MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough pressed Sen. Mike Lee (R-Ariz.) to bash President Donald Trump in a conversation about Democrats issuing congressional subpoenas.
Scarborough’s anti-Trump fishing expedition, perhaps motivated by the fact that sometimes Lee has occasionally publicly disagreed with the president, pushed Lee to say that he thought that the Mueller report found no “scintilla of collusion.”
“How in the world do you have either a Republican or a Democratic oversight committee ever having the power to adequately oversee an administration if it’s the attorney general who decides whether those contempt orders can be enforced or not?” Scarborough asked.
“This is one of the prerogatives of the executive branch,” Lee responded. “You’re right, this has been litigated both figuratively and literally over the course of many decades, with Republican and Democratic administrations, against Republican and Democratic congresses. It is one of the prerogatives of the executive branch that only the executive branch has a prosecutorial power, and as part of that, you do have to have an attorney general or Justice Department willing to bring an action to support a subpoena.”
“But Senator, they never will, though,” Scarborough prodded.
“Right. Typically, they don’t,” Lee said.
“Just like Attorney General Barr is no more likely to find Donald Trump in contempt of Congress than Eric Holder would have found Barack Obama in contempt of Congress,” Scarborough continued. “Taking a step back, should we possibly selecting attorney generals like FBI directors, somebody that maybe serves for ten years?”
“I don’t think so, and the reason I don’t think so is I tend to believe that we’re better off when someone stands in that position, along with most — perhaps all executive branch positions, those people need to stand accountable to the president at any moment, whether that’s a Republican or a Democrat or something else,” Lee said. “There is value in having political accountability and having the attorney general of the United States, for example, be nominated by the president and serve at the pleasure of the president. That provides political accountability to the president.
“But do you think that’s being provided right now with Attorney General Barr?” Scarborough said.
“Well, I think it is provided, in the sense that when a president’s attorney general decides to take or not take a particular action, that’s answerable ultimately to the president,” Lee said.
Scarborough continued to press Lee and tried to get him to bash Barr’s handling of the Mueller report.
“I think he responded in a professional manner,” Lee said. “I think he did his job. I don’t think he was acting pursuant to political pressure. I think he was doing what he believed was the right thing to do under the law. Look, two years have been spent on this investigation. At the end of the day, they found no evidence, not even a scintilla of evidence, to support the collusion theory. And ultimately, there was a decision made that there was no reason, no basis upon which to proceed with a criminal prosecution of the president. I think he properly concluded that the solution here, any further action to be taken on this, is a political decision, one to be made within Congress. I don’t question that, and I support him wholeheartedly.”