tv The Lead With Jake Tapper CNN April 17, 2019 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT
melissa bell, cnn, paris. >> melissa, thank you so much for sharing that. and thank you for being with me. i'm brooke baldwin here in new york. let's go to washington. "the lead" with jake tapper starts right now. newsrooms, make sure you have enough toner in your printer. it is mueller eve, and the redactions are color coded. officials say they are dreading the release of the mueller report, worrying that the president may, quote, go bonkers, when he sees what they told mueller under oath with just hours to go until the redacted report comes out. triggering trump? the tweet storm targeting senator bernie sanders after the senator's appearance on the president's favorite cable channel. plus, doctors allegedly trading sex for a fix. dozens of medical professionals and 32 million pills. the justice department announces a multistate prescription drug
bust, revealing the shocking scope of the nation's opioid crisis. welcome to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. in a matter of hours, we'll finally learn what it is that robert mueller knows that we do not. and one republican source is warning president trump is, quote, going to go bonkers when the information is made public. but for now, president trump trying to set the stage, calling the, quote, witch hunt a total fraud brought to wyou by dirty cops, end quote. several white house aides tell cnn they are worried the report could indeed be damaging even if it does not establish conspiracy between russia and the trump campaign, that it will provide the most detailed and credible account today of mr. trump's temper, his work habits, chaos inside the west wing, and much more. but even before we see the words, let's look at the numbers. more than 2800 subpoenas, nearly
500 search warrants, 500 witness interviews, not to mention 199 criminal charges against 37 people and entities. while there are no more charges to come from the special counsel, as cnn's pamela brown now explains, that does not mean the next few days are going to bring good news for president trump. >> reporter: the release of mueller's nearly 400-page report and investigation shrouded in secrecy for nearly two years is expected to fuel democratic calls for more investigations and reveal details of hundreds of hours of interviews with officials from the highest levels of the trump administration, many of which could embarrass or enrage president trump. >> bottom line, the result is no collusion, no obstruction. >> reporter: and while the president has falsely claimed complete exoneration -- >> i've been totally exonerated. >> reporter: -- the report could explain mueller's indecision regarding obstruction of justice, detailing evidence that
lays out alleged attempts by the president to derail the investigation into russia's attack on the 2016 presidential election, including the firing of then-fbi director james comey and how investigators viewed the actions. what's unclear tonight is how much the public will see of the underlying evidence mueller gathered, both of potential obstruction and russian interference. the attorney general has vowed to redact information from grand jury interviews as well as other categories, setting up a showdown with democrats on the hill who plan to fight for the full, unredacted report. >> congress has need of the entire report, including the grand jury material. if we don't get everything, we will issue the subpoena and go to court. >> reporter: attorney general william barr has said much of the evidence in the obstruction case is already publicly known, but it's not clear if mueller found examples outside of those that happened publicly, something barr was pressed on while testifying before congress. >> did he express any
expectation, interest in leaving the obstruction decision to congress? >> not that -- he didn't say that to me, no. >> so he said the obstruction decision should be up to you? >> he didn't say that either. >> all right. >> but that's generally how the department of justice works. >> reporter: sources say one of the biggest concerns is whether mueller's interviews with the president's top aides reveal embarrassing information about trump's behavior and operations in the white house. the president has repeatedly tried to discredit unfavorable accounts of what happened in the west wing, accusing media outlets of using nonexist -- nonexistent sources. but the current and former officials who cooperated with mueller are expected to be named and spoke under penalty of lying, giving the details more credence. it's also possible the reporting lay out additional contact between trump associates and russians beyond the at least 16
connections already known and could detail more about the multiple offers from russian affiliated individuals to assist the trump campaign that barr referenced in his letter to congress. it's what will be hidden from public view in the report that will also be telling. attorney general barr says the report's redactions will be color coded, concealing grand jury information, sources and methods, or information about uncharged third-party individuals. barr also says he won't withhold information from the report to protect president trump. >> does that mean you will redact information to protect the reputational interests of the president? >> no. i'm talking about people in private life. >> okay. >> not public office holders. >> and sources say the president has not seen the report, nor has anyone else in the white house, but it's still unclear whether there has been any briefing of the report, any more communications between doj and the white house over the issue of executive privilege. the president's attorney, rudy
giuliani, has been working on a rebuttal for several months. i'm told by rudy giuliani that they're whittling that down, focusing more on the fact, in their view, that the president did not obstruct justice. it's interesting, jake. i've spoken to multiple people today who say now some of the former white house officials who spoke to mueller are second guessing that decision to sit down with him. basically, one source said, look, this was a good strategy for the president because it may have helped him avoid an interview, but maybe not for more than two dozen current and former officials. another source said this is indicative of this whole live now and deal with it later. >> all right. well, let's continue to have this conversation. barr says he's not going to redact anything to hurt the president's reputation. what are you most worried about being in this report? obviously the conspiracy charge, we're told that's not proven. so no one has to worry about that. but what are you worried about? >> i'm not worried about a ton,
