tv MSNBC Live With Stephanie Ruhle MSNBC May 2, 2019 6:00am-7:00am PDT
because they wanted to let lawyers ask him questions, they wanted lawyers from both sides of the aisle, republican and democratic to at the conclusion of members' questioning be able to ask bill barr? questions to try to nail him down on some things. there are a couple theories so why this was not okay with barr. i think it was pete williams or perhaps an analyst used the word that in the view of william barr, these lawyers are pip squeaks. he's the attorney general, why should he allow these lawyers to be able to question him. but on the other hand i think you saw the effectiveness of having questions from seasoned lawyers who know how to conduct this kind of pressured questioning. kamala harris was a great example. i saw her on the program earlier. she is one who used veteran techniques across examination as a former prosecutor to yield new information and put barr on the spot. so that is also kind of a potential risk for the attorney general. but either way, once yesterday they voted to allow this to
happen, william barr and his people at the department said no way, we're simply not showing up. so considering how partisan the senate hearing was yesterday, today would have been frankly farther down that line. but again what you will see is posturing here at the top. jerry nadler potentially taking some action. we don't know if he will subpoena or hold in contempt, et cetera. so keep an eye out for that. >> all right. it is the top of the hour. you're looking at live pictures of the house judiciary committee getting ready to meet. there will be an empty chair as the main witness, the person who was supposed to be there to answer questions. the attorney general barr is a no-show. he has decided not to come after a pretty glrueling day yesterda where they asked him basic questions about how he handled the mueller report, whether or not for example he read the
underlying evidence. he is the attorney general, the lawyer for the american people. the 448 page report came with a great deal of underlying evidence and the attorney general did answer that question. he made it clear he did not read any of the underlying evidence of the mueller report. he made it very clear that his four page summary so to speak was something that he made up from gleaning the mueller report over the course of the weekend before he came out with that summary. and it was a pretty staggering revelation. >> he didn't read it very closely because he was even unaware of any polling data being shared by paul manafort, which suggests that not only was he ignorant of what was in the mueller report, he also was ignorant of what has been in the news for the past several months. >> remember, this is a report not just looking into president trump and what his connection or
lack thereof was, but into interference in our american election systems. this is something that the attorney general of the united states of america was given a report with underlying evidence that should have allowed him to summarize it for the american people in a way that made them fully understand exactly how at risk we are. jessica yellin joining us. as we're watching the setup today, give us i donyou us yout. >> this is a crucial day. this is exercise of power as a co-equal branch of government. if they choose to eventually subpoena the attorney general if he flauts the subpoena, if he doesn't cooperate with congress in any respect, we have to consider what is their power, what can they do next. and jerry nadler is considering all these possible outcomes.
as americans, we have to be concerned, this isn't the only time an administration official has flouted congress' power, but it is one of the rare times and the bipartisan ship is striking. >> john mile mheilemann, where congressional democrats go next the bipartisan ship is striking. >> john heilemann, where do congressional democrats go next? >> on the basis of what nadler is saying, the next step is to move to a subpoena and he's already under subpoena, but to also move to contempt citation. so i think that that is where we will -- you have a situation where because democrats control the house, could you see a contempt of congress citation that could get through the house without having to move into that impeachment scenario where it would still depend on a vote in the senate. we talked a little earlier on the show about the different political cal could you you lagss that the democrats would face with respect to trying to
impeach bill barr versus trying to impeach donald trump. but in the end both would require conviction in the senate and so although the calculations are a little different in terms of the political costs, outcome is still likely to be the same. republicans are as likely to stand by bill barr as they stand by donald trump. so i think trying to drive to, you -- first of all, try to protect the institutional prerogative of the house and not allow the attorney general just to ignore subpoenas and hope that contempt citation will get him to come back. and secondly and more important is to try to lay down a predicate for how they can get bob mueller into that chamber. again, we talked about it earlier. the attorney general has said that he is okay with mueller testifying before congress. lindsey graham yesterday said he has no interest in mueller testifying, but the house judiciary committee clearly does. the attorney general says that is fine in principle, but so far
they have not been able to secure a date for that testimony. so it seems like the white house, the administration, are dragging their feet consistent with their stone walling posture in general. and tts clear that thit is clea game. house democrats need to get bob mueller before the committee. >> all right. let's listen in. >> -- report by special counsel robert mueller on the investigation into russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and related matters. i will now recognize myself for an opening statement. attorney general barr has informed us that he will not appear today. although we worked to accommodate his concerns, he objects to the prospect of answering questions by staff counsel and to the possibility that we may go into executive session to discuss certain sensitive topics. given the attorney general's
lack of sccandor before other committees, i believe we were right to insist on the extended questioning. to my knowledge, not even the ranking member was opposed to the idea of moving in to closed session if necessary. but even if democrats and republicans disagree on the format of this hearing, we must come together to protect the integrity of this chamber. the administration may not dictate the terms of a hearing in this hearing room. the challenge we face is bigger than a single witness. late last night, the department of justice wrote to inform us that they will ignore our subpoena for the unredacted mueller report and the underlying evidence. they have made no meaningful attempt at accommodating that subpoena which was due yesterday. the letter references the attorney general's offer to 12 members of congress, 12, out of 435 to look behind some but not all of the redactions provide that had we agree not to discuss
what we see with our colleagues and that we leave our notes behind at the department of justice. it is urgent that we see the documents we have subpoenaed. but i cannot agree to conditions that plea vents me from discussing the full report with my colleagues and that prevent the house from acting on the full report in any meaningful way. an caccommodation designed to prevent action is no accommodation at all. every member of this committee, democrat and republican alike, should understand the consequences when the executive branch tells us that they will simply ignore a lawful subpoena from congress. if left unchecked, this act of obstruction will make it that much harder for us to hold the executive branch accountable for waste, fraud and abuse or to enact legislation to curb that kind of misconduct or any kind of high school conduct no matter which party holds this chamber or the white house at a given moment. the challenge we face is also bigger than the mueller report.
