CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: If all this litany of harts has come out, can you honestly say you would have demanded her removal from the Oval Office? You go back to your partying now, but let`s not hear any more about his being a witch hunt.
That`s HARDBALL for now. Thank you. And happy Passover and happy Easter. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.
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JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), CALIFORNIA: The Congress of the United States will honor its oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
REID: What the Attorney General said Mueller wanted --
WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL, UNITED STATES: Special Counsel Mueller did not indicate that his purpose was to leave the decision to Congress --
REID: Versus what the special counsel really said.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do think the Mueller on its obstruction of justice wanted Congress to examine the evidence.
REID: Tonight, there`s a clear roadmap for Congress but what are they going to do then and how will Democratic presidential candidates deal with the impeachment question.
JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES: I just marvel at some of the things he says and does.
REID: Plus, the revelation of a dozen plus cases we still don`t know about. Who else is under investigation? Then --
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I`ve heard from countless members of the FBI --
REID: Sarah Sanders lies and her lies about the lies.
SANDERS: A slip of the tongue.
REID: When all in starts now.
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REID: Good evening from New York, I`m Joy Reid in for Chris Hayes. Well, if there`s one thing that has become crystal clear in the day and a half since a redacted version of the Mueller report was finally released, it is this. The Attorney General of the United States misled Congress and the American people about Mueller`s substantial evidence incriminating the President.
House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler issued subpoenas today for a full unredacted version of the report. The start of what`s likely to be a protracted legal fight. And the Chairman plans to call Robert Mueller himself as well as other witnesses to testify publicly before the committee.
Attorney General William Barr is scheduled to appear on May 2nd and he`s going to have a lot to answer for because the Mueller report does not say what Barr told us it said. Both in his four-page summary of Mueller`s findings and in his stunningly political press conference yesterday before releasing the report.
Barr distorted or straight-up lied about the report to clean it up and make it look better for the president. The report states that Mueller`s team applied the framework of conspiracy law not the concept of collusion which isn`t an actual legal term, but that is not what Barr said yesterday.
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BARR: The Special Counsel found no collusion by any Americans. There was no evidence of the Trump campaign collusion with the Russian government`s hacking. The Special Counsel confirmed that the Russian government- sponsored efforts to illegally interfere with the 2016 presidential election but did not find that the Trump campaign or other Americans colluded in those efforts. There was, in fact, no collusion.
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REID: Nope, again that is not what the report says. And while Mueller didn`t find enough evidence to establish criminal conspiracy, he did find plenty of evidence that Donald Trump and his campaign sought to take advantage of and to benefit from the sabotage of our election by an adversarial foreign government, Russia on the obstruction of justice question.
Barr`s lies and distortions are even more brazen. He`s been insisting that Mueller`s decision not to reach a conclusion had nothing to do with an opinion from the Justice Department`s Office of Legal Counsel, the OLC that you can`t indict a sitting president and that Mueller simply didn`t find any evidence of a crime.
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BARR: We specifically asked him about the OLC opinion and whether or not he was taking the position that he would have found a crime but for the existence of the OLC opinion, and he made it very clear several times that that was not his position. He was not saying that but for the OLC opinion, he would have found a crime. He made it clear that he had not made the determination that there was a crime.
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REID: Nope, no sir. Wrong again. In fact, Mueller makes it clear that he didn`t see it as his role to say whether the president obstructed justice because of those Justice Department guidelines. According to the report, "we determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment going on to cite the OLC opinion against indicted a sitting president."
And later, "we determined not to apply an approach that could potentially result in a judgment that the president committed crimes." Mueller was never going to make a determination that the president obstructed justice because he didn`t think it was his job. So whose job was it?
According to Barr in his four-page summary, Mueller`s lack of a conclusion "leaves it to the Attorney General to determine whether the conduct described in the report constitutes a crime." But the report doesn`t mention any role for the Attorney General. It does, however, lay out a role for Congress. "The conclusion that Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the President`s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law."
There`s even a whole footnote discussing impeachment and other means for Congress to hold the President accountable. But asked whether Mueller wanted Congress to make the call in obstruction, this is what Barr said.
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BARR: Special Counsel Mueller did not indicate that his purpose was to leave the decision to Congress. I hope that was not his view since we don`t convene grand juries and conduct criminal investigations for that purpose. He did not -- I didn`t talk to him directly about the fact that we were making the decision but I am told that his reaction to that was that it was my prerogative as Attorney General to make that decision.
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REID: My first guest sits on the committee with oversight of the Justice Department and the power to open impeachment proceedings, Congressman Ted Lieu of California who was a member of the House Judiciary Committee. Well, Congressman -- he joins me now. Congressman, you`re -- the ball is now in your court as a member of Congress and as a member of the Judiciary Committee.
We`ve just gone through a few of the things that Attorney General William Barr said that are contradicted by what`s in the text of the Mueller report. What is the Judiciary Committee plan to do about that?
