Thursday on CNN’s “Cuomo Prime,” Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL) said House Republicans threats to censure and possibly impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is an attempt to put his “head on a platter” as a trophy for President Donald Trump.
Partial transcript as follows:
CUOMO: Let me ask you, do you believe there was meat put on the bones at the suggestion that this investigation has been improper?
GUTIERREZ: I think if you walk away from anything in this hearing, it’s that they want to give the president a trophy, and the trophy is Rosenstein’s head on a platter. That’s what they want. They want to eliminate him, discredit him, impeach him, get him fired so they can stop.
Look, Cuomo, let’s get to the real meat of the matter, and that is if you ask the deputy attorney general and the head of the FBI as I did, did a foreign country try to undermine, influence, corrupt our election system during the 2016 presidential election? Here’s what they both said, yes. And that that is the unanimous opinion of all of the intelligence agencies —
GUTIERREZ: — of the United States government.
So, why aren’t we talking about that and allowing that campaign which is clear? And secondly, isn’t Mueller’s probe also looking into who might, right, have tried to influence the outcome of the investigation? And clearly, the president of the United States has told you and me and we’ve all heard him, I fired Comey because of a fake investigation into the Russia what he says collusion.
CUOMO: Well, he certainly has said it. Whether he wants to own the words, Congressman, who knows because he changes his mind a lot about what’s true, but he did turn to Rosenstein —
GUTIERREZ: He does, he does.
CUOMO: — the man his brothers and sisters on the right are now trying to condemn as a basis for getting rid of Comey. You remember that memo that he wrote. But it seemed to me that they don’t really care about the Russia probe as much as they care about undoing the Russia probe by saying that the people who are doing the Russia probe were covering up for Clinton. They just happen to be targeting two of Trurmp’s own guys to make their case today.
GUTIERREZ: Right. So, when I asked them, I said, from zero percent to 100 percent, who do you owe your job to deputy attorney general? He said President Trump. I asked Mr. Wray, the FBI director, he said 100 percent, the president of the United States.
These are both Republicans, and they’re both appointed by the president of the United States, and yet, it is the Republican Party trying to undermine their credibility so they can crush the probe into the Russia intervention in our electoral process, and they’re trying to destroy our deposition exhibit.
Listen, if it was very clear — for those that have read the inspector general’s report which I have, you read the inspector general’s reports, they say that special agent Strzok didn’t play a significant role or any in undermining the investigation or really leading the investigation. So, that’s a red herring there.
You remember — probably, Cuomo, you remember when the president would say almost every day, can’t wait for the inspector general’s report.
GUTIERREZ: Republicans almost, right, like in unison — there was nothing there. So, now —
CUOMO: Well, there was stuff in there, Congressman, but it wasn’t what they were hoping for.
CUOMO: I mean, certainly, you had inappropriate activity.
GUTIERREZ: Thank you.
CUOMO: You had lying by McCabe.
GUTIERREZ: Absolutely, absolutely.
CUOMO: You got a criminal reference and there are certain things to clean up. And Wray and Rosenstein own that.
GUTIERREZ: You’re right. You’re right. But how does that lead back to the deputy attorney general? How does that lead back to the current FBI director and the investigation and Mueller’s —
CUOMO: Well, they’ll say it leads back because they won’t give them the documents. They’ll say they’re not giving them the information that they want. Do you think that’s a fair criticism?
GUTIERREZ: And that — and that’s a rabbit hole they want us to go into. So, they want such material that it would be, wow, against the rules, against the rules to give them this kind of information.
Plus, you and I both know what Nunez did. He works in collusion with the White House, and they’ll take whatever information, especially in those documents and if I’m Donald Trump, I’d like to have all of my friends of the Republican Party, and all of the members of the Judiciary Committee gather that information and give it to them. It’s wrong what they’re doing, trying to corrupt an investigation into something — OK, Cuomo, let’s just remember we all agree, everybody agrees that the Russians intervened in our electoral process.
Should or should there not be an investigation into that? I say absolutely. It is fundamental if we’re going to —
CUOMO: There haven’t been there like a ton of them?
GUTIERREZ: I’m sorry?
CUOMO: I mean, you have the Mueller probe. You had the Senate Intel. You had the House Intel which they shut down. I mean, there’s been a lot of investigating. You just guys can’t agree on anything so there’s no plan on what to do going forward.
GUTIERREZ: Yes, but, Cuomo, we have to let Mueller. He was assigned the task to get this done. It’s been 15 months. Look —
CUOMO: Right. But you tried to come up with a plan to keep our elections safer the next time around. That conversation —
GUTIERREZ: Cuomo, Cuomo, Cuomo, here’s what I say — let the investigation go where the investigation and the time. It is more important that we be careful and instead of hurried because this is about undermining our fundamental democracy. How it is we elect those that lead our country. And I think let’s give it time.
As you said earlier, I mean, my friend Trey Gowdy, two years. They spent more time than that investing Hillary Clinton. And I remember I was in Congress 26 years ago, more like 20 years ago when they began the investigation into Clinton. That thing went on year after year after year.
So, look, let’s get to the bottom, and let’s get the facts. What’s the rush? The rush is this. They want to fire the deputy attorney general of the United States so they can put somebody else in their place so that person can fire Mueller, and that is really dangerous to our democracy.
We should all be gathering together and saying let’s find out who tried to corrupt our electoral system and let’s go after them and put them in jail.
CUOMO: So —
GUTIERREZ: And let’s remember, unlike what my Republican colleagues said today, there is meat on the bones. There have been indictments. There have been already more — there have been at least five guilty pleas.
Let’s let this go and let an experienced prosecutor, an experienced former head of the FBI, Mueller, take the investigation to where it needs. What’s the rush? The rush is: let’s end the investigation.
CUOMO: Well, let me ask you something in terms of what this all means for the business of the American people getting done. Is it just between now and the midterms? Is there just no chance that anything meaningful gets done on a bipartisan basis that might make people’s lives better?
GUTIERREZ: Look, today’s hearing was called by the Republicans. It was an emergency hearing. What was the emergency of having today’s hearing? The emergency of having today’s hearing is they didn’t want to go on recess without giving one more stab at —
CUOMO: I get — I get what they’re doing. I’m just saying what’s the answer to my question?
GUTIERREZ: The answer to your question is that elections have consequences. And today, hundreds of women, I believe many of whom immigration wasn’t that big an issue for, right, are today getting involved and today in acts of civil disobedience said enough of the treatment of children and separation of those that are coming.
Elections have consequences. People are organizing. People are registering. There’s an election in November, and guess what, until then, I think you’re going to see much of what is going to continue to happen.
Because, Cuomo, how do I work with somebody who says I’m going to be as mean, as vicious, as nasty and cruel to immigrants as possible as an election strategy to get myself reelected to Congress and work with me in a bipartisan manner? I can’t do that. I’m going to stand up for the children and we cannot rest until every child is returned to their parent.
CUOMO: All right. Congressman Luis Gutierrez, thank you very much for making the case. You’re always welcome on the show.
(h/t RCP Video)
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