Mueller wrote Barr objecting to characterization. TRANSCRIPT: 4/30/19, All In w/ Chris Hayes.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York I`m Chris Hayes.
We`ve got breaking news at this hour that one of the chief criticisms of
Attorney General William Barr summary of the Mueller report was made by
none other than the Special Counsel himself Robert Mueller “The Washington
Post” reporting the Special Counsel complained to the Attorney General in a
letter on March 27th regarding Barr`s four-page summary that had been
released just three days prior.
Quoting Mueller`s letter from a copy received by “The Washington Post.”
The summary letter the department sent to Congress and released it to the
public late in the afternoon of March 24th did not fully capture the
contacts nature and substance of this office`s work in conclusion, Mueller
There is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our
investigation. This threatens to undermine essential purpose for which the
department appointed the special counsel to assure full public confidence
in the outcome the investigations.
Mueller did not leave it at that. The Special Counsel requested that Barr
released the introductions and executive summaries that they`ve prepared
from this 448-page report and even suggested some redactions to make that
Senior Justice Department officials were reportedly shocked by Mueller`s
letter. And again quoting the Post, “A day after the letter was sent Barr
and Mueller spoke by phone for about 15 minutes according to law
enforcement officials. In that call Mueller said he was concerned that
news coverage of the obstruction investigation was misguided and creating
public misunderstandings about the Office`s work according to Justice
Mueller reportedly did not clean Barr`s letter was inaccurate but the
summary letter was being misinterpreted. “Throughout the conversation,
Mueller`s name worried was that the public was not getting an accurate
understanding of the obstruction investigation, officials said.
I`m joined now by Matt Zapotosky who reported on this story for The
Washington Post tonight and who helped write an introduction and analysis
of the Mueller report. What more can you tell us about your story, Matt?
MATT ZAPOTOSKY, REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, yes. You`ve got to
kind of flashback to this March time period Mueller`s investigation has
ended and Bill Barr decides to send a Congress a four-page letter
distilling down this 447 page report into effectively two conclusions, and
one is that the President didn`t coordinate with Russia and the other is
that Mueller didn`t come to a decision on obstruction. And so Bill Barr
stepped in and he came to a decision on obstruction.
So Mueller we now know from reading this letter is upset by that. He feels
like that for all intents and purposes, mischaracterizes his work. The
quotes that are pulled out themselves aren`t inaccurate, but the picture
it`s painting overall is just not accurate. So he writes this letter, they
have this call that you just described.
One other details, this kind of results in Bill Barr sending another letter
to Congress. People might not remember this one where he says, look, I
wasn`t trying to summarize Mueller`s findings. I remember feeling at the
time, that`s pretty weird because that`s exactly what you did.
But we now sort of know this is why he had heard from Mueller, knew Mueller
was upset and I think was trying to tamp down the kind of – I guess he was
trying to make sure people held their breath and sort of waited for the
actual Mueller report because that`s what Mueller himself wanted.
HAYES: One of the details here as well right, is that there were these
executive summaries. We learned about that through leaks from Mueller`s
team more or less. We don`t know who the sources are. That Mueller had
prepared with the apparent clear intention they were released by Barr, and
Barr did no such thing.
ZAPOTOSKY: Yes. If it wasn`t clear when Mueller turned the document over
because you can see now in his report every page as marked as having
possibly grand jury material including those executive summaries. But if
it wasn`t clear then, it certainly was clear on March 27th when he sends
over this letter and also says hey we should release these executive
summaries. Here are some possible redactions.
So maybe Bill Barr could argue it wasn`t exactly clear on March 22nd when
Mueller raps up. But by the end of March, it is certainly clear that this
is what Mueller wants and Bill Bart doesn`t want to do it.
HAYES: I want to just play – I mean this is a remarkable moment in April
9th on Barr is testifying on the Hill about how he doesn`t believe in
summary. The guy has just written a four-page summary that has driven news
coverage everywhere. It`s led to the President to take a victory tour.
It`s led right-wing media to call for recriminations and firings and
essentially a kind of metaphorical guillotine for various members of the
And here is – here is Barr talking about his views on summaries. Take a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL, UNITED STATES: In my view, I was not
interested in putting out summaries or trying to summarize because I think
any summary regardless of who prepares it not only runs the risk of you
know, being underinclusive or over-inclusive, but also you know, would
trigger a lot of discussion and analysis that really should await
everything coming out at once. So I was not interested in a summary.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: We now know that Mueller was like – but that`s what you did dude,
ZAPOTOSKY: Yes. And I think even more remarkable after he says that he
goes and has this press conference. Again, before Mueller`s report is
released, it`ll be at only about an hour and a half and he again offers a
summary that is very favorable to President Trump. He says some iteration
five times of no collusion.
And again, this is a summary which only a couple weeks earlier he had said
he was kind of not interested in.
HAYES: All right, Matt Zapotosky who broke this story for The Washington
Post along with some other news outlets and now have it. I want to thank
you for your work. For – we`re going to bring in two people who
understand the Justice Department just a second, but just – before we do
that, if you`ll stay with me for a second. I want to – I want to go zoom
in on a detail that to me shows everything you need to know about who Barr
is and how he`s comported himself.
You remember when he released that four-page letter, there was this finding
on coordination with the Russians that goes like this. As the report
states, and then there`s a – there`s a bracket around the T to capitalize
it, to paraphrase, the investigation did not establish the members of the
Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in
election interference activities.
That was the cornerstone upon which the president and allied propaganda
forces of the President built this entire sort of rhetorical infrastructure
about no collusion, etcetera. The actual sentence starts with this clause,
“Although the investigation established that the Russian government
perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and work to secure that
outcome, and that the campaign expected it would benefit electorally from
information stolen released for Russian efforts, the investigation did not
establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated the
Russian government in its election interference activities.
That tells you everything you need to know but the level of good faith of
which Bill Barr has been operating and the shocking detail today that
Robert Mueller called him up and said what are you doing after writing a
letter putting it in writing just further confirms the mission that the man
who now runs the Department of Justice, the nation`s lawyer, the chief law
enforcement official is working fundamentally as a lawyer for the President
of the United States and not the American people.
