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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  February 15, 2017 1:00am-2:01am PST

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related to you and your show is good every night but i think your show tonight was freaking spectacular, man, from the very beginning to those last couple segments. >> i tweeted it to one of those how to eat the elephant days in the newsroom. one bite at a time. >> you chose good bites, well done. thanks my friend. thanks at home for joining us this hour. i will try to live up to chris's excellent example tonight. i will do my damneddest. i will start by telling you about a man who is the head of the ethics committee in the russian parliament. a member of vladimir putin's political party. as a member of parliament he declared publicly what his income was. he said his only income was his government salary. he was making about $72,000 a year. he reported his wife contributed to the family income. she made an additional about $5,000 a year or so thereby bringing their total family income to about $77,000 a year give or take before taxes. you'd be amazed how far will go.
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he and his family owned their home in russia, they also owned a second home in russia, they also owned a large apartment. they also owned another large apartment. they also on top of the that scrounged up spare cash enough to do a lot of what appears to be long-term real estate investing. he owned not one, not two, not three, not four but six large plots of land and a jetski and a snowmobile and a land cruiser and a porsche cayenne and a mercedes and another mercedes and also another mercedes which means he must have been miraculously efficient with that government salary. but then there was the really embarrassing part for him. the head of the ethics committee, as a prominent member of vladimir putin's party in parliament, he was part of the
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really aggressive anti-american stuff that putin has done in russian politics over the last few years. for example, you might remember he's got a lot of press here, it was one of the ways putin decided to retiate against americ familieand ian orphans as part of his response to u.s. sanctions a few years back. do you remember this story? putin and his party in parliament decided to block american families from being allowed to adopt russian kids. they interrupted individual kids' adoptions to punish america. this guy was involved in that. he was one of the real anti-american hard-liners in putin's party. and that's why the rest of his real estate portfolio was particularly hard for him to explain when it became public knowledge because in addition to all that property and all those vehicles that he was somehow able to afford on his $75,000 a year salary in russia negotiation the four homes, the six large parcels of land, the three mercedes and all the rest
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of it, he also owned a fabulous waterfront ocean view apartment in billionaire mark cuban's building in miami beach. wow! and he owned a second miami beach waterfront condo as well. lovely ocean views, nice fitness room. in addition to his two big miami waterfront condos, he also owned a really nice big house with a pool on a large piece of land up the florida coast in ormond beach. did i mention that his reported income was $75,000 or so before taxes? and he haas kids. somehow this friend of vladimir putin, the head of the ethics committee in the russian parliament, this prominent politician in putin's political party somehow was able to put together a pretty nice real estate portfolio and nice life-style for himself and his family, either by being a
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miraculous saver and bargain hunter or by some other undisclosed means. rather than face pressure to disclose what those means might be, that lawmaker, the head of the ethics committee in the russian parliament, he decided to resign couple yearsgo when pictures of his properties and property records and documentation of his vast holdings got posted publicly on a russian blog and he had no explanation for how he was able to afford all that stuff. over the last few years, that blog made quite a lot of news in russia, exposing the inexplicable fabulous wealth of vladimir putin's cronies and apparently corrupt politicians in russia. and they were good at it. they posted their original source materials so it couldn't be debunked by the russian government. they used public records, particularly from other countries so the stuff couldn't be disappeared offline by the russian government. they made funny little peoples and pictures to go along with their scandals to make them stick more.
