tv MSNBC Live With Stephanie Ruhle MSNBC May 29, 2019 6:00am-7:00am PDT
this is going to take several election cycles but i think we will see in 2020 common sense will prevail. the cathartic moment we are waiting for in congress will finally happen. >> we're a thousand percent with you. the new book is "fight like a mother" and you don't want to mess with a mother -- "how the grassroots movement took on the gun lobby and a woman will change the world." shannon watts, please come back. that will do it for us. stephanie ruhle picks up the coverage now. thank you. i'm stephanie ruhle. it's 9:00 a.m. on the east coast and we have a lot to get to. our extraordinary team of reporters are here with the details on the stories impacting your life today. starting with the lone republican advocating for president trump's impeachment. congressman justin amash getting a standing ovation at a town hall in his own district. >> it is more dangerous for our country to allow a president to make things up. you know, there are a lot of protections here for a
president. but we should expect the president to uphold the law. >> the house fails again to pass disaster funding with one single republican objecting to $19 billion for parts of the country that had been affected by severe weather. breaking overnight for the 13th straight day that severe weather rages on. tornadoes ravaged the country from kansas all the way to new jersey. this as flood warnings grip states along the swollen arkansas river, including in oklahoma, where every single county is under a state of emergency. we have got to start this morning with that dangerous weather. now millions of americans from the heartland to the east coast are waking up at risk right now. after tornadoes carved a destructive path across kansas, including this monster twister on your screen right now in the town of lawrence. another tornado took aim at the town of linwood, ripping buildings to shreds.
and it's not just tornadoes. historic flooding is hitting communities across the midwest and great plains. arkansas and oklahoma are seeing the worst of it at this moment. i want to take you to gabe gutierrez in dayton, ohio, where recovery efforts continue this morning after a dangerous and unfortunately deadly storm. gabe, what are recovery efforts like at this point? >> stephanie, ohio's government declared a state of emergency for several counties. just take a look at all of this devastation. this building just came crashing down. luckily no one was inside. we can also take a look at some of the damage from the air. again, this was a powerful ef-3 tornado packing winds up to 140 miles an hour. incredibly nobody was injured in this building but nearby dayton in the town of salina, ohio, one person was killed. a twister slamming into parts of kansas. luckily the kansas city area was
spared but 12 people were injured in a neighboring county. some people had a shelter in place at the kansas city airport as well. also parts of new jersey and pennsylvania hit hard overnight with passing storms. high winds destroying homes in pennsylvania. also hitting a school in new jersey. again, the cleanup effort here in ohio is continuing today. shelters have been open for displaced residents and local authorities are warning people to not -- local authorities are warning people to conserve water rather because the power is out at some of the pumping stations here, stephanie. >> dave, thank you very much. dave gutierrez joining us from ohio. let's take you to kelly o'donnell on capitol hill, where i mentioned it a moment ago, the house has failed to pass a disaster aid bill for the second time. kelly, we just saw devastating images. who is voting no to this and explain why. >> well, in this instance it's thomas massie of kentucky, a
republican member of the house who had the power of one behind him. it only takes one for this particular procedural vote. what had happened was he on theed sayi-- he objects saying members of the house should take a role call vote for the $19 million package of aid for states across the country and puerto rico who suffered in natural disasters, also extends flood insurance. it's a big package that was very hard to achieve right off the bat. it took months of negotiation, and he's objecting. earlier we saw from chip roy, republican governor of texas, his objection who thinks everyone should vote and he also objected to the fact there's no funding in this package for migrant aid at the border. that would be money for agencies dealing with the migrant crisis. the president wanted that but he even back add way in orded awayt
this federal funding passed. this is one of those issue where's the process and politics are colliding. one member can do this. it can be overcome next week when the members come back and everyone can vote. but democrats will try again tomorrow, steph. they will bring this up for what's called unanimous concept vote and that does not require anyone in the chamber, and they can pass this, because the senate did it last friday. part of the frustration here among some conservatives -- and there are only two who have stepped up -- is that the house is on recess. they're out of town. they say passing $19.1 billion should require a vote. the bigger issue here is there are other republicans who said this needs to pass. certainly democrats like nancy pelosi, house speaker, called this heartless because this has been dragging on for months to try to get this funding for a lot of different disasters going back a few years. steph? >> politics and process, that is d.c. gridlock in a nutshell. kelly, thank you so much. let's take you on the road
where our road warriors are standing by starting with vaughn hillyard in south carolina, where democratic candidate kamala harris took part in an msnbc town hall last night. vaughn, senator harris is getting a lot of attention for her new plan on women's rights. she laid it out in the town hall. give us the highlights and also the reaction. >> there's a big focus starting off the top, her new policy proposal she outlined down the road in spartanburg, south carolina. as state legislators in places like missouri, alabama and mississippi have been passing these restrictive abortion bills, kamala harris rolled out a plan that said she would call on the u.s. house and u.s. senate to pass major piece of legislation that would require state legislators to go and seek approval from her department of justice before signing off and ultimately putting into place those particular types of measures. if in the past those states had
