tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC August 1, 2017 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT
might think they've seen better at home. that is our broadcast for this evening. thank you for being here with us. good night from nbc news headquarters here in new york. rachel has the night off. we do have a lot to get to night, including late-breaking news from the "the new york times" about a major policy change the trump administration is currently floating. we have the reporter who broke that story here tonight. you do not want to miss it. first, we have more to unpack from the blockbuster report in "the washington post" concerning the meeting in june of 2016 between donald trump jr., jared kushner, donald trump's then campaign manager paul manafort and a number of russian nationals with ties to the kremlin. that meeting was made public earlier this month in a "the new york times" report published on july 8th when the "the new york times" first reported on this meeting. they included a statement from donald trump jr. who explained, quote, it was a short
introductory meeting. i asked jared and paul to stop by. we primarily discussed a program about the adoption of russian children that were active and popular with american families years ago and since ended with the russian government. it was not a campaign issue at the time and there was no follow-up. i was asked to attend the meeting by an acquaintance but was not told the name of the person i would be meeting with beforehand. it's been revealed that statement was not accurate. the meeting in question was much longer than a short introductory and we know that later from the e-mails donald junior published himself that the original stated purpose of the meeting was to pass along dirt on hillary clinton from the russian government to help the trump campaign. that offer caused trump junior to write back, i love it. so we know that what the president's son went to that appointment, what he was expecting was not, as his statement later said, a short introduction and some talk about adoption. he went to that meeting expecting to get dirt on hillary clinton that he believed would help his father win the election.
"the washington post" reported last night that trump junior's inaccurate statement about that meeting was dictated by his father, the president of the united states, while he was on board air force one on his way home from the g20. now that we've learned this important piece of the story, thanks to whoever leaked it to "the washington post" i think it's important to take a step back and look at the broader context and the timeline that we know of in terms of how this meeting played out. we know that e-mail promising dirt on hillary clinton was sent to donald trump jr. on june 3rd, 2016. we know that donald trump jr. responded shortly thereafter, quote, if it's what you say, i love it. we know that four days later, june 7th, a sit-down meeting was put on the calendars of manafort, kushner and trump jr. we know that donald trump sr. promised a major speech about all of the things that have taken place with the clintons. that was two days before the meeting took place on june 9th,
2016. we know per nbc news reporting that donald trump was at trump tower on the day of the russian lawyer meeting, though he claims he was not part of it and initially claimed he knew nothing about it. we know that members of the trump campaign who went to that meeting say they got no information and it was a waste of time. and we know that the president never did give that speech about, quote, all of the things that have taken place with the clintons. we know all of that coming into this week in terms of the white house response to the news of the meeting emerging this month. july 8th in response to an upcoming "the new york times" report reveal the meeting, donald trump dictated that statement describing the meeting in a different way than was depicted in donald trump jr.'s statement. the day before, during the g20, he had a private side meeting with russian president vladimir putin, an hour long conversation
at which no notes were taken. a meeting that the white house did not initially admit happened, not at least for ten days. trump later told "the new york times" that the thing putin wanted to talk about at that private meeting was adoptions of russian children in the u.s. he just volunteered this information to the "the new york times" as a complete none sec wither about his talk with putin. could be 15 minutes, just talked about things. it was interesting. we talked about adoption. reporter maggie haberman responded, you did? trump goes on to say, we talked about russian adoption. i found it interesting because he ended that years ago and i actually talked about russian adoption with him which was interesting because it was part of the conversation that don, referring to his son, had in that meeting. the next day according to this report in "the washington post," donald trump concocts the misleading statement saying that the meeting his son took last year was primarily about russian adoptions.