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this guy -- see, they have the ethics committee chairman, his head? they photoshopped it on to a guy in sandals on a beach chair enjoying the miami sun. so the ethics committee guy in the russian parliament resigned over that scandal once all of his international real estate holdings were made public and he couldn't explain how he got the money to do that. other putin cronies and politicians also got embarrassed and were forced to resign by the same tactic, the same exposure of their corruption and the guy who ran that blog, who had these good instincts and performative the skills for how to make stories like this stick, he decided to do something very brave after exposing these russian politicianspoliticians. he decided he would not an anonymous source. he blogged under his own name. he stood by what he was doing. he became an activist. he became a really effective opposition figure in russian politics. those protests that so freaked out vladimir putin starting in
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2011, the ones secretary of state hillary clinton complained about internationally ich so drove putin into a froing ra against hillary clinton. this guy was a key figure in those anti-putin protest that made such a big impact. alexi navalny ran for mayor of moscow in 2013. he did surprisingly well, freaked out putin even more. this past year, alexi navalny announced he would run for president of russia against vladimir putin next year when putin's term is up. you can see where this is going, right? the "new york times" moscow bureau described him a couple of days ago as the only opposition candidate with a broad into yast i can popular following in russia. last one left. and at one level that makes us all surprised to learn that he's still alive. that vladimir putin allowed him
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to exist for this long. but it means you will not be surprised to learn why the "new york times" moscow bureau was writing about him for an american audience just last week is because last week putin figured out a way to disqualify alexi navalny from being an opposition figure. from running against putin for president. they found a remote regional court hundreds of miles from moscow and they got that court to convict alexi navalny in some obscure scheme involving timber futures. this is the most recent in a series of things they have tried to convict him of or set him up for. they went after him for alleged elk coaching. elk poaching? they reportedly tried to convict him of stealing street heart. there was a fraud allegation from the government involing perfume. they've come up with weird stuff to arrest alexi navalny for but
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them bezelment conviction that they finagled in this court last week, that's the important one because arguably russian law says if you are convicted of a crime like that, if you are convicted and sentenced for embezzlement, which he just was, that legally disqualifies you from running for office. so, yeah, timber futures. okay. that's what we'll get him for. and now the most viable opposition politician in russia, this 40-year-old handsome telegenic clever accomplished well known corruption exposing provocateur just won't be allowed to put his name on the ballot if he tries to run against putin next year. he says he will appeal, he insists he will figure out a way to still run for president but you know what? under vladimir putin the state has its ways and because of what appears to be this totally ginned up embezzlement conviction they were able to
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pull off, that i've used that as an excuse to shut down his means of raising money towards running for president next year. that's gone. russia has a justice system. russia has a court system that doesn't necessarily mean that russia has the rule of law in the same way putin has taken over almost all sources of news in his country in the same way he's taken over big business. it's not possible to run business in any significant scale without putin being cut in and involved. in the same way he's technically presided over a democracy for 17 straight years while opposition leaders consistently find themselves arrested or dead and opposition parties find themselves outlawed or otherwise structurally sidelined, so, too, the russian just system. on paper looks great, right? but in real life everybody up to and including punk bands and billionaires find themselves in inside literal cages in russian courtrooms at the pleasure of
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the president. and his political opponents get prosecuted and convicted when he wants them prosecuted and convicted and that's how the justice system worked. the rule of law cannot just exist on paper, it's only real, it only really works when it operates with independence, with independence from the political system, when the judicial system operates at its own discretion governed by law and not directed or constrained by any political agenda. not directed or constrained by any political agenda. not directed or constrained. in our system of government we count on both the judiciary and the legislative branch of government to be separate from the executive branch of government. we count on them to constrain the executive branch when the executive branch overreaches. we not only to expect them to resist being used as political tools be i the president, we expect them to independently investigate the executive branch when there are serious questions
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about the behavior of that branch of government. that's how our rule of law works, right? late last night in the middle of the night the national security advisor to the president resigned, was fired? resigned? was fired? we don't know. he's out. national security advisor michael flynn. being national security advisor is a hard job. there have been a bunch of scandals surrounding the national security advisor position or the person holding that position over the decades. it's thought of one of those jobs that's hard to hold on to for a long time. a lot of turnover in that job. previous record for the shortest term ever as national security advisor, though, was somhing like two and a half years. that was the previous shorst term ever. michael flynn lasted 24 days. and there are a number of things about the nicer's sudden departure last night which make no sense. we've got adam schiff, the top democrat on the intelligence committee to help us sort this out. we have time weiner, the
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foremost modern historian of the fbi and the cia. time weiner will be here to help us sort this out. but there are just some baseline fundamental questions we don't have an answer for. or that we have answers for that make no sense. first there's the direct simple question of mike flynn and how he got to be national security advisor. how he lasted 24 days at that job. it's wudly reported general flynn was under investigation by counterintelligence community at the fbi and by counterintelligence investigators at the cia. he's also reportedly under investigation by the u.s. army for having taken allegedly undisclosed payments from the russian government during the presidential campaign at the end of 2015. those investigations didn't just start now. how did he get named national security advisor? the president is cleared to receive all classified information, included
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information about the investigations under way. what the president must have known about the counterintelligence investigations of michael flynn why would you ask michael flynn to be your national security advisor? we don't have an explanation of that one yet. here's another one. the "new york times" reports late this afternoon that that general flynn as part of these investigations was interviewed personally by the fbi soon after the new administration came into office. that was at a time general flynn insisted he hadn't had conversations wbt the russian government about the sanctions that the u.s. imposed on russia. no, he didn't talk to them. we now know despite protests to the contrary that michael flynn absolutely did have those conversations and the justice department knew he had those conversations because they taped him. they overheard him having conversations with the russian government because they were wiretapping russian government officials.
