Meet the Press - April 21, 2019

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CHUCK TODD:

This Sunday, after Mueller, President Trump…

PRES. DONALD TRUMP:

No collusion, no obstruction.

CHUCK TODD:

…and his allies…

KELLYANNE CONWAY:

Really, the best day since he got elected.

CHUCK TODD:

…claim total victory with the release of the Mueller report. But the report paints an unflattering picture of the president and his campaign and lays out a pattern of obstruction, prompting Mr. Trump to bash the report with a profanity. And Democrats demand to see the whole document and the underlying evidence.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER:

And we will subpoena that entire report today.

CHUCK TODD:

My guests this morning, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerrold Nadler, and the President's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. Plus, the impeachment debate, some Democrats argue, the time is now…

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN:

This isn't about politics. This is about principle. And that's why I've asked the House to start impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump.

CHUCK TODD:

…while others worry that the issue divides Democrats and unites Republicans.

REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES:

The avenue is not impeachment. The avenue is further disclosure to the American people.

CHUCK TODD:

And look who's running. Joe Biden, ahead in the polls, is launching his campaign this week. But previous frontrunners often fail to win their party's nomination. How much does polling mean at this early stage of the race? Joining me for insight and analysis are NBC News chief White House correspondent Hallie Jackson; Joshua Johnson, host of 1A on NPR; Amy Walter, national editor of The Cook Political Report; and Jonah Goldberg, senior editor of National Review. Welcome to Sunday. It's Meet the Press.

ANNOUNCER:

From NBC News in Washington, the longest-running show in television history, this is Meet the Press with Chuck Todd.

CHUCK TODD:

Good Sunday morning. We're going to get to the Mueller report in a moment. But there was a terrible series of terror attacks in Sri Lanka on this Easter morning. The coordinated attacks across the country targeted Christian worshippers celebrating Easter in churches and high-end hotels that are frequented by foreign tourists. The death toll is going to number into the hundreds. The attacks broke a long period of peace in Sri Lanka, which has endured decades of civil war, which had come to an end, or supposed end. Turning now to the Mueller report, in so many ways, the rollout reflected the divisions in this country. It was a tale of two reports or, more accurately, two tales of one report, with a divided public free to choose its version of the truth. On one hand, there was President Trump and his supporters high fiving, celebrating, with the help of the president's new attorney general, who framed the report, before its release, as an exoneration of a frustrated and angry president. On the other hand, there was the report itself, which, at 448 pages, including many redactions, is a far cry from the president's favorite misleading, "no collusion, no obstruction," soundbite. It describes a campaign eager to accept the help of a hostile foreign power, Russia, and a president who later worked furiously to obstruct the investigation. In fact, Mr. Trump may have been saved from a formal obstruction charge by aides who saved him from himself. The Mueller team writes, "the President's efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful. But that is largely because the persons who surrounded the president declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests." Then there is this now-iconic closing sentence. "While this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him. It's a line that gives ammunition to both sides of the Trump divide, but one that is likely to cloud the president's reputation, whether or not he is reelected.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER:

We need the whole report, including the underlying documents, unredacted.

CHUCK TODD:

The 448-page report details and aggressive and, ultimately, successful attempt by Vladimir Putin to interfere in the 2016 election and destabilize the United States.

DONALD TRUMP:

I have nothing to do with Russia.

RUDY GIULIANI:

I know, from having been on the campaign, that there was no contact with Russians, no discussion with Russians.

CHUCK TODD:

But the report lays out scores of links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign. Among them, campaign chairman Paul Manafort regularly shared polling data with a Russian intelligence agent and received a peace plan for Ukraine that Manafort acknowledged, to the special counsel's office, was a backdoor way for Russia to control part of eastern Ukraine. Then there are the ties between the Trump campaign and Wikileaks.

PRES. DONALD TRUMP:

Wikileaks, I love Wikileaks.

CHUCK TODD:

The report details advanced knowledge of Wikileaks releases by members of the campaign, including the president, who is described as taking a phone call and then telling deputy campaign chair Rick Gates that more releases of damaging information would be coming. There was the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting, when Donald Trump, Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort met with Russians to get dirt on Hillary Clinton. And remember this.

NORAH O’DONNELL:

To be clear, Mr. Trump has no financial relationship with any Russian oligarchs.

PAUL MANAFORT:

That's what he said. That’s what I said. That's, obviously, what our position is.

CHUCK TODD:

In fact, there were many contacts arranged at the highest levels, including a meeting in the Seychelle Islands between the head of Russia's Sovereign Wealth Fund and Trump ally Erik Prince. On obstruction, Mueller lays out ten possible episodes, including the firing of F.B.I. director James Comey, the president's attempt to get Attorney General Jeff Sessions to un-recuse himself…

PRES. DONALD TRUMP:

He took the job. And then he said, "I'm going to recuse myself." I said, "What kind of a man is this?"

CHUCK TODD:

…and telling White House Counsel Don McGahn to fire Mueller. McGahn refused, telling then-Chief of Staff Reince Priebus that the president had asked him to do crazy S. McGahn threatened to resign. In fact, the day Mueller was appointed, May 17, 2017, President Trump, quote, "slumped back in his chair and said, 'Oh, my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I'm effed,' adding later, 'This is the worst thing that ever happened to me.'" Though the attorney general claims…

BILL BARR:

The White House fully cooperated with the special counsel's investigation.

CHUCK TODD:

…in fact, the report details how individuals lied or deleted communications. And the president refused to sit for an interview with the special counsel. President Trump responded to written questions with some version of, "I do not recall," or, "I do not remember," 37 times. Now, some democrats are pressing for impeachment proceedings.

ELIZABETH WARREN:

We have a Constitution of the United States. And it says, when a president engages in this kind of activity, then it's time for impeachment.

CHUCK TODD:

But House Democratic leaders, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, are putting the brakes on, saying, "One step at a time."

HAKEEM JEFFRIES:

The avenue is not impeachment. The avenue is further disclosure to the American people.

CHUCK TODD:

Joining me now is the president's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani. Mr. Mayor, welcome back to Meet the Press.

RUDY GIULIANI:

Thank you. Thank you, Chuck.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me start with some of the front line conclusions from the report itself, which is square one. The first one is this. “The Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systemic fashion.” Do you and the president accept that as a fact from this report?

RUDY GIULIANI:

We do. There's no reason not to accept it.

CHUCK TODD:

And the president accepts it as well?

RUDY GIULIANI:

I'm sure he does.

