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Bill Barr's Emphasis of Trump's Emotional Duress Does Not Absolve Him from Obstruction Intent; Barr's Report Shared with Both White House Counsel and Trump's Outside Attorneys; Barr Will Not Release Grand Jury Content of Mueller Report to Congress. Aired 10:30- 11a ET
Aired April 18, 2019 - 10:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:30:00] JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR AND CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Robert Mueller's conclusions are as favorable to the president. As Bill Barr just noted, then the attorney general from a political standpoint should have probably stayed out of it and let Robert Mueller give that word. Because now we're in this world where you just read Chuck Schumer's tweets and the tweets from the Democratic presidential candidates.
If there is stuff in the Mueller report that is actually favorable or at least casts some of these decisions -- again, meetings that shouldn't have happened, judgments that probably shouldn't have been made -- cast them as, "Well, they just didn't know any better," Democrats are not going to believe it.
GLORIA BORGER, CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Right.
KING: And now, the attorney general, by giving that presentation where the president's a victim. The president's a victim for attacking his own department? The attorney general was standing there in the halls of the Justice Department with Rod Rosenstein behind him.
I'd like to see if --
BORGER: That's right.
KING: -- Rod Rosenstein is one of the 10 (ph) episodes. The president tried to fire him too because he put Robert Mueller in place.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Because it's important to learn what those 10 episodes were.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.
BLITZER: Those 10 episodes that -- that Robert Mueller investigated as possible -- UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
BLITZER: -- obstruction of justice. And that there was a disagreement between Mueller and the attorney general on what that -- what the significance of it is.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Particularly about the issue of intent. You know, did the president intend to obstruct justice. And, you know, the most extraordinary paragraph of the attorney general's statement is, you know, the sort of "woe is me" problem --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Right.
TOOBIN: -- that the president -- you know, there were leaks and there were people around -- around. He was frustrated. And that's evidence of guilt. That's not evidence of innocence.
You know, happy people don't obstruct justice.
JAKE TAPPER, CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: This is the -- then this is the sense. The president was --
TOOBIN: The -- the --
TAPPER: -- frustrated and angered by a sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency, propelled by his political opponents and fueled by illegal leaks (ph). Nonetheless, the White House fully cooperated.
TOOBIN: Which they --
LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: But that can be a reason to -- that can be a reason to obstruct, frankly. The idea, if you are frustrated, if you're overwhelmed, if you're sensitive, you think there's a cloud over your presidency, that can also lead to you making decisions that perhaps a more sane, resolved person would not make.
It doesn't simply inoculate you because you have feelings about the issue. That's the part that I think is the most interesting. And by the way, of course it's not going to be beneficial. They were already given the report in advance, and there is a rebuttal.
You don't -- happy people don't issue a rebuttal report to tell you how happy they are. We know it's coming.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Do you know who else the president shared those frustrations with? The Russian ambassador in the Oval Office. If you remember, which was part of the investigation early on --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.
SCIUTTO: -- because he shared his frustration with James Comey, and then with Comey gone, some of the pressure would be off. So, yes, the president was concerned about it. What did he do as a result of it?
But I think, Wolf, you're right. You know, what have we learned so far? Those 10 instances is news, right? Now, we'll --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.
SCIUTTO: -- have those delineated in 30 minutes. Are they -- are most of those 10, things we already knew? Are they firing of James Comey? But we also know there are a lot of nervous people in the White House right now because they testified under oath. Did they reveal conversations or requests from this president we didn't know about already, that are now part of that list of 10 instances where the president may have obstructed justice?
BORGER: You know, what the attorney general seems to be saying here is that the president had no corrupt intent. So what was it, then, that led him to ask Don McGahn to get rid of Mueller? And maybe we'll hopefully find that out in the Mueller report.
But could his best defense be that he was not fully informed about his role as president, what was right and what was wrong to do as president? And that "I didn't know that firing Mueller would have been seen as any kind of obstructive behavior, or venting would have seen as obstructive behavior, or threatening my attorney general would have seen as obstructive behavior" --
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Or firing James Comey.
BORGER: "Or firing James Comey would have seen -- I didn't know that. I was just sharing with the American people on Twitter, how I really felt about this. But in the end, I didn't do anything that was intentionally obstructive." I mean, maybe that's the defense.
