Rudy Giuliani on whether the Mueller report completely exonerates President Trump
Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani reacts to the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings on the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
This is a rush transcript from “Fox News Sunday,” April 21, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
CHRIS WALLACE, ANCHOR: I’m Chris Wallace.
President Trump celebrates as the Mueller report is released to the public. But does it exonerate the president?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: No collusion, no obstruction.
RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP’S LAWYER: I mean, it’s a clear victory.
KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: This has been a political proctology exam and he’s emerging with a clean bill of health.
WALLACE: We’ll break down what the special counsel found and what it means for the future of the Trump administration with the president’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani.
Then, Democrats attacked Attorney General William Barr for his handling of the Mueller report.
REP. JERRY NADLER, D-N.Y.: He has been disingenuous and misleading.
WALLACE: And they make the case for obstruction of justice.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF, D-CALIF.: The report outlines multiple attempts by the president to mislead the country.
WALLACE: We’ll discuss what comes next post-Mueller report with Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff, chair of the House Intelligence Committee.
Giuliani and Schiff, live, only on “FOX News Sunday.”
JOSEPH BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: You build America, we build America.
WALLACE: Joe Biden is set to announce his candidacy for president this week. We’ll ask our Senate panel how his formal entry will change the 2020 Democratic race.
And a power player classic. On this Easter Sunday, we’d revisit the Pence family’s pet bunny.
CHARLOTTE PENCE: Marlon, this is Chris Wallace.
WALLACE: All, right now, on “FOX News Sunday.”
WALLACE: Hello again and happy Easter and Passover from Fox News in Washington.
We begin with breaking news. In Sri Lanka, several coordinated explosions have killed more than 200 people. There have been eight bombings, three churches, where worshipers gathered for Easter services, others at luxury hotels. No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Back here at home, President Trump is at his Florida retreat for the holidays, but he’s not taking a break from both celebrating what he calls exoneration by the Mueller report, while at the same time attacking former aides who he says misled the special counsel.
Meanwhile, Democrats are split on whether to push for impeachment, or move on to other issues. In a moment, we’ll speak with the president ‘s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, and later, House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff.
But, first, let’s bring in Kevin Corke at the White House with the latest developments — Kevin.
KEVIN CORKE, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: The president already busy on Twitter once again this day, and frankly a real pendulum of emotion following the release of that redacted Mueller report swinging from vindication and exultation to downright frustration over its genesis and some of its underlying evidence.
TRUMP: This should never happen to another president again.
CORKE: President Trump’s insistence that he did not collude with the Russians to sway the 2016 election is a message he not only reiterated once again a person following the release of the redacted Mueller report, his frustration boiled over on Twitter, where he called at the end result of the greatest witch hunt in U.S. political history. No collusion, no obstruction.
But Mr. Trump also used social media platform to fume at some of the report’s characterization, particularly as it relates to obstruction of justice.
Fabricated and totally untrue, he tweeted, adding that some of the statements in that report were total B.S. and only given to make the other person look good or me to look bad.
The latter, an apparent reference to former White House counsel Don McGahn, whose name appears on 66 of the report’s 488 pages, and was, according to the report, routinely criticized by the president for his persistent, detailed note-taking.
Still, the report’s findings did little to quell the political uprising on Capitol Hill where congressional Democrats have threatened to use it as a launching point for more investigation into the Trump presidency.
NADLER: It is clear the special counsel’s office conducted an incredibly thorough investigation in order to preserve the evidence for future investigators.
CORKE: Future investigations including a possible impeachment proceeding. By the way, Chairman Nadler has already issued a subpoena for the unredacted special counsel report, including its underlying evidence and grand jury material by May 1st. That’s a request the DOJ is calling premature and unnecessary.
WALLACE: Kevin Corke, reporting for the White House — Kevin, thanks for that.
Joining me now, the president’s lead lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.
Mayor, welcome back to “Fox News Sunday” and happy Easter, sir.
RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP’S ATTORNEY: Happy Easter, Happy Passover and good to be with you.
WALLACE: You were planning, we were told, to release a counter report to the Mueller report, about 45 pages. Why haven’t you done so and are you still planning to?
GIULIANI: Number one, we haven’t done so because we plan to do it if we needed to. So far, we don’t think we need to. That may become necessary. There is — whether they go ahead with the hearings or not, whether other issues are raised by different people, there’s probably a point at which we will use it. Right now, we think the public debate this playing out about as well as we can. Why confuse with — I mean, it raises a lot of issues that maybe we didn’t have to respond to.
WALLACE: You had said that if you were going to release on the counter report, it was going to focus on obstruction. Here’s what the president had to say about that after the Mueller report was released.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: They’re having a good day. I’m having a good day too. It was called no collusion, no obstruction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: But, Mayor, that’s not true. The Mueller report makes a clear, especially on the issue of collusion that —
WALLACE: Obstruction rather, that he’s leaving it to Congress. And I want to pick up on the report. Volume two, page eight —
GIULIANI: I agree with that.
WALLACE: Let me put this out here first.
The conclusion that Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the president’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances in the principle that no person is above the law.
So, Mueller invites Congress to look into this and the president, in terms of Congress, hasn’t been exonerated at all in the issue of the obstruction.
