tv Dateline MSNBC March 23, 2019 12:00am-1:00am PDT
he's committed to transparency as possible. since be appointed, mueller has achieved a remarkable record. 13 russians indicted for influence. 12 russian military officers indicted for that seminal moment, the hacking of democrats and distributing the stolen material and uncovered an extraordinary ring of criminality surrounding the president of the united states. his national security advisor pleaded guilty.ti a campaign foreign policy aid pleaded guilty. long time advisor pleaded
guilty.ad his deputy campaign manager gity, his campaign manager serving seve and a half year sentence. nonetheless a lot of questions remain about what happens next. individual aspects are still unresolved. like mike flynn and rick gates' cooperation deals. and their status is still unclear. and of course there's the un content which remains as of thi moment the biggest mystery of all. joining me nbc news national security justice reporter who's been staking out the justice department for days.ta and ari who's host of "the beat" right here on this network.
>> things started to get tense. seemed like something was happening around 4 clb and now we know that at that time shortly before 4:00 the report was delivered over the justice department and around 4:30, deputy attorney rosenstein called mueller and thanked him for his work over the past 22 ll months. at that same time barr's chief of staff called to the white house. called over to the white house to the legal counsel over there and said that investigation has concluded and he read him the letter that they would then be transmitting to congress. and at 5:00 the congressional liaison at the justice department knew his job would be to brief the committees but he didn't want jealousy of how this might go down, so they dispersed
a team to the democrat and republican side of beth the house and senate judiciaries to make sure that letter i'm holding here now. mine's a little weathered from being outside. that was put down in front of the committees, all four senate, republican, democrat, and house. we got word of the justice department, ran to the camera and now we all have this letter and we're waiting for the next step, which is what are those principal conclusions? >> what is the guidance here in terms of what the regulations say and what can we expect based on what barr has said? >> the regulations state that mueller would put forward a confidential report on who he charged and who he didn't. and that's the exact reference barr makes in this letter saying as soon as this weekend he can transmit to congress those principal conclusions.
that can be as short and unsatisfying as the list of indictments we already know about and other names that are redacted. i think it's fascinating that barr has decided to give himself a weekend time frame. it would have been totally reasonable for him to say three business days or by the end of the week.bu because there's no automatic assumption of misconduct here.at the deed one thing we should remember in america tonight is t 22 months ago donald trump fires james comey. said he did it because of russia and thought i dare anyone to di deal with that. we do it my way. and rod rosenstein and i think other nonpartisan people said no. and they basically held the line and then later when he tried to fire mueller, his own white d house counsel held the line. and tonight, if we know-nothing else, we know donald trump failed in his efforts to removek comey without accountability and
instead has the highest indictment rate of any president in american history. six in about two years. other presidents have had that in a second term and barack obama went eight years and none of his advisors. e and around 5:00 p.m. that bob muraler was going to finish his entire probe without incident. >> aside from talking about principal conclusions, he says this. this is sort of directed bay the regulations at isue. he says the special counsel regulations -- the attorney general concluded a action was unwarranted that it should not be pursued. there were no such instances during the special counsel's suvestigation. which is essentially barr saying what? >> he's saying no one should be worried.yi
that this justice department under his watch or before he came, that they sought to lim that scope of robert mueller's investigation.at he's saying robert mueller is letting them off the hook. m and the justice department wouldn't let him. he was smart to answer right off the bat. because you wouldn't want the american public to say can we trust this report because it was under the view of a justice department. he wantsed that transparency. he also says he's going to consult with rod rosenstein as he decides what else he can make public. >> we should note that robert mueller ending his work doesn't mean he disappears as a human being. h and congress, of course can call him to testify. i guess what i'm trying to say is the whole question here, the origin of this happens with comey's firing. and it's a factual question of
