This is a rush transcript from "Your World," March 27, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: All right, this is something that puts Wall Street making money in kind of its proper perspective.
You're looking live at the East Room of the White House. President Donald Trump is getting ready to award the Medal of Honor, eighth time he's done this in his presidency, to Army Staff Sergeant Travis Atkins. The staff sergeant died back in Iraq on June 1, 2007, while fighting a suicide bomber in hand-to-hand combat, saving his team and all of his buddies in the process.
We are going to bring you that ceremony live when it happens. His parents are there. And his son will accept the honor for his now deceased dad.
In the meantime, Democrats, though, in Washington are doubling down on what happens now with special counsel Robert Mueller's collusion read and what we can make of all of that. Busy news day for you.
Welcome, everybody. I'm Neil Cavuto. This is "Your World."
California Democratic Chairman of the powerful House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff is not taking no for an answer, insisting that there's no doubt that the president colluded with Russia, at least in his eyes, all despite a nearly two-year investigation that clearly says otherwise.
To Catherine Herridge with the latest on his back and forth.
CATHERINE HERRIDGE, CHIEF INTELLIGENCE CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Neil. And good afternoon.
Adam Schiff now publicly challenging this special counsel findings, telling The Washington Post -- quote -- "Undoubtedly, there is collusion. We will continue to investigate the counterintelligence issues. That is, is the president or people around him compromised in any way by a hostile foreign power?
And last night on Fox, another Democrat and outspoken critic of the president went even further.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ERIC SWALWELL, D-CALIF.: If the best day of his presidency is that he's not been indicted for criminal collusion, we still have problems.
And that's what I think should be addressed by seeing the full Mueller report.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HERRIDGE: Well, senior House Republicans reacting, telling Democrats to read Attorney General Barr's summary of the special counsel findings.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JIM JORDAN, R-OH: The attorney general said there was absolutely no collusion. The attorney general also points out in his letter that there were multiple opportunities for Trump campaign officials to work with Russians, but they didn't do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HERRIDGE: The Republicans now poring through transcripts from former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, FBI agent Peter Strzok, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, former Director James Comey, among others, refocusing on senior government officials who initiated the Russia probe in the summer of 2016.
And movement could be days away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DEVIN NUNES, R-CALIF.: We will make our criminal referral, basically people that lied to Congress, perjury, criminal conspiracy. There will be -- once we get it all done, we will make it as much public as possible. That will probably be hopefully by the end of next week.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HERRIDGE: Neil, you know, if I get some more news, I will bring it right to you.
CAVUTO: And you will always do.
HERRIDGE: I will.
CAVUTO: Very, very well, Catherine. Thank you very much, Catherine Herridge.
HERRIDGE: You're welcome.
CAVUTO: So if not all Democrats are buying into the so-called no collusion finding, what can we expect going forward?
Let's go to Bob Cusack, the editor in chief of The Hill.
Bob, But some of this isn't as surprising, but I was going through just the sheer number. Besides obviously Schiff, you have Rashida Tlaib, the Democrat from Michigan, saying that the president is the most dangerous threat to democracy, still is, in her eyes, views held in varying degrees about continue investigations from Eric Swalwell and Al Green, Brad Sherman.
I could go on and on, but I get -- you get the message.
BOB CUSACK, THE HILL: Yes. Yes.
CAVUTO: And that's with the report that at least removes the collusion issue. What do you think of that?
CUSACK: Yes, I mean, the report is definitely a home run for President Trump. There's no doubt about that. No collusion. And Nancy Pelosi has a problem.
Now, the speaker, I think, has been smart about this. She has downplayed impeachment even before the report came out. But she's got to control members of her caucus. She wants to talk about the agenda, because, Neil, they won the House because they talked about the agenda, not about impeachment.
So I think this could be a problem for Democrats who want to keep going, keep doubling down, keep doing investigations. This was the biggest investigation. It's over. And I do think that politically it could hurt them if they continue to harp on this.
CAVUTO: All right, now they want to get their hands on that report. A lot of people do. The president's open to getting it out there. There are a lot of legalities about what you release and when, but we're told weeks, not months. That's probably a good thing.
I mean, I definitely -- I want to see it. I want to read the report. I think a lot of people do. And they do have to, I think, make some reactions here or there. That could be controversial, where Democrats could say, why are you redacting this?
But the bottom line here is that Robert Mueller, very respected investigator, and I think there are going to be Democrats -- and basically Adam Schiff is at that point now, where he's saying Robert Mueller was wrong. That's -- that's a problem.
