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might mean something different which is to say that they might have disseminated it because they didn't have the underlying hacking is not illegal. this is something that congress will look at. >> that's right. there's a difference between being exonerated and being vindicated. to some degree he was being vindicated. this doesn't use this for blame in terms of his conduct and much of the damage will be in the second volume dealing with obstruction of justice. there were 10 episodes described by william barr. the effort was, to all these episodes linked to an obstruction case and he said that he and rosenstein the deputy attorney general accepted the definition of obstruction being put forward by the staff. this indicates they were adopting a broader definition during the confirmation hearing there was a memo that was discussed where he adopted a fairly narrow view of obstruction.
it is clear that the prosecutors did not follow his logic. he then said, we didn't really go there. what we asked was, assuming of the obstruction theory is valid is is a case that could be prosecuted in both of them decided it was not. >> were you surprised to hear him say he would have no problem with robert mueller testify before congress? yes, that was interesting. they are being transparent in the extent to which they made people available. he will testify. you could almost hear the phones getting picked up in congress. >> let's go now to weijia jiang. we do, we heard him hundreds of times call this a witchhunt and based on the attorney general this investigation has largely exonerated members of the trump campaign. >> reporter: the president tweeted an edited clip of him
but he did become defensive saying i am just reporting the facts. this was unprecedented and the president went through a lot. even before today we anticipated another victory lap. sources say regardless of what comes out and to turley's point there could be unsavory things that come out but regardless it doesn't matter because it is the conclusions that matter. as you pointed out, no conspiracy, no collusion and no obstruction. these are things he will use as he hits the campaign trail and it could be a powerful tool. we are waiting to hear from the president but he is celebrating right now after the press conference. >> there is certain to be some anger here on capitol hill now
that they have confirmation that the attorney general share this information with the white house office of legal counsel before anyone here on capitol hill got a look at it. bar said that this was according to statute and president of the office of regal counsel needed to review the report so they could make a determination about whether the president was going to exert executive privilege over this. still, democrats have been saying they believe that the attorney general is putting his thumb on the scale for the president in any way you can. he spent more time defending the president's actions saying he was angry and frustrated and felt hounded. why they found the behavior
questionable. paula asked the attorney general whether he was going to go to bat for the president and things got heated. he didn't like that line of questioning and this is something that democrats will continue to meet the drums about here on capitol hill. there are going to be some that are happy to hear that they will be able to view the unredacted version of this report. not all of it. the attorney general is saying some of it will be kept under wraps and we will see a court battle about that. the unredacted report for the most part is going to be made available to the democrats and republicans on key committees here on capitol hill. >> nancy, thank you. you heard her say the democrats are angry that they shared information with the white house office of legal counsel to they have a legitimate gripe? >> grate the, no. it is the tradition to show
reports dealing with individuals of this kind not just as a courtesy to counsel but as a due process protection for the people named. there were no changes made and this was a courtesy given to them to read the aspects of the report itself. what was interesting is that when he went through the categories of redaction he said that the great majority, the largest number, was related to ongoing cases. it was not related to the fourth category that concerned he said most of them are on the ongoing investigative site. we just learned that jerry nadler has formally requested that robert mueller come and testify before congress no later than may 23, 2019 and the
attorney general with asked if he would object. >> i can hear the phones being picked up as we speak. >> he asked me to clarify because there was a moment when they asked the attorney general why isn't mueller here since it is report and the attorney general said it's not his report. is a report he did for me. i want you to clarify this. is a special counsel, not an independent counsel. >> that's right. robert mueller would rather drink molten lead and be at this press conference. he views his role as an fbi director-type of position. >> yes, the longest since hoover, 12 years. >> his view was to create a report and give it justice and then the main justice handles it. that was the distinction with james comey. when he had a the press
conference he stepped over the line. >> earlier today you gave us three categories of standards. we talked about what is indictable and we have this part of the conversation. two other categories you used were impeachable and contemptible. these categories are a way to think about this report. is that a fair way to look at it? the thing to keep in mind is that if you are going to impeach a president you need a chest wound of an issue. i was the lead counsel on the last impeachment trial. opposing counsel was adam schiff and he was disturbingly good in that role. to give you an idea, that case which was considered straightforward took 17 months. >> the democrats are running out of runway if they want to take off any type of impeachment case. that schedule would put them at the 20/20 election.
>> yensi closely is clear that she doesn't want to entertain a conversation about impeachment. he said he would lay a foundation that would be favorable before anyone had a chance to look at the report. is interesting that he did not answer the question when he was asked, are the you the attorney general for the u.s. or -- the criticism is you are working as the attorney general for donald trump. he did not answer that question. >> i was grinning a little because i know him well and that is when you started to hear a little bit of irritation in his voice. the reason is that william bar is cut from doj cloth and you could not ask anything more insulting than that question. he should not have gotten testy there but he is a straightforward person. he doesn't really spin. he will tell you straight up. >> he also referred to the
congress' oversight version which was an olive branch from the attorney general saying you have legitimate reasons to be asking for these things. the only thing redacted from the congressional report is grand jury information. william bar is correct. he can give that information to congress. people have said otherwise. we had a ruling lately that made it illegal for the judge to release this. >> in washington following these developments. what is your observation? >> >> >> as opposed to a legal connectext, remember, there were multiple investigations underway
especially the focus on the obstruction of justice. while the attorney general may have decided there is no legal danger politically it will be the central focus. he gave us a tease. we won't see the full report until later today but the idea that there could be 10 episodes involving the president were obstruction of justice might've been a potential concern is going to be enough for washington. we should remind people the part of the reason we are so concerned about this, the majority of americans including democrats and republicans want to see this report. but, a majority of americans also want washington to move on. a majority of republicans and independents and two thirds of the democrats say the democratic party should continue digging. it looks as though that will not happen until after may 23 when robert mueller is asked to testify. the attorney general himself will face questions, stronger than the ones he got from the
colleagues at the justice department in early may when he will testify before two committees to discuss the findings of this. a lot more to come. certainly, the push to release it fulfills the wishes of americans that want to see this report and pick it apart for themselves. >> we keep hearing it is 400 pages. what would your advice be? where would you send them? >> frankly, i think most of them will skip the collision part and go straight to obstruction. first, that will have the least amount of redaction's because the obstruction investigation largely gathered its information from senior white house staff. the footprint was not in the grand jury. on collusion that was a global reach regarding banks and other sources. so, it is obstruction where you will see these episodes. you have to look for linkages and key players. once again, looking for mcgann
and his statements will probably be the most reliable. he was at the center. the episode we will probably go to first is the report that the president did want to hire key players in the investigation and then don mcgann refused. if that is true it means that the president did his level best to create an obstruction case against himself and create a human wall to protect him from himself. >> that goes to your earlier distinctions between what's indictable and when measuring this president what they might find is a discrepancy. >> that's right, we don't define a president by the criminal code. we hope the standard is a bit higher than that. the interesting thing is that is difficult to obstruct a crime that doesn't exist. you have a president that didn't commit a crime because the crime did not exist. he did his level best to do the near impossible. obstructing a crime he didn't
believe he committed. the thing that kept him from crossing this rubicon may have been a couple of lead staffers who refuse to carry out his orders. we are going to look at whether these reports are true and if so, it raises troubling issues. >> with this collusion question it was also about whether the russians had interference in the election. that is potentially obstructed as well if somebody is making it more difficult for the special counsel to look after that. they are making it difficult not just on the collusion question but the question of whether the russians were involved in the election which the special counsel concluded they were. >> that's right. in fact the obstruction statute talks about obstructing and impeding and influence. that influencing issue is something that has always concerned us because he clearly
