tv MSNBC Live With Ali Velshi MSNBC May 1, 2019 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT
he was was head of the criminal division but they discussed it with career ethics official and made the recommendation. >> thank you. >> senator whitehouse. >> mr. barr, a couple of timing questions. you said that on march 5th, mr. mueller came to you and said that he was going to not make a decision on obstruction and leave that to you. >> he didn't say he was leaving it to me. >> he was not going to make an obstruct on march 24th, you sen the letter describing your decision. somewhere between march 5th and 24th, you made that decision. when was that? >> we started talking about it on march 5th and there had already been a lot of discussions prior to march 5th involving the deputy, the
principal associate deputy and the office of legal counsel that had dealings with the special counsel's office. they had knowledge of a number of the episodes and some of the thinking of the special counsel's office. right after march 5th, we started discussing what the implications of this were and how we would view. >> you made the decision when? >> probably on sunday, the 24th. >> that was the day the letter came out. >> yes. >> you didn't make the decision until the letter came out. you must have told somebody how the write the letter. when did you decide that there was no obstruction? >> the 24th. >> okay. >> when did you get the first draft of the mueller report? >> the first -- it wasn't a draft. we got the final. >> the first version that you saw. >> the only version i saw.
>> the only version. >> 22nd. >> you told senator harris you made your decision on the obstruction charge, you and rosenstein, based on the mueller report. did i correctly infer you made it between the 22nd and the 24th? >> well we had had a lot of discussions about it before the 22nd. but the final decision was made on the 24th. >> you didn't -- >> you had more than two and a half days to consider this. olc had done a lot of thinking about some of these issues even before we got the report and even been march 5th. they had been in regular contact. the department had been in regular contact with mueller's people and understood everything. >> the olc was looking into the mueller investigation while it was going on and witting of the evidence that they were gathering on obstruction?
before you saw the mueller report. >> i wasn't there. my understanding is that the deputy and the -- the principal associate deputy were in regular contact with the mueller's team and getting reefings on evidence and some other thinking and some of the issues. >> did they know enough to know? >> olc was brought into some of those discussions. >> did they know enough to know it might be redacted before they saw the 322? >> no. the problem we had is we could not identify the 6e material when the report came over. we needed the help of bob mueller's team to do that. >> lastly, can you assure me that nothing related to obstruction or the mueller report was discussed at your office of legal counsel brown bag lunch on june 27th? >> nothing about what? >> nothing about the obstruction
issue and nothing about the mueller report itself was discussed when you had brown bag lunch on june 27th with olc? >> yeah. we didn't discuss anything having to do with the mueller report or mueller's eventual position. >> did you discuss the obstruction memo? >> i forgot if it was then but i think i've previously said i mentioned i had a memo and was sending it to -- >> you have not yet said that it was mentioned at this olc lunch? >> it was not at the brown bag lunch, no. >> my time is up. >> okay. the vote has started. we're going to split the time between senator klobuchar and senator bloomenthal. let's start with senator klobuchar and see if we can do
this. >> thank you. on april 27th, president trump stated mueller, i assume, for $35 million he checked my taxes and he checked my financials. is that accurate? did the special counsel review the president's taxes and the trump organization's financial statements? >> i don't know. >> can you find out if i ask later in a written question? >> yes or you could ask bob mueller when he comes here. >> okay. i'll do that too. i think i'll also ask you. obviously, we would want to see them as underlying information. during my earlier questions we went through a number of actions by the president that the special counsel looked into. my point is we should be looking into the totality of evidence and the pattern and volume two the special counsel instructs we
do something similar. the report says and this is a quote, circumsubstantial evidence that illuminates intent my include a pattern of potentially obstructive acts. on this point, the report cites three u.s. cases. u.s. v frankenhouser, u.s. v arnold. do you agree that obstruction law allows for intent to be informed by a pattern of potentially obstructive acts? >> well, intent eventually had to be established by proof beyond a reasonable doubt. some inferences can be drawn from circumsubstantial evidence to determine proof beyond a reasonable doubt doubt. that's one of the problems with this whole approach that suggested in the special counsel's report which is it is trying to determine the
subjective intent of a facially lawful act and permits a lot of selectivity on the part of the prosecutors and it's been shot down in a number of other contexts. one of the reasons that we are very skeptical of this approach is that -- >> you mean you and director mueller or the justice department? >> the justice department. in this kind of situation we have a facially innocent act and it's authorized by constitution. it's hard to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that it's corrupt. >> okay. i want to get into a few more questions. at your confirmation hearing you testified in the absence of a violation the president would be
