tv New Day With Alisyn Camerota and John Berman CNN March 25, 2019 5:00am-6:00am PDT
country and for this white house. william barr has presented to the american people his analysis of what robert mueller found in his nearly two-year investigation. any quotes from the report that the robert mueller team found no evidence that anyone in the trump campaign or connected to the trump campaign coordinated with or conspired with the russians. now the mueller report specifically and explicitly did not exonerate him on the issue of obstruction. mueller chose not to tell us whether he thought the president committed criminal obstruction though he laid out evidence we're told on both sides. the attorney general william barr tells us he did not think the president obstructed justice. >> the white house and president trump's allies may be declaring victory, but the political fight may be just beginning. democrats vow to subpoena the full mueller report. they demand to see the evidence that the mueller team gathered. and just moments ago "new day,"
president trump's lawyer jay sekulow told fuus if it were upo him, the public would not get to see the president's written answers to questions. >> as a lawyer, you don't waive privileges and you don't waive investigative detail absent either a court order or an agreement between the parties and you'd have to weigh a lot of factors there in how that affects other presidencies. so it's not a simple just wave your hand and we release the document. i think that would be very inappropriate. >> all right. coming up, we'll speak live with the white house press secretary sarah sanders about what's happening in the house today. joining us now is democratic congresswoman katie hill. good morning, congresswoman. >> good morning. thanks for having me. >> let's talk about what democrats' next move is. now that the president has been exonerated on collusion, but has not been on obstruction, what do democrats do? >> i think everyone needs to
kind of slow their roll on this whole thing because right now we have evidence from mueller, a direct quote from mueller that there was direct interference by the russians in the election. we've known that for a while. what we've seen since the -- since trump took office is that even before hand he said he was encouraging russia to release the e-mails, to find those 30,000 e-mails, and now we have to say, okay, fine. he didn't directly coordinate with russia moving forward, but now we have evidence over the last two years that the mueller investigation was not covering that is highly, highly suspicious, both on the influence by foreign entities that have directly, i don't know, had part with our foreign policy, but also on so many other things, for example, on oversight. we're not even dealing with that. we're dealing with the security clearances issue, possibly giving nuclear technology to saudi arabia, we're dealing with the fact that we've got
30,000 -- i'm sorry, we've got thousands of children that haven't been reunited with their families and so many issues that we've got to continue our investigations on. and it's just not related to the mueller report. >> let's talk about that. you have your hands full. you've just spelled it out. these are really pressing issues for the country. so -- >> absolutely. >> is it time to move on from the question of whether or not the president obstructed justice with this russia investigation? >> i mean frankly, each of our committees has been working on our own ends to figure out what we're doing in the meantime. we haven't been waiting on the mueller report to do our jobs. and we're not going to. we're not going to wait on any of the further things. we've been working on health care, reducing the cost of prescription drugs. look at all of the major pieces of legislation that we've passed. we've passed hr-1. we've passed universal background checks. and the media and many people in the american public have kind of not focused on that because of the entire focus on the mueller
report. and it's time that we continue our focus on the issues that matter but also continue our investigations of holding the president accountable for what he has done over the past two years since taking office. >> some of your democratic colleagues seem to jump the gun and reach the conclusion that the president did collude with russia before the mueller report or the summary of the mueller report came out. here are a couple of examples just from our air. >> you can see evidence in plain sight on the issue of collusion. >> it's become very clear that the trump campaign colluded with the russians in trying to subvert the election. the fact that manafort and trump junior met with russian agents who told them that they wanted to give them dirt on hillary as part of the russian government's attempt to help them and that they said, fine. it's clear that the campaign colluded. >> okay. today rudy giuliani, i should say yesterday, the president's
