Special Counsel Mueller submits Report to DOJ. TRANSCRIPT: 3/22/19, The Beat w/ Ari Melber.

Guests: Adam Schiff, Neal Katyal, John Flannery; Richard Blumenthal, SamNunberg, Caroline Polisi, Jim Walden, Mieke Eoyang

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST:  Well, it`s been a historic day.  We`ve had Deadline MTP.

WALLACE:  Thank you for keeping me.

TODD:  But guess what, you`re going to have to stay.

WALLACE:  No.

TODD:  We`re going to change the name.  It is "Deadline MTP BEAT".  Ari Melber --

WALLACE:  I actually thought you were leaving.

TODD:  I just gave Nicolle the good news that she doesn`t get to leave either.

WALLACE:  No, my earpiece was broken,

TODD:  Ari --

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST:  We`ll be watching both of you, Chuck and Nicolle.

TODD:  But we`re staying for you if you need us.

MELBER:  Thank you.  Stay with me for this breaking news.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has finished the Russia investigation late today.  He filed his formal report with the Justice Department which announced this news at 5:00 p.m. Eastern on March 22.  A day that history will mark as the end of a significant probe and the beginning of a pitched battle over who will see Bob Mueller`s findings, and what, if anything, to do about them.

Here are the facts.  Attorney General Bill Barr notifying Congress with this letter you see right here, brand new.  It states that the DOJ never overruled Mueller on any big calls, like who to indict.  And states Barr may be in a position to advise Congress of Bob Mueller`s principal conclusions about those indictments and who did he not indict as soon as this weekend.

As soon as this weekend.  So there is a lot to get to.  I have a big panel.  A lot of experts and Chuck and Nicolle waiting.

But I go first to a newsmaker.  The Intelligence Chairman in the House Adam Schiff joins us via phone for his first reaction.  Good evening, sir.  I`m waiting to see if I can hear Chairman Schiff on the phone.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), CHAIRMAN, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE (via telephone):  Ari, I can hear you.

MELBER:  Great.  Thank you.  I hear you now, Chairman.  Our viewers can hear you.  Your reaction to tonight`s news?

SCHIFF:  Well, we`ve been waiting for that puff of smoke about the Justice Department and finally got it today, that the special counsel has concluded his investigation.  The key question though is, will Bill Barr live up to the commitment that he made to be as transparent as possible which would require making public the Mueller report.

We voted overwhelmingly in the House to do that.  But for Lindsey Gram`s stopping that bill in the Senate, I think the Senate would have voted overwhelmingly to make the Mueller report public as well.  But one thing I will add, Ari is the report itself, as important as that will be is not as important as the underlying evidence.

And a particular concern to us in the Intelligence Committee, any evidence of compromise, whether it was criminal or not, any evidence that a U.S. person, the president or anyone around him, may be acting in the foreign interest of an adversary and not in the interest of our country.

MELBER:  So, Mr. Chairman, as you know, this letter was directed to Congress.  You are one of the decision makers reacting to it.  I understand you were referring to the two pieces here.

One, that by this weekend, Bob -- Bill Barr says he could basically refer to you his view of Bob Mueller`s principal conclusions.  And that number two, he says in the time ahead, he will consult with Mueller and Rosenstein about what other information can be released to both you the Congress and the public.

Now that we know that is the stance they take, what is your view, Mr. Chairman, of what must be in that other second bucket of other information?

SCHIFF:  It`s important for people to know that what Mueller is reporting, as best we can tell, are his conclusions on the criminal side of the House, who should be indicted and who shouldn`t be indicted and why he reached those conclusions.  But let`s remember, this began as a counterintelligence investigation as to whether any U.S. persons were acting as agents of a foreign power.

And that information may be of the greatest consequence of the country because it will shed light on whether U.S. policies is being distorted for financial or other reasons.  And that is the information that I think absolutely must be shared with the Congress and ultimately made public.  In fact, there is a statutory obligation to inform the Intelligence Committees of any significant intelligence activity including counterintelligence.

So we`re fully going to expect that that`s what the Department is going to do.  And if we need to compel them to do so, we will.  But we need to know at the end of the day that the president is acting out of the country`s interest and not because he wants to build a tower in Moscow or for any other purpose.

MELBER:  Chairman Adam Schiff has joined us here on our live coverage of the breaking news that the Mueller report has been filed, 5:00 p.m. Eastern tonight.  And everyone making sense of what comes next.

On that Chairman, before I let you go, I also want to ask you.  When you look at the record, now we can mark today as the end of Bob Mueller`s actual investigation, you, Congress, and a lot of other people can react to what he found.

But I want to go over with you before I let you go what he`s done now, 37 indictments, 6 former advisors to Donald Trump, many of them accused of things that relate to activities that were taken, they say, on behalf of Donald Trump.  His lawyer, campaign activities, national security, lying to the FBI.

If this is the end, do you view tonight`s news as an indication there are no other potentially sealed or remaining indictments that we would learn about?  And what does it mean, in your view, that Bob Mueller has this record of 37 indictments and finished his probe today?

SCHIFF:  Well, what it means is that the office of the special counsel, which is essentially a contract attorney to the Justice Department, that that office won`t be bringing any further indictments.  It doesn`t mean, of course, that Main Justice or the Southern District of New York, U.S. attorney`s office or and the Eastern District or others may not bring indictments.

In fact, given the lengthy redactions in many of the pleadings of the special counsel eluding to other investigations, I think it`s entirely possible, if not likely, that there will be other indictments.  Now how central or peripheral they`ll be to the core issues of potential conspiracy is yet to be determined.

But in terms of the special counsel`s record, I think it`s one that, by historic standards and terms of the swiftness of the conduct investigation, the number of people close to the president that were indicted and convicted, the number of Russians indicted, the specificity of the information given about Russia`s interference in our election, it`s a signal accomplishment for any team of prosecutors.

MELBER:  Chairman Schiff, I trust you`ll be busy, especially over this weekend, given that the attorney general says he may be briefing you and your colleagues as soon as this weekend.  And I thank you for calling into THE BEAT tonight with your first reaction. 

SCHIFF:  Thank you very much.

MELBER:  Appreciate it.

We have a lot of experts standing by.  Nick Akerman, Joyce Vance, Maya Wiley, many more.

But as promised, I want to turn to two colleagues of mine who have been covering this story for its entire 22 months.  NBC`s Chuck Todd and Nicolle Wallace, a part of our special continuing coverage of the Mueller report.

Chuck, what does tonight mean?

TODD:  Well, I think it`s the beginning of a new political battle and it`s going to be the beginning of a new legal battle, right.  You`re going to have a legal battle between I think Congress and the Justice Department a bit into what we see, how much we`re going to see it.  And that, of course, will be tinged with politics.

