tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC August 29, 2017 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT
thanks for staying us with us this headquarter. this is a incredible time to have fat image like this, but this is real footage from 1935. lack at look at this. >> the streets of houston, texas, the whole city turned into a flood. people clinging to roofs and awnings. 100 residential blocks and 12 business streets inundated, raging flood waters 12 feet deep. suburbs like an inland sea, clinging to life by a tree, life saving by life both boat. like a rescue at sea, people taken out of windows. a hundred,000 acres influenced a score of lives lost. in the heart of houston, guests in a hotel are marooned without food for 40 hours. a cable line is rigged to carry supplies.
all this was caused by a tremendous downpour, 15 inches of rain. buffalo bayou runs through the heart of houston. it wroes 7 inches a hour. this one the worst and wildest houston has ever had. >> that was 1935 in houston, texas. and as you heard the announcer say there, all that was caused by 15 inches of rain. what houston tonight is coping with is more like 50, 5-0 inches of rain. as of today this storm in houston has produced the single largest rainfall amount from a single storm that has ever been recorded in the continental united states. when texas broke that record today it surpassed the previous record which has stood since 1978 which was also a storm that hit texas. texas has a history, a geographic destiny to be the target of major tropical storms
in this country that can be incredibly damaging and that in particular can cause huge flooding. but after that gigantic flood in houston in 1935, and actually that one in '35 had followed another catastrophic houston flood six years early in 1929. after it happened twice in six years, after 1935 houston was so fed up that they decided to make a significant change to how that city could cope with these challenges. 1938 they passed the rivers and harbor act in texas. and that created the harris county flood control district. and in the 1940s that local authority in harris county, where houston is, and the army corps of engineers, they built two gigantic dams far out west from central houston. they built these two dam to hold back big reservoirs in what was
then a couple of unpopulated corners of harris county and ft. ben county. today those areas are no longer unpopulated areas. housing development pushed people that far west from houston and beyond. but those two dams are still there. one of them is 11 niles long, one of them is 13 miles long. and when the storms still come and the rain falls and the rivers rise in southeast texas, those two dams are still at the heart of how houston copes. the two manmade reservoirs that build up behind those dams that they built in the 1940s, to have still what protecting houston from the uncontrollable inundation of flood water. and those reservoirs are now famous nationwide because of what's happening in houston with the largest rainfall event in u.s. history. the two reservoirs behind the two dams.
the addicks reservoir and the barker reservoir happened. the other one, the barker reservoir, they thought it might start overflowing tomorrow. authorities say they expect that to happen tonight. and everybody has been reporting for the last couple of days now on how authorities had to make this very difficult decision to houston to relieve pressure, relieve the buildup of water in those reservoirs by allowing water to be released downstream. and of course downstream is houston. so those releases worsened the already devastating flooding downstream in houston and its western suburbs. but now it's a different matter. now it's the reservoirs overflowing. it's no longer a matter of deciding to let the water out of the reservoirs, it's getting out on its own regardless of what humankind decides to do with it. the addicks rest door started
overflowing the barker reservoir is expected to start overflowing tonight. tonight this giant storm will make landfall for the second time. it's had an unusual and sort of cruel pattern. harvey came ashore friday night, parked itself over texas for the duration of the weekend, went back offshore. tonight or early tomorrow the storm will come back again out of the gulf and make landfall for a second time. we're told to expect that at the louisiana-texas border. now the length of time this storm spent hunkered down over this region is absolutely key to understanding the magnitude of its devastation. how much of an impact it will ultimately cause, how much damage it will ultimately cause and how hurt the people of houston will be by what has just happened to them. in a couple of minutes we're going to talk about the shelter conditions that people are facing in houston tonight as they continue to ride out the storm that is not done yet and where the flood waters are not yet receding. apart from the issue of how the human population of houston is
coping with in fifth day of this crisis, with what's happened here today, it's become clear that while it's amazing that they are already suffering through their fifth day of this, the worst may be yet to come in a few very specific ways. there are a few critical things to watch overnight and tomorrow morning in terms of how bad this is and how bad it's going to get. one of them is the amount of rain. we're going to watch the 70-year-old dams that are holding back the giantly overfilled reservoirs west of houston. the army corps of engineers say that the dams are not at risk of failure the uncontrolled release of water from the reservoirs are not the same as the dam breaking. the reservoirs are still intact, they're just too full. that said, other critical infrastructure that was
protecting parts of southeast texas has failed today. the river runs through brazoria county. a beautiful part of texas between houston and the gulf of mexico. the county put out this all capital letters exclamation message today as that county's residents were waking up to another day of the storm. the levee has been breached. get out now. that message from brazoria county this morning. this is a levee on the river in the county. when that levee breached, this county could not have been more clear in that instruction or more urgent in what they needed people to do in order to save themselves. that said, the spokeswoman later explained to reporters that despite the danger posed by the levee breach, despite the urgency of the instruction to get out, the county didn't have any unflooded evacuation routes to which they could send people in the county when they ordered them to get out.