shown to go against -- and the courts have found them to violate roe v. wade. last night she took the issue head on, but then was also confronted by our msnbc lawrence o'donnell about the very real reality it would take 60 votes in the senate in order to pass such a legislation, a tough hurdle to overcome. this was last night over in spartanburg. >> when elected i'm going to put in place and would require states that have a history of passing legislation that is designed to prevent or limit a woman's access to health care, that those laws have to come to my department of justice for a review and approval and until we determine they're constitutional, they will not take effect. >> that sounds like it needs 60 votes in the united states senate. >> you know what, everything that we need to do will require 60 votes in the united states senate, which is why i say
everybody 2020 is about the white house and also about the united states senate. >> it is clear women's reproductive rights certainly making its way on to the 2020 ticket. let's go to garrett haake in texas where front-runner joe biden has unveiled his platform of the campaign talking education and at the same time, you knew this was coming, reacting to president trump's insults when he was abroad. get us up to speed. >> the biden campaign has tried to keep the candidate himself above the fray when it comes to responding to president trump's insults while he was in japan over the past weekend. the campaign came out with a statement yesterday saying the president's comments were beneath the dignity of the office, muscular statements pushing back against donald trump's comments. joe biden himself did not speak in houston, texas and went out of his way to not take questions from myself and some of the reporters who tried to ask him about it after the event.
but at a fund-raiser last night he said look, i'm not getting down in the mud with donald trump. the vice president said, we know who this man is. i'm not going to get down there. instead the vice president tried to keep the focus on his education plan they were rolling out yesterday. the details focused around a tripling of funding for title one schools in the country. they try to tie this money to hire and retain the best teachers. they also link infrastructure to their education plan to the sense they want to make sure skills are rebuilt into better, stronger, safer places. one of the more interesting things about this plan, it also focuses a lot on career readiness for high school graduates. talking not just about college readiness but how to get people into the workforce. when we heard some of this from joe biden yesterday at this town hall event, only got halfway through about explaining this plan and giving himself an old-fashioned hook saying he's been talking too long and wanted to take questions. steph, we're hoping to hear a little more by the vice president today, including how
he would pay for the plan. >> pay for the plan is always the important part. thank you very much. let's talk to my colleague leon caldwell in grand rapids, michigan, with another sort of town hall took place last night. this one by the lone republican in congress calling for an impeachment inquiry into president trump. leann, you know we're talking justice amash. how did he explain his position to constituents last night? >> steph, the congressman is now one of about three dozen members of congress who have come out in support of the impeachment proceedings. of course, the big difference is he's the only republican. so he knew walking into this town hall last night that he was going to have to defend himself. he said it's not about criminalities but the president has lost the trust of the american people. he read all 448 pages of the mueller report but he also said something else, he said he thinks partisanship is overtaking the responsibility that congress has to oversight and separation of powers.
but here's what he had to say in his own words as well. >> to me the comment was obviously impeachable, so the question is do you then move forward with impeachment proceedings? and my biggest concern, i thought about this for a long time, like i said, i spent a month reviewing, analyzing, thinking about it, and i am concerned we've gotten to the point where impeachment could never be used in any circumstance and i think that is a greater risk than the risk that it will be used too often. >> leann, that is what congressman amash had to say. i must ask, what did the people who attended the town hall have to say? >> steph, so he got a standing ovation when he walked in the room. there were about 800 people in a packed auditorium. there were a lot of democrats who came to offer their support for the congressman but this is a red district, and swechbconsts
know he has an independent streak and follows libertarian believes as well. we talked to one republican who voted for amash and longtime republican supporter. she said she came to hear what he had to say. she was disappointed in his for impeachment,eller report but then after the event we caught up with her again and shi said that he opened her eyes. >> i don't have a problem with proceeding. i'm a republican. but i will see what happens. though in the back of my mind, i know it's not going to be passed in the senate most likely, two-thirds vote is not going to pass but if the process has to go this far, i think that's fine. go ahead. >> it's about reaching the american people and telling them the truth. transparency is everything.
leigh anne caldwell, thank you very much. we are digger deeper on stories that mean so much to you. starting with the town hall and something afterwards about the mueller report that will shock you. later, the chinese war is much more than the battle of tariffs. we will talk about the future of technology and who runs the internet. you consider it a utility in your life, how that is at stake now. make fitness routine with pure protein. high protein. low sugar. tastes great! high protein. low sugar.