to be honest. i think there's going to be some political damage. there's going to be some meetings that happened where things that were said -- those have been leaked before. we spend three days talking about it and it's politically damaging. from a legal per spisspective, doesn't seem to be anything -- we don't know. we haven't seen it. the summary came out from the attorney general. there's no other indication there's a legal problem. i think the country has a binary approach. there was an investigation on legal grounds. there's nothing illegal that's gone on. the rest is political noise. we know his opponents are going to attack him. i think next week is imperative for nancy pelosi' tenure. her side is going to want blood, and she's got to stop there. there's nothing i'm worried about from a legal perspective. >> so there's one former high-ranking justice department official that told cnn it's impossible to embarrass donald trump. >> that does seem true, doesn't it? >> he seems fairly impervious to it. if it's just politically
damaging information and the president's approval ratings are pretty much where they've been. they're in the 40s. even though it's going to be page after page of not flattering information in all likelihood, that it could be a wash? >> well, i'm sort of dubious in terms of how much we're really going to learn because of the amount of redactions. i have all faith and confidence in nancy pelosi, i will tell you that. i think what is more likely -- i mean, this narrative to some degree, i don't think there's going to be a big reveal. but the narrative is somewhat baked in, in that if you look at recent polling, there was a navigator's poll out, it's consistent with cnn. a majority of people, and by that i mean majority of the population and independents, don't think the president has been fully exonerated. something is probably not right. they're not quite sure what it is. i actually think that could be political damaging for the president going into 2020 because again, this is a president who uses his time and
energy to protect himself. i think you can make a little call argument he's looking out for himself over you. >> so the legal decision, it would seem, and we don't know, it would seem the legal decisions have all been made. now it is just the politics. what do you think could be in here? >> well, i don't know that i agree that there's no risk of there being anything criminal or anything illegal in this. remember, what robert mueller did with obstruction is very unusual. he declined to make a prosecutorial decision. i don't think he declined because he just couldn't make up his mind. i think he did that for a reason. robert mueller has been in law enforcement. he's been director of the fbi for decades. he's used to making difficult decisions. that's what prosecutors do every day. i don't think he just said, i can't figure it out, somebody else do it. i think he declined for a reason. i'm interested to see if that report -- in the report, mueller says, here's why and here's what i intend to be done with it. i think the best prediction, if i had to make one, is that he intended congress to do it. we just heard the testimony from
william barr saying, no, mueller did not ask me. i did it anyway. i think did the president a big favor in doing that. but i'm really interested to see why did mueller not make a decision on obstruction and who did he intend to make that decision. >> what do you think? >> you know, i was talking to some sources today who said the expectation among them and former people who have been -- former white house officials who have been interviewed by mueller is that mueller is going to lay out a narrative that could be construed as the president trying to steer the investigation one way or the other but not crossing the legal bar. folks have said that's an expectation and there will be some examples of white house officials at the time stepping in and saving the president from himself. so it's going to be more of a political issue. what we don't -- you know, what we forget is it's not just former officials like don mcgahn, the white house counsel, that could have some potentially problematic or politically damaging information in there against the president but also his deputies i've learned were interviewed by the special
counsel, including ann donaldson. some of this information, remember, we haven't seen. bill barr said most of it's been out there but not all of it. so people are going to be, i think, honing in on what some of these other officials said that we don't already know about. >> but go back and read barr's summary. he actually addressed this, not specifically about a lot of things, but on this obstruction question, he talked about the conundrum of this being public statements the president had made. so we have a little bit of a window into where this obstruction question that mueller had because some of the things that would have caused it were public things the president said. that does throw it back to congress. that inherently makes it political. that inherently puts nancy pelosi into a very difficult position because if mueller's intention was, as you say, to have congress handle it, the american people then look at that as an inherently political decision, which it is, and that makes the democratic party go completely bonkers, and now nancy pelosi can't talk about health care. she has to fight back her own base from trying to impeach the president. >> remember what barr said in the summary that has, what,
50-some-odd words out of 400 pages. so there's so much we haven't seen. he said most of which, i believe, has been in plain sight. there's still plenty that has not been seen about the case for obstruction. i think when we see that and what was the underlying evidence, that could prove to be pretty interesting. >> a, you can obstruct in plain sight. you can commit any manner of crimes in plain sight. i've seen plenty of them. some people are brazen. some people are arrogant. so that's number one. number two, let's remember william barr has a very specific and tex treem view of obstruction of justice. we know this because he spent 20 pages writing it up before he became attorney general in 2018. his view of obstruction of justice is essentially the president can do whatever he wants because he's the president. he went so far as to say the president can shut down an investigation, even if the reason is because the investigation threatens him because he's head of the executive branch. i don't think it's correct as a matter of law, and i know it's extreme. >> fair to say it's unsettled. it has not been decided. >> sure.
