Return to Transcripts main page


Mueller: Trump Told Sessions, "This Is The End Of My Presidency. House Judiciary Chairman Will Subpoena Full Report; Calls On Mueller To Testify Before Committee; Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) Is Interviewed About The William Barr's Redacted Mueller Report. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired April 18, 2019 - 19:00   ET




BORGER: Who are the guardrails now because we know the President needs them.

BLITZER: There's going to be a lot of dramatic developments I suspect in the coming days, weeks and months. Everybody, thanks very much. Our breaking news coverage continues with Erin Burnett OUTFRONT right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, Trump said he was f***ed. That's according to the Mueller report. And here it is, two volumes, 448 pages. This is a double- sided print, including what Trump is accused of saying after learning of the Special Counsel and here's the, quote, "Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I'm f***ed."

And he might have been if it weren't for people around him saying no. Mueller's team looked into 10 specific instances, they outlined them all in here where the President may have obstructed justice. According to Mueller, quote, the President's efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests." That's a pretty incredible thing that he tried but failed.

One example was White House Counsel Don McGahn. According to Mueller, in June of 2017 the President called McGahn and ordered him to have Mueller fired. McGahn refused. He wouldn't do it. Mueller then goes on to give examples of how Trump walked up to the water's edge on obstruction of justice and take this, it was a threat to Michael Flynn.

According to Mueller after Michael Flynn's lawyers refused to share information about what Flynn was telling the Special Counsel, Trump's personal lawyer responded, quote, that he would make sure the President knew that Flynn's actions reflected 'hostility' towards the President. That's a threat and it's pretty damning. But Mueller did not charge the President with the crime of obstruction, instead he writes, "If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we're unable to reach that judgment."

So Mueller won't say the President didn't commit a crime but he won't charge him with a crime, so what's next? Well, in just a moment I'm going to ask a member of the House Judiciary Committee what Congress is going to do, whether Democrats are going to go ahead, move ahead with the move of impeachment due to obstruction of justice even though the Special Counsel did not charge the President with that crime. The big question is why Trump would put so much effort into trying to fire Mueller and trying to get someone like Flynn and others not to cooperate if he had nothing to hide, if there was no underlying crime to obstruct.

Mueller's answer to that question, quote, the evidence does indicate that a thorough FBI investigation would uncover facts about the campaign and the President personally that the President could have understood to be crimes or that would give rise to personal and political concerns. So the President may have thought he committed a crime and that is why he was influencing or trying to influence the investigation itself.

Kaitlan Collins is out front live outside the White House tonight. And Kaitlan, besides a very brief comment and a couple of tweets today and he was out in public, he had plenty of opportunity, the President is unusually quiet, what's going on?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Erin, the President went from saying he might hold a press conference today to merely waving at reporters as he left the White House and not answering any of their questions. Now, the President knew what was going to be in this report coming out today because as Barr said this morning, his personal counsel got a sneak peek essentially, knowing what was going to be in the redacted version.

But a lot of the times it depends on what the coverage of an event is that shapes the President's mood. One of the major themes emerging from today was this narrative in this report that essentially the people who have surrounded the President for the three years, two and half years that he's been in office were trying to keep the President from carrying out the orders that he wanted carried out, including derailing the Mueller investigation.

One of the main figures is that with Don McGahn who when it was reported that the President tried to get McGahn to fire Mueller refused and then when the President wanted him to deny that the President tried to get him to do that said he wasn't going to do it because it was accurate and it was reflective of what it actually transpired. Now, the President does not like this narrative that he's being managed by staff and that's essentially what this Mueller report today paints that picture. That is what is the emerging narrative out of here.

So that's the question, how is he going to respond to that. Now speaking of staff, one member who did travel with the President to Palm Beach is Pat Cipollone, the new White House lawyer who has been there and taken over, I believe, since last fall. And that is not someone who typically travels with the President for something like this.

I believe this is only the second time we've seen him in Palm Beach with the President. And Erin, the last time he was there was when they announced the Special Counsel had ended its investigation.

[19:05:49] BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Kaitlan. Perhaps, he is listening. Taking the council of his counsel and staying quiet at least for now. Mueller lays out in detail 10 actions. Ten actions that Mueller says the President took to hurt and end the Mueller probe. Sara Murray is out front.


SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT(voice-over): Attorney General William Barr may have cleared the President of obstruction.


WILLIAM BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I concluded that the evidence developed by the Special Counsel is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction of justice offense.


MURRAY(voice-over): But Special Counsel Robert Mueller he clearly refused to do so, writing in his more than 400-page report the President's actions and intent presents difficult issues that prevent us from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred. Mueller's report covers in painstaking detail a potentially damning list of at least 10 ways Trump repeatedly tried to curtail the investigation. Mueller writes that the President was only unsuccessful because the people around him declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests.

Like June 17th 2017 when Trump directed White House Counsel Don McGahn to have Mueller fired. McGahn declined to do so saying he would resign rather than trigger what he regarded as a potential Saturday night massacre. And two days later in a previously unknown example detailed in the report, Trump met with former campaign aide Corey Lewandowski in the Oval Office and dictated a message intended for then Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

In the message, Sessions was told to publicly announce the investigation was very unfair to the President and he should not be subject to an investigation because he hasn't done anything wrong. The message was never delivered. And when Trump asked then FBI Director James Comey to end the investigation of his former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. The report says, "Comey did not end the investigation of Flynn, which ultimately resulted in Flynn's prosecution and conviction for lying to the FBI." Trump later fired Comey.

