tv Cuomo Prime Time CNN March 25, 2019 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT
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posted right now and it's an important conversation with a lot of detailed information that could help you or someone that you love. it's at facebook.com/ andersoncooperfullcircle and that's where you can watch us every weeknight at 6:25. the news continues. i want to hand it over to chris for "cuomo primetime." >> thank you for addressing it. it's not easy for you. it's not easy for a lot of people to hear but we all need to listen. thank you for making the effort tonight. the need is great. i am chris cuomo. welcome to "primetime." we're in washington, d.c. why? bob mueller is done. the biggest question for me is why did mueller leave the door open on one of the biggest questions. why did he punt on obstruction? wasn't that his job to make a decision? it has partisans running on opposite conclusions. exactly what we didn't need. so we came to washington, d.c.,
to discuss the fallout with the two main lawyers working with the president. rudy giuliani is sitting next to me. the president calls this total exoneration. that's not what the a.g. said. what is his argument? later his colleague jay sekulow is going to join us, very interesting. the legal tandem is tag teaming my show and sean hannity's show tonight, preaching to the converted over there, appealing to open minds here, but it shows you where we are. the big issue, will the president really push for you to see the report? how about his answers to mueller? should you get to see that? that's just one of the issues that democrat hakeem jeffreys has to consider. how big of a blow is this early assessment of the mueller report to democrats and their cause? what is their path forward? is impeachment still an option? big questions, big night, big players. let's get after it. the president of the united states is okay with the idea of releasing the full muller report. here he is in his own words. >> up to the attorney general. wouldn't bother me.
>> wouldn't bother him. has he said that to the a.g.? maybe we'll get an answer tonight. democratic house chairs issued an ultimatum to bill barr demanding congress see the full report by a week from tomorrow. rudy giuliani, welcome back to "primetime." >> thank you. >> important moment. >> yes. >> the idea of disclosure, do you believe that the people, congress, certainly, deserve to learn more? >> sure. like the president, i'd like to have the whole thing out because i believe there's nothing that will hurt us and i believe if there is any argument there that tries to hurt us, we can rebut it. we have a 97-page report ready to rebutt anything they say, about 30 of it is devoted to obstruction of justice which is a totally specious charge. however, the democrats are being unfair. there are laws that have to be followed. one of them is a criminal law. if barr were to release grand jury testimony or make a mistake
and release it, it's a federal felony. five years in prison. in order to release the grand jury testimony, he will have to go to a federal judge and get an order to do it. just like with the watergate prosecutors. the judge is going to read through it. it could take two weeks. >> but there's things they could release. >> it would be unfair to release it piecemeal. >> what about charge by charge? >> you could do collusion first -- i don't know, the best way is figure out what you can release and put it all out. we waited long enough. >> true. >> if we have to wait two weeks to do it right. but barr has no interest in holding it back. you heard what he said. >> i hope that's the case. >> it is. and why would i want something hidden where everybody is going to start saying what's hidden when i know that i can rebut every single piece. >> if the president wants
closure, closure comes from clarity. people have to see things. here's why, counselor, it's because the idea of criminality matters, that's what the special counsel was looking for in the main, but we know that he believes there was wrongdoing. there's political ramifications. criminality is not the standard. we need to know the information so people can make a judgment. >> but it is the standard for impeachment if you read the constitution strictly. high crime or misdemeanor. this says no high crime. certainly no high crime. provable and no misdemeanor, provable. >> president ford said a high crime or misdemeanor is what congress says it is. >> one of yours? republican president. it's about votes. >> he says while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, so no conclusion that he committed a crime. how can you even go forward? this is all the prosecutor. >> what's the part after that. >> it does not exonerate him.
they don't have to exonerate him. you have to prove he's guilty. >> that's absolutely true. i don't know why the a.g. echoed that. i don't know why mueller said it. >> this is a cheap shot. >> for a prosecutor this is unprofessional. >> fair point, his job is not to exonerate. >> he is exonerating in the next two paragraphs. the next two paragraphs say not sufficient evidence and no obstructive conduct. that's exoneration by rod rosenstein, the attorney general. >> i would argue that he was a little bit more circumspect than that. the reason he says he couldn't come to a conclusion about obstruction is because there was proof both ways and some division either internal or internal to his own mind. so obviously there was proof of wrongdoing when it came to obstruction sufficient enough that he couldn't just make a call. >> there isn't proof of wrongdoing. what there is, he has a staff of at least eight people that are rabid partisan democrats. never should have been on the staff. one of them was the counsel to
the clinton foundation. >> that's like saying -- >> he's not a conservative. he wouldn't have selected weissman. >> republican his whole life. >> he's certainly not a trump republican. in any event, he had eight people work for him that hate trump. he had a lead investigator that was all over saying he hated trump. that's disgraceful. you think this is objective? ridiculous. >> i agree with you. >> it's not objective. it's a cheap shot. >> i'm with you on that. what i'm saying is this, criminality, you know my line, felony, if not a felony then it's fine, that doesn't work for me as a standard for presidential conduct. you know there was enough wrongdoing -- >> it doesn't work for presidential conduct but for overturning the will of the electorate and throwing out a democratic leader it better be a serious crime.
