Mueller submits report to DOJ. TRANSCRIPT: 3/22/19, The Rachel Maddow Show.

Amy Klobuchar, Josh Gerstein, Devlin Barrett, Adam Schiff

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: On this big day for making time to come on by

here.  That does it for us here at ALL IN this evening. 


“THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” starting with the one and only Rachel Maddow

begins now. 


Good evening, Rachel. 


RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST:  Good evening, Chris.  How is your Friday going? 


HAYES:  It`s good.  Not quite as eventful as yours has been but it`s been





MADDOW:  Thank you very much.  Giving it away, as always.  Thank you, my



Thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. 


I will tell you what Chris is referring to is that a couple of hours ago,

maybe even less than that, I was standing knee-deep in a trout stream in



But now, it`s Mueller time and so I`m in a studio in the great state of

Tennessee.  The trout are basically just as safe as they were when I was

flailing away at them ineffectually this afternoon.  But now it is –

listen, it`s – this is history.  This is a reason to stop fishing and go

to work. 


Our job tonight as a country, sort of or at least what everybody in the

country is going to be doing tonight is trying to figure out what it means

that the report of special counsel Robert Mueller has finally been

submitted.  We`ve heard it said so many times that it was imminent, that it

was done, maybe it was already done and we didn`t know about it.  Finally,

it`s happened. 


In terms of what that means and what Mueller found, we know only the

smallest little bits.  This is the start of something apparently, not the

end of something.  I mean, the logistics of today we know something about. 

At 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time, the staff of the House Judiciary Committee got a

call from the Justice Department that somebody would be bringing a letter

from the attorney general.  I`m sure they all immediately guessed what that

letter was. 


A Justice Department staffer or messenger of some kind, all we know she was

wearing a North Face jacket, she brought, in fact, two letters to the

committee in two separate manila envelopes, that was just before 5:00

Eastern Time.  Our assumption is there were two separate envelopes because

that was one letter for the Democratic chairman of the committee and one

for the Republican ranking member of the committee. 


The chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Democratic Congressman Jerry

Nadler, was at his New York office.  He was not in D.C.  So the committee

staff quickly made a digital copy and got the letter to him that way. 


We know those details thanks to a Judiciary Committee spokesperson laying

out that process.  We know that is how the House Judiciary Committee was

notified this evening that special counsel Robert Mueller had completed his

investigation.  We are assuming that a similar process or at least a

process with the same effect also unfolded at the Senate Judiciary

Committee around the same time today but we don`t have the same kind of

readout about that process. 


So we know the logistics of how we got the notification that it ended and

obviously, right now we have mostly just a ton of questions as to what

Mueller`s report says, how complete it is, who gets to see it, who gets to

decide who gets to see it and when. 


But after two years of almost entirely just questions about what Mueller is

doing, I mean, some answers will start to emerge now.  We get actually

quite a bit from the letter that Attorney General Bill Barr did send to the

chairs of those committees, to Democratic Congressman Jerry Nadler in the

House and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham in the Senate, those are the

two judiciary chairs.  The letter was also addressed to the ranking

members, to Doug Collins, the top Republican on the committee in the House,

and Dianne Feinstein, who`s the top Democrat on the committee in the



So, it`s addressed to those four people.  The letter is just one page.  And

it does actually give us kind of a lot.  Here`s how it starts. 


Quote: Dear Chairman Graham, Chairman Nadler, Ranking Member Feinstein and

Ranking Member Collins, I write to notify you pursuant to the special

counsel regulation that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has concluded

his investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and related



Under the special counsel regulations, the attorney general is required to

notify these specific people, the regulations spell out that the attorney

general has to notify the chair and ranking members of the Judiciary

Committees in the House and the Senate, and those are the people that need

to be notified and need to be notified of three things. 


Number one, the appointment of the special counsel.  That happened back in

2017.  The removal of the special counsel, that never happened.  And number

three, the conclusion of a special counsel`s investigation. 


So, this is Bill Barr telling Congress as he is required to do, OK, here is

the third thing.  The investigation is complete.  That`s the part of this

special counsel experience that happened on my watch.  I am notifying you. 


He then says quote: In addition to this notification, the special counsel

regulations also require that I provide you with, quote, a description and

explanation of instances if any in which the attorney general or acting

attorney general concluded that a proposed action by a special counsel was

so inappropriate or unwarranted under established departmental practices

that it should not be pursued.  There were no such instances during the

special counsel`s investigation.


So this alone is really important.  This is a big deal.  This has been the

subject of lots and lots of speculation and lots of fighting, honestly. 

That this is the attorney general informing Congress.  The attorney general

has to inform Congress if there is anything the special counsel wanted to

do that the attorney general blocked him from doing.


There had been worries and speculation that the confirmation of Bill Barr

as attorney general, he was nominated and confirmed in the middle of the

special counsel`s investigation, he was nominated and confirmed after he

had volunteered a big long sharply worded memorandum to the Trump White

House that criticized the special counsel because of the circumstances

under which Bill Barr was brought on, right?  His predecessor Jeff Sessions

was fired as attorney general.  The president said openly because Sessions

recused himself from overseeing the Mueller investigation. 


Well, here comes Bill Barr who has volunteered to the White House when he

was in private practice – hey, I got tons of, you know, I got tons of

criticism of the special counsel and I think he`s doing tons of things

wrong then Bill Barr gets nominated and confirmed as A.G.  So there have

been all these worries and speculation that the reason Bill Barr got that

job, the reason he was seen by president Trump as a suitable replacement

for Jeff Sessions and therefore what might be expected of Bill Barr in that

job is that once he got confirmed as attorney general, he`d stick his foot

out and trip the special counsel, right?  He`d use his power as attorney

general to block Mueller from something that Mueller was otherwise going to

do, something that Mueller was otherwise going to pursue, Barr was going to

block him. 


Well, at least as far as this letter goes, from the Attorney General Bill

Barr tonight, Barr says he never excised that power.  He`s notifying

Congress formally.  There was never anything the special counsel sought to

do that Bill Barr stopped Mueller from doing. 


