tv The Lead With Jake Tapper CNN March 25, 2019 1:00pm-2:01pm PDT
apple tv. a subscription based gaming service called apple arcade. so there you go. the latest out of apple today. thank you for being with me. the lead with jake tapper starts right now. is this president trump's best 24 hours ever? the lead starts right now. president trump today saying he thinks the special counsel acted honorably after they cleared him on conspiracy with the russians. will we ever see all of robert mueller's work? a big win for the president, the new urgency to beat mr. trump at the ballot box. breaking this afternoon the same agents that pinched michael l cohen arrest an old trump nemesis in a $20 million
extortion scheme, basta. welcome to the lead. i'm jake tapper. we begin with a politics lead and a huge moment for president trump and the nation. the cloud hanging over the trump presidency has lifted with the release to the mueller report concluding no evidence of election conspiracy by the trump team with russia. today president trump declaring he wouldn't mind it at all if the full report were released. he said he would leave that decision to bill barr. there is a new battle on the horizon with democrats demanding answers about how barr determined the president did not obstruction justice after muell mueller did not draw a conclusion one way or the other. that's one of the many questions asked today even as they finally
got concrete answers. >> comey may have summed it up best, so many questions. we all want to know what the cl conclusions mean. let's start with four facts. first it turns out this. >> there was no collusion. >> no collusion. no collusion. >> was the truth all along. americans should be relieved there is no evidence that the president or his team engaged in conspiracy with the russians. >> it's a great thing for our country and this administration. >> it would also mean this investigation by mueller was not, in fact -- >> a total witch hunt. >> no. it wasn't a witch hunt. it was a professional law enforcement investigation despite the many smears of mueller and his team. third, despielt the white house's assertions otherwise. >> there was no obstruction.
so that makes it a complete and toeltal exoneration. >> mueller did not call this a complete and total exoneration. barr says while this does not conclude that the president committed a crime it also does not exonerate him when it comes to obstruction of justice. barr concluded that the evidence is not sufficient to establish that the president committed an obstruction of justice offense and he will not pursue that charge. democrats on the hill may well do so as a political matter. after all, and this is our fourth point, the mueller report proves that trump was wrong when he said -- >> it had nothing to do with russia. it is a hoax. it is one of the greatest hoaxes ever perpetrated on this country. >> he reached the same conclusion that russia did interfere with the u.s. election. the president's mixed messages not with standing. let's taurn urn to four questio such as if there was no conspiracy why did the president
and so many others around him tell so many lies about their contacts with the russians? flynn, manafort all charged with lying. he lead the effort to mislead about the trump tower meeting. second, there are questions we need to ask democrats, some members of the media and intelligence officials that levels accusations that have not aged well. >> i call id treasonist. >> there is the question of the mueller report itself. will the public ever see it? >> the american people have the right to the truth, the watch word is transparency. >> fourth, what about all of those other investigations that mueller farmed out? dozens of lawsuits still looming over the trump family including probes into hush money payments, the inaugural committee finances. so bookmark that comey tweet so many questions remain. >> let's go now to cnn pamela
brown for the latest on this. we know robert mueller told the attorney general he would not be coming to a definite conclusion on obstruction of justice. >> that's right. it was three weeks ago that the special counsel's team went to brief top doj officials including deputy attorney general rosenstein. it was during that meeting that the special counsel said it would not reach a conclusion on obstruction. we are told that bill barr at that time wasn't expecting that. that is not what he expected to hear from the special counsel. he didn't think it would play out this way. it surgeonly defies this notion that you're hearing that he only had 48 hours to review the material in making the decision and the letter he laid out yesterday where bill barr did exonerate the president on okay instruction even though mueller did not. so that is really important to hear because he had several weeks to look over the material
and to know that robert mueller's team was not going to be making a conclusion on the issue of obstruction. it raises the question of why? was it because he never had a chance to sit down and interview trump? was there internal dispute about it? we don't know the answers to that. we know that the attorney general had several weeks to know robert mueller was not reaching that conclusion. >> all right. thank you so much. i want to bring in our legal and law enforcement experts now. jeffrey, are you surprised that mueller did not make a determination on obstruction of justice thus kind of punting it to the attorney general? >> i sure am. his job was to determine where climbs were kmitd. it was part of his charge i think to determine whether any crimes were committed by the
president or anyone else. it may be that he already made up his mind about the issue. there are other possible explanations. >> are you surprised so many thought there were bread crumbs that mueller left along the way such as president trump calls for him to hack into clinton's e-mails. in the mueller document that night the russians tried to hack into hillary clinton's campaign server and there is shared polling data with somebody with ties to russian military intelligence. ultimately they didn't lead any where. >> yeah. i find a surprising conclusion
given all of those pieces of evidence. it doesn't take much. trying to shut down an entire investigation by firing people and trying to pressure the ag to take over. i would be have been interested to know how they arrived at that conclusion. i'm very surprised mueller punted on that decision. the one thing he must do is file his prosecution or deck lyline. he declined on collusion, on conspiracy. he said not enough. he made a thumbs up and thumbs down decision. thumbs down. when you get to part b he takes a pass which i don't understand and i think i also think he was intending that for congress but william barr intercepted it. >> bar says they would need to prove that he acted with corrupt intent. it is also true president trump never sat with mueller for an interview.
