tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC June 10, 2017 4:00pm-5:01pm PDT
es buzzing inside vehicle ] the all-new volkswagen atlas. with easy-access 3rd row. life's as big as you make it. is that our control room sound was being broadcast over the p.a.? that was impressive. it was like -- i'll tell you what happened before the cameras came on. it's kind of the equivalent of the firelarm going off, except it was the voice of somebody working in another room not on this show. that was kind of amazing. i'm going to assume that wasn't god and it was just a technical difficulty. thanks for being with us tonight. dan rather is here which i'm very excited about. we have a few new pieces of information to break on what is going on in washington with the what appears to be the mushrooming scandal around the president. we have a few new exclusive
pieces of information on that tonight. last night, a columbia law school professor received a letter from congress. this is the letter. dear professor. addressed to professor daniel richman at columbia, a former federal prosecutor who now teaches at columbia law school. yesterday in the senate, the fired director of the fbi, james comey, put the spotlight on professor daniel richman when comey told the world about his decision to make public his notes that he wrote up after this meet with the president in which he said the president told him that the fbi should let go its ongoing criminal investigation into the trump national security adviser mike flynn. director comey explained yesterday under oath that the way he decided to publicize those notes and that memo he wrote about his interaction with the president was that he gave it to his good friend who worked
at columbia law scho, and he give his professor friend the instruction that he should then pass on that memo to a reporter. and so after that testimony under oath yesterday from james comey, last night james comey's professor friend at columbia law school, professor dan richman, he got this letter from congress, from the senate, explaining that director comey had all but said that professor richmond had in his possession this potentially incriminating memo about the president, and could professor richmond please hand the memo over to congress right now. and i mean it when i say right now. mr. comey's memoranda are part of the committee's ongoing investigative efforts. we ask that you provide copies of all the memoranda that you have received from james comey
no later than june 9th, 2017. check your calendar. it's june 9th, 2017, today. quick turnaround, right? the senate heard yesterday from james comey this professor at columbia had comey's memo about trump supposedly trying to kibosh the fbi's flynn investigation. they heard that yesterday that the professor had that memo. they wrote to the professor last night telling him to hand it over, and they gave him a deadline, which is today. we can report tonight that as of 9:00 p.m. eastern time, as of just a couple of minutes ago, the professor at columbia university, dan richmond, has not turned over comey's memo about his conversation with the president. which is interesting. cnn's manu raju further reports that professor richmond has actually been in touch with that committee as of tonight, but we can report that whether or not he's been in touch with them, he has not handed over the memo. imagine this is a stressful
position for your average law professor to find himself in, right? but, hey, it's turning out these are stressful times. now there's obviously a lot going on in the news writ large right now. first and foremost, the uk election which is fascinating and a total shocker and has implications huge for the uk and for europe. also interesting implications for us. there's the president's offer today that he would love to testify under oath. he'd love to be deposed by the special counsel investigating the trump/russia matter. teams unlikely that he really wants to do that but he said today he'd love to. also the matter of this ticking time bomb that is now potentially set to go off in the u.s. senate when it comes to health care. the senate may be moving toward a vote that will kick over 20 million americans off health insurance. so there is a lot going on. we'll get to all of those things over the course of this hour. we've got dan rather here tonight. also some expert legal advice coming up on the show tonight.
advice that may surprise you. but there are, as i said, a few new things we've been able to report out tonight that i want to let you know right off the bat. and the first is this news about this law professor who was thought to he a copy of james comey's memo describing the president supposedly trying to shut down an ongoing fbi investigation. that law professor not turning over that memo to the senate despite the senate telling him he had until today to hand it over. that, obviously, relates to the possibility of obstruction of justice which is now this central question in terms of the fate of this presidency. did the president try to stop ongoing fbi investigations? now the special counsel, robert mueller, he was appointed to look into the russia issue, right? he was appointed to look into the specific question of whether the trump campaign or any trump associates helped or cooperated with the russians in this
russian attack on our election last year. the order appointing bob mueller to be special counsel also said beyond that investigation he could also investigate and prosecute any other matters that, quote, arise from that russia investigation. well, it now seems clear that one of the matters that has arisen from the russia investigation is this possibility that there's been an attempt to obstruct justice in this matter. potentially by the president of the united states himself. and although the mueller investigation, the spokesperson r bob mueller is not confirming that overtly, is not confirming that bob mueller is now -- bob mueller is now vf gating whether the president obstructed justice. they aren't saying so one way or another. we're still pretty darn sure that that's part of what he's working on. and we're pretty darn sure of it tonight for two reasons. first reason is because james comey said so under oath yesterday, twice.
