NBC Meet the Press host Chuck Todd claimed Thursday that President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr “successfully neutered the impact of the Mueller report politically” following the Justice Department’s release of a summary of the investigation’s findings last month.
A partial transcript is as follows:
BRIAN WILLIAMS: Chuck, I was told by a senior Democrat last night that it’s going to be, among political and legal-types, quite obvious that the absence of Robert Mueller because the Department of Justice normally really strives for a team photo behind the AG.
CHUCK TODD: Can I just tell you this? This is how we framed it this morning. I think the country, no matter which side you come down on the Mueller investigation, the way this has been handled between the president, between frankly what Bill Barr has done in the last couple of weeks, and the country’s faith in the rule of law, is it better than when Mueller started or is it worse? And that’s the sad chapter of all this, is that right now we enter in a situation where ― think about it this way. Adam Schiff and Devin Nunes both want to see the unredacted Mueller report, and they both want it for completely different reasons.
Devin Nunes doesn’t trust Mueller, and Adam Schiff doesn’t trust Barr. And this is the situation we’re in. So politically, the waters are beyond muddy. They’ve done all that. It is sad. We could be here in a situation ― had Bill Barr done the following: simply released a statement saying there were no criminal ― there were no recommendations for criminal charges, period. Didn’t have to say anything else. He’ll have the report out as soon as he can.
If he had simply said I’m looking into everything regarding how this investigation started, the investigation itself, all of those things, period. Had he said all those things without using buzz words, without doing a press conference, without writing a summary, without making a decision on his own and taking matters into his own hands, we’d be in a much ― we’d have a much different conversation right now. And we’d have a much different interpretation of Bill Barr as attorney general. I think that’s why there’s even more anxiety about the release today.
WILLIAMS: Yeah. Though something tells me at least for the midday portion when we are going through, discovering texts, assigning different sections to all our folks, reading aloud what’s in here, I think politics is going to be absolutely crushed under the weight of the content revealed to us that we’re reading in real-time today.
TODD: It is, but Brian, I mean, look, the president and Bill Barr have successfully, I think, neutered the impact of the Mueller report politically. And that’s the bottom line.