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 to hear from house
speaker nancy pelosi, jerry nadler, and adam schiff after mueller's historic testimony. the biggest question perhaps is what do democrats do now? as we speak, we've been getting tape of the president who is speaking to reporters at the white house. no surprise here. he is claiming vindication. here is some of what he said at the top of his remarks on his way to a fundraiser in west virginia. >> this witch hunt that's been going on for a long time, pretty much from the time i came down on the escalator with our first lady, and it's a disgrace what happened. but i think today proved a lot to everybody. >> in those remarks the president lashed out at my colleague hallie jackson about comments made that mueller suggested that he could actually be indicted after he leaves office. we'll have more on that in a moment. the president clearly misheard the question. what we don't know is that did he intentionally mishear the question or not.
but if the goal for the democrats today was to re-establish the facts against the presidents that he welcomed help from the russians, tried to obstruct the investigation, then today's hears were a success because mueller largely did re-establish all of those facts. but if the democratic party's mission among house democrats was to have mueller breathe new life into those facts in a way that grabbed the attention of the american public in a sense of urgency, well, then today's hearings were probably a failure. in many ways mueller affirmed the democrats' case against the president and he delivered moments that in any other time of modern history would be viewed as exhibit a in an impeachment proceeding about this exchange about him potentially indicting mr. trump for obstruction. >> could you charge the president with a crime after he left office? >> yes. >> you believe that he committed -- you could charge the president of the united states with obstruction of justice after he left office? >> yes. >> mueller testified that the president's written answers to
his investigation were, generally speaking, untreuthful. mueller also confirmed the actions for surrounding the russian conspiracy to get him elected. >> the campaign welcomed the russian help, did they not? >> i think we reported our in a report indications that that occurred, yes. >> the president himself called on the russians to hack hillary's emails? >> there was a statement by the president among those general lines. >> donald trump was trying to make millions from a real estate deal in moscow. >> to the extent you're talking about the hotel in moscow? >> yes. >> yes. >> and when donald trump called your investigation a witch hunt, that was also false, was it not? >> i'd like to think so, yes. >> well, your investigation is not a witch hunt -- >> it is not a witch hunt. >> more proof that part two of mueller's testimony, a lot more compelling in some cases than part one. but overall, mueller declined or
deflected questions nearly 200 times by our count. at times he seemed to lack a full grasp of what was actually in parts of his report. at times he pulled his punches when the president's allies questions the legitimacy of his work. but if you want to know if this hearing was a success for democrats, you got to first figure out what exactly their goals were. and if marshalling support for impeachment was the goal, what do they do now? well, we've got a great team in line for us tonight. reporters, analysts and experts to break down what mueller said and didn't say. pete williams, kasie hunt, capitol hill correspondent, she was in the hearing room today now waiting for the press conference to start with pelosi, schiff, and nadler. geoff bennett, i've got andrew mccabe. he took over after james comey was fired and chuck rosenberg, a senior fbi official and u.s. attorney who's worked closely with robert mueller in the past and is also a msnbc contributor. so pete williams, let me start with you. you've covered i think the
longest. chuck rosenberg i think has worked with him. what today was the robert mueller you were used to and what today was the robert mueller you weren't used to? >> today is clearly not the same take the hill robert mueller who was a hard-charging fbi director and would be sometimes combative with members. you know, i don't think any of us expected to see that robert mueller today for two reasons. one is he's 74, he'll be 75 in two weeks. he is appearing before the committee really against his will with a mission in mind not to say very much, which i think he succeeded by his own measure because he was there under subpoena and determined not to go beyond what he said in his report. and he largely abided by that. but he's clearly -- he's an older person now. >> let me highlight i think the moment that sort of made that
crystal clear. first it's the back and forth with congressman ted liu in part one of the hearing. that's number three byte, guys. >> you did not indict donald trump is because of olc opinion stating that you cannot indict a sitting president, correct? >> that is correct. >> now before we go to questions, i want to add one correction to my testimony this morning. i want to go back to one thing that was said this morning by mr. liu who said, and i quote you didn't charge the president because of the olc opinion. that is not the correct way to say it. as we say in the report and as i said at the opening we did not reach a determination as to whether the president committed a crime. >> you know, pete, we were all actually around the table wondering if mueller heard both parts of liu's question. and we wondered whether he was saying what we thought liu thought he said and of course
ends up walking that back. >> i think there were several examples of that today. and just to be clear the olc's opinion is of course a factor, the one that says you can't indict a sitting president. but it is not the situation that the team decided that donald trump committed crimes but they couldn't say so because of the olc opinion. quite the contrary. what the report says and what mueller made clear a couple of times at the hearing today is that having marshaled the potential obstruction of justice examples, they deliberately said we can't even decide whether these constitute a crime because of the olc opinion. so it's just sort of where you put the olc opinion on the conveyor belt that plays a role. and, frankly, i think that was the same sort of question from ken buck from colorado about could you indict the president after he leaves office. mueller says in his report one of the reasons we can do it is that the olc says you can't indict a sitting president but you can indict one after they leave office. and i think mueller was there
thinking about any president not saying he could indict this president after he leaves office. >> kasie hunt, it seems as if democrats are most excited about two exchanges. one was one that i played earlier with adam schiff's back and forth. and the second is the first exchange jerry nadler had with robert mueller. let me play it and then talk to you on the other side. >> the president has repeatedly claimed that your report 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. >> so the report did not conclude that he did not commit obstruction of justice? is that correct? >> that is correct. and what about total exoneration? did you actually totally exonerate the president? >> no. >> now, in fact, your report expressly states that it does not exonerate the president? >> it does. >> so, kasie hunt, how do democrats feel and do they wish
