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tv   The Stream 2019 Ep 118  Al Jazeera  July 24, 2019 10:32pm-11:01pm +03

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there are the republicans trying to go after more of his team his credibility and trying to basically say that he shouldn't have even looked at obstruction of justice because that wasn't his mandate because mahler is basically saying look the president could face obstruction of justice charges which is no longer president but the justice department says a sitting president can't be indicted that's probably the biggest takeaway from the hearing that's far which i think a lot of people expected would be a little bit more a little bit more exciting than it actually did. thank patty let's go over now to elizabeth she's an associate professor of american studies and political science at george washington university joins us from washington d.c. good to have you with us let me start 1st of all elizabeth with the question of how do we heard this and they're saying well we were never really expecting any bombshells to drop here but anything that takes perhaps the public perception at least in any new direction. well i think that the hearing started out in
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a really interesting way when the democratic chairman jerrold nadler said 3 times repeating you did not exonerate trump and muller said yes to all 3 of those answers so in many ways he's challenging trying to narrative of what has actually happened and i think that that's something that the democrats will definitely use to continue to emphasize both from mischaracterize what the report said and also that the report does have a lot of really. challenging evidence to show that there are many points where trump obstructed justice we now see the democrats are continuing to try to emphasize that to state it in plain language because very few people have actually read the report to try to pick out the most egregious examples of potential of struction to get muller to acknowledge them to to restate them in plain terms for a larger public as to whether that information well really galvanize people to
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continue some of these investigations or push to impeachment as many democrats want that's another question i don't the other side we see the republicans perhaps trying to emphasize the message of his report insufficient evidence of the president's culpability as if to say well that's is almost as good as saying it's exonerated. right we see the republicans doing i think what many people had expected which is taking to tax one tack is that the report does show does not commit say that trump committed a crime and so therefore if you didn't commit a crime even if that evidence is insufficient you're still presumed innocent and also to discredit the report and as we're just beginning to feed to start to actually discredit his reputation and his credibility so i think they're trying a bunch of different tax of course that doesn't exactly go to both say that the report is legitimate because it showed no collusion and also that the report is
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illegitimate those things might not go together but i think they're just trying both to see which one will be more influential among voters and i hope to just kind of bury this report and move on well it is still going on so that one can lose both and let's dip back in and listening to how it's going where the most important question i have for you today. is why. director mueller why did the president of the united states want you fired. i can't answer that question well on page 89 in your report in volume 2 you said and i quote substantial evidence indicates that the president's evident the president's attempts to remove the special counsel were links to the special counsel's oversight of investigations that involve the president's conduct and most
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immediately to reports that the president was being investigated for potential obstruction of justice close quote. director mueller you found evidence as you lay out in your report that the president wanted to fire you because you were investigating him for obstruction of justice is that correct that's what it says in your report yes and i go well i stand by the report. director mueller that shouldn't happen in america no president should be able to escape investigation by abusing his power but that's what you testified to in your report the president ordered you fired a white house counsel knew it was wrong the president knew it was wrong in your report it says there's also evidence of president we should not have made those calls to me again but the president did it anyway he did it anyway anyone else who
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blatantly interfered with a criminal investigation like yours would be arrested and indicted on charges of obstruction of justice director mueller you determined that you were barred from indicting a sitting president we've already talked about that today that is exactly why this committee must hold the president accountable i yield back. gentlemen yield back the gentle lady from alabama director mueller you just said in response to 2 different lines of questions that you would refer to as it relates to this firing discussion that i would refer you to the report in the way it was characterized in the report importantly the president never said fire moeller or in the investigation and one doesn't necessitate the other and began in fact did not resign he stuck around for a year and
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a half on march 24th attorney general barn for the committee that he had received special counsels from work and it was not until april 18th that the attorney general release the report to congress and the public when you submitted your report to the attorney general did you deliver a redacted version of the report so that he would be able to release it to congress and the public without delay pursuant to his announcement of his intention to do so during his confirmation hearing. gaijin discussion about what happened after the production of our report had the attorney general asked you to provide a redacted version of the report we worked on when i could version together did he ask you for a version where the grand jury material was separated you go into detail is it your belief that in an redacted version of the report could be released to congress or the public would have been my purview.
