tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC March 22, 2019 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT
the attempts to fire bob mueller failed. and what comes next involves our congress, our public, you. so stay tuned, stay involved and thank you for watching our special coverage on "the beat." this sunday i'm learning 9:00 p.m. eastern a special on the weebds. but don't go anywhere because chris matthews takes over our continuing breaking coverage right now. mueller has landed. let's play "hardball." ♪ good evening, i'm chris matthews. the investigation is over and according to a senior doj official there is no further indictments. no charges against the president, his children or associates after all those meetings with the russians. not only that but the special counsel signed off on it without
ever directly interviewing the president of the united states about collusion or obstruction of justice. after two years of looking into president trump, his campaign the kremlin's unprecedented interference in the 2016 election, special counsel mueller has delivered his findings to the justice department and at 5:00 p.m. word came that notified congress the russian probe is officially over, leaving the fate in the hands of attorney general william barr. in barr's letter to the house and senate judiciary committees, he stated simply special counsel robert mueller has concluded his investigation the to interference in the 2016 election. and i may be able to advise you taz to the principal conclusions as soon as this weekend. i intend to consult with deputy attorney general rosenstein and special counsel mueller to
determine what other information from the report can be released to congress and the public. there are major questions, big questions and calls from congress for robert mueller to answer them. we have the best reporters possible tonight. "the atlantic"'s and joining me by phone the "new york times" michael schmidt. i'm going to have this until somebody answers it. how can the president be pointed to as leading collusion with russia, aiding a russian conspiracy to interfere with our election physical none of his henchman, children, associates have been indicted? he was giving orders to do stuff with the russians. if none of them fwhur were indi how can he be blamed? >> you're right to question that because we know the president can't be indicted.
so we can consider the possibility that mueller is accusing him of impeachable offenses. but the point you raised argus against that. trump can't conspire with himself. if he was conspiring with it the russians, he would have had to have at least some help, at least with roger stone and when they didn't charge stone with conspiracy, that told us they didn't have it. will they accuse trump of misjudgment, negligence, of allowing himself and his campaign to be manipulated by a russian covert opraise. what steps did he take during his campaign? did he open himself up to this? it's all bad but it's not crimes >> if you're a member of congress or you think he missed the boat. because we know about the meeting june of 2016. the meeting at the cigar bar. we know all those meetings in
kislyak in cleveland. all of these dots, we're to believe, don't connect? >> that's the conclusion in front of us. it didn't prove anything. and the trump tower meeting was bust. they didn't actually hand over incriminating information. it showed that don trump jr. was willing to accept help. habbed emails or analytical stuff. it never panned out. >> i got to stick with you, my colleague, why was there never an interrogation of this president. we were told by weeks that you don't get the motive until you hear from the person himself who's being targeted. so far tonight we have nose reason to believe trump is going to be charged by rhetoric in the
document itself, the mueller report, without ever having to sit down and answer his dam questions. how can that happen? >> that is a great question. the spells counsel talked to bill clinton but president trump wouldn't sit down with him. he would never talk to him and mueller decided it wasn't worth the subpoena fight that would delay the investigation and report for months, knowing he would lose. if at the end of the day president trump was never going to sit down with mueller chrbs that's what you would advise him to do, then why delay the investigation. mueller should have sent the subpoena to stand on principal, to show he took that extra step. he chose not to do that. >> why no indictment if there is collusion orrer mueller believes there was collusion and why no
questioning of the president? >> in terms of the charges, there are a lot of parts of mueller that have lived on and will live on in attorney's offices from norb to washington. i thin you have to look at mueller and his report as a midway point as these things go forward. >> wait a minute. his job is to go to the collusion question. that's why he had this huge team. they were to look into the collusion matter. he can't pass that off to someone else, can he? >> i don't know. they take a very lawn period of time and mueller has cast a shadow over the president and the president certainly would want this to be wrapped up as soon as possible. we don't know what mueller found. we don't know what barr's going to tell us.