what happened. someone figure out what happened here during the election.me what did the russians do and when did they do it? what -- ultimately everyone has been working to get to whatever the facts nubt is what the facts of the matter were. >> let's be clear. donald trump fired james comey and lied about that and it was exposed.it then he admitted that the letter that says he fired james comey because he was mean to hillary was false and really because he had russia on his mind. not necessarily evidence off a crime by itself. but a fact he lied about something that central and according to the noims and nd sources close to his white house counsel, he tried to have bob mueller fired. unlike comey, that could have been a crime had he pulled it off. another really interesting thing i'm sure you'll get to becausia
have a lot of great experts tonight. isn't it interesting that barr goes beyond the requirements tonight and puts mueller's name in the process going forward? mueller finished tonight. mueller stops being special counsel in an operative way tonight.st and barr doesn't say goodbye, good riddance. he says in paragraph three, mueller's going to consult with me about what else we release. the weekend release that's prob a little bit of stuff and then -- >> he says i intend to consult with deputy attorney general rosenstein and special counsel t mueller to determine what other information can be released consistent with the law. we just got this from jerry nadler, who is the judiciary
chair in the house. he said we'll see what has beent made public.wh we'll react to that. take a listen to what he has to say. let me know when you have that. that's nadler reacting to what has just come out from the o department of justice. >> i'm going to be very clear about what we're hearing in that barr statement.wh either he's name checking mueller on good faith basis he wants to finish this out in a great and cooperative way. or he knows what you just pointed out, which is bob ou mueller has a lot of leverage, as a former fbi director and as of tonight a former special counsel because if you cut him c out of the process in ways that are, in his view unfair to the outcome or conclusions and evidence he's amassed, he can lawfully respond to a subpoena and tell congress. we don't know whether he's doing
this to finish it in the best way possible or as a smart lawyer, who managed the iran o contraending, he knows he has other cards to play. >> and one of the in thes we're seeing is remarkably and i think this is because there's a lot of hope on the part of republicans that this won't be some sort of definitive smoking gun that has the president texting vladimir putin about coordinating. >> or whatsa prbs p. >> there was independent integrity that was corrupted or perceived to be corrupted and that the results have some co integrity that can be shared from all sides. what you're seeing is yes, show us what is inside the box. >> i think everyone wants to see what's in it. the first thing we see is going to be bare bones.
it might just realliby a regurjitation of a lot of the indictments we've already seen. the line that stands out is they will have to look at declination decisions. why they decided not to prosecute some people. i'd like to see how far william barr goes in explaining those it scissions. i don't know if we'll be in the same period wondering when he'll release those. and they should be able to go further than you normally would at the justice department which doesn't typically talk about us people doing wrongful behavior but not indicted. he says he's going to go far enough to what's in the public interest.gh >> something neal said to me last night. he talked about ferguson. >> the investigation of a police
department and systemic civil roigtsz violation.ci and their decision not to indict, which was quite lenty. they gave lot of exposition about what they saw as the evidence as a possible reason for what we saw in the report. >> there are plenty of cases where you get real details, particularly when there's publi interest at stake that go beyond one private defendant. a declination is a fancy lawyers word for decline. we decline to charge. >> thank you for that. >> is that a list of people redacted and it's three names orrer ten. and i think it's going to be interesting to see whether democrats dig in, whether donald trump is trying to spike the football, then why would you
fight to get any of this out? what are you afraid of with any of these reports or information? let it all come out. i want to brin in the aforementioned legal analyst and the one who wrote the spells counsel regulations in 1999. and your reaction in terms of the latitude afforded to the attorney general and how he's conducted things this far.at >> i think it's looking pretty good at this juncture. what happened is the close of a chapter, the mueller wh investigation piece. and now mueller's like a relay racer, handing things tough to other prosecutors, investigating various things.ec but of this investigation looks like it may be closed as well. the aforementioned declination decisions and the like.
