This is a rush transcript from "Life, Liberty & Levin," March 31, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MARK LEVIN, HOST: Welcome America, I'm Mark Levin. This is "Life, Liberty & Levin." We have two great guests -- John Solomon, good to see you, sir.
JOHN SOLOMON, INVESTIGATIVE COLUMNIST, THE HILL: Good to be with you, Mark.
LEVIN: Sara Carter, good to see.
SARA CARTER, CONTRIBUTOR, FOX NEWS: So nice to see you, Mark.
LEVIN: Everyone knows who you are. You're ubiquitous and there's a reason for that. You're the -- I don't want to offend you like the Woodward and Bernstein's of our time, of course, Woodward and Bernstein aren't anymore, but you've dug into this story about Russia, about the Obama administration, about spying, about what I consider the greatest political scandal, if not in modern history, in all history -- and I'm very much a historian.
For two years, this collusion narrative -- really two and a half years has been pushed. Pushed by the Hillary campaign, by the DNC by their propagandist, by the surrogates, by the media. You're professional journalists.
John Solomon, let me go to you first. How do you explain your doggedness, it's almost instinctive. You see this, you're a journalist. This is how you were trained and you go after it, and yet the vast majority of others in your profession, they see it and they divert. How do you explain that?
SOLOMON: You know, I think there's a romanticism in the profession with Watergate. Everyone wants the next Watergate and they're trying to aspire to it. I grew up in an era where you were told never to fall in love with your story, to always be dispassionate and to just follow the facts wherever they lie and when we started to follow the facts, they did not add up to this story that the mainstream media and the Obama administration was telling us.
We were talking to the very intelligence people that were briefing Congress behind closed doors and selling them we don't have evidence of collusion and then we see these members come out and say there's evidence of collusion. People like Adam Schiff and Mark Warner, and we just kept with it. We talked to people and we kept hearing, "It's not there. This is a faux scandal. It's a dirty political trick. Stick to the facts and you'll get to the truth," and that's what we did. We just talked to the facts. We didn't become passionate. We just followed the facts where they went.
LEVIN: But why are there so few journalists who follow the facts where they go?
CARTER: I don't know and I don't understand it. I don't know what their personal decisions are. I know my own. I know that when I started as a journalist, many decades ago, a couple of decades ago or more, the first thing I was taught is you are a voice for the voiceless. Your objectivity is everything, as much as you can be objective in a story because we all have our own personal feelings when we enter it.
We try to put those aside. Be dispassionate as John said. But we're really there to tell the story. It's not our story and we rely on multiple sources regardless of who that source is, whether that source is John Brennan or James Clapper and we put a lot of emphasis in senior officials.
I was told, "Don't put emphasis in senior officials. Find three --" I mean, even John and I discussed this. We would cover stories all the time when we started at the "Washington Times." It didn't matter if it was --
LEVIN: You worked together at the "Washington Times."
CARTER: Yes, we did.
SOLOMON: We did.
CARTER: We did. That's where we met. I came from California. I heard John Solomon was going to be coming from "The Post" to actually -- to go to the "Washington Times," and I was very excited. He came on board and John sent me -- I was at the foreign desk and John sent me on my merry way to Afghanistan and said, "Bring us back some stories."
SOLOMON: And that she did.
CARTER: And that I did, and I spent time on the ground with our - with soldiers, with U.S. soldiers.
LEVIN: You've both been journalists for some time now. You heard what Koppel had to say. He's very concerned about what's happening to major media outlets here.
CARTER: So am I.
LEVIN: You're concerned, too.
LEVIN: What do you do? You just keep soldiering on, show people what a real journalist is, show people how to do news or is there need for something more or something bigger, do you think?
SOLOMON: That's a great question. I think, the industry has to have a moment of introspection after what's happened here and not some faux introspection where we beat our chest for a couple days and move on. I think we have to look at how do we practice journalism in the 21st Century, where we have Twitter and Facebook and all these outlets to say things.
I think one of the great signs that I saw coming of an industry that was straying so far from neutrality was when Twitter started and you would see these reporters make these extraordinary expressions of opinion. I would have been fired at the "Associated Press" if I ever said any of those things 20 years ago and it just opened up a bottle of champagne, the cork popped out and all of a sudden, journalists felt they could just say whatever they wanted.
And I learned when I came and no one cared about my opinion, they want to hear about the facts you have in your notebook, I think we strayed so far from that. We've got to go back and look, how did that happen? And how do we try to resolve what we've done to the industry? We've lost a lot of our credibility.
