tv Robert Mueller Hearing Coverage CNN July 24, 2019 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT
investigation that july 27th, candidate trump called on russia to hack hillary clinton's email, something for the first time they did five hours later, correct? >> correct. >> and you also found that on august 2nd, mr. manafort met with a person tied to russian intelligence. mr. kilimnik gave him internal campaign strategy aware that russia was intending to do a misinformation social media campaign. correct? >> not certain of the time. >> but the fact that that meeting. >> the meeting took place is accurate. >> and your investigation as i understand it, also found that in late summer of 2016, the trump campaign in fact devised its strategy and messaging around wiki leaks releases of materials that were stolen from the democratic national committee, correct is it. >> is that from the report?
>> yes, it's according to mr. gates. >> yes. >> thank you. you also talked earlier about the finding in your investigation that in september and october of 2016, donald trump jr. had email communications with wiki leaks now indict ed about releasing information damaging to the clinton campaign, correct? >> true. true. >> i understand you made a decision -- pros couture ya decision that this would not rise to proof beyond a reasonable doubt but i ask if you share my concern. my concern is, have we established a new normal that is going to apply to future campaign campaigns so that any one of us from the u.s. house, the senate, the presidency of the united states aware if hostile foreign
powers has no duty to report that to the fbi or other authorities? >> i hope. >> i hope this is not the new normal. but i fear it is. >> would in fact have the ability without fear of legal repercussion to meet with foreign entities, before an american election? >> i'm sorry, what is the question. >> is that an apprehension you share with me? >> yes. and that there would be no repercussions whatsoever to russia if they did this again as you stated earlier, they're doing it now, is that correct? >> you're absolutely right. >> do you have any advice to this congress together as to what we should do, and accept responsibility on our part to report to you and our successor
when we're aware of hostile foreign involvement in our elections. >> i would say the basis for defense is the ability of the various agencies who have some piece of this to not only share explanation, but shared expertise, to use the full resources that we have, to address this problem. >> thank you director mueller, i yield back. >> mr. maloney. >> mr. mueller, i know it's been a long day, i want to make clear how much respect i have for your service. i want you to understand my questions in that context. i'm going to be asking you about appendix c to your report, and in particular, the decision not to do a sworn interview with the president. that's really the only subject i
want to talk to you about, sir. why didn't you subpoena the president? >> at the outset, after we took over and initiated the investigation. >> if we can ask you to speak? >> at the outset, after we took over the investigation and began and pursued it, one of the things we anticipated wanting to accomplish is getting the -- having the interview of the president. >> we negotiated with him for a little over a year, and i think what you alluded to in the appendix lays out our expectations as a result of those negotiations. but when we were almost toward the end of our investigation, we had no success to get the interview of the president, we decided we did not want to exercise the subpoena power because on the necessity of
ending the investigations. >> excuse me. >> we did subpoena the president, he would fight the subpoena, and we would be under the investigation for a substantial period of time. >> right, but as we sit here, you've never had the opportunity to ask the president questions. you're right that -- i believe you described the in person interview as vital, your words, and, of course, you made clear that the authority and the legal justification, as you point out, you waited a year, so he could prepare and not be surprised. i take it you were trying to be fair to the president. and by the way, you were going to limit the questions when you got to written questions to russia. only. and the president responded to those written questions after
about nine months. and you have some hard language for what you thought of those responses. what did you think of those responses, mr. mueller? >> certainly not as useful as the interview would be. >> you pointed out and by my count there were more than 30 times where the president said he didn't recall, he didn't remember, no independent correction, no current recollection. i take it by your answer it wasn't as helpful, that's why you used words like incomplete, imprecise, inadequate. is that a fair summary of what you thought of those answers. >> that is a fair summary. i presume that comes from the report. >> the president didn't ever claim the 5th amendment, did he? >> i'm not going to talk to that. >> from what i can tell, sir, at one point it was vital and another another point it wasn't vital. my question to you is, why did it stop being vital. one is that someone told you couldn't do it. but no one told you couldn't subpoena the president, right?
