey these days? >> should president trump -- you know, that's a determination that he and his lawyers will have to make. it will be interesting to see how it plays out, you know?
any -- i think the possibility exists that even in -- with the receipt of a subpoena that the president might not speak to robert mueller. it's entirely possible that he could use his 5th amendment privilege which would be fatal for any other politician. as this president said, he could shoot somebody on 5th avenue knew and not suffer political consequences. number five, 5th avenue and the 5th amendment. i think that's at least a possibility, i don't know. and. >> how do you think democrat -- seemed to have shifted, the political thinking. >> i wrote a piece about that. jim comey is a good man who i
think made a wrong decision in the way he dealt with the end of the hilary clinton inquiry. but i think he is a long time you know, contributor to our nation and as i said i think he did a great job as deputy attorney general and as fbi director. he happened to make a mistake. but i don't think that there's a reason to disbelieve what he said about his interactions with president trump. i always found jim to be if anything, very up front and forward about his views and not afraid of expressing the truth. >> jeff mason. >> i'd like to ask you about an issue which i know you are passionate about, the death
penalty. during president obama second term, he asked for a review and i don't believe anything came of that. i'm wondering why and if you ever decide to run for office if that's an issue that you would raise. >> work was under way by the time i left by i guess, april 15, after having resigned in september of '14. but the republicans couldn't quit me, you know? so i don't know. i don't know what happened in terms of the results of that. i know we did one -- a similar study during the clinton administration and we released publicly. i was the deputy attorney general at the time and i think we released it. i don't know what happened in the department and whether the work was completed or if a decision was made. i don't know what happened.
i've spoken out about the death penalty. i think we have the greatest system of justice in the world. it is comprised of men and women, judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys and jurors trying to do our best. but human beings make mistakes. we have seen mistakes made in cases that were noncapital in nature. and it's one thing -- it's an awful thing. one of the last cases i worked on before i became attorney general a guy convicted of rape in louisiana and served 19 years and got out of jail and given a substantial amount of money from the state. you can't reverse a death penalty mistake. and that has always been the concern that i've had in addition to the ways in which it is imposed both geographically,
racially and economically. i'll continue to speak out about it, when i was attorney general those are the toughest decisions i had to make because i had to set aside that opposition and do what i was statutorily mandated to do. >> i'm going to -- >> i was going to follow up with that. >> i'm sorry -- >> there was an implied second question -- >> i'll add to that. so you're tweeting and learning how to fund raise and giving political speeches, are you possibly thinking of running for office? >> i'll see. i'm focused on ndrc but i'll make a decision by the end of the year whether or not there's another chapter in my government service. we'll see. >> all right.
zack, "national journal." >> fundraising and the plans for catching up to republicans on the fundraising side. >> see -- i don't think of this in terms of trying to catch up. i think we have defined a budget that is $30 million. we've raises $16.2 million already. and we think that's an adequate amount of money to do the job that we think we need to do. we are respective -- i found fundraising to be interesting thing that a person in the political life has to do -- >> interesting. >> interesting. i'll leave it at that. but it is necessary. we made substantial progress on the goals and i'm confident that we'll have the funds necessary we need to do the job.
>> "the hill". >> thank you so you talked about democrats being in a disadvantage. the party lost about 1,000 seats during president obama's term and that the democratic party wasn't investing enough in the local races. we see their mind-set is trying to repair some of that and focus on the issues but they are -- they have a couple of $100,000 in the black. and don't have the investment capabilities when they dumped into the files -- so my question is is the dnc an effective partner for what you are doing right now and can they be with such poor fundraising? >> i think they are and will be an effective partner.
