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Interview with LaVar Ball; White House Lawyers Cleaning Up Weekend Tweets?; Former Mike Flynn Deputy's Testimony Raises Questions; Dianne Feinstein Think Chuck Grassley Doesn't Want to Dig Deeply into Russian Meddling; Ex-Mueller Investigator Edited Comey Comments on Hillary's E-mails; Trump Lawyer: President Can't Obstruct Justice; WAPO: Woman Shares Evidence Of Relationship With Moore; RNC Funding Moore Again After Trump's Endorsement. Aired 9-9:30a ET

Aired December 5, 2017 - 09:00   ET


[09:00:01] LAVAR BALL, PULLED SON OUT OF UCLA: So when something happens, guess what? Just stand up to that and say, you know what, you're the coach, you stop, they did enough, let's go, let them play and we're good. On the fact that they showed genuinely apologized and admitted that they had made a mistake but you shouldn't hang them on a cross for as long for that.


BALL: It's embarrassing.


BALL: It's not only embarrassing -- a kid that wants to play basketball all their life.

CUOMO: Right.

BALL: And you take that away from them, that's worse than jail. Come on, man. They know they did, and it's up in their head. So that's enough punishment for enough because they know they let their families down and stuff like that. Why should we as parents and adults keep jumping on them? It's not like we all just went through life without making any mistakes?

CUOMO: It's true. But paying for them is part of the lesson. What does your son say about this? Is it OK with your call?

BALL: OK. How much -- when do you have to learn the lesson? When did you have to learn a lesson?

CUOMO: I get what you're saying.

BALL: You have to be the person --


CUOMO: Under the rules of an institution, they represent that institution.

BALL: Right.

CUOMO: They now have to abide by what that institution's standards are.

BALL: Right.

CUOMO: What does your son think about your move of yanking him?

BALL: Right. So the institution is not going to be lenient at all? They're not going to help the kids out at all.

CUOMO: They could have kicked them off the team.

BALL: If a person makes a mistake, guess what, you kick them off the team?

CUOMO: They could have kicked them off the team. They could have.

BALL: Guess what? Guess what? They did. They are off the team. They are not practicing. Don't sugarcoat.

CUOMO: Right. But it's not permanent.

BALL: They're off the team. They don't even have a meal card.

CUOMO: It's not permanent, though.

BALL: You know what is not permanent? It's permanent. The season will be over by the time they say, you know what, we're going to let you play. And guess what, you're not going to let them play. You go put on a uniform and sit them on the bench.

CUOMO: What does your son think about you pulling him off the team?

BALL: Well, he thinks -- he knows --- he said, my dad is going to do the right choice. We're on the same page, trust me. It was going to be one and done anyway. So we're not going to sit back and wait for no institution to tell us what we're going to do. They don't have control of my boy's future.

CUOMO: Help me understand something. I don't get where your righteousness is coming from this.

BALL: I can help you.

CUOMO: Your son broke the law.

BALL: You don't get where my righteousness is coming from?

CUOMO: Yes, that's why I want to talk about it a little bit.


CUOMO: He broke the law.

BALL: He was forgiven. He was forgiven. CUOMO: He got let go by the Chinese authorities because the president

helped them out. You don't accept the president's help.

BALL: OK. If you think so.

CUOMO: Then the NCAA wants to look at the behavior.

BALL: If you say so.

CUOMO: And you say you don't like that they're reviewing the behavior this long. You know, where --

BALL: How long does it take to review the behavior?

CUOMO: They've got to think about it.

BALL: How long does it take to review a behavior?

CUOMO: They've got to think about -- these are serious charges. Multiple thefts.

BALL: They must be pretty dumb if they can't -- if it takes them that long to think.

CUOMO: Maybe the time was giving the benefit of the doubt to your son. They were letting some time go by so it'd be OK --

BALL: How long does it take to think about something?

CUOMO: -- that they let them play again because a lot of people will say --

BALL: You either say yes or no.

CUOMO: -- how could he play?


CUOMO: How could they let them play? A lot of people wouldn't like that decision.

BALL: Well, a lot of people that don't matter. A lot of people -- so what? They are not playing. They're not on staff. There's a lot of people who don't like the decision, too. Why are we not talking to them people?

