tv Erin Burnett Out Front CNN July 24, 2019 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT
tonight. >> i assume this is a big moscow as well. certainly a big story in the united states. fred pleitgen thanks very much and to our viewers thanks for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in the situation room. you can follow me on twitter and instagram @wolf blitzer. our special coverage continue was erin burnett "outfront." >> this is cnn breaking news. >> good evening, i'm erin burnett "outfront" tonight, the breaking news president trump triumphant taking impromptu questions on the way to fund raiser to declare victory after the robert mueller historic testimony. >> this was a very big day for our country. this was a very big day for the republican party. and you could say it was a great day for me. but i don't even like to say that. it's great. this was a devastating day for the democrats. >> mueller appearing for seven hours in front of the house judiciary and intelligence committees and made several things extremely clear.
to the millions of americans watching robert mueller said this. >> director mueller, the president has repeatedly claimed that your report found there was no obstruction and that it completely and totally exonerated him. but that's not what your report said, is it. >> correct that's not what the report said. >> so the report did not conclude that he did not commit obstruction of justice. is that correct. >> that is correct. >> and what about total exoneration? did you actually totally exonerate the president? >> no. >> now fantastic the report expressly states it does not exonerate the president? >> it does. >> and your investigation actually found, quote, multiple acts by the president capable of exerting undue influence over law enforcement investigations, including the russian interference and obstruction investigations. is that correct? >> correct. >> did the president refuse a request to be interviewed by you and your team?
>> yes. >> yes. and is it trued true you tried more than a year to secure an interview with the president. >> yes. >> and is it true you and your team adviced the president's lawyer that quota an interview with the president is vital to our investigation, close quote? >> yes. yes. >> and is it true that you also, quote, stated that it is in the interests of presidency and the public for an interview to take place, close quote? >> yes. >> but the president still refused to sit for an interview by you or your team? >> true. true. >> that exchange wagon chilling. president trump once he leaves office could go to prison for, quote a lot of years they continue to discuss if if convicted of criminals laid out in the report. after leaving office. now tonight we again listen to the president of the united states dismissing the russia investigation in his two most used tropes but also tonight for the first time we hear robert mueller respond to the tropes and say the president lies.
>> there was no defense to this ridiculous hoax. this witch hunt. that's been going on for a long time. >> and when donald trump called your investigation a witch hunt, that was also false, was it not. >> i like to think so, yes. >> well your investigation is not a witch hunt. >> it is not a witch hunt. >> when the president said the russian interference was a hoax, that was false wasn't it? >> true. >> those moments were mueller at his best, short, concise, not going beyond a sentence, declaring. >> there were a few moments he did go beyond his report that mattered like when he was presented by with trump's tweet celebrating wikileaks when he. >> if we could put up slide six. >> this just came out wikileaks. i love wikileaks donald trump
october 10th be 2016. this wikileaks stuff is unbelievable. it tells you the inner heart. you got to read it. donald trump october 12th, 2016. this wikileaks is like a treasure trove. boy i love reading the wikileaks. donald trump november 4th, 2016. do any of those quotes disturb you, mr. director? >> i'm not certain i would say. >> how do you react to that? >> well, it's probably -- problematic is an understatement in terms of whether it displays in terms of giving some hope or boost to what is and should be illegal activity. >> problematic is an understatement. he said it was wrong. but then there was another side to mueller. a witness who time and time again seemed to not be a star
tripping over himself and key findings which is exactly what republicans were hoping for. >> in the cloakial context, known public context collusion and conspiracy are essentially synonymous terms, correct? >> no. >> in that page 180 of volume one of your report, it says as defined in legal dictionaries collusion is largely synonymous with conspiracy as that crime is set forth in general conspiracy statute 18 usc 371. you said you coast your words carefully are you contradicting your report right now? >> not when i read it. >> so you change your answer to yes then. >> no, no. if you look at the language. >> i'm reading your report, sir. it's a yes or no answer. >> page 180. >> page 180 volume one. from your report. >> correct. and i -- i leave it with the report. >> so the report says yes they are synonymous. >> yes. >> hopefully finally out of your