he said he's committed to transparency. that he wants to provide as much information as possible. that's something the president himself hinted at. so i think the signs right now are all very pausesative. >> will it be the case that some members of the congress will get to see the whole thing or barr h really control access to the report unilaterally?es >> i think one way or the other ultimately the american people are going to see everything. there can could be redactions and if there's an intimate private conduct, i could see those being exized. the touch stone is confidence in the rule of law. and any hint of a cover up, anything that tries to prevent the material from coming out i think will be inconsistent with
everything our system of law and constitution stands for. >> we'll see what is made public. we'll react to that and as i said, if it is not made public in its entirety, we will use compulsory process and subpoena the report and if necessary, weo reserve the right to call mueller before the committee or maybe even barr before the committee. >> that's a sort of back stop, right? as an insurance against something be choebed off the in public could see, it is the case that house committee can call any of those people as witnesses? c >> absolutely they can call them and maybe the president will try to block it on executive privilege. but given the magnitude of the pub lblic interest at stake, any attempt to quellch the report,
that will be a red line. i think this congress will fight that tooth and nail because it's a fundamental betrayal of american principals. that's a red line i hope this president doesn't cross. i give him credit this week. he says he wants the report to be public. that's what barr's suggests as well. i think we're in a good trajectory. >> william barr came before for conformation in the midst all of this of dubious -- and hear what he saw as his role. >> i also believe it is very important that the public and congress be informed of the results of the special counsel's work. my goal will be to provide as much transparency as i can
consistent with the law. i can assure you where judgements are to be made, i will make those based solely on the law and i will not let personal, political or other improper interests influence my decision. >> what are you looking for to make sure that is the case as we go forward?to >> i think it's got to be almost the entire mueller report except for the limited exceptions. i think anything short of that will be seen as a smacking of a cover up, and inconsistent with the transparency he promised. there's certainly no regulation. special counsel regulations don't forbid it or doj policy -- i mean this is ferguson time as million. and obviously in ferguson there was a lot of information about the declination decision that
was revealed. if they don't do that, if they try and suppress that, then congress is just going to have to reinvent the entire mueller investigation, which is going to drag things out. but they're going to get this information one way or another. >> well said. now we're joined by member of the two house committees -- or two of the house committees, oversight and judiciary. we just played your chair's response to this. what's your response so far? >> we are determined indeed to get the complete unedited mueller report turned over to ne congress and the american people. and we want not only the report, except what might be top seeberate, classified. but we want all the underlying evdengsiary evidence. the department of justice turned
over more than 880,000 documents related to hillary clinton's emails and that did not result in a prosecution and we know there have been prosecutions and many guilty pleas related to thr mueller investigation. but we want all the material turned over to us. >> what you're calling for and your committee's contention is > in addition to as public an airing of the actual report, congress should be transmitted the full evdengsiary record upol which there report was based. >> we're an independent branch off government, charged with the duty of constitutional oversight over the executive branch. so we have the power to receive all of these documents. and this has been the pattern that department of justice has turned over to congress when d asked for it. not just conclusry findings and base factual or legal judgments
but underlien materials upon which it's based. we're looking at a whole set of questions that might be different. for one thing the department of justice cannot indict the president of the united states. so they may not be looking for that. but we have a much broader responsibility in oorder to vindicate democratic confidence in the rule of law and constitution. >> and you're saying there's precedent for that in the recently conducted investigation into the email use of a former secretary of state, that after that decision 80,000 documents were turned over? >> we've seen documents related to the mueller investigation and peter struck and all the late-night emails and so on. they were asked for by republican chairs of the various congressional committees.
so we're just looking for the exact same treatment. we want to see what did the special say and what is underlying it. what are the facts and evidentiary basis >> in various document requests not only have various it committees not responded. short of telling you tatake a walk off a short pier when you ask for that record, what do you do? >> first of all i don't think that's going to happen and precisely because we can mr. mueller to come in and begin to ask people to come in to testify about it. so we have every expectation -- >> that's the alternative?rn >> that is the alternative. we have subpoena power.
