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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  September 11, 2017 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT

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pacific. give if you can. as we pull together to help the victims just as we have pulled together before. so that is our broadcast in the closing seconds of monday september 11th, 2017. thank you for being with us, as always. good night from nbc headquarters here in new york. today is the 16th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which cast a long shadow every year over anything else that happens on this date in the news. tonight, as i speak, the site of the twin towers in new york city. see on the right side of the screen there. it's lit with what they call the tribute in light. those twin towers of light shoot four miles up into the sky. that's a live image right now. the u.n. security council tonight just passed new sanctions on north korea in response to their recent missile
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tests and their recent nuclear test. the north korea sanctions are way less than what the u.s. government had initially proposed but they did pass. neither china nor russia vetoed them. that's important because china is historic rally reluctant to anything too disruptive to north korea. and russia, for russia sanctions of any kind are a touchy subject. they take that all personally. investigative reporter michael isikoff had the scoop at yahoo news today that the russian state media outlet sputnik is being investigated by the fbi. according to isikoff's reporting the fbi is talking with former employees of sputnik. they're reportedly interested in whether or not sputnik is, well, maybe less of a news outlet and more of a russian government propaganda operation at work in this country. and if they are that they need to register as foreign agents or they're going to get kicked out of this country. mike isikoff's scoop today at
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yahoo!. it's interesting. for a long time mike isikoff was partnered up with mark ozenhall. they were this incredible investigative team for "newsweek" back in the day particularly on national security issues. now they have both gone their separate ways. mike isikoff has gone to yahoo news. mark hezenkopf has gone to reuters. but they're both great investigative reporters and they both had separate simultaneous russia scoops today. isikoff had that story about sputnik being investigated by the fbi. while mark hozenball had this intriguing scoop about the effort by some republicans in congress to try to turn the russia investigation into some kind of obama administration scandal. he reports today at reuters that trump transition official and california congressman devin nunes may have bitten off more than he could chew when he started claiming that the real scandal in the whole russia thing was that obama
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administration officials read intelligence intercepts and unmasked the names of trump associates and trump campaign figures interacting with russians. so those conversations between trump campaign figures and russians were intercepted by the u.s. intelligence community. those intercepts were then read by obama administration officials. devin nunes said that's the scandal, the fact that they got the names of the americans who were involved in those conversations. well, according to mark hosenbal's reports today those intelligence intercepts which devin nunes tried to make such a big deal of according to hosenbal's reporting those intercepts don't show any wrongdoing by obama administration officials but they might show trump folks violating the logan act by trying to undermine american foreign policy as private citizens. and they may show something worse than that. "the reports are also relevant to the investigation by special counsel robert mueller. so congratulations, congressman
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devin nunes. the closest trump ally in the house of representatives. you sir have succeeded in bringing investigators' attention to intelligence intercepts made during the campaign that apparently will now help the mueller investigation into whether or not the trump campaign colluded with russia. that story broke today. mark hosenball at roitders breaking that story. last night the head of the foreign affairs committee in the russian parliament went on a russian tv show and bragged about how u.s. intelligence agencies missed out on russia electing the american president last year. it was this weird thing. he said, "in trying to achieve this goal the u.s. overshot. their intelligence services all slept through russia electing the u.s. president. what kind of intelligence service is that?" the host had this funny reaction after that guy in parliament said it. the host kind of stamped his foot and clapped his hands together, looked away. "oh, dude, you're not supposed to say that on tv."
