it's an achy breaky sort of day. thanks for bearing with us. my thanks to eli, to jeremy, to eugene, to donna and to julia ainsley. and thank you so much for watching. "mtp daily" with my friend chuck todd starts right now. hi, chuck. >> happy hump day, nicolle. quite a little extra breaking news alert we got from the potus. if it's wednesday, all eyes are on thursday.
good evening, i'm chuck todd here in washington. welcome to "meet the press daily." buckle up. here comes the mueller report, we think. moments ago the justice department announced that bill barr will hold a press conference at 9:30 tomorrow morning on the release of the special counsel's report. separately, the president just said he might hold a press conference too. we actually heard about this first, i believe, from the president. as washington braces for this historic report, there are major concerns that mueller's findings have already been, in a word, corrupted and it's hard to see how more barr and more trump for the next 24 hours are somehow going to help things on that score. the president's attacks on the investigation have corrupted his supporters' trust of mueller. and the attorney general's actions these past few weeks have corrupted a lot of other people's trust in the public version of mueller's report that barr will be charged with releasing. barr is essentially the gate keeper of what we're going to see. in his short tenure, he's demonstrated a fierce loyalty to the president.
he cleared mr. trump of obstruction when mueller would not. he backed the president's loaded claims that the justice department spied on his campaign when a previous attorney general wouldn't do that. some folks even see barr's decision to clamp down on asylum seekers as yet another show of loyalty to the president. barr is going to redact portions of mueller's report, which even if done for purely legitimate reasons could still feed suspicions that he's hiding something. and then there's timing. barr has had mueller's report for nearly a month but he's releasing it just ahead of a holiday weekend, with congress already out of town and in many cases halfway around the world. one thing seems certain. as everyone braces to see these conclusions of mueller's investigation tomorrow, we are not going to agree on what these conclusions really are. in some ways that's a victory for this president. in other ways, it's a big failure of the system. nbc's julia ainsley is at the department of justice. we'll go to hallie jackson in a moment.
lee ann caldwell, matt miller, chief spokesman for the justice department during the obama years, and anne gearan, and michael steele, an msnbc political analyst and rnc chairman. julia, let me start with you. bill barr is going to hold a newser. why do we need to hear from bill barr when his job is to simply facilitate the mueller report here? >> reporter: that's the question, chuck. it's not clear. we've already heard a lot from bill barr. we've seen four letters and two congressional testimonies from bill barr. what people wanting to see is more of mueller. that's exactly what we're expecting tomorrow as we get this redacted version of this nearly 400-page report. we knew there would be redactions. that was the thing we were focused on. now there's a different thing to focus on and that's whether or not the attorney general will seek to spin the contents of this report ahead of time, before we have a chance to digest it. it's early in the morning. it's very hard to see a scenario
where the media or the hill or the public would have time to go through all of this and have good questions to ask rather than just kind of getting it spoon-fed from the justice department, which is what a lot of people have been complaining about already. i'm not sure what the thinking was. they have emphasized that rod rosenstein will be on the stage with him and will take questions, or that barr will take questions and rod will be there. >> they're definitely going to take questions, okay. >> but at that point, it will be the doj press corps there, but at that point how many questions will we have? i will imagine if i have all day to read over this report and my colleagues do and we here at nbc comb through this, we'll have a lot more questions at the time of your show than we would at 9:30 in the morning. why have this press conference so early. and again with the deputy attorney general, i think they're trying to show some kind of independence having him there
because he appointed mueller, but it's not the same as having robert mueller himself. i think it will raise more questions than if the attorney general is staying more loyal to the president than transparency to the public. >> on capitol hill there's a term for this, it's called being jammed. as a member of the press corps, do you feel as if you're being jammed here? >> reporter: yeah, i worry about it. i was already going to have a hard time sleeping tonight knowing that i would have this pop quiz tomorrow after reading all these pages like we all would. now there's something added. there's a risk here and we're worried. frankly we don't have the answers of how much time we will have to go through and make independent assertions about this information before we're spun on it. so yeah, i think there's a legitimate concern here. i still wanting to see how everything plays out. >> julia, i don't want to scoop or violate any sort of guidance of what we are allowed to say yet or not, but they had put a procedure in place for reporters to get some time to view the
version that's going to get released to the public within a certain window. is this all getting changed now? >> reporter: that was not locked in stone and nothing i can get into. i honestly don't know. >> i assume this changes a lot of that, right? >> reporter: yeah, it would. nothing is known at this point. all we know is that there will be a press conference at 9:30 tomorrow morning and this will be released sometime tomorrow morning. another thing we can't rule out it whether or not the attorney general will take this press conference to release more details about an investigation into the origins of this probe on the trump campaign. if he decides to conflate the two, it would show a real question on his ability to stay impartial. >> just taking the question. just taking a question about it just leads to the conflation there. julia, let me let you go, run back in and see if we can find out if this changes things for the morning. let me go to hallie jackson because he first learned about this press conference not from