accountable politically for abusing the pardon power. how do you reconcile your suggestion that political accountability is available when the administration is refusing to comply with subpoenas and asserting executive privilege to stand in the way of that very accountability? >> as to a pardon? >> no. this was about in your confirmation hearing, you said in the absence of the violation of a statute the president would be accountable politically for abusing the pardon power if he did. >> your question is any power, not just the pardon power? >> uh-huh. >> well -- >> it's hard to evaluate that. >> presidents have been held accountable before and as have other office holders. >> last question. are the presidents actions detailed in this report squi consistent with his oath of office and the requirement in the constitution that he take care that the laws be faithfully
executed? >> is what consistent with that? >> i said are the president's actions detailed in the report consistent with his oath of office and the requirement in the constitution that he take care that the laws be faithfully executed? >> well, the evidence in the report is conflicting and there's different evidence and they don't come to a determination as to how they are coming down on it. >> you made that decision? >> yes. >> all right. we have two minutes left. >> senator bloomenthal. >> thank you. attorney general barr, i wonder if you could tell us about the conversation between yourself and bob mueller shortly after your summary was issued. he called you?
>> no, i called him. >> what prompted you to call him? >> the letter. >> your letter or his letter. >> you called him? >> yeah. >> how long did the conversation last? >> i don't know, maybe 10, 15 minutes. there were multiple witnesses in the room. it was on the speakerphone. >> who was in the room? >> among other, the deputy attorney general was in the room. >> anyone else? >> several other people who had been working on the project. >> members of your staff? >> yes. and the deputy's staff. >> as best you can recall, in the language that was used, who said what to whom? >> i said bob, what's with the letter. why don't you just pick up the phone and call me if there's an issue?
he said that they were concerned about the way the media was playing this and felt that it was important to get out the summaries, which they felt would put their work in proper context and avoid some of the confusion that was emerging. i asked him if he felt that my letter was misleading or inaccurate. he said no. the press -- he felt the press coverage was -- and it was completer, a more complete picture of his thoughts and the context and so forth would deal with that. i suggested i would rather get the whole report out than just putting out stuff piecemeal.
i said i would think about it some more. the next day i put out a letter that made it clear that no one should read the march 24th letter as a summary of the overall report and that a full account of bob mueller's thi thinking would be in the report and every one would have access. >> there's nothing in his letter to you about -- it is about your characterization of the report, correct? >> the letter speaks for itself. >> it does. in response to your question, why not just pick up the phone, this letter was an extraordinary act. a career prosecutor rebuking the attorney general of the united states me moralimorializing in . i know of no other instance of
that happening. do you? >> i don't consider bob a career prosecutor. he's had a career as a prosecutor. he was the head of the fbi for 12 years. >> he's a career of law enforcement professional. >> right. >> i don't know of no other instance. >> he was a political appointee and with me at the department of justice. the letter is a bit snitty and i think it was probably written by one of his staff people. >> did you make a memorandum of your conversation? >> did you make a memorandum or anyone else? >> did anyone either you or anyone on your staff memorialize your conversation with robert mueller? >> yes. >> who did that? >> there were notes taken of the call. >> may we have those notes? >> no. >> why not? >> why should you have them? >> i'll tell you, we got to end
this. i'm going to write a letter to mr. mueller and ask him is there anything you said about that conversation he disagrees with. if there is, he can come and tell us. the hearing now over. >> i promise you that if there's any mr. mueller will have a chance to make sure that the conversation relayed by attorney general barr is accurate. i'll give him a chance to correct anything you said that he finds misleading or inaccurate and that will be it. >> okay. >> five seconds. >> attorney general barr, i just want to thank you for your service to our country and today i want to thank you for your civility and your composure amiss what has been an unfairly hostile environment. your professionalism has been remarkable. i'm grateful. thank you. >> my point of view is pretty
interesting. generally speaking the committee did pretty good. this is what democracy all about. thank you for being our attorney general. >> thank you. >> what an interesting day. we were gavelled in after 10:00 a.m. it's 3:15 on the east coast. the chairman started the hearing by saying he had not completely read the mueller report. he ended the hearing by expressing thanks that he's the nation's attorney general and along the way a lot happened. some of the major activity of the day happened right there before the gavel. as seeming attempt by the attorney general to diminish the reputation of one robert mueller. it will be questioned by others more professional than me. i don't consider bob a career prosecutor and he characterized
the letter from mueller as a bit snitty which we assume to be a close cousin of either snooty or snotty. he said it was probably written by one of his staff people. the headline of the afternoon which we're going to get to in just a second is the blood was drawn by kamala harris of california. a former prosecutor. we have, however, joyce vance and matt mitt emiller. i want to get your takes. >> i think the afternoon session was very telling. it was very difficult for the attorney general to have a good memory on some issues that he absolutely should have had immediate recall on. the questions like did the white house ever ask you to open a criminal investigation. >> you'd remember that. >> have you discussed spin off cases with the white house?
