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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  March 26, 2019 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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1 experience. simple. easy. awesome. happening now, breaking news. smollett walks. after being accused of faking a hate crime, all charges against the actor are suddenly dropped. i'll talk live with the mayor of chicago who is furious that he's getting off scot-free. weeks, not months, we're learning more about the timetable for the attorney general to reveal more details about the mueller report. tonight the president's lawyer just told me he is okay with trump's written answers to mueller being made public. eliminating obamacare, the president talks health care on capitol hill as his administration reverses course and seeks to get rid of all of the affordable care act.
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is it a gift to the 2020 campaign rivals. and kamala harris's plan, the democratic presidential candidate joins us live to discuss her goal to giving teachers a pay hike. it could cost hundreds of billions of dollars. where will the money come from? we want to welcome the viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in the situation room. we're following breaking news on the decision to drop all the felony charges against the actor jussie smollett. a top prosecutor involved in the decision is is acknowledging he doesn't believe smollett is innocent. the police superintendent is standing by his very public claim that smollett staged a hate crime and lied about being a victim. and chicago's mayor is calling it a whitewash of justice. but tonight smollett is portraying himself as innocent
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insisting he's been truthful since day one. the justice department will take weeks for a more extensive version of robert mueller's report to be made public. democrats are demanding to see it all by april 7bd as the president continues to claim he's been totally exonerated by mueller on the issue of obstruction of justice. i'll talk about that news with kamala harris. and mayor rahm emanuel is standing by live along with our correspondents and analysts. let's start with our chief white house correspondent. >> reporter: administration officials says the white house has seen stil not seen the mueller report. they are waiting to look at it just like everybody else is. but as we saw earlier today, he's continuing his victory lap. this time he was on capitol hill, but the president is taking his win and twisting it
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claiming the special counsel found he had not engaged in obstruction when that's not exactly the case. the trump administration appears to be diving into yet another controversy site krooiting with an effort to overturn obamacare without a clear plan of his own. soaking in the findings from robert mueller's report, president trump marched up to capitol hill to declare victory. but he didn't stick to the facts. >> the mueller report was great. it could not have been better. it said no obstruction, no collusion, it could not have been better. >> reporter: but that's not true. while attorney general william barr's summary did state they found the trump campaign did not conspire with the russian government, the question of obstruction was left to the justice department and barr and deputy attorney general rod rosenstein who decided not to prosecute. the democrats aren't taking the president's word for it and demanding to seat full report. >> we don't need an interpretation by the attorney
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general who is appoint ed for a particular job to make sure the president is above the law. we need to see the report. >> reporter: the president accused unspecified forces of conspireing against him. >> it went very high up and started fairly low, but with instructions from high up. this should never happen to a president again. we can't allow that to take place. >> reporter: trump has accused the obama white house of wire tapping without evidence. he's blamed john mccain for the release of a dossier detail iin the misdeeds. one of the top allies lindsey graham says he urged mccain to give the dossier to the fbi. >> john got the dossier. he called me up and said what do you think? you think i should turn it over to the fbi, i said yeah. >> how did the president respond? >> one area there's some agreement impeachment appears to be off the table.
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>> i don't think they are talking about impeachment. >> it's not on the table until it is on the table. >> reporter: new battle lines are being drawn over obamacare after a judge's ruling striking down the affordable care act saying in a statement, the district court's opinion came to the correct conclusion. the president jumped in to damage control mode. >> let me just tell you exactly what my message is. the republican party will soon be known as the party of health care. >> reporter: the run up to the midterms, the president bound to take care of people with preexisting conditions. >> i will always fight for and always protect patients with preexisting conditions. you have to do it. >> reporter: after running on protecting obamacare during the midterms, democrats are more than ready to resurrect the issue for the 2020 campaign. >> trump position ties a two-year anchor around the neck
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of every republican for the next two years. >> reporter: at least one target of the russia investigation is seizing on mooueller's findingsn the hopes of a pardon. george papadopoulos confirmed his attorney is seeking a pardon from the president. he told cnn if offered one, it would be an honor to accept. the president sounded open to the idea of pardons. he's told reporters he's not given that a lot of thought. but it seems obvious at this point there's going to be multiple figures from the russia investigation looking at that option of pardons from the president. >> you're probably right. jim acosta, thank you very much. now to the decision to drop all charges against the actor jussie smollett. brian todd is here in the situation room. so many people were blind sighted by this. >> moments ago the same prosecutor who dropped the charges against jussie smollett was asked by a cnn affiliate if he believed the actor was innocent and he said no. this comes after the shocking announcement that left chicago's mayor and police chief furious.
