tv MSNBC Live With Ayman Mohyeldin MSNBC March 24, 2019 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT
faith in mueller. a lot of people. that is mueller saying, curious to see if democrats will accept this conclusion since that came from mueller. on obstruction, katy, i fully understand if there is a debate and dispute over this, because this was not mueller's definitive word. this was bob barr's word. this is where they'll be a fight. again, politically the toothpaste is already out of the tube as they say. >> yeah. >> so, you know, this isn't getting resolved in this country until november 2020. >> no doubt about that. i think what we can take from this is that the investigations will continue in congress, but ultimately and who knows how long it will take to potentially see the rest of this report, or what we are able to see, but ultimately this is going to go to voters in 2020 and what the president's going to do, chuck, and the steve bannon's made this clear and anybody who followed the 2016 campaign would assume as well, he's going to use this to his advantage and the way
he's used it already in the past two years saying that it's all a witch-hunt in respect was no collusion, there was no conspiracy. when they couldn't find conspiracy or collusion they moved on to something else. i am the victim here. >> it's been good politics for him. it is how he spins up his base. it is how he keeps his base devoted to him, how he's politically survived. no way to politically thrive, no way to govern. he's not going to ever get the 60% to govern but this is what he's going to do. survive the election and see if it's enough and democrats are going to be in this, get frustrated. perhaps by how this investigation is going to get perhaps how quickly they get to see the report, but there will be voter fatigue on this. and democrats have to be wary of that. and do they focus on the investigations or do they focus on other issues that perhaps voters want to see focused on? i think that will, that will have an impact here, too, hon ow
aggressive democrats are. >> we've seen the 2020 democrats on the campaign trail so far is they haven't paid a ton of attention to the investigation, chuck. >> katy, the voters out there don't care. >> they have been paying attention to issues. >> they care tab babout it but following it day to day. >> they're not. we've softened democrats and did well in 2018, they argue, they paid attention to the issues, paid attention to health care the economy and other things. if democrats in congress continue with the investigations into the president, continue with subpoenaing various members of his white house or members of his family or members of his orbit and go down the road of trying to determine whether they think he obstructed justice and whether that potentially is an impeachable offense for this president, do democrats risk overshadowing, drowning out what democratic hopefuls for 2020 are doing on the campaign trail?
>> i think that is a risk. at the same time, i understand the desire by other whose say wait a minute. you know, you've got to prosecute these things even when it's politically not, because if you don't, or if you don't attempt to, you're lowering the floor. you sgl you're lowering the bar again and it will only reward this, but, you know, i also have been having this conversation. what would the founders have wanted in this situation? he's in a first term. not a second term. there he is, and most would agree, it's always better to let the voters make a derman nation a democracy than a ruling group of elites. right? it is a first term and there's a lot to be said of let the public get all the information and let them make the determination themselves about whether they think he has the values to run the rule of law or not. to whether they trust him to be
in charge of the criminal justice system. things like that. so there is an argument to be said that perhaps if you think back what would the founders have wanted in this situation, given the time we're in, they might say, take it to the voters pap second term, it's a different situation. >> chuck, hang out one second. i want to reset for anyone tuning in. it's 4:04. about 30 minutes ago we receive add summary of robert mueller's findings. the two-year investigation into president trump and his presidential campaign condensed down to four pages. attorney general william barr has summarized that while the report does not conclude that the president comitted a crime, it also does not exonerate him. the evidence developed during the special counsel investigation is not sufficient to establish that the president committed an obstruction of justice offense. that is per bill barr and rod rosenstein. not per robert mueller. also, the report identifies no actions that in our judgment
constitutes obstructive conduct. again that is per bill barr and rod rosenstein. finally, the investigation did not establish that members of the trump campaign conspired or coordinated or colluded with the russian government in its election interference activities. chuck, year back with me. one other question on nancy pelosi. she had said a few weeks ago that she didn't believe impeachment is something the democrats should pursue unless there is bipartisan support of this. now that we know the principle conclusions from robert mueller per william barr, do you see any way that nancy pelosi might change her stance on that? >> i doubt it, and i just, we just got a statement from kevin mccarthy house republican leader, and just, if this gives a taste where congressional leaders are, then the idea of how, if whether we see this whole report you may start to ask that. he says, it is abundant think
clear without a shadow of a doubt no collusion and it's time we move on for the good of the nation. this case is closed. so if that is the sort of mainstream republican attitude on capitol hill, it may slow down the demands and calls for transparency and slow down -- i think we're eventually see the details of the mueller report, make the determination for ourselves, but by the time we see it, the -- the spin will have already sort of made its way around and there may be even a fatigue oral exhausti an exha flavor. you don't do something if you don't have the votes in an exercise like that. impeachment, while you may believe it's part of the rule of law, it is a political exercise. not a legal one. you have to count the votes. >> hallie jackson is also with us. hall hallie, the white house said all
along no collusion. the president greeted reporters on friday with no collusion, no collusion. the president's orbit has always said, no collusion. the president's children have always said, no collusion. today robert mueller found no conspiracy which essentially is no collusion. >> there is no gray area on that piece of it, katy. you look at the two buckets. the conspiracy piece you say, sort of collusion, and then the obstruction piece. on the conspiracy piece of it it is black and white. it is very clear that the special counsel did not find that it trump campaign conspired with russia. that is already what we're seeing and forgive me for looking at my phone. we've received reaction from the rnc. unsurprisingly now from the republican national committee falling in line with what chuck read you from those in the republican party, "for years many democrats and many in the media promised collusion between the trump campaign and russia. they were wrong." that is going to be the line from the gop i think from the white house as well.
