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Mueller Report details Obstruction case. TRANSCRIPT: 4/18/19. The Beat w/ Ari Melber.

Guests: John Flannery, Melissa Murray, Richard Blumenthal, John Carlin,Michael McFaul, Brian Fallon, Julia Ioffe, Sam Nunberg, Gene Rossi

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST:  Jeremy Bash, Ramesh Ponnuru, Stephanie Cutter, thank you all.  That`s all we have for MEET THE PRESS DAILY tonight.  MSNBC`s breaking news coverage continues right now with none other than Mr. Brian Williams. 

BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC ANCHOR:  Well, good evening, it`s 6:00 p.m. here on the East Coast.  I am Brian Williams here at NBC News headquarters in New York. 

This continues now our breaking news coverage all day long of perhaps the most consequential day of this presidency thus far.  And before we hand you over to "THE BEAT," we want to start with the host of the broadcast who also happens to be our Chief Legal Correspondent, Ari Melber. 

And Ari, just briefly here at the top it`s an unfairly wide-ranging question to ask you, but what happened today? 

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST:  What happened today, Brian, as you and I have been covering all day is that the Mueller report came out in a redacted form.  It revealed that Bob Mueller looked at extensive evidence of obstruction and the possibility that the president obstructed justice and determined that the best course forward for the nation is to provide that evidence and those facts and let the Congress deal with it if it wants to. 

That is of course different from the way that Attorney General Barr initially discussed this in his letters and certainly different even than the way he discussed it in a fairly unusual press conference this morning.  So today was a story divided between the Mueller report and the man in charge of it who we still have not heard from, Bob Mueller, and his current boss under the rules, Mr. Barr, who had a different view. 

And by the end of the day, by now and this evening, Brian, I think it`s clear that the differences between these two men in legal analysis and in their view of the evidence will continue to reverberate well past tonight. 

WILLIAMS:  Ari, because you were our legal wing man all day long, the question about Mr. Barr is this.  The news of his event this morning was the degree to which he has the president`s back.  And the president finally has his man at DOJ.  The news value of his remarks seems to me was his talk of a legal disagreement between his team and Robert Mueller. 

Do you think enough in retrospect has been made of that in light of the fact that we spent the day covering the report itself? 

MELBER:  I think that`s a very significant part of this that will ultimately only fully reach a crescendo if and when Mr. Mueller testifies under oath, which after 23 months now would be the first time we hear from him.  I think his absence, Mr. Mueller`s absence in the room and Mr. Barr`s, shall we call it, admission under some strain, the strain of knowing that the actual report would come out, was an admission that they do have policy disagreements. 

As I`ve reported in fairness to Mr. Barr, he is the lawful attorney general, he is the boss.  But in fairness to Mr. Mueller, people have been far more interested, I would say people across the spectrum, in the findings here that Mueller basically carefully wrote out with his team, up to 400 pages, than in a relatively new occupant summary or discussion of them. 

And those findings as we`ve covered, Brian, have some good news for Donald Trump, a lack of chargeable election conspiracy, as well as the apparent clearing of people close to him like Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner.  And there also is, to be clear, a lot of bad news given very detailed accounts of people who are closest to Trump, who are generally loyal to Trump, but who under questioning from the special counsel detailed very negative things that they say Trump did in office. 

WILLIAMS:  All right.  Ari Melber, thank you for starting us off.  We`ll be right back with you to hand off the hour momentarily. 

MELBER:  I`m ready, Brian. 

WILLIAMS:  All right.  Let`s go back to Julia Ainsley who`s been at her post all day today just outside the doors of the Justice Department.  She happens to be our NBC News national security and justice reporter. 

Julia, on top of what you reported all day, I understand you have some additional news tonight. 

JULIA AINSLEY, NBC NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY AND JUSTICE REPORTER:  That`s right.  We`ve been curious for awhile how certain members of Congress known as the Gang of Eight will be able to review what they are referring to as the less redacted version of this report.  This comes after calls from people in Congress who say they deserve more transparency, because after all, this was a taxpayer funded investigation, and they deserve to see the fruits of fruits of it. 

I now can tell you according to a letter just released from the Justice Department that between April 22nd and April 26th, there will be a reading room for members of the Gang of Eight and their staff where they can come by and read this.  And then additionally, the following week they will allow a secure place on Capitol Hill and that will follow recess.  Because I think they`re juggling two things here, one to have it out as soon as possible and then the other to actually make it available after a congressional recess when these people are in town. 

The one thing that will still remain redacted, Brian, is grand jury material because they need to be able to give the assurances to any grand jury witnesses that what they testify will always be private.  But things like classified information, information that might damage the reputation of a third party or things that are part of an ongoing investigation, those will all be able to be read by these members of Congress and their staff, and potentially maybe they`ll have some more answers. 

So they are of course under obligation not to share that information.  But at the end of the day, this is just really another piece where people are digging for more transparency as they feel that this attorney general put too much of a filter and too much of a spin on the heart of this investigation.  Often saying that the reason why Robert Mueller couldn`t come up with a decision on obstruction is because simply the evidence wasn`t there. 

That`s not what we found today.  There were lots of evidence laid out about obstruction, some new details we learned.  But one thing that was referenced again and again by the special counsel was the fact that a sitting president has to be treated differently, which is of course something we were told quite in opposite terms by the attorney general this morning. 

Further, of course, on White House cooperation, the attorney general said this White House was incredibly forthcoming and that of course is not the flavor we got from the Mueller report today.  So more contradictions but hopefully some more transparency at least for those members of Congress in the coming weeks. 

WILLIAMS:  Of the next two areas, what surprised you more, the tonnage on obstruction, and no one was surprised that Mueller kind of slavishly followed existing DOJ policy on charging crimes.  The tonnage of obstruction or the number of people around this president who tried and mostly succeeded in doing the right thing? 

AINSLEY:  Yes.  I think it`s the latter.  It was actually that the president was saved by a lot of the people around him, which is surprising when you look at how many people around him have actually been indicted and gone to jail, people who worked on his campaign, people who were part of his whole campaign in the White House from the beginning like Michael Flynn, like Michael Cohen.  Instead, he was actually saved by people like Don McGahn who refused to fire Special Counsel Mueller, refused to tell Rod Rosenstein to fire Mueller. 

By Cory Lewandowski who agreed to give a pretty outrageous testimony to Attorney General Sessions, he wanted him to -- in order to unrecuse himself from the Russia investigation, Cory agreed to do that, but then he kind of skips town.  He agreed to do a meeting with the attorney general, the attorney general couldn`t do it, and then Cory Lewandowski was amazingly, miraculously out of D.C. 

