tv New Day Weekend With Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul CNN March 23, 2019 3:00am-4:00am PDT
attorney bill barr has now received the report from special counsel robert mueller. the investigation, 675 days old is now over. >> it should be clear to everyone that russia brazenly interfered in the 2015 crisis. >> those who were found to have violated the law, the president remained defiant. >> i did wrong wrong. >> i was fired because of the investigation. >> i never said there was collusion. i said the president of the united states. >> i hope he will reveal the entire report so the public has a chance to see what's in it. because donald trump has done whatever he can to almost create a game of political back amole.
>> for two years, it's been through this. there's no obstruction. good morning to you, i'm victor blackwell. >> and i'm christi paul coming to you from d.c. this morning. >> the report is done. and now attorney general william barr is he could have conclusions. >> what that means charges against 37 people, seven guilty pleas and one trial conviction there will be no more indictments. no sit-down interviews with the president. president trump is huddled with his team down in mar-a-lago. some of them already claiming victory. democrats say before that happens, the report needs to be released to the public. a source tells cnn house democrats do have a conference call scheduled for 2:00 this afternoon. >> we've got a team to break
down everything. michael zeldin joins us, and sunlen serfaty is on capitol hill. suzanne mall volkswagen is in west palm beach. let's start with the report on this weekend. >> reporter: all eyes are on bill barr. he got the report late yesterday. he said he hope and intended to brief congress on the conclusions of that report. what we know so far, it's a comprehensive report. we don't know how long it is, how in depth it is. and he also said he would consult with rod rosenstein and robert mueller to see what information they could make available to us both as americans and as congress. it's crunch time for bill barr. he's had the report for about 12 hours.
he's gone through it. and he's consulting democrats, they have a call at this afternoon. will barr be ready by 3:00 to brief them. that remains to be seen. we know that barr is now absorbing this report. he's going to be consulting with the two main people involved in the lifespan of this report. and we'll see what conclusions they make. >> seemingly surprising that barr will be able, after receiving the report late friday afternoon, will then be able to turn around so quickly these principal conclusions. i think when we were reading that letter on air, that was a surprise. >> yes. i mean we did not expect that there would be a quick turn around here. i think people were talking as much as two weeks between the time that dod received the report. that was a real surprise there. what we don't know how the report is structured. if there's a briefing that
quickly followed with the highlights and also with the oversight that the doj had with the investigation. in a way, rod rosenstein had a sense of where the investigation was going, because he was in regular contact with the team. rosenstein said -- it was just earlier this week that he said he would stay a little bit longer because he wanted to oversee this process. but it is a big surprise that they're ready to be able to possibly brief congress today or tomorrow with these principal conclusions. >> kara, stick around, we want to go to president trump being this weekend in mar-a-lago. he does have his legal team surrounding him. and suzanne malveaux is there. suzanne, we have heard the president call this a witch hunt. he said there's no collusion time and time again. and yet, it's been 12 hours and we haven't heard anything from
him. >> awfully quiet so far. we're all the wwaiting at mar-a for a statement, perhaps, or even his twitter account. i can set the scene here. this is not a typical weekend. normally, it would be the first lady and the son barron, we have seen them. but no, he has a full complement of his legal team. his lawyers are here, his strategist and two secretaries all hunkered down and waiting to see this report. we did see him attend a big fund-raiser at the mar-a-lago estate. now, he didn't specifically talk about this, he introduced his friend, he said his real friend lindsey graham. and he spoke. he went all in. he especially lambasted one of the documents as part of the investigation as a pieces of garbage. he mentioned hillary clinton and classified information. at that point where members of the audience start ed chanting
again "lock her up, lock her up." you can see, they've got to be strategic as well depending on whether or not there is anything damning out of the report. we have heard this president time and time again being defiant. he was yesterday, as he has the last two years trying to make it seem like an illegitimate enterprise. let's just take a listen. >> i don't know anybody knows it's russia who broke into the dnc. how many times do i have to answer this question? russia is a ruse. this russia thing with trump and russia is a madeup story. >> russia story is a total fabrication. >> russia did not me. okay? i call it the russian hoax. >> they made up the whole russia hoax. it's a democrat hoax. >> it's a democrat hoax. >> he's going to try to discredit the whole investigation and ultimately,
