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Robert Mueller Testified with Repeated Same Line; President Trump Lashing Out at Mueller and the Democrats; Mueller Hearings, Trump Was Not Exonerated; Interview with Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D- NY) about the Mueller Hearings; Interview with Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) about the Mueller Hearings; Mueller Warns Russians Are Interfering As We Sit Here. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired July 24, 2019 - 22:00   ET


[22:00:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: That is the only closure that can satisfy. And that case can't begin soon enough because we all know that this country deserves better than what has it gotten thus far.

Thank you for watching. CNN Tonight with D. Lemon sits next to me.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: So, listen, last night remember what we said?

CUOMO: What we said?

LEMON: I said and I think you cosigned that the expectations from Mueller were too high.


LEMON: Especially from the left.


LEMON: The Democrats who were there and the ones who would be watching. And I think today we were proven right with that. You know, I take no glee in that.

CUOMO: We become the two-headed Cassandra though.


CUOMO: We always see bad things coming.

LEMON: So, I have -- a good friend who is a very well-respected attorney. And she sends me a note. She said, "Hi, there. Why is everyone obsessing about Mueller rather than Trump? The evidence of obstruction is devastating. The focus on Mueller is a Trump diversion. A rabbit hole everyone is chasing into. It's making me crazy." And then she "His demeanor can't be the story. The facts are the facts and they're getting lost. It's making me crazy."

CUOMO: Yes. So, look, the president goes at Mueller's performance because it works.

LEMON: Right. CUOMO: And because it plays to the pageantry that he sees politics as how is your performance, what kind of material did you have to work with. Let him do that. The press -- the Democrats wanted a boost today that they should have never needed.

LEMON: Right.

CUOMO: He told them everything he could in the report.

LEMON: Already.

CUOMO: They have to make their choice.

LEMON: And he was a reluctant witness.

CUOMO: He certainly was.

LEMON: And he knew he didn't want to be there. But that shows you her, what she texted me. What she said to me today and what you and I were saying that's the difference between what happens in the courtroom and what happens on television.

What happens on television that hearing was about court of public opinion. Because in the courtroom, what you really want is the facts. Maybe some performance when it comes to a witness but mostly it's facts.

This is the -- you're doing in your closing. This is the evidence that was laid out. Forget if the witness was nervous or not if the witness performed. Some people are not used to sitting there and being asked questions. They could -- Mueller used to asking the questions. He's not used to answering the questions.

But when it's on television like that you focus on the performance. And that's what Democrats wanted.


LEMON: They wanted a sort of living version of the report.

CUOMO: That's right. Now Laura Coates have a good line, that for the first time the book was better than the movie.

But listen. I think this is what matters most going forward. This all started about mutual recognition that Russia really messed with us.


LEMON: That's --

CUOMO: We have to figure out how and if anybody helped him. All right? There are no crimes to be connected to the president or anyone around him for helping the Russians. OK.

LEMON: Yes. CUOMO: But the whole conclusion was supposed to be that we'll be better for this going forward. This are process will be secure. They haven't done anything on that.

And now this president has politicized --


CUOMO: -- what interference means. So, it almost guarantees nothing will be done. My suggestion to the president is if you want to say the case is closed jump on protection of the election.

LEMON: I'm surprised you told Sekulow that you would show the boss' taxes because you know, you're listed as a dependent on my --


CUOMO: No, don't you do that. I said, hold on. Hold on. Hold on. I had a funny line. This is what he does. He takes a lot of my material.


CUOMO: As soon as he starts dressing like me which will be a huge step up for him. It takes all the choice out of it.

LEMON: What that you've --

CUOMO: The boss said I want to see your taxes --

LEMON: -- in black in white.

CUOMO: And I said sue me every night.


CUOMO: Who else wears it every night --


LEMON: Like one suit.

CUOMO: I got seven. The bosses that want to see your taxes. I heard you talk to Sekulow, I said, sue me, I'm hiring Sekulow, I said. But I'll tell you right now I claim Don as a dependent. You can't take my material.

LEMON: Well, it's because I'm a lot younger than you.

CUOMO: And better looking and smarter. I've give you all those.

LEMON: Thank you, sir. Nice closing, nice show. I'll see you soon.

Hello, everyone. This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon, live in Washington. Thank you so much for joining us.

