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tv   Erin Burnett Out Front  CNN  May 1, 2019 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT

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changed things inside? we've had a crazy 48 hours but it looks like it's slipping back. >> be careful, nic. we'll stay in very close touch with you. to our viewers, thank you very much for watching. follow me at twitter and instagram @wolfblitzer. erin burnett "out front" starts right now. "out front" next, breaking news. attorney general bill barr refusing to testify before the house judiciary committee. the announcement coming after five hours of grilling today and they're threatening to subpoena him and hold him in contempt. barr goes to war with mueller. he calls the letter snitty. and the president won't let it go. why is he so obsessed already with joe biden? let's go "out front." good evening. i'm erin burnett. "out front," a breaking news. no show. bill barr refusing to testify
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before the house judiciary committee tomorrow morning. it comes after a five hour grilling session and barr ripping into a damning letter from robert mueller himself, a letter in which mueller criticized barr for his summary of the mueller report's findings. >> yeah, the letter's a bit snitty and i think it was probably written by one of his staff people. >> a bit snitty. it was a two-page letter and obviously it was a really important letter so mueller signed it himself. whoever may have written parts of it or not clearly was okay with every word. staffer didn't sign it. special counsel himself signed it. it's clear barr and mueller are at odds over some of the most basic black and white findings from mueller's report. take cooperation and mueller's findings that the president repeatedly tried to thwart the investigation. >> you think it's fully cooperating to instruct a former aide to tell the attorney general to unrecuse himself,
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shut down the investigation and declare the president did nothing wrong? >> i don't think -- well, obviously since i didn't find it was obstruction i felt that the evidence could not support -- >> that's fully cooperating? i'm not asking you whether that's obstruction. is that fully cooperating? >> he fully cooperated. >> that sounds really strange. he fully cooperated. it is strange. it's the direct opposite of what mueller determined. mueller writes about a meeting that the president had with cory lewandowski and the message he wanted cory lewandowski to give to jeff sessions. the message said sessions should publicly announce that notwithstanding his stepping down, he did nothing wrong and sessions planned to meet with him and of course that's not
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fully cooperating. it sure doesn't sound like mueller thought that's what was happening. that was not the only time barr's testimony didn't add up. barr was pressed about this exchange from april 9th. >> reports have emerged recent ly, general, that members of the special counsel's team are frustrated at some level with the limited information included in your march 24th letter that it does not adequately or accurately necessarily portray the report's findings. do you know what they're referencing with that? >> no, i don't. >> the pause may have been much more significant than the answer. i'm going to talk to the congressman who asked that question. the reason the pause matters so much is because barr did know that the special counsel's team knows that did not adequately portray his findings. he had already received a letter
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which said it did not capture the work. today barr was asked about what he said to congressman crisp given that we now know barr had already seen mueller's letter when crisp questioned him, barr did what? i mean, what's a word here to use? misled, lied? listen for yourself. >> when i talked to the special counsel about the letter, my understanding was his concern was not the accuracy of the statement of the findings in my letter but that he wanted more out there to provide additional context to explain his reasoning on why he didn't reach a decision on obstruction. >> understanding was mueller was not concerned about the accuracy of barr's letter. barr's summary, quote, did not fully capture the context, nature and substance of the
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special counsel's work and conclusions. maybe barr's trouble with the truth today is part of why he is refusing to appear tomorrow and take questions from congress and the big dispute, congressional lawyers. we're following these breaking developments at the justice department and capitol hill tonight. i want to begin with evan perez. evan, what is the attorney general's reasoning here? >> well, the reasoning that the attorney general has given jerry nadler and the democrats on the house judiciary committee is that he doesn't want to answer questions from staff attorneys. that is the breakdown here. he says he's willing to appear to answer questions from members of congress but he says the -- answer staff attorneys is a no go. now if you remember, they've been having this negotiation back and forth and it seemed to be like everything was going to happen tomorrow and then all of a sudden we have this breakdown.
