tv The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell MSNBC March 23, 2019 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT
>> neil katyal, former acting solicitor general of the united states. it's a pleasure to have you here tonight. thank you. >> thank you. >> i want to thank everybody for being with us tonight. we will see you again the next time something like this happens, which could be any minute. i will say, this is an historic -- this is an historic landmark moment in the mueller investigation. at this point, what now will happen is a whole new fight and a whole new waiting game in terms of figuring out what exactly mueller determined. to have the investigation come to a close, to have their be a document produced that says what happened, now puts us on a totally different front in terms of what we are citizens, able to know about what we've been through as a democracy. just remarkable time to be working in the news business. it's an honor to be here. now it's time for the last word with lawrence o'donnell. >> good evening, rachel. it is an honor to be here, even though both of us planned not to be here tonight.
i know, i heard on tv. i heard on tv tonight that you were actually in a river fishing when you got the word -- got to get to work. >> i woke up in a boat thousands of miles southeast of miami, a couple airplanes get me to miami tonight just in time for this. and this is the night that we really have to be here. this -- i find the attorney general's letter is so fascinating, because you really can analyze it paragraph by paragraph almost word by word. it's filled with possibility. >> yes, and this is -- the reason that it is worth it for us to both stopped doing what we were doing. and there's a reason why god doesn't want us to go on vacation, i'm hearing those words. i get it. this is not, something's over and let's reflect on what just happened. we still don't know what mueller found. and now starts a whom new chapter of the trump era in the american life.
a whole new era of this scandal of the mueller era. in which we now see how it's going to be determined. not only whether congress gets access to the information, but whether the american people get access to the investigation. and what becomes of it as mueller puts it. this is just -- in some way, it feels like the end of something we're waiting for, it feels like day one of this whole new thing we get to start covering now for who knows how long. >> i'm staying within walking distance of a studio this weekend because the words this weekend appear in the attorney general's letter. so there could be more and significant news on this tomorrow. >> that's exactly right. i am, however, going back to fishing again. >> go to it, rachel. thank you very much, rachel. >> bye, lawrence. on this day in presidential history, march 22nd, 1882,
chester a. arthur signed the outlawing of polygamy. fdr signed the legalization of wine and beer as the first step in ending prohibition and on march 22nd, 2019 robert mueller signed his report and sent it to the trump administration, attorney general william barr. attorney general barr got the mueller report around 4:00 p.m. today and at 5:00 p.m., the attorney general delivered a letter to congress saying he was in possession of the mueller report, and alerting congress that they might have important work to do this weekend, the attorney general's letter to the republican and democratic leaders of the house and senate judiciary committees said, i may be in a position to advise you of the special counsel's principled conclusions as soon as this weekend. so stand by. stand by tomorrow, msnbc will be covering this tomorrow, stand by sunday at any moment now over the course of this weekend, we
could be learning more. the attorney general's letter also said, i intend to consult with the deputy attorney general reizenstein and special counsel mueller to determine what other information from the report can be released to congress and the public consistent with the law, including the special counsel regulations, and the department's longstanding practices and policies, i remain committed to as much transparency as possible, and i will keep you inform ed as to te status of my review. the attorney general's letter was short, it was only one page. here it is, but each paragraph has something important in it, the first paragraph contains important information that the attorney general is required to report to congress. it says, the special counsel regulations require that i provide you with a description, an explanation with instances if any, in which the attorney general or acting attorney
general concluded that a proposed action by a special counsel was so inappropriate or unwarranted under established departmental practices, that it should not be pursued. there were no such instances during the special counsel's investigation. the attorney general's letter repeatedly sites the justice department regulations on special counsel's and so there is no one better equipped to guide us through those regulations, than one of the authors of the special counsel regulations, who will lead off our discussion here tonight. neal katyal is a former acting u.s. solicitor general and is he an nbc news and msnbc legal analyst. and to take us through the minute by minute drama as it played out in washington late this afternoon after the mueller report was hand delivered to the attorney general, we have julia ainsley, national security and justice reporter for nbc news, julia, actually just left a restaurant in washington, where
robert mueller just had dinner tonight. >> it's true. we'll see what she has to report about that in a minute. and no one knows more about investigating a president than jill wine-banks, who is part of the investigative team who delivered the proof of the impeachable offenses that convinced president nixon to resign the presidency. and finally, and luckily, we are joined by the hardest working person on this network today, ari melber, and the host of his own hour, the beat at 6:00 p.m., on msnbc. ari, let me just start with you, you've been on this since the story broke. i stepped off an airplane in miami to look up, to see julia in the frame on msnbc having just found out on my phone the report had been delivered, and then ari melber, of course, joins us with his analysis of what there is and is not in this attorney general's letter as we see it, at this stage.
