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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  June 28, 2017 9:00pm-10:01pm PDT

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>> happy wednesday. the governor of ohio is, pop quiz, governor of ohio? you're right, john case i can. john case i can is a republican. he's currently governor. he ran for president last year. he won almost nothing in terms of presidential primaries, but oddly he still had quite a lot of longevity as a primary candidate. john case itch was the last man standing against trump in the presidential republican nomination. i think this is maybe arguable, but arguably more so than any other republican presidential candidate last year, kasich ran directly against trump from the very beginning. even before 2016, in november 2015, john kasich won this unconventional sobering serious ad against trump. >> i would like anyone who is listening to consider some thoughts that i've paraphrased
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from the words of german pastor mar anyone nimoy. you might not care if donald trump says muslims, because you're not one. you might not care if donald trump says he's going to round up all the hispanic immigrants because you're not one. and you might not care if donald trump says it's okay to rough up black protesters because you're not one. and you might not care if donald trump wants to suppress journalists because you're not one. think about this. if he keeps going and he actually becomes president, he might just get around to you. you better hope there is someone left to help you.
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>> when john ran that ad in november 2015 even before the primary started, donald trump responded by saying he was going to sue john kasich for running that ad. despite that threat, donald trump did not actually sue him for that ad. by that very early point in the presidential campaign, that was still 2015. even by then, trump had already established this part of his m.o. as a candidate. weeks before he threatened to sue over that ad and didn't actually sue him. he had his lawyer send a threatening "i'm going to sue you" to club for growth, a conservative active group when they ran a negative ad against trump. in that instance like he did, he pounded his chest and sent a letter saying, i'm going to sue you. he didn't actually sue them. 538.com kept a running tally of
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donald trump from this campaign. it is an amazingly long list the number of times he has done it. looking at it now it's like a trip down rich guy idly threatening to be litigious lane which is a terrible place to live. after he said he would sue john he did not, he threaten to sue a pro john super pac for running a different ad against trump. he didn't sue them either. that was november 2015. by december 2015, a jeb bush donor in florida had taken out a big newspaper ad against trump. trump said i'm going to sue you for that ad. trump did not sue that guy for that ad. in january he said he would sue the washington post for reporting one of his casinos going bankrupt in a particularly spectacular way. he said he would sue the washington post for that article. he did not sue them for that article. that then kicked off an amazing two-week period in february last year when donald trump threatened to sue ted cruz three
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different times for three different things in less than two weeks. first he threatened to sue ted cruz for winning the iowa caucuses. then he threatened to sue ted cruz for not being a natural-born citizen. then he threatened to sue ted cruz for the thing he most likes to sue about, which is negative ads, anti-donald trump ad ted cruz had done. threaten to sue him for all those things. having been threatened for three lawsuits, he got up in front of reporters and said, please, sue me. you keep saying you're going to sue me. do it. file the lawsuit. this would be fun in court. donald trump never filed the lawsuit. donald trump never filed any of the lawsuits against ted cruz. that was his busy february of not suing people. then in march he got busy not suing the republican national
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committee. he threatened to sue the republican party over him not getting enough delegates out of louisiana. he did not actually sue them. then in april the associated press ran an article about a business catastrophe that was a trump branded condo project in the nation of panama. a.p. published their panama article about him. trump said i'm going to sue the a.p. for that article. he did not sue the a.p. for that article. later that month reporter david k. johnston, you remember david k. johnston. he got two-page s of donald trump's federal tax returns. he was working on a piece about donald trump last spring. he spoke to donald trump. he told david k. johnston he would sue him for his reporting. he did not sue david k. john ton. the month after that in may he said he would sue the washington post, again, for a different article. he did not sue the washington post that time either. last summer in july, the guy who had been his ghost writer on the book, the art of the deal, he
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gave comments to the new yorker magazine for article they were writing on trump. he was talking about what it was like to work with trump on art of the deal. trump responded by calling that guy personally and telling him, i'm going to sue you. trump did not sue him. this went on all the way through the campaign. in october, just a month before the election, he told "the new york times" he was going to sue them when they published an article about some of his state tax returns. he told them he was going to sue them. he did not sue them. eight days after that, he told the times he was going to sue them again. this time for an article about women who said they had been sexually assaulted by donald trump. he told the times he was going to sue them for publishing that article. he did not sue them for publishing that article. ten days later, by which point more than a dozen women had emerged who said they had been sexually harassed or sexually assaulted by donald trump, he announced he would sue all of those dozen women individually. he did not sue any of them. pretending to file lawsuits
