CNN commentator and Never-Trumper Ana Navarro took a contrarian approach in her response to the House Intelligence Committee's decision to end its investigation into Russian collusion. Unlike many of her peers who believe that the House's decision represents the end of democracy as we know it, Navarro expressed gratitude that "they've ended this sham investigation paid on taxpayer money because it had no credibility."
Navarro, appearing on CNN’s New Day alongside Former Virginia Attorney General and Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Ken Cuccinelli Tuesday morning, contrasted the “tainted” House investigation with the Senate investigation. Cuccinelli disagreed with her premise of a non-partisan Senate investigation, citing Senator Dianne Feinstein’s decision to release a transcript of one of the Senate hearings as well as Senator Richard Blumenthal’s questioning.
Navarro briefly put on her political prognosticator hat, suggesting that Democrat Conor Lamb may win the Special Election in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District because “voters out there want a Congress that is a check and balance on this White House, that is a co-equal branch of government, not just a rubber stamp looking the other way on everything.”
Navarro then brought up Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL), who had claimed that the investigation had gone “completely off the rails” and that the House Intelligence Committee has “lost all credibility” during an appearance on CNN Monday night. Using Rooney as an example, she claimed that “even Republicans, when they are having moments of sincerity and honesty with themselves, recognize that this investigation has been a sham.”
Guest co-host Erica Hill gave Navarro the opportunity to have “the last word.” Not surprisingly, Navarro used her platform to attack President Trump. Referencing his all caps tweet expressing gratitude for the results of the House Intel Committee’s investigation, Navarro complained that“I feel like he’s screaming at us through Twitter and he’s completely unhinged.”
She also whined: “The man has spent a lot more time attacking Oprah and Alec Baldwin than he has saying anything, anything, one word about the Russian meddling in the election and the integrity of our election system, which is the foundation of our democracy.”
While the House investigation into Russian collusion has officially come to a close, the Senate’s investigation, as well as Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel investigation into the matter will continue. The media hopes that the investigations drag on for as long as possible; hoping that they will serve as a dark cloud over the Trump administration.
A transcript is below. Click "expand" to read more.
CNN New Day
ERICA HILL: President Trump celebrating the decision from Republicans in the House Intelligence Committee to shut down its investigation. In this all caps late night tweet, “The House Intelligence Committee has, after a 14-month long in-depth investigation found no evidence of collusion or coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia to influence the 2016 Presidential Election. Let’s discuss with CNN Legal and Political Commentator Ken Cuccinelli and CNN Political Commentator Ana Navarro. Good to have both of you with us. Look, that’s, that is one take obviously and what we heard from House Intel talking about the fact that they’re done and here’s what they found before they even let Democrats in on it. And is there any way to look at what we’re seeing here and have it not be seen through a political lens?
KEN CUCCINELLI: No. No, I mean everything viewed in this arena is seen through a political lens but you know, they have spent 14 months on this. One of the challenges and the reason my first answer is no is because it is the House Intelligence Committee and so much of the information they reviewed is not open to the public. You know, it was news when the Republican and Democrat memos came out discussing some of the material they had uncovered but it is very significant that they have shut this down and declared no collusion and we’ll see if others follow suit. But certainly, there’s no...we’re back where we began with a Russian interference with the election but that’s very different than the notion of colluding with one of the candidates.
HILL: Senate Intel, we’re told, is wrapping up in the, in the coming weeks. Meantime, the one that really matters here, that we’re all waiting and watching for is the Mueller investigation, which only seems to be widening at this point. So with these wrapping down, Ana, as we look at this, does this really hurt the credibility of both parties here moving forward especially once we get that investigation, whatever it may find, even just in terms of how in-depth they were?
ANA NAVARRO: Look, I think there’s a huge difference with how the Senate is conducting its investigation, how Senator Burr and Senator Warner are working together. The kind of gravitas and seriousness they have given it with, done it with and approached it with and what happened in the House. The House investigation went off the rails months and months and months ago. Let’s remember about Devin Nunes sneaking around in the White House at midnight for a midnight rendezvous. This House has been leaking, it leaked the text of a Senator on this issue. You know, it’s been a tainted investigation, it’s been a sham, it’s lacked credibility from the get-go. I, for one, am glad that they’ve ended this sham investigation paid on taxpayer money because it had no credibility. And I think Devin Nunes is doing his party a favor by ending it this way because, you know, it’s such an example of the lack of accountability that Republicans are holding this President and this White House on. And I think it’s part of the reason why today, you may see Conor Lamb win in Pennsylvania because voters out there want a Congress that is a check and a balance on this White House, that is a co-equal branch of government, not just a rubber stamp looking the other way on everything. Good riddance to Devin Nunes and this investigation. It has been an embarrassment.
HILL: Ken, I see you laughing over there.
