tv Politics Nation With Al Sharpton MSNBC March 24, 2019 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT
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 speak to reporters about those
findings. he said it was a complete and total exoneration, although we will fact-collect this. >> 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. to be honest, it's a shame that
your president has had to go through this f. before i even got elected, it began. and it began illegally. and hopefully somebody is going to look at the other side. this was an illegal takedown that failed. and hopefully somebody is going to be looking at the other side. so it's complete exoneration, no collusion, no obstruction. thank you very much. >> that is not true. it did not totally exonerate the president of the united states. the mueller report says this. while the report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him. that is from bill barr, summarizing the mueller report. mueller also did not find no obstruction. that was a determination made by william ba william barr, attorney general and rod rosenstein, deputy attorney general.
they decided with the evidence that was provided to them by robert mueller that the president did not obstruct justice. mueller basically punted on that. presented both sides of the issue and allowed them to decide. on the issue, though, of conspiracy, of coordinating with russia, the president has been exonerated by robert mueller. robert mueller found that he could not establish that members of the trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the russian government in its election interference activities. joining us now, nbc news julia ainslie at the department of justice, host of nbc's "meet the press," chuck todd and kristen welker. julia, the top lines of the report are two-fold. one, there was no conspiracy. two, they were going to allow attorney general barr and rod rosenstein to determine whether there was obstruction. and both of those men determined no obstruction. >> that's right, katy. i want to take you through how
fast they made that decision and how they did it. as we know, the attorney general did not receive the mueller report until friday afternoon. so he was able to take all of the evidence that robert mueller laid out on both sides of the obstruction argument for charging for obstruction and not. these difficult issues he talks about in this letter. and they were able to decide less than 48 hours later that there was no obstruction. and, of course, this now makes sense why reporters have been told over and over again this weekend that rod rosenstein was in the room. because i don't think that the attorney general wanted to have this decision squarely upon his shoulders. he does give us some insight, however, into how he made this decision. one thing he considered, he said they considered the intent with respect to obstruction, and they decided that there was not intent, because there was no underlying crime related to russian election interference. that's something we've talked about a lot with legal scholars on our network about the fact that it can sometimes be difficult to charge obstruction when there's no underlying
crime. some people say that the underlying crime shouldn't be considered with obstruction. it's clear here that william barr and rod rosenstein did think that was significant. one thing they did not consider, another question we have talked about a lot, whether or not you can indict a sitting president. as you know, the justice department's office of legal counsel weighed in on that in 2000 and said you cannot indict a sitting president. and we wondered whether or not that would keep more indictments from coming down. barr says in this letter that opinion was not considered. so in other words, it's not that he's making this obstruction decision based on the indictment opinion. he would have made an indictment if the evidence had been there on obstruction. but he's saying it's not. >> julia, at the end of the summary, william barr also says he's going to try and release as much of the mueller report as possible but they're going to go through and determine what they cannot release. grand jury material being one of those things. how long do we expect them to take to do this? have we gotten any more on a
time line? >> there is no more time line on that. as we know, he wanted to give a time line on releasing this letter, but he could take longer. he wants to go back and consult with robert mueller. he didn't consult with robert mueller on this letter, but he wants to consult going forward. another key thing that william barr will have to consider, what evidence he could give us that could interfere with ongoing investigations. those in other districts that have sponsor out of the mueller probe. he doesn't want to interfere with those. that means this could take some time. he's going to have to keep going, not just to robert mueller, but to prosecutors in other districts to make sure he doesn't cross into their investigation. so it could be that we continue to get more of this evidence, and we know more about what was considered, both by robert mueller and making his decision not to charge for conspiracy or collusion, and in william barr's decision, not to pursue an obstruction case. >> kristen welker at the white house, everybody in donald trump's world is doing a victory
lap, including the president himself. >> and we just got a campaign statement, katy, which builds upon what president trump said, which is he sees this as complete and total exoneration, vindication. and so it is giving you essentially a preview of what you are going to see from the president, his allies, officials here at the white house over the next 48 hours, certainly. and frankly, you're seeing a preview of what we are going to see on the campaign trail. the president's attorney saying this was better than they had expected. i can tell you that they were preparing for a range of different contingencies. this, politically speaking, is going to be viewed as a win by them and again by the president. president trump just leaving florida, where he's been throughout the weekend. he has been very restrained. his advisers have said do not comment. do not tweet about the mueller investigation until we know exactly what is in the report.
