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Mueller indicts 13 Russians. TRANSCRIPT: 2/16/2018. The 11th Hour with Brian Williams

Guests: Robert Anderson, Malcolm Nance, Miriam Rocah, Jeremy Bash, Matt Apuzzo, Matthew Miller

Show: 11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS Date: February 16, 2018 Guest: Robert Anderson, Malcolm Nance, Miriam Rocah, Jeremy Bash, Matt Apuzzo, Matthew Miller

BRIAN WILLIAMS, THE 11TH HOUR, HOST: The breaking news tonight, the stunning evidence of how far Russia reached into our lives, our media, and our Presidential election. Robert Mueller`s bombshell indictments alleging the Russians arrived in this country to turn Americans against one another, psychological and information warfare that didn`t stop with the election.

Plus, from the President tonight no talk of retaliation, instead repeating there was no collusion. "The 11th Hour" on a Friday night begins now.

Well, good evening once again from our NBC News headquarters here in New York, day 393 of the Trump administration. This day was different because this is what we learned today. We learned that Russia interfered with our election. We learned how it helped the Trump campaign and how it hurt the Clinton campaign.

Russia took advantage of our society, our first amendment and our social media, and our deep divisions. This was an asymmetrical act of information and psychological warfare and it never stopped. They came into our country physically and they reached in electronically. They changed what we read, what we saw, and what we heard, and in some cases they changed our minds.

And with a few hundred people and a few million dollars they proved it was an outstandingly successful attack by a hostile nation on our own soil. And while we are used to our Presidents protecting us, today the President talked about how this affected him. It should be stressed tonight, no one was vindicated today, no one was cleared today. Far from a hoax, the Russia case has so far resulted in criminal charges against 18 people and guilty pleas from three.

Today, we saw an extraordinary and surprise move from Special Counsel Robert Mueller who filed a federal indictment charging 13 Russians and three Russian companies with running a vast criminal enterprise. Here`s the man who supervises the Mueller`s investigation, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein who briefed Donald Trump about the indictments speaking earlier today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROD ROSENTEIN, DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: The defendants allegedly conducted what they called information warfare against the United States, with the stated goal of spreading distrust toward the candidates and the political system in general. According to the allegations in the indictment, 12 of the individual defendants worked at various times for a company called Internet Research Agency, LLC, a Russian campaign based in St. Petersburg.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS: Rod Rosenstein gave us a new phrase for the lexicon in this investigation, information warfare. According to the 37-page indictment the Russians began amassing weapons against us as early as 2014 and continued through the 2016 election and beyond.

The allegations is at the Russians defendants "posing as U.S. persons and creating false U.S. personas, operated social media pages and groups using stolen identities of real U.S. persons. It alleges they traveled to the U.S. under false pretenses and procured and used computer infrastructure, stage political rallies inside the United States and communicated with unwitting individuals associated with the Trump campaign."

There`s no allegation in this indictment in today`s announcement that any Americans were aware of or had any knowledge of this. As we mentioned, the President has endeavored over the first year of his administration to cast great doubt on the investigation and to deny there was any Russian effort to interfere with our election.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russian is a made up story. It`s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS: This was the President`s reaction to today`s indictments, and we, quote, Russia started their anti-U.S. campaign in 2014, long before I announced that I would run for President. The results of the election were not impacted. The Trump campaign did nothing wrong, no collusion."

Robert Mueller`s team also made another announcement today, a California man, Richard Pinedo, pleaded guilty this month to selling bank account and other stolen identify information to the Russians defendants accused of interfering in the election. Pinedo is now cooperating with Mueller`s investigation.

Also the Daily Beast reporting that Mueller has interviewed Mark Corallo, former spokesman for the Trump legal team. Corallo resigned shortly after it was reported that Donald Trump Jr. hosted that meeting in Trump Tower in June 2016 with assorted Russians.

And just this week during Senate testimony, after confirming the United States is under active attack, the director of National Intelligence predicted what we`re likely to see. In other words, how they are likely to come at us in the future and despite what we`re not hearing from our leadership, the following should be taken as a warning to all U.S. citizens.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAN COATS, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: We expect Russia to continue using propaganda, social media, false flag personas, sympathetic spokesmen and other means to influence to try to build on its wide range of operations and exacerbate social and political fissures in the United States. There should be no doubt that Russia perceived that its past efforts as successful and views the 2018 U.S. midterm elections as a potential target for Russian influence operations.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS: Again, that is your director of National Intelligence leads us a lot to get over the next hour. We begin with our lead off panel on a Friday night, Julia Ainsley, NBC News national security and justice reporter. She was at the stunning news conference at the Justice Department earlier today. Jeremy Bash, former chief of staff at the CIA and Pentagon. He`s also our national security analyst. And Robert Anderson, who spent over 20 years at the FBI, served as assistant director of Counterintelligence under then FBI Director Robert Mueller. Good evening and welcome to you all.

