Rep. Ratcliffe: Mueller report proves Donald Trump was telling the truth about collusion


This is a rush transcript from “Sunday Morning Futures,” April 21, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARIA BARTIROMO, ANCHOR: Good Sunday morning, everyone. And happy Easter to all. I’m Maria Bartiromo. Thanks for joining us.

Straight ahead right here on “Sunday Morning Futures,” Congressman and former federal prosecutor John Ratcliffe is here exclusively to react to Robert Mueller’s findings and what happens now.

After the special counsel clearly states there was no collusion, how do Republicans plan to hold those at the Obama Justice Department accountable for the start of the Russia investigation in the first place?

Plus, exclusive Democratic reaction with Congressman Dan Kildee this morning, the political battle over the Mueller report now overshadowing a growing crisis at the southern border. FOX News obtaining exclusive video this morning from Border showing the massive groups of migrants illegally crossing into the country, right here.

Plus, Darrell Issa was one of the first lawmakers to spotlight FISA abuse in the Russia probe. He’s here today. He is now the president’s nominee to lead the U.S. Trade and Development Agency. He joins us exclusively to talk trade and China and how Congress should investigate the FISA process.

Plus, my exclusive interview with J.P. Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon — his thoughts on the state of our economy and how the nation’s largest bank is investing in cities across the country, plus his thoughts on testifying in front of Maxine Waters last week.

All that and a lot more, as we look ahead right now on “Sunday Morning Futures.”

And we begin with tragic news out of Asia this morning, where at least 200 people are dead, more than 400 others hurt in a series of coordinated bombs targeting churches in Sri Lanka. Eight explosions were reported in the nation’s capital this morning, three happening in churches where worshipers were celebrating Easter mass. Three others took place at luxury hotels popular with foreigners.

President Trump tweeted about this, this morning. He tweeted condolences and said that the U.S. stands ready to help. We will keep following this story, bring you any developments as we get them this morning.

Want to kick it off here with the Mueller report now, the special counsel finding there was no conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia.  However, the Democrats are making it clear they want more investigation into the president, issuing subpoenas for the unredacted report, and asking Robert Mueller to testify, all of this coming amid growing calls for Attorney General William Barr to prosecute top officials in the Obama Justice Department who were involved in the start of the Russia probe in the first place.

Let’s bring in Congressman John Ratcliffe. He’s a member of the House Judiciary, Intelligence and Homeland Security Committees. He will be among the first lawmakers to question Bill Barr when he testifies next month on May 2.

Good to see you, Congressman. Thanks very much for joining us.

REP. JOHN RATCLIFFE, R-TEXAS: Happy Easter, Maria.

BARTIROMO: And to you.

I guess I want to start — you are a former federal prosecutor, so you have seen the Mueller report, you have seen the redactions, you have also seen all of the redacted testimonies of the people who started this investigation to begin with.

What is your reaction to the Mueller report?

RATCLIFFE: Well, Maria, when you consider the most important charge, when you consider the charge that started this all, the charge that Donald Trump or his campaign was conspiring with or colluding with Russia, as I read the report, it struck me that the one person that was always being truthful about that was Donald Trump.

Donald Trump was being truthful about collusion, when Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell and Democrats weren’t being truthful about having evidence of collusion that didn’t exist.

Donald Trump was being truthful when Jim Clapper and John Brennan and members of the intelligence community were accusing him of treason for colluding with Russians.

Donald Trump was being truthful when Jim Comey and Andy McCabe and folks at our Justice Department weren’t being truthful in verifying an unverified dossier as probable cause evidence of collusion.

And Donald Trump was being truthful when the media wasn’t being truth full about the certainty that Bob Mueller was going to indict Donald Trump and members of his family for conspiracy and collusion with the Russian government.

So now all of those folks, Maria, that weren’t being truthful all of a sudden want to gloss over collusion. They say, we don’t give a damn about collusion, and we want to look at Bob Mueller’s findings on possible obstruction by Donald Trump into an investigation of collusion that never should have taken place in the first place.

It’s borderline absurd.

BARTIROMO: Yes. And I want to get your take on that, because we have got an op-ed that I want to point to, but first a word on the obstruction, because this is the new talking point on the left, that Robert Mueller said he didn’t exonerate the president.

Your reaction to now this new talking point that they’re out screaming about obstruction?

RATCLIFFE: Well, Maria, obstruction of justice into a collusion investigation where there is no collusion is obstruction of nothing.

As a prosecutor, most prosecutors bring obstruction charges against defendants who have tried to cover up their guilt for the underlying crime.  Richard Nixon faced obstruction charges for covering up his guilt relating to Watergate. Bill Clinton faced obstruction charges for his actions in the Monica Lewinsky affair.