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against people, announcing that he's taking legal action against somebody, when he actually does nothing of the sort. that is the tactic that donald trump was known for in his business life. i don't think anybody quite knew whether it would carry over into his life as a public figure, but i mean you saw the way he behaved in the campaign. i guess we should have known by then that's how he was going to do it as president, too. this is what he does. this is what he's always done. on june 8 of this year, fired fbi director james comey testified that president trump, before he fired comey, he'd had multiple one on one communications with comey in which trump pressured him about the fbi's ongoing russia investigation. that opened up a whole new line of potential criminal inquiry into the white house and into the president specifically because of obstruction of justice can be a criminal matter. after comey testified on june
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eighth about his conversations with the president about the russia investigation, after he testified june 8, the president's personal lawyer who had previously represented trump in things like threatening to sue "the new york times," his personal lawyer put out one the day after comey testimony, put out word the president was going to respond to that testimony by james comey by taking legal action against james comey. it's kind of hard just to flat out sue somebody for saying something that is apparently true under oath that you can't rebut, but nevertheless the president's private lawyer said he would be filing legal complaints against james comey for that testimony. he'd be filing complaints with the committee that he testified in front of. james comey is not a member of any congressional committee. he is not a member of congress. what would a complaint to a committee of congress do? nobody knows, but it would be a complaint. also, trump's lawyer threatened
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there would be a complaint filed against james comey with the department of justice inspector general. woo! at that point james comey was no longer an employee of the department of justice. remember, trump had fired him. so, it's not clear what the department of justice inspector general would do with this complaint about somebody who did not work at that agency. but trump and his lawyers came out, pounded their chest and said, watch out, james comey, here come the legal-ish filings against you. you better mortgage your house, better get yourself some lawyers. they made those threats on june 9, the day after james comey had given his congressional testimony. and that opened up this interesting waiting game. would the president and his lawyer follow through on these threats? this is not the kind of thing a president usually does, right? is the president really going to file legal complaints about somebody who gave congressional testimony against him? what would these complaints look like? so, waited with baited breath
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wondering what was going to happen here a week after they said they were going to file those complaints. frepdly reporters at the fox business channel announced they had a scoop on this subject. they had just heard from trump's lawyer those legal complaints against james comey, that they had been threatening they were not ready yet. the filing of the civil complaints against james comey would be, quote, slipping to next week. that next week has now come and gone, still no legal complaints have been filed by the president or his lawyers against james comey. and now bloomberg was first to report today that there's not going to be any legal complaints filed against james comey at all. as a businessman, even as a candidate for president, the patented trump threat to sue is kind of its own reward, right? you seem tough, you seem pugnacious, you seem like you won't take anybody's insults. maybe to the stenlt people believed you were going to sue, you made other people think twice about lobbying any
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criticism about you because they keep hearing about you filing these lawsuits. if nothing else that sounds very expensive. in private life, as a businessman, even as a candidate for office, the threat itself was presumably the point. trump has always been able to count on people not following up in the end to see if he ever actually filed all those lawsuits that he threatened. when you're president, though, somebody is always going to follow-up everything you say, especially when you do something as unpresidential as threatening somebody who is probably going to end up being a very important witness in a legal proceedings that may arise against the president in the near future. so, the comey legal complaint threat twine down has ended up being a headline because president trump made this threat as president and people follow-up on what presidents say. so, it's news today that they had made this threat to james comey to go after him legally and now they're climbing down from that. and with that climb down today, thus collapses one part of the broader effort by this white