CUCCINELLI: Erica, I would....Yeah, I would...Ana absolving the Senate of political gamesmanship in this whole arena I just don’t agree with. I mean, look at Dianne Feinstein making her own unilateral decision to release a transcript out of one of the Senate hearings in a completely, to say unusual fashion would be to understate things. And you’re right. The Republicans are the majority in the House. And Ana is also right that the head Democrat and Republican on Senate Intel are working together better than they did over in the House. But that is not to say you don’t have Senators playing games with all of this. I mean, look at some of Blumenthal’s questioning. You’ve got Senator Feinstein throwing out a transcript completely unsupported even by her own party by, by which I mean not voted on and defying their ordinary procedures. So, there’s a lot of politics in a lot of this. I would say there’s the least amount of politics in the Mueller investigation but with respect to that, Erica, I don’t agree with your characterization that that just seems to be widening and widening and widening. I actually think it looks like from the outside that they’re checking the tail end boxes, not to say they’ll end this month or anything. They’re going to have trials and so forth but that I think the investigative part of their activity is probably on the backside, not just widening forever.
HILL: You think the Mueller investigation is on the backside?
NAVARRO: Look, I think none of us have any way of knowing what, you know what, if anybody has been cryptic about what’s going on in this investigation, it’s Mueller. And I think he’s completely...his investigation is completely unaffected by what this House Intel Committee report is and what they do. He is focused on what he is doing and we see that, you know, he has gotten, what indictments over 13, 15 indictments and guilty pleas already.
HILL: I want to ask you, I want to move onto this.
CUCCINELLI: Yeah but none of them have to do with Russian...none of them have to do with Russian collusion. They have to do with...look at, look at Paul Manafort. I don’t even think that’s within Mueller’s jurisdiction and yet he’s carrying the prosecution forward. He should have handed it off to other prosecutors or the Department of Justice. So but from the outside, it does look like they’re on the tail end. When you run an investigation, there’s a certain pattern to who you ask questions when and so forth. And of course you can always discover new things. But at the same time...
HILL: Ken, in terms of discovering new things, isn’t that what determines jurisdiction? Jurisdiction is whatever you may find in the course of the investigation.
CUCCINELLI: No, no, no, jurisdiction...no, no, no, that is not jurisdiction. Jurisdiction is related to Russian collusion.
CUCCINELLI: Or the investigation itself. So that would be the lying to the FBI, for instance of, that kind of a charge in the course of the investigation, you’re right, Erica. But a Paul Manafort financial charges back from 2011, 2012, 2013 and so forth, that is not at all related. And it should...while they’re clearly crimes, they should have been handed to a different prosecutor. And I would also just make the political comment back to your first question, Erica, that it is significant that the House Intel Committee came to the conclusions they came. People can disrespect those conclusions and come to it from their partisan perspective, sort of where you end up depends on where you start kind of an attitude. But the fact of the matter is part of the judgment of the Special Prosecutor’s own conclusions will be cast in the light of the other investigators. And so that will affect the public’s view of those outcomes.
NAVARRO: But it’s not even just a partisan thing. Yesterday, we had Congressman Rooney from Florida, who is a Republican and he is no moderate squish, on this network telling Erin Burnett that this investigation had gone off the rails and questioning its conclusion. So, I think even Republicans, when they are having moments of sincerity and honesty with themselves, recognize that this investigation has been a sham.
HILL: We should also point out the intelligence community finding by, standing by its findings obviously. When the President looks at this and he’s tweeting about all of this and we have the intelligence community saying hey, we stand by everything we already told you, Ken, is that the President getting ahead of himself?
CUCCINELLI: Well, certainly this President does that sometimes. And you know, some of his comments about the role of the intelligence community in the, analyzing the Russian involvement in the election have been, you know, kind of all over the map. I don’t think anybody seriously doubts that the Russians have attempted not only to affect our elections but other countries’ as well and that isn’t really in dispute. That isn’t what Mueller is after. But if we had less, oh, I don’t know how to phrase it, cloudiness and a lot of the mud being thrown at the wall about the collusion, we would have a lot more clarity on the Russian role and its impact and a lot more acceptance of the kind of conclusions that are coming out of the intelligence studies about exactly that, which I think is important for our national security going forward. We’ve got to have faith in not only the quality of our elections but that the Federal government, when they do learn things tells the states so they can protect themselves. That didn’t happen. The Obama Administration didn’t do that and it would be nice to get back to solving those kinds of problems that are real threats going forward. And I think we’re working our way there but it’s going to take a while and it’s going to be a lot of political hullabaloo between here and there.
HILL: A lot of political hullabaloo across the board. Ana, I want to give you the last word here.
NAVARRO: On the Donald Trump tweet, what can I tell you? When he’s going all caps lock, I, you know, it’s like I feel like he’s screaming at us through Twitter and he’s completely unhinged. Look, he has been reaching this conclusion from day one. We know the man has spent a lot more time attacking Oprah and Alec Baldwin than he has saying anything, anything, one word, about the Russian meddling in the election and the integrity of our election system, which is the foundation of our democracy. Shame on him.