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NY Times: Trump DOJ Seized Phone Records Of Democrats In Congress; Trump DOJ Subpoenaed Apple For Data From Accounts Of Adam Schiff & House Intel Committee Aides; Woman Suing Arkansas Police After They Flipped Her Car. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired June 10, 2021 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR ANDREW BROWN JR.'S FAMILY: I don't know what you call it, John Berman, when a person is shot in the back of the head, going away from you.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: Benjamin Crump, I appreciate you joining us tonight. Thank you so much for your time.
CRUMP: Thank you.
BERMAN: All right, a lot of news tonight. It continues. So, let's hand it over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME." Chris?
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: I appreciate it, John.
I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to PRIME TIME.
We have breaking news on our watch. Claims of Deep State intrusion, claims of abuse of the government, being used for political purpose, they were more true than we knew. Trump was making those claims, but he was also the one doing what he was complaining about.
"The New York Times" nails the Trump administration for going to extremes, to track down leaks, in the early years of the term, hunting for sources, behind media reports, about contacts between Trump associates and Russia, contacts that happened.
"The Times" says the Trump DOJ, under Jeff Sessions, took the extraordinary step of having prosecutors subpoena Apple, for data from the accounts of at least two Democrats, on the House Intelligence Committee, along with their aides, their family members, and even kids.
And they put a gag order on Apple, so Apple wasn't allowed to tell anybody, about what was going on, even though they were main members of this government.
Now, one of them was Adam Schiff, who's now Chairman of the Intel Committee. He ultimately led the prosecution in Trump's first impeachment.
He is coming on this show in a moment. But this is much bigger than him. He tells "The Times" the subpoenas for data on him, and others, were used as a cudgel against his political opponents, Trump's political opponents, and members of the media.
"The politicization of the Department and the attacks on the rule of law are among the most dangerous assaults on our democracy carried out by our former president."
Remember, we know that Trump took this stuff very seriously, because he complained about it all the time. "This is the Deep State." What was that about? It was using those who are behind the machinery of government to do bad political things. That is exactly what he was doing, according to "The New York Times."
The White House was adamant that the sources be found and prosecuted, they report. And the Justice Department began a broad look at national security officials from the Obama administration.
We had heard of going after reporters, even their phone records, including a member of CNN. But going after the main members of the opposing party and their families?
"The New York Times" reports that investigators also opened cases that focused on then FBI Director Comey, and his deputy at the time, Andrew McCabe, and that repeatedly, the same staff that was tasked with these investigations kept arguing there was no case and that it looked bad.
But they were told by Sessions, and then Bill Barr, to keep going, sparking concerns, this was about politics, not protecting national security.
Andrew is with us tonight along with Norm Eisen.
Good to have you both.
Andrew, obviously, you're aware of some of this because you were caught up in it. Understanding more of the scope, and who they were going after, and what the pushback was, from the same staff, what does it tell you?
ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, honestly, Chris, I mean, I - obviously I know that the President and his henchmen have had it out for me for many years. I mean, that's not a surprise.
But the revelations that we've been privy to, over the last few weeks, about the subpoenas of journalists' records, and now, the absolutely, I don't want to say unprecedented, the groundbreaking step of subpoenaing data, private data, of a sitting Member of Congress, like I had never - I had no idea that that kind of stuff was going on.
And it is just I - 21 years in law enforcement, I served at every level, you can possibly serve at, as an agent, in the FBI. And I have never seen activity like this, on the part dictated by the Department of Justice. I think that William Barr will go down in history, as the person most responsible, for undermining the Justice Department, and using it as a political weapon, more so than anyone, who has sat in that chair, in the entire history of this Department. It's an absolute disgrace what he did to that institution.
CUOMO: Norm, have you ever heard of anything like this? And why is it remarkable to you?
NORM EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Chris, in my 30 years in Washington, representing people, in front of Congress, and at DOJ, working in government, and the Executive branch, as a staff member, like those staff members, who got subpoenaed in Congress, it is completely without a precedent.
It's groundbreaking and earth-shaking. And there are going to be consequences. There's going to be fallout, Chris. You're going to see congressional investigations.
