On Wednesday, CNN’s Chris Cuomo laid out what made former special counsel Robert Mueller’s resignation speech so significant for both President Donald Trump, Attorney General William Barr, and the White House generally — and why he keeps clarifying the Office of Legal Counsel’s policy on indicting a sitting president.
“Bob Mueller is not on the same page with the A.G. and POTUS,” said Cuomo, playing clips of the president calling the investigation a “witch hunt” before contrasting with Mueller’s remark that “the matters we investigated were of paramount importance.”
“Now, on that point it would seem our A.G. arguably misrepresented the reason President Trump was not charged with obstruction. In fact, he did so at least six times, including this.” Cuomo then played a clip of Barr saying Mueller “made it clear that he had not made the determination that there was a crime.”
“Now we know why those two guys behind him were looking like that the whole press conference,” said Cuomo. “It doesn’t match up. Why does Mr. Mueller keep saying the opinion is what kept him from pursuing? And that Congress has a role in moving it forward? And why didn’t Mr. Sessions or Mr. Rosenstein tell us a year ago that there would be no charges possible against the president? Why have people thinking something was possible when it wasn’t?”
“However, what is not suspicious is Mr. Mueller’s mindset,” said Cuomo. “He put it in writing back in March when he complained about Mr. Barr’s four-page memo, that it did not fully capture the context, nature and somebodies tans of Mr. Mueller’s work. He said his hands were tied as his first point in that part of the report and the man described as a sphinx for the last two years doubled down today.” Cuomo showed Mueller saying, “Under longstanding department policy a president cannot be charged with a federal crime while he is in office … Charging the president with a crime was therefore not an option we could consider.”
“If it wasn’t a fundamental part of his inaction, why does he keep mentioning it?” said Cuomo. “Here’s why. Because of what came out from the White House just hours later.” Cuomo played a clip of White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders saying, “He, Mueller spent two years, did an exhaustive investigation and came back to say that there was no wrongdoing by the Trump campaign or any American.”
“That’s just not true,” said Cuomo. “Just like he said in his report, this lifelong Republican, Mr. Mueller, says if he could clear the president he would so state. Instead, Mr. Mueller laid out five instances in his report that all met his own high bar for obstruction of justice.”
“Look, we’ve been arguing for a long time that we needed to hear from Mr. Mueller. This is why,” said Cuomo. “You can say the president was exonerated but he wasn’t. You can say this was a hoax but it never was. The attack on our election happened. It may well be worst the next time. And while the president continues to tell you it wasn’t the Russians, Mr. Mueller says it was and it was bad and it should be a major concern for every American.”
“That’s what he said. And that’s the truth,” concluded Cuomo. “And it is now clear that the power of the presidency was abused to try and hide the truth. The only question that remains is what happens next.”
‘All over the map’: CNN details the bizarre surge of Trump’s flip-flops
Following two mass shootings in one weekend, President Donald Trump promised to strengthen background checks for gun purchases. But just the next week--reportedly after speaking with NRA head Wayne LaPierre--dropped his resolve and said there were already sufficient background checks on the books.
That's not the only recent policy flip-flop by the President.
On CNN Thursday, White House reporter Sarah Westwood chronicled all the policies on which the president has reversed course. First, the president abruptly cancelled plans to cut foreign aid.
"President Trump, the White House, they were facing a wave of opposition from Congressional appropriators in both parties and from the State Department who thought that this move could do harm to national security," Westwood said.
Ex-Trump official bashes White House ‘apologists’ who haven’t quit yet: ‘There’s not much hope for them’
A report on the silence coming from first daughter Ivanka Trump and her White House advisor husband Jared Kushner after Donald Trump attacked American Jews turned to the future of White House aides who are either complicit in the president's policies or stand idly by as he lurches from controversy to controversy.
In an interview with CNN's Brianna Keilar, former Trump adviser J.W. Verret pointed out there are still some "adults in the room" with Trump, but CNN's Kaitlan Collins first pointed out that -- as of late -- Ivanka and Kushner are not among them.
"This fits a pattern that we've seen from Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump at times during times when the administration tried to repeal parts of Obamacare, and of course, the big one the president has made about Jewish people who are supporting Democrats," Collins explained. "Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump are both Orthodox Jews. They've been involved with the president on many things. but neither of them have said anything publicly about the president's comments. and when we asked the white house have they been advising the president privately on this, the White House did not get back to us."
‘Hypocritical’ Republicans busted for disappearing now that Trump has exploded the deficit
In a "Reality Check" segment on CNN on Thursday morning, contributor John Avlon called out GOP fiscal hawks who have suddenly disappeared from the public square now that a Republican president has exploded the national debt.
Introduced by host John Berman, who asked, "This morning new numbers from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) confirm it: The national debt and deficit are much worse than thought. So where is the party of fiscal responsibility in times like these?" Avlon broke it down.
"While President Trump was busy proclaiming himself 'the chosen one,' you might have missed more bad news in the form of data," Avlon smirked. "Brand new CBO numbers shows the budget deficit is skyrocketing, projected to rise 25 percent over last year and heading to over $1 trillion next year. Tax revenues are $430 billion below where they were expected to be before the Trump tax cuts while spending in is in drunken sailor territory adding $1.7 trillion in the next decade."