So you could call it luck, you could call it people putting protections around him, but it really underscores that in a lot of ways this president was saved by some people around him. 

WILLIAMS:  Julia Ainsley on a long day`s journey in tonight, outside her post at the Justice Department.  Thank you for helping us out this hour. 

The president for his part is en route to Mar-a-Lago for the holiday weekend.  He leaves behind a White House where hyperbole is still alive and well.  One official called this the best day of the Trump presidency thus far. 

Our man at the White House is Peter Alexander. 

Peter, good evening.  What do you have to report from there? 

PETER ALEXANDER, NBC NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT:  Hey, Brian, good evening to you.  Despite this deeply unflattering, even politically damaging portrait of the president over the course of the last two years that`s been painted by Robert Mueller`s report, the fact that it stopped short of accusing the president of criminal wrongdoing, that is what the president and his allies are seizing on here tonight. 

President Trump was notably relaxed, projecting confidence in the two opportunities we had to see him today.  Within the last couple of hours, departing aboard Marine One.  You know, he likes to spar with reporters.  And we had plenty of questions prepared.  Instead, he grabbed his wife, Melania Trump, by the arm.  The two passed, offering only smiles and waves. 

Earlier he interrupted an event that was celebrating wounded warriors in the East Room.  I was inside.  And he instead celebrated what he views as a personal victory, again saying this was a good day for him, saying no obstruction, no collusion.  And insisting that this should not happen to any other president. 

As for the way his attorneys, Jay Sekulow and the former mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani, view this, they are signaling the fact that because they feel so good about it, at least the way they`re publicly indicating as much, they will likely not be releasing a counter report which they had been casting as a likely option if there were some damaging details in this report. 

But what is most notable is what was really this sort of collective silence inside the West Wing for much of the day as you scatter throughout the West Wing trying to find the aides, they had disappeared, reading through the details of this report.  In fact, the president who has still not been fully briefed on everything inside of it is traveling to South Florida today with his White House counsel, Pat Cipollone, and his chief of staff Mick Mulvaney. 

It will be their duty among others to help the president get a full understanding of exactly what`s in there.  But as he tried to cast it in a short pre-prepared tweet earlier today, game over -- Brian. 

WILLIAMS:  Peter Alexander from North Lawn of the White House on a beautiful night. 

Peter, thank you very much. 

And as we send it back to Ari Melber, Ari, there is a tremendous piece of deadline journalism by Mark Mazzetti, the kind of lead-off story in the "New York Times" at this hour.  And after the day you and I have had, one sentence in the fifth graph jumped out at me.  The report lays bare how Mr. Trump was elected with the help of a foreign power. 

Again, it`s so arresting to view it at arm`s length like that.  I presume it`s going to be the tone and tenor of much of your conversation.  Have at it.  Thanks for letting us interrupt. 

MELBER:  Brian Williams, never an interruption.  And great working with you, and following your lead covering the story all day.  Our special thanks. 

What I want to do now is to turn to a special edition of THE BEAT. 

Good evening to you.  I`m Ari Melber. 

The Mueller report is out and it is very different from what Donald Trump`s attorney general described over the past three weeks.  Tonight I`ll be joined by a U.S. senator on the Judiciary Committee who argues that today`s disclosure show Attorney General Barr betrayed his oath of office. 

Now as the nation fixates on what Mueller did, how did he approach this task, I`m thrilled to tell you that Bob Mueller`s former chief of staff also joins us as well, plus other experts with firsthand insights. 

Now tonight is different because we now have this voluminous report.  Not a summary.  Not spin.  But the majority of Mueller`s findings in this partially redacted document.  This has far more evidence and details than the theater that began today which Brian and I were just discussing.  That pre-report press conference with Bill Barr offering his views of the report, under what can only be described and many experts described it this way today, under a suspicious format, where Mr. Barr insisted on offering his opinions before Congress or the public had seen a page. 

And we have now learned that while Barr kept that report from Congress, feeding those suspicions, he did manage to provide an early copy to the White House and to Donald Trump`s lawyers.  That`s providing a copy to someone who`s the subject of the report before others see it. 

Now here`s what we know.  Mueller writes in this report that he chose to detail facts on obstruction evidence against Donald Trump rather than declare a legal conclusion because -- you may have heard about this, because the Justice Department prohibits prosecutors from charging a sitting president.  That alone tells us one big thing you can remember tonight. 

Attorney General Barr was incorrect and was misleading you when he claimed that this report we now have simply failed to reach a conclusion, and thus that Barr had to step in and decide one.  The news tonight on that big central claim of what we`re even reporting on, what we even got from Mueller, the news tonight is it was the opposite. 

Let me show you.  Bob Mueller writing that the rules mean neither he nor Barr can declare that Trump committed obstruction because, quote, "no charges can be brought against a president."  Not because as Barr had claimed that Mueller was allegedly leaving it to the attorney general to determine if the president committed a crime. 

That`s Mueller v. Barr, that`s a side by side that is going to animate this I think for some time.  Now just as with the famed Watergate roadmap, Mueller suggests here that it is for Congress to decide, not the DOJ. 

OK.  After everything that`s happened today, let`s take this in pieces.  What I just told you is Mueller`s written, carefully considered view of why he cannot just write or yell, hey, I think the president committed obstruction.  But what if a probe were to find that a president definitely did not commit obstruction.  What do you do then? 

Well, here`s the second clue that you need to know tonight as you head into a holiday weekend, and everyone is talking about what this report really says.  Bob Mueller writes that if a probe did find that kind of good news for a president, the authors of that probe would put the good news in the report.  And they didn`t. 

Bob Mueller writing in what we just obtained today that, quote, "If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state."  But the facts and evidence left Mueller simply unable to reach that judgment. 

Now, with that context in mind, which is those two facts from a report with many more, Mueller lifting the damning evidence and not clearing the president, even though he says he would if it were warranted, that brings us now to what we can view in context.  We had to wait three weeks, but we have it for you. 

Remember that partial sentence that Bill Barr famously plucked in his early letter where it said that Mueller wrote that while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him?  That sentence we now know comes after the fuller explanation of what Mueller was up to.  And it looks worse for Donald Trump on obstruction precisely because it comes in the context of saying if I could clear him, if that`s what the evidence showed, I would clear him. 