they could take those two moments and have those be the moments everybody sees over and over again? >> reporter: well, chuck, i think that question is still to be answered in terms of how the american public digests what happened today, how many people watched these hearings gavel to gavel and how much will watch summaries that include those very exchanges and those headlines are very clear. the president is constantly tweeting and claiming no collusion, no obstruction, total exoneration. robert mueller very clearly refuted that very directly. you put those kind of sound bytes next to each other, and, you know, there you go, it's pretty cut and dry. but i will say that there is still a lot of questions about how much this fundamentally changes the political calculus at hand. nancy pelosi, the speaker of the house, has been very reluctant to embark on impeachment proceedings. she has continued to say the best way to get donald trump out of office is at the ballot fwox
box. this was really the key, the absolutely key test. we're still waiting to hear directly from nancy pelosi. and right now house democrats are huddled behind the scenes with house counsel. so that's the lawyer that takes over and spearheads any litigation on behalf of the house of representatives. so that's where this process is right now. we are not doing impeachment proceedings, but democrats are pursuing things in the courts. so i think the question here is can nancy pelosi figure out how to thread the needle to keep those democrats happy considering what happened today with the other ongoing procedures? because i have to tell you the initial read on this is from talking to aides and members who are close to nancy pelosi is that this isn't going to fundamentally change the game it's not going to fundamentally change her mind. it's not necessarily the kind of blockbuster situation that could cause a sweeping change in public opinion. they're really watching that
because, you know, at the end of the day this is, as you and savannah were talking about throughout the day today, this is a political calculation for them. and if they go too far in pelosi's view, they risk ultimately jeopardizing the ultimate goal that democrats have which is of course a democrat president in 2020 and trump out of office. so i think that's where we are right now, but we'll see of course in just a few minutes. >> before we dig into more of what mueller said with andy mccabe and rosenberg, the president, is he just trying to optically declare victory? because the substance of today was not good for him. i guess he can feel good that he had house republicans defending him. but today didn't come across to me as like, oh, my god, if he doesn't win re-election, he's got all sorts of problems. >> right, chuck. and i've been talking to white house officials and people close to the president all day. and the mood their attitude, they're downright gleeful. they're feeling vindicated to your point.
the president is unsurprisingly unmoved by all of the day's events including some of the more damning assertions conveyed by robert mueller from questioning from democrats. and a couple of republicans. and one of the ways we know that is because one of the first things the president said to reporter what's to call the russia investigation a witch hunt and a hoax, even though robert mueller said today explicitly to lawmakers that the russia investigation was no such thing. so, yes, the president is setting aside entirely the substance of what transpired today. he's focused mainly on the optics. they believe, and when i say they, i mean white house officials to include them, they believe that robert mueller with his sort of halting performance, his nearly 200 deck lynnations and deferrals really robbed democrats of the things that they wanted the most. and that was for him to sort of have this live animation of his 448-page report. because he wasn't able to do that, their report is that people are left believing what they want to believe. that is a fight that these white
house officials and the president think that they can win because they know how to fight it. >> i mean, the president has been under a cloud of controversy and alleged criminality ever since he was elected. to keep things moving along straight to the 2020 election. >> let's talk more about the substance here. chuck rosenberg, you had said earlier in a conversation we had that robert mueller did exactly what he told us he was going to do three months ago. how did democrats do an extracting the mueller report out of robert mueller today? >> not that good a job. i think, chuck, look, working for bob mueller was one of the great professional privileges of my life. i learned to take the man at his word, completely and directly. if he says he's going to do something, he will do it. if he says he's not going to do something, he won't do it. and what he said on may 29th, i think that was the day of his press conference that his report would be his testimony. >> he was almost as a warning, hey, guys, if you call me up there, i'm not going outside the
bounds of this report. >> so why in the world would anyone be surprised unless they didn't take him at his word? and by the way, if they were waiting for him to be animated or lively, thads not the bob mueller i knew. i don't mean that disrespectfully. he's serious, sober, dignified. >> they could have used that to their advantage. >> of course. he's a man of tremendous integrity. and also, you see how a man of integrity acts because he could have skewered the president or the attorney general or anybody else for that matter. but he played it straight down the middle, which is the bob mueller i know. >> andy mccabe, you've worked closely with robert mueller. what would you would told jerry nadler and adam schiff? >> i think actually, chuck, that the democrats approached that in exactly the way i would have advised them to had i been asked, which i wasn't, but, you
know, as chuck just mentioned, no one should've been surprised that mueller was going to confine all of his remarks to the substance of the report. so that being said, their goal should have been to get as much of the most significant material in that report out and communicated to the public in a way that's memorable and easy to understand. for my money, the best way to do that is exactly the way they approached it, which is with analyzing each category of obstructive behavior within the elements of the offense. i thought they did that effectively, and i thought that, you know, director mueller went along with that in the way that we expected he would. >> but let me -- should there have been -- should this had happened sooner? this is now july, and correct me if i'm wrong, july 24th, we had his press conference may 29th. we had the barr version of this in april. a lot of time has passed.