these are conversations i'm confident that every one of us would remember if we had had with the president or the president's representative. the attorney general of the united states doesn't recall clearly. >> matt. >> i thought that was a very big take away. it tells me the inappropriate kmpgss between the justice department and the white house that we know were taking place when jeff sessions were the attorney general and matthew whittaker was the attorney general have not stopped. both senator harris and whut whitehouse exposed a review of the attorney general by this report. it's always looked very suspicious he got this 448 page report and in less than 48 hours reviewed the entire report, came to his own conclusions, weighed the evidence and wrote this letter and gave it to congress. we found out under questioning he didn't look at any of the underlying evidence. it seems clear he didn't meet with the prosecutors to ask questions about it which is the usual case. usually if you got something about any big case, let alone a case into the president of the
united states, before you reach in and of ruled the prosecutor and made your own determination, you would have a sustained back and forth with them. you might ask the deputy attorney general to write a memo explaining his views. none of that happened here. it makes pretty clear under questioning, it was a predetermined outcome. he decided before he got the report what his determination would be. he got the report and then turned around and gave it quickly to congress. >> that is such an important point in this case because the attorney general, like leaders throughout the department, you're not involved in the day in and day out of the investigation. b barr tells senator harris he did not go back and review the evidence that was underlying the mueller report. he did not take time to speak with prosecutors. he just reached the conclusion that he wanted to in a pretty
shameless fashion. >> as the attorney general walk sbo s into the sunset, we're going to do two things. we're going to play two different things from senator harris. first her direct questioning of the attorney general and from that we're going to go right into her comments we have yet to see in the hallway after her questioning was over where i understand she got just as tough as she was in the room. as we said, senator harris drew blood this afternoon as part of this hearing. here is part one of that. >> attorney general barr, has the president or anyone at the white house asked or suggested that you open an investigation of anyone? >> i wouldn't -- >> yes or no. >> could you repeat that question? >> i will repeat it. has the president or anyone at white house ever asked or
suggested that you open an investigation of anyone? yes or no, please sir. >> the president or anybody else. >> seems you'd remember something like that and be able to tell us. >> yeah, but i'm trying to grapple with the word suggest. there's been discussions of matters out there that they've not asked me to open an investigation. >> perhaps they have suggested. >> i don't know. i wouldn't say suggest. >> hinted? >> i don't know. >> inferred? you don't know? okay. in reaching your conclusion, did you personally review all of the underlying evidence? >> no. we took -- >> did mr. rosenstein? >> no. we accepted the statements in the report as the factual report. we did not go underneath it to see whether or not they were accurate. we accepted it as accurate.
>> you accepted the report as the evidence? >> yes. >> you did not question or look at the underlying evidence that supports the conclusions in the report? >> no. >> i believe that what was -- absolutely enlightening and should be deeply troubling to the entire american public is that he made a decision and didn't review the evidence. no prosecutor worth her salt would make a decision about whether the president of the united states was involved in an obstruction of justice without reviewing the evidence. this attorney general lacks all credibility and has compromised the american public's ability to believe that he is a purveyor of justice. >> should he resign? >> yes. >> in the scant 39 minutes until her own broadcast begin, we have been rejoined by nicole wallace. you watched a lot of this in realtime this afternoon.
