tv MSNBC Live With Alex Witt MSNBC June 17, 2017 10:00am-11:01am PDT
it is over, at least for now. the bill cosby sexual assault case ends after more than 50 hours of jury deliberations, and at this hour he is a free man. good day, everyone. i'm alex witt here at msnbc world headquarters in new york. it is 1:00 in the east, 10:00 a.m. out of the west and we begin with this breaking news from pennsylvania. the judge this morning declaring a mistrial in the bill cosby sexual assault case. the announcement came shortly after jurors began their sixth day of deliberations. cosby has repeatedly denied any sexual misconduct. here is defense team reaction. >> jurors of allegheny county for deliberating, putting over
52 hours into this. they couldn't come up with anything, and that shows that this d.a., this district attorney's office, should have never brought this case forward. >> ron allen will bring us d.a. reaction. but ron, overall it kind of felt like things were heading in this direction, right? >> reporter: it did, especially two days ago when the jury first said it was deadlocked after having deliberated 35 or 40 hours or so. they worked hard at it. to be honest with you, alex, even from the start of this case there were a lot of expectations it might end in a mistrial because the incident happened so long ago, back in 2004. it's basically a case of he said/she said. bill cosby's word against the word of the accuser, andrea constand. you have to remember that this trial was only about her allegations. we've all heard the public accusations by dozens of women against bill cosby over the past couple of years. none of that -- actually one,
only one other case was mentioned in this trial. afterwards, the prosecutors said that they were going to immediately begin to retry the case, to go forward again with this. here's more of what kevin steele, the d.a., had to say. >> despite the fact that the jury couldn't come to a verdict in this case, andrea constand and our prior bad acts witness got to face the defendant in court and got to tell what happened to them. too often these types of crimes, sexual assaults, do not get reported, especially cases where a drug has been used in a drug facilitated sexual assault, an intoxicant so the victim does not have a memory of what went on. so we hope that doing this and moving forward in this case
sends a strong message that victims of these type of crimes can come forward and can be heard. >> reporter: again, the prosecutor saying that he will try to bring bill cosby to justice again. the judge said that he expected that to happen, perhaps a new trial to begin as quickly as 120 days from now, although they have a year to file charges. cosby's team said that the charges shouldn't have been brought in the first place so they'll push back hard against this new trial. remember, this has been going on since december of 2015, about 18 months when cosby was first arrested. there's been a lot of maneuvering back and forth in court, the defense trying to get this case dismissed. today they have been successful, but you said early on, alex, he's a free man. not entirely, because these charges are still hanging over his head and the prosecutor is determined to put another jury together and to put another case together.
>> a point well taken. ron allen, thank you so much from norristown, pennsylvania. let's bring in some analysis. john burris, a criminal defense attorney known for several high-profile civil rights cases, including the rodney king civil lawsuit. wendy murphy, who's handled cases of child abuse and sex crimes and thomas measureau. john, i'll begin with you. surprise on your account that the judge declared a mistrial and do you think the timing of it was right? because there were a lot of opportunities as presented by the defense for that mistrial, but he kept saying, no, you guys have to get back in there and keep working on it. >> new york city the mistrial itself was not surprising. it was a little surprising that the judge had them continue to work as long as they did. given the high-profile nature of the case and the amount of money and time that was spent, it's understandable. certainly from the point of view of the defense, i understand
they were saying, look, they have had plenty of time to get this done. i don't think you want to badger a jury and make them make a decision when it sounds as if they were not able to decide. so from my point of view, it was good of the judge to let it happen, but i didn't -- was not surprised at all, given the testimony and the length of time that deliberations took place. >> i'm just curious, john, before i move to the other colleagues there, the fact that the judge said last night, you guys have to get back in there, let's continue deliberating. they came and had questions, they had testimony read back to them. do you think they all just slept on it and decided we just can't do anymore and came back this morning? it doesn't seem like they did any more deliberating today. >> i think they were exhausted. but certainly they probably tried to do what the judge said to do, but i think they felt the pressure of trying to reach a decision on this. at the end of the day, they worked really, really hard. and for a short evidence case, this was not a case that was extensive in terms of testimony. it really boiled down to maybe two witnesses, the andrea as