>> yeah. far too much time in my opinion, chuck. they should have really endeavored to get this testimony out as soon as possible, especially in light of the conflicting messages about the conclusions in the report coming from the attorney general and then the response from director mueller. so it was unfortunate that so many weeks have gone by with this void of information in terms of what's actually in the report, of course for those folks who haven't read it. and if i could point out one other thing, chuck, it's been mentioned a lot today this is his 90th appearance on the hill. i would venture a guess that this is the first time he's ever appeared on the hill following the release of a 400-page statement. so to compare the way he conducted himself today and the way he answered questions today with all of his appearances of old is a little bit of an apples and oranges comparison. >> fair enough. i want to play number seven,
excerpt number seven, and this is the decision that was about -- and, chuck rosenberg, we talked about this -- there wasn't to me enough questioning which is his decision not to subpoena the president. let's go through the back and forth. because actually mueller gave a little bit more so than he had given in other answers in responding to his decision on not to subpoena the president. >> we were almost towards the end of our investigation and we had had little success in pushing to get the interview of the president. we decided that we did not want to exercise the subpoena powers because of the necessity of expediting the end of the investigation. >> what did you think of the president's written responses plrks mueller? >> not as useful as an interview would be. >> in fact, you pointed out, and by my account, there were more than 30 times when 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, inprecise, inadequate, insufficient. is that a fair summary of what you thought of those written answers? >> that is a fair summary. i presume that comes from the report. >> and, sir, i ask this respectfully. by the way, the president didn't ever claim the fifth amendment, de? >> i am not going to talk to that. >> so, chuck, this entire hearing never turned into what i thought it could turn into which is an oversight hearing on his investigation on some of the things that he made. and democrats were too busy puffing up his resume than they were pushing at him going, okay, why did you do this and not this? this is the closest we got to any sort of accountability of decisions he made as an investigator. >> which was fascinating to me because, you know, the report is an extraordinary work of investigative and intellectual,
you know, heft. that said, i do wonder why they didn't push this one issue. in any case, establishing the intent of the defendant is always the hardest thing to do, particularly in sort of a white-collarish sort of case. what did you intend to do? help us drive the decision of whether or not we charge you. so you need to talk to the person, you need to talk to the subject. who is the subject here? the president of the united states. written answers are always a bad substitute. and, oh, by the way, the president even refused to answer questions on the obstruction issue. all those imprecise and unhelpful answers were all on the russia interference side of the investigation. there was nothing in writing on the obstruction question. so, do you push the issue? the mueller team decided, a that, they had enough and, b that, it would take too long. but there was no sort of requirement that it'd end on a certain way. they could have pushed the issue, easy for me to
second-guess it. >> i understand that. >> but i think it's an issue they could have pushed. >> andy mccabe, do you feel like this is a complete investigation? paul manafort never cooperated. the president was never subpoenaed. can we say definitively that this is a completed investigation? >> you know, director mueller and his team had obviously much less control over paul manafort's decision to cooperate. we're all familiar with the kind of torture-tale behind that. but with respect to their decision not to -- through extended litigation, i understand his reasons for, you know, deciding that the time that would take wasn't worth the effort. but it is a curious decision to any investigator. it is a very reasonable criticism, i think, of the team, and it's one that director mueller and the rest of the team will have to live with. i agree with chuck that particularly in a situation like this, an interview with a subject is just an absolute
essential element that you would pursue until its logical conclusion. so, yeah, there's a fair amount of head-scratching i think wondering about why they decided that wasn't worth the effort. >> andrea mitchell has joined me after doing some work on the network side a few minutes ago. andrea, you have seen different machinations. today was a moment. is it a moment that leads to something bigger or is today going to be an epilogue on the mueller report? >> i think it's an epilogue. i think that's very sad not for the reasons that some of the partisans might think. i think the issue of russia's attack on our election is not getting enough traction. and, yes, robert mueller was more engaged in the afternoon session on that subject. but it's shameful, shameful that republicans were so focused on trying to undermine the origins of the investigation that they
did not deal with the fact that has been concluded by all of the intelligence agencies under obama and of course the professionals. so these are not people of a different political party. and the career intelligence agencies all concluding as did our allies in the uk and elsewhere that russia attacked our elections and that it had to be investigated and responded to. >> now you're pushing me into what was my pet peeve earlier today. i talked with you, chuck rosenberg and andy mccabe. but the more bipartisan agreed to problem of what happened was the russian interference. should democrats have led with that, led with the crime, led with what everybody, whether there is some consensus, and then they could have maybe depoliticized part one a little bit. >> well, perhaps. one answer to that, chuck, is that often when you tell a story you tell it chronologically.