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house and their allies to try to smear and discredit the people who were investigating him or who still are investigating him on the russia issue and now on obstruction of justice. now, because james comey and robert mueller are republicans, because they are lifelong law enforcement officials, because they have had decades in public service in which they earned reputations that don't rub off easily, neither bob mueller nor james comey is a particularly easy target for the white house and their allies to try to take apart. when it comes to comey and his role specifically in the obstruction of justice investigation that centers on this president, the difficult thing about this strategy of trying to smear james comey as if he's unreliable or somebody who shouldn't be trusted or integrity is in trouble, there are legal complaints that were being filed against him. the problem with going after james comey and what he can testify to as to whether or not the president was pressuring him
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on the russia investigation before he fired him, the problem with going after comey is that comey, as we know, took great care to make sure there was corroboration for his testimony to that fact. yesterday in congress, a serving high-ranking fbi official head of the national security division at the fbi testified in the senate under oath that, yes, he had been briefed by james comey about comey's interactions with trump when those interactions happened. so, there's one high-ranking currently serving fbi official who can be called on under oath to testify whether or not -- as to whether or not comey's story about his conversations with the president stands up. and that fbi official, head of the national security division, he's one of about a half dozen currently serving high-ranking fbi officials who are likely to be called to testify in that regard. in addition to those high-ranking fbi officials who are going to make credible witnesses because they're all high ranking fbi officials, tonight we learned the senate
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intelligence committee has reached an agreement presumably with special counsel bob mueller, they have reached an agreement to obtain the memos that james comey wrote contemporaneously right after he had his interactions with the president that are now subject of this criminal obstruction of justice investigation. senate intelligence committee is getting the comey memos. two questions to ask yourself about that. number one, does that mean we ever get to see the james comey memos? because the senate intelligence committee does lots of its work in secret, in classified settings. and even though everybody thinks all of congress leaks like a sieve, the senate intelligence committee doesn't leak, trust me. i tried to get everybody to leak. that's my job. they do not leak, senate intelligence committee. they squeak when you try to squeeze them. it's very frustrating. oh, if they're the ones who are getting comey's memo from the fbi, i don't know if that means that we humans -- we citizens --
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are ever going to get to lay eyes on it. second question to ask yourself about this news tonight, why is it the senate intelligence committee that's getting that memo? they explicitly, according to their chairman, are not investigating the obstruction of justice. the comey memo, according to what we've heard about it, is specifically about president trump pressuring james comey, pressuring the fbi investigator to drop an investigation. particularly for the obstruction of justice, doesn't matter what the investigation was about. if a president tells an fbi director to shut down an fbi investigation, that's an obstruction of justice issue. obstruction of justice is not being investigated by the senate intelligence committee. so, why are they the ones getting the memo? where they are supposedly investigating obstruction of justice is the judiciary committee. apparently they're not getting the comey memo.
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there is also something a little bit weird going on over there that you should know about. as this presidency and this white house has been so bee leaguered and pressured by these ongoing investigations that have already resulted in at least one federal grand jury being impanelled in virginia, already the appointment of a very formidable special counsel bob mueller, it also resulted in five separate congressional investigations into the administration's behavior up to and including in some cases the behavior of the president of the united states himself, as we have watched this white house and this presidency feel the heat over the seriousness of this scandal that has surrounded them, even in the very early days of this presidency, it has been fascinating in human terms to watch the president -- to watch the president himself and his administration in terms of how they have responded, how they would like to try to discredit the investigators who are looking into them, how they'd like to do anything they can to try to shut this thing
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down. but, you know what? it's not just them alone. it is increasingly clear that they are not having to do that all on their own. i mean, the idea here is that when trump does this stuff, when he tries to discredit the investigators looking at him, he doesn't in his like crazy trumpy way, right? he has his, you know, very aggressive good haired new york lawyer threaten to sue you, or threaten to file legal complaints against you. it's not real but it's supposed to be threatening anyhow. that's kind of lurid and strange way this president behaves, it's interesting. it turns out we are now seeing that in addition to him and all of his interesting craziness, he has normal republican politician allies, normal republicans, who are now trying to do the same thing that he is doing. they are trying to short circuit and discredit the investigation. at least they appear to be doing that. but they are not like trump. they are doing it through normal political ways that we have seen before.