And then you have the evidence laid out here that Donald Trump did try to interfere in this probe.  He didn`t pull it off, at least to full results that he`d hoped for, because his own staff wouldn`t help him.  Mueller writing, "The president`s efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful largely because the persons that surround the president declined to carry out orders or accede to his request. 

You don`t have to succeed at obstruction to commit obstruction of justice.  There are people like Michael Flynn who told lies that didn`t work, that is to say their lies were unsuccessful, and they`re convicted of felonies. 

Now there`s also, and I want to be very clear about this, undoubtedly good news for the president in this report.  Mueller`s team did not establish the Trump campaign coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.  Again, we knew there were no indictments today.  We have the full report in context. 

And I tell you, that quote which matches some of what we`ve earlier seen does make sense in context.  Then there`s other troubling information.  A second instance of Russia offering negative information about Clinton to the Trump campaign, the kind of foreign offer you`re never supposed to take, this is in addition to the Trump Tower meeting, and what are the details?  Well, that I can`t tell you because that very, very interesting fact you may be hearing for the first time, a new offer of foreign help, it`s completely redacted. 

And there are also in other sections entire pages redacted, including the bulk of the discussion of something of major interest politically, investigative, legal, quote, "Trump campaign contacts about WikiLeaks." 

Now late today Democrats insisting the redacted report is not good enough, they want the whole thing so Congress can fully assess whether and if Donald Trump committed the high crime of obstructing justice. 

As we were reporting here, Julia Ainsley from the Justice Department, they`re offering a limited briefing to a few members of Congress.  Dems saying that`s not enough.  They`re also saying they will hold Attorney General Barr to his claim during his press conference today that Mueller himself can go ahead and testify. 


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER:  Robert Mueller remains a Justice Department employee as of this moment.  Will you permit him to testify publicly in Congress? 

WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL:  I have no objection to Bob Mueller personally testifying. 


MELBER:  Leading off our coverage tonight I`m joined by Maya Wiley, former counselor and mayor of New York City, and a former civil prosecutor in the SDNY.  NYU law professor Melissa Murray, who is a clerk to Judge Sotomayor, and former federal prosecutor John Flannery. 

Good to see each of you. 

John, out of Washington, D.C. where so much news went down today, your view of what it means that we now know Mueller was outlining the evidence for consideration, not letting Barr -- passing it off to Barr to make a decision. 

JOHN FLANNERY, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR:  Well, it`s very interesting how he did, I think.  I think he wrapped himself around the axle, but in a way he was faithful to his by-the-book personality and character.  He felt constrained by the former rulings about indicting a president, a sitting president, though he said you could collect information.  But then he went on and say something else interesting, which is that if he felt that if he said that these were crimes, that would be unfair even to Mr. Trump because he would have no way to answer as he would in a trial. 

So I think he decided having locked himself into this path that the only way to deal with it would be, as other special prosecutors have done, is to draw a pathway to the Congress.  And I think that if you just take his second section you have -- 

MELBER:  So when you say that, in your view then, if Barr had taken that first letter and submitted it to court, what would a judge make of it?  I mean, how misleading was it? 

FLANNERY:  It was totally misleading.  In fact, in the report that we have from Mueller, he basically takes that June 2018 memo that got him the job as well as his statement in the letter, the four-page letter that misleads us as to what the report said, and he tears it apart, saying that of course we don`t need an underlying crime to be proven in order to have obstruction.  And -- 

MELBER:  So by your count, how many big important things are Mueller and Barr disagreeing about now? 

FLANNERY:  The whole letter.  The four-page letter.  They don`t agree on anything. 

MELBER:  So the letter is about obstruction. 


MELBER:  As you said, it`s about the legal underpinnings of whether you need the underlying crime, and it seems they also disagree about who has the last word, which is kind of the whole point. 

FLANNERY:  Well, I -- that`s right.  If he`s the independent counsel and we have a dependent attorney general who`s prepared to sell his oath of office to protect Trump who`s the object of the investigation and help him write an answer when we are preventing the public and the Congress and everybody else from knowing what was found, I think this is a guy that shouldn`t be in that office because there are ongoing cases. 

And now that we`ve seen him, it`s shame on us if we don`t get rid of them, that we don`t seek to impeach him, that we don`t ask for his removal, that there isn`t a House resolution to get rid of him. 

Today was transparent.  The troika of justice standing there, the three men, but not Mueller who wrote the report.  What kind of conduct is that for the chief law enforcement officer of the country -- 

MELBER:  As you say -- 

FLANNERY:  -- not to have the person there. 

MELBER:  But not Mueller. 


MELBER:  This -- as you put it -- the troika.  Rod Rosenstein playing another role in this chapter, Maya.  He`s played many roles.  They were missing Bob Mueller and that`s what I want to get your view on.  Twenty- three months in.  No Mueller.  And this is what Barr said when asked about it. 


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER:  Was he invited to join you up on the podium?  Why is he not here?  This is his report, obviously that you`re talking about today. 

BARR:  No, it`s not.  It`s a report he did for me as the attorney general. 


MAYA WILEY, FORMER CIVIL PROSECUTOR, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK:  Well, not exactly.  So the thing about the DOJ regs is what they say is that the attorney general makes a decision about what will become public.  Once the attorney general said, I`m going to make it all public except the grand jury material and whatever I have to remove because of ongoing investigations or what would reveal methods or private information of individuals who need to be protected lawfully, once he said that there is absolutely nothing in the regulations that say Bob Mueller can`t get up there and talk about his report. 

That`s not the way it works.  What happened is William Barr used his position as the attorney general to keep Bob Mueller from answering questions so that he could put his spin on the report before the rest of us saw it. 

MELBER:  Yes, and Melissa, this report which is so voluminous, I mean, we`ve been making our way through it, but it reflects Bob Mueller`s choices about what you need to know.  It`s long but there are things that we know from our reporting aren`t in there.  And then there are things that are in there.  And I want to read some of them because they paint a portrait of this White House and this president and his efforts to shape the outcome of the investigation. 

Just looking at some of the highlights.  You have Donald Trump finding out that Mueller is appointed and he says, I`m f`d.  You have Trump deciding, quote, "Mueller has to go."  You have Trump saying this whole thing is going to be, quote, "the end of my presidency."  You know, Trump`s own lawyer explaining what he won`t do, he won`t fire Mueller which might get him in jail, and he says I won`t do this crazy expletive. 

You have Trump going back to it saying, I need to knock out Mueller.  And then you have again this lawyer McGahn saying look, we`re on the edge of a Saturday night massacre which was what ended the Nixon presidency. 

