tv Dateline Extra MSNBC March 24, 2019 8:00pm-9:00pm PDT
good evening to you. i'm ari melber and live from washington with special coverage of the report. and observes that the president did not obstruct justice. first the letter makes it clear on the issue of conspiracy mueller did not find collusion. conspired or coordinated with the russian government in election interference activities.
second, the mueller report does not exonerate trump of obstruction of justice. that remains an open issue. we know that tonight because of what barr himself writes. that the report left unresolved concerning whether the president's action and intent could be viewed as obstruction. barr notes that mueller also does not exonerate him. so that's pretty important. but barr's letter today tries to go farther and declare donald trump who appointed barr did not obstruct justice. quote, rod rosenstein and i have concluded the evidence is not sufficient to establish the president committed an obstruction of justice defense -- offense. that's very important in what you see there. and we have a special tonight going to tell you everything you need to know about what is real and what we know from a probe that's now concluded and what may be less than real. because you will notice in any past probe of any president here
say clinton or nixon, these kind of findings about obstruction were always referred to congress for it to judge or pass. so we have in this summary from barr tonight the clear out lines of a new fight from trump's hand picked attorney general. the other thing to note these pages barr wrote, they don't have a full sentence quote in the mueller report at all. every single quote and read into this what you will, from the mueller report is in itself only part of a sentence. and tonight top democrats say they want the full mueller report. and they want to make barr explain himself under oath. >> his conclusions raise more questions than answer. given these questions it is imperative that the attorney general release the full report and the underlying evidence. we will ask the attorney general to testify before the house judiciary committee. >> that is a battle i'm being drawn. if you follow the politics of
the news you may notice donald trump was unusually quiet all weekend. "the new york times" reported perhaps he was nervous according to some sources. barr obviously knew when he got on friday and going through it all weekend. well, donald trump breaking his silence tonight. >> there was no collusion with russia. there was no obstruction and none whatsoever. and it was a complete and total exoneration. >> tat is a false statement at the end. it is very important to note that donald trump who is known for misstatements and falsehoods and lies got part of it right. there was not a finding of collusion. there are not indictments on collusion. then he got two things very wrong, which i'm about to get into with my panel. the assertion that he was exonerated on obstruction, bob mueller held the opposite from the little quote that we have. and then second something that's become familiar in an era of the so-called witch hunt talk, donald trump using tonight what could have been a bit of a
cleaner night for him to lean into the part of this that was good for him, to accuse the others doing the investigation to be engaged in illegal acts we would count that as false as well. what we've built for you is a set of experts to go through each piece of this, and we're going to hear from people who were witnesses in the mueller probe itself. we're going to hear from senator richard bloomenthal, maya wiley. later robert ray who was the independent counsel that led the investigation joins me. matt mueller and an all-star team of special prosecutors will all be part of the panel we've been planning. we hope you find it worth your while and spend the next two hours with us us. i'm joined by maya wiley, david
corn who reported on this story from during the 2016 election when many were dismissing the idea that russia was doing anything illegal. i always mention full disclosure you also were my boss when i worked in the senate. thank tuesday each of you for kicking off our coverage tonight. maya, when you look at the four page letter what do you see as important here in our first clues to the mueller report? >> well, what's important is that the institution of justice did exactly what trump said it would not do, which is it went through the evidence and robert mueller came to conclusions, and he did it with an extraordinary amount of work in an extraordinary short period of time. now, that said, it also tells us that there are unanswered questions. so by saying that he did not
establish collusion does not tell us what, in fact, he did find beyond what we already know. i think it is important for the american public to have the answers to those questions to understand what we do know, to put it in context, to have a better sense of how our government has been operating under the current president. but secondly the issue of obstruction, there are a lot of questions under the issue of obstruction based on the way that letter is written that i think we have to know. >> to cut right to it, is that the attorney general's call or congress' call? >> i think at this point it's congress' call, because what we've heard from the attorney general is we're not doing anything more with this. even though robert mueller was not able to come to an exoneration of the president on obstruction and he sites in a footnote a memorandum in the department of justice that says we don't indict a sitting