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so he did an interview with the fbi about their investigation into his contacts with the russian government. he did an interview with them soon after the administration started. did the national security advisor lie to the fbi about the content of those conversations when they questioned him about it? if so that would, of course, be a felony and he would be expecting to go to jail now. has the fbi investigation of general flynn preceded along those lines? that get me to my next point. since jeff sessions became attorney general of the united states, has he interfered with the fbi investigation of general flynn or the investigation of the trump campaign and its contacts with russia in any way? has attorney general jeff sessions changed the focus of those investigations or changed their direction at all? has attorney general jeff sessions been briefed on the fbi investigation of general flynn and his contacts with the russian government? because that's getting us to the really, really important point
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here, right? we now know that the justice department, including the acting attorney general, sally yates, she went to the white house at the end of january. and they informed -- she and another senior career justice official informed the white house counsel that michael flynn had had contacts with the russian government that were not only undermining u.s. government sanctions against russia, these were contacts he lied about and they told the white house that he'd done it. and they told him because he'd been lying about it he could conceivably be blackmailed by russia which is a very bad thing, right? for somebody with that much access to the president and that much aess to classified information. that russia might be very interested to have. general flynn is national security advisor. remember, he was rewriting the president's daily intelligence briefing so the president wouldn't get straight information from the intelligence community, he'd just get what michael flynn told him. that was a weird arrangement. why was that set up? no information to the president
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other than one what michael flynn tells him? general flynn was also not working with the fully staffed national security council. he never bothered to staff the place up. he alone had incredible control of the information flow to the president and incredible access to the president. and if the russians were in a position to be able to say to him, hey, do what we want you to do, tell us what we want you to tell us or we will expose you, if the russians in a position to say to him, hey, we know you lied about this and we can prove it, you wouldn't want us to expose that about you, would you? you better do what we want. if they were in a position to blackmail him that way because they knew him he lied and had him dead to rights and they could expose him on that, that's a serious security problem at the highest levels of the u.s. government. and we now know that the white house knew about that for weeks and took no action. why did they that i can no action? why did they continue to let michael flynn have the access to
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the president and the access to classified information he enjoyed up until the night he was fired? the "new york times" and the "washington post" have both reported citing multiple sources that his contacts with the russian government didn't start once he was national security advisor. they didn't start once trump was elected, when they were in the transition period. both papers report mike flynn was in contact with the russian government durg the campaign. before the election. while russia was interfering in the u.s. election in multiple ways to tip the balance of the election to donald trump. did mike flynn help them with that? did mike flynn or anybody else from the trump campaign collude with the russian government and their efforts to undermine the u.s. election? it's a very, very, very serious charge. right now it's an absolutely unanswered one at this point. will that charge be investigated? if it turns out to be true, will it be prosecuted? for head of the house oversight committee today was asked whether he might open an
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investigation into michael flynn and his contacts with russia. jason chaffetz answered "i think the situation has taken care of itself." so no then. the top republican in the house and the top republican in the senate have both insist there had's no reason for any sort of independent or special investigation into these allegations because the intelligence committees can handle it. well, okay, this contact with the russian government that mike flynn lied about, that has led to him being fired from this administration, that contact with the russian government, that happened during the presidential transition. the head of the house intelligence committee was a member of the trump presidential transition. congressman nunes was asked yesterday about his reaction to the flynn allegations, he described them as "a lot of nothing." well, yeah, if he was going to be investigating them, he'd been investigating the trump transition, which he was part of. well, if it's the fbi investigation you're hanging your hat on here, can we talk
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about director james comey and his role in this year's politics? we can talk about that at length some other time. i'll buy you a beer, you buy snacks, we'll talk about it, it's a long conversation. even putting that aside, putting him aside, the new attorney general, the head of the justice department of which the fbi is a part, attorney general jeff sessions was just sworn into office after explicitly refusing in his confirmion process to recuse himself from investigations involving the trump campaign and its ties to russia. the attorney general -- the new attorney general who has now sworn in insisted during the confirmation process that he will not recuse himself. he will stay involved in any investigations of russia and the trump campaign. the attorney general was part of the trump campaign. he was the chairman of donald trump's national security advisory committee. so he's going to oversee this national security information into the trump campaign?
