The Mueller Report – A PBS NewsHour/FRONTLINE Special

The Mueller Report – A PBS NewsHour/FRONTLINE Special


JUDY WOODRUFF: Special counsel Robert Mueller has delivered his final
report to the Department of Justice. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: There are no further indictments
being recommended. That’s a big deal. NARRATOR: President Trump declares victory. DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
It was a complete and total exoneration. NARRATOR: Amid calls to release Mueller’s
entire report. MAN: Democrats and Republicans demanding the
full release of the report. DONALD TRUMP: There was no collusion with
Russia. NARRATOR: The story behind the Mueller investigation. WOMAN: Justice Department naming special counsel
to take over the investigation. NARRATOR: Tonight, a groundbreaking collaboration
between “PBS NewsHour” and “Frontline”: “The Mueller Report.” JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening, and welcome to
this PBS special, “The Mueller Report,” from “Frontline” and the “PBS NewsHour.” I’m Judy Woodruff. As we come on the air tonight, special counsel
Robert Mueller’s two-year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election
has been completed and delivered to the attorney general of the United States, William Barr. However, very little of the report itself
has been made public, other than a letter from Barr to congressional leaders briefly
summarizing its findings. The letter says that the Mueller investigation
concluded that, while the Russians tried to interfere in the election process to benefit
then candidate Trump, there wasn’t evidence that the president or his team conspired or
coordinated with the Russians in this effort. And on the question of whether the president
obstructed justice during the Mueller investigation, the letter notes that the prosecutor didn’t
reach a decision on that matter. It says the Mueller report doesn’t conclude that the president
committed a crime. It also doesn’t exonerate him. Barr, however, said he concluded there was
no obstruction. Many members of Congress are now demanding
to see the entire Mueller report. That will surely be debated vigorously in the days ahead. But now seems an ideal moment to step back
and examine what we know about how this investigation unfolded and to analyze its initial impact
and the next steps to come. Later in this special, I will talk to the
president’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, and to some top legal minds, who will help us understand
where this is headed. But, first, our colleagues at “Frontline”
have done extensive reporting about the Mueller investigation and the Trump team over the
past year, until the report was delivered to the Department of Justice on Friday. MAN: Robert Mueller has submitted his report
on the Russia investigation. MAN: Bob Mueller has submitted his report
to the attorney general, period. NARRATOR: The road to the Mueller report goes
back to the 2016 presidential campaign and to Russia. DONALD TRUMP: Russia, if you’re listening,
I hope you’re able to find… NARRATOR: Evidence of Russian interference
had sparked a secret FBI investigation that followed Trump into the White House. MATT APUZZO, The New York Times: The very
inauguration of President Trump, you know, poses challenges to the FBI, because they
have investigations on Paul Manafort, the former campaign chairman, Carter Page, foreign
policy adviser to the president’s campaign, George Papadopoulos, foreign policy adviser
to the campaign, and Michael Flynn, the national security adviser. So, I mean, these are four people in the national
security space who are all under FBI investigation. NARRATOR: Within the first week of Trump’s
presidency, FBI Director James Comey received a phone call. CARRIE JOHNSON, NPR: Surprise call from the
president. “Want to come over for dinner, Jim?” And Comey says, “Uh, yes, sure, Mr. President.” NARRATOR: When he arrived at the White House
for dinner, Comey discovered the table had been set for two. CARRIE JOHNSON: Two. Nobody else is going
to be there, he and the president. NARRATOR: Suspicious of the president’s motives
for the meeting, Comey would type a record of the conversation. MAN: “We sat facing each other at a small
oval table set for two and placed in the center of the room.” MATT APUZZO: Comey says the president had
very nice words for him. And so it’s this pleasant conversation. And then the president
says, “Can I expect loyalty from you?” MAN: “He needed loyalty and expected loyalty.
I didn’t reply, or even nod, or change my facial expression.” NARRATOR: The president would ask for Comey’s
loyalty several times during the dinner. PETER BAKER, Co-Author, “Kremlin Rising”:
It’s a remarkable moment, a president demanding loyalty of an FBI director. MAN: “He then returned to loyalty, saying,
I need loyalty. I replied that he would always get honesty from me.” ROBERT COSTA, Moderator, “Washington Week”:
In the eyes of the White House, President Trump was feeling out Comey about where the
investigation stood, how he was going to handle it. Comey saw it as intimidation, possible
obstruction of justice. This is the moment where things really start to split. MAN: Russia has come up again and again. NARRATOR: At the FBI, one of its investigations
into National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was picking up speed. Intelligence agencies
had intercepted a phone call between Flynn and the Russian ambassador. And then Flynn
had lied to the FBI about it. MICHAEL ISIKOFF, Co-Author, “Russian Roulette”:
He dissembles. He suggests that he didn’t have such conversations with the Russian ambassador. NARRATOR: Court documents detail what happened. MAN: “Flynn falsely stated that he didn’t
ask Russia’s ambassador to refrain from escalating the situation in response to sanctions.” WOMAN: Twenty-five days on the job, embattled
National Security Adviser… NARRATOR: Flynn was forced to resign. WOMAN: Shakeup for the Trump administration. MAN: A tumultuous first month in office. NARRATOR: But he was still in jeopardy from
the investigation. WOMAN: The first major departure of President
Trump’s senior team. NARRATOR: Now the president took an extraordinary
step. GWENDA BLAIR, Author, “The Trumps”: On Valentine’s
Day 2017, there was a meeting in the Oval Office between the attorney general and the
director of the FBI, Jim Comey. NARRATOR: As the meeting ended, the president
wanted to speak to the FBI director alone. GWENDA BLAIR: So, he finally gets the two
of them, just the two of them in the room, and then proceeds to get to work on the Michael
Flynn issue. MAN: “He began by saying he wanted to talk
about Mike Flynn.” GWENDA BLAIR: Saying, can you just kind of
ease up on him? He’s a really good guy. MAN: “‘I hope you can let this go.’ I replied
by saying, ‘I agree he is a good guy,’ but said no more.” CAROL LEONNIG, The Washington Post: Is the
president asking the FBI director to stop looking at Russian interactions with the campaign?
Is he trying to shut down a counterintelligence probe that began in July of 2016? MICHAEL ISIKOFF: Trump’s talking to the director
of the FBI about an ongoing investigation by the FBI. And, at that point, he’s really,
from Comey’s perspective, crossed the line. MARY MCCORD, Former U.S. Acting Assistant
Attorney General: It’s really in direct contravention of policies that have been in place ever since
Watergate to not have that type of interference by the White House in investigations undertaken
by the department or the bureau. ANDREW MCCABE, Former FBI Deputy Director:
Jim called me shortly after he left the White House. And I remember just listening to the
details of that meeting and really being in a state of shock. That’s when I realized that
this wasn’t simply a lack of sophistication or a lack of understanding about how we do
our work. It was an active effort to influence what we were doing. NARRATOR: Once again , Comey typed his notes
of the meeting on his laptop. CAROL LEONNIG: Comey begins opening his laptop
and typing down the words, the phrases that he can remember the president said, because
he’s that scared of what this is that has just happened. FRANK MONTOYA JR., Former FBI Special Agent
in Charge: There’s an old adage in the organization that, if it happened and you didn’t write
it down, it didn’t happen. And so I think that he was thinking at that time that, you
know, the president is at least walking himself down this trail to an investigation, where
he could become subject to investigation, and I need to be able to document what has
happened. MAN: For the first time, FBI Director James
Comey will reveal… NARRATOR: But Comey didn’t back down. WOMAN: Comey will be appearing before a House
Intelligence Committee. NARRATOR: In fact, he went public in testimony
before Congress. WOMAN: And tell you what he knows. It’s all
public, on live television, no filter. JAMES COMEY, Former FBI Director: Mr. Chairman,
Ranking Member Schiff, members of the committee, thank you for including me in today’s hearing.
I’m honored to be here representing the people of the FBI. I have been authorized by the
Department of Justice… MATT APUZZO: And he says, “I have been authorized
by the Department of Justice, you know, to confirm,” and kind of all heads turn to the
television in every newsroom in America. And we’re saying, is Comey going to confirm on
the record that they’re investigating the Trump campaign? JAMES COMEY: That the FBI, as part of our
counterintelligence mission, is investigating the nature of any links between individuals
associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and whether there was
any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts. PETER BAKER: He confirms this in front of
these lawmakers. And that’s kind of a big moment. Suddenly, we’re off to the races.
This is now, to Trump’s mind, a direct and public threat to his presidency. REP. DEVIN NUNES (R), California: I just want
to make sure we get this on the record. Do you have any evidence that any current Trump
White House or administration official coordinated with the Russian intelligence services? JAMES COMEY: Not a question I can answer. ROBERT RAY, Former Independent Counsel: That
was the death knell, at least as we understand, of the president’s thinking. Once he heard
and saw that, because, like, apparently he was watching, that was — at least in his
mind, that was the end of Jim Comey. MAN: The head of the FBI dropped two bombshells
landing at the White House doorstep. WOMAN: Comey publicly confirming for the first
time that the FBI… NARRATOR: As the headlines got worse, and
under pressure from Comey, Trump left Washington. He headed for his country club in Bedminster,
New Jersey. SARAH ELLISON, The Washington Post: It’s a
sort of rainy weekend in Bedminster. So, Donald Trump is supposed to be out golfing. He’s
stuck inside. He’s in a sort of foul mood anyway. ROBERT COSTA: The president was frustrated.