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>> reporter: in a case that jussie is smollett's lawyer spiralled out of control, a sudden dramatic and bizarre turn. prosecutors announced they have dropped all the charges against the actor. smollett repeated his claims of innocence. >> i have been truthful since day one. i would not be my mother's son if i was capable of one drop of what i've been accused of. >> reporter: it angered the police superintendent who says he was taken by surprise. >> do i think justice was served, no. when do i think justice is? i think this city is still owed an apology. it's smollett who committed this hoax. period. i standby the facts of what we produced. >> reporter: mayor emanuel stood by his police chief. >> this is a whitewash of justice. >> reporter: smollett told police he was attacked on the streets of chicago by two men shouting racist ask oklahohomop slur who is he claimed poured an unknown substance on him.
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police spent more than a thousand man hours on the case, interviewed more than 100 people, checked 50 surveillance cameras. two nigerian brothers who had been extras on the show "empire" were taken into custody. they believed smollett paid the brothers $350 to orchestrate the attack. >> it was staged. the brothers had on gloves during the staged attack where they punched him a little bit. but as far as we can tell, the scratches and bruising that you saw on his face was most likely self-inflicted. >> reporter: prosecutors allege smollett was in contact with the brothers in the days before the incident texting one of them, quote, might need your help. you around to talk face to face? and the actor spoke to the brothers an hour after the attack. smollett proclaimed his innocence and in an interview with abc, he vented his anger at how the investigation had turned.
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>> i'm pissed off. how can you doubt that? how do you not believe that? it's the truth. >> a week later police arrested smollett on suspicion of filing a false police report. he faced 16 counts. the key ke tonight, why the charges were dropped still hangs in the air following a murky explanation from prosecutors. >> this was a justice position in the case. >> reporter: the assistant state attorney said prosecutors did not exonerate smollett. prosecutors saw no problems with the police investigation or the evidence that they simply don't see smollett as a threat to public safety and he offered another explanation. >> we draopped all charges base on the fact he did community service and forfeited bail. >> this is not sufficient explanation. again, i don't think there's transparency. if this is all that got taken into account and as simple as this, let us see the sealed document. unseal it. let the public know exactly what the evidence was. >> tonight the court file in
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this case has been ordered sealed by the judge. smollett's attorney insists there was no deal struck with prosecutors. >> do we have any new information on the community service that jussie smollett will serve? >> the prosecutor just released a letter are from jesse jackson sr.'s coalition that said smollett performed community service at that facility in chicago, but just for two days. >> brian todd reporting for us, thank you very much. we'll have more on the story later including my interview with the chicago mayor rahm emanuel. let's do that interview right now. he's joining us live. mayor, thanks so much for joining us. >> thank you, wolf. >> you say that a grand jury could not have been clearer in its indictment of smollett. having only seen a sliver of the evidence. how do you explain this truly dramatic reversal today? >> i can't. it's that simple. nor can anybody else explain it.
