tv The 11th Hour With Brian Williams MSNBC April 30, 2019 11:00pm-12:00am PDT
important night. we appreciate you joining us. that's not exactly the program, we schedule to the beginning of this hour, a lot of things have changed during the course of this hour including getting hof things had to change during the course of the hour including getting senator van hollen on the phone which we appreciate. he gets tonight's last worth. "the 11th hour" with brian williams" starts now. the breaking news we're covering, the latest block busting reporting from "the washington post," robert mueller is unhappy with how his report was characterized and said in as such. the timing is interesting because bill barr is hours away from appearing before senate judiciary and this may explain why he's fighting the demands of house democrats. we'll preview tomorrow's testimony tonight and look at what it means for individual
one, bill barr's boss as "the 11th hour" gets under way on a consequential tuesday night. good evening once again from our nbc headquarters. day 831. this pertains to bill barr. in plain english, it sure seemed to a lot of people these past few weeks that trump's new attorney general may have shaded the truth of the mueller report from the get-go, may have cherry picked the facts in it. he certainly tailored his words to please his boss and gives donald trump air cover, plenty of it to say as trump did loudly and proudly and incorrectly that he totally had been vindicated, no
conclusion and no obstruction. tonight we learned robert mueller had some of those concerns as well. both major newspapers relentlessly covering the story are on the board tonight with different versions of the same big story. mueller was bothered by what he saw and heard. enough to write a letter to barr objecting to how his 22-month worth of work was being portrayed. the two men spoke on the phone and the attorney general continued to verbally carried the president's water. the story first broke tonight in "the washington post," this comes out on the eve of barr's appearance before senate judiciary tomorrow. "the post" reports in a letter to barr on march 27th was about barr's four-page now famous summary for congress that had been released three days prior. "the post" had quotes, this was
mueller to barr, and we quote, the department of justice sent to congress and released to the public late in the afternoon, march 24th did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this office's work and conclusions. there is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation. this threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the department of justice appointed the special counsel to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations. mueller didn't stop there. according to "the post," quote, the letter from mueller to barr made a key request that barr release the 400-page report introduction and executive summaries and made some suggested redactions for doing so. "the washington post" continues here, a day after the letter was sent, barr and mueller spoke by phone for about 15 minutes. mueller said he was concerned that news coverage of the obstruction investigation was
misguided and creating public misunderstanding. when barr pressed him whether he thought barr's letter was enaccurate, mueller said he did not. mueller's main worry was that the public was not getting an accurate understanding of the obstruction investigation. "a rift between the men appeared to develop in the intervening months as the special counsel wrapped up his inquiry. mr. barr and senior justice department officials were frustrated with how mr. mueller ended his investigation and crafted his report. they expressed irritation that mr. mueller fell short of his assignment by declining to make a decision whether mr. trump broke the law, that left mr. barr to clear mr. trump without the special counsel's backing. tonight house judiciary chairman jerry nadler, democrat of new york, is requesting the justice department give his committee a copy of mueller's letter by no later than 10:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. earlier this evening, house intel chairman adam schiff
and senate judiciary member amy klobarchar had this to say about the attorney general. >> i don't think the country can have confidence in its top law enforcement official. it's hard to see how he can justify to himself his continued service in that position. >> this attorney general has gone way on a limb here at the point where he's not allowing the report, the 448-page report to speak for itself, and that's why we'll continue to demand we hear from director mueller and other witnesses. >> that brings us to our leadoff discussion on this tuesday night, and there is one of the by lines on this breaking news tonight, security reporter from "the washington post," he contributed to "the washington post" edition of the mueller report already in book stores. chuck rosenburg who served as counselor to robert mueller for
a time, notably he is the host of our newest pod cassian "the oath" and matt zapotosky. also, back with us, former u.s. attorney joyvance who spent 25 years as a prosecutor and phil rucker for "the washington post." good evening and welcome to you all. matt, take us through your reporting. the tension is so clarifying now. this explains a lot. it also says -- i will say this and not you tells us those around mueller are not above apparently dropping something like this on the eve of the ag's hearing. what, if anything, surprised you in the course of your reporting? >> well, look, we knew that mueller's report was not sort of completely represented by barr's four-page letter that just said shorthand would be no collusion
and a shrug on obstruction. we knew that mueller's report was way different than that because we can all read mueller's report. now we know that bob mueller when he saw bill barr offer that kind of overview or summary, even though that barr does not like to call it summary anymore that he was really upset, so upset that he memorialized in a letter his displeasure with this, he said this was threatening public conference in the special counsel investigation. that's a weighty thing to say and a particular weighty thing to say by a guy and a chain of command guy and for him to object how his boss was characterizing his work and put it down on paper so that one day it could come out as it has today. it is really remarkable.
