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tv   CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin  CNN  May 29, 2019 11:00am-12:00pm PDT

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>> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. >> you are watching cnn. i'm brooke baldwin. thank you for being here. two months after turning in his long-awaited report into russian election inter feerns and potential obstruction by president trump. here he is. robert mueller stepping before the mic and the justice department for the first in what he says will be the very last time. mueller was clear to note that the words in that report were chosen carefully. you could probably say the same thing about his ten-minute statement this morning. the special counsel outlining key findings but also reiterated why his team could not formally charge the president of the united states. and why those claims of no obstruction from bill barr and the white house are, in a word, premature. >> if we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have
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said so. we did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime. the introduction to the volume two of our report explains that decision. it explains that under long-standing department policy a president cannot be charged with a federal crime while he is in office. that is unconstitutional. even if the charge is kept under seal and hidden from public view, that, too, is prohibited. the special counsel's office is part of the department of justice and by regulation it was bound by that department policy. charging the president with a crime was therefore not an option we could consider. >> mueller added that while his work may be complete, future actions could still be taken by those outside of the justice department. >> the opinion says that the
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constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing. >> and what he just said there, that is more than just for justicin amash, the increasingly vocal congressman from michigan who responded the ball is in our court, congress. and any minute now we'll hear from the man whose committee can begin impeachment proceedings. house judiciary chairman jerry nadler. but right now let's focus on mr. mueller. la laira jarrett is there at the justice department. why do you think he did what he did today. >> for so long he had others characterizing his report and thoughts and feels and conclusions and today he wanted the opportunity to tell the american people himself what exactly that report stood for and what exactly it meant, and didn't mean. and he took a couple of issues
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head on as you laid out in your introthere. one being the influence of the justice department long-standing guide lines on not indicting a sitting president. something that has been established for decades and mueller made it crystal clear that at least for the purposes of this investigation, that guideline met -- that they didn't reach the question. they didn't even make a determination about whether the president had obstructed justice and because of principle mrs. fairness they decided not to go there and instead laid out the evidence as they sought to preserve the evidence so that witness memories were fresh but that stands in a contrast to what the attorney general bill barr told us last month during that press conference. we remember announcing that the mueller investigation was over and closing it and he had framed the question very differently. when i asked him if the mueller decision had anything to do with that olc guidance, the office of legal council he said he asked mule thaer question at a march
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5th question and he did not tell but for that olc guidance he would have charged the president but mueller is saying i couldn't reach the question because of this olc guideline. so i think there is confusion there. because they're framing the question completely differently. mueller is not reaching a determination whatsoever on charges. but one thing that i think also was made really unequivocal today is mueller does not want to testify as we're waiting to hear from the house judiciary chairman jerry nadler there. i think there is a lot of pressure on democrats in particular on capitol hill on whether to subpoena him. we have been told -- he wanted to testify in terms of making it an opening statement but didn't want to do a back and forth q&a in front of the cameras. so it is really now going to be on members there on capitol hill to decide whether to push the point, as mueller said today, my testimony is the report. the report is my testimony. so the question is do they subpoena him? how far do they want to go with
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this? because as he said, i'm not going beyond the four corners of my report, brooke, we wait to hear from chairman nadler. and mueller saying you want my testimony, read my report. laura jarrett, you've been all over it. thank you very much. president trump meantime watched all of this play out like the rest of us. he of course though was at the white house watching it all unfold and now he is downplaying mueller's rare public comments saying this is nothing new. he tweeted, here he is chairman jerry nadler. >> for the service to our nation over the past two years. mr. mueller and his team of prosecutors and investigators worked tirelessly to follow the facts and pursue justice to the furthest except allowed. although department of justice policy prevented the special counsel from bringing criminal charges against the president, the special counsel has clearly demonstrated that president trump is lying. he is lying about the special counsel findings, lying about
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the testimony of key witnesses in the special counsel's report, and above all, lying and saying that the special counsel found no obstruction and no collusion. in a statement this morning, special counsel mueller reaffirmed his report. it found substantial evidence that russia attacked our political system, that the trump campaign benefited from russian interference, that trump and those around him repeatedly welcomed russia's support, and that throughout the subsequent investigation trump sought to obstruct mueller time and time again. special counsel mueller today repeated three central points. which are critical for the american people. one, the special counsel did not exonerate the president of the united states of obstruction of justice. two, obstruction of justice of which special counsel mueller found substantial evidence is a