The idea that Donald Trump obstructed justice into a collusion investigation where he wasn’t guilty of collusion doesn’t make any sense.


RATCLIFFE: The bottom line is that Bob Mueller, a guy who charged anyone with everything along the way — people were charged with everything short of spitting on the sidewalk — where he could charge, he did charge.

In this case, Bob Mueller didn’t charge because he could not charge. He could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that there was any criminal conduct, whether it was collusion-related or obstruction-related or anything related.

BARTIROMO: So, now, Congressman, the next move on the part of the Democrats is to muddy the waters further, so that the A.G. doesn’t look into the fact that there was no predicate to launch an investigation into Donald Trump. They just wanted to spy on the political opponent because they wanted Hillary Clinton to win.

Now their next move is to take down Barr. So, this morning, this morning, Adam Schiff said this: “The attorney general chose to mislead the country with his own spin in handling the Mueller report.”

He says: “I think that history will reflect that Bill Barr let the country down, when it needed an attorney general of substance” — from Adam Schiff.

I think The Wall Street Journal got it right with this op-ed this weekend called “Targeting Bill Barr.”

And the editorial board writes this: “The larger Democratic concern is that Mr. Barr is serious about looking into the origins of the FBI surveillance of the Trump campaign in 2016. That could mean turning over such rocks as the FBI-Clinton media collaboration.”

And this is the bottom line, this collaboration over the discredited Steele dossier or whether officials misled the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court in seeking a warrant to eavesdrop on Trump adviser Carter Page.

Your reaction?

RATCLIFFE: Well, Adam Schiff has for the last few weeks been demanding that Bill Barr violate the law, so I’m not surprised to hear him continue down that path.

Bill Barr is not going to commit any crimes for Adam Schiff or anyone else.  And criticisms for Bill Barr doing his job, doing what Bob Mueller wouldn’t do, which is — the reason the Justice Department exists is to look at whether or not conduct rises to criminal conduct.

And with respect to the obstruction issue, Bill Barr made the determination that the Justice Department was supposed to make. I’m glad that he has focused on getting the Mueller report out in a redacted form that people can see. But now his focus needs to be answering his own question.

As he said, there was spying. The Obama Justice Department and intelligence community did spy on the Trump campaign. The question now that needs to be answered is, was there a predicate for that? Particularly when the predicate was supposedly there was collusion. Now we know there’s no evidence of collusion.

Again, Bob Mueller didn’t say if there was insufficient evidence of collusion. He said — quote — “no evidence.”


RATCLIFFE: He said — quote — “There isn’t any evidence.”

So if there wasn’t any evidence of collusion, what was the probable cause, what was the predicate for the Obama Justice Department to go to the FISA court and represent that there was probable cause of a crime…


RATCLIFFE: … of a conspiracy with Russia?


RATCLIFFE: And the folks that made those verifications, they got some ‘splaining to do, Maria.

BARTIROMO: And we should point out that Carter Page was the one who got wiretapped. And that means they listened in on his phone calls, got all his e-mail communications. So that was a window into the Trump campaign, Carter Page was never charged with anything, was he?

RATCLIFFE: Not charged with anything and, Maria, isn’t going to be charged with anything. Nor is any other American, because, as Bob Mueller said, there is no evidence of any American conspiring with Russia.

So, again, what was the predicate for this? This is why the focus needs to shift now to those folks in the intelligence community and at the Justice Department that made representations that there was probable cause, that there was evidence of collusion, when, in fact, the special counsel has found that there was none.

BARTIROMO: And shall we look at what’s not mentioned in the Mueller report, Congressman? I didn’t see anything about Fusion GPS. I didn’t see anything about Christopher Steele. I didn’t see anything about the dirty dossier in the Mueller report.

Why the glaring lack of what’s really important, the things that they used to spy on American citizens, not represented in this report, Congressman?

RATCLIFFE: I think those will be a lot of questions that — you mentioned, Maria, that Bill Barr is going to be coming up in two weeks to testify.

But Bob Mueller has been invited to testify too. And a lot of folks have questions about that. Did he look at any of that? Why did his report not mention Fusion GPS? Why did it not mention the Steele dossier, all of the things that go to the troubling origin here?

So, I know members of Congress are looking forward to asking questions of both Attorney General Barr and special counsel Mueller, because they will provide the clarity that the people need to see how all of this started, when it shouldn’t have started in the first place.

BARTIROMO: And that is exactly where I want to focus.

Let’s take a short break. You are going to be among those asking questions of William Barr. I want to continue asking you about what you’re planning for May 2. And what about Bob Mueller testifying as well?