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rule 60 material why did you not take a similar action so congress could view this material. we had a process that we were. operating on with the attorney general's office are you aware of any attorney general going to court to receive similar permission to interact on 60 material i'm not aware of that being done the attorney general release a special counsel's report with minimal repeat redactions to the public and even the lesser redacted version to congress did you write the report with the expectation that it would be released publicly you know we did not have an expectation we write the report understanding that it was. demanded by the statute and would go to the attorney general for further probe further. review and pursuant to the special counsel regulations to me is the only party that must
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receive the charging decision resulting from the special counsel's investigation. with regard to the president or generally no generally attorney general at attorney general bars and confirmation hearing he made it clear that he intended to release your reports of the public do you remember how much of your report had been written at that point you know were there significant changes in tone or substance of the report made after the announcement that the report would be made available to congress and the public can't get into that during the senate testimony of attorney general william barr senate senator kamali here is asked mr barr if he had looked at all the underlying evidence that the special counsel's team had gathered and he stated that he had not said i'm going to ask you did you personally review all of the underlying evidence gathered in your investigation. to the extent that it came through the special counsel's office yes. did any sing some well meaning member of your team review all the underlying evidence gathered during the course of your
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legend as you've been recited here today substantial amount of work was done would be church or or point is there is no one member of the team that looked at everything that's what i'm trying to get and it's fair to say that an investigation is comprehensive is yours it's normal that different members of the team would have different sets of documents and few if any one would have reviewed all of the underlying i.q. yes how many of the approximately $500.00 interviews conducted by the special conference to do you attend personally or if you on march 27th 2019 you wrote a letter to the attorney general essentially complaining about the media coverage of your report you wrote not quite the summary letter to the department sent to congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of march 24 did not fully capture the context nature and substance of this office work and conclusions we communicated that concern to the department on the morning of march 23rd there is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation he
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wrote that march 27th letter. i can't get into who wrote the internal deliberations you signed what i will say is the letter stands for itself ok why did you write a formal letter since you had already called the attorney general to express those concerns and get into that internal deliberations did you all through as the letters released to the media or was it leaked. i have no knowledge on here where you went nearly 2 years without a leak why was this letter late. well i can't get into it was this letter written and late for the express purpose of attempting to change the narrative about the conclusions of your report and was anything in attorney general barres letter referred to as principal conclusions i'm not aware generally of use expire that you answer that question please and the question is we may answer the question was anything in attorney general bars letter referred to as the principal conclusions letter dated march 24th inaccurate i am not going to get into. the
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general it is expired the gentle lady from california thank you mr chair director mueller as you know we are focusing on 5 obstruction episodes today i would like to ask you about the 2nd of those 5 obstruction episodes it is in the section of your report beginning on page $113.00 of volume to entitle to quote the president orders mcgann to deny that the president tried to fire the special counsel in quote on january 25th 2018 the new york times reported that quote the president had ordered me again to have the department of justice hire you is that correct. and that story related to the events you are already testified about here today the president's calls to mccann to have you removed correct. after the news broke did the president go on t.v. and deny the story you're not well in fact the president said quote fake news folks
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fake news a typical new york times fake story in quote correct correct. but your investigation actually found substantial evidence that mcgann was ordered by the president to fire you correct yes did the president's personal lawyer do something the following day in response to that news report. the coverage of this in the report on page 114 quote on january 26th 2018 the president's personal counsel called mcgann's attorney and said that the president wanted me again to put out a statement denying that he had been asked to fire the special counsel in quote did mccann do what the president asked refer you to the record communicating through his personal attorney mccann refused because he said quote at the time story was accurate in reporting that the president wanted the special counsel removed isn't
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that right it is refer you again to the report ok so mr mccann through his personal attorney told the president that he is was not going to lie is that right. did the president draw out the issue. referred to the write up of this in the report ok next the president told the white house staff secretary rob porter to try to pressure mccann to make a fast denial is that correct correct what did he actually direct porter to do. was send you back to report ok well on page 113 it says quote the president then directed porter to tell me again to create a record to make it clear that the president never directed macand to fire you in quote is that correct it is. stated in the report and you found quote the president said he wanted me again to write a letter to the pile for our records correct correct. and to be clear the president