so, what happened first. >> he told the story backwards today. >> russian interference happened first. so what were you interfering? you were interfering with russian interference -- or obstructing. so, yeah, logically you tell it in the order in which it happened. and i think that can be a little bit confusing and a little bit unsettling if you're new to this thing. >> andy, if you're making a case and you're trying to tell a story, that's what i keep not -- because we were told by many house democrats they're trying to bring the mueller report to life. okay. mueller made part i the crime. he made part ii obstruction. i be that nadler's calling the shots here. but it felt like house democrats made a political decision. they thought, well, they have a stronger obstruction case so let's start with that. >> maybe stronger, maybe more interesting, maybe just the volume that people have been focusing on because it's easier for them to understand. but i agree with you the story
would have been better told in the way it was presented in the report with the collusion side first. and i would add to that, that it's clearly the part of his work that director mueller feels more strongly about. so -- >> more comfortable with the conclusions, right? >> that's right. so if you're seeking a greater level of engagement and passion from director mueller, one way to do that would have been to start him off talking about the incredible threat that we face ongoing to this day from the russian government. and i would add to that, chuck, just one thing. the stark contrast in director mueller in his performance of rectitude and caution extending himself to talk about how seriously he thinks about the fact that the russians continue to attack the very foundations of our democracy and then contrasting that with the president who in all of his remarks today that i heard you play at the top of the show, has really said nothing other than this is a great day for me, not
a single comment about the fact that we are still under attack from our most formidable foreign adversary. it's just truly shocking. >> i go back. i truly don't believe he thinks it's a big deal. i think that there's either two conclusions. either he knows he's worried that he did something wrong or he doesn't think it's a big deal. neither should be something that makes everybody comfortable. >> and it's a complete defiance of norms. there has never been an election where a political party has welcomed political opposition research from a foreign adversary. >> hubert humphrey was offered help from a foreign entity called the russians and he turned it down in 1968. >> before we are awaiting speaker pelosi's presser in a second, familiar face on this program, congresswoman bass from california. good to see you. >> thank you. >> one question was what was the goal of today, and, two, do you feel as if the committee met the
goal? >> uh, i definitely don't think the committee missed the goal -- >> no, met the goal, i'm sorry. >> yes, i think the committee did meet the goal. but the goal was for the american people to really hear what was in volume ii and especially highlighting on five examples of obstruction of justice. you know, because we had to deal with the attorney general coming out and completely mischaracterizing the report and then weeks went, you know that. and so people were left with a narrative that was completely false. >> there have been two general critiques from supportive folks of what you guys conducted today that we've been talking about. one of them was you just brought up the timing. you sort of brought that up to talk about what the attorney general did. >> yes. >> boy, in hindsight, should you have had mueller up there may 24th, june 24th, not july 24th? >> absolutely. oh, i don't think there's
anybody on the committee on our side that didn't want mueller up much, much sooner. but you know it took a long time to negotiate it. and, frankly, the negotiation was fragile up until the last moment. so i'm glad we had him when we did. absolutely wish we would have had him a lot earlier. >> you guys clearly had a plan and you stuck to it. >> yes, we did. >> for all the times that a lot of peanut gallery folks criticized these congressional hearings. it did feel as if you were hearing what others were asking and you didn't repeat questions and all of that. so in that sense i think i get what you did there. what did you think of robert mueller as a witness? would you call him reluctant or would you call him compelling? >> um, you know what, i think he was both at different times. he certainly seemed reluctant on occasions. the he also seems like he was willing to offer a little bit more. and so i don't know if -- well, you know, obviously i was hoping he would have provided a lot more background, a lot more
context, but we did manage our expectations. he had been pretty clear he was going to stick to the report. >> you guys have been so deferential to mueller. some would argue almost into deferential. do you believe he -- do you agree with every decision he made in his investigation tactics? for instance, not subpoenaing the president. >> no. [ laughter ] i certainly wished he would have subpoenaed the president. i wish that he would have made a statement outside of just saying that because of, you know, justice department, you know, history, the oic, i can't, you know -- >> do you have any more clarity now. i'll be honest, i'm sure you felt this way, i know i did which is the one question i thought we would get answered today was would you have indicted had this been anybody else. >> oh, yeah. but you know what though? i did not expect him to really say that because of the way in the report and also the statement he made afterwards.