>> do you sense that the president was trying to obstruct justice or just seek a way for mike flynn to save face given he had already been fired? >> general flynn at that time was in legal jeopardy. there was an open fbi criminal investigation of his statements in connection with the russian contacts and the contacts themselves. and so that was my assessment at the time. i don't think it's for me to say whether the conversation i had with the president was an effort to obstruct. i took it as a very disturbing thing. very concerning. but that's a conclusion i'm sure the special counsel will work towards to try and understand what the intengtion was there. >> do you believe this arises to the obstruction of justice? >> that's bob mueller's job to sort that out. >> that's bob mueller's job to sort that out. the special counsel will work to understand whether the obstruction intent was there, whether that's an offense. so that's the first obvious reason we believe that the special counsel, bob mueller is now investigating whether anyone
potentiay including the president might have tried to obstruct justice in the russia investigation. first reason is bluntly because james comey said so yesterday under oath, twice. the other reason we believe the special counsel bob mueller is investigating whether there was an obstruction of justice is because of this. >> so you didn't consider your memo or your sense of that conversation to be a government document. you consider it to be somehow your own personal document that you could share with the media as you wanted to? >> correct. i understood this to be my recollection recorded of my conversation with the president as a private citizen. i felt free to share that. i felt very important to get that out. >> so were all of your memos that you recorded unclassified or other documents, memos that might be yours as a private citizen? >> i'm sorry, i'm not following the question. >> you said you'd used a classified -- >> not the classified documents.
unclassified -- i don't have any of them anymore. i gave them to the special counsel. >> i don't have any of them anymore. i gave them to the special counsel. so that means any notes, any memoranda that james comey wrote about his interactions with president trump, he has handed them over to the special counsel robert mueller. and that's a simple thing, but it has a couple of really important implications. the first of which is that may be what's complicating the issue of this poor law professor in this difficult night he's having. the fact that bob mueller has these documents and may be using them in his investigation. that may be the complicating factor as to whether or not james comey's friend, this law professor can jt simply hand over his copy of this memo to the senate, now that the senate is demanding it. so that may be what's making this a hard night for that law professor. but the fact that james comey gave all of his memos about his conversations with the president to the special counsel, that also implies pretty strongly
that the special counsel is investigating potential obstruction of justice by the president. because we know from james comey's own testimony that he never talked to the president about russia. he never talked to the president about the russian attack on our election. james comey said under oath the president never brought that attack up. never expressed any concern about that russian attack to him ever. even once. so bob mueller's only investigating the russia attack and possible trump campaign involvement in the russia attack. these memos aren't about the russia attack. if that's all he's investigating, there would be no reason for him to be reviewing james comey's memos about his interaction with president trump. the only reason the special counsel would need to have those memos is if he's investigating the possibility of something else besides the russian attack. >> do you believe this will rise to obstruction of justice?