Wow. What a day in D.C. Robert Mueller finally testifies to Congress for over six hours. And then angry combative president is fighting back tonight. Lashing out at the Democrats and claiming, falsely claiming by the way, that the investigation, his word, phony.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We've done a great job we've done it and under this terrible phony cloud, of phony cloud. That's all it was. And they should be ashamed of themselves. Absolutely ashamed. And you know who knew it was a phony cloud more than anyone else? Schiff and Nadler. And Schumer and Pelosi.


LEMON: Well, as you know we like the facts here. We lay it all for out. We're going to go through all of this in a show -- in the show and we're going to you a number of ways in which this investigation was not, quote, "phony," OK? according to Mueller himself, today under oath.

But no doubt the president's feelings he's feeling pretty good right now despite Mueller saying that he did not exonerate the president. Despite the dire warning that Russia continues to interfere in our elections as we speak right now.

But listen to this. This is the president, he seems to admit today maybe without even realizing it, that he would not have been able to get through an interview with Mueller without lying. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you regret not talking to Mueller now that you've seen him in action?

[22:05:00] TRUMP: Look, I saw what he did to people how he ruined people's lives. Because they didn't remember a date or something very minor. So, when you ask me that question, all they have to do is see how nice the weather is. If I made a mistake and said I was talking to the media and it was a little bit rainy a little bit over cast. They'd say well, we have to do, he lied.


LEMON: Please. No one was going after the president for getting the weather forecast wrong. Everyone knows that's not what this is about. The thing about answering questions that under oath. That's what this was about. The thing about that is that you have to go to -- you got to tell the truth about everything.

Something Robert Mueller testified today that the president couldn't even do in his written answers. So, the president told you everything you need to know there about why he refused to sit down with Robert Mueller. He didn't think he could stick to the truth. Something that we all know.

But as Democrats are fighting back tonight, sources are telling CNN they had what's called a robust closed-door discussion about their next steps. I bet they did. The House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reportedly continuing to resist calls for impeachment proceedings. And arguing that she wants to move forward in the courts first.


NANCY PELOSI, UNITED STATES SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: There's a cone of silence in the White House. It is engaged in a massive cover up and the obstruction of justice. Those obstruction of justice charges has been demonstrated today in the hearings. It could be indictable offenses by anybody else not the president of the United States and the president when he's no longer president.


LEMON: And the oversight chairman Elijah Cummings insisting that Congress has to make the president accountable and stop the administration stonewalling. The stonewalling that is keeping witnesses like Don McGahn from telling what they know.


REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D-MD): The American people in the last election even from Trump districts said we want to make the president accountable. A lot of people loved him. They like him. But they want to make him accountable. And we have been stonewalled with regard to getting information.


LEMON: But the former special counsel who made it clear that he was a reluctant witness still surprised a lot of people. Glued to their TVs with his halting just the facts demeanor. Declining at least 206 times to answer questions.

Two sources close to Mueller tell CNN that he was trying to keep his answers as close to the report as possible which led to a whole lot of this.



I rely on the report.

I will send you back to the report.

I can't be beyond what's in the report.

I am not going to get into that.

I can't get into the discussion on that.

I can't get into it.

I'd rely on the wording of the report. I'm not getting into what we may or may not have included in our investigation.


MUELLER: I'm not getting into that.

I'm not getting into that any further than I already have.


LEMON: So, Democrats who were counting on Mueller to move the ball forward, didn't get exactly what they wanted today.

But here's the thing. As our Jim Sciutto points out. What's really important here is what Mueller said and not how he said it. And what Mueller said was that the Trump campaign welcomed Russia's election interference. Lied to cover it up.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): The Trump campaign officials built their strategy, their messaging strategy around those stolen documents?

MUELLER: Generally, that's true.

SCHIFF: And then they lied to cover it up?

MUELLER: Generally, that's true.


LEMON: He said the president was not exonerated of obstruction.


REP. JERROLD NADLER (D-NY): Director Mueller, the president is repeatedly claimed that your report found there was no obstruction. And that it completely and totally exonerated him. But that is not what the report said, is it?

MUELLER: Correct. That is not what the report said.

NADLER: In fact, you were actually unable to conclude the president did not commit obstruction of justice, is that correct?

MUELLER: Well, we, at the outset determined that we -- when it came to the president's culpability -- we needed to -- we needed to go forward only after taking into account the OLC opinion that indicated that a president, a sitting president cannot be indicted.

NADLER: So, the report did not conclude that he did not commit obstruction of justice? Is that correct?

MUELLER: That is correct.

NADLER: What about total exoneration. Did you actually totally exonerate the president?



