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tv   Tavis Smiley  PBS  June 6, 2017 6:00am-6:31am PDT

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good evening from los angeles, i'm tavis smiley, this weekend, thousands of marchers gathered. a conversation with maxine waters who believes there was collusion and has pledged to fight day and night to hold donald trump accountable. we're glad you joined us, a conversation with maxine waters in just a moment.
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and by con distributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. always pleased to have maxine waters on this program, serving her 14th term in congress, representing my district, california's 43rd, glad to have you back. >> nice to be here with you. it's been a while. >> it has been a while since you've been in the studio. i wonder if i can address this story that seems nonsensical to me. i went online to read it, saw the footage myself. what do you make of this story that you shoved a reporter, i'm
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asking this in light of what we all saw, the congressman who body slammed a reporter. now they're accusing you of shoving a reporter, what happened? >> you're going to hear a lot, because a lot of people are following me around. i have a lot of people from the right wing media following me around. and others who want to get in on the act. and so in talking with this young man yesterday, i talked with him, i saw where he was coming from, i threw up my hands and walked away. he's saying that he got choked. there were a lot of people standing around, when you watch the video, you don't see any shoving, and so he talked about it in two different ways. he said, well, it doesn't rise to the level of any kind of assault, or it wasn't a mean thing, he's been walking it back some. and i think he's just trying to get in on the act and get some attention. >> donald trump's been attacking the media, and we'll get to that. sometimes i think the media
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steps into this stuff, when they make stories out of stuff that really isn't a story. >> it really season the. i'm surprised all of the attention that was given to it. i do know that they like to -- they like to talk about me. a lot of these media operations do. because they get attention. but i mean, i just don't take it seriously. i think it doesn't make good sense, and it doesn't bother me. >> it wasn't just this guy, bill o'reilly went after you a few weeks back, before he lost his job. >> any man that sits in a dark room doing strange things while he's making sexual overtures to a woman, i can't take seriously. you know, it's like i said, you know, i want to talk about the issues, you know. >> let's talk about the issues. there have been a variety of stories, and i want to be clear where you stand on this. do you want trump to be impeached? are you calling for his impeachment? have you not said that.
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have you said you think he will be impeached, ought to be impeached? where are you on this issue? >> i believe that donald trump should be impeached. what i want people to understand is, i know that we have to have the information, we have to have the facts, we have to have the documentation, the congress of the united states decides what is high crimes and misdemeanors. so that's what our responsibility is, and that's the ability that we have to define that. to determine whether or not someone meets the level of impeachment based on, you know, what congress says we can do. and so i believe that there was collusion. i believe that he's been involved in not only collusion, but obstruction of justice now. and other kinds of things. and i think if we had had the investigations moving along a
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lot better than they have been moving, we would have the facts by now. now that we have moved to basically recuse the attorney general sessions. and now that we have gone through the president's firing of comey. i believe that the house intelligence committee cannot do it with nunez as the head. he's already shown that he's not trustworthy. and that he's in the back pocket of the president. i have hopes that the senate will do better, and then the special council, i really have hopes that he will do a lot more. >> you try to pick these things apart? >> yes. >> nunez is a part of the california delegation? >> yes. >> it sounds like you have no confidence in him. >> no, not at all. he went up to the white house to try to protect the president. the president lied about having been wiretapped by obama. he was trying to put together
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some evidence to show that there was some kind of surveillance going on. he was the chair and is the chair of the intelligence committee, supposedly doing the investigation. and in addition to that, now he has issued subpoenas that he did not include the democrats in, the way that he's supposed to, and helping to decide who and why people are being subpoenaed. >> we'll come to obstruction of justice in a second. as james comey is set to testify later this week, as you well know. >> yes. >> let me start with your suggestion, you believe there was collusion with the russians. >> that's right. >> what do you base that statement on? >> well, when i first started to look at his allies and the people around him. i saw some unusual connections. when i looked at manafort who had been his campaign manager and said that he was connected to the ukraine, he had contracts there, and that's what that side of the ukraine that's connected
