This is a rush transcript from "The Five," March 22, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
JUAN WILLIAMS, HOST: Hello, everyone. I'm Juan Williams along with Emily Compagno, Jesse Watters, Dana Perino, and Dr. Greg Gutfeld. It's 5 o'clock in New York City, this is “The Five.”
The White House, Washington, all of America, waiting on the Mueller report. Anticipation growing as all signs point to the Russia probe results being released very soon. It's not even out yet, but everybody thinks they have an opinion on what it all means for President Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are indictments in this president's future. They're coming.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The idea that Robert Mueller is somehow Harry Potter and that this report is his wand that's going to fix everything, and all we have to do is wait for Mueller, I think is going to prove to be ill-advised on the part of Democrats.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I would think it would be more descriptive, more accurate, to quit calling it the Mueller report whenever it comes out, but it's more like a Mueller dossier.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could we get an asterisk in the history books thanks to this investigation, so we can put next to the 2016 election, that little thing like Barry Bonds (INAUDIBLE). Will there be an asterisk.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even it says guilty, which again it doesn't say that, but in like 48.5 --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- the president would say it clears him. I think that is a safe, political expectation to make here.
(END VIDEO CLIP) WILLIAMS: Well, here's the president on how he thinks the public will take it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT: I have a deputy - - appoints a man to write a report on me, to make a determination on my presidency? People will not stand for it. Now, with all of that being said, for two years we've gone through this nonsense -- there's no collusion with Russia, you know that better than anybody. And there's no obstruction. They'll say, oh, well, wait, there was no collusion, that was a hoax, but he obstructed, inviting against the hoax.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: But even after the report drops, that's just the beginning. Democrats planning to launch several of their own Trump related investigations. However, according to the Daily Beast, Trump's lawyers are preparing to tell Democrats to go, well, blank themselves. Trump's saying the Democrats will just be wasting everyone's time. Jesse - -
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Just a continuation of the same witch hunt. They know it. And behind closed doors they laugh at it. It's just a continuation of the same nonsense. Everybody knows. They ought to go to work, get infrastructure done and get a lot of other things done instead of wasting everybody's time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: All right. So we've just been told that the Mueller report has been delivered to the Attorney General William Barr, but we don't know any details as yet. And we don't know when we'll know any of the details whether it'll be a matter of hours, a matter of days, weeks, months, we just don't know. Jesse, where are you?
JESSE WATTERS, HOST: Well, Mueller took too long. He lost all his momentum. He's kind of like the guy at the barbecue when he invited everybody over at 5, and then at 7 no one is eating yet, and then he burns the meat. And you say I waited two years for this? This is terrible.
I honestly don't think the rest of the country outside of the swamp and the partisans really care about the Mueller report. They care about the brackets for the NCAA. They care about spring vacation. They care about what's on Netflix. With that said, if there was real collusion, it would have leaked by now. We know that for a fact.
So if the report comes back and it looks like the media is already trying to set expectations for the Democrats that have Trump derangement syndrome, that there is no collusion, I don't know what they're going to do. Is there going to be soul-searching among the Democrats and the media and say what have we done for the last two years with this conspiracy? Are they going to learn from their mistakes?
I don't think they will because the media is probably going to cover up their mistakes. The new conspiracy will be that whatever Barr, the new A.G. says or doesn't say, he's going to be hiding something, because as you know, the rules say he doesn't have to disclose everything. So they're going to say there is collusion but Barr won't tell us what it is and this will go on and on and on and it will never end.
WILLIAMS: All right. This is a Fox News alert. Again, Robert Mueller has submitted his report on the Russia investigation to Attorney General William Barr. The special counsel has been probing alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election for the past 21 months. The move now setting up a potential showdown over how much of it will be made public.
Barr has indicated he's likely to send his own summary of the findings to Congress rather than Mueller's actual report. While Democrats have threatened to subpoena Mueller to testify publicly about what he found. Mueller's team has either indicted, convicted, or gotten guilty pleas from 34 people in three companies, including six former Trump advisors and/or associates.
Dana, you know, we just don't know who's been indicted, who's been exonerated, but the president in talking with Maria Bartiromo this morning says people won't stand for it if it indicates that there was some wrongdoing because he continues to say it was a witch hunt.
DANA PERINO, HOST: OK. So, I just want to take a little step back and remember that, yes, of course, the media covers the angle like, OK, was their Trump collusion, Trump involvement, and that has been with the media. And frankly, we have all been talking about it. But remember, the genesis of this report -- it wasn't about any bad dealings on behalf of the Trumps. It was about the Russians.
PERINO: And influence -- attempted influence and basically trying to disrupt our election. And we know from our intelligence agencies and from the Department of Homeland Security that those efforts by the Russians continue to this day, and we're heading into a very important election. So setting aside what is say or doesn't say about how Russia try to get involved with these people if there was involvement, et cetera.
I think that this report could actually be quite instructive about what we need to do to protect our elections going forward. Like how big that threat is. I think that's even more important than anything else, because we, obviously, our country is surviving. We're not in a confrontational crisis. But going forward, if people don't trust the outcome of an election, then it really could all fall apart.
WILLIAMS: That's a great point.
PERINO: Thank you.
WILLIAMS: John Roberts is with us now. John?
JOHN ROBERTS, CORRESPONDENT: Good afternoon to you, Juan. We're expecting very shortly a statement from the president's outside attorneys, Jay Sekulow and Rudy Giuliani. I should have it momentarily on my phone. We'll let you know as soon as I get it.
Earlier this morning, the president said he had no idea, he was in the dark like the rest of us about when this report might come out. But he did his best as he was leaving from Mar-a-Lago this morning to discredit the Mueller investigation, yet again, and whatever the contents of the report might be, again saying that there was no collusion and that there was a witch hunt.