I mean, we heard it from Barr today. And maybe that's the other side, the flip side of the coin that we'll see laid out in the Mueller report.
BLITZER: Presumably, we'll also hear at some point -- sooner, I assume, rather than later -- from the president of the United States --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
BLITZER: A quick reminder about why the attorney general's judgment faces a lot of scrutiny. Before President Trump nominated Barr to lead the Justice Department, the attorney general, then as a private citizen, wrote an unsolicited 19-page memo that argued that Mueller's obstruction investigation was, in the words of William Barr, fatally misconceived.
Barr, writing back in June of 2018 -- and I'm quoting now -- "Mueller should not be able to demand that the president submit to an interrogation about alleged obstruction... This theory would have potentially disastrous implications, not just for the presidency but for the executive branch as a whole.
Pamela Brown, I know you're -- you've been reading that very, very closely, going back to that initial memo, what he wrote as a private citizen. You have a question for Jeffrey Toobin. [10:35:06] PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Right. I mean,
that was one of the key questions that we still don't know the answer to, is why Mueller didn't seek a subpoena to interview the president. Our reporting is, there was a discussion about it. But ultimately, the request was never formally made.
I do have a question for Jeffrey Toobin. After going through the attorney general's opening remarks -- because we still don't have the report -- basically, he said in this graph about sharing the redacted report not only with White House Counsel but also the president's personal outside lawyers. That struck me because the White House Counsel would review it for executive privilege because it's an institutional matter, but not the president's outside attorneys.
And, Jeffrey Toobin, the attorney general points to this act (ph), saying that "the request was consistent with the practice followed under the Ethics in Government Act which permitted individuals named in a report prepared by an independent counsel, the opportunity to read it."
But as we know, in the late '90s, the independent counsel was replaced by the special counsel rank (ph). So not to get too in the weeds here, but is this accurate, that he handed this to the personal attorneys as well under this act?
TOOBIN: Well, it is accurate that the Ethics in Government Act, the independent counsel law, did allow people who are named in the report to read it in advance. However, as you point out, the independent counsel law, the Ethics in Government Act, is gone. So what the attorney general has done is cherry-pick parts of that law that he liked, like giving the president's lawyer a chance to read the report in advance, and ignored parts of that he didn't like.
Ken Starr wrote a very famous report about his Clinton investigation. It certainly didn't go to Janet Reno to get a scrub before it was released because that wasn't part of the Ethics in Government Act. There was no provision for that.
So Barr is taking the parts of the Ethics in Government Act, which has expired, that he likes -- letting the president see it -- and ignoring the parts that he doesn't like, like allowing the report to go to the public unfettered.
TAPPER (?): And we just got a --
BROWN: Yes, would (ph) it have been that anyone could have -- oh, go ahead.
TAPPER (?): No, no, Pamela. Go ahead.
BROWN: I was just going to say, would it have meant that anyone who was mentioned in the report, these White House officials who we expect to be named, could have also looked at it in advance?
TOOBIN: That's right. I mean, that is how the Ethics in Government Act worked. I don't remember if peripheral people are entitled to see it. But certainly people who are principal figures names in these reports were allowed to see it. And many of them, as I recall -- it's been expired for almost 20 years, I think -- were allowed to, you know, come out swinging against the report if they disagreed with it. And obviously, that's what -- the president's lawyers are going to have this tremendous advantage over the rest of us today.
TAPPER: Now, we have some new reaction from the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California. She tweeted moments ago, quote, "Attorney General Barr has confirmed the staggering partisan effort by the Trump administration to spin the public's view of the Mueller report, complete with acknowledgement that the Trump team received a sneak preview."
TEXT: Attorney General Barr has confirmed the staggering partisan effort by the Trump administration to spin the public's view of the Mueller report, complete with acknowledgement that the Trump team received a sneak preview. It's more urgent than ever that Special Counsel Mueller testify before Congress.
TAPPER: Pelosi goes on to say it's more urgent than ever that Special Counsel Mueller testify before Congress.
When she refers to the Trump team receiving a sneak preview, is she referring to the Mueller and the -- rather, the attorney general allowing them to invoke executive privilege and then they refrained from doing so? Is that what she's talking...
CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: She could be talking about the executive privilege review. She also could be talking about what Pamela and Jeffrey were just discussing, which is this review by the president's counsel.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Personal attorney. That's what (ph) just (ph) --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
CORDERO: So there would have been a White House Counsel potential review that would have pertained to executive privilege because the White House Counsel is there to protect the interests of the institution of the president. And then there's the separate (ph) --
BASH: It was beyond the White House Counsel --
CORDERO: -- personal attorneys.
BASH: -- he says very, very clearly that --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His personal counsel.
BASH: -- that the president's personal counsel requested and were given the opportunity to read a final version of the redacted report before it was publicly released. And then he goes on to say that it's consistent with the practice followed under the Ethics in Government Act.
CORDERO: Right. And it's the -- the key word there is "practice." It was -- so they were following, as Jeffrey was describing, the practice under that law. They were not actually adhering to those provisions of law.
BORGER (?): But they --
CORDERO: Because what's so ironic is that the entire reason that we're in this particular special counsel regulations situation, where it's a confidential report, was because that was a complete reaction against the type of reporting --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- position of the independent counsel --
BLITZER: Because of the personal counsel, it's very significant. It's not the White House Counsel that was given this sneak preview --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
BLITZER: -- allowed to read the redacted version of the report. The personal counsel, whether that was --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Exactly.
BLITZER: -- Rudy Giuliani or someone else.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All (ph) of (ph) them (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: the Raskins -- the Raskins and Jay Sekulow.
BLITZER: Yes. Somebody was allowed to read it. But that was what -- what irritates members of Congress is that the president's personal lawyers --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.
BLITZER: -- were allowed to read the report before they were allowed.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It has nothing to do with executive privilege.
BORGER: But then he said -- you know, he went on because he knew that there would be some reaction against this. He made the point that they were not allowed to make -- and didn't request -- any kind of redactions. [10:40:05] So they were allowed to see it, to get a sneak peek of it
-- and obviously this helps him -- them do their rebuttal, whatever that is -- but they didn't -- they didn't make any changes.
TAPPER: And John King, let me bring you in here because right now, let's say that you are the chairman of the House or the Senate Judiciary Committee. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina, in the Senate. Jerry Nadler, Democrat of New York, in the House.
You're sitting here and you're watching this all play out. The attorney general has just given a press conference in which he basically declared the president, six or seven times, "No collusion, no collusion, no collusion." We're all talking about this. We're picking apart what he said.
And we still haven't seen the report. And more importantly, they haven't. The congressional leaders of the House and Senate Judiciary Committee. Is there any reason why -- if this has been redacted, it's ready to go -- why this should not have been released at the exact same time that William Barr spoke? Why wait until 11:00 a.m. Eastern?
KING: You reach a critical point. And to the beginning of your question, it depends on which Lindsey Graham -- and I'll come back to that in a minute --
-- it's not -- sadly, it's not a laughable matter in the sense but -- in the sense that it -- we could be avoiding the conversation you just had if Bill Barr said, "You know what's it's a decent thing for the president's lawyers to see this before it's released publicly." That's the decent thing to do. So I'm going to do that. But I'm going to call Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy and maybe the chairman of the committee.
Pick four, pick six, pick the Gang of Eight. Pick a bipartisan group of Congress and say, "Look. It's the decent thing. I'm going to give Rudy Giuliani and the president's personal lawyers 24 hours to look at this. Here it is for you as well." So there's no issue of fairness or partisanship here. Why is that so hard?
SCIUTTO (?): And by the way --
KING: They see classified information every day of the week. Say --
SCIUTTO (?): That's --
KING: -- "Bite your tongue. Don't leak this. I'm going to hold you to it." Then we're not having this conversation. That is why Bill Barr hurt (ph) himself today, in terms of (ph) --
UNIDENTIFED FEMALE: I have another --
SCIUTTO: That's a privilege -- that's a privilege that this Justice Department gave to Russians indicted in this investigation in -- prior to previous press conferences. Remember, I said this before he came to speak. Before the GRU indictments, before the IRA, the troll farm indictments, the indictments were released publicly before they went in the Justice Department there and answered the public's questions.
He did not do this here. He colored -- he colored it. And that is --
KING: He's legitimized -- he's legitimized, now, the questions about his politics, his loyalty --
SCIUTTO: -- breaking -- that breaks protocol.