president. that puts it squarely in congress' hands in terms of whether or not they have an impeachable offense. that's congress' decision. >> in the letter here this was quite striking. barr makes the assertion because mueller described the facts of the obstruction in his investigation and collusion, he says it's up to the attorney general to decide whether the conduct in this report constitutes a crime. is that true in your view? >> i think it opens up a whole can of worms. first of all the fact that the attorney general who himself was supposed to be removed from this process, i mean the whole point of having a special counsel is that the special counsel is somewhat independent of the pli political process. you have an attorney general who pretty much campaigned for his job by writing a memo to the president about why it is the various activities he undertook under his official function that is firing comey or otherwise firing sessions, that that could
not constitute obstruction. >> so what do you read in the implication he thinks mueller left it up to him. we don't know if mueller did, but what do you think? >> it seems completely inappropriate to me that would be how this process would proceed. i have to say i think it's profoundly disappointing that mueller might have just thrown his hands up in the air. i mean, it does tell me that there obviously was such a close question bh question. there was so much in there indicating obstruction. and if he's looking at a standard of beyond a reasonable doubt, that is something whatever the attorney general believes, you know, whether the president cannot technically commit obstruction, congress needs to get to the bottom of that. >> at one point in the letter barr who is if nothing else a skilled lawyer who can make points out of the material that he has, he reduces himself down to quoting just two words, that
mueller said, there were, quote difficult issues of law in fact concerning the president's actions and intent. for a letter that is designed to say as it ultimately argues barr's view that donald trump did not obstruct, does that make you think anything wider than those two words would have gone against that point? >> all i can say is, you know, that my conclusions looking at that whole paragraph, is, you know, there was a lot of stuff there endicating obstruction. and we need to know what the standard was. was it beyond a reasonable doubt? >> i completely agree with caroline here because this is the point, what we already know, what is already in the public view is a president who says literally in public that he fired james comey because of the investigation. he then spends -- remember that the intelligence service had been saying that russians had been, in fact, trying to impact the election. he has a sitting president was disagreeing with the u.s.
intelligence service publicly. at the same time that he was meeting with russians and sharing classified information. i mean, all of that in and of itself suggests something that if nothing else, congress needs to know, needs to understand, and needs to have all the facts that robert mueller had. >> so both of you as attorneys with quite a bit of government experience are on the obstruction questions and however much barr wanted to put out a certain idea or argument in this letter even he felt the need to acknowledge mueller did not exonerate donald trump on obstruction. so both of you have that strong ground. you my journalistic friend based on your reporting and some of the positions you've taken would appear to be on the weaker ground in the letter. because the direct quotation from mueller if it is accurate, states that he did not find a collusion conspiracy. and we also know he finished his probe without indicting anyone on it.
what do you say based on your reporting and your view in that part of the finding? >> sure. the broader point is i think this conversation and discussion we've been having all day shows this is not a good process for getting to the truth. a special counsel was appointed to look for crimes, not to tell us what happened. and that's true of the obstruction case we just talked about. and right now we see nothing except as you noted, partial sentences about a conclusion without saying what evidence was there. and was he looking to meet a certain legal standard of conspiracy, that he didn't reach? and, you know, usually in the past we had independent counsels and they were obligated to produce a report telling us everything they found out about what they were asked to look at it. and that report didn't go through a vetting with a presidential appointed attorney general. came straight to the public. >> and i think our viewers are read up enough to get the point
i'm about to make. it sounds like you're beefing with neal -- who wrote these rules. though nothing in the rules would require barr to do four pages and say i had a really busy weekend. i know you spent 22 months on this but i spent two days and i'm done with my conclusion. >> my beef is with congress who let the counsel law expire because they didn't like investigations overall. now, also we focused because of the focus on mueller, we focused on what mueller was tasked to look at, which is whether there were collusion interactions and thereabouts. and we didn't focus on what think is still the court element of the scandal, and i think it's the greatest scandal we've ever had in american political history. and that is that trump and his lieutenants aided and abetted the attack that russia mounted against the election.
