tv Morning Joe MSNBC March 25, 2019 3:00am-6:00am PDT
>> there was no conspiracy, no coordination with the russian government. the other piece was obstruction and there it is just not as clear. >> make that report public. >> almost 5,000 search warrants, 45 agents detailed to this 19 attorneys. >> there was no collusion with russia. there was no obstruction. >> i thought it was a cop-out. for him to say that there was not enough evidence to indict, but it's not an exoneration. the job of the prosecutors is to decide, yes or no. >> it leaves a lot of unanswered questions. mueller's decision to defer to the department of justice. >> if there was no collusion why did donald trump, why did mike pence, why did jeff sessions, why did the president's first national security adviser, why did they all lie about contacts with russians? >> to be honest, it's a shame that your president has had to
go through this. and hopefully, somebody's going to be looking at the other side. >> poor president. >> good morning. and welcome to "morning joe." it is monday, march 25th. with us on the set here in washington we have columnist and associate editor for "the washington post," david ignatius. nbc news and msnbc law analyst and editor-in-chief of lawfare benjamin wittes. and host of "the beat" on msnbc, ari melber. "new york times" reporter michael schmidt. taking a break from book writing to come in on this big news morning. mike barnicle joining us from new york city and former u.s. attorney and an msnbc contributor, barbara mcquaid is with us as well. we'll get right to the big news this morning. the president and his allies are celebrating robert mueller's report on russia's interference in the 2016 election. attorney general william barr writes in his four-page summary of the report that the special counsel did not find that any
u.s. person or trump campaign official or associate conspired or knowingly coordinated with russia in russia's efforts to influence the 2016 u.s. presidential election. barr also writes that mueller reached no conclusion on whether the president obstructed justice, barr quoting the special council's report on the issue of obstruction writes, while this does not conclude that he committed a crime it does not exonerate him. the attorney general writes that mueller provided him with the facts of the obstruction case and left it up to the ag to decide if the president obstructed justice. barr writes, quote, deputy attorney general rod rosenstein and i have concluded that the evidence developed during the special counsel's investigation is not sufficient to establish that the president committed an obstruction of justice offense.
a senior doj official tells nbc news that barr did not consult with mueller about his summary when asked about the summary, the special counsel's office said, quote, we're not commenting. >> all right. so ari, let's break this down. first of all, something that everybody is going to know six months from now is that the mueller report is far different from the barr letter. already from people that i have been speaking with, there's a great difference between the barr letter and the mueller report and everyone is just -- let's be concise here, they're talking about william barr's letter. his summary of a massive sweeping investigation. the contents of which nobody knows. >> that's absolutely right. and whatever is in the mueller report enough of it goes against the barr letter that he felt the need to include this nonexoneration language. felt the need to include that there is private unreported information about acts by the president that went into the obstruction section.
he felt that he didn't include that for some reason, perhaps because it comes out later or balance what the barr letter did. >> why would he take a firm possession on obstruction but not -- why wouldn't he take a firmer position on obstruction as he did on collusion? >> well, i think on collusion you're looking at potential conspiracy involving multiple people. that's what conspiracies are. so he didn't find one or more americans were on the other side of what the russians did in a chargeable way. no chargeable collusion. huge finding, huge headline. we saw the signs of that as soon as friday when he finished the probe without the indictments. on obstruction by a president that's in the ballpark of it is or isn't a high crime. watergate is an example where they were viewing the president's acts as obstructive and it was the house deciding that not the special counsel. it was famously about facts and findings, not making that decision for the house judiciary committee or anyone else. >> right. and so you also obviously have
congress now going to be trying to get the material. trying to figure out what's in there. there's precedent for subpoenaing the material and getting it because of what the republicans did with hillary clinton's 302s. is that going to happen here and what are they going to find? >> i think that's where the big fight goes. all of this was about -- >> you say that's a big fight. the president though said release it all on friday. the republicans and the democrats voted unanimously to release the entire report. they're already on record saying that, right? >> i think this is shaping up as a clever strategy and that's what it looks like, a good cop/bad cop. so donald trump jr. says release it all. donald trump sr. the president says release it and i told the house to have that happy vote. meanwhile, barr who works in the trump administration is the one speeding a process -- i mean, this was a very quick weekend process to issue big, sweeping conclusions about a 22 month
investigation's findings and now -- what appears to be a slower process to release the report itself. that again goes to something very important here. we don't know why bob mueller wrote the obstruction section the way he did and it's not for us to put ourselves in place of bob mueller because we don't know. what we do know is that barr has decided to release certain things very quickly and other things not. and when you look at the front first page of that letter, it tells us that there were 500 witness interviews, tells this were 2,800 subpoenas and tells us all sorts of interesting things and gets to the scope of the probe you know what it doesn't tell us? how many pages was the report that barr spent. if it was 30 pages it would look much more reasonable. if it was 300, well, that was a quick weekend with just a skeletal staff. i think barr is now taken this and made it all about the barr letter. he's clearly being selective.
now, some will say -- go ahead. >> i was going to say, michael schmidt, a guy who was skeptical of this probe from the very beginning. a guy who basically was fishing for a job from donald trump from the very beginning. you don't just write those memos and go, oh, by the way, here's something you'd like very much. i did the trick, just like whitaker going on tv made him acting ag. you had a comment yesterday. you appoint a special counsel because you want to take politics out of the case. he does this investigation. they take politics out of the case. but then they have two doj appointed officials, political officials, making this determination on collusion and obstruction. >> so mueller goes out, makes -- you know, collusion decision. has this whatever he comes to on obstruction and then the politicos are the ones who say, no, we don't think the president broke the law. what was mueller -- part of my
understanding of why they wanted mueller there was to make a decision that the public would say, okay, we feel really confident in this. that someone went out and followed the facts, someone who could stand there and make a tough call wherever the facts were. in the end, it's barr and rosenstein making the call. >> why would barr make that call over a weekend after we had this two-year investigation when he had to know there would be a political firestorm? . >> i still don't understand. i think he has to explain more of what was behind that. the other thing in the letter that i didn't understand is he says, well, one of the key facts is that we didn't find that there was an underlying crime, that there was no -- when we looked at all of this stuff there was nothing to obstruct. when a special counsel is appointed, it's usually not the issue that they're looking at that becomes the problem for the person under investigation. it's something else. in this case, what was an
outgrowth of this? the case in new york. where the president essentially had been named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the payments to the stormy daniels payments. what was the president thinking in may and june and july of 2017 where he is saying, bob mueller better not look at my finances. bob mueller better not look at my money and what comes out of bob mueller? the president is an unindicted co-conspirator in new york. >> i have to say, mika, mr. barr, "new york times" pointed out yesterday, he has a curious view of obstruction. so since there's no underlying crime there's no obstruction. that's not the standard. you still have people that can be found guilty of perjury if they're lying to the court. the purpose -- the purpose for obstruction is to make sure that investigations can move forward without people lying and getting in their way. >> and we don't know what's actually in the report. the big battle, benjamin wittes, will be seeing the report in its
entirety. this is barr's interpretation of mueller's report, made quickly over the weekend. what major questions and most important facts stand out to you? >> all right, so the first most important fact is he did not substantiate the underlying collusion allegation. and the key question there is how unsubstantiated is it in the underlying report? is this an example that they investigated it and they found it didn't happen? is this a situation where they investigated it and they came two inches short of a prosecutorial case given a many hundred page or many dozen page discussion of this, whatever that answer is that's a huge difference. >> right. >> as your -- it doesn't mean they didn't pave recklessly or
foolish or unpatriotically. we don't have that information. we don't have the politically embarrassing information that's contained in this report. the damning information that's contained in the report. for people watching, they do need to understand there are a lot of things that can happen that come short of the standard of a prosecutor saying, okay, i'm going to move forward on charges. >> it is consistent with the barr letter for that underlying report to say we found that there was no collusion. it is also consistent with the barr letter for that report to say we found that we could not bring -- we could not bring a case because we had clear and convincing evidence of collusion, but not proof beyond a reasonable doubt of collusion. so that's number one. thing number two is this issue you guys have been discussing about the obstruction. robert mueller found -- clearly found there was substantial
evidence of obstruction. he clearly found that there was a plausible case to bring on a variety of possible obstructions because he -- as barr describes he describes the conduct and he evaluates the pros and cons of bringing an obstruction case, of treating it as an obstruction and then concludes he shouldn't make a traditional prosecutorial judgment. the question is, why should he not make a traditional prosecutorial judgment there in his mind? why should he not evaluate it along a traditional criminal axis? >> you have to ask the question -- >> did he? >> what's the rush? i mean, he just got this material, this voluminous material. there is no reason other than political reasons to rush and within 36 hours, 24, 36 hours of getting this entire report
actually looking at what robert mueller said who said there's very concerning information here. we haven't been able to come to a conclusion. but moving it on to the attorney general -- >> joe, you can see reasons why barr would have wanted to move quickly to send out a letter that explained to congress and to the country the basics of what mueller had concluded. there's a separate question, he was asked to make a judgment that mueller wasn't prepared to make about obstruction. that's where the rush -- >> we don't know he was asked to do that. >> well, the implication is that -- >> not really. the letter -- i have to say, having studied the letter and covering this all night, the letter does not assert that mueller asked him to make that judgment. the letter -- that's an important distinction. mueller didn't reach that judgment. to put it simply for people, we didn't do the whole starr investigation and then have
janet reno decide whether there was obstruction. in the nixon case we didn't go through two special counsels and then have mitchell decide whether there was obstruction. in other words, everything we know about how this has always worked is that the cases that go to the obstructive or high crime territory even if you clear a president are done typically whether the house wants to pursue impeachment and does the senate want a trial. not typically by the ag. i'm not saying that means he's wrong. i'm just saying it's not what mueller -- >> he was -- mueller was appointed to reach a prosecutor declined to prosecute judgment on issues that arose in his investigation. and i can't help but think that he ducked the latter half of that. he stepped up to the collusion issue. he defined after reading from barr's account the -- defined what he thought collusion meant here. working with a great
professional -- run from russia. he wouldn't make the decision that i thought he was charged to make. >> you know he has to abide by doj rules which say that he like any other prosecutor does not indict a sitting president. so given that, it is not -- i don't think the most reasonable inference of a letter about a report we haven't seen that mueller was deciding whether or not to break doj policy and indict the sitting president. everything we know about the rules goes in the other direction. >> i agree with that. i think what we know is that mueller didn't make the judgment. we don't know whether barr insinuated himself into this situation and made the judgment or air agated it to himself to make the judgment and we don't know if mueller declined to make the judgment because he thought the decision was too hard and he was punting or because he was laying out a record for adjudication by congress. which is what i suspect the reality is. >> this is what makes no sense.