i'm not sure we can make a conclusion that they didn't find this or that. we have to look at the results of what barr discloses. >> why dump this at 5:00, close of business on a friday? that's when you dump stuff you're not proud of. that's when you sneak something through the media. close of business friday for something we've been waiting for for two years and closing up the report for months, maybe since august. and now they drop it at 5:00 in the afternoon and we're left with a question mark. where's the collusion report? obstruction report? and how come you never interviewed the big guy ever? >> this is a pattern we've seen from the special counsel since the beginning. he's dropped indictments on friday. i wouldn't read too much into that aspect of it. the fact that mueller is not recommending further indictments is a surprise.
but at the same time we don't know what the report says. he might have found evidence of behavior that was unseemly or behavior that was wrong, that did not rise to the level of criminal activity. there's a lot of this that's couched in the language of a counterintelligence investigation that does not rise to the level of criminal activity. we still don't know one big question. why was alpha bank paying during the election? what about michael cohen in prague? there are reports that his phone was there. what about all the meetings jared kushner had with the russians during the transition period? why did mike flynn lie about the sanctions phone call -- >> do you think we'll actually get those nonindictment answerers if you don't indict the president because you don't believe you can? how can you blame the president in any regard if you're not
willing to say his henchman carried out his orders? i don't get it. >> to what extent will mueller get into conduct that's not criminaly charnelable. we might never know the answerers to the questions because mueller's going to stick to why decide to prosecute and why not decide to prosecute? >> if you're going to indict, indict, others with shut up. you've been instructing me on this about the nature of a possible rico charge, the president over seeing a number of his henchman, people, kids all involved with the russians. how come nobody's been indicted and we're told there's not going to be indictments in this report? how can we say the president is a ring leader?
>> i thin tk the answers are contained in the mueller report. when he elects not to bring charges, she write as lengthy memo explaining the reason why. so we can be confident that mueller report contain as detailed anal sysis of why chars weren't brought. the question whether barr will release that information to the congress and the american people. the department has another policy that suggests the reasons should not be made public. for example barr knows from the mueller report of high crimes and misdemeanors by the president and mueller says the only reason he didn't indict is because of the doj policy against indicting a sitting president, barr could sit on that information, siting -- >> how could the president be responsible for high crimes and
misdemeanors if none of his people are responsible for breaking the law? >> unless they're confident they could get a jury to convict, they don't bring charges. that's higher than the legal standard of probable cause. it could be there's sufficiefig sufficient evidence to charge people with crimes -- >> come on, paul. a d.c. jury wouldn't convict in these sets of circumstances, all this information about what it would look like to an average, commonsense juror and you don't feel they could get a conviction? >> obstruction of justice, firing the firb director. does that count as obstruction of justice? and those are complicated questions.
i think mueller probably could have got a d.c. jury to convict based on some of the evidence we already know. >> i was thinking more of the collusion stuff. >> you write the big foot articles for the front page. what is the impact with regard, put it together with nancy pelosi said no impeachment on the table. i'm curious. the big story is impeachment. is that still a a big story? >> all depends on what mueller has found and what is relaid to congress. if it's relayed that the president broke the law, then this will head in a certain direction, i am sure and that will pus the democrats on impeachment and their base will want to do something. if barr says he didn't find anything, he'll be under
pressure to release as much information as possible so they can quote on quote check his homework and see if the investigator truly followed the facts and weren't impeded by politics. there's some indication we'll find out this weekend. and we will just have to see how far he goes. >> let's use your powers of deduction. if there was a criminal conspiracy to advance the russian interference in our elections led by the president, many would be involved. flynn, it could be manafort, it could be certainly roger stone, rick gates, all his family members, especially those who met with the russians. how can you blame thes for being a rico type leader of the crime
if none of his henchman weren't indicted and they weren't indicted today and we're told they won't be. how can you build a case for collusion against the president? >> you present very logical reasons why that may not exist and a case like that may not exist. i think what you're forgetting about is the issue of obstruction. >> that's another question. but go ahead. >> while there's a lot of questions about russia, there's many more about obstruction and actions he took in office. if you look at the questions mueller wanted to ask the president, there were far more about obstruction than anything else. and he never answered those questions but mueller continued to investigate. that's when he spent a lot of time to understand the president's mote vases as he tried to gain control of the inquiry. and i think that's the other
bucket here that sometimes people forget about but where the president may have the most exposure. >> i can see him saying all they got me on is this argument of obstruction. by the way i'm allowed to obstruct when i'm innocent. >> he already started saying that today. there was a hunt of that in his box business interview that he did. he's basically saying this is a fake issue. the russia thing was a hoax and i had to protect myself from that. you could see that argument forming in what he was saying today. >> collusion has always been the name of the game. fabulous reporter from the "new york times." house speaker nancy pelosi and senate minority leader, chuck schumer said attorney general
barr must not give president trump, his lawyers or his staff any sneak preview of special counsel mueller's findings or evidence and the white house must not be allowed to interfere in decisions about what parts of those findings or evidence are made public. the american people have a a right for the truth. transparency. that was strong. and joaquin castro who sits on the house intelligence committee. i want to know what you think of this unsatisfactory bit of news which is nothing about collusion except no indictments of the people around the president. nothing really on obstruction of justice. not going to be any interview of the president by the special counsel. >> obviously the country's been waiting for this report for a long time. it's owed to the american people. i believe the acting attorney general shouldn't make any changes, deletions, additions.