REP. TED LIEU (D-CA): Thank you, Joy, for you question. If you look at the Mueller report, it validates what Democrats have been saying for last two years which is that Donald Trump engage in repeated acts of obstruction, of corrupt behavior, and of collusive behavior. Some of his actions may have been felonies, some may not, but none of it was OK.
And on the House Judiciary Committee, we are investigating potential crimes by the president including obstruction of justice, witness tampering, abuse of power, and other potential crimes. And in a few months we either going to clear Donald Trump or we`re not. And if we don`t clear him, then all options will be on the table.
REID: Well, I mean, would that include impeach him because impeachment is simply the inquiry by which the House Judiciary Committee and the House of Representatives could determine the answers to the questions you just asked. In fact, let me read a little bit of the footnote here from the Mueller report about impeaching and prosecuting the president.
It says, a possible remedy in the Mueller report through impeachment or abuses of power would not substitute for potential criminal liability after a president leaves office. Impeachment would remove a president for office but would not address the underlying culpability of the conduct or serve the useful purposes of the criminal law. Impeachment is also a drastic and rarely invoked remedy and Congress is not restricted to relying on impeachment.
So the Mueller report essentially says look, impeachment is one way that Congress could remedy but that Donald Trump would not be free from potential prosecution later on. Are you talking about building a case for post-presidential prosecution or for impeachment?
LIEU: It would be both. If you read the Mueller report, it`s clear that he did not leave the determination of obstruction justice up to Bill Barr. He left it up for Congress. But right now in the House Judiciary Committee, we don`t have a record. We have a redacted Mueller report. We have interesting reporting by MSNBC. We have interesting things that people have said in the press.
What we need is to build a record, gather authenticated documents, interview witnesses under oath, and at the end of the day we`re either going to exonerate Donald Trump in his associates or we`re not. And if we don`t, then yes, impeachment would be on the table.
REID: But you don`t have a record? I mean, this is a very extensive report that was issued by the special counsel. And let me just read one of the conclusions. In Donald Trump`s communications with Paul Manafort, his campaign chairman, "evidence concerning the President`s conduct toward Manafort indicates that the President intended to encourage Manafort not to cooperate with the government. I mean that was enough to impeach Bill Clinton, encouraging people not to cooperate allegedly.
The record that`s in the Mueller report, is that not a sufficient record to at least begin an impeachment inquiry?
LIEU: You`re correct. I should not say we don`t have a record. I should say we don`t have a complete record. So what we are doing now is to do the hearings, interview witnesses, get documents that we have a complete record. And if we`re going to go down the road of impeachment, then we have to be absolutely certain that we get it right. And that`s why we issued subpoenas today to get the full Mueller report unredacted.
REID: I totally understood. Just last question before I let you go. What about impeachment of Bill Barr? If William Barr lied to the American people about what`s in the Mueller report, should Congress be considering impeachment against him?
LIEU: So Bill Barr is going to testify on May 2nd as you noted earlier. I`m going to give him the opportunity to explain to Congress why he misled the American people. But let me put it this way. Sarah Sanders lied repeatedly to the American people, resign Sarah, the hashtag is trending on Twitter.
So if she were to actually resign, I`m thinking maybe Bill Barr can apply for her job because he`s much better suited to spin the facts as White House Press Secretary than to be an independent people`s attorney as Attorney General.
REID: All right, Congressman Ted Lieu, we`re going to leave it there. Thank you very for joining me. I appreciate it. My next two guests both used to work for the Justice Department, MSNBC Legal Analyst Cynthia Alksne, a former Federal Prosecutor, and MSNBC Justice and Security Analyst Matt Miller, former Chief Spokesperson for the Justice Department.
I`ll go through with both of you. Cynthia, I`ll start with you. What should be the penalty for an Attorney General of the United States who completely misconstrues what`s in a report that is then released and shows that he was not being honest?
CYNTHIA ALKSNE, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Right. It`s -- in two ways in that letter on March 24th, he essentially lied about what was in the report and also in the press conference. He led people to believe that Bob Mueller just couldn`t make his mind up so that Barr had to do it for him and that`s not true at all.
I don`t know exactly know what the penalty is at this point. I think we have to wait to see how his testimony goes and if he`s willing to be a little more honest. It was shocking to hear the Attorney General of the United States say well, it`s really all acceptable because he was frustrated. I mean, as the person who was the career prosecutor, that is not a defense to obstruction of justice and he said that.
And he also said, Trump had cooperated fully when we know full well that Trump refused to answer questions, he refused to be interviewed, he tried to fire Mueller, he tried to get Sessions to recuse himself and then -- I mean, unrecuse himself and then limit the investigation. So what he said to the American people is not true and it`s not -- he`s trashed his reputation and it`s shocking. One of the great mysteries to me is why he would think the Trump was worth it.
REID: Well, and I think there are a lot of mysteries, Matt Miller, that people are looking at me. You watch Rod Rosenstein standing behind the Attorney General as he`s giving this press conference. Rod Rosenstein was used as the person who wrote the memo sort of making the excuse for firing James Comey. He`s now standing there in a place where frankly Robert Mueller seemed to refuse to stand. What is going on at the Justice Department?