we've never had a specific decision. and look, this is one of many issues that could land in the supreme court, for sure. >> and i hope that there is some explanation as to why mueller didn't make the decision but also why he never saw the subpoena against the president, why that didn't happen. also, we're so focused on obstruction, for good reason, given all the reasons we laid out, but we could learn a lot tomorrow on the issue of conspiracy. yes, there was no finding, but we could learn more about potential communications, other communications, those offers of help from the russians to the trump campaign that were never accepted. that was good for the trump campaign. but that is also important for our democracy, lessons learned we could be finding out tomorrow. >> the russians clearly were trying. and at the end of the day, that might be the most important thing we talk about tomorrow when the report drops. everyone stick around. the attorney general makes a ruling that's music to president trump's ears. and it has nothing to do with mueller. then, sex, drugs, greed, fueling an addiction crisis. the monumental opioid bust involving dozens of doctors and so many pain pills. prosecutors say it was enough to give every man, woman, and child
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"i'm okay." ♪ ♪ (burke) at fso we know how ton almost evercover almost anything. even rooftop parking. strange forces at work? only if you're referring to gravity-and we covered it. talk to farmers. we know a thing or two because we've seen a thing or two. ♪ we are farmers. bum-pa-dum, bum-bum-bum-bum ♪ the president braces for the mueller report and is digging in on his own trump ian tone, attacking democrats over illegal
immigration, pushing back on house investigation, and is getting a major assist from his attorney general on asylum seekers. >> reporter: with one day left to go before robert mueller's report goes public, president trump is passing the time tweeting, demanding that congress return from recess and change immigration laws, predicting he'll be up against bernie sanders or joe biden in 2020, slamming the bernie sanders town hall, calling the special counsel's investigation a total fraud, and offering his condolences during a phone call with the pope. as the president airs his grievances online, the white house is digging in its heels, refusing a growing number of requests from house democrats on trump's finances, west wing security clearances, and his meetings with foreign leaders. democrats say the administration is stonewalling them. >> we don't think the administration has the right to be keeping any of this
information from us. >> reporter: the stand-off could lead to a lengthy legal battle over subpoenas between the white house and congress. and as washington waits on the mueller report -- >> are you going to read the mueller report? >> me? oh, absolutely, yes. >> reporter: the attorney general is turning his attention else where. >> asylum is a ridiculous situation. >> reporter: bill barr issuing a move that's a major reversal from a prior ruling and means it will be up to the department of homeland security to decide whether to release immigrants who cross the border illegally and later claimed asylum. >> it's a big con job. that's what it is. >> reporter: barr's decision coming amid the president's growing frustration with soaring immigration numbers after border crossings hit a 12-year high last month. now jake, that new ruling from the attorney general is expected to go into effect in 90 days.