From a legal view, why does Mueller put that stuff in there? 

MELISSA MURRAY, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY LAW PROFESSOR:  I think one of the things that`s being said is that this is an administration that is in complete and utter disarray insofar as the rule of law is concerned.  You have a president who`s asking his aides to do things that they know cannot be done, that are illegal.  You have a president questioning his White House counsel about the propriety of taking notes. 

He says he`s never had a lawyer actually take notes.  He`s had lawyers like Roy Cohn.  So this is a different kind of White House, a different kind of approach to the rule of law.  And I think Maya said it best.  You can see how Bill Barr has been brought into it, he is no longer the attorney general for the entire United States, he is the defense attorney for Donald Trump.  And that`s an incredibly different role. 

And I don`t know how Bill Barr gets away from this.  I mean, the Department of Justice is battered after today.  His reputation is battered.  This is a sad, sad time for the rule of law and for the department which has been in held in highest team by most for its long history. 

MELBER:  So -- I think that`s very well put.  So, Mr. Flannery, I want to put you on the spot for the rather wild news banner, even by the standards of 2019, wild not because it`s an expletive, but wild because the Special Counsel Mueller, a serious person, included this in his narrative for a reason, quoting what he uncovered, that when President Trump found out there was a probe, his reaction was not OK, we have to figure out how to deal with it, or we need a strategy, or should we cooperate or gosh, how long will it take to get the facts out if I believe I`m innocent. 

His response was, this is, quote, "the end of my presidency.  I`m f`d."  Square both pieces for us, John.  On the one hand, what does it mean when the subject of a probe has that reaction?  On the other hand, why was Trump wrong because the report is out today, and it doesn`t look like it was the end of his presidency as of tonight? 

FLANNERY:  He feared a nation that would actually adhere to the law, and in that condition he was f`d if you will.  But he also was admitting the truth of the implication of an investigation that was going to find him out.  And Mueller said there were basically two phases for the obstruction investigation.  The first phase was dealing with Flynn leaving and trying to get Comey to kill that part of the investigation. 

But the second part when he started to obstruct with Comey and others down the road, and publicly and privately, that was the second part of the investigation.  And those two together did a number on the president`s psyche.  This is a guy who`s a bully but he also plays the victim, he`s a tender creature when you come back at him.  So unfortunate that more people don`t take on the bully.  And I think that Mueller did that in this report. 

Also it tells you a lot about the state of mind of Trump, that he would slump, feel deflated because he`s facing the law that we`re not following.  And that`s why we miss a great opportunity if we don`t take this report and do two things -- deal with Barr as the head of the Department of Justice or Department of Injustice within there, and we do something with the report on the Judiciary Committee and we do it soon.  We don`t waste time any more. 

We get at it because nothing less than the conduct of our government is at stake.  And the irony of him referring to the Office of Legal Counsel memo is that we would be afraid of compromising the governance of the nation.  This is exactly the opposite case.  As long as this man is president, the governance of the nation is compromised. 

MELBER:  So at the end of the day, do you think Mueller made the right calls? 

FLANNERY:  No.  He made a couple of calls that I would disagree with.  One is agreeing with the Office of Legal Counsel.  Whether -- he could write a report saying there should be an indictment, and he could explain as I just suggested why the Office of Legal Counsel, setting aside the Executive Department, is wrong in that policy -- 

MELBER:  Interesting. 

FLANNERY:  -- and applying it here.  Also he should have called Trump to the grand jury.  Those two major decisions I think. 

MELBER:  Both interesting points.  And we always appreciate your candor and insight. 

Hang with me.  Everyone in the panel hangs with me as part of our special coverage as it continues.  I have former chief of staff to Bob Mueller sitting at this table right now as well as a member of the Judiciary Committee in the U.S. Senate. 

And I want to set up this conversation pretty clearly in a straightforward way.  Mueller`s work is done, and yet the other thing we learned in this report is that several big interesting investigations are ongoing.  The report identifying 14 referrals to other offices, Michael Cohen and former Obama White House counsel, Greg Craig, the only ones that are actually revealed. 

The question of obstruction remains open.  As the Mueller report is explicit that it`s up to Congress to potentially decide what matter should be dealt with when it comes to a sitting president.  Quote, "With respect to whether the president can be found to have obstructed justice, we concluded that the Congress has the authority to prohibit a president`s corrupt use of his authority in order to protect the integrity of the administration of justice." 

Translation, the defense that you heard from the likes of Barr, and that you heard from the likes of Rudy Giuliani, that obstruction itself is actually impossible, Mueller again, if you think he acts deliberately, he chose to put in writing what we have tonight for the first time ever.  He completely disagrees and he shows his work why. 

With that in mind, I turn now first to U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, who serves on the Judiciary Committee, and after we speak in a little bit of a colloquy, we will add in Bob Mueller`s former chief of staff, John Carlin. 

First of all, Senator, on a busy night, thanks for coming on THE BEAT. 


MELBER:  When you look at that, what is Mueller trying to say in your view and did Mr. Barr handle this properly? 

BLUMENTHAL:  Mueller is trying to say to Congress, you should do your job, hold the president accountable because I have given you a sweeping, systematic story of criminal wrongdoing.  And where I part ways with Mueller perhaps, and what I want to ask him about it when he comes before the Senate Judiciary Committee, is the decision not to subpoena the president. 

I understand it may have taken additional time, but I think that those answers, the "I don`t recall" go directly to criminal intent which can be established only if there is a give-and-take of questioning.  And second -- 

MELBER:  Doesn`t that go, though, to whether there was a pattern of obstruction because the obstruction section is really about two things.  Donald Trump trying to do things that his own aides were so outraged and concerned over, that they tried to save Trump from himself.  That`s why we have some of this colorful language of Saturday night massacres, and saving him from crazy expletive. 

Then you have all of the documented actions that are obstruction crimes.  Many of those people were advisers to Trump.  And so that starts to close the circle.  For your rebuttal, you know, we talk to everyone that we can on these stories.  And I was able to interview the president`s attorney, Jay Sekulow, about this today and about those obstruction convictions of Trump aides, and whether they say that is a problem, and do they call for that activity to stop? 

Take a look at what Jay Sekulow told us here today after the report came out. 


MELBER:  Mueller finds these lies, I read you the quote.  Do you accept that finding and if so, does the president condemn those lives that interfered with his own Justice Department`s investigation?

