CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York I`m Chris Hayes. We`ve got breaking news at this hour that one of the chief criticisms of Attorney General William Barr summary of the Mueller report was made by none other than the Special Counsel himself Robert Mueller "The Washington Post" reporting the Special Counsel complained to the Attorney General in a letter on March 27th regarding Barr`s four-page summary that had been released just three days prior.
Quoting Mueller`s letter from a copy received by "The Washington Post." The summary letter the department sent to Congress and released it to the public late in the afternoon of March 24th did not fully capture the contacts nature and substance of this office`s work in conclusion, Mueller wrote.
There is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation. This threatens to undermine essential purpose for which the department appointed the special counsel to assure full public confidence in the outcome the investigations.
Mueller did not leave it at that. The Special Counsel requested that Barr released the introductions and executive summaries that they`ve prepared from this 448-page report and even suggested some redactions to make that possible.
Senior Justice Department officials were reportedly shocked by Mueller`s letter. And again quoting the Post, "A day after the letter was sent Barr and Mueller spoke by phone for about 15 minutes according to law enforcement officials. In that call Mueller said he was concerned that news coverage of the obstruction investigation was misguided and creating public misunderstandings about the Office`s work according to Justice Department officials.
Mueller reportedly did not clean Barr`s letter was inaccurate but the summary letter was being misinterpreted. "Throughout the conversation, Mueller`s name worried was that the public was not getting an accurate understanding of the obstruction investigation, officials said.
I`m joined now by Matt Zapotosky who reported on this story for The Washington Post tonight and who helped write an introduction and analysis of the Mueller report. What more can you tell us about your story, Matt?
MATT ZAPOTOSKY, REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, yes. You`ve got to kind of flashback to this March time period Mueller`s investigation has ended and Bill Barr decides to send a Congress a four-page letter distilling down this 447 page report into effectively two conclusions, and one is that the President didn`t coordinate with Russia and the other is that Mueller didn`t come to a decision on obstruction. And so Bill Barr stepped in and he came to a decision on obstruction.
So Mueller we now know from reading this letter is upset by that. He feels like that for all intents and purposes, mischaracterizes his work. The quotes that are pulled out themselves aren`t inaccurate, but the picture it`s painting overall is just not accurate. So he writes this letter, they have this call that you just described.
One other details, this kind of results in Bill Barr sending another letter to Congress. People might not remember this one where he says, look, I wasn`t trying to summarize Mueller`s findings. I remember feeling at the time, that`s pretty weird because that`s exactly what you did.
But we now sort of know this is why he had heard from Mueller, knew Mueller was upset and I think was trying to tamp down the kind of -- I guess he was trying to make sure people held their breath and sort of waited for the actual Mueller report because that`s what Mueller himself wanted.
HAYES: One of the details here as well right, is that there were these executive summaries. We learned about that through leaks from Mueller`s team more or less. We don`t know who the sources are. That Mueller had prepared with the apparent clear intention they were released by Barr, and Barr did no such thing.
ZAPOTOSKY: Yes. If it wasn`t clear when Mueller turned the document over because you can see now in his report every page as marked as having possibly grand jury material including those executive summaries. But if it wasn`t clear then, it certainly was clear on March 27th when he sends over this letter and also says hey we should release these executive summaries. Here are some possible redactions.
So maybe Bill Barr could argue it wasn`t exactly clear on March 22nd when Mueller raps up. But by the end of March, it is certainly clear that this is what Mueller wants and Bill Bart doesn`t want to do it.
HAYES: I want to just play -- I mean this is a remarkable moment in April 9th on Barr is testifying on the Hill about how he doesn`t believe in summary. The guy has just written a four-page summary that has driven news coverage everywhere. It`s led to the President to take a victory tour. It`s led right-wing media to call for recriminations and firings and essentially a kind of metaphorical guillotine for various members of the 4th state.
And here is -- here is Barr talking about his views on summaries. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL, UNITED STATES: In my view, I was not interested in putting out summaries or trying to summarize because I think any summary regardless of who prepares it not only runs the risk of you know, being underinclusive or over-inclusive, but also you know, would trigger a lot of discussion and analysis that really should await everything coming out at once. So I was not interested in a summary.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: We now know that Mueller was like -- but that`s what you did dude, right.
ZAPOTOSKY: Yes. And I think even more remarkable after he says that he goes and has this press conference. Again, before Mueller`s report is released, it`ll be at only about an hour and a half and he again offers a summary that is very favorable to President Trump. He says some iteration five times of no collusion.
And again, this is a summary which only a couple weeks earlier he had said he was kind of not interested in.
HAYES: All right, Matt Zapotosky who broke this story for The Washington Post along with some other news outlets and now have it. I want to thank you for your work. For -- we`re going to bring in two people who understand the Justice Department just a second, but just -- before we do that, if you`ll stay with me for a second. I want to -- I want to go zoom in on a detail that to me shows everything you need to know about who Barr is and how he`s comported himself.
You remember when he released that four-page letter, there was this finding on coordination with the Russians that goes like this. As the report states, and then there`s a -- there`s a bracket around the T to capitalize it, to paraphrase, the investigation did not establish the members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in election interference activities.
That was the cornerstone upon which the president and allied propaganda forces of the President built this entire sort of rhetorical infrastructure about no collusion, etcetera. The actual sentence starts with this clause, "Although the investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and work to secure that outcome, and that the campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen released for Russian efforts, the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated the Russian government in its election interference activities.
That tells you everything you need to know but the level of good faith of which Bill Barr has been operating and the shocking detail today that Robert Mueller called him up and said what are you doing after writing a letter putting it in writing just further confirms the mission that the man who now runs the Department of Justice, the nation`s lawyer, the chief law enforcement official is working fundamentally as a lawyer for the President of the United States and not the American people.