keep in mind right now the president is getting ready to board air force one. jit where there are televisions. he will likely be watching coverage of all this as it goes down leaving from mar-a-lago to come back here to the white house. politically you have reaction from republicans, you can see air force one there. down in south florida getting ready to make its way back to washington. there is a chance by the way, let me note for vuters he evote president may stop and speak to those who gather underneath the wing. the president has done before. we don't know he will but obviously it's something we're watching clo ining closely for. we know rakz from republicans seizing on the conspiracy, no spawn kear conspiracy piece. obstruction a gray area. where you start to see reaction from democrats and where you will continue undoubtedly to see democrats pushing to see everything. everything that robert mueller put together. as relates to the 2020 re-elect you make the point correctly i think most democrats are not
focusing on the russia investigation out on the campaign trail. just not. talking about things like made c.a.r.e. f medicare for all, things voters want to hear about. president trump, goes to a campaign rally later in the week will be out in michigan for that. loves to talk about robert mueller. i see the president making a pinata of the special counsel, of frankly the media as well and you already starting to see that in a new tweet out from eric trump. the president's son going after the media. accusing the media trying to harp on what was overhyped and incorrect. that twofold attack you will see based on our reporting the president really hone in on the campaign trail. repeatedly. listen, he will probably do it thursday. probably do it for the next 500-plus days until this election happens because the president feels personally aggrieved by this. we know it because he tweets about it, talks about it. this has been the cloud hanging
over his west wing since the day he took office. a significant moment in time for this white house. why it's significant, by the way, after a huge week of twitter frenzy tweets, katy, nothing. two innocuous good morning make america great tweets. that's all we heard from the president so far. >> i wonder if he'll start to call robert mueller a good american here because he did not find conspiracy and say he was not partisan and conflicted. there aren't 13 angry democrats but did the president a service. same time, hallie, in this report or summary, bill barr make as point that robert mueller says the president didn't commit a crime, but it does not exonerate him. >> right. those words. does not exonerate him you will hear again and again from democrats. right? that is sort of the murky waters here. i think you're right. the president may change his tune about robert mueller. you may hear the argument, difficult for the president to
change his tune about mueller given just how sort of intensely he has attacked him in his investigation repeatedly in writing, publicly on camera. this is a president who has reversed course on people before as we all know well from the story of jeff sessions and other whose have fallen in and out of favor with the president at various times in his administration. the obstruction piece of it is, again, much less clear, because mueller, robert mueller, did not draw sort of a -- a final line here on the issue of obstruction. yes, the president. we have the quote here. does not conclude that the president comitted a crime but it does not exonerate him is already where you're seeing the question marks from democrats, from people with kearns about the president. again, all along, we've said this. there are two pieces of this. right? overall, step back big picture. a question of donald trump's legal the line and a question of his political liability bhand it me and what it means politically. robert mueller came to the
conclusion based on attorney barr's letter, no coordination or conspiracy which was the thesis, central piece of his investigation. the other obstruction. just not as clear. hoping to get reaction for you seen. it's interesting that we understand based on my colleague kristen well ill kerr a statemeg for that. >> the early reaction from the legal team is it's very good for us. so you can expect essentially just to build on what hallie is saying. they are prepared to take a major victory lap here at the white house within the president's legal team. they were sort of weighing a number of different scenarios. this scenario being politically speaking the strongest one arguably for president trump. so i think you're going see that expressed. i know they had sort of thought through some early reaction, but
clearly they're trying to determine exactly what that victory lap is going to look like when they put phone pad. just to set the scene at the white house, hallie standing outside. i'med in. ju inside where all the white house officials press staff works they are huddled in press secretary sarah sanders's office right now likely trying to determine next steps and what the official reaction, official statement is going to be here from the white house. not clear that sarah's in that office right now, because i know she was traveling with the president, but bottom line, they are hashing through what their reaction is going to be here. and, again, president trump set to land here at the white house in just a short time from now, katy. he usually does not talk when he returns home from the weekend. i think you might see him sort of break that streak and come and speak with us. we have to wait and see. i haeanticipate he want to weig in. he has a campaign rally later in the week and undoubtedly will
use this. i spoke to steve bannon the other day saying he's prepared to weaponize the mueller report. that tells usstaunchest supporters, they have meat on the bones to back it up. >> does this mean the president can use this to convince others that might have been on the fence about him. might not have enjoyed this investigation, might have had questioned surrounding this investigation to say, listen, i was right. it was a hoax. i am the victim. v vote for me. does had use that to broaden his appeal is an open question. sarah sanders says, the special counsel did not find collusion and did not find obstruction. although the special counsel did not find obstruction that was what a.g. barr and rod rosenstein found. attorney general barr and deputy attorney general rosenstein further found no obstruction.