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so according to the -- to the justice department, the attorney general is still willing to negotiate a new date. they're willing to sit down and answer questions perhaps even have members of congress come in and look at the less redacted version of the mueller report but what he will not do is sit down and answer questions from staff attorneys. you can see the attorney general was losing patience. perhaps he was seeing essentially what tomorrow was going to be a continuation of that. >> right. it certainly seems like that. you know, he was trying to stand on this not having lawyers be involved even though there have been many times in the past. he waits until he's done today and it's unpleasant to say he's not showing up. certainly smells funny. evan, thank you very much. i want to go to sunland who's on capitol hill. now that the attorney general is saying, i'm going to defy you. what is the chairman, jerry
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nadler, going to do? >> reporter: he says he's still not ruling out the possibility to potentially subpoena bill barr to get him in front of the committee eventually to answer questions. the chairman was clearly agitated a short time ago when he appeared on capitol hill talking to reporters. he thinks bill barr is trying to black mail the committee. he's terrified to take questions from staff lawyers of course as evan described, really the crux of the holdup over the dispute over the format and the conditions of his testimony. but nadler at the same time is making it very clear here his first priority is going to be pushing to get the full unredacted report and the underlying evidence the departments of justice tonight also told the committee that they will not comply with their subpoena to get the full report and the underlying evidence. nadler saying he's going to try to work with him over the next few days, potentially try to get a deal, but if there is not a deal he is going to move to hold the attorney general in contempt of congress over this.
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of course, the committee will go on as planned tomorrow. of course there is essentially a seat for bar but no expectation of course that he's going o show up. >> sunlan, thank you. >> i want to go to charlie crisp. you saw him questioning barr back in april. the question that has become so crucial and was crucial today. i want to get to that in a moment. congressman, let me start by asking you about the breaking news. the attorney general says he will not appear before the house judiciary committee tomorrow. he had all sorts of complaints but he didn't say he wasn't going to show up until he was done the five-hour grilling today. what's your reaction? >> well, it's not terribly surprising but it's terribly disappointing. obviously he is not comfortable responding to these questions. it puts him in a difficult position and that's very telling in and of itself. the fact that he doesn't want to come, he doesn't want to be
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accountable. the fact that the attorney general of the united states of america is afraid to be accountable in front of the united states of congress exercising its appropriate oversight role is stunning to me. i don't understand it. i am really embarrassed for him for it and it's a disservice to the american people most importantly. >> barr threatened and said i won't go if they include questions from committee lawyers even though that has happened many times. you know, not an unusual thing necessarily to do. what do you think the committee should do about barr's definiad. what should they do? >> seems to me a subpoena would be the obvious route to take in this circumstance. i'm sure that the chairman is reviewing that possibility and will come to the appropriate conclusion, but when people refuse to be held accountable before a congressional committee to answer questions about his involvement and review and summarization about the mueller
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report, interpretation, you could go on and on, it's just very discouraging that this new attorney general doesn't take a separate branch of government seriously enough as the founding fathers set up to have three equal branches of government. >> yeah. >> so that you could have that kind of accountability. he's ignoring accountability here. >> so i want to ask about your question because it became front and center today, right? you asked him about reports, members of the special counsel's team are frustrated that the barr letter didn't accurately portray the report's findings. then we get the report from mueller and it turns out that he knew nothing about those concerns and said exactly what you asked him then you hear him today twisting around about this. did he lie to you? >> yeah. i don't know what other conclusion you can come to. you know, i mean, i very simply asked him the fact that news accounts had indicated that members of mueller's team were
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not satisfied with the sum m summarization and did he have any reason why and he said, no, he didn't. but he had already received a letter from the special counsel, bob mueller himself. kind of today it seemed like he was trying to parse the answer away and say that i was asking him about members of mueller's team. well, if mueller's the quarterback of the team for crying out loud. i thought it was silly to refer to it that way. >> is it perjury? is it perjury in the legal sense? >> well, it seems to me it would be. look, i was attorney general of floor darks the third largest state of the country, and i understand that, you know, when you come before a body and you're sworn under oath, your obligation is to be truthful, you know, to be transparent and to be forthcoming. he was anything but those three things when he responded to my question. by the way, also to the question of senator van holland of
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maryland who asked him the same sort of thing the very next day on april 10th after i had talked to him april 9th so he doubled down on it and he seemed to be parsing his answers today. now we have the conclusion that he's not going to show up tomorrow. it's really sad. >> so i want to play another moment in the hearing that's been getting a lot of attention today, congressman. this is between senator mazy horono, attorney general barr and the chairman of the committee, lindsey graham. i'll play it for you. >> you lied to congress. you told representative charlie christ that you didn't know what objections mueller's team might have to your march 24th so-called summary. you told chris van holland you didn't know if he supported your conclusions but you knew you lied and now we know more about your deep involvement in trying to cover up for donald trump. being attorney general of the united states is a sacred trust. you have betrayed that trust. america deserves better.
