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DOJ May Release Mueller Report Conclusions Today. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired March 24, 2019 - 08:00   ET



[08:00:18] JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Welcome to INSIDE POLITICS. I'm John King. To our viewers in the United States and around the world, thank you for sharing your Sunday.

The Mueller report is finished and filed. And we should learn its major findings later today, from election meddling, Team Trump campaign contacts with Russians, and potential obstruction, among the weighty topics.

And the president, often twisting the truth, worked to discredit the special counsel to the very end.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STASTES: So I have a man who is a deputy who I don't know, who I didn't know at all, and he appoints a man who had just left my office. I didn't give him the job at the FBI. Comey is his best friend.

MARIA BARTIROMO, FOX NEWS HOST: We covered every Sunday --

TRUMP: Wait a minute, listen, and you know better than anybody. You've been fair to me on that.

But think of it, I have a deputy appoints a man to write a report on me to make a determination on my presidency? People will not stand for it.


KING: We know Robert Mueller plans no new indictments himself, but not much more about his findings or how much was handed off to other prosecutors. We also don't know how much will be made public. Democrats demand everything.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: 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.


KING: The lack of detail isn't stopping the instant political debate. Again, we don't know what's in the report. But word of no indictments from Mueller is enough for the president's allies to celebrate and for his critics to cringe.


CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR, HARDBALL: Why was there never an interrogation of this president? How can they let Trump off the hook? He'll not be charged with obstruction or collusion without ever having to sit down with special counsel Mueller and answer his damn questions. How can that happen?

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: The left's favorite conspiracy theory is now dead. It is buried. And there was no collusion, no conspiracy, no obstruction, nothing. Trump/Russia collusion was, as we always said, a hoax. A lie conceived by hate driven by fear, a 22- month witch hunt.


KING: With us this Sunday to share their reporting and their insights, CNN's Sara Murray, Mark Mazzetti of "The New York Times", CNN legal analyst Shan Wu, and CNN legal analyst Carrie Cordero.

We'll get back to the dicey politics and all the spin of this in a bit. But let's begin the hour with the facts. What we know and the many, many important things we don't know.

Attorney General William Barr and his deputy Rod Rosenstein worked a long day Saturday, reviewing the report filed Friday by special counsel Robert Mueller. They will be back at it today with the goal of sharing a summary of the major findings by day's end.

House Democrats say a summary isn't good enough and are threatening a subpoena fight if Attorney General Barr is not willing to share the report in full and to share it soon. It was AG Barr just five weeks into his second stint at attorney general who announced Friday that after nearly two years on the job, 675 days, if you want an exact count, quote, the special counsel has submitted to me today a confidential report explaining the prosecution of declination decisions he has reached. I am reviewing the report and anticipate that I may be in a position to advise you of the special counsel's principal conclusions as soon as this weekend.

In that Barr letter to Congress, he also report that not once was Mueller blocked from pursuing something he requested. Mueller will leave his post within days, we are told, and sources tell us no more indictments are planned by the office of the special counsel. But we don't know what is in the report. Repeat, we don't know what is in the report.

And while we do know Mueller has handed off a lot of clues to other prosecutors, we're not certain of the true extent of it. Meaning, not certain how many avenues of investigation remain open and their potential threat to the president, even as the special counsel's service comes to a close.

Appreciate you all getting up early on a Sunday morning. We'll get to the politics later on the program. I want to go through what we know and what we don't know, starting with, where are they? They had hoped to give us a summary yesterday. Do we have any information from inside the Justice Department on whether there was a hang-up and debate about something or they just realized there's a lot to go through and it will take another day?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think they need to take another day. I don't think there's any specific hang up that we're aware of. It was an ambitious timeline to begin with. I think we were all surprised when we saw the letter from Bill Barr that he said I can brief you on this as early as this weekend. We knew that there will be some sort of timeline for which you'll brief Congress, but it was pretty stunning that he said, I can do this in the next couple of days.

So, I think what you have are he and Rod Rosenstein looking over everything that Mueller has done, looking over what I presume Mueller wrote as his top line conclusions and then determining what kind of version of that, how they want to edit it to prepare to release it to the public.

[08:05:02] Remember, while Rod Rosenstein has been overseeing this probe for a very long time, Bill Barr has only been there for a couple of weeks. So, he is sort of diving in on this full on and it's, again, we all wish we got it yesterday, but it is an ambitious timeline still to aim for the end of the day today.

KING: And just a reminder, from the original Rosenstein memo, parts of it redacted. We don't have the full memo. We still don't have the full memo. Maybe that will be one of the things that happened after all of this.