the department of justice. >> right. >> but from a radio interview the president gave to a conservative local station here, wmal. and he seemed to know all the details of what bill barr was up to. >> reporter: he dropped it before bill barr did, chuck, which is not unusual for this president. if he has a juicy scoop, oftentimes he's the one who likes to tell the media about it, and in that case he did in a radio interview with a conservative radio host up there in baltimore, wmal. he said the attorney general will hold a news conference and then he said something interesting, which is and maybe i will answer some questions too. let me break down what we expect from the president and handicap a little bit of this. it is possible the president may take questions. i think that's being interpreted in some corners as the president giving some kind of a formal news conference. >> south lawn? >> reporter: i would put the chances of that at about 5% to 10% at this point. >> this is more like a south lawn on his way to mar-a-lago business sometime around
lunchtime tomorrow, right? >> reporter: i would put the chances of a south lawn discussion and based on some of my discussions here at 90% to 95% that the president will stop on his way to florida. i'd put it 50%, chuck, depending on how this goes that the president does something that he has done before, which is to say to his aides, bring them up. bring in the pool, the reporters who travel with the president. i want to talk to them. he calls them into the oval office and you have an impromptu semi kind of news conference in the oval office. this is a president who considers any press availability a news conference, right, whether he's taking questions or not. >> correct. >> reporter: but i do think he is absolutely going to want to talk about this. he's already talking about this. when you talk about the attorney general getting out potentially, again, we don't know the timing of the release of the report, but trying to get out ahead of this and lay down what the attorney general and the department of justice sees as the driving narrative of this, president trump may wanting to jump on top of that. i will say one more thing. he does have an open press event tomorrow morning, chuck, the
president, talking with the wounded warrior group. so he and the first lady will be at that. as you know from your time at the white house that's not typically a q & a moment. >> no. >> reporter: is it possible the president brings up robert mueller? it is of course possible but i'd put those chances at maybe 25%. >> well, we shall see. i will say this, i think for somebody not worried about the mueller report, he's put, and i've always said this, he's a terrible poker player. they seem to be showing a lot of nervousness about tomorrow. >> reporter: even though publicly the line has been, yeah, yeah, we think we're good. we have been reporting there is an undercurrent of anxiety and that's the sense i pick up among aides and advisor close to the president and the president's legal team. here's what the tell is going to be. do they release that counterreport? i've been hearing for weeks and weeks and weeks that they have this counterreport, this rebuttal. they may or may not release it depending on the what the mueller report says. if you see that report released, that means that the attorneys
for the president, jay sekulow, rudy giuliani, felt like there was something damaging in the mueller report that they wanted to counteract. >> well, there's going to be a lot of hang wringing for the next 12 hours until we actually see what we've got. hallie jackson, thanks very much. matt miller, you've been chomping at the bit here. as a former justice person, you are sort of -- your eyes seem to have bugged out. your head is i think proverbi proverbially exploding over the fact that the president announced the press conference. >> it is appalling. if doj was planning a press conference tomorrow, they should have cancelled it. look at what bill barr has done. when you're handling the end of a politically sensitive investigation at the justice department, you want to take every step to make sure that the public has confidence that you handled that investigation fairly, in a way that was free from political pressure and a way that you weren't putting your thumb on the side of the scale of the party you represent.
every step of the way bill barr has taken the opposite action. making his own conclusion on the obstruction of justice, refusing to answer questions whether he's briefed the white house on the mueller report, to this really objectionable comment about spying to having a press conference in the first place when he should have let the person with the best reputation, bob mueller, let his words speak for himself. to then having the president announce it for hit. it makes it look like he is trying to do a favor for the president and not -- that he doesn't have the best interests of the justice department and this investigation at heart. it's extremely, extremely damaging. >> leeanne, i think no matter what people see they're going to have already in some cases made up their minds. i finding it fascinating that both adam schiff and devin nunes want to see the full report. devin nunes doesn't trust mueller and adam schiff doesn't trust barr. >> them and 420 members of congress who voted to see the full mueller report. >> either you don't trust barr or you don't trust mueller.
that's the bottom line. >> i think opinions are already baked on what they think about the president and what the president's role was in obstruction or collusion. those opinions are already baked as far as the public is concerned, but the public is also in agreement that they want to see the report. as far as democrats on the hill are concerned, democrats are really struggling with how to move forward with this. what comes next? what sort of response do they have once this report is released. they're going to hone in on barr, the fact that barr is too close to the president, and the fact that he so strongly believes in a strong executive. >> barr has enormous power here over this report. obviously you can redact the grand jury material. he can basically classify anything as executive privilege if he wants to. sources and methods. the things that you can use as your excuse to redact something, very subjective.