and the president really stuck to that. he didn't speak until he was just departing. when he lands, we're going to be there, katy. we'll try to get some questions to him. and i think the biggest one at this point becomes, will he call for this report to be made public in its entirety. because that's really the question. and that's what democrats are demanding. they want to see the full report. they want to be able to review all of the pieces of information that robert mueller had at his hands and then make a determination about how they see those facts. and so that's really where this debate is going to go now for that report to be made public. the president has said he wants it to be made public, but, of course, again, katy, we go back to that issue. how much of the report will congress and the public actually see in the end. >> and the president often changes his mind on a dime. chuck todd, one thing that has -- i guess stuck this process up in the past couple hours, even though this is a good day for the president in
terms of finding no collusion, finding no conspiracy, and bill barr saying there was no obstruction, essentially clearing the president from the doj angle of this, the president and the white house and sarah sanders are still continuing to be misleading about the results of this investigation. they're both saying it completely exonerates him. bob mueller says specifically, this does not exonerate him. that was william barr's assessment of the bob mueller report. although he committed no crime, the report does not exonerate him. they also said that mueller found no obstruction. mueller did not find no obstruction. mueller laid out the evidence on both sides of the issue and allowed bill barr and rod rosenstein to make the decision. why continue to be misleading about good news? >> well, i think they take bill barr's assessment as exoneration on obstruction, and -- >> but sarah sanders in her statement said mueller exonerated the president on obstruction. >> i'm shocked by the conflation
attempts by these folks. this is -- katy, as we know, this is what donald trump does, overexaggerates everything, whatever it is. and this is the pr head start that essentially the trump administration -- the president is getting, thanks to the fact that his attorney general that made this assessment. and this is where democrats are in a huge box here. we're all taking bill barr's word for the -- clearly, robert mueller found troubling evidence on the obstruction question. because he could not come to a conclusion. he left it for the attorney general to come to this conclusion. so he found troubling evidence. it's bill barr that has cleared him. this is where democrats are going to have their back up on this. they're going to be very upset. and this is where from a pr standpoint, i don't know how they ever get this back. once you see the report, if it
doesn't match the tone of what bill barr wrote or at least to reasonable folks, then it is only going to polarize the perception of this even further. so that is -- but on the pr front, this is the head start that they have. they're going forward. they're filling a vacuum before we ever get to read the actual report. and so they're going to have spun and spun and spun. they got their supporters worked up. they've got everybody lined up. and, again, nobody has seen the actual evidence that apparently robert mueller has put out there that does at least raise questions of the obstruction question. but again, politically, they got the head start, and i don't know if democrats will ever be able to sort of get that pr perception back, which is important if you want to have political legitimacy for continued investigations. >> reverend al sharpton, you're with us as well. an historic day.
>> no doubt about it. i think it is. i want to bring joe scarborough back in from "morning joe." because i think he's right. this is a clear day of victory for the president. but i think that the question that he raises that i wanted him to elaborate on is that if all is as we are seeing from barr's letter, then why did so many people lie? we're talking about 37 indictments. so if it was not russian collusion, then what was it, and is any of that criminal, joe? because the question is, people don't just lie about anything or about nothing. so then what do all of these people -- i would hate to be one of the guys headed to jail if all of this was nothing. >> yeah. well, you know, reverend al, again, i think -- again, and i know you and i have talked about this before off camera. so much of what donald trump
does, not only whether it was on the campaign or on the campaign trail or even as president of the united states is not focused on foreign policy, not focused on domestic policy. it's always been about money with him. so if they were continuing their conversations with russians and with russian officials about building a trump tower in moscow, then, yes, they would lie about that. because they would know that that obviously would be improper behavior. illegal? maybe not. but certainly not a proper thing to be doing during a presidential campaign. but again, we have to put this in proper context. donald trump did not expect donald trump to be elected president of the united states. this was like -- this was like a branding exercise that went horribly wrong. he thought he was going to lose, and then he thought he was going to make a lot of money off of that, by either starting a tv network or by, you know,
building his trump tower in moscow. so that probably explains most of the lies. i don't understand, though, why you had officials -- even after they were indicted by robert mueller, continuing to lie. but they did. but just -- again, let's just look at the big headline here, though. this is actually a big win for the president of the united states. not just legally, but chuck todd is right. politically, it's a very big win. and we can talk about obstruction of justice. most of the obstruction was done in plain sight for all of us to see. whether it was with a lester holt interview or whether he was bragging to the foreign minister of russia that he had fired comey and relieved the pressure off of everybody. so most of that obstruction seemed to be in plain sight. so those -- the congressional committees can still continue the investigations. but collusion was the big
question. and on that, robert mueller, after two years of investigating, gave a very clear answer. and that was that there was no collusion. i mean, this was -- this was as clean-cut, and reverend al, i'm sure you'll remember this. a lot of people may not. this is about as clean-cut as mike tyson beating spinks in the first round. i mean, this was -- i know trump's attorneys are shocked. i know a lot of democrats are shocked on capitol hill about this. no one expected this sort of exoneration on collusion, but there is exoneration on collusion. there remains questions about obstruction of justice that, of course, the congressional committees can investigate. but also, again, you've got the southern district of new york where most legal scholars believe donald trump's greatest legal jeopardy lies. >> yeah, well, i was sitting at that fight when mike spinks was knocked out did i tyson. i was about two seats from donald trump. he was a democrat then.