if all we knew about president trump were contained in the four corners of that report, there would be good reason to question his fitness for office. but the report is not where the story ends. in the days since the department of justice released the redaktded versiredaktdak redacted version, president trump says he plans to fight all of our subpoenas. the average person is not free to ignore a congressional subpoena. nor is the president. his promise to obstruct our work extends far yochbd hbeyond his with the russian government. the president also prevented us from obtaining information votes rights, aca litigation and the cruel family separation policy among other fathers. t -- matters. in recent weeks, administration witnesses have simply failed to show for properly noticed
depositions. the secretary of the treasury continues to ignore his clear statutory obligation to produce the president's tax returns. the president's private attorneys sued chairman cummings in his personal capacity in an attempt to block the release of certain financial documents. ladies and gentlemen, the challenge we face is that the president of the united states wants desperately to prevent congress, a co-equal branch of government, from providing any check whatsoever to even his most reckless decisions. he is trying to render congress inert as a separate and co-equal branch of government. the challenge is if we don't stand up to him together risk stand up to any president in the future. the very system of government of the united states, the system of limited power, the system of not having a president as a dictator is very much at stake. the attorney general of the united states is sworn to uphold
the constitution as our nation's chief law enforcement officer. he has an obligation to do everything in his power to warn the president of the damage he risks and the liability he assumes by directly threatening our system of checks and balances. sadly the attorney general has failed in that responsibility. he has failed to check the president's worst instincts. he has not only misrepresented the findings of the special counsel, he has failed to protect the special counsel's investigation from unfair political attacks. he has himself unfairly attacked the special counsel's investigation. he has failed the men and women of the department of justice by placing the needs of the president over the fair administration of justice. he has even failed to show up today. yes, we will continue to negotiate for access to the full report for another couple of days. and, yes, we will have no choice but to move quickly to hold the attorney general in contempt if he stalls or families to negotiate in good faith.
but the attorney general must now make a choice. every one of us must make the same choice. that choice is now an obligation of you our office. the choice is simple. we can stand up to this president in defense of the country and the constitution and the liberty we love, or we can let the moment pass us by. and we have seen in other countries what happens when you allow such moments to pass by. i do not know what attorney general barr will choose. i do not know what my republican colleagues will choose. but i am certain that there is no way forward for this country that does not include a reckoning with this clear and present danger to our constitutional order. history will judge us for how we face this challenge. we will all be held accountable in one way or the other. and if he does not provide this committee with the information it demands, and the respect it
deserves, mr. are b mr. barr's accountability will come soon enough. and i now recognize ranking member of the judiciary committee for his opening statement. >> thank you, mr. chairman. let's be very clear. there is only one reason and one reason only at this point we are not being able to fulfill our constitutional role of oversight. and that is the chairman's demands that were played out yesterday. we could have had a hearing today. what bothers me the most is not only did in standing for the questions that were discussed and the issues that is have been discussed between me and the chairman, not only does he take the ability for the american people it hear again from bill barr, he took our and to hear from bill barr today. to protect? maybe. because some didn't feel like they could ask proper questions, maybe they wanted more staff questions, who those. but yesterday we found this, that he claims that he wants
staff to question the attorney general because the five minute per member is not enough. but yet we spent and approved a motion yesterday that said we could do an extra hour between the chairman and 3450i68. he could have took one of these fabulous members that he has, and he has excellent attorneys on his side, some of the best, he could give them all 30 minutes. and they could have questioned the attorney general anyway they wanted to. instead we go back to a circus political stunt to say we want to look like an impeachment hearing. because they won't bring impeachment proceedings. that is the reason. take whatever you want to take, you can go out and have press conferences, you can say it from this dais, but the reason bill barr is not here is because democrats decided they didn't want him here today. that is the reason he is not here. you could have done anything else you wanted. and what is amazing to me is to