JAY SEKULOW, LAWYER OF DONALD TRUMP:  Look, I mean, I`m not -- I know which ones -- I believe you`re talking about the President doesn`t support anyone telling lies so I`ll be -- let`s be crystal clear on that.


MELBER:  You respond, Senator.

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT):  The report documents in detail how the President not only tolerated condone people lying but he encouraged and instructed them to lie.  Take Don McGahn.  He asked on began to fire the special counsel.  Don McGahn agonized and decided he had to resign and didn`t do it.  Then he asked Don McGahn to put a document in the file saying he never asked Don McGahn to do it.

MELBER:  Yes, that was -- you know, that was really striking.  We haven`t just discussed that on air yet.  We`re half an hour into THE BEAT.  This report shows the persistence of Donald Trump`s what the report calls evidence of obstruction, what other people call potentially crimes of obstruction.  The notion that he tells -- he tells McGahn to do something that he seemed to have the knowledge would be potentially unlawful, fire Mueller.

McGahn threatens to resign over it, starts packing his luggage, it`s all in there and in great detail.  And then he says to McGahn, falsify the records and say I never did this.  What does that tell you?

BLUMENTHAL:  That tells me he has knowledge that what he asked McGahn to do was potentially illegal.  Take another example and this one to my knowledge hasn`t been mentioned.  There is a section on K.T. McFarland, the President`s Deputy National Security Adviser.  He told her she had to leave but he would make her ambassador to Singapore if only she put in the file a document saying he never asked Michael Flynn to contact the Russian Ambassador Kislyak.  An inducement in effect to lie again putting a false document in the record.

MELBER:  So you`re in the -- you`re in the upper body of the Senate which when these issues get to the level of whether the President as the sitting president has committed to high crime, you would ultimately adjudicate that,  You have the Senate trial if or when in any administration you get to that.  But this starts in the House.  What do you think the House Judiciary Committee should do or is it too early to say?

BLUMENTHAL:  Well, let`s take this full report which we`re all still reading and which I want to read several times more.  It is not only a sweeping indictment in all but name on instruction -- obstruction.

MELBER:  Obstruction, yes.

BLUMENTHAL:  But it is also a portrait of deeply unacceptable, unethical conduct unbefitting an American president.

MELBER:  And so as you list out that is your understanding of what Mueller has documented, I turned to Bob Mueller`s chief of staff to try to understand.  First of all, yes or no, did Attorney General Barr do a disservice to what Mueller actually did in this report?

JOHN CARLIN, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO ROBERT MUELLER:  I was very disappointed by the press conference today.  And now having read the -- read the report, there were a couple statements including several times saying there was no evidence of this conduct or that conduct when one reads a report there is voluminous substantial evidence.  And instead, the Mueller report was careful when it comes to evidence of conspiracy to say this evidence doesn`t rise to the level of being admissible and provable beyond a reasonable doubt.

Any lawyer knows that`s different than no evidence.  And then similarly with obstruction, what he said was quite different.  There he said and laid out there`s substantial evidence essentially of obstruction but I don`t think it`s my job to determine whether or not this evidence meets the criminal definition of obstruction which leads to only two remedies.

One is for the Senator in his role, so the Senate and the House to determine what this conduct is.  And the other would be for it to be considered after the president has left office for potential criminal charges.

MELBER:  So John, you as chief of staff to Bob Mueller, as someone I`ve been waiting to talk to, for the benefit of the audience because what`s different about tonight is the amount of evidence and information we have, not the partial sentences, not the spin.  I`m going to go ahead and read you the entire conclusion and see what you think you can tell us Mueller means by.

Because we determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment, we did not draw ultimate conclusions about the President`s conduct.  The evidence we obtained about the actions and intent of the President present difficult issues that would need to be resolved if we were making a traditional prosecutorial judgment.

If we had confidence after this thorough investigation that President Trump did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state.  Based on the flat the facts and legal standards, were unable to reach that judgment he says, because the rules prevent it.  So while this report does not conclude the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.

Do you read that as a jump ball or an implication that there`s evidence of obstruction and they just aren`t allowed to go any further than that?

CARLIN:  The latter, that there`s substantial evidence of obstruction but that they believe it is not within their remit to make the conclusion as to whether or not that rises to an indictable crime.

MELBER:  So here`s the hard follow-up question for you and then and then back to the Senator.  I know you`re loath to say anything that criticizes your old boss and I know you hold him as a man of integrity as so many experts we`ve spoken to do.  Why didn`t he go further and add a single sentence after that that made it clearer to the public who he knew would read some of this to the Congress which is not only made up of lawyers or former federal prosecutor, senator notwithstanding, and say in plain English whether this was leaning towards the crime of obstruction or not?

Because while I could read it your way what you just said and I`ve heard experts say that today, would you agree that Bob Mueller didn`t actually drop the hammer in plain English that way which leaves a lot of room for people to argue in good or bad faith hey, it doesn`t say that Trump committed obstruction.

CARLIN:  I think he means what he says when he says he thinks it would be unfair if there`s no remedy for a defendant to be able to present their side of a case for a prosecutor to render a judgment that says someone`s committed obstruction of justice.  But you asked, did he add -- should he have added a sentence.  He did.  He added pages after pages of evidence meticulously laying out in shocking --

MELBER:  Yes.  I`m going to push you, John.  I think you make very fair points but at the end of the day this is the end, this is the conclusion.  Now if it were really good in the full paragraph, Mr. Barr might have quoted the full paragraph.  He didn`t.  He quoted a partial sentence.  You have a fair point.  But Bob Mueller, did he stick the landing in plain English for people to understand what he meant?

CARLIN:  I think he thought it was unfair for him to reach that conclusion so what he did was provide the facts to us to read.  It`s hard for everyone particularly in a fast news cycle to do that but now it`s incumbent upon us as citizens and it`s --

MELBER:  Fast news cycle, we got time.  I`ve been -- I`ve been reading this all day.  Let me go to the Senator who looks like you wants to get it and then Counselor Wiley.

BLUMENTHAL:  Let me just make a point here about the collusion charge as well as by the need for Congressional oversight.  What we have here is Donald Trump welcoming, accepting, happily taking help from a foreign adversary in his campaign that involves clear illegality, hacking into a government computer, hacking into the computers of his opponent, and the DNC.

And whether there was that explicit meeting of the minds that we all know as lawyers at this table is necessary for a conspiracy, there clearly was a threat to the United States of America that continues.  And Donald Trump continues to say he believes Vladimir Putin instead of our intelligence community.

