Mueller testifies Trump misled probe. TRANSCRIPT: 7/24/19, All In w/ Chris Hayes.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being
with us. “ALL IN” with Chris Hayes starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): Did you actually totally exonerate the
ROBERT MUELLER, FORMER SPECIAL COUNSEL: No.
HAYES: The Special Counsel testifies.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Well, your investigation is not a witch-hunt
MUELLER: It is not a witch-hunt.
HAYES: And gives voice to his devastating report for the president.
MUELLER: The President was not exculpated for the acts that he allegedly
HAYES: Tonight, what the nation learned when Robert Mueller faced
SCHIFF: Knowingly accepting foreign assistance during a presidential
campaign is an unethical thing to do.
MUELLER: And a crime.
HAYES: How the Special Counsel views the President`s behavior?
MUELLER: Problematic is an understatement.
HAYES: And what he says about remedies in Congress.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Impeachment, correct?
MUELLER: I`m not going to comment.
HAYES: The stakes for Donald Trump after the White House –
REP. KEN BUCK (R-CO): – could charge the President of the United States
with obstruction of justice after he left office?
HAYES: And what we know about what Democrats will do next.
NADLER: Any other person who acted in this way would have been charged
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Good evening from New York I`m Chris Hayes. After two years of
investigations and three months of negotiation, the American people finally
got to hear from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller today. And in every
conceivable way, Mueller is the opposite of the man who sits in the White
House Donald Trump.
The President who luxuriate in chants of amped-up crowds, who will say
anything at any time no matter how vile or how true or false, and who loves
nothing more than to have the attention of the nation upon him.
The polar opposite of that man was in front of Congress today. Someone who
very clearly almost painfully wants zero attention on him, who didn`t want
to be there and simply wants to have the facts entered into the record.
But the facts have always been damning.
Today we heard a blunt if sometimes halting recitation of those facts.
Facts that have been twisted beyond all recognition by the President`s
henchmen the Department of Justice, by the propagandists on Trump T.V., by
the wannabe Trump T.V. hosts who make up an alarmingly sizable portion of
the United States Congress, and of course most fluent by the President
Here are the basics of what was established. Russia criminally sabotage
the U.S. election in a systematic and sustained fashion to get Donald Trump
elected president. Donald Trump and his campaign knew Russia was seeking
to help him win. Donald Trump in his campaign solicited and encouraged
that help in public and in private. And then they tried to lie about and
cover up the fact that they had done just that.
They lied about and tried to cover up the fact that they had financial ties
that may have compromised them. And Donald Trump used the power of the
presidency to attempt unsuccessfully somewhat remarkably, in the final
analysis, to subvert and disrupt a federal investigation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NADLER: The President has repeatedly claimed that your report found there
was no obstruction and that had completely and totally exonerated him, but
that is not what your report said is it?
MUELLER: Correct. Is not what the report said.
NADLER: And what about total exoneration? Did you actually totally
exonerate the president?
NADLER: Now, in fact, your reports expressly states that it does not
exonerate the president.
MUELLER: It does.
SCHIFF: Your investigation is not a witch-hunt, is it?
MUELLER: It is not a witch hunt.
SCHIFF: Your investigation found evidence that Russia wanted to help Trump
win the election right?
MUELLER: I think generally that would be accurate.
SCHIFF: Russia committed federal crimes in order to help Donald Trump?
MUELLER: When you`re talking about that computer crimes charge in our
SCHIFF: The Trump campaign officials built their strategy, their messaging
strategy around those stolen documents?
MUELLER: Generally that`s true.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That`s the story of what happens. That is a story of what Robert
Mueller said today. It`s what`s in the report. Now, whether it`s high
crimes and misdemeanors, whether it`s federally indictable if the president
were indictable, it`s obviously painfully clear the behavior is a violation
of the president`s oath of office, of his constitutional responsibilities.
The behavior is indefensible, unethical, it is in the words of Robert
Mueller himself unpatriotic.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHIFF: I gather that you believe that knowingly accepting foreign
assistance during a presidential campaign is an unethical thing to do.
MUELLER: And a crime.
SCHIFF: And a crime.
MUELLER: Circumstances, yes.
SCHIFF: And to the degree –
MUELLER: And a crime given certain circumstances.
SCHIFF: And to the degree that it undermines our democracy and our
institutions, we can agree that it`s also unpatriotic.
SCHIFF: And wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Unpatriotic and wrong, true, true. Robert Mueller as you can see
in these clips, if you didn`t get a chance to see the hearing today was
evasive and restless and sometimes he did not appear to have full command
of the report that he issued. But it seemed that above all else, Mueller
wanted to make sure that he did not overstep the constraints and the
boundaries of his role as he understands it.
He is clearly someone who believes there is literally one legal and
constitute remedy for a president who violates the law. One, he set up
multiple times, while he bent over backwards to avoid saying the word
impeachment, Mueller did confirm the president can be prosecuted after he
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUCK: Could you charge the president with a crime after he left office?
BUCK: You believe that he committed – you could charge the President of
the United States with obstruction of justice after he left office?
REP. MIKE QUIGLEY (D-IL): Earlier today and throughout the day, you have
stated the policy that a seated president cannot be indicted, correct?
QUIGLEY: And upon questioning this morning, you were asked could that –
could a president be indicted after their service, correct?
QUIGLEY: And your answer was that they could.