should just let the american people see for themselves and make their own decision. there's basically three buckets. collusion as you've been talking about, obstruction of justice, insurance fraud, anything like that. i think that in that report i would suspect if their obstruction of justice findings, that bob mueller will say congress has to deal with that part. based on what i heard michael cohen talk about with the intelligence committee, i believe the southern district is looking at some of mr. trump's business dealings. that's those two buckets. the third is the collusion bucket. i can't say for sure what they found on that. obviously they're not going to go forward and do indictments on the president. because it's been doj policy in the past but we don't know if that means they have no suspicion or evidence and simply didn't think they had enough
evidence to convict. >> what do you think about impeachment now? does this make it more or less likely the congress will conduct a formal impeachment process, including subpoenaing mr. mueller himself and make him tell us everything he didn't decide to do. >> i do think the congress and the american people should hear from mueller directly how he went about it and so forth. i think the important piece or the most important piece for the congress will be obstruction of justice piece and what the mueller report lays out with respect to that. >> how about under oath? could you put the spelcial counsel under oath? >> sure. somebody that served in the justice department, i don't think he would have a problem testifying under oath. >> do you think the special
counsel will, at some point in the next few days, will clarify what he discovered about this president and the russians? >> yeah. i hope so. i think everybody hopes so. democrats, conservatives, liberals. our elections were interfered with in 2016 and we know there were russian agent involved with that. the question has been whether and how much any americans helped them achieve that. >> senator joaquin castro of texas. thank you, sir. the president laid down his last line of defense. this is critical. >> there was no collusion, no obstruction. everybody knows it. it's all a big hoax. >> no collusion is a big lead. and i'm going back to your question. how can there be a charge or
claim of collusion? formally the term is advancing a russian conspiracy to interfere and screw with our elections, basically? how can that accusation be laid against the president by mueller if he's not indicting any of trump's people here? >> i've been listening to the questions you've been raising and they're important. >> i'm asking. i'm not speculating. we were told by a doj official there will be no indictments. doesn't that startal you after all these meetings? >> i would suspect the reason is in the report. they're ultimately making clear the report should be released to the public and the underlining findings and evidence should be
transferred to the relevant committees. that's why it's important to get the report so we can understand the rational. >> we've been waiting for two years. it comes out at a friday at 5:00. that's the dumping ground close of business on a friday. by the way, does it bother you the president of the united states is the target of this whole inquiry was never interviewed? >> again i want to read the report so i understand better why he wasn't interviewed and idea ai would like to understand the razal. i'd like the see the report so we can get a better sense. >> if i were bill clinton's lawyer, i would say you mean a president doesn't have to respond to subpoena? when bill was put in that booth, he was forced to talk on the tape all about monica lewinsky
on the tape. you mean he could have got out of it? >> i think it's hard to make a finding without seeing the report. i think it's important we not lose sight how far we've come after 22-month vez. 37 indictments. multiple guilty pleas, convictions including people like michael flynn and others. context matters. >> nobody around the president has been indicted ever since this two years began about collusion. nobody. >> i think a couple of folks have raised the paint that we also can't lose sight of the obstruction of justice piece of this and the reality that was a big component of the special counsel's work. again i'd like to see the reports and the findings become public. i think the american public deserve to know the truth.