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and contact with russia during the campaign? asking him to fairly and impartially oversee those investigations would have him in effect investigating himself. so rule of law. we've just gone through something that's a very big deal. the national security advisor is out. no national security advisor has ever been forced out in 24 days. no national security advisor has ever been forced out in circumstances this scandalous and i'm including the ones who were convicted or pled guilty to felonies. the white house's behavior and the president's behavior around this ouster is bizarre and unexplained and in some cases it's inexplicable. the allegations here about national security risks and the undermining of the u.s. government by a foreign power. these are as serious as anything that has ever been alleged against any president not just in modern times but ever and the question tonight is, where's the rule of law? what's the remedy for that?
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where are we thinking the investigation is going to come from here? where are we thinking the prosecution is going to come from here if the investigation warrants it? we have the rule of law in this country. i beeve it, i've read all about it. but who's going to make it a reality with these kinds of allegations against this administration? that's next.
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hi, so we've got the top democrat on the house intelligence committee adam schiff, he'll be joining us live in just a moment. i have pushed that back for a second just because i want to bring you some breaking news that the "new york times" just posted. this has just ne up since we've gone on the air, i've been marking it uwith my trusty highlighter. we haven't prepared graphics but let me tell you what they've just reported directly relevant to what we need to talk to
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congressman schiff about and what we are discussing. trump campaign aides had repeated contacts with russian intelligence is the headline. the operative word there being "campaign." this is during the campaign. this is during the election. i'll read you the lead. "phone records and intercepted calls show members of donald trump's 2016 presidential campaign and other trump associates had repeated contacts with senior russian intelligence officials in the year before the election. the times is citing four current and four american officials. four officials, current and former. american law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time they were discovering evidence that russia was trying to disrupt the election by hacking into the democratic national committee. the agencies sought to learn whether the trump campaign was colluding with the russians on the hacking or other efforts to influence the election." this is very carefully couched. "officials interview misdemeanor recent weeks said so far they had seen no evidence of such cooperation."
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but they are documenting repeated contacts at the same time the russian intelligence agencies were influencing the election. one of the advisers picked up on the calls was paul manafort, trump's campaign chairman for several months the. call logs and intercepted communications are part of a larger trove of communication the fbi is civetsifting through investigates the link between trump's associates and the russian government and the dnc hack. but the headline here "trump campaign aides had repeated contacts with russian intelligence" supposedly at the time russia was trying to influence our election. we have the top democrat on the house intelligence committee adamchiff joining us next and none too soon. stay with us.
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general flynn's resignation is not the end of the story, it is merely the beginning. there needs to be an independent and transparent investigation. the white house counsel cannot lead this investigation and the new attorney general cannot be -- jeff sessions -- cannot be the person to lead that investigation. i expect jeff sessions to refuse himself and i expect what's put in its place to be independent, transparent and impartial.