CUOMO: What do the UCLA coaches say to you?

BALL: But why do we have to sit back for months and months and months?

CUOMO: Well, it hasn't been that long.

BALL: UCLA supposed to say, man, that situation is done. That's what they're supposed to say. You know what, they are a week back, let them play now. Let them play now. You know what? A disciplinary action is a disciplinary action no matter how long it s. It could be for one day, two days, 40 years, it's still a disciplinary action, and by holding the boys out for over a week or whatever, and they apologized for what they've done, they understand it was a mistake, to hold them back five to six months or whatever, you think that's best? And then you say you guys are lucky? I'd like to be unlucky.

CUOMO: So you're going to pull your son out. You're going to pursue another path.

BALL: No, I'm not going to pull him out. He's gone.

CUOMO: All right. So you pulled me out and --

BALL: He's out. He's out.

CUOMO: Will you reconsider the decision?

BALL: I'm not going to reconsider nothing.

CUOMO: Will you send your younger son to UCLA?

BALL: I made a decision for a reason. My younger son is going to UCLA. What does that have to do with him?

CUOMO: So -- no, that's what I'm asking you. I'm saying --

BALL: It's a different route. We're talking about Gelo. This has nothing to do with Melo.

CUOMO: Are you worried --

BALL: This has nothing to do with Melo.

CUOMO: Are you worried that you're going to compromise the relationship with your younger son with how you're talking about the university?

BALL: Like I told you before, you think I'm worried, you're wrong. I don't worry about nothing because I'm good.

CUOMO: But you have to, though, right? I mean, these are your kids. This is their futures. It's not just about you and your business. It's about them and their future, right?

BALL: No, it's about me and my boys and their future. And guess what, guess who guided them to where they are at now? So they have much trust in what I do and what I say. They are going to follow me even if it's wrong.

CUOMO: All right.

BALL: For the loyalty that I have for my boys.

CUOMO: Well, I'm not questioning your loyalty to your boys. You're their father and they've done great up to this point.

BALL: Yes. Exactly.

CUOMO: And I appreciate you're getting up so early.

BALL: Up to this point and they're going to keep doing it.

Cuomo, you know how we roll, man. You know deep down inside you know this ain't right. To hold these guys for this long.

CUOMO: That's your opinion.

BALL: No, I know you on my side, but you ain't got to tell nobody, we behind closed doors, you're cool. I like your style still and you know.

[09:05:01] CUOMO: You got upset because I made fun of your tweet.

BALL: If you was the coach, they'd be playing right now.

CUOMO: Listen. No -- hey, you commit multiple thefts we got a problem because that's about the whole institution, it's about the team, it's about the message we send --

BALL: Multiple thefts, we do have a problem.

CUOMO: We send about what we want our kids to be about.

BALL: That's not the message we're sending.

CUOMO: Well, but that's -- that's what the university says.


CUOMO: But I'm not here to argue a position on it.

BALL: What's the message you're getting out of this?

CUOMO: The message I'm getting out of this is that you just made a really big move in the life of a young man. That's my message. Taking him off UCLA's basketball team is a big deal for a developing player.

BALL: You know what, I'm --

CUOMO: And a developing person.

BALL: That was the biggest move in the world to take care of them boys until now, and I'm going to keep taking care of them as long as I'm their father. I can be 90 years old, and if I am living I will take care of them.

CUOMO: Well, let me tell you. When they're 90 and you're still alive --

BALL: That's the strong message that I'm sending.

CUOMO: That's going to be impressive. LaVar Ball, thank you for coming on TV all the way from California

this early in the morning. I appreciate your perspective on the show, as always.

BALL: Thank you, Cromo. We're good, man. And hey, have a good holidays if I don't talk to you and see you. And be safe out there.

CUOMO: The best to your boys, to your wife and your family. Merry Christmas. Be well.

BALL: Thank you. Appreciate it.

CUOMO: All right.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: So from the shoes to the serious stuff about saying UCLA should be done with this, it should be nothing.

