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Robert Mueller Complains About A.G. Barr's Summary Letter; Democrats Want Barr To Resign; Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) Was Interviewed About Attorney General William Barr. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired April 30, 2019 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[22:00:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Or will the favoritism continue? This doesn't have to be about criminality. It has to be what is right, what is wrong and what is reasonable and a big day for that to be held forth. We'll all be watching tomorrow.
That's all for us tonight. Let's get right to "CNN TONIGHT" with Don Lemon.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Those are very quick closing arguments, and as you know, we have a busy night this evening. But listen, the first words that came to my mind, Chris, were, of all the unmitigated gall, of all the unmitigated call. Someone who actually works for the American people is working on behalf of this president.
Talk about no collusion in Russia, there appears to be collusion between the President of the United States and the attorney general.
CUOMO: Listen, remember the famous quote, when someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.
LEMON: Believe them.
CUOMO: We've seen this A.G. protect presidents he worked for twice before.
CUOMO: Why the Democrats decided to believe he was going to be somehow different in this role after all he had showed, that's on them. But now he's showing who he is. What it will mean -- and again, this doesn't mean he's a felon, it doesn't mean he's a bad guy, it means he's protecting his president. That's not his job.
And for Mr. Mueller, by all accounts, to write a letter like this, Don, this is not something he does lightly, it's not something he believed because he had a nuanced disagreement, that it was a style point, or just wanted to trade notes. You know, as Phil Mudd said, this was a wakeup call version of a baseball bat to the head.
LEMON: If you don't take umbrage with the President of the United States misleading you, the attorney general of the United States misleading you, lying, both of them, then what are you going to take issue with? What are you going to have a problem with? When you're supposed to be the party of the rule of law, when you have
a president and the attorney general who are not fighting for the rule of law but who are carrying the water for indecent and inappropriate and possibly even unlawful behavior, what is going to upset you? What are you going to take issue with? Is there anything?
CUOMO: Do you know when you get your answer? Tomorrow. And that's why, you know, we all got to head to the hot zone because Republican senators are more on the spot than the A.G. tomorrow.
CUOMO: We know he's going to be able to handle the questions, the guy is a pro.
LEMON: We'll see.
CUOMO: But will the Republicans ask him about spying all day? You know, will they shortcut around this and just wait for Mueller to come and have to deal with it then? If they do, they are going to embolden Democrat efforts, and I do not think that's something they need to be doing right now.
LEMON: Yes. Then they will just embarrass themselves or beclown themselves, as we say.
Chris, thank you. A lot of news to get ahead. You did a great job on the breaking news. I'll see you soon.
This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.
And here's our breaking news tonight. We are learning that Robert Mueller did not stay silent after all about the Attorney General William Barr's testimony to the Senate tomorrow. He did not stay silent after all, and so we're going to see what happens tomorrow morning.
You've got to wonder whether the timing of this news is a coincidence. Tonight, a source tells CNN that Mueller wrote a previously unknown letter to the attorney general. That was on March 27. That was three days after the A.G. released his own four-page letter laying out what he said were the principal conclusions of the Mueller reports.
But listen. What Mueller said about that was pretty scathing for the notoriously tight-lipped special counsel to do.
Guests that we have coming up on this show told us that they are absolutely stunned that Robert Mueller took that step. We're going to hear from them. That will be in just a little bit.
But first, just let me read to you from the letter Mueller sent. This was from "The Washington Post" reporting, OK? And it says, quote, "The summary letter that the Department sent to Congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March 24 did not fully capture the context, nature and substance of this office's work and conclusions.
There is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation. This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the Department appointed the special counsel to assure full public confidence in the outcome of our investigations."
So, let's face it. If Barr's letter did not capture the context, the nature and the substance of Robert Mueller's work, then what is left?
Mueller went on to make a very specific request, that the attorney general release the introductions and the summaries his team had written. Remember, everyone asked about that? Why not release the summaries that were already written?