that's not conspiring with them to actually engage in the attack. it's by dismissing it, denying it, saying it wasn't happening, making it a political issue. they made it difficult, you know, for the national conversation to focus on how to respond -- >> let me press you on that -- >> they amplified -- let me make this half point. >> i understand what you're saying. >> no, no, no. they amplified moskow's disinformation. >> i think we understand and we all understand you're very concerned about that. we're going to really get into this without fear or favor tonight. are you moving the goal posts from -- >> no. >> you know what i was going to say but go ahead. >> but you're going to wait. >> i'm going to wait. >> are you moving the goal posts from collusion or conspiracy to what i just heard, which is aiding or abetting or it happened in public, do you expect this report to put out more indictments on collusion?
>> if you had a copy of russian roulette with you now i would turn to the last page, which i wrote with michael isikoff, the whole book, not just the last page which we said at that point in time, which was about a year ago, we knew that the big issue trump and the public in a lot of ways had not come to terms with was aiding and abetting. we say may be proven, may not be proven. but the aiding and abetting was proven, and that's an act of betrayal. but i would just say, you know, we need a full report on the obstruction side. we need a full report on the interactions -- >> i totally agree with david. and one of the things i'm thinking about is the whole issue of quid pro quo. with donald trump, jr. being offered this information from the russians through his friend rob goldstone, which he said i like it, manafort giving over the polling data, all of these
issues about how the russians played in our elections and most likely influenced this past election, the danger that we have beyond not getting to the bottom of what happened in the last election is how this sets the stage for the next election. what is our government going to do to prevent foreign adversaries from interfering in the next election or will they even bother? >> i wanted to have your view of just the simple breadth of this. let's look at the process. we're learning for the first time tonight that bob mueller used 2,800 subpoenas, 19 prosecutors, 500 witness interviews, 40 fbi agents on the case, 500 executed search warrants, and 13 requests to foreign governments for evidence. >> well, you know, i think the most profound take away from that is that there's a lot of evidence that needs to be examined by congress. there is so much there if they needed to dig that deep and
through so many different procedures and using so many different attorneys, there is a lot of evidence. it might not have in his mind reached the level of a prosecutorial offense or he may be deferring to the department of justice policy, but that is something that could very well provide incredibly important data for congress to examine. >> caroline frederickson, thank you for coming in as part of our special coverage. we have a lot as i promised. bill barr's power play. what is he doing on obstruction over the weekend? is he trying to clear the president before mueller did? and later as i mentioned senator richard bloomenthal about barr and whether anyone involved in this probe, mueller or beyond will testify. and then independent counsel from the clinton era robert ray is here to give us an inside scoop. and in our next hour i have written my own special report. i want to talk to you about what mueller found, what he didn't find and where we go from here as a nation. i'm ari melber and you're watching an msnbc special, the
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good evening. i'm ari melber. welcome back to our special coverage of the mueller report. i'm joined with two new guests on what some lawmakers already tonight are calling a power grab by donald trump's newly installed attorney general. general barr in his letter today says that mueller did not exonerate trump of obstruction of justice writing that he left unresolved what mueller viewed as difficult issues of law and fact concerning whether the president's actions and intent could be viewed as obstruction. and that while the report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him. barr doesn't stop there. he goes on to stay that mueller's decision in his view leaves it up to him, barr, about the obstruction. i'm going to go to my guests. what do you see, matt, as the
issue? was this done the right way so far? >> i don't think it was. and i think the language he uses kind of gives it away. when he says the special prosecutor bob mueller and his team. they made a lot of hard decisions in the course of this prosecution. i assume they made the decision not to make a final determination on that because doj's own rules left that decision to congress. and they didn't think that indictment was an option so they didn't make a decision because they didn't have to. >> so you're making an interpretation that barr is essentially mischaracterizing the purpose of mueller leaving that open? >> he doesn't quite character it any way. there's an absence of characterization bhch he says just leave it to me. decisions aren't really left to the attorney general in the department of justice. i talked to my former bossaryic holder today. usually they come up the chain. if they come to the attorney general -- >> you're saying the former attorney general eric holder, you're saying this on the record. you're saying attorney general holder told you what tonight?
