tv The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell MSNBC June 17, 2017 4:00pm-5:01pm PDT
this. an arrow pointing in an historic direction. it's called the saturday night massacre. as long as trump longs to knock off the guy coming at him, it's only a matter of time befor trp's fuse reaches the bomb. and one thing we've learned is that donald trump has a very short fuse. and that's "hardball" for now. "the rachel maddow show" starts right now. i'm richard lui at world headquarters in new york city. we'll go to the rachel maddow show in just a few minutes. first the major news we've been following all day on msnbc. the mistrial for bill cosby. after 52 hours of deliberations, the jury coming back deadlocked on all counts. cosby was charged with three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault. he and his team have repeatedly denied these and all allegations of sexual misconduct. nbc's ron allen has been covering the trial and, ron, the jurors just getting back to pittsburgh within the last couple of hours. what are you watching right now?
>> well, yes, they arrived in pittsburgh by bus. they'd been sequestered for two weeks. after that marathon and intense 52-hour period of deliberation. for several days of that, they had already announced they were deadlocked. they kept pressing on trying to come to a decision. a unanimous decision. many court observers thought what was happening was there was a majorities of jurors pushing for a conviction and they couldn't convince a minority. a hole out or two or three or four to go along with them to get past that notion of beyond a reasonable doubt. so that's where we are. hopefully some day we'll hear more from them. the judge asked the jurors, ordered them actually, not to talk about the deliberations, but they are allowed to talk about their thoughts about the case more generally. so that's where we are with that. here it's as if the trial ended and then begin right again. the prosecution saying they are going to retry bill cosby.
a process that could get started in as soon as 120 days. that to just formonths from now. after this exhaustive process. but the d.a. is determined to press this case forward and find justice for andrea constand. and by way of that, for many of the other women who have publicly accused cosby of misconduct, allegations he has denied. richard? >> nbc's ron allen live for us there in norristown. thank you. joining us now via phone, deborah turkheimer from northwestern law. the question is mistrial. was it your sense when you were watching, again, the defense that they wanted this? that they were pushing for a mistrial? >> conventional wisdom is certainly that a mistrial is a victory for the defendant. in a case like this, particularly where the evidence seems so strong for the state and where it seems the prosecution does have a very good chance of a conviction.
it's understandable this would be perceived as a victory for bill cosby. on the other hand, of course, the district attorney announced very quickly that he would be retrying the case. and so i think it's probably hard for bill cosby to feel much relief right now with the knowledge that this is going to be happening once again. >> when you were watching the arguments being made, was there any sense the arguments being made by the defendant's representation, they were focusing on any of the specific jurors? one of them at least in this case causing what was decided to be a mistrial by the judge? >> i don't think so. i think the arguments were fairly predictable in that the credibility of andrea constand was key to a conviction and for the defense to prevail or even to hang the jury as it did. one or more jurors would have to essentially doubt that she was
being truthful. this was an argument that had general appeal, whether it would prevail or not would have been anyone's guess and at least manage to swing one juror, maybe more. >> we've seen the second availability for cosby's team. they explained why they did not put cosby on the stand. would not have been good because of obviously the cross. there's also the arrival of the jurors in pittsburgh. if you were to have the opportunity to ask a question, what would be that of the jurors? >> well, i think it would be a very generally framed question. you know, can you tell us why you weren't able to convict? and we would learn from that how many jurors were holdouts, so to speak. we'd learn whether this was an evenly divided jury or maybe one individual who wasn't convinced beyond a reasonable doubt and also learn what precisely made them doubt andrea constand's credibility. what was it about her testimony
or about this case that gave them doubt that they felt was reasonable. >> 30 seconds here. your thought on the retrial? it has been said that the likelihood of success for the prosecution might go up during a retrial. >> i think it depends on how many of the jurors in this case remained unconvinced. if you are the prosecution and hear there was one holdout, you're obviously going to be more optimistic than if you hear this was a more evenly divided jury. >> deborah turkheimer, thank you for your time today. this again on the news we've been watching today. just this morning a mistrial. the judge in the bill cosby suit calling it a mistrial. the jurors just arriving in pittsburgh. we'll continue to follow that story. for now we'll rejoin "the rachel maddow show" which is already in progress.