MUELLER: They could.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Mueller also seemed to indicate Trump should be prosecuted but for
the office – but for the office that he holds before he sort of walked
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. TED LIEU (D-CA): I believe a reasonable person looking at these facts
could conclude that all three elements of the crime of obstruction of
justice have been met. And I`d like to ask you the reason again that you
did not indict Donald Trump is because of OLC opinion stating that you
cannot indict a sitting president, correct?
MUELLER: That is correct. I want to add one correction to my testimony
this morning. I want to go back to one thing that was said this morning by
Mr. Lieu who said and I quote, you didn`t charge the president because of
the OLC opinion. That is not the correct way to say it.
As we say in the report and as I said at the opening, we did not reach a
determination as to whether the president committed a crime.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Despite the correction, it`s somewhat hard not to see his first
answer is revealing. We`ve already seen over a thousand former prosecutors
agreed that Trump would have been indicted if he wasn`t the president.
Now, after seven hours of testimony, Robert Mueller has finished speaking.
It`s very unlikely we will hear from him again. The big question is what
I want to turn now to someone uniquely qualified to talk about what
happened today, former Acting Solicitor General and MSNBC Legal Analyst
Neal Katyal who helped write the current special counsel regulations. What
was the most important thing that you heard today?
NEAL KATYAL, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: I think the most important thing
occurred in the first three minutes of each of the two hearings. So in the
first hearing, we saw Representative Nadler say the President says this
report exonerates you, clears you, no collusion, no obstruction, and
Mueller absolutely said hey, that isn`t my report, it doesn`t say anything
like that, put into the lie to what Trump has been claiming but also to
what Attorney General Barr has been saying which is hey, this report
totally exonerates the president and the like. So I think that`s number
Then with respect to the second hearing, Representative Schiff, I thought
it was devastating the line of questioning in the first three minutes to
Mueller. In the first three minutes, Schiff basically said and Mueller
agreed that Russia massively interfered with the presidential election in
2016, that Russia did it to help Trump, that that was their preferred
candidate, that the Trump campaign welcomed all of this assistance, that
the president`s son even said, he loves it, this Russian assistance. And
then that Trump sought to make financial profits off of his Moscow Tower
I mean, altogether the picture that`s painted, whether you want to call it
a high crime and misdemeanor, whatever you label you want to call it, a
felony, it is someone who is utterly not befitting the presidency.
HAYES: This question of exoneration I found kind of maddening, right. So
there`s this little bit of sort of logical trickery going on here. So it
goes like this. Under DOJ policy, the President cannot be indicted, clause
one. Clause two, under DOJ policy, you can`t say anything derogatory about
a person you haven`t indicted. Therefore, conclusion, you can`t say
anything about the president.
HAYES: This is the line as someone who worked on the special case
regulations, does – is that – is that a reasonable reading of this
KATYAL: No, the whole thing was insane. I mean, first of all, the idea
the Republicans are saying Mueller you`re not allowed to exonerate a
president or anyone else when that`s of course what President Trump himself
been claiming totally exhonerated –
HAYES: I`m exonerated, yes, right. Yes.
KATYAL: – makes it you know – but look, I think Barr himself after the
report was turned in said hey actually, Mueller could have reached a
conclusion about – could have exonerated or could have indicted, you know
said this person committed a crime.
And so I was a little surprised the Democrats didn`t push on that. I think
there`s a tremendous missed opportunity. I think in the first hearing we
saw lots of missed opportunities. The second hearing I thought the
Intelligence committee – the Intelligence Committee did a great job.
HAYES: It just seemed to me that we`re sort of – we`re up at this sort of
boundary of the kind of institutional structure of the nation at this
KATYAL: Yes, yes. And I think the fundamental question is do we let the
Democrats continue with seeing this as a political thing. That`s a
mistake. This is a rule of law and this is about the heart and soul of our
When you have a president who like yesterday said Article Two of the
Constitution allows me to do anything and he acts this way cozying up to
the Russians, doing all of this stuff, I mean, this is precisely what the
whole tradition is country rebels against. It`s indeed why we had the
revolution. It`s why my parents came from India, you know, because we
don`t act this way.
And now you got a president who`s doing it. I mean it`s Nixon, perhaps
it`s even worse than Nixon. And I think the Democrats make a real mistake
when sitting there thinking, oh, polling for this or that. This is
fundamentally about is this person fit for office and if he`s not there`s
one remedy Mueller didn`t want to use the word. It was that word that
shall not be named but it is the word that is what our founders gave us.
HAYES: All right, Neal Katyal, thank you so much for your time tonight.
KATYAL: Thank you.
HAYES: I want to turn out to Elizabeth Holtzman, former congresswoman who
serve on judiciary committee that voted to impeach Richard Nixon, author of
The Case for Impeaching Trump. So you had – there`s a special counsel
under Nixon, then we had the independent counsel and under Ken Starr which
was part of a whole set of reforms that happened after Nixon, right.
ELIZABETH HOLTZMAN, FORMER CONGRESSWOMAN: In response to Nixon.
HAYES: In response to Nixon. And I –
HOLTZMAN: It`s to make sure there was an independent investigation.
HAYES: Right. And then that sort of overreaches by broad acclamation
across party lines in the personage of Kenneth Starr who you know, goes
after a Bill Clinton for lying about a consensual sexual affair. Where are
we now in the sort of pendulum of constitutional restraint on the president
and the law?
