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THE SITUATION ROOM

Interview With Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D) Illinois; Interview With Rep. Adam Schiff (D) California; Mueller Completes Russia Report; Attorney General Says He May Notify Congress Of Special Counsel's Principal Conclusion As Soon As This Weekend; Special Counsel Mueller Finishes Russia Probe, Delivers His Report To The Attorney General; DOJ Official: Special Counsel Conclusions "Expected To Be Made Public". Aired on 6-7p ET

Aired March 22, 2019 - 18:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[18:00:00]

PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Let's not forget -- I mean, I know we have said it -- but this investigation is over, and the president never sat down for an interview with Robert Mueller. That is huge.

That was always the big question and something the lawyers never wanted to happen. And they were able to prevent that and prevent any sort of subpoena fight. And we're learning today that Robert Mueller never actually put in the request that was rejected in any way, according to this letter from Barr.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: That's very significant.

Everyone, stay with me.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BLITZER: We're following breaking news, very important news out here in Washington. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

We want to update our viewers here in the United States and around the world on all the dramatic developments unfolding right now.

And, Pamela Brown, let's tell our viewers what we know right now, because there's really significant, historic information coming from the Justice Department.

BROWN: Well, this is a momentous occasion, Wolf.

This nearly two-year investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller has now ended. The attorney general has notified Congress that it is over and he told Congress that he could let them know -- that's the judicial committees -- he could let the -- Judiciary Committees -- let them know as soon as this weekend about the principal conclusions that Robert Mueller reached in the investigation.

This is an investigation, as we know, that has swirled around President Trump since day one of his presidency, nearly two years of investigation. And now we are finding out it has ended today.

Noteworthy in this letter that Bill Barr provided to members of Congress, he says that there were no instances during the special counsel's investigation where any requests were denied. That had always been a big question. Had Robert Mueller wanted to interview the president, subpoena the president for an interview and was denied?

But we're learning today that there were no request he made that were turned down. And this is going very fast, Wolf. It's a surprise to the reporters covering this, that shortly after the attorney general receives the report, that he's going to be telling Congress, members of Congress what the principal conclusions were.

This is a very fast turnaround, because I think the attorney general knows how much public interest there is. But I will tell you, we're already getting a glimpse of what one of the first fights is going to be. And that is going to be over how much the White House is involved.

You saw the letters from Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi saying, we do not want you give the president or his staff a sneak preview of what is in this report. The White House lawyers are with the president at Mar-a-Lago, and they are expecting to be able to be brought into this process to weigh in on executive privilege issues.

So we're going to see how that plays out. But noteworthy, this is in some ways a win for the president, because Laura Jarrett is reporting there are no more indictments that are going to come out. So the president can now say, look, I told you it was a witch-hunt.

(CROSSTALK)

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: I told you there was no collusion.

(CROSSTALK)

BROWN: There was no collusion. And there are no charges relating to collusion, no charges relating to obstruction of justice, and he never had to sit down for an interview.

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: I just want to alert our viewers, and we have been reporting this, Rudy Giuliani, the president's lawyer, just texted me, wants to make sure we have the statement that he and Jay Sekulow, the counselors to the president, private attorneys for the president, have released.

Quote: "We're pleased that the Office of Special Counsel has delivered its report to the attorney general. Pursuant to the regulations, Attorney General Barr will determine the appropriate next steps."

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: They have a couple of victories here, right? Pam was highlighting it.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Different tone.

PROKUPECZ: The president did not have to sit down for an interview. They were so concerned about that because he would get caught up in lies and there'd be perjury traps. OK, so that's now over.

No more people being indicted, sealed, unsealed, no more indictments, Mueller is done. Huge victory for the president.

PEREZ: Right. And keep in mind, I mean, we have a record of what Mueller has done publicly, because we can see it from the court filings, can see it from the charges that he has filed, right, 37 different defendants, including six Trump associates.

I mean, there's a lot of work that has gone into this investigation,. By any measure, right, under normal circumstances, any normal investigation, this has been a fruitful investigation, 675 days' long.

But this is not a normal investigation. This is an investigation that involves the president and his campaign. And so that's the big way -- that's the way we're going to judge this. And the judgment will be based on the idea that they were looking for collusion, they were looking for whether or not there was any conspiracy between people in the Trump campaign and the Russians.

And Robert Mueller did not charge that, Wolf. And according to Laura Jarrett's information, none is coming. So that really I think gives the president a sense of vindication. And we're going to hear that.

(CROSSTALK)

PROKUPECZ: ... special counsel's principal conclusions as soon as this week.

And the idea that they're going to put out conclusions at all, I think that's very striking.

BORGER: Well, it is very striking.

And it occurs to me, when we talk about scrubbing it, that it's been pre-scrubbed. And the question of privilege, which the White House was so worried about, they wanted to get that sneak peek, maybe, so they could -- so they could say, well, this conversation that you're reporting, you can't really report, maybe Barr believe that there are no privilege issues here in the report.

(CROSSTALK)

[18:05:03]

BORGER: We don't know, but the fact that he's going to report that quickly over the weekend may give us a hint that Mueller knows -- that Mueller, in doing this, took all of that into account and know it's going to be public.

(CROSSTALK)

PEREZ: Right.

And I think, look, we -- from our own reporting, we were aware that, certainly by the end of February, Robert Mueller had informed the Justice Department that he was nearing a conclusion, that he was ready to deliver a report.

Bill Barr took office in mid-February. So we knew that this was coming. And so the question has been, why the delay? Why -- everybody who was involved here had been briefed and was told that they could -- that they would be seeing a report.

(CROSSTALK)

PEREZ: So the question is, what has happened in the intervening three or four weeks? It appears that there's been some scrubbing, there's been some work behind the scenes to make sure that the report that came to Bill Barr was essentially ready for prime time, was ready...

(CROSSTALK)

PEREZ: Right, exactly, could withstand the scrutiny that they know is coming.

Let me get Jeffrey Toobin to react to that.

Go ahead, Jeffrey.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think there's a big distinction here between conclusions and the underlying evidence in the report.

I mean, conclusions cannot be privileged. They cannot be classified. I mean, a conclusion is, there was obstruction of justice. There was not obstruction of justice. There was or was not a relationship between the Trump campaign and Russian interests.