>> yeah. >> but anyway, let me say that i think you're right. it's a clear victory for him politically and legally. the question is going to be the other investigation, southern district and state investigations. and -- >> right. >> and if nadler -- congressman nadler does call william barr in, and they begin to dive deep down into this, that will be another question. but the democrats also now have to move on and really deal with hard issues. i think the politics is -- >> exactly. >> is that we're now going to have to start talking about tax reform and climate change and other things. because the mueller situation i think has ended up a clear victory for the president. >> well, and reverend al, listen, you have said this all along. a lot of democrats haven't figured this out over the past couple of years. they have been distracted by the mueller investigation. but you have understood and i
think the smarter people in the democratic party have understood, that they were never going to win elections talking about russia. they were never going to win elections talking about robert mueller. they're going to win elections talking about -- and by the way, check the tape. this isn't monday morning quarterbacking again. we have said it on the air together. and you've said it and i've said it. it's health care that people are concerned about. it's wages that people are concerned about. >> criminal justice. >> a lot of -- criminal justice. people are concerned about. they want to understand what people like robert kraft got a massive tax cut? people like jeffrey epstein got a massive tax cut? and yet working class americans didn't get that massive tax cut. they're going to be a lot more interested about what donald trump said after they passed the largest tax cut in american history for the richest multinational corporations of the richest people. when donald trump bragged to his friends at mar-a-lago, i just made a lot of you a lot of money
today. those are the bread and butter issues. how do people pay for school? how do they pay for health care? are there two americans when we're talking about criminal justice? what's our standing across the globe? are we going to be able to continue to count on our allies when our allies can't count on us? those are the issues that matter most. and maybe, just maybe, this exoneration will refocus democrats on the campaign trail to start talking primarily about those issues. and i know they are talking a lot about those issues. but you and i also know that a lot of people have been secretly hoping that robert mueller was going to run donald trump out of office. he's not. he didn't. and now the only way to get donald trump out of office is to beat him in the fair marketplace of ideas and have better policies on health care. and by the way, can i just say, every promise that donald trump
made during the campaign, he's broken whether you talk about the wall and mexico paying for it. he said he was going to balance the budget this past month. we had the biggest deficit in the history of the united states this past month. we've got the biggest national debt ever. we've got the biggest trade imbalance that we've ever had before. donald trump better -- promised more health care, better health care, cheaper health care. he hasn't delivered on that either. that's where democrats are going to win in 2020. and that's what they have got to refocus on today. >> let's bring in ari melber. ari, when we look at investigations that could be coming, we are poised to see more of robert mueller's report on a time line that we don't know yet from william barr, once he figures out what can be released and what cannot be released. but there is potentially more information in the report about
other investigations currently ongoing. we know robert mueller farmed out a lot of his material to the sdny, d.c. circuit courts, et cetera. >> sure. and some of that was farmed out, because he did find criminal suspicion and wanted to hand it to people whose normal jurisdiction would be to work on it. i've got my copies and i'm sure many people around the country do, this is four pages. there's not a single full sentence in here that's quoted the mueller report. every quote from the mueller report itself is a partial sentence. now some of them are, as just discussed, quite important partial sentences, like no election collusion conspiracy. we started reporting the implication of that friday night, because there were no election collusion conspiracy indictments. but it is really striking that barr basically said i'm going to do this through the weekend. mueller spent 22 months on it. i could do it in under 48 hours. and go beyond the mueller report's findings. so he is relaying one finding on no election collusion
conspiracy. that's big. and then he's going beyond the other finding, which was that there was evidence of obstruction, that the president is not exonerated but also not accused of a crime. and the house, which as we were discussing earlier, katy, is where that would usually be dealt with. the house was getting muscled out in an attempt by the attorney general to say i'm going to issue my own collusion on that and doing that with these four partial sentences. so you don't need to be a lawyer or an expert at washington power politics to say, hmmm, i wonder if these four sentences, partial, are the very best you could find in the entire mueller report about donald trump in there. to the messaging chuck todd was speaking to. i think this opens up questions about what were the sentences before and after. why are they partial sentences. and on the obstruction, is that something the house wants to look at based on the evidence or take this sort of book report summary from the weekend work by the attorney general. do you want the book or are you satisfied with the book report? >> yeah. and is the house going to say let us make our own