Now, we do not know exactly what the process is going to be from here on. We do know that the special counsel's office has delivered this as it has to by statute to the attorney general. The attorney general will now review it and decide what will be sent to Congress, if anything will be sent to Congress, and what might be made public, if anything will be made public.
Barr said during his confirmation hearings that he will do his best to make as much of the report public as he possibly could. There's also a potential here for the White House to get involved. If there is no material in the report that is subject to executive privilege, the White House might not ask to see it.
But if there is material contained in the report that is subject to executive privilege, that sit on the White House counsel here at 1600 Pennsylvania avenue, may put in a request through the Department of Justice to review it to either waive executive privilege on the items that might be included in, or to request redaction at the Department of Justice.
And then it will be up again to William Barr, the attorney general, and his team to make those reductions or decide if the redactions are necessary before anything was release to Congress and then to the public. It's also possible because, don't forget, this is all within the same branch of government. The office of the special counsel is appointed by the Department of Justice, which is part of the administration.
So this is all under article 2 of the constitution. It would be within the president's purview and his authorization to request to see this report before it goes to Congress. I'm told that that's probably the least likely scenario.
But for now, this is in the hands of the attorney general and we'll see what William Barr decides to do with it. The president said this morning that he has full faith in the attorney general and that he believes that he will make the right decision on what to do next. Juan?
WILLIAMS: John Roberts at the White House. John, thank you very much. Again, to recap for those of you just joining, the Robert Mueller repost has been submitted to the Department of Justice. It's now in the hands of Attorney General William Barr. Now we're joined by Catherine Herridge in our Washington bureau. Catherine?
CATHERINE HERRIDGE, CORRESPONDENT: All right. Just in a few minutes I'm going to head down to the Justice Department, but we've got some information about kind of the tick-tock of events over the last hour. We have confirmed a letter was sent to the chairman and ranking members of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees notifying them to the Special Counsel Robert Mueller investigation was completed.
Let me just read for a second from that text, it says, quote, Special Counsel Robert Mueller the third has concluded his investigation of Russian interference. But this is the important part, Attorney General William Barr says, quote, he may be in a position to advise you, the committees, of the special counsel's principle conclusions as soon as this weekend.
So this is the first time that we have an indication that the attorney general may be able to move very quickly in terms of releasing some information and the findings to Congress. What's none in the letter so far that we've seen is a timetable for a public release. This will process now will be governed by something called 28 CFR 600, that's the code of federal regulation.
It's very explicit that the attorney general receives a confidential report and that there has to be notifications to Congress of the findings, it's a little more vague, on whether that's a summary from the attorney general or whether he can include some of the raw data, if you will, from the Mueller report.
The other thing that's often neglected in this discussion which is stipulated in the regulations is that there is a requirement by the Justice Department to notify Congress of any actions that Special Counsel Robert Mueller wanted to take but was blocked from taking by the attorney general or an acting attorney general. So that's the other thing to really watch.
So again, to recap, things have moved very quickly in the last hour. My contact said they were notified of a short notice meeting on Capitol Hill, Republicans and Democrats, on the House Judiciary Committee, that it would involve the Justice Department. And now we have confirmation of a letter to the ranking members and the chairman of those committees that the Mueller report is now complete, Juan.
WILLIAMS: Catherine, stay with us. Dana has a question.
PERINO: Catherine, I did have a question. It might just be a little bit of a timing thing because when you said that it's possible that the attorney general could -- as soon as this weekend released something -- a couple of weeks ago there were rumors that this report had been delivered to the attorney general.
Do you think it is possible that that is true that the attorney general has had this report and that is why they're making this announcement late on a Friday night, and that they think that they can turn around something because it doesn't seem to me if he was actually just receiving it that he could turn something around that quickly by Sunday?
HERRIDGE: Well, if you look at the regulations, it's very specific about what has to be provided to Congress. It has to provide a catalog and, if you will, of the prosecutions that were brought. And also what they called declinations. So these are decisions and not to proceed with criminal prosecutions because they feel they don't have sufficient evidence to do so.
That is not a lengthy document that goes into the underlying evidence. And the reason I mention that is the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was very clear in a letter to Senator Grassley, the former head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, when he said in effect that he didn't want to repeat the same mistakes that were made in 2016, that it's not the department's position to release information that is damaging to individuals who are never prosecuted for any crimes in the future.
And that was a reference, and it's cited in the letter, to the former FBI Director James Comey, and his decision to publicly discuss the findings in the Clinton email case, but then to recommend against criminal prosecutions.
So the long answer to your concise question is that when you look at the regulations, it's entirely possible to deliver sort of the bare bones of what's required in a very short time frame. The unknown in all of this is whether the Attorney General William Barr will in fact go further because he has some discretion to provide additional information, and that he also feel is within the publics interests to do so.
And that really was at the heart, if you will, or the main element of his testimony during the confirmation hearings, that he pledged to do that to the extent that he was able, Dana.
WILLIAMS: Catherine, thanks. We want to now go to Shannon Bream. Shannon, of course, our Supreme Court reporter. And, Shannon, we're very interested in the future legal fight facing the president.
SHANNON BREAM, ANCHOR: Yeah. Because no matter what happens with this report, you know there are other things that are bubbling out there that could be very problematic for the president on a legal field. You think about the cases that are pending in the southern district of New York, investigations going on there. There're all kinds of things at the state level too in New York that have come with respect to the Trump organization and foundation and other things that the attorney general there has said that they're looking into.
So regardless of whether this concludes the Russia collusion part of the investigation, there are many other things the White House is going to have to still manage on the legal front. And one thing to watch for here, it's possible as parts of the findings of the special counsel eventually are meted out first to top level congressional level leaders. And don't forget the attorney general here, Barr has said he wants to get as much of it out into the public as he can responsively do with any kind of classified information.