Those , I can't imagine there would be any sort of privilege or classified information issue. The underlying evidence is where things get complicated. And that's where you may see the White House asking for and probably receiving permission for a first look.

But I do think the one thing that is a 100 percent certainty is that the president is going to claim victory, because the president always victory, regardless of the facts. And the way this is coming out, without the underlying facts first, that there will be conclusions first, the president is certainly going to be in a position to declare victory, probably, it looks like this weekend.

BLITZER: Well, speaking of the president, let's go over to the White House.

Jim Acosta is our chief White House correspondent.

And I know you're getting reaction over there as well.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. BLITZER: Significant reaction.

ACOSTA: That's right, Wolf.

And the president is down at Mar-a-Lago for the weekend. But Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, she did put out a statement, and it really emphasizes how they're in the early stages of looking at all this. We can show this to you.

It says: "The next steps are up to the attorney general, William Barr. We look forward to the process taking its course. The White House has not received or been briefed on the special counsel's report."

I just spoke to a White House official just a short while ago who said that they haven't really sorted out the timetable in terms of when they're going to be reviewing this, how they're going to be reviewing this and so on. So they're at -- they're at the early stage of this, like the rest of us, waiting for these details to come down.

But a couple of things I want to point out, Wolf. One is, I talked to legal team source -- a source familiar with the president's legal team strategy. And I think this is something that we should be looking forward to hearing from the president's team in the coming days, is that they feel like they pursued a strategy of cooperation throughout all of this.

Yes, the president, Rudy Giuliani had a strategy of undermining the credibility of the Mueller probe, but, behind the scenes, the way the lawyers feel as that they were highly cooperative with the special counsel's office, they were providing all sorts of documents and so on.

This is the kind of stuff you're going to be hearing from the president's lawyers and supporters in the coming days. One other thing we want to point out, Wolf, and this goes to the conversation you were just having a few moments ago, I talked to a Trump campaign adviser just recently who said that they felt inside the Trump campaign, inside the president's political team, that this Mueller Report -- at the very end of all of this, that this Mueller report was going to clear the decks for them heading into the 2020 campaign.

And so just as the clouds are parting here in Washington, there was a bit of rain this afternoon, there is an expectation inside Trump world that this Mueller report really clears away a lot of the clouds that were hanging over the president's head.

Almost every day, we were talking about this Russia investigation and the anticipation inside Trump world, president's supporters, political team and so on is that they're going to be able to charge into the 2020 campaign without this sword hanging over their heads. And that is a huge and significant victory for the president.

And one other thing, Wolf is, talking to this Trump campaign adviser, their sense of it is, is that the Democrats up on Capitol Hill are not going to let this go, they're going to want to continue this pace of investigations all the way into the 2020 campaign. They feel like inside the Trump campaign that is not good political

strategy, and that is going to backfire on the Democrats. They like being in the position of saying, hey, we want to move forward here. Haven't you had enough? And that Democrats may not want to do that.

[18:10:02]

So all of those things, Wolf, all those talking points, I think, we will be hearing in the coming days. And I do think it's remarkable, Wolf hearing, from this Trump campaign adviser, describing Robert Mueller as a Boy Scout.

That was one way that the special counsel was described. That is just a 180-degree turn from the kind of rhetoric we have been hearing from the president, his supporters up until now.

And if we start hearing the president and his folks start to praise Robert Mueller, I think you will know exactly how they feel inside Trump world as this report and the details are coming forward, Wolf.

BLITZER: Because over these past two years, we heard the word witch- hunt, we heard the word hoax so many times from the president. We will see if that continues right now.

ACOSTA: The witch may be leaving town, Wolf. That's right.

BLITZER: All right, stand by.

I want to bring in the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Congressman Adam Schiff. He's joining us on the phone right now.

Congressman, you heard Robert Mueller won't be handing down any additional indictments, according to a Justice Department official. Does that suggest to you that this report will vindicate the president?

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: I think what the report will do will set out the prosecutorial decisions, which cases he felt he had proved beyond a reasonable doubt and took to indictment, and which cases he felt the evidence may have been clear or convincing or a preponderance or the evidence was not sufficient to take to a jury.

But it's important for people to realize that those are the criminal -- those are the criminal issues. The counterintelligence issues, though, are separate and fully independent and important matter.

This began as a counterintelligence investigation, that is, an investigation into whether the president or others around him were acting as agents of a foreign power, either wittingly or unwittingly.

And it's going to be very important that that evidence be shared with the Congress. And, indeed, there's a statutory obligation for the Justice Department to do so, so that we can make sure the country is protected, whether it amounts to proof beyond a reasonable doubt or not.

BLITZER: So, be specific, Congressman. Tell us what you are going to be looking for when you get this report.

SCHIFF: Well, first of all, we want to make sure that the report is made public in its entirety. The House overwhelmingly voted do it.

The attorney general said that he would be as transparent as possible, consistent with law and policy. That means making the whole report public. So, we're going to insist on that.

But, second, we want to see the underlying evidence, because there may be conduct that was criminal, but not sufficiently provable, or there may be a broader body of conduct that is deeply compromising to our national security, but is not a criminal matter.

And to give you one illustration, the president during the campaign, and quite at odds with his public pronouncements of having no business dealings with the Russians, was secretly trying to make the biggest deal of his life and get the Kremlin's help with it to build this tower in Moscow.

That is deeply compromising. And, indeed, when that project was discovered, that the negotiations went on well after the president said they were, the Kremlin tried to participate in the cover-up, along with the president.

If there's other compromising information like that, the Congress needs to know, so it can protect the country.

BLITZER: How should lawmakers, Congressmen Schiff, respond, if the attorney general, Bill Barr, decides to withhold what you would call significant information from Congress?

SCHIFF: Well, first of all, we would need to point out to the department that it would be establishing a horrendous double standard, that, during the last Congress, when the Republicans were in charge, the Justice Department provided over 880,000 pages of discovery to the Congress in an investigation in which no one was indicted.

That is the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation. It did so because it felt there was a significant public interest and because the Congress insisted.

Well, we are insisting now. The public interest is, frankly, even greater, because the allegations here are far more serious than those against Hillary Clinton. And so I would first argue that the department cannot adopt a double standard and should cooperate willingly.

But, if it doesn't, we will have to subpoena the evidence. We will have to subpoena Mueller or others to come before the Congress and answer questions, because, if there is evidence of a compromise, whether it arises to the level of criminal conduct or not, it needs to be exposed.