CAVUTO: Wouldn't Mueller -- and I know I have raised this with other guests. I want to bounce it off of you. I respect your opinion mightily.
If Attorney General Barr had -- was wrong in any of his characterizations about that report, I would imagine Mueller would have pointed that out by now. And he didn't.
CUSACK: Yes, yes.
Listen, Bill Barr's been around. He's a respected individual. I thought he did really well when he testified before the Senate committee for his nomination. I don't think he's done that.
And I absolutely think his career would be ruined if he has mischaracterized the report. At the same time, we want to see it. You got to be transparent. So he's going through some certain steps. And I think it's a matter of time before you're -- we're going to see a lot of this report, maybe not the whole thing, but a lot of it.
And we're going to be judged for ourselves, but I do -- I think most people, even some on the Democratic side, believe Bill Barr is certainly telling the truth in his characterization of the Mueller report.
CAVUTO: All right. We shall see, my friend. Always good having you. Thank you very, very much.
CUSACK: Thanks, Neil.
CAVUTO: All right, let's go to Kevin Corke at the White House right now, where the president is going to be awarding his eighth Medal of Honor.
And this one is a real tearjerker in the making.
KEVIN CORKE, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it really is something, Neil, an honor befitting an American hero known for his selfless acts, not just for himself and for his country, but also in particular for his countrymen.
We're talking about a young man who not only served in the United States Army and went to Iraq. We're talking about a guy who left the Army, came back after going to college for a couple of years and rejoined and went back to Iraq once again.
Army staff sergeant Travis Atkins is his name. And his story is a very interesting one, Neil. It's one that I think people can really relate to, in that he reenlisted at the very height of the Iraq War. And he did so after that break in service, as I mentioned. He deployed to Kuwait with the 101st Airborne Division.
But after a couple years, he came back and he rejoined in the Mountain Division -- that would be the 10th Mountain Division -- back in 2005. And then he deployed to Iraq again, less than a year later.
Fittingly, today, you will hear more about his personal story, how his life was cut tragically short, and why his memory will live on forever. In particular, I have been really moved in listening to his son and his descriptions about his father and about the heroism, when you think about, you see a circumstance where you have to react so quickly, Neil, an IED.
You don't have time to think. You're only thinking about preserving the peace and security of your men and women that are with you. He did that. He took -- took one for the team, and he will rest in peace, and good memory, after that heroism. And, of course, we will hear from the president here momentarily, Neil.
CAVUTO: All right, Kevin Corke, thank you very, very much.
General Jack Keane with me right now.
You know, General, these moments -- this is the eighth of his presidency -- we have had a little bit more than 3,000 of these Medal of Honors handed out, going back to the days of Abraham Lincoln. They're special moments. There's no other way you can describe it.
JACK KEANE, SENIOR STRATEGIC ANALYST: Oh, yes, absolutely. That defining moments for presidents.
And just about every president makes -- makes it a point to participate in these ceremonies, and not the delegate it to somebody else, because, I mean, they do absolutely represent the best of us.
I have been around this all my life. I started in the Army as a young officer, platoon, and a company commander in combat. And I saw it up close. And I have been in awe of it, Neil, ever since.
These soldiers, believe me, don't want to die. But what makes them special is, they're willing to.
KEANE: And they're willing to put everything at risk. I mean, the opportunity to have a long life, to be a parent, to have friends in your life, actually have love in your life, and to love and to be loved, they put all of that at risk.
And I have asked myself that question all my life. And I have come to an answer and I think they do it for two reasons. They're out there taking that risk out of a profound sense of duty to this country. And then they do it for one another. And that is actually on play here with our young Sergeant Atkins.
CAVUTO: You think about it, too, and this story has been repeated enough - - and it will be again far better than I'm about to -- but he was dealing with a terrorist group, a group of individuals who come into this camp.
He could clearly see the suicide vest on one. He decides to wrestle him, find a way that he knew the guy was going to rip the cord on the -- on the vest and kill everybody around him. But he was trying to position himself in a way that his buddies and those around him could be saved.
And he saved them. But he knew what he was getting into, doing that.
I have always thought the Medal of Honor is more about a person's heart than anything else, because they react instinctively, but knowingly.
KEANE: So he got close to him. And he -- this was in a part of the country where this kind of IED on a person has not been used a lot. So he saw that, and he lifted him up in a wrestling move and body-slammed him to the ground, and then put his body between himself and his teammates, knowing that this is possibly going to go off, and I can save my teammates' life.
All of that is instinctive. And -- but he's doing it because of his heart. He's willing to give it all up for them.
CAVUTO: We always talk about, General -- and you have been kind in your own bravery over these many years of service -- and we're always -- the greatest generation. My dad was a World War II vet. And they were the greatest generation.