[22:05:01] Mueller did that, his team did that. Wouldn't that be what they wanted people to understand about their investigation? Mueller reportedly even suggested some redactions, going on to say in his letter that the process of making redactions, quote, "need not delay the release of the enclosed materials. Release at this time would alleviate the misunderstandings that have arisen and would answer congressional and public questions about the nature and outcome of our investigation."
And we all know that those introductions and summaries weren't released until the report itself was in spite of rumblings of dissatisfaction from Mueller's team.
So the four-page Barr letter, the letter that claimed to summarize Mueller's principal findings, the letter that said Mueller had not found that team Trump conspired with Russia, the letter that said Mueller had not reached a conclusion as to whether the president attempted to obstruct justice, Mueller says it did not fully capture the context, nature and substance of this office's work and conclusions.
Here's what a source is telling CNN. It is telling us that Barr called Mueller after he got the special counsel's letter, saying something to the effect of, we've been friends for a long time.
Let's talk about this. The call described as polite, but they clearly disagreed. So more than three weeks after Mueller wrote his letter to Barr complaining that the A.G.'s summary did not fully capture the context, nature and substance of his work, more than three weeks later, Barr stood up in front of the world to again offer his own version of the special counsel's report. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a lot of public interest in the absence of the special counsel and members of his team. Was he invited to join you on the podium? Why is he not here? This is his report you're obviously talking about today.
WILLIAM BARR, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: It's a report he did for me as the attorney general. He is required under the regulation to provide me with a confidential report. I'm here to discuss my response to that report and my decision,
entirely discretionary to make it public since these reports are not supposed to be made public. That's what I'm here to discuss.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it an impropriety for you to come out and sort of, what appears to be sort of spinning the report before the public gets a chance to read it?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Given what we learned tonight, I think we have a pretty good idea why Mueller wasn't there, standing side by side with Barr and the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. I think that gives you an idea.
As the attorney general of the United States steamrolled right over Mueller's objections. And that wasn't the first time. I want you to listen to what Barr said. This is when Senator Chris Van Hollen, on April 10, a full two weeks after he learned about Mueller's complaints.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D), MARYLAND: Did bob Mueller support your conclusion?
BARR: I don't know whether Bob Mueller supported my conclusion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: This is April 9. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. CHARLIE CRIST (D), FLORIDA: Reports have emerged recently, general, that members of the special counsel's team are frustrated at some level with the limited information included in your March 24th letter, that it does not adequately or accurately, necessarily, portray the report's findings. Do you know what they're referencing with that?
BARR: No, I don't.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Yes, he did. He knew exactly why Mueller's team was frustrated. He knew. He knew exactly what Bob Mueller thought about his conclusion. There is a letter. Mueller's letter says it all, loud and clear.
"There is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation. This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the Department appointed the special counsel, to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations."
And he sat there and said he didn't know if Robert Mueller agreed with his letter, his four-page letter. When asked a number of times.
And now we are just hours away from the Attorney General William Barr appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Will he answer questions fully, truthfully, transparently? We're all going to be watching to find out.
But the credibility of the attorney general has been damaged. Perhaps irreparably. And the person we really need to hear from as soon as possible is Bob Mueller.
[22:10:07] Straight away to CNN's Pamela Brown for insight on this. Pamela, thank you so much for joining us. A pretty stunning development here. Have you heard any response from the White House or his lawyers?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, the White House is staying silent so far. As far as I know, no tweets from President Trump. I just got after the phone with Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal outside attorney, and here's what he told me.
He said "Mueller should have made a decision," talking about on the obstruction investigation, "and shouldn't be complaining or whining now that he didn't get described correctly."
So, basically saying there that Mueller shouldn't have written this letter to the attorney general expressing his displeasure because he never made this decision on obstruction and left it up to the attorney general, according to Rudy Giuliani, and that is likely the kind of sentiment you're going to hear from the White House moving forward.
But certainly, this news is something that is not welcome here at the White House because it is very much looking forward to putting the Mueller report and everything surrounding it behind them.
And that, unfortunately, to White House officials I've been speaking with isn't happening with this news, and of course, we are now looking ahead to potentially two days now of the attorney general testifying about this and being grilled on a variety of issues particularly now about what we're learning tonight, Don.