and ari, having been -- you've been covering this almost every hour since then. as you reflect on it, at the close of this historic day of coverage and this historic night, what do you take from the attorney general's letter that guides us on what to look for next? >> as you were reporting, i take number one he says that bob mueller was never overruled. so we take that to be the assertion of the doj, and if bob mueller has a disagreement about that characterization, i bet we'll find out about it. as you say, barr has now teased more news this weekend. he set that deadline himself, and everyone's been waiting for this. i would expect him to make good in some way, on some sort of update by sunday night, given that he knows what he has and he chose to announce that. number three, perhaps most interestingly what he did not have to do, but what he chose to do. barr says he will continue to consult with bob mueller who now as of tonight is no longer the
special counsel who has ended the probe. he will continue to consult with him on revealing things that go beyond the list of people who may have been indicted or investigated and not indicted. that's where the fight is, that's where the information is, and it's very, very striking that barr is doing that, either because he does want to finish this out the right way and believes bob mueller can do that with integrity, he knows that bob mueller has a huge ace in the hole where he can always go testify to the democrats on the house side if there's any issues he thinks should be publicly aired, and barr, the smart attorney general and litigator that he is, wants to keep mueller in the fold. >> and neal, i want to go to these justice department regulations as well as special counsel regulations, to that first paragraph in the attorney general's letter where it says that the special counsel did not propose anything that "was so inappropriate or unwarranted
under established departmental progress practices that it should not be pursued. there were no such instances during the special counsel's investigation." . now, there are many possibilities with that line. isn't it possible that the special prosecutor -- one of the things the special prosecutor did not propose was indicting the president even though evidence existed for indicting the president for example in the southern district of new york in the michael cohen case, and he did not propose that, because it would be so inappropriate and unwarranted under the established department practice s. >> right, that's certainly possible that's what happened. but we don't know. all we know is this one page letter. we'll find out more in the weeks to come. i do think we should take heart from that line in the fwar
letter, that shows the central concern we had when we were writing the special counsel regulations, with fear of a government cover-up. in our constitutional system, the president controls the prosecution power 100%. the special counsel regulations were written to say, we get that, the president and attorney general might be able to interfere with an investigation in some way, but if they do so, you have to report it to congress. here, the barr letter says there was no interference by either himself or his predecessors as acting attorney general. that is a remarkably important thing and something we should celebrate in our democracy in many other countries, such a thing wouldn't have been possible. >> neal, i read your tweet after this, the news broke today, that you were racing to an msnbc studio, and when i read that, i was hoping you'd be able to stay around until at least 10:00, like ari, you're one of our
mvp's on this, i want to go to the last paragraph, neal in the attorney general's letter, he's talking about the letter itself, the notification to congress. the letter itself, and how that is governed by certain regulations, and he says, the special counsel regulations provide that the attorney general may determine that public release of this notification would be in the public interest. i have so determined, and i disclose this letter to the public after delivering it to you. that seems to be a very positive element of this letter to neal, here's the attorney generals first decision about public disclosure, and he fully discloses the letter. >> absolutely. i'm heartened by that, by what the attorney general said at his confirmation hearing about transparency, even lawrence, heartened by what donald trump said this week, about how the mueller report should be public. if it's not public, if this
really important document which goes to one of the central core questions we face as americans whether our leader is compromised in some way, if that's not public because barr or president trump changes their mind and tries to hide that from the american people. that does seem to me really tantamount to a declaration of war on our american democracy, because we cannot function as a society if we do not know whether our leaders are compromised. that is a report, our taxpayers have paid for, and gosh darn it, they should see it. >> and julia, you were there at the justice department today as all of this was unfolding. give us the tick to be, what you know about what happened when and where it happened. >> for me, i was in the dark until right up until 5:00, when this news came down, into the camera, now i have the behind the scenes of what was going on, while the reporters were in the dark. william barr got this report