>> yeah. he has four different categories and a lot of them are fungible. they will be color coded, though. >> color coded and fungible are two different things. >> he can say that something is executive privilege and we won't know because we don't know what's under the -- what would have been color coded. but this all brings home to me and picking up on what matt said, bill barr is sort of showing us that every day he wakes up thinking, you know, jeff sessions. he is going to not be jeff sessions. he is not going to get himself in the box that sessions found himself. >> he's put himself in a new box. >> he has. >> not a single member of the democratic party trusts him right now. >> true. the other side of that, which is potentially defensible, is that he can't do his job if the president thinks he's not on the same team. if the president thinks that his attorney general is working against him, he actually can't be effective at his job.
it goes to the question of what that job is and how pious we want to be about it. he's clearly coming down on the side of i not going to be jeff sessions. >> isn't this, michael steele, like in a criminal case the defendant comes out and announces the charges and the verdict? >> yeah, yeah. >> it's sort of like i'm just so confused here. it just -- i have to say, it is pretty -- you know how you think you just can't imagine they'd go there. >> oh, yeah. >> there is not a guardrail yet that they won't plow through. >> of course not. it's even better than the defendant coming out and announcing the verdict. it is the defense team writing an opinion, a rebuttal to a verdict they haven't presumably seen or know anything b i find it amusing to write a rebuttal. >> why should we expect anything in here, take it at face value,
if barr is spinning the results at the beginning or being the one redacting? why should we trust him on this? >> and that's perfectly okay for trump. he doesn't mind the fact that folks don't trust barr on this, because it's the right kind of people do and the wrong kind of people don't. >> and trump would say i didn't trust comey. >> that's right. so for trump this is a beautiful wash for him. which again, you've covered this and certainly the very knowledgeable expert reporters and journalists have covered this as well. this has been the play from the beginning. to get to this moment where we're all sitting here going, oh, my god, this is either going to be the most anticlimactic thing we've ever seen on a nothing burger. >> matt miller, i'm a big skeptic that anything we see tomorrow is going to be -- is going to be that much. maybe the reason for the presser is that he is going to give more than he's comfortable -- that it's going to be so damning, so
the best gift he can give is to at least spin it before everybody digests it. that's just a theory. >> yeah, it's a theory and that's not the attorney general's job to spin things for the president. that's not what he's supposed to be doing. the question you asked a minute ago, why would anyone have faith in bill barr at this point? that's the problem with his actions. i'm a democrat. i want to have faith that the republican attorney general is doing the right thing. i know i'm going to agree with the republican attorney general on policy but i want to trust that the administration of justice will be handled in an impartial way. every step of the way, he just keeps giving us more an more reason not to trust him. going back to the very reason he was appointed. your analogy about the defense getting to write the rebuttal. the defense team picked the prosecutor here. they picked a prosecutor that they know had a view of obstruction of justice that was favorable to their client and now the defense team is announcing that the prosecutor is going to come out and announce the results of the end of the investigation. it stinks from the beginning. there's no way that anybody
looking at this with a reasonable mind can have faith in bill barr. and that's a problem, because we ought to just look at the facts in this report and judge the facts, free from anyone's spin. >> and what the heck happens next, leigh ann, because politically it changes nothing. it just hardens views. look, i think it makes barr an ineffective attorney general going forward on other issues. i just -- you know, if you don't have the confidence -- >> ineffective for whom, though? >> well, yeah, you're right. >> ineffective for whom? >> the president should be happy, but everybody else. >> ineffective for the country. it matters that the american people have faith that prosecutorial investigative decisions are made oar. >> help us with history. the republican congress had real problems with the last attorney general because he thought he was too cozy with the other president. >> yeah, they did. but there was never one big case
where they were questioning whether eric holder made a decision because he was trying to do a political favor. >> no, my point is the republican thought barack obama and eric holder were too close. >> yes, of course. >> and this is like, you know, beyond that. >> they seem strange compared to this one. >> well, this report is coming out when congress isn't here, so congress is find of flat-footed. a lot of them are very happy not to be here, especially the republicans. they're not going to have to answer reporters' questions about this report. but what happens next? this could inform how democrats in the house continue to investigate the president. but as far as response from this report specifically, they don't have a path forward other than messaging at this point. >> there's a couple of polls out here there are contradictory and i don't love how one of the questions was worded. but should congress continue the trump/russia probes.
