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James Comey Interviewed about Mueller Report. Aired 1-1:30p ET
Aired April 2, 2019 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:00:00] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: House and Senate, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, spoke directly to President Trump, trying to dissuade him. After promising a replacement plan for Obamacare was on the way, the White House says it's going to the back burner for now. And just last week, the president, you may recall, called for the courts to strike down Obamacare and declared the GOP would become the party of healthcare. Now he's saying that no new plan is coming until after the 2020 election.
In the meantime, a House panel is looking into accusations that the White House awarded security clearances to 25 people whose clearances had been denied.
Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, is moving to subpoena the personnel security director at the White House during President Trump's first two years in office. At today's hearing, Republicans discounted the whistleblower's allegation. Chairman Cummings says the witness, Trisha Newbold, was afraid of retaliation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), CHAIRMAN, OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: She's crying out. She's begging to us do something.
REP. JIM JORDAN (R), OHIO: You issue a big memo and a big press release after interviewing one witness.
I've been on this committee ten years. I've never seen anything like this.
CUMMINGS: Oh, please.
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO -CORTEZ (D), NEW YORK: I mean every day that we go on without getting to the bottom of this matter is a day that we are putting hundreds if not potentially thousands of Americans at risk. I mean, really, what is next, putting nuclear codes in Instagram DMs (ph)?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: We are going to talk with the attorney for whistleblower Trisha Newbold later this hour.
First, though, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler is planning to authorize a subpoena tomorrow to get access to the full, un-redacted Mueller report. Of course at the heart of the case over obstruction is the former FBI director fired by President Trump, James Comey. He led the investigation into alleged links between the Trump campaign and Russia, and he says that he's confused by the Barr letter and Mueller's decision to punt on obstruction.
Let's go live now to Christiane Amanpour.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Now, all of this is detailed in his book, "A Higher Loyalty," and the paperback version comes out next month. So let us now get some answers from the man himself, the former FBI Director James Comey joins me here in Washington.
Welcome to the program.
JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: It's great to be with you.
AMANPOUR: So can I just ask you, because yesterday, which was April Fool's Day, you caused quite a stir saying and tweeting, I'm in. You know, somebody in the middle needs to get in. I mean do you need a stress buster?
COMEY: I think we all need to laugh from time to time, especially today. If you don't laugh, you'll cry. And so I just was trying to be fun and prank people on April Fool's Day. A big tradition in the states.
AMANPOUR: Did anybody take you seriously?
COMEY: I don't know for sure. A whole lot of reporters called, people trying to reach me to get me to confirm it, blaming their editors, like they were in on it.
AMANPOUR: You are given to quite dramatic interventions. Right after Mueller dropped his report, and we heard the summary from the attorney general, you did tweet a pretty interesting picture of yourself in the woods, and you said, so many questions. That was more than a week ago. Do you feel you've had those questions answered in any more detail in the intervening days?
COMEY: No. Maybe with the exception of my question about will we get full transparency, I think I see more promise signs of that in the recent letter that the attorney general sent to Congress.
AMANPOUR: He says that he's going to put it out with some redactions by mid-April. And the thing is, he's also talked about these redactions and he says that he'll redact secret grand jury testimony, material the intelligence community identifies as potentially compromising, sensitive sources and methods, material that could affect other ongoing matters, information that would unduly infringe on the personnel privacy and reputational interests of peripheral third parties.
Democrats fear that there will be an attempt to redact issues and elements that might damage the president or be uncomfortable for him. From your perspective, do you have confidence that enough of this will come out to satisfy everybody who wants to see it?
COMEY: I can't say for sure until we see it. Those are reasonable concerns for Democrats to have. But Bill Barr, our attorney general, deserves the benefit of the doubt. Give him a chance to show us what he feels like he can't show us. I have to imagine that former Director Mueller wrote the report with an eye towards it being public some day, so I can't imagine a lot needs to be cut off of it. But let's wait and see. The attorney general deserves that chance.
AMANPOUR: What is normal redactions in cases like this? I mean you must have seen a lot of this in your -- in your tenures, in all your positions. I mean, you know, I mean the jokes are that it will all be redacted except for a couple of words. You just said, give him the benefit of the doubt. But what should one expect beyond what he's just said?