GIULIANI: He doesn’t get exonerated. I mean, the standard — first of all, one of the main things that affects that report and makes it a warped report, page two, the standard. You do not apply a standard of exoneration to anyone, whether it’s a president in an impeachment or — you can’t exonerate. Exoneration means proving a negative. But the law has recognized —
WALLACE: But it’s more than that. He is suggesting that — but, sir —
WALLACE: He is suggesting that there is a case and evidence that Congress should examine.
GIULIANI: OK, but let’s start with this. The standard he used, his conclusion is: I cannot conclude that the president committed obstruction, but I cannot exonerate him.
WALLACE: I understand your ideas that he doesn’t have to prove him innocent, is not guilty.
GIULIANI: The second part of it is totally biased, warped view of a prosecutor’s role. If prosecutors in America were asked to exonerate you, and about 90 percent of the cases, they wouldn’t be able to do it. I did it for —
WALLACE: Sir, respectfully, basically, what he’s saying is —
GIULIANI: — could exonerate somebody.
WALLACE: — I think it should go to Congress, that’s what he’s saying.
GIULIANI: I know he did, but you’re touting (ph) a different opinion about that.
Here’s the different opinion. Number one, if they’re going to — if they’re going to review his removal power, whether they do it as an attempt or a reality, Comey, Mueller, whatever, real question under Article II whether they can do that. The Constitution of the United States gives the Congress a role in appointment, advise and consent.
It deliberately doesn’t give them a role in removal because they say, go back to the constitutional convention. They say that would be too much of an intrusion because if you interfere in excepting somebody, taking somebody, you can always go find someone else. But if you interfere in removal, you’re going to force a president to keep someone he doesn’t trust, doesn’t like.
WALLACE: But that is — excuse me, I mean, with all due respect, that’s not the issue here. The issue is, did the president obstruct justice or not?
Let me just ask this — I understand you’re chomping at the bit. Let me just ask the question. In June of 2017 —
WALLACE: — the Mueller report says that the president called White House counsel Don McGahn twice on the same weekend and he told him, and this was a quote from McGahn: Call Rod — Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general who is overseeing special counsel — call Rod, tell Rod that Mueller has conflicts and can’t be the special counsel. McGahn recalled the president telling him Mueller has to go.
The only reason that that doesn’t happen is because McGahn threatens to resign and refuses to carry out what he considers to be a Saturday night massacre.
GIULIANI: OK, now do you want me to answer?
GIULIANI: And you will let me give it?
GIULIANI: OK. So, number one, had he done it, it would not have been obstruction of justice because there were very good reasons to fire Mueller. And the president has the absolute plenary —
WALLACE: Wait, what was the reason to fire Mueller? He’d only been on the job a month.
GIULIANI: Mueller hired a staff in which he had people that I would find very questionable as people that would be investigating Donald Trump.
He hired the chief counsel to the Clinton Foundation. Absurd. He hired someone who had been a very, very strong partisan of Hillary Clinton, that her going away party, whatever that was and had a history of ethical misconduct — unethical.
WALLACE: But according to the Mueller report, sir —
GIULIANI: Can I ask finish, Chris? It’s a complex answer. You asked a complex answer to my question, I’ve got to give a complex answer.
I mean, there are a lot of reasons why —
WALLACE: OK, but I understood that what you’re saying is that the investigation is biased. OK.
GIULIANI: I know you don’t want a long answer but in fairness —
WALLACE: I understood what you’re saying is the investigation was biased.
GIULIANI: No, what I’m saying is you could perceive it that way, which would give you a good faith reason to fire him. And also, he demonstrated in the case of Comey that he could fire someone and not interfere in the investigation because immediately it was taken up by someone else.
He told Lester Holt that he realized —
WALLACE: Sir, I’m not asking about Comey, I’m asking about Mueller.
GIULIANI: I’m pointing out with his prior conduct. He removed Comey and he said, I realized it will lengthen (ph) the investigation, and now if he had fired Mueller, he would have expected somebody else came and took it over.
The guy had conflicts of interest. The guy hired a highly partisan, biased —
WALLACE: It also had come up — it also had come up. I understand you’re trying to make the case but we do have limited time.
GIULIANI: I’m not trying to make the case. I’m trying to tell you there’s an alternative expo nation.
WALLACE: There’s another alternative explanation which Mueller makes and Mueller’s explanation that two days earlier — sir, the report has come out in the paper that now Mueller is investigating him for obstruction of justice and for the first time in this investigation, for the first time the president directly is a target of the investigation.
GIULIANI: Chris, what you’re doing is you’re taking the Mueller report, which is a prosecutor’s version of what happened. You’re giving it full credit, and you’re not giving me a chance to explain the other side, which is very, very strong and was left out by the prosecutor.
I think that’s unfair in the case of this magnitude not to tell the other side.
WALLACE: I’m asking about the other side. I’m —
GIULIANI: You’re not giving a chance to answer it.
WALLACE: We don’t need to talk about James Comey.
GIULIANI: Well, it’s two pages —
GIULIANI: It’s two or three pages of calumny and lies and distortion. It takes a little while. For example —
WALLACE: You think that’s what the report is? Calumny, lies and distortion?
GIULIANI: In certain respects. Everything that written and attributed to Cohen, half of it is not true.
WALLACE: I’m not talking about Cohen. I’m talking about Don —
GIULIANI: But you asked — you’re asking me, is the report, you say is the report —
WALLACE: No, I’m not. I was asking about McGahn. This incident.
GIULIANI: I think this is a product of not telling the full story. That’s not McGahn’s fault. McGahn gave — when you read that, McGahn gave three different versions of that conversation.
