tv Deadline White House MSNBC July 24, 2019 1:00pm-2:01pm PDT
hearing. and coming up at the top of the hour, we turn it over to nicolle. our thanks to everyone who has helped us through the seven hours of live coverage. >> they all left. >> you have claire mccaskill, you have neil cattial, chuck rosenberg and chris haze and more, including our teams on capitol hill. frank and joyce are sticking around, among others. so thankfully is nicolle wallace, with whom we turn it over with pleasure at the 4:00 hour. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> it was not fun but history. it's 4:00 in new york. we're going to continue with our breaking news coverage of testimony today on capitol hill from special counsel robert mueller himself. donald trump and his first reaction since the end of those hearings just tweeted, quote, truth is a force of nature. for once we agree with him. in fact today's testimony revealed just a few uncomfortable truths for this president. first, that the obstruction of justice evidence, mueller's
investigation uncovered against him is vast and damaging and it could be enough to charge trump with a crime after he leaves office. second, that the mueller investigation was not a witch-hunt at all. the list of lies in trump's circles about conduct with russians is long and the bottom line, the president's claim he was totally exonerated by robert mueller's probe is false. >> the president has repeatedly claimed your report has found there was no obstruction and that it completely and totally exonerated him. but that is not what your report said, is it? >> correct, that is not what the report said. >> numerous trump associates lied to your team, to the grand jury and congress? >> a number of persons we interviewed and our investigation it turns out did lie. >> mike flynn lie? >> he was convicted of lying, yes. >> george papadopoulos convicted of lying? >> true. paul manafort convicted of
lying? >> true. >> paul manafort encouraged other people to lie? >> that is accurate. >> manafort's deputy gates lied? >> that is accurate. >> michael cohen's president's lawyer was indicted for lying? >> true. >> he lied to stay on message with the president? >> allegedly by him. >> and when donald trump called your investigation a witch-hunt, that was also false, was it not? >> i would like to think so, yes. >> your investigation is not a witch hunt? >> it is not a witch-hunt. >> could you charge a president with a crime after left office? >> yes. >> you can charge the president of the united states with obstruction of justice after he left office? >> yes. >> what about total exoneration, did you actually totally exonerate the president? >> no. >> now, in fact, your report expressly states it does not exonerate the president? >> it does. >> it sure does. just in the last hour robert mueller finally shedding some light on one of the most important and enduring mysteries of the investigation, why he didn't force the president to sit for an interview.
>> the expectation was if we did subpoena the president, he would fight the president and we would be in the midst of the investigation for a substantial period of time. >> right. but as we sit here, you've never had an opportunity to ask the president in person questions under oath, so obviously that must have been a difficult decision. and you're right, appendix c lays that out and indeed, i believe you described the in-person interview as vital. that's your word. and, of course, to be clear you had the authority and legal justification to do it. as you point out, you waited a year. you put up awith a lot of negotiations, and made numerous accommodations to lay out so he's not surprised. you tried to be fair with the president. in fact you did go with written questions about nine months, sir, right? and the president responded to those and you have some hard language for what you thought of those responses. what did you think of the president's written responses, mr. mueller? >> they were not as useful as the interview would be. >> in fact, you pointed out, and
by my count there were more than 30 times the president said he didn't recall, he didn't remember, no independent recollection, no current recollection. i take it by your answer that it wasn't as helpful, that's why you used words like incomplete, imprecise, inadequate, insufficient. is that a fair summary of what you thought of those written answers? >> that is a fair summary. >> the president didn't ever claim the fifth amendment, did he? >> i'm not going to talk to that. >> from what i can tell, sir, at one point it was vital and then another point it wasn't vital. and my question to you is, why did it stop being vital? i can only think of three explanations. one, somebody told you you couldn't do it. but nobody told you you couldn't subpoena the president? >> no, we understood we could subpoena the president. >> rosenstein didn't tell you, whitaker -- >> we could subpoena the president. >> two other reasons, one you just flinched, you had the opportunity but you didn't do it. stir, you don't strike me as the type of guy who flinches.
>> i hope not. >> i hope not too, sir. the third explanation i can think of is you didn't think you needed it. in fact what caught my eye was page 13 of volume two where you said in fact you had a substantial body of evidence and you cite a bunch of cases there, don't you, about how you often had to prove intent to obstruct justice without an in-person interview, that's the kind of nature of it, and you used term like a substantial body of evidence, significant evidence of the president's intent. so my question, sir, is did you have sufficient evidence of the president's intent to obstruct justice and that's why you didn't do the intervow? >> no, there's a balance. how much evidence did you have to satisfy the last element against how much time are you willing to spend in the courts litigating the interview with the president. >> that is where we start today helping us break it down, some of our most favorite reporters and friends. former chief spokesman for the department of justice, matt miller. msnbc and nbc national affairs
analyst john heilemann, associated press white house reporter jonathan lemire, mimi rocah, former federal prosecutor and u.s. attorney. and "the new york times" washington correspondent mike schmidt is here. matt miller, i want to start with you on the question of an interview with the president. jonathan and mike both reported extensively on the negotiations on the president's desire and public statements over and over and over again, i really want to talk to mueller. the reason he didn't do an interview with mueller is all of his friends and lawyers were positive he would lie. >> he would lie or admitted to facts that would have constituted a crime. but i have to say, i think there was something interesting that emerged. can you read between the lines and it somewhat came out during the questioning. one reason he didn't subpoena the president is it would take so long. the other is he was able to establish all of the elements proof he needed of the president's state of mind. he was able to show otherwise with interviews with other witnesses the things president said publicly, the things the president tweeted, what the president's intent was.
