May 25, 2021

Last night, Lawrence O'Donnell asked Rep. Adam Schiff about his reaction to the newly-released documents dealing with the Mueller investigation and the ways Paul Manafort kept lying to them about colluding with Konstantin Kilimnik. (The documents were ordered released by Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who was apparently furious at how the public was misled.)

"It's pretty interesting in two respects because you're right, it shows he was a bigger liar than we knew and he was a pretty big liar to begin with. But it shows the degree of collusion between the campaign chairman for Donald Trump and Russian intelligence," Schiff said.

"I hear Manafort -- and Gates as deputy chairman -- are repeatedly giving an agent of Russian intelligence internal polling data, internal strategic documents about their efforts in battleground states and key demographics within those battleground states. And so this is going on while Russians are doing a secret social media operation to help the Trump campaign. And so it's hard to find something more graphic than that in terms of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians and the same Russian intelligence that's working on the social media campaign.

"But what's also interesting about it is, this is now the second federal judge who, in ordering these things to be unredacted, essentially said that Bill Barr misleading the country. Misleading the country by saying there was no evidence of collusion, by saying that he was compelled to conclude that you could not indict the president on obstruction. The judge is also saying that essentially Barr has been dishonest with the court about what that memo is about. It's not about just deliberations, apparently it's about spin. And it's for that reason, because it's about how do they spin this pre-decision pre-determination that they weren't going to indict the president no matter what. How did they spin that? That's not something that can be concealed from the public. So it's interesting in many levels."

"We have breaking news about that memo. As you have been speaking, we have reports indicating that the Biden Justice Department now is going to ask for an extension of time. They have until midnight tonight to hand over that memo to Bill Barr that attorney general Barr said he used in deciding that he could not prosecute or charge Donald Trump with obstruction of justice," O'Donnell said.

"Judge Amy Berman Jackson said no, this could not have been used for that because his mind was already made up. It seems that the Biden Justice Department is now trying to at least extend the time they have to turn over that memo and possibly appeal that decision under that extension of time."

"You know, I would hope that they would not resist turning that over the public," Schiff responded.

"The public should see what's in that memo. You frequently have a situation, Lawrence, where the new Justice Department comes and they say well, to protect the prerogatives of the Justice Department, we're going to maintain the same position as the old Justice Department.

"That really ought to give way to the greater public interest after all. This involved an investigation into the president of the United States and the attorney general Bill Barr who is willing to essentially lie to the country to conceal and I think the public interest in full disclosure ought to outweigh whatever concern the Justice Department may have about precedent, particularly when the court has read the document, that it isn't an internal deliberation over a legal issue. It's essentially spin. I don't think the Biden administration should get in the way.

"Mister Chairman, our reporting now indicates that they will be appealing the decision. It will be the official position of the Merrick Garland Justice Department that they do want to protect this memo."

"Well, that's disappointing. And if they do persist, then I hope that they are not sustained by the court of appeals. I hope that the court of appeals will reject this entreaty by the Biden Justice Department. But again, this is not a typical, when the next executive wants to protect the prerogatives of the executive, but I really think it's a mistake of the Justice Department to do that. If they do go through with it, I hope the court of appeals rules against it."

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