did not recognize traditional lines separating the white house from the fbi. was fascinating is that after he hired james comey, the biggest political lender in history -- >> he asked james coney to not investigate. >> once again this will be interesting because the word was in the press that virtually everyone in the white house said don't do that. you will torch your own administration and reportedly the only person that said it was a good idea was kushner. if that's true, that's all the president needed. he did exactly what his advisors told him to do and it set the administration on fire. then when it came to the report of wanting to fire other people it sounds as if critical players put themselves nearly between the president and those individuals. they may have saved this president from a more serious obstruction. i want to recap what we
heard from the attorney general for those tuning in. according to the attorney general reading of the special counsel report investigation did not establish that members of the trump campaign conspired or coordinated and he also said no collusion by any americans in the ira illegal activity, talking about the russians in this case. that the irish. the russians in this case which was, it's important to remember there was a coordinated effort by the russian government to try to influence the 2016 election. that is still a never that the intelligence community is trying to beat back to this day. >> one of the two beneficiaries of the press conference are julian assange and stone. by saying that nobody coordinated to get this information out certainly helps stone's case. a big beneficiary is julian
assange. is saying that if you just publish this information is not a crime. we will have to see in the coming days whether new charges are brought against julian assange as a more active player. >> just to remind everybody why this is important -- those emails were leaked on the day that the tape came out -- accord needed ever. >> your point is that it's good for them legally and they are looking to see if it's there -- if those wikileaks emails were passed along through a conduit, that's not only that politically because they were involved in the underlying hacking which is the legal tripwire. >> that's right. william barr said no american engaged in conspiracy or coordination with the russians. that really does give a clean slate not just for trump but for many others. i think that's the reason the focus will shift to those 10 episodes of what the president
it was appropriate. that question can involve impeachable conduct and congress can view this as something where they say we believe you acted abusively. is a hard case to make when the department of justice said we don't believe this. >> and the tug of war politically is now what standard to use. the attorney general has summarized the report twice. in terms of the political fight he has set the standard saying the president has a clean bill of health and now is it is up to the democratic side to make the case that under our standard the following things are bad. they've got an uphill fight. >> that's right. even after the initial summary was given, they came forward and said we clearly have collusion. look, they are now in a position not just to william
barr and the deputy attorney general but in opposition to miller himself. it is clear that they did not find collusion in any criminal offense. and if it's not, then what are we talking about if they found no conspiracy or coordination? he said something interesting. he said americans want to see the report and a majority says it's time to move on. is it now time to move on? is a too early to tell until we see the report? as to what we've seen this morning it is complementary to president trump. >> for god's sake, don't switch over to one of those political analyst. it's not time to move on. i know that sounds self- serving, but there are going to be difficult questions raised in this. >> thank you so much. coverage will continue on our streaming service. watch it or download the cbs
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phones is not performing as expected. this is a kpix5 news morning update. >> good morning it's 7:26 i'm michelle griego. san francisco held a ceremony to mark 113 years since the 1906 earthquake devastated much of the bay area but it struck at 5:12 am and the first aftershock was three hours later. >> today pinterest has gone public. the social network sent the price higher than expected and they will share the shares at $19 apiece with evaluation topping $12 billion. facebook is being called into practice.
let's start with the south bay. we are seeing several trouble spots also on the peninsula. this is on 101 northbound. there is a lien locked coming up the dumbarton bridge backed up all the way 2880. it will be slow and go trying to cross over into the peninsula. the travel times are no longer in the green. looking good at the altamonte as well as the south bay and everything else in the red. sunny and warm. the warmest day of the year today. here is a live look at the golden gate with highs in the mid-70s in san francisco. 80 in oakland and 83 in san jose. 83 in napa. a cooler friday and especially
that's a beautiful picture. take that in. right here in new york city. welcome back to "cbs this morning." here are three things you should know. the trump administration is reversing obama era policies on cuba by intensifying u.s. sanctions. the administration will now cap the amount of money u.s. families can send relatives to cuba to $1,000 a person each quarter. in 2014, americans sent $3 billion to family members. they'll restrict nonfamily travel to the island nation.
it also imposed new financial sanctions on venezuela and ni nickelodeon wag what. >> the environmental protection agency is imposing new sanctions on asbestos. the rule further closes loopholes in a decade's old partial ban. it requires companies to obtain federal approval in order to manufacture or import products with asbestos. some public help nl officials say the ban doesn't go far enough because it fails to restrict the import of raw asbestasbe asbestos. >> and facebook uploaded information of users without permission users who signed up for the platform this e-mail information collected as part of a design change. now the social media giant says the contacts were not shared with anyone and fixing the privacy issue.
all aekt iffffected users will notified. . a british diver who heroically saved young soccer players from a flooded cave in thailand had to be rescued himself. josh brakly is part of a team that helped save the 12 bows and their coach last year. on tuesday he got flooded in a fladed cave in tennessee. he was stranded for nearly 30 hours without food or water. meg oliver spoke to the diver who rescued him last night. she is in jackson county. meg, good morning. >> good morning. the cave is located about a mile down that road on private property. he was reported missing around 1:00 a.m. werns morning. officials called in diver expert from out of state. we spoke with the first rescuer to arrive. he ventured into the cave alone, not knowing if he would find brachly alive. josh brachly and four other divers were exploring a cave more than 60 miles nornl eathea
nashville. he lost contact with the rope guiding him through waters. so muddy there was zero visibility. brachly is not just an experienced cave diver. he was a member of the elite group of british rescuers in july who successfully pulled 12 youth soccer players and their coach from a flooded cave in thailand. but now brachly was trapped in a cave that presented especially challenges. >> it's just a lot of ups and downs, jagged rock turns, city, low, low, low visibility. >> ed sorenson is one of the rescuers called in from arkansas. he decided not wait to enter the cave. >> the whole time i'm looking up in the crevasses and looking for a body. i really thought it would be a body recovery. >> he found his way to an open space. the water around him was 40e feet deep. he climbed to a shelf in the cave with a roof about seven
feet above him. >> when you first saw him, what ook like? >> he was covered head to toe mud. i mean there wasn't a spot on his body twhaent mud. his face was muddy, helmet was muddy. >> brachly had been trapped for more than a day but sorenson guided him out in less than an hour. >> so this must have been such a role reversal for him. how did he handle it? >> very well. cave diving is about 80% meantal. he was very calm. the next thing he said to me was my friends are never going to let me live this down. and i said at least you're here to not live it down. >> brachly was evaluate bid doctors on the scene but appeared alert and awake and refused any medical treatment. he had just one request, he wanted some pizza. nora? >> meg, thank you. i like pizza too. >> i do too. i don't have to be rescued from a cave to have it. i don't understand cave diving.
i'm glad he's okay. friends will tease him. at least he's here to tell the story. >> all right, the school security scare in colorado focused new attention on efforts to sprent campus attacks. clair peterson takes us inside the training. >> in the 20 years since columbine, the tactics for dealing with school shootings changed dramatically. no longer waiting for a s.w.a.t. or backup. first responders are taught it's up to them to go in and take the shooter out. the story about the training coming up on "cbs this morning" . if you're on the go, subscribe to our podcast. you can hear the top stories and what's happening in your world in less than 20 minutes. you're watching "cbs this morning." balanced nutrition for strength and energy! whoo-hoo! great-tasting ensure. with nine grams of protein and twenty-six vitamins and minerals. ensure, for strength and energy. it's something we take personally, and believe in passionately.
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frighteningly real. in a simulator, school protective officer michael ortega took me into a hell we increasingly face, a school shooting. >> i have a corner here. i have a corner here. >> adrenaline pumping, he faces life or death. >> suspect down! shots fired. i need backup now. second suspect. >> but moment you get the call, that's the moment you start planning what you're going to do? >> yes. yes. and the situation like this where it is an active shooter, i
can be going in alone. that's the whole purpose of an active shooter situation is to get that and stop the threat. >> that's how much tactics have changed because of columbine n that era, police waited for a s.w.a.t. team and in those minutes the shooters kept killing. now in colorado, officers are told go in alone, get the shooter. taught in the hall ways of the former elementary school, under the watchful eye of our police sergeant. >> good movement. can i make a difference? can i save lives? finally, is it worth it? you have to put yourself in the mine sthaet you're going to go forward and save lives. >> does the classroom with the erie cutouts of kids some with gubz is part of that training overseeing by john mcdonald. >> we're trying to train to respond to any threat. >> and in today's -- any threat being a child. >> yeah. any threat of any age. >> he is executive director for school safety in the district that includes columbine. >> what do we got today?