And that`s fascinating.  Of course, everybody would like to hear that from

Robert Mueller as well as from Bill Barr.  But at this point it`s only Bill

Barr who is speaking on Mueller`s behalf.  Robert Mueller is still at this

point publicly silent, as he has been from the very beginning, although

we`ll have more on that in a moment. 


Here is more from the letter, though. 


The special counsel has submitted to me today a, quote, confidential report

explaining the prosecution or declination decisions he has reached, as

required by the regulations.


Quote: I am reviewing the report and anticipate that I may be in a position

to advise you of the special counsel`s principal conclusions as soon as

this weekend.


So, this is the attorney general telling us he has Mueller`s report and he

is not handing the report over to Congress, right?  This letter from Bill

Barr is not a cover letter with Mueller`s findings attached.  But he says

he plans to give them I guess bullet points, something this weekend.  He

said he will advise them, he will advise the chairs and the ranking members

of the Judiciary Committees of the special counsel`s principal conclusions. 


I mean, I should qualify it.  I am presuming that when he says he can

advise them as soon as this weekend of the special counsel`s principal

conclusions, I am presuming that means he`s planning on advising

specifically the people to whom this letter is addressed, just the top

Democrats and top Republicans on the judiciary committees in the House and

the Senate. 


Now, once they are advised by Bill Barr as soon as this weekend of the

principal conclusions of Robert Mueller`s report, will those chairs and

ranking members of the Judiciary Committees then tell the public what Bill

Barr has told them? 


And what counts as Mueller`s principal conclusions anyway?  How much detail

is that?  How much is the attorney general going to tell those two House

members and those two senators as soon as this weekend?  We do not know. 

Not yet. 


But then here is the last substantive part of the letter and I think it`s

probably the most important part of the letter while also being the most

frustratingly vague.  Again, this is Bill Barr`s letter. 


Separately, I intend to consult with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein

and Special Counsel Robert Mueller to determine what other information from

the report can be released to Congress and the public consistent with the

law including the special counsel regulations and the department`s long-

standing practices and policies.


Quote: I remain committed to as much transparency as possible and will keep

you informed to the status of my review.  Sincerely, William P. Barr,

attorney general.


So a couple of important things here.  Number one, obviously, Barr is

saying explicitly I did not block Robert Mueller from doing anything that

he wanted to do.  There wasn`t anything he was trying to pursue where I

said no as attorney general I`m stepping in and blocking you from doing

that.  Interesting.  Again, I would like to know more about that, but

that`s the blunt assertion tonight from Attorney General William Barr. 


Also, Barr is going to maybe as soon as this weekend brief Mueller`s

principal conclusions to the leadership of the judiciary committees.  We

don`t know what principal conclusions are.  We don`t know for sure that

it`s going to be this weekend and we don`t know how constrained the

leadership of those committees will be from sharing with other people

including us the public. 


But three, separate and apart from that, Barr is thinking about what beyond

those principal conclusions can go to the Congress and to the public.  And

you get the sense from the way he wrote this that he thinks of that as one

consideration, not two, right?  You get the sense the way he wrote this

that he thinks anything that goes to Congress will almost instantly end up

given to the public because members of Congress, at least one member of

Congress will decide to leak it or release it properly.


But he`s thinking about that now.  He`s thinking about what Congress can

see.  He`s thinking about what the public can see.  He says he`s consulting

on that matter with Mueller himself and with Rod Rosenstein, who is still

there as deputy attorney general. 


Remember, Rod Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller in the first place and

Rod Rosenstein has reportedly been Mueller`s principal supervisor/overseer

for the entire 22-month duration of the special counsel`s tenure. 


Now, the decision about releasing stuff to the Congress and releasing stuff

to the public, Barr says that will be consistent with the law, consistent

with the regulations governing the special counsel and consistent with

long-standing practices and policies of the Justice Department.  What does

that mean?  We`ve never had a special counsel – I mean, we`ve had special

prosecutors in the past, right? 


We`ve got other kinds of people convene to do this type of work but under

the special counsel regulation, we`ve never had this type of report at this

type of stage.  We don`t know what long-standing practices and policies of

the Justice Department are when it comes to sharing with Congress and the

public the findings of a special counsel.  There isn`t anything long-

standing because they never really dealt with this before. 


But when Barr says he`ll decide what can go to the rest of Congress and

what can go to the public consistent with the law, consistent with the

special counsel regulations and consistent with Justice Department policies

and practices, that is the part that is going to determine whether we

figure this thing out as a country.  Whether we the country are ever fully

told what Robert Mueller really figured out about Russia messing with our

election to try to elect Donald Trump president and whether Trump and his

campaign were in on that, right? 


There has never before been a president – I mean, there`s been a high –

not since the 1700s has there been a high-ranking government official who

was investigated for potentially being in the thrall of a foreign power. 

It certainly never happened to a president.  Are we going to find out what

Robert Mueller found out when he investigated that core issue? 


Well, it depends on what William Barr thinks about long-standing practices

and policies in the Justice Department and how those can be applied to this

question.  But I think it`s also worth noting that Bill Barr says there is

some other information in the Mueller report.  Remember all that the

special counsel regulations require is that Mueller provide the attorney

general with a confidential report explaining the prosecution or

declination decisions reached by the special counsel. 


So in theory, that could have meant that Mueller`s final report would be as

bare bones as I prosecuted this list of people, here are all the

indictments that I`ve brought, because there was enough evidence to

prosecute them.  I did not prosecute anybody else because there was not

enough evidence to prosecute anybody else.  I mean, he could have just done

that, you know.  One sentence and a list of all the indictments he filed. 

Boom.  Done. 


A lot of people thought that is what Mueller would do in terms of filing

his final report.  I mean, if he had done that, the bullet points briefing

that Bill Barr says he`ll provide to Congress as soon as this weekend, you

know, that would more or less be the whole report.  He said he prosecuted

these people.  That`s it. 