lawyer, says that those democrats need to apologize for those conclusions. >> i mean, i wouldn't say they need to apologize. they're still stating things that happened in plain sight. the definition of collusion as a legal term is one that is completely nebulous. so i think that the suspicions that have been had by both democrats in congress but also people across the country are completely valid. and so, you know, whether it was intentional or not, trump was -- and his associates were conducting themselves in a way that was highly, highly suspicious both during the election and after that made it so that this investigation needed to happen. and so -- and frankly, i think that we're kind of missing the fact that we have a four-page summary, written by the person that was hand picked by donald trump to write it in a way that it was as favorable as possible by him. until we get the follow report released and until we get all of the information that surrounds that, i don't think we should be
jumping to any conclusions. >> are you confident today that that report, the mueller report, will be released fully and quickly? >> i'm not convinced it's going to be released quickly. i think that there's -- there are a number of forces working to keep that behind the scenes, but i think that we're going to be pushing in every direction to make sure that it is released. we had congress vote unanimously. the house of representatives voted unanimously to have it released, both democrats and republicans. we need to continue working on our end and with public pressure to make sure that's done. >> it sounds like president trump, based on what he said yesterday, after getting word the summary was in, it sounds like he's looking for a little bit of political payback. he said i sure hope that somebody is looking into the other side, whatever that means. what do democrats think? what form do they think that will take? >> i mean, it's so hard to predict what trump is talking about. i think that, you know, he's
constantly looking for revenge on anything he thinks is a slight against him. honestly, i can't even imagine what he's talking about, so we're just going to continue doing our jobs, and that includes oversight of the presidency, as it stands, and this administration as it stands currently over the past two years which we have to remember the mueller report and mueller investigation did not at all cover. all it was covering was the interference in the election which, by the way, there were 34 indictments around. and there was absolute definitive answer on the fact the russians did influence this election, and i just think that we're -- we need to be continuing our work on the administration as it continues now and at the same time, working on the issues we were elected on. health care, raising incomes, making sure we have a transparent and fully accountable government. >> katie hill, we appreciate you taking time to be on "new day." jeffrey toobin, cnn chief analyst and carl bernstein, cnn
political analyst. i do think the ball has been moved forward ever so slightly this morning based on the massive revelations over the weekend. jeffrey, we heard from jay sekulow, the president's lawyer an hour although. alisyn spoke to him. he's in no hurry. he'd fight the release from the president's answers to the questions the mueller team asked for. we've heard democratic and republican members of congress say they want to see the full mueller report. they voted 420 to see the full thing. there's a new pressure already set up this morning. >> absolutely, but let's not move ahead too quickly. the news of yesterday is enormous. we have almost -- you heard the president say over and over again, no collusion, no collusion and you know what? robert mueller said the same thing. no collusion. that's significant. now what are the political implications of that and how does the investigation proceed?
it's going to proceed. and the report should be released. i think everybody agrees with that. even barr said that yesterday in the letter that he's going to try to release as much as possible. but the fact that robert mueller, the independent investigator respected by everyone said there was no collusion is enormously significant and a huge victory for the president. >> carl, your thoughts this morning? >> i think what jeffrey says is right. the american system of justice has delivered to president trump the greatest gift of his presidency in this finding of no collusion. and just as significant, almost, is the president's response which is to say he's going to go after his perceived enemies, that he's going to use this as an occasion for retribution. meanwhile, we haven't seen the whole report. we need to see the whole report. every word of it that's possible.
