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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  March 21, 2017 9:00pm-10:01pm PDT

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thing. that is our broadcast for tonight. thank you for being here with us. good night from all of us from new york. ahem, happy tuesday, thanks for being with us this hour. for a while on twitter, for a couple years at least on twitter if you sent a tweet that included the word "socialist" or that included the word "socialism" or "communist" or "communism," if you put that word in any tweet, you would get an immediate reply from what looked like the twitter account of the late senator joseph mccarthy. this was the -- you see the responsehere? not the initial tweet, the first tweet is somebody writing "communism defined." see the response there? you see the little avatar? that's joe mccarthy's face. joe mccarthy's face on the twitter account, if you tweeted anything that said socialism or communism or socialist communist, that joe mccarthy beyond the grave twitter account would tweet back and you and it had tweet at you something like
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this "creeping socialism." or it would say "communist infiltrated." he was also good at terrible puns. he would say, for example, "on your marx." this one is pretty good. "quit stalin." that twitter account was not senator joe mccarthy tweeting from beyond the grave, instead of the robot j. mccarthy, it was a bot, a twitter bot. there wasn't, in fact, a person who was reading every twitter message sent around the world looking for the world communism or communist and then writing back with a "quit stalin" pun. there wasn't a person doing that. it was an automated thing. it was a robot, an automated account that was programmed to notice any twitter mentions of socialism or communism and then it would automatically spit out one of these funny pre-programmed joe mccarthy nonsense tweets in response.
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creeping socialism! it was funny. it was harmless. it was all in good fun. and sadly now robot j. mccarthy is defunct, it's not around anymore. but seeing that bot in action, seeing the fake joe mccarthy response, that was the first time i understood how people could automate social media stuff. how you could program what appeared to be a human online that wasn't really a human to do stuff that ordinary humans didn't have the capacity to do, right? no individual human could notice and respond to every single mention of the word "socialism" on all of twitter but a computer program could. tirelessly. forever. ubiquitously, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, hundreds of thousands, tens of thousands of times, millions of times, why not? and robot j. mccarthy, that was a funny way to do it.
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you can see how that bot technology could be used in a less fun way. a less fny, less harmless way. like, say, during an election season. you can see how people relatively easily could program bots to not just make jokes but to latch on to and respond to and get themselves involved in, for example, any twitter conversation that mentioned hillary clinton. recognize a pro-hillary clinton message or a pro-hillary clinton hashtag or even just the name "hillary" or the name "clinton" and then deluge that mention with fake news stories, with crude remarks, with foreign, with lots and lots of pro-donald trump commentary, just flood the zone with enough of that stuff and pretty soon nobody can really have a conversation online about hillary clinton at all. if you do that enough, if you get enough bots working that
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beat, you end up drowning out what would otherwise be normal communication, normal commentary, normal discussion or even normal political organizing. you end up drowning it out in misinformation and noise and insults and just the sheer amount of traffic. and when that noise bomb that comes back at you online is not just loud, it's outrageous, profane, stuffed with unexpected bits of foreign, relentless, the number of posts that appear back at you and how long they keep going for, in that circumstance you thintwice about trying to raise that subject online ever again, right? it makes discussion of the things you care about online, if you are a hillary clinton supporter it makes discussion of hillary clinton online feel futile. it feels ugly and weird in terms of the response you get so ultimately overtime you tune out. you shut down. and you at least observed it, it was ubiquitous.
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right after the election, researchers at oxford university published a study of 20 million tweets about the election that were sent over the last week of the presidential contest and the researchers determined after all the traffic on twitter about the u.s. election bots produce nearly 20% of it. over a quarter of all traffic came from these malicious bots and the bot traffic was almost entirely pro-donald trump. and some of that dynamic was visible at the time. but now we are starting to be able to put it together in terms of how russia used that particular weapon to basically eat american political discourse during our election or at least eat or render useless a big
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portion of it. and now that the fbi has confirmed that the trump campaign is the subject of a counterintelligence investigation concerning them possibly cooperating with russia during russia's attack on our election, now we can put it together in terms of the timeline here. as we get closer to answering the question of whether or not russia had help, whether they had confederates inside the trump campaign when they launched this attack, the timeline is getting really clear now and really interesting in terms of finally getting this thing understood. and you don't have to go back very far. just one year. as we reported last night in february of last year a senior aide to russian president vladimir putin gave a presentation at a moscow information security forum and in this open source forum he promised the russian military and intelligence services developed what they considered to be the strategic equivalent of a nuclear bomb. but for information warfare.