>> no, we understood we could subpoena the president. >> the only other explanation, one, that you just flinched, you had had the opportunity to do it, and you didn't do it. you don't strike me as the kind of guy who flinches. >> i hope not. >> the third explanation i can think of is that you didn't think you needed it. and what caught my eye was page 13 of volume ii, where you said you had a substantial body of evidence and you cite a bunch of cases about how you often have to prove intent to obstruct justice without an in person interview. and you used words like significant evidence. did you have sufficient evidence of the president's intent to obstruct justice, and is that why you begun the do the interview. >> there's a balance. how much of it you have to satisfy the last element against how much time you're willing to spend in the courts, litigating
the interview with the president. >> in this case, you felt that you had enough evidence over the president's intent? >> we had to make a balanced decision in terms of how much evidence we had compared to the time it would take -- >> you thought if you gave it to the attorney general or this congress, that there was sufficient evidence, it was better than that delay? >> can you state that again in. >> it was better than the delay to present the sufficient evidence, your term of the president's intent to the attorney general and this committee. season the that why you didn't do the interview? >> the reason we didn't do the interview is because of the length of time it would take to resolve the issues attended to that. >> thank you, sir. >> miss demmings. >> thank you so much, mr. chairman and director mueller, thank you so much for being a person of honor and integrity. thank you for your service to the nation, we are certainly
better for it. director mueller, i want to focus on the written responses that the president did provide. and the continued efforts to lie and cover up what happened during the 2016 election. were the president's answers submitted under oath? >> yes, yes. >> thank you, they were. >> were these all the answers your office wanted to ask the president about russian interference in the 2016 election? >> no, not necessarily. >> there were other questions you wanted to answer? >> yes. >> did you analyze his written answers on russia to draw conclusions about the president's credibility? >> no, it was perhaps one of the factors, but nothing more than that. >> it was one of the factors, what did you determine about the president's credibility? >> that i can't get into. >> i know based on your decades of experience, you probably had an opportunity to analyze the
credibility of countless witnesses, but you weren't able to do so with this witness. >> well, with every witness, particularly a leading witness, one assesses the credibility day by day, witness by witness, document by document. and that's what happened in this case. so we started with very little and by the end we ended up with a fair amount. >> thank you. let's go through some of the answers to take a closer look at his credibility. it seems to me that his answers were not credibility at all. do some of president trump's incomplete answers relate to trump tower moscow? >> yes. >> for example, did you ask the president whether he had directed at any time discussions about trump moscow project should cease? >> should what? >> cease. >> do you have a citation? >> yes, we're still in aten dix c, section i, 7. >> the first page?
>> yes. >> the president did not answer whether he had directed or suggested that discussions about the trump moscow project should cease. but he has since made public comments about this topic. >> the question was. >> the president fully answer that question in his written statement to you about the trump moscow project cease something. >> again in appendix c. >> can you direct me to the particular paragraph here? >> it would be appendix c-1, but let me move forward. nine days after he submitted his written answers, didn't the president say publicly that he decided not to do the project? and that is in your report. >> i'd ask you if you would, to point out the particular paragraph that you're focused
on. >> did the president answer your follow-up questions, according to the report there were follow-up questions because of the president's incomplete answers about the moscow project. did the president answer your follow-up questions either in writing or orally? >> we're now in volume 2 page 150 through 151. >> no. >> he did not. in fact, there were many questions you asked the president that he simply didn't answer, isn't that correct? >> true. >> there were many answers that contradicted other evidence during the investigation, season the that correct? >> yes. >> director mueller, for example, the president in his written answers stated he did not recall having advanced knowledge of wikileaks releases, is that correct? >> i think that's what he said. >> doesn't your investigation uncover that he did have advanced knowledge of wikileaks, emails damaging to his opponent?
>> i can't get into that area. >> did your investigation determine after careful vetting of rick gates and michael cohen, that you found them to be credible? >> we found the president to be credible? >> you found gates and cohen to be credible in their statements about wikileaks. >> those are areas i'm not going to discuss. >> okay. can you say the president was creddic. >> i can't answer that question. >> director mueller, season the it fair to say the president's written answers were not only inadequate and incomplete, because he didn't answer many of your questions, but where he did, his answers showed he wasn't always being truthful? >> i would say generally. >> generally. general mueller it's one thing for the president to lie to the american people about your investigation, falsely claiming you found no collusion and no obstruction, it's something all
together different for him to get away from not answering that questions. i find that a disgrace to our criminal justice system. thank you so much, i yield back to the crime. >> mr. murphy. >> director mueller, thank you for your dedicated service. you described detailing a criminal investigation, correct? >> yes. >> since it was outside the purview of your investigation, your report did not reach counter intelligence conclusions about the subject matter of your report is it. >> that's true. >> since it was outside your purview, your report did not reach counter intelligence conclusions regarding any trump administration officials who may be vulnerable to compromise or
blackmail by russia, correct? >> those decisions were probably made in the fbi. >> but not in your report, correct? >> not in our report. we referred to the counter intelligence goals of our investigation which were secondary to any criminal wrongdoing we could find. >> let's talk about one add american station official in particular, namely, president donald trump. other than trump tower moscow your report does not address or detail the president's financial ties or dealings with russia, correct? >> correct. similarly, since it was outside your per view, your report does not address the question of whether russian oligarchs engaged in money laundering thru any of the president's businesses, correct? >> correct. >> and, of course, your office did not obtain the president's
tax returns which could otherwise show foreign financial services, correct? >> i'm not going to speak to that. >> in july 2017, the president said his personal finances were offlimits or outside the per view of your investigation. and he drew a red line around his personal finances. were the president's personal finances outside the purview of your investigation? >> i'm not going to get into that. >> were you instructed by anyone not to investigate the president's personal finances? >> no. >> mr. mueller, i'd like to turn your attention to counter intelligence risks associated with lying. individuals can be subject to blackmail if they lie about their interactions with foreign countries, correct? >> true. >> you successfully charged former national security adviser, michael flynn of lying to federal agents about his conversations with russian officials, correct?
