Here is the link to the interview on Ricochet: Byron York interviews John Dowd
The interview is over an hour long, thus most people will not listen to the full length of the conversation. I went ahead and listened to the whole thing, twice, and tried to type up “Crib Notes”, getting the quotations as accurate as possible. The information revealed is important for us all. In normal times, this would have been a 60 Minutes level interview, not hidden on a podcast. Here we go….
Dowd speaks well of Barr. Believes the summary is accurate as he is familiar. “You’re going to see more of Attorney General Barr.” Of course, everyone wants to see the whole thing (Mueller report) but it is complicated. “Difficult job to thread the needle.”
York and Dowd go through no collusion part of the summary and Dems objections, denial. From Dowd: “I know all the evidence, no collusion, conspiracy, with the Russians…” From Dowd: “Apparently, they tried like blazes to penetrate the organization but were never able to do so.” (the Russians tried). No one in the campaign, “took any bait”. Just “watch how the President conducted the campaign”, inferring he deserved to win. “The FBI had nothing when they started the investigation….. and it did interfere with his ability to do his job”.
From Dowd: “Probably the greatest fraud ever committed against the people of the United States.”
York talks about the news cycle, example of the Trump Tower meeting or Roger Stone and Wikileaks, York asked Dowd if he KNEW of all these accusations or if he was surprised as the investigation went on —- did his client (the President) try to hide anything? – is what York is really asking. Dowd says no, the Trump Organization was beautifully organized to provide documents, etc. No surprises. As to the media, Dowd says, “I’ve never seen anything like the hysteria.” and “Sometimes you would tell them something wasn’t true, but it didn’t matter, they printed it anyway.”
From Dowd: “One of the sorriest chapters I’ve witnessed in this country.”
Dowd explains the Mueller team was finished with all witnesses and expected conclusion by end of November or early December. Dowd and York can’t understand why it took Mueller until the end of March.
This part is important. Dowd explains the President’s legal team turned over notes between the President and his legal team which were typed up at the conclusion of every meeting. Normally, notes like these would be considered Exec Privilege. Yet, the Special Counsel was under the Exec Branch, so Dowd and the team shared these documents to be transparent.
From Dowd: Paraphrasing but as close as possible. “The overwhelming amount of personal notes, turned over to the SC, of conversations between the President and his personal attorneys, may provide a precedent for future Presidents. Because it was Exec privilege, the Atty Gen has to come back to the President before releasing anything. And Don McGahn talked to Mueller for a long time, many times. Trump was very consciously to respect the historical aspect for future Presidents.”
Dowd only had 3-4 meetings with Mueller. From Dowd, “first and second were animated, because Dowd was trying to get the SC team to wind it up and stop it…. “no crime”.” and as Dowd told Mueller, “Can’t get to first base, can’t go any further.” Dowd then discusses the SC repeated, “16 areas and 49 questions, but repetitive.” Dowd finishes with Mueller, “What is the question that you need answered?”, which has not already been answered somewhere else?
From MUELLER to DOWD: Dowd relates that MUELLER admitted, “Every witness was full, complete, and truthful….,” From Dowd, “has to be a first for any administration.”
Mueller was pushing for an interview with the President, hard. Many discussions about Espy and Nixon, “Can’t hamstring a future President in 20 yrs from now.” Mueller pushed, Sekelow and Dowd, said. “Go ahead.” and subpoena the President. Dowd and legal team were confident, “There was no way they (Mueller team) would win it in court.” “They had nothing”. From Byron York, “….Media promoted it.” Dowd completely agreed but countered, “Gotta follow the law.”, and “…..Don’t know why so many people want to break the law to hurt this President but they do.” “There was no law broken.” “Had to establish the law broken.” and as to why he needed the President specifically, “Had to establish the President was the only one who could answer a question….not answered previously.” Dowd admits the Mueller team gave up on the idea of the subpoena to the President.
From Dowd relating his conversations with Mueller and Quarles (? spelling): I was …”not going to put him (Trump) in a position where he could get in a trap.”, “….without an extraordinary amount of preparation and time.”, “….It would have taken weeks of the Presidents time.” and they don’t have a right to the President’s time, “and Andrew McCarthy has written extensively on this.”….
Dowd continuing: “It hurt this president . An enormous amount of damage, ….maybe not the right word….. Making his life difficult. He was worried about the area of foreign affairs.”
From Dowd, relaying the personal conversations with President Trump, as to what the President would say to Dowd: Tell them I respect what they are doing but I need them to get it done. And he would share an anecdote from a foreign leader, Abe of Japan, G7, Egypt, Russia, about times he was working on trade or trying to get a hostage released, and the foreign leader would say, well yeah, Donald, but are you going to be around….. because of this investigation.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ THIS^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ My emphasis added!!!!
From Dowd, in summary about the DOJ and FBI, “Barr has to rescue the criminal justice system”, “…… (the justice system is) “crumpled”. Dowd continuing, “The President is worried about it.”
Dowd didn’t deal with Weissman but he “…watched Weissman deal with Manafort.”, “One of the great injustices.”, “…Weissman was the author of it (the Manafort personal destruction).”, “….Cases that he got were already declined.”, mocking laughter between Dowd and York about the DC judge, “….favorable judge in DC.”, “put him in solitary to get him to cooperate.” One can almost see Dowd shaking his head in disgust at the treatment of Manafort.
