tv Outnumbered FOX News May 1, 2019 9:00am-10:00am PDT
>> quickly, give us your reasoning why you think it would be inappropriate to proceed forward on obstruction of justice in this case. >> well, generally speaking, an obstruction case typically has two aspects to it. one, there is usually an underlying criminality. >> let's stop right there. with their underlying crime here? >> no. >> bill: one of the main headlines you've heard so far. we've come up on the noon eastern time hour, live in new york city along with sandra smith. on bill hemmer, good afternoon to you. happy anniversary. space thank you very much. >> bill: the thing we picked up his letter that broke late last night. it was delivered at the end of march. we just heard about it last
night, based on "the new york times" and "washington post" reporting. when barr was questioned about that, he said that mueller was not questioning the accuracy of the letter but the media reporting around it. and urged barr to put, perhaps, the summary of conclusions on behalf of his team and make them public prayer that was a decision barr said he would not make and would wait for the whole release of the report. that was one thing we were waiting to hear for clarification so far today. >> sandra: senator lee he went on to challenge him on that, because he said in testimony had not heard of concerns coming from either steam. he was asked about that. he explained himself. there were some heated moments in that room, and it's been a few hours now. there's going to be more to come after a quick break. >> bill: they have broken for an hour and we will go back to the hearing when it begins on the house side. there's a lot of action, we will get you caught up on everything here. first, let's start a brand-new hour with catherine herridge outside the hearing room for headline now. catherine? >> thank you, bill and sandra.
i will take these issues one at a time. i'm going to start with former white house counsel don mcgahn. the special counsel found that don mcgahn was directed by the president to go to deputy attorney general rod rosenstein of her with the president perceived as conflict for special counsel robert mueller to have them removed. attorney general barr says he believes under the interpretation of the facts that the president anticipated that another special counsel would be appointed, and that the removal did not amount to a firing. and that the removal, or any removal, would center on with the president perceived as "conflicts of interest." in addition, as you mentioned, on this exchange with senator patrick leahy, he wanted to know why it was in early april when the attorney general was on capitol hill for what was ostensibly a routine budget hearing, why he didn't volunteer at that time that he had this letter, this communication from special counsel robert mueller where he voiced her frustration
over this 4-page letter that barr had sent to the hill with the bottom-line conclusions of the special counsel investigati. the attorney general testified this morning that the question was ostensibly vague, that it was siting on anonymous sources that were frustrated with the accuracy of attorney general barr's letter. that bob mueller was not an anonymous person, he was someone who had spoken to him directly. his concerns were not over the accuracy, but what mueller characterized as a lack of context. mueller's push to have more of the special counsel findings released publicly. this was perhaps one of the big moments in the hearing when senator leahy accused attorney general barr of being "purposefully misleading" and are his responses to that statement, bill and sandra. >> bill: down to waco, texas, a satellite is going to close down. we will get another shot from ken starr. perhaps, ken, what is your
expectation for the afternoon session? >> i think the real fireworks began. obviously, there were sparks. especially with senator leahy. senator feinstein laid out her case for obstruction. i thought bill barr handled that very well. but now we are going to really see grandstanding, since we have the presidential candidates coming up. essentially, what we had today were two hearings. the republicans already signaling they want to get to the bottom of how all this began. lindsey graham, senator grassley, and one of the newer members -- senator lee. these are able people and they want to know how this began with. we have, "let's retry the whole obstruction," as well as, "let's look into collusion for it wasn't their collusion all?" there were contacts, links, but no collusion. that's the ultimate take away. they will be squabbling over obstruction, but there is no, i
think, chink at all in the vast armor of no collusion. >> bill: that is on page one of the mueller report. as i know you are well aware. the former attorney general wandered two weeks ago, "when did mueller have that information, and why would he wait so long to hold it?" have you thought about that als also? >> i have. i really am distressed that the investigation went on for those 22 months. in order to do what? in order to prepare this very fast report. a report with so many names, you get lost in the welter of facts in book one. book two is a little bit more readable. but book one took forever to write. i think the country deserve to know. i don't fault bob mueller for that specifically until we know more. i do fault the hole, ironically, special counsel mechanism. this was the wrong road to take