hand delivered to him from the special counsel's office, sometime early afternoon before 4:00, and then at 4:30 his chief of staff called over -- actually, his -- the deputy attorney general rod rosenstein called mueller, thanked him for his service, and then barr's chief of staff called him at flood at the white house to go ahead and give the white house a heads up. that was something we were wondering about, they had a half hour notice before the public to know what was in this letter. the letter was read to the white house, they knew what to expect. then we all start to get into our positions, and at 5:00, the justice department and their congressional liaison's office went out and dispersed a team on the hill, so the appropriate committees all got this letter handed to them at the exact same time. at that point we ran out, we had this letter, we reported it, and as of 7:00 p.m. tonight, the attorney general was just finishing up his day and
leaving, and he had been reading and reviewing that, so the next tick to be will be what happens this weekend. because our jobs are not done tonight. >> julia, to the small town you live in called washington, d.c.. somehow you found yourself in the same restaurant that robert mueller chose on the day when his burden was lightened dramatically. >> i think there's something going on cosmically, it was also the same seat. >> you ended up taking the same table that robert mueller had, and literally the same seat? >> literally. i like a booth, and maybe robert mueller likes a booth to sit in too. you can have a more private conversation, seeing my husband for the first time in about three days, an hour of catching up with him. do you know who just left this exact seat, that would be robert mueller. i won't disclose the restaurant
because i think it's a place he likes to frequent and we should respect his privacy. the feedback on twitter was great. people asking me if he dropped a document or taped a thumb drive somewhere. >> julia, is robert mueller known to do friday night restaurants or is this -- do we know whether this is unusual for him given the job he's had for the last two years and this might have been one of those moments where he finally gets to relax? >> that's a good question, what we know about robert mueller, he has a strong wall between his private life and professional life. i know that he has gone to this restaurant before, and i think he goes with people you would put in the friend group, not people he works with, other prosecutors. i think he's someone who has a routine, this is part of that routine. i don't think he was letting it loose tonight like everything is over. but, you know, certainly, it must be a relief for him, and he was eating dinner, so he was finished with his day, long
before we were finished with ours, i think there must be some relief for him and his wife tonight. >> jill wine-banks on days like this, as soon as news breaks, i'm always wondering what is jill thinking, what is jill thinking. you're the person on this panel who has been through something like this, been through it on the inside. major investigation of the president. the only investigation of a president that has actually driven the president from office in the richard nixon case. your reaction to where you think we stand tonight, what you read in the attorney general's letter today about where we will be next week and the weeks to come? >> well, i focused in in the letter on the paragraph that said there was other information that the attorney general would consult with mueller on. so that means that there is much more than just some tight conclusions, that there may be some very big information.
we don't know, of course, whether this report says that the president is guilty, but we can't indict him because of office of legal counsel policy. we know that it's likely that he did not ask for permission to indict, because that would have no doubt been refused, and so there would have been a disagreement that would have had to be reportable. but the report could also say we found no evidence either because witnesses were so uncooperative, that we just ran up against a stonewall much like we ran up against in the watergate case, until basically the american public rose in total disregard of the president and said, you have to cooperate. and that's what led to the release of the first tapes, which were the beginning of the end for the president, so it's hard to say whether the stonewalling of witnesses, has had an impact that has led to no
final conclusion, i think the most important thing i thought about was the role of the congress and the role of the prosecutor. as prosecutors, we were looking at was there a violation of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, of elements of a crime that existed. a statute that spelled out what it is, what congress is looking at and should be looking at is number one, is the president doing something that is impeachable? which is not necessarily a crime, but which threatens democracy. which threatens national security also they should be looking at, are there laws that should exist that don't. is there a gap in the coverage of our laws that needs to be filled by this congress. and they should be looking into the known crime of interference with russian into our election.
