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tv   The Mueller Report Special Coverage  CNN  April 18, 2019 9:00am-10:00am PDT

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>> well, jake, one of the biggest takeaways is how mueller's team felt constrained by the legal situation here and department guidance on the fact that a sitting president cannot be indicted, and the special counsel's team explains that they are going to abide by that guidance, and they shay here, if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment, and from that point on they lay out a litany, chapter and verse, very detailed granular episodes of essentially times when the president was putting on pressure on mostly now former officials in his administration to do things that they either refused to do or felt uncomfortable with in the case of the former white house counsel, don mcgahn, also former attorney general jeff sessions, a litany of episodes here of the president putting pressure on these officials and them pressing back.
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on the question of whether mueller walked through all of this evidence if he was going to make an ultimate decision to punt here and not reach an ultimate conclusion on whether the president obstructed justice, the mueller team explains that quite cleary will, and they say the reason they did it is because a thorough factual investigation was needed in order to preserve the evidence when memories were fresh and documentary details were available. they are trying to build a record as much as they can because later on in the report they explained congress can take up the mantel on this if they so choose. nothing to prevent congress from looking at this situation and deciding for itself as a co-equal branch of the government that the president has in fact obstructed justice. mueller teams explains that quite clearly here, but that they thought fairness concerns counseled against potentially reaching that judgment when no charges could rather be brought because it is a sitting
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president. one other line i just want to highlight for you here, jake, and wolf. it's interesting given all the pressure that we've been talking about and all the different episodes with mcgahn and sessions and lewandowski. they lay out here that the president's efforts to influence investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that's largely because the persons who surrounded the president declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests, and they go on to say consistent with that pattern the evidence we obtained would not support potential obstruction charges against the president's aides and associates beyond those already filed, so even though he was putting pressure on them, they say here we don't see any basis for charges against the people that he was sort of trying to use as a conduit, as mcgahn said. he felt he had to resign as opposed to having another saturday night massacre on his hands, so that gives you sort of a little bit of a flavor of all the details that we're learning here on the obstruction of justice section. wolf and jake. >> that's fascinating, because
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what you're saying there laura is the reason why more white house aides or administration officials have not been themselves indicted or charged with obstruction of justice is because they ignored president trump's orders. >> yeah. >> president trump would tell the white house counsel don mcgahn fire robert mueller. don mcgahn said to himself no, and, therefore, don mcgahn is a free man. and the same thing with corey lewandowski or any number of other individuals named in the mueller report is that the way that all of these administration officials preserved their freedom and are not in jail right now or at least charged and in a court right now is because they refused to carry out the orders that president trump demanded of them. >> the specific details in here are very, very powerful. evan, you've been going through the document as well, 4,900-page
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mueller report with the redactions. give us the big look of mueller deciding whether or not to charge campaign officials. >> that's right, wolf. the report are, as volume one of the report describes the russian campaign, and the efforts by people associated with the trump campaign to essentially encourage some of that activity. none of that according to special counsel robert mueller crossed into the line where they can bring a charge, a crime against anybody associated with the campaign. on page 174 in volume one, it talks about -- that the office determined that the contacts between campaign officials and russia-linked individuals either did not involve the commission of a federal crime or in the case of campaign finance offenses that our evidence was not sufficient to obtain and sustain a criminal conviction, and it's clear, according to one of the footnotes in this section of the report, wolf, it -- it
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describes that the -- the special counsel investigators looked into whether or not they could charge people with disseminating some of the stolen documents that the russians -- that the russian intelligence services had stolen from the clinton campaign. people work for the clinton campaign. they looked into whether or not this could constitute trafficking in or receipt of a stolen -- stolen property under the national stolen property act, and they determined that they could not. and finally it also describes that, you know, that these contacts did not in themselves amount to an agreement. now that's a key word, because the statute here of whether or not anybody was conspiring with the russians would be that according to the mueller investigators and the justice department, that there had to be an agreement between someone associated with the campaign and the russians to collude essentially, and they say that they did not establish that there was anything here that amounted to such an agreement.