absolutely i would have liked to hear him say that. but what i do think that we did today, though, that we painted a picture for the american people. and you're right on the democratic side we were very disciplined, we were very focused. and we painted a picture and each of us ended with there is no way you could say if this was any other person that they would not be indicted for obstruction of justice. there are clear examples in volume ii. so if anything, i am hoping that people will be encouraged to go ahead and read the report, and if not the entire volume ii, the executive summary so you can hear about all ten examples of obstruction of justice. we just focused on five. >> what do you believe speaker pelosi is waiting to see from the public when it comes to deciding whether to greenlight you guys opening the impeachment inquiry? and, again, an inquiry is not articles and all of that. this is just about the inquiry. what do you believe she's looking for before she greenlights this? >> i think a couple of things
and i have not talked to her about this. but seeing the way that she leads, i think that she would want the other committees that are involved in different aspects of the investigation to have their work proceed further along the line if not completed. and then of course in terms of public opinion, and you know that public opinion up until now, now we'll see what it's like in a week from now or so, but public opinion, the majority of people have not supported an impeachment. >> why should that matter, though, if you believe laws were broken? >> i think, again, to me, i do think laws were broken. i absolutely do. but i want to see the outcome of the other committees as well before we would initiate an inquiry. now, many of my colleagues who are on the judiciary committee don't feel the same way i do. but if i had to guess where the speaker was coming from, i believe that that would be it. the other thing she has said about public opinion is that she does not want to see the impeachment process tear america apart anymore. with the divisive, angry
negative president that we have, we most certainly don't want to play into that narrative either. >> you know, it feels like you're in this weird box politically. the president is almost darg you guys to walk away from impeachment. he is trying to claim vindication today, which in some ways to me is about trying to convince you guys not to go down this road. what do you make all of this? >> well, i don't think so. i mean, i think, number one, we have known for the last two and a half years that he lies path logically and that it really doesn't matter what the reality is. i think he's playing to trump tv. he does have his own network. i think he's playing to that. >> what's the next step here? how does the mueller testimony not feel like an epilogue? that was a phrase we used earlier. how does today not become an epilogue? >> well, i do think that we have several more key people that we need to have come before the -- >> don, let's start with don mcgahn. >> absolutely. >> do you think we will hear from him, your committee will
ever hear from him. you may not see him in public, but your committee will ever hear from him under oath? >> well, i want to hear from him and not just in a closed hearing. i want to hear from him in a public way. i mean, a big chunk of the hearing today was about don mcgahn. all of my questions were about him. i definitely want to hear from him, and i think we need to keep pushing until we get him in that seat. >> we are a couple of minutes away from nancy pelosi. karen bass, democratic congresswoman from california, always on the pulse of that. chuck rosenberg, what did you hear there? what would be your advice of how today doesn't become an epilogue if democrats want to keep this going? >> if they want to keep it going, and i'm glad they haven't asked for my legal vichlts it'd probably just get worse for them. if they want to keep it going, i think you have to open up impeachment proceedings.
the white house continues to assert all sorts of privileges over material of documents and witnesses. in order to prevent, and you're going to have to little gait that. in order to find out and test whether or not those privileges are real and will be upheld, you have to go to court. if you go to court without an impeachment inquiry, it's just harder to win. the courts are more likely to find that privilege gives way to some other process or some other purpose if there's something else going on. one of the reasons u.s. v. nixon, the supreme court case in the '70s was decided in favor is because they had a grand jury investigation going on. and the court weighed the two, the need for secrecy, the executive privilege, and the need for a grand jury to have access to information. they said in that balancing test, the grand jury wins. so if the house doesn't have something it's doing that
they're looking into, it's harder to win. >> i want to play that spite, because, andrea, you'll be interested in this. i want to play this byte. take a listen. >> are you concerned you could be indicted out of office? offi? >> so wiki leaks is a hoax just like everything else. all of those problems having to do with crime were the biggest hoeks of all. >> it was a witch hunt, a total witch hunt. the fact that you even asked that question, you're fake news because you know what? he totally corrected himself in the afternoon and you know that just as well as anybody. >> whether he intentionally conflated the correction that -- >> the correction had nothing to do with that. >> with hallie's question. mueller didn't correct that part. yes, a sitting president can be indicted after he leaves office for anything, which may be, but it didn't matter.