but we're shocked, to tell you the truth, that white house has been failing to turn over documents requested by elijah cummings, the chair of the oversight committee. that's not true of everybody who received a document request. thousands of documents have come in, but not from the white house. so we hope that the lawyers in the white house will prevail upon the president to comply us with his legal duty to turn over documents that have been h requested by the oversight committee. >> thank you so much for taking the time. and joirning me is a democrat from hawaii where she wroted against the nomination of current attorney general bill t barr. obviously you had doubts about mr. barr. your reaction to the letter he's transmitted to congress?ea >> i think in his letter he says he's going to be as transparent
as possible. so he will be held to it. i agree with jaime that we nide to get the underlying material on which the mueller report has made their conclusions. there's more to come. >> if i am not mistaken and i don't believe i am, the chair lindsey graham, is in mar-a-lago right now with the president of the united states. how do you view -- obviously jerry nadler in the house have their role on this but mr. graham calls himself a a staunch ally with the president. how do you view the judiciary role? >> it was not always this. >> people change. >> for the public good. i know during the of course barr's hearing, there with were a number of us who asked about the transparency connected to
the mueller report and chair graham asked the question. so that's good. but this is the way i look at it. this is the end of the beginning. the southern distric of new york. there are other entities that will be looking at other aspects of the trump organizations practices. insurance fraud, etc. so there's more to come. i think the president should be concerned. and if we look at his tweets of late where he has been all over the place with regard to golan heights and curiau and all of that, it seems like the president is very concerned in spite of saying the mueller report? i don't know about that. >> give me the argument we're starting to hear from republicans. what we do know, at least is
reported, about no more indictments. robert mueller is not recommending any further indictments according to a senior justice department official. i've seen that reported in a a number of places. what are you going to say to people who say the bar was whether there were chargeable, criminal acts of conspiracy with the russian conspiracy to sabotage the election. air go this is totally exical puatory for the president. >> you talk about a criminal indictment, the bar is very high. it's beyond a reasonable doubt. you can look at the evidence and can conclude while there may not be ea criminal charge, there mao be other avenues of accountability to pursue. >> that's how you're thinking about it going forward?
>> first of all i'd like to see what the underlying basis is and i would like to see what kind of analysis or discussion was done that was into relating to obstruction of justice. we know the president tried to have mueller fired through don mcgahn. he fired comey. so in my view there were quite a lot of factors that one could conclude there was obstruction of justice.he so i want to know what the analysis was by the mueller team on that aspect. >> i think you will get a a chance to see it probably soon. thank you very much.ro to parse out what we can expect from the mueller report,> legal analyst and frank, nbc news national security can contributor and we start with se you because you worked for bob
mueller.us talk about loose ends. there are parts of mueller's case that are still in motion. there is a company unnamed owned by a sovereign government unnamed that has been fighting a subpoena. there's an associate fighting a subpoena who said he's been informed the mueller people want him to testify before a grand jury.he there's a trial set for roger stone. someone's going to have to prosecute him and a whole bunch of statuses hearings. no sentence for rick gates. kilimnik is still on the lamb. what do you make off all the loose ends as the special counsel's office has apparently concluded? >> what i know about bob mueller is he's not a loose ends kind of guy.lo
what does that mean now? it means he had a strategy. he's got the plan. he's worked out the loose ends so that someone else is going to wrap this up.so it's likely the loose ends don't point to conspiracy regarding the campaign or he would not be walking away from it. and another insight, which is it would be very much like mueller to say i'm all about our system of justice, the rule of law. you don't need me anymore. but the system will take care of what remains. we're going to threat very people who trump may have appointed as u.s. attorneys elsewhere around the country. handle what i have farmed out to them.t >> what's your expectation? how do you understand where we are at this moment? >> there's a few things sailing.
one is there are referrals back to other entities. we know of some of them. there are probably some we don't know. and yultsy when we say a special counsel investigation is wrapped up, what we mean is the entire investigation is done. but that's clearly not what we mean here. what we mean here is mueller has decided that his role in this investigation is done. that he's answered the principal questions he would was asked to address. >> what do you understand are those principal questions? >> i understand them to be what jim comey testified in march of 2017. which was that, and i'm go to get the exact words here wrong, but they investigated russian interference in the 2016 election and any effort on the u.s. side to coordinate with or
assist that interference. in addition they added to that any efforts to obstruct the investigation as an original matter. >> this is a factual question that i'm going to ask and -- because i have so many things in my head. did anyone ever get charged with the podesta hack? was it both of those hacks or is that hangout there? >> i believe and someone's going to tweet at me i'm wrong about this. but i believe the podesta hack is incorporated in the gru indictment. and apologies to anyone who knows but that's incorrect. but i believe that's correct. >> so frank, the process now goes through william barr. i wonder what you think the folks in say the southern district of new york who still have what we believe to be and a live investigation.