you concur that senator harris drew blood? >> yeah. the point she's making is that the person who looked anoth eede evidence, robert mueller, and his obstruction investigators and prosecutors, couldn't do what barr did. maybe we know why barr was able to do it because see no evil, hear no evil, do no evil will be his defense. mueller shared with the public all the interviews he had. mueller told the story of obstruction and mueller explicitly wrote they're investigation does not exonerate trump. when barr went in and did the opposite, said but i will, there was an asumgts he looked at the same material and reached a different conclusion. we know from questioning that he did not. it erases any mystery about the
motive. there's been some debate there's an ideology inside legal circles. this was barr. i think it also became clear that it's not clear he read the whole report. he wasn't fluent in the details of the obstruction report so it calls him to question one of first fact checks we did seven hours ago when we came out and said, oh, it was around the investigation to one of the obstruction flash points about whether or not the president sought to fire mueller. he said, oh, mcgahn was told to remove him, not fire him. two pages later there's the interview with chris christie where he details for robert mueller in january or february of 2019 that donald trump called him and said i want to fire
mueller. it's clear that not only did barr not look at the evidence, i'm not sure barr read the report. >> are we led to believe that barr lived with the report for two days prior to making his overall judgment but lived with the report for weeks before the public was allowed to see it. >> this is the other big headline. what he woke up to wasn't just a field trip to capitol hill. it was two blockbuster reports in washington post and the new york times about robert mueller taking the extraordinary step of writing two letters. i don't write anyone any letters. i definitely don't write two making the same point to my boss. he wrote a letter on march 24th expressing his concern with the way william barr was describing the substance of his investigation. three days later he wrote a second letter. the forecast of the concern with how barr was describing the report ended up in papers today.
i think fueled suspicion about the role barr has played. >> we have been joined by a leading democrat on house intel. democrat of california. jackie speir. thank you for being with us. i assume you watched all or most of the afternoon session. what is your judgment about the man who is supposed to appear before house tomorrow? >> i would say he better up his game or he should be impeached. i was astonished. truly astonished by his inability to answer very basic questions that would suggest to most of us that he is hiding something. for robert mueller to write him a letter and say that he is threatening that barr was threat ping to undermine the full confidence of the american people by the way he was describing the report says volumes. i think it's very important we talk to bob mueller.
what we have here is not an attorney general for the united states. we have someone who is running a pr firm on behalf of someone who is subject to damage control. this is a damage control operation on behalf of the president of the united states. this is not the attorney general of the united states. he can't answer simple questions and clearly hasn't read the report nor the underlying evidence that is probably over a thousands pages yet he could make a decision and a determination that the president did not obstruct justice. that's truly laughable. >> let me ask you this. if mueller wasn't perhaps motivated to run over there and testify before today, do you think that robert mueller, as a television viewer, which we assume him to be, would be motivated after hearing his work depicted the way it was today by the a.g.?
>> well, however he is motivated, i think that it's incumbent on the judiciary committee and the intelligence committee to subpoena bob mueller to come before us and testify. i would love to see him testify in an open hearing so the american people can truly hear from him what he was trying to communicate in that report. i think that attorney general barr has undermined the entire department of justice and i'm sure morale is sinking there now by the way he referenced bob mueller who has a sterling reputation both at the fbi and as a u.s. attorney and i'm confident that there are going to be more shoes that drop. >> thank you congresswoman very much for being with us. we have been joined by still more co-counsel here at our
table. mimi i've been thinking of you because of all this talk of how u.s. attorneys function this afternoon. is he going to be curious and or launch a subset of research into your underlying facts, conclusions and testimony before he charges an individual with the full weight and power of the federal government? >> i've been thinking about this too and not just about preet because i worked for many attorneys. here is the thing. an important case which this is
the most important one, if i come in and i make a recommendation that we should proceed a certain way. if the u.s. attorney agrees with me, in all likelihood, they will read what i have summarized for them in the form of a prosecution memo. that's what we have been calling a pros memo. they may look at individual pieces of evidence but if they are going to go against what i have recommended or if i have not made a decision. if i have said forwhatever reason, it's too hard or there's this legal impediment, i cannot come to a clear conclusion or i will not. they are not going to make a decision without looking at the evidence. that is just -- it's disrespectful. i won't use the word lawless because it's not about a law but it's reckless. you don't take what prosecutors, career prosecutors have done and bob mueller is of course a career prosecutor. he's parsing words there.