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to putin. when i took a look at flynn. flynn revealed himself as someone who had been in contact with the russians. had lied about it. had not filled out his papers properly, to disclose that he had. when i looked at carter page and i saw carter page's connection to the kremlin, and when i took a look at roger stone, who is a close ally of the president, and he too has been involved with russia over the years. i said why is it all of these people with these kind of connections are in one place here, in one administration, what's wrong with this picture? and we began to see more and more, don't forget, there was a proposal by trump's attorney, cohen that he was presenting to flynn before flynn was really revealed, and that proposal was all about bringing together the
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ukraine with the kremlin, and the interest of lifting the sanctions. lifting the sanctions, i think even though that has not been delved into strongly enough, i really do think that much of this is about lifting the sanctions. why did putin want trump to be president. why is it he did not want hillary clinton to be president? it is because, i believe, that between trump and his son in law kushner, they discovered there's some money opportunities here, big money opportunities here in russia, and with the kremlin, and i think that -- i know that the president has made no bones about it, he supports lifting those sanctions. those sanctions were put on by obama because of the invasion in crimea. and they cannot move to drill without having all of the equipment, everything that they need with the sanctions and our
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allies working with us, to support those sanctions. he needs to have those sanctions lifted so he gets on with the business of drilling in the arctic. i think tillerson is a part of this. he comes from exxon, he had already negotiated a deal with putin. multibillion dollar deal to drill in the arctic. i don't think tillerson really cares or knows enough about being secretary of state. as a matter of fact, he's demonstrated that in the way he's treated the employees. he's not even fighting the cuts that are being proposed by the secretary of state's office. and so i think that the connections of all of these folks who have been meeting with the russian ambassador, who is basically a spy. and i do believe that their interest in oil. and i think it was carter page, who was involved with the gas
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and oil company, stayed on a run -- influenced by the kremlin. i think that there's a lot there. and then i also believe because we -- and our intelligence agencies, really confirmed that they hacked into the dnc. they tried to undermine our elections and thus our democracy. that you cannot take that lightly. you have to see what this is all about. that's why the investigations are so important opinion i wish we could have had an independent commission or committee of some kind to do this kind of investigation. it's been slow. it's unbearable -- this president and his leadership is unraveling in some interesting ways. when he discovers comey is investigating him, he fires him
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outright. and when we learn sessions -- he did not disclose. so all of this means there's a lot of smoke here, and i think it leads to -- >> well, there's smoke, does it mean there's fire? >> i think there's enough here to believe that. >> okay. >> i think the foot prints are there. >> you think bob mueller has enough authority as independent council -- and i ask that, because as you well know, in congress, the rules were changed, some years ago. >> yes. >> and there's some of us who are concerned that the special council doesn't have enough authority to do what needs to be done, no matter what he may or may not find. >> i think he does. and i think he has to design and define what role he's going to play. some people say he's doing that now, where he sang to the senate committee or the committees, for example, okay? and i'm not sure this is true. but this is what is being said. you take care of the obstruction of just is, i'm going toe take
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care of the collusion allegations and what is being said about the connections that have been made between trump and his family and putin and the kremlin. and so, yeah, i do think that he has enough authority and power to do it. and to get right down into these relationships, everything from e-mails to airplane trips to communications of all kinds. i think there's enough there. >> what do you expect all eyes are going to be on washington, on the hill on thursday. >> well, all eyes are going to be there. everybody's waiting for that. >> what do you expect? >> well, i think it may be blown out of proportion right now. >> the hype on this thing is so big. i don't know that his testimony could measure up to all the hype. you tell me. >> i don't think so. i -- much of what he is going to say has already been said. there may be more in the memos that he's done. he supposedly documented every
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meeting that he had. maybe we'll find out how many meetings, how extensive those memoranda are. and whether or not he has captured this president basically pushing him to stop the investigation, rather than suggesting. and so i think that it will be interesting, but i don't think it's going to be as big as people think -- >> it may not be. i don't think it will be either. let me take these two punch cards if i may. if he hit sits in congress under oath and says two things, that the president tried to get me to stop an investigation, and the president asked me for a loyalty oath. if congress hears nothing but but those two things that i was pressured to stop the investigation into michael flynn and asked to express my loyalty to the president. shouldn't those two things alone be something? >> it should. impeachment starts in the house.