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you should resign. >> not really to this line of questioning. >> so -- >> listen, you've slandered this man. >> what i want to know is how do we get to this point? >> i do not think -- >> how do we get to the point -- >> all i can say -- >> mr. chairman, i am done. thank you very much. >> and you slandered this man from top to bottom so if you want more of this, you're not going to get it. if you want to ask him questions, you can. >> certainly have your opinion. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> what's your reaction to that? you yourself said the attorney general lied. she said it in the hearing. was it slander or was it appropriate? >> i think it was appropriate. i mean, you know, i asked the man a simple question. he responded to it in the negative. and then he already now we know as of about 24 hours ago as a matter of fact that he had already received a letter from bob barr, from the special counsel and yet he acted as if
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he had no idea what the concerns of the special counsel were. that's a falsehood. that's a mischaracterization of the truth. that's a lie. whatever you want to call it, it all leads to the same road and he was being disingenuous with the american people. and so the senator was right in what she had to say and, you know, it's just unbelievable where we are right now in this moment, and not surprising that the attorney general doesn't want to come before the house tomorrow. >> well, i appreciate your time, congressman. thank you. >> thank you, erin. next, attorney general bill barr stumbling when asked whether the white house had suggested that he investigate anyone. >> perhaps they suggested? >> i don't know. i wouldn't say suggest. >> hinted? >> i don't know. >> plus, a growing number of democrats calling for barr's resignation or impeachment. 2020 candidate julio castro was the first. now weighing in on barr's
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various: yeah-h-h! isn't that a fire hazard? uh, it's actually just a fire. priceline. every trip is a big deal. breaking news. attorney general bill barr will be a no show at tomorrow's house judiciary committee hearing. the chairman of the committee weighing in. >> he's trying to black mail the committee. you can understand given how dishonest he has been since
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march 24th at the earliest -- since march 24th at the latest, i can understand why he is afraid of facing more effective examination. >> "out front" now, pulitzer prize journalist carl bernstein. laura coates and david priest of the law affairs. he briefed robert mueller for more than a year. the author of "how to get rid of the president, history's guide to removing a chief executive." carl, let me start with you. the latest information we have after five hoursish of grilling, why? >> the question, he doesn't want to answer questions truthfully and fully and in great detail especially after today and how disingenuous he was throughout today's proceedings. i also think that perhaps the democrats are making a big
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mistake and that they could do better perhaps by being a little more imaginative. they could have the counsel go from member to member to member and put questions in front of each member and have -- >> the lawyers asking it -- >> and have one member yield to another. i think they could be much more clever about how they handle this recalcitrance. they shouldn't appear so inflexible. the point is to get him in there and see what he has to say. >> interesting point. >> i think they could pull that off if they tried. >> so, laura, you know, this gets to the point about attorney general barr. was he sincere ever about wanting to testify tomorrow or is this perhaps just a convenient excuse, right? he didn't formally say i'm not showing up until he ends today's hearing, which was, you know, obviously pretty unpleasant. >> well, if his doing it just for the reasons of form over substance, erin, then i think it probably all was a rouse. i'm certain he made his decision
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earlier in the day given that cnn reported very early on, before noon, i believe, that the house had already voted to actually allow their staff counsel to make the -- ask the questions. he knew very early on in the day there was a possibility. did not accurately tell anyone until after. why? he didn't want further questions about why he had promised transparency and instead as an overall theme over his administration has been opaque to say the least. >> david, starting today's hearing, there was just -- one thing that kept standing out to me was that all of a sudden these two men are supposed to know each other professionally, personally, such a long and respectful relationship. barr made it personal and he went after mueller repeatedly. here's a couple of times. >> the letter was a bit snitty and i think it was written by one of his staff. his work concluded when he sent his report to the attorney general. at that point it was my baby and it was my decision how and when to make it public not bob
