tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC March 16, 2017 1:00am-2:01am PDT
>> sam seder, danielle brian, that's "all in," the rachel maddow show starts right now. good evening, rachel. >> thanks to you at home for joining us. there's a lot going on in the news tonight. this is going to be a big show, crowded. first of all, the big show headline, the second attempt by the trump administration to institute a muslim ban was supposed to go into effect midnight eastern. a federal court has blocked the ban from going into effect. we're going to have more on that in just a second including a live discussion with the lawyer who won the case and stopped the ban. beyond that breaking news, though, i have to say, this is just turning out to be kind of a bad day for trump priorities all around. tonight we've also got news from the netherlands about the
electoral fate of the man who many people considered to be -- forgive me -- sort of an extra racist dutch version of donald trump. his name is geert wilders. here he is speaking at an event held on the sidelines of the republican national convention this summer. notice the pictures behind him? it was sort of a soft foreign aryan anti-islam fest that they called twinks for trump. geert wilders is an anti-muslim radical. he's a crusading anti-immigrant far right nativist of a sort that hasn't been seen in top tier western politics in decades. but geert wilders was expected to win the national elections in the netherlands. he was expected tonight to become the new dutch prime minister. he did not win. he will not be prime minister. we're going to have more on that election result coming up tonight as well. i should tell you a lot of trump partisans in this country are very upset with geert wilders' loss in the netherlands tonight tonight is also starting to look
basically like deflation day for the biggest republican policy priority effort of them all. the effort to repeal obamacare appears to be in political freefall right now. it will face a vote in a house committee tomorrow. it might pass that committee. the fact that it might is remarkable given that it has eight more seats than democrats do and it still might not pass. if it does pass the republican-controlled house -- which itself is not sure -- even then what would happen next is it would head to the senate and republicans can only afford no votes on this bill from three republican senators vox.com has been doing a tally about republican senators balking at the bill. they can only lose three. vox's count right now is up to
12 republican senators who are saying uh-uh to this bill. the white house conceded if the republicans don't kill obamacare with this bill, that's probably it. there's no plan "b." and today frankly it looked like the white house gave up on it remember how once the bill was introduced the president went out of his way that he would work personally to get it passed, he was going to twist arms and do everything possible to get it passed? it's telling on the day when the highest profile republican priority of all, this repealing obamacare thing, it is telling that on the day the bill is dying in washington the president himself didn't even stick around in washington to lift a finger to try to save it. instead, the president today went to michigan and when he was in michigan he did not mention health care once.
he instead complained to the michigan governor that he didn't endorse trump in the presidential election. so today has been -- today i think has been a difficult day for the administration and for republicans in washington. i'm going to ask you to stick a pin in weird news that we got today out of russia -- and i do not quite know what to make of it, but there's a vary specific part of it that it is worth sticking a pin in because at some point we are going to figure out what this means and we've got to notice these things when they pop in the news. all right, today, the justice department, you might have seen these headlines, the justice department today brought criminal charges against four russian intelligence operatives for an alleged -- for their alleged role in a giant hack of yahoo.com a couple years ago, a hack that stole information on hundreds of millions of people. the indictment says that that hack of yahoo.com wasn't just a commercial theft or some kind of malicious prank, it was a russian intelligence operation
that was designed, among other things, to target journalists and foreign officials. so they charged four russians in conjunction with that hack of yahoo today. now, two of the four people who they indicted were young hackers that were reportedly working with the fsb, with the russian spy service, one is in russia and hasn't been picked up, one is in canada and has been arrested. those are the two outside hackers. the other two named in the indictment were actually russian intelligence agencies. fsb agents. and this is interesting because we're told today this indictment about the yahoo! thing had nothing at all to do with last year's russian intelligence operation and hacking attack against our presidential election and the hillary clinton campaign, they say it had nothing do with that. but check this out. one of the two russian agents, one of the two fsb agents charged in this indictment today on the yahoo! thing is the same
person reportedly arrested in moscow in december and charged with treason for allegedly cooperating with u.s. intelligence and that was an arrest many observers believe was tied to the russian hacking and attack on our election. specifically to the unmasking of that attack. same guy. same fsb guy. arrested in moscow in december, named in this indictment today? right now, the same guy already under arrest for treason in russia, that same guy has turned up in an american indictment on a totally unrelated hacking attack on the united states. hmm? that is, as i say, stick a pin in that because we don't yet know what that means but essentially we are going to sort out this russia stuff. we are going to sort out this stuff about russia and its attack on our election. and we are going to figure out what these red flags mean. right now that's just a red flag
to leave stuck on a pin in that story. weird development today. it comes amid all sorts of new consternation in washington over the ongoing investigations into that russian attack and into the trump campaign's connections with russia. the first public hearing on trump and russia is going to be on monday in washington. the fbi director briefed two senators from the judiciary committee today on russia and its connections to the trump campaign. but neither one of if senators nor director james comey would talk about it other than that conversation. director comey is due to testify at that hearing on monday on trump and russia. in the meantime senators, including republican senators, are threatening they're going to hold up nominations for high-ranking positions unless the fbi comes to the senate and describes ongoing investigations into the trump/russia attacks.
