tv The Beat With Ari Melber MSNBC May 29, 2019 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
that led the mission that got osama bin laden. i also have "the washington post" paul kanen and download it now wherever you get your podcast. that's all we have for now. "the beat" starts right now zbhch. >> good evening, chuck. i'm reporting on a historic night. may 29th, 2019. this is the day that bob mueller broke his silence and resigned his office as the most consequential special counsel in a generation. mueller speaking publicly for the first time today in more than two years after 37 indictments, guilty pleas from five trump aides, a 448 page report all against the backdrop of intense obstruction of his probe and wider attacks on the justice department. some of that obstruction was charged by mueller himself. some was referred out to other prosecutors in case that's we know are still open. and tonight i can tell you some of the potential obstruction was not charge at all because as bob
mueller underscored in breaking the silence today, the justice department rules prevented him in ever indicting a sitting president. mueller delivering that pivotal point that the legal wall barricading mueller from ever doing anything with his evidence on president trump other than writing it down for congress, he delivered that today in his signature understated manner. noting in his first remarks to the country here that he would base he cannily not be able to give donald trump the good news that there was no crime. in fact, that if he wanted to, he would have given that good news if the evidence supported it. but, this is important, some of this may get lost, we're going to break it down for you right now. bob mueller and his first ever remarks as special counsel made the evidence that he gather dd not provide the confidence that the president trump clearly did not "commit a crime." >> as set forth in the report
after that investigation, if we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so. >> if you remember nothing else from this historic day and it is a historic day in american history no matter what else happens, remember this. bob mueller breaks his silence today and uses this singular appearance facing the country as the saying may go to stay the mueller probe's lack of an indictment of president trump is not a finding about trump's guilt or innocence. now he is trusting you, he's trusting the american public to actually slow down and think and hear this out. it's not altogether obvious. mueller is explaining in the first ever remarks that no evidence would ever have allowed the doj, not mueller, not barr, no one at doj to indict a sitting president. now that's obviously a rebuttal to team trump and to the
impression left by attorney general barr. mueller didn't present this to be clear and fair as any kind of disagreement. he was courteous throughout. we can state the fact that the mueller report which mueller urges everyone to read today, it does disagree with barr's famous depiction in fundamental ways. it notes that neither mueller nor barr could ever charge the president while he is in office. >> we did not, however, make a determination it's too whether the president did commit a crime much the introduction to the volume two of our report explains that decision. it explains that under long standing department policy, a president cannot be charged with a federal crime while he is in office. that is unconstitutional. charging the president with a crime was, therefore, not an option we could consider. that is the office's final position. and we will not comment on any
other conclusions or hypotheticals about the president. >> and if you remember nothing else, remember this. what i'm about to tell you is a direct consequence of the first thing i mentioned. if the doj cannot indict the president, what happens with the evidence of any potential presidential crime? it's not a trick question. presidents johnson and nixon and chin cli clinton and nixon all know. they all faced congress' which considered impeachment. mule der not say the i word. i don't any anyone was bracing for that today. that's not how bob mueller rolls. but remember the other thing he did today. reiterating this key passage from the mueller report which states only congress accuses a sitting president of criminal conduct. >> the opinion says that the constitution requires a prooes
oth process of other than the criminal justice system to accuse the president of wrongdoing. >> the entire address was positioned within the rules he had to follow. i can tell you i'm thrilled that in a few moments we'll be joined by the man who wrote those very rules, former obama doj official. but i want to begin with this panel. maia wiley, former prosecutor, john flannery, former counsel to three congressional investigations and eugene robinson, columnist for "the washington post." it is a historic night. i appreciate each of you starting off our special coverage. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> good to be here. >> john, as a prosecutor versed in the interplay between the doj and the congress, what was mueller saying in your view about what should be done with his reported evidence? >> i think he said you should treat my report as my testimony
and go forward. the fates lead you to your destiny or drag you to it. i think when he wasn't answering barr's misstatement of his investigation, he was saying to congress, i refer this to you. and think about it. i mean, the house judiciary committee going to interview 500 witnesses and issue all the subpoenas? they know the clock is running in one of the most obvious articles of impeachment is the refusal by the perfect tows reply for request for discovery for documents and witnesses. they already have one point of five to ten. this is without considering other misconduct by the white house. i think what he's saying is it's time to do something. it's time to go to work. it's time to have, if you will, a probable cause hearing. and decide what the articles of impeachment are and then try it with the five to 12 witnesses in the senate with roberts as the chief judge. >> maia, he also spoke about the grave threat posed by the obstruction of justice. take a look. >> it was critical for us to
obtain full and accurate information from every person we questioned. when a subject of an investigation obstructs that investigation or lies to investigators, it strikes at the core of the government's effort to find the truth and hold wrong doers accountable. >> what was he doing there in your view and having covered so much of this story with us? what did you think watching bob mueller step throughout today? >> i thought bob mueller is doing exactly what bob mueller does best. he is a subtle communicator around the fact that there is no exoneration on obstruction of justice in this context with volume two of the report. you know, even in terms of volume one when it comes to that trump tower meeting on june 9th. he says in his report that one of the reasons they can't charge a campaign finance conspiracy is because of obstruction.
