tv The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell MSNBC July 24, 2019 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT
single greatest job in the country. that said, a day like today is something special. i hope that members of congress, in particular the leadership in congress, recognizes that open hearings, open hearings before the really important for the country in terms of dealing with even the most controversial issues in terms of airing out stuff that we are fighting about as citizens and partisans and independents and voters and when it matters to the country, having us all have the same information is solid to move forward with a higher level conversation and more constructively debate and enables us to be better citizens. i'm super glad that congress had open hearings and hope they are the first of many and ready to hear from every member of muelleray team and being able to talk about this a real privilege. we will see you again tomorrow. good evening, lawrence. >> i love your job. it's the most important job in the world to me because it makes this job so much easier to follow you. your point is so important about
what today's hearings represent and what future hearings could be. hearing from the mueller team as many members of the mueller team as possible is important. there was a team, as you know, working exclusively on volume one and another team working exclusively on volume two. they have such a command of the detail of everything in that investigation and their own reactions to it that would be so invaluable to be hearing. >> essentially today now that we have heard from robert mueller. this special counsel's office could not have been convened and could not have sustained itself to the completion of the final report under anyone other than somebody like robert mueller with the reputation for integrity and a rigor that he
accomplished and his decades in public service. it maybe had to be robert mueller who was the name special counsel. it's clear from his performance he didn't do all this work himself. the report felt like the work of his staff and not his. he was taking it for granted that whatever the member of congress was reading to him must be in the report. you didn't necessarily have in mind that he 4 the whole thing in his head. all the more reason for us to hear from the members of his team who did the work when the details of the work and the decision making behind it is important in terms of what we don't understand as a country. >> the best version of a hearing is a minimum of four of these staff people two from volume and when the questions asked, they could decide which is the best 1 to answer it. who has the best information. they can tag team on answers in the interest of creating the best possible well of information that the congress
with have. >> exactly. i'm sure the prosecutors and the fbi special agent who is worked with robert mueller are cringing, hearing us talking about this. i'm sure it's the last thing they want to do. if you spent the last 22 months working with robert mueller on this issue of national importance, you do not want robert mueller's testimony to be the last word anybody ever hears from your team. i'm sure you don't want it to revert to your findings and the president calling it names. to the extent that the work doesn't speak for itself and we all know it doesn't and the people who created this work product ask did this investigation do need to understand the implications and what needs to be revealed. the other people will have to do it. their service is not yet over. i'm sure they would love it to be, but they need the country to understand what they have been through. >> one thing i'm glad about is
the detail of negotiation that robert mueller went through in scheduling these hearings and demanding a time limit to each one of the hearings. what that seemed to do was force discipline and the content of how they used their minutes. what is clear about it is each side was disciplined in the way they were approaching this. the bottom bast was reduced on the republican side. it was like they were two different hearings. certainly on the democratic side where they were very interested in getting all of the information they possibly could from the report out there on the table. the discipline was something i haven't seen the likes of in a long time. >> not to say that it was and everybody covered themselves in glory.
there was speechifying and people reading a carefully drawn set of questions and when mueller gave them unexpected answers, they didn't know where to pick back up and they were putting the right emphasis on the right syllable. you had a few experience theories from a couple of republican members. they complained that fox news was not cited enough. that was a laugh out loud moment. the chairman of the two committees led in a way that was very instructive and very helpful. both nadler and schiff themselves covered so much ground so expertly and nimbly at the start. at the on set of the hearings. i think it helped and today's hearing was an exercise in public education that is going to make us smarter and make us deal with the issue in a way
that is way more substantive. >> we had two members of the committees joining us and we will have a lot of help analyzing. >> something to look forward to. >> thank you, rachel. >> we will need a lot of help to cover today's hearings. we'll be joined by members of the committees who were in those hearings and will rely on a strong panel of experts for insights on what happened in the hearings. former watergate prosecutor jill wine banks and mika o yang who used to sit in the chairs right behind the members. she will be sitting with us. instead price is here, the senior director from the obama administration. ron is here and held more important jobs including the senate judiciary committee and the obama white house. we will get their analysis after we review the video.