CARTER: Well, and the public is very well aware of that. I mean, we see that in how the public views journalism now as I mean, there's no trust. There's a lack of trust. One of the things that I thought of and I wanted to say, I remember, you know every great editor has always told me this. You don't write a story from behind a desk. You go there. You interview the people. You look at them in the face. You ask for documents. You find what their motive is. Do they have a motive for telling you this?
What is that mode? Sometimes the motive may be selfish. It may still be the truth, but we need to know what the motive is. That's what we always did. I saw it changing. I saw it shifting. So many journalists in a lot of different newsrooms that I worked in would never leave their desk. They always wanted to have friends, especially in Washington, D. C.
There was a big bubble here where people felt that, you know, it was better to be friends with the administration especially under Obama -- President Obama -- people really wanted to be friends with the administration -- go to their parties, go to their dinners. It became very difficult for them to tell the truth, to tell the stories, to hold these officials accountable and I think that's what we've seen --
LEVIN: Is this highly missed in the Trump election?
LEVIN: Sitting behind their desks.
SOLOMON: Sitting behind their desks and tweeting instead of getting out and talking to real America. If people were out in Wisconsin, if they were out in Iowa, they would have seen this groundswell of a connection between real Americans and the President that we, sitting on the global elitist desks of these news organizations completely missed and I think that journalism -- when I first took my job, my very first editor in Washington, Walter Myers, great famous journalist said to me, "What makes a great journalist? Their sole. And I said, "What do you mean their sole?" And he said, "The sole of their shoes. If it's worn out, then you know they are doing their job. If it's clean and new, they're not out really reporting."
LEVIN: You both operate in an area of journalism where you deal with shady characters from time to time, where you're dealing in the shadows from time to time. Have you ever had any unusual experiences doing that?
SOLOMON: Not really unusual experiences. I mean people come with motives and you have to deduct what those motives are, report them out, try to control that the motive doesn't sway the story, but you know, many people approached -- most of the people that have approached me and I probably, I'm sure with Sara, have good intentions. They want to get a story out. They think they have --
LEVIN: Have you ever been approached in an unusual way?
SOLOMON: Oh, I'll tell you story about a mailbox which occurred at my home. It's seminal to the Russia story. Sara and I had just begun working on what we called the NSA abuse stories ...
CARTER: Yes, the unmasking.
SOLOMON: ... that we were working and unmasking it. We had just gone on television and Sean's show -- Sean Hannity's show -- that night we talked about this sudden rise in unmasking, and I came -- I drove home. I got to my mailbox, pulled in my car, there was a blue sedan sitting outside the mailbox and there were two gentlemen clearly intelligence officers somewhere from the government, they never identified their names and they stepped out and said, "Are you Mr. Solomon?" I said, "Yes." They said, "We just saw you on Sean Hannity's show. We wanted to talk to you for a second. We can't tell you much because most of what we know is classified, but we will tell you this, if you keep digging, you will find out that the United States intelligence community was used for a political opposition research project and we are deeply concerned."
I said, "Well, why are you concerned?" "We need these tools. Things like FISA and the NSA to catch your bad guys, and if we misuse it for political dirty tricks, we won't have those tools when the next terrorist attack or the next spy shows up in town. We need you to go find out what happened." And that's all they told me. It was about 11:30 by the time we finished the conversation.
I ran in. I wrote this long e-mail of everything I could remember. As soon as Sara hits the box about two o'clock in the morning, she's still up. She responds right back, but that's how we got started into really understanding this is much bigger than just an unmasking scandal.
CARTER: It was huge.
LEVIN: How long ago was this?
CARTER: Was that 2017--
SOLOMON: March of 2017.
CARTER: Yes, March 2017 because we'd already been working on the stories. I mean, we were getting tipped off. We saw what was happening to General Flynn -- Lieutenant General Mike Flynn. I remember being approached by let's say Federal law enforcement officers who had told me, "You really need to dig into what's happened to Lieutenant General Flynn. Apparently, there's a lot that had been going on inside the FBI. Look at Andrew McCabe. Focus on some of these characters." It was the same thing that happened to John.
I started focusing in and just really taking a step back, saying "What's going on here?" And the more we started to investigate, little by little, we started peeling back what we call the onion, right, the layers of the onion. It really felt like that.
So then I think, it can't get much worse than this. It can't get much worse than this.
LEVIN: Was General Flynn set up?
CARTER: I absolutely believe that General Flynn was a target from the very beginning.