BASH (?): And can I ask another question --
KING: That's sad.
To your other point, quickly, about the chairman. At the beginning of this, remember, Lindsey Graham, then -- wasn't the chairman of the committee at the time, but now he is the chairman of the Judiciary Committee -- said "Bob Mueller's the perfect person for this job." So let's hope that Lindsey Graham remembers that.
And just like we know the House Democrats will bring him in -- let's be honest -- the House Democrats have a partisan agenda against the president. That doesn't mean some of them don't want to pursue facts as well. But there's too much politics involved here. We don't even have the report yet.
It would be nice if you could have a group in Congress call up the attorney general, call in the special counsel and have a conversation about the facts. And it would be nice if both committees could do that. Maybe they could have an arrangement to do it together, in a big special committee setting. That would be logical. That would be a procedural, less political way to do it, which means it will never happen.
BASH: And I have one other question about -- about showing the president's personal attorneys this report beforehand. Because in his statement, he said that it followed the Ethics in Government Act, which permits individuals named in a report prepared by independent counsel, the opportunity to read the report before publication.
So did all of the other individuals, were they -- named in this report, were they also --
BASH: -- were their lawyers also given the opportunity to read this, or was it just the president of the United States?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it was just the president.
BASH: Well, that's -- then that's completely inconsistent.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Again, that opens the door to special treatment.
COATES: But let's be clear. Let's not conflate for the American people, when you say "the president's lawyers." Because I think everyone has to understand. The White House Counsel versus Rudy Giuliani, Jay Sekulow and his personal team, they have very different roles. And that's why it's so telling, why they chose one versus the other.
The personal attorneys are as if any of us had an attorney --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.
COATES: -- who was going to bat for us, to champion. And they're going to be, by definition, biased in favor of getting us to look as fresh as a daisy in the best light as possible.
The White House Counsel's role, though, is not to just protect the incumbent for today. It is the longevity and the credibility and the integrity of the office going forward. And so they're going to look at things very proactively, look (ph) at (ph) things (ph) retrospectively and also, going forward, to figure out what will this do for the actual precedent set for a president in the future.
So the choice by Barr to say, "I'm going to ignore what the White House Counsel, going forward, on executive privilege issues, figuring out what it would mean for the American people's confidence in the head of the executive branch, which is a coequal branch of government. And I'm going to say, 'Jay Sekulow, Rudy Giuliani, your personal team, your personal champions, you get to see it.'"
Now, that is what is so telling, I think. What goes again to the idea of undermining the credibility and the opportunity, as you were talking about, Carrie, that Barr had at the outset to say, "The question is not just whether the president is above the law, but whether the executive branch and the Department of Justice disregards the law."
TAPPER: And one other thing that's interesting. Barr was at odds with President Trump on one topic. And that is the culpability of the Russian government when it came to the attack on the United States --
[10:45:04] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.
TAPPER: -- the cyber-attack, the interference in the 2016 election. President Trump has been all over the map when it comes to whether or not Vladimir Putin and the GRU, Russian military intelligence and others, actually did what Barr very definitively said --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
TAPPER: -- he did. Barr said, "The report details efforts by Russian military officials associated with the GRU to hack into computers and steal documents and e-mails from individuals affiliated with the Democratic Party and the presidential campaign of Hillary Rodham Clinton, for the purpose of eventually publicizing those e-mails."
Obtaining such unauthorized access into computers is a federal crime. "Following a thorough investigation of these hacking operations, the special counsel brought charges in federal court against several Russian military officers for their respective roles in these illegal hacking activities."
And that is the big picture. Free of the politics and free of the role that President Trump and his team did not play -- according to the special counsel -- in conspiring with these Russians.
TEXT: "Under applicable law, publication of these types of materials would not be criminal unless the publisher also participated in the underlying hacking conspiracy."
TAPPER: It -- that is the bigger picture, which is, the Russians attacked in 2016. We may never have any sort of definitive account of how successful they were in interfering in the election. They've certainly hijacked the news cycle for the last two years.
And then the question -- as well as during the campaign -- and the question of whether or not the GRU is responsible, whether or not Vladimir Putin is responsible -- and remember, President Trump stood next --
TAPPER: -- stood next to Vladimir Putin in Helsinki and basically absolved him of any responsibility when it comes to what his own attorney general said happened.