COMEY: Well, you should expect a good faith effort by the Department of Justice to protect the things that are in those categories. You don't want to reveal classified information. You don't want to damage ongoing investigations. You don't want to smear people who have no real part in the investigation. But that's all fairly easy to figure out if you know the case, as Mueller's people do.
[13:05:07] AMANPOUR: And the Democrats promising to subpoena a full, un-redacted version, do you think they'll win that and should they in Congress, elections officials, be allowed to see it with no redactions?
COMEY: I don't know what would happen in a battle over a subpoena. I do know there's a long tradition of sharing classified, sensitive material with the leaders in Congress, chairs of relevant committees. So it's possible you'll see one version go to most of the House and the public and a more full version go to selected leaders.
AMANPOUR: You've just said the attorney general deserves the benefit of the doubt. I guess, look, where do you come down on the immediate sort of Monday morning quarterbacking or analyzing of the little we know of the Mueller report? There are some who said, well, you know, he punted. We don't know what's going on. There are others who say, you know, the attorney general took that -- that summary of his and scored, quote, a touchdown for the president.
What should we make of the fallout in the few days since the report has been, you know, delivered to the Justice Department?
COMEY: Well, Monday morning quarterbacking, to borrow your term, is a natural thing. There's been a whole lot of it done about decisions I've made.
I think what we have to do is just keep an open mind and wait for the details. The attorney general has to not only share details with the American people of the case, but show us his work. Why did you make the decisions you made? Why did you handle it the way that you did? I'm confident he understands that. He is an institutionalist. He loves the Department of Justice. The only thing he has to lose at this point in his career is his reputation. I think he deserves the benefit of the doubt. And us uncharacteristically showing some patience to give him a chance to show us.
AMANPOUR: I mean you worked for Robert Mueller. He's a big presence in your life. I think once you may have called him your mentor -- his -- him your mentor. Do -- were you surprised by what we know of what he came down with on the conspiracy and on the obstruction of justice? Let's take the conspiracy first, where he said could not establish any -- he didn't use the word collusion, I don't believe, but conspiracy or crime in that regard.
COMEY: Yes, as I -- again, all I know is from the attorney general's letter that he could not -- the evidence did not establish a conspiracy and he defines conspiracy as a tacit or expressed agreement between an American and the Russians. It doesn't surprise me. I didn't know what the result was going to be. That's the reason we were investigating it when I got fired. I didn't know where it would end up. I'm confident that if he reached that conclusion, that's reached in good faith. But I'll be very interested, as all of us will, to see the details of that.
AMANPOUR: You have said because many, including the president, called this for a long time a witch hunt, a hoax and all the rest of it. To those of his supporters who might say, look, it amounted to a hill of beans what we know so far. This never should have happened. What's your answer to that?
COMEY: Two things. First, take a look in the mirror and ask what happened to Bob Mueller and the FBI being corrupt and evil and a nest of deep state traitors that they reached a conclusion that the president is happy with. Just to move on front that, your president tried to burn down the Department of Justice and the FBI and that matters. So take a look in the mirror and ask you what you've learned from that experience.
But, second, you should have fired all of us if we didn't investigate what we learned in the summer of 2016, when we got smoke, not fire, but smoke that Americans might have assisted the Russian effort. We had to investigate that. And no serious person could think otherwise. And it was done in a serious way. And it reached a serious result that now we all ought to get transparency on.
AMANPOUR: So you were -- I mean you started, as FBI director, the -- the investigation into the Russian interference in the election. It started as a counterintelligence investigation, right?
AMANPOUR: Did you think that it would move into the criminal area? And I guess even on the counterintelligence, how worried were you and do you remain about the threat that Russia continues to pose to democratic institutions, to American elections in the future?
COMEY: It started as a counterintelligence investigation, but every counterintelligence investigation potentially has a criminal element because if you discover someone was working with a foreign adversary to damage the United States, that's an important intelligence finding, but it could also be evidence of a crime so they run together. And so it was important to do, important to look at, both from, what should we know about what the adversary is doing, but also were Americans involved?
And, remember this, there was a massive effort by the Russians to interfere in this election, to hurt one candidate and to help the other. The good news about what the attorney general said is that's been verified. There was such a thing. It wasn't a hoax.
