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CNN TONIGHT

Full Mueller Report to be Released by Mid-April; Interview with Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) About the Meuller Report; Barr On Mueller Report, Well Along Making Redactions, Special Counsel Assisting; Dems Insist On April 2nd Deadline For Mueller Report; Justice Department Expects To Release Mueller Report To Congress By Mid-April, If Not Sooner; Update On Man Who Served His Time But Was Threatened With Return To Prison Over Legal Mix-up. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired March 29, 2019 - 22:00   ET

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


[22:00:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: If you want to get more than the base behind you, stop making excuses. Make something happen here. Your people are crying out for help. Otherwise, the question will clearly become, why did you allow this to happen.

It's time for the man. CNN Tonight with D. Lemon on a Friday night, what's better than that? Nothing, my friends.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: People call me D. Lemon on the streets all the time, like

CUOMO: You're welcome. You're welcome. I carry you like Atlas carries the globe.

LEMON: My gosh. Nothing. I'm not going to go there.

CUOMO: D. Lemon. What was your old nickname?

LEMON: I never had an old nickname.

CUOMO: That's what you think.

LEMON: Well, Mr. Don Lemon, superhero. So, I got to tell you --

CUOMO: Please.

LEMON: You said the deal making. Wasn't the deal -- remember the original deal that he was supposed to make?

CUOMO: No.

LEMON: Mexico was going to pay for that wall.

CUOMO: Yes, that deal.

LEMON: What happened?

CUOMO: It didn't happen.

LEMON: That didn't happen. LEMON: It was bluster, and the wall was a farce. But you know what?

Look. I don't have any problem with them building physical barriers where they say --

LEMON: No, not at all.

CUOMO: It's just not a panacea.

LEMON: There's already a physical barrier in a lot of place.

CUOMO: There is, there is, but, look, they need more. If they had more, they wouldn't have the flow problems they have right now. I believe that. But they needed more than just that.

And you know, Tripp, Roy, Cicilline everybody says we gave them that stuff too. Well, it obviously wasn't enough. And now I'm going to go down there, and I guarantee you they're going to say, we need, we need, we need. We said it, we said it, we said it, we said it. We're not getting it.

And everybody here is talking to me about long-term fixes and we have to have a partner hand and hand and a deal with this and deal with that and comprehensive this and long-term that. Deal with it now. Give them what they need.

LEMON: But I don't understand. Why can't he just be honest about it? Why does he have to lie about we're already building the new sections of the wall? That's not -- it is completely, 100 percent not true. It is a lie. There's no new wall that's being built.

CUOMO: No. There will be. If he keeps saying it long enough, he'll be right.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: He keeps saying --

CUOMO: And he has to define them as a brown menace. He has to be strong. He has to talk about closing off and --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: That's not strength.

CUOMO: -- you know, and being tough because that is what he's selling people. He can't say what we're saying. He can't say, look at these faces. How can we let them be like this? Let's find a better way. We don't have to let them all in, but we have to treat them all with compassion this is America, damn it.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: He can't say that. He's not selling compassion. He's selling outrage.

LEMON: All you always say, these are your words. He's taking you for a sucker.

CUOMO: Yes, he is.

LEMON: That's riding us for a sucker. Right?

CUOMO: And he's hoping that you will swallow what he's feeding you, but I'll tell you it's a bad diet for democracy and it's a bad diet for our values system.

LEMON: That's what a con man does. And many people have been --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: The con man is for confidence, and that's why he comes at you a 100 percent every time.

LEMON: Many people fall for the long con every time. Thank you, sir.

CUOMO: D. Lemon, my man.

LEMON: Great weekend.

CUOMO: You, too.

LEMON: Both sides, Cuomo. See you next time.

CUOMO: I'll take it.

LEMON: This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.

What a week it has been. What a week. Think about it. Think about it. It was on Sunday the report came out, right? This time last week we got our first letter from the attorney general, William Barr, on the Mueller investigation saying it was complete.

There have been two more letters since then, the latest one right here. The latest one just today, all right? A lot of news in it.

Mueller's report expected to be released to Congress and the American people, to the American people, by mid-April if not sooner, OK? But Barr is saying the process of redacting the report is, quote, "well along and that Mueller himself is assisting."

All of that is really important. But it also raises a lot of questions. A lot. And since we don't yet have Mueller's full report, a report that Barr writes is nearly 400 pages long by the way, the attorney general's letters, well, they're all we have to go on.