again, you know, i'm a dumb country lawyer here. i think -- >> the last refuge -- >> i think this is -- where barr's position is this. you cannot indict a sitting president. right? so if his position is you cannot indict a sitting president, then why is he drawing a conclusion on whether he can -- whether this president could be indicted when what robert mueller was doing all along and people close to mueller said all along he was gathering evidence to pass along to congress. to make that decision. why would he even tip the scales if at the end of the day it was going to have no impact? >> okay. there was never -- you're absolutely right. there is never a chance that bob mueller was going to indict donald trump while he remained in office. doj policy forbids it. mueller was bound by that
policy. he was going to observe it. the relevant question here is therefore not an operative question. it's just is the justice department going to say that we think donald trump committed a crime to a standard that's provable beyond a reasonable doubt or not? mueller clearly made the judgment i am going to lay out the record and let other people make that determination. >> and ken starr, joe, to this day, asserts that his report while it presented overwhelming evidence of what he called obstruction his report did not resolve this. in other words, if you believe ken starr and people debate with him the ken starr position is now what barr suggested the mueller position is, amassing evidence, but not rushing to take the place of the house when it comes to matters of presidential potential high crimes. >> so mike barnicle, if the united states congress is going to be making a determination on whether the president of the
united states obstructed justice which of course were articles of impeachment for both richard nixon and bill clinton, if they're going to make that determination they have to see the material that robert mueller has. so if william barr is going to be holding these cards close to his chest, isn't he going to be getting in the way of what actually the entire purpose of the mueller investigation was? to get information to congress so they could make the decision. >> that's correct, joe. and we're not going to be able to talk about this knowledgeably until we see the report. until the american public sees the report. i was told yesterday by two people who know bob mueller very well and know aspects of this investigation and both of them said you cannot overestimate the importance on the obstruction issue of mueller's team being unable to get trump to testify,
q&a, back and forth, in private. don't overestimate the importance of the absence of trump's testimony. because bob mueller is a man of deep integrity and to charge a president or anyone with obstruction of justice requires state of mind. we don't really know what trump's state of mind was or is about all of the events that would give you strong suspicions that he did try to obstruct justice. we know about the tweets, but we don't know about his state of mind. it's a tough call to take that to court. because it's a high bar to convict someone of obstruction. i'd leave it to the legal experts on the panel to argue with that, but that's what i was told. >> all right. barbara mcquaid, i want you to weigh in overall on your reaction to the report. again, we don't know how long the report is. we don't know what the facts are in the report that led to the one conclusion and the remaining
question. and the question i have for you, the fact that this is interpreted by donald trump's latest pick for attorney general, what questions do you have? what areas are you concerned where you need to see the facts before ultimately you can make a conclusion to yourself in terms of obstruction of justice and any other issues that might be damaging to this president? >> to me the biggest question that barr's letter raises is why on earth is he the one inserting himself and making this ultimate decision on obstruction of justice? the whole purpose for having a special counsel was to have an independent, objective view point insulated from the chain of command so that the public could have confidence in the outcome here. it's as if tom brady has been your quarterback for the entire season and for the very last play in the super bowl, bill belichick the coach comes in and say, i'm going to take this last play. stand down, tom. what on earth is that all about? i mean, it appears that robert
mueller found evidence on both sides with the idea that because a sitting president cannot be indicted he just provided the evidence so that congress could make that call. why on earth is william barr then inserting himself and making that decision? i think that raises a lot of questions. and i think that means that we really need to see as much as we can from this report so that the public can have confidence that this is an appropriate decision. >> so we were flashing a lot of headlines. we'll go to break and we'll do a lot more of this after the break, but we showed "the dallas morning news" and showed some other newspapers. some newspapers' headlines said no collusion. no exoneration. that's what i saw in a lot of news networks yesterday. but i want you to look at that headline. that's the headline that is going to cut through america today. you want to know what americans are going to take away from this? regardless of what's said in the coming months? that's your headline. report, no collusion. >> that's the headline and the
conversations to come are the political results of this headline. and this is a huge win, hands down, black and white for president trump. absolutely. >> oh, listen, it is. it is. i will only say i think it was either mcmillan or heath that said in politics a week is a lifetime. >> absolutely. >> in trump world a day is an eternity. so, you know, i would not run victory laps for donald trump yet. i would not sing death dirges for the democratic party yet only because things move so fast in this administration. much more to come. all right, there is much to get to including several must read opinion pieces that are incredible this morning. plus, we'll run through the reaction from capitol hill where nancy pelosi is pushing to make the mueller report public record. >> she agrees with the president then. >> she does. >> that's awesome.
>> that's a strategy on the part of the president and we'll break down the president's poll numbers and bring in hardball's chris matthews and bill krystal and john brennan. you're watching "morning joe." we'll be right back. >> a man gets appointed by a deputy he writes a report. you know? never figured that one out. my voters don't get it. i don't get it. now at the same time, let it come out. let people see it. that's up to the attorney general. i look forward to seeing the report. l. i look forward to seeing the report stage 2 breast cancer. i have three little kids. i can't have cancer. so we decided to travel to cancer treatment centers of america. dr. fernandez was wonderful. he said it was up to me to do what's best. it's about giving her options, where amy has all the information to make a decision that's best for her. we left on day one feeling like we're gonna beat this and this is the place that's gonna help us do it... that feeling is priceless. learn more at cancercenter.com. appointments available now.
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you know reliableified support when you have it,sional and that dependability is what we want to give our customers. at comcast, it's my job to constantly monitor our network. prevent problems, and to help provide the most reliable service possible. my name is tanya, i work in the network operations center for comcast. we are working to make things simple, easy and awesome. our party ought to be focusing on the conditions that made this presidency possible in first place. i think a figure like this should not come within cheating distance of the oval office and so if we're pinning all of our hopes on these procedural matters and not paying attention to the reasons why a lot of people went and voted for somebody they disliked, then we're kind of missing the point. it may well be the case that the
only appropriate response is impeachment but to me the most decisive way to put an end to trumpism is for it to be defeated massively at the ballot box. >> all right. >> by the way -- >> presidential candidate pete buttigieg. >> fresh off of his "morning joe" appearance. there's a bounce. he's in double digits here. he jumps up to third place at 11%. >> joe biden who has yet to jump in at the top. and bernie sanders. and mayor pete. i think he had a double up appearance on "the view." he got a lot of feedback after showing up on "morning joe." a second time. really impressing people. >> so david, we're talking about the big headlines here for now. we are getting into the -- let's just talk really big headlines so the first big headline, this is a political victory for donald trump as peter baker said. >> the best day of his
presidency. >> if the appointment of robert mueller was the worst day of his presidency, the release of robert mueller's report was the best day of his presidency. so that's a big headline. but also another big headline. it is good news. democrats, independents. and republicans alike. it is good news. >> yes. it is. >> that the president of the united states did not conspire with russia to influence the 2016 election and we know because unlike donald trump and the right wing hacks that were chopping robert mueller to pieces for two years, we know that robert mueller actually is an honorable man and we can put our heads on the pillows tonight and know that while donald trump did a lot of terrible things and acted abhorrently during this investigation and tried to
undercut the rule of law, we know at least -- we can have confidence that the president of the united states did not collude with vladimir putin and russia. right? good news. >> the good news is that the process that was put in place with this investigation continued to the end. >> it was completed. >> it made clear judgments that we're all understanding that by the standard that he made there was not a conspiracy to conclude -- to collude with the russians running this operation. and your larger point, this investigation so fragile, so vulnerable through the whole period as trump full my nated and trump was pulled back time and again. >> can we add to that list not only robert mueller and at times
rod rosenstein. but let's add matthew whitaker to the list as well. poor matthew whitaker. we all beat the hell out of him but at the same time he was pressured by donald trump and he resisted the pressure. >> the process went through to the end. but as we have all been saying around this table we now enter a period of understanding what the report itself said. what the implications are for congress. because clearly, mueller was passing certain issues along. yes, to attorney general barr. and beyond that to congress and you can say to the public. >> and congress is next. it will be interesting to see how the house oversight committee now takes its questioning and who they bring in and what exactly angle they take on this. we don't know what's in this report. i think we frame that again. no one has seen it beyond the attorney general and robert mueller himself and the president has been given the attorney general's
interpretation of it. a "new york times" reads in part this. mr. barr did exactly as mr. trump hoped he would. but there's a reason obstructioning justice is a crime on its own. the justice system doesn't work when the people lie to the authorities no matter why they do so. mr. barr's curious views on obstruction are one reason that mr. mueller's full report must be made available immediately. to both congress and the american people. mr. putin did have a clear favorite. he interfered on his behalf and his favorite was elected president. trump campaign officials knew about this and were more than happy for the help. then they lied about receiving that help. this isn't so complicated. and while mr. mueller may not be able to do anything about it, congress and the american people certainly can. congress is next. >> which, again, michael, this leads to the question i asked yesterday.
okay, so fine, there is no legal -- legally defined actions that add up to collusion or conspiracy. but the question remains why did donald trump lie about his contacts with russia? why did the vice president lie about his contacts with russia? why did the attorney general lie about his contacts with russia? why did his first national security adviser lie about his contacts with russia? why did -- you also have a guy that donald trump said was the -- told "the washington post" was one of his top foreign policy advisers. why did he lie? why did jared kushner lie about contacts he had had with russia in the disclosure forms. you can go on and on. a lot of people sitting in jail because of their lies about contacts with russians including michael cohen who going to be going to jail because he too like everybody else around
donald trump lied. why did donald trump call everyone together on air force one and dictate a statement to "the new york times" that lied about his son's contact with russia? >> you know who has not had to answer any questions about that in the entire thing was trump. so how is it that this whole thing was done and trump has not had to answer any questions under oath about why he took the actions that he had. the reason is that his lawyers determined that if he went in, he would lie. so because of that, mueller never apparently sought a subpoena because barr said -- barr said in his letter on friday, mueller never tried to take actions he was stopped from taking. we know of no subpoena that was served on the president. but because his lawyers thought he would lie, he didn't go in for an interview. they're the ones that stopped him. he was the one that wanted to go in and do that. but this thing was concluded and
he didn't have to explain anything. >> right. >> i understand why legally that may not have happened and it's hard to subpoena the president and there's real difficulties in that. but if you're the average person and you're looking at this you're saying, hold on a second. they looked all of the things about the guy's intend and they never subpoenaed him? that's not a satisfying answer. >> your list of questions sounds damping, it is all facts. we also learned there were other actions by trump that mueller analyzed as potential obstruction that have to this morning have not been disclosed. and barr who is nothing if not a skilled lawyer felt the need to cover himself. >> right. >> he felt the need to volunteer the fact that mueller has the other disclosures that we haven't heard yet and he's not
putting out yet because barr wanted to close that letter by trying to close the door on the mueller report before it has been read. that's an important thing. history, the congress will judge how barr is doing this. but he felt the need to say in addition to everything else that joe scarborough just mentioned because some of them are crimes there are other stuff in there and he didn't release it yet. that is added to another fact if people are watching and saying no chargeable collusion, but some of this seems like what was the point of this all? trump had six advisers indicted two years into his presidency and that's also from the mueller probe. in the results of the probe came down after 22 months people would be gob smacked. we would be under the table. but some of it is parcelled out and the no charger collusion comes at the end. it's a big difference. so there's a lot of open questions that are here, that barr felt the need to acknowledge exists while he rushes to say he's decided not
the congress that he has the view of obstruction. >> people talk about the drip, drip, drip of the indictments, over the months, even the years. i think we're going to see that moving forward with information coming out from the mueller report. >> yeah. >> going to hold it and then we'll get a little bit here. a little bit there. over the next few years. >> unless there's a different way. i don't know if congress can act to get more -- or the house oversight committee. we'll have more questions on that. ari melber, i would say go to bed, but apparently you have to continue to work. we'll be watching you -- >> i may nap. >> okay. >> we may have a very special guest tonight. >> okay. looking forward to it. >> weekdays at 6:00 eastern here on msnbc. coming up, before robert mueller delivered the report to the justice department, president trump was making a lot of other news that would have driven the cycle any other morning. telling reporters that democrats are totally anti-israel and
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the democrats have very much proven to be anti-israel, there's no question about that. it's a disgrace. i mean, i don't know what's happened to them. but they are totally anti-israel. frankly, i think they're anti-jewish. >> okay. that was president trump speaking to reporters on friday. ahead of prime minister netanyahu's visit to the white house today. joining us now, founder and director of the group defending democracy together and editor at large to the conservative website the bulwark, bill krystal is with us this morning. good to have you. >> so bill, we'll get to the big news in a minute. but first, the president's comments of course this is a guy that put the star of david over hillary's face and stacks of hundred dollar bills and has never called out republicans, the top republican in the house for talking about jews trying to
buy the election in '18. at the end of the day, does that sort of talk make any difference at all? >> i mean, it's bad. it's bad for the country, for the president of the united states to call one of our two major national parties anti-jewish. neither party is anti-jewish. i have a good record of being critical of the obama administration for example on the israel policy. i have a long history of being -- people might consider hawkish on israel. i don't -- you can say that parts of the democratic party are not friendly to israel, that's a policy position, but to say they're anti-jewish. is he saying that nancy pelosi and chuck schumer and hillary clinton -- >> of course he is. >> but using that -- think about what it means -- >> if you said one party is anti-christian, i mean, it's introducing a kind of divisiveness and european style rhetoric into american politics. we have mostly avoided it. >> you look at jewish votes they
continue to trend democratic every two years. >> i would object as much if a democrat said we get the most jewish votes. are there people who have indulged in anti-semitism. neither party is anti-jewish that's why it's america. we have experience with major parties becoming anti-jewish in modern democracies and it's an unhappy one. that charge should not be made lightly. >> let's get your take on yesterday. on barr's letter. >> we need to see the report. i mean, mueller seems to have -- not enough evidence of collusion to prosecute or to refer to that to congress and that's fine. i accept that obviously. i have been a defender of mueller for a year and a half and i was pleased he was able to conclude it and i don't think we should second guess it. i trust bob mueller. i think he's written a report based on the evidence he's found but we need to see the report.