in order for the country should know that which we now do know, and that is that there was no collusion. we could have done this through the senate, through a 9/11-type commission. we need to quit going to special councils -- and i say that as someone who served us one. >> bill: that boat has sailed, clearly. [laughs] thank you, ken starr, for your input today. nice to see you live there in texas. thank you sir. >> sandra: now, joining us. in washington. dana perino is joining us here in new york. chris, to you first and we've heard so far and your thoughts at the noon hour. >> i think it's a bigger interesting but i don't think it's really changed any minds. if you think this has been a witch hunt, gone on too long, and have questions as to why -- and there was a good question that was asked of ken starr just now. after the special counsel robert mueller determined that there was no collusion, that he
continued to offer 22 months, then i think your feelings about that were confirmed. if, on the other hand, you think the president did something wrong and that bill barr has spun more as a councils of the president, than as the attorney general of the united states, it may have been confirmed in those thoughts. i think it's been interesting, one of the things we have certainly seen is that bill barr is very good lawyer. he's very good at splitting hairs sometimes, like in his answer to charlie crist. but i don't think there have been any game changer so far in this. not all that much gastric theatrics. we'll have to wait for enclosure and kamala harris and cory booker. the three democratic presidential candidates that are on this committee and will be speaking later. i think they'll get more heated. >> sandra: can start suggesting the real fireworks may come after lunch. bret, i know you're treating this morning preeti tweeted out
that william barr said under oath three times that mueller'sn was not based on doj policy, that a president can't be indicted. that was a point made several times. >> it was. the other things he said under oath about that letter that he received from mueller, that he had the conversation with bob mueller saying that mueller told him -- again, this is under oath -- but he did not have any problems with the conclusions of the letter that barr issued, the four-page letter to congress. and his understanding, barr's understanding, was that mueller had a problem with the narrative that it was creating and how it was being -- it didn't have all the context. barr said he wanted to move fast to get all of the mueller report out, and he actually put the onus on the mueller people and his team because it took too long to get the redactions back from them to get the whole report out. the other thing i found striking, to kris' point, is
that barr is very good at answering questions and not answer questions. i think one of his best answers was when he went to the analogy that, if he's announcing a verdict and he says the verdict but the prosecutor says, "wait a second, all of the stuff that happened during the trial at all of the good questioning here and there was an analogy he gave for mueller wasn't the statement that he was person don't like purposely misleading was a funny moment in the q&a with congressman crist. but they train generals that he was talking about the findings, answering the specific question. you could say he is parsing, but he's doing it well, if he is. >> bill: thank you, brett. i want to bring in dana perino. good afternoon to you. go ahead and weigh in on what you observed. >> i think about this from a communication standpoint. when i worked with the justice department as a spokesperson, and when you have an
attorney general that needs no handling whatsoever, it's very impressive. you have somebody like attorney general bill barr who, as our previous guest called him the honey badger, it's true. he could basically discard his opening statement as written and then go ahead off-the-cuff and explain it. that's because a couple of things. one, he is steeped in the law. he is unflappable. and he knew exactly what was going to come. he is briefed very well. unlike some people, obviously, on this committee, he has read the entire report. he was prepared and that is pretty interesting. >> bill: meaning he knows the material. >> he knows the material. this back-and-forth of, "are you going to release a principal conclusion question" i really think that if you are thinking of headlines that come out of this, nothing changes that aligns the come out on march 22nd, which was the summary letter he put out on that sunday afternoon in which the president then said, "okay, fine. no collusion, no obstruction, moving on." i think the fireworks will come
when you have the grandstanding. i understand that from candidates who want to figure out a way to land at something on him. but i also know that when they are back on the campaign trail, what we've heard is that they are not talking about the mueller report. they are not being asked about the mueller report. so the headlines are very interesting. the other thing i would say on a communication standpoint -- rudy giuliani, the president's lawyer, has said it was important for them in this entire investigation for them to be very out-front end on offense from a media perspective. that's uncomfortable, especially for a lot of lawyers. comedic it is to want to talk more. lawyers like to talk less. it was a very interesting strategy. a risky one. because they were on offense, by the time all of this got revealed in march -- and now we are at may 1st, still talking about this -- the headline from the beginning, "no obstruction, no collusion." you can split a lot of hairs but i think the headlines are going to stand. even these candidates are going to want to move on after these hearings.