this is a sprawling investigation. there was great question apparently about whether or not mr. mueller thought there was indictable material involving obstruction of justice. well, if that's the case, why would there have been an obstruction of justice. what would that obstruction have been about? why did the president seek to impede and undermine this investigation at so many turns? and why has he and his associates lied at virtually every turn about so many things russian? the answers may be in that report, and it's imperative to all americans, and i do hear some republicans starting to back pedal about whether or not they really want to see that whole report released. well, it's essential that the report be released among other things, in terms of the democrats, it might have them pull back a little bit from overreaching in some of their investigations. >> david cicilline i spoke to
earlier in the show seemed to indicate he'd rather the new focus of the house judiciary be on obstruction and other issues and maybe depending on what he sees, back off the conspiracy and coordination based on the mueller findings there. we don't have a lot from the mueller report. we have the barr report, the barr four pages of the mueller report. but two direct quotes we have, number one, the investigation did not establish that members of the trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the russian government in its election interference activity. so you have that. no coordination or conspiracy, they didn't have the evidence to establish it, they say. and the other direct quote is, while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him. those are the two direct quotes. everything else is barr's interpretation of it. >> that's true. and the issue of obstruction of justice is not resolved at all by the barr report. the barr letter from yesterday. and, you know, what is even less
clear is what did mueller conclude about obstruction of justice and why he didn't -- he didn't reach a conclusion himself. and did he mean to have the issue of obstruction of justice resolved by the house of representatives in an impeachment proceeding just as richard nixon was forced from office over the issue of obstruction of justice. just as bill clinton was impeached for obstruction of justice or did robert mueller want attorney general barr to address the issue of obstruction of justice. which barr did. what's unclear from barr's letter is whether he took it upon himself to simply say there was no obstruction of justice or did mueller ask him to resolve that? i think that's an important issue that needs to be addressed and should be addressed if we get access to the mueller report. >> this is why we need to see
the full report. still too many questions, carl. but are you surprised, as someone who has investigated this for so long, are you surprised with the outcome and that mueller was tasked with figuring out whether there was obstruction and he punted? >> i think that i was surprised by, if anything, was the lack of indictments. but we still have these other cases going to in other jurisdictions. and i think that part i was somewhat surprised by. i was surmising, i didn't know. but i think we now need to look at the mosaic of what's going on in terms of the other investigations, in terms of the mueller report. how they fit together. how the obstruction claim fits in with all this. we now have all the materials and all the actions ongoing at our command as citizens, as journalists to get a much fuller picture in the coming weeks and few months as to how all this fits together.
and if the president, and if the republicans allow it, we might finally get a somewhat clear picture of what happened and why, even as the president is able to claim that, yes, he was exonerated, certainly in terms of legal, quote, collusion. a conspiracy to engage with a foreign power. he was found not to have done that rather definitively, if we listen to the quotation that mr. barr gave us. >> jeffrey, we've had a lot of conversations on this set about the various questions about collusion. and i'm using that word carefully here because the word collusion covers a lot of things, not necessarily legal terminology here. the trump tower meeting. various contacts that people had. even sharing polling data. and one of the questions we always came to at the end of this discussion is, even if it did happen, did it break any law? and the answer was often, it's not clear. >> it was not clear.
as has been pointed out many, many times there is no such crime as collusion. there is -- robert mueller charged a conspiracy to defraud the united states in connection with the social media campaign organized by russia. that case will never go to trial because the people are in russia and they're not coming back. but whether the trump campaign, anyone affiliated with the trump campaign assisted in committing that crime is resolved now. >> the answer is no according to robert mueller. >> the answer is no. and i think it's important. we're not fox news here. we're not a propaganda outlet. we are trying to tell the truth. and the fact that the president and his campaign were vindicated on that question is something that's important to say because it's very significant and it's a
victory for the president. >> there was no conspiracy mr. mueller found to work with the russians by the president or those in his campaign. that is the finding. now let's see the whole picture. >> carl, jeffrey, thank you both very much. coming up, white house press secretary sarah sanders joins us live. >> robert mueller is done with his investigation. but how worried should the president be about other ongoing federal investigations? well, the former u.s. attorney for new york's southern district is going to join us, next. to hee some new friends. his parents shared videos of highlights, dance moves, and jimmy carlyle stealing third... almost. they sent seven texts when a new friend invited nick for a play date. but in the end, they put their phones down, and watched as nick finally felt
attorney general william barr's summary of the special counsel's report quotes mueller on the most cons kweptial headline. the investigation did not establish that members of the trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the russian government in its election interference activities, end quote. but on the issue of obstruction of justice, mueller stopped short of drawing any conclusions. barr writes, while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him, end quote. joining us now is preet bharara, the author of the new book "doing justice -- a prosecutor's thoughts on crime, punishment and the rule of law." >> timely. preet, great to have you here. >> nice to be here.