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we'll wait and see what they propose. >> chuck schumer today calling for an independent investigation of michael flynn saying the white house counsel can't lead the investigation, the new attorney general cannot be the person, there needs to be an independent investigation. since last year, the fbi and cia have both been reportedly investigating general flynn's contacts with the russian government. the u.s. army is reportedly also investigating whether he illegally received money in the form of speaking fees from the russian government during his trip to russia in december, 2015, that's the trip where general flynn went to a gala dinner and sat next to vladimir putin. that was less than two months before the iowa caucuses. that was december, 2015, when the "washington post" interviewed mike flynn about that trip last year and asked him what he talked to putin about general flynn told the "post" that their questioning on that topic was boring. that was his quote. "boring." that's how seriously he's taking
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these worries. according to u.s. intelligence agencies, the russian campaign to influence the u.s. presidential election consisted of hacking, stealing data, selective leaks. also it will direct propaganda side of it. these prolific efforts by the russian government to inject false news stories into the campaign to undercut damaging news that might hurt donald trump, to disrupt social media interaction among clinton supporters, to overwhelm authoritative news with nonsense and noise. some of those tactics are one size fits all for the russians. the russians have experience using those tactics in other countries where they've interfered like sweetsweden and estonia. but to the extent they could be further enhanced by tailoring them to the u.s. environment, did they get any u.s. help? did they get any u.s. advice on the best ways to weaponize their tactics against our election? against our system of government? i mean, it's worth asking now. did michael flynn help them? when he was in contact with the
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russian government during the campaign, before the election, during the campaign, did general flynn help them? did anybody else in the trump campaign help them? as u.s. intelligence agencies in congress are investigating russian interference in the election designed to benefit donald trump there is this record of general flynn, leading trump supporter, hobnobbing with the russian president during the campaign. we know his communication with the russian also dmor december was only one in a series of contacts between flynn and that russian official. contacts that began before the election. the reporting here is that russia actively meddled in our election and that general flynn was talking to the russian government while that operation was under way. what was going on in those conversations? further to that point, the "new york times" just moments ago has reported, citing four current and former american officials, the "new york times" has just
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reported that multi -- wasn't just flynn, it was multiple trump campaign aides and associates who had contacts with russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, during the campaign at a time when russian intelligence officials were interfering in our election to help donald trump. what was the substance of those comments? what was the substance of those communications? did michael flynn and these other trump campaign staffers, did they know about russian efforts to interfere in our election which, according to the "new york times," were happening contemporaneously? at the same time russian campaign aides were talking to russian official, russians were trying to influence our election. did the they know that? if they knew, did they try to stop them from doing it? did they encourage them? did they help them? we don't know and i don't know if or how we're ever going to find out?
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is this just 100% a journalistic enterprise now or will our government get to the bottom of it? will our government try to get to the bottom of it? joining us now is congressman adam schiff of california, the top democrat on the house intelligence committee. congressman schiff thank you for being here. nice to have you back. >> thank you, good to be with you. >> let me ask your response to this new reporting from the "new york times." i don't know if you had a chance to review it. the headline is "trump campaign aides had repeated contacts with russian intelligence" the "new york times" citing multiple american sources saying phone records and intercepted calls show members of trump's presidential campaign had repeated contactwithussian intelligence officials. i wanted to get your response to at. >> this is, i think, the heart of the investigation and that is was there some form of collusion between the trump campaign and the kremlin? the kremlin was engaged in illegal activities in the united states designed to influence the outcome of the election. obviously their intent was to
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help donald trump and hurt secretary clinton and were trump campaign surrogates or aides or others affirmatively working with the russians towards that illegal object? that's one of the central and most important allegations to be investigated and we have agreement on a bipartisan basis to do that investigation but there are a lot of big questions about whether we can get that done amend one of them, frankly, is personified by one of the photos you just showed and this is direct or comey because we'll need his cooperation if we do this investigation. we need to know what the fbi has looked at, who they have talked to, what leads they have run down, what they haven't run down, what yet must be investigated. there's a big question about whether we will get that cooperation. so that i think is one of the most serious sets of allegations. the other set involves that conversation in december between flynn and the russian ambassador. was this done at the direction
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of the president? with the knowledge of the president? with the knowledge of others in the administration? it seems odd to imagine flynn was acting as a rogue agent and it's, i think, entirely plausible that rather what he was doing was conveying to the ambassador and perhaps to others, we ought to explore anyone he had contact with the idea don't react to the obama sanctions, we've got your back. that would be directly undermining the u.s. national security interests and that is also another very serious issue we have to investigate. >> congressman, it was reported today that you told democrats in a closed-door caucus meeting to expect more information to surface on this subject and specifically about general flynn in coming days, can you tell us what you're expecting and why you advised your fellow democrats of that? >> i'm not sure where that came from. i talked to the talks but not about that. i don't have any understanding that another shoe is about to
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drop. i'm sure we will get information on these issues be i don't have any foreknowledge that something is about to break. >> when you mentioned that director comey at the sfib a key factor in figuring out whether or not our government is going to investigate and if need be prosecute these matters, for me i'm trying to look at this from a big picture and i feel like what we know about this thus far is because people inside the government and the intelligence community have been willing to leak stuff to reporters. clearly it seems now clear from the facts in terms of the white house admission that when the justice department went to the white house weeks ago and told them what they knew about jeb flynn that they were worried he was potentially susceptible blackmail and in a scary position in terms of national security operating in the white house, the level he was at, we know the white house had no real reaction to that for weeks until