>> today there are cameras everywhere, monday forritored 2 armed oufrz insi armed officers inside the schools. >> we can pick up a suspect on camera and we don't have to try to figure out who the bad guy is. >> on that dashgs police were hampered because they had no idea of the school layout. >> blueprints are most important. >> is now he carries a blueprint of every school in his district. there is a state website called safe to tell for anonymous tips and social media is monitored for any suspicious posts. >> if you say you're going to kill someone, we believe you. if you say we're going to blow us up, we believe you. we're going to do everything in our power to make sure that doesn't happen. >> what do you think about when you're here? >> i think about all the students that were just like me who had their lives taken away from them. >> at the memorial dedicated to those who were killed, we talk with columbine seniors rachael
hill and teagues sim mobs born after the shooting, they grew up in a time when active shooter drills start in kindergarten. >> do you feel safer being in this school because you know about that or does it just make you scared because you got to go through all the drills? >> i feel extraordinarily safe at columbine. the drulz a drills are not overkill. >> i'm not worried about being the victim of something. >> both favor second amendment rights, teagues favors arming teachers. >> i don't think that every teacher should be allowed to have a gun. but i definite i had believe that could be an option. >> but rauch wichael believes id put someone at risk. >> if they see a person with a gun, they don't know if they're good or bad or killed others, they're going to shoot. >> no one imagined the mass murder af school shoot kog happen here. now with precautions and but to respond
instantly. john? >> barry, thank you. what an amazing piece. that is chilling to watch those simulations. >> terrible sign of the times that kids now have to be trained in school shootings. little kids. >> yeah. >> kindergarten. but it is where we are today. very important. >> think about parkland. >> yeah. . in our next hour, how the columbine shooting forever altered the lives of three members of that community. see their emotional note to self. and up next, a look at this morning's other headlines including how more than 100 cars with are stolen
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welcome back. here's a look at this morning's headlines from around the globe. guardian reports 29 people were killed in a tourist bus crash on the portuguese island of ma deera. the bus was carrying 55 people. most of them were german tourists. the bus rolled down a steep hill and hit at least one house. 28 people were hurt. authorities are still investigating what caused that crash. "washington post" reports an israeli flight attend sant in a coma after contracting a severe application from measles. he flew from jfk airport to
israel last month. new york has been a battleground for measles outbreaks. health officials say it's unclear where or when the flight attendant contracted the virus. the chicago sun times reports more than 100 rental cars were stole non the city through fraudulent use of the app car2go. 100 vehicles are still missing after scammers used the app to rent the high end cars. the company says no personal or confidential member information was compromised here and the service is suspended in chicago. police say more than a dozen people are now being questioned. i know this isn't a funny story. but it does strike me as amusing you lose a car using an app call car2go. >> true. the wall street report that's samsung is investigating malfunctioning screens on new phones multiple users saying the car started flashing before fizzling out.
samsung says only a limited number of phonesdevice goes on in the u.s. next week. and the naperville, illinois sun says a $2.5 million over 74 straight games. >> i saw an interview with ken jennings who said he is following this guy and even he is impressed with some of the risk that's he does. he said i would never make some of the moves he's making. let ahe is see how far he goes. fun to watch. >> fun to watch. >> look, it was with prime time viewing in our house. we always watched "jeopardy"
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so, maybe an electric car isn't for you after all. or, is it? ♪ this is a kpix5 news warning update. good morning i'm kenny choi. the transit system has to inspect an entire fleet of new trains because of a busted part. the shear pin holds together the cars in the transit system is working with the manufacturer to find a solution. oakland lease investigating a shooting along the embarcadero that happened at 10:30 last night near motel 6 back. a man was shot multiple times in the abdomen and police say he is in critical condition. know so far no arrest. 113 years after the great san francisco earthquake they had a ceremony to remember the lives lost and to repaint the
good morning. we have a traffic alert. i will start with highway 4 and if that is part of you can meet you will need extra time. doesn't matter when you leave you need to leave earlier because of an accident westbound at this area. lanes are blocked and you can see the red and orange all the way alternating to 680. your drive time is going to take 62 minutes. that is because all lanes are blocked with the exception of 1 was bound and the backup is starting to begin. i will show you where this is. this is the bridge. in the meantime it is slow going. mary? looking at funny of sunshine and a warm day across the bay area. the warmest day of the year so far today. blue skies and check out the
♪ and welcome back to "cbs this morning." an extraordinary morning as we cover this breaking news, the justice department is just delivering robert mueller's russia report to congress right now. they're doing it on a cd, they had to get cd-roms to get that report and the public will get that shortly. we heard from the attorney general william barr, he had this news conference just a short time ago. in that news conference we heard from him that the special counsel found no evidence to support charges of collusion or of obstruction of justice.
barr laid out the special counsel's conclusion on the russian election meddling and the trump campaign. >> good morning. that's the bottom line. after nearly two years of investigation, thousands of subpoenas, hundreds of warrants and witness interviews, the special counsel confirmed that the russian government sponsored efforts to illegally interfere with the 2016 presidential election. but did not find that the trump campaign or other americans colluded in those efforts. >> he said that's the bottom line, but he made that point at least two or three times during this half hour news conference. now, president trump is about to speak at a wounded warrior event at the white house. he has responded on twitter already sending an image that says, game over. democrats accused barr of trying to protect the president. house judiciary chairman jerry nadler said that this morning, asking mueller to testify on capitol hill no later than may 23rd. at the news conference, barr
said he had no objection to that. >> weijia jiang has more. >> reporter: white house officials downplayed the release of this report all week and we now know from barr that both the white house counsel and the president's personal lawyers had a chance to review it before today. barr also said the president decided not to use executive privilege to withhold portions of the report in an effort to be fully transparent, but we do know that there are still nerves here throughout the west wing because there is an acknowledgement there could be damming details about the president and his actions, even if they do not rise to the level of criminal activity. sources say mr. trump himself is aware, but he's not worried that the report will cost him politically. and here is another look at that tweet from this morning. he tweeted an image referencing game of thrones saying game over. the president's personal attorneys also have a rebuttal plan, a counterreport that has
been in the works for months. and president trump will likely use the conclusions on the 2020 road to re-election. the campaign texted a fund-raising appeal saying we need 1 million patriots to stand with president trump before the mueller report is released tomorrow. john? >> weijia, thank you. we should point out one of the things we -- as we hear the back and forth, the american people still want to read the report. it will be on our website, it will be on the justice department website, we'll link to that, so that each person can read what is about 400 pages with limited redactions according to the attorney general. one thing we have been talking about here is that while the attorney general said that some of these actions were not prosecutable, he did describe ten instances of potential obstruction. the question is whether -- what congress will do with that. >> there is three venues here. we heard from the legal venue, the attorney general has drawn a conclusion about what is legal and illegal. there is two other venues. one is congress. the way the constitution set it
up, members of congress have to decide if these are impeachable offenses and have to cross a high political threshold. the third venue is the 2020 election. voters have to decide if this meets the standard of their notion of the presidency and presidential behavior. and we have seen -- heard from one group and now we have two other venues where it will take place. >> despite the president's tweets, it is not game over. >> i was going to say that. while he's playing game of thrones and game over, the democrats have plenty to say. still a lot to read in that report. as norah pointed out, it is 400 pages. a lot of information in there. we'll bring you more on the mueller report coming up. people all over the world, though, switching gears now, are preparing to celebrate earth day on monday. 49 years ago, in 1970, cbs news covered the first earth day with a special report, hosted by walter cronkite. >> a unique day in american history is ending, a day set aside for a nationwide outpouring of mankind seeking its own survival.