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comment, and then i have a question. first, i want to salute your courage. >> many of the people cheering me on will not vote for me, aren't going to support my campaign. i don't care. it doesn't matter to me though. this is what it means to be -- to be like a bigger person, like it doesn't matter to me that some people won't support me or that they are hypocritical. you have to do the right thing regardless. >> it doesn't matter to him. there were plenty of supporters and also critics at justin amash's town hall last night. there were also who disagreed with the congressman but supported his right to speak his mind anyway. i have to deal into this. the national political reporter from bloomberg news and jeff mason, white house correspondent for reuters. both with me to dig in.
this guy is known to be a pri e principled independent but not known to be a thought leader and certainly not known on the national stage even a couple weeks ago. he's not just taking a position, he's now out there publicly defending it. are there real consequences? does he have a game plan, or is this going to be just a blip on the radar? >> i think, stephanie, he's speaking his mind as he often does. justin amash is a caucus in the sense he's the least partisan republican in the house and senate as well. he's the most willing to criticize president trump. he is reading the mueller report and seems to be following to his logical and substantive conclusion here. he pointed out it's not a immediate conclusion, especially for him in a red district, and the question are other republicans going to come along with him? the answer appears no but are there other moderate republicans in tough districts and looking at him saying if he can speak out on this issue, i can speak
out on this issue as well. >> jeff, democrats are wondering what republicans are going to do. amash also thought about what he thinks those reasons are thinking. listen to this. >> you saw what happened to my from our so-called leader kevin mccarthy. i read the mueller report. i'm sure he did not read it. i stated what it actually says and he just resorted to ad hominem attacks and other various attacks that have nothing to do with the mueller report. this is the kind of leadership, in quotes, that we now have in congress. >> i can't imagine kevin mccarthy likes that. besides kevin mccarthy, have you seen any cracks among republican lawmakers on this issue? amash makes some did arguments there. >> not really. i think sahel point is good. whether or not there are other republicans coming, so far it doesn't look like that will happen. i think the bigger question is whether a whole lot of other
moderate democrats decide to say we have a republican in the ranks as well who's willing to call the president out about this and call for impeachment, is that a call we should answer as well? in general i think that's probably not going to happen. i think the speaker of the house calculated so far although there are some people on the democratic side and left wing side of her caucus who want that, that it doesn't have enough support to get as far as the democrats who do want that to go, would want it. and also just looking at the political reality of what happens in the senate and one of the constituents mentioned that as well. if it were ever to get that far, it would not actually lead to impeachment of the president and would that hurt democrats and even tough independent republicans as well in the long run if they let it go that far. >> so we would see cracks in the republican party if that's what their voters were telling them. what are you hearing about the republican base? >> well, the republican base is strongly behind president trump.