MATT MILLER, MSNBC JUSTICE AND SECURITY ANALYST: You know, I think a lot of people have misunderstood Rod Rosenstein in the last two years. Rod Rosenstein is weak and he`s always been weak. He got pushed into writing that Comey memo when he should have known where it`s going to be used for. He`s gotten pushed around and given in to Donald Trump a number of times.
I mean, he`s protected the Mueller investigation but at the same time, he`s asked the I.G. to investigate things based on really trumped-up charges by the President. And now you saw him letting his name be used to sign off on this very you know aggressive, dishonest, misleading position by the Attorney General.
I think, you know, in terms of what needs to happen with respect to the Justice Department going forward, the Congress is going to have to you know, conduct very rigorous oversight because we now -- you have a Justice Department now that we can`t have any faith is going to operate independently. I have faith in the men and women that worked there but not in the Attorney General.
And that matters because the President is still under investigation. His personal business is still under investigation. His inaugural committee is in under investigation. There were 12 investigations spun off by the Mueller team. We don`t know what they are but we know that they exist.
I don`t have any faith that those investigations are going to be allowed to proceed fairly, that they`re going to be wrapped up in a manner that where the career prosecutors can make decisions that they want to. And I don`t have any faith that he`s not going to launch some witch-hunt into how this investigation got started in the way he`d previewed with his spying comment last week.
So if I`m in -- I`m in the House Judiciary Committee, I`m looking for whistleblowers. I`m doing everything I can to find out what`s happening at the Justice Department and put all the pressure I can on people -- on the leadership there not to act inappropriately.
REID: Well, and to that very points in the (INAUDIBLE), the leadership of the Democratic Party in the House, Steny Hoyer and the Speaker of the House saying that impeachment is something that they don`t think should be happening, you have the potential for Bill Barr, for William bar to go ahead and continue to do what Donald Trump wants which could include investigating Donald Trump`s political enemies, conducting investigations of the FBI agents and other investigators.
What if that happens? What are the American people going to do then? I mean he has the power to do that, doesn`t he?
ALKSNE: He has a lot of power to do a lot of very bad things. And that`s why Matt is right. We`re going to have to have serious oversight. And you don`t know depending on what happens if Steny Hoyer and Nancy Pelosi make a different political calculation on what to do next, but that`s where they get the big bucks because they got to make that decision, and there are going to be some very big important decisions regarding this president, and this attorney general, and Rosenstein in the months to come.
REID: Yes, we shall see. Cynthia Alksne, Matt Miller, thank you, guys. I really appreciate having you both. Meanwhile, as Congress grapples with what to do next. Democrats are not unified all the question of impeachment. I`ll talk to Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney next.
REID: Elizabeth Warren today became the first top-tier presidential candidate to call for Donald Trump to be impeached. The severity of this misconduct demands that elected officials in both parties set aside political consideration for -- political considerations and do their constitutional duty. That means the House should initiate impeachment proceedings against the President of the United States.
That is a full-throated call from a sitting member of the United States Senate and a 2020 candidate to take Trump`s job. And she will be on with Rachel Maddow coming up to talk about it. But Elizabeth Warren doesn`t belong to the Congressional branch that could actually initiate a formal impeachment inquiry into the president. Joining me now as someone who does, Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney Democrat from New York. Congressman, thank so much for being here.
REP. SEAN PATRICK MALONEY (D-NY): Thanks. Good to be with you.
REID: Great to be with you as well. In -- back in the 90s, Republicans initiated impeachment proceedings against the President of the United States then-Bill Clinton. And one of the charges was obstruction of justice. Let me let you listen to Lindsey Graham back in 1999 and the standard he set for that particular charge.
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SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): He doesn`t have to say go lie for me to be a crime. You don`t have to say let`s obstruct justice for be -- for it to be a crime. He judged people on their conduct, not magic phrases.
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REID: OK. He doesn`t have to specifically say go lie for me. In the Mueller report, it says the following that Michael Cohen who was Donald Trump`s lawyer, Cohen said that the President`s personal counsel conveyed that as a part of a joint defense agreement Cohen was protected which he would not be if he "went rogue." Cohen recall that the President`s personal counsel reminded him that the president loves you and told him that if he stayed on message, the president had his back.
That is one of ten elements of potential obstruction of justice laid out of the Mueller report. What reason would members of Congress yourself have not to initiate impeachment proceedings?
MALONEY: Well, look it -- you know, this is -- this is a holy day of the year. I want to wish everybody a good Passover, a Happy Easter. It`s the time when we focus on what matters. Here`s what matters to me and what I think matters to Elizabeth Warren and a lot of us. We want accountability from this president and that can take different forms.
Impeachment would certainly be one form it could take though that is likely to fail in the end. Another form it could take would be to beat them in the next election and we can do that if we`re smart but we get strategic. And a third way would be for criminal prosecution or indictment that`s unlikely to happen now clearly but it might happen later and there are ongoing investigations.
The key is accountability, but we have to marry that up with our other priorities of getting things done for the American people and of winning the next election which is the best way to replace this president and the most efficient one frankly, and that`s where I`m focused.