>> this year we will bring you a special series of reports on our changing environment calling it "earth matters owmatters." our correspondents will span the globe to see what is being done to protect our cities and the steps being taken. here is a little preview. >> i'm in brazil. we're getting on this plane and heading to the amazon rain forest where scientists are studying ways to combat the ravages of deforestation. i'll tell you all about it. that's coming up on monday. >> they keep track of the weather around the world and they keep track of the greenhouse gases that more and more are causing it. that's coming up next week. >> it may not look like it, but this is the rio grande. i'm michelle miller in new mexico where folks are adapting to what could become their new normal, climate change. that's coming up on "cbs this morning."
>> people here in new delhi have a saying, breathing kills. i'm elizabeth palmer. this city has some of the worst air on the planet. coming up next week, we take a look at the problem, and some solutions. >> i'm deborah patter in cape town where people are going off grid and embracing solar power. we show you how this energy revolution is changing lives, monday on "cbs this morning." >> we pause n news special report. ♪ this is a cbs news special report. i'm john dickerson with norah o'donnell and gayle king in new york. we welcome those of you watching on cbsn. robert mueller's report on the
russian investigation has just been made available to the american public. the justice department released a redacted version of the mueller report, meaning some of the material was removed as required by law. >> now, congress also just received the redacted report just a short time ago. they actually got it on a cd rom after attorney general william barr summarized it at a news concerns. we're printing the report here. getting it to us is color coated. now bar in his press conference said the evidence does not support accusations that the president obstructed the mueller probe and found no collusion with russia by any american, he said. now, just of course as this report is being released, look, gayle, we see the president of the united states enter into the east room of the white house. >> still unclear if the president was going to speak today. he said he might have something to say. my guess is that he will come up with something to respond to mr. barr's press conference this morning. let's listen to the president. >> something very, very special, few people could do it, including me. i hate to admit it.
i hate to admit that, general, but including me. we're deeply honored to be in the presence of true american heroes. i want to thank our great vice president, mike pence, and karen pence, for being with us today. thank you, mike and karen. stand up. mike, stand up. and there's is really a fierce devotion. mike and karen and they have -- >> cbs news legal analyst jonathan turley joins us once again at the table. let's discuss, jonathan what we've seen so far this morning with mr. barr's press conference. >> well, thus far we have some new information. one is interesting issue is that there was a disagreement as to what constitutes obstruction of justice between the prosecutors and the attorney general. the attorney general made some
reference to the fact that he accepted their definition of obstruction in deciding that it would not make a plausible, criminal case. that indicates that they did not accept barr's more narrow definition of that crime. we also have the description of these ten episodes that -- >> jonathan, we're just getting this report that's been released to the public. paula reid has read through some large sections of this report. paula, your headlines? >> reporter: one of the most remarkable things that i saw in here, norah was we are getting for the first time the president's reaction to being informed by his former attorney general jeff sessions that special counsel robert mueller had been appointed. quote, president trump said, oh my god, this is terrible. this is the end of my presidency. i'm, quote, f-ed. he said, quote, everyone tells
me if you get one of these independent counsels, it ruins your presidency. it takes years and years and i won't be able to do anything. this is the worst thing that has ever happened to me. and norah, what's also interesting is in this report we're learning more about the pressure that the president applied on his attorney general when he got wind of the fact that he may recuse himself from the russia investigation. this report also confirms that the president tried to convince his attorney general to unrecuse himself. so far in going through this, that was the most remarkable passage. just seeing how rattled the president was when he learned the special counsel robert mueller was going to look into any ties between russia and his campaign. >> and the president also, according to the report, told his attorney general at the time jeff sessions, according to session's recollection that the president said, quote, you were supposed to protect me, which suggests again gets to this idea, this is one of those events undoubtedly and what's interesting about what paula
read is the president said he's in trouble hearing that the special counsel was named. but it's unclear whether he said i'm in trouble because something was done wrong or i'm in trouble because this is going to pin down my administration for years and years and i'm not going to be able to get anything done. >> that's right. that goes to the question of intent. >> right. >> it was clear that the prosecutors felt they could not make that determination. now, there might be a slight peevish aspect to this. the prosecutors wanted to hear from the president himself. the president declined to be interviewed. and the prosecutors at the end of the day said, well, look, we can't resolve what your intent was. you didn't speak to us. all we have are these very disturbing questions. but that still gets to this issue of self-inflicted wounds that the president left every impression of someone who wanted to scuttle the investigation. you know, he's that guy that runs every time a car alarm goes off. >> there are so many disclosures in this 400-page report. let's go back to paula reid who
has been reading through that report. paula, what else have you learned? >> norah, one of the most surprising things to me is how lightly this report has been redacted. there's very little of this that we can't actually read. one of the most interesting things that's all the way at the end in an appendix that talks about other investigations that this investigation has launched. that is really the only place that we saw any redactions. you see almost three pages of total redactions, which means they could not share this information with us because these are on going cases. so, if anyone thinks this is the end of the special counsel's investigation or the headaches that it has caused the president, the redactions that i'm seeing in here suggest otherwise. one other really interesting note is there was a whole section here about why they decided not to subpoena president trump. and in this special counsel robert mueller said that he knew he had the power to do this but it would likely cause a lengthy legal battle and he didn't want to, quote, delay the conclusion of this investigation because a lot of people wondered why they
didn't subpoena the president and force him to answer additional questions beyond the written answers he submitted but those written answers were only about russia, he didn't answer any questions about obstruction of justice. >> paula, let me just ask you quickly, did mueller say in the report that congress still has the ability to find that the president obstructed justice? >> reporter: i didn't see that specifically. now, it's hundreds of pages. i was skimming and i was looking for very specific things. but i mean, that is -- it is true that congressan technically hold a trial. they can impeach the president and one of those crimes that he could potentially be impeached for would potentially if there was evidence be obstruction of justice. and the attorney general was asked earlier, why didn't you just pass this question off to congress? if special counsel robert mueller couldn't come to a conclusion, why could you? and interestingly attorney general barr said he believed it was his mission to make a decision even though the special counsel left that as an open question. barr didn't see it as an option to hand this off to congress. >> paula reid, thank you. we'll go back to paula in a
minute. i just want one piece from the mueller report here that concerns an important drama from important moment in the drama here was the question of the firing of james comey. james comey felt like the president was -- had fired him because comey was finding something out in the investigation. robert mueller says this -- evidence indicates the president wanted to protect himself from an investigation into his campaign. in addition, the president had a motive to put the fbi's investigation behind him. the evidence does not establish that the termination of comey was designed to cover up a conspiracy between the trump campaign and russia. so, that -- on the collusion question, that clears the president. evidence indicates the president wanted to protect himself from an investigation into his campaign gets into this murky question again. in other words, he wanted to protect himself but why? did he want to protect himself because it was going to clod up his administration for years and years or because he thought they
might find something? james mueller says here -- mueller concluded was that the president was not worried about finding out about a conspiracy between trump and the russians. >> well, that's what makes trump such an ineggmatic figure historically is that much of this was by his own hand. had he not fired comey, the russian investigation looked like it was winding down and then it metastasized into a global investigation, tied up his entire administration. that's precisely what he was told would happen. and so it's a baffling aspect to all of this that his inclination of to counterpunch almost exceeded in counterpunching his way into an obstruction case. >> jonathan, they seem to be fighting so hard all along the way. what was the purpose of fighting -- you know, you always hear people who have nothing to hide hide nothing and it seemed like they were trying to hide a lot. at the end of the day, what does this mean? >> well, it may mean that trump is trump. you know, he's this very difficult study. >> uh-huh.
