Mueller details evidence of possible Trump Obstruction. TRANSCRIPT: 4/18/19. All In w/ Chris Hayes.

Guests:
Kamala Harris, Neal Katyal, Amy Klobuchar, Elie Mystal, Lisa Green
Transcript:

CHRIS MATTHEW, MSNBC HOST:  I doubt history will see it as anything better. 

And that`s HARDBALL for now.  “ALL IN” with Chris Hayes starts right now.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST:  Tonight on ALL IN.

 

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY):  The special council made clear that he did not

exonerate the President and the responsibility now for us to Congress to

hold the President accountable for his actions.

 

HAYES:  The redacted Mueller report is finally released to the public.

 

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA):  The report outlines multiple attempts by the

President to mislead the country.

 

HAYES:  It reveals a president who knew what he was doing.

 

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Russia, if you`re listening.

 

HAYES:  A president who asked his subordinates to lie.

 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  He did make efforts to get his own staff to lie about

the investigation.

 

HAYES:  And thanks to his new Attorney General.

 

WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL, UNITED STATES:  No collusion, no underlying

collusion.  No collusion.

 

HAYES:  A president who may be getting away with it.

 

TRUMP:  This should never happen to another president again.

 

HAYES:  Tonight, Senators Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar on this lawless

President.  How he may have successfully obstructed justice and why the

Mueller report could be a roadmap for impeachment,

 

FRANK FIGLIUZZI, NBC NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR:  To have Congress

say we`ve got to take this on ourselves at this point.

 

HAYES:  When ALL IN starts right now.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  Good evening from New York I`m Chris Hayes.  In an alternate

timeline from our own in which this president`s behavior and character

wasn`t essentially understood by everyone, supporters and opponents alike

to be what it is, in which the reporting of what he`s been up to hasn`t

been as good as it is, this would possibly be the most cataclysmic document

in American presidential history

 

This would be way worse than the Starr report, that`s for sure.  It would

be a bomb detonating on Capitol Hill.  It would begin immediate impeachment

proceedings.  But the thing is we know exactly who the president is. 

That`s been apparent from the beginning.  And Trump acts and the pages of

the redacted Mueller report in the way that you would expect him to act and

his associates act the way you expect them to act and the broad outlines of

what was done in front of all of us don`t deviate significantly for the

content of this report though there are shocking new details which we`re

going to get to.

 

But generally Trump is who we thought he was because he is who we thought

he was because he assembles cronies around himself who feed the narratives

of fake news who will lie on his behalf because his own attorney general

had the brazenness to come out and say this document which is a damning

indictment of the President`s behavior cleared him.  The report contained

therein will almost surely not be received in good faith by a substantial

portion of Americans.

 

The report on the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016

presidential election isn`t a bombshell so much as a compendium and

confirmation of who the man is and how he conducts himself.  And what

emerges in this document are three strings are really troubling even

outrageous and sometimes obviously criminal behavior.

 

One of them which we should not lose sight of is the foreign entity, the

adversarial foreign entity that systematically attempts to sabotage an

American presidential election with tremendous success.  The next is the

Trump campaign who was more than happy to essentially give them winks and

nudges and sometimes outright I love that encouragement while they

undertook said sabotage.

 

And third is a president who when that last behavior was investigated what

exactly his campaign was doing and what they knew attempts to use his power

at nearly every turn to obstruct the inquiry and cover it up.  The crazy

part about it is it kind of worked.  I mean those aren`t my words.  Here`s

Robert Mueller saying we couldn`t find everything.  We don`t know.

 

Remember, Paul Manafort giving Trump polling data to Konstantin Kilimnik. 

Robert Mueller says “the office could not reliably determine Manafort`s

purpose in sharing internal polling Kilimnik during the campaign period. 

Manafort didn`t really even tell.  Manafort, the guy who lied, who took a

bullet metaphorically for the president who`s headed to jail, well, that

seems to have worked.

 

Remember, that weird Seychelles meeting between Erik Prince, Blackwater guy

and the head of the Russian direct investment fund?  Will Erik Prince and

Steve Bannon apparently deleted all their texts about it so really who

knows what happened there.  All of these actions, all these lies had an

impact on the investigation.  They prevented, Mueller says, from getting to

the bottom of everything.

 

Don`t take it from me, take it from Mueller who writes, the investigation

established that several individuals affiliated with the Trump campaign

lied to the office and to Congress about their interactions with Russian

affiliate individuals and related matters.  Those lies, and this is

important, materially impaired the investigation of Russian election

interference.

 

What we know it`s the President was desperate, absolutely desperate to stop

this inquiry and to cover it up.  That is clear on its face.  So desperate

he was recklessly directing his subordinates to commit what they thought

were crimes.  And these weren`t Boy Scouts to be clear.  Corey Lewandowski

of all people was basically like whoa, that`s too much.  I can`t do it. 

Whatever happened in 2016, we still have all the answers.  The President

really didn`t want anyone getting to the bottom of it. 

 

Joining me now are two people uniquely qualified to speak about today`s

model report Frank Figliuzzi who`s former Assistant Director for

Counterintelligence at the FBI where he directed all espionage

investigations across the U.S. government under then FBI Director Robert

Mueller.  He`s now NBC News National Security Contributor and Neal Katyal

former Acting U.S. Solicitor General under President Barack Obama.  He

wrote the special counsel regulations as a Justice Department lawyer and is

now an NBC News Legal Analyst.

 

Frank, I know that you have a lot of thoughts about what happened today but

I want to start at the broadest level and I want to ask you and Neal both

this.  The charge of the President of the United States is to take care

that laws are faithfully executed not to not be a criminal, not to avoid

violating federal statutes, but to take care of the laws are faithfully

executed.  And against that standard, how do you judge the actions in this

report?

 

FIGLIUZZI:  All right, that`s the standard by which the American people

should be assessing this report and my answer to that is that the President

hasn`t met the standard.  And we see evidence throughout the report that he

has flagrantly looked, at least looked the other way, if not tacitly

acknowledged if not reported properly things like he knew that Michael

Cohen was giving false testimony, things like asking don McGahn to lie on

his behalf, and to fire Mueller to the point where McGahn felt it`s

necessary to resign over that.

 

So we have a president who has demonstrated through this report a disregard

for the law and then attempts to actually obstruct justice when he was

being looked at.

 

NEAL KATYAL, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST:  I agree with Frank entirely.  I think

you`re asking the right question.  Article Two of the Constitution requires

the president to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.  This

report today paints a devastating picture of a president who didn`t care

about that at all.  And I want to pick up on Frank`s point about Don

McGahn.  So who is that guy?  He`s the White House Counsel, the top lawyer

for the president.