>> i don't know. that's bob mueller's job to sort that out. >> bob mueller, special counsel, as of tonight appears vy strongly to be investigating whether the pside of the united states donald trump committed obstruction of justice. now the race is on to confirm that for a fact. but in the absence of direct confirmation, it really seems clear by every indication that that's what he's doing. so we've got james comey saying under oath that president trump was not the subject personally of a counterintelligence investigation by the fbi into the russian attack on our election and possible collusion. the president not personally the subject of that but it appears that he very much may be the subject of the special counsel's investigation into the potential obstruction of justice. so here's the other thing going on about that tonight that is turning into a really
interesting question. bob mueller appears to be investigating obstruction of justice. is congress investigating that, too? we know the intelligence committees are investigating the russia side of this, right? investigating the russia attack, whether the trump campaign colluded in the russia attack just this week trump national security adviser mike flynn, we know, handed over hundreds of pages to the house and senate intelligence committees in response to their subpoenas after initially saying he would take the fifth, now he's handed over hundreds of pages of documents. so the intelligence committees are looking at russia. but is anybody in congress looking into whether or not the white house tried to obstruct justice? or otherwise illegally meddle with or try to block any of the russia investigations? is that bob mueller alone or is congress working on that, too? as of tonight, we have a lot more information about that. as of tonight, it looks like the answer to that is possibly. the comttees in congress that would have jurisdiction over obstruction justice by the president or obstruction of
justice by other officials in the executive branch, the committees that would have jurisdiction over that would be the judiciary committees. now the chairman of the judiciary committee in the house is republican congressman bob goodlatte. he appears to have no interest whatsoever in investigating this matter. he has certainly taken no steps to exercise his committee's oversight role on this at all. i should tell you as an aside, since president trump has been in thafrks only reason bob goodlatte has made any news at all is because he brewed up a little local controversy at home in virginia when he got his speeding ticket amended so they dinged him for a faulty speedometer instead of for going 69 in a school zone. that's the only way he's made news. and he's got the committee in the house that would oversee something like an investigation into obstruction of justice. a democrat on his committee, congressman luis gutierrez wrote
to bob goodlatte and said, hey, we're the judiciary committee. this is our turf. we should be investigating possible obstruction of justice. let's have the president come in and testify under oath before our committee. but that's just a request to the chairman from one democrat on his committee. so far chairman goodlatte does not seem like he's going to do anything on this. on the senateside, though, ding, ding, ding. >> comey said this would be his only testimony tomorrow. are you prepared to either issue a subpoena or try to get him before the senate judiciary committee? >> under our laws -- i shouldn't say our laws. rnd our rules of our committee if senator feinstein would agree to subpoena, i would. >> that's that good snen reporter i mentioned before, manu raju from cnn. that's him doorstopping chuck
grassley, the head of judiciary in the senate, and being questioned by manu raju. he says, yeah, if the top democrat, if dianne feinstein, wants to issue subpoenas on this part of the investigation, let's say she wants to issue a subpoena to james comey to get him to testify to us, too, y we will do that. i will agree to that. i think senator dianne feinstein may want to do something very much like that. and the reason i think that is because tonight she has just issued this. quote, mr. chairman, in my capacity as ranking member, it is my strong recommendation that the judiciary committee investigate all issues that raise a question of obstruction of justice. these issues should be developed by our legal staff, presented to us and be subject to full committee hearings. this is a letter from dianne feinstein to the chair of the judiciary committee tonight, mr. chuck grassley. she summarizes james comey's sworn testimony. he's absolutely explosive
allegations against the president, that the president issued the fbi director to kibosh thi active criminal fbi investigation into mike flynn. and, of course, james comey says the president pressured him on that. the president says, no, i didn't. the question is whether or not james comey has anything to back up his story. we know he says he has a memo that he wrote right after he came out of that meeting. everybody and their mother is now trying to get ahold of that memo comey says he wrote right after that conversation with the president memorializing that conversation. beyond that memo which they are trying to pry out of this poor professor and trying to pry out of comey and from mueller and out of the fbi. beyond that memo, tonight senator feinstein takes it one step further because james comey says there's another way that his side of the story can be corroborated. number one, he is swearing under oath. number two, a memo he wrote that night and number three, he says
he told other people right then when it happened who can back him up. and we saw this coming last night. but now, here it is. quote, director comey testified he spoke to a number of vivid individuals about his conversation with the president shortly after it happened. according to his oral testimony, this included the following individuals. deputy director of the fbi andrew mccabe. two, chief of staff to the fbi director jim ribike. james baker, four, associate deputy director of the fbi, the number three person in the agency, david bodich and number five, chief of the national security branch of the fbi, carl gattis. dianne feinstein lists them all by name. and tells chuck grassley, head of the judiciary committee, that the judiciary committee should hear from those witnesses basically to see if they corroborate james comey's testimony.