Matt Miller is the former chief spokesperson for the Department of Justice, he`s an MSNBC Justice Analyst. Frank Figliuzzi former Assistant Director for Counterintelligence at the FBI and an MSNBC an NBC News National Security Analyst. And Frank, let me -- as someone who worked under Robert Mueller, and you`ve sort of spoken about your relationship and how you think about him doing his job, your reaction to the fact that he was motivated to write a letter to the man that was fundamentally his supervisor in his position expressing his frustrations.
FRANK FIGLIUZZI, MSNBC NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Christ, this is exactly how Mueller operates. And those of us who`ve worked within have said this on the air repeated -- repeatedly. He`s meticulous about memorializing documenting his objections to how higher-ups are characterizing his work.
We`ve seen it him do it at the FBI in the most sensitive high-profile cases but he does it within the system and he`s done it again. He will go on record as objecting to how someone is handling the truth. And we`re watching a cover-up unfold in front of us. The question is why, why would Barr do this? What motivates him? Was it cash? Was it the promise of just the A.G. position? What would motivate a man to go up against someone like Mueller, a decorated combat veteran who`s been in the trenches for decades and think that you could get away with it?
So the Mueller we know is the Mueller we`re hearing about now and I predict we`ll hear in full on testimony on the Hill.
HAYES: Well, to Frank`s point, Matt, I mean, the motivation here seems to me the motivation of everyone who`s been toadying essentially if the president which is please the boss. And the boss liked what Bill Barr did, we know that from reporting, we know he`s going around the White House saying finally I`ve got this guy. He`s better than the Sessions. And he fundamentally succeeded in this brazen kind of con job for a month.
The only thing that anyone knew about this thing this 440-page document that had been in the works for two years was the four-page summary that he wrote.
MATT MILLER, MSNBC JUSTICE ANALYST: Yes, that`s right. I hear this question asked all the time. Why would Bill Barr, someone who was completely respected who`d had a successful time as Attorney General in the past. Why would he come in here and do this for Donald Trump? Why would he sacrifice his own --
HAYES: They all do.
MILLER: -- ruin his reputation, and that is exactly the right answer. They all do. But also, I don`t think he cares. Look, he had one job here and that was to give the president, give the president`s allies in Congress, and give the right-wing media their media sphere the talking point they need which is that the Justice Department had cleared the President on obstruction, and it cleared the President on collusion.
And I think the thing that is so remarkable to me is not just that he was misleading but that after the special counsel called him on it. He waited three weeks, didn`t do anything to clear up that that misleading impression, but then went out and doubled down on his press conference and went out and was again misleading about what the report had was -- had found saying that it confirmed that the president had not -- had not colluded, not broken a lot which is not of course what it said. And it was misleading about why Mueller didn`t reach and it didn`t make a determination on obstruction.
So I think that tells you to your point, if anyone had any doubt whether he was operating in good faith, it is abundantly clear right now that he has one job in one job only, and that is to protect the president.
HAYES: I mean, of course, there`s the question of whether Congress should hear from Mueller and conducting their oversight duties. I should say, Frank, that the Chair of the Judiciary Committee, Congressman Jerry Nadler just tweeted Mueller has written a letter objecting of our summary of his report because it did not fully capture the contacts nature and in substance to the investigation.
I`ve demanded the letter and Barr must answer for this. Mueller must be allowed to testify. Do you anticipate given this that we are going to see Robert Mueller on the Hill?
FIGLIUZZI: I think it`s a virtual certainty. And in fact, Barr would be obstructing Congress if he denied Mueller the permission to do that. Of course, we all know now that the man who announced there was no instruction was actually himself obstructing.
And so we need to view Barr as just that now an obstructionist. And if it takes a subpoena to get Mueller to the Hill then so be it. But Mueller needs to speak to the American public and the American public needs to hear Mueller.
HAYES: What do you think, Matt?
MILLER: I wish I shared Frank`s optimism. Look, I think we absolutely do need to hear from Bob Mueller. I think the special -- the Judiciary Committee is going to send him a subpoena. But I don`t know -- I don`t have any reason to think that the Justice Department is currently constituted won`t block him from going to testify.
And I do have real doubts that Mueller, as long as he is a Justice Department employee will go up and testify against the wishes of his superiors. That would be somewhat out of character with how he`s -- how he`s behaved in the past. Maybe once he leaves the department, it might be different.
But look, the way they`ve shown such bad faith in this process and just not -- the way that they`re so shameless about it. That they will -- you know, that bar would stand up and have that press conference an hour and a half before a report is going to be released that`s going to undermine everything that he said doesn`t give me a lot of faith that they`re actually going to let the Special Counsel go testify without at least a big fight.
HAYES: Let me ask you something, Matt, a follow-up question to do your best, DOJ flack code-breaking for me. This is the spokesperson for the Justice Department who basically confirms the story and says the Special Counsel emphasized that nothing in the Attorney General`s March 24th letter was inaccurate or misleading. He expressed frustration over the lack of context and resulting media coverage regarding the special counsels obstruction analysis. At one point it`s called cordial and professional. What do you think of that?
MILLER: I think they are probably picking out, cherry-picking you know, probably one line may be the Attorney General asked Mueller a question, are you saying I misled the public and Mueller said no that`s not what I`m saying. But if you look at the language of this letter where he says you know, that it did not fully capture the context, the nature and the substance of my report and left the American public confused, he is outright accusing him of misleading the American public.
I see -- I get the spin from the Justice Department`s press person, but when you look at what that letter actually said, he didn`t come out and say you lied to the American public but that is clearly, clearly the impression that he had.
HAYES: do you agree with that Frank?
FIGLIUZZI: Oh yes. This is -- that`s right on the money. What we`re watching here -- don`t be fooled by the polite language. This is -- this battle going on in legal diplomacy language right here and there. This is a fight that`s on.
HAYES: That`s right. I mean, let`s just be clear. You don`t send a letter basically saying what are you doing, you have fundamentally, essentially mischaracterized my work, you know, in polite diplomatic legalese unless you`re pretty heated about what happened and unless you have a very strong view on what should be released aka the summaries I lovingly prepared for you to release to the public which you`ve sat on now for a month which is of course what happened.