Stay with us, more of my exclusive interview with Congressman John Ratcliffe coming up.

Plus, exclusive video from the border showing hundreds of migrants crossing into the country illegally. Right after this video was shot, they were apprehended. Now many of them will get to stay here because of our current laws. Exclusive reaction ahead with Democratic Congressman Dan Kildee.

Follow me on Twitter at @MariaBartiromo, @SundayFutures on this beautiful Easter morning, on Instagram @SundayFutures. Let us know what you would like to hear from the rest of our guests this morning.

Stay with us, as we look ahead on “Sunday Morning Futures.”


BARTIROMO: Welcome back.

And I’m back with Congressman John Ratcliffe, former federal prosecutor.

Congressman, let me ask you about your upcoming hearing scheduled for May 2 with Attorney General Bill Barr. What are you expecting to ask him when you get that chance?

RATCLIFFE: Well, I do think we want to focus on the predicate.

Now that he has put the Mueller report out there in redacted form, what steps is he taking? What will he tell the American people to expect?

Again, Maria, remember that the Obama Justice Department didn’t just go to the FISA court and represent there was probable cause of collusion that we now know didn’t exist on a single occasion. They did so four times over a year.

And so how was that allowed to happen? And what steps is he taking, what investigations are under way, and what assurances can he give the American people that there will be accountability for folks who made false verifications about a dossier that was unverifiable, because it was entirely untrue?

BARTIROMO: Yes, and also paid for by the political opponent. Hillary Clinton and the Democrats paid for this opposition research that they used to obtain warrants against the Trump campaign.

Do you have a date in the calendar yet for Robert Mueller to speak to the Judiciary Committee as well?

RATCLIFFE: I don’t have an official date. I know he’s been invited to come May 22 or May 23.

And, frankly, I think those questions to Bob Mueller are going to be of more interest to the American people, I think, than Bill Barr’s testimony.

BARTIROMO: I guess what I’m — you know, this audience has seen and watched for the last two years you and your colleagues join us every Sunday to really lay out what took place in the 2016 election.

You have done such a good job, and Devin Nunes and a couple of others, Jim Jordan, to actually lay out exactly what took place, so that the American people can be educated in terms of how they tried to take Donald Trump down and stop a duly elected president from continuing.

The people want to see accountability. When do you expect William Barr to stop placating the left with more transparency and more information, even we know there was no collusion, and actually start handing out indictments to the people who actually started this fraud?

RATCLIFFE: Well, in defense of Attorney General Barr, he’s been trying to meet some unreasonable demands from defendants for the — or from Democrats for the last few weeks.

I think it was entirely appropriate for him to focus on getting the Mueller report out. But I also, again, think that, now that it is — it is appropriate for him to look at his own question, the issue of a predicate.

I — as you know, Maria, I have had the opportunity to see the underlying documents, to see the FISA applications in unredacted form. As a former federal prosecutor, I had concerns that there may not be probable cause there, and that some of the evidence that would be exculpatory to the Trump campaign wasn’t presented.

Those concerns have not gone away. I would expect that Bill Barr has those same concerns. And I would expect him to take appropriate action. Again, these are questions that Bill Barr can answer, hopefully will answer in two weeks when he’s on Capitol Hill.

BARTIROMO: All right, Congressman, let me switch gears before you go and ask you about the border crisis, because you’re from a border state, Texas.

And we have exclusive video. This video was taken one day last week, April 16, and it’s from Border Patrol. They sent it to us exclusively. And here is what it is. It was before 5:00 a.m. Mountain time that Border Patrol agents apprehended more than 980 individuals.

You see them there on this video. They illegally crossed the border in three large groups. The groups were mostly comprised of so-called family units from Central America. They were apprehended in the El Paso and Tucson sectors.

And you can clearly see one group of 400 people, another group of another 400 people getting off of the van, and crossing from Mexico into El Paso and into Tucson, and then being apprehended short after — shortly after.

The target is that we’re going to be apprehending one million people this year. There are laws on the books, Congressman, as you know, that have the U.S.’ hands tied. Like, for example, if you look like a family, we can only detain you for 20 days because you’re with children.

If you come from this Triangle of countries, 70 percent of the people are coming from there. We can’t send you back. So, when are you going to — or when does Congress expect to change these laws?

RATCLIFFE: Well, first of all, talking about being truthful, Donald Trump said there was a crisis at the border.

And, as you know, Maria, some, not all, but some Democrats mocked him for that, said there was no crisis. Very clearly, that video shows that there is a crisis at the border. And you’re right. There are loopholes in the laws that need to be closed.