so regardless of the russia attack and this huge extensial question of whether the russians had american confederates helping them in that attack, separate issue. regardless of that, if the president of the united states is potentially in legal jeopardy for having tried to shut down an active fbi criminal investigation, we believe the republican-controlled house, at least so far, is basically going to just let that go. not interested. at least not so far. the republican-controlled senate, however, may be showing signs of life. at least if the democrats in the republicans on the judiciary committee there, if dianne feinstein and grassley continue to work together. and we know that aside from congress, we know the special counsel is on that as well. he has the power to investigate. he has the power to prosecute. and on that, i think there's
just three things to take away on that tonight which we have just learned. on the matters of what appears to be now an ongoing investigation by the special counsel into the president of the united states and whether he obstructed justice. three things to take away. first, if the white house ultimately doesn't like what robert mueller the special counsel concludes about the president, we now know they are going to have a hard time smearing robert mueller the way they are, for example, right now smeari ining james comey. they'll have a hard time smearing bob mueller the same way. not just because of bob mueller's hard-earned reputation as a public servant. they'll have a hard time smearing bob mueller because npr reports that the trump white house actually went through the motions of maybe hiring bob mueller themselves. they considered hiring bob mueller when they were looking for a replacement fbi director after the president fired james comey. so in the end, they may end up
trying to smear bob mueller down the road but it's a matter of record they liked him well enough to interview him and consider him themselves for running the fbi. second new thing to know about bob mueller and the possibility he's now investigating the president for potential obstruction of justice. the second thing to know that we can report, it concerns grand juries. so far we've known of at least one grand jury that is already involved in this case and issuing subpoenas. the first one we learned about is in virginia. that's the grand jury that's been issuing subpoenas related to trump national security adviser mike flynn and his ties to foreign countries. so that investigation into flynn operated through the u.s. attorneys office in the eastern district of virginia. they have convened a grand jury. they've been issuing subpoenas and following an investigatory trail there. that investigation has already, reportedly, been folded in to what robert mueller is doing at the fbi.
in addition to that flynn investigation, though, nbcews has reported that there is a separate federal investigation under way into trump campaign chair paul manafort. and i can tell you tonight that it is believed, but not confirmed, that that investigation, the manafort investigation, involves a second grand jury, separate and apart from the one convened in the mike flynn matter. so that manafort investigation is also now reportedly been folded in to what robert mueller is doing as special counsel. so if you think about that for a second, right? if you think about what he's doing in washington, what his agreement is and the other ongoing investigations involving u.s. attorneys offices, involving grand juries, involving subpoenas already issued and investigations already under way, those being put under his managerial purview if you think about that, if the special counsel ends up wanting to issue subpoenas or bring
criminal charges, it is possible that he could do that work, continue to work with either or both of those grand juries which are already convened and working on some aspect of this issue. there's also a possibility he could impanel a whole new grand jury. and that's not the kind of thing that's done in public. grand juries operate in secret. as the flynn and manafort cases show, the impaneling of a new grand jury and the grand jury getting to work in terms of reviewing work and issues subpoenas, that is the kind of thing impossible to keep secret forever. and that brings us to the last thing to know about this tonight. it's this guy. in "the washington post" tonight, he is described by a former solicitor general walter dillinger as, quote, the most brilliant and most knowledgeable federal criminal lawyer in america, period." wow. his name is michael dreeben.
and today national law journal confirms that michael dreeben is now part of the robert mueller investigation into the trump/russia affair and what now increasingly seems like the presidential obstruction of justice investigation that has arisen along with it. top federal criminal lawyer in america, period. gulp. buckle up. award winning interface. award winning design. award winning engine. the volvo xc90. the most awarded luxury suv of the century. visit your volvo dealer to take advantage of our midsommar sales event offer. visit your volvo dealer to take advantage this scarf all that's my left to rememb... sayonara.