>> that when prosecution decisions come to attorney general they aren't just left to him for decision. the prosecution team makes a recommendation. the attorney general can accept it, rejelkt it, modify it in some way. but it isn't the case they just leave things up for him to decide. i think it was left to the attorney general to decide here. i think mueller and his team intentionally decided that this wasn't -- this wasn't their decision to make. because of the department's opinion that a president can't be indicted, this question of whether he committed a crime, and they seem to determine there's evidence on both sides, was a question for congress to resolve. bill barr could have left that question for congress to resolve. he didn't. he reached in and made his own conclusion and rushed it out the door i think in a way to help the president. >> trump famously fired the former attorney general because sessions wouldn't protect him in the russian investigation, so trump then has to find a new a.g. of the 1.3 million lawyers
in the country, and he hires barr who's written this unsolicited memo saying that the president can't be guilty of obstruction for something like firing the attorney general. and then the investigation's done, the special counsel punts on the question of obstruction, he leaves it to barr who unsurprisingly decide that the president isn't guilty of obstruction based on the evidence. so trump famously says he made a mistake when he hired his first attorney general. he did not make that same mistake when he hired william barm. >> what do you think is the significant and reason for barr writing there were actions by the president that have not been publicly reported in this mueller report about obstruction? i mean that suggests he is admitting for whatever his reasoning is tonight that there's new stuff in there we still haven't seen. >> yeah, and i think that's a
note for history. whether it's now or in 20 years the mueller report will be public, and it sounds like it's going to contain substantial evidence that there was obstruction. maybe not something that rises to the level of a criminal case, but something's there. you know, the famous refrain for the last two years he be that mueller knows more than we know. that remains true about obstruction. >> matt, take a listen oo some of the public evidence that was especially damning when donald trump explained that the memorandum that he allegedly demanded from the justice department explaining the false reason to fire clinton was false. he sort of told on himself. i mean to fire comey for clinton. take a look. >> regardless of recommendation i was going to fire comey. knowing there was no good time to do it. and in fact, when i decided to just do it i said to myself, i said, you know, this russia thing with trump and russia is a made up story. >> how do you read barr saying
that's the floor, not the ceiling? >> and he -- it's interesting how he deals with that and some of the other potentially obstructive acts that are known. he seems to down-play them in his memo by noting many of them are known to the public as if that makes them less incriminating. i don't think it does. the entire way that memo is written is in a way to make excuses for the president. i think you drew the right headline which is he does indicate there are pieces of evidence of obstruction that aren't yet known to the public. but he describes it in the opposite way. he describes it as many of the acts are already known. >> is he covering for trump or himself? >> i think paul has the right thing which is donald trump looked around at all the attorney in the united states and found the one who had written this secret memo to the justice department arguing that trump's actions weren't a crime, they weren't obstruction of justice. when he sent his letter on friday he promised by the end of the weekend or he would try by
the end of the weekend to release mueller's principle conclusions. that's not what we got today. we got mueller's principle conclusions plus bill barr's spin on the ball. >> i think you make a very important point and i think everyone's been talking about what the rules require. the rules require an explanation of charges and declamations. we have been so consumed in these first hours with what's in here regarding conspiracy and obstruction i would note this may not even follow the rules yet, although he could do it letter in that he doesn't explain any declamations of anyone here. although he references the president. he says the president's status as president is not what led barr to conclude he doesn't think his boss committed obstruction. and he doesn't explain any declamations for anybody else. >> yeah, look -- >> do we just forgot about that? >> no, obviously that's going to have to come out when we see the
final report. i think the way barr set this up if he had just released mueller's principle conclusions or if he'd just waited until he had a redacted mueller report that got of references to ongoing investigations we wouldn't have had this two step process. he inserted himself into this process to give the president what he wants. >> it is this way because barr just decided it would be this way. the rush, the weekend and the idea that rather than a mueller summary which still would have had great news for the white house. a mueller summary straight up, no indictments on delusion and not a sentence they found collusion and would have left this big open door on there's a lot of evidence of obstruction and he's not exonerated and we didn't reach a final decision, and historically that's the house. how different would that have felt tonight with all the underlying facts? >> it would have felt that barr was acting in good faith. i think his views on the president of obstruction are outside of the main stream.