[22:09:58] LEMON: No. And then there's what he said about WikiLeaks. The president today claiming, falsely claiming by the way, it was all a hoax.


TRUMP: So, WikiLeaks is a hoax. Just like everything else and all of those problems having to do with crime were the biggest hoax of all.


LEMON: A hoax? That is 100 percent false. OK. I want you to listen to this exchange between Mueller and Congressman Mike Quigley who quoted Donald Trump's own words about WikiLeaks.


REP. MIKE QUIGLEY (D-IL): If we can put up slide six. This just came out. "WikiLeaks. I love WikiLeaks." Donald Trump, October 10, 2016. "This WikiLeaks stuff is unbelievable. It tells you the inner heart. You have to read it." Donald Trump, October 12, 2016. "This WikiLeaks is like a treasure-trove." Donald Trump, October 31st 2016. "Boy, I love reading those WikiLeaks." Donald Trump, November 4, 2016. Would any of those quotes disturb you, Mr. Director?

MUELLER: I'm not sure I would say --


QUIGLEY: How do you react to that?

MUELLER: Well, it's a problematic. It's an understatement in terms of whether it plays -- displays in terms of giving some, I don't know hope or some boost to what is and should be illegal activity.


LEMON: It sure is a problematic. And the fact is, remember, facts first. The Trump Justice Department just filed 17 new criminal charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange including espionage.

But Robert Mueller faced some tough questions today from Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney about why he didn't subpoena the president. I'm going to talk to the congressman in just a few minutes. But I want you to listen to this. Here it is.


REP. SEAN PATRICK MALONEY (D-NY): Why didn't you subpoena the president? MUELLER: We negotiated from with him for over a year. And I think

what you averted to in the appendix lays out our expectations as a result of those negotiations.

But finally, we were almost towards the end of our investigation and we had little success in pushing to get the interview of the president. We decided that we did not want to exercise the subpoena powers because of the necessity of expediting the end of the investigation.

MALONEY: Was that --


MALONEY: Was that -- excuse me.

MUELLER: I was going to say, the expectation was if we did subpoena the president, he would fight the subpoena and we would be in the midst of the investigation for a substantial period of time.


LEMON: So, what that was, was that was a pretty long-winded way of saying we thought it would take too long. That's what he was saying. And that really drew some pointed criticism of Mueller's testimony. From a man who knows exactly what it is like to sit in a witness seat.


JOHN DEAN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: This is man who could had been Richard Nixon wouldn't go after the tapes. Because it would take too long. And I think that that's something that is going to hang over this investigation. Hang over Mueller. Because he really didn't vigorously pursue it as he might have.


LEMON: Well, John Dean there he was. John Dean will be here tonight too, so stay tuned for that.

But let's remember what this whole thing is about. And Chris talked about this earlier. Russia interfered in our election. They interfered to help Donald Trump. And they'll interfere again.


REP. WILL HURD (R-TX): In your investigation did you think that this was a single attempt by the Russians to get involved in our election or did you find evidence to suggest they'll try to do it again?

MUELLER: It wasn't a single attempt. They're doing it as we sit here and they expect to do it during the next campaign.


LEMON: So, here's a question for you. With 2020 looming, what are we going to do to protect our democracy? Well, next I'm going to talk to a man who knows this investigation inside out. He can probably help us with that last question. He knows all about what it's like to be under fire from this president. There he is. He's the former FBI deputy director, Andrew McCabe. he joins us right after the break.


LEMON: Here's what we're learning tonight. That Democrats had a robust debate behind closed doors about their next moves. Which could include opening an impeachment inquiry now that Mueller's testimony is behind them.

So, let's bring in now Andrew McCabe. Andrew McCabe is a former FBI deputy director. He's also the author of "The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump."

So good to have you on. It's a great night to have you. Thank you so much. So, give me your impressions first about what you saw in these hearings today.

ANDREW MCCABE, FORMER DEPUTY DIRECTOR, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION: Sure, a couple of top line items. I think the director Mueller delivered exactly the performance that I think I and many people expected. He was obviously incredibly cautious. Did everything humanly possible to not go beyond the four corners of the report.

Think about the challenge of testifying under these circumstances after you've already provided a 400-page statement on the matters that you're going to testify to.


MCCABE: So, he was clearly trying to be very careful not to veer in any way from the phrasing and the facts and the terminology in the report.

LEMON: So, director, listen --


MCCABE: Second --

LEMON: The stakes were -- go on. Go on. Give me the second part.

