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tv   Morning Joe  MSNBC  July 24, 2019 3:00am-5:30am PDT

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mueller. they need something from him to get that number from 90, which i think is roughly the current count to double that to get some real accelerant in there. i'll be looking to see if he says something that ostentatiously gives congress the impetus to impeach or that he found things troubling in that report, giving them the impetus to move forward on impeachment. >> jonathan swan, thank you very much. we're going to be reading axios in a bit. sign up for the news letter at sign up @axios.com. i'm yasmin vossoughian, "morning joe" starts right now. m yasmin g joe" starts right now. two months ago when congress was negotiating over whether mueller will testify on capitol hill, the ap's jonathan lemire reported that the president stewed for days about the prospect of the media coverage
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that would be given to mueller and trump has long known the power of televised images and feared that americans would be captivated by seeing and hearing mueller. today is that day. good morning, and welcome to "morning joe." it is wednesday, july 24th, along with joe, willie, and me, we have msnbc contributor mike ba barnacle. former justice department spokesperson, and security analyst, matt miller. "the new york times" reporter, michael sh michael schmidt will be with us in a moment. >> what are you expecting today, mika? >> i'm expecting donald trump to do whatever he can for a glimmer of hope from certain words. i expect some republicans to continue to make fools of themselves. i'm also not expect ago big revelation. the mueller report has been out for quite some time now, people have read it.
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it is terrible what have happened. some americans have made a decision not to look at it and will not watch today, and those americans will be trump supporters. >> mike barnicle, i saw a poll, we'll be showing later on today. 50% of republicans believe that robert mueller ran a fair investigation. it's going to be a little harder for the president to vilify robert mueller and have credibility when actually the majority of his own party who usually follows him wherever he goes believed that this guy ran a fair investigation against donald trump. >> yeah, there's no doubt about that, joe, but you more than anyone would know that this is an opportunity for individual members of congress to get their face on tv, to try for one of those viral moments that everyone seeks in politics and so i expect today the democrats will come away a bit d
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disappointed in bob mueller's straight down the line testimony, and republicans will overreach in going after mr. mueller. >> and joe, let's go back to the beginning of this. march 22nd is when the report came out. two days later, attorney general barr put out his four page summary, which misrepresented the report itself. bob mueller sent a letter to the attorney general stating as much, and when bob mueller came out and made his 8, 9 minute statement a couple of months ago, it was just that, a statement without question. now, members of congress will get to ask the questions many americans have had on their minds since the release of the report. 448 pages worth, which let's be frank, most people in the country have not read. this is a chance for democrats to tell a story, and with the help of bob mueller to lay out in detail the cases of obstruction of justice. he said in volume one there was no evidence to support a criminal conspiracy, what about collusion, what about all the instances when the trump campaign welcomed the help of russians, and then line by line,
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those 12 cases that represented obstruction of justice, did bob mueller view those as obstruction of justice and just that he could not prosecute because of justice department regulations and policy. >> it's going to be interesting is i'll tell you mika, i agree with willie, and the facts bear it out, most americans haven't read this report, they have only heard the president chirping like a parrot, no collusion, no obstruction. there are ten examples of obstruction. americans that are watching today, and i think a lot of people will be watching today will see for the first time what those examples of possible obstruction were and the part of the report that donald trump takes the greatest pride in is a part of the report he obviously hasn't read, the quote no collusion part. there's collusion in there. there may not be a legal conspiracy but there is collusion between russia and between members of the trump administration. it's laid out in full detail in
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black and white, and that is what i hope americans hear today. >> i think they will hear him chirping like a parrot. after two years of investigation, dozens of indictments and hundreds of attacks from the president of the united states, special counsel robert mueller will publicly testify on his report into russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, and the episodes of potential obstruction he examined by president trump and the white house. the justice department has directed mueller, now a private citizen, to only discuss what is within the boundaries of his report, which contains nearly a thousand redactions, but no one knows for sure how far mueller will go in explaining his decisions and as a private decision, i wonder if he has the right to go farther than directed by the justice department. and in new detail revealed late yesterday, one of mueller's long time aides will accompany the
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foreign fbi director at both hearings. aaron zebley will sit alongside mueller not as a witness. a house aide tells nbc that zebley will be sworn in for the second round. on twitter, president trump blasted the news. just got back to hear the last minute change allowing a never trumper attorney to help robert mueller with his testimony before congress tomorrow. what a disgrace to our system. never heard of this before. very unfair. >> wait, donald trump talking about what a disgrace to our system. when yesterday he was speaking, but some young americans saying that the constitution gave him the right to do whatever he wanted to do, and i have to think back to that financial times article yesterday talking
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about how the nazis would rail against quote the system, constantly railing quote against the system because the quote system was actually still stopping them in the early 1930s from doing what they wanted to do so they attacked quote the system just generally until finally they were able to break it down and do whatever they wanted. this keeps -- well, let me go to you matt miller, the president of course despises the rule of law. if you look at just his tweets, read the four corners of all of his tweets, obviously a guy who is of the law who has spent his life in pursuit of the law, who spent his life in law enforcement, going by the rules, playing by the rules, that's not the guy donald trump wants testifying against him in front of millions of americans but that's exactly what's going to be happening today, and donald
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trump is already having a melt down. >> yeah, the first thing i thought when i read the tweet from the president is you know what bob mueller is doing, he's showing up and answering questions today, and you know who wouldn't show up and answer questions, donald trump, he answered only in writing. >> and don jr. >> he showed up to the grand jury, and did the fifth amendment. it's unclear if he even did that. so for the president to attack bob mueller for bringing a staff member along with him, strikes me as obviously disingenuous. the president of the united states is the subject of the investigation, wouldn't answer questions, would only do it in one section. i think the democrats on the committee, and i wish it were democrats and republicans. let's be honest, it's only the democrats interested in finding anything out today, have a really simple goal for the hearing. they just need to bring clarity to what bob mueller's investigation found, and they need to bring clarity because
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the way mueller structured his report, especially the findings on obstruction was ultimately confusing. i think it was hard for americans to see the underlying facts which the president committed multiple acts of the department of justice and the two of those together have left the american people with a very muddy picture of what this investigation found, and i think it's up to democrats on the committee today to draw out the facts of what bob mueller really found and show that the president committed multiple felony acts of obstruction of justice and abused his power in other ways that weren't criminal acts but gross abuses of his office and potentially high crimes and misdemeanors for which he could be impeached. >> "the new york times" michael schmidt, and yamish alsindor. >> what do they hope to accomplish or bring to light
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what hasn't been brought to light by a 445 page report and a two years investigation. >> at the minimum, this is going to be sort of like the audio book version of the report in the hopes that that can create some momentum for themselves. they have really really struggled since coming to power back in january to move the needle on the president, especially on the issues related to the report. they struggled to get any witnesses. today they finally have one. and the question is can they create sound bytes. can they connect to the american people in a way the report did not. obviously the report was not enough to push them in the direction of impeachment, and is there anything that comes today out of mueller's mouth that resonates differently with the public and that's what we have to look and see. now, it seems like mueller will take a very conservative approach. obviously you guys pointing out that the justice department says
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you can't go beyond the four corners of the document. could the democrats at the end of the day end up where they are right now where they really still don't have much. as much as everyone talks about the president and mueller and what they have on the line, jerry nadler has as much on the line as anybody today. his investigations have installed. they have struggled to get witnesses. today they finally have one. are we going to really learn anything. >> republicans, you can hear the party line already, are saying, this is case closed. the american public has moved on. you got a two-year investigation, the long report, they gave the underlying evidence to the judiciary committee last month. what else do you want to hear is what the republicans will say, and they may pursue things like the steel dossier, and some of the conspiracy threats. >> democrats have been telling me that most people don't read the book but they watch the movie, and they're trying to hone in on the idea that robert mueller will be able to reach
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millions of more americans just by appearing on tv and reading parts of that report. now, we got a pretty big surprise yesterday, even though democrats say they don't expect surprises and robert mueller was trying to have sworn in on the judiciary side, his long time aide, aaron debley, and robert muellermented him to take questions on personnel matters. that was in anticipation of republicans asking him about hiring people that might have been democrats that might have donated to hillary clinton. republicans have already started to map out for themselves what they want to see done which is making a case for the president saying there were 12 angry democrats working on this report. that said, i spoke to the president directly a couple of days ago and asked him specifically do you plan on watching the mueller testimony and are you worried about anything and the president replied at the time that he didn't plan on watching. yesterday he amended that and said he's going to be watching a
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little bit. what we see is even though republicans have their line of questioning, they're also readying him and a bit concerned about what mueller could say even if it's just a televised version of his report. i think the president is going to be watching and walking around the white house waiting see if robert mueller does anything that might hurt his presidency. >> mike barnacle, you have known bob mueller for some time, known of him for some time obviously. give us some insight on this man regarding what we can expect today. i remember reading an article, talked about how he was an institutionalist, even when i think he ran the nfl investigati investigation, he never went as far as people wanted him to go. he was an institutionalist. we saw that actually when the report came out and saw his extraordinary deference to a man who was as intellectually
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dishonest as any attorney general since john mitchell. he was for the most part an institutionalist and tried to keep it between the lines, despite the fact that barr did everything he could to mislead or outright lie about the findings of the mueller report. he has already sent a letter seeking guidance from the justice department, guidance that he knows would further prevent him from painting outside of any lines. what do we expect from this guy. is it fair to call him an institutionalist, and will that be his default setting rather than really letting the american people know what was behind his thinking in this report, and why they should be concerned about these ten instances of the president possibly breaking the law, obstructing justice. well, joe, he certainly is
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an institutionalist. he's also highly ethical, highly moral guy who firmly believes in the concepts of right and wrong, firmly believes in the constitution of the united states and adherence to the law and my fear for the hearings today is that the democrats, specifically the democrats, won't have the discipline to stay within the lines and know who they have in front of them in bob mueller. jim comey, the former director of the fbi has an interesting piece on the law fair blog, where he outlines several questions that he would ask director mueller today, and they are uniquely, nearly all of them are yes and no answers, and speaking to a person yesterday who's quite close to director mueller, has known him for quite some time, in adherence to the same theory, the yes or no questions. one of the more important questions they might ask him is
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the following. they might use the quote from you just mentioned him, bill barr when he stepped up to the play and said the following, this is a quote to the attorney general he said earlier this spring, the deputy attorney general and i have concluded that the evidence developed by the special counsel is not sufficient to establish that the president committed an obstruction of justice offense, and the question that would be asked of director mueller after that quote is do you agree or disagree. that could provide a moment that the country would pay attention to but bob mueller is a very straight laced guy who's not going to editorialize. he's not going to go out of bound on this. he's not going to attack anyone, even though he might come under attack today. the only chance that he would go back at someone, one of the questions, would be if one or another of the republicans decided to go after director mueller's fbi leadership and the fbi itself.