CUOMO: This is a controversial move because he's doing a couple of things. One, he is taking a risk on his son's future. You know what I mean? The kid is a strong player, I don't know if you follow LiAngelo Ball. He's a strong player but he's a young player. And then you have this development as a person.

What is the message? LaVar Ball is saying he suffered enough, he was punished enough. People are not going to feel that way 100 percent. There's going to be a debate about that. But this is the latest chapter in a man who courts controversy, who takes it on, and he makes a lot of waves doing it, and we've got to see whether or not he really sent those shoes to the president of the United States.

HARLOW: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

CUOMO: 1600 he said. And he did say my name right once. And that's progress.

HARLOW: That was quite a past 15 minutes.

CUOMO: It was nothing compared to your interview.

HARLOW: Please.

CUOMO: That had major impact on an important story. Thank you for bringing it.

HARLOW: I hope it means Roy Moore will join us. I hope he's on the show --

CUOMO: I do not think you improved the chance of that happening.

HARLOW: Tomorrow morning I did my best. I'm going back to my other buddy tomorrow, John Berman will take over from here.

CUOMO: A man who never had any chance to play for UCLA or any school in any sport.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I don't know what to do now? All right. Has the argument changed from he didn't do it to it doesn't matter if he did?

Good morning, everyone. John Berman here this morning.

Major new questions about the president's defense strategy in the Russia meddling investigation. Pay attention to what the White House and the president's legal team are saying.

The president's personal attorney openly question whether a president -- any president -- can be charged with objection of justice. Does that mean his lawyers are conceding that the president did try to influence or end the investigation into Michael Flynn? He did it but it isn't legal? Is that the argument? Overnight, one of the president's White House lawyers says no, but questions remain.

Meanwhile, new questions about whether Michael Flynn's former deputy at the National Security Council, lied in Senate testimony.

CNN's Kara Scannell in Washington with all of this.

Kara, first lay out the messages we are getting from the president's legal team.

KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: Well, over the weekend we heard from John Dowd, one of the president's lawyers, that the president could not be prosecuted for obstruction of justice because he in effect is the commander-in-chief, and the chief law enforcement officer. Now we are hearing in the past 24 hours or so another lawyer for the White House, one who was brought in to handle the special counsel investigation, Ty Cobb, he is saying that the facts will exonerate the president, that it doesn't even matter if there is an obstruction. The question of the legality of obstruction, but the facts will exonerate the president.

It looks like the White House is trying to take the temperature down a bit from everything that was happening as a response to John Dowd's comments over the weekend.

BERMAN: All right. So they're trying to clean that up. And we're still getting a mixed message there. Meanwhile, new questions about the response from another one-time White House insider, KT McFarland during Senate testimony. Explain what happened here.

SCANNELL: So KT McFarland is the nominee for the ambassador to Singapore and during her Senate -- the Q and A session about her confirmation process, she was asked if she knew of any conversations between Michael Flynn, who was her superior, and the Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak about sanctions. She had responded in writing to that requesting, she was, quote, "not aware" of any of those conversations.

We saw in Michael Flynn's guilty plea on Friday in those court documents, it said that a senior transition official spoke with Michael Flynn the day that he spoke with Kislyak and also conferred with others at Mar-a-Lago about the sanctions.

[09:10:01] CNN has learned that that senior transition was KT McFarland and now the ranking Democrat on the committee is asking for her to clarify this answer.

BERMAN: Yes. Did she, in fact, not know anything that she says she did not know about? That will be very interesting.

Finally, Robert Mueller, the special counsel, filing legal documents suggesting that Paul Manafort violated his bail and the way that he did, it is fascinating.

SCANNELL: It sure is. It's a unique situation you don't often see happen in legal cases. But the judge overseeing the case has said that she didn't want anyone to make comments that could prejudice or influence the case as it goes forward.

What the special counsel filed in court documents is that Paul Manafort was working with a friend of his, a long-time business associate who was Russian, and may have links to intelligence agencies to write an op-ed in a Ukrainian paper to discuss, I suppose, his role in this. We don't really see that often and so the special counsel is saying that the judge should not ease bail conditions, which Manafort is asking for and a hearing is set for next week.

BERMAN: All right. Kara Scannell, thank you so much for your reporting on this. A lot to get to. We really do appreciate it.