What we had to figure out starting in the summer of '16 was, were any Americans part of that? And we had good reason to think that. So the counterintelligence investigation had to be done. Apparently reached important conclusions. I don't know what they say about the continuing threat.
[13:10:11] Look, Russia succeeded in 2016 beyond its wildest dreams in its effort to damage our democracy, especially -- they'll be back, especially given that the president not only hasn't criticized their effort, he's denied it. I saw some poll that a majority of Republicans don't think the Russians intervened in the election in 2016. That's crazy stuff, but that tells the Russians, you'll get away with it in 2020, so they will be back.
AMANPOUR: Again, it's almost difficult -- it's actually difficult to have a conversation until we know what's in the whole report. But I want to the ask you this because you heard many, many commentator, you know, former administration officials basically accusing the president of potentially being a Russian asset.
Now that you've seen the little that you've seen, but the very important nut (ph) graphs, can people put that to rest and is it a good thing that America can see that so far the evidence suggests, according to Robert Mueller, that there wasn't a crime of collusion and conspiracy committed, or at least not enough to establish that?
COMEY: Well, there's two separate pieces to my reaction to that. The first is, yes, it's a very good thing that the special counsel appears to have concluded there isn't sufficient evidence to establish any Americans were part of this effort. I don't care what party you're in, that should be good news to you as an American citizen. That's that question.
I don't know what the special counsel's work was with respect to the continuing threat and whether there is some counterintelligence risk associated with this president or this administration and Russia. As I understood his mandate it was, was there -- what do you know about the Russian interference in 2016 and whether Americans were involved? I don't think he looked at the -- I'm not suggesting there's something there, but I don't think he looked at the question about, is there something about this president's finances or personal affairs or something that creates a situation where he's reluctant to criticize Russia? I don't think that was his mandate. I don't know the answer to that question. I ask it just because I've been struck during my time as FBI director and struck since about the president's reluctance to criticize Russia, even in private, but I don't know that's a question that's going to be answered by Mueller's work.
AMANPOUR: You think we might never know?
COMEY: We might never know.
AMANPOUR: On the obstruction of justice case, which, again, everybody wants to get to the bottom of because in Mueller's own words, repeated by the Attorney General William Barr, no -- I cannot yet establish a -- or I cannot establish a crime, but I'm not exonerating the president or the president is not being exonerated.
Would you agree obviously that the obstruction of justice question centers on you yourself and your firing.
COMEY: At least in part. Yes, I think -- I think -- again, I don't know because I haven't seen the work, that two of the episodes that involved me, according to press reports, were the subject of investigation. The request -- the direction by the president on Valentine's Day of 2017 that we drop our investigation of Michael Flynn, and, second, his firing me and then telling a TV interviewer and I think the Russians themselves in the Oval Office that he did it because of the Russia investigation. I don't know where he ends up on those things. I didn't know the answer to -- whether that was obstruction when I was director, so I don't know what he's found.
It appears he's found, on some episodes that he investigated, and it could be the ones involving me, that there's substantial evidence that inculpates the president and there's evidence on the other side and for some reason he didn't call that.
AMANPOUR: And what is your view of the fact that Mueller didn't call that and some have said punted it to the attorney general, maybe punted it to Congress. What is your view? Should he have done, given his special counsel title and his re-mit (ph) and the parameters?
COMEY: I don't know and I can't tell from just what the attorney general said. That's one of the pieces of work that we have to see. So was it done that way? These are serious people. And, again, as with the attorney general, Bob Mueller's entitled to the benefit of the doubt. But I can't tell from here because the design of special counsels is to relive the political leadership of making those kinds of calls so that folks don't have doubts about whether it was done in an apolitical way. So there must be some very good reason why Bob Mueller did it this way. It could be there was some knotty legal question that only the attorney general could resolve, or it could be he intended the attorney general just to pass the whole thing to Congress and not decide it. I just can't tell.
AMANPOUR: Well, on that issue, Lawyer George Conway, who wrote in "The Washington Post" shortly after it was dropped, it's hard to escape the conclusion that Mueller wrote his report to allow the American people and Congress to decide what to make of the facts, and that's what should and must happen right now.