i don't know the intricacies of the amounts of money raised and the hoe kus poe kus that goes through -- how much money you raised i don't focus on that. i think the democratic party has to harness the intensity feeling out there. the people parts of the resistance, women in particular who have signed up in record numbers to run for office. i think that the democratic party needs to focus on identifying good candidates, supporting those candidates and it's not always in terms of money. there are ways in which you know, you can harness people power that at the end of the day is more important. money is a factor and i'm not saying you can do this on the
shoe string. i'm guessing that tom perez will come up with efficients amounts of money to do what they need to do for the party to be successful. >> janet hook from the "los angeles times." >> i'm from the boston journal. >> i'm sorry. >> how hard is to for you to get people to focus on the lower level state legislative and governor's races? >> that's a good question. it's one of the concerns i had in january of last year. what i've seen is that within the democratic party there has been a keen interest in focussing on these state legislative races, governor's races and we have explained over the course of this last year,
the importance of these races and the impact that these races have. if you want to have a more representative congress, you have to make sure that at the state level you have where the lines are drawn for congressional districts. you have to make sure that the lines are drawn fairly that you have in place. people who are committed to doing so in a fair way. and given the way in which the republican party made determinations after the 2010 census. that means elected more democrats and that has energized people. i'm a first timer when it comes to fundraising, i'm not an expert. after one year we raised $16 million from you know, some big donors and a substantial number of people who contributed to us online and if you have numbers in that regard -- so
that -- i think within the party generally and certainly with regard to the donors in the party there was a recognition that in 2018 and 2020 governors, state legislators in certain places. the secretary of state and the state auditor that these races matter and we'll get the necessary financial support in that regard. with regard to our online stuff can we share that. >> yeah. we have invested in and seen a lot of energy on our e-mail program among the grassroots and several million dollars of the 16 million that we have raised came from the internet. so there's energy across the spectrum, high and low dollar. people are excited that there's a restricting strategy and a hub that redistricting is being paid
attention to and -- excitement about that because they know someone is on top of that. it is good. >> "politico." >> there's a situation in pennsylvania on going now with the mapping challenged and the court fight. is there figure going to do to get involved in the immediate or is it about november with the governor's election? >> we have been involved and filed a lawsuit in pennsylvania. i talked to governor wolf last week about the situation in pennsylvania. and i think pennsylvania is a very important state, a swing state and you've got a congressional delegation, 13 to 5 now. republican to democrat and everybody thinks 9-9 is probably where the state ought to be.
and so we have a good decision by the pennsylvania supreme court. the united states supreme court made the determination to stay out of the matter for now. there are deadlines that the judges have set there. so it's interesting to see how this turns out. governor wolf did a great job and he is bound and determined to make sure that fair lines are drawn. and we'll be supportive in that effort, you know, starting as of now. >> getting involved of the -- judges or -- >> i mean, we are looking to see where there are places that we might be supportive, you know, i worry about things like that. so we get a decision that you don't like in pennsylvania and then you start talking
impeaching the judges. in north carolina a democratic governor is elected so you try to strip power and north carolina you have them making determinations that go against the republican party so you try to take power from the courts. nevada, you know, slate legislature goes democratic so you have a recall election against three democratic state senators, not because they did anything inappropriate but because you have the ability to do it. we will make determinations on where we can be supportive. we file lawsuits in nevada saying that is inappropriate and unconstitutional and we'll look at all of these situations and where we can help through litigation and other means, grassroots support will be players. >> one of the things that
happened in the last round, there was attention on this issue. so when the republicans were drawing maps in the states with try if he can ta control. no one was paying attention. you didn't have energy and attention from the grassroots and the state understanding. that has changed. you are seeing it in pennsylvania there's a lot of attention and press coverage. when they filed the letter and started circulating for impeachment. so many were in the state on top of it saying it is unacceptable. that shift of public awareness is happening now and i think it's going to be a critical -- the advocacy piece is important. you need to be to hold the process accountable. >> there's an awareness about this issue that exists now that i don't think existed a year or
so ago. >> i was at the university of kentucky speaking to college and law students. and i talked about a variety of things i was working on. and the biggest line was when i talked about redistricting. it surprised me. talking about criminal justice reform, and income equality and people -- these young people responded most dramatically to this notion of focussing on redistricting. so i think people's consciousness has been impacted by a focus there and i'd like to think that we've had something to do with. people understand that redistricting gerrymandering. it's not a coincidence that you see the most restrictive voter id laws in the states that are
most gerrymandered. and you see medicaid not expanded under the affordable care act. in states and gun laws, choice laws that are the most extreme in states that are the most gerrymandered and peoples lives on a day-to-day basis are impacted by this whole question of gerrymandering and fair redistricting. >> josh myier from "politico." >> one of the first thing that is president trump did was announce a trance -- crime strategy. looked similar to the one that president obama did and you did in 2011. >> yeah. i did notice that. >> almost identical. given that as faf began stan continues to deteriorate, i was wondering what you think of the role of the international law
enforcement played in the 17 years. whether its been used forcefully enough, investigating corruption and drug trafficking and in particular if you think when you were there you were able to do as much as you wanted to on that effort building capacity and taking out criminal elements? >> that's a good question. we tried in regards of the building capacity. there are parts of the justice department that we deployed in afghanistan to help build capacity at the prosecutor l level and district level. we've had success. i had a meeting with president car zie and raising -- about corruption. it is like casa blanca.