i don't think they've done that either of those things. >> jewel yarks you have teed it up for congress, and congress is with us, tonight. in the person of democratic congressman steve cohen of tennessee. congressman cohen is a member of the house judiciary committee which has jurisdiction over the impeachment process. congressman cohen, to what jill wine banks just said, what do you see as the distinction between your obligations on the judiciary committee and robert mueller's obligations as a federal prosecutor. >> jill was exactly right. robert mueller was limited to russian involvement in our election. we are not limited to that, and we could have laws that we see that need to be passed concerning interference in our elections, concerning gaps in the what you, campaigns. and with administrations and
possibly with inaugural committees. there's all kinds of things that could be seen that are without prohibition that should be in our laws. and we need to know the facts the american public needs to know the facts. we'll get a good share from what they allow us. if we get the whole report, it will be better. we need to have fullsome investigations and oversight. >> let's listen to what your chairman of the judiciary committee said tonight. >> if the justice department doesn't release the whole report or tries to keep parts of it secret, we will subpoena the parts of the report and we will reserve the right to call mueller or to testify before the committee or to subpoena him. as several other committees might do. but we'll only do that if necessary, obviously. >> congressman cohen, clearly
your committee, the judiciary committee with chairman ed that letter is the center of the next stage of the action here about this report. the chairman saying they will subpoena robert mueller if necessary, you as a committee will definitely subpoena the report. if you have to, what is your sense? is there a sense on the committee about just how likely it will be that you'll be forced to subpoena this report as opposed to simply have it handed over by the attorney general. >> i can't say what the sense of the committee is, i know the sense of the committee in general is that we want to see complete disclosure, we know that we are we are responsible for defending the law. the committee will want to get as much help as possible to draft legislation and show what there are holes in the law, to correct that i'm concerned we
won't get everything we want. because i don't think trump would have named barr without some reason to believe he would appoint someone who would cover for him. he wanted to have roy kohn at justice. that's an awful thing to think about. he wanted someone like that. he wanted someone that would be in his corner. i think i saw that bill barr recently visited the white house, in like the last day or two, and that was probably a bit unusual. he's got a chance to be elliott richardson, one of the good guys. but we'll see what he does. >> congressman cohen, the attorney general's letter says this weekend, which means that chairman ed that letter and possibly you, members of the committee could be learning more about this from the attorney general this weekend. please come back and join us next week when we know more. steve cohen, thank you very much for joining us tonight. really appreciate it. >> i want to go back to ari
melber, on this issue of stonewalling and possible obstruction of justice. >> how do we describe a president of the united states, asserting fifth amendment rights and refusing to be interviewed by a special prosecutor? and the special prosecutor then refusing -- declining to subpoena the president because the president's lawyers have said he will plead the fifth amendment to everything after his name. that could be in the mueller report, there could be a passage in the mueller report. a narrative describing the attempt to get testimony from the president of the united states. and that it was roadblocked, stonewalled by taking the fifth amendment. something by the way, that richard nixon was caught on tape advising some people to do at certain points. what do we call that, if that's not -- he has a legal right to assert the fifth amendment, but what do you call that when the
president of the united states says, i'm not going to tell you anything? i'm taking the fifth amendment. >> i think a lot of people would call that incriminating or suspicious at best. you've covered this closely for a long time, lawrence, and i think your question hits at another key thing, that is advanced tonight, there are some people who are saying, well, gosh, if all we know is that the report was turned in and other details in the letter, do we not know that much tonight. tonight is different, and we know more, because now we know officially that bob mueller never forced or tried to compel the president to testify in person the way past special counsel's have, and to your question, that may be because the case that bob mueller was making, whatever else is in the report, he may have felt he had and didn't need to force the testimony. and may have felt the incriminating statements from the president were already there. or a better reading for the white house would be that it didn't reach that high, so he didn't want to go take that extraordinary step if he doesn't feel it was warranted many we also know tonight, that donald
trump was not telling the truth that he would be happy to face mueller in testimony, because he didn't provide it. we also know in a very key way, now we can say, and lawrence i don't think we could have ever reported this as fact until tonight. bob mueller beat donald trump's attempts to circumvent or shut down the mueller probe. there were many moments where that wasn't necessarily clear, the future was yet to be written, according to don mcgann's testimony, donald trump was seeking to ask someone to do his dirty work for him and fire mueller. maybe that was something that slowed the work of the special prosecutor's office, we will find out whether he ultimately provides material on that to go to congress. the fact that mueller picked tonight to end the probe, tells us some ways that he beat donald trump's efforts. >> katyal, i want to go to the only defense that the president