REID: But impeachment is the only one that the -- that the Constitution of the United States assigned to you, sir, with all due respect. Elections are in the hands of the American people and the voters. Prosecution is in the hands of prosecutors. The Constitution only anticipated one way for you to discharge your duty to the Constitution and to hold it and to hold the President accountable. You only have one path to do that and that`s impeachment.
MALONEY: Yes, that`s right but we`re not robots. And the fact is that we can -- we can think about more than one thing at a time. And I don`t want to play checkers, I want to play chess. And the fact is that what we need is accountability from this president. We want to take --
REID: Then what other accountability can you impart? As a Congressman, what other accountability could you impart?
MALONEY: I don`t think -- I don`t think setting out on a course of action that`s likely to be counterproductive is the best way to hold him accountable. What I`m telling you is there are different ways to do it. Does he deserve to get impeached? Yes, he probably deserves to get impeached, no argument from me. I`m appalled by what`s in this report. We can expect a lot more from our president.
But if you want -- if you want me to chase my tail around for the next two years miss the big picture which is to beat him, which is to replace him, which is to get things done and get a chance to do something good for this country, that`s the big game.
REID: Hold on -- hold on one second. First of all, do you believe that Donald Trump has committed impeachable offenses?
MALONEY: What I`m telling you is that if you ask me if I think he deserves it?
REID: But do you? Do you -- right, if he deserves it.
MALONEY: I`m telling you, I think he deserves it. If you`re asking whether I think --
REID: OK, one second.
MALONEY: -- if you`re asking --
REID: Hold on. The Constitution doesn`t anticipate that Congress shall discharge its duty to impeach a president`s committed high crimes and misdemeanors only if it`s electorally convenient, it says that that is your duty. So if you believe that he deserves it --
MALONEY: Wait, wait, wait.
REID: Hold on. If you don`t do it for this president, then what president would be eligible for impeachment? What do you have to do?
MALONEY: Joy, ask yourself this question. Why are the Republicans so eager for us to impeach the president? And it doesn`t say I have a duty to impeach the president, that`s not the --
REID: If you believe he committed high crimes and misdemeanor.
MALONEY: Excuse me. That`s -- I don`t believe the word duty is in the Constitution. I think that I`m elected to use my brain and to be smart about this, to represent my district, to hold the president accountable. I think that`s the right thing to do, and to do that in a way that is effective for goodness sake, and that gets this country going in a new direction.
And so there are real issues at stake here. This is not some academic exercise in whether you know, resolved, we should debate whether impeachment is warranted. This is -- this is a real-life decision about the best way to hold the president accountable. And what I`m telling you is impeachments one way to do it, it might feel pretty good. The Republicans did that. I was there in the White House. It didn`t work out so well for them.
The fact is that criminal accountability is also still on the table in my mind. There`s a lot of investigations going on, that`s good, and they will go past his presidency, I believe. But the third way, the best way to hold them accountable is to beat them, and that`s where I`m focused. And I do believe that we can do that if we stay -- if we stay focused on what matters to most folks out there and we need to balance that with these other concerns.
REID: Let me -- let me very quickly quote Lawrence O`Donnell. I love being able to quote Lawrence O`Donnell. Lawrence tweeted earlier that there is a mis -- a misremembering of what happened during impeachment vis- a-vis Republicans who went after Bill Clinton again, on the basis of a sexual affair. House Republicans impeach Bill Clinton. Then Republicans won the House again in the next election, and Republicans won the Senate again, and Republicans won the White House. It`s a political myth that the Clinton impeachment hurt Republicans.
I just showed a young looking Lindsey Graham when he was a House impeachment manager, he`s now a Senator. He got a promotion after having participated in the impeachment of Bill Clinton. Isn`t it a myth that Republicans were harmed by impeaching Bill Clinton? They benefited politically.
MALONEY: Well, they lost seats in the election and Newt Gingrich resigns so I don`t --
REID: They won the House again in the next election and the Senate.
MALONEY: I`m just telling you, Newt Gingrich resigned and they lost seats.
REID: That was his own scandal. That was his scandal. He had a parallel scandal. That wasn`t about -- they won seats.
MALONEY: Joy, I share your concern about this. I`m obviously not getting through to you. I really believe in my heart and in my soul that this president needs to be held accountable. And I share your passion for how screwed up this is, for what he`s getting away with, for the despicable conduct that is laid out chapter in verse in this report.
And what I`m telling you is I want to play chess not checkers. I don`t want to engage in some exercise that feels good for five minutes and gets our heads handed to us because the American people aren`t there yet. If one Republican Center let alone 20 has called for impeachment, you know, let me know. But what I am telling you is that accountability can be -- can be demanded of this president, different ways to do it. Impeachment is one, there are others.
Beating them is that is my favorite one because I think we can do that if we stay focused right now in this critical moment, hold them accountable, yes, make sure we stand up for our values, but win it and get things done for the American people. And there`s still criminal prosecution out there.
