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Mueller on Obstruction: Unable to Conclude that "No Criminal conduct Occurred"; Mueller Report Outlines Trump's Reaction to Appointment of Special Counsel; Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) Holds News Conference on Mueller Investigation, Democrat Investigations; Is it a Winning Strategy for Democrats to Investigate Trump on Abuse of Power Prior to 2020 Elections. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired April 18, 2019 - 14:30   ET


[14:30:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Article II of the Constitution gives him power over the same process, the same investigations that he was being investigated about. So he had power to do this. So you have to show specific intent.

Now we know two things in here. One is very clear. If the people around the president had done what he told them to do, at a very minimum, those people could have been charged with obstruction of justice. That is from Mueller.

Here is the second thing. There was enough proof of potential criminality that Mueller's team couldn't make a decision. And arguably, a third thing, Mr. Barr did America no favors when he suggested that it was an easy call for him and Deputy A.G. Rosenstein, there was no obstruction. The Mueller people clearly agonized. And clearly they didn't want the department A.G. or this A.G. to make the call. They wanted Congress to make it. They go out of their way to say that in here that they believe it is Congress's role to play. Quote, "With respect to whether the found could be found to have obstructed justice by exercising his powers under Article II of the Constitution, we concluded that Congress has the authority to prohibit a president's corrupt use of his authority in order to protect the integrity of the administration of justice."

Do you hear the words, "the A.G.?" Do you hear a request to kick this to them? You do not. We don't know the politics of how that happened but the disposition within this report.

With that, let's get to CNN's Laura Jarrett at the Justice Department.

Laura, Mueller looked at 10 episodes basically involving the president and the issue of obstruction of justice. Here is what we wrote as pretext, "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 exceed to his request."

Laura, one example has to do with then-White House Counsel Don McGahn. What more could you tell us about that?

LAURA JARRETT, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: Chris, there are a litany of stories in this 400-page report about his interactions and his heated interactions with his former White House Counsel Don McGahn.

I want to just read to you one excerpt that really I think crystalized what was going on here, at least in McGahn's mind. And the special counsel says the following, "On June 14th, 2017, the media reported that the special counsel's office was investigating whether the president had obstructed justice. Press reports called this a major turning point in the investigation. While Comey had told the president he was not under investigation, following Comey's firing, the president was now under investigation. The president reacted to this news with a series of tweets criticizing the Department of Justice and the special counsel investigation."

On June 17th" -- so just three days later -- "the president called McGahn at home and directing him to call the Acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and say that the special counsel had conflicts of interest and must be removed. McGahn did not carry out that direction, however. Deciding that he would resign rather than trigger what he regarded as a potential Saturday Night Massacre. And a reference to the famous episode of firing, the whole slew of Justice Department officials under the Nixon administration. So a quite damning picture from McGahn.

But there's a litany of other officials that provide different accounts of what appears to be trying to save the president from his own worst instincts or trying to save themselves from being implicated in some obstruction scheme here. We see former aide, Corey Lewandowski, refusing to pass along a message to Jeff Sessions about curtailing the Russia investigation. We see K.T. McFarland, former deputy security advisor, refusing to provide a statement about Russian sanctions and the former national security advisor, Michael Flynn, because she wasn't sure whether it was true. We see them describing the potential issues that have involved Paul Manafort, the president's former campaign chairman, and how the president's public statements could have potentially affected the outcome of the trial. All things that the special counsel is looking at in this obstruction investigation.

But at the end of the day, the special counsel team thought that fairness, because the president couldn't be put on trial as the sitting president, fairness dictated that they not say in this report that he was implicated in a crime. But they do say, Congress, you have the ability to pick up the mantle and do something if you choose to.

CUOMO: I think they took extra defense in defense of the president's legal rights that they couldn't make the case based on the evidence but it was a damn close call.

JARRETT: Absolutely.

CUOMO: The idea there's no evidence of wrong doing and what we hear from the president's attorneys, I don't know how that is justifiable and defensible given --


JARRETT: On the facts --

CUOMO: Yes. Let me ask you, while I have you, that is not the only thing about McGahn in here that matters. The idea of whether or not he was pushed to change what he was telling Mueller, the 30-odd hours of being with him. What have you picked up about that so far?