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serious crime that strikes at the core of our justice system. three, the constitution points to congress to take action to hold the president accountable for his misconduct. unfortunately, special counsel mueller was unable to pursue criminal charges against the president because the department of justice mol -- policy prevented a sitting president from being prosecuted and that policy in my opinion is wrong but it prevented the special counsel from pursuing justice to the fullest extent possible. therefore, as mueller again highlighted this morning, it falls to congress to respond to the crime -- and other wrongdoing of president trump. we will do so. make no mistake, no one, not even the president of the united states, is above the law. >> congressman, will you move forward with impeachment proceed gz -- proceedings and given what
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mueller said, the report is all that he needed to say, will you then subpoena him to testify in front of congress? >> with respect to impeachment question at this point, all options are on the table and nothing should be ruled out. but special counsel mueller said loud and clear today to the american people is that president trump is lying, when he said no collusion, no obstruction, and that he was exonerated. if mueller wanted to exonerate the president from having committed the crime, he would have said so. instead, and he said he would have said so. instead, the special counsel makes clear that obstruction of justice, which he found substantial evidence of, is a serious crime that strikes at the core of our justice system and the constitution points to congress to take action to hold the president accountable. that is exactly what we will do. the president's response to repeatedly lying to the american people and ignore all congressional subpoenas is immoral and unlawful. no one is above the law and we
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will hold the president accountable. >> so when they follow up with that, congressman, with regard to impeachment, will you move forward. you say it is on the table but what exactly does that mean? >> we are following through in our investigation. we'll continue to do so and make decisions as they seem indicated. >> one more question. >> will you subpoena mueller to testify, then? >> mr. mueller, um, told us a lot of what we need to hear today. it's very important to be clear on what he told us and what the special counsel told the american people. he reaffirmed what was in the investigation. which was in the report about the investigation. which found substantial evidence that russia attacked our political system, that the trump campaign benefited from russia interference, that trump and those around him repeatedly welcomed russia support, and that throughout the
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investigation trump sought to obstruct justice and undermine mueller and the investigation over and over again. the president -- the -- i'm sorry, the special counsel did not exonerate the president from having committed a crime. doj policy prevented mule fresh bringing criminal charges against the president. so the president is lying about the special counsel's findings, lying and saying that the special counsel found no obstruction and no conclusion -- and i should add the attorney general is lying about that too. that is serious and we'll take action to hold the president accountable for his misconduct. again i'll repeat, no one, not even the president is above the law. thank you very much. thank you. >> what did mueller say -- >> two quick questions. jerry nadler who chairs house judiciary essentially saying that the special counsel bob mueller admits that his hands were tied. his hands were tied on charging the president because of doj regulations. so now he's saying it is up to congress and he would not say if
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he will subpoena mueller to testify. let me bring in abby phillip and our chief political correspondent dana bash. dana, because of what mueller said, will you move with impeachment proceedings and i heard -- i heard all options are on the table. what does that mean? >> well he was asked that question, what does that mean. and he didn't answer it except to say they're going to continue with their investigation. look, he didn't -- you don't have to read very deeply between the lines to see that the pressure is on him even more. and on the house speaker even more than it was when we all woke up this morning. because of the content of what robert mueller said. however, he spoke in legalese and what he was saying to the congress was actually pretty clear, which is i couldn't do
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this because i'm not allowed to charge the president with a crime. not necessarily because i didn't see that he committed a crime. in fact, just the opposite of that. and it is up to you, folks, in the house of representatives, to deal with this. ball is in your court as justin amash said. so, look, he was very careful, jerry nadler -- i noticed it was striking that he not only read from a statement to begin with but read from remarks to answer questions which i don't think i've seen very much of it from politicians. even -- and specially on the issue of a subpoena for robert mueller. because that should be the next step. if they are being to continue to investigate and build the case for the public, to potentially impeach, they obviously want to hear from robert mueller and -- >> but you heard him today -- >> for negotiations -- for inten intense negotiations with mueller. >> and he's like, read the testimony. that is my testimony. he has no interest in -- >> exactly. he doesn't. and there has been tension about
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whether or not he will testify. the fact that nadler doesn't say no or yes on the subpoena and essentially said that mueller gave us his answers today, made it seem to me like a subpoena is not in the offing right now. he might be pressured to do that by his own members of the judiciary committee but doesn't seem inclined to do it at this moment. >> abby phillip to you at the white house. i heard congressman nadler over and over again. trump lying. trump lying. what did you think of that? >> reporter: clearly nadler is hearing what is coming out of the white house and thinks it is a misrepresentation of what is being said. and the truth is it is in some ways sort of ignoring some of the content of what mueller said. earlier this morning the president tweeted that the case is closed, that basically mueller found no collusion and that barr definitively found there was no obstruction.