 

He`s not someone who`s known as being a stickler when it comes to the rule

of law.  But even McGahn had to resign.  That`s what`s in this report

because Trump ordered him to try and fire Mueller – try and fire Mueller,

and he says that – that`s crazy s-word expletive.  I mean that`s a pretty

striking thing.

 

And then you`ve got the President`s defenders today, the President saying,

oh, total exoneration, even the Barr press conference today.  And the most

striking thing about that is Barr and the defenders never told us the very

first couple of pages of the Mueller report which say two important things.

 

Number one, I would have loved to exonerate the president if I could find

the evidence to do so, I can`t.  And number two, if I found evidence that

was really directly implicating the president and he`s guilty as sin, I`m

not going to tell you because I`m bound by an office of legal counsel

opinion that says I can`t indict a sitting president.

 

So if this is Trump`s best day of his presidency as he`s claiming, I think

that just says a lot more about the presidency than anything else.

 

HAYES:  There`s one more thing I would add and I don`t know if I have it

here because of a million different excerpts of this 500 or so page report. 

But in the famous line that Barr quotes in the letter where he says it does

not establish a conspiracy between the Russian government and U.S. persons,

there`s a – there`s a blocking around right to make it a complete

sentence.  And the first clause is “although.”

 

And the “although” which Barr could have quoted basically says, although

the Russians really wanted this guy elected, and although Trump`s campaign

had to kind of know that and figure where they were sort of moving in the

same direction, it doesn`t establish this.  I mean, that to me is amazingly

telling about the level of dishonesty and bad faith that came from Barr.

 

KATYAL:  Totally so.  I mean, it has the feel of like those movie – you

know, posters that say, greatest movie ever.

 

HAYES:  Exactly.

 

KATYAL:  And the first lines of that in the original source are this is not

the greatest movie ever, and so you spiel that in the report.  But I think

the most important point is the first couple of pages because Mueller set

out really clearly here`s what this report can do and what it can`t.  It

can`t implicate the president and the crimes and it can`t exonerate him and

Mueller pointedly doesn`t either.

 

HAYES:  I mean, Frank, as someone who worked in the FBI, who worked inside

the Department of Justice who worked with Robert Mueller, the behavior that

is described here – and we can talk about the behavior during the campaign

and the behavior while he was president.  Let`s talk about the behavior

while he was president.

 

I mean, you know, chapter and verse 11 different instances of possible

obstruction that are recited here depending on the sort of state of mind. 

As a lawyer, as someone who is sort of serious and faithful about execution

of the law, what do you see there?

 

FIGLIUZZI:  Well, I see Mueller telling us look, I`ve got the evidence

here.  And even by the way in Appendix C Mueller telling us, hey one of the

reasons I didn`t demand the in-person interview, he tried to insist on it,

he thought about grand jury subpoena for the president, but he says one of

the reasons I didn`t was because I think I have the evidence.  I think I`ve

got it here.

 

And so Mueller is telling us through this report today there`s obstruction

– if I could exonerate the President, I`d do it, but I can`t.  And now we

have insight into Mueller`s mind and why he didn`t go ahead and charge and

that`s because he`s saying I was constrained.  I`ve got a DOJ policy that

tells me I shouldn`t be doing this.  I don`t want to engage in a long

protracted constitutional battle over this.  Now we know why we`re here.

 

HAYES:  Yes.  And basically the report walks up to this line and he lays

the report down and says this is everything that we have and I – it is

above my pay grade to make the call here because the Constitution more or

less says the call has to be made by Congress.

 

KATYAL:  Yes.  And it`s really interesting Frank`s point about the criminal

intent here because Trump says you know, this is all a hoax, this is all

made up, blah, blah, blah, I didn`t do any of this.  And he says this in

tweets and in press conference and the like.  But the one place he didn`t

say it is under oath to Robert Mueller.  And if he really believed it and

there was nothing to fear, why didn`t he go in?

 

Now, Mueller has this interesting other theory.  He says, well one reason

why I didn`t find obstruction of justice is because he says and this is at

page 158, “the President`s efforts were unsuccessful but that`s largely

because the persons declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests.

 

Now, I think I run one of the most creative legal teams in the country. 

I`ve never heard of such a defense which is I`m too incompetent actually,

and my staff is too – doesn`t trust me enough to carry out my orders.

 

HAYES:  When I read that sentence, I thought of – and that`s you know,

that`s after he`s talked about all these different times where he tries to

get McGahn to lie and he tries to work over Sessions and he pulls Sessions

to side and tries to get him unrecused.  And he talks to another guy in the

White House being like, your girlfriend works at the Department of Justice,

maybe she wants to be A.G.  What do you think about that?  I want to talk

to her.

 

I mean over, and over, and over, this kind of behavior.  And I my thought

was, you know, a moment in a movie where someone pulls a gun at someone and

the gun goes click because there`s no bullets or malfunctions, and he`s –

the President is doing that with the obstruction gun over, and over, and

over in plain daylight in in the reporter.

 

KATYAL:  100 percent.  And in our criminal law, it generally does have a

way of dealing with that.  So if I pull a gun out and try and hit you but I

miss, I don`t get to say no harm no foul.  It`s an attempt to commit a

felony.  That`s itself a felony.  And similarly here, the report paints a

devastating picture.

 

And whether or not Mueller could indict the president, this is a picture

that shows someone who just is not bound by the rule of law.

 

HAYES:  Frank, finally this last line which I think a lot of people have

seen and run a lot of big headlines of it which is that according to notes

written by Hunt, when Sessions told the President the Special Counsel been

appointed, the President slumped back in his chair and said oh my God, this

is terrible.  This is the end of my presidency.  I`m effed.  It doesn`t

look – he may have saved his presidency despite that feeling.  What do you

think?

 

FIGLIUZZI:  Well, first of all, that expletive, that`s – that comment that

I`m effed, I`m done is not – are not the words of an innocent person. 

Throughout my 25-year career, no innocent person told me I`m effed because

you`re looking at me right?  So with regard to whether he got off on this,

I`ve got to emphasize the role of the Attorney General of the United

States.  And I said earlier today this Attorney General made it quite clear

today who he is and we need to pay attention to that.

 

He is not the people`s attorney.  He is more the counsel for the President. 

And he`s turned that acronym MAGA into “made allegations go away.”  So is

the president off criminally?  He appears to be.  Now Congress has left to

wrestle with this, and the American people are left to decide is this the

new standard in our presidency.  He`s something less than a crook so,

therefore, he`s still my guy.  That`s what we need to ask.