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>> that would not be wise on their part, just wouldn't be wise, mika. >> no. well, i think we have to watch and learn today. we'll see what happens. still ahead on "morning joe," the senate finally passes a bill to compensate 9/11 first responders and this picture says it all, a smiling jon stewart standing by as mitch mcconnell walks past. plus, don mcgahn has a starring role in the mueller report. his name mentioned hundreds of times. as democrats want to hear more and are set to take the e-white house lawyer to court to make it happen. we have new reporting on that. you're watching "morning joe." we'll be right back. you're watching "morning joe." we'll be right back. maria ramirez?
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if the mueller investigation reveals a lot of conduct by the
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president, which the american people should be aware of. the president and attorney general have systematically lied to the american people about what was in that report. i know they have said no obstruction, no collusion, totally exonerated, all three statements are not true. it's important that the american people understand what was in that report. >> the pressure is on the democrats here to make the case that they have not been wasting taxpayer dollars all this time, especially with the show hearings we have had the last few months, implying that the president has done something that the report clearly didn't show that it did. now they're even trying to down play that, trying to bring it to life. >> that was so bizarre. if you're out there and you have just landed from mars and were looking at those two clips, the second dude, you're talking about show trials and saying it was nonsense. while you were on mars, while
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you were orbiting the earth, wherever you were in outer space, robert mueller conducted an investigation that actually found that the president's national security adviser was guilty of a felony, he admitted to it, that the president's campaign manager was guilty of a felony, he's probably in jail for the rest of his life. a man that the president said was his top foreign policy adviser to the "washington post" in may of 2016. he was guilty, found guilty of a crime and pled to a crime, turned state's evidence. the president's assistant, his deputy campaign manager also found guilty. i mean all of these people found guilty. robert mueller, of course in this report found ten instances where he believed the president may have obstruction of justice but said he could not come to the conclusion because of justice department guideline and then the attorney general of the united states lied to the american people and basically
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said, well, we have come to the conclusion that of course he did not commit any crimes and suggested that robert mueller had reached the same conclusions. the 448 pages of this report, two volumes of the report, it clearly outlined russian interference in the 2016 election. indictments against top russians throughout the mueller investigation, 1,000 redactions and again, as i said before, mika, ten instances of obstruction of justice, possibly by president trump and again, paul manafort, his campaign chairman, guilty. michael flynn, his national security adviser, guilty. michael cohen, his fixer, his lawyer forever, guilty. rick gates, trump campaign aide, guilty. george papadopoulos, foreign
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policy adviser, guilty. roger stone, long time political adviser, indicted and mika, it would be so much easier if these republicans just wouldn't lie, and then we could have -- i wouldn't have had to say all of that, and humiliate them further that they are basically running cover for the most corrupt administration since the nixon administration. but if they lie, we have to clarify. >> so that sound byte that we came in with was the chairman and the ranking member of the house judiciary committee telling nbc news correspondent what they expect from today's mueller hearing. mike joins us now from capitol hill with his latest reporting that house democrats already have their sights on don mcgahn and what might they hope to get from attorney mcgahn.
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>> well, mika when jerry nadler launched in march this rule of law investigation of the trump administration, they cast a wide net. they sent letters out to 81 individuals and entities throughout the trump universe, mostly individuals seeking testimony, seeking documents, seeking information that could inform a potential impeachment inquiry. that was before the mueller report came out. once the mueller report came out, don mcgahn clearly emerged as if not the top three witnesses democrats feel would be critical for making the case of obstruction of justice, especially his name appears more than 500 times in that report. he sat for more than 30 hours of testimony with robert mueller, so what democrats would envision bringing mcgahn in would be their own sort of john dean moment. you heard that name earlier, a moment where somebody with direct firsthand knowledge of the president's conduct could testify under oath before the public about what he saw. now, the question is would the courts enforce the subpoena, bring him into court, the white
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house has obviously argued there's executive privilege that prohibits barr from testifying. what democrats hope to achieve today with robert mueller is to help bolster their legal case in the courts but mika and joe, there's an inherent contradiction in the way democrats are handling this. there are internal debates that say the courts are much more likely to side with democrats to force mcgahn to testify if it's through an impeachment inquiry that's already underway, but the leadership for now believe that this instead needs to inform to help politically and substantively bring democrats to the point of launch that impeachment inquiry. we know that jerry nadler is ready to begin that court fight to set the wheels in motion. >> michael schmidt, don mcgahn was instructored by ted by the house not to testify voluntarily before congress. at the same time, he was more than cooperative with the mueller investigation and has
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not from everything i have read, does not strike me as a man who would be a reluctant witness if allowed by the united states supreme court to testify before congress. what does your reporting show? >> well, the thing about mcgahn is that he's not all -- he's not black and white in terms of being all bad or all good for the president. he's going to have sort of a more nuanced view here. he would say, if asked under oath, that he did not believe the president obstructed justice because he would say that he stopped the president from taking a lot of these moves and he never went beyond doing these things. he he would say trump was ruminating and tell him to do things. mcgahn stood in the way of them, and made sure they did not happen. now, if you were to say that, say, look, i don't think the president obstructed justice, that would probably take some of the air out of the democrat's argument here.
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they would sort of put their chips bet that mcgahn would be someone who would sort of be like that john dean, and it may just not be that conclusive if he were to testify. >> but michael, remind us again what was it the president wanted mcgahn to do that mcgahn refused to do because he thought it would be obstruction of justice. >> there's a lot of things. there's a lot of things ranging from trying to get him to fire mueller, which mcgahn thought could trigger a saturday night massacre. there's a question about whether or not that would have been legal or not but certainly that would have been a humongous political problem but more problematic, i think, for the president is the president's attempts to try to get mcgahn to create a fake white house document that says that he basically goes back on what he told mueller. i'm not saying mcgahn is right or wrong whether he thinks the president obstructed justice or not but the fact of him testifying and saying that and that being his view would
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probably hurt the democrats' argument. >> matt miller, let me ask you quickly, if this goes before the supreme court of the united states, have don mcgahn testify before congress, you look at past precedent, look at the fact that bill clinton answered a subpoena, and it was a general relief that even the president of the united states had no choice but to answer that subpoena. do you like me find it hard to believe that the supreme court would not require don mcgahn to testify before congress. >> no, i completely agree with you, joe. i think if you look at the past rulings from the court, they would take the view that congresses need to find out about misconduct, potentially criminal misconduct by the president of the united states. especially because don mcgahn has testified to all of this to bob mueller and that has been
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released in a public report. the idea that you have to keep the president's advice confidential, i would say for it to get to that, democrats have to go to court. one of the things that i think is frustrating about this question of don mcgahn, it's been three months since bob mueller released his report, two months since the house authorized a lawsuit to enforce that subpoena against don mcgahn. the house hasn't gone to court to do so. the president from the beginning, it's been clear what they have been trying to do, make aggressive legal claims and hope they can run out the clock. if you don't go to support to enforce the subpoenas, you're playing right into the president's hand. the question is where has it been the last two months. the clock is ticking. >> mika, don mcgahn is a central figure on the report. he testified 30 hours. he is a firsthand witness and he says in the testimony that matt was just talking about that the president of the united states instructed him to tell rod
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rosenstein to get rid of the special counsel, perhaps the most glaring example that we have seen of obstruction of justice in the mueller report. it's critical to hear from don mcgahn. >> and unlike many others, he seemed concerned about what was happening to say the least in his testimony, which i'm sure everybody would love to hear more exactly about what he was thinking there and what his reaction was to what he was asked to do. nbc's mike mebley, and michael schmidt, thank you very much. there are other things happening on capitol hill believe it or not, for the first time in seven months, overwhelming confirming mark esper as defensive secretary, 90-8. it ends the longest period of time the pentagon has gone without a congressionally confirmed leader in its history. all eight no votes came from democrats and none of the six senators running for the
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democratic presidential nomination voted for esper. supreme court justice swore in esper. he takes over for jim mattis who resigned last december over a series of policy disputes, mainly centering on trump's policy for syria. also, the senate yesterday passed a bill that will ensure the september 11th victim compensation fund never runs out of money. the bill, which was passed by a vote of 97-2 will authorize funding through 2092 for the final vote, the chamber defeated two proposed amendments, one from senator mike lee would have restricted the authorization to ten years and the other from senator rand paul would have required offsets for the money spent on the fund. the bill which had 74 cosponsors is expected to be signed quickly into law by president trump.