[14:35:04] JARRETT: Well, he was pushed and asked to write a formal letter for records, something the president was really pushing him to do, pushing his lawyer to have him do, and McGahn refused to do it. He just -- he wouldn't do it. And the president was really upset with him, castigating him as a, quote, "lying bastard," and comparing him unfavorably to his one-time lawyer, his protector, Roy (sic) Cohen. So it is efforts from McGahn to try to --

CUOMO: And what did they want to him do?

JARRETT: -- withstand this pressure. They wanted him to write a formal letter explaining, pushing back on some of the press reports. But McGahn thought the press reports were basically accurate. That he did try to remove him and he got into whether he said the word "firing." That is semantics. McGahn felt he was being told to have the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein remove the special counsel.

CUOMO: Laura, we'll check back with you in a little bit.

You've got to read it for yourself. It will take a long time. It is. I'm about half way through the first volume. For any journalist, it is completely a sine qua non. You must read all of this to understand it because the spin will fly in a million different directions. Read it for yourself. It is worth it. You'll hear about this all of the way through the next election.

So right now, let's get to CNN chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta.

And, Jim, this report gives us insight into how the president reacted when he learned Robert Mueller was appointed as special counsel. This was a big headline early on, which obviously plays to the salacious.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It does. And there's plenty of spinning going on over here. I'll get to that in a moment. I should point out the president departing at 4:00 this afternoon and he will talk to reporters at that point about the Mueller report. So that is must-see TV.

But getting to what you were just talking about, yes, you are right, in 2017 after the appointment of the Special Counsel Robert Mueller, one of the key portions of the Mueller report, talks about the president's reaction to all of that and he slumped back in his chair, according to the record, and said, "Ooh, my god this is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I'm F'd." And we don't want to use that expletive there.

And we should point out, Chris, that just a little while ago, we talked to White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway, someone you are familiar with, and asked about all of this. And Kellyanne Conway said that she has never heard the president talk about things in that fashion and he's never expressed those --


ACOSTA: -- thoughts in her presence.

CUOMO: It is time for that stuff to end, Jimmy. It's time for that to end.


CUOMO: The report is out. We know what they say he said. They could spin all they want


CUOMO: They're telling all of us there's nothing in this. This is B.S. And they know it.


CUOMO: If you want to stick to criminality, fine. But if they say there's no proof of wrongdoing by president or anyone around him, they're in for a long life of quotes being thrown in their face.

ACOSTA: And, Chris, the B.S. meters have been going off today at the White House in the press room. And that was a moment. And another moment is when I pressed Kellyanne Conway on the Trump Tower meeting in 2016 because one of the things she said, when she came out to the cameras, there was no collusion, no conspiracy. But what the Mueller report clearly lays out, and you were just talking about this a few moments ago, there were these inappropriate contacts.

CUOMO: One-hundred percent.

ACOSTA: Unless you are the most die-hard Trump Republican, I suppose you will say that is not inappropriate but just about everybody else in the world knows that is inappropriate and --


CUOMO: You could feel that. You could feel that. But one of the things that is blown out of the water - and, look, let's give Kellyanne Conway her due, I don't see her anywhere in here. She wasn't asked anything about Mueller or accused of anything. I don't think that she is a realistic target of any part of this probe, except for the spinning and reckoning of it


CUOMO: -- and that is a choice that she makes in defending the president.

ACOSTA: That is exactly right. I agree with you. And that is exactly right. And it gets to the key point that I was going to make. Kellyanne at that point, when I was asking her about the Trump Tower meeting, said, oh, we told you what happened. They didn't tell us what happened. They told us it was about Russian adoptions and it wasn't about Russian adoptions. It was about getting dirt on Hillary Clinton so we know that is not true and it goes to this -- what I think will be one of the underlying lessons learned in all of this, Chris, and that is if there was nothing wrong and nothing wrong was going on, why was there so much lying and why so much Why --


ACOSTA: Why were there so much false statements? Why does it continue. Sarah Sanders, in the briefing room, time and again, told us things that were just false.