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white house press secretary sarah sanders reiterated that in a statement and implied that mueller left it up to attorney general bill barr to come to that conclusion which frankly he did not do. robert mueller did not make a conclusion on obstruction. but he didn't say bill barr, i would like you to come to this conclusion. and bill barr did and that is what the white house is going on now. and she also added in some comments to reporters not long ago that she and the white house believe it was mueller's responsibility if he felt there was wrongdoing when it comes to obstruction, it was his moral responsibility to say something about it. to put it in the report. well, mueller did answer that question. he made it clear that he felt like he could not even accuse the president in writing of some kind of crime or wrongdoing if the president had no venue to have that tried in a court of law. so mueller does answer that critique. but that is the line that we're getting from the white house today. they're criticizing mueller for
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sort of leaving this door open in some ways on obstruction saying that if he had the goods, he should have put it on paper. and saying that by closing the special counsel office, saying that this is done, the american public and democrats should move on. now at the same time, dana and my sources and gloria borger sources all telling us that the white house is saying on the question of impeachment, bring it on. we're ready for it. and that if you go there, we're prepared to use this as a political tool in our favor. a white house source telling me this morning that they believe impeachment might be a great way for them to retake the house of representatives. so that might be all sort of poliana talk from the white house. but they're sort of gurding for a fight here, believing democrats may have no choice but to take that extra step and if they do they're prepared to use it in a politically advantageous way. president trump is wanting to sort of be on the offense here. and i think this could be his
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opportunity to say, hey, democrats are going way too far even after robert mueller said there is no more really to look into. that is their view of the information but obviously the facts are more nuanced than that. >> certainly. as they always are. those are the bigger conversations we may have about impeachment and about president trump. daring democrats and who really would benefit from that political speaking. we'll leave it for now, ladies. thank you very much dana and abby. standing by i have former nixon white house counsel john dean about what he said about robert mueller not being able to clear the president of a crime. you're watching cnn special live coverage. i'm brooke baldwin. we'll be right back. it's either the assurance of a 165-point certification proces. or it isn't. it's either testing an array of advanced safety systems. or it isn't. it's either the peace of mind of a standard 5-year unlimited mileage warranty. or it isn't. for those who never settle, it's either mercedes-benz certified pre-owned.
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i discovered the potential with ozempic®. ♪ oh! oh! oh! ozempic®! ♪ ask your healthcare provider today about once-weekly ozempic®. we're back with breaking news. i'm brooke baldwin. extraordinary moment with robert mueller stood there in washington, d.c. breaking his silence after two years of investigation and said among other things he cannot clear the president of obstruction or wrongdoing. john dean was white house counsel for president nixon and with me now. john dean, a pleasure to have you back. listening to mr. mueller this morning, of all of the things, what was your biggest takeaway?