MILLER: And Chris, can I just say that there`s no reason to take that statement from the press person at face value either. That might be -- that might be a complete lie given the way that Barr has mischaracterized the report. If the Attorney General is willing to go out in front of cameras and mischaracterize the report, there`s no reason to actually think that even that statement is a correct recitation of their conversation.
HAYES: Iron law of the Trump era, extend the most basic modicum of the assumption of good faith to anything and you will end up burned to a crisp. Matt Miller and Frank Figliuzzi, thank you for your time.
I`m joined now by Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Chair of the House Financial Services Committee. This is not the purview of your specific committee but you obviously have strong feelings about both the Department of Justice, how its conducted himself, this president, Mr. Barr. Your reaction to the news that Mr. Mueller objected in writing to the characterization, called Mr. Barr and asked him to release those summaries and none of that was done.
REP. MAXINE WATERS (D-CA): Well, first of all, I am so pleased that our Special Counsel Mr. Mueller not only wrote a letter to Mr. Barr. But he got on the telephone and he absolutely said to him that what he had done did not capture the context or substance or the nature of his work.
And so now that it has been revealed, it helps the American people to know that this administration and all of those who are lined up with the president trying to protect him have obstructed not only justice but obstructed Congress of the United States of America.
This is typical of what is going on with this President and this administration. They do everything that they can to deny information about who this president is and what he has done. He refused to be interviewed, he fired Comey, he has basically refused to criticize Putin. He has absolutely obstructed justice.
And in that report, what Mueller did was he told Congress of the United States, I`m not exonerating him. Here are the facts. Now it`s up to you to deal with them. And unfortunately, we have not dealt with it.
HAYES: Well, what do you mean by that? I mean, look, the leadership is basically said -- Nancy Pelosi said impeachment is not worth it. You are now in the midst of an oversight fight in which the president has gone to sort of a maximalist war footing.
Since I have you here, the president is suing Deutsche Bank which is the subject of some of your subpoenas to attempt to legally force them not to comply with the somewhat novel argument, the president`s privacy. The most public person in the world is being invaded by the subpoenas you`ve issued. What do you make of that?
WATERS: Well, the fact of the matter is the President said that they would fight every subpoena. They are brazen, they are disrespectful, they are trying how to stop the Congress of the United States from exercising its constitutional duties and responsibilities. We have the responsibility for oversight and investigation, but he does not respect that.
As a matter of fact it is absolutely, absolutely obstruction of Congress now. It is not only the obstruction of justice that`s described in the report. But what they`ve said to Congress is we`re not going to let you do your job. This is dangerous for the presidency period. It is dangerous because the next president`s coming in. If they get away with this then we have lost really what a president should be all about and what that office represents.
HAYES: When you use that -- when you use that term obstruction of Congress. That`s a term used if I`m not mistaken in articles of impeachment that were issued against Richard Nixon before he resigned. They were added -- they were not in the original bunch. Something somewhat similar in the 11th article that was issued against Andrew Johnson about the way that that president treated Congress. Is that -- is that what you`re referring to when you se that term specifically?
WATERS: Well, everyone knows that I believe that this president should be impeached -- should have been impeached. And I also understand that the polls are showing that we don`t yet have the public with us. And that makes it very difficult for the members of Congress who are trying to carry out their duties and responsibilities, and responding to their constituents.
And so we`re now our committees that six committees that have oversight responsibilities and investigative responsibilities. We`re going to carry on with our investigations, with our oversight, and with our issuing of subpoenas. If they fight us in court, we`re going to fight them back. The president said he was going to fight us tooth and nail, we`re going to fight him tooth and nail.
They won`t just get away with this we`ve got to convince the public that this man is irresponsible, he`s dangerous with no respect for the Constitution or the Congress of the United States. We have to keep just working at it.
HAYES: Final question for you, and this is about the fate of Bill Barr. Julian Castro tweeting that Attorney General Barr willfully misled the American people to cover up attempted crimes by Donald Trump. He should resign his position or face an impeachment inquiry himself immediately. What do you think of that?
WATERS: `I think that`s correct. I think that Barr should resign, and if he does not resign, he should be facing impeachment proceedings also. He has advocated on his responsibility. He has lied, he has used the very words coming right out of the president`s mouth, no collusion, no collusion, no collusion, and made a decision that despite what the Special Counsel put into that report about obstruction of justice, he said he made the decision that he had not obstructed justice. It is outrageous and he needs to go.
HAYES: All right Congresswoman Maxine Waters, thank you so much for your time tonight.
WATERS: You`re welcome. Thank you.
HAYES: Joining me now is Nick Akerman, former Watergate Prosecutor, Mimi Rocah former federal prosecutor and MSNBC Legal Analyst. Mimi, I`ll start with you. There`s not really I think a legal issue per se, there might be a constitutional issue in Barr`s conduct here. But there is kind of a procedural issue which is are you undertaking your duties as the head of the Department of Justice in good faith and what do you think this letter that we now know Mueller wrote in the phone call say about Barr`s performance?
MIMI ROCAH, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Absolutely, Chris, and I don`t say this lightly but you know, Barr first misrepresented the report in his letter and then when he testified before Congress, he went a step further than that, and he misrepresented a whole series apparently of communications with Mueller or from Mueller rather in this -- in a letter and in a phone call.
We have to go back now and look at Barr`s testimony before Congress. And this isn`t just a technicality. I mean, he testified after having received these serious complaints for Mueller about how his report was being represented. And Barr either just skirted the line or committed perjury.
And we need to go back and look at his testimony and how he answered certain questions but at a minimum, even you know, this isn`t about looking for more crimes, this is about as you say, how he conducted himself. And he`s just not upholding the office of the Attorney General in the way that anyone regardless of party should expect or hope.