this is unsubtle. get out is a direct command whether or not it's followed by multiple exclamation marks. but it's and obstruction if there are no means for you to get out even if you want to try. local officials say 20% to 30% of all of harris county is under water. harris county is gigantic. it's the county that includes houston proper. houston is a gigantic city. the only cities larger are new york, l.a. and chicago. and houston is next. houston is also magnificently large in terms of its geographic area. it has a gigantic sprawling wide spread metro area. taken all together, what's considered to be the houston metropolitan region is an area that's literally bigger than the state of connecticut, bigger than the state of new jersey. and that part of texas also happens to be not just a regional hub, not just a
national hub but a global rub hub for some industries that can be very dangerous in the face of natural disaster. houston area and the gulf coast, this part of the country being hit by this storm is a global oil, petroleum, chemical, gas, refineries, infrastructure, plastics galveston accounts for 25% of the petroleum. if you broaden that out in the gulf coast, the gulf coast has half of the refinery capacity in the united states. major refineries in this part of the country have been shutting down throughout the storm day after day, including the largest refinery in the united states being shut down this afternoon in the face of significant flooding on site. chemical plants have been shutting down over the past several days because of flooding and damage from the storm or in some cases because their staff can't get there to operate the
plants. now when it comes to chemical manufacturing, chemical storage, some of this industrial infrastructure isn't that easy to shut down. in some cases when it involves chemical manufacturing and processing, sometimes shutting down itself can be a very dangerous thing. and that's why one of the things we're watching closely right now is a major chemical plant in crosby, texas. can we show crosby, texas on a map please? part of harris county. that's kind of a wide map there but you get the point. you can take that down. that's not much help. crosby, texas is in harris the name of the plant, it's run by a company called arkema. it's a french company, a chemical company head quartered near paris in terms of global headquarters. u.s. headquarters are in but in crosby, texas, they operate a relatively small plant there. according to arkema's website it
peroxides produces organic quality per rocks sides, used to make acrylic resins and other plastics. goes into the manufacturing of pvc. the plant in crosby, texas has 57 employees when it is fully staffed. they've been rating at a skeleton crew since the storm and their plant in crosby, texas lost power in the storm like everybody did. they planned ahead for that eventuality. on site they had backup generators to keep the plant powered. on sunday the backup generators got swamped and that turned off the backup power as well. they've had no power source of any kind since sunday. after the back-up generators got swaumed the company said they moved the chemicals on site to diesel powdered refrigerated containers. but they say that the continuing rising water at the plant compromised those containers as well.
particularly their ashlt to be kept cold. is reason this is an issue potentially of serious concern right now is because whatever chemicals they use to produce liquid organic peroxides, those chemicals have to be kept cold. they must be refrigerated. not just to keep them from spoiling but to keep them from exploding. that's why there was backup power generator capacity on site. that's why they went to the trouble of moving theme into the diesel containers. after the back-up power failed if the diesel powered fails, there is a chance of spontaneous combustion. which means fire or explosion. the company says this, the situation at the crosby site has become serious. in order to ensure the safety op our ride-out team all personnel has now been evacuated from the site. quote, we are working with the department of homeland security and the state of texas to set up
a command post in a suitable he location near our site again they've got homeland security setting up a command post nearby. local news is reporting that a one and a half mile radius has been evacuated around this chemical plant. and the company is being blunt about what's happened here. according to the company, refrigeration on some of our backup product storage containers has now been compromised. due to extremely high water arkema is limited to what we can do to address the site conditions until the storm abates. they say we're monitoring the temperature of each refrigeration container remotely. at this time we do not believe there is any imminent danger, the potential for a chemical reaction leading to a fire or explosion within the site confines is real. so again this is happening right now. one of just a gazillion chemical plants in the affected region. this one happens to be in crosby, texas and there has been an evacuation one and a half miles around that plant. it is an additional complication
for this disaster that houston and this region is the most concentrated energy infrastructure in the world, as well as a hub for some of the most dangerous chemical and industrial facilities anywhere on earth. and that's dangerous in the best of times. it's particularly dangerous now. so unlike a disaster in another part of the country here, in order to understand the potential impact, you have to keep your eye on the houston ship channel and on the biggest refineries in the country and on the densest concentration of chemical plants in the country. and we got to watch those dams on those western reservoirs and on the levees. local officials start d to warn about roads and bridges starting to fail. today is the 12th anniversary to the day of hurricane katrina. tonight it is starting to feel like a national test of whether we learned what we were supposed to learn from that disaster 12 years ago.