Folks like Lindsey Graham and others have or are offering solutions to close those loopholes. But if I were advising the president, I would tell him, don’t count on Congress, because something can get through the Senate, where Republicans control the Senate, but to become a law, to change the law, its got to be passed through the House.

And Democrats control the House. And some Democrats — again, not all — like the problem more than they like the solutions. Some Democrats like to go on TV and accuse President Trump for political reasons of ripping families apart, of separating children from their families, when they know that the law actually requires that.

You either have to separate the children or let the whole family go. So the good news for the president is, there’s two solutions to this problem that don’t require any assistance from Congress. One, the president can put political and economic pressure on Mexico to enter into what’s called a safe third agreement.


RATCLIFFE: A safe third country agreement.

We have one of those with Canada. We need one with Mexico.


RATCLIFFE: And what that says, Maria, is that, if someone is seeking asylum, they have to seek it in the first country where they set foot.


BARTIROMO: Which would be Mexico.

RATCLIFFE: In this case, it would be Mexico.


RATCLIFFE: The other thing that needs to happen is, the homeland security secretary needs to finalize a regulation that undoes the Flores settlement…


RATCLIFFE: … to change that law that says we can only hold children for 20 days. We need to revise that…


RATCLIFFE: … so that families can be held together until the asylum process goes through. That can be done through the regulatory process at Homeland Security.


RATCLIFFE: Those are two solutions to the problem that don’t need Congress’ help.

BARTIROMO: And Lindsey Graham told us last weekend he’s going to work on that and bring a package as soon as he gets back, presumptuously, next week.

Congressman, it’s good to see you this morning. Thank you so much.

We appreciate it.

RATCLIFFE: You bet. Thanks, Maria.

BARTIROMO: We will see you soon, Congressman John Ratcliffe.

We will be right back with the Democratic reaction to all of that.

Stay with us.



SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-S.C.: The president has correctly identified the crisis at the border. Now it’s time to have a legislative solution. You need to change our laws for this to stop.

So I will be introducing a package, and, hopefully, with Democratic support, that will change our asylum laws; 90 percent of the people who apply for asylum never make it, so the standard needs to change. We have a court decision called the Flores decision that says you can only hold a minor child 20 days.

If a family comes here with a minor child, we release the entire family after 20 days, because we don’t have bed space. So we need to change that decision.

So I’m going to put a legislative package together right after the break.  We’re going to mark it up in the Judiciary Committee and we’re going to get on with solving this problem.


BARTIROMO: And that was Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham on this program last weekend vowing to put forward an immigration bill that would overhaul the nation’s asylum laws.

The border town of Yuma, Arizona, becoming the first in the country to declare a state of emergency, saying that they are overwhelmed by the flood of families seeking asylum.

Joining me right now to react to all of that is Michigan Democratic Congressman Dan Kildee. He’s chief deputy whip and a member of the House Ways and Means and Budget Committees.

And, Congressman, it’s always a pleasure to see you. Thank you so much for being here this morning.

REP. DAN KILDEE, D-MICH.: Thanks, Maria. Thank you.

BARTIROMO: So, you just heard what Senator Lindsey Graham said.

Can you get behind legislation, should it hit the House, in terms of changing some of these immigration laws? Because it feels to me like there is a crisis at the border. We showed this exclusive video that we will show you right now.

This was last week on the 16th, where Border Patrol apprehended 980 people who got out of a van and just crossed the border illegally in three different groups. You know that, if they say they’re family and they’re with children, the U.S. can only detain them for 20 days, and then they just send them back out to the population.

And yet, Congressman, it seems like we can’t get the attention of some of your colleagues in leadership positions, for example, Ted Lieu.

Ted Lieu, your colleague, has been tweeting about this in such an arrogant and rude way. Here is what he says. Every day, he says.

“Today is day 30 of our national emergency. Can you feel the emergency?  Apparently, the self-declared major national emergency is not on the top of mind for @realDonaldTrump today.”

Every day, he’s saying, we’re in day 20, we’re in day 29, making fun of it.  How are you going to get their attention? And do you even want to?

KILDEE: Well, obviously, this is an issue we have to deal with.

But let’s be clear. There’s a crisis in Honduras. There’s a crisis in Guatemala. There’s a crisis in El Salvador. And while there are people presenting themselves at the border, we have to be careful to say that it is legal for a person to present in the United States and seek asylum.

I don’t this agree, however, that we have to do something to make better decisions about how we handle these sorts of problems. We could codify, for example, the program that was in place just a few years ago that kept families together when their asylum cases were being determined.

And, clearly, we need more resources to make sure that those asylum cases are heard more quickly. But, yes, I don’t think it helps to deny that there’s a problem. But I think that it’s really important that we not view it in a one-dimensional fashion, that it’s only a problem because we’re dealing with people crossing the border seeking asylum.