But the larger political battle is going to be what to do about what`s learned in it, right?  We still have to know what`s in it.  But, you know, if there is a pretty solid obstruction case that gets laid out here, and Mueller -- the only reason Mueller decided not to indict it is that he is Mr. By the Book, right?

And the book said the sitting president can`t be indicted, then this Congress is going to have some big decisions to make.  The politics of this is going to be driven -- I have the Democratic side I think more about the presidential candidates though than Congress but we`ll see on that.

And then, of course, there`s the president.  I mean look at the president`s behavior this week.  If this is any indication, because he`s been bracing for Mueller all week, the entire McCain episode was triggered by Mueller, right.

He`s been absolutely -- some people have questioned -- obviously, George Conway questioned his stability.  Sadly, I think he`s very stable here.  This is just a man who is manic and obsessed with one thing.

And you saw it in this irrationality about McCain.  And it is all driven by Mueller.  And so he is a wild card here that could set fire anywhere.

MELBER:  Nicolle.

WALLACE:  Listen, a lot of the folks that I talked to in the national security and former intelligence community say this is the beginning of a brand new phase.  The counterintelligence investigation that Andy McCabe opened into Donald Trump after the firing of Jim Comey, that was -- that`s a recent revelation in terms of information in the public sphere.

We didn`t know that all along Mueller had inherited a counterintelligence investigation to answer this question, is Donald Trump working for Russia?  When we talk about the politics, I`m sure Chuck is right about it but that`s based on what know now.

I think the earth could change under our feet.  And a counterintelligence investigation of anyone doesn`t end in an indictment.  So I know there`s a lot of coverage tonight about indictments.  Mueller didn`t have any more indictments.  I think our network or news organization has known that for a little bit.

But the counterintelligence investigation is more than a flashing yellow light for this administration and this Congress.  And to say we know what the politics are right now is ludicrous, until we know how those questions were answered.

Bob Mueller had access to, not just all intercept intelligence from U.S. intelligence agencies, but he had access to five ICE intel.  He saw everything everybody heard.  And you have to go back to the summer of 2016 to sort of remember just how alarmed the intelligence community was, not just about Russian meddling but about this bizarre intersection between the Trump campaign and Russian meddling.

Those are questions that someone is going to need to know the answers to before we turn the page on the Mueller chapter.

MELBER:  Well, and that goes to what we may find out about this weekend.  It is extraordinary to have the sitting attorney general say, "I got it.  I got the football and I might be passing off details of it by this weekend."

TODD:  Yes.

MELBER:  That`s weekend work for the Justice Department and members of Congress who are eager.  Mr. Barr would have well been within his rights to say by next Friday.  He didn`t do that.

TODD:  Yes.  Well --

MELBER:  Go ahead, Chuck.

TODD:  There`s caveats in that letter.  He may simply say here were the decisions.  Here were the -- but he may not give the reasons for them, right?  He may just say he declined to do this but not give the reason.

MELBER:  Right.  Right.  And that`s -- that language principal conclusions will be very interesting.

TODD:  Right.

MELBER:  Chuck and Nicolle, thanks for staying over with me.  And I know you both are going to be doing a lot of work over this.  We`re going to be seeing a lot of you.

I bring in now former Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal.  He wrote the rules governing this special counsel probe.  I can also mention tonight something we were going to mention on THE BEAT soon but he is a new NBC News and MSNBC legal analyst.

Congratulations and we`ll talk more about that on another night that is less busy.  Let`s start with the core question on the rules that you wrote.  Do you see the letter that Mr. Barr has just submitted to Congress as the right and proper first step under your written rules?

NEAL KATYAL, FORMER ACTING SOLICITOR GENERAL:  Absolutely.  It`s the right first step.  I think what happened today is a chapter, an important chapter has concluded the Mueller investigation.  But it is only the end of the chapter and now there are further chapters to be written.

One is what does this report actually say?  And is Congress going to see it and the American public?  Because we generally don`t have secret books in this country, particularly if we`re dealing with the president.

And another is, is this the only book?  Is this -- the Mueller report going to be comprehensive?  It is going to cover the Southern District investigation about campaign finance, all these other things about the Trump Foundation?  Or is that limited just to obstruction of justice and Russian conspiracy?

MELBER:  Let me read to you from the letter again which is going to be a very important template for everything that comes next.  Mr. Barr went beyond just this weekend part that I said, that is about conclusions.  Then he talks about this wider set of information, what I think a lot of people think of when they think of the so-called Mueller report.

And he says, "I intend to consult with Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein and Special Counsel Mueller to determine what other information from the report can be released to Congress and the public."

Neal, how do you interpret that reference, which is not necessarily required, as Barr suggesting that perhaps he seems to think he`ll have their agreement in the transparency that he ultimately does or does not apply to what Mueller found.

KATYAL:  Right.  I think Attorney General Barr has been sounding exactly the right note which is a belief in transparency, a belief that the American public should see this report because after all, it is one of the most momentous documents, you know, ever produced by any federal official ever.

So I think all of that is right.  And I think, Ari, you`re also right to say the special counsel regulations don`t necessarily require themselves the report to be public, but they don`t forbid it either.  And there`s a long tradition and the need for transparency when you`re dealing with something like this which is allegations of high-level serious wrongdoing by our nation`s most important official.

MELBER:  So that`s on the rules.  I want to keep you in your other role as a former senior Justice Department official beyond being a rules expert, if you`ll join our prosecutor panel which is what we turn to now in our special coverage.  Neal Katyal stays.

And I`m joined by former Federal Prosecutors Joyce Vance and U.S. attorney.  And Nick Akerman, a former Watergate special prosecutor.  And John Flannery, a former federal prosecutor with expertise in congressional investigations.  Everyone is here.  Neal is here as well.

Starting with you, Nick, that`s on the rules and what we`re going to learn.

NICK AKERMAN, FORMER WATERGATE SPECIAL PROSECUTOR:  Right.

MELBER:  What does it mean to you that Bob Mueller finished work tonight?  He did not end with a bang of new public indictments.  And it would seem, unless we get something else unsealed, that this investigation ends with the 37.

AKERMAN:  Well, we don`t know that.  If you read the literal language in that letter, he`s explaining the decisions to prosecute and the declinations he has reached.  Does that mean he is asking Barr for permission to file other indictments?  I don`t know.  But it certainly leaves that open.

MELBER:  Well, he suggests that under the rules, he must state, if they ever disagreed on that and he says they never did.  Now, Bob Mueller, tonight, is done with this job.