That the Special Counsel Robert Mueller wrote him a letter telling him that he mischaracterized the findings of principal conclusions of the Mueller report, and the fact that we're just now finding out about it in the news media the night before Bill Barr testifies to Congress, Don.
LEMON: Yes, and some weeks after Mueller wrote that letter. I think you said Rudy Giuliani said he should not be whining now? I don't think -- now. This was on March 27. This was weeks ago, so it's not now.
I want to dig in a little bit more just to be plain about the White House's response. After Barr came out, Pamela, with that letter, the president also claimed full exoneration. Any word from the White House tonight? Are they saying anything? BROWN: No. The White House isn't saying anything, but you can expect
the White House to continue to double down on the idea that the president in their view citing Barr's four-page memo and the overall conclusions that, look, the case is closed.
As we've heard from Sarah Sanders, the press secretary we should move on now. The president didn't commit any crime. So, I think that is what you can expect to hear from the White House. They're going to claim that they're unmoved by the news of Robert Mueller writing this letter.
Essentially, you know, you're hearing from Rudy Giuliani kind of saying, look, he's being a sore loser here. That, you know, he didn't like that he couldn't reach a conclusion, he didn't have a case here, and so now he's whining about it.
But of course, this is serious and this is a big deal that the special counsel, who is a long-time colleague and friend of Bill Barr, wrote this letter in the starkest terms laying out that Bill Barr's four- page memo to Congress was misleading, in his view, on the scope, the substance, the context of the more than 400 pages of the Mueller report.
That is serious, and the reporting is that Justice Department officials were actually taking a bath by this letter to Robert Mueller, and there was even a follow-up phone call between Bill Barr and Robert Mueller.
But of course, as you noted in your lead-in to me, Don, Bill Barr testified to Congress after he had received this letter, after talking to Robert Mueller about his concerns, and he did not convey this, and he didn't convey it just before the press conference right before the Mueller report was released, either.
LEMON: The lie can often be in the omission. Thank you very much, Pamela. I appreciate that.
LEMON: Much more in our breaking news to come, Robert Mueller's letter to William Barr stating objecting to Barr's four-page letter summarizing his principal conclusions. So, did the attorney general mislead the public?
[22:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: So, we're back now with our breaking news, a source telling CNN that Special Counsel Robert Mueller sent a letter to the Attorney General, William Barr, a letter that expressed his concerns that Barr's four-page memo to Congress characterizing Mueller's findings, that it didn't fully capture the intent of Mueller's report.
Let's bring in John Dean, Carrie Cordero, Max Boot. Max is the author of "The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam." Boy, here we go. What an evening and a what a report here. Max,
Mueller told Barr that the depiction of the findings didn't capture the, quote, "context, nature and substance of the investigation." That is according to the Washington Post. I'm going to say that again, the context, nature and substance. What else is there?
MAX BOOT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, it's shocking to hear from Robert Mueller, because if Mueller is anything, he is a chain of command guy. He has been that way ever since he was a marine officer in Vietnam. He is not a grandstander, he does not act in the way that Comey did, for example, taking it upon himself to hold a press conference and upstage the attorney general.
Mueller believes in doing what his superiors say. So, when he is challenging his superiors in this fashion, that is an indication that Bill Barr has done something seriously wrong.
I mean, we are talking here -- I think this is adding to concerns that what Bill Barr has done is grounds for impeaching him, it's grounds for his resignation. He has -- I think he has lost the confidence of a substantial portion of the nation because we have no confidence that he is, in fact, acting as our attorney general.
He seems to be acting as Donald Trump's attorney. I thought there was a key point in Mueller's letter where he said that this threatens to undermine the full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations.
I think that's exactly right. That confidence has been undermined. Robert Mueller has been undermined. Mueller needs to testify right away to tell -- share with the nation his findings and to interpret the report, which is incredibly damning. And Bill Barr has some serious explaining to do beginning tomorrow morning before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
LEMON: Carrie Cordero, for everyone who felt this investigation was in safe hands, they were confident that the attorney general's reputation is a so-called straight shooter, what do you say to them now?