Apparently, Mueller didn`t do something that bones, that bare bones.  The

report is apparently more comprehensive than just that sort of de minimis

list.  And now the attorney general is saying he`s reviewing it.  He needs

to go through it to figure out what – first of all, to figure out how and

when he can release the principal conclusions and then beyond that, what

further can be released and what cannot. 


So, I mean, just the fact that information exists to be decided upon, that

is something we now know about the Mueller report tonight that we didn`t

know before he turned it in.  Attorney General Barr saying in his letter

that he`s committed to as much transparency as possible.  Again, that is a

subjective thing but he says he`ll try. 


On that point for what it`s worth, I`ll note that Bill Barr has actually

already made his first decision on transparency with the Mueller report

with this letter tonight.  The special counsel regulations require that the

attorney general make this notification, this notification to the judiciary

committee, to the chairs and ranking members of the judiciary committees. 

The attorney general was not required to release this letter publicly. 

That`s a choice left up to him by the regulations.


But he writes in this letter to the Judiciary Committee chairs and ranking

members tonight, quote: The special counsel regulations provide that the

attorney general may determine public release of the notification would be

in the public interest I have so determined.  He says, I will disclose this

letter to the public after delivering it to you.  So that was Bill Barr`s

first judgment call on whether to make something public, he decided yes, he

would make it public. 


But it`s early days yet, early hours even.  I should tell you that multiple

news outlets, including NBC News reporting tonight that according to senior

Justice Department officials there will be no further Mueller indictments. 

We don`t know if there are any sealed indictments in other jurisdictions.  

There is no indication there are. 


There`s also no indication one way or the other about whether other Justice

Department prosecutors for instance U.S. attorney`s offices like the

Southern District of New York or the Eastern District of Virginia or

anybody else, we don`t know if any U.S. attorney`s offices or prosecutors

in justice might bring further indictments based on material the special

counsel`s office passed on to them.  But NBC reports that no new

indictments will come from Mueller`s team itself, which makes sense that

we`ve started to see the Mueller team essentially start to disband and

those prosecutors take other gigs elsewhere in the government or even

outside of government. 


I`ll also tell you that although this notification means the special

counsel investigation, the special counsel`s office is closing its part of

the investigation, according to the Justice Department, Robert Mueller for

now remains the special counsel.  He`s not gone.  He and a small staff are

remaining in place to close up the office and handle any dangling threads

and they have been there almost two years.  Somebody has to tidy that place

up, right? 


One watchdog group tonight has announced already that they have already

filed Freedom of Information Act requests to obtain the full version of

Mueller`s report.  The chairman of the Intelligence Committee in the House,

Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff says tonight – and this is an

interesting curveball tonight.  He`s saying separate and apart from any

findings from the special counsel that pertain to the criminal law, he`s

saying if there are counterintelligence findings from Mueller`s

investigation, counterintelligence findings about, say, foreign

intelligence operations targeting or compromising U.S. persons and national

politics in government, those counterintelligence findings by law according

to Adam Schiff must be briefed to the Intelligence Committees in the House

even if Barr doesn`t want to release the rest of the stuff to the rest of

the Congress. 


Here is the statement tonight from Adam Schiff.  Quote: Today, the attorney

general informed the Congress and the public that the special counsel has

concluded the investigation and submitted a report of findings.  That

report needs to be released to the public.


Quote: Pursuant to the special counsel regulation, Mueller`s report is

likely to focus on his prosecutorial decisions and may not shed necessarily

light on counterintelligence findings of profound significance to our

committee and the nation, whether the president or others around him have

been compromised by a foreign power.  The Mueller investigation like our

probe began as a counterintelligence inquiry into whether individuals

associated with the Trump campaign were compromised by a hostile foreign

nation.  By law, the evidence Mueller has uncovered on all

counterintelligence matters must now be shared with the House Intelligence

Committee whether it resulted in indictment or not.


This is him saying, Barr, you do not have that much leeway when it comes to

deciding what is disclosed to Congress.  Any intelligence matters must be

disclosed to us.  Quote: We will insist that the Justice Department meet

its statutory obligations and be transparent with our committee and the

public.  Anything less would be negligent in the service of our national



So that`s the Intelligence Committee chairman saying, I hear you, Mr.

Attorney General when you say you`re deciding what information in the

report can be released to Congress, but any counterintelligence

investigation into the report must by law be released to the Intelligence

Committee, which is again not at all the way Attorney General William Barr

is talking about he`ll do with the information, but the Intelligence

Committee chairman may have a point there in terms of them having the law

on their side for being able to access this information sort of despite

Attorney General William Barr`s discretion. 


And now tonight there is this statement from Chairman Jerry Nadler, the

Democratic chairman of Judiciary in the House. 





important thing to say now is that the Mueller report which was handed to

the attorney general must be made public in its entirety.  The American

people deserve to know what was going on and the evidence against people or

lack of evidence against people, and we are going to insist that the

attorney general make public the entire report and give to the relevant

committees the underlying evidence. 


The precedents are there to do this: 880,000 pages of evidence, of internal

evidence from the FBI was given by the Justice Department just last year to

the Judiciary Committee when the Judiciary Committee was run by

Republicans.  They set the precedent.  If the Justice Department doesn`t

release the whole report or keeps part secret, we will certainly subpoena

the parts of the report and we will reserve the right to call Mueller or to

testify before the committee or subpoena him as several other committees

might do but we`ll only do that if necessary obviously. 


But the important thing is that the entire report be made public and the

evidence behind it be given to the relevant committees so the American

people can be informed. 




MADDOW:  Tonight is a landmark moment.  I would still be fishing otherwise. 

But we still have no idea as to what Robert Mueller has found. 


You heard the chairman of the Judiciary Committee there talking about the

need to disclose this information and plans to get it.  We don`t know what

Robert Mueller found out in this investigation and honestly, we don`t know

how his investigation proceeded and whether it was impeded by any sort of

pressure or interference by anyone at any time. 