>> should barr -- barr seems to have -- >> an interesting question. >> on obstruction of justice when in fact that wasn't his position to editorialize on obstruction of justice because he was never going to indict the president anyway. >> yeah. i mean, you'd think a summary of the report would be a summary. maybe quotations of key paragraphs. that's what summaries are. not quotations of parts of sentences. no. he had to make his own conclusion i guess as attorney general. i believe he probably had the discretion to do so about what he found there to be -- he found obstruction of justice or not. put it this way, i know bill barr and i respect him. i don't think he'd go outside the four corners of the law doing his job, but he'd view it within his discretion as attorney general to act in a way he thought was right and he thought served the country and he thought served -- >> yet, he was hostile to this entire --
>> yes. barr is not on the one hand matthew whitaker who mueller distrusted as the recipient and held back until barr was attorney general. as you say, we know he had an opinion about it, so i do think we cannot accept barr's letter. i don't say this to say that barr is behaving illegally or unethically. but we cannot accept the letter as an accurate or simply a fair summary of the report. and we need to see the report and we need to see it as quickly as possible. >> barbara mcquaid, what we can expect as barr put forward is his interpretation of the mueller report and the words does not exonerate him leaves a lot open for the imagination as to what could be in there. so i wonder if that stands out to you and what you think it means. and secondly, do you have any questions about why roger stone -- why he sort of waited on certain cases that still
remain that could be re -- that could potentially reopen this? >> you know, the fact that they finished without completing the roger stone trial suggests to me that they did not believe that roger stone could be an effective cooperator in any way, shape or form and there are a number of reasons for that. so i don't know that bothers me so much but it bothers me that barr took the lead and made the decision and we don't know why. i agree we need to see the report to understand what robert mueller is referring to when he says he does not exonerate trump. barr wrote that 19-page memo when he was before attorney general, his theory that a president cannot legally obstruct justice when he does something within his own powers as opposed to asking someone to lie or destroying evidence. is that what he's referring to here? i think we need to understand that better. i think that if i were a member of congress, i would be calling robert mueller and william barr to come in and testify to help us understand what conclusions
they made, what facts they relied on and whether it is this somewhat unusual interpretation of the president's legal inability to obstruct justice. as joe points out, under doj policy where they were never going to indict the president whatsoever why is barr drawing a conclusion as opposed to drawing the road map to congress on the factual findings? >> it is an editorial. just writing his own op-ed for something that again will have no impact, no practical impact. >> it is a -- it is actually the closest thing to an op-ed you could imagine the attorney general writing there. so according to his summary now, i'm not adding anything here, bob mueller was not going to try to indict the president. he was not going to conclude that the president had obstructed justice. he had by barr's own account refrained from making any
conclusion as to whether the president had obstructed justice. and so layered on top of that, bill barr writes this -- oh, by the way, i am the deputy attorney general don't think this evidence constitutes obstruction. it is not at all clear what work that is doing on behalf of the system of justice other than articulating exactly the exoneration the president wants that robert mueller refused to give him. >> what was the process and isn't this part of the process of filtering the information from this investigation to the american people so that questions are answered. it infers when we say it's an op-ed, everyone is questioning it that we don't trust barr's interpretation of it. >> maybe no weight should be given to that conclusion because there was never going to be an impact from the attorney general saying that because the
president can't be indicted. so if you don't have the power to do something, why do you swerve out of the way to say that the president would not be indicted? >> it's a political impact, no question about it. >> political impact. >> conditioning our response, but the point we've all been making, call it an op-ed, call it a cover letter preceding the mueller report, barr's letter rirt requires, it's imperative that the mueller report has been made public. he's made a judgment about what it means and congress has right, the public has had a right towns what's the evidence. he's given us his opinion on the obstruction question that it wasn't, so i think there will now be a battle and members of congress indicated all the way to the supreme court that making this report public so people can make their own determination. >> mike schmitt and bill
kristol, final thought to you. can congress compel robert mueller and bill barr to answer questions? >> they can, but what barr has done here is he's made it much more difficult for the democrats on obstruction. so let's say barr said mueller didn't come to a determination. i didn't come to a determination. i'll give you what i got. sort of leaves the issue open. >> yes, it does. >> but now the democrats have an uphill battle on the issue because the republicans can stand there and say, look, attorney general said he didn't break the law, said there wasn't a case to be made there, and that really helps that. so going forward on obstruction, a lot less wind in their sails for the democrats. >> absolutely. >> bill, i know you're friends with him, but you don't -- you don't think that barr was tipping the scales here? >> i think he thought -- he thinks as attorney general of the united states he has some right to tip the scales on a close call. to be fair to him, mueller did not indict anyone for obstruction, right. if there were a clear-cut case that trump ordered -- think of
nixon, asking ehrlichman to obstruct justice so it's not crazy for barr to say overall there doesn't seem to be a clear case of obstruction. having said that, he regards it -- he as both the attorney general and as an appointee of the president, i think he felt he had some right to tip the scales as long as he wasn't sort -- in a legitimate way as opposed to an illegitimate way. again, we need to see the report. i think once we see the report barr's letter gets forgotten. i'm not quite as worried, therefore, he's created a little bit of headwind for people who want to see the facts. >> you think we'll see the report. >> russian-affiliated individuals made offers to trump. >> it was fragments of sentences every time. >> just on collusion, barr quotes mueller saying that the russian-affiliated individuals made offers to trump and to the trump campaign. they seem not to have
effectuated an actual conspiracy or coordination. what were those reports in the trump campaign didn't report them at the time, didn't report them to the fbi? did trump lies about those offers? i think we have good reason to believe that he did in the public. maybe not an impeachable offense. an awful lot in the narrative of the report and how long is the report? >> we don't know. >> mueller talks about -- barr talks about how many people mueller interviewed and he doesn't say -- i think this is probably a pretty massive report and when you read it all in all in context, who knows. we need to read the whole thing. >> bill is making a really important point here. >> yeah. >> which i want to distill for a second. the judgment of history is different from the judgment of law. bob mueller has made what we've got yesterday was the top line judgments of law, that there is no prosecutable collusion case, whatever evidence of collusion there may be, and there is no obstruction case to bring, though there is clearly
substantial evidence of obstruction. what we don't know is how this report will inform the judgment of history including very contemporary history as the report becomes public and that will happen, you know, that's going to be a dramatic series of impacts. >> it could be. we don't know what's in it though. joining us now president trump's private attorney jay sekulow. jay, five days ago the president said let it -- let it come out. let the people see it. that's up to the attorney general. will he still continue to support the public seeing the mueller report? >> well, the president has said that, look, it's up to the attorney general, and the attorney general said he wants as much of this to be made public as possible. under the regulationsies that his prerogative, under the doj regulations and bill barr, the attorney general, says he want to make as push of it public and turn this around very quickly. i don't think any complain the speed at which they were able to
get something to the american people and the congress and media and that's been henful and why we're here today. i think this will be an expeditious process. you can't disclose grand jury testimony. that's a crime if you do. got to make sure there's no national security information in there. that has to be reviewed so there's a process and steps that have to go forward but i suspect he'll make as much of it public as possible, and it will be sooner rather than later. >> so just an overall question for you. let me just lob -- let me just lob the softball over the plate for you. >> here we go. >> good way to start. >> what do you think about the report yesterday, and what does your client think about the report? >> well, we're really pleased. the president is the very pleased. look, the fact is we've said from the beginning that -- this was a big -- remember, the impetus for this entire inquiry was initially the issue of the collusion with russia. was there collusion with rush government officials, russian operatives, and the special
counsel concluded that there was not, and in doing that he issued 2,800 subpoenas, 500 search warrants, 50 phone pens and interviewed 500 witnesses in 13 countries, so i think that that's a pretty good vindication of what the president said since the beginning, that there was no collusion. so that was good. on the obstruction issue, we're also very pleased. look, this is what i expected, joe, that the special counsel would list the facts of what happened, all of which is bill barr in the letter were in public. we saw it in public. the president is not afraid to share his views in public as you know and he did, and they looked at that -- those sets of facts and they looked at the law and the special counsel came to the determination that these were complex issues of fact and law and would not make a conclusion one way or another. they said he committed a crime. they did not say -- they downexonerate. they said we'll do what we do under the department of justice guidelines and that means what you do is you send it to the office of legal counsel which
they did which then reviews the policy impact of an obstruction case which is what happened here and ultimately the deputy attorney general and the attorney general along with olc reviewed it and made a determination there was not an actionable case for obstruction of justice. so the president said he was vindicated he was. >> jay, let me ask you. >> yeah. >> do you believe that the special counsel conducted this investigation in an honorable way? >> well, look, you know, it's always -- you say it's over and you say it's honorable because it was a great conclusion, but country went through a two-year period, and there were a lot of hiccups during this process. >> right. >> i don't have to relay all of them, joe and mika, but the fact is you can look at some of this stuff and it looks like it's out of a movie. had the whole strzok/page situation. >> you had members of the trump administration continuing to lie about their contacts with russians throughout the campaign. yeah, a lot of stuff was going on there. >> look, here's -- here's what's
important. >> ty cobb and others said that robert mueller was an honorable man and they trusted him. i'm wondering if you feel the same. >> i think that robert mueller did the job he was assigned to do. he did it as a professional, and i am pleased with the result. i am not going to get into whether i think particular actions they took along the way were right or appropriate because i think some of those were way over the top quite frankly, but at the end of the day, and you know, this you're a lawyer, joe, you go with the evidence and the verdict you got, and it's very hard to complain when you have this letter from the department of justice so all i can say is i'm very glad bob mueller completed his task and that it's over. >> mike barnacle. >> jay, the language of acceptance of the verdict from the president yesterday was not exactly, you know, the thing is over. let's move on as a country. to your knowledge, is the president going to continue to insist on reopening investigations of hillary clinton?