Jeremy, this one is coming to you. How consequential will today end up being if and when we are ever at a point to look back on the Mueller investigation.

JEREMY BASH, FORMER CIA CHIEF OF STAFF: This was an enormously important and significant development today, Brian. Because a meticulous detail over the course of a 37-page indictment, which I urge everybody to read, the special counsel laid out the details behind last year`s intelligence community assessment that Russia meddled in the election to favor Donald Trump. And what Bob Mueller laid out today is that it went way beyond bots, it way beyond a few cyber personas on Twitter or Facebook.

There were literally hundreds of individuals, spending millions of dollars, including people traveling to the United States, organizing rallies across many purple states in Florida, in Pennsylvania. I was struck by this rally they set up miners, presumably coal miners in Pennsylvania for Donald Trump. It shows the extent the breath and depth of the Russian effort to elect Donald Trump.

WILLIAMS: Bob, I`ve read this thing twice all the way through, and I keep finding nuggets buried in it. The insult injury factor is unbelievable. They stole American identities and posing as our fellow Americans turned Americans against one another. What`s the biggest takeaway to you reading this 37-page document?

ROBERT ANDERSON, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF COUNTERINTELLIGENCE: I think the biggest takeaway, Brian, is this is a very sophisticated long- term Russian intelligence operation. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind this is linked all the way back up to the top of the Russian government. And this is something that it was methodically laid out over time.

They started way, way in advance of the Presidential election. They brought in teams of people, not only in to the United States but supporting them technically and with translation and with data and target areas that they`re going to look at. This is a sophisticated operation. There`s no doubt it`s linked back to also the FSB or SVR that helped lay this out in the United States.

WILLIAMS: Julia, the Mueller operation is famously locked uptight. This caught all of us by surprise earlier today. You were there at what will turn out to be this consequential event. We learned lessons big and small. Meaning, this is big news but it sure looks like it is a small portion of what we`re eventually going to hear.

JULIA AINSLEY, NBC NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY AND JUSTICE REPORTER: That`s true, Brian. And a lot of people wanted to get to those bigger questions that weren`t answered during the press conference today, but the deputy attorney general really just focus on what was in the indictment and didn`t take many questions.

But as we know, there have been many prongs of this investigation and many prongs in the ways that Russia might have interfered. Hacking was one of those, the way they hacked into the DNC e-mails, the way they leaked some of the e-mails with Hillary Clinton`s staff. The influence operation is what we`re seeing today. And then, of course, the outreach that they made to members of the campaign, such as in the Trump Tower meeting in June of 2016. This is only one prong of that.

So, while the President is excited and jubilant to be saying there`s no collusion here, this does not rule that out. One thing it does spell out, though, is how incredibly complex this effort was. How they tried to recruit over 100 Americans and they kept a list of the people they were trying to work on.

This was so complex. It`s amazing we were able to get all this detail now, but it also makes us wonder how we can possibly prevent something like this going into the 2018 midterms.

WILLIAMS: That`s true. And that`s the depressing takeaway from this at the end of the day. Let`s listen to something that Jeremy Bash`s former boss had to say today and then, Jeremy, we`ll talk to you on the other side.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEON PANETTA, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: If the President continues to deny or refuse to condemn the Russians, in effect then the President is inviting the Russians to do exactly the same thing they did in 2016.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS: And, Jeremy, this brings us to the question of Donald Trump. He has never quite embraced the kind of fatherly custodial role of President as protector of the American people, protector of us, we the people who it now turns out naively go to cast our vote thinking we`re taking part in some sort of a sacred process.

BASH: I think that`s right, Brian. This assault by Russia on American democracy, a national security crisis of epic proportions really requires a strong response from a commander-in-chief. And I think Secretary Pinedo is exactly right, the failure to condemn it, the failure to recognize it is in itself an effort to welcome it.

And I really go back to the fact that the President has not had his senior team had engage in a single meeting to have a comprehensive strategy about how we we`re going to prevent this in the future. And don`t forget the very first thing the President did after he was elected during the transition is he authorized Michael Flynn, his then national security advisor, to be -- to engage in a secret deal with the Russians, to say that we will not retaliate, we will not impose sanctions on you for meddling in the election. That shows the extent to which Donald Trump and his team welcomed this assault on our democracy.

