Attorney General Barr reveals what he is redacting from Mueller report

Barr shares the four categories of Mueller report material he is redacting prior to release; Trump blames Obama for child separation policy; $1 billion Medicare scheme is exposed.
28:00 | 04/09/19

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Transcript for Attorney General Barr reveals what he is redacting from Mueller report
Dad yeah. Everybody welcome to the briefing reminding ABC's debt. Why are Washington thanks for joining us today and it's very busy Tuesday. Here at her senior justice reporter Jack got take Jon Karl joins us from the White House coming up shortly as well. I'm we have a briefing room exclusive today on one of the largest Medicare frauds ever foiled. A by the Justice Department much more on that coming up in the show but we start today. I would this extraordinary first appearance by attorney general bill Barr up on Capitol Hill also the first time that he's taking questions since Bob Mueller delivered. His report on the a 2016 election allegations of Russian interference hot and Jack one of the big headlines coming out of his testimony was that he is almost ready. To let the public see. A good part of the 400 page document he says it's coming within a week within a week right so we're just days away from seeing this report but it's gonna be redacted. Not to we found out about the productions they'll be color cut which is helpful. We'll know why some categories and tabs as we flip through their hands on them understand why don't projections from it so. There's poor basic categories that that are going to be rejected number one Granger materials that. In the us just system. They're creatures with B secret some material that's just in the grand jury needs to stand McRae injury it's called rule sixty you'll hear called that sometimes so that's that the number one category. There were two sources and methods this is also a counterintelligence investigation. At its core so. Or things like foreign surveillance wiretaps things of that nature. Yes Deborah what's to protect those sources of the can use him in the future and Bob Mueller Reno relied on a lot of that sensitive information in putting together in this report exactly. So that's toughest he's also helped prosecuting a bunch of cases precisely says. Third categories ongoing prosecutions. And so you know Roger stone's one of them we know of there's other spin off cases that are still ongoing and anything that required for those cases. We will probably be rejected swell in. And in a fourth case is it's his privacy interest so that's sort of the the but the common problem that's sort of a catch all bucket of possible rate actions we don't know yet how much black ink bill Barr has spilled on those pages the Fed has to do with. They protect the issues of people who haven't been chart right took this old apartment in my life president trump. The trump family well so then he's indicated in him in his letters that. People on the periphery here who that would apply to you so it clearly Donald Trump is willing to be at the core of this investigation and bossi would he ends up delivering but one would think that doesn't involve trump. Possibly his family members. And we will see one of the big questions that will be looking for when we get the report in the next few days according to bill Barr is. Where Bob Mueller came down on this issue of obstruction of justice in. The letter that though Barbara to the public and released a couple weeks ago he said that Bob Mahler. Specifically did not exonerate president trump on this question and he didn't make a determination on his own although the attorney general said in his. His estimation the president. Didn't obstruct justice but congressman Charlie Crist of Florida today pressed the attorney general for his reasoning I'm coming to that conclusion take a look. The question of obstruction of justice you stated in your march 24 letter. That the mullah report does not exonerate the president. Can you elaborate on what is meant by it does not exonerate the president. Think that's the language from the report. Right I understand that. That's a statement made by this special counsel riot I reported as one of his bottom line conclusions. Are not in a position to. Discuss that further until the report is rule out and then what is meant by exonerate is really a question and I can't answer. But he meant by that but as you sit here today you you can't opined. After having read the report yourself. Why it reaches that conclusion. That it does not exonerate us. Trend. Com reports have emerged recently. General that members of the special counsel's team. Are frustrated at some level with the limited information included in your march when he fourth letter. That it does not adequately or accurately necessarily portray the report's findings do you know what their reference and with that. No I don't I think I think. I suspect that they probably wanted it no more put out. Jack so much criticism over that letter the first indication the public got of the Muller reports. Bill bar scene today that he suspects the Muller team wanted more to come out but he didn't want to get in the weeds. On the summaries do you buy that he put out a summary. But there were summaries provided he could have used how do you weigh that well I think in in this particular area. It. You know understanding is that the special post did provide an explanation. Let them more detailed explanation for why they didn't reach a conclusion on obstruction of justice we don't really get a sense that from this letter we don't understand the reasoning behind it. The