so the russia investigation stuff is about to get public, some of it is obviously happening behind the scenes, some of it is being disclosed secretly to individual lawmakers. we're about to get public disclosure of some kind of monday. senators are demanding even more public disclosure beyond what we're going to get from that hearing. it's getting a little hurly-burly on that issue and in general it got a little hurly-burly today in washington. i should also, last night there was also the publication of the first federal tax returns from donald trump. which it turns out raise all sorts of interesting questions. we'll have more on that ahead tonight. but, again, where we started. the news that has just landed like an anvil on the trump administration and their ho hope and dreams comes from a federal court tonight in hawaii, of all places. i'll just take personal privilege to point out what i believe is the best twitter reaction to this court ruling so far. hands down.
this one. "in an epic act of trolling, a hawaii judge is responding to trump's muslim ban by showing him america's birth certificate." a federal judge, indeed, has tonight used the constitution to black president trump's revised muslim ban hours before it was set to take effect. this is the administration's second try at banning both refugees and just everyday travelers and visitors and immigrants from a grab bag of majority muslim countries. the first version of the muslim ban, you'll remember, was signed one week after the inauguration, that led to spontaneous big sustained rolling protests at american airports all across the country. that was just one week into the trump administration. tens of thousands of people were outright caught in limbo, either unable to make their planned trips or detained for long hours when they arrived.
that first version of the muslim ban was blocked in the federal courts quickly. blocked in a series of federal district courts and ultimately by the ninth u.s. circuit court of appeals last month. the president's first iteration of the muslim ban didn't even really get off the ground other than that first few days of chaos and the massive protests that followed. the white house, after that got blocked, absolutely shut down in the courts, they tried again, they said this time it wouldn't run into a buzz saw in the courts. well, tonight it's run into a buzz saw in the courts. for the second version they removed in the language specifically mentioning muslims. they removed "iraq" from the list of countries. why is that on the list of countries any way again? this time they had the president sign it last week, announcing it wouldn't go into effect until midnight tonight. but it's not.
this federal judge in hawaii looked at those change, looked at that tinkering and said basically "this is the same thing you tried the last time." the judge has blocked the ruling nationwide. quoting from the ruling "a reasonable objective observer enlightened by specific sequence of events leading to the order's issuance would conclude the executive order was issued with a purpose to disfavor a particular religion." which you cannot do under the constitution. the ruling also just rips apart the trump administration's claim that this time it's not a muslim ban. "the government defends the executive order principally because of its religiously neutral text." meaning the new version of the order doesn't say it's a muslim ban. "the government does not stop there.
by its reading the executive order could not have been religiously motivated because the six countries represent only a small fraction of the world's 50 muslim majority nations." they continue "the ill logic of the government's contentions is palpable. the notion one can demonstrate animas toward any group of people only by targeting all of them at once is fundamentally flawed. it is a discriminatory purpose that matters, no matter how inefficient the execution. "the ruling then uses the president's own words against him saying "a review of the historical background here makes plain why the government wishes to focus on the executive order's text rather than context. the record before this court is unique, it includes significant and unrebutted evidence of religious animus driving the promulgation of the executive order and its related predecessor. the ruling then quotes at length a bunch of anti-muslim statements by the president explaining the need for this ban and then it holds him to those statements.
