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The Republican establishment on Sunday felt a sense of vindication following the release of a Justice Department summary on the Mueller report. NewsHour White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor reports. She joins Hari Sreenivasan to discuss reactions from both sides of the political aisle.
On his way back to Washington from Florida late today, President trump told reporters it was quote- "a shame the country had to go through this."
This was an illegal takedown that failed. And hopefully somebody's going to be looking at the other side. So it's complete exoneration. No collusion. No obstruction.
Joining me now from Washington D.C. Is PBS NewsHour White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor. This seems to be a pretty big talking point for not just the president but all of his supporters today I've seen just internally all the e-mails that you're forwarding. There's a lot of Republicans pretty excited.
There are a lot of Republicans that are very excited. In fact it feels like 2016 all over again and that people around the president and the president himself are saying I was duly elected the president of the United States. I didn't do anything illegal. I think two words really summarize how the president and people around him are feeling and vindicated and exonerated. I've been texting and talking to people in the White House and close to the president and they all say this is proving that Democrats lied to the American people and that Hillary Clinton was upset about the fact that she didn't lose or did she didn't win the presidency and as a result the mother prob existed. Now of course that's a bit misleading because what we know is that Muellar probe actually started because someone close to the president. George Papadopoulos a campaign adviser told an Australian official that they had dirt on Hillary Clinton coming from the Russians and that's how this all got started. But today the point that President Trump and people around him are making is that this is really about Hillary Clinton being bitter about the end of the 2016 election.
Now how does this translate this as an active campaign. Obviously he wants to become president again. Is this already part of the campaign material trying to energize his base?
This is definitely already part of President Trump's message. In 2020 the president's campaign already put out a video asking people to text witch hunt on the word witch hunt to a line in a text message line in order to start fundraising off the idea that the mother port completely cleared the president and they're making the point that while the president was off making the economy well and really running the country Democrats were bitterly for the last two years focused on him winning and wanting to try to prove that somehow he was illegally in office and that he needed to be taken down. Now it isn't interesting though that Democrats on the Hill that I've been talking to say the Muellar report doesn't completely vindicate or exonerate the president. Instead they say that this is really now Robert Mueller passing off this information to Congress and now we're going to see a bunch of investigations likely following this because Democrats want to do a little bit more work before they can say that the president is completely cleared.
Right. So what is the White House do about all that? I mean today obviously they're soaking in what they consider a victory but there are lots of other investigations that are ongoing that might not be tied to Russia.
There are lots of other investigations that are ongoing. But the White House is going to use the mullah report and the findings of the report to make the case over and over again that Democrats are bitter. Now one from the 2016 election but also because of the findings in the mother report as a result. They're now continuing to probe the president and try to investigate the people around him because they're angry that he's president. They're going to make the case that the Mueller report is evidence that the Democrats have gone too far and that they essentially don't have any plans for the American people so that all they can do is try to take down Donald Trump so we can imagine on the 2020 campaign trail and rallies across the country that the president will be saying mother cleared me. But the Democrats won't let this go.
And is there some sort of a larger strategy? I mean I know that the the White House counsel and his lawyers were prepared for whatever came down the pipe today at Mar a Lago over the weekend with him this entire time. Is there some larger strategy that they're working with saying OK if Mueller exonerates us here's what we're going to do next. Do they go on offense today. As you said to try to prove that the Democrats are sore losers?
All weekend. The president was quiet while he waited for the Muller report. That was uncharacteristic. President Trump is someone who likes to celebrate who likes to tweet but all weekend he gathered with the lawyers from the White House to make sure that he wanted to know exactly what was in this report before he started celebrating now that he knows that he's been vindicated in his mind. He's going to be using this report to make the case in 2020 and to make the case on Capitol Hill that Democrats are after him so this is definitely going to be the president going on the offense and Democrats essentially are going to be on the defense. They now have to defend why taxpayers should continue to investigate President Trump the Russian collusion asked aspect as well as the 2016 election that's going to have to be a case the Democrats are going to have to make now.
Alright, NewsHour's white house correspondent. Yamiche Alcindor. Joining us from Washington. Thanks so much.
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