yes, he can have that. again, with the wikileaks, sometimes i wonder, my gorksd that's obstructing in plain sight again. >> he's brangd -- >> he's branding wikileaks. he is saying that the american assessment of wikileaks is a hoax. >> and you asked congresswoman bass whether they could have done this sooner. i don't think they could have done it sooner because of william barr and because of all the obstacles that the attorney threw up. how could they have gotten mueller in any sooner? they barely got him in today. >> could they have made more legal noise, though? >> i think so. andrea has a very good point. clearly, there were some structural problems. but how much time has passed between when -- well, a couple of dates when the democrats took control of the house, when the report was released and today. and you don't have a lot of time left on this clock if you want to start litigating and
compelling testimony. >> well, they're going into august recess, and if they're going to get impeachment hearings started, they've got to do it quickly or you're if full 2020 mode. >> i want to bring in somebody from the other side of the aisle, republican from north dakota, also a member of the house judiciary committee. let me start with basic question here. do you feel as if robert mueller was a compelling and truthful witness today? >> i don't feel like he was overly compelling. i think at some point in time there's going to end up being consequences if you continue to overpromise and underperform, which i think my friends on the other side of the aisle. he had difficulty understanding questions and had to have things repeated back to him quite a bit. but anybody who testifies for seven hours in front of congress, it's a grueling experience. but, no, i don't think that this moved the needle in favor towards where the democrats
wanted it to go at all. >> are you troubled by the mueller report? are you troubled by the five instances that were singled -- the ten instances that were singled out of the obstructive practices? does that trouble you? >> i think when you have that many resources, i was a federal criminal defense attorney for ten years. so when you spend that amount of federal resources, you're always going to have things that are at the very least unflattering. but i think the underlying premise of the entire thing is we know you can have obstruction without an underlying crime. but do you know why it's almost never charged? because proving intent is difficult. and we see a whole lot of instances of the democrats grab onto one potential illegitimate reason for this conduct occurring, but nobody ever seems to talk about the legitimate reasons for why it occurred. >> do you at all accept the responsibility that the reason he didn't have enough evidence
to charge conspiracy is because of the obstruction? i mean, that is not an illogical connective issue. >> that's not what the report says. that is not what volume i says. it says they did not find evidence. >> enough to charge. there's a difference. there are caveats in there. they did not find enough to bring charges in a prosecution that doesn't mean they didn't find troubling issues and it doesn't mean that they thought the law wasn't correctly -- >> establishing probable cause when you have $25 million, 19 attorneys, 40 fbi agents in three years, we act like federal prosecutors have been behind the 8-ball on the whole thing. that's just not how federal prosecutions and federal investigations work. it's surely not how it works when you have half of the team who has a direct relationship with the team of the opponent you're investigating. >> let me go back to something else though.
how should we feel as american citizens if mueller was not able to interview one of the principles involved in this entire issue, and that's the president of the united states, why should we believe this is a completed investigation if he never interviewed the sitting president? >> that's a political determination, and that's what we have elections for. there is no investigation of a criminal investigation in any courtroom in the entire country that's required to submit to an interview. that just doesn't occur. that's what we keep doing. we meld criminal culpability -- >> he could have been subpoenaed before a grand jury. he chose not to subpoena him. if you're trying to complete a thorough investigation and you leave off the decision to subpoena, does that not leave that open that maybe this is an investigation that there's more information to be gleaned? >> subpoenaing a witness and subpoenaing a criminal subject of an investigation is not the
same thing. we have 19 federal prosecutors perpetrating a federal criminal investigation on a sitting president of the united states. that is exactly right. if you're saying that they didn't issue a subpoena, well, then that's a question for bob mueller and his team, not for the president of the united states. >> no, i understand that. do you think as somebody who's been on the defensive side, you said you've been a criminal defense attorney and you've dealt with these things, can you look at that and say that's a complete investigation? do you feel as if they overturned every stone? you keep throwing stats at me. but there's two things that didn't happen. paul manafort did not cooperate as a witness. that's number one. so that is a problem, number one. and number two was they never subpoenaed the president. >> and they didn't subpoena the president. i'm not sure if you're the subject of a criminal investigation. if i'm representing the president and i think i am the actual subject of the investigation i'm not entirely show i show up. but this is what john ratcliffe said today. kept talking about how nobody's above or below the law.
but they set a whole different standard of law. the presumption of innocence and proof beyond a reasonable doubt. now we are talking about proving exoneration which is essentially innocence. and the folly of that is in chairman nadler's opening statement. i think there were at least four double negatives when he asked questions to bob mueller right out of the gate. they were so confusing to follow, i couldn't follow them. >> how concerned are you about russian interference? >> i think we should talk about it. >> i am concerned about any interference in our election. but i don't like it being used as a prop to attack the president. >> but do we have a problem if we can't acknowledge that the russians did this to benefit donald trump? that seems to be the sticking point here. >> i don't think that's the sticking point. >> do you believe the russian it's this to help donald trump? >> i think the russians interfered in our elections and before the 2016 and i think the
nexus of what happened here is different mediums and different ways that this occurred. we are always going to have foreign powers that are attempting to do this and we need to do everything we can to protect our enemies, foreign and domestic. >> do you have more confidence that robert mueller's investigation was fair after going through this process? >> no, i don't. and the reason is, and that's why my line of questioning. and robert mueller testified today that he did different lawyers working on different things and this isn't about political affiliation. >> it sounds like it. but there is -- we are getting to a point in this town where you're guilty until proven innocent just because on somebody you might've associated with in politics. >> well, no. but when you are a lawyer involved in a doj issue, like i said, this is not about political affiliation. this is about direct conflict of interest. and when you have over half of your legal team that has a direct political, personal, or
professional relationship with the opponent of the person you are investigating, that's about whether they should've disclosed that conflict of interest and whether bob mueller should've vetted his team more before he embarked on the most important investigation in a generation. >> i would say the reason we know these political contributions is because they were disclosed. >> well, they're reportable contributions. >> fair enough. >> thank you for coming on and sharing your view. joining me now john and jennifer. okay. jennifer, i will start with you. and respond either personally as a member of the clinton campaign or professionally. i will give you the floor. >> okay. now, i will respond professionally. i mean, personally, i've, like, you know, kind of moved on.