say that he is scared of answering questions, scared that he -- you can disagree with the attorney general all you want, but yesterday he sat for over six hours in the senate voluntarily answering questions even in the second round taken up by democrats. and you can say did he do good, did he do bad, didn't matter but we're not getting the opportunity because the stunt in the circus continues. all we had to do, we agreed to more time. we can talk about executive session. but, no, for some purpose except the optics of something that they can't do or don't want to do right now, they wanted to have a staff member ask questions. i said before, that staff member wants to ask questions so desperately, run for congress. put a pin on. find a committee. but i could continue on and on and on but the issue that we have here and the impeachment a agenda. saying he is terrified, i think he proved that he is not
terrified to sit before anybody especially the senate which they actually extended the question time on. as my chairman told me yesterday, it is not a matter of whether we agree or disagree, we move the motion, you can agree with the attorney general or disagree with the attorney general, but not hearing from him is a travesty for this committee today. but i would be remiss if i also did not mention the largest tragedy of this day. that actually was from yesterday. the chairman just stated a few moments ago that we can't let moments pass. and i agree completely. because what happened yesterday on dias was a 2r56 investigattr. when you question the offices of motives, i have sat through
hours of motions to strike the last word, giving the members more time, more time. one of the biggest concerns i had with chairman goodlatt, why do you let it continue? and two occasions last congress, he did. resolutions of inquiry. after almost 6 to 7 hours of debate. the question i have here is not what bill barr is scared of, my question is what are the democrats scared of. they don't want bill barr here today. they have had the report. they have read it. they don't like what is in it. the chairman won't even look at what the attorney general offered him. pretty amazing he wants to go in executive session and ask questions, but he won't go read it. now, you can go read it and ask for more. but here is the problem today. and this problem from yesterday is not over. if the majority wants to run a committee in which minority rights do not matter,
parliamentary procedure does not matter, we saw it on full display yesterday. it will not continue. we will continue this exercise and we will exercise what we have as minority which is the minority rights to ask questions, to make motions. because at the end of the day, unless we've forgotten, mr. chairman, you will get what you want. you will more votes. but just like you got to spend hours talking about whatever you wanted to talk about while chairman goodlatt sat there and let you do it. and all you want to do -- and the question that bothered me the most, we got time, we have to get on to another bill. timing does not trump minority rights and there is not a member that should say it is not. and freshmen members or anybody else here for the first time that is not how this committee works. if you don't believe me, ask chairman sensenbrenner. three times was chairman of this committee and he laid it out
clearly yesterday. but when we did he go agrgra ga members of my side causing the amendment ridiculous, that is just wrong and should offend everybody on this dais. this is wrong. the tragedy of today is not that you have an empty chair, not that you have prochs. you can call the attorney general whatever you want. sticks and stones kind of quote. but what rather bothers me today is the travesty of what happened this minority rights yesterday and there is not a member of the democrats on this committee last year that can honestly look me in the face and say y'all were in the treated much better by a chairman who actually followed the rules than we were treated yesterday. i yield back. >> thank you, mr. collincollins. ordinarily at this point i would introduce the witness. but instead we will conclude this proceedings. i just want to say we didn't
choose not to have mr. barr come. he chose. we cannot permit him or anybody in the administration to dictate the manner in which we function. this does not include our inquiry into the attorney general -- >> point of parliamentary inquiry. i seek are recognition. >> compelling the entire report and its underlying materials. we will not hear from the attorney general today, but this committee intends to obtain the information that it needs to conduct this constitutional overstate and legislative responsibilities. we will defend the prerogatives of congress. we will defend the rights of the american people to know what is going on. we will defend the constitutional scheme of equal and coordinated branches of government. we will make sure that no president becomes a monarch. we need the information without delay. the hearing is adjourned.