>> wasn't robert mueller tasked with figuring out whether there was obstruction of justice? why did he punt on that one? >> that's a good question. i mean, obviously, he was tasked with figuring out whether there was interference with the 2016 election, and if anybody in america, namely people on the trump campaign, had something to do with that. and clearly decided there was not enough evidence to show that was the case. along the way, there ended up being evidence of obstruction. the only reason we had bob mueller in the first place was because he fired jim comey and that looked like obstruction and he said he had russia on the mind when he fired jim comey. i've been dodging your question for 20 seconds now. i think it looks like that he found it to be a very tough and close question. on the one happened he probably saw there was a number of things that suggested there was obstructive intent and evidence of obstruction which is a very serious matter. and maybe he found things on the other side of the coin that
mitigated that. and he decided, and this is speculation, that given the takes, how serious and how close a question it was, this is not for the special counsel to decide, it's something for congress to decide. and congress can hold the president accountable in a particular way. so he sort of punted to congress and then you had bill barr running on to the field grabbing the football and running in for a touchdown for trump because it did not seem to me that it was necessary for bill barr in the absence of bob mueller making a determination for bill barr who is a direct apointee of the president, not independent in the same a special counsel mueller was. he did not need to make that determination. it puts a thumb on the scale for congress, too. >> he says mueller's actions leaves it to the attorney general to determine whether the conduct described in the report constitutes a crime. the question i've been asking this morning, says who? says william barr as far as i can tell. we don't know that robert
mueller asked him to weigh in like this. >> the language of the sentence is interesting. it doesn't say that bob mueller left it to me or bob mueller asked me to weigh in on it. it just says the fact that bob mueller left open the question leaves it to me to say something about it. in some ways, i understand why an attorney general for a particular president wanting this to get -- wanting us to all get passed it decides to opine on it. but i don't think it's desposative. >> but what do people do with that? so the fact that all this ambiguity about obstruction, now what are we supposed to do? >> we're supposed to get the report. >> and when we get the report, then it's up to congress, if there was obstruction that congress sees, it's up to them? >> yeah, i think so. that's how it's been in the past. it's interesting that bob mueller and his team have not shied away from charging crimes of obstruction or things like obstruction like lying to the fbi. in fact, many of the charges have been squarely within an
obstruction statute. it's important to know how close a question it was, how much evidence there was of obstruction. as a political matter, i'm not a political observer, i'm a former prosecutor, but it seems to me the congressional folks need to see what the evidence of obstruction was but given that there was no decision to make a charge or recommend a charge on that ground, it makes the job harder to make the case. >> william barr and rosensto -- rosenstein told us. we don't know whether robert mueller shared those same views. it's not impossible that robert mueller based his view of -- i'm just going to provide the evidence here on the fact that he was following the doj guidelines and i can't prosecute even if i want to. >> that may be so. my guess is, again, we're all guessing here. i've guessed wrong my fair number of times also.
if bob mueller was making the determination based on the fact a sitting president can't be indicted, he probably would have said that in the report. if he said that, it probably would have been in the letter. there was another line that's not helpful to the president in the mueller report that is quoted. and you had it at the top of the segment where bill barr quotes bob mueller directly as saying, that the obstruction matter, his investigation does not exonerate the president. that's something that detrimental to the president. of course, bill barr thought necessary to put it in the letter because when it becomes known he would look terrible for not including it. i feel the same way about the question you asked. >> let's go right to your wheel house and that's the ongoing investigations. so we have a graphic. there are many. the roger stone criminal trial, the hush money investigation, the inaugural finances, the trump organization and whether they violated insurance practices, the trump organization business loans. do you think that things like