WILLIAMS: Bob, luckily, the 37,000 employees of your beloved bureau -- the Federal Bureau of Investigation are putting their heads down and presumably are hard at work at this. If they came out at us this way in 2016, would you have sort of guess as to how you much better, more sophisticated and what a different looking shadowy enemy they will be in our midterms and, dare I say, the next presidential?

ANDERSON: You raise a great point, Brian, and I could tell you, you`re right. So, the Russians that I`ve said many times before, they are a very, very good adversary when it comes to this type of stuff. And they`ll look at us in different ways. They will come towards us in different factors of attack.

There`s no doubt that they`re going to watch and learn from what`s going on here today from the affidavit and how Bob Mueller and his team got to these individuals and got to these front companies. And they`ll change the way they`re coming at us. So that`s something that we need to be prepared for.

WILLIAMS: Bob, should Americans as they go to bed, as they try to enjoy their weekend, feel better or worse for knowing that what we`ve learned today about what happened and what we face?

ANDERSON: Well, I think we should be thankful for the men and women on Bob Mueller`s team and everyone else who are on United States Intelligence community that it pulled this together. I agree with what Jeremy said earlier, if you`re an American, go on the internet, look up this affidavit and read it because that stuff is real and that`s what happening to our country now.

WILLIAMS: Julia, what are your biggest questions having been there today and you try to look ahead in the story for a living?

AINSLEY: I think we just want to know whether or not this rules out actual collusion. I mean, I know we`re not talking about collusion being a criminal offense that`s not really a statute for collusion but all of this people that were named here, the campaign officials one, two, and three were unwitting. And so, we want to know if there were witting people, people who knew exactly what they were getting into, who knew the information that they were taking in about the opponent`s information that would help Donald Trump, who took that knowing exactly who was coming from and that was the Russian government.

I think until we get to that point we have more questions than answers. But we do know at this point how incredibly complex and how aggressive this entire campaign was.

WILLIAMS: Jeremy, think about it. Last night at this time, we knew only that Mueller had hired a cyber expert as one of the 16 deputies in his office. This is what we know tonight. It kind of proves the iceberg theory that there`s never so much more than a few percentages above the surface that we can see at any given time.

BASH: That`s right. And if I were on Donald Trump`s legal team I would not take any comfort from the fact that this indictment didn`t speak to the issue of whether there were discussions, knowledge, witting activity between the Trump organization and the delegation from Russia in the Trump Tower or elsewhere. I would not take any comfort there, because as you point out, Bob Mueller has many, many cards to play in this game.

WILLIAMS: That`s exactly a topic we`re going to take on later in the hour. Why and what was not said today is almost more important. We`re so obliged to Julia Ainsley, Jeremy Bash, and Robert Anderson for starting us off after this event today.

And coming up, the Donald`s Trump state of denial and look at what was conspicuously absent in the White House response today. Two of the Washington Post finest, Philip Rucker, Robert Costa standing by with new reporting.

And later, what Mueller`s charges reveal about American Intelligence at work. The home team, a former U.S. Intelligence Committee member who wrote the book on Russian hacking is with us here tonight. "The 11th Hour" just getting started on a Friday night.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: By the way, folks, just in case you`re, like, curious, no, Russia did not help me, OK? Russia. I call it the Russian hoax. One of the great hoaxes. Actually that`s the thing, I was thinking about it, that`s the thing that the Democrats did best. They lost the election and they didn`t know what happened. And they needed an excuse. So they said, Russia. And then they said, wait a minute, wait a minute, Russia and Trump.

Honestly, it`s the thing they did best. They did a rotten job of running but to convince people of this hoax, that`s probably the thing that they did best.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS: That was back in September. One of the many times the President called this matter a hoax. Now, we have learned from Robert Mueller`s indictment that Russia did indeed actively support Trump`s campaign while disparaging that of Hillary Clinton.

After today`s news broke, President Trump acknowledged Russian interference but remained on defense personally and notably did not come to the defense of us, of our country.

On board the helicopter as the President flew to Andrew`s Air Force Base for his departure to Florida today, he wrote on Twitter, "Russia started their anti-U.S. campaign in 2014, long before I announced that I would run for President. The results of the election were not impacted. The Trump campaign did nothing wrong, no collusion." We`ve heard that.

And now, a short time later, we get a more thorough statement from the White House Press Office that reads in part, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced indictments against 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities for meddling in the 2016 Presidential election, which began in 2014, before the President declared his candidacy. President Donald J. Trump has been fully briefed on this matter and is glad to see the special counsel`s investigation further indicates that there was no collusion, in all capital letters, between the Trump campaign and the Russia and that the outcome of the election was not changed or affected.

