Why did Trump choose to replace Sessions?
I doubt any privilege attaches to discussions about a criminal investigation in which the President may be a subject and some aides are targets.
Prolly not a good idea.
This hearing is pointless.
Demands a roll call.
[Remember, he's complaining about theater.]
It is an honor to represent XX,000 employees of DOJ, invokes USA. I personally prosecuted several important criminal cases.
[appeal to some kind of authority]
I am deeply honored the President selected me.
No one is more qualified than Bill Barr.
Making up #s about murder rates.
[Can we talk about the violent crime of white supremacists, BDTS?]
At no time has WH asked for any promises or commitments on SCO or any other investigation.
[not answering the other questions asked]
BDTS: Cannot talk on ongoing investigations.
Nadler: Whether you've been briefed on it.
BDTS: I have been briefed.
Nadler: As CoS?
BDTS I've said all I'll say abt ongoing investigation.
Nadler: Whether you've been briefed is subject of ongoing investigation?
BDTS: Number of times I've been briefed.
Nadler: Briefed between recusal decision and Christmas
Nadler: Conveyed info learned to Trump?
Nadler: Yes or no?
Nadler: TO any other WH official?
BDTS: Not with senior WH officials?
Nadler: Any third party who might convey to legal team?
BDTS: WHo do you consider third party?
"Usually I am the endpoint of that briefing."
[But not always, I guess]
I don't think Nadler asked abt BDTS talking to Trump lawyers.
BDTS: I see that your five minute time is up.
Nadler: We didn't enforce five minute rule on AAG.
Nadler: I assume answer is yes, and you've said yes or no.
BDTS: Are you asking if I've asked SC to do something?
BDTS: I want to be very specific. We have followed SC regs to a T, no event, no decision that has required me to take any action.
BDTS: Stone's indictment part of ongoing investigation. I was briefed on that.
Collins: CNN reported camped out.
BDTS: Deeply concerning to me abt how CNN found out about that.
Collins; Timing of this reporter's knowledge. Seems to have been a gap.
[BDTS drinks more H20]
BDTS: Ohr is currently employed w/DOJ.
Collins; Aware of discussions re Ohr's involvement in many investigation problems.
BDTS: Generally aware of Ohr, questions being raised abt his behavior.
BDTS: OIG currently looking at Carter Page FISA app. Also Huber review. Part of confidential HR process.
BDTS This is not confirmation hearing. This is an oversight hearing. Surprised that we haven't talked about violent crime, opioid, religious liberty, free speech on college campuses. I would like to talk about incredible work at DOJ
Probably got him a job as WH CoS.
BDTS: Important indictment related to Huawei, during press conference, asked questions, prefaced by saying can't talk about ongoing. I don't have anything to add.
BDTS: Refer you to special counsel regs. Regarding timing. I have nothing as I sit here to add to that. AG will receive report, will be confidential, will cover decisions
BDTS sniffs bizarrely, puts on glassess.
Lofgren: Willingness to discuss ongoing investigation not been applied equally, you raised Stone.
BDTS: I came to DC in oct 2017. Greatest respect for Sessions.
BDTS: I was honored to be selected Acting AG. Before being appointed to this position did not make promise.
Lofgren: That's not the question I asked.
Nadler: Ask witness to answer specifically, stop filibustering.
BDTS: Did I share opinion w/anyone in POTUS circle when I was private citizen, not at DOJ? No I did not.
Chabot: Drug overdoses.
[Note that BDTS is reading off a script to answer some of these questions]
Chabot: SOTU, do you have an opinion, border security, southern border, making progress on reducing scourge of drug addiction.
BDTS: Absolutely. I went to China in August as CoS,
[Does BDTS know China is not on the S border?]
BDTS checks notes, nods in rehearsed fashion, checks notes again.
BDTS: I'm aware of that bill, look forward to DOJ working with you on that.
Jackson-Lee laying into him.
BDTS stiffens jaw, looks away.
BDTS: I am an Acting, appointed according to VRA, have never appeared before Congress for any hearing.
BDTS: I'm not talking abt convos w/POTUS or senior staff.
BDTS: I have been briefed on SC investigation.
Jackson-Lee: Involvement of hostile foreign entities more important than false reps of voter fraud.
BDTS: Foreign interference very serious, fraud concern
Jackson-Lee: You have not prosecuted one voting rights case.
BDTS: We'll follow up in writing.
BDTS: SC regs require scoping of SC investigation, certain it would have IDed scope.
Jordan: Why? It was 2.5 months after formed.
BDTS: Appointment consistent with other appointments.
Jordan: 2.5 months later we get 3 page memo. This is what confuses me. In this memo, the following allegations were w/in scope.