HAYES: Yes, I should -- I should note that I -- we were sort of looking through now some of those hearing transcripts. I do believe at one point he was asked about the reporting saying that Mueller`s team was not happy and he said I don`t -- I don`t know what that`s about or something like that which seems dubious given the fact that you`ve talked to Robert Mueller about Mueller`s concerns.
You know, to the point Mimi just made there which I think is a really important one is you know, a certain level it`s water under the bridge and so far as the redacted report is out. We have accessed the underlying thing. And so the month of spinning that happened from the letter is sort of not as important now because we have it, but it does matter for the conduct of the man who`s the Attorney General the United States.
NICK AKERMAN, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: There`s no question about it. I mean, that letter was one big lie. It wasn`t just that he took it all out of context that it wasn`t summarized properly, he made up this whole idea that even though Mueller detailed at least nine instances of obstruction of justice, I mean really laid it out by virtue of what he did and what his corrupt intent was in doing it, and yet any one of those could have been charged as an obstruction of justice. Mueller says, oh I find there`s no obstruction of justice.
AKERMAN: I mean, the whole thing is spent and they`re still spinning it even on this so-called collusion issue. If you look at page 176 of the first part of the report --
HAYES: You`ll scan my mental --
AKERMAN: It`s the part that relates to Roger Stone and the release into staging and release of stolen documents. If you look at the footnote down below, Mueller says that they considered this law on interstate transportation of stolen property and we`re looking at whether or not the members of the campaign were trafficking in stolen property.
Well the only reason that they couldn`t charge that was because our laws are antiquated. They don`t relate to computer data. So what -- if you read that in connection --
HAYES: Interesting. I see.
AKERMAN: If you read that in connection with everything else that`s going on in the body which mostly is redacted, what they`re really saying is yes, there is collusion.
HAYES: We looked at this. Right.
AKERMAN: There is collusion. There may not be conspiracy because we can`t charge conspiracy because the -- it`s not a crime based on the current statute.
HAYES: Mimi, the Attorney General United States Bill Barr is going to go before the Senate tomorrow and I imagine, I mean -- there`s -- I mean, it`s going to be controlled by Lindsey Graham who I think is a fan and supporter of Bill Barr and how he`s conducted himself. But he`s going to have to face questions from Democrats on that committee.
ROCAH: Yes. And look, there were tough questions to ask before this came out and I`m assuming it`s not a coincidence that this finally did come out tonight.
ROCAH: They`re going to be even tougher questions. I mean, the fundamental issue here is that Bob Mueller did find acts of obstruction that if it were anyone other than the President of the United States who`s protected by this office of legal counsel policy would have been indicted. Many federal prosecutors that said that you know, I`m sure you can find some that disagree, but I think that`s the consensus. It is as strong if not stronger than many obstruction cases that many of us saw.
So the issue is how did Barr -- you know, he needs to answer for how he could have come to this conclusion of no obstruction here, and by the way I`m not facing that just on the fact that he`s the president. Because remember that`s what he said in that four-page letter. That`s what he`s continued to say. It is an indefensible position.
So what happened here is he took this indefensible position which legally, factually, simply cannot be supported, and then he also lied about it. He`s got to answer for both of those things. They`re two separate things but he needs to answer for both of them. And I don`t think there`s any satisfactory answer he can give and he really should resign.
HAYES: Well, it`s notable that the -- that the reporting indicates that in that conversation the frustration was on the characterization of the obstruction inquiry in terms of what you are communicating, about what we were tasked with doing, and what I did is getting lost in how you have sort of swooped in to make this decision.
AKERMAN: That`s right. I mean, and he made based on incorrect law. I mean he -- his job application memo that he sent to the White House and to the Department of Justice before all this happened came up with these crazy notions that you can`t obstruct an FBI investigation when in Watergate that was one of the key charges. The job of the Department of Justice in their request to charge that`s given in every obstruction case relating to an investigation has that in there.
And then he comes up with this crazy idea that the president can`t have corrupt intent when the Barr memo lays it out in detail what his improper purpose was and why he was trying to influence the investigation. I mean, this is a guy who basically twisted the law. He should know better. I mean, he was Attorney General before and you would think he`d know something about obstruction of justice.
But the obvious conclusion is what Mimi said. This is a guy whose only job is to protect the Donald Trump.
HAYES: Protect the president. And the President has been very clear that that is what he wanted. It should not be surprising, I guess in some sense that the man is acting in that way. Nick Akerman and Mimi Rocah, thank you for joining us.
Joining me now NBC News Justice Correspondent Pete Williams. Pete, you`ve been reporting up this story as well. What is your understanding of the sequence of events here?
PETE WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, what the -- what we`re told by Justice Department officials is that the Special Counsel Robert Mueller told Barr that the initial account of the Mueller report in Barr`s four-page letter caused public confusion. They say that there was a letter first from Mueller to Barr and then a telephone call that Barr called Mueller to talk about it. And that Mueller said that this is the March 24th page letter.
This is the four-page description of what Barr called the reports principal conclusions didn`t fully capture what Mueller called the context and substance of that more than 440-page document. And Mueller suggested that bar should release the brief summary sections of the report.
Now what we`re told is these officials say Mueller did not describe Barr`s letter as inaccurate but thought it resulted in misleading news coverage about the report, and they say Mueller expressed his frustration over that and what he thought lack of context was causing.
Now, Barr has said he not water release the report piecemeal, that this is what he told Mueller, and of course, Barr has said this publicly as well. And that he couldn`t simply release the summaries because they had not yet been scrubbed to remove grand jury information.
And we`ve now have seen the report and if you look at the top of every page it says, may contain information covered by the federal rules of Criminal Procedure 6E which is the grand jury information warning that that material has to be redacted.
There`s been some frustration initially by the Justice Department that when the report was turned over to DOJ, it didn`t have those reductions and that the Justice Department folks had to say to Mueller`s team hey, you know, we need your help. How would we know what the grand jury stuff and here is? You need to flag it for us.