HOLTZMAN: Well, I think prior guests put it properly, we`re really at
crossroads here. We`re at the edge of the Constitution. Remember, the
framers overthrew a monarchy. They did not want a king. They`ve tried
very hard not to have a king.
And so they created the system of checks and balances but the balance they
gave against a president who was a rogue president, abusing the power was a
power of impeachment. And they thought about it hard and they said OK,
we`re giving it to you Congress.
And you know, there was a question that was raised. People say well, we
shouldn`t do impeachment now because we can solve it in the next election.
That was exactly the issue that arose on the floor of the convention in
And people said – because people proposed a power of impeaching, they said
you know, we can`t have a president who`s going to destroy our democracy.
and very estimable delegates got up and said, oh no, oh no, well solve the
problem the next election.
HAYES: Elections solve the problem.
HOLTZMAN: Election will be the solution.
HOLTZMAN: And that argument lost. The Framers said oh no, we can`t trust
our democracy to somebody who is going to destroy it for any period of
HAYES: I mean –
HOLTZMAN: And so we the point of that is politics is not just the way to
look at this. We have to look at – Congress has a responsibility to save
HAYES: We`re constantly toggling between a sort of legal framework and the
sort of more political framework of impeachment. And so what you get is
this crazy standoff between Robert Mueller and Congress in which he`s
saying, I can only walk this far.
I can`t tell you what you want me to tell you which is that he committed a
crime even though reading between the lines of the report that seems like
very clearly the conclusion that he would come to specified. And suddenly
the questions becomes like what kind of Republic do we have in the absence
of that checking power?
HOLTZMAN: And that – in absence of the checking power, we have what Nixon
said which is if the president does, it`s legal per se. And we – that`s
exactly what the framers never said. And you mentioned it before, the
president takes an oath of office to take care that the laws be faithfully
executed, not for him to rewrite the laws, not for him to break the laws,
for him to faithfully execute the laws.
And that`s what this president is not doing. And you don`t need a crime
for impeachment. You don`t.
HAYES: To me there`s also a sort of – sort of element of this larger the
Donald Trump`s behavior and it`s about the power of the executive and how
presidents will act in the future. I mean, Nixon`s downfall and the
subsequent reforms to everything from campaign finance law to the
architecture or the intelligence oversight, created a period that –
created new structures of restraint on the that have been plucked and
pulled away over time and are now made manifest in the person of Donald
Trump and you really got to wonder what do you think about what happens
after him should there be essentially no formal rebuke to his actions.
HOLTZMAN: Wait a minute. What happens if he`s re-elected and there is no
impeachment? What does he do in his next term? I mean how are you going
to be working with a foreign government to get elected which itself could
be impeachable offenses, failure to protect us against the Russian further
interference is also a potential impeachable offense.
All the obstruction of justice that was mentioned – excuse me – in the
Mueller report, it`s also an impeachable offense. If we don`t deal with
that now, who knows what he will do?
HAYES: I mean, the president tonight, the news today, the President vetoed
very quietly a blockage of arms sales to the Saudis that was passed in both
houses of Congress by bipartisan majorities. He vetoed that.
We do not have a full accounting of what business the president has done
with the Saudis. In fact, we know they have spent a lot of businesses at
his hotels. Bribery is literally in the claws of impeachment, of course.
And also a federal judge has issued an injunction for the sort of
unilateral rewriting of the nation`s asylum laws which were flatly and
plainly in contra. I mean, breaking the law and let someone stop you is
the M.O. of the man for 40 years.
HOLTZMAN: Right. And he`s done that in other ways, build a wall.
Congress won`t give me the money, I`m just going to take it. This is not
what the framers had in mind. And if impeachment isn`t used now, what is
the check? There is none. And we are well on our way to a dictatorship,
some kind of tyranny, something that`s not what we ever envision in this
HAYES: It also seems to me like there`s a lot – there`s a long way to go
between those two things and that`s part of the problem, is that the
liminal space of in creating presidential power creates norms and
expectations and traditions that are the opposite of what came after
Watergate which is restraint.
HOLTZMAN: Correct. Well, no president wants restraint.
HOLTZMAN: In fact, no Congress wants restraint. What the framers
understood is that no branch of government wants to be constrained. That`s
why we`ve got three bounces of government fighting each other all the time.
But if you take Congress out of the mix, if you say to the president
listen, whatever you want happens, then the whole structure has fallen
HAYES: Were there people – a final question on this. Were there people
back during Nixon and Watergate when you`re on the House Judiciary
Committee, your Democratic colleagues who said this is too risky, this will
create political backlash, I don`t want to do this?
HOLTZMAN: Well, you know, something – when we first started, nobody
understood whether there were risks or not. We didn`t take polls before we
started. We started because of the Saturday night massacre and the
American people said enough is enough. Congress have to do something.
Nobody on the committee understood what impeachment was. Nobody – we
didn`t – there was no headcount. Nobody knew whether we had enough votes
in the House Judiciary Committee much less the Senate. So we started this
HAYES: As an inquiry.
HOLTZMAN: An inquiry, what does impeachment mean, how does it apply to
this president, what is the case against him? Do we have the votes, we
don`t know. What`s the public going to say, we don`t know. What was our
reaction, the only way to impeach him was to do it the right way? So,
Rodino, the chair did it a fair bipartisan way so no one considered a risk.
HAYES: All right, Elizabeth Holtzman, thank you so much for sharing your
time with us.