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the trial takes place in the senate. yes, i think so, i think that alone is impeachable. i really do. >> the flip side of all this, impeachment is a dangerous thing. and it is a tool of last resort in our democracy. >> that's right. >> how do you keep this from becoming political? some say you have made it political by calling for impeachment before the data is in. >> if the president needs to be impeached, let's impeach him. how do you keep it from becoming political? >> well, first of all, elected officials and politicians are the ones who are going to make the decision. but here's what i believe so thoroughly about this possible collusion, that i want to be documented. if, in fact, putin and the kremlin not only hacked into our dnc and into other members, telephones, et cetera, if they
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included to elect trump and to undermine our democracy, i think that is extremely serious. and i don't care what side of the aisle you're on. >> that's not political? >> that's not political. >> it's anti-democratic. >> and whether you're a democrat or republican. the democracy must be protected. it must not be thrown away for money or for friendship. or for ego or anything else. if you are found to have organized and strategized and included to undermine our democracy, not only is it impeachable. but democrats, republicans have to stand together. to say, we're not going to allow this to happen. constitution means more than that, this democracy means more than that, and for any -- even the right wingers in the freedom caucus, who would defend him when the facts are in, then i would question their patriotism.
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many of them think they wave the flag higher than anybody else. for some of us that they don't think are as patriotic as they are, we are saying, we're about saving this democracy, and for african-americans, it should be extremely important. for a lot of reasons. number one, we have fought to make the democracy better. we have fought, we have worked with this country. despite the history of what has been done to us from slavery on through, discrimination, even now we're fighting for voting rights. and so we have believed that america belongs to us, like it belongs to others. and we're willing to fight for it, and fight with, we go to wars, we do everything. and so we have a leadership role in this, and that is to defend the democracy, and to say to putin, to the kremlin, to trump or to any of those who are organized in this situation, that i believe has to do with
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drilling oil and all of the profits that are going to come from that. you can't get away with, we're not going to let you do it. >> i think i heard somewhere you called them the kremlin clan? >> that's right. all of the connections of everybody that i have named and some more, have connections in some way, with the kremlin. whether we're talking about the kremlin or way talking about putin or the ologages in russia. >> are there republicans nowadays who have the courage, who are moderate enough, who are concerned enough about the democracy to do the right thing? because there were some of those in the watergate hearings. i think things are so divided and people take such a litmus test these days to get elected. are there 15, 20 republicans that would crossover? can you count 22 republicans that are going to do that? >> no, and they're going to be
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tested when the information rolls in. when the facts are unveiled. there are those who say that republicans are frightened. they're frightened that trump will come into their districts and they'll get defeated. if they don't stand with him. they don't know what he's capable of doing, and he has shown in the way that he's conducted himself, that he's capable of waking up at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning and doing whatever and saying whatever. the fear is there. but they're going to be tested. when they're tested it's going to be very difficult to stand up in the face of the democracy being undermined by russia and those who would aligning themselves with them. in the interest of -- i think profits of oil and money. >> speaking of tweets at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning, what did you make as a member of congress of those tweets that president trump tweeted that just seemed to anger everybody in london,
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all throughout europe. showing an insensitivity of what the mayor had said hp what did you think of his nitpicking in those situations? in those tweets? >> i find that this president does not respect anything or anybody. i find that he certainly is not a thoughtful human being. he's certainly not one who respects the history of this country. and diplomatic relationships and allies. he has disregarded all of that, he does not try to learn about it, he doesn't know when he's in the middle east and when he's not in in the middle east, and on and on and on. so i just believe anything could come out of him at 3:00 in the morning. he's shown us that. i don't think anybody can contain him. >> do you believe it's just a matter of time on some other issue before he trips himself up and makes impeachment even more likely? at one point he'll say or do