But what was Bob Mueller looking into for 675 days? Russian interference in the presidential election, if there were any coordination between the Russian government and Trump campaign associates, and any matters that arose from the investigation, which is key here, and any efforts to obstruct the investigation.

So, we're waiting to see, is it safe to assume nobody was charged. Mueller says no more indictments from his office. We assume if they were going to indict central to the mission. Collusion and Russian meddling, that would come from Mueller's office. Is it safe to assume them, as the White House believes, that no one is going to be charged with conspiracy against the United States?

Direct colluding with Russia to impact the election?

MARK MAZZETTI, WASHINGTON INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Yes, I think it's safe to assume that Robert Mueller and his team are going to charge no one and so, therefore, there would be no indictments coming on that issue of conspiracy directly involving the election and Russia. What might spin out of the Mueller inquiry, future indictments we don't know. We know he's farmed out several of the investigations to other U.S. attorneys' offices.

But I think it is safe to assume -- to the extent that anything is safe to assume -- that there won't be any more indictments on that issue.

KING: And to that point, the president twisting the truth almost always, cynically in some ways, reckless attacks on institutions in others has said this no collusion, no collusion, no collusion. We'll go through later, all the people who have been charged, the people sent to jail but they have from a political argument set this standard that if you don't catch the president colluding, therefore nothing else matters. Now, that's for people at home to decide.

When you think about what we're going to be released, what are we going to get from this attorney general?

SHAN WU, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think his words are being parsed very carefully right now. And I think it's really the Barr show. He said he may be in a position this weekend.

So, he's trying to look like I'm really moving quickly to be as transparent as possible, but we'll see if it's not really a facade for a slow walk.

MURRAY: Don't say that, Shan. Come on.


WU: Well, I'm being a cynic.

KING: To that point, let's first listen. Democrats knew this was coming when Bill Barr was being confirmed. And again, he was attorney general back in the George H.W. Bush administration. A lot of people were surprised that Trump picked sort of a credible Republican establishment, experienced guy to come in as attorney general. Now, he has the challenge, the responsibility of a lifetime.

Here's what he said at his confirmation hearing and you can read this either way about how much are you, the American people, going to see?


WILLIAM BARR, THEN-ATTORNEY GENERAL NOMINEE: I also believe it is very important that the public and Congress be informed of the results of the special counsel's work. My goal will be to provide as much transparency as I can consistent with the law.


KING: What does that mean?

CARRIE CORDERO, FORMER JUSTICE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Bill Barr knew when he was nominated to this position and when he was sworn into this position that the decisions he was going to make this weekend and in the coming days were the most important decisions that he would ever make. This is his second tour as attorney general. He didn't have to take

this job. He didn't have to come in and take this difficult job a second time. He did it, and he knew this was the point.

So I tend to think that Friday when they determined that the report was going to be files and when he sent that notice that he already has a pretty good understanding from prior briefings of what it was going to be in Mueller's report. I don't think that Attorney General Barr was surprised necessarily by what was delivered on Friday. Now they're trying to work out what he's going to be able to report publicly immediately.

But I think that no matter what -- whichever way he goes in these top line conclusions, they're still going to be a demand from both sides as to what is the underlying information.

KING: And that's what's fascinating, because you can think of Bill Barr, yes, he's Trump's appointee, but he is an establishment Republican, a company man loyal to the Justice Department. Bob Mueller, as company man as you get. Former U.S. attorney, long time FBI director, known to be a conservative sort of establishment and notably, notably, in the letter from Bill Barr to Congress, he said not once was Robert Mueller told no.

That's a big deal in the sense Democrats were asking, you know, was either Rosenstein who they mostly trusted or then when the acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker came in, or Bill Barr in his early days, were they doing anything to shut Mueller down? So, that argument is gone, right?

MURRAY: I think it is gone. And, you know, this is in part like something that Donald Trump fueled himself by constantly being out there putting Matt Whitaker in charge of a job in a bizarre way and constantly talking about firing Mueller. So, there was always speculation someone was going to get in Mueller's way.

And now, this letter says that no one did. But it also raises another question lawmakers are sure to have, which is, OK, well, why didn't you try to interview President Trump? If no one said we're not going to let you subpoena the president, we're not going to let you try to push for this interview, why if there was this investigation, did you not ever want to ask the president questions about what he's thinking, whether he was trying to obstruct justice?

[08:10:03] That's something he did not address in the written questions.

KING: So, will he address it in the report, is key to me, because in the guidelines for the attorney general -- yes, he can protect some stuff. Obviously, it's a counterintelligence investigation. There's going to be classified sources and methods. How did you find out about the Russian meddling? How did you find out about those troll farms? You need to protect that stuff for the intelligence community.