>> you know, look, that's out of my zone. that's a department of justice white house counsel issue. that's not a decision as the private lawyers we would weigh in and have any voice on. what we have to look at going forward, and i think this is what's interesting for the american people. right now the united states has an opportunity to actually come together in a couple of points. would i love to see instead of all of these -- because, look, joe knows this from his time in congress. with congress doing an investigation on the same topics, what me tell you what they are not going to get. er in not going to get 2,800 subpoenas, 500 search warrants and 230 orders for communication records, 500 witness interviews from 13 countries, so to me instead of wasting the american taxpayers' money on investigating something that's been investigated by the department of justice how about this, and, you know, there are friends on my side of the aisle that may not agree with me on this, but i would really like to see -- really see comprehensive immigration reform. i think that could be done, and i think that would be great for the country, and wouldn't it be
better to spend money on that than it would be on an investigation that has now gone on for two, really three years, but has concluded now with what i'm sure will be ultimately a very comprehensive report. >> jay sekulow, thanks very much for being on. >> thanks, jay. >> we'll be hoping to get back to you. >> thanks. >> new reaction to the findings of the russia report, including the attorney general, a trump appointee concluding that the president did not obstruct justice. when bob mueller made no such conclusion. nbc's pete williams joins us. plus, former homeland security secretary janet napolitano. the next hour starts right now. o the next hour starts right now >> doj has sent us a very brief letter about the mueller report. >> the special counsel considered whether members of the campaign coordinated with russian election interference activities. they did not find that coordination. >> it was a complete and total exoneration. >> well, obviously what the president said is demonstrably
not true as it relates to the obstruction of justice. >> the report leaves unresolved whether the president's actions and intent could be viewed as obstruction. >> mueller report said that there was no evidence at all. i don't know how much clearer that could be. >> robert mueller's investigation didn't say one way or the other whether the president obstructed justice. >> there is with no collusion with russia. the most ridiculous thing i've ever heard. >> it's quite clear no collusion of any kind. >> the mueller report must be made public. >> there was no conspiracy, no coordination with the russian government. the other piece was obstruction, and there it is just not as clear. >> make that report public. >> 2,800 subpoenas were issued. almost 500 search warrants were executed. 40 fbi agents detailed to this, 19 attorneys. >> there is with no collusion with russia. there was no obstruction. >> i thought it was a copout for him to say that there was not enough evidence to indict but
it's not an exoneration. the job of the prosecutor is to decide yes or no. >> it certainly leaves a lot of unanswered questions, mueller's decision to defer to the department of justice. >> if there was no collusion, why did donald trump, why did mike pence, why did jeff sessions, why did the president's first national security adviser, why did they all lie about contacts with russians? >> to be honest, it's a shame that your president has had to go through this, and hopefully somebody is going to be looking at the other side. >> welcome back to "morning joe." it is monday, march 25th. still with us, we have columnist and associate editor for "the washington post" david ignatius, "new york times" reporter michael schmitt, msnbc contributor michael barnacle and joining the conversation, moderator of washington week on
pbs and msnbc political analyst robert costa and also with us the chief white house correspondent for the "new york times" peter baker and former assistant united states attorney in the southern district of new york mimi roca, a distinguished fellow of criminal justice at pace school of law and msnbc legal analyst. great panel this hour. >> am i distinguished? >> you're very distinguished and quite a fellow. >> oh, well, i'll work on it. >> peter baker, just want you to know. peter baker is commenting on the headlines here, so if you're writing the headlines and laying out the front page of the "new york times," peter baker has a beef. he thinks it should have been moved over and should have been a much bigger headline. sort of a war is over. >> barr says. >> you want a screaming war is over. i've got to say. i'm not exactly sure what i expected when this thing came out, but it was a bombshell. i thought it was going to be sort of down the middle and
we're like -- everybody gets a participation trophy, right? no participation trophies. trump wins. world, you know, you wrote this, peter, i have edited it just a little bit as i do yeah to get down to the 200 and however many characters i have on twitter. the notion that the system came after mr. trump in the former of mr. mueller and failed to take him down will fit neatly into the president's narrative of grievance and victimization. for mr. trump, that is as good a day as they come. >> yeah. >> this was the highlight. >> yeah. >> of donald trump's presidency, wasn't it? >> it really was his best day. >> it was. >> lots of caveats, and we should remember the caveats you all have been discussing. >> by the way in, politics, a week is a lifetime. >> i say this. >> and i say this to all trump supporters because your hopes will be dashed because people who hate trump will have their hopes dashed, too. >> right. >> it always changes with donald
trump. >> it always changes. >> there will be another crisis tomorrow, an existential crisis but for that one day a huge day. >> absolutely, and you're going to hear him talk about it later this week. we eggoi he's going to go to grand rapids, michigan. >> he's tweeting now. >> but seriously, evening rallies with 10,000 people around him. >> he loves elton john. he loves elton john. this is like elton john writing like good-bye yellow brick road. this is going to be his number one smash hit when he goes out on the trail. >> and it will be his song, not robert mueller's song. we haven't really heard what bill mueller said about this, but that doesn't matter for president trump. he's got the narrative. one that's going to be compelling and powerful for him. let's face it. no matter what robert mueller's actual report says, which, again, we haven't seen, let's face it: the idea offi impeachmt
at the moment scenes long gone. of course it's a good day for him. >> bob, again, we're talking about this speech that he's going to be giving. it has everything. again, you know, his -- i almost call them concerts because he always saw them as concerts. in fact, you talk about being like elton john both the piano. he's got this hit for him has everything. it's got him being, as peter said, the victim, the outsider, the disrupter, facing down robert mueller, facing down the appointed-headed bureaucrats and facing down the fake news media. literally. it's everything that this man has ever talked about all rolled up in one box. >> we still have to see if this
provides the president with political capital across many fronts, so it provides him with a boost with his own core voters as he heads into his 2020 re-election campaign, but can he take this moment, this crossroads of his presidency and now try to pass his trade deal with house democrats, the usmca, sitting before speaker pelosi and the congress for months of. >> what do you think? >> if he has capital maybe the democrats do this. >> let's focus first with democrats and then go to what you're about to say on foreign policy. democrats this morning are about as wounded as they have been since the morning after donald trump got elected. what democrat is waking up this morning, and, again, i'm not saying it's good, it's not. i want democrats and republicans to work together, but what democrat is waking up this morning going, you know what people in my district want, they want me to cooperate with donald trump to make his presidency a
success? i think i'm going to give him a call and help him pass his legislation. >> democrats already on the 2020 presidential campaign trail have not been focused on robert mueller. for months they have been talking about health care, moving to the left on a lot of social issues and domestic issues. >> right. >> that won't change the 2020 primary. >> on capitol hill it's all on speaker please's shoulders because there's not a clear front-runner in the 2020 race. she's the strategist for the democratic party. she's the leader. they will turn to her, not to chairman nadler or chairman schiff. it's to speaker pelosi. how does she take this party forward? we know she doesn't want to move forward with impeachment but can she keep her party contained and also together in this post-barr letter world. >> david, let's talk about foreign policy. some bizarre things happening last week where the president of the united states actually tweeted, first of all, a change,
40-year, 50-year change in our policy towards the golan heights which will have very unsettling -- very unsettling impact on the middle east and probably blow apart any peace process that jared kushner dreamed of completing, but then also just tweeted that he was going to take back sanctions that the treasury department placed. again, i don't want to overstate this, but this is the work of an you had aocrat autoocrat in training who does not have a system or cabinet in place. he rules by fiat. >> one of the things you have to say about this moment is that the foreign policy process is broken. it just doesn't work anymore. there isn't an inner agency process run through the nsc that works anymore. the president's decisions are impulsive and surprise the members of his cabinet. the treasury department just
announced new sanctions on north korea to try to pressure north korea to come back to the table with a more forthcoming offer. the president tweets, turns out he was referring to future additional treasury sanctions, not the ones that had been announced the day before he made his remark so he was blowing a future undisclosed move but it's chaotic as on syria policy. if you look at any major policy area where phone diplomats want to know what's going on, what's the u.s. policy, i keep hearing from them they can't find out because there's no address. the address is donald j. trump and you never know from one day to the next what he's going to say. >> press secretary sarah huckabee sanders echoed president trump's victory lap yesterday writing in a statement the special counsel did not find any collusion and did not find any obstruction. attorney general barr and deputy attorney general rosenstein further determined there was no obstruction. the findings of the department
of justice are a total and complete exoneration of the president of the united states to which george goneway responded treating you misspelled, while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime it also does not exonerate him. please fix. thanks. >> south carolina republican lindy groom reacted this way. good day for the rule of law. great day for president trump and his team. no collusion and no obstruction. the cloud hanging over president trump has been removed by this report. graham spent sunday in florida golfing with the president, chief of staff mick mulvaney and former congressman trey gowdy during a weekend in which graham called for a new investigation into hillary clinton. >> wow. >> during a gop fund-raiser. >> talk about the old hits.
>> leading chants of lock her up. that's just bad. >> can i just stop right there. >> that's just bad. >> you go back and look at the hillary clinton investigation. i actually need to talk to you, michael, but mayimi, i'll start with you. you go back to that investigation and you look at why she was being investigated by the fbi and why the press followed it for so long. it was because she was communicating in her official capacity with personal e-mail. we have jared kushner doing the same thing with personal e-mail and iphone apps to mbs. obviously i know that so many of these republicans are hypocrites in the age of trump, but i'm wondering why doesn't the fbi begin investigating jared kushner the same way they investigated hillary clinton, and if lindsey graham wants to open up an investigation of
hillary clinton, don't they need to open up an investigation of jared kushner? i think ivanka trump did the same. >> well, these are good questions, joe, but, you know, look, first of all. we don't know. maybe the fbi is investigating jared kushner. there have also been reports of donald trump using an unsecured cell phone talking to world leaders which is comparable to using an unsecured e-mail, but the point is here, and what is so disturbing to me as someone who, you know, really is trying to have faith in our system of justice still is two things. first, prosecutions, investigations are not a tit for tat. you know, even taking for a moment the view that trump has somehow been exonerated which i'll get to in a second. >> right. >> that doesn't mean, okay, now we go and investigate hillary clinton. i mean, one is not -- this is not how it works, right? i mean, it should go based on evidence and where, you know,
our resources need to be spent, and hillary clinton has been investigated. that's over and done with. one has nothing do with the other. but can i go back for a second to the barr letter. >> yes, you can. >> because i'm still waiting for the mueller report. the only pieces of the mueller report that i've seep and that any of us have seen are a few sentences quoted, partial sentences quoted by barr. in fact, those sentences that are quoted by barr actually are very bad for trump. they say that he -- that there is evidence on both sides as to obstruction. it says that there are difficult questions of law and fact as to whether it is as crime of obstruction. imagine if bill barr had not inserted himself and written this conclusory opinionated
letter this would be a very different conversation and trump would not be gloating the way you're talking about, and i think that's important because, unfortunately, for me this is not about republican or democrat. i want to see the facts. this is about the rule of law, and i believe that that process is being subverted. and i think that there's a direct line between bill barr's 19-page letter of why he thinks obstruction by a president cannot be a crime to this bill barr letter, and that is problematic for me. >> you know, it is unsettling, and the more we talk about it, the more unsettling it becomes that bill barr, again, decided to weigh in on a matter that he had absolutely no legal impact on. >> right. >> because, again, they had concluded that the president could not be indicted. so why does he weigh on that -- weigh in on that after having the report for, what, two days? >> i think there's going to be a lot of political talk about
whether or not barr is playing fair, and that will get into a political recommend, but i'm going second what mimi just said. i'm still waiting four-game the mueller report. i'm still waiting for it. i'm still waiting to see what's in it because what barr did was he gave his interpretation. we can discuss the political ramifications and the political realities and maybe even the reality of his interpretation and whether or not it was fair, but here is his quote from the mueller report because he does pull a few quotes. i would say probably not enough quotes. maybe a better compilation of the conclusion of a mueller report would have more quotes from mueller in it, but here it is. the special counsel states while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him. >> right. >> those words are from the mueller report. i'd like to see more of the mueller report before we conclude exactly what happened here. what you're hearing is the
president, his attorney general, but mostly the president's people taking this and running with it and literally saying lies on television like it exonerates him completely when the report says it does not exonerate him. >> you know, michael schmit, i've been -- i talked to mark halperin months ago about mueller. when everybody said this person is going to get indicted and that person is going to get indicted and mueller is going to be the sort of legal superman, and -- and as usual on such matters his sourcing was right. he says no, that's not mueller does. mueller is conservative with a big "c" and a small "c." he's going to get the evidence and he's sort of like john roberts who is not going -- as roberts said in the obamacare case. he said i'm not going to do for voters what voters can do at the voting booth. he said -- mark said six month ago that's what the report is going to look like. he's going to lay out facts, and
he's not going to do for voters what elected officials that have been voted into office can do for themselves. that would have worked well if barr had been in between that and decided he was going to, again, color the entire conversation with conclusions that were non-binding. >> why do you have a special counsel? you have a special counsel to take the politics out so we can look at a decision and say, okay, they followed the facts. what do we have here? we have a special counsel who went out and didn't make a determination, and then the politicians came in and made that determination. so how did the special counsel regulation -- >> by the way, a politician who actually got his job the same way whitaker got his job, by playing to the president from the cheap seats. whitaker went on cnn and started
bashing the investigation. bob barr or bill barr wrote this bizarre brief that he just happened to share with the president of the united states and he got the job. >> the intent of a special counsel, the idea behind the regulation that created it, was to allow the investigator to go out and make the decision, to make the determination so the country could step, and it's reversed itself. >> right. >> because mueller never came -- because mueller says, look, i don't know. >> i'm going to let congress decide. >> i think you have to -- i think mueller deserves a little bit of criticism for not having brought this issue of obstruction to a firmer judgment to pass along to congress, to pass along to the attorney general. he left it open. there's evidence on both sides. >> the only thing i'll say about that is we only got fragments of
sentences. we don't know what else he wrote in there that actually colorado -- >> understood. we would not be in the circumstance where bill barr gets to write an op-ed if there had been a more dispositive conclusion by the special counsel which was his charge. >> prosecutors have one job. they are to determine whether a crime was committed. a lot of times say it's not there. that's okay if the facts are not there, but mueller in the most high-profile investigation in recent times throws up his hands and says i don't know. >> we don't know if he said that. >> we don't know what he said. >> we have not seen the report. >> we believe from barr's letter is he's laid out facts and he say as a matter of facts here's what you can consider from them. there's a contusional argument as to whether the president of the united states can be charged with obstruction to carry out constitutional duties.