"these plainly worded statements made in the months leading up to and contemporaneous with the signing of the executive order and in many cases made by the executive himself, these statements betray the executive order's stated secular purpose. when considered alongside the constitutional injuries and harms discussed about and the questionable evidence supporting the government's national security motivations, the balance of equities and public interest justify granting the plaintiff's temporary restraining order." and that temporary restraining order is in effect right this second. so no muslim ban at midnight and it's in effect nationwide. and this was only the first swing that the federal courts took at this version of the muslim ban. there are more federal cases about it, more federal cases against it brought by more states that are all pending tonight. stacked up like planes ready to land after this one.
as far as actual policy enacted, this administration has achieved very little in their first two months, the muslim ban was a cornerstone of the campaign, it was supposed to be the first major policy shift of the trump presidency, it was the flagg they were going to plant on capitol hill, the nationalist foundation upon which everything else was going to be built. the answer from the courts, the answer from the constitution is nope, not today. not here, not anywhere. joining us now is neal katyal, he's the lead attorney for the state of hawaii's travel ban. mr. katyal, you joined us the night when you filed this case, i'm happy to have you here tonight. >> glad to be back. >> what do you make of the scope of this ruling? one of the things we didn't know is how broad the court's order would be but as far as i can tell this is a nationwide stop on the ban.
>> absolutely. it's a nationwide stop on the ban because judge watson found this muslim ban was truly a muslim ban. it constitutes an establishment of religion and betrayed the ideals that our founders had when they created this country. >> this is a temporary restraining order. what does temporary mean in this case? >> well, temporary means that that was argued up quickly, indeed, it was just a week ago tonight that i think i was on your show when we announced we were filing the complaint and indeed maybe it was the day before that the executive order was issued so temporary means there's been a need for speed. the judge would like us to come back and discuss the issues with more time. but i take it from what the president said tonight in the campaign speech -- he said a lot of stuff, but one of the things he sounded like he was saying was he wanted to take this to the court of appeals and the united states supreme court. >> in terms of the overall sort of landscape of challenges against this ban -- and you can't speak for other cases that
aren't your own but as an expert in this field, as an observer in these matters, we've been keeping an eye on a number of other challenges brought by washington state. there's a maryland case, massachusetts and california, other states have expressed interest challenging this ban. what happens to those other cases that are in process now now that this restraining order is in effect? is it possible one of the rulings might go in the government's favor and that would overturn to the restraining order you got tonight? >> it's possible this that there might be a decision somewhere else that disagrees but that would be a district court, a trial court decision wouldn't be able to overturn this judge's decision. it would require the court of appeals out on the west coast to reverse judge watson's decision today. some judge sitting somewhere else wouldn't be able to do that. and that's an important point. this is the fourth time the trump administration has lost a
muslim ban argument before the federal courts. i used to represent the federal government in supreme court and litigation proceedings and we always thought if you're the president and you assert national security as your reason for doing something, it's hard to lose in federal court. it's like failing a class at yale or something. you have to try really hard. you have to work at it. now there's been a handful of presidents that have lost cases on national security grounds over an entire history and here president trump has lost it four times just in about 50 days. that's not a good omen for the future. >> and he says as you mentioned tonight in this campaign speech, he says he looks forward to appealing this case and going all the way to the supreme court with fit he can, we shall see. neal katyal, lead attorney for the state of hawaii, successful
show you tonight. this is the envelope. this is the envelope the tax return arrived in. you might remember when the "new york times" obtained a few pages of state tax returns from trump from the 1990s, those paris jacksons were mailed to the "times" in a plain manila envelope that has trump tower listed as the return address. for the tax return we got last night the envelope looks different, it was addressed to david cay johnston at his home address in rochester, new york. there was no return address on the envelope at all. there was a stamp on the envelope, american flag stamp. and there was a post-mark. it was post-marked westchester county, a county just north of new york city. although this is the first federal tax return information ever released about donald trump, and we're very happy to have it and to have been able to put it into the world, honestly, we still have no idea who sent it to david cay johnston. we do know it's authentic because the white house put out