this should be more concerning to president trump or less than what he's just been through? >> you know, it's hard to say. a lot of people made predictions that lots and lots of indictments were coming and lots and lots of charges were going to be filed against the president, against people around the president, against members of his family. so i don't know. what i do know is notwithstanding what's gone on in the past the career investigators and prosecutors not only in the office i used to run for 7 1/2 years but in other places, look at the facts and the evidence. the one thing we should be pleased about with respect to bob mueller and some people are discity dissatisfied because they don't like the president. but bob mueller's job was not to get anyone and not deliver anyone from the president nor is it sdny's job. his job is to look at the facts, the evidence and you sometimes bring a case. as i recite in some detail in a chapter in the book which seems relevant these days, in "walking away," sometimes the right thing to do, even if it's frustrating and even if people will be mad
at you is to walk away. sometimes it takes more courage to walk away from the case because the evidence isn't there criminally than it does to bring the case. >> i'm going to ask one more parsing line here. a legal mind to help us understand legal language here. that's the one other quote that we saw from bill barr quoting robert mueller. the investigation did not establish that members of the trump campaign conspider or coordinated with the russian government in its election interference activities. there are a lot of people on the left saying, oh, did not establish. they had evidence but not enough evidence to prosecute here. so maybe there is some evidence of collusion throughout, they are hanging their hat on that. is that the right way to interpret that sentence? >> i don't know. i question, what is the quantum of evidence? clearly in a case of collusion and obstruction. in the case of collusion, it didn't rise to the level of even being a difficult question for bob mueller. the contrast is interesting. obstruction, there was sufficient evidence that he said it's a close enough question that i'm not going to resolve
it. and on collusion, that wasn't the case. i understand why people are wanting to focus on whether there was some amount of evidence. i'm not sure that's a useful exercise for people. congress should get the report. we should know what happened in connection with the election. we should know if some people exercised bad judgment, but for me and i'm not someone who is a fan of a lot of things that went on and the way in which the president openly and notoriously basically asked for help from the russian government, please release the e-mails, that's terrible. i don't think it should have happened, but largely, people should move on from the collusion/conspiracy aspect. >> as we've said, your publisher must be delighted with the timing of your book. "doing justice." >> it's a book about how in this time when people use phrases like alternate facts and truth isn't truth, that sometimes it's useful to take a step back and figure out how we get to justice, truth, use of expertise, how to disagree with people respectfully and get to results that are fair and fair
minded. as i said a second ago if you want to understand why it is that bob mueller didn't go as far as people wanted him to go and you want to understand the considerations that people take into account and sdny or special counsels office or elsewhere, or you want to understand the best way to keep an open mind, not subject proceedings to bias whether you work in an office or hospital or in a school or somewhere else, there are a lot of stories in this book that i think will help you understand and make sense of what's going on, not only in the country and all the things we're talking about on the news but also things that happen in people's ordinary lives as well. >> you think mueller is a hero here? >> i do. he didn't have to do this job. the guy was over 70 years old. he's a vietnam vet for which he volunteered. he volunteered to go there. served multiple times in the justice department in different roles. one point after having had the highest job you can almost have in a justice department. he went back and became a homicide prosecutor in washington, d.c. he didn't speak once for -- i happen to know because i know
the guy. nobody knows what his voice sounds like. he kept his head down and knowing whatever his decision was going to be, it's going to upset tens of millions of people. i think we should thank him. i think he's a hero. and prosecutors are not saviors. they'll not deliver you from something that you want to be delivered from. that happens through a political process. they can sometimes hold people accountable if there's enough evidence but that's not the job. >> preet bharara, the book is "doing justice." great to have you on. >> good reminders for all of us. in the white house declaring victory after the attorney general's summary of the mueller report. white house press secretary sarah sanders is going to join us live ahead on "new day." a record deal? unbelievable. whenever we're about to get on a stage for a huge audience, i always give my dad like a facetime kinda moment. you see the crowd, you see the emotion. you know, he has that experience for the first time with me, and that's really important to me. i created a rockstar.