joining us now from cleveland, texas is nbc news correspondent stephanie gosk. thank you for being here. i appreciate you joining us on a tough night. >> reporter: you're welcome. thanks for having me. >> first of all, steph any, i know you've been on the road today. can you tell us what you've seen today. first of all where you are in cleveland, text. what you've seen. what is your sense of the scope of what texas is dealing with right now. >> reporter: sure, rachel. we had one goal today and our goal was to go from houston to beaumont. if you're not familiar with texas, beaumont is due east of houston. on a good day with the sun shining it should take a little over two hours to get to beaumont. today we never got to beaumont. and just to get out of houston was an unbelievable trial. to go east we first had to go all the way west and up north. and by the time we turned east, we were easily twice as far away
from beaumont as houston is. then we tried to come east and drop north. and that's when we wound up in a place called plum grove, and that is litry where the road owned we had no chance of going anywhere because a nearby river had completely flooded. and we saw there a scene that we've come used to see in houston but is actually playing out all across this part of texas. we saw rescue teams -- these are local people with local boats on this river going in and rescuing people, bringing out families from this one community. we were told that there were about 500 families that they needed to rescue because the river rose so quickly and so high. this is an area of texas that is basically marshland. and the people here get floods. they know that the water rises. but there is no one that we've spoken to who has been able to wrap their head around just the vastness of this disaster.
the people that had the boats that were rescuing people, the fire chief that we spoke to today was really stunned at how quickly that water rose. and now you have this storm moving east and the city of beaumont that we couldn't get to, another city of 100,000 people, facing floods and evacuations tonight, rachel. >> and you were talking about -- we're seeing incredible images of people in private boats doing what they can for their friends and neighbors. is it a well integrated effort? is there a place to bring people particularly when it's not officials rescuing them or the national guard who is rescuing them, it's just their friends and neighbors. are these well-coordinated efforts? do you get the sense that resources are being deployed in a way that seems rational? >> reporter: i think people are doing the best that they can. and i think it really has to be especially in the community that we were in today, it has to be a local effort. it has to be neighbors helping
neighbors, churches opening up. we spoke to the police chief today -- rather the fire chief. and he actually told us -- this gives you an idea of how big this flooding is. he said they set up a shelter on monday afternoon, started piling people in the shelter and it was orderly. but monday night the shelter flooded and it filled up. they had to scramble to get those people out of that shelter and up to higher ground to a new shelter. they were actually at a local church, a sprawling thankfully local church and people had gathered there. >> stephanie gosk on the road all day in houston and now in cleveland, texas. good luck getting to beaumont and thanks for being with us tonight. >> reporter: i don't know if i'm going to make it. >> we want to be the first to know when you do. we've got much more to come tonight, including interesting a new question out of the trump-russia investigation. we've got a live look at what some of the shelter conditions
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this is the george r. brown convention center in downtown houston. this is an image from inside that shelter before tropical storm and then hurricane harvey came in and hit the city. red cross workers assembling rows and rows 0 sleeping cots. they're prepared at the convention center for 5,000 people. turns out that was not enough. tonight every cot is full and
then some. as i said, they were set up to house 5,000 people. but the george r. brown convention center tonight is home to about twice that number. the mayor saying tonight that that shelter is housing 10,000 people even though they only had cots for 5,000. without enough resources and sleeping cots to go around, obviously that means thousands of our fellow americans tonight are sleeping on folding chairs or on the floor. and that's if people can make it through the struggle to get to the convention center in the first place. today we have watched as people lined up for hours to board buses to try to get to that shelter. people have really gotten themselves there any way they can, including by dump trucks if necessary. but any vehicle that can get through or around or over the flood water. at times today there was just gigantic logjam at the front door. evacuees clambering to get in.