>> unfortunately in the way politics work in 2019 it's the democraticb caucus will be interested and the republicans are going to wink at that baby. they're going to buy the trump line. aren't you afraid of that? >> i hope it's not the case. i think it's going to depend on the evidence that comes out. >> you are an optimisticb guy. the republicans are waiting for the evidence. you really believe that? >> let me say this, chris. conte context matters, history matters. the last time special counsel was with respect to the waco incident. it should be made pub with redactions and so forth is not consistent with the law, past practice. release the report that american public.
transmit the evidence to the relevant committees in the house so we can engage in our important oversight committees. >> very judicious tonight from colorado. still with me is jim delaney, natasha and paul butler. you've been watching my interrogatives here, my question of people. i'm unsettled by the fact that all this investigation has yielded so far no indictments about collusion. >> you asking all the right questions. but there's another way to look at this whole collusion question. no conspiracy charges. but the fbi launched an investigation into the question of is donald trump compromised by a foreign adversary by russia? and the answer is not a criminal charge. if you have an affair with a chinese spy, you get fired and
lose your security clearance. what if the mueller report finds they were dupes to manipulate our election and they allowed themselves by their willingness to accept dirt from the russians, they allowed them selves to be manipulated by a very fisticated russian operation. that may well be impeachable. just because there wasn't a crime, doesn't mean there's not a scandal. >> the evidence isn't entirely passive. we know his kid went to trump tower to get dirt on hillary clinton. he went to the meet. we know that there's meetings with kislyak. we know the russian -- the republican platform was changed akorbd cording to the purposes of the russian government. we know all of this. >> what we ecan conclude from the absence of criminal charges is it didn't rise to the level
of criminal conspiracy but we can't conclude that they're blameless. >> so if somebody was paid off for whatever currency to change the republican platform on ukrain, that wouldn't be a crime? >> that would be bribery, straight up, right? so the question is was there improper influence, which may not be a crime spaeespecially w you're dealing with an adversary. they allowed them selves to be manipulated and used and turned against the democracy, essentially and the details of that, we think are in the mueller report. this letter gives us a clue. this letter that mueller report is more detailed than we thought. he talked about giving the baseline of declinations. and he says there's this other information i'm going to discuss about whether we can make this
public. the other information, that's the stuff we see. >> what about the things that are missing. the dog that didn't bark here. there are all kinds of laws about denial of public service. you engage in purposes beyond your elected official position and you're doing something for someone else. you're denying public services to the president here. if you're fobbing for the russians, isn't that a crime? >> i think it very well might be a crime but then it depends on the facts. we can look at mueller as being a a very efficient and productive prosecutor and a cautious, somewhat conservative one. so 199 criminal charges, every single person mueller has
charged, he's gotten with the exception of roger stone who hasn't had his day in court yet. he only brings cases when he has unimpeachable evidence he knows he can win and that maybe for people that haven't been charged, he didn't feel he had that quality of evidence. very quickly to kim's point. president trump is far from out of the woods. so the with president appears to have made a number of misleading statements about trump tower moscow when he was a candidate for president of the united states. now, it's not a crime for a candidate for office to lie. at the same time the russians knew he was lying and so he may have been compromised in a way that has important national security imp lblications and co lead to a impeachment removal from office. >> what's different than two or three hours ago? >> we know mueller's investigation is over.
we don't know that the investigation is over. the house will continue to investigate things like deutsche bank. and i think that the biggest lingering question now is trump compromised by the russians? because there's nothing else that logically explains his behavior and his deference towards vladimir putin. schiff has said that's one of the biggest things he wants to investigate. and i think we're losing sight of the fact that trump submitted written answers to mueller. were there any inconsistencies that mueller wanted to charge him with but couldn't because he's a sitting president? you would expect it to. there's so much out there we don't know. i think the biggest question is what explains the president's behavior throughout course of the campaign? is he compromised by the fact he was doing trump tower moscow?
