tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC March 23, 2019 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT
neck and injection site pain, fatigue, and headache. don't receive botox® if there's a skin infection. tell your doctor your medical history, muscle or nerve conditions, and medications, including botulinum toxins, as these may increase the risk of serious side effects. with the botox® savings program, most people with commercial insurance pay nothing out of pocket. talk to your doctor and visit botoxchronicmigraine.com to enroll. i'm chris hayes. tonight, the breaking news that the political world has been anticipating for weeks. special counsel robert mueller has now submitted his final report to the department of justice and concluded his investigation of russia and the trump campaign. we got word at 5:00 p.m. that mueller had delivered his report to attorney general william barr recently confirmed for barr's
review. barr said he's reviewing mueller's report and may be able to advise them of its principal collusions as early as this weekend. the attorney general told members of congress he's committed to as much transparency as possible. in the year and ten months since he was appointed by rod rosenstein, there have been nationals indicted. perhaps most importantly 12 military russians were indicted for the hackling of democrats and distributing the stolen materials. he's also uncovered an extraordinary ring of krill analyst surrounding the president of the united states. the president's fixer lawyer pleaded guilty. his national security adviser on the campaign and in the white house pleaded guilty. a campaign foreign policy aide pleaded guilt. longtime friend and adviser indicted. his deputy campaign manager pleaded guilty. his campaign manager convicted
pleaded guilty currently serving a 7 1/2 year sentence. according to mueller he's not planning to wreck new england any further indictments which is interesting, and we'll get to that. individual aspects of the mueller investigation are still unresolved like the prosecution of roger stone. others have been farmed out to other parts of the justice department and their status is still unclear. and, of course, there's the content of mueller's report, which is the most important of all. julia, aisle begin with you. it was transmitted today. how did that go down? >> let's see. things started to get really tense. it seemed like something was
happened right around 4:00, and now we know because we're able to get the tick tock and the behind the scenes that at that time shortly before 4:00, the report was delivered in person from the special counsel's office over to the justice department. and around 4:30, deputy attorney general rod rosenstein called rob mueller and and thanked him for his service. at the same time barr's chief of staff called over to the white house. we one dred if they would give them a warning. they did. called over to emmit flood, the legal counsel over there, and sate the investigation had been conclude and he read him the letter that i would be transmitting to congress. this is the part that's the most magical. at 5:00, the congressional liaison at the justice department knew his job would be to go brief the committees, but he didn't want any jealousy on who would get it first, so they
dispersed a team on both sides to make sure that the letter that i'm holding here now -- mine's a little weathered from being outside, that was put down in front of the four committees at the exact same time at 5:00. at that point we got the 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. >> let's talk about the next step. what are the guidance here? >> here's what we know. the regulations state mueller would put forward a confidential report on who he charge and who he didn't. that is the exact reference barr makes in this letter, basically saying that as soon as this weekend potentially, he could transmit to come those principal conclusions. that could be something as short and as unsatisfying as the list of indictments we already know
about and some of the names we know are redacted, or it could be more. i think it is fascinating that bar has decided to give himself a weekend time frame. i it would have been totally reasonable, chris, as you know, for him to say three business days or by the end of next week because there's no automatic assumption of misconduct here. indeed what we should note in all of america tonight is 22 months ago donald trump fired james comey, said he did it because of russia, and thought, i dare anyone to deal with this, we do it my way. and rod rosenstein and some others in the justice department said no. they basically held the line, and later when he tried to fire mueller, his own white house counsel held the line. tonight if we know nothing else, we know trump failed to remove