Matt Miller is the former chief spokesperson for the Department of Justice,
he`s an MSNBC Justice Analyst. Frank Figliuzzi former Assistant Director
for Counterintelligence at the FBI and an MSNBC an NBC News National
Security Analyst. And Frank, let me – as someone who worked under Robert
Mueller, and you`ve sort of spoken about your relationship and how you
think about him doing his job, your reaction to the fact that he was
motivated to write a letter to the man that was fundamentally his
supervisor in his position expressing his frustrations.
FRANK FIGLIUZZI, MSNBC NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Christ, this is exactly
how Mueller operates. And those of us who`ve worked within have said this
on the air repeated – repeatedly. He`s meticulous about memorializing
documenting his objections to how higher-ups are characterizing his work.
We`ve seen it him do it at the FBI in the most sensitive high-profile cases
but he does it within the system and he`s done it again. He will go on
record as objecting to how someone is handling the truth. And we`re
watching a cover-up unfold in front of us. The question is why, why would
Barr do this? What motivates him? Was it cash? Was it the promise of
just the A.G. position? What would motivate a man to go up against someone
like Mueller, a decorated combat veteran who`s been in the trenches for
decades and think that you could get away with it?
So the Mueller we know is the Mueller we`re hearing about now and I predict
we`ll hear in full on testimony on the Hill.
HAYES: Well, to Frank`s point, Matt, I mean, the motivation here seems to
me the motivation of everyone who`s been toadying essentially if the
president which is please the boss. And the boss liked what Bill Barr did,
we know that from reporting, we know he`s going around the White House
saying finally I`ve got this guy. He`s better than the Sessions. And he
fundamentally succeeded in this brazen kind of con job for a month.
The only thing that anyone knew about this thing this 440-page document
that had been in the works for two years was the four-page summary that he
MATT MILLER, MSNBC JUSTICE ANALYST: Yes, that`s right. I hear this
question asked all the time. Why would Bill Barr, someone who was
completely respected who`d had a successful time as Attorney General in the
past. Why would he come in here and do this for Donald Trump? Why would
he sacrifice his own –
HAYES: They all do.
MILLER: – ruin his reputation, and that is exactly the right answer.
They all do. But also, I don`t think he cares. Look, he had one job here
and that was to give the president, give the president`s allies in
Congress, and give the right-wing media their media sphere the talking
point they need which is that the Justice Department had cleared the
President on obstruction, and it cleared the President on collusion.
And I think the thing that is so remarkable to me is not just that he was
misleading but that after the special counsel called him on it. He waited
three weeks, didn`t do anything to clear up that that misleading
impression, but then went out and doubled down on his press conference and
went out and was again misleading about what the report had was – had
found saying that it confirmed that the president had not – had not
colluded, not broken a lot which is not of course what it said. And it was
misleading about why Mueller didn`t reach and it didn`t make a
determination on obstruction.
So I think that tells you to your point, if anyone had any doubt whether he
was operating in good faith, it is abundantly clear right now that he has
one job in one job only, and that is to protect the president.
HAYES: I mean, of course, there`s the question of whether Congress should
hear from Mueller and conducting their oversight duties. I should say,
Frank, that the Chair of the Judiciary Committee, Congressman Jerry Nadler
just tweeted Mueller has written a letter objecting of our summary of his
report because it did not fully capture the contacts nature and in
substance to the investigation.
I`ve demanded the letter and Barr must answer for this. Mueller must be
allowed to testify. Do you anticipate given this that we are going to see
Robert Mueller on the Hill?
FIGLIUZZI: I think it`s a virtual certainty. And in fact, Barr would be
obstructing Congress if he denied Mueller the permission to do that. Of
course, we all know now that the man who announced there was no instruction
was actually himself obstructing.
And so we need to view Barr as just that now an obstructionist. And if it
takes a subpoena to get Mueller to the Hill then so be it. But Mueller
needs to speak to the American public and the American public needs to hear
HAYES: What do you think, Matt?
MILLER: I wish I shared Frank`s optimism. Look, I think we absolutely do
need to hear from Bob Mueller. I think the special – the Judiciary
Committee is going to send him a subpoena. But I don`t know – I don`t
have any reason to think that the Justice Department is currently
constituted won`t block him from going to testify.
And I do have real doubts that Mueller, as long as he is a Justice
Department employee will go up and testify against the wishes of his
superiors. That would be somewhat out of character with how he`s – how
he`s behaved in the past. Maybe once he leaves the department, it might be
But look, the way they`ve shown such bad faith in this process and just not
– the way that they`re so shameless about it. That they will – you know,
that bar would stand up and have that press conference an hour and a half
before a report is going to be released that`s going to undermine
everything that he said doesn`t give me a lot of faith that they`re
actually going to let the Special Counsel go testify without at least a big
HAYES: Let me ask you something, Matt, a follow-up question to do your
best, DOJ flack code-breaking for me. This is the spokesperson for the
Justice Department who basically confirms the story and says the Special
Counsel emphasized that nothing in the Attorney General`s March 24th letter
was inaccurate or misleading. He expressed frustration over the lack of
context and resulting media coverage regarding the special counsels
obstruction analysis. At one point it`s called cordial and professional.
What do you think of that?
MILLER: I think they are probably picking out, cherry-picking you know,
probably one line may be the Attorney General asked Mueller a question, are
you saying I misled the public and Mueller said no that`s not what I`m
saying. But if you look at the language of this letter where he says you
know, that it did not fully capture the context, the nature and the
substance of my report and left the American public confused, he is
outright accusing him of misleading the American public.
I see – I get the spin from the Justice Department`s press person, but
when you look at what that letter actually said, he didn`t come out and say
you lied to the American public but that is clearly, clearly the impression
that he had.
HAYES: do you agree with that Frank?
FIGLIUZZI: Oh yes. This is – that`s right on the money. What we`re
watching here – don`t be fooled by the polite language. This is – this
battle going on in legal diplomacy language right here and there. This is
a fight that`s on.