We're going to need to have a policy, or maybe laws, not just to protect reporters, we talked about that a few weeks ago, but to protect Members of Congress. Chris, they even went after the child of one of these targets, on the Hill, to get information about a child's account from Apple.
And then there's the question of Bill Barr, as Andy says. We've already had two judges criticize him, for a cover-up, in connection with protecting Trump from obstruction charges. Now, people are going to be looking at his law license afresh. So, expect a lot of legal fallout from this.
CUOMO: In terms of the practicality of it, Andrew, when you were in the - you served at the highest levels of the DOJ.
If you had guys and women that you would task with something, come to you repeatedly, and say, "It's not there. This is getting weird that you have us on this. We're not finding anything. And even the things we're finding, even against Comey, we can't make a case," what - how often was it that you guys would say "Keep looking! Keep looking! Just keep looking!"
MCCABE: Anyone who has served in a leadership position, in the FBI, or the Department of Justice, will tell you that your job, as a leader, is to oversee these investigations, so, listen to what your investigators tell you, to process the facts as they are uncovering them, and to take the recommendations of your investigative teams, in terms of the steps you're going to - you're going to take, going forward.
So, on the day, they come to you and say, "We think we're done," you may question, and ask few questions, and make sure that all the Ts have been crossed, and the Is are dotted. But when the investigators say, "There's no case here," then that's the time to stop the institution from investigating a private citizen. It's clearly, what you had here was William Barr, throwing a Hail Mary pass, to try desperately, to generate some sort of information, to put some of the President's enemies in jail. I know this from personal experience. So, in some really sad way, I'm not surprised with some of these revelations.
CUOMO: Jeff Sessions first, and then William Barr.
Norm, the idea of "Well, this is what the government does," no, this is not the same thing as going after Congressman Matt Gaetz, for alleged behavior, where you have proof and allegations of criminality, from another guy, who was already indicted.
This was an investigation in search of a crime, in search of proof, not the opposite. Big distinction?
EISEN: Yes. There are cases where there have been serious allegations of corruption by a Member of Congress, the William Jefferson case is one that comes to mind, where there's investigative tools that are deployed.
But Chris, this was a pure act of political retaliation. It was abuse of power. We talked this week about the President's former lawyer, and the extraordinary things, the White House Counsel said, describing the President's behavior as crazy stuff, only he didn't use the word "Stuff."
This is more of the same. And it makes you wonder how much more of this is going to come out, how much more abuse happened by Trump, and by those who were doing his bidding. And in the Department of Justice, that is just appalling.
And I think there are going to be consequences for Barr, out of this revelation, and there should be.
CUOMO: Right. But look, Pelosi says she supports Chairman Schiff.
We're going to have him on, coming up in this show.
But this is much bigger than Schiff, and the idea that they're going to look into it. OK.
Now, what is most shocking, in terms of scale here, Andrew?
You have Sessions, does it, OK? Maybe, or maybe not, at Trump's direction, OK? We had heard that he was directing him, in public, to do it. So, we assume that the President was telling the truth because the same thing was happening.
Then it gets shut down by lack of information. Then, Barr comes in. And in February of 2020, Barr brings in a new guy, a prosecutor from New Jersey, with no particular pedigree, in this type of stuff, he was about gangs and healthcare fraud, to reopen all of the cases.
People come, and I'm reading this from "The New York Times," they come and tell Mr. Barr, and Mr. Benvenuto, at multiple meetings, "It's not there. It's not there. We can't do anything with this." And they are told to keep going.
I have never heard of anything like that before, of things being reopened is rare enough, once you guys shut it down, if there's no new information. But to have somebody say, "No, we got to keep doing this."
MCCABE: "Go find it," right? So, when have we heard this before? Well, we heard it pretty recently, in Trump's phone call, to the Secretary of State of Georgia, "Go find my votes. Go find the fraud for the election." That was the modus operandi of this administration. They wanted what they wanted, and they didn't care what they had to do, to get it.
So, two things quick, Chris, I will tell you, I oversaw many leak cases in my time, as National Security EAD (ph) and also Deputy Director.
Eric Holder changed the rules, on how we could think about going after reporters' information. And essentially, it eliminated it. It didn't happen after Holder changed that policy. So, the fact that they did it so many times, in the last few years of the Trump administration, is absolutely mind-blowing to me.