a complete exoneration of the president of the united states. number one, special counsel did not find collusion, sarah sanders is trite say that. she not right to say they did not find any obstruction. they left that question explicitly up to both william barr and rod rosenstein, and william barr and rosenstein determined that there was no obstruction. she said it is a total and complete exoneration of the president. the mueller summary according to bill barr says while the president did not commit a crime, it does not exonerate him. expectly said in that letter. even in circumstances where the news is good for them they have to be incorrect. that's consistent, i guess, with this white house. >> and katy, why you are going to see such a pitched battle to get the actual report. jerry nadler earlier today on "meet the press" said essentially arguing that some of the documents are protected by
executive privilege isn't an argument because they've already been subjected to this investigation. you're going to see democrats really push to try to see the entire report. by special counsel robert mueller. now, undoubtedly what you might see also is a desire by the white house and some others for the entire report to not be released at least publicly, and they point to ironically, the case of hillary clinton. they say, look. in the case of hillary clinton, you essentially had james kocom, but saw misjudgment and critical how he handled that matter at the time. i don't understand even on a good day, news is good for them they insist on lying. still put out incorrect statements. why in the world would sarah huckabee sanders want to cloud what happened today with this summary, cloud the good news of it by putting out a statement full of two factual errors? >> she is seizing upon the final
conclusion by the attorney general. >> from bill barr and rosenstein. not mueller. >> by the way, when we hear from president trump, it's a little bit of a preview. right? of how they are going to spin, not unusual for white house's add min strait stragss s tstra administrations to do that. you're getting a good preview of what he's going to say. nike doubt about it, keep going back to this. even nikki haley earlier today before we knew the full results what barr would say was essentially saying it's time to move on. no more indictments. so you put all of these things together and politically speaking, this is a very good day for president trump, and they're going to be spiking the football today and right through election day likely, katy. >> yes. again, although i don't think we can call it spin. that is lying. go to ari melber, chief legal an
vist here at msnbc and host of "the beast." >> my reaction is the most important parts of this letter are the direct quotes from the mueller report. everything else is barr's views and conclusions, which are also significant, since he's mueller's boss but not the mueller report everyone's been waiting for. anyone in any field knows that there's plenty that could be done with characterization and conclusion. in those direct quotes there is clearly as you've been reporting good news for the trump campaign and president trump if inn that it echo what's we knew as a clue from friday night because it ended without indictments on collusion eviction conspiracy and here we see a quote of a finding that there was not a collusion election conspiracy between the trump campaign and associates. there isn't supposed to be one. but it is obviously after a 22-month probe a significant finding. second i think where we'll see a
huge fight what i've been reading into in the letter, is we see already gap distance between mueller's take on obstruction whashgt he carefull did and what we understand to be his conclusions and barr going further. what i mean and we can get into it more if you like or have time. we see clearly as you discussed with the overstatement from t white house bob mueller looked at potential obstruction, looked at that evidence, went through it and investigated it and said the president is not exonerated nor is he in the view of mueller guilty of a federal crime within the ambit of his probe. so that is to put it simply, a middle ground. this letter then goes well beyond that and accurately quotes. credit to barr we oenly know because he said it. he goes further saying now today after we know to be a short time, two days, concluded on his own that there's no obstruction by the president. if that rings in people's ears
it should because people may remember in the ways of president clinton or president nixon the questions around presidential obstruction as a potential high crime are genuinely dealt with or as lawyers say adjudicated by the house. not by the president's own justice department nap right there is a glaring sign. that i think is interesting. >> what they had with bill clinton, he perjured himself. a difference there. >> i'm not referring to the underlying facts. the comparison i'm making is that the house was the decision-maker on determining obstruction. meaning, whatever you think happened. say you saver the argument president a. didn't obstruct. president b. did. who decides that? in our constitutional system the reason probes are volatile without predetermining anything about this letter it is typically the house that deals with presidential abuses of power if they are investigated or believed to have occurred. so barr let's make no mistake here he's within his lawful authority. we've reported he's been doing
it by the book but making a judgment call that ultimately in cases there have been find buss of power it's not the attorney general with the last word. that's him coming out of the gates in the letter saying i'm quoting mueller found no election conspiracy. boom. quoting that mueller came to a middle ground, to say did not reach a final conclusion saying the president did or didn't commit obstruction and now i'm going to tip on that and say he didn't. whether our system of government and the congress wants to deal with that or not i think is a big open question today. >> ari, stick with us. hallie jackson, a statement from the president's lawyers? >> information. on the phone with jay sekulow while you had that conversation. he says he is feeling of course sekulow the president's outside attorney, feeling very pleased at this moment in time. we understand the president's legal team got the report, the letter essentially two minutes after it had been released out to the public essentially. sekulow was cagey, couldn't say whether he spoke with the
president tab but we expect a fuller statement from the president's legal time sometime in the next five minutes. my understanding kelly o'donnell traveling with the president in south florida spoke with rudy giuliani on the phone working sources and he tells nbc the result is "better than expected." if that should give you a clear sense of the mind-set of the president's legal team at this moment and of the white house in general and here's another piece. another clue that give us a fwhoind their thi window in their thinking. white house sent out a statement to reporters with key findings as they see it from the attorney general's summary from this letter. they seized on three sentences. three pieces of information. first won't surprise you. first one is that sentence about how the special counsel's invest gays d ga ga