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but last night on russian tv the russian head of the foreign affairs committee again, admitting that russia elected the u.s. president. last night on american tv former trump campaign chairman and senior white house strategist until recently steve bannon he told cbs news that donald trump firing nba director james comey was the biggest mistake in modern political history. because it led to the appointment of the special counsel robert mueller and expressed concern over the mueller investigation. the breadth of the mueller investigation led to a new round of senior white house personnel and former senior white house personnel getting their own lawyers to help them deal with muller's inquiry and signalled there are a half dozen or more white house officials on his list of people to interview. we'll have more on what that means coming up tonight including this weird development we learned of. nbc news confirmed where there
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are two white house officials who may very well have conflicting interest in this investigation, but the two of them have nevertheless hired the same lawyer. not just the same law firm which would be trouble enough but these two different white house officials have actually hired the same lawyer to represent them in this investigation, which may end up being very acheward. so again, we've got more on that coming up. we'll try to get to the bottom of that later this hour with somebody in a good position to know what is going on. there is a lot going on in the news right now. but of course we've got eyes on the southeast united states tonight, where flooding and high winds have torn their way across florida and where parts of south carolina and georgia got hit with flooding today. this is charleston today. and this is the florida keys where irma first made landfall in florida leaving widespread damage. tonight, the u.s. navy is announcing they are sending the
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"uss abraham lincoln," the aircraft carrier, and two other ships to the keys to help with the evacuation efforts. obviously, there was a mass evacuation, a mass exodus from the keys ahead of this storm. there was plenty of warning that this storm was coming and that it was going to hit the keys hard. but still there may be as many as 10,000 people who need evacuation from the keys now. now that the storm has left. florida's impact is major. we'll be talking tonight about where got it the worst and what the challenges are going to be for florida come back and what the prospects are for the keys if in fact 10,000 people need to be got out of there not under their own power. in addition to that, look at the caribbean. in cuba there's this famous four-mile-long seawall that sits between central havana and the ocean. it is very well used, very well loved. it's been there for a century. it is iconic in havana in a
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million different ways. but that is one of the places where you can see how hurricane irma has left its mark. waves topping -- that same scene. you can't even see the seawall there. waves topping 20 feet spilled over and just disappeared, that seawall in havana this weekend, sent sea water gushing into downtown havana. nor than 2 million people live in havana, but now hurricane irma has basically turned that city into a saltwater pond. authorities are saying it could take days before the water starts to make its way out of the streets of havana. this was the strongest hurricane to hit cuba since the 1930s. at least 10 people have died there already. havana has been in the dark since saturday. with cars wedged inside buildings and trees ripped out of the ground and people just making do with what they can get a hold of, with whatever floats and streets. this is one of cuba's airports
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in cuyacoco which is totally unrecognizable. the whole building looks like it's been put through a shredder. we are watching the continuing impact of irma in the southeast united states tonight. especially georgia and south carolina, which are both having quite a lot of flooding right now. and of course florida. but in the caribbean where the storm really was just a wrecking ball there are some places from which we're just starting to get the first reports. the first clear picture of what happened. in st. martin the majority of that island appears to have just been bloodied. most of the homes, most of the buildings have been completely destroyed in st. martin. at least ten people have been killed. we don't know if we expect that number to rise, but obviously, people are praying it doesn't. this was the air traffic control tower at st. martin's airport. you see the sign there. "celebrating 70 years of spectacular landings." now that same tower looks like this. the storm just lopped off the entire top of the tower.