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now, we're also getting a little bit of new information about the extent of this investigation. we know, for instance, that there was an august 2016 -- 2017 memo that described the initial stages of this investigation looking into carter page who was a foreign policy adviser to the campaign, paul manafort who became chairman of the campaign and george papadopoulos, another foreign policy aid. he's the one whose activities initiated the fbi's investigation in july of 2016, so it describes that they went into everything here, wolf. new information here though in this section. they say they looked into allegations that george pap done lou, again, a foreign policy aid for the campaign, committed a crime or crimes by acting as an unregistered agent of the israeli government. now, that's the first time we've ever heard that the special counsel was looking into activities of people connected with the campaign that went
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beyond the russians. they were looking into whether or not george papadopoulos was essentially acting as an agent of the israeli government, according to the documents that we've seen pubically now. obviously george papadopoulos has now pleaded guilty. he's gone to jail for a few days. we know -- we don't know anything about that, so it's clear that they did not get to a decision to be able to charge him, but it really does show the extent of this investigation, that this document again describes also four sets of allegations against michael flynn involving -- michael flynn and his activity as the national security adviser for the president. this is a vast investigation obviously that went on for two years, wolf, and it's clear that they looked at everything. >> all right. evan perez, thank you so much. let's go back to the panel and talking about specifically the reason why the obstruction of justice attempts by president
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trump failed, if one agrees that it was obstruction of justice, because it's very clear that the individuals surrounding president trump protected him. >> saved him. >> whether they were doing so to protect him or to protect the country or protect some sort of principle. they did so, and this is just quoting from the report. the president's efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the president declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests. comey did not end the investigation flynn which ultimately resulted in flynn's prosecution and conviction for lying to the fbi. mcgahn, the white house counsel at the time, did not tell acting attorney general that the special counsel robert mueller must be removed but was instead prepared to resign. lewandowski, the president's former campaign manager and aide and rick dearborn did not deliver the message to jeff sessions, the attorney general, that he should confine the
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russian investigation to future meddling only and mcgahn didn't have the special counsel removed despite the president's multiple attempts to do so, his demand that mueller be fired. the evidence we obtained would not support potential obstruction charges against the president's aides and associates beyond those already found. >> the details and extent to which those people and others in the white house worked so hard to manage the president, to not carry out his orders but knowing his personality, his demands, for example, to get out there and deny the "new york times" report that he had said to mcgahn please fire robert mueller. mcgahn refused to do it and it denails here that repreebuince priebus, the then chief of staff, goes on television that he didn't recall hearing
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anything like that. he was so careful to say that, but the way the president heard that was great job, reince priebus. you got out there and you defended me, so they had to do this incredibly intricate dance not just to stop obstruction but to try to stop the president from talking about it more and more. >> is this obstruction? was this obstruction of justice? >> you know, the report has an interesting legal section on the law of obstruction of justice, and it makes very clear that it is a crime to endeavor, that's the word in the statute, to endeavor to obstruct justice. it is not required that the obstruction effort be successful. i mean, when you think about it. every obstruction of justice prosecution is unsuccessful. every obstruction of justice prosecution is based on an attempt that doesn't succeed or people wouldn't have been
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caught. richard nixon didn't succeed in obstruction of justice because he was forced to resign. the fact that these public servants, don mcgahn, james comey and others protected the president doesn't protect him from committing a crime. i look at this evidence, and it sure looks like obstruction to justice to me. >> let me interrupt for a moment. certainly at a moment it looks like conspiracy to obstruct justice >> correct. >> and one of the things that they say in the introduction is they are not dealing with issues of intent very extensively. they say that if we were recommending an actual prosecution, we would talk about intent, so, you know -- though you can hardly say that this is a small report, it doesn't really address the issue in any great detail of whether there was corrupt improper criminal intent by the president in these areas. >> let me ask you a question,
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because i'm just a humble cave man. i'm not a lawyer. i don't know all of this. but if mueller is saying we're not going to charge any of the president's aides and advisers with obstruction of justice because they didn't care out the president's orders, how does that not suggest in its own assertion that the president was trying to obstruct justies? >> look, i mean, you know, we're sitting here and reading the headlines and i'll go through in detail and read all of the factual body of information that is around these ten categories of areas where they investigated obstruction, but it certainly sounds like there were a lot of events. there were what was happening in public and what was happening behind the scenes, and the individuals that he tried to effectuate his direction to shut down or derail or obstruct these investigations knew it was wrong. don mcgahn would have known that this potentially was
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obstruction, just like mark corallo knew when they were trying to redraft messaging of what happened in the 2016 meeting. >> trump tower meeting. >> he knew that it was wrong, so there were people around. don mcgahn would have known that direct an attorney general to do something in this case to shut down an investigation was wrong and potentially could not even just -- i don't know that he was necessarily protecting the president. he was protecting himself from potential criminal exposure. >> laura, you're a former prosecutor. would you have charged any of the president's aides or president with obstruction based on what you've seen in this report? >> i would not have charged the aides because it's clear there were adults in the room not engaged if the conspiracy, not a meeting of the minds, no agreement that they were going to conspire to do something to actually break the law, and you didn't carry out the actual order. i would actually be a little pre-turned that a public servant
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would not have come forward to illuminate this issue to others but i would not be able to prosecute the aides because there was no conspiracy on their part. having said that, the idea of the olc opinion. >> the office of legal counsel. >> for which barr also wrote an opinion once about that, and it was controversial, but the notion that he -- that i would not be able to prosecute a sitting president would weigh largely on my mind, but i think you're absolutely right in the underlying question here which is i am mueller and i'm offering an explanation for why i decided not to prosecute the aides, it means that there was an underlying crime to explain that i've not prosecuted them for. you have that guidance that says you cannot indict, and, again, i have to indict a signature president on these issue, so you've got all of these different issues and categories at play here. it wasn't successful, that's true. there is no longer ignorance of the law by any stretch of the imagination.