But the guidelines also do say, the attorney general may determine that public release of these reports would be in the public interest to the extent the release would comply with applicable legal restrictions. So, will we find out about some of this?

Again, as a company man, Bob Mueller asked for an interview. Didn't want to give him an interview. So, he finally accepted written answers.

Bob Mueller decided not to provoke a constitutional crisis by subpoenaing the president. Now, we don't know whether he would have been told yes or no. We know he didn't ask because they've said he was never told no and he didn't subpoena the president.

Will that be laid out? Will we learn about how that process played out?

WU: I don't think that Barr is going to want to talk about that. If Mueller actually committed those thoughts and analyses to paper, which he may or may not have, that's exactly the heart of the kind of things that Justice does not want to come out. And Barr is going to not have that come out. They'll fight tooth and nail over that. I think Rosenstein --

KING: So help me. Sorry to interrupt. But help me on this.

So, the American people have been told about this Trump Tower meeting. It's in the middle of the campaign. Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Donald Trump, Jr., Jared Kushner, other people in the campaign, bring Russians in. They've been promised dirt on Hillary Clinton. That is outside the norm.

Is it illegal? You're the lawyers, help me out. But it's way outside the form. A foreign government not a friend of the United States, say, we have dirt on your opponent. They meet in Trump Tower.

So, obviously, not prosecuting anybody for that, least not now, Robert Mueller's not. Can you issue a report to the American people after 22 months and say nothing? Because, again, the process is, if I might think you robbed a bank, I might know you robbed a bank or I might feel it in my gut you robbed a bank, if I can't prove it, you put the file away and you bite your tongue.

That's what happens in a criminal case. Is that what's going to happen here?

WU: In that kind of report that he's writing, we're assuming it looks like a declination or prosecution report. He will talk about they went to the bank, they had guns, they had the getaway car, we decided that's not enough to indict. That's the kind of editorializing he's able to do. That's his control.

Is that a principal conclusion or was the conclusion simply it's not enough to indict? Those details are what he has control over what he talks about and that meaning Barr.

MAZZETTI: Right. So, Rod Rosenstein has hinted in the last few weeks that expect less rather than more. They will not get into these decisions because that's not what the Justice Department does. He has said. And yet there are -- I mean so many threads of this as you said. The

Trump Tower meeting, any number of different episodes, contacts, et cetera that have been reported, the voluminous reporting about this that some want to have answers to. We all want answers to that we certainly don't expect to get today. And who knows down the road.

KING: To that point, the down the road part is where we'll continue. We'll pick up the conversation. A quick break.

But next, for us, more on the legal road ahead. Mueller is closing down shop but investigators farmed out to other prosecutors continue and guess what? They involve the president, his family and his business.


[08:17:08] KING: We could know, actually should know by day's end Robert Mueller's big findings on the question of collusion and obstruction. Perhaps his take, for example, on the infamous Trump Tower meeting we just talked about in 2016 with Russians at Trump Tower or why, if they did nothing wrong, so many members of team Trump, including the president himself, lied about meetings or business dealings with Russians.

We do know that in Mueller's 22 months on the job, five people were sentenced to prison. One them convicted at trial. Seven individuals pleaded guilty, 37 people and entities were charged overall, with a total of 199 criminal counts. Six Trump associates are among those charged, including the president's lawyer, fixer, his campaign chairman, deputy campaign chairman, longtime political adviser and his national security adviser.

And we know that no matter what is in the Mueller report, the president, his family and his business are hardly free of scrutiny. Ongoing investigations, several, begun with information handed off by the special counsel's office include whether there was any illegal foreign financing of the Trump inaugural committee, whether the Trump Organization committed tax or insurance fraud, whether the Trump Foundation committed tax fraud.

So, Mark, you've done a ton of reporting on this, the spin-offs, if you will. Roughly a dozen we know, which means there's also stuff we don't know.

So, even as the White House is happy to close this chapter, even though we don't know what's in the report, Mueller is over, but --

MAZZETTI: Yes, and the president and his allies have sort of liked to describe the Mueller investigation kind of like this blob that gets bigger and bigger, consuming everything in its path. But in fact, it's actually the opposite, right? The Mueller investigation is getting narrower to the core issues and what he has done is spin different aspects of the investigation to the Southern District of New York, Eastern District of Virginia, the Eastern District of New York.

So, there's several ongoing investigations that -- and we've only gotten glimpses of some of them. For instance, in the sentencing of Michael Flynn, there was a memo that says Michael Flynn is participating in several ongoing investigations. What are those?