BLITZER: So, as you mentioned, you and so many other Democrats, you want to see the underlying evidence, everything that was discovered over the past two years, not just what we call the top-line conclusions.

Are you confident you can win that fight, if you have to, if it has to wind up in court?

SCHIFF: I am confident we would win that fight, because the department has demonstrated over the last two years that its policy is consistent with that kind of disclosure, that it gave those hundreds of thousands of pages of discovery in the Clinton investigation to the Congress, because there was a public interest and need to know.

[18:15:05]

And that need is far greater here. In the case of Hillary Clinton, who did not become president, there was little risk of a cover-up. In the present case, where the president has daily, including today, sought to discredit the Mueller investigation, has frequently made false statements about his dealings with the Russians that of this family and campaign, there is all too much reason to fear a cover-up.

And, for that reason, the department really needs to be transparent. And so, ultimately, we're going to prevail. I don't want -- I would hate to be the department lawyers arguing to a court that somehow a policy that allowed them to provide voluminous discovery in the last Congress prevents them providing answers to Congress now.

BLITZER: What are the outstanding questions your committee, the House Intelligence Committee, for example, will continue to investigate regardless of what the Mueller report reveals?

SCHIFF: Well, there are any number of examples that I could give you information that we have obtained in our investigation, information that's become clear from the special counsel investigation that may not be neatly summed up in a decision or disclosure that we decided to indict A, but not B.

And to give you an illustration, we know that Paul Manafort was providing polling data to someone linked to Russian intelligence. Now, that may not have shown up in an indictment. But, nonetheless, it raises profound questions about why the presidential campaign of Donald Trump was providing polling data, apparently detailed polling data, to someone linked to Russian intelligence.

That is just one of the great many of unanswered questions. And if they're not answered, then we're going to have to answer them. We're going to have to find the truth.

And I would say this in terms of the administration, which at least professes a desire for Congress to work expeditiously on its investigations. The degree to which they're transparent and provide this information from the Justice Department will greatly facilitate our ability to work swiftly.

If we have to completely reinvent the wheel, it will obviously be far more time-consuming and difficult.

BLITZER: Will you call Robert Mueller to testify before your committee, Mr. Chairman? And, if you do, will it be behind closed doors or public?

SCHIFF: If necessary, we will call Bob Mueller or others before our committee. I would imagine that the Judiciary Committee may call the attorney general before its committee, if necessary.

At the end of the day, the department is under a statutory obligation to provide our committee with any information regarding significant intelligence activities, including counterintelligence. And it's hard to imagine anything more significant than what Bob Mueller has been investigating.

This began as a counterintelligence investigation by the FBI. It began as the same in our committee. And we have a right to be informed, and we will demand to be informed about it.

BLITZER: As you know, very sensitive information is sometimes passed on to what they call the Gang of Eight, the Democratic and Republican leadership of the Intelligence Committees, the leaders of the House and Senate, on a very, very confidential basis.

Usually, it's the most sensitive classified information. Would that be adequate, as far as you're concerned, some of the most sensitive counterintelligence-, intelligence-related information that Robert Mueller may have collected, would that be OK if it's just passed on to the so-called Gang of Eight?

And you're a member of the Gang of Eight.

SCHIFF: I am a member of the Gang of Eight.

But, no, it would not suffice for the heads of the agencies simply to come in and tell eight members of Congress what happened. Now, there may be a select subset of information that they feel they can only share because of the very sensitive sources which derived the information.

But the volumes of information that the special counsel has found, that needs to be shared with the whole committee, so that we can evaluate what steps have to be taken to protect the country if there's compromise.

And so, no, this is not something that they can simply come in, in an afternoon and brief the Gang of Eight and think, OK, we're done. We're going to need to have the same kind of discovery that we saw during the last Congress and, indeed, it may be far more extensive than that, to make sure that U.S. policy is driven by U.S. interests, and not because the president or anyone around him is looking to make money from the Kremlin on a tower or anything else.

BLITZER: Congressman Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

You're going to be very busy beginning this weekend, when, presumably, you're going to be getting this report, or at least the principal conclusions from the attorney general.

Thanks so much for joining us.

SCHIFF: Thank you.

BLITZER: All right, I want to bring in our Senior Congressional Correspondent, Manu Raju. He's up on Capitol Hill.

Manu, you just heard the chairman of the Intelligence Committee say Congress will have to subpoena the evidence, if necessary, even subpoena Robert Mueller, if necessary. Do you know that -- if that process is already under way?

[18:20:05]

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: They have been talking about that for some time.

But now that this report is complete, expect it to be intensified in the coming days. Adam Schiff has been trying to make the case that the underlying evidence underpinning the decisions by Bob Mueller, what to prosecute, what not to prosecute, that needs to be turned over to Congress.

What he's citing in particular is what happened in the last Congress, when Republicans controlled the House. At that time, they were still investigating what happened in 2016 with the FBI, its decision not to prosecute Hillary Clinton.

At that time, they turned over tens of thousands of e-mails to Capitol Hill as part of Justice to show why the Justice Department did not pursue prosecution for Hillary Clinton. He says that precedent essentially should apply to this situation right now involving Bob Mueller, that should be turned over at least to Congress.

We're hearing some members, including Jerry Nadler, saying that underlying evidence should also be made public, in addition to the report being made public. So this process, Wolf, is going to be begin to take shape here in the coming days.

Now, what else was interesting, Wolf, was when Schiff just told you that Bob Mueller, he wants to bring him before the House Intelligence Committee. The question is, will Schiff allow that to happen in a public setting? Schiff has been saying this needs to be transparent. Will the public see Bob Mueller testify?

He seemed to suggest that Bill Barr, the attorney general, would also testify, but before the House Judiciary Committee, trying to essentially set the lanes of sorts, through what the House Intelligence Committee will do going forward and the House Judiciary Committee will go -- going forward.

But also Schiff is suggesting that perhaps even if there was no more indictments, that that could also mean some compromising information involving the president. So we will see that argument from Democrats going forward, that even though there was no indictment for the president or anyone else indicted, that there could be troubling information. The question is, will they see any of that information? Will the public see any of that information? And will they see any of the underlying evidence? That's all the big questions going forward and what the Democrats here are gearing up to fight in the days and weeks ahead, Wolf.