CHUCK TODD:

All right. The next fact they put in here is this one. “The special counsel's investigation established that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election principally through two operations. First, a Russian entity carried out a social media campaign that favored presidential candidate Donald J. Trump and disparaged presidential candidate Hillary Clinton." Do you and the president accept the idea that the Russian interference was designed to help President Trump?

RUDY GIULIANI:

I, I, I believe it was. I can't tell you for sure. I mean, I haven't examined all that evidence. But I have no reason --

CHUCK TODD:

Does the president accept that?

RUDY GIULIANI:

-- no reason to dispute it. I think he does. But I haven't really -- I mean, obviously that wasn't part of defending him. So I haven't gone into --

CHUCK TODD: N

o, but a lot of the report --

RUDY GIULIANI:

-- great detail on that.

CHUCK TODD:

-- seems to indicate that he feared that the idea the Russians helped him was going to delegitimize his presidency.

RUDY GIULIANI:

You know, I -- whether he did or he didn't, I think that it's quite clear that there are a lot of factors that go into any election. And the reality is that he was elected president. There are a lot of good reasons why he was elected president and she wasn’t, was not elected president that have nothing to do with this. And it's hard to believe that this had, that this was a decisive factor. And they don't find that.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, let me put in this -- the report does say this.

RUDY GIULIANI:

Did all that happen? I imagine it did. I mean, I can't dispute it.

CHUCK TODD:

Okay. Let me put up this one. "A Russian intelligence service conducted computer-intrusion operations against entities, employees, and volunteers working on the Clinton campaign and then released those stolen documents." You totally agree and the president accepts that the Russians did this operation and it was designed to hurt Hillary Clinton --

RUDY GIULIANI:

Sure.

CHUCK TODD:

-- and in turn help Donald Trump?

RUDY GIULIANI:

Without the details, I haven't examined all the details. And I do find in other parts of the report that there are substantial inadequacies either in putting forth other testimony that makes it false or other versions. Assuming that that's a straight analysis, I can't object to it.

CHUCK TODD:

Okay. Well, let me go through. Again, this is on the first two pages of this report. This additional fact that they declare, "The investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome and that the campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through the Russian efforts." It’s this last part, the campaign wanted, knew that the Russians were helping and were waiting to, to, to --

RUDY GIULIANI:

I was on the campaign for four months. I’m probably as close to Donald Trump as anybody could be. I saw no evidence of that. So that one I'd have to examine much more critically. I saw no evidence of anybody talking about Russia, involved with Russia. And one of the reasons why I volunteered to defend him was I knew, I knew personally it was a false allegation about --

CHUCK TODD:

Then why did the president trumpet WikiLeaks so many times?

RUDY GIULIANI:

Because they were putting out things that were true and very, very damaging to Hillary Clinton. Of course, of course you would want things that are --

CHUCK TODD:

And you knew this was a -- but you at the time even sort of knew that these were stolen by foreign --

RUDY GIULIANI:

I didn't.

CHUCK TODD:

-- folks.

RUDY GIULIANI:

I did not. I knew WikiLeaks had them. It'd be like the Pentagon Papers. I mean, Pentagon Papers were stolen. They were stolen from the, from the, from the Department of Defense. My god, that's horrible. During, during and about a war --

CHUCK TODD:

This is a foreign adversary though. This is a foreign adversary, someone who many --

RUDY GIULIANI:

What's the difference between a spy and a foreign adversary?

CHUCK TODD:

One works for the United States of America and one doesn't.

RUDY GIULIANI:

Well, wait a second. Wait a second.

CHUCK TODD:

Doesn't one work for the United States of America and one doesn't?

RUDY GIULIANI:

Clearly, stealing classified documents is theft. Now, there were overriding reasons for it, but it's still theft. Legally, it's the same thing. Morally, it's the same thing. And the reality is, here's the thing that's really interesting about it. And I don't want to dispute this too much. But everything they put out about Hillary Clinton was true. They didn't make things up. They shouldn't have stolen it. But the American people were just given more information about how deceptive, how manipulative her people and her campaign were.

CHUCK TODD:

So, if --

RUDY GIULIANI:

In other words, if the Russians had stolen the information--

CHUCK TODD:

Yeah.

RUDY GIULIANI:

-- and it showed Hillary Clinton to be just a wonderful person and everybody was fine, they were all honest, they were all terrific, it would have helped her. If it hurt her at all, it only hurt her because the American people got information that was gotten in the wrong way but it all was true.

CHUCK TODD:

Republicans knew then the entire --

RUDY GIULIANI:

All that stuff that, all that stuff that backfired on her.

CHUCK TODD:

But in 2016, I'm just curious. In 2016, the intelligence services knew that WikiLeaks was not a journalistic enterprise anymore. It may have started that way. That it was serving as a front for essentially foreign adversary intelligence dumps.

RUDY GIULIANI:

Right.

CHUCK TODD:

Why did the president think it was ethical to essentially trumpet what WikiLeaks was doing?

RUDY GIULIANI:

Well, if I’m, if I’m-- even in law enforcement, if I'm running an investigation and all of a sudden evidence is given to me about the criminality of the person I'm investigating, even if it comes from a, from a questionable source, I'm going to use that information. And there was nothing, nothing to suggest that this was manufactured evidence. Everything printed about --

CHUCK TODD: But does it bother you at all that a foreign adversary wanted to manipulate our elections?

RUDY GIULIANI:

Sure it does. Absolutely.

CHUCK TODD:

So why participate in helping in their manipulation?

RUDY GIULIANI:

Nobody's participating in it.

CHUCK TODD:

Trumpeting WikiLeaks is participating in it.

RUDY GIULIANI:

No, it is not. It is not. That's not at all participating in it. That’s, that is like the guy who drops -- I'll tell you, in the middle, in the middle of this investigation my co-counsel received four documents that indicated that the special counsel was using exceedingly unethical tactics in trying to get Jerome Corsi to, to testify. Now, I don't know where they came from. I went to the FBI. I gave them to the FBI. And then we used those documents. I didn't steal them. I didn't take them. And it turns out they came from a legitimate source. But the reality is when you get information about your opponent and it's true --

CHUCK TODD:

Even if it comes from a --

RUDY GIULIANI:

-- in a way --

CHUCK TODD:

-- foreign entity.

RUDY GIULIANI:

In fact, I wonder if --

CHUCK TODD:

Even if it comes from a foreign entity --

RUDY GIULIANI:

I wonder if there isn't an argument --

CHUCK TODD:

Why didn't Donald Trump Jr. call the FBI --

RUDY GIULIANI:

But I wonder --

CHUCK TODD:

-- when the Russians offered dirt on Hillary Clinton?