you could see as you look through the report several of the elements, he can show the president had corrupted justice. when you balance the time it would take to go through it, it wasn't something he needed when he had all of the proof to show the president committed acrime, even though he wasn't quite willing to say that during his report or testimony today. >> why do you think mr. mueller stopped short of subpoenaing the president for an interview? >> mueller explains the balancing act but you can see the frustration on the sides of the democrats. they're probably thinking the same thing the president's lawyers were thinking, trump probably could not get through an interview without making a false statement. if you're the democrats, you're probably a little disappointed they didn't go any further to get that interview and mueller seemed so determined to end the investigation in a timely manner. that was something that came up again today, which was sort of interesting. he didn't say a lot but if you
list enclosely, you can hear some themes and one of them was the notion he thought that the faster they could get to the end of this, the better. they knew the cloud this put over the country and that if they hastened it and knew there was no exclusicollusion or no conspiracy or whatever they were going to do on obstruction, they should move as quickly as possible to the end. that was clearly one of their goals. and mueller speaking how there was a cloud over individuals in this investigation, individuals who were not going to be charged, and they deserved, they had the right to have that cloud lifted. >> mike, you said in an interview on the daily last night you would be looking for robert mueller to answer whether or not he believed crimes were committed. did you get that answer today? >> no, no, he did not answer that. it looked like at one point today he had answered it in a back and forth i believe with
t ted lu but mueller coming out right in the beginning of the second half of the day and basically putting the kibosh and making any news and clarifying his statement there. so mueller not making a lot of news, not certainly answering the central question here, which was does he believe there was enough evidence to charge the president with a crime. >> lemire, your thoughts? >> i think two things are true. certainly, there are important things democrats will seize upon today. mike is right. that seemed like a jaw-dropping moment there. the seemingly admission from mueller he would have charged him with a crime were he not president. then later walked it back but he was forceful in suggesting this was not a witch-hunt, this was not a hoax. this was a serious matter for the american people. >> that's a did point because he was given plenty of chances -- it seems to me when a lawmaker went at him a couple times to make sure that was sure what he meant to say because the first session that started at 8:30
this morning, he was a little halting. that was from the first session. so they went after him a couple of times he could be charged as president and the answer from mueller was yes. >> yes, he was consistent and firm on that. that's what the democrats will look at. there's questioning from schiff and nadler in particular that produced moments we will see on cable time and time again. having said that the trumps and white house are downright dpleeful how it went. we've seen the president's twitter account but it's not just him, the son don jr., jay secular, rudy giuliani are not just suggesting mueller didn't land any points today but criticized mueller's performance himself, noting he was halting. at times he seemed detached and unsure of what was in the report. we will see it again in a few minutes when the president leaves the white house and aides tell reporters there he will be speaking about had. i think you will see him again to attack mueller's credibility
and all of the damaging findings were in the report. >> meaning money can buy you a gold toilet but not class. the idea after today they're going to continue with this line that mueller is out to get trump, that this was a partisan witch-hunt, is just, for lack of a better legal term, bananas. as we've discuss rd, mueller came across today as someone who, if anything, you know, did not want to implicate anyone and anything. i think he can be faulted for that a little bit but it's also his strength. it's his integrity. he's following the facts. he will do what he can but he's not going beyond that and certainly not going after donald trump. they can't have it both ways. >> i saved you for last to widen the lens a little bit. i have been sitting here since 8:30 and i know you started even earlier than that. but that means i'm staring at trees and missing the forest. what did you see today? >> there's a tellation in our business to focus on optics over
substance, and i think that you would be foolish not to focus a little bit on this. everyone said it's the movie, not the book. and this was an attempt to on both sides influence public opinion. how it came across does matter. and i think there's no doubt the bob mueller of the first half of the day and bob mueller of the second half of the day were second bob muellers. i think it had something to do -- and you can read it in this press conference in may he wanted to talk about the russia stuff in a way he was much more reluctant to talk about the obstruction matters. that skas operated the difference between the two hall ands the house judiciary committee is not the house intelligence committee and the house intelligence committee quipped it so much better today. adam schiff put on quite a show. his command of the fact and his prosecutorial skills and his
command of the facts meant -- and his understanding of mueller's psyche that he could do the most damage by playing to the short clip affirmative answers, not trying to mueller say things he was not going to want to say, not try to put mueller in a position where he would not fumble around and look for facts he could not quite recall but get him to say things that were made for television, that moment we played i think will get replayed a lot. having watched the whole thing, i doubt if you work with a democrat who thought today was the day where you would need to move the needle on public opinion in an appreciable way that will change the court of history, that will make it appreciably more likely that we begin impeachment proceedings -- we may still do that, but i think today will not be the day we look back and say, this changed the game for the people in the country who were up for grabs. i don't think it's going to change any republican minds who already decided the president's