own report we can put to bed the collusion and conspiracy. >> that was not a great moment for mueller. and it was questioning like that that has the president praising his fellow republicans' performance. >> i very much appreciate those incredible warriors that you watched today on television, republicans that defended something and defended something very powerful. >> abby phillip is outfront live outside the white ouse tonight. abbey, the president at least acting as if he is triumphant. >> that's right, erin. the president started the day irritated by the prospect that rob mueller would be making a comeback in his life, appearing before the congress to testify. but he ended it elated, thinking that this testimony was actually better for him than it was for democrats. the president criticized mueller saying that he did a terrible job in the testimony and also as special counsel. he did a victory lap over what
he said was -- was testimony that did not reveal anything new about the investigation. the president dismissed mueller -- mueller's talk of the report not exonerating president trump by saying that mueller had no role in exonerating the president. that's actually a shift for president trump who has spent months and months talking about how the report completely and totally exonerated him. but it highlights the way in which the president and allies view this testimony and viewed it this way early on as not living up to the expectations. one white house aide telling me that the russia investigation was so over. but as president answered questions today, one question seemed to stick in his craw. he was asked about the prospect that he might be potentially indicted if he left office because of that olc opinion saying that the justice department can't indict a sitting president. he lashed out at reporters and seemed confused about that part
of the mueller testimony. but this afternoon the white house press secretary reacted to all of this saying that mueller wasn't just explaining generally speaking a president can be indicted backup mueller and doj made it clear no more indictments are coming from the investigation. a direct response from the white house press secretary to something that seemed to particularly irritate president trump this amp when he was speaking to reporters, erin. >> abbey thank you very much. and certainly would on many levels. they went through if convicted with some of the charges that could come from what in report lays out he could be going to prison for many years if convicted after serving his time in the white house. outfront now democratic congressman valley demings a member of both committees questioning mueller twice today. and had strong exchanging in both cases, congresswoman. i appreciate your time. president trump came out, you know you heard him on the white house lawn on the way to the fund raiser, saying it was a devastating day for democrats saying you have nothing and now
he -- you had nothing, congresswoman and now you have less than nothing. your response to the president. >> well, you know, i almost feel that it's probability a waste of time to respond to what the president said. look what special counsel mueller did today was confirm a lot of things that if you have the time and opportunity to read the reported you'll know and see russia interfered with our election in a sweeping and systematic way. the president tried his best to interfere with the investigation into russia's interference, that several people around the president have been indicted or pled guilty to lying during the investigation, that the president tried to fire the special counsel, directed the white house attorney to do so, thank god the white house attorney refused to do that. and that the report did not exonerate the president. you know, it really saddens me, erin, to hear the president talk about the democrats being
unhappy or disappointed. i can tell you right now my colleagues and are definitely not disappointed. isn't it interesting that the president wouldn't comment today about russia interfering with the election. you would think he would mention that as opposed to democrats being disappointed. >> and to your point, you know, robert mueller said that they were doing that as he spoke, trying to interfere. look we just played extensive portions of what went -- what happened today you know, there were moments when robert mueller was very strong. and there were moments he seemed to perhaps not be as familiar with the report as many expected. and the president seized upon that, talking about mueller's performance. here he is moments ago. >> i don't think there is anybody that would say he did well. this was one of the worst performances in the history of our country. >> do you think mueller did a good job today? >> i think special counsel mueller did exactly what we needed him to do.