[22:19:58] CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think as far as the attorney general goes, once he gave his press conference on the 18th when he released the report, he really did a lot of damage to himself at that point, because it was clear once the report came out and we all read it that it was so different from his four-page summary that he had released several weeks before.
But this goes to a whole another level to find out that just three days after the attorney general sent his summary letter, the special counsel and his team was immediately so disturbed by the way that the attorney general characterized their lengthy investigation and their report that they documented it.
And I think that's the key point. They documented it in the letter which, of course, would end up public and would end up in Congress' hands. And so, I'm glad that they did that. But the fact that they felt they had to put it in writing shows you
that the communication between them and the attorney general had no trust left. If they had -- if it wasn't something that could just be discussed, if it was so serious that they felt their work was so mischaracterized that he had to document it and put it in writing, I'm sure it's something that was so serious for the special counsel to do, and it is really astounding that weeks have gone by and the attorney general never revealed that this letter existed.
LEMON: John, I got a quick question for you, then a longer one. Did the attorney general mislead the public is the first one?
JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Absolutely. No question about it.
LEMON: Right. And was it -- actually, three questions. Did he do that, the letter and then the press conference, to shape the public's opinion?
DEAN: Clearly. As I said at the time, he is framing the issue and framing it for the president's benefit.
LEMON: OK. So, his letter only had 101 words from the actual report. Then he had his presser before we even saw that report, right? And when we finally got the report, it was far more damning than Barr led us to believe. Do you think this is a slow-motion cover-up of the investigation?
DEAN: I don't know how slow it is, but it certainly is an effort to cover up and shape public thought about this document that we still don't know all of the contents. Part of it is redacted.
And I think the fact that the Senate, several members of the Senate today, sent a letter to the inspector general of the Department of Justice telling the inspector general that the attorney general had to recuse himself virtually from the pending 12 cases that were referred to the Department of Justice by the special counsel speaks volumes. And I think we're going to hear more about that tomorrow.
This is not an impartial attorney general. This is one with an agenda. And I think that will be flushed out in more detail as well, and it's a sad day, Don.
LEMON: Yes. So why do you say that?
DEAN: Well, I mean, this is the top law enforcement officer. We've had this problem in the past during Watergate. We had an attorney general who went to jail, and when his successor lied to become attorney general, he would be charged with a misdemeanor. We were over that legacy post-Watergate. We're right back into Nixonian thinking.
LEMON: I want to -- Max, let me ask you about this letter that Mueller wrote to Barr, because he asked Barr to release those executive summaries. Remember when we questioned, why didn't he just release the executive summaries? Why is he giving his version of what he thinks the report is about?
Mueller reportedly even suggested initial redactions for doing all of this. That did not happen. Does that say anything to you?
BOOT: Well, of course. I mean, what it says is that Attorney General Barr was not concerned with presenting Mueller's findings in an impartial fashion. What he was concerned about was spinning them for the benefit of the president of the United States.
And what they essentially did was they bought a few weeks of time in the narrative to basically try to shape public opinion in a way that would make impeachment much less likely, trying to convince people that Mueller had not found enough evidence to charge the president with obstruction, whereas, we found out when we actually read the report that there was copious evidence to charge the president with obstruction on at least six counts.
And the only reason Mueller didn't do it was because the president cannot be indicted. And Barr was deliberately deceptive in his rendition of the Mueller report and for an obvious propagandistic, political purpose.
[22:24:58] And that's why I say I can have no confidence, and I don't think anybody whose interest in the partial administration of justice can have any confidence in Attorney General Barr as the head of the Justice Department.
I mean, this is -- this is -- you know, Mueller is blowing the whistle on the fact that Barr is actually obstructing justice to prevent the full findings of Mueller's obstruction of justice case from coming to life.
LEMON: Carrie, I want to ask you this quickly here, if you can. You know, we're learning that Barr and the DOJ officials were frustrated with the special counsel.
And I just want to read this for you. It says, "They expressed irritation that Mr. Mueller fell short of his assignment by declining to make a decision about whether Mr. Trump broke the law. That left Mr. Barr to clear Mr. Trump without the special counsel's backing." Is the frustration from Barr warranted, or is this DOJ spinning?