LEVIN: Because the Obama generals didn't like him.
CARTER: That's absolutely true.
LEVIN: Is that correct?
LEVIN: Their intelligence --
SOLOMON: And if you keep in mind, if you look back at that time, he was talking about a massive reorganization of the intelligence community.
CARTER: That's right.
SOLOMON: There are a lot of powerful constituencies in the intelligence community that liked the status quo and he was talking about reorganizing that and I think he had a target on his back and an opportunity struck, and to answer the question of whether he was set up. All you have to do is take James Comey's own comments at that seminar in New York.
"We tricked him into being interviewed before he could get lawyers." What a statement to be made by the man --
CARTER: "We tricked him."
SOLOMON: Yes, to be made by the man who oversaw our FBI.
CARTER: Not only that, a man -- yes, but who oversaw the FBI, but a man who spent -- a lieutenant general who spent 33 years of his life dedicated to this nation who served -- his service overseas was exemplary. Without him, I have been told by Assistant Deputy Directors of the Department of Defense and others, without him, he was like the third leg on getting Al- Qaeda, on targeting all the Al-Qaida operatives in Iraq.
In Afghanistan, I talked to soldiers who said, "He would stand by us. He was always there for us. He was always defending us." And they just basically destroyed this man's life. They turned his life upside down, but I knew it. There was a purpose for that, Mark. There was a purpose.
Because he had access to everything. This is a man that angered the CIA; that was head of the DIA. He had connections all over this town. He knew where the bodies were buried. He knew about Benghazi. He knew how all these operations and President Obama and his team early on knew they had to get this guy out of the way, and they had to get him out of the way quick.
LEVIN: And they'd already tried ...
CARTER: Yes, they did.
LEVIN: ... to get him out of the way and they failed and he became a top adviser to the President of the United States. I hope he's at the top of the list for a pardon. That's just me.
Ladies and gentlemen, don't forget, almost every weeknight, you can watch Levin TV on blazetv.com/mark, blazetv.com/mark or give us a call 844-LEVIN- TV, 844-LEVIN-TV. We'll be right back.
LEVIN: Sara Carter, John Solomon -- so collusion. You've said now, there has been a little change in the narrative that's being pushed out there. First it was, well we'll wait to see what the prosecutor has to say and we'll take it from there. Prosecutor made it emphatic. There are quote marks in the letter from Attorney General Barr. He didn't say as a legal matter, I couldn't bring a case on collusion. He said there's no collusion.
SOLOMON: That's right.
LEVIN: We also know from the letter that the Russians did try to get Trump campaign people to participate and they didn't. So you would think there'd be celebration in both parties, celebration among the media. But now, they're changing the narrative, which is, we want to see everything. "We want to see grand jury information" -- Congress -- which they have no right to under a Federal law. "We want to see FBI notes," which they have no right to under separation of powers. "We want to see this. We want to see that. We don't trust what was done."
And besides this obstruction issue here, Mueller didn't really take a position on that. The Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General said, "Well, this doesn't cut it under Department of Justice standards." This moving ball, these constant investigations, this refusal by -- I saw this guy Eric Swallwell, whatever his name is from California on Fox -- he doesn't even accept the fact that the dossier was fake. Where do we go from here?
SOLOMON: Well, truth has become a matter of political intention now and that's a dangerous thing in America when truth just gets defined by whatever you need the political outcome to become, you see this sort of folly that's now playing out.
Democrats said, "We trust Mueller. We put our trust in Mueller." He came out. He didn't come to the conclusion they wanted and so now, they're changing the stadium. We were in Bob Mueller Stadium, we're moving to a new named stadium, they're going to keep changing this game until they get the result that they want.
The good news is, this was a victory for the rule of law. Bob Mueller followed the law. He found the conclusions that are factually based and there are a lot of laws governing what government can and can't give -- the Executive Branch can and can't give to Congress.
I expect this White House to play that out, to protect grand jury information, to protect executive privilege information and to thwart some of the unreasonable requests that Congress may make, but it's going to play out. It is going to end up in the courts and it's a way of the Democrats to continue to extend the narrative even though their narrative has been proven false.
LEVIN: So they'll claim cover-up.
LEVIN: If they don't get things, Sara Carter, what is the job of Congress? Congress under Article I can appropriate and legislate. In some cases, in the Senate, they can confirm. They're not free to conduct criminal investigations.
CARTER: That's absolutely right. Their job is for oversight. They've conducted multiple hearings.