igation spire e conspired with . the other two pieces of information that they're highlighting themselves, interesting. both relate to this issue of obstruction. they talk about it. plucked now these two passages from the attorney general's letter saying the report identifies no actions in our judgment constitute obstructive conduct and also highlight that part where barr says deputy attorney general rod rosenstein and i concluded the evidence developed during robert mueller's investigation that the president committed an obstruction of justice offense. that is barr's representation. not robert mueller's presentation of the facts. robert mueller did not come down one way or the other per the letter as related to obstruction and in fact explicitly said while no evidence the president comitted a crime related to obstruction this investigation did not exonerate him. the white house is, listen, in essence cherry picking pieces of the letter that they want to highlight, tout, get out there
and have people talking about and again, while it is fairly black and white on the answer of no collusion, no conspiracy that's not the case on the obstruction piece. these are among the questions we'll have for president trump as he starts to get ready to head back to washington. forgive me. looking at e-mails. they are blowing up a little and texts. looks though there is a call for bill barr to testify unsurprisingly. the next step of this, katy, our live coverage looking at bill barr perhaps robert mueller testifying to congress. we don't know if or when those things could happen. >> a tweet from jerry nedler. in light of the concerns sdreb discrepancies and final discussions at the justice department following the special counsel report where mueller did not exonerate the president we will be calling attorney general barr in to testify before house judiciary in the near future. again, mueller said that although they did not find evidence the president comitted a crime, they also did not
exonerate him. those words in the report. joining me on the phone msnbc legal analyst and former solicitor general neem catsall. it comes down to trust. do you trust the assessment of attorney general william barr and deputy attorney general rod rosenstein? >> i really wanted to trust them, but quite honestly this letter caused me much more concern, grave concerns, really. because remember mueller after two years of investigation doesn't draw conclusion one way or the other on obstruction of justice saying there's evidence on both sides and then you have attorney general barr within 48 hours of receiving this saying i conclude that the evidence isn't there and in particular not evidence of trump's intent. now how the heck does he determine that after 48 hours after a two-year investigation and without virinterviewing tru? i expect any prosecutor to get
that information and appears not to have been done. i think there is a, going to be a fear among the american public there's ban whitewash here. i think there has to be congressional testimony by barr. i think there will have to be mueller coming forward, too, and letting the american public see the report and absolutely the letter raises far more concerns than it does provide answers. >> how long does it take to go through the special counsel's report in order to identify material that cannot be released publicly, the grand jury material and anything else? >> such a great question. at the end of the barr letter today, it says i have to -- i want to release as much of the mueller report i can but worried about grand jury material and so i have to launch a process to undertake that. you know, it's amazing to me a guy who could conclude that in 48 hours that trudge didn't obstruct justice and look through all that evidence
couldn't also don't phi the material in a similar time frame. i expect them to apply the same expediency to the review process. eastern the review process can go to the court tomorrow i want the entire report released. that's not hard to do. this i think appears to be a little more of a delay than anything else. again, i hate saying that, but i have to say, given what barr found on obstruction of justice, i think all of us should be very concerned about the even-handedness of the way this investigation was treated. >> you were someone that said previously we should be trusting bill barr. what about those who may be listening now saying that because bill barr didn't come up with the conclusion that you might have wanted him to, not saying you had a stake in this one way or the other, thinking that now you say you don't trust him? >> first of all i never said every american should trust barr. i hoped he would do the right thing on friday when he released
the initial statement. i thought that was a good statement. but i don't think i've ever gone further than that. i do think that here we do, i think there is reason to be very concerned given what he wrote here. that you have a two-year investigation and mueller doesn't make the final determination. says there's evidence on both sides and then you have barr swoop in and within 48 hours make a decision. there is something deeply troubling about that, and it's a same troubling thing dents phied during the barr hearings. wrote a kooky 19-page memo saying presidents can't obstruct justice. i'm hoareds with is the same part of that ludicrous legal view. i don't know what his ultimate decisions were here because he doesn't tell us and that's the point. the american public needs to know, congress needs to know how exactly did he conclude there was no obstruction of justice and if it's really about the lack of intent on the part of
trump, how the heck could he know that when he didn't even try and interview trump? >> we should point out that on the question of obstruction, robert mueller did not make an assessment. he laid out both sides of the issue and allowed bill barr and rod rosenstein to make their own determination on that. they made it as neil said in less than 48 hours. neil, stick with us if you can. joining us, congressman of tennessee who sits on the house judiciary committee. congressman, your first reaction? >> i think ari and neil did a good analysis. the fact is what is in this letter to us said first mueller was not making a traditional prosecutorial judgment. those are interesting words. and then said as you well said, he did not draw a conclusion one way or the other on obstruction. does not draw that conclusion. it also does not exonerate the president. and when rudy says it's better than expected, they must have been expecting worse. the fact is, the judiciary
committee is the elected people's house. bill barr was not elected by anybody. trump attacking mueller said he wasn't elected by anybody. bill barr wasn't elected by anybody norman rod rosenstein. congress was elected. we need to so all the information to make a conclusion to get information to pub politic make a determination of obstruction of justice to have the trump team being involved with collusion. no collusion but obstruction. that's important. the people's house needs to know and it the people's house needs to have the complete report so that we can have hearings on this issue and pass laws to protect the american public. >> how many time are you willing to give william barr to get more of the report out to the public? he said end of the letter they'll go through and try to take out what they cannot release by law. grand jury material. and then release what they can. how much time are you going to give him to do that?