CUOMO: And she admitted it to Mueller.


CUOMO: She had to admit to Mueller. Because if you lie to him --

ACOSTA: That's right.

CUOMO: -- it is different than lying even to the redoubtable Jim Acosta.

ACOSTA: That's right.

CUOMO: And she said on multiple occasions, oh, yes, that was based on nothing.

ACOSTA: Chris --

CUOMO: That is a slip of the tongue in the heat of the moment. It is all B.S.

ACOSTA: I will tell you, one of the things they've said to us when they've been doing -- they've been doing this touchdown dance for about three weeks now and accusing the media of trying to pull a fast one on the president here, and a fast one on the American people. Time and again, in this Mueller report, reporting from major news outlets is confirmed in this Mueller report as being accurate. Time and again, it is revealed. They gave us false statements about what was going on during the course of this investigation. And so there were instances where there were legitimate questions about Michael Flynn, the Trump Tower meeting, the bogus things they were saying to us to excuse this. And so, my goodness, of course, we're going to spend 22, 23 months very closely examining this because there were so many lies. My god, the Mueller report at 400-and-some-odd pages can't possibly address all of the lies because there have been so many of them. That is the part that they get in trouble with.

[14:40:44] And when the president tweets, no collusion, no obstruction, once again, it is a lie. In the Mueller report, obviously, it says the -- the special counsel was serious on this note -- saying they could not come to a conclusion on that answer. And very important to note, and we've been noting this and reporting this all day long, they didn't have enough information to say he didn't obstruct. And so I any that one of the underlying lessons learned in all of this, had they been telling us the truth and straight with us all along, they wouldn't have been in this mess, Chris.

CUOMO: Jim, fair point. Fair point.

Appreciate the reporting all along.

ACOSTA: You bet.

CUOMO: I'll be talking to you a lot about this.


CUOMO: Let's bring in the better minds. CNN crime and justice reporter, Shimon Prokupecz, CNN political correspondent, Sara Murray, CNN law enforcement analyst and former FBI special agent, Josh Campbell, previously worked for Mueller and Comey, and CNN legal analyst and Mueller's former special assistant at DOJ, Michael Zeldin.

Good to see you all.

One of the key things here is -- there are a lot of key things. And I'm still digesting. And you'll hear journalists to ask you to do your own homework and I know that could see tedious and unless you want an echo effect of what is in your mind, read it for yourself. It is plain speak. It is obvious.

Now didn't the subpoena the president, didn't make the case on obstruction and didn't make a call on obstruction. This report tells us why.

Let's take it piece by piece, Shimon, in terms of why they didn't subpoena.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME & JUSTICE REPORTER: I think it comes down to the timing. They felt it was something that would take too long and they also said they had established their own evidence or they had other evidence where they didn't necessarily need the president to make out their case of obstruction.

The other issue I think is that had they subpoenaed the president it would prolong the process and he would have taken the Fifth and his attorneys didn't want him testifying, and essentially to get into his mind for intent purposes, let's say, because a lot of that is in this report about obstruction. If they needed to get into his mind, no good lawyer will let him allow the special counsel inside of his mind. And I think they felt they had enough evidence and gathered enough information it won't change anything for them if they did subpoena him. And in the end, the lawyers -- his lawyers did a good job.

CUOMO: Good job for the lawyers. What is fair is fair. The Raskins --

(CROSSTALK) CUOMO: -- Mr. Sekulow and Mr. Giuliani. Let's be fair.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: And the lawyers that came before.


CUOMO: -- this is a situation, Sara, that would have doomed him.

MURRAY: Absolutely. And lawyers that came before him made a decision to make all of the other witnesses available and make all of these other documents available. So when you see the special counsel office say, we felt like we sort of had a grasp of what was going on at the time, it is partly because all of the people, Don McGahn, Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon, talked about private conversations and private counsel with the president. And that helped the prosecutors establish what the president was thinking at the time and ultimately prevented the prosecutors from pursuing the subpoena to sit down and talk to Trump. But it is amazing when you are reading this because you also read they felt like the president's written answers were inadequate. So they bring this investigation to a close --


CUOMO: They said it.

