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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  March 30, 2019 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT

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to congresswoman alexandria ocasio-cortez. have a good night. happy friday. thanks for joining us this hour. turns out, the news rules of this era we're all living through have not been suspended. it is friday night and, therefore, per unshakable degree from our generation's news gods, things are, of course, a little bit nuts in tonight's news and we've had a whole bunch of breaking and developing stories over the course of this evening. tonight, for example, we have new word that the oversight committee in congress is preparing to subpoena the white house personnel security director, specifically to respond to ongoing questions about how this administration has handled or mishandled security clearances. that is a question that started off as an acute one very early on in the trump administration given the criminal charges that were brought against trump national security advisor mike flynn. similar concerns have continued most recently through the reports that presidential
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son-in-law jared kushner was actually blocked from receiving a top level clearance by career officials based on what they reviewed in his background checks, but for some reason those views of career official, that determination that he shouldn't get a clearance was overridden by the white house and he was given a clearance anyway. so the white house personnel security director has been or is going to be subpoenaed by the oversight committee. and soon after we got word of that subpoena on the security clearance issue tonight, we also got word that that same oversight committee led by congressman elijah cummings, they are also now seeking to subpoena commerce secretary wilbur ross and the new attorney general william barr, subpoenas for both of those cabinet officials over the huge legal controversy that has erupted over wilbur ross intervening in the census to try to add a citizenship question to it. this is a matter on which
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federal courts have repeatedly squished commerce secretary wilbur ross like a bug. now he is being subpoenaed by congress along with the attorney general to answer to them on that issue, as well. again, both of those stories delivering tonight -- developing tonight, both of them breaking late on a friday naturally. and i think in part this is just our life now and the pace in which things happen with this new era that we're in but really it feels like it's specifically our way we celebrate friday nights. all right. what is it about fridays? last friday, for example, you'll remember that was when we got this letter from newly appointed attorney general bill barr announcing that the special counsel robert mueller had completed his work. last friday is when bill barr told us that mueller had completed his work and submitted a written report about what his investigation has uncovered over this past year and ten months, that
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announcement from the attorney general a week ago tonight, friday, just confirmed that mueller had finished up. it confirmed that mueller's report existed. it confirmed that mueller was closing down the special counsel's office, but that notice from the attorney general last friday night didn't say anything substantive about the content of mueller's findings. for that we had to wait two more days until on sunday we got another letter from attorney general bill barr and this one announced what he called the principal conclusions of mueller's report. mueller's principle conclusions and also one of his own, and i think because it was very exciting to have any official characterization whatsoever of the results of mueller's investigation, i think because of that excitement that there was some content being described, the press for a little while basically uncritically ran with what the attorney general asserted were mueller's findings. but within a few hours for some
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publications, certainly within a few days for most, i think it started to dawn on everybody in the mainstream press and everybody consuming news on this matter that, wait a minute, we don't actually have mueller's report at all. mueller's report is done, and we know it's done, and we know it exists, but we haven't seen it. all we've got is what william barr said about it, and that statement on sunday was in itself an odd thing. the attorney general, the way he's written these letters and these notifications, they sort of sound official. they sound like he is fulfilling the duty that is expected of him as attorney general as we were all expecting him to do, but the attorney general is not supposed to provide a description of a report from a special counsel. there is nothing in the special counsel regulations that creates an expectation that an attorney general would take on the role of interpreting and summarizing a special counsel's report in his own words, let alone