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one victim's advocate told nbc news he got a call from the white house inviting him and other 9/11 first responders and their families to the bill signing. jon stewart who has advocated for the first responders, heralded the passage of the bill. >> we can never repay all that the 9/11 community has done for our country but we can stop penalizing them. and today is that day. >> mike, it's a shame it took so much fight and testimony from first responders, some of whom have since died after their testimony but we got there. 97-2 was the vote yesterday. jon stewart certainly helped push the ball forward. there were so many people working for so many years to get this done. >> you just alluded to the ultimate question. what took them so long. there have been many people, many firefighters, others down
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there on the pile working in that toxic atmosphere, waste, for months on end who have died, and there are others carrying diseases that they contracted while working there. what took them so long. >> and there has been focus on the two vote, rand paul and mike lee not behind this. let's focus on the 97 votes. we don't see that much anymore. 97 votes for this bill. >> i do wonder about the two, but okay, that's great news finally. coming up president trump, continues to claim russia did not want him elected, despite vladimir putin literally saying the opposite. we'll talk about what we may hear from lawmakers today concerning russian interference. nbc's richard engel joins the conversation next on "morning joe." e conversation next on "morning joe.
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during today's meeting i addressed directly with president putin, the issue of russian interference in our elections. i felt this was a message best delivered in person. i spent a great deal of time talking about it. all i can do is ask the question.
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people came to me, dan coats came to me and some others. they said they think it's russia. i have president putin, he just said it's not russia. i will say this, i don't see any reason why it would be. i have great confidence in my intelligence people, but i will tell you that president putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today. >> that was president trump a year ago this month in helsinki taking the word of russian president vladimir putin over his own intelligence agencies. joining us now nbc news chief foreign correspondent richard engel. good to see you. russia i would imagine will be watching the mueller hearing with some interest as it continues. the intelligence agencies have told us to interfere in our elections in 2018 and gearing up again for 2020. >> i think russia is watching this very closely and watching
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this with a great degree of satisfaction. russia got away with it. they carried out a massive information operation against the united states, an information operation that was designed according to u.s. intelligence to help president trump, and now they have gotten away with it. trump has long denied that the information operation even happened, and he denied that his campaign actively colluded with the russians, although they did on many occasions flirt with the russians, meet with the russians, solicit help regarding e-mails from the russians, but the mueller report concluded that the amount of coordination that was taking place and the meetings didn't rise to the level of a criminal conspiracy. so russia can look back and say it carried out this information operation to disrupt american politics, to help its favored candidate, and it got away with it, and that only encourages russia to do the same kind of
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thing in other countries and there's ample evidence they are still doing this. there's an active investigation in italy for a similar case where a top italian politician was filmed meeting with russian operatives in which they were recorded discussing possible oil kick backs in exchange for political favors. the case is under investigation in italy right now. but it shows that the russians are still at this game and feel that they did it, they paid a little bit of consequences in terms of lip service, but at the end of the day, no real punishment. >> so richard, as you just pointed out, russia successfully attacked the united states electoral process and as you've pointed out, did get away with it, so in your travels in europe, in the middle east, in london today, your sources, is there a sense of surprise,
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amazement or bafflement that there has been such, in regard to what happened, such a muted response from one political party here in this country, the united states of america from the republican party about this attack? >> the response i'm hearing isn't so much about the republicans. it's more about the american system in general that the russians can intervene in american politics. the russians who are long considered the greatest adversary to the united states, the famous cold war rivalry that set the tone around the world that the russians can intervene in american politics and you can have a leading candidate soliciting that intervention, certainly violating the spirit of the law but not necessarily violating the letter of the law, according to the mueller report, not rising to the level of a criminal conspiracy, and i think the fact that that happened, you can have an american politician
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soliciting advice from the russian bear, the united states greatest rival and get away with it, i think there is a degree of bafflement on some part, from some parties but also encouragement. politicians around the world are looking at this and saying, well, if the united states can do this, that they can do this as well. >> nbc's richard engel, watching along with us this morning, richard, thank you. mika. all right. and still ahead, president trump stated yesterday that article two of the institution gives him the power to do quote whatever he wants. >> bill crystal says that statement alone means trump should not get a second term. he joins us next on "morning joe." term he joins us next on "morning joe.
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president trump attacked the russia investigation at a gathering for young supporters yesterday, and he cited article
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two of the constitution is granting him the ability to do quote whatever i want. >> how about this whole witch hunt that's going on. should i talk about it for a second. it goes on for years and years, no collusion, no obstruction, oh, that's not good enough, let's go more. $40 million, interview 500 people, they got nothing. they did everything. they're collusion, no collusion. they have no collusion. then i have an article two where i have the right to do whatever i want as president, but i don't even talk about that. because they did a report and there was no obstruction. after looking at it, our great attorney general read it, he's a total professional. he said, there's nothing here, there's tho no obstruction. >> let's bring in the founder and director of the group defending democracy together and editor at large of the bull
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work, bill crystal. your reaction to the president. >> it would be astounding, except we have been astounded so many times. my reaction is this is why he can't have a second term. first term he was checked in various ways. jeff sessions, jim mattis, general kelly, a lot of people prevented him from doing certain things he wanted to do. he has filled his administration with yes men and women. it's going to be worse. think if he gets reelected. how emboldened is he now. how emboldened will he be if the mueller report comes out. challenged by a democrat in 2020. he will have won reelection. a second term will make the first term look like business as usual. >> if you look at what he said, he may be ignorant of the constitution, may not understand what he's saying, i believe he means what he's saying. he's shown a willingness to use executive action, national emergencies as negotiating
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tactics, he means what he says there yesterday. >> he means what he says, he also has really proven this idea that he can do anything clean shooting somebody on fifth avenue and get away with it. he was joking and has joked about his ability to run wild in the presidency, and do what he wants. i think, though, the thing that the president is going to run into, is the idea millions of people today are going to hear robert mueller say step by step, instructing people to lie, trying to stop the investigation, and that may or may not impact some people's views of the presidency. i think the courts have also be a reminder to this president he can't do whatever he wants to do, especially on the immigration front. he complains about the 9th circuit. he does that because he realizes with the census question, the travel ban being watered down a bit, he has run up into what he considers to be frustrating parts of the government but the founders call that checks and
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balances. >> you know, bill, the idea that we have fallen into the new normalcy that is outrageous, again, the president says yesterday, i have this article two, the day before he says i could end this war in afghanistan in ten days. the use of the government, i, it's mine, my generals, that to me is one of the most dangerous element of this presidency. >> i agree. it's been somewhat held in check by the institutions and the structures of government, we owe the founders a debt, and our predecessors a debt in building up the institutional framework which checks someone like trump. once he's reelected it's hard to say, well, if he runs on this and gets reelected, he will have a mandate to move ahead, and the republican party will be, not that it's a big check now, will
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be pathetic in terms of standing up to him. in terms of what we're seeing today, i think we should mention nancy pelosi, talking about mueller and members of congress will be interrogating mueller. i think pelosi's decision for better or worse, there are good reasons not to proceed with the impeachment inquiry has really been -- there's a fundamental moment. it's colored the whole way we're talking about today. if this were an impeachment inquiry, what the attention would be, the follow ups would be, think how much would be at stake. people are saying, people like us, the american public needs to read the document or this will be a way of audio kind of version of the document, but why. if nothing is at stake, it's more interesting details about how trump doesn't follow the law, lies, tries to obstruction justice and sometimes doesn't quite succeed. the public is going to say, i know that or i don't want to believe that. i think pelosi's decision, there
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were reasons for it, public spirited reasons why she chose not to go down that road, that was a fundamental moment after the mueller report came out. >> if something comes out of this hearing, it gives -- >> that would be the single biggest. the audience most important for this hearing is nancy pelosi. if she decides and senior members of the conference and house decide, you know what, it's appropriate to go ahead with impeachment hearings, don mcgahn, a little more detail, color, if there's no impeachment at stake, i mean, i think constitutionally, legally, he should, but are people going to get worked up about it, if we're talking about a serious vote, and people have to make up their mind, that's a different situation, i think. so matt miller, as we close this up. i want to go back to mueller today, and he's testifying as a private citizen, i may not understand things, but does a private citizen have to adhere
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to parameters the justice department gives him or does a private citizen have the right to speak his mind and say what he wants to say and feels he should say. >> he can do whatever he wants in this testimony. i don't know that that means that he will but if he wants to go up and ignore the restrictions that the justice department has tried to impose on him, he's well within his rights to do so, and the same way sally yates did when she testified two years ago. the justice department had sent a similar, somewhat less aggressive, but similar letter to her trying to box in her testimony, and she ignored it. she thought it was important to share what she had seen about misconduct in the white house. bob mueller can do the same thing today. he's not there voluntarily, he's there under subpoena. he has an obligation to answer the questions asked by members of congress. if you look at the letter the justice department said, all of the guardrails they have said around his testimony, the attorney general bill barr has blown through guardrails in his testimony and public statements.