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if it was easy to explain, the states attorneys office would have been out explaining it. here's my basic anger. there's no sense from this person who now the states attorney said committed the actual crime here or the hoax. there's no sense of remorse. the fact is in this act, he not only obviously all the resources police to get to the bottom of an alleged hate crime that turned out to be a hoax, the financial problem. but then taking all the notions of what a hate crime and the reason we have those laws on the books is to protect people of faith, racial background, sexual orientation that they cannot be a victim of the crime of any nature buzz of who they are, what they believe or how they love. he used that for his self-promotion. the states attorneys office itself and i accept ms. fox's view that she has recused
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herself, but the office says he is wrong. he actually committed a crime. there's a hoax here, but he's walking around like he's exonerated. and he's taking that law and turned it upside down and used it for himself. what happens to the young man who wants to come forward because he's been a victim of a hate crime or somebody at a place of employment where there's a noose left at their desk. are they going to not come forward all because of who he is that caught everybody by surprise. he gets off with two days of service. i want to ask you a question. you and i are both jewish. if it there was a swastika on your front door and found out weeks later after all the empathy that you or i put that on our door, we would get off with two days of service at the
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antidefamation lotion? really? that's what would happen here? >> so why do you think the cook county prosecutor then went ahead and dropped these charges? >> i cannot answer that question. the states attorney, the head of the states attorney recused herself. i can't answer the question. >> did they consult and inform you in advance that this was about to happen? all of us know what's bye-bye going on over the last several weeks. >> not only did they not inform myself, the fact is when we came off the stage after the largest police graduation and promotion, find out about what's happening here, it makes no sense. it makes no legal sense, no common sense and this is an abomination of justice. the notion that he's guilty of this hoax, he's walking around. i did not nothing wrong.
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you have taken the law and signed into law. because it finally meant to the united states that the values we shared that you cannot be a victim of a krooim to bottom because of your faith, your background, your race or who you love, he used those laws and those sentiments that binds us together as a community and society that say we will stand behind it. he used it to promote his own career and walking around as if he had has done nothing wrong. >> you clear ly are calling out smollett. >> he didn't demand it in order to drop the charges. what do you have to say about this prosecutor? >> the office needs to explain the why. i can't do that for you. but i can speak for the people of the city of chicago.
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the actor used the city, came from new york, act like there was a crime committed. our police went diligently to uncover a hate crime and find out who perpetuated and we find out it's a hoax. now remember all the evidence, a portion of the evidence was shown to a grand jury and they came back with all the charges. the same office and then dropped it. it makes no sense. >> so was the full picture painted by the evidence perhaps not as compelling as what was presented to the grand jury? >> it was compelling enough -- it brought the charges. >> did new questions arise in the subsequent weeks that might be? >> that's not what was said today. they said the police did a good job and the evidence holds up
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ask he actually did commit the hoax. they are saying $10,000 and two days of community service is good enough. and i don't believe not only is it not good enough when he's walking around thinking that he is actually innocent, not guilty, and he's innocent not only legally in a criminal justice sense, he's also guilty, in my view, of a moral crime, which is to kbruz use the hate crimes to advance his own career for selfish reasons. that, to me, is where there's a moral violation and a rip because he went out and spoke on abc to the country. he spoke about being a victim of a crime. and then what comes forward and what we now know to be the case and even the states attorney today acknowledged is the fact that that was all a hoax. there's a moral violation, let alone a violation of the code of criminal justice that this
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person believes with $10,000, two days of community service, the slate is clean. his word is true. if he was anybody else, and this is what's upsetting people in the city and around the country. he has one law or one kind of standard of accountability and everybody else gets another. and that's wrong. and the problem we're having today is everybody thinks if you're in a position of power or position of influence, there's two rulebooks. one for everybody else ask one for the people of influence. this is a horrible example of if he wasn't an actor. do you think two days of community service is enough? >> the cook county prosecutor says the decision to drop the charges is not all that unusual. let me get your reaction to that. >> i'm not a lawyer. i can't tell you if it's not unusual or usual but let me say this. if it was usual, why is
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everybody acting like it's unusual? in your own reporting in a bizarre turn, it's not usual. this is not a pattern. if it wasn't for the fact he was an actor with influence and capacity to have influence, you would not get off with two days of community service. and you wouldn't get off if we found out on my front door a swastika with all the symbolism of what that means to the jewish people. we found out i put that on the dor or you for your own career put that out, you think two days of community service the slate would be clean? the other thing is let us not forget this, wolf. he said he wanted his day in court for all the evidence to come forward. the grand jury only heard a portion of the that. if he wanted that, as he claimed, let's have that day and unseal the documents and see what really happened here.