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announcing his own decision about whether or not the special counsel counsel's findings should produce any new indictments. but nevertheless, that's what barr did on sunday. we still don't know why exactly he did that. it was -- i mean, it was kind of him freestyling. right? this was him making up his own dance moves, showing off what he could do now that he had seen mueller's report and we hadn't. that unexpected performance from bill barr last weekend, that sort of ad lib riff from the attorney general as to how he thinks he should respond to mueller's report has given us this weird week we have lived through in which the mueller report is, in fact, finished. it's being kept under wraps at the department of justice. it hasn't been given to congress. none of it has been shown to the public, none of it, but the attorney general took it upon himself to describe what he said was in it and what he thinks the president should not be charged about based on something mueller found that
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we're not allowed to know that he's not even describing in detail. i mean, it's been a weird week. i mean that's the assertion that we got from attorney general william barr and based on that the white house and conservative media and good chunk of the mainstream media have been celebrating all week long that everything is done now and it sure is a relief after that long investigation to know what robert mueller found, and what robert mueller found was absolutely nothing, everything is fine, and the reason we know that mueller found that is because that's what william barr told us. he summarized mueller's report, right, so that must be the end. well, now, tonight, again, happy friday. now tonight it appears that there's a little bit of a panic in the disco because now william barr has released yet another unexpected taken it upon himself ad lib figuring it out as he goes along letter which appears tonight to be an effort by the attorney general to try
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to take back some of what he said last week, which started this whole week of trump is exonerated, its all over news coverage. the attorney general tonight sent this letter announcing that everybody misinterpreted what he said last weekend in that letter. what he did last week is being talked about in a way he didn't expect, that is not at all what he meant and we should all know better. quote, i'm aware of some media reports and other public statements mischaracterizing my march 24th supplemental notification. as a summary of the special counsel's investigation and report. for example, chairman jerry nadler's march 25 letter refers to my supplemental notification as a, quote, four-page summery of the special counsel's review. my march 24th letter was not and did not purport to be an exhaustive recounting of the special counsel's investigation or report. as my letter made clear, my notification to congress and the public provided pending release of the report a summary of its
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principal conclusions, that is, its bottom line. i do not believe it would be in the public's interest for me to attempt to summarize the full report or to release it in serial or piecemail fashion. and, therefore, yes, every few days i'm just going to keep he had sending you another letter that says something about robert mueller and what he found without actually giving you anything from robert mueller but don't say i'm summarizing it because i'm definitely just describing it and only the pars i want to describe, not actually giving you a summary. it's just bits of it that i think that some people might want to hear that i'm going to call the bottom line but it's not a summary. it's another thing that nobody ever asked me for but that's what i gave you and you should know that's what it is. what? how did we get to this point for all of the ink and breath that has been exhausted on the russia investigation including my own trying to figure out the contours of the mueller investigation, trying to anticipate and game out not only what he might find but how it would be handled when he ultimately submitted his
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findings, i mean, i don't think anybody is going to win the kitty for having bet that the way this would be handled is that the attorney general would get the report and then just ad lib his entire response, that the attorney general would just start randomly releasing his own assertions about the report and little half sentence quotes from it, and he would invent an evolving series of rules for choosing which pieces of the report he might want to keep to himself and not show anybody else. but he does appear to just be dancing here. he's just been, you know, making it up as he goes along. which is odd, in particular, because the regulations that the attorney general is operating under here are clear and short and easy to read. i mean, there are regulations that spell out what he is supposed to be doing here. he is supposed to notify congress upon the appointment of a special counsel. well, he wasn't there when mueller was appointed. secondly, he is supposed to
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notify congress upon removing any special counsel. well, robert mueller was not removed so he didn't need to tell them anything about that. thirdly and lastly, he's supposed to notify congress upon conclusion of the special counsel's investigation. he's supposed to tell congress that the special counsel's investigation has concluded and consistent with applicable law, there is one other thing he's supposed to tell them, he's supposed to give them, quote, a description and explanation of instances, if any, in which the attorney general concluded that a proposed action by a special counsel was so inappropriate or unwarranted under established department practices that it should not be pursued. so, that's the only other thing he's supposed to formally notify congress of. he's supposed to tell them, a, mueller is done and, b, did mueller want to do anything you blocked him from doing? if so, you have to tell congress. that's what the regulations spell out. there is no provision here that william barr is supposed to