a.p., 53% yes, 45% no. that has a familiar number to it, 45, the trump base. what is interesting the majority do think the president did try to obstruct mueller 58%. so 58% will support the president and believe he obstructed mueller. >> correct. that also follows on a number of surveys showing that people have a high level of skepticism that varies poll to poll as to whether the president was covering something up to begin with and -- >> but the public seems to be skeptical, they don't believe the president and they're tired. >> yes. and tomorrow is the white house attempting to draw a line under all of that and say and now we move on to whatever the democrats are going to do, because that's over there and it doesn't matter. yeah, they're going to subpoena everything and it's just more crazy witch hunt. he will be able to say here is
where the mueller part of my presidency ended. here is where the witch hunt, official witch hunt ended. and heres where the next act begins, and he's trying to start that. >> michael steele, this is the poll number, it's monmouth's poll. and again, you could argue that the question is not necessarily complete in how they worded it, but basically should congress continue to look into concerns raised by the mueller report, 39%, should they move on to other issues. how do you define other issues? is campaign finance another issue? but that is a poll number that mitch mcconnell, every other republican is going to go ahead and hang their hat on. they don't like defending him, but they'll say, hey, the american public wants to move on. >> exactly. this is their off-ramp from what you were just saying about this now is over. the witch hunt is over. we can take the offramp and now talk about health care and
immigration. >> i don't see how any of those two things help them. >> of course absolutely not. >> judges. >> talk about judges. we're going to appoint more of them. but yeah, i think this for a lot of the republican members, as you pointed out, leigh ann, are not here and happy they're not in town and they're going to be away for a while. they don't come back for a week or more. by the time they get back this o off-ramp will be so solid for them. >> they're gone next week too. yeah, that's right. by the time they come back, matt miller, the appetite might not be there, even though there's going to be people that are like -- beyond agitated. >> it's almost like the attorney general planned it this way. >> it's so -- if it quacks like a duck, if it walks like a duck. >> it's a chicken. >> it's staring us in the face what is going on, no? >> that's exactly right.
i was one of those people that wanted to give bill barr the benefit of the doubt. the way he presented himself at the confirmation hearing as someone who had done this job before. the point that he made which i thought could have been compelling, the pressure can't pressure me. i don't have to succumb to pressure from the president because i don't need this job. i'm at the endi of my career, s i can stand up to him. maybe he can, but he doesn't want to. that's the worry i have. this isn't going to be the last investigation into this president. this isn't going to be the last investigation into members of his cabinet. it's not going to be the last scandal. i don't know why anyone looking at this would have faith in him. >> matt, i need your government. the justice department -- there's an unredacted version will be made available to some in congress. this is part of -- it's just filed by the d.o.d. in the roger stone case because he wants to see a full copy of the mueller
report. i'm curious what this means to you, matt. once the redacted version of the report has been released the justice department plans to make available for review for a limited number of members of congress and their staff a copy of the special counsel's report without certain redactions, include information regarding the indictment. this will not be available to the media or in public settings consistent with a february 15th court order. who do you think those members be, do you think, that sees this version of the mueller report? >> i think that means they are going to give certain members of congress access to the classified information. >> is that judiciary or intel? >> it depends on what level of classification it is. all members of congress have clearance and can see some classified information. there are certain things only briefed to the gang of eight, briefed to the intelligence committee. does the government know whether wikileaks blindly received information from russia or were
they working with them? that would be a highly classified piece of information. there are other things that i think would be classified that the entire congress ought to be able to see. >> leigh ann, i think the intel committee guys are hoping to see it in some version of the do it in a skiff or one of those rooms. >> yeah. but we also have to remember that barr is also testifying before the judiciary committee on may 2nd. so while congress is out, they won't be talking about this and there's going to be 300 news cycles that pass between now and when congress gets back. he will be before the committee on may 2nd. the report -- everyone wants to see this report. if they give it to congress and staff, if staff is able to get it, that sounds like a much broader universe than just the gang of eight. >> more importantly, roger stone's attorneys are going to get a look at this. i'm sorry, as much as everybody wants to blame congress for leaking, the best leakers in town are attorneys.