Do you think that the -- that it will be made public -- and we touched on it a little bit before -- but to the satisfaction of the political class and the public? [13:15:08] AMANPOUR: Those are two different things. I think it will
be -- you will have transparency that satisfies the broad swath of the American public. Partisans, I think --
AMANPOUR: Do you think there will be transparency to --
COMEY: I do.
AMANPOUR: To satisfy the people?
COMEY: I do. I think Republicans are now against transparency. I think if I'm keeping it right and Republicans -- and Democrats are for it, they used to be different about that. Forget them. The American people will get substantial transparency. I'm optimistic about this.
AMANPOUR: So the issue apparently around obstruction of justice is intent. And whether there can be, you know, corrupt intent. And you all know that William Barr wrote a letter to Congress in which he said, in cataloguing the president's actions, many of which took place in public view, the report identifies no actions that in our judgment constitute obstructive conduct and had a nexus to a pending or contemplated proceeding and were done with corrupt intent.
So the president says he's not guilty of conspiring with the Russians. Mueller hasn't been able to accuse him of that and charge him. That's possible that there was no corrupt intent, therefore.
COMEY: Well, I think a prosecute would express it this way, there was insufficient evidence of corrupt intent. I's possible. Sure. I've thought that all along. I didn't know. I couldn't see inside his head when he told me to drop the Flynn investigation. Was he doing it out of a humanitarian gesture towards Flynn, he felt sorry for the guy, or was there some darker intention, he wanted to keep this away from him in some fashion. I just don't know.
AMANPOUR: It's interesting you bring that up because, obviously, a lot of his supporters will say that. I've spoken to people who are on his side and his advisory cabinet, if you like, who say that this is a man who was a real estate mogul, who was a reality television star, was not either a diplomat or a politician or versed in the, you know, the parameters of how one should behave verbally or in any other way. So I just wonder whether, again, 2020 hindsight, when he brought you to -- to supper at the White House, when he pulled you to him and asked you for loyalty, when he talked to you about Michael Flynn and go easy, could that have been a kind of inappropriate, maybe incompetent way of saying, listen, he's my friend, do what you have to do but know that, you know, he's a good man and take it easy, he didn't mean to do anything. Do you think about that?
COMEY: Yes, sure. And I approached it as an investigator that way with an open mind.
Partisans start with a conclusion and try and find facts. Investigators start trying to understand the facts and what conclusion that supports. And so, as I said, even when he asked me to drop it, I didn't know what his intention was. I knew it could be obstruction of justice. And an important indicator was, he kicked everybody out of the Oval Office, including my own boss, so he could talk to me alone. If this was an appropriate, humanitarian gesture, why would you do that?
But that doesn't answer the question for me. You'd want to know a lot from around him. What did he tell his aides? What was in e-mails? What other conversations did he have? An investigator starts trying to understand the facts.
AMANPOUR: What about the idea from William Barr, again, who's written about this whole idea of obstruction of justice, and essentially has said that -- that you can't be convicted of obstruction of justice unless there's either an underlying crime or the obstruction is, quote, an act that is wrongful in itself, like threatening a witness. This was obtained by the news media. He's basically saying, because, in this case, there was no established conspiracy, enough to lay charges, that therefore they cannot be obstruction. And he's saying that everything he did, whatever he said to you and the rest of it, it was actually public. Does that --
COMEY: Well, the second part -- the second part reminds me of the old argument that -- that defense lawyers would make in a bank robbery case. My client can't be guilty. What would he be doing in the bank in broad daylight with a gun? All right, forget that. People do all kinds of things in public that they shouldn't do.
The closer question, though is this one about, can you be held liable for obstruction if there's no underlying crime proved. And this is one of the things that confuses me. The attorney general's letter is -- doesn't make sense in light of my experience. Thousands of people are prosecuted in this country every year for trying to obstruct an investigation where the underlying thing that was being investigated doesn't end up proving. And the reason for that is, people obstruct to avoid embarrassment, to protect family and friends, to protect businesses, because they're worried the investigators might find something out.
Martha Stewart went to jail for lying about an investigation. She wasn't convicted of insider trading. But bringing those kind of obstruction cases are really important because you create an incentive to obstruct. Imagine if the rule were, you could only be guilty of obstruction if we get you on the underlying thing. Well, then you'd better go all in on the obstruction because then you'll walk away completely. That doesn't make any sense.