But we forget that that greatness is in our DNA, when you look at young men like this who sacrificed everything. Of course, you led so many through your illustrious career. But we forget that, that greatness isn't defined to just one generation. It's exhibited in the most remarkable ways.
KEANE: Oh, absolutely. It is passed from one generation to another, as it was to the World War II generation.
KEANE: And I have always felt, having been close to what's been happening since 9/11, that we have we have had a 9/11 generation in our military. We have had it in our CIA.
KEANE: They -- many of them were drawn to it because they saw the horror of what took place here.
And they wanted to go out and protect the rest of America for years to come. And they were willing to put themselves at risk to do that. And no clearer example of that than Sergeant Atkins, who came back in at the height of the surge.
CAVUTO: Yes, he was done. He didn't have to go back. No, no, no, I want to go back. I'm not one of these to just rest on my laurels.
KEANE: And I served in both of the units that he was in, the 101st first, which I had -- I was in combat with myself. I happen to command that division.
KEANE: And then I was in the 10th Mountain Division, World War II, deactivated after the war, then reactivated in 1985. And I was in that outfit as a chief of staff and brigade commander.
So I can identify with the soldier. I know what he was doing, who he was with. And he's just a remarkable, remarkable person.
CAVUTO: You know what you don't take it to? I mean, in the last case where we remembered a very brave fellow who was 80 years young when the president was honoring him, and the point is that this is boundaryless, this is partyless.
This doesn't have anything conservative or liberal. You're a patriot. And you're respected and admired as a patriot.
KEANE: Yes. Isn't it refreshing to have something that is totally and completely apolitical?
KEANE: And that's what we're experiencing today, and with his family there, and how articulate they all are, and his young son was 11 years old at the time.
CAVUTO: Is that right?
KEANE: He lost his father, who was 31.
CAVUTO: Right. Right.
KEANE: And now here we are, 12 years later. So he's going to receive this award today.
CAVUTO: When you look at this, the back and forth -- and we question about our commitment on foreign lands, and whether we should be there or not -- a lot of these men and women, they don't. It's -- they're there.
They're doing what they know and feel is the right thing to do. And it's not a matter of judging the politics of it or the wisdom of being in a certain area of a certain world at a certain time. It's just what they do.
KEANE: No, that's absolutely correct.
After all, they're all volunteers. There's nobody forced them to do any of this.
KEANE: And when they go in time of war, like the 9/11 generation do, they know they're going to be in harm's way. They know it. When they join and raise their hand, they know exactly where they're going in a matter of months after they raise that hand and take that oath.
So they're going there willingly. And that's what I mean. They go out of a sense of duty. And it's not for everyone. And that's the truth of it. And some of them go because they believe they have an aptitude to be able to deal with this. They have taken control of their fear and still operate effectively.
And we help -- we teach them how to do that. We train them to be able to cope with their fear, that there's nothing to be ashamed of to really feel fear. Fear sometimes, it will actually shake your body, but, at the same time, perform.
And they go with an aptitude to begin with and values that are going to contribute to the discipline and honor of being a soldier.
CAVUTO: It is amazing.
General, thank you very much.
We're going to -- no? Oh, no, we will do this right now.
The vice president has arrived, members, key members of the president's Cabinet.
This, as we were indicating, General, is the eighth time for this president this has been done. And I always find that presidents, regardless of their political stripes or background, whether they served or didn't serve, these are moving moments for them.
KEANE: Oh, yes. Yes.
And just about every time this happens with a president is -- there's emotion in the room and there's emotion in the president. It can't help it. And, of course, the family is going to be there, his young song. That's going to be an emotional moment.
CAVUTO: All right, indeed, it will be.
Let's dip into this, guys. Just -- this event is taking place in the East Room, a Medal of Honor to reward a young man who put his life on the line for his buddies.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, the president of the United States.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, the president of the United States.
THOMAS SOLHJEM, DEPUTY CHIEF OF CHAPLAINS, U.S. ARMY: The writer of sacred Scripture declares, I wait for the lord. My soul waits. I will hope in his word.
My soul looks to the lord more than watchmen look for the morning, more, indeed, than watchmen look for the morning.
Loving lord, as a people, we thank you for those who wear the uniform and stand as watchmen, devoted in service to you and our great nation. Our hearts are especially grateful today for the courage, honor and extraordinary service of one such watchman, Staff Sergeant Travis Atkins, a warrior whose bravery communicated to all the soldier's sacred calling, a commitment to comrades and a devotion to duty.