Now, the fight to find out all of that stuff starts in earnest and this is

truly uncharted territory.  We never had a special counsel reporting to

Congress in the way that special – reporting to the attorney general who`s

then reporting to Congress in the way that has just started tonight with

this report from Robert Mueller.  We don`t have president as a country to

see how this is going to go and a long way toward the way this is going to

be figured out is going to be based on the integrity of the leaders

involved here, the public servants involved here, and on the clamor and

pressure from the public that this stuff should become known. 


Joining us now is Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, she`s in the running

to be the Democratic nominee for president of the United States.  Senator

Klobuchar also serves on the Judiciary Committee. 


Senator, I know this is a very busy time for you.  Thank you for taking the

break and getting the studio so you can be with us tonight.  Really

appreciate it. 



to know if you got a trout before you found out the report had come in? 


MADDOW:  No – well, you know, I`ve learned two things in life.  Never ever

ask a woman if she`s pregnant and never ever – 




MADDOW:  Never ever ask a person who has just completed a day of fishing if

they caught a fish. 


KLOBUCHAR:  OK.  Never again. 




KLOBUCHAR:  Anyway.  I`m glad you`re back. 


MADDOW:  In other words, the answer is no.  Thank you very much. 


But let me ask you. 


KLOBUCHAR:  You`re welcome. 


MADDOW:  Obviously, you got the same information that we got, but this

letter tonight is directed to the chair and ranking member of a committee

on which you serve.  Can you tell us what you are expecting to happen in

term of next steps here? 


KLOBUCHAR:  This report must be released.  This isn`t just about politics. 

It`s about our democracy, Rachel. 


And while he has offered to brief the leaders of the committee, I think

even the leaders of the committees would tell you what the most important

thing is that we get this report out there publicly.  Ninety percent of

Americans say they want to see this report, 420 members of the House of

Representatives voted to make it public. 


And when you look at those special counsel rules as you have pointed out,

they say that it should be released if it`s in the public interest.  When

you look at the scope of the investigation, which from the beginning was

very specific, I mean, it said any links and/or coordination between

Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of

President Donald Trump.  So that is a broad mission and to me, the public

as we head into the 2020 elections, they have a right to know what`s



So, briefings, fine.  I would prefer to have it after it`s public so we can

ask follow-up questions.  Certainly, want to see the underlying data, and

we must be able to see this report.  It`s not – can`t just be behind

closed door marked up thing that no one gets to see.  It`s got to be time

for a full disclosure and not mincing words and not hiding pages. 


MADDOW:  If Attorney General William Barr decides that he doesn`t want to

do that, if he decides in his judgment for whatever reason or however he

reads the law, the regulations or whatever he thinks is relevant Justice

Department precedent for some unprecedented thing like this, if he decides,

no, I`m going to brief the principal conclusions which is who got indicted,

and beyond that, I think none of this should be shared with Congress and

you just have to trust us that`s this – that this is fine, if he decides

that people calling for it to be released doesn`t persuade him, are there

any – are there any levers of power that could be used here in order to

pry this thing into the public if Barr doesn`t want it to be? 


KLOBUCHAR:  Sure and you`ve heard this from Speaker Pelosi.  You`ve heard

it from Adam Schiff.  The House – I don`t think you`re going to see it

happening with the Republican-led Senate – but the House has an ability to

try to subpoena this information.  If he doesn`t release the underlying

documents to try to get those documents with the argument that this was an

invasion of our country`s democracy and then, of course, unrelated to this

special counsel, you have ongoing prosecutions in the Southern and Eastern

Districts of New York, as well as the New York attorney general`s office. 


MADDOW:  Senator Klobuchar, I know you have been obviously still carrying

out the duties of being a senator in Minnesota but also you`ve been out

campaigning all around the country talking to voters.  I wonder if people

are interested in the Mueller investigation, if people are – have been

anxious about the – this impending report.  What you`re hearing from

people as you`re campaigning in terms of how important this is – Mueller`s

findings but also the treatment of Mueller`s information going forward? 


KLOBUCHAR:  I don`t think I`ve been anywhere, whether it`s Chicago or

California or Iowa, South Carolina, Georgia where people haven`t asked

about this, especially in states where you`ve seen suppression of the vote

or you`ve seen votes that haven`t been counted.  They see this as really

part of our democracy that we need to know what happened here.  How else

are we going to prepare ourselves? 


Now, I will say, you know, here in New Hampshire, today, Senators Shaheen

and Hassan and Congressman Pappas, they led an effort to say – and this is

something you should follow up on – the list of projects that could be

affected by the president wanting to pay for his wall came out, and one of

them was a shipyard in Portsmouth.  So, I`m going to be talking about that

tomorrow when I`m in Rye. 


But you can just see that people are still focused on these bread and

butter issues that affect their jobs and affect livelihood, but people can

step back and say, none of this is going to work if we don`t have a working

democracy.  And that is really why I think we keep getting asked about it

and people are going to be just – I cannot imagine what will happen if he

doesn`t release this report and, of course, there is bad signs based on

his19-page memo that he did before he had his hearing to the White House in

which he showed this broad view of executive privilege. 


So, all of these things make me concerned.  I`m glad he released the letter

today and we hope there is more to come because the American people have a

right to know. 


MADDOW:  Senator Amy Klobuchar of the great state of Minnesota, 2020

Democratic presidential contender, member of the Judiciary Committee –

again, thanks for jumping off the trail and taking time to join us tonight,

Senator.  It`s great to see you. 


KLOBUCHAR:  It`s great and I`m looking forward to hearing the next fish





MADDOW:  Hopefully, it will have a happier ending.  All right.  Thank you,





MADDOW:  All right.  Bringing into the conversation now, Josh Gerstein,

senior legal affairs contributor at, who`s helped us through

every step of this process from the beginning. 


Josh, thanks very much for your time tonight.  It`s nice to have you here.



Rachel, great to be back with you. 


MADDOW:  So, Attorney General Barr says he`s going to – he may be able to

advise lawmakers on the judiciary committees of Mueller`s principal

conclusions as soon as this weekend.  He says he`s reviewing the material

that Mueller has given him and maybe he`ll be able to do that. 