we knew there was some displeasure about that letter, the barr letter from some members of the special counsel team. we and "the new york times" reported that before today. what we didn't know is that robert mueller was willing to sign his name to a very forceful of this letter. that was most surprising. >> spectacularly well put, matt. before i bring two of our former feds, let's listen to this exchange from the barr hearing on the hill. >> did bob mueller support your conclusion? >> i don't know whether bob mueller supported my conclusion. >> so as a result of that exchange, chuck rosenberg and senator van hollen on the end of that calling for the resignation of the attorney general, it appears the attorney general did know mueller's opinion at that time. matt stole my phrase, i was going to say mueller's three rules of operating are chain of
chand, chain of command, chain of command. what did it take for him to write a letter like this in your rue? >> if he had a fourth rule it would probably be chain of command. it's really remarkable. here's why, brian, and joyce and i were talking about this just before the show. we are part of the same team and the same family of the department of justice. so before you go to paper, before you write a letter memorializing your views, you want to try everything possible to make your point and win your argument and steer the policy in whatever direction. we don't like to write to one another. so the notion of mueller not just writing but writing to his boss and contradicting him and doing it in a forceful way is really something you don't see very often. >> and that phrase, you feds use, most of us think memorializing means sending flowers. memorializing is intentionally putting pen to pen tore finger
to keyboard to memorialize a conversation. >> well, it is. i think chuck is absolutely right. it is not a step mueller would have taken lightly. none of us would have taken it lightly being so directly confrontational and critical of a boss. what mueller is in essence saying here is you, mr. attorney general, have diminished the public's confidence in doj's integrity. an doj's value to the public is its intext get so he obviously felt very strongly. >> joyce, what about benefit of the doubt? we had a number of formal feds on this broadcast going back to the naming of bill barr. saying, i believe he is an institutionalist. i believe the good guys win in bill barr's world at the end of the day, then came things like his use of the word spying. then came his intersection of no collusion at that news conference knowing he was about to reveal a report to the
public that specifically said collusion is not a thing in our world. what about that benefit of the doubt now? >> i was in the camp that had difficulty giving it to him from the get-go after reading the 19-page memo that somehow found its way into the white house prejudging the obstruction issue, but i think any good faith that he deserved from any of us because of his prior service has long since evaporated well before tonight and this is just very much the nail in the coffin. so many people on the hill are now calling for his resignation and when you think about it whether this is technically perjury or not, that's something it will be debated. this notion that the attorney general could be disingenious in an important manner and portraying it to the public, i think it is impossible to stomach. >> chuck, same question. >> i started in a different camp, i believe he was a principled institutionalist. i said that. that was certainly his reputation in our department. but there are things have shaken
my view. and you alluded to them. and i don't know quite what to make of it. you hear these discordant notes. it does not make sense. the only view that i can have now is the one that joyce articulated so well, he has undermined confidence in the mueller report and then by extension in the department itself and that is deeply unfortunate. >> phil rucker, i note that rudy giuliani is making the rounds, phone calls with reporters. he already told a reporter from cnn tonight that mueller should stop -- i believe the quote was "whining and complaining." that won't go well remaining among the remaining institutionalists in washington. what's the reaction from the president? >> well, one thing, brian, with regard to the comment that rudy giuliani has been making of mueller whining and complaining, mueller has not whined or complained.