 

HAYES:  All right, Frank Figliuzzi and Neal Katyal, that was great.  Thank

you both.  I want to turn now to a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee

who is both a former prosecutor and the former attorney general of the

state of California, uniquely positioned to comment on today`s events. 

Democratic Senator and Presidential Candidate Kamala Harris joins me now.

 

Senator, your broad takeaway, reaction to what you have or having – I

don`t know if – how much you`ve gotten to read today.  You`re a very busy

person, but your reaction to the report.

 

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Well, my reaction begins

with the first events of this morning which were that that press

conference.  And you know, as a former attorney general, I ran, Chris, the

second largest Department of Justice in the United States, the California

Department of Justice, second only to the United States Department of

Justice.

 

And I take seriously as I know most prosecutors do the responsibility that

we have to be impartial and to do the work of justice and do it on behalf

of the people.  And that means understanding in this case and General Barr

which I believe fail to understand that he is not the President`s personal

lawyer.  He represents us, the American public.

 

But what we saw today was a display of anything but impartiality.  What we

saw was a display of I think partisanship, and he might as well have been

in the White House press conference room as the spokesperson for the

president when he – when he introduced the subject of today`s discussions.

 

You know, Thomas Jefferson is quoted on the front page of the Department of

Justice`s Web site talking about the importance of impartiality and the

importance of the integrity of our justice system.  And so one of my big

takeaways from today is that there has been a great disservice done to what

is otherwise a source of pride for us as a democracy which is the integrity

of our – of our justice system.

 

I think that our justice system and the integrity of that justice system

took a real blow today with the presentation of General Barr and also his

four page summary weeks ago.

 

HAYES:  Well, part of that four-page summary was the Attorney General

stepping in to reach conclusion on obstruction.  It`s clear from the report

that was not what the report does, right.  It sort of leaves it open and it

says this –

 

HARRIS:  Exactly.

 

HAYES:  Page 22 of the report.  I`ll read you this and I want to get your

response as a Member of the United States Congress.  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.  What do

you see as Congress` role in light of this report?

 

HARRIS:  Well, Congress has many rules but first and foremost the role of

oversight.  And I am looking forward to General Barr coming before the

Judiciary Committee.  I think that`s been scheduled for May 1st.  I

strongly believe that also Bob Mueller should be requested to come before

Congress and testify about the process of that investigation and share with

us the underlying facts that support his summary because we have a

responsibility as an independent co-equal branch of government, the United

States Congress to make sure that the American public is receiving justice

and fairness through this process.

 

HAYES:  I want to read you something Steny Hoyer who`s the number two in

the House, a colleague of yours a Democrat on the other side of the Capitol

had to say.  He said this today.  Based on what we have seen to date going

forward, an impeachment is not worthwhile at this point very frankly. 

There`s an election in 18 months.  The American people will make a

judgment.  Do you agree with him?

 

HARRIS:  Well, I think it`s – I think that there`s definitely a

conversation to be had on that subject but first I want to hear from Bob

Mueller and really understand what exactly is the evidence that supports

the summary that we have been given today.

 

HAYES:  What is your understanding of this President`s execution of his

oath of office and his relationship to the law based on what we have

learned publicly and what is contained in the report today?

 

HARRIS:  I think that this President has not fulfilled the responsibilities

of the President of the United States to use his position in a way that is

about elevating public discourse in a way that is about projecting the

values and priorities of us as a nation.  We have seen incredible acts of

self-service but very few acts that have been in the interest of public

service from this President and I think he`s a grave disappointment.

 

HAYES:  Finally I guess a question of how you see this – obviously you`ve

decided to run for president.  Should you win you would have the role this

president has.  How does this inform how you think about the campaign in

terms of how central you see the president`s actions here, the case you`re

making to the American people, and how you would conduct yourself in

office?

 

HARRIS:  You know, Chris, I`ll tell you, I was actually talking with my

team about it.  And one of the things that  I think is critically important

is that we elevate public discourse and really have a conversation that is

about the ideals and the goals and the values of who we are as a country. 

And so part of how I think about what we have just witnessed is that we

have a lot to do to restore the importance of truth and justice in our

country.  It`s taken a real beating.

 

And when I think about what we need to do going forward, any of us as

leaders whether one is running for president of the United States or not,

any member of Congress, we have got to acknowledge the truth that right now

there are a lot of Americans who are extremely distrustful of our

government, it`s institutions and leaders and there`s a lot of work to do

to restore that trust.

 

What we have seen in the last – today and then frankly in the last two

years and some months has I think done real harm to the importance of the

American public and our allies around the world trusting us and that we

will always defend concepts of justice and democracy.

 

HAYES:  All right, Senator Kamla Harris of California, thank you so much on

a very busy day for making time.

 

HARRIS:  Thank you.  Chris, thank you.

 

HAYES:  Here with me now, two veteran Watergate prosecutors, you know him,

you love him, MSNBC Legal Analyst Nick Akerman and Jill Wine-Banks who have

been with us throughout this journey.

 

There`s a lot to talk about partly I think – again, we talk to you partly

because the last template we really had for anything like this was

Watergate right?  You know, a break-in of the Democratic Party and the

possible implication of the sitting president and whether what he knew and

when he knew it.

 

So I want to talk about the sort of what Mueller doesn`t get to hear. 

Because one of the things I think is interesting is you know, when I

reemerge myself in the Watergate stuff, Nixon doesn`t go down unless they

find the tapes.  Wouldn`t you say that`s true?

 

NICK AKERMAN, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST:  That`s absolutely true.

 

JILL WINE-BANKS, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST:  Yes, absolutely.

 

HAYES:  I mean, the tapes are – they`ve literally called it the smoking

gun tapes, and they`re sort of found by accident, and it`s – you could

imagine a universe in which he didn`t choose to tape himself and would he

have gone down?

 

AKERMAN:  Probably not because it really wasn`t until the end when that

June 72 tape came where he wanted the –

 

HAYES:  He`s literally on tape saying I do crimes.

 

AKERMAN:  Yes.  There he tells – he wants the CIA to tell the FBI to stop

the investigation just like Trump told Comey to stop the FBI investigation

except that wasn`t on tape.

 

BANKS:  The crimes were there.  The problem was that it would have been he

said and John Dean said.  And then it was John Dean said and it`s

corroborated by all the tapes.

 

HAYES:  And so here`s why that came to mind because this little thing

jumped out of me.  So we`ve got the Trump Tower meeting, right.  We know

about the Trump Tower meeting in public reporting.  There`s a long section

on the report.  And there`s always this question, did the president know

about it or not, right?