that's why they said high crime. >> or a pattern of abusive pattern that turns up the nose of republicans and democrats. >> let's think about this. how fair was this investigation? let's go to the first part of it. >> it's only four pages. it's been like a year and a half. >> that's okay. these are conclusions. how about the first conclusion. we should take a breath and stop and everybody should apologize for accusing the president falsely of collusion. it turns out to be totally false. it's completely unsupported. completely unsupported. there's no evidence of it. they bear on each other. >> let's take that one count. >> you have to look at his analysis. it begins with, it's hard to obstruct a noncrime. you can do it. >> he says more than that. he says there's no obstruction in the context of there being no underlying crime found. you don't need to have an underlying crime to have obstruction.
scooter libby, martha stewart. >> he said it is very rare that you can have corrupt intent when there is not an underlying crime. he is exactly right. it is very rare. yes, it is possible but it's a very heavy burden to overcome. there's also something extremely bush league about investigating something, there's no crime committed and now you're going to trap the guy. with some kind of crazy obstruction theory. >> russian interference, there wasn't real questions about who was meeting with whom, and lying about it repeatedly? >> no evidence that the president of the united states was involved. do you know how absurd that charge was to me? being on that campaign? it was ridiculous. it would not have been believed about hillary clinton? tell me how you can make an obstruction case when he didn't destroy 30,000 e-mails. he didn't chop up -- >> when is that the standard? he got rid of comey. he said it in a way that seemed to be related to -- >> he is allowed to fire anyone
that worked for him and he had seven good reasons to do it. >> he could have had some bad reasons, too. >> that doesn't matter as long as you have good reasons. >> it does in terms of why you look. >> no, there's no reason to have looked. he had every right to fire comey. in fact, that was an intrusion on the president's power. >> then why do the guys keep lying about this? >> people lie all the time. you told me martha stewart lied when there was no underlying crime. maybe they're embarrassed. maybe they forget. >> but if you lie, people look. >> maybe they get tricked by tricky prosecutors like weissman who has been cited three times for unethical behavior. the man is a menace. the man is an absolute menace. how could you arguably -- >> i'm arguing points of fact. >> how can you possibly with a straight face say that you would find a crime with trump obstructing when hillary clinton destroyed -- >> what does she have to do with it? >> she has a lot to do with it. let me finish my sentence. she destroyed 30,000 e-mails. she took a hammer to her cell
phone. she whitewashed her servers. he didn't do any of that. how can you say this was obstruction? second, what was obstructive? the thing went forward. we finished. he had -- >> went forward but comey was taken out. that's the reason rosenstein asked for the special counsel. >> what did it obstruct? 500 witnesses, $40 million. 90 agents. >> if you attempt to obstruct that's something that we want to look at. >> now we have an attempt to obstruct a noncrime. this is like stretching to prosecute the man. >> you are defining it that way. that's very clever. >> it's not very clever. you guys have tortured this man for two years with collusion and nobody has apologized for it. before we talk about obstruction, apologize -- >> not a chance. >> of course you're not because you're not being fair. >> no, please.
you know better than that. >> no, i'm outraged. collusion, collusion, collusion. collusion, collusion, collusion. no collusion, chris. >> here's my case. >> apologize. >> never. >> never? >> i didn't do anything wrong. these questions are real. they needed to be regarded as such. >> treasonous. >> did you hear me say that? >> no. how about this network should apologize. how about jeff zucker. >> do i ask you to apologize for everything the president says that isn't true. >> no. >> okay. >> i ask you to apologize. >> tell me what i did and i'll apologize. >> i'm not saying that you should do it. you're network should apologize. >> i don't apologize for the network. >> your network should apologize. >> i'm proud of the network and the job it does but i only control what i say. >> the washington post should apologize and adam schiff should apologize. >> that's a question for him. >> before we start jamming him up in obstruction, couldn't we take a day off and say the man was falsely accused? this is a -- >> i don't believe he was
falsely accused. >> he was. >> show people what is in the record and let them decide. >> what do you mean he wasn't falsely accused? >> he did a pattern of things that triggered the curiosity and concern of a lifelong prosecutor, rod rosenstein. not some clintonista or some democrat congressman. he called for the special counsel. >> he didn't reveal to the court that christopher steele had been fired by the fbi. was paid $1.1 million by hillary clinton. >> certain things they corroborate -- >> if you read that dossier you get past the second page and you think it's an intelligent report you're an idiot. >> it's a compilation of different sources. >> it is a national enquirer story. it is a cheap national enquirer
story. i've had four or five retired cia agents read it. >> there was russian interference and his guys were taking meetings. >> page four of the affidavit is the report. the guy you just had on here said there never would have been a fisa warrant without the steele affidavit. steele was put forward as a completely verified informant. >> but they understand it -- you know this. >> no, you have to tell the fisa court, there's a great obligation on the prosecutor before a fisa court. >> let's see what we can. >> i have seen. >> i know you have. i'm saying the rest of us, rudy. let people see it and make their judgments. >> the footnote is public. >> four pages on all the efforts of mueller is not enough. >> no, we're talking about rod rosenstein who has to account for the fact that he signed a
false affidavit. >> he also wrote the letter to get rid of comey for the president and jeff sessions. >> and he also came to the conclusion there's -- >> is he a good guy or bad guy? >> people are not good guys or bad guys, people are complicated. he signed a false affidavit. >> he also took a judgment here on obstruction that's arguably not his job to do. he also wrote a letter to take down comey that he shouldn't have done. >> however the report says the president of the united states, ladies and gentlemen, is not guilty of collusion. he is totally exonerated of collusion and for 2 1/2 years, people have been going after him not for obstruction of justice, not for campaign finance -- >> let me just make my point on this because it matters. >> a disgraceful, horrible thing. >> i know that you know this. i agree with you that the a.g. says that mueller found that there was no criminal case to be made about conspiracy to coordinate with those involved with russian interference. i accept that. it's in here and true and i accept it as true but i want this point to be made for people. we have to find a way to move forward together.