so you also have to read the two volumes together and i think what he's saying is exactly as john said, it's like the evidence is there. i gave it to you. do something with it. do something and read it. >> gene, he was imploring the public to perhaps do more than many of our leaders ask, than certainly people often feel like the level of discourse. and here was a man who obviously feels that he's worked hard. he served his country. does he not want to be drawn into political sniping. he doesn't see the role as political. but he is asking us to do something. take a look at his request. >> beyond these few remarks it is important that the office's written work speaks for itself. any testimony from this office would not go beyond our report. we chose those words carefully and the work speaks for itself.
and the report is my testimony. i would not provide information beyond that which is already public in any appearance before congress. >> gene? >> well, a couple things. first, you know, let me start with the -- where he started basically which was with the russian interference. it was clear from the entire performance by mueller that he considers this an emergency. he considers this a very serious effort by russia to interfere with our election. it happened. it's going to happen again. he wants people to pay attention to that. second, the message to congress was clear. i wish he were a bit less subtle communicator. the evidence did not show that the president did not commit a crime. any editor confronted with that sentence -- >> gene, i'm not sure i don't know what you mean. >> exactly.
exactly. i'm not sure you don't know either. and any editor would slash out those two negatives and say the evidence shows the president committed a crime because that's what he chose. kric crime of the obstruction of justice. he lists that evidence in the report. he basically tells congress, it's up to you to act. you can either act or say never mind. whatever do you though, pay attention to the fact that our election was interfered with and it's going to happen again. >> i want the whole panel to hang with me as we bring on the promise. when we talk about congress, you have at least 40 members of the house democratic caucus and now one republican who are on the record for at least impeachment proceedings. then you have democratic leadership. instead, they're saying what they really need next is mueller to testify. he made it clear that is not where he is headed. >> i hope and expect this to be the only time i will speak to new this manner.
i'm making that decision myself and no one told me whether i can or should testify or speak further about this matter. there has been discussion about an appearance before congress. any testimony from this office would not go beyond our report. >> that's the warning shot. you are won't get a lot more out of me. but in saying no one is holding him back, he obviously is defending in infect his boss, many barr and the trump administration that has been accused and many people feel credibly accused of interfering with the aspect of the probe and there was concern they would interfere with mueller. that's not all. muell mueller goes out of his way to thank barr for his handling of all this. >> it was appropriate to provide our report to congress and to the american people.
i request certain portions be released. the attorney general preferred to make the entire report public all at once. i appreciate that the attorney general made the report largely public and i certainly don't question the attorney general's good faith in that decision. he wrote the very rules that special counsel continually cited and envoeked as part of the restrictions and the authorities. thank you for being with us on this night. big picture. what do you think was important about what mueller said to the public today given that large parts of it are familiar to you and those who would rather report? >> i think he hoped that his on fis indication of what mueller
concluded would carry the day and people would go home and forget. but there's been a drum beat over the last weeks and leading up to the republican member of congress saying, hey, these are crimes and impeachable offenses. so all of that together i think has led mueller to come out today and say, you know, people are spinning this in all sorts of ways and this is not what i said. and so i disagree a little bit with what you just said before about how mueller gave barr a kind of clean bill of health and said it was okay. his conduct in general. mueller used a very specific words. just on the report, just on the report's release. and, you know, he didn't say anything about how barr got obstruction of justice stuff right or anything else. >> let me press you on that. this is something that people at home and around the country are wondering. i'm talking to various sources, people close to this about it. there is a view that in the way
mr. barr released the information about the report and purported to issue a ruling, a judgement on whether or not to charge the president that, is in direct contradiction with what mueller just said today, that the doj can't indict the president and yet mueller also, i think, went way out of his way. went way out of his way to present some sort of united front with barr. i respect him but we disagree with some of this. >> no. it's like a thin ground of comedy only on one issue which is the public released the document. after all, remember, mueller is the suborder nant to attorney general barr. the very fact that he is having a press conference and talking about this suggests to me something pretty serious is afoot. and really know. things today. he plucked out two parts of his report and sure they were there is what he chose to emdz. number one, he said i can't indict a sitting president. even if i wanted to.