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he has talked about his decision making, and mueller's decision making, so this idea that the attorney general can make statemen statements about the president that are misleading and statements about the investigation that are misleading but bob mueller can't tell the truth about what he find strikes me as a dangerous position for the department of justice to take. >> matt miller, bill crystal, thank you both. we continue to count down to robert mueller's highly anticipated congressional testimony with a packed show, including former acting director of the fbi andrew mckacabe, and neal katyal and msnbc chief legal correspondent ari melburn,
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barnicle. white house correspondent for news hour, yamice, and john heilman, and house oversight and government reform committee, curt burdella. there have been a couple of republicans that have come on the show, i haven't read the report, i can't talk about it. that's a really issue. you have to read the report. >> that's why we have been saying for some time around here, even if, the only thing robert mueller is asked to do is read portions of the report that are the most damming, democrats would do the country and american democracy a great service by having robert mueller reading the most -- the most compelling, the most germane parts of that report. because, again, as we saw right there, even the fbi director has read the entire thing. john, let me ask you to set up what's going to happen 90
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minutes from you when robert mueller is sworn in and testifies before congress. what are you expecting and any insight on what we expect democrats and republicans to do and what you think the impact of this hearing will be? >> well, let's start with, you know, this is obviously the biggest news day of the year, and potentially the biggest news day of the entire trump term depending on how it turns out. the only thing that rivals it is the day that mueller's report was actually released and you know, i've listened to a lot of people who know bob mueller, who know him well or know him partially talk about his temperament, talk about his taciturness, his desire to stay within the four corners of the report, that the report is his testimony. in the long run, i get that people don't think -- the expectations have been spun down, that there aren't going to
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be block buster revelation, he's not going to deliver what democrats like. he's not going to answer the question that everyone wants answered which is would you have indicted donald trump if he was not sitting president. i get people may be disappointed in that sense but i have to say that, you know, there's a term in the show hamilton, a song called history has its eyes on you. i keep thinking about that in the context of bob mueller here. he's a guy who obviously came into this with a great degree of public spiritedness and devotion to justice. what has happened over the last three months with his report has not served that cause, and i don't think there's anybody who thinks that's what transpired, the way the report has misinterpreted, prop began diaz -- propaganda by the attorney general, and the president, not only don't understand what's in
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it, but fundamentally misunderstand it, think it is an exoneration of the president. i feel like there's a lot of responsibility now at bob mueller's doorstep, and i get he doesn't want to be turned into a political tool, but i also think if he is committed to seeing justice, committed to making people in the public understand the gravity of the charges in the report, what the report actually says, he's going to have to, if he wants to serve history, he's going to have to go further and do a little more than some people think who are trying to spin down expectations because they know bob mueller or because they are hearing what he has been saying about his desire to try to get through this by doing the minimum amount. >> well, he is certainly committed to preserving and defending the constitution of the united states, and he is committed to history. but i would think, again, we've talked about this not only today but in the past, in terms of going outside the boundaries of the report, i think you'll be
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disappointed. i think one of the sub themes that might emerge, joe, out of this morning's hearings is that you are liable to see play out not today but it will resonate as we go forward, one political party will be there today to preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the united states while another party will be there questioning in both committees, the republican side will be there to preserve, protect and defend the president of the united states, donald tru trump, and i think that theme might emerge. >> i think the republicans need to tread very carefully when questioning robert mueller, if they think that's going to be -- if he's going to be an easy political target, they should just look at old clips of democrats who tried to do the same at times, when robert mueller was fbi director, it never ended well. willie, i want to follow up with
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what john heilemann said, we understand that robert mueller lives in a black and white world, he's a man that believes there's right and wrong. he's an institutionalist at the same time, even he and his office was concerned that the attorney general's letter and the president of the united states' statements about the report before being released actually misled the american people, and undermined the legitimacy of the process, and i just -- i do find it hard to believe that he's going to sit there and just read the report and not at least provide some insight to taxpayers who pay tens of millions of dollars for his investigation to provide some insight about how he reached the conclusions that he reached and how he was constrained to draw conclusions on whether the president, in fact, obstructed justice, and
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whether other people in his office believed that the president of the united states obstructed justice. >> well, he laid out instances of obstruction of justice as we have been saying all morning, but said he couldn't pursue them because of the office of legal counsel policy that said a sitting president cannot be indicted. the question for me today will be as we watch this, is bob mueller willing to step even partially outside the lines or will he look down and read portions of his own report for every answer to every question. in other words, you are no longer the special counsel, you are a private citizen, as you looked at these cases, that looked like most of us to obstruction of justice, do you believe now as you sit here that it was obstruction of justice that the president asked don mcgahn to fire you, sir, when you were the special counsel. does that represent obstruction of justice? how will bob mueller answer that question or will he say that was not my mandate, that was not something i could pursue because of that memo. if he's asked about collusion,
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does this represent collusion, a trump tower meeting with donald trump jr., do you believe that's collusion, will he say, i can find no criminal conspiracy, if he sticks to the strict letter of the mueller report, we may not learn a lot. but if he's willing to as joe says talk about how he got there, and talk about his interpretation of some of the evidence he found, it could be a big day for democrats, and it could be a bad day for president trump. >> right. well, willie, i have talked with a couple members of the judiciary and intel committees this morning and what they tell me is they are going to focus very heavily on the five specific acts of obstruction, and try to get mueller to detail and tell the story, you know, bring this to life for the american people. it's one thing reading about this on the 440 page report, it's another if you hear the person, even if he reads strictly from the report say it out loud in that type of setting, the power of a congressional hearing and all the trappings and the wall-to-wall coverage, trying to
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bring that to life. one member told me their real goal is to tie the underlying acts of obstruction of justice with the underlying effort to have russia interfere in the election, and link those two together. at the end of the day, the people who commit these type of things, they obstruct, they're guilty, people who tell the truth, they're innocent. we have seen time and again, oversight committee, judiciary committee, anytime they ask this administration or any part of the trump campaign to answer subpoena, to answer questions, they get stone walled. they think there's a reason for that. they see this hearing as the one and best chance they're going to have not just to make the case for why the mueller report is important, credible, substantiative, but why going forward, their oversight activities are so important, and why the courts must uphold them. this is a permanent record, this is a documented transcripted hearing that will be cited in the upcoming court cases going on with the trump administration
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trying to block oversight. >> yeah, so then i guess yamiche, the next question is this report if you read it word for word, it's hard not to think impeachment would be the next step. how does nancy pelosi handle that, navigate that, especially for the part of the caucus that wants to impeach president trump, when they have actual legitimate reasons, sitting in front of them, spoken over the air waves by bob mueller. >> well, nancy pelosi is going to have to really watch this hearing, and make the decision of whether or not she wants to move off of what she says has been cautious, look into impeachment but not actually wanting to go as far as support impeachment. there are a growing number of people in her caucus who feel as though the president every day not only through what we learned in the mueller report but also through his actions in the last couple of weeks is really making the case that he should be impeached. i think that if robert mueller
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doesn't go outside the four walls of the report, it's going to be coming down to whether or not there's a political storm brewing and whether or not nancy pelosi feels that storm is big enough to necessitate moving her position. i will also think i think the president in his most recent tweets this morning also showed that he's very concerned about robert mueller's testimony mainly because of that surprise development he got yesterday which is that he's going to have aaron zebley a long time aide and somebody described as a deputy special counsel sitting next to him. the president said he would never agree to have aaron zebley next to him so republicans brokered the deal that aaron can sit there. he's going to be sworn in as a witness and intel testimony, so there could be fireworks here and president trump is already signaling he's a bit worried about that. >> joe, on that point, the president in two tweets just in the last hour, and one just in the last few minutes has shown us what his strategy for the day
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is to under mine the session by saying that aaron zebley, he was the chief of staff when bob mueller was the director of the fbi. he shouldn't be there. he calls zebley a never trumper. he has no known party affiliation, "the washington post" reports he's never donated to a candidate from either party, and we should remind our viewers that robert mueller himself is a long time republican. >> long time republican as is everyone else that was a part of the congressional investigation when republicans ran, boeth sids of pennsylvania avenue. john heilemann, it's funny, listening to a president panicking and bringing up a guy's name who nobody has heard of before. he's desperate, and the president follows polls closely. a poll comes out, what 60% of republicans think that robert
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mueller conducted a fair investigation. >> that's right. 60. >> when you're the president of the united states, and you have 60% of the people in your own party believing that robert mueller conducted a fair investigation after, may i remind everyone, after the president called it a witch hunt for a year and a half or so repeatedly, now the poor guy, and i really -- i tend to feel sorry for him this morning, fumbling with his phone, trying to find something to attack. he gets this guy nobody has heard of, calls him an ever trumper and we don't know if this guy has any party affiliation. what's he going to be doing, whispering into robert mueller's ear. it's really, rather sad. >> sad and indicative of the notion we have been hearing this reporting coming out of the white house, and i'm not
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disparaging the journalists providing it because i'm sure this is what they're being told by the white house, trump is not worried anymore, this storm has passed, they were much more concerned six months ago, and there's no doubt that things have turned in the president's favor over the course of the last three months for reasons we have discussed but i think the idea that the president is not concerned about this day, that he's not worried about the impact of it i think is ridiculous, and you can see it already coming through in the tweets in the way you described. i want to go back, though, quickly to this question of robert mueller. i can't say more strongly, it's like, you know, bob mueller, we hear yesterday from the attorney general that mueller sought guidance from the justice department, that that was what prompted the letter the other night that said he shouldn't go, they reaffirmed the notion, they don't want him to go outside the report. the reality is bob mueller doesn't work for the justice department. his obligation is not to the department of justice or bill
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barr, especially after the way the report was treated by bill barr. his obligation is the history to the american people right now. if you remember, joe, it's something forgotten by a lot of people is that after the report came out, after it was mischaracterized, after mueller's press conference when he said, you know, the reason that we didn't make a determination of obstruction of justice was because of the olc policy. bill barr himself, in an interview said that he thought that he expected mueller to rule on that question. >> right. >> exactly. so john, by the way, you're exactly right, john, the attorney general of the united states of america attacked robert mueller as did a lot of republicans, rudy giuliani attacked robert mueller. as did a slew of republicans for not reaching a conclusion on obstruction of justice. >> correct. >> so as a private citizen, i
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think he has a duty, i think he has a responsibility to tell the american people what his conclusions are. and again, these republicans, including the attorney general have already waived any objections they might have by criticizing him previously for not reaching those conclusions. >> correct. the attorney general of the united states, i think, gave, by telling the world that bob mueller was wrong to have interpreted the olc policy to mean that he could not reach a conclusion on obstruction of justice by saying that publicly on the record and criticizing bob mueller, he has given him effectively, how much more license does bob mueller need now to answer that question if it's posed to him directly. the attorney general himself put it in play, and i think if bob mueller refuses to answer that question today, he'll be doing a grave disservice to his own work and a grave disservice to the american people. >> as a judge might say, you opened up the door, counselor,
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and these republicans that attacked him opened the door. robert mueller should walk through it for the sake of the american people who have spent millions and millions of dollars so he can conduct this investigation, and also because as john heilemann said, history is watching, and i will quote richard nixon in saying, the american people have a right to know whether their president is a crook. and though we do not expect robert mueller to draw that conclusion, he certainly can give us more guidance because that's what rudy giuliani and that's what the attorney general of the united states said he should have done. he should give us more guidance on his legal basis for saying the things that he said about those ten possible obstruction of justice scenarios. >> and he left those, remember, out twisting.