and you know, it has been worth it to try to get in, for people who are in very dire straits. at least it's a way to get access to dry cloths and towels and blankets and hot food. the red cross has been promising that no one will be turned away. but the george r. brown convention center is getting stretched beyond the limit. tonight the mayor of houston has announced that they will open several more, at least one more, maybe more, maybe two or three more, large scale shelters for evacuees. . first new one will be the toyota center, where the houston rockets play. they're hoping they can get that one open right away and shift people from the overcrowded george r. brown convention center to the rockets arena, the toyota center to alleviate the crowding at the convention center the mayor also says they're going to announce the opening of a second large scale shelter soon.
jang us we've inside the george r. brown convention center in downtown houston. thank you for joining us. really appreciate you taking the time. >> reporter: sure thing, rachel. >> we've seen top line numbers with the mayor announcing tonight there have been 10,000 people shelters at the convention center. even though it's only set up for half that number. are those numbers showing any signs of getting worse or better? can you tell us what the conditions are like there now? >> reporter: well, i can tell you that earlier this evening we were out there just about an hour ago. there were a couple hundred people waiting to get in. when they come in here they need to be screened first. they go through a security check then they have to register with the american red cross. the good news, it had stopped raining if are the first time today which is a welcome relief. otherwise you're stand in the elements. you mentioned a logjam when you first come into the convention center. that's what we were seeing. people had to go through the security checks. right now things are quiet. people are getting ready to go to bed.
it's been a long day for many of them. this area is not in the hall proper. this is outside of the convention center halls. people have done what they've can. some of them have inflatable mattresses, just sort of setting up here trying to get a little bit of a good night's rest. beyond these walls though, there are literally thousands upon thousands of people inside the convention center. again, people that were plucked from their homes, places that were five feet, ten feet under water. they were picked up either by helicopter, high water vehicle or an airboat or a flat boat, brought to relatively dry land, put on a bus and brought over here. but at this point it appears to be organized. things are quiet. there is a heavy police presence here. definitely a lot of security here. there are people who appear to have mental health issues. there are a lot of medical professionals that have come here to volunteer their time. we've seen hundreds of volunteers here, wearing their
name tags trying to do what they can for their fellow houstonians. >> what do you expect in terms of this plan to start shifting people into the toyota center. the mayor is talking about that as the next step plan to alleviate the crowd there. do we know how that is going to work? >> reporter: so, what we've been told is the toyota center will be opening but it will be for families only. the familiars that come here first will be taken to the toyota center and that's where they're going to be placed. this is according to the mayor's office. and we do have a number of families here. >> maya, i really appreciate you joining us tonight. keep us apprised. thank you. we're going to -- i should also let you know that the mayor of houston, who may ya was talking about there, tonight did announce a new curfew for the city. there have been sporadic reports of looting in houston.
the curfew was initially announced for 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. but the mayor changed that, pushed it back to allow people to do the work they needed to do in the streets to rescue the people. the mayor announcing he's modifying the curfew to start at midnight. it will still end at 5 a.m. that's being put forward as an anti-looting measure. there are questions as to whether they may hinder people's rescue plans or people's efforts to get to dry land or shelter. more ahead tonight. stay with us. blrk because each day she chooses to take the stairs. at work, at home... even on the escalator. that can be hard on her lower body, so now she does it with dr. scholl's orthotics. clinically proven to relieve and prevent foot, knee or lower back pain, by reducing the shock and stress that travel up her body with every step she takes. so keep on climbing, sarah. you're killing it.