well as bill cosby's deposition testimony. that's all there really was to it. it should not have taken five days of deliberation. it only meant to me that they were working hard and concerned about the results. >> to your point, only six hours there of testimony there with regard to defense. so, thomas, what do you think was the most difficult aspect of the case to prove for the prosecution? anything to do with the fact that it's been 13 years since this incident? >> well, i think that certainly played a role, but the alleged victim had some problems with her testimony. as i understand it and as reported to me, she apparently told the police she had not had contact with him after the alleged incident and they found 72 phone calls. they also found evidence that she apparently had been in contact with him, went back to see him, went to a concert. if these things are true and she made misstatements to the police, that could have affected a lot of jurors in terms of her credibility. but also there's no forensic
evidence that was introduced tying mr. cosby to anything. and while they read transcripts from his deposition, which can arguably be interpreted as damaging, my understanding is that those trimanscripts, he al said everything was consensual. so i think the prosecutors thought that they brought in the testimony of other alleged victims, that it would win the day, and the judge limited them to just one. i think that's where they miscalculated. >> i made the mistake of saying six hours. there was only six minutes of testimony there for the defense. so to that point as well. wendy, i do want to play for you what a spokeswoman for camille cosby has recently told reporters in a prepared statement just about an hour or so ago. here it is. >> how do i describe the district attorney? heinously and exploitively ambitious. how do i describe the judge? overtly arrogant and collaborating with the district
attorney. how do i describe the counsels for the accusers? totally unethical. how do i describe many, but not all, general media? blatantly vicious entities that continually disseminated intentional omissions of truths for the primary purpose of greedally selling sensationalism at the expense of a human life. historically people have challenged injustices. i am grateful to any of the jurors who tenaciously fought to review the evidence, which is the rightful way to make a sound decision. ultimately, that is a manifestation of justice based on facts, not lies. as a very special friend once stated, truth can be subdued but not destroyed. >> wendy, categorize this reaction and what you make of her saying the prosecutor and the judge were in cahoots, that they were trying to convict her husband? >> i'm almost speechless because i mean the guy won a case after
allegations of, i think, 60 women have come forward and described him as a sexual predator. the thing you do after you win a case like this, and it is a win to have a hung jury. it's as good as an acquittal at least for now, you come out, you are contrite, you shut up, you go home, you have a dinner party and you celebrate how lucky you are that the law is as bad as it is in pennsylvania. you don't condemn the judge when you win. you don't slam the prosecutor when you win. and i think part of the problem is, now this kind of rhetoric is going to increase the chances that the prosecutor is not only going to bring charges again but going to try really hard to win next time. here's the problem i see, alex. this case was not about andrea's credibility. she was perfectly credible. for the most part cosby and she agreed about what happened. so it wasn't that she made mistakes or didn't tell the truth about contact. the only issue was about consent. under pennsylvania law it's
really hard to win these cases for a number of reasons. to win a drugging charge, you have to show the victim was drugged without her knowledge. in most states you don't have to show without her knowledge, it's enough that a victim becomes incapacitated so she can't make a voluntary decision about having sex. that's a terrible thing about pennsylvania law, and lawmakers there should be ashamed of themselves and they should fix the law tomorrow. one of the other charges on incapacitation requires that the victim be asleep or unconscious. are you kidding me? how does an asleep or unconscious woman testify about what happened to her body? i mean that's a no-brainer to rip that one out of the books. she may well have been raped by him while unconscious but there was no evidence because she was unconscious. so these are really big problems with the law in pennsylvania. and if i were in charge of all of the victims, if i could give them any advice, i'd say don't go back to court in pennsylvania. go to one of the other jurisdictions, michigan, new jersey. cases can still be brought there because either the statute of
limitations hasn't run or the clock stopped ticking because he hasn't been a regular resident there, and there's plenty of time left and those laws in those jurisdictions are much better for victims. forget pennsylvania. there will never be a victory against bill cosby in pennsylvania ever because of the law, not the victim's credibility, the law. >> so, wendy, will they try to move this trial? is there a means to do that? >> well, yeah. but it's a political question, right? so women now should be rising up. they should be working together across racial lines, across ethnic lines, across all lines. women and people who care about violence against women should be rising up working together protesting in those other jurisdictions like new jersey, like michigan, demanding that the prosecutors there bring charges. and remember, the prosecutor in pennsylvania lost his job because he didn't bring charges back in 2005.