RUDY GIULIANI:

I wonder if there isn't an argument that the people had a right to know that information about Hillary Clinton. People had a right to know that Hillary Clinton and the people around her were as dishonest, as deceptive, as duplicitous as they actually are.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, why not run an honest political campaign depicting that? Why use a foreign adversary? Why use a foreign --

RUDY GIULIANI:

Nobody used --

CHUCK TODD:

-- adversary’s stolen --

RUDY GIULIANI:

Actually, you're now changing --

CHUCK TODD:

Donald Trump Jr., Donald Trump Jr. --

RUDY GIULIANI:

Chuck, you're now changing--

CHUCK TODD:

-- accepted the WikiLeaks --

RUDY GIULIANI:

I let you, I let you--

CHUCK TODD:

-- accepted the WikiLeaks theft.

RUDY GIULIANI:

I let you read all that, but I noticed you didn't read that there was no evidence of collusion with the Russians by Trump or anyone on the Trump campaign. There was no involvement. Wait, wait, wait.

CHUCK TODD:

But they wanted to. Does that bother, should that bother --

RUDY GIULIANI:

Time out.

CHUCK TODD:

-- Americans? They wanted to?

RUDY GIULIANI:

Oh my goodness. If somebody on the campaign wanted to do something wrong? A lot of people on Hillary Clinton's campaign wanted to do something wrong. The legal standard that makes it possible that we're not going to be prosecuted for our thoughts is every single line -- we go right to the fact that did Trump or anyone from the Trump campaign participate in the dissemination of hacked material? And the answer is no.

It had already been disseminated. So he is free, clear of an allegation. This investigation wasn't nationwide news, international news for three years because the Russians tried to invade our election. They've done that before. We just caught them this time. And other countries do it, by the way.

CHUCK TODD:

So, so --

RUDY GIULIANI:

So the real news here -- wait. The real news here is, "Donald Trump conspired with the Russians to do this, making him almost a traitor," that turns out after two FBI investigations, counter-intelligence seven months, this one 13 months -- not true.

CHUCK TODD:

Why isn't the president angrier -

RUDY GIULIANI:

Why not, why not --

CHUCK TODD:

-- at the Russians?

RUDY GIULIANI:

Well, why aren't you --

CHUCK TODD:

Why isn't the president angry --

RUDY GIULIANI:

No, wait, wait.

CHUCK TODD:

-- at Russians? Why is he so angry at Bob Mueller? Why is he so angry at Don McGahn?

RUDY GIULIANI:

Because they tried to frame him--

CHUCK TODD:

Why isn't he angry at the Russians?

RUDY GIULIANI:

Because they tried--

CHUCK TODD:

The Russians are the ones that have created the impression that his election was illegitimate.

RUDY GIULIANI:

Why wouldn't you be angry at someone who tried to frame you for a crime and accused you of treason when it is absolutely untrue? Why aren't you as interested right now -- we've spent a lot of time on this.

CHUCK TODD:

I'm not finished. We'll get there.

RUDY GIULIANI:

But why aren't you now interested in how is it that two investigations proved these charges were false and nobody is investigating who started the investigation? Isn't that a horrible thing? Do you think maybe they were manipulating the election also? Do you think that Papadopoulos getting that information from a Maltese ambassador or a Maltese undercover guy, do you think that was accidental? Come on. American intelligence --

CHUCK TODD:

So you really think that --

RUDY GIULIANI:

-- foreign intelligence generated --

CHUCK TODD:

You're painting, you’re painting generated this idea that the Russians hacked and stole this material? The Russians -- these are facts.

RUDY GIULIANI:

I'm not saying they didn't.

CHUCK TODD:

Okay. But you are creating, you’re going off --

RUDY GIULIANI:

No, no. No. No, no.

CHUCK TODD:

-- into another direction here.

RUDY GIULIANI:

No, I'm not. I'm going to the following direction any responsible prosecutor other than Mueller would have followed. When you find out that the allegation is untrue about the man you've been investigating, you turn around right away and you investigate how did it happen. I've had investigations like that. I had one during the Knapp Commission where two police officers were being falsely accused. When I found out they were falsely accused, I found out the reason why they were falsely accused. Mueller has no interest in that. He has no interest in the fact that the people at that meeting on June 9 that is written about all the time, they met with the head of GPS, which is the company that was promulgating the--

CHUCK TODD:

Okay --

RUDY GIULIANI:

Steele affidavit, Steele dossier the day before, the day of, and the day after --

CHUCK TODD:

Who at GPS told Donald Trump Jr. to say, "If it's what you say it is regarding Hillary Clinton dirt, then I love it"?

RUDY GIULIANI:

Nobody told him to say that. But who set up the meeting? An operative from GPS.

CHUCK TODD:

An operative from GPS or an operative from the Russian Kremlin?

RUDY GIULIANI:

That’s no --

CHUCK TODD:

From the Russian government?

RUDY GIULIANI:

Well, who knows? Veselnitskaya -- would you let me answer the question?

CHUCK TODD:

Yeah.

RUDY GIULIANI:

Would you like to know the truth or just one side of the truth? Veselnitskaya was represented by Glenn Simpson, who's the head of GPS for three years. They met the day -- wait, please. It's complicated. It's not just one fact. They met the day before the meeting with Donald Trump Jr., spent hours together having dinner. They met the morning of the meeting with Donald Trump Jr., and they met the day after. They had set up the meeting on the grounds that it was about dirt on Hillary. They never spoke about dirt on Hillary. They spoke about Russian adoptions. And then they never followed up. To me, having been involved in the Justice Department for 17 years, that's about as clear a possible setup as you can get.

CHUCK TODD:

Why did Donald Trump Jr. --

RUDY GIULIANI:

Now, why --

CHUCK TODD:

Why did Donald Trump Jr. embrace the idea that Russians could have dirt --

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RUDY GIULIANI:

Why did --

CHUCK TODD:

-- on Hillary Clinton?

RUDY GIULIANI:

Why did the special prosecutor come to the conclusion that that was not an obstructive act and wasn't obstruction? That particular one he clears them of completely because he's very embarrassed. He knows that he didn't follow up on all the suggestions it was a setup. And that's why this was a one-sided investigation. But the biggest takeaway of all is: Where's the interest now in trying to figure out how could it be that the FBI investigated this in two separate investigations, used four wiretaps in order to do it, four electronic surveillances, talked to 500 witnesses, spent $40 million, and the answer is there was no -- not the slightest bit of evidence of conspiracy between Trump, anyone on the Trump campaign and the Russians? That was the story. Not this stuff, which is underneath it.