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this is a speech that was first reported by david ignatius at the "washington post." he got the speech translated from russian. it's vladimir putin's cyber war senior adviser telling his audience in moscow last february, "you think we are living in 2016, no, we are living in 1948. do you know why? because in 1949 the soviet union had its first atomic bomb test and if until that moment the americans were not taking us seriously in 1949 everything changed and they started talking to us on an equal footing. i'm warning you, we have something in the information arena that will allow us to talk to the americans as equals. so the kremlin bragging last year about how they had a new nuclear-level information warfare capability that they were about to deploy against the united states. something that would bring america down, make america
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recognize russia's strength, make us see them as our equal. that was february of last year. then in march we know from the intelligence community's report on russia's attack, in march, russian military intelligence indeed started their attk. "theru probably began cyber operations aimed at the u.s. election by march, 2016. we assess --" and this is the u.s. intelligence report on what russia did. "we assess that the gru operations resulted in the compromise of the personal e-mail accounts of democratic party officials and political figures. by may, the gru had exfiltrated large volumes of data from the dnc. so again simple timeline here. february the kremlin says watch this, watch what we're about to do here, this will be epic. that's in february, follow month in march their military intelligence directorate starts stealing information from the
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democratic party and ultimately by june and july we know the russians had shown their hand. that that was not just an intelligence operation, they were not just stealing information from the democratic party so they could get american secrets so they could get secret american information and use it within their own government for their own purposes. by june and july they showed what they wanted to do with that information was that they wanted to release it publicly in the united states. they wanted to weapon size it. release it back into our country in a way designed to inflict maximum harm on hillary clinton and the democratic party. that's what thid with d.c. leaks and guccifer 2.0 and the secret stuff they sole from the dnc and clinton campaign chairman john podesta. but now we can also tell you that they were also playing another card at the same time, one that a lot of people watching the show experienced in realtime and you may not have known what it was when it happened to you.
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jason churkas and ryan grimm, two reporters from the "washington post," have done reporting on this. they've added to the timeline, so the timeline, february, kremlin threatening/promising they're going nuclear in their information war, march, their gru attacks the democratic party and steals their data. we see the fruits of that by the summer but that spring, april and may the other thing they started doing was a huge industrial-sized bot attack. this was not a joke. they used automated social media bots and what appeared to be paid operatives in russia and other countries specifically to target bernie supporters. they took the real split in the democratic party between hillary clinton and bernie sanders and they blew it up into what they hoped would be an unbreachable chasm.
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one of the administrators at a bernie sanders facebook page in san diego described it like this to the huffington post "people with no apparent ties to california were friending the san diego facebook page and sharing links from unfamiliar sites full of anti-hick propaganda. the stories they posted were not the normal complaints. these stories allege that hillary clinton had murdered her political opponents and used body doubles. when john mad dis, the administrator on that bernie site in san diego started tracking down the domain registration the trail led to places like macedonia and albania." it wasn't just san diego. by mid-may, an administrator for a facebook site for bernie sanders supporters in california, bay area for bernie, was setting off her own alert about many if not all of the bernie groups being inundated with "bogus users."
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at sane progressive they were posting the same warning. at bernie sanders is my hero, the administrators there were posting their own version of the warning basically saying something is happening here that is not native to our community. they were warning that these bogus postings were "developed to be appealing to berners, to bernie sanders supporters, but they were not from an american or bernie supporting point of view."example, running the facebook pages in support of him by and large they were trying to stop this when they realized what it was. we see the evidence of that now looking back at it but even they seem to have realized their sounding the alarm was futile. people couldn't hear it. a few days before the election, john maddes posted got all that get news from this page, be advised that groups from macedonia have planted fake headache stories about hillary."