been exonerated. and i think people in the middle will look at it and say, if they pay attention, which they should, they will see incredibly damning facts. in that schiff exchange with trump alone, there's enough there to impeach pretty much any president in my lifetime, except for this one. so we learn a lot. but do i think there will be a groundswell that will dramatically change the impeachment? no, i do not. >> i want to show you the schiff line of questioning but i also want to put out something in the story that "the times" just posted and i saw some of your colleagues tweeting during the testimony, while the question on impeachment may very well remain unchanged, some democrats you talked about a setback, the conversation about russia may be in a different place today than it was yesterday. also watch more of congressman schiff. >> from your testimony today, i gather that you believe knowingly accepting or
assistance during a presidential campaign is an unethical thing to do. >> and a crime. >> and a crime. >> a crime given the circumstances, yes. >> to the degree it undermines our democracies and institutions, we can agree it's also unpatriotic. >> true. >> and wrong. >> true. >> we should hold our elected officials to the standard higher of mere avoidance of criminality, shouldn't we? >> absolutely. >> the need to act in an ethical manner is not just a moral one but when people act unethically it also exposes them to compromise, particularly in dealing with foreign powers, is that true? >> true. >> because whether someone acts unethically in connection to a foreign partner, that foreign partner can later expose their wrong-doing and extort them. >> true. >> and that unethical conduct can be of a financial nature if you have a financial moat ifb or
elicit business deal, am i right? >> yes. >> but it involves a section that if you're lying about something that can be exposed, you can be black mailed. >> also true. >> michael, your first story today and i'm sure will be updated, the intelligence hearing due to the close became increasingly stark on his report rg about the 2016 election and how future efforts could soil american politics. >> yes, mueller clearly as heilemann was pointing out more interference and collusion than obstruction. by the end of the day he was leaning into those answers in ways he certainly wealth earlier on. i don't know whether he loosened up or got more relaxed or what it was, but he was saying things that certainly could be interpreted as more negative for the president and more sounding the alarm about russia. and that sort of surprised me he
had gone -- he was going as far as he was at that point. now, with mueller, he certainly wasn't going that far. he wasn't, you know, saying he didn't want to use the word collusion and he was keeping it all sort of very legal and talking about counterintelligence problems with russia. but it was a significant development over the day and maybe that gives the democrats some momentum on the russia issue. does that allow them to move legislation from the house to the senate on some type of election reform coming into 2020? >> mike schmidt, thank you for spending time with us. we're grateful. joining our conversation from capitol hill, congressman eric swalwell. he questioned robert mueller during both the judiciary hearing committee. if you can jump in, fwhoeted a very animated, a very -- agitated is the wrong word, but
alarmed special counsel with the questions of the ongoing russian meddling. >> certainly we saw the russian attacks to help donald trump, trump campaign welcomed it, president trump sought to cover it up. i think at the end of the day with the intelligence committee we're able to lay out that, by the way, all of these threats persist and in fact we actually probably invited other countries to do it again. i thought was most chilling when the special counsel said he fears this is the new norm. that can't be the new norm. actually i have legislation, nicolle, that i wrote last congress that puts a duty to report on anyone who gets help from a foreign act because just as the special counsel laid out, it can't be the new norm. >> congressman, can you take us through some of the strategy? obviously a different approach in the afternoon than the morning. and really, chairman schiff said it with getting special counsel mueller to be much more specific, much more biting and sharp in sort of underscoring
the conclusions of volume one of his report, and really got him to expand beyond the four corners of the report. wikileaks is another example of that. what were your sort of highlights from the second session? >> we wanted potent and piffy question and answer exchanges. there was so much to go through. we wanted to highlight what the russians did but all of the embracing the trump campaign did. i thought another powerful exchange is when peter welch said, well, you didn't find conspiracy beyond a reasonable doubt but are you saying there was no evidence at all of conspiracy? and mueller clarified that was not what he was saying, there was evidence. and pointed out mueller did not even find trump's written responses to be credible or truthful, that was also powerful. >> where do we go from here, koeng congressman? >> i think success is the