his approval rating hovers around 90%. he's spent about -- i should say 90% with republican voters. much lower, about half with the country at large. and many of those republican voters, probably most of them, don't accept the mueller report and its findings and they do not believe the president committed impeachable offenses. so they're simply not on that page. i'm also struck by the clarity amash is bringing to this issue, whether you agree or disagree with him, in contrast to democratic leaders in the house who are basically saying the same thing, the president appears to have obstructed justice, but he's saying pursue that to the next conclusion and republicans say don't do that and democrats are struggling to articulate an inherent position on this. they're reading the same polls we are and seeing the american people are not there on impeachment yet and that seems to be guiding the leadership of the democrats to a significant
extent. >> but they're also watching or listening to one flavor of news. sahil said republican voterser not accepting the mueller report's findings. please listen to what town hall member said after the event. >> i was surprised to hear there was anything negative in the mueller report at all about president trump. i had not heard that before. and i mainly listen to conservative news. and i had not heard anything negative about that report, and president trump had been exonerated. >> that is amazing. a 400-page report with last line, no person is above the law, and then it cites u.s. versus nixon. there you have it, an engaged voter said they had no idea there was anything negative in the report. jeff, what do you make of that? is that a sign to democrats that they need to be reaching out to republicans, getting themselves
air time on fox news? maybe even doing a debate there? >> well, that's a great question. that's probably not one for me to answer, that's one for the dnc to answer. but what i do make of it is the success of the white house and republicans generally to frame the conclusions of the mueller report has really been obvious with its base. the fact you have as you say an engaged voter saying it was news to me there was anything negative in that report is astonishing really in terms of the success, as i said, of how that framing has been done, how the white house has been able to say no collusion and how republicans have been able to do that as well. the broader commentary on whether or not the media is -- depending on where you watch your media, be it on conservative or left leaning or more centrist, is another question. >> i'm guessing, sahil, everyone across a political spectrum would listen to what robert
mueller has to say. do you believe an incentive like that would incentivize robert mueller to speak out publicly? remember, he wasn't pleased with the four-page summary william barr put together. he didn't believe it reflected the context in which he wrote that report. would this sentiment affect that? >> i don't know about that, stephanie. yes, on one hand mueller wants the public to know actively what -- accurately what he put out there but he's not of the public opinion. he was given a job by the doj and by all accounts do that accurately. does he want to publicly testify? i think hearing misconceptions spreading, that might motivate him. but bottom line i don't think he will be motivated by public opinion. that's up to lawmakers and reporters and everybody else to inform the public about what happened. the last thing i would like to say about justin amash, looking forward to his republican primary next year, it will be
fascinating to see if a republican who takes this position can survive. other republicans who dared cross president trump either ended up retiring or losing primaries. we will see if he can survive this. >> we will see. thank you both so much. next, we will get back to the deadly storms. they're still tearing through the midwest after 13 days of tornadoes and historic flooding. we will speak to someone on the front lines trying to rebuild these devastated communities still being hit. to a single defining moment... ...when a plan stops being a plan and gets set into motion. today's merrill can help you get there with the people, tools, and personalized advice
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americans waking up to severe weather damage and the threat for even more today. you're looking at video from lawrence, kansas, where last night a powerful tornado wreaked havoc on the community there, leaving a trail of destruction in its path. tornadoes also touching down in dayton, ohio, northern pennsylvania and even reportedly in new jersey. these storms are just the latest in an unprecedented stretch of severe weather. there have been tornadoes for 13 straight days with an average of 27 each day. the storms have impacted at least 20 states across the nation, mostly in the midwest. during this time there have been
more than 350 reports of tornadoes and more than 2,500 reports of severe weather. the tornadoes left 7 people dead and dozens more injured. but it's not just tornadoes. it's also historic flooding. during the record-breaking rainfall, eight state as long the mississippi river are dealing with the longest lasting floods since the great flood of 1927. and cities along the arkansas river are now bracing for the worst, as authorities there try to prevent the aging levees from completely giving out. at this point every single county in oklahoma is now under a state of emergency. joining me now, someone who's been dealing with this unprecedented stretch of storms, trevor riggins, senior vice president for the american red cross. thank you for your services. have you seen anything like this in terms of the length of the storm cycle and the fact it is impacting so many states? what's your strategy here?
>> thank you for having us on. it really is unprecedented. since late march, the last 90 days of just intense, severe weather across the midwest and south, we had to stand up 44 different relief operations to these disasters across all of those states. just last night we had 480 people staying in more than 30 shelters in eight different states, so just the impact has been devastating to communities and our hearts go out to every single family suffering through that devastation but also a risk for severe weather we're facing over the coming days. >> trevor, we know the red cross always needs more resources but does the length of this cycle and inaction in congress put more pressure on you guys to do more? >> our work is we're driven by the american public and their generosity. we're so grateful they're stepping forward once again. so the activity of congress isn't really dictating our work. what is driving our efforts are our volunteers. our volunteers are what allow us
to respond within hours to every single disaster. just yesterday from the devastating disaster that came through ohio, our volunteers had a shelter open within an hour of that tornado striking, we had a safe place for people to go. we're so thankful to the committed men and women who step forward to help their neighbors and generous donors that make it possible. >> we're thankful for your work. thank you so much, trevor riggan, with the american red cross. always look for the helpers. the red cross. coming up, money and politics, talking about the trade war with china. why one of the world's biggest technology company is now taking the trump administration to court. that's next. before we go, you must, must see this. what could be the worst first pitch of all time. that right there on the pitcher's mound is a white sox employee of the month. she got the chance to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. in the words of bob uecker, it was just a bit outside. here's the good news, in case
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welcome back. we've got breaking news just outfrom the justice department, special counsel robert s. mueller iii to make a statement on the investigation into russia interference in the 2016 presidential election. so there you have it, robert mueller will be speaking. i want to bring in our legal analyst glenn kirschner for reaction. glenn joins me my phone. glenn, what's your take here? >> steph, my take is mueller may have reached his breaking point.