LEVIN: Have they done a good job of oversight on the rest of this so- called scandal involving Clinton and the DNC? Have they done -- have the Democrats shown any interest in oversight in those areas?
CARTER: No, absolutely not. They are showing no interest in that whatsoever. What the Democrats want is to continually investigate President Trump and his family and his finances and his taxes and what he ate for dinner and who he hangs out with and where he plays golf and how long he plays golf. I mean, it's a never ending Trump focus.
I mean, look, the millions of people that voted for President Trump; one, aren't going to buy this anymore and for those independents and those people in the middle that want to see our nation debate policy issues, things that matter to Americans -- healthcare, schools, education, infrastructure -- they are going to get sick of this.
LEVIN: Do you think there may be a political backlash?
CARTER: Oh, I think there's going to be a huge political backlash. Just from talking to people around the country, they're exhausted of this investigation. They realize now, based on -- Robert Mueller walked on water for the Democrats. Nobody could criticize --
LEVIN: Not to me.
CARTER: Yes, but nobody could criticize him. If you looked at his past history, whether it was his involvement in the anthrax case, whether it was, you know, the Atlanta City bombing -- anything. If you criticized him at all --
LEVIN: Whitey Bulger.
CARTER: Whitey Bulger is a huge case. Now, he doesn't walk on water. All of the sudden, he didn't give them what they wanted because, look, they have egg on their face. Let's be honest. They're frustrated. They realized they did not assess this situation correctly, whether they believed it or lied about it, they did not assess it correctly.
LEVIN: Well, let me ask you this, journalists -- two journalists. As I listen to you, they have egg on their face. They didn't pursue certain things they should have pursued, mostly the truth. Journalism has given this a voice. Have the media led this corrupt effort or are the media pushing this corrupt effort? Or are the media just the mouthpiece, collectively? With exceptions of it for this effort. Which is it? Or do we know?
SOLOMON: I've always subscribed to the rule on journalism, at the end of the day, you're only as good as the sources of information that you rely upon, and if you only talk to one side, if you only talk to one perspective in a story, you become hostage to that perspective and I think when we look back at some of the stories -- let's take a story that was on the front page of the "New York Times" February 2017, it's one of the seminal stories that drives this narrative.
It stated, unequivocally, that senior Trump administration officials met with senior Russian intelligence officials to discuss colluding on the election.
LEVIN: Did that happen?
SOLOMON: It did not happen. Not only that, James Comey, no fan of President Trump testified it did not happen. He called the story erroneous. To this day, the "New York Times" has not corrected that story. They stood by that story in the absence of facts and in the direct denial of people who add information -- that had access to the information -- that's what hurts journalism's credibility.
Anything that we gained from the Watergate era of journalism has been eroded by the performance of the media on this story.
CARTER: I was thinking the same thing about the McClatchy story. Mark and John, there was a story that said Michael Cohen travelled to Prague and that they have sources that they -- this was a second story that said they have three sources that can prove Michael Cohen -- it's not that difficult to find out if Michael Cohen went to Prague.
I mean, even if the FBI had the dossier, you call up the State Department. Did Michael Cohen fly out of the country on this date? Was he in Prague on that date? It's that simple. No, he wasn't.
LEVIN: When we come back, I have a question for both of you, what did Barack Obama know? And when did he know it? We'll be right back.
AISHAH HASNIE, CORRESPONDENT, FOX NEWS: Live from "America's News Headquarters," I am Aishah Hasnie. A man is behind bars suspected of killing a University of South Carolina student. Hunters found the body of 21-year-old Samantha Josephson in a rural area. She went missing early Friday from downtown Columbia, South Carolina after a night out with friends. Police arrested 24-year-old, Nathaniel Roland. They say he was driving a black Chevy Impala like the car Josephson was last seen entering. Friends believe she mistook his car for the rideshare that she'd ordered.
Another horse dies at the Santa Anita Park just two days after it reopened to racing. Arms Runner is the 23rd horse now to die at that track in Arcadia, California since December 26th. Santa Anita have been closed since March 3rd as officials trying to figure out the reason for the numerous deaths. I am Aishah Hasnie, now back to "Life, Liberty & Levin."
LEVIN: Sara Carter, John Solomon -- what did Obama know? I mean, there was a lot of information in the public that was being leaked by the Department of Justice, by the FBI, and by others. Hillary Clinton and the DNC paid for this dossier. There's all kinds of stuff going on in the senior levels of the FBI, senior levels of the Department of Justice, senior levels of our intelligence agencies.