>> of what motivates him. he has these instincts that quite frankly are often wrong. if the report is true and we're still going through the report, that he wanted to fire critical players, he was only protected from a criminal case by essentially his staff creating a meat shield around him to try to keep him from firing someone and making the comey thing look like a walk in the park. so, what's fascinating about this is that you have someone who, according to department of justice, did not commit an underlying crime in collusion or conspiracy with the russians, but then took so many steps that influenced and in many people's views harassed the investigation that he made a plausible case of obstruction. so, that's -- we'll have to see morebout those details. but of these ten episodes, the prosecutors were clearly looking for linkages. is there a pattern here? what is the mosaic? and they do indicate that they think that the consistent
motivation here seems to be trump trying to avoid the costs of an investigation, that he wanted someone to sort of rid him of this meddlesome prosecutor. and his statement about sessions is so maddening in that sense because he seemed to believe that his attorney general was really there to, quote, protect him. >> all right, paula reid we'll go back to you. i understand you have more on what the president had to say. what are you hearing? >> reporter: well, what's so interesting is they included the president's full written answers to questions from the special counsel in this report. when i woke up this morning, this was the number one thing i was looking for because this gives us a sense of the president when facing the possibility of criminal charges for lying to federal investigators, what would be his version of events in terms of communications between russia and his campaign. now, he said in his answers he denied having any knowledge of the trump tower meeting where his son, hisson-in-law, his campaign chairman met with a russian attorney promising dirt on his opponent, they often been questions about whether or not that could happen without then
candidate trump knowing. but in his answers, he denies knowing about that meeting. he also says that he had no recollection of being told ahead of time that wikileaks was going to release emails that would be damaging to the clinton campaign in october, 2017 -- 2016 one of those wikileaks docs. he also interestingly says he never discussed russia or the ukraine with his former campaign chairman paul manafort who is of course currently in prison for not disclosing a lot of the work he was doing on behalf of pro-russia ukrainian politicians. this gives interesting insight and also helps explain why the president's personal attorneys were so comfortable having their client answer written questions about the russia collusion aspect of this investigation but not as comfortable having him answer any questions about obstruction of justice. >> thank you, paula. jonathan, i think that raises a very interesting point because so much has been made about this meeting with the the russians at trump tower, jared curb mer, donald trump jr. and people who say who know donald trump say
there's no way that there could be a meeting in trump tower about this particular subject a and he know nothing about it. he writes it down and says, nope, i knew nothing about it. do we take the president at his word, that's how this works? >> well, we might have to unless there's countervailing evidence. but the problem with the trump tower was always implausible that the russians were colluding with the trump campaign and met in the trump tower with half the world's media downstairs with people he didn't know who would be in the meeting and they ultimately didn't produce anything. so, there was always a disconnect in terms of logic here. >> and let me just add one quick thing on that point. the next question is well did he want to obstruct efrts to find out about that meeting and the mueller report says the evidence does not suggest that the president intended to prevent the special counsel's office or congress from obtaining the emails setting up the june 9th meeting or other information about that meeting. so, that's what the report says about obstruction piece of that. >> right. >> as the attorney general has said that mueller found no collusion by the president of
the united states or members of his campaign with the russians, we saw the president just a short time ago in the east room of the white house. he was speaking with wounded warriors. but he did address essentially the contents of what has now been disclosed to the american people. let's listen. >> and their having a good day. i'm having a good day, too. it was called no collusion, no obstruction. i'm happy. there never was by the way and there never will be. and we do have to get to the bottom of these things, i will say. this should never happen. i say this in front of my friends, wounded warriors, and i just call them warriors because we just shook hands and they look great. they look so good and so beautiful, but i say it in front of my friends, this should never happen to another president
again. this hoax. this should never happen to another president again. thank you. >> and we weijia jiang is at the white house. it was reported yesterday by some outlets that white house staffers were nervous and in a panic. are they nervous and in a panic today? >> reporter: i think after that press conference from the attorney general they had a short time to at least calm down and realize that it was a good day for the president, as we just heard him say. however, of course, there are reading teams in place here just like we have, papers are flying off of printers and we're going to have to go through word for word to see just how much information, how many of the details and nukts about the president and his actions could be ultimately, you know, negative for him. but, you know, during events like this where the president is in right now, in the east room, typically he sticks to the script. he does not break, especially when he is surrounded by
veterans and he does not address the news of the day. but it is very significant that he made an exception because he's not just speaking to this room. if you look at the language he used, he used the word hoax. he used his catch phrases, no collusion, no obstruction. he is clearly talking again to his supporters. and saying to them, look, you were right. this entire time that you were standing by me and i was promising you there was no collusion and no obstruction, today is my day of vindication because now you have this 400-page report, and even though there are details in there about me that are not positive, i decided to with hold executive privilege and allow you to see all of it. as paula just mentioned, she was surprised that so much of it was not redacted. not only is he able to say these are the conclusions, he's able to say, i want you to see all of it. and i want you to understand why mueller came to this report.
of course the relationship between the trump supporter and this information is very tricky. and people are going to have to digest this on their own and see if it influences them going forward. but, i did speak to sources here who say they don't think this is going to cost a single vote. in fact, they believe this is going to help the president as we've seen it is emboldened him. it has given him all the vindication that he's been looking for for the past two years. >> all right, weijia jiang at the white house. paula reid has a statement from the president's lawyers. paula? >> reporter: that's right. this is a lengthy statement i just received from the president's personal legal team. the headline here is they believe this is, quote, vindication of the president and an important step forward for the country and a strong reminder that this kind of abuse must never be permitted to occur again. now, it's important to remember that earlier today the attorney general had a press conference before any of us had had a chance to see this document. and i noticed that his remarks
were quite complimentary and empathetic to the president. and i asked him about that. i was surprised to see him here, that you went out of your way to say this was an unprecedented situation for any president. they talked about the anxiety and how difficult this would have been for him and they also said the attorney general said no way did the president try to interfere with this investigation which i believe is sort of belied by the fact that he dangled pardons in front of several different witnesses in this case. so i thought today attorney general barr's remarks were quite generous to the president and i asked him what he would say to americans who believe he is trying to help or protect the president with a speech like this or his comments about spying on the trump campaign which the president is now fundraising off of. he did not answer that question. >> all right, thank you, paula. we have more information page 79 referring to jeff sessions jonathan. he says the president then told sessions he should resign as attorney general. sessions agreed to submit his resignation and left the oval office. the next day may 18th, 2017, fbi
agents delivered to mcgahn a preservation notice that discussed an investigation related to comey's termination directed the white house to preserve all the relevant documents. further before this the president told sessions you left me on an island. two days later the president told advisers he decided to fire comey. what does all of that mean or say to you? >> well, this is part of the parols of being a counterpunch r. the president's inclination at every stage we have seen in this report is to frankly flail about. and his response to sessions recusing himself which was the correct thing to do is i'll fire sessions. but what's troubling is this idea that he has, that his attorney general is his attorney general. that the attorney general represents him. even the white house counsel doesn't represent him. it represents the white house itself. so this inclination that we see throughout this report is so
damaging not just to himself but to his office. and you can see in the report staffers trying to hold him back. >> does he sometimes punch when he doesn't need to? >> oh, absolutely. most of the damage here is self inflicted. absolutely. >> and it comes from and isn't this the crucial question whether he just doesn't know how the system works or, you know, he looks at bobby kennedy and thinks bobby kennedy was in there working for jack kennedy when he was attorney general and why isn't sessions doing that for me or he knows how the system works and he's trying to get around it. >> the president had a critical part in his life in real estate, in the real estate market in new york. he had roy cohen his attorney a rather infamous character as a lawyer that taught him you should always counterpunch. you should never apologize. you should always attack. of course that led to dying bankrupt and disbarred, but the president has always had this idea that you have to attack, attack, attack. that may be good for new york
real estate because that certainly is a signature of that market. it is not good for the president of the united states. so, the question when we look at this report, when we look for, example, impeachable conduct is whether the president was trying to do something that was a crime but not allowed to do so. and that raises a tough question. you know, if the president wanted to take a criminal act but staffers prevented him from doing so, is that something that congress needs to think about. >> could bit that his behavior is at times distasteful to some, it's not illegal. >> that's right. he stayed short of the criminal code. that's not a huge recommendation. but clearly the prosecutors did not believe there was a case to be made. it's also notable that much of what the special counsel looked at were, in fact, his public tweets, were, in fact, the public statements that he made. so, he was doing this in open, in the open. he was not someone who was concealing much.