him. he has the highest indictment rate than any other president. others have had it. barack obama went eight years and none of his advisers were indicted. we didn't know until late in the day that bob mueller was going to finish his entire probe without incident. >> we should note something here, julia, that barr makes. aside from the principal conclusions, he says this. this is sort of directed by the regulations at issues. he said they provide you with the description and explanation of instances if any in which the attorney general proposed was inappropriate and should not be pursued. there were no such instances, which is essentially barr saying what, julia? >> he's saying that no one should be worried, that this
justice department sought to shut down. he's saying that robert mueller let him off the hook. that's a key question he was smart to answer right off the bat because you wouldn't want the american pub look to say tonight can we just this report because it was under the purview of the justice department. he want thad transparency. you see that throughout the letter. he also said he's going to consul with rod rosenstein and bob mueller. >> robert mueller ends his work here doesn't mean he's disappearing as a human being. congress, of course, can call on him to testify. >> exactly. >> i guess what i'm saying here is the whole question, the orig origin, happens with the firing. it's a factual question of what happened. what happened during the
election, what did the russian elections do and when did they do it? what elt matly everyone has been working to get to, whatever the facts indicate is what the facts of the matter were. >> let's be clear. donald trump fired james comey and lied about it. and that was exposed. then he admitted the letter that said they had to fire him because he was too mean to hillary clinton. >> too mean. >> too mean to hillary. >> and that it was false, that's a fact that he lied about something that central. and according to "the new york times" and sources klaus like don mcgahn, he tried to have bob mueller fired. that could have been a crime if he pulled it off, and that presumably is also part of this investigation. another thing you'll get to, isn't it interesting, chris,
that barr goes beyond the requirements tonight and puts as you just alluded to mueller's name in the process going forward. i mean this is a big headline. tonight he stops being an operative tonight. what's the first thing barr say? not good-bye, good riddance. in paragraph three, robert mueller is going to consult with me on what else should be released. he's name checking mueller on that, which is a fascinating thing. >> we should read that here. i intend to consult with deputy rod rosenstein and special counsel robber mueller to determine what portion of the report can be released to congress and the public consistent with the law. we should say we just got this from juniory the judiciary comm
the white house. take a listen to what he has to say. we don't have that yet. let me know when you do have that. that's what just came out from the department of justice. >> i'm going to be very clear about what we're hearing there in that bar statement. either he's name checking mueller on a good faith basis that he wants to finish this out in a great and cooperative way or he knows what you've pointed out, which is bob mueller has a lot of leverage as a former fbi director and tonight as a former special counsel because if you cut him out of the process in ways that are in his view unfair to the outcome of the probe or the conclusions and evidence he's unmasked, he can lawfully respond to a s&p and tell them. we don't know tonight. we dome know whether he's doing this to try to finish this out in the best way possible or
weather as a smart lawyer, he knows that bob mueller unlike any other prosecutor has other cards to say. >> one of the final thoughts, julia, remarkably because there's a lot of hope on the part of republicans, this won't be some sort of definitive smoking gun where the president can speak with putin on what to say. >> or what app. >> what app. show us what's inside the box. julia. >> i think everyone wants to see. the first thing we ooh going to see is bare bones.
it might be a regurgitation of a lot of what we've already said. they'll also have to look at deckly nation decisions, why they decided not to prosecute people. i want to see how far bill barr goes. it's all what's next? what comes next when he gets into other pieces. they should be able to go further than you normally would at the justice department, which does not typically talk about people who are just doing wrongful behavior but not indicted. in this case he says he's going to go far enough with what's in the public interest. >> right. >> something neal said last night, he talked in the case of ferguson, there were two reports released. one was an investigation of the police department. the other was an explanation of
their decision to not indied the president. which was quite lengthy. even though they were saying we're not indicting him, they gave a lot about what they saw. >> yeah. there's the ferguson example, anthrax, iran-contra. there's times when there's more particularly when you go beyond one. de declination is fancy lawyer talk for they decline. >> thank you for that. >> no. they're going to be talking about that all week. why would you fight to get any of this out? what are you afraid of with any of these reports or information.