The first version of that conversation is the president used the word fire and he told the president I’m going to resign directly. He then recants that and says no fire, no statement that I was going to resign and then he comes up with that person and then a third version which is even softer which says something like he should be fired. Or he has conflicts, he can’t be special prosecutor.
WALLACE: And that Mueller has to go. OK.
GIULIANI: Interpreted that way. It’s a very complex set of facts.
On the other side, the president says I didn’t say to fire him. I didn’t want him to go, I want at the conflicts to be taken into consideration. That’s the president’s version.
You got to pick one version of the other.
WALLACE: OK. Here’s — all right. May I?
GIULIANI: But in fact, since you can’t prove it, there’s no obstruction. And finally, if he had fired him, there wouldn’t have been an obstruction so long as he was replaced by somebody, which he would have been, and there were good reasons, arguable reasons.
WALLACE: Here’s the question —
GIULIANI: Here’s the overview. The overview is this. No, no, this is really important.
The president of the United States was an innocent man being charged with something he didn’t do. You have to grant that now when they say no proof of underlying crime. You’ve got to grant that as a legal and factual matter.
These things were being done —
WALLACE: No, I don’t. No, I don’t.
GIULIANI: These things — well, wait a second. These things are being done by an innocent man.
WALLACE: This is called an interview. It’s not your closing argument. You got to give me the opportunity —
GIULIANI: No, I’m here to defend the president.
WALLACE: I understand that and I’m here to ask you some questions.
GIULIANI: It gives distorted arguments made by prosecutor who had people who hated him.
WALLACE: One of your arguments has been that the obstruction of justice can’t have happened because there was no underlying crime. That’s what you say.
WALLACE: You said that he was being framed and he was fighting back.
Let’s look at what you said, sir. Put it up on the screen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GIULIANI: It’s kind of ridiculous to go after a man for obstruction when he was falsely accused, he was defending himself. His intent in each one of these situations, all ten of them, is easily explained as an intent to not get framed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: But that’s what you just said.
GIULIANI: I said it a couple days ago.
WALLACE: OK, I understand, but that’s the point you’re making, again.
The special counsel — I’m not arguing that the special counsel is right or wrong. I’m simply presenting arguments to try to get you to respond to it.
GIULIANI: Well, I have.
WALLACE: The special counsel says that what you just said is not true. Volume two, page 157.
GIULIANI: Oh, one big surprise.
WALLACE: Obstruction of justice can be motivated by a desire to protect noncriminal personal interests to protect against investigations for underlying criminal liability falls into a gray area, or to avoid personal embarrassment.
Mueller says the injury to the justice system is just as great. It doesn’t matter whether there was an underlying crime. It’s still obstruction.
GIULIANI: Well, when did Mueller become god? Mueller says the injury to the justice system is still as great — there was no injury, by the way. We’re talking about an inchoate crime. We’re talking about something that didn’t happen.
There was no obstruction. Nothing was denied him. Nobody crushed cell phones like Hillary did. Nobody deleted 33,000 emails like Hillary’s people did, and nobody bleached a server like Hillary did.
There was no obstruction — they don’t point to a single obstruction and investigation. The one from day one to day end, and they got everything they wanted.
WALLACE: Well, that’s not true.
GIULIANI: Well, they are not entitled to testimony, no prosecutor is. That’s not —
WALLACE: That isn’t what you said. You said they got everything they wanted.
GIULIANI: But they are not entitled to that.
WALLACE: That’s a different issue. That’s a different issue.
GIULIANI: Now, we’re going to take the perception of innocence, we’re going to throw it out because it’s Donald Trump. Now, we’re going to —
WALLACE: I’m simply saying you said that they got everything they wanted.
GIULIANI: Well, you know why he didn’t testify before them? Because they were going to trap him into perjury like they did with Flynn. If you think I’m a fool? I would have been disbarred if I let him testify.
There were so many indications if they wanted to trap him into perjury because they don’t have a case that they were not in good faith.
Here’s what they did to Flynn. They called Flynn in, they go to his office, they tell me him he doesn’t need a lawyer —
WALLACE: I got a minute left. Well, I want to talk about — I want to talk about Trump.
GIULIANI: This isn’t worth more that a minute.
WALLACE: I want to talk about Trump.
GIULIANI: But you have to look — you have to look at the conduct of the prosecutor.
WALLACE: I understand it.
GIULIANI: They created as Flynn’s crime.
WALLACE: There was also the nature —
GIULIANI: They had the answer that they ask him in their briefcase.
WALLACE: We’re not talking about Flynn. We’re talking about the president.
GIULIANI: We are talking about Flynn.
WALLACE: Here was the nature —
GIULIANI: You are asking what is the president not go stand in front of them and let them try to trap and into perjury? Because he had good lawyers and he’s not a fool.
GIULIANI: If they were fair people, I would have been there in a minute.
What they did to Flynn said to me, they’re going to try to do to my client —
WALLACE: Final question. Here was the nature, here was the nature —
GIULIANI: You’re treating these people as if they’re fair. They’re not. That is totally — it begins with, he’s got to prove his innocence. Then we’re throwing out — then we are throwing out the Fifth Amendment. How many more amendments we would like to throw out in Mueller’s favor?
WALLACE: I just want to ask you a question. You say that they gave — you gave, the president gave them everything they wanted. I understand you’re saying they didn’t have a right to testimony.
