tv The 11th Hour With Brian Williams MSNBC May 29, 2019 11:00pm-12:00am PDT
tonight. >> thanks for having me. coming up, you'll see the full nine and a half minutes of robert mueller's statement today on the "11th hour" with brian williams, which starts now. the breaking news tonight, the voice of robert mueller, the special counsel himself breaks his silence with a chilling warning about the russian attack on our country. he also adds if he had any evidence that the president had not committed a crime, he would have said so. the obvious and immediate victim of mueller's comments, attorney general bill barr who looks like a man whose gone out of his way to preserve, protect and defend his boss and the trump os presidency. and now the big choice before the democrats and the house e while already tonight the president is back to calling it a witch hunt as "the 11th hour" gets underway on this wednesday night.hu
well, good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. day 860 of the trump administration and today was striking at a basic level because we haven't heard robert mueller's voice for over two years, yet we've talked about him every night for the same length of time. we don't know if he was frustrated by how his hard work has been portrayed. we don't know if he was angry at the way the attorney general gok out ahead and summarized his work or how the president spun it over these interveing weeks. we're left only with his words as he spoke them on his last day at work, and perhaps his last day in public life. "the washington post" editorial page spoke for a lot of people tonight when they wrote he hi should have said this weeks ago but make no mistake because of his bearing and rectitude he
spoke with great authority and said chilling things about the president and on another front his words were designed to be chilling on the attack on this country and election by russia. here is how we want to begin tonight for those who haven't seen it, we're going to play it. for those who have, please note here how perhaps different things will stand out to you. at the conclusion, we'll talk with our journalist and experts but here it is, as it happened 11:00 a.m. eastern time this morning when 74-year-old robert swann mueller iii entered the justice department briefing room. >> good morning, everyone. thank you for being here. two years ago, the acting attorney general asked me to serve as special counsel and hes created the special counsel's office. the appointment order directed the office to investigate in russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
this included investigating any links or coordination between the russian government and individuals associated with the trump campaign.al now i have not spoken publicly during our investigation. i'm speaking out today because our investigation is complete. the attorney general has made the report on our investigation largely public. we are formally closing the special counsel's office and as well i'm resigning from the department of justice to return to private life. i'll make a few remarks about the results of our work but beyond these few remarks, it is important that the office's written work speak for itself. let me begin where the appointment order begins and that is interference in the 2016 presidential election. as alleged by the grand jury in
an indictment, russian intelligence officers who are part of the russian military en launched a concerted attack on our political system. the indictment alleges that the use of sophisticated cyber techniques to hack into computers and networks used by the clinton campaign. they stole private information and released that information through fake online and identities and through the organization wikileaks. the releases were designed and timed to interfere with our election and to damage a presidential candidate. and at the same time as the grand jury alleged in a separate indictment, a private russian entity engaged in a social media operation where russian citizens posed as americans in order to influence an election. these indictments contain allegations and we are not commenting on the guilt or
innocence of any specific defendant. every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. u the indictments allege and the other activities in our report describe efforts to interfere in our political system, they needed to be investigated and understood and that is among the reasons why the department of justice established our office. that is also a reason we investigated efforts to obstruct the investigation. the matters we investigated were of paramount importance. it was critical for us to obtain fullus 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 wrongdoers accountable. let me say a word about the report.