CORDERO: No, it spins. The special counsel -- once we were able to read the report, we were able to see that the special counsel didn't make a finding of obstruction based on legal doctrines, the doctrine of fairness and because they thought they were tied to the Department of Justice legal opinion.
But it is so clear once you actually read the report that they laid out a complete pattern of obstructive behavior and then the proper venue to consider that is Congress.
And I really think with respect to these attorney general hearings that are coming up, they might as well just cancel them and wait to hear from Bob Mueller. Because I'm so sick of the lying, Don. Like, we're going to have the attorney general come up, he's going to obfuscate, he's perhaps going to mislead or he's going to lie.
And they might as well just have Bob Mueller come up and finally tell the American people the truth about what the report says and what his investigation found.
LEMON: You know, Carrie, you're usually very measured and I can understand your frustration. I think the American people can understand your frustration as well. We are tired of being lied to, and we're tired of the --
LEMON: -- political partisanship of people making every excuse for this administration when they are clearly breaking the rule of law. Thank you so much. I appreciate it.
CORDERO: Thank you.
LEMON: Carrie mentioned the hearing. There's one in the Senate, that's one that's supposed to be in the Congress next week. Ted Lieu, he's a congressman, he is supposed to question the attorney general later this week. And tonight, he is calling on Barr to resign. He tells me why, next.
[22:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: OK, so here's our breaking news tonight. Just hours before the Attorney General William Barr is set to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, a source tells CNN that the Special Counsel Robert Mueller sent a letter to Barr, a letter expressing concerns that his four-page letter didn't fully capture the intent of Mueller's report.
Let's discuss now. Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu of California. He sits in the House Judiciary Committee, you are supposed to question him later on a week. We will see if that happens. I just want to -- we've got a lot to talk about, OK?
So, if you could give me some quick answers here. First, you heard Carrie Cordero (ph) just before the break. Normally very measured, she said, I'm sick of the lying, saying, I'm frustrated. Bill Barr has been lying for three weeks. The Senate and the Congress should just get rid of him and bring Mueller in. What do you say to that?
REP. TED LIEU (D), CALIFORNIA: I wouldn't give both, certainly I want to give Bill Barr the opportunity to perjure himself. We also going to want to hear from Robert Mueller, but at this point, based on what I know, Bill Barr needs to resign. He took an oath to the constitution not to Donald Trump, he is supposed to be America's attorney, not Trump's stooge and because he doesn't understand his job, he (inaudible) miss by the American people, he's got to go.
LEMON: I've got to ask you for some of the frustration from the American public. People who are saying, well, the Democrats have oversight power now, they have the Congress, but -- this is their assumption and not saying this, this is not me saying it, but they appear to have no spine. When are you going to start taking some action? When are you going to
start jailing people? When are you going to start doing something about people who defy subpoenas and who don't want to follow the constitution? What are you going to do and when?
LIEU: Soon. We do need some of these people to actually violate the subpoena, so Bill Barr has until tomorrow to provide the unredacted Mueller report. If he does not do that, then I'm going to push for a contempt proceeding against Bill Barr, and then I'm going to push for that contempt proceeding to also happen on the House floor.
Once that happens, it triggers a number of things. We can litigate the subpoena in court. We can also use our inherent powers as Congress to impose fines on Bill Barr. And in the past, they actually did have a House jail, but I don't think we'll go there yet.
LEMON: All right. Well, we shall see. So, let's move on now. Barr denied knowing. And you know that, he denied knowing about Mueller's objections twice when he testified before Congress. Let's remind people. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did Bob Mueller support your conclusion?
WILLIAM BARR, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ATTORNEY GENERAL PICK: I don't know whether Bob Mueller supported my conclusion.
REP. CHARLIE CRIST (D-FL): Reports have emerged recently, General, that members of the special counsel's team are frustrated at some level with the limited information included in your March 24th letter, that it does not adequately or accurately, necessarily, portray the report's findings. Do you know what they're referencing with that?