his team have done for almost two years and say, no, we're going to do this. we're going to do y even though you did x and we're not going to look at the evidence. it just makes no sense. you don't have to be a lawyer or prosecutor to know that. >> just as strong as proving why someone should be charged and your telling would be the effort to prove why you want to prove a negative? >> absolutely. one of most important decisions a prosecutor can make is no not charge. that is often the right thing to do. not to charge but decide you don't have enough to decide but you need to review the evidence to decide that. you have bill barr, he claimed it in the letter and still trying to claim his decision is not based on the fact he's a president. it's based on his assessment of the evidence. first of all, i just don't see as a prosecutor for 16 and a half years who saw many obstruction cases how one can say this is not chargeable.
putting that aside, you can't say if it you haven't looked at the evidence. >> lawyers i have spoken to this afternoon are upset by what they have seen play out this afternoo afternoon. >> they are. i've been watching. one of the things that jumped out at the very end of testimony that was very telling was where bill barr gets on the phone with mueller and says effectively, hey, bob, what's with the letter? what's with the letter? this is kind of an important case. when it's a kind of important case, maybe one of the most important in a generation, then you paper the file. robert mueller, this has been his opus for the last two years. if he has a concern about the rollout or the top line conclusions that barr has submitted, representing mueller's conclusions, mueller's work and at the time that was the only information the public really had about mueller's report then mueller will have a
concern about it and put it in a letter. that really surprised me. it indicated that maybe barr thinks that everybody is just sort of overreacting about this and it's not that big a deal. it's a massive deal. it's an investigation of the president. that's why there were two letters sent to memorial ieize create a record. >> you left out one thing and just one second because i thought it might be germane to bloomenthal's question. they were on speaker. a lot of us hate a phone call on speaker and you'll say if it's something sensitive, pick up. there's nothing like being bob mueller knowing you're broadcasting to a -- you think you've been told the list of people in the ag's office. a space you know very well. you're broadcasting to a room full of big ears. >> yeah. the thing that strikes me about this exchange and a few others is that there was an ease with
which barr lied. i talked to two former mueller associates who worked alongside him during the time that he was fbi director after 9/11. they said the idea that mueller would have keyed in on press coverage is a word i can't say on tv, is bs. what mueller would have been motivated to write the two letters by was that the public was receiving misinformation, dare i say, disinformation. he would not have been -- he's not a cable cowboy. he wouldn't have been flipping -- no offense to any of us. he wouldn't have been flipping and watching. that was a misrepresentation. the ease with which it came out of barr's mouth today was chilling. we broke in for some of these. when barr really tried to rewrite the facts around the obstruction investigation questioning don mcgahn's credibility. this is when i started to think
did he read all the footnotes i read. i read the whole explanation. mcgahn said he didn't want to be there in the first place. he seemed to sort of go in there and give just the facts. if you look at barr's body of public utterances they include something you and i have talked about. the accusation that spying took place. he's been the kind of legal advocate for the hard line immigration policies the president wants. it's the composite around barr that leads democrats to much more confidently call for the impeachment of the sitting attorney general than most of them have for the president.
sgr what >> kwhawhat's the upside of him saying i don't consider bob mueller a career prosecutor. the letter was snitty and probably written by one of his staff people. >> let me add one point to your and danny's very good point. barr says to bob, why didn't you pick up the phone. that means he knows that mueller has created a document that is going to be coming out. these guys are antagonists in the process. what's the upside? zero, i would say. as is also the case with other points he's made. really, i'm scratching my head from any standpoint even if he's come out whole hog as trump's lawyer to think about some of the things he said. let me add a couple of points to matt's and your good point. first he says he reviewed the evidence but there's no attempt to engage with the pages of
totally damming evidence on obstruction. he seemed to have put it aside. second to joyce's point. he tries to toggle back and forth between saying this is a regular situation what would happen with a u.s. attorney. oh, my god, is that false. you're the u.s. attorney, you submit a memo that wants to go a certain way and the ag wants to reverse. we're talking about weeks of meetings, memos, back and forth. the notion that the attorney general without reviewing the evidence wrests it from you and counter mands your bottom line and suggests the entire investigation, root and branch was a misbegotten enterprise because we never could have charged. that's a real sharp rebuke top to bottom of mueller and it's just not clear why he would need to do it at all.