>> correct. >> since it was outside the per view of your investigation, your report did not address how flynn's false statements could pose a national security risk, because the russians knew the falsity of those statements, right? >> i cannot get into that, mainly because there are many elements that the fbi are looking into different aspects of that issue. >> currently? >> currently. >> thank you. as you noted in volume 2 of your report. donald trump repeated five times in one press conference, mr. mueller, in 2016, "i have nothing to do with russia." of course, michael cohen said donald trump was not being truthful because at this time trump was attempting to build trump tower moscow. your report does not address whether donald trump was compromised in anyway because of any potential false statements that he made about trump tower moscow, correct in.
>> that's right. that's right. >> director mueller, i want to turn your attention to a couple other issues. you served as fbi director during three presidential elections, correct? >> yes. >> and during those three presidential elections, you have never initiated an investigation at the fbi looking into whether a foreign government interfered in our elections in the same way you did in this particular instance. >> i would say i personally, no. but the fbi quite honestly has. >> now, director mueller, is there any information you would like to share with this committee that you have not so far today? >> that's a broad question. >> and it will take me a while to get an answer to it, i will
say no. >> mr. mueller, you said that every american should pay very close attention to the systematic and sweeping fashion in which the russians interfered in our democracy, are you concerned that we are not doing enough currently to prevent this from happening again? >> i'll speak generally, and what i said in my opening statement this morning, and here, much more needs to be done in order to protect against this intrusion. not just by the russians, but others as well. >> thank you, director. >> we have two five minute periods remaining. mr. nunez and myself, mr. nunez, you are recognized. >> mr. mueller, it's been a long day for you. and you've had a long, great career. i want to thank you for your long time service starting in vietnam. obviously in the u.s. attorney's office, the department of
justice, and the fbi. and i want to thank you for doing something you didn't have to do, you came here upon your own free will, and we appreciate your time today, with that i yield back. >> thank you, sir. >> director mueller, i want to close out my questions, turn to some of the exchanges you had with mr. welsh a bit earlier. i'd like to see if we can broaden the ap toer tour at thed of the hearing. receiving assistance during a presidential campaign is an unethical thing to do. >> and a crime. >> and a crime. >> and a crime in given certain circumstances. >> to the degree that it undermines our democracy and institutions, we can agree it's also unpatriotic? >> true. >> and wrong. >> true. >> the standard of behavior for
a presidential candidate or any candidate shouldn't be whether something is criminal, it should be held to a higher standard, you would agree? >> i will not get into that, because it goes to the standards to be applied by other institutions besides ours. >> i'm just referring to ethical standards. we should hold our elected officials to a standard higher than mere avoidance of criminality, correct? >> absolutely. >> you have served this country for decades, you've taken an oath to defend the constitution, you hold yourself to a standard of doing what's right. >> i would hope. >> you have. i think we can all see that. there are times where your reward will be unending criticism, but we are grateful. the need to act in an ethical manner is not just a moral one,
but when people act unethically, it exposes them to compromise. particularly in dealing with foreign powers, is that true? >> true. >> because when someone acts unethically in connection with a foreign partner, that foreign partner can later expose their wrongdoing and extort them? >> true. >> and that conduct that unethical conduct can be of a financial nature, if you have a financial motive or illicit business dealing, am i right? >> yes. if you are lying about something that can be exposed, then you can be blackmailed? >> also true. >> in the case of michael flynn, he was secretly doing business with turkey, correct is it. >> yes. >> and that could open him up to compromise, that financial relationship? >> i presume. >> he also lied about his discussions with the russian ambassador and since the russians were on the other side of the conversation, they could
have exposed that, could they not? >> yes. >> the presidential candidate was doing business in russia, and saying he wasn't, russians could expose that too, could they not? >> i leave that to you. >> well, let's look at dmitri pescov, someone the trump administration was in contact with to make that deal happen. michael cohen had a long conversation on the 230e7b with someone from his office. presumably the russians could record that conversation, could they not? >> yes. >> if candidate trump was saying, i have no dealing with the russians but the russians had a tape recording, they could reveal that, correct? >> yes. >> that's the stuff of counter intelligence nightmares, is it not? >> it has to do with the strong counter intelligence and counter intelligence entity. >> it does indeed. when this was revealed that
there were these communications, notwithstanding the president's denials, the president was confronted about this, and he said two things. first of all, that's not a crime. i think you and i have already agreed that shouldn't be the standard, right? >> true. >> the second thing hes said was, why should i miss out on all those opportunities? i mean, why indeed, merely running a presidential campaign, why should you miss out on making all that money was the import of his statement. were you ever able to ascertain whether donald trump still intends to build that tower when he leaves office? >> is that a question, sir? >> yes. were you able to ascertain, because he wouldn't answer your questions completely, whether or if he ever ended that will desire to build that tower? >> i'm not going to speculate on that. >> if the president was concerned that if he lost his