and the new prosecutor who did bring charges won, because he promised justice for the victims. that's a wonderful thing to run on, the platforms of justice for victims. that's a politically resonant, you know, statement to make these days. go to those other jurisdictions, tell those prosecutors if they want to keep their jobs they have got to bring charges, and say things like we heard from paul ryan the other day when the poor congressman was shot. a sexual assault against one woman is a sexual assault against all women. that's the message of this case. women rising up to make clear that this is an offense against all women as a class. >> look, wenldsdy, i'm not goino disagree with you but i'll say a very thin case in some ways because andrea went to see him after the fact, stayed in communication with him. >> so what? >> her mother took phone calls. >> so what? >> you know, i have to tell you -- >> that doesn't disprove rape.
>> john. john, go ahead. >> wendy, i appreciate your comments and we've been through this before, but you have to look at the facts of every case. this is a case where she in fact did have a continual relationship with him, she did make statements that were contradictory, she did do things that any juror might say, can we really believe her? and you can go to any yuf jurisdictions all you want. at the end of the day it's the facts of those individual cases that are important and that's the trouble, because credibility becomes -- in this particular case -- >> cosby admitted drugging her, john. cosby admitted drugging her and raping her. he admitted it. >> look, i'm not defending bill cosby. i'm saying that the evidence presented in this case raised real questions about reasonable doubt. and that's -- >> no, it did not. the law does. >> that's what you said. wendy, that's what you're saying. >> the law is terrible here, john. >> thomas -- thomas, i want to pick up on camille cosby's comment accusing the judge of
collaborating with the d.a. the judge allowed only one other cosby accuser to testify in that case. there were dozens of accusers from many years. one was a gloria allred client. she cited that as an issue saying more should have been allowed to testify. what do you think? >> well, apparently the judge also gave the prosecution a real gift. a witness came forward and said she roomed at temple university with ms. constand and she was ready to contradict some of ms. constand's statements and apparently it was a big win for the prosecution that the defense couldn't call that witness. if that witness is credible and if that witness gets on the stand and with stands cross examination, the case might be over in a retrial. remember the famous menendez case in los angeles years ago. two sons accused of murdering their parents, very sensational case. the first jury hung and in the retrial, the judge changed all the rulings that favored the defense. this judge could change some rulings before a retrial and who
knows who he's going to help. >> well, you know -- >> john, what would he do? allow mere accusers to testify? >> yeah, he could. he could allow more accusers to testify. i think when you do that, you raise the real question of undue prejudice in a case because then an appellate court could say, look, you really convicted this person based upon the fact there are all these other events when point of fact is the evidence in the case he's accused of doesn't necessarily prove it because of the credibility of the witness. so there's danger on both sides. you can allow it in, more witnesses, but the more you allow in, the more danger you raise in terms of undue prejudice and you ultimately can cause a mistrial and a reversal. >> but the most -- the most important exception to that rule is when there is a pattern -- >> of course, of course. >> -- of the same kind of misconduct. this guy has way more than a pattern. he's got like a tornado of the same drugging, raping. that's when you let it in because you don't want the jury to think he doesn't have a
pattern. you want to let the jury come up with an unjust acquittal. you don't want an unjust acquittal. >> you know, in the michael jackson trial, the prosecution was allowed to bring in evidence that five other young men were abused and i argued in my closing argument that that was a sign of weakness. the prosecution knew they didn't have a strong case, so they brought in these other people who were not part of the charged conduct to basically try and sway the jury. frankly, my arguments worked. he was acquitted on every single count. >> to that end, you bring up the celebrity nature, having mentioned michael jackson. all three of you are familiar with celebrity and very high-profile cases. how much did that play into this case? bill cosby to many is still dr. cliff huxtable, much-beloved figure to people. john, i'll let you go at that first. >> i think that's important. i haven't been involved with a celebrity person before. it is extraordinarily difficult. the fact that he did not testify was to his advantage because you don't want celebrities to lie. on the other hand, this is a little bit different because the publicity he has received is so