even if the president was guilty of sin, i couldn't do it. and number two, i can clear him. i could have if the evidence was there. and by the way, the evidence was not there. so those two things together to me suggest really kind of repudiation of what barr is doing. mueller is saying i can't indict the president but i can, you know, you can write a report and can you read it for yourselves and see what it says. i also can't indict barr, he's my boss. can you read my report and then compare it to what barr said and draw your own conclusions. all of this is a setup to congress. because mueller is writing this report against the backdrop of the watergate and white water investigations which were, after all, turned over to congress for their investigation and that is what i think mueller is saying between the lines today. >> neil, as always, he lays it out clearly, gene.
>> if i ask you a question about that, would you answer me honestly? >> always. i swear to god. >> well, sir, do you think the majority of members of congress have read the mueller report? >> no, i don't. >> gene, you take mueller's aspirations or hopes. can it handle the nuance that mueller is resting his argument on today? >> well, we'll see if it can handle the nuance if they would read the report. congress should ask a question. if you're not going to indict -- excuse me. if you're not going to start an
impeachment into donald trump, imagine -- tell me -- describe the president for whom you would start an impeachment inquiry. they would use the state to go after his political enemies. the president who lied to the american people all the time. describe this hypothetical. >> caller: president that does something that donald trump doesn't do all the time. >> i'll let that breathe for a second on a big night, a moment of reflection. because you put it down, gene. you say this report which mueller was really just going through the biggest take ways from this in about nine minutes. neil, more dramatic person. and we've seen more talkative types before. could have done a lot more with it. he erred on the side of care and red sense. but he is saying what more do
you want me to do? and what greater conduct of abuse of power in the laws that be faithfully execute wod you want? if you ever are going to get to this point against a sitting president? >> exactly. there is one key tell which is mueller's emphasis on i can't indict a sitting president because it is unconstitutional. every scholar that has taken that view and the two opinions said the remedy to make sure that a president is above the law is one thing. impeachment. and so when you envoinvoke i ca indict a sitting president, you sat remedy is a simple one, it is impeachment. but that's the remedy that our founders had if mind. and i take gene's point exactly. i mean, you know, what are you there for? if not to stand up for the rule of law, for a president who doesn't, you know, break the law and, you know, intimidate
witnesses, offer pardons and all the other stuff outlined in the mueller report, there are 1,000 federal prosecutors who have said if i read the report, and i would indict all of these things. >> i agree with all that was said. i think we have to add one more point here which is for robert mueller after writing this report, after doing the two years of investigation, after bringing all these indictments, after writing a report in which he explicitly says that there is this other path that -- and now today makes very clear we were never going to consider this from a prosecuting lens. we are only going to look at this as preservation of evidence and essentially giving congress, allowing the other process to go forward as it relates to trump. in a footnote, he explicitly says by the way, congress also has in addition to impeachment the question of whether it wants
to tighten up the laws. i don't want to testify. the book by mueller is the only testimony you get. congress actually has two it's whether or not it thooz consider legislation to make clearer how we have appropriate oversight if a president possibly committed crimes. >> you heard it, digging in the crates. you have ever heard of that? >> no. it means to look up old records, flannery. and 1091, thank you, maia, 1091 says a possible remedy through impeachment for abuses of power would not substitute for criminal liability after a president leaves office. maia wiley digging into the footnotes to remind us that bob
mueller if, you read the report which he asked you to do today, he uses the i record and post presidential criminal indictment as both things that need to be considered but as you say, maia, the question is whether congress will make him have more of this conversation in public than he wants. they're a co-equal branch. they can make calls he might disagree with. i have to fit in a break. thank you both so much. john, you can come back later in the hour. coming up, i'll do a special breakdown on what this means for congress's approach to potential impeachment after mueller's message today. and new questions about mueller and barr and the apparent daylight between them even as we point out mueller was very careful not to make that a focus of his remarks. later in the hour, this is important when you look at a day like today, what mueller didn't say. legal experts are going to break down where y. that's so important. and a kkey warning about putin. . and a kkey warning about putin. maria ramirez? hi.