election, he didn't want to miss out on that money. might he have the same concern about losing his re-election? >> again, speculation. >> the difficulty with this, of course, is we are all left to wonder whether the president is representing us or his financial interests. that concludes my questions. mr. nunez do you have any concluding remarks? >> let me close to returning to where i began. thank you for your service and thank you for leading this investigation. the facts you set out in your report and have spoke about today, tell a disturbing tale of a massive russian interference in our election, of a campaign so eager to win, so driven by greed, it was willing to accept the help of a hostile power in a presidential election decided by a handful of votes in a few key
states. they risked going to jail by lying to you, to the fbi and to congress about it and indeed some have gone to jail over such lies. and your work speaks of a president who committed many acts of obstruction of justice. had it been anyone else in the country they would have been indicted. notwithstanding the many things you have addressed today and in your report, there were some questions you could not answer, given the constraints you're operating under. you would not tell us whether you would have indicted the president but for the olc opinion that you could not. so the justice department will have to make that decision when the president leaves office. both as to the crime of obstruction of justice and as to the campaign finance fraud, that individual one directed and coordinated and for which michael cohen went to jail. you would not tell us whether
the president should be impeached, nor did we ask you, since it is our responsibility to determine the proper remedy for the conduct outlined in your report. whether we decide to impeach the president in the house or we do not we must take any action necessary to protect the country while he is in office. you would not tell us the results or whether other bodies looked into russian compromise in the form of money laundering, so we must do so. you would not tell us whether people still serving within the administration pose a compromise and should never have been given a security clearance, so we must find out. we did not bother to ask whether financial inducements from gulf nations were influencing u.s. policy, since it is outside the four corners of your port, and so we must find out. but one thing is clear from your
report, your testimony from director ray's statements yesterday, russians massively intervened in 2016 and they are prepared to do so again, in voting that is set to begin a mere eight months from now. president seems to welcome the help again. and so we must make all efforts to harden our elections infrastructure, to ensure there is a paper trail for all voting, to deter the russians from meddling, to discover it when they do, to disrupt it and make them pay. protecting the sanctity of our elections, begins with the recognition that accepting foreign help is disloyal to our country. unethical and wrong. we cannot control what the russians do, not completely, but we can decide what we do. and that this century's old experiment we call american democracy is worth cherishing.
director mueller, thank you again for being here today. and before i adjourn, i would like to excuse you and mr. zebley. everyone else please remain seated. >> so there it is, he showed up this morning at the house judiciary committee hearing around 8:30 a.m. eastern. now, seven hours later wraps up the second round of questioning for the house intelligence. with a break for lunch and a couple other breaks. he basically stuck to his report, 448 pages, he tried not to deviate, he didn't deviate at all, and in the process, jake, he refused to answer a lot of questions, which was his goal today. he wasn't going to get into other issues, even though republicans and democrats repeatedly asked. >> there were a few characterizations that may have been a little bit outside the scope of the report, you're right, he refused to answer questions again, deferred answers. there was one exchange with
florida congresswoman val demmings that all of our viewers picked up. i want to roll that right now, and just get everybody here to react. this came toward the close of the hearing when the florida congresswoman was asking mr. mueller about the answers, the written answers to questions about which president trump received and handed back to the special counsel. >> could you say that the president was credible? >> i can't answer that question. >> director mueller, season the it fair to say the president's written answers were not only inadequate and incomplete, because he didn't answer many of your questions, but where he did, his answers showed he wasn't always being truthful? >> i would say generally. >> generally. >> director mueller -- >> that's a pretty stunning thing to say, we should caveat this with the fact that robert mueller already had to walk back
and answer from earlier in the day, because either he was confused by the question or he didn't clarify with the decision he wanted. for robert mueller to say that generally president trump's answers were not always truthful is a fairly stunning proclamation and not one by the way that is in the mueller report. >> and virtually, and very much in contrast to the rest of his testimony. that was the kind of question he was refusing to answer all through the hearing. so to hear him on that one occasion saying the answers to the written questions were generally untruthful. we all thought, wow! that's quite a statement. but i think it -- >> referring to the q & a, the written q & a, statements he was making on gaggles or -- >> correct. i would wait a little before we grace this as an absolute
statement. i expect a walk back. >> he will likely have to walk it back, just like he did with the earlier comment. john dean's here, and i wanted to get your reaction, i think this is another area that's fair to say, robert mueller went outside the per view of what's in the mueller report. congressman mike quakely from ohio was asking about all the public statements then candidate trump was making about wikileaks and the documents that have been stolen from the dnc and speer fished from john podesta and released to the public. he asked robert mueller to characterize how he felt seeing a presidential candidate making these states that were praising what are intelligence -- what our intelligence considers a hostile foreign government in response. let's roll that tape. >> this just came out, wikileaks, i love wikileaks, donald trump october 10th, 2016. this wikileaks stuff is