MURRAY: Yes, without reaching a decision on obstruction of justice, all while calling the president's answers inadequate and not pursuing the subpoena.

CUOMO: Now take us inside of the head of Mr. Mueller, Josh, the idea this was worded where the obstruction is and that part, I'm through, and they go out of their way to do a couple of things. One, is say this ain't nothing. Now they speak a lot in the double negative in this and it is hard to follow. I get it. They're going through steps of legal analysis but trying to give a nod to political realities.

You know him. Is that something that is done lightheartedly or as just part of pro forma or you think he's sending a definite message about what he thinks is there and what should be done about it?

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: I don't think any word in this 400-page report was there accidentally. I think each word was there for a specific purpose. And the reason why it is so wholesome, we have this robust report, is to tell the story and that was the goal.

[14:44:53] My problem here is that I can't understand -- I haven't come down on yet, which is worse, what is in the report, the damning nature, or the way in which this report was rolled out. I suspect that we, we the people, are the victims of flim-flam artists here when you look at the way this was rolled out. There's something called the lie of omission. As you know, as a lawyer, you tell a story and selectively leave things out. You go back nearly four weeks ago, from when the attorney general came out with the letter saying this report found no collusion and I made the decision there was no obstruction, and what he left out were the damning details that we see where they talk about the president attacking investigators and talked about the president trying to control the investigation. He talked about the president trying to tell witnesses not to cooperate. That is damning. Why that was left out, we could try to speculate now. It doesn't look good. But had that been included and had the attorney general come out and said, there are elements in here that paint a picture that may be damning and I determine this is the final conclusion, and that is a lot different. But this is baked into the American people's narrative for the last four weeks and now it has to be undone by good people reading this for themselves.

CUOMO: If you are satisfied with the basic measure, whether or not the president is a felon or a Russian agent, then you should be satisfied. Mr. Mueller does not believe him to be a Russian agent or anyone around him. If you were concerned of any actions by our president or his campaign that were wrong and that they lied to try to hide, you have a lot to digest.

Now I want to bring in former special assistant to the DOJ, Michael Zeldin.

First, with a thank you. You were one of the first, Michael, to tell me, you keep throwing around this world collusion and let me take you inside of the prosecutor's mind. Collusion doesn't exist. It is a behavior and not a crime. If you analyze this you look at conspiracy and whether or not you could prove they did things to help Russia interfere. You were exactly right. The special counsel goes out of his way in the introductory comments to explain exactly that. So the idea of no collusion is a red herring and a distraction. They said they couldn't prove the crime but there was plenty of collusion. There was behavior that was potentially wrong and they were de -- they were deceptive about it.

MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: And if that's the question, the answer is yes. There were contacted between Russian and Russian surrogates and the Trump campaign and Trump campaign surrogates, which in Mueller's mind did not rise to the level of criminal conspiracy or criminal coordination with a foreign national in violation of the federal Election Commission. But as Mueller said, there was a bona fide effort to reach out to the campaign and the campaign was receptive to that outreach.

And when you read this report -- and I'm pretty well through it -- you don't see any time they say that the Trump campaign officials were so alarmed by this outreach that they, themselves, reached out to law enforcement to say what should we do here. They avoid prosecution by lacking the capacity to know that this was criminal or not criminal.


ZELDIN: But they should have had the common sense -- they should have had the common sense to say, you know what, something is really bad here. They're dumping Podesta emails at time of the Democratic National Committee to stir up trouble between the forces of Clinton and Sanders. They're reaching out to me, Don Jr, through WikiLeaks directly, and Roger Stone is reaching out to them, we really ought to do something about this. They never did that. Mueller said --


CUOMO: Even after they came to them. Even after authorities --


CUOMO: -- came to them and said the Russians are trying to mess with us, be careful. After that, they still said nothing about these.

ZELDIN: That is right. And in fact, when Robbie Mook, the chairman of the Clinton campaign, announced that their private company determined that this was Russian hacking, Don Jr went forward and said, the shamelessness of these people, that they will lie to advantage themselves rather than to say, you know what, we should take this seriously. And that is, I think, to me, one of the biggest shames on the Clinton -- rather, sorry -- on the Trump orbit, that they just never took any action. They were just completely receptive to the overtures.