It is a problem because our entire immigration system, including aspects of the asylum system, is broken.


KILDEE: And if we’re going to deal with this, it’s my hope that we deal with it in a comprehensive fashion.

BARTIROMO: So, just to be clear, you said there’s a crisis in El Salvador, a crisis in Honduras, a crisis in Guatemala. Is there a crisis in America?

KILDEE: Well, the crisis is coming to us. And we have a responsibility…

BARTIROMO: There’s a crisis at the border.

KILDEE: … to be really thoughtful about how we deal with that.

Well, it’s a crisis that is appearing at the border, but I want — I don’t mean to split hairs on this, but I do want to be really clear, that the crisis is a crisis that these families are facing.

As you said in the initial reporting on this…

BARTIROMO: If they’re families. A lot of people say that when…

KILDEE: For the most — well, I…

BARTIROMO: .. they — when further looked at, when looked closer, they are actually not families.

There’s a whole game going on where people are borrowing other people’s kids so that they can cross the border with kids. So they are actually not families. They look like families.

KILDEE: But a lot of them — but there’s no evidence that the majority of them are not genuine families seeking asylum. In fact, I, back last July…

BARTIROMO: I think the Border Patrol said that, when looked closer, that many of them are not families. That’s what the Border Patrol said.

KILDEE: Well — it could — that could be that — it could be that many of them are not.


KILDEE: But when you’re talking about people fleeing a difficult and dangerous situation, I think you have to accept the fact that, because some of them may not have pure intention, that we can’t — we just can’t ignore those that do.


KILDEE: I mean, I saw those children back in July when I visited one of those facilities that were holding the children that had been separated from their parents.

It’s a real problem. But I think sometimes we end up painting these issue as if it is completely black and white, all one or all the other.

BARTIROMO: Yes. No, I understand.

KILDEE: I think we have a real problem that we have to address.

BARTIROMO: What is black and white, though, is you are representing your constituents in Michigan. And the American people are also getting impacted from these crisis that you’re referring to in Honduras and Guatemala.

And they’re getting impacted by all of these illegals coming into the country, taking their jobs, you know, weighing down wages, et cetera, expensive to give benefits to people who are living here and not paying taxes, all of that.

So my point is, is, why can’t the Democrats, your colleagues, see that there is an issue and work together with the Republicans to actually change it, rather than being in investigate mode all the time?

Do you think the American people and your constituents in particular in Michigan want you to get something done on their behalf?

KILDEE: Sure, they do.

And I will say this. We’re not in investigate mode all the time. The vast majority of the time I spend in Congress has very little to do with any investigations of anyone in the administration. And that’s true of people on both sides of the aisle.

It gets a lot more attention, certainly from the news media, but the fact of the matter is, we spend a lot of time on these issues.


BARTIROMO: What can you say — what do you think was done in the first 100 days with the Democrats in the majority? What is a real piece of legislation that is done that you can say, OK, this is what we got done in the first 100 days, because we just saw the first 100 days last week?

KILDEE: Yes, we passed the Paycheck Fairness Act that I think significantly improved access to resources that allow people to — women particularly, to have access to decent pay for the work that they do.

We pass the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. We passed HR-1, I think, goes a substantial distance in correcting some of the real problems that we see in our political system.

We have an agenda.

BARTIROMO: And you would like to get infrastructure done, right? You would like to get something done on infrastructure.

KILDEE: Absolutely, for sure.

BARTIROMO: There’s obviously issues in Flint, Michigan, that you have been quite concerned with.

KILDEE: No question about it.

In fact, we have had really good discussions on the Ways and Means Committee, which will have a part of the infrastructure conversation, because we have to figure out how we are paying for it. And those have been bipartisan conversations.

So I think, very often, there’s this impression that we can’t do more than one thing at a time. We have a responsibility to provide oversight on the administration. And we’re doing that.

But that doesn’t mean we should do that at the expense of the other big questions. I know the people I work for, they want us to take care of our responsibilities under the Constitution to hold the administration accountable.

But they really want us to get to work trying to solve the big problems that affect their families every single day.

BARTIROMO: Absolutely. And we will be watching you do just that.

Congressman, it’s good to see you this morning. Thanks so much.

KILDEE: Thanks, Maria.

BARTIROMO: Thanks for your leadership, sir.

Coming up: my exclusive interview with J.P. Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, his reaction to testifying before Congress and the latest on trade talks with China, as we look ahead right here on “Sunday Morning Futures.”


BARTIROMO: Welcome back.

More on the Mueller report coming up with former Congressman Darrell Issa.