don't mean to let that cat out of the bag. >> while you were reading that, i'm drawing a little map in my head. >> yeah, i can make this call, this call, this call, this call. yeah, no, i get it. does this make you call that we are -- i've been -- i've been joking that the full mueller report will be where the arc is in "raiders of the lost arc" someplace in a storage facility in new mexico. if you look at it, it will melt your eyes, if you see it. but does this lend you to believe that the full mueller report will get out before the end of the year? >> that piece of information there strongly suggests that at least well over 90% of it will. there may be elements of it that are really only gang of eight releasable and then the main members of congress are quite careful with that information. not that it's never leaked, but it's more unusual. >> can we go back to my poker
tells here a minute. this is an administration that's deathly afraid of this report, michael steele. look, we could talk about all the things we've talked about. why is bill barr doing this? this looks like they're taking every precaution like, oh, my god, we think it's a tropical storm. they think it's a category 5. >> i think that's right. and the reason for that is not the legal ramifications that would come out of a justice department finding, but it is the political and the narrative that comes with this report about behavior, about the way the president runs and manages things, how the staff and all the inner workings of the politics there and sort of the -- >> do you think this will be news to people or will it be news to those that don't watch mainstream media? >> no, i think it will be to a certain degree news for everybody. it is the combination, chuck, of all the books that have come out so far.
it's all one reading right there. everything from omarosa to -- you know, so it is all right there. that's why the staff is running around going i wonder if they can figure out that i said this, that or the other thing, because they know trump will react to that. more than anything else, more than any legal consequence, he's going to react to the political and the perception of him as a weak leader, et cetera. >> matt, do you think democrats are angry enough now that they didn't want to take impeachment off the table, almost because of barr's actions? >> no. i think they will make that decision purely as a political decision. the speaker of the house said if the public is there for impeachment, she will be there and the congress will be there. >> if we're living in the polarized world i think we're all living in, we know where this is going. >> unless there's something in the report that's a game-changer. i don't know what that would be. there's no evidence that would be there but we don't know if we would see it. >> that's if trump was on the phone with putin talking about
the election. i think that's a huge political question. but the president, the fact that the president and the white house is having a proactive media plan regarding this, they aren't proactive about anything, they're completely reactive. >> this is, like i said, it does scream as if they're very nervous. >> the president is a master of determining the message. and this is what he's trying to do ahead of everyone else. and so yeah, he's nervous about it. >> the president knows how to do a couple of things in this landscape well. one is shape the message and the other is be on tv. and he is going to ensure that to the degree it's possible for him to do, a message and a narrative will be shaped. barr will be on television, he will be on television and then he will leave and go to mar-a-lago for three or four days and congress will not be here and everybody has easter and then it's another week and there's no congress. >> he tweets like tourette's.
he forgets which number we're up to. by the president, that interview, let's take a listen. >> attorney
general barr is going to be giving a press conference. maybe i'll do one after that, we'll see. but he's been a fantastic attorney general. he's grabbed it by the horn. what's happened, you've been watching yourself. what's happened is unthinkable with strzok and page and comey and mccabe and all of these characters, and brennan and clapper and, you know, you look at what comey did as the director of the fbi, it's a disgrace. it's a disgrace to our country. and i think that i'm going to maybe -- i hope i'm going to be able to put this down as one of my great achievements actually. >> wow. you know, james comey said that he would laugh off -- i think we have a comey bite. i want to actually -- guys, can
we play -- do we have that comey audio in there still? all right. it is -- here's what he said in response to the various things on spying. he said the fbi and department of justice conduct court-ordered electronic surveillance. i have never thought of that as spying. and the reason i'm interested to know what bill barr means by that, the attorney general has come to the belief that it should be called spying, wow. that's gonna require a whole lot of conversations inside the department of justice. the president has conditioned his supporters to believe all sorts of nonsense about the fbi. i mean to look at a view the president and now bill barr, it's like hoover is in charge again. >> yeah. this relationship, going back to what we were just talking about between the president and barr, as he said in that sound there, he's done a fantastic job. he's doing exactly what -- >> taking it by the horn. >> taking it by the horn. >> what's he taking by horn? >> exactly. the mueller investigation. he has steered that bull the way
he wanted it steered. and that's all the president ever asked is that it not get to a point where it would hurt him. that's what he thinks he is right now. >> roy marcus cohn is smiling from somewhere. i don't know where. i'll let you decide that. you guys will be back. coming up, i'm going to talk to the national security advisor, john bolton, and what he says he's not apologizing for. and if it's wednesday, there's a brand new episode of the chuck taugoddcast. joe download it. we'll be right back. joe download it. we'll be right back.
