I discuss the imminent release of the Mueller Report and what we can expect from it on CNN with Brooke Baldwin and Garrett Graff.
Preparing for the release of the Mueller Report – what can we expect?
March 23rd, 2019
Brooke Baldwin: Let’s expand this conversation and let me bring in Garrett Graff. He’s a CNN contributor and author of, The Threat Matrix Inside Robert Mueller’s FBI and The War on Global Terror. With me here in New York, former prosecutor Robert Bianchi, who’s now the host of the Law and Crime Network. So, gentlemen, as we wait, Garrett to you, when this report is complete, what are the three things you will be looking out for?
Garrett Graff: Well, I think that there are three things that we haven’t seen yet that could demonstrably move Republican opinion on Capitol Hill. One is direct presidential involvement in a specific crime, which sort of leaving aside the campaign finance violations, and the hush money payments, we haven’t actually seen the President tied to specific crimes by Mueller’s investigation itself. Second, is a pattern of obstruction of justice. Not sort of one or two instances where there are sort of debatable circumstances, you know, was the firing of Jim Comey within the article to authorities of the Presidents power, Yada, Yada, Yada. But something that where Mueller paints a picture of months or years of discreet actions that make clear the President’s motive. The third is any instance where the President himself has taken action to advance a foreign powers interests at the expense of the United States. I mean, anytime we see the President taking action to help Russia or a Middle Eastern country over the objections of the United States government, or in conspiracy with a foreign power, that’s something that would make the Republican wall on Capitol Hill untenable.
Brooke Baldwin: Okay. Those are three things, Bob to you with those three things in mind, when Mueller is finished with this thing, he hands it to, to Bill Barr, the AG, you’re the White House counsel, what’s the first thing you do?
Robert Bianchi: Well, the first thing that I do, obviously as I review the report, look at the damage that’s going to be in there and Brooke, I predict that there’s going to at least be some significant damage. There are so many data points here that are pointing to either the President or don’t forget the underbelly, the soft underbelly of the President, Trump Jr., Ivanka and Jared Kushner, and you’re going to have to start trying to do messaging here and do the best that you can to deflect against some of this bad data. Remember you have a both a political issue here and a criminal law issue here. And also, Brooke, I say this all the time to you, be wary of the southern districts power here and state crimes. Over and over again, pass the pardon power, no DOJ memo. And as White House counsel, that’s the first thing I’m going to be looking at because I think people are taking this way to, not seriously enough if you will. So, do these guys face exposure where the President cannot get them out of trouble.
Brooke Baldwin: I’m curious, Garrett if you see the same way just having Pamela Brown, you know, fresh in my head from her reporting saying that the White House is already seeing this, according to her sources, as a victory, you know, that the President didn’t actually have to sit down with a special council to do this in person interview. They’re already seeing that as a positive thing If you’re the White House counsel, what are you doing?
Garrett Graff: Well, so if I’m the White House counsel, I’m not worried about the report itself. I’m worried about whether there’s going to be another set of indictments that come, either parallel to the report or just before the report comes in. I think we’re sort of placing too much emphasis on the idea that the only thing Bob Mueller has left to do is sort of turning his report card to Bill Barr. I think he has been saving the final round of indictments because that’s the only thing that he controls what gets made public and when. Anything he hands over to Bill Barr, it’s not clear when that becomes public? What of that becomes public? Who makes that public? If Bob Mueller, who has been speaking through these highly detailed court filings, is highly detailed indictments all the way along. If I’m Bob Mueller, I’m sitting there saying, the only thing I control is the final round of indictments. That’s when I have the opportunity to make public whatever I feel needs to be made public, at whatever moment I feel it needs to be made public.
Brooke Baldwin: So, to that point, what can and can’t Bill Barr reveal publicly?
Robert Bianchi: Well, he can reveal very little, which I find to be impossible given the spotlight that’s on this from a public point of view and the congressional oversight, the leaks that are invariably going to happen. If I were him, I would have to know inevitably, even if I want to give little, that it’s going to come out and that’s only going to make it look bad for us. So, I predict there’s going to be a lot more coming out. But to the point that was just made, that’s really important. Don’t forget, there are about two dozen sealed indictments and that is, you take the bad targets, the most high-level targets, and you put them in sealed indictments, and that was to bypass any funny business that may have gone on with the firing of Mueller during all this, in my opinion. Firing Comey and the potential firing of Mueller, all those gyrations, tactically as a prosecutor, all the people that are high level, I would be getting indictments for, sealing those indictments, so in the event Mueller was removed, you can’t get rid of those indictments at that point because now their court documents. So, I think you’re going to see a roll out of indictments that are going to happen after this report.
Brooke Baldwin: So many things we just don’t know yet until this thing fully comes out. We can just sort of pine and guess based upon the breadcrumbs that have been left so far. Bob Bianchi and Garrett Graff, gentlemen, thank you both so much for that.