MCCABE: No, you know, I just thought, Don, that in light of that incredibly limited approach that he brought to his testimony, I thought the Democratic questioners did a good job of feeding --


LEMON: We'll talk about that.

MCCABE: -- and leading questions.

LEMON: We'll talk about that. Because I think the Democrats they were disciplined and they stuck to their game plan. The stakes were high. And I think a lot of people were surprised by Mueller's demeanor. How do you think he came across? And were you surprised by his demeanor?

[22:19:56] MCCABE: I wasn't surprised by it at all. I can see how some people would have been disappointed. Folks who were hoping that he would breathe some new life into the report and turn it into a, you know, a dramatic retelling of presidential abuse were kind of destined to be disappointed.

Mueller is at his best a just the facts somewhat dry presenter. And I think the limits that he placed on himself in this circumstance brought him even closer to that center.

LEMON: Now did you -- did you think that there was some folks who were saying that like, he's lost a step. He wasn't quite familiar with what was in the report. Do you feel that way about his performance?

MCCABE: You know, I saw it more, Don, as his effort to be incredibly careful. I also felt like he didn't trust either side to represent his report accurately. And so, you know, you saw him his reluctance to agree to anything that wasn't a direct quote from the report.

LEMON: Right.

MCCABE: Or his constant request for the site. He wanted to see the printed word on his page before he was going to agree to the way anybody from either side was characterizing it. So, I really feel like that was more a circumstance of caution and kind of mistrust.

LEMON: So, listen, you know what it's like to be on the hot seat, director.

MCCABE: I did.

LEMON: You lost your job on the eve of your retirement after an inspector general investigation. Mueller also took a lot of punches today and pretty much absorbed the hits. Should he have defended himself more?

MCCABE: Well, you know, I think that his reluctance to get involved in terms of challenging the many false narratives that we heard from the Republican side the baseless conspiracy theory. The, you know, recitations of facts that quite simply aren't facts at all.

Failing to challenge some of those -- some of those claims allows that, those false narratives to kind of live out there and start to reverberate certainly in the media and on social media particularly. So that stuff I think undermines the effectiveness of his ability to communicate the report, which for me was the purpose of this testimony today.

So, I would have liked to have seen him push back a little harder on some of those things. But again, kind of a classic Bob Mueller performance not getting down into the weeds.

LEMON: OK. So, listen, Mueller said from the outset, his team determined that they would not decide whether the president committed obstruction of justice because of that OLC rule. They talk about it a lot today.

But to complete this huge investigation and never form any conclusions or opinions about whether the president obstructed justice. Is that really possible? Do you think he has won?

MCCABE: Well, I'll say this. An analysis of 10 separate areas of obstruction. And in at least eight of those areas the report concludes that there is not just evidence but substantial evidence to prove each one of the three elements of the offense.

That is about as close as you can possibly come to saying this person committed the offense of obstruction of justice without using exactly those words.

So, I'm not going to guess as to what his true opinion is or what the private discussions were in the team. You know, we have to live with what he put in the report. I understand how that is unsatisfying to many people. But I think Director Mueller was really threading a needle here going as far as he thought he could go without violating the OLC policy.

LEMON: Listen, I'm not sure if you saw the president's attorney Jay Sekulow on with my colleague Chris earlier. But just in case you didn't and the folks didn't. He is disputing what we heard from Mueller today about the Office of Legal Counsel opinion. I'm going to play it. Watch it.


JAY SEKULOW, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: Bob Mueller testified today. And I'm not -- no one is accusing him of lying. Testified today that from the outset this was the they knew what the OLC opinion was and they were bound by it.


SEKULOW: I will tell you that's not the truth.

CUOMO: How so?

SEKULOW: Because I have letters in my file when we were negotiating this, where he -- they did not until he was May of last year, maybe it was April of last year -- acknowledge that the OLC policy --


CUOMO: Well, had you been bringing it up and they denied it?


CUOMO: So, you are saying that Bob Mueller change his position on the OLC?

SEKULOW: I'm saying Bob Mueller when we first met --

(CROSSTALK) CUOMO: Will you give us the letters?

SEKULOW: -- was not -- of course not.

CUOMO: Can I see the letters?


CUOMO: Will you read them to me over?

SEKULOW: Would I ask for your letters?

CUOMO: Yes. We have had this conversation too.

SEKULOW: And I don't do that to you.


CUOMO: This is what I'm saying.


CUOMO: You're not accusing --


SEKULOW: And again, I'm not accusing --

CUOMO: You're not accusing Mueller of being a bad actor?