it's the latest effort from the trump administration to deter migrants from crossing the border, but legal experts are already saying they do expect it to face challenges in the courts. >> all right. the president has an attorney general who does things he likes now. kaitlin collins, thanks so much. appreciate it. let's start with the white house stonewalling, as democrats put it. the white house is refusing to answer questions from congress on a number of topics, including the president's tax returns, former campaign and administration officials, payments to two women alleging affairs with the president, his interactions with russian president vladimir putin, white house security clearances. that's just a few. how long do you think the white house can just refuse to answer questions? i realize this is annoying. every congress does this to presidents of the opposing party. but you have to answer questions at some point. >> you got to answer some of them, yeah. but i think this white house is probably uniquely suited for stonewalling because i don't think the downsides of that,
they react to in the same way another administration would. but i think it's best practice to try to cooperate as much as possible and at least look cooperative. i don't think we'll see a ton of that. >> is there a risk for democrats at all -- obviously the congress does oversight. that's appropriate. but is there a risk for congress at all, for house democrats to be seen as trying to do more to harass the president, in his description, instead of legislating to make life better for the american people? is there a risk there at all? >> of course they should be trying to legislate to make life better for the american people, but the president isn't interested in that. the president is interested in sowing discord. he's interested in undermining the separation of powers. he's undermining american institutions. he doesn't do what's best for the country. he does what's best for donald trump and what's best for donald trump is to have as much discord and dissonance in the american political atmosphere as possible because he thinks in that environment he can win. everything is about his own personal benefit. >> mike, is there not a risk for the administration that when you
don't answer questions, even if you have decent answers, you look like you're guilty of something. >> i think if there hadn't been a mueller report, that would be more true. i think that this now just looks like they're after the president. and the democrats, one congress, they had a hundred days. does anyone in the country know what their agenda is in the house or what it is they stand for? they got in a huge fight in the shutdown. they were angry about immigration. and we have investigation after investigation. so they are the investigation party, and that's where that trickles down. when you get to a focus group and start talking to people who live normal lives and ask them about this, they think they're just out to get him now. that's what happened to republicans. i worked for republicans in the '90s, and we had the exact same thing happen to us when we did this to bill clinton. once the big thing is over, it just looks like you're going after them over and over again. >> that was a very big thing. >> i disagree with that, not surprisingly. i think pelosi has done a good job. i think there's a danger. that's why they have to have that balance between continuing to do things like trying to pass
gun control reforms or fighting for health care. the president certainly has given them a great fight on health care, standing up for our values with regard to immigration, keeping children out of cages. he's given them plenty of fodder on that. i think the president would like to make this a fight about now they're just after me, i'm the victim. but again, you know, even with the mueller report coming tomorrow, the idea that we're getting a redacted report, i think that potentially also fuels people's belief that they're hiding something. still, we can't see the whole thing. i think that's part of why you're seeing democrats continue to press to see the whole thing. i think as long as they continue to make this about transparency and accountability, i think they'll be okay. >> what do you make of the attorney general's decision saying that the courts can deny bail to asylum seekers and keep them in jail indefinitely? this is the first time the attorney general has used his position to overrule a precedent. >> so the executive branch does have quite a bit of leeway in making decisions of how you police the border. and i am sympathetic to the idea they really are up against a
crisis, and the people who work at the border are up against a crisis. trying to stem the flow is something that could help the overloaded court systems. the question is how you do that. in this case, the people who are denied bail would not be the ones who came through ports of entry and surrendered there. they would be only the ones who came over in the more rural areas entering illegally. i think that's what the attempt is, to try to cut down on some of those. but we're also -- while these attempts, some of them very clumsy and immoral, to stem this flow have been going on, the flow has not stemmed. so we've got some serious issues here. >> did you want to weigh in on the fact that ivanka trump is confirming her father did actually offer the job of leading the world bank, according to the associated press? in an interview, she said her father raised the job with her as a question, and she told him she was very happy with the work she's doing. president trump told "the atlantic" magazine last week his daughter would have been good at the job because she's good with numbers. >> this is just another example. of them putting the trumps first
and america second. we see this over and over again. i want to get back to this question about the border and asylum seekers. we are one of the largest economies on the planet. we have the largest military on the planet. we have the most robust culture that everyone seems to enjoy. people are at the border, trying to get into our country, not trying to get out. the idea the most powerful man in the world in charge of one of the most powerful countries in the world is picking on people who are running for their lives, trying to protect their families at the border. it just feels like he's being such a bully, when it's a time for him to be gracious and open armed and welcoming to people who are trying to do better by their families. that's another example of why donald trump really just doesn't seem to be morally fit to be president. >> i disagree with a lot of the policies, but also just calling someone a bully every time they attempt to deal with the problem does not actually deal with the fact there's a very serious logistical -- >> he doesn't have a solution to solve the problem.