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here are these ten cases, here's an entire volume of evidence that lays out obstruction of justice. congress, the ball is in your court. as part of the investigation now, congress has called robert mueller and has the chance to ask him point-blank and ask follow ups about details of those instances of obstruction of justice. as we know, kurt bardella, as robert mueller said, i will not be testifying beyond what is in the report, the report is my testimony. that's not going to hold up today. here he is sitting before congress. he will ask follow ups, he can not get away with an eight or nine minute statement. do you expect bob mueller to go outside the corners of this. is he going to take this moment in history, i'm a private citizen now. this is my question to answer these questions once and for all, walk away from it and let congress do what it will with my testimony, and let the american people decide what they want congress to do with my testimony. >> i think he could go outside of it. it's contingent on the members leading him there, and joe
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understands this having served in congressme. these hearings are won and lost in the preparation stages. which members have done their homework. which members have read the material and are familiar with it. there are a lot of things that have happened since the release of the report and now that they will ask him about. they're going to ask about whether he agrees when president trump tweets, no obstruction, no collusion, do you agree with that mr. mueller, that's going to be one of the first questions we're going to hear at this hearing what was his reaction when bill barr released that four-page summary memo, what was his interaction with the justice department, what was his guidance to them when he wrote his response tell them this isn't exactly accurate. >> why won't he give it? >> i think he needs to give it. i'm curious what your thoughts are, what you have heard from the hill. i know you have been talking to members on the hill about this hearing. you and i both are familiar with congressional hearings and there are a lot of high stakes
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congressional hearings where a member on your side will say something, and you'll just put your head in your hands because obviously they're letting the person off the hook. have you heard that the democrats really have this game down? that they really have this plotted out, that this is not just going to be a desperate attempt by members of the committee to get their time on national television grand stand and not advance a larger narrative? >> the members i have talked to this morning, they feel very confident. they have done their homework. they were helped by the fact that this hearing was supposed to happen a week ago, and it's happening now. members are looking back, remember at the end of last year, there was a deposition with former fbi director james comey and if you look at transcript, republicans, jim jordan conducted themselves, the line of questioning that they k
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to -- they took, they're expecting similar now, hear things about the steele dossier, and text messages with lisa page and pet pet peter strzok. and misinterpreting this hearing as an interview on fox news, that they're going to actually incite mueller to go outside of where he's going to go. it might provoke him to go further by their efforts to try to discredit the report and protect donald trump. >> and mika, kurt brings up a great point about the entire basis of this investigation, how it began. the last thing the republicans want to do is lie about the basis of this investigation because they will have robert mueller there who will be able to say that the steele dossier actually was discovered several
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months after the investigation itself began. and so that would be a terrible mistake by the republicans but if they want to make that mistake and help the democratic party, that's on them. as for jim jordan going up against robert mueller, all i can say is beware. >> oh, my goodness, yes. >> and in the words of sarah mclaughlin, this is going to hurt like hell. >> i think so and it's not about politics, it's not about personality, and trump. it's about the country and that's what we're going to be hearing today. republicans really need to focus on that, come what way. kurt bardella, yamiche thank you so much. opening an investigation into the president immediately after trump fired james comey, the former fbi official joins us live ahead of bob mueller's testimony now just about an hour
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away. you're watching "morning joe," we'll be right back. then i have an article ii where i have the right to do whatever i want as president. >> when the president does it, that means it's not illegal. >> whatever i want as president. >> that means that it is not illegal. president. >> that means that it is not illegal. who used expedia to book the vacation rental that led to the ride ♪ which took them to the place where they discovered that sometimes a little down time can lift you right up. ♪ flights, hotels, cars, activities, vacation rentals. expedia. everything you need to go. expedia. liberty mutual customizes your car insurance, hmm. exactly. so you only pay for what you need. nice. but, uh... what's up with your... partner? not again. limu that's your reflection. only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty, liberty, liberty, liberty ♪
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welcome back, joining us now, former acting u.s. solicitor general in the obama administration and current professor of law at georgetown university, attorney neal katyal, his latest op-ed is entitled, with three simple answers, mueller can speak volumes. also with us, author and nbc news presidential historian, michael, and now msnbc political analyst, claire mccaskill. happy birthday, claire. >> thank you, mika. >> you're welcome. >> what are the three questions or the three things that robert
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mueller can say that will be extraordinarily clarifying to the american people. >> look, ordinarily, the law is complicated but here the questions are simple. the president said after the mueller report was finished, no collusion, no conspiracy, totally exonerates the president. the three simple questions, number one, mr. mueller in your report did you find no obstruction. number two, did you find no conspiracy or collusion, and question number three, did your report totally exonerate the president. the answers to those questions are all undoubtedly no, and devastating for the president. all that congress needs to do today is draw attention to what the report says. they don't need mueller to go beyond the report, just tell us in plain words what it says. >> and senator mccasino kig kki you're sitting on the committee, what's the question you want answered. >> i want robert mueller to
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bring to life the fact that he asked the white house counsel of the united states of america to fabricate evidence, to fraudulently put in writing false evidence and because of that, the white house counsel acted like anyone with morals would act. he began to think about cleaning out his desk and was going to resign. so it corroborates, if you're a lawyer in court, that corroborates what the president asked him to do. that in and of itself is criminal, and something everyone in america should be talking about over dinner tonight. >> and let me ask you, michael beschloss as a historian, what parallels, is may not be john dean in watergate, is it oliver north, perhaps? does it reach that level? are we going to be asleep at the
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end of this? >> i think there's a big possibility we'll be asleep depending on what mueller says. you mentioned john dean, i think you're absolutely right. that would be at one end of the scale if you're talking about testimony in history that has moved public opinion against a president. that was june 1973. there were rumors and there was some evidence that nixon might have been involved in the watergate coverup. john dean comes in and says i've got news for you, president nixon was at the center of the coverup, and i know it because he tried to recruit me to help him and i can give you all sort of dialogue that you have not heard that i heard with my own ears in private. that moved public opinion against richard nixon in a very big way for the first time. i don't think we're likely to see that today. >> neal, let's take your questions, which i think are the right ones, if robert mueller decides to answer them. if he sticks to what he said in the eight, nine minute statement
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of a couple of months ago, the report is my testimony, i will only recite the testimony back to you effectively. if he's asked did your report find there was no collusion, he will say, my mandate was to pursue criminal conspiracy, collusion is not a legal term, i did not look at collusion, what would be your follow up to that. >> when you said that you found no criminal conspiracy, what standard did you apply there, and the answer is there he applied a high standard to criminal beyond a reasonable doubt standard but the report lace out in pain staking detail everything up to tiptoeing up to the line of conspiracy. just going through those facts as senator mccaskill said i think is a damaging thing for the president. you have a president who says russia, if you're listening, where are the 30,000 e-mails and all of a sudden, lo and behold there come the e-mails. it may not be the direct one-to-one conspiracy that we as prosecutors would look to in the
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justice department but it's something very devastating, something the american people need to know. >> ooi'm interested in your vie of the question that robert mueller is a private citizen, not bound by justice department regulations or what william barr may have instructed him to do. do you suspect, knowing what you know about robert mueller, had he may be more unshackled, more free to discuss not just the letter or his report but how he pursued his investigation and the evidence that he used to reach his conclusions? >> there's two pieces to the question, one is mueller and the other is the special counsel regulations that he's now lifted himself from. with respect to mueller, this is a by the book person through and through, so i don't expect him to go far beyond the four corners of his report. the special counsel regulations when we wrote them in 1999, we looked for someone outside the justice department to serve as special counsel when a need arises, the reason for that is we were worried about an attorney general who would
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muzzle the testimony or the descriptions of his investigations to the american people. someone from the outside who the attorney general couldn't directly control was important and that may well be playing out here. in the last two days, we have seen this battle of letters betwe between mueller and barr. >> i want to ask you about a discussion we were having in the previous block about history having its eyes on robert mueller today, you know, i'm curious what you think history's judgment as a historian, what you think history's judgment will be of bob mueller, if he doesn't rise to a challenge that i think is central here. you know, the special counsel basically said i couldn't reach a determination on obstruction of justice because there was this long standing policy. the attorney general subsequently came out and said, oh, you know, he was wrong about that, bob mueller was wrong about that.