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mueller's. >> sounds almost pet petulent at is certainly personal, david. what do you think went through mueller's head when he heard that? >> i have a feeling mueller, if he was watching, responded to this the same way he's responded to things like presidential tweets in the last two years and other comments on the investigation where if he was watching he probably nodded, smirked, and then went back to whatever he was doing because frankly his work speaks for itself. it's still redacted in parts, but we have over 400 pages of the investigation. >> we do. >> results. everybody can compare that to what the attorney general said today and realize the attorney general either didn't know what he was talking about, which is unlikely based on everyone's experience with him, he's a smart man, or he was being disingenuous. robert mueller doesn't have to defend the work of the report because the report is there for everyone to see now. >> so, carl, what was your reaction? you know, when i heard the
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attorney general of the united states refer to the special counsel who has conducted himself with grace and class and professionalism as snitty, i sort of stopped for a second. >> it was more than that. and i hope that americans really pay attention to that moment. it may be the most revealing moment of these -- of those hearings because what we saw there was the attorney general's contempt and diminution for mueller's investigation. he -- he didn't -- he diminished him personally and professionally. he said he wasn't a real prosecutor. he was just an fbi guy is the way he couched it. >> that's right. >> he went in and diminished his legal reasoning which in fact the legal reasoning that is up for real examination is the attorney general's. if mueller in great detail tells how he has relied on previous attorney generals and the so-called olc, the office of legal counsel, and how they have
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prevented an indictment of the president so therefore the obstruction case had to be handled just as it was. but to see this personalized and to paint bob mueller after two years of investigation as being some sort of assistant junior accountant, which really is what it sounded like, and to play into the same personification of mueller and his investigation that the president has, it was disgraceful. >> there was contempt in terms of his tone. >> it's also contempt for the rule of law. that's the real thing because he, indeed, went to the question of his lack of legal reasoning. >> so, lara, on this issue, you know, bill barr once again claimed today that the justice department rules which carl was referring to, right? those precedents that are out there about not indicting a sitting president, barr said that did not impact mueller's decision to avoid making a decision on obstruction of
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justice. let me play exactly how he put it. >> we asked him a lot about the reasoning behind this and the basis for this, special counsel mueller stated three times to us in that meeting in response to our questioning that he emphatically was not saying that but for the olc opinion he would have found obstruction. >> so he says, lara, that they -- oh, that that's not -- not at all what mueller did, as we just said. olc is the office of legal counsel, which has said a sitting president can't be indicted. so barr said that rule had no impact on mueller, which is kind of crazy because if you read page 1 of mueller's report on -- >> 1. >> page 1. i'm not saying 443 section 2.4. no, page 1. mueller writes in part, quote, given the framework of the special counsel's regulations, this office accepted olc's legal conclusion for the purpose of exercising prosecutorial jurisdiction. isn't that a direct
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contradiction of what barr says? >> of course it is. it is one of a long litany of things that he has misled the public to believe that robert mueller was inept or incapable of rendering a decision. he used the word prudential which conveyed it was a big elephant in the room. the reason why mueller could not clasp an opinion is because of this. to elude they had a conversation between mueller and his team, william barr, that he was not at all contemplating that is absolutely false. it tells you the reason, erin, why mueller chose to memorialize his conversation with barr in that letter as well as telling the american people, excuse me, what you have said has been misleading in the substance of what i have actually said. case in point, page 1. i mean, page 1. >> david, then there's this. barr repeatedly said he was caught off guard, that mueller did not make a decision on