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thereto was an attempt, even in spite of as barr characterized it the media frenzy of trying to try to indict the president in the court of public opinion, all the people that he reached out to to try to enfold and envelope in his overall attempt to obstruct justice and interfere, what you're not seeing in spite of this which is what barr made a motion of in his 19-page memo is the reason they did not try to convict or try to prosecute on obstruction, because there was no underlying crime of collusion. notice that that was completely compartmentalized in the discussion with good reason. >> there's a good party of volume two which i want to read and we've been asking all this time if there was no conspiracy, if there was no collusion, why the attempt to obstruct justice and why the lies? on page 76 of volume two, mueller offers a theory. the president, quote -- the president wanted to protect himself from an investigation into his campaign. the president had a motive to put the fbi's russia
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investigation behind him. it does not establish a determination that comey was trying to kufrp conspiracy between the trump campaign anding are. the evidence uncovered did not establish that the president was involved in the computer hacking or active conspiracies or that the president are an unlawful relationship with any russian official. keep listening. but evidence does indicate that a thorough fbi investigation would uncover facts about the campaign and the president personally that the president could have understood to be crimes or that would give rise to personal and political concerns. there's the reason. there's the reason why the attempted obstruction of justice, fine there was no conspiracy, because he was worried that the fbi was going to find other crimes related to not just his personal life or his business but also the campaign. >> and to that point, everyone made a good point before. the special counsel took the communication, collusion, whatever you want to call it between the trump campaign and
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russia seriously enough to explore multiple possible paths to criminal wrongdoing, including trafficking in stolen property. why would you investigate trafficking in stolen property unless you had evidence that the trump campaign was discussing, communicating, getting forewarning, perhaps even disseminating stolen information, right, because barr set -- barr set the bar it is a were for being involved in the theft of the documents. they did not eliminate the possibility that they were involved in the dissemination. they were -- they were exploring prosecution for trafficking in stolen property which seemed to me you wouldn't explore that path unless you had evidence of back and forth here which gets to your point as to what was the motivation for trying to squelch the investigation. >> now that we know all these facts, jeffrey, and you can answer this and i'll have some others answer it as well. now that we know all of these facts that are actually in the 400-page mueller report, doesn't that undermine the very glowing assessment we heard earlier today from the attorney general
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of the united states? >> totally. totally. i mean, it's -- it's just dish mean, you know, yesterday we were trying to figure out what the president meant when he said there are going to be hard things in the report which i didn't understand what that meant. now i understand. >> yeah. >> strong things. >> hard things. >> it was strong things. it's very strong, and -- and it's -- it's very damaging. now, do i think it's going to make any difference politically? i defer to my colleagues here. i've seen the polls on this president. they haven't moved in two and a half years. i don't think they will move now. but if you were just looking objectively at, you know, how bad it is, it's pretty bad. >> a conundrum that gloria talked about before is going to be so real, it already is real, for house democrats. conundrum being do they have even more pressure than they had before, intense pressure because
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of how bad, as you described it, jeffrey, it is in here, the actions that the president took while in office that could lead to that -- that bar of -- of impeachment, or do they say -- do the democrats say to their base and to the american people, you know what. we have an election coming up. it's not going to be us who decides. it's going to be the american people at the voting booth. that is going to be and that already is the discussion i have no doubt going on within the democratic leadership right now. >> and the portrait as we read through this that is emerging of this president is of somebody who needed to be managed and who needed to be saved from himself, hand in reading through this, it wasn't only don mcgahn who thought, okay, i have to quit. it was reince priebus who didn't want to get involved in the firing of then attorney general jeff sessions. so time and time again you have people saying to themselves,
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okay, if i have to do this, i have to leave, and then they managed the president. >> and you have another example of hope hicks, the whole trump tower meeting and call on air force one saying mr. president, people know about this, it's time to tell the truth. no, cut off the statement. so a whole lost people trying to keep the president from going off the rails. to the political question dana raised. the democrats need tough conversations because speaker pelosi said it's not worth going forward with impeachment unless you have a bipartisan agreement. if you look so far and see by the end of the day or by the end of the week, if people actually read this as opposed to put out their quick statements that they put out, so far what you're seeing from most republicans this is great. the president's innocent. totally exonerated. it's time to move on. well, if the republicans actually read this, you know, that's up for the political community to decide if there's a threshold for impeachment. it's okay that the president's son a key player in his son was direct messaging wikileaks about
