'Significant concern' in WH about what will be in the Mueller report: Jonathan Karl

The "This Week" Powerhouse Roundtable debates the latest on the impending release of the Mueller report and the crisis at the border.
13:27 | 04/14/19

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Transcript for 'Significant concern' in WH about what will be in the Mueller report: Jonathan Karl
I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal. It's a big deal. So you're not suggesting, though, that spying occurred? I don't -- well, I guess you could -- I think spying did occur. Yes, I think spying did occur. And boy, that got some attention this week. Attorney general William Barr testifying before the senate judiciary committee. As he prepares the redacted version of the Mueller report. That's expected to come this week. Let's talk about it with our roundtable. Joined by Chris Christie, Rahm Emanuel, Alice Stewart, Stefanie brown James, and our chief white house correspondent Jonathan Karl. Jon, let me begin with you. The white house liked what they heard from Barr in that exchange right there. It also appears, he wouldn't comment on it, that the white house has been briefed on the overall Mueller report. What do they know? How worried are they? George, they have been briefed in broad brush strokes. The white house counsel office has been briefed on the logistics, the timing of the release. They have been briefed enough that the white house will not invoke executive privilege to get further redactions. But there's significant concern on the president's team what will be in this report and unredacted. Even stuff that will be unredacted. Yes, yes. The good news is already out there, broad conclusion of conspiracy between the campaign and the Russians on the hack. Or interfering in the elections. But, there's significant concerns about what will be in here, new information on the obstruction of justice question. On what the president was doing regarding some of the big questions, was he trying -- how far did he go down the line to fire Mueller? The situations surrounding the Comey firing. What worries them most is what don mcgahn told the special counsel. Former white house con sell mcgahn. It was reported earlier that he spent 30 hours before the special counsel. I'm told significantly more than 30 hours. Here's the astounding thing, after all that time before the special counsel, nobody on the president's team debriefed mcgahn what he was asked. Or was told by the special counsel. The bottom line is, they really don't know. Chris Christie, is how Mueller characterized that one sentence. He doesn't exonerate the president. What did he intend? Did he intend it to go to congress? Well, my guess is that he didn't care that, you know, he was not going to take a position on that. For him to take a position is contrary to what prosecutors do. In the end, we don't exonerate people when we're prosecutors. That's in criminal law. It's different when you're dealing with the president, isn't it? I don't think so. What Bob Mueller was was a special prosecutor for the justice department conducting himself as any assistant united States attorney would conduct themselves. Remember, he didn't have any special responsibility to congress. So, this is totally different. He reports to the attorney general. He sends the report to the attorney general. Then in the end, the attorney general's the one who has to advise congress that he's received the report. This is very different than what we have experienced in the past. Mueller took the position, we don't exonerate people. We investigate. If we have charges, we charge. If we don't, we say nothing. This is contrary to James Comey's conduct in 2016. It's the norm and what's accepted by prosecutors. What do Democrats do now? Two things. The white house will rue the day it's only a four-page memo. Everything's going to be measured out of against that ur-page memo. Everything else is going to be a problem for them. Everybody drew one conclusion, that four pages isn't a summary. The thing that Democrats should have done a long ago, every section has a summary. While you're redacting we want all those sum mares out. They could have gotten those summaries. Because of what was just said by the attorney general, there was a counterintelligence investigation, it was approved by the courts. There was no spying. Rahm, that is spying. That's not spying. Wait, George. Let me say this, having sat through the situation room, this was a loaded term used for loaded impact. This is not. This is all approved by the courts. The supreme court makes that appointment. They're going to rue the day -- I would as Democrats, constantly in the tone, has got to be we're just looking at and see where the facts take us. The bigger worry for the white house isn't the Mueller report it's going to be what's going on in New York. There's legal spying and illegal spying. Spying generally has a -- Electronic surveillance that the person who's being surveilled doesn't know that they're being surveilled. What do you call that? That's another adjective. If it's illegal spying he would have been out of line. I think the Democrats are so busy being word police on this, they're losing sight of the fact of what the governor said. There's illegal and legal types of spying. Look, we can all agree attorney general Barr has a tremendous reputation, a tremendous history of his work in the law, he is not going to jeopardize his legacy by mischaracterizing the Mueller report. Surely, I think this four-page summary may have been glossed over a little bit. He's not going to jeopardize his legacy and mischaracterize information that the American people want to know. I think he's right to redact the information that needs to be redacted. It will never be enough for the Democrats. He's doing this the right way. We don't need to prejudge the Mueller report. Let's see what comes out. You're right about Barr's legacy. A number of civil rights groups and Progressive groups didn't want