they're not shared by most prosecutors and legal scholars. but i think i think he's doing the right thing. we would expect this note to say that the president has been exonerated on the issue of cuclusion or defraud the united states. on the issue of obstruction mueller was not able to exonerate the president. he found evidence on both sides. he's asked the justice department to make that conclusion. that we will do. >> i'm told that sometimes the most interesting parts of this job is i'm dying to know having laid that all out, matt, was the timing of this in your view fundamentally a strategic pr choice to benefit the white house or was there some other reason to do it this way? >> i think it absolutely was. i can't think of any other way. i can't see any legal explanation because i can't see how bill barr takes a comprehensive report, we don't know how long it was, but it's covering a two-year investigation and in 48 hours makes this complex legal decision about whether it rose
to the level of obstruction. >> and you're coming back. matt miller, talk to you soon. you're back next hour. coming up on this historic night a former counsel to three different investigations joins me and reaction from democrats tonight and senator richard bloomenthal will be here live. d bloomenthal will be here live. i'm missing out on our family outings because i can't find a bladder leakage product that fits. everything was too loose. but depend® fit-flex feels tailored to me. with a range of sizes for all body types. depend® fit-flex underwear is guaranteed to be your best fit. depend® fit-flex underwear in 1969, engineers put a man on the moon with technology less powerful than any smartphone. i became an engineer because of them. now i'm at verizon building a powerful 5g experience for america. we call it 5g ultra wideband. when i think of where people might go with it... i think of them. (man over radio) ...go for landing. ♪
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the attorney general's comments make it clear that congress must step in to get the truth and provide full transparency to the american people. the president has not been exonerated by the special counsel. we cannot simply rely on what may be a hasty partisan interpretation of the facts. >> senator richard bloomenthal on the judiciary committee is on the senate side of what we just heard from the democrat's chairman of the house jerry nadler. and he is one of the people leading this fight. thanks for being part of this special tonight, senator. could you hear me? i want to make sure. senator, could you hear me? >> i can hear you. >> oh, good. thank you, go ahead. >> i appreciate your excellent
reporting, and i might just add, by the way, that we know so much as a result of the mueller investigation but also because of the extraordinary reporting that inamerican press has done about the trump administration and the trump campaign and collusion and obstruction, which are still ongoing questions. more questions than answers. >> a fair point. and i can think of a lot of the reporting we followed in "the new york times," "the washington post," "the new yorker." some of our colleagues here as you mentioned and i had the audio thing. that's a nice thing for you to say. digging into it i wonder if we could get fruyou your bottom line on the two issues tonight. the way that barr has said the mueller report found no chargeable collusion and the way that he has added to what mueller apparently said, which is that obstruction remains an open question. your view of both, sir? >> this letter is elegantly but brazenly devious.