the report has two parts. addressing the two main issues we were asked to investigate. the first volume of the report details numerous efforts emanating from russia to influence the election. this volume includes a discussion of the trump campaign's response to this activity as well as our conclusion that there was insufficient evidence to charge a broader conspiracy. and in this second volume, the report describes the results and analysis of our obstruction of justice investigation involving the president. the order appointing the special counsel authorized us to investigate actions that could obstruct the investigation. we conducted that investigation and we kept the office of the acting attorney general a prized of the progress of our work. and as set forth in the report after that investigation, if we
had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so. we did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime. 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. even if the charge is kept under seal and hidden from public view, that, too, is prohibited. the special counsel's office is part of the department of justice and by regulation, it was bound by that department policy. charging the president with a crime was therefore not an option we could consider. the department's written opinion explaining the policy makes several important points that
further informed our handling of the obstruction investigation. those points are summarized in our report and i'll describe two of them for you. first, the opinion explicitly permits the investigation of a sitting president because it is important to preserve evidence while memories are fresh and documents available. among other things, that evidence could be used if there are co-conspirators that could be charged now. and second, the opinion says that therg constitution requirea process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing. and beyond department policy, we are regarded by principles of fairness. it would be unfair to potentially, it would be unfair to potentially accuse somebody of a crime when there can be no court resolution of the actual charge.
so that was justice department policy. those were 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. that is the office's final position and we will not comment on any other conclusion or hypotheticals about the president. we conducted an independent criminal investigation and reported the results to the attorney general as required by department regulations. the attorney general then concluded that it was appropriate to provide our d report to congress and to the american people. at one point in time, i requested that certain portions of the report be released, the attorney general preferred to make that -- preferred to make the entire report public all at once and we appreciate that the attorney general made the report
largely public and i certainly did not question the attorney general's good faith in that decision. now i hope and expect this to be the only time i will speak to you in this manner. i am making that decision myself, no one has 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. it contains our findings and analysis and the reasons for the decisions we made. 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. in addition, access to the underlying work product is being decided in a process that does not involve our office.in
so beyond what i've said here today, and what is contained in our written work, i do not believe it is appropriate for me to speak further about the investigation or to comment on the actions of the justice department or congress. and for that reason i will not be taking questions today, as well.g now before i step away, i want to thank the attorneys, the fbi agents, the analysts, the professional staff who helped us conduct this investigation in ah fair and independent manner. these individuals who spent nearly two years with the special counsel's office were of the highest integrity. i will close by reiterating the central allegation of our indictments that there were multiple systematic efforts to interfere in our election. and that allegation deserves the attention of every american.
thank you, thank you for being here today. >> sir -- >> no questions. >> and with that, about nine and a half minutes, he was gone. let's get to our lead-off discussion on a wednesday night. frank figliuzzi who worked for robert mueller. jeremy robash, former chief of staff at cia and the pentagon, former chief counsel for the house intel committee. katie benner, justice department reporter for "the new york times," and philip rucker, pulitzer prize winning bureau chief for "the washington post." thank you all for being on our broadcast tonight. frank, i'd like to begin with you. for the long view, what is it we have just witnessed? >> we saw a man of great integrity, a public servant, career public servant stand up and take control of a situation that he was losing control of.
the talk of public testimony, congressional senate hearings, house hearings, he decided enough was enough. he was going to speak. people who know mueller know that this was both typical mueller and atypical, because today he publicly although in a measured fashion rebuked his boss. that's very atypical for mueller. what was typical today is the measured tone, was the sticking to the facts and not becoming the story himself. the takeaway for me with regard to the attorney general is i have far more questions than answers and i have leadership questions, how did we get to the point today where there was a major dysfunction, disconnect between the attorney general and the special counsel with regard to the rules they were playing by, they were playing by different rules. mueller was playing by rules and it appears barr may have thrown the rule book out. >> all right, katy, let's pick up on that very point.ht
what does your reporting tell you as to how this went down and is everybody getting along over there at d.o.j. tonight do you think? >> i think the justice department has done a lot to try to say that the special counsel and bill barr are doing just fine. they put out a joint statement saying that, you know, mueller and barr are not actually that far apart in terms of what they think the report says. clearly, bill barr chose to weigh in on something mueller said nobody should weigh in except for a process outside of the system. so that is -- it makes that statement look odd in that light but certainly the justice department is trying to show the two men are still unified. interestingly, though, it is clear that robert mueller wanted to step in and dispel a lot of myths, most importantly, the myth that he was working without a frame work or his decision not to prosecute or to prosecute was somehow mysterious, which is how bill barr portrayed it.