unbelievab unbelievable. it tells you the inner heart, you got to read it, donald trump october 12th, 2016. this wikileaks is like a treasure drove, donald trump, october 31st, 2016. boy, i love reading those wikileaks. donald trump, november 4th, 2016. would any of those quotes disturb you, mr. director? >> i'm not certain i would say -- >> how do you react to it? >> well, it's problematic is an understatement. >> problematic is an understatement. john dean, the -- problematic is an understatement is him characterizing a political opinion that is not contained in this report. >> that's correct. he also as you recall prefaced it by making clear that the secretary of state, former cia director had called wikileaks a hostile foreign entity, so that
the audience understood exactly what was being referred to that trump was giving blessings to, so i think that even made it a tougher question. quigley was very good in this setting. >> james, what did you make of it, obviously, this is something that he thinks is the most important part of robert mueller -- of this report that being that the russians are still attacking us, he said, they're attacking us as we sit here at one point. and the fact is, i don't have any trouble picturing he did this one on purpose, that this was not a misunderstanding, he wanted to convey that it's not acceptable. >> it's not acceptable this is about russia, i was there at the start of this investigation, and it was about russia. it's always been about russia, those of us who worked on are are quite alarmed of what russia did, what they're capable of doing, i think director mueller is quite concerned about that. >> one thing he mentioned today, trying to get out of the hearing
he had today, he referenced, he said that russia had conducted a concerted attack, an attack is the word he used using military and intelligence elements against the united states. i think that's what this is all really about. that's what we need to stay focused on, i think that's why director mueller was worried about, and why he was willing to go beyond and emphasize that. >> i think -- i agree with you, completely. mueller had bigger fish to fry today. >> his message to congress was, they're doing it right now. and, you know, we -- all of us who have some responsibility to exercise our responsibility swiftly, don't let it linger as we have for so many years. >> and so while he did come out and criticize the president, calling his language on wikileaks problematic, saying you should pick up the phone and report if a foreign entity wanted to influence the election, and give you dirt on your opponent, he sort of made that clear.
while he sort of threw shade at donald trump, it was clear to me that he was there to say wait a minute, this is what's important here, and it's the russians, and others and they're doing it, and they're doing it now, and i think that's what he wanted to get across, as hampered as he was by the rules, and by his own inability sometimes to be clear and direct in answering questions. >> and he came back to it. >> at the end of that first answer he said what the president -- what candidate trump was doing, to provide hope and booth -- he made a reference to members of congress who were running for office, anyone who's running for president can accept help from a foreign power, and this may be the new normal, and mueller responded, i hope this is not the new normal, but i fear it is, and i think that's his call to everybody.
to those people who are in that committee there. that something has to be done or else. >> i want to point out that they got into the weeds on a lot of issues, the republicans and democrats, did you hear from a political standpoint a bombshell emerging during these seven hours? >> i think the answer to the question is, how do you look at this? we're hearing from kaitlan collins at the white house, the president is happy today. i think he's happy today, because you do not have that viral movie trailer moment of robert mueller looking into a camera and saying something in 15 or 20 seconds that the democrats can spread around the world. there's a case for you to impeach. or i would have indicted if i could have but i was stuck. he didn't say any of those things, left it to the democrats to read the damning parts of the report. if you're writing a book report on the last 7 1/2 hours and you took detailed notes, the substantive picture of the
president, his campaign and the people around him, is pretty damning, the democrats did go through these ten episodes of obstruction, and that's not behavior to be applauded. there was a lot about how much they welcomed the help. how the president himself and the exchange talked about right there, how the president was gleeful that a hostile foreign actor was interfering in the election, and helping him. the director said several times the president was not truthful or his answers were not truthful. he would not answer follow-up questions, he refused to sit down for an in person interview. the president of the united states refusing to sit down with the special counsel. all the people without him were questioned throughout the day. is there a moment or a clip you can play right now of robert mueller saying that in a 15 to 20 second compelling way? no, that's why the president is happy. if you read the report as we talked about months or, or you listen to you will seven hours today, that is not a favorable picture of this president and
the people around him and how they do their business. >> robert mueller was fully capable of delivering that 15 second sound byte, he did not want to. he could have said from the beginning the campaign showed a willingness to accept help from the russians, they welcomed it, and then they lied about it, and the president at every turn was a hindrance and tried to obstruct justice. although we couldn't bring charges because he's president. he did not say that. >> he did say, it's not a witch hunt and he did passionately defend the integrity of his people. >> but you're right, he did not do that. >> you think it's -- >> he was successful, he was neither a pawn or a pinata today, as frustrated as it was to watch it moments in time, is there more you can give, he did not give fuel to any argument, he didn't give a whole lot of fire outside of his ability to be concise in what hen watted to say. the idea i heard, is the notion of cost. that phrase goes in my mind. the idea that the president of