And we certainly know more about the southern district of New York because that's the one that involves Michael Cohen and the hush money payments. So this is why this will continue, right? And beyond today, there are these ongoing investigations that could go on for months, years.

KING: And to the point, I don't know if we can put the graphic back up. But to the point that, again, it's a cynical political argument but it's been effective in the sense the president says collusion, collusion, collusion. So, if no collusion is proven, he says, see, this was all a waste of time.

Six people close to this president are going to prison. Now, some Republicans will say, yes, but none of those charges directly affect the president and none of those charges are about Russian collusion. They didn't make that argument, Republicans, when Ken Starr went from a real estate transaction in Western Arkansas to Paula Jones, to Linda Tripp to Monica Lewinsky.

This is what happens in a special counsel investigation.

[08:20:01] But the company you keep argument, that's a damning indictment of this president, is it not? Even if there's no collusion?

CORDERO: Well, that's why what Mark is describing in terms of the related investigations, I think to the extent that we heard from Trump surrogates Friday night that there were sort of an end zone dance going on regarding the fact there would be no more indictments from the special counsel's office is premature, because there still -- we still know there were referrals from Congress that individuals lied in their testimony. We still know that there are a variety of financial- related crimes.

There's other prosecutions that still will go -- take place and there still may be more charges just because they're not brought by the special counsel's office specifically, whether they are brought by a U.S. attorney in another district doesn't mean people are out of legal jeopardy yet.

MURRAY: But there was also -- I mean, there was reason to look into the Russia matter. That's why this investigation started. The goal did not have to be, you have to bring charges of conspiracy. It was to do the investigation.

And over the course of this, we learned 16 Trump associates had contacts with Russians that at times --

KING: And most of them lied about it.

MURRAY: And most of them lied about it.

KING: The question is why? MURRAY: At times when they got contacts and people offering them dirt

on Hillary Clinton when in a normal campaign, you would call the FBI. They said, let's take the meeting and they went on and they lied about the contacts and the content of those discussions or that they had them whatsoever.

There's a reason this investigation started. And, you know, you can say, fine, it was a big waste of time, there was enough suspicious behavior it had to be looked into.

KING: One assumes Mueller, given his pedigree and his experience, understands that he has to explain some of that. The question is whether we see it, whether we see it, or just the attorney general see it? So, where's the argument here?

Watch this, Adam Schiff, he's now the -- the Democrats are in charge of the House. A different environment than if the Republicans were in charge. Democrats are in charge of the House. And what Adam Schiff says, the attorney general, it's fine. If you want to send your summary today, you need a little more time, we'd be OK with that, but very soon, we want everything. Not just the full report but we want access to all the documents Robert Mueller had as he investigated.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: The attorney general committed to making as much of it public as was consistent with law or policy. If he's true to that, it means the entire thing. And we're going to insist upon it.

Perhaps even greater importance, Congress is going to need the underlying evidence because some of that evidence may go to the compromise of the president or people around him that poses a real threat to our national security, and we need to know it if that's the case.


KING: Where's the line? I mean, this is not, again, back to the normal criminal case analogy. If a prosecutor can't prove it, even if they believe, their job is to bite their lip, put the file away and shut up.

What's different because this is the president of the United States and this is a political investigation as well as a counterintelligence and as well as a criminal investigation?

WU: What's different from DOJ's point of view is nothing at all. And I think Rosenstein already spelled it out in old letter he sent to Grassley that says, traditionally, we don't talk about the inner workings. We don't like Congress interfering with it.

And I say that's what Barr is going to adhere to. He may give a little more but his real point is, no, it's not consistent with the law and the policy to wholesale hand over everything to you. We don't do that. KING: Does Congress have legal standing to fight f or it? Jerry

Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Schiff is intelligence, Nadler is Judiciary, tweeting yesterday, they sent preservation letters to the Justice, FBI, NSA, DNI, State, Treasury, CIA, IRS, the White House, essentially retain anything. Anything that Mueller asked for, keep it. We're going to ask for it.

CORDERO: Well, Congress absolutely has a job to do here. Whether or not something -- the conspiracy charge is a hard charge to bring. So, whether individuals were charged with quote/unquote collusion, that's whether they could be charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States, in particular, in relation to the hacking of the DNC and related cyber activities. That's a high bar to meet as a prosecutor.

What's different for Congress is they still do have an obligation to understand why it is that this presidential campaign appeared to be willing to accept the assistance of a hostile foreign power and that's the question that Congress, if that's not answered in the attorney general's report or his preliminary findings, that's the question they're going to want to know the answer to.

KING: That's the big thing. If that's not answered, which is Bill Barr's job today. I'm sorry.