>> this is the nfl we're talking about. to harry's point, it's a bit hard to believe. >> it is. the thing i was struck by so many times today, i think it was most prevalent when senator klobuchar was questioning him is because there's judgment calls to be made as to each piece of evidence. >> comes with the job. >> right. i think senator klobuchar was pressing him on didn't he tell manafort that he shouldn't be flippant. he was talking about the pardon dangling, the witness tampering which is some of the easiest forms of obstruction to understand. barr sort of explaining donald trump's mind. no, he didn't mean flipping. he meant don't succomb to the
president that would cause you to lie. he was making excuses for him. as a prosecutor, you want to think of what could be the innocent explanation here. there's always, almost always, danny can probably tell us better, a possible innocent explanation. that doesn't mean you don't charge the case. that means you go in, eyes wide open to a jury and you know that you have a litigation risk. you charge the case. if it looks to you as senator klobuchar said, in the grand scheme of things, in the overall picture this person obstructed justice and i think i can prove the elements and let a defense attorney make the arguments. here you have the attorney general acting as a defense attorney. that was deeply disturbing. >> harry, mimi is right. he did a good job defending his client. president's not supposed to be his client. the american people are, correct? >> it's true. it's the core of the problem and
why i feel heartbroken and abashed. this isn't the attorney general i knew. you can have arguments about the attorney general's proper role. h he has not to be the people's main lawyer, not even to be the main lawyer for the institution of the presidency but to be the lawyer for donald trump, the person. there's just no room in the discussions or animnals of whatn attorney general is supposed to do for that role. >> time after time we saw him bend over backwards. >> we saw the job filled. donald trump has had help wanted, looks for roy cohn sign outside pennsylvania avenue for two years and two months. he's been looking high and low. he was mad at sessions the day he recused. it would take someone like william barr to make jeff sessions and even matt whitta r
whittaker, barr makes them look better by comparison. to see donald articulated. he attacks don mcgahn for being a note taker. what kind of lawyer are you. don mcgahn didn't just take notes, he had a chief of staff who was the note taker to the note taking lawyer. donald trump was so uncomfortable with people keeping a record of his conduct that it's jarring to hear now on two occasions william barr at that press conference the day the muleeller report came out before we seen it, he said no collusion but he did a good little dr. phil and said the president was so frustrated. it wasn't obstruction. he was frustrated. i have a 7-year-old. i don't excuse his conduct. he doesn't get to bang on the table at restaurant because he's frustrated. the ag made excuses for the sitting president that i wouldn't make for my 7-year-old son. to hear it again today and this
parsing as the country's sitting attorney general offers some defense of donald trump that really wasn't rooted in anything legal. it was sort of this psychological examination of just how stress ted the preside must be. >> danny if you landed today from mars law school not knowing anything about the case and watched the hearing, would you have come away saying his personal lawyer there is very effective? >> i don't know if i would have gone that far but it was striking how this was less substantive law and more about explaining away and resolving all doubt in favor of the president explaining away is a role. >> to find out he may not have been well versed in the facts. little tell were the moments he would start to answer a question and say someone may stop me if i'm wrong or jump on me or jump over me or say something if i'm
wrong or if i'm misremembering something. no one has perfect recall. 450 pages is a lot to be familiar with but you should be pretty darn familiar with it and you should have reviewed the underlying evidence before reaching any conclusions. now, barr might argue this decision was left to me. it's not fair because mueller didn't do his job. he may not say it but he say he had an obligation to decide obstruct, he didn't do it. that's why i ended up making that decision. once he decided to do that, he had an obligation to be well versed in the underlying evidence knowing he was essentially taking the reins from the special counsel and accounting for his two years of work. >> he didn't do it today but he did it last night. two sources close to the attorney general are quoted in new york times story last night saying that. two sources close to the ag saw mueller's work just as you described it as incomplete and described it as an abdication that his one responsibility was
to identify and recommend charging or not charging crimes. he didn't say it under oath but that is what's been represented as his point of view. >> mimi, to nicole's point, we don't know all about robert mueller but we can make assumptions about his lifestyle. a complaint about robert mueller about press coverage as your predicate for action is just -- i don't think any of us prepare or broadcasts believing he is in our -- i picture him knee deep in the new churchill biography but not a member of the mainstream media or even cable news media daily audience. >> if the word press came up in their conversation which, let's take bill barr at face value that word came up but clearly if you read mueller's letter which he memorialized how he was feeling that letter.