HOLTZMAN: My pleasure.
HAYES: Coming up, two of the Judiciary – House Judiciary members who just
questioned Robert Mueller, what they learned today, and whether they
successfully made a case for impeachment effectively. That`s ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): You found evidence that the president engaged in
efforts and I quote, to encourage witnesses not to cooperate with the
investigation. Is that right?
MUELLER: That`s correct.
REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): And when someone tries to stop another person
from working with law enforcement and they do it because they`re worried
about what that person will say, it seems clear from what you wrote that
this is a classic definition of witness tampering.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Special Counsel Mueller`s marathon day of testimony in the Hill
started with the House Judiciary Committee this morning where members were
largely focused on volume two of the report and the ten instances that
Mueller lays out of possible obstruction of justice by the president.
I`m joined now by two members of the House Judiciary Committee who
questioned Robert Mueller this morning as you just heard, Congressman Jamie
Raskin of Maryland and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal of Washington.
Congresswoman, how did you view your goal today going into this?
JAYAPAL: I think the goal, Chris, really was for us to lay out all the
different – the most compelling pieces of obstruction of justice, to get
Mueller to actually testify to them, that is what was in his report, and in
many ways re-educate the public about what was actually in the report.
And I think what came out was overwhelming evidence of obstruction of
justice committed by the president, acts that if any other person in the
United States did those acts they would be criminally prosecuted.
HAYES: Congressman Raskin, I`m going to give you an argument that I`ve
seen some make both sort of mainstream pundits and conservatives as well at
the White House that this was not you know, a sort of showstopper in terms
of the performance of Mueller himself.
Obviously, he was sort of reticent, at times seemed not to have full
command of the report. And as such, if the whole point was a kind of
illustrative show that it didn`t do what you wanted it to do. What do you
think of that argument?
RASKIN: I disagree with that. You know, maybe it wasn`t a showstopper by
the witness but I think it was an absolutely breakthrough a moment for the
Judiciary Committee and for Congress and for public sentiments which
Abraham Lincoln said was everything.
You know, what we did was we took this abstraction of obstruction and we
made it real in the case of tampering with particular witnesses like
Manafort, like Stone, like you know, the Flynn case. In my case, I was
talking about Michael Cohen, we talked about the president trying to get
people to lie, trying to get people to cover up evidence, trying to fire
We really brought it down to the level of factual detail. And I think we
did break through the sound barrier and we dispelled the fog of propaganda
that Attorney General Barr and Donald Trump had been laying down over the
country ever since the report came out.
HAYES: If there`s evidence of obstruction of justice that congresswoman as
you just said, which I think both of you agree with and I think many of the
– in the caucus and certainly on the committee, congresswoman, isn`t that
on its face, just that, meets the facial threshold for opening and
impeachment inquiry if there is sufficient evidence the President himself
JAYAPAL: Absolutely. And I think Jamie and I both came out along with
several of our other colleagues on judiciary months ago for an impeachment
inquiry. I will tell you that what we are doing right now in many ways is
the heart of what we need to continue to do.
And what we – what we hope to be able to do soon is be able to use all the
tools in our toolbox because there is still a little bit of information
that we need like the grand jury information in order to continue.
And remember that the Mueller report is not the only thing that constitutes
impeachable crimes, high crimes and misdemeanors. There are other things
including financial issues, Emoluments Clause that need to be a part of our
investigation and that`s what I think we hope we can get to. But this was
obviously a ground-breaking moment for us with the Mueller report.
RASKIN: Can I add one thing to that, Chris.
HAYES: Yes, please.
RASKIN: Just – it`s not only grounds for launching the impeachment
inquiry. the reality is that obstruction of justice was the heart of the
Nixon impeachment and it was the heart of the Bill Clinton impeachment.
Congress has established through history and through its own precedents
that obstruction of justice is right up there with bribery and treason as a
betrayal of the basic oath of office and that`s what Trump did.
His duty is to take care that the laws are faithfully executed but he tried
to sabotage the laws, he tried to tamper with witnesses, and he tried to
obstruct justice. And we saw it in case after case that we laid out in
painstaking detail today.
JAYAPAL: And, Chris, you might have noticed that after almost every one of
our testimonies, we ended with if anybody else had committed these same
crimes, they would be prosecuted, nobody should be above the law and I
think that was a theme throughout the hearing.
HAYES: So two questions. One I guess is – I`m hearing you and I`m
nodding along. I mean, you know, this seems generally persuasive to me.
But it just seems like OK, so then I watched Democratic leadership come out
and say we`re going to go to court, we`re going to keep trying to track
down this information.
I guess for you Congressman Raskin, and then I`ll come to you
Congresswoman, you know there`s a really remarkable moment in the second
hearing when Robert Mueller basically said look, we wanted the president to
sit down for an interview but we had to weigh the fact that it would drag
things out verse the probative value of actually getting an interview.
They`re trying to do the same thing with the subpoenas and everything with
you here. Like don`t you run the same risk that Donald Trump has spent 40
years tying things up in the courts and he`s going to try to do that again?
RASKIN: Absolutely. And contempt of Congress is itself an impeachable
offense. That was also in the Nixon case. But look there`s a material
that we`re going to go and fight for that we have every right as the
Article One branch to get. The grand jury material under 6E, we`re going
to be fighting for.
