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Kellyanne Conway: What Trump called a ‘witch hunt’ is now a ‘full and fair investigation’

Although the full Mueller report has not been released publicly or made available to Congress, Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, says “it’s not premature for the president to say he’s exonerated and vindicated.” Judy Woodruff talks to Conway about Mueller’s “full and fair investigation” and why the public has a right to know how the special counsel’s inquiry originated.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    And now let's get the view from the White House.

    Kellyanne Conway is counselor to the president. And she joins me now.

    Kellyanne Conway, welcome back to the "NewsHour."

    So, the president and others had called this a witch-hunt. What do you make of the Mueller investigation now?

  • Kellyanne Conway:

    It's a full and fair investigation that came to the right conclusion.

    The president didn't try to interfere with the investigation. And that, of course, we know, is in the documentation, that nobody at Justice felt that Mr. Mueller could not do his work. And he did his work in quiet, Judy, for 22 months, and now he has spoken.

    And I think we — what we know from the Mueller report, through the Barr memo, is instructive not so much for what it says, but for what it doesn't say, no collusion, no new indictments, no indictments of anybody named Trump, no — quote — "obstructive conduct."

    And also something that is being reported that really caught my eye, hasn't gotten a ton of attention, is that there was talk, obviously, internally to get a subpoena for the president to testify in person, and that was felt unnecessary, given the fact that the president submitted written responses under oath to questions that were presented him.

    And the answers to those questions by the president were part of the evidence that they relied upon in coming to this conclusion of no collusion.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    But, today, all we have is just a few sentences, a summary from the attorney general. We don't have the full Mueller report.

    So, is it premature to say that the president feels vindicated or exonerated, as he said?

  • Kellyanne Conway:

    It's not premature for the president to say he's exonerated and vindicated, for a very simple reason, people using that word without giving the audience the benefit of what it means and what it doesn't mean.

    It really doesn't have any criminal stickiness, if you will, any real liability or culpability. I think most Americans probably understand the word conspiracy better, but there's no conspiracy here either.

    And I have to say, Judy, I have been pretty calm and well-tempered, even though people who are saying that we — our campaign in 19 — in 2016, which I was the campaign manager for the winning part of the campaign, that somehow we had to cheat or lie or talk to foreign governments or foreign agents, and couldn't win fairly and squarely.

    That's been a bit of an insult to those of us who just watched Donald Trump and Mike Pence out there making the case to people every single day and connecting with them.

    Look, the president said and he said again today, Judy, to an open press opportunity that he is fine for the Mueller report to be made public. A 420-0 vote in the House of Representatives, so everyone agreed unanimously.

    But you know what the rules are. The attorney general, in this case Bill Barr, will decide what happens next with the report.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    And what we heard from Congressman Raskin is, because the attorney general had written an opinion column critical of the Mueller investigation, that, in effect, when he reports that Mr. Mueller couldn't reach a conclusion on the obstruction of justice question, that Mr. Barr, in Mr. Raskin's words, he said he just took over and himself — and he himself concluded there was no obstruction, in other words, suggesting that that's premature, that we don't know that yet.

  • Kellyanne Conway:

    Well, what we do know is that Bill Barr is doing — is serving his second tour of duty as our nation's attorney general, and his record has been beyond reproach.

    It was disappointing to not see more Democrats vote for his confirmation in the United States Senate recently, since he is a man of esteemed quality and professional experience and character and integrity.

    But I think, again, this presumptive negativity, this — always the wishful thinking, the rush to judgment, the just hoping against hope that the president or in this case his attorney general or someone connected to the president is somehow guilty of something that will turn over the 2016 election result or make it more difficult for this president to be reelected has completely backfired.

    I think that they have given him a gift for 2020, and they have spent so much time talking about 2016, that, here we are, well into 2019.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    And, very quickly, should there be an investigation of what Robert Mueller did, of this — of what the FBI did, what the Justice Department did?

    I'm referring to the call by some of the president's allies, some of his attorneys, including Rudy Giuliani, that Justice Department, FBI be investigated?

  • Kellyanne Conway:


    But I think their point is, the Justice Department, the FBI, the shenanigans that were happening when Comey and McCabe and Strzok and Page and Ohr and the rest of that lot were there ridiculing the Trump voters, smelly Wal-Mart shoppers and things like that, saying they needed a — quote — "insurance policy" to make sure he wouldn't be the president.

    I think, in the interest of full accountability, transparency in our great democracy, the public has a right to know what folks were doing to try to subvert a newly democratically elected president, yes.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Trump, thank you.

  • Kellyanne Conway:

    Thank you, Judy.

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