and it's worked to his detriment that he has not said anything publicly, he lets his work speak through the indictments and through the page report. you do not see him on twitter or you do not see him at news conferences speaking about any of this and, in fact, you see president trump repeatedly everyday complaining and whining about the investigation. so setting that aside i think the president is going to be upset that this letter came to light but i think he's going to have it -- it's going to reaffirm his belief that bill barr is the attorney general he's been looking for. he complained when he had jeff sessions as attorney general that he wasn't tough enough defending the president that he wasn't a roy cohn who is the president's sort of former personal attorney and mentor who actually was disbarred because of his unethical conduct. trump will see in bill barr somebody willing to bend the
norms and really shape a public narrative an focus on headlines and public relations which is what trump cares most intimately about to try to make the boss look good. >> matt, we were told that as part of this kind of doj folklore that these men perhaps had been guests at the weddings of each other's children. learned any hint of tension between the two men. among your sources at doj, i'm imagining now that's become memorialized and now it's less surprising to people. >> they absolutely are or at least were friends. i think bill barr testified whether at his confirmation hearing or another hearing that they were friends. they were friends before the special counsel investigation and they would be friends long after that. i think their wives are friends too. they come from the same
generation at the justice department when bill barr was the attorney general before robert mueller was the chief of the criminal division there. we'll see if that friendship kind of stands the test of this intense political fire that's burning around them and this subject, the mueller investigation and bill barr's handling of it is clearly a sticking point. i would point out that press conference that you sort of referenced where five times bill barr says some iteration of no collusion. that came after he knew of mueller's displeasure of the way bill barr characterized his work. so i don't think we've heard the last about the tension between these two men over the special counsel investigation. despite the fact that they're friends. >> that's the definition going out on a limb for viewer number one over at the white house, his repeated use of no collusion. joyce, if you were senator vance of become on the judiciary committee, what would your first
question be? what would you want bill barr to answer tomorrow morning when our coverage begins? >> one thing that prosecutors don't like to do is ask witnesses open-ended questions or questions that they don't know the answer to. i understand that congress may have a little bit more of a fact-finding mission here. but i think the important question with barr who's smart and capable of dodging questions is simply confirm the facts that he is pinned down. it will be very important i think moving forward out of this mini crisis that we have seen tonight to have barr commit to what happened and when it happened and when he spoke to mueller and what he learned from mueller and what he knew when he made these statements in his prior testimony. >> chuck, let me go darker, have we just witnessed a successful campaign? to sit on this report long enough to maybe advance spin
its details early on enough to cloud the actual findings and blunt the impact of the mueller report. >> well, it did and it did, right. the narrative was defined when mr. barr came out and said that there was no collusion and he's exonerated and we don't believe that the evidence establishes that he obstructed justice. in order to unwind that narrative, people have to read a 448-page report. >> right. >> carefully. and that's a hard thing to do. and so, you know, even a head start of five minute, brian, accomplishes that goal if that, in fact, was his goal. i still have this hope it was not nefarious. as i mentioned earlier i think that has faded. >> phil rucker, let me play for you what is being said. as of the 9:00 p.m. hour eastern time on network across the street from us here in new york
city -- >> no collusion, no obstruction, no conspiracy but the radical left, the media mob desperately breathlessly continue to pursue a fraudulent hoax and if that doesn't work we'll see what their plan b is. you got people like nadler and schiff and they want to get after trump. now they're going through some conspiracy theory. financial crime. >> phil rucker, in the military they call it close air support. that's what close air support looks like and i guess we'll see more of that. that was the summation of the reporting tonight of your newspaper in "the new york times." >> yeah, brian, and that came from one of the president's friends and formal advisers, sean hannity, and i imagine we'll hear the same narrative coming from a number of hosts on fox. you know, look, they're trying to speak to the president's base and they're joining the president in creating sort of
their own reality about this report. they're not look at the 448-page report which does detail extensively ten examples that were reviewed for obstruction of justice and instead pointing to no collusion and no obstruction which is what bill bar, the attorney general said from that four-page letter that now we learned thanks to max's reporting was seriously questioned by the special counsel. so, look, i think the president is going to continue to spin this the way he has and he's going to get a lot of air cover on fox and elsewhere in the conservative media as well as by republicans in congress and the senate who are probably going to hear from in the judiciary committee tomorrow including possibly chairman lindsey graham. >> i can't think our front four enough for adding to our understanding on a big night. matt, chuck, joyce and phil, thank you all for coming up.