I think there`s a lot of rocks that are going to get overturned in the Trump Organization. I think the Southern District of New York is doing good work here and we should let them do that work. And I do think we`re going to learn more from Bob Mueller and we should.
REID: Well, I`m going to --
MALONEY: But I do want to -- I do want a stay focused on beating them in 2012.
REID: I`m going to interrupt you for time and I`m just going to say with all due respect, sir, I don`t think there`s anybody who is calling for impeachment that thinks impeachment would feel good. A lot of people feel that if the President of the United States has done harm to the Republic, impeachment is the constitutional remedy, not because it feels good but because a lot of people think it`s the right thing to do.
But we don`t have much more time so I`ve gone over. I`m going to let you go. Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, thank you very much for joining us. I appreciate it.
MALONEY: My pleasure.
REID: And coming up next, ignorance is no excuse unless you`re Donald Trump Jr. So are the Trump kids really out of the woods? Don`t go away.
REID: Despite several new revelations in the Mueller report about the Trump progeny`s contacts with Russians during the campaign, Donald Trump, Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Jared Kushner all apparently made it through unscathed.
Donald, Jr. even celebrated by the family`s preferred press release shop, Twitter, tweeting "told ya!!"
Robert Mueller did explain why that he decided not to prosecute, Junior, quote, "the office did not obtain admissible evidence likely to meet the government`s burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that these individuals acted willfully, i.e. with general knowledge of the illegality of their conduct." In other words, Don Jr. isn`t smart enough to know that he was committing a crime.
His celebration may be a bit premature anyway. While the Mueller report is complete, the special counsel transferred the responsibility for 11 of his investigations to other components of the DOJ and the FBI. Two of those are redacted ongoing matters.
He also referred 14 inquiries outside the scope of the special counsel`s jurisdiction to other branches of the Justice Department. As you can see, 12 of those are ongoing and totally redacted.
There are still more than a dozen investigations stemming from the special counsel, and we have no idea who is in the crosshairs, and presumably neither does team Trump.
Joining me now for a look at what could still be to come from Robert Mueller`s investigations are Carol Lam, former United States attorney for the Southern District of California, she also served as a superior court judge in San Diego; and Elliot Williams, former deputy assistant attorney general for legislative affairs at the Department of Justice under President Obama.
All right, thank you bot. Carol Lam, I`ll go to you first, we know that there are these 14 additional investigations out there. Two of them are Michael Cohen and Gregory Craig, but we don`t know what the other dozen are. Can you speculate on who might be worried still even though the Mueller report is in?
CAROL LAM, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Well, I can only speculate.
What we do know about those 12 are that they are -- they relate probably to federal charges. They were outside the scope of the special counsel`s mandate, which means that they probably don`t directly have to do with the Russian conspiracy to affect our elections, and they probably don`t have to do with the president`s alleged obstruction of justice.
What we -- they could be -- they could involve peripheral subjects where they sort of stumbled across fraud or tax crimes or something like that, or they could be more central players, again, with who are found to perhaps violate other federal statutes that fell outside of the special counsel`s mandate.
Beyond that, it`s really very hard to tell at this point.
REID: Yeah, and Elliot does that surprise you that the Mueller probe ended with these cases still ongoing? They were farmed out. Does that tell you anything about the timing of the ending of the Mueller probe itself?
ELLIOT WILLIAMS, FORMER DEPUTY ASSITANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: No, I don`t think so, because number one it can take a lot of time to build cases. Number two, a number of the ones that have been brought already -- so for instance, Michael Cohen. These are individuals who are cooperating with law enforcement, and so there was a reason to go public with their matter, right, you knew that they were talking to law enforcement and helping to build other cases and so on.
Some of these folks may not be cooperating, or some of them might. We might just not know about it. But, I think the bigger thing is that it`s just, number one there`s so many matters of secrecy, as Carol was talking about, so they just can`t be made public. But, two, more importantly, cases just take time to build. And so, we saw a number of matters that were ready that have come out for various reasons -- again, I cited Michael Cohen earlier. And, you know, I think the thing that what this does reveal is that we`re just going to see a trickling out of cases, some of them, like you said, might be central players, some of them might be bit players, you know, who knows.
Now, I think the one name, and I think that`s what people want to hear, at the risk of quote, unquote, naming names, the one name that I was surprised to not see anywhere was Erik Prince given that it appeared that some of his statements were untruthful to congress.
Now, that may still come out at some point. Congress can still make a referral if they feel that they were lied to, but that was the one that seemed a little odd, far more -- even more than Trump, Jr.
REID: And, well, not only that, Carol, but you also have a lot of open questions, you know, what about Mike Flynn. That sentencing hasn`t happened yet. What about Roger Stone? There is still the question of whether or not there will be further inquiry into Julian Assange. What would you sort of advise us to be looking out for as kind of the next shoe to drop in what`s obviously an ongoing investigation.
LAM: Very tough to say. I mean, I think with respect to Flynn, we know that there is already a pending indictment against Assange. I don`t know that we are going to will see a lot more there.