>> mr. chairman -- >> and will do so with trampling minority rights. >> that is the conclusion of -- jerry nadler, chairman of the judiciary committee, ending the hearing where the ranking minority member, congressman collins, said if a staff member wants to ask a question, then the staff member should run for congre congress. this of course the heart of the disagreement between attorney general barr and the chairman of the judiciary committee. the attorney general refusing to answer questions from staff attorneys. and of course i do not know if the ranking member is ignorant of american history, i go authori authorize -- ignorant of congressional history, but his statement that staff members can
only ask questions if they run for congress does portray a shocking ignorance of congressional hearings. go back to the most important hearings in american history, whether watergate, whether it was iran contra, whether it was a series of other critical oversight hearings, where members of the administration were required to answer questions that were posed to them by attorneys. b by staff members. and that was in response to what the judiciary chairman jerry nadler had said before talking about the attorney general's refuse al to come and testify. and chairman nadler accused the attorney general and the president which he serves of trying to render congress inert as a separate and equal power. and accused the attorney general of failing to check the president's worst instincts, of
failing men and women who work for the justice department by putting the needs of the president ahead of the oath in which he took. he failed to defend the special counsel and chose instead to attack him personally. and chairman nadler ominously said near the end of his statement we have seen what has happened in other countries when times like these were allowed to pass. he called this a reckoning and there is going to be a reckoning of this clear and present danger that is now confronting our constitutional republic. willie, some extraordinarily strong words from the chairman of the judiciary committee. and very strong heated rebuttal which had very little basis in history or fact. and i say that as a former
member of the very committee that he sat on suggesting that he was insulted by what was said yesterday. we were regularly assailed as racists and henry hyde just told us to keep the heads down, let the insults fly and do the people's business. so a lot of shocked indignation. a hell of a lot more smoke than fire coming from the ranking member collins. >> yeah, and i thought chairman nadler closing his remarks with this line, mr. barr's moment of accountability will come soon enough, if he is not going to appear before our panel, he will have to answer questions from us one way or the other. maybe there is a citation for contempt coming down the road as has been hinted at. did ranking member collins, the republican we heard from, did he have a point, was he right that this may have been set up on that attorney general barr would not show up at the hearing?
>> reporter: you know, willie, this is a little bit unclear to answer your question. i mean, the reality is democrats knew going in yesterday when they set the rules for the hearing today that it was likely that the attorney general would refuse to come on those terms. that said, they still were pushing for him to come. and the reality is that there is not actually a clear path for holding him in contempt, for kind of enforcing any sort of real punishment on barr for not showing up. the reality is that congress has relatively limited options for forcing somebody like will jim bajim -- william barr to come by a subpoena. they can appeal directly to the attorney general position by filing a criminal complaint. they can go through the civil court system. in theory, they could have him arrested pup but the reality is
barr is protected by his own security detail and that particular trick hasn't been used since the 1930s and is a rather dramatic way of going about it. so it is unlikely that that would be kind of what would happen. so the challenge for democrats here all the way along has been how do they do this without getting the court precedence on the wrong side. and the last thing i would point out and i know joe can speak to this as a former member of the house of representatives, one thing we did not see in the senate yesterday, congressman steve cohen of tennessee brought a bucket of kentucky fried chicken to the hearing, you may have seen pictures of people taking photos of that bucket as well as what appears to be if i'm judging it correctly a portion liccelain chicken as we. so welcome to the house of representatives. >> there you go. all right. >> i must say, in all my time on the judiciary committee, this ono one ever brought a bucket of kentucky fried chicken.
certainly may have made some of the long hearings a bit more enjoyable. >> and this hearing ended very quickly where william barr refused to show up to answer questions from congress. it opens up a lot of questions as to what happens next. and stephanie ruhle picks up the coverage with all of that right now. >> thank you very much, mika. hi there. we have a lot to get to this very busy thursday morning with the battle lines clearly drawn. attorney general bill barr deciding not to testify this morning before the house judiciary committee setting the stage for a potential legal battle with the trump administration. joining me now, peter alexander live at the white house. pete williams. pete, to you first. your reaction to what we just saw. former congressman david jolly said i got a feeling that house judiciary members don't see eye to eye. >> you think? yeah. so the house has actually
several alternatives here to try to persuade or force the attorney general to appear. a subpoena. if he disregards the subpoena, they can seek a contempt citation. but in terms of actually forcing the attorney general to appear, they don't really have a lot of options. if they go to -- formally the procedure is if you seek a contempt citation, that goes to the u.s. attorney here in washington. and typically u.s. attorneys simply decline to refer those cases to a grand jury. this is true whether it is republican or democratic administration. alternatively, the house could simply sue the attorney general. but judges hate to referee what they see as political disputes and those cases can take a long time to play out. oftentimes they end with some kind of a com days or agreement when there are documents concerned, but when trying to force someone to show up, you know, the house has actually very few alternatives to make
that come true. >> i want to take you back to the hill where democrats are now speaking. sheila jackson lee has the microphone. >> i think my line of questioning would be just the truth. as a march 27th mueller letter stated to the attorney general that he wanted the documents to be released. they were not released. and so here we stand today with no other option other than to hold the attorney general in contempt which we hope that will happen. we have not done that because we wanted to continue negotiations. so i would simply ask the question, is this the way we want it t it on to run this nat? do we want a president that does not welcome the truth and subjecting those who work for him to be tested on the truth? do we in the understand the constitution in article one and article two. this judiciary committeethe und
constitution in article one and article two. this judiciary committee will not be tar getting anyone, we're just doing our job, and that is to-to-have members of the cabinet of the president of the united states to come before this committee and tell the truth. we will not stop until we get the truth, until the truth is told to the american people, and the american people will decide as we go forward that the truth has to be acted on and that is what i think some of our republican friends are afraid of. >> bill barr is now one of the most dangerous men in washington, d.c. for three reasons. first, he intentionally miskraktmi mischaracterized the mueller record. and instead 6 apologizing, he doubles down and continues to mislead the american people. second, today he ignored the will of congress oversight responsibilities of congress and lawfully issued subpoenas.