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interest in fbi investigation into trump and russia. nigel farage is a far right, very anti-immigrant politician in the uk. in this country, he's best known for his unexpected appearances with donald trump. nigel farage popping up at a trump campaign rally in mississippi of all places. mississippi audience is like, who is this foreign guy? nigel farage showing up regularly at trump tower. he was one of the first foreign politicians to be there to congratulate donald trump immediately after the election. there's nigel farage again. same look on his face. sharing an intimate, delighted dinner with donald trump just after the inauguration. and then there was the time nigel farage was spotted at the embassy of ecuador in london. it's a famous embassy because that's where the wikileaks guy julian assange has lived for
years. that's him back there in the purple tie. that was march 9th, the same day julian assange and wikileaks gave a briefing about them dumping a trove. he was leaving the embassy and asked him what he was doing there that day. and nigel farage responded that he could not remember. i love this quote so much, i want to kiss it. quote, i love this. i can actually do it from memory. approached b buzzfeed news as he left to g into a car waiting around the corner, farage said he could not remember what he had been doing in the building. i don't know. was i just in a building? really? that may be the sort of thing that got fbi investigators working on the trump/russia probe interested in nigel farage
according to "the guardian." the guardian reported they are looking at him, quote, because of his relationships with individuals connections to both the trump campaign and julian assange. quote, one of the things the intelligence investigators have been looking at is points of contact and persons involved. if you triangulate russia, wikileaks, assange and trump associates, the person who comes up with the most hits is nigel farage. he's right in the middle of these relationships and turns up over and over again. there's a lot of attention being paid to him. for his part, nigel farage calls this hysterical nonsense. i describe nigel farage as a british far right anti-immigrant politician but i should tell you he's not technically a politician anymore. he actually resigned from the party that he once led in britain. the uk independence party. ukip. that's the party that stood for brexit, for getting britain out of the european union. that was its whole reason for
being. nigel farage resigned as the head of ukip less than two weeks after the brexit vote. after the successful brexit vote he pushed for his entire political life. he responded to that great success by quitting. and that was unusual. i should tell you, though in last night's bizarre and interesting national election in the united kingdom, ukip lost every single one of its seats. as of now, nigel farage's party, ukip's representation in parliament is zero. this follows the vote for brexit, which is what their reason for being was. more substantively, brexit itself is now in question, as is a lot else in british politics and european politics because of what just ended up being a political fiasco for the ruling conservative party. prime minister theresa may is holding on as prime minister but
by a thumbnail. the whole point was ostenseibly to get clarity and give her a mandate for britain moving forward and brexit leaving the european union. instead, her government is weaker and more divided than it was before by a large margin. she said if her party lost six seats she wouldn't be prime minister anymore. her party lost 12 seats and she's still trying to hold on. nobody seems to know what that country wants to ask for at the brexit negotiations that were supposed to start in less than two weeks. it's chaos. we know a little something about that. the second chaotic, unexpected turn the world on its ear national vote in a very short amount of time. is this the new normal for big country, big power politics now? should we expect more wild, unexpected swis that we have come to not expect in big, powerful countries? is this the new world? joining us now for the interview
is somebody i am lucky to be able to turn to to help understand big political moments, dan rather, now president of news and guts media. dan, wonderful to see you. >> thank you for having me. >> i want to talk to you about a few different things. let me just ask you about these election results in the uk. it was a surprise result. should we see this as a big global signal, something important about the kind of world we're in now? >> i certainly think we can read much into it. what you have is a pattern of angry voters doing surprising things at the polls. we had it with donald trump in this country. you had it in france with their election. germany had a very strong challenge to their leader. so what's happened in great britain, it's obvious that voters are angry. and now whether you can extrapolate trump was elected by angry voters in this country. the prime minister was almost
run out of office. i notice some in the british press are calling it a zombie prime minister. >> because she won't be able to hold on. >> not because she eats brains. >> it's clear in great britain it's a volatile and fluid situation. but if you were a leader of the democratic party in this country, i think you'd be thinking seriously about what happened in great britain because what the country voted to do was go -- they elected more leftist, if you will. left of center poticians. and if you were looking to the 2018 congressional elections in this country, can we tap into some anger about donald trump now? it might be a bridge too far, but i think not. and i think politicians in this country will be studying it for that reason. now the democratic party has a real problem if they go very far with this analysis. if they take from great britain saying, look, an angry public was willing to go more to the left of center, more bernie sanders, if you will.
so we democrats in 2020, should we pick a elizabeth warren or somebody a little more toward the middle? i think it will mix in. the second thing is, this is not good news for our own beloved united states of america. and here's why. it weakens the western alliance. a fluid, volatile situation in great britain with a prime minister just barely hanging on. some doubt whether she can hang on for very long. we'll have germany and france trying to get together to hold a center in great britain. france on the rise. germany, the most powerful country and most important country in europe now. britain at the moment. nothing is good news for the united states. it's very good news for the russians. >> dan rather, will you stay here for a moment? there's a follow-on question i want to ask crow about that in terms of the volatility and the hazy future for our own president. what that means for our role in the world. will you stay? >> absolutely. >> dan rather stays with us. we'll be right back.