We have new developments in a major political battle in the Russia investigation. Senator Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee in the Senate, just responded moments ago to suggestions by some of his Democratic colleagues that he's not working on this very hard, that he's not eager to dive into Russian meddling matters.

Our senior congressional reporter, Manu Raju, joins us now with this development -- Manu.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. Tension on the Senate Judiciary Committee, John. The top Democratic in the committee, Dianne Feinstein, told me last night that she is concerned with the chairman of that committee about the direction of this investigation. Largely because she has sent a number of letters to key figures within the Trump universe and she has not gotten a sign off from the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman even if this investigation just months ago was at that time moving along in a bipartisan basis.

Now last night Dianne Feinstein told me this, she said, "We want him to sign on. I think there's an effort -- subtle -- to not go deeply. I hadn't realize it before but I realize it now and we're going to have to find a way to deal with it."

Now, John, just as you mentioned, I just spoke with Chuck Grassley, the chairman of that committee, he said he didn't agree with her assessment. He said that he's not stalling this investigation. He said that there's a process that they go through to determine how to send out letters and he really downplayed their dispute.

I did try to ask if he agrees with Feinstein that they're building a case for obstruction. He did not want to comment on that. His spokesman later said he did not want to prejudge the outcome of this investigation.

But clearly, John, the top two leaders of the committee at odds over the direction over the next several weeks here -- John.

BERMAN: And that could be significant.

All right, Manu Raju, I will let you get back to work chasing down more people who don't want to talk to you. Appreciate it.

We're also getting new information about the FBI counter terror -- counter intelligence official who was kicked off the special counsel's team for sending texts that seemed to be anti-Trump. Sources tell CNN that Peter Strzok had a hand in editing James Comey's remarks on Hillary Clinton's e-mails back in July of 2016 and one change stands out.

CNN's justice reporter Laura Jarrett helped break this story.

Laura, what's going on here?

LAURA JARRETT, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: Hey, good morning, John. Well, sources tell us that the FBI's electronic records show that Peter Strzok changed this key language in Comey's statement that cleared Hillary Clinton of any wrongdoing, initially describing her actions and handling classified materials as, quote, "grossly negligent," but then changing it to extremely careless.

Now we're told that this process of drafting the statement was a team effort. We're not saying Strzok was in this all alone. But from a political optic standpoint, this news of Strzok's direct hand in the statement that actually cleared Clinton, combined with the fact that he was dismissed from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team earlier this summer after exchanging those private messages that could have been seen as favoring Clinton and mocking Trump, President Trump, may not give further ammunition to those seeking to try discredit the special counsel's work since Strzok was previously on the team -- John.

BERMAN: And Laura, the new FBI director, Christopher Wray, he is trying to boost morale in the FBI.

JARRETT: Yes, that's right. My colleague, Evan Perez, obtained a statement that Wray sent to the staff, sort of a, you know, keep your chin up. Over the weekend obviously Trump was on a tweet storm after the news struck broke calling the FBI in tatters, and Wray's statement was essentially saying, look, there are going to be tough questions ahead, tough days ahead, but just keep doing your work, keep your head down -- John.

BERMAN: All right. Laura Jarrett for us. Terrific reporting, Laura. Thanks so much.

Joining me now, CNN legal analyst, former New York prosecutor Paul Callan and CNN political analyst, "TIME" magazine correspondent Molly Ball.


Paul, I want to start with you. Because there's this discussion about whether or not the president can be charged with obstruction of justice. To me this is a moot point. It does not matter. This issue is not whether or not the president can be charged in a courtroom with anything. That's not what's going on here.

The House of Representatives can, if it decides to, it can impeach the president for obstruction of justice, if it wants to. I'm not saying it will, but that is the determining body here.

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, it is and in fact, two prior presidents have been charged or impeached for obstruction of justice. Nixon, the committee recommended the impeachment charges for obstruction and also with Clinton. So, clearly, you can be impeached on this charge.

Now, the second issue is could a president be criminally charged while he's sitting? That's a little more of a complicated esoteric, some lawyers say no, you can't indict him while he is sitting for a crime, you have to wait until he is impeached and then he could be charged with obstruction depending upon the facts of the case.