SCIUTTO: And it's a good point because --
TAPPER: You have a book coming out on this, Jim. So.
SCIUTTO: -- that actually -- I'm too deep into it. I bore people at dinner parties.
But the -- that is, in fact, the first thing he said, right? I mean, the first person he thanked was Rod Rosenstein, who's led this from the beginning and who the president, by the way, attacked repeatedly, not only for his handling of the whole investigation but undermining the findings of the Justice Department, intelligence agencies on Russian interference in the election.
It's actually interesting. I reached out to a few people prior to this saying, "What is your key question as this report comes out?" Jim Clapper, former director of National Intelligence, who was director as this was happening -- he said, "My key question is, what more did they find about Russian interference in the U.S. electoral process?"
Because at the end of the day, that is the big threat. You know, that's a fundamental threat to U.S. democracy and one that has continued post-2016. Because we know they did --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And one that Mueller --
SCIUTTO: -- stuff in 2018, we know they did in 2020. And it's worth -- it is worth highlighting that. That that is something that both Democrats and Republicans agree on. Serious threat and it's happening (ph).
TOOBIN: Except the president.
SCIUTTO: Except for the president.
BORGER: And -- well, and 17 intelligence agencies, which --
SCIUTTO: Yes, yes.
BORGER: -- have been saying this for the last couple of years. And that has been a question. And the president, as you point out, has been noncommittal, I think, is --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
BORGER: -- the best way to describe it --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Worse (ph).
BLITZER: Well, Helsinki -- after the summit in Helsinki --
BORGER: And at Helsinki, he said he believed Vladimir --
BLITZER: -- with Putin, he said, why would he --
BORGER: -- he said he believed Vladimir Putin.
BORGER: What Mueller says will be interesting on this.
CORDERO: And -- and this is where we're going to see the limits of using a special prosecutor to address this issue of foreign interference and the elections.
Because if the conduct that I think we're going to see in the report -- which is going to have to include at least information about contacts between campaign individuals or people in the campaign orbit and pervasive efforts by Russian intelligence and Russian government surrogates to affect them and to communicate with them -- how are those facts going to affect how the country deals with the next election that we're coming up on?
And if -- if all we take away from today and from the report is that "Well, it's not criminal activity so it doesn't matter," that really raises a lot of questions about what is acceptable behavior for a campaign over the next one to two years.
BORGER: But let me ask you lawyers this question. If the Mueller report -- and again, we don't know what it says -- but if it says that there were people who were being used by the Russians but didn't know it, or were willfully being used but weren't -- weren't coordinating or didn't hack the election themselves, I mean, what would you say if they were saying, "OK, they were just being used but they weren't knowingly being used?"
CORDERO: Right. So as --
TAPPER: The word "knowingly" was a --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
BORGER: That's right.
TAPPER: -- word that Attorney General Barr used.
TAPPER: No American knowingly --
BORGER: Knowingly. That's the key word --
TAPPER: -- disseminated materials (ph).
BORGER: -- so what do you say legally?
TOOBIN: Well, it is worth remembering that just because something is not subject to criminal prosecution doesn't make it right.
TOOBIN: You know, the Trump tower meeting, this meeting to get dirt on Hillary Clinton from the Russian government, you know, my mentor in journalism, Michael Kinsley, like to say, "The scandal isn't what's illegal. The scandal is what's legal," is what society chooses not to punish that really tells you what's going on.
So, you know, the fact that there is not a criminal prosecution emerging out of the relationship between the Trump campaign and Russia, doesn't mean that we should think it was all wonderful. And that's the problem with criminal investigations, that they are all or nothing. And, you know --
[10:50:08] BLITZER: I want to play you that clip.
TOOBIN: -- the world doesn't work that way.
BLITZER: Let me play you that clip. The knowingly clip, what we heard from the attorney general. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: As the special counsel report makes clear, the Russian government sought to interfere in our election process.
But thanks to the special counsel's thorough investigation, we now know that the Russian operatives who perpetrated these schemes did not have the cooperation of President Trump or the Trump campaign, or the knowing assistance of any other American, for that matter. That is something that all Americans can and should be grateful to have confirmed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: And he makes it abundantly clear, John King, that the Mueller report, just like the U.S. intelligence community, just like everyone else in the U.S. government -- with the possible exception, once again, of the president of the United States -- they did conclude that Russia interfered in the election.