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cnn's kaitlin collins is at the white house. kaitlin, there's just been an announcement. tell us more. >> reporter: yeah, that's right, jake. the justice department has just announced that the attorney general, bill barr, is going to hold a press conference tomorrow morning after the redacted mueller report is released. now, this is big news. we did not know we were going to hear from bill barr this soon, even though he's assured lawmakers that he will answer questions about the report and what he's redacted from it and why he redacted certain things after it was published. now we have a firm date that he is going to speak tomorrow. i should remind you that the white house yesterday, kellyanne conway, during an interview said she does expect the president will likely say something also after the mueller report comes out. she said the president, she expects him to talk, and of course he's been preparing behind the scenes. even though white house officials have been dreading the fact this report is coming out, the president has been eager for it to come out because he thinks it's going to clear his name. but bill barr is expected to hold a press conference, and we're told by the justice
department that he is going to take questions from reporters. >> all right. kaitlin collins, thanks so much. continue to monitor the news and bring us more as you learn it. let's go now to cnn's laura jar rhett -- jarrett at the justice department. what is the reasoning behind the attorney general giving this press conference tomorrow, either before or after or simultaneous to the release of the redacted version of the mueller report? >> yeah, the timing here is interesting, jake. we don't yet know when the actual redacted report is coming out. all we know right now is that the attorney general, bill barr, will appear at 9:30. if he does it before we see the report, that's obviously a different sort of move than if we see it afterwards and have the benefit of having pored through it, asking informed questions. either way, we know he is going to take questions. he is going to make a statement. no questions off limits there, so we'll of course have free rein to pepper him about anything we like. and rod rosenstein, the deputy
attorney general who's been overseeing the investigation for the better part of two years, will also be there. he could potentially be asked questions as well. so it will be an interesting start of the day for tomorrow morning. >> all right. laura jarrett at the justice department, thanks so much. let me bring in cnn legal analyst eli honig. what do you make of this decision to hold a press conference tomorrow morning, certainly coming as a surprise to all of us, even as we've been all preparing for the release of the redacted version of the mueller report. >> it is a surprise, jake. and i think it's a smart move by william barr. i think by standing in front of the cameras and reporters and taking questions, it will promote at least a sense of transparency. i think the last thing an attorney general wants to be seen as is someone who's hiding the ball or hiding himself. i think it's a pretty powerful thing for attorney general barr to be able to say, look, i stood in front of cameras, i stood in front of reporters, i took your questions, i answered your questions. i think that will go a long way. now, perhaps he's trying to soften the fact that it will be
full of redactions, but this will be a talking point, i think, in the attorney general's favor and potentially the administration's favor in terms of transparency. >> also, i would guess it's fair to say that the attorney general coming forward and talking, presenting his view of the report, what it says, what it does not say, is depriving oxygen from people who might be less willing to support president trump, who might be on all of the tv news channels commenting at that hour. >> sure. william barr has shown a pretty astute eye for controlling the narrative. i think he took a big step in that direction by releasing his four pager going on three weeks ago. i think by doing that, he sort of took control of the public narrative, i think very much in the president's favor. by getting back in front of the cameras tomorrow, i think he can assert some control over what the narrative is. >> karen finney, what do you think? >> this is exactly what i would do. it's exactly the same pattern that we saw with the summary that he put out, right.