is it possible to determine someone's intent without that interview? >> i think it is. i think what's happening here and i pick up on what everybody has said before and that is that i don't think that the special counsel was troubled by the facts. i worked for mueller for four and a half years. i don't think he sat there and said i can't make a determination about whether it was obstruction or not. i think it is a proceedural question. if i had these how do we proceed? i think equally important to transparency is when mueller goes up before congress and people say look, you're a decorated marine and people always know you speak the truth and you have no fear. why did you choose to tread so lightly on this issue of obstruction? i suspect the answer is special counsel as lawyers said have proceedural. it cannot be -- it can't be that mueller looked to the fact and said i can't make a decision.
that is not in his dna. i can't buy that. >> i want to read this key line as quoted in barr's letter. the investigation did not establish that members of the trump campaign coordinated with the russian government in its election interference activities. do you read anything into the fact that they say did not establish as well as with the russian government? there are individuals that have been mentioned as being possibly involved in this. the lawyer vessel and others that are not in the russian government per se that were players and then also did not establish is not -- there is flog. it is just that they didn't establish it. >> you know, it is possible to parse the language that way. we need to see the full report, but that statement is categorical enough for me. you know, i don't think robert mueller who is kwielt aware of
how his language would be perceived wrote that and there was going to be a comma after but he conspired around people affiliated with the russian government. i think just to be candid and honest and given the facts available before us i think what that means is no collusion. >> no collusion. >> and that's the only conclusion i can draw from it. if the report comes out and that is refuted i'll be refuted. but that to me means. >> hard to think he would risk his reputation and also mueller and barr are close. it's not like he wouldn't come out and say something. if there was no conspiracy why all of the lies from the president, from trump associates about contracts with the russians? is that typical of witnesses to lie when there isn't act clul lay fundamental crime? >> when i watched cases for four and a half years at the bureau it's typical for a witness to
say i'm more arrogant and smarter than the fbi and the feds. there's no way that the feds know what i know even with experienced people i found that people will sit in front of a federal investigator and say something assuming that the feds aren't listening on their phone or watching an e-mail. i think people who are watching this saying it can't be that somebody like roger stone or like the national security adviser general flynn would sit in front of a federal investigator. that happens every single day. investigators don't like to bring a line to federal officials charge but when they lie you have no other option. i think it's one of the most important parts of this. sanders says it's a great day for america. every president lied when they got in front of a federal investigator. really? >> a great new york city columnist wants to find as a
place people go to lie. people lie for all sortsover reason. it doesn't necessarily mean they were lying to cover up a crime. some times people lie because they lie. >> all right. thank you so much. you'll come back and talk about avenatti in a coupleov of block. he called him today she clanging his tune about the special counsel. plus worlds collide. stormy daniels attorney arrested charged by the same officer investigating the president here in new york. stay with us chls. mrs. murphy. hi, i need help getting an appointment with my podiatrist. how's wednesday at 2? i can't. dog agility. tuesday at 11? nope. robot cage match. how about the 28th at 3? done. with unitedhealthcare medicare advantage plans, including the only plans with the aarp name, there's so much to take advantage of. from scheduling appointments to finding specialists, it's easier to get the care you need when you need it.