AKERMAN:  Right.  But if you read that language, it says it explains the decisions he has reached on prosecutions and declinations.  We don`t know what he`s reached on declinations.  I don`t know if the attorney general knows that.

But when he uses the tense has reached, does that mean he has reached certain decisions on indicting individuals and he`s asking for permission from the department to do that.

MELBER:  But we are in a new phase.  After all of the waiting and Speculation, Joyce, tonight we can say Bob Mueller finished this job.  He finished the probe.

He indicted 37 people or organizations.  Six former advisors to Donald Trump.  The fastest and highest indictment rate of any president ever in American history.  What do you make of what we now know tonight?

JOYCE VANCE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY:  I think we`ve learned some things.  We have others still to learn.  Mueller has clearly made a decision that he is done indicting for his core mission which was Russian collusion during the election with members of the Trump campaign.  And we`ve seen no more indictments in that regard.  I think it`s unlikely that we will.

But that still leaves open an enormous range of investigations that we know are underway.  An interesting point here is that Mueller who was so vilified by the president was not someone who conducted a witch hunt.  He stuck to his agreement, to his jurisdiction, and was parceling cases out that were related to financial fraud, non-Russian cases to Southern District of New York, we understand a couple of divisions in Main Justice.

National security division and the criminal division have cases.  And obviously, we`ve seen a flurry of investigations at state A.G.`s offices.  So perhaps, good news for the president tonight that there is no indictment of him personally.  Bad news in the sense that there is still ongoing investigation of other conduct.

MELBER:  John Flannery, your view?

JOHN FLANNERY, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR:  I may be discorded voice of the people talking about this development.  But I think that the process is outcome determinative.  And we were put on notice that Trump was upset with Sessions because he wouldn`t kill the investigation and now we`re asked to credit the conduct of Barr to proceed properly.

My concern as a former prosecutor and looking at Mueller who has done so well up to this point is whether or not there was pressure to close this thing down.  And I think we would be remiss if we didn`t have Mueller up on the Hill talking about what he did and why there was no more in the investigation.

MELBER:  Well, let`s speak to that, John.  You`re saying something that Congressman Schiff did not yet say.  We got his first reaction on the intelligence side.

FLANNERY:  Right.

MELBER:  The judiciary will have time to review all this.  It seems that John, you know a lot about the congressional side of this.  It seems they`re keeping their powder dry to see whether Barr does what he says he`s going to do.

FLANNERY:  Well, I think what Barr is going to do is give anorexic disclosures that are probably limited, perhaps the topic sentences of those we may indict.  Maybe that`s zero.  Declinations we might not be told about.

And that`s what makes me think that the second part of that note is I`m going to go back and I`m going to ask Mueller and I`m going to ask Rosenstein what else we should talk about.  That makes me think more strongly that the first disclosure over this weekend is going to be pretty fenced stuff.  And I could be wrong.

But I`m looking at the character or lack of character of Barr and how he was chosen and what he said on the Hill and how he was going to rigidly follow what protocols were on the Hill.  Probably including the Linder letter which goes back some time which talks about nondisclosure of investigations, a very strong statement.

And we`ll find that out in the days ahead.  But before we celebrate and sing Kumbaya that finally we have a report that we think might be 400 pages and tells us everything, I think we should just pump the brakes twice because I don`t think this Justice Department, I don`t think this president, I don`t think Giuliani or any of these people would let that happen.

AKERMAN:  I don`t know about that.  I mean I think Bob Mueller is the kind of guy who`s going to put what he wants to put in that report.  He`s going to put in exactly what he found, what he intends to do or not do, why he prosecuted certain individuals and didn`t.

I mean there are no -- there`s no question about it.  There are open issues right now that we do not have information about.  But that`s the part --

MELBER:  Well, John is saying let`s not just sing Kumbaya.  And as lawyers and journalists, we don`t tend to do that.  We tend to look at the evidence and be skeptical, appropriately.  So on the flip side, I do think, Neal, that Mr. Barr is trying at least in his public messaging here to say that Bob Mueller is in on it.

And forget Kumbaya but Bob Mueller is not exactly a shrinking wallflower when it comes to making sure that the integrity and the findings are handled in what he views as the right way.  So Neal, with that in mind and the bear hug that has been issued tonight by Barr around Mueller saying, "Hey.  I`m keeping him in.  He`s done with the probe but he`s going to be involved."

And then let`s look at what Barr said under oath about all this.  Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL:  I am going to make as much information available as I can consistent with the rules and regulations that are part of the special counsel regulations.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER:  So Neal, how does he do that?  And what happens if later Mueller wants more out than he does?  Would we learn about that?  Could Mueller then testify?

KATYAL:  Ari, I think it`s possible for Mueller to testify.  I think the first thing to note though for why I think John might be wrong about this is Barr`s letter today says something significant.  It says that I as attorney general and all my predecessors as acting attorney general didn`t overrule Mueller on anything.

So we`re learning something very important that is required by the regulations that he is to make that certification or to say if there had been overrulings.  So, you know, I`m not one who is normally praising this Justice Department but it does look like at least according to that statement there was no interference by any attorney general --

MELBER:  Yes.

KATYAL:  -- in the investigation.

MELBER:  Neal, let`s build on that point.  You know, I`m going to try to do it in plain English.  If you believe the report, Donald Trump repeatedly clumsily tried in various ways to interfere and tried to shut down stuff in New York.  And tried according to "The New York Times" to ask other people to basically constrain or remove Bob Mueller himself.

And what we see tonight -- I think it`s worth basically taking this in for your analysis, Neal, what we see tonight is that part of the system seems to have beat back and defeated Donald Trump`s attempts.  His own White House counsel reportedly going to Bob Mueller and saying, "Listen, he`s asked me to try to break the law and get you fired.  I`m not going to do it."

Now, what does America do about that?  You walk us through it.  But isn`t that a good piece of news tonight that this probe is finished?

KATYAL:  So it is a good piece of news, Ari but there is one important caveat.  I don`t think that the letter today deals with the Southern District of New York investigation at all.

MELBER:  Sure.  But what about the firing?

KATYAL:  And so it could be that Trump has interfered --

MELBER:  What about the - sure.  And I`m not giving anyone a clean bill of health.  I`m referring to attempted interference.  But before we get ahead, sometimes we jump on even Chairman Schiff is right was telling us about all the other things.

But tonight is the Mueller report.  What does it tell that you that after 22 months, Bob Mueller stayed on the job and finished when he chose to, not at Donald Trump`s insistence that he leave earlier?

KATYAL:  Right.  Nobody who knows Mueller is surprised by that.  I mean Mueller was going to do his job until he got removed from office or something like that.  And the good news is the system held.  That didn`t happen.