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mno kidding.rd. but moving your internet and tv? that's easy. easy?! easy? easy. because now xfinity lets you transfer your service online in just about a minute with a few simple steps. really? really. that was easy. yup. plus, with two-hour appointment windows, it's all on your schedule. awesome. now all you have to do is move...that thing. [ sigh ] introducing an easier way to move with xfinity. it's just another way we're working to make your life simple, easy, awesome. go to xfinity.com/moving to get started. welcome back. we're going to have more on this afternoon's big story that the mueller report is not just coming tomorrow, but it's going to get spun before you get to read it by the attorney general, including new reporting that just broke in "the new york times." but first the trump administration today announced some major changes in cuba policy, and in a south florida
speech, national security advisor john bolton unveiled new limits on the amount of money cuban americans can send to relatives on the island, ordered new restrictions on tourist travel and also announced that the white house will allow americans to sue foreign countries over assets seized by the castro regime. a departure of u.s. policy. president trump is trying to ramp up pressure on cuba for its support of the maduro regime. it's also a little 2020 politics perhaps here. i spoke to john bolton this morning and asked him if the policy shift would still have been made if not for the white house's pressure campaign on maduro and venezuela. >> i think so. if you go back to the 2016 campaign, if you go back to the president's speech in the summer of 2017 where he indicated there were going to be substantial changes in u.s. policy toward cuba, changes from the obama administration, i think the decision today to eliminate the
waivers of helms burton title iii is perfectly consistent with what the president has said before. >> so this isn't so much about venezuela as it is a disagreement with how the previous administration handled cuba policy? >> well, i think it's about justice for americans whose property was stolen from them by the castro regime. long overdue for them to be able to get a chance to get recompense. >> this policy of isolation on cuba was the law of the land for the united states for some 50 years, and the rest of the world over time stopped following our lead. i think the last time when you went for a vote in the united nations, i think only two countries essentially stood up for an embargo against cuba, the united states and israel. if nobody else in the world will follow the united states' lead on this, is this action going to
have much teeth? >> well, i think it will have teeth in american courts for the american property holders whose property was stolen. and you know, sometimes you have to do what's right whether you're in a majority or not. and i think that's what we're doing here. i think the people of cuba have been oppressed for far too long, and i think this is unquestionably the right policy to pursue. it's certainly what the president thinks. >> well, i understand standing on principle when it comes to a regime like cuba, but the problem is the consistency of american foreign policy and whether it's china, russia, turkey, the philippines, i can go on and on, of whether it's questionable leadership, close to authoritarian or outright dictatorships, that we turn the other way on some of these things but not with cuba. explain the distinction. >> i don't have any trouble at all explaining the distinction.
american foreign policy should be based on the pursuit of american national interests. i think that's what this decision on cuba reflects. sometimes regimes that look alike are treated differently because in the constellation of american interests, our relationship with them and the circumstances we face is different. and i don't think we need to make any apologies for that. not this administration or other administrations. >> you don't see a concern of hypocrisy when it comes to we've turned the other way on human rights when it comes to jamal khashoggi and what happened in saudi arabia, but we're going to hold the cuban regime accountable? >> i don't think it's hypocrisy to treat different circumstances differently. i think you need to read your edmund burke on that point. with respect to saudi arabia, i think the president has been very clear that he expects a full accounting for what happened in the khashoggi murder and he expects those responsible to be held accountable for it. so i don't see what the issue is. >> we want to hold -- in this
new cuba policy, we want to hold other countries that essentially do business with cuban military-owned property down there, open them up to potential lawsuits from american citizens. are we going to punish china? are we going to punish russia? are we going to punish other countries if they basically ignore our policy on this? >> look, let's be clear what we're talking about here. the helms-burton legislation opens american courts to lawsuits by american property holders or their legitimate successors and interests to get compensation for property stolen by the castro regime. this is not directed against anybody else, it's directed to help americans. and if your view is or the view of critics of this is the president of the united states should not give effect to legislation passed with
overwhelming bipartisan majorities to allow americans to get compensation for stolen property, i'd love to see those arguments made in the public sphere in our country. >> why not codify this with this congress? >> look, congress is perfectly free to repeal helms-burton if they want to to modify it. go to it. i haven't heard the slightest stirrings in congress there's any possibility they're going to change the legislation. >> let me shift a bit to venezuela but also with the issues in central america. how would you distinguish the current situation in venezuela when it comes to violence and the human rights conditions there versus what we're seeing in the honduras? >> look, i think that the situation in venezuela is near catastrophic, and it's why we are pushing for the peaceful
transformation of power from the maduro regime to juan gaido and the opposition. i don't think the circumstances are at all similar to the circumstances in honduras which has a legitimately elected government. it's about as different within the hemisphere as you can imagine. >> are you concerned that as the united states pulls its aid from those three countries in particular, honduras, guatemala, el salvador, that it's serving as an invitation to china, and they have been coming into the western hemisphere essentially every time the united states walks away from a country, they're swooping in. isn't this another opportunity to hand china essentially more opportunity for economic and diplomatic relations in the u.s. hemisphere? >> no. i think we are very cognizant of chinese efforts to use what we call debt diplomacy to get small and underdeveloped countries under their sway. but i can tell you i first went
to honduras in 1981 when i worked for the u.s. agency for international development. at that time honduras was the second poorest country in the western hemisphere. today honduras is the second poorest country in the western hemisphere after hundreds of millions of dollars over the years and u.s. and other foreign aid. the way to get economic development in these countries is by pursuing the correct policies. >> final question, venezuelan refugees, are they going to get temporary protected status in this country? >> you know, we're looking at that question on a continuous basis. certainly we don't want to see anybody sent back to venezuela that could be oppressed by the maduro regime. but we need to keep the objective in mind here. if as we hope and expect we're close to that peaceful transfer of power, there's no reason to change the immigration status and make things more complicated. but we have this matter under continuous review.