mall report we expect will have that and then you know in a few days will now. And few days we will not one of organ of the conversation Melissa Marie she's a constitutional lawyer. Former clerk for justice and as soon Sonia Sotomayor she joins us now from New York professor at MI you unless a great to see you. Want to get your take on this whole question of rejections. On and end the legal underpinnings as of some of the four pockets that bill Barr talked about today. What's your take about how much we could actually learned when he's done blocking some of these things out. What seems to me. Testimony today that attorney general bars when you take a pretty liberal view our production and over Josh. As much as possible for all of the reasons that were outlined earlier says certainly because some of this information is still part of an ongoing investigation that Mueller and other. Attorneys general or US attorney's offices are currently dealing with right now I'm there are some issues of material. That was released in disclosed during grand jury proceedings which can't under rule six. Be released until a judge or less a judge allows it to diss which was certainly indicates. In Watergate out of the difference of course than Watergate was that you had a Republican executive. Who actually wanted the information released to congress and here it seems very clear that general Barr is not a position. Or is not willing to go to adjudged to have that material released I think when you have a lot of reduction lots of black marks are color coded marks all over 5400 page report. One of the areas in spite of those marks that the attorney general says we should be able to make some sense of is this question of whether or not the president obstructed justice is Bob Mueller. Conducted his work. When you dive into the report moments in a few days time and start to look through that section of it. What would you be looking for and what do you expect that we'll find when Bob Mueller says there was evidence on both sides of that question. I think one of the things I'll be looking for is the basic elements obstruction for justice and what kind of evidence the special counsel marshaled to either prove. That was that indeed something that happened or at the kind of evidence back could not actually be marshaled I think this is a situation where. I'm it's likely that there wasn't enough evidence glean to actually be able to make out such a charge and that's the reason why. Special counsel Mahler never actually came to a determination. That there was a basis to charge the president with obstruction of justice and that's a very different matter and saying the president has been completely exonerate it. And Jack one of the other headlines before we move on and it came out of this testimony today was that was the attorney general Scott question mean. On the Affordable Care Act position the trump administration making that surprise move just a week or so ago to completely support. The it'd be overturning of the law and it entirely. A lot of concern for members of congress today about whether or not the attorney general actually supports that in the absence of a plan he did exactly you. Given a robust defense he basically. Sort of turn on the courts and senate before the courts he says if you think it's such an outrageous position then you have nothing to worry about what the courts do their job so. You but he provided no meaningful defense of the just department position on this which is to basically unto. Obama's and almost seemed to suggest my my ear debt she was sort of assumed that it would fail. In the courts now perhaps it will stand but I do wanna put the Melissa Marie real quick before you move on Melissa. Others aren't so much talk about why the administration shifted on this why they took the position they did. How much influence does the administration's position have. In federal court even in the not a party to this case. The real question is what's going to happen in the courts this is really a long shot for the courts because the whole question is whether the individual mandate is on summer ball from the rest of these CAA and for that reason the entire EC would be unconstitutional. If the individual mandate is unconstitutional. That's a long game it's going to take a long time to get before the courts and eventually to the Supreme Court. This is a political move to play to the days president trot. Made a promise to his face that he would repeal obamacare he's been unable to do that legislatively he's an even more unable to do that now. With a majority of Democrats in the house and so. He's taken this different path this is his last real chance and you can see all of the opposition he's gotten from his own coalition in the senate on this question. This is a piece of legislation that's actually quite popular even among the red states that make up the core of his face so this is a last ditch hail Mary attempt to show. That he's down to business and he's doing work even if that work may not actually pay off for him. I'm Melissa Murray a great to have you with us today from New York professor and MRU constitutional lawyer thank you so much and thanks to Jack -- for his reporting on this. As long much Mordechai meanwhile all over the White House now after a tumultuous 24 hours of shake ups at the department of homeland security and the president signaling. He's gonna take a tougher stance on immigration the president now says just a short time ago that he's not looking to reinstate family separations as part of that policy. Here's what he told our John Carl in the White House Oval Office tackles. This but he did