hold on a second. you say there was no collusion. i know that you know what i'm about to say. you've heard me say it before. collusion is a behavior, not a crime. that's why the word collusion is not in mueller's report. he doesn't talk about i found collusion, i didn't find collusion. was there collusion? >> conspiracy to interfere -- >> yes, and they're different things. was there collusion? yes. what manafort did with the polling data was collusion. what that meeting was about in trump tower, it was tricky behavior to get close to people you shouldn't have been close to. was it a crime? no, it wasn't a crime. >> that's not collusion. >> it's not a crime. >> i agree with you. >> i don't think you should say no collusion because i believe that's oversimplifying the point but i agree with you there's no criminality on it. >> there was no collusion by the president of the united states with anybody. he didn't talk to a russian. he didn't see a russian. >> i have seen no proof to the contrary. >> from the beginning, he had no
information about russian interference. >> no, but it was after you and everybody around the president said nobody talk to nobody and it turned out there were a lot of people talking -- >> i didn't say that. >> you were much more eloquent than that. >> you did use the word collusion. collusion with the russians. >> yes, and what about manafort giving the polling data and stone trying to get the e-mails. >> that's not collusion. if you talk to a russian you're interfering with the election. >> no. if you talk to a russian who is related to intelligence -- >> papadopoulos was brought in on the theory that he was going to be the link. >> maybe so. >> he testified under oath and i have no knowledge of any interference in the election. they gave him a 14-day sentence. bye-bye. flynn, no knowledge of interference with the election. cohen fell apart. he should be prosecuted for
perjury, for the perjury he committed before the house committee. one of them you're going to be a witness in. you're going to be a witness. >> maybe. >> i'd call you as a witness right in front of the grand jury, you prove unequivocally that he was seeking a job with the administration which he lied about in front of cummings and he said i'm going to throw the book at you. he also lied about not asking for a pardon. i'll have to be a witness for that. because he asked me for a pardon. the man is a total purjor. >> here's where i want to get us at on here. these are tough questions but i believe they needed to be asked. i believe that whatever disclosure can happen is to be an antiseptic. the more they know the more people come together. that's why i'm a little worried about just four pages. >> but that's the beginning. >> it's just the beginning. >> but has the president asked the a.g., you should -- >> the president certainly -- certainly the a.g. has heard --
if the president talks to the a.g. about this, there's going to be all kinds of this, that, and the other thing. the a.g. has said the right thing. i will put out the maximum amount of information the law allows. now, i have to ask everyone to realize there are laws. >> there are. although one of the guidelines he wasn't supposed to say, but i can't exonerate. >> that is true. he wasn't supposed to say that. that should have been crossed out. it wasn't. but, okay, it's there. but then he does a very good job of rebutting it. however there are laws. >> i understand that. >> i would like to see every single thing come out because i believe every single thing can be rebutted. this obstruction theory is garbage. >> i think the information should come out. >> read barr's letter of eight months ago.