So, I want to go through this latest letter if you will allow me point by point because there's some very important information in there. And here is how it begins. It begins this way.

"Dear Chairman Graham and Chairman Nadler, I write in response to Chairman Nadler's March 25th, 2019 letter and Chairman Graham's March 27th, 2019 letter, which addressed the investigation of Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III and the confidential report he has submitted to me."

He's referring there to Nadler's letter requiring Mueller's full report to be released to Congress no later than April 2nd, right? That's this coming Tuesday. Nadler today insisting that deadline still stands even though Barr is apparently going to miss it.

He's also referring to Graham's invitation to the attorney general to testify before the Senate judiciary committee.

So, Barr goes on to say -- he says, "as we have discussed, I share your desire to ensure that Congress and the public have the opportunity to read the special counsel's report. We are preparing the report for release, making the redactions that are required. The special counsel is assisting us in this process.

[22:04:59] Specifically, we are well along in the process of identifying and redacting the following. One, material that by law cannot be made public. Two, material the intelligence community identifies as potentially compromising sensitive sources and methods.

And then three, material that could affect other ongoing matters including those that the special counsel has referred to other department offices. And, four, information that would unduly infringe on personal privacy and reputational interests of peripheral third parties."

Lots of really important stuff there, OK? Barr is well aware of all the demands for the release of the full Mueller report. He's well aware that even the president agrees the report should be released.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, the attorney general said today that he intends to release the Mueller report in full to Congress and the public. Do you agree with that decision, and do you want the White House to take a look over it for privilege?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I have great confidence in the attorney general, and if that's what he'd like to do, I have nothing to hide.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So, it's no surprise that in just the second sentence of his letter, Barr says he wants Congress and the public to be able to read the report. Compare that to what he wrote last week, saying his goal was to, quote, "release as much of the special counsel's report as I can."

OK. But back to the letter now. Barr goes on to lay out four pretty broad categories of material to be redacted -- information from the grand jury, sensitive intelligence information, information related to ongoing legal matters, and information that would infringe on the privacy of peripheral third parties.

The attorney general has an awful lot of discretion there. The question of exactly what must be redacted in any of those categories is far from black and white. You've got to wonder just how much information will be blacked out.

Mueller used the grand jury extensively. In fact, they're still working, so that could mean a lot of redactions right there.

Chairman Nadler responding tonight, saying, quote, "rather than expend valuable time and resources trying to keep certain portions of this report from Congress, he should work with us to request a court order to release any and all grand jury information to the House judiciary committee as has occurred in every similar investigation in the past. There is ample precedent for the Department of Justice sharing all of the information that the attorney general proposes to redact to the appropriate congressional committees. Again, Congress must see the full report."

Our legal experts are going to weigh in on that tonight on this program. And then there's the issue of intelligence information. House intel committee chairman Adam Schiff tweets this.

"Congress has asked for the entire Mueller report and underlying evidence by April 2nd. That deadline stands. In the meantime, Barr should seek court approval just like in Watergate to allow the release of grand jury material. Redactions are unacceptable."

Former Director of National Intelligence, Mr. James clapper, he's going to weigh in on that tonight.

The attorney general also says that Mueller himself is involved in the process of redacting his own report, which may give Barr some insulation from criticism if he can point to Mueller's involvement.

But back now to tonight's letter, OK? And this is a quote. "Our progress is such that I anticipate we will be in a position to release the report by mid-April if not sooner. Although the president would have the right to assert privilege over certain parts of the report, he has stated publicly that he intends to defer to me, and accordingly there are no plans to submit the report to the White House for a privilege review."

No plans to submit the report to the White House. But that is far from an iron-clad guarantee, and it doesn't rule out Barr himself raising executive privilege on the president's behalf.

And there is more. Quote, "Also I am aware of some media reports and other public statements mischaracterizing my March 24th, 2019, supplemental notification as a summary of the special counsel's investigation and report.

For example, Chairman Nadler's March 25th letter refers to my supplemental notification as a four-page summary of the special counsel's review. My March 24th letter was not and did not purport to be an exhaustive recounting of the special counsel's investigation or report.

As my letter made clear, my notification to Congress and the public provided pending release of the report, a summary of its principle conclusions. That is its bottom line.