And the last point I'd leave you with is, let's remember, as a point of context, this is the same group that's still yelling and screaming, Trump is still yelling and screaming, to this day, about how dare us actually seek FISA coverage, over a former campaign foreign policy advisor, who had already been separated from the campaign, and who--
CUOMO: Carter Page.
MCCABE: --Trump couldn't pick out a lineup.
That's right. And now, let's - and this is the same group that's so offended by that, but they're actively pursuing the records of Members of Congress, and the media, to pursue some leak conviction fantasy.
CUOMO: I mean that is the disgusting aspect of it.
MCCABE: It's just absolutely the height of hypocrisy.
CUOMO: Look, I mean look, you read the reporting for yourself, at home, and you backtrack it, and just start with this one understanding.
They were looking at these guys for breaches of national security. But by definition, Trump, if you believe him, there couldn't have been a breach of any national security, because there were no contacts that were in any way damning.
So, why would you have people looking for leaked information that was a matter of national security, if you believed everything that had been done was fine? So, Norm, you take it from there. And this is a man and an administration, as Andrew tickles the point,
where they bang Deep State. They bang guys like you, and McCabe, "You Deep State people, who've been around government. You abuse the processes for political power. That's what you do," have you ever seen a more egregious example than this?
EISEN: Chris, it's the naked abuse of power for retaliation, revenge and destruction.
And you can draw a straight line through, from Trump's comments, "Russia, if you're listening," abuse as a, "You'll be mightily rewarded," abuse as a candidate, to his abuses in office, we're finding out more about what went on. And the capacity - we should not lose our capacity to be shocked about this.
But we also should ask, what can we do to make sure that people face consequences, starting with a challenge to Bill Barr, legal ethics? He should not any longer be allowed to have his law license. And how can we change it, so this never happens again in America?
CUOMO: Andrew, do you have an answer to that question?
And is part of the answer found in the fact that as identified in the reporting, "Mr. Demers, Ms. Edelstein, Mr. Blue, and Mr. Benvenuto, are all still at the Justice Department," and therefore, they're not able to say, "I don't want to talk about this," because they'll be talking to their bosses. And they can go through what they were told, and now do it through the lens of Attorney General Merrick Garland.
How important is that, that they're still there, in terms of understanding what this was about? And what change needs to be taken?
MCCABE: Yes, well, where is the investigation, right? Where is the outrage from the DOJ, I.G., where, as sitting employees, they can't - they have to cooperate with that sort of investigation, unless they face some political, I'm sorry, unless they face criminal liability individually, which is unlikely here.
So yes, they're there. If there was a legitimate investigation of this, put forth by either the A.G., or the Inspector General, they would have to tell what they knew. There will be records of those conversations. There will be emails. There will be text messages between employees. And all of that stuff should be looked at.
We need an accounting, as a nation, of what happened inside our Department of Justice. It's not Trump's Department of Justice, or Biden's, or anyone else's. It's the people's Department of Justice. And it looks like it was taken pretty far off the rails.
CUOMO: Let's do this. Let me take a break. There's a lot more in the reporting here, in terms of the scale of the scope. And one of the things that makes this most shocking, again - I've made this point with Andrew, but not in context of everything that happened.
The number of times that Sessions and then Bill Barr were told, "We don't know why you're having us do this," and things that happened that made it pointless, and were ignored, are just as shocking as who they went after.
Please, Andrew, Norm, I'll buy you dinner. I'm sure you're missing invitations right now. Stay with us, and we'll keep this up, because this is a very important story for people to understand, about how our government was being abused. Stay with us.
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CUOMO: CNN has confirmed that the Trump administration was using the Department of Justice, and its assets, and resources, to go after political rivals, in looking for leaks, specifically about contacts between the Trump administration, and Russian associates.
Now, we have never seen, or heard, of the detail, scope and extent of going after political opposition, without finding a single shred of proof, with investigators consistently pushing back against their bosses that there's nothing there, and this is going to look bad.
We just got from the House Intelligence Committee, the following. "Individuals associated with the Committee," we know at least Chairman Schiff, and another Democrat, so two sitting members of the House Intelligence Committee. They had scrubbed metadata. Went to Apple, got a gag order, so Apple couldn't tell them until just now.