when the report was first released. he said he really couldn't figure out why mueller had done this. mueller made it clear why he did this today for those who didn't read the report, he said he was hemmed in by justice departmentd regulations and olc opinion that said you can't indict a sitting president. he made it clear as day he is doing just fine. >> so jeremy bash, you watched this closely. did he veer at all from his own assignment which was to hue to what he had written in the report and you used a phrase in our coverage earlier today that this was a constitutional plea. can you define that for us? >> yeah, i think the mere fact that he stepped up to the podium is highly relevant and of historical note for two reasons. number one is all the content was present in the april 18th report. so here is six weeks later, he felt the need to push back on the narrative that had been advanced by the president, by the attorney general that there was total exoneration, that the only thing left to investigate
were the origins of this investigation. i think bob mueller's mere presence at the podium was a starkdi repudiation of his attorney general and of the president. and second, in terms of the content, i thought it was interesting, brian, that what did he choose to highlight? he chose to hold up the report and take a highlighter to the fact he could not charge a president under the office of counsel legal guidance. congress is the only branch of government that can now bring charges against a sitting president. he noted that if he was confidence that the president had not committed crimes, he would have clearly said so, which is a very odd phrase. lawyerly polite way of saying i think there is misconduct and wrongdoing by the president and if i wasn't confident to that, i would have let you know and he opened the door, i think, for congress to do it's job holding impeachment hearings. >> phil rutger, physically, i think it's fairer to say -- and this is on us, because we've been running this same chain of
now antiquated file tape of robert mueller who for a public figure has not been a terribly public man. he appeared older today but that's also what people picked up on in the contrast to donalds trump and his bearing and presence and demeanor, how damaging was this as a contrast to what we're already seeing tonight all capital letters again with the witch hunt from the white house? >> yeah, brian. so the donald trump is all about the show, all about bombast and bragging, mueller is all about the facts. he kept to a script today. you saw him reading from that paper. he did not using aed he did not us a jekttives. adjectives. he told you word for word the conclusions of that report and very little more. he tried to be sober. he tried to be very careful and measured in his tone and he yo t tried to relay certain pieces of information to the american
people that i think he fears people in the country have not fully comprehended including it's important to note the fact that russia did have this incredible interference campaign in the election and just how systematic that was for this country and how dangerous he believes it was. >> that's exactly where we're going. when we come back to our viewer, running just one thing for nine and a half minutes only means we have to sneak away for a quick commercial break. all of our guests are staying with us. when we come back, robert mueller began and ended those comments as you saw with an ominous warning about russia and later, dozens in congress now demanding this president be held accountable, but are they all talking about the same remedy? as "the 11th hour" is just getting started on this consequential wednesday night.
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the indictments allege and the other activities in our report describe efforts to interfere in our political system. they needed to be investigated and understood, and i will close by reiterating the central allegation of our indictments that there were multiple systematic efforts to interfere in our election. and that allegation deserves the attention of every american. >> still with us our panel frank figliuzzi, jeremy bash, katie benner and philip rucker. jeremy, that is chilling to hear him say it. i don't know how many times i've now heard it 12 hours later.