>> as ar as time to give him, go back to what you said to neil. i was never a naern thought bill barr should be listened to and respected. he was appointed by donald trump after he decided jeff sessions wasn't his roy comey. he wasn't his ace attorney looking out for him. not for the country, not for justice. bill barr was put in there for a reason. i don't doubt we went to a group like the federalist society, picked him as judges find me a guy and bill barr is that man. for them to make that statement. mueller wasn't part of it. mueller wasn't part of that decision that says we're not coming to a conclusion of obstruction. mueller said. they come to the conclusion, nothing there. well, barr is there because he's appointed by trump, not elected by the people and you can put legal credence in what he's saying. a trump appointee put in to protect trumpet and why they put
him in. there's too much out there to threat go. we need all the facts. transparency, release of the entire document and no sources or methods minimal amount. can be out in no time. grand jury, too. >> grand jury testimony is secret by law. >> it's secret but doesn't take long to do that and could probably do that in a classified setting. they can have a classified setting. we are all classified. >> declassify that information or -- subpoena the grand jury material? to try and make it public? >> i'm not saying make it public. saying the congress can get a classified briefing from the justice department on what's in there. and we can have -- know what the information is. we need to know the information and we have classified standing. we've been allowed, we hear all kind of classified material. this is no different. this is less important than
classified material we hear about the saudis and who killed the journalist and the russians and you name it. we hear that. this is only, classified but to protect the president and his administration. that's much less classified. >> and material is secret per the grand jury restrictions but can you get a court order to clear that. are you alleging, though, broader, speaking in a broader way, are you alleging there's a cover-up going on by the attorney general? >> i think we will know that better if we get to see the entire report and get to see the information from which he made his determination. because without that, there is at least a prima facie case that trump made clear he wanted his man in. he appointed bill barr after barr wrote letters and articles consistent whey the president want to see. i think is a prima facie case to be suspicious of any conclusions he draws that exonerates the president when bob mueller did
not exonerate the president. specifically did not exonerate him. for barr to do it, there's reasons to find the data, go to the best material, best evidence which is the entire report for the judiciary committee to look into to see what, or whether or not there was obstruction of justice. >> will you be calling bob mueller to testify? should he? >> i won't be doing it. jerry nadler will do it and i'll be supporting him and the entire democratic team and judiciary committee will. >> will you ask mr. nadler. i can ask but i don't have to ask. like asking the phillies do you want bryce harper. they got him, who do you want to see in front 6 i don't are committee? >> barr and mueller both. >> congressman cohen. thank you very much. appreciate it. >> you're welcome. the table, haven't been to any of you yet. all of our legal lines. first to you, tom winter. in reporting this out what have we learned about the special counsel's investigation?
>> i mean it's significant and frankly somebody who covers these investigations to explain to people the size and scope of what occurred here. 2,800 subpoenas issued. almost 500 search warrants executed. those don't have to be physical search wants, weren't going necessarily into people's homes or businesses but 500 search warrants approximately issued. 50 pen registers issued fairly extraordinary to me. pen register ability for the government to track where and when your cell phone is activated moop you're calling and how long that call is or who's calling you. if does not allow, did not allow the special counsel's office to listen in to those calls or to look at maybe a text message sent back and forth but does establish where people are at a certain place and time and what they're doing on that phone. that's significant to me. 40 fbi agents detailed to this, 19 attorneys and intelligence analysts other people involved. to me that speak tosin ain
investigation thorough from a law enforcement and investigating stantpoint. another thing to bring up. key and germane to the conversation you're having here, katy. the justice department typically almost never brings an obstruction of justice charge if not an underlying crime. in this particular instance they have determined there was no coordination between the trump campaign or the president as a candidate and the russian government. if there's no underlying crime here there's no typically no obstruction case that would be brought. what is interesting, what it doesn't explicitly say in the letter from a.g. barr is whether or not those efforts, potential efforts to obstruct justice, in some way hindered the investigation. something actually i'd like to know. that would be important here whether or not some of the things that this is referred to -- >> do you not think that was addressed yesterday or the day before when william barp said
special counsel mueller said that their investigation was not hampered? >> glad you raise that point. 's in that he said no prosecution, not stopped from making any indictments. from seeking indictments. that's what was in the letter. but whether or not he could have sought indictments if he was able to get access to certain information, that's one thing i think is still a little unclear and doesn't seem like that's the case but something i would like to know a little bit more about and then to confirm our reporting from friday, katy. the letter from a.g. barr explicitly states things we've known. that isn't investigations from mueller farmed out to for federal jurisdiction and no more indictments coming from the special counsel's office and the letter states no sealed indictments waiting to come out in the days and months ahead. >> talk about the point tom made. doj doesn't typically charge obstruction if there is no underlying crime and bob mueller found no underlying crime of
conspiracy or collusion. >> the statute says pending proceeding. to me that's not controlling whatsoever. the big, bizarre thing here is that bob mueller does all of this work and on obstruction, the most obvious happening in plain sight. apparently not allowed to give an opinion. >> are you saying not allowed -- or choose not to? >> i don't really know. that's the big question for me. as i looked at this, i was -- confused by that. why didn't he make an opinion about that? he's an experienced prosecutor. >> doug what do you think? >> i agree with the statement on the law. in other words, if you're investigating something and i say to a witness, go in there and lie that can be obstruction. regard l regard -- toms makes a good point. the main issue a question of coordination or collusion, and they conclude fairly strongly, face it, put politics aside a minute legally. obstruction is that much weaker