I think what we might look out for are, again, either peripheral players that might matter that much, or things that were identified during these other cases, but venue might lie somewhere. For example, there might be a false statement that was made in another place in the country and therefore that has to go to a different U.S. attorney`s office. So there might be some sort of spreading of the crimes there, but beyond that it is very hard to tell.
I should say also that it`s not clear that all of these will come to fruition. They were referrals. They could be in any state of investigation.
REID: And very quickly before we go, Elliot, does it surprise you, given the fact that we know Jared Kushner had a lot of these contacts with Russians and that Donald, Jr. did with the help of his father make up a different story for the Trump Tower meeting, that they weren`t sort of more further named, and could they be some of the names in the blacked out portions?
WILLIAMS: Of course, they could, and again it`s always tricky to speculate as to who is charged and who is not.
You know, Donald Trump Jr. is a tricky and very difficult case, because the thing that hung up the changing of him was this willfulness question. Did he know he was committing a crime? That`s complicated under the law. I know it seems straight forward to everybody. We think he lied. We think he did it, but the Supreme Court has actually grappled with that very question, what you need to know for some of these regulatory offenses. And it actually doesn`t shock me that they didn`t charge him even though it seems like a matter of common sense. These things are tough.
REID: These things are tough. Carol Lam and Elliot Williams, thank you both very much. Appreciate it.
Well, among the revelations in the Mueller report was the portion in which Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, admitted to investigators that she had lied to the American people. The incident in question came after the firing of FBI Director James Comey. Sanders, who is are paid by the American people as the spokesman for the president, stood at the White House podium and stated that rank and file employees at the FBI had lost confidence in Comey before Donald Trump decided to sack him.
She said she had literally spoken with, quote, countless people inside the FBI who told her that.
Now, a press secretary lying to the public in order to make the boss`s decision seem more popular than it was maybe textbook propaganda, but it`s not exactly illegal. Lying to the special counsel, however, that`s a felony. So when Sarah Sanders was asked about the lie that she told at the podium by Robert Mueller`s team, she didn`t take any chances, she admitted to investigators that her comments were not founded on anything. And she claimed that when she said countless, it was just a slip of the tongue.
Well, take a look and decide if this sounds like a slip of the tongue to you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are led you and the White House to believe that he lost the confidence and the rank and file in the FBI and the acting director says it`s exactly the opposite.
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, I can speak my own personal experience. I`ve heard from countless members of the FBI that are grateful and thankful for the president`s decision. And I think that we may have to agree to disagree. I`m sure that there are some people that are disappointed, but I`ve certainly I heard from a large number of individuals, and that`s just myself. And I don`t even know that many people in the FBI.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just to follow-up on the FBI thing, and I`m not trying to be overly combative here, but you said now today, and I think you said again yesterday, that you personally have talked to countless FBI officials, employees since this happened.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, really? I mean, really? So, are we talking about...
SANDERS: Between like email, text messages, absolutely.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So like 50, 60, 70?
SANDERS: Look, we are not getting into a numbers game. I mean, I have heard from a large number of individuals that work at the FBI that said that they are very happy with the president`s decision.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: A mere slip of the tongue.
So, now well we know according to Sanders herself per the Mueller report that the story that you just heard her tell in her official capacity as press secretary cover up for the Comey firing was a lie.
But today Sarah Huckabee Sanders went on a TV tour and this is what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: Look, I`ve acknowledged that the word countless was a slip of the tongue, but it`s no secret that a number of FBI, both current and former, agreed with the president`s decision.
I said that it was in the heat of the moment, meaning it wasn`t a scripted thing, it was something that I said, which is why that one word has become a big deal.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS CHIEF ANCHOR: Sarah, hold on. The special counsel writes that those comments were not founded on anything. That`s what you talked to the special counsel about when you were facing criminal penalties if you didn`t tell the truth, but now you are trying to walk away from it. Why can`t you acknowledge that what you said then was not true?
SANDERS: I said that the word I used countless, and I also said if you look at what`s in quotations for me it`s that and that it was in the heat of the moment, meaning that it wasn`t a scripted talking point. I`m sorry that I wasn`t a robot like the Democrat Party.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Joining me now with his reaction is Bob Garfield, co-host of WNYC`s On the Media. And Bob you`re laughing. I mean, she is not a robot, for god`s sake.
Your thoughts on why -- if it is in the Mueller report, it is written in here in black and white. She admitted it to investigators. So, why go back on that now publicly?
BOB GARFIELD, CO-HOST, ONE THE MEDIA: First of all, we have to address the fact that it was a slip of the tongue, because she had a slippery tongue. She has a history of slippage on any number of subjects going back her whole tenure, and she slipped again on this phrasing twice more in the ensuing 24 hours.
And then your tape didn`t play all of it, but when she was cornered, she went to the old Sarah Sanders stand by of saying what about Hillary, what about the Democrats. What about Satan, huh? And that is really something.
But I have to say, I`m a little puzzled that you are even doing this segment, lies from the Trump White House. This is like doing a segment on Planks Constant -- there is no news here.