My important point to you and the viewers is everyone should understand this is just about a limited Mueller investigation.  And as Joyce said, there are a whole bunch of other investigations including most prominently the Southern District one.

MELBER:  Absolutely.  And I think that`s very well put and I think we understand that.  In a moment, I`m going to bring in Senator Richard Blumenthal from the Judiciary Committee.

But since you were mentioned, Joyce, your view of that point.  And what will Americans take from this?  Some of us follow this very closely.  Some people don`t.  They keep hearing hey, it may come out and they say, tell me when it does.

Well, America, it just came out.  And Bob Mueller finished the job and had had a high indictment rate.  What do you make of that part of this?

VANCE:  You know it did come out.  And Bob Mueller certainly diagnosed a problem that took place with our elections.  The Russians tried to influence it.  They tried to troll us online.  They hacked e-mails.  They did everything that they could to help this president.

So Mueller`s done a remarkable job in that way.  I really agree with Neal that we need to give Bill Barr the opportunity here to do what he commits to doing in this letter to being transparent.

As a prosecutor, when I declined on a case, I had a form in my office that we had to fill out.  And when you decided not to prosecute somebody you`ve been investigating, you have to say why.  It might be no federal offense evident.  In other words, you think that there was no crime that was committed.

It might be weaker, insufficient evidence.  We think there was a crime but we don`t have proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

MELBER:  How many people do you think are on that list in this probe?

VANCE:  We don`t know.  But the most interesting thing, Ari, is that the key question here that Bill Barr has to answer is why didn`t Bob Mueller take action against the president?  It could be one of those.  It could be that he complied with DOJ`s policy against indicting a sitting president.

MELBER:  Which goes towards transparency.

VANCE:  Absolutely.

MELBER:  If the only reason you didn`t do it was that policy, then Congress is the other check.  Do you want to give a number before I bring in the senator?

FLANNERY:  A number of how many people he declined?

MELBER:  How many people he declined to charge?

FLANNERY:  That is really such speculation at this point.  I mean I get engaged in speculation but I can`t really do it --

MELBER:  Fair.

FLANNERY:  -- based on what we know.

MELBER:  Fair.

FLANNERY:  Really can`t.

MELBER:  We ask the questions and we respect if you don`t have the answer.

FLANNERY:  But --

MELBER:  Stay with me.  I`m going to bring in Senator Richard Blumenthal from the Judiciary Committee and we should mention a former federal prosecutor.  Thanks for joining me tonight, Senator.

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE:  Thank you.

MELBER:  What does this mean that Mueller is finished, that he`s filed his report, and that Bob Barr has filed his letter?

BLUMENTHAL:  It concludes a very productive and effective investigation.  It requires now absolute and complete transparency.

That has been one of the themes of the day for exactly the reasons that you just articulated.  The facts and evidence here are likely to show a lot of criminality, a lot of wrongdoing and lawbreaking that is not indicted here.

MELBER:  Let me make sure I understand because for folks joining us on this big night, Bob Mueller does this for 22 months.  He indicts 37 people and organizations.  You`re saying that`s a floor and not a ceiling.

BLUMENTHAL:  It`s a floor in terms of proof beyond a reasonable doubt and the Department of Justice policy.  It`s only a policy.  It`s not a rule or regulation, that a sitting president cannot be indicted.

So there are obviously other investigations that have been spun and spun off by the facts in evidence that Bob Mueller has found in the Southern District of New York.  I think there is a high likelihood that there are indictments in this president`s future because --

MELBER:  I`m going to push you, Senator.

BLUMENTHAL:  -- of the ongoing investigation there.

MELBER:  I`m going to push you away from New York.  We cover that story.  We`ll keep covering it.  but I`m going to stay on the Mueller report tonight and ask you something I haven`t had a chance to ask anyone in Congress yet.

Do you view this ending of the Mueller report in this way tonight as an indication that Bob Mueller did not find chargeable collusion or election conspiracy by Americans?

BLUMENTHAL:  I think there is no basis to draw that conclusion right now.  We can draw that conclusion only, and I stress only, if William Barr exercises his discretion to disclose the facts and evidence.  He has near- complete discretion.

I asked him in his confirmation proceeding whether he would commit to full disclosure, he failed to do so.  He declined.  That was one of the reasons, perhaps the main reason, I voted against his confirmation.  And what we need --

MELBER:  So are you saying tonight -- this is the debate we`re all getting to.  You`re saying if the White House implies that this could be good news or if people at DOJ start coming out and saying well, here`s the little bit we`ve put out and obviously there is no collusion indictment, so that part is over.  You`re saying if that were true, if that were such good news, they must release the rest of it and people can draw their own conclusions.

BLUMENTHAL:  The White House ought to support full transparency.  The president said he backs it.  And if he really is in favor of full transparency, he`ll back the bill that I`ve introduced with Senator Grassley.  It`s a bipartisan bill that would establish, as a matter of law, that there should be full transparency, full disclosure.

The American people paid for this report.  They deserve to know what`s in it.

MELBER:  True.

BLUMENTHAL:  And the public has a right to know.  So if the folks who are saying oh, well we have no objection to all the facts and evidence coming out are really serious and sincere, they`ll back the bill that Senator Chuck Grassley, a Republican of Iowa, and I`ve introduced with growing support including most recently John Kennedy of Louisiana and Patrick Leahy of Vermont.

MELBER:  Senator, I want to push you on something else.  And I want to bring in Neal Katyal into this part as well.  We are seeing indications that this is the end.  Bob Mueller is done.  And obviously, if he`s done, they`re not going to file any future charges within this probe.  Bob Mueller is done tonight.

Does that mean in your view that there are no possible sealed indictments left or do we not know that yet?

BLUMENTHAL:  I think there is a strong possibility of additional indictments including President Trump`s family.  Maybe not by the Department of Justice, Main Justice, but by other offices.  I know that you want to stick to the Mueller report but the Mueller report cannot be viewed in isolation.  Any more than investigation, even though it may end, cannot lead to additional investigative leads and actions.

And so I think there`s a high probability of additional indictments.

MELBER:  I put that topic to Neal Katyal for his analysis.  And if you have a question for the senator on this newsy night, I`m curious what you want to know from this member of the Judiciary Committee.

KATYAL:  Well, I agree with you that I think that there could be the possibility of sealed indictments.  I think it`s a tough one though.  I would expect that to come out by now, just since the report has been transmitted for over an hour.

My gut is that is not likely.  There are, as the Senator said, could be indictments in other investigations in the Southern District investigation and others.

I guess for Senator Blumenthal, I think the most important question I have is, if the president asserts executive privilege in some way, what is the committee prepared to do about that?