BERMAN: In this particular phase, it seems to be a moot point because that's not what is at hand right now. One other point, Paul, as you are looking at this from the outside is there any question in your mind that the president's legal team has sent this message that they are perhaps shifting from the defense if he didn't do it to, it doesn't matter if he did?

CALLAN: I think the president has a problem with his legal team, and I've seen this happened in many cases in the past when you have multiple lawyers representing you and one is sending one message out and another is sending out a slightly contradictory message. It doesn't seem to be a unified message for the president.

BERMAN: No, but we are hearing what we are hearing and they are definitely saying that perhaps obstruction would not matter. Molly Ball, this then becomes a political issue. An issue of do members of Congress think obstruction is enough of an offense. You know who did think that obstruction was an offense worthy of impeachment and conviction, the 1999 version of Jeff Sessions. Listen to this.


SENATOR JEFF SESSIONS (R), ALABAMA: Hope he can show he did not commit obstruction of justice and he can complete his term, but there are serious allegations that that occurred, and in America, the Supreme Court and the American people believe no one is above the law.


BERMAN: No one is above the law, the 1999 version of Jeff Sessions there. Republicans thought that Bill Clinton obstruction of justice was worthy of impeachment, Democrats thought Richard Nixon did was worthy of impeachment, but you can see how this will become a political argument, Molly, and to the extent the political lines are starting to be drawn here.

MOLLY BALL, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I think that that is what you see Trump's lawyers actually doing, right? Because they are not at this point making an argument in the court of law, and as you said this is a political matter at the end of the day.

So, they are fighting the battle in the court of public opinion speaking to the political actors trying to get them on the hypothetical side of the president when and if this matter comes to them so that they will have these arguments in their mind.

You know, it's the job of a legal team to sort of throw everything at the wall and hope something sticks. You see them planting the seeds for various different rationalizations that they hope when and if it gets to that point, the president's sometimes allies and the Republican Party can fall back on.

BERMAN: When you start see feuding between Chuck Grassley and Diane Feinstein who have run the Judiciary Committee together, you know, with relative committee with a "t" in the past when you start to see tension there, you start to see maybe the political lines are being drawn.

Molly, to that point, this new information about the FBI counter intelligence official, Peter Strzok, who is the one who changed the language on the Hillary Clinton memo from grossly negligent to extremely careless, the questions being raised about him, how does it play into the political argument now?

BALL: Well, you know, I've spoken to some allies of Robert Mueller who believe that if anything gives the investigation more credibility because when it came to light he did dismiss this person.

But there's no question that it does raise questions about the team around Mueller. This has been one of the major attacks on the investigation from people trying to discredit the investigation.

And trying to discredit the special counsel saying that there is a political bias pointing to things like donations and the team around Mueller to say that these people are out to get the president, the whole witch hunt narrative sort of rests on that idea. The extent that activity like this is discovered, it does bolster that viewpoint.

BERMAN: All right. Paul Callan, KT McFarland, who in this written testimony to Corey Booker said she didn't know anything about any conversations that Michael Flynn had with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador. Is that a lie? I mean, based on what we know now, does this put her in legal jeopardy?

CALLAN: Yes, I think it does put her in legal jeopardy because if it's correct that she was the one who conveyed the instructions to Flynn talk to Kislyak either about the sanctions issue or about, remember, there were negotiations also going on in this general time period about an Israeli settlement resolution in the United Nations.

On either point, if she was conveying those instructions, it certainly sound like the statement is, let's just say, inaccurate.

[09:20:05] BERMAN: She will have some issues in Senate confirmation. Maybe also with the special counsel. Paul Callan, Molly Ball, thanks so much for being with us. Appreciate it.

We do have some breaking news for you this morning. A fast-moving wildfire in Southern California has destroyed 150 buildings and forced 27,000 people from their homes. The Santa Ana winds are more than 50 miles per hour fueling these flames. About 31,000 acres have burned, more than 20,000 customers have lost power.

(Inaudible) County's Fire Department says one of their firefighters has been injured battling the blaze, and an evacuee was killed in a roll-over crash trying to escape the fire.