we know others have been talked to. how they're thinking of their role now going forward. >> there's no question the spotlight's going to be on the southern district of new york. my to what degree the mueller team has coordinated them and deliberately passed on something strategic to them. let's get back to it's all about russia, what mueller was going to find out about russia and criminality. let me pause a couple of things. first, he's not guy that's going to throw across william barr's desk what we call a raw intelligence report without some finished intel product. i think ari touched on this earlier about whether or not invoking mueller and rosen steen's name was a pr thing and
yes, it is a pr thing but it also means to me that he's already consulted or likely rod rosenstein has consulted on what is the declassification picture here? declassification can take forever. it's very complicated at times. and so i don't think mueller would throw raw on the ag's desk without saying i have a -- otherwise we'd be in weeks of declassification conversations. i think that's largely done and that's a good thing for america. >> sarah sanders who says we look forward to the process taking its course. chuckb schumer and nancy pelosi who said they don't want to give into president trump. but when you see from mcconnell and jack reed a sort of call for
transparency a weirdly unanimous call for transparency, which is an interesting moment in the narrative arc of this story. >> i think there's a layer of transparency that everyone is skating over but i think is nils initially very important. everyone is assuming that when bill barr says he intends to release the principal conclusions as early as this weekend, that he just means here's how many people we indicted, here's the cases we brought, etc. i'm not sure why people should assume that. to me that sentence read like maybe prepared an executive summary that identifies the principal conclusions at a high level of altitude without getting into some of the more detailed material and he's going to review that. i'm just making this up.
and so i could imagine some pretty substantial disclosures happening relatively quickly that could either be very exical puatory with respect to the president, ie we have found no evidence the president engaged in any coordination with the russians, right? or could be completely devastating with respect to the president. the other end of the spectrum is we found the president obstructed justice cerealy and we're not bringing a case against him because doj policy bars indictment of the president of the united states. so you could imagine the principal findings being very dramatic in one direction or another and i can't imagine why they wouldn't come out relatively quickly. >> thank you for spending time with us. we have much more on this night when the mueller report has been transmitted to the department of justice.
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go online today. want to turn your attention to jill wine-banks who has been us through this ride. department of of justice you were under. your reaction to what happened tonight. >> i was surprised it was a report. i thought mueller's report was going to be one indictment as a time as it has been and surprised there were no other indictments if that's true because there are so many loose ends out of the whole russia investigation. we don't really know what happened between the time of the gold stone enile don jr. where he loved it when they were getting all that dirt, which is the emails, up to the time it goes to wikileaks and there's lot that happens bebetween there.
including trump's own statement about make comments the following monday after the june 9th meeting. yet we don't know anything about that. >> that's the question. to me, at the center of this whole thing was a factual inquiry, independent of political interference. of what the actual facts of the matter are and i guess the question is the expectation i have is some laying out of the factual matter. it laid out a factual matter. >> i think that will definitely be in the report. just a chronall of all the evidence we have or has been discovered through the course of the grand jury investigation will be a can compelling read to find out about. i share nick's surprise that
they wrapped up without really wrapping up. i mean there is the trial still to come. you wouldn't normally turn over to a whole new prosecutor a case you've investigated and indicted. so it would be surprising figure someone from the special counsel's office didn't try that case. but there are a lot of unanswered questions. they could be answered in the special report. it could say what about cohen's phone in prague? it could say yes, we know donald trump sr knew donald trump jr. was meeting and he knew what the purpose of the meet was in june in the trump tower -- >> it could be we found no evidence.