>> i just need to know what he found. i think that puts us all in a better place. >> i know what it is. they have a crazy theory that if the president was thinking about obstruction, that that constitutes obstruction. well, first of all, the president wasn't thinking about obstruction and secondly weissman is out of his mind because if people get prosecuted for what they're thinking -- if somebody said i think i might want to kill that guy because he was mean to me -- >> but doesn't he mean formulation of intent? >> no. >> corrupt intent? >> no, that's why he says there's no obstructive conduct. you can't just think you're going to do something. it has to come out of my mind and be conveyed to somebody. it never happened. >> it would have been better if mueller made the call. >> mueller couldn't decide between contending factions. >> i understand but that wasn't his job. >> shame on him. >> his job was to make a call. >> he should return some of the money we spent. >> as a taxpayer, i'm always in favor of that.
rudy giuliani, thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you for the opportunity. i'm sure jay will do a better job than me. >> i'm happy to take on the both of you and i appreciate the opportunity. >> thank you. >> god bless and be well. this is a conversation to have. you don't have to hate each other to disagree on legal points of all things. now, god forbid indeed, jay sekulow is going to be with us, so is hakeem jeffreys. one of the top house democrats. what are they going to do with this information? rudy says they should apologize. what do they believe is the path forward? and then great people that used to do the job of the prosecutions to tell us what matters and what doesn't. conspiracy is the crime. collusion is a behavior. we're coming right back. nick's mom called the t-ball league eight times to help her shy son make some new friends.
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outrage, but there's also real questions that we still don't have the answer to. more information than we did before but where do we go? let's bring in house democratic caucus chair hakeem jeffries. congressman from new york, good to see you. >> great to see you. >> now, this report, there were a lot of expectations built in. unlike rudy giuliani, i don't blame everybody for everything. i've had a lot of conversations with you about this. members of your party were saying this is going to be it for him. when mueller comes out, it's going to be true. obstruction, he punted and the a.g. didn't. what is the path forward?
>> one, to make sure that the mueller report, every single word, is released publicly so that the american people can make an evaluation as to why bob mueller drew the conclusions that he drew, both with respect to the absence of finding collusion with the trump campaign and russian spies as well as his inability to exonerate the president with respect to obstruction of justice, which as you know is an extremely serious charge. >> true. i don't know why he said -- i guess he was speaking to something that he didn't expect which is a division either within his team or his team saying that i don't know that we can make a case but i can't exonerate. as we both know, the prosecutor is not in the exoneration business. either you can make a case or you can't. his job is to make a call on it. unusual there. there are rules. grand jury testimony. very tough to get out. has to be parsed. you need a court order. how do you handle those? >> with respect to the grand jury information, if there's a
compelling public interest as there obviously is in this case then that can overcome the presumption of grand jury secrecy. >> true. there is a test. >> with respect to the potential disclosure of sources and methods, every person, democrat or republican or of the view that we have to protect those sources and methods and that is an appropriate thing to do. everything else, disclose to the american people so we can figure out what happened, how did it happen, and how do we prevent this dynamic from ever occurring again? clearly, 17 different intelligence agencies concluded that russia interfered with our election with the purpose of artificially trying to place someone at 1600 pennsylvania avenue and there were more than 100 contacts between the trump campaign and russian operatives. >> right. none of the agencies thought that russia didn't interfere. only the president was doing that. but we know why. he felt threatened by this.
now he feels cleared by it. he clumsily used the word exonerated. that was the one word he shouldn't have used because it's the one word that mueller went out of his way to put in there as a qualifier of what didn't happen in the report. but that's politics. do you believe there's still a path for impeachment? >> we have been very clear from the beginning and i think the speaker laid out the case to say, one, democrats have always been focused on getting things done for the american people. we didn't run on impeachment or win the house of representatives on impeachment. we're focused on lowering health care costs. that's the preeminent issue. and real infrastructure. >> you should be able to walk and chew gum. >> absolutely. >> i would argue you have showed not just democrats but congress that you have trouble doing
either and i believe in being fair to the individual, even when representing the party, some of them, one, name is not that important but she came out and said let's impeach the blank, blank, so you do have a faction of your party that is rabidly interested in impeachment. how do you control that? if you set yourself up for a loss and you can't remove the president, how do you control that? >> that's a very small faction. the collective wisdom of the house democratic congress, nancy pelosi said, for us to proceed with impeachment, the case must be compelling. the evidence must be overwhelming and public sentiment around impeachment must be bipartisan in nature to the extent that any of those three elements is missing, we're not going to go down this road. so it appears at this point,
we'll continue not to go down this road. >> you're still going to do fact finding. it could wind up being the same thing. >> we're a separate and co-equal branch of government. we don't work for donald trump. we work for the american people. we have a constitutional responsibility to serve as a check and balance on what has been at times an out of control executive branch but we won't overreach, we won't overinvestigate. we're going to keep the focus on what we're trying to do for the people. >> do you accept the a.g. and deputy a.g. saying there was no obstruction, we'll make the call for mueller? or do you believe it's still to be decided? >> that's problematic because we don't have the underlying documentation and the entirety of the report. which is important. what we have been calling for is not just the report to be disclosed but the underlying documents so that the american people can have everything to make their own evaluation. what we have right now is the four-page barr report. what we actually need is the mueller report that took place over a 22-month period.