it is the house of representatives, right, under the constitution, the house has the exclusive province to decide what is an impeachable offense? is obstruction by justice in the service of his power, using his power, constitute a possible obstruction of justice? that's really something more for the house of representatives to decide. >> but way this looks right now it's as if barr has said look on obstruction i've made the decision. >> we knew barr's opinion going in. he told us his opinion going in with the 19-page memo. we understood his position of the president's power and whether he abused it or not. >> mike barnicle. >> you know, given what happened over the last two or three years we need to pump the brakes on this. we don't know if this report was 5 pages or 500 pages. as joe just indicated, we don't know what's in there. we don't know if bob mueller has an explanation for not coming up with a chart on obstruction. we don't know a whole lot, and i
don't want to see the media, us or anybody else get involved with criticizing mueller at this point or raising objections to -- to bill barr, the attorney general. let's wait and find out what's in there because i'll tell you one thing. most people waking up today in the united states of america beyond the scope of what we do here every day are moving on with their lives and eventually the potential and the peril for the democrats is going to be to realize that they are going to be able -- that people out there are saying, hey, why didn't you investigate the cost of mile health care insurance, the prescription costs in this country. why haven't i gotten a real wage increase percentage-wise in is a years? investigate that stuff. we've had enough of your investigations. that's happening right now i bet as we speak. >> you know, bob costa, it's very interesting. the democrats have been aware of this for quite some time. mika and i were invited to speak
to the democratic whip organization and we've spoken to republican groups, too, on the hill, but it's interesting before the election you had every democrat in stenny's whip organization saying we understand voters aren't talking about russia. they don't care about russia. adam schiff was at the end of the table and adam schiff said we care about it. it's important that we get to the bottom of this, but voters don't care about it. that adam schiff saying that, so it's very interesting. democrats seemed to get this memo. maybe that's why they had a historic win this past year, but how do they move on? is this nancy pelosi's job to say, yes, elijah, jerry, you guys run with this, but we're going to be working on health care. we're going to be working on, you know, college, reducing the cost of school. how is that going to work out? >> politically long term the
democrats may have to move on, but speaker pelosi at this point is going to be in a very difficult position. her members, her allies, her donors do not want to see anyone move on until they see this complete report from robert mueller. for example, speaker pelosi, she went bowling with her grand date on friday. then she went to a birthday party for willy brown in san francisco on friday night, and based on my reporting she was surrounded by donors and longtime democrats who said they in nervous and skittish. this report, what's really in it. we've got to go after president trump. we've got to make sure we get the obstruction angle and her whole focus was let's focus on transparency, talk about complete report being released, and until that complete report is given to the rank and file democrats on capitol hill, you've been in the housing, they are not going to give up onnish this ow because they want especially to learn more about obstruction and abuse of power. if president trump's conduct did not rise to the level of a crime, congress still wants to make the decision as peter said constitutionally. does congress want to move
forward with impeachment? >> do the courts get involved in this because it's hard for the republicans to talk about how you can't release this information. when they get the 302s and hillary clinton's investigation, they, unfortunately, for themselves set a precedent that would allow all of this information being released, so they are not stopped from going back and saying oh, wait, this would be improper. >> yeah. look. bill barr wants to be as transparent and give as much as possible. heel be tested on that obviously. if the house democrats are not satisfied, they i think will continue to pursue it in a very vigorous way even as they try to shift politically to talk about health care and other issues. you're right. it could go to the courts and the courts i think would have a certain disposition to defer to the house because they are in fact the only body that can hold a president accountable through the process of impeachment. >> there will be debate among democrats even if the obstruction is about a decision to fire james comey. is that enough for an impeachment proceeding. the details are going to earth
map. mike's great reporting and others great reporting on possible obstruction. details matter because the country already knows pubically about a lot of president's conduct. what matters is there any new information that could change the way public thinks about this? >> mimi, what's the precedent for a report saying does not exonerate because it is leads to so many questions for me as to what else is in the report. >> well, exactly, and even on this point as to obstruction, again, the barr letter says that most of the conduct that was considered was public. that means not all of it is public. so that is, you know, just the hundreth reason why this report should be made public. mueller found it did not establish a criminal conspiracy. that's very different from
saying that there was no conduct here that congress should consider. bob mueller used beyond a reasonable doubt as to criminal charges for the standard as far as i can tell, and -- and so that is a far cry from no collusion action. we don't know, that and i think that's what congress really needs to look at, and they cannot do that without the facts. >> mimi mocha, thank you. peter baker, thank you as well. great to have you on board. >> peter, i hope they make your headlines much bigger in the future. >> is that right a petition. >> coming up, we'll hear from our first elected official this morning. the congresswoman sits on the judiciary committee and joins us next. nbc justice correspondent pete williams and nicolle wallace join the table. we're back in three minutes. alle join the table we're back in three minutes.
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so would you acknowledge it is incorrect for the president to call this a total exoneration? >> not at all. it is a complete and total exoneration and here's y.because the special counsel, they said they couldn't make a decision one way or the other, the way the process works, is then they leave that up to the attorney general. the attorney general and the deputy attorney general went through and based their decision on mueller's investigation. this wasn't based on just their own ideas and own thinking. it was paced on mueller's investigation. >> just want to fact check white house press secretary sarah sanders there. i think she got that a little bit off. she said complete exoneration, and the mueller report, i'm going to quote, the one -- one of the few quotes that barr
gives, it also does not exonerate him so maybe someone could, you know, tweet her. >> joining us now -- >> i think george conway already has repeatedly. >> it's not okay when the white house lies, and we see it every day. it's just important to point out, not telling the truth. >> as my mother used to say. >> nicole is here. >> hi. >> she would say of a certain person that she knew. she said she lies when telling the truth would be better. >> oh. >> which may explain this entire episode where everybody around donald trump and donald trump lied about all of their contacts with russia. >> just tell the truth. 15 minutes, just try. >> does make life easier. >> that's right. nobody has seen the report so we don't know what's in it. member of the house judiciary committee, democratic congresswoman of washington is
here with us, and also nbc news justice correspondent pete williams and host of "deadline white house" and former communications director for president george w. bush nicolle wallace is here with us as well. >> pete, tell us what happened. break it down. what's your takeaway? >> what's in the report, pete? >> wouldn't we all like to know. i can tell you that they are all pretty surprised that robert mueller, this former marine, did not take the hill on the final question about whether there was on trucks of justice, basically passing the hot potato to the justice department saying, well, you decide whether there's -- whether this is a crime or not. in terms of how the justice department looked at it, i think they are saying, all right, so mueller is saying it's either/or. what are the tiebreakers? one tiebreaker they say in the letter is there's no underlying crime. there's no other crime that you would have had an obstruction to cover up. now, of course, that's not a legal rifrmt can y legal requirement. you can have obstruction even if
there's no underlying crime and the other potential tiebreaker if you're going to indict the president of the united states you would say to yourself i've really got to have a rock solid case, and it doesn't appear even from mueller's own conclusion that there was a rock solid case. >> same with exoneration though. can we assume or can we pull that there's going to be factors in the report that explain why there was no exoneration. >> yes, clearly. the report points in two directions. it says on the one hand maybe there's obstruction but on the other hand maybe there isn't. >> and that is the story of donald trump every day of his life actually. >> just to break it down for our viewers. this is -- this is what we see often in courtrooms where you -- you have to meet a high legal standard, and just because somebody is found not guilty, and i'm not that you canning about donald trump in this case, but just because somebody is not found not guilty doesn't mean they are innocent. there's a high standard -- >> but they are exonerated. >> yeah.
>> if they are innocent until proven guilty and if they are not guilty they are still innocent as a legal matter. >> as a legal matter. >> but i guess it goes to the question why did he put -- why did he feel the need to put not exonerated? >> joe, i just wanted to get in here for a second because, remember, the reason we got a special counsel in the first place was because the attorney general was conflicted out. that's why we got a special counsel. the special counsel then was supposed to make sure that they provided us with the information that we needed that wasn't biased. now what's happened here is both sides apparently presented, all we know is three pages, really, it's not four pages if you take out the beginnings and the ends of just names on the pages, right. three-page letter that says both sides were presented, and oh, by the way, after 22 months of investigation i'm going to take less than 48 hours, make a decision that there's nothing in here that is prosecutable and then we're supposed to accept that without any other
information. >> what's congress's next move? >> well, obviously the first thing we're going do is make sure we get this full report and i hope barr has said in this letter he's going to release what he can, but i am not convinced that he's going to do that without claiming -- i don't know if he's going to show this to the white house. is white house -- >> what's the process? do we note process? >> we've written -- obviously we've written our letters. if we don't get it quickly i think chairman nadler will probably move to a subpoena quickly because we need to get this information out. i feel like the white house and baierl have tried to use there as an opportunity to shape a narrative, the narrative that mika just correctly, you know, tore apart which is fully exonerated. no, actually, very clearly says in the report that obstruction of justice very, very serious charge is not -- bob mueller was not able after 22 months to exonerate the president. that should be of great concern
to every republican and every democrat, and i think there's a lot of underlying information in here, too, that we need, but we are far from -- you know, we're far from clear about these charges against the president. >> bob costa? >> for two-plus years robert mueller tried to find out did the president have corrupt intent with his actions? the congress is going to look at the whole scope of behavior from president trump and then make the decision in their view did the president have corrupt intent, but robert mueller was constraint by not actually having a presidential sit-down interview. he got written responses, written in part with the president and rudy giuliani, jay sekulow. he got written responses to questions. he never pushed to have a subpoena for the president to sit for an interview. without that interview it was almost impossible if you talk to legal experts for robert mueller to ever conclude the real intent of president trump. >> does this conclusion make it
more likely that democrats will move to impeach the president if they get the information? >> i'll ask you. it's going to be a fascinating question. if you get new information from the mueller report but you don't know the president's intent with regard to obstruction would you still move for impeachment if you think this mantserits the process? >> we in the judiciary committee have authorization and responsibility around issues of abuse of power, public corruption and obstruction of justice. this has always been one piece of what we're looking at. for two years i've been on the judiciary committee since i came into congress, and for two years we were not even able to have investigations or hearings into any of these issues so we have just started that process. chairman nadler put out 81 requests for information, you know, for all of these investigations that are going
on. we still have the southern district of new york, so there's a lot of information that's still coming in, and i think we are not -- you know, we're at the beginning of the process, not at the end of the process. the mueller sorority an important piece of that but certainly not whole story. >> nicole, i get -- i feel like i should apologize to the political gods because i see -- we're an hour and 40 minutes in and i have yet to ask the political implications of this. i am so ashamed, but i'm going to do it now. >> what are the political implications of anything anymore? could have been a dead russian hooker in the hudson and the trump base would have say eh. >> so the implications are how the democrats respond to this because this is -- i've got to say. if you look at the three low points in the 21st century for the democrats, when they wanted to all jump into the east river it was the morning after george w. bush was re-elected again.
>> one. >> the despair was beyond it. the morning after donald trump was elected, re-elected and they were shower he was going to lose for a year. >> '16. >> seriously, willy and i had to go out on the streets and provide crisis counseling for them. >> cigarettes. >> and, of course, they overreached and all the op-eds were bush supporters are like al qaeda and et cetera, et cetera. threat went crazy. >> that's one. >> not a good look. that's number one. >> number two obviously the morning after trump got elected. >> correct. >> and then this has to be number three. >> now i have three emotional support dogs. >> okay. >> the question is -- >> i do. >> mika is going for the third emotional support dog. >> i think i get one. >> so the question is how do the democrats respond moving forward? how do they keep their head? how do they stay focused so they can be as successful in 2020 as they were in 2018? >> two things. they have to walk and chew gum. two, nancy pelosi took
impeachment off the table unless it's grave enough, but in terms of pursuing an investigation, it would have been a lot harder if mueller had gone one way or the other on obstruction. it just would have been settled by this revered veteran, this revered fbi director who was so great that he was only fbi director in history to have his ten-year term extended to 13. so when comey came out in '16 and said hillary clinton didn't commit a crime but her behavior was abhorrent, he was blasted. >> right. >> mueller didn't even meet the comey standard. didn't make a statement with criminality so mueller armed democrats with a justification for getting to the bottom of obstruction. the letter said, and we didn't see much, but the very little that they put in, the shards of information that we got is we had evidence on both side of the obstruction question. oh, really. you can't decide. maybe we can. >> to your point, we don't know what's in the report. we don't know if there's
anything riveting in it, so today as opposed to yesterday or the day before the democrats are facing six years of this president. >> for sure. >> that's the bottom line. >> we've got a for sure. >> six years. >> you already have the trump re-election. >> six more years. >> i thought the morning of your top three that he would be impeached and re-elected and now i think impeachment is questionable. look no, one cares about anything. i mean -- >> you said the morning after the day after bush got re-elected. >> in terms of politics they are so rigid and locked in. >> i will say what i said before the mid terms. you can be frustrate tlad 40% of the peopcountry thinks that thiy is the best president ever but you need more than 40%.