I know nobody – as far as I can tell, nobody has been able to figure out

exactly what volume of material Mueller has given to Barr, how much of an

investment of time and energy it might take to actually review it.  Do you

have sense or any educated guesses as to what Barr is looking at and what

might count as a principal conclusion? 


GERSTEIN:  Well, Rachel, I came over directly from the Justice Department a

few minutes ago and what we were told over there is it`s a comprehensive



I`m taking from that that it`s pretty substantial.  I imagine it extends to

hundreds of pages.  There were a lot of individuals involved and a lot of

allegations involved and I do think that Barr will be sending this initial

report in a written form to Capitol Hill, maybe as soon as tomorrow



As you say, it may just be bullet points but one of the things I`ll be

looking for there is it`s easy to say we`re going to send up the key

findings from Mueller`s investigation on the matters that were assigned to

him but as you know, Rachel, we don`t actually know what was assigned to

Robert Mueller.  We know Trump-Russia broadly and an issue related to Paul

Manafort.  But remember from a few months ago, there`s this blacked-out

portion of the memo that designated the scope of Mueller`s investigation.


And the public really has never seen that blacked-out information about

what Mueller was assigned, at least at one point to investigate.  Nor do we

know definitively all the matters that were cast off to various U.S.

attorneys` offices.  So, it`s difficult to say at this point who is or

isn`t out of the woods in terms of the matters that have come across

Mueller`s desk over the past two years. 


MADDOW:  And that`s a really good point, Josh.  In terms of that sort of

scoping memo and what Mueller was actually tasked to work on, would you

anticipate that that ultimately is something that would become, that would

become publicly available or at least briefed to Congress in someway,

presumably any ongoing criminal investigation that was referred to in those

large redactions in that scoping memo.  Eventually those criminal cases get

finished.  Eventually, those things get done.  If it`s an intelligence

matter and not a criminal matter does Adam Schiff on the intelligence

committee tonight have a when he says regardless of criminal cases,

regardless of prosecution decisions, we on the Intelligence Committee get

to know everything that has intelligence consequences and that`s a

requirement by law. 


GERSTEIN:  I think he does and there is precedent, there`s a D.C. Circuit

precedent from the Watergate era that applies to that House Judiciary

Committee, more than the Intelligence Committee, that says if they send a

subpoena or even if they simply ask for the information as part of their

investigation, they should be able to get it.  Even grand jury information,

intelligence information.  There are certain channels that that can flow



So, I do think members of Congress will seen that eventually.  Whether the

public sees every bit of that I`m not totally sure if there were bit

players here that maybe came across Mueller`s scope at one point.  They

might have a privacy argument.  But if you`re a senior White House

official, certainly as we saw in Hillary Clinton`s case with her aides,

those privacy concerns were deemed to not be sufficient to withhold that

kind of information from Congress, and I assume that the Justice Department

would have to make the same judgments. 


I do think that Barr looks at that 420-0 vote on releasing the report that

we got from the House of Representatives the other day, and he may not be

the most political guy around but he does know when a freight train is

coming and when to step out of the way, and I suspect he`s going to lean in

are pretty hard in terms of getting information up to the Hill. 


MADDOW:  Josh Gerstein, senior legal affairs contributor at –

Josh, thank you for your time this evening.  It`s an exciting night and

still super frustrating because we don`t know.  But thanks for helping us

understand the extent of the reporting thus far.  Much appreciated. 


GERSTEIN:  Sure, Rachel.  Take care. 


MADDOW:  All right.  Joining us now is Devlin Barrett.  He`s a national

security reporter for “The Washington Post.” 


Mr. Barrett, very nice to have you back with us again tonight, again on

what is a very exciting evening. 


I first want to ask just – we`ve been on the air for about half an hour

talking about what we think we know.  Let me ask if anything we`ve

discussed thus far or I`ve discussed thus far doesn`t comport with how you

understand things are going right now, if we`ve gotten anything wrong or if

you understand things differently, or if you can add anything in terms of

what we know about what`s been handed up. 



what I would add is that when you talk about the principal conclusions,

look, we know what the big questions here are, the biggest questions are,

right?  Did any Trump associates conspire with the Kremlin to interfere

with the election?  Did the president – is there enough evidence to show

or prove that the president attempted to obstruct justice? 


I cannot imagine that Mueller has drafted principal conclusions that don`t

answer those questions.  So I think those principal conclusions, even if

they are bullet points, I think will be very substantive and very

meaningful to public understanding of what`s happening. 


The other thing I would just point out is so much of what Barr is doing to

me seems to be informed by how the Clinton e-mail case went down and how

people in the Justice Department are trying not to repeat some of what they

reviewed as the bad practices that happened in that case.  And so, I think

a lot of what they`re trying to do is bulletproof themselves against

similar accusations this time around. 


MADDOW:  In terms of obviously the big implication there and everybody who

was rooting for Hillary Clinton to win the election has this still on the

tip of their tongue, obviously the big problem there was the derogatory

information about somebody who was not being charged that was spread by FBI

Director James Comey at the time.  Are there other implications besides

that, besides that key question of whether or not you say bad things about

people who aren`t charged that is also guiding what they are doing now? 


BARRETT:  I think the other dynamic and Josh got to this a little bit, is

that if you have a government official who has come up in the course of

this investigation, who has been looked at in some fashion in the course of

the investigation, I think we`re more likely to see more answers from

Mueller and Barr on those sorts of individuals than we will on private

citizens who end up not being charged with anything.  So I think what I`m

geared towards and thinking about is to the degree that Mueller looked at

people who work for the government, we will probably know more about what

Mueller found or didn`t find regarding those people.  Then we will end up

knowing at least in the first take about folks who sort of moved in Trump`s

world let`s say but never went into the government. 


MADDOW:  Devlin, one last question for you.  I was struck by the references

to Robert Mueller in the letter from A.G. Barr tonight.  Specifically when

he said I am now reviewing this material and considering what can be

disclosed to Congress and the public and I am consulting with Deputy

Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on that and with Robert Mueller on that.