determination on whether we believe the president of the united states obstructed justice. we already have a number of lawmakers who have expressed their opinion one way or the other when it comes to that, based on the publicly available evidence of it. i want to go around the table. danny cevallos, we haven't heard from you. ari makes a good point. there is not one line in this four-page summary that quotes the mueller report directly. what william barr and rod rosenstein are asking the public and congress and everybody to do is trust their judgment. and we already know from william barr's confirmation hearings there were a lot of democrats who had deep reaggravations about whether they could trust his judgment, especially because of the letter he sent voluntarily to the president talking about executive privilege and what he sees this investigation as. >> yes. and i think the text is key. ari is right to study it. we should all study the text of this summary. because i think barr is telling
us several things without out and out saying them. the if ifirst is that why inclu that statement of mueller's, that this does not exonerate the president and then add there is evidence on both sides? and then he also makes reference several times to the principles of federal prosecution. well, what do those tell us? the principles of federal prosecution have long held that just because you have probable cause that a crime was committed, that's not enough. that's just a threshold issue. you have to go on, keep investigating and mere probable cause. 51%, maybe enough to get you an indictment, but federal prosecutors need more. he may be telling us something in referencing those not once, but twice. and part two is what you just said. he says explicitly, i didn't reach the issue of whether or not a sitting president can be indicted. but what he doesn't mention is whether a sitting president can obstruct justice. and we know that barr is aware of this issue, because it was
his magna opus. it was his muse when he submitted an unsolicited memorandum that helped him get his job. so if the president cannot obstruct justice and doesn't mention whether that went into his calculus, what do we know about whether he really made a determination as to whether there was obstruction and how will the house deal with that? >> i also think it's important to point out, because i think when the president's attorney was on, he inferred that the prosecutor in this case, the special counsel, had said that there would be -- that he was leaving it to justice or that justice was determining about obstruction. but that is not what even barr's letter says. i'm reading from the letter. it says that the question leaves unresolved wi unresolved what the special counsel views, concerning whether the president's actions on intent could be viewed as
obstruction. the special counsel states while this report does not conclude the president committed a crime, and he puts this in quotes, it does not exonerate him. and i think he inferred, like, well, it exonerates him because the justice department. but the special down directly said he could not exonerate him on obstruction. >> that is the question, though. why do the special counsel leave that question open? why did the special counsel leave that up to attorney general barr and rod rosenstein? >> first of all, i couldn't agree more. obviously, i'm a huge proponent of study it, let's really dig into the semantics, the sentences. seriously, we've had this for however long we've had it. >> two hours. >> yeah, absolutely. you know, and there's a big difference between the letter and the underlying report and the underlying documents, obviously. so that's something that's got to be drilled into. now, having said that, though, the exoneration part is pretty clear in terms of the collusion
and coordination with russia. >> and as joe said, that is good news for the country. >> and i think it was brilliant that joe said it's good news for our country. i don't think anybody should really spend a lot of time trying to throw spins or hail marys with respect to that. but as reverend al says, on obstruction, they're clearly saying, look, there's two sides of it. there is evidence on both sides. and then the key political part -- this is huge. we're throwing it to the attorney general. my god, that's a huge political fact that can be worked with, because the whole argument is, trump's attorney general, appointed by trump. and those are legitimate points. >> i think, you know, i can sit here, and i'm looking at this four-page letter. i can tell you how many governments were asked for information, 13. over 500 -- or approximately 500 witnesses. more than 2,800 subpoenas. what i can sit here and tell you, katy, how many pages special counsel robert mueller's report is, because it doesn't say it in this letter. >> why not?
why wouldn't it? >> i don't understand that. there is analysis that can be done on that. just looking at it from my standpoint, what's difficult here today, is this a four-page letter, it's actually less than that when you take out the signatures and the addresses. it's really two-and-a-half. three pages. but when i look at this letter, is it a four-page summary of 1,000 pages? 400 pages? 20 pages? i don't know. so it's a little bit difficult here to say, was robert mueller more specific with respect to the question that now everybody is focusing on with his -- which is obstruction. because it's unequivocal, the russia question that there is no collusion. according to that. but as ari pointed out, there is no complete sentence in here. it would have been helpful to get some quotes in or at least cite some paragraphs that could give us more meat to this report. >> when we're talking about conspiracy, that is relegated in this document to a footnote. joyce vance, it's a footnote in this document. it is a footnote the president
wrote nobody coordinated, tacitly or explicitly, with russia. >> and that's obviously an important top-line consideration that mueller reaches here. >> why would it be in this summary? that seems a weird thing to not lead with. >> yeah. and i think that that's part of the question that we all have that we're struggling with. i'm reading everything i can get my hands on, and the problem, much like ari melber said, we're seeing a book report. we're seeing the cliff notes, rather than seeing mueller's actual findings themselves. so i think this is in many case good news. it's not the news many people expected. but it's good news to know that mueller did not find any explicit collusion between the campaign and russia. but now we need to dig into details. and see whether that decision was reached simply because there was an evidentiary failure, couldn't get to the level of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, but a lot of suspicion that congress needs to consider.