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dumping information. it's okay that the president's campaign chairman was continuing, not just once, on several occasions chaired internal campaign polling right after the republican convention going into a general election with the russians. it's okay that the president told his white house counsel to fire the special counsel. it's okay that they repeatedly lie about things in public and a lot of them lied to federal investigators, so that -- is that what the republican party -- is that what the republican party wants its legacy to be out of this document? there's a bigger conversation and we all need to read it and read it twice about how we go forward with it, but a lot of these initial statements ary dickous. >> john, what does that say about what we heard earlier a couple hours ago from the attorney general of the united states? >> not to dumb it down too much, but attorney general was essentially saying everything is awesome. the president was a victim. >> right. >> thank you, bob mueller. case closed. if you read this, and, again, it's hard. it's hard, and to be fair to the president, to the sense that, you know, you get -- if you're the new president, you've never
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been in politics before, and all of a sudden there's a special counsel investigation so the president should be allowed a temper tantrum or two, oh, my god, this is going to undermine my whole presidency. that doesn't mean that you can say let's break rules, let's break norms, let's fire people when your attorneys tell you, sir, you can't do that. again, some of this can be if you're a human being, okay, the guy has a temper, never done this before, but ten times. >> it's not just, you know, i -- i was saying earlier that, you know, it's just endeavoring to obstruct justice as the crime. he didn't just endeavor. he fired james comey. i mean, he actually fired james comby. >> he tried to fire a bunch other people including mueller. >> including mueller. >> and he was saved by don mcgahn from firing -- from firing mueller. but, you know, the idea that there was sort no harm, no foul here, and just to raise -- just to raise another point that the -- why should he -- he
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should have been so upset because there was no collusion and it was unfair to have an investigation for something there was no underlying crime for. how about bill clinton. you know, bill clinton lied about his affair with lewinsky. his affair with monica lewinsky was not a crime but a lot of people had no problem with the investigation of bill clinton for the very serious matter of lying and obstruction of justice when it wasn't an underlying event that was a crime either. >> john, i want to ask you a question about the fact that obviously attorney general barr as political operatives do put a spin on this that was fwafrable to the president and the truth is if you believe that the mueller report's main goal was to investigate whether anybody on team trump conspired with the russians, it in fact -- it's very clear that they say that there was no evidence of criminal conspiracy, period, full stop, but that said, when barr goes into the president's head as he did in that press
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conference earlier today and said -- he didn't say it quite this way but basically put yourself in the president's shoes, a new president, the media is out to get him, deep state is out to get him, the democrats are out to get him no wonder he react at the way he did. you combine that with this thing again that i'm returning to which is mueller asserting the evidence indicates a thorough fbi investigation would uncover facts about the trump campaign and the president personally that the president could have understood to be crimes. >> right. >> that seems very damning to me. >> and we don't nokes actly what it is. we do know from the mike rall cohen case alleged by the trump justice department, in this political environment, the trump justice department names the president of the united states as individual one in the michael cohen documents and says he committed a crime. it doesn't say he might have but he committed a crime. what else? what else? and now, again, the attorney general so accepting the president's language, not just today when he said -- he used
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the term spying in his congressional testimony. again, every challenge to the mueller investigation in court was upheld by judges appointed by democratic and republican presidents. i think one of them even by a judge appointed by president trump. so let's see. there's an inspector general investigation going on to the beginning of all of this. if there's misconduct it should be called out in public, but this attorney general's use of terms that are the president's terms, use of the president's language, whether it's spying, whether it's victim -- the victim-like language does raise questions. now, he's the attorney general. we know the southern district of new york continues. we know other investigations continue, and from this there might be a few others we don't know about. when someone has a recommendation, who does it go to? the president of the united states. >> let's go to pamela brown and the president's public acts of obstruction of justice. >> reporter: you get a severance how closely robert mueller's team was paying attention to what the president was saying
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pubically and over twitter and so forth and why the president's public statements could constitute obstructive acts because of his power, and here's what it says in the report. while it may be more difficult to establish the acts were motivated by a corrupt intense, the president's power to enhance actions and events is enhanced by his unique ability to attract attention through use of mass communications of law excludes public acts from the scope of obstruction statutes. if the likely effect of the act is to intimidate wednesday or alter their testimony the justice system's intellingsy is equally threatened and in this report robert mueller's team lays out several examples of when they believer the president was trying to pressure or intimidate witnesses not to cooperate with their investigation. most notably on michael cohen as well as paul manafort. as you'll recall, the president pubically had called him, quote, a brave man. that's one of the things that he had said and went on to make
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other claims about how flipping is a bad thing, on paul manafort. on michael cohen, the president's former attorney, the report notes how the president's tone against michael cohen changed pubically from initially praising him when michael cohen had lied about trump tower moscow and switching and castigating him and robert mueller said if you look at the totality of events, this parench behavior, it paints a picture and shows these public statements show what the president's motive is if you look at it as a whole. >> i want everybody to stand by because we have a lot more of our special coverage of the mueller report coming up. let take a quick break. we'll resume our special coverage right after this. you're in the middle. for moments that matter tracfone keeps you connected, for less. ♪ our talk text and data plans start at fifteen dollars a month, no contract. all with nationwide coverage...