BLITZER: Those are important issues.

Jeffrey Toobin, I want to get your reaction to what we just heard from the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff.

TOOBIN: Well, the Intelligence Committee is going full speed ahead, regardless of what Mueller finds.

And the counterintelligence issues here are different, but they're also very -- but they are, in many respects, as significant as the criminal issues. One thing Adam Schiff has talked about extensively, and he mentioned it with you, is the whole issue of what was going on between candidate Trump and Russia during the campaign.

That is not -- that is a counterintelligence issue. It is not necessarily a criminal issue. And the issue of whether the president was -- or candidate Trump was doing Russia's bidding during the campaign, because he wanted that big payday with Trump Tower Moscow, that is something that Schiff and his committee are going to continue to investigate.

And that was true regardless of what Mueller concludes. But one of the great lessons, it seems to me, of the Trump presidency is that no one ever changes their mind about anything. I mean, the fact is, regardless of what Mueller finds or found, the same 40 percent were going to support the president, the same 55 percent were going to be opposed to him.

And we are in a political trench warfare here. But I think those of us who would like to know the facts, who would like to know the underlying conclusions of this investigation, we're the ones who should be paying attention and seeing what actual facts come out of this investigation.

BORGER: And I also think what we're seeing here is kind of a slow political turning.

And we obviously haven't seen the summary, but in listening to Chairman Schiff, we have heard Chairman Schiff for two years say, I'm going to wait for Bob Mueller, I'm going to wait for Bob Mueller. Bob Mueller is going to tell us everything.

And now he's saying, well, maybe we need to bring him before the committee, or, obviously, he talked about Trump Tower and what the president was telling the American public vs. what he was doing in private.

And I wouldn't be surprised if the tables turned, and you heard the president say, I'm vindicated, and Bob Mueller becomes his hero. I wouldn't go that far. But then, suddenly, he trusts the Justice Department again.

So you're -- it's kind of a flip. It's slow motion right now, because we're just getting these indicators, but I do think that you're going to see Democrats not complaining about Mueller, per se, because Schiff did not, but say, you know what? We need to see the underlying documents, because they're thinking of the political issues here, and more than the legal issues at this point, because Mueller has said -- or the Justice Department has said, no more indictments.

[18:25:13]

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: And look for White House officials to pay attention to what people like Adam Schiff are saying.

BORGER: Right.

COLLINS: For so long, they have really built up the Mueller report.

So White House officials are -- if he tries to downplay it, they're going to latch onto that. They have already talked about that behind the scenes.

But I'm told from people that I have spoken with in the last hour or so they were actually surprised that the attorney general, Bill Barr, said that he could reveal some information to lawmakers as soon as this weekend. They were not expecting that, but they think it signals something good for them. They think that means that maybe the report is not that long, it doesn't have as many bombshells as some Democrats have alluded that it could.

So they're looking for that too. But they're watching this very closely. The president is at Palm Beach at his Mar-a-Lago resort and he's got a bigger staff presence around him than normal. Pam noted that the two big legal heavyweights, Pat Cipollone and Emmet Flood, are down there, but also several other members of the legal team, we're told, both of the press secretaries and several other West Wing officials, Wolf.

And usually the president doesn't travel with that many people to Palm Beach.

BLITZER: Yes, he's got his legal team over there.

I want to bring in Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi right now. He's a Democrat who serves on the two committees investigating the president, the Intelligence Committee and the House Oversight Committee.

Congressman, thanks so much for joining us.

So what questions do you hope this report will answer?

REP. RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI (D), ILLINOIS: Thank you. Well, thanks for having me on, Wolf.

First of all, I agree with Chairman Schiff, not only the report needs to be made public, but all the underlying documents supporting it.

The types of questions that I will be asking to -- I mean, asking myself right now, and that I hope I get answered in this report are, what's the scope of the investigation? What were the matters that he decided not to pursue because he might have thought it was beyond his scope? And what are the -- what are the underlying facts?

And what are the -- what's the reasoning supporting the decisions that he made?

BLITZER: The special counsel is not recommending -- recommending any additional indictments, according to a Justice Department official. Does that surprise you?

KRISHNAMOORTHI: Not necessarily.

I mean, just one question that arose as you were saying that was, Justice guidelines say you cannot indict the president. So what are the facts, or what are the allegations that have been made against the president that he thought there was evidence to support, but he couldn't go the ultimate step?

And then what are some of the things outside of the scope that might require other U.S. attorney's offices or other investigative agencies to potentially pursue and prosecute?

BLITZER: Do you have confidence in the attorney general, Bill Barr, that he will handle the release of this report adequately, from your perspective?

KRISHNAMOORTHI: Well, I have confidence that he's looking at the report now, but I don't have full confidence that he's going to make it transparent to the American public.

And 80 or 90 percent of the American public want this report to be made public. They paid for it . They should deserve to see it, and they should be able to see the underlying documents and material supporting the report.

BLITZER: Well, the attorney general says the special counsel's principal conclusions will be presented to Congress perhaps as early as this weekend.

Congressman Krishnamoorthi, thanks so much for joining us.

KRISHNAMOORTHI: Thank you. Thank you so much.

BLITZER: All right, let's get reaction.

Susan Hennessey, our legal analyst, is joining us. She used to be a lawyer at the National Security Agency.

So what is your reaction to these truly historic, dramatic developments?

SUSAN HENNESSEY, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: So, I think one of the most significant things is, we have seen information that we know -- that we sort of know and accept as true because we have seen them presented in indictments out of the special counsel's office thus far.

Then there's an enormous body of reported information, information about the president's conduct, about the conduct of individuals close to him. And so I think one of the most significant things about the actual substance of this report is the extent to which it is going to close the gap between information that's been credibly reported and information that has actually been submitted as accurate in a legal setting.

That's going to be significant because we have seen Congress really, really holding off here, saying they're waiting, they want to see within the Mueller report. And so I do think all of those narrative facts, even if they're not technically new information, could be really, really significant, if they end up being included in that report, because those are the facts that Congress is going to accept a sort of its baseline of reality and of known information in making decisions forward, including potentially decisions regarding impeachment.

BLITZER: Joey Jackson's here in THE SITUATION ROOM as well.

You have been studying all these documents, all the reaction, all the statements. What do you think?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: So, look, here's the issue with why the underlying reports are relevant, why they matter.

