On Wednesday, Special Counsel Robert Mueller held a press conference on the Russia investigation and the subsequent investigation into obstruction of justice. Mueller’s statement wasn’t very revealing, but that didn’t keep the liberal media from declaring President Trump guilty and jumping on the impeachment train yet again.
CNN had breaking news coverage of the presser, and just after Mueller left the stage the panel started on a crusade to see who could bend Mueller’s words the most in under an hour. CNN Justice reporter Laura Jarrett was inside the Justice Department when Mueller held the conference and apparently believed that “he clearly felt constrained by the long-standing DOJ protocol on not indicting a sitting president.”
This was only the beginning of the flurry of misleading commentary that left the mouths of the panelists. Michael Zeldin, a former assistant to Robert Mueller, stated that “the Trump Administration was receptive” to Russian interference despite a lack of evidence. CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash one-upped Zeldin when she had this doozy of a statement:
BASH: Which the other way to look at it is that, he's saying, look, the president, you know, could have committed a crime here, maybe did commit a crime here. Because he -- by saying explicitly, if I could clear him, I would have. The flip side of that is he committed a crime and didn’t have the power…
KING: Not an option –
BASH: …to constitutionally pursue it to trial and therefore it was unfair to make that accusation.
Not only does Bash contradict herself, she told an outright lie to her audience. Moments before her statement, Situation Room host Wolf Blitzer rolled a clip of Mueller:
The order appointing me Special Counsel authorized us to investigate actions that could obstruct the investigation. Now, we conducted that investigation and we kept the Office of the Acting Attorney General apprised of the progress of our work. And as set forth in the report, after that investigation, if we had had confidence that the President clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so. We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the President did commit a crime.
Bash, an “objective” reporter for the “most trusted name in news,” declared the guilt of Trump without evidence. She, like many others on her network, are quick to twist the words of Mueller in an attempt to continue the liberal media’s narrative on Trump and to cast more doubt into the legitimacy of his presidency.
The segment wrapped up nicely when CNN senior Justice correspondent Evan Perez spouted off that “the only reason why” the Department of Justice didn’t charge Trump with obstruction was because of guidance from the Office of Legal Counsel. It seems that the entirety of CNN has forgotten about the presumption of innocence.
Here is the complete transcript from their exchange:
CNN's At This Hour
May 29, 2019
11:15 a.m. Eastern
WOLF BLITZER: Laura Jarrett is over at the Justice Department. You were there inside the room, Laura, when the Special Counsel spoke out. What were you seeing?
LAURA JARRETT: Well, it was interesting, Wolf, he was by himself. I had wondered whether members of his team, his core deputies would be there along with him, some of the faces that we've seen in court when he hasn't been there. And today, it was really just he by himself. There were some top-level officials from the Justice Department in the Criminal Division, the National Security Division, the Deputy Attorney General's office, which has been overseeing this investigation for the better part of two years, but Mueller was by himself. Which was just a striking image to have him be the sole voice there. Obviously, the Attorney General, Bill Barr, not there either. And given that Barr was not in the room, I wondered how much he would contradict Barr in terms of, we already had known that he had some issues with how Barr had laid out Mueller's principle conclusions in that controversial four-page memo. And as all of you have been discussing, he clearly felt constrained by the long-standing DOJ protocol on not indicting a sitting president. He said, simply, that it wasn't an option we could consider, they thought it was unconstitutional. So they didn't even get to that point given the longstanding DOJ protocol. I also thought it was interesting that he pointed out that even if he was to give testimony, it will not go beyond the report. He seemed to be setting the stage there, managing expectations a little bit, on both sides. Obviously, Democrats have a lot invested in what this man would say. Republicans have said they want to hear from him, as well, for different reasons. But the fact that he was trying to sort of explain to everyone, as much as you have invested in this, I am not going to go beyond the contents of the report, and said almost, don't expect to even hear from me again after this report. This is the last statement I really want to make on the and finally, I just wanted to point out, I thought it was very interesting at the end that he took a moment to thank the FBI agents, the analysts, the attorneys, everyone who had work on this case, given the drumbeat that we have heard from the President himself about all of the so-called coup that has gone on, all of the statements the President has made, relentlessly attacking this man and his deputies for so long, it was interesting to hear from Mueller himself, thanking his team.
JAKE TAPPER: That's right. He described them as being fair, and independent, and of the highest integrity. Certainly a blowback to the insane "coup" charge.
11:19:39 a.m. Eastern
ROBERT MUELLER [EARLIER]: The order appointing me Special Counsel authorized us to investigate actions that could obstruct the investigation. Now, we conducted that investigation and we kept the Office of the Acting Attorney General apprised of the progress of our work. And as set forth in the report, after that investigation, if we had had confidence that the President clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so. We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the President did commit a crime.
BLITZER: All right, Michael Zeldin, that's a powerful statement we just heard from the Special Counsel.
MICHAEL ZELDIN: Right. This was quintessential Mueller. A man of few words. And what he did, I think, in this ten minutes was to deliver the executive summary that he wanted to be delivered with his report. He hit all the highlights of the testimony that's in that report in a very succinct fashion, saying the two important things that we've all talked about, one, there was an interference with the election. And that the Trump Administration was receptive to that. And I did not charge, not because of any reason other than the evidence didn't allow me to charge it by DOJ policy. Those are two important statements for Mueller to have made.
DANA BASH: Which the other way to look at it is that, he's saying, look, the president, you know, could have committed a crime here, maybe did commit a crime here. Because he -- by saying explicitly, if I could clear him, I would have. The flip side of that is he committed a crime and didn’t have the power --
JOHN KING: Not an option –
BASH: to constitutionally pursue it to trial and therefore it was unfair to make that accusation.
TAPPER: And Shan, let me bring you in. Do you agree that the headline here is, President Trump likely committed a crime but I cannot charge him because of the legal guidance that sitting presidents cannot be charged?
SHANLON WU: Yes, I think he made it crystal clear that they could not charge the Trump -- Trump. He thought it would be unconstitutional to do so. He was bound by that OLC regulation and he made that crystal --
TAPPER: Office of Legal Counsel.
KING: He said it would be unfair. He said not an option we can consider and since you can't take the President to court, and there would be no proceeding while he was President, that it would be unfair to the President. But he essentially said, but here it is. Here's ten counts of potential obstruction for those of you who do have that option. I didn't have it.
EVAN PEREZ: I think that's the most important bit of daylight we've seen now between Mueller and Barr. Until today, we hadn't really heard exactly what Mueller has to say about Barr's contention that if you remember, Barr said that if it wasn't for the OLC, it didn't really matter. The OLC guidance did not really matter in the decision that they did not bring any charges on obstruction. What Mueller clearly said today is, that is the only reason why. And so I think that that is an important clarification for us to have heard today from Robert Mueller's own mouth. You know, because, again, his friend, Bill Barr, has led us to believe that Mueller told him, look, the OLC guidance didn't really matter here. That, you know, we were just -- we just chose not to make a decision.