for those of you who couldn't watch all seven hours of hearings, in other words, almost all of you, we will present a both summary of both hearings before our panel of experts contributes on what happened today. before we will be joined by members of the house judiciary and the house intelligence who participated in the hearings. in his opening statement in the first hearing at the judiciary hearing, robert mueller accepted the ground rules suggested to him in a justice department letter this week. >> the justice department has asserted privileges concerning investigative information and decisions. ongoing matters within the justice department and deliberations within our office. these are justice department privileges that i will respect. >> and with that, robert mueller guaranteed that he would end up refusing to answer dozens and dozens of questions and ended up
using the ground rules to refuse to answer over 100 questions, mostly because the answers would have required him to reveal "deliberations within our office," as he put it. that left time to frame yes or no questions that were confined to what has already been revealed in the mueller report. chairman nadler began with taking apart president trump's claim that robert mueller did not find evidence of obstruction of justice and the mueller report totally exonerated the president. >> he did not commit obstruction of justice, is that correct? >> that is correct. >> what about total exoneration. >> no. >> chairman nadler demolished the claim that the president fully cooperated with the investigation.
>> did the president refuse to request to be interviewed by you and your team? >> yes. >> is it true you tried for more than a year to secure an interview with the president? >> yes. >> is it true that you and your team advised the lawyer that an interview with the president is vital to our investigation? >> yes. >> is it true that you also stated that it is in the interest of the public to take place? >> yes. >> here still refused to sit for an interview with you or your team? >> true. >> the republicans seemed to suggest that the president could not be guilty of obstruction of justice if he tried to fire robert mueller, but did not succeed in firing robert mueller. >> was your investigation curtailed or stopped or hindered? >> no. >> he identified what the russian objective was in attacking our election process.
>> did your investigation find that the russian government perceived it would benefit from one of the candidates winning? >> yes. >> which candidate would that be? >> well, it would be trump. >> no republican in either hearing today was even slightly interested in why the russians wanted donald trump to win the election. they worked as hard as they did to help donald trump win. some republicans could not understand why a prosecutor would be investigating the president for obstruction of justice if the prosecutor was not allowed, according to justice department rules, to indict the president for obstruction of justice. mueller had the answer for them. >> you don't know where the investigation is going to lie and olc opinion itself said you can continue the investigation even though you are not going to indict the president.
>> several republicans on the judiciary committee wanted to talk about the fbi investigation of the russian attack on our election that began during the election campaign in 2016. robert mueller was not involved in that investigation that occurred during the presidential campaign and refused to answer all of those questions. no republican was interested in the details of the obstruction of justice evidence that the mueller report outlined against the president. but the democrats were. >> based upon your investigation, how did trump react to your appointment of special counsel? >> again, i will send you the report where that is stated. >> there is a quote from page estate 78 of volume two. when sessions told the president that the special counsel had been appointed, the president slumped back in his chair and said "oh, my god, this is terrible. this is the end of my presidency.
i'm f'ed." >> you said in your report news of the obstruction investigation prompted the president to call mcgahn and seek to have the special counsel removed. director mueller, the most important question i have for you today is why? director mueller, why did the president of the united states want you fired? >> oh. i can't answer that question. >> that shouldn't happen in america. no president should be able to escape investigation by abusing his power. but that's what you testified to in your report. the president ordered you fired. the white house counsel knew it was wrong. the president knew it was knock. the president should not have made those calls to began, but he did it anyway. he did it anyway. >> simply trying to obstruct justice can be a crime?