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september 9th, 1965 hurricane betsy hit grand isle, louisiana with 160-mile-per-hour winds. in new orleans the flooding from betsy hit 9 feet deep in the streets. hundreds of thousands of people evacuated. more than 80 people died because of that storm. september 10th, 1965 president lyndon b. johnson was in between meeting at the white house when he got an urgent phone call from a senate in louisiana, senator russell long. we've got the tape of what the senator told the president on that call. check this out. >> mr. president, aside from the great lakes, the biggest lake in america is lake pontchartrain. it's now drained dry. that hurricane betsy picked up the lake up and put it inside jefferson parish. mr. president, we've had it down
there and we need your help. >> at the time presidents were not expected to turn up at the site of natural disasters, wu lbj couldn't say no when senator long called him. lbj broke precedent with how all other presidents dealt with disasters like hurricanes. he left for new orleans within a couple of hours after he hung up with senator long. when he got to new orleans, he visited an elementary school that was used as a shelter. it was sweltering hot, the place no water to drink had no electricity. it was so dark. people were so traumatized they didn't realize who was there in the shelter with them. and what all of this commotion was about. so in that visit lbj grabbed a flashlight and lit his own face up with the flashlight so he could show people that it was him. this is your president. i'm here to help you. the day lbj returned to the
white house he sent a telegram to the mayor of new orleans, a 16-page long telegram outlining new federal plans to help the city. ever since lbj's trip to new orleans in september of 1965 it's become an expectation that presidents will show up in areas of devastation around the country hopefully in ways that don't divert too many resources or distract too much attention from the disaster itself. president trump today went to houston to speak to first responders and survey the damage of the ongoing storm there. at one point he congratulated himself on what a good crowd he got at the disaster. putting that aside. does the lbj model still hold? does it survive intact into this era, in the post-lbj tradition, what does history tell us about whether it's a good idea when and if a president should show up on site at a disaster. what counts as good presidential leadership in the face of this
kind of challenge? joining us now is michael beschloss. a real pleasure to have you here tonight. i want to ask you about white house response to disasters. i have a question or two about other major news concerning this president. i'm super glad you're here. >> me too. >> i highlighted that because he's a texan, it was the decision that set the standard for how presidents are supposed to show up at moments like this. is there any way to look at that standard, the tradition to figure out if it's a good thing, to figure out if it materially helps the country? >> i think it's really expected as long as the president's presence there is not going to take away from the efforts to help the people. two years before johnson did that john kennedy was dealing with hurricane carla which killed 43 people. that was in texas. kennedy was not hard hearted. he felt that he could do the
effort from his house. if he did that nowadays, people would be furious because they would think that the president didn't care. you saw with katrina what happens when a president, in that case george w. bush, seems to be a little more distant from this. >> based on what you observed today from president trump and his visit, is he upholding this tradition in the way that it's supposed to be done, in a way that's more constructive than it is destructive? how do you think he did today? >> he did what he should. i don't think lbj in 1965 went to new orleans with the lights out and said is this is a great crowd and this is a great turnout as president trump did. but this is now expected. the irony is when johnson did that, that was the first year of the great society. one reason he went down to new orleans was to show that like other things he was trying to do, the government can help and the president can be the spear head of that. interesting donald trump is almost the diametrical opposite of that.
this president talks about the government almost as his enemy. >> the other big news story that everybody has been covering this week alongside this disaster now, it's a complicated media environment in which we're trying to get a sense of what's going on with the natural disaster and also focus on what else is making news. there has been dramatic reporting about the president having secretly pursued a massive business deal reportedly to be financed by the russian government during his campaign for president. we talked about that in some detail on the show last night. a little more news on it tonight. but i want to ask you, does that have any historic parallel. is there anything that we can look at to give us a guide as to the magnitude of that scandal? >> yeah, we should. the answer is it's never happened. what if abraham lincoln in 1860 when he was running for president had business deals going with the south. or fdr when he was running in
'32 or '36 was having business deals with germany as some american companies at the time did. how can we be sure that they would have been acting on behalf of american interests. and in trump's case, a couple of things here. number one, we're finding that his desire to get this trump tower in moscow may have caused him to turn pro-russian. number two, he certainly wanted the russians' help in getting elected president in 2016. so you know, that is beginning to tighten the sense that there was a much too close relationship between donald trump and a hostile power. and the final point is, you know, politicians don't change. he's 71 years old. who is to think that just because he was doing that during the campaign, that that's stopped since then. there's a question here. if he goes to turkey, if he goes to the philippines, to saudi arabia, can we be sure that's 100% trying to pursue american interest rather than another
half of his brain thinking about business deals that he might do. >> thank you for your time tonight, michael. i really appreciate it. >> thank you. be well. >> i should mention to michael's last point there, did you remember that politico.com story from earlier this summer where they reported that trumptowermoscow.com, that url was just renewed by the trump organization last month. trumptowermoscow.com. maybe he's still working on it. more to come. stay with us. ♪
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we've got more ahead tonight on the situation in texas and louisiana with hurricane harvey expected to make second landfall tonight. we'll be returning to that story again this hour. but i want to give you an update in the men time on something a little strange that appears to be going on with the paul manafort part of the trump-russia investigation. paul manafort was trump campaign chairman from last spring until this time last year. manafort left the campaign amid a storm of reporting concerning his business tie to the soviet union. his financial ties to oligarchs paul manafort has had zero public profile since he left the campaign but he's emerged as a central figure in the robert mueller investigation between that happened with trump and the russian government. while russia was attacking last year's presidential election.