and third, right now he is suing to eliminate your health care coverage. let's not forget, right now he is suing in court to eliminate pre-existing conditions health care coverage and taking health care coverage away from millions of americans. we in congress will rein him in, we will hold him accountable. >> as a first time member of congress, i can't imagine anyplace else i would rather be right now. i mean as a student of american history, as a supporter of our constitution, this is just such a grave moment. and i hope everyone is understanding how grave it is particularly those at the white house. thank you. >> good morning, everyone. you know, i just have to say as a former police chief that it
was painful and disgraceful to see the nation's top cop abandon his responsibilities to allow an empty chair to speak for him this morning. however, as a committee member, we were respectful enough to put the honorable william p. barr -- to put honorable on his name tag, if you will, this morning. however if you look at what the attorney general has done since he has been in office, he certainly worked harder to protect someone who does not deserve to be protected. there is not much that the attorney general has done as the nation's top cop that we can consider honor only.
so this morning was a dark morning for the united states of america and all that the department of justice should mean to this nation. so thank you. >> in the 2016 elections, this nation was attacked from outside of its borders by the russians. as a result of their outside attack, we are now being attacked from the inside by the very trump administration whom the russians favored. this is a very dark day and we dark time for our republic. it is under attack. the worst kind of damage that can be done to america is from its enemies from within. and we have enemies and we have and i hadde aiders an betters of those enemies. i'm afraid that we have reached a time when the people ofbetter
enemies. i'm afraid that we have reached a time when the people of this great nation must demand that congress take appropriate action to stop this attack on our republic and save this dtsd and all tdemocracy and all the fairness and ideals of justice that we hold dear. thank you. >> i've been a student of government all my life. i watched the watergate hearings. from the beginning to the end. this smacks so much of waterg e watergate. and an attorney general like john mitchell who believes the president is above the law that is not america. the president is not above the law and if the president thinks that the special counsel's investigation is a witch hunt, he can in the stop it. but our attorney general thinks so. chicken barr should have shown up today and answered questions.
an attorney general picked for his legal acumen and his abilities would not be fearful of any other attorneys questioning him for 30 minutes. this man was picked to be roy kohn and donald trump effexor. the black sox look clean compared to this team. it is a sad day in america. >> good morning. i did not have the privilege of being born into this country. i became an american citizen when i was 20 years old and i took an oath to protect and defend the constitution against all foreign and domestic enemies. attorney general barr took the same oath. and today he shows that the only oath that he is now following is to protect and defend the president who right now is threatening the strength of our democracy. having come from latin america, i understand very well what it means when a man in power starts
circumventing equal branches of go. . we must not allow this to happen in the united states of america. thank you. >> good morning. the attorney general has a constitutional responsibility to uphold the rule of law. instead he's done everything to undermine the rule of law. the so-called attorney general is abrasive, evasive and unpervasive. he is a disgrace to the office that he currently holds. the so-called attorney general is missing in action, absent without official leave, and has clearly made the decision to serve as the personal fixer for donald trump. inconsistent with the oath of office that he has taken. and we as house democrats recognize that we are a separate and co-equal branch of government. we didn't work for donald trump. we work for the american people. we have a constitutional responsibility to serve as a
check and balance on an out of control executive branch, donald trump, the so-called dog and his minions are out of control right now. we won't overreach, we won't over politici overpoliticize, we won't overinvestigate, but we will did our constitutional oversight responsibility. the so-called attorney general can run, but he cannot hide. >> today attorney general barr and this administration have done a great disservice to the american people. it is not only about the mueller report. but this is about protecting the integrity of our national security. this is about protecting the integrity of our elections. this is about protecting the integrity of people in this country being able to have affordable health care. they have done a great disservice to the american
people. and we, congress, have the responsibility as a co-equal branch of government to protect and to serve to make sure that the american people have the facts and the information that they need to make sure that they know that government is truly working on their behalf. my colleagues and i will continue to stand to fight for the truth, continue to stand for what is right to make sure that democracy works for each and every individual in this country. today we will still continue to stand to bait for the truth because you deserve it. >> help me put some teeth behind your -- given this unprecedented level of what you say the -- >> well, i think that -- sure, i mean i think that the members, i think we all believe very strongly that the next step is to hold the attorney general in contempt for the failure to
comply with the subpoena. i think that we are all pressing our chairman to do that. as he has been, he is attempting to negotiate in good faith to see if the attorney general will do it voluntarily. but in the absence of an agreement there, it is our position that the attorney general is in contempt of congress, that we have a responsibility to compel his compliance with a lawfully issued subpoena because as i said earlier, if the executive branch can lawfully issued subpoenas, they will have essentially eliminated congressional oversight. it cannot be up to the executive branch to decide what witnesses and evidence that we will collect. so the next step will be an effort to begin proceedings to hod the attorney general in contempt if in fact this ge negotiation agos negotiation or conversation doesn't result in an agreement.