We want to see that Tom McGahn comes in to testify. He`s a critical
witness since he was told to go out and sack the special counsel. We`ve
got a right to all these people`s testimony. We`ve got a right to all the
documents we`re asking for. If they don`t give it that in itself escalates
the constitutional confrontation with Congress.
HAYES: So then do you understand your role, Congresswoman, as being part
of a project now that is engaged in building evidence sufficient enough for
JAYAPAL: Well, what I would say to you, Chris, is I think that today was
ground-breaking and imminently I think you will see a number of actions
that will reflect the seriousness of where we are and the inevitability of
the path that we are on.
And I think you know, probably it feels like a long time to wait but
certainly, it feels that way for us too, but we do have to follow a couple
of steps. But I would just say imminently I think we`ll see some steps
that will reflect the seriousness of the path that we`re on.
HAYES: The inevitability. That`s a very interesting word in a bunch of
different directions. Congressman Jamie Raskin, Congresswoman Pramila
Jayapal, thank you both for joining me.
JAYAPAL: Thank you, Chris.
RASKIN: Thanks for having us.
HAYES: Coming up, the stark warning from Robert Mueller about Russian
interference in 2016 and 2020, and the serious threat it poses to American
democracy. That`s next.
HAYES: Today Democrats chose to question Mueller about his report in
reverse order, addressing obstruction first and then in the afternoon
session Russian interference and collusion.
And it was on this subject, which is the core purpose of the investigation,
particularly when it began, that Mueller seemed considerably more
comfortable and forthcoming. There are many illuminating momentums about
the nature of what Russia did and the Trump campaign`s relationship to it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MUELLER: Over the course of my career, I have seen a number of challenges
to our democracy. The Russian government`s efforts to interfere in our
election is among the most serious. It was not a hoax. The indictments we
returned against the Russians, two different ones, were substantial and
this in their scope, using the scope word again. And I think one of the –
we have underplayed, to a certain extent, that aspect of our investigation
that has, and would have, long-term damage to the United States that we
need to move quickly to address.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This just came out. WikiLeaks. I love WikiLeaks.
Donald Trump, October 10th, 2016.
This WikiLeaks stuff is unbelievable. It tells you the inner heart. You
got to read it. Donald Trump, October 12th, 2016.
This WikiLeaks is like a treasure trove. Donald Trump, October 31st, 2016.
Boy, I love reading those WikiLeaks. Donald Trump, November 4th, 2016.
Do any of those quotes disturb you, Mr. Director?
MUELLER: I`m not certain I would say…
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do you react to them?
MUELLER: Well, it`s problematic is an understatement in terms of whether
to display, in terms of giving some – I don`t know, some hope or some
boost to what is and should be illegal activity.
REP. ERIC SWALWELL, (D) CALIFORNIA: So National Security Adviser Flynn
lied about discussions with Russian ambassador related to sanctions, is
MUELLER: That`s correct.
SWALWELL: Michael Cohen lied to this committee about Trump Tower Moscow,
is that correct?
SWALWELL: The president`s campaign chairman Paul Manafort lied about
meetings that he had with someone with ties to Russian intelligence. Is
MUELLER: That`s true.
REP. WILL HURD, (R) TEXAS: In your investigation, did you think that this
was a single
attempt by the Russians to get involved in our election, or did you find
evidence that suggests they`ll try to do this again?
MUELLER: Oh, it wasn`t a single attempt, they`re doing it as we sit here.
And they expect to do it during the next campaign.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF, (D) CALIFORNIA: From your testimony today, I gather that
you believe that knowingly accepting foreign assistance during a
presidential campaign is an unethical thing to do?
MUELLER: And a crime.
SCHIFF: And a crime.
We should hold our elected officials to a standard higher than mere
avoidance of criminality, shouldn`t we?
SCHIFF: The need to act in an ethical manner is not just a moral one, but
when people act unethically, it also exposes them to compromise,
particularly in dealing with foreign powers. That true?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The long-running issue the president refusal to submit to an
interview was addressed, along with the president`s insufficient written
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. SEAN PATRICK MALONEY, (D) NEW YORK: And in fact you did go with
written questions after about nine months, sir, right? And the president
responded to those, and you have some hard language for what you thought of
those responses. What did you think of the president`s written responses,
MUELLER: Certainly not as useful as the interview would be.
MALONEY: In fact, you pointed out, and by my count, there were more than
30 times when the president said he didn`t recall, he didn`t remember, no
independent recollection, no current recollection. And I take it by your
answer that it wasn`t as helpful, that`s why you used words like
“incomplete, imprecise, inadequate, insufficient.” Is that a fair summary
of what you thought of those written answers?
MUELLER: That is a fair summary.
MALONEY: By the way, the president didn`t ever claim the fifth amendment,
MUELLER: I`m not going to talk to that.
MALONEY: Well, from what I can tell, sir, at one point it was vital, and
then at another point it wasn`t vital. And my question to you is why did
it stop being vital? And I can only think of three explanations. One is
that somebody told you couldn`t do it, but nobody told you couldn`t
subpoena the president, is that right?
MUELLER: No, we understood we could subpoena the president.
MALONEY: Rosenstein didn`t tell you? Whitaker didn`t tell you. Barr
didn`t tell you you couldn`t..
MUELLER: We could serve a subpoena.
MALONEY: So, the only other explanation – well, there are two others, I
guess. One, that you just flinched. That you had the opportunity to do it
and you didn`t do it. But sir, you don`t strike me as the kind of guy
MUELLER: I`d hope not.