why this was relegated to a footnote i think is one of the mysteries, and it's clear that the attorney general will have to be on the hill very soon to help explain this, to provide as much of this as possible. as much as anything, so that the american people can have confidence. because barr, rather than taking mueller's decisions and giving them to us for us to see, has made his own decisions. and that makes this very difficult in many ways to understand and have confidence in. >> why would robert mueller not make the assessment on obstruction himself? why would he leave it up to ag barr and rod rosenstein? >> i think that's the most important open question that we have. you know, that's your job as a prosecutor. my job as a u.s. attorney was to look at evidence, particularly in very close cases. and make a decision. so we know that mueller is not someone who shirks duty. we will need to understand what he said about why he wasn't
making a decision. it sounds like perhaps he was leaving it up to people in congress. we don't know that for certain. but it is a little bit alarming that bill barr, based on 48 hours worth of review, was willing to jump in and make that decision for bob mueller, the person who, after all, had the best look at the evidence. >> joyce vance, stick with us. it is now half past the hour, and the president is in the air on the way back to the white house. this is after he learned and the rest of us learned about the findings of the mueller investigation per william barr. he says robert mueller's report did not establish that the trump campaign conspired or coordinated with russia. and the special counsel did not make a decision on the evidence of obstruction. that decision was made by both william bar and rod rosenstein, that they believe, based on what mueller provided them, that they don't think the president obstructed justice. for the first time, we also
heard from the president's campaign, 2020 campaign, that is. brad parscale saying in part today, today marks the day that president trump has been completely and fully vindicated by special counsel, robert mueller, exposing the russia collusion theory in an elaborate web of lies and deset. obviously, that is spin from his 2020 campaign manager and a preview for how we will see this investigation play out in 2020. how the president will try to use it to his advantage. rev? >> yeah. joining us now is democratic presidential candidate, mayor pete buttigieg.
>> as was said in the summary, the president is not being indicted at the moment and also has not been exonerated at the moment. from a political perspective, i think this is further evidence it would be a mistake for democrats to think that the way for the trump presidency to end is by way of investigation. that could, of course, happen. but we've got to be paying attention to the kinds of conditions that made it possible for somebody like him to get here in the first place. i would argue with a figure like this president should never have been able to come within cheating distance of the oh oval office. and i fear if we're not paying attention to the causes that he's a symptom of, then not only is it possible for him to succeed in 2020, but we could also find ourselves with another figure like him or even worse in the future. >> he's not been in this particular investigation. he has not come out of this indicted or even to have
includinclude colluded with the russians. is it now going to shift your campaign in any way, and do you expect now that the 2020 candidates will deal with the issues of the economy and criminal justice and climate change and other issues. because the silver bullet of an indictment did not come. now what do the democrats running for president do? how does this alter if not all your campaign? >> i hope this motivates all of us to stay focused on the issues that really impact our lives in the every day. again, i'm not saying we make excuses for this president. when he lies, we will confront it. when he does the wrong thing, we will confront that. but at the end of the day, this campaign can't be about him. i think part of how we lost in 2016, it was much too much about him and left people back home saying, okay, nobody is talking about me. beef g
we've got to talk about economic issues, justice. our party's commitment to freedom, but freedom in a positive way. not just freedom from government, but freedom to live a life of your choosing. our party's commitment to racial and social justice. this is what makes it a party that is in agreement with most americans. we have to make sure we remind americans about what we stand for. the more this is about any individual personality. especially the personality of the president. the less we're talking about the issues that affect people in the every day. >> so going forward, you want to debate the issues like racial justice and other issues the question -- because i think just for the democratic candidates, i think the congress needs to do what it's supposed to do. but i'm talking about the race for 2020 to litigate or relitigate this investigation is to not really discuss what people sitting at home are concerned about. if pocketbook issues and other issues that are really, really
egregious that's going on in the country under this administration. >> that's right. we live in a country where so many people are working full time or more than full time, and are still living in poverty. we're living in a country where things are headed in the wrong direction, especially my generation, which is currently on tack track to be the first in american history to make less than our parents if nothing changes. we haven't even figured out how to put an end to the endless wars. if we're not talking about that, they are missing something very important. and, again, you know, where i live, here in indiana, i know a lot of people who voted for this president not because they were under any illusions about his character, but because they have felt so left out of the political and economic structures and systems that we've been in really for my entire lifetime. and frankly, democratic and republican presidencies have let so many americans down. we've got to put a stop to that. and that means democratic reform. that means making sure this
really is a democracy, one of the reasons i've called for us to do away with the electoral college. it also means doing something about voter suppression that has denied so many u.s. citizens their ability to vote. if we don't get a handle on these core stuck actuarial issues, whether it's raising the minimum wage or making sure health care is available to all of us or another very pressing one, especially for my generation, which is tackling the issue of climate change that is already a security challenge u leaning lives in the u.s. none of our ability is going to get any better until we fix or democracy, which for political and racial reasons is being made less democratic by a party that says you're better off. >> from the 2020 candidates, we hear them notably trying not to focus on this, make it part of their campaign same thing for