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provide his own four-page summary. don't call it a summary of what is important to say about mueller's findings. but nevertheless that is what he did last week. now, he says you shouldn't call it a summary. he didn't mean for it to be called a summary. it was meant to be instead a summary of the report's principal conclusions. that is its bottom line. i mean, he's freelancing that too. nowhere is he assigned to pick out the bottom line, nowhere is he assigned to describe the principal conclusions of anything to anyone. principle conclusions of anything to anyone. there is nothing that the attorney general is supposed to give us about the report in his own words because we somehow are not able to discern the meaning of the report itself. we the public or the congress. so how and why did the attorney general decide to do what he's been doing now for a week with the mueller report? he's written up these multiple
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documents about it now including what appears to be half of a sentence about the president not being prosecuted for conspiring with russia. the attorney general has decided we're not allowed to see the other half of that sentence. we've also got the attorney general's own declaration that he doesn't think there should be any prosecution on obstruction of justice. that's nothing he was asked for or expected to provide and required to provide but this is what he's doing. he's keeping the mueller report to himself and making these sequential announcements about it. and after he went out on that limb a week ago tonight saying that there shouldn't be obstruction prosecutions and here is what you get to know about the president and russia and it's half a sentence and says everything is fine, after going out on that limb last sunday, now tonight we've got this letter where he tries to crawl back up the limb and hug the trunk. tonight, quote, i in no way intended to summarize what mueller has reported. quote, my march letter was not and did not purport to be an
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exhaustive recounting of the special counsel's investigation or report. when i told you i would convey his principal conclusions, how dare you conclude that was me saying, hey, here's what mueller said. it is just weird stuff from the attorney general. this feels like a panicky communication from the attorney tonight. i mean, all of this could be very easily cleared up if we did know what mueller did say, if we could see what is in his report. after a week of the president declaring that mueller's report totally exonerates him, i will say my impression of what is going on here inside the justice department, as i read this, i think the attorney general william barr is trying to change public expectations about what anybody is ultimately going to see from mueller's findings. i mean, last weekend he announced there would be two categories of information that would be cut out of mueller's report before it would be handed
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to congress let alone the public. first type of information that would be cut out was obtained by the grand jury. stick a pin in that. we'll come back to that in a second. the second type of information that would be cut out is information related to any ongoing matters, investigations or open cases that derived from mueller's inquiry. why it would take attorney general william barr weeks to cut that kind of information out of mueller's report, that's a strange assertion in its own right, right? if we've seen nothing else, we have seen that as a matter of course in hundreds of court filings over the entire duration of the mueller investigation, mueller's team made redactions specifically for that purpose, specifically to not compromise ongoing investigations and ongoing criminal cases all the time. almost every single document, any of us in the public reviewed over the course of this whole gigantic investigation had stuff blacked out or blocked out by mueller's team specifically because it related to other open investigations and other open cases. this is a thing that mueller's team does in its sleep.
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it's hard to believe they would leave the newly appointed 68-year-old attorney general william barr to himself to try to figure out what mentions in this 400-page report might pertain to open cases. they wouldn't leave that to barr to do that. mueller would have done that. mueller's team would have done that as part of producing anything that they handed over outside their own offices. they have done that with every other document they produced in the course of this investigation, you would assume they would be able to do that with this, too. william barr said it's taken him a long time because he had to do that all himself. now tonight in this new surprise letter from william barr, barr is identifying two additional categories of information that he now says he also wants to cut out of the mueller report even though he didn't mention them last week. he now says in addition to what he talked about last week, he also wants to cut out material the intelligence community identifies as potentially compromising sensitive sources and methods.