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not the prosecutors or press or voters. but congress to decide if and whether high crimes were committed by donald trump. speaker pelosi not breaking any new ground in response. the chairman would oversee the impeachment probe stepped out here to respond. >> we ith respect to impeachmen aspect, all options are on the table and nothing should be ruled out. special counsel mueller said loud and clear for the american people is that president trump is lying when he says no collusion, no obstruction, and that he was exonerated. and that the constitution points to congress to take action to hold the president accountable. that's exactly what we'll do. >> what is accountability? mueller says that's for congress to decide and not to outsource those judgements back to him or asked him to go any further than did he in the written report. and mueller used this new rare speech today to basically warn the house democrats, they won't get a ounce from him if they
subpoena testimony. >> i hope and expect this to be the only time that i will speak to you in this manner. there has been discussion about an appearance before congress, any testimony from this office would not go beyond our report. the work speaks for itself. and the report is my testimony. >> the work speaks for itself. some evidence is so clear you don't have to talk over it. shakespeare said one character proclaiming what shall i say more than i have iner ferred.
the work xiflts and speaks. the only question left is what to do about it. >> any testimony from this office would not go beyond our report. the work speaks for itself. and the report is my testimony. >> seth waxman is here along with eugene robinson. seth, what does that mean to you? >> he is looking to congress to do its thing. congress will bring in witnesses and hopefully look at the documents. this isn't being done in a vacuum right now. we have mr. trump thumbing his nose saying you're the no going to get the documents. you're not going to get the witnesses. so what is congress to do? are they going to confirm what trump's believed. he can walk out on to fifth avenue and shoot someone and there is no consequence. if this impeachment were to take place and he were to be charged, because tend of the day, that's what impeachment is.
it's a charging document, then you look to the senate as to whether there say possibility of him getting removed. >> let me focus you on the core comment here. there is a rebuttal to that. here i'm going to not present, you know, just trump folks who attack mueller either which way. but a credible rebuttal by michael demask, a very talented writer on the left. he says mueller wants the evidence to speak for itself. the evidence, however, was not allowed to speak for itself as he knows. the attorney general spoke for it. is bob mueller still playing by old rules on an imaginary neutral playing field when it's actually that leaves him to his own devices. >> i think many mueller thought today was evening the mayfield. he made very specific directed
targeted comments to essentially say, look, the evidence is there. just read it and do your job. i think he may have leveled that playing field. i would frankly like to see mr. mueller testify. >> you think he edited it? >> to a degree. >> gene, this are other prosecutors who also operate under these rules. similar rules. who have come out and spoken more directly. he didn't even mention today, again, it's his call. i'm not second guessing you if, what we were to believe is this is the last time he ever wants to speak, then, gene, why didn't he say, by the way, we busted up a crime spree by trump aides. roger stone was interested in tipping the election.
he didn't do any of that. why, gene? >> again, i would have loved to have been robert mueller's editor. i would have had plenty of suggestions for how he might have done this. nonetheless, i do agree that this was his way of leveling the playing field. he realized that his work had been distorted. and by selecting the points, i think he did go considerable way toward sort of getting the discussion back where he wanted it. you know, that said, could he have done it in a punchier way? absolutely. >> and substantively, there were things he didn't get into.
>> when it becomes a private citizen, there will be those in congress probably lead by the house that will urge him to testify. i think he'll have a responsibility to do so. >> bob mueller is a renowned and well respected individual. but no one's above responding to a subpoena. and there are countless questions left unanswered. why didn't don jr. testify? why doesn't the president testify? those parts of the report are redacted. is it because they plead the fifth? impeachment is a political process. it doesn't have to arise to criminal conduct to constitute impeachment grounds. if the american people and congress were to hear, for example that, the president of the united states was invoking the fifth, that could be something that could be considered. many other questions. so, you know, having mr. mueller speak today very telling and raises a lot of questions and
gives the american people feel for what happened. but to testify under oath is that much more illuminating. >> gene robinson, sex wth waxma thank you both. we'll look at what mueller didn't say and why that could matter so much. also, our definitive breakdown of despite mueller's careful and polite presentation, we have the receipts and facts of the way he rebutted mr. barr and the trump doj.