look we are talking about a man who spent a lifetime in public service. a 2-year long investigation, over 448 pages of that investigation, and asks him to start at the beginning today, i believe that we ended up today exactly where we hoped we would and that was special counsel mueller confirming the most critical parts of the report and adding that in many of the president's written responses he was not always truthful. >> that was a very important moment in your questions, congresswoman. let me start with something you got him to say that was shocking and to your point was not in the report. let me play that exchange. >> could you say director mueller that the president was credible. >> i can't answer that question question. >> instant it fair that to say that the answers were not only inadequate and incomplete because he didn't answer many questions but where he did his answers showed his answers
weren't always truthful. >> i would say generally. >> so right there mueller is saying you know if you take his answer at face value, right that there were times the president was not being truthful in written answers which is a stunning thing to say, it got the president extremely angry. it was the moment of his exchanges this afternoon. let me play what he said when asked about your exchange with mr. mueller. >> he didn't say that at all. you're untruthful. >> you are untruthful when you ask that question. -- when you ask that question you're untruthful. you know who else is untruthful you know who else is untruthful, his aides. >> i don't know if had you seen that yet congresswoman demings pointing his finger and pointing at a reporter you're untruthful for asking that. clearly your exchange with mueller about the president clearly he didn't say he was untrulkt truthful in the report. you got him to say something
that was not in the report. were you surprised did he it. >> we know that special counsel's office tried over a year to sit down and do an in person interview which the president refused. the president chose written answers which he had a lot of time with him and his legal time to decide what to say and still could not always find the truth in his written responses. i believe director mueller was extremely clear that there were times in the president's written answers that he was not truthful. and really, erin that comes at no surprise to anybody. >> well, and i think we should point out my kwount was 35 times i believe in the written answers he said i don't recall and i don't remember. and at the least it would seem some of those times that's not the case. i want to play another big moment you had with mueller during the judiciary committee congresswoman demings here you are. >> did other witnesses lie to you. >> i think there are probably a spectrum of witnesses in terms of those who are not telling the
full truth and those who are outright liars. >> thank you very much outright liars. >> it's fair to say then there was limits on what evidence was available to your investigation on russian election interference and obstruction of justice. >> that's true and it's usually the case. >> and that lies by trump campaign officials and administration officials impeded your investigation? >> i would generally gragree. >> congresswoman, the big question is did trump direct the officials to outright lie in the words of robert mueller? what does his answer tell. >> you well his answer -- let's start here, erin. remember this investigation started as a counterintelligence investigation about russia interfering with our election. now you would think members of the campaign and members of the administration would want to cooperate fully with that investigation. yet, according to director mueller, there were several
members who lied during the investigation. and so that tells me, as we indicated during the hearing that the investigation into russian interference and obstruction was impeded by people around the president, who have no relationship or are not a continuous replace with the truth. >> congresswoman demings thank you very much. i appreciate your coming on the show. >> thank you. >> and now former principle associate deputy as attorney general robert litt our correspondent evan perez. robin preece who briefs director mueller daily. former attorney general ann mill grim and david gergen who advised four presidents. thanks to all of you. evan, as i lied to lay out in the sbroe there were strong moments and then moments weren't. >> less so. >> i'm getting to that. but first the mueller strategy. there were 206 times that you counted that mueller did not
answer questions and just to give people a sense of what that felt like. here he is. >> i'd have to pass on that. i'm not going to speak to that -- to that. and i'm not getting into those matters to which you refer. >> democrats say they knew they were getting this. but. >> yeah. >> did they really know they were getting that. >> i don't think they were quite aware of how much of this they were going to get. i think, you know, if you want a witness like bob mueller to come and have the gravitas he has and bring all of that, you also hope within the four corners of the work that bob mueller produced, 450-page report there is room to say stuff, explain to the public. frankly he has a responsibility. he has 30 million of the american public money. two years of time. and i think he does have a responsibility to explain a little bit more about exactly what happened here. he did seem in the afternoon
session to go into more depth, i think, with regard to the russian interference. i think that's probably closer to his heart. that's where he feels the strongest, i think. >> yeah. >> and more comfort in talking about. but it's not like he didn't make it abundantly clear he didn't want to do this. i think that's what you got. you got -- obviously he said he didn't exonerate the president. a few moments like that but a lot of those answers. >> in the afternoon with value demings when he said yeah untruthful in the written responses which did go beyond the report and surprised many. david preece as i said there were multiple instances he didn't just the not want to answer the questions but he seemed to struggle here are two instenesss a. >> is it accurate to say that your investigation found no evidence that members of the trump campaign were involved in the theft or publication of the clinton campaign related e-mails. >> i don't know. i don't know. well. >> on july 22nd, through wikileaks, thousands of these
emails that were stolen by the russian government appeared, correct, that's on page 6 of the report. >> this is the wikileaks posting of those emails. >> i can't find it quickly. but i -- please continue. >> i have to look at that in two ways, erin. one way is that this is not the bob mueller i remember. that was years ago. he hasn't been out there doing a lot of q and a with congress recently. we saw him recently several weeks ago gichg a prepared statement at the department of justice. reading from a prepared statement is different than being in front of the committee answering questions, trag to have immediate recall of things that you have worked on. i did not expect to see that side of bob mueller today. that's a different man than i used to brief. however this was the bob mueller that we expected in terms of what he did with the substance. he promised us he was going to stay within the report as much as possible. he said i don't know to testify
read the report everything is in the report. if i testify it will be the report. this is my testimony. and he generally stuck to that. so while his delivery was halting and while he had problems sometimes getting the right word to characterize what he said. >> didn't have facility with the written word of what was on what page and what it concluded. >> right that prevented him at times from doing what i expect he would have done back at fbi director where he would give a no, but this. sometimes that pause led the member who was on a very tight time schedule to jump right in with the next question and made him look more hesitant to answer than he was. >> you were surprised he didn't push back more aen. >> particularly at the beginning of the judiciary committee hearing i thought he was incredibly deferential. there were a tum o couple of moments to be fair to him where someone went upon a long. >> tyrod. >> i defend the his investigation and his team.