what we've been weighing in is the attorney general drawing a conclusion in 24, 36 hours on an issue that robert mueller wasn't able to draw a conclusion on over two years. since they had already determined, they were going to follow justice department guidelines. they weren't going to indict a sitting president. >> no way. so with that being the case benjamin whit and others who have suggested that the attorney general's language, his opinion didn't matter, that it was an op-ed he should have left out of the report. you're smiling. why. >> for a couple of reasons. one is, yes, there is a long-standing justice department olc office of legal council opinion under both republicans and democrats that says a president can't be indicted for the simple reason he can't run the country when he's in jail. however, as attorney general he has the authority to say i disagree. i'm going to go ahead, so in theory that door was not closed to him. he could choose to walk through
it if he wanted to, but as you know in the letter it says we never even got there because we decided that there wasn't a crime here, that there was nothing to indict him for. now on the question of snap judgment. i think two points. sarah sanders this morning said i think with some justification that robert rosenstein who was in on this decision was fully briefed on this from the beginning. he's the one who brought in robert mueller. he's the one that got daily sometimes many times a day briefings from them, so he knew exactly what mueller had. this was not a snap judgment for him and i think probably, we don't know for sure, it seems quite likely that once barr got there he was briefed on what this was going to say. yes, the final thing laid on his desk on friday, it wasn't a huge surprise to him. >> all right. >> so you're not surprised that the attorney general drew that conclusion in the report? >> i'll tell you. i am surprised that he set for himself this goal of informing
congress by this weekend what the report said. he had -- he fulfilled his obligation in the first paragraph of the letter that he sent on friday. all he has to do under the regs is say he's done and we never said no to anything he wanted. that his only requirement. he's one who said i will commit to informing congress as much as i can by this weekend. that was his choice. >> congresswoman. what's next? you're on the judiciary committee. >> yeah. we have a series of investigations that we've already started. we're continuing with that work and it's broader than this, and i think we'll probably call robert barr and robert mueller before us. i think we have to get this before us. >> william barr. >> there's a lot of underlying information. to your point we could have even waited for bill barr to give us that conclusion. he didn't do that. he immediately took the tack of his 2018 memo that he wrote,
unsolicited 19-page memo to the trump administration saying number one he believed the president had sweeping executive power. number two, that he didn't even think the president should be -- excuse me, that bob mueller should be able to ask the president questions, and in fact that didn't happen. he got written answers to his questions. so there's a lot here that we need to still look at, and, you know, i think -- i'm troubled by the fact that we've set the standards so low for how a president should behave. i mean, we're talking about is there enough conclusion here that it would rise to the level of criminality. we already know that there are a number of other investigations that are investigating the fact that or allegations that the president did lie, hush money, all kinds of other things. i used to think that the office of the president of the united states was a particularly vaunted one, that we would all look up to that person. >> right. >> that they would set a moral
standard for the country that would be -- >> we're in a different place. >> different place. >> congresswoman, based on that answer. do you think democrats should still continue to pursue questions about russia and the trump campaign? we know you're going to pursue obstruction, but what about russia and the trump campaign based on this letter from the attorney general? >> well, i think if we see the report and we see the underlying information and -- that's going to make a big difference, right. can we to ourselves understand and look at the conclusions and see how bob mueller got to this place on collusion. there's still other questions about other things. i have to go home and answer to 750,000 people, and i need to be able to explain exactly where we are in this process, and i do think that, again, you know, criminality, is there enough that rises to that level, that is a different question than whether there was -- there was -- there were things
happening that the american people should be worried about? >> congresswoman, thanks so much for being on this morning and nbc's pete williams. >> pete, where you running off to today? a busy day. >> it's a living. >> it's a living. >> well, we look forward to hearing more. nicole, stay with us, if you can. still ahead, we'll be joined by tom brokaw and michael mibosnia serb cross for a little historical context, plus msnbc's chris matthews and former cia director john brennan will join the conversation. they will join us at the top of the hour. "morning joe" will be right back. the hour "morning joe" will be right back
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get started today at customink.com. . joining us now former secretary of homeland security, one time attorney general of arizona, janet napolitano. she's the author of the new book "how safe are we." good to have you on board this morning. >> thank you for being with us, secretary. let's begin with your take on,
of course, the attorney general's letter about robert mueller's report? >> you know, one of the things that i take from this is the conclusion that while there may not have been actual collusion, the russians were all over our election in 2016. they were planning the seeds of dischord a discord and unrest. they were hacking materials from the dnc and the clinton campaign and from a security perspective i would ask what are we doing to prevent this in this activity is still going on. what are we doing to tighten up the state electoral systems? what are we doing with the main platform provide sners, the facebooks and twitters.
what are we doing to tell russia stay out of our democracy. one of the things i would like to see out of this is greater activity looking forward. what are we doing to prevent this from happening again so that we have confidence in the 2020 election. >> david ignatius, great questions, and, of course, you have kirstjen nielsen who is now the secretary of the defendant homeland security saying vladimir putin interfered with the election in 2016 and that's the same conclusion fbi, dni, you name it, military intel, they all came to the same conclusion. >> i'll take the question back to secretary napolitano. i think you said it just right that there is this threat to our political system, our elections. that's one of the strongest finding that mueller came up with. madam secretary, what do you think ought to be done going forward?
we have a president who really hasn't accepted the breadth of russian interference. what should to be done going forward to get more serious about this in >> i would like to see, number one, the president speak out and to say definitively this is not acceptable, and that we as a nation, a nation of laws will not accept a foreign country interfering directly in our elections. i would like to see the president call on all the agencies of the federal government who touch on cyber security to come back together and to make sure they organize their overlapping and sometimes conflicting jurisdictions. i would like to see congress focus on this issue more. and i would like the country to consider what additional sanctions need to be imposed on russia for this behavior. >> you would kind of think, miss
napolitano, that the idea that this mueller report has cleared president trump of the idea of collusion with russia would give him the impetus to finally say something that every american intelligence agency has found and mow the mueller report has found that there was russian considerable, probably ongoing attempts to interfere with our democracy which virtually in fact is a declaration of war against our democracy. >> one of the issues i point out in my book is that these kind of issues, the use of cyber networks to intervene in our democracy, those are real threats to homeland security. i would also do say that building a wall in the southwest border is a distraction for these things that are the real threats that we have to confront. >> you would know, arizona. >> i do know them very well. you know, building a wall is a
symbol. it's not a strategy. and the border needs to be managed. the rule of law needs to be imposed. no doubt about that. but focusing the whole nation's attention on a simple physical structure, that is not an effective strategy. >> all right. the book is "how safe are." former homeland security secretary janet napolitano. thank you very much for being on this morning. >> thank you. >> still ahead president trump claims that he was quote totally exonerated by mueller's findings and this morning his press secretary double downed on that talking point. we'll have new reaction from "hardball' "hardball's" chris ma trues. "morning joe" is back in two minutes. . sources say liberty mutual customizes your car insurance, so you only pay for what you need.
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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 for, 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 take down 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. >> so the criticism is here's a guy making a snap judgment who had already made up his mind about the case and it's on the record. . >> it's not a snap judgment. this is -- anybody that knows attorney general barr including a number of democrats who have known him for decades and have talked about what a great individual he is and how highly respected he is in the legal community, he takes his job seriously. but let's be clear, it wasn't that he took this upon himself. that's the process of the law. when the special counsel couldn't make a decision, couldn't make a final
determination they referred that to the attorney general to make that decision. he made it in conjunction with the deputy attorney general who has been intimately involved in this process from the very beginning. >> okay. >> just read george conway's tweets. chris matthews here, i'll jump over all the good morning. chris, when donald trump was standing in front of the line of cars and he was -- he's giving his spiel. he reminded me of robert duvall in "godfather ii" after michael coreleone just got off. not exactly how you would expect donald trump to respond to the news. >> any time we watch a criminal case we get a verdict, the guy who got off says i'm innocent.
i've been. proven. innocent. actually he's been acquitted, hasn't been proven innocent. they aldo that. i just tell you, studied like you. i watched this at 5:00 on friday. close of business on. friday. always the dumping ground. you didn't have 24/7 news coverage. you could hide it and kill them in the sunday paper. i thought that was sneaky. then i saw the news. no, it was sherlock holmes deduction, the dog that didn't bark. no indictments of any of his associates, family members or henchmen for collusion for supporting the intervention in our campaigns. when i heard that none of the kids remember none of the henchmen, roger stone, manafort, nobody involved. i go wait a minute, there's not
even going to be a hid encharge somewhere in here against the president. there's not even a statement about him. so they didn't have him on collusion. that means there will not be a convict shine the u.s. senate this year. that's not going to happen. i doubt -- i note that if there's a majority vote in the house for impeachment will be almost entirely democrats. you can make a case for obstruction of justice. i made it on the air. it's all broad daylight behavior by the president. firing comey. it was a good case for obstruction of justice. republicans already know that. they are not supporting impeachment. i think the democrats have to win the election. >> what. >> they got win the election. can't wait for uncle robert to take care of them. uncle robert did what he thought he did was right and barr did what he thought was right. you got to do your own case. look we watched knicks on go down on evidence, the june 23rd
tape where it was clearly involved in obstruction. leading the case for covering it up. we saw the clinton stuff, how he lied under oath. we had him. we look at the evidence, we looked at the facts. right now there's no case for his removal on collusion. then we'll argue about obstruction of justice for a while. there again, a judgment call. barr made his judgment over the weekend. the republicans have made their judgment, yes, yes, yes, but we're not removing him from office. everybody will be partisan on this, let's face it. >> the question is, chris, that, of course, maybe historians will be sorting through, is if there's no collusion, if there was no improper conduct, if donald trump had nothing to worry about all along why did the president lie about his contacts with russia during the campaign repeatedly, why did the vice president lie about their contacts with russia in january of 2017. why did the attorney general lie
in front of the united states senate about his contacts? i mean we can go -- >> some people are just liars. >> that's thing. they weren't lying about talking to russians and the other lie about talking to venezuelans and another talk about talking to the chinese. they allied. >> let me ask you a question -- >> about talking. >> the way people behave, they don't like being investigated. why did saddam hussein claim he had all these weapons and they go hide in a spider hole. he didn't have the weapons. >> he was more afraid of the shia than the united states. i can explain that a lot better than i can explain this, which is why would you continue lying about your contacts with russia. >> two years of looking into it and they can't get it. i agree with you. first of all there's a lot of
prima facie evidence there was back and forth meetings. all the meetings, cigar bar at the trump tower. >> how about the meeting on air force one where donald trump has everybody around him saying okay this is how we'll lie about our meeting with the russians. >> get yourself as a job as special counsel because in the end -- >> because in the end there's more of that onion to unpeel. >> you can make that argument. it was resolved this weekend politically. >> we haven't seen the report yet. there are parts of the report that said the president was not exonerated. joining us from politico specializing in legal and national security issues, josh gerstein and former cia director john brennan, senior national security and intelligence analyst for nbc news. let's start with director brennan. what is your biggest question this morning pertaining to the mueller report and especially the one line that was quoted by robert mueller and that this does not exonerate him on the
issue of obstruction. >> well, good morning, mika. i think like, virtually everyone else i believe strongly that as much of the mueller report as possible should be released to congress and the american public. william barr's letter summarizes that report and-- shakes some tantalizing moments in it. i accept robert mueller's determination despite the public call by donald trump for the russians to go after hillary clinton's e-mail and meeting at trump tower by don jr., looking for dirt on hillary clinton, and the reference that chris made to all the other meetings that were taking place, i accept that he was not able to establish after his investigation that there was a criminal conspiracy or criminal coordination with the russians in the interference of
the election. i think we should be relieved there was not this active conspiracy going on between u.s. persons. doesn't mean they didn't do wrong things or unethical things. on the issue of obstruction of justice, i think that really is an open question. as william barr's memo references, bob mueller said there's evidence on both sides and we need to have a better understanding of exactly what is underlying that statement. so i do think congress and american people need a better insight into this issue. >> trying to understand the attorney general's interpretation he writes in this four page summary the special counsel did not find any u.s. person or trump campaign official or associate conspired or knowingly coordinated in russia's efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election. is the word "knowingly" important there? >> well, i think if you're talking before, people do some
things unwittingly. clearly there was an effort by russia to try to engaging a criminal conspiracy by making offers to support the election prospects of donald trump. i'm glad that there was nobody who was actively vetting that at least according to bob mueller's investigation. clearly there were things going on that raised deep suspicions about whether or not american persons were actively working, again wittingly or unwittingly with the russians. but bob mueller says no. >> josh, the special counsel's report does have this line in it. barr's interpret jafgs it where he quotes the special counsel it does not exonerate him. i'm wondering there are a lot of questions this morning as to whether or not barr's interpretation can be trusted. but rod rosenstein was involved in this. there are a lot of reasons to believe that he's work within the parameters of the law.