where was the senior official in our government today and this speaks to this section of the mueller report, where was the senior official coming off of this warning by mueller asking demanding we redouble our efforts to secure our next election? >> well, the commander in chief doesn't think that way, brian, because in some respect, important respects, he welcomed the russian interference, because one thing bob mueller did not note, and i wish he would have stated it, the intelligence community definitively concluded that this russian interference wasn't just interfere in our election but designed specifically to den grade one candidate and help donald trump. that was in the intelligence community assessment. so what we have seen for the past two years is trump repaying the russians and allowing the russians to have leverage over an american president, the american presidency and american foreign policy. that is the call from bob mueller tonight and some of that should resound loudly in the
ears of everybody who cares about american national security. >> frank figliuzzi, as citizens, how are we to feel lying here vulnerable to a second round of attacks from russia? >> well, vulnerable is a good word to use. i think that what americans need to be doing and i've said this before is just demanding answers from their elected representatives and state county local officials, registrar of voters demand answers as to what they are doing to secure the elections but on a much larger scale, understand this. if we were living in some kind of a normal government administration, tomorrow there would be a press conference with the president, the attorney general and the heads of the intelligence agencies announcing their plan to protect and secure the 2020 elections. we're not going to get that and as jeremy alluded to, there are reasons why we're not going to get that. one of those could be the president simply wants this to happen again. wants to leave open the
possibility that other nations could continue to assist him. the other thing is if it happens again and it will if we don't defend against it, the president wants plausible deniability. if he comes out and says i'm building a program to stop it and then it doesn't work, he could say it's all my fault, and he doesn't want that either. we're stuck in this period of time where essentially a green light has been given to our adversaries to mess with our next election. >> katie, frank is right. in normal times, we would have announced a marshall plan already up and running that wouldn't have waited for an announcement tomorrows. absent that, katy, the talk from mueller about the russia attack surely seems to speak to the origins of the investigation, the investigation of the investigators at d.o.j., is it truly up and running and is it truly a valid effort? >> the investigation is up and running at doj.
i think that one of the things that mueller is saying today, while we may want to raise question, while the attorney general may want to raise questions and some republicans may want to question some aspects of why the fbi started investigating the trump campaign, that there is no question that russia has been attacking the united states and doing so in a devastating way in 2016. he really refocuses our attention on the bigger picture, however, this investigation is underway and one of the things that mueller's statement today also brings to light is the gravity of what happened with russia. he talks about it in very patriotic terms. this is something that is a threat to the country. if you're the president, if you're the attorney general and if you're not taking this incredibly seriously and if you're doing something to obstruct the investigation. it speaks directly to your patriotism. and again, this becomes a congressional question, what do we do with our leaders if they are doing something deeply unpatriotic. so there are many ways that barr is asking congress and saying this could be your moment to
act. >> phil rucker, on days like this, i don't think any of us are truly satisfied on the candor and clarity front. you and i have had this conversation before because you're a writer. i think this report probably suffered for lack of a writer, this report probably assumed an american attention span that no longer exists. stylistically was more 1919 than 2019, and i think this report had a huge burden as a public document. do you really think this is the last we will hear of robert mueller, or do you think his appearance in conversational english will be compelled before a committee or two? >> that's a good question, brian, about the conversational english because we've still not heard that from robert mueller. he was so careful in what he said today, to efficient with his words to hue closely to
written word and report that he didn't delve into the detail and color and language that i think a lot of democrats on capitol hill are eager to hear from him. i don't think this is going to be the end of the requests from the democrats, in fact, chairman nadler said today that chairman of the house judiciary committee democrat said today they would exhaust every option. every option is on the table and they're going to be looking into the president's lies and crimes and other misdemeanors. speaker pelosi is determined to hold back on initiating impeachment proceedings until she feels like the congress has gathered the necessary evidence. they have not had much momentum so far in gathering that evidence because in part so many administration witnesses have declined to come forward to testify on the hill, but there are documents that they are starting to be receiving financial documents. they're hopeful of getting other documents relating to the mueller report from the department, and of course they still want to hear from robert mueller himself, and he may very well end up compelled to appear before that committee.
>> our front four added so much to our understanding tonight. frank figliuzzi, jeremy bash, katie benner and fill rucker. our thanks for come option the broadcast again on this consequential wednesday night. coming up for us, what we witnessed today and what it's done to the name of one william barr.
back from what we witnessed in the stern words from mueller today. in plain english, bill barr might have played his old friend bob mueller when he got out ahead of the mueller report and did advanced damage control, giving air cover to his boss, the president, by speaking first. today mueller directly contradicted some of barr's claims. here are some examples. >> under long-standing department policy, a president cannot be charged with a federal crime while he is in office. >> we specifically asked him about the olc opinion and whether or not he was taking a position that he would have found a crime but for the existence of the olc opinion, and he made it very clear several times that that was not his position. >> if we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.