again, he's going to frame the narrative from the beginning. imagine if reporters are sitting there and have just got an copy of the report and you're trying to answer questions in realtime. it guarantees, as elie said, it gives the appearance of transparency. it means they'll be driving the narrative for at least the first part of the day tomorrow. and it means that probably as we start to learn things or have other questions as people actually have the opportunity to really go through, catalog the redactions by the various color codings, that'll be a follow-up, but again, they'll be trying to cement that initial narrative in people's minds. >> it is transparency. it is him going in front of the press. the reporters will be able to ask him questions. if something hasn't come out and he's not able to answer the question, that's not a good look for him, right? so he's going to want to be out there being able to answer as many of these questions as he poeb possibly can. i think it's hard to criticize that. keep in mind the context. he's just been raked over the coals over the last 24 hours for previous letters put out. people are already preflighting
an attack on barr before this comes out. he's saying, great, i'm going to stand in front of the press and answer questions and put that down so you can see this has been done transparently. keep in mind, rosenstein will be there as well. he signed the letter. it was a barr/rosenstein letter, the summary they did together because he's overseen it before barr came into the administration. there's going to be questions he's going to have to answer as well. >> what would be really transparent is if mueller was there and then gave people an opportunity to ask the special counsel why he did certain things, why he made judgment, and what those judgments were and not have to depend on trump's appointed political -- >> yes, mueller who was the venerated man of integrity for months and months and months. >> i'm not saying he's not. >> he needs to stand in front of people so they can question him. >> i didn't say he wasn't venerated. >> republicans and democrats on capitol hill have said they want him to testify. republicans have said that as well as democrats. >> we should also note that president trump, i believe he's going to mar-a-lago tomorrow, which means he'll walk to marine
one. the odds are, if i know anything about president trump, he might take a couple questions on this as well. >> he probably will. they should all talk. i ain't going to be mad at them taking questions from press. >> he's happy about it. he wants to -- he was celebrating when the first one came out. >> having both barr and rosenstein there is helpful, i think, to pushing back on the idea there is some hiding of the ball. rosenstein, of course, famously, endlessly heckled by the president, sun likeis unlikely involved in that. >> let me bring back kaitlin collins. is there any indication -- am i right president trump is going to mar-a-lago tomorrow? he might theoretically take questions from the south lawn on his way to marine one and on his way to florida. >> yeah, he typically does when he's going to get on the helicopter. it's hard to see how he wouldn't tomorrow after this report comes out because the president has been so excited for this report to come out because he says it's going to clear his name. now, if the president does speak
to reporters, this is going to be two very different press conferences, press availabilities that will be happening. barr is likely going to be explaining his redactions, what he did, his thinking behind all of this and how this report, what he's going to publish tomorrow came about, answering questions from reporters on that. the president, in his mind, will likely be declaring vindication over all of this, as he's been doing ever since barr released those key find frings from mueller's report. so two very different things. the president does have a wounded warriors event. then he's having lunch with the secretary of state, mike pompeo. if he does speak with reporters on it, the question will be what white house officials have been dreading about tomorrow's publication. there's going to be potentially embarrassing information about how things work inside the west wing in this report. if the president wants to address claims like that, that are made in this report, if he's speaking to reporters tomorrow. >> kaitlin collins, we should also point out that president trump, who just gave a six-minute interview to larry o'connor on wmal radio here in
washington, d.c., announced not only the attorney general barr press conference but that he, president trump, might give a press conference himself as well. he said, quote, maybe i'll do one after that. we'll see. >> i don't think any of us are surprised to hear him say that. >> but you were going to make a point. i'm sorry. >> let's just remember what we will be discussing tomorrow is a redacted report. it is not going to be the full mueller -- which i'm now going to refer to it as. we already know a whole system of redactions. it may appear to be transparent. it is a transparent way to proceed. it will make it seem as though they're doing everything they can to get all the information out there, but until all of the information is out there, all of the information is not out there. >> some of it literally has to be redacted because it would be against the law. >> of course. of course it does. >> it's not all nefarious shenanigans. there are some things you actually have to redact and that innocent people should be protected from.
and they might give you a chart with all the highlighter colors. >> it's color coded. >> this is also smart because they're going to give us a video of them talking. that video will exist throughout the rest of the day. members of congress are on recess. a lot of them aren't here in washington. there aren't going to be a lot of places for them to engage. so it is a way for them to dominate this very first day of media coverage that will set the tone. >> all right. everyone, stick around. more on our breaking news coming up, back after this. wow. that's a lot of asparagus. yeah, you said get a bunch of asparagus. oh, you... a bunch. i... thought you kinda... for moments that matter tracfone keeps you connected, for less. ♪ our talk text and data plans start at fifteen dollars a month, no contract. all with nationwide coverage... tracfone. for moments that matter. has been excellent.