so, what comes out of this report is that this is a guy that really does play poker with the cards facing outward. he attacks. >> i should also note one other thing the investigation found is that on this question of michael flynn, the president's former national security adviser and whether flynn was having conversations with russia about sanctions the obama administration had put on russia, the report, the mueller report, says our investigation accordingly did not produce evidence that the president knew about flynn's discussions of sanctions before the department of justice notified the white house of those discussions in late january, 2017. the point being that if the president didn't know about flynn's discussions with the russians, how could he have been trying to block our efforts to find out about those discussions? >> right. in fairness to president trump, you know, a lot of people don't understand if you're not colluding with the russians, how come there's so many russians around? you're meeting them in hotels, staffers are meeting them. the fact is this is washington, d.c. diplomats reach out to people
and try to create back channels. so a lot of folks made that into a mosaic of a collusion conspiracy. what comes out of the report is, no. a lot of this was insular types of back channel communications. the russians were very incensed by the sanctions that were imposed against them on things like adoption. and they kept raising that with critical figures. >> we are all going through this report now. it is extensive. it is online. we're reading through much of it and distilling it. paula reid is at the justice department has been covering this probe from the beginning and i know you're going through it as well. what else have we learned? >> reporter: norah, what i'm seeing starting to emerge is a tale of two presidents. the president's forward facing approach to this investigation here to the press dismissing it as a witch hunt, trying to undermine it in the court of public opinion, but behind the scenes really encouraging cooperation and transparency with investigators. one really interesting example of that is when the story about the trump tower meeting started
to become public. apparently the president encouraged his son-in-law and his press, his press representative hope hicks at the time not to talk about it, not to leave it -- just to leave it alone and not to discuss it with the new york city which is working on a story. hicks told investigators she thought this was unusual. the president usually considered not responding to the press a sin. she found it noteworthy he didn't want to be transparent or any email or how that was set up with the press. but later on in the investigation he encouraged his son-in-law's attorneys, hicks and others to be completely forthcoming with investigators. i think it is an interesting tale sort of both sides of the coin at how he's played this investigation in the public eye while behind the scenes seeming to follow pretty good legal advice which is full disclosure. >> paula reid. thank you. the report is out. we just got our first copy. the report is out. >> i'm sorry. we are looking at this report together here. >> this is our first copy.
this is volume one. 196 pages. what we are looking before we go to nancy cordes. >> we're talking about the president's intent which is important in this and part on page 60 that jonathan can read from. >> this is just the first part on collusion. as described above, the evidence does not establish that the president asked or directed intelligence agency leaders to stop or interfere with the fbi's russian investigation. and the president affirmatively told comey if some satellite was involved in russian election interference it would be good to find that out. so, that is different from some of the accounts that we read earlier where he approached cabinet members to try to get them to intervene. here mueller is saying that he really -- whatever actions he took was not to stop the investigation. >> it's funny because the president having called the investigation a witch hunt in that quote is saying to comey if you find some satellites, meaning people who work for his campaign or in his orbit that he should go after them. so, he was, in fact, basically
essentially telling comey hunt for the witches. >> that's consistent in one other respect. if you look at what comey testified and what other critical players said, the president was upset not necessarily with the russian investigation as a whole but in terms of comey, but comey's refusal to say publicly what he told congress that trump was not a target of the investigation. >> here is an interesting part of this because should we go to nancy cordes first? >> we should go to nancy cordes on capitol hill who also has a report. what are you hearing on capitol hill the initial reaction, nan sni. >> reporter: well, initial reaction, gayle, is coming down along predictable party lines. that's the reaction before most lawmakers have really had a chance to go through this report with a fine tooth comb. democrats castigating the attorney general for his press conference this morning. i'll just give you a taste of it. richard blumenthal of connecticut saying it's a sad day for the department of justice because the attorney general doubled down on protecting his boss rather than
serving the american people. but then you have the republican leader of the senate, mitch mcconnell, of kentucky saying that the attorney general is committed to transparency and the nation is lucky to have him and that leader mcconnell is looking forward to reading the report. across the hill right now you've got staffers, who have the reading glasses on and a big pot of coffee starting to go through this report which was delivered, old fashion style, by manila envelope. we saw a woman in a black suit drop it off at the judiciary committee room right at 11:00. but lawmakers across the country are getting into this report as well because keep in mind we are in the midst of the a two-week congressional recess right now. and it is probably no accident that this report is being released during that recess and right before easter and passover weekend when it will be more difficult, frankly, for democratic lawmakers to coordinate on a message in
response to what you're hearing from the attorney general and the present. the chair of the judiciary committee jared nadler announced a press conference not here at the capital but at his home district in new york city. so you're not going to see what you would ordinarily see if congress was in session which is a lot of lawmakers running to the microphones and having big press conferences in a group, either here on capitol hill or in front of the supreme court. so that was probably a tactical decision made by the attorney general, even though he is slated to testify about the report very quickly after congress comes back into session in the beginning of may. >> nancy cordes. one of the things we're looking for, too is whether there's any daylight between essentially how the attorney general, william barr, characterized this report and what's actually in the report. correct? and that's one of the things as reporters and journalists we're all looking very closely at. one significant factor the way the attorney general characterized earlier was the president, the white house, was extremely cooperative. they didn't exert executive privilege. one of the things we're learning
in this is that mueller's team was very dissatisfied with the president and his written responses in terms of this probe because he gave those written responses. in this report that was just released, prosecutors called trump's answers -- inadequate. we're learning now they did consider subpoenaing trump for this, which had been reported contemporaneously at the time but decided against it weighing a long legal battle. but they concluded they had other information. a second thing that we've learned of this, if you're reading through this two important things, volume one will be on collusion, which we know, of course, the russians were involved in a massive effort to try to influence our election. the second is on obstruction of justice. so if you're looking to -- and if you want to go through quickly, use control f those keyed we used to use back in the day. you can use that. the introduction in volume one the specific part that says the russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic
fashion. we knew that. then the investigation, quote, identified numerous links between the russian government and the trump campaign. we knew that, right? these trump tower meeting later when he became president in the white house. but it says, although the investigation established that the russian government perceived it would benefit from a trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome and that the campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through russian efforts, the investigation did not establish that members of the trump campaign conspired or coordinated in that. that's really -- because everyone is trying to understand how did all these friendships, connections, meetings happen and it wasn't nefarious. >> the important thing as we talked about our three different standards, the legal, the political and the congressional. numerous links. if you listen just to the attorney general, it sounds like there was no connection at all. there were numerous links. they just didn't break the law.
and when what he found also there's no conspiracy between the trump campaign and the russian government. but as we know, the material the russian government got it gave to wikileaks. so it leaves very much open the possibility and, in fact, states explicitly that they expected to benefit from it from this connection between russian-obtained investigation and the campaign and that's in the political context and the congressional context where the conversation will now go is that these connections took place. they weren't criminal, but they still existed and so what's -- what do we feel about that as a country. >> even jonathan, if the optics don't look good, it doesn't mean they did anything wrong. >> that's right. i got to tell you, this is a fascinating read. the degree to which the details of these meetings are being revealed without privilege, but there's a couple interesting points. first of all, the report says that rod rosenstein did not object to the firing of comey. there's always a question about what role his memo played.