So that is our understanding of the -- of the nature of these conversations. And of course, you can read bars letter for yourself, the March 24th letter. You can read the Mueller report. You can reach your own conclusions about whether you think Barr`s letter was -- lacked context or not.
HAYES: All right, Pete Williams, thank you very much for that reporting. Joining us now by the phone the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Democrat Adam Schiff of California. Congressman, your reaction to this.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Well, look at one level it`s not surprising because we saw just how misleading the Barr summary is when we finally got the report. But now we see it in black and white from Mueller himself, his dissatisfaction with what Barr had done, how the country was perceiving it. And of course the whole point that you know, that Barr had in releasing this four-page in misleading summary was to help the White House set a public narrative that was at odds with the facts.
So the discussion also about Mueller being unhappy with the public perception, that public perception was being driven by a messaging team that apparently was working in concert with Bill Barr, pushing out this false no collusion no obstruction line when those words appear nowhere in the report.
What we found when we got the report was what we suspected and that is that Mueller wrote his own summaries. And now we have confirmation that Mueller wanted his own summaries to be made public, and this excuse that DOJ is now giving that they didn`t want to release the report piecemeal, as if giving Mueller`s own summaries instead of their own would somehow make it a piecemeal release that just doesn`t pass the laugh test.
HAYES: Do you think Robert Mueller should appear before congress?
We`ve requested that he come before our committee. I believe that he will. He`ll also testify before the Judiciary Committee.
But let`s face it, I don`t think the country can put any confidence in what Bill Barr has to say. He`ll be testifying before congress, but I`m not going to rely, I don`t think anyone, should rely on his characterization of Mueller`s work or conversations with Mueller, because he`s proven to be unreliable and misleading and those are terrible qualities to have in an attorney general.
HAYES: Is he so unreliable that you think he should, in the words of Julian Castro and something agreed to by Maxine Waters earlier in this program, resign or begin impeachment proceedings against the attorney general?
SCHIFF: Well, my feeling was that he should have never been confirmed, and certainly not have been confirmed without committing to recuse himself from a case in which he had such an obvious bias.
Look, I don`t think the country can have confidence in its top law enforcement official. And under those circumstances, it`s hard to see how he can justify to himself his continued service in that position. I think what he has done has been such a tremendous disservice to the country. And if he was true to what he said in his senate confirmation hearings, that he hoped to be able to bring about some public confidence in the results of this all-important investigation, we now have it from Bob Mueller that that`s exactly the opposite effect of what his actions have produced.
HAYES: Do you interpret the existence of this letter, both what was written inside it, the fact that it was written at all, and that there was a phone call afterwards, as a big deal? That it is not something undertaken lightly by Mueller?
SCHIFF: I think it`s a very big deal. And I think what it signals is that Mueller wanted to put his reservations in writing, because he could not rely on Barr to accurately characterize his work in the report, and there was every concern, there certainly should have been, that Barr might not represent Mueller`s reservations accurately. And indeed, we already see a discrepancy between the strength of Mueller`s letter, at least as it`s quoted now in the press, and the Department of Justice trying to say, well, in his conversation, he wasn`t quite as strident as he was in his letter.
Well, I`m not willing to accept another summary from Bill Barr about what Bob Mueller has to say or his reservations. We`ve had two too many false summaries to begin with to take a third at this point.
HAYES: Let me ask you a question that I had asked Chair Waters earlier in this program, the White House has, as far as I can tell, and maybe the reporting on this is inaccurate or I may be mistaken, not turned over a single document in any of the various inquiries that have come from oversight committees, including your own. They`re suing Deutsche Bank and another bank to try to prevent them from complying with subpoenas. They basically said go to hell, more or less. What is your understanding of how within the bounds of sort of the normal parry and thrusts this is between the executive and congress and how new it is and what to do about it?
SCHIFF: I think it`s completely unprecedented. I mean, there certainly have been other presidents who have bridled at congressional oversight or sought to withhold information or made over-broad claims of executive privilege, but no one, to my knowledge, has said, I don`t respect congress as a co-equal branch of government, I won`t yield to any oversight request no matter how mundane, no matter how, you know, just on its face a quintessential part of congressional oversight. We`re going to stonewall everything. That`s this president`s position.
It`s unprecedented. And this is now the second broadside on the system of checks and balances when it comes to congress. The first was going after congress` power of the purse and saying we`re going to declare an emergency and basically evade congress` ability to set funding levels and priorities. Now the administration is saying as imperial president, we`re going to reject any oversight of what we do.
And this will not only have tremendous repercussions in terms of our ability to oversee this administration, but if we were to let this stand, it means that the balance of power is fundamentally altered for the future, that there`s no ability to hold even the most corrupt president accountable. There`s no way to investigate even the worst examples of malfeasance because a president can simply stonewall each and every request.
So we`re going to have to fight this tooth and nail. We`re going to have to succeed, and I think we will. But they`re determined, I think,to draw this out as long as humanly possible.
HAYES: Is there -- have you been -- has the White House or White House staff communicated directly to you their intentions vis-a-vis document production or compliance with subpoenas?
SCHIFF: You know, I had an initial get acquainted meeting with the new White House counsel. Since that time, we have been in negotiations with the Department of Justice and the FBI to get the materials that we need in the intelligence committee. And as you know, the Mueller investigation actually began under Comey as a counterintelligence investigation. We still don`t have any of the findings of the counterintelligence investigation that goes to what possible risks of compromise there are.
And so there`s a statutory obligation to provide that to the committee. In a very atypical illustration of bipartisanship vis-a-vis the Russia investigation, Mr. Nunes and I have sent two joint requests now to the department demanding this information. And, you know, we`re prepared, if necessary, to use compulsion to get it. We want Mueller to testify. We want the underlying evidence. We want make sure that we get answers.
HAYES: So, I just want to make sure I understand that clearly, the counterintelligence portion of this, whatever results from that, whatever work product that resulted from that -- from a counterintelligence perspective -- has not been furnished to your committee at all?