As his actions reflect his love for his country, fellow soldiers and a commitment to service before self, so may your faithfulness and unconditional love continue to inspire and guide us all to greater acts of service.
Grant us heart eager to do your will, as we strive to preserve life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in this great nation.
I pray these things in your holy, mighty and majestic name, lord. Amen.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Please. Thank you.
And thank you -- please, sit down. Please.
Thank you, Chaplain Solhjem, Vice President Pence -- thank you, Mike -- members of Congress, and distinguished military leaders. We are here today to award America's highest honor to a fallen hero who made the supreme sacrifice for our nation, Staff Sergeant Travis Atkins.
Please join me in welcoming the entire Atkins family to the White House. Thank you very much.
TRUMP: Thank you very much.
Joining us to accept the Congressional Medal of Honor on behalf of Travis is his son, Trevor. Thank you very much, Trevor.
We're also grateful to be joined by Travis's parents, his mother Elaine, as well as his father Jack, who served as an Army paratrooper in the Vietnam War. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you.
TRUMP: Also here with us is Travis's sister Jennifer, along with his uncle, Sumner, and cousin, Douglas. Both are military veterans of great distinction, I might add. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you very much.
TRUMP: To the entire Atkins family: We can never measure the true depth of our gratitude or the full magnitude of your loss, but we can pay everlasting tribute to Staff Sergeant Travis Atkins -- his truly immortal act of valor. It was indeed. Thank you.
We're also joined for today's ceremony by Acting Deputy Secretary of Defense David Norquist. Thank you, David. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff -- somebody who is doing a fantastic job -- General Joseph Dunford. Thank you, General. Thank you, Joe.
Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Paul Selva. Paul, thank you. Secretary of the Army, Mark Esper. Mark -- thank you, Mark. Army Chief of Staff, General Mark Milley. Thank you, General. Thanks, Mark.
Chief of the National Guard Bureau, General Joseph Lengyel. And Sergeant Major of the Army, Daniel Dailey. Thank you. Thank you all. Thank you very much. Great people. They're doing an incredible job. I have to say that.
Thank you as well to Senators Steve Daines and Jon Tester. Thank you. Thank you. Jon, thank you. And Representatives Jim Banks, Greg Gianforte, Elise Stefanik, Pete Stauber, and Michael Waltz. Thank you all. Thank you, fellows. Thank you.
TRUMP: And, finally, we are privileged to be in the presence of five previous Medal of Honor recipients: Ty Carter, Harvey Barnum, William Swenson, Ronald Shurer, and Brian Thacker. Thank you very much.
TRUMP: Brave people. Thank you.
Today, the name of Staff Sergeant Travis Atkins will be etched alongside of the names of America's bravest warriors and written forever into America's heart.
Travis grew up on a farm in Bozeman, Montana. He was also and always most at home in the middle of the wilderness. He loved the wilderness. He loved to camp and to fish and to hunt. And he loved to race that snowmobile, as you know. Right?
After Travis graduated high school, he worked as a painter and mechanic before he joined the Army at the age of 24. In March of 2001, his parents went to his basic training graduation ceremony at Fort Benning, Georgia. When they reunited with their son, he told them, This basic training was the best time I've ever had in my life. In other words, he loved it.
TRUMP: Travis quickly excelled in the Army. He was offered a number of different assignments, but always he chose the infantry. He loved the infantry. That's where he wanted to be, defending freedom on the frontiers with his fellow foot soldiers, and they were all his great friends.
In 2003, Travis served on his first deployment in Iraq with the historic 101st Airborne Division and participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
After he completed the harrowing deployment, Travis returned to civilian life. But not for long. The fact is he was bored. You know that. He was very bored. He wanted back in. As his mother Elaine has said, Travis loved the Army and he loved everything about being with the troops. He just loved it.
In 2005, he re-enlisted and joined the legendary 10th Mountain Division, based at Fort Drum, New York, where he [I] was honored to visit last year.
In August of 2006, Travis left his second deployment to Iraq. He was stationed in a hotbed of terror and terrorist activity known as the Triangle of Death. Not a good place.
On the morning of June 1st, 2007, in a town outside of Baghdad, Travis and his three-man squad received a report that several suspected terrorists were walking toward an intersection nearby. Nothing good was going to happen. They all knew it.
Travis directed his squad immediately to the location. When they arrived, he got out of the Humvee and walked toward the two suspicious men. And he knew right from the beginning.
As Travis began to search one of the insurgents, the man resisted and became totally violent. Travis engaged him in hand-to-hand combat. As Travis wrestled to get the enemy's hands behind his back, the man began to reach for something, and Travis knew what it was. He realized the man was wearing a suicide vest.