>> yes. >> it could include taking an sbrkz that would delay or interfere with an ongoing investigation. >> that's true. >> your investigation found evidence that president trump took steps to terminate the special counsel, correct? >> correct. >> corrupt intent exist fist the president attempted to obstruct an official to protect his own interest, correct? >> generally correct. >> an unsuccessful attempt to obstruct justice is still a crime, is that correct? >> that is correct. >> the officials and administration officials impeded your investigation. >> i would generally agree with that. >> i would like to ask the reason that you did not indict donald trump is because of olc opinion saying you could not indict a sitting president, is that correct? >> that is correct. >> for reasons known to himself, ken buck decided to emphasize
and reemphasize that the president could be indicted after he left office. >> could you charge the president with a crime after he left office? >> yes. >> you believe you could charge the president of the united states with obstruction of justice after he left office? >> yes. >> at the beginning of the second hearing in the intelligence complete, chairman adam schiff said that the hearing would be about disloyalty to country. >> disloyalty to country are strong words, but how else do we describe the campaign of a foreign offer of dirt on the opponent that did not publicly shun it or turn it away, but invited it and encouraged it and made full use of it. that disloyalty may not have been criminal, constrained by uncooperative witnesses and the destruction of documents and
enkri79ed communications. your team was not able to establish the crime of conspiracy beyond a reasonable doubt. not a provable crime in any event. but i think maybe something worse. a crime is the violation of law written by congress, but disloyalty to country violates the very oath of citizenship, our devotion to a core principal on which our nation was founded that we, the people and not some foreign power that wishes us ill, we decide who governs us. >> robert mueller began by going back to one of the questions that he was asked in the previous hearing. >> i want to go back to one thing said this morning by mr. liu who said "you didn't charge the president because of the olc opinion." that's not the correct way to say it. as we say in the report and as i
said at the opening, we did not reach a determination as to whether the president committed a crime. >> where they concentrated on obstruction of justice, they concentrated on the russian attack on our election. >> director, who did the russian social media campaign ultimately intend to benefit. hillary clinton or donald trump? >> donald trump. >> donald trump, october 31st, 2016, boy, i love reading the wikileaks. do any of those quotes disturb you, mr. director? >> i'm not sure i would say -- >> how do you react? >> it's problematic is an under statement in terms of what it displays in terms of giving some -- i don't know, hope or a boost to what is and should be illegal activity.
>> i want to focus on the written responses that the president provided to lie and cover up what happened during the 2016 election. where were the president's answers committed under oath? >> yes. >> what did you determine about the president's credibility? >> that i can't get into. >> shawn patrick maloney asked a question i said i hoped would be asked. >> why didn't you subpoena the president? >> we were almost towards the end of our investigation and had little success in pushing to get the interview of the president. we decided that we did not want to exercise a subpoena power because of necessity of expediting the end of the investigation. >> the president didn't ever claim the fifth amendment? >> i will not talk to that.
>> nobody told you couldn't subpoena the president. >> no. >> did you have sufficient evidence of intent to obstruct justice and is that why you didn't do the interview. >> the last element against how much time are you willing to spend in the courts litigating the interview of the president. 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. >> that was the only time in the hearings when robert mueller did discuss at any length the liberations of his team. we will surely spent the next few years or several years learning more and more about the deliberations of robert mueller and his team. why were they concerned about how long it would take to enforce the subpoena compelling the president's testimony? there was no time limit on the investigation.
with the president publicly attacking the mueller investigation as a witch hunt for years, were they concerned they might wake up some day and find themselves all fired by the president of the united states? how did that concern affect their investigation? did they speed up the investigation because they were concerned the president would fire them? when they discovered through don mcgahn's testimony that the president had already ordered the repeated firing of robert mueller, did that change their investigative tactics? no special prosecutor team in history ever faced such public harassment on almost a daily basis by the president himself. and no special prosecuting team has been dealing with a more unstable and reckless president. how did that approach the way? all of those were questions about what robert mueller and the justice department would call "the deliberations of the
mueller team." there were no answers to those questions in today's hearings. answers to those questions would lead to other questions that could not be asked today. the real history of the mueller investigation will not be written until we know answers to questions about the deliberations of the mueller team. for example, former watergate prosecutors are willing to tell us things they could not tell us in the heat of their investigation of president nixon. we are probably years away from members of the mueller team appearing on programs like this to reveal many important dynamics of the investigation that are not included in the evidentiary findings presented in the mueller report. jill wine banks shares her wisdom with us often. other experts are familiar to you. first, we will be joined by congressman eric swalwell who
was one of the few members who was able to question robert mueller in both of today's house hearings. >> 1,000 former prosecutors who served under republican and democratic administrations with 12,000 years of federal service wrote a letter regarding the president's conduct. are you familiar with that letter? >> i read about that letter, yes. >> some of the individual who is signed that letter, the statement of former prosecutors are people you worked with, is that right? >> quite probably yes. >> people you respect? >> quite probably, yes. >> they said all of this conduct trying to control and impede the president by leveraging his authority over others is similar to conduct we have seen charged against other public officials in people in powerful positions. are they wrong? >> they have a different case. >> do you want to sign that letter, director robert mueller. >> they have a different case.