BDTS: I was also recused from that investigation. You're asking me why at the time Rosenstein.
Jordan: Asking why 2 months after you're putting it in a memo. Everything's redacted.
BDTS: I do. You would not have targets identified. Especially if someone is not charged. RR acting as AG gave authorization and jurisdiction. Thats' the whole purpose.
Jordan: Specific names.
BDTS: Ongoing investigation.
BDTS: We investigate crimes, not people.
BDTS: Emoluments clause subject of several ongoing litigation matters. As Acting AG unable to talk specifically about cases
BDTS: Ongoing litigation.
Cohen: DOJ representing President? Is that appropriate? Shouldnt' he have personal lawyers rep for this nefarious conduct?
BDTS: DOJ defense, well within purpose to be involved.
BDTS drinks more water
Cohen: If matters arose that Trump family owed lots of $$ to oligarchs, not red line?
BDTS: WHen I made that statement, private citizen, only publicly available info.
BDTS: At DOJ as long as I'm Acting, follow law and facts, do our job with fidelity.
COhen: Conviction of Manafort, guilty pleas, would you say it's a witch hunt?
BDTS: Ongoing investigation, inappropriate
Cohen: You'd stop a witchhunt
BDTS: I can tell this is an important issue.
Cohen: Denied him areas he wanted to investigate.
BDTS: Not interfered with investigation.
[Remember BDTS just said CHina was a big issue]
BDTS: These drugs, general illegaly pouring in thru southern border having a negative effect.
BDTS: 116,000 employees.
Gohmert: Directly to you and Rosenstein.
BDTS: ROd has over 100 direct reports.
BDTS drinks more water.
Gohmert: I recommended to Sessions, he needs more direct reports.
BDTS: Ongoing investigation.
Johnson: Stone investigation.
BDTS: My comments abt Stone were merely to acknowledge that CNN had appeared to receive.
Johnson: You don't know whether tipped off? Let me move on. Decision not to recuse.
BDTS: WE have communicated with Congress.
Johnson: I understand you take that position, final ethics guidance on December 19?
BDTS: We laid out, decision my decision.
Nadler: Direct question.
BDTS: Made my recusal decision by myself.
Johnson: Career officials who advised you, yes or no?
BDTS: Consulted w/career officials, staff, OLC.
Johnson: Who else. Specifically.
BDTS: Brad Weinscheimer, senior career.
Johnson: He advised you recusal unnecessary.
BDTS: He said close call. Abundance of caution he would recommend certain course.
[note: a counterintelligence investigation into people who tampered with an election is, in fact, an enforcement priority]
[Prediction: Lucy McBath is going to tee up on all the things Republicans get BDTS to discuss]
Once again, BDTS is reading off a script to answer the scripted questions GOPers asked.
BDTS: It would be inappropriate.
[Yes, there are other memos]
Jordan: Any other changes to parameters of investigation into POTUS?
[Note, some of the changes don't involve POTUS]
BDTS: No reason to believe that POTUS wasn't saying what he believed with.
Deutsch: Who'd you interview with?
Deutsch: Did yo ever speak w/POTUS abt probe?
BDTS: I assume you're excluding my appearances on CNN.
Deutsch: I assume the President wasn't watching otherwise the POTUS would know abt your views.
Deutsch: Did you have anyone communicate w/WH?
BDTS: I didn't have relationship w/WH.
[that's not answering the question]
Deutsch didn't let him answer the question, which has a damning answer.
[Not, RR was involved in all of those same things]
BDTS: Still the policy of DOJ.
Biggs; Statement abt wiretapping POTUS, 25th Amendment.
BDTS: statements consistent with what he believed at the time.
Biggs: His responses. Did you talk to him abt it?
BDTS drinks again.
Biggs: Did you have convo w/RR abt his comments as reported.
BDTS: I'm not going to answer. They were deliberative.
BDTS: I had no inside information.
Biggs: as we sit here today, has your opinion changed?
BDTS: SC investigation is ongoing, not going to characterize or give my opinion.
Nadler: I ruled it was not a valid point of order. Gentlelady will continue.
Collins; I was not thru my point of order.
[Note, Bass wasn't even done asking her question]
Since you have joined AG's office, have any investigations been initiated into those people?
Bass: Which Republicans?
BDTS: Refer to the website.
Bass: Any investigations initiated?
BDTS: Not aware of any.
Bass; Recuse from World Patent Marketing? Ethics opinion, or did you not seek?
BDTS: Who do you mean by they? I am recused from that investigation.
Bass; Hillary Clinton?
Bass: Thank you.
BDTS: WE have 5 minutes for lunch?