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all that's recognizable now is the little staircase on the side. this is a library on st. martin before the storm hit. this is that same library now. you can see the stacks of books there. walls caving in. st. martin's newspaper, "the daily herald," reports that some of the library actually survived the storm. the media lab there was locked and it was intact after the storm, but then the media lab had all its computers ripped off after the storm by looters. again, this is in st. martin. people have scram tobbled to fi food and water and shelter. there have been reports of people fighting for food and resources at night. st. martin despite this incredible devastation are already starting to pick themselves up. big yellow bulldozers are starting to pop up to clear debris. we found shots of this small grocery store that opened its doors for the first time late yesterday. first time since the rain stopped there. half of st. martin belongs to the netherlands, the other half belongs to france. there's literally a line drawn
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through the middle of the island. that means the huge problem of how to fix st. martin is not st. martin's problem alone, it's up to the netherlands and france to send money and aid and supplies and get st. martin back on its feet. the united states has the same responsibility for the u.s. virgin islands. the u.s. bought the virgin yiernlgsds about 40 miles off puerto rico. the united states bought the virgin islands from denmark in 1917. we made $25 million for the virgin islands. talk about a bargain. the u.s. virgin islands are part of a big chunk of islands called the virgin islands group. some belong to the u.k. british virgin islands. but the ones that belong to us are these three big guys, st. croix, st. john, and st. thomas, plus another 50 small ones, most of which are too tiny to show up on a map. altogether if you amassed all the land mass of the u.s. virgin islands you'd get a land area twice the size of washington,
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d.c. u.s. virgin islands are known primarily for being absolutely gorgeous. they're known for their white pris scene beaches, their old world castles and architecture, their incredible culture and incredible art and museums, incredible food. a really rich storied culture. and right now the u.s. virgin islands are really, really hurting. two of those three big islands, st. john and st. thomas, just got completely walloped by this murk. hurricane. st. thomas has one hospital and that hospital has been destroyed. one resident in st. thomas told npr today that the hospital suffered a catastrophic failure during the storm. patients from that hospital in st. thomas had to be evacuated to hospitals in puerto rico and also to st. croix. large parts of the u.s. virgin islands have no running water, no power, no cell service. the lack of water alone can be a serious humanitarian crisis when it goes on for more than a
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couple of days. you can get a sense by seeing the telephone poles knocked down because the communications were knocked out, no phone, no cell service, no power, no water. because of that, it's been very hard to get information out. it's been hard to know which parts of the islands are hit the worst. we're hearing that st. croix has been largely spared. part of the blessing of that is that st. croix has been able to be turned into a sort of staging area for people to evacuate to, for people to seek shelter. as reports start to trickle out of st. john, though, in particular it's started to become clear things were just as bad in st. thomas if not worse. this is one hotel in st. john before hurricane irma. this is that same hotel now. gives you a sense of the damage they are dealing with. people have been posting these survivor lists adding their names, hoping their family and loved ones will see it and people have a way to know their loved ones are still alive. at least four people died in the
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crisis in the virgin islands. that number could rise before this is all over. officials are telling residents it could be months before power is restored and that st. john and st. thomas are not safe at this point. now that this hurricane devastated big parts of the u.s. virgin islands, it is america's problem now. it's up to us as a country to fix it. the u.s. in front of the u.s. virgin islands is not there by mistake. the u.s. virgin islands doesn't have its own president. the people who live there are u.s. citizens subject to u.s. law and part of the united states. just like any other state or territory that makes up this country. which means even though we have been slow to get reports out of the u.s. virgin islands, now that we're getting them, we're recognizing what we need to do. this is our american humanitarian crisis on st. john and st. thomas. our american citizens without food and water and power and shelter tonight. governor of the u.s. virgin islands is kenneth map. he told his citizens this
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weekend to brace for a long road to recovery ahead, to manage expectations, he told them quote, this is a horrific disaster. there will be no restorations or solutions in days or weeks. joining us is kenneth map, the governor of the u.s. virgin islands. governor map, thank you for joining us tonight. i know it's been a very challenging time for you and for everybody in the islands. >> thank you, rachel, for giving that wonderful description of the beautiful virgin islands and the wonderful people of the virgin islands. i was heartened to hear that and happy to report to you that mobilization of federal supplies and support has been great. we've given out close to 100,000 liters of water and concomitantly 100,000 mres to citizens in st. thomas and st. john. i personally visited st. john yesterday with regional administrator of fema and visited the shelters and walked