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now, this has been previously reported, previously discussed around the campaign as if that foreign influx of sort of noise and vitriol was all commercial traffic. people in foreign countries who didn't care about the u.s. election but they're writing this story to troll for clicks to get gullible u.s. policy junkies because they wanted the ad revenue they could get from clicking on their stories. and there's a commercial element. that's some of it. but we now understand much more about how russian intelligence piggybacks on commercial hacking and commercial trolling efforts. it's part of their m.o., it's what russian intelligence does, particularly russian military intelligence. we also know the bernie administrators who went through this in realtime, at least some
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of them, don't believe that what they were going through that what was washing over their bernie supporter sites they don't necessarily believe that it was people trying to make money off bernie supporters. john maddes saying "i strongly believe this was not a commercial venture. 13 million bernie supporters were out there to potentially support and vote for bernie. bernie voters were very engaged and contributes millions and bought in countless new supporters. if you could suppress those voters, you could provide yourself an advantage at low cost." and mcclatchy now reports that mcclatchy is reporting that the bot attacks, the bot traffic is part of the fbi's counterintelligence investigation into the russian attack on the election and the question about whether or not there was trump campaign cooperation in mount that attack.
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quoting for mcclatchy "operatives for russia appear to have strategically timed bots to blitz social media with links to pro-trump stories at times when the billionaire businessman was on the defensive." "the bots' end products were largely millions of twitter and facebook posts with links to stories on breitbart news and infowars as well as kremlin-backed media outlets like rt and sputnik news." federal investigators examining the bot attacks are exploring when the the far-right news operations took any actions to assist russia's operatives. in other words were they in on it. investigators examining the bot attacks are exploring whether the far right news operations to assist russia's operatives. the investigation of the bot engineered traffic appears to be in its early stages but it's being driven by the fbi's counterintelligence division. so if mcclatchy sources are
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correct, we now know that what appeared to be a mysterious tidal wave that turned social media into brainless anti-clinton mush during the campaign that was not only part of the russian attack, it's part of being the fbi counterintelligence division, including the possibility that there was a cooperation or coordination in that part of the attack from pro-trump forces inside the united states. we will have more on that ahead tonight including with one of the reporters that broke that story but before we bring that reporter in, i want to leave this on one last point that i think is worth keeping in mind and when i describe this point you are going to think that i'm getting into obscure into obscure and academic stuff but at this point i'm starting to feel like the obscure and academic stuff is sometimes where the real meat of this story is hiding in plain sight. very it will of this story has been broken by secret information. a lot of the story has been
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broken, has come into focus by looking hard enough at what is out there in open sources. so one last point, as the fbi and congressional investigations and journalists continue to authenticate and flesh out just how much russia did, just exactly what russia did to us last year and as we continue to get more information about contacts between trump campaign people and the russias during the time that the attack was under way despite the fact that the trump campaign denied it all these months. as the pieces are falling into place, it's worth looking at the way the russians talk about this themselves, because they are proud of their capability in this regard. they did have a putin senior adviser last february threaten in public that the united states was about to be humbled and brought down to an equal footing with russia by a new offensive capability and information warfe that the russian military was about to unleash against us.
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they really did do that. they got out in public and pounded their chest about it. also, their equivalent of the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff wrote a public manifesto on russian military might that is now becoming cult reading in national security circles and among journalists trying to figure out this story. he published it in 2013, he said russia would use non-military tactics, chiefly information warfare tactics at a 4-1 ratio to its military tactic. when they went to war from here on out they would wage four times as much information war as actual kinetic hot shooting war. and in the russian militaries preeminent journal which is called "military thought" in 2014 in a seminal article entitled "information operations on the battlefield" in that article in 2014 russian military bragged that if information warfare is going to work, it
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"must be conducted constantly, in peacetime, in the period of threats, and in wartime." if you're going to use information warfare to confuse, demoralize, divide, distract, and ultimately defeat a rival country, according to the russians' military doctrine on this subject, you don't just do it in wartime, you have to do it all the time or it doesn't work. when huffington post did their dive into how bernie supporters got targeted in this russian attack, they focused in part on a bernie sanders facebook page called bernie sanders lovers" which says it is based in burlington, vermont. it's not. it's based in albania and nobody who's not from albania appears to have anything to do with that bernie sanders site. but the important thing here is that that bernie sanders lovers page run out of albania, it's still there. still running.