CHUCK TODD:

So it is now okay for political campaigns to work with material stolen by foreign adversaries?

RUDY GIULIANI:

It depends on the stolen material. If the stolen material is -- first of all, was it all right for The New York Times and The Washington Post to print against the objections of the president --

CHUCK TODD:

You're putting the Pentagon Papers and Vladimir Putin on the same level --

RUDY GIULIANI:

No, the theft.

CHUCK TODD:

-- of morality?

RUDY GIULIANI:

The theft. How often have newspapers and you covered stolen classified material?

CHUCK TODD:

I hope not often.

RUDY GIULIANI:

Well, you do. You do --

CHUCK TODD:

I hope not often to be honest.

RUDY GIULIANI:

You do, and you justify it. And actually, I don't know if NBC was part of it, but the media went to court to defend doing that because it's part of the public's right to know. But I guess the public didn't have a right to know how sneaky, how dishonest, and how dishonorable --

CHUCK TODD:

Let me ask you something.

RUDY GIULIANI:

-- Hillary and the people around her were --

CHUCK TODD:

Let me ask you something. You keep bringing up --

RUDY GIULIANI:

-- and make your own conclusion about it --

CHUCK TODD:

You keep bringing up Hillary Clinton. You said something very interesting during the campaign about Hillary Clinton and the FBI interview that she was a part of. You said this. "She claims 37 times to the FBI she can't remember things. This has to be a lie. Otherwise she has such a bad memory she should really be going somewhere for memory lessons, not running for president of the United States." In the questions that you helped the president answer of the Special Counsel, you used some form or the president uses some form of not recalling or not remembering I think the number was 37 times.

RUDY GIULIANI:

I think it was 22 times. But in any event, and Jim Comey did 201 times. And it wasn't “I don't remember” all the time. I have to count that “I don't remember.” It's “to my best recollection.” I will never let a witness answer a question --

CHUCK TODD:

So he wasn't as forthcoming as he could be.

RUDY GIULIANI:

-- that doesn’t have a qualifying -- of course he was.

CHUCK TODD:

The president was not as forthcoming --

RUDY GIULIANI:

He was as forthcoming --

CHUCK TODD:

-- as he could have been.

RUDY GIULIANI:

He was as forthcoming as the question demanded. I don't make -- I don’t allow any witness to volunteer. It's a terrible thing to do. And that's the way they trap you for perjury. I'll give you an example, the president says that the events described by Michael Cohen, the correct version is the first one he gave under oath, not the second. Michael Cohen is about as big a liar as ever seen. I could rip him apart on a witness stand. The guy lied on television. The guy lied in the last hearing before the Congress. And when he said, "I didn't ask for a job --"

CHUCK TODD:

Do you represent the most truthful client you've ever had in Donald Trump?

RUDY GIULIANI:

I represent probably the most important client I've ever had with regard to the future of the United States, yes. Because he's been I think a great president.

CHUCK TODD:

Do you feel like he's truthful?

RUDY GIULIANI:

I believe he's truthful, yeah. As much as you can be in a world in which every single word you say is picked apart, and if you say four, and it's actually five, they claim you're lying.

CHUCK TODD:

I want to get you to respond to another part of this. “If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment.” This is not an exoneration by Mueller.

RUDY GIULIANI:

Why did you read all of the harmful things to the president there when about 80% of that is helpful, on obstruction? It finds that he was an innocent man, he was an innocent man --

CHUCK TODD:

Don McGahn saved him. Why is the president angry?

RUDY GIULIANI:

Don McGahn didn't save him.

CHUCK TODD:

Don McGahn didn't carry out an obstruction and --

RUDY GIULIANI:

That wasn't obstruction.

CHUCK TODD:

-- saved him.

RUDY GIULIANI:

He could have --

CHUCK TODD:

Firing Mueller?

RUDY GIULIANI:

-- fired Mueller. He had a perfect right to fire Mueller. Mueller -- at that time, he had several good reasons to fire Mueller. Mueller had substantial conflicts of interest. He had hired a staff that was so prejudiced it shocked any prosecutor who's fair. He hired a person who was the chief counsel to the Clinton Foundation to investigate Donald Trump. My God, if I were investigating Hillary Clinton, and I hired the person who ran the Trump Foundation, I think the media would go nuts on me. So that was a legitimate reason to want to fire Mueller for very, very bad judgment. Remember, he's the president of the United States. Mueller is not an independent council. Mueller works for the Justice Department. He could have been fired at any moment. And unless you could show that he wasn't going to replace him with somebody to take over the investigation like he did with Comey, he'd have no obstruction. He could have fired him.

CHUCK TODD:

So you don't believe Don McGahn saved the president?

RUDY GIULIANI:

I don't believe --

CHUCK TODD:

History will not put --

RUDY GIULIANI:

Absolutely not.

CHUCK TODD:

-- it saved him from an obstruction of justice charge that --

RUDY GIULIANI:

No. In fact --

CHUCK TODD:

-- would have been taken up by Congress.

RUDY GIULIANI:

-- in one circumstance Don McGahn gives three versions of the facts, one of which is perfectly innocent. And this special prosecutor or special council decides to use another version.

CHUCK TODD:

We are --

RUDY GIULIANI:

Really sloppy. That entire report, and the way you just presented it, is all from the point of -- you have let's see if we can hang Donald Trump. It’s -- and also the standard of proof they used. Go to page two of the obstruction thing. The president's got to prove he's innocent. They have to be convinced that he didn't do it. When is that the standard ever in America? How can you prove a negative? If they -- that has to be pointed out and never used again because innocent people will get tarred and feathered with this. And now the question should be for anybody who wants justice, how did this happen? Who started it? And I think you may find that the Clinton campaign may have interfered in this election even more than the Russians did.

CHUCK TODD:

It's an undefended accusation. I can't get into it now. Very quickly --

RUDY GIULIANI:

Barack Obama knew --

CHUCK TODD:

You had said --

RUDY GIULIANI:

Barack Obama -- it says, or at least it raises the specter with two checks between Strzok and his girlfriend -- they say the Obama people are keeping in close touch with this. Those are -- that's the execution of the Steele affi -- of the Steele dossier.

CHUCK TODD:

You mean -- it could also be that the Russian government is implicating --

RUDY GIULIANI:

But why do you laugh -- but why do you laugh, by the way --

CHUCK TODD:

-- how do you not know that it --

RUDY GIULIANI:

But why do you laugh, by the way?

CHUCK TODD:

Because you're making an assumption that it's some nefarious thing.