>> here's the big problem. i keep saying this to both sides. if not a felony then fine is not an acceptable standard and it's certainly not just a crime that can get you impeached. this high crime and misdemeanor, rudy giuliani is clever to lay it out that way but it's not a legal standard. it's a political standard. it's up to you men and women to figure out what you want to vote on. there is wrongdoing. enough that he couldn't make up his mind about obstruction. there was enough findings of counterintelligence to put in findings about it. we don't know what they were. there was enough to commit a crime, but there was wrongdoing that was there enough to consider whether or not it was a crime. wrongdoing matters. this isn't a criminal trial where it's not guilty and it's done. do you think we'll get it? >> the most important point to point out here, we are going to get all the facts and all the evidence. the american people voted to put
house democrats in power in part so we can make sure that there's transparency. we're working on this issue. and as you pointed out, have sent a letter urging that we get the documents by april 2nd. hopefully we'll get the documents, or we'll see what happens from there. it's ironic that the same crowd that in 1998 was talking about the seriousness of obstruction of justice and impeached a president based on that act as well as abuse of power is now saying, well, those aren't really serious things. we are just going to take this based on the four corners of the evidence and wait for the mueller report to be turned over. >> hypocrisy is no stranger to
pot ticks, and all pain is personal. i wish we could get away from the teams. i believe the more information we have the better chance that the american people could be on the same page. thank you. anything that you can do to get us more information we would appreciate it. rudy giuliani says you already know everything that you need to know but he says if more wants to come out then great. the president says the same. jay sekulow is here. does he agree? where does he believe the path forward is here? we'll take that all up for you and we have great legal minds to do analysis. stay with us.
all right, look, we got lucky tonight. we're fortunate to have both players that counseled the president in the mueller matter. jay sekulow, welcome back to "primetime." what an interesting moment we're living. i've never had this happen where legal counsel tag team two different shows. >> there you go. >> my take is fox are preaching to the converted. they haven't thought the president had anything to worry about all along and here you get to talk to people that have open minds. >> i did every network today. every cable network and every tv network. i've hit them all. i'm glad to be with you tonight. >> it's a great time to hear from you guys. we need intelligent discussion. give us hope about what you expect in terms of more transparency about what the american people can hope to
learn beyond the four pages. >> first, you have to put it in context of what happened. the attorney general got the report from special counsel bob mueller. he worked with the deputy attorney general of the united states and their staffs and they put together a four-page document that's called principal conclusions. these are the principal conclusions that were reached in the report. they delivered that really within 48 hours which is record time in washington. i mean, this is very quickly. the attorney general said he is going to disclose as much as he can, consistent with the law and the regulations and i believe he's going to do that. the biggest things you have to look at is the material -- >> grand jury. >> you have to be careful about people that may have been looked at and were declined. there's a big issue with that. that's where james comey got in so much trouble. >> but there is a test. there's a judicial process to get through it. it's not an impossibility. >> no, but you have to go through the process and then of course national security information. i haven't seen it. i don't know what's in it but i expect that they're going to do a -- i'm sure that they're working on a thorough review. you've seen a quick transition
and turnaround on this document and you'll see a quick turnaround on the other. >> we reported it when we learned it but it's important for the audience to know. the idea that the a.g. figured out in 48 hours about obstruction was not fair. they were told three weeks ago i can't make a decision on this and rosenstein has been with it every step of the way. >> it wasn't in a vacuum. >> it wasn't in a vacuum. it wasn't a hasty decision. fine. but we need to know more. it's about what your standard of behavior is for review. even if they wanted to do impeachment and i have been very clear all the way down through the line, i didn't see the criminality. may happen. may not. >> the process, i mean, not only are we nowhere near it, but if you look at what has to happen in a process like that, this is not that case. you look at it and you say, is this that kind of case and it's clearly not. >> but this is why i need to see
the stuff because felony or fine is not a good standard. high crime or misdemeanor, i don't even know what it means. abuse of power is a real ingredient in that political accountability. >> but where would be the abuse of power here, chris? let's be realistic. this investigation starts as a counterintelligence investigation. that's concern over possible -- what they were calling or however it started the word collusion. conspiracy with the russians or russian operatives with the trump campaign and people affiliated. >> to help them interfere in the election. >> yes. >> and the special counsel said after 2,800 subpoenas, 500 search warrants. 230 orders for communication records. 13 requests to foreign governments and 500 witnesses that it doesn't exist. that was the basis upon which this started. >> no crime. >> he says more than that. he said because where you're correct is the word collusion has been used. it's not the legal standard. the special counsel says the special counsel investigation
did not find that the trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with russia in its efforts to influence 2016 u.s. presidential elections. it's not just crimes. they said no conspiracy or coordination. >> this last part matters and i'll tell you why. i'm not being picky. i don't need to be. when they say with its efforts to influence the election, okay. >> that was the standard for the investigation. >> what we saw with manafort and stone and the trump tower meeting, those are things they shouldn't have done. that has to matter, too. >> we're both lawyers. this is the key here. you have to look at what is the law that was involved in this situation with paul manafort, violations, tax issues, there was not a charge in conspiracy. >> just because it wasn't a crime doesn't mean that it was okay. >> but the special counsel had a mandate. >> yes. >> and the special counsel