clarify something on the issue of child separation. Or are you considering. Starting the child separations again Mr. President. Thank them. Considering child separations and can you rule that out Mr. President. You would start separating children again would you Mr. President. And would you consider donating you understand. President hope separated you know those cages that which I think they Wear. Very inappropriate it was built by president Obama's administration's. Like top. President Obama had style separation. Up depressed. You know we all know. I didn't have on the want it stopped. President Obama had Giles that race news what you don't have. That's legacy many more people coming coming like it's a picnic because it's coated his view. President Obama separated children child separation. I was there when they changed it OK thank you for what's president. Get back is the question would you bring it back. Here they are not every at bat when. Hey you're you're not looking everybody's okay. Or people. You don't do it brings a lot of people would you put. But producers. We changed them all. I think depression act you report it and thank you thank you Mr. President. All right a chaotic scene there an Oval Office are Jon Karl was there cause and a little trouble. As usual with those multiple questions John but I was struck by his answer there at the very end he's seems conflicted about this he seems. President seems to believe the policy of separating. Families works. And yet he did to take it off the table there as you pressed him on whether he's reconsidering. It was a first it was a bit of a chaotic scene I. Asked about seven times. Whether or not you're variations of whether or not he was considering reinstating this policy of separation. I asked these questions. Because. There were multiple reports aren't fact it'd variations of them in the Wall Street Journal New York Times. The Washington Post today saying. That the president. Had had asked aides or was talking to aides about reinstating this highly controversial. Femi separations policy a policy by the way. That was opposed firmly Bible the First Lady. And the first daughter of all Cattrall. So I I asked about that the president did not seem to want to take my questions. Ignored me. And what you'll notice is it after I finally said. But what would you rule out bringing it back he continued to ignore me. They beat the pool started to leave I turned a way to leave and at that point the president. Without even turning to look at me. Clearly irritated by the line of questioning said Obama separated families Obama separated children. And then waiting to his argument about that. And you know I Sobel I'm asking about you would you do this again and he didn't answer didn't answer until the very end when. Half of that a group group of pull pres says and had left the rumor was on the way out of the room these Sam noninterest have been doing on an honors today but as you point out. He clearly believes. Bit by stopping the policy of separating of those troll during those migrant children at the border from the adults would do would commit crossed over with. He believes. That stopping that policy if child separation. This side that they did and it's led to this massive influx that we have now seen. Just over the past several weeks mostly of families coming up cross the borders we clearly. You know he said he's not gonna do it again he's not looking to do it again. But but but he's clearly are mixed about about what the cool what's happens result of that decision. So John if he's taking that off the table he's done a shake up the leadership the Department of Homeland Security secretary is out Secret Service out some other moves possibly coming. What what are your sources tell you about what is in store next if he is moving toward a harder line on immigration. Well Devin we we just small group or reporters just had a a background briefing with a senior administration official directly involved. With crafting the White House policy on immigration. And this this senior official was describing the reason for the changes at at the Department of Homeland Security especially the the ouster of cures to Nielsen. As as clear frustration on the part of the president that the Department of Homeland Security. Has not worked quickly enough or effectively enough to buy. Implement the policies of this president. On immigration and might surprise a lot of people. They did the argument was basically that the Department of Homeland Security had not been tough enough on on immigration not been doing what the president wanted. So some of the specifics that were talked about here. We're taking steps through through a policy. To you what's it's intent basically. Make it harder for people to go on through the process of declaring asylum at the border. It gets in this some arcane details pretty quickly. But they are looking for it the bottom line looking to make it much more difficult for people to come across the border. Or to come to the border and say I seek asylum in the United States they're looking to to make and a much harder process. They succeed in doing that DeVon. It almost certainly lead to you 22 more court challenges. Yeah already as you say John a federal judge just yesterday block to the administration's attempt to keep those asylum seekers in Mexico we know the asylum band. Is on hold we know his plan to build that border wallet military funds being challenged as well also a lot of court fights to come as well as they move in this new direction. Jon Karl our chief White House correspondent at the White House thanks a lot John appreciate you being here. And