MALONEY: Well, then the third explanation – I hope not too, sir. And the
third explanation I can think of is that you didn`t think you needed it.
And in fact what caught my eye is page 13 on volume two where you said in
fact you had a substantial body of evidence, and you cite a bunch of cases
there, don`t you, about how you often have to prove intent to obstruct
justice without an in-person interview. That`s the kind of nature of it.
And you use terms like a substantial body of evidence, significant evidence
of the president`s intent.
So my question, sir, is did you have sufficient evidence of the president`s
intent to obstruct justice? And is that why you didn`t do the interview?
MUELLER: Well, there is a balance. In other words, how much evidence you
have to satisfy the last element against how much time you are willing to
spend in the courts litigating a – the interview with the president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Well, Mueller also suggested that the counterintelligence
investigation into Trump and his campaign officials might be ongoing. Two
Democrats from today`s second hearing join me next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. VAL DEMINGS, (D) FLORIDA: There were many questions that you asked
the president that he simply didn`t answer. Isn`t that correct?
DEMINGS: And there were many answers that contradicted other evidence you
had gathered during the investigation. Isn`t that correct, Director
REP. RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI, (D) ILLINOIS: Individuals can be subject to
blackmail if they lie about their interactions with foreign countries,
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Part II of Robert Mueller`s testimony took place in front of the
House Intelligence Committee this afternoon and focused on the second
volume of Robert Mueller`s report with the former special counsel – I`m
sorry, the first volume – details Russian interference in the 2016
I`m joined now by two members of the House Intelligence Committee who you
just saw questioning Robert Mueller earlier today, Congresswoman Val
Demings of Florida and Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois.
Congresswoman Demings, you focused on the president`s truthfulness, or
frankness, in the answers he gave. Did you feel like you learned something
new about the process by which Robert Mueller came to the decision to
ultimately not to seek a live interview?
DEMINGS: Well, yeah, I mean, you know that the special counsel tried
almost a year to get the president to sit down. He refused to do that.
And so when we asked today about the president`s written responses, the
special counsel Mueller was really loud and clear that the president`s
answers contradicted much of the other evidence in the case and also that
his answers were not always truthful.
And so I do believe that that was something additional that we did here
with the special counsel`s day today.
HAYES: I think you`re right about that. I think that was one sort of
piece of genuine new news today, his characterization under your
The other thing that I thought was new news came out of, congressman, your
questioning about the ongoing FBI investigation as regards
counterintelligence. I want to play that exchange and get your response to
it. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KRISHNAMOORTHI: Since i t was outside the purview of your investigation,
your report did not address how Flynn`s false statements could pose a
national security risk because the Russians knew the falsity of those
MUELLER: I cannot get into that mainly because there are many elements of
the FBI that are looking at different aspects of that issue.
(END IVDEO CLIP)
HAYES: What is your understanding of what that means?
KRISHNAMOORTHI: Well, it was a little bit of a surprise when you said
that. I wasn`t expecting it. It sounds like there may be people – he
said many elements within the FBI – who actually looking to see whether
there are counterintelligence risks associated with Flynn`s lying and that
raises the question who else are they basically assessing from a
It goes to the issue that even though they may not have committed crimes in
their interactions between themselves and Russians, the relationships
between those entities may have been embarrassing, but they may have liked
about them such that they will be subject to manipulation or compromise by
the Russians to the detriment of our national security.
HAYES: Congresswoman, did anything your hear today change your assessment
of the exposure that we have to something like this happening against in
DEMINGS: Well, I also think Director Mueller was quite clear on the
Russians have never really gone away. And why would we be surprised by
that? Because the president has made no serious attempt to hold them
accountable. But he said they haven`t really gone away and that they are
preparing for 2020 and beyond.
And so it`s really incumbent upon us to look at, continue to investigate,
Russia`s interference in our election, harden our election systems, and
hold this administration, and other people who played in that process,
HAYES: Do you think that they have been held accountable, congressman?
KRISHNAMOORTHI: I think yes and no. I think with regard to these
counterintelligence risks, let`s just take Jared Kushner, for example. I
believe that he`s a walking, talking counterintelligence risk, given his
numerous unreported contacts with the Russians and others, given a
tremendous leverage that they have over him due to his debts and so forth.
And yet in his particular case, not only has he not been held accountable,
but he`s actually been given top secret security clearance. That makes no
HAYES: As far as I can tell, he`s running American foreign policy.
KRISHNAMOORTHI: Oh, among other things. I think he has domestic and
foreign policy, possibly.
So, this is an individual with a wide portfolio.
HAYES: I mean, – I guess I – on a scale of 1 to 10, congresswoman, like
how worried are you, right? I mean, we all watched this unfold in real-
time in front of our faces. We watched the president say Russia, if you`re
listening. We watched the DNC hack be rolled out to be maximally damaging
to the Democratic Party and the first DNC. We watched the Podesta
WikiLeaks emails rolled out to be maximally helpful to the day the Access
Hollywood tape. We all saw it in person. And what is your level of
concern that we will literally see the same play run again?
DEMINGS: I think that certainly Russia will try to run the same play
But, Chris, I`m really thankful when I look at local communities all around
the nation, certainly in Florida, who have taken substantial steps to
harden their own targets to replace antiquated voting equipment, to make
sure that they are protecting voter roles and to make sure that vendors
play a major part in protecting our voting systems.