>> julia ainsley and ari melber, thank you. i want to bring in the former acting solicitor of the united states and msnbc legal analyst. your reaction in what we've seen so far in terms of the latitude that's been afforded the attorney general and how he's conducted things so far? >> what happened today is the close of the chapter, the investigation piece, and mueller is like the relay racer handing off the baton to other folks, to congress, to state attorneys general, to the southern district of new york and the prosecutor investigating various things but part of this looks like it may be closed as well. what barr did in the letter is he said he was committed to
transparency and wanted to provide as much information as possible. it's something the president hinted at a couple of days ago. i think the signs are all very positive. >> let me ask you this. will it be the case they'll get to see the whole thing or in a legal sense officially does he control access to the report unilaterally? >> i think one way or the other, members of congress and ultimately the american public are going to see almost everything. there could be some dedakzs for classified source and methods and if there's some intimate private conduct, i could see that. the touchstone here is that. and any sort of a hint of coverup, anything that tries to prevent that material from coming out, i think will be inconsistent with everything our constitution and system of law is based on.
>> i want to play what jerry nadler just had to say about the report being transmitted to the didn't of justice. take a listen. >> 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 a compulsory process, use a s&p report, and if necessary, we reserve the right to call mueller before the committee or even barr before the committee. >> that's the sort of backstop here. it's the case that the house committee can call any of those people's witnesses. >> absolutely. they can call them and the president can try to block it on executive privilege, but given the magnitude of the public's interest at stake, any attempt to squelch mueller and anything in the report, that will be a
red line. i think this congress will fight that tooth and nail because it is fundamentally betrayal of american principles. so that's a red line that i think -- i really hope this president doesn't cross. i give him credit this week. he said he wanted the report to be public. that's what barr's statement today also suggested. so i think right now at least we're in a good trajectory. >> of course, william bar came before them in the midst of all this while matt whitaker was occupying that and this is what barr had to say in the opening state about what he saw as his role in public transparency. take a listen. >> i think it's also very important that the public and congress be informed 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 that where
judgments are to be made, i will make those judgments 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 basically as we go forward here? >> i think it's got to be almost the entire mueller report except for the limited sections i said about classified information and conduct. i think anything short of that will be seen as a smacking of a coverup, and inconsistent with the transparency that he promised. and there's certainly no regulation. the special counsel regulations don't permit it and nothing in the doj policy when you have really a unique case of which this is. this is ferguson times a million and obviously with ferguson there was a lot of information about the declination revealing.
if they don't do that and they suppress it, congress is going to have to investigate it. they'll get it one way or the other. >> neal katyal, thanks for joining me. >> thank you. we just played your chair jerry nadler's response to this. what's your response so far. >> well, we are determined, indeed, to get the complete unedited mueller report turned over to congress and the american people and we want not only the report except for whatever might be top secret classified, but we want all of the understand lying evidentiary materials in which they made their judgment and there's excellent precedent for that. the department of justice turned over more than 880,000 documents related to hillary clinton's
emits and that didn't result in a prosecution and we know there have been prosecutions and many guilty pleas related to the muller investigation but we want all the material turned over to us. >> what you're calling for and what your intention is, congress should be transmitted the full evidentiary record upon which the report was based. >> absolutely right. of course, we're an independent branch of government charged with the duty of constitutional oversight of the executive branch, so we have the power to receive all of these documents, and this has been the pattern that the department of justice has turned over to congress when asked for it, not just conclusory findings and basic, you know, factual or legal judgments, but the underlying materials upon which it's based
because we, of course, have an independent constitutional role to play and we have a complete set of questions. for one thing, they may not be looking for that, but we have a much broader responsibility in order to do that? you're saying there's precedent for that rather than the recently conducted email use of the former secretary of state that after that, 880,000 documents were handed over to the congressionary committee? >> sure. we've seen things, peter strzok and the late night i'ms, all of those were asked for we by republican chairs of the congressional committees. they were turned over by the department of justice. so we're looking for the exact same dream. we want to see, yes, what did
the special counsel say, but what's underlying it. what's the basis for their decisions and we've got to make decisions of our own, of course. >> what do you do -- this is the situation in various document requests not only has various federal agencies declines to give you that information, whether it's the oversight committee, they sim will i have not responded. when the department of justice tells you to take a walk off a short pier when you ask for thattethat evidentiary period, what do you do? >> first of all, i don't think they will do that. we can ask mr. muler to come in, subpoena here, and begin to ask people to come in and testify about it. so we have every expectation. >> i see. that's the alalternative. >> that's the alternative. we have subpoena power.