he went forward in ways that could suggest contradictions of his boss which is someone he worked with for decades, of course, now attorney general bill barr. mueller saying the justice department has rules that prevent the charging of a sitting president with a crime no matter what evidence they find. that mirror what's mueller wrote in the report. it also differs in the take away if not in the careful lawyer ease of what barr told everyone in april emphasizing that mueller, barr said, didn't find a crime at all and therefore up to barr and barr alone to make a charging decision and then, of course, as you know, he concluded he says there was no reason to charge donald trump. now mueller makes it clear he decided early on he wouldn't
even go down the road of that type of question. >> we specifically asked him about the olc opinion and whether or not he was taking the position that he would have found a crime but for the existence of the ooc opinion and he made it very clear several times that that was not his position. >> that is justice department policy and the principles under which we operated and from them we concluded that we would, would not reach a determination one way or the other about whether the president committed a crime. >> mueller's report he also suggested this is all up to congress. we con cheweded, he writes, congress has the authority to prohibit a president's corrupt use of authority. mueller striking a similar note today in comments that appeared to break with barr. >> special counsel mule der not indicate that his purpose was to leave the decision to congress.
i am told that his reaction to that was that it was my prerogative as attorney general to make that decision. >> the opinion says that constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing. >> i'm joined now by matt miller who has set up exactly the kind of press conferences just saw there at the justice department and former prosecutor john flannery. matt, what was mueller getting at in the careful way he laid out the arguments while stressing to the extent that it came up that it was not questioning mr. barr? >> he was clear when he said he wasn't questioning bill barr's good faith. he was confining the remarks to bill barr's not exercising good faith in the way he released the report. i do think by choosing to use the words he did, look, he could have said a lot of things about
his report today. he chose to make the very specific remarks about why he didn't make a determination. i think that is pretty clearly the to correct the public record in the same way he thought the initial letter that bill barr sent to congress left a misimpression with the american public. he wrote a letter complaining. i think he today wanted to set the record straight because bill barr's president conference and testimony to congress and interviews with fox news had left a misimpression with the american public. anyone that read the mueller report would have known that what bill bar said in the clips you just shows was misleading. a lot of people haven't read the report. >> very misleading. and this is not that thing where i'm just asking questions. i'm really genuinely trying to understand this, matt. i'm going to play for you some of the thing mr. barr said even if technically are arguably defensible, they left the people and public and plenty of experts with the impression that barr was saying that mueller didn't find enough criminal evidence
and that's not what mueller said. take a look. >> he reiterated several times in a group meeting that he was not saying that but for the olc opinion he would have found obstruction. >> if the special counsel found facts sufficient to constitute obstruction of justice, would he have stated that finding? >> if he had found that, then i think he would state it, yes. >> matt, yes or no, on may 1st, did barr have reason to know that statement was not accurate? >> yeah. of course he did. look, barr -- mueller said in the report that it would be unfair for me to accuse the president of a crime. and that's what barr is saying there. he doesn't think mueller would have said. that well, he specifically said not only i can not charge a president but because i can't charge a president, you know, it's unfair for me to accuse
him. there's no way for him to clear his name in court. >> i hate to draw you out matt on potentially breaking with, you know, your esteemed colleagues, but several outlets including msnbc reported to day that the mueller justice department officials have said, no, they were releasing material to show there was no conflict on that very point between barr and mueller. what do you say to that? >> there's a lot of internal politics that goes on inside the justice department. i don't know how that statement came to be. i don't know who asked to put it out. i wouldn't want to speculate. >> but you don't think it flies? >> i don't think it flies. >> let me get flannery in. >> there is no way you can look -- miller says it doesn't fly. it is my job to report what we're hearing. whenway hear from the mueller side they were trying to demonstrate unity, i'm going to demonstrate we're hearing. that we're going to report the receipts, flannery, which looks like that is really hard to