But, first, I sat down exclusively with Jamie Dimon, the chairman and CEO of the nation’s largest bank, J.P. Morgan Chase. He says he sees no signs of recession in the near term and talked about how his bank is investing in cities across the country.


BARTIROMO: You have got a $500 million program. And you have chosen five cities that you’re going to be giving $3 million each over five years.

Tell us why you chose these cities and Louisville.

JAMIE DIMON, CHAIRMAN, J.P. MORGAN CHASE: Yes, we have 200 communities to say, what can we do to help you and what can you do to help us? There are five cities getting, Miami, Chicago, San Diego, Syracuse.

And my partner is up in Syracuse right now. I got the better job here.  And Louisville. So we want to help this community. And this is just part of doing it. And this is the beginning. This is the initial wave of cities.

But it’s part of a $500 million program, because, again, it all stemmed out of Detroit. And that was $150 million, multiyear, affordable housing.

BARTIROMO: Infrastructure is an area that the president said he could work with the Democrats on. Are you expecting to be part of an infrastructure plan in terms of funding?

DIMON: Infrastructure, we’re not even in the top 20 anymore. And we need infrastructure. And it is one of those areas where Democrats and Republicans would both sit in a room and say, we need infrastructure.

So I’m hoping there might be a common ground here.

BARTIROMO: The other day, Nancy Pelosi said she wanted something up to $2 trillion.


BARTIROMO: And first thing I thought of was, wait. I know we need infrastructure, but $2 trillion? We have $22 trillion in debt. But markets don’t care.

DIMON: Yes. Yes, I’m not — the debt is — the net debt is 80 percent of GDP, maybe 85 percent.

It’s not at a life-threatening level. It’s important because it’s going to grow like this over time, and it’s going to really become a hockey stick, mostly because of the medical costs. So we got to attack the medical costs. We have time.

I would spend the money on infrastructure and find a way to pay for it.  Some could be financed. Some could be spent. But, again, that $2 trillion, if you don’t fix it, it’s $3 trillion. So it’s kind of a no- brainer.

And we account for it wrong. So, if I build a new plant or a new factory or something like that, I account for it a certain way. Our infrastructure, we count it as expense. So you see some of the beautiful new infrastructure here, that’s good for 30, 40, 50 years.

It should be looked at completely differently than just spending money.

BARTIROMO: Characterize the economy.

DIMON: We see that — in the U.S., is that the American consumer, their balance sheet, their incomes are going — are strong, not weak. More people are going back to the work force, which is a good thing. Companies are in very good shape, profits are good, capital expenditures is still going up, business and consumer confidence at high levels.

Housing is in short supply. So it’s kind of a tailwind. Other than trade, I’m not sure what’s going to stop it in the next year or two. And I’m certainly saying, no, you could have actually a pretty good environment for a while.

BARTIROMO: So you don’t see a recession in the next couple of years?

DIMON: I don’t.

BARTIROMO: Jamie, let me ask you about China, because the U.S. and China talking now about potential meeting in end of May. What are the prospects for J.P. Morgan in China? Did you just get approval to actually own a bank out and out or a brokerage?

Tell me the plans.

DIMON: The way to look at that is, right now in London, Hong Kong, New York, we can raise money, equity, debt, capital, we can buy and sell bonds and do research of four Chinese companies. We can’t do that in Shanghai.

The Shanghai market today is like — I forget — 20 percent the size of the American market. It’s going to be huge over the next 30 years. So we want to have control over company that do equity issuances, research, equity sales and trading, debt underwriting, debt sales and trading, credit advice, M&A.  And we’re getting those licenses. We have been giving permission to get 51 percent, hopefully on the path to 100 percent, and the full licenses. We had very limited licenses before.

BARTIROMO: This is a really big deal, because I think that China is opening up its markets particularly first for the financial services industry, and J.P. Morgan was among the first.


They have done it — and they have done a little bit. And we’re not the only industry, by the way. If you actually look in the last year, they have opened up a few.

So I think they have opened up their markets, having bilateral investment rights, letting companies like J.P. Morgan come in and compete, which set, I think, good standards.

BARTIROMO: So, you think we will get a deal?

DIMON: I do. But I would also say, if you have got to give it odds, I would give it 85 percent.

I think it’s already in the market we have a deal. So I think the market is just — will be bad if we don’t. And that reaction would be really adverse, in my opinion.

BARTIROMO: Because still the top banks in the world are Chinese. So the competitive environment for American banks is pretty severe.

DIMON: Yes. And that’s the other thing thank you for pointing out.

They are now bigger than us in terms of profitability. And they have a huge home market. And they’re coming this way. One of their — their biggest bank used to be in one foreign country and now it’s in 80.