Let’s look at the president’s testimony.
GIULIANI: By the way —
WALLACE: No, no, no, sir. At least 37 times he said in written answers he did not recall.
GIULIANI: Oh, my goodness.
WALLACE: Well, wait a minute, you say oh, my goodness —
GIULIANI: Comey says it 202 times.
WALLACE: OK. Here’s what — when Hillary Clinton did that during her investigation about the email —
GIULIANI: I know, I said it.
WALLACE: — about the report, here’s what the president said. Take a look.
GIULIANI: I said a similar thing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: When she was interviewed by the FBI, she claims she couldn’t remember important events 39 times. So, she really didn’t remember, that’s a problem. And if she did remember, that’s a problem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: You’ve got 30 seconds. Why is that a problem for Hillary Clinton but it isn’t for Donald Trump?
GIULIANI: Because Hillary Clinton was guilty of the underlying crimes. She did crush the cell phones —
WALLACE: Who made you God, as you said about Mueller?
GIULIANI: I’m not God about Mueller. I’m just the opposite —
WALLACE: No, no, you’re saying that who made God — who made Mueller God, now you’re declaring whether she was guilty or not.
GIULIANI: I’m saying there’s a difference between them. I’m not saying she’s guilty. I’m just saying there’s a difference.
The difference is there is overwhelming evidence that she actually obstructed justice. She denied the investigators the information. Nothing was denied to them.
And, by the way, in the report they say they didn’t have to question him because they had the answers to all the questions right in the report.
WALLACE: They also say the answers — they also said the answers were inadequate —
GIULIANI: No, I’m sorry. They were the truth.
WALLACE: And they also said that to go through a subpoena was going to take a prolonged period of time.
GIULIANI: They were the truth.
If my client — if my client has an unclear recollection, I’m not going to go stretch out for the prosecutor so the prosecutor can nail him in an unfair way —
WALLACE: Mayor Giuliani —
GIULIANI: — like they went after that great general and ruin his life and bankrupted him. They should be ashamed of themselves.
WALLACE: Mayor Giuliani, thank you.
GIULIANI: Thank you.
WALLACE: Thanks for sharing your holiday weekend with us.
GIULIANI: Happy Easter. Happy Passover.
WALLACE: And I will say this — you are a heck of a lawyer.
GIULIANI: Oh, you’re a heck of an interviewer.
WALLACE: Up next, we’ll talk with Adam Schiff, the Democratic chair of the House intelligence committee, who promises to continue investigating the president. But will that lead to impeachment?
Rep. Adam Schiff on whether Democrats will pursue impeachment against President Trump
Democrats have issued a subpoena for the full unredacted Mueller report and are calling on Attorney General Barr and special counsel Robert Mueller to testify before Congress; reaction from California Congressman Adam Schiff, Democratic chair of the House Intelligence Committee.
WALLACE: Democrats have issued a subpoena for the full unredacted Mueller report and they are calling on Attorney General Barr and Special Counsel Mueller to testify before Congress. But they remain divided over how far they should take their investigation of the president.
Joining us now from California, Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff, chair of the House Intelligence Committee.
Chairman, welcome back to “Fox News Sunday.”
REP. ADAM SCHIFF, D-CALIF.: Thank you. Good to be with you.
WALLACE: After the release of the Mueller report, you and some other top House Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that impeachment of the president would be a mistake. Here you are.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHIFF: Many of us do think the president is unfit for office but unless that’s a bipartisan conclusion, and impeachment would be doomed to failure. I continue to think that a failed impeachment is not in the national interest.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: But now, since you said that, some top Democrats, including Elizabeth Warren, Senator Warren, is a candidate for president, say the House should do its constitutional duty and begin impeachment proceedings.
Do you still think they are wrong?
SCHIFF: Well, look, I think it’s a very difficult decision and we’re going to have a caucus about this over the next couple weeks to try to figure out what the best course is. Not for the party, but what’s the best course for the country. I think it’s certainly the case that an impeachment would be unsuccessful if the Republican Party continues to place party above country, continues essentially to back the president no matter how unethical or dishonest his conduct maybe, and sadly, that’s where we are right now.
So, we will have to decide, do we nonetheless go through an impeachment because to do otherwise would signal that somehow this president’s conduct is OK, that future presidents can engage in this kind of corruption without consequence, or do we decide that we are better off doing oversight through the context of a — oversight hearings by the various committees rather than a formal impeachment?
That’s going to be a very consequential decision and one that I’m going to reserve judgment on until we have a chance to fully deliberate about it.
WALLACE: Chairman, you’ve been leading the charge for more than a year that President Trump and his campaign colluded with the Russians to interfere in the 2016 election. Here are just a few examples.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHIFF: This is about as clear evidence as you could find by intent by the campaign to collude with the Russians, to get useful information from the Russians.
I think there’s plenty of evidence of collusion or conspiracy in plain sight.
I did say that there is ample evidence, and indeed there is, of collusion of people in the Trump campaign with the Russians.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Sir, let’s look at what the Mueller report found. And I want to put it up on the screen. Volume one, pages one, two and five: We understood coordination to require an agreement, tacit or expressed, between the Trump campaign and the Russian government on election interference. The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government and its election interference activities.
Mr. Chairman, the special counsel did not find the kind of coordination that you said was there.