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bill barr will give a press conference tomorrow morning on the release of the mueller report, the redacted version of which we in the public and congress should get tomorrow. president trump in a radio interview just a short time ago also confirmed that news and said, quote, maybe i'll do one after that, we'll see. cnn's pamela brown is back with me now. pamela, what do you make of this? >> well, look, tomorrow is going to be a busy day. it just got busier with this news, jake, that the attorney general will be holding a press conference at 9:30 in the morning eastern standard time. the president himself said he may hold one after that. so what's interesting here is we don't know from the justice department yet whether this press conference in the morning will be held before or after the release of the 400-page redacted mueller report. that's key here because it certainly raises the question whether this press conference is being held in the morning to sort of control the narrative. clearly, there has been communication between the white house and the justice department about this because the president
himself mentioned it in an interview recently on wmal. remember last week, bill barr, the attorney general, said during the hearings that he didn't want to speak more about the report until it was out. so it would sort of undercut that argument if he holds a press conference tomorrow before he does -- you know, before the report is out. we'll just have to wait and see, jake. >> but pamela, if i could ask you a follow-up, it is interesting because no matter what, even if the report has been delivered to reporters and posted online and given to congress tomorrow morning by the time of barr's press conference, it's an almost 400-page report. it will not be enough time for people to really dive into it before he comes before the tough questions from journalists. >> that's absolutely right. because 400 pages, you need time to read, to digest it. the department of justice has said it's going to release the report in the morning. we don't know timing on that. so you're right.
in order to ask informed questions, assuming he will be taking questions, you've got to be able to read through it. so the timing of this certainly raises questions, jake. >> all right, pamela brown. thanks so much. let me bring back cnn legal analyst elie honig. what would you ask barr tomorrow morning? >> i'd start off with questions about barr's process. i would ask him, are you willing to turn over an unredacted or less redacted version of the report to congress, specifically to the intelligence committees, who are charged with maintaining it under lock and seal? would you consider going to a court and asking for permission to release at least some of the grand jury materials, as ken starr did in 1998 and was given permission? you talked about protecting information on peripheral third parties. william barr said, i do not include the president in that. there will be information about the president. but do you include donald trump jr. in that category? do you include jared kushner in that category? are those people who are going to be sort of benefitted by
redactions? then i would ask barr some questions about his view as the role as the nation's chief law enforcement officer. perhaps you did not see enough to charge a criminal conspiracy, but did you see anything in the russian contacts that gives you alarm, that you think needs to be addressed in your role as the chief law enforcement officer of this country? >> all right. i hope somebody was writing those down. elie honig -- >> i'll type them up. >> send them our way when you get a chance. let's continue our conversation about this, mike. >> those are pretty tough questions. to your point, maybe the reporters won't have read through the entire report yet, but if you're going to stand in front of them and take questions, you're going to get tough questions like that. so it's a legitimate thing for rosenstein to be there as well, who oversaw the entire investigation going all the way back to its inception, to be able to answer questions of the press. it's not as though the press haven't been stacking up questions about this for months and years at this point, to have a go at them. >> that's the thing, they have a pretty good sense of what the basic questions are going to be
at this point. i have to believe there is what we would call a murder board going on, where you are prepping for those questions. >> the attorney general. >> the attorney general. and probably rod rosenstein as well. i would assume both of them are prepping to be able to answer those questions. i think the trick is -- i'm just going to play devil's advocate. you know i like to do that. you to be able to give enough of an answer that sounds like it's a satisfactory answer as to why no collusion, why no obstruction, knowing that people are going to have that stack of 400 pages and are going to go through it themselves to figure out if what you just said matches up with what they can find in the documents. >> and one of the things also, as barr and rosenstein prepare for this press conference tomorrow, i guess the question is who is their audience? is their audience the american people? is their audience the 20% in the middle that don't know what to make of this? is their audience president trump? we've seen people in the administration act as if they're only talking to president trump in some instances. >> although notably not rosenstein. >> rosenstein, definitely not. well, except when he wrote that