The President gets a national intelligence briefing at least once a day, sometimes twice a day. I happen to know as an old Chief of Staff to an Attorney General, if we ever saw the FISA application involving the opposition campaign, the Attorney General would have taken a car right over the President and fill him in in case there was a political aspect to it.
Is Barack Obama the only human being on the planet who didn't know anything?
SOLOMON: That's a great question. I think, I'd like to see a long in- depth interview with Barack Obama, and a long in-depth interview with Hillary Clinton to answer the questions that President Trump answered for us. I've interviewed President Trump. Sara has interviewed him. He's answered all these questions. It has been unequivocal what he said about what happened in Russia, what didn't happen.
I'd like to know, what did Barack Obama know? When was he briefed on the FISA? Or was he briefed on the FISA? Why wasn't he interested in Russia collusion before the election, but after Donald Trump won, he seemed to be very excited about it. These are questions that haven't been asked.
Hillary Clinton -- the question we have to ask her, how much did you know about Glenn Simpson and Christopher Steele's operation? What was going on? Were you being briefed? Did you get any help from a foreign government because you're a former Secretary of State with enormous contacts around the world? Were foreigners helping your campaign like we've just heard in Ukraine recently? Those are questions that never got asked, and I hope at some point soon, both submit to an interview and answer the tough questions.
LEVIN: Should the Republicans -- well, you've got six House Committees who want to look at what Mueller did and look at taxes and look at all of these others. Should the Republicans -- even though they're in the minority -- insist if they want transparency, they want a full investigation that we need to know what Obama knew? We need to know what Valerie Jarrett knew. We need to know what Susan Rice knew. We need to know what everyone in that inner circle at the White House knew and they should bring them to testify. They can do it behind closed doors before these committees.
CARTER: Absolutely, Mark. Absolutely. I mean, Senator Lindsey Graham has spoken about this. There needs to be a thorough and full investigation. I know that Rand Paul has also made those same statements. I think, "The Hill" wrote about it as well as on my site.
We absolutely need full transparency from the people that would have been directly involved in this matter and that is John Brennan, James Clapper, Samantha Powers, the former UN Ambassador and all of her extraordinary unmasking that we've never seen before. Over 260 people unmasked even in the last days of her tenure as UN Ambassador.
LEVIN: And leaks.
CARTER: And leaks.
LEVIN: Glenn's name was leaked.
CARTER: And leaks. All of the leaks. Remember, there were 27 apparent investigations at the Department of Justice under Jeff Sessions then. Former Jeff Sessions said that there were 27 -- what's going on with those? Where is John Huber? But the American public, we deserve that much. We deserve to know what was happening because every attempt, every attempt to leak names, to listen in on Carter Page's conversations and therefore, all the people he was speaking to, everything was geared at either removing President Trump, impeaching him or stopping him from becoming President.
That is a duly elected President of the United States of America. We do not weaponize our intelligence community to do that.
LEVIN: Let me ask you a question. Both of you -- how many leaks out of the FBI hurt Hillary Clinton's campaign? How many texts that we have read hurt or were focused on hurting Hillary Clinton and/or her campaign? None that we're aware of. None.
We now know McCabe was leading a coup effort under the 25th Amendment, at least, this is my opinion. It always seemed to be the case and he does book tours and he is celebrated by the media and so forth, should this not also be a demand of the Republicans as they go into this? Let's be honest, the impeachment mode of the Democrats that they demand, that they want to get to the bottom of it, actually everything that occurred.
SOLOMON: There's a story that Sara did early on in this and I always go back to now because I think it's a very prescient of what was about to come. The last few days of Barack Obama's tenure before President Trump was elected, so the very end of October, beginning of November. Barack Obama's Justice Department and the FBI walk into the FISA Court and said, "Oh heck, we forgot to disclose all these violations that went on five-six years and going --" an enormous number. The Court was shocked.
LEVIN: Violations of what?
SOLOMON: Civil liberties, the Fourth Amendment - protecting people and they divulged hundreds in this drop in late October and November. It's that story that Sara and I wrote in March, the day before the mailbox, when I got the visit at the mailbox. It was a day before and you look back at that and you're wondering, why does Barack Obama wait until Election Day or just before Election Day to have his Justice Department go in and say, "We've been cheating on FISA for five-six years. We forgot to tell you."
You know, you were in the Justice Department --
LEVIN: Cheating on FISA.
CARTER: That's right.
LEVIN: Unmasking at an unprecedented rate.
CARTER: Expansion of powers since 2011.