a statement insulting us and calling us all sorts of names but also verifying that this document we obtained is authentic. weirdly, after the white house said the document was authentic, the president himself then got on twitter and said it was fake. it was fake news. i don't know what to make of that. i don't think we're supposed to read too much into things he says. i don't know. ultimately in terms of the content of that tax return there is nothing particularly embarrassing or scandalous in the tax return itself. i mean, one of the things we have seen today as tax experts and analysts has gone through these two pages is that there are some questions raised about -- questions raised through this return about whether or not donald trump's tax policies as president would put millions of dollars into his own pocket. with just this little window into his taxes, that's already enough to raise interesting questions about whether or not he's going to have a significant personal financial stake in tax reform issues like the
alternative minimum tax and the various loopholes people in businesses like real estate use to avoid paying taxes the way certain high end business people can roll over losses from year to year and use those losses to avoid paying taxes this year and into the future even though their losses were incured in the past. so there's questions as to whether or not there are trump family, trump personal consequences to the kinds of things he said he'd like to do to the tax code. the republican plan to kill obamacare seems to be tanking in washington. as that's happening right now before our eyes, president trump is already moving on. he said tonight in an interview that he's eager to move on from obamacare repeal and instead start working on changing the tax code. what we have been able to obtain about his federal taxes, this first federal tax document from him, it does give us a starting list of questions to ask whether his proposed tax reforms will be designed to benefit himself. past those immediate policy questions there are two main
questions that this gives rise to. where did this come from? who signed that -- who licked the flap of the envelope? where did this come have? and number two, is there? is there more where this came from? can we please have it? . is this more that would be released by any means? whether or not it has to come in an unmarked envelope to david cay johnston's house. is there more of this? on the question of where these documents came from, how david got them, how we were able to put them on tv last night, there's been a lot of focus
today on the prospect that the president might have leaked this document himself or o.k.'d the leaking of the document. because it's a distraction because of a terrible news cycle for him but also maybe because he likes the financial picture this particular tax return, this portion of this particular tax return paints of him. maybe he likes the way this makes him look. so maybe he leaked it to make himself look good. the president said in an interview he did tonight on fox news that the leak of this tax return definitely didn't come from the white house but then he immediately pivoted to say that there's nothing embarrassing in this tax return at all. and that is basically true. if it is not an accident that this particular tax return happens to show the president in a positive light, well, if all his other returns similarly show financial information that he finds not embarrassing, that he's happy to have out there, the white house could very easily prove that by releasing other tax returns from other years if this wasn't cherry
picked, show us that. if this is typical of a trump tax return, show us that. if it's all good news, show us. that's what all the other presidents do, why not this one? but if 2005 is the only year we're going to get, i will tell you there are a few things about that year in particular that make it stand out as possibly an atypical year in his finances. an atypical year for his tax preparation strategy. first of all, you see at the top of this document that this is a joint return, 2005 is the year mr. trump married his lovely wife melania. this was their first jointly filed tax return as a married couple. in 2005 when they got married the year for which this return was filed, mrs. trump was not a u.s. citizen. she was a holder of a green card but she was not a citizen. she didn't get her citizenship until 2006. if you go to the u.s. customs and immigration service page
about how to prepare, u.s. customs and immigration advises you that "your tax returns are very important proof that you are eligible for naturalization" meaning proof that you're eligible for becoming a citizen "on the day of your interview, bring certified tax returns for the last five years or three years if you are married to a u.s. citizen. so when melania trump went for her citizenship interview in 2006 he would have had to bring tax returns, including from this first year when she was married to donald trump and that tax return would be used as a very important piece of evidence as to whether or not she should get citizenship so you better believe the 2005 tax return is going to be sterling, right? that it's going to display excellent citizenship and no red flags whatsoever. that's one thing that is unusual about 2005. another thing that would be unusual about 2005? 2005 is the year a book called
"trump nation" was published by a "new york times" reporter named timothy o'brien. this book drove donald trump absolutely nuts because although he cooperated on the production of the book, although i'm sure he loved the cover photo, one of the book's central claims is that donald trump is not a billionaire. tim o'brien claimed in this book, in "trump nation" which, again, was published in 2005 he claimed mr. trump's net worth was not in the billions. it was probably something close to $250 million. he wasn't even a half billionaire. and i say that this book and that claim in particular drove donald trump nuts because we can tell. we can tell it drove him nuts because donald trump filed a lawsuit against tim o'brien when this book was published he sued him. and what he sued him for was $2 billion. sure, why not? the lawsuit ended up being an embarrassment for mr. trump.