broad and so negative that that also could be hurtful to him as well. but i think on balance, people want to give a celebrity like him the benefit of the doubt and, therefore, the prosecution has to overcome the celebrity status in a case of this kind. >> bill cosby is a lot of things, but first and foremost, he's wealthy. secondly, he's a celebrity. third or fourth, he's black. so let's be clear. he is a man of great privilege. and he happens to be a privileged man who is black, but it's irrelevant in a case like this because wealth and celebrity trump everything else. that's part of why he won, there's no doubt about it. >> your thoughts, thomas? >> when prosecutors lose, they always blame celebrity. i think it's an overrated concept. in most criminal cases where celebrities are charged, they are convicted, either by way of plea bargain or conviction. they pick -- when prosecutors lose, get their butts kicked, they start looking at celebrity
and trying to say that the jury was blinded by celebrity. i think it's overrated and i think it's ridiculous. >> i want to ask all three of you before i let you go, with the prospect of a retrial here, what is the likelihood, give me a percentage, that bill cosby will be convicted the next go-around. john? >> not likely. >> wendy? >> zero. >> thomas? >> weak case, not likely. >> okay. you heard it here. guys, thank you so much. appreciate all your insights so much. appreciate it. >> thank you. >> thank you. special counsel mueller hiring more lawyers into the russia probe. what can we learn from who he's hiring?
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and also investigated pete rose for major league baseball. this new hire coming just hours after president trump appeared to lash out at deputy attorney general rod rosenstein on twitter. also new today, we're learning more about president trump's business empire. his most recent financial disclosure forms show that he made at least $594 million and owes at least $315 million, $130 of which to deutsche bank alone. the report was released by the u.s. office of government ethics and governors january 2016 through april 15 of this year. joining me now, denny heck of washington, a member of the intelligence and financial services committee. and welcome back to the broadcast, good to see you again, sir. thank you for joining us. >> you bet ya, alex. good to see you. >> let's talk about deputy attorney general rod rosenstein and he's now telling a colleague he may have to recuse himself. how concerned are you that the president will just outright fire him, especially after that tweet we saw yesterday morning? >> so i think if the president
takes too many more actions here, he's on the precipice of, well, prompting a constitutional crisis. if he fires either mr. rosenstein or mr. mueller, as was hinted or reported in some sources, then i think the reaction of the congress will be swift and certain and it will be to do what we should have done in the first place, which is create an independent commission to investigate all of this. take it out of the political hands of either there or the two committees in the congress that sometimes are having difficulties getting progress. >> and to that end, i'm curious your understanding of robert mueller hiring more investigators and what is it that some are suggesting he's hiring lawyers who are democrats and even one who donated to the clinton campaign. what are you hearing on that, and could that be a point of complaint for the white house? >> so i have an enormous amount of confidence in bob mueller. this is a man who volunteered to serve his country as a u.s. marine during the vietnam war. he won the purple heart, he won
the bronze star and went on to have an incredibly distinguished career as a law enforcement officer, including as director of the federal bureau of investigation. so if we're tallying credibility points, my money is on bob mueller. he's going to do this in the right way, and the american public can have an awful lot of confidence in his work product. >> is there anything that you can tell us, sir, about president trump's personal lawyer, michael cohen, who's agreed to testify in september before your committee? >> no, we're a little bit focused on a step at a time, alex. our next step is next wednesday to have jeh johnson in for an open public hearing. he was the director of the department of homeland security. mostly we'll be talking about the infrastructure of elections, networks throughout the country and what the russians attempted but evidently failed to do in the last election cycle in that regard. we also have agreed to a witness list and are beginning our work in earnest in the house permanent select committee on intelligence. >> but very quickly, having
secured his testimony, michael cohen's i'm speaking of, how much light do you expect to him to shed on russia's meddling considering his ties to trump? >> tbd. the fact of the matter is you never know what these people will say until they come before you and you have the opportunity to ask questions. sometimes there are no surprises, sometimes it's really boring, and sometimes, frankly, it knocks your socks off. exhibit a, march 20, director jim comey coming in and announcing that the fbi was in fact investigating the circumstance. as we heard or read reported this week, in all likelihood the president is being investigated. i can neither confirm nor deny that, but that was the report. >> you mentioned jeh johnson, the fact that he's coming back to testify on wednesday before your committee. all of this comes after he had closed door meetings with committee leaders. what more do we need to know about russia meddling in the election that you believe secretary johnson will be able to shed light on?