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and he says he wants to cut out, quote, information that would unduly infringe on the personal privacy and reputational interests of peripheral third parties. so let's just take those in turn. on the intelligence stuff, i mean, it may be that what he's trying to say there is that he needs to cut out any classified information that's in the report. well, yeah, you know, duh. right? but, again, you don't release classified material to the public, right? i mean, and mueller and his team know how to deal with that. if there is classified material in the report, mueller and his team would have treated classified information as such. in any report that they provided to him or to anyone else. i mean, if there is classified material in what mueller found and reported, that would presumably be sequestered in a classified annex to the report. so only people with necessary clearances could review that material in appropriate
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settings. then, they wouldn't leave it personally to old william barr to put on readers and go through it line by line to figure out what in here should be classified. hmm. who might need a clearance to see this stuff? i got to buckle down with this report. close the door. hold my calls. and then on top of that, what is this random new category that he says has to be cut out of the mueller report before even congress can see it? information that would infringe unduly on the personal privacy and representational interests of peripheral third parties. what? the attorney general in other words is going through this report before it's released from congress to take out anything that some people might find embarrassing. i mean, where did that standard come from? who counts as a third party? who counts as peripheral? why is it the attorney general's job to protect the representational interests of
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people he decides deserves that based on his own review before congress gets to see any of this information. even in a classified setting, i mean, where is this in the regulations? i mean, the bottom line here is, you know, if as barr says mueller's report is two parts, the russia attack and obstruction, we know very little about what's in the russia part of the report, right? according to barr, he says there is a lengthy discussion of what russia did when they attacked us, how they did it. when it comes to americans being caught up in the attack, we don't know. we have a sentence fragment about not charging trump or his campaign for participating in the russian government attack on the election, but that's all we've got. okay. there, that's half the report. on obstruction, we also really have no idea as to what is in that part of the report given that the one sentence barr quotes from it says that the president is among other things not exonerated of crimes related to obstruction of justice. now, on mueller's findings in
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this part of the report on obstruction, i think it's fair to surmise that mueller probably didn't write a report about all the times the president definitely didn't obstruct justice. right? i mean, presumably some of what we've got there in the obstruction part of the report is a catalog of problematic and in some cases potentially criminal behavior when it comes to obstruction of justice. so what's going to happen with that information? the president says the report exonerates him totally and he's been saying that for a week based on what william barr said publicly last weekend. now barr has been sitting on it for a few more days realizing this is taking hold and really starting to run with this on the right and white house and republicans in congress. i mean, this thing now kicking around for a week, those expectations out there, the attorney general having released three different evolving statements about what he's doing with the report and what he means when he describes the report and how he's going to from here on out handle the information in the report, it just feels like this is turning
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into a bit of a scramble inside the justice department. in response to the attorney general's newest letter tonight, the judiciary committee chairman in the house, jerry nadler, released this,quote, as i informed the attorney general earlier this week, congress requires the full and complete mueller report without redactions as well as the underlying evidence by april 2th. that deadline still stands. as i also informed him rather than expend valuable time and resources trying to keep certain portions of this report from congress, he should work with us to request a court order to relaes any and all grand jury information to the house judiciary committee as has occurred in every similar investigation in the part. there is ample precedent for the department of justice sharing all of the information that the attorney general proposes to redact to the appropriate congressional committees. again, congress must see the full report. on that issue of grand jury
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material and the attorney general announcing that he's going to cut all grand jury material out of mueller's report and he's not even going to allow congress to see that material, chairman nadler is right that there is ample president for exactly that kind of material, for grand jury material being released to congress in exactly this kind of investigation. grand jury information doesn't get released to the public. i mean, if it does get released to the public, it's decades down the line, right? historically it frequently does get released to congress, you require a judge's permission in order to do that, but that's what happens in the past, in the ken starr investigation into the whitewater real estate deal and the president's affair with the white house intern, right? in the leon jaworski investigation. into watergate, prosecutors made that request to a federal judge so a judge would issue a court order allowing them to convey grand jury information to congress, and in