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victory in the russia investigation. >> it's a 100% the bay it should have been. >> president trump went on offense. >> there are a lot of people out there that have done some very very evil and bad things. i would say treasonist things against our country. >> blaming his critics for the probe and signaling she looking for bpay back. >> they lied to congress, many of them. you know who they are. they have done so in evil things. >> taking a softer tone on robert mueller. >> yes. >> trump reverting two years of verbal attacks. >> mule seller is highly confli. mueller put 13 of the angriest democrats in the history of our
country on the commission. >> asked if he owes the special counsel an apology the white house punted. >> i think democrats owe the president and they owe the american people an apology. >> while the mueller investigation may be over the fight is far from it. as democrats demand to see the special counsel's full report trump said he is leaving it up to the justice department. >> i wouldn't bother me at all. >> now today is president brushed off questions about potential pardons for those in the russia probe saying it is not something he thought about. the president was in the oval office welcoming the washington capitals two of his were spotted at the back of the room, jake. >> thanks so much. let's chat about this with my experts. let's start with the most outspoken former member, former cia director.
he wrote it rises to and exceeds the high crimes and mis misdemeanors. here he is earlier today. he was asked whether he received information about the mueller investigation. zbli don >> i don't know if i received more information. i suspected it was more than there was. >> i thido you think he has a point? >> donald trump has called people treasonist as he did just yesterday in the oval office. i don't know whether anybody is owed an apology yet. one thing is clear, russia did
interfere in our election in 2016. the report seems to indicate that's the fact. donald trump denied that and continued to deny the impact of that. that is according to some people treasonist activity. >> what do you think? >> at the very least he needs to apologize for giving them the idea that treason, big capital letters treason was committed. he was a former cia director. i don't know about you guys but when a former cia director speaks i believe they have credibility. he needs to flush that out a little more. i think a lot of people look at that press conference that had big questions and said something is not right here. he should have been more careful. >> let's accept rothose out.
he was crying from the rooftops. yes. it is an apology. one of the many open questions bha when the full report is released is why does the president show such odd to putin? you floknow, there are a number open questions with the stories we need the other information out that is in the report. >> and speakingov of apologies, what does his team of professional prosecutors are they owed an apology? >> i think you already see the president doing it saying that mueller acted honorably. this isn't unique to mueller.
think of graham. he had nasty things to say about him. seems like when they clang their tune he is fine with them. >> we can't go on playing the apology games. no one is ever going to win that fight. there were a lot of questions raised in the bill barr memo. we need to know. a lot of democrats, me included, there was everyday of collusion. that didn't bear out. if you believe mueller you to believe that did not bear out. i would like to see the report to know why robert mueller looked at that and said it didn't rise to a criminal level. >> you see a lot of advocates saying release everything. one person not saying that is
jay when asked whether written answers should ever be released m ta . take a lchbisten. >> you don't waive detail absent a court order a agreement between the parties and you would have to weigh a lot of factors on how it effects other presidencies. >> what is he hiding? why is he no transparency? i remember he had to testify in the case with lewenski and he made the decision to receive. in this case donald trump didn't even allow himself to be interviewed by mueller. all he did was submit written answers through his attorneys and as a result of that we can't even see what the president of the united states said in answers to questions about russian collusion. that's an outrage. >> i think we all agree, release
it all. >> absolutely. they feel they will be vindicated. it is in the interest of transparency. he may say that. he is the president of the united states. the information will come out. i think one of the key differences we are confronting is the difference when there's independent counsel and special counsel. it explains a lot of decisions. >> we'll talk a lot more. they said president trump will use mueller's findings as a political bludgon and who is planning to lay low. stay with us. ♪ oh oh oh oh oh ♪ it's taking over ♪ there's no escape ♪ you better get moving
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xfinity, the future of awesome. pelosi standing by her comments that trump may be compromised insisting it is the reason the attorney general needs to hand over all of the underlying documents and cnn reports democrats are not prepared to let mueller have the last word when it comes to the trump team's dealings with russians. democrats today aren willing to accept the finding from robert mueller demanding to see the fuel mueller report including
over trump ties to russia. >> a lot of democrats believe trump was conference mimpromise russians. >> i don't think this finding explains trump's behaivior. >> democrats have seized on context between trump cam ppaig officials to sway the leks to trump. >> you can see evidence in plain sight. >> it disappears as the closest we have seen yet to real live act clul collusion. >> do you believe there was in conspiracy? >> as you know they can have a significant amount of evidence and say it doesn't rise to the
beauty. it may not have been they how old know about. >> they say while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime it also does not exonerate him from obstructing justice. they say barr must testify before congress and ek plain why he and deputy attorney general made the decision not to prosecute trump and whether barr's previous skepticism played any role in his decision. so she sort of fulfilling that commitment. >> today republicans defended the decision not to prosecute trump. >> i think what mr. barr and rosenstein did was very appropriate. >> even as a senate judiciary planned his own inquiry into the
handling of the russia probe and clinton e-mail investigation. >> it makes no sense to me. all to have the abuse by the department of justice and the fbi, the unprofessional conduct, the shady belaifr yor. they say he told him first about the and urged him to go to the fbi. he told trump mccain aboutcted appropriately. it is if they seem like they are