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so i talked to my doctor about humira. i learned humira can help get, and keep uc under control when other medications haven't worked well enough. and it helps people achieve control that lasts. so you can experience few or no symptoms. humira can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal infections and cancers, including lymphoma, have happened; as have blood, liver, and nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions, and new or worsening heart failure. before treatment, get tested for tb. tell your doctor if you've been to areas where certain fungal infections are common, and if you've had tb, hepatitis b, are prone to infections, or have flu-like symptoms or sores. don't start humira if you have an infection. be there for you, and them. ask your gastroenterologist about humira. with humira, control is possible. good afternoon. welcome to our viewers and around the world to cnn's
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special live coverage of the public release of the mueller report. i'm anderson cooper in washington. >> and i'm jake tapper. strictly speaking, it's the public release of most of the mueller report, a partially redacted version that still lays out in rich and long-awaited and sometimes profane detail the special counsel's findings. >> to wit no evidence the trump campaign conspired or coordinated with election interference by russians, but multiple occasions where president trump intervened or tried to intervene in the subsequent investigation. those attempts failed, the special counsel writes, largely because the president's aides refused to carry out his orders. he further reveals when he, robert mueller, was appointed in may of 2017, the president declared this is terrible. this is the end of my presidency and went on to say i'm f eid. >> curse word. >> he did not use the word f eid but i'm going to. we begin with cnn's senior justice correspondent laura jarrett. explain what you've been looking at now and talk big picture here of the half hour. >> reporter: anderson, the big
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takeaway is that the mueller team really lays out in main staking detail all of the different troubling events that they were weighing and balancing, all the difficult facts and law that they were trying to wrestle with and trying to figure out whether the president obstructed justice. as we know, they ultimately determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment on that fact, but they nevertheless lay out really a litany of different instances that they thought could potentially constitute obstructive conduct, but one of the issues that they noted is that the people the president was trying to pressure pushed back and they said the president's efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the person who surrounded the president designed to carry out orders or aside to his requests. what are they talking about? they are talking about the fact that his former white house counsel don mcgahn refused to put pressure on the deputy
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attorney general to fire -- to fire robert mueller. they are talking about the former attorney general jeff sessions refused to unrecuse from overseeing the investigation. among a number of other issues and the language that mcgahn uses on this is just stunning and they say on june 14th, 2017, the media reported that the special counsel's office was investigating whether the president had obstructed justice. press reports called this had a major turning point in the investigation, and while comey had told the president he was not under investigation following comey's firing, the former fbi director, the president now was under investigation. the president reacted to this news with aer size of tweets criticizing the department of justice and the special counsel's investments on june 17th the president called mcgahn at home and directed him to call the acting attorney general, meaning rod rosenstein, and say that the special counsel had conflicts of interest and must be removed.
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mcgahn did not carry out those instructions deciding instead to resign to avoid a saturday night massacre. this is chock full of instances where the president was putting pressure on aides, advisers and officials to do things and they resisted those efforts. they also talk about the campaign's responsible to reports about trump talking about wikileaks and support of wikileaks. they talk about the infamous firing of former fbi director james comey and the fact they didn't sit down with the president for an interview. they thought they could subpoena him and decided not to the because ultimately they had everything they needed right here in plain view. one last point. on the issue that has come up about how the president's behavior here has been in plain
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sight. the mueller seem -- the fact the president wielded such power over his subordinates is meaningful and the fact that much of this took place in the public view doesn't necessarily mean as a legal matter that it couldn't be obstruction of justice for the special counsel's team. anderson, back to you. >> it's also interesting, laura, the reasoning that the mueller team went into this with the acceptance of the -- of the legal counsel's office at the department of justice, their idea that a sitting president could not be prosecuted for a crime and that it would be unfair to, therefore, on mueller team's part to -- to basically recommend an indictment when that actually wouldn't be carried out into it's interesting. you can see that they have a burden here, and they are saying
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where a federal prosecutor's accusation of a crime, noonan internal report, could carry consequences extended beyond the recommend of criminal justice. they don't want to say he's considered a crime in a report if they are not going to take him to trial. they are not going to actually have him sit and face those charges because he's a sitting president. >> yeah, yeah. they say fairness concerns counsel against reaching those charges when charges can't be brought. the evidence we obtained about the president's actions presents difficult issues that prevent us from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred. >> they basically kick it to congress. >> exactly. >> the conclusion that congress may apply the obstruction laws to the president's corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law. they don't reach a conclusion. they say ball is in your court. >> they also reiterate that here and in this part from olc's