RUDY GIULIANI:

No, I'm not making an assumption --

CHUCK TODD:

-- but it’s about the --

RUDY GIULIANI:

I am -- I was in the government for --

CHUCK TODD:

Why wouldn't the government be concerned about --

RUDY GIULIANI:

-- the 17 --

CHUCK TODD:

-- Russian interference

RUDY GIULIANI:

And why wouldn’t the government --

CHUCK TODD:

-- into the presidential campaign?

RUDY GIULIANI:

-- why wouldn't the government be concerned about an investigation opened up right after you clear Hillary Clinton, on Donald Trump based on seven words that were said to Papadopoulos that don't even suggest a possible crime. It says, “Russians have dirt on Hillary Clinton.” At that point it didn't stay stolen. It didn't say taken. And nothing connects it to Donald Trump. Why didn't they go tell him that this was a problem like they did with Feinstein when she had a Chinese --

CHUCK TODD:

Why is the --

RUDY GIULIANI:

-- communist spy working for her.

CHUCK TODD:

All right, I want to ask the final --

RUDY GIULIANI:

They -- no let me finish. They told her -- they told her she had a spy working for her. Trump didn't have a spy working for him. Trump turns out to be totally innocent. There was no evidence to suggest --

CHUCK TODD:

Why isn't he angry at the Russians?

RUDY GIULIANI:

Because the Russian didn't try to frame him. He's angry at the Russian for interfering in the election. But he's a lot angrier at the people who tried to take away his presidency based on a plan done by Strzok, prevent and remove. And you guys avoid it. The slightest little evidence about Trump, boom. This is real evidence. It's real evidence. The Steele Dossier is phony. That it was a fraud on the court.

CHUCK TODD:

The Steele Dossier is barely --

RUDY GIULIANI:

Are we going to --

CHUCK TODD:

-- mentioned in the Mueller report, for what it's worth.

RUDY GIULIANI:

Yeah --

CHUCK TODD:

-- I think it's been --

RUDY GIULIANI:

For good reason.

CHUCK TODD:

-- a little hyped.

RUDY GIULIANI:

But you make my point. For good reason.

CHUCK TODD:

Then let’s --

RUDY GIULIANI:

Because it makes him innocent. Anything that makes him innocent is ignored by the report and something like the Steele affidavit in which four people signed under oath

CHUCK TODD:

Mr. Mayor.

RUDY GIULIANI:

-- and never gave the court the information about it.

CHUCK TODD:

You have two other interviews to get you to.

RUDY GIULIANI:

I do.

CHUCK TODD:

So I have to let you go.

RUDY GIULIANI:

And there's a big investigation to come. I hope you cover it.

CHUCK TODD:

Do you want Bill Barr to start a new investigation?

RUDY GIULIANI:

Do I want him to?

CHUCK TODD:

Yes.

RUDY GIULIANI:

I've wanted a new investigation for a year.

CHUCK TODD:

Do you think he'll do it?

RUDY GIULIANI:

I hope so. Justice requires it.

CHUCK TODD:

Rudy Giuliani, I will --

RUDY GIULIANI:

They tried to frame, they tried to frame the president of the United States including --

CHUCK TODD:

You think Bob Mueller tried to frame him?

RUDY GIULIANI:

No. I think the people making the allegations and who started it. I think Mueller was derelict in not investigating that. A prosecutor is supposed to entertain the hypothesis that the person is innocent. This man was incapable of entertaining that. Otherwise, he would have looked at the other side. How did this happen? Two investigations, no collusion, not a coincidence. How did it happen?

CHUCK TODD:

All right, we'll leave it there.

RUDY GIULIANI:

Happy Easter.

CHUCK TODD:

Happy Easter Mr. Mayor.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, when we come back, I'll be joined by the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerrold Nadler of New York, who's calling for the release of both the unredacted report and all of the underlying evidence. That is next.

CHUCK TODD:

Welcome back. The battle over the Mueller report is far from done. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler issued a subpoena on Friday, seeking the full, unredacted version of the report. In addition to Bill Barr, Nadler wants Robert Mueller, among others, to testify before his committee. So joining me now is the Judiciary Committee Chairman, Jerrold Nadler. Congressman, welcome back to Meet the Press, sir.

REP. JERROLD NADLER:

Good to be here.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me start with the -- before I get your reaction to some of Mr. Giuliani, let me just start with something from the Mueller report. I'm curious, your reaction to it. On obstruction, this is what Mueller says, writes. "Congress can validly make obstruction of justice statutes applicable to corruptly motivated official acts of the president without impermissibly undermining his Article II functions." Did you believe that -- did you read that as a directive to Congress that, basically, the call is in your court, not Bill Barr's?

REP. JERROLD NADLER:No. I believe that that is already the law and that he is -- that sentence is part of an explanation of why he, essentially, disagrees with Attorney General Barr's wild, far-out legal theory that the president cannot obstruct, commit obstruction of justice, no matter what he does, because he is the head of the Justice Department. And he is saying that Congress can make corruptly motivated acts by a president or by anybody in the Executive Branch a crime. And it has. Unless you think that Barr is right, and almost no lawyer thinks he's right, in saying that the president is immune from, from -- that as long as the president does his official powers, he can do anything. That's like saying, that’s like saying that a member of Congress has a right to vote for or against the Farm Bill. It's true. But if you vote for the Farm Bill or against it, because someone gave you a bribe, that's an obstruction of justice and bribery. The president's no different.

CHUCK TODD: Well let me read you this part though, 'cause i do think this is the complicating factor of all this. Also from the report, "Unlike cases in which a subject engages in obstruction of justice to cover up a crime, the evidence we obtained did not establish that the President was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference. Although the obstruction statutes do not require proof of such a crime, the absence of that evidence affects the analysis of the President's intent and requires consideration of other possible motives for his conduct." They go to state that whether you think it's distasteful or not, a political motivation, meaning the president concerned about his political standing, might not be an illegal reasoning behind, sort of, having concern about this case?

REP. JERROLD NADLER:No, the, the Mueller report goes on to state that there may be other considerations that are not crimes that would -- that nonetheless are predicates for obstruction of justice and that happens all the time to save your reputation, for other reasons. What Mueller says, and this is where Barr deliberately, or one of the places where Barr deliberately misled the American people -- but Mueller says is that although a thorough FBI investigation might very well show evidence of obstruction of justice by the president, we're not going to do that.

CHUCK TODD: Right.