SCHIFF: Chris, as you know, and it wish you had played the rest of some of those clips, I went on to say that whether that collusion, that evidence of collusion rises to proof beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of conspiracy was a different question.
And indeed, that distinction is made in the opening pages of the Mueller report, so when the president and his allies repeat this mantra of no collusion, they clearly haven’t read or are ignoring the plain language of the report where Bob Mueller says two things. He says we are not going to look into the question of whether it’s collusion, that’s a common lay terms that can be criminal or noncriminal conduct. We are going to look at the crime of conspiracy.
And on that issue, Bob Mueller says something else that I’ve been saying frequently, which is the fact that you may not be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt a criminal conspiracy doesn’t mean there is an absence of evidence of crime. And when I talk, Chris, and you’re absolutely right, I talked with us all the time on the course of the last year. When I talked about evidence of collusion in plain sight, I used those words, in plain sight, and appointed to the meetings of Trump Tower that Don Jr. and Kushner and manna Manafort took. What more clear intent to collude could you have done the Russians offering dirt on Hillary Clinton as part of what was described as an effort to help Mr. Trump in the campaign and Don Jr. saying, if it’s what you say, I would love it.
Now, I don’t know find you how you f abundant evidence of the attempt to collude. And, in fact —
WALLACE: But, sir —
WALLACE: Let me just say, the Mueller report look at a lot of those specific incidents as you talk about. For instance, the Trump Tower meeting, the fact that Paul Manafort shared polling data with someone from the Ukraine who had ties to the Russians, and here’s what they found.
Again, from the report, volume one, page 66: The investigation examined whether these contacts, and they agreed there were contacts, involved or resulted in coordination of a conspiracy with the Trump campaign and Russia, including with respect to Russia providing assistance to the campaign in exchange for any sort of favorable treatment in the future. Based on the available information, the investigation did not establish such coordination.
Here was the reaction after the report came out from White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: I was the first person to publicly call for Adam Schiff’s resignation from the Intelligence Committee chairman several weeks ago on your network. I’m going to double down on that. Not only should he resign, he should produce the evidence that he said he has.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: There’s no question that there were contacts, but I think when he went other Democrats — I’m not saying it’s just you — talk about collusion, there was the feeling of a working arrangement, an agreement and that somehow the Trump campaign was involved in the hacking of the DNC and Podesta emails, and that there was a back-and-forth, a working relationship as opposed to individual meetings.
Do you have evidence of that kind of working relationship that the Mueller report didn’t seem to find?
SCHIFF: Well, Chris, first of all, I never said that the Trump campaign was involved in the hacking itself. What I did say is that, for example, in the Trump Tower meeting there was a clear intent to collude with the Russians. There was a willingness to receive Russian health. The president himself called on the Russians to assist his campaign hacking Hillary Clinton’s emails.
And if you look at pages 180 to 190 that discuss that Trump Tower meeting, it wasn’t that they found a lack of evidence of all the things that I talked about. In fact, the meeting did take place. In fact, they did offer dirt on Hillary Clinton, in fact, the president’s son did say he would love to have it, in fact, the president’s son lie about it, in fact, the president was involved in dictating that lie — all the facts I’ve set out are proven.
But what Bob Mueller said, the reason he didn’t charge Don Jr. and Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort is he found that he could not establish with admissible evidence that Don Jr. was knowing — knew that he was breaking the law, that that he was essentially ignorant of the law.
Now, with respect to Paul Manafort, we only have one sentence as to why some of that experience didn’t know that seeking the help and receiving the help of a foreign government was a crime, and that’s something we’re going to want to ask Bob Mueller when he testifies. Bob Mueller also said he couldn’t establish the value of the dirt they got.
So, this — I would say this to Kellyanne Conway. The only reason that Mueller says he didn’t charge a crime about that Trump Tower meeting was because he believed that Don Jr. was too ignorant of the law to be charged. And because the Russians didn’t deliver the dirt they promised.
Not that that campaign didn’t try to get dirt. But the Russians didn’t live up to their end of the bargain.
So that —
WALLACE: I — we got limited —
SCHIFF: That’s what Mueller found.
WALLACE: We’ve got limited time. I want to ask you one last question.
Republicans are now calling for a full investigation of how the FBI investigation against the president and the Trump campaign began. And the Mueller report found that the Steele dossier, which had all kinds of information about relationships between President Trump and the Kremlin, that much of that information was either false or impossible to verify.
As chair of the House Intelligence Committee, isn’t that a legitimate source of inquiry? Not saying you shouldn’t investigate the president, but don’t you think the question of exactly how this investigation began, was it a Russians disinformation campaign to try to get — since they were trying to — to set Americans against each other to — not only tarnish Hillary Clinton, but also to tarnish Donald Trump, isn’t that a legitimate source of an investigation?
SCHIFF: Chris, you know, the reality is that the Republicans on our committee spent two years investigating exactly that, because, frankly, they weren’t that interested in what Russia had done, the systemic attack on our democracy. They spent the focus of their two years investigating the investigators and investigating exactly that question. But Christopher Steele and the FISA application —
WALLACE: But — but, sir, and I’ve only got 30 seconds left, we do have new information, the Mueller report discredits a lot of that, says there was no indication that Carter Page did anything wrong. Shouldn’t you be looking at that just to find the truth?
SCHIFF: Well, what — what we are going to be looking at is, we’re going to be looking at all of the counterintelligence findings that were the genesis of this investigation. We have requested that on a bipartisan basis, one of the few things that Devin Nunes and I agreed upon.