he's claiming this author -- he's suing this author dramatically understated his net worth. that meant the trial was effectively about donald trump's net worth and about whether he could prove he was a billionaire and in the trial he could not prove he was a billionaire. his depositions from that case are littered with embarrassing examples of him overstating and weirdly fantastically stating his income and hiss net worth. he publicly stated, for example, that he'd been paid a million dollars for a single speech. turns out he overstated that by more than a half million dollars for that particular speech. he also claimed his net worth went up and down based on his feelings. which was a weird thing to assert. in the end, mr. trump's lawsuit against this author, this $2 billion lawsuit. the lawsuit was dismissed. mr. trump appealed, his appeal was thrown out. he lost the appeal. he lost.
he couldn't prove his billionaire status in court. he could not prove anything timothy o'brien claimed about his net worth was false but it was clearly something that drove him nuts. donald trump is very sensitive about his net worst and that book, again, came out in 2005 and what we've got is donald trump's tax returns for 2005. 2005. a time when he might conceivably have been acutely motivated to try to portray his finances as super heroically as possible. so maybe this was an atypical filing for him. and there's one more reason why 2005 was both potentially a unique year and also a year that desperately makes you want to see other years to compare it to this and that is that in 2005 donald trump reportedly entered that year into a partnership with a development company call called bay rock. it's one of the most important points because of its ties to russian organized crime. this development deal trump entered into with by arock was
to pursue the creation of trump tower moscow. trump tower moscow was never entered into. we know what came of that. ties to shady russian guys. but in the financial world, what came of that? what were the financial entanglements if any that grew out of that russian business adventure that he embarked on in 2005? what were the financial entanglements if any that grew out of that russian business adventure that he embarked on in 2005? by 2007 from another deposition we know that donald trump was claiming "russia is one of the hottest places in the world for investment. we will be in moscow at some point." why did he think so? were there financial ties with
russia that would give him such confidence about that pronouncement which he made shortly after he signed this tax return? so 2005 might be kind of a weird year for him. may have been an outliar in donald trump's financial history, in his tax history for any number of reasons the only way we will know that is if we get his other taxes to compare it to. that's why presidential candidates don't release a year of tax returns. they release whole swathes of them so we can understand the financial entanglements that might affect the president of the united states while he or she wields immense power hopefully on the national security implications of us not knowing about our president's financial ties. it's good news that they confirmed the authenticity of this document because number one it means that somebody somewhere
safely figured out how to get a real donald trump tax return into the public domain and maybe it's just this one year, maybe it was because -- maybe it was trump himself and this was his favorite year and that's why he let it out but maybe not in which case maybe more returns will follow. number two, this proves to the white house, this release of this document last night on this show, proves to the white house that the president's taxes can be released without any picayune embarrassment to the president. we now know he does have a lot of money. he does pay tax. no audit real or imagined was
screwed up by the disclosure of this information and the white house confirming its authenticity. if the white house can happily verify this tax information about the president, why can't they verify more of it? to prove this isn't just an outlier. so there's a lot of weird things going on that year. honestly, a lot of people all over the country are worried about what may be in trump's tax returns. what kind of potential entanglements and conflicts might be compromising him as president if, as the white house says, there's nothing to worry about in that regard, now we know, they can just let it out. they can prove it. you won't be embarrassed. you weren't embarrassed bid this last night. you can just let this all out. you can let the other years out. you can let the supporting documentation out and the other years out and if they say what you say they will say we will all stop worrying. right?
i believe that president trump should release his taxes. [ cheers and applause ] >> you're running for president, you're president, you should release your tax returns. it's a distraction. let me say right here right now, absolutely donald trump should release his tax returns. [ cheers and applause ] >> it keeps happening. republican members of congress
get badgered by their constituents into holding town halls so that these members of congress can hear what their constituents have to say so they can ask them direct questions face to face and time after time when these republican members of congress get asked a direct question about it face to face by their constituents they tell their constituents, o.k., yeah, i, too, would like to see donald trump release his taxes. we have seen that with congressman steve knight from california. we have seen that from congressman david young from iowa. we have seen that with congressman matt gaetz from florida. and others. time and time again we have seen this. but then when they come back to washington and they have a chance to vote on that they vote no keeps happening. they say one thing to their constituents, that i come back to washington and, ooh. happened again tonight. for the third week in a row democrats in the house introduced a resolution telling the president to release his tax returns.