to borrow the president's words you might call that coincidence, interesting or a red flag. i should say that the white house is actively pushing back on this reporting. white house press secretary was at the podium today saying he did not dictate the statement but rather weighed in on it like any father would. once again, this raises the question if the president is in any legal jeopardy and whether specifically his repeated attempts to put up smoke screens constitutes obstruction of justice. we do know that special counsel robert mueller is looking at that question which goes back at least to trump telling nbc's lester holt on camera that he fired fbi director jim comey because of the russia investigation. so does this revealing new reporting in "the washington post" last night further that case given the time line as he now understand it. that's the question. joining us now, joyce vance,
former u.s. attorney for alabama. thank you for being here, ms. vance. i'll start with that question. could donald trump dictating this statement of the way that he wanted donald jr. to respond about this meeting, in and of itself constitute obstruction of justice. >> well the way prosecutors build cases is by compiling all of the information about a course of conduct and then making an assessment about whether they can prove from that evidence all of the elements that they need to establish a federal crime. so it's unlikely that one isolated fact in and of itself would be used to substantiate a charge, but the problem for the trump administration is every additional piece of evidence that comes to light here is like adding more kindling to a fire that's starting to burn. >> and here's what i think would be the crux of the problem, right, is that you have donald trump on air force one conferring with aides, trying to dictate a statement. which means he did know about the meeting, when he said he didn't know anything about it.
and he conducts the statement before donald trump jr. gives the statement, reveals it. does that mean that because he then later said he never knew anything about the meeting, that that lie in and of itself is that consciousness of guilt? is that a march toward obstruction? if you're a prosecutor, what do you make of that time line? >> those are all of the right questions. it's a really interesting situation. what was it about this meeting that they wanted to conceal? why didn't they want the truth to come forward? and why did the president apparently disregard the advice of mr. kushner's lawyers who wanted to put out a truthful statement, something that couldn't come back to bite them down the road. all of these questions are the way this investigation will proceed. and if we're talking about obstruction of justice here, and it looks like we increasingly are, we'll be looking to see whether or not there was a corrupt motive at play. and so these are all pieces of evidence that will tend to
establish or not the existence of criminal conduct. >> and you mentioned the advice of advisers. we don't know if it was attorneys, but we do know according to the leaks of this conversation on board air force one, someone in that gaggle said we should give a true statement and donald trump and others said no, let's give this statement instead. does that fact in and of itself prove to be incriminating? or tend to be incriminating? >> so prosecutors, for prosecutors when you see folks engage in a coverup, usually people that have nothing to add don't engage in coverups, right? it's like throwing down red meat to a group of prosecutors like the team mueller assembled. this is the information that really builds a trajectory for a team of prosecutors. >> if you were bob mueller, would you then want and now immediately depose both donald trump jr., jared kushner, paul manafort but also donald trump sr., the president? >> i think it's a little premature. something i like to do in building cases, particularly
cases of this nature, is that you want to have as much information as you can on hand. as a prosecutor, you want to know everything you can about a sequence of events, about potential criminal conduct before you get down to the point where you question key material witnesses, subjects, targets of the investigation. i think we're still not there yet in this case. >> joyce vance, former u.s. attorney for alabama. really appreciate your time. thank you. >> thanks for having me. >> joining us now, staff writer for the atlantic. mckay, thank you for being here. i want to take you back to that trump tower meeting. i think what the trump campaign or the trump white house has wanted the public to believe is that donald trump jr. proactively takes the meeting by himself. jared kushner and paul manafort barely know why they're there. does donald trump sr. dictating the statement that his son is going to give destroy the narrative? if so, is the white house worried they have now destroyed