the united states was thinking in literal terms, whether democracy was for sale. was it going to be that trump tower in moscow later on, was there a notion they benefit financially? also, mueller told us today, the reason he didn't subpoena the president of the united states and get a comprehensive response, is a cost benefit analysis of how long it would take to litigate the matter, versus his deadline to conclude the investigation, that should be alarming to people in the sense that he didn't feel they were sufficient, they were generally untrue, but thought, you know, what i'm either going to have on the one hand protr t protracted litigation or i can tee it up for people who may be more efficient prior to the 2020 election. >> he didn't indict him anyway. >> he can't indict him anyway. >> i was struck by the enormous personal contrast between robert mueller and donald trump. they have a lot of common. they're within months of each other in terms of how old they
are, they were both raised in wealth, ivy lead educated. in demeanor, and approach. they're from different planets. he said so much less than he could have said. he didn't pass judgment beyond what was precisely in the report. and as we all know from watching tweets and watching the president, they are just so different. and you look at who's winning now, it certainly seems like donald trump is winning between the two of them. >> congressman maloney, i think john dean brought up the idea of why he didn't subpoena president trump, why he didn't make that effort. and a conclusion that seemed to be floats was the idea that maybe you felt you didn't need to because there was so much evidence, it didn't even matter what president trump said. you had don mcgahn testifying, cory lewandowski testifying. steve bannon and on and on, and the report, throughout the report it says, a preponderance
of evidence, much evidence and he didn't need to do that. >> i'll tell you, my reaction to that answer and that line of questioning is this is a man who -- if it had richard nixon won the go after the tapes because it would take too long. i think that's something that's going to hang over this investigation, hang over mueller, because he really didn't her sue it as you might have, negotiated for nine months. i thought the hearings seemed to be in the wrong order. i thought the afternoon session was much stronger than the morning session, and it would explain much of the morning session by seeing the after noon section first. >> chronologically it would be the intelligence hearing and afterwards the judiciary, the cover-up of a. >> the other thing is the walk back to draw on another watergate term. i think the walk back is what we used to call a modified limited
hangout. he didn't take it all the way back. if he was just instantly in his response to ted liu, as to what he was doing, and then you come back with, it was a reaction to the news that happened between the morning and afternoon session he didn't take it all the way back. >> was there something new that you learned today that -- and all of us have read the report that we didn't know going into these seven hours? >> look, i don't think that as john was saying, there's not any moment that stabbeds out that says, there was no ahad a moment from this, i was hoping to hear a little more clarity about whether or not we look at this report as a referral. something more from mueller to say, i went as far as i can go, the ball is in your court now. and we did not hear that.
he bent over backwards to not say that, he refused to say the i word, and for me, i think -- if the democrats went into the day looking for a blessing from robert mueller to start this impeachment inquiry, i don't think they got that. i think that's a win for the president. >> and president trump has just responded on his favorite social media platform. let's go to kaitlan collins at the white house to bring us his response. what is he saying? >> the president is already tweeting triumphantly, writing, the truth is a force of nature, a few moments ago. we're told that tweet reflects what the president has been saying all afternoon. now, we should note that is not how the president started his day, our sources told us the president was making phone calls early this morning, he was agitated having to watch robert mueller come up on capitol hill and testify, after that first hearing got underway, there was a shift in the president's mood, people close to him say, he went
from being irritated, agitated to triumphant and pleased with how the republicans were questioning the former special counsel during that first hearing in front of the house judiciary committee which the president was watching closely from the residents and as the mood started to shift, he came down to the west wing, continued watching that second hearing there, and i should note we're going to hear from the president likely in person, any minute now, because he's scheduled to leave the white house soon to go to a fund-raiser in west virginia tonight. the first thing on his schedule all day. i shift in mood at the white house for the president. and our sources inside the white house are telling us that's coming in a sense of relief to come into work here. >> that's interesting for the president to be saying in all caps, truth is a force of nature. what we've been hearing today is how many lies president trump told. or all the lies that relates to
the actual russian election interference and all the -- did the president dictating the lie about why donald trump jr. and jared kushner and paul manafort met. concocting this idea that it didn't have anything to do with attempted interference. >> it was all about lies, and eric swaul well raised all the lying that the trump administration did. their use of encryption devices and disruption of electronic messages. their destruction of their messages really behindered the investigation. overall here, i mean, just looking at that tweet from the president in all caps, makes me realize that the president's fighting one war and bob mueller's fighting another. and the president is a counter puncher, i think he felt today, this guy is like punching jell-o, it's easy, theres no problem here. he's never going to fight back. and mueller wasn't punching. he wasn't punching anything.