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those instances, the judge said yes and the information went to congress. here jerry nadler is asking for attorney general william barr to work with him to make that request to the judge now so the grand jury information in this report can also go to congress like it has in all previous reports like this. jerry nadler is sort of reiterating that point tonight, raising the question of whether or not attorney general william barr is refusing to do that, whether he's refusing to ask a court to release grand jury information to congress in the same way that it's been released in all previous reports like this. if he is refusing to make that request of a court, why is he refusing? if he is refusing to make that request to release that grand jury information to congress, if he's refusing to do it, robert mueller right now is still on the job. can robert mueller make that request of the court? would william barr as attorney general stop mueller from making that request to release the grand jury material to the
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congress? i mean, i ask at that level of detail because the attorney general does appear to be making this all up as he goes along. as of tonight he appears to be trying to clean up what he's done in the past week since he first got mueller's report. what governs what william barr is doing here? why did he release what he's calling these principal conclusions that he now says definitely should not be taken as a summary of what mueller said? what's the basis of these whole new categories of redactions he says must be made to the mueller report before anybody is allowed to see it? in part because he needs to protect third party's reputational interests. i mean, if he's refusing to ask the courts to release grand jury information to congress, i mean, can mueller do that if barr will not? if barr won't let mueller do it, either, what's going to happen when the committee in congress inevitably goes to the court themselves and goes around the
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justice department to do so when they ask a judge to clear them to obtain the grand jury material? and what do you do if you're the chairman of the intelligence committee in all this, right? intelligence committees get access to classified information, even very sensitive sources and methods type intelligence material gets briefed to the intelligence committee or at least to the intelligence committee leadership and so-called gang of eight for particularly sensitive matters. i mean, nothing gets redacted from you if you run the intelligence committee, not if it's intelligence related information. so if you're the intelligence chairman, what do you do with this letter tonight? upon being informed that as of tonight, all the sensitive intelligence stuff is also going to be cut out of mueller's report before you're allowed to see it. that wasn't true as of last weekend but apparently that's true as of tonight. that is not how this works. none of this is how this is supposed to work. the chairman of the intelligence committee joins us next. (pirate girl) ahoy!!!!!
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after the new letter from attorney general william barr tonight saying he intends to release some version, some redacted version of the mueller
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report in mid-april if not sooner, we got this response from chairman adam schiff who is the head of the house intelligence committee. he says tonight, quote, congress has asked for the entire mueller report and underlying evidence by april 2nd. that deadline stands. in the meantime, barr should seek court approval like in watergate to allow the release of grand jury material. redactions are unacceptable. release the report. joining us tonight is congressman adam schiff of california, chairman of the house intelligence committee. mr. chairman, good to have you here tonight. >> thank you. >> i know you've had a heck of a week being pilloried by the president and the house. is this a tough week for you? >> you know, it started out as a tough week, but the encouragement around the country has been much more than i would have ever expected, so it ended much better than it started. >> yeah. i got to ask about this notice from the attorney general tonight. i asked you to come on the show tonight and be here tonight because i knew you would be in
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new york and i wanted to talk to you about what happened over the course of the week. i didn't know we would get this notice from the attorney general. i want to ask about the unexpected nature of how he's handling this. it strikes me the attorney general is sort of freestyling here and sort of ad-libbing and making up what he is trying to portray as being expected of him in this moment. do you know of anything that sort of governs or dictates the way the attorney general is supposed to behave here that might explain his behavior? >> no, i don't. and almost none of what he's doing is required by law or by the regulations. he certainly didn't need to provide that summary, nonsummary presumably in a 400-page report by the special counsel. the special counsel wrote his own summary, and there would have been nothing to preclude bill barr if he wanted to give a forecast. of what was to come in releasing the summary. i have to think that bob mueller wrote his report knowing because
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he could hear it all around him that the public was going to demand to see it. so i think it likely as you suggested that there is a classified annex. when we introduce the intelligence bill every year, we have a classified annex and we have a part we know will be made public, so nothing that barr is doing is required except for the most minimal notification and i thought the most problematic part of this summary/nonsummary by bill barr was the that because bob mueller didn't make a decision on indictment of obstruction of justice that somehow he was compelled to. that was the flimsiest part of that memo because, of course, he wasn't required to opine on that at all, and presumably if bob mueller thought that should have been done, he would have done it himself. i think it far more likely he expected that to go to congress, that he didn't want to put his hand on the scale because if
