Paul Rosenzweig on CNN’s Newsroom
HARLOW: And shows the power you have when you are in the majority, right? You’ve got Jerry Nadler now leading this critically important committee. Manu, thanks for the reporting.
With me now is Paul Rosenzweig. He’s a former Deputy Assistant at the Department of Homeland Security. Also, he served as a prosecutor on Ken Starr’s team that investigated for President Bill Clinton. He is a lifelong republican, self-described conservative whom I should note has been critical of President Trump. So good morning. Important voice, yours is, on all of this this morning, Paul.
Let’s just begin with where Manu left off and that is the ranking republican on the House Judiciary Committee, Doug Collins, not only said the deadline for tomorrow to get the full Mueller report is arbitrary, he went on to say that releasing the full report would, quote, break the law by releasing it without redactions. I remember after the Starr report was done when, you know, boxes and boxes of documents were loaded up and driven over to Congress. Is Representative Collins right that it would be illegal to give Congress an un-redacted report?
PAUL ROSENZWEIG, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR POLICY, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: I don’t think so. I think that there are probably procedural steps that need to be taken in order to secure the approval of the courts to give, for example, grand jury material, but that’s precisely the step that Ken Starr took in order to provide material to Congress and that’s precisely the step that Leon Jaworski took in order to provide material to Congress.
What’s different here is the apparent or seeming decision of the Attorney General not to take the same step that has been taken in the past, namely to make as much of the grand jury information as is possible available to Congress for its consideration of its own oversight responsibilities. HARLOW: So the four reasons that Barr has given for these redactions are grand jury material, sensitive intelligence, information about ongoing investigations and then anything that would sort of sully the reputation of someone who is a peripheral third party. Do you agree with all four of his points there, that those four things should be redacted even in a version that goes to Congress?
ROSENZWEIG: No. I think they should be taken into consideration. Certainly, the grand jury material can be released with an order of the court, and if Barr wishes to, he could seek one and would secure one. With respect to ongoing investigations, it’s clearly the case that we could provide information to Congress effectively confidentially or in camera and such that it wasn’t going to make it into the public sphere, indeed, that’s done quite routinely in the intelligence committees, for example. Likewise, with respect to the information relating to sources and methods of our intelligence investigations, Congress is entitled to know that just in a confidential way.
HARLOW: For anyone that may have missed your quotes in USA Today, which I thought were really interesting about this, this stood out to me, quote, you write, in many ways, I think the important thing is not so much the report as it is the backup material. Tell me why. Make the case.
ROSENZWEIG: Well, yes, the report is going to be between 300 and 400 pages we know, and that’s a lot of information, but it, too, is just a recitation and a summary of the evidence that Mr. Mueller has collected and it’s looked at in Mr. Mueller’s case through the prism of possible criminal investigation. Lying behind that we are told are hundreds and hundreds of interviews, thousands and thousands of subpoenas and probably tens of thousands, if not, hundreds of thousands of pages of documents, all of which are relevant to Congress’ inquiry into its oversight responsibilities and the fitness of the president. That’s why when Ken Starr, for example, provided the Congress with a couple hundred pages of reports summarizing his investigation, he also provided, as you said in the opening, hundreds of boxes of material that had been collected over the course of the previous year’s investigation that were relevant to the inquiry.
HARLOW: Paul Rosenzweig, it’s great to have you this morning. Please come back. Thank you for that perspective.
ROSENZWEIG: It would be my pleasure. Thanks a lot.