>> i'm especially concerned about, again, the election's infrastructure, the i.t. infrastructure. there's just so much mischief that can be created. we don't believe it was in the last election but we believe it was attempted. let me give you an example. if they are able -- they cannot change the vote tally. that's not how the system works. they can't go in and say heck won, he didn't. even though the reverse is true. what they can do is mess with the voter registration rolls i what if they changed one letter in each name in a select and strategically selected precincts so when the person showed up to vote they were denied access. there's an infinite amount of mischief that can be concerned about it. i hope jeh johnson can give us some assurance. back in january he added election's i.t. infrastructure to the critical infrastructure of this nation such that they would be available for increased attention and technical resource
and financial assistance to make sure that we can beef them up. >> i'm curious about this next bit here, because i know that you're among nearly 200 democrats who are suing the president because you believe, all of you believe that he has violated the constitution's emoluments clause bicy acceptin foreign payments and gifts. the financial disclosure form released by the office of government ethics last night, he made at least $594 million over 15 months between last january and this past april. he owes, you know, roughly more than half of that. what are your thoughts on that? >> well, the devil is in the details and i haven't seen them, alex. right now i've got a bigger worry that i don't think anybody is talking about, and that is whether the president has already issued a blanket pardon for everybody involved in this entire sore ddid affair. he isn't even legally required to disclose that he's done it.
i keep hoping somebody will ask that question of mr. spicer or somebody else at the appropriate time. >> all right. well, i will get that to my colleagues with nbc news and msnbc. in the meantime, congressman denny heck, always good to see you. thank you. >> thank you, alex. reaction from bill cosby's wife, camille, to the mistrial that was just declared in his sexual assault case. you don't let anything
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civil lawsuit against mr. cosby. >> let's bring back our legal experts. criminal defense attorney ted williams and katie phang. katie, where does all this leave bill cosby right now, legally speaking? >> well, we've heard from the court within the next four months there should be the retrial as declared by the district attorney in this case of bill cosby. now, did bill cosby win a small battle or skirmish? yeah. but did he win the war? that's left to be seen. the more time that goes by, the more potential to taint another jury pool to may have to be seated to determine the guilt or innocence of bill cosby. if i'm bill cosby's defense team, i'm going to maybe say i won this one for now. but in the bigger picture, the court of public opinion has already convicted bill cosby of being a criminally letcherous
old man. >> ted, why did the jury struggle so much and do you agree with a cosby spokesman that has declared cosby's power is back? >> let me take the latter. absolutely not, i do not agree cosby's power is back. as katie has said, he's won a skirmish here, but there are many other battles that have to be fought before he can come to that conclusion. again, the jury looked at credibility. the one thing the prosecutors did, they put on bill cosby on the stand without bill cosby ever having to take the stand. what do i mean by that? there was a transcribed testimony bill cosby had given in a deposition where he admitted that he gave quaaludes to women to have sex. but what he did not admit was that he had done that with andrea constand. and i think that made the difference, alex.