>> thank you very much for joining us after this busy day. you were one of the lucky ones in both hearings. that was from the first hearing. i just want to get your general overall reaction to what you experienced in the hearing rooms today. >> we brought a very prepared team to both hearings that expected the director to stay within the four sides of his report and not to deviate. we were ready to defer him to different pieces. the american people saw russia attacked us and sought to help donald trump. donald trump welcomed it and planned for it. when he became president, he went to great lengths to cover it up. only because of the policies is he shielded in a way that no one else is being shielded from being charged with a crime. >> i want to go to an exchange in the intelligence committee
about the number of people who have been caught up in this investigation. let's listen. >> the national security adviser flynn lied about the discussions related to sanctions. >> that is correct. >> michael cohen lied about trump tower moscow? >> yes. >> the senior foreign policy adviser lied to the fbi about communications about russia's possession of dirt on hillary clinton? >> correct. yes. >> the president's campaign chairman lied about meetings he had with someone with ties to russian intelligence? >> that's true. >> in your investigation, it was hampered by trump campaign officials use of encryptions, is that right? >> we believe that to be the case. >> the last question about how the investigation was hampered by the us of encryption brought
out at different points, which is there were limits to what robert mueller could find out. there were roadblocks and successful elements of obstruction of justice that prevented the mueller investigation from discovering some evidence. >> he describes in his report that destruction of evidence, lying, tampering, and obstructing created gaps. so the president said there is no collusion and no conspiracy. in america, we don't reward people for burying evidence that investigators can never find it. we have a separate crime. that's obstruction. this president was shielded from obstruction and others were not and they were charged with obstruction. he laid out a road map for how to hold the president accountable. the only way to do that is through the impeachment process. >> i want to go to one of the clarveg questions of the day. robert mueller doesn't answer the question, but you can see
the answer is there. that's in the question about the credibility of the president. we will go to that right now. >> could you say that the president was credible? >> i can't answer that question. >> isn't it fair to say that the written answers were not only inadequate and incomplete because he didn't answer many, but he showed he was not always being truthful? >> i would say generally. >> and congressman, to be contrasted with robert mueller, he was willing to say other witnesses were credible. >> that's right. he said that michael cohen and rick gates were credible. that was essentially a careful prosecutor saying that if i could call the president credible, i would call him credible. >> yes, that's one of the things about this particular hearing.
with the limits robert mueller accepted from the justice department, his answers had to be interpreted more than they might otherwise. what was your reaction at the beginning of the judiciary hearing where you heard him say he was going to accept the limitations that were suggested to him by the justice department in that letter he received this week. >> that he's a patriot and follows rules. even when he's investigating a president who doesn't. as frustrating as that was, we were going to do all we could to get the information we needed. we did that today. today you saw act one. all the witnesses we need to bring in who were front row witnesses. also you should step back and realize if the president had nothing to hide, he would do two things. he would lift the doj policy who said a sitting president couldn't be involved. bring it. i'm so confident i didn't.