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still operating. still churning this stuff out. now. this is not american politics. this is not partisan warfare between republicans and democrats. this is international warfare against our country. and it did not end on election day. we are still in it. there's a reason why the investigation here, the counterintelligence investigation here, is something about which there is some urgency. got more on the new aspect of it that we just learned about today coming up next. (vo) this is not a video game. this is not a screensaver. this is the destruction of a cancer cell by the body's own immune system, thanks to medicine that didn't exist until now. and today can save your life. ♪
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>> i'm about to show you an arresting picture that might make you draw in breath if you haven't seen it. you may have seen it online in the past couple days but if you haven't, here goes. scary looking green man. this is actually a russia story. this man is alexei navalny, the highest profile opposition politician in russia. he's planning on running against vladimir putin for president of russia next year. this is not a stunt by him, this is not an attention getting effort. this weekend he was campaigning in siberia, somebody came up to him on the street and threw some sort of chemical all over him that literally dyed him bright green. alexei navalny is making the most of it. he is not hiding, he's continuing to do public events, make videos, continue with his campaigning, his supporters are saying they will d themselves green, too, in solidarity with
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him. but that attack on him, that is a reminder about how putin's russia does business. it's a reminder how scary it must be to be an opposition figure in russia right now. and an even scaier reminder of that arrived late this afternoon when we got news that the lawyer for a legendary anti-putin whistle-blower, the family lawyer for sergei magnitsky took a header off his fourth floor apartment building in moscow. he did survive. he's said to have serious head injuries and is being treated in a hospital. we'll let you know more as we learn more. but i should tell you we're expecting to speak with somebody close to him who can maybe shed more light on what appears to be another scary attack on an opposition figure in russia. we're expecting that interview tomorrow night on this show. i'll keep you updated as to the progress of that. here in the united states, the fbi announced yesterday the
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there is an ongoing counterintelligence investigation into the president's campaign and possible coordination with the russians as they attacked our country last year. today donald trump's former campaign chairman paul manafort was mentioned by a house intelligence committee as a potential witness who should perhaps expect to appear before that committee in its investigation. the next thing we heard about paul manafort today after that was that paul manafort has now hired a crisis management public relations firm. that probably makes sense. the other piece of puzzle was this news from mcctchy, news from the counterintelligence investigation looking into the trump campaign since july of last year, according to mcclatchy sources, that investigation includes investigation specifically into the russian use of bots and trolls, to spread pro-trump/anti-clinton news
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online both of the real variety and of the madeup variety. gregor don is a national correspondent for mcclatchy news. he co-bilined that with peter stone of mcclatchy. thanks for being here. >> thanks for having me. >> what got you going on this story? were you following this investigation and heard about this piece of it or were you following the bots and trolls part of it and heard it might be the subject of investigation. >> we've been working on the trump and russia thing for months like most media outlets in washington. and one of our sources tipped my colleague peter stone who has done some great reporting for mcclatchy as a freelancer and we dived into it. we were absolutely -- our minds were blown by the possibilities presented here. and maybe they won't pan out but it was definitely worth delving
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into. >> when you say your minds were blown by the possibilities, do you mean that in terms of what the investigation might result in in terms of potential prosecutions or do you just mean in terms of the impact that these trolls and bots, that they had in terms of investigation warfare? >> i think it's partly about the impact of the trolls and bots and it's also about the possibility that some of these far right news sites might have actually in some way collaborated with russia as it was endeavoring to unload this enormous cyber attack on the united states. >> that possibility, you're careful in the way you've written up that possibility. obviously when you look at the overall fbi investigation as characterized by director comey, the huge bombshell there is the possibility he raise which had he says they are investigating that the trump campaign coordinated with this russian attack on the election. with this piece of it, it's similarly the real bombshell
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here as you describe it the idea that u.s.-based pro-trump news outlets might have collaborated with the russians in this part of the attack it doesn't seem clear that they would have too collaborate in order for that part of the attack to work. they don't have to be witting participants. >> that's right. the interesting thing about bots is that bots are a computer command and you can design them do whatever you want them do. in this case operatives from russia, they weren't necessarily all russians, they might have been in macedonia or albania or wherever were programming commands that would fetch news stories that were favorable to donald trump or derogatory about hillary clinton and so what you had was a kind of shot, a blind