american people will view this as act one, not act three. they heard names today like manafort and kilimnik and gates. they will want to know, well, let's hear more about that. and those witnesses will start to come forward. i think we should have an impeachment inquiry and those are the next witnesses we need to hear from. >> congressman swalwell, we trust you to come back if anything happens. we understand you have to go. thank you for spending time with us. joining us by phone now, my friend and colleague rachel maddow. rachel, i have been staring, as i said to john heilemann, at the trees all day. tell me what the forest looks like. >> i don't know, some of the trees are pretty interesting. this was -- this was a remarkable day. even though mueller had negotiated for shorter testimony than we might have expected, i kept thinking today about hillary clinton and her whatever was 11 hours or 13 hours, whatever it was on benghazi. this was technically a trunk kated hearing but it was thorough and long and
exhaustin exhausting. but i have to tell you, i was struck at the end when everybody's energy was at its lowest edge and mueller seemed like he missed a step and seemed older and not on top of everything during the whole hearling. at the very top of chairman schiff's question at the close of the hearing, schiff said i want to close out my questioning and turn to the exchange we had earlier, from your testimony today i gather you believe knowingly accepting foreign assistance during a campaign is an unethical thing to do. and mueller interjects -- and a crime. he brings up the fact that is criminal behavior at all. schiff wasn't even asking him there. on that and on the president's promotion of wikileaks and on some of the stuff mueller said was still under ongoing current fbi investigation in terms of people associated with the trump campaign and their amplification and welcoming of what russia was doing, i thought he went much further than i thought he was
going to go. fu further than the reported in its four corners. i thought it was an aggressive tone. right up to the end with mueller, much more than i expected from him. >> i agree with you. i also have this sort of admission/confession. hot takes, including our own, are sometimes dead wrong. i think what we're talking about in 24 hours may not be the robert mueller from the first hour of testimony in front of the house judiciary committee who had to flip through the volumes and repeatedly ask for page numbers. it may be what you just talked about. it may be what -- you're the second person to mention that he seemed to allude to the fact that a counterintelligence investigation is ongoing and still open into the president. we're pulling the tape now to make sure that's the fact. but also these open questions about criminality. i mean, what seems to explain where we are, which is with i guess fewer than 90 democrats in the house being in favor of
impeachment is for some reason they can't come out and say crimes are committed, mueller thought crimes were committed. as you said, not even under pressure or duress, he acknowledged criminal conduct. >> yes, he acknowledged criminal conduct and he put it on the president and his campaign. and there were other instances, so much back and forth as to whether or not mueller would be precise as to why he felt constrains he could not bring an indictment against the president and the memo was the whole reason -- la, la, la. but what mueller kept coming back to was the idea that some of this could be criminal behavior. he volunteered another point in the hearing that while the president could be -- couldn't be indicted, that didn't mean that others wouldn't be indicted. and he, again, brought up unprompted the idea there's ongoing investigation into some of these matters including the trump campaign and interactions with the russian cutouts and russian government that were committing these acts. and i in a million years, i never expected we would hear that today from robert mueller. si
and i certainly didn't expect we would hear that from robert mueller from the halting beginning. i also credit nadler and schiff having covered most of the ground that needed to be covered, each of them, in the first five minutes of questioning in both sessions. both of them did a very good job getting mueller on the record on the most important stuff. but then mueller absolutely advanced the story into some territory we did not know existed before today. >> i completely concur about both chairmen. chairman nadler used the first five minutes to do all of the business that needed to be done in the hearing, frankly and chairman schiff did the same thing. i want to ask you about russia. people who have covered mueller commented this hou commented this hour and it was apparent watching it in realtime, the question of attacking our democracy that is where mueller was most animated, most alarmed and most urgent. and that's the only place i saw a crack in the human shield of republicans against the president with congressman heard
asking a question about it. do you think this shifts the conversation about russia as an adversary and some of our country with designs on attacking our next election? >> i thought the starkness of mueller's warnings about that, the starkness of his assessment, yes, they're doing it as we speak. yes, they expect to do it in the 2020 campaign, credit to congressman heard of texas as you say for engaging with that substantively. i noticed a couple of other republican members of congress acknowledging the seriousness of the russian attack even if they did it in sort of a pro forma way. that in itself was an advance. there was one republican member i won't embarrass by signaling out by name embarrassed himself enough by suggesting the troll farm, internet research agency, maybe wasn't a russian operation and that having been proven, he is taking the conquered management side in that ongoing case against the russian troll farm linked to the russian oligarch. definitely crazy fox news
primetime conspiracy going on among republicans but they are not all like that. there was one republican member demanding more citations from fox news, laugh out loud moment. but others were seriously talking about russia and i hope mitch mcconnell heard that and might want to be constructive about 2020. >> i noted, i can't remember if i said this out loud then but i will now, if they weren't in congress, people might worry about them. rachel, i know what you're usually doing at this hour so i'm grateful you're with us. i will be watching tonight at 9:00, as i always am. thank you, my friend. >> thank you very much, nicolle. i'm intrigued by two ideas and happy to acknowledge my culpability. we get the hot picks wrong. we may well be talking about the things rachel is talking about, the performance is probably the last time anyone will see robert mueller in congress and around the russia question it is notable in the time of trump