has ever really offered about this, it's the two-work defense, no collusion, no collusion. collusion is not a legal term, it does not legally describe a crime. and so it's not really in any real legal sense a defense. what do you see in what we -- in what this letter tells us from the attorney general tonight about what there might or might not be in terms of revelations about russian interference in the election. which the word collusion is just a descriptive term that some people have come up with basically in the news media, that's not a legal term. and what about the president's continued use of that phrase. no collusion, no collusion. and many in the news media thinking it has legal meaning? >> right, i think he just likes the sound of the word collusion or something. you're absolutely right. there's no legal word there, the word is conspiracy, and there
have been allegations that president trump's advisers conspired with the russians in various ways notice 2016 election. now, mueller's mandate was very narrow, it was just on this conspiracy question, with russia and then when he -- when trump fired comey, because of what he called the russia thing on your network, you know, that was his mandate, nothing more than that, and so the mueller report we expect will be just about that, not about all the other strands of the investigation, that other folks have done, campaign finance and the like. so the letter today, the one-page letter doesn't tell us very much. i expect the full mueller report will, and that is one more reason why the american public needs to see this report in almost its full entirety. >> and neal, i want to go back to your original point, you are voicing optimism tonight in terms of attorney general barr's
approach to disclosure so far, that what you're seeing in this letter -- is this about as positive a letter as you can read from the attorney general today? positive in terms of indicating the eventual full disclosure of the mueller report? >> yes, at this juncture, i'm sure some people are clamoring saying, why don't we have the report right now. there are any number of very legitimate reasons why the attorney general should take a little time, review the report, make sure there isn't some classified source that would be burned if this material came out or something, i'm sure that mueller has already done a large part of that, but still i think it's perfectly appropriate for the attorney general to do that. if there's ever hiding from the american people on the report -- on the evidence underlying the report, then i think all americans should stand up and protest in the loudest possible terms. >> we're going to take a break here, it is a well deserved break for our guests who have
stretched their long workday right through to the 10th hour of our coverage here tonight. 10:00 p.m., julia ainsley, thank you for staying with us. ari melber, thank you for staying with us tonight. and neal katyal joining us right after joining rachel. and jill wine-banks we always appreciate your perspective. the special counsel's investigation is finished, but the southern district of new york, several attorneys general, state attorneys general and congress still have work to do investigating the president of the united states. senate judiciary committee member chris coons will join us on what's next in congress. two former federal prosecutors will join us on the investigations that are still on going. and presidential historian michael beshlosch will join us with an amazing historical echo
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the mueller report concerns only crimes that may have been committed. our constitutional mandate is to look at -- is to maintain the rule of law, which means examining not only crimes, but other abuses of power. and obstructions of justice. >> that is chairman jerry ed that letter of the house judiciary committee which has jurisdiction over the impeachment process. joining us now, democrat from delaware, and a member on the senate judiciary committee, thank you for joining us on this
special coverage friday night. i want to get your reaction to what you've seen today and what you've read in the attorney general's letter about the mueller report which is really all we know about the mueller report at this point. >> thank you, lawrence. all of us are waiting with baded breath to hear what exactly bill barr is going to convey to congress of his summary of the mueller report. he commits in his letter to being as transparent as possible within the boundaries of policy and law, and as some of your guests before have pointed out, there are legitimate reasons why the attorney general might decline to share even classified information or information that would interfere with ongoing investigations. but other than that, everything should be shared with congress. and i'm going to be pressing for the attorney general to be as transparent as possible. and to move as quickly as is reasonably possible. because i think this is not the beginning of the end, this is
just the end of the beginning. there's a lot of work for us to do now in congress. and there are ongoing investigations as you've pointed out earlier in this broadcast. the southern district of new york, the state attorney general of new york, there are other matters still yet unresolved, roger stone's trial has not been completed. and there are other investigations into the trump organization, trump foundation, trump campaign. but as for robert mueller's investigation, into collusion or the possibility of conspiracy between the trump campaign and russia in the 2016 election, and obstruction, that's reached a conclusion and all of us are now going to be waiting for the conclusion to be shared with congress. >> you say you're going to press the attorney general on making the report public. you did that, democratic members of the senate judiciary committee did that in his confirmation hearing. let's listen to what he said about it then. >> will you commit to make