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during watergate, nixon supporters tried to say that the special prosecutor was a partisan democrat, a political hit man who was out to destroy the nixon presidency for partisan political reasons. well, the george w. bush administration created a lethal scandal with their claims about weapons of mass destruction in
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iraq. paul wolf witnesses at the pentagon asked the cia to investigate the top weapons inspector in iraq who had turned up no evidence of saddam having any wmd. when the cia report came back without any evidence to smear hans blix, paul wolf owitz reportedly went through the roof, hit the ceiling. when the cia sent an envoy to pursue if iraq was pursuing weapons in africa, they said he wasn't doing that. the bush administration's ensuing response to the fire storm said the media damaged material about that envoy who the cia had sent to africa including the fact his wife was a covert operative for the cia. they named her. they outed her. and the ensuing investigation into that, a sort of bad ass u.s. attorney gotta pointed as a special prosecutor got appointed
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to look into the cia agent. the bush folks and the conservative media went after him, too. a guy named bill krystal went on news saying patrick fitzgerald is a partisan, he's out to politically wound the bush administration. in this current administration, we are used to this new president doing stuff his own way. he does stuff in kind of a crazy way for politicians, right? but going after the investigators who are looking into a president or looking into a scandal, trying to smear the investigators? that's not something that only crazy seeming presidents do. that's something normal political figures do and have done since the beginning of time. and we are now seeing a concerted effort on the right to try to attack former fbi director james comey and former fbi director robert mueller -- amazing to see the conservative media trying to destroy two former fbi directors. that is a hard sell. beyond that, we've also seen a turn in the conservative media just in the past few days for
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they have also started to attack the acting director now of the fbi, andrew mccabe. and now here is the thing to watch that's happening in the united states senate. in the u.s. senate, it's the judiciary committee that is supposedly investigating obstruction of justice. obstruction of justice, question of whether, among other things, the president might have fired fbi director james comey as a way to try to stop or pervert the fbi's open investigation into various matters related to russia. now, this judiciary committee is apparently not getting its hands on the comey memo about his interactions with the president. that's going somewhere else in the senate. that's strange enough in its own right. but in terms of their own work on the judiciary committee where they are supposed to be investigating obstruction of justice, where we are now seeing the republicans on that committee kind of start to go after the investigation itself in a way that hasn't been picked up, not widely reported today. it's happening in plain sight.
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the republican chairman of that committee is chuck grassley, the head of the relevant subcommittee here is senator lindsey graham of south carolina. as of today, grassley and graham have sent a request to the fbi that the fbi hand over -- look at this -- all fisa warrants and requests for fisa warrants that the fbi had issued in their russia investigation and in the investigation into whether or not the trump campaign colluded with russia in that attack. hand overall the foreign surveillance wires that you have asked for? tell us what you have requested? i mean, that would be a really remarkable intrusion into the fbi's investigation, right? this is an ongoing investigation into the russian attack and the possibility that there were americans who helped with it. if in the middle of that investigation the fbi has to hand overall of their draft requests for warrants, all of their requests for warrants and the response they got from the courts they were requesting those warrants from, that would essentially lay bare everything they are doing in the middle of them doing it.