we have seen his findings and conclusions twisted and contorted by attorney general barr so dramatically that mueller had to weigh in with a letter of his own. in substance, steph, telling that the attorney general cut it out, you're misleading the american people. i have been wondering knowing bob mueller from having worked with him in the d.c. attorney's office, i have been wondering when he would feel compelled to step up and correct the record. i believed all along he would come forward and tell the truth if barr continued down the road of mischaracterization. and it looks like he is doing that now. >> according to the statement from the department of justice, it will be a statement by robert mueller only. he will not be taking questions after. so you truly feel this is a breaking point. give us a bit of a history lesson. you wrenched it there. soon after william barr put that four-page summary out, robert
mueller wasn't happy with it. >> no, he wasn't. we saw how tight-lipped and how sir couple spent mueller and his team were throughout the 22-month investigation. i think we all found it remarkable there were no leaks, there were no stumbles, there were no misstatements by mueller or his team during the life of the investigation. in fact the only time he came out and said anything was when he had to correct the record, and that correction, steph, worked to the benefit of president trump. and that i think showed the kind of man bob mueller is. he wouldn't let bad information stand in the public psyche when it leaked out and he believed it it was wrong. he felt it necessary to correct the record. here he is in something i don't think any of us saw coming, we had been hoping for it but have not seen it coming, ready to just step out and say whatever it is he's about to say to the american people. but i think it's going to be
pretty monumentous. >> glenn, stay with us. i want to bring ken dilanian from our investigations team in. ken, there we have it, 11:00 a.m. today robert mueller is going to be making a statement. help us understand who robert mueller is and what we've gone through with him over the last year and a half. to say he's run a tight-lipped ship is an understatement. >> you can see that again, stephanie. i have one piece of information for you which is whatever statement robert mueller's going to make is not related to that report yesterday that alleged that there was an indictment ready to go on obstruction of justice sitting on his desk, which a spokesman for robert mueller flatly denied. hold on a second. fill us in on that one more time. >> i'm told by a u.s. official there was a report yesterday and it wasn't widely picked up because robert mueller's spokesman flatly denied it. a new book, alleged by the
guardian, alleged there an indictment, draft indictment for charges of obstruction against president trump, sitting on robert mueller's desk. this is not true and will be denied but that is not what robert mueller is addressing today. what he is going to address, we have no information on that now. but you're absolutely right, just the idea of robert mueller after two years of silence and sitting in the shadows and conducting this investigation into secret appearing before the cameras and hearing his voice -- we have not even heard his voice. look, robert mueller is a public figure. he was the fbi director after 9/11. he testified before congress many times. but there's a whole generation of people who weren't paying attention to the news back then but are paying -- have been paying very close attention to this investigation who have never heard from robert mueller. and so whatever he has to say today will be of dramatic interest. and you have to believe that there is something important
that he feels he has to communicate. now, he's been invited to testify before congress and those investigations have been ongoing. so far no deal has been reached. it's been reported he's wanting to testify for the most part behind closed doors and it's not clear why that is. today, stephanie, we will hear from robert mueller publicly. now we've been told he will not take any questions from journalists. he's simply going to make a statement and then that will be it. there will be no opportunity for journalists' questions. >> ken, stay in position. we must hear from the white house. let's bring in peter alexander. peter, as i understand the white house was not caught off guard. does that mean they're okay with this? >> well, it's worth noting i just hung up the phone with an official here at the white house, i asked him that very question, were you notified that robert mueller would be making comments, were you caught off guard? the official said they were not caught off guard by it, which does indicate the justice department in some form did communicate to the white house that robert mueller would be making a statement of some kind today. whether they know the details,
the specifics of what he will say, it's unclear. we're not scheduled to see the president on camera at any 30pot today. only time we had eyes on him since he returned home is yesterday, since he got off air force one and plmarine one at t white house. you remember there was an impromptu news conference he held last week after he led, that abbreviated three-minute meeting with nancy pelosi and chuck schumer that was supposed to be about infrastructure but the president was so fed up about nancy pelosi saying he was guilty of a cover-up that the president said he couldn't basically negotiate with the democrats. he walked out into the rose garden where they had this big sign up on the podium that talked about no obstruction, no collusion. and in the past we heard from this president saying, among other things, that he would leave it to the attorney general, to william barr to decide whether robert mueller should testify.