as tom explained. cynthia is right. legally it's not an absolute plat prohibition. >> and when barr came in, neil is right. always had a kooky interpretation of obstruction. why it's really important to have a traditional prosecutor's answer about if there's obstruction. >> joining us now by phone trump's lawyer, jay sekulow. mr. sekulow, thank you for joining us. give us your initial reactions. >> very pleased. both on, from the outset of this entire inquiry we had said that there was no collusion between the trump campaign and the russians and that determination proved to be correct. we also said there was no obstruction, and that also became correct. so we're very, very pleased. we think this is a complete victory for the president, and i -- i also would say that the process upon which this moved
this weekend was very, very good for the american people, that this amount of information so far has been released this quickly. >> what about the portion of the report that says although the president did not commit a crime is does not exonerate him? >> that goes to the statements from the special counsel's report. where they said, you have to point out the fact that you did, not evidence of any committable prime and didn't, the special counsel did not. theft to the department of the justice to determine there because they are part of the department of justice unlike independent counsel, and what happened was that the department of justice made the conclusion that there was no obstruction, because there was no underlying crime. and that the actions that were taken as they noted publicly, the report identifies no actions in our sdwlauchjudgment that co obstruction. >> can you tell us what robert
mueller asked donald trump at least on paper? >> i cannot discuss that with you at this point. that would be not appropriate for me to do. we did answer a series of questions in writing that they asked for and the president did respond to those. >> if congress continues this and at some point tries to talk to you or talk to anybody involved in this investigation, how do you expect to handle those requests? >> i'm the president's lawyer. communications that i have are attorney/client privilege. >> in terms of the report, and what will be released to the public, are you expecting to request that anything is privileged in the report, or will you allow it to be made public as-is? >> that's not a decision -- just to be clear. on the issue whether there's executive material or privileged material would be a decision that would be engaged between the department of justice and white house. not the president. that would not be me, ride you giuliani or our legal team nap
would be a decision made by the white house in consultation with the department of justice. i think everybody would agree that general barr moved very quickly here, gets the report on a friday at 5:00 and 48 hours later delivers what they call the principle conclusions. i thought that was impressive. and i thought it was well thought out and obviously we're very, very pleased with the result. with regard to what happens in the future is not really in -- not in the jurisdiction of the president and his private lawyers. >> have you request add copy of the mueller report in its entirety. >> we have not. >> are you going to? >> nope. >> why not? >> none of it -- because the way the regulations are written it is a confidential report between the special counsel and the attorney general. and we don't have, under the regulations, and i think -- we don't have the right to go in and demand access to the underlying report. >> do you believe congress should stop investigating?
>> i mean, look, yes. i think this whole issue of, i mean, i cannot count the number of times people on all the networks said, we have significant evidence of collusion. members of congress. between the president, himself and the russians, some called it treasonous, others collusion or conspiracy with the russians, interference by the russians knowingly made by the president. all those statements were made. the special counsel, the department of justice took a contrary view. there was not collusion. the basis upon which this investigation was launched, and the conclusion was unequivocal there was none. >> can you maybe shed light on this for us? a question we've been asking a lot. why did so many of those around donald trump on the question of contacts with russia lie about it if there was nothing nefarious going on? >> i cannot address that as the president's lawyer. it's not something we would know
or be aware of, but the president, and they said the campaign as well in the report, that there was no evidence of collusion, period. unequivocal. >> have you spoken to the president? >> if i did, i wouldn't tell you. >> why not? >> but i don't want to get into conversations i had with the president or have not had with the president, needless to say we're very pleased. >> what about the president himself? i'm sure you've talked to him about this. i have not asked him this -- >> just sent out a statement. >> i asked about this in the moment but maybe you can shed more light on this. why get on a stage and ask russia to find hillary clinton's e-mails? >> i'm not going to -- i'm not going to what we call relitigate facts or circumstances. all of these facts and circumstances that were out there were obviously evaluated by the special counsel and they concluded there was no collusion. >> the president tweeted, no collusion. no obstruction. complete and total exoneration. >> that's correct. >> keep america great. were you given advice over the weekend to keep quiet until this
came out? >> if i was your lawyer would you want me telling the advice i did or did not give to you? you would not want me to do that. i'm not going say. >> and lots of legal minds on the panel now who are questioning how quickly bill barr was able to determine that there was no obstruction. we know that robert mueller presented both sides of the issue. evidence to say he did obstruct, evidence that he did not. a lot in the public sphere already. we've been reporting on it. the comey firing. the tweets, et cetera. the behavior presumably to jeff sessions among those. that's what we're presuming. what do you say to those who say that, that, ask how quickly can bob barr, will william barr really get to the bottom of that? >> first of all, the deputy attorney general of the united states was involved in this from the outset and you saw in the letter he was not only consulted but specifically reference that both the attorney general and