This was in 2017, 2018. "Including members, current and former staff of the Committee, and their family members, including minor children, were notified last month by Apple that the Department of Justice had issued grand jury subpoenas in February 2018 for their information.
The breadth of these requests for information, a long list which included the Chairman, and the potentially partisan nature of the subpoenas, raised troubling questions about the Department's willingness to engage in a partisan investigation on the former president's behalf."
Now, we have Norm Eisen, Andrew McCabe, and Dana Bash joining us.
Dana, let me ask you the question that started all of our conversations tonight, which is have you ever heard of anything like this?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: No. And it is so easy now, especially looking back, and learning more, about the Trump administration to say, "Oh, you know, this is just another norm- busting move by the Trump administration." It's not.
It's not. I mean, it was bad enough when we learned about the information that they were seeking from reporters. But to do this, not just from Members of Congress, but from specifically Members of Congress, who had been aggressively trying to investigate them.
Congress is first in the Constitution. Congress has the oversight, not the administration. And the fact that the DOJ was used, in so many political ways, but in this particular, unprecedented, as far as we know, remarkable way, I don't even have words for it.
CUOMO: Now, the good news, Andrew, as we discussed earlier, the people who are involved at the higher levels are still there. So, they would have to cooperate with any internal investigation.
If they started asking for information in 2018, and Apple was gagged, until just last month, does that mean that they could have been collecting data on these people, all the way through the Trump administration, because it doesn't say when it stopped.
MCCABE: It's really hard to know that at this point, Chris.
We haven't seen any of the legal process that was served on Apple, which would have the time period, for which the collection was authorized. So, it may have been, it could have been 30 days, could have been longer than that.
The non-disclosure orders that sometimes accompany that sort of - that sort of process typically run much longer than the collection period. So, it's hard to make an assumption about that, based just on how long we know the gag order was in place.
CUOMO: And Norm, the idea of who was involved, going after Obama staff, interviewing them, no charges.
Then it gets a little sticky for them because Ratcliffe, who was the Director of National Intelligence, and a close Trump ally, damaged the inquiry in May 2020, when he declassified transcripts of the calls. "The authorized disclosure would have made it more difficult for prosecutors to argue" the news stories.
So, at the same time that they were hunting down the leakers, his own guy put out the transcripts of the calls, which made it harder to make it a national security case.
EISEN: Chris, one of the reasons that democracy survived the onslaught of the past four years is this was the gang that couldn't shoot straight.
When I was Counsel for the Committee on the impeachment, I saw then- Congressman Ratcliffe up close. And he was a complete lapdog pet poodle, for Donald Trump, doing whatever he thought would win the favor of the President. And to think that he enjoyed the incredible power of the DNI, and the ability to do damage, is terrifying.
And, Chris, I don't think we're at the end. You and I have talked about this. And we keep saying "Where is the bottom?" I don't think we're at the end of hearing these revelations. It was a seemingly bottomless pit of abuse of power. It's the nightmare of the Framers.
CUOMO: Well, it's interesting that it took this long to come out, to be honest, Dana. I'm kind of surprised by that.
Now, in here, in this statement, from the Committee, there's some interesting language. "The Committee expects the department," DOJ, "to provide additional information. And we would support an internal investigation, by the Department, into its own actions."
It's kind of a - kind of light language there. It doesn't seem as though they're like "We're calling you - figure out what happened. They're all still there. And then come tell us, because we have to figure out, who to go after, about this." Doesn't seem that strident?
BASH: It doesn't, probably because it's not the Trump administration in charge now.
An investigation seems pretty sort of basic, when you're talking about the Biden administration, and you're talking about Merrick Garland, who was specifically tapped, by President Biden, in order to separate the Justice Department from really horrific notions, like what we are seeing reported tonight.
And so, this is a Democrat calling on a Democratic administration to do something that probably doesn't need to be demanded, like we saw when the Trump administration was there.
CUOMO: Andrew, what do you say, to members of the current administration?
President Biden, and Dana, check me on this, if you think I'm going too far, he was pretty quick to say, early on, "No, I don't want to investigate Trump anymore." And I have heard from people around him, and we've heard from the President before, "We really want this guy in the rearview mirror."