that i tried this on february 27, march 7, they did it tonight. the vote tonight was like it was all the other nights, party line. tonight it was 223-183. only one republican congressman voted with the democrats, walter jones. all the rest of the republicans telling their constituents they think trump ought to release his tax returns, when they go back to washington they are not standing by that. joining us is congressman bill pascrell, a democratic member of the house ways and means committee. thank you for being here, congressman pascrell. >> rachel, thanks for your courage. >> we are talking about courage here. is this one of those things where you'll keep having the republicans vote on this? you're going to keep having the republicans try to put their money where their mouth is and you'll expect a different result? >> they haven't seen anything yet. we're doing it not only on the floor of the house, we're going to do it continuously in the ways and means committee which is one of three committees under a code that passed in 1924, the irs code, this was added to it
that there are three committees, the ways and means financial committee in the senate and the joint committee on taxation. and those commit industries the authority and the power to summon that tox return so we want dignity and integrity of the three branches of government this is our way of standing up. you can't say one thing back home rachel and come to washington and then cower and then hide under the desk. it doesn't work. >> in terms of the leverage that you've got, obviously you said you've got these votes that have happened on the house floor you're talking about a vote in the ways and means committee which will bring acute pressure on republican members of that committee, particularly if any of them have been talking about this through the other side of their mouth to their home constituents. you introduced a resolution of inquiry asking the treasury secretary to provide the house with these years of president trump's tax returns.
how would steve mnuchin play a role in this? has the treasury department engaged with this issue at all? do you expect them to? >> we asked last friday and under the law, under the rules kevin brady, who was the chairman of the ways and means committee, must have a hearing. and what i'm asking for, an inquiry. we have several paths that we are going to look down because the american people have a right. remember they said the american people don't care about this? you cannot believe how many people are involved in this. it's the most talked-about thing to sign at the white house. over one million three hundred thousand people have signed on already. we won't stop. we have a right to know this. this is a president that has over 550 investments all over the world. we need to know who his partners are, where his money came from, how he's going to spend that money and if you're not hiding anything, mr. president, please,
let us know what the story is. we have a right to know if there's any conflicts of interest and that goes for everybody in the executive branch of government. >> congressman bill pascrell, a member of the house ways and means committee pushing as hard as anybody on this issue, congressman thanks for being with us, keep us appraised, sir. >> thank you, sir, ma'am. >> that's all right. i answer to both. it's actually convenient in really unexpected places, you'd be surprised. we'll be right back. stay with us.
so we covered this story on monday night here on this show. this is not the update i expected to be giving you tonight. voters in the netherlands have gone to the polls in an election that attracted international interest because of the man expected to win, this very controversial figure, geert wilders, a right wing nationalist aggressively ain't immigrant, anti-muslim candidate. he's been found guilty of inciting hatred against muslims in his country.
he's campaigned on a promise he would shut down mosques, make it illegal to be a muslim in the netherlands. this was an election being watched all over the world for its own sake and what it might portend for the rest of europe. well, that election was today, turns out didn't happen. geert wilders appears to have lost. exit poll results suggest the currentry's current prime minister won the dutch elections tonight easily, easily beating geert wilders. tonight the country's prime minister has essentially declared victory. he's called the election a rejection of "the wrong kind of populism." that said, we don't have a final count. there's always the outside chance that more dutch voters went for geared wilders than led on for the country's exit pollsters. maybe they didn't want to admit they backed an anti-immigrant anti-muslim candidate. we have the exit poll result, we have an all but declaration of victory from the prime minister and we will get official results next week on tuesday and then
the country's different political parties will get to work forming their new government. watch this space. ooohh!! aaaahh!! uh! hooooly mackerel. wow. nice. strength and style. it's truck month. get 0% financing for 60 months plus find your tag and get $5500 on select chevy silverado pick-ups when you finance with gm financial. find new roads at your local chevy dealer.
tonight thirst as a metaphor with jimmy fallon. >> i think the reason people got so excited about the news, when i tweeted out in the 7:00 hour, we've got it and we're going to put it on tv, i think the reason people are so excited about it is because it's really weird that the president hasn't released his financial information. >> it's odd.