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he said that notwithstanding justice department policy against indicting a sitting president, that this president if it weren't for that policy, i would say indict him, he would basically be saying, congress, you need to impeach. he thought that should go to the congress. bill barr decided, no, that question should not go to congress without my opinion and i'll add this, it is even less likely that bob mueller knowing that bill barr applied for the job by sending this unsolicited memo talking about how bob mueller's obstruction theory was bogus, what are the odds that bob mueller would say, yeah, let's let that guy decide about my two years of work product. >> i mean, you've worked in the justice department yourself. you were an assistant u.s. attorney. you've been a federal prosecutor. does it -- i mean, my understanding of the way things work here just as an observer and reading the news, it never works in the way where a prosecutor leading an
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investigation considering possible criminal charges against somebody assembles all the evidence and punts and then the attorney general decides without any recommendation from the prosecutor whether or not those charges will be brought. i mean, is that -- >> it is, i think, maybe not that simple because in a normal circumstance where you have a u.s. attorney or assistant u.s. attorney with a high-profile case in some part of the country, they are not conflicted. they were chosen because the attorney general had a conflict or some other reason and so if it's of national significance, you might get to main justice and they might weigh in in terms of how it might reflect. like if you were going to prosecute a journalist for not disclosing their sources, that decision is not likely to be made in a field office. it might go to main justice. >> with a recommendation? >> with a recommendation, yes, but here where the acting attorney general had opined bias and the ethics lawyer said you should recuse yourself, and bill barr would likely get the same advice from the ethics lawyers
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because he showed a bias, and the whole point is to avoid even the appearance of impropriety, he should not be the one putting his hand on the scale. that report, that mueller report should have already been produced to the congress without his commentary, but clearly, you know, bill barr views his role in the unitary executive theory of being the hand of the president, the president's roy cohn there to do the president's bidding and his will and he's doing it just as expected. so he was a brilliant hire for the white house, but the long-term consequence of this is that in the future any president under investigation, if he doesn't like what the attorney general is doing will fire him and find another that's more suitable to his liking because that's the precedent here and as much as i blame bill barr for not recusing himself, i hold
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the senate more responsible for confirming him without getting a commitment of recusal. >> is that precedent less dark if congress figures out some way to release the report despite his efforts to keep it in his drawer? >> we're going to compel the release of the report. this report is all going to come out, and it's just going to reflect more poorly on the attorney general if when it does come out and we look at the difference between what he redacted and what was under those redactions it shows an effort to cover up or conceal either evidence of impropriety of evidence of a lack of morals or ethics or judgment and that is shy of criminality or in the case of obstruction of justice is criminality, so we're going to compel this. this is a fight that is worth going to the mat on. bill barr in his confirmation said i'll be as transparent as possible as much as the law or
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policy would allow. if he was true to those words, as jerry nadler said, he wouldn't be saying i'm cutting all the grand jury material. he would be saying, congress, i'm going to the court tomorrow to seek their permission to send it all to you. and i'll tell you this, the other areas he wants to redact about classified information, we get that all the time. information about pending investigative matters, they gave hundreds of thousands of pages that were both open investigation and investigation or investigatory material that reflected on the privacy of third parties and if you don't think so, ask peter strzok or lisa page how they feel about that. >> in terms of the attorney general saying that he wants redact intelligence information, as the intelligence chairman, i have specific questions on that. can you stick with us? >> sure. >> congressman adam schiff is our guest. we'll be right back. great news, liberty mutual customizes...
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we're back with the chairman of the house intelligence committee, chairman adam schiff of california. thank you for sticking around. let me ask you about a few things i have no idea if we'll get these things or not. the scoping memo that described what mueller was allowed to investigate is part of the manafort investigation, we got big, long redactions and you can look at whether manafort did this long thing and big, long redactions. will we get documents like that unredacted to see what exactly mueller was tasked to investigate? >> we should.
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and i would think that very well may be mart of his report. the introduction says this is the charge we were given, we were supposed to look at this but not this. we therefore didn't consider these other issues and may enumerate them or not. but it looks like again, reading the summary/nonsummary, this social media operation that the russians were running, the hacking and dumping operation the russians were running, those two areas squarely within the special counsel's jurisdiction, other things like moscow trump tower, which don't fit in either bucket, may only have been viewed from the perspective of does it tell us something about the obstruction case because the president's lawyer lied to the congress about it, but that moscow trump tower, which holds the potential of dangling money in front of donald trump could be far more compromising than some of these other issues, which is part of the reason why we in congress need to get the report on the counterintelligence part of the investigation, not just the criminal part.