him in office because he has a legacy of not being fair to a number of communities on a number of issues. And so, one thing that I'm excited about is that this is actually an issue that most Americans can agree on, we want to see the report. Democrats and Republicans say, we want to see the report. Now, I think we'll get a lot of information that's going to perhaps give us a glimpse into the future. Are there more -- is there more information out there that shows that Russia still has an influence over the president? I don't know. I think we'll find out soon. I'm just looking forward to that report coming out this week. Meantime, lot of focus on the border this week. Jon, you addressed this with the president on this whole family separation policy. You wouldn't start separating the children again, would you, Mr. President? Would you consider doing it again? I'm the one who stopped it. President Obama had child separation. I'll tell you something, once you don't have it that's why you see many more people coming, they're coming like it's a picnic. Let's go disneyland. President Obama separated children. They had child separation. I was the one who changed it. Factually that's not true. But the president does seem to be getting more and more frustrated by what he's seeing on the border. You just saw from Sarah Sanders, he's going to look at this idea of sending migrants to sanctuary cities. Here's the bottom line is, George, they're on track to see 150,000 migrants cross the border a month illegally in the month of April. The detention facilities are full on the border. So, what is happening right now on the border, president won't say this, but this is what I'm told this is happening on the border is, the policy he always derided, catch and release. They can't detain anybody they're releasing or they're turning themselves in across the border. That's why you see the president, you know, going about with so many different ideas. Back to child separations. Closing the border down entirely. Now, this idea of shipping the migrants off to sanctuary cities. None of those ideas are going to fly. They don't have a solution to this right now. They are releasing migrants across illegally right now. Chicago is a sanctuary city? Yes. I'd just say, America was always a sanctuary country, before Chicago became a sanctuary city. That's exactly what's at the bottom of the statue of liberty. You can see it from New Jersey. It's in New Jersey. You can read the base of it. We'll welcome you any time. We'll show it to you. The fact is, everything he's ever built has been built by undocumented people. Includes his golf facility in New Jersey. Third, here's what he's trying to do, George, he introduced a budget which had the largest cut in medicare and medicaid and he's trying to hide that because seniors are his most loyal voters. He's trying to stop -- there's no reporting, we're not going to bring up medicare. His budget has the largest cut in medicare and medicaid. Of any presidential budget. He's trying to make sure that the seniors don't know. If I was the speaker or chuck Schumer, I'd pull that out of the budget -- The key with this is, this is his effort to really try and make some impact and inroads on his signature campaign issue which is immigration and securing the border. He's addressed the flores amendment, which is a big problem with illegals coming into this country and having a limited amount of time to process them. He's made it clear that he wants to look at catch and release the problems with catch and release. He wants to look at the ending of chain migration. The idea of sending them to sanctuary cities was floated and rejected. That's not going to happen. But here's the question -- Wait a minute. That's the problem right there. We can't afford it. White house officials said Thursday night the president contradicted it on Friday morning. My question is, why are Democrats -- mayor with all due respect, you proudly say you welcome them with open arms -- I would welcome them. It's a comprehensive immigration reform which we don't have. Do you remember a few months ago, when the government shut down over this issue. That still has not been resolved. Like this president has this stall and scare tactic. We don't have any real sense of us moving forward to a real solution. This is a schizophrenic process. To where this day this may work and this day this may work. I tink the Democrats need to be more vocal on what their plan is as well. Americans are getting tired of not having any real movement. And Chris, I wonder if this proposal -- I mean, these ideas have the same power, same political power they had back in 2016 now that he's responsible for the border. I think what he's doing here is to try and show that he can't do it by himself and he floats these ideas out that he can do by himself that most people think aren't legal and aren't able to do. Without congress being willing to step in and work with him he can't be held responsible for it. I think that's part of why he's doing it. Here's the thing, he's doing what Democrats should be doing. Which is, he's pivoting off the immigration issue. We need to stay on it. Let's get to medicare and medicaid. Because what he E knows, traditionally for Democrats, that's a winning issue for them. It's a winning issue. Thank you. The problem is, that no other Democrats that are in leadership or who are running for president are nearly as smart as he is. Can you call my mother? The point is, politically that's what Democrats should be doing. But instead, they're continuing because they hate trump so much -- This is the one thing. Donald Trump wants to talk about trump. Democrats want to talk about trump. Somebody is going to win when they start talking about the American people. You want to talk medicare for all, we'll talk about $8 billion cut in medicare. Let's put it up for a vote. We'll take a break and come

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

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