Jonathan Karl: Mueller report is 'almost certain to be anti-climactic'

The "This Week" Powerhouse Roundtable debates the week in politics, including the latest reporting relating to the Russia investigation.
10:15 | 01/13/19

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Transcript for Jonathan Karl: Mueller report is 'almost certain to be anti-climactic'
Good afternoon. Presidents meeting in the oval office of the Russian foreign minister causing enough jobs says that depression is and we. What did you think when you saw that wow what my reaction for so what are the Russians do the Oval Office walked as a counterintelligence person thinking that's crazy. And without any Americans being president one and two the pretense is melted away. The bit about you were fired because penalties you know investigation is no way. You were fired because of depression. And now according York times is that was happening. James Cummings former colleagues in the FBI we're opening up a counterintelligence investigation into the present let's talk about that now on our roundtable chamber chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl. Alicia Menendez cohost of on importing company on PBS Austin could shoot period fossil. Brown salaam executive editor at the national review. Chris Christie former Republican governor of New Jersey known ABC news contributor and the former democratic senator from North Dakota Heidi hi Kim thanks for coming in. This morning says that John let's start that would these two stories New York Times the Washington Post over the weekend we seem president trumps. Reaction says being asked about it is insulting was tweeting all morning S I think about a dozen tweets about the New York time answer but what are you picking up from others inside the president's orbit. What will look I mean that the story in the New York Times was an extraordinary. Reflection of the level of distrust between the FBI leadership in the president and that how suspicious president's behavior was that they actually were at at that the to the point of investigating letters about firing call me the interview with Lester holes and ending ending actually going to the point of investigating whether or not effectively the president was a Russian agent but what I am getting. Is it really this is all building up to the mullah report and raising expectations of a bombshell report have been expectations have been building. Of course for over a year or on this. But people who were closest. 22 what motorist been doing over in Iraq to with a special counsel caution me. That this report is almost certain to be anti climatic that if you look at what the FBI was investigating. In that New York Times report look at what they were investigating. Mueller did not go anywhere would that investigation. He has been writing his report in real time through these indictments and we have seen nothing. From Lawler on the central question. Of was there any coordination. Collusion with the Russians in the effort to meddle in the elections or was there even any knowledge on the part of the president or anybody in his campaign. With what the Russians were do they haven't. They did not yet in the indictments but how does things like. The trump tower meeting with Russian Stein junior all men of fort Paul metaphor getting polling data. Two Ukrainian all averse the pursuit of the trump tower Moscow how does that fit into the sphere. We we what we certainly seen over and over again as the people around the president first of all been willing to lie to investigation the investigators and had their own dealings. With the Russians had their own. Agendas with the Russians and my man forms trying to get paid for for furs were cut off on behalf of Ukraine. Flynn had his own dealings. But couldn't it is not added up to anything of the central question again was there anybody. What was the truth campaign aware of or coordinating with the Russians in their effort to meddle with the election so far there's been nothing on that end. I'm led to believe don't expect there's going to be a. I can when I think we're seeing from this new Democrat chairman and control of that the house is their partner in a purchases it excuse me pursue this on their. Well absolutely and they shut me that's part of the oversight that's part of the responsibility. But I think speaking from the middle of the country people are tired. Of hearing about things that are being reported in newspapers. They want a legitimate answer to these questions. In the investigation they want this to end they want to make sure that they have all the facts in front of mom and it's frustrating when all you hear about is the New York Times reports are the Washington Post reports that's important but it's not definitive. And I think that the answer that we have to have. Before we go into the 20/20 cycle is we have to get this behind us so we can begin. To govern it is having an effect on everything that is going on and you know I think it tipped to add to the confusion. Michael Cohen testimony is going to be you know if you if you listen to experts is going to be more significant. Than the Muller reports a little. Yeah activity testifies on for every seven that is likely not to be up the questions being invested their Robert Mueller but about other things. That he worked on another factor here will be decided William Barr was being as confirmation hearings this week for turning Jenner he'll oversee. The Russian investigation it certainly appears right now at least although no one really knows that Robert Muller won't wolf and his investigation to bars and place. Yeah I think that's probably true George and I and I on the New York Times story I would take this apart the president I'd embrace the story. Because he'd it backs up his narrative. His narrative is that FBI agents were acting in a rope matter overstepping. The normal course of business. Because they had something against him in that story. Is is an extraordinary story that they would open carry tells investigation against a prison