but he changed his tone last week saying, why does he have to testify? it's ridiculous. ridiculous being the word of the president. so we wait to see. will we hear from the president today? it remains to be seen. again, no public events scheduled. but i'm told by a public official, at least as it goes so far today, quote, it's early. >> peter, clarify this for us, while the white house may have been notified by the department of justice, do they know what his remarks entail? have they condoned it? >> it's a good question. i posed that very question to them. this official did not have an answer to that. all they would say is they were not caught off guard they would be delivering a statement today. it's been a quiet day for most of the morning here at the white house. we were not expecting again, as i noted, to see the president. he has sieeries of meetings behd closed door. swearing in ceremony for members of the xm bank and also going to meet privately with the secretary of state mike pompeo and also with the vice president
today. so to be honest with you, as soon as we got this announcement, as soon as everybody else did, there was a big rush within the press area. everyone trying to get any more details about it. an official who answered the phone gave me that much. as soon as we're done talking, i will circle back upstairs and try to get more info. >> let's hop in the way-back time machine. it was early january, one of the few times we heard from robert mueller's team and it was refute buzzfeed's reporting that said president trump told michael cohen to lie to congress. i want to bring in nbc senior media reporter dylan byers. give us a history lesson, walk us through what happened then and what your take today. >> sure. well, look as you pointed out, the special counsel's office does not go on the record and does not address reports like these unless it feels so much that the narrative has sort of run away from the truth that they feel compelled to weigh in. that was the case with the buzzfeed report, i think there
was an idea that the suggestion trump had directly directed cohen was misleading or inaccurate and therefore the office felt compelled to weigh in. i think there's something similar going on here with the recent report from michael wolf and michael wolf's new book. look, sort of controversy surrounding the accuracy the michael wolf's reporting is nothing new. that's a sidebar of the trump administration. there's a lot of reporting in his first book that riled up the trump administration. some of it was true. some of it maybe wasn't. it's hard to know yet. i think that's why it's so important to see what mueller's office comes out and says in a few minutes. look, i think the fact that mueller's spokesperson went on the record to deny that any obstruction of justice, even proposal of obstruction of justice charge did not exist, i think it is significant. i do not think this office comes out and makes statements like
that unless again they feel like the narrative is running so far away from the truth. >> let's bring glenn kirschner back. glenn, when we were discussing this last week, we had heard robert mueller still works for the department of justice. while he does, the president or bill barr could block him from going forward if in fact he left the department and was a private citizen, he could do whatever he wants. right now as i understand it, he's still employed by the doj. so between now and 11:00 a.m., can the president or bill barr stand in the way? >> you know, i think in theory the president or bill barr could stand in the way, steph. and i think that makes it all the more interesting and curious what the scope of mueller's statement today will be. because of that sort of correction that they issued yesterday, let's hope this is not just more of correcting the record on that very narrow point, apparently inaccurate
conclusion in the book about mueller having drafted an indictment ready to go, ready to indict the president. i am concerned because he's a doj employee, he may have to vet with barr what he's about to say, and i would love to be a fly on the wall in a meeting like that, where it's barr versus mueller. my money is always on mueller when it comes to truth and accuracy and decency. but i think you're absolutely right, steph, barr could put his fingerprint so to speak on whatever statement it is mueller is about to make. >> ken, do we know if this replaces any sort of hearing? last week jerry nadler told our rachel maddow he expected robert mueller to make an opening statement publicly and then -- i believe, and then testify privately to his committee. does today's statement change any of that? >> no, and in fact that's not set in stone. that's simply what jerry nadler was saying is that was mrlg
muell robert mueller's position. jerry nadler wants robert mueller to testify completely in public and answer all of the questions so many of us have, the unanswered questions about how he approached this investigation and why he didn't make a prosecutorial decision on obstruction of justice, et cetera. no, this is completely unexpected and out of the blue and really quite apart from these ongoing investigations about what robert mueller will say to congress. congressional democrats, whatever robert mueller says today and he's not taking questions from journalists, let's remember, he's just simply making a statement according to what we have from the doj, today's statement will not be enough for congressional democrats who have hours, frankly, hours of questions for robert mueller about what he found in this investigation, what he didn't find and why he made the decisions he made, stephanie. >> and those democrats are angry the president was so successful at controlling a narrative, a narrative of total exoneration. glenn, you're also our muell