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something that is so outlandish, that will be clear to everybody. >> as i've been involved with this issue, and i've been on the internet a lot. there's a lot of tweeting going on, with the millennials who are following, et cetera. i said, he's going to lead himself right to impeachment. that's what i said. because i do believe that he is so outrageous, that he is so disrespectful. and disregarding everything from a loss to process to protocol. i do think that he's capable of tripping himself up. >> let me ask you how the democrats fight back. >> yes. >> i ask you, because you're a democrat long enough to know there's enough infighting inside the democratic party that the agenda doesn't get advanced. if the strategy is to watch donald trump implode or lead himself to impeachment, is that
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enough? >> yes. >> i get the sense people are waiting for him to destroy h himself. >> i want you to know democrats are not just waiting for him to destroy himself. as a matter of fact you don't hear democrats coming out in any appreciable numbers speaking like i'm speaking. we're focused on a democratic agenda. that aca is extremely important to us. we worked hard. obama worked hard, nancy pelosi helped deliver it on the floor. we're pushing back, we did get 20 republicans who disengaged from their caucus and said, we can't do this. so that has been high on our agenda. on my committee, financial services. we have all of the dodd-frank reforms to protect. i'll be on the floor three days this week fighting against the bad choice act, that would undo
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all of the dodd-frank reforms. don't forget, we are in a recession in this country, almost a depression. because of the way that wall street treated our financial services with these exotic products they put on the market. the predatory lending. dodd-frank reform was put together so that would never happen again. but now with the leadership of trump, who -- in one of his executive orders instructed them to review this and to basically undo it, they're coming with this comprehensive piece of legislation, they call the choice act. we call the bad choice act and we're fighting it. we're helping to educate people about why it is so important to have dodd frank reform. in the dodd frank reform, we have the consumer financial protection bureau. i want to tell you, that's extremely important. prior to the reform we didn't have anybody looking out for consumers. and whether we talk about payday loans or the other kind of
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ripoffs that now we have gotten a hold on, and we're finding, for all of this fraud and these ripoffs, et cetera. if donald trump remains president. and if they're able to get past the senate and get a bill like this to the president. it will undermine tremendous work. so we're focused not only on health care, and the aca. and we're focused on financial services and making sure that we have protection for our consumers. we're making sure that we have jobs at the top of our agenda. i know this president has talked about infrastructure. we don't know what this means. what we do know is this, he has sent a skinny budget that's going to hurt a lot of working people and poor people. and many of those people that voted for him are going to be extremely upset when they learn about the medicaid cuts and all
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of the other things he's doing. >> it will be fascinating in the coming days when you all get a chance to get into that infrastructure idea that he laid out today. and see what's really there, and see whether or not democrats can support that. >> it depends. obama, don't forget, this was obama's initiative. >> that's what trump is saying, he's saying, it's a democratic idea, can't you all get behind it? >> he can't get probably the freedom caucus behind it, you know why? they don't want to spend any money. and so he expects that we can put it out for him, but he better bring with him his people and those republicans who he's going to have the real problem with. there's no reason why we should jump, knowing that we have a lot of other things to attend to. in the first place, you can't give the tax breaks to the richest 1% in this country in your budget and talk about how you're really going to spend money on infrastructure. you know what i'm saying. >> we have to take a real close
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look at this. we can't let people be tricked by it, and i think as we go along with this, we'll find out whether or not he's really serious, and how he really thinks he's going to get it done. >> you have work to do, you better get back to washington. i'll let you catch a plane. i'll probably have you in the studio tonight. >> thank you very much. >> thanks for watching. and as always, keep the faith. for more information on today's show. visit tavis smiley@pbs.org. join me next time for a conversation about "the carmichael show" that's next time, we'll see you then.
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and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
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good evening from los angeles. i'm tavis smiley. access to healthy, fresh food remains a challenge for many people in communities across the nation. while fast food and junk food are readily available. a conversation with food activists and entrepreneurs who are helping communities exercise their right to grow, sell, and eat healthy food. we're glad you've joined us. our conversation about food, roy choi, ron finley and sam polk in just a moment.

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