>> coming up, our next guest broken news tonight that robert mueller wants to testify but barr's doj is getting in the way. will that will still hold? tomorrow's barr testimony may become one of those mandatory live tv viewing moments, we'll get a preview of that. later as barr and mueller battle it out, a look at a fringe player watched closely by our u.s. government for real good reasons who plays a key role in the mueller report. we are just getting started on a busy tuesday night.
reports have emerged recently, general, that members of the special counsel's team are frustrated at some level with limited information included in your march 24th letter that it does not adequately or accurately necessarily portray the report's findings. do you know what they are referencing with that? >> no, i don't. >> and, of course, right there according to tonight's breaking news, the attorney general did know about mueller's frustration. over time as "the new york times" pointed out, bill barr's assessment of mueller's investigation seemed to change. they pointed to this exchange with barr during his confirmation hearing back in january. >> do you believe mr. mueller would be involved in a witch-hunt against anybody? >> i don't think mr. mueller would be involved in a witch-hunt. >> well, those comments now
stand in sharp contrast to what barr would go on to say this month. >> do you believe the investigation that director mueller undertook was a witch-hunt or ill liam neeson as asserted by the president? >> as i said during my confirmation that it really depends on where you are sitting. if you are somebody who's been falsely accused of something, you would tend to view the investigation as -- >> you would not be alone for asking what's going on here. with us for more, two people who know a thing or two because they've seen a thing or two. stam stein for "the daily beast" and katie benner in, reporter to "the new york times." sam, talk about your reporting tonight, what is or was mueller repaired to say, what was justice trying to do to him if anything to prevent him from
testifying? >> so, our reporting is a little limited on that first front. what we know is mueller had given indications to people on the hill that he was ready to testify about his report. we don't know if it is going to be a public testimony or private testimony or what kind of hearing it could be. but the indications were given and then subsequently, what we are reporting tonight is that the department of justice has dragged its feet on scheduling such a hearing or testimony, of citing the fact that the special counsel, robert mueller, continues to be an employee of the justice department. there is a mounting sense of frustration on the hill that the star witness, the author of the mueller report can't be brought up yet to answer questions even as there is mounting misinformation, confusion with
what is portrayed in his report and how mr. mueller righted it to attorney general bill barr. >> second question, sam, can anyone prevent robert fill in the blank mueller, marine combat captain from the vietnam war from before testifying before congress? >> that's a good question, i am not a lawyer. mrs. mr. mueller will not remain an employee of the justice department forever, so the likelihood that he'll testify before congress is exceedingly high. it is just a question of how much tension will there be between the administration and when it happens and what he's allowed to say and whether or not he ends up just taking matters into his own hands. but i believe that tonight's episode in which it was strategically i believe let out there that he was dissatisfied
with bill barr's summary of his findings really reflects a sense of frustration, not just from democrats but from people on mueller's team that he had to have watched other people talk about what he's produced and been silent himself. you get the sense that that will soon change. >> i'm going to play an exchange with barr at the hearing about the letter he wrote and then i'm going to ask you when we come back what makes it notable. here it is. >> the letter of the 24th, mr. mueller's team did not play a role in drafting that draftment, although we offered an opportunity to review it before he sent it out. >> katy, why is it notable and knowing what we know tonight? >> it becomes part of a pattern for bill barr of not lying per se but omitting important details such that the public is misled and the narrative
hardens. when he said that the mueller team did not want to see the draft of the four-page letter, in large part that was to make people feel confident that bob mueller had confidence in him, that they trusted his judgment and there were no objections to that four-page letter. what we discovered tonight thanks to the reporting that there were objections to the letter and he knew when he gave his testimony and yet he omitted that important fact. we see it happen again and again in response to the reporting about this letter and mueller's discontent. bob mueller said the words the content, the nature and the characterization is off. barr's response is he didn't technically say -- he didn't technically say i was inaccurate. he was lying on a very narrow point in order to try to ignore the larger issue and we have seen this again and again. >> sam, what people are reacting to in part, his confirmation hearing, the portrait he painted for himself was a guy who really