>> bill clinton got there in 1964. graduated in 1968. and one of the stories about bill clinton's college career ends up being sort of relevant. legend has it some time during his early college years at georgetown when he was a young man, maybe when he was 19, maybe when he was a freshman, young bill clinton went to a party in massachusetts that was a beach party. and political legends has it that at that beach party he was swimming in the ocean, and he basically got grabbed by a rip tide and started to get pulled out to sea. and when that happened, another young man, another 19-year-old man, a harvard student came to his rescue. the man who came to his rescue in that near drowning story was
a man named fife symington. he was a harvard student and he also went on to be a famous politician in his own right. he was a republican and ended up becoming governor of arizona. bill clinton was a democrat who became governor of arkansas and president of the united states. i've heard this story many times. i always suspected that the 1960s beach party bill clinton rescue story might be wholly or at least in part apocryphal. but i heard it a million times. it's one of the things people talked about a lot years later in 2001 at the end of bill clinton's time in office when he offered, surprise, a presidential pardon to fife symington, the guy who saved him all those decades earlier. in 1997, fife symington was convicted of seven felonies
related to his business life as a real estate developer. he was charged with a raft of corruption charges. he was ultimately convicted of filing false financial statements. basically he was convicted of bank fraud. ultimately an appeals court would overturn his convictions. and later in 2001, he would get a presidential pardon from bad swimmer bill clinton. but when that case was brought, when those convictions happened, that was a big, traumatic legal case in the country broadly but specifically for fife symington. he was a popular figure in republican politics. people were looking at him as potential presidential timber. it ultimately ended his political career. his lawyer, as he went through that trauma and those convictions, was a guy named john dowd. john dowd also represented arizona senator john mccain. in the keating five scandal. john mccain called his own
involvement in that corruption scandal the worst mistake of my life. john mccain politically survived that scandal. he ultimately didn't get criminally charged or thrown out of congress for his involvement in it. but it was bad for john mccain. the ethics committee in the senate ripped him for his involvement in that scandal and ripped him for hisoo judgment. they basically said they didn't go after him further for some of his financial entanglements was because mccain was in the house at the time he did that and the senate ethics committee didn't feel they had jurisdiction over him at the time when he wes just a member of the house of representatives, not the senate. john mccain survived the keating five scandal but by the skin of his teeth. and his lawyer in that matter was the fife symington guy, john dowd. john dowd is also famous for this case from 2011. this is a case that went very badly. i will read you the lead sentence from the "new york times" report.
the day the ruling came down. quote, the fallen hedge fund billionaire raj rajaratnam received the longest prison sentence ever for insider trading on thursday. that fallen hedge fund billionaire, his lawyer when he got the longest prison sentence ever for insider trading, his lawyer was john dowd. john mccain, fife symington, john dowd, longest insider trading prison sentence ever. and that same lawyer, john dowd, is now going to be donald trump's new lawyer. president trump had reportedly had a hard time finding name-brand d.c. lawyers and d.c. law firms to represent him in the ongoing investigations and the question of whether or not his campaign helped in the russn attack. those investigations also reportedly expanded to include
potential obstruction justice by the president himself. and maybe by other people in his administration. that resistances from big d.c. lawyers and big d.c. law firms, him calling them looking for representation and firm after firm telling him no, that has meant the president's legal team as he has assembled his legal team for these scandals has been a little unorthodox for someone facing scandals as serious as this president is facing. the first lawyer he signed up famously was marc kasowitz. he's a lawyer that has done things like real estate law and divorce law for the president in the past. but he has never done anything like any of the washington legal trouble that the president finds himself in now. in addition to marc kasowitz, we also have indirect notice that the president signed up a notable litigator from the religious right, a guy who started off representing
televangelists and displaying the ten commandments and stuff like that. he's a very good lawyer but known for a very specific kind of law. we got indirect notice the president had also signed up jay sekulow. when he started appearing on tv shows defending the president and speaking for him as one of his private lawyers, that's the way we found out he got that job. to that unlikely presidential legal team, the president today added john dowd, who at least -- at least he has been involved in high-profile political scandals in the past. he's well regarded in his field, even though his clients didn't come out all that well at all. this team of lawyers that the president is putting together to defend him in his various scandals, this is a team that the president will end up paying for himself, or at least we the taxpayers won't end up paying for those lawyers.
