Nolte: CNN’s Chris Cuomo Made 11 Misleading Statements About the Mueller Report

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 11: Chris Cuomo attends Annual Charity Day hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald, BGC and GFI at BGC Partners, INC on September 11, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Donald Bowers/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald)
Donald Bowers/Getty

The world already knows CNN’s Chris Cuomo is not the brightest bulb in the chandelier. Still, during an interview with former Attorney General Michael Mukasey on Tuesday night, Cuomo proved not only that he’s eager to mislead his audience, but that he doesn’t have the capacity to grasp even the fundamental bottom line of the Mueller Report and has no idea how our three separate branches of the federal government operate.

From Maggie Haberman to John Podhoertz to Bill Kristol to Mitt Romney to Chris Cuomo… Nepotism is replacing meritocracy and America is all that much stupider for it.

Sure, no one watches Cuomo’s show, but how did someone so breathtakingly dumb land on TV?

  1. Cuomo Lies About Trump and His Campaign NOT Being Exonerated for Collusion

MUKASEY: Russian interference happened for sure, but cooperation and conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russians did not happen. And that was—

CUOMO: To a criminal level, no says Mr. Mueller.

MUKASEY: To any level.

CUOMO: I don’t know about any level. But to a criminal level I’ll give you.

This is Cuomo deliberately misleading his audience into believing there was collusion, just not at a criminal level.

The following is straight from the horse’s mouth of the Mueller Report: “The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”

Total exoneration, no asterisk about criminal versus otherwise. Two years, dozens of partisan investigators, hundreds of witnesses, and $30 million later, no collusion… period.

  1. Cuomo Doesn’t Know It’s the Attorney General’s Job to Decide About Indictments

CUOMO: So, when you say no crime, Mueller couldn’t decide on that one, gave it to your friend the Attorney General, he decided it.

MUKASEY: Right, which is his job.

CUOMO: It is whose job?

MUKASEY: The Attorney General’s job.

CUOMO: To do what?

MUKASEY: It was Mueller’s job initially to decide it and he punted.

Suddenly Cuomo is Lou Costello confused over Who’s on first? Who are we talking about here, Chris? Can you not keep up with the conversation, which is right now focused on one man, Bill Barr, without getting all lost and confused? Can we feed the rabbits, George, can we feed the rabbits now…?

  1. Cuomo Lies About Why Mueller Didn’t Indict for Obstruction

CUOMO: But who says—Well, I said that too, by the way Mike. Maybe I got it from you. I said that. I said Mueller punted. This was his job. He was supposed to make a decision to prosecute or not. But, the finesse position, I’m giving more weigh to now. He knows what his job is. And he sees this as difficult because of the OLC [Office of Legal Counsel] opinion, he can’t indict this President, so he’s leaving it to Congress and not the AG. Nowhere in the report does he ask the AG to do it.

MUKASEY: Number one, that’s not the only reason he saw it as difficult.

Cuomo is hoping to deliberately mislead his audience into believing the only reason Mueller did not indict Trump for obstruction was because he could not legally indict a sitting president due to Justice Department guidelines.

This is not even close to true.

To begin with, the Mueller Report clearly states “a criminal investigation during the President’s term is permissible” and “that a President does not have immunity once he leaves office.”

What’s more, there was nothing stopping the report from concluding Trump had obstructed justice but that he could not be indicted as president. Instead the report declaratively says — and this is important because it is the bottom line Cuomo wants to hide from his audience —  “this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime” regarding obstruction.

The Special Counsel found no crime, therefore it is not the OLC stopping Mueller from recommending an indictment, it is the fact that NO CRIME WAS FOUND.

You need a crime in order to indict.

  1. Cuomo Believed the Mueller Investigation was Separate from the Department of Justice

CUOMO: I didn’t say the only but it does seem to be predominate in his thinking.

MUKASEY: But secondly, the Justice Department doesn’t conduct investigations for the purpose of referring things to Congress. They conduct criminal investigations with two possible results: Either you charge or you don’t charge. We don’t need Robert Mueller or whoever wrote that section of the report to tell us that Congress has the power to conduct impeachment hearings. We all learned that in 8th grade civics and if we didn’t we saw it during the Clinton administration. We know that Congress has that power.