His family was frustrated. They felt like they were being swept into this riptide of
an investigation. And they thought, if they could just pluck Comey out, that maybe the
investigation could end. WOMAN: Also, new whirlwind developments reported
in… NARRATOR: In Bedminster, on that rainy weekend,
without any of his most senior staff members present, Donald Trump would make the most
consequential decision of his first year in office. PETER BAKER: Trump comes to the conclusion
that, I can’t put up with this anymore. I’m going to fire Jim Comey. There’s no consultation. There’s just gut
instinct and raw anger. NARRATOR: Trump dictated a letter to Comey. CAROL LEONNIG: It is a rant, the original
draft. Nobody’s original draft is that great, but this draft is Donald Trump unloading all
of the reasons that Comey has failed him. NARRATOR: On Sunday, Donald Trump returned
to Washington with the letter, determined to carry out his plan to stop Jim Comey once
and for all. WOMAN: Comey has been indicating that he knows
so much more than he’s letting on, and he’s not.. MAN: Comey opens up another investigation
into Trump. WOMAN: And Comey isn’t backing down. He’s
said he wouldn’t do anything. MAN: An active part of an FBI investigation,
was there collusion between Trump associates? NARRATOR: The next morning in the West Wing,
the word was out: Trump was preparing to take the fateful step of sending the letter. CARRIE JOHNSON: Word gets back to Don McGahn,
the White House counsel, that this document has been prepared. And he freaks out. MATT APUZZO: Our understanding is that Don
McGahn reads that and says, yes, you — you don’t want to send that. NARRATOR: Even Trump’s abrasive adviser, Steve
Bannon, was stunned. CARRIE JOHNSON: Of all people, Steve Bannon
is the one in the room who’s saying, you can’t get rid of this guy Jim Comey. This would
be a terrible, terrible mistake. It’s going to cause a firestorm. STEVE BANNON, Former White House Chief Strategist:
Just play it out. If you do this, it’s going to create a firestorm. The FBI, institutionally,
has to bleed you out. You’re just — they’re not going to allow somebody to fire and humiliate
the head of the FBI. And we’re going to get a special counsel on top of it. NARRATOR: The White House counsel had a plan
that might soften the blow. MATT APUZZO: McGahn had separately learned
that Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, also had concerns with Jim Comey. And he brokers
this deal. So he basically says to the president, you know, Mr. President, you don’t need to
send that. You should really talk to Rod Rosenstein. NARRATOR: They set up a meeting between Rosenstein,
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and the president. PHILIP RUCKER, The Washington Post: The president
lets them know he wants to fire James Comey. That’s clear. And the directive for Sessions
and Rosenstein is to draw up the rationale, to write memos explaining why they believe
Comey had made mistakes on the job and deserved to be fired. NARRATOR: They had their orders. Rosenstein
would build a case against Jim Comey’s handling of the FBI. CARRIE JOHNSON: Rod Rosenstein, this guy who’s
served 27 years in the Justice Department, a Boy Scout, he looks like a Boy Scout, and
he thinks that Comey has violated the Justice Department norms by talking too much about
Hillary Clinton during the election. NARRATOR: The president wanted the memo as
soon as possible. It was a rush job. Rosenstein delivered it the next day. PETER BAKER: Rod Rosenstein’s memo echoed
what a lot of the Hillary Clinton campaign people had been saying for months, that Comey
had inserted himself into the election, he’d made himself too public, he had taken on a
role that didn’t really belong to him. MAN: “The director ignored another longstanding
principle: We do not hold press conferences to release derogatory information about the
subject of a declined criminal investigation.” MICHAEL ISIKOFF: Trump doesn’t care about
what Comey did to hurt Hillary Clinton. But it becomes the excuse, or at least the initial
excuse, the White House uses to explain why they were firing the FBI director. NARRATOR: Donald Trump had fired hundreds
of people face-to-face on “The Apprentice.” This time, as president, it would be different. TIMOTHY O’BRIEN, Author, “TrumpNation”: He
just decides to do it. Trump isn’t going to deliver the message himself. He sends his
longtime bodyguard in a White House car with the pink slip over to the FBI to deliver the
bad news. MATT APUZZO: Keith Schiller, the president’s
body man, can’t get into the FBI. The FBI is not a place you can just walk in and be,
like, I have a note for Comey, I’m from the White House. Great. You’re from the White House. Super.
You can’t come in here. NARRATOR: He dropped off the letter and left. WOMAN: Breaking news: James Comey has been
removed from heading the FBI. ANDREW MCCABE: The attorney general looked
at me and said, “I don’t know if you have heard, but we have had to fire the director
of the FBI.” It was completely disorienting. Kind of in
the blink of an eye, I immediately sensed that everything had changed. So I just looked
at the attorney general and I said, “No, sir, I hadn’t heard that.” NARRATOR: As the news broke, a political firestorm
erupted in Washington. WOMAN: Amid mounting outrage on Capitol Hill
. Some lawmakers are questioning the country’s… MAN: It comes off the heels of what many saw
as devastating testimony. NARRATOR: Inside the White House, crisis. CLIFF SIMS, Former Trump White House Aide:
Hope Hicks bursts in the door and says: “The president is watching TV. He’s watching the
coverage of the Comey firing. And there’s no one out there to defend him. You guys aren’t
doing anything to fix this.” WOMAN: The White House is not interested in
getting to the bottom of this. NARRATOR: At first, the White House’s response
was to point to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. SEAN SPICER, Former White House Press Secretary:
Deputy attorney general is a gentleman by the name of Rod Rosenstein — Rosenstein.
He made a determination that the FBI director had lost his confidence. CARRIE JOHNSON: The message from the White
House is, we fired Comey because he botched the Hillary Clinton investigation, period. ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: You know, to those who
say, why now, why fire James Comey now, what do you say? KELLYANNE CONWAY, Counselor to President Trump:
Well, I would point them to the three letters that were received today, Anderson, the letter
by President Donald Trump, the letter by Attorney General Sessions, and really the underlying
report by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who the FBI director reports to. HOWARD KURTZ, Author, “Media Matters”: All
of the people spinning on behalf of the White House told the press that the Comey firing
was based on a memo from Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, which had to do with
Comey’s performance in the Hillary Clinton investigation. Well, the press wasn’t buying that. ANDERSON COOPER: Right, but a lot of this… KELLYANNE CONWAY: And Mr. Rosenstein goes
on to say… ANDERSON COOPER: Most of this letter focuses
on Hillary Clinton’s e-mails. This is stuff that, as a candidate, Donald Trump praised
James Comey for. James Comey — Donald Trump talked about this. WOMAN: Many questioning if Comey was fired
because the White House feared… NARRATOR: The next morning, the president
would celebrate Comey’s firing behind closed doors with the two unlikely White House guests,
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. MAN: Just ahead today’s meeting with the Russian
foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov. CAROL LEONNIG: Oy. WOMAN: President will meet with Sergei Lavrov
in the Oval Office. CAROL LEONNIG: That meeting. WOMAN: He is the highest ranking Russian official
that the president has met so far. CAROL LEONNIG: In a way, it’s like a play.
You can’t believe it really happened. But the president is essentially celebrating with
the Russian diplomats. MAN: One day after firing the man heading
that probe into the Trump campaign ties to Russia, the president… CARRIE JOHNSON: No U.S.-based reporters, no
American White House reporters are in the room. PHILIP RUCKER: Russians came in with a photographer
from their state media agency, TASS, who took photos of this event, photos that were used,
to some effect, in Russia as propaganda. MATT APUZZO: Terrible optics. Terrible optics,
that just you couldn’t have scripted it worse. KAREN DEYOUNG, The Washington Post: Trump
says, We’re going to have a great relationship. There’s this investigation. It’s just become
a total irritant for me. And he says, Comey’s firing, lifted a great weight for me. The
guy was a nut job. MAN: First the firing, now the fallout. NARRATOR: The crisis kept building. WOMAN: Some are comparing Comey’s firing to
Richard Nixon’s 1973 Saturday Night Massacre. WOMAN: President Trump now facing outrage
after firing Comey. MAN: It is hard to overstate… NARRATOR: Then the president decided to speak
out himself on his old network. MAN: This is “NBC Nightly News With Lester
Holt.” LESTER HOLT, NBC: Tonight, stunning revelations
from President Trump in our NBC News exclusive interview tonight, our wide-ranging… Monday, you met with the deputy attorney general,
Rod Rosenstein. DONALD TRUMP: Right. LESTER HOLT: Did you ask for a recommendation? DONALD TRUMP: What I did is, I was going to
fire Comey, my decision. It wasn’t… LESTER HOLT: You had made the decision before
they came into your office? DONALD TRUMP: I — I was going to fire Comey. MATTHEW MILLER, Former Department of Justice
Official: It is a dramatic moment to see the president come out, and not only completely
undermine the case that his White House had been making. As spurious a case and as odd
— transparent as a case it was, it still had been the official line. The president
comes out and demolishes that case immediately. LESTER HOLT: So, you had already made the
decision? DONALD TRUMP: Oh, I was going to fire regardless
of recommendation. HOWARD KURTZ: I think there’s a level on which
President Trump doesn’t want to be portrayed as just doing the bidding of some aides who
write a memo. He’s the decider, to coin a phrase. DONALD TRUMP: In fact, when I decided to just
do it, I said to myself, I said, you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is
a made-up story. It’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should
have won. PHILIP RUCKER: You know, the thing with Donald
Trump is, he often says what he believes. And if you just wait long enough, he will
— he will tell you the truth. I mean, he will say it. MAN: It is the interview that will likely
dominate… NARRATOR: The interview backfired. MAN: The president’s comments contradict the
White House previous statements. WOMAN: The president admitting Russia was
on his mind. NARRATOR: At the FBI, acting Director Andrew
McCabe was concerned that the president may have fired Comey to shut down the Russia investigation. ANDREW MCCABE: One possibility would be that
the president who didn’t want that issue investigated by the FBI was in fact in league with or influenced
by the Russian government. And that is an unbelievably significant concern. NARRATOR: McCabe informed Rosenstein that
the FBI wanted to investigate the president of the United States. ANDREW MCCABE: I alerted Rod to the fact that
my investigators had recommended opening a case on the president of the United States
for both possibility of obstruction of justice and the possibility of national security threat. NARRATOR: Rosenstein made a decision to appoint
a special counsel to oversee the investigation. ROBERT COSTA: Rosenstein said, I need someone
to not only stabilize the investigation. I need to stabilize the Department of Justice.