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but the fact is he's walking away, no remorse, no contrite, doesn't believe he did anything wrong and used the laws of that to advance his own career and got caught and his entire penalty become to society is two days of community service. it's just the not right. >> mayor, very dramatic day in your city of chicago. thank you for joining us. >> thank, wolf. just ahead, breaking news. i'll speak with presidential candidate senator kamala harris about the mueller report, health care and her own brand new plan to boost salaries for the nation's teachers. you see her life. she's here in the situation room. to meet someone. this is jamie. you're going to be seeing a lot more of him now. -i'm not calling him "dad." -oh, n-no. -look, [sighs] i get it. some new guy comes in helping your mom bundle and save with progressive, but hey, we're all in this together. right, champ?
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we're following the breaking news. the justice department say it is will be week, not months until more of robert mueller's report is made public. the white house still hasn't seen the full report. let's discuss this and more with one of the democrats running to defeat president trump in 2020 is senator kamala harris. she's a member of the ewe dish area and intelligence committees. very important committees. thank you for joining us. the house of representatives voted 420-0 to see the mueller report. the president wants to release it. rudy giuliani told me he'd like to see it released. are you optimistic that you will get members of congress and american public an opportunity
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to see it almost in full. maybe some classified information may be redacted, but everything will be released. >> if everything goes as it should, if everything happens the way it should happen in the interest of transparency and also respecting the branch of government, which has a responsibility for oversight, which is the united states congress, yes, we'll see the report. we will see the report in its entirety minus whatever might be classified and we'll also if everything goes as it should receive the underlying evidence and information about the evidence that is i basis for whatever is in the report. >> you're not 100% confident that they will do that? >> wolf, look. we have an investigation that went on for two years. and i am concerned that the attorney general produced a four-page summary of a two-year investigation in two days. i'd like to believe and know that when congress receives this
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information that we have been told we'll receive that it will be kpcomprehensive and not leav anything out. there will be will not be any games manship about what is redacted ask what is not. listen, congress has the responsibility, the ethical responsibility, the duty to have oversight over these processes. ask when we're talking about the subject at hand, it is a subject that the american people have a right to understand and know. what went on? what did mueller find out? what did that investigation involve? it's the taxpayer dollars. >> we want to see the whole thing too. let's talk about the affordable care act. as you know, the trump administration and justice department last night filed a brief supporting a district court judge that declared the affordable care act completely unconstitutional and that all of it should be gone. what's your reaction? >> my reaction is that one of the things that keeps most americans up at night regardless of who they vote for is
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healthcahealth care and whether they have access to health care they can afford. the idea that people are playing politics with the affordable care act is the height of irresponsibility. preexisting conditions, tens of millions of americans have benefitted from the affordable care act, including the removal of preexisting conditions as a barrier to receive care. and the idea that we would turn the clock back because of some political purpose instead of prioritizing public health is irresponsible. is and so we're going to have to fight against it again but we have been clear, i think, as a nation that we value and want all americans to be able to have access to affordable health care. >> people with preexisting conditions should have able to have health insurance. kids should be on their parents until the age of 26. unless there's new legislation, that could go away. >> and folks should not forget that when they last played this
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game, families from around our nation who caredless about the party, came to the united states congress and walked those halls reminding people don't play politics with health care. and i would hate that those families would have to travel again throughout the country to be seen and heard. hopefully people in leadership will understand there's certain things that should be done the right way and not play politics with people's health. >> i want to get to your education proposals that you just announced. you're a former prosecutor and understand the law. what do you think about what happened to jussie smollett in chicago today? >> to be honest, i'm completely confuse want. i us don't understand. i don't know the underlying evidence. there's a sealed document, obviously. i don't know. i'm at a loss. i think we're going to have to leave it up to the judgment of the prosecutor. i think we should loef it up to the judgment of the police chief and the mayor. i don't know. >> if you're confused, all of us