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>> do you think that would be a separate report or do you think that would have been part of what was given to barr? >> i don't know but i suspect that it is really not in this report. and i think that the report was designed to be about these are the prosecutorial decisions we made, to prosecute these folks, not to prosecute these folks. here is the reason why. it's a prosecutorial memo. it isn't this is what we found. these are the risks of compromise. this is what the russians wry trying to do. some of that will be relevant to the criminal case but a great portion will not. >> if there were findings by mueller, money being dangled, somebody taking action that's beneficial to russia because they were hoping to get something from the russian government, if that's not in mueller's report, how are you ultimately going to get briefed on that? how will the american people find out about that? >> by statute. the national security act, the intelligence committee is required to brief congress on
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any significant intelligence or counterintelligence activity and so there has been no more significant counterintelligence investigation, that is, an investigation into what a foreign power may be doing covertly to influence americans, there has been no more significant counterintelligence than this one in my lifetime and so we will be briefed on it because they are required to be. what form that will take, we don't know. we've already begun outreach to the intelligence community and the fbi to find out, but that has always been really front and center of the intelligence committee. we don't have a criminal charge. our investigation from the beginning to present has always been predominantly concerned with is a foreign power exerting influence over the president, people around him in such a way that it would warp u.s. policy in a way that was not in the national interest? >> do you think we'll also get a list of the people would talked
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to mueller? will we get that witness list? >> i don't think he'll give us a witness list and, again, this is obviously guesswork at this point. i think what we will have is a narrative. >> yeah. >> about different parts of the investigation and who the players were. if there are people that they brought before the grand jury or interviewed who really didn't have something all that valuable to share, i don't think their name is going to appear just to have a comprehensive list, but i would imagine a 400-page report has exhibits far more than 400 pages. whether one of those exhibits is a list of everyone they talked to, every search warrant they executed, every subpoena they issued, i suppose it's possible. >> congressman adam schiff, i would keep you here for longer but i know you have to go because you have to travel. please come back and talk to us and i congratulate you on having more nicknames from the president than anybody else, none of them are sticking thus far, but i think if you stay in this job, ultimately you might hit the record. >> it's a badge of honor. >> thank you, sir. >> thanks.
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make today the day. in his new letter released tonight, attorney general bill barr said everybody misinterpreted his previous letter to congress. he said it was never meant to be a summary of robert mueller's report, instead it's supposed to be a summary of the report's principal conclusions. oh. nowhere in the special counsel regulations does it say the attorney general is supposed to report on the principal conclusions of anything. all he's supposed to do under the regulations at least as far as i can tell is he's supposed to tell congress the investigation is over. he's not really supposed to do anything else. nevertheless, attorney general barr's letter today also gives us a newly expanded list of what he says he plans to redact from mueller's report before congress can see it. on sunday that list was comprised of just two things, grand jury material and information that could impact on
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ongoing investigations. but tonight he's added two more categories of information he's planning on cutting, intelligence information as we just discussed with congressman adam schiff and also this odd duck, quote, information that would unduly infringe on the person ago privacy and representational interests of re riveral third parties otherwise known as embarrassing stuff about mepeople i don't want to name. i mean, i am not a lawyer, but i can control f my way through the special counsel regulations, and i just don't see anything like that that's guiding what the attorney general is doing here and what the attorney general is doing here is apparently going to determine what we the public are allowed to know about this most serious investigation. the grounds on which the attorney general is acting here just appears to be dislocated from what we thought was the legal basis of this part of the whole investigation. joining us now is a man who knows. he wrote the doj regulations defining the office