With us for more tonight, as we said, two of the very best from the Washington Post, they`re White House bureau chief, Phillip Rucker, international political reporter Robert Costa also happens to be moderator of Washington Week of PBS, both gentlemen MSNBC political analyst.

Mr. Costa, what reactions did you get from team Trump today and importantly from Republicans around town in D.C.?

ROBERT COSTA, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Inside of the West Wing there was an attempt to echo the President`s conclusion that this Russian activities started years before he begun his campaign, but on Capitol Hill, Brian, it was a different story. Congressional Republicans and their aides tell me this report, these indictments make the Russian investigation more serious than ever. It makes it more important for them to try to protect Robert Mueller as he moves forward with his investigation, regardless of the White House`s perspective.

WILLIAMS: Mr. Rucker, you had a rather stunning piece of writing late today, and I quote, from it in part, Trump has never convened a Cabinet- level meeting on Russian interference and has resisted or attempted to undo efforts to hold Moscow to accounts, such as additional penalties imposed last August by Congress. On the National Security Council there has been an unspoken understanding that the President would see raising the Russia matter as a personal front.

Philip, the question now becomes, what does he do now? Does he find a way over this weekend or Monday or Tuesday to say, in effect, what I meant to say is that I`m going to fortify our country against this ongoing electronic attack?

PHILIP RUCKER, WHITE HOUSE BUREAU CHIEF, WASHINGTON POST: I don`t know, Brian. He`s the President and commander-in-chief but in his response today, President Trump said nothing about safeguarding the country in the future or about punishing Russia for the acts and for the charges that were spelled out by Mueller`s indictment. I expect that he`ll come under some pressure from leaders in Congress, certainly, on the Democratic side, probably some on the Republican side who will want to see perhaps further sanctions or simply full enforcement of the existing sanctions that were signed into law late last summer and there may be some other elements as well.

There`s really not been a full discussion led by this President, nor the administration about the midterm elections, about the 2020 presidential election, about how to safeguard our electoral system and sort of our democracy really to prevent this from happening in the future. Because we know the Intelligence chiefs were on Capitol Hill earlier this week warning that Russia -- they have intelligence that suggest Russia is trying to do this again in the midterms this fall.

WILLIAMS: Bob, we just saw a videotape of the President coming down Air stairs in Florida after leaving rainy Washington. This will be his 127th day as President at a Trump branded property. But more important, you`ve written about this dynamic Mar-a-Lago is full of members, friends, allies, defenders, and it puts him on occasion in a certain mind set.

COSTA: Certainly it does, Brian. When you think about the President`s time at his winter retreat in Mara-a-Lago he`s known to walk into weddings that are being held on the property to go say hello to friends like Christopher Ruddy, the conservative media executive who are having dinner at the club. And he wants to hear feedback but it`s usually a feedback loop of positive words from friends, from allies, from people who are looking for favors or to just to ingratiate themselves with this administration. This is not a kind of environment where he`s going to get candid feedback from fellow Republicans or staffers. This is a retreat in every sense.

WILLIAMS: And, Robert, to read a quote from you today, you wrote about Chief of Staff John Kelly revamping, cracking down on the security clearance matter, which should be seen as Kelly doing his job but as you point out there`s another way of looking at it we, quote, a senior administration official with knowledge of Kelly`s thinking said the chief of staff has been frustrated with Jared Kushner`s high level of access without a final clearance. And that he was aware the new policies announced Friday could jeopardize Kushner`s ability to carry out his duties in the West Wing. The moves put a bull`s eye on Kushner, the official said.

Robert, only in this West Wing.

COSTA: Only in this West Wing strong words from a senior official, bull`s eye on the President`s son-in-law and senior adviser. But this is a serious situation based in our reporting. You have General Kelly under pressure in the fallout from the Rob Porter scandal trying to adjust the security process inside the White House, working with the White House counsel. Don McGhan, they`re working on this five-page memo which the Washington Post obtained. And they`re trying to get a grasp of who has actually has access to classified documents inside of this White House to try to specify.

If you have an interim clearance, like Mr. Kushner, what -- how long are you able to keep that clearance, what`s the process for doing so? It was spelled out today. If there were some answers today, a lot of defense in this memo but some answers for a lingering questions about how this White House actually works.

WILLIAMS: Philip, you were brilliant on the following topic last night, and that`s accountability.

RUCKER: Yes.

WILLIAMS: It`s been since Tuesday that we`ve had a briefing. We`ll probably go all the way, given the holiday a week till next Tuesday before we have another one. These are people who work for the United States and the taxpayers and just today it`s been reinforced that we are under a kind of rolling constant attack by the Russians. What about accountability?