[13:20:01] Again, but I don't want to pre-judge it because I don't know what his thinking was exactly on that. I'd like to see the work.
AMANPOUR: And, again, back to the attorney general and the Department of Justice.
What is your opinion of the fact that he has written that letter, he's known to have thought that before he became -- and other issues about obstruction, before he became attorney general, had very clear and public views on all of this. I know you said you have confidence in him and so have others said
that. Should he be the one telling the world about what's in this report? I mean some people have said that it's -- you know, maybe there's a little conflict of interest there. Do you think there is?
COMEY: I don't see it that way. Again, I don't like to jump on people until I see their work and their reasoning. That's probably borne of personal experience from folks having strong views of me without knowing what I was thinking. So I'd like to see his thought process, give him the benefit of the doubt and wait for that before we make judgements.
AMANPOUR: You, as I said, in our introduction, were incredibly lightning rody (ph) throughout this whole process. Before you got into, you know, bad, whatever, you know, into a tangle with Trump, let's say, into your investigation, there was the whole issue of the Clinton e-mails.
You know, you have said that President Trump is a norm buster and others have said, well, actually, you should know because you are also a norm buster. And you decided to bust the norm that you don't go public if you're not ready to make a prosecution and, in fact, you did go public just a very short time before the election in 2016 with -- with -- with yet another issue on these -- on these e-mails. You said you were going to look at them again.
Do you accept that that was busting a norm, and do you think that maybe you shouldn't have done it. I know you've talked about this a lot.
COMEY: No, but it's -- look, I get why people asked. It involves the collision of two norms. I totally agree with the norm that if we can avoid it, we take no action in the run-up to an election that might have an impact on the election. I've lived that my whole career. But I also believe strongly in the norm that we are honest and candid with tribunals when we offer testimony. If it turns out it's false, we fix it.
And so what do you do 11 days before an election when you have a choice between those two norms. Do you break one and speak in a way that might have an impact on an election, or do you conceal that what you told Congress all summer long and that people are relying on, this thing is done, is not true and -- and by that, and the way I thought of it, essentially lie to Congress and the American people.
Good, reasonable people can see it either way, but it wasn't a question of me just deciding to take a flame thrower to norms. It's trying to figure out in an agonizing situation which is the least terrible option. And even in hindsight, as painful as it is, I think I chose the least terrible option. I'd rather not have been involved, frankly, but there we were.
AMANPOUR: Clearly the Democrats don't believe that and Hillary Clinton herself doesn't believe it was the least terrible option. I spoke to her several months after she lost and this is what she told me about your intervention. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It wasn't a perfect campaign. There is no such thing. But I was on the way to winning until a combination of Jim Comey's letter on October 28th and Russian WikiLeaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me but got scared off. And the evidence for that intervening event is, I think, compelling, persuasive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Do you ever thing that you might be responsible for the election of President Trump? Does that keep you up at night?
COMEY: Sure, and I hope some day somebody proves that what we did was irrelevant. But as I said, when we were making the choice between the two paths, we accepted --
AMANPOUR: But -- but it kind of was -- sorry, it kind of was irrelevant because you then came out and said it's fine, there's nothing there.
COMEY: Right. Well, it turned out it didn't change our judgment with respect to Secretary Clinton. There was plenty there. But, yes, it ended up not having an impact on our investigative judgment.
But, again, I -- I hope we had no impact. I hope it's proves it was irrelevant. But all it does is increases the pain. It doesn't change how I think about the decision. My view -- again, again, good people can see this differently. But my view and the view of this team was, we cannot conceal from the American people that the investigation we told them and fought to tell them is done, is done, is done is not done, and the result could change. We just couldn't do that.
But, look, I get -- I respect her view. I accept the criticism. It doesn't change how I think about it though.
AMANPOUR: Are you worried in hindsight that you didn't bust any norm or you didn't tell the people that you were investigating Russian interference before the election?
[13:25:05] COMEY: No. And -- and --
AMANPOUR: Because that's really dramatic.