public all of the reports conclusions, the mueller report, even if some of the evidence supporting those conclusions can't be made public? >> you know, that's certainly my goal and intent. it's hard for me to conceive of a conclusion that would run afoul of the reges as currently written, but that's certainly my intent. >> senator coons a lot of observers were uncomfortable with the tentative nature of the attorney general nominee's answers about that, but his letter today seems as though -- certainly what he's saying in the letter, is that his ambition on this is full disclosure and that the public interest is definitely something that he believes is absolutely already
here in this case, and should be honored. that's what he's saying in writing anyway. >> that's what he's saying, and here's an attorney for attorney general barr to show himself to be an institutionalist, someone who cares more about the department of justice, it's reputation, and the rule of law, than he does about partisan political advantage, and i certainly hope he will prove those of us on the committee who were skeptical of those commitments wrong. in my questioning of bill barr on his confirmation hearing, i reminded him that elliott richardson in a confirmation hearing before the same committee asked very similar questions as he was, gave crisp, concise, clear, simple answers. didn't hedge. didn't talk about well, you know, in the best interest of and given the balancing, he simply said yes to a number of critical questions that attorney general barr found it much harder to be concise and clear about. my hope is that he will overcome that tendency and instead will
demonstrate a commitment to full transparency. one thing that was in the letter that i found encouraging, lawrence, was a commitment on his part, that he would continue consulting with robert mueller, it is certainly the case if there's any hint or suggestion on our part, that the report that we get is overly redacted or concealing some critical elements of mueller's work that i think we can count on chairman ed that letter in the house to promptly call for both barr and mueller to appear before the house judiciary committee, i would hope that chairman graham would do the same in the senate. >> just on that point, i want to double underline that. that passage that refers to the attorney general conferring with rob rosenstein and robert mueller on what to release in the report or not release in the report indicates that the report is a certain level of complexity, meaning the regulations simply require that you literally provide just a list, you could just do it as a
list, a list of people we decided to indict. list of people we decided not to indict. it really could just be as simple as that, a list, not even including sentences. what the attorney general's letter seems to suggest is that this is a report that is substantial enough that is fullsome enough, that there could be decisions that have to be made about what parts of it to release and what parts of it not to release. and the fact that he's saying that he wants to consult and making it public, that he wants to consult with robert mueller, that would strike me as one of the more encouraging notes of people who want full disclosure are finding in that letter. >> i agree. and there is precedent for this, of course, leon jaworski, the special prosecutor during water gate in the interest of public disclosure and transparency released the entire final report of the watergate prosecution. there was a previous appointment of a special counsel in the waco
case, former senator jack danforth of missouri. who released a complete and fullsome report with very few redactions of his investigation into the issues around the waco matter in texas. so i do think there is precedent for the full release of a report of this kind with very minimal redactions or reductions in terms of what's released to the public. and it's my real hope that's what's going to happen here, that attorney general barr will recognize intense public interest, that president trump himself has said this report should be released, and i think anyone who is think willing of defending the president should instead listen to the president's own words and say he believes he has nothing to hide, so let's let this entire report come forward. one thing we know for sure, lawrence, people at the most senior levels of the circles around donald trump have already either plead guilty or been convicted. it's paul manafort, his campaign
manager. michael cohen, his personal attorney. michael flynn, his first national security adviser. and a host of others have been indicted. three have been found guilty of crimes. and that suggests there may well be more in this report than we know so far. >> senator chris coons of the senate judiciary committee, we can't thank you enough for joining us on this very important friday night. thank you very much, senator. >> thank you. good to be with you. when we come back, we'll ask the former federal prosecutor what she thinks might happen next in the investigation of the president by the southern district of new york. where he -- the president is known as individual one in legal filings. and former federal prosecutor, glenn kershner who has worked with robert mueller will join us with his reaction to the completion of the mueller report. tion of the mueller report
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nbc news is reporting tonight that special prosecutor robert mueller will not be pursuing any more indictments, but it's possible for example that mueller is not proceeding against certain defendants other than the president because he has referred them to other prosecutorial offices. some of these referrals are already public. there may be other referrals too. in this iteration, what is ending here is not the investigation. merely the portion of the investigation, mueller chose to retain for himself. joining our discussion now.