They do F.X. They do interest rate swaps. They have a reason to go overseas, because they bank Chinese — they start by banking Chinese companies in America, and banking them in London.

So, I want their competition. I just don’t want to be hamstrung myself the next 20 years.

BARTIROMO: Jamie, you just recently testified in front of Maxine Waters’ Financial Services Committee. How was that?

DIMON: That was a great pleasure. I look forward to doing it again.

Now, look, they — I think Congress has the right to call people and question them. That’s their job. And — and I always look at those things to say, make them constructive. And some of it was, and some of it wasn’t, but the fact is that’s politics.

BARTIROMO: I tweeted about it afterwards, because I personally think you schooled Maxine Waters on student lending and the fact that the government got out of the business — and took over the business and that’s why all the banks got out of the business years ago.

DIMON: And that’s become another problem, by the way.

It has become — the government did terrible underwriting, which is leading to huge losses, which the citizens are going to pay, in the order of hundreds of billions of dollars now. And so we got to fix that.

But we also have to fix the burdens that are becoming when people can’t afford, what happened, because that is actually hampering jobs, credit, household formation, those folks having a hard time getting car loans and mortgages.

BARTIROMO: Does the Congress and the majority in Congress understand that?  Because I feel like they were on you guys, compensation, growth, they want smaller banks.

I mean, if the Democrats take the White House again, do you think there’s going to be more hostility toward the big banks?

DIMON: It’s hard to talk about politicians like they’re one.

So there are some quite bright ones and capable and strong and understanding in both parties. And there’s some which I think don’t understand. And basically they’re filled with an echo chamber of slogans and stuff like that.

BARTIROMO: Is 2020, the election, getting set up as capitalism vs. socialism?

DIMON: It looks that way, yes. But the notion — can I talk about socialism for a second?

BARTIROMO: Please. I know you wrote about it. And I want to hear your thoughts on it.

DIMON: Look, no one has lived in free — naked capitalism.

We have had — we need properly regulated capitalism, and sometimes we do and sometimes we don’t. And regulation should always be looked at and recalibrated. It shouldn’t always be more or less.

But on the socialism, it’s like leading means that the government owns companies and controls them. That means — and you look at this around the world. Those companies over time are used for political interests. They grow in corruption over time, particularly when you have bad leaders.

And those leaders get to decide what gets produced, what price is sold, where you work, where your kids work. Is that the kind of society you want? And it doesn’t work. It actually gives less and less to people over time. It becomes corrupt.

And so people should be very clear when they said, oh, we will run the companies. And look at some of these countries. It’s been a disaster.

Now, if what you mean isn’t that — some people mean social Democrat, like really strong safety nets, look, that is a logical conversation.

BARTIROMO: Well, some of these programs are socialists. Like, they’re big federal programs, Medicare for all, Green New Deal, $90 trillion. That’s a socialistic package.

DIMON: Yes. And those are slogans. We have a medical care problem. We should look at it.

And you have single-payer systems delivered by the market in some places that work. You have single payer, and where the government delivers, as the U.K. It hasn’t done so well. But the fact is, people have to attack the problems. That’s what we need to do.

BARTIROMO: With this news that you’re announcing tonight, with these promotions of these two leading ladies at J.P. Morgan, are you setting yourself up here to have a succession plan to eventually announce when you’re going to step down?

DIMON: You know, first of all, totally up to the board. I love what I do.

And we said it’s not for a while, but absolutely. I have to step down one day. And I want to make sure that there are great people there who are available to the board and me to pick and choose and stuff like that.

And in the meantime, they are running — they’re all outstanding and they’re running an unbelievable company. So, I’m really proud of all of them.



BARTIROMO: Welcome back.

Growing calls to investigate the origins of the Russia investigation after the Mueller report cleared Trump campaign of collusion.

Attorney General William Barr has pledged to look into it, telling lawmakers he thinks spying did occur.

My next guest was one of the first people to come on hour program, over a year ago, and talk about all of this. Darrell Issa is a former Republican congressman from California, former chairman of the House Oversight Committee, and President Trump’s nominee to head the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.

Congressman, it’s always a pleasure to see you. Thanks for being here.

FORMER REP. DARRELL ISSA, R-CALIF.: Well, thank you, Maria. And thanks for covering essentially the story after the story.


So let’s get to that, because we have been covering this now for two years, and pointing out where there was wrongdoing. What was your reaction to what we learned in the last two weeks from the Mueller report?

ISSA: I think my reaction was that, when you accuse a man of treason, and he’s found not guilty, that should be the end of it.