REP. JERROLD NADLER: Because of the Department of Justice legal opinion that a sitting president cannot be indicted and it would be unfair to lay out the facts justifying an indictment without giving the president the opportunity in a trial to clear his name. So because of that legal doctrine, we're not going to charge him with obstruction. Barr misinterpreted that, or misrepresented that I should say, to say that they didn't find obstruction. There is plenty of evidence of obstruction and they say in so many words --

CHUCK TODD: Do --

REP. JERROLD NADLER: -- if we pursue this, we might put ourselves in an impossible position because we would then have to charge the president with a crime which the Justice Department won't permit us to do.

CHUCK TODD: Do you assume that the reason Bob Mueller did not charge anybody with conspiracy with the Russians is because he has found that no conspiracy took place or that he didn't have enough evidence to sustain a conviction? And is there a distinction, in your mind?

REP. JERROLD NADLER:Well, obviously, there's a distinction. But he pretty much states, in most cases, first of all, here's, again, where Barr misled the American people. He said, "There was no collusion." Collusion is a term that is not a legal term. The special prosecutor found, Mueller found, as you put on TV a little while ago, that there was plenty of evidence that the Russians intervened in the election to help Trump.There was plenty of evidence that the Trump campaign knew about that, and encourage -- you know, and wanted it and, in fact, knew about some of the Wikileaks dumps of stolen information, supplied by the Russians, in advance. What he couldn't prove, was that there was -- beyond a reasonable doubt, was that there was a criminal conspiracy, although, in the one case, I do not understand why he didn't charge Don Jr., and others in that famous meetings with criminal conspiracy. Because they were -- he said that he didn't charge them because you couldn't prove that they willfully intended to commit a crime. Well, you don't have to prove that. All you have to prove for conspiracy, is that they entered into a meeting of the minds to do something wrong and had one overt act. They entered into a meeting of the minds to attend a meeting, to get stolen material on Hillary. They went to the meeting. That's conspiracy, right there.

CHUCK TODD:

They seem to also have another issue. And I'm curious if this is a flaw in our code, or is this the way the intended law was made, which is our campaign finance laws. One of the other reasons they declined is that he couldn't figure out how to value opposition research.They couldn't figure out how to value cyber material, when looking at it through stolen property -- the legal code that has to do with physical merchandise. It seems to me that Mueller was all but saying to Congress, "Hey, guys. Your law -- the way you wrote the campaign finance laws stink."

REP. JERROLD NADLER:

Well, that may be. But I think that's a very conservative reading of the law. Because certainly, people are willing to pay a lot of money for opposition research. Just look at that so-called dossier that started out as opposition research against Trump, financed by some big Republican donor. And then, when Trump became the nominee, they shifted the financing over to Hillary. So campaigns are willing to pay a lot of money for opposition research. But the key is, here, that Barr clearly misled the American people, both on obstruction of justice, where there's plenty of evidence that there was obstruction laid out in the report. And he said -- and again, he didn't say there was no obstruction. He said, "We can't prove the negative. Because there's too much evidence for that. And we can't charge him because the Justice Department won't let us charge us, so we’re not going to look at that evidence."

CHUCK TODD:

So -- all right, you have --

REP. JERROLD NADLER:

But the second -- but let me just say,

CHUCK TODD:

Go ahead.

REP. JERROLD NADLER

-- we have to get -- that’s -- some of this is why we have to hear from Barr. We have to hear from Mueller. We have to hear from other people, like Don McGahn, whom we're going to call. We have to get the entire report, including the redacted material, so we can evaluate it, and so the American people can know what was going on --

CHUCK TODD:

All right. Let me --

REP. JERROLD NADLER:

-- and can make judgements.

CHUCK TODD:

Why -- you have all of this case of obstruction presented in the Mueller report, as you just stated. Some might ask, why haven't you start -- why haven’t you opened an impeachment inquiry? Or in fairness, is that what you're doing right now?

REP. JERROLD NADLER:

I don't think we're doing that. We may get to that. We may not. As I've said before, it is our job to go, to go through all the evidence, all the information we can get --

CHUCK TODD:

Does the politics impact this, though?

REP. JERROLD NADLER:

-- and to go --

CHUCK TODD:

How much does the politics matter in this?

REP. JERROLD NADLER

-- and to go where the evidence leads us. I'm sorry?

CHUCK TODD:

How much does the politics impact this? As you know, impeachment gets politicized. So you have a legal case that you believe this happens, and you should do it. But the politics dictate something else. How much is that going to influence this decision?

REP. JERROLD NADLER:

I don't know. That'll come down the road, when we see what we have.

CHUCK TODD:

Is this in Nancy Pelosi's hands?

REP. JERROLD NADLER:

Among others. She's not the only person. She's certainly the leader of the Democratic Caucus. She's the speaker of the House. It's partly her and partly a lot of other people.

CHUCK TODD:

Do you think this is impeachable?

REP. JERROLD NADLER:

Yeah, I do. I do think this, if proven, if proven, which hasn't been proven yet some of this -- if proven, some of this would be impeachable, yes. Obstruction of justice, if proven, would be impeachable.

CHUCK TODD:

And you're going to go about to see if you can prove it?

REP. JERROLD NADLER:

Well, we're going to see where the facts lead us.

CHUCK TODD:

All right. Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Democrat from New York, thanks for coming on and sharing your views, sir.

REP. JERROLD NADLER:

Thank you.

CHUCK TODD:

All right. One item worth noting, before we go to break. The Mueller report validates most, not all, but most of the reporting done by major news organizations throughout this investigation. Many, many of the stories we were told that were fake news show up, as reported, in the Mueller report and confirmed by first-hand accounts. It's something worth considering the next time you hear someone use the phrase, fake news, so loosely. When we come back, did we just normalize a new political dark art, foreign interference in our elections? Stay with us.

CHUCK TODD:

Welcome back. Panel is here. Joshua Johnson, host of 1A on NPR; Amy Walter, national editor of The Cook Political Report; NBC News chief White House correspondent Hallie Jackson; and Jonah Goldberg, senior editor of National Review. Hallie, let me start with you.

HALLIE JACKSON:

Oh, boy!

CHUCK TODD:

One thing we don't have and will never get is a counter-report from Rudy Giuliani or the lawyers. They don't want to put this out anymore, do they?

HALLIE JACKSON:

For weeks, we've been hearing that they probably would not do that or were going to wait until after the Mueller report was out to decide whether they would. And I think what you're seeing now, they want to do a couple of things: turn the page, close the case, in their view, and muddy the waters. And I think the last 12 minutes that we saw, with Rudy Giuliani and you, did just that.

CHUCK TODD:

Let's talk about the two big things that I think came out of both interviews. First, on the Rudy Giuliani interview, Jonah Goldberg, which is the defense is, "anybody would've done it. So what with foreign interference?"