he didn't want to fight, hen watted to tell you what was in that report without reading it o outloud, but he wanted to tell the american public there is a problem here with foreign interference. his job here was not to indict the president, it was not to impeach the president of the united states. it it was to inform the american public about the problem that we have. so donald trump had one goal, and that was not to be destroyed. and robert mueller had no intention of doing that directly. >> john king on earth too, a different donald trump is tweeting, i'm going to do everything i can to prevent election interference. >> if we can get into the other parallel universe. that's a substantive point that mueller made, as we sit in this room, mueller said the russians are still at it, and as we sit in this conversation the current president of the united states has no proactively taken on this challenge. whatever your opinion about
2016, how he was elected. what happened, whatever your opinion about this document, the mueller report or the testimony today, that is a simple fact that even people in his own administration are afraid to talk to him about this. people in the senior positions, that is a terrible dynamic. back to the other point. the president in all caps, he has two audiences, the american people and the republican party. would any republican be swayed on this question of should there be more hearings, never mind should there be impeachment? should we keep investigating this? the president is confident the republican map didn't change at all. i say, we'll see. there was no big compelling moment. there are those smaller moments about instructions of documents and messages that could lie. it takes a few days for these things to settle into public opinion. when we woke up this morning, there were 88 house democrats saying impeach. start the proceedings today.
15 of the 24 democrats on the judiciary committee, that's 60% of the committee. what's that math tomorrow -- >> let's go to manu raju, looking into exactly that. you're on capitol hill, what are you hearing? >> yeah, i'm hearing democrats renewing their calls for impeachment, a number of them who called in the past say essentially this testimony, underscores their calls for arou beginning an impeachment proceeding. i was told moments ago this absolutely bolsters the need to begin formal impeachment proceedings. other democrats as well have similarly done just that including david sissilini. they're defending what happened here today, even though mueller was often -- did not answer a lot of the questions, as you
know, you have one word responses, often times sidestep matters. they ended up reading a lot of thesome of that could be their argument, the talking points as a way to portray this in their view as a victory but at the moment it appears they're not deterred for the push to move forward on impeachment proceedings. so that is going to be still the democratic narrative going forward. they argue that the -- the more american public will be able to understand what the content of the mueller report is. we'll have to see whether or not this shifts public opinion and we'll have to see whether the big individual on capitol hill, nancy pelosi, the speaker, whether she moves off of her opposition to moving forward with impeachment proceedings. but at the moment democrats on the committees defending how this went and also renewing calls for an impeachment inquiry. >> manu, we'll get back to you and hearing from the democratic leadership. john, i want your thoughts on this. clearly the president and his
supporters are also pleased that at times mueller's testimony was shaky. >> early on. part of it -- and the question was could he not hear the questions, at the beginning, the pacing of the questions. is he -- he's 74 and hasn't been in this chair for a long time. there is a lot of conversations or was he just reluctant or a combination of all of those things. >> or just nervous. like the super bowl -- >> because of the -- >> you work with him, what do you think? >> my sense is it is nervous. it is nerve-wracking to go in front of congress and i've done it a bunch of times but not in this setting and you have all of the cameras facing you and the buildup and everybody is talking about it for months. i'm guessing was nervous and wants to be constrained and that is what he telegraphed ant didn't want to be there so you weren't going to get much out of him so i think he had to find his sea legs and as john said early. >> the second hearing in the afternoon was -- had a sound
footing. he looked better. the answers were better. >> still the most effective and i think most incriminating moment of the entire day was the first round of questioning from jerry nadler, the chairman of the judiciary committee when mueller said without equivocation, this was not an exoneration which is an invitation perhaps for impeachment but at least for more investigation. >> that is a question though and i want to ask gloria, do we think right now that nancy pelosi, who was already very reluctant to begin impeachment proceedings and had made that very clear, do you think that she is now closer to wanting to be willing to begin with impeachment proceedings or farther away? i personally think probably farther away. >> yeah. ask me an easy question. that's hard. because i think what she's got to do first of all is take the pulse of members. that is who nancy pelosi is. she'll see if there is any shift
in m-- in her membership and looking at moderate democrats who got elukted in tru-- electe trump districts and say how do you feel about this. i agree with you. i think probably not. i don't think this is move the needle one way or the other. politically i would say those people are inclined to think that mueller blew it and it was a terrible investigation and a hoax are still going to think that, i think. i don't think mueller did any convincing today. i don't think he wanted to, to be honest, because he couldn't go beyond the report. >> but as the president gloats, the liberals will get furious and demand the speaker do more. she will look at those 40 or so moderates from trump districts that made the majority, that make her the speaker of the house but will also look at republicans because she's clearly on the record that it makes to sense for the house to do something if it is a dead end in the senate. she's old enough to remember, we