It's possible that Congress may at some point try to subpoena even the special counsel or the report itself to have him come before them. That is a fight that you could see go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
So there are still a lot of potential legal pitfalls here for the administration. But the president, certainly, if he feels vindicated and cleared by this report will have plenty to celebrate on that front. It just means there are other issues they're still going to have to pay attention to aside from this report.
WILLIAMS: Dana, you want to jump back in?
PERINO: Shannon, one question for you is that we know that several people have been leading the Mueller investigation to go back to their jobs. But we also know that there is a possibility and that -- maybe this is what you mean, is that maybe there will be some -- no more indictments coming from Mueller, but there are other investigations that were underway and that could continue?
BREAM: Yeah, exactly right. Because when you think about what's going on, on the federal and the state level based out of New York, there are plenty of things that are going on there. That's where we saw these cases with Michael Cohen going on. And there are many other things as I've said with the Trump Foundation, with charities, with different things the family has been involved with, the Trump organization.
So a lot of things were spun off from the special council investigation to some of these other places. Some of them were originated themselves anyway in other ways at the state level. But, yeah, there's a lot.
PERINO: Shannon, can we stop you there because I think Catherine Herridge has some more for us. Catherine?
HERRIDGE: So I wanted to just tell you a little bit more about what the Justice Department, the special counsel, have communicated, Dana, to the congressional committees that have direct oversight. Just a few minutes ago, we talked about how the attorney general had told them -- and I'm reading here, quote, he may also be in a position to advise you, the committees, of the special counsel's principal conclusions as soon as this weekend.
Remember, we've talked about whether there would be more information forth coming? Well, now I have part of that answer because the letter continues from Attorney General William Barr, quote, separately, I intend to consult with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Special Counsel Mueller to determine what other information from the report can be released to Congress and the public consistent with the law, including the special counsel regulations and the department's long-standing practices and policies.
So let me just kind of read between the lines here for you. What's been communicated to Congress is that the attorney general can tell them as soon as this weekend the kind of bare-bones bottom-line findings in the Mueller report. So the prosecutions and what we discuss a few minutes ago, the declinations, the decision not to prosecute because there wasn't sufficient evidence for a conviction.
But based on this latter part of the letter you can see that there's going to be a follow-on discussion with the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and the Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and Attorney General William Barr to consider whether the underlying findings of the investigation can be further released to Congress and then also to the public.
But the key phrase here if I could just emphasize this, in keeping with department regulations, department regulations stipulate, if you will, that you do not release damaging information about individuals who you do not recommend for criminal prosecutions. So that's kind of where the curtain comes down and they've got to find a way to navigate that, Dana.
PERINO: Sounds like a good policy indeed. All right, Catherine Herridge, thank you. Bret Baier, I think that we have you now. Bret Baier, of course, the anchor of Special Report taking over for us here. Bret -- we have you?
BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: This is a Fox News alert. The long-awaited moment has happen. Special Counsel Robert Mueller has given the report over to the Department of Justice earlier this afternoon, handing that report to the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein who then took the report to the Attorney General William Barr.
The White House we're told was notified at about 4:45 in the afternoon before Congress, but then a letter from the attorney general arrived to the House and Senate Judiciary chairman and ranking member, saying that the Mueller report had in fact been received. Now we are in a wait-and-see mode to see exactly what we find out from the conclusions of this investigation.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller has been working all this time. There's been a lot of talk back and forth what may be he could find, what he might not find. But now the attorney general has a decision along with the deputy attorney general speaking with, he says the special counsel, what can and should be put public to Capitol Hill and then to the American public.
There's been a vote on Capitol Hill for full transparency of the special counsel report. In the House, it was 420 to 0. It has not come up in the Senate. President Trump has said that he would be in favor of seeing this report come out public, not knowing what exactly is in it so far.
We await word for what is next, but we can tell you that this is moving forward and that the report itself has been briefed to the attorney general. Both the attorney general and the deputy attorney general have read the report. There is a statement we're just getting right now as I'm speaking from the president's attorney. John Roberts is at the White House with the very latest there. John?
ROBERTS: Hey, Bret, good afternoon to you. We're now finally hearing from the president's attorneys, Jay Sekulow and Rudy Giuliani. Rudy Giuliani flew down just the other day from New York to be here because there was an indication that this report was going to get transmitted to William Barr. Now a joint statement from Jay Sekulow and Rudy Giuliani saying, quote, we are pleased that the office of special counsel has delivered its report to the attorney general pursuant to the regulations. Attorney General Barr will determine the appropriate next steps.
Giuliani was going to go down to Mar-a-Lago to join the president this weekend if this report have not been drop, but now it's likely that he will appear on a number of Sunday morning television shows to talk about their side of the story. Of course, the president, the president's attorneys have maintained all along that there is no collusion, that there's no culpability that the president has in anything that happened in the 2016 election. And they believe that this report will exonerate the president.
Now, we'll see what Catherine Herridge said about that letter that was transmitted from Rod Rosenstein to the then Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley in June of last year. Even if there was any wrongdoing in the part of the president if it does not rise to the level of charges being filed, it may not be included in this report.
But we know from what Attorney General Barr said in a statement from the Department of Justice that we may begin to hear the very earliest conclusions of this report sometime this weekend if they can be transmitted to Congress so that may fill in some of the blanks.
But again, the president's attorneys saying, quote, we are pleased that the office of special counsel has delivered its report to the attorney general pursuant to the regulations, and this now the most important of this. Attorney General Barr will determine the appropriate next steps, whatever those may be. Bret?
BAIER: John Roberts on the North Lawn. We'll come back with any breaking news there. Getting statements now from Capitol Hill. This one from U.S. Senator Mark Warner from Virginia, he is the vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, says, quote, Congress and the American people deserve to judge the facts for themselves, the special counsel's report must be provided to Congress immediately, and the attorney general should swiftly prepare a declassified version of the report for the public. Nothing short of that will suffice.
