Trump has 'crossed the line a number of times': Preet Bharara

Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, former Whitewater Independent Counsel Ken Starr, and ABC News' Chief Legal Analyst Dan Abrams discuss the latest developments in the Mueller Russia investigation.
8:23 | 11/05/17

Coming up in the next {{countdown}} {{countdownlbl}}

Coming up next:



Skip to this video now

Now Playing:


Related Extras
Related Videos
Video Transcript
Transcript for Trump has 'crossed the line a number of times': Preet Bharara
It relieves pressure and bloating fast! So you can wear whatever you want. Coming on the air that special counsel Robert Mueller has filed his first charges in the Russia investigation. That move from Mueller on Friday morning. Targeting Rick Gates and Paul manafort. Both men pled not guilty. Even more surprising, Mueller revealed his first secret witness, George papadopoulos. He admitted lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russians and others in the trump campaign. Among the details, conversations about getting dirt on Hillary Clint Clinton. Let's analyze the fallout with Ken Starr. He served as solicitor general for the U.S. Preet bharara. Form form formerly of New York. And Dan Abrams. Let me begin with you president what message did Robert Mueller send on Monday about where he's going, where he's heading? I don't think he's in the business to send message. He's doing the job he was pointed to do. Follow the facts. Find out the truth. Hold people accountable if they've crossed the line into criminal conduct. A by-product of his action is you know, something other people are hearing as a message. And that is, among other thing, that the charges against George papadopoulos, and that he's almost certainly flipped to provide more information means you'll see more charges coming. Second thing I would say is, the fact that the Mueller team takes very seriously being lied to. The FBI agents don't like that. It undermines their ability to get the truth out and to hold people accountable. Lying to the FBI is a form of obstruction. To the Exe tent people are wondering how they feel about obstruction, they feel seriously about it. Some people should be worried. Professor Starr, to you believe the plea a agreement is the most significant thing wee saw on Monday? In some ways. Manafort indictment shows there is a power and force in what Bob mule sir doing. I have great respect for him. In terms of draining the swamp. That indictment doesn't speak with respect to Russian collusion. It talks about corruption. Corruption on K street. I think it's significant. I have read the papadopoulos indictment with some care. Some of the dirt was going to come to him. He was interested in that. He was really seeking to be a policymaker guy who could arrange a meeting with Vladimir Putin. The Russian ambassador to the uk and so forth. He was a real wannabe. But the point that reaches me that is so powerful, don't lie to the FBI. I think that is the message that Bob moouler chose to send on this particular day that it's not just about Paul manafort. It's about the integrity of the investigation. Tell the truth. George papadopoulos may have been a wannabe. Tangential. But you learn he had lots of conversations. E-mail traffic inside the campaign about Russian contacts that was denied by trump and the white house all along. That becomes the key now. Assessing who were the people he was talking to? Why wrre they enkoujing him to continue speaking with the Russians? And most importantly, in the context of the investigation, what happened between the time he was arrested in July and until October 5th? So you have a period there, where he likely was helping. He may have been wearing a wire for all we know. In terms of getting information which could lead to additional charges on other people, with regard to some of the same things we're talking about. Potentially lying. Question remains, why did papadopoulos lie? Why, in this context, was he covering up? The answer may be he didn't want to admit it. He didn't want to come clean. Didn't want to talk what about he was doing. There's a bigger question to be answered. What does this tell you about a possible obstruction case against the president and the associates? The charges against papadopoulos don't tell us much. But it means they take it seriously. Throwing sand in the eyes of the umpire is frowned upon. This is a small part of a larger investigation. You have seen, professor Starr, something you're familiar with. People criticizing the actions of the special counsel. You have some members of congress saying Robert Mueller should step down because he was the head of the FBI when that uranium one deal was approved by nine agencies under the Obama administration. What do you make of those attempts to say he was compromised by this? I think that's silly. He needs to step aside in terms of an investigation with respect to that. That can the handled. There's though need for his investigation to include that. There are inspectors general and the like. There are other mechanisms to hold folks accountable for what may have been done. Criticism goes with the territory. If you don't have the facts, argue the law. If you don't have the facts in law, attack the prosecutor. What is very significant is even though the president's very frustrated and lashes out, he appears to be following the advice of his lawyers. The lawyers are saying the right thing. As far as we know, they're doing the right thing. Cooperating with the investigation instead of stone walling. Meantime, the the president is active on Twitter. Criticizing his own justice department. Even is asking why the justice department and the FBI is not looking into the dishonesty looking on with crooked Hillary and the Democrats. Right after that, Jon Karl asked about it? Will you fire Jeff sessions? I don't know. I'm not involved with the justice department. They should be looking at the Democrats. Podesta. All of that dishonesty. They should be look at a lot of things. A lot of people are disappointed in the justice department, including me. Extraordinary the president taking on his own justice department. Is he crossinging a line? N't he's crossed the line a couple of time. It's a terrible thing for a president to tell his justice department who to investigate, who to prosecute, and who to keep their hands off of. We have evidence he told Jim comb Yi to back off on Mike Flynn and asked Jeff sessions to back off on Joe arpaio. Both of those things are terrible for the rule of law in our country. General Flynn, you have to believe he has similar issues to that of Paul manafort. He didn't properly reveal his lobbying activity. The question is is he next? Is he cooperating? Months ago, he seemed to be publicly offering up his cooperation in exchange for a deal. I don't think we know what is happening with Flynn. With regard to the president's public comments there are separate questions of crossing the line in terms of protocol. Morality. Ethics. And law. Right? I think that it doesn't cross the line yet. People are asking, isn't this obstruction? Twhat president is doing already? And isn't he improperly speaking out? The answer is, improper, I think that's pretty clear. But, when it comes to the -- the implications for the justice department, it would have to be an order or directive. Is the president getting close to the line? No, he's just spouting off. But until he does, exactly what preet said, until he issues a direct I have. Directly or indirectly. He's expressing the frustration. It's not crossing the line. In in to criminality. Thank you all very much. Thank you.

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

{"duration":"8:23","description":"Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, former Whitewater Independent Counsel Ken Starr, and ABC News' Chief Legal Analyst Dan Abrams discuss the latest developments in the Mueller Russia investigation. ","mediaType":"default","section":"ABCNews/ThisWeek","id":"50941704","title":"Trump has 'crossed the line a number of times': Preet Bharara","url":"/ThisWeek/video/preet-bharara-ken-starr-dan-abrams-latest-mueller-50941704"}