HAYES: That`s right. I mean, let`s just be clear. You don`t send a
letter basically saying what are you doing, you have fundamentally,
essentially mischaracterized my work, you know, in polite diplomatic
legalese unless you`re pretty heated about what happened and unless you
have a very strong view on what should be released aka the summaries I
lovingly prepared for you to release to the public which you`ve sat on now
for a month which is of course what happened.
MILLER: And Chris, can I just say that there`s no reason to take that
statement from the press person at face value either. That might be –
that might be a complete lie given the way that Barr has mischaracterized
the report. If the Attorney General is willing to go out in front of
cameras and mischaracterize the report, there`s no reason to actually think
that even that statement is a correct recitation of their conversation.
HAYES: Iron law of the Trump era, extend the most basic modicum of the
assumption of good faith to anything and you will end up burned to a crisp.
Matt Miller and Frank Figliuzzi, thank you for your time.
I`m joined now by Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Chair of the House Financial
Services Committee. This is not the purview of your specific committee but
you obviously have strong feelings about both the Department of Justice,
how its conducted himself, this president, Mr. Barr. Your reaction to the
news that Mr. Mueller objected in writing to the characterization, called
Mr. Barr and asked him to release those summaries and none of that was
REP. MAXINE WATERS (D-CA): Well, first of all, I am so pleased that our
Special Counsel Mr. Mueller not only wrote a letter to Mr. Barr. But he
got on the telephone and he absolutely said to him that what he had done
did not capture the context or substance or the nature of his work.
And so now that it has been revealed, it helps the American people to know
that this administration and all of those who are lined up with the
president trying to protect him have obstructed not only justice but
obstructed Congress of the United States of America.
This is typical of what is going on with this President and this
administration. They do everything that they can to deny information about
who this president is and what he has done. He refused to be interviewed,
he fired Comey, he has basically refused to criticize Putin. He has
absolutely obstructed justice.
And in that report, what Mueller did was he told Congress of the United
States, I`m not exonerating him. Here are the facts. Now it`s up to you
to deal with them. And unfortunately, we have not dealt with it.
HAYES: Well, what do you mean by that? I mean, look, the leadership is
basically said – Nancy Pelosi said impeachment is not worth it. You are
now in the midst of an oversight fight in which the president has gone to
sort of a maximalist war footing.
Since I have you here, the president is suing Deutsche Bank which is the
subject of some of your subpoenas to attempt to legally force them not to
comply with the somewhat novel argument, the president`s privacy. The most
public person in the world is being invaded by the subpoenas you`ve issued.
What do you make of that?
WATERS: Well, the fact of the matter is the President said that they would
fight every subpoena. They are brazen, they are disrespectful, they are
trying how to stop the Congress of the United States from exercising its
constitutional duties and responsibilities. We have the responsibility for
oversight and investigation, but he does not respect that.
As a matter of fact it is absolutely, absolutely obstruction of Congress
now. It is not only the obstruction of justice that`s described in the
report. But what they`ve said to Congress is we`re not going to let you do
your job. This is dangerous for the presidency period. It is dangerous
because the next president`s coming in. If they get away with this then we
have lost really what a president should be all about and what that office
HAYES: When you use that – when you use that term obstruction of
Congress. That`s a term used if I`m not mistaken in articles of
impeachment that were issued against Richard Nixon before he resigned.
They were added – they were not in the original bunch. Something somewhat
similar in the 11th article that was issued against Andrew Johnson about
the way that that president treated Congress. Is that – is that what
you`re referring to when you se that term specifically?
WATERS: Well, everyone knows that I believe that this president should be
impeached – should have been impeached. And I also understand that the
polls are showing that we don`t yet have the public with us. And that
makes it very difficult for the members of Congress who are trying to carry
out their duties and responsibilities, and responding to their
And so we`re now our committees that six committees that have oversight
responsibilities and investigative responsibilities. We`re going to carry
on with our investigations, with our oversight, and with our issuing of
subpoenas. If they fight us in court, we`re going to fight them back. The
president said he was going to fight us tooth and nail, we`re going to
fight him tooth and nail.
They won`t just get away with this we`ve got to convince the public that
this man is irresponsible, he`s dangerous with no respect for the
Constitution or the Congress of the United States. We have to keep just
working at it.
HAYES: Final question for you, and this is about the fate of Bill Barr.
Julian Castro tweeting that Attorney General Barr willfully misled the
American people to cover up attempted crimes by Donald Trump. He should
resign his position or face an impeachment inquiry himself immediately.
What do you think of that?
WATERS: `I think that`s correct. I think that Barr should resign, and if
he does not resign, he should be facing impeachment proceedings also. He
has advocated on his responsibility. He has lied, he has used the very
words coming right out of the president`s mouth, no collusion, no
collusion, no collusion, and made a decision that despite what the Special
Counsel put into that report about obstruction of justice, he said he made
the decision that he had not obstructed justice. It is outrageous and he
needs to go.
HAYES: All right Congresswoman Maxine Waters, thank you so much for your
WATERS: You`re welcome. Thank you.
HAYES: Joining me now is Nick Akerman, former Watergate Prosecutor, Mimi
Rocah former federal prosecutor and MSNBC Legal Analyst. Mimi, I`ll start
with you. There`s not really I think a legal issue per se, there might be
a constitutional issue in Barr`s conduct here. But there is kind of a
procedural issue which is are you undertaking your duties as the head of
the Department of Justice in good faith and what do you think this letter
that we now know Mueller wrote in the phone call say about Barr`s
MIMI ROCAH, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Absolutely, Chris, and I don`t say this
lightly but you know, Barr first misrepresented the report in his letter
and then when he testified before Congress, he went a step further than
that, and he misrepresented a whole series apparently of communications
with Mueller or from Mueller rather in this – in a letter and in a phone
We have to go back now and look at Barr`s testimony before Congress. And
this isn`t just a technicality. I mean, he testified after having received
these serious complaints for Mueller about how his report was being
represented. And Barr either just skirted the line or committed perjury.
And we need to go back and look at his testimony and how he answered
certain questions but at a minimum, even you know, this isn`t about looking
for more crimes, this is about as you say, how he conducted himself. And
he`s just not upholding the office of the Attorney General in the way that
anyone regardless of party should expect or hope.