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somebody leaked it to a reporter, it became public, they had a hard time answering questions and now flynn is gone. similarly with this "new york times" reporting. somebody has leaked to the "new york times" that phone records and intercepted calls shows members of the trump campaign were talking to russian intelligence officials, that's the only way we know it. i'm happy to have the information. i don't know if i should have confidence that any of the investigations inside the government -- the fbi, any legislative investigation, any other form of investigation here -- will be above board and impartial and will get further to the truth here. >> well, i can tell you a couple things. i'm going to be pushing my hardest to make sure we have a credible and thorough investigation and if i run into a roadblock in any direction, whether that comes from the house leadership or comes from the fbi, i'm going to be public about it, i'm not going to be part of an investigation unless it is real and credible but i'm going to push the get the work
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done. it's a fundamental responsibility of the congress to investigate and oversee this. the other point i want to underscore is the one you just mentioned which is the president learned weeks ago that his national security advisor, not some low-level federal employee, his national security advisor had lied and that lie was conveyed to the american people and, you know what? they were okay with that. for weeks they were okay with that and likely flynn would still be there today if the walk hadn't broke than story. now, what does that say about this administration that they were willing to allow the public to be misled even when they learned the truth? and the final point i want to make and you began your program with this tonight and i'm so glad you did focusing on putin's attempt to discredit and eliminate his political rival or potential political rival, what the stakes are here because people ask and sean spicer wants to suggest what's the big deal
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about flynn talking to the russian ambassador? isn't that sort of ordinary course of events? the big deal is this. we're in a global struggle with russia right now. they are trying to propagate their authoritarian model around the world. they've ruined democracy, eliminated most democratic institutions in russia. they're trying to dismantle democratic institutions in urine. liberal democracy is under assault and we are still the last best hope or democracy around the world and in that struggle we cannot afford to be undermined at the highest levels of the white house and that's why this is so important. >> congressman adam schiff, member of the house intelligence committee, thank you for your time tonight, i know you're incredibly busy these days, sir, thank you. >> thanks, rachel. much more ahead. including tim weiner, he has big insight into how big a deal this is that we're going through as a country. stay with us. what on earth
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are they fighting here? whatever it is... it's hunting. the great wall. rated pg-13.
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i know it increasingly feels like we're living in an actual episode of "the americans" but you're not alone in feeling that way. behold, here is your validation from a pulitzer prize winning journalist who even before michael flynn's resignation was calling the fbi and cia counterintelligence investigation of general flynn "the most politically charged intelligence investigation since the cold war." joining us now the time weiner, author of two definitive books on the history of the fbi and the cia, mr. weiner, very nice to have you here, thank you. >> hello, rachel. >> first let me get your
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reaction. how big a deal is the resignation of michael flynn? how do you context wallize it intelligence scandals of this country? >> i'd like to quote one of his pred is saysors henry kissinger who said "the illegal we do immediately the unconstitutional takes longer." we have now three and a half weeks into this administration. under nixon -- and i remember this, i lived through this -- it took them three and a half years to break into the democratic national committee headquarters at watergate. we are three and a half weeks into the administration, the russians broke into the dnc for them. that's done. mike flynn has fallen farther faster than any powerful official in any government in the 20th century in america. we are watching in realtime very quickly a powerful counterintelligence investigation run by the fbi with the assistance of the cia and the nsa that is targeting
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the top of this government. >> james comey, head of the fbi, was just mentioned by congressman schiff, the top democrat in intelligence, just mentioned as a factor here, a question mark that it seemed i think congressman schiff implying there or suggesting that we don't necessarily know whether director comey is likely to lead an impartial investigation here. as a historian of the fbi, somebody who watch what happened over the last two years what do you make of his role in this investigation? >> james comey is the guy who said no to president george w. bush when bush was misusing the powers of the nsa to spy on americans. he has the power and the will to say no to presidents. in the end it was the fbi who brought down richard nixon. and the fbi is sworn to the rule of law. if you had said to your audience
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a couple months ago that james comey and senator john mccain were standing between president trump and the survival of american democracy, your entire audience would have fallen off its collective couch. i think that's true. i think that's where we are now. >> does -- how does that assessment of director comey, his role and what you think he's capable of, how does that square for you with the way he behaved around the clinton e-mail investigation during the campaign? >> that was a serious mistake, i think he knows it. he called mrs. clinton extremely careless. carelessness is not a violation of federal law. lying to the fbi is a violation of federal law and if michael flynn was sticking to flynn facts as they used to say at the defense intelligence agency when he talked to the fbi a couple weeks ago he is in a world of pain. >> tim, in terms of the fallout here, one of the things i'm
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worried about, and part of the reason i wanted to talk to you tonight because i feel like you're good at seeing these agencies and power and how they change over time. if the administration survives what it's going through right now and i think they will. i don't think the republican controlled house is going to impeach donald trump for anything any time soon. if they survive this, will we be enured? are you worried about redefining normal and scandal? >> i think we're at a very perilous time. that was the roman empire. we are 240 years old in our experiment in american democracy. we're still trying to get it right. we still have a constitution. we still have three branches of government, okay.