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obstruction which is sort of crazy because everybody knew this precedent. barr said he was shocked. here he is. >> as for obstruction of justice, were you surprised he was going to let you decide? >> yes, i was surprised. we were, frankly, surprised that they were not going to reach a decision on obstruction. we did not understand exactly why the special counsel was not reaching a decision. >> i mean, david, how do you make sense of that? it just -- it just doesn't sound like he's telling the truth. >> two thoughts, he wanted the investigation. he knew the olc guidelines and he knew what he was doing. he accomplished that. he had a very narrow channel to investigate between under investigating this and doing too little to give congress and the american people too much of what they needed or over extending his mandate and then going ahead and talking about whether the
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president committed obstruction of justice and then being accused of being a political actor which he definitively is not. when it comes to bill barr versus bob mueller which this has become, we don't need to hear from bill barr. we need to hear mueller. barr's proven himself an unreliable narrator. >> we've been watching the chairman of the committee, lindsey graham. we've seen a couple of those exchanges today. you feel strongly about the senator? >> well, i don't feel strongly about him. two things, one, why don't we get the full unredacted report? because today we heard mr. barr talk about how, well, we only redacted 10% in one area, 2% in another. >> yes. >> you could have one sentence in there that could turn the whole ball game up there. with this attorney general and this disingenuousness, it's pretty obvious that's one reason why we need to seen it all. lindsey graham is not a
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flip-flop on donald trump, it's left most reporters around him astonished. i have had at least five reporters who have come up to me and reported what lindsey graham had said to them in the first year of the trump presidency about how donald trump, indeed, was under the thrall of the russians and how he couldn't have his ineptitude. around the time that john cane got sick and lindsey graham couldn't pair himself to him, that's not to say lindsey graham hasn't done good work in the senate, his view changed from being a real critic of trump to being his golfing partner. >> one point, the quote you just played, lindsey graham said did you know mueller was going to leave this up to you? mueller did not leave it up to the attorney general. he stated in the report that he was compiling all of this information so that congress could decide or a future
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prosecutor could decide when he was out of office. he was not giving it to the attorney general. thank you all. was bill barr's testimony today aimed at just one person? well, the president has responded. >> i heard that the attorney general was really, really solid and did a great job today. plus, the president can't stop talking about biden. >> he's not as smart as bernie. and he's -- he's not as quick. like... a business borrowing solution to help get a little more space with a lot less mom. or home insight, to search for a new house within your budget. because, they really need their space. pnc - make today the day.
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attorney general bill barr refusing to show up tomorrow for a hearing with the house judiciary committee. the announcement coming hours after he faced tough questions from senators today. the president, meantime, keeping a close eye on barr's testimony. just doing an interview moments ago. >> i heard that the attorney general was really, really solid and did a great job today. >> abby phillip is "out front." barr's decision to not go in front of congress tomorrow obviously right in line with the white house strategy when it comes to cooperating with congressional investigations. >> reporter: it's certainly in keeping with a pattern of some type of disdain for what's happening on capitol hill as it relates to some of these oversight hearings that have been going on across the federal agencies and it's also in keeping with the pattern of the trump administration pushing congressional democrats into litigati litigation, forcing them to go and testify and forcing information out of the
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government. i think barr has given president trump a lot to be happy about in his testimony today, you know, the president as someone who has a lot of skepticism towards attorney generals, i think bill barr has really proven that he's willing to stand firm on this narrative that he has put out there since the very beginning that there was no collusion, that there was no obstruction and i think president trump and his aides believe that democrats did not gain any ground in this hearing and they won't tomorrow because bill barr won't be there. the white house pretty happy. >> i am sure exceedingly happy about that. thank you, abby. and "out front" now, democratic presidential candidate, julio castro. thank you very much, secretary castro. i appreciate your time. look, you were the first 2020 candidate to call for attorney general barr to step down or face impeachment.