MURRAY: They also have an obligation to figure out if they believe that Donald Trump did something wrong and they believe it's an impeachable offense. The Justice Department guidelines are that you can't indict a sitting president. In that sense, it's different than just declining to prosecute someone because at the outset, they were going to have to decline to prosecute Trump.

So then to say, we are not going to hand over this full report, that ties Congress' hands. It's their job to determine, based on this investigation, based on the evidence available, do we want to move forward with impeachment proceedings? And I don't know if you are a lawmaker how you do that without the full evidence that Bob Mueller has collected.

KING: But given his history again, given his history, and his pedigree, and I give Mueller the benefit of the doubt until we have other reason to believe otherwise, he knew that. So, if he decided I'm going to be a company man, I'm not going to try -- I know I'm not even going to think about indicting a sitting president, Justice Department guidelines say, don't do it, doesn't it just factor into that, and therefore, that your report to Congress, your report to the attorney general would give the road map.

[08:25:04] Is there anything here for Congress to look at? Yes or no? Wouldn't that be his responsibility?

WU: He would have to cover that in his report to the attorney general. I mean, you have to lay out why and why you didn't do things. I just don't think that Justice is going to get over that part of it. Absolutely Congress is right to fight for it.

MURRAY: Certainly not without a fight. WU: Right, not without a fight.

CORDERO: Well, I would say that there's a distinction between whether or not the special counsel thought that there was information that if it was somebody other than the president, it would be chargeable conduct. So, obstruction is the easiest case for this. If the special counsel determined that they had evidence that, if it was anybody else besides the president, they would have a chargeable case. Then I think that would be in the --

KING: That would be a key finding.

CORDERO: And that would be a key finding, and it would say, here's all the information. We determined that we could not indict because he is the president, but now Congress, this goes over to you.

KING: Which means we have a weighty day ahead waiting to see what the key findings are.

Up next for us, the end of the Mueller investigation gives Team Trump hope the worst is over, but they do not know what's in the report and the boss is described as at least a little anxious.


[08:30:21] KING: President Trump spending the weekend at his resort in Florida waiting with the rest of us to find out what the Special Counsel says in his final report.

Just moments ago, this tweet from the President. "Good morning. Have a great day. "He goes on to say "Make America great again."

He appeared to be in good spirits as well yesterday enjoying a round of golf, you see it right here, that included Kid Rock. I don't have those pants. And then flashing a double thumbs up as his motorcade headed back to Mar-a-Lago.

We saw the President talking talk with attorney, Emmet Flood Friday night. He and others on Team Trump have been handing out a response with different contingencies depending on just what Mueller says and how Congress reacts.

Now word there will be no more indictments from Mueller's office is enough for some Trump allies to claim victory.


REP. STEVE SCALISE (R-LA), HOUSE MINORITY WHIP: If there's no collusion that was found, then it strongly vindicates President Trump, but it raises those serious questions about who is going to be held accountable at the FBI, the bad actors that had a political agenda which goes against everything that law enforcement is supposed to be about.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: Again, I'm going to be a broken record this morning. Congressman Scalise has no idea what is in the Mueller report when he says that. The President from beginning to end though has washed his hands of all the trouble his close associates are in and made a consistent political argument.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The entire thing has been a witch hunt, and there is no collusion between certainly myself and my campaign.

This is a pure and simple witch hunt.

I think that the Mueller investigation has been totally discredited.

Robert Mueller put 13 of the angriest Democrats in the history of our country on the commission.

It's all a big hoax. I call it the witch hunt. It's all a big hoax.


KING: Joining us to share their reporting and their insights CNN's Abby Philip, Karoun Demirjian of the "Washington Post", Matt Viser, also of the "Post", and Jackie Kucinich of the "Daily Beast".

What has been remarkable, Robert Mueller filed his report on Friday. The President has said nothing, tweeted nothing, accepting, rare event, the advice of his attorneys to keep it quiet until we actually know what's in there.

ABBY PHILIP, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And in some ways the White House didn't really leave that up to chance. They sent with him a lot of people -- more. A lot more people than he usually has around him when he's in Florida. in part because Florida can be sort of almost like the devil's playground for President Trump.

He's surrounded by all these people who, a lot of them paid money to be around him and give him informal advice. And so as the antidote to that, you know, you had two of his top lawyers, you had his press secretary, his deputy press secretary, you had other people, his chief of staff -- all of them down there to try to be there as he's getting this information that the Mueller report is finished.

And to also say, wait a second, it's ok for you to not say anything because we just don't know what's in this report. So far they've been successful but, I mean you know, it's Sunday. So we'll see what happens.