It's also critical that all documents related to the special counsel's investigation be preserved and made available to the appropriate congressional committees. Any attempt by the Trump administration to cover up the results of this investigation into Russia's attack on our democracy would be unacceptable. That from the Democratic vice chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
The president has said publicly on the South Lawn just the other day that he would be in favor of putting the Mueller report out to the public. He said that decision, as he is accurate to say, is up to the Attorney General William Barr. And we saw that in Barr's confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill peppered numerous times about how he would handle this very moment, when the special counsel's report arrives at his desk.
Joining us now, chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge with what she's hearing. Catherine?
HERRIDGE: Well, thank you, Bret. So I have a copy of the letter that was transmitted earlier this afternoon from the Attorney General William Barr to the two congressional committees with direct oversight, House Judiciary and Senate Judiciary. I just want to note a couple of things in the letter because we've hit most of the headlines already, that he's in receipt of the report and he thinks he may be able to provide to these committees a principal conclusion from the report about prosecutions and decisions not to prosecute as early as this weekend.
And that he would then consider with consultation from Robert Mueller, as well as his Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein how much further to go in this process and this exercise, if you will, in transparency. But when you look at William Barr's letter, what jumps out at me is that it's really by the book. Everything is cited to the code of federal regulations, 28 CFR 600, everything. even the public release of this letter which is the official notification from the attorney general to Congress that the report has been received.
So that tells me that Barr is very new in this job but he's also sending a very clear message in this letter that he's going to be a by the book kind of guy according to the code of federal regulations when it comes to this information. And specifically when you look at the letter, how much additional information can be provided. And the principal players here have released, staked out their position on that, which is not to go beyond department guidelines.
And again, we've said this repeatedly during the hour, the guidelines and regulations are very specific about not providing information or evidence that's damaging to an individual when the prosecution was not pursued. So again, folks at home can see this letter now. It's public. It's on line. And the attorney general, it's by the book. It's 28 CFR 600. And the different parts that apply, and specifically at the bottom he says he's elected to release this letter because there is a provision within the regulation that it can be released if he believes it's in the public interest and that's what he states here.
Just a final point if I could, there's been a lot of talk this week about how the notification process would work especially for the president's lawyers. And what we've learned just from John Roberts' reporting is that they were given a very short timeline, a very short heads up. And I know from previous discussions, those close to the team had anticipated a much lengthier heads up, maybe several hours to prepare for the ultimate confrontation that the report had been provided to the attorney general. But that for whatever reason was not the case here, Bret.
BAIER: Catherine, thank you. Let's make some calls, see if we get more information, we'll head back when we do. Sarah Sanders, White House Press Secretary, tweeting just moments ago saying the next steps are up to Attorney General Barr, and we look forward to the process taking its course. The White House has not received or been briefed on the special counsel's report. Making clear that they haven't been briefed on the details within, but they were told at 4:45 this afternoon that in fact the special counsel had delivered the report to the Department of Justice.
Joining us now our chief justice correspondent and also the anchor of Fox News at Night, Shannon Bream. Shannon, you know, to hear Catherine talk about it the by the book language in this letter sent to the judiciary committee chairman and ranking members, we saw Rod Rosenstein in this 12- page letter where he said essentially that.
Opposite of what we saw with James Comey when he came out and talk about Hillary Clinton's email situation that she wasn't getting indicted, but yet here's what happened and did wrong. Rosenstein saying by the book, the FBI, the Justice Department, any special counsel is not supposed to do that.
BREAM: Yeah, I think that was a case study what happened with James Comey, then the FBI director. And Hillary Clinton was a case study for this time around that this Justice Department is not going to play any games. They're probably won't be a big public statement about who is not going to be indicted, but yet spelling out all of the facts involving the decision, getting to that place.
And as Sarah Sanders tweeted there that they have not been given an advance copy. The White House has not been briefed on this. There was a discussion along the way by one of the president's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who had talked about them wanting to see any final report before it was released. And he may have been referring to what Barr will eventually release that they may want to exert some type of executive privilege or other, you know, means for crafting or putting a spin in some way on one of these reports before it goes public.
Patrick Leahy one of the top Democrat in the Senate, been around, seen many of these things before, pointedly asked the Attorney General Barr if the president's legal team would have a chance to alter in any way any kind of report that he was going to issue. And his quote was, that will not happen.
So, yes, it looks like this department is going to try to do everything it can to salvage the public reputation of this investigation and of the department itself. They know a lot is on the line. They have taken a beating in public. All of those involved with this investigation, being called a witch hunt, a fishing exhibition, and all these other things.
I think Barr, new on the job as the attorney general, very much wants to restore the integrity, the public perception of this institution so that all Americans can feel like the Justice Department is something that is a political and it is about investigating facts and nothing more, nothing less. And it seems like this rolled out today certainly indicates that, Bret.
BAIER: Shannon, thanks. We'll head back with more details. The Special Counsel Barr writes, has submitted to me today a confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination of decisions he has reached as required to advise you of the special counsel's principal conclusions as soon as this weekend, according to Barr in this letter.
Separately intend to consult the Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein and Special Counsel Mueller to determine what other information from the report can be release to Congress and the public consistent with the law including the special counsel regulations. Sticking to he says the department's long- standing practices and policies.
Joining us now from New York, who usually see this hour, Juan Williams and Dana Perino. First to you, Dana. Listen, we should step back and say that this special counsel, Robert Mueller and his team were task with a narrow task to investigate Russia's into their moves into the election, and if there was a tie to the Trump campaign. And we will know sooner rather than later what the fallout from this is.
PERINO: Yeah. When we first found out at the beginning of this hour, the news that the report has been delivered to the attorney general, one thing I ask people to remember is that, well, of course, the president wants to know what it's going to say about him and his campaign and any associates from the campaign, there is also something very instructive for America coming from this report, we would imagine. And that is the extent to which Russia tried to interfere in America's election.