CUOMO: Right. And no shame in their game.

Shimon, we see that time and time again, no shame in their game.

MURRAY: You saw it at the press conference --

CUOMO: No shame.

MURRAY: -- with Donald Trump out there saying, Russia, if you have Hillary Clinton's emails, I would like to see them, and then this did not constitution a formal agreement but Russia responded.

CUOMO: Right.

MURRAY: Within five hours, Russian intelligence was trying to dig up --


CUOMO: And it wasn't a joke. He was asking his people --


CUOMO: -- to try to find the emails, see what you can do. And in here, it says, I guess to Mr. Gates, where, in the Mueller report, it said the president told Gates more WikiLeaks were coming. And how did he know.

PROKUPECZ: Anything to win. Do what we need to do to win.

[14:50:10] CUOMO: Not a crime.

PROKUPECZ: Not a crime. Right. But it doesn't make it OK. And when you look at the outreach from the Russians and, consistently -- for the first time, we're learning actually oligarchs, Russian oligarchs did cooperate with the special counsel and provided information about their outreach. All of the outreach had to do with Putin in the end. It is all about Russia.

CUOMO: All right, Chairman Nadler is speaking now. Let's listen.

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): Attorney General Barr appears to undermine his own department in order to protect President Trump. Barr's words and actions suggest he has been disingenuous and misleading in saying the president is clear of wrongdoing. Attorney General Barr's letter summarizing the report from March 24th quoted the special counsel report, quote, "While this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him." He ignored what is in the Mueller report just two sentences before where the special counsel concluded that, quote, "If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would state so. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment." Obviously, this changes the emphasis and meaning of the paragraph. And obviously, he didn't include the key sentences.

Second, Special Counsel Mueller went on to say that, quote, "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 have risen to personal and political concerns," closed quote. For some reason, Attorney General Barr excluded this critical finding as well from his version of events.

The attorney general's decision to withhold the full report from Congress is regrettable but no longer surprising. Barr has, so far, refused to work with the committee to provide us with information, the kind of information that has been customarily provide in the past and to which the Judiciary Committee is entitled. These concerns and many others will be addressed when Barr testifies before the committee on May 2nd.

Even in its incomplete form, however, the Mueller report -- incomplete because part is redacted. Even in the incomplete form, the Mueller report outlines disturbing evidence that President Trump engaged in obstruction of justice and other misconduct.

Contrary to the attorney general statement this morning that the White House, quote, "fully cooperated," unquote, with the investigation, the report makes clear that the president refused to be interviewed by the special counsel and refused to provide written answers to follow-up questions, page 13, Volume Two. Makes clear that his associates destroyed evidence relevant to the Russia investigation, page 10, Volume One. The report concluded there was substantial evidence, in quotes, "that President Trump attempted to prevent an investigation into his campaign and his own conduct," page 76, page 78, page 90, page 157, Volume Two.

That is why I have formally requested that the Special Counsel Mueller testify before the House Judiciary Committee as soon as possible so we could get some answers to these critical questions. Because we clearly can't believe what Attorney General Barr tells us.

Finally, it is clear the special counsel office conducted an incredibly thorough investigation in order to preserve the evidence for future investigators. The special counsel made clear that he did not exonerate the president and the responsibility now falls to Congress to hold the president accountable for his actions. Congress must get the full unredacted report along with the underlying evidence uncovered by Special Counsel Mueller. Congress required this material in order to perform our constitutionally mandated responsibilities.

Thank you. That is the statement. I'll answer some questions.



UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Congressman, when you say that it is Congress's responsibility to hold the president accountable, does that mean impeachment?

NADLER: That is one possibility. There are others. We obviously have to get to the bottom of what happened and take whatever action seems necessary at that time. It is too early to reach those conclusions. It is one reason we wanted the Mueller report and still want the Mueller report in entirety and other evidence, too.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Congressman, will Congress proceed with their own obstruction inquiries?