SEKULOW: No. I'm not accusing anybody --

CUOMO: Or in bad faith.

SEKULOW: No. I don't. I think he did, and I think was clear today, as your network said a hundred times. He did not have a command of the facts.


LEMON: What's your reaction, Mr. McCabe?

MCCABE: Well, I mean, I can't comment on letters that Jay Sekulow might have. I think it's also reasonable to assume that Mueller and his team went into this investigation aware of the OLC opinion but not maybe completely decided on where they would come out on that on day one.

[22:25:06] I don't know what process or period of time it took them to come to their -- to their ultimate conclusion. But I certainly take Director Mueller at his word. And I don't take everybody at their word.

LEMON: So, Mueller wouldn't address anything related to what the FBI's currently investigation -- investigating and the inspector general as well. He wouldn't talk about certain aspects. You open the counterintelligence investigation. What should Americans take away from this idea that there is still ongoing investigations?

MCCABE: Well, you know, Director Mueller said a couple of really interesting things today that surprise me in that regard. The fact that he revealed the fact that FBI counterintelligence investigators were imbedded with the special counsel team for the duration of the investigation for the purpose of coordinating counter intelligence investigation.

That means in normal people speak to make sure that they were counterintelligence people looking at what the special counsel was finding and able to go forward with that information and those investigations after the special counsel team was done.

And then he confirmed that that in fact is happening. So, it doesn't surprise me that the FBI may still be looking at counterintelligence investigations here. It surprised me that he revealed that. But I think at the end of the day it's a good thing for people to know.

LEMON: Andrew McCabe, always a pleasure. Thank you, sir.

MCCABE: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: So, does what we learned today from Robert Mueller put Democrats one step closer to an impeachment inquiry? That's the big question. Next.


LEMON: The president lashing out at Democrats today in the wake of Robert Mueller's testimony and saying it was a good day for Republicans. But the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Mueller's testimony under oath shows that crimes were committed. Let's discuss now. Dana Bash, is here. John Dean and Ryan Lizza. The dream team. Welcome everyone.


LEMON: Good to see you all of you. Listen, Dana, I want to start with you. I want to get your take away about what happened today, but I also want you to talk to me about this new reporting that you have, because we understand that pressure is building within the Democratic caucus on impeachment. What do you know?

BASH: Right. I mean, it's been building for a long time. And right after the hearings ended, Nancy Pelosi had a closed door meeting with her caucus and Manu Raju and I have been doing some reporting on it. And the headline is that they were really pounded by the members wanting to know now what? Mueller has testified. Now what are we going to do?

And the answer was, as she said publicly, we are going to wait and try to get through the core proceedings the lawsuits that we're filing to try to get more information and to try force Don McGahn, the former White House counsel to come and speak, but they also sort of entertained ideas for the what if. And when if we actually go forward with this.

For example Jerry Nadler, the judiciary chairman came up with, you know, said just floated an idea of maybe all six committees investigating will start to write articles of impeachment. He also told members perhaps we probably don't even need to have a vote for the House Judiciary Committee to start the proceedings, which is a big sigh of relief politically for a lot of House Democrats, who don't want to take that vote at all. Even to start. Never mind to end.

LEMON: But she also said -- listen, then she says, I'm not a never impeacher. It depends on where the evidence go.

BASH: She did.

LEMON: Where this goes, right?

BASH: She did.

LEMON: If there's enough information.

BASH: She is still politically in her heart of hearts thinks it's a bad move.

LEMON: Right.

BASH: But she is going to see (inaudible).

LEMON: John Dean, you know better than anybody, the big hearings like this can make or break a presidency. Which do you think this one is? Is that either of those or?

JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: I don't think it's either, it's actually -- I think it won't happen today. The witness became stronger as the day went on. He was better in the second session. Than he was in the first session. And I think he -- contrary to those who think that he didn't deliver for the Democrats. I think when the average person out there hears the things he said, it will be a revelation to them. They're not in the 3 percent who read the report. There's a 97 percent that never heard of it or what's in it. I think it going to have an impact.

LEMON: Yes. Let's go through to some of the key moments, Ryan, because it seemed to be a bomb shell moment as to why the president was not charged only for Mueller then walk it back in the second hearing.


LEMON: Watch this.


REP. TED LIEU (D-CA): I like to ask you the reason again that you did not indict Donald Trump is because of OLC opinion stating that you cannot indict a sitting president. Correct? ROBERT MUELLER, FORMER SPECIAL COUNSEL: That is correct.