We also know from our intelligence agencies that that those efforts continue and I don't think that in this report they're going to say, "Here's how we recommend America handle it going forward". But knowing the extent to which Russia went - now remember because there were 26 Russians who were indicted in one of these Mueller reports or Mueller actions.
And so, of course, we don't know all the details on that, maybe this report will tell us that, I do think that aside from the questions of Trump campaign interference with the Russians or collusion, that's one thing. But the other thing really has to be what Russia - what lengths that it went to try to disrupt our elections and how those efforts continue to this day.
If I could say one thing about the White House and the Justice Department relationship, I worked in both. I was a spokesperson of the Justice Department before going to the White House. It is super important. And I think America should feel reassured that the Attorney General is William Barr.
He stands the building, he understands the integrity of it and how important it is to uphold it, especially at a time when everybody's wanting to see what this report will say. The fact that the White House is saying we have not received the report, we have not received a briefing about the report, I think that allows everyone to say that they have been not interfering in a Special Counsel. That they're going to let this report come out and that will speak volumes going forward.
BAIER: Juan, the House has already approved a non-binding resolution urging the Mueller report be publicized. The Senate has not yet taken that up, we talked about that earlier. There are all these statements coming from Capitol Hill now that there needs to be transparency. Your thoughts on this moment and what Attorney General Barr is facing?
WILLIAMS: Well, I don't think there's any doubt about it. Bret, this is a historic moment. We've been waiting two years for this. Now we know that it's in the hands of the Attorney General and he has to make historic decisions about this historic document.
I will say there's so many questions still on the table. The last indictment was in, January Roger stone. We don't know of any indictments since, we don't know of any plans for future indictments.
But there's word that there are 12 sealed indictments still in D.C. federal courts and we are also curious as to the extent - the extent to which the future prosecutions might take place. We heard some of this earlier from Catherine Herridge in the Southern District of New York with regard to the President's business dealings.
We don't know exactly where that's going to go. What we can say is that yesterday, Thursday, the Attorney General Barr and the Deputy Attorney General Rob Rosenstein visited the White House. We don't know what was said in that meeting, but apparently nothing about the contents of the report.
The President said this morning, as we was leaving that we didn't know when the report might come out. So we are kind of in between right now, hoping that there might be something said quickly. Because the anxiety level over the last week, not only in Washington, but for all federal prosecutors involved with this, and specifically here in New York, has been very high with anticipation.
And I think it's going to be and more accelerated now that we know that the report is in Bill Barr's hands. Barr has said that the President, in his opinion, can't be indicted, and that's a general - that's a consensus across the board in terms of Justice Department policy. If that's the case, then does that mean that we can't be told anything until he potentially leaves office? Again we don't know.
But I think that the pressure is on for Bill Barr to say something as quickly as possible, because it's not just political pressure, but I think that pressure of history is on his shoulders.
BAIER: We should point out, Juan, that DOJ officials are telling our folks there and hinting that they may in fact tell Capitol Hill the conclusions of this report as soon as this weekend. And the Attorney General in his letter to the Judiciary Committee Chairs and Ranking Members said as much that it may come, and they're suggesting that in fact that may be the case.
Dana, at this hour, the Special Counsel Robert Mueller is still the Special Counsel. But officially the Russia investigation is over. The President, through his lawyer, is saying that he's pleased that this has finally happened. But we are in this limbo state now. We are waiting for details. The implication of this politically, what do you think it is?
PERINO: Well, I also want to just point out, I just got a note from a source of mine, that's familiar with the Justice Department. And he said on his read that, because this is not public yet, and because they're saying just conclusions by the weekend, he thinks that actually could be quite a while before everybody is fully satisfied with getting as much information as they want.
So even if they were able to do conclusions by this weekend, there's going to be people from Trump supporters saying well we want to see the underlying FISA documents that led to Carter Page being surveilled. And on the Left, they're going to say we want to know more about XY&Z. And so the pressure on the Justice Department is great.
Politically, I got to say - I think it's still - we have to wait and see. History has a long reach of it the campaigns, of course, don't have that long of a reach. We're headed into a reelection effort. There is strong polarization in the country with President Trump supporters stalwart in their support. And the Left's stalwart in its resistance.
I don't know if this report is actually going to satisfy either of those or move the needle at all, perhaps with independent voters. But I think when we get down to it, because we're in March of 2015, by the time you get to the election in November of 2020. This could be old news.
WILLIAMS: You know, I just want to jump in here Bret and say that I think that there's going to be a contest - picking up on Dana Perino's comment - a contest of spin and interpretation with regard to this document.
I think you're going to hear from Rudy Giuliani, Jay Sekulow the President's lawyers, that given that the report is out, there's no more need for Congressional Investigations into Russian interference or the President's business dealings that, that would amount to some kind of interference in a legitimately elected President's business.
So I think that you can anticipate that and of course you're going to hear that on different outlets given their political orientation. But from the Left, I think you're going to hear the contrary that, Mueller, given that we don't know what was not released by the Attorney General Barr, that the Congress has an obligation to continue its investigations.
So even though this is a very historic moment in my mind, I don't think that it's an endpoint.
BAIER: Yes. Well, I don't think it's an endpoint either based on what you see from Democrats on Capitol Hill. But if it turns out that the President somehow is exonerated or there isn't a lot of there-there on this report, he will clearly use that as a cudgel to stop the other investigations.
Mitch McConnell the Senate Majority Leader has just put out a statement moments ago saying he welcomes the announcement of the final completed investigation into the 2016 elections. He says, "Many Republicans have long believed that Russia poses a significant threat to American interests. I hope the Special Counsel's report will help and improve our efforts to protect our democracy".
He goes on to say, "He's grateful for the experience and capability of the Attorney General Bill Barr and now he needs - the Attorney General needs time to do that", in other words to digest the Special Counsel's report. Mitch McConnell, moments ago putting out of statement.