It had been under siege from President Trump, from public scrutiny. NARRATOR: He named one of the nation’s legendary
prosecutors, former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III. Mueller had a lifetime of preparation
for this moment. CARRIE JOHNSON: He volunteered to serve in
Vietnam as a United States Marine, highly decorated, wounded in action. NARRATOR: In the ’90s, Mueller had tried his
hand in the private sector at a prestigious law firm. He hated it. MARC FISHER, The Washington Post: Four hundred
thousand dollars a year. He felt like he wasn’t doing the lord’s work. He quit. NARRATOR: He took a substantial pay cut to
become a line prosecutor. He worked homicide in Washington, D.C. MARC FISHER: His great joy was putting away
bad guys and answering his phone, “Mueller, Homicide.” MICHAEL ISIKOFF: Bob Mueller cares about one
thing, and one thing only, indicting bad guys and putting them in prison. NARRATOR: A Republican, he’d run the FBI for
both George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Pulled out of private practice, Robert Mueller was
back at the center of the action. WOMAN: We begin with breaking news, the White
House in crisis. The Justice Department appointed a special counsel to… FRANK MONTOYA JR.: This is a guy who has no
problem with holding people accountable, being direct and driven to get the answer, that
he’s going to do it right, you know, in accordance with the rule of law. That’s all that matters. WOMAN: Justice Department tonight naming a
special counsel to take over the investigation. STEVE BANNON: He was announced as special
counsel. And I just go, over my God, this is going to be a grind, because this is a
guy that doesn’t leave any stone unturned. I mean, now we have bought it. MAN: and Mueller could expand the probe to
include… NARRATOR: At the White House, the president
happened to be meeting with Attorney General Jeff Sessions when Rosenstein called to announce
Mueller’s appointment. J.D. GORDON, Trump Campaign Adviser: President
Trump doesn’t like to get bad news, and this was bad news. It was more than bad news. It
was terrible news. YAMICHE ALCINDOR, “PBS NewsHour”: And now
you see him really unleash all his anger on Jeff Sessions and plainly tells Jeff Sessions
that, you are the reason why all of this is happening. NARRATOR: Sessions, Trump’s hand-picked attorney
general, had recused himself from the Russia investigation. And now Sessions was powerless
to stop Mueller. CHRIS WHIPPLE, Author, “The Gatekeepers: How
the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency”: Trump was furious and took it
out on Sessions and humiliated him. Trump obviously felt himself endangered by a special
counsel, and lost his temper. CARRIE JOHNSON: There are things that Jeff
Sessions apparently won’t do for Donald Trump, and Donald Trump won’t forgive him for that. NARRATOR: Sessions had had enough of the president’s
anger. PETER BAKER: Sessions just ends up bolting
out of the White House, rushing out to his car. He said: “You want me to quit? I’m going
to quit.” CHRIS WHIPPLE: He’s resigning as attorney
general. He’s distraught, and he’s had it. He’s at the end of his rope. He’s been insulted
by Trump. He’s decided that that’s it. NARRATOR: In the West Wing, all hell broke
loose. CHRIS WHIPPLE: Don McGahn, the legal counsel,
bursts into Reince Priebus’ office and says: “We have got trouble. Not only do we have
a special counsel appointed, but Jeff Sessions has just resigned.” Priebus says, “You’re kidding me.” Priebus goes running down the staircase into
the West Wing parking lot. PETER BAKER: Finds Sessions in his car preparing
to leave. And he bangs on the door. “You got to come out. You got to come back in. You
can’t leave this way. You can’t just blow up like this.” CHRIS WHIPPLE: And Priebus essentially almost
has to drag him back up into the West Wing, where Vice President Pence and Steve Bannon
then come in and join Priebus and — and talk Sessions off the ledge. STEVE BANNON: I said: “Is there any doubt
in your mind that this was divine providence that put us here?” He says: “No doubt.”
I said: “And you’re never going to quit?” And he says: “I will never quit.”
I go: “No matter how bad it gets?” He goes, “I will never quit.” And that’s why I knew he was going to hang
in there. And he had some very, very, very tough days. WOMAN: It’s clear that the Mueller investigation
is just getting started. We’re going to head to Washington NARRATOR: Across town, in an undisclosed secure
location, the new special counsel, Robert Mueller, was just getting started. ROBERT RAY: When you become a special prosecutor,
they give you a piece of paper with a mandate. At that moment, you don’t have anything else.
You don’t have a staff. You don’t have agents. You don’t have prosecutors. You don’t even
have a legal pad and a paper clip and a pen. WOMAN: Mueller has quietly gathered a team
of more than three dozen attorneys, investigators. NARRATOR: From his offices, Mueller built
a formidable team. MAN: I believe his term was ninja assassins. MATTHEW MILLER: This is like this moment at
the beginning of the Avengers movies where all the superheroes are kind of spread across
the globe, and Bob Mueller calls them all, and they all reassemble together in Washington
to take on this new mission. WOMAN: And the team Mueller has assembled
may be the A-team of prosecutors for an entire generation. MAN: Aaron Zebley, who was an FBI agent before
becoming a prosecutor. WOMAN: Michael Dreeben, who is one of the
smartest people I know, who’s argued over a hundred Supreme Court cases. MAN: Jeannie Rhee, who was a highly respected
prosecutor in the U.S. attorney’s office. MAN: Andrew Weissmann, he has a reputation
for being a scorched-earth prosecutor. MAN: Mueller put Greg Andres on his team,
who was an experienced mob prosecutor in New York. MICHAEL ISIKOFF: I mean, that was the first
sort of warning sign for the Trump White House, because, they’re killers, Steve Bannon calls
them. NARRATOR: Mueller’s team had broad authority
to investigate Russian interference, the Trump campaign, and, in the wake of the Comey firing,
possible obstruction of justice by the president himself. Trump was under siege. In anger,
he launched a counterattack. MAN: “This is the single greatest witch-hunt
of a politician in American history. There is no collusion and no obstruction. I should
be given apology. You are witnessing the single greatest witch-hunt in American political
history, led by some very bad and conflicted people.” LISA DESJARDINS: The president definitely
seized on that term witch-hunt. He used it again and again. He used it in tweets. He
used it when he was at a microphone. It’s something that he felt was working to undermine
the Mueller investigation. MAN: “After seven months of investigations
and collusion with the Russians, nobody has been able to show any proof. Sad.” YAMICHE ALCINDOR: President Trump calling
the Mueller investigation a witch-hunt has an impact in Washington, in that the people
who want to be loyal to President Trump can use that same language. MAN: “FOX & Friends” starts right now. NARRATOR: And, at FOX News, that’s just what
happened. WOMAN: The president is really mad. MAN: He tweeted this out: “As the phony Russian
witch-hunt continues…” NEWT GINGRICH (R), Former Speaker of the House:
This is a very dangerous witch-hunt. TRISH REGAN, FOX News: Only because I think
this is a witch-hunt. SEAN HANNITY, FOX News: And put an end to
the political witch-hunt against President Trump. NARRATOR: At The New York Times, they had
a lead on what would become the biggest story yet. They had discovered another meeting between
the Trump campaign and the Russians. MATT APUZZO: My colleagues and I had been
doing some reporting on this, the idea that there was another Russian meeting that we
didn’t totally understand that had been undisclosed during the campaign. NARRATOR: They learned Donald Trump Jr. had
hosted the meeting with a Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya. Also in the room, Trump’s
son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and campaign chairman Paul Manafort. The Times wanted a comment from the president,
who was traveling on Air Force One. MATT APUZZO: My phone rings, and it’s the
Air Force One operator. “You know, can you please hold?” And it’s: “I know we were supposed to have
a call. I know we’re late. Can you just give us a little more time? We’re working on this.” And, of course, we now know that, at the front
of Air Force One, Hope Hicks and President Trump are kind of working on this statement. NARRATOR: The president had taken charge of
writing the response. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: He is at the center of it
and driving it. You have the president physically dictating a message that he’s going to put
in the name of his son, Donald Trump Jr. CAROL LEONNIG: The lawyers for the president
are losing their minds. They are not on Air Force One, but they are hearing secondhand
that a statement is about to be issued to The New York Times. ROBERT BENNETT, Former Attorney for President
Bill Clinton: To write a statement, just — I mean, that’s just amateur hour. But, in fairness
to these lawyers, I mean, I — they couldn’t control their client. They still can’t control
their client. MAN: The White House response to a report
in The New York Times that claims Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian. NARRATOR: Trump’s statement, written for his
son, said the meeting was about adoption of Russian orphans. MAN: “It was a short introductory meeting.
I asked Jared and Paul to stop by. We primarily discussed a program about the adoption of
Russian children.” NARRATOR: But there was a reason for the meeting
that the president’s statement didn’t mention. WOMAN: Last night, The New York Times published
details about a meeting during the campaign involving a Kremlin-linked lawyer. NARRATOR: As the president returned to Washington,
it didn’t take long for the truth to come out. MAN: The explosive news about President Trump
and Russia, it involves Donald Trump Jr., breaking in the last… MATT APUZZO: It only takes about 24 hours
for that statement to completely blow up. WOMAN: A potential bombshell from the president’s
own son, Donald Trump Jr. NARRATOR: In the days that followed, The New
York Times discovered a series of e-mails setting up the meeting. MAN: Another day, other installment in the
Russian election. MATT APUZZO: The next day, we reported that
what had actually happened is that Don Jr. had been promised dirt on Hillary Clinton
by this Russian lawyer. MAN: “The crown prosecutor of Russia offered
to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate
Hillary and her dealings with Russia, and would be very useful to your father.” MATT APUZZO: In the e-mail setting up the
meeting, Don Jr. was told that this meeting was part of the Russian government’s efforts
to support now-President Trump. MAN: “This is obviously very high-level and
sensitive information, but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” MATT APUZZO: I mean, I remember saying, oh,
my God. It says it — it says it in an e-mail? This is part of the Russian government’s efforts
to support Donald Trump? MICHAEL ISIKOFF: And what does Don Jr. write
back in an e-mail? “If it’s what you say, I love it.” MAN: “I love it, especially later in the summer.” MICHAEL ISIKOFF: Coming on top of everything
else that had come out about all these Russian contacts with the campaign, the Trump Tower
e-mail trail was incredibly damning. NARRATOR: For his part, the president would
downplay the importance of the meeting. DONALD TRUMP: Nothing happened from the meeting.