Dowd continues about Flynn – “I don’t understand the Flynn case.”, “… didn’t lie”, “no one thought he lied”, “I don’t know what happened when it got to Mueller shop, very troubling.” Quarles was pleasant, completely open. (Jim), saw him once a week. very cooperative. Dowd continues, “…..which circles back to “How can you possibly think he (Trump)obstructed, …..He (Trump) totally cooperated?”
Page three, Dowd refers to Barr and Rosenstein, no crime, didn’t obstruct. It was an easy call. “Trump had a right to scold him (Mueller), (Mueller) “Wasn’t doing his job.”, “Get it done.”, “Getting in the way for his (Trump) ability to do his job (as President).”, “Shame on him (Mueller) for not deciding on obstruction.” Barr and Rosenstein, very easily decided on no obstruction. “Nothing here.”
No actions, many of which took place in public, constitute obstruction. Was it Trump’s public comments, tweets, public scolding? All Dowd can do is speculate as to why Mueller didn’t decide on obstruction. Dowd also guesses there may have been an internal split on the Mueller team.
Dowd: Under the rules of the department, they’re (Dems) are not entitled to know (everything because the Pres gave him so much exec privilege info)
Dowd raised the question about such a partisan team in a conversation with Bob Mueller. Mueller said the rules of the department say I cannot question their political leanings. From Dowd, “That’s bullshit, Bob”. Dowd continues, “They wanted the President so badly….”. Because Bob assembled that team left a scar on the results. Dowd further intimates Rosenstein also had a problem with it (the partisanship).
York brings up the Lester Holt interview and asks Dowd about it, “Dems say the President admitted he fired Comey to stop the Russia investigation.” From Dowd, “Well, the President could fire him if he didn’t like his eyebrows.” “Have to read the whole Holtz interview, carefully, in context, and it is clear.”, “The media was parsing (the interview).” It was clear the President was not firing Comey to stop the investigation and not a big problem with the Mueller team. York interrupts and asks about the media reaction to the Lester Holt interview. Dowd responds, the media was breathless about it but it was not a big deal with Mueller.
President was never going to fire Mueller, at any time, Dowd was there. President was ambushed by Rosenstein when the investigation started. NO ONE had a heads up that Rosenstein was going to appoint a Special Counsel. Sessions immediately offered his resignation. Rosey was hunkered down behind his desk, “Are they going to fire me?” Trump did not hire Mueller as FBI director because Trump had a conflict with him – prior case. Trump, “How could Sessions not know?” No one could ever understand why Rosey started the Special Counsel. No motive. Only one talking about a Special Counsel was Comey. Trump confused as to why the heck it started in the first place.
Dowd: Trump’s (public) frustration was justified. Why is it taking so long? Nonsensical investigations. Not the way you treat the President. All Clintonites, they don’t care. Eat up his time (Trump’s time). Trump’s time, every day, making sure people cooperated. Making sure they had good counsel. MOVE IT ALONG. No hold up getting the information from Trump Admin.
From Dowd: On obstruction, “There was never a “NO” to Mueller, for any information.”, “True from the White House, Trump’s family, or Trump Organization” – (previously) who did a LOT of preliminary homework to provide info to Mueller. Must have been super expensive for Trump Org.
President Trump and his legal team wanted Comey investigated, for lying to Congress and as to his motivation. Dowd agreed and admitted Comey showed, “strange conduct”, “Never seen anything like conduct between Comey and Yates.” “Didn’t look like the Dept of Justice to me.” Dowd continues, “Not getting anything from Dept of Justice which looks like they are investigating Comey.” Mueller not investigating Comey. Dowd complained about Comey, and Rosey blew him off. Dowd was surprised. Dowd doesn’t understand Rosey at all. Dowd reiterates, it would be part of a normal course of any investigation to take a look at the accuser and see what their motives are – at the beginning of any investigation.
York asked Dowd about Cohen and if he presented a problem for the President, and/or if Cohen questions were part of the investigation. Dowd knew about Cohen but unaware of Cohen for his part of dealing with SC team. Dowd refers to Cohen as, “strange duck”, but overall not something that Dowd got involved in.
York moves the conversation along to talk about Manafort, which, clearly upsets Dowd. Manfort, State of NY jumped to file charges against Manafort. Pardons have not been discussed at any time to Dowd’s knowledge. Dowd says it was, “Not appropriate” to discuss any potential pardons with the President. From Dowd – The NY (state) thing against Manafort “one of the grossest abuses of prosecution”…. I’ve ever seen, they (the acting lawyers in NY are “Outlaws”, (it’s a problem with our) “polarization of justice system”, “They want to do it to hurt Paul Manafort and his family”, “No one would trust the system in NY after this” (speaking about the bias), “Not sure the indictment will stand up there” (because the NY State Atty is so off track, mention of “double jeopardy” because the State of NY is basically filing the same charges as the Feds, so Manafort will remain in jail, even if the President pardons Manafort. Dowd, very serious and with sadness in his voice, “They just want to hurt him when he’s down and not sure how much more you can”. To break the tension, York makes a joke about the NY State Attorney wanting to change the LAW of double jeopardy to go after Manafort and Dowd laughs…, the implication is they (NY) are SO lawless, they would or they would try.
York asks about Roger Stone, which Dowd effectively dismisses as nonconsequential in the investigation. According to Dowd, Roger Stone never popped up in the work on the investigation, “Never a factor”.
From Byron York to Dowd, paraphrasing, ‘Did you ever get the idea that Mueller had something, a crime, on the President, or was he always just looking for something?” Dowd, “Witness” “he had no exposure” “I knew they had nothing” from March 5th. (2018)