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time for the five things to know for your new day. president trump claims the result of the mueller investigation is a complete and total exoneration. the special counsel report found that no trump russia -- found no trump/russia conspiracy but stopped short of exonerating the president on obstruction of justice. a second student at marjory
stoneman douglas school has died of an apparent suicide. last week they were mourning the suicide of another student. hamas is blamed for a strike on a house north of tel aviv. prime minister benjamin netanyahu decided to cut his u.s. visit short. pilots of u.s. carriers that fly max 737 planes tested a software update meant to prevent a repeat of the lion air crash. southwest, american and united pilots landed the plane without incident. the viking sky cruise ship is now docked in norway after a harrowing day adrift at sea with engine failure. rescue teams airlifted 479 people from the ship in stormy seas on saturday. yikes. 20 people were injured. >> that looks really unpleasant. >> not good. you can't fly. can't go on cruise ships. we should just stay here and
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president trump claims he is completely vindicated after robert mueller did not find that the president or his campaign conspired with russia to win the 2016 election. the special counsel stopped short of exonerating the president on obstruction of justice. joining me is white house press secretary sarah sanders. sarah, thanks for being with us this morning. i was thinking you, as one of the people who did have to answer questions to the mueller team, what was your first response when you read what william barr had to write? >> i think everyone here, and everyone frankly across america was happy. even some in the media which, frankly, i was surprised by, have said this is a good thing for america that they found that absolutely no american citizen,
including the president, including everyone on his team had anything to do with interfering in the election in 2016. it was another great reminder that the reason the president is the president and sitting behind me in this building behind me right now is he was the best candidate. had the best message and the best vision for this country and outworked his opponent. he delivered on -- in 2016, and he's been delivering every single day since he was elected. yesterday was another great reminder of exactly why he's president, why he's had such historic success. >> is it a great reminder also of the rule of law? >> it is, but it's also a sad reminder of the lack of accountability that started to seep into the media and into democrats that have gone out for the last two years. actually over two years and accused the president, the united states president of being an agent of a foreign government. take a second and let that sink in. take a minute and realize how
outrageous and how serious and how malicious an accusation like that is. they literally accused the president of the united states of being an agent for a foreign government. that's equivalent to treason. that's punishable by death in this country. >> but robert mueller isn't among them, correct? >> and they claimed -- >> robert mueller is not -- >> hold on, john. they claim to have actual evidence. they said it was true. and they lied. they didn't just lie on tv. they lied to the american people. and they tried to take something away from the 63 million americans that voted for this president. it's outrageous. and i hope that they will stand up and say how wrong they were throughout this process. >> we have been playing sound from democrats all morning long who have said they saw evidence of collusion. what they have been telling us this morning and i'm just laying it out there so people know in response to what you're saying, what they're telling us is, well, we saw evidence in plain sight of collusion, which isn't chargeable for a crime but robert mueller, and i want to be
clear, robert mueller's team as quoted by william barr says they established no evidence to charge the president or anyone connected with him with conspiracy or coordination. i just wanted to clear that up. now -- >> i hope when you played those quotes you'll also play the ones where they said that robert mueller had all of this credibility and now they're saying that his investigation isn't thorough enough after two years, after 2800 subpoenas, 500 witnesses, millions of pages in documents and $25 million wasted of taxpayer dollars. that still isn't enough for democrats. that is outrageous. >> again, if we'll play that sound, we might also play the sound of the president calling the mueller investigation an illegal takedown that failed. >> i don't disagree with him. he's 100% right. these are people that tried to overthrow the president -- >> robert mueller? let's be clear who they are. did robert mueller try to overthrow the president of the united states. >> i'm specifically talking
about democrats and the media who perpetuated -- >> were democrats or the media part of the mueller investigation? were they among the team of his investigators? >> they were among the people that helped make that possible, that pushed this narrative that created the entire spectacle in the first place. >> rod rosenstein -- >> they were behind pushing a fake dossier. they were behind the wiretapping, they were behind spying on a u.s. campaign. 100%. they were behind it. let's look at all the different comments and things said by clapper and comey and brennan. >> james clapper, just to be crystal clear because he said it on this show again, james clapper went on tv and made crystal clear that he had seen no evidence of collusion. so in some ways, james clapper was making this case from the very beginning, no evidence of collusion. the investigation as you know was started after concerns of conversations that george papadopoulos had. the investigation was begun back then and robert mueller, in this