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now gerold nadler is attempting to hold him in contempt. is that enough? >> i hope they hold him in contempt if he indeed refuses to testify like he had agreed to but i don't believe that's enough. i believe he should either resign or he should be impeached. >> obviously he's not going to resign. do you think they should begin those proceedings essentially now if he does not show up tomorrow? >> i do. it's clear that he has repeatedly tried to mislead the american people, that he misled congress the last time he testified before today and if you watched the hearing today, it's clear that it seems like he's still not -- he is still not coming forward with the full truth and i have to believe that that's one of the reasons that
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he doesn't want to come back tomorrow. >> yeah. certainly it was a kbrugrueling long and quite contentious at times set of questions today. where does this go, secretary? nancy pelosi has been very much trying to slow down calls for president trump's impeachment, but does this change the game, right? we've got the letter from mueller saying barr's letter didn't accurately reflect mueller's conclusion in the report. does this go higher than bill barr, conversation of impeachment? >> as you know, erin, i said very early on that i believed that congress should begin an impeachment inquiry against the president and i said that because in his report mueller basically put this into congress's lap. he cited ten different instances in which it appears that the president obstructed justice or at least tried to obstruct
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justice and, you know, they're talking about subpoenaing bob mueller, which is fine, and doing additional inquiry. ultimately at the end of the day what they're going to find is they're going to get back to the ten instances that bob mueller cited in his report and the question is are we going to hold this president accountable to the rule of law? is he above the law? if the answer is no, and that i believe and i believe the american people think the answer is no, then the proper way to handle that is with impeachment proceedings. it's also true that we can walk and chew gum at the same time. we have an election coming up in november of 2020. i'm one of 20 candidates now that are out there talking to the american people about a positive, strong vision for the future. we're talking about jobs, we're talking about health care, we're talking about education, we're talking about all the things that families care about and giving a strong vision about the
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road we should go down. the fact that we would go forward with an impeachment inquiry does not preclude us talking to the american people about what we need to do in the future so that they can prosper. >> you're talking about how the attorney general handled himself today. several democrats who are among those in your group of 20 running for president were in the room questioning barr today. here they are. >> are the president's actions detailed in the report consistent with his oath of office and the requirement in the constitution that he take care that the laws be faithfully executed? >> well, the evidence in the report is conflicting. >> we have a document that shows over 200 attempts -- connections between a presidential campaign and a foreign adversary. sharing information that would be illegal if you did it with a super pac, we know that.
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>> what information was shared? >> polling data was shared. it's in the report. >> it's clear he has not looked at the evidence. >> it's clear you have not looked at the evidence and we can move on. >> how did they do? >> i think they did very well. you know, several of them did -- i've got to give props to of course senator harris as a former prosecutor and attorney general. she had a particularly effective line of questioning today and it was telling that the attorney general basically admitted that neither he nor rod rosenstein had reviewed the underlying evidence before deciding obstruction of justice was not warranted in this case before the president. that was very telling. it was one of the moments during the hearing where the attorney general seemed off balance, shaken. >> i appreciate your time. thank you very much, secretary castro. >> good to be with you. next, house democrats
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threatening to hold attorney general barr in contempt. the vice chairman of the committee is "out front." plus the president on a biden rampage. >> i understand the president is tweeting about me. i wonder why in the hell he's doing that?
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breaking news.
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attorney general bill barr refusing to testify in front of the house judiciary committee tomorrow morning. jerry nadler announcing the department of justice won't comply with a subpoena to release the full unredacted mueller report which had a deadline of today. nadler says he may hold the attorney general in contempt if the report is not provided in the next couple of days. "out front" is mary gase scanlon. attorney general says not going to testify. you say what? >> well, our biggest focus right now is to make sure that we get the mueller report. we need the report. we need the underlying evidence so that congress can do its job. when you say unredacted, you want in your possession unredacted, including the grand jury? >> yes. >> you think you're going to get that without starting impeachment proceedings? >> i think there are a number of avenues to get there without impeachment proceedings, but the issue here is we're seeing increasing evidence of stonewalling by this
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administration. the bombshell news last night that mueller had prepared summaries that were ready to be released and not only didn't attorney general barr release those summaries, but when he did, they were also redacted. >> will you hold a hearing tomorrow with an empty chair? >> we will be gaveling in tomorrow morning, yes. attorney general barr still has the opportunity to show up. we're hearing he's too afraid. >> so here's the thing. he has said and he had expressed this. obviously he didn't cancel until after his testimony today, his questions, but he had indicated that he had an issue with you all allowing lawyers to be part of the questioning. carl bernstein was on and he said you all -- the goal should be to get him in there and you could have done it if you had lawyers hand you questions, cede your time. there would have been a creative way to get the lawyer's questions out there but have you all doing the questioning. do you think you tried hard enough? >> oh, we've been back and forth day after day here trying to find grounds on which we could
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agree. there's two key points here. the first is that the white house does not get to dictate how congress does its business. that's number one. number two is know trial lawyer worth their salt knows you don't have 16, 23 different people asking questions. there's no way there to play out a narrative. there's no way to tell the story. >> that's true. >> there's one thing we know, that the mueller report is not tweet annua tweetable. having it come in five minute segments when you have a witness today proved he's very good at running out the clock and not answering questions or only answering them with legalese. we wanted the ability to have someone who could back clean up, someone who could tell the story and answer the questions that didn't get answered in the short five-minute segments. >> i agree with you on that. no matter how well you do, that is one of the greatest frustrations. everyone is thorough, they don't
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follow up. fair point. special counsel mueller has agreed to testify before your committee. when is that going to happen? >> i think we've just started talking with him but the schedule date is may 15th. >> all right. see if he appears on that day. thank you. >> thank you. next, president trump going after joe biden again and again today. why can't he stop talking about him? plus, jeannie on the explosive start to barr's hearing. >> trump is a [ bleep ] idiot. sorry to the kids out there. or, do you want speed and style? introducing performance, born of refinement. the lexus rc line. experience amazing at your lexus dealer.