former federal prosecutor, they are both msnbc legal analysts, and mimi, first to you one of the things that robert mueller has shipped out of his office to the southern district of new york, is the prosecution of michael cohen which includes an individual one who is identified as president trump and that prosecution shows president trump engaged in criminal behavior ordering director michael cohen to engage in criminal behavior. so the mueller investigation has already revealed what federal prosecutors are calling criminal behavior that donald trump participated in. what happens next in the southern district of new york? >> well, lawrence, that's right, president trump has already been implicated in a crime in the
southern district of new york by a cooperator under oath and essentially in documents subm submitted by the southern district and adopted by a federal judge. what happens next, we recently had the search warrant as to michael cohen's offices and promises unsealed. and there were a lot of redacted pages as you recall. and under that redaction those redactions is more evidence and that was from about a year ago they've been continuing this investigation. they are continuing this investigation or those redactions would likely still not exist. that material would have been unsealed, they said they were keeping it redacted because it's an ongoing investigation. we definitely have not heard the last of that investigation. now, they will face the same dilemma about whether a president can be indicted and should be indicted under policy and for a crime like this, like
campaign finance violations. we don't know that that's all trump has been implicated in there as well. we're going to have to see how that plays out, i agree with ben that we do not know whether other offices, possibly the southern district of new york, and possibly other u.s. attorney's offices will be taking over other aspects of the previous mueller probe. >> glenn, i've been wanting to talk to you about the -- what we now can officially call the mueller report, it is in -- it exists, since you've worked with robert mueller, and what i saw that passage in the attorney general's letter, where he's basically saying, this report is not just a one or two page list of who we decided to charge and who we decline to charge. this report is big enough and has a sweep and scope that's big
enough. that the attorney general and keeping rod rosenstein and robert mueller at my side to advise me on what we should release from this report, and what if anything we should not release from this report. you know, robert mueller, you've worked with robert mueller, does the attorney general have 300 pages on his desk? does he have three pages on his desk in what does he have? >> lawrence, i'm going to take a stab at it and say, he has somewhere between 300 and 500 pages. like you i was heartened by that passage in bill barr's letter, i think it shows a good ongoing relationship between the attorney general and now i guess we can call him the former special counsel bob mueller. the passage i think i was most heartened by was in the first paragraph when the letter says in substance, that bob mueller was not denied any investigative step he wanted to take, that means he got to subpoena everybody he felt needed to be subpoenaed, he got to subpoena documents and records, he got to
return indictments against the people he thought should be indicted. and what that should give us all is a comfort level that this was a full and fair investigation. and bob mueller had the authority and the rein to do everything that he felt needed to be done to get to a fair conclusion. that should -- you know, i see loose ends as a prosecutor. i can't help wanting everything to be wrapped up and answered for us. we don't have that yet. but i think because we can have confidence in the process, that ultimately will give us confidence in the outcome and the conclusions. and, lawrence, i don't think prosecutions are over, not by a long shot. they have probably been farmed out and we will see continued investigations. and i would bet continued prosecutions. >> former federal prosecutors mimi al roker he a and glenn kirchner, we needed to hear from you tonight. we're going to be learning more about this certainly next week. we're going to need to hear from you then.
thank you for joining our special coverage tonight. we really appreciate it. when wes come back, david beschloss will join us. and david corn has been studying what the president calls the collusion part of the case. and david corn says guilty. [ paper rustling ] exactly, nothing. they're completely different people, that's why they need customized car insurance from liberty mutual. they'll only pay for what they need! [ gargling ] [ coins hitting the desk ] yes, and they could save a ton. you've done it again, limu. only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪ there areand the best.s... which egg tastes more farm-fresh and delicious? only eggland's best. with more vitamins d and e and 25% less saturated fat? only eggland's best. better taste, better nutrition, better eggs.
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this day, march 22nd, is an important day from presidential investigation history. we can thank our next guest, presidential historian michael beschloss for teaching us that today in this tweet. mueller report has been delivered on the 46th anniversary of the secret watergate tape in which nixon tells john mitchell, i want you all to stone wall it. let them plead the 5th amendment. cover up or anything else if it will save it, save the plan.