had been looking forward to going to florida or wherever and enjoying retirement. he mentioned his age. he introduced his family. the portrait being painted tonight is of a cagey inside bare-knuckle political operator and pro-trump attorney general playing to an audience of one despite having the united states as his client. what do you think tomorrow's hearing will be like? three of those democrats are candidates for the president. >> it is going to be messy. it is going to be emotional and people are going to be upset of what is consisted misrepresentation of information he had, sole or near sole possession of and highly sensitive information so i expect it to be contentious. and i expect bill barr to mount a defense that is misquiting of
words. none of it was inaccurate. they were worried of the public portrayal. that seems to be the defense that his team has foreshadowed tonight. yeah, brian, you are absolutely right. one of -- keep in mind the context of the confirmation hearing was deep concern over the interim appointment of matt whitaker, the possibility that a true trump ally, someone who was a sycophant would be put in this position and basically end the probe. bill barr gets put out there presented as someone who could land the plane to borrow a phrase and do so admirably and what we found out is every step along the way he has made a choice that has been highly controversial, if not downright misleading and he's going to have to answer for that tomorrow. >> katie, how do we now think of thursday, democratic controlled house of representatives, judiciary committee and everyone is acting
like staff have never asked questions before, of course, it has been a tradition, ask fred thompson and sam dash who made their bones at the watergate hearings as staff counsel, so do you think, i guess this calls for an opinion, we'll see barr before house judiciary on thursday? >> well, sure, i'd love to address that question. jerry nadler's gambit is we are going to force barr to do something that sets a precedent so we can continue to question going forward. nadler can do that and he can fight it and subpoena barr and barr cannot show up on thursday but in doing so chairman nadler would lose an extraordinary opportunity to press barr when he's at a disadvantage. when public opinion is turning against him and when nadler would have a rhetorical advantage. to lose that opportunity could be huge. to make the calculation that
does nadler want to make the calculation i am going to subpoena barr and fight this and maybe ask questions about this matter weeks or months from now that people don't pay attention. there is a change that you can see nadler change course and he can use the breaking news tonight and say, you know the situation has changed. it is essential we get him before the committee in a timely fashion. and in addition of what sam was saying how messy it is going to be, we have to take a look at what barr represented. he represents sort of a turning point in the course of the presidency. we have a president, president trump, who is changing what it means to be president in the united states. he is busting through norms and right now it looks like he has an attorney who is inclined to help him do that. that you know, if that's the case, we could be in for a very long two years and the office of the presidency could be completely transformed by the time we get to 2020. >> wow, there is a reason people look forward and reading these
two bylines. thanks to these two thoughtful journalists, sam stein and katie benner. thank you for coming on on this tuesday night. >> coming up, donald trump once named him as a top foreign policy adviser to the campaign. that man still wants to meet donald trump. we did deep inside the mueller report with new reporting from our series called "uncovered" when we come back. - hey, mike.
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carter page, ph.d. -- >> that man, carter page, ph.d. is back in the news. it is reported that even after getting caught up in this russia investigation, carter page is still eager to meet president trump and we quote, aftering hearing that trump reached out last week to another former campaign adviser, michael caputo following the conclusion of special counsel robert mueller's investigation, page said he had not heard from trump but said he would like to talk to him. in a series of reports where we call "uncovered" where we dig into parts of the report that haven't received media coverage we cover carter page. the mueller report said page had previously lived in and worked in russia and had been approached by russian intelligence officers several years before he volunteered for the trump campaign. the report read, quote, during his time with the campaign, page
advocated pro-russia foreign policy positions and traveled to moscow in his personal capacity. russian intelligence officials have formed a relationship with page in '08 and 2013. and russian officials may have focused on page in 2016 because of his affiliation with the campaign. however, the investigation did not establish that page coordinated with the russian government in its efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election. back with us tonight, anita kumar and our associate editor for "politico, and we have talked chuck rosenberg to stick around. i had to write down some of this. how is carter page and donald trump have not met? is carter page out of jeopardy if you ask him and what might he want from the sitting president? >> well, if you ask him, he's