we're shocked, to tell you the trug, that the white house has failed to turn over documents requested by elijah cummings, the chair of the oversight committee. that's not true of everybody who has received it. thousands and thousands of documents have come in, but not from the white house. we hope the lawyers and the white house will prevail upon the president to comply with his legal duty to turn over documents that have been requested by the oversight committee. >> congressman jamie raskin, thank you for joining me. joining us, senator of hawaii. obviously you had doubts about mr. barr. i think they were broader than just his behavior, vis-a-vis, the mueller report, your reaction to the letter he's transmitted to congress. >> i think that in his letter he says that he's going to be as transparent as possible, so he certainly will be held to it. i agree with jamie that we need
to get the underlying material upon which the mueller report made their conclusions. there's more to come. >> yes. how do you view -- if i'm not mistaken, and i don't believe i am, the chairman lindsey graham is down at mar-a-lago right now with the united states, how do you view -- obviously jerry naer this and them have their role on this. mr. graham calls himself a staunch friend stau staunch all lie of the president. >> yes, as of late. it was. always that. i hope the chairman will do his job for the public good. i know during the course of barr's hearing there were a number of us who asked about the transparency that will be attached to the mueller report and even lindsey asked the
question, chairman graham asked the question. that's good. but the way i look at it, this is the end of the beginning in the southern district of new york. there's money laundering, tax evasion, insurance fraud. there's more to come and the president should be very concerned, and if we look at his tweets of late where he's been all over the place with regard to golan heights and korea, north korea and all of that, it seems like the president is very concerned in spite of saying, oh, the mueller report, oh, i don't really know about that. >> i want to give you the argument we're starting to hear from republicans and possibly will hear, again, stipulating no one knows what's in the report. what we do know at least as reported number 17 about no more
indictments is that robert mueller is not recommends any further indictments according to a senior justice official. i've seen that reported in a number of places. what are you going to say to people that say, look, the bar here was whether there were chargeable criminal acts of conspiracy with the russian conspiracy to sabotage the election. there are no indictments on that, ergo, this is totally, kulpa torrey of the president and clears him. >> when you talk about a criminal indictment and the bar is very high, it's beyond a reasonable doubt. you can look at the evidence and conclude that while there may not be a criminal charge, a criminal charge may not lie, there may be other avenues of accountability to pursue. >> hmm. 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 very much like to see
what kind of analysis or discussion was done relating to obstruction of justice because as we all know the president tried to have mueller fired through don mcgahn. he was very upset with his attorney general sessions recusing himself. he fired comey. so in my view there were quite a lot of factors that one could conclude there was obstruction of justice. so i want to know what the analysis was by the mueller team on that aspect. >> all right. senator ma mazie hirono, i thin you can get that. >> thank you. joining me now -- under robert mueller. let me start with you because you worked for bob mueller and talk a little bit about loose
ends which is what people are trying to get their head around. there are parts of mueller's case that are still in motion. there e there's a company unnamed, andrew stone who's fighting a subpoena. he's said they want him to appear before the grand jury. there's a trail set for roger stone. and then there's a whole bunch of status hearings and so forth. we still haven't gotten a sentence for michael flynn, scott gates. konstantin kilimnik is still on the lam. what are your thoughts since the investigation has been apparently concluded? >> what i know about bob mueller is he's not a loose ends kind of guy. he's going to have things wrapped up. what does that mean? it means he's had a strategy, a