We can all look at similar information, and we could draw different conclusions. I don't even know, by the fact that their principal conclusions are going to be released, that that's going to be the be- all and end-all.

[18:30:01]

Those are Mueller's principal conclusions. Perhaps you look at the underlying facts and the underlying documents and you draw alternate conclusions to what the Special Counsel has.

And so I think as this moves forward, that's going to be relevant. The reporting, in and of itself, is not going to satisfy the appetite, I don't believe, of those who are valuating. And I think Congress has made clear, and certainly, as to your interview with Adam Schiff, that there's a lot more here.

I also think that, let's remember, we're talking about this historic day, of course, but there are other things. When you look at the issue of no indictments, the President can be indicted.

And so does it address the ultimate issue of who we're all looking to see is the real kingpin, so to speak here, does that satisfy us that the President was not involved in the event that there was overwhelming information, Wolf, as against the President. They couldn't do anything anyway. And let's see also what the Southern District is going to do as it relates to other -- BORGER: But how much can they mention him since he is the President? They can't indict him. So he's a declination, which you don't want to release to the public. And Jeffrey was saying before, and I agree, you can't write a report like this without somehow talking about the President's role or non-role or unwitting role.

JACKSON: Yes. I don't think you can dance around that. I think the fact is is that this is very much about the President, it's about the president -- people connected to the President. And I just think there's no way not to disclose the relevant information that points to the President to say, well, we need to protect the President. That's not going to happen.

BROWN: And that's exactly why the White House is girding for a fight, as Kaitlan well knows. I mean, look, this is one chapter ending. But this opens up a new chapter. And that is this fight over the report, a subpoena fight. You heard the President say, publicly, let the people see the report. But behind the scenes, there has been a lot of strategizing, legal strategizing to fight any subpoena from the democrats. And sources I speak with expect this to ultimately be decided by a federal judge.

BLITZER: It's interesting, Kaitlan, because the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, issued a statement. I'll read a sentence at the end. He says, the Attorney General has said he intends to provide as much information as possible. As I have said previously, I sincerely hope he will do so as soon as he can and with as much openness and transparency as possible.

COLLINS: Well, that's what they are all going to say. And so the White House is also saying, we hope to see transparency. We hope to let Bill Barr do whatever he thinks is the best here. But we know what the President has been saying not only behind the scenes, to his allies and his aides but also publicly to reporters in front of cameras, on Twitter, about what he really thinks about this investigation.

And, essentially, he has framed it as it's two ways. If it looks good for me, then I trust the report and I trust Robert Mueller did a good job. If it reflects poorly on me, then I think this is a hoax and that they are after me. So the President has already essentially set up how he is going to react here. We basically know without even knowing what's in the report what the President is going to say.

I do think not only the President's role will obviously be of interest, but also what other roles of like senior officials, including potentially Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, other people who were around the President during these times that have had intense speculation on them by the Special Counsel, what does the report say about them? Because Jared Kushner is one of these people, he still works in the White House. He has a top secret intelligence or, excuse me security clearance. So it will be interesting not only what does this say about the President but also the people around him.

JACKSON: However, on that issue -- I mean, I think that issue is, in large measure, answered. It may be embarrassing what they did. What they did may be questionable. But we know there's no indictment. And so that's the critical question as to whether their conduct really crossed the line.

BORGER: And I'm just hearing from a source who was involved with the President's legal defense, who says that he is not surprised that there are not other indictments. But he is also saying what we have been talking about, which is that he likely wrote the report in a way that did not include any executive privilege stuff and that Mueller and Barr are professional and he wanted to spare -- he believes, wanted to spare Barr a nightmare in giving it to him that way.

So when we have been talking about having this pre-scrubbed, that's his supposition because Mueller knew that if he handed all of that over to Barr, it would be terrible and it would leak. And so he did it in advance so that Barr can then release this quickly.

BLITZER: Yes, Jeffrey.

TOOBIN: Maybe. Maybe. I mean, remember, let's talk about some specifics, something we know that was of tense interest to Mueller, which was the conversation on Air Force One after The New York Times reported the meeting at Trump Tower in June of 2016, that was designed to get dirt on Hillary Clinton.

It is quite clear that Mueller was investigating whether the President engaged in putting out a false narrative. If -- and that's just something that this report, if it's at all of value, has to address that whole issue.

[18:34:59]

If the President's lawyers want to take a hard line on executive privilege, they could assert that any discussion of the President with his advisers about the trump tower meeting is covered by executive privilege. So the idea that you could somehow just dodge executive privilege as an issue, I just don't see how it's possible.

And I think that everyone involved, starting with the White House, is going to have to ask hard questions about whether they want this information to come out or they're going to fight it. And I don't think it's a simple calculation

BLITZER: And so, Jeffrey, I just want to be precise because you point out that since this Justice Department official says there will be no further indictments, Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, both of whom participated in that Trump Tower meeting with Russians, they can breathe easily right now. Is that what you're saying?

TOOBIN: Exactly what I'm saying. And I think it's very important to be fair here. I mean, a lot of people have said the democratic equivalent of lock her up, they have been saying, lock up Donald Trump Jr., lock up Jared Kushner. Jerome Corsi had a draft indictment presented to him, the conservative writer.

And we now know that Robert Mueller is not indicting these people. And I think it's just -- it's the only fair thing to do is to point out that that is a very significant development and it is very good news for the people who are not being indicted.

COLLINS: Jeffrey is definitely right about that. And that is something big that the White House officials and people surrounding the President weren't totally sure what the answer to that was going to be. But the question that remains is what this report reveals, what we find out, what it could lead to other investigations. This is --

BLITZER: Hold on one second. Chuck Schumer, the Senate democratic leader, is speaking up.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: Okay. Now that Special Counsel Mueller has submitted his report to the Attorney General, it's imperative for Mr. Barr to make the full report and provide its underlying documentation and findings to Congress. Sorry. I didn't say that right. I left out a word.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you should leave the mic a little closer to you.

SCHUMER: Okay. Is this better? Okay. Now that Special Counsel Mueller has submitted his report to the Attorney General, it's imperative for Mr. Barr to make the full report public and provide its underlying documentation and findings to Congress. Attorney General Barr must not give President Trump, his lawyers or his staff any sneak preview of Special Counsel Mueller's findings or evidence. And the White House must not be allowed to interfere in decisions about what parts of those findings or evidence should be made public.