Zero happened from the meeting. And, honestly, I think the press made a very big deal over
something that really a lot of people would do. WOMAN: Now we have got another e-mail. NARRATOR: But special counsel Robert Mueller
was paying close attention. ANDREW MCCABE: The laws in this country are
very clear. It is absolutely forbidden from a foreign — for a foreign government or a
foreign person for taking part in a domestic campaign. So it is — I can understand entirely
why the Mueller team is focused on that meeting. MAN: We have now learned there could have
been at least eight people in the room. NARRATOR: Another question for Mueller’s team,
was there anything illegal about the president’s misleading statement? CAROL LEONNIG: The president’s lawyers, they’re
intensely concerned that the president has essentially now added to an obstruction case. NARRATOR: Mueller would look into the writing
of that statement on Air Force One. FRANK MONTOYA JR.: If the president’s up there,
and he’s deliberately crafting a lie to cover the purpose of the meeting, is that another
step in the obstruction investigation? Is it also another step in terms of the conspiracy/collusion
investigation? MAN: It shows that the Trump team was willing
to engage with the Russians. WOMAN: What is it that special counsel Robert
Mueller knows? NARRATOR: And, before long, Mueller’s investigation
started to produce results. MAN: Now there’s this new reporting from The
Wall Street Journal, reporting that special counsel Robert Mueller… WOMAN: That special counsel Robert Mueller
has issued subpoenas. MAN: This morning, unsealing a guilty plea. NARRATOR: Trump campaign foreign policy aide
George Papadopoulos pled guilty to lying about Russian contacts. WOMAN: Former Trump aide George Papadopoulos
has pleaded guilty to making false statements NARRATOR: Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul
Manafort, and his deputy, Rick Gates, were indicted on numerous charges ranging from
conspiracy to money laundering. WOMAN: Manafort and his former business associate
Rick Gates were told to surrender to federal authorities this morning. NARRATOR: Michael Flynn pled guilty to that
charge of lying to the FBI. WOMAN: White House National Security Adviser
Michael Flynn has pleaded guilty to lying. NARRATOR: And then the FBI dramatically escalated
the showdown. LESTER HOLT: Breaking news tonight, and it’s
a bombshell. The FBI raids the office of President Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen. NARRATOR: The president, as he watched the
raid on television, was furious. PHILIP RUCKER: Trump erupted. He was very
upset. He was consumed by this news all day. It was very troubling for him and scary for
him. MAN: FBI raiding his office, his home, and
a hotel room. ROBERT COSTA: White House advisers are saying,
can we turn off the televisions? All the president is doing, they say, is getting himself agitated.
Click over to FOX. MAN: This is a FOX News Alert. There’s some
breaking news today. ROBERT COSTA: He watches CNN. WOLF BLITZER, CNN: As the FBI raids the office
of President Trump’s personal lawyer. ROBERT COSTA: He will go to MSNBC. WOMAN: New York Times breaking the news in
the last few minutes that the FBI has raided… ROBERT COSTA: He will go back to CNN. JAKE TAPPER, CNN: Also seized e-mails, tax
documents, and business records. ROBERT COSTA: And he will just keep seeing
those two words on the Chyron: “Michael Cohen.” And it sends him into a rage. BRET BAIER, FOX News: The no-knock raids by
FBI agents were the result of a referral by special counsel Robert Mueller. NARRATOR: To the president, it was a personal
assault, from the FBI, the Department of Justice, and Robert Mueller. ALAN DERSHOWITZ, Attorney: A lawyer is just
like a priest, a doctor, and a wife in terms of privilege. So I don’t blame President Trump
for being a little upset that somebody was looking into what he may have told his lawyers. NARRATOR: The Cohen raid was a sign Trump’s
personal life in New York was colliding with his presidency in Washington. ROBERT COSTA: Cohen brings it right back to
Trump Tower, to how Trump really operated for decades, having someone like Michael Cohen,
not just a lawyer, but a fixer, at his side. NARRATOR: Cohen was infamous for his role
in the Stormy Daniels story, orchestrating a hush money payment to the adult film star,
who threatened to reveal a sexual encounter with Trump. EMILY BAZELON, “The New York Times Magazine”:
He cleans up messes. And an accusation about an affair, a demand for some kind of compensation
to keep quiet, that’s exactly the kind of problem that Cohen would like to try to solve
for Donald Trump. SAM NUNBERG, Former Trump Political Adviser:
Michael is very good at killing stories. He’s gotten Trump out of a lot of issues, I would
— I would say. And that was his job, and he’s done a good job out of it. NARRATOR: Now Cohen was the target of a federal
investigation, one which could expose the work he did for the president. WOMAN: There is a ton that he could tell prosecutors. MAN: A very real possibility that he’s going
to cooperate. MAN: Reportedly is connected to the Stormy
Daniels story. WOMAN: If he overstepped the line… NARRATOR: The day of the Cohen raid, the White
House insisted it was business as usual. They invited the press into a national security
meeting. But Trump wanted to go on the attack. DONALD TRUMP: Come on in, folks. Come. Come
in. So I just heard that they broke into the office
of one of my personal attorneys, good man. And it’s a disgraceful situation. It’s a total
witch-hunt. CAROL LEONNIG: The president is so enraged
and obsessed with what’s just happened that he can’t keep himself from talking about it.
At a public briefing, he repeatedly uses the words, disgrace, a disgrace. DONALD TRUMP: And it’s a disgrace. It’s, frankly,
a real disgrace. It’s a — an attack on our country, in a true sense. MATTHEW MILLER: Something clearly happens
with the president after Michael Cohen comes under scrutiny from the Department of Justice.
The president views that very much as a threat to him. DONALD TRUMP: These people have the biggest
conflicts of interest I have ever seen. And I have this witch-hunt constantly going on
for over 12 months now. NELSON CUNNINGHAM, Former White House General
Counsel: The investigation of Michael Cohen has to feel to the president like an arrow
pointed directly at his chest. It has to feel that this is aimed precisely at uncovering
the president’s own history, both before he took office and since he took office, in ways
that perhaps might be the most deeply sensitive to him. DONALD TRUMP: This is a pure and simple witch-hunt.
Thank you very much. Thank you. JACK GOLDSMITH, Former U.S. Assistant Attorney
General: It’s a whole other avenue of potential exposure, criminal exposure, to the president. DONALD TRUMP: Thank you all very much. JACK GOLDSMITH: This was clearly someone who
was a very close adviser and attorney to the president. And he was especially involved
in what might be seen as the president’s shady business. NARRATOR: The raid on Cohen, Mueller’s continuing
investigation, there was even talk of impeachment. The president was determined to escalate.
He brought in a new lawyer. RUDY GIULIANI (R), Former Mayor of New York:
The president has done nothing wrong, read my lips, nothing wrong. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: He hires Rudy Giuliani,
and he really hires a pit bull. He hires someone who is really going to be launching an offensive
strategy. RUDY GIULIANI: There’s been too much government
misconduct. The crimes now have all been committed by the government and their agents. ROBERT COSTA: Trump wants to be in warrior
mode. Giuliani agrees. It goes from a private negotiation to a public war. And that’s a
turning point. NARRATOR: Trump and Giuliani initiated an
unfettered attack against Mueller’s investigation and any move toward impeachment. ALAN DERSHOWITZ: Rudy Giuliani was going to
change the strategy. He said, let’s really make this into a political confrontation.
Let’s make it into a blue-red debate and conflict. RUDY GIULIANI: So our jury is — as it should
be, is the American people. And the American people, yes, are Republicans, largely, independents,
pretty substantially, and even some Democrats now question the legitimacy of it. ALAN DERSHOWITZ: What Giuliani is saying is,
impeachment will never get off the ground unless the public is behind it. MAN: This is a FOX News Alert. President Trump
is getting set to leave the White House. NARRATOR: In order to protect himself… WOMAN: New strategy to take his message to
the voters. NARRATOR: … the president worked to undermine
public confidence in the Justice Department and the FBI. WOMAN: In a campaign-style rally, a defiant
President Trump. DONALD TRUMP: When you look at what was going
on at the top of the FBI, it is a disgrace, and everybody in this room understands it. JACK GOLDSMITH: One thing we know about this
president, he doesn’t care about collateral damage. And he doesn’t care about collateral
damage on his associates. And he doesn’t care about collateral damage on American institutions.