Still, the redacted report concludes the Trump campaign did not criminally conspire with the Russians, but Trump had other reasons to dread the investigation. According to the report, the evidence does indicate that a thorough FBI investigation would uncover facts about the campaign and the President personally that the President could have understood to be crimes or that would give rise to personal and political concerns.

Mueller's team also answering a key question, why didn't they interview the President. While they believed they had the authority to subpoena Trump and found trump's written answers inadequate, Mueller's team believed it would delay the investigation writing, "We had sufficient evidence to understand relevant events and to make certain assessments without the President's testimony."


MURRAY: Now, Bill Barr offered a very rosy view of the President's activities in his press conference today. Obviously, Mueller's Report was much tougher so no surprise the Hill wants to see Robert Mueller, the man himself testifying on Capitol Hill. Bill Barr says he will not stand in the way of that, Erin.

BURNETT: All right, that was obviously a crucial ask directly said, "I'm OK with that." We'll see what happens then. All right, Sara, stay with me because joining us now to talk through this very important day, Shimon Prokupecz, our Crime and Justice Reporter, Josh Campbell, former FBI Agent who worked for both Robert Mueller and James Comey, Harry Sandick former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Anne Milgram, former Federal Prosecutor and James Trusty, former Chief of the Organized Crime Section of the Department of Justice longtime friend of Rod Rosenstein.

I love to know what he was thinking standing there today. OK, Anne, let me start with you. So we've got these 10 actions that Mueller lays out. He gives each example. He then provides analysis of it. All the detail is here. How damning are those 10 points of possible obstruction?

ANNE MILGRAM, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: I thought they were devastating for the President. What Mueller lays out and he even describes it as a pattern of conduct, but he lays out countless instances in which we see the President engaged in conduct where he is trying to change the pattern of the investigation, get witnesses to not cooperate, have people fired. And at the end of the day we're left with a picture of the President lying, engaging in conduct where he's trying to even fire Bob Mueller, the Special Counsel himself and taking a lot of efforts to make sure that the investigation isn't damning to him.

The one thing I would disagree with is that I think Mueller made a decision not to make a call here solely out of a sense of fairness and respect for the institution of the Department of Justice. But my read when you read those 10 examples together is that I think he goes really specifically through the facts and the elements of the crime and makes a pretty compelling case in some instances that the President engaged in obstruction of justice. BURNETT: I mean, Harry, look Don McGahn refused to do what the President asked him to do to order the firing of Robert Mueller. Corey Lewandowski is involved and the President talks to him according to the Mueller report says, "You better pass along this to Jeff Sessions. He better unrecuse himself or else," Corey Lewandowski won't do it.

Corey Lewandowski tells someone else because Corey Lewandowski doesn't want to do it and the other person refuses to do it. So if these people had not said no, if they had not acceded - if they had acceded to what the President asked to use the Mueller's word, would the President be guilty of obstruction?

[19:10:02] HARRY SANDICK, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: Well, I'm not sure based on how Mueller framed it that he was very influenced by the DOJ policy in terms of his ultimate decision to charge or not to charge. But I'll tell you what, based on the report I think those other people, Lewandowski or Don McGahn or it was the chief of staff I think to Sessions.


SANDICK: Those people could well have been charged with obstruction had they agreed to go through with what the President asked them to do. Because they're not the president. They don't benefit from that DOJ policy. It was very wise of them both for the President's own sake and for their own to not follow those instructions.

BURNETT: Jim, devastating?

JAMES TRUSTY, FORMER CHIEF OF THE ORGANIZED CRIME SECTION, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE: I'm not sure I'd call it devastating. Look, the picture is not pretty. It sounds like a very tempestuous workplace where the President gets frustrated, rattles off some demands and people say - he'll call him down in five minutes and they walk away from it.

The public part of the alleged obstruction would be extremely hard to ever prove beyond a reasonable doubt as a federal prosecutor. Obstruction works in the shadows. When a witness doesn't show up, a witness doesn't testify, somebody gets hurt, somebody gets bribed, you don't have that here. You've got very public tweets and obvious animus towards the investigation coming out of the President's lips. It's new territory, but it's pretty uphill to say that that's proof beyond a reasonable doubt of willful intent for obstruction.

BURNETT: So Shimon, there's a few questions that come from this, one of them is why the President of the United States would obstruct if there was no underlying crime, because let's recall and by the way later on we're going to have a discussion about this whole issue of collusion, no collusion. But Mueller concluded that there was no prosecutable evidence of collusion, so why would The president obstruct an investigation into that?

Mueller writes, quote, the evidence does indicate, I just want to read this again, a thorough FBI investigation would uncover facts about the campaign and the president personally that the president could have understood to be crimes or that would give rise to personal and political concerns. So in other words, the President thought he committed a crime so that's why he was doing this?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: I mean perhaps that could be and we could also think of it this way, when you read through this report, the President is very concerned about how he's being viewed politically because of the Russia question. And time and time again while he may have been concerned that he was going to be criminally prosecuted for doing something, it was always politically how was he being viewed in terms of did he get cheated somehow. He didn't want people to think that the Russians in any way - still to this day that the Russians in any way helped him and this was always the big concern.