plan, and he's got the loose ends. somebody else will wrap it up. what are we going to draw from that? it's likely the loose ends i don't point to criminal conspiracy with the russians regarding the campaign or he wouldn't have been walking away from it. i also articulated another insight, which it would be very likely of mueller i'm all about the system of law, you don't need me anymore, but the system will take care of what remains. we're going to take the very people that you appointed handle out what i have farmed out to them. i think that's one of the possibilities here, chris. >> ben, what is your -- what's your sort of expectation? how do you understand where we are at this moment? >> look. i think there are a few things that are salient. one of them, frank just said, you know, there are these
referrals back to other entities. we know of some of them. there are probably some we don't know. so usually when we say an investigation is wrapped up, that means the entire investigation. but that's not what we mean here. what we mean here is mueller has decided his role in this gg is done, he's answered the prinl principal questions he was asked to address. >> what do you understand those principal questions to be? >> i understand he answered questions in march of 2017. i'm going 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 or
assist. in addition, they added any efforts to obstruct as an original matter. >> am i -- this is a factual question i'm e going to ask and i'm -- because i have so many things in my head. did anyone ever get charged with the podesta hack? was it both or is that it -- >> i believe the podesta hack is incorporated in the gru indictment and my apologies to anyone who knows that that's incorrect, but i believe that's correct. >> the process goes through william barr. we know that the deputy national finance chair was raided, we
know that others have been talked to as par of the investigation, how they're thinking about their role now in the more normal parts of doj going forward. >> well, there's no question now that the spotlight's going to be on the southern district of new york. no question about that. my question is to what degree have they deliberate thad. let's get back to the seminal question. it's all about russia, what mueller was going to find out about russia and criminality. first, he's not the guy that's going to throw across william barr's desk what we call a raw intelligence report without some finished intel product. so by that i think ari has touched on that, whether or not invoking rosenstein's name by barr was a pr thing, and, yes, it is a pr thing, but also it
means to me that he's already consulted or rod rosenstein has consulted with robert mueller on what is the declassification picture here. declassification can take forever. >> yes. >> it's very complicated at times, and so i don't think mueller would just throw something raw on the a.g.'s desk without saying i have a version of suggested declassification here, otherwise, we would be in here weeks. i don't think that's going to happen. i think that's largely already done, and i think that's a good thing for america. >> you know, be, it's interesting as i go through statements from sarah sanders who says we look forward to the process taking its course, that the white house hasn't been briefed on it or told about it, to chuck schumer and nancy pelosi who said it should not be given to president trump. you see a sort of call for transparency, a weirdly
unanimous call for transparency, which is an interesting moment in the arc of this story. >> i agree with that. i actually think there's a layer of transparency that even is skating over but i think is initially very important. everyone is assuming when bill bar says in this letter that he intended to release the principal conclusions of the report as early as this weekend that huh he just means here's how many people we indicted. here's the cases we brought, et cetera. i'm not sure why people should assume that. i mean to me that sentence read like maybe they 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, but, you know, i could imagine some pretty substantial disclosures
happening relatively quickly that could either be very exculpatory with respect to the president. we found no evidence that 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 serially and we're not bringing a case against him because doj policy bars indictment of the president of the united states. so you can imagine the principal findings being very dramatic in one direction or another, and i'm not sure why those wouldn't caught out relatively quickly. >> thanks for taking time for us. we've got much more tonight on the big night when the mueller report has been transmitted to the department of justice and we're all waiting to see what it says. don't go anywhere. we'll be back. says don't go anywhere.