But let me just be very clear about this. The Mueller report makes it absolutely crystal clear that the initiation of this investigation was not only warranted, but absolutely necessary because it revealed a widespread, systemic effort by the Russians to help the Trump campaign. And — and that, I think, is the overriding conclusion of this report. And we need to, I think, to — to put our emphasis on making sure that kind of intervention never happens again.
WALLACE: Chairman Schiff, thank you. Thanks for joining us today.
SCHIFF: Thank you.
WALLACE: Always good to talk with you, sir.
SCHIFF: Thank you.
WALLACE: Coming up, we’ll bring in our Sunday group to break down the Mueller report. Is it the end of the Russia investigation, or just the start of a new chapter?
WALLACE: Coming up, the release of the Mueller report does not settle the obstruction debate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
GIULIANI: If we had had a trial, there would be a resounding not guilty, not guilty.
SCHIFF: The facts that are now established by this report are damning.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
WALLACE: We’ll ask our Sunday panel to weigh in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ATTORNEY GENERAL WILLIAM BARR: The special counsel confirmed that the Russian government sponsored efforts to illegally interfere with the 2016 presidential election, but did not find that the Trump campaign or other Americans colluded in those efforts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Attorney General William Barr announcing Special Counsel Robert Mueller found no collusion with Russia in his final report.
And it’s time now for our Sunday group: Jason Riley of The Wall Street Journal, Bob Woodward from The Washington Post, former Democratic Congressman Jane Harman, director of the Woodrow Wilson Center, and Fox News correspondent Gillian Turner.
Well, Jason, what’s your reaction to the Mueller report? How convincingly does it clear the president of collusion, and how much does it not clear the president on obstruction?
JASON RILEY, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think this report ought to be good news for this country, good news for everyone, Democrats and Republicans alike. The Mueller report found that no one in the Trump campaign, from the president on down, conspired with a foreign entity to win the election despite the efforts of Russia to interfere. This ought to be good news for everyone. We ought to be celebrating this, yet we have some Democrats and some members of the media who are deeply disappointed in this outcome because they had pushed a certain narrative that turned out to be untrue.
WALLACE: Congresswoman Harman, if you were still in Congress, would you vote to initiate impeachment proceedings?
JANE HARMAN, FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: Well, here’s what I would do. Let’s remember Fred Malik (ph), a mutual friend of ours who chaired the Wilson Center board and was a passionate Republican. What Fred always said was, he only liked politicians who put the country first. Could we have a little conversation about that? What does the country need now that this report has come out? It’s a nuanced report and its complicated. And on the obstruction charge, Mueller said Congress or I guess the people in — in the next election need to decide.
I don’t know what I would do if I were in Congress now. I would first wait for Mueller’s testimony in Congress to hear why he wrote what he wrote. And — and what it means. He didn’t say — you know, I saw your long event with Rudy Giuliani. Exoneration is not the standard. But surely the report does not exonerate anybody. And it is time for the country to come together around what the next step is.
WALLACE: Bob, when you read volume two of the Mueller report, which is the part that centers on obstruction and Mueller lays out ten specific potential cases of obstruction, how disturbing do you find them?
BOB WOODWARD, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, they’re disturbing. I think there’s a pattern of lying and corruption here that can’t be dodged.
But Jason’s right, the big conclusion on no — I mean collusion is a bad word. No coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russians. That is a big deal. And it’s got to be faced.
And there is — there — there are elements in the report that are very disturbing. Basically — and I’m sure President Trump would not acknowledge this — it confirms what was reported in “The New York Times,” my newspaper, and “The Wall Street Journal,” in a very significant way.
The question bubbling here is, is this Watergate? Is this Nixon? And the big missing element in all of this is money. Nixon used campaign money for the Watergate aperation (ph), espionage and sabotage. He used campaign money to pay for the silence of the people involved in Watergate, clear obstruction.
In this case, you have no money paid by Trump or his associates. You know who paid for the Russian meddling in our election? Vladimir Putin. It was his money.
WALLACE: I want to ask you — I want to ask you one, quick question and I – –
WALLACE: I don’t mean in any way to compare this to Watergate.
WALLACE: There were obviously a lot more serious crimes that Nixon and the committee to re-elect were involved in than anybody in the Trump campaign did.
But I was looking back at the — at the June 23rd smoking gun tape —
WALLACE: In which the president says to H.R. Haldeman, then his chief of staff, instruct the CIA to tell the FBI to lay off the Watergate investigation because it’s a national security matter. And that wasn’t the real reason. It was because it was obviously going to incriminate people involved in the campaign.
Is that so different from Donald Trump telling — I’m not talking about the underlying crime — telling Don McGahn or Cory Lewandowski end the special counsel investigation?
WOODWARD: OK. If you go back to that June 23rd tape in the Nixon case, that’s six days after the Watergate burglary. And what Haldeman, who was Nixon’s chief of staff, says to the president, where worried about the FBI because they’re tracing the money. The money is the key to Watergate.
And I’ll repeat, in this case, there’s no money transfer. Does that mean there isn’t much to investigate? Indeed there is. And I hope — I know people in my business are going to be aggressively looking for new information.
Clearly, the Democrats in the House are doing that.
WALLACE: I want to bring in Gillian. But before I do —
WALLACE: I would say, there was somebody, as I remember, who said to you, follow the money.