>> he made it clear he had not made the determination there was a crime. >> charging the president with a crime was therefore not an option we could consider. >> well, this will be interesting. with us tonight cynthia oxley, a former prosecutor and veteran of the justice department who worked with both bill barr robert mueller. and matthew miller. cynthia, one of the last times i speak to you on television was after barr was appointed and you had a lot of company, to be fair, you said you would give him the benefit of the doubt because you had served under him, because it was his signature on your certificate when you became a fed. what do you make of the name bill barr now? >> i think he's a liar. i mean, it's sad thing to say but i can't be more -- i like to be direct and here i am being direct. bill barr led the country to
believe that mueller did not take into account the olc memo and rule you can't indict a sitting president. that's what he led us to believe. that isn't true. you can use a lot of fancy words to say it and hide in alaska and do all kinds of things but the bottom line is, he lied to us. >> so matt, how big a service looking back on it did this attorney general supply to the man he apparently regards as his client, the man who appointed him, the president of the united states? >> he did an extraordinary service, because if you look at what the statements come down to, a lot of them revolve around what happens next. if you take bill barr's view of the world, nothing should have a next because his view of the world, there was no obstruction. there was no collusion. he said both of those things in his press conference and at other times in testimony before congress and so there is nothing else that needs to be done. there is nothing congress needs to do. if you look what mueller said in his report and reiterated again
today, he very specifically didn't make that determination around obstruction because it's someone else's call, because it's congress' call. so the way that bill barr took that off the table, it was very early on, he took it off the table before the letter was released almost a month before. he gave the political momentum, the president the political momentum to head off any impeach the proceeding. that may not ultimately be successful but been successful in thwarting momentum so far and that's a huge benefit for him. >> cynthia, it's so easy for people like me in the cheap seats to look at this and think or say that barr played mueller. subset of that however is it possible that mueller is kind of the last of a breed? it has taken him weeks to come forward and add to what we know, add to the coverage, speak up for his own work product. is he operating off a rule book
from another better time perhaps? >> well, i do think he is operating off a rule book that doesn't include constant television. you know, on some level, this is something that doesn't come naturally to him. if you think back to comey, people are used to now because of the way comey reacted in the hillary clinton investigation and the way he's testified on the hill, they're used to the prosecutor as coming on television as a storyteller. it's actually pretty improper and not the way it should be done so if he's the last of a breed, i'm sorry about it because i would hope that that is the breed we would continue to have. it's interesting he accepted the olc memo. in a very different way than most of us did. he not only said the olc memo is a rule and you can't indict a sitting president, he took it one step further. he had absorbed that as a rule and found that it was actually unconstitutional to indict a sitting president. he is somebody who absorbs these
rules into his dna and i hope he's not the end of the breed but he might be. >> matt, you're the coms guy here. as a viewer, the scene today was as kind of spare and ticiturn as the speaker in that auditorium we all know well. you know it differently from those of us, again, in the cheap seats where the guests sit. what did you make of it as a communications event? >> it was a very effective event but came a month, or a month and a half too late. try to imagine what would happen if the first thing the public would have heard about the report is this press conference that bob mueller gave today, rather than allowing bill barr to get out and frame the event first. it would be an entirely different exercise, i think. cynthia's point of him not operating in television land is largely right. this is the way he operated as
the fbi director. i can't tell you how many times i tried to convince them to stand up and do press conferences. he never wanted to lend his personal credibility in a way that could be politicized. i think you saw that here in this investigation and i think, you know, when you question whether he should have done it earlier or not, it's one thing for him to know that the president was going to misuse his words and he probably would have expected that. but i think what he couldn't have expected, that he didn't expect was the that the attorney general would misuse what he said and mislead the public to what he said. that's an extraordinary thing to do to a prosecutor, especially one he's known so long. and that was handling such an important mission. that must have deeply disappointed him and a reason you saw him do what he did today. >> you've both given us a lot to think about. our thanks to cynthia alksne and matthew miller on the broadcast. coming up, a look at what is going on while the democrats try to figure out what's going on. (client's voice) remember that degree you got in taxation?