HAYES: Yes, I should – I should note that I – we were sort of looking
through now some of those hearing transcripts. I do believe at one point
he was asked about the reporting saying that Mueller`s team was not happy
and he said I don`t – I don`t know what that`s about or something like
that which seems dubious given the fact that you`ve talked to Robert
Mueller about Mueller`s concerns.
You know, to the point Mimi just made there which I think is a really
important one is you know, a certain level it`s water under the bridge and
so far as the redacted report is out. We have accessed the underlying
thing. And so the month of spinning that happened from the letter is sort
of not as important now because we have it, but it does matter for the
conduct of the man who`s the Attorney General the United States.
NICK AKERMAN, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: There`s no question about it. I mean,
that letter was one big lie. It wasn`t just that he took it all out of
context that it wasn`t summarized properly, he made up this whole idea that
even though Mueller detailed at least nine instances of obstruction of
justice, I mean really laid it out by virtue of what he did and what his
corrupt intent was in doing it, and yet any one of those could have been
charged as an obstruction of justice. Mueller says, oh I find there`s no
obstruction of justice.
AKERMAN: I mean, the whole thing is spent and they`re still spinning it
even on this so-called collusion issue. If you look at page 176 of the
first part of the report –
HAYES: You`ll scan my mental –
AKERMAN: It`s the part that relates to Roger Stone and the release into
staging and release of stolen documents. If you look at the footnote down
below, Mueller says that they considered this law on interstate
transportation of stolen property and we`re looking at whether or not the
members of the campaign were trafficking in stolen property.
Well the only reason that they couldn`t charge that was because our laws
are antiquated. They don`t relate to computer data. So what – if you
read that in connection –
HAYES: Interesting. I see.
AKERMAN: If you read that in connection with everything else that`s going
on in the body which mostly is redacted, what they`re really saying is yes,
there is collusion.
HAYES: We looked at this. Right.
AKERMAN: There is collusion. There may not be conspiracy because we can`t
charge conspiracy because the – it`s not a crime based on the current
HAYES: Mimi, the Attorney General United States Bill Barr is going to go
before the Senate tomorrow and I imagine, I mean – there`s – I mean, it`s
going to be controlled by Lindsey Graham who I think is a fan and supporter
of Bill Barr and how he`s conducted himself. But he`s going to have to
face questions from Democrats on that committee.
ROCAH: Yes. And look, there were tough questions to ask before this came
out and I`m assuming it`s not a coincidence that this finally did come out
ROCAH: They`re going to be even tougher questions. I mean, the
fundamental issue here is that Bob Mueller did find acts of obstruction
that if it were anyone other than the President of the United States who`s
protected by this office of legal counsel policy would have been indicted.
Many federal prosecutors that said that you know, I`m sure you can find
some that disagree, but I think that`s the consensus. It is as strong if
not stronger than many obstruction cases that many of us saw.
So the issue is how did Barr – you know, he needs to answer for how he
could have come to this conclusion of no obstruction here, and by the way
I`m not facing that just on the fact that he`s the president. Because
remember that`s what he said in that four-page letter. That`s what he`s
continued to say. It is an indefensible position.
So what happened here is he took this indefensible position which legally,
factually, simply cannot be supported, and then he also lied about it.
He`s got to answer for both of those things. They`re two separate things
but he needs to answer for both of them. And I don`t think there`s any
satisfactory answer he can give and he really should resign.
HAYES: Well, it`s notable that the – that the reporting indicates that in
that conversation the frustration was on the characterization of the
obstruction inquiry in terms of what you are communicating, about what we
were tasked with doing, and what I did is getting lost in how you have sort
of swooped in to make this decision.
AKERMAN: That`s right. I mean, and he made based on incorrect law. I
mean he – his job application memo that he sent to the White House and to
the Department of Justice before all this happened came up with these crazy
notions that you can`t obstruct an FBI investigation when in Watergate that
was one of the key charges. The job of the Department of Justice in their
request to charge that`s given in every obstruction case relating to an
investigation has that in there.
And then he comes up with this crazy idea that the president can`t have
corrupt intent when the Barr memo lays it out in detail what his improper
purpose was and why he was trying to influence the investigation. I mean,
this is a guy who basically twisted the law. He should know better. I
mean, he was Attorney General before and you would think he`d know
something about obstruction of justice.
But the obvious conclusion is what Mimi said. This is a guy whose only job
is to protect the Donald Trump.
HAYES: Protect the president. And the President has been very clear that
that is what he wanted. It should not be surprising, I guess in some sense
that the man is acting in that way. Nick Akerman and Mimi Rocah, thank you
for joining us.
Joining me now NBC News Justice Correspondent Pete Williams. Pete, you`ve
been reporting up this story as well. What is your understanding of the
sequence of events here?
PETE WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, what the – what
we`re told by Justice Department officials is that the Special Counsel
Robert Mueller told Barr that the initial account of the Mueller report in
Barr`s four-page letter caused public confusion. They say that there was a
letter first from Mueller to Barr and then a telephone call that Barr
called Mueller to talk about it. And that Mueller said that this is the
March 24th page letter.
This is the four-page description of what Barr called the reports principal
conclusions didn`t fully capture what Mueller called the context and
substance of that more than 440-page document. And Mueller suggested that
bar should release the brief summary sections of the report.
Now what we`re told is these officials say Mueller did not describe Barr`s
letter as inaccurate but thought it resulted in misleading news coverage
about the report, and they say Mueller expressed his frustration over that
and what he thought lack of context was causing.
Now, Barr has said he not water release the report piecemeal, that this is
what he told Mueller, and of course, Barr has said this publicly as well.
And that he couldn`t simply release the summaries because they had not yet
been scrubbed to remove grand jury information.
And we`ve now have seen the report and if you look at the top of every page
it says, may contain information covered by the federal rules of Criminal
Procedure 6E which is the grand jury information warning that that material
has to be redacted.
There`s been some frustration initially by the Justice Department that when
the report was turned over to DOJ, it didn`t have those reductions and that
the Justice Department folks had to say to Mueller`s team hey, you know, we
need your help. How would we know what the grand jury stuff and here is?