i think just because there were no indictments related directly to conspiracy, his henchman were indicted. >> not yet. >> not for collusion. but the purpose was to get information, presumably, to flip them on the president toorbs get information what happened during the campaign. apparently mueller didn't think it rose to the level of criminal activity. buts we're going to learn more as the days go on. >> moments ago senate minority leader chuck schumer warned president trump and his lawyers not to interfere with the release of it. >> now that special counsel mueller has submitted his report to the attorney general it's imperative for mr. barr to make the full report public and provide its underlined documentation and find toogz congress.
attorney general barr must not give president trump, his lawyers or his staff any "sneak preview" of special counsel mueller's findings or evidence. and the white house must not be allowed to interfere in decisions about what parts of those findings or evidence should be made public. the watch word is "transparency." the president himself has called without qualification for the report to be made public. there is no reason on god's green earth why attorney general barr should do any less. >> i want to bring in u.s. congressman ted lie. what is your thinking about not having the president get a sneak preview. >> let me say today is a historic, proud day for america,
that despite multiple attempts by the president to stop this investigation, robert mueller and his team were able to finish it and the fact that he kept his job and deputy attorney general rosenstein kept his job. so let's not lose that sight. if there are portions classified, congress should be allowed to see it. >> what's the concern about the president getting a look before the rest of the country does at this report? >> the concern that they would tamper with it, that they would put pressure on attorney general bill barr to redact certain portions and that would be unacceptable. >> my question is it wasn't really conclusive because they never interviewed under oath the president. we were told for weeks you have
to get to mote whv it comes to obstruction. you have to figure out what the person says is being investigated. and we've never got an on the record, under oath interview of the president. ever. >> that is correct. i'm a foreign prosecutor. it would have been really great if donald trump was curages enough to do an interview. but he's not required to as a tart of an investigation. he could simply clam up and not say anything if he wanted to. there was no legal, formal requirement. >> why did bill clinton have to be taped before the american people about monica? he had to go through that humiliation on it television, basically for all to see and this president skips town? >> bill clinton could have asserted his fifth amendment rights. he didn't have to do it legally.
>> whault's the next step? congress decides on impeachment. is it backen the table or still off the table it's late march. it's going to come up in the next couple months or not? >> the mission is fairly narrow. he's looking at whether he can get enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that someone committed a federal crime. the committees in congress have a much broader mission. we want to know did donald trump, his family or associates commit any crime whether or not it was related to russia and -- third, how to keep this from happening again and how to explain it to the american people. based on what we find, we'll decide should we go forward or not with impeachment but we don't have enough of a record to
decide that now. >> wlaults hat's winning as of ? >> i don't think we have enough evidence for impeachment. >> i want to bring in roger of illinois. let me ask you this. you're smiling. i don't know why anybody's smiling tonight. my two questions. if there's collusion, how come none of his family, associate said have been indicted and there's not going to be anymore indictments? >> we don't know there was collusion by the president. but we need to see the refoort understand why he decided not to charge. theoretically it's possible, although unlikely, that he may have thought the charges may have risen to the level of an indictable crime with regard to the president.
and nobed ay else was involved. theoretically others were involved. >> he organized this whole thing by himself. that he had his people involved in doing it for him. none of his kids, nobody. no indictments. >> right. i mean one evidence -- piece of evidence that i thought was pretty striking was the meeting between mr. manafort and kilminik in new york where he passed private polling data to him who was thought to be connected to t connect russian inittelligence services. m manafort lied about that in the recent proceedings. i'm curious what did mr. mueller say about this particular episode and did it get passed tough to someone else to
investigate? i know you're focussed on this collusion issue. >> that's why we had the special counsel. >> yeah. with regard the collusion issue, i would like to know what mr. mueller thought he could not pursue on his own but he needed assistance from other investigative agencies or u.s. attorneys who are also continuing their investigations. in other words i'm curious whether in this report -- and i think the american people must see this report by the way -- whether this was a midterm report or a final thesis? did he basically farm out the rest of the investigation to other u.s. attorneys to complete the investigation? >> we'll see. good thought. stay with us. much more coming up in tonight's breaking news. special counsel mueller has can concluded this is his final report and submitted it to the u.s. attorney general, william barr.