And so the stakes could not be higher. MAN: “It would seem very hard to obstruct
justice for a crime that never happened. Witch-hunt. I have the absolute right to pardon myself.” DONALD TRUMP: Look at what’s happened. Look
at how these politicians have fallen for this junk. Russian collusion. Give me a break. JONATHAN MAHLER, “The New York Times Magazine”:
As long as the country is sort of divided, and he has his defenders, he can undermine
those who are attacking him. DONALD TRUMP: Take a look at the intelligence
agencies. Honestly, folks, let me tell you, let me tell you, it’s a disgrace. We got to
get back down to business. It’s a disgrace. JONATHAN MAHLER: It’s basically a kind of
divide-and-conquer kind of strategy. If we can stay in this kind of divided state, there
will never be enough consensus behind the idea of impeachment to actually drive it forward. WOMAN: Top story we’re watching this morning,
FBI agent Peter Strzok set to testify about… MAN: Will defend himself against allegations
of bias in a public hearing. NARRATOR: On Capitol Hill, House Republicans
rallied behind the president and joined in his attack strategy. WOMAN: The House oversight and judiciary hearing
about to begin with the senior FBI agent. NARRATOR: The Republicans’ target: top FBI
agent Peter Strzok. MAN: Testimony that you are about to give
shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God? NARRATOR: Months before, Mueller had removed
Strzok from his team. CARRIE JOHNSON: Pete Strzok is the embodiment
of the president’s defenders’ case that the FBI and the Justice Department are biased
against Donald Trump and the people surrounding him, and this whole investigation is tainted. NARRATOR: The hearing focused on text messages
critical of the future president between Strzok and an FBI attorney with whom he was having
an affair. PETE STRZOK, FBI: You want me to read this? MAN: Yes, please. PETE STRZOK: Yes, sir. “OMG, he’s an idiot.” REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), California: July 19,
2016. PETE STRZOK: “Hi. How is Trump, other than
a douche? Melania?” REP. DARRELL ISSA: July 21, 2016. PETE STRZOK: “Trump is a disaster. I have
no idea how destabilizing his presidency would be.” REP. DARRELL ISSA: Ms. Page said: “Not ever
going to become president, right? Right?” PETE STRZOK: “No. No, he’s not. We will stop
it.” REP. DARRELL ISSA: Repeat that again. PETE STRZOK: “No. No, he’s not. We will stop
it.” PETER BAKER: Peter Strzok did and said things
that gave them ammunition to say, well, you must be biased. Therefore, the whole investigation
is biased. Therefore, the whole thing is discredited. NARRATOR: Strzok said his personal opinions
didn’t affect his work. And a DOJ inspector general’s report found no evidence that it
had. REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R), Texas: And you have
come in here and said, I have no bias. And you do it with a straight face. And I watched
you in the — in the private testimony you gave. And I told some of the other guys, he
is really good. He’s lying. He knows we know he’s lying. And he could probably pass a polygraph.
It’s amazing. WOMAN: Mr. Chairman. REP. LOUIE GOHMERT: No, this is my time. WOMAN: Mr. Chairman, I’m sorry. Point of order. ROBERT COSTA: It was an outcry of the Republican
base, fed up with the establishment. A government was at war with itself in that moment, and
Louie Gohmert was the congressman who personified that battle. REP. LOUIE GOHMERT: It’s my time. MAN: That’s a disgrace. MAN: The gentleman from Rhode Island will
suspend. REP. LOUIE GOHMERT: No, the disgrace is what
this man has done. MAN: The gentleman from Texas will suspend
for a moment. REP. LOUIE GOHMERT: There is the disgrace.
And it won’t be recaptured anytime soon, because of the damage you have done to the justice
system. And I can’t help but wonder when I see you
looking there with a little smirk, how many times did you look so innocent into your wife’s
eye and lie to her about Lisa Page? MAN: Mr. Chairman, this is outrageous. REP. LOUIE GOHMERT: The credibility of a witness
is always an issue and you… WOMAN: Mr. Chairman, please. MAN: Have you no decency? MAN: This is intolerable harassment of the
witness. WOMAN: What is wrong with that? You need your
medication? ROBERT COSTA: Peter Strzok becomes a perfect
exemplar for them, you know, the symbol of all that they can attach to this cabal at
the top of the FBI. WOMAN: President Trump is kicking off his
weeklong trip to Europe. NARRATOR: The day after the Strzok hearing,
Donald Trump was on his first presidential visit to the United Kingdom. WOMAN: Also meeting with the queen of England. WOMAN: As the highlight of any president’s
visit to the United Kingdom. NARRATOR: Just then, reporters at the Justice
Department were told a surprise announcement was coming. CARRIE JOHNSON: We were sitting in the seventh
floor of the Justice Department waiting for this news conference to begin. The mood in
that room was very tense. There was a lot of excitement. People were wondering what
would happen. And on the screen was CNN footage. WOMAN: Let me just stop you there. The deputy
attorney general is speaking in Washington. Fascinating. Let’s listen in. ROD ROSENSTEIN, U.S. Deputy Attorney General:
Eleven of the defendants are charged with conspiring to hack into computers, steal documents,
and release those documents with the intent to interfere in the election. CARRIE JOHNSON: Rod Rosenstein came out and
said, we have identified Russian GRU officers, down to the offices where they sat and their
exact names. ROD ROSENSTEIN: According to the allegations… CARRIE JOHNSON: It was a remarkable moment. ROD ROSENSTEIN: The defendants work for two
units of the main intelligence directorate of the Russian general staff, known as the
GRU. GREG MILLER, Author, “The Apprentice”: It
is by far the most extensive evidence laid out publicly that almost makes it irrefutable
that Russia did do this. NARRATOR: The indictments were the work of
special counsel Robert Mueller. GREG MILLER: After a year of listening to
Trump say, this is all a witch-hunt, this is all fake news, nothing is real, there was
no collusion, here’s Mueller’s answer: Oh, really? Look at this. Look what we have. ROD ROSENSTEIN: When we confront foreign interference
in American elections, it’s important for us to avoid thinking politically, as Republicans
or Democrats, and instead to think patriotically, as Americans. JACK GOLDSMITH: Rosenstein, I’m quite sure,
enjoyed going out there with an affirmation of Justice Department independence, to be
able to announce these indictments about something that Trump says is a witch-hunt. He’s been
trashing this investigation for over a year. What a statement of DOJ independence. WOMAN: Well, well. You have been listening
to the deputy attorney general with a news conference timed literally as the U.S. president
and his wife were walking into Windsor Castle for tea. ROBERT COSTA: It was a dramatic scene. And
for President Trump, yet again, the cloud, as he calls it, hangs over his entire presidency,
that he doesn’t really understand where it’s going or what’s coming next, and if it’s coming
for him. MAN: With tensions between the U.S. and Russia
at the highest level since the Cold War… WOMAN: President Trump’s Helsinki summit with
President Vladimir Putin expected… NARRATOR: Three days later, in his first one-on-one
summit with Vladimir Putin, President Trump showed little concern about the indictment
of the Russian officers. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: President Trump is standing
next to the person who intelligence agencies say ordered the hacking and the meddling of
our elections. DONALD TRUMP: I have just concluded a meeting
with President Putin on a wide range of critical issues for both of our countries. PETER BAKER: The staff has no idea what’s
going to happen, obviously. This is a president who doesn’t stick to the script, so you never
know for sure what — what he’s going to say. QUESTION: Mr. President, you tweeted this
morning that it’s U.S. foolishness, stupidity, and the Mueller probe that is responsible
for the decline in U.S. relations with Russia. DONALD TRUMP: I do. I hold both countries
responsible. I think that the United States has been foolish. I think we have all been
foolish. PETER BAKER: He launches into a monologue,
a rampage about, we’re to blame. The Russians might be to blame, but we’re also to blame. DONALD TRUMP: I think that the probe is a
disaster for our country. I think it’s kept us apart. It’s kept us separated. There was
no collusion, at all. Everybody knows it. QUESTION: President Putin denied having anything
to do with the election interference in 2016. Every U.S. intelligence agency has concluded
that Russia did. My first question for you, sir, is, who do
you believe? GREG MILLER: Who do you believe? That’s the
starkest possible way to put that question — question to the president. DONALD TRUMP: My people came to me, Dan Coats,
came to me and some others they said they think it’s Russia. I have President Putin.
He just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why
it would be. CARRIE JOHNSON: This was somebody who, only
days after an indictment against Russian military officials, appeared to be siding with a foreign
country, as opposed to the conclusions of U.S. intelligence and U.S. law enforcement. DONALD TRUMP: I will tell you that president
Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today. GREG MILLER: But, if you listen to his words,
he’s saying, well, my intelligence chief, Dan Coats, comes to me and says this, but
Putin has told me very strongly that he didn’t do it. When Trump uses the words very strongly, he’s
using an adjective, to him, that means almost more than anything. NARRATOR: Just before the president left the
stage, he had one final statement to make. DONALD TRUMP: And — and I have to say, if
anybody watched Peter Strzok testify over the last couple of days — and I was in Brussels
watching it — it was a disgrace to the FBI, it was a disgrace to our country. And you
would say, that was a total witch-hunt. Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you. WOMAN: The president of the United States
cannot let go that someone is challenging his legitimacy. MAN: Disgraceful play by the president. WOLF BLITZER: Extraordinary moment in American
history, something I thought I would never see. GREG MILLER: There was an immediate sense
that that had gone about as bad as it possibly could, that all of their efforts to corral
him, prepare him for this moment had failed to protect the administration, to protect
the president from his own worst impulses. MAN: It appears Mueller has convinced yet
another witness. WOMAN: The Russia investigation heating up
on several fronts. NARRATOR: Trump tried to walk back some of
his remarks. But in the months that followed… WOMAN: Conspiracy theory, deep state NARRATOR: … Mueller would close in on the
president’s inner circle. Paul Manafort, guilty, sentenced to prison. WOMAN: Paul Manafort convicted in federal
court on financial crimes. MAN: We got the guilty verdict in the Paul
Manafort case. NARRATOR: Michael Cohen, guilty, and in testimony
implicated the president. WOMAN: His former lawyer implicating him in
campaign finance violations. MAN: Longtime associate of President Trump
indicted overnight. NARRATOR: The president’s longtime political
adviser Roger Stone indicted. WOMAN: And indicted by a grand jury. MAN: Attorney general is stepping down, apparently… NARRATOR: Attorney General Jeff Sessions finally
forced out. WOMAN: Quite a dramatic night. Voters have
decided on… MAN: Democrats have actually won the House
of Representatives. NARRATOR: And with Democrats now controlling
the House… MAN: House Democrats are already preparing
for battle. WOMAN: The oversight, the investigative committees
will have Democratic heads. NARRATOR: … new investigations of the president
are under way. WOMAN: … it is going to be a combative environment NARRATOR: After almost two years, special
counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation has resulted in 37 indictments or guilty pleas… WOMAN: Pins and needles. NARRATOR: … and 199 criminal charges. MAN: … Robert Mueller. The investigation
is now over. NARRATOR: Mueller’s final report found that
neither the president nor his campaign conspired with Russia. WOMAN: The president greeted reporters with,
no collusion, no collusion. NARRATOR: On the issue of obstruction of justice,
the special counsel made no determination. MAN: What we have learned, quite frankly,
raises a lot of new questions. NARRATOR: He wrote: “While this report doesn’t
conclude that the president committed a crime, it also doesn’t exonerate him.” MAN: Boy, I will tell you, it’s very confusing
in here. The report didn’t make a decision on obstruction of justice. WOMAN: And the House judiciary investigating
potential obstruction of justice. MAN: Democrats may have a very different take
on the findings in that report. WOMAN: Democrats pushing to see everything,
everything that Robert Mueller put together. JUDY WOODRUFF: And welcome again to this PBS
special. As Washington and the whole country take stock
of the attorney general’s summary of the Mueller report and its limited description of conclusions
reached about conspiracy and obstruction of justice, many, especially Democrats, are demanding
to see the entire report. With that in mind, I spoke earlier today with
President Trump’s personal attorney, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Mayor Rudy Giuliani, thank you very much for joining us. RUDY GIULIANI: Thank you. JUDY WOODRUFF: You said earlier today that
the Mueller investigation was bad for the country. What do you make of the findings in terms
of all we know right now? RUDY GIULIANI: Well, what I meant by that
was, it turns out that this never happened. So, there never should have been an investigation.
