Mueller testifies Trump misled probe. TRANSCRIPT: 7/24/19, All In w/ Chris Hayes.

Elizabeth Holtzman, Jamie Raskin, Pramila Jayapal, Neal Katyal, Josh Marshall, Val Demings, Raja Krishanmoorthi

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST:  And that`s HARDBALL for now.  Thanks for being

with us.  “ALL IN” with Chris Hayes starts right now.






REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY):  Did you actually totally exonerate the





HAYES:  The Special Counsel testifies.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA):  Well, your investigation is not a witch-hunt

isn`t it?


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

with crimes?


HAYES:  When ALL IN starts right now.




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.




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

case, absolutely.


SCHIFF:  The Trump campaign officials built their strategy, their messaging

strategy around those stolen documents?


MUELLER:  Generally that`s true.




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.




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.






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

leaves office.




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?


MUELLER:  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.




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

that back.




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.




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.


KATYAL:  Right.


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.




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.


HAYES:  Right.


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

the country.


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.


HAYES:  Right.


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

thing –


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.






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.




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

the prosecutors.


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

obstructed justice?


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.




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

that right?


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

that correct?


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?


MUELLER:  Absolutely.


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?






HAYES:  The long-running issue the president refusal to submit to an

interview was addressed, along with the president`s insufficient written





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,

Mr. Mueller?


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,

did he?


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

that flinches.


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.




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.






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,







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.




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

statements, right?


MUELLER:  I cannot get into that mainly because there are many elements of

the FBI that are looking at different aspects of that issue.




MUELLER:  Currently.




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

counterintelligence standpoint.


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

impeachment inquiry?


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.




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.




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,

potentially preempt

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.




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.




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.




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

political analyst.


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

enough now?


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




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

call untenable.


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



HAYES:  Jason?


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

years ago.


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



HAYES:  Jason.


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

your time.


That is ALL IN for this evening.  “THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” starts right

now.  Good evening, Rachel.






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