>> sandra: martha? >> hi, dana. [laughter] one of the things i just want to point out is that we all printed out what was supposed to be bill barr's opening statement this morning, which he did not deliver. so, clearly, from the time to put together that opening statement and "the washington post" story came out last night, bill barr went in there and essentially add lived his entire opening statement, which was whose his response of the story that mueller was pushing back, that more context needed be provided, upset about the way the original bill barr letterhead character is every thing. bill barr pushed back for his side of the equation. he said, "look, we asked when the report was delivered to us, we ask that they be suggested redactions for all of the 6e, of a grand jury stuff. you handed us something that required three or four weeks of work to go through and do redactions on. you also handed us a report that
said there would be no finding on obstruction. essentially leaving it in the department of justice's lap to make that decision." he says he was surprised by that, especially given the fact that he had been in meetings with robert mueller several times with a few people present where mueller indicated that his finding or his conclusion or his work on obstruction was regardless of the olc finding. which means that the judgment that you can't indict a sitting president was not a factor in robert mueller's decision to leave the obstruction question open. so a lot of people have said, "well, handed out over because he knew the president could be indicted because of the standing doj rule." today bill barr said, "no, that's not what robert mueller said in the meetings and discussions we all had." they were surprised to give it to them. the dj says, "you put it in our lab, we get together," rob don't like rotors and scented bill barr, the get together and decide there is no objection case to be made based on there
is no underlying crime and no inherently malignant acts, as put it. in the words of the supreme court, obstruct justice breed they made that decision on their own. what is to get but pushed back in his letter saying, "you didn't provide enough context." i think it's pretty clear that bill barr said he didn't really care what the members of the team were disgruntled about. he was relying on his own conversations with robert mueller who said that he didn't find anything that was inconsistent in bill barr's topline findings about obstruction and about collusion. he was satisfied that he and mueller were on the same page. >> bill: interesting observation on that. senator mike lee from utah talked about the allegations. he was asked whether or not justifies a warrant could kick this thing off. he said, "i would like to pursue that answer." i want to bring in andrew napolitano and shannon bream, a couple more lawyers. that's what we need in the room today. [laughter] a very specific point on this, this is how lindsey graham started his own presentation
today. to take you back about two hours ago, you know where he went. he went on the clinton email investigation, et cetera. this is what was said. >> august the 15th, 2016. peter strzok -- "i want to believe the path you throughout for consideration in andy's office that there is no way he gets elected, but i'm afraid we can't take that risk." is like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you are 40." august 26, 2016. "just went to the southern virginia walmart. i could smell the trump support." october the 19th, 2016. "trump is a [bleep] idiot. he's unable to provide a coherent answer. sorry to the kids out there. these are the people that made a decision that clinton didn't do anything wrong.
>> bill: we nailed the [bleep] at that time. bill barr said yes, shannon. do you share the concerns of the clinton investigation? he said yes. "when you change your bottom line on the mueller report?" and he said no. so the next phase of the stories investigation of what happened to the server and the emails and the [bleep] bit and the hammer. that will go on for at least another year. would you not agree, shannon? >> yeah, we learned about the ongoing investigations than a spring forward. senator graham, the chair of the committee, has made very clear he wants to know about the origins of this whole thing at a number of the republicans brought that up today. senator cornyn, also a republican from texas, asked barr about the origins of this dossier. and said, "are you looking into whether that itself was russian disinformation meant to divide the country, divide us on a partisan line?" all those kind of things. barr said, "yeah, we are looking into all those kinds of things."
