Is Robert Mueller trustworthy?

Tommy Tucker, WWL First News
Monday, April 16th

Tommy talks to David Priess, a former intelligence officer, manager, and daily briefer at the CIA and is author of The President's Book of Secrets, about his experiences briefing Robert Mueller when he was head of the FBI.


Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

As if James com mail at 717 Miley is if the James coming interview and Syria were not enough there. Mueller investigation continues to grind along in the background including. Com the raid on the president's attorney Cohen's some home and offices last week Loews hotel room but I think he was living there at time. David Kris Johnson right now he served as an intelligence officer a manager and daily briefer at the CIA. And he is author of the president's book of secrets about the president's daily briefings which is a very interesting read good morning David. Good morning Charlie good to be talking to you again. Thanks for coming back on tell me about Bob Mueller and I guess is interesting in that he's a former FBI director. Now James homey is a former FBI director both are in the spotlight. Did you wanna compare and contrast the two are just stick with smaller. You know that let's talk about both because obviously they're both playing into this great storm that we're seeing. I'll bolt FBI directors not close personal friends Bible for their accounts but acquaintances and people who tended to see things the same. Very by the book characters who. Don't like controversy controversial decisions and that's what's so weird to see the contrast between the two right now. Jim Thome in his interview last night on BBC. Said. He never thought he'd write a book kid told himself in fact he never would because he knew he had to keep his ego in check but. The events of the last year told him a message needs to be put out there and now he is in the spotlight by his own choice. Bob Mueller the special counsel. Has been everything but in the spotlight. People literally do you have around Washington DC he tries to keep. Out of public view his his own spokesman for the special counsel investigation is required just voice in Washington usually just saying no comment. All of these things were hearing about where the Russian investigation is going in who also is being investigated. That seems to becoming from the lawyers of the people that are being interviewed Mueller himself doesn't speak until he dropped an indictment and then people know they're in trouble for the crimes they've committed. Our money comes Cohen in. Who when he represented the president when he didn't the raid on the materials lawyer gum and client privilege. It do you draw a distinction between. When Cohen was a president's lawyer in when he wasn't because both sides said. They'll when he made that 130000. Dollar payment to stormy Daniels. That he was not acting as the president's lawyers so that's the case there would be no privilege correct. That's where I understand that one big copy I mean I'm not an attorney then and I don't know these things through personal training or experience but I talked with some of the best attorneys on this current law. And they told me. That while usual this is by no means something that is impossible to do in fact it does happen in cases all over the country. What they do is a few things. First of all they have a very high bar for going after an attorney because of that attorney client privilege we have. But having your relationship with an attorney does not a lull he clients. To break the law and if they involve the attorney in the breaking of the law. That is not privileged to the first thing they do have I'm market there are sensitive to that they have to have the goods lined up. So that that's bad news for Conan perhaps for the president the second thing they do is anything they've campaign. That is go on. Through by these separate team it's not going through by the special counsel or in this case the southern district of New York that is potentially prosecuting this. They actually set up a separate team to produce materials. So that they are not tainted by the investigation you know looking for what they want to find. In fact they screen it for what is true attorney client privilege as opposed to what is stuff that cone was doing as a fixer that might be illegal. Yeah I'm gonna get an accord anyways seeming as well. Distill it then correct. Yeah I mean that it's certainly possible that some of that would be admissible in court there's no problem with that there was a search warrant issued a judge agreed on this who has apart from the investigation. There's no reason to believe there's anything there could not be used. Against Cohen if you did something illegal the point is anything that is true attorney client privilege that is not about the conspiracy to commit a crime. That is walled off from the investigation and Bob Mueller and his investigators won't see that attorney client privilege stuff. David I think he started right after 9/11 did you non. Yeah I started the briefing job by then and CIA back only during the Clinton administration. But when I started that intelligence briefings job it was it was pretty fresher after 9/11 and I was sent out to brief every day. The attorney general the United States. And the FBI director guy named Bob Mueller and so I got to know in pretty well by seeing the week he thinks and then seeing the way he dealt with complex problems that's. Like the issue of terrorism after 9/11 which is good parallel for what he's investigating today in terms of complexity. In terms of the man himself on getting text here that he falsely accused this one that he stack that committee would Democrats it's senator. Willow would you say to people and have questions about his integrity. Well I can only talk from my experience and then what is would've seen publicly for from my experience. It sure looks like he is going to continue and ultimately conclude this investigation early and with integrity. First of all he can manage a wide ranging investigation. I saw it when he was dealing with those issues after 9/11 his deep tale is concern for. Logic for making sure that things added up correctly. A pretty hard to believe that that has vanished just because you left the FBI director job. Secondly he's persistent when I was briefing in the there was something that was incomplete. Or had multiple interpretations. He didn't Politico he wanted to get them into that final detail. But also. He disdained publicity he has never paid attention to noise around him. It has been surprised me a bit that the special counsel investigation has been very quiet because. He's not seeking attention there was one time when I was giving a briefing there at the TV crew at FBI headquarters following him around for some footage. And they tried to come into the briefing room and he just stopped looked at me said do you want them in here and said. No this is top secret information and no I don't want TV crew in here. And he just quietly without looking slammed the door in their faces sat down and we got to work he could have told me which is conference room he could have told me. They're coming in here they're gonna almost looking serious so that we looked good that wasn't his business. In terms of briefings that the president is likely to be receiving as it relates the Syrian. Yeah definitely the president's daily brief that every president has gone for decades we've talked about previously. President trump is getting there and I don't counts he's skiing in eastern debris for a few times a week to go over it. There's no doubt in my mind that the situation in Syria is near the top of that book every day because the job of the intelligence officers briefing the president. Is to make sure he's up to speed for any decisions you might have to make that he can anticipate problems and get ahead of opportunities. He's probably giving information about what happened on the brand in Syria he's getting information about what the Syrian government the Russian government allies are doing in response to the missiles strikes. And possibly. He's getting some analysis on what other countries are taking away from the strike what is North Korea reading into the yes that's the kind of stuff that he gets from his intelligence briefings. Did these briefings generally. Com in involves isn't gonna slow chart of if you do this this'll happen that will likely happen if you don't do this that may not happen this will likely happen. They they certainly can it doesn't try to predict what's gonna happen in the United States intelligence officers stay away from talking about political considerations here. But in terms if this happens the Syrian government is likely to react in this way which might trigger the Russians to do this. That's exactly the way they do it now they can do it in taxed they can do it by orally briefing in which this president seems to prefer. They could duty graphics and actually laid out a float chart of the decisions. Whatever it is they try to targeted to the president so that he can get the most out of it in a limited period of time. And as you say that each president if from your book Elena says. His own style I would BD organizational chart no real slow chart Canada David. Yes sometimes individuals just makes so much more sense than death you know really dense text and worked on a page. Sometimes it just needs somebody to show you how at all it's together and every president has had some version of that. So when I'm elected president and I will be. I'm gonna bring you back to do my briefings I would be honored and yeah I don't know about that thank you David have a good day you can thank succumbing on served as an intelligence officer manager and and books. An interesting read daily briefer at the CIA the book he wrote is the president's book of secret.