[22:09:56] The special's counsel report is nearly 400 pages long, exclusive of tables and other information. Four hundred pages long exclusive of tables and other information here and another appendices. And set forth the special counsel's findings, his analysis, and the reasons for his conclusions. Everyone will soon be able to read it on their own.

I do not believe it would be in the public's interest for me to attempt to summarize the full report or to release it in serial or piecemeal fashion."

Not in the public's interest to summarize the report? Well, now he tells us that. It is true that the attorney general called his previous letter a summary of its principal conclusions, not a summary -- called a summary of its principal conclusions, not just a summary.

But rather than debate semantics, why not just release the entire report and let us decide for ourselves? That's the question. Why not just release it and let the American public release it -- let us decide for ourselves?

So, here's how the letter ends, and I read from the letter. "As I have discussed with both of you, I believe it would be appropriate for me to testify publicly on behalf of the department shortly after the special counsel's report is made public.

I am currently available to testify before the Senate judiciary committee on May 1, 2019, and before the House judiciary committee in May -- on May 2nd of 2019.

Finally, in the interest of keeping the public informed as to these matters, I intend to make this letter public after delivering it to you. Sincerely, William P. Barr, Attorney General."

So, the attorney general says that he is available to testify on May 1 and May 2, which if the report is released, that would be mid-April as promised. That would be two weeks later. Two weeks later.

That's a really long time to wait for the attorney general to answer questions that will undoubtedly raised -- be raised by this report. That's a long time, a couple weeks. But the president isn't waiting for the release of the report. Here's what the president tweeted today.

The president tweeted today, he said, "Maybe we should just take our victory and say no. We've got a lot of country to run." So much for deferring to the attorney general right there. The American people should know what's in this letter.

We've got a lot to discuss. CNN's Evan Perez is here. Let's bring in Evan right now. Evan, how much pressure was the attorney general under to release this report today?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think there's a lot of pressure. I think you saw the Democrats, Chairman Nadler, and even Lindsey Graham have been trying to get a lot more information from the attorney general.

I think the Democrats had given him April 2nd as a deadline, and I think what you're seeing, Don, is the attorney general trying to at least show to the members of Congress that, look, you're going to get some answers. You're going to get some answers perhaps even faster than I first indicated.

But let there be no doubt. I mean the two sides are headed to a confrontation, right? Because whatever Barr releases in mid-April, in a couple of weeks, will not be the full report. There will be a lot of redactions, some of which you just listed the four categories of things that are going to be redacted.

And so, then the fight begins. And I think the democrats have already pointed out that the goal posts have moved. It's not just the full Mueller report that they want, but they want the underlying evidence. They want to see what else Mueller turned up during this 22-month investigation, Don.

And so, I think, again, a confrontation is coming. There's going to be a subpoena eventually probably, and then this is probably going to end up in litigation before a judge.

LEMON: Nadler is not satisfied with this response. So, what is he saying? What are his concerns?

PEREZ: That's right. He says that this is not -- this is not enough, and he wants -- still wants the full report released immediately, and he wants to see the underlying evidence.

So, I think what you're going to see is they're going to keep the pressure up on the attorney general. I think one of the things that's happening right now, Don, is the Justice Department is trying to make sure that they see -- that they show a unified front.

So, you're going to have -- you saw Barr refer to Special Counsel Mueller staying on to help with some of these redactions. And you have Rod Rosenstein, who is also still in the building, and so I think the three men are now basically trying to show a unified front to the members of Congress to show, look, this is not just Barr's interpretation of Mueller, but this is all of our work.

LEMON: Evan Perez, Evan, thank you for your reporting. I appreciate that.

PEREZ: Sure.

LEMON: The attorney general has written three letters in a week on the Mueller report but there are more and more unanswered questions. Will we get those answers from the full report, or will they be redacted?

[22:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Attorney General Barr in a letter to Congress released today saying he is well along in making redactions in Robert Mueller's report and expects to send it to Capitol Hill by mid-April, if not sooner. And he says he's getting assistance on the redactions from the special counsel himself.

A lot to talk about. Matthew Rosenberg is here, Harry Litman, and Garrett Graff. Gentlemen, good evening to you.

Garrett, I'm going to start with you. The attorney general says that the Mueller report, a little over 400 pages. Everyone will get to read it themselves. His previous letter was not a summary. Why didn't he say this from the very beginning?