I think the conclusion was good for the country. I think that they came to the conclusion definitively
that there was no collusion. They came to the conclusion that they could not charge
a crime with regard to obstruction. And then the attorney general and Rod Rosenstein,
the Office of Legal Counsel, because they punted it to them to make the decision, came
to the decision, which I think is quite correct, that there is no element of obstruction here.
And, therefore, why do we have this investigation, just to prove — I guess maybe I was in an
unusual position. I was on the campaign for four or five months.
I never saw anything that even gave the whiff of some kind of collusion with Russians. It’s
— the president from the very beginning has been mystified as to how this could be. JUDY WOODRUFF: How comfortable are you concluding
that the president is not implicated, if not on the Russia collusion question, but on obstruction
of justice, when we are told that Mr. Mueller said he couldn’t reach a conclusion about
that? RUDY GIULIANI: I’m not troubled at all. First of all, here’s the big takeaway. There
was never a reason for the investigation. There was no crime committed. They were investigating
what turned out to be a non-crime. So, as the attorney general points out in
his excellent two paragraphs analyzing it, it is very, very hard to commit obstruction
of justice when you didn’t commit the crime. It is hard to prove the intent for obstruction
of justice. Doesn’t mean you can’t, but it is very hard to do.
Second, he didn’t do any of the acts that traditionally are required for obstruction
of justice, meaning, he didn’t threaten anybody. He didn’t destroy evidence, as Hillary Clinton
did. He didn’t delete e-mails. He turned over 1.4 million documents. He turned every message,
every e-mail, everything they asked for. There isn’t a single thing they didn’t get.
You see no complaint about that. He didn’t object to any of the witnesses. He could have.
Bill Clinton did that. Bill Clinton objected to almost every witness. President Trump didn’t object to anyone testifying.
They got everything that they asked for. JUDY WOODRUFF: Two other quick questions,
Mayor Giuliani. One is, you and the president’s other attorneys
recommended that he not sit down for an interview with the special counsel, Robert Mueller.
At one point, you called it a perjury trap. RUDY GIULIANI: Sure. JUDY WOODRUFF: Do you believe that any of
these conclusions would have been different, findings would be different, had the president
sat down? RUDY GIULIANI: No. They have all the — they
have the explanations that the president would have given, had he sat down for an interview. The president has given them on numerous occasions,
by interviews, tweeting. They couldn’t show us a question that they needed an answer to.
So, that is why I believe they only wanted him for the purpose of trapping him into perjury. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, you are saying that Mueller
and his team didn’t act honorably, because you said they were setting a perjury trap?
You didn’t walk into it. (CROSSTALK) RUDY GIULIANI: Yes. You are darn right they didn’t act honorably.
Look what they did to Manafort. They got him in solitary confinement. They go question
him every four days and try to get him to lie. JUDY WOODRUFF: But is there a… RUDY GIULIANI: After a while — after a while… JUDY WOODRUFF: Is there… RUDY GIULIANI: After a while, that gets close
to subornation of perjury. The first four times — the first four times
a guy you are bringing out of solitary tells you it didn’t happen the way you want me to
say it, by the fifth or sixth time, you are getting pretty darn close to suborning perjury.
Luckily, Manafort wouldn’t lie. JUDY WOODRUFF: So you are saying they didn’t
act honorably, but their conclusion is the correct one. I mean, is that a contradiction? RUDY GIULIANI: They had no choice. Not at all. They had no choice. What are they
going to do, make things up? They had no choice. There is no evidence. They can’t create it.
They tried darn hard to create it. So, he was cleared by a biased staff, because, hard
as they tried, however many rules they just ignored, they couldn’t get what they needed,
because, how about this, Judy, it didn’t happen. There was no collusion, and there was no obstruction. JUDY WOODRUFF: Will the president, do you
think, pardon any of the people who were indicted and found guilty under — by Robert Mueller,
whether it is Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, anybody else? RUDY GIULIANI: I was asked that question by
numerous reporters during the investigation. I was asked that question by some lawyers.
And the answer is always the same. The president is not going to consider pardons.
He’s not going to give any pardons. If that happens, it has to happen in the future, and
nobody has a promise of it. Nobody should assume it. But he — obviously, he has power to do it.
But have I no reason to believe he’s going to exercise it. JUDY WOODRUFF: Former New York City Mayor
Rudy Giuliani, attorney to the president, thank you very much. RUDY GIULIANI: Thanks, Judy. Thank you. Thank
you. JUDY WOODRUFF: From Mayor Giuliani, we turn
now to explore some of the legal questions answered and unanswered by the attorney general’s
summary of the Mueller report. And we do that with Mary McCord. She’s the
former acting assistant attorney general for national security in the Obama administration.
And she’s a former federal prosecutor. Matthew Miller, he was the spokesman for the Department
of Justice during the Obama administration. Robert Ray, he was the independent counsel
investigating President Clinton during the Whitewater investigation. And C. Boyden Gray,
he served as White House counsel for President George H.W. Bush. We welcome all of you to the program. Thank
you for being here. So, we just heard from Mayor Giuliani. But what I want to ask — talk to all of you
about for a few minutes is what we know, and actually how little we know, because it is
the summary that the attorney general has given us from the Mueller report. First of all, about conspiracy, whether there
was conspiracy, coordination with the Russians, and what you have is a conclusion from the
attorney general, says, after two years of investigation, Matthew Miller, the conclusion
is, reached no conspiracy, no coordination. They don’t use the word collusion, but nothing
there. So, does Mr. Barr’s summary answer all your
questions? MATTHEW MILLER: No, not at all. I think it answers the most significant question,
was, could the special counsel prove a crime? Was he ready to charge a crime in court that
he could prove beyond a reasonable doubt with respect to conspiracy with the Russian government
by either the president or someone on his campaign? And the answer to that question is no. It
doesn’t answer other questions about whether there was, you know, other types of collusion,
or whether — it doesn’t answer the question of whether he thought that it happened, but
he couldn’t prove it, whether there was no evidence at all. I think the questions that the American people
ought to have and that the Congress ought to have, and that hopefully will be answered
when they see the full report, is, what could they show? How much evidence was there? Did they have a theory that there was in some
ways collusion out in the open, where you had the Trump campaign that knew what the
Russians were doing, that encouraged them publicly, that encouraged them privately at
times, and the Russians, who knew that Trump was a candidate who would back policies they
supported? And so, while there was no crime that was
committed, there was a kind of collusion out in the open, where both sides knew what the
other side wanted and were willing to act in a way that would encourage it. JUDY WOODRUFF: Robert Ray, what about that,
I mean, questions or not coming out of this? ROBERT RAY: Well, the last part of that, I
think, is a little too fuzzy for my tastes. And that is not what prosecutors do. Prosecutors decided, based upon an investigation,
this one taking 22 months, and a lot of witnesses and a lot of subpoenas, and a lot of documents,
and a lot of search warrants to decide whether or not you have a case in good faith that
a prosecutor believes could be submitted to a jury, and that a jury would unanimously
return a verdict as guilty, and that that determination would be sustained on appeal. That is all a prosecutor does, gathers facts
in order to make a prosecutorial judgment. And the judgment here with regard to collusion,
conspiracy, and the Russian interference with the election is that members of the Trump
campaign, including the president, that there’s not a sustainable case, meaning there’s not
sufficient evidence to prove that a crime was committed there. That’s telling you a fair amount. Does it
tell you everything? No. JUDY WOODRUFF: Right. ROBERT RAY: I imagine, in the next couple
of weeks, probably, we will expect to see a disclosure in some fashion of the report
that Bob Mueller provided to the attorney general, because that’s what the attorney
general has committed to do. There are certain impediments we can talk
about later… JUDY WOODRUFF: Right. ROBERT RAY: … about how it’s not going to
be every single thing that was disclosed to the attorney general. But I imagine, if the attorney general is
true to his word — and I expect he will be — it will be transparent. JUDY WOODRUFF: Mary McCord, what about this? I mean, as you look at this, how many questions
are still in your mind? Or does Mr. Barr’s summary satisfy you? MARY MCCORD: Well, obviously, it’s very limited,
the summary. And I agree really what the other — the other panelists have said about some
of the limitations of what is in here. And I think another point, to be clear, is
that conspiracy is an agreement between two or more people to commit a crime or to defraud
the United States. And so Mr. Ray got it correctly in saying, of course, that prosecutors have
to determine that every element of a crime could be met by evidence beyond — that would
prove it beyond a reasonable doubt before they can bring charges. So, what this is saying is — and what the
— what the quotation from the Mueller report that A.G. Barr included in his letter to Congress
is, is that the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign had conspired
or colluded with the Russian government. So — and, again, conspired meaning to commit
a crime, with that — with that knowledge that the — and intent that the goal of the
conspiracy was to commit a crime. So, that’s very different than sort of public
encouragement of the activity or expressing approval of it or a desire for it to continue.