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i want to turn to two who have been with us through this ride throughout and know a little something about independent counsel investigations or special counsel investigations. it was the department of justice you were under. your reaction to what happened tonight. >> i'm surprised there was a report. i really thought mueller's report was going to be one indictment at a time as it has been, and i was surprised there were no other indictments if that were true. just to give you an example, we don't really know what happened between the time of the goldstone email to don junior when he loved it when they were getting all the emails up to the time it goes to wikileaks. there's a lot that happened including trump's own statements about clintons the following
monday after the ming, yet we don't know anything about it. >> that's the question. to me at the center of the whole thing as i said at the top, it was always a question of inquiry of all things that weren't happening necessarily of what the actual facts of the matter are. i guess the expectation here about i have is laying out of the factual matter. i remember when the 911 commission report came out. it was a huge part of what the report was. it laid out a lot of just the factual matter of what happened when and where. is that your expectation for what is partly contained in the report? >> i think that will definitely be in the report. just a chronology of all the evidence that we now have or that has been discovered through the course of this grand jury investigation will be a compelling read to find out about. i share nick's sort of surprise that they wrapped up without really wrapping up. i mean there is the trial still
to come, and certainly at least one or two of the prosecutors can stay on board to handle that case. you wouldn't normally turn over to a whole new prosecutor a case that you've investigated and indicted. so it would be surprising if someone from the special counsel's office didn't try that case. but there are a lot of unanswered questions. now, they could be answered in the special report. it could say what about cohen's phone in prague. one it there or was it there. it could say, yes, there is a phone call and, yes, we know that donald trump sr. knew that donald trump jr. was meeting and he knew what the purpose of the meeting was in june in the trump tower. these things need to be answered. >> or the opposite. it could be we found no evidence or we found evidence showing definitively that he didn't.
again, he answered under oath and i'm inclined to take him at his word even though he's lied under oath before. what happened more than anything el and today's the day -- i've been thinking about this. michael tweeted this. he said the mueller report has been delivered on the date of the secret watergate tape in which nixon said i want you to stonewall it, cover it. if anything else, if it will save it, save the plan. nixon would have finished out his term were it not for the tapes. >> i think that is right. >> they wouldn't have impeached him. he wouldn't have resigned without the tapes. >> that's right. he might have been impeached, but could they have removed him without the tapes. >> without the tapes. >> i'm not so sure about that. keep in mind the evidence that robert mueller has brought with the indictments has really been
very direct slam dunk evidence. if you look at the roger stone indictment, it's on tape. there he is saying it in text message messages, take the fifth, obstruct, lie. it's all right out there. you're not seeing a lot of circumstantial cases being brought. and so the question is what we have on the rest of this such that mueller didn't feel comfortable bringing criminal charges? that may be the answer. again, i'm just speculating. i don't know what's in the report. that may be one reason why there's so many unanswered question that we don't have answers to. >> right. it's a good point, which is beyond a reasonable doubt and a bunch of sketchiness around a public figure are just different standards. that goes for everything. there are all sorts of public
figures of people who have done things who can't be prosecuted but have suffered costs in the democratic eye. >> right. but even so, you can still convict somebody beyond a reasonable doubt on purely circumstantial evidence. >> theat's right. what is your anticipation, jill, of what congress does if they do get the record? in the case of nixon, the grand jury evidence was all transmitted and that was sort of an important step. if the hundreds of thousands of documents presumably in mueller's is transmitted, what is your expectation of 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 existed that is a statute, whereas impeachment is a very ill-defined thing and relates to is the president a threat to
national security, is he corrupt, has he somehow done something that's a high crime or misdemeanor. they can take the same evidence and reach a conclusion that there's 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 the mueller investigation who was looking at interference in the election by the russians and then 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 thought to ask the chief judge to release grand jury evidence in the public interest, and the public approved releasing it to the judiciary committee for its ongoing impeachment inquiry.
it could be just for a fact-finding here. we need a public hearing whey they can assess the honesty of the witnesses, the credibility of 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. did a poll today at a luncheon about cohen and his credibility. before then they had believed he was credible. if they had read the transcript, they wouldn't have believed he was credible. >> thanks. i want to bring you in. you've been doing parallel work, so there's been a lot of parallel activism whether there's child separation or health care and also movements around saving mueller. i wonder where you see your organization, the sort of progressive grassroots at this moment. >> boy.