as Thomas talking there we saw the new numbers that we're just released today by the it department of customs. And border protection our immigration reporter queen knowing this year with those new numbers are pretty you just got off the phone. With Homeland Security officials and an exploit us what we're seeing here on the screen right now the numbers for march and about a 100000. People coming to the board. This is a significant increase seven in recent months of people who are stopped at the border this includes people who are attempting to cross. Illegally and then cross over the border yet apprehended right after they do that cross. And it also includes folks who show up to a port of entry and don't have the documentation to get through. And what these numbers account for in the past six months is a more than 375%. Increase compared with the same time last year NASA. This number here is virtually into the earlier 100000 people showed up at the border wanting to come in many of them families. This is almost double the number and march from year ago. This is this is major as a significant increase from from this time last year and like I said over the past six months of more than 350%. Increase. And the big news here is that the most most of these people or families which are difficult for CBP to deal with. There are facilities have been overwhelmed by the numbers of migrants and across the they've had to apprehend. And they've been forced to divert resources away from legal crossings in order to manage should be illegal flow. And you've been down of that border Quinn as the president has stopped separating children from their parents which was something that. I body said they had to do since they could detain them all together. As these families keep coming in we're really having to do with the men's did you do recently released them into the United States as a family unit. The officials that I spoke with today have said they have started to release some of these spam miles. Just because they're so overwhelmed they are not able to keep them all and process them they're released with a notice to appear they have to come back. And go through the court process the immigration court process if they make that asylum claim but they're now being released. No doubt frustration the president and broke with an important that you go to spark a fact check. Something the president has been repeating we have heard a lot administration say that President Obama kept children in cages. As well. There is some truth to that although that statement can do you honestly. Oh that the government has separated families before in cases where you have. Where the government determines that a family is unfit to have children after they cross over that's when a separation takes place but essentially just came up and hill in testimony on the hill today. Where the head of the my unaccompanied migrant children program. Explained how the Philly separation from zero tolerance policy increased this the separations. Remarkably in 2070. Our equivalent thanks so much for your reporting thanks again and to Jon Karl for his reporting and that. I shifting gears now to a briefing room exclusive today. How we've learned about one of the largest Medicare fraud crackdowns. In US history just a short time ago federal agents at the FBI. And department of Homeland Security conducted raids in seventeen federal jurisdictions across the country. This serving dozens of search warrants and making numerous arrests. This fraud was uncovered do involving nearly a billion tax Payer dollars lost hundreds of thousands of all the royal Americans preyed upon. And here in the briefing room a short time ago I caught up with Jerry Cantrell the deputy inspector general for investigations. At the Department of Health and Human Services who told us just how he uncover all of this. Put this fraud into perspective how big was this scheme this scheme you know is approaching. Are an excess of a billion dollars in fraud and it's this kind of taxpayer fraud affects beneficiaries Medicare patients as well. They're data is collected there potentially. There and activities are are used for nefarious purposes that can be sold. Are the people perpetrating. These crimes are relatively common right that this was a big operation. Yeah these are you know they include doctors they include marketing firms who are can be overseas that don't have to be located US this scheme work. So walk us through how how it actually worked up people were defrauded this and other schemes like it. Base you can have robo calling. Directly to Medicare patients you have direct marketing you have television ads. And their marketing and what their marketing insulin pumps wheelchairs hospital beds counterfeiters races all types of durable medical equipment. And they offered for free or are very low cost so a disabled person at home. He sees the ad gets the telemarketers call says well why not gives their information. And that Medicare is built for this equipment which you're finding actually many people if these people didn't actually need right and that's that's the fraud. It's equipment that they don't even need and sometimes you know and I've been working at this office for. For over twenty years and we often are interviews with patients refine this this equipment in the closet. You know started can be utilized so they have after races that just piled up and there and that's taxpayers have paid for. How were these people caught will we have a lot of sources for information that leads us to some of these scams. Data analytics is key the orgies operations identified scans to place our resources