report, which i can totally understand why the white house is looking at it and praising it this morning, william barr notes that the mueller team and his investigators did find two large areas where russia did try to interfere with the campaign. first of all, social media misinformation, second of all, the hacks of the democratic e-mails. does the president concur that russia did try to attack our election? >> certainly, and we've said that a number of times before. russia and others tried to interfere with our elections. we know that they tried to interfere but the question that has constantly been ignored is who was in charge of government at the time that they interfered? it wasn't donald trump. it was barack obama. it was his intelligence committee that not only knew about it but did nothing to stop it. they did nothing to fix it. and then they tried to blame it on the president. >> i will say "the washington post" and others have reported very closely as cnn from the beginning here of some of the missed opportunities to take action. the obama team says, well, look,
we went to congress and the gang of four mitch mcconnell objected to us going public with a strong -- more strongly worded letter about the russian intentions there. that's their version of that. let me ask you about some specifics here. do you want the president to make public or the attorney general to make public the entire report? >> look, the president's fully open to transparency. he said last week. but he's leaving that decision at this point into the hands of the attorney general, and he'll make that determination at the appropriate time. one thing we do want to be clear on is we want to make sure that we protect the office of the presidency. and with that, we want to make sure that executive privilege and other things -- and frankly, the innocent people. let's not forget. 500 people were witnesses in this investigation. we want to make sure we protect innocent people throughout this process, that we protect sources and methods, that the intelligence community uses. those are things that matter not just for this president but they
matter for every president. and we want to make sure that a shameful process like this that gone on for the last 22 months never happens to another american president. >> you keep saying shameful process while welcoming the findings of the mueller report. mitch mcconnell is one of them who says russia's ongoing efforts to interfere with our democracy are dangerous and disturbing and i welcome the special counsel's contributions to our efforts to understand better russia's activities in this regard. have white house -- >> don't let this investigation confuse you. this was not about looking at whether or not russia interfered. the purpose of this was to determine whether or not russia interfered and the trump campaign had something to do with it. they didn't. we said that from day one yet democrats and the media perpetuated that lie day in and day out and breathlessly covered every single second of negative attention that they thought would be the one moment that would bring this president down. they were wrong in 2016 when he beat them and they've been wrong
every day since about this president, which is why he continues to do so well. >> the two things -- >> the american people are smarter than that. >> there are two things we know from this report. that russia did attack this election. number two, that the mueller team found no evidence that the trump campaign or people associated with it conspired, but there's a third thing here as well, sarah, which is that robert mueller's team uncovered evidence that president trump obstructed justice here. we're also told that they uncovered evidence or have arguments why he may not be criminally -- be able to be criminally prosecuted for that, but the idea there are signs they said that there is evidence of obstruction of justice, that may help indicate why there was so much attention to it over the last year. correct? >> let's start with this. first, it's very hard to obstruct a crime that never took place. the whole idea was that collusion happened between the president --
>> you're obstruct of the investigation -- just to be clear. you're obstructing the investigation into the crime and martha stewart who served time in jail knows that you can go to jail for obstructing an investigation into a situation wheres there no underlying crime. just make that -- i want to make that very clear there. but again -- >> hold on, john. the second part of that is that they sent that decision because they couldn't make a determination. they sent that to the attorney general and the deputy attorney general to make that determination. they did. and they made it based on the evidence in mueller's own investigation. >> do you know -- >> they took that information and made a decision and moved forward. >> this is a very important fact. do you know that robert mueller -- do you know for a fact that robert mueller wanted the attorney general to make that determination? or did mueller want congress to make that determination? >> that's a question you'll have to ask robert mueller. but what we know is that they couldn't make the determination. >> we know they did -- we know they didn't make the decision. we know they didn't make the
determination. >> that's what i said. >> we didn't know -- >> they couldn't. >> they didn't make that determination. >> they didn't make that determination and the legal process then goes to the attorney general and the deputy attorney general to be able to make that determination. and they did. they did their jobs. and i think that everyone should be thankful that they have. >> sarah sanders, it's a pleasure to have you on this morning. i know this is a day the white house looked forward to for a long time. we appreciate you being on "new day." >> to be clear, i think it's a day america has looked forward to for a long time. it's a great day for america when a decision like this comes forward and, frankly, it's a great thing that we can move back that the media and everyone can move back to focussing on things like the economy, the defeat of isis and rising wages in this country. the things that the president has been focused on the left two years. >> sarah sanders, thank you very much. i think everyone can agree it's good that the president, the special counsel found -- didn't try to rig the election with russia, didn't conspire to rig the election. >> that's universal. >> something everyone can agree
