KABOOM! CNN Admits No Further Mueller Indictments Is a ‘Huge Victory for the President’

Talk about a bad day to be analysts, commentators, hosts, and pundits at CNN who had been wanting the First Family’s legal situation to end in criminal charges and for the Trump presidency to end in disgrace. 

On Friday afternoon after the Mueller Report had been handed over to Attorney General Bill Barr, chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin and crime and justice reporter Shimon Prokupecz conceded that the lack of further indictments (sealed or unsealed) in relation to the Mueller probe is a “huge victory for the President” and “really good news” for individuals who had been subject to endless media speculation.

 

 

How bad did it get? Two CNN personalities even admitted that Trump “had been vindicated.” More on that shortly.

After Laura Jarrett delivered the news that there would be no further indictments (or recommended ones), Prokupecz told host Wolf Blitzer that this was “probably one of the most significant pieces of information of all this because there's been so much speculation from everywhere” that “more is coming.” 

In the end, he noted “that’s not happening” even though there are other investigations that are Russia-related out there.

“So, the investigation itself in terms of other parts of this is not over. It's very important — it's a very important line and there's a reason why they're saying this. No other indictments from Robert Mueller,” he added.

Toobin then interjected and disregarded a setup from Blitzer so he could emphatically assert that everyone should “be specific” about this because “[t]his is really good news for a lot of people around Donald Trump.”

He then elaborated (click “expand”):

TOOBIN: Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Jerome Corsi, the writer who had a draft indictment presented to him by Mueller's office and they decided not to go forward with this. I mean, this is — you know, let's be fair here.

PROKUPECZ: That’s right.

TOOBIN: There has been a lot of suspicion around certain people and a lot of, you know, negative things have been said and criminal imputation of criminal activity and Donald and — Mueller has said, I am not proceeding and it is — there is no better news to receive than you are not being indicted by the United States government. 

BLITZER: Jeffrey, you once worked as a prosecutor. So, when the senior Justice official tells Laura Jarrett the special counsel is not recommending any further indictments, can we conclude there have been no sealed indictments that would be unsealed at some point down the road? 

TOOBIN: Well, I — boy, Wolf, you are like a lawyer. That's an interesting question. I think the answer is, we can assume that. That is a very good follow-up question, but I think that would be very coy if no further indictments — that — that, you know, in plain English, it means to me that there are no further indictments.

Blitzer tried to pry the door back open that people could be indicted, but Jarrett stepped into put that to rest: “Wolf, I was channeling you. I asked that very same question. I pressed them at length. Sealed, unsealed, in any form, you’re telling me that this is not coming down the pike in any way in the coming weeks and months and I was told, unequivocally, no. It's done.”

As alluded to near the top, things got worse for Trump critics thanks to this from chief political analyst Gloria Borger and crime and justice reporter Evan Perez (click “expand”):

BORGER: So if, as Jeffrey is saying, they get great news, the great news is there's no more indictments, but if suddenly the president has to say those angry Democrats who were working with Bob Mueller were actually just part of a Justice Department doing its job after he has criticized the Justice Department — 

PEREZ: And he had been vindicated by them, essentially.

BORGER: — vindicated and he’s now vindicated, exactly. How, you know, how do you manage that politically?

“Vindicated?” Yes. They used the word “vindicated.”

A few minutes later, Prokupecz reiterated for the good of the order that the Trump team and White House “have a couple of victories”:

The President did not have to sit down for an interview. They were so concerned about that because he could get caught up in lies and there’d be perjury traps. Okay, so that's now over. No more people being indicted. Sealed, unsealed, no more indictments. Mueller is done. Huge victory for the President. 

Editor's Note, 7:13 p.m. Eastern: This post has been updated to include comments from Borger and Perez.

To see the relevant transcript from CNN’s The Situation Room on March 22, click “expand.”