the report if it's not favor only. his press secretary sarah sanders tweeting saying, that they do not have the report in their hand. that they are simply waiting for the process to play out. victor. >> all right, suzanne malveaux in west palm beach. i've got the same thing you have. it's 6:00 a.m. here. >> yes. all right. thank you so much, suzanne. >> thank you. >> yes, yes. let's bring in the panel now. we've got -- the questions we have to outline here and the answers we're expecting from bill barr. let's bring in the panel we've got with us. cnn reporter, cnn legal analyst and former prosecutor michael zendon here as well. and daniel lippman of the political playbook. let me start with you, michael. i want to start, first, to temper expectations of the first chapter of disclosure from ag
barr. when he says principal conclusions. this is not going to be the narrative that people are expecting. what are you expecting that he'll be able to turn over to congress. >> my expectation is to kara's point earlier that rosenstein and mueller have been working together for the past several weeks on a conclusion draft that could be released to the public. so, i don't think this is for the first time something that rosenstein is seeing. i think this has been a work in progress for a while. so that barr is going to receive this, read it probably for the first time himself since he's so knew to the investigation. but i think it could be pretty comprehensive in terms of what the final conclusions are. whether there was conclusion or receptivity for conclusion. i think we could get that from
barr as early as this afternoon after he's digested it, talked to rosenstein. i don't think this is the first time he's seeing mueller's report. i think there's an executive summary in the report which may be what we're hearing today. >> daniel, we have 18 attorneys general saying you've got to release the report. you've got amy klobuchar and everybody coming out and saying we need to see this. the public paid for this investigation, essentially. with that said, how likely is it that even if the public doesn't see it, that congress will see the whole report in its entirety. >> i think that's pretty highly certain that's going to happen. we had the wrote 420 to zero in the u.s. house of representatives which is a pretty definitive view of how they want the justice department to do this report. most of america, this has consumed the country. this is all we've been talking about the last couple of years.
it's made it much harder for president trump to do what they actually wanted on his agenda. so, if we don't get to see the report it would be such a letdown. and it would increase distrust in washington. and in the country. also, if those democrats and republicans accept the conclusions of the report, then it's going to increase, you know, trust in washington, d.c. as an institution. and also reassure americans that there is no witch hunt that is going on anymore. this is something that robert mueller did a very professional job trying to find the truth. and both sided accept the outcome. >> if it exonerates the president, what happens in his angry narrative of 13 angry democrats and the witch hunt and hoax if he gets what he expected? >> it makes it much harder for
him -- how is he going to say the last two years of me saying it's a witch hunt, don't listen to me anymore. i think this was a great investigation. >> no, i think what he says, notwithstanding the fact that there were 13 angry democrats who investigated me, they found nothing. >> yeah. let me ask you, kara, more than the mueller report being released leader schumer, speaker pelosi, they wanted unrelated findings. there are democrats seriously talking about subpoenaing mueller to come and testify. this is maybe the end of chapter one in the story. the democrats want much more. >> that's right. there is precedent that we've seen with devin nunes, they have obtained all of this information that doj has always sought and they've never wanted to give to the public, and yet, they were
forced, compel to the provide that information. you can see now that the powers have shifted if the democrats want this information they have sprae precedence. >> also from the clinton e-mails, the 302. >> that's right. rod rosenstein is a firm believer in not revealing information about individuals who have not been charged and that's a key component of the mueller report because that's what he's required to do. he's required to explain why he did not charge some people and why he chose to prosecute others. that's the real rub there. do you then create another situation where you have james comey, you know, announcing that they were not charging hillary clinton, but then adding details to that. which i think is universally believed as outside the department of justice norms. this is a situation where they repeat that buy explaining why they didn't decide to charge the various people under the microscope. i think that's the real issue
for the doj to investigate congress and how to do that. >> they could do that without naming individuals. they could say we have investigated the question of whether or not there was obstruction of justice. we investigated whether or not there are was coordination. and we've named the following. >> and daniel, regardless of what comes out of this, it seems like people are in their lane. >> yes. >> democrats are either going to -- they're not going to accept this. we do know, i think it was nikki haley. and i want to read this. said this after this long investigation, both sides agree to let mueller do his job and complete the investigation. everyone has to acknowledge that donald trump did not interfere in the investigation. now, the american public needs to accept the results and move on enough already. is this going to be enough already? people have chosen their lanes.