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are confused. you heard the mayor. he's confuse d as well. and the cook county prosecutor, he says didn't even inform him that they were to drop the charges. >> there's a point that the mayor made that i would like to emphasize because i'm seeing it around the country and it's a very real issue which is the seriousness of hate crime. over the last two years, we have seen a growth of hate crime. in terms of race, religion, anti-semitic crime, islam phobic crime. we have seen an increase around our country ask frankly around the world. and we cannot play games with it. we have to take it seriously because it can result in legal consequences if we don't take it seriously. >> let's talk about your education plan and nothing more important than kids' education and health care and national security. you got to deal with all those issues. you want to raise teachers' pay
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across the country by $13,500 a year, which is a significant pay increase. the estimate is the price tag $315 billion over the next 10 years. so where's the money going to come from? >> it's simple. we need to basically extend the number of people who need to pay estate tax. the rule is only in access of $11 million pay estate tax multimillionaires can afford to pay more. that's where it's going to come from. i will also urge us on this issue in particular to ask another question. what will be the return of the investment. it will be profound. investing in the education of our children is one of the smartest investments we can make. i'm meeting teachers around our country working two or three jobs. i'm meeting teachers who over 90% of them are coming out of their own pocket to pay for
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school splice. we are not paying our teachers their value. there are two groups of people raising our children. parents and grandparents and aunts ask teachers. we have to recognize the benefit that we receive from their work, which is the work of really caring about children and the future of our country. >> can you guarantee it won't add to the budget deficit, which as you know is approaching a trillion dollars a year. >> what is adding to the budget is the tax bill they passed that give a tax benefit to the top 1% and the biggest corporations in this country. so when those same people start to talk about why we should not invest in teachers, i'm not sympathetic to their argument because i think their values are misplaced. this is a matter of what is the right thing to do. this is a matter of dealing with a teacher that i spoke with recently in south carolina. let me tell you. she is working full-time as a teacher and working full-time bussing tables in a restaurant. and she's share d with me a
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story. one day she's there working bussing tables and realized there were four other teachers also having a second job in that restaurant clearing tables to make their bills, to make their ends meet. and when we pay our teachers their value, do we want our teachers to work two jobs or engage in professional development? >> it's not going to raise the budget deficit? you're going to need republican support to go after the estate tax. you'll need republican support to support the pay increase for teachers. >> i'm talking about an incredible return on our investment. there are three essential functions of government. public health, public safety and public education. we're giving public education piece shortchanged. and a secretary of education who wants to give teachers guns, no, teachers don't need guns. they need a raise. they need a raise. >> part of the program that
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you're having that states would get money, but they themselves would have to increase or contribute to the pay increase. >> i think that's possible, but people are going to try to make this into a partisan issue. you can look at oklahoma and arizona, two examples of states that are red states that addressed this issue. you can look at the teacher strikes in red states and blue states. this should not be a partisan issue. it's nonpartisan. it's about the education of our children. when i travel around our country, regardless of who people voted for, they know that our teachers are not getting the pay they they that they deserve. if we are a society that cares about children, we have to appreciate that one of the best ways we can express the love and care that we have of the
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children of our country, is to invest in their education. if we're going to invest in their education, we must invest in teachers. it's that simple. >> do other public service employees around the country deserve a pay increase? >> we can look at what's going on in the country. in america today, half of american families are $400 unexpected expense away from complete unhooefl. in america today 99% of the countyst in our country if you're a minimum wage worker working full-time, you can't afford market rate for a one-bedroom apartment. which is why i'm proposing we change the tax code. a tax credit of up to $6,000 to receive at up to $500 a month. because wages have not kept up with the kansas of living. us find it interesting when people want to tout about how the economy is doing so well and then you ask them how do you