BARR: No, I don't.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: You heard him. OK? We know the Attorney General chooses every single word carefully. Do you think he lied to Congress?
LIEU: I do, but let's just take a step back and see how extraordinary it is, what Bill Barr did. Not only did he write a four-page summary that misled the American people, he was then told by Robert Mueller that he misled the American people, then he lies in front of Congress, and then he does a press conference misleading the American people again. It is incredible the actions he took. He absolutely needs to go, and then he can apply to be White House press secretary where he can lie all he wants.
LEMON: So, then, what do you intend to do, then? If he lied to Congress, then what is the next step?
LIEU: So, on the House Judiciary Committee, first, we want him to show up this Thursday. He is been balking at being questioned by staff counsel. Now we know why, because he's, I think, scared that we are going to ask him questions that cause him either perjure himself or look like a fool in front of the American people.
We hope he still shows up on Thursday. We hope he provides an unredacted Mueller report tomorrow. If he doesn't, I'm going to push for contempt proceedings, and I believe that in fact, the caucus and the committee will support that.
LEMON: Thank you very much, Congressman Ted Lieu. I appreciate your time.
LIEU: Thank you.
LEMON: With what we're learning tonight about Robert Mueller's objections to the Attorney General's summary of his principal conclusions, what about Mueller's findings on obstruction? Will Congress be forced to think seriously about impeachment, the potential political consequences of all this next.
[22:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: So Democrats are reacting to the breaking news tonight that Special Counsel Robert Mueller expressed concerns that the Attorney General's four-page memo to Congress outlining Mueller's findings didn't fully capture the intent of Mueller's report. The House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tweeting this.
Attorney General Barr misled the public and owes the American people answers. It's time for the DOJ to release the full report and all underlying docs and finally allow Mueller to testify. Americans deserve the facts. Barr must stop standing in the way.
The Attorney General heads for the Hill tomorrow for what could be two days of testimony about the Mueller report. So, let's bring in now, Nia-Malika Henderson, Frank Bruni.
Good evening to both of you. Thank you. What a turn of events, right? What are they? Nia, will congress take this as evidence that Mueller believe the president had obstructed justice but couldn't be prosecuted, meaning that Congress should take up impeachment?
[22:40:07] NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: You know, it's anybody's guess at this point what the Democrats are prepared to do. They've been telegraphing all along, essentially saying all along, certainly the leadership saying that they are basically slow-walking this process.
They want investigations, they want to call people up before Congress, they want to issue subpoenas, if those folks don't come before Congress and refuses those subpoenas, but this, I think, raises the stakes quite a bit on what they've been trying to do and forces their hand a little bit more and certainly puts more of a spotlight on tomorrow's hearings with Bill Barr and it certainly puts more of a spotlight on whether or not he is going to cooperate with the House committee as well.
He is been making certain demands about what he wants to see from those members, particularly no questioning from staff counsel. That is been one of the demands that he has made and Nadler has said, you don't get to dictate what these hearings are like.
The other thing I think it does is this whole idea of whether Mueller is going to testify, this is something that Democrats have wanted, this is something that oftentimes Republicans have said, oh, well, they don't really need to hear from Mueller, because he spent two years on this report and it came out as 444 pages --
LEMON: They've got to do it now.
HENDERSON: -- there's nothing -- exactly. I think, that almost puts the spotlight on Republicans. How can they continue to sort of stonewall and essentially say, oh, there's nothing to see here, there's nothing to hear from Mueller after this report from "The Times" and the "Washington Post?"
LEMON: All right. Frank, we talked about this. You know Nancy Pelosi, she is trying to tamp down talk of impeachment. There are other Democrats who are trying to tamp down that talk of impeachment as well. Does this make it harder for them to do that?
FRANK BRUNI, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: A hundred percent, yes. Because Democrats are enraged already. They're more enraged in the wake of this. They should be. And those who feel strongly that the only way to give a full airing to everything, an airing that is not corrupted by event spin from Barr, you know is to have impeachment proceedings.
I still don't think Nancy Pelosi is going to agree with that. I don't think we are going to end up there, but the chances that we end up there have just increased substantially, because of these latest developments, which are extraordinary.