BLUMENTHAL: Key question.  First and I hope you agree with me.  There no--  there is no executive privilege as to evidence of criminality.  In other words, the President of the United States can`t invoke executive privilege nor can anyone on his behalf in effect to cover-up.

Indeed, I think there`s no right in proper review on the part of the White House of any of the facts and evidence.  It`s for the Justice Department to review.  I think the remedy from Congress will be to subpoena the facts and evidence the body of documents and interviews and even grand jury material.  The judge has the right and in my view the responsibility here, to waive the 6E protection that normally applies because I think there is such an overwhelming public interest in as much transparency as possible.  So the use of subpoenas --

MELBER:  Let`s pause -- let`s pause on the -- let`s pause on the point you`re making so you can build on it, Senator.  You`re referring to the fact that in normal cases, anything that goes before that super-secret grand jury stays secret.  But this is -- I don`t think anyone would debate this honestly at this point.  This is not a normal case.

This was an investigation into foreign interference that`s been proven whether Americans who actively talked about wanting it and benefiting from it, also rose the level of criminally organizing it and what that means given that some of those people are in power running the government, overseeing the intelligence agencies, and some of them are headed to prison, some of them with relationship and debts.

BLUMENTHAL: Good point.

MELBER:  So with all of that, walk us through what you mean when you -- when you refer to 6E which of course we love the details you`re referring to the idea that this time is one of the best Public Interest arguments for releasing that.

BLUMENTHAL:  The argument for releasing this information, redacting the classified information, irrelevant private information like addresses and social security number or information that is important to an ongoing investigation, but the judge who`s in charge of this grand jury -- remember grand jury is an arm of the court appointed by the court to do the courts work.

And the judge has the power to waive 6E in a case exactly like this one where a special prosecutor or a special counsel has been appointed precisely because there has been a potential betrayal of public trust.  A very unusual and special set of circumstances that justifies in fact the release of information that otherwise might not be by the Department of Justice because there is a policy and it`s well justified that derogatory or disparaging information about someone who has not been indicted should not be released.  And I thought it as a United States attorney, sometimes to my utter frustration because I had a lot of information about bad people but I couldn`t talk about it.

MELBER:  And now you`re going down to your memory lane as a prosecutor.  What I`m going to do here is keep Neal who`s going to add to that.  Senator, I know that you learned about this from that letter that went to Congress at about 5:15.  I really appreciate you as a Member of the Judiciary Committee willing to come and give your first reaction on THE BEAT.  And I trust we`ll be calling on you in the days ahead.  Senator Richard Blumenthal, thank you.

BLUMENTHAL:  Thank you very much.

MELBER:  I really appreciate it.  Neal stays with me.  But I want to reset here as we`re about half past the hour and tell you what`s going on.  Bob Mueller has been working for 22 months.  He`s indicted 37 people and organizations and many were wondering when would he finish.  Tonight he finished.

As I mentioned, reporters who`ve been tracking this case all over the Washington terrain, the Justice Department, the undisclosed location of the Special Counsel, and other places where there may have been clues, the photograph that went around and Bob Mueller arriving to work, everyone has been wondering about this.  I want to turn to one of our reporters now who was on this case from the start and he was part of the late day drama.

NBC`s Julia Ainsley is standing where she has been reporting all day from the DOJ headquarters in Washington.  We`ve done a lot of the law and the implications.  Why don`t we start, Julia, in walking us through what happened late today as you started to get the clues that Bob Mueller was done?

JULIA AINSLEY, NBC NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY AND JUSTICE REPORTER:  I would love to tell you about that, Ari.  And we`ve got protesters behind us.  That might even be the least stressful thing that`s happened today is this drum you hear behind me.  We have been on pins and needles down here really every day this week.

Starting around maybe early Wednesday, we had a sense that the Justice Department was preparing for this report.  And reporters across the city who covered the Justice Department, the White House and Congress all started to put our pieces together and realized something was coming soon.

Then there was another chase.  There was a height of intensity you could say starting this afternoon sometime after 3 o`clock.  They`ve all started to get into place hearing different rumors.  One of the pieces was that some of Robert Mueller`s prosecutors from left for the day.  They left that office early so that again put our antenna.  We started to think maybe something was coming.

And then late in the day closer to 5:00, the Justice Department reporters got together in the hallway waiting for the key person who was going to give us this information coming out of a meeting presumably with the Attorney General and others who were responsible for this report and for getting this information.

We waited, they came, they gave us the information.  I grabbed this letter ran to the camera where we are now.  Later we went that just to fill in some of these details.  And at that point we heard from a senior Justice Department official that piece about how there are no further indictments in this report from Mueller at this time.

So a lot of running around, a lot of intensity, also a lot of camaraderie at this.  Some of my favorite times in Washington, some of the most competitive stories, you see reporters from different outlets who would usually be competing all really coming together.  And I think we felt a lot of that this weekend.

In some ways of relief but we know there`s a lot more work to be done as we cover what comes next when the Attorney General does give his conclusion to Congress.  I trust you`re going to be very busy.  I have to say the show is called THE BEAT and the protestor behind you really living up to that.  You`ve been able -- I have to say, you`ve been able to speak very clearly.  We can hear everything.  I know sometimes when you`re out there you`re wondering.  We can hear you very well. 

And the last question before I let you go and I know you`re going to be working the story for us all night is when you walk through how that felt and what was going on at DOJ, did you ever get clues and not saying we know what`s going to happen next, but clues about just the way Barr has done this? 

Because I`ll give you my observation.  I have watched him and it seems that he`s very carefully wherever he can trying to put out a united front with Mueller and trying to suggest that they`re on the same page, they`re collaborating.  They obviously have a professional history.  He didn`t need to mention Mueller in the letter the way he did that they`re going to keep working together.  Mueller finished tonight.  Did you see any evidence, clues, anything like that because you`ve been on the ground?

AINSLEY:  You`re picking up on exactly the right thing.  I think the letter really codified some of the personality traits.  We`ve already seen from this new attorney general as we`ve been waiting for this report to be delivered here to him.  He stayed calm.  We saw him around the Justice Department this week.  He eats a humble lunch with his staff in the cafeteria of the Justice Department which is not normally anything you would recommend you`re going to have a nice lunch.  He eats with his staff every day around noon.  He seems to stick to his schedule.  He sees reporters in the hallway.  They might come up to him and say is today the day?  He keeps a stoic face and keep walking, a lot like a Mueller, that stoicism, that not being able to get caught up in the moment.

MELBER:  That`s come through.  I`m going to jump because we`re hearing news from Senator Schumer but that`s very interesting getting your view.  Thank you.  We`re going to listen to live reaction now from Democratic leader Chuck Schumer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER:  -- evidence should be made public.  The special counsel`s investigation focused on questions that go to the integrity of our democracy itself whether foreign powers corruptly interfered in our elections and whether unlawful means were used to hinder the investigation.  The American people have a right to the truth, the watchword is transparency.