>> robert the times he stayed within the four corners of the report as you point out but there were times example with value demings where he went outside. it was unpredictable. >> i think he thought he was staying within the four corners of the report. it's hard to understand when he gives the one word answer generally. but i think that -- that -- i think that david is absolutely right. you have to distinguish between the words and the style. i thought it was interesting that president trump criticized mueller's performance. because his performance was not good. but the substance of what he said i thought it was devastating to the president. >> and david, so -- let's talk about the republican response about that. the president is jumping on this. but republican seized on the sometimes halting performance or seeming lack of familiarity with the report itself here is congressman mark meadows a major ally of president trump here is how he put it. >> sadly i think a lot of
members of congress in a better understanding of what was in the report than he did. >> did mueller help republicans today? right, today was a big moment. a lot of people hadn't read the report. they see mueller. >> the republicans are crying out now informs a disaster for the democrats. it wasn't just mueller's hesitancy but in fact the substance he wasn't there. they came prepared to fight. i hadn't expected that. they were more coordinated. they presented things frankly we haven't talked about much on cnn aspects of this on the right. we haven't visited them because we don't put much stock in a lot of what they argue. nonls i did not think it was a disaster. after all the short come comings, i thought the democrats did a solid job especially the members working with mueller in effect telling the stories about obstruction, the story -- the much more credible come to life kind of story that they had now
about -- about the questions going right straight to the heart of all of this. was there -- did he interfere? did he interfere -- the president interfere with the -- with the investigation trying to fire and go through mcgahn to get that. that was a well told story. >> on that, aen let me play an exchange because it was a case of basic questioning just without quoting this is what the report says. here are two examples actually talking about the issue with don mcgahn and falsifying documents. >> your investigation found that president trump directed white house counsel don mcgahn to fire you. isn't that correct. >> true. >> it's fair to say the president tried to protect himself by asking staff to falsify records relevant to an ongoing investigation? >> i would say that's -- generally a summary. >> knows are two damnings things and he was dlafrt. >> and what you see when bob
mueller is asked a specific question he generally answered and generally was able to sort of work through it. there was a lot of word salad in my view in some of the questions today. and even i read the report multiple times and trying to follow this i had to think through what was happening. what i think you see with bob mueller when he -- he is going to respond on facts but he didn't want to agree to other people's conclusions. whether it was the republicans or the democrats. >>ic i hear your facts but i'm not sure i agree with where you're trying to take it. >> he didn't want to be a partisan for either side on the factual questions you saw the damning things from the report. >> there was a moment in the morning with congressman ted li. >> big moment. >> big moment or big mistake i wasn't sure. we all start talking about it. the bottom line was he told congressman liu he didn't indict president trump because of the olc opinion. let me play the exchange and then when he was forced to walk it back. here it is.