RUCKER: Well, there just hasn`t been much accountability the last few days. In addition to the Rob Porter situation, which by the way, we still don`t have a lot of answers to that. We don`t know in details what Kelly knew and when, what did counsel, Don McGhan know and when. They haven`t come forward to address those questions or talk to the American public about it.

But there are number of other controversies swirling in this administration. There are travel expenditure issues with both the Veterans secretary as well as EPA administrator, Pruitt that the White House I think is going to be asked and expected to answer for it at some point here. And then there are the allegations about President Trump and his extramarital affairs. There`s a new report in the New Yorker today that the White House has not fully addressed.

And so, a lot of things are bubbling up here. It feels like the weekend will be a bit of a pause but when we come back on Tuesday, this administration is going to be back, perhaps on a defensive dealing with these issues.

WILLIAMS: That`s a lot. I`ll give you that. You guys have been great tonight after a long day. Philip Rucker, Robert Costa --

RUCKER: Thank you.

WILLIAMS: -- of the Washington Post, our great thanks.

Coming up here tonight, how did the U.S. and Mueller gather the secrets that are detailed and indicated in this document today? Some answers on that when we come right back

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: I believe that President Putin really feels and he feels strongly, that he did not meddle in our election.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC ANCHOR: Robert Mueller`s Russian indictment names associates closely tied to Russian President Vladimir Putin. It specifically charges that Putin`s chef who plays a much more important role that his nickname of the "The Cook" might imply.

The "New York Times", "He has emerged as Mr. Putin`s go-to oligarch for that and a variety of sensitive and often unsavory missions like recruiting contract soldiers to fight in Ukraine and Syria. Everybody needs a go-to oligarch.

And according to the indictment, the Russian troll farm he controlled had a monthly budget of just over $1 million. All of the information contained in this 37-page indictment is the product of extensive intelligence gathering. That aspect jumped out immediately to our next guest after a lifetime in the field.

Malcolm Nance is back with us. He wrote the book on Russian hacking quite literally, it`s called "The Plot to Hack America: How Putin`s Cyberspies and WikiLeaks Tried to Steal the 2016 Election". He`s a veteran of naval intelligence, special ops and homeland security, 35 years of experience working in counterterrorism and intelligence. He is our analyst in this area. There is no one I would rather be talking to about this tonight.

Malcolm, read between the lines, how do you think it is we learned everything we write about in this 37-page indictment?

MALCOLM NANCE, AUTHOR, THE PLOT TO HACK AMERICA: I think this indictment is just utterly amazing. Because, number one, for about a year and a half we`ve been warning that -- many people have been saying there`s no evidence in the Trump/Russia investigation, no evidence. Well, that`s because evidence is intelligence that is now in the hands of the Justice Department.

And what you are seeing is intelligence that`s been sanitized that now has come to the hands of the Justice Department and has put into an indictment. I really think that this is a, you know, even though there`s an aspect to it that appears it`s been taken from data, this really looks like someone who was on the inside. Someone who was work -- who had been working in that office had access, the administration department in that office, and got us, essentially, organization chart of that office and knew every person, knew about how much the financing was, and had access to pulling the e-mail off of their server.

WILLIAMS: So like tinker tailor soldier spy, emphasis on spy, this is the home team and you think this is good old fashioned human intelligence spy work.

NANCE: I think it is human intelligence. And I say that because there just some aspect of this story, you just can`t get through, you know, through electronic methodologies. Just for example, just knowing when people came onto the job. That would be either someone who was a senior manager who was in there or a person who was a line manager or watch officer who had access to the office, the admin office.

The e-mails themselves, those aren`t the sort of things that we would get from NSA that you see put even into an indictment. That would be something that would be kept classified because it would show you the methodology that we have. But I think this is an FBI asset who was turned over to him by either another intelligence agency or a sister intelligence agency from overseas.

WILLIAMS: You`re the expert, I`m an amateur. I`m just a guy reading this indictment. But as I read it, confirm something for me. It appears, number one, we haven`t angered everyone in Europe, we still have friends in the intelligence agencies in Europe, and number two, our intelligence agencies are, indeed, despite being under attack, putting their heads down and working every day, every night.

NANCE: Well, you`re absolutely right. I mean, the men and women of the U.S. Intelligence Committee and all our allied intelligence agencies, they don`t care about the bureaucracy of what`s going on. You can have someone in Austria, a leader of the far-right who has an agreement with Vladimir Putin for those two political parties cooperate. Austrian intelligence is going to cooperate with the United States where they see fit.