second, he would not tell the attorney general or muler to restrict testimony. he would say ask you want. he did neither that goes to consciousness of guilt. >> the most personality testimony was donald trump's own refusal to identify in the obstruction of justice investigation. >> and lawrence, from january 2017 until march 2019 when the investigation ended, donald trump met in person with vladimir putin six times. he exchanged 10 phone calls with him and four letters. he met with robert mueller zero times. again, that goes to who this president prioritizes. a dictator who sought to interfere in elections over the person seeking to protect the country from that attack. >> congressman eric swalwell, thank you very much. it has been a long day for you and i appreciate your work. >> my pleasure. >> when we come back, we will be
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your work speaks of a president who committed countless acts of obstruction of justice. in my opinion and those of many other prosecutors. had it been anyone else, they would have been indicted. >> for anyone else in america engaged in these actions they would have been charged. >> anyone else who blatantly interfered with a criminal investigation like yours would be arrested and indicted on charges of obstruction of justice. >> it is clear to my if anyone else created a false record and covered up acts that are subject of a law enforcement
investigation, that person would be facing criminal charges. >> joining our discussion is the former counsel of the judiciary committee and also a former staff member of the house intelligence committee. jill wine banks, a former assistant prosecutor and legal analyst and ned price, a cia analyst and former senior spokesperson for the national security counsel in the obama administration. the national security contributor and jill, to the question of what would have happened to anyone else if prosecutors found the pattern of obstruction they found from donald trump? >> they would be indicted. i'm one of the thousand lawyer who is signed the letter. i said probably two years ago i thought there was in plain sight evidence of obstruction of justice and the case could be made. everything we read in the
mueller report, everything that we heard since confirms there has been obstruction of justice plain and simple. it's really clear. the evidence of all the elements of the crime have been establish and were he not protected by the office of legal counsel, an opinion that i think is flawed constitutionally and legally, it's incorrect and time for someone to challenge it or someone to change it. it may take a prosecutor indicting the president to take it to the supreme court for a decision. whether you can cover up your own crime and get away with it. >> the state prosecutor can ignore that rule. mika, i was watching the committee thinking of you because you have been on those chairs and the intelligence committee and the staff section. this is the biggest hearing that came through your old committee in a long time. >> yeah, it was clear the numbers were really well prepared and you could tell by the way they pulled their questions together.
>> how unusual that is. i have never seen discipline in the house like i saw today. >> the members were running around and playing like second graders in soccer where they are running in the same ball and all asking the same questions. they were really fanning out and covering the waterfront. you could tell they really work edding toed and staying on message and focused on a few key things. trying to demonstrate the places where the mueller report didn't go into. things like the counter intelligence investigation and the financial crimes and showing there is still more work to be done here and we have an ongoing threat and challenge. they were very good at getting the points out. >> when you heard in mueller's opening statement he was indeed going to accept the restrictions that he accepted he accept for the hearing.
>> i was not surprised. he is a rule follower and a patriot as the congressman said and plays by the rules. there was a clear sign that the hearing was not the end of what congress needs to do to look into the events of what happened in 2016 and afterwards with the trump campaign and the trump presidency. it was a clear signal that look, if you are going to do your jobs, after i finished testifying, you need to fire up the subpoena and go to court and enforce the subpoenas and get to the truth. robert mueller couldn't tell the full truth today and the truth is important for these committees to find out. >> not one republican was interested in the question of why did the russians want donald trump to be the next president of the united states. >> they were not interested in public. they knew the answer though. that's the reason they didn't ask the question. they knew the answer because in january of 2017, they came out
with a high confidence assessment that said the russians were favoring donald trump and favoring hillary clinton for a number of reasons because they understood that trump would do their bidding and trump was their guy and remains their guy in 2019. it was in their interest. there was another underlying factor here. that's the fact that not only was trump against the sanctions that had been enact and not only was he someone that they saw as a patsy on the world stage, but he was quite literally capable of tearing our country apart. of pitting democrats against republicans and of minority groups against others. creating this hostility in this country that really and yes it's about his policies, but about the russians understanding that trump really destabilizes us at home and in turn that
destabilizes us and makes us less influential. >> the story of the deliberations, that covers every single discussion that the mueller team had amongst themselves about everything. it covers every thought that crossed robert mueller's mind driving to and from work. what did we lose by not knowing any of that at this stage? >> we lose some, but we have to focus on all the things that did come out today. it was very important because we clearly established that there was no exoneration. there was evidence of obstruction. there was evidence of cooperation with russia and welcoming the russian interference. there was all of these things that are really serious for us to know. the problem is we need the republicans to hear that. as you said, the republicans showed no interest in any fact. they didn't touch any of the
facts. they diverted into experience theorys and other things. they were not interested in what was coming out, which is to rebut how they played this report. that's what is important from today. >> i want to go to one of the moments of discovery where we learned something we did not know and this came out from raja krishnamoorthi questioning robert mueller. >> since it was outside the purview 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 didn't get into that mainly because there are many elements. fbi are looking at different aspects of that issue? >> currently? >> currently. >> did we all echo that currently? >> i think it was a real concern. we wondered what happened to the counter intelligence investigation chlg we didn't see
anything about it in the report itself. we were all wondering and he was referring those things back to the fbi. there was a fear they would get buried. he said it is currently under investigation. >> that was a surprise. >> absolutely. it was startling and perhaps it shouldn't have been. we know that counter intelligence investigations tend to start and tend not to end. they tend not to end even if they do end in criminal charges. in many ways, the afternoon session for me was so powerful because it took us away from this dichotomy between legal and illegal, criminal versus exculpatory and focused on right and wrong. adam schiff was very good in guiding mr. mueller in that direction. he actually got him to say and i quote, we should hold our elections to a higher standard than mere evidence of criminality. mueller said certainly.