square because i just showed you the attorney general of the united states under oath to the congress acting like had there been more evidence mueller could have and would have said oh, the president commit a crime which is the opposite of the report. >> it is the opposite of the report. and like you said, only witches that fly, i suppose. you have to deny what your eyes see and what your ears hear from barr and contradiction to mueller. mueller may be too elegant in his argument and the sense that he contradicted the four page misleading letter that in his march 27th letter he said you misrepresented my investigation. and today he set the record straight. on the one hand, we had barr trying to delay the world knowing what the report was really about. both by that four page letter and by the slow release of the report that does not find objection and n. mueller. then you have congress
leadership assuming the mantra of cop pay manana. and if anything is true about today's pronouncement by mueller, it is get moving. >> act upon it. >> yes. >> impressive. >> instead of carpe diem. >> i get it. i figured you got it. but, you know -- some people in the justice department don't understand what mueller said. so maybe sometimes we have to explain these things. >> i work one piece at a time. matt, this really gets to the heart of it, right? because tend of the day, bob mueller was authorized to look at a lot of stuff at the highest profile most pivotal call related to the potential criminal evidence against the president. matt? >> yeah. that's right. it also -- they also important thing is what ought to be done about that. that's what bill barr said is so important. he basically said the case was closed. when he was asked if mueller
didn't make this determination because he thought it ought to be left toth could, he said well, i would hope that would the nobody his opinion because that's not our job as prosecutors. our job is to make determinations. mueller is saying in the report and very clearly, in this instance when it involves a president, not anyone else, the one person that can't be indicted, it is our job, the constitution says and the opinion says that we are supposed to leave that to congress. that is so pofrnimportant becau means the case is not closed. the case is open for congress to pick up and run with. >> matt, given the nuances of this communication, the job you held is different from most other agencies. there are secrecy rules. mueller operated with tremendous secrecy. he worked off site from the doj and all the rest. in the end, is your view that bob mueller could not necessarily match the communication skills and challenges of this particular environment with all of the tremendous legal skills and unquestioned integrity he had during the investigation? because the sum result of what
you're saying is that barr at a practical level was effective in part of what you described as duplicity. >> i think mueller and his team were -- acted appropriately but a little naive. i wish the special counsel would have made the statement today on the day that he transmitted his report to the attorney general. now in his defense, you shouldn't expect the attorney general to act in bad faith in the way that bill barr did. i suspect they neefr expected him to act that way. i don't really blame them for what they did. but it would have been the better course of action to control this story from the get go to make sure that no one else can take ownership of it. >> the constraint on mueller though is he abides by the law. we have an attorney general who is nothing more than a spokesperson for the defendant or subject of the investigation. and i think that facts are stubborn thing to go back to john adams and that these facts stubbornly persist. the question that we have to
face is we don't need -- we need a triage. >> we covered that on the testimony earlier on in the show. john, let me press you on. that you're arguing that mueller is batman and barr is joker and you have a fight between someone who follows rules and someone who does not. >> right. >> in your extended analogy, you have the joker saying well that's the rule you're going to have to break. but your argument does cut against what mueller painstakingly did today which was to the extent' dress it at all, he presented unity with barr not a joker like battle. >> well, every hero has his faults, that's the tragedy. but this can yet be a classic comedy in the sense that question overcome the tie ranlt that sits in the west wing using the facts he found elsewhere in his report. >> does every hero live long enough to become a villan?
>> not all heroes become villans, but we all have character flaws. >> i'm not asking -- i wouldn't ask bob muler to go the full jim comey. but batman knew when to stretch the rules a little bit. >> we'll leave it there. matt and john, thank you so much. i'm going to fit in a quick break. this are big questions that bob mueller left open. why? why is that the key to understand wrg we go next? we have all that coming up. we ? we have all that coming up hmm. exactly. liberty mutual customizes your car insurance, so you only pay for what you need. nice. but, uh... what's up with your... partner?