Judge Andrew Napolitano, Senior Judicial Analyst for Fox News joins us on the phone now. Judge, I keep pointing out about this - I keep pointing out that the Special Counsel had a narrow focus at the beginning. Judge talk about that.
ANDREW NAPOLITANO, SENIOR JUDICIAL ANALYST (via telephone): Well we know that he expanded the focus, because of the discovery of totally unrelated evidence of criminality and he succeeded as far as we can tell in indicting. And at least in case of - in the case of one of those two people Paul Manafort prosecuting and convicting for that.
My guess is that since Mueller did send some things, particularly the prosecution of Michael Cohen, up to the Southern District of New York. If he has found other evidence of crimes not in any way related to either his original role or his slightly expanded role, he has done the same thing with that evidence.
He can't pretend he hasn't seen it, but it might not be appropriate for him to use. I expect that that will be discussed in the report as well. He'll tell us what he found and why didn't prosecute and what he did with it.
BAIER: Judge, you rightly point out, there are other investigations ongoing. We mentioned the Democrats up on Capitol Hill, but there's also the Southern District of New York. This Special Counsel report on the Russian investigation does not deal with any of that. But it does deal with specifically the allegation that there might be some collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia that affected the election. That is what this report deals with.
NAPOLITANO (via telephone): Well, that's specifically the question that everybody wants to know the answer to.
BAIER: I mean "Yes" or "No"?
NAPOLITANO (via telephone): I don't know if he's going to say "Yes" or "No". I mean, the DOJ has three reports. And whether the President can be indicted, three expert opinions on it, two say "No", one says "Yes".
But they all say if there's evidence of crimes where the Statute of Limitations would expire during the President's term. But a secret indictment should be had and kept sealed, if you can imagine such a document being kept secret, until after the President is out of office.
There are also, I need to add Bret, things that the law does not permit Bill Barr to reveal. So if evidence to a Grand Jury was given, which did not result in an indictment that evidence cannot be revealed. If classified materials were shared to a Grand Jury, whether they produced an indictment or not, they can't be revealed if.
Federal undercover officials testified before a Grand Jury, whether that produced an indictment or not, their identities cannot be revealed. So Bob Mueller knows this. Bill Barr and his team know this. I would imagine that Bill Barr and his team are looking for things like this now, lest they inadvertently violate the law themselves by revealing what the law commands be kept secret.
BAIER: Judge, stand by if you would, as we go through this step-by-step. We are getting new information. The DOJ, not telling us much, we're even asking how long is this report - the Special Counsel report telling our producer they won't tell how many pages it is, but that it is quote "Comprehensive".
There was also all this talk that the President throughout these two years was going to fire Special Counsel Mueller or he was somehow going to be blocked from investigating. Catherine Herridge joins us again with more from that letter and the Attorney General sending to Capitol Hill.
HERRIDGE: Well Bret, this letter is very, very crisp and concise with its language. And every time you read it, there's something else that kind of comes to the fore. And a line that's caught my attention is related to CFR 600.9(a)(3) and that is a section of the Code of Federal Regulations that relates to whether Robert Mueller wanted to take any actions that were inappropriate.
And if they were blocked by the Attorney General or the Acting Attorney General, they have a responsibility to notify Congress. And what the Attorney General tells Congress in the letter is that he confirms the - understand the statute they found nothing that indicated that Robert Mueller had acted inappropriately or beyond his scope in the Russia investigation and actions that he requested to take were not blocked by anyone within the department.
So that's another important element that Robert Mueller, according to the Attorney General, acted appropriately and investigative steps that he wanted to take in this case were not blocked by anyone within the Justice Department, Bret.
BAIER: Well, Catherine on this other issue that Judge mentioned on the sealed indictments. We don't know obviously a lot about that. But there are more than three dozen sealed criminal indictments awaiting action in DC federal court. Three of them were filed in February alone. We don't even know the nature of these or whether they--
HERRIDGE: I don't - haven't confirmed that independently. I don't know what the source of that is because--
BAIER: OK. This is coming from our Producer William Mears - Bill Mears.
HERRIDGE: OK. Go ahead just read it.
BAIER: I'm just reading it.
HERRIDGE: Yes, go ahead.
BAIER: Three of them were filed in February alone, while we do not know the nature of these sealed indictments, I'm told it's highly unusual number. So while Mueller's investigation is ending. U.S. Attorneys' Offices in D.C. and elsewhere could still pursue other pending investigations or indictments.
HERRIDGE: Well, I trust a Bill Mears' reporting 100%. I don't want to speculate on what could be in those sealed indictments, however, or what they may mean to --
BAIER: Yes, of course, not. I mean, just--
HERRIDGE: Yes, go ahead.
BAIER: All right. I just wanted to get your sense of that. We'll keep on digging here. We'll come back as you get nuggets throughout the afternoon.
BAIER: As we continue, Peter Doocy is up on in Washington with some info. Peter?
PETER DOOCY, CORRESPONDENT: Bret, we've now heard from the top Democrats in Congress, Nancy Pelosi who recently said that she's not interested in pursuing impeachment proceedings at any point against President Trump.
And Chuck Schumer, who said, "Let's just wait for the Mueller report". So I'm going to read to from a joint statement from both Pelosi and Schumer it says. "Now that Special Counsel Mueller has submitted his report to the Attorney General, it is imperative for Mr. Barr to make the full report public and provide its underlying documentation and findings to Congress.
Attorney General Barr must not give President Trump his lawyers or his staff any sneak preview of Special Counsel Mueller's findings or evidence, and the White House must not be allowed to interfere in decisions about what parts of those findings or evidence are made public.
The Special Counsel's investigation focused on questions that go to the integrity of our democracy itself. Whether foreign powers corruptly interfered in our elections and whether unlawful means were used to hinder that investigation, the American people have a right to the truth. The watchword is transparency".