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this is a remarkable request. we have posted this letter to the fbi that chuck grassley, lindsey graham just sent today. we posted it on our website at mono blog.com so you can see it, check this out, this is weird. you can see from the way they have written it, they want not only to access all of the core materials from the fbi investigations into russia, these warrants. they also appear to be driving at the question of why the fbi started its investigation into potential collusion by the trump campaign in the first place. remember that fbi investigation started last summer, last july. these republicans on the senate judiciary committee are now asking about why you started that investigation, what you had, what did you submit to the court, how did you get your warrants. what they appear to be up to is basically trying to discredit the fbi for having started this investigation at all. what they are implying is that the whole fbi investigation all stemmed from that dossier of
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allegations against trump and his campaign, that one that was published in buzz feed. they are saying implicitly that dossier of materials is unproven and suspect and that is what the fbi's whole investigation is all based on. and therefore, it's all nonsense. president trump is flamboyant and prone to outrageous seeming conduct. he likes threatening legal action against his political opponents. whether or not he eventually follows through on those threats. his republican allies, those, including those who are supposedly leading the investigations into him, they are not flamboyant. they are not outrageous in the same way that he is. they did these things in subtler ways. but just do me a favor. look at this letter that we have just posted on our website tonight. you can see there in black and white and in blue signature at the end, you can see the senate republicans basically trying to take apart the fbi for having done these investigations into trump at all. the attacks on the fbi are
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happening in the conservative media. they're happening from the white house. they are now happening in official correspondence to the fbi from the republicans in the united states senate who are supposed to be participating in this investigation on their own terms. heads up on that. they are trying to stop this thing in its tracks before it comes to its conclusion. heads up. we'll be right back. there's nothing more important to me than my vacation. so when i need to book a hotel, i want someone who makes it easy. booking.com gets it. and with their price match, i know i'm getting the best price every time.
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some new polling came out on the republican plan to kill the
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affordable care act today. four different polls showing approval ranges from a high of 27%, worcester i believe, down to a low of 12% support, which is just astonishingly inhumanly bad. 12% approval. people would rather get hit by a car. nevertheless, the senate says they are still trying to pass this thing so in washington it looked like this. >> i don't want to die. >> i don't want to die. >> we don't want to die. >> we don't want to die. >> shame on you. shame on you. shame on you. shame on you.
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>> today in washington, it was like this everywhere. a dozen of colorado constituents staking out the d.c. office today. he was one of a pack of republican senators who endorsed off-site protesters opposed to the republican bill to kill the affordable care act. at one pointed to, capitol hill reporters noted that every single floor in the whole russell senate office building had at least one protest going on all at once against the republican senators on the health bill. protesters sat down under a cluster of american flags outside senator lisa mer could you say can i's office. they sat down inside senator robb portman's office in the sitting area at his office. portman stopped, reportedly asked the capital police to please not make any arrests of those protesters, but police nevertheless brought out the zip ties and arrested some of those people from portland's office anyway. same thing over at marco rubio's office. about a dozen people held a makeshift march and a tight senate hallway outside his office door.