out of jeopardy, he feels vindicated much like president trump. he was recently on capitol hill sort of doing a victory lap. it is very interesting that he says he has not met donald trump. he said this before and said this to me in the last couple of days. this is a man who worked for the campaign. he worked in trump tower in new york. he also had a business venture where he says the building was attached to trump tower by an atrium. so, but in all that time he and president trump never met at all. of course, the president also worked in trump tower. this was surprising but he said it before and he says he's looking forward to the day he can meet the president after he gets out of office. >> chuck rosenberg, so much of this refers to your former beat. here is a guy swimming in russians as is his right. he lived in russia as is his right. it gives our government
kaleidosco kaleidoscopic reason to light him up and watch what he's doing. how difficult it is to get a fisa report. let me ask you about that and in your view, should he be walking around thinking he's out of jeopardy? >> the man has nothing to sell. the report, seven pages are dedicated to him. that's never a good thing, by the way. you don't want to be mentioned in that report. all it found is you articulated was there was not evidence to establish he had coordinated or conspired with the russians government to interfere in the 2016 election. it did not say anything else other than detailing those seven pages, a series of contacts with russian intelligence officers dating back to at least 2008. there were four or five fisa warrants, foreign intelligence surveillance act issued by the fisa court to surveil him according to report. that means and this is really important, brian, there was
probable cause to believe as authorized by a federal judge that carter page was an agent of a foreign power. which foreign power? russia. that's not a good thing and not an exoneration and there is nothing for him to celebrate. >> you told me fisa applications are as thick as your wrist. >> that's right. they go through a very careful process between the fbi agents before they're certified by the director of the fbi, before they're signed off by the attorney general of the united states, before they're appointed -- i'm sorry, before they are presented to a federal court judge for authorization. so the process is caricatured by certain people and is so deeply unfair to that process and excruciatingly careful. when i worked for bob mueller one of my jobs was to review every fisa warrant each morning before he certified it.
>> anita, trump got his attorney general who was willing to call all this spying. how can carter page perhaps still be of help to the boss, donald trump? >> oh, i think he will because as we've seen president trump is campaigning on this mueller report now saying, obviously saying he's slippvindicated but more importantly saying this was all, you know, should not have happened. he should have been investigated and there was surveillance going on alluding to this that it was all illegal and should not have been done and unwarranted and whatever words you want to use. he's going to be campaigning on this literally for his re-election. he's talking about it trying to get public opinion on his side to sort of go with what he's been saying the last two years which is there's so many people in this country, democrats, the media, mainstream media that are against him, the deep state. this kind of goes into that and
he's using this as a way to say, i was right, all these people are against me and i have won and i'm going to be okay so look what i've come up against so he's going to be talking about this surveillance and as you know he's asked for the attorney general to go and investigate the situation and how this happened. >> chuck rosenberg just casually mentioned he was the one for a time that brought fisa cases to bob mueller. he's one of our most learned and experienced guests on this network and now you have a podcast of your own. i want to know what your goals are, i have a long plane flight coming up and i will be current by the weekend. >> thank you first of all for giving me a chance to talk about it. the goal, brian, was to talk to fascinating people, friends and colleagues of mine over the years about their lives in the department of justice and the fbi and to bring viewers in so they can sit with me and ask the
questions they would have wanted to ask and get the answers they would have wanted to hear. we talk about hard things. we talk about dilemmas and problems and how to solve them. it's more art than science and we're fallible and make mistakes but what we try to do is get the right and call it the oath because we take an oath not to a particular person or party but to the constitution of the united states and my guests as i did have all taken that oath. >> so far preet bharara and james comey and that's just the first two episodes. anita kumar and brand-new podcaster chuck rosenberg, our thanks for joining us again on the broadcast tonight. coming up, his modest book received giant attention because of its 20 simple rules to avoid tyranny. tonight we will ask the author how trump is doing, where those rules are concerned when we come back.