which michael cohen answered under oath. but on all these matters, again, what matters is what actually happened more than anything else. today's the day -- i've been thinking about this. michael tweeted this. he said the mueller report has been delivered on the fribst anniversary of the secret watergate tape in which nixon tells john mitchell i want you all to stonewall it. let me plead the fifth amendment. richard nixon would have finished out his term had it not been for the tapes. he probably wouldn't have resigned without the tapes? >> he may have been impeached as he was by the house, but would you have gotten 2/3 of the senate without the tapes? i'm not sure. keep in mind the evidence robert mumer has brought with the
indictments has been very direct slam dunk evidence. if you look at the roger stone indictment, it's on tape. there he is in text messages. take the fifth. ubstrubt, lie. manafort, all kinds of documents show that he lied and it's all right out there. you're not seeing a lot of surbsal cases being brought and so the question is is what we have on the rest of this surbsal such that mueller didn't feel comfortable brining criminal charges? that may be the answer. i'm just speculating. i don't know what's in that report. but that may be one reason there's so many unanswered questions. >> and beyond a reasonable doubt, which is the thresh hold to bring a prosecution and a bunch of sketchiness around a public figure are different standards.
and that go flz everything. there's all sorts of figures that have suffered costs in the public eye up and down the chain. >> even so you can convict somebody beyond a reasonable doubt on purely circumstantial evidence. >> that's right. what is your anticipation of what congress does if they are -- if they do get the record? in the case of nixon, if the evidentiary basis or findings are transmitted, what are your expectation for what gets done with that? >> there's a very different role for congress to play. the indictment has to be elements of a crime that exists that is a statute. whereas impeachment is a very ill-f defined thing and relates
to is the president a threat to national security? is he corrupt? has he done something that is a high crime or misdemeanor, which has yet to be defined? so they can take the same evidence and reach a conclusion there is a threat to national security from the president. that he's been compromised by the russians. they may follow the money in a way that was not appropriate within the jurisdiction of mueller investigation who is looking at interference in the election by the russians and obstruction of that. and so they have a different role and they can save a lot of time by getting release of the grand jury testimony, which can be done as we did our trial team went to the judge through the grand jury. the grand jury has the authority to ask the chief judge to release grand jury evidence in the public interest and the judge approved releasing it to the judiciary committee for its
ongoing impeachment inquiry. it could be for just a fact finding hearing. we need a public hearing where people can assess the honesty of the witnesses, the credibility off the witnesses, where they can support the conclusion of the mueller case. reading the transcripts isn't enough. you don't get the same feeling. i did a poll at a luncheon about how they felt about koen and his credibility and after his testimony, they believed he was kr credible. befear that they didn't. and if they had read the transcript, they wouldn't have believed he was credible. >> want to brin in executive director of move on civic action. you've been doing parallel work. there's been a lot of activism, whether it's child separation or health care and also you've organized movements around saving mueller. i wonder where you see -- your organization of progressive
grass roots at this moment >> it's one of those moments where you have to walk and chew gum and juggle and fight for the soul of our democracy at the same time. it's very clear what the next step is. there's a broad base set of people across the political spectrum who have been very clear for a long time now that we need to fight for the soul of our democracy, that we need to find out the full truth of what has happened, what trump and his associates have done. we saw 100,000 people march two days after the midterm election when jeff sessions was fired, who is no one's hero because we could tell trump was trying to position himself from being above the law. they've been fighting to defend other communities under attack, fighting to project a real clear vision of what year going to stand for together, things like the green new deal that you're
hearing on the campaign trail in a parallel track. we've been fighting for the rule of law. there was this incredible moment where i remember one of our staff was leading a chant, rule of law, rule of law. which is not what you'd usually expect to hear from a progressive grass roots organization but that's where we are and we're going to fight on that track too. >> do you think essentially the various institutions that attempted to restrain a president who in fact instructed his white house counsel to get rid of it was unable to because of accommodation of civic action and other binding institutions? >> absolutely. the fact we are here, the fact the investigation was defended successfully is not a result of courts, it's not a result at all of the republican party as a brave and principaled institution, just to be clear.