Hillary Clinton is going to have to teach this young buck about stamina, I guess.
BDTS: We do conduct our investigations independent of political interference.
McClintock: That's not what this says.
BDTS: Subject of IG review, together with USA Huber.
McClintock: Disproportionate show of force by FBI. CNN obviously tipped off. Obvious political act designed to terrify against working w/Trump Admin
Richmond: ANy African Americans in top leadership at DOJ?
BDTS: WHat do you consider leadership?
BDTS: THe act was charged as hate crime.
Richmond; Do you believe good people protesting and anti-protestors?
Richmond: Any transgender employees?
BDTS: I imagine we would, I will get back to you?
Richmond: Would you have problem w/transgender in any agencies?
BDTS: I don't know off top of head?
Richmond: What about NC? Has DOJ opened investigation?
BDTS: Very aware, watching carefully.
BDTS: Yes. As an American I'm very concerned.
[GOP SCOTUS last night denied a man an imam on his death]
BDTS: blah blah blah
Jeffries: That was a statement, not a question, I believe you know the difference. GOing thru Mueller indictments. 7 guilty pleas?
Jeffries: Paul Manafort pled guilty to COnFraudUs. Gates, Flynn, lying to the FBI.
BDTS: I did not necessarily agree with that view.
BDTS: My decision to make.
BDTS: Important issue, quite frankly number of judges overwhelmed by # of asylum seekers.
BDTS now speaking haltingly as he talks about immigration courts, but he's not reading from notes this time.
BDTS: One other individual, USA EDCA. Gregg Skye.
Cicilline: To other members of your staff?
BDTS: I don't believe so.
BDTS: Yes, and need to know.
Cicilline; Trump lash out after Cohen?
BDTS: POTUS tweeted he did not.
CiCilline: I don't have trust in veracity of his tweets.
BDTS: No he did not.
Cicilline: Did you share questions w/WH?
BDTS: No, I did not.
Cicilline: POTUS hasn't seen.
BDTS: POTUS has not instructed me to do anything.
Cicilline: NOt my question. Have you spoken to POTUS or his team? Yes or no?
BDTS raises eyebrows, sighs, maybe tucks his shirt.
[Again, Richmond did use this oppty]
Sanctuary cities: 3 child molesters.
BDTS: ending taxpayer funding to sanctuary cities.
BDTS shuffling his notes back to the scripted answer to this question. Glances at notes.
BDTS: I do believe opioids imported thru our southern border.
[Someone should ask why he went ot CHina on Fentanyl]
China is not Mexico.
Collins: Outside scope. I'm outgunned I. have no votes.
Collins accuses Swalwell of running for POTUS.
BDTS: What do you mean by my org. I don't know answer. Our main donor was group that was US entity.
Swalwell: Did you interview with McGahn?
BDTS: I talked to Annie Donaldson, COS.
Swalwell: How did you interview abt SC role and not talk abt SC investigation?
BDTS: My background as US Atty.
Swalwell: Discussion abt report to Congress? Draft abt not sharing w/Congress?
BDTS: I do not have an opinion.
Swalwell: Pardons for Manafort, Stone, Cohen, Flynn?
BDTS: Well-worn system.
Swalwell: That POTUS doesn't follow.
BDTS: No discussions.
BDTS: My opinion as Acting AG. Mueller will finish when he wants to finish.
Swalwell: Honest? Conflicted?
BDTS: Conflict analysis for indiv lawyer.
BDTS: I'm not here to be a puppet.
Swalwell: Can you say that to the President.
BDTS: Nothing further to add.
Nadler: Question for observers.
BDTS: Use help, fund First Step.
Armstrong: Law is the law. Hillary blah blah blah.
BDTS: Standard DOJ forms.
Lieu: Questions abt US Constitution: No sentence that NSA can't be indicted? Former campaign chair?
BDTS: Of course it does not.
BDTS: Congressman bc that is opinion of OLC, consistent with practices over years, under both admins.
Lieu: after this hearing spin all you want.
BDTS: You & both know OLC opinion.
BDTS: I said other investigations. Refer you back to opening statement. SDNY would be included in other investigations.
BDTS: Haven't been able to retain those gains, seen absolute dramatic surge in family crossings.
BDTS is writing on yellow legal pad, ticking things.
BDTS: You have challenged my character. I have the ability to answer your questions.
RAskin: Title of non-profit you ran?
BDTS: I did. [filibuster]
Raskin: Tell us where the money came from.
Collins: Point of order.
BDTS: Yes I do. Donor's Trust.
Raskin: That was the pass-through.
BDTS: I have no idea who the donors to Donor's Trust are.
Raskin: Were you involved in OLC review?