If they say, "Look, don't chase this down. Make sure it doesn't happen again. Change your internal procedures. Talk to the people who did it. Make sure it wasn't their idea. But then leave it alone," what is your word of advice? Is that OK with you?
MCCABE: Absolutely not. And I doubt that this administration that President Biden would send that sort of direction to the Justice Department.
The Justice Department should be opening and closing investigations based on the facts that they find, and the information that's presented to them. They should not be taking direction from the White House, on how to pursue investigations, why they should keep open investigations that the facts like here didn't call for continuing.
I don't see A.G. Garland taking that sort of direction from the White House. And I don't think the White House would give it.
It's up to the Department of Justice to try to break away from this sorted and mercifully short history under president - former president Trump. And honestly, I'm not sure that you want DOJ doing that investigation entirely independently, and internally.
Maybe the time has come for Congress to get involved, and to start calling people up to the Hill, putting them, sitting them down in front of the microphone, and collecting some testimony, so we all find out about the sort of activities that were going on under Sessions and Trump.
CUOMO: Norm, don't get mad at me. But doesn't Congress kind of stink at this? I mean, how many hearings have we watched, where they have people come on, where it becomes like a circus, and they're all trying to pose with their questions?
Sometimes people do well. Sometimes people evince testimony, when they have people like you putting all the ideas in their head. But most of the time, they're not that great at this, are they?
EISEN: Well, Chris, that's why you bring in outside counsel. I had the privilege of doing it in the first impeachment of examining witnesses, kicking off the hearing, by examining the witnesses, and then the members ask their question.
So, in every important investigation, of the modern times, from Watergate on down, they've brought in outside counsel, to help do the work, to help organize the work. And that's what's going to be needed.
I agree with Andy. I think Congress needs to look at this. And they need to do a serious inquiry, either with a capable counsel from the outside, or staff counsel, can also very ably ask questions. Lead the inquiry. Let's figure out what happened. Let's pass a law, so that it's not just a matter of "Oh, you violated ethics rules."
DOJ internal ethics rules, by the way, say "You can't pursue investigations for political reasons or to curry favor with the President." But that's not enough. We need tougher restrictions here.
Frankly, for the really outrageous abuses, we may need not only civil remedies, but also criminal ones. We can't let this happen again in America. It's just too dangerous.
CUOMO: Dana, last word to you, and--
BASH: Well, they--
CUOMO: --any feel for the stomach of the--
BASH: Yes. CUOMO: --of the Biden administration to go after this?
BASH: Well, it depends on how you define going after this, right? I mean, it seems to me that these two notions of DOJ doing an internal investigation in Congress, doing its own investigation, are not mutually exclusive.
Part of the problem, as you were alluding to, Chris is that Congress can have public hearings. And those are incredibly important. But it quickly devolves into partisanship. And the benefit of an I.G. report, in addition to that, is that it is independent. It is - yes, it's internal. Maybe there's another way to do it.
But it seems - it seems to have more credibility, because it comes from within, as opposed to Congress, which is incredibly partisan, never mind the fact that we are talking about Members of Congress, who were at the - who are the victims here. They were the ones, who were investigated, in a way that does not seem appropriate.
CUOMO: Well, if we've learned anything recently, it's that Congress won't necessarily go after something, even if they are the targets and victims of the situation.
BASH: Yes, fair point.
CUOMO: They wouldn't even investigate January 6th.
BASH: Good point.
CUOMO: But look, the way to do this is I had your better minds. This is beautiful. Now we got to hear from Chairman Schiff, because if anybody's going to push the ball forward, he will. So, thanks to them.
And now, there is the Chairman.
We'll take a break. We'll come back.
When did he learn about this? What does he think about this? Why does he think this happened? And what does he think has to happen now? Next.
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CUOMO: All right, let's bring in one of the men at the middle of this breaking news about the Trump abuse of power, using the Department of Justice, to go after political opponents.
House Intel Committee Chair, Congressman Adam Schiff, thank you for joining us on short notice, sir.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): You bet. Good to be with you.
CUOMO: Let's start with a non-political question. How did you feel when you learned that you were being targeted this way, by the United States government?
SCHIFF: Look, shocked, on the one hand, not surprised on the other. I did wonder, for a few years, with the President calling for our committee to be investigated, calling for me to be investigated, whether, the Department was going to do it.