it's one of those moments where you have to wuk and chew gum and juggle and fight for the sole of democracy all at the same time. this is a moment where, look, it's very clear what the next step is. there's a broad set of people who actually have been very clear for a long time now that we need to fight for the sole of our democracy, that we need to find out the full truth of what has happened with 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 was no one's hero. it's because we could tell he was trying to position himself above the law. in a constant movement that has been fighting to project a real clear vision of what we're going to stand for together, things like the bold ideal in sort of a parallel track, we've been fighting for the result of law.
there was this incredible moment as one of our rallies in d.c., i remember one of our staff was standing outside the white house leading a chant rule of law, rule of law, which is not what you'd usually expect to hear from a kind of progressionive grassroots organization, but that's where they are, and we're going to fight on that track too. >> quickly, do you think it marks success, that the various institutions of those who did want to get rid of this inquiry, who instructioned the white house counsel to get rid of it was unable to because of a combination of civic action and other binding institutions? >> yeah. i think that's an important fact. the fact that we're here, the fact that the investigation was defended successfully is not a result of courts, it ooh note a result at all of the republican party as a brave and principled institution, just to be clear. it's a result of a lot of things, but a found dagsal
essential element was people organizing and speaking up. they signed up so we could be ready to march at a moment's notice to defend the mueller investigation itself. that kind of org nicing, certainly signaling at the time of the election itself has been a kind of preventive force that has gotten us to these points, have gotten these indictments and hundreds of charges already levelnd and with the release of the mueller report, we'll see the full truth. we'll see chase what's coming up. >> anna gallant, appreciate it. >> thank you. don't go anywhere. we'll be right back. you. don't go anywhere. we'll be right back. flonase relieves your worst symptoms including nasal congestion, which most pills don't. flonase helps block 6 key inflammatory substances. most pills only block one.
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i want to bring in -- and and harry litman who is deputy assistant attorney general, columnist at "the washington post," a lot of resume, fire power and experience in the various institutions that are sort of tasked now. as a former dc u.s. attorney's office tell me, glenn, how you make sense of this timing and particularly the point nick said about the fact that there are as a matter of public record other loose strings that have not been tied up. >> for a former career prosecutor, really hard to understand all of these loose ends because we seem to have been witness to so much crime in plain sight, obstruction otherwise that it leaves us wondering that how could it be
that mueller wraps up his investigation without bringing additional charges. it's worth talking about the standards by which we decide whether to bring a charge or not. this is the standard mueller operates under and we all operate under. we have to have a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits. that's the standard. what that means, we have to have a level of confidence that we can prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt. a court has never put a numeric number on what beyond a reasonable doubt means. 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 he found they colluded. why, collusion, it's 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
all the people who worked with and learned from bob mueller in bob we trust, so i think i've heard others, chuck rosenberg and jim comey 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 we're all going to have confidence in the results. >> so you know, i think what's striking, chris, is how much energy the president has devoted to undermining the very institution of the special counsel, and frankly, law enforcement in general. if you think about it, if you remember the tv show madmen, one of the main lines is if you don't like what people are saying, change the conversation. rather than address any of the legal issues on the merits, it's attack the fact that bob mueller and rod rosenstein weren't elected officials and that he won a big election. this is all part of long now two, three year process of undermining institutions. he's gone after congress. the president's gone after the special counsel. we're going to see much more of that in the next few days. it's undermining the very, very