I want to go back to one thing that was said this morning by Mr. Lieu. Saying and I quote, you didn't charge the president because of the OLC opinion. That is not the correct way to say it. As we say in the report and as I said at the opening, we did not reach a determination as to whether the president committed a crime.


LEMON: So, Ryan, was the first answer a fraud in slip. How did you view this one?

LIZZA: I don't -- I think he is confused everyone. Because everyone that read that report interpreted the decision the way that he answered the question the first time. That absence the OLC opinion, the case for obstruction of justice was strong enough to indict the president. In his second answer, he is just -- he seems to be saying I only -- I want to stick to the wording of the report. I don't want to add some new way of saying this. But I think it left everyone confused as to what the real answer is because the report doesn't definitively say that. It's implicit, right?

And this why -- I disagree a bit with John about his performance today. I think history will judge Mueller somewhat harshly here. I think he wrote a report, its 500 pages, the Democrats promise this was going to be the movie version of the book, right. The book had a lot of dramatic moments. Well, this was the worst adaptation of a book we have seen. He did not seem to have the details of the report. Mastered. And to me he did not seem to have the same conviction about the conclusion of the report than if you read it.

BASH: But remember, he did not want to be there.

LIZZA: Well, too bad. Too bad.

BASH: Kicking and screaming. But my point is that, he didn't want to be there. So, he was going to be the last person to try to feed either parties political needs.

LIZZA: That's true. And this is where the -- big Democratic mistake to set expectations for this hearings so high. That it's going to be the movie. You know, the public will finally see the movie not the book. Look, if you have seven hours, read the book.

[22:35:10] LEMON: I have been warning everybody. Listen, when you have -- most witnesses are reluctant, right. And if you have someone who openly says that they are a reluctant witness and you should draw down your expectation, right? You should lower your expectations and I think that there were some who had really high expectations, but I think for most people they're not surprised that he didn't say much.

They're just surprised at his performance. I'm sorry, repeat the question, I don't understand that. What have you, I think that was I the sort of start stop. I think that threw people off. Again, in moments like this, a tense exchange, John, this is for you, between Congressman Radcliffe and Mueller. Watch this.


REP. JOHN RATCLIFFE (R-TX): Which DOJ policy or principle set forth a legal standard that an investigation person is not exonerated if they're innocence from criminal conduct is not conclusively determined? What does that language come from Director? Where is the DOJ policy that says that? Let me make it easier. Is there --

MUELLER: Go ahead.

RATCLIFFE: Can you give me an example other than Donald Trump where the Justice Department determined an investigated person was not exonerated, because their innocence was not conclusively determined?

MUELLER: I cannot, but this is a unique situation.

RATCLIFFE: You can't, time is short, I got five minutes. Let's just leave it, you can't find it because I'll tell you why. It doesn't exist. The special counsel job nowhere does it say that you were to conclusively determine Donald Trump's innocence or that the special counsel report should determine whether or not to exonerate him. It's not in any of the documents. It's not in your appointment order.

It's not in the Special Counsel's regulations, it's not in the OLC opinion, it's not in the justice manual and it is not in the principle of federal prosecution. Nowhere do those words appear together, because respectfully, director, it was not the special counsel's job to conclusively determine Donald Trump's innocence or to exonerate him, because the bedrock principle of our justice system is a presumption of innocence.


LEMON: So, John, listen. Basically, he just gets railroaded. He is trying to defend this as a unique situation and then just sort of gives up. Why didn't he do more to defend himself?

DEAN: He is trying to frame it the way, this could be, he is trying to deal with the way the Congressman framed it. Which made it exoneration non-exoneration. He had to have been prepared for that question. It was an obvious question that he was going to get. And the answer is, he was filing a confidential report on why he declined prosecution. And that is what he was telling the Attorney General. He said we can't let him off. We didn't exonerate him, because there's evidence here.

LEMON: He didn't explain himself in that point.

DEAN: No, he didn't. That was a part of the problem of his delivery today. No question.

BASH: He changed as the day went on.

LEMON: Yes. BASH: That was the first really tough question he got from a

Republican. He got a few of those, but the second hearing, he was pushing back.

LEMON: This got to be the last word. Thank you all. I appreciate it. Next, I'm going to talk to one of the Congressmen who questioned Robert Mueller today. Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, asked why Mueller didn't subpoena the president. He is here next with an answer.