>> i was down at the justice department all day yesterday as they were getting ready to send this information over to congress and it was very clear that barr was trying to hug rod rosenstein in this letter because he's saying these are decisions that we made jointly and assessments that we made jointly. a lot of them are highly technical. i mean southeast things you and joe have talked about this morning, the fact that the president did many of these acts that some consider potential obstruction, in public, he said that was a factor that leaned against charging them as obstruction. the fact that they didn't find an underlying conspiracy on the overall issue of whether there was collusion with the russians is another thing. why would somebody commit a cover up if they didn't commit the crime. so they went through all these factors and some of it is highly technical, like, for example, the barr and rod rosenstein say because the law here, the underlying law on obstruction says that there has to be an
ongoing proceeding. most people think it means obstructing an fbi investigation is illegal. if you read the technicalities in this letter, obstructing an fbi investigation is not illegal. only obstructing a grand jury investigation. did president trump know there was obstruction on a grand jury. >> mika, i have a question for director brennan. >> please. >> mr. brent narnnan you said i past year you believe president trump's conduct approaches the level of treason. do you still believe that based on the attorney general's letter? >> what i said was that his performance in helsinki was nothing short of treasonous. wasn't using it in a legal term i was using it in the sense of what he was doing with mr. putin as far as having a two hour one-on-one meeting with him
without his advisors present as well as his giving vladimir putin a pass during that conference that basically saying the russians did not interfere in the election. i found that was flouting and trampling upon the assessments of the intelligence community that were nance. i still believe there are a lot of questions that need to be answered, questions about why he's lied so much and so often. i do think he, donald trump is concerned that opening up an investigation on criminal conspiracy about working with the russians would open up a pandora's box of other type of things that come ply indicate him and i think the referrals by bob mueller to the southern district of new york and other places demonstrate there's a lot of investigative threads that could implicate mr. trump. >> chris, on politics i disagree that democrats can walk and chew gum. but i talked to a demonstrate on the house judiciary committee who said the fog of indecision
around obstruction strengthens their ability to take a look at the obstruction report if nothing else. how do you think that goes? what sort of cautions would you have for them as they embark on that. >> watch pelosi. she's the best. i've never seen anyone corral members of either party. she gets 100% turnout. my old boss couldn't do that. the power she has to be feared but not hated. that's the trick to be feared but not hated. i watched her and nadler on "meet the press" and i watched him very carefully talk as if she's watching. and i think the message from her is don't blow this the way the republicans blew clinton. don't do that. don't go out there looking like you're using the methodology of impeachment for partisan gain. don't get caught doing that. the way the scorecard on that works is unfair if republicans don't support impeachment it's
partisan by definition. if they hold tight with their 88% w-their grassroots -- i was on fifth avenue in new york the other day. they are crazy. the demonstrators on fifth avenue are unbelievable. end political correctness. one guy saw me, i guess this guy liked me. they were all there yelling having the time of their life. i think the demonstrate in the suburbs -- just remember, a lot of those people on the left are stars. no doubt about it. from media coverage and the excitement. democrats won the 2018 election in the burbs with moderate candidates and those people have to run again and again in those swing districts. >> they have to not want to talk about russia and mueller in the suburbs in virginia, the suburbs of philly. it is bread and butter issues -- >> save social security, save medicare and don't go socialist. that's the message.
save obamacare. don't go into medicare for all. >> chris, you brought up -- >> by the way who gets tax when we raise tax. the guy making 150 and his wife. paying for college. that guy and women know when you say socialism you're thinking about them. >> chris, you brought up the clinton impeachment. isn't it something, we got in our own ways went through that. and people would always come back and be breathless. lindsey graham would look over evidence he was in a purple rage. talking about bill clinton. he looked horrible. this is the end of him. i heard it was the end of bill clinton a thousand times. and mika will tell you throughout this entire process, i said to her all along when somebody would go they are going to get trump. i go nope. nope. >> that's true de.
>> there's a replay of clinton. always -- it always seems a lot easier than it is, they are not going to get him. there are so many parallels, except you just change the parties. >> yes. self-propelled belief. >> self-propelled belief by the republicans. >> teethical stuff and sexual stuff which everybody is two faced about. everybody. you get democrats lay off the guy. move on. moveon.org don't talk about the sex any more. now it's the payoffs to women. people have flipped 180 on every argument. you were tough on clinton. i was tough on clinton. i have been consistent on this. i do think the evidence our job is news first, analysis second and opinion third. all three of them are jobs. if you don't do them you don't have a job. pep want your opinion. first thing they want is the news. the news is trump won this weekend. >> that's the news, mike barnicle.
>> hold on a second he won the news cycle, he won the pr battle, he won the branding exercise. we don't know what's in this report. >> that's right. >> mike barnicle, look at that headline. i would argue that he not only won this week. >> "washington post". >> "the dallas morning news" reports no collusion and for donald trump that's not about this news cycle, that's not about his speech this week, that is his closing argument in 2020. the democrats tried to come after me because i'm a disrupter. the press lied about me because i'm a disrupter. i'm not in their little club. >> it's a witch-hunt. >> they put, what are the numbers, 500, 2,000 -- >> it's long report. >> 2020 is a long way away. this is a moment politically for a democrat running for president so step up and talk to their party and mount a new argument in a post-barr letter world.
the speaker pelosi is the strategist. they are going around iowa and new hampshire. who will have a national message of how to take on donald trump. >> that's it. >> that's the question. mike barnicle. >> the mayor of south bend, indiana indicated he has a national message on that. that headline, you know, i agree with john brennan, that headline is kind of -- a lot of people don't want to hear this, it's good news for the country because basically it says the president of the united states is not guilty of treason. that's always a good thing. >> that's a good day. >> but, josh, let me ask you with regard to the rest of the report and we only have fragments of it so in essence we're all flying blind on what attorney general barr is talking about, but one of the elements in the lack of a specific charge of obstruction in the report and, again, we don't know what would lead up to bob mueller's description of why they didn't want to go forward with
obstruction. how important do you think it was in terms of reasoning what he came to was the fact that there was no sworn sit down testimony as to state of mind by the president of the united states with mueller and his investigators? >> well, i think that was important. and it's hard to see how you can make a case without that kind of information. on the other hand, it seems like that was never going to happen. and it doesn't happen in most cases. i mean the president -- there was a lot of talk about different issues he could raise to block that kind of testimony, but he always could have taken the fifth amendment. people say oh, that's politically impossible. about 20 things that are politically impossible have happened. so i think part of what's happened here with barr is that he's taken out kind of a balloon mortgage for the administration, right? he's come out with a top line findings that are obviously good news for the white house and
producing the kind of headlines we're showing which are still almost two years away from the election. but the bill will come due. the rest of mueller's evidence will come out. and even barr acknowledged in that letter that there's substantial evidence on both sides especially on the obstruction issues with respect to each alleged action that the president took that was obstruction. so there will be another chapter to this story. now whether that's in 30 days, 60 days, 90 days -- >> that's such a good point. for barr to have squandered political capital on this where he had dent in the bodywork on obstruction he was already doubted about whether he could be a neutral arbiter of the obstruction case. he took on mr. water. trump might need him to have more credibility and have credibility -- it's trump. you know he's an unindicted co-conspiracy in new york. there's 17 investigations into him. his attorney general just lost
his credibility among i would guess all democrats and maybe even some republicans or like wow trump did got it. so barr might need his credibility back. rod rosenstein was a witness in it. i don't know what rod rosenstein of doing advising on whether or not to categorize the obstruction case as criminal or not. rod rosenstein was the guy who was so strung out he wanted to wear a wire to catch trump as a russian agent. you couldn't find two more damaged arbiters of the mueller case which was really in a lock box. we trusted it until barr got his muddy fingers on it and rod rosenstein weighed in. they might wish to have their credibility back. >> we have a preview of the 4:00 show. i know where he's going. >> imagine if you're bill clinton right now. he said no president is going to testify one oath, he's not going
to look for perjury trap or set one. clinton goes in, before a grand jury and says we all watched this humiliation. he got in trouble doing it. was bob bennett wrong. mr. president, bill clinton, take fifth, you'll never be impeached. >> it was a different time. that's the lesson they learned. >> we have a president who takes the fifth. done hurt his image. >> i totally agree. >> i can tell you this, it was a surprise by the republicans who actually did not like the fact that we made the president of the united states sit and he sat there and he answered questions and i would argue that it helped him in the end even though there was a charge and it made us look like we were on a witch-hunt. it's probably why he left office with a 60% approval rating. >> he got impeached in the history books. >> and ended up to be a very popular president.
>> and his wife had a very -- >> all right. >> let's not talk about that. >> soso, mr. brennan, how surprised were you by the findings yesterday by the conclusions that were drawn, and i'm just curious did you receive bad information throughout this process like so many of us did that there was more there than ended up in the report regarding collusion? >> well, i don't know if i received bad information but i suspected there was more than there actually was. i am relieved that it's been determined there was not a criminal conspiracy with the russian government over our election. i think that's good news for the country. so i still point to things that were done publicly, or efforts to try to have conversation with the russians that were
inappropriate, but i'm not all that surprised that the high bar of criminal conspiracy was not met. i am surprised that that second part of obstruction of justice in terms of how it came out. i don't know whether or not robert mueller wanted the attorney general to pronounce on that issue or whether or not robert mueller it was up to congress and the american public to determine whether the weight of information indicates whether donald trump tried to obstruct justice. there are some surprises there. i think that's why getting to the full mueller report is the best way to get some of these if not all of these questions answered. >> all righter. john brennan, thank you very much for being with us. josh, same thing, thank you too. great to have you here. nicole wallace, we know what we'll see at 4:00. his muddy hands. >> it's over. the collusion question is over. it's been asked and answered.
asked and answered. >> democrats should move on. >> the whole justice department could have moved on. they could have moved on by letting mueller's nonjudgment judgment stand. >> robert mueller could have also -- >> he could have cleared him. >> he could have very easily said that this is a question for congress and the american people to determine. >> as you're saying -- >> maybe de. >> we have three partial quotes. >> this is the time where everybody is unprecedented. you could have taken mueller's work which no one attacked and handed it to congress. it's like a half made dinner. i didn't finish the salad. >> do you know why he didn't do that? you got to be careful about talk about sources because some sources have been wrong throughout this entire process. two sources i talked to, and one of the two source, a trump supporter said there's highly embarrassing information in there. highly embarrassing political
information in there for donald trump. so they don't want to release it. they want to keep as much of it out as humanly possible. >> they shouldn't have done what they did. >> i agree. you know one thing, everybody agreed interest. it wasn't fair of comey to lash away at hillary, even though he didn't prosecute. i think prosecutors should say guilty or not and then shouldn't. either you prosecute or you don't. the idea well we have some things. i don't have the guts to prosecute. he's sort of guilty too. he threat door open for barr. he should have said offer in. >> chris matthews, stay with us if you can. still ahead on "morning joe" an image from back in 1989 when a past president meat future one. earlier this month that picture was tweeted of richard knicks on and donald trump. tom brokaw joins us on the
difference and similarities of the 37th and 45th president. you're watching "morning joe". we'll be right back. >> although we did not find clear evidence that secretary clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information they were very careless in the handling of classified information. with expedia, i saved when i added a hotel to our flight. so even when she grows up, she'll never outgrow the memory of our adventure.
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mr. and mrs. knicks on and their daughters made the final appearance as the first family in the east room. the sight of so many state dinners and news conferences. the band played "hail to the chief" as white house cabinet applauded. a very difficult time for this man who has so much pride in his public self-control. when he landed in california, richard knicks on was a private citizen. but he drew thousands of cheering supporters.
from there he went to san clemente, near where he grew up and where as a boy he has written he listened to train whistles in the night and dreamed of far off places. tom brokaw, nbc news washington. >> "nbc nightly news" on august 9th, 1974. the day richard knicks on, a sitting president was driven from the white house. the comparisons between trump and knicks on have been widespread. two presidents under continued investigations and their constant campaign to discredit the investigators. but what happens next with president trump is much less clear cut than it was with knicks on. joining us now the man who brought us that report of knicks on's final day in office. nbc news senior correspondent tom brokaw. also with us, author and nbc news presidential historian and columnist for "the washington post". we have david ignatius and chris
matthews still with us. tom brokaw, bring us back to that day but also to this moment now, comparison, similarity, differences? >> there are dig differences. that was ten of a very long year of irrevocable evidence against richard knicks on. there were tapes, saturday night massacre, whole succession of the case being built against him about why he was eligible for impeachment. those proceedings were already under way. he was heard on a tape talking about tell the fbi that they stay out of this and have the cia do it. that was just one evidence of it. so there's a big difference. as i was listening this morning and watching all the headlines as well i was thinking about people who are going through a terrible natural ordeal in the midwest. as they look at the national news they will see one headline, no collusion. they are going say okay move on. so i think there's a huge
difference between then and now. this is a big victory for donald trump iran terms of public perception about what we should expect between then and now. >> michael, obviously comparisons have been drawn throughout the process. what's so fascinating about where we are now is, you have one side declaring victory and the other planning depth charges. investigations continuing in the southern district of new york. we haddon unanimous turley a year and a half ago saying forget about mueller, the threat to president trump and his freedom comes from the southern district of court. a lot of people following that. so donald trump can certainly exhale, but then the battles begin again. >> the battles may even begin before that. i've been waiting for 22 months to read the mueller report.