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that's affecting his decision making as president of this country. >> in your experience on the intelligence committee, is that what you would expect given the evidence that you read in the mueller report? >> yeah, i think that it is very much an open question. unfortunately we didn't get a resolution to that today, but it's something americans deserve to know. >> where are do you hope the intelligence committee is able to go after this. >> there are still many issues on counter intelligence and figures out how deeply russia had its hooks in our political system and in particular, people in politics. also, we didn't get to talk too much about how we prevent this in the future. what do we do about 2020? mitch mcconnell is blocking any election security act that would help prevent russian or foreign interference in the election of 2020 and beyond. there are those things to answer
and for the judiciary, the issue of impeachment. >> there was a meeting of all house democrats after both of the hearings, some members left it saying it sounded as though nancy pelosi moved closer to the impeachment process. >> i let the speaker speak for herself, but you see a growing number of democrats who are convinced that we should open an impeachment inquiry. it doesn't mean at the beginning you are going to say right away the president should be impeached, but because the evidence, especially on obstruction of justice seems so compelling, more and more democrats believe we should open the inquiry and i think the speaker will be there as well. >> what can you tell us about what you hear from democratic members of the house who do not want to go to an impeachment process?
>> it's a mix of arguments and one is a political one. there is a political risk in having happened what happened to the republicans in the mid-1990s when they tried to impeach president clinton. it, essentially backfired on them. there is a great fear in november of 2020 there will be a misfire and democrats will pay a price politically. >> if you had more time with robert mueller today and he was willing to answer any question including the deliberation questions, what else might you have asked him? >> there were so many questions i think we wish we could have gotten answers to. the question about why he didn't subpoena the president, i wish we could follow-up on that. i have an issue with time being the main concern and if they knew the president was going to stall forever, why didn't they issue a subpoena after two months after he wouldn't cooperate for two months.
also on -- i wish he answered my question on compromise or leverage that the president may be under. there is just so many questions that are still left unanswered and still work for the intelligence committee to do. >> thank you for joining us at the end of this important day. we appreciate it. >> thank you. >> we'll be right back with more with our panel after this. ♪work so hard give it everything you got♪
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here is the closest that robert mueller came to saying the word "impeachment." >> at your may 29th, 2019 press conference you explained that "the opinion says that the constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing." that process other than the
criminal justice system for accusing a president of wrongdoing, is that impeachment? >> i'm not going to comment on that. >> in your report you also wrote that you did not want to "potentially pre-empt constitutional processes for addressing presidential misconduct." for the non-lawyers in the room, what did you mean by "potentially pre-empt constitutional processes"? >> i'm not going to try to explain that. >> that actually is coming from page 1 of volume 2. in the footnote is the reference to this. what are those constitutional processes? >> i think i heard you mention at least one. >> impeachment, correct? >> i'm not going to comment. >> what kind of game is that? i mean, he basically just did say impeachment.