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into the cities and town of cruise bay and was really happy to see some restaurants opened and were just cooking and serving the meals free and allowing people to just sit inside or eat outside. the school where the shelter was, the school lunch workers showed up and started cooking for folks in the shelter and giving them hot meals and so more deployment of resources, the marines landed today in st. thomas that's going to be provisioned in st. john as a priority to deal with debris removal. we have st. john got the worst of it as you said. it was more into the eye wall than st. thomas, it's a margin north. so devastation when i did the flyover, the devastation is horrific. homes exploded. fell off the hillside. just bad. but another -- a lot of properties that were recently
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built seemed to have survived and what is good, this is day five from this cat five event in the last three days, we have still retained only four deaths thus far. the u.s. marines's urban and search and rescue team has also been deployed and they've been going through the neighborhoods and debris and making sure that there are not folks that are trapped. one interesting element for us is we've not seen our showing up in the emergency rooms or the hospitals are people with traumas, broken limbs, cuts, head trama or anything like that. we really haven't seen much of that so that means that folks really were able to batten down even while their homes were being destroyed. we have d-mat teams from the u.s. department of health and human services. 35 came in to assist the folks outside of the snider hospital
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in st. thomas. they're going to roll out the mobile hospital tomorrow, get that set up. and then we'll work on a temporary structure in the rear of that facility. we land aid d-mat team on st. john of 16 people to work with the myra keaton facility. as you said, we evacuated all of the patients in the hospital. we've been able to take the community of folks who required dialysis treatment and make sure that they've gotten to puerto rico and st. croix to get their dialysis services. so we are really concentrating on security. we're concentrating on shelter, food and nutrition, debris removal and restoration of the power system. st. thomas is beginning to see in the city areas some restoration of power. we're getting some streetlights on. some of the neighbors have been able to power up the shelters in st. thomas with power. the pumps because of the power restoration in these areas have
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now gotten the water pumps working and so we've been able to restore water to the large tanks in some of the areas that can gravity feed down to some of the homes so people have access to that. but it's going to be a very, very, very slow process. >> governor -- on that -- >> sure. >> on that infrastructure stuff you were talking-b are you worried there's any critical infrastructure that sustained long-term damage? obviously, when we hear about people not having access to running water, i'm happy to hear about the distribution of liters of water and mres and short-term supplies like that. but obviously the water system in particular and the electrical system are something the islands can't be without for too long. how substantial is the damage to that critical infrastructure? >> what we do as a practice when storms are coming, we require the water parts all fill all of the major water tanks in the territory. we learned this from hugo. by filling them, they become solid so the winds aren't able
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to breach the tanks and break them apart. obviously, when the power goes, that water becomes -- rapidly used, it's rapidly fed off the hills and then it dissipates. and the water plant is up and running. so now they're beginning to replenish those plants and folks, you know, they don't need electricity to get water out of the pipes. so as we funnel pressure into the distribution lines on the ground, then folks are getting access to more and more water. we've even got water into the tan tanks in st. john because they're fed under sea to st. thomas -- i mean to st. john, and being able to fill up the tanks there, those persons connected to water will get them. and remember in the virgin islands we use what you would use in the united states as basements, we really use that as something called cisterns. so when it rains you capture water under your home in the cistern and then you feed from that. and we advise folks to disconnect the spouting to their
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systems when the storms come so that the sea blast and tleaves and everything that's blowing around don't contaminate that water and then they have that supply of water in their homes they can access by opening the hatch and getting the water out of there. >> kenneth mapp, governor of the u.s. virgin islands. you have an incredible challenge ahead of you with both st. john and is st. thomas. >> i want to thank, if i can quickly, i want to thank the president because i've spoken to him twice. he's expected to be in the virgin islands in the next six, seven days. and the federal response to the disaster has been reallsome and are really mobilizing more equipment and more provisions for the citizens. thank you so much, rachel and again, thank you for that wonderful introduction and description of the u.s. virgin islands. >> happy to hear. >> good luck to you. major island and st. thomas and st. croix. st. croix seems to have been mostly all right. st. thomas got hit pretty hard
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including the hospital in st. john in really tough shape but you hear the optimism from the governor in terms of feeling like they're getting the resources mobilized they need to to get back on their feet. those aerial images, though, absolutely stunning in terms of what they're dealing with. u.s. virgin islands. u.s. that's us. all right. lots of news tonight. stay with us. and one for each of you too! that one's actually yours. that one. regardless, we're stuck with the bill. to many, words are the most valuable currency. last i checked, stores don't take "words." some do. not everyone can be the poetic voice of a generation. i know, right? such a burden. the bank of america mobile banking app. the fast, secure and simple way to send money. you don't let anything lkeep you sidelined. come on! that's why you drink ensure. with 9 grams of protein, and 26 vitamins and minerals... for the strength and energy, to get back to doing what you love. ensure, always be you.