>> how about celebrity, katie? how much of that factored into the way the jurors went? >> i think that contributed to the delay. i think it contributed to your 52-plus hours of deliberations. why? because he's bill cosby. for the longest time we grew up thinking he was the bill cosby from "the cosby show." myself included, looked at him, thought he was a role model. but the reality is you look at a 79-year-old man. he's almost completely blind now. he looks pretty busted up. and you look at him and there has to be some sympathy factor there, combined with the fact you may stop yourself as a juror and say did this guy really do it? fundamentally, what do we know? 50 to 60 women have come forward. as time goes by, many more accusers could come forward. if you could be a member of a potential cosby jury and set that aside, then i applaud you because that's very difficult to ignore when you're trying to
determine someone's guilt or innocence. >> i want to play for you what a spokesperson for camille cosby told reporters in a prepared statement. here it is. >> how do i describe the district attorney? heinously and exploitively ambitious. how do i describe the judge? overtly arrogant and collaborating with the district attorney. how do i describe the counsels for the accusers? totally unethical. >> so to both of you, and i'll go to you first, katy, how unusual is this time of reaction and what do you make of her saying the prosecutor and the judge were in cahoots and trying to convict her husband? >> if they were in cahoots, they did a really poor job because clearly they couldn't carry the day and get a conviction for bill cosby. i find camille cosby's statements to be completely inflammatory and ridiculous. number one, she showed up for two minutes maybe of a six-day trial. she wasn't there during any of the deliberations. so much support for your husband. frankly, who are you to sit there and make these accusations? i fine it to be interesting, she
didn't make them herself. she had a spokesperson make them for her. if you're so righteously indignant, you better stand up, stand by your man and make those statements on his behalf. you're hiding behind a spokesperson, you're hiding behind words and i have a serious problem of you making accusations like that. >> ted, take everything katie has just said in answer to my question and tell me if you think this is going to have any sort of influence on new jurors in the retrial. >> it could very well have influence on new jurors. try to remember the prosecution in this case did not have any physical evidence, so they were hoping to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt by virtue of constand and their very first witness. their first witness was one that the judge had allowed to come in and testify about the fact that she had been abused. but what you may find is that the judge may allow more women to come forward in a retrial
here, and that could hurt bill cosby in a retrial. >> all right, ted williams and katie phang. thank you guys so much. appreciate that. does president trump himself bear any responsibility for this week's shooting in virginia? we've got a closer look at that coming up. for mom" per roll more "doing chores for dad" per roll more "earning something you love" per roll bounty is more absorbent, so the roll can last 50% longer... ...than the leading ordinary brand. so you get more "life" per roll. bounty, the quicker picker upper and now try bounty with new despicable me 3 prints. in theaters june 30. "how to win at business." step one: point decisively with the arm of your glasses. abracadabra. the stage is yours. step two: choose la quinta. the only hotel where you can redeem loyalty points for a free night-instantly
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emerson, a veteran of three democratic administrations. with a welcome to you both, we'll go ladies first with you here, elise. he's been pushing this witch hunt angle for some time. does anyone believe it? >> well, i think that donald trump certainly believes that he is the source -- is the target of a huge witch hunt. and, you know, the comparisons to the salem witch trials are a little bit funny in comparison, but he certainly seems to be on edge about this investigation. you can just tell from -- if you're judging by his twitter account, which really is the main purveyor of his thoughts and his general direction of the presidency. everything comes from his twitter account and he has just been in overdrive all week, tweeting about this investigation, the unfairness of it, and also going back to hillary clinton. and i find it staggering that he is still talking about his vanquished competitor six months after he's been in the oval office. >> you kind of think that could be let go by this point. that said, peter, legally