these are private lawyers who are totally separate and apart from the official white house counsel whose salary we do pay. i imagine that the matter of paying for his private lawyers is like the least coerning element of all of this for president trump, if only because he is so personally wealthy. we have a reminder about the extent of his personal wealth today when the white house released new financial disclosure forms for the president himself. we'll be talking about those a little bit more later on in this hour. but i have to tell you, as we got that new evidence of the president's wealth and the new news about the president adding to his legal team, we also in the past 24 hours got news that another senior member of the administration, someone who is not wealthy at all, has also just hired himself a top dollar and very well-regarded lawyer to represent him in these ongoing scandals.
and right now, as we speak, vice president mike pence who just hired that new, expensive lawyer, he's back home in indiana tonight. and he's at the marriott hotel in downtown indianapolis because he's holding a fundraiser there. mike pence tonight is not holding this fund-raiser for the republican party or for any of the subsidiary elements of the republican party like its senate campaign fund or house campaign fund. he's not holding a fund-raiser for that republican candidate in next week's congressional election in georgia. no, it's interesting. tonight vice president mike pence is holding that fund-raiser in indianapolis for his own political action committee, his own pac. never before in the history of a country has a vice president set up and operated his own political action committee while still serving as vice president and not technically running for anything. the people attending mik pence's fund-raiser for his pac in indianapolis paid a lot of money to go to it.
anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000. to attend something they're calling the leadership committee roundtable, which i think is just nonsense fund-raising speak for, i paid more money so i could be in a smaller room. five people are paying $5,000 a pop to go roundtable with mike pence tonight in indiana. now, it's unusual, full stop, that a vice president has a political action committee, but on top of that, there's an intriguing question as to how mike pence is going to pay for his very expensive private lawyer who he just announced the hiring of yesterday. this is the person who's going to defend mike pence and represent mike pence in anything having to do with the trump/russia scandal or the obstruction of justice investigations. this is a lawyer who gets paid a lot per hour and is going to be working a lot of hours. is it possible this fundraiser for mike pence's pac tonight, is
it possible that's going to be a way for people to fund mike pence's legal defense? we called the vice president's spokesman tonight to ask whether the money he's raising tonight for his pac, whether that money might be used in the future for mike pence's legal defense. the vice president's spokesman would not really say exactly, but this is the exact response we got from him. quote, his legal fees will be paid by non-tax dollars. quote, that's all we are saying. we have not discussed it except to say that it is not tax dollars. that was in response to us asking if th fundraiser for his pac tonight is going to raise money for his legal defense. it won't be tax dollars. that's all we're saying. so we don't know if that means to donations to mike pence's pac are going to be used to pay his legal defense. if that's now going to be how he spends his time as vice
president to spend his time doing fund-raisers to pay for his lawyers. to only assurance we have is he can't have a taxpayer funded defense. we then tried to contact the pac itself. the vice president's pac is called the great america committee. there is a person who's listed on their as the contact person. we found that person tonight and spoke with her to find out if tonight's fund raiser might be used to fund the vice president's legal fees. she told us she has forwarded our question to the appropriate contacts. but we don't know what that means, and we haven't heard anything further. we'll let you know. that may be a new part of how the vice president spends his vice presidency. the vice president and his family do not have particularly deep pockets. they're going to have to raise money somehow for his legal fees. whether that's already started with the creation of that pac, and this fund-raiser in
indianapolis, we honestly don't know. we do intend to find out. a lot of the focus on the scandal surrounding the white house has shifted this week to potential obstruction of justice. this week will be remembered for this blockbuster reporting that the special counsel robert mueller has now made the president the subject of an ongoing fbi criminal inquiry into whether or not there was obstruction of justice by the president to try to somehow thwart the fbi's investigations into the russia issue. and that's a very, very big deal. even as the media focus shifted to obstruction of justice, the original question about whether or not the trump campaign colluded with russia, colluded with the russian government in the russian attack on the election, that's still the central question. that's still at the center of the bull's-eye in terms of what investigators are looking at both in congress and at the fbi. and that came back into very
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tonight cnn was first to report that the guy who ran digital strategy for the trump campaign is about to be called to testify before the house intelligence committee that's investigating the russian attack on our election and the question whether the trump campaign colluded. that's really interesting. i think it's also a sign of what's going to be coming down the pike in the next couple weeks. in general, i should tell you over the next week or two, it looks like we're about to get back to a focus on that collusion issue and on the