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donald trump is only one. the white house is only one. we have an independent judiciary that will stand up against unconstitutional orders, and we still have a couple of members of congress who are pretty ornery when it comes to abuse of presidential powers and one is the last cold war senator of senate, john mccain. will he go after him? you bet he will. >> i'm going to try to change my view of john mccain to go more with yours because it will allow me to sleep more. we'll be right back. stay with us. how's your cafe au lait? oh, it's actually... sfx: (short balloon squeal) it's ver... sfx: (balloon squeals) ok can we... sfx: (balloon squeals) goodbye! oof, that milk in your coffee was messing with you, wasn't it? try lactaid, it's real milk, without that annoying lactose. good right? yeah. lactaid. the milk that doesn't mess with you.
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contrary to popular belief, the first test of the democratic party's ability to win elections in the trump era is not 2018. it's actually right now, right this second. whether democrats have the ability and the wherewithal and even the inclination to take advantage of that is another story, a maddening story,and that's our close tonight. stay with us. that's next. look, it's like a time capsule. this is what it looks like
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look, it's like a time capsule. this is what it looks like tonight featuring president obama shaking hands with supporters, just like the old days. it's possible democrats are feeling nostalgic or their photo editor quit. the democrats have an opportunity tonight to get out of the past, to start fighting in the trump era. tom price is leaving to become health secretary. there's an open house seat in georgia he's vacating. a special election for a seat is coming up soon. that seat in georgia's been republican for a long time. tom price had no problem getting reelected there.
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you know what happened in that distance in the presidential election? trump barely one. he won that georgia district by less than two points. maybe that means that democrats to take that seat in a special election. the way this works is in georgia they use a jungle primary system, which means all the candidates from all the parties run all in the same primary. after that primary, the top two candidates regardless of which party they're in, they'll go head to head in a general election. it starts off as a free for all. the republicans to do appear to be maybe run in that race, they're hugely torn whether they should be campaigning on their new party leader, donald trump. there's division, and the partisan rating in that district in the election looks like an opportunity for democrats to do a 180 and turn things around, right, make a splash in one of the first congressional races
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under president trump. despite that, the democratic party has apparently decided, eh, can't be bothered. the democratic campaign committee has sent staffers to a third of the districts and they haven't sent anybody to tom price's district. democrat haven't even said whether they plan to spend any money there and they don't have any staffers there. tom price's seats is one of four seats that will open up or are open because they're nominated to work in the white house. here's what is being said "we all have to acknowledge that those seats are held by republicans and they've been held by republicans for quite some time so, et, what are you going to do? things are moving. races are in motion. that district, tom price's district, trump won it by one and a half points. democratic party isn't going to contest that? really?
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democrats, if you're not moving forward at this point, you are losing ground. we got to a point based on a trust issue where president trump and general flynn where he had to make a change. >> the fallout continues following the resignation of national security adviser michael flynn. this morning, trying to make sense who have knew what and when and a startling new report about what went on during the campaign. >> plus, president trump could be facing a new foreign policy test. it comes after reports that russia reportedly deployed a missile system potentially violating a cold war era treaty. >> and the president is getting set to meet with benjamin netanyahu. the ultimate goal may be finding

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