the deputy attorney general, rob rosenstein and i concluded, reading from the letter. the evidence developed during the investigation is not sufficient to establish that the president committed an obstruction of justice offense. also importantly said here our determination was made without regard to and is not based on the constitutional consideration surrounding the indictment and criminal indictment of a sitting president. that's important beaux it was not a declination because you can't indict a sitting president. a factual decision there was not evidence of obstruction. >> why did the president not sit back and allow this investigation to happen? why was he so involved? >> the investigation did happen. going an almost two years. bob mueller was not fired with all the attacks on that issue, and that were made. bob mueller was not fired. no fbi agent involved in the case was interfered with. the fact of the matter is, there was no collusion. there was no obstruction determination here. this is a vindication of the
legal position and also the factual position
as we've advocated from the outset. >> mr. sekulow, the president of the united states is approaching reporters. we're going to listen in. >> so after a long look -- after a long investigation, after so many people have been so badly hurt, after not looking at the other side, where a lot of bad things happened, a lot of horrible things happened, a lot of very bad things happened for our country, it was just announced there was no collusion with russia. the most ridiculous thing i've ever heard. there was no collusion with russia. there was no obstruction and none whatsoever, and it was a complete and total exoneration. it's a shame that our country
had to go through this. ton honest, it's a shame that your president has had to go through this for, before i even got elected. it began. and it began illegally, and hopefully somebody's going to look at the other side. this was an illegal takedown that failed. and hopefully somebody's going to be looking at the other side. so it's complete exoneration. no collusion. no obstruction. thank you very much. thank you. >> the president saying no collusion. no obstruction. not taking any questions from reporters. you can
call that a 2020 preview how he will use this investigation or try to use it to his advantage going forward saying he was unfairly victimized and a segment of washington and of the country that was trying to unfairly take him out of office.
he did say over and over again on the campaign trail in 2016 that there was a conspiracy to keep him out of office, because he was going to work for the american public and not work for the establishment. i imagine he'll use this in the same way he used it to, or used the various other conspiracythe 2020. joe scarborough, a question not asked are him whether he would acquiesce and release the entire report as he said he would a couple days ago? >> yeah, well, we'll see. again, what the president says one minute doesn't actually mean much the next minute. so we'll, we'll wait and see what happens, but it is interesting. the president said a few things, in ace very brief press conference that obviously, again, just requires fact checking once. the first thing he said was that
it was a complete exoneration and it certainly was a complete exoneration on the issue of collusion. and that is not just good news for donald trump. that is good news for americans sitting president of the united states did not, in fact, collude with vladimir putin and russia. so that's very good news. he said that it was an exhaustive investigation that also completely exonerated him on obstruction of justice as you've been reporting, as everybody has been reporting. that actually is a question that still remains up in the air. but there wasn't enough evidence for bob mueller to even say that even if a president could be indicted, that this president could be indicted for obstruction of justice. and so he didn't meet that standard. and so by justice department guidelines, that's that. and the justice department shouldn't be talking about it. he did say, though, that he was a victim of all of these
attacks. but many bad things happened on the other side. he, of course, was talking about the democratic side with hillary clinton's campaign. and said that they had not looked at the other side. i would suggest that hillary clinton and members of her campaign and i think a lot of people that cover the 2016 campaign like yourself would say that that -- that's just a ridiculous statement on its face. the fact of the matter is, the fbi conducted an exhaustive investigation for over a year on hillary clinton, her use of e-mails. a lot of information was leaked throughout the course of the campaign that damaged hillary clinton's campaign. the comey letter, of course, ten days beforehand helped elect her -- helped elect donald trump president of the united states. so, again, many things just not accurate on their face. but at the same time, this was a very good day for the president of the united states politically
and i would suggest also for americans who want to be assured that somebody like robert mueller could exhaustively look into this matter for two years and find that the president did not collude with russia, that's great news, as well. i will say, though, donald trump could have made things much easier on himself and the administration could have made things much easier on themselves if they hadn't lied repeatedly. this is something -- let's just -- everybody take a deep breath. great news the president did not collude. but this investigation did not arise out of thin air. the president of the united states lied on the campaign trail. he said they never had any contact with russians during the campaign. that obviously was a lie. mike pence said in january of 2017, nobody on the trump campaign ever talked to russians. that was a lie. jeff sessions lied in front of the senate during testimony about contacts that he had had with russians. that's why he had to recuse
himself. jared kushner, several times, lied on his disclosure forms regarding meetings with russians. again, i think one of the questions that will remain for quite some time is that if there was no collusion and we can be convinced of that today, why did donald trump and why did his administration and why did everybody close to him lie about contacts that they had with russia throughout the course of the campaign? and i guess the answer to that may just be pure basic greed. he wanted to build a tower in moscow. >> that was going to be my next question. why all the lying? because that's been the one consistent thing in the past two-and-a-half years, is when you ask anybody in charge about russia, they will obfuscate. or they will outright lie. 37 indictments in total from robert mueller over the course of this investigation. a number of guilty pleas secured, and one conviction by
trial. paul manafort was still lying at the end of it when he was -- >> right, yeah. >> he was cooperating with the special counsel, but also still had a joint defense agreement with the white house. why? >> again, katy, that's one of the great mysteries. people were sent to jail for lying about contacts with russia, their contacts with russian oligarchs. paul manafort got arrested, continued to lie. rick gates got arrested, continued to lie during his proffer. made matters much worse for him. a man that donald trump told the "washington post" was one of his top for teign policy advisers lied. you had -- you know, national security adviser. i mean, we haven't even talked about general flynn lying about a conversation that he had with the russian ambassador. and the list goes on and on.