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after hearing from robert mueller today, nancy pelosi said nothing is off the table. to the frustration of democrats and her caucus, that position is far from impeachment. >> we're legislating. we're investigating and we are litigating, and we are going to as we go down the path make a decision based on the strongest possible case to get the results for the american people. >> and earlier, there was this. house judiciary chairman jerry nadler of new york says congress will hold the president accountable. >> this special counsel makes clear that obstruction of justice, which he found substantial evidence of is a serious crime that strikes at the core of our justice system and that the constitution points to congress to take action to hold the president accountable. that's exactly what we will do. the president's response to repeatedly lie to the american
people and ignore all congressional subpoenas that is immoral and unlawful. no one is above the law and we will hold the president accountable. >> and this reminder volume two of robert mueller's report outlines nearly a dozen instances of possible obstruction of justice from the president including but not limited to the firing of james comey, trump's efforts to remove mueller, and his efforts to curtail the russia investigation writ large. with us more tonight john heilemann, veteran journalist, msnbc national affairs analyst, co-author of "game change," co-host of "the circus on showtime, and robert costa, national political reporter for "the post" and moderator of "washington week." good evening to you both. john, i'll show you what the news folks at fox news, how they reacted initially. we'll talk about it after this. >> this was not as the president
says time and time again no collusion, no obstruction. it was much more than that. it was not anywhere as clear-cut as attorney general bill barr. in fact, it was almost exactly the opposite, not clear-cut. >> it was a parting shot at his soon to be former boss bill barr who basically whitewashed what mueller said in the four-page summery he distributed back in march. >> so john, that's baer and napolitano as part of their news programing. they go into opinion programming as this network does, as well. here were some of them banner graphics on the screen. mueller gets political just as america was starting to move on from the russia hoax. mueller's pathetic final bow. that was on laura ingraham tonight. but this question also appeared as a graphic. why didn't mueller let the work speak for itself?
answer that for us. >> well, mueller has tried to let the work speak for itself and i think he knows to the extent -- i hate to answer questions posed rhetorically on screen by fox and primetime, but i think the frustration of people on the left and many people who are anywhere moderately left of center, including robert de niro who is out in "the new york times" tonight with an op-ed piece -- >> hijacked, you think? >> bob mueller must speak even more forthrightly, must come out and say more and before congress. so look, i think, you know, mueller is letting the work speak for itself but i think he wanted to focus on some things that he thought as we clearly know not just from the letters he wrote previously to bill barr but now from this where he basically feels his work has been misrepresented by the president of the united states and by the attorney general, and just the implicit message of the day today was in the very brief segment, the very brief presentation you played all of
tonight was mr. trump, no, not exoneration, not no collusion, not no obstruction, and mr. barr, you misrepresented my work. i'm trying to let the work speak for itself. >> mr. costa, because they work so hard, congress son another richly deserved recess. so it makes it harder for journalists like you to pick up consensus for where they are going. i know you're watching the speaker. who else are you watching before you'll declare that there is any kind of consensus here? >> you have to look first at the freshman class, some of the moderates from suburban areas, trump country democrats that were able to win in difficult districts in 2018. they are the bellwether based on my conversations with some of the house democratic leader allies. they are saying to the democratic ranks, of course some more liberal democrats are calling for impeachment. but once those freshmen and more moderates start to turn, and there is a clamor among some of them privately right now to at
the opinion says that the constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing. >> back with us in the conversation john hileman and robert costa. bob, to you. the president relatively quiet tonight. ditto those around him. i think given contemporary standards, will there be a strategy for first thing tomorrow morning, perhaps? >> just spoke with rudy giuliani, the president's lawyer and he said he spoke to the president and the president's response was nothing new. that was the quote that was heard throughout the legal team in the conference call after mr. mueller read his statement.
