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tv   Washington Journal Stephen Vladeck  CSPAN  February 5, 2018 2:11pm-2:33pm EST

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we are waiting to take you live at 2:30 to hear from the president, he's in cincinnati speak -- speaking at a manufacturer there. in the meantime, part of today's "washington journal." our first guest is stephen vladeck of the university of texas austin, the law professor there, covers national security issues. good morning to you, sir. could we get your sense of the assessment on the republican memo? guest: after all of that sound and the fury, i think the release of the memo was a bit anticlimactic. the memo really doesn't include much beyond what had already leaked out. of course, there are these questions about the provenance of this dossier, but if the goal of the memo was to provide proof
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that either the entire investigation by special counsel bob mueller is tainted or that deputy attorney general ubenstein -- rosenstein is part of this controversy, honestly, i think it failed on both accounts. alks can accept it as conspiracy theory perpetuated meme, but the memo did not really do the work that its patrons and authors wanted it to do. the neverit perspective of how this fisa court works and what information it takes to actually get someone to be investigated under fisa? guest: part of the problem is there is a whole lot of public misinformation about the fisa court specifically but also about the war and process generally. a lot of folks look at the fact that michael steele may or may not have been paid by the democratic national committee
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and assumed that taint everything he says. pedro, ordinary law enforcement witnesses are often paid informants. not prove that any warrants the government obtains from that information is tainted. in fact, more often than not, it is not. that is why the real question is not what the memo says, but what was actually submitted to the fisa court, was there enough sufficient, independently corroborated information so that any concerns that we have about the provenance of this dossier would dissipate. host: is there a way to release that underlying information that does not compromise national security? guest: certainly, we could try. ultimately, the call is up to the president. the president has the final say on these kinds of classification and declassification questions. if he wanted to declassify the underlying application to the fisa court with appropriate
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reactions, blacked out passages to high sources and methods, he could do so. he could instruct the director of national intelligence dan coats to take a shot in that direction. the fact that we are not hearing a clamor from the president or the house intelligence committee to release the underlying application or that they cannot release the underlying application, i think, is further proof that this whole charade has little to do with transparency and a lot to do with fulfilling a preset and rather partisan political narrative. stephen vladeck joining us from the university of texas, joining us from austin, texas. questionst to ask him about the memo, what it does to the larger aspect of our investigation and other related matters, (202) 748-8001 four republicans. (202) 748-8002 for democrats. (202) 748-8003 four
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independents. did the onus on those presenting it clearly present where the basis of this information was coming from? guest: to a point. it is incumbent upon any law enforcement officer apply to a court for a warrant to provide some information about the -- identity of the informant. there are so many cases where the police go to a court and get a warrant based on information from a clearly biased informant. the reason for that is not because nothing sketchy is happening. the reason is because there is some independent way to corroborate the informant's information or additional evidence that goes toward this probable cause showing. in that regard, it is quite telling you are not hearing anything from devin nunes, trey republicans inr the house intelligence committee about the probable cause standard and whether we ought to
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revisit the circumstances in which the fisa or is able to determine probable cause exists. instead it is all about this one warrant we have not seen, one application that has been withheld from the public. that is why this does not feel so much like a full throated debate about bias and transparency in the fisa court. democrats say over the weekend, if you could get our version of events, it would clarify things that may not have been seen from the initial release of the republican memo. i doubt you have seen the document in question, but what kinds of things could democrats rely on to make that case? guest: democratic member could have been of other pieces of evidence that had nothing to do with the steel dossier that were submitted to the fisa court. we know from google carter page, the target of this warrant has been on tv, made public appearances where he has talked about his connections with the russian government, possibly
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more information like that. quotests may also have from the application, suggesting the government did tell the fisa court that the steele dossier had been funded by a specific political party, which of course, would get rid of the narrative that this was a fraud perpetrated on the fisa court if they knew all along. we still won't know everything until and unless we see the underlying application. certainly, the memo that the house intelligence committee is going on releasing today could add yet further information, could show us a more complete picture of what exactly the fisa court had when it agreed to authorize the surveillance of carter page. host: before we go, the calls, what does history tell us -- the republicans willingness to release this? do you think that will happen? time the house intelligence committee
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considered this very question was two weeks ago. they voted not to release mr. schiff's memo, the ranking member of the house intelligence committee. the political pressure may have changed. now it would look rather heavy-handed on the part of the republicans on the intelligence committee given all the noise out there to not release the shift memo. frankly, it is more likely than not at this point that the democratic memo that some would see the light of day. again, it will still be he said, a said until folks are in position to evaluate the underlying application for themselves. that is why, from my perspective, the republicans and senior republicans in the house would be more directive in thinking it is the underlying application that either does or does not vindicate the president and prove this was or was not a scandal. first call for stephen vladeck comes from cedar rapids, iowa. independent line, david, you are
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first up. that in thed read dossier, the much-maligned dossier, that mr. paige had been offered a 19% share in the russian oil company in return for his influence on trump to lift sanctions. the person who allegedly reported that two steele was a agent,kgb intelligence secretly feeding information to steele for the dossier. subsequently, he was suspected of reading the details in an effort to expose the whole thing unfortunately, he was found dead in the back of his car in december 2016. there was another person that was found dead as a result of his involvement. host: so you want our guest to comment on what? caller: i want to know if mr.