 

Does Don Jr. run to dad and say hey dad, I got this meeting the Russians

want offer dirt.  Does he say thing afterwards?  And here`s what the report

says.  The office found no documentary evidence showing that he is made

aware of the meeting or its Russian connection before it occurred.

 

AKERMAN:  Well, I think that`s consistent with what Mueller says in the

beginning that there are a lot of holes as evidence.  I mean the best

evidence to contradict Barr that there was no spying on the Trump campaign

is simply to compare the Russian indictments with what Mueller was named –

 

HAYES:  That was a great point.  Right, right, they have eyes into that

Russian operation.  They show up in the indictment.  They don`t have eyes,

very clearly don`t have eyes into the campaign.

 

AKERMAN:  Exactly.  I mean, that`s why they don`t have it.  I mean, right

in the outset, Mueller makes it clear that people were taking the Fifth

Amendment, that they – when they talked, they lied.  They disassembled. 

They did all kinds of things to cover up.  There were witnesses overseas,

there were documents overseas.

 

I mean, this could not be a perfect investigation in the sense of learning

everything that was out there.  And if you really read between the lines, I

think you realize that Paul Manafort who they really targeted as the guy

who knew everything basically was told by Trump don`t worry about it.  I`ll

take care of you.

 

BANKS:  But it`s also true that if Trump had been right about any of his

accusations against the FBI, they would have said during the campaign,

we`re investigating the President as a Russian asset and they didn`t.  They

did it to Hillary Clinton but they withheld that information from the

public which proves that he is not telling the truth when he says this is a

witch-hunt and they were after me.

 

HAYES:  So I want to talk about malevolence tempered by incompetence which

is a phrase I think Benjamin Wittes has used as sort of the bumper sticker

for the Trump administration which appears often as a through-line not

actually those words for that theme in the report.  And this is – this is

a key element I want to talk about.

 

Mostly unsuccessful, 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

request, right.  So time and time again, he tries to do things like

essentially the Saturday night massacre.  He tries to order his cronies to

do these things that would cover things up and they say no.  And that`s

essentially another place where he`s different than Nixon and ends up

saving him.

 

AKERMAN:  But not really.  Because first of all, Nixon tried to get people

to audit to his enemies list.

 

HAYES:  That`s true.

 

AKERMAN:  People in the bureaucracy said we`re not going to do this.

 

HAYES:  Right.  That`s true.

 

AKERMAN:  We`re going to put our names all over this paper.

 

HAYES:  He said to Fred Malek to count up the Jews in the Labor Department.

 

BANKS:  But you know what this reminds me of, is I once had a hard decision

to make and was seeking advice and I was said, well I don`t have proof

beyond a reasonable doubt to make this decision.  And the advice was, in

your life you do not need proof beyond a reasonable doubt to make a

decision.  And I think right now Congress and the American people do not

need proof beyond a reasonable doubt that might establish crimes and the

elements of a crime satisfied.

 

They can see in plain sight.  You laid it out in your opening statement. 

There is absolute evidence that he has done wrong or to use Joyce Vance I

think is the one who says awful but lawful.

 

HAYES:  Right.

 

BANKS:  It may be lawful but it is awful.  And the bar for being president

should be a lot higher than it is than – well I didn`t get indicted.

 

HAYES:  Right.

 

BANKS:  If you do bad things, you should not be the president.  And I think

that raises the question of is it time now for Congress to take action and

is this going to ever be successful given the divide in in the Senate?

 

HAYES:  There`s one – there`s – there are many threads here that are not

yet filled out right, because there`s ongoing material that`s redacted and

we know Roger Stone and the section of WikiLeaks is heavily redacted. 

There`s also a bunch of criminal referrals.  I`m curious what you made of

this part, right.

 

AKERMAN:  Well, I think a lot of that is in the Southern District of New

York.

 

HAYES:  Right.  So there`s like 14 – I think there`s 14 criminal referrals

and we only see two names.  There`s 12 redacted names of criminal

referrals.

 

AKERMAN:  I think those are all in the Southern District of New York.  They

all come from Michael Cohen and that stuff is ongoing.  I mean, we don`t

know if those names are Ivanka or Don Jr. whoever they are, but they`re in

the Southern District right now and we`ll find out as time goes on.

 

HAYES:  All right, Nick Akerman and Jill Wine-Banks, thanks for your time

tonight.

 

BANKS:  Thank you.

 

AKERMAN:  Thank you.

 

HAYES:  Next, Donald Trump`s Attorney General Bill Barr used the boss` no

collusion line repeatedly this morning when that is not at all the Mueller

report says.  What we rarely learned about the connections between Trump

and Russia right after this.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

HAYES:  In his press conference this morning, Attorney General William Barr

parroted the same refrain repeated over and over and over again by the

President, no collusion.  But the Mueller report states explicitly that

collusion, that word, that concept was never the investigation`s focus

because it is not an actual legal term.

 

Instead, investigators were looking for evidence of a criminal conspiracy

as strictly defined under U.S. law and they did not find enough evidence to

establish that a crime was committed in pursuit of that conspiracy.  It

doesn`t mean they didn`t find any evidence at all.  On the contrary, the

report contains extraordinary amount of information about contacts between

the Trump campaign and Russians and efforts at various points before and

after the election to communicate back and forth about their strategies, in

other words, to collude.

 

Much of it is already been uncovered in court filings and press reports but

a lot of the details are new and highly incriminating.  Here`s one example. 

It turns out that a Republican operative Peter Smith, do you remember this

guy?  He was trying – he was going around trying to get Hillary Clinton`s

deleted emails from Russian hackers as The Wall Street Journal reported in

2017, shortly before he killed himself, that he was, in fact, not just

freelancing, but instead he was acting on orders from Michael Flynn as part

of the Trump campaign. The efforts just didn`t get very far, according to

the report..

 

While the investigation did not turn up sufficient evidence to meet the

definition of a crime, the reports lays out what was, in effect, an

implicit quid pro quo between Trump – Russia and the Trump campaign,

whether they entered into it knowingly or not.

 

Here`s a quote, although the investigation established that the Russian

government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to

secure that outcome, and that the campaign expected it would benefit

electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts,

the investigation did not establish that the members of the Trump campaign

conspired or coordinated with the Russian  government in its election

interference activities.

 

I`m joined now by two journalists who know the ins and out of this better

than just about anyone else, Marcy Wheeler, independent journalist writing

about national security, and civil liberties at Emptywheel.net, and Julia

Ainsley, NBC News`s own national security and justice reporter.