JONAH GOLDBERG:

Yeah. I think it's nonsense. But Rudy Giuliani is playing the spin cycle. I think Hallie's exactly right, that you know, look, I mean, the Notre Dame fire was less than a week ago. It feels like it was in the Cretaceous Period, at this point. And they think that they can just punt out of the news cycle. Old news, old news. It was very effective for the Clintons, back in the '90s. Just say, "move on," which was also effective for the Clintons. And I think it might work. But I think he's opening a huge can of worms, going forward, that we're now legitimizing hacking, in and of itself.

AMY WALTER:

So that if a campaign, in 2020, 2024, whatever, gets information from a foreign adversary, that, according to Giuliani, was true, as long as what was hacked by a foreign government and given to you was true, then it's usable.

CHUCK TODD:

Everybody's going to have their own super PAC of foreign intelligence?

AMY WALTER:

That is clear. Who am I to say?

HALLIE JACKSON:

Well, wait a second.

AMY WALTER:

Who am I to say that that's not --

CHUCK TODD:

Did Rudy Giuliani just signal the Russians, "hey, help us now. Go find the Pete Buttigieg emails"?

HALLIE JACKSON:

I mean, he may have. But the question that you asked before the break, are we normalizing this idea of foreign interference in our elections? No. None of us are. Rudy Giuliani is trying to. So this is why it is now incumbent on lawmakers, on presidential candidates, on people in the political sphere, to make sure that that does not become acceptable, to Amy's point.

JONAH GOLDBERG:

Also, Buttigieg's emails will be in Norwegian. So it's not a problem.

CHUCK TODD:

Let's go to what Jerrold Nadler said, which is he does think these offenses are impeachable. Then, of course, he said the caveat, "assuming that we prove obstruction true." Joshua, as you said, well, what part of the 448-page document did you not read?

JOSHUA JOHNSON:

Right. And I think he committed a little news there, when you asked him that question, with that deep, pregnant pause, where he finally went, "Yeah, I do." I mean, 448 pages, redacted, that have laid out a great deal about the president.

CHUCK TODD:

In fairness, it was light redaction. It was fairly light. And the redactions also seemed to be legitimate redactions in the moment. There's a lot of cases sitting out there.

JOSHUA JOHNSON:

Right. But the reality is, I mean, you know, we talk about politicizing the impeachment process. Impeachment is an inherently political process. Because all the people who are involved in the process are political appointees. They're members of Congress. So there's kind of no way to separate that. But the idea that Congress would walk away, to your point about Nancy Pelosi, that they would walk away, as a matter of course, from even considering impeachment, I think that's one of those things, as we get closer to the election, a lot of Democratic voters are going to be like, "wait. The Constitution says, this is your job. Aren't you supposed to do this part of your job?"

CHUCK TODD:

Are we headed for this -- you know, we already have a two-track world of bizarre worldviews, where I felt like, at times, it was like Hannity talking points in one place. And then you're in the reality of where we live, here. But Jerry Nadler's going to have one investigation. And Lindsey Graham, Jonah Goldberg, is going to have one on Peter Strzok. I mean, it's obvious, Peter Strzok's going to be a star for the Republicans, regardless of whether, again, the dossier, all those things, they're not even relevant points in the actual investigation.

JONAH GOLDBERG:

Well, also, there is this investigation in the IG, and to defend the Republicans slightly on this one, I do think it is worth -- you do have a big chunk of this country that thinks that this whole thing was launched for fraudulent reasons. It is worth informing the American people about the truth of that, period. At the same time, I'm one of these guys who, I think the Mueller report, basically, confirms all of my positions, which is a common thing in Washington, these days. I never thought that the hard case about Trump being a Putin puppet and all that kind of stuff was true. But we know that this reflects his character and that he was willing to collude and just didn't.

CHUCK TODD:

You know the most amazing thing? I want to put up the list of people that saved the president from obstructing.

HALLIE JACKSON:

Oh, boy.

CHUCK TODD:

Look at the pictures of these people. Because Hallie, they all have one thing in common, whether it's Don McGahn, whether it's Rick Dearborn, Jeff Sessions, K.T. McFarland, James Comey, Rob Porter, Reince Priebus, and John Kelly, what's the one thing they all have in common, Hallie?

HALLIE JACKSON:

They're gone.

CHUCK TODD:

That's right. Everybody that stopped the president from his worst instincts, not there. What does that mean?

HALLIE JACKSON:

Well, I think it says a lot about this administration in this West Wing. And I will say this. The president, over the last 48 hours, has been mounting this aggressive, "I am living my best life," PR campaign, PR strategy. That's not the case. Based on our report, I've been talking to sources just last night and yesterday morning, who say he is furious. He's been watching the coverage. He's really made at one of the guys in that picture, Don McGahn in particular.

CHUCK TODD:

The guy who saved him.

HALLIE JACKSON:

Correct.

CHUCK TODD:

Saved him from an impeachment proceeding and an actual probable obstruction charge.

HALLIE JACKSON:

He is furious. There is second guessing happening right now, in the West Wing, about why McGahn was allowed to sit for such a long time, for 30 hours, with the special counsel in the first place.

CHUCK TODD:

Talked to John Dowd and Ty Cobb.

HALLIE JACKSON:

That's exactly right, who said, "open the door. If there's nothing to hide, get out there and talk about it." There is some relief, in the West Wing, that the ire from the president is not being directed at the people who are still there.

CHUCK TODD:

The president's legal strategy of letting everybody participate got him out of a jam. And yet, he still doesn't like what it did.

AMY WALTER:

Well, the central theme, and really, when you read the second volume of this report, it reads like a character novel, right? Right -- it lays out -- it's a character study.

CHUCK TODD:

It’s Michael Wolffe’s Fire and Fury, except written by Bob Mueller.

AMY WALTER:

But it is. So for people who are thinking, "I shouldn't read this. There's too much in it," actually read it. Because it gives you a very good sense of who this person is. And it comes down to one word, legitimacy. That is what he is always worried about. And anything that questions his legitimacy is worth fighting back against.

CHUCK TODD:

By the way, kudos to who wrote the actual narrative.

HALLIE JACKSON:

It is a very well-written narrative.

CHUCK TODD:

It is well written for a legal document.

HALLIE JACKSON:

It's like a lawyer with an English minor, you know?

CHUCK TODD:

It is easy to read for the layperson. All right, when we come back, Joe Biden is launching his presidential campaign this week. And he's leading in the polls. But how significant are early polls for a frontrunner at this stage of a presidential campaign? We'll show you that next.