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of special counsel and acting solicitor general in the obama administration. thanks for joining us on a friday night. >> thank you so much, rachel. >> so, obviously you know these regulations better than anybody. my sense is that attorney general william barr is my sense is that attorney general william barr is freelancing here a little bit and is finding his own and is responding to his receipt of the mueller report in a way that isn't necessarily prescribed by these regulations. is that fair? >> absolutely. you said before that the way it's working now is not the way it's supposed to work. that's exactly right. that started last week with all of the celebrations by the trump folks when the barr letter was released saying total exoneration and things like that, and, you know, i said at that point i felt it was very premature. i felt this is a bunch of dartmouth students looking for a party and trying to find an excuse or something like that. that's really, you know, i think what we're starting to see the seeds of after one week. we learned today it's a 400-page mueller report that barr purported to have the top line
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conclusions of in his four-page memo. we knew last week that barr took it on himself to decide and issue that mueller wouldn't decide whether the president had obstructed justice. all in a matter of 48 hours and in a four-page memo. you know, this is looking increasingly problematic, and as you said earlier, this looks panicky today. >> he has suggested that there is a number of categories of information that he is going to excise from the report, not only before it's released to the public, but before it's released to congress. the one -- one of those categories is grand jury information. and obviously grand jury information is secret. we the public never expect that stuff to be released to us under the normal course of events, but what do you make of the way he's treating that, particularly if that's the major quantity of information that he's trying to cut out of this and deny access, even for congress? >> i mean, two things. one is grand jury information, you can go to a court and get it released, as you said earlier. that's exactly what happened in nixon.
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it's been seven days now since the mueller report was delivered to barr. he hasn't even bothered to go to court to try and do that. he could do that right now and say, court, release this information to congress. that's what happened in past investigations. the fact that he won't do it is really suspicious and tells me at least there is information in the mueller report that barr doesn't want to come out and i don't think it's for up and up reasons, i think it's because it is embarrassing to the president. and that leads me to my second point, which is as you said, they started with -- barr started with two categories of information that he would redact. we're now up to four. next week i suppose it's eight and the week after that 16 or something, you know, in one of those ones today is privacy interests of third parties. i don't know what that means. i don't know if he thinks trump is a third party or trump jr. or jared or the like, but i do know this, you know, the taxpayers paid for this report that mueller wrote and it goes to some of the most sensitive, you know, important things that every member of the american
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public should know about, and there is no excuse whatsoever for it being hidden from the congress and the american people. >> neal katyal, former acting solicitor general in the obama administration. again, the man who drafted the special counsel regulations. thanks for your clarity on this, neal. it's great to have you here. >> thank you. >> all right. we'll be right back. stay with us. believable. whenever we're about to get on a stage for a huge audience, i always give my dad, like, a facetime kinda moment. you see the crowd, you see the emotion. you know, he has that experience for the first time with me, and that's really important to me. i created a rockstar. (both laughing) (announcer) the best network is even better when you share it. buy the latest iphone for you, and get iphone 10r on us for someone else. and get apple music on us, too. only on verizon.
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stand by. stand by for big ben. stand by. okay, go. [ clock bells ringing ]
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>> that is big ben, the iconic british landmark that sits atop a clock tower at the north end of the houses of parliament in westminster in london. big ben has been ringing since 1859 when it became, "the biggest, most accurate, four-faced striking and chiming clock in the world." take that. big ben survived the blitz during world war ii. it went dark but it never went silent. big ben can be heard on the radio before british newscasts. those chimes are also used, of course, to mark holidays. big ben, resilient, consistent. it is a big, solid sure thing in the whole wide world. it is also now unexpectedly prophetic and that is our final story tonight. that's next. stay with us. i can't tell you who i am or what i witnessed,
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be today, march 29th, 2019. "when big ben bongs midnight." he said that two years ago today and you know what happened next? they closed big ben for repairs. no bongs at all for four years until 2021. and now no brexit. as of tonight the uk was supposed to be leaving the european union, but brexit is a mess and a disaster. tens of thousands of brits swarmed the streets near parliament in protest today after lawmakers shot down theresa may's brexit plan yet another time. this vote brings britain closer to crashing out of the european union without any sort of net. the clock is ticking. the eu has given britain a new deadline now of april 12th to leave or figure something else out. parliament is going to meet again on monday to see if they can agree on any plan at all. whatever they decide, though, big ben will not help. it will not be celebrated with a