 

Marcy, you have been doing close readings of all the court documents of the

report itself.  You know, one of the things that – there are all these

dots, right, we know all this back and forth between the Russians and the

Trump campaign, it`s all weird – there was always this question of was

there more that we didn`t know?  And there is some of that in the report,

but what is your sort of general takeaway about what you learned about the

nature of that relationship from this report?

 

MARCIE WHEELER, JOURNALIST:  Well, both of Trump`s most criminally targeted

aides of

Paul Manafort and Roger Stone, who – both of them are still under ongoing

investigation, according to

filings in the last week, both of them, what we knew is not as bad as what

we learned. 

 

For example, Paul Manafort, we knew he had shared polling data with

Konstantin Kilimnik knowing that it would be shared on with Oleg Deripaska

and two Ukrainian oligarchs, we didn`t know that he discussed the swing

states, including my state, Michigan.  He discussed the swing states with

Kilimnik right before he was giving information to Oleg Deripaska

We also learned that he was sharing that polling data throughout the

campaign, which is – sounds pretty incredible, and yet, you know, it`s

just a blip. 

 

And then with Roger Stone, we don`t yet know how he was coordinating with

Wikileaks, and I assume we will learn with his trial in November, but we

did learn that Trump is the one who was pushing him to go find out what

they had.  We do know that in addition to Michael Cohen, there was another

witness to a conversation where Stone called up, gave him information – or

apparently Stone l and Trump then shared nonpublic information about

Wikileaks.

 

So, the evidence on Stone`s collusion, and I never use that term, but I

will here, because as Barr kind of pointed to in his press conference and

was made clear here, it`s not illegal to try and optimize

Wikileaks release of stolen emails, right?  So, that gets you beyond the

whole conspiracy and coordination, that gets you beyond the question. 

 

Plus, it`s not with Russia.  And so Barr did back flips this morning to say

there was no collusion, no collusion, no collusion.  It`s like it`s right

there.  It`s Roger Stone.

 

And if you look at Trump`s answers to Mueller, the most obstinate, the most

ridiculous non-recall of those answers has to do with Roger Stone and

Wikileaks.

 

So, you know, do you know that Roger Stone was going after Wikileaks?  I

don`t recall.  There are witnesses.

 

HAYES:  Right.

 

WHEELER:  So, that`s…

 

HAYES:  Yeah, it`s a pretty salient, mnemonically salient event obviously -

- and we should say the president`s answers are tons of I don`t recall,

tons of I don`t remember.  I can`t recall when he actually ends up giving

the written answers.

 

I want to just read one section on that, the heavily redacted section, that

the campaigns efforts to coordinate with Wikileaks, a lot of it redacted.

 

According to Gates, Manafort expressed excitement about the release. 

Manafort, for his part, told the office that shortly after Wikileaks` July

22nd release, Manafort also spoke with candidate Trump [redacted].  Also,

[redacted] want to be kept apprised of any developments of Wikileaks, 

separately told Gates to keep in touch with [redacted] about future

Wikileaks releases.”

 

Like, again, Julia, part of what we`re seeing here – and this has always

been the question is – you`ve got two different campaigns that are both

being run to the same end.  The Russians are running a campaign to get

Donald Trump elected president.  Donald Trump is running a campaign to get

Donald Trump elected president.  And all the ores are pointing in the same

direction as they row down the water side by side.

 

JULIA AINSLEY, NBC NEWS:  Right, so they both would benefit from a

relationship with the other, but then Robert Mueller is conservative, not

in the political sense of the word, but in the judicial sense of the word

is how I`m using that, and that he wants to show that it had to be a quid

pro quo.

 

We have seen other cases have a really hard time establishing a quid pro

quo.  You can look at the Governor McDonald Virginia, and they did not

prove a quid pro quo in that case.

 

On the Wikileaks piece, though, there is even more of that of other people

who are involved.  And a big one is the president`s son, Donald Trump, Jr. 

He was asked by Wikileaks to have his dad tweet a link to their work.  He

also was asked if he could disseminate a link alleging that Clinton,

Hillary Clinton, had advocated a drone strike against Julian Assange.  I

mean, some pretty wild things. 

 

They were in such close contact that he was actually giving things back to

him, back to Wikileaks.

 

So, there was an exchange.  The quid pro quo thing gets tough, and there

was one piece here that was really kind of minute and in the weeds, but I

think tells us more about – it helps me understand why we see so much

about Wikileaks in that exchange and why there wasn`t conspiracy or

coordination charged, and that`s because Robert Mueller says that because

Wikileaks was not actually doing the hacking and we have seen that in the

Assange indictment, somehow their behavior lets the Trump campaign off the

hook.  And I thought that was really interesting.

 

HAYES:  Well, what are we have got – I mean, to Marcy`s point here, and

what the sort of picture is it sort of is that you have got cut outs upon

cut outs upon cut outs such everybody has plausible deniability which of

course is what an intelligence agency is designed to do, right.  I mean,

the intelligence agency isn`t going to send people out who are like, hi,

I`m from the GRU.  Can we talk to you about – you know, they`re going to

send out some random professor who talks to a person, or they are going to

send a DM underneath an assumed name – like all of this is done for

precisely the purpose that it ends up playing here, which is plausible

deniability.

 

And yet, there`s also this other really damning part, when you think about

quid pro quo, or what does Russia want, Marcy, and this is the fact that

Kilimnik discusses yet another – this is like the third or fourth Ukraine

peace plane.  This is essentially wanting the U.S. to give a green light to

cooptation and acquisition of Ukrainian national territory, right.

 

The plan Manafort later acknowledged consisted of back door means for

Russia to control eastern Ukraine.  That`s what Kilimnik is talking about

while Manafort is giving him data on Michigan.

 

WHEELER:  Right.  Paul Manafort sold Michigan to Konstanin Kilimnik in

hopes of getting a Ukrainian peace deal. 

 

Yeah, and those conversations about Ukraine, which we knew about from the

Breech Declaration, those conversations continued through 2018.  So, you

know again, it`s interesting and important to remind people both Roger

Stone and Paul Manafort, according prosecutors in recent filings, they`re

both still under active investigation.

 

I mean, what Stone is still under investigation for sort of makes sense to

me.  Paul Manafort, aside from the kickback system that he seems to have

used to get paid for, it`s not entirely clear, and it may go to those

ongoing discussions about Ukraine.

 

One of the really interesting detail, though, the one question that Mueller

asked Trump that I did not – that I was surprised by was did he offer a

pardon to Assange before he became president?  Didn`t know that question

got asked, but it`s really interesting one when you talk about quid pro

quo.