CNN’s The Situation Room
March 22, 2019
5:53 p.m. Eastern

SHIMON PROKUPECZ: This line that we're getting now from the justice official that Laura Jarrett is talking to is probably one of the most significant pieces of information of all this because there's been so much speculation from everywhere. A lot of pundits, certainly. People on both sides, Democrats, Republicans, all speculating, certainly a lot of people speculating more is coming. Robert Mueller will indict. That's not happening, right? That's a very important point and I think what you said, Robert, the fact that this is now — there are parts of this investigation as we have seen — Evan talked about curious connections. There are a lot of curious connections. The FBI is going to continue to investigate those curious investigation — connections. That is not ending any time soon. There's an entire counterintelligence investigation into Russia. There are other people certainly that are involved that they are investigating. So, the investigation itself in terms of other parts of this is not over. It's very important — it's a very important line and there's a reason why they're saying this. No other indictments from Robert Mueller. 

BLITZER: Can we assume —

JEFFREY TOOBIN: But can — can —

BLITZER: — I will ask Jeffrey. Can we assume -- 

TOOBIN: Well, I mean — you know —

BLITZER: Jeffrey —

TOOBIN: Let's be specific. This is really good news —

GLORIA BORGER: Yes.

PROKUPECZ: Yes.

TOOBIN: — for a lot of people around Donald Trump. Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Jerome Corsi, the writer who had a draft indictment presented to him by Mueller's office and they decided not to go forward with this. I mean, this is — you know, let's be fair here.

PROKUPECZ: That’s right.

TOOBIN: There has been a lot of suspicion around certain people and a lot of, you know, negative things have been said and criminal imputation of criminal activity and Donald and — Mueller has said, I am not proceeding and it is — there is no better news to receive than you are not being indicted by the United States government. 

BLITZER: Jeffrey, you once worked as a prosecutor. So, when the senior Justice official tells Laura Jarrett the special counsel is not recommending any further indictments, can we conclude there have been no sealed indictments that would be unsealed at some point down the road? 

TOOBIN: Well, I — boy, Wolf, you are like a lawyer. That's an interesting question. I think the answer is, we can assume that. That is a very good follow-up question, but I think that would be very coy if no further indictments — that — that, you know, in plain English, it means to me that there are no further indictments.

BORGER: Yeah.

EVAN PEREZ: That’s not — that’s not the way Robert Mueller behaves.

BLITZER: Let me ask Laura that question and it's your reporting that the special counsel is recommending — not recommending further indictments. As far as you know, have there been sealed indictments that potentially down the road for whatever reason could be unsealed? 

LAURA JARRETT: Wolf, I was channelling you. I asked that very same question. I pressed them at length. Sealed, unsealed, in any form, you’re telling me that this is not coming down the pike in any way in the coming weeks and months and I was told, unequivocally, no. It's done.

(....)

5:59 p.m. Eastern

BORGER: So if, as Jeffrey is saying, they get great news, the great news is there's no more indictments, but if suddenly the president has to say those angry Democrats who were working with Bob Mueller were actually just part of a Justice Department doing its job after he has criticized the Justice Department — 

PEREZ: And he had been vindicated by them, essentially.

BORGER: — vindicated and he’s now vindicated, exactly. How, you know, how do you manage that politically?

(....)

6:03 p.m. Eastern

PROKUPECZ: They have a couple of victories, I mean, right? 

BORGER: Mmmhmm. Different tone.

PROKUPECZ: Pam was highlighting it. The President did not have to sit down for an interview. They were so concerned about that because he could get caught up in lies and there’d be perjury traps. Okay, so that's now over. No more people being indicted. Sealed, unsealed, no more indictments. Mueller is done. Huge victory for the President. 

NB Daily Mueller Report Trump-Russia probe CNN The Situation Room Video Government & Press Robert Mueller Evan Perez Jeffrey Toobin Wolf Blitzer Gloria Borger Laura Jarrett Donald Trump Bill Barr
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