russian attack itself. next week on wednesday, the house intelligence committee is going to hear from jeh johnson who was homeland security secretary to the end of the obama administration. that same day the intelligence committee on the senate is going to take testimony from a bunch of experts and elections officials who are going to be talking about the russian hacking attack as they experienced it, as it targeted state and local election systems. beyond that russian hacking attack on state and local election systems, which we're learning more and more about all the time, and beyond the russian hacking attack on the democratic party and the clinton campaign, the other prong of the russian attack last year was, of course, their open source social media stuff. russia appears to have had paid operatives and automated bots using propaganda and disinformation and mounting these swarming-style attacks to disrupt the messaging of the
pro-clinton, anti-trump side and to promote and circulate pro-trump, anti-clinton news and disinformation. if cnn is right in this report tonight and the investigating committees are now going to start questioning donald trump's digital campaign chief from his presidential campaign about that part of the russian attack, then it would seem that the investigative committees are starting to focus intently on the original basic question of whether or not anybody associated with the trump campaign was a confederate, an american confederate helping the russians mount this attack on our country. cnn describes it in their report tonight, quote, the committees are interested in how russian bots were able to target political messages in specific districts in critical swing states. senator mark warn or the senate intelligence xcommittee asked about this at a public hearing
in march saying, would the russians on their own have that level of sophisticated knowledge about the american political system if they did not at least get some advice from someone in america? cnn reporting tonight that trump digital director brad parscale will be called before the house intelligence committee, quote, soon. they also report that the -- note that the executive in charge of data operations overall for the trump campaign was trump's son-in-law jared kushner, whose name keeps surfacing about the ongoing investigations. in terms of the investigatory committees in congress, we were first to report today that although it is the judiciary committees in the house and senate who have oversight responsibility for the justice diameter and the fbi, it's the judiciary committees who, therefore, would be investigating credible allegations of high-level obstruction of justice in the white house. we were first to report today
that although the senate judiciary committee is taking up that investigation, the judiciary committee in the house is not. the republican chairman of the judiciary committee in the house is named bob goodlatte, and a staffer gave us this statement which is very vaguely worded, but i'll give you the bottom line. they're not doing any investigating into obstruction of justice in the house. now, in the senate, they certainly are. boy, howdy are they. dianne feinstein, chuck grassley. the top two senators who are senior on that committee. and the two of them have been exchanging increasingly detailed public letters about all the things they want to investigate related to potential obstruction of justice. senator feinstein sent a letter yesterday in which she explained to senator grassley that these are all the people she wants to testify as that committee starts to dig in on this obstruction of justice question. she wants testimony from the attorney general jeff sessions. she wants testimony from fired
fbi director james comey. if he keeps saying no to their asking him, she wants him to be subpoenaed. she also wants director comey's memos. she also wants to question all the senior fbi officials comey says he told about his conversations with the president. she wants to interview the deputy director of the fbi and the chief of staff to the fbi director and the general counsel of the fbi and the number three person at the fbi. and she wants to interview the head of the national security branch of the fbi. she wants to interview dana boente. she wants to interview dan coats, mike rogers and she would like to do that all very soon, please. and i don't know if republican senator chuck grassley will agree to that list, but she has made her list public. she's argued her case publicly for why that committee needs to hear from these people. if we are ever to get to the
bottom of these obstruction of justice allegations. one point here. even with that giant list of people that that investigatory committee wants to talk to, there is one name that is not on that big, long list that puzzles me for not being there. part of the reason everyone wants to keep talking to the director of national intelligence dan coats, he gave hours of testimony in open session last week. he gave three hours of testimony yesterday in classified session. three hours alone in classified session with the judiciary committee -- sorry, with the intelligence committee. now the judiciary committee wants to talk to him too. it has been reported by "the washington post" and "the new york times" and nbc and the "wall street journal" that robert mueller also plans to interview dan coats some time soon. and part of the reason everyone wants to talk to him, part of the reas dan coats is so important to the question of obstruction of justice is because the obstruction of justice thing isn't just about firing james comey. nobody thinks coats was involved
in the firing of james comey. there is a question beyond that of whether or not the white house, the president himself maybe, tried to pressure the fbi into dropping their investigation beyond just the threatening and firing of james comey. "the washington post" reported on march 22nd, president trump asked dan coats, the director of national intelligence in person in the oval office if he could contact the fbi and try to get them to drop the russia investigation. if that reporting is true, if the president said that to dan coats, if that's what's driving all of the interest from all of these committees and the special counsel in talking to dan coats, if that's what's driving all the imperative, it should also be noted the report from "the washington post" says there was a witness to that conversation between the president and dan coats. there was somebody else in the room when president trump reportedly made that request.