he said it last time he was on the hill, as well. that there were ongoing investigations. he said if there were troublemakers, he singled them out. that they were at the upper echelon, and those people are gone now. he said he is working with the fbi director, christopher wray, to dig into these things. something else he also talked about them invest getting today is about this idea of continued leaks to the media. he said when asked but there are multiple ongoing investigations into media leaks as well. we know about the continuing investigations by the doj inspector general, by the u.s. attorney john huber. so we know there is a lot more back story. the mueller report may be done, but the investigation into the investigators, as it's often called, that is still very much going. >> sandra: judge napolitano, we will take a quick break soon but i want to get even here. what bret baier described as one of the more fiery exchange is not room was senator leahy and william barr. i will get your reaction. >> my question was, why did you say you were not aware of
current servants when weeks before your testimony mr. mueller had expressed concerns to you? it's fairly simple. >> answered a question. and the question was related to unidentified members who were expressing frustration over the accuracy relating to findings. i don't know what that refers to at all. i talked directly to bob mueller, not members of his team. >> judge napolitano questioning >> look, bob mueller is a member of his own team. i think the attorney general was putting varies dolomite hairs there. he's kind of a problem in my view. i don't think he told a lie. but i think he probably misled the house of representatives when he failed the response to congressman crist who gets the question in tomorrow. congressman crist questioned about whether there were objections to the tone and tenor and content of your four page summary by failing to tell them about the complaint that bob mueller had raised about the tone and tenor and
content." in terms of senator leahy's question, this is where the house of representatives wants its professional legal staff to question the attorney general tomorrow. because politicians don't always know how to ask questions, and they don't always know how to box in the answer and prevent him from giving an answer that is not directly responsive. this piece of it it doesn't look like he's going to show up for that hearing right now, does it, judge? >> i hope he does. a, i agree with sol wisenberg, my longtime friend. bill barr is the smartest person in the room. b, there's a tremendous public interest in seeing this confrontation tomorrow and i hope you are not denied it. as i understand it, these negotiations are going on even as we speak. over this very issue. can the legal staff who know how to ask questions interrogate the attorney general, in addition to the politicians who don't know how to ask questions? >> bill: waiting for an answer on that. thank you, judge. martha, dena, chris, brett,
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>> do you expect to change her mind about the bottom-line conclusions of the mueller report? >> no. >> do you know bob mueller? >> yes. >> do you trust him? >> yes. >> how long have you known them? >> 30 years, roughly. >> do you think you have the time you needed? >> yes. >> do you think you have the money he needed? >> yes. >> do you think he had the resources he needed? >> yes. >> do you think you did a thorough job? >> yes. and i think he feels he did a thorough job and had adequate evidence to make the calls. >> 200 presidents camp in 2016 was thoroughly looked at in terms of whether or not they colluded with the russians?
>> yes. >> and the answer is no, according to bob mueller. >> that's right. >> bill: don't expiate quite a moment or kicked up during this morning with the senate judiciary chairman, lindsey graham. quieted rapid-fire session there. bret baier, you are listening to all of that to sort of set the tone initially. things change throughout the morning, a bit of a break, a lunch break now, and they will come back. a lot could change this afternoon. it >> bill: that's right. there were a lot of matter-of-fact answers, questions and answers from the attorney general. no real big bombshells, minus the f-bomb dropped by lindsey graham. [laughter] i do think that this afternoon promises to be a little bit more fiery with presidential candidates who know the spotlight is on doing the questioning. with republicans, as noted before, there was a lot of foreshadowing of what is to, on the investigations. the inspector general's investigation. the attorney general's investigation into the origins
of the mueller probe of the clinton email into the trump probe. and i think the questioning of john cornyn about what the obama administration did or didn't do this going to be a focus for republicans, definitely. the real question is, bob mueller will likely testify. the attorney general said he has no problem with him testifying. it's just a matter of whether senator graham calls him or not. and when did bob mueller know that the collusion, conspiracy, coordination -- part of the investigation -- wasn't there? was it before the midterm elections? was it after? was it -- how long did it take to come to that conclusion? i think those are all big questions yet to be answered. >> jerry nadler requested mueller by the 24th of may. if memory serves. he could show up on the house i before the senate side, then. >> definitely. that is possibly going to happen with democrats running the show,
and getting him to that deceit. again, the attorney general saying that's fine. but you did see pushback. and the possibility of an executive privilege on don mckinnon sitting down for testimony. and other members of the executive branch sitting down for testimony, even though they were fully cooperative in the mueller investigation. which, by the way, is an executive branch operation. and this is congress asking questions. >> bill: that's a great point, bret. lindsey graham was asked how the hearing is going so far. he said it's good. that point about don mcgahn in the white house now pushing back on these subpoenas -- it appears that the white house right now is geared up for a fight. they don't want don mcgahn to sit in front of the hearing for six, seven, eight hours. democrats, likewise. they would like to capture that tv moment and propel the story to another place, and that really seems to be what we are facing right now. what we are up against.