That’s — that’s not the same as actually coming to an agreement to commit a crime. JUDY WOODRUFF: Or the president, Boyden Gray,
at a news conference or a speech saying to the crowd in general, or — and to — he said
to the Russians, go ahead and see if you can turn up Hillary Clinton’s e-mails. I mean, there’s a difference here. C. BOYDEN GRAY, Former White House Counsel:
Oh, there is a big difference, sure, I mean, what he says publicly and what he actually
does, and what his staff does, what his campaign aides do or did or did not do. That’s what really — what really matters.
There’s a narrative that always underlay much of the investigation, which was that here’s
a man who does everything Putin wants him to do. And so that creates a suspicion. And what I find so difficult about that is,
is that he is — has done very well the one thing that hurts the Russians most, that brought
down the Soviet Union in the mid-’80s, which is press our energy policy to really endanger
their core financial solidarity. So, he was not doing Putin’s bidding. And
that’s a false narrative from the very, very beginning. JUDY WOODRUFF: You’re talking about policy
moves that the president made. C. BOYDEN GRAY: Yes. JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, let’s — I mean, there’s
a lot to talk about here. Again, we don’t have the whole report. We have the summary
from the attorney general. But let’s turn now to the other principal
conclusion from the Mueller report, and this has to do with obstruction of justice. The
attorney general, William Barr, wrote the while the report did not conclude that the
president committed that crime of obstruction, neither did it exonerate him. But the attorney general also wrote that he
and his deputy came down clearly on the side of President Trump on this question, that
the evidence isn’t there, nor is the intent. That was enough to spark opposing reactions
to this. DONALD TRUMP: There was no obstruction, and
none whatsoever. And it was a complete and total exoneration. It’s a shame that our country
had to go through this. REP. JERROLD NADLER (D), New York: These conclusions
raise more questions than they answer, given the fact that Mueller uncovered evidence that,
in his own words, does not exonerate the president. Given these questions, it is imperative that
the attorney general release the full report and the underlying evidence. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Robert Ray, what are we
left with here? ROBERT RAY: I mean, I just say, on that point,
prosecutors are not in the business of handing out exonerations. You don’t typically get an exoneration card
after a full and fair investigation and apologies from Uncle Sam for investigating you to say,
listen, we — we did an investigation, we didn’t find anything, and not only are we
going to make the determination to prosecute you, but we’re going to hold a press conference
to say that you have been completely exonerated. That typically does not happen. So, I mean,
look, the president’s entitled to say, based upon a prosecutorial determination by the
Justice Department, whether it be Bob Mueller in connection with the collusion piece, or
Bill Barr with regard to the obstruction piece, that he’s been vindicated, because the department
decided that there was insufficient evidence to proceed with a prosecution, right? Exoneration is more of the political notion
of, I can walk away from this saying, I was — the president’s position — I was right
all along. I told you there wasn’t collusion. And with regard to obstruction, as he’s been
quoted in the piece that you ran in the special previously, lookit, how — how can you be
seen to have obstructed an investigation, as a practical matter, that didn’t have foundation
to begin with? JUDY WOODRUFF: But if you — but when you
have the attorney — the special prosecutor, Matt Miller, saying, I don’t know — I can’t
say which one it is, because I have evidence on both sides, it’s difficult, and then the
attorney general says, well, I think it’s this way, what do we make of that? MATTHEW MILLER: I find the attorney general’s
decision to make that determination somewhat troubling, because we don’t know why the special
counsel didn’t make a determination. I doubt very much he didn’t make the decision
because he thought it was too hard, or because he thought it — thought it was difficult.
He would have — if he felt it was appropriate for the Justice Department to make that decision,
I feel pretty confident he would have made a decision, or at least made a recommendation
to the attorney general. It’s very unusual for a decision to come to
the attorney general without a recommendation from the prosecutors down the line. I suspect — and I think we will see this
when we see the full report — that the reason Bob Mueller didn’t make a prosecutorial determination
on the obstruction question is because the Justice Department’s opinion is that the president
can’t be indicted. So, if he can’t be indicted, there’s no reason for the special counsel
to make that determination. In fact, there are good reasons for him not
to do so. ROBERT RAY: Although he — the attorney general
did say that that did not weigh into… (CROSSTALK) MATTHEW MILLER: Well, into his — into the
attorney general’s determination, not necessarily into the special counsel’s determination. ROBERT RAY: Well, I — but I think there’s
more to it than just a factual issue about what Bob Mueller was confronted with. And I think we — I think — I agree with
you. I think we’re going to find out more. We don’t quite know the answer to it. MATTHEW MILLER: Right. ROBERT RAY: But I would suggest that, in that
regard, I think there’s a policy issue that that’s created too, by virtue of an investigation
of a president and the office of the president, and evaluating conduct relative to the obstruction
of justice statutes. And, as Attorney General Barr in his now famous
memo to the Justice Department prior to his confirmation explained, there’s a substantial
legal question relative to the president’s conduct. When he is the executive branch,
he can hire and fire as he pleases… JUDY WOODRUFF: And that is… ROBERT RAY: … for any reason or for no reason
at all. And to try to then evaluate that in terms
of what would be needed to be proved in order to make an obstruction — obstruction case,
which is corrupt intent, and I think there’s not only legal — not only factual barriers
to that conclusion, but also some substantial legal hurdles to overcome. And from a policy perspective, I think it
was important for the Justice Department to speak with one voice. And that voice should
be the attorney general, because the resolution of this investigation on the obstruction piece
not only resolves it with regard to this president, but this is precedent that will be used and
considered for many years to come about how to evaluate presidential conduct in terms
of application to the obstruction statute. JUDY WOODRUFF: And I want — Boyden Gray,
coming back, though, to the fact that the attorney general weighed in on one side or
another after the special counsel did not, doesn’t that — isn’t it going to continue
to leave a question, a cloud, whatever you want to call it, over this determination? C. BOYDEN GRAY: I don’t see how. I don’t see
why, because, in a sense, once the special counsel decides he cannot prosecute, for whatever
reason — and I don’t think it’s because he felt he couldn’t indict a sitting — I think
that’s — that’s — he never got to that point. Once that happens, it’s really over. I do
agree that it’s a very good thing that Rosenstein and the attorney general both, the deputy
and the attorney general both agreed on this outcome, because that means the top leadership
of the department was backing up — in a sense, backing up Mueller’s findings. But it is absolutely and definitely not the
province of any prosecutor, any special counsel to exonerate or convict anybody. Only a jury
or a judge can convict. And there’s no reason to even mention exoneration, because no prosecutor
can exonerate. JUDY WOODRUFF: Mary McCord, how do you read
this? MARY MCCORD: Well, I would also agree there’s
no reason to mention exoneration, and that includes President Trump and his counsel shouldn’t
be mentioning exoneration. Clearly, what the special counsel said is,
this does not exonerate him. That’s crystal clear. That’s quoted by A.G. Barr in his letter
to Congress. I think what’s — I think we’re not going
to know, until — unless and until we see more of the report, why Bob Mueller decided
not to make a recommendation. I think it could be — have to do with the fact that the DOJ
was never going to indict, and he might have wanted to put this decision to Congress. It could be because he reports to the attorney
general, or the acting attorney general. Before, it was A.G. Barr, when A.G. Sessions was recused.