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nbc news reports no more indictments. he may be able to brief them on some of the morsels. he says the big stuff over the weekend. white house reporter for bloomberg news. author of "the plot to destroy democracy." since 5:00 when you heard no indictments, no interview with the president. >> there's one indictment i thought was critical to the entire matter. that was for julian assange and wikileaks. because if there's a bridge between roger stone and the trump white house -- it's one thing to say they're a non-state intelligence agency and another thing to bring a criminal indictment against them the way they did the internet research agency. the whether it's going to be handed toff be processed later, i don't know. but that should have happened.
>> in the narrative we covered, roger stone knew ahead of time about the email dump. nobody can tell the future. he had it inside. and you were suggesting that could be the dreirection of a conspiracy. >> i recall two years ago saying spy hunters, unless it's a specific individual who has handed over intelligence to a foreign power, those things don't get adjudicated the way you would think. this is an investigation into the president of the united states and his immediate staff, who may have conspired with a a foreign power and this report may spell it all out and leave it for the congress. >> let me ask you, daniel about this. we understand the reporting is right now. the president is sitting outside
the terrace at mar-a-lago. should they feel they just skipped justice? that they got away with everything? >> no. we just don't know that. they probably know more than we do, frankly. >> all those meetings with the russians and scot free? >> i think that is probably right. showed all the set of stars we've been looking frat all these months maybe don't make constilation like we thought. >> i've been told you got to get to motive and you got to interrogate the guy. >> in the typical criminal investigation, you don't get to a interview the charger. yes, you need to know what his or her intent was but you learn that through other sources. in a corruption investigation or a investigation of a high level
official, time was they would not dare take the fifth because they would get so much public condemnation for doing that. i've been noticing they tend to do it and say that's my right. they can make plausible argument, as the president's lawyers have here -- >> saying it's a perjury trap. keeps saying that over and over again. >> it's not a perjury trap just because you're interviewing it. >> are the kids clear? >> of the conspiracy piece, likely. >> what bot new york? >> i think southern district is very much investigating the trump organization. >> robert mueller was named to investigate possible collusion by the president, v russian conspiracy on interfering with our elections. we don't have that tonight.
>> an indictment means criminal activity. it does not mean that there's not anything the public might find distasteful. they've been saying all along that maybe there's questionable activity or things that are unsavory, but was a crime broken? what crime is collusion? and people have mentioned conspiracy. that's a hard crime to prove and establish it's not necessarily illegal to give information to a russian spy and they can't prove that you knew that. so internal polling data, you could share that with someone posing as a russian professor and that's not a crime. ruling out the indictments does not rule out there could be things in the report the public would find distasteful.
>> we follow politics here at "hardball." have been riding this through the desert waiting for an explosive report that would determine if the president did can anything impeachable. isn't there a sense of dissolution here? that clarity has not come to bear? >> we've been seeing the democrats trying to hedge this, talk about how it's not just about russian interference in the election. it's about any foreign interference in the election. talking about the other investigations. the democrats have seemed aware that they need diversify -- >> i understand completely. but you have to get some republican buy in and i don't know that tonight's news is goi going to add to that case. >> we still don't know so much of this. >> well said.