Not everything gets to the boss, especially when it comes to the security of your nation. So we`re going to keep seeing these liaisons occur. But the people who walk past the statue of Nathan Hail in the morning or walk into NSA and go pass the Wall of Honor, they are going to continue to do their job and the Justice Department is going to take what they produce and give us beautiful documents as we saw today.

WILLIAMS: If you were President Malcolm Nance, something we can talk about, what should the president say to the American people about the clear and present danger?

NANCE: A president who understand his responsibilities to the constitution and the oath, that he swore to protect and defend this nation, we`ll take this extremely seriously. This is not a hoax, this is an attack on the United States of America. It`s not one that we could see readily but it`s very clear that this was a broad ranging attack.

What we saw in this indictment was just one component of the propaganda and psychological warfare that they were carrying out against us. Then we have the hacking, which was electronic warfare against the United States, and then, whatever other activities that they were carrying out in liaison with American citizens.

The president of the United States should sit down and say, "I recognize this. My intelligence has given to me, I will stand against any attack from anybody." And put his nose to the grindstone and take this seriously. We haven`t seen that, and I don`t think we will.

WILLIAMS: Thanks, friend, for coming in.

NANCE: It`s my pleasure.

WILLIAMS: We actually it. Malcolm Nance, the view of a lifetime in public service.

Coming up for us, more reasons why what was not said today may be more important to the future of this Russia investigation than what was said. That and more when we continue.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROD ROSENSTEIN, DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: There is no allegation in this indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity. There is no allegation in the indictment that the charge conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS: Note how we use that man`s name almost every night on this broadcast but we are not used to hearing his voice. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, he chose his words carefully today about the Mueller indictment. That`s his job. But as we`ve been reminded by smart legal minds today in reporting on this, the absence of information doesn`t necessarily vindicate anyone. No one was cleared today.

What we learned today was how little we know about how vast this investigation is. No one saw this coming. We`ve got two top attorneys to help us break down this news for us. Mimi Rocah is back with us, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, currently a distinguished fellow at criminal justice at Pace University School of Law, and Jeremy Bash has graciously, I`ll get it out, agreed to stick around with us, former Chief of Staff at Pentagon, CIA, as well as former Counsel to the House Intel Committee.

Mimi, first to you, among Americans, among those in the sphere of this thing, as you read this indictment, who has grounds to feel worse, and does anyone feel better after today?

MIRIAM ROCAH, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, I think the American people should feel better because what we`ve been --

WILLIAMS: Well, that`s good, we`ll take it.

ROCAH: We`ve been presented today with, you know, an indictment that shows that the special prosecutor and his team have figured out, really, you know what`s happened here in a way that no one else in Washington seems to have been able to do or willing to do. So I think we should feel better.

But I don`t think that Trump and the president and his inner circle should feel better. In fact, if I were them, I would be a lot more worried. Because really what Mueller has done here is he`s put into a criminal framework the conduct that we`ve all been talking about in broad terms. We`ve all been talked about collusion, well, collusion is not a crime, so, you know, what`s the criminal act here? Well, now we know the answer to that.

The special counsel has answered that by charging a very serious offense, which is, you know, interference with our electoral system by foreign actors. And the question is, who helped him with that? Who helped the Russians do that?

WILLIAMS: Jeremy, there are so many critics waiting to bounce on every word alleged and spoken in this case. Why a 37-page indictment today -- Mueller, of course, knows what`s coming and we don`t -- that names Russians with difficult to pronounce names who will probably, let`s be honest, never see the interior of U.S. courtroom?

JEREMY BASH, FORMER CIA CHIEF OF STAFF: Well, that means exactly, Brian, that those individuals may not be brought to justice, I think you`re right about that. But it does show that Bob Mueller is focussed clearly on the legal elements of conspiracy to violate federal election law and foreign agent registration law.

If you read the 37-page indictment, there are a couple photographs integrity that struck me. He lays out the standard for the violations of the law, and then what I think we`re going to see him look at next and turn to next is, which individuals inside the Trump organization, in particular focussing on the Trump tower meeting in June 2016, potentially engaged in conspiracy with Russian officials to violate those federal laws, and again conspiracy is just an agreement coupled with an overt act like that meeting.

WILLIAMS: Mimi, because I`m forever asking a good lawyer like you to endlessly speculate, let`s do it again. What did you learn today about the size and scope of this thing? About what all the tentacles are that may remain?

ROCAH: I think we learned that it`s bigger than any of us even thought and yet we`re only seeing another small piece of it here. Because remember, there`s other aspects of the Russia interference. There`s the democratic e-mail hacking and that`s not talked about here. This is about the information or disinformation campaign that every one has been talking about.