what he's done is essentially to frame the message before the facts are available, before the substance is accessible. he has in effect created headlines that will create a trap for all of us because we have to avoid falling into the headline messages. the crime of obstruction is designed to prevent destruction of evidence, whether it's witness tampering or document destruction. so the finding here that there was insufficient evidence to establish collusion may be the result of that obstruction. and one question i have, which really hasn't been explained is why the special counsel did not force and interview with donald trump? you mentioned earlier that there had been thousands of subpoenas. why not a subpoena for donald trump? i have great respect for bob mueller, but i said from the very start that trump has to be
interviewed under oath just as other presidents have been before. >> and from what we understand that was not an issue that forced at least a rules triggering conflict between mueller and any of his bosses. it sounds like you're questioning that as an investigative choice, and that makes sense to me. why not talk to the person at the center of this. top of page 3 barr says that mueller details in this report actions by the president trump, some of which have not been the subject of public reporting. most have, some have not. what does that mean to you, and does that mean we'll ever find out what those are? >> what it means to me is all the more reason why the mueller report, not the barr letter has
to be made available to the american people. the implication of that statement is that there is more in the mueller report about obstruction. and remember, contrary to what the president said, and you've pointed this out repeatedly, the barr letter says no exoneration. that is one of the few quotes from the mueller report. if there had been anything like exoneration there would have been a lot more from the mueller report. so the absence of that kind of evidence is very, very important. and it really requires congress to do proper oversight, ask those questions, have witnesses come before both the senate judiciary committee and the house judiciary committee. >> senator, stay with me. maya wilee an attorney i think you're familiar with and part of our coverage joins us now. if you could speak to the points the senator raises an issues of
transparency, and even for people who credit the white house for what is clearly good news for it on the collusion side, what are we to make of the way barr has done this over the weekend? >> so i think the transparency issue is central. there's simply no way that the american people can have any sense that they understand how this government has functioned, how the president has functioned and what evidence we have. because congress' job is different from mueller's job. congress' job is even to decide about even abuse of authority that might raise issues of impeachment. but the public has to know. i think the other point is critically important, that we simply have to know how the justice department operated here. so if mr. barr literally wrote something to extracts a positive
headline, in a sense hiding some evidence that the public might draw a different conclusion about, that's actually interfering with our democratic process. because people have to understand who their leaders are and how they're operating or else wree can't hold our government accountable to our rules and to our norms. and that's why congress has its own constitutional authority here, and it must be exercised in a way that's open to the public so the public can make its own determination. >> and building on that point, a final question to you, senator. given the two letters we now have from barr and your view as a judiciary committee member and we should remind viewers as a former federal prosecutor who knows your way around these issues, does today's letter satisfy the requirement under the rules that barr notify congress about bob mueller's decisions about who he charges i didn't charge?
because las in all these big headlines and they are big headlines is the fact on friday he cited that provision of the doj rules as the predicate for what would come out sunday night. but here i don't really see much discussion who he declined to charge at all. your view? >> no way has he satisfied that obligation to explain fully the facts. we're talking about facts and evidence behind this declamation. and as has been said, my experience as a prosecutor is recommendations are made, here there was none. i want to know why. i want to know why there was no interview of the president. and before congress has testimony from anyone, we need those documents. we need the factual underpinning for this rush to judgment, which in no way satisfies bob barr's obligations.
he has clearly acted in the president's interest, tipping that toss ball towards trump rather than in the public interest. and it's a very cleverly and a greatly done letter, but it fails to satisfy his obligation. and as you know, any lawyer, the most beginning lawyer wants documents before you do grand jury testimony, a deposition. those documents are absolutely necessary. the public has a right to them and so does congress. >> i think you put it well. and senator, we don't know what we don't know. i try to be very careful about the facts. i try to know if the lack of collusion indictments is big part of the story, but if you look at these four pages being held up by the white house and now barr as the evidence that donald trump's all in the clear, the fact at no point is an entire sentence ever quoted from the mueller report let alone a paragraph makes you wonder if your goal was to use the mueller report to make trump look pretty good? is there no full paragraph that
could be quoted to do that? again, i don't know what's in there. those are some of the big questions. senator, i home we can visit you again this week as the story unfolds. thank you, sir, and thank you maya wiley as always. ahead our own john flanary dropping the hammer and next hour my special report on trump, mueller, collusion, obstruction. what we know, what we've learned and what we have to do as a nation. ed and what we have to do as a nation surance was the easiest decision ever. i switched to geico and saved hundreds. that's a win. but it's not the only reason i switched. geico's a company i can trust, with over 75 years of great savings and service. ♪ now that's a win-win. switch to geico. it's a win-win.