that's not just what lawyers but people do if they want to make a record of something. what he is saying is that the press, donald trump, is misrepresenting what my report says because they have a misimpression from your letter bill barr. the leap between the report that had not come out and the supposed reports this now bill barr is claiming were wrong is bill barr's letter. that's the only thing that could have given the misimpression. maybe mueller was trying to be polite. maybe he wasn't trying to say your guy donald trump is out there saying no collusion, no obstruction and that's not what i said. maybe he was too ginger. i don't know. you don't have to be a genius to see what mueller was saying and draw the conclusion that it's barr's intervention, which he didn't need to do.
he didn't have to make a decision. he could have directed mueller the make the decision himself or put the report out and let it speak for it and let there not be a decision or then given his opinion after putting the report out. he intervened in between and he did t for reason. then when that reason got called on by bob mueller, hey, every one is getting a misimpression, he didn't like being called out. >> nicole wallace has exactly 15 minutes till the start of her other show. with the remainder of your time before you jump out and go to another studio. >> the press that we do know mueller's investigators consumed was the invest gatsi gattigativ. volume one is full of greg miller's reporting on russia. >> so it wasn't fake? >> no. you have to imagine the washington post, which is where he whirites and the new york times, they go in and see if any
of the reporting was inaccurate. the mueller report was described to me, this was the obstruction section by a senior justice official between the period when the report was done but hadn't been redacted and released as a narrative in krchronological order. i said how is it different. they said mueller corroborated with evidence. no one ever indicated that what mueller's obstruction investigation was disprove single news account. the actual mueller report does not dispel any media accounts. it cites them. in many cases it looks like a lot of the interviews they pursued were either after press accounts or proceeded them and they laid over in the report the news accounts because they got reaction from the president.
the president's trigger was coverage of him trying to thwart the investigation. mueller's definitely going to end up on capitol hill. after watching the democrats today rk today, here are three things i know. the republicans are worse when i describe when you put up the pictures of the faces this morning. they are not just donald trump's human shields. they are now weapons against the former leadership of the doj and fbi. to hear william barr describe rod rosenstein as the guy that gave him cover for the decision on obstruction and in the same day's testimony to leave sort of that political dog whistle about the fisa process which rod rosenstein participated in and authorized was stunning and not have a single republican stand up and say, you know, we have gotten inspectors general to look at these things. when they come up with a report rkts
, we take them seriously. that's under control. it requires some adjustments to how all these conversations will go down. william barr is not an honest broker. neither are the republicans on that committee. >> we'll see you at 4:00 eastern. kasie hunt is on the hill with some recording. >> reporter: it's the question after today's hearing. we still don't have a firm answer to it. although, there were no indications today from barr. he made a couple of references to mueller testifying in the future this was going to be put off. this would be in front of jerry nadler's committee on the house side. he said they are still talking about it and haven't reach add final agreement. the demand had been my may 23rd.
that's what the clock is ticking down toward. interestingly, your panel was just touching on this very question about the phone call and note to self, i won't call you on speakerphone in the future. thank you for noting that. >> some people are into, some people don't. >> reporter: i hear you. that phone call is actually has cracked open the door to learning more from bob mueller here on the senate side. why is that important? you saw all day today lipndsaey graham declaring this whole thing over. focused on other issues. at one point saying barr had been slandered. this letter and the supposed phone call and the discrepancy between bill barr's account have lindsey graham opening the door the finding out more. the reality is what that letter lays out says something entirely different than what barr's
account at the committee today of that phone account says. that's a concrete, specific piece of information that has potentially actionably changed how this will play out on capitol hill. he ably changed how this this was going to play on capitol hill. he also suggested he would perhaps ask him in a letter and see if mueller wrote back in that form. but that's more than what lindsey graham wanted to hear from mueller in the past. so, you know, there are simply, you know -- there's a huge list of things that we really can only learn now from robert mueller. so i think that's going to be, you know, obviously the blockbuster hearing of the month, if it happens. i think one thing to watch for is whether or not the white house seems to be getting involved behind the scenes in influencing these negotiations. we know the president, of course, has tried to invoke and said he won't allow don mcghan to testify. there's been speculation that there's been that interference
going on. we're still working on that to report it out. >> kasie hunt on the hill. thank you. harry litman, who is still with us. harry, in plain leenglish, who' going to stop mueller from testifying? >> nobody except his own rectitude there. that letter, as we said, was a strong rebellious act for him, but it was still internal to the attorney general and still respectful. one point i want to add, by the way, it doesn't matter so much did barr provoke it or not. it mattered that mueller said the public is being confused and barr should have acted completely. when mueller testifies, and i think he will, his strong instinct will be to stick to the written record and not put the knife into barr or anyone else. on the other hand, gloves are sort of off and people are beginning to talk. i think people on mueller's
staff will be beginning to talk in leaks to the papers, et cetera. we'll learn more information, but i don't think mueller is going to play a totally open hand when he testifies. >> two points there. number one, it wasn't by accident that the leak happened last night on the eve of the barr hearing that this, tight as a drum mueller investigation, if their way let us know that this letter had been written. and number two, i'm going, as we all will be as afternoon gives way to evening here on the east coast, we all wish we were where you are, i'm looking over my notes, the attorney general said the president was falsely accused. and that the charges against him -- the allegations have now been proven false in areas of this. that might be a motivator. this is -- this is bob mueller's 22-month work product that's getting forked and knifed at this hearing.