thank you sir. i think you'd be spiting more fire at malcolm. >> that document, that report could be an impeachment document. it could be itself an indictment of the president. it's too early to say. >> will we know this weekend? >> who knows. >> it's huge. robert mueller has completed his investigation. we're back after this. we're back after this. my experience with usaa
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. great graphics. at the end of the special counsel investigation, the focus shifts to the attorney general and to the congress and what this report might mean for the fate of donald trump's presidency. we've got a great panel to close the show. joy reed, charley psychos. this is an all-star time. i've expressed my skepticism because of no indictments and culose itself. i'm going to talk about charley. charley, what do you think the right wing will say tomorrow morning when it they're having
coffee around the country and as they talk to each other saturday night, will they say he got away with it? >> yeah, they're going to spike the football, claim vindication and it's all premature. i don't think critics should be as disappointed as they sound and i don't think the spin the president has been vindicated. and as ken mensed earlier. something may not be a crime but it could be a scandal. >> come on, charley. you really believe you can impeach a guy because of scandalous behavior and not criminal behavior. high crimes? >> because we know the president cannot be indicted under justice department guidelines. so yes, that's a political judgement and there are things you can do within the law that
constitute an abuse of power. let's go back to the fact that right now in the giant spin room, but we do not know what is in that report and the report is not the only investigation. you still have the congressional investigation. you still have new york. >> if i were trump, i'd be having a happy dinner tonight because they missed the blade of the guillotine tonight. you're agreeing with charley or me? >> they're high fiving. the idea they didn't see any indictments here. in their mind they're through the collusion piece of this after this. and in their mind the talking points tomorrow will be donald trump has been cleared of any collusion. the russian investigation is a bust. the other question people should be asking is how much are we
willing to trust william barr? he shows himself to be an absolute defender of the president in the devin nrunes school? maybe the guy who proceeded him school. do we trust it's going to be a complete and full report? he may bury it. >> in terms of burying things f the president says no collusion. i can see on "saturday night live," no collusion. if that turns out to be the case, they don't have a criminal case against him for advancing a russian conspiracy, can he then say since i was innocent of the investigation focus, therefore i was right to defend myself, therefore there no obstruction of justice. >> the only thing -- their prime directive, protect trump. the worse. hip of him is what t
party is about. if there's nothing that is a complete and clear indictment of the president, they will refuse to act. that's what they'll do. they are just the rear guard. >> i say fay langs. that's my roman term. >> that's a nice way. >> your book is great on thi this what does this do in terms of none of the kids, none of the henchman have been indicted. how can the president be accused of being a ring leader if he's not accused of a crime? >> i think we fell on a trap that the only issue was criminal collusion, which isn't even a defined legal concept. we have a situation which trump did collude with putin's office to try to advance a business deal and lied to the pub lb about it. his top three advisors, manafort, jared kushner, don jr. met with a russian emsary to get a a secret plot to get trump
going. then lied about it. manafort met with a russian intellig talked about a plan that would help the kremlin. he did t the behest of a putin-friendly oligarch and the big lie saying the whole campaign the russians were not attacking to help him, when they were and he was briefed it was happen. we've fallen in a trap of criminal collusion when we see time and again -- >> prosecutors go after crime. that's all i'm saying. >> but this is bigger than crimes is what i'm saying. >> tonight we don't have the fact . michael, no indictments. >> that would have been a lot more of a powerful statement. number one let's wait a couplef
days going beyond the criminal aspect of it. and if this doesn't change, this is the first time in 230 years a lot of americans think our last presidential election may have been decided by a hostile foreign power. and this is also the first president in 230 years, george washington was inaugurated 230 years ago next month in which a lot of americans are suspicious that donald trump is acting on behalf of the russians and has a seeberate relationship there. the report may shed light, it may not. you're going to have a democratic house working very hard to answer those questions. >> what is the thresh hold for impeachment? scandal? is it playing patsy with -- loosy goosy with the russians? it may not be criminal but you're working with the bad guys. is that impeachable? >> as you remember gerald ford
said the standard for impeachment in the house is whatever the house says it is. >> i think it shows the insanity that for the current in congress -- the idea a president of the united states would willingly take the help of a hostile foreign power to make money or whatever reason he's in bed with america's adversary, that should be enough. it should be eflf tnough for republicans on impeachment. the fact that they don't care, they don't mind. no. current republicans, this party is a colt of personality and schaubingly enough and it depressingly enough they don't care. >> well, it shows robert mueller is not a politician, apparently looking at the law, very
narrowly and not looking for a frighting aspects of the united states and they were doing what they wanted done because why did we change the republican platform? why was the president so gungho pro-moscow all these years? thank you, sir. that's "hardball" for now. "all in" with chris hayes starts right now. ♪ er good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. the brab news the political world has been anticipating for weeks. special counsel bob mueller has concluded his investigation of russia and the campaign. we got word at 5:00 p.m. that mueller delivered his report to william barr, recently confirmed, for barr's review. in a letter to the bipartisan leaders of the house