It`s interesting structurally that the special counsel himself would be

consulted about what of his findings can be given to Congress and to the

public.  I wonder if that was expected as far as you`re concerned or if

that struck you the way it struck me? 


BARRETT:  I think it is striking but I think it`s striking because

throughout this process, Mueller and his reputation have been sort of the

800-pound gorilla inside the Justice Department.  No one has – one of the

things we learned in this letter, for example, is no one objected to any

major investigative move that Mueller wanted to make.  And I think Barr has

as best we can tell so far continued the tradition of as much as possible,

deferring to Mueller`s judgment on a lot of things. 


And I think the letter is another example of that because at the end of the

day, everyone knows that Mueller could be called up to the Hill at some

point and he`s going to be asked did anyone stand in your way, did anyone

mess with you?  And I think a lot of people understand that if he ever

answers yes to that question, there could be hell to pay. 


MADDOW:  Devlin Barrett, “Washington Post” national security reporter. 

Excellent.  Thanks for being with us tonight.  Appreciate it. 


BARRETT:  Thanks for having me. 


MADDOW:  We`ll have much more to come including a question that has been –

yes, I know there`s all this reporting all the time no matter who the

president is.  The president left the south – by the south lawn and he has

arrived at such and such dinner.  The president is on – we could all just

like minute by minute step by step reporting about where the president is. 


I never pay attention to any of that.  I`m like why do I need know where

the president is having lunch?  Today, I`ve been obsessed with where Donald

Trump has been all day.  The president for the record went to Mar-a-Lago

today but don`t you want to know what the regulations say, what past

policies and practice say, what maybe the law even says and certainly

what`s right and wrong about whether or not the White House can see the

Mueller report at this point? 


I mean, Bob Barr – excuse me, Bill Barr has it at the Justice Department. 

He`s reviewing it to decide what he`s going to pass on to members of

Congress.  What if the White House calls him and says hey, we`d like to see

the whole thing?  What happens then? 


Hold that thought.  We`ll be right back. 




MADDOW:  Tonight, we got a joint statement from the six Democratic

committee chairs in the House who have equities in this fight, from

Intelligence, Judiciary, Oversight, Finance, Foreign Affairs and Ways and

Means.  Quote: The Justice Department must now release to the public the

entire report submitted by special counsel Mueller to the attorney general,

to ensure Congress can general to ensure Congress can discharge its

constitutional responsibilities, we also expect the underlying evidence

uncovered during the course of the special counsel`s investigation will be

turned over to the relevant committees of Congress upon request.  The

underlying evidence. 


To be clear, if the special counsel has reason to believe that the

president has engaged in criminal or other serious misconduct, then the

Justice Department has an obligation not to conceal such information. 

Because the Justice Department maintains that a sitting president cannot be

indicted to then with hold evidence of wrongdoing from Congress because a

sitting president cannot be charged is to convert Justice Department policy

into the means for a cover-up.  Anything less than full transparency would

raise serious questions about whether the department of justice policy is

being used as a pretext for a cover-up of misconduct.


Strong words from those six Democratic committee chairs tonight, demanding

not only the report itself but underlying evidence to be handed over to the

relevant committees. 


Joining us now is Congressman Adam Schiff, the chairman of the Intelligence

Committee in the House.  Sir, it is great to have you with us tonight. 

Thank you for being here. 


I just have to ask you top line what you make of this development today. 

Attorney General Barr`s letter, what he has explained and what it suggests

to you about the process. 



it is this is the logical conclusion of the special counsel`s work, that

other aspects of the investigation will be farmed out to either main

justice or the southern district or other elements of the Justice

Department.  But he`s finished his core responsibility and now he`s made a

fulsome report, and that report needs to be made public.  The attorney

general committed to making as much of it public as was consistent with law

or policy.  If he`s true to that that means the entire thing. 


And we`re going to insist upon it.  And as the letter that you quoted

points out, of perhaps even greater importance, the Congress is going to

need the underlying evidence because some of that evidence may go to the

compromise of the president or people around him that poses a real threat

to our national security and we need to know it if that`s the case. 


MADDOW:  As the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, you in particular

as chair but you and all of your colleagues on that committee, deal with

very sensitive information all the time and there are protocols for those,

for that committee that there aren`t for any other part of Congress because

of the sensitivity of material that you`re entrusted – with which you`re

entrusted.  Given that, given your training in that matter, given your

experience with that, given how seriously you take that, I wonder if

there`s anything you can imagine might be in this report that really can`t

go broadly to Congress, that can`t go especially to the public, if there`s

anything with intelligence matters – that relates to intelligence matters

that you would be sympathetic to keeping under wraps, either just being

briefed to your committee or just being held within the Justice Department. 


SCHIFF:  There may very well be things in the report that would require

minor redactions that might go to a source of information gathered by an

intel agency.  I wouldn`t be surprised frankly if Bob Mueller left those

specific source references out of the report.  They wouldn`t be necessary

to the report. 


But those redactions could be made.  It`s also fair to point out that the

Justice Department has declassified information when it felt it was in the

public interest, and indeed declassified FISA application material in the

current Mueller investigation even while that investigation was on going. 

So, yes, there could be very small things.


But I think the most important point is this investigation began as a

counterintelligence investigation, not a criminal investigation.  It went

to look at the question of whether people were acting as agents of a

foreign power.  That information needs to be made public and if we need to

do by redacting information that we do that, if we can declassify

information in the interest of transparency and not sacrifice methods, then

we should do that, too. 


MADDOW:  What are you going to do if Barr says no?  I mean, if William Barr

says this report has been submitted to me, I have the one copy of this

report.  I believe that the principal conclusion should be briefed and as

far as I`m concerned, the principle conclusions are these are the people

indicted and other than that, there is no Justice Department responsibility

to pass anything else on.  I don`t care about public clamor, I don`t care

about statements about what I must do from anybody, I`m just going to sit

on all of the rest of it. 


I mean, presumably subpoenaing the report, subpoenaing Mr. Mueller himself,

subpoenaing other people involved in the investigation, ultimately those

subpoenas get enforced through the Justice Department, don`t they?  I mean,

if William Barr decided he would dig in his heels and let none of this out,

it`s hard to figure out what leverage could be used against him. 