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tonight biden getting under trump's skin. the president taking yet another swipe at biden in an interview. >> he's not as smart as bernie and he's -- he's not as quick but he's got different views a little bit, i guess but, you know, they're all pretty heavy leaning left, including him. >> that came after the president sent 58 retweets letting them scroll by. a whole lot of time spending retweeting all before 6:30 a.m. eastern time from people who claim to be firefighters or family of firefighters. the reason the tweets praise him and slam the international association of firefighters
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because it endorsed biden. the tweet storm has biden asking what kind of president is putting so much emphasis on him specifically. >> i understand the president has been tweeting about me a lot this morning and for a while. i wonder why the hell he's doing that? yeo, yeo, anyway. so i'm going to be the object of his attention for a while, folks. >> "out front," mark water, director of strategic communications. mark, what is up with the obsession? it's good for biden. why is trump, you know -- set us straight. 58 retweets this morning? >> i don't think it's obsessed, i think it's correcting the record. because the national union supports you, the people don't have to. people who work for labor unions they don't always agree with the
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and file is supporting the president. >> so you went straight to the specifics of the firefighters. i get it, if i were you, i would, too. the he's not quick like bernie and over the past few days, he said this many things about biden which have nothing to do with the union issue. >> i would say easily. i don't know what the hell happened to biden. it just doesn't look like the same biden. i said, is that really joe biden? he doesn't look the same to me. when you look at joe, i've known joe over the years. he's not the brightest light bulb in the group. there was outrage by firefighters when a union -- you know, one of the bigger unions -- >> yes. >> -- endorsed sleepy joe. >> okay. at the end, he hit unions, angela, but this is all deeply personal. and he keeps say he's not smart, not the brightest light bulb. he looks old is what he's saying
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here. what do you make of it? >> well, i make of it, erin, he's going to do exactly what he did in 2016 because it was effective. he tore down every single one of the other republican opponents of his in the primary, and he's doing the exact same thing now. he attacked people on the democratic side who weren't even running against him. this is a typical play by donald trump, and what is so interesting to me is the just blatant hypocrisy. melania trump has an initiative called be best. forget the grammatical challenges there. but social media is a part of this, and he regularly attacks people on social media. and, mind you, was tweeting people who said they were relatives or firefighters themselves. but some of them were bought accounts, erin. that's another part of the problem. at what point does the leader of the free world have an obligation to stop pushing out disinformation? >> mark, i am curious, you know, look, it's donald trump at this
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point. we all sort of know what we're dealing with when it comes to certain things. but why does he keep saying joe biden's dumb? >> well, i think probably when you go back and look at some of his policies that don't lien line up with what currently the democratic socialist movement stands for. let's remember he voted for nafta. his administration brought tpp, which also the labor unions hated. >> you're talking policy. you're doing a smart policy guy like yourself would do. that's not what trump is doing. trump is saying he's not a bright light bulb, and he's not smart. >> the president has a way of connecting with a broad swath of american people. he speaks his mind and in this case he's reminding people who are being taken for granted by the democratic party that they just immediately support their proposals, and in this case they don't. >> okay. i would hope the american people are better than that. i simply say. i mean who wants to raise their kids to talk like that? >> well, let's remember too, the democrats spent two years
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calling him a russian operative and a traitor to our nation. so this is not a one-sided fight. >> okay. so, angela, let me play for you the obsession here is beyond the president, right? the other day you had another infrastructure day. by the way, chuck and nancy, as the president calls them, go to the white house. they say they have this great meeting, right? they're not talking about impeachment. they're talking about working with him on a multi-trillion dollar infrastructure plan, something everybody should agree on. kellyanne conway gets asked, how are you going to pay for it? i mean nothing could be better than that for the american people, for this white house. here is kellyanne when she's asked that question. >> middle class is booming now despite what joe biden says. he also just sounds like someone who wasn't vice president for eight years. but his nonsense aside. while on the subject of biden, i'm just curious if he's dumped obama, biden care, he's been in government for nearly 50 years.