>> and so they may be moving forward to hold william barr in contempt. let's go to peter alexander at the white house. peter, it is stunning, chuck todd pointed it out this morning, this is going to be is it the blue dress or the gold dress of 2019. republicans and the white house liked what they heard yesterday while at the same time, democrats thought democrats did an extraordinary job. >> yeah, william barr's best ally, his best advocate, happens to be his boss president trump who spoke out about barr's performance yesterday during a conversation with fox business overnight telling their anchor that he did in his words a fantastic job. he dismissed the efforts by democrats, the calls for barr to be resigned saying that it was, quote, abuse from people who were running for office. and he also defended barr's decision not to show up, his refusal to show up for today's hearing before that house committee. here is more of the president from overnight.
>> i guess they want to treat him differently than they have anybody else. for many, many years they have never done this way where they bring in outside counsel or something, that is not the way -- you elect people that are supposed to be able to do their own talking. but he did a fantastic job today i'm told. i got to see some of it. he did a fantastic job and this is a whole hoax this thing with russia. turns out there is no collusion, no obstruction. >> you heard him say they wanted to do it differently than ever before. of course it was only last september that on the senate side the senate judiciary committee brought in its own outside counsel during the testimony of christine blasey ford. and sarah sanders says nat white house long ago lost confidence in nadler.
the committee chair. she said if he doesn't have the confidence to lead that committee, to ask the questions on his own behalf, then he should resign. >> amazing, they don't remember the christine bra schltkcasekas. >> we're here frwith congressma collins who laid out why the republicans are unhappy. do you expect democrats to hold william barr in contempt? >> i believe that will be their next step. they want to continue this story because as long as they can believe and let the american people believe that there is still something wrong, that the mueller report didn't actually say there was no collusion, no obstruction, if they can still deflect back to the president, they will keep the circus going.
>> what incentives would democrats have it not have the attorney general to show up to be able to ask him questions? you seemed to say that they wanted to play out this way. why? >> because they wanted to look like an impeachment hearing because they don't have the fortitude to bring impeachment hearings. even the majority conference chair calling him a so-called attorney general. that is wrong to do that because they are trying to go tear mr. barr down, trying to make him look like he is not credible. >> mr. mueller or mr. barr? >> mr. barr. trying to tear barr down. >> lindsey graham said he acknowledged that there is a diskrepcrepancy between what m e barr says and the letter that robert mueller sent. do you see the similar discrepancy? >> i'd like to hear bill barr to answer that question today, but my chairman took that ability away. by consisting on an unprecedented act, 206 years of
this committee have never had staff does questions in that type of hearing. only time they have asked questions was impeachment hearings. so they want to look like impeachment hearings. if they would bring the impeachment hearing, he would have access to all kindsdumt documen documents. >> do you have any concerns about what the attorney general told the senate hearing yesterday? any concerns about his testimony? >> there were concerns from a -- i'm not he sure a concern, but i'd like clarification. but i didn't have that that chance 37 chance. the chairman took that right away because we didn't have this ability to -- he voluntarily said i'll come. by not letting him come today, the american people are still left in the today, from our perspective. he was not scared to do. he sat for six hours yesterday and took every question including three president hial candidates. he is not scared to come. >> thank you very much for your
time. so as you see there, they are very concerned about the process how this played out today. they are essentially saying this is how democrats wanted to play out. the more interesting piece of this i think was he was essentially saying the democrats are too chicken to call impeachment hearings. he is not wrong the democrats would have more potools at thei disposal because it would be a judicial proceeding, the only judicial proceeding that congress can undertake. but again, i really just think it underskcores the bipartisan. republicans defending the attorney general across the board, democrats of course deeply questioning his credibility. and of course there is that huge discrepancy out there between what bill bar ig has said happened with robert mueller and any concerns about how barr handled the release of this report and that letter, that very clearly shows that theso 1
w special counsel was concerned. >> and eroding the confidence in our government. and i want to bring in barbara mcquaid in. professor at the mitch school of law. and also elyse and ron are with me. barbara, i must go to you first. it seems that democrats are focusing on the legal remedies here. like holding barr in contempt, possibly issuing subpoenas to members of the administration and holding them to that. did any of these ideas actually change the game? because thus far the white house is shrugging them off. >> well, it could. usually both parties try to reach some sort of com days in t accommodation in the interest of avoiding these showdowns. but what they really want i think is to have william barr answer be their questions and not subject to the five minute