i don't know that anybody sees all of those people are going to abandon their lanes. >> democrats are not going to abandon their investigations and say just because robert mueller didn't find anything that was a crime by president trump and his family, then we're not going to look into the trump organization or the tax returns. these investigations are going to continue, you know, just as they had started. and democrats are going to be more out for blood. because if mueller did not find anything that he could charge trump with, then they are going to work even harder to, you know, get things, get documents, you know, drag up jared kushner to the hill. to make it harder for the trump administration to operate effectively. and to increase democrats' chances in 2020. >> alrighty. daniel lippman, michael, appreciate you being here.
we have breaking news this morning. the final isis stronghold in syria has been defeated. that's according to the u.s.-backed syrian democratic forces. at the height of their power, isis controlled an area of syria, roughly the size of portugal. cnn's ben wedeman has been near the front line of this battle for weeks. no one knows the story like he does. he'll join us later this hour with a full report from syria. house democrats are unified in their demand for the mueller report to be made public. in fact, more than republdemocr republicans as well. there will be a call to caucus at 3:00 this afternoon to discuss the report on capitol hill. we're live after the break. ♪
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caucus. >> sunlen serfaty is on capitol hill. reaction was swift from capitol hill, calling for the full release of bill barr's report. what are we going to see today. >> well, this is essentially, christi, democrats on capitol hill gearing up for this long fight ahead. they are getting on, as victor said, this conference call later today 3:00 eastern time. to try to get organized. a full house democratic caucus on that call to get a readout from the committees and chairman here on capitol hill, to get an expectation where this is all going and what they should expect over the next 24 to 48 hours and potentially learn more information if they have it at that moment. already, we've seen democrats on capitol hill be very clear and they're going to be very aggressive and very public with their push for information here. they are demanding not only that the full report be released to
capitol hill. also, this is important, they really want that supporting underlying evidence to also be released. this is something they'll certainly be hearing a lot from democrats. this is the senate minority leader chuck schumer last night. >> now that special counsel mueller has submitted his report to the attorney general, it is imperative for mr. barr to make the full report public and provide its under lying documentation to congress. attorney general barr must not give president trump, his lawyers or his staff any sneak preview of special counsel mueller's findings and evidence. >> as you've been talking about this morning, attorney general bill barr, in his letter to congress, they made it clear that they could spotentially be getting information and certainly, lawmakers and staffers up on the hill are
bracing for potentially learning new information. but very unclear, victor and christi, what form that takes and when that information actually hits the hill. >> sunlen serfaty on capitol hill. thank you. and we have back michael zeldin and daniel lipmann. i want you to listen to kamala harris, there are a couple things that stood out, let's listen. >> that report needs to be made public. the american people have a right and a need to know. the underlying evidence that supports that report should be made public. the attorney general barr should be called to testify under oath before the united states congress. >> absolutely, absolutely. >> and the white house should not be aintroduced to interfere in any way in interpreting or
presenting the information to the american people. >> michael, let's talk about one of the first things she said there, she wants the underlying evidence to be publicized. there's classified information in here. there's information that came from grand juries. a lot of it can't be publicized. is that right? >> most particularly, the grand jury stuff. classification is within the purview of the executive branch. they can classify and unclassify things if they want to make it public. we saw that as kara said in the devin nunes stuff, where they declassified things and released. the judiciary is within it and there are rules about the grand jury secrecy rule and it's not as easily breached as kamala harris wants it to be. and she should know that as a former attorney general, you
know. so, i think there are some problems with the release but they're surely going to push for it. and they may subpoena it. and there's some precedent in the watergate case for the release of this stuff. but it's not simple. >> daniel, what is the play from republicans or releasing all of this? on two points, one it was just that unanimous vote in the house for release of the mueller report. but as the context of the history of republicans and clinton e-mail investigation getting those notes from the fbi agent, the 302s. getting all of that underlying information and those documents. can they easily fight the release or request for underlying documents and information in this one. >> it would make it very hypocritical for them to argue against releasing a lot of this to the public or to congress. because as you mentioned, you know, they were the ones who laid the groundwork for this is how we're going to do these