covered the clinton white house when a democratic president was impeached by the house, the senate failed to convict and the republican party suffered not bill clinton. he went on to serve. his legacy suffered but in the moment they suffered. newt gingrich and bob livingston lost their jobs and nancy pelosi remembers that. there are people who argue forget the politics, you're supposed to do this on principle. if there is enough here you're supposed to do it. as a congresswoman from san francisco that is how she views it and as the speaker of the house, that is not how she sees it. >> and from root, nancy pelosi can keep both factions happy. she could say we're not proceeding to impeachment yet but this -- calls for more investigation. how you could listen to the mueller testimony and say you need to hear from don mcgahn and cory lieu and owski. and where is john dean this time
around. the witness who actually saw what was going on at the white house, not leon chaworski -- you need the witnesses that are present. >> down the road, first of all, the book was better than the movie today. we all agree. it was better than the movie and now we're putting form over substance. it was already there. all of the information was already in the actual report so the oiz idea of kicking the can down the road, it is like a wizard of oz moment, ladies and gentlemen, you had the power to go home along, congress, are you going to exercise it or not. i agree, having a moment isn't a blockbuster important to galvanize the moderate democrats or republicans to get there but we're talking about impeachment or an impeachment inquiry. if we're in the inquiry stages there is more than enough information to go forward. >> but again the argument the most aggressive liberals for
impeachment makes -- how long will it take. they want to get don mcgahn and other people to testify and it is being litigated and they believe if you have a former impeachment hearing you have a higher constitutional power and those witnesses have to testify. that is the argument to chairman nadler to the speaker saying if we make this about impeachment then they can't invoke these privileges and they have to come because it is essentially a criminal proceeding by the house. >> and that is not a legitimate argument. look at what nixon did for example, he doubled down his restriction of providing anything to congress. that is how you got the article three which deals with nothing but his refusal to cooperate with congress. so it had exactly the opposite effect for a sitting president. >> and you don't want to mobilize the president's supporters and it could have the impact of the president's base saying, wait a minute, you got mueller here, you didn't move the needle, now you want to keep this ball rolling so i think the president could use that
effectively. i think in politics as we all know, timing is everything. if this mueller hearing had happened sooner -- >> three months ago. >> three months ago, say, i think it might have been more effective for democrats. >> one of the things i come away from this, if this wasn't the president, right, would he be in more trouble? and you heard the president a couple of days ago talk about how he could do anything under article two. he can do whatever he wants. we know he ran out of the clock on answering questions and negotiated for about a year. did not sit down for an interview. we know obviously where they ended up on the obstruction question. so the bottom line is it appears that if your the president of the united states, you can get away with anything. i think that is one of the things that i think if your just an average person, ought to bother must, because the question of whether anyone is above the law allegedly under the american system is that no one is above the law but it turns out -- >> one of the things i'm
concerned about is quite frankly the failure of congress as an institution. if this information isn't enough for them to take some type of action to check the president, then where are we? the volume one tells a frightening story about what the russians did, volume two tells an appalling story about what the president did with respect to interfering with the investigation intended to protect the country. >> it is -- an abdication of their ability. >> they are not capable of it. over the time they have seeded authorities and they are unable to exercise the power the constitution gives them. >> the speaker said if there are no republicans who will come along, whether in the house and certainly in the senate, go ahead and impeach in the house but go nowhere, you won't get 67 senators to convict and remove the president from office. >> but what do you do? politically speaking, she wants to be the speaker and not the
minority leader. >> i don't have a solution but i'm articulating that it seems look a failure. if the house can't act because the senate won't, then congress as an institution is incapable of holding the president accountable. >> pelosi's tenure should not be a factor. and i understand the longevity to remain the speaker of house and talking about constituentency and if that is her interest and it is vested, that is irrelevant to me as a voter. the notion of suggesting, i think you're right on the idea of the abdication and responsibility and i deal with juries. i can't guarantee a conviction but i can guarantee the pursuit of justice. if the american people look at this and say unless you can guarantee a conviction, no prosecutor should be act and prudent not to do so, we wouldn't have a single trial in america. if the guarantee of an impeachment conviction is the only thing that protects democracy, then they've missed the mark. >> everyone stick around.
>> announcer: this is breaking news. >> welcome to "the lead," i'm jake tapper. a historic day on capitol hill. robert mueller testifying before the house judiciary committee and the house intelligence committee spelling out his team's findings for the american public and directly contradicting president trump at times. president trump, describing it as a witch hunt and hoax, has claimed complete and total exoneration but today mueller said the president has not been exonerated. and it was not a witch hunt. mueller this afternoon clarifying some of his testimony from earlier in the day making clear his team did not make a determination as to whether president trump committed the crime of obstruction of justice and though mueller did say it is true a president could be prosecuted after he leaves office, he refused to say whether his report recommended impeachment. on the questio