I mean, I'm just astounded, Don, because when you go back to when Barr is releasing that four-page summary, which turns out to be so incredibly inaccurate, how does he not know that as the weeks and months go by, and as the report ultimately comes out which it was sure to in a redacted form, how does he not know that at some point the game is going to be up and the fact he is been acting as a total partisan and not as an Attorney General with the country's interests at heart, how does he think that is not going to come out? I don't -- that is the part of this that I will never understand.
LEMON: As I was speaking earlier with Chris, Frank, I mean, it is not the first time that there had been some questions about how he handled certain things with certain presidents, and that he had more allegiance to those presidents rather than to the American people. So, it's not the first time. Should people even be surprised by it?
BRUNI: Well, in that sense, no. You are right, the history is there. Listen, he is not an honest broker. And if you go back to when he was testifying before his confirmation and you look at things he said then and you compare them to what we know now, he was clearly presenting an entirely false front, an entirely false face.
And so to go back to your question about impeachment, I think Democrats feel like a great disservice has been done to the country here by Barr, which it has, because he set the narrative for how we're going to talk about this report for many, many weeks. I think they feel that the president wrongfully dodged a bullet and that Barr was the one who yanked him out of the way, and they're asking the questions.
So, now, what do we do so that the historical record is more accurate, so the American public don't remain misled by this first impression and I think some Democrats are going to come to the conclusion , impeachment is the only way. Like, I said. I don't think a majority of them will. I don't think Nancy Pelosi is there yet, but the chances have increase.
LEMON: You are on the Mueller's letter about the report have raised so many questions about what Barr has said publicly, especially his insinuations that Mueller and the special counsel's team were on board with these conclusions. He was ask by this, I don't know, I don't know, but, you know, he sort of -- he led people to believe that they were on board. Does Barr have any credibility left with the Congress and with the American people?
HENDERSON: You know, certainly he hasn't ever really had any credibility with Democrats, right? The idea, I think, and the suspicion that many Democrats had early on was that he was essentially a hired gun.
He had written this memo about his thoughts about the Russia investigation and the special counsel before he even got nominated for the Attorney General. And a lot of people thought he was basically going to come in and protect this president.
And then you saw, of course, this four-page letter which, again, Mueller sort of disputes the framing of it, so I think his credibility, and you even heard this from some Republicans, that it's taken a bit of a hit, how he is able to restore that if he can.
[22:45:00:] We'll see. I think he will probably start to try to do that tomorrow with these hearings. It's going to be a tough crowd certainly from Democrats. Some of those folks are running for president who aren't on the judiciary committee.
And then you'll have to see what happens with the Republicans there too, who also -- I mean, have -- obviously circled the wagons around this president, but my goodness, I think it becomes more and more difficult when you have somebody like Barr whose credibility is being questioned in a very credible way.
HENDERSON: I mean, his credibility, I think he -- you know, himself done some things that he didn't necessarily have to do to make people call his credibility into question.
LEMON: frank, I'm going to give you the last -- the final word here and quickly if you will, but it's just interesting to me at all the times in the report showed -- when this administration, this president and his supporters or his spokespeople, when they said, oh, fake news, this is wrong, that is wrong, and then a report comes out, the Mueller report and shows whether reporting was correct.
And then we -- and then the news said afterwards, well, Barr is not being a straight shooter. He is acting like the president's lawyer and not the lawyer for the American people, and then all of a sudden this comes out. It's a pattern.
BRUNI: You bet it's a pattern. They say whatever they want to say to look blameless, and the truth keeps coming out, and you're absolutely right. I'm so glad you brought that up, Don. You go back and you look at all the reporting along the way. Saying this is what Mueller is looking at, this is what he's discovered.
And the administration was saying fake news, fake news, almost every bit of that was burnout. So, it's time for the American public to realize, we hear on shows like this, we are talking the truth. And what you are hearing, you know, be if from Donald Trump or Sarah Sanders, that's something quite different from the truth, and if you're still accepting it as truth, you have really lost your way.
LEMON: Yes. Thank you both, I appreciate it.