even some republicans are sounding the alarm bell. >> yes, i think the first point is certainly true. our takes, especially on this story, all of ours are routinely proven wrong. and this story has been notoriously hard to make predictions about. so i think that's fair. but the problem with the russia piece of it is that, rachel just made an appeal in a way to mitch 3 mcconnell, mitch mcconnell, are you listening out there? i heard a couple of republicans sound like the way normal congressmen used to sound -- >> john mccain used to sound. >> any respectable member of the lower chamber would have reacted to the single circumstance or any other circumstance in the past years but i think there's been no indication throughout the last -- not just the laugh 2 nae 1/2 years but going back to 2016
when mitch mcconnell was presented with evidence of russian incursion and shut it down in that famous meeting with the obama officials who said we have an emergency here and mitch mcconnell was the one saying i'm not going to do anything about it. he said it in realtime and in the course of the last two years there's not been a moment where mitch mcconnell had any interest whatsoever in dealing with this problem. i have to say watching this today, any responsible person of either party would watch this and say, if they hadn't already noticed, we have a problem here. and i don't think mitch mcconnell is going to do a damn thing about it in the weeks or months ahead. i don't think anything changed that. even though i think the illustration of the russia problem is vivid and powerful and should have lit everyone's hair on fire. >> i have my suspicions and they are john is probably right. i was glad the special counsel was as forceful as he was about russian interference at the end of the hearing. i wish he had been more forceful on the obstruction side. it pains me to say this because
he's someone i respect dearly, i think he somewhat missed his moment both in the conclusion of the testimony and in his testimony today failing to say he knows what is true and that is the president committed crimes and that is what his investigation found. and i'm not criticizing his performance. i'm not talking about that. but i think by bending over so far backwards to be fair to the president, he was unfair to the country that really needed him to step forward and say what he found. i think he should have said it when he concluded his investigation. i don't think he should have let barr mislead the american public as he did. and when the facts came out they were there for us to see. it's our national shame we were not there to deal with them and process them the way we should have. but it's also true we needed a man with his reputation and gravitas to guide us to the answer. he wasn't willing to do to three months ago when he released his report and i'm disappointed he wasn't willing to do that today either.
>> you agree with that mimi? >> sad is the word. i don't fault robert mueller for being robert mueller. that is who he is, to quote matt on twitter the other day, trump is lucky jim comey wasn't the special counsel. it would have been a very, very different experience. robert mueller was and is who he is. but any success for the democrats that i think that came out today was because adam schiff and nadler guided us there. mueller didn't want to and i understand as a prosecutor but it makes me sad. i think we need it as a country. >> mueller's focus on russia's involvement shouldn't be a surprise. even in his nine-minute statement, that was his focus. he was passionate about that and that's where he was today too. in terms of what happens next, yes, a lot of our hot takes are wrong but you know who else is wrong, our lawmakers. oh, i didn't read the book but
maybe they will watch the movie. i think you're hearing a lot from the democrats who were fairly or not disappointed with what they heard from the special counsel. where does this move the ball on impeachment? it doesn't go anywhere. if you're a democrat looking for that crystalized, democrats are probably disappointed. let's also remember one more thing as we're hearing from our reporters on constituents and town halls, people in the field, candidates who crisscross across the country for 2020, this subject does not come up much. yes, the russian interference should that, protect the ballot box but in terms of this russia probe, that's not what people are focusing on or what the next election will be fought upon. >> i guess pushing back as someone who used to work on campaigns, his focus on what you did as a candidate, might be the candidates are focused on other issues. >> i think that's also true. >> and frank figliuzzi pointed
out, and i think frank is back, donald trump may have revealed and rachel maddow pointed this out as well -- i'm sorry, i have been here a long time. robert mueller may have revealed or even let it slip that there is an ongoing and open counterintelligence investigation. frank, set that up for us. >> yes, again, i want to see this clip because we only saw it live but i believe it was representative christian mirthy who asked for a response and mueller said they're looking into the multiple aspects of the investigation continue. and he said currently? and mueller said yes. if i've got that right in any way, shape or form, there's still an ongoing inquiry, in fact the original russian counterintelligence case that started this whole thing off, that andy mccabe added trump's name to and then it became the special counsel inquiry, that aspect of it may still be going