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measure that, look at the stock market. that's fine if it you own stocks. not everybody does. a lot of people don't. and then you ask them, how is the economy doing so well? look at the job rate. the jobless numbers, people are working. they are working two is and three jobs. >> how is the presidential campaign coming? >> i'm enjoying it. ooum enjoying talking to people and there's no question that if this is a process that will have integrity there's going to be as much, if not more listening than talking. and i'm enjoying this process in that regard. that's my hope and belief at the end of this process, one of the markers of success will be we are relevant and i'm enjoy iing the process for that reason. >> i'm sure people ask you a lot of questions about health care, education, all sorts of other issues. infrastructure which is critically important. >> but to your point, these are the things that keep people up at night. >> less so the russia
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investigation. >> it doesn't come up as much. >> that's what everybody says senator kamala harris, good luck. thank you for joining us. just ahead, more breaking news. more rockets launched in israel from gaza just now as well as new airstrikes. you still stressed about buying our first house, sweetie? yeah, i thought doing some hibachi grilling would help take my mind off it all. maybe you could relieve some stress by calling geico for help with our homeowners insurance. geico helps with homeowners insurance? they sure do. and they could save us a bundle of money too. i'm calling geico right now. cell phone? it's ringing. get to know geico and see how much you could save on homeowners and condo insurance. get to know geico and see how much you could itso chantix can help you quit "slow turkey." along with support, chantix is proven to help you quit. with chantix you can keep smoking at first and ease into quitting so when the day arrives, you'll be more ready to kiss cigarettes goodbye.
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news with. while trump is touting the mueller report as great, giuliani is taking issue with the way the special counsel handled his investigation. let's discuss this ask more. let's get analysis. you listened to the interview. he doesn't completely agree with the president on the results. >> that's interesting because by all accounts, they are all shouting praises of joy over the actual barr report that summarized the mueller report. i actually think that the idea of the witch hunt scenario that rudy giuliani is try ing ing to promote is pocketing the rear view mirror. but i agree with one aspect. if i'm the president, i'm not kploetly satisfied that i've been fully exonerated. the notion of saying it's a cheap shot, adding this he was not actually exonerated in the obstruction part puts him in the same category of hillary clinton when comey said careless, but not criminal behavior. it may not be a raining cloud,
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but it's a cloud. >> let me get jeffrey toobin to weigh in. what do you think? >> i think there may be also something else going on here. the report in some form is going to come out. it's unlikely to be entirely lot toir about the president. it's clear that mueller thought at least there was a chance that the president committed this crime. so i think mayor giuliani is setting the stage to disagree with a good deal of what is coming because it is almost certain thr going to be things in the report itself when it comes out that the president and his team are not going to like to see. >> what about that? >> this is a pure public relations campaign at this point. the fact is if there's no smoking gun, the president will seize upon as he has to suggest no collusion, no obstruction, complete exoneration, it's a
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matter of branding and having the american people think about that and having the american people then it they view that, hey, it's presidential harassment if the congress now goes and continues these investigations. no smoking gun. the fact is there were no more indictments. the president not implicated in collusion. public relations says we win. >> where is this all heading? >> it's very similar to the hillary clinton e-mails investigation. where really the best day for her was the day that comey came out and said they weren't going to go forward with an indictment. the best day for trump on this issue is when barr gave his top line revow of this report with the two best facts for the president. one, no collusion. two, he decided to take the issue of obstruction of justice off the table and said that didn't exist. everything else that comes out is going to question those conclusions. all the underlying detail that comes out will only be filled with some positive information
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for the president, but lots and lots of detail that will be negative for him especially on objestruction of justice where there was obviously a big debate in the special counsel's office. >> it's interest iing. we're not only hearing it's going to take weeks for more of the mueller report to be made available by the attorney general. >> that's right. although we know the judiciary committee requested he make the full report public by april 2nd. but i think the core issue we're seeing here as everyone really has talked about that i don't think we can stress enough is is a perception problem. why a political appointee is is making the ultimate decision on whether or not the president committed obstruction of justice and the decision really nullifies the purpose of the special counsel to begin with. which was to make sure the special counsel made the call on whether or not trump should be indicted or committed any crimes. and by taking this unusual step by delegating that decision to barr, it leaves a lot of room for questions and a lot of room