So I feel hopeful that we`re going to be okay, because of the steps that I
know that local supervisor of election offices have taken.
HAYES: So I guess the other questions in terms of accountability,
congressman, is where does this go? Obviously, there`s something – I
think north of 90 to 100 members of the Democratic House caucus who have
said they favor the opening of an impeachment inquiry. Do you view your
work today as part of assembling the facts necessary or entering them into
the record to provide sufficient predicate for the opening of an
KRISHNAMOORTHI: Possibly. I think that we have to go back and see what
are the nuggets that came out of the Judiciary as well as the Intel
Committee hearings. We have to continue with the
investigation this information about the counterintelligence side of the
investigation is brand-new. And I believe that exposing the wrongdoing and
issues there is vital not only from the standpoint of making sure people
are held accountable, but also protecting our American democracy at this
point, because these folks are currently in government, and they pose a
risk to our national security now.
HAYES: All right, Congresswoman Val Demings and Congressman Raja
Krishnamoorthi, both of the Intelligence Committee, thank you both very
DEMINGS: Thank you.
KRISHNAMOORTHI: Thank you.
HAYES: Democrats spent seven hours taking Robert Mueller through his
report and making the case against President Trump, so what is congress
going to do about the lawless president? That`s next.
HAYES: Democrats tried very hard to get Robert Mueller to say one word in
particular today, a word he bent over backward to avoid. Even when
Democrats drilled into the question, Mueller went out of his way not to say
that one specific word.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. VERONICA ESCOBAR, (D) TEXAS: At your May 29, 2019 press conference,
you explained that, quote, the opinion says that the constitution requires
a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a
sitting president of wrongdoing, end quote. That process, other than the
criminal justice system, for accusing a president of wrongdoing, is that
MUELLER: I`m not going to comment on that.
ESCOBAR: In your report, you also wrote that you did not want to, quote,
constitutional processes for addressing presidential misconduct, end quote.
For the non-lawyers in the room, what did you mean by, quote, “potentially
preempt constitutional processes?”
MUELLER: I`m not going to try to explain that.
ESCOBAR: That actually is coming from page one of volume two in the
footnote is the reference to this. What are those constitutional
MUELLER: I think I heard you mention at least one.
ESCOBAR: Impeachment, correct?
MUELLER: I`m not going to comment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I mean, come on!
After making the case against Trump for nearly seven hours today,
Democratic leadership came out and said they were still waiting to decide
on possible impeachment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D) CALIFORNIA: My position has always been whatever
decision we made in that regard would have to be done with our strongest
possible hand and we still have some outstanding matters in the courts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: To talk through what happened today and what didn`t, I`m joined by
Josh Marshall, publisher and editor of Talking Points memo, Jason Johnson,
the political editor for The Root and MSNBC political analyst, and Michelle
Goldberg and op-ed writer for The New York Times and also an MSNBC
Michelle, let me start with you. You and I have talked a lot about the way
that leadership has navigated this. What was your impression of the
hearings today and the sort of political consequences there of?
MICHELLE GOLDBERG, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, I think the gap between the
seriousness that leadership, with which leadership talks about Donald
Trump`s various crimes both with
regard to the Mueller investigation and other sorts of crimes, violations
of the emoluments clause, et cetera, the gap between how they talk about
that and what they are willing to do about it has been unsustainable for
quite some time and I think that press conference just underlined how
it`s become, right.
You had Congressman Elijah Cummings speaking quite passionately and
eloquently about the challenge to our democracy and how we`re not going to
let it go on our watch. And people are going to be studying what happens
300 years from now. If something is that grave and of that historic
import, then how do you justify saying, but we are not going to start
impeachment proceedings because we don`t feel like our hand is strong
HAYES: Jason, what do you think?
JASON JOHNSON, EDITOR, THE ROOT: I watched this hearing, Chris, and it was
like the worst episode of Wheel of Fortune ever. Like every Democrat was
like we`ve got an I and an M and a P and they`re asking Mueller to say the
clue. He`s not going to say impeachment.
And so I don`t know if the expectation is that he was suddenly going to say
it. He was going to have some big closer moment. The leadership I have
always felt, has been standing in the way of what a lot of the public –
the public is now 40, 45 percent. It`s higher than it was before the Nixon
impeachment hearings. I don`t know what the apprehension seems to be from
Speaker Pelosi. In her press conference didn`t make it any clearer.
HAYES: Well, John Harwood just published an interesting piece I just saw,
which I think basically spells out what it is. And this has been sort of
what I have heard from folks that I`ve talked to, which is basically like
Dem leadership aide explaining why Pelosi resists impeachment says too many
of the 31 members representing districts Trump won can`t support it. There
will never be 218 in the House, the aide tell me.
Like they just view this as a raw political calculation. They`ve got 31
members. They`ve got 40 front-line districts they want to protect. They
can`t make them walk the plank on the vote, because they think it will cost
them, or diminish their chances in the election. And basically that`s the
JOSH MARSHALL, EDITOR AND PUBLISHER, TALKING POINTS MEMO: Well, I think
there`s an additional calculation, and that is in Pelosi`s mind, he is not
going to be removed anyway, because of the senate so why do we make these
people walk this plank.
HAYES: Right. That`s true. That`s well said.
MARSHALL: So, I think it`s the combination of those two. And, you know, I
was talking to, you know, former long-time senior Democratic staffer a week
or so ago, and he made the point, like their thinking is, you know, six
months from now the presidential cycle takes over. Everything is
presidential. And kind of like that`s coming, so we are just going to kind
of wait and get to that.