>> well, some democrats want that. and there are others who want to run for president and talk about the issues. so there's the push and pull there. bret brings up the executive privilege point, and i think it's very important. before i talk about that, can i also say that, bret, when you brought up the point in the questioning of when did mueller know that he was going to conclude that there was no collusion? it reminds me of the previous special counsel investigation during the bush administration, which asked the special counsel patrick fitzgerald, "at what point did you know that karl rove had not leaked the name?" and that a discussion went on for many more years, even more than this one. i think that when mueller was appointed there was immediately this outcry from people who have been through all these investigations, saying, "this could possibly be -- muir might actually be the last special counsel that we ever have." on executive privilege, i think the president is well within his
rights, based on my memory, of how this works. i remember you take the oval office, you draw a circle around it. who are the main senior advisors? mcgahn, obviously. it confidential privilege for the president. he has to be able to tell the president what he thinks and to be protected by that. i think, because they didn't exert executive privilege before hand, that doesn't mean they can't do it now with congress. if you will remember, bill burke -- she was done mcgahn's lawyer, and bill burke wish dome i worked in the bush of administration, knows these issues well -- when they give permission for mcgahn to go forward and to have -- what was that, 30 hours of testimony with mueller? he said, "excuse me, white house, are you sure you want to do this customer very positive?" and they said they wanted him to do it. never have us report -- i don't think he would say anything different than what he had before. so the executive privilege claim, i think they could waste a lot of time and energy talking about that. because they think the president is well within his rights. i don't know if the courts would ultimately rule: because often these things are worked out.
in this case, it might never be worked out. in a 2020 election cycle, imagine that. still talking about these issues when americans seem to have moved on six weeks ago when they got the original summary from bill barr. >> bill: bret? >> i totally agree with that. i totally agree with it. i think the whole thing about the administration delaying some of this has to do with the calendar. it has to do with 2020 approaching. frankly, they see an upside to democrats being mired in some of these investigations. despite the fact that, you know, some of them open up a lot of questions that we don't know the answers to on finances and other things. the longer they pushed out, the closer the election comes, the more this becomes a factor and both sides think it's positive.
>> sandra: we will take a quick break here. if your buddy stand by, as we know they are taking a lunch break. lindsey graham indicated they should be back in that room at about 12:15 p.m. eastern time. he was asked how it's going, he responded "good." we will see what happens in the next couple of hours as we await their return. we will take a quick break and we will be right back. t comes te sugar in your family's diet, coke, dr pepper and pepsi hear you. we're working together to do just that. bringing you more great tasting beverages with less sugar or no sugar at all. smaller portion sizes, clear calorie labels and reminders to think balance. because we know mom wants what's best. more beverage choices, smaller portions, less sugar. balanceus.org
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for cleaner teeth and healthier gums. and unlike sonicare, oral-b is the first electric toothbrush brand accepted by the ada for its effectiveness and safety. what an amazing clean! i'll only use an oral-b! oral-b. brush like a pro. >> what about mode mueller, should he be allowed to testify close to mexico i learned is that publicly have no objection >> and don mcgahn, should he be allowed to testify customer asked because >> that's a call for make. >> is a private citizen at this point, as i understand. >> i assume he would be to swing about privilege. >> we should get to the bottom of this with actual testimony and witnesses. after we've taken another close look at heather condon's emails. >> that was dick durbin, the democrat from illinois. what i find intriguing about that as the conversation we were having before the commercial break about bob mueller testifying don mcgahn. to martha maccallum here in new york now. martha, with regard to mueller, my guess is that democrats want
to know how he characterized this letter that was published last night in new york "new yo" and "the washington post" ." they talked about the letter not being inaccurate, but that the media reporting was. i imagine that for those who take issue with bill barr's testimony so far, they want to get mueller's characterization for how that letter was addressed and how it came about. >> i think it's a great point. one of the headlines is that, clearly, when you look closely at the letter, bob mueller was concerned about the public perception of his team. of the job that they had done. that there wasn't enough context. one of the highlights of this marked text money was when bill barr said, s not that you cannot announce your verdict and the lg on the shoulder and say, "wait, we want everyone to understand about all of our evidence and everything else he found it all
the sort of scary things that we tripped on along the way!" that's what not what we do that a of justice. it's our mission to make a determination about criminality or noncriminality." and that, for bill barr, is clearly the bottom line. but clearly there are members on the committee who clearly want to keep beating that dead horse. in this case, they want to hear again from don mcgahn. as dana pointed out earlier, he testified for 30 hours. there was no executive privilege invoked in don mcgahn's testimony. so they want to rehash, they want to bring them out there, and they may give the opportunity to do just that. one other thing i thought was interesting that i wanted to bring up, bill, is that bill barr said he was curious about the fact that bob mueller kept interviewing people and kept doing more investigating after he had decided that he didn't intend to reach a conclusion on the issue of obstruction. i think that is something -- i'm hoping we will dig into it a little bit more as they go through the afternoon here.