SCHIFF: No, it hasn`t. We were getting periodic counterintelligence briefings up until the point where James Comey was fired. At that point, the most significant counterintelligence investigation in recent history went into a black hole. And the department and the intelligence community stopped fulfilling their statutory obligation to keep us fully informed of any significant counterintelligence activity.
So they`ve been dark now for a year-and-a-half. And that, I think, violates the statute. And we`re insisting on getting full answers now.
HAYES: That`s wild.
SCHIFF: And we`re going to do what`s necessary -- it is, it really is. And I think they know they`re on very weak legal footing. And so we`re pursuing this with all vigor. And we`ve told them basically, we need this information, we need it now, and we`re prepared to go to court to fight to get it if that`s required.
HAYES: All right. Congressman Adam Schiff, thank you so much for making some time this evening.
Here with me now is Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota, presidential candidate and a member of the Judiciary Committee that will hosting, if I`m not mistaken, Bill Barr tomorrow.
Your reaction to this news, senator.
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR, (D) MINNESOTA: Well, it means I`ve certainly had to update my questions, Chris.
I was actually surprised that this is coming out the day before the hearing, but I`m not surprised that Director Mueller would write such a letter, because we knew from the beginning that this four-page summary didn`t do the report justice, that there were issues with that summary and how it created confusion, and it`s really downplayed what we later read in the report, even though we don`t have all the report, it really downplayed the Russian interference, but it mostly downplayed, of course, all the details about obstruction, only acknowledging that there was a difference of opinion and there were two sides to it, in the words of Attorney General Barr.
So this means for me and the committee, we`re going to have to ask even tougher questions now that we`re going to have to demand that Mueller comes testify when there`s clearly a difference of opinion here.
HAYES: On that, is that something that you -- I mean, you`re in the minority on the Judiciary Committee. Lindsey Graham, I think, is on the record -- in fact, I`m certain, on the record saying, look, I don`t need to talk to Mueller. We got the report. It`s fine.
Do you think this changes things? And can you prevail upon the Republican chair to actually call Mueller before your committee?
KLOBUCHAR: Well, we will keep trying and keep pushing him. And that`s why there will be many questions asked about this, and that we want to be able to talk to the people who were involved in gathering this evidence.
I mean, this is not about politics in the end, it`s about protecting our democracy, it`s a national security issue. All week we heard reports about the Homeland Security secretary being told not to talk to the president about Russia`s invasion in our election. We were told that basically the White House has been down playing this, and I personally know that because I`m the Democratic lead on the Secure Elections Act with Senator Lankford, and we know that people in the White House made calls to senators to stop the advancement of that bill when it was ready to have a markup in the rules committee.
And that`s about back-up paper ballots. And it is a bill about audits. And it`s a bill about protecting our elections from a foreign country that`s invading our country. So I do not understand -- by the way they didn`t use missiles or tanks, they used -- instead they hacked in. And I don`t understand why the Republicans would want to allow a foreign country to have this kind of influence over our election. And next time it`s going to be them that they`ll do it to.
And so this news today just more and more fortifies the argument that this White House is not standing up for our national security.
HAYES: Are you -- what is your characterization or conclusions about the attorney general of the United States` general comportment in his role as the chief law enforcement officer of the United States?
KLOBUCHAR: I did not support this attorney general for this very reason. It looked to me that he did a job application when he submitted a memo before he was even being considered about his views that the president had expansive executive power and should be able to basically make his own decisions about laws and shouldn`t have to at all respect the power of congress. So that was my first reaction.
The second was that in his hearing, he verified that more.
And so then we come to this report coming out, and I`m not surprised at all that he would do a four-page conclusion to try to tilt the politics. Instead of just being the people`s lawyer, he was acting as the president`s lawyer.
And again, I believe that we must respect the rule of law, and we must respect the constitution. Add this attorney general has gone way out on a limb here to the point where he is not allowing the 448-page report to speak for itself. And that`s why we will continue to demand we hear from Director Mueller as well as the other witnesses.
HAYES: All right, Senator Amy Klobuchar, thank you so much for your time. We`re continuing to follow the breaking news that Robert Mueller told Attorney General William Barr that Barr had publicly mis-characterized the context, the findings of the Mueller report. It comes on the eve of Barr`s scheduled testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, as he`s threatened to skip a hearing before the house Judiciary Committee on Thursday, and as the White House is fighting Democratic investigations at every turn.
The president, his adult children, and his company are now suing two banks, Capital One and Deutsche Bank, to stop them from complying with congressional subpoenas. The House Financial Services Committee and the Intelligence Committee have both subpoenaed information on the president`s finances as part of their investigations into foreign influence on the U.S. political process.
Faced with this unprecedented stonewalling, House committee chairs are vowing to get the information they`re seeking by any means at their disposal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CUMMINGS: My position is that there is no tool that is in our toolbox that we should not explore, OK? Whatever it is.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Including jail?
CUMMINGS: Again, let me say it again. Did you hear what I said? I said there is no tool in our toolbox that we should not explore.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: And yet, with that escalating battle as backdrop, in a truly surreal scene, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi took a group of Democrats to the White House today to try and make a deal with the president on a bipartisan infrastructure bill.
Joining me now, UC Berkeley professor, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, who argues in a new column for Newsweek that congress should be ready to arrest the attorney general if he defies a subpoena and doesn`t show up; and former Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzmann who voted to impeach Richard Nixon as a member of the House Judiciary Committee. She`s author of The Case for Impeaching Trump.
Let me start with you as a former member of congress. I mean, there`s a question about how much you should be dual tracking the way that you relate to the White House, right? What do you think about the fact that they are waging this sort of defensive battle against oversight and that at the same time you have Democratic leaders going to the White House to be like, hey, maybe we can make an infrastructure deal?