>> my thanks to the national security advisor, john bolton, for spending a few minutes with us earlier today. up ahead, much more on our breaking news, and new reporting on how often the white house and the doj have spoken about the mueller report. multiple briefings that the white house has gotten to prepare for its rebuttal. we'll have more right after the break. 'll have more right after break. that's why with dell small business technology advisors. you'll get tailored product solutions, expert tech advice and one-on-one partnership. call an advisor today at 877-buy-dell.
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announcement that the attorney general plans to hold a press conference tomorrow on the release of the mueller report. it's likely going to feed concerns about the attorney general's closeness with the president. just moments ago "the new york times" reported that, quote, justice department officials have had numerous conversations with white house lawyers about the special counsel's conclusions in recent days. according to people with knowledge of the discussions. talks have aided the president's legal team has it prepares a rebuttal to the report and strategize for the coming public war over its findings, unquote. so the president's lawyers appear to have already gotten a look at the mueller report's conclusions before the public and before congress. we'll have more on that after the break. e on that after the brk.ea so, jardiance asks...
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yeah- with diet and exercise. jardiance can cause serious side effects including dehydration, genital yeast or urinary tract infections, and sudden kidney problems. ketoacidosis is a serious side effect that may be fatal. a rare, but life-threatening, bacterial infection in the skin of the perineum could occur. stop taking jardiance and call your doctor right away if you have symptoms of this bacterial infection, ketoacidosis, or an allergic reaction. do not take jardiance if you are on dialysis or have severe kidney problems. taking jardiance with a sulfonylurea or insulin may cause low blood sugar. so, what do you think? now i feel i can do more to go beyond lowering a1c. ask your doctor about jardiance today. welcome back. time now for "the lid." the gang is sticking around, leigh ann, matthew and michael.
jerrold nadler tweeted the following. attorney general barr wrote to me on april 1st, yes, that was on april fool's day, congressman. i do not believe it would be in the public's interest for me to attempt to summarize the full report. i agree, nadler said. so why is the a.g. holding a press conference tomorrow to go over the report. >> there is no good reason. there are reasons why he might be holding this press conference tomorrow. there are no good reasons why he might be holding this press conference. this report that you teased before the break from "the new york times" that the white house has been briefed by the justice department on what's in the report flies in the face of cardinal rule about separation between the white house and the justice department. it is a cardinal rule -- >> you mean you didn't brief the clinton campaign about the fbi's report back in '16? you didn't brief the president about this? >> didn't brief the white house on that. you do not brief the white house on criminal investigations before that information is public, let alone a criminal
investigation into the president himself. >> maybe he's been exonerated. >> even though the report says he's not exonerated. they aren't even pretending anymore to try to follow the rules. that's the thing that's so disturbing. they just don't even care. >> leigh ann, it starts with barr -- mueller did not say it was barr's decision, but barr unilaterally deciding about this, putting out the principal conclusions that he did, choosing to do this press conference, using the word "spying," briefing the president's legal team on this. you know, we were talking about earlier why should democrats have faith in bill barr. this additional information is just -- and sometimes you wonder the white house is almost trolling congressional democrats. they almost want to make them crazy. they're trying to make you jump out of your skin, matt miller. >> it goes back to this original memo that barr wrote that concerned democrats about the fact that a president can't be indicted and is protected from all of this.