it was cia director mike pompeo. with all these gigantic lists of people who've been advised to get lawyers and told to get ready for their interviews with the special counsel and be prepared to be interviewed if not subpoenaed by the investigatory committees in congress, mike pompeo was reportedly a direct in-person witness to one of the most overt alleged acts to obstruct justice in this case, but nobody seems to want to talk to him. tonight we can report at the end of last month, he was sent a letter from dianne feinstein asking him to tell them what he knows about whether white house officials tried to pressure the fbi about its russia investigation. they sent him that letter on may 26th telling him they needed his response by june 9th. june 9th was a week ago.
we can report pompeo never responded to that. these investigations are as red-hot as they've ever been. we're going to be talking tonight about the speculation, the indications that the president may be gearing up to try to fire the special counsel, and maybe other senior justice officials on his way toward that goal. but stick a pin in this thing about the cia director mike pompeo. i don't know. maybe there's something magic about being cia director meaning investigating committees and special counsels don't interview you? don't call you as a witness, even if you're in the middle of something they're vf gating. unless there's some magic cia rule like that protecting him from being questioned, it does seem strange so far that mike pompeo appears to have a little force field around him deflecting any concerns of his actions and what he knows and what he saw while everyone else around him up to and including the vice president and the president start lawyering up.
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quote, i am being investigated. things went hinkey shortly thereafter. we got this at nbc news. a source close to trump's outside legal counsel tells nbc news that the president definitely was not confirming that he is under investigation when he made that statement on twitter this morning. that statement again, i am being investigated. i'm not a lawyer, and i know sometimes lawyer talk is magic talk regular humans can't understand. but when you say, quote, i am being investigated, that is not a subtle thing. that's not open to interpretation unless maybe they're trying to say being investigated is something different than under investigation. maybe that's the -- is that a distinction? is that a difference? look, unless the president's lawyer is trying to make us believe something that insane, he appears to be already having
some basic trouble handling even the basic public utterances of his client. his client is saying, i'm being investigated. his lawyer is saying, my client never said that. with the news today that the president added another lawyer to his personal legal team, it does look like the president's private counsel will be getting some help, but jeez, this is not the way you would expect a very serious, multi-pronged investigation to be unfolding. it would be unfolding on the prosecutor's side, but not the president. i'm not sure that's so good for people who like the president or people who don't. joining us for the interview is bob bower who is an excellent lawyer. he was white house counsel to president obama. thank you for being with us tonight. really appreciate your time. >> pleasure. >> as a legal matter, it's, of
course, it's of interest to us non-lawyers that the president is confirming that he's under investigation. is there a legal reason why his lawyer would try to dispute that? is there any legal consequence to the president admitting publicly he's under investigation? >> no lawyer is going to want the client shouting from the rooftop that he's under investigation, and that's true of the president of the united states. there's another aspect to the tweets this morning that was quite striking, another attack on law enforcement. and that, too, would have to concern the president's counsel. the president is worried he's being investigated for obstruction of justice. for him then, oddly enough, to begin attacking the people who are conducting the investigation is not the presentation he wants to make. after all, the whole point is he doesn't want to appear to be impeding the administration of justice. not by tweet. so his communication strategy doesn't seem to be aligning with his legal defense. >> let me ask you, coming at
this from a nonlawyer perspective, the president's argument in twitterese, 140 characters or less, was that he's under investigation for firing the fbi director by someone who advised him to fire the fbi director. he's obviously referring to deputy attorney general rod rosenstein there. does the president sort of have a point that if the comey firing is being looked at as potential obstruction, nobody who had any role in that firing should be overseeing that investigation? >> that question came up today. there were reports that deputy attorney general rosenstein was thinking about recusing himself later in the day his office said he wn't prepared to do so. but that opinion could change at any time. as that investigation proceeds, he's going to have to make a judgment about whether he's going to be drawn into the investigation as a witness in a way that makes it impossible for
him to supervise the investigation. and then it goes to another departmental official to oversee. >> are you saying that if the obstruction investigation does come to focus on this issue of the firing of the fbi director, the special counsel might have an option whether or not to call on mr. rosenstein as a potential witness if he chooses to leave mr. rosenstein's involvement, outside the bounds of his investigation, that might protect rosenstein in his role and allow him to stay on board overseeing the investigation overall? >> it's difficult to see that he'll never contact mr. rosenstein. i think maybe what deputy attorney general rosenstein is waiting to see is what precisely is the line of questioning he'll face. how deeply drawn in he'll be. what role he'll play in the investigation. it may be on that basis that he decides whether he's required to recuse himself.