GARRETT GRAFF, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think that's a great question, and one of the things that really struck me in reading this letter was there was very little in it that he couldn't have said last Friday or on Sunday.

And that in some ways I find it suspicious that we're learning these additional details only now. We would have thought very differently about the Friday letter or the Sunday summary, which he is no longer calling a summary, if we had known it was 400 pages.

This is a question I've been asking all week. I asked it on this show early in the week that, you know, learning 65 words out of a 400-page report is not really getting a good sense of what it says. This is, to me, sort of the horse thief saying, maybe it's time to close the barn door after the horse is already gone.

LEMON: Matthew, do you think Barr's timing -- do you think it was intentional? Is he trying for a restart here, trying to reset things?

MATTHEW ROSENBERG, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I mean perhaps. He may just not be good at rolling out kind of media strategy here. I think there's a question of, you know, why didn't they have this thing ready to go when they announced that it was done?

[22:20:05] LEMON: Right.

ROSENBERG: That would have made a lot of sense, would have answered a lot of questions. I do think that, you know, there are probably some people around the president that have figured out that while there may be no chargeable crimes in there, that there are details that are not going to look good.

LEMON: You meant why didn't they have it ready to go, a version for the public and then --

ROSENBERG: Of course.

LEMON: Is that what you're saying?

ROSENBERG: Yes.

LEMON: I asked that very question last night. I don't understand why they didn't.

ROSENBERG: Yes. LEMON: Go ahead. I'm sorry to interrupt you.

ROSENBERG: No. It would have made things much easier or far less questions. This kind of dribbling out of things, it looks suspicious. It raises questions like Garrett just brought up that, you know, are they trying to hide something? Are they trying to kind of tell story and control the narrative? I don't know the answer to that, but it certainly raises a lot of questions how they're doing this how the attorney general is doing this.

LEMON: So, Harry, listen, the attorney general lays out in his letter that information will be redacted from the report. And it says "it includes material that by law that cannot be made public, that potentially compromises sources and methods, that could affect ongoing matters and anything that would infringe on the privacy of third parties."

Does anything stand out to you as something to look for in that list?

HARRY LITMAN, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Yes. First, I mean it's a very well-crafted letter. It sounds like he is being cooperative, but it is really setting up for a battle royale.

The first category is the most important. Nadler is saying, we should get everything that was in the grand jury, but what he is really relying on is prior cases that give extra authority to the court.

You can bet that the Department of Justice and Bill Barr are going to say that's not under the law. Under the law, we just have to go with the exceptions delineated in this specific rule. None of them is Congress in an impeachment inquiry. Sorry, guys, but those redactions are going to stand. So that's the biggest category.

The last category stands out because it's new and kind of amorphous. What does unduly mean? What does peripheral mean? The second and third categories, I think, are you have to give him that. National security stuff, certainly that matters. And ongoing investigations, certainly that matters.

But what's really going to be the big battle is this first point and Nadler is going to be very upset, want the department to go forward and do something together with him in the court. It will not happen.

LEMON: I wonder, Garrett -- you know, Barr says the Special Counsel Mueller is assisting his team in redacting -- in this redacting -- redaction process. I wonder how significant is that? Does that give Barr some cover here?

GRAFF: Potentially. But let's remember sort of one big overarching thing. It's not like Bob Mueller didn't know that these were concerns as he was writing this report. It's not that, you know, he turned over this report last Friday and bill Barr is flipping through it, and he goes, Bob, you used all this grand jury testimony and intelligence sources and methods. We can't release this.

LEMON: Yes. GRAFF: Like obviously Bob Mueller's team has been thinking about this and working through these issues for months, if not years. I mean they have been through this process to release intelligence signals, intelligence information in the IRA and GRU indictments. There's a good process inside of government to make those types of

things part of court proceedings.

And we've seen in Watergate, and we saw in Whitewater and the Ken Starr report sort of grand juries agree to hand over their information to Congress.

So, there is process for this, and Mueller has probably been thinking about how to do this. And sort of as Matt was saying, you know, it's weird to me that sort of they're pretending as if that these are brand-new issues that no one had thought about prior to last Friday.

LEMON: Matthew, Barr writes --

(CROSSTALK)

LITMAN: Can I comment, Don?

LEMON: Yes. Go for it.