REID: But I mean, well the thing is, I guess the news of it, Bob, I would say, is so, yes, from the largest inauguration ever, we started off with Sean Spicer, this president has required his press secretaries to perform a thing that is not about reality, right? And that they have to do that. That is part of their job.
But in general, the press secretary is one of the few ways that the public can find out anything that is happening inside the White House. What does it mean in the bigger picture when you cannot rely on anything that is being said from that podium? Isn`t that a problem? Isn`t that a crisis in confidence just in general for the public?
GARFIELD: Well, of course that`s a rhetorical question. You know, the fact is that we are in unusual times. And the -- we are facing presidential administration of unprecedented depravity. And Sarah Sanders is not the disease, she is a symptom of this wasting disease, and just a mouth piece for depravity.
And nothing in our history prepared us for this. Even Ron Ziegler, Nixon`s press secretary, was relatively speaking a straight shooter. But she is not there to serve the interests of the public, she is there as a political operative to spin and lie and change the subject and deflect from the literally thousands of other lies and all sorts of ghastly behavior we have seen under this administration.
You mentioned Sean Spicer, he at least seemed embarrassed to be in this role. But this woman is an eager beaver. She is all over covering up for the excesses and worse of the Trump regime.
REID: And, you know, then I guess the question then is thrown back to the media is what should the press do, because there is this ongoing debate that you mostly see on social media, of whether or not the press should even show up to press conferences by these people or invite them on their shows to be interviewed. What do you think?
GARFIELD: I would never have her on my program. There is no point going through the exercise or there`s seldom a point, I would say, of going through the exercise of having a guest who you know in advance is going to lie, or spin, or change the subject, or deflect or what have you. It`s useless.
And you know, I don`t know who it serves except possibly them for whatever they deem to be their political end. So no.
And as to the larger question, no, I`m a news organization. I would take NYU professor Jay Rosen`s advice and just send interns. They can do the stenography part of the job of being a White House reporter, the rest of the job, getting accountability from the people elected to serve office, that`s approximately impossible under these circumstances, so there`s no point in being there, it`s just a charade.
REID: And, you know, one of the signs that sort of, you know, autocracy is that you begin to not be able rely on anything that`s coming out of the government, it`s all in the service of the president`s message.
There still has to be a way for journalism to operate in that kind of a situation. What would you advise the media to do if they cannot rely on anything that they are being told by the White House or by the attorney general or by the press secretary, et cetera?
GARFIELD: Yeah, I would do my journalizing outside of the White House press offices, that`s what I`d do. I would just get as far away from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue as I could, and get on the phone and try to ferret out the truth. You are not going to locate it there, so once again, why go through the process that just -- that just imputes credibility by the very presence of the national press? Go somewhere where you can locate some facts.
REID: Yeah, well, luckily enough they don`t really do press conferences anymore, so that`s not a problem.
Bob Garfield, thank you so much. Have a great weekend. Thank you.
Meanwhile, as Joe Biden prepares to enter the race for the White House, some Democratic presidential candidates are tackling the question of impeachment head on, and some, they`re dodging it, next.
REID: A special Thing One, Thing Two tonight without the commercial in the middle. Remember Duncan Hunter, also known as the vaping congressman, or more recently known as the indicted congressman after he and his wife were charged last year on campaign finance violations, wire fraud, and conspiracy? His case will go to trial in September.
But in the meantime, while he`s out on bail, Hunter still managed to win reelection, barely. And now he`s back to doing the things his constituents expect of him like shooting trolly pro-Trump videos at the border in the middle of the night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DUNCAN HUNTER, (D) CALIFORNIA: So here is the grand border wall in Yuma, Arizona. This is what we expect to stop people, transnational terrorists, families, all illegal aliens from coming across the border. This is it. It looks pretty tough to cross. Let me see if i can do it. Hey, here we go. That`s how easy it is to cross the border here in Yuma, Arizona.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Wow, that is amazing how easy it was for him to just like hop right on over into Mexico. But wait a minute, that guy is not allowed to cross the border. He`s out on bail. He can`t even leave the country.
Hunter`s opponent, who is planning to challenge him again in 2020, alerted their local San Diego paper that Hunter either broke the law and violated conditions of his release, or was pulling a political stunt.
Which brings us to Thing Two. Duncan Hunter was forced to admit that he faked the whole thing. That thing he is stepping over is not the border. That is a vehicle barrier. It was like 75 to 100 feet away from the actual border, which is the Colorado River. Hunter`s spokesman confirmed to Politico that, quote, Congressman Hunter remained in the U.S., but then added I recognize our opponent is trying to create a headline, but I would encourage him and others to look and review a map.
Well, that`s a weird attack. I mean, OK, here`s a map. You will see the actual border is in blue right by the river. And way over there in red is the vehicle barrier. The blue is the real border, the red is the fake border that Duncan Hunter stepped over when he lied about crossing the real border. Real border blue, fake border red. And thus ends the map review portion of our show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HUNTER: Yuma, Arizona, is that way behind the camera. And this is the border fence, this is the grand border fence, that you won`t see on the fake news media. This is why we need a wall. This is why Trump is right. This is what we need to get rid of and expand upon to secure this country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: After what feels like the longest period of reflection in politics, Joe Biden is expected to announce this Wednesday that he is running for president. And according to the RealClearPolitics average of recent polls, he is expected to enter the field as the front-runner ahead of the three other white guys who are currently polling in the top five.
