Interviews

Mukasey balks at delaying Sessions vote over Women's March

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," January 24, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

STUART VARNEY, GUEST HOST: Looks like the president's pick for attorney general will have to wait even longer for his confirmation.

Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein using this, the weekend's women's march, to force a delay on a vote for Republican Senator Jeff Sessions, saying she owes it to those women to take her time on the matter.

Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey is a stronger supporter of Senator Sessions. And he joins me now.

Mr. Attorney General, welcome to the program.

MICHAEL MUKASEY, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Thank you. Good to be here.

VARNEY: May I quote directly from Senator Feinstein?

"The least we can do is tell them that we're being as careful as possible in who we place in charge of making these important decisions. For every woman and man who marched over the weekend, we owe it to them."

MUKASEY: Oh, please.

I understand -- look, I understand each individual word. It's the idea that they're supposed to convey that eludes me. There's no idea there.

The notion that somehow, if she takes another week, that that is either going to satisfy the people who walked on the march. That the people who walked on the march were marching to delay Senator Sessions, I think, is ridiculous.

VARNEY: Well, is paying attention to the marchers and bringing them to the fore and their issues to the fore, that's what she's doing -- is that legit, when you are holding hearings for the future attorney general of the United States?

MUKASEY: Any issue that is really an issue is legit. There are no issues presented by the march that are legit with respect to Senator Sessions, because he's done nothing and said nothing to suggest that he would treat either women or minorities or anybody else who was on that march in a fashion that is different from the way he would treat anybody else.

VARNEY: That's the issue I wanted to get to, because Senator Feinstein, she worries about Jeff Sessions, his stance on civil rights and rights for women.

What has Senator Sessions ever said or done that would provoke this doubt about his equal treatment of women and minorities?

MUKASEY: I think we best ask Senator Feinstein.

And I should point out that during -- she had an opportunity during the hearing to question him. She also had an opportunity to question all the witnesses who testified in support and in opposition. She didn't take a good deal of that opportunity, because, frankly, when I testified, she wasn`t there. So...

VARNEY: So, what`s going on here? This delay, it's going to be a week's delay. What is really going on?

MUKASEY: What is really going on is delay, delay the opportunity for Senator Sessions to get to the Justice Department and begin to implement policies that Senator Feinstein might disagree with.

VARNEY: James Comey will remain as FBI guy, top guy under President Trump. What do you make of that?

MUKASEY: Well, a couple things.

First of all, the president obviously is free to retain him. And the president picks his spots and picks his fights. He`s got a lot of people to get through Congress, and it may not make sense, even if he were so inclined, to have yet another turbulent issue thrust in the middle of the...

VARNEY: But, Mr. Attorney General, you know what`s being said, that James Comey ruined the candidacy of Hillary Clinton, and that's why he`s staying on with Mr. Trump.

MUKASEY: I think that's nonsense.

I think that he failed to pursue charges or suggest that charges be taken against Hillary Clinton, when, in point of fact, charges had been pursued against members of the military who did far less than he did. People did time for doing far less than she did, and he knows it.

VARNEY: Now, he was appointed, I think, for a 10-year period.

MUKASEY: Right.

VARNEY: He served four.

MUKASEY: Right.

VARNEY: You think he is going to serve out the following six years?

MUKASEY: I have no idea.

I know that there's an inspector general's investigation under way that is going to include both his conduct and the conduct of people in the Justice Department leading up to his conduct and the entire way that that -- the investigation of Mrs. Clinton and her e-mails and the whole -- the pay-for- play allegations as well was conducted.

They`re not going to second-guess the results. What they are going to try to do is examine very closely the procedures that were followed and whether proper procedures were followed. That`s what the I.G. is there for.

VARNEY: And he stays atop of the FBI.

MUKASEY: Right.

The I.G., interestingly, reports to not only the head of the agency, the attorney general, or, if he recuses himself, the deputy attorney general, but he reports to Congress also. And the person who is there, Michael Horowitz, is a very fine lawyer and investigator. So, stay tuned.

VARNEY: Mr. Attorney General, Mike Mukasey, thanks for joining us, sir. We appreciate it.

MUKASEY: Great to be here.

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