he also called out -- essentially, i think he was referring to brandon and clapper. he talked about high-level officials in the former administration who had created a high level of anxiety in the press about whether or not the president was in legal jeopardy, and that he wanted to put that to an end by putting out the initial conclusion of the principal findings of the report. i think that is also something that we may hear more about as we head through the afternoon here. >> chris, he did make it very clear, william barr, that when he called robert mueller to ask him about his concern in that letter, that none of that was concerned about accuracy. the accuracy in william barr's characterization of the mueller report. >> i've got to say, i don't agree with that. i know that is what barr said, but i don't think if you read -- what we got today was we finally got a copy of the letter that mueller sent to barr on march 27th. when he read the letter, there's really a lot in it. first, we find out it wasn't the
only letter that he sent barr pretty scent of a letter on march twenty-fifth, another letter, the day after the four page report in which he said that there was no collusion, the bottom line conclusions, there was no collusion, and while it didn't convict him it didn't exonerate him either. it turns out that mueller sends a letter to barr on march 25th, the day after that, in which he specifically talks about, "i would like you to be able to release more information." and he specifically says, "i've got the conclusions and the executive summary and i'm also requesting that you provide these materials to congress and authorize their release along with two sentences for review, none of which we need to be rejected." barr decides not to do that. later, he sense of another letter. in it he says -- and he isn't talking about press reaction.
he's talking about the barr letter. and he says, "the summary letter, that the department such a congress, "did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this office's working conclusions." we communicated that to you on march 25th. there is now public confusion about critical aspects. this threatens to undermine the central purpose which is full public confidence. i'm not saying barr doesn't have the right to decide what is going to do, he's like u.s. attorney. once he handed me the report, "it's my baby, he worked for me, i was going to decide what to do." it's inaccurate to say that was mueller's concern. his concern was that he did not feel that the 4-page letter that barr sent him on march 24th and now also put out to the public, that accurately reflected what he wanted to get across in terms of what the report did. >> bill: it appeared that barr characterized it the following way, that he offered the knew a
chance to look at the stuff. and he declined. >> but here's mueller saying -- that he didn't look at the letter on march 24th, but on march 25th he sends him a letter and says, "i didn't like that, i think you should add this." and then emerge from the 70 sent him another letter. i'm not saying that barr is wrong and mueller is right, just that he was upset with how it was being portrayed in the press. >> bill: and what barr was saying is that mueller was urging him to put out the summary, attached to the mueller report, that was crafted by members of mueller's team. and he decided not to. that was his decision for mueller. another quick break, i think we are about 9 minutes away from the hearing resuming, said request an xp ats, 50 after the hour. the room was starting to fill up again. we will take a quick break and be right back. i would like to take a moment to address my fellow veterans,
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>> sandra: the room starting to fill up again, it should resume shortly. let's bring in harris faulkner, inker of "outnumbered overtime." harris? >> harris: great to see you, and we will be part of that coverage as at the top of the hour, as well. i have with me now andy mccarthy, who often times, because of his past with the doj, will come to us and give us a lot of that former federal prosecutor background. the thing that struck you most -- as you and i were talking off camera -- was this. the problem for the democrats is that william barr used to teach people how to handle situations like he is in today. >> he's been a high-ranking official of the justice department for two different terms. he ran the office of legal counsel, which is the lawyers' lawyers and the justice department. so he knows more about how to do this. just the nuts and bolts of it, than most people who are asking the questions. so it's a little hard to trip him up on that.
>> harris: that's interesting. you see that's the most impressive part of his resume, going in today. >> i think it is. there's a lot of jobs in the government where you can get people who aren't necessarily the best people, who may be just know the right people. in the olc you have to have a superb lawyer, because they are the lawyers who make policy for the government. and who actually developed the legal principles that the justice department applies across the board. >> harris: interesting. there might be people who take issue. "no, they are matched well with their experience and their jobs." because they usually are. >> harris: the house judiciary voted a short time ago during the hearing we were covering to allow an additional hour of questioning at tomorrow's schedule hearing with the attorney general barr. he has said he doesn't want to talk to the staff attorneys, but now it's calling for this. is this part of that thinking that he is so much better prepared than anyone else in the room in terms of how this goes?