and like you said, a lot of people indicted. a lot of russians indicted, almost 200 charges brought during the course of this -- during the course of this investigation. and, again, the mystery here is, if there was no collusion, and i think what reporters need to dig into is need to figure out why did donald trump -- why did mike pence, why did jeff sessions, why did the president's first national security adviser, why did the president's campaign chairman, why did the president's assistant campaign chairman, why did the president's son-in-law -- why did they all lie about contacts with russians? >> they might not have conspired directly with russians, according to mueller, who has exonerated the president and his team on that, but they definitely benefited from what
happened in the 2016 election. and there is still questions about why donald trump, why he would ask russia to find hillary clinton's e-mails. we know from a mueller indictment that that very night that russians did try to hack into her personal e-mails, why did he do that? why did he wave the wikileaks findings around so much? why was he so willing to use information that was potentially ill-gotten from a foreign government to slander his opponent? >> well, you know, the thing is, donald trump may just be a political version of mr. magoo. he may just stumble -- and you are too young to know who mr. magoo is. >> i know who mr. magoo is, excuse me. >> he may be a guy who just stumbles and bumbles around from one lie to -- from one thing to another. and in this case, as it pertained to russia, there were -- there were several lies that, again, probably centered more around donald trump's business dealings and his -- a
lot of people have said, if you want to understand what donald trump does, if you want to understand donald trump's foreign policy towards saudi arabia or his leniency toward the philippines or turkey or russia, you don't look to foreign policy. you look -- you look to his business dealings, and money that he's made in the past and money he hopes to make in the future. and i think at the end of the day, just simple, pure greed probably accounts for much of what we've seen over the past few years. >> joe, what do you think democrats should do now? because if you open your e-mail, as my e-mail is, it's full of rapid response from republicans -- republican national committee from the white house calling this all a witch hunt, sail they were vindicated, saying the democrats and the media lied about this for two-and-a-half years and we were right, and we've been the victims all along. they're trying to keep donald trump from making america great. if you were the democrats, do you continue investigating?
do you continue subpoenaing members of the presidential orbit? do you subpoena robert mueller? do you subpoena rod rosenstein? do you subpoena bill barr, or do you allow this to end and allow the 2020 candidates to take up all of the oxygen? >> i think the first thing you have to do is, as a democrat, you have to say, it is a great day for america that robert mueller is a man who can be trusted. even though donald trump tried to slander his good name and donald trump's right wing protectors in the news media tried to slander this marine war hero's name every single day. donald trump's right wing agitators in and out of congress tried to slander this good man's name, day in and day out. despite that fact, robert mueller completed his investigation, and he found that the president of the united states did not collude with russia. that is good news. but as jonathan turley said on
our show a year-and-a-half ago and as most legal scholars have said to you and ari and other people on this network, donald trump's greatest threat legally does not come from robert mueller. and you can look at the tape. this is not monday morning quarterbacking after robert mueller has come in and said there was no collusion. legal scholars have said time and time again, at least on our show and on your show, that the greatest threat that donald trump faces legally is from the southern district of new york. that was true before today. that's true after today. and there are a lot of questions to still be answered. and, yes, the democrats should conduct oversight, just like the republicans should have conducted oversight hearings. now republicans would say that democrats shouldn't conduct oversight hearings. many of them were the same hypocrites that continued investigating hillary clinton and benghazi until after the
election. and i can't believe it. but lindsey graham last night at mar-a-lago said he wanted to continue investigating hillary clinton. and the clinton e-mails. it's just -- it's absolutely rid -- it's absolutely ridiculous. and i think the democrats have a constitutional responsibility to continue to conduct oversight of this administration. and just because the republicans didn't do it doesn't mean the democrats shouldn't. that's exactly what they should do and let the facts like robert mueller -- let the facts lead them to their conclusions. >> so stick with us, if you can. just want to reset for those who might be just joining us. it is 5:00 p.m. in washington, where we're following -- and in new york and on the east coast entirely. where we're following breaking news. last hour we received a four-page summary of the mueller report. the summary was provided by attorney general bill barr. before boarding air force one, the president stopped to spe