Just as the terrorist was about to set off the deadly explosives, Travis wrapped his arms and his entire body around him and threw him to the ground, away from his troops, who were right next to him. He put himself on the top of the enemy and he shielded his men from certain death. The terrorist detonated his suicide vest and Travis was instantly killed.
In his final moments on earth, Travis did not run. He didn't know what it was to run. He did not hesitate. He rose to the highest calling. He laid down his life to save the lives of his fellow warriors.
In so doing, he embodied the deepest meaning of the motto of the 10th Mountain Division: He climbed to glory. Now Travis is looking down from above on all of us -- on all of his fellow warriors, on his great family -- wrapped in glory, the loving glory of Almighty God.
We're grateful to be joined by the three squad members that Travis saved: Private First Class Michael Kistel. Michael. Where are you, Michael? Thank you. Please, stand. Stand. Thank you.
TRUMP: Thank you. Specialist Travis Robert Shaw. Travis, where are you? Travis, thank you.
TRUMP: Thank you, Travis. And Specialist Sand Aiyo. Sand, thank you very much. Good.
TRUMP: Thank you. Appreciate it.
Today, we are privileged also to be joined by more than 50 soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division, including those who served alongside Travis -- knew he was brave from day one. They really loved him. They wanted to be here. Would you please stand?
TRUMP: Thank you very much. Thank you for being here.
Your lives of service do honor to our country, to Army values, and your fallen brothers-in-arms like Staff Sergeant Travis Atkins. And he's looking down. He loves you all.
Just a few days before that June morning when Travis left on his last mission, he called his son Trevor to wish him a very, very special eleventh birthday. Trevor didn't know that he would speak to his dad for the last time.
But in the 12 years since, he's always known that his father gave his life for our nation and for our freedom. He knew that his father was a hero right from the beginning, long before today. Trevor has said that he wants our nation to remember his dad as the best father and best soldier that anyone could ask for.
Trevor, that is exactly how we'll -- your Dad will be remembered. He will be remembered truly as the best father and he will be remembered as the best soldier. You can't get better than the Congressional Medal of Honor. You just can't. So thank you very much.
And I'd like you to come on up. Please come up.
Please come up. Please.
Your father's courage and sacrifice will live for all time. And every time we see our stars and stripes waving in the sky, we will thank our great Travis and we will think of every American hero who gave their last breath to defend our liberty, and our homeland, and our people, and our great American flag.
Now, I'd like to ask the military aide to read the citation. And I would also like, perhaps, in honor of your father, perhaps you could say just a few words. Would you like that? Please.
TREVOR OLIVER, SON OF TRAVIS ATKINS: Thank you, everyone, for being here, first off. It's an absolute honor to have every single one of you here.
It's something that I can't really put into words. It's something that's surreal. And I still -- I still haven't fully accepted it yet.
So, just all over appreciation for his men. Everything you have said to me over the last few days has meant the world to me, and it changes my life every, every day.
It -- that's -- the medal is something that I take very -- a lot of pride in, but it's the words that are the real prize and what really means the most to me.
And when it comes to my dad, he always had the funniest stories about you guys. And seeing you guys throughout, I was a young kid, but he let me know.
OLIVER: And, no, I just -- I feel so close with you and to him every -- every story I get to hear.
And I'm just -- I'm glad that you got to enjoy his love and his -- his energy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president of the United States has awarded, in the name of Congress, the Medal of Honor posthumously to Staff Sergeant Travis W. Atkins, United States Army.
Staff Sergeant Atkins distinguished himself by conspicuous acts of gallantry and intrepidity, at the risk of his life, above and beyond the call of duty, on 1 June, 2007, while serving as a squad leader with Delta Company, 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
While manning a static observation post in the town of Abu Samak, Iraq, Staff Sergeant Atkins was notified that four suspicious individuals walking in two pairs were crossing an intersection not far from his position.
Staff Sergeant Atkins immediately moved his squad to interdict them. One of the individuals began behaving erratically, prompting Staff Sergeant Atkins to disembark from his patrol vehicle and approach to conduct a search.
Both individuals responded belligerently towards Staff Sergeant Atkins, who then engaged the individual he had intended to search in hand-to-hand combat. When he noticed the insurgent was reaching for something under his clothes, Staff Sergeant Atkins immediately wrapped him in a bear hug and threw him to the ground away, from his fellow soldiers.
Maintaining his hold on the insurgent, he pinned him to the ground, further sheltering his patrol. The insurgent then detonated a bomb strapped to his body, killing Staff Sergeant Atkins.