>> i would like to cupp the reason again that you did not indict donald trump is because of olc opinion that you inindict a sitting president that is correct. >> i want to go back to one thing said this morning by mr. liu who said and i quote you didn't charge the president because of the olc opinion. that is not the correct way to say it. as we say in the report and as i said at the opening, we did not reach a determination as to whether the president committed a crime. >> evan, liu's question at first was clear. answer was shocking. it appeared to be a bombshell. it wasn't a minor answer. >> no. no. as you said it was a clear question. i can tell you right after that answer and certainly when they took a break there were a lot of phone calls being made between the special skounl's team between mueller's team on the justice department saying what the hell just happened? and the decision was made that he he needed to clean it up,
come back and fix it because the justice department certainly on march 5th there was a briefing mueller's team on bill barr who had just taken office and during that meeting one of the deputies there said specifically it wasn't a but for. at least three times during that meeting. >> right it was but for no edition, right not but for no charge. >> there is a huge difference. >> robert, were you surprised that he didn't seem to understand that. >> you know, it's an easy question to parse in retrospect. i can understand looking at it now as at the time how mueller interpreted that question. and i think he actually wasn't back later in the morning and in response to questioning by another congressman and said it correctly. he didn't make a decision to indict because of the olc opinion. that's absolutely clear. i don't think he was -- i don't think he intended to say anything different than that in response to congressman liu's question. i think. >> just as someone who is so precise as something so core it
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breaking tonight, president trump saying he has no regrets about refusing to sit down for an interview under oath with robert mueller. >> i did the right thing. i saw what he did to people, how he ruined people's lives because they didn't remember a date or something very minor. >> and mueller had to explain today why he did not force the issue of an in-person, under-oath interview. >> why didn't you subpoena the president. >> quite obviously one of the things we anticipated wanting to accomplish is getting -- having the interview of the president. we negotiated from -- with him for a little over a year. but finally when we were almost towards the end of our investigation and we had had little success in pushing to get the interview of the president we decided that we did not want
to exercise the subpoena powers because of the necessity of expediting the end of the investigation. >> you did go with written questions after nine months, sir, right? and the president responded to those. and you have some hard language for what you thought of those responses. what did you think of the president's written responses, mr. mueller. >> it was certainly not as useful as the interview would be. >> and of course we recall he told congresswoman demings that he agreed generally they were untruthful in those answers. at least not always being truthful. so back with me in the panel. david preece let me start with you why didn't mueller pursue that further when he wanted one, felt it would have been vital, made that clear to the president that it would have been vital. he said that again and again. president want wouldn't do it statute. >> this is one of the areas he explained well in the hearing and paralleled what was in the report. >> yeah. >> when he talked about the balance here. here he talked a little bit more
about it. and said we had to balance the adalynd value of in opinion-american interview against the fact that this would delay the investigation months possibly years with court battles and all of this. what additional information would we need? what was unsaid there is the fact that he felt he had damning enough evidence about what the president did and why he did it that he didn't really need this. but he didn't say it in that way in the the report, which leaves it to people in congress to interpret, was in really an impeachment referral or not and bob mueller wasn't talking about that. >> and bill barr gets in making the declaration that he is not going to muddy the waters. this is a crucial point. congressman maloney said is it possible you didn't pursue the interfere because you felt you had enough damning evidence and didn't need the interview. >> he may have felt that and it was a mistake. if you are going after trump, if you believe in your heart he lied through this, he is culpable. then you have to play the hard ball game.