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>> well, my first reaction is he was taking it directly to the president. secondly he was taking it right to the attorney general and telling them that they were spinning it and they did not have it right. so i think that -- he clarified that this morning. and i think the white house reaction is an effort to spin their spin and it's not going to work. >> to underscore, bring up the president, did mueller, as we saw on twitter from republican congressman justin amash, put the ball straight out in congress's court to impeach? >> i think he did very much. and i was -- nadler's comments were very, very guarded. the house clearly is not ready to go into impeachment. i can understand why. they certainly feel that what happened during the republican era when they impeached bill
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clinton and then lost in the senate, he was found not guilty. it hurt the house badly. they don't want to go there again. and i think that speaker pelosi is proceeding very carefully as is chairman nadler. and that is to try to educate the american public more. that really hasn't happened yet, brooke. so there is a good bit of process yet to play out. >> and also in that post, clinton impeachment world eventually it was the republicans who won back the white house. to your point, though, on congressman nadler and your word "guarded", when he guarded in the sense that when he was asked about moving on impeachment proceedings, and his answer was vague. all options are on the table. and speaker pelosi as you know has been reluctant, despite the growing cries in her own caucus to tame on impeachment and after what they saw today from mueller, do they have a choice? does this force their hand? >> they have always had a case
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with -- since the mueller report came out. they had a case before the mueller report came out out of the southern district. there is clearly criminal behavior there in the president paying off two mistresses through michael cohen whose testified to that. i'm sure they have more evidence than we even know in the southern district. that case is not been put to sleep in the southern district. so, yes, there is a lot of evidence. but what i meant by chairman nadler being guarded, was he really didn't say we're going to go -- we're going to require the former special counsel mueller to come up here -- >> to testify. >> -- to explain more. >> i got. it and do you think he should? if mueller is saying my testimony, my words in that report, i don't want it testify, do you think democrats should
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push it? >> i think ultimately they're going to have to. it could be behind -- in a closed session or partially open and partially closed. but there are a lot of questions that you -- that stem right from the report. i've gone through it with a very fine tooth comb and i had a lot of questions. now they'll get some of the underlying evidence to answer some of those. but some of them will be the decision-making process to reach the conclusions that were reached in the report. and only mueller and his team can fill that in. >> back to your point a second ago about the evidence even pre-mueller report and now that we have the reports from mueller and potentially testimony, depending on what the democrats decide to do, if congress does not ultimately choose to take those steps to impeach, is that not doing their jobs? >> well, if they decide not to impeach, i don't think it will be done in a way to give the
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president a pass. they're going to continue with the investigations, they're being stonewalled by the white house and the administration, but you know what is going on also, brooke, is further obstruction. and this, if there is an impeachment, can all add up as part of the process. the article 3 against richard nixon was based on his behavior after they started the impeachment proceedings. because he refused to cooperate. he refused to supply his tapes, he didn't -- he couldn't prevent all of the witnesses. but he did what he could. but that is what that article three was based on. not something that happened during the general watergate investigation. but directly related to the impeachment proceeding. >> understand. mr. dean, let me jump into doj policy. when it comes to charging a president, mueller today said that if he was confident trump had not committed a crime he would have said so. but meantime, flash back to when
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we heard from attorney general bill barr about a month ago when he said mueller told him he couldn't make a determination on whether there was a crime. so what does mueller's statement today do to bill barr's overall credibility? >> it seriously damages it. there is just no -- they're obviously friends. he did -- he parsed in a very lawyerly like fashion to compliment him and say he's not improper with turning over the report but didn't mention a multitude of other things like the four-page letter explaining the report that was clearly a distortion. and but his words actually made the point. so he was being friendly and not jumping on the attorney general but yet making the point very clearly in his remarks. >> john dean, thank you very much. >> thank you, brooke. more on our breaking news.
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gum from the state of new jersey and john sale is a former watergate prosecutor. so with all of this legal power up here, ladies first. round robin. biggest takeaway of what we saw from robert mueller this morning. >> biggest takeaway, there are a couple, robert mueller is saying i did my job and now it is up to congress to do their job. he went through and sort of said, i didn't indict because of the offense of legal counsel opinion but i've set out the facts and this is what it is. the second i think major takeaway is the russia piece which is where mueller started and stopped and i don't think we can ignore that. >> a whole segment on that coming up because it is so, so important. john sale? >> well when you say i didn't indict because the constitution says i couldn't, i think he just decided not to indict. and everyone is saying, he did not exonerate the president. prosecutors don't exonerate. they either charge or they don't charge. i've done this for a long time as a defense lawyer.