now, there are a lot of people who have reason to sweat that inquiry. a lot of people have been asked to provide information, been subpoenaed. but with paul manafort, something is a little different. and it's been this way for a few weeks now. specifically when it comes to his treatment by the mueller inquiry. just a few weeks ago we learned that the fbi executed an early morning raid on manafort's house in virginia. tactically that's unusual. for this scandal. in manafort's case it was dramatic, them banging on his door, storming into the house and waking him up in the predawn hours to go through his house and seize documents. tactically that was unusual. the timing was also unusual. july 25th manafort had given congressional testimony in the russian investigation to the senate intelligence committee and then this raid happened basically that night. it was early morning on the 26, predawn on the 26 after he testified on the 25th. on the 25th he gave his
testimony, went to bed that night after having, you know, spoken to the senate intelligence committee, before his alarm went off the next morning to wake him up, the fbi was in his house pounding on his bedroom door. now, could be a coincidence that paul manafort's house was raided hours after he finished his first testimony. but we don't know. that apernt july 25th had not been publicly announced before he did it. manafort's spokesman proclaimed that it was done, that manafort had given testimony and handed over the documents. once the deed was ladder done on the morning of the 25th. the fact that less than 24 hours later the fbi was raiding his home. it raises the prospect that the special counsel's office was unhappy to learn that manafort was testifying to the senate, that he was handing over documents to them. if we believe manafort's account of that raid, the documents seized from his house weren't things that mueller had requested from him or subpoenaed from him. the first time manafort knew
that mueller wanted them was when the fbi agents showed up with a search warrant and took them. that lends credence to the idea that the mueller investigation was blindsided by manafort turning up at the senate. maybe wanted to make sure that manafort wasn't handing over anything to the senate that was going to screw up their prosecution strategy toward him so they just jumped. they didn't bother making a request or getting a subpoena. they got a search warrant, went in and grabbed what they could. the circumstances around that fbi raid which we learned about a few weeks ago, we don't exactly know why that happened. he seems to be the only person that happened to. you could surmise from the circumstances around it that manafort may have turned into a source of frustration or surprise for the mueller inquiry, their tactics toward him, the timing of their treatment of him suggests that he may be a different cat here. right? maybe he's being investigated for things that are radically different than the whole rest of the cast of characters involved in this. may just be that he's a confounding adversary.
but the mueller team is treating him differently compared to how they're treating everybody else. that happened before today. what was reported about paul manafort today is even stranger. according to new reporting from evan perez at cnn, which nbc has not verified, the bob mueller special counsel inquiry into the trump-russia investigation just issued a subpoena to paul manafort's lawyer. this is not like they wanted to subpoena paul manafort so they gave the subpoena to his lawyer. no they're giving the subpoena to his lawyer. this is one-his lawyers. cnn reports that he got a subpoena requiring her to hand over documents and to give testimony to the special counsel inquiry. and what's weird about that is w , a, she's just one person in the large stable of lawyers in this inquiry. this isn't with wilmer heal.
it's not a subpoena to the tax lawyer that manafort hired. after the fbi raid this is another lawyer working for manafort from another high priced d.c. firm. and regardless of how many lawyers she's cycled through. in this legal defense, it's unusual for one of them to get a subpoena and it's unusual for the government to subpoena somebody's lawyer period. you know how weird this is, when lawyers and their clients talk to each other, those communications with protected by attorney-client privilege. trying to force an attorney testify about something related to his or her client, that is very unusual. the mueller inquiry is treating paul manafort in an unusual way compared to everybody else caught up in the investigation. this new development if it proves to be true, this will be yet further evidence of that. we don't know why this is happening in general or in terms of the specific strange new
subpoena from manafort's lawyer but we're trying to figure it out. a we know it's atypical we're trying to figure out why she's getting that atypical treatment. cnn further reports that beyond paul manafort's lawyer, his spokesman was also just given a subpoena by bob mueller's inquiry which is also a little bit weird but there's no attorney-client privilege between a man and his spokesman. so something is cooking on the paul manafort side of the trump-russia investigation that is making the mueller inquiry behave very differently. toward manafort than it's treating everybody else we're working on figuring it out. while we're at it, an unusual follow up about trump signing a letter of intent to build trump tower moscow while in the middle of his presidential campaign. we have new news on that bombshell story from yesterday coming up next. about your broke.