The Special Counsel's Investigation focused on questions that go to the integrity of our democracy itself, whether foreign powers corruptly interfered in our elections and whether unlawful means were used to hinder the investigation. The American people have a right to the truth. The watchword is transparency.

In conclusion, the President himself has called without qualification for the report to be made public. There is no reason on God's green earth why Attorney General Barr should do any less.

We're only going to take one question or two. Any?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The indications are that there are no new indictments as the word coming out. Do you think that's the case, that there's an apology to be made to the President?

SCHUMER: I think we should wait for the full report to be issued before jumping to any conclusions. I should say that again. I think we should wait for full report to be made public before jumping to any conclusions.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senator Schumer, how confident are you that we're going to get the full depth of that report with a Trump- appointed Attorney General?

SCHUMER: I think the demand of the public is overwhelming to see the report when it's on such a serious matter, and it will be made public. Public pressure will force it to be.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Any sort of timeframe you can foresee?

SCHUMER: No. Thank you, everybody.

Last question to the Yankee fan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will you address to the House and the Senate accept what it says? And if it's good or bad, do you or not --

SCHUMER: Look, I'm not going to draw any conclusions until we see not only the whole report but the underlying findings and documentation.

Thank you, everybody.

BLITZER: A very consistent line coming from the democratic leadership in the House and the Senate. They want to see everything, everything that was presented by the Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Mark Mazzetti is joining us right now. He's with "The New York Times." He's also a CNN analyst. So what do you think, Mark? What do you think is going to happen?

[18:40:00]

MARK MAZZETTI, WASHINGTON INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT, "THE NEW YORK TIMES:: Well, it was very clear from what the democrats on your show have been saying, is that this is just the beginning, that they want not just a summary of findings, they want the full report and they want all of the files of Mueller.

And, clearly, this is something they have been doing for some time, setting this up that this is a fight that's going on for a long time, that Mueller -- some have even sort of said he had this narrow mandate that Congress will continue to look at it. So this is a political issue that you can be sure is going to go right through the election. Whereas the Trump side, of course, has basically set this up as collusion or bust. There is either collusion or this whole thing has been for naught, and so that they have laid that groundwork as well.

I think one thing Jeffrey said earlier, which was a very interesting point, which is about the extent that the report will get into the President's actions with his advisers as president, because this is central to the obstruction of justice inquiry. If the White House is going to try to assert executive privilege about any of his communications as President, well, that's really going to be the fight over what the Mueller report found on the issue of obstruction of justice, which we know has been a major part of the Mueller investigation. So that's one thing I'm looking forward to, not only in the summary but in the future.

BLITZER: So where do you think -- how long is it going to take, do you think, the principal conclusions supposedly are going to be released perhaps as early as this weekend? How long is it going to take to get all of that information, assuming that the new Attorney General wants to be as transparent as possible? MAZZETTI: Right. And we don't know what they are going to put out. I mean, he has agreed to do a summary. He has not agreed to do the entire report. And the democrats are demanding that he does so. I wouldn't necessarily read in too much into the idea that if he presents his summary as early as tomorrow over the weekend, that that means one thing or the other, people will try to spin that. But I think it's just something we shouldn't speculate on.

But, clearly, they are arguing that -- I mean, the battleground now moves to this idea of the entire report and the files, we need to know all the threads that Mueller was pursuing.

BLITZER: All right. Mark, stand by. Pamela Brown is with us as well. You are getting more information. The democrats are all saying they want to see everything. The Attorney General in his letter to the leadership of the House and Senate Judiciary Committee says, I remain committed to as much transparency as possible and I will keep you informed as to the status of my review.

BROWN: That's right. So it's interesting seeing the reactions from all different areas. I've been talking with people close to the White House who have a reaction of, look, this is good for us. We feel absolved. There aren't going to be any more indictments. There haven't been indictments on -- related to conspiracy or obstruction. They feel like this is a good day for them.

But it's interesting listening to the democrats. They are clear therein say, look, we want the report and the underlying documents. Because as Joey said, someone can reach one conclusion looking at documents and another person could reach another conclusion looking at the underlying documents. So that is key here.

What I think is so significant in Bill Barr's letter is that he said, as early as this weekend, which is a very quick turnaround, he could provide members of Congress with the principal conclusions. So, presumably, we could learn as early as this weekend whether or not Robert Mueller actually believed, concluded that there was or wasn't collusion between members of the Trump campaign and Russia and obstruction of justice.

Again, it could be that there was conduct in this report that was un- indictable, where Robert Mueller couldn't bring charges that he found concerning or derogatory or not, we're going to learn a lot in the next -- potentially in the next 48 hours or so.

BORGER: But then it becomes whether he could prosecute versus whether it's political. And some democrats are going to want to impeach on what is in the underlying documents. We don't know the answer to that.

BROWN: And Bill Barr has a big test, his first big test. I mean, sending out the notification today was easy that I got the report. Now, there's a test of how much is he going to include the White House? You heard Chuck Schumer there say, you better not give a sneak preview to the White House. The White House is expecting a sneak preview. So that's a little glimpse into what's ahead. BLITZER: All right. Stand by. Jim Acosta is over at the White House. He is getting more information. What else are you learning now?

ACOSTA: Wolf, it sounds like the strategy for the rest evening for the White House is to not have the President make any more comments. They called a lid over here and down at Mar-a-Lago where the President is right now. So while they were creating some space in his schedule in case he felt like going out in front of the cameras, that appears to be out the window.

And, of course, he may Tweet and we may find out later on this evening what he is thinking. But I did hear from one Trump campaign adviser just in the last few minutes who described this Mueller report being turned in and this news that there're no new indictments in the Mueller report as a, quote, great day for America. That is the words coming from one Trump campaign adviser.

[18:45:02] But we're so early on in the process, as all of you were just saying a few moment ago, that we still haven't worked out the mechanics as to how the White House, the president's legal team, his outside legal team, when are they going to be reviewing all of this and how much they're going to be able to review and how that is going to really line up with what's happening up on Capitol Hill.

So, a lot of unanswered questions, but confidence inside the president's team, inside his political team that if they're not out of the woods, perhaps they can see just the edge of the woods, Wolf.

BLITZER: Important point, indeed.

You know, let me bring in Susan Hennessey, our legal analyst as well.