I sit on the Armed Services Committee not just the Judiciary Committee.  I`m concerned as a United States Senator and as a citizen that the Russians are at it again, they`re going to do it in the 2020 election because Attorney General Barr and Donald Trump have given them a pass in effect.

MAYA WILEY, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST:  So I`m -- I`ve never met John before but I`m going to be his anger interpreter right now.  I`m going to --

MELBER:  A Key & Peele reference.

WILEY:  Because I think the answer to the question you`re asking --

MELBER:  You`re going to be his anger translator.

WILEY:  I`m going to be his anger translator.

MELBER:  Let`s hear it.

WILEY:  Hell no, he did not stick that landing, but for the reasons he made very clear.  I mean, Bob Mueller was very transparent about why he wasn`t sticking the landing which is to say he thought it would be unfair to the President.  I think when we also look at what Bob Mueller says, part of why he couldn`t establish evidence of conspiracy is because people were lying to him.  It`s because Donald Trump would not come be interviewed --

MELBER:  But I think you`re -- I think you`re splitting the two issues together, right?  One is Mr. Carlin who chiefs of staff often are made in their boss` image, and we have to very careful, thoughtful attorneys here essentially.

But is that in this day and age against what is laid out here rats, crazy ass, I`m effed, all this stuff in there, is that not enough for this political process which does involve the Congress.  That`s question one.  The question two is, what were they all lying about if there was nothing to hide?

WILEY:  Right -- yes-- OK, that was me being -- I wasn`t being your anger interpreter.  So --

BLUMENTHAL:  You can be mine.

WILEY:  I can -- OK.  Well -- so first of all, I think you have to read these two things pieces together, these two volumes together.  What is he obstructing for?  He`s obstructing for a reason and that`s what the first volume is speaking to, right, which is all this activity that`s going on there is evidence in the first volume whether it rises to the level of a criminal prosecution doesn`t mean there`s not evidence.  But that goes to the point about obstruction and that`s why absolutely Congress has enough here.

MELISSA MURRAY, LAW PROFESSOR, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY:  And this is the fundamental flaw in Bill Barr`s analysis.  Bill Barr seems to suggest that because volume one doesn`t come to a clear conclusion about conspiracy or collusion with the Russians, there can be no obstruction of justice.  And that`s just not true.

Like there can be obstruction even if it`s actually not successful and even if there isn`t the underlying successful --

MELBER:  Well, and that goes to Mueller`s inclusion of the President finding out oh there`s going to be an investigation.  This is "the end of my presidency."  My supposition here is that Mueller didn`t put that in there for tabloid headlines.  He has avoided headlines for 23 months.  I think he put it in there as a clue of what they uncovered narratively which is that when Donald Trump understood that there would be an actual assertive investigation, it posed legal peril for him.

Maybe not on election conspiracy, maybe it was on the 2016 crimes in New York that Michael Cohen confessed to, maybe it was on other crimes that have not been uncovered, maybe it was on one of the 12 criminal referrals.  But I don`t think we heard my presidency is over, I`m effed today in this report as a cheap shot.

Everything we know is it`s not a cheap shot.  It goes to the President`s state of mind.  I`m overdue for my next guest but I give you a final word because you look like you want one.

MURRAY:  I think it goes back to this whole question.  I mean you see throughout this report all of these details on people telling Michael Flynn, you know you are loved.  The President loves you.  You have friends in high places.  This is not normal procedure in a working functional White House.  This is like Breaking Bad and Sa1ul or a Mario Puzo novel.

I mean this is not ordinarily how White House Counsel function and how the counsel for the president would function.  This is completely unorthodox.

MELBER:  And wasn`t it in Breaking Bad that they said don`t get high on your own supply.  Melissa Murray, Maya Wiley, former Chief of Staff to Bob Mueller John Carlin, and U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, my thanks each of you.  I have an excellent panel waiting on the other issue we want to get to which is what they call volume one, the discussion of the election conspiracy and the Russian hacking.

Mueller writes "we applied the framework of conspiracy law not the concept of "collusion."  Collusion is not a specific offense Mueller writes, or a theory of liability, and thus the special counsel`s office focused on "conspiracy is defined in federal law."

That`s a pretty straightforward point.  You don`t need to be a lawyer to know it.  If you`ve been watching this news coverage one way or the other, if you think it`s great news that Donald Trump ultimately was not charged with conspiracy or you thought there was a conspiracy, or you`re critical of the president, by now many people including non-lawyers understand that conspiracy point Mueller`s report.

And yet take a look at what Attorney General Barr said today using the word collusion instead of conspiracy at his announcement.


WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL, UNITED STATES:  The Special Counsel found no collusion by any Americans.  In other words there was no evidence of the Trump campaign collusion with the Russian government`s hacking.

Did not find that the Trump campaign or other Americans colluded.

Finding no underlying collusion with Russia.  There was in fact no collusion.


MELBER:  No collusion, no collusion, no collusion, that`s Donald Trump`s mantra.  It is striking to see the sitting Attorney General the United States departing from the very point that he knew the nation would be reading soon that Mueller said -- treat this as conspiracy not collusion in the analysis but he had his reasons.

And all this comes as we`re learning in that section on conspiracy new details about the Trump aides who were actively spreading hacked material that WikiLeaks got online about a conversation that Trump had on his way to LaGuardia Airport where according to the Mueller report, he revealed that he just had been told more damaging information would be coming an apparent second incident in addition to the Trump Tower meeting in which Russians allegedly offered other types of dirt on Clinton to Donald Trump`s team.

To dig into this, we have subject matter experts that are perfect to advance our understanding.  Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, Brian Fallon who worked in both the Obama DOJ under Eric Holder as Director of Public Affairs, similar to Matt Miller that people may recognize, but also then later was a Press Secretary on Hillary Clinton`s presidential campaign.  Two views overlapping on these issues and someone also very familiar to audience Julia Ioffe, a Correspondent of GQ who has been covering both the Russia probe and wider Russian foreign policy issues for many years.

Thanks to all of you for being here.  Ambassador, I begin with you.  What did you glean from this section on conspiracy and what`s important to you tonight?

MICHAEL MCFAUL, FORMER UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA:  Well, two things.  I want to read the headline of this report for me.  The Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion.  And I want to emphasize that first re before we get to collusion because what is in this report is massive details, incredible details of what the Russian multi-pronged campaign was to influence the course of our elections in 2016.