 

HAYES:  That is a fascinating one.

 

One last thing, and this jumped out because of course the steel dossier,

which lurks over all of this – it`s how many people came to know about the

theories, it contains things that have borne out, it contains a lot of

things that have borne out.  It was a sort of mix of fact and speculation

in many respects.

 

But this, on October 30, 2016, Michael Cohen received a text from a Russian

businessman that said stop flow of tapes from Russia, but not sure if there

was anything else just so you know.  He said that the tapes referred to

compromising tapes of Trump rumored to be held by persons associated with

the Russian real estate conglomerate Crocus Group, which had helped host

the Miss Universe pageant.  Cohen said he spoke to Trump about the issue

after receiving the text.

 

What did you make of that?

 

AINSLEY:  So that shed light on the most salacious details that we heard

from the dossier.  It turns out later if you read down I think just another

sentence that they actually – the person who had these tapes actually said

that was not true, that these were fake tapes.  But Cohen thought that they

were real, and so – it at least put something in the camp that if you

think about that really awkward conversation between Jim Comey and Donald

Trump, there is a good chance that Donald Trump knew there was something to

this.

 

HAYES:  Right, that`s exactly right.  He doesn`t know what he did is a big

theme throughout this.  And maybe someone has documented a thing that he

doesn`t remember doing.

 

Marcy Wheeler and Julia Ainsley, thank you both.

 

Next, in his confirmation hearing Trump`s Attorney General Bill Barr dodged

questions from Senator Amy Klobuchar about what would constitute

obstruction of justice by the boss.  Well, Barr answered today.  And

Senator Klobuchar will tell me what she thinks of his actions right here

right after this.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

HAYES:  One indisputable take away in the Mueller report is that Russia

interfered in our last

presidential election, in systemic and sprawling fashion.  It`s something

the 2020 presidential candidate and Senate Judiciary Committee member Amy

Klobuchar was quick to point out, quote, “first page of Mueller report says

the Russia government interfered in 2016 presidential election in sweeping

and systematic fashion.  So despite the endless doubts cast by the

president, this happened.  A case made for backup paper ballots and post-

election audits.”

 

And Senator Amy Klobuchar joins me now.

 

Senator, let`s start to talk about that.  The part of the report that just

collusion aside or coordination or obstruction or the president`s actions,

just what Russia did, your reaction to that part

of the report, and what you think it means for how congress and the

president should act going forward.

 

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR,  (D) MINNESOTA:  This is an intense part of the report. 

And I hope people read it.  If you are not into getting into single every

legal detail, you can get into this, because this shows that Russia, maybe

they didn`t use tanks, maybe they didn`t use missiles, but they invaded our

election.  They invaded our democracy.

 

And my problem is when you look at what they did with the problem

propaganda they put out and tried to sow discord among people, about what

they did when they tried to break into our election equipment and then

actually did break into Hillary Clinton`s campaign and leaked those emails

everywhere to stop their momentum, all of that happened.

 

But what I want to know now is why the Trump administration has been

stopping the bipartisan bill the Secure Elections Act that can fix this

going forward with back up paper ballots and audits of our election?  We

were ready to go.  I have that bill with Senator Langford.  He`s a

conservative Republican and the White House made calls and stopped that

bill from advancing.  That`s wrong.

 

HAYES:  The White House made calls and stopped the bill from advancing? 

Why did they do that?

 

HAYES:  Tell me, because there is another election coming up in 2020.  So,

when you read that report, and this is why I think it is so important that

we have Robert Mueller come before the Judiciary Committee so we can make

clear what went on here, so at the very least in addition to everything

else that`s going on and other investigation that we can fix this going

forward and that they can`t hide behind this report anymore.

 

And if you notice, part of the redactions are interestingly enough with

this.  And that means there are national security concerns.  And the

congress should see the entire report.

 

HAYES:  You have talked about Mueller and you`ve talked about Barr.  You

had an interesting exchange with him when he came before your committee

seeking the position.  I want to play it for you, because it`s an exchange

about obstruction, what ends up being sort of the core or the heart of the

matter, get your reaction to what has developed since then.  Take a listen.

 

KLOBUCHAR:  OK.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

KLOBUCHAR:  In your memo, you talked about the Comey decision and you

talked about obstruction of justice.  You wrote on page one that a

president persuading a person to commit perjury is obstruction, is that

right?

 

WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL:  Yes.  Any person who persuades another.

 

KLOBUCHAR:  OK, you also said that a president, or any person convincing a

witness to change testimony would be obstruction.  Is that right?

 

BARR:  Yes.

 

KLOBUCHAR:  OK.  So, what if a president told a witness not to cooperate

with an investigation, or hinted at a pardon?

 

BARR:  I would have to know the specifics – I`d have to know the specific

facts.

 

KLOBUCHAR:  OK.

 

So, what if a president drafted a misleading statement to conceal the

purpose of a meeting.  Would that be obstruction?

 

BARR:  Again, I would have to know the specifics.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  Well, he tipped his hand a bit.  What do you think?

 

KLOBUCHAR:  Well, I was thinking about some of those questions and what the

report showed, right, that he changed the press release to take things out,

that he tried to get his counsel to make things up.  And those were all the

things I was getting at, and of course Barr didn`t answer them at the time,

but I think this report answers them.

 

HAYES:  Well, what is your level of confidence in Bill Barr after his

performance?

 

KLOBUCHAR:  Again, I did not vote for him.  I did not support him.  I

voiced these concerns at the hearing.  I voiced them on the senate floor. 

I think that he does not see himself as the people`s lawyer, which he

should be under our laws and under the constitution.

 

Instead, he seems to think that he is the president`s lawyer, that`s why he

did that 17-page job application to when he applied to talk about the

executive power of the president and how the president

literally can do anything he wanted.  Well you see that reflected in how he

handled this from the very  beginning. 

 

He didn`t put the report out first, no, he put out this four-page summary,

and then today with the press conference.

 

We need to hear directly from Robert Mueller, the former Republican

appointed FBI director, that clearly had issues with what the president did

when you read this report.

 

HAYES:  I had – your colleague on Senate Judiciary Committee, Kamala

Harris on earlier, and I asked her about this, and I want to get your

reaction to it.  It is a statement from the number two in the House, Steny

Hoyer, the house majority leader, who says based on what we have seen to

date, going forward on impeachment is not worthwhile at this point.  Very

frankly, there is an election in 18 months

and the American people will make a judgment.

 

Do you agree?