their own narrative and incriminated potentially the son and the father? >> well, the question of incrimination is an interesting one. i thought what the u.s. attorney you had on just now had to say was interesting. i think that you're absolutely right that this damages the narrative that the white house has been putting out. i mean, the whole idea behind this was that this was kind of an innocent, innocent misguided thing that happened, kind of a comedy of errors, right, that donald trump jr. kind of had this meeting, that it went awry, people wanted to get out as quickly as possible. that the president had nothing to do with it, didn't even know about it. this news that he was dictating a statement doesn't necessarily mean that he did know about the meeting back when it was happening. what it does mean is that he was actively engaged in trying to mislead the public as to what that meeting was about and what was happening in that meeting. and that matters because the
whole idea that the president is kind of a bystander in all of this doesn't hold up under scrutiny when we have news like this coming out. >> you've done a lot of reporting on donald trump the person, right. and one of the things that comes through when you read your pieces is that donald trump is never a bystander. he's a micromanager. >> that's right. >> to believe even sarah huckabee sanders and he weighed in on what donald trump jr. would say, that is micromanagement. given that, does it seem credible to you that donald trump would be in trump tower when his son, campaign manager and son-in-law take a meeting that is specifically about the thing he wants to do, damaging information about hillary clinton which is what the subject of his speech is supposed to be, that he would then be told nothing about it? did he ever give donald junior that much autonomy to do anything? >> i will say that is not credible at all to me, the idea that this was somehow kept from donald trump. now, what i will say is he is a micromanager when it comes to
things he's interested in. he can be detached at other times when it's things that he's not interested in, for example, health care policy. but when it comes to digging up dirt on hillary clinton, which was one of the most animating things that was happening in his campaign for month upon month, he clearly would have known about it at least as far as i'm concerned. and also, you know, one of the things that he does is the way he runs his team, the way he runs his campaign organization is that he empowers his aides to kind of eat what you kill, to go after various opportunities and then come back and brag to him. and it's not credible to me that nobody in that meeting or nobody on that e-mail chain wouldn't have come back to trump and said hey, look, we have this awesome lead from the russians. they have -- they're promising dirt on hillary clinton. that's not credible to me. the other thing i would say about this whole episode that i think is illustrated here is
that donald trump overruled kushner's lawyers here by dictating a misleading statement. if the reporting is to be believed. if that reporting is to be believed, it's just another illustration of how impossible it is for anyone in trump's orbit, lawyers, aides, a new chief of staff, whoever else to rein in kind of the chaos of this white house because donald trump is going to do what he wants to do. and when i talk to republicans in trump's orbit, what they're telling me is that he doesn't view this whole russia issue, the whole issue of potential collusion and coverup as a legal problem. he views it as a political problem, one that can be combatted or fixed by firing off tweets or dictating statements or changing perceptions. he doesn't grasp the idea that there is a special prosecutor with a big team, you know, kind of combing through every crack and crevasse of his administration and former campaign looking for a crime. >> you could say that no man is
in so much peril as one can who cannot see any danger. we'll see what happens. mckay, thank you so much. really appreciate you. major breaking news tonight. we're learning about a radical new policy change the trump administration is reportedly about to undertake. the reporter who broke that story joins us next. when you switch to progressive. winds stirring. too treacherous for a selfie. [ camera shutter clicks ] sure, i've taken discounts to new heights with safe driver and paperless billing. but the prize at the top is worth every last breath. here we go. [ grunts ] got 'em. ahh. wait a minute. whole wheat waffles? [ crying ] why! wait a minute. whole wheat waffles? ykeep you sidelined.ng that's why you drink ensure. with 9 grams of protein and 26 vitamins and minerals. for the strength and energy to get back to doing... ...what you love. ensure. always be you.
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about the business of implementing policy. and tonight we're getting the first glimpse of something truly radical that this administration is preparing to do. the "the new york times" reports that the justice department plans to take on affirmative action in college admissions. quote, the trump administration is preparing to redirect resources of the justice department's civil rights division toward investigating and suing universities over affirmative actions admissions policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants, according to a document obtained by the "the new york times." the document, an internal announcement to the civil rights division, seeks current lawyers interested in working for a new project on investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions. what the "the new york times" is describing a justice department that is operating in a way that is radically different under attorney general jeff sessions.