you see right now it's a wait and see approach inside the white house how congress is going to proceed. giuliani claimed he doesn't think democrats will move forward any time soon and will continuing to fight all of these document and witness requests from capitol hill. >> john heilemann, how bad a day was this for donald trump in your view? >> not a great day. not a disastrous day, i don't think. i do think that in a couple of ways it's problematic. trump may be true that trump is trying to bait house democrats into impeaching him. he may think that's good politics for him, and there are certainly democrats who think that's true. >> victimhood? >> he can play the card because if he got impeached in the house, he wouldn't get convicted in the senate. i think it's an incredibly risky game to play. i don't see how being impeached, bill clinton came through it. we know that was true. but it didn't hurt republicans more broadly, and donald trump is not bill clinton. it's -- you know, you open that
door you walk down the ally into impeachment land, you don't know what you're going to find. new information, new dynamics changes in public opinion, changes in center public opinion i would not -- it's a big gamble for trump to want to throw that door open. and the reality is he moved closer to impeachment today. that's what happened today. the pressure to get mueller on the hill is greater despite him saying i don't want to do it, people want him more than ever because the power of his words were on display and you have democrats in the top tier of the democratic race. bob is right to pay attention to democrat -- to freshmen in marginal districts. and also you got to pay attention to the democrats out on the campaign trail. and most of all, not all, but most of the top tier democratic candidates are pretty fully four square behind the notion of opening an impeachment hearing and impeachment inquiry, at least. and you have joe biden trying to stick close to pelosi. pretty much the rest of them now are in the pool.
sanders also trying to have it both ways but everybody else is there and they weren't before today started. >> bob, i don't mean to be disrespectful but if you're cory booker at whatever he is, 2, 3%, we saw eight democrats calling for impeachment. that's fairly easy to say when you're out on the trail. >> it's fairly easy to say if you're a presidential candidate. it's a harder case to make if you're a member of congress. what they're trying to do when you talk to house democrats is build the case on obstruction for the american people. and when i'm talking to house democrats, they say what's more important, perhaps, than even mr. mueller's testimony, should it happen, is the testimony of someone like don mcgahn, the former white house counsel, because his testimony can get to the question of intent. and that's what they need to prove more than mueller's conclusions here is what was the president's intent, what can house democrats offer the american people through their own investigations about that issue in order to make the case on obstruction. >> two more terrific returning veteran guests for us, an embarrassment of reporting riches.
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sight a warship named for the late senator john mccain, ahead of the president's visit to japan last week, according to an email reviewed by the "wall street journal", they say the directive read "u.s.s. john mccain" needs to be out of sight. "the journal" says a tarp was hung over the ship's name ahead of the president's trip, according to photos reviewed by the journal. sailors on the ship who typically wear caps bearing its name were given the day off. the pacific fleet is denying large portions of the story and the pentagon is pushing back and the president tweeted tonight he had no knowledge of this. we will know more about this by morning. the warship "john mccain" by the way, not just for the late arizona senator, the naval aviator, later p.o.w., it is also named for his father and grandfather, both admirals in the u.s. navy. that makes three generations of
mccains in service to their country. and that is our broadcast for this wednesday night. thank you so very much for being here with us. good night from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. tonight on "all in". >> if we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so. >> robert mueller finally speaks. >> we did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime. >> and tells congress effectively, it's their job to deal with the criminal president. >> the constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing. >> tonight, what we learned from today's statement from the special counsel. >> this is stronger than the language in his report. >> what democrats plan to do about it. >> we want to do what is right and what gets results. >> how robert mueller's statement underscores bill