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he should have reached a conclusion on obstruction of justice. does bob mueller not now owe it to history to rise to this moment and say, okay, the attorney general has put this in play, i'm going to answer that question because that is the question the american people want to know. would donald trump have been indicted for obstruction of justice if he weren't the sitting president. >> that's so fascinating, john, and that's why what we're going to see today is going to be so interesting to watch because, you know, is robert mueller, you know, his view, much of the way that history looks back on robert mueller will be not only the report but what he says today. and if he simply says read my report or, you know, something that sounds just like that, people will say that he had a very limited view of his role here and did not take a next step, whether he believes or not, if he goes on and says, all right, i'm going to depart from the report, and give you my characterization of it, and the action plan i think should be
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taken on the basis of the report, history will look at him very differently. we don't have the answer at this moment. by 2:00 today, we will. >> neal, i'm curious what you think about barr: it looks like to me what barr was doing when he said that was he was betting that mueller wouldn't go there. he was so confident that mueller is by the book that he could almost taunt him like this, and say, well, sure you could reach a conclusion because that protects the president, and we all know barr is not about the law at this point, he's about protecting the president. what about this, will he go beyond the four corners of the report when it comes to defending the fbi? >> i think he might. so i mean, i feel like barr has treated mueller the same way as barr treats the united states supreme court which is like this almost pretend notion of they're going to do whatever we want them to do, and we can bully them, and control them into a
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certain set of behaviors. but mueller is, you know, his own man and when the attorney general opens the door, and i don't think barr has totally thought this through because barr's typical strategy is suppress, muzzle, muzzle, when he said that he was trying to take a pot shot at mueller by saying, oh, you could have reached a conclusion, not fully realizing the chess board and the fact that this hearing is now about to happen, and it occurs under a very different circumstance than when mueller turned in his report. when mueller turned in thhis report, he thought the rule was i can't indict a sitting president, and label you a criminal and say i would have indicted you. now barr has said, oh, no, you couch ma could have made that judgment. >> you think mueller needs to answer this question, right? on the legal merits, the political merits, he's got to answer this question. >> and frankly, as taxpayers, we paid for this investigation, we should know there's no one in this country who knows more
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about the answer to question than mueller. do your job, the attorney general said you can answer the question. answer the question. >> would you look to the attorney general's own words to be used against him when he announced he and rod rosenstein looked at the evidence and found there was insufficient evidence to indict the president for obstruction of justice. >> i think we'll get some questions about that because that was just a bizarre determination by the attorney general, made 36 or 48 hours after he got the report. you know, this is a long 448 page report. it lacked a lot of credibility, right when it came out. i think it's one thing in the matrix of things to talk about today. to me, the ball game is really mueller, what did you think, how did you reach the conclusions you did, what were your conclusions? >> you know, claire mccaskill, your young son once said and used different words than i'm going to use right now, you were once the best prosecutor in kansas city. >> that's true.
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>> and so you understand better than any of us here that when a judge reaches a conclusion or when you put a brief together to send to the court, yes, you've got the four corners of that brief but my god, the investigation, the research, the legal research, all the things that go into that, that shape that document could probably fill two or three rooms in some cases. it seems to me disingenuous for robert mueller to say i'm only going to speak about what's on this report when you know that every word was measured carefully, and every conclusion that was or was not reached was the subject of weeks, if not months of debate. it seems that we the american people have a right to know what their thought process was as they were putting this report together. >> well, let's just assume worst
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case scenario. let's assume that bob mueller disappoints all of us and stays within the four corners o. repo -- of the report. what i want to point out is a good prosecutor could convince a jury based on what is in this report. there is plenty of evidence in this report. the key is going to be can the members of these committees have the discipline, and do they have the training to ask the questions in a way that illuminates that. i'm really fearful that there will be too many members that will try to have their moment in the sun. they will try to grand stand. they will not allow the report to be the star witness. and that's really the star witness today. you know, i looked on the committee. there are a few that have courtroom experience. a lot of them are lawyers, and have never been near a jury, but for those who have been near a jury, i'm depending on them to realize the people watching are the jury and they have got a crystallize this report, they've got to boil it down.
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they've got to make it simple, they've got to tell a story. i think adam schiff will be good at this. he's a courtroom prosecutor and he's very good about the way he questions. i have less optimism about the legions of members that are going to try to grab the camera today. >> that's why it's so important that they actually have coordinated their questions, that they have coordinated the narrative they want to put forward, not only in the hearing room but to the american people, the millions and millions of americans that are going to be watching this, mika. >> they have to keep their eye on the ball. this is about the country. it's not about them. michael beschloss and neal c katyal, thank you both. president trump is lashing out about robert mueller's congressional testimony. former acting director of the fbi andrew mccabe. >> good evening.
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that's not andrew mccabe there. >> the president just tweeted about mcgabe. >> oh, good. >> and a member of the judiciary committee, among those interviewing the special counsel. >> this is all going to take place under an hour from now. we are awaiting that testimony and we'll be right back with much more "morning joe." and we'll be right back with much more "morning joe." most people think a button is just a button. ♪ that a speaker is just a speaker. ♪ or - that the journey can't be the destination. most people haven't driven a lincoln. discover the lincoln approach to craftsmanship
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welcome back, it's 44 past the hour, and the testimony by robert mueller is less than an hour away. joining us now a member of the house judiciary committee, democratic congressman joe neguse of colorado. what are you hoping to hear today? >> thank you for having me on. i would say this, listening to the program a few moments ago, your admonition that members keep their eye on the ball is something we're taking to heart, folks on the committee are disciplined and giving the opportunity to the special counsel to talk directly to the people. it will be the first time the intelligence committee and the
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congress and the american people will finally have an opportunity to hear directly from the special counsel, to hear him describe his factual findings, the disturbing and serious evidence of criminality that he and his team uncovered and the conclusions that they reached as a result thereof so i'm certainly looking forward to hearing his testimony unfiltered and being able to hear from him about his exhaustive investigation. >> what do you think in terms of especially the american public because there are, you know, concerns that there aren't support for really trying to have oversight over some of the things that have happened because the public support isn't there. war some of the pieces of the mueller report that you are hoping will be brought to life, and do you think it's important for americans to know that perhaps they have overlooked during all of this time? >> so, i would say this, my colleague, congressman from y d maryland said he doesn't think
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there are going to be bomb shells, you think that's right, but those of us who read the report, understand there are plenty of bomb shells within the document, the 440-page report that the special counsel prepared contains evidence of criminality, the various acts of obstruction of justice that are detailed at great length in the report that i'm hopeful the special counsel will provide clarity and context about today during the hearing. part of the challenge which has frustrated me and i know many other members of congress is the fog of confusion that really is permeated the public discourse on the special counsel's report and that is a direct by product of this attorney general and the way in which he off, we are still in some respects dealing with that fog today and trying to punch through it, and hopefully today's hearing will be an important milestone in that regard. >> speaking of attorney general
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barr, what's your view of his instructions to stay within the confines of his report in his testimony today. do you believe bob mueller is bound by that instruction? >> no, i was not particularly surprised by the attorney general's letter. it's consistent with the pattern in my view of congress's ability to conduct oversight that this administration has been engaged in for the better part of the last year. there is no rule, no statute, no precedent that mandates or requires the special counsel to constrain his testimony within the four corners of the report, so i hope that he doesn't do that. we'll have to wait and see here within the hours as to how the hearing proceeds. >> congressman, i won't ask you to give away your game plan, 45 minutes before you step into the room, and begin listening to the testimony from robert mueller, but what has been the preparation, what has been the approach, what will people who tune in to watch this morning, millions of them see in your pursuit of questioning of bob mueller? >> yeah, well, without getting into the specifics of the questions that i intend to ask,
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i would say this, i think you are going to see a very disciplined group of members, half, i believe, of the democratic members on the committee are lawyers, like myself, and so i think we all are accustomed to experiences like this in terms of questioning witnesses. i am particularly interested as are the members of the judiciary committee on the house majority about the obstruction of justice, and i think that's going to be where our focus is. there's a lot of ground to cover in the report as you know, a variety of different incidents that are detailed at great length by the special counsel and i think it's important for the american public to finally be able to hear the special counsel talk about that evidence in greater detail, so i am hopeful that this hearing will be an important one, and that people will tune in. >> so congressman, there are a lot of members on the judiciary committee, they're all going to be there, the cameras will be on, always a dangerous moment potentially, what would you view as today's hearing resulting in a success? what would you define as a
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successful hearing? >> well, for me personally, i would define it as more americans walking away from the hearing having watched it today with a better understanding of the special counsel'sfindings. honestly, in my view, when you have 3% of the american public, according to some polls that have read the report when you have most members of congress who have not read the report, i can tell you, having read the report. having gone through a lot of the underlying evidence. and spent time at main department of justice reviewing some of the underlying evidence that has not been disclosed to the american public just yet. again, i just thing if we can walk away with the american public having a greater understanding of what is in the report and about the systemic and serious interference into our election by a foreign adversary and the way this president and this white house has conducted itself for the last two years i think it will have been time well spent. >> congressman, a little inside of baseball here, if you don't mind. one of the things in hearings
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like this, knew where you are in the pecking order in terms of questioning. i think there will be around 40 people that will have asked questions before it gets to you. so, what i want to know is, has there been, in what has been in many ways, an unprecedented attempt, to divide up the ten most factual predicates for obstruction of justice among the various members so we don't have typically what happens, and that is, oh, four people ago, they asked this question but it's my local news and i'm going to ask it again. because i'm worried how i'm go to be portrayed at home, instead of the overall message of the hearing. have you guys actually divided up the obstruction of justice charges in the report so that they all get covered? >> so, i don't want to get in front of my chairman, senator mccaskill. >> that would be dangerous. >> on the hearing, i think you'll be pleased with the cadence of the hearing and the
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way in which the democratic members are going to be devoting their times in terms of their questions. so i'll leave it there. i think if we come back on the program tomorrow, at least with respect to that particular question that you just posed that is something you'll be pleased with. >> as congressman was speaking, we're watching robert mueller arrive on capitol hill. his testimony will begin in just over 40 minutes from now. 8:30 a.m., east coast time. you there see the former special counsel walking in. congressman, we'll let you get inside and get ready for that testimony. congressman joe neguse, thank you for time. joe. willie, there was a time where these images would have, i think, a cause -- caused political firestorm on capitol hill. and across the country. americans anticipating testimony that could possibly bring down the president of the united states. that has not obviously not the says now.