Here to talk about how the Democratic field is shaking up is New York Times op-ed columnist and MSNBC political analyst Michelle Goldberg, and Democratic pollster Cornell Belcher, who is also an MSNBC analyst. Thank you both for being here.
Michelle, I`m going to start with you, first, because there is a thing that`s happening where the women are coming hard, like, you know, Senator Elizabeth Warren just came out and said impeachment. She`s throwing out like a truckload of policy every day. Senator Kamala Harris is a prosecutor, who is in the perfect position to kind of comment on the present era with Trump, but it`s just the white dudes who are sorting of making it big, and then Biden is going to come in and be number one. What`s happening?
MICHELLE GOLDBERG, NEW YORK TIMES: I think it is a combination of sexism and fear of sexism, right, because there are people who kind of just are going to overlook certain candidates because they`re women, and then there`s other people who look at what happened to Hillary Clinton, believe, as I believe actually, that you know sexism played a role in her defeat, and then asked themselves do we really want o take that risk again, right?
And so I think that Democrats are really, really concerned about electability. I actually don`t think that Joe Biden is that electable. And I don`t think either party has a great record when they sort of settle on the consensus candidate that nobody is super excited about. But I understand why people think that he is the safest choice given that defeating Trump is such an imperative.
REID: Well, and let`s ask you, Cornell, is there data to back up people`s fears? Because I can tell you anecdotally when I ask people who they think should be the nominee, almost to a person they say Biden because they feel safe with him. Is that a -- is there data to back up their sense that he is the safe guy?
CORNELL BELCHER, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: Well, a couple things. One is, listen, there is sexism that plays a role in politics as well as racism and other biases, but to understand why Biden enters his race as a front-runner has everything to do with familiarity.
You know, Biden and you go pull out a couple weeks ago, it showed, you know, Biden has 70 percent favorables among Democrats. He`s someone that they know and they`re comfortable with. And Biden is very favorable right now is 36 among Democrats.
You know, Booker`s, 36 percent of democratic voters in that same poll don`t know enough about Cory Booker to rate him, so Biden being a well known quantity here at this time is very much, has everything to do with how he enters the race as a front-runner.
And I will also point out to you, Joy, that being a front-runner at this time, and the Democratic primary, is actually the kiss of death. Because if you look at -- you know, I think this race is a lot more like 2004 than it was anything else. And if you look at this time at that period of time, Lieberman was a front-runner and then Gephardt for awhile became front-runner as well. So, these early polls polls don`t put too much weight on these early polls.
REID: Yeah, that`s a good point. It is still early. You know, the other thing that`s strange that`s going on, Michelle, is that there`s a sense that a lot of candidates are trying to find a general election positioning that somehow will get them to win the primary, meaning you`ve got Bernie Sanders, who this new poll that his, I believe, first place, as the first poll that he is first and I think Biden is second. 26 percent of Bernie Sanders voters said they would rather vote for Donald Trump over Elizabeth Warren. You have a substantial percentage of his supporters who are independents.
You have a lot of this kind of positioning saying I can win the voters in Indiana or the voters in Kansas, when they haven`t yet won the voters in New Hampshire and in Iowa and South Carolina.
GOLDBERG: Well, right, but that`s the pitch, right. I mean, the pitch that people want to hear above all is, you know, yes, I will accomplish all of these things that are part of the Democratic platform, but I could beat Trump, right. I mean, that`s the sort of -- you know, that`s the kind of top line message for a lot of these people.
I think that we should look back at recent Republican elections. I mean, on paper you would assume that both Mitt Romney and John McCain were far more electable candidates than Donald Trump, but you need to thrill your own base.
And don`t get me wrong, I admit that Joe Biden has a base, B ernie certainly has a base, but I feel like the most important thing is that voters not sort of try to outsmart themselves, or not second guess themselves, right. I mean, you kind of go with who you are passionate about and build from there.
REID: And then, Cornell, the other question is about who is your base, right. Because there doesn`t seem to be a lot of concern at present, the potentially African-American voters might not be enthused, that the assumption is they`ll just come along with whoever it is and the imperative is to get really white voters enthusiastic.
BELCHER: Well, let`s just say this, the candidate who is thinking that way and that campaign is thinking that way, one, I don`t think they`re going to win -- I don`t think they can be the Democratic nominee, and two, they sure as heck won`t beat Donald Trump in a general election, because one of the things we`ve talked about I think, Joy is, how pivotal South Carolina plays and how pivotal Nevada plays, so voters of color will be instrumental in determining who the candidate for the Democratic nomination will be and if that person is ignoring the African-American who Hispanic vote, that person will not be our nominee.
REID: It`s going to be tough. Michelle Goldberg, Cornell Belcher, thank you both.
That is ALL IN for this evening. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now.
And good evening, Rachel.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END