And I was shocked to find that both Mueller, in his attempt to prove some sort of obstruction or potential interference , came up short, and didn’t even give credit for the fact that this president has been more transparent — and I know that word gets used a lot — but he allowed his counsel there.

He allowed amazing access. As matter of fact, everything they know that they are saying were elements of his objections, they only know those because, unlike President Bush, W. Bush, and unlike Barack Obama, President Obama, he allowed this information to get out and claimed no privilege.

BARTIROMO: Right. And you have written about this in an op-ed on FOX News and Washington Examiner.

But that’s not what’s happening, right? I mean, the Democrats want more information and they want to keep investigating, even though the information is as clear, as light as day, in that there was wrongdoing done.

Why did they launch this investigation into Donald Trump in the first place, based on evidence — and I use that loosely, in quotes — that was a dirty dossier that was paid for by the opponent in the election, Hillary Clinton?

ISSA: Well, the continued investigations by Congress are in fact a cover- up of the initial wrongdoing. And that’s what Jerry Nadler is doing.  That’s what Elijah Cummings is doing.

And certainly that’s what Adam Schiff, who, if you remember, he claimed he had the goods for this criminal activity. But now that the attorney — or — sorry — the special prosecutor has said it isn’t there, suddenly, he’s not willing to show us or to talk any longer about how he knew the president was guilty of treason.

I mean, collusion is a nice word that was made up for this. The president was accused of treason, was found just the opposite, that he was falsely accused. And now the accusers, including Adam Schiff, want to go on to, well, if he’s not guilty of this, he must be guilty of something.

BARTIROMO: Yes. Yes, but that’s not right.

I mean, how do you go parading around with your title, former head of the CIA, like John Brennan did, Clapper, NSA, like James Clapper did, Adam Schiff, head of the Intel Committee, and say all these things, when you don’t have anything to base it on?

ISSA: Well, I think they play the odds.

Most special prosecutors get something. And I think they thought there was a 90 percent chance that he would have something. And so they said it was there. And then when it came up short, completely zero, they were caught flat-footed.

BARTIROMO: Unbelievable.

ISSA: And that’s the reason, having tried the president for treason…


ISSA: … and found not guilty, they now want to get him for shoplifting and execute him anyway.

BARTIROMO: Darrell Issa, stay with us. We have got more to talk about when we come right back.

ISSA: Thank you.


BARTIROMO: Welcome back.

And I’m with former Republican Congressman of California Darrell Issa.

And, Congressman, let me ask you where we left off, accountability. Do you think Bill Barr is going to be following the truth? And will we see actual accountability, prosecutions, for those people who started an investigation into Donald Trump, for no other reason other than they just wanted to stop him and didn’t like him?

ISSA: Well, Attorney General Barr is a by-the-book, rule-following person.  So he will investigate.

But I think you’re going to see that he’s going to be very pragmatic. Can he in fact make a case? Is it reasonable? Or is it politics?

And I think we all have to be prepared for the fact that these — most of what happened to the president was political. That fake scenario — that fake dossier and so on that Hillary Clinton and the DNC did…


ISSA: … there’s a real question of, does he go after that kind of crooked politics, or only after someone who made a false official statement?

And, again, that’s where this attorney general, unlike Eric Holder, he’s not a wingman to the president. He’s a by-the-book law enforcement person with a flawless history in this job.

BARTIROMO: Yes, that’s what he comes across as. That’s for sure.

Let me move on to trade. A lot of questions about USMCA. Some Democrats have come on the show and said, I’m not voting for it in its current form.  And China, markets are waiting on any deal.

Do you expect these two deals to happen, USMCA to get ratified and a deal between the U.S. and China?

ISSA: Well, the first part, Congress, at its own peril, rejects the president’s deal.

This deal is scored at I think $80 billion. It’s 100,000 more jobs in America, mostly manufacturing jobs. So if the Democrats say, that’s not good enough, when in fact they never offered and didn’t think it was going to happen, then what they’re really doing is killing 100,000 American jobs, mostly in manufacturing, for no particular reason other than politics.

In the case of China, this is still — you had Jamie Dimon say 85 percent.  I think his point is good, that you can — in the final analysis, the president has to stand firm on the key elements that he’s negotiating for, which there in China is intellectual property.


ISSA: It’s fairness of access to the market, very different than it was with Canada and Mexico, where we just wanted to reduce the non-North American content…


ISSA: … and increase, if you will, the jobs in North America.


ISSA: So I think the president is willing to say no. But I think it’s 85 percent chance we get a deal that’s really going to give an access to a lot of companies, including our banking community.

BARTIROMO: All right, great to see you, Darrell Issa. Thank you so much.

Happy Easter to everybody. I will see you tomorrow on Fox —

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