And certainly, it looks like they were going after records of the Committee, including my own. What they were looking for, I still don't know. Apparently, they didn't find anything about. When they wanted to close down the investigation, Barr wouldn't let them. And it's just another terrible abuse of the rule of law, at the Department of Justice.
I spent almost six years with the Department of Justice. I loved my experience there. I venerate the Department.
And to see how it was turned into this bludgeon, to go after the President's enemies, and a shield to protect those who lied for him, people like Roger Stone, and Mike Flynn, and others, it's disgraceful, but it's also such a body blow to our democracy.
CUOMO: Does it matter to you that they used grand juries to get this subpoena? Does that add legitimacy to the efforts?
SCHIFF: It doesn't add legitimacy. It just kind of expands the abuse, to abuse, the grand jury process in this way.
And while I can't go into who received these subpoenas, or whose records were sought, I can say that it was extraordinarily broad, people having nothing to do with the Intelligence matters that are least being reported on, it just shows what a broad fishing expedition it was.
And so many norms were broken in connection with this that the norm of a President not involving himself, in specific cases here, you got the President, calling on his opponents to be investigated, the norm of the president seeking records from a member of Congress, and staff, and doing so on a partisan basis, going after a Committee that was investigating him.
One guardrail after another, just smashed by this unethical former president, and just shows you how much we are reliant on people to say "No," and if they don't stand up to an unethical president, how quickly the guardrails can come down.
CUOMO: Well, two shocking things here. One, the situation is actually a little bit more perverse than even you suggested, because according to "The New York Times," and as seconded by CNN, in major part, the cases were looked at under Sessions, closed.
Barr comes in, in 2020. And it's not just about keeping them going. It's restarting them. He brings in somebody new. He creates a new circle of trust. He is told by staffers, "Yes, there's really nothing there. That's why the cases are closed," and reopens them.
And the only thing that changed during that period, other than Him, was Trump saying he wanted you looked at. Have you ever heard of anything like this before?
SCHIFF: No, certainly not. And we brought about these new norms, after Watergate, to prevent exactly this kind of abuse. But they didn't survive this presidency. And - but it is shocking.
At the same time, look, Bill Barr lied to the country about the Mueller report. He lied to Congress about what he was aware, Mueller's objections to his false summary.
He had a long pattern of duplicity, as well as intervening in specific cases of Roger Stone and Mike Flynn, to try to protect those, who are lying, to cover-up for the President, and to authorize investigations of his opponents.
And so, I view Bill Barr as the second most dangerous person in the country, after Donald Trump. And this is just further proof of that point.
CUOMO: Without revealing their identities, to your knowledge, how many people were swept up in this effort, in terms of looking at people's records?
SCHIFF: A lot. And the reality is I don't fully know how many because, and I think we'll find out about more, now that the story has broken, because people got these notices, these emails from Apple, and thought they were either spam, or that they were some kind of a spear phishing attempt or something.
And so, I'm not sure that we know how many are impacted. And I would like to know. We've asked the Justice Department, "Was this just going after Democrats?"
CUOMO: Well, they know.
SCHIFF: "And Democratic staff?"
SCHIFF: They know. They know. CUOMO: They know exactly who was looked at, and for what period. Just to be clear before people misconstrue the idea about Apple. Apple is under a gag order.
CUOMO: I - and obviously, you know all this, Chairman, but for the audience.
So, the DOJ said, "You're going to give us these records, and you're going to shut up." And ordinarily, the period that they look for records is much shorter than how long someone is gagged, to give them time to make a case.
So, Apple just started telling people last month, there was another provider, who was telling people early last year that they've been asked about this. So Apple didn't choose not to do this. They weren't allowed to do it, as far as we understand, under the gag order.
But in terms of the scope of this, in just the last week, OK, people say, "Don't look back," you have to because such a big part of Trump's attraction was that he was going to go and disrupt the chaos. He was going to go in there and disrupt the ugliness and the Deep State stuff.
In just the last week, you, the CNN revelations, Meadows asking the DOJ to investigate nonsensical allegations of election fraud, the Rudy tape, Zelensky's assistant, the President of Ukraine at that time, watching and listening, echoing that, "Yes, Rudy did it, and then Trump did it," all of this was going on.