LEMON: Robert Mueller had a clear warning. U.S. elections are not safe from the Russians, that as he explains why he didn't subpoena the president for an interview. Let's discuss now with one of the people asking Mueller questions today. That's Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney of the Intelligence committee. Good to see you.

REP. SEAN PATRICK MALONEY (D-NY): Good to be with you, thank you.

LEMON: I know it's been a long day, so I appreciate you coming in. So, you had an exchange with Mueller about his decision not to subpoena the president for his investigation. Let's watch.


MALONEY: Why didn't you subpoena the president?

MUELLER: We negotiated from with him for over a year. We were almost towards the end of our investigation and we had little success in pushing to get the interview of the president. We decided that we did not want to exercise the subpoena powers, because of the necessity of expediting the end of the investigation.


LEMON: As I said in my open, that was a long winded way of saying it would take too long. Did this answer make sense to you?

MALONEY: Well, actually what makes sense to me is what's in the report and what's in the report is he says he had sufficient evidence of the president's intent. And therefor as in many cases, where you are trying to establish intent, and you can't get an interview of the investigatory subject. You go with circumstantial evidence. And what's so compelling is right there on page 13, Volume two, look it up and he references it in appendix C, is he says, we believe we had sufficient evidence to assess the president's intent.

So what I want to say with Mr. Mueller, was it just that it was going to take a long time or you felt, given how long it would take you had enough evidence already?


MALONEY: And when you think about it, Don, one more point. That is all he can say in that report. Because he is constrained, because he know he can't charge the president and he said it, it wouldn't be fair to accuse him of something without charging him.

LEMON: Listen, John Dean was just on, but he said the story, he said that earlier that if Mueller had been the prosecutor during Watergate he wouldn't have gone after Richard Nixon's infamous tapes. Did Mueller make a mistake by nit subpoenaing the president?

MALONEY: I think so. But I think that the answer he gave today makes me understand it a little bit better. Which is it's not just that he thought it would take too long. Is that he thought and he could be forgiven for thinking by the way that with the sufficient evidence he lays out in the report, 10 different episodes of obstruction of justice. He could be forgiven for thinking the Attorney General would care about that and then maybe Congress would do something.

LEMON: So, here's what you said, you said that, it's time to open up an impeachment inquiry, right. The House Speaker says it's still not the time for it. CNN is reporting that behind closed doors, you heard Dana Bash was on before you that there's a robust discussion among Democrats about whether to go down that impeachment road. Do you think the tide is changing within the caucus on impeachment?

[22:45:07] MALONEY: Well, I just want to correct one thing. I didn't say it's time to open an impeachment inquiry. I said that the president deserves it. But if you ask me whether it's the smart thing to do to hold him accountable, I want to do what works. And I'm persuaded that right now what works is aggressive Congressional oversight to get the truth out first of all. My God, we have had weeks and weeks of the lies from the president and the mischaracterization from the Attorney General.

So, today was the first day the truth is getting in the game, if you ask me. I want to keep that up at the committee where we are doing it and we'll go from there. But I do I think that this gets closer to the point where Congress needs to do its work and I want to do that in the most effective way. Right now we're getting what we need.

LEMON: Listen, it's all important, but also what's really important is that Mueller said that Russia interfered in the election in numerous ways. Do you think our government is doing enough to stop it? Especially when it comes to next time.

MALONEY: Well, here's the good news. The good news is that there are really talented people working at the National Security Agencies, the Intelligence Agencies and you better believe they take this stuff very seriously. I have the great honor to be able to work with them and ask them questions. I worry a lot about the White House. I don't think they don't take it seriously, the President especially.

And I worry that -- I worry that the guys on the Hill are morally bankrupt on this. In the Republican Party who are supporting the president, you know, no matter what. So that doesn't help. But I do think Americans should know that there's a lot of talented people doing everything they can to keep us safe in the next election.

LEMON: I have to go. But if you give me a quick answer here. So, I should have ask you, so -- how did you feel about Robert Mueller's performance? Were you happy with it or are you disappointed? What did you think?

MALONEY: It's exactly what I thought it would be. I thought he would be reticent. I thought he would want to stay within the report. I think the important thing is to say, what is in the report has to get out to the American public, I think that happened.

LEMON: Congressman. Always a pleasure.

MALONEY: Thank you very much.

LEMON: Thank you so much. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee asked Mueller about 10 potential instances of obstruction by the president. She is here next.