if the role is minor, that may be one thing. it's not clear how exactly he's going to apply the recusal standards in this case. >> we're all learning about the order of succession. at the justice department, thinking about that prospect. the number three in succession, the number four in succession. they're now becoming very interesting figures in terms of their political leanings and what people think about them in the legal profession. it's all hypothetical until that recusal happens, but on the other side of this, mr. bauer, i wanted to ask you about the legal team the president has started to assemble thus far. i don't want to ask you to be personal about any of these lawyers. i don't know if you know any of them personally, but do you think he's got the right kind of counsel to give him the best possible defense? >> he's adding different lawyers with different experience. what is most notable is that the lawyer he has at the pinnacle, the one in charge, doesn't have any washington or meaningful white collar criminal experience
would be brought to bear in a case like this. the team is really defined by its leadership but perhaps the lawyer will find the appropriate balance and build in lego-like fashion what he needs to represent the president effectively. >> bob bauer, former white house counsel to president barack obama. thank you very much for your time. hope you come back and talk to ah gain soon. i have more questions on this topic. particularly tonight on the senate investigation side of this which seems to be heating up very fast. we have a member of the senate judiciary committee on this show tonight. that's ahead. plus, lots more. stay with us.
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be the you who talks to your dermatologist about stelara®. with the scandals surrounding the trump presidency in washington, the investigative focus on capitol hill has shifted sharply in the last couple days to the senate judiciary committee. senator amy klobuchar is a member of that committee. senator klobuchar is also doubly, tripoli at the center of news we've been covering tonight because in the senate, she's also been a staunch advocate of lifting the embargo with cuba. today the president partially rolled back president obama's efforts in that regard. also, amy klobuchar is the senior senator from minnesota and protests are taking shape in minnesota. we've been expecting that tonight in the twin cities region after a controversial verdict acquitting the police officer who killed philando
castile in a st. paul suburb last year during an otherwise normal traffic stop. joining us is amy klobuchar. really nice to have you back with us tonight. thanks for being here. >> thank you very much, rachel. >> let me first get your reaction to this verdict today in the philando castile case. 32-year-old african-american man shot by police after being pulled over in his car last year. there's been a not guilty verdict for that officer. we're seeing protests in the streets. >> well, i met philando castile and his family. attended the funeral. i can tell you he was loved by so many students. he was a cafeteria worker for a number of years, and a lot of people from that school miss him dearly. this is going to be a hard day and a hard weekend in the twin cities. hard for a community. i will tell you, there were top-notch prosecutors assigned to this case from not just the ramsey county attorney's office but also the u.s. attorney's
office. and as the st. paul mayor has asked for the son of st. paul that was -- that died, that we have peaceful marchs. we have a large history of activism and social activism in minnesota. and our hope is that we'll have peaceful marches this evening. but people certainly have a right to express their views. >> do you have faith in local authorities and police that they are capable of policing large, even angry large demonstrations and keeping order without things getting violent? >> we hope so. this had been planned. we knew the verdict would come out, and the plan had long been from the community to go to the capital the day the verdict came out not knowing what the verdict would be. so far, they are peaceful protests, and we hope that will continue. it's very important that people have the right to express their views. >> senator, let me ask you about
a controversy that you've been very outspoken on, the international matter of the embargo with cuba. president trump, i don't mean this in a mean way, but he hasn't accomplished much. >> you? be mean? no. >> i try never to be mean, especially when i talk to you, minnesota nice. obviously, he had neil gorsuch confirmed. they had to change the ruleso do it. he hasn't passed any substantive policy at all. the republicans haven't passed anything. they have, however, rolled back a number of initiatives from the obama administration, including today taking a big whack at the policy president obama initiated toward the change towards cuba. what's your reaction to that? >> this made no sense to me. 73% of the american people believe that we should continue to open relations with cuba. and here you have a policy that he announced today that while is not a full rollback, which is no