>> it is so true. there's a story that's going to be written. if you put together about four or five different statements from barr, he's essentially giving a root and branch criticism of everything mueller did, including initiating an investigation, that to barr's account couldn't ever have ended in any kind of incullpation of the president. but also his assessmentment of the evidence that he counter pa manded. his decision not to reach a charge which he said was derelict. and basically all his efforts over the 22 months have been completely disparaged. mueller's team knows that and it will have consequences. >> harry litman in beautiful, sunny southern california. thank you. clint watts here in mid spring new york city is with us.
former fbi special agent and among our national security analysts. clint your interest has been fortifying our next election. >> that's right. >> from the attack we know happened in 2016 and is ongoing as we have this conversation. were your interests advanced at all today in that hearing? >> no. only in terms of one key question, which was the attorney general was very set in that there was no collusion. you know, he sort of brought that forward. >> he slipped one of those in today. >> he tends to push that forward but he also doesn't seem to articulate when a collusion investigation -- or conspiracy as i should appropriately say, investigation would begin. imagine if you're an intelligence agent at the fbi right now, and everything done in the leadup to this investigation, was not necessary which the ag seems to advance, so when would we do something? we have 20 different democratic campaigns right now, at least
one on the republican side. when short of a russian flag being raised above the white house would prompt you to do anything? when would you contact? he talked about defensive briefings. when would you give a defensive brief? i think it would be now. if i were at the fbi right now, i'd want to do a war game and say, the following is happening. should we notify the campaign? yes or no? i don't know what the answer is today and the whole point of the mueller investigation was we prepare for the next round. i don't feel confident about that. i thought senator sass did a great job bringing up some of these questions. this is what it's about. we have a lot of countries that might want to influence our elections, a lot of money thrown around in the campaigns, how do we insulate against it? how do we defend against it? when would we go in and do something more aggressive? senator cruz talked about the stats of that investigation as if it was a giant waste of time.
he failed to mention the number of indictments that came down from that investigation. we know more now than we did not know when the investigation into russia started. i'm a little shocked by that, that no one even on the democratic side focussed on here's what we learned, what are we going to do next time? attorney general you're in charge of the fbi, what are we going to do? >> we watched both rounds, republican, democrat, and a short second round, senate version. a big unknown, are we going to see the attorney general before the house equivalent, the house judiciary committee tomorrow where the balance of power will be noticeably different, where the democrats are in charge and staff counsel are supposed to take the leading role in questioning. something the ag has objected to in advance? to our family here, thanks. our coverage continues with
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click, call or visit a store today. hi, everyone. it's 4:00 in new york. we're still covering the breaking news on capitol hill today. some of us still picking our jaws up off the floor from what we have witnessed. let me reset the day's dramatic events for anyone joining the coverage. attorney general william barr was on capitol hill all day testifying before the republican led senate judiciary committee on the mueller report. that testimony commenced this morning. just hours after explosive reporting broke in "the washington post" and the "new york times" about a rift between special counsel robert mueller and attorney general barr over mueller's concerns that the attorney general had mischaracterized the special counsel's findings. that rift revealed in two never before reported letters written