By Newsweek |
MSNBC's Ari Melber and Trump Attorney Fight Over Barr’s Summary: ‘Save The Media Criticism’
MSNBC host Ari Melber argued with Donald Trump attorney Jay Sekulow on Monday over the contents of Attorney General William Barr’s summary of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
In his four-page summary, delivered to Congress on Sunday, Barr said Mueller’s probe neither exonerated or indicted the president with regards to whether he obstructed justice. The Attorney General indicated that he saw no reason to action any criminal proceedings against Trump.
Barr’s letter also informed lawmakers that the “special counsel’s investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election.”
During an MSNBC segment on Monday afternoon, Melber agreed that the conclusion of no collusion was good for Trump, but when it came to discussing the findings on obstruction of justice, the host asked Sekulow: “How do you explain how many misstatements and falsehoods there were? Other people, as you know, were convicted of obstruction-related crimes and lying to the feds. That’s not in doubt. How do you explain all of that now that you have this result that would seem to be positive on the lack of conspiracy?”
Sekulow responded by arguing that the “individuals who were charged or plead or convicted were charged with crimes unrelated to the issue of collusion with Russia.” The attorney went on to explain that “most of the charges were what’s called process crimes” such as lying to the federal officers and tax evasion.
When asked by Melber to explain why Mueller’s probe didn’t expressly exonerate the president on obstruction, Sekulow deflected the question by asking “what does no crime mean?” before urging the host to “read the whole sentence.”
Melber then put the sentence on the screen which read, "while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him,” before the two men descend into an argument about what “not exonerate” means.
After several moments of both men loudly and repeatedly talking over the other, Melber urged Sekulow to "keep this pleasant."
“Ari, listen with due respect I do watch your show, you conflated the independent counsel with the special counsel and then you conveniently leave off where it says ‘we’re not accusing the president of a crime,’” Sekulow fired back
“Jay, save the media criticism for when we’re not doing the interview,” Melber replied.
MSNBC's Ari Melber and Trump attorney Jay Sekulow on Monday argued over Bill Barr's summary of special counsel Robert Mueller's conclusions. MSNBC/Screenshot