In this critical and selfless act of valor, Staff Sergeant Atkins acted with complete disregard for his own safety, saving the lives of the three soldiers who were with him and gallantly giving his life for his country.
Staff Sergeant Atkins' undaunted courage, warrior spirit and steadfast devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the 2nd Brigade Combat Team and the United States Army.
SOLHJEM: Receive this blessing.
Beloved God, as our ever-present help and hope, we ask that you enable each of us this day to demonstrate watchmen's strength of character and service to our country.
Protect all who are now in harm's way and sustain our nation's warriors with faith and fortitude, as they walk the path of duty far from earth and home. Restore our souls and the joy of your spirit, and teach us your ways, that we might always walk and serve with integrity and perishable honor.
We ask these things in your holy name, I pray. Amen
TRUMP: Thank you very much.
CAVUTO: This is the eighth Medal of Honor that this president has recognized in his years in office, remembering a legitimate and a genuine hero, of whom -- and this is kind just a reflection of what this young man did at the time some 12 years ago.
"I witnessed the heroics that ultimately saved my life." This is coming from a sergeant whose life he did say and the lives of several others.
"Travis was an amazing soldier. He was an amazing brother to us all. He loved his country, but, even more, I got to know the man. I'm proud to be a part of this and to get the celebrate Travis. He was a selfless leader, an authoritative leader. He led by example and knowledge, not through fear or title or rank. We remember him for what he did for us."
We will have more after this.
CAVUTO: All right, it's going to be weeks, not months.
That's the read right now we're getting from the attorney general's office. They want to get this out -- that is, the Mueller report -- 82 percent of Americans are just as eager to see it out as well. They want it made public, the sooner, the better.
So do a lot of Democrats, as we have already told you, and so too the president of the United States.
My next guest says there is a good reason this can't happen right away, the former Justice Department official Gene Rossi.
Gene, good to have you.
Explain what's involved in this. A lot easier said than done just getting it out there, right?
GENE ROSSI, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Absolutely.
Listen, everybody -- 82 percent, 85 percent, we all want the report. We wanted in total, without any redactions or any changes. But as a former DOJ prosecutor for almost 30 years, here's what I think will happen in -- on the fifth and forth floors of main Justice for the attorney general and Rod Rosenstein, his deputy.
They have to look at the report, which is about 800 pages, and then you have supporting documents, grand jury information, FBI 302 interview notes, documents. That takes a long time to go through to make sure of the following, Neil.
You cannot -- you absolutely cannot release information that jeopardizes an ongoing investigation. That would be foolish. Number two, you can't release information that divulges means and methods of investigative techniques and also national security interests.
And so you're going to probably have officials from the CIA, other intelligence agencies opining. And a third area is, is there information that is subject to executive privilege, whether it's the White House privilege or President Trump's personal privilege, attorney-client?
So you have all these things going on, including deliberative process privilege. So the report will be dissected. It will be perused. It probably will be reviewed by 25, 50, maybe 100 lawyers and staff in the Justice Department and agencies. That is going to take time.
But, at the end of the day, I think a report will be disclosed, but it won't be complete. It will have a lot of redactions in it.
CAVUTO: I'm not sure the exact number of pages. I think someone has said it's up to maybe 800, maybe more. And there are millions of pages of documentation outlining of some of those findings which the overall report has made.
So, people will start going through all of that, and then second-guessing how the attorney general characterized its key findings. But I would imagine, Gene -- you know far more than I -- that if the attorney general got any of those summations wrong or those bullet points wrong, Mueller himself would have corrected him.
ROSSI: Yes, he would.
But you -- Neil, I got to stress this to the American people. His letter is only three-and-a-half pages. And there are probably so many findings and conclusions in that report.
ROSSI: You can't possibly summarize, with precision, every single finite point.
And I got to focus on the -- both the collusion and obstruction. I want to stress to your viewers this. Attorney General Barr, I feel, correctly concluded that Robert Mueller concluded -- that's kind of a double positive there -- that there's no collusion.
And the word that I want everybody to focus on is this. There was no sufficient evidence to support that anyone, including the president, joined -- joined a conspiracy.
It takes a lot of evidence to prove that someone joined a conspiracy, especially with the Russian government. That's a high hurdle. And they didn't have sufficient evidence.
But what is not in the letter -- and this is why I want to see the report - - was their information to suggest that the president or others aided and abetted, encouraged, counseled, and consoled the Russians to do a crime?