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is asking his white house counsel dan mccann to create a record that mccann believed to be untrue while you were in the midst of investigating the president for obstruction of justice correct generally correct and mr mccann was an important witness and then investigation was and you have to say yes did the president tell porter to threaten again if he didn't create the written denial. write up a. report in fact didn't the president say quote in this is on page 116 if he doesn't write a letter then maybe i'll have to get rid of him in quote. did porter deliver that threat. again i refer you to. the discussion of. ok but the president still didn't give up duty so the president told me again directly to deny that the president told him to have you fired can
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you tell me exactly what happened. in the report well on page 116 it says the president met him in the oval office quote the president began the oval office meeting by telling mccann that the new york times story didn't look good and mccann needed to correct it is that correct. reading the report yes the president asked me again whether he would do a correction and mccann said no correct correct. well mr miller thank you for your investigation uncovering this very disturbing evidence my friend mr richmond will have additional questions on the subject however it is clear to me if anyone else had ordered a witness to create a false record and cover up acts that are subject of a law enforcement investigation that person would be facing criminal charges and
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generally yields back the gentleman from ohio director of the f.b.i. interviewed joseph and have sued on february 10th 2017 in that interview mr misapplied you point this out on page 193 volume one it's it denied it's and also falsely stated in addition mips it omitted 3 times he lied to the f.b.i. yet you didn't charge him with the crime you can't know what i'm sorry did you say 193 volume 1193 he lied 3 times you pointed out in the report why didn't you charge him with the crime. can't get into internal deliberations with regard to order would not be a large lot other people for make apostate let's remember just go on 1400 g.m.t. your watching the hearings in congress live on al-jazeera involving all of the former special counsel is testifying before members of the house judiciary
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committee. making a lot of questions by being very cautious from. members of the house back to the report as both democrats and republicans struggle to get van narrative about his reports across let's go to kimberly halkett she joins us from the white house and kimberly. the u.s. president even before this hearing began was tweeting. shall we say i think it was 7 tweets this morning 7 tweets he was not very. good you are stopped and 7 you know just bring us up to speed with the direct. yeah well for a president who said he wasn't going to watch this hearing not only does he have a relatively clear schedule until it's over but as you pointed out sami whether it's 7 whether it's 9 the president seemed pretty anxious right before this hearing started about what was going to be said he was repeated repeating throughout his
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tweets kind of a narrative trying to shape the testimony and that's exactly what his department of justice did in a letter to robert muller prior to this hearing beginning and we heard these special counsel robert mueller saying in his opening statements that he would be a hearing to the request by the department of justice essentially saying that he would only be testifying about what is in his report and i think that's why we're not seeing the fireworks perhaps that many of the democrats had hoped would come from this witness and even from the side of the republicans as well it appears that this prosecutor is playing straight down the line sticking to his testimony in fact we're seeing more grandstanding in this hearing coming from the lawmakers then from the witness robert mueller himself so it appears on that have that the president has so far through his department of justice and through his tweets successfully
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shaped this testimony if you will having said that even as robert mueller sticks to his report there is information in that report that contradicts the president you heard the democratic chair there jerry navl are stating that off the top of this hearing that despite the president's claims of no obstruction of justice in fact that's not what the. the report says and we've heard that from robert mueller as well this does not know any way exonerate the president simply robert mueller stating what was in his report that he was not able to make a prosecutorial judgment based on the guidance of the department of justice which says you cannot indict a sitting president so no new surprises so far but at the same time i am certainly this is not flattering for the president and one can safely assume given the fact that his tweets have gone silent that he is watching this testimony very carefully all right let's thank him but how can bad in the view from outside the white house
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let's go back to policy call hey i'm watching this i'm sure as avidly as we all. the back drop against all of this is some key questions like whether this is going to impact votes is whether it helps those in congress who want to see congress get more involved and kind of pick up where role model left off right. and exactly right the pollsters are just waiting until this testimony is over so they can hit send on those polls and try and get a sense of how this is being taken in by the american public i don't think right now we've seen anything that's necessarily going to change anyone's mind people who think the president is corrupt are still going to take from this hearing what was in the mall report the president's supporters so far i don't think they're hearing anything necessarily that's going to sway their support that the democrats were hoping is that robert mueller would come here and in his testimony go line by line through what he says was the contacts between the trump campaign and russian
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officials and also the 10 different cases of possible obstruction of justice robert muller warned congress he wasn't going to do that and he's not so basically what we've seen from him is basically read the report i'm not going to comment on that i'm not going to go there so what we're seeing is republicans trying to discredit him not necessarily being able to really do that but to their supporters and see what they've been saying. oh along with the president's been saying the democrats are then going line 2 lines in the report hoping that it hits home with the public because again the most important really take it like this big is 400 plus pages most people have not read it so they're counting on the debt the democrats are hoping that they would be able to get out of the narrative that was set by the attorney general who came out made the statement you know it starts no collusion before the report was made public the president's been hammering that home the democrats i think were hoping that molar woods basically sit down and lay out his case he's not doing that it appears now they're taking a short break from the hearing. is now couple hours and so. more