And the other thing is when you read through this and what Mueller could be getting at here is that the President wanted loyalty from people and he wasn't getting that from people like Sessions and former FBI Director James Comey and that could have been some of the reasons why you can argue why he did the firings or why he wanted certain people fired.


JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yes. I have two problems with this. The first of which being this is exactly the opposite of how we expect our leaders to operate. Now, as you go back and look at the original Mueller investigation and even before that the FBI's investigation, government agents were trying to determine whether there was a threat to National Security and whether those in Trump orbit played a role.

As a President of the United States what we would expect is that person to cooperate is there a threat, was there someone in my campaign that was operating perhaps at the behest of a government or working with them. We would expect cooperation. What we got was what appears to be obstruction, throwing the sand into the gears of the Justice Department at every opportunity.

The second major issue which we haven't hit on but I want to mention is the Attorney General's role in this whole thing and the way that this was rolled out. I think the American people got taken for a ride here by the way that this was rolled out. We had nearly four weeks of the American people after Barr's letter believing that the President - the final conclusions of Mueller was that the President didn't collude and that the Attorney General determined that there wasn't obstruction of justice.

What he left out was what this report shows, this pattern of activity where you had the president attacking investigators. He's trying to control the investigation. He's telling witnesses not to cooperate. That is important information that was left out of that original explanation of what was in this.

BURNETT: Yes. So Jim mentioned Flynn and I want to go back to that one, Sara, because I briefly mentioned the headline, the threat that was clearly made by the President's counsel. And I want to read what Mueller said when he details this threat made to Michael Flynn from the Trump team.

Quote, after Flynn withdrew from a joint defense agreement with the President and began cooperating with the government, the President's personal counsel left a message for Flynn's attorneys reminding them of the President's warm feelings towards Flynn, which he said, quote, still remains, asking for a 'heads-up' if Flynn knew 'information that implicates the President.' When Flynn's counsel reiterated that Flynn could no longer share information pursuant to a joint defense agreement, the President's personal counsel said he would make sure that the President knew that Flynn's actions reflected hostility towards the President.

It's damning and then in the analysis, Sara, Mueller goes on and says because of privilege issues. He couldn't determine if the President of the United States himself knew about that threat, asked for that threat. It was privileged he said that got in the way.

[19:14:53] MURRAY: Yes. I mean I think that's right. Look, it was the President's attorney not the President who made this phone call to Michael Flynn, so I guess good job lawyering on that one. But it also kind of runs in the face of what we saw this very rosy assessment from Bill Barr saying the White House made everyone available. They said, "Hand over all your documents. Be as helpful as possible. Sit for these interviews."

Meanwhile, behind the scenes we have this conversation between one of the President's lawyers and counsel for Michael Flynn saying, "Oh, OK, you're going to help them out and you're not going to tell us what kind of dirt you're giving them. You're not going to tell us what kind of dirt they have on us. Well, I guess, you're now hostile to the President of the United States.

There's a very different conversation going out behind the scenes and what the President's lawyers were trying to convey publicly which is we are being as cooperative as possible. They're not going to uncover any damaging information on us. Obviously, that's also very different from how we know the President actually felt about this investigation which is, "Oh my God, this is the end of my presidency."

BURNETT: Right. Right. When he said, "I'm f***ed." Whether he thought it was going to be related to Russia or other crimes that would find in investigating Russia. Who knows, we don't we don't exactly know. But when you hear of a threat made from the President's lawyer to Michael Flynn's lawyer, Flynn is cooperating with the government in the Russia investigation which should be a good thing and the threat is that the President would be made aware that Flynn was hostile. So good lawyering as Sara said it or is there any chance the President did not know about that?

SANDICK: I don't know whether the President knew about it, but it looks like witness tampering because you're making some implicit threat to the lawyer and just the way it would be wrong and illegal if a witness is tampered with directly by Trump. It's also wrong to do it through a lawyer. Asking your lawyer to do something that you yourself can do isn't OK. It doesn't comply with the law and this does look like an act of obstruction and that's why it's in the report the way it is.

BURNETT: So another incident is what happened on Air Force One. This is really - we all know this. We have all been talking about this incident for a long time, the meeting in Trump Tower and the subsequent statement that came out and the President's role in it. But today we found out what he changed in the statement, the specific words, OK? And here is what we find out from Mueller.

"Before the emails became public," that refers to the emails between Donald Trump Jr. and people involved with this meeting with the Russians in Trump Tower, "the president edited a press statement for Trump Jr. by deleting a line that acknowledged that the meeting was with an individual who Trump Jr. was told might have information helpful to the campaign and instead said only that the meeting was about adoptions of Russian children." That is a huge change.

MILGRAM: It's a huge change.

BURNETT: That is not a small thing. That is we were intimating perhaps not fully that there were things going on, things being offered and replacing that with something else.

MILGRAM: And there's two parts to that. The first is that it completely changes the spin on the meeting. In the original version it would have been clear that the campaign was seeking to learn about this information that was potentially damning, but it would have put it out there publicly and been transparent about it by taking it out it made it look like it was all about Russian adoptions which we now know from all the emails with Donald Trump Jr. was not accurate.