I can tell a bank robber how to get a map and find a bank and what hours to rob the bank. I'm not going to join that conspiracy to rob the bank. But if I'm giving them suggestions or encouraging them to rob the bank, the law says that I could be as guilty as the principal in that conspiracy. That letter doesn't mention that evidence one bit.
Now let's go to obstruction. The obstruction essentially was a jump ball. And Robert Mueller, I like him, I have a lot of respect for him. Unforced error. I think he should have said yes or no. But he said, there's no -- I can't decide.
Now, we can debate on whether Attorney General Barr should have been the decider, if you will. But what bothers me is this. If it's a jump ball, that means that, on one part of the scale, it says, don't charge the president, and, on the other part of the scale, it says, do charge the president. It's at equipoise.
ROSSI: So that means there were prosecutors in that office, guaranteed, that were arguing no obstruction, but there were prosecutors arguing, yes, there is obstruction.
Now, this is where you get into privilege, deliberative process privilege, work product privilege. That's -- that's something that the Department of Justice may want to protect, because I used to write proc memos agreeing to prosecute and to decline. And I had people on the other side of that issue.
We had competing memos. Those memos are precious, and Attorney General Barr may not release those memos to protect the whole process that prosecutors have to go to.
So, on the obstruction, the only complaint I have is -- major complaint -- is, I think Attorney General Barr should have been purer than Caesar's wife. That what I was taught when I got hired in 1989 by the Justice Department.
He should have, I think, respectfully -- and I said a lot of kind things about Attorney General Barr -- he should have stepped back and said, I'm not going to decide this jump ball. I'm going to let either Congress do it, or I will assign somebody far removed from this to decide the jump ball.
That's my major complaint with the letter.
CAVUTO: Although he did say there was nothing there that could make you think that the president was guilty of obstructing justice or that he wasn't. So he did kind of leave it open to that final view, right?
ROSSI: Well, I respectfully disagree, Neil.
ROSSI: He wrote a memo in June of 2018.
CAVUTO: No, I'm sorry. I'm talking about his characterization of what was in this.
ROSSI: Right, but I'm going back to whether he should have recused himself...
CAVUTO: I got it. All right.
ROSSI: ... to be purer than Caesar's wife.
CAVUTO: All right.
ROSSI: And when I got hired by the Justice Department in June of '89, I remember these words vividly.
My supervisor told me specifically, you have to be purer than Caesar's wife when you work for the Department of Justice.
ROSSI: And I think he should have followed those words that I was taught and just say, you know what? I wrote this memo.
CAVUTO: Be careful, be very careful, right?
ROSSI: Be very careful, because you want -- you want the trust of the American people.
CAVUTO: All right, Gene, you're right. I don't mean to jump on you, my friend, here, but always very good having you, the former DOJ official.
We will find out soon enough on what Gene is talking about.
Let's go to Trump 2020 Advisory Board member Jenna Ellis, Democratic strategist Robin Biro, and The Washington Examiner's Becket Adams.
Becket Adams, I end it with you, let me begin with you.
The collusion part, though, everyone was focusing on really came down to the report, we're told, finding out that none were charged with directly conspiring with Russia to help Donald Trump get elected. Isn't that what collusion came down to, and they didn't find it?
BECKET ADAMS, THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Right.
That's what we were told for two years now, more than two years, that there was -- there was direct collusion, there was coordinating with Russia, and that, ultimately, the suggestion was that the president of the United States conspired with the Kremlin to steal the election in 2016.
What we heard from the attorney general this weekend, it doesn't seem to be that. So, as far as the 2020 candidates, especially the ones who've been sort of banging the drum on this, I think the smart play would be to move on to something else.
It's hard to win an election against an incumbent president, especially when the economy is good, especially if you're going after an issue that may or may not have already been put to bed.
CAVUTO: But all of a sudden, Robin, I'm hearing from all of these prominent Democrats on the Hill, including Adam Schiff, who says undoubtedly there is collusion, disputing the report, or at least Attorney General Barr's characterization of that report.
You have Representative Steve Cohen saying of Barr that he pulled off a charade in Attorney General Barr's summary of the Mueller report, Brad Sherman, doubtful about the thesis of the report, Eric Swalwell of California, Al Green of Texas, all interested in just sort of reexamining Barr's conclusions that they say don't add up.
Where's this going?
ROBIN BIRO, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Neil, that comes down to the fact that we just don't have the report yet. It hasn't been made public, because Barr is working with the special counsel to redact what has to be redacted from the grand jury, et cetera.
But what the problem is -- if you had asked me about this two days ago, I would have said the fat lady sang, it's over, move on.
But, right now, I'm more concerned with the fact that Barr said that he's going to take it a step further and let the Trump White House redact what they deem necessary, at their own discretion.