HENDERSON: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: Why did Robert Mueller feel like he had to write this letter objecting to what the Attorney General said about his report? Why did he feel that? I'm going to ask someone who knows Mueller very well.
[22:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: OK, so we are back now with our breaking news. The Special Counsel Robert Mueller wrote a letter to the Attorney General objecting to his characterization of his investigation findings. What would compel him to write that letter? How significant is that? Here with some insights, John Pistole, he is a former deputy to then FBI director Robert Mueller.
John I appreciate you joining us so much. You work for Mueller. You know how he thinks. Why would the special counsel feel the need to write down his objections in a letter to the A.G.?
JOHN PISTOLE, FORMER TSA ADMINISTRATION: Well, the importance of this Don, I think is fairly straight forward from the Mueller investigation in Bob Mueller's perspective in all off this and that is -- I think it shows really three things, one that he has committed this investigation to a record that is established.
And that he is one of the few people without a political agenda in D.C. and so, he is wanting to make sure that independence is seen throughout this report. And so the fact that the A.G.'s come out, obviously with this full-page memo which did not accurately characterize the full scope of the report, I think he is pushing back on that.
And second, I think it just goes to the fact that he is adhering to the rule of law and precedence, but that has limits. And so with the A.G. mischaracterizing, if you will and perhaps having a different outcome than what perhaps Bob Mueller had intended, but that rule of law, that precedents, that limit sounds like that was crossed or that line was crossed.
And then third and finally, I think it just goes to the -- it shows both the thoroughness of the investigation, which obviously was not captured in any way in the A.G.'s summary, but also -- and this may sound strange to some of your viewers, but the brevity of the investigation not trying to be all things to all people all the times and all places as it relates to all the things going on D.C., and for example, compared to six plus year of the Starr independent counsel investigation. So, 22 months might seem like a lifetime to many, but actually --
LEMON: Not that long.
PISTOLE: -- (inaudible) it's relatively brief.
LEMON: Yes. I mean, when you look at this investigations, I know that people were saying, especially this (inaudible) to the president, this is taking too long, this is taking too long. It wasn't that long when you consider the types -- these types of investigations.
John, since Mueller's letter to A.G. Barr, Barr has said many times about what he decided were Mueller's conclusions. If Mueller felt like the original letter from Barr that didn't capture the context in nature and the substance, why not speak out?
PISTOLE: Well, I think that is just goes to who Bob Mueller is in terms of allowing the work to speak for itself. So, as opposed to having a press conference of either disagreeing with the A.G. or trying to lay out a summary of the report at the same time he released the report, for that report the A.G., that is just the way he works.
During my almost six years as his Deputy Director, he often would try to avoid doing press conferences and things, because he wanted the work to speak for itself and he wanted the men and women of the FBI to get the recognition for their hard work and professionalism and integrity. And so he tried to steer attention away from himself.
So, I think we see that, that is just a consistent pattern here in terms of doing the report and doing it confidentially and obviously up and leave it to the A.G. to decide what should be redacted and what should be reported and how it should be summarized.
[22:55:10] So, the fact that this memo has now become public Robert Mueller's memo disagreeing with the sum and substance, if you will of the A.G.'s full page memo, I think that goes to the core of who Bob Mueller is as a consummate professional of doing things quietly behind the scenes and yet making sure that there's a paper trail, if you will, to say no, that's not -- I don't agree with your conclusion Mr. Attorney General. It's up to you. That is your discretionary function to do that, but I don't agree with that, the team doesn't agree with that, because that is not what we found.
LEMON: Hey, I've got to go. Do you think he is going to ultimately testify though, John, before Congress? Mueller? PISTOLE: I think so. And he may have to be subpoenaed, but I think
he will, because -- now whether he would answer every question, that is a different issue. But I think he would testify because I think that's in the public interest, which is, I think one of the reason he said yes to taking the assignment in the first place.
LEMON: John Pistole, I always appreciate it. Thank you so much, sir. We have much more on our breaking news tonight.
Robert Mueller objecting to how William Barr spun his report. What could possibly be the Attorney General's motive and will there be consequences?