muellerologist. you know him personally and professionally. there was widespread frustration when the mueller report came out that robert mueller did not offer a conclusion. it's instead as he passed the baton to congress for them to do their investigations. he is giving these remarks today. should people expect a clarification or possibly more of the conclusion they were hoping for? >> it's so hard, steph, because i think mueller's instincts are perhaps conflicted and they're fighting with one another. because he's such a loyal chainchain chain-of-command guy. he takes very importantly the rules and protocols of the norms of the department of justice. and i think that's what led him to give the hyper kconservative opinion, listen, i found lots of
obstruction of justice but because i'm prohibited from indicting the president, i'm not going to make a definitive announcement. what i'm going to do is lay it all out in volume two of the report. and it's dramatic if people would just please take the time to read it, i will lay it all out and show you the evidence supporting the conclusion that the president committed multiple felony obstruction of justice offenses, and i'm going to follow the constitution and i'm going to hand it off to congress because i cannot indict. they can impeach. and that's the appropriate constitutional remedy. so i think mueller is walking a fine line. he's walking it as best he can, but i do wonder if he's reached a point where his instinct to provide truthful, accurate, honest information to the american public is outweighing the sort of chain of command concerns that he has with not stepping on the toes of the attorney general. so this is going to be a big
moment, i think. >> glenn, the last time you and i had this very conversation about robert mueller being a chain-of-command guy is when that letter he wrote to bill barr expressing his displeasure for bill barr's four-page summary made its way to "the washington post." we had the conversation about how uncharacteristic that was for robert mueller. he ran a completely tight investigation where nothing leaked to the press but that letter did. on that day you told me how extraordinary it was since respecting the chain of command was paramount for robert mueller. are we here at one of those points again where he might step out? >> i think we are. i actually, i have used the military analogy in the past. bob is a veteran. i'm a veteran. and in the military we're taught that you must obey the chain of command, and you must obey lawful orders. but what's even slightly more important than that, steph, is
that we are taught you must disobey unlawful orders. i think it is that instinct right now in bob mueller that may be inspiring him listen, i y lawful order, but i view it as unlawful and inappropriate when the attorney general is trying to deceive and confuse the american people. so, my duty to the truth is more important and that's why maybe this is the second time we're going to see him step out and do something dramatic to get truthful information to the american people. >> dylan, how is this going to play out? how will the media receive this? earlier today we aired some sound from justin's town hall last night where an attendee who only focuses on conservative media said she never knew that the mueller report said anything negative in there because she had listened to conservative media and the president saying totally exonerated.
the supporter's eye has been great. totally exonerated him in their words. if robert mueller speaks today and makes any sort of clarifications, how will this report and mueller get recharacterized? >> again, stephanie, goes back to the question of the narrative. you think of what the special counsel's sense of duty is. the sense of duty to chain of command and a sense of duty to the truth. he has been so disciplined. he has kept his head down. he has avoided the media spotlight. i think he is largely stayed above the fray of the debates that are happening across cable news and across the washington press corps because i think he believes he is irk wiworking in service of a greater cause, the truth. i think the great sort of moral dilemma that he's going through, again, is that idea that the narrative is running away from him. the nation, some of these trump supporters who you're talking about, don't actually have a clear picture of the truth
because it has been so twisted and skew ed by those who are using it as a political tool. and, again, i think, therefore, that sense of what is my duty, you know, why am i doing this and where does my sense of duty lie? i think there is a sense of duty to the truth and that's why he's coming forward today. >> things just got real. our chief legal analyst and host of "the beat" is now at the table. in front of you is robert mueller's 400-page report. short of him reading all 400 pages, that would constuitute a statement. what do we have here? >> bob mueller and his team spoke in detail through this document. most of which in redacted form is available to us. >> most people haven't read it. >> that's an important point. i think it's probably of interest to bob mueller. he's probably coming out today
with a keen sense of hasn't ingested the important parts of his finding. but this is a justice department press release of a very unusual nature. we've literally never seen one like this in the trump era. and, so -- >> what does that mean? >> number one, it tells us this is a justice department press conference not an independent statement. if bob mueller goes to congress or writes a post on medium or says what he says in any forum, he can speak as a human citizen bound by the rules. this is bill barr's justice department putting out to us that this justice department employee, special counsel robert mueller, will speak from the seventh floor conference room on pennsylvania avenue. what we know is bill barr agreed to this in some form. although he may not know every word mueller plans to hut other.