KING: And his political branding from the beginning has been no collusion and it's all about Mueller. All about what he calls the witch hunt. But he's described by friends as still a little anxious even though your happy one chapter's closing.

He knows about all the congressional investigations. He knows they're going to try to go after Mueller's work product. He knows about all the other investigations, a lot of them born of Mueller's work that are spread out all over the country. So he knows the legal cloud is not going anywhere and yet somehow this is a big moment, right.

KAROUN DEMIRJIAN, "WASHINGTON POST": Mueller has had this mythic status. Almost the entire time it's been about the Mueller probe. You even heard the congressional Democrats were going to be taking on these investigations now for the rest of the next two years probably, still talking about Mueller, Mueller, protect that. Wait and see what he has to say.

So if that is over and that doesn't really come down hard on the President in a way it's a little bit of at least, you know, an emotional victory, a political victory in a way because so much focus was on Mueller.

And he's already started the campaign against the other probes. He's called the congressional Democrats' probes presidential harassment.

So he's working up that messaging that I'm sure we'll see roll out far more so. But if this big one goes away, it's a lot more diffused because there's six House panels, another Senate panel, a number of federal prosecutors (INAUDIBLE) and it will just be --

KING: And again, nobody knows what's in the Mueller report. Add into that nobody knows how much Bill Barr the attorney general will share of what's in the Mueller report.

But I get the politics of this. It is fact free, but the President's allies rushing to television on word there's no more indictments. And that means significantly -- that means no one is being indicted for conspiracy against the United States by Robert Mueller meaning Robert Mueller is not going to prosecute a case alleging collusion. Trump allies say game over.


REP. MATT GAETZ (R), FLORIDA: Well, happy no collusion day -- Tucker.

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: Happy no collusion day -- good point.

GAETZ: 675 days. Yes, I mean it's 675 days deep, tens of millions of dollars spent and a team of people who, in large part, were biased against the President and they could not produce evidence to even bring charges for indictment against people for the underlying allegation.

[08:35:00] SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: The left's favorite conspiracy theory is now dead. It is buried. And there was no collusion, no conspiracy, no obstruction -- nothing.

COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: The fact that Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell have been on every media outlet for the last one year, 10 months and six days saying that they have proof of Russia collusion has now all fallen apart.


KING: We'll see as we get the findings and then the additional fight over the entire report whether that holds up. Smart from a political stand point to try to get out and spin the narrative from the beginning.

Here's what curious to me. Nikki Haley, the President's former United Nations ambassador, former governor of South Carolina who left the administration, she tweeted this yesterday. "After its long investigation, both sides agreed to let Mueller do his job and complete the investigation. Everyone has to acknowledge that @RealDonaldTrump did not interfere in the investigation. Now the American people needs to accept the results and move on."

So you can read that as a defense of the President. But read it carefully. Read it carefully. Yes, Bill Barr said nobody tried to stop Mueller. So the Justice Department did not try to stop Mueller. Mueller was never told no. So Republicans can make the case, Robert Mueller got to do his job.

She didn't say the President was innocent. She said everyone needs to accept the results and move on. What if the results are very damning to the President? Is she saying we should accept them and move on?

MATT VISER, "WASHINGTON POST": And that's I think this interesting period where everybody on both sides are jumping to conclusions without much knowledge of what this is. But also notice in that tweet a little bit of a turn from this is a witch hunt, you know, it's been tainted from the start to, look, there was an in-depth investigation and it didn't find what they thought it was going to find.

So they're sort of buying credence now into the Mueller investigation which President Trump in nearly 200 tweets has called a witch hunt. So I think like -- watch him to see how he reacts to some of it.

JACKIE KUCINICH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: And I think the one word that I keep on focusing on is "no more indictments". There have been indictments. And from some pretty high level people in the President's campaign.

I think at the end of the day, they would have tried to spin this no matter what the report came out with. If it came out the President was culpable in some way or form, it would be back to that Mueller and everyone was a Democrat. This is all the Democrats.

So I think choose your own adventure we sort of would have ended up in the same place. But I think --

KING: You don't think that Steve Scalise or Matt Gaetz would be on television if this were a President Clinton or a President Obama and six people very close to that President Clinton or President Obama were going to prison saying the president had been completely vindicated. Is that what you're trying to say?

KUCINICH: Yes, I think so.

KING: Remember the funny world that way.

Up next, Democrats serve notice a summary of the Special Counsel's (INAUDIBLE) will not be enough. And warned Trump administration agencies, excuse me, to preserve all documents shared with the Special Counsel.


KING: Democrats are drawing a hard line when it comes to the Mueller report -- they want it all, including the evidence the Special Counsel used to reach his findings.