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i'm waiting for my first exoneration. i don't know how many you are getting. >> that is a word the president kept using in twitter and i've been exonerated so perhaps that is the reason for the word. >> they don't exonerate. >> you don't do it? >> it doesn't happen. if you have somebody wrongfully imprisoned for rape and dna and that is exoneratation but they either charge or don't charge. but to mueller's credit, he did a great job, his report, which i read from cover to cover is a prosecutors report and everybody is presumed innocent and they remain so until they are proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. and people are losing sight of that. >> elie, takeaway. >> robert mueller might as well have walked up to capitol hill and dropped it in the house of representatives and his intent is clear, i've done my job and john made a good point, usually prosecutors indict or don't indict but this is not usual. this is the president of the united states. and i think mueller made very clear today that his hands were
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tied by this doj policy and didn't believe there is anything he could do and what can do something is congress and that is where he left us. >> and when they say do something or drop it in the well of the house, does that mean he's saying to congress, impeach? >> if you look at it, what i think mueller was saying today is the office of legal counsel opinion doesn't let -- let him charge. >> his hands are tied. >> and the fundamental view of fairness is to say i would charge because i can't charge. and so he's saying. >> i don't want to be the judge and grand jury and how does the president get held accountable and how is there vetting of the evidence? it would be a trial. how does that happen? and the only mechanism in the constitution is the impeachment process in the house. >> and speaker pelosi, she has been reluctant to -- to go there on impeachment. do you think that this forces her hand? >> i think it pressures her quite a bit. look, there is -- going to be a conflict between what is
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expedient politically and what does the constitution require of the members of congress. and i understand why there is a reluctant to have a prosecutor -- and we've all been prosecutors, prosecutors are obsessed with accountability. and there is only two ways a president can be held accountable and one of them we know is off the table and indictment that only leaves impeachment and to me it is really hard to look at that report and conclude anything other than the president committed massive obstruction of justice. and once you're there, what happens? can it really be nothing? can it be we just all walk away from this because the politics, the polling doesn't measure up? i think that is hard pill to swallow. >> and you are saying prosecutors are obsessed with accountability, but aren't americans as well. >> that is who we speak for. >> one of the striking things tonight is the disconnect between what a.g. bill barr said to the public on the policy and what mueller said today. so let me play both of those for you. >> there was no evidence of the
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trump campaign collusion with the russian government's hacking. >> there was insufficient evidence to charge a broader conspiracy. >> the deposit attorney general and i concluded that evidence developed by the special counsel is not sufficient to establish that the president committed an obstruction of justice offense. >> if we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so. >> jon, does that not -- >> rod rosenstein talked about invoking the 25th amendment and wearing a wire on the president but he agreed there was insufficient evidence to charge with obstruction. and i don't think they -- i'm not here to defend the president. but i don't think that it needs the mueller report to tell congress they have the constitutional prerogative to start an impeachment inquiry. it is a political judgment. if they want to do it, they could do so. there is one other way to hold him accountable, and that is at
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the ballot box. >> wait -- but in 2020. but to juxtaposition robert mueller and bill barr today, does robert mueller's words not ding the a.g.'s credibility. >> i don't think so is because what is difference between barr or the four-page letter, the attorney general, what did he do, what he said, and he released almost all of the report and mueller today said i appreciate the attorney general releasing substantially the entire report for everyone to read. >> do you agree? >> no, i respectfully disagree with jon. i think bill barr's credibility is damage and took another serious blow today. we saw the side-by-side. and yes, bill barr did release the report and he didn't have to technically. don't know that politically he could have gotten away with not releasing it. but the problem is how he spun it. that four-page letter which mueller himself said previously misstates the context and nature and substance of our findings. there is not much other than context and nature and substance. coy say that bill barr
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misrepresented the mueller report all day long and there are ways that he misrepresented the report and to hear from robert mueller today was powerful. >> i agree. it was powerful. what we saw today, mueller said what was largely in the report but to hear him say it and directly contradicting what barr said and how barr tried to spin it, i think it really -- it hit home for me to see it like that. >>ain and john and elie, thank you. robert mueller said it is one issue to ann's point that deserves the attention of every american and the russian government and the concerted attacks on the political system. what ware learning about russia's ongoing efforts, speaking of 2020, to undermine your vote.