and so the difference between barr and jeff sessions, i think, is barr believes in a strong executive. jeff sessions was a creature of the senate who believed in separation of power. >> or respected the separation, yeah. >> respected >> respected it. >> respected it. we thought that he was deeply conservative as well. he was very close to trump. he would be a lackey of the president. it turns out that this attorney general is. >> i don't know how many senate democrats would say they misjudged jeff sessions. i bet you they never thought they would say that. >> i imagine none. they probably missed it. >> they might even miss matt whittaker. >> probably. he could have sort of been a holding pattern for a while for democrats. which, their goal was the right one. let's get to the end of this. let's get to the report.
and matt whittaker would probably not had the authority to be the person to fully embody the release of the report in a way that it was. >> this gets to the larger issue that i think it is just, i don't know what you want to call it. shamelessness. hubris, whatever it is. the fact that had any democrat tried anything like this, the impeachment hearings, we were just, i mean, when barack obama on "60 minutes" said these emails, i don't know, it doesn't look like there's much there, there. oh, my god. he can't speak about a criminal investigation. where are all of these house republicans now that were so up in arms about the president talking about hillary clinton's emails, when what you have here, the attorney general briefing the president of the united states on a case that involves the president of the united states. what is the difference? >> that president was not their president. that is the difference. >> straight up politics.
>> everything the republicans thought was happening, they're doing. >> as i've said before, president trump is and has been everything republicans thought barack obama would be and would do. and that is the reality. all the things they said barack obama would do, trump has laid out systematically and done. and with respect to the breaking "new york times" story, about the white house and justice department, the only collusion here is colluding -- >> this is actual collusion. >> this is collusion. >> in case you're wondering what does it look like, it looks like the attorney general lawyers briefing the president. >> absolutely right. trump has told people, he wanted an attorney general who would protect them way eric holder protected barack obama. they believe that happened. there's nothing that eric holder ever protected barack obama. >> did he a very poor job. the comey email investigation, a
heck of a job there, holder. >> it helps that barack obama wasn't involved in multiple potential crimes. but they believe that's what happened so that's the attorney general trump has want to get and he's gone through three of them and he's finally found one that would do it. matt whittaker couldn't pull it off. did he the right thing and recused himself. bill barr should have recused himself. he didn't recuse himself. then instead of bending over backwards to remove the cloud that existed because of that memo, he sided with the president every step of the way. >> the destruction of the credibility of the rule of law between, like, the republican party, you know, i just talked with stewart stevens today for my podcast, he said i thought the republicans were the law and order party. he's just mortified at what the president has done to the reputation of the fbi. >> there is a group of people, people who do believe that the attorney general also does work
for the president. >> he does. look, as much as we may not like it, and we could come up with a different way. in that sense, he does. bill barr is not legally in somehow crazy uncharted territory. the attorney general works for the president. >> so he's not breaking any laws. but he is breaking press deny. >> he is undermining faithful. >> yes. this is what trump has done in many institutions. the media, the fbi, the justice departmen department. >> do you know here undermines? anyone who attempts to hold him accountable. all those people have investigated or reported. >> in that sense, we have a pattern. >> thank you all up ahead. i've seen the light. every day, visionaries are creating the future.
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in case you missed it, in this era of politics i often hear the same phrase from people over and over again. >> i've never seen anything like it. >> i've never seen anything like it. >> i don't think we've ever seen anything like this. >> there's never been anything like this. >> i have never seen anything like it. >> i've never seen anything like it. that overused line may finally actually be true. because people in d.c.,
maryland, and virginia saw this bright light streak across the sky late last night. and believe it or not, it was a meteor. rocketing through the earth's atmosphere at 110,000 miles per hour. no, it was not a fastball that missed the strike zone. even with the naked eye, it was a spectacular sight. but especially for us at "meet the press" daily. we finally got to fire up the old observatory. there's world war i item. what we saw through the telescope made everybody's jaws, drop. >> look, up in the sky, a bird. >> it's a plane! ♪
>> we've never seen anything like it. >> i know i've never seen anything like that. you're not impressed? come on. maybe you were expecting halle's comment? that's all we have tonight. we'll be back tomorrow with "meet the press" daily. good evening, bill barr, has he briefed you on the mueller report? >> he hasn't briefed me. the briefings are beginning, they've been talking to the white house and we have the press tomorrow. it's huge. hearing your bit above the sky makes me think of the famous gang star song, above the clouds. for political junkies, it samples kennesampl samples john f. kennedy's speech. >> you put it all in there. >> and it was an unredacted song. we'll be seeing you tomorrow with the coverage. i'll be busy, you'll be busy. we're all looking forward to learning