With specific goals to undermine U.S. democracy, to sow dissent here in the United States, to help Hillary Clinton lose the election, to make sure she would lose the election, to help Donald Trump win the election. And if she were to win the election, to weaken her as much as possible, going into the presidency.
KING: And so to the point that was just raised -- what happens in the next campaign and the one after that -- I hesitate to use the word "norms," but there used to be norms. They -- somebody associated with the Russian government who you could easily, in any internet search, realize is a known Russian operative, request a meeting with you to dump information on your political opponent? You're supposed to say no.
BORGER: Call your lawyer.
KING: You're supposed to say no. And so, look. It is good. If the attorney general is correctly reading, he said Mueller did not establish collusion. Then he went on to give a much more flowery -- in his own view -- of the president's conduct and the campaign's conduct. Let's read the report.
But if it didn't happen, great. And he's right. All Americans should be grateful.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Absolutely.
KING: All Americans should be grateful. But you did have a Trump campaign that gleefully wanted this information from the Russians. That had -- look who was in the room for the Trump tower meeting. This was not for interns grabbed off the New York City Metro -- off the subway.
This was the president's son. This was the president's son-in-law. This was the campaign chairman who, himself, had done business with the Kremlin and the Ukraine and all the like. So this was not a bunch of nobodys in a room with the Russians. That's bad.
TAPPER: And also, even before definitively, Russian involvement was clear in this, President Trump, dozens of times on the campaign trail, was praising WikiLeaks --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.
TAPPER: -- praising WikiLeaks and calling for them to release more e- mails. He -- and before a press conference in the summer of 2016. He said, "Russia, if you're listening, we need those e-mails." So again, what we're going to -- what we have here is we have what's legal and illegal, and then we have what's unethical --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right. Unacceptable.
TAPPER: -- what's immoral, what's norm-busting, what's not acceptable. And I suspect that there's nothing in the report that is illegal that we don't know about already, but there's going to be a lot in this pile (ph) --
CORDERO: Well, and what's a national security concern, I would add to that list. I mean, as a former counterintelligence lawyer, this line that I think Gloria's trying to get at, which is between individuals who are completely unwitting and who are actually themselves targets by the foreign intelligence service.
That's one category. But that's the category of people that you would expect to self-report, who would say, "Well, this doesn't feel right. I'm going to call up the FBI and find out, you know, why this person is approaching me, this foreign government surrogate or this foreign intelligence service."
The separate category which I think is the most concerning from a national security perspective going forward, is this category of, "Well, it's not criminal behavior but we don't mind receiving information from a foreign intelligence service or from WikiLeaks, which is working in concert with a foreign intelligence service," according to our own intelligence agencies. That's where we're -- it's unresolved.
TAPPER: And as we await the report, the Justice Department is just moments away -- literally, fewer than seven minutes away -- from delivering the redacted Mueller report to Congress. Let's go to our congressional reporter Manu Raju, who's on Capitol Hill.
And, Manu, I imagine everyone is just waiting for the moment to get this report.
MANU RAJU, CNN SERNIOS CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Any minute now, we are expecting a Justice Department official to come and drop off a disk of the redacted report to the House Judiciary Committee. It's expected, also, to go to other committees in Congress, including the Senate Judiciary Committee.
That will be the first time anybody outside that limited group in the Justice Department -- and apparently the White House -- has seen that redacted report. And then later, Attorney General Barr said that he would make available the report with limited redactions to a small group of members.
That includes -- that does not include the grand jury information that the House Judiciary Committee has been demanding also, so they're not going to see the full report.
[10:55:00] But nevertheless, we are expecting, Jake, in a matter of moments, the disk to be dropped off with the redacted report, the first time that members here will see and will see the -- how much will -- has ultimately been redacted and how much the public will see in this first brush here -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right. Manu Raju, thanks so much.
Let's go live now to Kaitlan Collins at the White House, where the presidential event has been delayed.
Kaitlan, what's going on?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, the president was supposed to come out around 10:30. He still has not come out to this event for wounded warriors yet. We're -- the president is going to make remarks.