But the second piece of it is that when the President is later asked whether he had any role in crafting the statement. He lies and said he did not have any role.


MILGRAM: And so I think both of those pieces really are part of what we're talking about here.

BURNETT: So Jim what do you make of that? I mean he takes the truth which was a positive spin on the truth instead of saying they had information damaging about Hillary Clinton. Was that information it helpful to our campaign, right? Replaces it with adoptions of Russian children. Don Jr. then goes in and wants to change it, tone it down. He wants to put the word primarily about adoptions, because he thought he would be outed as a liar if he let it go out the way his father put it.

TRUSTY: Right, but back up and it really goes to the point that was made before. We're throwing around the word obstruction like it's an easy case to make that everything that's dishonest or political or has some sort of bad motivation rises to the level of a federal felony.

BURNETT: Yes. TRUSTY: It does it. So if you're making political considerations, if you're angry and saying, "I'm f***ed because there's a two-year probe that's going to drag me into the mud for two years," then that may be outrageous. We may not like the language. We may not like the emotionality behind it, but it's not the same as a crime. I mean, so I think this falls in that same category.

Political considerations in a weird way are almost a defense to the obstruction charge here saying it's not about the investigation, it's not about stopping Mueller and his people. It's the frustration with something that he questions the beginnings of and hates the daily reality of.


CAMPBELL: Yes. Well, I mean, I understand that from a legal standpoint I think that there is a difference between obstructive behavior as the layperson would look at this and say, "Sure, the President was frustrated as anyone might be if they're under investigation." That doesn't give you license to then go and do the things that are laid out in this report to attack the investigators, as we mentioned, to try to control the investigation, to tell witnesses not to cooperate. Now, that mean --

BURNETT: And to try to get the guy in charge of the investigation fired.

CAMPBELL: To actually fire the guy running the investigation, correct. My former boss, after he was told that he wasn't going to let the investigation go into his National Security Adviser. Now that may not reach a threshold under a legal standard. Obviously, it didn't.

The President isn't going to be prosecuted perhaps for other reasons based on the nature of his position, but the American people looking at this and certainly Congress looking at that when they see obstructive behavior, that's a much lower bar. We should expect more from our leaders. We shouldn't expect what we're reading in this report.

[19:20:12] BURNETT: Yes. It is not going to be --

PROKUPECZ: Just quickly, the point I think we also - in reading the Mueller report on this obstruction issue I think it's not very clear- cut legally why the President was doing what he was doing, right?


PROKUPECZ: There's a lot of gray area and that was what the things that I think they were hung up on whether or not they can prove certain things. We saw that a lot of time and time again. However, it's still problematic politically and it's still an issue for him and it could be still an issue for him before Congress.

BURNETT: And we're going to talk a lot more about that, because there are - when you say what was the motive and the intent to what he did, Mueller raises that point. And by the way, wow did we find out about a whole lot of other investigations, so let's just put that on hold for a moment because there is a big question on this whole issue of obstruction of what Democrats in Congress will now do.

Sources are telling us tonight that the House Judiciary Committee will issue a subpoena as soon as tomorrow for the full Mueller report. They also authorize subpoenas for five of former White House officials who, of course, will give their side of the story on what they think happened, motives of the President, whether the President obstructed justice or not in the political sense of the work. OK, that includes Don McGahn, former Chief of Staff, Ana Donaldson, Hope Hicks, Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon.

Out front now, Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin from Maryland who is a member of the House Judiciary Committee. So congressman, I appreciate your time. All right, one of the things, the first things I noticed about this report was and I'm purposely showing it to everybody, there's not a lot of redactions in here. There's a few sections, but there's not a lot and a lot of the ones that are in here are for ongoing investigations. Do you think seeing the whole thing would change the outcome?

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): Well, I think that we're going to see the whole thing or at least certain committee chairs are going to see the whole unedited, unredacted report and we should be able to do that.

BURNETT: Minus Grand Jury, I would imagine, right, you're presuming that would still say redacted.

RASKIN: Well, in past cases when independent counsels and special counsels have prepared a report, everything has come to Congress including the Grand Jury material and we've done the redactions. So there's no reason that Congress can't see it and I think that at least the committee chairs will see if not every member of Congress and that's the way that it should be. We are the lawmaking branch of government. We've got the constitutional oversight function.

BURNETT: So why subpoena? And I ask this because obviously there's been analysis to show that if Attorney General Barr wants to fight you guys on the Grand Jury stuff, he can and you might have to informally initiate impeachment proceedings to get that. But he has said he is willing to work with all of you to unredact parts of it for Congress, for oversight.

But by going straight to a subpoena, it sounds like you're going nuclear. You're not willing to discuss with him. Am I wrong?

RASKIN: Well, we're not going straight to a subpoena because we made the request a long time ago. In fact, the entire House of Representatives on a bipartisan vote of 420 to zero asked for the complete unedited report. And so that's a matter of just separation of powers and respect for Congress as the lawmaking branch of government.

So far from rushing to a subpoena, we authorized the Chairman to issue a subpoena a couple of weeks ago now and he's been keeping it in his back pocket. And so I don't know whether he's made the decision to go ahead and do it, but we're going to see the complete unedited report as it is our right.