In conclusion, the President himself has called without qualification for the report to be made public.  There is no reason on God`s green earth why Attorney General Barr should do any less.  We`re only good to take one question or two.  Any?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The indication are that there are no new indictments is the word coming out.  Do you think that that is the case that there an apology to be made to the President?

SCHUMER:  I think we should wait to the -- wait for the full report to be issued before jumping to any conclusions.  I should say that again.  I think we should wait for the full report to be made public before jumping to any conclusions.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Senator Schumer, how confident are you that we`re going to get the full depth of that report with the Trump appointed attorney general?

SCHUMER:  I think the demand of the public is overwhelming to see the report when it`s on such a serious matter and it will be made public.  Public pressure will force it to be.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Any time frame you could foresee?

SCHUMER:  No.  Thank you, everybody.  Last question to the Yankee fan.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELBER:  We`ve been listening to Democratic leader Senator Chuck Schumer that marks the third Democrat we`ve heard from just in our coverage on MSNBC echoing really a United message we heard from Senator Blumenthal on the Judiciary Committee and Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff in the House all emphasizing that while we have big news tonight, I don`t think anyone doubts that.  Bob Mueller is done.  He`s filed his report.  They`re all emphasizing that the next step is even more important than what he filed which is what do we learn.  What does Congress learn, what does America learn.

Up until tonight at this moment, 6:40 p.m. on the East Coast, we`ve been hearing from reporters, from lawyers, from our experts, we haven`t yet heard from some of the people who`ve directly interacted with the Mueller probe.  And here on THE BEAT that`s something that we have been focused on throughout the 22 months because these are the people that face Mueller`s investigators personally.

And so now I turn to a panel along with our experts that adds that primary experience.  Sam Nunberg was Donald Trump`s former campaign adviser and a Mueller witness, Caroline Polisi a Criminal Defense Attorney who represents a guilty Trump aide in the probe George Papadopoulos.  I`m also joined by former Watergate Prosecutor Nick Akerman, Joyce Vance is still with me.  We`ll be adding others including Maya Wiley in a few moments.

Sam, you have been associated with this probe in a very dramatic way as many people I think now know.  And you were talking about defying it then you participated.  You came to this table and said you were worried about Michael Cohen and you said they were asking you all kinds of questions that went more to his conduct even than other people`s.  He was later indicted as we all know and he`s headed to prison with one of the longer sentences.

When you see that Bob Mueller has now finished this report, that he`s turned it in, what jumps out to you based on your personal experiences with his team in that room?

SAM NUNBERG, FORMER AIDE, TRUMP CAMPAIGN:  I think the report is going to be comprehensive and get down to the answers that I`m actually interested in, Ari, from my voluntary interview.  Ultimately what I want to know is when did Trump Tower Moscow start getting negotiated.  I was asked about that numerous times including at the end of my voluntary when they said to me, look me in the eyes and said are you sure you don`t know anything about Trump Tower Moscow.  And I think the --

MELBER:  And you said?

NUNBERG:  I don`t.  I don`t -- I never heard about Trump Tower Moscow.  So if they`re -- so while I worked for the President up until August of 2015, if there were already negotiating from Trump Tower Moscow, that would have been news to me and it was very compartmentalized.

The other issue I think is to know in effect if the president directly told -- directly told campaign advisers to reach out either to Roger or others or on WikiLeaks.  And I think that would go to the conspiracy.  And if he didn`t, then it`s going to be a fight on obstruction and I think that they`re -- there we`re going to have -- there were going to have an issue about whether or not the president can be impeached on an underlying obstruction if there was no ultimate conspiracy.

MELBER:  What do you think the Trump world will say about this if it appears there was no evidence of chargeable conspiracy or collusion?  I posed that question to the Senator and I saw someone else posed a similar question to Chuck Schumer, they`re not answering that yet and understandably so.  Let`s see all the evidence.  But what is the reaction there because I will push you in advance and say to try to claim that as a time to spike the football would seem to be a reach when they`ve had the fastest indictment rate in history.

NUNBERG:  It`s funny you said -- it`s very funny you said spike the football because I was talking to somebody who had spoken to somebody at the White House, a mutual friend of mine and they say get ready for us to spike the football for five months -- for five to six months.

MELBER:  When did you told that?

NUNBERG:  Today.

MELBER:  After 5:00 p.m.

NUNBERG:  Not after 5:00 p.m.  Every day anticipated this report could have been released on Wednesday or Thursday.

NICK AKERMAN, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST:  I think again, we just don`t know enough at this point to say it`s time for anybody to spike the football.  I mean, we don`t know what it`s going to say about a whole series of events.

MELBER:  Well, I would -- I`d push you on that.  It`s not time for Paul Manafort to spike the football.

AKERMAN:  No.

MELBER:  He`s been indicted in three different places.  Or Michael Cohen or George Papadopoulos who`s lawyer is here.  I`ll give you a chance to argue that that you know, he`s not the worst on this -- on this page.  But let`s face it.  We are now at the end of the probe which tells us something about the indictments.

JOYCE VANCE, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST:  And here`s what people have to remember.  There are a couple of parallel processes going on here.  Criminal indictment, that`s one process, oversight up on the Hill, that`s an entirely different process.  And it`s possible that there`s conduct related in the Mueller report that although it doesn`t ring a bell for criminal prosecution or maybe the president is just exempt that would ring the bell for Congress which is charged with looking at high crimes and misdemeanors.

MELBER:  Right.  And doesn`t that go to what everyone wants to know when Barr says as soon as this weekend I`m going to start putting something out.  Well, gosh, it seems to me, Caroline, that if he puts something out that is tantalizingly dramatic or seemingly negative.  That`s only going to fuel the interest of all parties of both sides whatever you want to call it to get even more information. 

And I want up for our historical context on a historic night just put up the length of some of the other reports.  Iran-contra which had bad stuff that wasn`t all crimes, 566 pages.  The Starr report which everyone remembers 445 pages.  As we head into the weekend we have the question marks based on your interaction with his team, do you think Bob Mueller wrote up a lot of evidence that will ultimately see?

CAROLINE POLISI, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  Oh, well I think for sure he wrote up a lot of evidence.  But just as you noted, this is not an Independent council.  This is the special council regulations and we`ve never seen a report under these guidelines before so we really don`t have a roadmap.

I think that you know, it`s not time to spike the football, I agree.  However, there has been this narrative out there that Bob Mueller has been leaving breadcrumbs in the previous indictments.  And in the first round of the Russian nationals he noted that there were potentially unwitting Americans potentially involved.