So, it looks like a battle is shaping up, Susan, between the Democrats who want to see everything, including all the underlying documentation, and the Trump administration, the attorney general who says he will be as transparent as possible within Justice Department guidelines.

HENNESSEY: This is something that Adam Schiff warned the Republicans back when Devin Nunes was the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, was asking for this information that DOJ agreed to turn over about this underlying stuff. He said, look, you guys are setting a precedent. I'm going to use it when we are in power. That's exactly what we are seeing.

One thing to note on the executive privilege point is that Bill Barr might not have the final word here. Adam Schiff has said they intend to call Robert Mueller. Now, executive privilege is something that a witness or government can assert to withhold information. But if Mueller decides that he wants to testify about something, executive privilege is not something that prevent him from testifying if he chooses to do so.

And so, one thing to look for is whether or not essentially Mueller feels satisfied that the information that he thinks is important for the American people to know and for Congress to know is actually getting out. If not, he will have an opportunity to testify his own story and his own conclusions in front of Congress.

BLITZER: You know, Kaitlan, I know you are working your sources. What else are you hearing? What additional reactions?

COLLINS: Well, so, you heard Jim note they called a lid, no more expected public appearances from the president, but, of course, there always could be.

But the president is attending this big Republican dinner in Palm Beach tonight. So, you could expect the president is going to be talking about it. This is something that has consumed the president over the last several weeks, even though White House officials have insisted he is focused on other things, the North Korea summit, whatever else is going on. The president has really focused on this and been wanting to pay attention.

So, if this report comes out and it exonerates the president, already, there are no new indictments, but if it does say essentially good things that the president that he wanted to hear, expect the president to taught Mueller as this person of sterling character, someone who is a very fair person. That's what you're going to hear from the president.

BORGER: I wouldn't go that far.

COLLINS: If it exonerates him, I do think the president could portray him that way. But if not, officials expect the president to essentially repeat the public campaign that we have seen him build up for the last 670 days, which is that this is a witch hunt and they're just after him.

BORGER: That's hard to do. Even for Donald Trump -- we have been talking about this, to do that flip from witch hunt, angry Democrats, all the rest to, well, he did a sterling job, he was very professional. That is --

BROWN: He could say, look, I told you it was a witch hunt. You know, there were no more indictments, there were no indictments on collusion or obstruction. So, there you go.

And I also think that you are going to hear people close to the White House, Trump allies say that this is an embarrassment for Dems. I'm already getting text messages and e-mails saying, look, the Dems have been talking about this for nearly two years and now, it's over. There are no more indictments. And there were no indictments related to collusion or obstruction.

It also, it is -- this is just how they are spinning it. This is the early framing, early reaction to this, right? I mean, this is what we are hearing. It is no doubt a win for the president that this investigation has ended as of today and he did not have to sit down with Robert Mueller. That's a huge win for the president.

BLITZER: He answered questions in writing. Jeffrey, go ahead.

TOOBIN: No question that the failed -- the getting to the end of the investigation without answering questions is a -- is a win for the president.

COLLINS: He answered questions, just not in person (ph) interview.

BORGER: Yes.

TOOBIN: Yes, orally. And it is also true that there have been no indictments that charge collusion, conspiracy with Russia. However, there have been multiple indictments about obstruction of justice and a series of lies that Mueller has told and in certain cases proved about people in the administration and Russia. I mean, you know, starting with Michael Flynn. I mean, it is true they are not the core allegation of obstruction of justice against the president, because that -- that issue of the firing of James Comey, that is sort of what precipitated this whole investigation.

But, you know, the number of people who have been established who have lied about the relationship between the Trump campaign and the Trump administration and Russia is already considerable.

But, just, you know, again to go back to this executive privilege question, if the White House wants to take a hard line here and -- on executive privilege, they could even say that the conversations between James Comey and Donald Trump are covered by executive privilege.

[18:50:16] Those conversations that where -- that Comey discussed in his famous congressional testimony, where he said, you know, I want loyal -- where the president supposedly said I want loyalty, where he said, go easy on Michael Flynn. I mean, you know, the White House is going to have a real question here about how much they want to exert executive privilege.

And if they want to take a hard line, this could be a considerable fight.

JACKSON: Yes, I mean I could expect them to take a hard line, obviously. They'll be looking at the issue of executive privilege. That's something that will certainly be litigated. I think the issue of congressional subpoenas.

We're talking about the issue of how much should be released, right? When you look at Barr and the decisions he has to make moving forward, does he share with the White House what he's going to do, the nature of the report? How much of the report does he share with Congress? What does the summary look like?

And so, ultimately, I think there are going to be fights on multiple grounds. But if you look at this, yes, they have -- to Jeffrey's point -- you know, on issues of obstruction, all of that, though, is out in the public discourse. Everybody looked at this report. Was this the smoking gun? Was this

going to answer questions on the core issue of collusion? Was this a witch hunt as the president's been saying?

And to this point, I mean, he could argue it supports his narrative. At the end of the day, the report is concluded, it's done. There are no indictments, it's done. No collusion says the president and it ends it.

And if it comes anything else, look, the issue of embarrassment, if there's embarrassing information, so what? Us lawyers look at one thing, who's been indicted, right? Is there any more criminality? And on that issue if there's none, then, you know, it's a win.

BROWN: And I think, you know, Kaitlan was right on. I think what the White House is doing is wait and see. I mean, the statement today we can all agree was pretty restrained from a White House that has continually called this investigation a witch hunt. They're waiting to see what is actually in this report, what Barr shares, and he is really under a lot of pressure.

BORGER: You know, here's the question from Democrats and I'm just hearing from a legal source which is this source said keep in mind that 80 percent or so of the Mueller documents are grand jury materials, and you can't disclose grand jury materials, so they're not going to get that. Some percentage are classified. Maybe they'll get those. And the rest may be subject to executive privilege.

So there is not just the privilege issue that you have to consider here. There's grand jury testimony that you're --

BLITZER: All right. Hold on one moment. Shimon Prokupecz is getting more information about Bob Mueller, the special counsel.

What are you learning?

PROKUPECZ: Yes. Wolf, so a statement now from the special counsel's office. They rarely speak as you know.

Peter Carr, the spokesman, now issuing a statement. He hears that the -- he says the special counsel will be concluding its service in the coming days. A small number of staff will remain to assist in closing the operations of the office for a period of time.