in the right areas of the country. To address this fraud. We also get whistle blowers you know we have patients who call into our hotline who do recognize that this is a fraud scheme. Jerry been in the business for a long time as an investigator. Part of the federal government we should say a nonpartisan. Career official. Re surprised when you started to unravel this operation that it was this large and what we need to be doing what does that congress need to do to crack down on things that's why I think the first step is you know unscrupulous. Doctors. Unscrupulous. Durable medical equipment company owners. These marketing firms. Their only interest is in his in the picture is in that taxpayer dollars being stolen. And so you have doctors who have little to no engagement or interaction with patients who on the sign off on his orders and have you become his will on the pay. For the signatures so that they can bill you know to the tens of millions hundreds of millions of dollars. For these in these things and sounds like from your experts taxpayer should be pretty outraged by the sort of absolutely absolutely. When I started you know. In the late ninety's do you me fraud was one of the biggest sources of fraud in the Medicare program. And it's have been float over the years but it's back with a vengeance now. All right and back with a vengeance indeed Jerry Cantrell. Again with health and human services and thanks to him and much more on that story on from our. Reporting team in thirty. And Sophie Tatum art moving gears now to the Israeli elections overseas in Jerusalem polls have just closed to short time ago I wanna go. Are right now to larger Diana Miller she is joining us live. From Israel where are we're just starting to get. The results. This election Georgia and it's so much at stake here not only for Bibi Netanyahu. Longtime prime minister and ally of president trump. But also for off for bad that he gets the his his challenger what what do you know at this hour. That's right DeVon and we're learning pending exit polls that this. Is a race that is still too close to Paul. Some of those exit polls showing that prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's trailing. From as much as one DeForest seats behind general Benny guns and others. He is tied. And M with B look at the bigger picture because this is a parliamentary system. And we look at some of those. Seats on the right and the left the right block seems to have more momentum. That would work in Netanyahu's advantage but at this point it is too close to power in after a week until the official results come in tomorrow. It shows us how divided. Israel is in how this election was really a referendum. On prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu who is. So controversial here now on the one hand facing potential criminal charges but his supporters standing behind him calling him. The only leader that can protect Israel and read it on the world stage. Entered and a before we let you go we know that president Donald Trump was a huge factor. In this election campaign over there. What will it mean for the relationship between Israel and the United States. If Netanyahu does in fact lose. Well that's a great question I mean the relationship between the United States and Israel is stronger than anyone prime minister of it's certainly. Peres and Netanyahu and the presidents have developed such a close relationship they would be a lost for the White House. His challenger Benny guns though sees eye to eye with Netanyahu on the threats from Iran but we might feed that may sift is perhaps on the Israeli side undergone a more. Positive. Stance towards peace talks of the Palestinians. Archer Diana Miller watching the returns come in for us over in Israel really appreciate your live reporting Giordano. And much more coming up as those returns are finalized churn as well finally. It's tax time I don't know if you've done your returns yet I finally got mine down we are five days away from tax day. We're also learning some new numbers from the IRS on just. How many refunds Americans got this year take a look I these are the latest numbers just before the closing days. Here of taxis and turns out 98 million Americans are filed so far. A lot of people got refunds this year almost 76%. That -- one million refunds have been issued the average refund this year but 2800 dollars. That's down. 120 bucks from last year a lot of people trying to make sense. Of the new tax law this is the first filing season with that Republican tax code. And speaking of taxes it's not just all Americans who are due by Monday but the president's. Taxes are due as well and there was a fight underway today on Capitol Hill to get a hold of his taxes. Levy did they would this sound from the Treasury Secretary Steve new Lucian who has his hands on the president taxes. He was asked if he's had any conversations or whether he'll turn them over to congress tickle. I want to acknowledge we have received the request as I said before we will follow the law. We are reviewing it with our internal legal. Department and I would lead that would attack. Art his internal legal department reviewing that wouldn't act expect that. To be done anytime soon but will keep and I am there is new on all the major headlines and developments. Here in Washington this week hope you join us here tomorrow 3:30 eastern time every parent who wants us. On the ABC news app downloaded if you don't have an of course for hours and Apple TV Hulu broken finest their all the time thanks for watching I'm Devin Dwyer Washington. See Exxon.

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