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breaking down her view what should happen next. now our turn to former special prosecutor john flanary. he has been a key part of msnbc's coverage and specifically on "the beat" when we've relied on you. i want to start one-on-one, really get into the big picture. before we get into what's wrong with the letter, and i've had some experts tonight get into that, what do you take what can be gleaned from it, starting with the numbers i mean, when we see the justice department say there were 2,800 subpoenas barring some change, we expect that to be true and that's a lot of subpoenas. what do we take from first the facts? >> el, we don't even know the number of pages in the report. we didn't get an executive summary from the report. we have what really looks like a press release that didn't get
ready in time for the sunday talk shows so that they could have a romp through a very misleading document. >> well, let's pause, i've been watching your coverage, reading, try to make sense of it. you just said something i haven't heard anyone say yet, you said if barr would have told us today that mueller wrote a report that was 50 pages or 200 or or 500, that alone would be a great context for these four. why does that matter? >> we have the evelyn wood demonstration by mr. barr about reading that number of pages. and i'll bet you that knowing the way mueller works, there was probably an executive summary and there was probably a set of conclusions. >> are you suggesting -- >> why not just give us those pages? >> barr a pretty good lawyer but so are you. are you suggesting that the longer the report and the underlying evidence the worst barr might look for having tried to pull this off by sunday night? >> yeah, absolutely.
absolutely. and consider the fact that you've pointed this out, we have these partial quotes. well, what if the quote on page 3, "while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also doesn't exonerate him. he said the report. he doesn't say as to the question of obstruction of justice. he said the report. the whole report doesn't conclude he committed a crime. okay. >> that's great. you want to get into it. >> i'm glad to get into it. that's why you have me here. >> everyone at home, trust us. we're going to get into it and stay with it because, look, you know what jumped out to me the best sentence in the whole letter for trump -- >> right. >> -- also starts in the middle of a sentence. let me read it and i'll explain what i mean. it says on page 2, the investigation did not establish members of the trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the russian government in election interference
activities. now, having said that i wonder what you think as a lawyer about the fact that this has the classic bracket which again -- we're really on the fly here. the bracket t looks like this. and if you get in real close -- >> which is what we do when you're picking up something that -- >> the bracket t tells you what, john? >> that it wasn't the beginning of the sentence. that something preceded it. and they put the bracket there as the beginning with a capital "t." >> i like nerding out with you, but how might a lawyer change the meaning of this? well, that the report would say for example while there was overwhelming bad judgment and national security matters compromised, comma, and then lowercase "t" the investigation established. do you think barr would be that
cute or -- >> i don't think barr is cute. you thts in the comments afterwards there's no evidence. they never say even in this pr construct they say the investigation did not establish -- okay, it did not establish this crime? well, what was your standard? was it beyond a reasonable doubt, which is not the standard for a grand jury or any investigation i ever ran when you begin it because the case continues and you get more evidence and people cooperate and people drop off? so that's not the standard. also did not establish according to what crime? when they issued these thousand of subpoenas every one of them probably at least said section 371 which is conspiracy charge. they don't tell us what the charge is. and here's the other thing, you make a judgment when someone takes the stand you've never heard before, they're a truth teller or not and you operate on that premise when you question them. in this case we go in the second part when they're talking about
whether or not there's obstruction, that's a very funny paragraph there. and it's like barr couldn't restrain himself from spiking this thing when he shouldn't have touched it at all as to whether or not there was any obstruction. >> why'd he did that because th his contract with trump, to kill the investigation. this is -- >> well, hold on. >> this is with nuance. >> you say contract. if you are alleging that there was an advance quid pro quo to him taking the job, he had just made his rather robust views of executive power known. he is allowed to hold those views. >> he did more than just hold views. he was better than matt whitaker. he sent a brief as to how to handle this case. >> well, he's certainly more skilled as a lawyer than matt whitaker. >> yes. and we don't reward skill. we examine it carefully. i've said on here as well that a white collar crime, you don't catch the geniuses.