And separate from that Bret, I just spoke on the phone to a key Trump ally on the Republican side on Capitol Hill who said, "The fact that we found out the report had been submitted, but did not instantly find out about new indictments, this lawmaker thinks is a positive step for the President".
And again Republicans are - seem pleased at least for now that the word collusion has not been used by anybody at the Justice Department, even though we don't know what's in the report, Bret.
BAIER: Yes. Peter, thank you. Senator Lindsey Graham who's now the Head of the Judiciary Committee, the Chair, releasing a statement moments ago saying that, "This notification indicates that Attorney General Barr will pursue as much transparency as possible". That is the watchword up on Capitol Hill.
Adding though, importantly, the notification also indicates that there were no areas of disagreement between the Attorney General or the Acting Attorney General and Special Counsel Mueller regarding courses of action. This information is specifically required to be disclosed by the regulations governing Special Counsel reports.
He says, "He'll work with the Ranking Member Feinstein and the colleagues to get as much transparency as possible. I have always believed it was important that Mr. Mueller be allowed to do his job without interference and that has been accomplished".
Some of the things that Katherine Harris is just pointing to that, "None of the Mueller requests or investigations were blocked in any way and that there is a consensus on ways forward at least now from the Attorney General, the Special Counsel and the Deputy Attorney General who at one time was the acting Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein".
Joining us now on the phone Senior Political Analyst Brit Hume, Brit your thoughts in this moment.
BRIT HUME, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST (via telephone): Well a couple of things to keep in mind, Bret. Remember, when the original letter was written appointing Robert Mueller, he was tasked - originally the first task given him was to take over the counterintelligence investigation and it's been undertaken under James Comey into what the Russians did.
And as a subset of that is, the possibility of that there was any collaboration between the Russians and the Trump campaign was to be investigated as well. So it never was principally about what was going to be called so often collusion.
It was first and foremost an effort to find out what exactly the Russians did. That was the investigation he assumed. So we - I think we can anticipate, Bret, that while there may not be - be no further criminal charges growing out of the Mueller investigation, the report will have a lot to say about what the Russians did, tried to do, how they did it, and all that which, I think is something we all want to know.
It may give us a sense for the first time really of - really how effective it was and whether it could possibly have made any kind of significant difference in the outcome of the election.
BAIER: It's interesting to see these men who are now in charge, Bill Barr, who you've known in Washington for quite some time, the Attorney General under George H. W. Bush now back in that seat. Rod Rosenstein, in his position has been under fire for quite some time. But both by the book guys by their history and by their previous experience.
HUME (via telephone): Yes. And as been pointed out by others, including - I think Shannon Bream made the point that these are men who, I think it's fair to say, are deeply preoccupied with the task of getting the Justice Department back in the nations good graces and trying to wipe away the stains that have occurred there because of the behavior of certain officials at the department as officials at the at the FBI, so a lots riding on this.
And you can see that - as the outlines of these men and their efforts to abide by the regulations, go by the book, and of course that insulates them to some extent as well from any political criticism. You could hear that the partisanship embodied
BAIER: Brit let me interrupt you for one second --
HUME (via telephone): --in the statements that were coming on Capitol Hill and--
BAIER: Let me interrupt you real quick Brit.
HUME (via telephone): --and I think that's to be expected and stand within the regulations is a good way to defend against that.
BAIER: Excuse me, Brit, sorry to interrupt. Senior Department of Justice official telling our own Jake Gibson, "Special Counsel Mueller is not recommending any further indictments". Again, the news coming from the Department of Justice, a Senior DOJ official "Special Counsel Robert Mueller not recommending any further indictments". Your reaction.
HUME (via telephone): That's significant, Bret. Although, I think it's - when it comes to this, the question we're all waiting finally at long last for the answer to, this honest question of collaboration. It's been discussed at some length throughout all this, whether if there were such collaboration it would be a crime.
And if Mr. Mueller decides that no indictments should ensue because of that, that doesn't necessarily mean he didn't find any improper - hanky- panky between the between the Trump campaign and the Russians. It may just be that he found that it wasn't criminal.
Now my own sense about this is that, it's hard to imagine that has come as far as we have with as much effort has been made to investigate this whole matter both inside and outside the government, that if there'd been any such thing that we wouldn't have heard about it by now.
But it's it is worth keeping in mind that now there is this a legal question of whether if it had been turned up it would have even been a crime, and therefore whether if there are no further indictments that might not mean that they found nothing improper.
BAIER: Sure. Yes. I mean, there's a lot that we don't know yet. But that sentence in and of itself, after all of the months and months of speculation of what could happen, the fact that they are saying that this Special Counsel report does not recommend any further indictments, is significant and of itself just on its face.
Its right to point out that the Southern District of New York is continuing its investigation, that there are more investigations on Capitol Hill. But if this report, Brit, does not deliver the punch that perhaps critics of the President or Democrats had had hoped it would and it seemed like it the coverage over recent days there was a preparation for that fact up on Capitol Hill.
If it doesn't, will the President then take that and say, "See I told you so, you need to stop and move on and get things done".
HUME (via telephone): Yes. He undoubtedly will say that. And I would suggest this, Bret, that the Democrats on Capitol Hill have already been signaling that even if he doesn't find anything in the neighborhood of collaboration, that he - that they intend to pursue that issue further particularly, Adam Schiff on the House Intelligence Committee intends to pursue that.
I think if Mueller comes out and there is nothing suggesting improper behavior between the President and the Russians before the election, I think a lot of the political wind will go out of those sails, because a lot of people will look at this and say "Come on. I mean, you've been talking - you've been pursuing this all this time. Now Mueller whose long awaited report is upon us, he didn't find anything. What are you doing?"
So my sense about that is that that, while those investigations might drag on, they may have to drag on with a lot less media attention than they once would have hoped for.