WOODWARD: Yes. Well, that was in the movie version.
WALLACE: All right.
Let me go to you, Gillian. What about Attorney General Barr? Because one of the things that strikes me reading the Mueller report is that he, in effect, says, look, there are a lot of reasons, one of which is the OLC, the legal ruling of the Justice Department, you can’t indict a sitting president. I’m going to shift this over to Congress.
What do you think of — of the fact that William Barr said no, no, I’m going to make a judgment on this and I’m going to clear the president?
GILLIAN TURNER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, it’s within his prerogative as the attorney general to make a conclusion. Mueller doesn’t get to decide whether the attorney general gets to make the conclusion. And he did.
I will say that the bigger problem Attorney General Bill Barr has is that he’s the messenger here and everybody knows what happens to the messenger. I think, in this instance, he was the first person that got their voice heard by the American people after the report and the investigation were finalized. He was the first person to see the report, the first person to comment on it publicly after reading it. And in this instance, the Democrats, obviously, they’ve disagreed with everything about how he’s handled this, from what he said, to how he said it, to the order in which he said it. I think Democrats here are shooting the messenger.
WALLACE: All right, panel, we have to take a break here.
But when we come back, Joe Biden is set to officially announce he’s running for president this week. What does that mean for the rest of the 2020 field?
Plus, what would you like to ask the panel about the Russia investigation and the allegations of FBI misconduct? Just go to FaceBook or Twitter @foxnewssunday, and we may use your question on the air.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: This should never happen to another president again. This hoax. This should never happen to another president again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: President Trump kicking off what may be the next chapter of the Russia probe, looking into why the FBI launched the investigation.
And we’re back now with the panel.
Well, Mr. Woodward.
WALLACE: More than two years ago, back in January of 2017, when the Steele dossier first surfaced, I remember you saying right here on this show that it is a, quote, garbage document. Do you feel that the Mueller report basically discredited it, and to what degree do you think it played a role in the Russia investigation?
WOODWARD: Well, that’s what’s going to be investigated by lots of people, including the attorney general and including Senator Lindsey Graham. But —
WALLACE: And the inspector general is also doing it.
WOODWARD: Yes. And it should be.
I mean what I found out recently, which was really quite surprising, the dossier, which really is — got a lot of garbage in it and Mueller found that to be the case, early in building the intelligence community assessment on Russian interference, in an early draft, they actually put the dossier on page two in kind of a breakout box. I think it was the CIA pushing this. Real intelligence experts looked at this and said, no, this is not intelligence, this is garbage, and they took it out.
But in this process, the idea that they would include something like that in one of the great stellar intelligence assessments, as Mueller also found out, is highly questionable. It needs to be investigated.
WALLACE: We asked —
RILEY: And, Chris —
WALLACE: Let me — I just want to pick up, we want to ask you for questions for the panel and on this issue of the Mueller report and the genesis of it, we got this on Twitter from Leo Terry, how quickly do you think Bill Barr will start going after those who weaponized the Department of Justice and FBI against Trump and his campaign?
Gillian, how do you answer Leo, and to what degree do you think the whole Russia investigation was, if not started by, fueled by a disinformation campaign, either from the Russians or from the Clinton campaign?
TURNER: I think we’re getting out ahead of our skis if we assume that Barr is going to go after anybody. What he said during his remarks is that he’s going to look at the sum total of what all the various ongoing investigations have found and then make a determination of whether this needs to be investigated.
But I will say, the Steele dossier’s origins and all of that, it sort of pales in comparison to the real, hard information that Mueller confirmed, which is, you know, there might not be an indictment of President Trump in this report, but there is certainly a scathing indictment of social media companies here and of the Russian government’s attempts to infiltrate them. We learn he confirmed 126 million people on FaceBook, 2 million people on Twitter exposed unknowingly to Russian propaganda that may or may not have influenced the way they wanted to — to vote. I didn’t hear Chairman Schiff talk about that on your show earlier this morning. He’s the chairman of the Intelligence Committee. That’s where the focus should be going forward.
WALLACE: All right, in the time we have left, we are going to talk some 2020 Democratic presidential politics, because it appears that Joe Biden, who, according to the polls, is the frontrunner, is finally expected to enter the race this week, and perhaps Wednesday in Charlottesville, Virginia, which, of course, was the sight of that terrible white supremacist rally back in 2017.
Here was Biden this past week at a rally for striking grocery workers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: Wall Street bankers and CEOs did not build America. You built America. We built America. Ordinary middle class people built America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Congresswoman Harman, how steep a climb does Biden face, one, because of his age, and, two, because he seems to be a relative moderate in a field that’s moving further to the left?
HARMAN: OK, two points.
First, putting the country first, let’s keep our eye on the fact that Russia is actively interfering in our election. We need to take steps to stop that, not — not share — or focus blame on each other.
WALLACE: OK, we know that. Let’s go to Biden.
HARMAN: On Biden, eight years ago today, on Easter, my cell phone rang. Jane, it’s Joe, are you OK? Why was he calling me? I didn’t work for him. I didn’t work in the Obama White House. I had left Congress. But my husband had died a few weeks ago and he wanted to check up on me. That’s who Joe Biden is. A thoroughly decent, thoughtful, caring man.
Is he too old? Well, hope not. Should he be elected? Let’s see how the campaign plays out. In political terms, there are years between now and 2020.
Should he enter the race? Absolutely. Is there a place for moderates? You bet. There are 30 new moderates who are Democrats in the Democrat — in the House of Representatives. Should the ticket reflect the diversity of America? I think so. But I think my — my view is that Joe Biden should run. He has a lot to offer. And he’s one of the nicest people on the planet.
WALLACE: Jason, how do you handicap this race? And — and what do you think are the chances that Joe Biden, who’s the frontrunner getting in, will remain the frontrunner as this campaign rages on?
RILEY: Right. And that initial point is — is worth making there. You know, back in the 2016 cycle, we were probably talking about, at this point, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio being the strongest candidates. And we saw how that — how that turned out.
I think the Democrats have to decide whether they want a politically correct ticket or a ticket that can compete in the states that they need in 2020. Joe Biden, obviously, is someone who could compete in the upper Midwest and states like that. And — and they’re going to have to decide if they can put aside the fact that he is a white male and that they want more diversity on — on their ticket. So that’s the — the dilemma they have. They have a progressive wing that wants more women, wants more minorities.
And I will say, on the minority front, I think Joe Biden would bring a lot of goodwill from black Americans to the ticket because of his affiliation with Barack Obama for eight years. So I — they — they have some figuring out to do on a lot of fronts.
WALLACE: On the other hand, Barack Obama — and it’s understandably — is noticeably silent, even though he worked alongside Joe Biden. He has done nothing to push his candidacy.
RILEY: True, and he probably has said to himself, I’m going to stay neutral during this primary process.
WALLACE: All right. Well, you know what, I have a feeling we’ll discuss Joe Biden and the whole Democratic race often.
Thank you, panel. Thank you all for coming in on Easter. See you next Sunday.
Up next, our “Power Player of the Week,” the BOTUS — yes, BOTUS — who made a splash when he arrived in Washington and continues to have quite a following.
WALLACE: Finally this Easter weekend, he stole the show in Vice President Pence and his family arrived in Washington. And two years later, he’s still helping the second family teach children about civics and history.
Here’s our “Power Player of the Week.”
KAREN PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE’S WIFE: And he’ll sit and hold a poise and wait until you get a lot of shots. I mean it’s really adorable. He’s kind of a prima donna.
WALLACE (voice over): Karen Pence is talk about the family’s pet bunny, the main character in a children’s book she had her daughter, Charlotte, have written called “Marlon Bundo’s Day in the Life of the Vice President.”
But before we get to the book, there’s Marlon’s story.
Charlotte was working on a college film project and needed a bunny.
CHARLOTTE PENCE, “A DAY IN THE LIFE OF THE VICE PRESIDENT”: I asked the owner how much for the bunny, and they said to make him an offer. And so it became this godfather joke with my friends.
WALLACE: Marlon Brando became Marlon Bundo, who escapes from his cage just as two teens break out of their troubles.
C. PENCE: He’s kind of a metaphor. He’s every deep.
WALLACE: In 2017, when the family moved to Washington, photographers spotted Marlon being carried off Air Force Two.
K. PENCE: For some reason it became this phenomenon, you know, that, oh, my gosh, the Pences have a bunny. And so Charlotte thought it would be a lot of fun to start Marlon’s own Instagram account.
WALLACE: Marlon made his first official appearance at an event honoring military families and clearly upstaged the vice president.
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You want to pet him?
K. PENCE: You know who this is, don’t you? Whisper it. Whisper it.
M. PENCE: Marlon.
K. PENCE: Yes.
C. PENCE: Marlon, this is Chris Wallace. Mr. Chris Wallace, this is the BOTUS.
WALLACE: Yes, that stands for bunny of the United States.
WALLACE (on camera): My family has had a bunch of bunnies and none of them were ever as well behaved as Marlon.
C. PENCE: He’s good. Yes, he’s — he — we think he’s kind of, you know, he likes the spotlight a little bit.
WALLACE (voice over): And so was born the idea for a book about Marlon following grandpa, the vice president, around Washington for a full day of meetings.
Mrs. Pence, who’s an accomplished artist, did the illustrations, while Charlotte wrote the story in verse.
C. PENCE: Allow me to introduce myself. I am Marlon Bundo Pence. I live with my family here at the vice president’s residence.
WALLACE: The Pence’s are donating proceeds from the book to charity. Charlotte, to fight human trafficking, Mrs. Pence to support art therapy.
Charlotte says Marlon brings bunny lovers together, erasing political lines. But comedian John Oliver came out with his own book trolling the vice president, with proceeds going to LGBT and AIDS groups.
JOHN OLIVER, LATE NIGHT HOST: Our story is about Marlon Bundo falling in love with another boy rabbit, because our Marlon Bundo is gay.
K. PENCE: On Marlon’s Instagram, Marlon actually said, the only thing better than one bunny book that benefits charity is two bunny books that benefits charity.
WALLACE: Marlon can be seen on Instagram flipping the pages of his book.
While mother and daughter are clearly enjoying their collaboration.
C. PENCE: Every time I see a picture of a kid reading the book, it just makes my day.
K. PENCE: One of the first pictures she sent me on her phone was the binding where it says Pence/Pence. So it was — it was really sweet.
WALLACE: This month, the Pence family released a new BOTUS book. It’s called, “Marlon Bundo’s Day in the Nation’s Capital.”
And that’s it for today. Have a great week and we’ll see you next “Fox News Sunday.”
Content and Programming Copyright 2019 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2019 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.