And then the DOJ was being used as the muscle-arm to shut people down, who were going after the President's behavior, I mean, I can't think - I mean, it literally makes Watergate look like jaywalking.
SCHIFF: Well, I remember during Marie Yovanovitch's testimony, and this was this courageous Ambassador to Ukraine, that the President and his son and others just ruthlessly smeared, to the point, where her life was in danger.
I remember during her testimony, she was called by the State Department, said, "You need to get back to Washington right away. You need to be on the next plane." And she was incredulous, "What's happening? What's going on?"
And she talked about how she wondered, "Am I under investigation or something?" And I remember thinking, "I know how you feel." Now, I didn't know about this at the time.
But I never expected in this country to feel the way that so many people do, in the developing world that they could be the subject of investigation by an unscrupulous Executive, just because they want it done. And that's such a terrible turn for this country. And we've got to put up stronger guardrails to make sure this kind of thing never happens again.
CUOMO: So, what do you see as remedial here? The statement from the Committee is - I have all this paper on my desk.
The statement from the Committee is that you look forward to information from the DOJ about this, and you support an internal investigation. What needs to be done here?
The good news is, many of the people who are at the top of the food chain during these efforts are still at the DOJ means - meaning that there will be a higher degree of compliance expected, assuming there's no criminality attached. And Andrew McCabe said, and I seem - I suggest the same. It's not a criminal situation at this point.
What do you want to have happen?
SCHIFF: Well, look, I think there needs to be an internal investigation, within the Department of Justice, and not just involving this abuse of power with respect to our committee, but also what they were doing to reporters and press organizations, the Attorney General's intervention, in specific cases, like Roger Stone, Mike Flynn and others.
I mean, in the case of Mike Flynn, this person, who twice pled guilty, Barr went to extraordinary step of seeking to have that case dismissed. The judge, in that case, appointed someone to advocate against the Justice Department. I mean, that just doesn't happen very often, if ever.
And so, I think the Department needs to really clean house, and look at all of these ways, in which the Department was abused, and take corrective steps, and implement new policies, to make sure this doesn't happen again.
In terms of the Congress, I can't play a role because they went after some of my records. But I do think the Department needs to do a lot of self-examination, get to the bottom of how it was misused, and abused, and take corrective action.
CUOMO: Why are you conflicted out when you were victimized by the effort? They didn't find anything on you. The case is closed against you. And there was never any proof brought any kind of point of consequence.
SCHIFF: No, that's true. But I think there would be a perception that I have a personal stake. And of course, as a victim of this, I do. So, look, I think that others are better situated to look into this than I am.
But I think most important because the Department is going to be very reluctant to share, and it's going to be a fight to get information, we need to encourage the new Attorney General to do an internal and independent investigation and take corrective action.
CUOMO: And just one more circle-back on something that CNN is trying to nail down, that there were over 100 people in the basket of who they were collecting records on. Does that sound like anything that's familiar to your understanding of the scope of this situation?
SCHIFF: I really don't know.
CUOMO: All right.
SCHIFF: But it wouldn't surprise me, if it was an extraordinary number, because just the circle that I'm aware of was so overbroad that they clearly were not discriminating. They were simply fishing and looking to validate the President's continued false attacks and smears.
CUOMO: This is exactly what people thought Trump would change, which is something like a Deep State, where they're using an institution of government, to investigate you, in search of proof, against you, as opposed to proof driving an investigation.
It is exactly what they thought he would change. And he was the ugliest example of the problem I've ever seen.
Congressman Adam Schiff, thank you very much. Appreciate you being with us, Chairman.
We'll be right back.
SCHIFF: Thank you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TEXT: BREAKING NEWS.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TEXT: LET'S GET AFTER IT.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Different story, another troubling question.
Nicole Harper, two months pregnant, driving 84 in a 70, State trooper catches her, turns on the siren, flashes his light. She doesn't pull over.
She travels over to the right lane, with her hazard lights on, and slows down. She says 2 minutes and 7 seconds, after the trooper performed a PIT maneuver, on her vehicle, allegedly causing her to lose control.
This is the video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why didn't you stop?