CUOMO: But this was a special counsel. And it was put together by Rosenstein because he wanted it separate from the DOJ [Department of Justice] because of what he saw as–

MUKASEY: It’s not separate from the DOJ, it’s within the DOJ.

The idea that the Special Counsel office is in any way separate from the DOJ is simply nuts, nor is it a separate branch of the DOJ. Rather, it is working on behalf of the DOJ to investigate something specific, return with recommendations, including recommendations to indict, which the DOJ ultimately decides on.

In this case, the DOJ appointed Mueller to investigate if Trump or anyone associated with his campaign colluded with the Russians, and now we know the investigation found that no one did.

The investigation also found no crimes regarding obstruction.

  1. Cuomo Believes the Special Counsel Office is a “Mechanism Separate” from the DOJ.

CUOMO: I know, but as a mechanism separate. I understand the DOJ. I understand how the guidelines are written. I understand why they were written, because we didn’t like what the independent counsel was.

MUKASEY: It’s not just the guidelines. We have three branches of government; this is within the Executive. We don’t sprout a new branch of government.

Duh.

And it is all downhill from here…

  1. Cuomo Believes Attorney General Barr Took It Upon Himself to Not Indict Trump Just Cuz…

CUOMO: But what your friend did is not just by the book. He took it on himself to decide this rule. He didn’t have to do that.

MUKASEY: Of course he had to do it.

CUOMO: Why?

MUKASEY: Who was going to decide if we were going to indict or not?

The Attorney General of the United States deciding whether or not to indict is as “by the book” as it gets.

  1. Cuomo Believes Congress Decides Criminal Matters

CUOMO: Congress, as a political matter. Leave it to them.

MUKASEY: They decide whether to impeach or not. They don’t decide–

CUOMO: And Mike, you’re skipping the big point, which you taught me about very early on.

MUKASEY: That is the big point.

CUOMO: They can’t indict him. That is the opinion from the OLC so there’s nothing to decide on that level. It’s purely political. It always would be.

MUKASEY: Congress doesn’t indict. Congress can impeach.

CUOMO: I’m using it as just a metaphor here.

MUKASEY: But you’re misleading a lot of people. You have a big audience.

CUOMO: No, because we know the OLC says —

MUKASEY: Getting smaller by the minute now but it’s bigger.

Basically, what Fredo is arguing here is that the Attorney General should have … done nothing?

Should have … not have made a ruling on an indictment…?

Should have … punted to the Congress…?

Good heavens, the Special Counsel reports to the DOJ, is in the employ of the DOJ, not Congress. It is up to the DOJ to decide how to ultimately handle this — per the Special Counsel statute.

Apparently, Cuomo wants to live in a world where the DOJ acts as a political branch of Congress, where the DOJ pursues investigations on behalf of a Congress that has no power to indict or prosecute.

  1. Cuomo Believes Only Congress Can Take Action on Mueller Report

CUOMO: — you can’t indict. Right? We know they say that. Mueller knows it. He lays it out in the piece. So, the only type of action would be Congressional. That’s what I’m saying.

MUKASEY: No. He can file a sealed indictment. He could say that there should be an indictment in these circumstances but the only reason he can’t is because of the OLC opinion. He didn’t say that.

CUOMO: No. He didn’t say that about a sealed indictment but he did go out of his way to say, “hey, I want to be fair to the President too. He can’t even respond to this because of the OLC opinion.” So he — I would suggest referred it to Congress.

This might not be idiocy on Cuomo’s part, but rather an attempt to deliberately mislead the small group of people who watch his last place show.

Cuomo is pretending Justice Department guidelines kept Mueller from taking any action against Trump regarding obstruction and that Barr should not have chose not to indict; instead, what Cuomo wanted Barr to do was leave a cloud over Trump’s head by doing nothing and simply handed the report over to the Congress.

Talk about propaganda.

AGAIN… on the issue of obstruction, the Mueller Report clearly states “this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime” — which is all that matters.

Secondly, the Mueller Report could have returned a sealed indictment against Trump to be used after he left office and could have said they found a crime but cannot indict due to DOJ regulations.

Moreover, the Mueller Report did NOT have to go out of its way to tell the world they did not find a crime. That wording could have easily been left out.