That gives Democrats, the 2020 candidates, an opportunity to say, hey, look, there might be a cover-up here. Imagine if Hillary Clinton had done that, had she been elected, and said....
CAVUTO: Well, I think some of the conversations might concern executive privilege.
CAVUTO: I know what you're getting at.
But, Jenna, I'm -- the president himself has been eager to get this out there, that he thinks it's a good idea. I know the legal issues involved to do so.
But I just have the feeling that, whether it's weeks or months before people get their hands on this, that people will still be playing politics with this and coming to their own conclusions.
JENNA ELLIS, ATTORNEY: Unfortunately, they will be trying this in the court of public opinion, and there will be political spin on it, rather than the legal conclusions that were drawn in the memo, which are perfectly clear, that no one in the Trump campaign or associates or the White House ever colluded with Russia during the 2016 election, and there was no open question for obstruction.
That is very clear. And it's because of the legal sufficiency question. Evidence can be exonerating evidence or it can be incriminating. Evidence by itself, saying that the evidence that was discovered during the investigation didn't have a sufficient legal basis for obstruction, that closes the legal question.
And not -- at one time...
CAVUTO: And, Becket, just to be clear here, the Russians clearly were trying to interfere. You have to have a receiving party that's trying to encourage them.
And the report goes on to say, again, through Barr's analysis, that the president -- or then at the time Donald Trump and members of his family and businesses remained the focus of these probes, that no evidence of emerged that neither he nor his aides illegally assisted this Russian interference.
That's what it comes down to, right?
I think one thing that's absolutely important we have to keep in focus all this time is that Russia absolutely did try to interfere in the election, the 2016 election and likely the 2012 election, and likely the 2008, so on and so forth. This is what they do.
Now, what's interesting...
CAVUTO: And this was not about Donald Trump or any of his people then fostering that process.
ADAMS: Well, see, that's the issue, is like...
CAVUTO: We will see when the report comes out.
But, guys, I want to thank you all very, very much.
And the latest on Jussie Smollett. Now, can he sue?
CAVUTO: The Chicago police union not at all happy about the charges against "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett entirely dropped. Now they want a federal probe into exactly what was going on here and what was behind them being reversed.
Andrew Stoltmann joins us right now, a federal court litigator.
Andrew, do they have much of a shot at getting the feds involved?
ANDREW STOLTMANN, FEDERAL COURT LITIGATOR: Yes, absolutely.
There's a specific federal law statute that covers this exact situation. It's called the hoax statute, because this isn't the first imbecile who's ever done this. So I expect there to be federal charges.
And the federal charges carry five-year sentence, where the state charges carried only three. So, Mr. Smollett is still in a lot of legal peril.
CAVUTO: All right, now, I'm wondering, in Smollett's case, if charges are dropped, as incredible as this seems, does he have grounds to sue?
STOLTMANN: You know, anybody can sue anyone for anything in this great country of ours.
STOLTMANN: But he has virtually no chance of winning. He just doesn't.
He's going to have to convince a jury or a judge that people, in effect, lied about him or made stuff up. The police department just released the file today. And there's a whole bunch of damning stuff in there.
There are a whole bunch of people who say he absolutely did it, including the two brothers who staged the attack.
CAVUTO: Whatever you make of the fact that this was all turned around, these 16 charges dropped, they apparently didn't run that by any -- anyone in the police department, didn't run it by the mayor's office.
So this was a complete shock to everybody. That cannot be business as usual, can it?
STOLTMANN: No, it's absolutely horrible.
It's a grave miscarriage of justice. Now, I get that it's not the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby. But, in the same sense, every single hate crime victim in Chicago who comes forward is going -- people are going to be suspicious.
And, number two, it also feeds the perception that there is a bifurcated system of justice for celebrities and rich people, vs. average joes, the Michael Jackson's, the O.J. Simpsons, the Robert Blakes, the R. Kellys in 2008. And that's the real damage in this case.
CAVUTO: Andrew Stoltmann, thank you very, very much. Sorry for our truncated chat here, given everything that's been going on today, including in the East Room in the White House today.
We will have more after this.
CAVUTO: You think these two will have another powwow like that?
Already, the high-stakes U.S.-China trade talks back on. They're set to resume tomorrow. We have got our money team there. And then, of course, the Chinese bring their representative over the following week.
We're covering it live at Fox Business Network, beginning at noon Eastern time. How those talks will impact you, your money, this country, the politics of the 2020 race, we're on top of it all.
The Dow, by the way, today ended down about 32 points. Interest rates are at record lows.
"The Five" is now.
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