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many people believe michael beshlaw being one. the possibility that robert mueller's testimony may in fact be quite dull. that they may stick to the four corners of the report itself. though, again, if you actually have read the report, the four corners of that report are fairly shocking. i do think, though, willie, that expectations have been driven so low that just about any news that is made in the mueller hearings will become headline grabbing. and will certainly push the political narrative, at least for the next couple of days. >> yeah, if robert mueller who spent two years looking at this case and investigating and considering all of the evidence is asked the question was there collusion. if he is asked the question about obstruction of justice, if he is asked all of these questions yes or no, whatever he says there makes news one way are 0 the other. we are a country, obviously that has made up their minds on so many things.
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the truth is, we can't say it enough, most people have not fully absorbed the details. they know the broad strokes. the president has made his claim, no collusion, no obstruction, those aren't true, of course. when it comes from the man's mouth, one man who you can say has taken a clear-eyed look at the evidence, without the political affiliation and politics on his mind as he considered it, and he testifies just over 30 minutes from now and explains to the american public, what he found, how he found it, and why he came to the conclusions he does, that still holds a lot of weight. it may not end in the conclusion what some people on either side want it to end. but we will hear definitively from his mouth just over 30 minutes from now. robert mueller will testify on capitol hill, as we said, he's now arrived there. and testifying in the raburn house office bidding just over 30 minutes from now. ari melber said we can expect to see a rarity in washington.
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answers shorter than the questions. nbc's chief legal correspondent joins us. we are back in just three minutes. this was me before liberty mutucustomized
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why did no one go to the mosque and say who are these guys? they may attend here. why was that not done since such a thorough job was done? >> your facts are all in altogether -- >> well, i point out specifically -- >> may i finish my -- >> i point out specifically, sir, if you're going to call me a liar, you need to point out specifically where any facts are wrong. >> we went to the mosque prior to boston. >> prior to boston? >> prior to boston. >> would you be willing to take a polygraph yourself if that were the case? >> yes, indeed, that is my belief -- this may be my training from the marine corps, you don't ask people to do that
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of which you're not willing to do yourself. i have already taken a polygraph. >> the only reason i asked that question, i know you have. it's important for me -- how did you do? >> i'm sitting here, that's all i got to say. >> see, that's what i'm talking about. if you're louis, louis, don't take on robert mueller. >> yeah. >> a few flashbacks there. >> don't do it. i've seen democrats try to do it at times. it doesn't end well. louis, it didn't end well there. it's not going to end well today. >> to the man we will soon seen live on capitol hill in just about 30 minutes from now. former special counsel bob mueller will testify. welcome back to "morning joe." it is wednesday, july 24th. with joe, willie and me, we have msnbc contributor mike barnicle. national only lift for nbc news and msnbc, john heilemann. former u.s. senator now on ms
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news and msnbc analyst claire mccaskill. and host of "the beat" on msnbc ari melber. and former acting fbi director and author of the book "the threat: how the fbi protects america in the age of terror and trauma" andrew mccabe. >> great to have you everybody with us. let's go to ari melber first. ari is live in the shot. let's go to ari's shot right there, to set it up. he is, of course, where everybody would expect him to be in stockholm, sweden, to tell us about asap rocky. >> asap rocky. >> not really. >> yeah, my god, ari, we need to talk about that at another time. >> another time. >> absolutely outrageous what's happening there. but let's talk about today. set it up for us, what can you report? >> i'll set it up for you, first what i'm seeing then what we expect to happen inside. just behind me as our viewers saw a few moments ago, we saw
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bob mueller walk through here obviously not taking questions and proceed. i just spoke to some members of congress. you mentioned the democrats are huddling now. that's a shot as he entered the raburn office building within the last ten minutes. it's bedlam here, joe, longer lines than i've ever seen. as i mentioned, democrats huddling here. we know he were hudding dock mock sessions practicing since last night. every seat spoken for, the placard with bob mueller's name on the table. it feels like high drama. what we expect bob mueller to do, something so rare in washington, joe, give shorter answers than the questions he receives pipe know the republican knows and the democrats know, if you look at past hearing tape. the question is what do do with a witness who already warned america he wants to stick to his report and knows better than anyone how questions are asked and how to answer them
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succinctly. i think we'll see pairing out of the gate with chairman nadler and others we'll see which bob mueller shows up and just how constrained or concise he intends to be. joe. >> ari, it's going to be interesting. we've been talking about the democrats whether they're going to be prepared. whether they're going to be coordinated. whether they're going to get out of robert mueller what they need to get out of him. and the question which we really haven't focused on this morning and we should probably, whether or not there's going to be a republican member of congress to focus -- the lie, the lie that the attorney general of the united states himself has been putting forward for months now that this investigation began and that the fisa warrants were based upon the steele dossier. when, of course, that is a total lie. the time line doesn't match up. and i just wonder how many of these republicans are going to continue lying today when they have the guy in front of them
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that will be able to blow those lies to little pieces? >> reporter: joe, i think you're putting the finger on it. there's a real question here and you see it in the way donald trump and his allies have talked about it. as well as his republican friends on his committee. if you want to say that the findings of mueller report don't really basically damage the president that much, and thus, you want to support mueller and his team and the entire program they ran, or do you want to do something else? if you say the republicans are going to do that early off and set the tone if the republicans want to make this a question about the origin story. and the "star wars" story, the prequels and how they start, i think they get bob mueller's ire up which he defends himself and he defends the men and women of the fbi on that. >> yeah, well, not only that, but willie, if they do the prequel route as ari said
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they'll look at foolish as beaks. as we know the time line doesn't match up to the attorney general, that remember, republican members of congress, that donald trump and the administration and his lawyers have been laying out for some time about the origins of this investigation, and it didn't start with the steele dossier. and i'm really curious to see if a republican will be stupid enough to push that lie, in front of robert mueller, the guy who once and for all can lay that lie to rest. >> first of all, joe, unnecessary slander of juniar j binks on an important morning. i've got to say george lucas said the whole thing rise and fell on -- but go ahead. >> to ari's line, that is the line of questioning. we've already gotten the preview which the republicans will preview. the fisa report and the dossier.
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and andrew mccabe, you know robert mueller. you've actually helped to prepare robert mueller for testimony in the past. i'm curious how you think he's approaching this two series of testimonies. first before judiciary, and before the intel committee. does he actually view it as just reciting what's in the report as he claimed in that eight, nine-minute statement of a couple months ago, and just strictly answers within the letter of the report? or do you believe he sees this as a moment in history as a moment of clarity to close the chapter in this, and perhaps to say things not in the report to provide interpretation of his findings? how is he approaching this, do you suspect? >> well, willie, i think he's approaching this entire experience the way he has every other testimony in his life is to study assiduously, and go through the details of that report. i'm sure he's been doing that for weeks and has great
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assistance in that preparation. he'll be well prepared. as far as sticking to the report, i think he'll make every effort as he possibly can to stick within the 400 pages of that report. he's told us that is his intention. he is a guy that follows through on the plan that he sets out so he'll make every effort to do that. but i don't think that's a problem for the committee. certainly not for the democrats. the report is thick. if is dense. it includes reams of information about very serious acts of obstruction committed by the president with the assistance or attempted assistance of those around him. so if the democrats stay within the substance of the report, i think it can accomplish the goal of getting these findings communicated to the public in the most clear and insightful way possible. >> if there is a change in the dynamic today, andrew, as you know, attorney general bill barr
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said wait a minute, the office of legal counsel policy did not say -- i don't believe anyway barr said that you cannot indict a sitting president. he was free to do that, he said, of mueller, if he wanted to. does that change the way robert mueller approaches this testimony? can he talk more freely with what he would have done with these ten cases of obstruction of justice laid out in the report? had he known that and been somewhat liberated by what attorney general barr said recently? >> you know, willie, i think it's more likely that mueller will disagree with that characterization. not in a personal way. you know, he's the last guy on earth who's going to let this evolve into a personal conflict between he and the attorney general. but he's very specific in the report that they proceeded from that kind of foundational assumption, that an indictment of the president was not possible under the current department of justice regulations. so, even just to get him to repeat that and to explain his thinking by that very clearly, that would stand in such obvious
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and glaring contrast in the comments that the attorney general has made. >> andy, given director mueller's reticence, given his nature, could it be that the power of the yes or no answers to questions asked, could be quite revealing? and i was wondering, do you have any questions in mind, yes or no questions, that you would like to see addressed to director mueller today? >> well, mike, i do think that the yes and no answers could be very powerful. and it also gives you an opportunity, as a questioner, to control those responses with leading questions which i think is something that director mueller would comply with pretty easily. i think the upfront questions are those that you folks discussed just a few minutes ago. did you find no -- there was no collusion between the president and his campaign. and the russian government. i think the answer to that is very clearly going to be no. did you exonerate the president? that is, did you find that he had not committed any acts that
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could constitute obstruction of justice? the answer to that would be no. those answers in and of themselves i think would be helpful to the democrats on the committee. i would then get him, based on his long experience as a prosecutor, to acknowledge that every day in thousands of courts around the country, cases are proved against subjects by prosecutors presenting evidence of each one of the essential elements of a crime. then getting him to acknowledge that the essential elements of the crime of obstruction are, of course, an obstructive act. and nexus to proceeding and the intent to obstruct. then i would walk him through the three or four most egregious examples. you have ten to pick from. we're not going to get to all of them, and have him recite the evidence that supports the element of each crime in a few of those examples. i think that testimony would be very powerful. and i think it's information that most of the country is not familiar with.