Then you come to the Roger Stone indictment, there`s that paragraph that we were all talking about you know, was directed, who was doing the directing of Roger Stone to get that information.  So I think there was this idea that there was going to be this final crescendo round of indictments.  And we`re hearing today that there just isn`t.

MELBER:  And that tells you what?

POLISI:  Well, it tell --

MELBER:  As someone who faced these investigators.

POLISI:  Well, it tells me that that narrative -- that narrative that this was all an elaborate setup, that there was an elaborate piece of the puzzle waiting for that last element which was Americans colluding with Russians, it clearly is not part of the special counsels move forward at this point.

MELBER:  So now we`re really getting into it?

POLISI:  Yes.

MELBER:  I`m going to -- I`m going to give a follow up to you and let Nick Akerman come back in and then we might dial in Maya Wiley by phone.  Let`s talk about one of those breadcrumbs.  The Roger Stone indictment says there`s evidence that people on the Trump campaign were attempting to collude, we`re asking for help from WikiLeaks.  And so you`re referring to the fact that people before tonight read that as maybe a prelude to another charge.

Tonight -- again, we don`t know what we don`t know but Bob Mueller just finished.  He didn`t unseal any indictments.  He didn`t file any new indictments tonight.  That is a fact if you`re watching.  So you`re saying you view that as an exoneration?

POLISI:  No, absolutely not.

MELBER:  You view it as what?

POLISI:  I think we really need to read carefully the section on declinations and that the reasoning for the declination is given this bad conduct that you note and whether or not you know, what the reasoning behind it is.  I think it`s unclear whether or not Mueller is going to go into analysis of the law and whether or not he does feel that all of the elements of obstruction of justice --

MELBER:  So you`re making such an important point.  I`m just going to say this again for viewers joining us on the big news night.  You faced Mueller`s investigators.  You reached a deal on behalf of George Papadopoulos who reportedly started this whole probe of.  I know you guys don`t like it when we say it but that`s what the New York Times reported it.

And you were saying that this is not an exoneration because it really depends on whether Mueller lays out a bunch of terrible stuff that he also may not see is chargeable.  Quick thought and then I`m going to bring in Jim Walden.

POLISI:  I`ve been saying all along, the Venn Diagram.  I don`t think you like it but there`s unseemly political and gross conduct that we as Americans should not allow and then there`s criminal conduct.  And sometimes they overlap and sometimes they don`t.  And now we`re moving into the portion where we`re seeing which don`t overlap.

MELBER:  Stay with me.  We now turn to yet another former Federal Prosecutor who has actually faced Bob Mueller`s investigators.  Jim Walden represented a Mueller witness Brittany Kaiser.  Thanks for making time tonight.  Pick up on the conversation we just had your view.

JIM WALDEN, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR:  Listen, I think that there is very important circumstantial evidence that the president and his advisors broke computer crimes laws and directed the distribution of stolen e-mails.  both of those things are serious federal felonies, that people generally don`t lie about things that they`re not concerned about.  There is so much lying about the relationship and the meetings with Russia, lying about the contact with Julian Assange at WikiLeaks.

And just remember polling data was given over to the Russians.  The only reason you would do that is if you were helping the Russians to micro- target American voters.  So those are just the pieces we know.  You`re right there`s a not a lot we don`t know, but the circumstantial evidence in this case cannot be ignored.

MELBER:  Stay with me.  As promised MSNBC Legal Analyst Maya Wiley joins me by phone and our whole panel will weigh in as our coverage continues.  Maya, what is this reports filing tonight mean to you?

MAYA WILEY, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST:  Good evening.  Well, I think firstly it means we all need to take a deep breath because as everyone has already said, this really isn`t over even though there is a report because the issue is what are the facts that we can assess as citizens for ourselves.  And we are going to get more facts.  So what we know is Robert Mueller is not going to indict more people.

MELBER:  Right,

WILEY:  What we do not know -- what we do not know is whether or not we should be assessing as citizens whether or not we have either a corrupt and criminal president or a deeply incompetent one who nonetheless will compromise national security through incompetence.  And those are significant issues for the American public.

MELBER:  But I`m going to -- I`m going to push you on that a little because I want to be very clear with this big news, not what people might want to happen or like to happen.  It is a huge new fact tonight that Mueller finished and the count was 37 as best we know.  Not 40, not 45, not 50.  Wouldn`t you say that that does mean something that is a new fact we didn`t know before 5:00 p.m.?

WILEY:  It is a significant fact.  The reason it is so important that so many are calling for transparency is because as everyone has already pointed out, the issue is did he think he had enough evidence to charge other people but -- and did not because say there`s a memorandum in the Department of Justice that says he cannot.  Did he believe that there may have been criminal conduct but did not feel that he had amassed enough evidence?

Remember that many of those indictments were against Russian nationals who he was never able to bring to trial, he was never able to bring to account.  What we -- what happens in criminal prosecutions when you cannot bring people to account where you think you have sufficient evidence of a crime if you have more difficulty connecting some of the dots.

MELBER:  Right.  Because you`re not going to flip people who are -- who are floating out beyond the borders.  Stay with me Maya.  As promised, I want to turn to another section of our special coverage which is what comes next.  I`m joined by Mieke Eoyang who has worked as a former Congressional Intelligence Staffer and NBC`s Carol Lee who`s been reporting this story out along with a lot of others and my whole panel is here as well.

Briefly Carol, it seems that we now turn to two new processes this weekend, a brief summary, and then whatever it means over the long haul to release the remaining information.

CAROL LEE, NBC NEWS REPORTER:  That`s exactly right.  We`re going to want the top-line principles that that Mueller is going to or Barr is not going to give to the ranking member and chairs of the judiciary on the House and the Senate side.  But also more importantly there`s there`s two pieces to this that I think we really want to know in the coming days and weeks and that is what information there is on this.  We -- all of you have been talking about this.  What is declined to prosecute, what if anything is there.

Because for now, you know, the president can say this is -- this -- when this very narrow particular stage of this investigation, the conclusion, this is best case scenario for him for now depending on what is in that -- the details of what`s was declined to prosecute that could change that.

MELBER:  Or you could call it -- you could call it better case scenario.  It`s not best case when six advisers are indicted but it would be -- and I`m saying this on the record whether people like it or not.  It is better case scenario that Bob Mueller did not finish today with new indictments against people in Donald Trump`s orbit, Carol.

LEE:  Absolutely.  And if you`re the White House, this is as you put it -- as you said, the better case scenario right now for what we were going to learn today.  And then there`s what we learned more about the details of the report could change that, and then what we learn about the -- to the extent we learn anything about the counterintelligence piece could change that.