SCHIFF:  Well, the Congress has considerable leverage and certainly we

would begin by requesting the voluntary production of information and move

to subpoenas that and move to court enforcement and think about other means

of pressuring the department to be transparent.  But it will be

unsustainable for the Justice Department to take that position. 


In the last Congress, Rachel, the Justice Department provided over 880,000

pages of discovery of evidence to the Republican Congress in the answer to

subpoenas that in an investigation that the Clinton e-mail investigation in

which no one was indicted.  Information about Hillary Clinton, about Bruce

Ohr, about Andy McCabe, about Lisa Page and Peter Strzok. 


So, for the department to maintain they never provide information in cases

that doesn`t result in an indictment is simply not true and 880,000 pages

demonstrate that.  They did so because there was an intense public interest

and need to know and because Congress insisted.  And the case for public

disclosure here with allegations that are far more serious is much more



In the case of Hillary Clinton who did not win the election, she was not in

a position to cover up through the Justice Department any evidence of

wrongdoing.  This president is and this president there is I think all too

much evidence has tried to interfere, has tried to obstruct and for that

reason, it is all the more incumbent on the Justice Department to be even

more transparent.  So, if we go to court, the Justice Department losses. 


But more than that, if they fight this, they damage the department`s

reputation and I think the same way that the Supreme Court when it decided

Bush v. Gore and threw out decades of precedent caused the public to view

the Supreme Court as potentially just another partisan institution.  Should

Barr adopt the double standard here, it would likewise damage the

reputation of the department and ultimately be unsuccessful. 


MADDOW:  Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff – sir, I know this is

an incredibly busy time and a fraught time for you with all these different

things to consider in terms of how you`re moving forward.  Thank you for

taking time to walk us through tonight.  Really appreciate you being here,

sir.  Good luck. 


SCHIFF:  Thank you. 


MADDOW:  I want to bring in to the conversation now, our friend Chuck

Rosenberg.  He`s a former U.S. attorney from the Eastern District of

Virginia.  He`s also former FBI – senior FBI and senior Justice Department



Chuck, thank you so much for being here.  I haven`t had a chance to be in

touch with you about this at all since we got this letter from the attorney

general, since we got this characterization about how the Mueller probe is

coming to an end.  I want to hear your top line reaction to how this has

gone down tonight so far. 


CHUCK ROSENBERG, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY:  Yes, top line reaction, Rachel –

by the way, thanks for having me one.  Fascinating issues, interesting day. 

Top line reaction is that now you can see why the relationship historically

between the White House and the Justice Department has been so carefully

guarded, why we don`t normally communicate the results of investigations to

the White House, particularly where it involves, you know, senior White

House officials. 


There`s this tension of course because Mueller and Rosenstein and Bill

Barr, the attorney general, are all parts of the executive branch and the

president of course is the head of the executive branch.  And so, if the

president demanded the report, it`s entirely plausible that Bill Barr would

give it to him.  Perhaps after telling him what a bad idea it would be to

receive it.


But, Barr ultimately works for the president.  And so, this is a fraught

relationship.  And that is specifically why we`ve been so careful in the

past about passing information between the White House and the Justice



MADDOW:  And, Chuck, in terms of the news that we got from NBC tonight that

the special counsel`s office will not make any more indictments, that I

think is being greeted in some quarters as a sign that there will be no

more indictments, period, that anybody who hasn`t been – who hasn`t been

charged yet in any relation to this investigation or anything that has

derived from it is now home free.  We`ve seen actually at least one person

tonight who had been offered a plea agreement at some point, who – Jerome

Corsi who seemed to potentially have an indictment on its way.  Somebody

saying this shows he`s been vindicated, it`s won, it`s all over. 


I wonder if you think more indictments aren`t coming from the special

counsel`s office necessarily means that other indictments might not be

coming from other U.S. attorneys or main justice. 


ROSENBERG:  I think it`s way too early for Mr. Corsi and others to be

dancing in the end zone, Rachel.  Here`s why.  It seems to me that a lot of

these cases, whether it`s Corsi or Carter Page, right?  Or Randy Credico or

the Trump kids or folks associated with the inaugural committee or the

Trump Organization can be charged and prosecuted elsewhere.  They don`t

have to be charged and prosecuted by Bob Mueller. 


So, Mueller may not be indicting anyone else, but I fully expect other

indictments in what I am broadly calling this case.  Mueller`s remit was

always rather narrow.  I disagree with the congressman in one respect.  He

was asked to look – he Mueller was asked to look at Russian interference

in the 2016 election.  Nobody asked Mueller to rummage through Trump`s



And so we know the Southern District of New York investigation continues. 

We know that the president, for instance, was identified in public court

filings as having directed illegal campaign finance payments.  We know

other people were involved in that. 


We know that Cohen and Flynn and Gates and others continue to cooperate. 

We see large amounts of redacted portions in recent public court filings. 

Stuff is still happening. 


Even if the Mueller team doesn`t indict and prosecute anyone else, I`m

still quite certain, like I said earlier, that others should not be

celebrating just yet. 


MADDOW:  Chuck, let me ask you about something that was raised earlier this

hour.  Josh Gerstein raised a really good point, which is when we`re

talking about what exactly Mueller was asked to look into – I mean, we

know what was in the order creating this special counsel.  We know – or

appointing the special counsel.  We know some of what was in a subsequent

sort of scoping memo that laid out what he was authorized to investigate. 


But big portions of that were redacted.  What would have to transpire, what

would have to be sort of cleared up for us to ever be able to see behind

those redactions?  Now that the special counsel`s investigation is done,

would you expect that we`ll get to know the full terms of exactly what he

was scoped to look into? 


ROSENBERG:  I imagine we will one day.  I`m not sure it`s going to happen

as quickly as we all might like.  There`s a bunch of things that I can

imagine are in the scoping memo or even in the Mueller report, which I

presume will be quite thorough and quite voluminous, that we really can`t

see yet. 