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why are the roads and bridges crumbling? >> angela? >> i'm sorry. i couldn't even follow that. like i don't understand what happened, but i would just give kellyanne, who used to be a regular on cnn, a brief introduction to how policy works. there was an obstructionist agenda when president obama was in office, and infrastructure was certainly a part of an overall jobs plan and package that they wanted to push and couldn't get through. as we all recall, mitch mcconnell saying that he wanted to ensure that barack obama was a one-term president. it's really tough when you don't have allies, so it's unfortunate that kellyanne conway didn't use that moment to tout the ability of a bipartisan plan to move forward. >> mark, strategically what's your goal? you think you can beat biden down before he even gets traction? >> well, i don't think it's about beating anybody certainly down. i think it's about correcting the record and making sure that as people are going around saying that they support blue collar or they are the mr. manufacturing, that the facts come out, that under
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obama/biden, 200,000 manufacturing jobs were lost, and under president trump in just three years, 450,000 manufacturing jobs have been added. >> you know what? >> so breaking through empty rhetoric with record. >> i'll leave it there. that, unfortunately, is not what the president of the united states did. he said he's not smart like bernie and he's not a bright light bulb. you gave policy. next, jeannie moesz on the congressional hearing that was certainly not pg. >> trump is a [ bleep ] idiot. sorry to the kids out there. an electronic locking rear differential for... yeah... this. heading to the supermarket? get any truck. heading out here? get the ford ranger. the only adventure gear built ford tough.
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4:58 pm be there. do that. get rewarded. >> announcer: jeanne moos, brought to you by be there, do that, get rewarded. here's jeanie. >> it's not what you usually hear at a hearing. >> trump is a [ bleep ] idiot. >> reporter: senate judiciary chair lindsey graham dropped the f-bomb while quoting an fbi agent's text to his then-girlfriend. graham was trying to demonstrate the agent's bias. >> sorry to the kids out there. >> reporter: sorry to the networks covering the hearing live. >> about 90 minutes ago, i had a little bit of language slip by us, and for that we apologize to our viewers down the line. we can thank senator lindsey graham for his candid response there. >> reporter: but the people most thankful for the f-bomb were trump critics. nice of lindsey graham to have
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created trump is a bleeping idiot memes for years to come. >> trump is a [ bleep ] idiot. trump is a [ bleep ] idiot. >> reporter: cue the remixes. ♪ trump is a [ bleep ] idiot >> reporter: my new ring tone is lindsey graham saying trump is a bleeping idiot, though definitely not safe for work. i just accidentally played this in the office, and everyone around me laughed. get yourself some of that joy. but you know who said the very same thing about candidate donald trump, and he wasn't quoting anyone, in his very own words. >> i think donald trump's a pretty much an idiot on policy, and he's a complete idiot when it comes to middle east policy. >> and guess who then-candidate trump called an idiot? >> then i watch this idiot lindsey graham on television today, and he calls me a jackass. >> he's becoming a jackass. >> reporter: but that was more than four years ang. idiots and jackasses are now
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golfing partners and allies. senator graham's effort to defend president trump. >> trump is a [ bleep ] idiot. >> reporter: didn't seem to raise an eyebrow, even if it's not the kind of swearing you expect at a hearing. jeanne moos, cnn, new york. >> you see that when she went -- thanks for joining us. anderson starts now. good evening. what a day it has been here in washington, and it's certainly not over. we have breaking news. attorney general william barr is refusing to testify tomorrow before the house judiciary committee after what was a heated senate hearing today on his handling of the mueller report. it lasted nearly four hours, contentious at times, highlights of that in a moment. but first i want to go to cnn's pamela brown at the white house with breaking news about tomorrow's sudden reversal. so what happened, pamela? >> reporter: well, anderson, attorney general barr is taking this unusual step of declining an invitation to testify before the house judiciary committee tomorrow morning, raising