>> yeah, i think a lot of this, harris, his optics. they want to make this look like watergate or iran contra or what have you. >> harris: can they do that? >> if they subpoena him and it turns out that that is the conditions under which they decide to go along with the subpoena, they probably can. but he is a cabinet official, and he is agreeing to come to testify. he is agreeing to answer the questions for members of congress. that doesn't imply an agreement to answer everybody's questions. >> harris: all right, so, one area that you say democrats may have hung him up on a little bit was about jeff sessions. why? >> the issue that they change from, in that part of the testimony, was they went from whether there was obstruction to whether there was full cooperation. what sessions or what barr was pressed on at that point was, had he completely cooperated? that's the president. what they are trying to show is
anything that is less than full cooperation in the sense of encouraging everybody to tell everything they know to the prosecutors and all that stuff. that that's not going to make the standard of full cooperation. i think what barr tried to do, which was the right thing to do, was moved back to the decision he had to make, which was whether there was obstruction or not. you are not called on as a prosecutor to resolve, "did somebody give perfect cooperation?" her decision is the prosecutor is, "was the investigation obstructed beyond a reasonable doubt?" we want just to clear it up, it was senator leahy asking him about the president wanting jeff sessions to unrecuse himse. so barr's answer was -- >> i think at that point, what they were talking about was whether he would unrecuse himself in order to remove mueller from the investigation. and what barr distinguished at that point was there was a difference between flat out firing mueller, which would
imply that the investigation would be over, versus removing him because he had a conflict of interest. the idea was to unrecuse sessions so that sessions could remove mueller. not to close the investigation, but because mueller had a conflict of interest which would imply the investigation would continue. >> harris: andy mccarthy, i enjoy doing these things with you. it edifies all of us. thank you for your time and i will go back to bill and sandra as we await, it's now 12:50 p.m. on the east coast and the room is filling in. it looks like things might get started shortly. >> bill: getting closer. harris, thank you for that. we have not seen lindsey graham, but when we see him come in, the chairman of the committee, we will follow. let's talk to shannon bream for a moment to be our legal counsel here. shannon, hypothetically, if i tell you to do something and you don't do it, if i tell you i'm going to do something and i don't do it, is there criminal intent and that thought where that statement?
does that amount to gossip? >> that is the consideration that the attorney general said he had to make. whether you got to corrupt intent. these conversations about, "we should get rid of mueller because of a conflict of interest." he took that out to the final straw. he said, "listen, if what he is saying is i don't want the special counsel because he has a conflict of interest, that's not the same thing as saying you want him fired because you want the russian investigation to go away." he said today, "you can see the summit has a conflict of interest, leave that up to make an arrest designed to make the determination. with that leads to another special counsel right behind that one, if you get rid of this one for conflict of interest." barr was trying to extrapolate that whole conversation and saying he wasn't trying to shut down or obstruct the rush investigation. that this particular special counsel needs to go because of conflict of interest. that's the road he went down today. he said, ultimately, at the end of the day, we have to do is make a decision about whether the government can actually prove and have a reasonable idea
that they will get a conviction on a particular criminal inquiry. he also said -- senator graham asked him, "were you surprised on the issue of obstruction that they left it to your?" barr said he was surprised. how this is supposed to work is it's essentially a binary choice. you see whether there was a crime committed or not. it's a bit unusual to lay out the case and then not make a determination. technically the statute does tell -- it explains the parameters of this. it says, essentially, special counsel has to explain confidentially to the attorney general about decisions to prosecute or the declination decisions not to prosecute. barr said today multiple times that he ask about the issue of obstruction, and it sounds like he was saying he didn't need a full expedition for mueller on why he didn't make that decision. of course, that's one of the big questions prayed they want to pursue it over in the house tomorrow if barr shows up. >> bill: we probably problem though mike wouldn't even hear about these conversations, center. under the law of the special counsel, this is not supposed to be public. but barr made it that way. >> sandra: the chairman to
center the room, lindsey graham. we haven't seen the attorney general just yet, but bret come i want to bring you in here. this should resume shortly. what we know happened with the house committee that is expected to question william barr tomorrow as they voted to add another hour of questioning , and that that hour was go to membrane will go to member's of congress and committee staff members. we wonder if they will show you that tomorrow. >> >> bill: that will be really interesting case study there, if they have to go to a subpoena or not. quickly, i just want to say one thing -- i think this does not bode well for mueller over all. no matter how you stand, people look at mueller is beyond reproach on both sides of the aisle. but you have this letter that they write publicly, after talking to barr, two letters. transparently strategic, it leaked before's testimony.