the initiative to uproot affirmative action appears to be coming from not the career staff at the justice department but from the political appointees. that raises questions about whether the career staff in the civil rights division will begin leaving the justice department rather than staying on and carrying out a mission that's gone upside down from what it used to be. already the justice department has changed sides on key issues, going from challenging the law under president obama to dropping the matter. under obama the justice department moved aggressively in support of gay rights. now the justice department argues that civil rights law does not protect gay people at all. and tonight we have this new reporting that the justice department intends to use resources from the civil rights division to go against affirmative action. check out the timeline here. the memo calls for lawyers who would like to be involved in the anti-affirmative action project to submit their résumes by august 9th. joining us is charlie savage, the "the new york times"
reporter who broke this story tonight. mr. savage, thanks for your time. this directive that's coming out to switch sides on affirmative action, it talks about going after universities. in your reporting, are there specific universities in mind or are they talking about actually suing colleges and universities over their policies? >> they're definitely talking about suing colleges and universities, but they're also talking about first investigating them. that could have a chilling effect as the universities don't want the weight of the justice department brought against them. i don't think they've gotten far enough to identify specific targets. what they're trying to do is staff up for the project. they're looking for people already working for the justice department's civil rights division who would like to go after universities and colleges based on race-based admission policies, affirmative action, but they haven't picked those people yet. and one of the interesting things about this is this is a project that is going to be run out of the front office of the civil rights division.
that's where the political appointees, the people selected by president trump and attorney general sessions work, and that's even though the civil rights division has an entire section that's devoted to enforcing anti-discrimination laws in schools and universities, but they're bypassing that. that section is full of career people, civil servants who have been spending years working on enforcing the laws and they apparently don't trust those people or those people don't want to have anything to do with it. this is going to be a side project run out of the political appointees shop. >> did you get a sense of who is initiating this? is this coming out of jeff sessions, something from the miller/bannon wing in the white house? >> i would be lying if i said i knew who came up with the idea. the civil rights division had one acting head until last week, thomas wheeler who was the general counsel to vice president pence when we was the
governor of indiana. he just left that position and a new acting head has taken over. i should hasten to say, though, i think this is the kind of thing that one expects to see, especially in recent decades during republican administrations. you know, we spent a lot of time sussing out the weird things that are happening that seem to be unique to trump that wouldn't happen if it was president marco rubio or president jeb bush. but the civil rights division is sort of a hot potato that during republican administrations in general has a dramatic pendulum swing. it may be that any republican president would have presided over a civil rights division that does some of the things that you talked about in your introduction. certainly during the george w. bush administration the civil rights division was a major battleground for culture war clashes between career liberal staff who were interested in enforcing civil rights laws in a traditional manner and a political appointees coming in trying to take it in the
opposite direction. >> and those of us in florida remember that as governor jeb bush ended affirmative action by decree. this is a republican thing. charlie savage, the "new york times" reporter who broke the story tonight. thank you. joining us now is the acting head of the civil rights division in the justice department until january. she's now the president of the leadership conference on civil and human rights. thank you for making the time on short notice to come in. and i just want to get first of all your reaction to this news that there is going to be this special project in the civil rights division to potentially sue universities for what they consider to be discrimination against white applicants. >> look. i think it's part of a trend of seeing civil rights laws turned on their head and being used to advance an agenda that they certainly were not created for. and that is why you're not seeing career lawyers -- you're not seeing this project being housed in the educational
opportunity section that day in and day out enforces our federal civil rights anti-discrimination laws. this is a position in the political front office because it is part of a political agenda that has been, you know, quite active in this country for some time. >> and you -- "the new york times" piece that came out tonight quotes at least one activist an anti-affirmative activist. this is something welcome for those who oppose affirmative action and it's a long time coming. is there anything in civil rights law that allows the justice department to sue a university for having affirmative action policy to recruit people of color? >> well, look, the united states supreme court considers this issue periodically and last considered it in a university of texas case that went up to the supreme court during the obama administration. and in that case the supreme
court held, upheld a very carefully crafted race conscious plan that university of texas was implementing. so this is -- there is good law on these issues. but what charlie said is exactly right, which is what the justice department of schools and colleges that are engaged in trying to ensure diversity in their student body is going to be chilled by the notion that the justice department is investigating. this happened during the bush administration as well where roger clegg's organization and other organizations that have long had an anti-diversity agenda have -- were sending letters to schools and threatening them with lawsuits, and it did have a chilling effect. and i think that's something we should be very concerned about here. and having it come and having this position of course housed in the political front office, it may be that it's multiple positions just shows that there's significant interest from the leadership offices and the justice department to make this part of a concerted effort.