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constitutional view we recognize that a federal criminal investigation would place a burden on the president's ability to govern and preempt constitutional processes for unconstitutional conduct, thank impeachment. >> half a sentence of this was cited by barr in his letter three weeks ago pacically absolveving the president because barr concluded that there is no obstruction of justice for a number of reasons he goes into, but actually in the context of what mueller is doing is not exonerating the president, as he clearly states, but basically saying now this goes to the u.s. house of representatives. >> yeah. he's certainly not exxon rate him by any means at all. he makes it pretty clear. if we had confidence that we could exonerate him we would, we can't get there and there's nothing that stops congress, even though bill bar said the
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president from objecting justice. >> they don't need a real to pick up the baton and do something about it. robert mueller are is pretty clear that there's separations of powerses in things like that but nothing to prethem them from participating in obstruction. >> mueller is saying i'm not saying he did it. i'm not saying he didn't do it and the reap i'm saying he didn't do it because even if i did there's nothing i can do, and if he said he did it, then -- and there's nothing we can do. it unfairly tarnishes him without being -- without him being able to defend himself. >> yes. >> like the context what have mueller says seems to be rather different from how it was presented to the public three weeks ago by the attorney general who seemed to say mueller couldn't reach a conclusion, and i'm not going to
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make my conclusion that obstruction didn't happen which ties it up in a nice little package, but actually what mueller does is much more complicated, much less tidy and doesn't tie anything up. it basically says nancy pelosi, over to you. >> this is why we needed to see the full report ourselves and read it word for word. >> yeah. the other thing that i've been reading this listening to all of you this morning, just the lies, and we all know about the lies this white house has told, but it just confirmed and confirmed page after page where you have, you know, the white house bush think back to, you know, the reporting that the president told -- don mcgahn to fire mueller. >> fake news. >> it's here. >> i found it. >> i found it. >> read the -- page 282. anderson and i were talking about this before we came on set and talked about what happened after the white house fired comb de, because rosenstein made the
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decision, wasn't trump's decision, it was all him and something clearly behind the scenes he was having a problem with and that's is when sarah sanders came out and gave a press briefing and during that press briefing she said she heard from countless fbi agents who had lost confidence in james comey. >> really countless fbi agents are calling her up. >> which fbi agents have you heard from? >> in the mueller report they point out during his dinner with comey on january 27th the president told comb, and i'm quoting, that beam of the fbi really like him. that's what he said. the mueller says no evidence suggests that the president heard otherwise before deciding comey and then it said that sarah sanders acknowledged to investigators that her comments that countless people lost confidence in james comb at the fbi were not founded on anything. >> so she just made it up. >> it's telling you exactly what the white house has been do, things that they were saying was not always truthful and what she was -- taking a comment from the white house briefing room.
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>> not even one guy. >> can i -- >> can i make a suggestion. >> not even half a guy. >> that the phrase not founded on anything be repeated and remembered. i love the notion. >> like alternative facts. >> exactly. >> that the press secretary of the president of the united states made a factual assertion to the united states of america that was not founded on anything. >> robert muler. >> well, it actually probably was founded on something. it was founded on her desire to keep her job and please the president. >> yes. >> i remember -- when that happened, i -- i covered the fbi before doing the white house and fbi agents were confused by what they said. first of all, they are not supposed to be talking to the white house like that, and also for the most part a lot of fbi agents revered james comby. >> they loved him. >> comey was my homey. >> exactly. >> so this is fascinating that they got, according to this report, that there was nothing behind that. what i also find interesting is
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the motive. you'll recall in the four-page letter from barr they talked whether about one of barr's factor is that there wasn't an underlying crime of the conspiracy but in this report robert mueller and his team lay out motives why the president would want to al tert course of the investigation and obstruct justice. among other things, he expressed concern, according to the reports, that the report might lead the public question the lettingsy of his election and shortly after he found out from his attorney general at the time, jeff sessions, about the appointment of robert mueller, this is a quote, this was his response, when he found out about it. he said oh, my god. this is terrible. this is the end of my presidency. i'm f'd in place of the "f" word there. >> yeah, and just to elaborate a little bit. i did this in the last hour, too, but on vul two page 76 it goes into a little bit more detail as to why the president thought that his presidency was f'd fine there was no evidence
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of conspiracy with russia which bottom line this report reveals no prosecutorial, no criminal evidence of conspiracy with russia by the trump team, it's because, quote, the evidence does indicate that a thorough fbi investigation would uncover facts about the campaign and the president personally that the president could have understood to be crimes or that would give rise to personal and political concerns. that's why he thought he was f ooerksd according to robert mueller. >> with a thanks that statement so significant in addition to the fact that it's colorful and we'll all remember is that it gives a motive to all of his subsequent esdealings with the investigation. if you think the investigation means that this is the end of hur presidency, it means that you have a motive to try to end or interfere with this investigation. >> specifically points out that there was a change in his conduct and his statements and his whole attitude towards the investigation after learning
