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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  August 28, 2017 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT

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grand jury testimony. >> it could happen. bill clinton had to testify before a grand jury and i think it's a great point that paul makes. president trump as we have seen enjoying puffing and doesn't always tell the exact truth. but when you're under oath in front of the grand jury telling is truth is important. if you don't tell the truth, that in itself is a crime. >> that is all in for this evening. the rachel maddow show starts right now. thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. we're in day four of the hurricane induced crisis in coastal texas. we're continuing to watch developments in houston where rain continues to fall in just epic amounts and where local authorities are having to make hard decisions act essentially what neighborhoods and what areas they may have to condemn to further flooding on purpose for the sake of the greater good. today and tonight houston has been letting huge amounts of water flow out of flood control
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reservoirs into areas that have already been fatally inundated. they've been doing that to relieve the threat that the reservoirs and the dams that hold them together might fail because of the massive volume of water. with the entire texas national guard now activated, hundreds of thousands of americans in harm's way tonight, it is hard to overstate the magnitude of the crisis in texas. houston is the country's fourth largest city. it's also the fastest growing major city in america. and even though houston has been hit by disastrous flooding in the past, the rapid growth and sprawl in the houston area has created worse conditions for a storm like this. it's also created some insurmountable challenges in terms of trying to move people out of harm's way and trying to rescue people when the effort to get them out of harm's way is a failed effort. so we're continue to watch this story tonight.
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we're going to be getting a live report from houston in just a moment. we're also going to be speaking with an expert tonight who is an expert specifically on the question of what options houston has right now. what options texas has right now in the middle of the thing to cope with what has happened over the last four days and what is likely to continue to get worse over the next 48 hours. they have some very painful decision to make. and getting a sense of what options they have and what the consequences of the e tdefigurc might be, it's very difficult tonight. today has seen some stunning breaking news about the trump organization and the trump campaign about its tie to russia at the time russia was attacking the u.s. presidential election last year. one of the investigative reporters at the washington post who broke the story open both over the weekend and then today,
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ka carol is going to join us live in just a moment. we've got a little news to break on the trump-russia dossier prepared by christopher steele last year, the dossier of alleged dirt published by buzzfeed in january, created such an uproar at the time. people who commissioned the dossier described it as a road map into the investigation as to whether or not donald trump colluded with the russian attack. people who commissioned the dossier stand by it saying that the dossier is direct. the dossier is now back at the center of what we know about the trump-russia investigation. we're going to break a little bit of news on that later on the show this evening. but you know, the day that we the public all first learned about the dossier was actually before the election. it was on october 31st, halloween, 2016. david corn at mother jones magazine was the first person in the country to break the news
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that a form eer wrern intelligee agent collected intelligence reports damaging to donald trump specifically in relation to his relationship with russia. david reported on halloween that the fbi had seen the findings and was looking into them. nobody quite knew what to make of it at the time. i wish that i had known what to make of it at the time. i wish we all had, right? it really wasn't until the dossier itself was published months later in january, after the election, that we all learned how serious this thing was, that david corn had been describing in october. but on that same day that david corn published that story, right, the story that in retrospect now appears to be so important but at the time we didn't really get it. on that same day there was another really big hard to understand story that kind of landed the same way.
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it was written by franklin ford at slate.com. wrote a long piece published on halloween that described unusual computer interactions between a computer server in trump tower serving the trump organization and a computer server in moscow associated with a big russian bank called alfa bank. and what this slate article described is hard to put your finger on in terms of significance but the gran lar reporting was there as an unusually high volume of server to serve every communications between those two towers and there was no information about the content. there were explanations offered as to why the serves may have been communicated with each other but it was never explained in terms of what the significance of that information was. because of that, because it didn't have a clear bottom line, i think ultimately that story withered away in the public
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consciousne consciousness. whatever the reason was why the trump organization servers and the alfa bank servers were talking to each other during the campaign, it's interesting but there wasn't a connection between donald trump and alfa bank. so interesting story, we don't really know what it means and the whole thing went to the back of the stack in terms of things to worry about when it comes to donald trump and russia. maybe that whole alfa bank server was a coincidence or a technical glitch. that story came out october 31st on slate.com. then a week later donald trump won the election and then during the transition when he was president-elect, there emerged the next weird inexplicable maybe coincidental thing involving trump world and a russian bank. one of the numerous contacts with russian officials that jared kushner did not disclose on his request for a security
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clearance was a meeting that he took at trump tower during the transition where he hosted the head of another russian bank. jared kushner met with the head of a russian bank called veb bank. it's a bank but really just an entity of the russian government. the leadership of veb bank is hand picked by lad peer putin and veb bank's connections with russian intelligence are not subtle. sergei gorkov is a graduate of the fsb academy which means he went to kgb grad school. veb bank was coordination of a spy ring, that was the russian spying investigation where carter page was found by the fbi to have been essentially a willing target for those russian spies. at least he was a source of information for those russian spies who were looking for
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americans to give them investigation to help them with their spying efforts against america from their home base in new york where they were ostensibly working for veb bank but really they were spies. so there was the alfa bank servers communicating with the trump organization for some reason. what's that russian bank got to do with anything. then in the transition there's jared kushner meeting with the head of veb bank for some reason. what's that russian bank got to do with it. then not long after trump got inaugurated along comes another inexplicable seemingly random intersection between trump world and another russian bank. the next one we learned about was i think the biggest russian bank of all, a bank called sberbank which announced in march they hired new counsel to represent them in a civil case that was filed in new york. sberbank was accused of rigging the granite mining industry in
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rush. in march, sberbank in the middle of the case, they made a lot of eyebrows arch in the legal news when they announced they chosen their new counsel for that long comped expensive case and they said their new counsel was going to be donald trump's personal lawyer, marc kazowitz. ratin right? marc kasowitz heading follow-up trump's legal team on the russian investigation. if you're the lawyer coordinating defense for the u president of the united states facing a criminal investigation from the fib while he's serving as the president of the united states, you would think you are too busy to take on other clients. but if there are people wanting to know what's going on in the russian investigation, it may be
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handy to have conversations undercov the cover of attorney-client privilege with the lead laush on twyer on the information. maybe the alfa bank thing was a coincidence. maybe the veb jared kushner meeting was a coincidence. maybe the sberbank thing was a coinciden coincidence. maybe it has nothing to do with donald trump and whether or not he has an illicit relationship financial or otherwises with russia which explains why russia tried to hack or election and rig it in his behalf. maybe none of those bank connections, alfa bank, veb bank, sberbank, maybe none of them have anything to do with the russian involvement to disrupt or election. y
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if you want to talk about donald trump, until today the only so spirks banking relationship we've known about him recently isn't with any russian bank, it's with deutsche bank. deutsche bank is the bank that donald trump owes hundreds of millions of dollars to. deutsche bank is the bank that departme dealt with donald trump for years when no other banks would. deutsche bank continued to lend president trump hundreds of millions of dollars for deals even when he was unable to pay them walk on early loans, and he went so far as to file lawsuits against deutsche bank because she failed to pay them back. there are aspects of the donald trump-deutsche bank relationship that have seemed unexplained by the bounds of normal financial business dealings. deutsche bank on the surface appears to have been uncommonly
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generous to him and forgiving of him. deutsche bank gave jared kushner several hundred millions of dollars in loans right before the election, loans that jared kushner personally guaranteed which made it all the more unusual that he failed to disclose those loans of dollars. deutsche bank has been plagued by its legal liability for a multimillion dollar russia money laundering scheme. but you know after today, the deutsche bank russian money laundering case will no longer be seen as the connection between donald trump and it comes to the russia investigation. there was alfa bank with the server thing, veb bank with the carter page connection and
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sberbank hiring trump's russia lawyer. there's all of these russian banks getting strange new storing roles in american politics. there's another one, alfa bank, veb bank, sbe rrbank and anothe one called vtb bank, sanctioned by the u.s. government as punishment for crimea because this bank is seen as the russian government. it's an arm of the russian government and that's how the u.s. government views them. in fact if you go to vtb's website tonight, click on about vtb and they'll tell you in exact mathematical terms how they're controlled by the russian government. the russian government owns and controls 69% of the vtb bank, the majority shareholder of the vtb bank is the russian government. what that means in plain english
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is that putin runs vtb. putin controls the bank and what it does and what it spends on. and today we learn that up until last year, up until the middle of the presidential campaign vtb bank was lined up and committed to provide hundreds of millions of dollars in financing to build trump tower moscow. the russian government was going to do that deal. actually even without the knowledge that the financing for this deal was going to come from the russian government, it's still a heck of a bombshell. this is not some old deal that happened back in the past that people may have forgotten about. this is not something that trump worked on in the '90s and it fell apart. this is what he was working on in the campaign after he announced he was running for president, months into his presidential campaign when hi was full on running for president he was trying do this deal with the russian government in moscow. quoting from carol's story in f
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the washington post, trump posted numerous supportive comments about putin on the campaign trail setting himself apart from his republican rivals for the republican nomination. remember when trump warned that if robert mueller wanted to go looking into any of his business dealings that would be crossing a red line because clearly none of those personal financial interests or business dealings had anything to do with russia, that would be crossing a red line? well now we know that his business, the trump organization had everything to do with russia, even during the campaign. and we probably should have seen this coming. back in may we should have seen this coming when donald trump's lawyers started hiring their wnn lawyers. miken cohen has been donald trump's lawyer, his personal lawyer at times, a trump organization executive and lawyer. when trump started flirting with and running for president in the
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last election cycle mike. cohen was his top and most of the time his only political adviser. michael cohen is close to trump, he is trump's lawyer and he did hire his own lawyer this spring. and he confirmed that the attorneys investigating the russia affair asked him to give testimony and hand over documents. michael cohen's response was no, i won't. the committee subpoenaed him to testify and hand over documents. he's due to testify next week but apparently today he handed over document to the house intelligence committee and some of those documents and a long statement about them found their way to certain reporters and publications upon the handover of these document to congress. and just to reads between the lines a little bit, it does not appear that what happened here is michael cohen handed stuff over to congress and congress leaked it. i'm speak in terms of reading between the lines.
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the way that this is phrased and described in the reporting tonight is that michael cohen handed this stuff over to the house intelligence committee and in so doing gave some of it to reporters and a statement about it to reporters. to put the best possible spin on that information himself before investigators themselves consist start chewing on it and putting it u out in their own terms. and in this case the best possible spin is still pretty bad. the bottom line is that while trump was insisting publicly that he had no deals with russia and while he was questioned repeatedly about why he was being so bent over backwards positive about vladimir putin and russia throughout the campaign, he never thought to mention and apparently nobody in the trump organization or the trump campaign thought to mention that during the presidential campaign for five months of the presidential campaign the trump organization
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was aggressively over seeing construction. an intent to proceed with the project october twoif. michael cohen spoke with trump three times directly about the project. michael cohen also wrote directory to the kremlin, to vladimir putin's spokesman to ask for direct kremlin help in restarting discussions about the building project which by then he said was stalled. the other trump organization figure involved in these negotiations is someone we've talked about before named felix seder. a russian bonn ex-con convicted of a $40 million mafia connected scheme. in 2015 trump in a sworn deposition professed to not be able to recognize felix seder if he had been sitting in that room that day. it's a little hard to believe
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felix seder had been associated with the trump organization for years. carried a trump business card that described himself as senior adviser to donald trump even after trump said he wouldn't recognize him if he were in the room. by 2013 apparently felix seder was recognizable again because he was working with michael cohen to make the trump-moscow thing happen and trump was signing off on the letter of intent to move forward with it. michael cohen i think has to testify to house intel next week. he handed over document to house intel today. his strategy in so doing is to try to spin what he's handed over in the best possible way. it also appears to try to play down the importance of felix seder and his involvement in this project, especially seder's comments in the e-mails that have been handed over to congress now and to some reports in which felix seder brags that there's something about this real estate deal in moscow that in the end will result in donald
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trump becoming president of the united states. quote, our boy can become president of the usa and we can engineer it. i will get all of putin's team to buy in on this. i will manage this process. felix seder wrote to in michael cohen. michael, arranged for ivanka to sit in vladimir putin's chair at the kremlin. i know how to play it. we will get this done. michael cohen's strategy in releasing these documents to the press involves him playing down whether or not felix seder really could have been sirius -- serious about that. over the course of my business dealings with fe lakes seder he has sometimes used colorful language and been prone to salesmanship. when the times today went to check out felix seder's both
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that he was so connected he was able to arrange for ivanka trump to sit in putin's private chair at his desk in his office at the kremlin. the response from team ivanka was not exactly on brand. ivanka trump told the times she did in fact take a brief tour of red square and the kremlin when she was in moscow with felix seder but insists she was only there as a tourist. i have to say it does not seem that she had a totally typical tourist experience sbauz quote she said it is possible that she sat in mr. putin's chair. but maybe that's just a coincidence or don't all tourist visitor to the kremlin get to sit in putin's chair. alfa bank, veb bank, sberbank
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and vtb bank the russian government agreeing to finance to the tune millions of dollars to a project that no one admitted to that was happening prior to the campaign. probably just a coincidence. a lot going on today. lots happening in the news. carol joins us next. stay with us. these days families want to be connected 24/7.
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new, more reliable equipment for your home. and a new culture built around customer service. it all adds up to our most reliable network ever. one that keeps you connected to what matters most. trump-russia investigation is sort of built on stlee ideas, three questions. one is u.s. intelligence agencies saying the russian government interfered in the presidential election to try to help trump win. two, there are allegations about whether the trump campaign
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colluded with or helped the russians conduct that meddling during the election. and three, there are questions about the absolute denials from our new president that he has anything to do with russia. beyond that one beauty pageant he held there. the reason while his dealings with russia and his statements are of investigative interest is because investigators need to figure out in which there's some way in which she's compromised when it comes to russia. what that means is investigators need to figure out if russia holds something over him. do they know something, do they have documentation of something that she's done that he would not like them to reveal to the public. right? that's the essence of being compromised. being in a position where for some secret reason you feel the
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need to ingratiate yourself to a foreign power or at least not say no when they come calling. it boils down to this stuff. the trump campaign is alleged to have helped in that effort being investigated. and our now president says he's had nothing to do with russia, nothing. that's why this is a heck of a bombshell. top trump executive organization asked putin aide for help business deal. top exec from trump's real estate company e-mailed putin's personal spokesman during the campaign last year to ask for help. that is submitted today by a trump executive who has been trump's personal lawyer and who served as trump's political adviser for the start of his campaign while he was having trump sign a letter of intent to go forward with trump tower
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moscow to be financed by a russia-government run bank. joining us now is carol lenning, reporter for the washington post. thank you for being here. congratulations on the scoop. you broke this story yesterday about the trump organization trying to build a tower in moscow early in the campaign. what you report in this story and what the president said about his dealings with russia seem to me to be very much at odds. do you feel like what you've been able to report really contradict the way the president has characterized his own dealings in russia? >> i don't think it catches him in a horrid absolute lie. what it shows is that he hasn't been forth right about how eager he was, while a presidential candidate, to let his trump organization and his executive vice president pursue a very
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potentially lucrative deal in moscow. there are debates about how valuable it would be to him. but i think that there's something bigger behind what we've learned in the story that we broke on sunday night and the news story that we broke this afternoon. i think there's something much bigger in the fabric here and you kind of only learn it as each piece comes. but the bigger thing is while donald trump's sort of third son, michael cohen, a long time friend, ally, not his son by birth but while this person is working, negotiating a deal in moscow to develop and license moscow trump tower, a russi russian-born friend of his is saying, hey, if we make this deal the president can get elected. it's going to make him look like such a great incredible negotiator. and hey, i'm connected in russia and i can get vladimir putin to
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start saying nice things about this, you know, kind of distant horse gop hopeful. when we learn in our more recent story that at the same time michael cohen, this long-time ally of donald trump's, is reaching out to extremely high ranking friend of vladimir putin's saying i'd like your help. we're stalled. we would like to get this deal done, nudge nudge wink wink we know how it works in russia. you need to go to putin. and said we'd like your help. so that's a pretty dramatically different thing than what the president has said which is i have zero interest in russia, zero deals, nothing going on there. >> when felix seder connects this deal to trump's chances at becoming president, is it clear why he sees those two things connected? he said, wow, this will make him
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look like a great negotiator. i'm not sure i get his argument or the credibility of his argument in terms of why he thought these things were connected. 's very provocative to see somebody saying we're doing this deal and it will result in trump becoming president. we're doing a financial deal and it will result in his winning the election. but i don't get why he was connecting the two ideas. >> it could have been inkred wbl braggadocio commentary or somebody doing something a little different. but remember at this time vladimir putin is pretty angry with the u.s. he views himself on a bit of a revenge mission and he also wants to look like he has some da taunt. it appears that he thinks he can create a nonadversarial relationship with donald trump.
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and fe lix seder again, this russian-born broker long connected with donald trump and has introduced him since 2013 to fairly significant russian money men, this guy is saying look, this is good for putin and this is good for you, donald. he's telling this to michael cohen. you will look like you have negotiated with one of america's toughest adversaries. it happens that that would also be beneficial to lod mere putvl. it would look like he had a good relationship with the u.s. >> it is a bizarre reading of how it would have been greeted had that deal gone through. just understanding how the news workings and how people were treating trump. this is such a puzzle but the fabric here is absolutely stunning. and i have a feeling there's a lot -- this feels like the start of a lot of reporting in terms of us getting to understand this part of the campaign.
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carol from the washington post, really appreciate your time tonight. congratulations again on this scoop. >> thanks, rachel. the city of hugh stan today has been making hard choices on how to imagine the epic flooding that's innone dated the american city. we've got an expert to ask about this stuff. that story is ahead. plus the little bit of news we're going to break on the russia dossier. that's all ahead. stay with us. highest in investor satisfaction with full service brokerage firms... again. and online equity trades are only $4.95... i mean you can't have low cost and be full service. it's impossible. it's like having your cake and eating it too. ask your broker if they offer award-winning full service and low costs. how am i going to explain this? if you don't like their answer, ask again at schwab. schwab, a modern approach to wealth management. jimmy's gotten used to his whole yup, he's gone noseblind. odors. he thinks it smells fine, but his mom smells this...
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houston, texas is basically flat. it's america's fourth largest city with an elevation of 50 feet. houston is in a flat and watery part of the world with the gulf of mexico on one side and bayous running all through the city. since 1960 houston has suffered more deaths an property loss from flooding than any other locality in the country. and the people of houston has developed ways of trying to keep the water from winning. today with this huge, huge storm they tried one of their more desperate measures. there are two big dams on the west side of houston that hold by reservoirs, designed to keep water upstream from houston proper, to keep the water from rushing into the flooded bayous in downtown houston. this is how the reservoirs looked before the storm. after the storm the water had begun rising high enough and
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fast enough that officials feared the dams themselves would be overcome. to save the dams to keep holding back the gigantic quantities of water held in those reservoirs, they opened the billways enough to let some of the water out of the reservoirs. in so doing they flooded the neighborhoods in the path of that water that they had to let out then they don't do it gratuitously. they did it in a way to save the dams, save more people. it's a difficult choice that no mayor, no engineer ever wants to have to make. might have been the best choice they had today in houston, though. how do you imagine a ka tas tro fie like this while not only is it under way it is nod ending anytime soon. what is houston's options right now in responding to the continuing flooding. we're going to be joined next by somebody whose job it is to grapple with these exact questions. stay with us. ♪
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and right now save 50% on the labor day limited edition bed. explore your treatment options with specialists who treat only cancer. every stage... every day.... at cancer treatment centers of america. learn more at cancercenter.com/experts rosita's family was rescued by boat this afternoon. >> it's rising way too fast. >> they live west of houston where in an unprecedented move the army corps of engineers is doing controlled releases from two reservoirs before the storm moves away. it's and efforts to reduce the risk of destructive flooding and lessen the chance of the dams busting. >> everything started happening really fast this morning. >> you weren't flooded before
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then? >> not yet, no. the waters were rising but we weren't flooded. i understand they have to do what they have to do to save houston but that accelerated the process. >> they have to do what they have to do to save houston. this is reporting about a family directed affected by the controlled release. even on day four of this disaster in houston, people who are not flooded yet may yet find they're flooded tomorrow or the next day as the effects of the storm continue to crescendo and as officials make hard decisions. joining us is jim black burn, codirector of the speed center. it was established ten years ago to address severe storms and their impact on the gulf coast area. thank you for joining us toni t tonight. >> thank you. >> today the army corps of
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engineers decided to ep up the reservoirs. as far as i understand it's basically a way to save the dam to preserve the integrity of the reservoirs, to save a greater amount of people. the short term result is that some neighborhoods face new or worsened flooding. you've studied these things. what do you make of that decision they made today? >> that decision is based on these dams being evaluated as two of the six most dangerous in the united states by the corps. that's both in terms of risk of failure and the population affected downsteam. we've never seen this much rain before and they made i think the prudent decision, although very difficult decision to go ahead and begin to release water while also filling up the reservoir. but i don't think the reservoirs are intended to be used at full capacity which is a tragedy because we need every ounce of flood control that we've got? >> in terms of the flood control options, what kind of tools do they have at their disposal?
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what kind of decisions are they going to be making today, tonight, tomorrow as the storm continues to play out? >> i think we've got some of the most difficult decisions -- i would say these are decisions that frankly we will be facing every coastal city in the future. we've never seen a rain like this. on the other hand, there's a lot of options that houston has never really seriously considered before. we've always approached flooding from the standpoint of quote unquote controlling it. primarily with engineer solutions. and there are aare the of nonstructural alternatives. we're going to have to pull out a whole new bag of approaches that require creativity and that require you know really trying to come up with new and different ways of solving these problems. we cannot solve these problems by thinking the way that we've been thinking. we've got to come up with better, new ideas. >> given not only the size of houston but its critical location, things like the
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houston ship channel and the oil refineries there and all of the infrastructure there, some of which can be dangerous to human beings and other forms of life when it is put in danger. given what houston is and what's at risk here, what's been in the way of houston coming up with better decision to deal with flooding? it is striking that a city with that much chemical and oil infrom strauk chur is also the most flooded locality in the united states. >> well i think first of all, it's sometimes difficult to get the officials to really envision the magnitude of storms that we actually are foreseeing. we've foreseen, for example, something that didn't happen in this storm, which would be a hurricane with a large surge, perhaps 20 to 25 feet come in and hitting the houston ship channel. i've had several people tell me that's unrealistic. if we had modelled and presented the scenario that is unfolding, we would have been accused of
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coming up with unrealistic future scenarios. one thing is trying to get people to really be open minded about what the risks are. because i think we're really at a time of unprecedented risk with the heat, the gulf of mexico is extremely warm, among the warmest if not the warmest of the oceans of the world and it is a virtual heat pump into a hurricane. and that is a huge source of power for these storms. >> professor blackburn, i read that since 1989 what they call a hundred-year storm, a storm that's only supposed to happen in 100 years, since 1989 that's happened six times in houston. are you saying this isn't just a houston issue, this is a climate change issue in terms of how we anticipate the magnitude of storms and flooding? >> it's the type of things that they've been predingt in the sense that our normal distribution of storms is
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changing and will be skewing to more severe events. that's what we're seeing. we've seen two 500-year storms in the last ten years in certain parts of town. and i have no idea what this storm is going to evaluate as but certainly way beyond a hundred-year storm. i think the year hundred-year rainfall is virtually meaningless today. and the faederal emergency management are the ones who come up with this. and i think this affecting everybody in the united states. i think houston has a chance to be a trendsetter if are the country in figuring out how to cope and deal with these kind of new unprecedented storm events. but it's going to take every bit of creativity that we have. >> jim black busch codirector of the speed center at rice university in houston. thank you for helping us understand this. this is very sobering coming from you. >> really appreciate your taking
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the time, rachel. all right. we've got more ahead tonight. stay with us.
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i was off on friday night. sorry, not sorry. but at the height of friday's hurricane-themed news dump, we learned that president trump was granting a pardon to former arizona sheriff joe arpaio. that was friday. by late saturday morning, new reporting opened up a whole new question about that for the white house. "the washington post" cited three sources in reporting on saturday that last spring,
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months before sheriff arpaio's case even went to trial, the president looked into quashing the arpaio prosecution altogether. quote, asked attorney general jeff sessions whether it would be possible for the government to drop the criminal case against arpaio, but the president was advisesd that woud be inappropriate. a short time later, "the new york times" published its version, reporting that the president brought up the possibility of quashing the arpaio prosecution not just with attorney general jeff sessions but also with the white house counsel. okay. here's my question. if the president asked the a.g. and the white house counsel if they could maybe drop the arpaio prosecution somehow, is that potentially a legal problem for the president? where's the line between, hey, i'm just asking for a friend and obstructing justice? we got some expert advice on that today. former u.s. attorney barbara mcquade. you've seen her here on our show numerous times. tonight she tells us that this
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could be a separate count of obstruction of justice against the president if the president tried to interfere with the prosecution that's being investigated in terms of the comey firing. conceivably that could be investigated or pursued in this case. she also told us this, quote, if sessions or anybody else explained to trump that it is inappropriate to interfere with a criminal investigation before trump attempted to do so with former fbi director james comey, that could help establish that trump understood that what he was doing in firing james comey was illegal. ah, so in other words, this might get rid of his ignorance defense. if the president was told explicitly that he's really not allowed to interfere in a criminal investigation of joe arpaio, then he was in a position to know explicitly that he shouldn't interfere in the fbi investigation of michael flynn by pressuring james comey about that. so that's what we heard from former federal prosecutor barbara mcquade. we also asked bob bauer today,
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he cited the unusual nature of the arpaio pardon coming before sheriff arpaio was even sentences. he told us, quote, should thement ever face paempt on obstruction related grounds, this will color the case against him because it's a pardon that does not meet the standards for granting one in the normal course of events. so, again, asking about the arpaio pardon could be trouble for the president. we also heard from a former top official in the justice department, walter dellinger, who led the office of legal counsel under president clinton. walter dellinger told us, quote, no president should be interfering in a criminal prosecution on behalf of friends or supporters. it fundamentally violates equal justice under law. blunt from walter dellinger. so obviously a pardon is a presidential prerogative, but can a president try to quash a prosecution? is that legal? it turns out it's a good question. so stay tuned on that.
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we also have some exclusive new reporting tonight on the dossier of alleged russian dirt on president trump and the ten hours of testimony by a key player in the production of that dossier. we've got that story next. stay with us. my dad's.
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than a quarter million people. and is proven to cure up to 99% of patients who have had no prior treatment with 12 weeks. certain patients can be cured with just 8 weeks of harvoni. before starting harvoni, your doctor will test to see if you've ever had hepatitis b, which may flare up and cause serious liver problems during and after harvoni treatment. tell your doctor if you've ever had hepatitis b, a liver transplant, other liver or kidney problems, hiv or any other medical conditions and about all the medicines you take including herbal supplements. taking amiodarone with harvoni can cause a serious slowing of your heart rate. common side effects of harvoni include tiredness, headache and weakness. ready to let go of hep c? ask your hep c specialist about harvoni. last week, the head of the senate judiciary committee, chuck grassley, got asked by a very persistent, very bright constituent at an iowa town hall. the question that he faced was about the controversial dossier that first detailed collusion between the trump campaign and
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russia. the head of the company that commissioned that dossier, the co-founder of fusion gps, glen simpson, he spent ten hours giving a transcribed interview to judiciary committee staffers recently, all about the dossier. ten hours of testimony. afterward, glen simpson said he stands by the dossier. he also said, quote, the committee can release the transcript if it so chooses. the transcript of ten hours of his testimony on the dossier. at that town hall in iowa, senator grassley told his persistent constituent that he was open to releasing that transcript of those ten hours of testimony if his committee voted to do that. here's what we can report tonight. judiciary has 11 republicans and nine democrats. we think all nine democrats would likely vote to release that transcript. we reached out to all of them as well as the republicans on the committee. one of the republicans who isn't the chairman, senator orrin hatch of utah, tells us now that he would vote to release that transcript. quoting from a statement that his office gave us, quote, the
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senator, like chairman grassley, believes we should make as much public as possible and as soon as we can. barring additional and unexpected developments, he would vote in favor. so says orrin hatch's office. that's interesting. it means if one more republican votes to release that transcript, that would mean those ten hours of testimony about the dossier by the guy who commissioned it, who stands by the dossier absolutely, those ten hours of testimony may soon see the light of day, which would really be something. watch this space. this does it for us tonight. we will see you again tomorrow. now it's time for "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell. >> good evening, rachel. let me add one sort of senatorial courtesy point to what you just said, which i think makes it a pretty certain proposition that you're going to see those transcripts. orrin hatch is the senior most republican serving in the senate. he's been there for 40 years. he's actually the longest serving republican senator

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