[ inaudible ] richard nixon said that on tape on this day 46 years ago. so, is it just a coincidence that the mueller report is completed today, or could this be a deliberate historical echo by robert mueller in his investigation of possible obstruction of justice by a president? joining our discussion now, nbc news presidential historian michael beschloss, also joining us is david corn who literally co-wrote the book about the russia portion of the mueller investigation as he knew it. russian roulette by michael corn. michael beschloss, we don't know exactly what robert mueller's historical fluency is in the watergate investigation. but here we have a president trump who, most likely -- we don't know this yet, but most likely told robert mueller through his lawyers that he would plead the 5th amendment if questioned and subpoenaed by
robert mueller. and there's richard nixon advocating pleading the 5th amendment, doing whatever they had to do to stonewall it and cover it up. a covered up presidential tape on the same day. coincidence? >> i think it probably was, lawrence, but maybe if you or i were writing this as a novel, we would have done it with a little bit more a forethought because it does have that amazing cosmic echo of what happened. >> yes, and, michael, talk about the difference in the way president nixon approached his own investigation versus -- and the similarities, versus the way president trump has approached the investigation of president trump. >> well, in nixon's case, i mean, he should really thank donald trump because donald trump is making richard nixon look so much better by comparison. earlier today i was talking about him and someone was asking about nixon versus trump, and i said nixon was so much more
gentlemanly. lawrence, would you ever think of using the word gentlemanly in connection with richard nixon? that's what this has all come to. but, you know, the line that you were using from the tape of this day in 1973, those are things that donald trump could have said. and you have to imagine that they may be things that he is saying in private during the next couple of weeks because, as you well know and have talked about, elijah cummings and others are saying that the things that the house democrats are asking for from the trump white house, they are stonewalling. >> david corn, collusion is not a legal term. there is no crime called collusion, but the president loves saying "no collusion." you today are saying yes, collusion. >> i'm saying we got caught in a trap of focusing whether there was criminal collusion, whatever that might be, as the only standard by which to judge trump in the trump scandal.
but if you actually look at what we know already without the mueller report or the mueller indictments, what we know is that trump -- while he was campaigning for president, he was colluding to do a business deal in russia to make hundreds of millions of dollars and he went to putin's own office through michael cohen to get help and he lied about that. he said he had nothing to do with russia. tremendous conflict of interest. we know that in june his top three advisors, paul manafort, trump, jr. and jared kushner met with an emissary from a secret kremlin plan to help the trump campaign win. when that came out after the campaign, they lied about it. we know that paul manafort met with a russian intelligence associate in august of 2016 while he was campaign manager at the behest of a russian oligarch, and they discussed a russian peace plan that might have -- would have been beneficial for moscow while moscow was attacking the u.s. election. and manafort lied about it.
and finally, the biggest lie of them all throughout the 2016 campaign, and even afterwards, donald trump kept saying russia is not attacking the u.s. there is nothing going on here. and by doing that, he aided and abetted the russian attack. he amplified the disinformation. so all that aside -- put aside everything that mueller might have looked at, and i'm not saying any of this is criminal, but i think this amounts to the largest scandal in american history to have this set of events. we're overly hyper focused on whether or not there was a crime. sometimes the biggest scandals are not criminal. >> and the president specifically colluded with vladimir putin by coming out and saying publicly "i believe vladimir putin when he says the russians did not interfere in our election at all." that is public collusion that the president engages in, trying to help the vladimir putin and russian cover up of what our intelligence agencies say they
really did do during that election campaign. we're going to have to leave it there. michael beschloss and david corn, thank you very much for joining us on our special coverage tonight. that is tonight's last word. the "the 11th hour" with brian williams starts now. >> the breaking news tonight, robert mueller's work is done. the findings of his russia investigation have been handed over to the attorney general. bill barr has notified congress he may share some of the most basic details as early as this weekend. tonight we'll take on the flood of questions now, including what this means for the 45th president who is watching it all from florida. what does it mean for the other investigations now that this one is over? and what about the central question mueller was hired to find out about, russia's role in our 2016 presidential election? all of it, as "the 11th hour" gets underway this friday night. well, good en