speaking what has the president opened himself up to by tweeting this claim. and let's make the point there is no evidence at this point of russia collusion here. >> and it's much bigger than russia at this point. i think it's much more of a psychological story. i see a weakening and a fatigue setting in with the president, both mentally and physically. but i think ultimately it's going to be a financial story and with bob mueller certainly going after the tax returns as quickly as he possibly can, this is going spiral downward. i'm surprised to find myself agreeing with donald trump. there is a conspiracy, he's right about that. there's a conspiracy of the demons in his head as well as our own constitution and the laws of this country that are going to actually find a way to get to the truth, to the facts. >> elise, you have got to imagine that the staff around the president are just losing their minds. i mean they say one thing, he publicly contradicts it. how long can that be sustained? aren't people going to start turning on him or just leaving? >> alex, i think it's completely unsustainable and really it's just the question of whether
staffers want to cling to their position close to power, whether they feel that they can still make a difference by being on the inside, or if they just think that it gets to the point where it's beyond the point of repair. and you also look at the question of what, as this investigation continues, and even staff who aren't necessarily involved with anything related to the russia probe, they're going to have to lawyer up and pay for expensive legal fees when they're on a small white house salary. so there are a lot of considerations here. ethical and just pragmatic for these staffers in the days going forward. >> peter, this witch hunt tweet, do you think it's a preview, do you think the president will perhaps fire rod rosenstein? and if he does, then what? >> i think he's going to try to fire mueller. if i were mueller, i'd like to be fired for two reasons. one, history. i'd be back to the watergate, they're icons now in american histor history, and second, i'd be done
with all of this. either way bob mueller wins. if the president goes back further down the chain of command, of course he's going to try to find someone, as nixon did with robert bork, to probably do his deeds. i think as elise said the staff should really be looking at an intervention. i think the president needs a tweeter. a tweet intervention and probably should start looking at a 12-step program because obviously powerless over tweeting and his life has now become the subject of a special counsel investigation because of his tweets. >> and she's the one who said i wish he'd stop tweeting when asked by matt lauer and savannah guthrie once during the campaign. what's the one thing you wish he'd change? stop tweeting! elise, you have critics who suggest that the president is partly responsible for wednesday's shooting, in that he has fostered this kind of aggressive, hyperpartisan national tone. what do you think of that? >> i think that's absolutely disgusting and wrong. you cannot accord these mass
shooters who are in the mindset where they kill innocents like that. i don't think that it can directly be subscribed to one person's deeds, although i do think this a toxic political culture right now and the rancor and the anger that is being encouraged by so many certainly has -- it's definitely gotten to a terrible, terrible point. but i think it's just as wrong to blame president trump for the shooting as it was to blame sarah palin for the horrible shooting of gabby giffords. >> and your thoughts on that, peter, same question? >> i used to be a member of the nra. when i was a kid, i took their course, which at the time was about gun safety and conservation, how to protect the lands. and now i see an nra that's so powerful that its only excuse is the second amendment, which actually wasn't really intended to arm all the citizens, it was for a militia. consequently, as elise said, we're in a toxic environment where it almost gives people permission to take action when they hear voices in their head that they think the only solution is a bullet.
it's a very dangerous time we're in. >> indeed. elise jordan, peter emerson, guys, thank you so much both of you, appreciate it. >> thank you. well, coming up, in the wake of this week's congressional baseball shooting, i'll ask a republican congresswoman if the president does bear any responsibility for the increased tension in our political rhetoric. dynamic performance, so you can own the road. track-tuned handling, so you can conquer corners. aggressive-styling, so you can break away from everyone else. experience the exhilaration of the bold lexus is. experience amazing. ♪ everything your family touches sticks with them. make sure the germs they bring home don't stick around. use clorox disinfecting products. because no one kills germs better than clorox.