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side shot to benefit one of the candidates from a foreign power. >> greg gordon, national correspondent for mcclatchy news who broke this story that the fbi investigation includes this is a expect of the russian attack and the possibility of the media organizations of collaborating and mr. gordon, the first time you've been on the show. i know you and your colleagues of mcclatchy have done the most forward leaning investigations here. thanks for helping us understand this report tonight. >> my plsure. coming up, one of the most intriguing things about today's supreme court confirmation hearing had nothing whatsoever to do with the nominee himself but it's very important and very controversial. and that's straight ahead. various: (shouting) heigh! ho! ( ♪ )
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this human traffic jam is made up of republicans on capitol hill leaving their meeting today with the president. one at a time, guys, one at a time. because they had to funnel next to reporters, they did get this description from what happened inside. >> the president talked about 2018 and the message was if we don't get this done, we're going to lose the house and senate next year. he was that blunt. >> did he threaten anyone?
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>> no, no, that's not the president's style. he's reminding our conference of the campaign promise, the importance of it for next year's midterm elections and is basically saying what we've all said we deliver on this, then we do tax reform then we pick up 10 senate seats. >> this president threaten someone? you kidding? this guy? no, no, no, he never threatens anybody, he was just telling us we do this one thing, we do this repeal obamacare care thing and conquer the world. we get 10 senate seats, we just have to do this one thing. congressman chris collins sounds so sure of this and it's true his republican colleagues finally did manage to get through the door way but there's speculation on their plan for universal domination. coming up, we have a first look at something the democrats are unleashing tomorrow that they
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think will help them stop the republicans' efforts to kill obamacare. it's due to break tomorrow but we have it here tonight. i think it's good, actually. you'll have your first look in just a second, stay with us. i noticed it as soon as we moved into the new house. ♪ a lot of people have vertical blinds. well, if a lot of people jumped off a bridge, would you? you hungry? i'm okay right -- i'm... i'm becoming my, uh, mother.
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thursday is when the republicans are going to hold their vote on repealing obamacare. the president went to capitol hill today to twist arms, to line up republicans to vote for
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the repeal bill. congressman mark meadows is chairman of the freedom caucus. he says he was a firm no when he walked into the meeting with the president today and he said he was still a firm no when he walked out despite the president threatening him in front of all the other republicans in the room. it's hard to say how many members of the freedom caucus are on mark meadows' side on this but even if half the members vote against the bill, that's it. that's all it would take, the bill would be toast, game over. nbc has been keeping a whip count of members of the republican caucus who say they might vote no. so far 27 republicans in the house say they are against the bill or strongly leaning against it. 27. that's over and above the 22 no votes that would be enough to kill the bill and the pressure isn't just from the far right, it's coming from the center, too. moderates have been getting an earful from their constituents at home warning them not to take obamacare away. to that point, democrats have cooked up basically a gut-punch
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of an ad that they plan to release tomorrow ahead of this week's vote. we've got it exclusively tonight. this is the first add the democratic senatorl campaign committeput out in t 2018 election cycle and we have the first exclusive look at it right here tonight. i think this is pretty good. watch. >> dscc is responsible for the content of this advertising. >> democratic party will drop that ad, democratic senate campaign committee will drop that tomorrow, putting the pressure on. in addition to that, former vice president joe biden will be back in washington tomorrow trying to
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shore up democratic resistance to the repeal bill. he'll be headlining a rally tomorrow morning on the front steps of the capitol. repealing obamacare has been republican priority number one for years. we are right now just a little bit over one day away from what's supposed to be the big vote. it looks shaky, if you look at the nbc whip count, it looks shaky if you look at the political climate around this issue in the country. already there are rumblings on capitol hill that the house republicans might push that thursday vote because they know they don't have the votes. i have a feeling this is not at all how republicans thought this would go. huh. we should take a closer look at geico... you know, geico insures way more than cars. boats, motorcycles... even rvs! geico insures rvs? what's an rv? uh, the thing we've been stuck on for five years! wait, i'm not a real moose?? we've been over this, jeff... we're stickers! i'm not a real moose? give him some space.