And I think Malcolm made a really good point earlier that tells us a lot, which there was a narrator for this indictment, could be more than one narrator. But the amount of detail in this indictment, you don`t got just from documents. I totally agree with that. And so what else is the narrator that Mueller is talking to, or narrators, what else are they telling him and who else are they pointing fingers at?

And, you know,, remember, we still don`t know the degree of what Michael Flynn has told Mueller. He could have given some of this detail, we don`t know yet but that could open a lot more doors.

WILLIAMS: And Jeremy, as I said earlier, Mueller has, what, 15, 16 co- counsel and under all of them (inaudible), a jurisdiction, an area of influence. If he has one cyber crimes guy, think about the financial end of this, the financial crimes if we`re going to hear, through all of these areas?

BASH: And scores of FBI agents who stand behind each of those prosecutors. They`re doing the investigative work. They`re the ones who were actually developing the evidence that goes into documents like this 37-page indictment. And they`re the ones who are going to find connections, if they exist, between the Trump organization and the Russian federation.

WILLIAMS: Mimi Rocah, Jeremy Bash, can`t thank you enough. I realize you were called last minute for this huge story on a Friday night. We truly appreciate it.

Coming up, we learned a lot more today about what Robert Mueller`s team has been up to. But again, if the iceberg theory holds we`re still seeing just seeing a small fraction of this massive investigation, more on that when we continue.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WILLIAMS: Think of all of tonight`s news this way, what a busy week it`s been for the special counsel investigation aside from the 13 indictments that came down today, Robert Mueller`s team met with Steve Bannon, let`s not forget, for over 20 hours this week. But not just him, Mark Corallo, former Trump team legal spokesperson spent more than two hours with the special counsel`s team as well. That`s him at the podium.

"Vanity Fair" sums up the Mueller investigative methods, this way, "As he did in the John Gotti case, Mueller has moved systematically through the lower ranks of Trump world up through the President`s inner circle in his efforts to shake out the truth."

With us, to discuss what is next for Mueller, two of the best Matts in the business. Matt Apuzzo, New York Times Reporter and Matthew Miller, former Chief Spokesman for the Justice Department.

Mr. Apuzzo, to you first, what does the fact that there is no one in Washington walking around tonight say, "Yes, I knew this was coming today", no one can make that claim, locked up tight. What does the surprise nature say about this Mueller investigation to you?

MATT APUZZO, REPORTER, NEW YORK TIMES: Well, first of all, you know, nobody had this on their bingo card today. But let`s be clear, it was pretty obvious going back to last January when we saw the intelligence committee`s report that there was a lot of evidence of exactly this kind of meddling. And obviously, we saw that Robert Mueller was adding cyber prosecutors.

So there were signs that there were clearly looking at it, but wildly reported included looking at the cyber operations and the social media operations. But the extent of that, I mean, I`ve been covering this stuff for 15 years. I`ve never seen anything like this spelled out in a federal -- in federal court records before. This is essentially, you know, the road map to Russia`s corporate influence operations. It`s just a small part of it. It`s just astonishing day.

WILLIAMS: And listening to what Malcolm Nance talk about what this exposes and reveals about our own human intelligence effort, kind of heartening if you`re cheering on the home team here as we hope everybody is. Mr. Miller, 20 hours of Bannon in front of Mueller`s team, what do you recon was discussed and learned from that?

MATTHEW MILLER, FORMER JUSTICE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: You know, Steve Bannon obviously, the relevant witness for both of the major threat in this investigation, one being what happened during the campaign. But I suspect he is probably most, excuse me, most interesting to Bob Mueller`s team for what he saw in that first six months in the White House.

If you go back to the obstruction of justice investigation, all the key events really happened, you know, right after the president took office when he started his first series of conversations with Jim Comey up through the firing of Jim Comey, the meddling, the request to the intel community to meddle in the investigation, all the way through the reports of that Trump tower meeting and that misleading statement that the president dictated that went out for Air Force 1.

Steve Bannon was in the room for that. He was a senior official for all of that. I suspect that Mueller is honing in on the obstruction of justice piece, which remember for all the evidence we saw today, the obstruction of justice piece is the one place where we`ve seen so far direct claims, you know, of possible legal liability against the president himself. I suspect that`s what Steve Bannon is the most relevant witness for -- in that 20- hour conversation with Bob Mueller and his team.

WILLIAMS: We also don`t know yet who else they might be turning and who they have something on. So that remains a big question.

Matt Apuzzo, I know you reminded one of our producers tonight of two things -- Mueller doesn`t like endless investigations, A, and, B, his work often looks like a reverse flow chart, starting wide and then moving tight toward the top. So Jared, Don Jr., Michael Cohen are on your list of big names we`ve yet to see take that walk.