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i would argue that the president is partially, not in any way totally, but partially to blame for demons that have been unleashed. back home, some of these people have been frankly weird and different. i said what is going on? they will say look, if the guy at the top would say anything to anybody at any time, why can't i? >> that is republican mark sanford reacting thursday to the shooting at a congressional baseball practice which injured five people. let's bring in martha mcsalley, republican of arizona and retired air force colonel. how do you respond to your colleague there? >> well, i just want your viewers to know i come from
arizona's -- southern arizona and in 2011 we had the assassination attempt on gabby giffords. six people dead. gabe zimmerman was the first congressional staffer killed in the line of duty. we have been through this in our community. just yesterday an individual was arraigned on three counts of threatening to kill me. the people that are responsible for the acts of violence are the assailants but when i was a colonel in the military, as a commander we used to talk about when dealing with other issues like sexual assault, you have the perpetrator, the inner circle, facilitators and bystanders. the rest of us, whether we are public officials, the president, members of congress, elected officials up and down, but everybody in our country and community need to look within our hearts and make sure we are not being facilitators or bystanders in creating an environment where it is so hot that perhaps the investigation is ongoing, but perhaps unstable individuals will be unleashed to violence in this environment.
so we each need to do our part to rachet this down and find where we can unify together and be civil about our disagreements. >> you referenced a 58-year-old man there. he is the man from whom you have received death threats and the seat you hold now previously belonged to gabby giffords, obviously shot by a constituent in january of 2011. can you or any lawmaker continue to do your job effectively when you are being targeted? how does that change the way you operate, the threat of violence? >> absolutely. we have to show that we are not going to live in fear and we are not going to stop engaging in our community and listening to people so that we can represent them. this is like a foundation of representative government. we have to be out there. we don't want to take reckless risks, of course. we have to take precautions. we work with the capitol police, we work with our state and local law enforcement. we deal with individual threats like you saw, this man was arrested very swiftly once we
had the threat. but the worst thing we can do is put ourselves in a bunker and say we can't engage. i flew combat missions in at-10 wart hog in the military and i knew there were threats out there but i was still engaged in my mission. my job now is to represent and be in our community and show that we are not going to live in fear. we have to again be aware of the risks and take adequate precautions, especially for my staff, who i am still very concerned about, but we have fwot got to stain gajy engaged. that would be an awful outcome if people are unable to get engagement and discourse with those who represent them. >> i have incredible admiration for your previous service and that which you are doing right now, but you were recently recorded in a private talk, you admitted the president's tweeting are hurting you, other republicans who are up for re-election. how do you handle that? how do you stick with a president from your party while also trying to protect your job? >> well, i represent a very
diverse district. what i do is i listen to my district and continue to be an independent voice in washington, d.c. in my job and in a co-equal branch of the government. just because we are in the same party doesn't mean we are lined up doing everything in sync. it's appropriate to represent my district, to introduce legislation and move things through the legislative process that are the priorities of my district. i have shown that i have done that in the last two and a half years and i'm going to continue to do that. where there's areas of disagreement and it comes before legislation and other areas, i will certainly engage and have my voice heard. so i'm responsible again for myself and my job as a legislator representing my district. i'm going to keep doing what i'm doing. the best thing you can do is do a good job and be given the opportunity to continue to serve. >> i will ask you quickly to answer this based on your deployment part of the time during your three decades of service in afghanistan. what do you think of the reported plan to send another 4,000 troops there, especially in light of this morning's incident, we had several american soldiers wounded in an
apparent shooting near the base. >> well, i think these artificial caps and these numbers should not be the way to approach any of these issues. over in afghanistan as a member of congress in 2015 and 2016, what happens is we are at 8400 right now but have like 25,000 contractors. we have members of the military that are over there tdy, temporary duty. you don't go temporary duty to helmand province. in order to stay under the cap but still do the mission. look, we have got national security interests there and we have to identify what they are and make sure the commanders have the tools they need to do the mission. >> unfortunately, i'm out of time. that does it for me. next up, the search for the seven u.s. sailors missing after their destroyer collided with a merchant ship. i'm alex witt. see you tomorrow 9:00 eastern. r had 'em quite like this. at red lobster's lobster & shrimp summerfest, the lobster and shrimp you love are teaming up in so many new ways.
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