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the national oceanic and atmospheric administration, noaa, one of my favorite agencies, they released this satellite image which really gives you a sense of just how physically large this storm is. as of monday afternoon, as of
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this afternoon, irma stretched from florida like up to the great lakes. millions of floridians evacuated in the days before irma hit, one of the biggest if not the biggest evacuation in u.s. history. tonight tons of people understandably are eager to get back home. whether or not you can get home depends on where you are, though, jacksonville, florida is virtually paralyzed by what are being called the worst floods there in 100 years. dozens of people had to be rescued in jacksonville. the jacksonville mayor is calling for people to hang a white flag outside their home if they need help. after some of the florida keys took a direct hit from the storm at its strongest officials say 10,000 people who rode out the storm in the keys might now need to be evacuated now that the storm is over. there is real concern about the stretch of islands west of key largo. rescuers are having trouble reaching some places in that airport. the main airport in key west is still closed. getting there by boat is still dangerous. and parts of that road
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connecting the keys to the mainland. parts of the u.s. highway 1 are still very much underwater. so how will they get those folks out of there? more than 6 million people in florida have no power. officials are warning it could take weeks, weeks before power is fully restored and there continue to be gas shortages across florida. the governor reinstated police escorts for fuel tankers to try to alleviate the problem. these are a lot of problems that not only exist right now concomitantly, they are going to complicate each other. massive flooding, blocked roads no power and in some cases no gas. for a lot of people in florida tonight, there is still relief that the storm wasn't as bad as it might have been but real threat and anxiety and risk about what it's left in its wake. joining us now is brian norcross, senior hurricane specialist with the weather channel. he was the voice millions of floridians listened to during hurricane andrew in 1992 when he was a meteorologist in miami. mr. norcross, thank you for
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being here. i know you had no sleep. >> thank you, rachel. glad to be here. >> can you help us understand looking at this from a national perspective, what's the most important thing to understand about florida and the impact there and which parts of the state will have the longest and most difficult recovery? >> you made the point, rachel, the big point to know nationally is the vastness of this. we remember hurricane andrew and the total destruction. well, that was in maybe a couple hundred square miles and the total destruction was maybe 100 square miles. this is damage spread over maybe 4,000 square miles and millions of people without power and as you said, without -- spotty cell phone service and millions evacuated and the issue is that having been through this before, it's not the first day. people can kind of camp out the first day and maybe the second day but you get to the third day and still don't have power running out of supplies and what do you do and people get testy
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and it gets really difficult. so it's the -- i don't know how they administer this disaster. it is such a monumental thing in size. we thought houston was big. this is many, many, many times the scale of the houston disaster because it's almost the entire state of florida. >> what about the keys? obviously, we had eyes on the keys worried those islands which are fragile in the best of times would take a direct hit from the storm at its strongest. what is the impact in the keys and when they talk about needing to evacuate people now after the storm, how should we understand that both in terms of why that is necessary and how big a challenge that is? >> parts of the keys are devastated. north of key west for the host part. key west is mostly okay. north of there where the ocean came over the keys and took out the power and the water and the sewage. so the problem here is when you
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have people if there really are 10,000 people down there, which is just unbelievable, hopefully most of them are in key west but spread out on the island chain more than 100 miles. they don't have any means to live there is the problem. so you can't move around because this -- the roads are blocked. that's the problem. i understand that they are trying to send boats in there and figure out how to get them out once again because every day that goes by it gets that much worse. >> and brian, in terms of how long people are in sustainable situations when you look at the wide infrastructure systems and electricity and sewage systems not a lot of people are talking about. but which is obviously critical. when you've got this much damage over this wide an area what kind of time frame should we expect in terms of getting those crucial systems back up?