not accepting the findings of the robert mueller of looking like sore losers. >> one reason why pelosi tried to tamp down calls for impeachment and focus on other issues they believe would be more, that could connect with voters. the question is how they handled investigations in the days and weeks ahead. they still plan to pursue that russia probe. how they pursue afterwards remains to be questioned. >> let's dive into this. what do you think the dem ocrat next move will be? they want to see the full mueller report. what do you think should be the focus for democrats? >> i think they are trying to walk a very fine line right now between the constitutional duty to hold the executive branch
accountable and to do these investigations. they said it was the jobov of congress to do this. the democrats that are worried that it will overshadow the other work they want to do. there are a lot more lawmakers who are -- your more right leaning middle of the road than some of the lib ras. they are saying let's keep talking about health care and others instead of focusing solely on the mueller report. >> and one of the issues going on here is there aren't a lot of differences in the intelligence committee when it comes to the facts. how they interpret the facts are very different. it's been the confusion since
the beginning. we don't know how we would interpret the facts either. all of this comes to remaind us why it is important to release the full mueller report. what we are doing basically is talking about barr's four page letter which is summarizing what the mueller report says. until we have that information we can't really determine whether president trump was exonerated about even. it wasn't because there was not enough evidence. it is because they couldn't make up his mind. that's a far different decision saying trump was exonerated.
it is simply because they didn't have the conclusions. >> it hasn't been there. >> the summary. >> the full report needs to come out. >> the biggest decision has nothing do with the mueller report. it is whether they will have to go after trump's finances. it will tee them up he was saying he wanted to investigate to see if the russians had financial leverage that impacted national security decisions. now knowing that there was no campaign criminal collusion. >> and i think what you'll have from the trump campaign is
really going aftereve every one these probes and trying to discredit them. >> and you already seeing the outlines of what trump and his campaign will be. you saw the president adopt the mantle. investigate the investigators. >> we still don't know where the president -- he hasn't released tax records. he didn't divest from his business when he became president. we know his campaign chair. we know national security adviser has been convicted. we know trump paid a $25 million
fraud settlement. there's a lot. >> yes. >> 25 million. >> yeah. >> there's a lot out there that needs to be investigated. that is the responsibility of then. >> it will be lock them up in 2020. 2 there are already calls that barr needs to. that is one of the things republicans are teeing up for. >> the mueller report must be made public. >> speaking in unison. >> i want the whole report
because nobody especially this president is above the law. >> demanding the full release of robert mueller's report. not just a four-page summary from the attorney general. >> the mueller report must be made public, all of it. >> beyond that the party's presidential candidates have been saying surprisingly little about the russia investigation. >> we can never let this happen to another president again. >> democrats scrambling to the shifting landscape with some worrying about overreach from their democrats in congress. in the latest poll the russia investigation barely even a whisper. not a single voter mentioned it when asked an open-ended question in the 2020 race. it's a clhallenging battling ac
to hold the president accountable without having their own campaigned overtaken. >> 2020 will be focused on economic issues. we can do two things at once. >> pete and other democrats also dismissed talkov of impeachment. candidates should talk about issues. >> all we can talk about is him voters are saying you can't talk about me. it's not about him. it's about us. >> so for all of the talk about that russia investigation there has been far less of it out there on the campaign trail. most say they are trying to keep a focus on issues like healthcare and whether the president lived up to the promises. it could become more complicated if democrats keep up their investigations and those are asked about them, jake. >> all right. thanks so much. the shoe is on the other foot. trump enemy and former stormy
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>> how did this all happen? >> it all began last week when avenatti that was unsealed today, what they allege is that he met with attorneys for nike ale alleging he was going to extort him in saying he would go public with damaging information about nike on the eve of the ncaa basketball tournament potentially wiping millions of dollars off of the mark. attorneys were fast acting and they went to the u.s. attorney's office and told them about this scheme. a it appears they would record video and audio. some of these conversations. it culminated in the arrest today. he was on his way to have a meeting at the law firm when he was arrested according to sources outside that law firm's
building. this was supposed to be the final meeting before he was threaten to hold a press conference tomorrow announcing allegations. he is expected to be presented in court in manhattan at some point this afternoon. it is not the only criminal charges he faced today. the attorney's office today announced a string of criminal clarnls against avennatti that he embezzled millions of dollars from one of his clients. >> your initial reaction? >> he became very familiar to all of us both as a media figure and someone around our studioses
studios a lot. there has been a swirl of controversy. he was arrested briefly for domestic violence. that case was dropped. he has had these major disputes with an ex-wife. he has got an enormous disputes with his former law partners. part of the charges in california relate to this failed coff coffee clan in the northwest. there has ban swirl of controversy but there has not been anything criminal. it is shocking but not totally surprising given everything that's been going ton. >> let's put the fraud charges away. he fake tax returns to get a loan. let's talk about the extortion allegations about nike. what's the difference between somebody saying you need to settle, you need to make my client right or we'll mawe'll te this lawsuit public.