APUZZO: That`s right. I can`t see a situation where Mueller`s team is not interested in having a real conversation with the three of them. It would make sense to have that conversation before you talk to the president. Obviously we know those negotiations are happening right now.

Obviously, Mueller doesn`t like to have long, languishing investigations. He likes to move. And let`s just for people scoring at home, you have in the first year in office, President Trump`s national security advisers pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his Russian contacts. One former aide has acknowledged he was given advanced information from Russians about hacking on Hillary Clinton`s -- Hillary e-mails.

We have a two former aides are under indictments and 13 Russians are accused of trying to influence the election and we know that another aide was repeatedly found, there was probable cause he was acting as an unlawful agent of a foreign government. So it hasn`t been a great year for Donald Trump with this investigation hanging over.

WILLIAMS: Mr. Miller, think of this -- it`s not impossible that today`s indictment drops and it`s kind of high-profile, legal chum and it`s designed to get everybody`s attention and then someone calls Mr. Dowd or Ty Cobb and says, hey, we really need to get a date for your boss to come in and talk to us, let`s get a date on the calendar, that would get your attention.

MILLER: Yes, I think it certainly would get your attention. One of the things about this investigations that Mueller is pushing very hard, very aggressively on a number of separate fronts. One of the things that I thought was most interesting about this indictment today, it lays out this conspiracy and really sets the platform on which to build future charges.

But one of the things that doesn`t address at all is of course the hacking of the Hillary -- of the DNC e-mails and John Podesta`s e-mails. You have to think future charges are coming in that part of the investigation. If Mueller is willing to indict Russian officials in this part, the social media piece, you`d think he`d be willing to do it in that as well.

I assume he`s pushing forward aggressively on that. He`s pushing forward aggressively on obstruction. And to your point, I think he absolutely will be continuing to push for that interview with the government. And if John Dowd and Ty Cobb say no, I suspect you`ll see him followup shortly with a grand jury subpoena.

WILLIAMS: A frequent guest of ours so you guys both know Frank Figliuzzi of the -- formally the FBI, keeps saying he expects indictments to come on the hacking components of this.

As we said, two of the leading Matts in all of Washington, our thanks to both gentlemen Matt Apuzzo, Matt Miller for joining us on short notice after a busy Friday. We really appreciate it.

We turn now to a last thing we go tonight. One year ago today the president held a formal news conference in the east room of the White House, which looking back on it was notable for a few things, for what was said, for how he said it, and for how quickly it went off the rails. But mostly we remember it because it was the last solo news conference and the only solo news conference this president has held. One year ago today, here`s a reminder of how that went.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I`ve been briefed and I can tell you one thing about a briefing that we`re allowed to say because anybody that ever read the most basic book can say it, nuclear holocaust would be like no other. They`re a very powerful nuclear country and so are we. If we have a good relationship with Russia, believe me, that`s a good thing. Number one, I am the least anti-Semitic person that you`ve ever seen in your entire life. Number two, racism, the least racist person.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you going to include the CBC, Mr. President, in your conversations with your urban agenda, your inner city agenda as well as --

TRUMP: I might going to include who?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You want to include the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional --

TRUMP: Well, I would. I tell you what, do you want to set up the meeting? Do you want to set up the meeting?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, no, no.

TRUMP: Are they friends of yours?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m just a reporter.

TRUMP: Go set up the meeting.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know some of them.

TRUMP: Let`s go, set up a meeting. I would love to meet with the Black Caucus.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was hoping to get a yes or no answer on one of these questions involving Russia. Can you say whether you were aware that anyone who advised your campaign had contact with Russia during the course of the election?

TRUMP: Well, I told you General Flynn obviously was dealing, so that`s one person but he was dealing as he should have been --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: During the election?

TRUMP: No. Nobody that I know of. Nobody that I know of

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you`re not aware of any contacts during the course of election?

TRUMP: Look, look, how many times do I have to answer this question?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you just say yes or no on it?

TRUMP: Russia is a ruse. I know you have to get up and ask a question so important. Russia is a ruse. I have nothing to do with Russia. And the leaks are absolutely real -- the news is fake. I can handle a bad story better than anybody.

I`m really not a bad person by the way. I do get great ratings, you have to admit that. I love pip to negotiate things, I do it really well and all that stuff. I won. I won. I`m having a good time. Tomorrow they`ll say, Donald Trump rants and raves at the press. I`m not ranting and raving, I`m telling you, you know, you`re dishonest people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS: The new president one year ago today, his last and only solo news conference in office.

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