rifrltsz not -- it's the result oof a lot of things but a foundational essential element was people organizing and speaking up locally time and time again. 450,000 people rsvp'd for hundreds of events around the country so we could be ready to march at a moments notees to defend the mueller investigation. certainly the signal sent in the midterm election so that voting has been a preventive force that has gotten to this point, gotten these dozens off indictments, hundreds of charges that have been levelled. and now with the release of the report moment, we'll be able to see the full truth of what's in there. that's the next project coming right up. >> thank you so much for joining. we appreciate it. we got much more. going to talk to folks in the justice department and southern district of norb.
i want to bring in elliott williams, the department of justice. and glen kirschner, former legal analyst and united states attorney for the southern district of california and 230r78er u.s. attorney and deputy assistant attorney general and a a assistant at the "washington post." "the washington post." a lot of firepower and experience in the various institutions that are tasked now. as a former fdny prosecutor. >> d.c. u.s. attorney's office, tell me glen, how you make sense of this timing and particularly the point nick said about the fact there are as a matter of public record, other loose strings. >> for former career prosecutor, hard to understand the loose ends because we seem to be
witness of so much crime in plain sight, obstruction and otherwise that it leaves us wondering how could it be that mueller wrapped up his investigation without bringing additional charges. now i think it's worth talking about the standard by which we decide whether to bring a charge or not and this is the standard mueller operates under and we all operate under. we have to have a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits. it's a mouth full but that's standard. we have to have a level of confidence we can prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt. a court has never put a numeric number on what beyond a reasonable doubt means but it's about 95% of the evidence showing criminality. maybe bob mueller found that this was the gang that couldn't shoot straight. ironically, if irony is still a thing these days, it could be that he found that they colluded. why? because collusion is not a legal term, it's a layman's term. people get together to deceive or defraud somebody else but
maybe he couldn't get over the hurdle of finding an actual agreement to commit a crime and an overt act toward committing that crime. that could be. now i will say the mueller, in bob we trust. i heard them say it's about the process and we're all confident that bob mueller has engaged in the process the way it should be handled. so i think we're going to have to wait for the results and hopefully have confidence in the results. >> so, you know, i think what is striking chris is how much energy the president devoted to undermining the very institution of the special counsel and law enforcement in general. if you think about it and remember the tv show "madmen" if you don't like what people are saying, change the conversation. rather than address any of the legal issues on the legal merits, attack the fact bob mueller and rosenstein weren't elected officials. this is part of a long now two,
three-year process. he's gone after congress and after the special counsel and we'll see much more of that in the next few days and it's undermining the very, very nature of our system of government. i think, you know, in many respects it's a 20/20 strategy far more than legal and getting people behind the fact our institutions are worthless and the president can attack them and this is all one giant deep state conspiracy. >> what is fascinating now as i watch her reaction come in from say like, you know, here is mitch mcconnell saying i am grateful we have experienced incapable attorney general to review the special counsel's report and attorney general bar needs to time to do that. you're going to see, after all of the undermining depending on what the contents are and how much they are spinnable in favor of the president's innocence, ultimately, you'll see a whiplash turn to bolster and
celebrate the findings of what was, what has been told to the base for 22 months is a totally corrupt witch hunt. >> that's what is so very unusual about this whole situation. i mean, everybody on this panel knows that the lack of an indictment is not an affirmation of innocence, but one of the things that really strikes me about this scenario is that the special counsel regulations usually has to anticipate a situation where the special counsel, there is antagonism or a lot of difference of opinion between the special counsel and attorney general but with bill barr and rob mueller, these gentlemen are cut from the same cloth. you can see it in the way the delivery of the report was done. the careful coordination, you know, almost like a japanese tea ceremony. everything is planned down to the second and these two men respect each other and most of all, i think they are really concerned about the stability of