2018. they didn't make the russia investigation part of their teams. how much will they be able to separate themselves though that will continue to happen? >> well, i think that they will probably go forward now, dealing with thei issues just raised. some of them will have to deal with congress, because you have some that are in the senate. that are actually on the senate sdwru judiciary committee, so they have to do both duties. i really think as the president goes through his victory lap, those who zero in on the real concerns of american people that peel like they have been given a bad deal, that's how they're -- if they are lawyers on cable television, they will not be able to celebrate the kind of support they want. that is not excusing what made
me go here and what the president did. but i think you're going to have to prove you can walk and chew gum at the same time. >> democratic leaders and various committees want to get to the bottom of whether or not there is corruption in the white house. whether or not there is conflict of interest in the white house and there are a northbouumber o democratic chr democratic chairman. you're a legal analyst here at msnbc. we heard from jerry nadler who says that he wants bill barr to come in front of congress. to come in front of his committee, potentially at his point. what would their testimony look plik? how would they be constrained? >> i think they're testimony is going to be critically important. you know, ours is going to be important, but even more difficult is going to be bob
mueller's testimony, and i'll tell you why. this once raises question for both congress and the american people moving forward. the question it haens definitively is was there evidence, was there proof beyond a reasonable doubt that members of the trump conspired, that is entered into an illegal russia investigation. bob hooul e as i understand said no. i'm sure will be holding that up as permanently settling this issue. however, they have to look at the issue raised by this letter. why is it that on the second of whether the president obstructed justice, bob mueller wasn't permitted to offer his opinion.
i think that is a really consequence fe consequential question. what would the opinion perfectly subsidies its is what we do as prosecutors. it's would be mueller permitted to do on the conspiracy issue. so i think the silver lining here, katy, is two-fold. one, the letter itself says bob mueller set out all of the arguments on whether the committed the crime of obstruction of justice. and those arguments are in the report. the president has ready said let's the report out for everybody to say. and that is the first step both congress and the american people not to error. i think bob mueller needs to look amy in the and be able to give in his -- it says i cannot exonerate the sitting president from having committed obstruction of justice. let that sink in.
that's dramatic if we're going to hold up bob mueller's on fusion on the conspiracy of issue. >> he did not make that determine in addition. he parented both sides. and according to pit williams, it says bar in the hill today did not consult with rob mueller. you have mueller never once was asked a question, either in person as far as we know, about his and the -- why he was potentially jeff sessions. why he asked james comey to go easy on prescribing he will flynn. the president never answered the question. >> the reason is probably because the president's -- two
things will happen. one, we will engage in a lengthy court waths that will its way up based to the supreme court. i happen to believe the supreme court would have said a sitting president is subject to such a subpoena. but then, you know, ultimately the president's lawyers could have trumped all of that e, eve if the supreme court ruled in mueller's favor and said the president will invoke his fifth amendment light in self -- that will overside a treat which is a court order. if that was told to the mueller team, then bob mueller would not have gone through the hollow exercise of fighting a less thanly supreme court battle. that's why bob mueller never opted to subpoena the president.
>> jennifgeneral wine banks. collusion are russia. how about the open question of will be instruction which clearly he do not exonerate him, according to attorney general barrailroad's remember. >> that says a lot and something that needs to be foes you had on final opinion on that, we didn't have a conclusion about guilt. petition said. you decide whether or not he should be impeached. we are not going to indict him in our case, because lee ann joe
woreski was to allow the political process to handle the guilt of the president rather than an indictment. so we turned it over without saying there was guilt, even though he was named an unindicted co conspiracier, and even though the evidence was very clear that he was guilty. that's number one. number two, on the point of obstruction, it's very clear that an underlying crime is not required to have a case of obstruction. in the case of richard nixon, there is no evidence that he knew about the break-in until after it had happened. but it is clear that he object instruct instructed justice, including asking people to per engineer themselves. following the money would allow the white house and the
president was involved in paying for the burglary, even though he didn't know about it. before. so you can have obstruction without an underlying crime. and that's or not thing to know. the thirst thing that strikes me is that the roof of this not being a witch hunt is that robert mueller did not accuse him of a crime. he did went ahead said and there is no evidence of inclusion. and that there was never a wind hound, it was a search for justice, and justice hopefully will be done here. but there is this rooming responsibility for congress to look at what is the full report. and everybody has pointed to this. we are seeing such a small fraeth. we need -- all the american people, bcertainly the congress needs to see all the evidence
that was put forward, and we'll weigh it as a political matter now. >> i just want to write you back to what he said, two points quickly. because i think the attorney sekulow -- i think i said sass alow, but sekulow, the president's attorney. you are saying it does not have to be an underlying crime for obstruction to have occurred, and that, of course, is. and you're also saying the fact that it was unresolved is something similar that you as part of the water gait prosecution team did in terms of whether you handed over to congress or we did or not. we are looking from the prisons of watergate that that in and of itself doesn't really put it back on congress. >> right, exactly.