 

KLOBUCHAR:  We are in the senate, both Senator Harris and I, and so our job

if there is impeachment brought, and that is up to the House, our job is to

be the jury.  So, I have been really careful about talking about what we

would do if an impeachment came before us.

 

But I will tell you this, Chris, this is deeply troubling.  There are

investigations going on around the country that we have to make sure

continue, specifically in New York.  And of course the concern that Barr is

going to do something to impede those investigations and we have to get the

facts out before congress in a public manner.

 

HAYES:  Well, the president took an oath to take care the laws are

faithfully executed.  What is revealed in the report and in public

reporting, is that he is fundamentally lawless in some way.  He does – he

is careless about the law.  He does not take care.

 

Do you have any confidence that`s changed, or that will continue and

perhaps bring about a larger crisis?

 

KLOBUCHAR:  I don`t have confidence in that.  As you`ve noted, it`s like he

kept trying to get people to do things that were illegal and they didn`t do

them.  And I was thinking as you have been

asking questions about what would you do as president, I was thinking about

what one of my mentors, Walter Mondale, said when he looked back at his

four years with President Carter, it wasn`t a perfect four years, but one

thing he said which was true, he said we told the truth, we obeyed the law,

we kept the peace.  That is the least we should expect from a president of

the United States, that they tell the truth, obey the law, that they try to

keep the peace, and that is not what we are seeing with this president.

 

HAYES:  All right, Senator Amy Klobuchar from Minnesota, 2020 presidential

candidate, thanks for making time on a busy day.  I really appreciate it.

 

KLOBUCHAR:  Thank you, Chris, it was great to be on.

 

HAYES:  There is a great moment in the Mueller report, it might be my

favorite moment, the most sort of illuminating moment, is when the

president of the United States asked his own lawyer, Don McGahn, why Don

McGahn is taking notes on a conversation.  Quoting here, “the president

then asked, what about these notes?  Why do you take notes?  Lawyers don`t

take notes.  I never had a lawyer who took notes.  McGahn says he keeps

notes because he`s a real lawyer and notes create a

record.  The president said, I`ve had a lot of great lawyers, like Roy

Cohn.  He did not take notes.”

 

That`s how this man operates, the man who is the president of the United

States.  He is so used to acting in sketchy, possibly lawless, possibly

criminal or fraudulent ways, he is freaked out by the mere presence of a

man taking notes as he`s talking.  And it tells you a lot about who this

guy is.

 

And stuff like that appears over and over throughout the report.  Do you

remember when James Comey said Trump and his team were like the New York

mafia organizations he prosecuted?

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

JAMES COMEY, FORMER DIRECTOR FBI:  I don`t mean that President Trump, like

a mafia boss, is breaking people`s legs or blowing up grocery stores, what

I mean instead is that his leadership is all focused on what is best for

the boss, loyalty to the boss, and not connected to any of the ethical

values outside of the boss, that`s very much like a mob family, and it`s a

style of leadership he`s adopted.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  Remember, Michael Cohen testified about how the president talks in

code.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER TRUMP LAWYER:  He doesn`t give you questions, he

doesn`t give you orders, he speaks in a code.  And I understand the code

because I`ve been around him for a

decade.

 

REP. JUSTIN AMASH, (D) MICHIGAN:  And it`s your impression that others who

will work with him understand the code as well?

 

COHEN:  Most people, yes.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  At this point, it`s basically a cliche to talk about the Trump

administration the way you talk about organized crime, but it`s a cliche

for a reason.  A, they really do act that way.  And, b, they act that way

because it`s an effective technique to avoid prosecution.  If a guy says,

give your brother my regards and it`s understood the brother better pay up

this week, it`s useful to be able to send the message that way, because

it`s hard to use those words, “give your brother my regards, in a court of

law as evidence of wrongdoing.  That`s why mobsters do it that way.

 

Everywhere you look in the Mueller report, you see the president and his

people acting like that, like when in January 2018, Paul Manafort told Rick

Gates he had talked to the president`s personal counsel and they were,

quote, going to take care of us, so don`t plead guilty.

 

When Trump told then FBI Director Comey, I hope you can see your way clear

to letting this go, to letting Flynn go, he`s a good guy.  I hope you can

let this go.

 

Or when Trump asked Rob Porter if he thought associate AG Rachel Brand was,

quote, on the team and then asked if Brand was interested, perhaps, in

being responsible for the special counsel`s investigation, and whether she

would want to be attorney general one day.

 

Trump doesn`t have to say go lie for me for it to be a crime, he doesn`t

have to say let`s obstruct justice for it to be a crime.  You judge people

on their conduct not magic phrases. 

 

Just ask Lindsey Graham in 1999.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA:  He doesn`t have to say go lie for

me to be a crime.  You don`t have to say let`s obstruct justice for it to

be a crime.  You judge people on their  conduct not magic phrases.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

HAYES:  Trump has always had a kind of feral intelligence, and he`s canny

enough to avoid the magic phrases.  He doesn`t write things down, doesn`t

want his lawyers writing things down, and he maintains at all times

plausible deniability.

 

And people act in ways that shield them from the eyes of law are it turns

out people that are  difficult to prosecute.

 

Joining me now to discuss, Attorney Lisa Green and Attorney Elie Mystal,

executive editor for Above the Law and contributor to The Nation.

 

I mean, again, as I said at the top of the show, the behavior exhibited

here is not surprising, and yet it is still shocking.

 

ELIE MYSTAL, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, ABOVE THE LAW:  Yeah, so you`re exactly

right

that he`s talking like mobsters talk because it`s effective.  But the

people who hunt mobsters like are

also effective and they use every tactic possible.  And when I read the

Mueller report, I do not see the use of every tactic possible.

 

HAYES:  Explain.

 

MYSTAL:  I see Mueller letting these people off the hook time and time

again.  There is no excuse.  You were talking about mobsters, how do you

get them?  You go after their kids.  And there is no excuse that I read in

the Mueller report that explains him not bringing Don Trump Jr., Eric

Trump, Ivanka Trump or Jared Kushner in for an interview.  There is just no

excuse for that.

 

HAYES:  It is surprising, I will say, that Don Jr. is all over this report

in many respects.  He never sat for an interview with the counsel?

 

MYSTAL:  Yeah, and they never subpoenaed him.  I don`t understand why that

is.

 

LISA GREEN, ATTORNEY:  There was a certain delicacy, for lack of a better

word on the part of – you see it in the interview, you know, the Trump

lawyers were able to delay for more than a year.  I recall being here with

you as we all awaited what seemed like an almost inevitable subpoena to get

him to the table never happened.