of grand standing and a witness to filibuster around the time. to have a lawyer ask questions in one long 30 minute segment where you can to meaningful followup and probe inconsistencies between what someone said previously and what they are saying today. i think that that is what they are trying to get to. i think that they want to do it without resorting to these things like contempt. but they are willing to play those cards if they need to. >> and elyse, as the political analyst here, the democratic strategy, does it make sense? >> i actually think that they are on the upswing now. barr had really came out of the gate with his executive sumg ma. he owned the narrative for a bit. and yesterday barr looked slippery. and by not showing up today, he looks like he is afraid to take questions and not fulfilling his duty as a person who is paid by the taxpayers of this great
country. and he won't show up and answer questions that are put out by their democratically elected representatives 37. >> ron, let's go to the court of public opinion. would democrats have played it better to drop their demands on barr as far as letting him be questioned by the attorneys and just got him in the witness chair? >> i agree that the longer the questioning the better off the democrats might have appeared. and while it does look more like a show, and we've seen this in prior situations where these five minute increments are -- people are either cut off in the midst of asking questions or in the midst of making statements. the witness doesn't get enough time. i think that it makes not only for bad optics, but for bad content for people to better understand what the actual core issues are facing the -- involving situations like this. >> matters so much. stick around, i want to bring in pennsylvania democratic congresswoman madeline dean who is on the judiciary committee, also an attorney. congresswoman, thank you for joining me. what is your reaction to what
unfolded in the hearing this morning? >> what i saw was majority party trying to do its constitutional duty of oversight. and i saw a circus on the other side. we also saw an empty chair. attorney general barr chose not to cooperate, chose not to speak for the american people about the facts of the mueller report. and his obstruction of us getting that information. remember yesterday we were owed -- the committee was owed the if yfull documents under subpoena. department of justice, and we have a letter from the department, ignored that subpoena and instead chose not to come forward. the empty chair was really revealing to me because as i sat there and in this grave moment, it reminded me that mr. barr is less and less relevant every single day. i care less about whether he comes before us. we need to hear from mr. mueller. mr. barr has proven position to be an attorney for the
president. has obstructed our equal responsibility of oversight at this grave moment. so the empty chair said it all for me. >> but he's not irrelevant, he is the get all of the information out to the american people, who most likely are not going to read 400 pages, would a better strategy be to drop the demands and simply get barr in that chair so you are in a position to reveal more to america, all of the underlying issues that are in there? because whether ore criminalityt of unethical behavior. >> we will fight for having the questioning before the full committee, including staff counsel. it's appropriate. it's right. it meets the gravity of this moment. just because we didn't have barr before us today does not mean that we will not be able to use
the levers of our legal system to call him in contempt and to bring him before us. what i said was, he is less and less relevant. as mueller's letters and telephone call revealed, mr. mueller was very concerned about the mischaracterization by mr. barr of his report and its findings. that's what makes him less relevant. he is not an honest broker of information. we will have him before us. we will do that. more important will be mr. mueller's testimony, mar. mcgahn's testimony. we have a duty to step down this road of constitutional oversight of an admission that's corrupt and chaotic. we will do our duty. >> you feel confident you have the levers to get them to sit down, whether bill barr or don mcgahn or robert mueller? >> we have subpoena power. look at the flagrant disregard of our subpoena authority with mr. barr not producing the
documents and not showing up today. we have the levers. unfortunately, they are making it very, very ugly. that's an administration that will have to answer. one of the things the chairman said today is, history will hold all of us accountable. mr. barr, mr. trump. but all of us on the judiciary committee, republican and democrat, history will hold us account. i want to say we did our duty, we uncovered the facts for the american people. >> it's stunning that robert mueller, a truly chain of command type of guy, would take such efforts to write that letter, for that letter to make its way to the media. clearly, robert mueller is disappointed or frustrated with how bill barr handled those 400 pages. what are your expectations when and if you get that testimony from robert mueller? >> it tells you the seriousness with which he took the consideration of writing that letter. he knew that mr. barr was misrepresenting over and over again to the american people what was found in that report.