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eight more people got picked up by police there and thrown out of the capital. pennsylvania senator pat tombto some outside his office, one was dragged away by his arms. this friendly group in front of tom cotton's office from the local indivisible chapter they call them the ozark capital. katie macfarlane uses a wheelchair as you can see. she told senator cotton's office the medicaid cuts in the republican bill would kill her. she was arrested today. her hands put up in zip ties. by the end of the day, at least 40 people were arrested at the u.s. capital today in protest against the senate republican health bill. protests were outside the senate offices, too, in considerable numbers, more than 2000 people reportedly in the streets today protesting against the republican's bill. in the face of all this pressure, republicans in the
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senate failed to bring their bill to a vote this week. they pulled it because they knew it would fail. the hope now presumably is to go dark for a while to work on this bill quietly behind the scenes without fanfare with the hope they can twist the arms of all the no votes hard enough that they can get this bill passed down the road, but fewer people will be paying attention and fewer people will be showing up at their offices. but, you know what? this weekend the u.s. senate leaves d.c. and they all go home for their holiday recess, and you can guess what will be waiting on their door steps to welcome them home. joining us now is the one and only chris hayes from all-in. thank you for sticking around. >> my pleasure. >> you have been reporting on this more than anybody else. you're not just here because i like you. i learned more about this from you than anybody else. what do you think is the most important thing to watch in terms of whether or not the republicans are going to pass this? and if they do pass it, will it be something that we would recognize or will it be a whole
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new bill? >> so, they have to do this very difficult thing, right, which is to move the bill to the left and right at the same time. at first you would say that's impossible, right? it's a seesaw, go over here this way. there is a thing they do in washington. i remember watching it in the nation reporting. there is a way to do that, which is to dee regulate and throw money. this is the washington tradition of achieving bipartisan ship for appeasing both sides, which is to do something like what is in the house bill which is -- the states can waive out of these regulations, preexisting protections, guaranteed issues. everyone gets health care. particularly in states controlled by republican governors, right? or republican legislators, they're going to take advantage of those waivers. you give conservatives that. at the same time you give moderates billions of dollars. that is the way they could conceivably get there. here is the big problem. medicaid, medicaid, medicaid is sitting at the core of it. medicaid cuts are the most unpopular part of the bill and they are the biggest thing the
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bill is doing for budgetary reasons and those folks that are in those hallways, those are people whose lives are on the line. there is no way to get around that. >> medicaid the sing the largest insurer of health insurance in the united states. >> correct. >> nobody is covered by more, nobody -- i mean, people think of it like this niche thing that covers the poor, that covers the disabled. medicaid covers more people than any other type of insurance in the country. not only that, it covers -- >> not only that, there are 32% of households in west virginia have medicaid, okay. shelley who is a key vote here, anything resembling this would be one of the most remarkable acts of state self-sabotage by an elected representative that i've ever witnessed and possibly ever in the recent legislative history of the united states were she to vote for anything in the ballpark of what they are proposing. >> given the importance of medicaid in her state. so, you're saying since medicaid is the spine on which this whole thing hangs, it's the whole
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strategy, everything they're doing here is about cutting medicaid. that since they can't get around that, no matter what else they do around the edges, it's never going to be enough to bring over enough people to pass it? >> well, unless people really knuckle under. that's really the question. forget the conservatives for a while. people want to rely on rand paul and mike lee. 9 peopthe people to watch are d portman, all republicans who represent states that have medicaid expansion. they need to do things for their constituents and ultimately the bill will come down to do they actually care about their constituents on medicaid in the states? or are they willing to take some kind of symbolic tweak that lets them vote for it? that to me is the real question at the core of this. you are correct, they can't -- they have to cut medicaid because they want to repeal the taxes, right? >> right. >> why do you robb a bank? that's where the money is. why do you cut medicaid? that's where the spending is.
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if they're going to go to medicaid,s that's where the money is. it is going to be brutal. >> that is nonsense because people who don't understand this, say look, how interesting, mike lee is opposed. >> keep your eyes on the medicaid. >> thank you. you have been doing a great service on this. thank you. >> thank you. >> we got a special guest here tonight for the interview. she is right in the middle of what is fast becoming a brand-new scandal in washington. it is becoming a scandal because she personally stood up and blew the whistle on it to make that so. that's the interview coming up. stay with us. [ indistinct chatter ]
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a lot of things are very different from this new administration compared to the last one. compared to all previous administrations actually, but we've been following with particular interest the new administration's overhaul of the epa, environmental protection agency, because it appears to be an agency that they are using to very quickly and with a lot of determination up end a lot of rules that took a long time to put in place that are rules designed to protect public health and safety. we've been watching the epa closely. we've been watching the epa from the start including this salient moment in february. >> should i give this pen to andrew? dow chemical. i think maybe, right? [ applause ] >> andrew, andrew? president there signing an order for agencies to start the wholesale deletion of health and
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safety rules that sort of keep industry in check, and then he looks around, thanked by name andrew. andrew, the head of dow chemical. andrew, welcome to the oval office. have a ceremonial pen. you're the guy we're working for now. we got some new news today on where the boss of dow chemical has been hanging out with regard to the new administration. a.p. reporting the dow connell mcshane c-- chemical met with te head of epa. why the fate of a particular dow chemical pesticide? hears p the entry of scott pruitt's calendar which we have obtained. march 9, 3:05 to 3:30, meet with andrew, dow chemical, hilton america's houston room 845. and then three weeks later, the head of the epa brushed aside the findings of epa scientists and said, no, i'm not siding with you. instead, i'm siding with dow chemical.