>> viewed within his powers. >> that's right. it was reported that he was upset that the white house suggested that it was his memo that caused the firing of the president. what's fascinating here is that the special counsel is saying this was raised with both sessions and rosenstein and they did not object to the firing of comey. it also says, however, this, it says the act of firing comey removed an individual overseeing the fbi investigation. goes on to say, firing comey would qualify as an obstructive act if it had the natural and probable effect of interfering with or impeding the investigation. so, they did find that the firing could be an act of obstruction, but then they went on to say but it really didn't have that impact because nothing was done to stop the investigation. meaning it would have had that impact irregardless or regardless of the president's intent. >> well, it still -- you still have to show corrupt intent but that the act itself could be an
act of obstruction but they -- it's a very fair report. the mueller does say, you know, but on the other hand, he went ahead and appointed mccay that he knew was close to comey and it didn't interfere with the investigation. so far i have to say this is a much better report than i would have thought trump could hope for. it has many embarrassing factors here. >> but are you surprised to hear that rod rosenstein wasn't upset about the firing of comey? because it was widely reported that he felt he was being made the fall guy for the firing of james comey. >> yeah and the white house had to make that cat walk backwards. remember? >> yeah. >> yes. >> they released that and then suddenly there was a press conference and even trump himself came out and said, okay, it wasn't rod rosenstein that was the reason for this. >> let's go to one of the key details, of course, that trump tower meeting that happened, that has been the focus of a lot of reporting. paula reid has been going through this report. paula, what have we learned? >> reporter: norah, i'm literally working off of two phones just trying to get through all the details that
we're learning. i mean, it's incredible. we're learning that the morning of the trump tower meeting rick gates, the former deputy, trump campaign chairman, he recalled to investigators that that morning donald trump jr. announced to a senior staff meeting that they had a good lead on some damaging information about the clinton foundation. there have long been these questions about how much the campaign knew about this trump tower meeting and how willful they were in this pursuit of taking potentially damaging information about their opponent from someone linked to a foreign government. and here we're getting all these new details, not only was this announced at a meeting where three of the president's five children were, donald trump jr., eric trump and ivanka, including jared his son-in-law as well were allegedly all at this meeting. so they, according to this narrative, would have had some indication that this meeting was happening. but again, in his written answers to the special counsel, the president says he has, quote, no recollection of any advanced knowledge that this meeting was happening, that they
were trying to get this dirt on his opponent. this is really helping to flush out one of the key moments in this investigation. >> what significance the details of that meeting that were laid out? >> reporter: for some people this will just raise more questions about whether the president is just trying to wrap this in, oh, i have no recollection. but maybe he has some recollection. whether or not he's being honest. other people this will look like an exoneration of the president. look, perhaps there were things that happened on that campaign that he didn't know about. now, his former personal attorney michael cohen has testified about a time around then when he was in the president's office he believed that the president son donald trump jr. came in, whispered something to his father, then michael cohen believed was about the trump tower meeting, but he had no evidence to back that up. and of course michael cohen is about to head to prison for lying to congress. really kind of undercuts cohen's narrative in the president's written statements he says he had no recollection and there's no clear evidence in this report so far that the president had any advanced knowledge of the trump tower meeting. >> okay. one major piece of news i think
that's coming out of the mueller report and jonathan turley is nodding his head as well is that we're learning that white house counsel don mcgahn refused to carry out president trump's order to fire mueller for fear of being seen as triggering another saturday night massacre. we knew the president was angry with mueller. now it appears that his white house counsel said you just can't do this. essentially as you said, tried to throw his body in front of the president from having this done. that would have been obstruction of justice? >> this is an extraordinary part of this report. you have a president of the united states giving a direct order to the white house counsel and the white house counsel just saying no. i mean, i don't know how many occasions that has happened, but i expect there are very few. you serve at the pleasure of the president. and so here mcgahn gets this order that mueller should be fired for a conflict of interest. now the justice department and
the white house counsel, according to this report, sat down with the president and said we've determined that his prior work in the law firm is not a conflict of interest, that there's no barrier to his continuing. but trump still wanted him fired. so, that gets us back to this question. if firing mueller would have been an obstructive act, is being prevented from committing that crime something that congress has to look at? >> and to put this in a slightly larger context, you've had former members of the trump administration, former chief of staff, john kelly, former secretary of state rex tillerson, speaker paul ryan said all of them considered big part of their times in office was preventing the president from doing things that would have been disastrous and this seems to fall in that same category. >> now in fair tons the president i think two things should be noted. one thing is mueller repeatedly comes back to the point that trump's primary -- point of anger with comey was his refusal
to say what he was telling everyone, that trump was not a target of the investigation. and mueller comes back to this time and time again and says that does appear to be the reason for his anger. and on the firing of mueller, he does say that the president believed that mueller was basically an improper choice by rosenstein for the special counsel. it's not saying that he wanted to kill the investigation. >> goes right to that point of intent. >> right. >> and now weijia jiang has some more reporting from the white house. weijia? >>. >> reporter: john, attorney general barr really framed what this report was all about and reminded americans that, look, the bad guy here is russia and he aligned the administration, department of justice, the president, the special counsel on one side and said, we are all standing up to the government and the russian government here, which is at fault because this is really about them trying to meddle in our election.
and i want to read to you findings from this report that in some the investigation established multiple links between trump campaign officials and individuals tied to the russian government. those links included russian offers of assistance to the campaign in some instances the campaign was receptive to the offer while in other instances the campaign officials shield away. ultimately, the investigation did not establish that the campaign co-coordinated or conspired with the russian government in its election interference activities. and we also have starting to get a clearer picture of the president's mindset through all of this. when he was being briefed about this, where he was. just before that, what i read from you, there are pages that describe his former deputy national security adviser mcfarland telling him that they believed that the russians interfered. trump asked mcfarland in a briefing if the russians did it,
meaning interfere in the election. mcfarland said, yes, but trump expressed doubts that it had been the russians. trump told mcfarland sanctions would give him leverage with the russians. and, of course, this brings us right back to that extraordinary moment when president trump was standing next to president vladimir putin in helsinki and he very boldly seemed to take the side of putin rather than his own intelligence community that had already made this conclusion and briefed him about it and so even though he sort of tried to step back a few days later when he was back here in washington, that chapter is still a dark cloud over his presidency because it sent so many people who work for him, who are, you know, in his administration advising him on security matters into a tizzy because they could not believe
that he would not stand up to putin when given the chance on such a world stage. and so i do think that these are really important conclusions and that sort of give us a little bit more information about where the president was throughout the investigation. >> all right, weijia jiang at the white house. thank you. jonathan turley is also finding some more tidbits in this report. jonath jonathan? >> well, it's really an amazing insight. during this whole process we're all looking at this moment when mcgahn was told repeatedly to fire mueller. what's amazing is that around page 86 it describes the president repeatedly telling mcgahn to basically punch this guy's ticket and get him out. >> uh-huh. >> and mcgahn calls one of his aides and says he's coming into the office to pack his things. i mean, he tells his aide, look, he wants me to fire this guy. i'm going to come into the office and pack up. so, you can see the tension here
where mcgahn understood he just said no, not to one, but repeated orders of a sitting president. >> but explain why this matters because at the end of the day it didn't happen. don mcgahn barred the door and said, no, you cannot do that. so if you're a supporter of president trump or even a critic of president trump, it didn't happen. >> that's right. >> so, okay. >> yeah. i mean, this is the bomb that didn't go off. >> exactly. >> it was not the saturday night massacre. >> exactly. >> that president nixon carried out. >> which moves into that third category which is what will voters make of this? is this the presidency as it should exist and let's have four more years of it, or is it not the presidency as it should exist which is to say a president who is pushing for something and having to be restrained by his advisers. so it moves it into that third category. >> what it shows is the president engaging in distaintly bad judgment and judgment that really could have influenced the investigation, could have even stopped the investigation but did not. but i have to say for people that felt that, you know, there was a concern, kenneth starr
said he felt this report would be some type of political hit job. it's not. i mean, it's actually a very balanced report. and it takes into -- gives great credence to the president's motivations here. what's also interesting to me is that even though they say we can't say that there was a corrupt intent here, they pretty -- they go pretty far in seeing that the president did seem to be motivated by how all of this looked, that he didn't want his administration tied up in a long investigation. and that really works to the president's favor. >> but i thought john raised a really interesting point just then. what kind of president do the voters want? do you want a president where you have to have people around him to sort of block the doors and say, listen, mr. president, you cannot do that or else it seems like he would make very bad decisions. >> right. >> what do you want? >> and it goes back to jonathan's point which is people will say, well sure, but the president was being inupdated with all these false reports. felt like he was being attacked from every corner and these were
the legitimate acts of a president who felt besieged. that would be the rebuttal. >> that's the problem with the president's "game of thrones" tweet. this is precisely what got him into trouble. by the way, it doesn't help if you come out like king targarian and wanted to burn them all and a staffer stopped you from doing that so it's not a good analogy and also shows that the president time and time again tried to manage this controversy and got himself deeper and deeper into obstruction because many people said, why would you do this? why would you say that. >> right. >> if you didn't have something to hide. >> stand by, jonathan. kim wayly a former assistant u.s. attorney and currently professor at baltimore school of law and worked for special prosecutor kenneth starr during the investigation of president bill clinton. good morning. >> good morning. >> good morning to you, kim. so what does this report tell you about the question of obstruction? >> well, i think there's a distinction between mr. mueller's view of obstruction and mr. barr's view of obstruction, which can be i think clarified if you read mr.