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still has another 4 hours or so on the hill about 3 and a half hours on the hill to wait and see if that changes but so far i think democrats are leaving frustrated and so are republicans. taking a break let's give political high and as well break here thanks so much patty let's bring in the elizabeth anchor once again associate professor of american studies and political science at george washington university joins us once again from washington d.c. and they're just taking a break but let's recap of the point just before they took the break a lot of talk on the democrat side a lot of focus and effort into pointing towards the president's actions as they would see it to interfere with the investigation. don't the gun explain to us a little bit about the strategy where that where they want that to lead to. sure one of the biggest cases of obstruction or potential obstruction was trump asking
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his white house lawyers white house counsel to fire robert muller or to get smaller to you know to to tone down what was happening in the report obviously if he did do that that would be a clear case of obstruction of justice so the rip the democrats are trying to make the case both that the report details that this most likely happened and also that if it did happen this would be cause to show that trump did commit some kind of potential criminal act because muller has stated in his justice department regulations that they would not indict a sitting president i think they're trying to make their case to the court of public opinion that trump was committing some kind of obstruction that that is criminal that he could be indicted once he's out of office and for more importantly for them that he should. you know either be removed by impeachment or that people should be voting for the democrats and whether or not there are many people who are
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independent at this point who would be compelled by that argument i think that remains to be seen but they are trying to point out some of the most. clear cases of potential obstruction in the report and really get that out there to the american people because a lot of people you know were following the initial framing of the report by the by the justice department and trump's attorney general that this report exonerated trump which it seems clear here it did not all right i'm going to ask you to analyze things so far have we heard in this ng that significantly strengthens the the cool of those in congress who want to see congress moves towards investigation and each wins and so on. i'm not sure we see that yet that we do see democrats trying they are continually asking mahler to to explain in his own words that
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cases for obstruction smaller refuses to do that and points to the report and then we see the democrats articulating it themselves as a reading from the report directly or paraphrasing it in plain terms not illegally trying to go down some of the most egregious cases of potential obstruction to try to make that case that further investigation is warranted perhaps for some of them that this is cause for impeachment proceedings to begin. muller has made the case multiple times that this report alone cannot do the work of impeachment and it cannot do the work of indictment he says this is not the right forum for it so the democrats are hoping to galvanize opinion from these hearings to try to move forward with investigations or with impeachment right now i think a lot remains to be seen of how this report is going to be spun mahler is really not that forthcoming he's giving a lot of yes or no answers he is constantly referring back to the report and not elaborating so some of the post hearing spin will have to be the clips from the
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democrats and the republicans themselves reframing the report to see which one will gain more traction or anonymous here as well to maybe clarify a point here because we're hearing from republicans emphasizing this message that the report found insufficient evidence of the president's culpability we heard from one republican in the state when you meaning robot mother made no reference to any peach will conduct which you could have had you wanted to the other side of democrats. sizing that you did not exonerate the president what the president has been saying and tweeting about having exonerated him is not accurate. is the picture becoming any clearer do you think to the american public about the point of just how far robert marlowe went into investigating the president over allegations of obstruction of justice you know it seems fundamentally there is
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a question about what this report was intended to do muller continually faith that per justice department regulation he did not have the power to be able to declare whether trump could have been indicted on charges of obstruction and that that was not his mandate his mandate was to lay out and to investigate some of those potential charges and we just heard from attorney general barr just a couple days ago stating that actually muller could have done that you know could could have made a claim about. about indictment or collusion had he been able to. use those let me jump in here with i mean this is where it gets this it gets a bit murky doesn't it because it's one thing to say look the j. guidelines don't allow me. to indict a sitting president don't allow me to come out with a conclusion about the culpability of the sitting president but then did you
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actually how much did you did you interpret that you have the power to investigate and look into allegations even if you can't come out with a conclusion can you clarify that for us and for all of us. well it seems that that is that question is the question that the democrats are really opening up here . even if the regulations say you cannot actually charge a sitting president. could is this enough evidence here is this investigation providing enough evidence for an indictment. if the president was you know after he leaves office or for somebody else who is not a sitting president. they are trying to ask muller that he was a little bit cagey about whether that is answered but it seemed that even at the beginning when jeremy navl or asked him would this be enough evidence or would there be evidence he seemed to suggest that there is enough evidence or at least
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that there could be enough evidence in the report to indict the president after he is removed from office so the report does seem to suggest that it has that power i'm actually surprised that other democrats haven't picked.


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