LEMON: So, you Democrats had some really pointed questions for Robert Mueller today as they tried to shed light on the findings in his report. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee questioned Mueller today and she joins me now. Thank you. It's so good to be face-to-face with you rather than over satellite.

REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D-TX): Good to be with you.

LEMON: I got to say, you know, we talked about this, about, you know, if the Democrats were going to be disciplined. I thought the Democrats were very disciplined today. They were coordinated in their approach in asking substantive questions about the report and to Robert Mueller. The question is, do you think he gave -- did you get the answers you wanted from him?

JACKSON LEE: Don, we absolutely did. We didn't expect fireworks, and I know there was a great build-up to this hearing. The reason why there was a great build-up, it took a long time to secure Director Mueller and we absolutely had to have him, but we had a methodical building block of a story. It wasn't a story with a lot of dancing and a lot of music.


JACKSON LEE: But as it relates to the Judiciary Committee volume two, we hammered over and over again the issues dealing with obstruction of justice. I think one of the major points was the president and his supporters constantly indicate there was no collusion, there was no conspiracy. You don't have to have an underlying crime to have a crime of obstruction of justice.

LEMON: So you think Robert Mueller undid that narrative today?

JACKSON LEE: I think he undid it, because he even answered the question that there does not need to be a crime for there to be obstruction of justice, and obstruction of justice can be a basis for indictment and conviction.

LEMON: OK. So let me ask you, the report came out in April and after the report you know, -- JACKSON LEE: The famous report.

LEMON: You had the Attorney General coming out. He did the letter and then he had the press conference and sort of spun the thing.

JACKSON LEE: And skewed it in a wrong direction.

LEMON: So if this hearing had happened back then, do you think it would have had a different or a bigger impact?

JACKSON LEE: Well, certainly the Mueller report was with great expectation, and I think as it was being read and as it was being analyzed there was a lot of fury and fire around it. Certainly that would have been good timing, because the eyes of America were on that issue at that time.


JACKSON LEE: And there was a great debate between Barr and the members of the Judiciary Committee and Mueller, who wrote him and said you didn't interpret this right and clearly I didn't exonerate him. But, again, we have to do our work in order that it can be done. We have many, many more witnesses to ask questions of. I think the bottom line is when will the American people resolve that misconduct has occurred? And that it reached the level of the constitutional process.

LEMON: So did today's hearing connect those dots, the dots on obstruction -- obstruction for Americans, do you think?

JACKSON LEE: I am optimistic that what we did was our very best. Between the Hipsy (ph) Committee, Intelligence committee and the Judiciary Committee, I think there was a theme that showed that, one, Russians with great in-depth invert -- intrusion intruded into our elections. I think that was very clear.

And then I think when it came to the Judiciary Committee, again -- and I think there was another point that was made. It was made in the Judiciary Committee. It was made in the Intelligence committee. The fact that the president did not subject himself to questioning by Director Mueller, who tried to get him for a year and could not get him.

LEMON: Right.

JACKSON LEE: And so the president in that way -- and his lawyers, obviously, thwarted the Director Mueller from getting actual truth from the president. Or the facts that the president recalls.

LEMON: And Mr. Mueller saying that he doesn't believe that even in that, you know, that is what he insinuated at least. And he said it. I don't know, you know, if he is going to walk that back that he didn't believe the president was truthful, even in the written answers.

[22:55:10] So, listen, you know, speaking of witnesses, you know, it's been said that Robert Mueller is a star witness. I've heard people all day saying Robert Mueller is not the star witness. The star witness is Don McGahn. Chairman Nadler says he is going to go to court today to get a subpoena for his testimony. He is the former White House counsel, Don McGahn is. Are you hoping for another hearing?

JACKSON LEE: We have to have another hearing. And if we were proceeding under the constitutional process, we'd have another series of hearings, but right now we're in this investigatory mode. We need Don McGahn. We need witnesses who told us one thing and we found out that their representations might not be the truth. So there's a whole series.

But, again, the question has to be, is this kind of behavior going to be the norm for the presidency of the United States of America? And we asked that of the American people. We think we laid out today a very complete story and picture of the fact --


JACKSON LEE: -- that obstruction of justice did happen and the president was engaged in obstruction of justice.

LEMON: I appreciate your time.

JACKSON LEE: Thank you for having me.

LEMON: Congresswoman, it's good to see you.

JACKSON LEE: Nice to see you, too.

LEMON: I'm going to talk to a man who knows Robert Mueller well. He was Mueller's Deputy at the FBI. Next, he is going to tell me if he saw a different Mueller at today's hearings.