BURNETT: OK. So on the merit of what you saw in there today which as I pointed out, there's really frankly very little redaction. I'm not saying what's redacted may not be really important. I'm just saying you can't look at this and say that he didn't put a lot out there, OK.

RASKIN: Correct.

BURNETT: Do you see from what you've read a pathway to pursuing impeachment right now, Congressman?

RASKIN: Well, nobody is pursuing impeachment right now. Well, look, we're at the very beginning of this investigation. Remember for the two years of Republican control of Congress, there were no investigations going on in the House Judiciary Committee or in the Oversight Committee on this. There was just a complete silencing on the issue and they said, "Let's wait for the Special Counsel. Let them do the report."

Of course, they heckled and harassed them along the way. They made up this phony deep state conspiracy and claimed that Peter Strzok and Lisa Page were organizing against the President and all of this stuff. But they didn't do any investigation. They said wait for the report.

Now the report is here, so we have a chance to read the report, to process it, to analyze it. Ten episodes of presidential obstruction of justice is pretty extreme and so this leads us on some fruitful paths for investigation.


RASKIN: But we've got to deal with it. Remember, the Republicans impeached Bill Clinton for obstruction of justice when he told one lie about sex.

[19:25:00] BURNETT: Right. No. No, look, I understand. I understand the point you're making, but you're also being clear that you're using the I word for investigation and not impeachment and that this is going to be the big issue for you all. I mean Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez moments ago tweeted she plans to sign Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib's impeachment resolution. OK.


BURNETT: She wrote, "Many know I take no pleasure in discussions of impeachment, but the report squarely puts this on our doorstep." The House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer a moment ago ...

RASKIN: Well, in --

BURNETT: Hold on, let me just finish because he told CNN earlier today, "Based on what we've seen to date," and this is after the report came out, "going forward on impeachment is not worthwhile." You have a problem in your party, don't you? I mean you guys are not on the same page.

RASKIN: No. No, we've got a problem in the country. We have a President who is manifestly unfit to conduct the powers and duties of office and has a spectacular contempt for the rule of law. And I think everybody recognizes it and nobody quite knows what to do with it at this point. The Attorney General's defense of the President was, "Well, yes, there are these 10 episodes where he appears to obstruct justice, but he was really frustrated and angry."

Now, any lawyer can tell you that most criminals are frustrated and angry and it doesn't create a defense to the crime, maybe it creates some kind of consideration and sentencing if you were frustrated and angry. Unless what the Attorney General is saying is what a number of officials have said and the President has tried to bury it as quickly as possible, which is the President is not fit under the 25th Amendment to conduct the powers and duties of office.

So if you want to throw impeachment out there, you may as well be talking about the 25th Amendment too because the whole country has got to deal with this problem. It's not a problem just for my caucus or the Congress of the United States. It's a national problem now.

BURNETT: All right. Congressman Raskin, I appreciate your time. Thank you. And next, one of the biggest mysteries in Mueller's report. I referenced this, but in this tone he found evidence of other crimes. In fact, 14 investigations we found out today have been referred to other prosecutors, 14. Do we know anything about them and how threatening are they to the President? Plus, Attorney General Bill Barr going out of his way to defend the President and make Trump the victim.


BARR: The President was frustrated and angered by his sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency.


BURNETT: Frustrated and angry, one of Barr's main talking points.


BARR: The Special Counsel found no collusion. No underlying collusion. No collusion.


BURNETT: That's not how former Nixon White House Counsel John Dean sees it. He'll explain coming up.


1930 (COMMERCIAL BREAK) [19:31:30] ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OK. Tonight at the very end

fortunate Mueller report when you get there, there are some really important questions that are raised. So, we're talking about the last few pages. Fourteen instances where Mueller identified potential criminal evidence that was outside the scope of his investigation.

So, evidence of crimes and then said, OK, outside my scope I'm referring it to other branches of law enforcement. So, of those 14, 12 are redacted, we don't know what they're with. The two not redacted to give you context are Michael Cohen, Trump's former attorney prosecuted by the Southern District of New York and is going to prison. And Greg Craig, the former Obama White House counsel who was indicted for lying to the Department of Justice about work he had done for Ukraine.

OK. Those are very serious charges. So, those are the two we know about. Twelve we don't.

So, what are they?

Back now, Sara Murray, Shimon, Josh Campbell, Harry Sandick, Anne Milgram, James Trusty.

OK. So, Josh, what do you make of this?

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, so, look, in any investigation if you come across information or allegations of another crime, whether or not it pertains to the matter at hand --


CAMPBELL: -- you don't turn a blind eye to that. You have to investigate.

We know that was the second ten in the Mueller's mandate was any other crimes that he comes across --

BURNETT: Right, anything that comes up in the context of the investigation into Russia.

CAMPBELL: That's right, exactly. And although this work is done now with the report it's now out, that doesn't mean people in Trump world are necessarily out of -- or in the clear right now, because we have seen these referrals, some of them are redacted, we don't know what they are.

BURNETT: Were you surprised? Fourteen?

CAMPBELL: I was surprised that number is high. Again, in goes to not necessarily crimes. Nothing has been proven yet, but the fact that investigators and FBI agents and prosecutors looked at information coming down the transom in all directions and said this might violate a federal law and we are farming it out to another U.S. attorney office should be again very concerning to those in the Trump world.

