On Wednesday’s edition of CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time,” Chris Cuomo brought on Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH), one of the Republicans who participated in the raid on the secure room where the Intelligence Committee was conducting impeachment hearings. And Johnson’s attempt to defend his behavior did not go well.
“Congressman, did you bring a phone in there?” asked Cuomo.
“We headed down that hallway to demand to be able to do our job. That’s what we were there for,” said Johnson. “There is no classified information being discussed in that room. It is a classified facility, if classified is being discussed, but there was no classified information being discussed there … You know, a Republican speaker gave that due process and fairness to President Clinton. A Democrat speaker gave that fairness and due process to Richard Nixon. So what do they have to hide, Chris?”
“Did you bring a phone in there?” Cuomo repeated. “So I can have it for the record?”
“My phone was turned off.”
“Did you have it on you?” Cuomo pressed him.
“Yes, I had it on me.”
“That’s a violation,” said Cuomo.
“There was no classified — you don’t set the rules there, Chris. The House does.”
“Right. It’s a violation of House rules, not my rules,” shot back Cuomo. “I don’t care where you bring a phone.”
“Do you want to talk about how many house rules have been violated?” whined Johnson. “Where was the outcry when Democrats did a sit-in and took control of the House floor? I don’t remember there being that kind of an outcry. We had to do what we had to do because we were being denied access to the information—”
“But how are you being denied access?” cut in Cuomo. “There are Republicans in the room. And you just made an incorrect analogy from this process to those past. With Nixon, you had a special prosecutor who looked at a grand jury in private and then gave the case to Congress. You do not have that here. With Clinton, you had an independent counsel, Ken Starr, that did his investigating in private and then gave it to Congress. You do not have that here. Here you have Congress doing the investigating. So—”
“No, Congress is not doing the investigating, Chris,” said Johnson. “Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff are doing the investigating.”
“That’s your spin on it. But Congress is doing it and doing it the way the laws allow,” said Cuomo. “Are there no Republicans in that room, councilman? They have access, can ask questions and get equal time.”
“The information that is being collected in that room is supposed to be available to everybody member of the U.S. House of Representatives. There are 435 of us here,” said Johnson.
“One of the reasons that Trey Gowdy said that these things work better in private,” said Cuomo, “the way he conducted most of Benghazi, I don’t remember you complaining when you changed the rules to empower—”
“Let’s talk about the Benghazi — that was a select committee,” said Johnson.
“This is a select committee,” said Cuomo.
“No, it’s not. It’s not a select committee,” said Johnson.
“This is the House Intel Committee,” Cuomo reminded him — which is indeed a select committee.
Johnson then pivoted to complaining about how there hasn’t been a formal vote to start the impeachment inquiry.
“There’s no need for one,” pointed out Cuomo.
“There certainly is,” said Johnson. “Read the Constitution, Chris.”
“No, it’s not in the Constitution,” said Cuomo. “It doesn’t save you have to have a full chamber vote to start an inquiry.”
“That’s what it refers to,” protested Johnson.
“That’s your interpretation,” said Cuomo. “They’re doing the investigation right now and Republicans are part of it. You’re not running it, you’re not in the majority, but you changed the rules that took away power from the minority, now you got to deal with it. Once that’s done, if they want to bring articles of impeachment, everything about transparency that you’re arguing for will happen. You’ll get to bring in counter witnesses and be cross-examined more than do you in committees just now. It’s just early and it makes it look like a distraction and a circus play.”
Pete Buttigieg answers those who question his family values: ‘I’ve never had to pay off a porn star’
Mayor Pete Buttigieg appeared on CNN Tuesday for a town hall in Nevada where he was asked about his sexual orientation. Thus far, Buttigieg is the first openly gay presidential candidate being taken seriously by both the media and the electorate.
He was asked by a voter how he would deal with the flood of personal attacks on his sexual orientation and his family.
He explained that it would happen and he was ready for it. Speaking about his coming-out story, Buttigieg said that he wasn't sure what impact it would have on his career but that he didn't want to not have a personal life anymore after he got out of the military.
Bernie Sanders calls for an end to ‘Bernie Bro’ behavior at town hall: ‘I don’t tolerate ugly attacks against anybody’
At Tuesday's CNN town hall, Las Vegas caretaker Maria Carrillo asked Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) about the culture of online harassment surrounding his supporters. Sanders firmly condemned bullying behavior at the hands of the "Bernie Bros" — and called on other candidates to join him in watching the tone of their supporters as well.
"Hello, Senator Sanders," said Carrillo. "So I'm a big supporter. For those who still need to hear it, will you condemn the Bernie Bro behavior?"
"I will condemn absolutely anybody, including my campaign or any other campaign, that makes vicious personal attacks against people," said Sanders. "What our people are involved in — we are a campaign which believes in compassion, which believes in justice. So I don't tolerate ugly attacks against anybody. But let me just say this. Talk to the people in my campaign, often the African-American women in this campaign, talk to my wife about the kind of ugly attacks that have come in to us. So right now, which is a very serious national problem, we have an internet which is essentially the Wild West. Somebody could say, 'hey, I'm Anderson Cooper' and zippo, say some ugly things, and right now that cannot be stopped."
Trump meddled in a lot more than just the Stone case — he’s also using his DOJ to play favorites among corporations
Trump’s effort to influence the outcome of the prosecution of his buddy Roger Stone represents another threat to the rule of law in the United States. Yet it is not just the rule of criminal law that is endangered. The Trump Administration has also been meddling with civil law, particularly in the area of antitrust.
This has been going on for a while. Early in his administration, the Trump Justice Department sought to block AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner, mainly, it appears, because the president wanted to get back at Time Warner subsidiary CNN for its negative coverage of him. Even after a federal court ruled in favor of AT&T and allowed it to close the deal, Justice continued its legal crusade. A year ago, some critics were arguing that Trump’s actions with regard to AT&T amounted to an impeachable offense.