he could have just answered, well, the constitutional process is impeachment. he could have said that right at the beginning. >> look, if people thought mueller the report was dry, mueller the witness made an effort to be dryer. and i think if you were looking for theatrics you didn't get it today. but if you were looking to see the former director of the fbi, a distinguished public servant, say that donald trump asked for help from russia, got help from russia, used help from russia, that's what you heard, and that's the bottom line of what we learned today. >> mieke, what left you most perplexed? >> so many things. i mean, i found it really strange that he was unwilling to even just read back the things that he'd already written. that he could have just simply said things that he had concluded in the report and just told the american people that. because reading the book and watching the movie are very different things. >> ned, the same question. >> you know, i think i was more perplexed, i've been more perplexed by our collective reaction, maybe our collective expectations of mueller. you know, he's gotten some criticism from all corners, left and right, for his reticence, for his taciturn nature, for his
hesitation to go into this. look, i don't think we should impose our own expectations on mueller. we should not have anticipated that he would light himself on fire to dramatize a 448-page report that details a sweeping and systematic attack on our election and the efforts of a president to obstruct the investigation. that in some ways should speak for itself. i think it reflects poorly on us and not on mr. mueller that he sort of seems to have let some people down. >> well, i haven't heard that at this table, but i know what you're talking about. >> yeah. >> jill, having the experience you've had working on the watergate special prosecutor team, what would you say to someone who's offered a special prosecutor job in the 21st century after kenneth starr, after all the special prosecutors we've seen? i mean, wouldn't you have said to robert mueller, look, you're not going to be able to be a private person, you're going to have to make a public presentation? >> i think that i would certainly advise that. but i would also advise that you
change the regulations. the rules that we operated under and then the rules that ken starr operated under were very different from what he's operating under. he's just another -- >> you were in a much more powerful position. >> we had much more independence and we had the protection of the attorney general as opposed to the president having the protection of the attorney general. and he's supposed to represent, the attorney general, the united states of america, not the united states president. so that's what i would say. and i would say that what i'm frustrated about is that what we need are fact witnesses. we don't need summary witnesses. we need to hear the actual witnesses who were told to do things that are obstruction. it's much more powerful to hear don mcgahn say the president ordered me to do this, to have lewandowski say the president ordered me to do this. that's what americans need to hear. and that might move the needle a little bit in terms of who's supporting impeachment and who's not supporting impeachment.
>> ron klain, in the press conference that nancy pelosi did after all of this she sounded warmer toward impeachment than she ever has before. >> yeah, i think we need to distinguish between impeachment and the impeachment process. >> impeachment inquiry is the way she was talking. >> yeah, exactly. and what's mounting is as the white house continues to stonewall, the fact witnesses jill was talking about, the house may have no choice but to take an impeachment process open to get that testimony. they need to get to the bottom of this. if the white house is going to stonewall, the impeachment process i think is almost inevitable. >> mieke, as a house veteran where do you think impeachment is tonight compared to where it was last week? >> i think you see more and more members coming around saying yes to starting this process. and i think ron's right. in order to be able to really put the full weight of the house behind the kinds of requests they're going to make, opening that process puts them in a much stronger position. >> ned, people were watching around the world. people in other governments around the world, foreign intelligence agencies watching this around the world. what's their reaction to what
they saw today? >> well, i think the reaction from our adversaries is in some ways going to be emboldenment. our adversaries like russia, china, the iranians, the north koreans, the countries that our intelligence community has identified as pursuing our election as a lucrative intelligence target. they will look at this and say look, only half of congress seems to really care about this. you have a president who's looking the other way and who not that long ago told another network that he would actually use this material if offered again. so i think in some ways far from serving up a red light or a yellow light to countries who would interfere in our elections there were elements that those countries would take az green light to go forward with what they intended. >> ned price gets tonight's last word. i know all of you have many more words to say about this. ron klain, mieke eoyang, jill wine-banks and ned price, thank you very much for joining us on this important night. that is tonight's last word. "the 11th hour" with brian williams starts now.
tonight a long day's journey into something less than the democrats had hoped for for so long. robert mueller in his own words. reluctant, passive, halting? stern warnings, few findings of fault. fault. he did not have all the answers. tonight we'll look at what he did say. it's not a witch hunt, it's not a hoax. we are under attack by the russians. he could not clear the president. and the president, he declared victory. all the loyal republicans behind him. but no answers or apparent anger tonight for the attack under way by the russians. as "the 11th hour" gets under way on a wednesday night. well, good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. day 916 of this trump administration. robert mueller was a reluctant witness, and it showed. it was a long day on capitol hill seven hours from star