>> vanita gupta, thank you so much for making the time tonight. appreciate it. >> thank you. meanwhile, a fox news contributor is out tonight with explosive allegations that the cable network concocted a story intended to deflect criticism aimed at donald trump. that story is next. hanging out in here. so if you need anything, text me. do you play? ♪ ♪ use the chase mobile app to send money in just a tap, to friends at more banks then ever before. you got next? chase. helping you master what's now and what's next. "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
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radio. but today the fine folks of npr deliver a stunner. their story detailing a lawsuit that alleges that fox news deliberately concocted a story with the specific intent of helping clear donald trump of suspicion that his campaign colluded with russia in the run-up to the 2016 election. the story involved a 27-year-old dnc staffer named seth rich who was murdered last year in which police said was a botched robbery attempt. in may of this year fox published a story saying it was rich who leaked all of the e-mails and not russian government hacker. the story quoted rob wheeler saying his only investigation showed a leak between the dnc staffer and wikileaks. a week later fox news retracted the story. it said it did not meet fox
news' standards. and today in a lawsuit uncovered by npr, rod wheeler, the contributor alleges that those quotes were fabricated. that he never said he connected the dnc staffer to wikileaks. more than that, he alleges that fox's story was designed to shift the blame from russia and help put to bed speculation that donald trump colluded with russia. wheeler claims that he, along with ed butowsky had a meeting with then press secretary sean spicer to inform him of the story that was then in progress. the lawsuit cites a text message from butowsky telling wheeler, quote, not to add any more pressure, but the president read the article. he wants the article out immediately. it's now up to you, but don't feel the pressure. sean spicer admitted having met with the two men but denied that the president or the white house had anything to do with the story. for his part, butowsky said he was joking with and he said the
president read the story. the reporter texted him and said reread the story we sent you last night and stick to that script. the story quotes an e-mail that was sent to fox news anchors the night before the story broke coaching them on how to present it. quote, one of the big conclusions that we need to draw from this is that the russians did not hack our computers and steal e-mail. and there was no collusion like trump with the russians. wheeler appeared today on "the beat" and talked about the allegations in the lawsuit he's making against fox news. >> fox news reporting you as the source linking the dnc staffer to this hacking. you're saying at the time that was false. >> the reporter at fox news malia zimmerman wrote that story. i immediately challenged her saying, that's simply not true. you and i both know that's not true. and she said her bosses told her to leave the quotes in there. i said why would you leave something in an article that you
know is not true? that's why we're here today. >> wheeler says because fox news pinned a false story on him that, his reputation has been essentially damaged. fox news for the report denies that the story was designed to detract from russian collusion narrative. they say fox has no evidence that rob wheeler was misquoted. joining us, david. what a great scoop. congratulations on that first of all. and let's start with how rod wheeler wound up in the middle of this in the first place. >> well it's almost, not quite but almost a hermetically sealed universe. you've got ed who is the pitted figure. unpaid figure that appeared on fox news, fox business as a supporter of the president. he decides in february he's going to help out the rich family. after all the murder of seth rich that happened last july
2016 was never solved. he was fatally shot on the 10th of july last year. he says, i'm going to help the family. i've uncovered a piece of information. a friend brought it to me. tells the family. what's more, you guys should have a private detective. they said they can't afford it. he said why don't i take care of that for you. they present him rob wheeler. free of charge, an investigator. presented with an unusual degree of documentation in this lawsuit is that from the outset this was a vehicle, according to the lawsuit, according to wheeler for butowsky to essentially exonerate the president, exonerate the trump campaign to its ties of russia. saying these hacks of thousands of e-mails unleased from the democratic national committee last year, they were done in an insider. once more, there was a coverup and that might be linked to the democrats themselves. as far as we can tell, as far as we know, there was no basis to