ELIZABETH HOLTZMANN, FORMER CONGRESSWOMAN: Well, I know it`s kind of crazy, but during the impeachment process that we went through in the House of Representatives, again on the Judiciary Committee against Richard Nixon, we did our work. It was kind of compartmentalized. And the House of Representatives continued to do the work of the nation.
And I think we have to do that. I mean, the president is the president, congress has other business aside from this. But they can`t lose sight of this, because what we have going on here is a vast cover-up and the attorney general is participating in it.
And I wanted to say a couple things that remind me about Watergate. Number one, the law that Adam Schiff, Congressman Adam Schiff referred to that requires the president to keep congress informed about CIA activities, that was a direct result of Watergate, and I think I voted for that bill. So we`re talking about something that`s 40 years old, and they`re thumbing their nose at that.
The other thing is that the last time we had an attorney general who facilitated cover-up, he went to jail, John Mitchell. Barr ought to keep that in mind. It`s very dangerous what he`s doing now. He`s misrepresented to congress and to the American people what was in a report, and he`s continuing to do that. And it`s very dangerous.
HAYES: Robert, you wrote that congress should be essentially prepared to put Barr in jail were he to refuse a congressional subpoena. We haven`t gotten to that point at all. Right now there`s a negotiation about requesting an invitation, and whether he will somehow up to face questioning not only from staff, but also from lawyers.
What`s your reaction to the news tonight given that`s the column you just wrote?
ROBERT REICH, FORMER SECRETARY OF LA BOR: Well, I think, Chris, the issue here is all in the shadow of last week`s statement by Donald Trump that he will not respond and he will order everybody else not to respond to any subpoenas. There will be no congressional oversight whatsoever. And what we`ve seen really since then is just a repeat performance.
And when Congresswoman Holtzmann talks about Watergate, this really is the shadow of Watergate. And Sam Irvin, I remember Sam Irvin, who ran that Watergate committee. Sam Irvin saying -- Irvin threatening to jail, to arrest and jail anybody who did not respond to a subpoena.
I mean, you simply can`t have a congress that is unable to enforce a subpoena, that`s unable to have any oversight whatsoever.
HAYES: I want to follow up on the cover-up, the use of the word cover-up here. I mean, to sort of play devil`s advocate for a moment, you can say, well, he manipulated the initial reception of it, right? But we do have a redacted version of the report. I mean, the thing is the thing.
HOLTZMANN: Right, but he was trying to cover up basically presidential involvement with Russia and possible presidential criminality, protecting the president by basically tamping down public reaction to it and congressional reaction. Not every member of congress is going to read the 400-page report, and not every member of the public is going to read that report.
So, when he puts it out as attorney general, no obstruction of justice, that was misleading, and I think it was a lie. He had -- what he did is he overruled Mueller. Mueller said, I cannot exonerate him, and the attorney general said, I can and I am and I will.
And so that was really trying to protect the president of the United States, no question about this. And this -- everything along this line is part of a cover-up by covering up and trying to tamp down information about presidential misconduct. We`re not talking about ordinary misconduct, we`re not talking about, you know, some kind of stealing a paper clip or a Xerox piece of paper, what we`re talking about is the president of the United States, who may have, and according to Mueller, Mueller likely did, engage in obstruction of justice, tampered with witnesses, used the CIA to try to -- or government agencies to try to tamp down an investigation. This is really serious.
And at the base of it is Russian interference with us. So we can`t be in this situation where an attorney general is putting himself right in the middle of it and trying to protect the president.
HAYES: Robert, you obviously, when you were secretary of labor, had to deal with congressional oversight. You would go and testify on the Hill about what was going on at the Department of Labor. You know, there`s always kind of a contentious relationship. And I asked this question of Adam Schiff, and I`ve asked it of Maxine Waters, and I`ll ask you, too, Liz. But where do -- this White House`s general posture, which is go take a long walk off a short pier, where does that stand in your experience of Washington in how things usually work?
REICH: Well, I don`t think there really is any precedent here. The closest precedent, Chris, again, is Richard Nixon. But the stonewalling and the cover-up in the Nixon administration, at least you had some degree of negotiation, some degree of bargaining, and eventually went up to the Supreme Court.
But here we have a blanket stonewall. This is an administration that says absolutely we are not going to cooperate.
And in William Barr, you have an attorney general that I think Donald Trump finally found -- you know, it`s almost as if starting with Jeff Sessions, he`s been auditioning attorney generals to be the attorney general he really wants who is not going to represent the people of the United States, not going to report to the people of the United States, but is going to be a lackey, a lap dog for Donald Trump.
HAYES: Same question to you.
HOLTZMANN: Well, I was the chair of a subcommittee. I remember asking the immigration service about information about Nazi war criminals in the war criminals in the United States. They could have said, oh, I`m not going to answer that question, but they did. It turned out that there were Nazi war criminals in the United States, turned out that they were doing nothing about it, turned out that congress and I worked on it, and we brought a whole program to remove Nazi war criminals from the United States.
So, President Trump is going to say you want to find out about this? No, I`m not telling you. Having congress do its job, the whole point of having congress and not just a king is, that congress is supposed to be a check, find out things that the government is doing that is wrong, not only about what the president is doing that`s wrong, but things that other branches of government are.
You can`t have a democracy, you can`t have our democracy, if the president says, no, no, no. And this is cover-up of potential criminality. This is cover-up of potential collusion with the Russians. It`s cover-up of bad things for this country.
HAYES: All right. Robert Reich and Liz Holtzmann, thank you.
We have more to come tonight and this breaking news. We`ll be back in just 60 seconds. Don`t go anywhere.
HAYES: We continue to cover tonight`s big breaking news, special counsel Robert Mueller wrote to the Attorney General William Barr to complain that Barr had characterized his report in a misleading way.
I want to turn now to Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal of Washington, who is a member of the House Judiciary Committee.
What does this do to your sense of William Barr`s performance as the attorney general of the United States?
REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL, (D) WASHINGTON: It`s completely shocking. And I have to say, I have been studying what Barr has said, first when he released the four-page report, his report. Second, when he did the press conference before he released the redacted report and that was going to be my line of questioning for Thursday, was the inconsistencies between what he said and what the report says.
Now with this news, it is just very, very clear that Barr had one goal, and that was to cover-up and reinterpret Mueller`s report.
Now to see that Mueller has sent a letter. And that in fact, Barr said in his senate testimony, that he didn`t know whether Mueller agreed with his conclusions or not, when he had already received the letter from Mueller, I think this is really deeply, deeply serious, where the attorney general is trying to mislead the public and is trying to cover-up for the president. He`s clearly the president`s attorney and not the people`s attorney.
HAYES: Do you think Robert Mueller should be before your committee, the Judiciary Committee, to give his side of things?
JAYAPAL: Absolutely. We need Robert Mueller to come forward. I mean, clearly, Robert Mueller felt that he had to speak up when he sent this letter. But then, for Barr to even after that go on television, before releasing the redacted report -- and we don`t know, Chris, whether the redactions that Mueller proposed are actually the same redactions that we got. I have a feeling that Mueller intended for that report to not be as redacted, but let`s see. We need to see the full report. We need to hear from Mueller.
But for Barr to go on television at that news conference and then try to still say that there was no evidence, that Robert Mueller had essentially exonerated the president, that`s not -- I read the whole 400-page report, that is not at all what is in the report. So, really, it is a huge disservice to the American public.
HAYES: I have you here. You`re on the Judiciary Committee. You were also involved today in what was a fascinating moment on Capitol Hill, the first hearing ever on Medicare for all, if I`m not mistaken. And it was -- you had Republicans and Democrats there. What was the purpose of that hearing that happened there today?
Am I right that it`s the first time that there`s been a hearing on it?
JAYAPAL: It`s the first time, Chris. It was historic. I mean, this is a wonderful thing to talk about. It was an historic moment where for the first time, ever, in the history of congress, we had a real debate and discussion on a Medicare -- on my Medicare for all bill.
And it has 109 co-sponsors and the witnesses were phenomenal. And I just want to give a the witnesses were phenomenal. And I just want to give a particular shout-out to Ady Barkan, who you know has been a brilliant activist, has been diagnosed with ALS, and made a trip that was seriously threatening to his own life in order to come and testify and really give the crucial moral question, put that question at the forefront, which is, life-and-death issues of health care.
Why can`t we be a country that provides universal health care?
My bill details a plan, and it was a detailed discussion, a really civil discussion, with excellent testimony. And Audi`s (ph) testimony was life -- was game-changing in terms of the whole context of the hearing.
HAYES: You noted civil discussion. I was watching some of the highlights, I was reading some write-ups, it was sort of surprisingly that. I wondered if because it`s so distant from -- it`s not going to in the next year-and- a-half, right, there`s a Republican Senate, there`s a Republican president, does that just take the heat off that you guys can have a conversation? Because it really did seem oddly civil.
JAYAPAL: Well, I think it was a combination of a few things. I think Chairman McGovern did a fantastic job.
I think the witnesses were -- even the Republican witnesses agreed with us on a lot of the points about how much the health care system cost us today, and that Medicare for all would actually save us money. And so, I think that it was a great opportunity to have a dialog, with one or two exceptions on the Republican side. I think the Republicans agreed with us and asked questions, some of which we didn`t agree with, but it was a great discussion.
HAYES: All right, Congressman Jayapal, thank you so much. The Rachel Maddow Show will be here in four minutes. If there`s one show on Earth you should be watching on a night like tonight, it`s Rachel`s.
But to what Congresswoman Jayapal was saying, I cannot let this hour go by without pausing for a moment to acknowledge that truly powerful moment that took place today on the topic that we were just talking about. Back during the heated battle to stop the repeal of Obamacare, you might remember a group of activists with disabilities from the group called Adapt, putting their bodies on the line every day to do everything in their power to stop Republicans passing repeal and gutting Medicaid in ways that would have been utterly cataclysmic.
They won that fight, quite famously. One of the activists that was there along with them at the forefront of that battle to save Obamacare was Ady Barkan. He`s a 35-year-old organizer who was diagnosed with ALS, an irreversible degenerative neurological disease two-and-a0half years ago, and that`s just shortly after his wife gave birth to their son.
Now, Audi (ph) has continued to organize and to speak and to travel as his condition has worsened. And he`s committed every last breath to this legacy for his young son.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADY BARKEN, HEALTH CARE ACTIVIST: I`m losing my ability to speak, so I`m asking people to be my voice. I`m losing my ability to walk, so I`m asking people to march for me, to vote to replace these Republicans in congress with people who listen to families like ours.
All that matters to me is to make you proud of your old dad, because I`m already so proud of you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Today, as he faces down his own tragically unjust early death, Ady Barkan has lost the ability to speak. He can`t talk anymore. But he has not lost his voice.
Today, in a stunningly powerful moment, he testified before the congress of the United States using text-to-voice technology at that hearing, the first ever, on Medicare for all.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARKAN: The time to pass this law is now. Winning this reform will not be easy. The monied interests will do everything in their power to stop us. And yet despite these obstacles and despite the personal challenges that I face, I sit before you today, a hopeful man, a hopeful husband, and a hopeful father. I am hopeful because right now, there is a mass movement of people from all over this country rising up. Nurses, doctors, patients, caregivers, family members, we are all insisting that there is a better way to structure our society, a better way to care for one another, a better way to use our precious time together.
And so my closing message is not for the members of this committee, it is for the American people, join us in this struggle, be a hero for your family, your communities, your country. Come give your passion and your energy and your precious time to this movement. It is a battle worth waging and a battle worth winning.
For my son, Carl, for your children, and for our children`s children, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to win what we really deserve. No more half measures, no more health care for some. We can win Medicare for all. This is our congress. This is our democracy. And this is our future for the making.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That is Ady Barkan and that is ALL IN for this evening. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END