Barr grilled about Mueller letter in heated Senate testimony

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

And extrordinary revelation by the New York Times that in late March the special prosecutor, Mr. Muller wrote a letter to the attorney general complaining thought they're complaining. The matter here is Russia gate, the context and here is the molar report. The weekend of the complaint was the one where the attorney general received the Muller report, and then issued an executive summary, pending the reduction of the Miller report, which came some weeks, later, gentlemen, a very good evening to you. Go to the letter that we now have written by we're told the special prosecutor. Mr. Muller, he signed it. But the sentence that seems to have the most complaint in it, quote, the summary letter the department sent to congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March twenty fourth did not fully capture the context nature and substance of this offices work and conclusions and quote and a. I'm puzzled about this complaint to the attorney general. The word context throws made the word nature is a total. Puzzling and substance of this offices work is this something that's regular exchange between serving a prosecutors and the in the office and the boss himself. Does this happen all the time? Good evening to you. Andy. Good evening, John. No, it's extrordinary. I guess part of it is explained by, you know, people do all kinds of things when they're on their way out the door as some of the staff of this mullah's, and this more self they're apt to do all kinds of stuff when they're going out the door and no longer even cells in the chain of command. But they wouldn't dare have done before that maybe a little of that going on my sense, John is that the sequence of events that's important as attorney general bar pointed out in his testimony was that before bar put out his March twenty four th letter outlining conclusions of Muller's investigation, which he received on two days early on much second before the March twenty four bar letter goes out he gives molar these special counsel an opportunity that we've you the letter before issuing it and Muller declines that opportunity. Bars letter conveys, and this is not something I think that's contestable. That Muller did not make decision on the obstruction charge. Which was quite surprising since that was the main thing that he was brought in I believe to the side. And I think what happened was when bar revealed that Muller had abdicated on the main job that Muller was given to do. There was a lot of press criticism that arose from that. And after hearing all that stuff couple of days, they got miffed, and they sent this letter in and then when bar confronted baller about the letter the day after receiving it PS and quite blank point blank, rather. Are you saying that the letter is inaccurate and Muller, according to bar said, no the letter the complaint was not that. The letter was inaccurate. Was that the press? Coverage was an accurate. So here I think we get to the two things that are of concern to the tender sensibilities of people on Muller staff. One is that they got negative press coverage and because they were the avengers against Trump. They didn't get any negative press coverage. So this was something that was new to them, and I think probably difficult to deal with. And then the second thing is that. Bar is a prosecutor in the old school mold of the Justice department, which is at the prosecutor's job, which is the one that that Muller didn't do on obstruction is to make determination about whether there's enough evidence to charge. Well, whether there's not that's what we need to hear from. Prosecutors not the mood music around the determination, we need that determination that is. Well, part of the problem that it seems from this letter that they've inverted the master server relationship is not the special counsel work for the attorney general. Yes. The the normal chain of command is that the the special counsel reports to the attorney general, but I think that is what happened here was first of all we shouldn't have had a special counsel because there was no crime, and there was no conflict, which the two things you need under the rigs to justify special counsel. They were given that as the Democrats who complained about the firing of me were given a special counsel. Anyway, by Mr. Rosenstein, the the then deputy attorney general, and he made a commitment to the Democrats because they were saying mean things about him in the media. And he wanted them to stop that. He would give Muller basically carte lunch. Muller would have no restrictions. He'd be able to take the investigation wherever he decided to take it. So that would no crime no crime, no parameters. No restrictions on Muller. And then what happened that of importance in the last two months? Is that you know, we got an actual attorney general now who thinks that his job is to be the attorney general, which means he gets to supervise the prosecutors and Muller and his staff got used to operating for two years without any real to provisions, and as a result of that they did things like for example, the microcosm. I think that captures best with the report is like is the George Papadopoulos or the Roger stone indictment. You can pick either one. But both of them are the same thing, you have basically a relatively tiny in the scheme of things process crime that a normal prosecutor would charge a one half power graph indictment saying on you know, on such and such day, the defendant knowingly willfully lied to the FBI, you know, by saying X, and that would be the end of it. Instead with Muller what we got was fourteen. Pages of almost collusion. Nearly collusion. Lots of Russians around here who knows when collusion will happen. And then you put to the last page, and it's got nothing to do with collusion process crime. So that was the way he ran the investigation. And then when we got to the end, he hopes that that would be the way his report would go out. And instead what bar told him essentially was, you know, this is like a prosecutor's office would not writing screenplay and the public with the bottom line in the investigation, which is what you're supposed to get. The attorney general has now spoken to the Senate Judiciary committee and two members of the committee following the end of the testimony Senator Harris of California's Senator Geraldo of Wii have called for the attorney general's resignation. So this matter is now partisan contest is no longer. Just a search for the facts. However, I mentioned that. In addition, the House Judiciary committee. Cities expecting to turn general to testify and the latest news. The attorney general will not because of unusual demands by the house committee for the terms of that testimony. So we're thrown back on this dispute, and I want to identify the dispute in common in terms of what of us was not a lawyer, which is make you to our lawyers. It very much looks like and the word rift was used in an interview on the New Yorker with a Mr. mazzetti and Mr Schmidt, the two times reporters working this story and first revealed the bar. They Muller letter the word rift was used it very much looks to me as those who seek the president's unhappiness impeachment removal from office are siding with Mr. Muller those who seek to support right now. The Trump administration are siding with Mr. bar that looks? To me. I'm non lawyer to be an. An unequal match Mr. bars, the attorney general, and Mr. and Mr. Mueller is a serves the attorney general, do you believe that there is a head of us that scale of contest he said he said they're going to pick these two men against each other in a pending impeachment inquiry. Well, I think John that the way that that that is being teed up as if it was a contradiction makes an assumption. That's not true. And that is that what congress would have to find for impeachment is the same thing that a prosecutor would have had to sign for indictment and important. A fact they're very different. So what I think happened here is not necessarily that that bar and Muller are in conflict, at least in terms of what the facts love, I think they have some legal disagreements, but I think the thing to keep your eye on here is that bar as the attorney general is conducting himself as a prosecutor. And what prosecutors concern is is is there enough evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. To prove a penal offence in court. That was supposed to be Muller's job too. But I believe, and this is the whole thing about, you know, context and substance, and what I call mood music, and and narrative what Muller decided to do and to make his investigation was not the finding of charges or the decision. Whether charges were justified or not what he decided to do with to craft the narrative, and what you know, the the if there's a conflict here, it's that mo- that bar believes consistent with the with the old line Justice department way of thinking about the job of the prosecutor your job is to find out. There's enough evidence to charge or there, isn't what Muller seems to think is that a prosecutor's job is to write a screenplay of a narrative, which is peppered occasionally by things like processed primes. But otherwise what what your job is is to is to crap a story. That paints the president in as unflattering alive as possible mindful of the fact that congress doesn't need a penal offence in order to impeach. So I think they're serving different purposes more than being in in sexual

Coming up next