we felt that will the president did not have -- there was no evidence he knew the break-in. we know he obstructed the investigation of that break-in. and he did it because he knew that it would point to the involvement of other people in his administration, that it would point to the attorney general having been responsible of the break-in and the committee to reelect the president saying the burglars. and ultimately paying, of course, hush money to the burglars, as well, because he was part of that obstruction of justice. so there can be obstruction by the president, even though the president wasn't involved in any underlying crime. so that's -- that to me is a very important fact and is something we can learn from better gate. our road ballpark was a short
supple of pages. here's some subject mertz we think you should look at and then see attachments. and we livesed basically grand jury trscripts of the court to turn over to congress. we have transcripts of the white house tapes related to those subjects. and some had to do withe publicy the president. and we certainly know that this was has lied air great deal and that can be part of an impeachment. it cannot be part of a criminal case. but term database something that is a -- abuse of power. and that's part of what was found by the congress when they voted the articles of impeachment and when the republicans saw the actual evidence, they went to the president and said, you have to
resign, you will be convicted on articles of impeachment. they saw the evidence and it will be like paula duncan, the manafort juror who said i am a loyal trump supporter and i think this investigation is a observation and a witch hunt. with you the evidence against manafort, that was convincing and i voted to convict him on all 18 counts. that's why we need to see all of the evidence that mueller has gathered, so we can make that kind of judgment or that at least congress can make a judgment of whether there is a danger to democracy. and at the very least, whether they need to pass laws that maybe outlaw things but maybe aren't illegal now. but should be. >> so i think what's going to happen next is we're going oh -- obviously, we're going to see what we're getting to get this entirety of it. it's just going to depend on how long it takes william bar to get this out. it's very clear what we'll see
from congress. a number of investigations into whether or not they believe the president obstructed justice. pro we going to get to the threshold, that nancy pelosi laid out? is the country going to get to the threshold that nancy pelosi laid out, which is that any thr laid out, any impeachment proceeding i know it was different than in the nixon days but any impeachment proceedings would need to be bipartisan. and will congress come up with a bipartisan opinion that the president had gone too far? i think that's a very tall order. given everything we have seen so far. from this president and from the way that republicans have reacted to the various ways that he's behaved towards this investigation. the issue of obstruction, the evidence has been out there in the public's sphere. we have seen it in realtime. the president asked james comey to lay off flynn. the president was on twitter, day in and day out. saying that mueller was -- was
conducting a witch-hunt. there were 13 angry democrats. he was conflicted. he was angry at his attorney general for not being involved, for recusing himself. that's why he ultimately fired his attorney general. all of the obstruction questions or many of them have been in the public's sphere. we already know how republicans are going to react it to. we don't know if there are more details about things that we do not know. more details about whether or not donald trump talked to bill whitaker about getting jeffrey berman at the sdny to get back involved with michael cohen's investigation. there are those questions that we could find out much more detail about that could potentially be more damning for the president of the united states. but we have republicans sticking with him, with what he has done very publicly. and the question of impeachment is going to be a very high bar. i think what we should be looking into and what i would -- i imagine still concern the
president and those around him, are the investigations that could be coming out of the mueller investigation. the sdny, the edva, the d.c. circuit courts. >> sure. i want to give you news in last 60 seconds, the special counsel's office i asked them if special counsel mueller would want to speak at all or say anything with regards to the letter and they said we're not commenting. not a surprise, they haven't issued very few public statements in the course of this investigation. but i did want to get that out there. to your question specifically, i think the investigation or at least the investigation that is public at this point because it's been talked about either in congressional testimony or court documents several ongoing investigations. one, the campaign finance question. the one investigation that was a spinoff from special counsel robert mueller. specifically asked whether or not there was a campaign finance violation involving the president's personal attorney michael cohen and that was an investigation that did lead to
eight guilty pleas by michael cohen including several involving campaign finance reform. that campaign -- campaign violations, rather. that's ongoing. in addition to that, we know there's an investigation going on into the trump inaugural committee as well as certain individuals in the trump organization. we have no indication, katy, that there are any imminent indictments scheduled to come up as a result of those investigations. we have no indication that there will be indictments in those investigations. when you look at the trump administration you look at five years so there's a statue of limitations issues. we don't know if the committee was awe ware of the donations if they weren't aware, then there maybe there isn't a charge there. i think the idea they're looking into the trump inaugural and the person who headed that, a friend