You need to flag it for us.
So that is our understanding of the – of the nature of these
conversations. And of course, you can read bars letter for yourself, the
March 24th letter. You can read the Mueller report. You can reach your
own conclusions about whether you think Barr`s letter was – lacked context
HAYES: All right, Pete Williams, thank you very much for that reporting.
Joining us now by the phone the Chairman of the House Intelligence
Committee Democrat Adam Schiff of California. Congressman, your reaction
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Well, look at one level it`s not surprising
because we saw just how misleading the Barr summary is when we finally got
the report. But now we see it in black and white from Mueller himself, his
dissatisfaction with what Barr had done, how the country was perceiving it.
And of course the whole point that you know, that Barr had in releasing
this four-page in misleading summary was to help the White House set a
public narrative that was at odds with the facts.
So the discussion also about Mueller being unhappy with the public
perception, that public perception was being driven by a messaging team
that apparently was working in concert with Bill Barr, pushing out this
false no collusion no obstruction line when those words appear nowhere in
What we found when we got the report was what we suspected and that is that
Mueller wrote his own summaries. And now we have confirmation that Mueller
wanted his own summaries to be made public, and this excuse that DOJ is
now giving that they didn`t want to release the report piecemeal, as if
giving Mueller`s own summaries instead of their own would somehow make it a
piecemeal release that just doesn`t pass the laugh test.
HAYES: Do you think Robert Mueller should appear before congress?
We`ve requested that he come before our committee. I believe that he will.
He`ll also testify before the Judiciary Committee.
But let`s face it, I don`t think the country can put any confidence in what
Bill Barr has to say. He`ll be testifying before congress, but I`m not
going to rely, I don`t think anyone, should rely on his
characterization of Mueller`s work or conversations with Mueller, because
he`s proven to be unreliable and misleading and those are terrible
qualities to have in an attorney general.
HAYES: Is he so unreliable that you think he should, in the words of
Julian Castro and something agreed to by Maxine Waters earlier in this
program, resign or begin impeachment proceedings against the attorney
SCHIFF: Well, my feeling was that he should have never been confirmed, and
certainly not have been confirmed without committing to recuse himself from
a case in which he had such an obvious bias.
Look, I don`t think the country can have confidence in its top law
enforcement official. And under those circumstances, it`s hard to see how
he can justify to himself his continued service in that position. I think
what he has done has been such a tremendous disservice to the country. And
if he was true to what he said in his senate confirmation hearings, that he
hoped to be able to bring about some public confidence in the results of
this all-important investigation, we now have it from Bob Mueller that
that`s exactly the opposite effect of what his actions have produced.
HAYES: Do you interpret the existence of this letter, both what was
written inside it, the fact that it was written at all, and that there was
a phone call afterwards, as a big deal? That it is not something
undertaken lightly by Mueller?
SCHIFF: I think it`s a very big deal. And I think what it signals is that
Mueller wanted to put his reservations in writing, because he could not
rely on Barr to accurately characterize his work in the report, and there
was every concern, there certainly should have been, that Barr might not
represent Mueller`s reservations accurately. And indeed, we already see a
discrepancy between the strength of Mueller`s letter, at least as it`s
quoted now in the press, and the Department of Justice trying to say, well,
in his conversation, he wasn`t quite as strident as he was in his letter.
Well, I`m not willing to accept another summary from Bill Barr about what
Bob Mueller has to say or his reservations. We`ve had two too many false
summaries to begin with to take a third at this point.
HAYES: Let me ask you a question that I had asked Chair Waters earlier in
this program, the White House has, as far as I can tell, and maybe the
reporting on this is inaccurate or I may be mistaken, not turned over a
single document in any of the various inquiries that have come from
oversight committees, including your own. They`re suing Deutsche Bank and
another bank to try to prevent them from complying with subpoenas. They
basically said go to hell, more or less. What is your understanding of how
within the bounds of sort of the normal parry and thrusts this is between
the executive and congress and how new it is and what to do about it?
SCHIFF: I think it`s completely unprecedented. I mean, there certainly
have been other presidents who have bridled at congressional oversight or
sought to withhold information or made over-broad claims of executive
privilege, but no one, to my knowledge, has said, I don`t respect congress
as a co-equal branch of government, I won`t yield to any oversight request
no matter how mundane, no matter how, you know, just on its face a
quintessential part of congressional oversight. We`re going to stonewall
everything. That`s this president`s position.
It`s unprecedented. And this is now the second broadside on the system of
balances when it comes to congress. The first was going after congress`
power of the purse and saying we`re going to declare an emergency and
basically evade congress` ability to set funding levels and priorities.
Now the administration is saying as imperial president, we`re going to
reject any oversight of what we do.
And this will not only have tremendous repercussions in terms of our
ability to oversee this administration, but if we were to let this stand,
it means that the balance of power is fundamentally altered for the future,
that there`s no ability to hold even the most corrupt president
accountable. There`s no way to investigate even the worst examples of
malfeasance because a president can simply stonewall each and every
So we`re going to have to fight this tooth and nail. We`re going to have
to succeed, and I think we will. But they`re determined, I think,to draw
this out as long as humanly possible.
HAYES: Is there – have you been – has the White House or White House
staff communicated directly to you their intentions vis-a-vis document
production or compliance with subpoenas?
SCHIFF: You know, I had an initial get acquainted meeting with the new
White House counsel. Since that time, we have been in negotiations with
the Department of Justice and the FBI to get the materials that we need in
the intelligence committee. And as you know, the Mueller investigation
actually began under Comey as a counterintelligence investigation. We
still don`t have any of the
findings of the counterintelligence investigation that goes to what
possible risks of compromise there are.
And so there`s a statutory obligation to provide that to the committee. In
a very atypical illustration of bipartisanship vis-a-vis the Russia
investigation, Mr. Nunes and I have sent two joint
requests now to the department demanding this information. And, you know,
we`re prepared, if necessary, to use compulsion to get it. We want Mueller
to testify. We want the underlying evidence. We want make sure that we
HAYES: So, I just want to make sure I understand that clearly, the
of this, whatever results from that, whatever work product that resulted
from that – from a counterintelligence perspective – has not been
furnished to your committee at all?