 

MSYTAL:  But this is where we fail.  I mean, there`s an aspect where like,

you know, somebody`s is telling the bus driver, if this bus goes below 55

miles an hour it`s going to blow up. And bus driver says, the speed limit

says 40.  We`re all going to die.  I`m an institutionalist.  I mean, that`s

what we – all these institutionalists are only interested in protecting

their institution.

 

HAYES:  So, that`s interesting.  So, you`re reading the Mueller report and

the Mueller investigation is that it`s thorough up to a point of not

crossing these kinds of lines that might imperil the

DOJ, the FBI and things like that – that`s what you see in this report?

 

MYSTAL:  The deference that Mueller gave to Trump saying that he couldn`t

charge a sitting president, for some reason that deference extended to even

I can`t even ask the sitting president a question, and I can`t ask his

family a question.

 

HAYES:  Lisa, doesn`t agree.

 

GREEN:  Well, there`s an element of the report deep within that actually

shows the opposite, and that`s where Team Mueller says in no uncertain

terms the president is capable of being prosecuted.  We`re not going to do

it for obstruction of justice.

 

Go back to Barr`s 19 page tryout memo, and read his view about obstruction

of justice, and that`s Team Mueller setting up the stage for a family feud

in DOJ for the foreseeable future.

 

HAYES:  Well, and they also say, quite explicitly in this – explicitly in

there that, look, it`s also the case that impeachment is a remedy – as our

understanding of the guidance of DOJ, impeachment is remedy for the

president while he`s president, but criminal lie applies to the president

after he leaves office.

 

MYSTAL:  Yeah, but then he in the same – in the same breath basically, he

says that he`s not having a sealed indictment against Trump, because, oh,

that might leak.  And again this is Mueller trying to hard to be by the

book.

 

I mean, if you look at – if you look at what Eliot Ness did to get Capone,

it wasn`t all like daisies and roses.

 

HAYES:  Well, but part of the –  but the response to that is that this

isn`t Al Capone, this is Donald Trump, right.  As far as you – I`m

serious.  I`m serious about that.  I mean, as far as you want to carry the

analogy, right, the way that he talks and all the kind of capo (ph) stuff

and the – he`s not Al Capone, right.  I mean, that`s – that is sort of

the point here.

 

GREEN:  Yeah, I mean, the report does one interesting thing, which is it

just leads up, right.  And to me one area of interesting discussion is when

Mueller says, well, you know, we`re not going to prosecute someone who

can`t be defended in a neutral court, or suggests that someone should be. 

On the other hand, we can`t exonerate him.

 

Everyone is in limbo now.

 

HAYES:  Right, to your point about these interviews, right.  So, the

president, he provided 33 paragraphs of answers to Mueller.  His memory

failed 34 times, right.  So, there are all these questions about the state

of mind of the president, which you can`t get at because you never get an

interview.

 

But then there`s Don Jr, this is one of the most amazing things, the office

did not obtain admissible evidence likely to meet  the government`s burden

to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that these individuals willfully, with

general knowledge to the active willfully, with general knowledge the

illegality of their conduct, that`s how Don Jr. set up the meeting and

whether there`s a thing of value

that he`s seeking to get.  And essentially they`re he didn`t know what he

was doing, he was too dumb to break the law.

 

MYSTAL:  Yeah, the lawyer term for that is mens rea.  He didn`t have the

requisite criminal intent to break the law, but what they`re basically

saying, Don Jr. is too stupid to know what he was doing.  And I believe

that.  Don Jr. seems very dumb to me.  I totally believe that.

 

But again you can`t know how dumb Don Jr. is until you sit him down and ask

him, were you this stupid or were you – the other thing, right – and I

hate to – like, if you`re exerting this report and you`re a Michael Cohen

or you are Paul Manafort or you are Rick Gates or you are one of these

people that Mueller has put the wood to, and you are going to jail largely

for lying to Mueller, how do you feel right now reading this report and

realizing the five principles, Trump and his family, are not going to jail,

they`re not convicted for lying to Mueller because Mueller never asked them

a question.  How do you feel about that?

 

HAYES:  The person I thought about, too, thinking about this was Bill

Clinton.  No, seriously, who managed through this incredible machination by

Ken Starr, through a Rube Goldberg machine, that, you know, started with a

ball over here and ended with a shoe over there, to get him in front of –

under oath in a deposition while sitting president that included a

unanimous Supreme Court decision

to make him do so, that was the thing that provided the predicate for

impeachment fundamentally, right, it`s not about sex, it`s about lying. 

And this guy, who we did all this stuff that we now see managed to wriggle

out of that.

 

GREEN:  He just waited it out.  It was really unbelievable.

 

Hey, by the way, a quick shoutout to some of the lawyers in the report who

actually take notes: Don McGahn and I think Chris Christie, a  shout for

him, who told Trump famously – now famously, you can`t make an

investigation shorter – I`m paraphrasing, but you can definitely make it

longer.

 

HAYES:  Well, that`s – I mean, one of the themes here is the man is

fundamentally lawless.  And I don`t mean criminal, that`s different. 

Criminal and lawless are different.  He is lawless in the sense that the

law matters not at all to him one way or the other.  You know what I mean,

he is going to do what he was going to do, whether the law says he can do

it or not, and he bumps up against the law from time to time and he`ll

redivert like a Roomba, but he doesn`t – he fundamentally doesn`t even see

it or appreciate the law as a binding constraint.

 

MYSTAL:  One of the bad talking points I`ve seen a lot in this day has been

basically that Trump didn`t obstruct justice because the people around him

wouldn`t let him obstruct justice, like they were too good to let this

happen.  Attempted obstructed of justice is obstruction of justice, it`s

the same part of the crime.

 

HAYES:  And one of the things that fingered Nixon was the pardons that

Cohen discussed pardons with the president`s personal counsel, believed to

(inaudible) he`d be taken care of.  According to Cohen, the president`s

personal counsel, responded that Cohen should stay on message, the

investigation was a witch hunt and everything would be fine.

 

Again, that comes back to that code that we talked about at the top of

this, everything would be fine, stay on message.

 

GREEN:  It`s not very subtle.

 

HAYES:  No, it`s not very subtle.

 

Lisa Green and Eli Mystal on a very, very busy day, thank you for being

here on Mueller report day.  I really appreciate it.

 

It has been a very busy day and fascinating day.  And I have been looking

forward to two things all day – number one was my show, and then after my

show, I`ve been looking forward to “THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” which starts

right now, which I`m going to go watch.

 

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY

BE UPDATED.

END   

 

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