Talking points distributed on a Saturday afternoon House Democrats' conference call included this. Quote, "If necessary, Democrats would be prepared to use its subpoena authority to obtain the full report and underlying evidence as well as to obtain briefings and testimony from the Special Counsel, the attorney general, the deputy attorney general and other necessary officials.


SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT: The American people really deserve the Mueller report, not the Barr report. They paid for this investigation. They deserve to see all the findings.

REP. STEVE COHEN (D), TENNESEE: We don't get the report in full to our satisfaction, Robert Mueller will be subpoenaed before the Judiciary Committee.

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D), FLORIDA: People are on their way to jail, have gone to jail. There's probably a farming out of other investigations. But, yes if you have a TV or Twitter account, you've already seen obstruction of justice.


KING: So the Mueller report is filed. But we have many fights ahead of us. Number one, we'll see what Bill Barr releases for summary of key findings. Then the fight over the report itself, the full report. Then the fight over we want everything Robert Mueller saw as he built his report.

If the Justice Department resists we could end up in court. But this could go on for a very long time.

PHILIP: And I think there's also the fight among Democrats about what is too far and how far is too far for them? I think there's going to be some disagreement. You heard Eric Swalwell there say you've already seen obstruction of justice. It's apparent on your TV screens.

Well, the question is, is that enough to pursue an effort in the Congress to sort of make that the number one issue for the next two years? This is going to be really difficult. And it's going to be a needle to thread for Democrats because they have to strike the right balance between what they don't like about President Trump and his behavior and what is enough to really occupy the time of the Congress and potentially even push toward impeachment even though Nancy Pelosi has already said --

KING: To that point, the Speaker has done a pretty good job of putting that genie back in the bottle. However, it didn't come up at all in the conference call yesterday, the word impeachment. But if Mueller disappoints the Democrats, that push will come back?

DEMIRJIAN: It could. That's where this disagreement I think will really be an issue if it comes up because if you can say look, there's already obstruction of justice there. You could potentially say you're going to do impeachment proceedings over obstruction of justice or corruption or any sort of misconduct not befitting of the Oval Office.

But right now the Democrats do seem to be fairly well-aligned about what they want to see. If they're going to disagree about what they want to do. They still know that they want to see everything. And that's going to get to the point where it's going to be a push and pull between the DOJ.

Also on that call they were talking about precedence to put out there. The fact That this happened during the Waco investigation -- the Special Counsel after that. There's the Nixon-Jaworksi precedent and that there is all the documents the DOJ gave the GOP when they were looking into Hillary Clinton's e-mails.

KING: That one could be the biggest problem because it is recent. President Trump pressured his Justice Department, give them everything. Why not now?

DEMIRJIAN : Exactly. And this is going to be -- this is, you know, how we have the legal argument, right, and the political argument also. So you are going to see the full piling on, suspicion of even if they get the full report, if there's nothing about the President, is that just because the DOJ doesn't indict sitting presidents so they want to see everything else there?

[08:45:04] And at every stage of the game it's going to be an awkward fight with the DOJ because if you take them to court it's also their prosecutors that are going to be fighting you.

But also, at every turn there's a political argument to be made too. If you fall short of impeachment you could use this on the campaign trail going on the road and that's going to be the balancing they're going to have to do --

KING: And the list -- as you jump in -- just the list, let's put it up. Investigations going on in the Congress right now unrelated to Mueller. Security clearance, personal e-mail. You have Trump's taxes, meetings with Putin, Cabinet misconduct - you can read the list right there.

I mean the Democrats are just getting started. Mueller may be ending but the Democrats in many ways are just opening new doors.

KUCINICH: Right. And the question is how they're going to prioritize all of those things. But I think it's going to be really interesting.

You mentioned the campaign. I think it's going to be interesting to see how this breaks down on the campaign trail because you have several candidates that actually will have some power in this.

I mean yes, the Senate is controlled by Republicans but the senators that are running, I'm sure they're going to be, are you doing enough with -- they have where the candidates that are not in congress that don't have any power it will be interesting to see how that breaks down as we go forward.

KING: And you mentioned the House -- how do they prioritize it? What's the sweet spot. How do they not get too far out there and seem to be just partisan and just political.

Listen to this. This is Republican Congressman Chris Stewart who says, hey wait a minute -- Democrats. At the beginning didn't you all say Robert Mueller was the perfect choice. Let him do his work because he's the right guy?


REP. CHRIS STEWART (R), UTAH: For the last two years we've been told trust Mr. Mueller. Trust Mr. Mueller. And I have, by the way.