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>> look, i'm not here to bad-mouth other republicans. we have a good amount of people running. at a minimum, i can say this, none of them is a socialist. [ laughter ] none of our candidates is under fbi investigation. >> all i'm saying is that she's under investigation by the fbi. just pause and think about that, that's uncommon for a presidential candidate. >> we need a government that can go to work on day one for the american people. that will be impossible with hillary clinton, the prime suspect, in a far-reaching criminal investigation. >> so think about the magnitude of all of this for a second. hillary clinton could be sworn into office while still being under investigation from the fbi this would then put this country into a major constitutional
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crisis. >> what a mess. what a mess. and all she had to do is follow the rules and assume people are watching or listening. who cares, right? >> can this country afford to have a president under investigation by the fbi? think of the trauma that would do to this country. >> we've never had a case like this. and even congress, you know, is sort of -- they've never had this before because there's no event like this that ever took place. >> we have never had a case like this, congress, they have never had this before, there's no event like this that ever took place. correct, mr. president. we have never had a sitting president's campaign under investigation by the fbi for colluding with russia to influence the election. that has never happened before. it's uncanny, though, right? that stuff from the campaign? over and over throughout the presidential campaign republicans insisting if a presidenwas under investigation by the fbi that would -- what was the phrase? "put this country into a major constitutional crisis." over and over and over again they said that.
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but, you know, sean spicer "probably tough to get excited about someone under fbi investigation." sean spicer now white house press secretary. or this one, "most honest people i know are not under fbi investigation." kellyanne conway, now counselor to the president. now we know that the president's campaign is under investigation by the fbi and it's a counterintelligence investigation about them possibly colluding in a foreign attack on the united states. starting in july, the investigation continues and now we don't have to imagine what it would be like to have a president under fbi investigation, now we don't have to wonder about what would be the right response to that, now we have to actually figure out in realtime the right response to that because we need the right response to that now. what do we do in this circumstance? do we pick now to hold hearings to let that president fill a seat on the supreme court? now? a question raised by the top democrat in the senate, chuck
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schumer today. >> you can bet if the shoe were on the other foot and a democratic president was under investigation by the fbi the republicans would be howling at the moon about filling a supreme court seat in such circumstances. >> senator schumer went on to say it's unseemly to be moving forward so fast on the confirmation "while this big gr cloud of an fbi investigation hangs over the presidency." regardless, today was day two of neil gorsuch's confirmation hearings. and the democrats went and there's plenty to say about the balls and strikes of that hearing and how the hearings have been going and all the questions he successfully avoided but to a certain extent, those things seem like the trees when the forest here is this president is under fbi investigation in a counterintelligence probe. until that's forest is this president is under investigation in a probe. should we really be going ahead putting somebody on the supreme court for life. last year president obama
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nominated merrick gardner. the republicans wouldn't federal budget speak of considering his nomination. the republican objection, their whole problem with him was that barack obama was only going to be president for only a little bit more than a year. he's only got a year left. that's our objection. so they're not going to consider his pick. right now the democratic objection to having hearings on neil gorsuch is that the president is under app fbi counterintelligence investigation for potentially colluding with a foreign power to attack the united states. which of those objections makes more material sense? joining us now is the seni
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editor and democratic correspondent of "slate," and someone who talks me down when my so box gets too tall. >> it's weird, the illegitimacy of the president throws the entire constitutional -- the haters all said why are you trolling the republicans on the senate judiciary committee? i'm not rolling them. i'm actually just quoting them. i actually have no problem with what you're saying. and i would add this one gloss. it not inconsequential. the court's institutional integrity completely rests on public confidence in the court. it not like under positions. the court, if it is under a cloud, under a shadow of some sort, there's nothing the court can do to get that back.