SCHIFF: No, it hasn`t. We were getting periodic counterintelligence
briefings up until the point where James Comey was fired. At that point,
the most significant counterintelligence investigation in recent history
went into a black hole. And the department and the intelligence community
stopped fulfilling their statutory obligation to keep us fully informed of
any significant counterintelligence activity.
So they`ve been dark now for a year-and-a-half. And that, I think,
violates the statute. And we`re insisting on getting full answers now.
HAYES: That`s wild.
SCHIFF: And we`re going to do what`s necessary – it is, it really is.
And I think they know they`re on very weak legal footing. And so we`re
pursuing this with all vigor. And we`ve told them basically, we need this
information, we need it now, and we`re prepared to go to court to fight to
get it if
HAYES: All right. Congressman Adam Schiff, thank you so much for making
some time this evening.
Here with me now is Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota,
presidential candidate and a member of the Judiciary Committee that will
hosting, if I`m not mistaken, Bill Barr tomorrow.
Your reaction to this news, senator.
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR, (D) MINNESOTA: Well, it means I`ve certainly had to
update my questions, Chris.
I was actually surprised that this is coming out the day before the
hearing, but I`m not surprised that Director Mueller would write such a
letter, because we knew from the beginning that this four-page summary
didn`t do the report justice, that there were issues with that summary and
how it created confusion, and it`s really downplayed what we later read in
the report, even though we don`t have all the report, it really downplayed
the Russian interference, but it mostly downplayed, of course, all the
details about obstruction, only acknowledging that there was a difference
of opinion and there were two sides to it, in the words of Attorney General
So this means for me and the committee, we`re going to have to ask even
tougher questions now that we`re going to have to demand that Mueller comes
testify when there`s clearly a difference of opinion here.
HAYES: On that, is that something that you – I mean, you`re in the
minority on the Judiciary Committee. Lindsey Graham, I think, is on the
record – in fact, I`m certain, on the record saying, look, I don`t need to
talk to Mueller. We got the report. It`s fine.
Do you think this changes things? And can you prevail upon the Republican
chair to actually
call Mueller before your committee?
KLOBUCHAR: Well, we will keep trying and keep pushing him. And that`s why
there will be many questions asked about this, and that we want to be able
to talk to the people who were involved in
gathering this evidence.
I mean, this is not about politics in the end, it`s about protecting our
democracy, it`s a national security issue. All week we heard reports about
the Homeland Security secretary being told not to talk to the president
about Russia`s invasion in our election. We were told that basically the
White House has been down playing this, and I personally know that because
I`m the Democratic lead on the Secure
Elections Act with Senator Lankford, and we know that people in the White
House made calls to senators to stop the advancement of that bill when it
was ready to have a markup in the rules committee.
And that`s about back-up paper ballots. And it is a bill about audits.
And it`s a bill about protecting our elections from a foreign country
that`s invading our country. So I do not understand – by the way they
didn`t use missiles or tanks, they used – instead they hacked in. And I
don`t understand why the Republicans would want to allow a foreign country
to have this kind of influence over our election. And next time it`s going
to be them that they`ll do it to.
And so this news today just more and more fortifies the argument that this
White House is not standing up for our national security.
HAYES: Are you – what is your characterization or conclusions about the
attorney general of
the United States` general comportment in his role as the chief law
enforcement officer of the United States?
KLOBUCHAR: I did not support this attorney general for this very reason.
It looked to me that he did a job application when he submitted a memo
before he was even being considered about his
views that the president had expansive executive power and should be able
to basically make his own decisions about laws and shouldn`t have to at all
respect the power of congress. So that was my first reaction.
The second was that in his hearing, he verified that more.
And so then we come to this report coming out, and I`m not surprised at all
that he would do a four-page conclusion to try to tilt the politics.
Instead of just being the people`s lawyer, he was acting as the president`s
And again, I believe that we must respect the rule of law, and we must
respect the constitution. Add this attorney general has gone way out on a
limb here to the point where he is not allowing the 448-page report to
speak for itself. And that`s why we will continue to demand we hear from
Mueller as well as the other witnesses.
HAYES: All right, Senator Amy Klobuchar, thank you so much for your time.
We`re continuing to follow the breaking news that Robert Mueller told
Attorney General William Barr that Barr had publicly mis-characterized the
context, the findings of the Mueller report. It comes on the eve of Barr`s
scheduled testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, as he`s
threatened to skip a
hearing before the house Judiciary Committee on Thursday, and as the White
House is fighting Democratic investigations at every turn.
The president, his adult children, and his company are now suing two banks,
Capital One and Deutsche Bank, to stop them from complying with
congressional subpoenas. The House Financial Services Committee and the
Intelligence Committee have both subpoenaed information on the president`s
finances as part of their investigations into foreign influence on the U.S.
Faced with this unprecedented stonewalling, House committee chairs are
vowing to get the
information they`re seeking by any means at their disposal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CUMMINGS: My position is that there is no tool that is in our toolbox that
we should not explore, OK? Whatever it is.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Including jail?
CUMMINGS: Again, let me say it again. Did you hear what I said? I said
there is no tool in our toolbox that we should not explore.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: And yet, with that escalating battle as backdrop, in a truly
surreal scene, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi took a group of Democrats to
the White House today to try and make a deal with the president on a
bipartisan infrastructure bill.
Joining me now, UC Berkeley professor, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich,
who argues in a new column for Newsweek that congress should be ready to
arrest the attorney general if he defies a subpoena and doesn`t show up;
and former Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzmann who voted to impeach Richard
Nixon as a member of the House Judiciary Committee. She`s author of The
Case for Impeaching Trump.
Let me start with you as a former member of congress. I mean, there`s a
question about how much you should be dual tracking the way that you relate
to the White House, right? What do you think about the fact that they are
waging this sort of defensive battle against oversight and that at the same
time you have Democratic leaders going to the White House to be like, hey,
maybe we can make an infrastructure deal?