nature of our system of government, and i think, you know, in many respects this is a 2020 strategy far more than a legal one. it's getting people behind the fact that our institutions are worthless and that the president can just attack them, and that this is all one giant deep state conspiracy that's worthless. >> although what's fascinating now as i watched her reaction come in from say, like, here's mitch mcconnell saying i am grateful we have experienced capable attorney general in place to review the special counsel's report. attorney general barr now needs the time to do that. you're going to see -- i mean, after all of the undermining, right, depending on what the contents are and how much they are spinable in favor of the president's innocence ultimately, you're going to 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. >> yeah, and that's what's 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, right? but you know, one of the things that really strikes me about this whole scenario is the special counsel regulations usually has to anticipate a situation where the special counsel, there's some antagonism or a lot of difference of opinion between the special counsel and the attorney general, but with bill barr and bob mueller, i don't think you have that situation. these two gentlemen are really cut from the same cloth, up you can see it in the way the delivery of the report was done, the careful coordination, almost like a japanese tea ceremony, everything's planned down to the second, and these men respect each other and most of all 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 again, i think everyone on the panel knows the kind of scrutiny that would go into a decision to indict somebody who's 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 again, as someone who ran the u.s. attorney's office at one point in your life, cooperation agreement. so michael flynn has a cooperation agreement, and i think a lot of people thought, well, people cooperate and then it's in order to cooperate towards someone bigger than them. michael flynn's a pretty big fish in this whole thing. it doesn't seem that he played any part in manafort, which is sort of the biggest prosecution, and yet he got a cooperation that's sort of going to end up with him probably getting a fairly reduced sentence. what do you make of that? >> yeah, look, the loose ends
here are in some ways mysterious because they go to the heart o d his investigation. nothing bigger than stone. ben wittes 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. anything about the counter intelligence investigation, anything about the declinations and what that was, and anything about the president. wh in the third paragraph of the letter there's other information besides prosecution and declination 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 who he indicted who and who he's inclined to diet. >> is that your sense as well? >> i have the privilege of trying a case, prosecuting a case that bob mueller investigated and indicted. it was the shooting of a police
officer in washington, d.c. he passed it off to me because he became chief of homicide. when i looked in those investigative boxes, i thought i knew how to investigate a case. i was a prosecutor for about ten years at that point in time, and this was investigative genius. he literally started with the defendant's birth certificate and investigated everything moving forward, probably learning things about the defendant that he had forgotten about himself. bob mueller is thorough personified. >> and i think the greatest testament to that is the fact that we got the notification today that no major decision he made was overruled by the attorney general. now this is all in the attorney general's hands, and he made that firm commitment to err on the side of public disclosure. congress voted, you know, a very partisan congress went 420 to nothing to see that these findings be made public. now it's in william barr's hands. is he going to live up to the commitment he said that he would? >> he's left himself room to go ooe
either way. >> what's that harry? >> he's left himself room to go either way. he's done it all by the regs or he can give the bigger stuff about the investigation and the declinations. >> we should say that all the folk folks in the house, and i should say that jack reed in his statement says that he urges mr. mueller to testify before congress about the evidence he gathered, the scope of his work and his findings, which i think is going to be a call you hear from a lot of 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, but you know, neither barr nor mueller are individuals who call a lot of attention to themselves, and you know, i don't know that they're going to get a lot more out of bob mueller than he's putting in that report, so you know, but again, i don't see a lot of tension between these two. i could be wrong, and they may have some professional
disagreements about the scope of executive privilege or the strength of the executive branch, but you know, i think they're both extremely professional, and if bob mueller's called to testify, he'll testify, but he's -- he's probably put everything he can into that report. and i wouldn't be surprised, frankly, if they've 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. i mean, he could have -- he could have put the report together that way. >> yeah, that's what frank figliuzzi 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 come parme parmentizati parmentization. >> he may have scrubbed it. >> and that's not uncommon. >> what do you mean? >> i don't think it's uncommon to compartmentalize.
there are portions for public sensitivity reasons we might not want to disclose, you know, so we see that sometimes. >> all right. elliott williams, glen kin kirschner carol, and harry litman. that does it for us here. the rachel maddow show begins now. good evening, rachel. >> good evening, chris, how's your friday going? >> it's good. it's not quite as eventful as yours has been, but it's been good. thank you very much, giving it away as always. thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. 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. 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