make that allegation in the story. but the story was the fruit of the seed that was planted by ed butowsky, if to believe the evidence and the material presented by rod wheeler's lawsuit. >> do you get from your reporting that rod wheeler understood when he took this job that his job was to essentially frame him as the person who stole and leaked those dnc e-mails? >> i think rod wheeler decided to go along with this. he had to make a conscious decision in the beginning that he was comfortable with this fox figure, this clear trump supporter being the benefactor there. i do think rod wheeler did not fully accept or appears from his public statements to have not been fully comfortable with the conclusions of metropolitan police that it was clearly a botched armed robbery or the assertions by democrats and by the rich family that there's no links. on the other hand -- and you've seen that from some of the responses that the rich family
has had for some of the things that rod wheeler has said. on the other hand, rod wheeler strongly feels and has material strongly supporting the idea that he did not want to be saying publicly a lot of these things that were cut against what he knew he couldn't support. >> i want to play a little bit of rod wheeler when he was on sean hannity making the case about seth rich. take a listen. >> what did you discover in terms of the contacts with wikileaks? >> right. well that's an excellent question. let me clear that up right now exactly what it was that i found. now, i have never seen the e-mails myself directly. i haven't even seen the computer that seth rich used. >> doesn't sound like he was making a definitive case on the air. did he indicate that he was deliberately walking himself back on the air or in that clip is he just going along with what sean hannity and what fox news and what mr. butowsky wanted him
to do. >> i think he was stopping short of what he was being pressured to do, saying that the president of the united states wanted him to say these things, and by the reporter of fox news. and this isn't in the context. it's in the suit but borne out by my reporting. wheeler was a guy who was paid per appearance on fox news. he didn't have a set salary, wasn't on staff, per se. and he was very much trying to, over the course of this year, raise his profile there, make the case that he deserved a more prominent thing there. he's got this tension. you've got to provide fox with what it wants, but at the same time he's stopping short of this. if you went along a little further in the appearance he made on that night, may 16th of this year on the sean hannity show, wheeler starts to offer body language and tonal emphasis in a way that suggests he's agitated. but if you look at what he says, it might be consistent if you listen to what somebody in law enforcement has said that it is possible there was some link with -- it's very far short of
the declarative things assigned to him and put in his mouth. one of the fascinating things, one of the things i found so powerful and was able to convey in the story i did this morning was if you listen to the audio tapes, which are part of the story that we did for the radio today. >> sure. >> you hear him pushing back in a three-way conversation with malia zimmerman, with butowsky saying, i didn't say that. >> wow. >> this isn't what i said. this isn't what i now. and he said it's true. its not what you said about the e-mails. she acknowledges, the reporter from fox news, in her own words caught on tape -- it seems like rod wheeler spent time documenting what he said. caught on tape she's acknowledging that he did put words in his mouth. >> this is a huge story. david, a huge scoop. everyone should read this on npr's website. thank you. we hope you'll come back. much more to come here tonight, including what many in washington may be getting wrong about the new white house chief of staff. this is joanne.
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a basketball costs $14. what's team spirit worth? (cheers) what's it worth to talk to your mom? what's the value of a walk in the woods? the value of capital is to create, not just wealth, but things that matter. morgan stanley at his confirmation hearing in january, department of homeland security nominee john kelly earned plaudits on both sides of the aisle when he promised to speak truth to power. but it was at a hearing a month later that we got a truer sense of where his loyalties lay. >> do you have concerns about political operatives trying to influence the work of the department of homeland security? >> no.