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expedia. everything you need to go. special counsel robert mueller finally breaking his silence, stepping in front of camera for the first time since the release of the nearly two-year investigation into russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. mueller rarely speaks publicly. and has a reputation of choosing his words very carefully and he chose to close his ten-minute statement with these words of warning on russia. >> and i will close by reiterating the central allegation of our indictments, that there were multiple systematic efforts to interfere in our election. and that allegation deserves the
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attention of every american. >> cnn chief national security correspondent and anchor jim sciutto whose book out now called "the shadow war" takes us inside of the efforts to defeat america. you wrote the book about this and to think that is how mr. mueller chose to end his whole moment today -- >> every american should pay attention. and that is a message to us, frankly also a message to our leaders among them the president, right, who has not been at the forefront of this issue to say the least. because for many years he has denied that this election interference happened or that it was significant enough to matter, right? and it has not made it a priority if terms of securing election processes and institutions and et cetera in 2018 and 2020 when we're told repeatedly it is still a threat. so that is a problem. and that to me was a purposeful message from the special
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counsel. the thing -- and what the book gets into is that while americans are generally aware that russia interfered in the election, that that is one of many fronts where russia is undermining it, whether it is in space, in submarine warfare, invasions in europe, undermi -- undermining nato and it is a significant front as the special counsel made clear of many fronts that russians waging a war against the u.s. >> and you point out in your book it is not just russia or china but for the past two years we've heard president trump refer to his allies rail on this investigation and treasonous, a witch hunt and angry democrats and then in this one sentence today from mueller, i want to thank the attorneys and the fbi analysts and the professional staff that helped us conduct this investigation in a fair and independent manner. did he just totally shut trump down? >> he did. he contradicted the president there. the president only couple of days ago use the the word --
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word treason to describe this investigation and you heard from other republican lawmakers, liz cheney said that this week. the special counsel is saying, no, i worked with these people and they are doing the nation's work in terms of carrying out this investigation and that is a direct challenge to this president and it is one with purpose and you could tell as he was standing there, one that was heart felt coming from the special counsel who served as the director of the fbi in years prior and many other positions throughout government. >> jim sciutto, again the book "the shadow war", inside russia and china secret operations to defeat america. thank you, jim. >> thank you for having me. ahead here on cnn, 2020 democrats pouncing on the mueller new remarks and see which said that robert mueller provided a road map to impeach this president and before election day they are determined to follow it. are full of this complicated, tricky language about their network and offers and blah blah blah.
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reaction to robert mueller's on-camera statement this morning is coming from the candidates looking to beat president trump in 2020. and most are saying it is clear that president trump was not exonerated and that it is time to start impeachment proceedings. kyung lah is our senior national correspondent and there in south carolina on the trail where senator kamala harris is campaigning today. and you talked to her about this. what was her reaction to mueller? >> reporter: well she said that it was certainly a public press conference but she heard mueller speaking to congress and asking them to fulfill their constitutional duty and move forward with impeachment proceedings. she also said that what she heard in his statements were
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that he would have returned an indictment except he was -- limited by the department of justice memo of the guidelines of the special prosecutor. here is what they said. >> most importantly what we learned is that the special counsel did not return an indictment because of that memo. in other words, but for that memo, i believe a fair inference from what we heard from bob mueller is there could have been indictmented returned against this president. and the other thing we learned today, is that the current attorney general of the united states misled the american people. >> i think it is a fair inference from what we heard in that press conference that bob mueller was essentially referring impeachment to the united states congress. >> reporter: a number of other 2020 candidates are echoing her sentiments. but others are being a bit more cautious. bernie sanders put out a tweet saying that he was going to stop
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short of calling for impeachment proceedings. and it is a similar tone that we're seeing from former vice president joe biden. take a look at the statement that he issued just a short time ago. he wroted, quote, vice president biden agrees with speaker pelosi that no one would relative a divisive impeachment process but that it may be unavoidable if this administration continues on its path. both of those two candidates, leading in the polls, brooke, are not going all out and calling for impeachment at this point after mueller spoke. >> does this force the hand of democrats or not? we wait to see. kyung lah, thank you very much. at the top of the hour, speaking of democrats, house speaker speaker pelosi will be seated in one of those chairs. she will be answering questions after mueller's new remarks this morning. she is facing renewed pressure to pursue impeachment from fellow democrats. quick break and we're back in a moment.
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>> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. welcome back. you're watching cnn. i'm brooke baldwin. thank you for being here. what a day. after two years of investigation and speculation, the special counsel robert mueller finally spoke out on the report that bears his name. in a ten-minute statement at the department of justice today, the special counsel officially closed up shop. but not before once again outlining why he did not charge the president with obstruction of justice and pushing back on claims by attorney general bill barr and the white house that that no obstruction occurred. >> if we had had confidence that
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the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so. we did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime. the introduction to the volume 2 of our report explains that decision. it explains that under long-standing department policy a president cannot be charged with a federal crime while he is in office. that is unconstitutional. even if the charge is kept under seal and hidden from public view, that, too, is prohibited. the special counsel's office is part of the department of justice and by regulation it was bound by that department policy. charging the president with a crime was therefore not an option we could consider. >> and while he will soon return to life as a private citizen, mueller was clear that future actions could still be taken by th