the United States and I think it backs up some of the merit the president has talked about. So he if I were him I wouldn't beach weeding about yoga fairly New York Times and how bad the stories ever insult against. Be accused of that. I'd go the opposite tack. It's a win his second Susan read and saying all along the FBI under Jim Colby was out of control and and I think what they're gonna final bill Barr is. Bill Farr is a standard issue Washington DC inside lawyer. And what that means is he's gonna oversee Bob Mueller at a Bob Mueller come to the conclusion he needs to come to an that in issues report publicly and he won't do anything different in my view should prison prisoner transfer. She and that is certainly one argument I think he also asked to speak to this question on why he's been taking notes from translators and it reopened fat questionable because the postseason and if he doesn't trust. He he doesn't trust these people. Around him in the in the in the counterintelligence folks isn't trust them that's why he's taking them I think all of this stuff adds fire to as we go into these bar confirmation hearings to questions were going to hear. Over and over again from Democrats one will you allow the special counsel to continue their investigation under the unimpeded. And second when the report is finally released will you make that report public those are questions we knew we are going to hear in this just adds to. I don't sadly get John to forties corrected that the president doesn't want to report to be public. Well again George this is on the central big question of was there any coordination collusion with the Russians and what they were doing and in the election. There's plenty that's already been out publicly that it was highly embarrassing to the press on instruction there are armed structure and on. The lead the activities of those in his. Innermost circle criminal activities of those whose innermost circle I think up on the diamond on the translator story is over and I mean really if it is true that the president has good reason to be suspicious of those inside. The government no question about that but he hasn't had. A number of one on one meetings alone with Latimer who. And according to one detail in the Washington Post the translator was able to brief colleagues saying that when. The president asked couldn't get Jeter fear and our elections he said no the president responded. I believe you. Runs counter to the administration position. Well one thing that I do know is that. As stays Phillies put it out earlier on. The trump administration has taken a more hawkish stance on great power competition including with Russia that doesn't really square with a narrative that there's some kind of longstanding cooperation. I'm also struck by the fact that there are efforts to preemptively undermined. The Mueller report beforehand on the grounds that perhaps it is not going to be as explosive as some might have hoped to some might have expected. With regard these private couple to only those reports do I believe this report is not honestly I don't know what I do know is that Robert Mueller's a professional and of this a well resource serious investigation. It's seems to me as though if the counterintelligence. Angle were a serious one. That he would pursue it seriously on the grounds of his long experience and are on the grounds of its deep concern about American national security. So I don't think it makes sense to preemptively undermined Edward assume that he wouldn't have taken it seriously. Asked for these personal meetings frankly it's part of what makes many people deeply uncomfortable that present front. He's incredibly unconventional approach to diplomacy. That he underscored as a presidential candidate that he's pursued since that it makes many of his. Many of his own appointees deeply uncomfortable but it is of a pattern with what he himself has said about his approach to diplomacy so it's not entirely surprise. In that regard in Georgia is important context here what the Washington Post reported on the president is one on one meetings with Vladimir Putin. This is something that he does he has met with other world leaders one on one it's not unique to Putin. It is certainly a break would what is predecessors did. You know it it it it it avoids the entire net you know national security process it may be troubling in that regard but it is not unique to -- he met with Kim Jong Hoon. One on one in Singapore. He met a width president she and moral law go one on one he has phone calls sometimes from the residents because he's worried about the Oval Office being bogged. Again because our federal worse don't know what it could I'm not saying good or bad what I'm saying is it's not unique to prudent this is the way he. Got stuck to one affairs this is completely consistent with the way the president thinks about himself remember his convention speech. Only odd elements fix it I alone can fix it. And he honestly believes that everybody else doesn't have the ability that he has. Now he maybe he may be right sometimes you may be wrong other times I think he's been both but in the end he believes that so I think I grew John that this is consistent. Henry Hyde is consistently Louie is we may be uncomfortable with those of us who believe for a policy should be it more conventionally pursued but that's weird. What does it say abolish the leader of the free world that he doesn't trust anyone around him. That he he's been their for two years he should be able to assemble a team that he trusts and that is a big concern for a lot of people both in and out of. The value Austin were at this table he's made some really bad personnel choices over the over the last couple years I think. Part of his own concern about the staff is the result of making some bad personal choices Griffin did have. Anybody starting up years don't let not letting us and our position as you are scheduled didn't.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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