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back with us now is the great dan rather who is the president of news and guts media. dan, thank you for stick with us. >> happy to. >> we were just talking about the instability in britain after their brig election. the possibility that prime minister theresa may may not be prime minister for long. that they may have to hold another election very soon. they had this referendum to brexit that was going to get them out of the european union.
europe has all this uncertainty. our closest ally has all this uncertainty and will be in a vulnerable position for a very long time. are we also in a volatile and weak position as a country because of the scandal that hangs over this president? is it a big enough scandal there's uncertainty about the future of this presidency and our political volatility as a country? >> first of all, i certainly think it's serious enough to be concerned about the future of this particular presidency. i think it's too great to say the very vitals of the country because after all, the institutions are performing pretty well in the country. the courts are performing well. parts of the congress seem to come -- pretty well. our system of checks and balances, including the press are very much a part of that, have finally taken some tracks. several mths ago, i and others were saying, are our
institutions going to hold? will the system of checks and balances hold? that's on the encouraging side. in terms of president trump, i use the phrase in regards to the british election. it's a volatile and fluid situation to say the least. we have now a real showdown, if you will, kind of a showdown in credibility between the president and who was in effect the top policeman in the country, the top cop in the country. now that's joined. and president trump -- he went into white house survivor mode. but to have a president in a survival mode is extremely hurtful because of how people overseas, particularly leaders of foreign countries, read that. now your question was, are we in a situation in real peril? i would say the trump presidency is in peril. and because it's in peril, we are in some danger ourselves because there's a lot that needs to be done in the country. but there's so much talk about
trump and comey and who is telling the truth and who isn't telling the truth. i think it's really important for americans to understand the big question and how this all started and how it really the direction it should go is what did the russians do because here you have a situation, the russians pulled off what i call a psychological pearl harbor. a surprise attack that was devaating to the competence of our whole system of elections and, therefore, our whole system of governmen it's one of the great psychological warfare victories in the history of -- >> and it's interesting because you can -- you can look at history, recent history and see them do very similar things to small countries and other countries in their geographical and ideological orbit. we could see them doing it to us. it was a shock and surprise to us because we think of ourselves as a country protected by our oceans but also we think of ourselves as, you know, the great power in the world.
the sole surviving superpower in the world. somebody who would never be susceptible to the tactics that would work against these smaller countries that russia has been influencing. >> and if they tried it, it wouldn't work against us. in our hubris, we were too confident, overconfident. the russians, if they ever tried it here it would never work. it worked to devastating if not catastrophically effect. and i call it a psychological pearl harbor. i want to keep the focus on, we need to get to the truth of what happens to the russians. this is how all this business with the fbi director, the investigations of president trump. now president trump today, he was desperate to change the narrative. comey yesterday put the -- one of the few days in the trump presidency, another person controlled the narrative. and he was masterful in weaving his own narrative. as he would in presentation to a jury. and president trump in effect said to himself, i've got to get out there tomorrow. no matter what it takes, and
i've got to reseize the naative, which he did today. most people tonight are not talking about comey. they are focusod what president trump did and department idn't . >> the best thing he said is i'm prepared to testify under oath. he didn't say when he was going to testify under oetath, but that's a headline. this business of being so coy about the tapes. listen, this is not normal. let's see it for what it is. if he has tapes, we need to have those tapes and have the tapes played. this business of saying, well, i'm going to dole out a little news today and i'll dole out a little -- >> in a small period of time, a short period of time you'll find out the answer. he can give the answer now and just won't. >> and the question is, why won't he give the answer now? >> dan rather is the president of news and guts media and a person i feel privileged to talk to every time you're here. >> thank you. much more ahead tonight.