>> how do you feel about robert mueller personally today? >> personally, i feel very good about robert mueller. a couple of things that are interesting to me about mueller is i think he was very careful to not do what jim comey did. >> yes. >> and on that score. >> on that score, and by that i mean he was careful to stay in his lane and not to overstep, you know, sometimes i wish we had bob mueller as the fbi director during 2016 and if donald trump had still won. >> and comey as the special prosecutor. >> we had three or four people say that today. >> but i do think that we have to take it's time to take the congress' responsibility off of mueller's shoulders. like, this is now on congress. >> mueller's done. >> he's done. but i do think that we have put too much responsibility on his shoulders, responsibility that does belong to congress. and also time to stop waiting to reach donald trump's standard
for impeachable behavior. or donald trump's supporters' standard for impeachable behavior. i think that the mueller report laid out really clearly by the manner that congress needs to investigate obstruction of justice as well as all the counterintelligence that needs to be picked back up on. and now they should go forth and do this. th >> joe friday aspect of mueller would've been praised universally. that's exactly what we all want to see in this day and age of trump where trump has dramatized all of life. i think somehow mueller -- i actually think people are judging mueller through the trump entertainment prism. >> two years, a little more since mueller began the investigation. and there's been all this, you know what, a couple months from now, something's going to
happen, and this is going to blow up trump. and stuff is going on behind the scenes. mueller is putting together a massive map of the obstruction and the russian collusion and something's going to happen. and there's going to be indictments, and, man, trump is scared and the white house is terrified. and mueller came out with a report, he did not -- he could not establish a line of connection between the russians and the trump campaign. and then he did not feel comfortable saying that justice was obstructed each thouven tho says that's because the olc says you couldn't indict a president. that seems to me to be a very odd thing. but i'm just saying for the resistance, for everybody who was longing for impeachment, there were moments in the future that were going to be the moments that were going to turn this story around. that is over. with. >> right. which is why congress -- right.
>> but the next move is either get off -- >> in the last hour, there is more than enough on the table for congress to responsibly -- >> start the inquiry, sure. >> undertake an inquiry. >> they could have done it months ago. >> or they could have done it two years ago. >> they could have done it the minute the democrats took over the house. like, they are indifferent, they have different constitutional responsibilities. the thing for them is there may be enough or there may be enough. it is not going to happen now. what happened today in my view, whatever anybody is saying kills impeachment, no, there is not going to be a single person out of that 50, 55% that doesn't want impeachment that is going to say after today, you know what, we should have impeachment. >> yeah. but i do think that is up to congress to decide. congress needs to decide and unfortunately it's on the democrats. they have to decide if they are going to take that step.
and i think it's a big mistake to make a mitical decision on this. i think it's a big mistake to let public opinion drive this. >> really? >> yes, i do. >> don't you want your party to win in 2020? >> what i want is my country to recover from what happened wherein a foreign adversary that undertook a campaign to undermine the, like, very roots of our republic. >> all right, guys. >> and i agree with you. >> there's one person who holds the keys of the inquiry and she's about to talk. why don't we cede the floor to the speaker. >> good evening, everyone. sorry for the delay. it's been a pretty interesting day, an historic one as a matter of fact. a day in which the former special counsel affirmed in public what the mueller report put forth. it is a crossing of a threshold
in terms of the public awareness of what happened and how it conforms to the law or not. the president likes to have his poster that said the mueller report took this many days, cost this much money, this, that, and the other. well, we have a corresponding contradictory chart. mueller investigation by the numbers, $40 million recovered for the u.s. government. remember, he said how much it would cost? less than that. 37 people and entities charged with crimes, 25 ongoing criminal cases referred, seven convicted including five top trump campaign officials. and then he had no collusion, no this or that. ten instances of obstruction, yes, no exoneration. that's some of what we heard today.