of the president, that's something that is out there. that's been publicly reported. we have reported so i think that those things still do exist. were there any other spinoffs from the special counsel's investigation that we don't know about, that we haven't heard about yet and what the status of those are, you know, that's obviously still up in the air. as far as the state investigations go, everything we have seen so far here indicates that the states are going to wait until any sort of federal investigation has concluded and that a lot of those matters are probably going to be something more administrative. we are talking fines not necessarily people in handcuffs. >> i wonder if we'll see pardons coming. if the
president will start pardoning people who have been charged or sentenced. paul manafort one of them. rick gates is still cooperating with the ongoing investigations. and chuck schumer and nancy pelosi have released a question. attorney general barr's public
record raises more questions. the full report and the underlying documentation should be made public without any further delay. given his public record of bias, he is not a neutral observer and is not in a position to make objective determinations about the report. that is a significant line in that, remember that. it goes on to say, and most obviously for the president to say he's completely exonerated directly contradicts the words of mr. mueller and is not to be taken with any degree of credibility. congress requires the full report and the underlying documents so that the committees can proceed with their independent work including oversight and legislation --
and legislating to address any issues. the american people have a right to know. they're making it clear they don't trust barr.
>> and it's not that he's not a partial investigator, not only because he was nominated by mr. trump, by statements that he made about executive authority and other things that leaned in the direction that he questioned this whole investigation. i also think that your point of whether this has raised the bar in terms of a bipartisan kind of call for impeachment that speaker pelosi has raised i think the bar have gone higher now. why have republicans not have come forward and because they're afraid of primaries and that's gone up now. marley in the next 48 hours when the president is going to be doing all kinds of spinning and victory laps. but to say this was a witch-hunt, again, i bring you back to the people that are on their way to jail. you can look outside at the darkness from your house and say it's just a witch-hunt.
whether it's a witch or a wolf out there they grabbed 34 people. >> it was not a witch hunt. there were questions about what was going on with his campaign. there were 37 indictments. there were a number of guilty pleas. to call it a witch-hunt is not fair. what the president can say today is that he was exonerated on the question of conspiracy and coordination. he was not exonerated on obstruction. there's still a an open question. why did the president feel the need to get so involved if there was no conspiracy there in the first place? maybe that's because he didn't like being accused of anything and wanted to control the narrative. or he just likes to fight, who knows? but what the president will have going forward is this exoneration on conspiracy. he will use it to his advantage. he will go out there and say, they couldn't find conspiracy. so they went to try to find anything else. and this was not fair. and this is corrupt. and it's all one big attempt by the establishment, by the media, by the doj, by the special
counsel if he wants to use him, by everybody to take me out of office, even though i was democratically elected. it's what he warned about in 2016, used it to his advantage to get into the oval office and he'll be using it again in 2020. >> no doubt about it. and they did it with benghazi and other things. that's old news now. i think he's going to spin it, but i think that congress has a responsibility to get the whole report. but i think the candidates need to deal -- >> don't you believe though this is a test for all of us? a test for us in the media, a test for us for politicians, it's a test for the judicial system, it's a test for the presidency. it's a test for everybody involved this moment in time? >> agreed. >> okay. >> we agree. >> we have come to the end of the rope on this? >> i think whenever -- i have covered several investigations
now where there was a final report. whether it be a grand jury presentment, an indictment, whatever it is. in those cases i know we have always been helped by looking at all of the materials that were included. i remember the shooting in newtown, connecticut, the adam lanza report put out by the connecticut state police. it was so helpful to look at the search warrant returns, to look at the investigative steps they took in that investigation. the interviews they conducted. i think that provides so much more context to understand the scope of it. what type of -- what led them down certain investigationive paths? who provided testimony? i think frankly take out the obstruction of justice issue, take out of the issue of whether or not there was coordination with russia. it would be great to know what russia was doing and some of the background behind that for the next election. >> it would be great to know. i think the more sunlight we have, the better. gentlemen, thank you so much for being with us. we appreciate it.
jill wine-banks and joyce vance and glenn kirschner. it's been a while three hours. up now, our special coverage of the mueller report will continue with ari melber in washington, d.c. >> good evening. i'm anchoring live from washington with the first excerpts we have seen of the mueller report. president trump returning to the white house, he's breaking his silence to welcome the new letter from hand picked attorney general barr and asserting that the president did not obstruct justice. now, here are the facts.