issued a order based on their mandate. so that is what happened here. >> yes. >> we haven't seen the report. >> i'm talking about congress. >> congress has a different role. here's the thing that i ask, though. let's go back to this. the united states congress, they haven't seen it but they're saying it's not enough. but do you think that the united states congress is going to get to 2,800 subpoenas? >> no. >> are they going to get 500 search warrants? no. 230 orders of communication records? no. are they going to get phone records? are they going to get 13 requests to foreign governments? >> no, but they're going to get more than four pages. >> they are. he said i'm going to turn this around quickly. i hope to get it to you by this weekend, the principal conclusions in the report. he said during his testimony i want to give as much of the report as i can consistent with the law and regulations and i don't think anybody would argue that you don't do it consistently -- >> here's the one that i don't understand that you have been
arguing -- >> yeah. >> why shouldn't we get to see the president's answers? >> well, number one, you don't have a right to see the president's answers. >> why not? >> because if i was representing you and worked out an arrangement with the special counsel or u.s. attorney and this was going to be done in a particular way, would you be comfortable with me releasing your records -- >> if i were president of the united states and it was a matter of critical importance and confidence -- >> why would it make a difference if it's the president of the united states or you, chris cuomo. it doesn't legally, you know that. >> but i think it's a duty as the highest elected office of the land. >> the facts are they asked questions and we responded. that's it. >> he already got the benefits of great minds helping him with the answers. we can't see those. you already vetted him once. >> you're kind to say all of that -- first of all, i'm the president's lawyer. so i'm not waiving anything absent a court order. there's going to be no court order here.
what did the special counsel include or not include in the report? i don't know. i haven't seen it. i'll see it when you see it. >> the president wants closure. >> yeah. >> he wants clarity. so much so that he used one word he shouldn't have used. he should have said i'm totally vindicated. he shouldn't have said exonerated but that's about public relations. it's not about law. i'm just saying, it's his duty. >> what's the difference between -- by the way, do you think a prosecutor -- when you think about this was, does a prosecutor exonerate? so i don't know why it's in there. >> i don't know why it's in there either. i don't know why he didn't make the call -- >> i'll tell you why. he said it raised difficult questions of law and fact. you were an attorney. you prosecuted cases. here's the problem. when you have difficult questions of law and difficult facts, guess what you don't do -- >> prosecute. >> right.
>> so he should have said don't prosecute. >> why did he use the word exonerate? i don't know because the job of a prosecutor, you've done it, i've done it, you prosecute or you don't. technically it's basically declinations. i can tell you what i think happened. they laid out all the facts as they understood. and there was no consensus. they are not an independent. they kept saying what they did and ken starr did. this is not an independent counsel. they reported to a three-judge panel. >> and they have a mandate that they deliver impeachable information to congress. >> they got rid of that because the politicians didn't like it and they created this. >> and he said he didn't like it. >> that's right. >> okay. so, the special counsel is under a different set of rules. he is part of the department of justice. >> i don't see where the a.g.
gets to make the call for him. >> well, of course he does because who is the chief law enforcement agency head of a department? >> the a.g. is. >> the attorney general. >> the whole point was to have it outside of the department. >> it wasn't outside of the department, though. >> he's underneath the deputy a.g. >> no, no, chris, the special counsel is actually under the attorney general. in this case he was recused, but the document itself is a department of justice document. >> yes, it is. >> he works for the department of justice. he is an employee of the department of justice. he has regulations that set forth specifically what he can do and what he can't. he's bound by department of justice guidelines. he has to give what's called a confidential report to the attorney general. if there's any disagreement between him and the special counsel -- he's supposed to tell congress. they said here there was none. >> i just think it taints it a
little bit in the public perception would be my suggestion but that's why the more that can come out, the more clarity there will be. that's why i was happy to hear the president say today i think it should come out. i can't believe he's not telling you waive it all. i have nothing to hide. i want the people to see what i said. >> i'm not worried about what he said and the answers to the questions. >> why didn't you put him under oath -- >> because i have been practicing law for 40 years -- >> but this is the president of the united states -- clinton did it. >> clinton had to do it. >> he did it before the subpoena came. >> no, the subpoena came. >> and he said no subpoena necessary, i'll do it. >> to a grand jury. we didn't reach that stage. >> would he have done that? >> would he have done what? >> do you think the president would have ever done it under oath? on camera? >> i'm not post-litigating a case that is closed. >> smart man. >> i appreciate you taking this opportunity and making the case to the audience and i will be in contact going forward. >> yes, sir, thank you, chris. >> thank you very much. jay and rudy, appreciate them
both. up next, we need better brains than mine to process what matters here and what we still need to know and what that process will probably look like. we have those people for you. plus, are you surprised by the mueller report findings? i'm sure many of you are. there's a reason for that. and we now know things and we now know what happened. and we have to look back at it and learn some lessons. i have an argument that will not make me any friends, but it's worth hearing. i promise. next. have a vision correction number, but i'm more than a number. when i'm not sharing ideas with my colleagues i'm defending my kingdom. my essilor lenses offer more than vision correction with three innovative technologies for my ultimate in vision clarity and protection together in a single lens: the essilor ultimate lens package. so, i can do more of what i love! buy two pairs of essilor's best lenses and get a $100 back instantly. see more. do more. essilor
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. do you know that the white house still hasn't seen the full mueller report? now, to be happy -- to be happy? to be honest, they're happy with just the headline here, right? for the rest of us, we've got to know the guts of this situation if we're ever going to have true understanding. because if you look at bill barr's summary, the president has reason to take a victory lap, all right? he's saying total exoneration. i don't know why he used that word. the truth was good enough. exoneration is exactly what mueller said he couldn't give him. whether mueller should have said that is another question. here's the good news. i have great brains for you tonight to go through what this means and what more should be known.