on. >> let's watch the tape. we will come right back to you, frank. >> it was outside the purview of your investigation, your report did not address how flynn's false statements could pose a national security risk because the russians knew the falsity of those statements, right? >> i cannot get into that mainly because there are many elements of the fbi that are looking at different aspects of that issue. >> currently? >> currently. >> thank you. >> frank figliuzzi, what i heard was, quote, there are many aspects of the fbi that are looking at that. currently? currently. >> we need clarification. the context seemed to be flynn but just before that the questioning related much larger, much more broadly to the whole issue of compromised vulnerability of people around the president and trump himself. you have to examine that. and there are questions now that i think will go right to fbi
headquarters and christopher wray will find himself answering a lot of questions or refusing to answer a lot of questions. on the topic of refusing to answer questions, i know a lot of us are frustrated of maybe over 100 incidents of mueller saying i can't answer that question. let's not forget the role of this attorney general in our frustration. let's not forget that mueller was constrained severely about what he could and could not answer. so people are going to see clips tonight on fox news about mueller repeatedly saying i can't answer that question. let's point the fipg wrnger whe needs to be pointed, that the attorney general said you can't answer those questions. >> frank, i want to get you on the record in our hour about the special counsel's posture towards the ongoing threat posed by russia. >> well, through some great questioning and statements by adam schiff, the special counsel
today said what needed to be said, which is we are facing an ongoing active threat. he actually moved forward to 2020 and said they're going to do it again. he also said -- and i made note of this -- it's not just russia that has this capacity, that, quote, other countries have gained the capacity to do the same thing, unquote. so this is a live threat. it's not just about russia. it's not just about republican versus democrat. it's a barn issue that needs to be addressed and repeatedly mueller said do it now, do it fast, do it soon. >> want to say something? >> i want to go back to one thing frank said a second ago about mueller's refusal to answer questions, just because it was an issue neil, cattial and i have been raising 12 hours before this hearing started and i believe it was unasked by the judiciary committee and i agree, chairman nadler did a solid job. i think the rest of the committee has a lot to answer for. they did not perform as good as they could have and should have, which is the central question
most people wanted answered, if the president were not the sitting president, would he have been indicted for crimes? we know the attorney general came after bob mueller's brief press conference and said bob mueller was wrong about the aoc. i expected him to come to a conclusion. that seems to would have opened the door and not a single congressman on the committee raised that point to robert mueller, special prosecutor mueller, the attorney general, your boss, criticized you for not reaching a conclusion and said you could have reached a conclusion. so, sir, in this context can you narrow this conclusion given you have been giving permission by the attorney general? it's not like that's not on the record. and with all of this vaunted day when nobody raised that point today when it was the main thing we wanted to hear from robert mueller on the question sort of astonishes me. >> all right, heilemann, and
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if i had made a false statement to an investigator on your team, could i go to jail up to five years? >> yes. >> yes. >> but it's congress, so -- >> the rare moment of levity today. joining our conversation from "the washington post," national political reporter robert costa. robert costa, your take on the day? >> just a few minutes speaker pelosi will hold a news conference at the capitol with chairman schiff and nadler. decisions have to be made by democrats how to proceed. i spent all day at the capitol talking to lawmakers on both sides. senator tester from montana, moderate democrat, he's just not sure at this point if it makes political sense for democrats to move forward because republicans control the senate. he said it would be a futile endeavor. at the same time so much pressure because of what mr.
mueller said from many centrist and leftist-center democrats to not only impeach the president but at least begin impeachment proceedings. >> what are you hearing in terms of moments that broke through? what do members expect to make it onto the local newscast? a lot of sense just watching it in realtime, it was really the second hearing before the house intel committee where the questions were more focused on what the russians did and trump's campaign enthusiasm for their assistance that broke through and brought out and elicited the best answers from robert mueller. >> that's the consensus among many of my democratic sources at the capitol. they said they were hoping the house judiciary committee would do more to build an obstruction case by having mr. mueller illustrate the case but they felt chairman schiff was effective in underscoring how interference is still happening. they hope at the least this will spark momentum for some kind of action in the senate and house on election security. >> what was the review -- what were the reviews like for not
just the performance aspect of the special counsel's day of testimony, but sort of from the morning where there was a lot of reluctance to wrap both arms around the specifics. he refused to read from the obstruction volume, had members read it to him, had members look for exact passages so he didn't deviate from the afternoon, and he seemed to talk about the criminality around the wikileaks involvement. he talked more openly with congressman schiff about foreign interference. he spokes to democrats and republicans about the nature of what the russians were still doing. what is the sense of the body of information that was put out to the public today? >> it's important when you're at the capitol to soak it in. what i found as a reporter is that as much as the world was watching mr. mueller today, lawmakers on both sides were more focused at times today on the budget deal and trying to get that out before taking a five to six-week recess.