LEVIN: Expansion of powers, expansion of reporting information that they get on FISA and wiretaps and espionage to more and more agencies and Departments making it more and more likely to be leaked and they did this on the way out the door.
SOLOMON: That's right.
SOLOMON: It had to an effort --
LEVIN: To setup Trump?
SOLOMON: Or more importantly -- well, certainly the changes in spreading secret information and FISA information to more agencies as an effort to disseminate some more people that have access to it, give you more possible --
CARTER: Yes, exactly.
SOLOMON: But I think that the decision to go in itself disclosed a bunch of violations before the Court. "Hey, if we're not in, we better cover our tail on this. What if Donald Trump wins?" And they come up with this. And so, they kind of insulate themselves by disclosing it at the last minute, but what it does is it creates a picture of an intelligence apparatus that was knowingly being abused and nobody raised their hand until the very end, at the last moment.
CARTER: That's absolutely true.
LEVIN: When we come back, I want to ask you, Sara, about the FISA Courts. These judges who now see all of this, all of this took place and while they're sitting on their hands.
Don't forget, folks, almost every weeknight, you can watch me on Levin TV. Join us. Go to blazetv.com/mark, blazetv.com/mark. You're going to love us over there or give us a call at 844-LEVIN-TV, 844-LEVIN-TV. We'll be right back.
LEVIN: Sara Carter, we have these secret courts. The Congress set them up. They set them up because there are occasions where we have incredibly sensitive classified information, things going on or if it's an open court, you won't catch the bad guys, you won't catch the bad government, so we understand that. They tried to come up with this system.
Then it's particularly important for judges to really be on their toes because the only people in the courtroom -- the judge and the government -- the people who want a warrant to spy on somebody among other things. Did these judges let us down? Do we know who they are? Has there been a single congressional hearing where here, Congress does have authority to oversee what it created?
CARTER: I certainly believe based on the information that John and I both gathered, based on the information that I'm gathering from Congress, I've spoken to Devin Nunes about this multiple times, you know, especially he chaired the House Intelligence Committee. He is extraordinarily concerned about the secret court -- the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that has this authority.
Rosemary Collyer could easily --
LEVIN: Who is that?
CARTER: She is the top dog of the secret court.
LEVIN: She is the Chief Judge.
CARTER: She is the chief. She is the chief and actually can call for an evidentiary hearing now on Carter Page. There is enough evidence. There is enough information made public and already partially his application, his warrant has been made partially public to say, "Okay, we need an evidentiary hearing. We need to find out if there was exculpatory information withheld from the court as has been charged. We need to find out what is going on with this case and we need to find out if the government lied to us because --
LEVIN: But here's the thing, it's not even we, it's she, right? The judge is protecting the courtroom. The judge is protect the integrity of the law. The judge is supposed to protect the justice system and the judge blew it -- and the judge blew it and there may have been four judges who blew it for all we know because of the information or the lack of information that was provided to that court upon which she or others issued a counterintelligence warrant to spy on an American citizen.
CARTER: Violating all the Fourth Amendment rights.
LEVIN: Exactly. So why isn't this judge or any of these other judges, why aren't they calling evidentiary hearings to hold people in contempt, to perhaps send them to jail? Shouldn't -- there hasn't been a single hearing on this, has there?
CARTER: No, there has not been a single hearing. I know that Congress wants this to happen. I don't know what the process is with the secret court if this does not happen, but I can tell you this. In an interview that I conducted just not too long ago about a month ago with now the Ranking Member, Devin Nunes, he said absolutely, if this -- if nothing is done, they want to revise everything that happen with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
Because there is nobody there to defend you as an American in that Court if the government wants to spy on you. If the government wants to violate your rights, you would never have any idea. Carter Page had no idea, up until all of this started to break. So this is an extreme violation of our civil rights, of our liberties.
SOLOMON: In an earlier time, back in 2002 and 2003 when Robert Mueller just had taken over the FBI, the FISA Court operated the right way. The FBI was caught cheating on more than 79 FISA warrants and Bob Mueller was hauled in personally as the FBI Director to face the court and say how are you going to fix this? We will not stand for this and that had to be a very uncomfortable position from the documents I saw.
The court was unyielding in its criticism and in its demand that they protect the Fourth Amendment better and what's one of the most interesting elements is you want to see history repeat itself. One of the things the FBI had done was sought a FISA warrant against somebody they hadn't told the court was one of their own informants, so they want to spy on their own informant.