mark mazzetti, laura coates, and franklin foer. what kind of name of foer? what kind of name is that? >> an ellis island name. >> what was it before? >> russian. >> ethnics always know. laura, let's start with this. one, what we were talking about before. often the most interesting stuff we talk about, we don't say on tv. >> mm-hmm. >> mueller strong, known for prosecutorial discretion, known for knowing how to make the tough call. didn't make the tough call. punted on obstruction. i get there may have been a division in the team, but wasn't his job to make the tough call? >> absolutely. it's like going to the doctor and saying here are my symptoms and they go, you should get that checked out. i came to you for a reason. you're the person who's supposed to know. mueller actually has a mandate to reach a decision and present a report based on the
declinations or the reasons to prosecute. when he chose not to do so and instead said, you decide, you choose, especially when you have barr, who wrote a 19-page memo that already was a foregone conclusion of how he would feel, to me, it feels very unsatisfying. and frankly the punt, i wonder, was it truly to bill barr, or was the punt to congress? >> well, the reporting is -- that's a good question. the reporting is three weeks earlier, he had gone to the a.g. and the deputy a.g. and said, we're locked on this. they probably didn't use that language. that's what a jury would say. so they had time. so it's not fair to say barr and rosenstein figured this all out in 48 hours. >> sure. >> they had weeks and rosenstein was along every step of the way. be that as it may, here's where we are now. so, mark, the question becomes, well, where do you go from here? should we get a lot more information? should we expect a lot more information? does it matter if it's criminality wrongdoing, and why? >> we definitely need to get more information. we have to see as much of the mueller report that can be put out to the public, and they are pledging that they will get out as much as they can and they
will do it -- >> on obstruction, there was no grand jury testimony. >> they should be able to give us almost the entirety of that. of course it goes into the political arena. this is actually one of the problems and complicating factors of mueller not actually making the determination. you create a -- you have a special counsel in part to remove politics from an investigation, right? if you're worried about conflicting investigating, you know, public figures, you have a special counsel. he didn't make a decision and the decision was made by political appointees of the president. that complicates things. it makes it muddier, and it obviously now has congress riled up. so it doesn't make a clean end to the investigation. >> well, it's got congress riled up on the democrat side, but they also have to take a step back and check themselves because there was a significant number of them and a lot of media also who were front running expectations on this, and they were wrong. so it's time for them to be quiet or at least work on more information. the president, do you agree with sekulow's argument that the president's not going to give you his answers, you don't have any right to the answers, you
shouldn't have the answers? >> of course. do i agree with it? no. i think we have a right to the answers. i think this is an open wound. i mean the questions that were raised and the questions that were reaffirmed in barr's interpretation of mueller's report are huge. we know that the russians were manipulating our election. we know that they were trying to partner with trump and colluding in this election. we know that trump was lying to us about his work on trump tower moscow. we know that corruption is shot through this administration. the questions that were raised were totally legitimate. they needed to be pursued, and we need to take the answers as they come. we shouldn't be grasping at straws. we shouldn't be inventing conspiracies where they don't exist, but we do need answers. >> and a point that i got from laura coates many months ago -- i should finally give you credit for it, which is don't get so caught on criminality you said to me many months ago. you're a prosecutor. but this is a political question, and it was after i had done an interview with rudy giuliani.