BURNETT: Sara and Shimon, you all have been covering this since the beginning. Were you surprised, Sara, 14?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I am surprised. I mean, 14 -- and you're asking what could they be? That's what we have been asking ourselves today.

There is only one you know clear outstanding question, and that is Jerome Corsi. They prepared in indictment against Jerome Corsi for allegedly lying to investigators, and Corsi is a conspiracy theorist, who's an associate of Roger Stones, he decided to leak all of that information, he wasn't going to take their plea deal, and nothing happened to him.

So, he is kind of the only sort of obvious bucket where you're looking at this and thinking, OK --

BURNETT: That would be one.

MURRAY: -- I guess it's possible. That could be one.

When you look at the list of the other ones, you know, it really does show you first of all the scope of how much work Mueller and his team did. And how many unanswered questions there still are. And we don't know if these are investigations that could potentially relate to other people in the president's inner circle. We don't have any insight into that.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Right, and that is the key. That's what's really important. How does this relate to the president? And what kind of --

BURNETT: Right, and does in relate to the obstruction, right, when they say the motive --

PROKUPECZ: There could be other -- other.

BURNETT: -- other things he thought he was --


BURNETT: -- helping by hurting.


The big thing is what's going on in the Southern district of New York here in New York.

And the other thing is we have seen a lot of activity out of Washington, D.C. There are still cases ongoing there. But from everything we can tell right now the biggest cases where the president still has a lot of problems, where his organization, his company, the Trump Organization still has a lot of problems would be here in New York with Southern District of New York.

The hush money payments --

BURNETT: Yes. PROKUPECZ: That is very much ongoing. That investigation has not


[19:35:00] Remember they released search warrants --

BURNETT: Which he is individual number one.

PROKUPECZ: -- implicated in that crime, an unindicted co-conspirator, for lack of better word at this point --


PROKUPECZ: -- and the Department of Justice said he directed Michael Cohen to make the payments.

BURNETT: So, you got these 14, two of which we know. And no references in the report tonight to Trump's taxes, to anything financial. Right? The only reference to anything financial is Michael Cohen trying to do this deal with the Trump Tower in Moscow. That's it, right?

So we don't even know if Mueller looked at Trump's taxes, right?

ANNE MILGRAM, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: We don't know. There are a couple of points worth making. One is all we know and see Mueller addressed the two prime questions that were given to him, the 2016 Russian hacking into the election and the e-mails and whether the president obstructed justice.

And Mueller did those cases. What we saw is he farmed out other things that were peripheral, even if there was some piece -- he got onto Michael Cohen as parts of the investigation. We saw Cohen testify about Trump Tower Moscow.

But then when it became clear it was related to other things, he farmed it out. So, I would suspect nothing goes to the core of Mueller's mandate that these are peripheral things. That doesn't mean it doesn't relate to taxes or other financial questions.

BURNETT: Of course, it doesn't mean there couldn't be very serious crimes, right, Jim, we don't know.


BURNETT: I think people were surprised to see 14.

TRUSTY: We don't.

I mean, look, on behalf of a weary nation, I hope it's not 11 cases on Michael Cohen or one extra on Avenatti. I mean, you know, some of these are paths we've been down too much recently.

But it's interesting to know in terms of how cases are farmed out, what's within the scope of the investigation? The scope starts off limited on paper to the Russia probe. BURNETT: Yes.

TRUSTY: But Rod Rosenstein was in a position during his supervision to expand it upon request. So, we don't know whether the tentacles went. The whole Cohen thing was kind of fascinating that they farm it out to the Southern District, who then turns out around and say, I've got a cooperator for you. That was a failed cooperator.

But the concept that they could overlap calls into pretty serious question what the scope limitations were and were they observed. So, it's curious over time to see if any of these cases public publicized and we can see what the handoff was and the decision making was.

BURNETT: So, Harry, if you're Trump and being a little quiet tonight.


BURNETT: Certainly for him.


BURNETT: These other cases, I mean, is it wide open? I mean what I'm getting at is when people say, OK, Don Jr., is it possible that Don Jr.'s name is in that from what you read in the report would someone that significant not be involved in these other cases?

SANDICK: Well, look, it's definitely possible that it's connected to the president directly. And the reason I say that is because Michael Cohen is one of those cases and we have seen the campaign finance case. Trump is right at the center of that case.

It's just that as Jim was saying, it's outside the scope of the mandate that Rosenstein gave to Mueller. And so, Mueller being very cautious, not wanting to become Ken Starr investigating a mill different things, and also aware that there was litigation early on in the case.

Paul Manafort filed a lawsuit and argued this is all beyond the scope. So mindful of that he referred these things out. But they could refer to the president.

BURNETT: Right, which obviously is the big question.

All right. Thank you all very much.

And next, Attorney General Bill Barr claim the White House did all that it could to help Bob Mueller.


WILLIAM BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: The White House fully cooperated with the special counsel's investigation.


BURNETT: So why didn't the president sit down with an interview with Mueller? And why did he say he couldn't recall in the paper answers he submitted more than 30 times?

And Sarah Sanders admits she lied to the American public when she said this.


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The rank-and- file of the FBI had lost confidence in their director.