ELIZABETH HOLTZMANN, FORMER CONGRESSWOMAN: Well, I know it`s kind of
crazy, but during the impeachment process that we went through in the House
of Representatives, again on the Judiciary Committee against Richard Nixon,
we did our work. It was kind of compartmentalized. And the House of
Representatives continued to do the work of the nation.
And I think we have to do that. I mean, the president is the president,
congress has other business aside from this. But they can`t lose sight of
this, because what we have going on here is a vast cover-up and the
attorney general is participating in it.
And I wanted to say a couple things that remind me about Watergate. Number
one, the law that Adam Schiff, Congressman Adam Schiff referred to that
requires the president to keep congress informed about CIA activities, that
was a direct result of Watergate, and I think I voted for that bill. So
we`re talking about something that`s 40 years old, and they`re thumbing
their nose at that.
The other thing is that the last time we had an attorney general who
facilitated cover-up, he went to jail, John Mitchell. Barr ought to keep
that in mind. It`s very dangerous what he`s doing now. He`s
misrepresented to congress and to the American people what was in a report,
and he`s continuing to do that. And it`s very dangerous.
HAYES: Robert, you wrote that congress should be essentially prepared to
put Barr in jail
were he to refuse a congressional subpoena. We haven`t gotten to that
point at all. Right now there`s a negotiation about requesting an
invitation, and whether he will somehow up to face questioning not only
from staff, but also from lawyers.
What`s your reaction to the news tonight given that`s the column you just
ROBERT REICH, FORMER SECRETARY OF LA BOR: Well, I think, Chris, the issue
here is all in the shadow of last week`s statement by Donald Trump that he
will not respond and he will order everybody else not to respond to any
subpoenas. There will be no congressional oversight whatsoever. And what
we`ve seen really since then is just a repeat performance.
And when Congresswoman Holtzmann talks about Watergate, this really is the
shadow of Watergate. And Sam Irvin, I remember Sam Irvin, who ran that
Watergate committee. Sam Irvin saying – Irvin threatening to jail, to
arrest and jail anybody who did not respond to a subpoena.
I mean, you simply can`t have a congress that is unable to enforce a
subpoena, that`s unable to have any oversight whatsoever.
HAYES: I want to follow up on the cover-up, the use of the word cover-up
here. I mean, to sort of play devil`s advocate for a moment, you can say,
well, he manipulated the initial reception of it, right? But we do have a
redacted version of the report. I mean, the thing is the thing.
HOLTZMANN: Right, but he was trying to cover up basically presidential
involvement with Russia and possible presidential criminality, protecting
the president by basically tamping down public reaction to it and
congressional reaction. Not every member of congress is going to read the
report, and not every member of the public is going to read that report.
So, when he puts it out as attorney general, no obstruction of justice,
that was misleading, and I think it was a lie. He had – what he did is he
overruled Mueller. Mueller said, I cannot exonerate him, and the attorney
general said, I can and I am and I will.
And so that was really trying to protect the president of the United
States, no question about this. And this – everything along this line is
part of a cover-up by covering up and trying to tamp down information about
presidential misconduct. We`re not talking about ordinary misconduct,
we`re not talking about, you know, some kind of stealing a paper clip or a
Xerox piece of paper, what we`re talking about is the president of the
United States, who may have, and according to Mueller, Mueller likely did,
engage in obstruction of justice, tampered with witnesses, used the CIA to
try to – or government agencies to try to tamp down an investigation.
This is really serious.
And at the base of it is Russian interference with us. So we can`t be in
this situation where an attorney general is putting himself right in the
middle of it and trying to protect the president.
HAYES: Robert, you obviously, when you were secretary of labor, had to
deal with congressional oversight. You would go and testify on the Hill
about what was going on at the Department of Labor. You know, there`s
always kind of a contentious relationship. And I asked this question of
Adam Schiff, and I`ve asked it of Maxine Waters, and I`ll ask you, too,
Liz. But where do – this White House`s general posture, which is go take
a long walk off a short pier, where does that stand in your experience of
Washington in how things usually work?
REICH: Well, I don`t think there really is any precedent here. The
closest precedent, Chris, again, is Richard Nixon. But the stonewalling
and the cover-up in the Nixon administration, at least you had some degree
of negotiation, some degree of bargaining, and eventually went up to the
But here we have a blanket stonewall. This is an administration that says
absolutely we are not going to cooperate.
And in William Barr, you have an attorney general that I think Donald Trump
finally found – you know, it`s almost as if starting with Jeff Sessions,
he`s been auditioning attorney generals to be the attorney general he
really wants who is not going to represent the people of the United States,
not going to report to the people of the United States, but is going to be
a lackey, a lap dog for Donald Trump.
HAYES: Same question to you.
HOLTZMANN: Well, I was the chair of a subcommittee. I remember asking the
immigration service about information about Nazi war criminals in the war
criminals in the United States. They could have said, oh, I`m not going to
answer that question, but they did. It turned out that there were Nazi war
criminals in the United States, turned out that they were doing nothing
about it, turned out that congress and I worked on it, and we brought a
whole program to remove Nazi war criminals from the United States.
So, President Trump is going to say you want to find out about this? No,
I`m not telling you. Having congress do its job, the whole point of having
congress and not just a king is, that congress is supposed to be a check,
find out things that the government is doing that is wrong, not only about
what the president is doing that`s wrong, but things that other branches of
You can`t have a democracy, you can`t have our democracy, if the president
says, no, no, no. And this is cover-up of potential criminality. This is
cover-up of potential collusion with the Russians. It`s cover-up of bad
things for this country.
HAYES: All right. Robert Reich and Liz Holtzmann, thank you.
We have more to come tonight and this breaking news. We`ll be back in just
60 seconds. Don`t go anywhere.
HAYES: We continue to cover tonight`s big breaking news, special counsel
Robert Mueller wrote to the Attorney General William Barr to complain that
Barr had characterized his report in a misleading way.
I want to turn now to Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal of
Washington, who is a member of the House Judiciary Committee.