CHUCK TODD:

Welcome back. Data Download time. Former Vice President Joe Biden is expected to announce his presidential bid this week. He's ahead in the polls and has been for weeks. But history isn't always kind to early frontrunners. At this point in the cycle, in April of 2007, Hillary Clinton was ten points ahead of her party's eventual nominee and president, Barack Obama. And in May of 2015, Jeb Bush was on top, and Donald Trump was all the way at the back of the field. Of course, Democrats are still a long way from choosing a nominee. But if you're Joe Biden, you have to hope, at least, this history does not repeat itself. When we come back, End Game and the Democratic Party's debate over the next few weeks over the issue of impeachment.

CHUCK TODD:

Back now with End Game. Check out the different responses you get from presidential candidates on the I-word. Take a listen.

(BEGIN TAPE)

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR:

So I've been really careful about talking about what we would do, if an impeachment came before us.

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS

First, I'd want to hear from Bob Mueller.

PETE BUTTIGIEG:

I'm focused on replacing him the old-fashioned way.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN:

We should open proceedings in the House. And then the House can take a vote.

(END TAPE)

CHUCK TODD:

Joshua, what's interesting there, Kamala Harris says, "I want to hear from Bob Mueller." It’s like, first, it was the report. What more do you need from Bob Mueller?

JOSHUA JOHNSON:

You've got a ream of paper from Bob Mueller. Redacted, I know, redacted. But I mean, here's the thing. We've heard enough, like, enough. Can we just do the TV Guide version of this? If they can summarize an episode of Game of Thrones before every single show, we can summarize this report. The report says that the President of the United States engaged in behavior that, per one commentator, you could describe as lawful but awful, that the prosecutors did not have enough of the legal basis to press charges for constitutional and legal reasons, that the president is not exonerated from wrongdoing and that now, the power rests with Congress, vis a vis the people to do something, if anything.That is the TV Guide summary of what happened. If you need more information to know whether you're in or out, what game are you playing? Now, I'm not saying what the outcome should be. But at a certain point, you know, the light's green. Are you going to go or pull over?

CHUCK TODD:

Well, Mueller's grandkids still haven't testified yet.

JOSHUA JOHNSON:

Exactly, and I think part of the --

AMY WALTER:

Well, there is going to be -- there is this desire to have the aha moment, to have that Jack Nicholson, "I ordered the code red," right? That is what folks are hoping to see. And that's never going to happen.

CHUCK TODD:

And that was never Bob Mueller's power.

AMY WALTER:

And it's never going to happen. Bob Mueller's not going to say, "I ordered the code red."

JOSHUA JOHNSON:

But I think that's the value of the interview that you just gave. I know that that interview felt like rabble with Rudy Giuliani. But I think that's the power of it because it allows the president, leading into 2020, to still have a foil. Remember what Rudy Giuliani said. "Wouldn't you be upset, too, at someone who tried to frame you?" And that, I think is part of the political power of Donald Trump.

CHUCK TODD:

You have to accept that premise.

JOSHUA JOHNSON:

Yeah, but having a foil in D.C. gives the president something to talk about in the 2020.

JONAH GOLDBERG:

So I'm old-fashioned about this. I find that all of the talk about this -- about impeachment being a legalistic, criminal matter to be flawed. Basically, impeachment is about breach of trust with the public. And you can impeach anybody for anything. And impeachment doesn't mean conviction. It's just the political equivalent of an indictment.

CHUCK TODD:

Or a recall, maybe.

JONAH GOLDBERG:

Right. But I mean, the Senate will never remove. To me, this is purely a political question. Do the Democrats think they can get enough votes? Is it worth -- is it in their political interest to do it? Will any Republicans go along? Will it be an appeared victory, if it goes to the Senate and then it's not even taken up, which is possible? Or do they just say, "Wait until the election?" But it's a political question. Everyone's saying, "They're waiting for that one last smoking gun." They’re taking -- it's a category error of taking legalistic stuff and applying it to politics.

HALLIE JACKSON:

For the White House --

CHUCK TODD:

Does Trump want an impeachment?

HALLIE JACKSON:

I was just going to say. You have mind meld, Chuck. Because to your point, he loves a foil. I'm told he's been telling friends and allies the phrase, "Well, hey, look at what happened to Republicans back during the Clinton impeachment era. And look what happened to Bill Clinton." So he is ready for a fight. He thinks it could actually help him with the people who support him.

CHUCK TODD:

Can I tell you, though, what's sitting out there that we haven't talked about? And I apologize to my control room. Because I'm going to ask for something, which is the 12 cases that none of us know, okay? 12 transfers, and yes, we know, but these are unknown cases. These were stuff that fell outside the parameters of Russia. Here it is, 12 unknown cases. We know Michael Cohen. We know Greg Craig, where Mueller had to ship it off to another entity. That’s -- these are little landmines that we don't know what they will explode when they explode.

AMY WALTER:

We don't.

CHUCK TODD:

We know Israel and UAE and Saudi Arabia. There are all these other foreign entities that were involved in stories with, say, the Seychelle Islands. The report only dealt with Russia. There's more landmines out there for the president.

AMY WALTER:

Although, do we think that any of those are going to change either the political or legal calculations

CHUCK TODD:

No.

AMY WALTER:

-- for the president or those--

CHUCK TODD:

We don’t know.

AMY WALTER:

-- that we know immediately in his circle? To me, the question, for Democrats, too, is about this -- the same issue they have is what the president is worried about, too, legitimacy, right? That has framed this entire issue of Russia for him, that whatever has been done to him has been done to undermine the credibility of his win. And for Democrats, I think, the legitimacy question is this: If we go down an impeachment path, are we then building this narrative for him? A better legitimacy is to beat him in an election.

CHUCK TODD:

Vladimir Putin, it was the most successful campaign he could have ever imagined. Look what we're doing.

JOSHUA JOHNSON:

Through the Russian military. I mean, it is frightening, the import of all of this. And you're right. Those other 12 matters are going to be very consequential. Can I just kind of pivot away and step back from the Beltway really quickly? It's Easter. It's Passover. It's a gorgeous day. I've got a brand-new Harley I'm eager to go out and ride, as soon as the show is over. I think, for people who are watching this, like, take a breath. The system is designed to work through this.

CHUCK TODD:

We're all hoping the system works.

JOSHUA JOHNSON:

It will. It will.

CHUCK TODD:

However it's supposed to work. That's all for today. And as Joshua said, thank you for watching here. We're wishing everybody a happy Easter, happy Passover, happy Harley ride. And we'll be back next week. Because if it's Sunday, it's Meet the Press.