BAIER: Brit, as always, thank you. We'll be checking in. And we've been waiting for this report - this moment for a long, long time. It seemed it was coming a week ago, two weeks ago. Then it was any day. And then we didn't know.
Just for the official record, including today, the Mueller Special Counsel probe has lasted 675 days or 1 year, 10 months and six days. It has been talked about in recent days, the President, the Democrats talking about what may happen once it comes out. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT: I have no idea about the Mueller report. There was no collusion. There was no obstruction, everybody knows it. It's all a big hoax. I call it the witch-hunt. It's all a big hoax. So we'll see what happens. I know that the Attorney General, highly respected, ultimately will make a decision.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is an important national security investigation that we just have to allow to run its course. The House just voted 420 to 0, to make sure that when Bob Muller completes his work and finishes his report, that that report can be seen by the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: And we pointed out, before the House passed that the Senate has not taken that up, Shannon Bream joins us again. Shannon, thoughts?
BREAM: Well, when you think about this, Dana Perino, brought up a great point. She talked about the fact that both sides are going to want to see the underlying documentation. Even if some form, as we know, eventually of the report is going to be released by the Attorney General, they want to see the underlying interviews, documents, everything that Mueller had.
Now the Democrats want this for a number of reasons, I think. As Brit was just talking about, they may want to use it to try to pursue impeachment, because there's a different level, a different standard of proof if you're going to pursue an indictment or prosecution versus an impeachment. So that may be beneficial to them in that way.
It may also force a very nasty legal standoff, because the Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, has said I'm going to be on Barr like nobody's business. I'm going to see if he's trying to bury any part of this.
And there's talk that the Chairs of those important Committees, House Judiciary and Intel, of course, now both controlled by Democrats that they could try to subpoena Mueller, some of his investigators, some of the documents and that could set up a really nasty battle.
As you know, the Justice Department falls within the executive branch. The president heads the executive branch. If it came to it and there were subpoenas, he could conceivably tell them not to comply with those subpoenas, that's something I expect would take you almost immediately to the Supreme Court or in very quick fashion.
So there are a lot of legal things that could still play out here for the President, because we know that regardless of what version of the report comes out, we've heard the statements leading up to it. They are consistent again today from Democratic leaders saying every bit of this has to be public.
It's about transparency, the American people have a right to know and we're getting things from the ACLU and other Left-leaning groups, it's the exact same language. So I would not be surprised that they try to push for full release of as much information as they can get, Bret.
BAIER: And we should know something about that in coming days. Again, we said earlier that the Attorney General and the Department of Justice indicating it could be as soon as this weekend.
The Attorney General, an interesting character, obviously newly into the seat and just confirmed, but he's been there before. Catherine Herridge back with us now about Attorney General Barr.
HERRIDGE: Well, I think letter that has now been made public by the Attorney General, Bret, and folks can see it at home online. It tells you a lot about his approach on this issue. As you noted, William Barr has been Attorney General for a few weeks now, but he heard the job previously. And the letter makes clear that he's going to go by the book when it comes to the Mueller report.
The letter here cites extensively from the Code of Federal Regulations 28 CFR 600, and it tells Congress that part of the obligation is to notify them of the prosecutions and declinations, those are the cases where the Special Counsel felt it was sufficient to recommend a criminal prosecution.
Also it notes, I think it's very important, that according to the Statute, the Attorney General has an obligation to tell Congress whether they concluded the Special Counsel had covered outside the lines, if you will, had overstepped their boundaries and acted in an appropriate way. And Barr says in the letter that there was no evidence of that. And it also sort of works both ways that he was not blocked from taking actions that he felt were appropriate.
And finally, at the very bottom of the letter here, he specifically states that he is making this letter public, because he has the latitude under the regulations to do so, if he feels it's in the public interest.
Again, the theme that comes across to me from the letter from Attorney General is that he is approaching this in a very neutral, by the book, trying to make as much information public as possible, as he did with the letter.
He's promised to notify Congress as early as this weekend about the principal points, and then he's going to a longer conversation with Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein about what more maybe forthcoming in the near future, Bret.
BAIER: Catherine, thank you.
HERRIDGE: You're welcome.
BAIER: We'll be back from break in details. Just coming out from Rudy Giuliani, the President's lawyer, telling our own John Roberts, "This marks the end of the investigation. This is about the news that Mueller is not recommending any further indictments with this Special Counsel report".
Saying, "This marks the end of the investigation. We await the disclosure of the facts. We are confident there is no finding of collusion by the President and this underscores what the President has been saying from the beginning that he did nothing wrong".
Joining us now is Chris Wallace, Host of Fox News Sunday. Chris, your thoughts.
CHRIS WALLACE, HOST FOX NEWS SUNDAY: Well, Rudy Giuliani is - unless he's seen the reports, and there is no indication he has seen the report, is being awfully optimistic there when he says it's the end of the investigation. We don't know what's in the report. Let's be clear about that. We don't know what Mueller found.
And we know that Mueller, according to senior justice official talking to our reporters say, that there is no recommendation of further indictment. But that doesn't really say very much because under the office of legal counsel, there is a belief that the Justice Department's policy has been that you can't indict a sitting President. So that doesn't mean they either found or didn't find anything wrong in terms of the actions of the President.
We are going to get in the situation now and when we have to obviously have to wait and see how much the Attorney General Barr is going to make available to members of Congress, especially to the members of the Judiciary Committees on this.
But you can assume that House Democrats, particularly they are in the majority, so they will have more control than the Senate Democrats, are going to as full a report as possible. Because if you take the argument that the President can't be indicted, then the only possible avenue under the constitution would be possible impeachment.
Not saying there is grounds for impeachment, but one would assume that House Democrats are going to say we want to see what Mueller found with regard to the President, so we can make an independent determination as to whether he's subject to high crimes and misdemeanors under the Constitution.
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