COMEY: Sure. But now looking back through the lens of a conclusion from the special counsel that there apparently wasn't a case there, it just, to my mind, reinforces that we made the prudent decision. We didn't know whether we had anything in the summer of 2016. We weren't investigating the candidate. We had indications that one of his campaign advisers had spoken to a Russian operative months earlier about the fact that the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton. That was it. That was an important basis to investigate, but we actually never considered making a disclosure because what would we disclose. It was all classified to begin with, but we didn't know whether there was any fire to go along with the smoke. It would have been irresponsible in the extreme and so I just -- I don't think that's a fair criticism of us. Important and fair discussion about whether the -- we should have said more about the overarching Russian effort, but that's a separate question.
AMANPOUR: And why didn't you say more about the overarching Russian effort, because that's a very, very big problem.
COMEY: The president -- yes, President Obama was, in my view, rightly concerned that if the Russians' primary goal was to damage our democracy and undermine faith in hour system, if he were to announce that the Russians are coming for this election in the summer of '16, would he accomplish their goal, one, and, two, looked like Donald Trump was going to lose and so would he give Donald Trump an excuse to say the election was rigged by Barack Obama, further accomplishing the Russian goal.
AMANPOUR: OK, in hindsight, the correct decision or the wrong decision because you all now say -- and we're going to be discussing in our next segment that the incoming chairman -- the joint chairman -- the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says Russia will be the main extension threat to the United States for the foreseeable future. Was it a mistake for the president and everybody not to highlight then Russia's interference? Could we have avoided so much pain and dissolution of our democratic institutions?
COMEY: I don't know that we could have avoided significant portion of the dissolution of pain we've had. And I think his decision was a reasonable one given what he had at the time. And -- and ultimately, though, by October, everybody knew what the Russians were doing. Both candidates were talking about it. One candidate was calling upon them to do more and the others was condemning it. People in Congress were talking about it because we were briefing Congress the whole time. And so I think by and large, come October, we all knew that the Russians were messing with us.
AMANPOUR: Going forward, the president has said that, you know, I mean you saw -- we've put a little bit of what he -- what he was saying about you, all sorts of nasty names, et cetera, and that there will be counter investigations, you know, sort of accounting for this hoax that exonerated him. You know what I'm saying.
AMANPOUR: To investigate perhaps you, perhaps others. Do you fear that? Do you think that's coming down the pike?
COMEY: I don't fear it personally. I fear it as a citizen, right? Investigate what? Investigate that investigations were conducted? And what would be the crime you'd be investigating? So it's a terrible cycle to start. He's already started it with calling for the locking up of his political opponents, including people like me. And so it would just be more of that dangerous step. And I would hope, although he continued to disappoint me, the Republicans would finally stand up and say, we don't do that kind of thing. But me, personally, ask me questions. Go ahead. I'd like to answer them in the daylight, if I could, but ask me -- ask me questions. AMANPOUR: I've got one -- one question because you just said lock her up.
AMANPOUR: Or lock me up.
Of course lock her up was a feature of the 2016 Trump campaign. Do you, in retrospect, wish that people like yourself, the head of the FBI, I mean the people in charge of law and order had shut down that language, that it was dangerous potentially, that it could have created violence, that it was kind of hate speech? Should that have been allowed?
COMEY: That's not a role for government to play. The beauty of this country is people can say what they want, even if it's misleading and it's demagoguery. The people who should have shut it down were Republicans who understand the rule of law and the values that they claim to stand for. Shame on them. But it wasn't a role for government to play.
AMANPOUR: James Comey, former FBI director, thank you very much for joining me today.
COMEY: Great to be with you.
AMANPOUR: Thank you.
KEILAR: All right, we have been listening to Christiane Amanpour's interview with James Comey, the former FBI director.
And with me now to discuss it is former council to the U.S. -- to the U.S. assistant attorney general and CNN's legal analyst, Carrie Cordero. We also have CNN's chief political analyst Gloria Borger and CNN's senior White House correspondent Pamela Brown.
[13:29:43] And, Pamela, one of the things we really wanted to know and we got a little insight into this was, what did the former FBI director, James Comey, think about the obstruction, the potential obstruction piece of this because the attorney general, Bill Barr, having seen Robert Mueller punt the adjudication essentially of whether this happen, Barr had said essentially there's no underlying crime.