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believes he was fired by the president because of his oversight of the russia investigation. under oath, he said the president fired him over the russia investigation. and that is a big deal. but the white house has now met that big deal testimony from james comey with their own big deal potentially problematic reaction. the president's personal lawyer yesterday came out before reporters and told them that james comey's sworn testimony was not truthful. he said james comey leaked information he should not have, although there were no allegations that there was any classified information involved here, and the only thing that james comey said he leaked was his own recollections, his own written recollections of a conversation. the president himself today called james comey a leaker and said the account mr. comey swore to under oath was not true. now the president's personal attorney has followed that up by saying that he plans on filing complaints against former fbi
director james comey. plans on filing complaints about him with the senate judiciary committee and the justice department. now i didn't go to law school. and i am not a lawyer. and i don't know exactly how that works. but i know that james comey isn't a senator on the judiciary committee, and i know he doesn't work for the justice department anymore. so why would you issue complaints about him to those entities to which james comey has no affiliation? what are they going to do if they find the complaints to be substantiated? chase him down and give him a whack? the white house response to james comey's testimony makes me wonder what exactly the white house, the president and his personal lawyer are getting at here and whether they might be making it worse for themselves. and i don't know whether that's true because i'm not a lawyer, but i do know the person to ask, and that's next. cause i get a sg bonus check every six
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when the president decided to line up some legal representation for himself on the russia issue, he was not able to persuade any big name d.c. lawyers or big name d.c. law firms to represent him. he did bring on a lawyer who had previously represented him in some business disputes. in fact, the lawyer he brought on is the lawyer who is known for threatening to sue people who cross donald trump in various ways. those threats from this particular lawyer in the past have included him threatening to sue "the new york times" for
reporting sexual harassment, sexual abuse allegations against then presidential candidate donald trump. president trump, then candidate trump, also threatened to sue the women making the allegations themselves. although those threats were made, the suits were never filed. now, now that he is representing the president in this trump russia matter and other things that may arise from it, now the president says he will not file a lawsuit, but he will file a complaint against the former director of the fbi james comey with the senate judiciary committee. for something related to director comey's testimony to the senate yesterday. the president's lawyer came out and said he was going to file that complaint with the senate judiciary committee. nbc news can report tonight that as of tonight, he may have made that threat, but they haven't actually filed the complaint. if they do, is it possible that
that could be the president's lawyer, the president's legal team, his defense strategy stepping in it and making things worse for themselves? joining us now is barbara mcquade. former u.s. attorney for the eastern district of michigan. thanks for being here. really appreciate your time. >> thanks, rachel. >> it's a narrow question but an interesting one. james comey has made these very serious allegations that the president tried to impede an ongoing fbi criminal investigation. the president is refuting that testimonand now his lawyer is threatening to file various complaintsgainst james comey. aside from the venue of the complaints which i think is itself an interesting question, is there a possibility that this could be seen somewhere down the road as the president and his legal team essentially harassing or trying to intimidate somebody who is likely to be a witness against the president in some future legal proceeding? >> well, it does seem like a
bullying tactic. it seems like a very hollow threat to me. i don't know that the senate judiciary committee or the justice department has any recourse against james comey in this situation. and i suppose you could suggest this some effort at witness intimidation, which is one of the classic ways that the obstruction of justice statute is charged. now it's been done so publicly and so clumsily that i doubt it would be charged by a lawyer in that way. demonstrating further bullying tactics. >> listening to james comey's testimony yesterday, a lot of us nonlawyers and citizens and journalists look agent this sort of thing see what james comey testified to yesterday. and it sounds us to like he is alleging obstruction of justice on the part of the president, the president trying to impede or stop that investigation. as a former u.s. attorney, that what you heard in terms of james comey's allegations yesterday? >> well, there are certainly some pieces that could lead to that conclusion. he mentioned at least twice that whetr thisas obstruction of justice is a matter for bob
mueller to look at it which sittings he thinks that bob mueller is looking at that. it also seems to me that james comey is helping him do his work. he is putting out the breadcrumbs he created for mueller in his written statement a chronology of all the things that happened. one of the first things a prosecutor does when investigating a case is put together a timeline so that you can see the sequence of events. you can sequin siding events. you can see that on the very same day that sally yates was over at the white house in the morning is the same day that trump invites comey over for dinner that night and asks him to pledge his loyalty. >> thank you for being here, barbara. >> appreciate it. thanks, rachel.
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