you have a trade deal on the line with a north american version of the trade deal, usmca. so many more issues are out there that there's just not a lot of momentum to proceed among both parties, both chambers. they know they have to get other issues done at the same time. this issue has been hovering over the congress and american political system for so long that they're at least trying to ski how far can they go? if not impeachment, what next? that's going to be not just up to the president ale candidates and other leaders, it's up to speaker pelosi. what she has to say in the next few minutes will determine what's next. >> we will be watching. if you come up with anything new in the next 15 minutes, robert costa, jump back on. thank you for being here today. i want to ask a weird question, robert costa is saying that impeachment looks a little dicey. so donald trump benefits from a very low bar on being simply an unindicted co-conspirator but still a criminal in the hush money scheme that the seventh
district of new york prosecuted. donald trump benefits by beling unchargeable in ten counts of criminal obstruction of justice and today it's possible that nancy pelosi will come out and say he very well may have completed impeachable offenses, we don't have the will of our caucus there. he constantly seems to benefit that he's a criminal but not indicted. accused of crimes but robert mueller but bound by the aoc. he's a crook. >> he certainly seems to live nsh a lucky star in some ways. he has a way of slipping out of tracks. >> houdini. >> yes, he has houdini-like qualities. but my reporting is exactly what robert costa's is. in terms of what to do next, nancy pelosi will have decisions and she has pushback from people in her party. and she can say look, they don't have the goods. take that as you will. andness a president now who will take an unending victory lap about what happened today. he's speaking now --
>> he's much more -- what's his name, jim traficant than barack obama. he's been under a cloud of scandalous criminality since before he was elected. >> no question. there are few scandals or controversies that have stayed with him. what we've seen on the border with the condition of the cages, helsinki, perhaps a few others but he evades a lot of others. i think he's going to be, i imagine, emboldened by what happened today. he's going to put pressure on his allies now and republicans in congress will pressure to turn the page. they're going to ael poo to the american public in this way, look, this has been 2 1/2 years now. they had their chance. let's move forward. whether the president could actually strike a bipartisan, good for the country tone here and say look, let's move on. >> i see you laughing. >> that seems unlikely. but i know he will gloat and gloat. >> i have to say three things,
one, jim traficant, incredible. that would be a total congress dork to come up with that name. >> i was trying to think of the biggest criminal. >> i withdraw my criticism because apparently the question i wanted to hear ask was asked and i miss it. i apologize when the congressman asked the question i wanted hear. number three, let's not pretend donald trump is under some lucky star. he campaigned, he governed in a way the first two years in office that led to a historic route in the midterm elections. helsinki, border crisis, other examples of poor personal comportment, grotesque governments, cruelty. drove voters away from him in droves in elections. he paid in the one place in politics we keep score, at the election booth in the midterm elections. he suffered a wipeout, historic drubbing of his party. so i don't think he -- he can't yet make the claim he lives
under a lucky star. he's certainly been able to point avoid up to this point -- >> prosecution. >> -- prosecution or paying a direct price in terms of impeachment, the political equivalent of prosecution. that he's been lucky. but these weights still pile up on him politically. it's not as if this stuff is not taking a toll. we will see in november 2020. but let's not pretend this stuff is not taking a toll. >> i guess i want to ask you, it seems -- your reporting i'm sure is correct. they're celebrating. celebrating what? that robert mueller said he can't be prosecuted because he's adhering to an memo? the bar is so low. >> they live in enough bubble delusion he still thinks the midterms went pretty well for him. what do you expect? i'm not going to get impeached and they think he will win re-election. they look at the midterms and say we did historically well. what do you say, the diluted
will be diluted. >> the republicans were wiped out across the board but the white house, what thsay they ar saying is this could have gone worse in this investigation. there could have been charges. there could have been bombshells or momentum towards impeachment and that has not happened. we can certainly argue it will be incorrect, but they're already out there framing look, time to turn the page. time to move on. >> this reminds me of one small point during the hearing we haven't talked about when mueller was asked what the statute of limitations runs on these crimes and he said, and i was surprised, i don't know. yes, they will run if ease re-elected. as far as i know, there's no tolling mechanism. judge schulman and other experts have been writing about this lately. that to me is one of the strongest cases why the
democrats -- he literally will be above the law if they do not start paexts f he's reelected, he will not get charged with any of this. >> all right. we are going to sneak in another break. but when we come back, problematic is an understatement about what robert mueller had to say about alarming conduct. ♪ and with bank of america and merrill, the benefits you get can grow, too. as a preferred rewards member, you can enjoy priority service and exclusive discounts... so your growing life can be more rewarding, too. ♪ what would you like the power to do? ♪ the way you triumph over adversity. and live your lives. that's why we redesigned humira. we wanted to make the experience better for you. now there's less pain immediately
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october 10th, 2016. this wikileaks stuff unbelievable. it tells you the inner heart. you got to read it, donald trump. october 12th, 2016. this wikileaks is like a treasure trove, donald trump 31st, 2016. boy, i love reading those wikileaks, donald trump, november 4th, 2016. would any of those quotes disturb you, mr. director? >> um, i'm not sure, and i would say -- >> how do you react? >> well, it's probably -- problematic is an understatement in terms of what it displays in terms of giving some, uh, i don't know, hope or some boost to what is and should be illegal activity. >> boost illegal activity if donald trump has a brand that might be it. joyce vance, we also learned today that the next interference effort will not look like the last one.