What does this do to your sense of William Barr`s performance as the
attorney general of the
REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL, (D) WASHINGTON: It`s completely shocking. And I
have to say, I have been studying what Barr has said, first when he
released the four-page report, his report. Second, when he did the press
conference before he released the redacted report and that was going to be
my line of questioning for Thursday, was the inconsistencies between what
he said and what the report says.
Now with this news, it is just very, very clear that Barr had one goal, and
that was to cover-up and reinterpret Mueller`s report.
Now to see that Mueller has sent a letter. And that in fact, Barr said in
his senate testimony, that he didn`t know whether Mueller agreed with his
conclusions or not, when he had already received the letter from Mueller, I
think this is really deeply, deeply serious, where the attorney general is
to mislead the public and is trying to cover-up for the president. He`s
clearly the president`s attorney and not the people`s attorney.
HAYES: Do you think Robert Mueller should be before your committee, the
Judiciary Committee, to give his side of things?
JAYAPAL: Absolutely. We need Robert Mueller to come forward. I mean,
clearly, Robert Mueller felt that he had to speak up when he sent this
letter. But then, for Barr to even after that go on television, before
releasing the redacted report – and we don`t know, Chris, whether the
Mueller proposed are actually the same redactions that we got. I have a
feeling that Mueller intended for that report to not be as redacted, but
let`s see. We need to see the full report. We need to hear from Mueller.
But for Barr to go on television at that news conference and then try to
still say that there was no evidence, that Robert Mueller had essentially
exonerated the president, that`s not – I read the whole 400-page report,
that is not at all what is in the report. So, really, it is a huge
disservice to the American public.
HAYES: I have you here. You`re on the Judiciary Committee. You were also
involved today in
what was a fascinating moment on Capitol Hill, the first hearing ever on
Medicare for all, if I`m not mistaken. And it was – you had Republicans
and Democrats there. What was the purpose of that hearing that happened
Am I right that it`s the first time that there`s been a hearing on it?
JAYAPAL: It`s the first time, Chris. It was historic. I mean, this is a
wonderful thing to talk about. It was an historic moment where for the
first time, ever, in the history of congress, we had a
real debate and discussion on a Medicare – on my Medicare for all bill.
And it has 109 co-sponsors and the witnesses were phenomenal. And I just
want to give a the witnesses were phenomenal. And I just want to give a
particular shout-out to Ady Barkan, who you know has been a brilliant
activist, has been diagnosed with ALS, and made a trip that was seriously
threatening to his own life in order to come and testify and really give
the crucial moral question, put that question at the forefront, which is,
life-and-death issues of health care.
Why can`t we be a country that provides universal health care?
My bill details a plan, and it was a detailed discussion, a really civil
discussion, with excellent
testimony. And Audi`s (ph) testimony was life – was game-changing in
terms of the whole context of the hearing.
HAYES: You noted civil discussion. I was watching some of the highlights,
I was reading some write-ups, it was sort of surprisingly that. I wondered
if because it`s so distant from – it`s not going to in the next year-and-
a-half, right, there`s a Republican Senate, there`s a Republican president,
does that just take the heat off that you guys can have a conversation?
Because it really did seem oddly civil.
JAYAPAL: Well, I think it was a combination of a few things. I think
Chairman McGovern did a fantastic job.
I think the witnesses were – even the Republican witnesses agreed with us
on a lot of the points about how much the health care system cost us today,
and that Medicare for all would actually save us money. And so, I think
that it was a great opportunity to have a dialog, with one or two
exceptions on the Republican side. I think the Republicans agreed with us
and asked questions, some of which we didn`t agree with, but it was a great
HAYES: All right, Congressman Jayapal, thank you so much. The Rachel
Maddow Show will be here in four minutes. If there`s one show on Earth you
should be watching on a night like tonight, it`s Rachel`s.
But to what Congresswoman Jayapal was saying, I cannot let this hour go by
without pausing for a moment to acknowledge that truly powerful moment that
took place today on the topic that we were just talking about. Back during
the heated battle to stop the repeal of Obamacare, you might remember a
group of activists with disabilities from the group called Adapt, putting
their bodies on the line every day to do everything in their power to stop
Republicans passing repeal and gutting Medicaid in ways that would have
been utterly cataclysmic.
They won that fight, quite famously. One of the activists that was there
along with them at the forefront of that battle to save Obamacare was Ady
Barkan. He`s a 35-year-old organizer who was diagnosed with ALS, an
irreversible degenerative neurological disease two-and-a0half years ago,
and that`s just shortly after his wife gave birth to their son.
Now, Audi (ph) has continued to organize and to speak and to travel as his
condition has worsened. And he`s committed every last breath to this
legacy for his young son.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADY BARKEN, HEALTH CARE ACTIVIST: I`m losing my ability to speak, so I`m
asking people to be my voice. I`m losing my ability to walk, so I`m asking
people to march for me, to vote to replace these Republicans in congress
with people who listen to families like ours.
All that matters to me is to make you proud of your old dad, because I`m
already so proud of
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Today, as he faces down his own tragically unjust early death, Ady
Barkan has lost the
ability to speak. He can`t talk anymore. But he has not lost his voice.
Today, in a stunningly powerful moment, he testified before the congress of
the United States
using text-to-voice technology at that hearing, the first ever, on Medicare
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARKAN: The time to pass this law is now. Winning this reform will not be
easy. The monied interests will do everything in their power to stop us.
And yet despite these obstacles and despite the personal challenges that I
face, I sit before you today, a hopeful man, a hopeful husband, and a
hopeful father. I am hopeful because right now, there is a mass movement
of people from all over this country rising up. Nurses, doctors, patients,
caregivers, family members, we are all insisting that there is a better way
to structure our society, a better way to care for one another, a better
way to use our precious time together.
And so my closing message is not for the members of this committee, it is
for the American people, join us in this struggle, be a hero for your
family, your communities, your country. Come give your passion and your
energy and your precious time to this movement. It is a battle worth
a battle worth winning.
For my son, Carl, for your children, and for our children`s children, we
have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to win what we really deserve. No
more half measures, no more health care for some. We can win Medicare for
all. This is our congress. This is our democracy. And this is our future
for the making.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That is Ady Barkan and that is ALL IN for this evening. “THE
RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
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