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vladek has any information regarding this russian involvement. host: mr. vladek, any context to that? guest: there is no question, u.s. law enforcement, counterintelligence agencies have been following those matters closely. this is why the odds are pretty applicatione fisa against carter page was not based entirely on the steele dossier and that there was plenty of additional evidence, including, frankly, carter page's own words. not to prove that he had committed a crime or was guilty of spying on behalf of the russians, but to create probable cause that would have allowed the government to convince any federal judge in that position to authorize further investigations, some kind of surveillance on page. what i find so remarkable about the situation, pedro, is that the republicans by getting so invested in this memo, trying to
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use it to discredit the mother anestigation, have picked odd figure to rest all their hopes on an carter page. even't know how we look at what is publicly out there about carter page. forget what is in the classified fisa application, and that have that much trouble understanding why any justice department any political affiliation would not have been interested in pursuing an investigation against him based on what we know. host: alan is next, stevens, north carolina. from fayetteville, go ahead. caller: my question is, why do these republicans listen to fox news this information? i am so glad that you have a ban on like this that explains the situation. it is a sham. you see what the republicans did, they put something out there for all of the trump supporters to eat it up, and
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they are eating it up. it will be egg in their face. thank god for having a man like this. carolina, from north thanks. mr. vladek, is that your assessment? caller: i would not go all the way to it is a total sham. guest: the question is what is the endgame? was it possible the government was a bit overzealous in the fisa court and how it portrayed the steele dossier? sure. the problem is that happens all the time. what i find more vexing is not that the house intelligence ,ommittee, mr. nunez, mr. gowdy are making so much about this episode. not about thea concert they are stating which is protecting americans from abusive surveillance policies. if it was, we would be talking about reforming the fisa process, holding the government to a higher standard before it can obtain one of these
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warrants. of course, this is the very house intelligence committee that voted last year to reauthorize one of the other parts of fisa, with the republicans almost entirely endorsing that reauthorization. my concern is that if there is really a problem here, let's talk about the problem, as opposed to turn this into some huge partisan, political scandal that is distracting from the mother investigation, which is mr. gary himself suggested yesterday, should not be affected at all by what is in the nunes memo. comey goes on twitter and says that the release of this information, and trusthe words destroyed with the intelligence committee, damage the relationship with -- would you agree that those things happened, didn't go that far? to see.e will have one of the things about these institutional relationships is
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they are very long-term. it is easy in the midst of a moment like this to lose sight of the forest in the trees. i think this episode has hurt the relationship between the house intelligence committee and the fbi. keep in mind, when congress created the intelligence committees in the 1970's, when it created the fisa court, the purpose of both of these institutions was to provide different kinds of oversight and accountability on government spying, government surveillance. when you have the house intelligence committee treating every single issue that comes before it in purely partisan political terms, that may be satisfying in the moment to those whose party is represented by the majority of the house intelligence committee, but it does, as mr. comey suggested, we can, if not destroy the long-term ability of the house intelligence committee to play this role as an independent, trusted outside objective
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overseer of the intelligence community. ornkly, pedro, democrat republican, that is bad for everybody. host: republican line, this is gary. yes, i would just like to ask the investigation is over collusion? is that a crime? if they had listened to mitt romney instead of making fun of him, i don't think all of this would have been happening. then again, the fbi did wiretap dr. martin luther king. there is just too much going on here that don't make no sense. the thing that makes the least bit of sense is house intelligence. that is an oxymoron for me. host: mr. pelagic, is collusion technically a crime? guest: collusion of itself is not a crime, but it is worth stressing it is a misnomer to characterize the investigation
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with collusion. the investigation was started as a nunez momo itself concedes, in 20, as a counterintelligence investigation, not criminal investigation, into russian interference into the election cycle. this is no longer a debate about whether there was russian interference. there are senior republicans in the house and senate that have come out publicly and said it is clear the russians at least attempted to interfere in the election as part of that counterintelligence investigation at all of this information about relationship between the trump campaign and the russian government, senior russian officials, the famous trump tower meeting, now these indictments are coming out. the question is not whether or not there was collusion between the trunk can gain and the russian government. the question is as part of the mother investigation into russian interference into the election -- something we should all be interested in -- evidence