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>> ari, it's hammon here i want to ask you about the work you've been doing on mueller's testimony in the past. we've come away with headlines on what mueller is. these tacit, he's reserved. he's subdued. all of these headlines. but the reality is robert mueller has been at the center of big moments in history, stretching back to 9/11 and even before. he is a person who has done a lot of testimony on this very big stage which may be the biggest stage he's ever commanded, the one with the brightest lights. so i ask you, just looking back at all of his past performances, i know he'stheatrical, but does he have a sense of the gravity of the moment. and the kind of impact this moment could have and in the past with similar moments has he
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risen to them in a way, even within the confines of his character, has he risen to those moments and seen them the way they are, which is to be definitive and do something that left a mark, in some sense, on history. >> well, john, in the 60-plus congressional appearances that we analyzed we found that he would argue and analysts would argue that he rises to the moment by holding the line by being fair and measured. with historical record as we await bob mueller's testimony this morning to know where other officials have gone big and been dramatic, we've been able to compare those times to when bob mueller speaks and he still effectively keeps things very close to the vest, very careful and dry. what we see with bob mueller is someone who doesn't see his role as going beyond what others have found and let others interpret it. i think that's important as americans watch this undoubtedly historic significant testimony this morning.
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if bob mueller found substantial evidence of potential crimes in the white house, what the report calls the obstructive acts, his view is, he's laid that out. he'll answer clarifying questions. he'll speak to the details. by the way, that alone might be really bad for donald trump for people watching at home and listening and some people learning about it for the first time. what he won't do is get ahead of congress' job to decide what that means and what to do about it. mr. mccabe who knows this so well and what he knows from experience talks about whether mueller will rule out the claims that there was quote/unquote obstruction. i think that's a fascinating perception. but i wouldn't expect him to go full comey and give a private citizen's opinion of the way he worded it in the report. >> so, mika, we're now 17 minutes away from the beginning of this hearing and of course, we'll be covering it throughout the day on msnbc, i'm curious what do you want to see from this hearing? >> i want to see democrats and
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republicans sticking to what matters from the country. i don't need to hear anybody making a side show of themselves. neither democrat nor republican. i think we need to stick to the facts. i think that when people use their imagination and get into the personality of this, it's when we go off course. and i'm talking about the media, but i'm also talking about politicians in washington. we should all be caring about the same thing. and there's a lot in this report that we all need to look at. and there's only one way to read this report in terms of the facts of the matter. so, i'm hoping that we can all keep it within the lines. especially those who are taking part in these hearings today. it sounds like they're ready. again, continuing coverage right here on msnbc, all day long. we're going to sneak in one break before the testimony begins. stay right here with "morning joe." we'll be right back. >> i hesitate to speculate because i have just a peedz iec
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live pictures from the nation's capital. robert mueller is momented away from testifying before congress. we're going to be covering this live on msnbc all day long. claire mccaskill, as we get ready and prepare to listen to the questions and the answers, aside from reading from the mueller report itself, what would you ask bob mueller? >> well, i would certainly ask him the questions that we've talked about this morning. making tight cross-examination questions that he can answer truthfully and very quickly. because he will do that. especially if you contain the evidence that he found in the report.
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but, mika, one of the things i want to point out here is the irony of the contrast between the two men that are at center stage today. robert mueller and donald trump. you couldn't have more stark differences between the two. one, said, please, i want to go fight for my country. decorated war hero. no bone spurs for robert mueller. someone who has revered the rule of law. some would say almost to a fault, playing it by the book. protecting the differences that we have in this country between the rule of law and politics. that invades the rule of law. and then you've got a guy in the white house who lies like most people brush their teeth. somebody who doesn't even -- isn't comfortable with the truth. who doesn't understand or respect the rule of law. who is all about him. more, it's not about mueller today. he will make it about the men and women who interviewed
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hundreds of witnesses, subpoenaed millions of documents and got to the bottom of what happened. and i just am struck by that because these are two different animals. unfortunately, the one with all of the integrity is going to be in the hearing room. the one without the integrity is in the white house. >> on twitter. john, the substance ride now there's a divided democratic party about whether impeachment charges or at least an impeachment inquiry should be brought against donald trump. >> yep. >> what are you looking for today? and what impact do you think these hearings could have whatever direction the democratic party and the house of representatives 12k50decides take? >> i think this is it, joe. this is the moment that we've been waiting for. bob rubin used to say, when thinking about planning for the future when he was secretary of the treasury, he would say, events will occur. and events, you can never predict what they're going to
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be. and they would affect the course of history and changes in his case the economic policy based on the external events. this is the external event. we know what the public opinion is on impeachment. this, we've been waiting for for some months. if there's going to be an appreciable shift in public opinion that will change nancy pelosi's mind that will get her to rewlent and see that there's a requirement to proceed with an impeachment hearing and that the politics of it are acceptable, or at least tolerable. the risks are at least tolerable, this hearing will have to have a large impact on public opinion. because where public opinion is right now is not enough for nancy pelosi and the democratic leadership to proceed. today is going to be determinative of whether or not we see impeachment process or not. and i think that then turns back to the question we've been asking all morning which is, what does robert mueller do today? and does he see his obligation here primarily as an obligation to stick to the rules and stick
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to what the justice department has told him to do? or does he, rather, see his obligation being to history and the american people and trying to tell people whether in fact if donald trump were not the sitting president he would have been indicted for obstruction of justice. >> andrew mccabe, as we look at the empty chair that in a moment will be filled by robert mueller in the raburn office building. we say members of congress fileding in the meeting room waiting for robert mueller. there seems to be an assumption by a lot of people here that there's not going to be any big news. that it's going to be' recitation of the 448-page report of bob mueller. that he has to stick to that report. to you, andrew, what would change the narrative coming into this? and as we come back to it, what would make this a big day? >> , willie, i don't think we need a swing through the fences motel that mueller
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reveals a fact that none of us has never heard before. i think the simple fact of the indication of the incredible finding of this report will be news in itself. if you look back at his eight-minute statement of a few weeks ago it completely changed the way people were thinking and talking about the results in that report. now, you're going to have three hours in this committee alone of mueller in his own voice talking about the significance of the facts they uncovered in that investigation. i think that could be a remarkably revealing experience for the country. i hope it is. and so, we'll just have to see. >> yeah. it's so interesting, mike, following up on what claire said about contrasts between these men. the two subjects in this investigation, robert mueller and donald trump. of course, claire talked about military service. but you could also talk about frailty of the constitution of united states of america, and
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the oath that robert mueller took, the oath that robert mueller took as fbi director. and the oath that he also took in the current role that he's in. this is a man who has been driven by upholding constitutional norms his entire life, upholding the rule of law his entire life. and the topic, the subject of this investigation is a man who just told students yesterday, who told young americans yesterday, that the constitution, specifically article ii, allows him to do whatever he wants to do. grants him ultimate power, much like steven miller said in 2017. in february of 2017, that president has ultimate power and can do whatever he wants. what a marked contrast we have lined up today. >> that's right, joe. yesterday, as you just indicated, the president of the united states told these students, i have article ii.
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meaning him alone. today, the country has bob mueller. and one of the underrated aspects of today's testimony could be the fact that we live now in a country where people are sleepwalking through these things. there's been a new normal created by donald trump. and it's not normal at all. and one of the underlying factors that will be addressed hopefully at this hearing today is the fact that the united states of america was under attack from one of our sworn enemies, russia. ari, i'm wondering if you are looking toward anything -- we've been talking about obstruction all day long and the obstruction component of the report. but the russia report the part that deals with russia is truly something that might trigger, in bob mueller a sense of history, as john heilemann keeps looking for today. >> i think that's right, it's very important. as a reminder to viewers, we're about to see the mueller report testimony in reverse. because we're starting with this
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judiciary hearing on the obstruction. and that is the -- in mueller's words, substantial evidence that the president repeatedly interfered with the probe. and in the later midmorning, midafternoon, we get back to volume 1, which is the allegations around whether there was an election conspiracy. and they investigated that but didn't find the trump folks involved. so it's actually, when you think about those basics, it's a little bit until reverse. but the reason for that, of course, the mueller report was more damning on the president's alleged obstruction than on whether americans affiliated with trump did actually do enough to be charged for an election conspiracy. i think as we watch this hearing begin on the obstruction side, some things to watch for our questions that make robert mueller describe the strength of the evidence. when he said that some of these instances of obstruction had, quote, substantial evidence. and others had less, was he speaking in a spectrum? or was he trying to point to things that were actually
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crimes? that's something to watch for throughout the early questioning. >> all right. joe scarborough, why don't you give us the bottom line here. what are we looking for today and not looking for? >> yeah, well, i've just got to say, this is -- what we're going to be looking at today is an extraordinarily significant hearing. donald trump, despite what he says will be watching the entire time. millions of americans will be watching the entire time. and despite the fact that perhaps interest has waned a bit over the past several months because of misguided statements from the attorney general and the president of the united states, misleading statements, robert mueller iii has to know that history will be watching today. and history will remember what is said today. and whether we remain a nation of laws, whether we remain a nation where no man or woman is above the law, well, that will be determined at least attitud l
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attitudally by what robert mueller does today, he can play it safe, mika, or he can answer to history and tell the american people what they need to know. >> msnbc will have gavel to gavel coverage all day long. and brian williams picks up the coverage right now. ♪ well, good morning, here with nicolle wallace in new york. as we watch the hearing room. this will be interesting the usually highly punctual robert swan mueller iii should be coming in the door any moment now. >> any moment. and i think as joe just said, this is going to be a day where robert mueller makes history. whether he -- whichever path he chooses to stick to the letter of that report that really shook washington. shook this white house. or whether he does what democrats would like him to do
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and make more sweeping statements about the president's conduct in office. >> something like 15 days shy of his 75th birthday, he told us all in public, he did not want to do this. he did not want to speak again on this matter. but that was not to be. and he has two rounds today. >> yeah. i can't imagine robert mueller as someone who is proven wrong very often. you but what he said in that nine-minute press conference, i know you've reair ed it on your program and i've reaired on mine. that his report is the document. but that turns out not to be the case. >> if there is a criticism of the report, we'll get ready to go to chairman nadler here, it was how dense the copy was, 448 pages. how it was written for perhaps the attention span of another era in this country. >> yeah. and, listen, t

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