  1. Cuomo Doesn’t Believe the Attorney General Should Have Ruled on Indictment

CUOMO: But Mr. Barr decided to end this. He didn’t have to.

MUKASEY: He did.

CUOMO: That’s not in the book. He could have left it alone. You can’t indict a sitting president. He didn’t need to tell us that.

MUKASEY: He needed to say whether an indictment was warranted or not. And he said it.

CUOMO: You can’t have one. Why did he need to tell us that?

MUKASEY: Because Mueller left it dangling out there and in the circumstances were you have evidence going one way and evidence going another way, you don’t indict.

Actually Mueller did not leave it dangling, he declaratively said “this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime.”

What’s more, the issue of an indictment, if warranted, would only be delayed until Trump left office, so of course Barr had to put an end to it, the same way Mueller put an end to it without putting forth a sealed indictment or a finding that a crime had been committed.

The guidelines that protect a sitting president from being indicted do not protect a sitting president from 1) being accused of a crime by a Special Counsel, or 2) having a sealed indictment filed for after he leaves office.

Cuomo is deliberately misleading people into believing Trump wasn’t indicted because a sitting president cannot be indicted. Cuomo wants you to believe that without that protection, Trump would have been indicted. This is a straight up lie. What Cuomo doesn’t want his audience to know is that the Special Counsel said it found no crime on obstruction or collusion, which means the debate over whether or not a sitting president can be indicted is meaningless because … THE SPECIAL COUNSEL FOUND NO CRIME.

  1. Cuomo Believes Trump Cannot Be Indicted

CUOMO: Except you can’t indict, Mike. And I don’t know why you’re ignoring that. It’s on page 1 of the second part of this report. He says, we take our guidance from the OLC, the Department of Justice guideline on our jurisdiction with respect to indicting a sitting president, they can’t do it. AD Barr didn’t need to do it for that reason. He needed to do it to protect the President. That’s why he did it.

MUKASEY: Protect the President from what? When he can’t be indicted?

Sigh. Once again, a president can be indicted for crimes committed while in office, the DOJ need only wait until after he leaves office.

Mueller could have recommended that. Barr could have done the same. The idea that Barr should have stepped aside and said nothing based on the technicality about indicting a sitting president is beyond stupid, not to mention desperate.

  1. Cuomo Lies About Attorney General Barr’s Letter Being Misleading

CUOMO: From criticism in the open question and giving Congress that kind of momentum. That’s why he did it.

MUKASEY: Oh, come on.

CUOMO: That’s why he did it. That’s why he wrote the letter the way he did. That’s why he gave the press conference the way he did. That’s why he misled us to what the report would look like the way he did.

MUKASEY: [Whistles] You done?

CUOMO: Yes, sir, respond, please.

MUKASEY: Let’s start with the letter because that’s what came first. That letter came at a time when, no criticism of you, but your network were devoting days of people sitting around and talking about a report that they didn’t — whose content they didn’t know, that they hadn’t seen, in essence panels of people sitting around a table inhaling their own exhaust and getting high on it. And trying to make the viewers—

CUOMO: Since when does the AG respond to that?

MUKASEY: Wait a second. The country was in a state of absolute hysteria. You had a countdown clock in the corner of not one but several networks about the release of the report. The release of the report. He did the responsible thing.

CUOMO: A misleading letter about what was in it.

MUKASEY: No, it wasn’t misleading at all.

CUOMO: How not?

MUKASEY: It summarized the bottom line of that report which was that there was no collusion and that the special counsel had found that he could not indict but could not vindicate the president. He put that language right in the letter.

CUOMO: He put in the letter about exoneration in there.

MUKASEY: Could not exonerate. I’m sorry. Not vindicate. Could not exonerate when it is in fact not the job of any counsel or anybody else to exonerate. God does that. Even juries that return acquittals don’t come back and say innocent, they say not guilty.

The Barr letter accurately stated that the Mueller investigation found no evidence of collusion and did not exonerate on the issue of obstruction.

MUKASEY: The special counsel said he couldn’t exonerate and Barr put that in his letter.

CUOMO: That’s right. That’s a fair point.

No, Fredo, that’s the only point.

Transcript courtesy of NewsBusters.

 

Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC. Follow his Facebook Page here.

 

.

Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.