That`s not a great answer, but that I think is the answer.
HAYES: This, to me, is the problem. Michelle, this goes back to what you
And again, I think that strategy, a raw political calculation is utterly
defensible, and someone can make an argument for it. And Nancy Pelosi
knows the votes in her caucus certainly better than I do. But the problem
is the kind of what feels essentially fundamentally disingenuous about it,
which is the – it feels like there`s a clock running out that`s happening.
And it`s unclear whether like that`s transparently what`s happening. They
really are just running out the clock because they think, you know,
restraint is the better part of valor, or whether they`re actually like
going to go through the court system. And that, to me, is what`s – part
of what`s unsustainable – Michelle.
GOLDBERG: Right, and they do – I mean, they obviously think that like
part of this is going to go through the court system. But now, but Nadler
himself has said that opening an impeachment inquiry strengthens their
HAYES: Yes, said it on my show.
GOLDBERG: When they went through the court system. So the idea that you
kind of need to go through the court system first and then open an inquiry,
I don`t think – it`s not valid, it just seems like another excuse.
And the same thing that Josh just said about, you know, putting this off
because in six months nobody is going to care, obviously I don`t want to
second-guess Nancy Pelosi`s skill at defending her
membership, but it also seems to me if you are going to make people take a
hard vote, make them do it now, because in six months it probably is true
that we`ll have moved on to other sort of outrage and people are not going
to be voting on the basis of a vote that their congress person took right
JOHNSON: Yes, I completely agree. It doesn`t make any sense. If you say
it`s not going to matter, then what`s the problem with doing the vote now.
And I think Pelosi has a perfect example here. You had Democrats take a
huge hit in 2010 for voting for the health care, you know, the Affordable
Care Act, and it was a huge problem. Does anyone actually think the 31
Democrats are going to lose their seat for voting for impeachment? I doubt
it. Impeachment is not as unpopular as the Affordable Care Act was nine
So, given the constitutional needs, I don`t understand this calculation.
MARSHALL: I`ll tell you this, though, here is the thing – this is – I
think this is what they
think, and it`s not a bad point, they took a hit. They lost the majority
over the Affordable Care Act.
HAYES: But they got the Affordable Care Act.
MARSHALL: …they got health care. They still have health care even with
all we have been through in the last 10 years. So, I do – again, I`m not
defending that logic.
HAYES: No, but that is a distinction. And I think to Jason, to your
point, I mean, having covered that fight extremely closely, Pelosi was the
one with basically the knife in people`s back, pushing them off the plank.
MARSHALL: Yeah, Barney Frank…
HAYES: Knowing that she was, because she cared that much about getting
that thing passed.
MARSHALL: People like Barney Frank were like, OK, I guess it`s not going
to happen after, you know, the election in Massachusetts.
And the thing is, you win majorities to do big things. And with the
Affordable Care Act, it happened. It`s not perfect, but millions got care.
I think she sees this differently.
HAYES: And I think it`s also frustrating to govern from the House, which
John Boehner and Paul Ryan learned, John Boehner particularly.
But, Michelle, there is also, then, the question of like, OK, so the
Democratic Party and all those folks that you covered in columns in the run
up to 2018 who were motivated in sort of the volunteer class, let`s say.
People that were going and knocking on doors, which was like I need to be
rid of Donald Trump.
There is a real question about what are you doing with that energy?
GOLDBERG: Right, and not just I need to be rid of Donald Trump, but I need
to kind of get up and save our democracy, because clearly nobody else is
coming to save us, right?
And so what happens, you know, middle age women who are sort of used to
going into the breech in their communities when nobody else is there did
that for our community writ-large.
And so I think it`s less ideological, because although you certainly see
people on the left, you know, members of the Squad pushing impeachment, I
think there is also just a lot of outraged women in middle America who are
not particularly ideological, but are so – you know, abhor – let`s not
forget what we just saw today. We just saw today, if you take away all of
the talk about the theatrics and people`s performances, another
reconfirmation that Donald Trump invited Russia`s help, that Russia
committed felonies to help Donald Trump win, that Donald Trump accepted
that help, and that Donald Trump still possibly stands to profit from his
relationship with Russia.
That is laid out. And that kind of gets lost when we are having these
process conversations. We are still in an emergency, and nobody on our
side, maybe except for the Squad, really seems to be rising to the
JOHNSON: Yeah, that`s where the rage and disappointment comes from. You
can`t, on the one hand, say this guy is a threat to our democracy, but I
don`t feel like doing that about it for a political calculation. That is
the kind of swamp-like behavior that people didn`t like from the
Republicans or the Democrats.
HAYES: And there`s always the possibility that you send the message that
what he did was OK, which is clearly what Trump wants to turn it into.
MARSHALL: I think the thing that I, you know, I`m more focused on is they
really are pushing these legal battles forward.
HAYES: They are, yes.
MARSHALL: But they`re pushing them forward not quite to the emergency
level. And to me, the fact, what is almost a bigger deal right now is they
have said we are not going to do any oversight. And that`s not just
acceptable. They can`t accept that.
HAYES: Josh Marshall, Jason Johnson, Michelle Goldberg, thanks for sharing
That is ALL IN for this evening. “THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” starts right
now. Good evening, Rachel.
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prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
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