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for more discovery and debate, which is what is going to happen once the full report is released. >> just quickly, that's an excellent point. but i was confused about this. did he delegate it to barr or did barr take it? >> regardless, that's exactly right. >> i think barr took it pursuant to the statute, which weakens the power of the special counsel visa the old statute. but at some point, if the president is not above the law, how do you have a situation where you wind up with his appointees making a determination about whether or not he's culpable. in terms of what you talked about with giuliani, i thought the thing strike ing ing to me found a way, this goes back to what you were saying, he found a way to dodge your questions at a couple points, even though he made it sound as if he was saying, look, we're moving
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ahead, we're moving forward. one particular point is when you pressed him a couple the times on whether he would want the to bring out the questions asked of the president. and he kept saying, i don't see any problem with it. but i would be surprised if the legal team ultimately said, yes, we'll release them. >> that was about seven pages about the written q&a that the president went through with robert mueller. >> why that's so frustrating is it goes to the question everyone has. what was the decision mueller made was to not press for in-person questions and answers. i have never seen a prosecutor who was satisfied by written answers. i can cannot follow up. i cannot ais sets your credibility. i i can't decide for myself whether or not you're telling the truth. in a written answer format, when it's heavily vetted, that's what he's handing over i wouldn't be satisfied by that right now. us i want to hear it from the horse's mouth. the notion that mueller decided not to press for that is as
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great of a question as to why he punted. was it to barr or to congress? >> let me ask jeffrey toobin and joey jackson to weigh in on that as well. >> i agree with laura that it is a central mystery of what we know about the mueller report and mueller's investigation about why he didn't press for an interview with the president and whether barr himself took it upon himself to clear the president on the issue of obstruction of justice or whether mueller asked barr to issue a final opinion on that subject. that's why making final judgments on the basis of the barletter, which was informative but raised a tremendous number of questions is an unwise thing to do. >> joey, go ahead. it always is more beneficial
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when you have the person before you. to assess what they are doing, their movements, the cold transcript that is the written word it just doesn't do it justice. it's the president of the united states. so perhaps either, a, he doesn't want to engage in a legal battle, which i think mueller would put no stone unturned to move forward, or b, he was satisfied based on corroboration with other information provided and said let's loef it at that and move forward and get it done. >> the bill barletter a big win for the president. but last night the trump administration steps on that by announcing they are siding with a district court judge in repealing all of obamacare. >> which is a change from the administration. >> it's a gift to the democrats. >> absolutely. it's been said a the lot on the campaign trail. far outweighs the russia investigation in terms of what voters care about.
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and so the idea that a judge might get rid of the aca is and republicans and democrats in congress have no chance of getting together with a replacement is sort of shocking. and just one more comment we'll be talking about with the obstruction of justice. the reason this matters and so much commentary about the media getting it right or wrong. this reason this matters is we're setting a precedent for how future president cans act when they are under a special counsel investigation. all of the things trump did, a future president if this is no consequences would pocket that and be able to take the same steps. so this is not so much about president trump, but about the presidency itself is and what's allowable. >> if the health care act is repealed and not replaced, millions of americans who have
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preexisting conditions, for example, they're going to lose their health care. >> right. and just because the president says something doesn't make it so. as we have learned time and time again. but, yeah. sources inside the room today at the gop luncheon, and the president thanked the room for supporting him and standing by him during the mueller investigation. and then immediately said, let's focus on this 2020 campaign issue. you know, it is going to be important. and let's start getting to work on it. but you had a number of senators who were pretty flabbergasted after the meeting and came out and told reporters right away, we don't have a plan. and as the way much of the trump administration works, that's what happens when you don't have processes, not clear lines of communications. and, you know, as we have seen, this white house has a difficult time moving legislation forward in a way that makes republicans on the hill happy and productive. >> some legal analysis from our legal analyst on a different subject. we're almost out of time. but the jussie smollett case today, pretty stunning events.
