On Friday, special counsel Robert Mueller’s office issued a statement saying that “characterization of documents and testimony” in Thursday’s bombshell report from BuzzFeed about President Donald Trump instructing his longtime former personal attorney to lie to Congress were not accurate.
MSNBC host Rachel Maddow had former senior FBI official Chuck Rosenberg on to discuss the development.
Rosenberg said that prosecutors often want to keep part of their case secret as they develop it, and that this may have been what happened here.
“You want to keep some of your powder dry. Laying the predicate, as you said earlier, is precisely I think what the Mueller team is doing here,” he said. “You have them plead to a set of operative facts describing what they did. Because some day down the road, you’re going to use them to help you get others who did the same thing. That’s what I think happened here. But you don’t want to sort of lay all your cards on the table as a prosecutor, because you’re still investigating that thing that conduct, the others who were involved in it.”
By pushing back on BuzzFeed in a nuanced way, Rosenberg said, Mueller seems actually showed that “the core” of the report appears to be correct. In fact, he said, Mueller’s own filings say much the same thing.
“What the Mueller team did made sense to me. And the way they described it really in some ways buttresses the core of the BuzzFeed story,” he said. “Now, obviously the Mueller team is pushing back on aspects of the BuzzFeed story. I think in the main, what you can glean from their December 7 sentencing memorandum, is that the core of BuzzFeed story is accurate… It seems to me that the core of the story is correct and we can determine that from the Mueller team’s own court filing. That’s really the best place to look I think. All the time. For what’s really going on in this case.”
The form that the denial took is important, Rosenberg said.
“It would have been very simple to say the reporting is dead wrong in every respect. They didn’t do that. And I think the emphasis you put on those words, the specific descriptions, the characterizations, sort of is a window into the thinking of the Mueller team,” he said. “There are parts of the reporting that trouble them—I have no idea, Rachel, by the way, why they decided on this occasion to push back on the story. I’m sure there are other stories that got other things wrong.”
Oil prices soar more than 10% after Saudi plant attacks
Oil prices surged more than 10 percent Monday after attacks on two Saudi Arabian plants that slashed output in the world's top producer by half, with Donald Trump blaming Iran and raising the possibility of a military strike on the country.
West Texas Intermediate jumped 10.68 percent to $60.71 and Brent climbed 11.77 percent to $67.31 in early Asia trading following the blasts at facilities run by state-owned giant Aramco.
The attack by Tehran-backed Huthi rebels in neighbouring Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is bogged down in a five-year war, effectively shut down six percent of the global oil supply.
Trump used to play Elton John at ‘eardrum-rupturing decibels’ on campaign plane for a bizarre reason: AP reporter
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski mocked President Donald Trump's fixation on singer Elton John.
The rock legend reportedly rejected his longtime fan's invitation to perform at his January 2017 inauguration, and Trump has bitterly fixated on breaking John's attendance records at arenas where he holds campaign rallies.
"The saddest part of this story was when Donald Trump asked his staff members had anybody been writing about the Elton John attendance records that he supposedly broke," Scarborough said. "They said no, and he was angry and upset for days about that, also claiming that it was one more example of how, in the immortal words of Rodney Dangerfield, he don't get no respect."
‘RIP GOP’: Polling expert predicts devastating Trump 2020 electoral wipeout
Democratic pollster and strategist Stanley Greenberg went on CNN Monday to explain why he believes President Donald Trump and the Republican Party are headed toward a historic and humiliating defeat in the 2020 elections.
In an interview with CNN's John Berman, Greenberg discussed his new book called "RIP GOP" in which he makes a case that Trump's presidency has shifted public opinion in Democrats' favor while repelling moderate voters from the Republican Party.
"I think what happened going into 2016 is Donald Trump took over the Tea Party base of the party, allied it with evangelicals and took the party to a very extreme end," he said. "I believe... Donald Trump's election will speed the defeat of the Republican Party because of its dominance by the Tea Party and evangelicals, which won't consider compromise, which won't consider a multicultural America in a part of our future. And I also thought it would speed up the resistance and also people's consciousness of what they believe and their values, and all of that has happened."