NICOLE HARPER, SUING ARKANSAS POLICE AFTER THEY FLIPPED HER CAR: Because I didn't feel like it was safe.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, this is where you ended up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (inaudible) plenty of room right here.
HARPER: Do (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you only one in the vehicle?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
HARPER: I'm pregnant.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, ma'am you've got to pull over.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Harper feared that the crash had killed her baby. It didn't.
CNN reached out to the Arkansas State Police for a statement. They haven't responded.
Harper joins us now.
Thank you for joining us. First things, first, how's the baby?
CUOMO: Beautiful! Beautiful! How old now?
HARPER: Four months.
CUOMO: Great. Great. That's really all that matters. So, let's go through the fact pattern. You see the lights come on. You're speeding. You don't stop and pull over. Why not?
HARPER: Honestly, the shoulder did not have enough room for my car alone. But my thoughts were also he - the officer didn't need to be standing beside my car there, like there literally was not enough room.
CUOMO: So, 2 minutes and 7 seconds, by your account, the question becomes well why that long? There was nowhere that you could pull over along that time.
HARPER: No. If you watch a little bit more of the video, or I guess it was a little bit before, where he hit me, you'll notice a sign that says, "The exit is one mile away." And just after he hit me, the road kind of turns, and it opens up, and the shoulder does get bigger. There is more space. And it would have been so much safer.
CUOMO: Did you slow down?
HARPER: Yes, of course.
CUOMO: So, he did that PIT maneuver. We're showing the video of that right now. He did that to you when you were already slowing down? You didn't maintain the same speed or accelerate?
HARPER: No, not at all.
CUOMO: And in terms of personal safety, explain again, did you not stop because you thought the police were going to hurt you?
HARPER: I never would have thought the police would hurt me. And--
CUOMO: So, you didn't pull over just because you thought that it wasn't easy enough to do on that road.
HARPER: Right. I didn't feel like there was an adequate amount of space, on the side of the road, for my car, and the officer, to be standing beside it.
CUOMO: You're being charged with speeding, failing to yield to an emergency vehicle. The driver's license manual says, "Pull to the nearest safest spot out of the traffic lane." Do you believe that that's what you were intending to do at the time? Or had you passed what was the nearest--
HARPER: That's exactly what I was trying to do.
CUOMO: You don't think that you passed up where the nearest safest spot was?
HARPER: No, no.
CUOMO: And when the Trooper came over to you, he was seen on tape, saying to you, "Why didn't you stop? Why didn't you stop?"
How did you feel about that back-and-forth with him? You say to him "I was pregnant. Oh, what happened? What happened?" How did you think he was with you after that?
HARPER: I mean, I thought like he was getting on to me, telling me I was doing something wrong. And, in my mind, I was doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing. And I was - I was trying to keep us both safe.
CUOMO: How fast do you think you were going, when he hit you?
HARPER: I mean, I'm not certain, but I believe I slowed down anywhere between 60 and 65s.
CUOMO: You certainly weren't still speeding though?
HARPER: No, certainly not. [21:55:00]
CUOMO: You don't think he could reasonably think you were trying to get away?
HARPER: There is no way he could have thought I was trying to get away--
CUOMO: And the hazards were on?
HARPER: Right, exactly.
HARPER: My hazards were online. I had clearly slowed down.
CUOMO: So you are suing them. But what do you think of the fact that they are charging you, even though what they discovered in the car was a pregnant lady, who clearly wasn't trying to get away? And I assume they didn't find anything in the car, because they're not charging you with anything, except what we see on tape.
What does it mean to you that you're - charging you, and what do you want out of suing them?
HARPER: I don't understand how they're charging me with fleeing when I wasn't fleeing. That doesn't make any sense at all to me.
CUOMO: Nicole Harper, the good news, is this. The baby's OK. You're OK. And this is going to be litigated. And we'll see where the liability lies and what needs to change. So, I appreciate you taking this opportunity. And I'm happy the baby and you are safe.
HARPER: Thank you so much.
CUOMO: All right, be well.
And again, we reached out to the Arkansas State Police. They haven't answered. When they do answer, I told you what she's been charged with, I showed you the video, if they say anything that fundamentally changes our understanding, you'll hear it right away.
All right, we're going to take a break. Stay with CNN.