The court was kept in the dark. What happens with Carter Page? Carter Page is working for the FBI as an informer in another Russia case and they don't tell the court when they then put a FISA warrant on him. History repeated itself because the FBI has not learned the lessons of how to play fair in that court --
LEVIN: And that what else did they do? They leaked the story.
SOLOMON: They did.
LEVIN: To Isikoff --
SOLOMON: They had a leak strategy.
LEVIN: The righteous story in Yahoo News. They take the story they leaked to a reporter who happily reported it, put it in the FISA application among other things as a basis for getting the warrant. I'm very troubled by this. My own view is they ought to abolish the FISA Court system if they're not going to oversee it. These judges have some answering to do and I want the American people to know that impeachment clause there, that's not just for a President or a Vice President or other senior officials in the administration, that's for judges, too.
And I'm not saying they should be impeached. I'm not saying we need a hearing on impeachment, but there ought to be a hearing to figure out what the hell took place where Congress really does have legislative oversight here because Congress created them and there seems to be other disinterest in this.
SOLOMON: I think there's a moment coming with the Inspector General's report from the Justice Department where all of the facts that the IG has found are going to be put into the open, that's going to give the court --
LEVIN: Will that be this century or next century?
SOLOMON: It's going to be this -- I think it is going to be this summer, thankfully.
CARTER: Yes, so I do, too. I think, it may even come before summer because he's already been working on it for quite some time and you know, Inspector General Michael Horowitz for what it's worth, we have heard extraordinary good things about this gentleman.
He is very tight-lipped. Obviously, nothing is leaking from the Justice Department on his investigation, but from what we hear on the periphery and I think, John, you could agree with me on this, is that he is conducting an extraordinarily thorough investigation and that's going to be -- that's going to be a turning point for --
LEVIN: When we come back, I want to ask you, do we need a Special Counsel to investigate all these areas that haven't been looked at and if we don't have a Special Counsel, who is going to?
Moreover, how are we ever going to fix what took place at the FBI and the Department of Justice? That's my question for you when we come back.
LEVIN: You know this whole thing has been bizarre. We have a Special Counsel appointed without any criminal statute being triggered.
SOLOMON: That's right.
LEVIN: It's not the way it's supposed to work. He is appointed by the individual who recommended to the President that he should fire Comey, Rosenstein. And one of the reasons they give for appointing him is the firing of Comey, at least Comey thinks so. Rosenstein oversees Mueller who is one of his close friends, even though Rosenstein recommended Comey's firing.
Okay, so we got that. The Mueller investigation goes wherever it has to go, 13 countries, a Madam in Manhattan, but all this other stuff going on over here. It's like he's a horse with one eye patch. He just keeps running in circles over here. Everyone say, "Hey, the Hillary campaign, you've got the DNC, you've got this dossier. You've got foreign individuals involved. You've got all kinds of things taking place over here, you might want to look." "No, that's not part of my responsibility. I'll go after Manafort for tax fraud, for mail fraud. We're going to go after this one and that one for false statements. We've got Flynn. We've got Flynn where we want." What about this?
This just drives half of the country nuts, so we need a Special Counsel to complete what Mr. Mueller started.
SOLOMON: You know, there's a new sheriff in town named Bill Barr and we should give him the opportunity because a lot of this could be handled by a nonpartisan non-biased Justice Department just fine. There are serious issues that need to be looked at that have been shunted aside for a very long time.
If the Attorney General doesn't feel he can do that with the independence he needs, you can always go that way, but the Justice Department is very good at solving very simple issues.
I mean, there's a model for this, too, outside of the Justice Department. After 9/11, we didn't want 9/11 to be repeated. I now hear a lot of people say, "We don't want this shenanigans ever to be repeated." We did a Special Commission and we looked -- and we aired everything. The FBI had to say, "Yes, we missed that. We missed that. We didn't connect those dots." We have to have the FBI come out and come to recognition what it did wrong here.
And the only way to do that is to have a public hearing or to have a prosecution of people so that we can make sure that the people who are ever tempted to play with the laws and to play politics with the intelligence community will never take that temptation again.
LEVIN: I agree with the Commission idea. I've suggested it myself.
SOLOMON: Yes, that's right.
LEVIN: But they don't have subpoena power, and they can't charge people and they can't force people to testify.
SOLOMON: No, it needs to be a two-third.
LEVIN: What do you think?
CARTER: Based on what I'm hearing from all the sources that I've talked to, I mean, I'm getting phone calls on this all the time. I've got to be completely honest. I mean, it's every day. There are a lot of people that are concerned that you know, Attorney General Barr won't be able to get an independent enough prosecutor to really handle this.