[14:55:06] NADLER: We will proceed with our inquiries. The first thing we will do is make sure we get the rest of the report and the underlying evidence. We'll have Attorney General Barr testify in front of the Judiciary Committee May 2nd and I anticipate that Mr. Mueller will testify sometime in the next couple of weeks after that. And we'll probably hold a series of hearings on other aspects and we'll see where we go from there.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Did you choose to go toward impeachment, how important would this report be? Do you think -- is it a road map?

NADLER: Well, it is too early to talk about that. Because we will have to go follow the evidence where it leads. And I don't know exactly where it will lead. If I did know, I wouldn't need all of this information. But certainly I think from the structure of the report -- but I'm tentative because I've only skimmed it, we haven't had it very long -- I think it was written with the intent of providing Congress a road map as other reports have in the past and with a lot of the redactions and others, Attorney General Barr seems to be trying to frustrate that intent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One more question. One more question.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: You said you wanted to hear from Mueller to better understand the findings. Based on what you've seen from the report, what specifically do you want to hear from Mueller about that you don't already have --


NADLER: There are dozens of things we want to hear. UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Just give me a few.

NADLER: Well, for example, Barr says -- I don't remember where he said it, verbally or in one letter. He told us that the special prosecutor's determination that the president -- that he wasn't going to indict the president on obstruction charges, had nothing to do with the Department of Justice doctrine or opinion that a sitting president is unindictable as a matter of law. There's a lot of material in the report that seems to indicate that that doctrine was considerably important. We want to get to the bottom of that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much.

NADLER: Thank you.


CUOMO: So there's Congressman Nadler. And what we're seeing is the Democrats believe that momentum has shifted here, that they now have at least a portion of the facts that justify more inquiry into an abuse of power by the president of the United States. Now, that is an argument. But is it a winning one with the American people so close to an election cycle?

Let's get back to the panel on this.

Where is your head on that, Sara Murray? You know politics so well. What do we know about the Democrats? There are some that are rabid about this. They believe this president has abused power and that he has to go. Then we have Nancy Pelosi, the ultimate pragmatist, who has proven her veteran skills as being much more adept than people gave her credit for this time around, leave impeachment alone. If we don't have consensus, we have nothing. Where are we?

MURRAY: She knows a great way to inevitably lose in 2020 is to go out of ahead of your skis on the impeachment and embarrass yourself, the Democrats trying to hammer this. But I do think after we what saw today from the attorney general and in this report, it is no wonder that Democrats are out there saying, look, we want to hear from Robert Mueller directly. Because what we heard from William Barr this morning does not reflect in full what we are seeing here.


CUOMO: Do you think there's enough in there to get Republicans in the House and two-thirds of the -- of the Senate?

MURRAY: I don't think you'll move Republicans on the impeachment question. If the Democrats want to bring Bob Mueller up and ask him questions about why he didn't reach a decision on obstruction and whether he did leave to mean this question to Congress. This is supposed to be a political discussion. There's a reason you cannot indict a sitting president. It is not supposed to be a decision that the Justice Department makes. It is supposed to be a decision that Congress makes. Whether they want to remove the president from office. I do not think that will happen in this case. Republicans, no matter what this president has done, they've lined up behind him and I don't expect this will change that.

CAMPBELL: And one thing also we can't lose sight of is this is a day that we have been waiting for so long, so this could wrap up so the American people could see it but this is the day the baton is passed from law enforcement to the political leaders. Now we heard Representative Nadler talking. And we'll hear now from Adam Schiff in a couple of hours and Republicans and everyone. This is how the system is supposed to work. It is messy, it is ugly, they all come prepared with talking points. But this is what happens when law enforcement completes their work and collect the facts and hand it over, and now I hope it is handled responsibility going forward.

PROKUPECZ: There's a big problem here with the Department of Justice and for the attorney general and the way he conducted the press conference today, sounding more like the president's lawyer than the attorney general. Certainly there are parts, when I was sitting there and listening and how he almost you could say making excuses for why the president was behaving the way he was behaving, saying you need to remember the context of where -- what was going on during that time as the president was entering the office.