robert mueller in the letter worries about the confusion and calls out directly mr. barr to end the confusion that he is creating for the american people, saying no collusion, saying this is all over, nothing to see here. mr. mueller shows himself over and over again to be a very credible, honest broker of information on one of the most serious investigations that we could have, russian interference with our election and an administration and president willing to obstruct justice. i take that letter very seriously. he knew the gravity of it when he is coming out against the attorney general for whom he works when he told him, you are not giving the american people the truth. >> thank you so much for joining me this morning. my panel with me. barbara, bill barr didn't read all of the underlying information, didn't follow-up on the evidence. lindsey graham hadn't gone through all 400 pages. that is where the truth lies.
all of the important context that the american people need to understand. how important is it for them personally to have read all of this context? kamala harris went after at least bill barr hard over it. >> yeah. i think that one of the things that i would maybe disagree with senator harris about is, i would not have expected william barr to go read all of the underlying evidence. >> why? >> that's what robert mueller did. i would expect him, however, to read the 448-page document. robert mueller and his team did the job of the underlying investigation and presented their conclusions to william barr. he accepted their findings at face value. what i do take exception with, it's incredibly extraordinary for an attorney general to have someone -- he equated robert mueller with a u.s. attorney. to have a u.s. attorney conduct a 22-month investigation about a significant matter and then overrule him within 48 hours based on his reading of the
report. it's extraordinarily rare for an attorney general to overrule the recommendation of the attorney general who lived with the case and presented the case. before that would happen, there would be a series of meetings where they went back and forth and discussed things and tried to figure out what is the thing that i'm hanging my decision on and then there might be an examination of the underlying evidence of those few things. so for this to happen within 48 hours is truly extraordinary and says to me that william barr had his mind made up before he saw that report. >> jerry nadler is speaking now. let's listen in. >> we don't want limitations by congress that the constitution imposes on us. this is a grave danger for our american democracy. we must do all we can in the name of the american people to ensure that when the trump administration ends, we have as robust a democracy to hand to our children as was handed to us. today say dis a day of testing.
everyone will be judges in terms of how they react to this. >> how concerned are you this is all going to get bogged down in the courts and because of your insiste insistence to let staff attorneys do questioning, that it will take longer? >> we will use what process we have in the courts and elsewhere to get the answers and the information we need, in particular, the subpoena for the entire un-redacted mueller report and the underlying documents was due yesterday. the attorney general, we got a letter last night refusing to adhere to the subpoena. this is indefensible and it is part of the attack on american democracy by this administration. we will make one more good faith attempt to negotiate and to get the access to the report that we need. and then if we don't get that, we will proceed to hold the
attorney general in contempt and will go from there. >> what's your time line on that? how long are you going to give the attorney general to answer your questions and to negotiate in good faith? >> a day or two. >> by the end of the week? >> maybe by monday. we will see. >> why not negotiate from middle ground about the format of today's hearing? it's harder to get answers you have been asking. >> we cannot concede to the administration the ability to control the manner in which congress does its job. the attorney general is bound, as are our witnesses, to come before the committee. he cannot dictate to us how we will do our job. we feel this smoeftfeel it's th effective way of doing it. it's our decision. >> somebody brought up the idea of using -- your colleague
brought up the idea of fines under contempt as a way to try to get him to comply. is that something that's on the table? how would that work? that's not something we see every day. >> we will explore all the options. >> how do you respond to the doj saying you are a lawyer, why can't you question william barr yourself? >> the administration -- the attorney general apparently is afraid of proper cross examination. we ask questions under the five-minute rule. we have seen a pattern from this administration. witnesses filibuster for four and a half minutes and give a non-responsive answer for the next half a minute and it's on to a different question. may not properly follow-up the way a good cross examiner would. we feel the best way is to have all our members ask their five minutes of questions each and have counsel be able to bat cleanup at the end, follow loose
ends and be able to hold the witness, the attorney general in this case, to ask follow-up questions so that he can't evade as easily as he can. obviously, the attorney general is afraid to face that kind of questioning. what we saw today is besides the attitude of contempt the administration has for congress, what we saw was fear. fear of effective cross examination, period. >> good morning. i'm hallie jackson in washington. you have been watching jerry nadler after another day of remarkable information.
ba nadler opened with this message. >> we will all be held accountable in one way or the other. if he does not provide this committee with the information it demands, and the respect it deserves, mr. barr's moment of accountability will come soon enough. >> as for republicans, they are saying, hey, it didn't have to be this way. >> democrats decided they daidnt want him here today. that's the reason he is not here. >> jeff, i want to start with you. this seemed to