On Thursday, MSNBC's Brian Williams attempted to poke holes in Attorney General William Barr's summary of the newly released redacted report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. After inviting on Donald Trump's attorney Jay Sekulow, Williams suggested that Barr misled the public by concluding that Mueller's report found "no collusion" between the Trump campaign and the Russian government in election interference. Sekulow responded by reading directly from the report clearly stating that it "did not establish" collusion.
"Counselor, thank you very much for joining us," Wiliams began in a moment highlighted by the Washington Examiner (video below). "My first question, I'm afraid, is going to verge on plain English: Where did the attorney general get off with that characterization this morning, including four mentions that there was 'no collusion'? What document was he reading compared to the one we're left with?"
Sekulow responded by simply reading directly from the second page of Mueller's now publicly available report. "Well, page 2 of the document says, 'the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities,'" Sekulow read.
"So it's right from the document itself," he added.
"Have you read Part 1?" asked Williams.
"I have read Part 1 and Part 2," Sekulow replied.
"You find good news in here for the president and the administration?" asked Williams, suggestively.
Sekulow answered by reading another direct quote from the report: "Page 181: 'The investigation did not establish that the contacts described in Volume 1 [Section IV, supra],' that's the Russian contacts, 'amounted to an agreement to commit any [substantive] violation of federal criminal law, including foreign-influence and campaign-finance laws.'"
Sekulow then answered Williams' loaded question directly: "Yeah, I think it's a very good win."
WATCH (video via Washington Examiner):
Sekulow also appeared on ABC News with George Stephanopoulos to provide his "bottom line" on the Mueller report. Asked by Stephanopoulos, a former Bill Clinton aide, if he and his team had read all 400+ pages of the report, Sekulow explained that they had early access to it so they could fully review the document.
The big picture, said Sekulow, is that the very reason the investigation was launched, the allegation of "collusion" with Russia, is repeatedly and "emphatic[ally]" dismissed in the report. "So you don't have an overarching crime that was the beginning of this investigation, which was this collusion inquiry — there's nothing there, they said, no evidence of collusion at all. And then they move to were there acts that were obstructive."
Sekulow then cites Barr's summary of the obstruction findings, at which point Stephanopoulos stops him and says that Barr's conclusions are different from Mueller's. Stephanopoulos then read directly from Mueller's report: "If we could determine the president did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state."
Sekulow responded by asking Stephanopoulos to read Mueller's next sentence: "Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it does not exonerate him."
"Right," said Sekulow. "A prosecutor's job is not exoneration. They either determine that there is a criminal act, or there's not."
WATCH (video via ABC News):