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i don't remember ever seeing anything like this. but maybe you do. >> i don't remember a prosecutor securing 16 grand jury indictments counts and then saying, never mind, but i'll take your bail. you forfeiture that and everything is all fair in love and war. that is as totonishing to me. there is a dirty secret. the prosecutor who has the discretion to charge or not charge. they don't have to consult with officers to do so. if there was enough evidence to establish a grand jury could be impanelled and indictments to be secured and you actually have the two men who were allegedly involved in the hoax, actually testifying in front of the grand jury, what could have changed in the mind of the prosecutor to say, never mind? h and also why would there be a forfeiture in the sealing of the indictments if there was a complete profession of innocence? i have questions. >> jeffrey, you go first. >> i just would like to respond to the jussie smollett case as a journalist, not as a lawyer. because i think the message here
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is, don't jump to conclusions. all of us on television, you know, we respond to these cases right away. and this is such a good example of why you have to wait and see all the evidence. because, i mean, think of how this story has bounced back and forth. i don't know what happened here. to this day. and i just think the message here is be careful about jumping to conclusions, because you -- we just don't know what happened until we see all of the evidence. and i for one don't know what happened here. >> good point. joey. >> i think it's a little bit more complicated than that. i think we do know what happened in the case, and i think in this case, boy, is it nice to know people in high places. and that apparently is what happened in this particular case. i would have had a lot more respect for the county attorney if we learned initially what we learned now. and that is that they felt this was an appropriate disposition. the fact is, they ran hard at him. he is absolutely a person who is has done very good things for his community. he's adored, respected, lived
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his life in the right way. based upon that, we do not think it's appropriate to move forward with a felony disposition for a person for reporting a crime like this. just say so. don't say we're forfeiting your bail, he's doing community service, we're not going to let you know. that's problematic. >> everybody stick around -- >> well, what happened here? >> the answer is, we don't know. hopefully we'll find out one of these days. everybody stick around. more news we're following. more breaking news. new israeli air strikes after fresh rocketfire from gaza into israel. we're going to have a live report on the escalating attacks. there is this place... it can't be found on just any map. a place miles from the beaten path. overcoming twists and turns, ups and downs.... whatever life throws. a place to always strive for. for all the journeys that make us stronger.
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israeli's military says it's carried out new air strikes in gaza. let's go live to cnn's oren liebermann. what's the latest? >> a 16-hour period of calm was shattered. a few hours later, in fact just before midnight, a second rocket was fired from gaza into israel. the israeli military has responded with military strikes against hamas military targets inside gaza, including a weapons manufacturing facility. to give an idea where israeli thought this was going a few minutes before the rocket was launched, israeli announced restrictions had been lifted so
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israel thought this round of fighting was over. that changed with the first rocket. now it's a question of what happens next. if it were only these two rockets, israel would respond by targeting hamas military targets. we have seen this before. and then the fighting would end. but this comes less than 36 hours after that rocket was fired from gaza, deep into israel hitting a home in central tel aviv, rather north of tel aviv. now it's a question of what does prime minister netanyahu who also serves as defense minister decide to do at this point? he told aipac he was ready to carry out a much stronger response to gaza and against hamas and other militant groups in gaza. does he carry out that response or is the fighting returning to another lull for now? wolf, that as much a military question as it is a political question with now two weeks to go until the elections here. >> yeah. we'll see what happens in those elections. april 9th. the tension, meanwhile, escalating between gaza and israel right now. we'll stay on top of this story together with you, oren liebermann. be careful over there, as i know
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you will be. thanks very much for that report. and to our viewers, thanks very much for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." you can tweet the show at cnn sit room. erin burnett "outfront" starts right now. "outfront" next, president trump attacks a mueller victory lap. now turning his sights to killing obamacare. plus, mueller's report could be made public in weeks. not months. and tonight we are learning the white house may not get a chance to see it before you do. and a boeing 737 max, the same plane involved in two fatal crashes just forced to make an emergency landing in the united states. let's go "outfront." and good evening, ime i'm e burnett. president trump trying to capitalize on his mueller moment. >> the mueller report was great. it could not have been better.


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