Hours after the president reportedly tells Roy Moore go get them, the RNC gets behind the accused child molester as well and it is sending cash.

Plus, in just a few minutes, we are expecting a major announcement from Congressman John Conyers on his political future.

A case that has sparked a nationwide debate, a Colorado baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple now reached the Supreme Court.



BERMAN: All right. New this morning, go get them, Roy, that is what President Trump reportedly told Alabama Senate candidate, Roy Moore, in a phone call. Go get them, Roy, despite being incredibly accused of molesting a 14-year-old girl.

Go get them, Roy, that is what the Republican National Committee declared in a major shift overnight despite the fact that the party had pulled its support and its money after accusations from eight women, eight women that many party officials and White House officials, if you include Ivanka Trump, say they believe or have no reason to doubt.

One of those women, Debbie Wesson-Gibson, provided new evidence of a relationship with Moore when he was 34 and she was 17. How did she remember the timing? She says that's the age I was when I dated Roy Moore because my braces were off. Go get them, Roy. Gibson showed the "Washington Post" a handwritten high school graduation card she says came from Moore.

Kaylee Hartung is in Alabama and we'll show us exactly what that card says in just a moment, but first, Rebecca Berg, on the latest on who is and who is not backing Moore -- Rebecca.

REBECCA BERG, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Good morning, John. Well, a tectonic shift in the past 24 or 48 hours in the Republican view of the Alabama Senate race, and also of Roy Moore in particular. With the president endorsing Moore, as you said, the Republican National Committee reached a decision yesterday to go back into this race to support Moore, and they told CNN that they are transferring money to the Alabama Republican Party to support Moore in the final week of this race.

Get money -- get his message on tv, and get the vote out for him and finish this race strong. It's worth noting not all Republicans are lining up behind the president and behind Roy Moore.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee, the campaign arm for Senate Republicans that would usually be involved in this race tells CNN that they are staying out of it and are not going to re-engage and the chairman, Senator Corey Gardener, will remain committed to that position they say.

We'll see if that holds out. They have entered these races at the last minute before, but they saying they are staying out of it. Still we are seeing a major shift among Republicans writ large on this race.

It was a few weeks ago that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was calling for Roy Moore to step aside, threatening expulsion if he were seated in the Senate. Now, Mitch McConnell is saying he is going to leave it up to voters in Alabama. That's a great illustration I think of where the Republican Party has gone on this race.

BERMAN: Indeed after Republican after Republican has said that they believe the women who have made these accusations. Rebecca, thanks very much.

To that point, Kaylee Hartung in Alabama, some new evidence emerging this morning. Explain.

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, Debby Wesson Gibson tells the "Washington Post" she was in her attic last week getting her Christmas decorations together when she came across an old storage bin. In it a scrapbook that holds what supports new evidence of that relationship she says she had with Roy Moore when she was 17 and he was 34. Take a listen.


DEBBIE WESSON GIBSON, SAYS SHE DATED ROY MOORE WHEN SHE WAS 17: It was a graduation greeting card from Roy Moore, "Happy graduation, Debbie. I wanted to give you this card myself. I know that you will be a success in anything you do, Roy." I have known Roy Moore for many years and I met him in 1981 and we dated for a brief time and we kissed with my consent and I am sad he says he doesn't know me.


HARTUNG: In response to this new evidence, the Moore campaign tells us that Moore already said he knew Debbie Wesson and her family, but did not recall any formal dates. The campaign says furthermore when he stated that he did not know any of the women, he was referring to those who accused him of sexual assault. Debbie Wesson Gibson not accusing Roy Moore of sexual assault, John, but there are four other women who are, and Gibson says when she first heard Moore say he didn't know any of the women, that's when she knew he was lying.

BERMAN: All right. Kaylee Hartung, thanks so much. Rebecca Berg, thank you to you as well.

New this morning under fire for sexual harassment claims, Congressman John Conyers, a Democrat is expected to address his political future shortly.

Sara Ganim in Washington with the very latest. At this point, Sara, do we know what Conyers is going to say?

SARA GANIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, there, good morning, John. You know, we expect this announcement momentarily from the congressman himself. He's an 88-year-old man, the longest serving member of Congress.