i just want to go to another point. at the same time that we're on this path of the mueller investigation to recognize that the mueller investigation was prohibited from looking into the president's finances. and that is what our committees of jurisdiction have been doing. as we legislate for the good of the american people, we're also investigating so that we have the grist for the mill to litigate in court. those cases we've won in lower courts. they have of course, appealed. we feel strongly that the position of article 1, the legislative branch having the right to have oversight over every other branch of government but that's important because it means we can get the information to show the american people what the obstruction of justice was further all about. i'm very, very proud of our committees. the judiciary committee and its
great chairman, jerry nadler, the intelligence committee, great chairman adam schiff. we're going to hear from them now and we're also joined by elijah cummings, chair of the government reform and oversight committee, a committee that is winning its courts in case, as well. i'm going to yield with great respect to all three chairman and then we'll take some questions. first i'll yield to the distinguished chairman of the judiciary committee, mr. nadler. >> thank you, madam speaker. today, the american people heard directly about what the special counsel investigation uncovered. as to russia's interference in the 2016 election, and the president's cooperation with it and obstruction of justice. mueller made clear that the president is not exonerated. mueller found evidence of obstruction of justice and abuses of power by the president. he said the report said the
president could be indicted for obstruction of justice after he leaves office. mueller found that trump would and did benefit from the russia's help and that the campaign welcomed that help. mueller found multiple instances where all three elements for charging criminal obstruction of justice were met. trying to fire the special counsel in order to stop the investigation, trying to have people lie and cover up for him for the same purpose, trying to limit or impede or constrict the special counsel's investigation, trying to tamper with witnesses, tamper with witnesses cooperating with investigators. all of these were found with great evidence. president trump went to great lengths to obstruct the special counsel's investigation. anyone else who acted in this way if they were not the sitting president would face criminal prosecution, would face indictments. only the office of legal
counsel's opinion that you cannot indict a sitting president has saved or is saving the president from indictment because all the elements of these krips were found with substantial evidence, and the people have now heard this. the president's chant of no obstruction is nonsense, his chant that he's been totally exonerated is a simple lie. >> first of all, i want to thank director mueller for a lifetime of service to the country from his days as a young marine in vietnam through his decades of service as a prosecutor, as the director of the fbi, and through his service as special counsel, this nation owes him an enormous debt of gratitude. so director mueller, i want to thank you personally for all of your service. today, the director outlined in
powerful words how russia intervened massively in our election, systematically in a sweeping fashion. how during the course of that intervention, they made multiple approaches to the trump campaign and far from shunning that foreign involvement in our election, the trump campaign welcomed it, made full use of it, put it into its communications and messaging strategy and then lied about it. lied about it to cover it up, lied about it to obstruct the investigation into that will very attack on our democracy. part of what i found so powerful about his testimony today was not just when he was asked about the law when but he was asked about the ethics, the morality, the lack of patriotism of this conduct and perhaps one of the most chilling moments i think in our committee was when he expressed the fear that this become the new normal and, of
course, i think what is animating that fear of the director of what certainly animates it for me is the fact even after the nightmare of the last two and a half years, president of the united states will still not foreswear receiving foreign help again, that to this point the president still continues to call this russian attack on our democracy a hoax, as something that director mueller today directly refuted. that he still calls a witch hunt something that the director mueller today directly refuted. and so we go into this next election more vulnerable than we should be. we can't control completely what russia does although we must do everything we can to harden our election defenses to make sure there are paper trails to, make sure that we deter and disrupt any kind of russian intervention, but we cannot control that will completely but we can control what we do. and director mueller made it
clear in no uncertain terms that it's up to us whether we act ethically and patriotically, whether we refuse to be a party to a foreign attack on our democracy and once again, i thank him for his service. >> thank you. >> elijah? >> thank you very much. i first want to applaud chairman nadler and -- who heads our judiciary committee and certainly our chairman of intelligence committee for what they did today and their committees. what they did was paint a picture for america. one of the mostchying things that i have noticed that i've witnessed is when a member, former member of our committee, mr. amash, a republican, went to
his town hall meeting and got a round of applause in a republican district after he had said that he felt that the president should be impeached, but that wasn't the thing that got me. what really got me was when a lady at the end of the town hall meeting said, i didn't know that there was anything negative in the mueller report about president trump. that says a lot. and to her credit, our speaker made it clear that we needed to paint a picture. for america. so that they could fully understand what is going on. this is a critical moment in our country's history. don't be fooled. and it is a moment which people
will be talking about and reading about 300, 400, 500 years from now and threw going to ask the question, what did you do when we had a president who -- who knew the rules and knew that our founding fathers had done a great job of creating a constitution and had put in all the guard rays but never anticipate that we would have a president that would just throw away the guardrails. and that's why what happened today is so critical. it was a giant step in making sure that the american people were -- got a picture of all of this and hopefully will look towards the future and say we're not going to have this. both mr. nadler and mr. schiff said something that's very critical. this isn't normal.
and we have gotten so we're now getting so used to normal to this kind of conduct of our president and by the way, of our attorney general and our republican colleagues, that we -- it looks like we are just going to accept it. well, we refuse to accept it. then in my committee we constantly and i know schiff and nadler have heard this, people say oh, you're just messing with the president because you don't like him. it's not about not liking the president. it's about loving democracy. it's about loving our country. it's about making a difference for generations yet unborn. that's what this is all about. and i'm begging, i'm begging the american people to pay attention to what is going on because if you want to have a democracy intact for your children and your children's children and
generations yet unborn, we have got to guard this moment. this is our watch. and again, i am soso very proud of the judiciary committee, i am so very, very proud of the intelligence committee because they went in and tried to pull out the facts so that they could paint the picture so that america could see it. and hopefully, they will not be ladies like the lady at amash's town hall meeting who said they didn't know that there was something wrong that trump did with regard in this mueller report. and so again, we, the speaker is absolutely right. she told us a little bit earlier that she wants to gather all the information and make sure that we have everything we need to paint that picture. now, what the american people do with it, that's another thing. but we will