and the republicans are playing harder ball than the democrats. the democrats are more respectful of procedures and rules and that sort of thing and the republican come in abboom, playing for power and they have used this tactic, delay, delay, delay. and it's not only stretched it out where they could justify not asking the president to come in but frankly today's hearing would have been much more impactful two or three months ago. the long stretch of time between when people forget the details, hazy, they move on intellectually, i thought the democrats from that point they had a steeper hill to climb today than they would have if they had done this earlier. >> evan there is the sort of owow when you read the written responses which of course we hadn't seen for so long, right. you know, you read all those, i don't recall, i don't remember. and it does seem to be a joke. and yet it appears that he, you know -- i don't know the right word but he got away with giving an interview like that which wasn't in full and not all the question zploos right it turns out if you are president you can
get away with a lot. and that's the answer we get from mueller refusing to go the route of -- of forcing to try to do -- to subpoena the president. one of the other sort of left unsaid things here is the generally the justice department has a rule if you are the target of a investigation, the prosecutors don't force to you sit down for an interview, right. there is this -- there is the gentle rule there. maybe that played into this. but mueller clearly was not going to say something like that in his testimony. and you do have to wonder, as far as the democrats were concerned, you know they were hoping he was going to be a star witness today. and if you watch what he said today to david's point, i think if they had done this a couple months ago i think maybe you would have felt differently. but it does feel it wasn't the star impeachment witness they were looking for because of answers like this. this sort of doesn't really give you a satisfaction that you know more about what happened. >> it didn't put it in black and
white. >> right. >> there were moments but overall it didn't. robert trrp moments where, you know, he was passionate and confident, okay. there weren't a lot where he -- you felt fire. i'm not saying you should have but there weren't a lot on one topic there was. he was defending his team trump's beingization about a angry witch hunt and donating money to democrats. >> can i speak for a second to the hiring practices. >> sure. >> we apostrophe to hire those individuals that could do the job. >> okay. >> i have been in this business for almost 25 years. and in those 25 years i have not had occasion once to ask somebody about political affiliation. it is not done. what i care about is the capability of the individuals that do the job and do the job quickly and seriously and with integrity. >> that was the fire in the belly moment. >> right. i think it's stunning that people would suggest that mueller had some sort of
obligation to import political balance into the investigation and inquire into the political beliefs and activities of -- of his subordinates. i think that would have been a vital of the hatch act if he had done that. the idea that these were a bunch of democrats working for a person appointed by republican president by all accounts he is a republican himself. >> he is a republican robert mueller. >> this somehow affected their inquiry, there is absolutely no evidence of that whatsoever. it's just smear and dust. it's thrown up there against these people. >> the fire in the belly you saw there. what if you had seen that on other topics, some passion. >> i felt the nuances in the report were so important that if he were to get emotional, trying to bring out more by his style he thinks it would have cheapened the impact of the report. but the democrats were hoping for a few of those, him speaking
passionately about the issues not only russian interference but the president's obstruction of justice and the things the president did to attempt to block the investigation. >> a lot of this was about -- democrats can say it wasn't but it was. this was their case to the american people who did not read the report to hear about the report from robert mueller and decide whether impeachment happens or not np nancy pelosi made it clear it's not principles it's politics. and whether it makes sense. on the front there were several key exchanges. one of them was this one. >> on questioning this morning you were asked, could that -- could a president be indicted after their service, correct. >> yes. >> and your answer was that they could. >> they could. >> the follow up question that should be concerning is, what if a president serves beyond the statute of limitations. >> i don't know the answer to that one. >> i mean, that was a huge moment. if he was re-elected he would serve beyond the statute of
limitations on some potential charges. it's not a an insignificant question. >> it's true. and the officer- the justice department office of legal regulations doesn't address this question of what what happens is the statute routes. the statute runs on the obstruction. >> doesn't hit pause because you are in office. >> that's right. and congress talked about taking it up as legislative act. they haven't. it was an important point worth making. >> does it move the needle where democrats say we move ahead on impeach. even though we can't get it through the senate. >> even though the democrats did a solid job today i think the likelihood of impeach presidentment went down today. the issue is not just what goes on in the caucus and the judiciary committee it's the general public. nancy pelosi and others like her are waiting to see if the public rallies. i don't think this would galvanize the public. we know that the number of people who believe in impeachment according to the
latest nbc/wall street journal poll gone down 6%. only 21% of the country wants impeachment proceeding. do you think this flipped 20, 30% of the country. >> on the impeachment proceeding, evan your star witness you saw the star witness today. >> right. and toth back to the sort of the ornery almost -- the fire in the belty ty belty belly mueller we have seen i've been on the receiving end of mueller getting angry at a question. i expected more of that today. and expected perhaps a little bit more forceful defense of the investigation what the importance of it was. you heard a little bit of it from him but you didn't hear enough of that i think to flip that. for the public. if you read the report you see this is a damning report as far as what the trump campaign did, the way they reacted to offers of help from a foreign hostile power. we didn't see enough of that i
think today during in hearing >> let me challenge one thing you said erin which was this was the star witness. in fact not the star witness is don mcgahn getting there and describing what the president asked him to do. the star witness. >> falsifying documents. >> it might be dan coates, others in the white house. the prosecutor who did the investigation is not the star witness. in fact, bob mueller was essentially saying here, i'm kun, over to you do your job, congress. don't subcontract the investigation to the special counsel. do your job. >> and of course the white house has made it clear they will do everything they can to make sure a don mcgahn never appears in front of dress. >> delay, delay. >> and next robert mueller expressing fears over campaigns being offered help from russia. >> i hope this is not the new normal. but i fear it is. >> but i fear it is. congressman eric swalle who questioned mueller is outfront. plus what democrat leaders tell
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they are doing it it as we sit here. and they expect to do it during the next campaign. >> outfront now democratic congressman eric swalwell of california. sits on the house intelligence and judiciary committee. you questioned mueller twice today, congressman. one of the responses to you, i hope this is not the new normal, but i fear it is. and then to your colleague congressman hurd, they are doing it as with we sit her. what was your reaction. >> illustration pretty hair raising. whether you are a republican defending the president or democrat wanting the president held accountable, we should be worried that in future elections, whether it's russia, other countries who have similar capability that is this could create a mess of our democracy. i don't know how many elections we can weather something like that. that's why i've tried to be part of investigations and have written legislation along the way to put responsibility on candidates to tell the fbi if they are approached in the which the trump campaign has.