In some cases I think people are implying well, we don't trust him now. We want him to come before the committee and justify his conclusions. And I think that's unfair to him to think well, ok, you didn't give us what we wanted so now we're going to dive into it.


KING: That will be the Republican pushback as the Democrats say, no, no, no. Mueller was one thing. He had a limited, you know, jurisdiction. We're going to broaden this out.

VISER: And the weight that Democrat have placed on Mueller in the investigation is hard to overstate. And it has given them an excuse to not argue for impeachment. You know on the campaign trail they've said wait until Mueller released his report and then we'll decide.

So that's going to open up this huge debate among Democrats, depending on what's in the report and how strong it is, how that changes and how Nancy Pelosi, who has been on the record saying, no, the ballot box is where we need to focus this, not impeaching him in Congress. If there's damaging bombshells in there, how does she re-maneuver into a different position?

KING: Right. It obviously depends and we still don't know a lot. What will we do tonight?

To the point just brought up here, how does the Special Counsel investigation play out on the 2020 campaign trail?


KING: Beto O'Rourke doesn't need to read the Mueller report. He already sees it as case closed.


BETO O'ROURKE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You have a president who, in my opinion, beyond the shadow of a doubt, sought to, however ham- handedly collude with the Russian government, a foreign power, to undermine and influence our elections.


KING: Most other 2020 Democratic contenders are more measured saying the immediate challenge now is getting the full report released.


SENATOR KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That report needs to be made public. The American people have a right and a need to know.

SENATOR ELIZABETH WARREN (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The report was paid for by the American taxpayer, and the American taxpayer has a right to see it.


KING: Mayor Pete Buttigieg likewise demands transparency but he also worries Democrats are putting too much stock in the idea that new revelations from Mueller or any investigation are the ticket to victory in 2020.


PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think where we might be making a mistake in our party is if we think that this is going to change everything in terms of how the President is viewed.

A lot of people have made up their mind about this president, and a lot of people who voted for him already understand that he is not a character of great integrity. They voted the way they did to send a message.


KING: It has not come up. It does not come up a lot at candidate town halls. A question here, question there. Will this be a pivot point as we get Mueller's findings and then we the fight over more congressional investigations? Or do the candidates think, you know what, it's better off for me to talk about health care and the economy and jobs and opioids?

VISER: I think it's more the latter. I mean most of the candidates don't bring this up.

Beto O'Rourke MAYBE gets the closest in the way that he talks about it but even he is not calling for impeachment. He's saying that, you know, Congress could begin that. I mean he sort of hedges a little bit.

And I don't think it will become a dominant theme for most of the candidates. I think they're going to try to focus on these other issues.

And remember they want to run against Donald Trump. I mean they are in this race because they view themselves as the best positioned to go up against him. So I don't know that they're going to sort of push for impeachment, even though aspects of the base may be animating that.

KUCINICH: Yes. I think a lot of it, there is the acknowledgment that a lot of the Mueller report has been baked in. Even though no one has seen it. The President has spent months trying to, or years, trying to disparage and degrade what's going to come out no matter what it was. So I don't know that that's going to change any minds going forward which is why you see the focus on more salient issues.

DEMIRJIAN: As much as they might want to talk about the other issues and domestic issues, they're going to have to keep responding to this. It's going to keep being out there. It's not going to go away in D.C. and they can't pretend that they just haven't seen or heard anything about the Mueller report.

So the question will be there and what do they say and do they trip up? I guess will be an open question to answer.

KING: Can they find the balance is the question? Talk about what you need to on the campaign trail. Harris, for example, yesterday talked about teacher pay. Elizabeth Warren on opioid thing.

But Harris is among those saying we want the materials. We have to take them classified, we'll take them classified but we want them all.

PHILIP: Yes. And ironically, I think the President might be the one forcing Democrats into talking about this. I think he and his allies view this as something that they can use to their advantage if there's nothing, you know, extraordinary in it.

And I think they believe that by the fact that there are no further indictments that they can -- they are safe on that ground.

[08:55:04] But they are going to use this to try to force Democrats off message from all these other issues and on to this issue of impeachment and the Mueller report and so on and so forth. So it will be an odd dynamic and in fact, maybe a reverse dynamic from what we've seen up until this week..

KING: It will be Interesting to see. By day's end we should have Robert Mueller's at least key findings to see if that changes the conversation on the campaign trail -- a day to pay attention right here.

That's it for INSIDE POLITICS.

Hope you can catch us weekdays as well. We're here at noon Eastern. Don't go anywhere. Up next, "STATE OF THE UNION" -- Dana Bash filling

in for Jake Tapper today. She has the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Jerry Nadler.

Thanks for sharing your Sunday. Have a great day.