LITMAN: Yes. That's absolutely true, but now Barr is in charge, and Mueller will defer on the matter. So, he might have thought it would be released, but Barr is going to say that that's not how we, the Department of Justice, interpret the rule.

LEMON: All right. More from the letter, Matthew. This is for you. "Although the president would have the right to assert privilege over certain parts of the report, he has stated publicly he intends to defer to me, and accordingly there are no plans to submit the report to the White House for a privilege review."

But tonight, the president tweeted on the report saying no matter what they give Democrats, it will never be enough. And maybe we should just take our victory and say no. We've got a country to run. Do you think the president is still planning to defer to Barr here? Does he really want the report out?

ROSENBERG: You know, I've stopped trying to predict what the president's thinking from his tweets. It's just a losing game.

I do suspect there are people around the president, like I said before, who know that there are going to be details in this report that are not going to look great, that maybe they didn't amount to a crime.

[22:24:55] But, you know, as we've detailed in many stories over the years that have not been challenged in the last two years of contacts, of being at the very least collusion-curious, and that's not something you want in a public setting. So, I think we're going to see what happens here.

LEMON: Gentlemen, thank you for your time. Have a good weekend. We've got a lot of unanswered questions about the Mueller report,

especially when it comes to the president's ties to Russia. We're going to break down those questions with the former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper. He's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: In his letter today, Attorney General Bill Barr laid out the kinds of information that he is working to redact from releasing the Mueller report -- before releasing the Mueller report. He says some of those redactions could include sensitive intelligence information, but are Congress and the American public entitled to see that information?

Joining me now to discuss is the former Director of National Intelligence, Mr. James Clapper. Director, thank you so much.

The attorney general says that he is in the process of identifying potentially compromising, sensitive sources and methods to redact from the Mueller report. What kind of information could that include?

JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER UNITED STATES DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Well, Don, I would take a cue from the two key indictments, at least for me, that Mueller issued in February and July of last year.

[22:30:07] The one in February was the internet research -- about the internet research agency and one in July was about the GRU officers, the Russian military intelligence organization, and included indictments of 12 GRU officers.

And I was really taken aback by the level of detail in those two indictments. A lot of fidelity, and which kind of surprised me. Now, if that is the bar that is used, I don't think -- and I think this is one case that calls for a very liberal interpretation of protecting sources and methods. And so if this report is 400 pages long, I would expect and hope that much of it is about the Russian interference, which apart from the president's culpability for collusion or obstruction.

To me, what is a huge issue here, hugely important, is the Russian interference in our political process, and it's my great hope that the redaction rules will be very lightly applied at least when it comes to intelligence-related data, because I think the American people are entitled to see that. And if those two indictments are an indicator, then I would expect this to be a pretty devastating indictment of the Russians, which I think is quite important.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Interesting. Let's talk about the counterintelligence aspect, OK, of Mueller's investigation, but no mention of it in Barr's letter to Congress of principal conclusions. Where do you think that investigation stands, Director?

CLAPPER: I honestly don't know, and that, by the way, is another reason why I personally I'm extremely interested in reading as much of the Mueller report as, you know, would be made available publicly, because hopefully it would cast some light on, for example, the president's inexplicable deference to Vladimir Putin and why -- you know, whether or not there is potential there for that relationship and the demeanor, the manner of it affecting U.S. Policy.

And so, I don't actually know the state of play of the counterintelligence investigation and whether that has been subsumed or was subsumed in the Mueller investigation. I honestly don't know.

LEMON: Well, that is what Sally Yates published in her op-ed.

CLAPPER: Yes, which I thought was quite good, and I think there is a counterintelligence dimension here.

LEMON: We want to put it up. Let's put it up. And then, I'll just say, this is why -- why was the Trump campaign willing to allow the help of one of the country's foremost geopolitical adversaries rather than report the overtures to law enforcement? And as importantly, does that -- does the role that the Russians played in his election have any bearing on Trump's current approach towards Russia?

CLAPPER: Well, exactly. That is the point. Now, that would be a -- that would be an argument for sustaining a counterintelligence investigation. That, again, is another reason why the revelation, the transparency here is so important within the Congress and with the public, whether it will cast light on that dimension alone, you know, the counterintelligence implications and whether there are still concerns.