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during the republican presidential primary, they held lots of debates, lots of them were entertaining, lots of them weren't. but the third one of the 2016 cycle was held in boulder, colorado, at the end of october. it was your standard contention marco rubio got some headlines, ted cruz got some headlines. oddly, though, donald trump was not really a factor in that debate at all. he had dominated the first two debates, absolutely logged the press coverage out of them. but in that third debate, he was
like negative space on the stage. he made zero headlines. made zero on the proceedings. maybe he was distracted. we now know that that third debate, october 28th, 2015, that was held on the same day that trump had just signed a letter of intent to pursue a deal to build trump tower moscow, which his company wanted to be the biggest building in the world. that deal had reportedly been lined up with financing arranged from a bank called vtb, under the direct control of the russian government. the day of that debate, trump signed a letter of intent to proceed with that project. a trump organization executive michael cohen yesterday handed over documents to the house intelligence committee. he appears to have released some of those documents and a fullsome statement about them to some reporters, presumably to
put his best spin on the content of those documents that are now being handed over to congress. now, we thought -- i think everybody's thought that those documents were being handed over to congress ahead of michael cohen having to testify to congress. so whatever spin he was putting on them by leaking them to the press, he'd eventually have to answer tough questions about them from the congress, congressional investigative committees, even if that testimony was going to be behind closed doors. back in june, michael cohen confirmed to bloomberg and reuters that he was going to be testifying before the house intelligence committee on september 5th, which is a week from today. we believe these explosive documents about trump tower moscow were handed over by michael cohen yesterday in advance of that testimony next week. but maybe it's not going to happen. when we called michael cohen's lawyer today to confirm that his appearance is still scheduled for next week, he notably declined to confirm that.
he only said that his client will, quote, continue to cooperate fully with the investigations in the house and senate." and he said, "we have produced documents in the course of their investigation". but pressed on whether michael cohen will still be appearing to testify at the house intelligence committee next week, no answer. silence. he would neither confirm nor deny. we followed up with the house intelligence committee and with the republicans on that committee and the democrats on that committee. silence. they will neither confirm nor deny. so we think that trump tower moscow story broke yesterday because cohen had to hand over those documents in advance of his testimony. i'm no longer so sure there's going to be testimony. watch this space. >> a global citizen finds a way
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ladies, you know when you switch, you get my bomb-diggity discounts automatically. ♪ no duh, right? [ chuckles ] sir, you forgot -- keep it. you're gonna need it when i make it precipitate. what, what? what? correction from a couple of minutes ago when i was talking about michael beschloss about president trump visiting texas today to check on the response to the storm. i said that president trump was in houston. he wasn't in houston. he was in corpus christi and austin but not in houston. sorry about that misfire on my part. tonight or early tomorrow, this storm is set to make its second landfall at the louisiana/texas border. we've got eyes on that tonight and also eyes on houston itself as they try to open up a second mega shelter as that convention center teams with twice as many people as they were set up for there. we had a report earlier from there, a live report from there earlier this hour about people
not getting into the main part of the convention center and sleeping around its periphery. people not able to get into that building. hopefully some of that crowding will be alleviated with the second shelter opening up in the arena where the houston rockets play. arena where the houston rockets play. now it's time for "the last word with lawrence o'donnell." good evening, rachel. >> such a sad kind of loss. people losing everything that they've held dear. i mean, objects that they've held dear. souvenirs, all that kind of stuff. just floated away. it's just -- it's such an impossible thing to imagine going through. >> and flooding is always a persistent disaster anyway. anything that gets flooded is a disaster for a long time. >> yeah. >> for them to be in day five of this storm looking ahead tonight to a second landfall, to more rain, to further flooding but