he was shocked that there was by the united states government about corruption in afghanistan. i think those were the kinds of thing that is didn't get huge amounts of attention but ultimately was extremely important. and if a government is seem to be corrupt, it can't call on the people they are trying to govern for support. so obviously, there's a military component to our effort there. brave soldiers given their lives. but i think almost as important as what we were trying to do in building that capacity and there, i don't think we have made the kinds of progress that i had hoped, you know? i think we tried during the obama administration. i hope those efforts would be continued during the trump administration. >> we have eight more minutes and i've got four questions to
go. so maybe we can have a little lightning round. tony fins. >> thank you. the alabama senate race, there have been questions about voter suppression tactics, the voter licenses not being issued in counties that have minority population and in the special senate election, doug jones won in the upset even though roy moore had his own issues. i'm wondering given the importance of the minority vote, particularly african american women. what conclusion did you draw from that, that they can over come the obstacles or it was a special situation because of ott candidate. what conclusions do you draw of the effectiveness or not of the measures? >> we can't draw too much comfort from the fact in a state
where structural impediments placed on people of color as they tried to register and cast ballots, a good man, doug jones was elected. i think that was a particular kind of race. you don't have roy moore's, thank god all over the country running for office. what happened in virginia as i mentioned before, where you had you know, 9%, 10% differential by any measure would be considered as a wave landslide. democrats unable to take the state assembly there. ther 2011 redistricting that we have to deal with. and as i said the brennan center identified a durable majority of
15 or 16 seats in congress. so there are structural things i think democrats need to keep in mind and you can't become complacent. you can't think that you know, that this wave is inevitable. if democrats are going to be successful of november in this year. it's going to be because of hard work and organizing and selecting good candidates and supporting those candidates. it's not just going to happen. it's going to be a function of work. >> pete williams from "nbc." >> the special council put in place, saying that special counsel make as report to the deputy. doesn't say anything about making it public. do you think that the reports should be made public? >> yeah. you know, there are one of the things pete, that concerns me about the independent counsel statute that existed before was
that these reports were routinely made to the court and made public which was not typically the with a i that the department of justice does the business. given the nature of robert mueller inquiry here, i would hope whatever the conclusion and i don't draw conclusions of my own at this point. whatever his conclusions, if a report is prepared, it would be shared with the american people. >> a report would have to be prepared, under the regulations he has to submit a report to doj. >> yeah, i think -- a report, i have to look at the regulations, if there are indictments i don't know if there's a need for a report. if there is a report prepared, i think it should be made public. >> rosalynn jordan. >> thank you. it is one thing to get districts
redrawn and candidates elected. but is there a democratic party version of allec to help the legislatures at the state and local level to come up with laws and change processes so you don't have a coin flip to settle the virginia beach seat? >> i think there's core things that the democratic party stands for and should run on. you know, concerns about healthcare. concerns about the climate. this whole question of income inequality. making sure that people have access to the poles. you know, there are a variety of things that i think democrats should run on and when i hear about you know, the democratic party is fractured. you know, the differences within the party are i think relatively
insubstantial when you compare the differences between the democratic party and republican party. i think in a lot of ways our party has to rediscover its history and talk about that history. the democrats are the party of the common person. common man, common woman. this is the party that came up with social security, medicare, medicaid, the affordable care act. that's a history that people need to know about. a history that the democratic party should run on and connect i itself to. and come up with 21st century issues that we have to confront. i don't think there's a need for special interest groups. we are democrats and we know who we are and stand for and with.
and that's -- i think that's sufficient. >> okay. final question, to robert costa of "the washington post." >> to what extent will you use your political capital -- >> i don't think you would see me or the president endorsing any primaries. i think we'll let that process work its way through and then support the democratic candidate who is chosen after primary. >> all right. well, thank you very much. >> thanks for having me. >> and i hope you come again. >> sure enough. >> thank you. >> thank you.
we'll have more on the budget tomorrow as va secretary david testifies and live on 8:00 a.m. eastern on c-span three and you can watch it online and where with the radio app. and the senate debating immigration policy live on c-span 2 and you can see highlights of the floor action tonight at 8:00 eastern. >> this weekend on "american history tv" on c-span 3. saturday, at 8:00 p.m. eastern on lectures in history. former virginia governor douglas wilder at virginia commonwealth
university. >> i have a one word definition i use for politics, can anybody guess what that is? and i said one word will define politics. money. give me something that's a proposition before any try bun that doesn't involve money. >> sunday at 10:00 a.m. eastern from the west point center of oral history. henry hank thomas a combat medic during the vietnam war. >> my grandfather served in world war i and my father in world war ii. always for a black man when you severed, it was the military service you hoped would confirm your bona fides first classed american citizen entitled to. >> on 4:00 p.m. with real
america. with the c pack conference in washington, d.c. we look back in 1988 when president rag gone spoke at a dinner. >> tax cuts, deregulation and the move towards privatization meant. it meant the largest peacetime expansion in our history and i can guarantee you they don't want to throw it a way with returns of a budget of the liberal special interest. >> watch "american history tv," every weekend on c-span 3. >> the justice department hosted a day long summit in washington, d.c. to combat human trafficking. including department officials who talk about organizations applying for federal grants and additional resources. >> this is the panel where you get to hear how the department is putting its money where its mouth is with human