before the trip, jessica sent 22 texts to a swim instructor to help manny overcome his fear. their gps took them to places out of a storybook. and they called grandma when manny felt sad about not being able to swim. overall, they shared 176 pictures. but when the moment came, they held their breath, and watched their son learn to believe in himself. the white house is celebrating the conclusion of the mueller investigation while attacking the investigation that has loomed over the trump presidency for nearly two years. wh what happens now? let's get the bottom line with john avlon and jeffrey toobin. great to have both of you to try
to wrap up and make sense of this entire day. let's start with sarah sanders, what we just heard. i was confused. she says the investigation was shameful but that the investigation everybody should accept the investigation and that they are accepting the outcome of it. i am confused about what part was shameful about the investigation? >> this is the contradiction of the line they're trying to watch and the president set the tone. they've been vindicate bud they're being vindictive about the process that exonerated them. and the thing is you can't really have it both ways. this was not a shameful process. this is a vindication of the rule of law despite all the partisan venom directed towards it. and also she also said people are saying there's not enough information. what people are saying is let's get all the information out there about the full report and not simply attorney general barr's summation. >> i don't think sarah sanders' position is all that contradictory. what she is saying is this investigation never should have started. it was -- the people who were behind it were engaged in bad
faith but even they did not find any collusion. i mean that's -- i don't think that's necessarily contradictory. >> hold on one second. let me remind people. 34 people were charged as a result of this. six of them trump associates. five people are going to prison. many of whom lied about contacts with russia. we weren't supposed to investigate any of that? >> i'm not agreeing with sarah sanders' point. i'm saying i don't think it's contradictory. i think the idea that this investigation was useless is preposterous, as you point out. it -- >> bore a lot of fruit. >> bore a lot of fruit in terms of criminal prosecutions and i think once the report comes out it will enlighten the public in a very important way. all i'm saying is i don't think the white house position is internally contradictory. you can say it was a lousy investigation and that it vindicated the president. >> i'm not so sure because she can't say there were bad actors being motivated by bias but they came out with an unbiased report
and result. and again, there are two different things happening here, right? there's the question of collusion and russia and whether that rose to a standard and then the question of obstruction where attorney general barr bent over backwards to not push that issue for the president which has been an impeachable offense under bill clinton and other presidents. >> i did ask directly whether robert mueller asked to have william barr weigh in or not and sarah maybe didn't know the answer to that question but we didn't get an answer. she kept saying mueller decided to have barr, you know, weigh in on whether or not there was obstruction. and we don't know that's the case. >> we don't know that's the case. and one of the very interesting and significant unanswered questions about the mueller report, not the barr report, is why did he not reach -- why did mueller not reach a conclusion about the issue of obstruction of justice. was it because he thought it was an issue for congress to address in the impeachment arena, or did
he think that barr should make that determination. >> just on the word choice there. sarah kept on saying he couldn't make a determination, and i told her, i don't know that's the case. he didn't make a determination. we don't know that he couldn't. he chose not to. and those are two different things. >> all the more reason it's imperative for the american people, for the public record, for this report to actually come out and not simply be the characterization of the attorney general, which he said he wants to do. but now we need to see the follow-through. >> you can accept the conclusion, which i think most americans are. but still have lots of questions. we've heard so much for the past two years about the trump tower meeting and why they were open for businesses. david gregory has said. we've heard so much about paul manafort handing over proprietary polling data. why did he do that? to what end? >> can i ask jeffrey one quick question? because you're willing to buy the white house line that the investigation was a sham but it
also was good. how about the democrats when they say we see evidence of collusion but now robert mueller says no collusion. >> it's a problem for democrats. i mean, you know, do they continue investigating this, notwithstanding mueller's conclusion? they'll have to explain to the public why it's still worth investigating? i don't think it's out of the question, but they're going to have to plain that. >> jeffrey toobin, john avlon, what a morning. thank you all very much. >> thanks so much. in the white house calls it a complete and total exoneration, but that is not, in fact, completely the case. cnn's special live coverage continues right after this. i can keep my parents in the loop with the whole facetime thing. i created a rockstar. (both laughing) (vo) there when it matters. get iphone xr on us when you buy the latest iphone. on verizon.
pg&e wants you to plan ahead by mapping out escape routes and preparing a go kit, in case you need to get out quickly. for more information on how to be prepared and keep your family safe, visit pge.com/safety. a very good monday morning to you. it's a big one. i'm jim sciutto in new york. poppy has the week off. this is a significant moment, perhaps a turning point for the presidency and for our country on the central question that has consumed our legal system and politics for more than two years now. whether a u.s. president and his advisers conspired with a foreign power to interfere in the 2016 election. the special counsel has