i work for one man. his name is donald trump obviously. he has told me, kelly, secure the border. that's what i'll do. i'm mildly interested in what political people think about that mission. >> you were chosen by him. you work for us. for the american people first and foremost. i'm sure that's what you meant. >> we all work for the american people. >> now on his second full day on the job as white house chief of staff, john kelly is basking in the accolades. he fired the mooch. he's been reaching out to top democrats. being wildly hailed as the man to withhold the president. much of the positive press coverage has been on a president who prizes loyalty above all else. much of the evidence to date indicates that kelly has been a trump enabler, defending jared kushner's attempts to create a secret back channel with russia calling it a good thing, saying
i don't see an issue here. to his consistent defense of the muslim travel ban. john kelly has been in virtual lock step with donald trump on every issue, including immigration. telling lawmakers if they don't like the immigration laws they should change the laws or quote shut up. john kelly taking business at dhs has meant immigration arrests are up 40%. dhs being one of the branches of government that have been willing and able to execute trump's policy principles. now that he's in the oval office, the only questions that matter are whether kelly can prevent trump from moving against special counsel robert mueller and whether he'll resign if he can't. joining us is brian broiler. thank you for being here. have you been able to determine whether or not general kelly, who has been a loyalist up to
now, has any intention whatsoever of reining trump in. >> it's clear 24 hours in that's fixed everything, that there's nothing wrong at the trump white house anymore and that all of the problems there are solved. even if you set aside everything that you said in your lead-up which creates a damning portrait of kelly as more of a loyalist than a truth teller. if john kelly could be the most effective chief of staff in history, more effective than panetta and james baker and could lock down the oval office so people weren't coming in and out getting the president's ear, if he could fire jared kushner and ivanka trump so there wasn't family interference, at the end of the night trump goes up to the residence, he gets on the phone with all his friends, wakes up in the morning, turns on the tv of fox news. he can just upend decisions that john kelly made in concert with the president on a lark because he doesn't have the discipline to be managed by any chief of
staff. >> and he doesn't listen to any of the generals. mcmaster hasn't had an easy time getting him to listen either. there's a part of your piece where you talk about the leak, potentially from allies of kelly or comey. about kelly calling jim comey after he was fired and offering him support. this is what you write in your piece. if kelly or his allies orchestrated this leak, it would suggest a serious determination on his part to use his power to protect the russia investigation. if comey or his allies were the prime movers, the motivation was to force kelly to live up to the standard that he pretended to hold when he called comey to vent two and a half months ago. do you have a greater sense of which of those two things is more true? >> i don't. i wish i did. i think the effect is similar, whether the leaks stem from the comey camp or the kelly camp is that it limits john kelly's options insofar as donald trump tries to make a move first on jeff sessions and then
ultimately on robert mueller. that's the one place where john kelly really can -- if we're going to have to lower the bar for everybody in the trump white house, you can't lower it to he fired anthony scaramucci, the clownish mid level figure. is he going to intercede if trump tries to break the rule of law by quashing the mueller investigation? and there are ways he can do that. he can use his influence over personnel matters to prevent the firing of jeff sessions or to make sure that sessions is replaced by somebody who maintains the integrity of the mueller investigation. or he could resign if trump ultimately does move on mueller in some way. and the leak that went to cnn right around the time that scaramucci was fired sort of suggested that in his heart of hearts he wanted comey to think. he didn't think the firing was appropriate. he thought there was a danger there. and that, you know, his own sense of personal integrity had him thinking about resigning. if that's the case, it goes ten times and much if trump moves on
robert mueller. if trump's actions towards sessions and mueller continue as they have been, most likely that was not something that john kelly put out there to try to close down trump's avenues of approach towards mueller and it was an outside leak to try to control john kelly himself. >> brian boitler, thank you so much. really appreciate your time. a lot more to come on what has turned out to be a very busy news night. stay with us. i want someone that makes it easy to find what i want. booking.com gets it. and with their price match, i know i'm getting the best price every time. now i can start relaxing even before the vacation begins. your vacation is very important. that's why booking.com makes finding the right hotel for the right price easy. visit booking.com now to find out why we're booking.yeah!