types of investigations, where we see everything. we're able to process through all of the investigative materials, previously before the fisa investigation and they would, with the conspiracy and how it came about with the trump campaign. remember, president trump, he said that they were listening to everything going on in the campaign which was just not true. and that begged the questions of, you know, let's look at those documents. and so republicans are going to, you know, have to face a very tricky line of, you know, not appearing that they want to cover anything up. but also as michael said, and as every american should want, we shouldn't have grand juries secret service compromising our
sources get out in the public just because democrats want to make a point. >> you were talking about mueller who may be called to testify. we heard kamala harris say she wants attorney general barr to testify. how likely is that to happen? >> well, as attorney general, he would have to go in there, before the judiciary committee, would he be toeing the grand jury line that michael explained because that is part of something that is doj policy. and we've seen it so many times where, whether it's the ag, or the fbi director or the cia corrector, they come to capitol hill, and there are just certain topics that they say they can't talk about. so, i think he would have to balance that desire for information and satisfy that desire. he keeps saying he's for transparency in the law. i think he wants to give the
american people enough that they feel satisfied that they have a sense of what this investigation is about, but then have to walk that line that michael was talking about that he has to protect that line that he legally can't divulge. underlying the whole issue here, the doj policy is you don't indict a sitting president. what is it in this report, what does it say about donald trump's actions? that's why democrats want it so badly to become public. they said this is about their responsibility of oversight and if there should be impeachment proceedings, were there high crimes that they need to investigate. that's buy they're pushing saying he can't be shielded because doj policy says you can't indict a sitting president, if in fact there is a crime and activity that mueller found but he can't charge. >> yes. there is this narrative of victory or defeat 12 hours in. and we don't have anything from the report. >> we don't know what's in it. >> we don't know.
>> we should, show, in the next 24 to 48 hours hearing from bill barr. >> kara, michael, daniel. stay with us. they're with us for the hour. we have a lot more to talk about. >> in fact, we're discussing the impact of the report on president trump's 2020 campaign. madison gesiado is on the campaign. she'll talk to us next. mix it up a little. how about something for a guy who doesn't want a corner office? hey mercedes, i don't even own a tie. do you think i need a mahogany dashboard? hey mercedes, can you make it a little cooler in here? [ a-class ] i am setting the temperature [ a-class ] to 68 degrees. we hear you. we made a car that does, too. the all-new a-class. all-new thinking starting at $32,500.
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a cnn source says house democrats are having a conference call at 3:00 p.m. where they'll be briefed on the report by chairs of the relative committees involved. >> the main question now is will the report allege any wrongdoing by the president or exonerating him. joining me now trump 2020 board member madison gesiotto. welcome back to "new day." >> good morning. >> cnn is reporting the trump team is update, encouraged by what we know so far. which is very little. no further indictments is certainly good news for the president's circle. but without details from this report, is this optimism, this excitement, this we won, that we heard from a person close to the president is premature? >> well, i think no further indictments is not only good for the president of the united states, but i think it's good for the entire country. for two years, many people across the country were very concerned about russian collusion. they were concerned about that,
you know, there may be someone in the white house is an agent of a foreign government. if that was true that would be horrifying for our country. we now know that's not try. with no further indictments coming. i think it's fair to say that the president is not an agent of the russian government. there was no russian collusion and this is very important and i think a win for everybody. >> well, ethe guidance from the department of justice, even if they have a crime that they could charge the president with, the guidance is they would not indict him. is that not premature, considering mueller would not have indicted him anyway? >> well, we'll wait to see what the report says. but like i said, with no further indictments coming. and another concern that the white house interfered with the investigation as we've seen in a letter from attorney general barr. mueller was able to completely complete his report with no interference which i think is