it seems there has to be some sort of fine line. i don't flow what tknow what the is. >> the u.s. attorney's office knows that. this was not your aggressive advocacy. it is going to be a difficult case for the u.s. attorney's officer. i think it is defensible. it is not your typical extortion guy saying you'll be paying me every week or i'll burn your place down or break your fl kneecaps. there is hard legal negotiation tactics and the law is not super helpful. >> what's whereonfrongful up to. >> it is not that he was trying to win a lawsuit against nike either on behalf of shareholders it was simply pay me $20 million as a lawyer or i will hold this press conference. if that's true, if that allegation is true that is extortion.
that's not a louawsuit. >> he says this coach has a he legitimate contract claim. you can settle it up. his language is abusive. he is putting time pressure on him. this is a tough one. >> we should also point out in the interest of full disclosure that mark who is familiar to cnn crewe viewers is an alleged coconspirator. >> not charged. >> not charged. >> which is why would that happen? why would somebody -- >> we were just talking ability that. it is hard to know. it is possible he is cooperating. it is possible they are trying to get him to plea or already made a deal with lihim not to prosecute him. >> it is evidence that it is isn't quite there as the person -- if you look he is the one doing most of the talking and saying most of the over the top things.
>> and i suspect we'll hear him say that this is the trump administration. their named u.s. attorneys in new york and california going aft after him for political reasons. >> he could allege it is some vast conspiracy. i think it's going to be a tough case to make especially given this california case which seems on a surface a fairly garden variety fraud false tax returns statements submitted to get a loan. if that's true -- >> either the evidence is there or it isn't. thank you is much. we have got breaking news. multip multiple rocket sirens going off near the gaza border is war about to break out near the gaza strip? stay with us. but allstate actually helps you drive safely... with drivewise. it lets you know when you go too fast...
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gaza. we also heard two or three launches from gaza coming from israel. it indicates that a cease fire isn't holding up. that thigh cautioned us it may not have gone into effect yet. it is what we are seeing with those additional rocket launches after the cease fire was supposed to have taken place. it almost carried out more strikes inside of gaza. early this morning it landed north of. sit since the end of the 2014 war. israel's response came quite a few hours later. israel carried out an attack on a wide range of targets including the office.
the prime minister told his security cabinet members he wanted to hit significant targets. it qualifies. we have seen a number of red alerts including a number of air raids or rocket sirens into israel. the night is young here. that cease fire not holding. we'll see how it holds from this point throughout the evening. >> and from the latest round facing elections next month. president trump taking some measures here and recognition as well as other things that he has done when it comes to israel. is trump essentially helping him get reelected? >> it certainly appears to be blatant he is trying to do everything in his power to make sure it is reelected. does it get washed out by this escalation today? does it ruin his dlanchances? we'll see over the next few weeks here.
>> thank you so much. please stay safe. you can follow me on facebook and twitter. we actually read them. our coverage continues right now. thanks for watching. happening now democrats demand as president trump said it woumder me at all. while the president claims he was totally exonerated does the report tell a different story? president trump accuse unnamed people of treasonist things. he says the special counsel acted honorably. >> other matters, what did he find he farmed out to