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whose ceo i just met in that hotel room. he declares that dow chemical's pesticide would be just fine. there would be no ban. never mind what the epa scientists had already said about it. we've seen so many whiplash changes from the last administration to the new one, but the sidelining of science is one that you've really been able to watch in real time. last month we got the news that epa was canning several members of an important science advisory board. the scientists had initially been told they could stay. one of the ousted scientists said the cuts, quote, just came out of nowhere. now, for the record, the epa says no one was fired. the agency said the scientists could all reapply for their jobs if they wanted to. send in your resume. soon after the epa showed those scientists the door, the remaining chair of the board was called by congress to testify. the health science committee wanted to hear about what was going on inside the epa, how she saw the role of science in helping government make
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decisions. here's the thing. when official at the epa found out about that, when they found out that she planned to testify as a scientist, they sort of went bananas. this is from the freaking chief of staff, the new trump administration chief of staff at the epa, the day before that scientist scheduled appearance saying he needed to, quote, get a copy of her testimony and discuss her question period. sending her talking points that the epa wanted her to use in her testimony as a scientist, telling her it would be important to clarify her testimony, which she had already submitted, telling her it would be important to say the scientists that were serving with her on her board, they aren't really been fired. but by the time the epa chief of staff tried to send her those talking points and instructions, that scientist really had already filed her own written testimony with the congressional committee. she told them the epa she was not going to change her words.
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she told "the new york times" this week that she did not at all appreciate the interference from the epa chief of staff trying to change her testimony as a scientist. quote, i was stunned that he was pushing me to, quote, correct something in my testimony. quote, i was factual, and he was not. despite the pressure from on high at the epa, that scientist did get up there on capitol hill and she testified, just as she planned to do in her own words as a scientist. she has been unwavering in her response to the epa and the way they have been trying to pressure her as a scientist and she joins us here for the interview next. hey, bud. you need some help? no, i'm good. come on, moe. i have to go. (vo) we always trusted our subaru impreza would be there for him someday. ok. that's it. (vo) we just didn't think someday would come so fast. see ya later, moe. (vo) introducing the subaru impreza.
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if you personally were called upon to stand up to the president of the united states or a brand-new federal administration in the u.s. government, you could scarcely come to that moment with a better god-given name. >> my name is deb and i'm a former professor from the university of minnesota. >> swak hammer. you heard her right, scientist deborah swak hammer, appeared before congress last month to testify about the need for robust and independent science in making government at decisions about public health and safety. professor swak hammer was there to give basically a warning about the appearance of politicizing and marginal idolizi izing
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science in the e palomipa. the board that she chairs. we now know behind the scenes the epa was trying to get her to change her testimony so she would be more in line with agency talking points. professor swak hammer responded, quote, my testimony is submitted and embargoed. i assure you my main message is mine, mine, mine alone. edited, strong science is needed to ensure public health. and then scientists, deborah swak hammer went to capitol hill exa exactly as she promised she would, and delivered her testimony despite that pressure. joining us tonight is deb dra swak hammer, chair of the e palomino, a board of counselors, professor of environmental health sciences at the university of minnesota. professor, thank you very much for being here. very much appreciate it. >> thank you for having me. >> you are currently chair of the board of scientific counselors at the epa. >> that is correct. >> what is the role of that board? >> this board reports to the assistant to the administer of research and development at epa and we guide the assistant