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so this is a different institution from other institutions of government insofar of all the questions about the legitimacy, the stolen seat now being filled bay stolen presidency. the rest of the republic can recover from this. what doesn't recover, the court. the court really does institutionally suffer when public judgment about the court's legitimacy is in doubt. it different from other institutions and that really ups the stakes here in a way -- >> once the republicans did what they did about merrick gardner, not allowing president obama make his nomination to that seat. what is the corrective -- is that breaking glass and it all shard or is there a way to reestablish normalcy?
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>> i have to tell you, i feel different about the court. i'm the wickedest patty hearst, i love my captors, thank you for having no tv in here. so for me something was broken. layered over the seat is not theirs to take away, it the hypocrisy of they can't function with eight people, we've got to geth done now. and moreover, this is an institution that really rests on integrity and dignity and civility. you're hearing senate republicans talking about the need to return to norms now. norms? remember them? that was what you broke. >> they said if -- they threatened if hillary clinton was elected, they would hold that seat open until after the 2020 election, that they would not allow anybody other than a republican president to fill that seat. >> i think it really important to be clear that what you're hearing now is republicans saying this was scalia's seat, no one was going to get to fill
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that except a republican. ted cruz has been really clear about that in the last two days. the masks are off but you know who is hampered when the masks are off, it's the court. >> so neil gorsuch, how's he doing? >> well, at slate today we stopped counting the golly and goshes. he's very genuinely warm and he's answering nothing. even justice alito and kagan answered a little bit. he's giving us almost no guidance on anything of substance. it frustrating when you have a president who explicitly says i'm going to tap a guy who's going to make you super happy about guns and abortion so that
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litmus test, the burden is on gorsuch at some level to disprove the promise that was made. >> trump made news when he said there's going to be litmus tests for me. these are the things i'm going to get agreements on from anybody i put in position. so the president to say at and the nominee for not saying whether that's true or denying that's true. do you think the democrats should get up and stop lending their legitimacy to it? >> i have to say they're landing some punches on some of the ideas that they want to get across, that the republicans are the party of corruption and dark money, they're the party of not caring about the little guy. so some of these little flicks are getting there. but i think on this larger question of should we be here, is there legitimate, should we be in this conversation, why are you telling us that when you go low, we give you the seat and maybe we'll do it again in two years. they're not there. they're not there, rachel.
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>> and i would say democrats on the judiciary committee, if they polled democratic votes are right now, if they polled their supporters right now in the base democratic party as to what they should do, it would be a very large vote telling them to get up and get their butts out of that room. dolly, senior editor and legal considered for slate, a person i keep on to keep me sane in insane times failing miserably. we'll be right back. stay with us.
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behold, behold, he andrea got him to speak finally! watch. >> mr. secretary, north korea is now threatening preemptive action. can you say whether you think that's a dangerous escalation, sir? >> no comment. >> any comment on the nato meetings? >> i'll see tomorrow. >> thank you. >> he did speak. that's progress. it was to be specific, no comment today, thanks. see you tomorrow. seven words. got to start somewhere. we have been documenting on this show the steady disappearance of the u.s. state department in this administration. it has shrunk, it has gone silent in the trump era. as part of that we have documented the steadfast efforts of andrea mitchell to try to get
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a question off to the secretary of state, only to get more silence before she get pushed out of the room. today there was progress. she got seven words from the u.s. secretary of state. ask, ask, ask, and you shall finally receive. seven words. it a start. that does it for us tonight. now it time for "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell. >> it is fun watching andrea get those words up on the board, finally a total of seven. rachel, rex tillerson is accustomed to having zero reporters in his life and here he is with andrea mitchell. it way more than he's prepared for. >> andrea mitchell will be a barnicle on him like he has never seen before in his life. >> she's going to the biggest tillerson word count of anyone.


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