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that he actually was -- that they were investigating him and his campaign, that it wasn't just flynn -- he thought after flynn that -- that the whole russia thing, as he said, would go away. >> that's why, you know, it's very important in a we pars each of these ten incidents many carefully and it's important to note that there are ten of them and they all show in the same direction and they all have the same general direction, the fact that someone does something repeatedly is a great significance, eliminates the possibility that it was an accident or joke and that's the evidence here. >> i remember, i think it was you at some point, months or year or two ago, who knows how long it's been, that basically you were saying how congress is not the place for investigations really. they are not really equipped for
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it. nobody has the kind of resources that a robert mueller has, and all of that, and -- and are you surprised that baked into all of this was robert mueller's early acceptance of there can be -- there will be no criminal prosecution of it and, therefore, this is all basically i want to get stuff while memories are fresh and now hand it over to congress. >> robert mueller is a rule-follower, and robert mueller was also unlike kenneth starr who was an independent counsel, robert mueller was an employee of the united states department of justice bound by its policies, and he went into this job knowing that this is a policy that says that you cannot indict the president, and i think that had to color everything that followed, including his ultimate decision not to resolve the question of whether he believes there was obstruction of justice because he couldn't prosecute the president anyway. >> and they thought if he did have an opinion and stated it
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and said we believe there's obstruction and we can't be prosecuted, he felt that would unfairly tarnish the president without the president being able to defend himself in a court of law. >> which is an extremely important point. so different from how attorney general barr portrayed the decision. >> right. >> barr portrayed the decision both in his news conference several weeks ago and just this morning. it's like the question was too close for robert mueller to determine. that's not what happen here. heeler said, look, i can't prosecute him anyway and i'm not going to prem digs him by concluding that he committed a crime so i'll leave it to others to decide. >> that's very different. >> also saying i would exonerate if i could. >> even more important, thaerpt. >> laura? >> he did exonerate him on the conspiracy and collusion issue.
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>> even more striking is the idea here that the way it was premised, the way that it was prefaced by william barr has hauls fwhan there was a close call to be made here and that there was actually rod rosenstein and himself who had a difference of opinion on the legal el basis for why mueller chose to this this dynamic. sundays like there was a very clear mandate in place under the special counsel. there was a protocol in place to figure out whether he could actually say he was no longer going to follow that rule. it wasn't an option so you have the whole premise that barr has laid out about there being, well, a quick way to absolve it. this sounds like barr, from the moment we saw the 19-page memorandum, he was going have a self-fulfilling philosophy of how he cracked it going forward and the resolution, there had been an enough indication of
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obstruction even though he's had up to four ways. and then there's the fact that president trump attorney general was able to see in advance to prepare a rebuttal and that's so astonishing about obstruction. in his actual speech from the podium he was dismissive. >> that's right. >> in spite of this area of whether it's obstructive here, besides this little meager context of whether the head of the executive branch has vie late the law or attempted to do so, remember, he was from us trade by the cloud over his presidency. that's what they want you to hang your hat on to try to inoculate the president of the united states. >> and i think it's important to realize, what he's trying to do, bar wants to say there's a seentists rule.
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it's the approach indictmenting the president. it's not a scientific formula so the spin sheer it simply department rise to the scientific level that you can do it. >> yeah. >> it's really an exer size of discretion and may be a very valid one. reasonable, mueller is a very honorable man. other prosecutor other justice departments could disagree. >> and i think it's fair to say that it's impossible to read this report and say if this was donald trump ceo. >> right. >> charged with all these things in terms of obstruction of justice, that the action would have been the same. >> absolutely. >> he details action after action after action that they clearly seem to think is potentially if not definitively obstruction of justice with the underlying argument but we can't prosecute him because he's president of the united states. >> one thing that's important that i'm still look forward to in the point. want to know why mueller didn't choose to reach the ultimate conclusion of obstruction. he also had within his purview the opportunity to inkwir about that policy, about whether a
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sitting president should in fact never be indicted. he had the ability to actually endeavor it to say and should we reexamine that policy. i have questions about why you had the option to exercise that and you had the potential, can we visit that point about about -- >> he's an institutional reference. >> it would interfere with the president's ability to govern and would raise constitutional issues. i think it's a reasonable destation he made, but supreme to realize it's not the only decision he could have made. >> although as you point out, he is definitive, robert mueller, when it comes to the fact when he says there's no criminal evidence of conspiracy between the trump team and the russians on -- the whole reason this investigation started. >> right. >> which we should point out
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it's great news that the president of the united states did not conspire with russians nor any evidence of people in his campaign did as well. i mean, that's certainly a good thing moving forward. >> but yet it details how many contacts there were with the russians and how much information-sharing there was with the russians. said there wasn't a conspiracy. >> just one point if i can quickly, on the bizarre new world you live in as you have the conversation about the attorney general of the united states. >> the trump campaign statement starts by saying president trump has been fully and completely exonerated yet again. >> not true. >> but it goes on to cite the sitting attorney general of the united states in a statement issued by a presidential campaign. the norm, again, in politics is the attorney general of the united states does not get involved in a president's re-election campaign because that's the one job of the united states government that's supposed to be removed, even in the cabinet, even though he's a political appointee, that's supposed to be removed but the statement goes on to say that the attorney general made clear,