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of separate and additional crimes uncovered by the special counsel. we have already seen through the indictments and plea deals a couple examples of that. someone on twitter has questions of the democratic memo, if it is going through the same steps as the gop memo, the process of scrubbing. can you walk us through this process? guest: frankly, we are a bit in uncharted territory. the provision that allowed this to come out had actually never been successfully invoked before in the 40-year history of the house intelligence committee. the way the process is supposed to work, if a majority of the house intelligence committee votes to release information that is secret, classified, not for public release, then it goes to the white house to see if it can be declassified. so instead of just being de facto leaked to the public, it
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can be formally leaked to the public. that is what happened with the nunes memo. the white house and we are fully declassified the nunes memo. few ways to compromise their, where the white house would say we're not going to declassified a whole thing. reject a little bit, then it goes to the full house to override the decision. we are still several procedural steps away from seeing the democratic memo prepared by mr. schiff and his colleagues. again, that memo is an important next up to those that think we have not gotten to the bottom of the carter page fisa warrant and the potential scandal that so many things it -- so many think it represents. host: michael in georgia, democrat line. caller: i would like you to ask your guest, how do we know the white house did not conclude with nunes like they did before?
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in writing the memo? this is something that the democrats at the white house was working with republicans on. guest: there is no longer would prevent at least some kind of back-and-forth cooperation and discussion between senior members of the house intelligence committee and white house. pedro, there are strong norms about it. it is hard to be an effective overseer as the house intelligence committee is supposed to be, if you are running over to those you are overseeing on a regular basis, to plot strategy. the more coordination there was between the white house and mr. the house majority on intelligence committee, the more alarming is from a political perspective. there is no obvious legal perspective, but further underscores how this whole episode has not been about getting to the bottom of a potential abuse of the fisa process but rather about trying to vindicate the president's own
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narrative, frankly, as the president himself suggested on twitter saturday morning. preparesn mr. nunez the memo, does he work with an enclosed group of people, does he have to work with republicans on the committee? guest: the question is how is he going to get the memo through a majority vote under section 11 g to get it moving down the chain to release. is that he reporting basically wrote it or that his staffers weren't together with folks from mr. gary's office and not much input from the committee. the question is what would have taken to get that majority vote to get it out of committee. in this case, there was enough pressure coming from the white house, other senior republicans in the house, even speaker ryan jumped into the fray last week and suggested the memo was proof of malfeasance. i think there was enough of a groundswell. the question is not again why
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the republicans moved heaven and earth to release this memo. -- if tellinging the full story is the goal here, the same process was not all of, the same mentality applied to the democratic response or the underlying fisa application itself which runs about 60 pages. host: if i understand it correct, there was the initial test and then three following requests. when you make those three following request, you have to present the same burden of evidence or is it a rubberstamp at that point? guest: the same standard applies to the reauthorization. the way fisa works, it is temporary authorization. you don't get to surveillance target in perpetuity. after a fixed with two of time, depending on the warrant, the government has to go back to the court and show they still have probable cause to believe that the target of the war and is an
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agent of a foreign power. thehis case, it sounds like government not only went back to the fisa court went back three different times. different four independent, life tenured federal judges agreeing with two different administrations that there was probable cause to believe carter page was an agent of a foreign power. the nunes memo have more work to do before it would convince anyone did not already want to be convinced that this was some kind of abuse. host: stephen vladeck teaches law at the university of texas at austin. he spent his previous career at the university of miami, and american university college of law. thes a senior editor of journal of national security law and policy, also does a podcast on these issues. flat, where can people listen for that? guest: my


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