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bob mueller drew a line today saying he doesn't intend to go beyond his written report in any public testimony. but some house democrats say, tough. and there is a lot they may want to ask him about. consider that mueller didn't mention the 30 plus indictments his office issued in a n. toy daes remarks. he didn't mention the aides to trump's personal lawyer and trump executive who is sitting in president right now. he also didn't address president
trump's tacks on the probe including not only the efforts to remove mueller which are in the report but a lot of other public comments and attempts to obstruct. he also didn't address bill bar's evidence that he committed obstruction. think about what a big deal that was. we've been talking and reporting to night. muraler didn't even comment on the way that barr did that, implying that it was his call to say that there was nothing to be chornlged. charged. mueller also said only congress can indict a sitting president. it's something he did discuss at least in a footnote of his report. we want to dig into what is left unsaid. i'm joined by julia anzly who
decamped from her post at the justice department to our washington bureau. we're thankful you're part of our coverage and former federal prosecutor who worked directly for mbob mueller. glen, you obviously have come o on here before and praised bob mueller. many people understand that. but even you, i think, would have to admit that were things that he chose not to address today that could have been useful. >> ari, i'm going to make the case, controversial though it may be, that bob mueller does not need to testify before congress. and here's why. first of all, prosecutors don't testify about what witnesses said. in courtrooms around the country every day, judges instruct juries that the words of a prosecutor and the words of a defense attorney are not evidence. the evidence are the words that come from the mouths of the witnesses. that's point number one. we don't need bob mueller to
say, oh, don mcgahn told us that the president told him to fire special counsel and when he refused, the president told him to lie. we need don mcgahn to say that to the american people and to congress. number two, i suspect that a congressional appearance by bob mueller would turn into a circus. the democrats would probably want to ask him about, oh, i don't know, hillary clinton's emails and the democrats would want to -- >> point number one is important because, as you say, we are not looking for hearsay and redo. point two, that's a fine argument against congressional hearings for now and for a long way the way they go. before i turn to julia, i want you to address the issue in today's remarks. he did choose to speak about certain things. he downplayed any issues with donald trump's hand-picked a.g. do you think it would be more constructive to take it head on? >> i would love to have a beer and hear everything he thinks
about the probe. but the intro to those questions are all interesting and things we want to know the answer, to but none of them go to the core of whether this president committed impeachable offenses. and to get to that and to cull away everything else, we need the witnesses. >> julia, you've had a front row seat. you have been dealing with a lot of the primary folks close to this. what is your view of those unanswered questions. and as we reflect on this day, what is your view of what we've learned? >> i think we've learned that robert mueller did leave the door wide open to congress to come in and answer some of these questions. you're right, he didn't get into the "i" word. he really hasn't answered the fundamental question that he was charged with, which is did the president commit a crime. now, he went back today and said he was appointed to find out if there was conspiracy between the russian government and the trump campaign. so it was worthwhile to look at all of these things, even if you couldn't indict a sitting president because there are
people around the president who need to be investigated, and it's important to memorialize the evidence as you have it and not wait until this president is out of office. and of course he wanted to explain why he wanted to look at obstruction because that is at the heart of our justice system. >> right. >> but i think the key quote that we all jotted down in realtime as quickly as we could is that he said the criminal justice system is not the place -- >> right. >> you know this part. >> congress. >> the criminal justice system is not the place where you take the wrong doings of a president, so he's leaving that door wide open for congress. >> which again, to be clear, is not the impression that barr left when he said, oh, it's a jump ball, i've got to deal with it and that's so important. i want to play one more part of mueller since it was him speaking out today. glenn, do you know the expression "word is bond"? >> word is bond. >> sure. bob mueller gave his version of that here and i think it bears repeating. for viewers around the country watching, he is saying very
clearly, my word is my bond, my report is my testimony, and as you've been arguing glenn, it's now time for congress to put up or maybe shut up. take a look. >> i hope and expect this to be the only time that i will speak to you in this manner. there has been discussion about an appearance before congress. any testimony from this office would not go beyond our report. the work speaks for itself. and the report is my testimony. >> glenn, your bottom line? >> his word is his bond. his report is his testimony, and now we can spend lots of time over the coming weeks debating whether bob mueller will or won't testify. will it be public, behind closed doors or a hybrid. or we can focus on why the white house is trying to prevent people from coming before congress and testifying when, frankly, they have no right to stomp down on those witnesses. that, i think, is what people should be focusing on at this point. >> and, julia, in a sentence or
two, do you think this is the last time we'll hear from bob mueller on this issue? >> it appeared to be so. the last thing i would say is to glenn's point, when the president says congress is having a do-over, it's clear from robert mueller that it's not a do-over, in fact it might be the necessary course of action. >> glenn and julia, thank you so much. we'll be right back with one more thing. we'll be right back with one more thing ♪
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russian military launched a concerted attack on our political system. the releases were designed and timed to interfere with our election and to damage a presidential candidate. >> bob mueller gets the final word there, speaking to the stakes of his investigation in russian meddling that he indicted. that does it for our special coverage, but don't go anywhere, "hardball" is up next. it's now or never. let's play "hardball." good evening, i'm chris matthews from washington. to impeach or not to impeach, that is the question that now confronts house democrats. after special counsel robert mueller broke his silence today, the moment of decision has clearly arrived. if the house leadership doesn't start hearings now, i believe it's hard to see them ever doing it in the months ahead. again, now o