you said, i get what he's doing. this is going to be a political battle. we know that there was enough wrongdoing that mueller's team couldn't make a decision on obstruction. we know there was enough wrongdoing that they had to make a call about whether to have a criminal case for conspiracy, which is what collusion winds up as legally. we don't know anything about what they found on counterintelligence. so certainly there's got to still be some existing jeopardy in what those answers mean to the political process. >> absolutely. remember, the constitution does not define high crimes and misdemeanors. they do it for a reason. they want to have the flexibility to be nimble to the actual circumstances because everything that has a criminal code corresponding notion is not always going to translate to why you want to have somebody remain the head of the executive branch. again, their job is to enforce the laws. they have an even higher burden that most people because you're the ones in charge of enforcing. so there's that element of it but a lot of this there's a political reason. i'm actually surprised his attorneys are so happy with the lack of an exoneration because he has been put in the exact
same position frankly that hillary clinton was placed in. the idea extremely careless behavior, not criminal. you have had a cloud now hanging over your head. before it was raining with collusion. that's now done, but now the question still remains the very thing that congress is charged with having to look at, which is is there a legislative reason to try to make sure it won't happen again? >> i'll tell you, though, they have to be happy because you lied so much about things you knew were wrong, and you wound up not getting caught for it criminally. they're going to take that as a win. clearly that's what they're doing, but there are almost what, a dozen other cases that we still have to figure out here in different parts of the judicial system. franklin, mark, laura, thank you so much for helping us understand all of this. all right. so tonight has been about getting some things straight. what do we know? what do we still need to know? what does this process mean? all right? the questions that sparked the russia probe are legit and have always been legit. knowing if anyone helped the russians mess with our democracy matters. it wasn't just about the dossier. they know that's not true.
russian interference is and was real. people around this president did things they should not have done. they knew it because they lied about it. was what they did a crime? sometimes yes, sometimes no. and it is good and helpful to have some answers now that mueller is done. it's important to know that our president was not involved in a criminal conspiracy to help russia's efforts to interfere in our election. it's good to know there are not more people around him believed to be criminals on top of those who have already been exposed as such. now, i don't think either of those reckonings are cause for celebration. in fact, i think celebrating not being a felon is a gross reflection of how low our standards for leadership have become. think about the standard the trump trio over on fox and other trump folk are trumpeting. if there's no felony, then the behavior is fine. come on. we need to know about any and all relevant wrongdoing, not just crimes. clearly mueller believed there
was enough wrongdoing that he could not clear the president of obstruction. so you should see whatever we can get and judge for yourself. how much does this matter? how big a deal is this? should presidents weigh it any further? should there be action? all right? remember, that's just on russia. there's still like a dozen cases that are looking at serious types of wrongdoing. the answers matter. the president should want all the info to come out, including his answers. you have a right to know what the man you put in power to lead you said on these important questions. legal or not, he has a duty. now, you've heard me say this a lot on my show, on my sirius xm radio show and elsewhere. that matters too right now. many on the right are in i told you so mode. and you know what, i get it. i get their umbrage. there were people in politics and in the media who were almost guaranteeing results that were be bad for the president. they were getting praise. they were rewarded in various ways the farther that they went in their efforts in making the case that criminal activity was likely and that the president had money problems that may be damning.
now, to be fair, there's more to know before we can assess the whole basket of allegations. but much of it has been found to be without basis criminally or somehow lacking by mueller. people should own that too. many will now say it was wrong to assume what they were, in fact, assuming. my team did not play that game. here is just a taste of the proof of my argument. if you are waiting for something to come out from the mueller probe that ends this presidency, prepare yourself for disappointment. if you think mueller is going to take down the president with his report, that will be highly unlikely. i do not think criminality is a reasonable bar for people to anticipate in terms of when this probe winds up personally. i don't see how mueller threatens the presidency. i think this is about lying, why they lied, who knew what and when, and wrongdoing, not necessarily criminality. i don't see how the mueller probe winds up in the prosecution of the president or removal of him from office.
you have people on the left who have been set up for disappointment because they've been set up to believe that this is going to lead to the downfall of the president. now, listen, this isn't an i told you so because i don't know what i'm talking about. we have to learn more. i could still be long. there are like a dozen cases out there. but i know people were selling you on expectations, and it wasn't right, and it wasn't fair. we do this show differently. we do both sides because we're here to test power, not to play to it. and i'm not going to try and just bring someone down, facts be damned. playing to one side is a great ratings strategy, believe me. i see the proof of it every morning. it can make you a presidential pal as well, but it is also toxifying our political culture. i know some of you are disappointed by this outcome. i get it. it's regrettable. but it's also instructive. we need to find out the facts, argue about what they mean, do it with decency. there is no need for us to be driven apart by our pursuit of the truth. my hope is that if you keep an open mind and you don't just
listen to an echo of what you already believe, the pursuit of truth, of justice can bring us closer together. lord knows it should be easy to get to a better place than the one we're in right now. thank you for watching. "cnn tonight" with d. lemon starts right now. >> welcome back. >> good to be here. >> yeah, it's good to have you back. it was a very interesting week without you or while you were gone, i should say. listen, i think you're right on in your assessment there. here's the interesting thing. people think if you're tough on this president, then you're out to get him or if you were tough on this president, you automatically thought the mueller investigation was going to take him down. it's our job to be tough on people in power, especially presidents, especially considering how much this president does not tell the truth. but that doesn't mean you thought the mueller report was going to take him down. i've said it, and you've said it. i'm very tough on this president.