that was almost exactly three years ago that donald trump made those statements about wikileaks. what's your sense for what the next attack might look like? we heard a little bit of that conversation start today. >> we did hear that. and we heard this what i thought was mueller really sounding the alarm. to him it's clear the most important piece of his work, maybe the fact that he came to do the fact of the special counsel job at all was the threat to elections. one thing that we know about russia and its mission to disrupt our country is it constantly evolves. so what the attack looked like in 2016 won't be what the attack in 2020 looks like. it will likely come from russia, but also from additional countries we heard mueller say. and we know that as technology advances, the type of threat will advance. there was some suggestion from some of the members that it might even include impacting voting tallies. and that's a very serious threat. so it's clearly an opportunity for congress to pull together
and work together if they will. >> and frank figliuzzi, we have in donald trump someone who takes lines about russia vis-a-vis the war in afghanistan, vis-a-vis to our friend and colleague jonathan lemire who is sitting here when even some of putin's own allies in russia don't do that. we have someone who destroys the notes are taken after his calls in meetings with vladimir putin. what are our risk, what is the current sort of risk assessment for ongoing russian efforts? >> well, they say you should know a man by his friends, right? the company he keeps. so this president has surrounded himself with people who are essentially thugs, whether it's putin or he lines himself with kim jong-un or he assigns himself and encourages the criminal conduct of wikileaks and julian assange. that's who we're dealing with. when you ask the question about
risk, let's go back to what joyce just said. this risk, this threat is going to morph. and if the past is prologue, we should look back at several years ago when the department of justice indicted five chinese army hackers to send a message, right? well, that sent a message, but what happened? for a couple of weeks china stopped hacking in the way that we had figured out and then they changed, and they changed to use civilian hackers and teenagers and people that we could not really tie to the chinese government. the same thing is going to happen with russia and other countries. they know we're onto them. we've indicted two dozen of their citizens for this. so we're going to see something different. what would it be? power outages on election night in certain precincts? we don't know. and that's why the risk is so high. we're vulnerable and we're in the blind unless we have an all of government approach and congress takes action now. >> matt miller, one of our friends chuck rosenberg has described today as the movie version, if it was the movie version, the final scene
might've been adam schiff talking about these ongoing threats and also alluding to threats from the middle east. what do you think the closing sort of flashing yellow lights for the whole country are? >> i think the biggest concern i have is the president getting away with it if he suffers no kwnss for his actions during the 2016 campaign and his attempts to cover up and end the investigation while in office. if he suffers no consequences other than a diminished conference is that he might do it again. or other democratic organizations or whether they continue on social media. and that the president seeks to benefit from it again. but the big difference will be in 2016 the sitting administration, the obama administration warned the american public. they might not have gone far enough, but they did something. well, today donald trump has decimated the department of homeland security it. >> seems he's about to fire the
director of national intelligence. the attorney general is basically his defense attorney. so if the foreign government interferes in our election again and the president seeks to benefit from it, it may not be that the security apparatus of the united states government is not just, you know, not calling it out, they may be looking the other way completely. i think that ought to concern every american. >> it's always surprised me that no one could make this about cheating, that in terms of this being a political messenger. this is about donald trump being time potent, too weak and too small and polity impotent. we had a guy who wrote about his golf game on. and it may be how he wins elections. >> and i think, you know, there's two different things that i find super troubling about where we are right now. they are inner connected. one of the things is what matt is talking about, which is the notion that russians and others are doing it again. they will be emboldened.
they see that we are doing nothing about it. the president in some sense sin citing it. are begging for more of that kind of incursion. is it to say it's all okay, there have been no consequences and the notion of another attack on our democracy in 2020 is horrifying. but worse than that is i think if all of this ends up where the president does not face consequences or if he is not impeached, if there aren't even impeachment proceedings, the story of how this damning report got taken by the attorney general of the united states in a calculated way mischaracterized propagandized delayed neutered, and over the time with our short attention spans or these months that it lost its political force, the power of these facts were drained of their power by a naked power grab by the top law enforcement official in the country. i did not think before this year that that could happen in
america. we talk about testing of the guardrails. in most cases the guardrails of democracy have held up. in this case we might find out that bill barr broke one of those guardrails and we are still dealing with it. >> all right. this is as good a place to end as any. my thanks today to joyce, frank, matt. that does it for this hour. thank you so much for watching not just this hour but all day long. we're grateful to all of you. "mtp daily" with my friend chuck todd starts now. ♪ well, if it's wednesday, it's no ordinary hump idea. it's "meet the press daily." and we are in the center of a break news storm right now, sort of the post-mueller wrap-ups. you're looking live at capitol hill where in just a few moments we expect