it seems like this was designed to be public from the start. barr testifying about mueller's conversation on the phone, when he told him there, and then the letter being different from that. and then "the washington post" reporters allowed to review this letter the day before the testimony starts. if people thought that mueller was beyond reproach and didn't play the washington games that others do, it's not showing itself today. so we will see where the rest of this hearing goes. it potentially is not -- >> bill: just answer that, bret, based on what barr has sent under oath this morning -- or earlier today -- is that members of the special counsel were upset that their summaries were not released so they can argue to the public as to why they were unable to reach obstruction charges. that's how barr framed it today. >> yeah. he also framed it that it's not their job to argue the narrative
and the story. their job is to come to conclusions. and their job is to work for the attorney general of the united states in this current configuration. i think we will see how this goes. it will be fiery afternoon with democrats trying to pin barr down. on that front, the mueller thing is an interesting question, as well. >> sandra: we see the attorney general and the chair there, still some senators not present and in their seats. the smilingly by their predana perino, you're watching as we wait for this hearing to resume. >> i always feel that photojournalists don't get enough credit for what they do. they capture these moments i remember. that was whomever and social media. he is smiling there because he is thinking, "really, guys question if you want this many pictures of me?" [laughter] >> bill: reflect on the communication aspect. when you think about
cory booker, kamala harris, and amy klobuchar, all three of them have an opportunity this afternoon. what did they give their time? >> the everything they are up against is the fact that they have not -- they don't really have any traction right now and this presents a race. they will make the debate stage, and we know things that happen. joe biden, the former vice president, from their perspective, has a very good launch. is there anything they can say today that would change anybody's mind? can they get any sort of headline out of here? aside from being completely obnoxious, i can't imagine one. i don't understand what else we could find out. without this report for three weeks, i think. people have read the report -- or maybe they haven't -- but there is no more surprises to come. the only thing that could possibly be a surprise is how snarky they might come across. in a contest, ultimately -- where you of course want to be likable as well -- that's a pretty tough needle to thread. bh martha, final hot dog thoughts? >> i'm thinking back at this the
big picture in terms of how the story has been covered. we heard that donald trump jr. will be indicted, that the president may not be able to finish his turn. then we had the president tweeting back about the 12 angry lawyers come out biased mueller's team was. he believed, against him. then the report comes out that essentially does exonerate the president, clearly, on collusion. and these don't like leaves open a question of whether or not the president tried to obstruct, which has been answered by bill barr. the back story is there's a lot of people want to cover their tracks in terms of where they were on this before, and they would like to add some color to the story in order to try and do that and boast about. >> bill: thank you, martha. chris wallace, i think you may have been right when he said at the outset that no one's minds have changed. we we will see if that happens n the afternoon. thanks. back inside the hearing room, senator lindsey graham. >> there were different kinds of them. i was referring to the kind when you are told of a specific
target. i have been told at the break that a lesser kind of briefing is a security briefing, that generally discusses general threats. apparently it was given to the campaign in august. >> senator kennedy? >> thank you, mr. chairman. thanks to my colleagues for letting me go out of order. i promise to be as brief as possible. mr. chairman -- or, general, thanks for coming today. humans have a universal need, i think, to be listened to. to be understood, and to be validated. i think we all share that. i have listened to the mueller team. i validate them, but i want to be sure i understand. has mr. mueller or his team
changed their conclusions? >> you mean during the course of the investigation? >> no, today. it is clear -- at least according to press reports -- excuse me, general. that at one point the mueller team was unhappy. i think it had to do with your letter. what matters to me is -- and i will get to this in a moment -- i want to know, first, has the mueller team changed its mind on the conclusions? >> its conclusions as to what? >> as to collusion conspiracy. >> not that i'm aware of. >> of the decision not to bring an indictment against the president for collusion and conspiracy with russia has not changed? >> no, it hasn't. >> and the conclusion not to bring an indictment against the president for obstruction of justice has not changed? >> no. >> okay.
>> i take it from your testimony that the mueller team was unhappy when you received the letter from mr. mueller. >> i can't speak to the team as a whole. i talked to bob mueller, he indicated he was concerned about the press coverage that had gone on the previous few days. and he felt that was to be remedied by putting out more information. >> okay. i understood you to say -- and these are my words, not yours -- the first concern that mr. mueller had, he felt like your letter wasn't nuanced enough. >> correct. >> okay. that problem has been solved, has it not? >> it was sort of solved by putting out the whole report, and that's why i think this whole thing has sort of mind-bending really bizarre. because i made clear from the beginning that i was putting out the report, as much of it as i could. it was clear it