I thought -- I have to say, Adam Schiff's litany in response to the Republican letter demanding he resign as chairman of the House Committee for Intelligence, you know, it's not OK. I thought was a pretty compelling litany of why there's so much concern about the potential for collusion. Maybe it didn't reach the evidentiary bar for conspiracy, but there was, you know, a great deal of concern and suspicion about that.

And that was evident at the end of the Obama administration. Where there was -- we didn't understand completely what was going on, but there was a lot of concern about it. So for all these reasons, it is so important that as much of this report as possible be made public.

LEMON: Director, thank you. I appreciate it.

CLAPPER: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: The House Judiciary Chair, Jerry Nadler, says the April 2nd deadline for the Mueller report, it still stands. What's next in the face-off between Congress and the DOJ? I'm going to talk to a Democratic Congressman, Steve Cohen. There he is right there. We're going to do that next.

[22:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Attorney General Barr says it will take until mid-April to complete redactions to Robert Mueller's full report. The House Judiciary Chairman, Jerry Nadler, says that is not good enough. Let's discuss now. Congressman Steve Cohen is here. He is a member of the Judiciary Committee. Congressman, thank you. I appreciate you joining us. REP. STEVE COHEN (D-TN), HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE MEMBER: You're

welcome, Don.

LEMON: Chairman Nadler responded to Barr's letter saying that April 2nd, that deadline for turning over the report without redactions that it still stands. As a member of the House Judiciary, how do you think Democrats proceed if Barr misses that deadline?

COHEN: Well, I think it's good that we didn't make it April 1, because he'd have been trying to make a fool out of all of us. And I suspect that is what Barr is doing and Trump's doing, to try to make a fool out of Congress and a fool out of the American public. The whole appointment, the charade of getting the report and analyzing it is going on, I think they will not have the report by April 2nd.

[22:40:05] I support chairman Nadler. The committee will support him, and I think we'll proceed with the next action, which I suspect will be a subpoena, but we need to be strong and firm. We need to see the entire report, and the American public deserves to see the entire report, because our country's security vis-a-vis we saw with Russia, who wants to be the Soviet Union again, is somewhat in jeopardy. We've got a president who seems to be so much in love with Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin that he can't see the goodness of his own people.

LEMON: One of the key issues in making Mueller's report public is the secret grand jury material. Nadler suggested that Barr should be working with the Congress and the courts to get the material released. Why isn't that happening?

COHEN: Because they don't want it released. They want the minimum amount released, because there's so much in there that will be damning of what this president has done and tried to do and his family and others. And the grand jury testimony would be released in other special counsel, independent counsel cases.

The U.S. Attorney General has worked with the committees, gone to the courts, and the courts have allowed that material to be given to the Congress. And the court can do it, and I feel sure the federal district court in Washington would, but when Nadler asked Barr to help him with that and to join with him in making that request, he refused. Because he doesn't want it released. It's not because it's against the law. He doesn't want it released, and his job is to protect Donald Trump. He is Donald Trump's man.

LEMON: So we don't know what's in there. We don't know how much or if there's any damning information. You're assuming there's damning information, but here's my question. Every day that passes, it allows the president and his allies to submit the no collusion narrative in the public consciousness. Are you concerned that the public won't be open to details that the whole report may reveal?

COHEN: I think a lot of the public won't be, and I think that is what they're doing. You know, there was something in a movie, and it wasn't a great movie or anything although I loved it, many decades ago, it's called "Liberty Valance." And they said when the legend becomes the truth, you print the legend. And they know that. As long as they can make the legend their false narrative, the truth, it will become what is accepted as the truth. They want to keep it out there as long as possible. That is why April 2 is not a good date. That is why he says possibly mid-April. And then with so many redactions it will be like Swiss cheese.

There's not 400 pages of no collusion, no collusion, no collusion. There's got to be a lot of stuff that has information that will be damning to the president and his administration, and otherwise Robert Mueller would not have said this does not exonerate the president. And if there's some material in there that does not exonerate him, they don't want us to see it.

It's probably grand jury testimony, or its evidence and this is the one that really got me, was the statement that they would not release material that would -- information that could affect the personal privacy and reputational interest of peripheral third parties. Well, I don't know who the peripheral third parties is, but I suspect its Donald Trump Jr. and Eric and Ivanka.

LEMON: You think that is it with his family. Well, we shall see again. We don't know, but a 400-page letter, you don't know what's in there. It could be a lot of information damning or otherwise.

COHEN: You don't know, but you know the American public deserves to see it.