that legislation will get a vote very soon, called duty to report. that's why i wrote bipartisan legislation to have an independent commission make recommendations on what we can do just as we did after september 11th. i would like to see more republicans join that because let's put aside what happened in the last election and recognize future elections are at stake. >> so mueller's long-term deputy aaron zebley was sworn in alongside today in your hearing. as we know, congressman. there were multiple times when mueller did not seem as familiar with the report as resemblely. he tried to refer questions to zebley. he looked to him for help, times like this. >> volume 2, page 1, your report boldly states we determined not to make a traditional prosecutial judgment. is that correct? >> i'm trying to find that citation, congressman.
>> so you see, you see his hand and pen. you were there you is a that. zebley had day to day oversight of the investigation. mueller wanted him worn in and perhaps today we now know why. he is the one who knew this intimately at the detail level. did you all make a mistake by not asking zebley questions directly? >> no, i don't think so, again, bob mueller led the investigation. the american people deserve to hear from him today. but informs act one. act 2 will be all of the witnesses who were invoked today. i think americans watching this at home who heard bob mueller's voice the first time in their life want to hear about corey lewandowski and the orders president trump gave him to tell sessions to limit the investigation. they want to hear more about the polling data. again, a presidential campaign in the united states sharing polling data with the russians. they want to learn more about that. now we have to bring in those witnesses. >> do you think there is an act 2? i ask this because now you had
the person in charge. and there was so much import put on this testimony. we know the would you say is going to fight someone like corey lewandowski as they can. but certainly don mcgahn. who is crucial. toldside to do something that is obstruction of justice. told to falsify documents. don mcgahn is crucial here. but the white house is never letting you guys talk to him, right. >> that's right, erin. that's why i laid out today how obstructive acts are a consciousness of guilt. i asked the director, i said when people lie, tamper with witnesses, obstruct investigations can you use that to show a guilty conscientious we use that to show obstruction in realtime as the president doesn't allow the witnesses to come forward. if you go back to the nixon impeach inquiry obstruction of congress was one of the articles of impeachment. i believe that will be part of the impeachment inquiry when we get there and see he is in realtime obstructing congress. >> have you heard from any colleagues who did not support
impeachment prior to today who have moved in the direction of impeachment since mueller spoke today? >> yes, laurie trayen from massachusetts called for impeachment while the hearing was going on. and my prediction is that you see more people not fewer people. i don't think anyone is saying you know, i think donald trump should get get a nobel peaces prices. it's getting where is for the president as witnesses come in not better. >> president trump weighed in on mueller's performance as you said this. >> the democrats had nothing, and now they have less than nolino nothing and i think they will lose the 2020 election very big including congressional seats because of the path they chose. >> congressman, i asked this question to you because you were running for president until recently. you know what it's like on the trail. you know the american public at this point have not been as a
whole receptive to impeachment proceedings. what impact will today's hearing have? >> i was laughing, erin, because i don't know what less than nothing is as the president described it. but, you know, i did see on the trail that yes, americans care about health care. americans care about student loan debt and gun violence but a number of people told me, you know what? i hate when washington says that people outside washington don't care about what the russians did and that's republicans and democrats because it's about the ballot box and that whether you're a republican or democrat on election night, the result belongs to us because we went and voted and so i think as long as we make this about the future and not, you know, dwell too much on the past, the american people will be with us. >> congressman swalwell, thank you. >> democrats meeting behind closed doors with speaker pelosi. what we're learning about what is being described as robust impeachment discussions. when does an opportunity
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breaking news standing firm. nancy pelosi not budging after robert mueller's testimony. >> my position has always been whatever decision we made in that regard would have to be done with our strongest possible hand and we still have some outstanding matters in the courts. it's about the congress, the constitution and the ports, and we are fighting the president in the courts. >> that was speaker pelosi and following mueller's testimony as you heard one house democrat has moved over in support of an impeachment inquiry.