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republican leaders in the senate are now saying they are ready to move on from trying to repeal obamacare. at least for the time being. in the first days after the stunning defeat for republicans they have talked about trying again. possibly even before the august recess. they do not have a bill that could pass with republican votes alone. now the senate will try something else. today the republican and democratic leaders of the senate health committee announced a new approach. senators lamar alexander and patty murray say they will hold bipartisan hearings on health reform starting the first week in september. alexander and murray are hoping to work fast. the contract for insurance providers come up at the end of the month and senators want to have a bipartisan proposal if in place before that. outside the capitol, the pressure from activists has continued. joining us is karine jeanpierre, senior adviser and national spokesperson for moveon.org. thank you for being here. >> hey, joy. >> we know that senators who voted no have gotten a lot of love for it.
lisa murkowski is greeted by cheers as she goes around alaska. people cheering her. susan collins stepping off a plane in bangor, maine, and greeted with applause, rounds of applause in the airport for voting no. you see pictures for murkowski. there is susan collins getting love in the airport. is moveon and other organizations using that positive affirmation those senators got as a way to cajole other senators to vote that way next time if they try to repeal? >> i think so. the 20 million americans about to lose their health care last week were certainly the winners in all of this, and the resistance, the american people who stood up and rejected trumpcare and what republican senators were trying to do. but we have to stay vigilant. because i don't think that republicans are going to stop their crusade of trying to take away health care and also take
away obama's legacy. so we have to continue to fight. recess will be out. i think we will see the same energy we saw on the february and april recess in the august recess and we just cannot give in or stop. >> i know the resistance has been very much stick together democrats. oppose everything republicans do. will liberals, progressives punish any democrats who actually work with republicans on a bipartisan fix to obamacare? >> i think this is the way it looks. i've heard about these bipartisan type of committees coming together, people coming together. our kids have more power in congress than they do. until the leadership, until the leadership on both the house and the senate come together and say look, we are not -- we are
taking full repeal off the table, it is just not going to happen. because the hard liners of both the house and senate have been really clear. they want full repeal. so i'm not sure that is actually going to happen unless, like i said, republican leadership really decides that this is not -- this is that we need a bipartisan action here. >> do you think some of what the resistance should be towards them or bucking them up or say to leadership, you better fix this bill or else. >> i think what we are trying to do is make sure they don't take away health care. if there are fixes absolutely that needs to be done to obamacare. so that is something we understand. and we want to make insure that happens. but taking away health care from people is not the answer. the policy we should be going for is medicare for all. that's a popular policy that americans want and it solving many problems we have right now. >> we will see if democrats want to take that big of a leap. we shall see.
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it can seem like triggers pop up everywhere. luckily there's powerful, 24-hour, non-drowsy claritin. it provides relief of symptoms that can be triggered by over 200 different allergens. live claritin clear. we noted tonight that npr is not the usual source for news from inside the white house, but it was today. here is another surprise example. golf magazine, take a bow.
golf.com reported today about the president and his many trips to golf clubs in new jersey, including this. quote, chatting with some members before a round of golf, the president explained his frequent appearances at bedminster that the white house is a real dump. the white house is already trying to get in front of this one telling golf magazine that no such thing never happened. leading one to imagine what would have happened if barack obama had ever said such a thing about the white house. well that does it for us tonight. see you again tomorrow. and now, it is time for "the last word with lawrence o'donnell." good evening, lawrence. i'm sure you think the white house is beautiful. >> i have not been in a fancier place than the white house, including any manhattan apartment. although donald trump seems to think otherwise. what if anthony scaramucci or someone like that worked in the obama white house and what if that person was not white and
those words became public? that person had said all of that? how long -- how long would it take for that person to be fired? how long would it take for the president obama for wearing a tan jacket and for not wearing a tie and said he was completely disrespecting the oval office by not wearing a tie. but their current guy, current occupant calls the white house a dump. a beautiful, beautiful historic museum that bebelongs to the american people, a dump. >> joy, something you might have missed last night because it was another news work, eric trump was on another news network. i leave it to you to guess which show. he was on the highest-rated show, sean hannity show, and people love donald trump. and he is right, come on. people do love him. there are people who love him. a lot of people love him. but i looked at the cable news ratings last night and more