I know that's some people's concerns. I have seen more and more people lean towards a second Special Counsel which I know drives everyone nuts because it can take forever. It's so wide in its scope. It's very frustrating. I think it's frustrating for so many people that were closely involved in this, people that want to see justice that they really are demanding that something be done.
I think the most important thing is that Attorney General William Barr not sweep any of this under the rug, but go at it full force on the offensive - - on the offensive both with the FBI and the DOJ, allow Michael Horowitz to do his report. We need to find out what John Huber was doing.
Remember, he was appointed and he was supposed to --
LEVIN: I think he -- I think he placed himself in the witness protection program.
CARTER: Yes, I do, too, because apparently --
SOLOMON: He has been hard to find.
CARTER: Yes, he has been hard to find. Nobody wants to answer a question. I contacted DOJ not too long ago. What's he been doing? Is he living in Utah? Is he living here? Where's he at?
SOLOMON: I have a fun story about John Huber because it couldn't happen except in real life. Last November --
LEVIN: This is the U.S. Attorney who was asked to go ahead and investigate.
SOLOMON: All things Clinton.
LEVIN: All thing Clinton.
CARTER: Correct. All things.
SOLMON: Yes, so I get a hold of a document. It is in the IRS whistleblower complaint put together by some professional former law enforcement people that there might have been criminality inside the Clinton Foundation and my story comes out, gets a lot of attention. Congress is about to hold hearings.
John Huber's office calls the gentleman who wrote this and says, "Could I have a copy of it?" And they said, "Sir, we sent it to you nine months ago." He didn't even know he had it. It tells you something about -- maybe I think a lot of people in the Justice Department that think the Huber investigation was ahead made by Sessions to take President Trump's pressure off. "Oh, we'll have this guy look at it." Not much evidence. Not much has happened there.
LEVIN: We'll be right back.
LEVIN: Sara Carter, John Solomon. Sara, I look at it this way. The President of the United States was a victim of a really outrageous scandal and yet, he is investigated as the perpetrator. Now, it's time to find out who the perpetrators are. Is our government prepared to do that?
CARTER: They have to be. They have to be prepared to do that, and I would also agree you on that point. I think you know, since prior to his presidency, since prior to getting elected, President Trump has been the target.
Whether somebody likes him or not that's not the point. The point being --
LEVIN: Anyway, I happen to like him. I mean, I am right there. But anyway, yes.
CARTER: Yes, but I am just saying, you know, based on whatever anybody's feelings are politically, and that is what I am talking about, not personally, but politically, he was the target of a group of people that were intent to take him out or to impeach him or to ensure he was not elected.
LEVIN: He still is, right?
CARTER: Absolutely, and every time he tried to defend himself, anytime he opened his mouth or sent out a tweet or acted out of frustration because he was the target, it would be like, "Oh, look, now, now, we are just accuse him of obstructing." He couldn't even defend himself. There is something wrong with that and it's absolutely up to the Department of Justice to investigate this.
LEVIN: Are we ever going to get to the bottom of who perpetrated this immense scandal?
SOLOMON: Yes, I think we will and I think that there is a growing body of evidence that there was foreign intrusion into the election, but it was on behalf of Hillary Clinton and it was just a little to the east of Russia in Ukraine.
We are beginning to see significant evidence that the Clinton campaign and people in Ukraine were collaborating. Certainly, Ukrainians wanting to help Hillary Clinton get elected and use their official powers in Ukraine to get that done. The evidence is starting to spill out.
There is an investigation launched in Ukraine that is trying to get information to Attorney General Barr. If that happens, there is a whole new avenue and I think all of this will tie together neatly.
A British foreign national named Christopher Steele, some people in Ukraine colluding to this false story in the United States election cycle.
LEVIN: And how many committees in Congress are going to look into that?
SOLOMON: We know for sure that Lindsey Graham is going to do that, for sure. I think Ron Johnson and some of the senators -- Republican senators -- had a Ukraine hearing scheduled sometime this month. Keep an eye on those. I think there is some evolving story there that could be an important development in this narrative. It is going to boomerang. This narrative boomerangs.
LEVIN: Let me just say this, you two have been remarkable journalists through all of this and as an American citizen, I want to thank you because you're few and far between and that is a fact. Thank you very much.
SOLOMON: Thank you very much.
LEVIN: It has been a pleasure.
CARTER: Thank you.
LEVIN: See you next time on "Life, Liberty & Levin."
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