You know, Congressman Schiff spoke about classified information.  Sure, it

can be redacted.  Sure, it can be declassified.  But there`s also good

reasons in some cases not to do that, or at least not to do that yet. 


The other types of information, Rachel, that we may not see, at least not

immediately, are information related to ongoing investigations.  Again, all

of those redactions and public filings speak to the fact that other stuff

is going on and that prosecutors and agents are continuing their work. 


So, you know, we eventually get to see almost everything.  It took 40 years

to see some of Mr. Jaworski`s work in the Watergate investigation.  I don`t

think we`ll have to wait that long.  But again, I don`t think it`s going to

be as quickly as we might like because of, A, the sensitive classified

nature of some of the stuff and, B, the fact that we clearly have ongoing

investigations in other districts including in Manhattan. 


MADDOW:  Chuck Rosenberg, former U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of

Virginia, former senior FBI and Justice Department official.  Chuck, as

always, it`s great to have you here, particularly tonight.  Thanks, Chuck. 

Really appreciate it.


ROSENBERG:  Thank you for having me, Rachel. 


MADDOW:  I want to bring into the conversation now Neal Katyal, who wrote

the Department of Justice regulations defining the office of special

counsel, which is the document that allowed for Mueller to be appointed

last year.  Mr. Katyal served as acting solicitor general in the Obama

administration, and as of tonight, I should tell you he is an MSNBC and NBC

News contributor, which makes us all even more proud than we usually are to

come to work. 


Neal, thank you very much for joining us tonight.  It`s really great to

have you here and congratulations on joining us in this formal way. 




MADDOW:  I want to ask you a couple of technical things and a couple of big

picture things.  Big picture I`d like to ask you first if this is the way

you thought this part of the process would unfold, if William Barr

submitting this letter to Congress tonight, describing the way he`s going

to proceed, is the way it was envisioned when the special counsel`s

regulations were envisioned in the first place. 


KATYAL:  Yes, the answer to that is yes.  I think Barr did exactly the

right thing today in transmitting the document and so on.  And so, so far,

the process has worked. 


I think basically as we anticipated, the one thing I think we didn`t

anticipate is the president if he were the target of a special counsel or

subject of a special counsel investigation being on a relentless attack,

calling it witch hunt a bazillion times and all the things that the

president has done.  But in terms of the process today, it played out as we



MADDOW:  On the issue of the president and the way the president has

pressured this investigation and the way he`s behaved toward it from the

beginning, if the president tonight is on the phone from Mar-a-Lago to

William Barr saying, I want that report right now, I want all of it, send

it over, what are Mr. Barr`s options and what would you expect him to do? 


KATYAL:  Well, I think that under the Constitution, and this is why the

special counsel regulations were written, the president has full power over

prosecution.  Everything. 


So he could demand to see the Mueller report.  He could have demanded to

see the draft of the Mueller report last week.  And maybe the one act of

restraint Donald Trump has had is not doing that yet. 


If he does that now, I think everyone will know what`s up and I think

Barr`s choice will be to resign at that point because if it`s done for

nefarious reasons, if he wants to sneak peek at the report in order to, you

know, try and discredit it in some way, that`s a real problem. 


It also would be a problem if Barr on his own decided not to release the

full Mueller report.  I mean, we`re dealing with, as your guests have shown

tonight, some of the most sensitive questions American democracy faces, you

know, is our leader under an influence of a foreign power, things like

that.  And if the president or the Barr says the Mueller report shouldn`t

be provided to the American people, that is a declaration of war on the

America – on American democracy and I think all of us should fight it,

Republican and Democrat alike have just as much to lose if the public

doesn`t have this information in front of it. 


MADDOW:  Wow.  It was striking in the first paragraph of the attorney

general`s letter tonight that he said explicitly there were no instances in

which the special counsel was blocked from pursuing something because the

attorney general decided that it was too out of line.  That was sort of –

it felt good to see that in terms of the process being respected. 


KATYAL:  Right. 


MADDOW:  It did make me think, though, and maybe I just have a suspicious

mind, that as the special counsel`s wrapping up, as NBC News and other

outlets have reported, that there will be no more special counsel

indictments, there are a lot of criminal cases that are being pursued by

U.S. attorney`s offices.  There may yet be further indictments related to

this investigation from other U.S. attorney`s offices. 


If William Barr wanted to block any of those prosecutions, he wouldn`t have

to say anything about it to Congress or anyone, would he? 


KATYAL:  Right.  Those aren`t governed by the special counsel regulations. 

Mueller had one mandate, which was Russia.  And he closed at least part of

that today.  But you know, you could imagine taking that baton and then

passing it to a bunch of different people because he`s always tried to stay

in his line. 


So, there`s now a new lane about campaign finance.  That`s the southern

district investigation.  There`s stuff about the Trump Organization.  And

that`s handling via state prosecutors.  And there`s all these different

investigations going on in Congress. 


Barr has the ability to stop at least the Southern District investigation. 

But he cannot stop the state and he cannot stop a coordinate branch of

government, Congress.  And so, those investigations will continue and

indeed must continue because Mueller`s mandate was so limited, just

focusing on Russia, not on the broader set of questions. 


MADDOW:  Neal Katyal, former acting solicitor general of the United States

– Neal, it`s an honor to have you in the NBC and MSNBC family and a real

pleasure to have you here tonight.  Thank you. 


KATYAL:  Thank you. 


MADDOW:  All right.  I want to thank everybody for being with us tonight. 

We will see you again the next time something like this happens, which

could be any minute.  I will say, this is a historic – this is a historic

landmark moment in the Mueller investigation.  At this point, what now will

happen is a whole new fight and a whole new waiting game in terms figuring

out what exactly Mueller determined. 


But to have the investigation come to a close, to have there be a document

produced that says what happened now puts us on a totally different front

in terms of what we are as citizens able to know about what we`ve just been

through as a democracy. 


Just a remarkable time to be working in the news business.  It is an honor

to be here. 


All right.  Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”. 


Good evening, Lawrence. 







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