And he thought that decision in a case of this significance should be made by the attorney
general. I have no quarrel with that. I think, though, that what we haven’t yet
discussed is the fact that it’s crystal clear that there is evidence here that at least
went toward a potential charge of obstruction. And the A.G. then made the determination,
based on really what Supreme Court precedent says is a very limited kind of understanding
of what obstruction applies to, and decided to come down with the fact that the evidence
would not support and sustain those charges. Reasonable minds may differ with that if they
see the evidence, if it ever comes to light. (CROSSTALK) JUDY WOODRUFF: And, as we said, he was joined
in by the deputy attorney general. (CROSSTALK) ROBERT RAY: Yes, and I think that’s about
right. I think that’s right. C. BOYDEN GRAY: It’s not for the Congress. Some talk yesterday, throughout the day was,
well, this is really for Congress to decide. Barr can’t do it. No, Congress doesn’t prosecute. But they can
— they can make a decision about impeachment, high crimes and misdemeanors. But for an actual
criminal prosecution, they have no say. ROBERT RAY: Oh, and I totally agree with that. And I think it would have been a mistake,
as some people have suggested, that Attorney General Barr should not have stepped into
that void and should just to have allowed Bob Mueller to refrain from… JUDY WOODRUFF: The uncertainty. ROBERT RAY: Leave the uncertainty there. JUDY WOODRUFF: Yes. ROBERT RAY: I think you’re absolutely correct. MATTHEW MILLER: He could… ROBERT RAY: The job of the special counsel’s
investigation leading to — back to the department under the special counsel regulations, is
to make a decision, and a decision needed to be made. JUDY WOODRUFF: All right, now we’re going
to turn to literally what’s next, what comes after what we know right now, for the legal,
for the political ramifications of this investigation. Congressional reaction, we have been talking
about it. It has fallen mostly along partisan lines, some Republicans questioning the very
premise of the investigation in the first place. SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), South Carolina: A
counterintelligence investigation is designed to protect the entity being targeted by a
foreign power. How did it fail and break down here? Was it
a ruse to get into the Trump campaign? I don’t know, but I’m going to try to find out. SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), Minority Leader:
Neither the Congress, nor the public has seen the report itself. So it’s evident, it is
self-evident, overwhelmingly, in the public interest for the Mueller report to be released
to the people. JUDY WOODRUFF: And I want to bring in now
reporters covering all of this, all of whom you just saw in that “Frontline” documentary. The “NewsHour”‘s Lisa Desjardins, she’s at
Capitol — Capitol Hill, while Yamiche Alcindor joins us from the White House. And Robert
Costa of The Washington Post, he’s also moderator of “Washington week,” he’s with us tonight
as well. Hello to all of you. And, Yamiche, I want to turn to you. We have been talking about the president’s
reaction, and whether and when there is going to be more to see. What is the White House
saying right now about how much more we should see, whether we should see the entire Mueller
report? YAMICHE ALCINDOR: So, the president has been
taking a victory lap. That began this weekend when he learned that
he had been cleared of the allegation that he colluded with Russia in order to interfere
in the 2016 election. And he’s also celebrating the fact that Attorney General Barr, of course,
said that he — that there was no evidence of him obstructing justice. However, the president earlier, before we
knew the summary of the report said, he said that he thought that the Mueller report should
be made public. Now the White House is somewhat walking that back. Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary,
said there might be executive privilege issues, and there might — it might be in the best
interests of the country and to protect the presidency if the report did not come out. So, what we have is the White House both saying
the president is cleared, but also saying, the report, hold on a minute, we might not
want that. And I want to remind people that there’s a
fever pitch to see this Mueller report on both — both from Republicans, but also from
Democrats. And just as I was walking over here, there’s
a chant going on, a protest a couple feet away from me that said, “We the people demand
the Mueller report.” So there’s fever pitch feelings here that
the Mueller report should be made public, but no clear answers here. JUDY WOODRUFF: Lisa Desjardins at the Capitol,
how much of a fever pitch is there, there? LISA DESJARDINS: I can tell you, just in the
past couple of hours, Judy, we have gotten a clear signal from Democrats. The five Democratic chairmen of the House
committees that have jurisdiction over this area — that includes committees like Oversight,
Intelligence, Judiciary — they have written a joint letter to the attorney general tonight. And they have said in these words that they
demand that he release the full report, and they have given him a deadline of April 2.
This is obviously a situation between branches. So it’s not clear what would happen if the
attorney general does not meet that deadline. But they write — and this goes to some of
what your panel was speaking about — they write that Congress is permitted the ability
to assess the obstruction of justice situation independently. And they are asserting what they believe is
a right of a co-equal branch here. It’s a rather eye-popping letter. They also write,
significantly — these are the Democrats, House chairmen — they say: “We have no reason
to question the special counsel Mueller’s — that he has made well-considered prosecutorial
judgments in two areas.” They say, one, whether the Trump campaign
conspired and, two, on hacking, and basically the charges against the Russians. They’re
sort of saying, listen, we don’t — we’re not questioning whether there was any collusion
or not. They’re clearly questioning the obstruction. That’s where the focus of Democrats are going.
And this letter tells me, Judy, in this constant internal battle for Democrats between cautious
restraint and sort of dogged pursuit, these are the voices pushing for dogged pursuit.
We will see what voices we hear in the next couple of days after this. JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Robert Costa, who’s also
joining us, Robert, I know you have done a lot of reporting since word of the report
first — or we first learned that the report had been turned over to the Justice Department. What are you hearing about just how partisan,
how divided this fight is going to be over releasing the report and what to do about
the report? ROBERT COSTA: It’s not only partisan, but
it’s challenging, particularly for Democrats on Capitol Hill, who want to pursue further
questions on obstruction. Yet, when it comes to obstruction of justice,
you have to figure out the person’s intent. Was the intent corrupt? Robert Mueller, the
special counsel, did not make a firm conclusion on that front. And it will be difficult for
Democrats, even on — in the committees with subpoena power, to figure out President Trump’s
intent in many of his decisions. So they would like to paint a fuller picture
of the president’s conduct. That’s why they want to see the full report. But whether it
rises to level of an impeachable offense, that remains to be seen. JUDY WOODRUFF: And back to Yamiche on that. Is the White House breathing easy? Have they
— do they now assume impeachment is off the table because of this? YAMICHE ALCINDOR: The sense I have gotten
all day is that the White House is very glad that the Mueller report is over and that this
Mueller investigation has ended. They’re not quite breathing easy in the idea
of impeachment. But they are saying that Democrats are essentially now on the defense. They feel
as though the positions have completely changed. They think, before the Mueller report, there
was a lot — there was a lot of caution, especially on the part of the president. He didn’t speak all weekend, didn’t make any
comments when we found out that the Mueller report had been filed. And that’s because
he was waiting to see what the actual summary would say. Now that the White House has seen the summary
of the attorney general, William Barr, they feel as though they’re in a good position,
a stronger position, rather. So I think that the president now feels like he has the political
upper hand. And I should note that the president’s political
campaign, his campaign for reelection to president, they have actually started fund-raising off
the idea that Democrats had a witch-hunt for two years, while he was busy really ushering
in a strong economy. So they’re also using this as a campaign rallying
cry. JUDY WOODRUFF: All right. Yamiche Alcindor
at the White House, Lisa Desjardins at the Capitol, Robert Costa joining us, all three,
thank you very much. And I finally come back to our panel here
at the table. Let’s go back at, Mary McCord, this question
about how much more the public will get to see, should see, needs to see, in order to
really, truly understand what the special counsel concluded. MARY MCCORD: So, certainly, the attorney general
has promised that he’s undertaking a review, with an eye toward disclosing publicly as
much as he is able to and that he thinks is — is in the public interest to disclose. And there’s things he does have to take into
consideration, such as grand jury secrecy rules. And those rules are there for a reason,
because, ordinarily, after an investigation, particularly a criminal investigation, although
this was not limited to a criminal investigation by the mandate of appointing the special counsel,
but, typically, if there’s a decision to decline a prosecution, this all remains secret, because
a person shouldn’t really be tainted with sort of any dirty laundry in there. I think it’s a very — when the decision was
made that there wasn’t sufficient evidence to charge a crime. JUDY WOODRUFF: Right. MARY MCCORD: I think we’re in a very different
situation, where the president, the sitting president of the United States is the person,
among others, who were investigated. He is — he is campaigning for reelection
in this office of a public official that has public trust associated with it. And I think
the voters are entitled to know sort of what is this delta between no evidence and evidence,
but not enough to prove beyond a reasonable doubt each and every element of the crime. JUDY WOODRUFF: Boyden Gray, how much does
the public need to see of this report? C. BOYDEN GRAY: Oh, well, I would like — I’m
sort of with all parties. I think the president all the way down and
the Republican Party and all Democrats want to see the whole thing. But, as you have said,
there are problems with grand jury. There are problems possibly with sources and methods,
national security issues. So, there may be some redaction. But I think
it all should come out. And I want to make it — make it very, very clear that I agree
with Senator Graham, in his press conference today, that, if we’re going to have full disclosure,
everything comes out, including the background of the FISA warrants, the background of Mueller’s
appointment, what happened with the Steele dossier. All of that must be equally disclosed, as
everything else is. JUDY WOODRUFF: But that’s not part of the
Mueller report, is it? I mean, that would be additional investigation. C. BOYDEN GRAY: It’s… (CROSSTALK) JUDY WOODRUFF: Or is it? C. BOYDEN GRAY: I would think it is part of
the — should be part of the Mueller report. JUDY WOODRUFF: I’m asking. C. BOYDEN GRAY: It’s part — maybe — maybe
he didn’t write much about it, but it certainly was part of the charge. And if it wasn’t, let’s find out why it wasn’t.
But we don’t know what the charge was. And we need to know what the charge was. And we
need to know about the warrants that he issued, that were issued under his name. JUDY WOODRUFF: Just quickly, Matt Miller,
what about that point? MATTHEW MILLER: Those questions about the
dossier have never been substantiated. And, in any event, they’re under investigation
by the Department of Justice inspector general. That report will be public at some point. With respect to what ought to be made public
here, I think we all agree that as much as possible ought to be made public, maybe with
the exception of grand jury material, because one thing the department has made clear from
the beginning of this investigation is, they are not the final arbiter of presidential
misconduct. Congress is. And for Congress to make that decision, they
have to have access to all of the evidence about what the president did. And one of things
for the last two years, and even in our discussion tonight, we talk about whether the president’s
behavior rises to the level of crime or not. That’s not the only standard for presidential
misconduct. That is the lowest possible bar. Congress has to assess the entire matter. JUDY WOODRUFF: Just 15 seconds. ROBERT RAY: I don’t agree with that. I don’t
think that’s quite right, because it — the emphasis in the Constitution is on high crimes
and misdemeanors, emphasis on the word crime. I think the… MATTHEW MILLER: But it’s not the criminal
statutes. It’s not the… ROBERT RAY: The impeachment inquiry is going
to be circumscribed now by the determination of the special counsel and the Justice Department
that, in these areas, no crimes were committed. And that — that’s going to slow that train
down. (CROSSTALK) JUDY WOODRUFF: So much to talk about. Robert Ray, Boyden Gray, Mary McCord, Matthew
Miller. That is it for now. We thank you for joining
us. I’m Judy Woodruff.

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