And that we`re not talking about that, that the president of the United States hasn`t sat in the Oval Office and said this is outrageous, this will not stand, I will never allow this to happen again, for me as a national security person is just dumbfounding.  And by the way, you know, the report didn`t get into everything because that was not Mr. Mueller`s mandate.  There are more aspects of this campaign that he didn`t even discuss.

But -- so before we get to collusion, remember that fact and remember we`ve almost done nothing to protect us from future attacks from Russia or other foreign actors or domestic actors come 2020.

MELBER:  And just so I`m quite clear on what you`re getting at.  Of course, the Attorney General is a position of law but also of national security.  Are you saying that Mr. Barr did not do what you would have thought necessary here in wrapping the Mueller probe today in hitting those points.

MCFAUL:  Mr. Barr but especially the Commander-in-Chief.  I mean, think about this.  It`s not September 11th.  That`s an exaggeration.  But we were attacked, we now have the evidence that we were attacked.  It may have influenced the course of our election for president, and we`re not treating it that way.  We`re -- you know, because of the politics of it all, we`re not framing it as a national security issue.

And the fact that the president just got on his airplane to fly away for vacation and didn`t stand up and say this is outrageous, this will never happen again, I just think is a real mistake.  And by the way, why is it at this point especially, I actually think the Russians did tremendous damage to President Trump and to candidate Trump.  And think about the counterfactual, what if they had never done anything and President Trump had won the election.  He`d be in a much stronger place than he is today.

So I think it`s a Republicans national interest to stand and to say we`ve got to push back on the Russians.  We can`t allow this to happen again.

MELBER:  Brian, if we use just a standard metric of fairness and uniformity and say what if you`d swapped the candidate and the country, how would it - - how would it play if this broke today?  And in that spirit I want to ask you even though I`ve shown viewers you have a point of view and you worked for Hillary Clinton who was of course targeted, her team targeted.

But if it were say a different candidate and a different country, say getting help from Iran and it was George H. Bush or it was Bill Clinton, how would that play as I read to you something we learned in this new report tonight Trump asking individuals affiliated with his campaign to find the deleted Clinton e-mails.  Michael Flynn recalling Trump made this request repeatedly and Flynn subsequently contacted multiple people in an effort to obtain the e-mails.

This is something that`s gotten less attention and implicated obviously your old boss Hillary Clinton was while not a chargeable conspiracy and I`ve been careful to note that from the day Mueller finished because we had no conspiracy indictments.  What is your view of the import of this Trump side interest in getting stolen stuff including potentially from foreigners?

BRIAN FALLON, FORMER PRESS SECRETARY FOR HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN:  Right.  Well, I think to answer your first question, Ari.  If the situation were reversed, if Hillary Clinton where the president today, I don`t think there`s any doubt that Congressional Republicans would be clamoring for further investigation and further inquiry.  And you know what, they`d be right to do so just as Democrats are completely within their rights to say that we want to bring Attorney General Barr up to the Hill, we want to bring Special Counsel Mueller to the Hill.  We want to see the unredacted version of the report.

There`s a lot of unanswered questions that remain here.  And I think that if the -- if the Hill, if Congressional Democrats and Republicans did not take this baton that is being passed in the form of this report from Bob Mueller, they`d essentially be falling into the trap that has been very expertly laid by Attorney General Barr who has conducted a rather meticulous smoke screened campaign the last few weeks.

And to your -- that original clip that you played leading into the segment, Ari, why is Bob -- is Bill Barr who`s a very skilled attorney, why is he alighting the difference between something that he knows which is a legal nothing-burger of a term collusion with the impactful meaningful relevant term of conspiracy.

MELBER:  Or to put it, is the lighting.  Why is he hate-tweeting at a Department of Justice press conference --


MELBER:  Julia -- let me bring Julia in.  As a subject matter expert, what jumped out to you in this report?

JULIA IOFFE, CORRESPONDENT, GQ:  I don`t know how long do you have.  I have to say, what kept -- several things that I thought of reading it.  First how much we already knew because of the reporting, the excellent reporting around the investigation, not -- setting aside hot takes an analysis, just the straight-up kind of shoe-leather reporting was excellent we knew so much of this already it had been coming out in dribs and drabs for the last two years.

Second of all, to reinforce what Mike McFaul said, you know this was a pretty coordinated campaign and Russia was trying on all fronts pushing on every door to see if it would open.  The other thing I would say is that you know, I`m not a lawyer but you know, how high does the evidentiary standard have to be that I mean, you have hundreds of pages about Russian overtures to the Trump campaign, about the Trump campaign playing footsie back, being willing to accept some help kind of totally missing you know, the certain attempts that help just going right over their heads.

At what point does it happen -- does it qualify as conspiracy or coordination because there was so much there and so much contact being made on all sides that I was just stunned that it kind of didn`t rise to the level.

MELBER:  You put it very well.  Lawyer or non-lawyer, I think the answer your question is high enough concern that Mr. Barr felt the need to get ahead of it.  High enough that he didn`t want to have the Congress or the public having a fresh look at all that evidence.  He wanted to get ahead of it even though there were no conspiracy indictments.

IOFFE:  And to -- and to drop it on Passover Easter weekend.

MELBER:  And (INAUDIBLE) to you.  You know, Brian Fallon, let me read to you another point.  Again, we`re just going through pieces of evidence because the most important part of tonight`s news is that we have new information.  Donald Trump in the campaign -- I`m going to read to you, they had a press strategy before all the WikiLeaks dumps were out, they had quote a communications and messaging strategy on the possible coming release of Clinton e-mails by WikiLeaks.

And then you have redactions here which is pretty interesting because of an open case an ongoing matter.  But between the redactions I`m reading to you, Brian, it says while Trump and the number two on the campaign, Gates, were driving a LaGuardia, redacted.  Some sort of phone call shortly after the call candidate Trump tells Gates more releases of damaging information would be coming.  Your view.

FALLON:  Well, I think to answer Julia`s point, the special counsel seem to take the approach that the question of whether criminal conspiracy took place here turned on the matter of whether the Trump campaign was participating in the hacking of the e-mails itself.

But if you leave that issue aside, there was cooperation, coordination, collusion call it whatever you want all over the place with all other manner of aspects of implementing and strategizing around making the utmost political value out of these hacked materials.

And that is the most I think redacted portion of the entire report and so there may be even more damning information still that gets to the extent of the coordination and the degree to which Donald Trump was so interested in these e-mails, he repeatedly directed campaign officials to make efforts to find them, to keep them posted on the status of WikiLeaks.