LEMON: Yes.

COHEN: We've seen the entire results of WACO, which was the last -- the only thing under the special counsel statute in the past. The independent prosecutors, Jaworski and Ken Starr reports were given straight to Congress. The U.S. attorneys, the district -- the United States Attorney Generals didn't jump in and give their conclusions or opinions to try to set a narrative and to interfere with how the public would interpret it.

This is very unique. It's very damaging. You know who benefits from this? Two groups benefit from this. Donald Trump and his people and Russia. Russia wants people to not believe in the United States government and democracy. They want to destroy democracy. That is why they interfered in our elections. That is why they tried to interfere in elections all over Europe and around the world, is because they don't like democracy and they want to destroy it.

And anything that hurts it helps the Russians. And this has hurt democracy and people thinking that the government is transparent, and they are not being allowed to see what is the work product concerning their president and any interest he might have had with Russia and why he is so subordinate to Vladimir Putin.

LEMON: Congressman Cohen, thank you for your time, sir.

COHEN: Take care, Don. Good to be with you.

LEMON: Absolutely. He served his time, was free for more than 12 years, and was suddenly

threatened with a return to prison over a legal mix-up. Now Demetrius Anderson has news tonight. He and his attorney will join me next.

[22:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Well, last night we told you about Demetrius Anderson. He did his time. He turned his life around and after more than 12 years of freedom, he was threatened with a return to prison all because of a legal mix-up. Well, tonight we have an update. So joining me now is Demetrius Anderson and his attorney, Michael Dolan. Also CNN's Van Jones. Gentlemen, good evening. Thank you so much for joining us. Let's go to the attorney first. So you have some news about Demetrius' case. Can you share it with us?

MICHAEL DOLAN, ATTORNEY FOR DEMETRIUS ANDERSON: Yes. I've spoke to the Bureau of Prisons today, the Commutation Department and the U.S. Attorney from the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. They both confirmed that Demetrius is receiving credit for his time at liberty, and therefore the federal government considers his 16-month sentence served.

LEMON: Are you confident that this is all resolved? Is there a risk of this, that it could be changed?

DOLAN: Look, I'll feel much more comfortable when I get that in writing hopefully on Monday, but the news I got late today, getting it from those two sources, I feel very confident that that risk is gone.

[22:50:09] LEMON: You want to see it in writing?

DOLAN: Yes, I do.

LEMON: See it in writing. This has been a rollercoaster for you. The U.S. marshal knock at your door Demetrius nine days ago, you lost 15 pounds, the stress is extraordinary for you. How are you feeling tonight with this information from Dolan?

DEMETRIUS ANDERSON, THREATENED WITH PRISON DUE TO LEGAL MIXUP: I'm feeling grateful, overjoyed, totally overjoyed. And I'm just feeling like my faith.

LEMON: Yes. You seem cautious though.

ANDERSON: I am because I'm cautious only for the fact that I need to see it in writing. Because I've seen my release papers in writing in 2006 and came home, so I would need to see that in writing, so I could feel 100 percent that what I experienced last week won't happen again.

LEMON: Because you are worried that it could happen all over again. Van Jones, you brought the story to our attention. Give me your reaction, sir.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Hey, listen, when we fight, we win. This brother deserved everything that was done for him. After your show, Don, it was crazy. I mean, social media went crazy, Congress people were calling, people saying this could not happen to this young man. It's just terrible. How could you have somebody who does what we say do, he made a mistake, yes, but 13 years, he is done perfect, he's done perfect and with this tsunami of public support for this young man.

When we fight, we win. So the federal defenders need a round of applause. The prosecutor came to the table. The Bureau of Prison. I mean, it was unbelievable what happened. And listen, we have to do this every time we hear about injustice. It cuts 50 (ph), Luis Reed (ph), Jessica Jackson (ph), Erin Heidi (ph), I could give a bunch of names, but I'm going to tell you right now, this is what is going to take. You cannot let good people, we are all good people and bad, you know, we got (inaudible) we get harsh, but when you have somebody who's made a sacrifice, somebody who shown he can be an asset to our community, we will not let you take them from us.

We are going to fight tooth and nail. And this is going to be, I think, a victory, this is going to inspire people across the country and if they come after somebody else, quit going in the side drawer trying to find more people to put back in prison. Like we don't have enough people in prison.