the government and you'll notice that the people who have been indicted of the people who have been indicted, none of them were active members of the president's inner circle actively working in the government at the time. and so again, i think everyone on the panel knows the scrutiny that would go into a decision to indict somebody who is actively at the highest levels of government and i think, you know, the likelihood is that both gentlemen here agreed that that was not the case that there should be indictments at this point in time. >> one other sort of loose thread i'm thinking about and as someone that ran the u.s. attorney's office at one point in your life, cooperation agreement. michael flynn has a cooperation agreement obviously and, you know, a lot of people thought people cooperate and then it's in order to cooperate towards someone bigger than them. michael has a big fish in this. it doesn't seem he played a part in manafort which is the biggest
part of the prosecution and got a cooperation agreement that will end up with him getting a fairly reduced sentence. what do you make of that? >> the loose ends here are in someways mysterious because they go to the heart of his investigation. nothing bigger than stone. ben made this point a few minutes ago for you:it's one thing to give material to other offices, it's another when it seems central to your mission. three kinds of information that we don't know what's going to happen with, and anything about the counter intelligence investigation, anything about anything about the president. when barr says in the third paragraph, there is other information besides prosecution that rosenstein and he and mueller will decide on, that's presumably the body of it. mueller did not just give him a little list of whom he indicted and declined to indict. >> is that your sense, as well, glen? >> it is. i had the privilege of actually
trying a case, prosecuing a case that bob mueller investigated and indicted. it was the shooting of a police officer in washington d.c. and he passed it off to me because he became chief of homicide in d.c. and i can tell you,hyperbol i thought i knew how to investigate a case. i was a prosecutor for ten years at that time. this was genius. he started with the defendant's birth certificate and investigated everything moving forward, probably learning things about the defendant he had forgotten about himself. bob mueller is thorough personified. >> the greatest testament to that is the fact we got a notification today that no major decision that he made was over ruled by the attorney general. now this is all in the attorney general's hands and he made that firm commitment to the side of public disclosure. partisan congress, 420-0. >> right. >> to see that these findings be
made public. now it's in william barr's hands and will he live up to the commitment he could -- >> he's left himself room to go either way. >> what's that? >> he can say i've done it all by the regulars which doesn't require much to disclose or give the bigger stuff about the investigation, declination. >> jack reid urges him to testify before congress about the evidence he gathered which is going to be a call you'll hear from democrats no matter what the report says. but carol, that is a sort of backstop i think that democrats in congress are banking on should they feel that barr essentially is a bottleneck here? >> they can do that. neither barr nor mueller are individuals who call a lot of tension to themselves and, you
know, i don't know they will get a lot more out of bob mueller and putting out that report. again, i don't see a lot of tension between these two. i could be wrong and their may have professional disagreements about the scope of executive privilege or the strength of the executive branch but, you know, i think they are both extremely professional and if bob mueller is called to testify, he'll testify. he's probably put everything he can into that report and i wouldn't be surprised frankly if they coordinated with respect to, you know, maybe creating a section that bob mueller thinks can be disclosed and then a section that has information he doesn't think can be disclosed. he could have put the report together that way. >> yeah, that's what frank sort of said having worked with him, that he understood from the beginning what he was working towards that a document that may have to have some sort of compartmentization. >> he may have scrubbed it and given it to william barr ready
for disclosure. >> that's not uncommon. >> what do you mean? >> i don't think it's uncommonde there is public sensitiity reasons we might not want to disclose. so we see that sometimes. >> all right. elliott williams, glen kershner, harry lamb, carol, thank you-all. that does it for us here at "all in" this evening. i will tell you what chris is referring to is that a couple of hours ago, maybe even less than that, i was standing knee-deep in a trout stream in tennessee.
[ laughter ] >> but now it's mueller time and so i'm in a studio in the great state of tennessee. the trout are basically just as safe as they were when i was flailing away at them this afternoon. but now it is -- listen, it's -- this is history. this is a reason to stop fishing and go to work. our job tonight as a country sort of or what everybody in the country is going to be doing tonight is trying to figure out what it means that the report of special counsel robert mueller has finally been submitted. we've heard it said so many times that it was imminent, that it was done and maybe done and we didn't know about it. finally it's happened. in terms of what that means and what mueller found, we know only the smallest little bits. this is the start of something apparently, not the end of something. the logistics of today we know something about.