barr's letter of june 2018 to the white house. one view of obstruction is, listen, i think the prosecutor is a meany and i'm going to take -- do what i can to stop that investigation to interfere with that investigation. that would be more of a mueller-type view that mr. barr criticized prior to being appointed. the other view that seems to be mr. barr's view is that i think the prosecutor is a meany and if the prosecutor continues with what he's doing, i will get in trouble. something will be uncovered that hurts me. my reading of this plain language of the obstruction statute 1512 is that certain ll mr. mueller's view is legal within the bounds of what congress set forth. there is -- i haven't had a chance to read the full report like most people but there are paragraphs in this report of outlining the attempts that mr. trump made to affect the course of the investigation. and you've spoken about some of them. he wanted to fire mueller, mr.
mcgahn stopped him. he wanted cory lewandowski to tell jeff sessions to publicly say it was a very unfair investigation. that didn't happen. he encouraged people in the white house not to disclose emails of the infamous trump tower meeting in new york. so, these are efforts to say, listen, i don't like this. i want to stymie it. i want to slow it down. and i think there's a huge legal question as to whether the fact that it wasn't actually completed somehow exonerates him from a crime. but the other point -- and i think this has come up, we have to be extremely careful about thinking about this entire project ads a black and white thing, either exonerated or guilty of a crime. there's a huge gray area and the gray area involves the integrity of our democratic process and the integrity of the system. on collusion as well, the special counsel first of all says, listen, this is not collusion. we are not applying that definition. and mr. barr unfortunately did apply that definition this
morning, which i think is confusing for people. the special counsel also says the russians, quote, worked to secure the outcome of a trump presidency and that the trump campaign expected that help. so, on a very loose definition of, hey, arguably that connection is something that maybe some voters would have a problem with. but the last piece i want to say is, at least for now, is that i commend mr. barr for the transparency here, for making it all public. he did not have to do that under the special counsel regulations. and transparency is how democracy works. people that should read this themselves and make a determination, but the process here worked. and i also really take issue with people calling this a hoax or an abuse because, guess what, one thing that's very clear foreigners attacked our electoral process. that's the heart of our democracy which is the heart of individual liberties in our country. >> the president just said, kim,
he's having a very good day, no collusion, this was a witch hunt. does he have reason to feel pretty good today, in your opinion, based on what you've seen so far? >> yeah, sure. that's a political question. i think, you know, he did choose, hand pick an attorney general, mr. barr, who is very well regarded and respected as an attorney. but mr. barr has an extremely broad view of executive power. and i think this, his press conference this morning, how he's handling this, is basically sures up an imperialistic-type view of the presidency which scholars debate but we all have to understand as a democratic process if we sure up the power of the presidency, that amount of power goes to the next president, goes to the next president, go ez to the next president. and i think that notion that president has the ultimate power over prosecutors informed mr. barr's view of this which is informing how the american public is going to see this entire narrative. a different attorney general,
maybe if deputy attorney general rosenstein had been actually appointed and confirmed for that position, a different attorney general might have taken a more neutral stance, said let the facts speak for themselves. there is evidence on both sides. i'm going to let this play out in the political process in the american consciousness and through congress, but mr. barr decided to essentially have mr. trump's back on it and frame it in a way that was very advantageous to him politically. but we cannot, i think as americans, just see this as all one way or all the other way because that's not what 400 pages means. and of course we also have thousands information below that. >> stand by for just a moment. we want to go back to paula reid who has been at the justice department and going through all the details in this. and paula, one of the sections, too, deals with wikileaks, which was damaging information that was released during the campaign that significantly hurt the clinton campaign.
>> reporter: that's right, norah. this is one of the more juicy aspects of this report i've come across so far. in this report the special counsel confirms that donald trump jr. had direct electronic communications with wikileaks. this is something that we're going to revisit now that there is a fight over the extradition of julian assange, but here in the report, the special counsel investigators lay out howie key leaks reached out to donald trump jr. through his direct message on twitter. initially they flagged some damaging information they had received about candidate trump then the conversation continues with donald trump jr. asking them, hey, what's this wednesday announcement that i hear about? and then also wikileaks coming back at him, encouraging him and his father to amplify, to tweet out some of their works, specifically against his rival. there have been a lot of questions about the extent to which the trump campaign knew about wikileaks' plans to obtain these emails and disseminate them in an effort to damage candidate clinton or whether or not they directly worked together. because again many of the emails
that wikileaks released are believed by u.s. intelligence to have been hacked by russian intelligence officers or russians working on behalf of the russian government. so, this is pretty interesting that there's a direct line of communication between the president's son and wikileaks. but again, this was not enough for the special counsel to establish any conspiracy or collusion between the campaign and any foreign entity. >> thank you, paula. and that's because as the attorney general said for it to be illegal the campaign need to have been participating in the actual hack itself. it was handed the hack material by the russians and that doesn't trip the law, but we have this political issue. >> let's go back up here. why did this start? because we have a foreign government that is trying to crush our democracy, our system of government. the way we do things. that's why we're the greatest country in the world. what one detail in this report that jonathan has just found, too, is that did the president in any way try to limit the scope of this look at what russia was doing to our democra democracy, there's a key point there. >> page 97 actually has a rather
damaging section on intent. it goes to the president's efforts to have sessions limit the scope of the special counsel investigation. and one of the things the special counsel says it's telling that the president did not go through official channels but instead used people like corey lewandowski to try to convey this information, but then it has this line. it says substantial evidence indicates the president's effort to have sessions limit the scope of the special counsel investigation to future election interference was intended to prevent future investigative scrutiny of the president and his campaign's conduct. so there was actually a finding of substantial evidence that the president did take actions, which were meant to limit the investigation. that explains why this was such a close question between the special counsel and main justice and the attorney general. >> about obstruction on that particular matter moving
forward. >> we're likely to hear that passage read repeatedly from now on as we move into these other venues, which are more political and not by the strict definition of laws. >> that's right. >> so itinly does raise some eyebrows and seems a little damaging, but at the end of the day when you look at the bottom line of the report, is william barr said repeat willedrdly, no collusion, no collusion, no collusion and he was cleared. >> that's right. some of the details here, which attract obvious attention like don jr. contacting wikileaks. >> exactly. >> it's also important to keep in mind that half the world's media was contacting wikileaks to try to get that information. >> much more to come on this. jonathan turley thank you. coverage will continue on our 24 streaming service cbsn and download the cbs news app. there will be more throughout the day on your local news on this cbs station. and tonight, on the "cbs evening news" for a full wrap up from the mueller report. in the meantime, go download
the report so you'll be up to date when jeff comes on the air at 6:00. this has been a cbs news special report. i'm gayle king, john dickerson and norah o'donnell. wayne: season ten! hit it! - i'm taking the money! jonathan: it's a trip to sweden. big deal of the day! wayne: what's in the box? jonathan: what? tiffany: selfie. - oh, my god! wayne: smash for cash. $20,000. let's go. "let's make a deal" season ten, baby. jonathan: it's time for "let's make a deal." now here's tv's big dealer, wayne brady! wayne: hey, america, welcome to "let's make a deal." i'm wayne brady. thank you for tuning in. who wants to make a deal? coconuts, come here. you've got a lovely set of coconuts, david. how are you, sir? - nice to meet you, i'm doing great. wayne: what do you do? - i'm a student, just graduated. wayne: what are you studying or what did you study?