LEMON: But Van, isn't this what's supposed to happen with the criminal justice system? If someone pays restitution and their depths to society they should come out and work to reform their lives which is exactly what Demetrius did. But my question is, do you trust that this is over for him, I mean, what can we do to make sure that it is?

JONES: I don't trust -- I trust, you know, what I trust, Don, I trust you to keep the spotlight on. I trust Demetrius to stand strong, I trust his attorneys to stand with him and I trust all of these groups that have come around to make sure that it happens.

Once it's on paper, then I want to look and I want to hold up to the light. I want to make sure there's no invisible ink on there, they don't trip a brother once, but movement wins. You know, that is what I want people to understand on this. We can walk with your head held high. This 48 hours of complete turnaround of the Trump administration came to the table, federal defenders came to the table, preachers came to the table, people came to the table, Don, after your show and made a positive difference in such a short period of time. It was shocking to people.

LEMON: OK. So, let me ask you. You said, you trust, you talk about the people you trust and this platform is one of them. Thank you very much for that, but what is the best way to prevent this from happening to someone else? Is it awareness? Is it laws? What?

JONES: Well, look. I mean, I think, obviously, we've got to change the laws. I'm proud to be the CEO of the reform alliance. We are working to change laws, Don, you've put the spotlight on this issue for years and years. And it has becoming more and more conscious to the people. They know our criminal justice system, Republican and Democrats now know has got to be fixed.

But it doesn't become real to people until they see a person like this. There must be some people going through the side drawer, looking up under filing cabinets, trying to find out how to put more people in prison. We already have the biggest prison population in the world, Don. We have more people in prison in our little country than China has with a billion people.

Quit looking for ways to put more people in prison and find good folks to give them a chance to come home and do well like this young man did. This is a proof point that when we fight, we win and when we work across party lines, Republicans came and Democrats came.

LEMON: Yes.

JONES: When we come together across party lines, we can stop injustice from happening. It takes people like you, Don. You were the first one to rush this on to the air. We appreciate that, but that is what it takes. All it was telling the truth. Once you hear the truth, they are not going to let this happen.

LEMON: You know, last night, you told me Demetrius that you still believe in the judicial system. What is behind that belief?

ANDERSON: Well, my mother always believed in the judicial system. Always told me to respect it. So when I did get in trouble, it was really more for me, for her to turn my life around when I came home, because of the pain I've seen that I caused her when I had got in trouble.

[22:55:07] And I made a vow not to do it again, for her, and by turning my life around, it, you know, it brought her joy, but what I went through last week was just ridiculous, because within the last three years, I lost her, my stepfather and my little sister to the hands of my brother. Which I'm in, you know, therapy for now.

So when that happened to me, just recently last week, when it came for me and I know I didn't even do anything wrong, I didn't know what to do. I was suicidal, couldn't eat. Because I didn't do anything and they didn't give me any answer when it came, you know, busting in my home like that. I thought they were looking for Bin Laden. And I actually opened my door, just got out of the shower. If I was doing something wrong. I wouldn't went to the door like that.

So, I just want to thank you also for, you know, for helping me, of course, Van Jones, Cut 50, Louis Reed. They were the only organization that stepped up to help me, you know, I don't know what would have happened if I didn't have you, CNN, you know, to put this story so it won't happen to anyone else again.

LEMON: Well, that's very kind of you, but you don't have to thank me. This is what we all should be doing, right? We should all be -- we are all our brothers' keepers. Thank you. Good luck to you.

ANDERSON: Thank you so much.

LEMON: I'm very happy, we appreciate it.

ANDERSON: Thank you. LEMON: Thank you.

DOLAN: Thank you.

LEMON: Van, thanks, brother.

JONES: Don, I tell you what, you're a fair man, because when the Trump administration does something good, you give him credit and when they do something bad, you don't give them credit, but this is one time were people and the Trump administration came together for justice and you gave us the opportunity. I appreciate it.

LEMON: Can you say that loud for the people in the back. Maybe some people --

Maybe the president, you know, maybe he was like walking in another room as he is watching.

JONES: The Trump administration heard the cries of the people and you helped make it happen. You've got to get your credit, Don, I'm giving it to you.

LEMON: Thank you brother.

JONES: Thank you, Don.

ANDERSON: Thank you so much.

LEMON: Thank you all, I appreciate it. We'll be right back.

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