And so Ari, I go back to the point, why is A.G. Barr today, why is he alighting this difference between collusion and conspiracy.  It`s because that whole press conference had an audience of one person.  And Donald Trump would almost rather be acquitted on the non-legal matter of collusion because he`s such a T.V. fanatic and he`s so concerned about how it will play from a media narrative perspective.

He`d almost rather be acquitted on the non-legally meaningless thing of collusion than the way -- be acquitted on the more technically accurate point of conspiracy as was laid out in the document today.  But if you want to talk about collusion, there is ample evidence of collusion in this report which has been something that Barr has been on a quest to sort of smokescreen over the past few weeks.

MELBER:  Right.  Julia --

IOFFE:  Can I add one more thing?

MELBER:  I have three guests waiting, so Julia, so much time we have, the answer is we`re out of time for this segment but we`re not taking a commercial break.  My thanks to the three of you.  The discussion of Donald Trump`s obsession with television and the treatment of this probe, well, I turn to a Mueller witness Sam Nunberg who had an interview that you later told us the President watched on television as well as Matt Miller chief spokesman for the Justice Department under Obama, similar role of Brian Fallon, as well as former Federal Prosecutor Gene Rossi.

Sam, when the history is written, you will be in it, to put it in legal terms perhaps as a footnote which is better than being a big juicy indictment.  But you`ll be in it partly for what you did at this table which is explore the potential defiance of the Special Counsel probe and you ultimately cooperated. 

What does it say to you about the president and Trump world that what you flirted with doing briefly and ultimately reconsidered is what Mueller says that Donald Trump did writ large, not a day or two flirtation with defiance, but the president United States actively repeatedly trying to defy the special counsel, trying to shut it down, when that failed asking people to lie about it.  Things that to put it in plain English as we wrap up here with five minutes left on THE BEAT, to put in plain English, things that other people go to jail for.

SAM NUNBERG, AIDE, TRUMP CAMPAIGN:  Well, I cannot believe what Don McGahn had to go through during that short tenure of his at the White House.  And I was always surprised that Hope Hicks left the White House and I think I know why having to go -- she going to be interviewed by Mueller and finally not being able to lie to the press.  She was under oath and she had to talk about a play-by-play of what Donald Trump --

MELBER:  Is that in your view -- is that what it comes down to in this -- with this president that he asked so much of people, and after they`ve given up everything, it`s almost like a bizarre-o Shel Silverstein Giving Tree.  After giving up everything in their reduced to a stump, the final question is will you go to jail for me?  And Michael Cohen didn`t want to do it, and Don McGahn didn`t want to do it, and I don`t think you wanted to do it.

NUNBERG:  And you`re -- and you`re certainly of no use to him once you tell the truth.  That was frankly and I think that`s why you see a lot of them leaving.  I`ve left.

MELBER:  Say that again so --

NUNBERG:  You`re not -- you`re not useful to him --

MELBER:  When you --

NUNBERG:  When you tell the truth.

MATT MILLER, MSNBC JUSTICE AND SECURITY ANALYST:  I think that`s right.  I mean, you see it in his response to the investigation.  You see it how -- I thought one of the darker things and in the report today was how he behaved with witnesses.  How he behaved with Michael Cohen, how he behaved with Michael Flynn where up until the time they were cooperating.

He was sending back-channel messages to them through intermediaries, to attorneys to stays strong, the intermediaries saying the president loves you.  He thinks you`re doing great.  And in the minute they flipped he would turn on them and call him a rat, attack them publicly, attack them privately.

And you see it in his governing strategy too.  It`s not just how he`s dealt with these investigations.  You know, last week we were all talking about the story where you know, the Secretary of Homeland Security resigned because the president wanted her to break the law.  It`s just kind of how he uses people.

He expects you to do everything for him up to and including breaking the law and you know, I think there are -- a lot of people who are loyal to Donald Trump will do a number of quite inappropriate things, but when it comes to putting himself in jail I think take the wise --

MELBER:  Let me -- let me get in Gene who hasn`t spoken yet in this segment.  Gene Rossi, isn`t that the bigger import of this report that I hold in my hand because we`ve discussed the facts in here that are helpful not only to the White House but to several of the people who did serve for Donald Trump including Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump who according to this report did not ultimately do anything that came close to becoming targets.

And we report that out accurately along with the rest just like I told Jay Sekulow when he was on with us early today, there`s good news here on your client -- for your client and we note that.  But isn`t the larger problem with the obstruction piece that the President of the United States is the one person in the federal government who has a constitutional obligation to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.

And now America is stuck sitting on this evidence that shows repeatedly that Mueller has wanted us to know whether we can do anything about it or not, that this is a president who falls short of that constitutional obligation, and he`s the one person in government who was supposed to be most responsible for it.

GENE ROSSI, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR:  If I were to do an opening statement charging a President with obstruction of justice, I would begin with this.  In the end, my presidency is over and I am fudgicle.  That`s all I need to know about the intent of the president.  Let me just say this Ari.

MELBER:  And so why did Mueller put that in there.  You`re saying that`s telling because why?

ROSSI:  It goes to the corrupt intent of the presidency.  The President himself engaged if you read that report, in conduct that frankly is embarrassing.  When I was reading the report, I thought I was reading the script for Godfather Four.  I once charged a state prosecutor in Virginia with witness tampering and obstruction of justice.

And if he`s listening he`s probably laughing because what`s in volume two of that report is 50 times more than what I charged in my indictment against that state prosecutor.  And here`s why.  It`s not just that he asked witnesses to lie.  It`s not just that he was trying to protect himself.  It`s that he didn`t care about the judicial process and the rule of law.

MELBER:  Right.

ROSSI:  And on January 20th of his inauguration day, he took the oath to uphold the rule of law.

MELBER:  Right and your point being he took the oath and Mueller is outlining evidence that calls it a question.  You think of a fictional Godfather Four as we await for whether Mueller ever testifies I think of the actual Godfather Three.  You think you`re out and they pull you back in.  And Bob Mueller left government service, he left the FBI. 

He was pulled back in to do this job.  He may be pulled back in one more time to tell Congress and the world what he means, what`s in here and what he thinks the way the Trump Justice Department and the administration dealt with it.  My thanks to Jean (ph), Sam and Matt as being part of our special coverage, my thanks to you at home for watching THE BEAT.  We have a lot more tonight.  I wouldn`t go anywhere if I were you.

"HARDBALL" with Chris Matthews is up next.