letter explaining why he fired james comey, right. that was a audience of donald trump. what would you advise? >> i would say put yourself in those positions. hey, this is a good time to address people because we have things we can talk about. there were two years in there where we had very little. people were speculating a bunch. he can say with some real cachet, rod and i are here to talk about something we're intimately familiar with, and we actually have documentation for it. so let's get to it. and i think that's more edifying than much of what we've bandaee doing. >> what do you want barr to do tomorrow morning? >> what i want him to do is explain to me why jared kushner was having a secret meeting with the russians in the embassy, a secret back channel. i'd love for him to explain why the president of the united states was cooking up a false story about the meeting that happened in cook tower on air force one and trying to give his
son a reason for why that meet og cured other than the actually reason why that meeting occurred. i think there are enough facts we already know why the president of the united states seemed to be lying, and people around him seem to be trying to curry favor with russians. it would be interesting to know why they were doing that. >> and so back to karen's point, yes, what kind of answer can he give? it won't ever be enough for democrats on capitol hill. it won't ever be enough for the democrats running for president. >> is that enough for you? wouldn't you love to have the answers to those questions? >> i thought what we said before was we trust robert moouler uel get to the bottom of this. now the democrats are grieving over this. >> wouldn't you want to know why the president and his team were having so many contacts with russians that seem to be nefarious? >> of course. the mueller investigation was actually a good thing to exonerate them. >> i'm not interesting in
exonerating them. >> the administration should never shut the investigation down because they should want the facts to come out. that was my point. >> belwell, we're going to be covering this a lot tomorrow. we'll see you all then. more on the breaking news, plus a drug bust spanning several states involving doctors and nurses trading opioid prescriptions for things like sex and cash. stay with us. that's some great paint. that's some great paint. behr ultra, a top-rated interior and exterior paint. find it exclusively at the home depot. i was tired of having my calls dropped. it's very frustrating. and i was having these issues, and my friend said, "well, maybe you should switch over to verizon."
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medical professionals, with illegally prescribing millions of pain pills, including doctors who prosecutors say traded prescriptions for sexual favors. one even inviting prostitutes to his home to abuse illegal drugs. cnn's tom foreman takes a closer look at the scandal and how these doctors were caught. >> reporter: a river of pills pouring into the appalachian region and beyond. that's effectively what the justice department has described in this bust of 60 health professionals, now charged with illegally pushing opioids into communities where addiction is already an epidemic. >> these cases involve approximately 350,000 opioid prescriptions and more than 32 million pills. the equivalent of a dose of opioids for every man, woman, and child across the states of ohio, kentucky, tennessee, alabama, and west virginia combined. >> reporter: the details are staggering, according to the
feds. in tennessee in one case, a doctor who branded himself the rock doc allegedly prescribed dangerous and powerful combinations of opioids and benzodiazepines, sometimes in exchange for sexual favors. this is his youtube show. in kentucky, a dentist is accused of removing teeth unnecessarily to push painkillers. another doctors is accused of leaving presigned blank prescriptions for his staff to hand out. in alabama, a doctor is charged with providing pills while having knowledge that patients failed drug screens and were addicts, preferring cash payments and charging a concierge fee. pill mills, pills for facebook friends, as many as 15 pills per day for some patients. the accusations go on and on against those charged as -- >> simply white-coated drug dealers. >> reporter: the administration has long agreed this is a health care crisis, even as other big
busts have made news in the past. >> it is the resolute policy of this administration and this department of justice to reduce these overdose deaths. >> reporter: others have put a finer point on it. >> we got here, i believe in part, because of the greed of the drug companies. >> reporter: but some of the sharpest legal action against drug companies has come at the state and local level. earlier this year, purdue pharma agreed to pay oklahoma $270 million over its aggressive marketing of oxycontin. many analysts believe this may be the first big win in a wave of similar lawsuits. so plenty of states are looking at what happened in that case and trying to build off of that and certainly the charges today and cases like that in all of these headlines are getting attention and encouraging to the people who are trying to overcome this devastating epidemic. but it is still a huge uphill
battle when you consider that the centers for disease control say 130 americans die every day from these pills, both legal and otherwise, which means, jake, that a little more than five have died since this show began. >> tom foreman, thank you so much. be sure to tune into cnn tomorrow morning at 6:00 eastern for our special coverage of the mueller report. our coverage on cnn continues right now. thanks for watching. the justice department announced that william barr will hold a news conference on the mueller report tomorrow morning, and president trump suggests he may do the same thing as he launches a pre-emptive strike with a round of radio interviews and twitter rants. more assange charges. new documents reveal an ongoing criminal investigation in the case of wikileaks founder julian assange. are prosecutors now looking into