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a, not only -- but then quote him, that spying did occur. now it's time to investigate the sham investigation into the president motivated by political retribution and based on no evidence whatsoever. the attorney general. united states is being used in a campaign statement that essentially says grab the pitch forks. let's have a fight. >> let's also look at the conspiracy part because there's an entire volume of why they looked into conspiracy, even if they ultimately concluded, and you said, you're right, aroundon, it's good news. president and his team did not conspire with the russians, but there is page after page, hundreds of pages of evidence as to why they were looking into this. not because they were spied on, you know, by barack obama, but because there was reason for a counterintelligence investigation. in facts, we're just learning robert mueller considered different possible conspiracy-related crimes option
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he exited but it did not. let's go to senior justice department correspondent evan pas right now. tell us what mueller was considering when it came to this question of conspiracy. >> that's right, jake. they looked at various types of laws, different laws that they could apply to some of the behavior that they were investigating, and according to the special counsel they looked into campaign finance laws as part of this investigation of whether or not they could change anyone with violating campaign finance laws because of the activities that they had with the russians. i'll read you a part of where the report talks about. it says, quote, among other things, the evidence was not sufficient to charge any campaign officials as an unregistered agent of the russian government oral other russia inpolled this. goes to the contact not only of george paplous and carter page,
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but also to donald trump jr., the president's son. atowarding to the special round they look into recall -- if they could change donald trump due with cape finance violations and they could not prove that he had pillically violated the law. we have a report that says the office concluded even if the pintsial legal questions were resolve it would have endown thorred exists moving thafg -- that they will fully violation and other officials now involved in that infame out of it june 26 rising. the mule earl investigatings looked -- decided that they could not bring so much charges,
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but the report, volume one, that deals with collusion describes all of the different ways that the truck campaign tacitly was seemingly to encourage the russians and when they were doing. it talks a little bit about the fact that the trump campaign was expected to benefit from the russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 election. i'll read you a part of this. it says, quote, ago the investigation established that the russian government perceived that it would benefit from a trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome and that the campaign expected it -- expected electorally from information stolen and released through russian efforts, the investigation did not establish that members of the trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the russian government in the election interference activities. again, they will looked into all types of things and some of the information that was stolen from the clinton campaign, whether
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that was rise to a level of a violation of finance laws and in the end they decided that this was not enough to be able to bring charges. again, it shows you how much effort they went into to try to look into. there's a lot of -- this part of the report, volume i, still has a lot of pages that look like this. there's a lot of information here that is redacted because of harm to an ongoing matter it says. this is -- this tells us there's an -- or that there's a case ongoing. >> it wouldn't be related to conspiracy with kwl russia, right? it would have been related to something else. >> right, right. >> can i ask a question about that, evan. one of the things that i've been
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wondering about in the redactions is are they -- do they include redactions to the -- the two cases against the russian interests which are very unlikely to be -- to ever be prosecuted? are those -- do you think those are included in the ongoing matters? it is. >> well, there are some pages where they are are, people associated with the ira xuan and gru that suddenly becomes reflected. ap couple of times i thought maybe they have information related to people that they are hoping to try to apprehend. perhaps people that are still under investigation. obviously you know that roger stone who is facing a trial later this year, he was named in
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one of the indictments involving the russians, so it's quite possible that there's information related to the roger stone case that has not yet been made. >> okay. there's a lot -- there is a question of whether or not special counsel -- the idea because that if he believed that there was collusion that he can bring charges on. they have referred 14 other matters to other districts to investigate and we don't know what those are. certainly you're right. the conclusions that they are making here suggests that there's no such other case that directly goes to this that is still alive. >> evan perez, thanks very much. appreciate that. >> carrie, you know, you've been very cautious leading up to this to not pre-judge the attorney general. i'm wondering based on what you
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saw today and now as you look back on how he has portrayed this, has you're opinion. >> i have a different view as to substance and process. in terms of what is actually in the report, i think he has, and there's a significant amount of reacted material in here. what i'm the most surprised by of the retracted material is how much and there are entire pages of this that and i'm curious what are those 12 investigations that it had to be redacted and i was concerned at the grows conference where i thought he have you had


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