have you read it aside from a couple of pages? do we know how many pages? >> we have a right to read the report. >> that hasn't happened yet. so far we've read basically a four page what amounts to a press release from william barr, maybe it accurately reflects what's in the mueller report. maybe it's something that is a gloss that's intended to make it took more pro trump than it is. have we heard robert mueller speak one word about this process. i think he's likely to be called before congress. >> i'm not being hype ehyperbol here. if you judge this report by what we've seen whether it's the warren commission, or transcript of the tapes or 9/11 commission, we americans let people go off and our public officials
investigate and then we get to read everything. >> that's the whole idea of democracy. your willing to delegate your right as choice of a citizen to william barr who came this as a partisan of donald trump, a critic of the mueller investigation? i'm not. i'll wait for it. you were talking about richard knicks on. i think tom will confirm this. how much richard knicks on would have give zwron to have an atto in 1974 who was his paritisapar. william saxby was knicks on's attorney general who was forced on him. after the saturday night massacre because he was the republican in congress who was the toughest critic of knicks on on watergate. saxby, his own attorney general was not going to let knicks on get away with even the slightest infraction. at the moment we got almost the opposite. >> tom brokaw, i want to show you from that same broadcast
that we show with your report david brinkley's journal from that same broadcast and we'll get your take on the other side. take a look. >> a few random thoughts of coming out what president ford called a minority mayor. richard knicks on was elected to the white house in our greatest landslide and less than two years he left crying and wondering how he could pay his tax. regrettably few countries in the world could have gone through the turmoil of changing government like this and got it all settled while its military remained quietly in its barracks minding its own business playing checkers and drinking beer. as if president ford mentioned nobody voted for him either as vice president or president then nobody voted against him either. and so he takes office with few enemies and he can count on some period of help, support and cooperation all around. he will make enemies only when he begins doing things. he can't wait as long as he
might like. if watergate is over the inflation is not and it is as destructive to a stable society as political scandal if not more so. and the constitution prescribes no remedy for it. neither does it prescribe a remedy for the arrogant powerful presidency that began long before knicks on unless congress can find the energy and will to control it. this time the constitution worked and the country has gone through it. but if the washington establishment, particularly congress cannot learn from this and do better in the future, not even madison remember jeffers, hamilton can save us. >> powerful words. playing checkers and drinking beer describing commercials breaks on "morning joe". very powerful words by david bringly there. >> david was the best. i grew up worshipping him. i became his friend as well.
that last statement is the one most important is that we have not learned about the power of the presidency. we have a president who arrived there without any kind of experience in the federal government and assumed at the beginning and still continues to do that that he's running his own real estate elm pyre without a board of directors or anybody else that he has to answer to. that should come out of this as well and i hope that the country will respond to that that every elected president, republican or democrat or whatever we have in the future is answerable to the constitution and to the co-equal branches of the government and we have not yet gotten there in this particular case at this time. so, i do think that there are moments now in which we can reflect and i would hope that there would be some bipartisan consideration of the constitution and how it's divided the government so that there is responsibility. >> i mean you look, karen, at
just the past month. you see a president declaring an emergency because congress, republicans first and then democrats refusing to give money for a wall. you have a president decideding to change policy on north korean sanctions by tweet. you have a president deciding to change 40 years of middle east policy, maybe 45 years, going back to 1967, 50 years of middle east policy on the golan heights by tweet. there is right now, we are moving even more towards an imperial presidency and further away from madison's view of divided government. >> this is a culmination of a trend that's been going on for decades. i do think the second part of what david brinkley had to say is really important too. the country has a lot of problems out there. and, yes, congress needs to do its due diligence. yes, we should see the full mueller report. they probably should bring mueller up to testify on the
hill. but the fact is that democrats did not get put back into power because of this scandal last year. in fact, if you had talked to people who won in these republican held districts they almost never got asked about this. they were asked about health care, they were asked about jobs, they were asked about other issues and democrats need to able to push that agenda and make their own case as well as holding the president's feet to fire. >> absolutely. >> michael? >> the founders were terrified as you well know that presidents in this country as american history unfolded would become dictators. they demanded that house and senate no matter who dominated them would be basically at the president's throat all the time to make sure the president's natural tendency to grab power would be tamed. they would be appalled by what they've seen in the last couple of years. you also have a president who may feel he's tamed the supreme
court by putting on two members of the supreme court who he may think are loyal to him rather than, you know, dealing with rulings as they should be. americans always have to be worried about presidential power every time we're through an episode like this. >> yet, we're fighting foreign wars right now based on a reslug that was passed after 9/11. and we have a president who has stripped article i, section 8 power, the power of the purse which was congress' greatest constitutional power, has stripped it from a willing and compliant congress. >> you're absolutely right. there's real constitutional confusion about roles, authorities. watching that tape that tom brokaw brought us of richard knicks on leaving, you almost felt kind of a nostalgia for a time in which -- let's remember knicks on left office because of a bipartisan consensus that it
was time for him to go. the idea of republicans and democrats coming together today as they did during watergate to make a common judgment whether it's time to move on or time to move towards impeachment, it's almost impossible to imagine that. that's the biggest difference and really disturbing. >> chris? >> i agree. knicks on had shame. may not have been moral shame but political shame. he knew he blew it. he knew he got wrapped up in this back and forth dirty tricks versus dirty tricks. he got caught up in that escalation of dirty politics going back to the '40s with all the other stuff and he got caught and he knew it and he cried and he left. trump doesn't have that. >> no he doesn't have shame and done have empathy. we have watched his campaign manager, we've watched his fixer, you know, being hauled off to jail.
and there's no empathy. there's only anger. >> did he know michael cohen at all? >> did he know michael cohen? they were tight. they were tight. and he casts people off with -- i've never seen anything like it, actually. >> will he change because he got a break this weekend? >> no. >> the mccain name will not come out of his mouth from now on. >> i will say he's gotten hammered by just about everybody attacking john mccain, even people who usually don't criticize him. so, tom, we've been saying here for some time following up on what michael an everyone else has said around the table that our founders actually foresaw the possibility of a president who would try to seize powers not given to him under the constitution but they never let their imaginations be darkened by the fear of a willing and compliant congress who would
just go along with the president, stripping them of constitutional powers given to them through article i. >> well, you will remember there and neither will i expect students of history. fdr wanted to stack the supreme court in his favor and his own party pushed back against him. we had number of experiences of that along the way. in fact, richard knicks on was pushed out of office because republicans came to the conclusion that he had, in fact, violated the tenets of the office. they said it's over mr. president. he said i'm aware of that. they went down there and said that to him. messages were sent along the way. there were dinners and informal lunches leading up to his resignation. he could never get beyond tapes, frankly and what they said on
those tapes and what we're aware of. let me add one more thing. now we live in a chaotic world of social media. it's very hard for people who continue to follow this on a daily basis to know what to believe and whatnot to believe because there's so much -- there's so much troublesome stuff that's pumped out there all day long. you don't know where it comes from. it's very believable in terms of how it's presented period at the end of the day who will have a belief here. in those days you had time to reflect in what you saw and heard and you could hear from other people who may, in fact, members of the republican party but had some reservation. not any more. now there's a tsunami of social media flooding the air waves and people are having a hard time deciding what to believe. >> and the president using social media to defend the lies.
i don't think people know what to do with that. tom brokaw thank you very much. michael, thank you as well. great to have you on. karen, stay with us if you can. coming up our next guest argues that yesterday may have been the best day in the trump presidency but how bad of a day was it for democrats? we'll discuss that next on "morning joe". ♪ it's empty in the valley of your heart ♪ leave no man behind.
and that dependability is what we want to give our customers. at comcast, it's my job to constantly monitor our network. prevent problems, and to help provide the most reliable service possible. my name is tanya, i work in the network operations center for comcast. we are working to make things simple, easy and awesome. joining us news u.s. national editor at the financial time, edward loos. his latest column entitled "robert mueller is the god that failed democrats." wow. okay. >> explain. >> a bad day for dems. >> so i guess yesterday was probably the best day in trump's
presidency. the god that failed democrats really put a lot of faith on this magic bullet of the report solving their problems and postponed less glamorous work the party needs to be doing and a lot of the candidates are doing. >> how did the democrats do that? one could argue the media did it. one could argue trump himself was drumming and fanning the flames of this report coming out. they're out to get me, witch-hunt and media waiting for the report. that's not the democrats necessarily. what specifically did the democrats do to stumble here? >> it's the democrats and all of the above, you're quite right. i'm using democrats for shorthand. look, i think trump is going on bringing on trump derangement. >> absolutely. >> it's hard to avoid it. so much of what is said about trump is true. i meaning he did sort of openly obstruct justice or attempt to when he fired comey, et cetera. so it's very hard to resist and remain disfilmed.
nancy pelosi appears to have had some hunch because she's been tamping down expectations and i think in terms of the primaries, the candidates responding to the fact that a lot of voters are there are not that interested in these details or what full report will contain. >> i think -- sorry, we can go to other topics, but the general public's ability to consume of this, karen, is, you know, there's multiple investigations. there's the southern district of new york which many would argue is much more interests and could have a lot more coming but a lot lump it together, mueller. >> half of winning an argument is getting to define the question. >> that's what the president does well. >> he does and made it all about the word collusion. >> correct. >> which doesn't even have a legal definition. so i do think there is an amount of fatigue that has set so when
you get to talking about obstruction or money laundering or whatever is going up in the southern district i mean because he was so successful at branding this investigation as being about collusion, for a lot of people it's going to feel like it's over. >> so, you also write in your column that mr. barr's take on mr. mueller's findings cannot be taken at face value. he attempted to obstruct justice in full one view and demand publication of the report. while they are, of course, affected by trump derangement syndrome you say this is an appropriate push to push for the report's release. >> if you read the 19-page memo he sent unsolicited to attorney general barr sent to the trump legal team last summer it was clear he was auditioning for this job and trump chose him because he wanted his own personal lawyer as attorney general. so, again, seeing whether this summary is a fair summary of
what mueller wrote is absolutely mandatory. democrats must do this. i'm not saying they shouldn't do their job. that is to hold this administration to account. >> but don't get ahead of the questions. >> do we really think, though, that barr is so short hoof sighted and such a day trader and we don't know the answer to this, that he would go for the big headline knowing he was going to be undercut? >> it would be so amazing if there is material in the report when we see it and we will see the bulk of it that directly undercut what is barr said in his summary that, would have been very foolish for him to have set himself up and it's hard to imagine. >> i mean he's not in this town. does he have the represent nation as somebody who would be so shortsighted? >> no, he doesn't. you know, i think we do have to just accept that mueller constructed his initial task as
examining collusion on a counter intelligence framework. was there one by top russian operatives to ma nip nate the trump campaign that involved officials? he's come to a conclusion about that i think you made a good point three hours ago, the release of this report was a good day for america this. was a process the country needed. we all asked for it. we wanted mueller only to be able to complete the job and he did. despite all that interference. now we're processing it and still haven't seen the report. want to know all the details but the fact that process went through i think -- everybody should say that's a good thing. >> so, chris, what is your brother and his friends and -- >> with the maga hat on. >> in the philly suburbs, what are the women, professional women in the philly suburbs thinking? what are the swing voters that voted for trump and voted for
obama and then voted for democrats -- >> they're all open to suggestion. i think the word socialism kills them in the suburb, the democrats. the word means higher taxes and screwing with my insurance policy. you're screwing with the money i paid into medicare for the 00 years to get my ten years if you're a male or whatever. you're messing with me but i think the point you make, i think this is really important for democrats an media people. they may have some common interest here. the fact is there was a lot of prime a facie concern. russian names like in a russian novel, kilimnik, kislyak, all these meetings from the trump tower initially in june of '16 to the meeting at the cigar bar with kilimnik and manafort.
it was a common interest to make money out of russia he had all these dealings with russia and manafort. where did he come from? it reminds me what jackie mason said point o.j. case. he walks through the blood, he's in the blood. you got to look at it as a case here. i'm sorry. >> i'm sorry. >> it's not funny. >> i think o.j. was guilty too. did the media overplay their hand? >> i think history will judge that but a lot of people -- i don't think the reporting in any way should be impugned. it'sen exceptionally god and the summary says he was assisted on the obstruction of justice, determination and other things so, i don't think the media should. >> very good. >> one quick final thought from you as you close. >> i'll just repeat what david said, i mean, it is an end for
democrats when they are asked it is a good day for america when you have somebody as highly respected as robert mueller come out after an exhaustive investigation and say that the president of the united states did not collude with russia to win the investigation. now get back to work and get people better health care. how is that? >> i would just add to the narrative of the day should be that this report has not been seen yet so there's still much more to learn. karen, ed, chris, mike barnicle, thank you all and that -- chris, we'll be watching. >> "hardball." >> i can't wait to get back to my pipe. >> what's the opening line? >> i agree with joe. it's good for america. >> okay. that does it for us this morning. >> the president was a problem in terms of loyalty. >> that's true. gi chris picks it up this morning. >>