important here. >> i know you want the full mueller report released, senator? >> i think that's great to see it released without the things that can't be in there, like grand jury classified information. and also detrimental information of people not accused of committing a crime being blocked out of that as well. we'll see what they ultimately do. we want to see. we want to see this report. people on both sides of the aisle said they want to see it. we saw the unanimous vote come out in congress. we'll see what happens over the next few days. leader and speaker pelosi, they want more. there are democrats on the hill who are seriously talking about subpoenaing bob mueller. and that's even before we see these principal conclusions or the report. what do you think about that? >> you know, we saw house investigations, senate investigates turned with nothing. i think it's frustrating that
they want to keep investigating, investigating, investigate, when they put their faith in robert mueller. trusting hi report. to now seem like because it's not what they ultimately wanted they aren't going to trust him anymore. we'll see what happens, but that's disconcerting to me. >> how is that different than what republicans did trying to get more information from the clinton e-mail investigation requesting from the fbi, the handwritten notes, the 302s from the investigation and the interviews as part of that probe? you say it's frustrating to see democrats do this, but did republicans not write the playbook from what we expect to see from democrats over the next foo weeks and months? >> i think when we look at the clinton e-mail investigation, people on both sides of the aisle were frustrated in that the fact that it was mishandled and wasn't handled with integrity either way. democrats put full faith, they believed in mueller, they
thought he was doing a great job. to change their minds because the result wasn't what they wanted, i think that's the difference here. >> you expect, as i'm gathering from our conversation now, that this report will exonerate the president. but if that's true, what then is the explanation for the president for two years, or 675 days to be precise. having called the investigators angry democrats. all of this a witch hunt and a hoax. if it exonerates him, are all of those things still true? >> i understand the president's feeling that this was a witch hunt. if we see the report and there's absolutely no basis for what they were investigating, i would be frustrated if i was the president if that they were doing this to me as well. i think people in the country are going to be happy it with it, but that we wasted thousands of hours, 675 days spent on an
investigation that turned up nothing, and maybe was useless in the first place. i think that's what people across the country people. >> you expect it's useless that it was a waste of time. that the special prosecutor was put into place only after the president fired james comey. did his action not predicate this, start this? >> i don't necessary lie mean it was a waste of time. what i was answering is your question of the witch hunt sentiment. i think that's how people do feel. we wait until this report comes out. let's see. let's see what the report says. but again, the main takeaway here is that there was no russian collusion or no indictment coming from that and that is what most people are concerned about. >> all right. still waiting for the report, though, mat dason gesiotto, thanks very much. >> thanks. stay with us. democrats say it's imperative
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it's got to be tide. 43 minutes past the hour. so glad to have you here. the special counsel's russia investigation may be over. the political showdown, another story. >> so what happens next? our experts are back with us, kara, michael and daniel. first to you, daniel. the democrats have invested so much in the mueller report. we've heard from democrats who don't believe that they should move forward with impeachment. they say that we're waiting for the mueller report. if this mueller report doesn't deliver something, as you said earlier, that they can invest in, what next?
>> i think speaker pelosi probably had a sense of what may have been coming in the report, not she had inside knowledge, but just by tracking how this mueller investigation has come about, you know, she said a couple weeks, we should not do impeachment. it's going to be a waste of time. and it would drag the country into another nightmare where kind of stopped -- the business of the country stops, as we try to impeach a sitting president. for something we don't have, you know, actual evidence of, you know, that leads to impeachment from mueller. and so, i think democrats want to move ahead with their other investigations. and they hope that they have a good candidate in 2020 to dismount trump. but they know a failed impeachment effort. it would be much harder to get senate republicans now to impeach him, if there's nothing, you know, conclusive from the mueller report. that would make it much harder for them to win in 2020. >> at the end of the day, when
we look ahead at what's coming next, we know that the justice department is still pursuing an investigation, there are people that they still want to talk to. we know there are grand jury investigations related to this, those are ongoing. how did the conclusion of the mueller report, whatever it is, affect or dictate michael, where the investigations go? any effect or no? >> no, not really, unless there's overlapping jurisdiction. remember, what mueller is different than what we saw from ken starr. which is to say, when new matters came to his attention, that required investigation, rather than keep them, he farmed them out to the u.s. attorney offices. now, we have these satellite investigations going on in various offices, they will proceed. so, when they say, for example, mueller will not indict anybody else. that's true, it doesn't mean that the down district of new york will not indict anyone else.
