Fox News host Chris Wallace on Sunday grilled top White House aide Kellyanne Conway over President Donald Trump’s repeated false claims that he was totally exonerated by special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
Before subjecting Conway to a thorny line of questioning, Wallace aired a clip on “Fox News Sunday” showing Trump speaking at a rally in Michigan on Thursday.
“The special counsel completed its report and found no collusion and no obstruction ― total exoneration, complete vindication,” the president told the crowd.
In fact, Trump-appointed Attorney General William Barr wrote in his summary of the Mueller report, which hasn’t been released to the public, that the special counsel found “evidence on both sides of the question” of whether the president obstructed justice.
“The Special Counsel states that ‘while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him,’” Barr wrote about the obstruction charge in his memo to Congress on March 24.
Wallace, noting that Mueller had not cleared Trump on the question of obstruction, asked Conway, “Why is the president telling Americans something that is not true?”
“The Barr memo talks about no obstructive conduct,” said Conway, before attempting to steer the conversation in a different direction. “Also, nobody at the Department of Justice felt like the investigation was interfered with.”
But Wallace pushed back, “I’m asking specifically about obstruction. ... I do want to keep you on point.”
Conway continued to defend Trump’s lies about Mueller’s findings.
“The president is probably comparing that report and the ultimate conclusions of no conspiracy, no collusion, no contact with any Russian at a campaign that I managed into its final successful phases,” she said, “and have always been offended that anybody would think that we would cheat.”
Wallace wasn’t ready to let the president’s counselor off that easy though, and continued to needle her.
“I’m agreeing with you on collusion,” he told Conway. “I’m asking you about obstruction though.”
“Well, we’ll see what the full Mueller report says, but there’s nowhere in the Barr report that says the president obstructed justice,” Conway replied. “There’s nowhere in the Barr memo that says you or I obstructed justice.”
Wallace persisted, noting again that Mueller’s report “did not exonerate” the president.
“Well, it said many things,” Conway said. “Most importantly, it said this president and his campaign did not commit a crime.”
Mueller did not determine whether Trump committed a crime when it came to obstruction of justice. Barr took it upon himself and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to make that call.
“The Special Counsel’s decision to describe the facts of his obstruction investigation without reaching any legal conclusions leaves it to the Attorney General to determine whether the conduct described in the report constitutes a crime,” Barr wrote.
Wallace also asked Conway about her husband George Conway’s proclivity for mocking Trump on Twitter and accusing him of being mentally unfit to serve as president.
“I don’t really like to discuss this publicly,” Conway responded. “It’s unusual for Washington, too, because I think that many women tend to get their power and their position through the men in their lives and this is a little bit different. I’m sure the feminists are going to throw me a parade at some point.”
Wallace then inquired whether her husband’s frequent bashing of the president had hurt their marriage, prompting heated criticism from Conway.
“Oh, Chris, what are you Oprah now?” she fired back. “What, am I on a couch and you’re a psychiatrist? I think that’s a really inappropriate question.”
Watch the full exchange below: