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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  August 22, 2017 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT

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>> or the rules that he's i guess nothiignoring are the rul that are keeping me down. and if he can ignore them, so will i and i will him. the rachel maddow show starts right now. >> i've never felt so much pain at the word cute before. i've never thought of the word cute inflicting harm. thanks to you for joining us this hour. we've got a big show tonight. the mayor of phoenix, arizona is here with us live in just a few minutes. president trump of course is in phoenix, arizona tonight, despite requests from local authorities there, including the mayor, that the president please not make this trip, that he please not do this rally, not in phoenix, not now. the mayor of phoenix is about to join nus a moment. he is a democrat but some of the news breaking tonight about the conflict over the president's arizona rally really is not democratic versus republican politicians. it's very much just republican
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politics. republican politics pushed to the max to the point that the former chief of staff, mitch mcconnell, his former chief of staff is tonight issuing threats to president trump that if president trump doesn't back off what he's doing to attack other republicans right now, he may find himself facing impeachment in the senate sooner rather than later. unnamed republican sources are also making serious allegation to the "the new york times" tonight that beyond the allegations already been investigated that the president may have pressured the fbi to drop its russia investigation. beyond the existing investigation into whether or not the president obstructed justice when he fired the fbi director to try to stop the russia investigation, unnamed republican sources are telling the "the new york times" tonight that the president may also have tried to block the investigation into the russia matter that's being conducted in the united
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states senate by the investigating committees in the united states senate. in fact, these allegations tonight from these republican sources speaking to the "the new york times" are that those efforts by the president to potentially obstruct those inquiries into that part of the russia matter, those efforts by the president may be continuing to night as we speak. so this is actually, i think, potentially a very serious turn in the ongoing investigations into this president, into the russia scandals that continue to swirl around this presidency. now, in order to understand what's going on here, though, the details of this, i'm going to lay out the story as the "the new york times" tell us tonight. the details of this at first are going to sound like a politics story. but if you wade through the beltway politics just a little bit what you end up with very quickly looks like it may be a brand-new problem for the white house in terms of potential obstruction of justice by the president personally.
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here's the story. the president tonight, as you know, has gone to phoenix, arizona. phoenix has a democratic mayor who we're going to speak with. but the state has a republican governor and two republican senators. it is not an accident tonight neither the republican governor of arizona nor the two republican senators from arizona are going to be attending this event with the president. that is because those two republican senators from arizona at least, they appear to drive this president crazy. even before arizona senator john mccain blocked the last republican effort to repeal obamacare many the senate, the president's hatred and disdain for senator john mccain had brought trump close to political disaster with his attacks against mccain, even targeting. mccain's heroic war record. that's mccain. the senior senator from arizona. the junior senate is jeff flick who has been more
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confrontational with president trump, including in a book that he's highly critical of president trump and himself and the republican party for allowing tallow ing trump to become their nominee. since then he's gone after senator flake, giving him the school nickname of jeff flake. more substantively, he has been hyping a republican senate primary challenger in arizona who ran against john mccain in the last election cycle and who wants to run against jeff flake in the next election cycle. she lost quite badly to john mccain last year. it's hard to tell at this point whether she poses a real threat to jeff flake next year. she cease expected to be at this rally with president trump tonight in phoenix and that's after trump has spent days hyping her candidacy and taking up her chances against jeff flake. i know that sounds like electoral politics, beltway
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politics. that's the immediate political background of what's going on in this story. mitch mcconnell, of course, is the top republican in the senate. whaf you think of him as a politician, as a leader and a republican, mitch mcconnell does take seriously his own responsibility in the senate to help other republican senators keep their seats. to help sitting republican senators fight off primary challenge challengers, to win their elections against candidates. at the very least mitch mcconnell needs to keep 50 other republicans in the nate so he gets to keep his job running the senate. but he just habitually goes to bat for any sitting senator. now that the republican president has moved on from unsulting one senator in arizona to trying to unseat the other
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republican senator in arizona, heading into this arizona rally tonight we knew that mitch mcconnell was upset with the president's behavior. we knew that he was trying to undercut the impact of what the president is doing. we knew that mitch mcconnell was going to try to blunt the effect of trump's trip to arizona by hosting his own mitch mcconnell high dollar fundraiser for jeff flake this week. we learned this week that a pac associated with mitch mcconnell started running ads against that trump endorsed candidate what is going to run against jeff flake in the republican primary next year. if you're interested in partisan politics or interparty fighting and the balance of power in the senate and stuff like that, those are all interesting details, right? this is an interesting story. this is an interesting tale of intraparty fighting to follow. but you only have to follow it
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that far before it jumps to a place that is way beyond politics. tonight in the "the new york times" this little politics story moved from interesting to uh-oh if you are the white house. first there's that impeachment threat that i mentioned. a man named billy piper is quoted by name tonight in the "the new york times." he's now a lobbyist. until recently he was chief of staff to senator mitch mcconnell. and billy piper throws this threat in the president's direction tonight in the "times." when you hear the threat you'll understand why it's important that he allowed himself to be quoted by name in making it. her's what he said, quote, the quickest way for trump to get impeached is for him to knock off jeff flake and deen hiller and be faced with a democrat led senate. now in a typical political fight that would be the place where you would give a little bluster, a little brush back. you don't want to lose the senate, do you. with this president a brush back citing basic senate math like
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that becomes a credible threat of impeachment for the president. and republicans apparently are not afraid to say it, including republicans very very close to the top republican in the senate who controls what happens in the senate, mitch mcconnell. so there's that, the impeachment threat. but here's the worst part from the white house'sperspective. apparently before trump and mcconnell stopped speaking to each other all together, which is where they are at right now, apparently the last time they spoke they had what is described as a profane shouting match on the telephone. this reportedly happened on august 9th. president trump apparently placed the call from one of his golf courses and he spoke with senator mcconnell directly. citing republicans quote briefed on the conversation, alexander burns and jonathan martin at the "the new york times" tonight report that there were two subjects that trump and mcconnell screamed and swore at each other about on that call on
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august 9th. number one was who is responsible for republicans failing to repeal obamacare. okay. got it. we knew they were fighting about that already. but the other subject they apparently screamed and swore at each about was something very different. i think i'll quote to you direct think from the "times." quote, during the call which trump initiated on august 9th from his new jersey golf club the president accused senator mcconnell of bungling the health care issue. quote, he was even more animated though about what he intimated was the senate leader's refusal to protect trump from investigations of russian interference in the 2016 election. again, that's according to republicans briefed on the conversation. so in a call that is described as devolving into a profane shouting match, the president is reportedly berating and screaming and swearing at the juror leader in the senate
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because the senator hasn't protected him from the russia investigations that are being carried out under his purview by various committees in the senate. this is according to multiple republican sources who were briefed on that reported conversation between trump and mcconnell on august 9th. the reason that is very very important and not just a salacious detail about famous people yelling at each other, the reason that's potentially a big uh-oh for the white house here is but the criminal concept of obstruction of justice applies not only to law enforcement, ie, fbi investigations, it also applies to efforts to influence, instruct or impede the due and proper exercise of the power of inquiry and investigation as being had by either house in congress or by either committee in either house of congress. if that sounds wordy or arcane,
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i'm quoting the language of the criminal statute that defines on junction of justice and makes clear that on junction of justice applies matters not just by cops or prosecutors or the fbi it applies to efforts to impede impede criminal investigations. we're going to have expert advicen that on that in a mome. remember where the bob mueller investigation came from. was not just allegations about russian interference in the last election. it was not trump administration figuring constantly being caught lying about their contacts with russians, things they initially denied but later had to admit to. none of that was enough. the reason we got the bob mueller special council investigation was because the president fired the director of the fbi and that firing followed credible allegations that the fbi direct was fired after he
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refused to aseed the pressure from president that the fbi should drop the russia investigation. if the president has also been or is also now pressuring the leader of the senate to drop the russian investigations that are under his purview in the senate, that's not just personally driven gossip. that's a big deal. i mean particularly if he's been pressuring the senate leader to protect him from these russia investigations and mcconnell has not been doing that to president's ats faction and now the president is punishing mitch mcconnell nor not going along with his pressure. and this part of it is not secret cloak and dagger stuff. if this august 9th phone call that is reported in the "the new york times" study, if this happened the way they said it happened, if the president was berating him and swearing at him over mcconnell not protecting the president from the senate russian investigations, if that's true, well look what's happened since that call
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happened. starting august 9th the president has been using his twitter feed repeatedly to attack senator mitch mcconnell by name. the day after the reported call the president gave availability from his golf course where he suggested that perhaps senator mcconnell should resign as the leader of the republicans in the senate. now tonight less than two weeks later the president is in arizona trying to inflict maximum political pain of senate republicans in direct political conflict with senator mitch mcconnell. it's one thing if that's just politics pi politics. it's interesting but it's politics. if instead this is the president politically punishing mitch mcconnell for mcconnell refusing to acede to the president's russian demands, this will open a new front into the investigation of obstruction by the president. now the russia investigations
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that are happening in the investigative committees in the senate, those investigations as far as we can tell are full steam ahead. today the senate judiciary committee took what is reported to be many hours of testimony from the head of the political research group behind the infamous dossier of alleged dirt on president trump. the dossier was handed over to the fbi last year, it was published by buzzfeed in january. it has been the source of a lot of controversy. glen simpson is an investigator for "the wall street journal." he was interviewed by senate judiciary staff today for ten hours. there's one report tonight that he handed over as many as 40,000 documents to the committee. again, fusion gps is the outfit that ultimately commissioned that dossier and he just handed over 40,000 documents? the leader of that committee is republican senator chuck grassley.
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we've talked about here on the show the fact that senator grassley in the past has made an effort to undermine the dossier by attacking its origins and attacking fusion gps. those efforts have really been to no effect. tu today abc news reports that the man who created the dossier, not the man who commissioned it and arranged for payment of it, the former officer in britain who collected the intelligence, contacted the sources and wrote up the dossier in the first place, the man fired by fusion gps, christian steele himself, not only has talked to the finn in detail about the dossier and how he put it together. according to abc news today christopher steele has given the fbi specific information about the identity of his sources that he used to put the dossier together. now if that abc news report is true, that would allow the fbi to retrace christopher steel's
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steps to either verify or disprove what is in that incredibly inflammatory dossier. you'll remember that the key claim of the dossier is that the trump campaign not only knowingly colluded with the russian attack on election last year, it was involving exchange of information, collusion on the part of russia and it was illicit financial ties between trump, trump businesses and russian entities, including those close to vladimir putin. that's what's in the dossier, right? if the firm that paid for that information just handed over 40,000 pages worth of documents, and the founder of that firm just gave ten hours of testimony, and if the intelligence agent who collected that information has confided information about his sources to the fbi for their own
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investigation of those matters, well then you could see where the pressure might be boiling up in from terms of the white house really wanting to shut down these investigations. and looking ahead in terms of next steps, christopher steele hooim himself, he is eagerly sought by the investigative committees in the congress as a potential witness for their inquiries. we do not know if that would happen. on yo usually that would be a truckload of political dynamite for this country if he did testify, if his story held up. so i mean obviously there were high stakes here already. if this "the new york times" reporting and the abc news reporting tonight beares out, te stakes have gotten that much higher. i want to put one last point on it. we just got some exclusive new national polling from ppp, public policy polling. this is due to come out tomorrow. they've given us an collusive look at the numbers tonight.
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they're exclusive to us. this is a national survey results factoring in democrats and independents and republicans who of course remain very loyal to donald trump. here are these national top line results. quote, do you think that the russia story is fake news or not? answer from the american people, no, america do not think the russia story is fake news. question 21, quote, do you think that members of donald trump's campaign team worked in association with russia to help trump win the election for president or not? answer from the american public, yes, we think members of donald trump's campaign team worked in association with russia to help trump win the election for president. and here's the crucial follow-up question, question 22, quote, if evidence comes out that proves conclusively that members of donald trump's campaign team worked in association with russia to help trump win the
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election for president, do you think trump should continue to serve as president or do you think he should resign? answer from the american people by a 20-point margin -- yeah, in that case trump should resign, so says a clear majority of the american public in that instance. this is new national polling coming out from public policy polling tomorrow. they gave us an advanced look at some of the numbers tonight. in terms of the methodology of the polling, it was conducted through yesterday and it doesn't include any reaction to whatever the president is going to say tonight in arizona. and it doesn't have any reaction from this "the new york times" story that president may have another obstruction of justice inquiry to worry about. this is an effort by the president to shut down the investigations into his campaign. we're going to have expert advice on that inquiry coming up. plus the phoenix mayor joining us live.
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okay. we're following several breaking stories here tonight, including the forthcoming rally in phoenix that the president is holding there tonight despite requests from local officials that he not do it. the mayor of phoenix is going to join us in a moment. we're also following breaking news on another front related to the dossier of alleged russian dirt on donald trump. the political research group behind the dossier is fusion gps. the head of the firm is glen simpson, a former investigative reporter for "the wall street journal." his legal team has just released
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a very interesting statement tonight. this has just come out tonight and it's about the head of that firm, glen simpson, spending ten hours toads meeting behind closed doors with investigators from the judiciary committee in the senate. in the state tonight, following this marathon testimony, fusion gps is describing the dossier, the dossier about trump as a quote road map for investigation. they also say that they stand by their work. they stand by that dossier and what's in it. and then look at this. look at how they end their statement. they're basically requesting that the committee release the transcript of the ten hours of interviewing that glen sat for today. the committee has a transcript of the interview, the committee has the right to disclose the transcript if it wish to do so. which i think is fusion gps basically inviting the yjudiciay
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committee to make the content of the ten-hour interview vailable available to the public. and the president may have pressured the top republican in the senate to protect him from the russian investigations happening in congress. if that report is true, would that potentially open another line of inquiry into the president potentially having tried to obstruct justice on the russia investigation. joining us now is barbara mcquade, a former u.s. attorney for the eastern district of michigan. barbara, thank you for being with us tonight. appreciate you being here on short notice. >> my pleasure. >> i feel like i've come to learn in recent months about what obstruction of justice might mean, what it means in criminal terms in terms of somebody trying to block or pressure an fbi inquiry.
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does the same criminal framework apply to somebody trying to block an investigation by congress in. >> yes, there's a different statute but a similar one in the criminal code that makes it a crime to corruptly or by threats obstruct, impede or interfere with an investigation bay congress or any committee of congress. >> does the law spell that out? how far does that statute go in spelling out what kind of things would be considered obstruction? >> well, it has the same kind of language. it parallels the same statute that covers investigations by agencies or the fbi. but the key words there really are corruptly or threaten. if this news report is true, it sounds like you would have the elements of an offense, certainly the facts always matter. but one thing that's really important in stark contrast to what we saw a couple of weeks ago when president trump was threatening members of the senate like lisa murkowski in the legislative arena saying i'm
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going to withhold federal funds unless you vote for health care. that's okay. that's political hard ball. but when you get into congress's investigative powers and you seek to obstruct those, that is a crime. >> is that something that congress investigates because it's a crime in relation to a congressional investigation or is that something that the department or justice or the fbi would look into. >> i would suggest that is part to have purview of the special counsel robert mueller who has the authority to look into ties between russia and the trump campaign and matters that may arise out of it including obstruction of justice. my guess is robert mueller and his team would be interested in learning the facts of the case. it could be another count in any indictment or presentment that goes to congress. and in these kinds of case its it can bolster a second counst . if you've got a count with
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obstruction with jim comey and then you have another count with the same kind of theme against senator mcconnell here, those two counts can really become self bolstering of each other. it demonstrates a common scheme or plan that really helps bolster both of those counts. >> forgive me ignorance on this but if mitch mcconnell is the key witness to this, how this pressure happening in a phone call whab's described? the "the new york times" today, there were other republicans briefed on the contents of the call. gu if he was alone with the president on the call, bewould be the key witness here. could robert mueller compel him to testify? is there anything about his status that might protect him from having to provide testimony to any sort of inquiry? >> there's nothing to protect him from being compelled. my guess is that robert mueller would try to obtain information through an interview with senator mcconnell.
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-- protect him from being compelled under the law. >> former u.s. attorney in michigan, thank you for your time and always for your incredible clarity. appreciate you being here. >> mayor of phoenix joins us live in just a moment. stay with us. for your heart... your joints... or your digestion... so why wouldn't you take something for the most important part of you... your brain.
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it was 105 degrees today in phoenix, arizona. at this time of the year in phoenix, that means today is a today that ends in y.
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tonight temperatures were higher than usual. outdoor exertion was greater than usual in downtown phoenix thanks to protests for and against the president. the combination of the heat, the controversy over the president's recent remarks on race, the vitriolic immigrant speech he gave the last time he was in phoenix, the president has abandoned the idea of using tonight's appearance to grant a pardon to the recently convicted sheriff of mayor copa county. all of these things have combined to create real worries about what was going to happen at this rally, potential clashes between trump supporters and trump protesters. police have been trying to keep the two sides separate. the democratic mayor has been making the case in the recent days that the president shouldn't do this, shouldn't take it out on phoenix if he has a continuing desire to stoke
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racial tensions after his comments last week praising the people at the march last wear. greg stanton asked the president to postpone this trip. thank you for making time to be here tonight. how have things gone tonight so far? >> so far things have gone very smoothly in the city of phoenix. there have been huge crowds, people expressing their first amendment rights outside of the convention center, a large number of people entering the convention center to hear mr. trump's speech. i was disheartened when the press secretary said there would be no pardon for sheriff joe. we're still going to pay close attention. but i think that that announcement that there was no pardon for sheriff joe and all of his civil rights violations did make us feel better that things were going to go better here in phoenix tonight. >> that's great news about the peaceful nature to have protests
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and the fact that there hasn't been violence that people were so worried about tonight. obviously that's why a lot of people have their eyes on phoenix tonight is partly because of those worries. vi i have to ask you about the photoses we've seen today of folks with guns, trump supporters with guns and protesters open carrying tonight. arizona is an open carry state. does the presence of so many visible guns at tonight's protests increase your concern? >> yes, it does. and i wish that people who were coming downtown to express their first amendment rights either opposing the president and his policies and unfortunately his failure of moral leadership after charlottesville just a few days ago or those who support the president would leave their weapons at home. they don't need to try to antagonize others in the audience by bringing those very large weapons. it's unfortunate but arizona is an open carry state and there have been no arrests for any weapons violations in phoenix
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tonight. >> and mr. mayor, you were quite outspoken ahead of that that you did not want the president to come to phoenix and do this rally, you were worry about about his motivations coming there. did the president reach out to you, did the white house ever contact you to address your concerns or to find out more about whether there was a way they could do this that would be less antagonistic? did you ever have any contact with them? >> i put out a public statements strongly makes the case that this is not the time for the campaign rally. the phoenix convention center was rented by the trump for president campaign. such a short time after the tragedy in charlottesville, the tragic murder of a young lady at the hand of a neo-nazi, that it simply wasn't the right time. but the white house indicated
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they were not going to heed to my advice and they were going to move forward. >> and they never called you about it and you've never spoken to the president about it? >> i have not had the opportunity to speak to president trump about it. i'm not naive or polly annish. i didn't reasonably think that he would listen to me but the point had to be made. i speak for most of the people across the united states of america that said after the president failed to miserably to provide leadership in this country after the tragedy in charlottesville, that such a short time after to do a campaign rally in phoenix, it wasn't right. and so i stand by my statement that this should have been postponed. we're not saying never do it. look, we understand politics is politics and eventually you have to do campaign rallies. but this wasn't the right time in phoenix. >> phoenix mayor greg stanton. thank you for joining us. let us know what you hear from the president anytime soon. >> we will. >> we have much more to come tonight. stay with us. ♪
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bill assumed his mayo was the best choice. assume nothing. just like the leading brand, kraft real mayo is made with high quality ingredients at a price you can feel good about no wonder kraft is so good. in april reuters had a fascinating report about a billionaire investor you might have heard of, karl icon. reuters reported that he did something that nobody else had done before in a big way in the market. he started betting for some reason that the price of a specific kind of regulatory instrument was going to drop. it was going to get cheep aper. some oil refineries have to buy a thing called a biofuel credit. they buy these credits and karl
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icon started betting as a refinery owner himself, he started betting that the price of those credits was going to drop. and that was weird. nobody had ever really shorted those things before in the market. nobody had ever made a big multimill dollar bet that the price of the credits was going drop. but karl icon did. why did he do that? well, turns out that karl icahn was going to be named donald trump's special adviser on regulatory reform. and after he got that adviser gig, he set about advising the president to do things that would drop the price of those credits. so then he could collect on that otherwise mysterious a typical bet that he made that those credit would get cheaper. it sounds complicate fd you don't follow short selling and market stuff like this all of the time. but it's a simple and jaw dropping thing. billionaire bets on the market
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that a thing will happen, billionaire then joins trump administration to ensure that that thing will in fact happen. billionaire collects. that's it. congratulations. your country is now a former soviet corruptstan and the ruling family would like to see you right now. this is textbook banana republic corruption. people taking government jobs that then they use to make themselves rich in the private sector. the thank's actually most unnerving about the karl icahn story is how in the hope it's been happening. reuters made this chapter showing how the credits dropped. trump named and epa director who shares carl icahn's views and the white house announced that
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he will have an official role as an adviser and the credits dropped a little more ap and then a new biofuels regulation plan conceived by karl icahn was delivered to the white house and the price of those credits dropped more. every time that happened, that bet that he made was getting better and better. if you made that bet a few months back that the value of the credits would drop, yeah, you made a prettily good bet but it looks like your actions as part of the trump administration are what made that bet turn out so well for you. this is just textbook. in the months after trump's election the stock price of karl icahn's company which directly benefitted from the dropping price of the credits, the stock price of his refinery company nearly doubled. that's hundreds of millions of dollars for karl icahn. but now karl icahn is out, he
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resigned as regulatory adviser of the president last week, resigned moments before the new yorker published this bombshell piece detailing, and i mean detailing just exactly how karl icahn used his position in the trump administration to make himself hundreds of millions of dollars. experts interviewed by the new yorker strongly suggesting that he may have legal concerns that follow him home from that job that he just quit. the chief execer officer of george w. bush saying he's walking into possible criminal charges. quote, he cited a federal statute that makes it illegal for executive branch employees to work on me matter in which they may have a direct financial interest. the president and the vice president are exempted from that statute unpaid white house advisers like karl icahn are not exce exempted from it. quote, if i were karld icahn's
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private lawyer, i would tell him he should not have accepted that preshl adviser title. consider that advice taken retro actively. this is the defense. this sin credible. the white house and karl icahn are now pretending that never happen. that he was never appointed to anything in the trump administration. he never had that title. honestly this is their defense. the white house tells the new yorker that karl icahn never had a quote formal appointment or title after inauguration day. never had it. they're saying this never happened. president-elect donald trump names karl icahn special adds visor to the president on regulatory reform. that is their own press release. they're saying this never happened. no way. why would you think that this happened? why would you think he had been named a special regulatory adviser to president trump? why would you think something so
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crazy. clearly that never happened. this is the press release. the white house lawyer in charge of conflicts of interest making sure that conflicts of interest like this don't happen in the u.s. government is saying that karl icahn never had that gig at all, despite what you might have heard. they claim he was quote simply a private citizen. that lawyer -- that's the ethics lawyer. that lawyer that's supposed to make sure that karl icahn is complying the ethics laws, that lawyer used to work for karl icahn, clearly he's in a great to be the ar ba tore of ethics here. isn't somebody going to police this? is anybody going to investigate this? the justice department does have a big hairy corruption unit, right?
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are they going to investigate this at doj or could the attorney general in new york, could he investigate this? even if you are cynical, maybe if you expect thd from the outset with the administration, this is really bananas. this is as blatant as it gets. hold that thought. ♪
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this is one of those nights. breaking news from washington just in the last couple of minutes.