Obviously, this is over, Wolf. This statement here telling us that the special counsel Robert Mueller who we've been seeing at the office now for nearly two years will be leaving. His job done.

A small staff will remain as they close up the operation in the office and that's it. This will be it for them, and now we await the report from the attorney general.

BLITZER: Shimon, let me go to Jeffrey Toobin, because it may be over from his perspective but it may not be over from the Congress' perspective if they call him to testify. TOOBIN: Well, it's certainly not over from Congress' perspective.

But, I mean the Mueller investigation is really, really over. I mean, there are no more indictments, no more grand jury proceedings, no more FBI agents being sent out to interview people.

Robert Mueller himself may not be finished because he may be called to testify by any number of congressional committees. And that will raise interesting legal and political questions in and of themselves. But, you know, the Mueller investigation, which has, you know, occupied so much interest for so long, even though it's been genuinely secret is really over.

And anyone who's not been charged in it is not going to get charged in it, and that's a very significant development.

BLITZER: Very significant indeed.

And the politics of this, we've been talking about the legal ramifications, the substance but there will be significant political fallout, Gloria, especially as we all head into a presidential election.

BORGER: Right. Well, as Jim Acosta was saying earlier, we've been saying this is president who since there were no further indictments will probably come out at some point -- you were saying this, too -- will probably come out and say that he was vindicated. And the Democrats will say we want to see what the underlying documents show.

I mean, don't forget and so they're kind of flipping a little bit on Mueller as we were talking about before. But don't forget that were -- according to CNN's calculation there were at least 16 Trump associates who met with Russians during the campaign.

[19:55:04] That's not something that normally happens. And so, the underlying documents may give us a clue about what all of that was about. We know that Donald Trump was dealing on Trump Tower in Moscow while he was lying to the American public about it. It's not a crime to lie to the American public when you're, you know, on a campaign.

So, you know, this is what we -- this is what we may be able to discern. But as I was saying before a lot of these underlying documents are grand jury testimony or they're classified, and so we may never know.

COLLINS: And that's the thing. Here's what White House officials have been saying about this. Even for the last two weeks or so they felt pretty good about the report coming out, that there wasn't going to be anything explosive they assumed. But they were talking about, of course, the president not being misleading about pursuing business in Russia and telling the media that is not a crime. But, of course, this could reveal the extent to which he lied or misled people about that.

BORGER: Exactly.

COLLINS: Also another thing the president's allies have been talking about is there's a chance maybe someone said something that they testified in front of Congress but said something else in front of Robert Mueller during an interview with him, because Robert Mueller has interviewed many people surrounding the president including those who worked in the West Wing, as Pam has been reporting on, just as recently Sarah Sanders was one of those.

They were saying what if there's a chance someone did not say the same thing to Robert Mueller that they said to Congress, that's how there could be still remnants of this investigation left after it's already over.

BLITZER: Pam, go ahead.

BROWN: My reporting, too, is that Robert Mueller and his team has been keenly interested in the witness interviews of the president's lying to the public as part of the obstruction probe, whether the president was intentionally misleading the public in order to limit investigators in this investigation. So I wouldn't be surprised if this report lays out and ties these threads together. We'll have to wait and see.

BORGER: And don't forget Mueller has gotten transcripts from the House Intelligence Committee, for example, so he's probably looking at his versus theirs.

BLITZER: But he's concluded no more indictments.

JACKSON: Yes.

BORGER: Right.

JACKSON: Yes, I mean, politically, it doesn't move the needle, right? And that's the ultimate question. If this becomes a political discussion, it's a win for the president, right? You got the base of support, 40 percent, 42 percent, 40 percent, 42 percent, and I think ultimately again people looking for this report, would it be the smoking gun? Would it give information as to criminality? Would it answer the core question of collusion?

To the extent it doesn't, to the extent that there are no more indictments, I have to say, I think it's good news for the White House.

BLITZER: Well, let me get Susan Hennessey.

Susan Hennessey, the president has been saying as we all know for a couple of years no collusion, no collusion, no collusion. Will he now be able to say based on what we know right now, I told you so?

HENNESSEY: So, we don't know what's in that report. It's all going to depend on that. One thing we've seen is that Robert Mueller runs a very, very tight ship. He concluded this investigation without significant leaks coming out of his office.

Now those rules govern as long as there's an active investigation. So, now that that investigation is closed, one thing we can expect is separate and apart from the report, there is going to be a flood of information, both official disclosures and also leaks.

BLITZER: There's going to be a lot of leaks, Jeffrey Toobin. And you know how this works. You and I have covered Washington for a while.

TOOBIN: Yes, there'll be leaks but I don't want to be too cynical about this. There's a lot we're going to learn.

And yes, it is true that one thing we've learned in the Mueller -- in the Trump era is that political opinions don't change much. People are locked in their views, and that's fine and that's just sort of the way things are.

But, you know, those of us who are trying to be open minded, let's learn what the conclusions are. Let's learn what the facts are about what went on between the Trump campaign and Russia. Let's learn what facts there are about possible obstruction of justice.

You know, let's really look at the facts that come out. You know, if it doesn't have big political impacts, if it does, you know, that's, you know, a serious question. But I think, you know, immediately going to the question of how it's going to affect the 2020 campaign, you know, is perhaps unduly cynical, and we should embrace the opportunity to learn new facts about what went on here.

COLLINS: Another thing that'll be interesting to watch in the aftermath of all of this there's going to be so much, but the president's relationship with his attorney general. Not someone he knew very well beforehand. Not like Jeff Sessions who was part of the president's campaign, but someone he brought in that he has liked so far, he's praised so far, even during the Rose Garden one day, telling him good luck with the rest of your life.

But officials have said it will be interesting to see if the president's relationship with him does change because so far, it's been a good stable relationship. Does that change after this Mueller report, depending on which it goes for the president.

BLITZER: It's going to be a drama that's unfolding in the coming days.

JACKSON: Yes, it'll be a drama, absolutely. But in terms of the relationship, listen, you can't get better news like this that the president did. The fact there's no indictment, the fact that nobody else is going to be in the ultimately crosshairs, I think, you know, it's over.

BLITZER: All right. Everybody, thank you very, very much.

Important breaking news that we've been following. We want to thank all of our viewers for watching.

I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Our breaking news coverage continues with "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" right now.