maine justice won't indict anyone else, so one has to understand there's the heart of the matter and then there will be smoke that comes from it. >> kara, how resonate, as far as what we'll hear from the doj, how resonate is the handling of the clinton e-mail investigation by james comey and how they approach and what they say and do next in this investigation? >> i think it's sort of a guiding light here. it's viewed that was mishandled. rod rosenstein has said recently, that's not the way they want to do things. that the proper way to do things is to not tarnish anybody's reputation if they haven't been charged with any wrongdoing. i think that's a strong principle that they follow, as they try to share information with the public. but also not overshare. and michael raised a good scenario, maybe they do it by not using people's names and just making it anonymous. but to be able to tell the
public about certain information. the issue, though, so much has come out in the public, that you can't talk about the june 2016 trump tower meeting and not know who was there. >> yeah, we know the events. the players. kara spinel, daniel lippman, michael ezeldin, thank you. okay the investigation is over. and president trump's associates, there could be more. we want to get more. stay close. overcoming twists and turns, ups and downs.... whatever life throws. a place to always strive for. for all the journeys that make us stronger.
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good to see you. talk to us about how many related investigations are there right now? >> well, there are numerous related investigations. and they range from everything from multiple inquiries in the manhattan's u.s. attorney's office which has been looking at potential campaign finance crimes that were related to the charges against michael cohen. and that is focused on the trump organization. and there are also multiple inquire rears in other offices including the new york attorney general's office. and the new york state department of financial services. so there's a wide range of investigations, some of them have started recently. others stretch back a number of months. >> now, roger stone associated with the president, he's headed to trial in november. we learned recently that he lied about his efforts to secretsly contact wikileaks in 2016. what are the implications here for the president? >> well, that's not entirely
clear. i think one thing to look out for is, as you mentioned, roger stone is headed to trial. he pleaded not guilty to the charges against him. there's always the possibility for someone who is facing a trial of this nature that he could, at some point, decide to cooperate with federal prosecutors and disclose more information than he has, about any other of the other trump associates or interactions with the president himself. so, i think that's one thing to keep in mind as we head towards trial. >> erica ordon, appreciate you being here. thank you. >> thank you. u.s.-backed forces say the last isis stronghold has fallen. marking the last stronghold on the land there in syria. we'll have a full report, next.
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more breaking news this morning. u.s.-backed syria democratic forces say the finalize stronghold has fallen. >> cnn international correspondent ben wedeman is with us from eastern syria. ben, have you seen so much of this. what are you learning there this morning? >> reporter: well, victor, christi, we were up much of the night watching as there was intense u.s.-led coalition air strikes on a hillside which is essentially where the last holdouts from isis were left. they were, we were today, in tunnels, not only several hundred jihadis, but with their families as well who they were essentially using as human shields. well, that hillside was mercilessly pounded throughout the night. early in the morning, we started
here. lots of aircraft over our head. but the bombing stopped. a few hours later, a spokesman for the u.s.-backed syrian democratic forces came out with a tweet saying that the battle was over, that isis as a territorial entity had been completely defeated. we were able to go inside its last encampment where much of the fighting has been taking place, over the last few weeks. and what we saw was there were dead bodies. our camerawoman mary rodgers saw a discarded suicide vest by the road. there are lots of wrecked cars and tents in tatters where people had dug trenches underneath to try to take cover from the bombardment. but the long and short of it is, after many false starts and premature announcements, the so-called islamic state as a
territorial entity is history. victor, christi. >> ben wedeman, thank you so much. attorney general bill barr has now received the report from special counsel robert mueller. the investigation, 675 days old, is now over. >> it should be clear to everyone that russia brazenly interfere in the 2016 presidential process. >> i mean, it could be russia, but it could also be china. >> some in the president's inner circle and those who ran this campaign were found who have violated the law. the president remained defiant. >> i did nothing wrong. there was no collusion. >> i was fired of the russia investigation. >> i never said there was russian collusion. >> i said the president of the united states. >> i hope he will reveal the entire report so the public has a chance to see what's in it. because donald trump has done whatever he can to almost create a political game of whac-a-mole. >> for two years,e'