It still remains to be seen whether or not he's going to address that press conference that his attorney general, Bill Barr, gave earlier. But we do know that the president was watching it closely. So we're still waiting to see whether or not the president's going to talk.
But, Jake, you can't ignore the timing here. Because now that it's 10:55, we know that in a matter of mere minutes, the Justice Department is going to deliver the redacted Mueller report to lawmakers on Capitol Hill. And it seems that it's going to coincide with the president coming out at this event to give remarks.
Now, if he's going to address it, that's still a question. But what we do know and what we did learn from Barr, is the president has essentially seen this report because his legal -- his personal legal team has seen it and the White House Counsel was given an opportunity to see this redacted report.
So the people surrounding the president, the lawyers surrounding the president already know what Bill Barr is going to be sending over to Capitol Hill. And you've got to know that that's what's in the president's mind as he's going to be in front of these reporters in this room full of cameras here, just in a matter of moments.
BLITZER: We'll see what the president of the United States has to say. I'm sure he'll be very happy, reacting to what the attorney general, his attorney general, had to say.
Let's go to Pamela Brown. She's got some new reporting on when exactly the White House received the redacted report.
BROWN: Well, you'll recall, Wolf, the attorney general, Bill Barr, was sort of cagey in his hearing on Capitol Hill last week, about communications with the White House over the report.
And I've learned, in speaking to the president's personal outside attorney, Jay Sekulow, that his outside attorneys made the request sometime last week, to review this report, the redacted version of the report.
And then it was late afternoon Tuesday of this week that the president's personal lawyers -- that would include Jay Sekulow and the Raskins, who have been involved in this -- they went to DOJ in order to review the redacted report.
Now, Jay Sekulow tells me that they didn't make any redaction requests or anything of that nature. But what's interesting here is, as we've been discussing, Bill Barr pointed to this government -- Ethics in Government Act, which is sort of debatable, whether that really would permit the outside attorneys to look at that.
As we've been discussing with Jeffrey Toobin earlier, there was an expectation earlier, several weeks ago, that only White House Counsel lawyers would be looking at the redacted report for executive privilege because that is an institutional matter, not something that the personal lawyers for the president would be involved with.
But now we're learning that the personal outside lawyers also looked at the redacted version of the report this week, on Tuesday late afternoon.
I also want to circle back to this discussion on no conspiracy that Bill Barr talked about. As you said, there is a difference between the legal realm and the moral and ethical realm.
And he was very clear when he spoke today, that there not been -- he said there was no evidence -- he was unequivocal about that -- between Trump campaign associates working with the Russians on the misinformation campaign. No evidence between Trump campaign associates working with the Russians on the hacking.
But he was very lawyerly on that graph (ph), when it talked about the dissemination of those hacked e-mails, saying -- and I want to read -- that "the special counsel also investigated whether any member or affiliate of the Trump campaign encouraged or otherwise played a role in these dissemination efforts."
And then he went on to talk about the law, saying, "hereto, the special counsel's report did not find that any person associated with the Trump campaign illegally participated in the dissemination of that materials."
We may not find out today, though, more about that. Because as we know, there are going to be redactions about ongoing cases including Roger Stone, who was charged in witness tampering and -- for comments he made about attempted -- attempts to reach WikiLeaks. So that sort of leaves you hanging on were there efforts by Trump
campaign associates to play a role in the dissemination of those materials. It may not have been illegal because they weren't involved in the hacking, according to the attorney general, but were there efforts.
BLITZER: An important point. You're (ph) getting (ph) some information, Dana, as well?
BASH: Well, just to dovetail off of what Pamela was just reporting, that the president's personal attorneys -- Jay Sekulow, others. We don't know if the Raskins, who were the ones who were the worker bees --
BORGER: I (ph) presume (ph).
BASH: -- this whole time, were there as well. And this speaks to what we were talking about earlier, where the attorney general said specifically, the reason he gave the president's personal attorneys a head-up is because it's in keeping with the practice of allowing people who are named in a report to see the report before publication.
I've just been communicating with more than one attorney -- four people -- who are absolutely going to be named in this report. And guess what? You were right. They didn't get a heads-up.
[11:00:01] BASH: They didn't get a chance to read this report. So far, at least as far as we've found, it's just one person and that's the president of the United States.