[19:42:09] BURNETT: Attorney General Bill Barr under fire for his defense of President Trump today.


BARR: As the special counsel's report acknowledges, there is substantial evidence to show that the president was frustrated and angered by his sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency, propelled by his political opponents and fueled by illegal leaks.


BURNETT: In other words, Trump was the victim. Barr's press conference and handling of the Mueller report leading Democratic presidential candidate and House Judiciary member, Eric Swalwell, to say, quote: "Barr has proved he is an embedded Trump ally who puts his political future above the rule of law. That makes him unfit to serve. He must resign.

OUTFRONT now, former Nixon White House counsel John Dean, White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, April And former deputy assist attorney general under President Clinton, Bob Litt.

So, it John, according to the attorney general, temperature's actions everything he did which the attorney general knew we would see subsequent to the press conference and we would read all the efforts to impede the investigation, and that that was simply due to a, quote, sincerely belief the investigation was undermining his presidency. Angry and frustrated Barr says.

Do you buy it?

JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I don't. He sounds more like a personal attorney, defense attorney for the president rather than the attorney general, who has taken an oath to support and defend the Constitution. Indeed, Erin there is about 45 years of norm precedent that says you don't do the sort of thing that Barr is doing. It's the post Watergate norm he violated and brought us back to Nixonian type relationships between justice and the White House.

BURNETT: So, Bob, there were several instances in in press conference which I have to emphasizing came before we saw the report. But when we got the report it became clear what Barr said did not -- was not fully backed up by the Mueller report. Let me give an example. Here is bill Barr.


BARR: The White House fully cooperated with the special counsel's investigation, providing unfettered access to campaign and White House documents, directing senior aides to testify freely and asserting no privilege claims.


BURNETT: OK. Mueller, though, right about Trump's written responses which he did because he wouldn't do an interview, as we know, Bob, quote, the president stated more than 30 occasions, that he does not recall or remember or have an independent recollection of information called for by the questions. Other answers were incomplete or imprecise. We viewed the written answers to be inadequate.

This is a guy who brags about his memory constantly. What do you make of this, Bob? That doesn't sound like full cooperation.

[19:45:-02] ROBERT LITT, FORMER GENERAL COUNSEL FOR THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: I think that both in statement by Barr and the one you just asked Mr. Dean about share a common problem that ran throughout Barr's report. That is that he is cherry picking portions of the report and omitting other portions.

So in this case, it is true that the White House did cooperate extensively. They didn't assert privileges. They did provide a lot of documents.

It's pretty unusual for the White House counsel to testify to the extent that Don McGahn did.

BURNETT: Thirty hours, yes.

LITT: But he didn't go on to say that the president was not cooperative in declining to be interviewed. Similarly, the quote you gave before the president's frustration, yes, Mueller does say there is evidence that the president was frustrated. But as you read a little bit earlier in the program, Mueller also says that there is evidence that the president was concerned that a full investigation might uncover embarrassing or potentially criminal information.

So I think the problem is that Barr presented a very one-sided view of what Mueller's investigation and report showed. And this is really not bee fitting the attorney general of the entire United States.

BURNETT: I mean, April, in the same sort of vain here what have Bill Barr said today he specifically said this about President Trump himself.


BARR: The president took no act that in fact deprived the special counsel.


BURNETT: That's bill Barr, Mueller's quote in the report quote the president's efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful. But that is largely because persons surrounding the president to carry out orders or accede to his requests.


BURNETT: So, I mean, in this case -- what Barr said seems to be blatantly untrue.

RYAN: You know, Bob Barr's credibility is shot. Bill Barr's credibility is shot. Let's just say that and play the violins. This president tried to do -- what do you call it that switcheroo game, changing those in charge of Mueller.

And this report, to try to get him out. There were concerted attempts. So, you know, whatever Bill Barr says at the moment, it's not justifiable. We know we report it. And it's fact. They called us fake. But we know what happened. And we have the tapes to prove it. We have people who have talked to us about it.

This president's intent was to break the rule of law. But people did not follow through. And that is the only reason why there is not obstruction ever justice. And that is a fact. So whatever bill Barr is saying, you know, he is whistling in the wind.

BURNETT: So, John, here is what bill Barr said about the release of the stolen Democratic emails during the campaign. Informs also something very carefully laid out in the report. Here is the attorney general.


BARR: Under applicable law, publication of these types of material would not be criminal unless the publisher also participated in the underlying hacking conspiracy. Hereto, the special counsel's report did not find that any person associated with the Trump campaign illegally participated in the dissemination of the materials.


BURNETT: All right. So he is drawing a distinction there, John, OK, saying it's one thing to maybe be a part or nun or whatever it might have been to get the information. But the crime is actually in disseminating it. Someone else does that for you, you are in the clear. Do you agree with Barr's interpretation?

DEAN: I don't. And I also was quite surprised that on nine occasions he says -- the president was involved in no conspiracy or collusion. He twisted that around. But with the dissemination issue, it did happen. Don junior took a tweet from -- or an email from WikiLeaks and at their request he tweet to do and got it out with a URL site that they could search the Podesta emails. That's part of the dissemination process. So I don't know how you excuse that.