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administrator in the research that's done internally at epa. >> okay. >> so, it's all about just what is going on at epa. we deent deal with regulations, we don't deal with policy. we are dealing with kind of the basic science that is going into eventually maybe to support regulations, but it's -- we're overseeing that science. giving advice is it the right science, are they doing it with the best methodology, is it the gold standard, is it going to withstand scrutiny when it goes -- >> helping decision makers, active decision makers at epa make sense of and understand the import and the solidity of the science. >> further, is it good science, is it the right science. >> what is the state of that board now? >> well, many of -- most of the members have been told they are not going to be continued into a second term and so the board that used to be about 68 members is now going to end up being 11 members as of september 1
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because so many of those members were going to have the first term renewal, but now those members aren't going to have a first term renewal. so, basically the board has been kind of decimated. and our activities have been essentially suspended, we're sort of suspended in animation because all of our future meetings have also been canceled. >> all of your future meetings? >> we had six scheduled in the fall and we were in the process of deciding how those -- what the agendas were going to be and how those meetings were going to move forward, and they all were canceled because there are no committee members to attend them. i mean, we don't have enough warm bodies to keep bosc going. bosc is the acronym. >> given what the role of this board is, which seems crucial when you describe it in layman's terms as you described it, is it your sense epa is replacing the role of this science advisory board with something else? are they getting advice on how to interpret scientific problems and scientific work and the science done within the epa from
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people other than the scientists who used to do it? >> i don't know how they're going to be doing that unless they're doing it internally. so, if you're going to have really good science to support strong regulations, because you know they go to court and you have to really have robust science in order to withstand that. you have to have pier review of that science. so, you do the science and then i look at it as an outsider and i say, you know, you could have tweaked this or you want to do that or you didn't include this study and you should have. then you're getting that outside review, a fresh set of eyes, an objective review. without that, you can really go astray. you really don't have strong science. so, epa is going to continue to do science, but they're not going to have that really strong outside independent viewpoint for sometime because bosc, board of science and counselors, it's going to take them six to nine months probably to get that repopulated, get new meetings scheduled, and actually do anything. so, they're going to miss about a year of valid important kind of critical science advice.
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it's a very critical time right now for them. >> how unusual was it for you to get this pressure that you got from the new chief of staff at the epa about your congressional testimony? >> well, it was highly unusual for me because i've only testified in front of congress a few times. so that alone was a pretty unusual experience. but getting these e-mails the night before was very disturbing. it was very, i have to say i was pretty intimidated because i had made it very clear to everyone that i was testifying as an independent scientific expert and i was not testifying as an epa witness. and i had told epa that and cleared it with their ethics folks. so, i knew what i could and could not do given that he was also cha -- given that i was also chair of this committee. i thought i was following the right rules. after the first exchange of e-mails, we kind of sorted out that i'm not an epa witness. but then i kept getting these e-mails and then i got that final e-mail which was, we want you to change your testimony. and it was a minor point, but it
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was changing the message i was giving. it was changing the wording and i thought, who are they to be telling me what i'm supposed to be saying when it's my testimony? furthermore, i've already submitted it. but i was very intimidated by that. i really didn't -- i wasn't happy about that. >> and you gave your testimony as you intended to give your testimony. >> absolutely. >> deborah swak hammer, chair of the epa's board of scientific counselors, emeritus professor at the university of minnesota, thank you for helping us understand this at all levels and thank you for what you did. >> thank you so much. good to meet you. >> thank you. >> we'll be right back. i no longer live with
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where does the time go? [ laughter ] >> now it's time for "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell. good evening, lawrence. >> rachel, you can't do a cliff-hanger like that. come on. how long would it take for you to say this amazing thing right now? >> it involves a prop and control room is not going to give it to me. they're laughing at me in my earpiece. >> these control rooms conspiring against the art of this with these crazy limits like the one-our thing on the show and commercials and all that stuff. >> me losing the capacity at age 44 to read a digital clock. yeah, it's awkward.

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