and barr is by far, and i don't mean to dis whitaker so much, a much better operator. and he did have experience helping another president avoid prosecution perhaps. >> sure. >> by arranging for pardons. >> can we show the viewers how you roll with your notes? >> yeah, sure. >> we've only gotten this recently. this is flannery. there you go. you got it? can you come in for it? >> nobody can read my handwriting. here we go. all right. you don't have steady? can we get steadicam? there we go. now thank you to the audience for bearing with me. what i'm trying to show you, and i think it's worth the wait is this is what mr. flannery has been doing all day. and this is a complex piece of lawyering. you're not giving as much credit as i am. i understand your point. >> this is a suspicious document. >> you're saying if creative lawyering and careful quoting is
being done to subvert the truth, you don't want to credit that. >> right. >> i'm pointing out it is done in a very elegant way is the way senator blumenthal said. i think it's not the last we're going to hear. what we'd like you to do is stick around. i'm not just here to do show-and-tell with your notes first. robert ray is here. one of the things that actually matters is to engage him. will you stick around next hour? >> absolutely. >> all right. john flannery stays with me. thanks to everyone. some of this we're doing on the fly. we appreciate your patience. what comes next? i have a witness to robert mueller's team. and at the top of the next hour, as i mentioned, he will share with you my special report on everything i think we've learned in the mueller probe up to tonight. 't accept an incomplete job from any one else. why accept it from your allergy pills? flonase relieves your worst symptoms including nasal congestion, which most pills don't. flonase helps block 6 key inflammatory substances. most pills only block one. flonase.
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questions than the answer mueller uncovered evidence that in his own words does not exonerate the president. the congress must step in to get the proof. >> that is one of the big statements that's coming out from the democrats late tonight as people make sense of what bill barr has done with this four-page letter we've been discussing, the excerpts he's release and what he hasn't said and what that all means. what we're going to do here as we turn to the top of the next half hour, obviously a little unpredictable on a breaking news night with a lot of guests, but today taking this all in, have i been writing my own special report on what i think the mueller probe means. what do we have in the results of this historic investigation, what he actually found on the facts and what the evidence would suggest he didn't find. this is important because it goes beyond just today. what did the 22 months show? how did bob mueller do his work? and i want to speak to everyone, not just any particular side, not just politicos or legal experts as to what we as a country might want to do when it
comes to respecting the rule of law when we get an outcome and conclusions like this. so that's what i've been working on. i will share it with you at the top of our next hour if you stay with our special coverage. as always, thank you for watching. this is msnbc. s msnbc. or to carry on a legacy? its show of strength... or its sign of intelligence? in crossing harsh terrain... or breaking new ground? this is the mercedes-benz suv family. greatness comes in many forms. lease the glc 300 for just $479 a month at the mercedes-benz spring event. going on now. mercedes-benz. the best or nothing.
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7. rhab. i'm ari melber reporting with our live special coverage in washington. on the mueller report, this is a defining moment for the presidency, for the president and for the resistance. bob mueller did not find probable collusion. despite claims from attorney general barr, muler did not claim exemption of justice either. hey want attorney general barr to explain himself under oath. let's get right to it. former federal prosecutor paul butler, eleanor clift