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inspector general's office launch end ethics investigation into a member of donald trump's cabinet. interior secretary ryan zinke. do we have the letter to put up there in first linked to, we just saw this from the "new york times." as you can see he posted a letter from office of inspector general at the department of the interior. now what this is about is apparently interior secretary ryan zinke making calls reportedly threatening federal resources for the state of alaska in order to pressure senator lisa murkowski over her vote on health care reform. we were just discussing this matter earlier this hour with barbara mcquaid, former u.s. attorney who was on numerous public corruption cases. she said this is an example of log rolling. something distasteful but not potentially criminal. this is the subject of an open ethics investigation by the interior department inspector general. that news just breaking moment ago. boy, this is good timing,
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joining us is walter shaw. until resigning last month director of ethics. thank you for being here. it is weirdly timely you are with us tonight. >> i think everyday is weirdly timing these days. >> on ethics, certainly. i don't know if you had seen this news before. they just announced it. the interior department is looking into calls placed by secretary zinke to reportedly pressure that senator into changing her vote. >> i hadn't seen that until you posted it. so i don't know the details. what i can tell you having worked with the inspector general community and having sat on the council of inspector generals as part of my job is director of government of ethics is that these are serious investigators. we are fortunate that cabinet agencies have inspector
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generals, inspectors general. there is no such thing in the white house. unfortunately for mr. zinke, he he has an inspector general. my advice to him is he better cooperate. >> let me ask you about this reporting, carl icon. we have been following this vigorous financial reporting, about how he might have been using his position as regulatory adviser to the president to self deal. to help make himself many, many, many millions of dollars at his refinery business that affected the price that shaped the bottom line, financial picture for his company. all seems to have happened out in the open. how have you viewed this reporting? is this sort of business as usual? is this a serious matter? >> it is no overstatement to say this is one of the most sinister episodes of ethical concern in
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this administration. and frankly any time since i began working in the ethics program 15, 17 years ago. what we have here is a situation where the white house and me pre zum z resumably aided by the office, former attorney for carl akon, have not ruled he is a federal employee. they tell patrick keef, the nwh wrote the new yorker article, they said there is no need to analyze this. of course there is a need to analyze this. the criminal conflict of interest statute says if you're a federal employee you simply cannot participate in matters that are going to affect your own financial interest. the question here is whether mr. icahn was a federal employee or not and the wlous telliwhite hos telling us they never even sat down and analyzed that. >> you sent a series of tweets
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in response to the report. that basically was an emergency flair to the public integrity section of the justice department asking them to take a look at this. promising to help senator grassley in the judiciary committee if they want it look at this. who should be investigating this? this does feel like an incredibly blatant red flag here if not more than that. whose job is it to police this? >> so flair is right. i feel like i'm standing on the deck of the "titanic" and i just shot the emergency flair into the air. this is a very serious issue. patrick keef did an extraordinary job reporting on this. in fact he did the department of justice's job for them. he uncovered significant information that raises enough smoke. mr. icahn may have another side to the story and may be able to provide more details but there is certain lay enough here that department of justice needs to dig into this, take a look at it, and if they fail to do it, the judiciary committee should
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have a hearing either about mr. icahn's status about whether he was an employee or into the department of justice's failure it look into this. this entire matter unfolded without any involvement of the office of government ethics. this is another example of the white house not consulting with us. and when you go to the department of justice and ask them for help, as the director of the office of government ethics on any type of ethics issue like that, the actual response i got from head of public integrity this year was, we read the paper too. so we don't need you reporting things to us. >> wow. walter shaudb, i really appreciate your time tonight, sir. this is a big serious deal. thank you for helping us understand it. >> thanks, rachel.
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this has been another one of those nights with a bunch of different breaking news stories including a few breaking just over the course of this hour. just to recap, breaking news tonight includes news from the new york times about the
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president reportedly pressuring the republican leader of the senate to protect the president. that was the language used by the times. protect him from the russia investigations protected by senate committees. we've had news tonight about the ten hours of closed door senate testimony delivered today from the founder of the firm behind the trump russia dossier. also what amounts to a call from his lawyer tonight, that the committee who took that testimony should publicly release the transcript of what he said over those ten hours. and then in addition to that tonight, we just got the news that interior secretary ryan zinke is now under investigation for what we're described as as arm-twisting calls he made to alaska senators to change lisa murkowski's vote for obamacare. all of that just breaking tonight. lots still ahead. now time for the last word with lawrence o'donnell. good evening,

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