we'll learn a lot more in an hour and seven minutes. bob mueller went through every indictment without giving a statement. he finished the probe without giving a statement. when he was concerned about mr. barr potentially not capturing the context of what he really said and done in the report. he didn't issue a public statement. he talked on the phone in and private letters, as we know. what is happening at 11:00 a.m. is something has moved bob mueller to go beyond his normal course and say something to the public in a televised form. not a paper statement, not a letter that might letter be released in a formal way. in a public forum speaking from the power and the office of the justice department. so, whatever it is we know bob mueller thinks it's different than every other thing that happened to this point. >> the person who runs that justice department is bill barr. the person that put that four-page summary out there that in many senses enabled the president to say, i'm in the clear. let's bring in former u.s. attorney and nbc contributor
joyce vance. she joins us on the phone. joyce, ari just laid this out for us quite beautifully. so, we have to remember, bill barr has signed off on this. this is a department of justice press conference. democrats are salivating on what robert mueller could be about to deliver, do you really think bill barr would let himself get faced or embarrassed at his own press conference? >> so, i'm not salivating over this development. there is nothing new that has prompted this to happen. the same questions, excuse me, stephanie, the same questions we had percolating about the mueller report ever since it was released and barr mischaracterized it early on. the question about why mueller didn't make the indicting obstruction. so, i think that we should not have high expectations, but mueller is going to ride in and
allege that the investigation was perhaps short circuited by barr or anything of that nature. we don't know why he is doing this. we do know that there is no, at least public new triggering event that caused this to happen today. >> ken, please remind our audience yesterday new news reporting out of "the guardian" citing michael wolff's book around an indictment that was potentially coming. walk us through that one more time because that's not what robert mueller is going to be discussing today. >> that's right, stephanie. according to "the guardian" michael wolff's new book, which nbc news has not seen. the new book alleges that there was a draft indictment sitting on robert mueller's desk accusing donald trump accused of three counts of obstruction of justice. as soon as this story hit yesterday morning robert mueller's spokesman flatly denied it. saying that no such document exists. and, in fact, i was told that
once the mueller team went down the road of deciding not to make a prosecutorial decision which they say explicitly in their report they decided not to do, there was no talk of charges and no memos contemplating potential obstruction of justice. that's not the direction they went. that report appears to be false. mueller. was team is denying it and i am told that is not the subject of mueller's appearance today at 11:00 a.m., stephanie. >> kelly, take me to the hill. congress not in session right o now. most congress people are in their home districts. what are you hearing where you are? >> we reached out to various lawmakers and i would expect based on what we have seen unfolding today that there was some likely outreach to the relevant committees in congress. we reached out to various folks to find out if that is the case. we are at about two years and 12
days since robert mueller was named the special counsel and it has been widely expected that his time and service to the government this go around is coming to an end. he may be ready to sort of button up his service and formally close his time at the department of justice. that is a possibility. what is notable about him speaking now when members are in their home districts and home states is there has been so much political passion among democrats here on capitol hill to bring robert mueller forward for some kind of testimony. and we heard from house judiciary chairman jerrold nadler one way of doing that would include a public statement and then a behind the scenes question and answer session with the committee and then a transcript of that could be made public. but trying to turn down the sort of public spectacle volume of robert mueller appearance. that is where things have been left as far as an official
public appearance on capitol hill. big questions will be, does the chairman of each of the relevant committees know? i expect out of courtesy, he would have done so. but we're waiting to find out. doing it while they're on recess also tamps down some of the race to the camera ability of members to comment and to quickly game out what they hear today. and as your other guests and exporous ae experts are talking about, what left for mueller to announce or summarize and indicated he is not taking questions, that certainly means there is something he would likely feel is not opening a new door. that is just a guess. but certainly i presume journalists will be and try to ask questions about one of the most talked about and seldom heard from public officials in recent times. no comment is all we have heard from him in a couple years. steph? >> we won't have to guess in one hour and 20 seconds. all eyes will be on that
department of justice press conference and the one and only robert mueller will be speaking. that wraps it up for me in this exciting news hour. i am now turning over to my friend, chris jansing who picks up coverage. >> 10:00 on the east coast i'm chris jansing in for hallie jackson. what a huge breaking news story we're following for you at the top of the hour. robert mueller the special counsel in charge of the investigation is coming out at the department of justice. he is scheduled to make a statement on his investigation at the top of the next hour. his first public comments on the probe since he started as special counsel more than two years ago. a full team of reporters and experts who have