BDTS: I was recused.
Raskin: Did you talk to Adelson, Cooper.
BDTS: No I did not. FIrst OLC opinion, preceding Nov one, done after State of IL provided white paper, suggestion process was corrupt is wrong.
BDTS is shuffling through his script for the anwer.
Jayapal: Your department imposed zero humanity proceedings. We may not know how many children separation. You were CoS at the time.
Jayapal: Were you aware of memo leaked by Merkley?
Jayapal: You were not aware of what your boss did. Policy of criminal separating parents.
[ADopts no nonsense face]
Jayapal: it's just a yes or no question.
BDTS: WE had a press conference.
BDTS: WE had a public event.
Jayapal: Prior to public event, they got no notice. Did USAs track when prosecuting parents from children?
Jayapal: When parents sentenced they are in DOJ custody, correct?
[BDTS drinks water, now sitting impassive]
Jayapal: DO you understand magnitude of that?
Jayapal: THis is abt children's future.
BDTS: REsponsibility for arrest and detention and custody handled by DHS and HHS, before they were transferred.
[This seems to be bugging BDTS]
BDTS: Not going to talk abt private convos.
Demings: Firing SDNY?
BDTS: I have reestablished positive relationship between LE and WH.
Demings: Before you had current position.
BDTS: Most exceptional, hard working people.
Demings: If I worked for you, that's pretty pitiful. You only mentioned drugs coming thru S border. Could you paint picture of ports of entry. Agree or disagree?
BDTS: Ports of entry most trafficked.
BDTS: No reason to disagree.
Correa: Admin placing enough resources?
Correa: More than 7000 hate crimes in 2017, yet 30 convictions.
BDTS: High profile cases.
Correa: 30 convictions.
BDTS: Dynamic daily eval. Adequately resourcing threats.
BDTS: President tweeted I became AAG on 11/7, order dated 11/8.
Scanlon: Do you have that order? Can you provide a copy?
Scanlon: asks abt someone involved.
Let the record reflect you're refusing to answer question.
BDTS: Changed positions on only one case.
BDTS: I don't recall saying border region crime-ridden. Illegal immigration dramatically affecting crime.
BDTS: I'm familiar with his zero tolerance policy.
Garcia; Were you in the room when policy was hatched?
BDTS: Not talking about internal deliberations.
Garcia; Where did it come from?
BDTS: Sessions' decision.
BDTS: DOJ not involved in handling children.
Garcia: You have no idea.
BDTS: Those are different departments.
BDTS: Treaty problem. Very aware of, 6 days left. We're trying to make it work.
Neguse: Follow up in writing.
BDTS: Sessions resigned.
Neguse: Any convos prior?
BDTS: President's entitled to confidential comms.
BDTS seems to be looking at something in front of him -- phone?
BDTS: 2 different statutes.
Neguse goes back to Vacancies Act.
BDTS: Voting rights of all Americans
BDTS: I don't know that i said not aware of voter suppression. Massive organization.
BDTS: DOJ IG?
Stanton: Yes, DOJ IG considering several investigations about you.
BDTS: Horowitz fine DOJ employee.
BDTS: Difficult time, LE, did their job knowing you would ultimately pay them.
Stanton: seems appropriate that ancillary functions that involve travel not allowed. Did you travel to give a speech to Heritage?
BDTS: I wouldn't characterize comments abt Mueller as disparagement.
Dean: We know, record is public, you said very negative things, they stand bc you did not take them back.
BDTS: I think I got a call from COs.
Dean: A minute ago you said by tweet.
BDTS: Not sure which came first. It was not a substantive phone call.
Dean: When next meet with POTUS. How many times did you meet w/POTUS?
Dean: On a close call to set the tone for the department you go the other way?
BDTS: Not to bind my successors.
BDTS: 501c3. I don't know.
M-P: There are two kinds. Only 3 board members. Numerous FEC complaints?
BDTS: All online.
M-P: Were they FEC complaints. Who made decision?
BDTS: I signed all if not all.
M-P: Sole decision?
BDTS: If Congress wants Title VII to extend change law
BDTS: Continue to follow existing policies. Well defined process. No assurance what happens in foreign country.
BDTS: Not familiar with situation. Happy to look into it.
Escobar: DOes DOJ have immigrant advocate watchlist.
BDTS: NOt something I prepared for.
BDTS: WE regularly rely on.
Escobar: That's not my question. DO you have any reason to disagree w/FBI data?
BDTS: I do not have reason to.
BDTS: I'm aware of docs relating to pardons.
Nadler; Since it is blackletter law that someone may apply for asylum, entitled to legal assistance. Constitutional problem?
BDTS: Safe third country.