>> it's really odd. and there is reasons to worry about it. like we've had that from every president since nixon. why is this the one who won't release it, especially because of the increasing worries day by day, further increasing worries about his contacts with foreign countries like russia. i think people are really concerned to see what's in those tax returns. so when we found out we had one, it was like speaking to a group of people dying of thirst in the desert. and it was behold we have found a drop, a drop! we have a drop. >> this is my way of letting you know that i will be on "the tonight show" tonight with jimmy fallon on nbc. comes on at 11:35 p.m. that's later tonight. but we've got one last story tonight for you on this show. it is a spooky one, and that's straight ahead. stay with us.
general mike flynn was fired february 13th after only 24 days on the job as national security adviser. the timing of that firing still doesn't make sense in terms of how the white house has explained it. the administration said flynn was fired because he lied to mike pence about the content of his calls to the russian ambassador during the transition. but for some still unexplained reason, the white house waited for three weeks to fire him after the justice department notified them about him lying. that gap, that almost three-week gap remains unexplained. there are also questions about mike flynn's retroactive declaration last week that he was acting as a foreign oagent for the turkish government during the campaign and transition. and there was multiple reports now that the campaign was notified multiple times about flynn working for the turkish government. so there are also big unanswered questions about why they named mike flynn national security
adviser even though they knew he was a foreign agent. there are also very uncomfortable questions about vice president pence who was head of the transition when they were notified by mike flynn's lawyers more than once that flynn was working as a foreign agent. mike flynn said he had no idea about any of that, never heard of it, which really makes no sense. it's an utterly implausible assertion from the vice president. but there is one other big lingering question about flynn, where it's starting to feel like we might actually get an answer. and that's the thing he got fired for. for all the drama why he was there in the first place and when they fired him and the rest of it, the reason he was fired is because of him misrepresenting the don't of his communications with the russian ambassador. the reason we know that is because we were told there were surveillance of his contacts with the russian ambassador. surveilling a russian official, any foreign official isn't weird or even -- it's not information. u.s. intelligence agencies do that all the time. but it's definitely strange for
an american to be wiretapped by u.s. law enforcement or intelligence agencies unless there was some court-approved reason for doing that. and that lurks behind all the other drama surrounding flynn. it may also, honestly, be the noncrazy thing lurking behind the president's repeated assertions that barack obama was tapping his microwave or whatever. whatever you think about the president's tweets on this subject and the weird statements about it from the white house, there is a legitimate question about what open investigations there are, whether mike flynn, either as top adviser to the president or national security adviser in the white house, there is an interesting question as to whether he was the target of a criminal investigation or a counter intelligence investigation. that's a really big deal. we might be about to get an answer on that. today the leaders of the house intelligence committee, the republican chairman devon nunes and adam schiff, the two of them sent a letter to the fbi, the nsa and the cia saying they want
any answers those agencies can provide on that suggest. why was mike flynn on that wiretap? why was anybody else associated with the clinton campaign or the trump campaign on a wiretap if they were? who were those people on wiretaps? who was caught? why were they kept? why were those recordings, why were those transcripts of those calls not minimized, not taken out? because that should have been only a foreign warrant. we've got those questions now posed by the chairman and the ranking member of the intelligence committee. they've told those agencies they want the answers right away. they want the answers by the day after tomorrow, friday. intelligence committee will also of course hear testimony from fbi director james comey and nsa director mike rogers at a public hearing on monday. no word on whether they will get these answer they're looking for. but at least somebody is asking in an official way. and in a bipartisan way, which we're not used to seeing.
i still don't understand the baseline truth that undergirds this whole mist, but at least we're starting to get more clarity about the right questions to ask. maybe soon we'll get answers. that's it for tonight. we'll see you tomorrow. travel ban blocked. even with changes president trump's executive director says they have been put on hold. plus, paul ryan's retreat. the speaker of the house now admitting the gop's health care plan has to change if it's going to pass the house. and a daring escape all caught on camera. a woman from alabama jumps from a car telling police she was kidnapped. now authorities are searching for the suspect. good morning, everyone. it's thursday, march 16th.