that's one. it brings the total number to 93. look, today's testimony mattered a lot on this issue. what else did the speaker have to say after the spoeaker spoke? >> pelosi was clear. she essentially is saying look, we'll stay the course. we are going to remain on the path that we have been on, of course, that path being the very deliberate, very go take it slow strategy of going plot by plot through these courses of actions and you almost heard her there, you know, argue why she is staying on this course. she said, you know, look, if we were to get there an impeachment, again, we need to go in with the strongest possible hand possible and that means she said right now essentially focussing on the next step, the court battles ahead that starts over the next 48 hours, restarts, i should say tomorrow or friday. she said that the judiciary committee will go to court to
seek the grand jury material from the mueller report as well as enforce the subpoena against don mcgahn. moments before she did meet with her entire democratic caucus and at least one member i spoke to especially on the impeachment thing that's equal lly as important to what she did not say. she said she indicated some openness on impeachment but certainly remains officially unmoved in her position. >> thank you very much. i want to go to our chief political correspondent dana bash. let's start with new reporting i know you have on this meeting. what's going on in side that room? >> i have manu. she explained what happened at the press conference. the speaker had an meeting. manu and i were told there was a robust discussion about impeachment with member after member pressing the leadership, what next? are we going to do now?
was interesting according to our sources is that although the speaker said we're not there yet, she and the judiciary chairman welcomed questions and talked in a more detailed way about the potential process going forward. one example jerry nadler indicated that a possibility would be after the court proceedings and when and if they get to this point, all six committees investigating could come up with articles of impeachment a source cautions to manu that was an idea, not actually being done now but another interesting thing i was told is that nadler was asked by a member whether or not the whole house has to vote on starting the impeachment injury and he said no. he said he has the authority to do that. why is that interesting? because there are a lot of members in the democratic caucus who are, you know, not so eager to take a vote even to start an
impeachment inquiry, particularly the moderates that helped make the house majority and they could get around that. they could potentially start impeachment proceedings according to gnnadler in this meeting without having members take a vote. these are the discussions that went on in a way as soon as these hearings were over today, erin? >> one thing i wanted to ask. the speaker said evening thought this was the big moment. let's be honest, this was the big moment. if this was a clear and definitive set of answer, we would be having a different conversation. the answer is i have a few more things to look at before i decide. was that a punt or more enter things? >> i think the answer is yes to both of those questions. it was a punt because it wasn't as clear cut as maybe they would have liked. they didn't really expect it to be really clear cut but maybe not as mirky as it was. but they do have plans to continue to pursue grand jury proceedings as talked about pushing to get don mcgahn the
key witness to come before congress and they don't have the answers to that yet. they want to check that box before they decide to go forward. >> dana bash, thank you very much. and thanks so much to all of you for joining us for our breaking news coverage on this historic testimony day. our coverage continues here on cnn with anderson. and good evening from washington. robert mueller spoke today and millions listened. the question is what did they hear. the russian special counsel's testimony before the house judiciary committee and intelligence was in many ways a war shack test. different assumptions on each side going in and lines of questioning and different take aways from the two sides afterward. republicans large recalling it a failed offense of what in their view was an illegitimate investigation. democrats hanging on every instance mueller confirmed what was in his report and so doing conif i recafirmed the democrat that a felon sits in the white house. what neither side got was a