it was just announced there was no collusion with russia, the most ridiculous thing i have ever heard. there was no collusion with russia. there was no obstruction and none whatsoever and it was a complete and total exoneration. >> that was our president the day the attorney general released that four-page summary letter. that's what led mueller to write about the public confusion that was being let loose. effective that moment, of course, as we've been reporting, the report did not declare total exoneration. our next guest writes in his book on turnny and we quote you
are submit to tyranny when you renounce the difference between what you want to hear and what is actually the case. we welcome back timothy snyder, yale university professor, professor snyder was actually a marshall scholar educated in the ivy league and oxford and happens to be the author of two books, the first we just mentioned "on turnny" and the second "the road to freedom." professor, when the distance of austria you've been listening to our broadcast tonight, just the news we're covering tonight. how do you believe it fits into the thesis? >> well, you have it fits extremely well, the foundation of russian foreign policy towards us and towards everyone is to try to get rid of fa
factuality and turn politics into a matter of spectacle. we are now in the middle of that. we have a president and an attorney general who are lying about an underlying relate. the underlying reality is russia in 2016 carried out a comprehensive campaign as shown in the mueller report and elsewhere to get mr. trump elected. that is the underlying factual reality. what we are seeing is an attempt to turn underlying facts, not just into spin but into fiction. this isn't just a problem because the facts are so important, it's a problem because facts themselves are the basis for a rule of law state. and so your coverage tonight about a crisis in the department of justice is a about a crisis in the rule of law. it's about the kind of country that the united states will be. >> i first saw you in an interview with bill maher that stopped me in my tracks and that very night you talked about as one of your points the
importance of listening tore dangerous words. with that in mind, listen to this from our president, we'll discuss on the other side. >> they tried for a coup. it didn't work out so well and i didn't need a gun for that. >> they were really -- there was a coup. this started long before mueller. this was an attempted overthrow of the united states government. this was a coup. this wasn't stealing information from an office in the watergate apartments. this was an attempted coup. >> professor, no one needs to remind you that that word while powerful is also a term of art in geopolitics. how does that fit in your list of rules? >> well, by saying -- by using that word coup and suggesting the other side already carried out a coup, what he is doing is
saying i would be within my rights if i did something extraordinary and trying to move politics from something normal into a place where states of exception coup d'etat et cetera would be thinkable and already blamed the other side although in fact what has happened is that he himself as the mueller report says has been the beneficially -- beneficiary by a foreign power. >> normalization comes through repetition and is that what we're seeing no obstruction, no collusion total vindication? >> yeah, i mean that's right out of the middle of the authoritarian playbook. everything from we know from george orwell. you repeat something which you know is simple and which you know is wrong over and over again in the hope that, you know, as if you had a machete
you could clear out all of the underbrush of the facts. the underbrush of the facts indicate there was a campaign in 2016 to elect mr. trump, that it came from russia, that mr. trump and his campaign knew about it, that they supported it, that they expected it to help him. those are the facts. repeating these things over and over again is an attempt to make people comfortable in a reality which should make us highly uncomfortable. >> the need to speak to you was urgent and we appreciate the fact that you are with us at 5:54 in the morning in vienna, austria, professor, come back any time. it's a pleasure to have you as always, again, the professor's latest book is "the road to unfreedom: russia, europe, america." the prior book to that is "on turnny." we explain how it is that three democrats running for president will encounter this president's attorney general tomorrow.
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tomorrow. here's a reminder. here are the players. first the democrats on the left there but also the republicans, we last saw this group during barr's confirmation. we saw them during the kavanaugh confirmation. note among the democrats they include three presidential candidates, klobuchar, booker, and harris. now we know that mueller objected to how barr sold his report, his work of 22 months. now that it's clear barr has been choosing his words to please his boss, no collusion, tomorrow just became very important. we're going to treat it as such. i'll be here with nicolle wallace and assorted former feds including chuck rosenberg and joyce vance who were here with us tonight. and we begin all that right after "morning joe." we will cover everything as it happens throughout the day and of course we'll see you right back here at this same time tomorrow evening.
for now that is our broadcast for this tuesday night. thank you so very much for being here with us. good night from nbc headquarters here in new york. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. we've got breaking news at this hour that one of the chief criticisms of attorney general william barr's summary of the mueller report was made by none other than the special counsel himself, robert mueller. "the washington post" reporting the special counsel complained to the attorney general in a letter on march 27th regarding barr's four-page summary that had been released just three days prior. according to mueller's letter from a copy received by "the washington post," the summary letter the department sent to congress and released to the public late in the afternoon on march 24th did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this office's work and conclusions, mueller wrote. there is no public confusion about critical aspects of the