But if you`re narrowly looking at Mueller which has been a cloud over this White House for two years since the president came into office, the Russia investigation has hung over his White House, you know this is not as bad of a day as some would have thought pertaining to this president.

MELBER:  Right.  Let me turn to Mieke who`s been patiently waiting and we haven`t gotten to yet and then I`m going to do a round robin.  But Mieke, your view.

MIEKE EOYANG, FORMER CONGRESSIONAL INTELLIGENCE STAFFER:  Yes.  I think that Carol is right that the counterintelligence piece as Adam Schiff said is really important.  You have to remember the Trump administration and Trump have been defining the standard by which he`s going to be judged as narrowly as possible, and just this question of criminality and foreign collusion which is not really a legal term.

But when Congress is looking at the president`s fitness for office, it`s actually a much broader question than that.  It`s high crimes and misdemeanors but also particularly we have a situation unique to Trump and unique in our nation`s history and that`s the foreign influence and the involvement clause in the Constitution.  And we don`t know what evidence has uncovered in his investigation that might give Congress additional questions to ask on those issues.

MELBER:  Right.  Beginning now with Jim, in a sentence so we don`t take too much time from other people, as we look at tonight`s big news that the Mueller report has been filed that we will learn over the course of the weekend new details through the Congress, what does tonight`s filing of the Mueller report after 22 months and 37 indictments mean in a sentence?  First Jim.

WALDEN:  It means that another process is going to begin and that process is going to depend on the facts that Mueller found.

MELBER:  Carol?

LEE:  It means there are no more indictments but that there is a whole host of other things that could become problematic in terms of investigations for this president.

MELBER:  Mieke?

EOYANG:  The action turns to Congress and what they`re going to do with the president next.

MELBER:  Neal Katyal.

KATYAL:  It`s all about now public disclosure, public disclosure, public disclosure.  Are we going to learn what`s in this Mueller report, are we going to learn everything because as Mieke says, it goes to the competence of the President as well as to possible corruption.

MELBER:  Here on set in New York, many of our experts who`ve been here with us for this whole newsworthy night starting with Caroline Polisi who`s worked with the Mueller team directly.

POLISI:  It`s the end of an era quite literally and we`re beginning a new chapter in this entire saga.

MELBER:  Sam Nunberg.

NUNBERG:  Watch for the president to start arguing that the full report shouldn`t be released.

MELBER:  Donald Trump who claimed this week that while as Barr`s decision, he was down with going public.  You`re saying he`ll reverse himself?

NUNBERG:  So in my experience with him, in light of the way he`s been talking about it is he`ll start complaining eventually that some things should be left out.

MELBER:  Left out?

NUNBERG:  I don`t know what it is but you can already see when he said earlier in front of the White House and he said well, he`s released a report.  I don`t -- that`s not -- he`s already complaining.

MELBER:  And while I have you, do you regret your initial attempt at defying Bob Mueller.

NUNBERG:  Yes.  I think -- at the end of the day, what I didn`t think was fair was the quick turnaround they wanted on all those documents I had to produce.  But with that said, I think that this -- I think that they`ve acted fairly because look, they haven`t indicted anybody on conspiracy.

MELBER:  And no one who`s faced Mueller has successfully defied him nor been acquitted.  Do you think that record with the cases he`s farmed out will continue including your former mentor Roger Stone?

NUNBERG:  I think Roger Stone is going to eventually start arguing or his allies that he should get an indictment in light of that fact that Mueller has not found a conspiracy.

MELBER:  He`s should get a what?

NUNBERG:  Excuse me, a pardon.  Excuse me, a pardon.

MELBER:  But do you think if he takes it to trial he`ll win or lose now that we know the probe is over.

NUNBERG:  Listen, it`s a difficult case.  He seems to be probably lose.

MELBER:  You think Roger Stone will lose.  Nick Akerman.

AKERMAN:  I think the big issue is there are lots of unanswered questions here.  For example, what was the connection between WikiLeaks and the campaign?  Why wasn`t -- who directed the Russians to release the e-mails, the stolen e-mails right after the Access Hollywood Tape within 30 minutes?  Why did they release -- who directed the release of the e-mails just before the Democratic National Convention?

If it was somebody in Moscow who was that politically sophisticated, then we`ve got real problems.  If it was somebody in the Trump campaign, we`ve got real problems.  And I think it`s really important that Congress gets to the bottom of those issues.

MELBER:  If Maya Wiley is here by phone and it`s a breaking news night, so I never know exactly what I have.  If Maya is here, in a sentence.

WILEY:  My sentence is ditto to all that`s been said and Donald Trump is going to have a very hard time explaining why Jared Kushner would get security clearances and not use his Article Two power to wave any security concerns for releasing the full report?

VANCE  I`m look for an answer to it this question, Ari.  Is Bill Barr the people`s lawyer or is he the president`s lawyer?  And we`ll find out if he`s the people`s lawyer if he agrees to be fully transparent and turn all the documents and evidence Mueller has put together over to Congress so the American people can get the answers they deserve.

MELBER:  All great point from people with deep knowledge who are here on big night.  My thanks to our entire panel and all of our special coverage.  Let me close with a thought about what has happened.

This entire investigative process began because Donald Trump did something remarkably stupid and against his self-interest.  He publicly fired James Comey, he came up with a false cover story that`s been exposed, and then put pressure on his own appointees in the Justice Department whether they would stand up to that not.

They famously did.  Rod Rosenstein, fresh from his appointment stood up to Donald Trump tapped Bob Mueller for this role.  Here we are about 22 months later and as mentioned tonight, Bob Mueller has racked up 37 different indictments of people and organization in this country and abroad and secured so far an unblemished record.

He hasn`t been over ruled in his investigative techniques, or his warrants, or his searches even when he took extraordinary measures like going after the sitting president`s lawyer.  All through this we`ve had a huge public debate in this country about what this all means and there are a lot of bad faith actors that want to convince you that something in here along the way means you should automatically mistrust our institutions or our process.

It`s usually pretty easy to tell who they are and what their agenda is because they don`t want you to believe anything works.  As mentioned tonight, we don`t have all the evidence or the facts yet, that will take time.  But tonight, the system worked.  The attempts to fire Bob Mueller failed.

The report is in, and what comes next involves our Congress, our public.  It involves you.  So stay tuned, stay involved, and thank you for watching our special coverage here tonight on THE BEAT. I will be part of more special coverage of the Mueller report, including this Sunday.  I`m learning here, 9:00 P.M. Eastern, it`s official, a special on the weekend.

But don`t go anywhere because Chris Matthews, takes over our continuing breaking coverage now.

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