surprise, it's a setback, but it basically chills tourism. it makes it harder for people to visit. there's talk about auditing them within the next five years. you don't know when you'll be you don't know when you're going to be asked why did you go to cuba and you're supposed to show the treasury department your records. and i don't think this is a positive development. we now have 55 senators on the bill to lift the ban to travel to cuba. 55 senators including a number of republicans. we have many senators on my bill to lift the embargo with senator enzi, a republican from wyoming. so now my concern is that it's really going to slow that momentum down at a time where russia's starting to invest, china's starting to invest. spain, spanish companies are building hotels. and it makes no sense to me at all. the way you change human rights in cuba, as the pope believes, is by opening up cuba to the rest of the world. >> senator, you're also on the judiciary committee. i said you're in the middle of
all our different stories that we're covering tonight. the judiciary committee is now taking a new assertive role in the investigation into the scandal surrounding the russia atck, the potential collusion by the trump campaign with the russia attack, and specifically on your committee the question about whether there's been an effort to obstruct justice, trying to impede those investigations in any way. do you support that move by your committee? do you think it would be better to handle it all in intelligence rather than spreading it out among the different committees and all their jurisdictions? >> intelligence is playing a very important role here. they are looking into a foreign power influencing our election and they've done it in a bipartisan basis and they must move ahead. but remember, the jurisdiction over oversight of the fbi and the justice department is squarely in the senate judiciary committee. and i think it is very important that senator grassley has agreed with senator feen stine to move forward with the hearings.
we're going to have the new nominee before us. we have to determine what happened with this firing. senator sessions, it's unprecedented that he would go, now attorney general sessions, before the intelligence committee, which is fine, but to do that before judiciary. we not only want to ask about russia and his meeting with the ambassador. we also want to ask about what they're doing with the refugee order, with voting rights, what is happening with the criminal justice reform or the lack thereof. there are a lot of things that the attorney general must come before the senate judiciary committee to discuss. >> senator amy klobuchar of minnesota. looks like it's going to be a tough night tonight in minnesota with those big protests and people very upset about that verdict. good luck tonight and stay in touch with us over the course of this. >> thank you so much, rachel. >> thank you, senator. we've got more to come here tonight. do stay with us. where you can compare multiple quote options online and choose what's right for you. woah. flo and jamie here to see hqx. flo and jamie request entry. slovakia. triceratops.
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we've got one more story we're going to close with tonight. but before we get to that last story i just want to quickly mention something that msnbc's going to do this weekend that i think is going to be kind of awesome. you might have seen the promos for this, but trust me, it's really good. we're going to be airing this thing, "all the president's men revisited." "all the president's men" is of course one of the greatest american politics movies of all time. it's about the watergate scandal and the reporters that broke the story. but this thing we're doing saturday night puts together that amazing movie and the real-life story that it's about. it fits together "all the president's men" and the actual watergate scandal. the real stuff into the movie
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i'm richard lui in the newsroom right now following the breaking stories this hour. the jury in the bill cosby trial has arrived back in pittsburgh after completing their service in suburban philadelphia. after 52 hours of deliberations the jury in the sexual assault case this morning came back deadlocked on all accounts. cosby was charged with three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault. he and his team have repeatedly denied these and all allegations. the district attorney saying he will retry this case in a news conference when asked about the cost of a second trial the d.a. said you cannot put a price on justice. meanwhile, off the coast of japan search efforts continue there for seven missing u.s. soldiers. they were lost at sea after the u.s. missile destroyer that they were on collided with a container ship last night.
three more u.s. sailors were also injured in that crash. and then in northern afghanistan seven u.s. soldiers were injured in an insider attack. it's the second such incident this month. three u.s. soldiers were killed in a similar strike just one week ago. the u.s. soldiers today were shot and wounded by an afghan commando. an afghan soldier was also killed during that attack. right now "the last word with lawrence o'donnell" begins. "last word with lawrence o'donnell." good evening, lawrence. >> i watched a watergate documentary today. so i just want to apologize through you to the audience for possibly wrapping too many of my questions tonight in watergate stuff. because it is amazing. the parallels are just amazing. and eerie. >> until you start doing a fred thompson accent, you are forbidden from apologizing for these things. because the parallels are real in real life. >> oh, yeah. it's just