BURNETT: And, Bob, what do you think the timing here? This report comes out today, noon, which is the noon before a holiday, right, Easter weekend, Passover tomorrow. It doesn't feel transparent in the timing.

LITT: I think the more -- the more troublesome timing question is the fact that Barr chose to have a press conference at all at 9:30 when the report is going to be released an hour and a half later. He had no reason to hold that press conference other than to try to spin the report that everybody was going to read an hour and a half later. And I think that that's really troubling as well.

BURNETT: All right. So all of you stay with me, because, as we know, the Attorney General Bill Barr repeatedly said there was no collusion. So what about all the encounters between the Trump campaign and Russia? What was that?

[19:50:00] Plus, Sarah Sanders admitting she lied from the White House podium, Admitting going. So what was the lie she admitted to?


BURNETT: Attorney General Bill Barr taking the words straight from the president's mouth, saying at least four times in a press conference today that the special counsel's report found no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.


BARR: The special counsel found no collusion by any Americans in IRA's illegal activities. There was no evidence of the Trump campaign collusion with the Russian government's hacking. No underlying collusion with Russia. As he said from the beginning, there was, in fact, no collusion.


BURNETT: John Dean, April Ryan, Bob Litt are back.

So, John, this is something you find to be crucial to this entire report. The attorney general's office repeatedly said there is no collusion. And look, Mueller went through and detailed all kinds of contacts between the Trump and Russians, but he did conclude that there was, he didn't conclude no collusion.

Do you agree with that conclusion?

[19:55:01] DEAN: I don't, and I'm surprised that he used the words he did.

I also noticed the special counsel did qualify the original order that looked for links in cooperation, and he turned -- that shows how effective Trump's framing of this as collusion was because when the deputy attorney general later clarified his order, he mentioned collusion. But what happened in the findings, it shows a lot of collusion by the common meaning of that word. They just throughout in --

BURNETT: But not the legal word, of course, would be criminal conspiracy.

DEAN: That's correct.

BURNETT: You're say saying the collude word would be met?

DEAN: Erin, we can collude to have a surprise birthday party for April, and it's not criminal, but we still have colluded.

BURNETT: So which is an interesting point.

Bob, what's your take on that? Because by the way, in this report, OK, maybe I'm making the point you're making, John, but there is 107 pages in here, Bob, which detail the encounters between Russians and members of the Trump campaign. Simply put, we'll put some of them up on the screen -- 107 pages is a heck of a lot of pages when there is no "there" there.

LITT: So I think one of the interesting things is I haven't had a chance to parse the report closely, but I don't think that Mueller in fact found that there was no collusion. I don't think he used that term. I think he found that there was no conspiracy and there was no coordination.

I think if you just take one of those instance there, the Trump Tower meeting in 2016 --


LITT: And you look at that, what Mueller says is high-ranking officials in the Trump campaign, including Don Jr. and Paul Manafort went to that meeting anticipating that they'd be meeting with representatives of the Russian government who would give them information that they could use against Hillary Clinton in the campaign.

Now, Mueller found that this did not constitute a violation of the campaign finance laws primarily because he couldn't show that those people knew that it was violating the campaign finance laws, which you need to show for a criminal violation. But I think in the common understanding of the term collusion, that could be viewed as collusion, even if it's not a criminal act.

BURNETT: Right, right, which I think you've made the distinction very clear.

April, I want to ask you about Sarah Sanders. That is something new we found here. Look, we know there are a lot of things that are said that are not true from the press secretary's podium. But in the Mueller report, she admitted, Mueller says she admitted she lied from that podium to the American people.

Here's what she said in May 2017 after Jim Comey was fired as FBI director. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The rank-and- file of the FBI had lost confidence in their director.

REPORTER: So what's your response to these rank-and-file FBI agents who disagree with your contention that they lost faith in Director Comey?

SANDERS: Look, we've heard from countless members of the FBI that say very different things.


BURNETT: Sanders told the special counsel, April, that countless members of the FBI was a slip of the tongue, and then she said her statement in a separate press interview where she said rank and file FBI acts lost faith in Comey. She said oh, that was just a comment made in the heat of the moment and it was not founded on anything.

OK. So, does she have credibility left?

RYAN: Not only does she not have credibility, she lied. She out and out lied.

And the people, the American people can't trust her. They can't trust what's said from the president's mouthpiece, spokesperson from the people's house. Therefore, she should be let go. She should be fired, end of story.

When there is a lack of credibility there, you have to start and start lopping the heads off. It's fire me Thursday or fire me Good Friday. She needs to go.

BURNETT: That won't happen, though, right?

RYAN: You never know. The president doesn't want the take the fall. So he may make her take the fall.

Let me go to something else. Let me go to something else. Sarah plays a dangerous game in that room, and so has Sean.

The game is dangerous because she is lying to the American public. Everything comes to the White House and everything in between. If you can't trust her talking about that, what can you trust her about?

Then on top of that, she says the press is fake when she is faking reports from the people's house. She's calling us fake. We've had colleagues who have had to move from their houses because of threats. I have to have security because of being called fake and all sorts of things from that White House. It's time for her to go.

BURNETT: All right. I appreciate all of your time. Thank you so very much.

LITT: Thank you. BURNETT: And thanks very much to all of you for joining us.

Our breaking news coverage of the Mueller report continues now with Anderson and "AC360."