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>> i think what you're going find is some people are going to get their power back on this week. and probably those millions are going to get chopped away pretty quickly because they repair a substation and a whole neighborhood comes on. that's going to hatch. but then you're going to have other areas where a transmission line failed and they've got to erect a new tire. after hurricane andrew in southern miami-dade county it was three months before they got the power back on. i think this is going to be somewhere in between there. they have tremendous resources. but just think, when you think of the size of the state of florida and all the big cities in florida and all the neighborhoods and the spread throughout the state of these power outages is not -- if it was just miami, it it would be this incredible problem because miami is a big place. millions and millions of people. but it's not just miami. it's all over the place. up and down to georgia and jacksonville and all throughout the state. the last few people, if it
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happens in two weeks that would be a miracle. i think certainly in the weeks to get power back on. >> bryan norcross. you're really good at explaining this stuff. thank you very much for taking time to talk with us. >> i appreciate it. much more to come tonight including some news from inside the white house. senior white house officials making a decision that i plum can make absolutely no sense of. and somebody who may be able to explain it. coming up. stay with us. ♪ when food is good and clean and real, it's ok to crave. and with panera catering, there's more to go around.
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it's so sad when lawyers start having lawyers. or maybe that just means it's serious. earlier this summer donald trump's personal attorney michael cohen got an attorney for the russia investigation. then donald trump's attorney general jeff sessions hired his own attorney for the russia investigation. now the white house counsel, which is the white house's top lawyer, he has also retained his own personal lawyer. for the russia investigation. a lot of lawyers having lawyers. we learned friday that white house counsel don mcgahn is among six staffers that robert mueller wants to question in terms of the russia attack last year. and now sure as a bruise follows a bad fall, we have news don mcgahn had to get his own lawyer. he's hired a high-powered washington lawyer to represent
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him on the russia issue. and so have two other people on robert mueller's reported interview list. former white house chief of staff reince priebus and current white house communications director hope hicks. don mcgahn, reince priebus, hope hicks have all hired their own expensive washington lawyers now on russia. and you know, when the special counsel wants to interview you, you probably want to get a lawyer no matter what, right? even if you're just expecting a friendly chat about john podesta's risotto recipe or whatever. you probably still want some legal advice if you're going to be talking to the special counsel no matter what. what is the special counsel going to be talking with all these white house officials about? we're not sure. but based on reporting mostly from the "washington post" the special counsel appears to be interested in the crafting of the false statement about the trump tower meeting that involved donald trump jr., jared kushner, paul manafort and all of those russians. that meeting was of course falsely explained by the white house was being just about adoptions. the special counsel also appears to be interested in the firing of fbi director james comey which was also apparently
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falsely explained by the white house as being the product of a justice department internal process while even the president admits that isn't why he fired james comey. the special counsel also appears to be interested in the handling of former national security advisor mike flynn, who resigned from the white house after he was exposed as having lied about his contacts with russian officials and whose contacts with russian officials were falsely explained by the white house at the time. so there is a lot of false statements by people involved in white house operations and the president himself around various incidents that have happened since the president's been in office. all six of the staffers that robert mueller reportedly plans to interview were involved in one way or another with concocting false narratives to cover up trump administration contacts with russians. i have a question as to whether or not that's a criminal matter. right? it's not a crime to lie.
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but is it a crime to concoct a false narrative to cover up something you know to be different? is the special counsel interviewing these people just as witnesses? are these people potentially on the hook for something? are they all getting really good lawyers just because they want advice about how to be good witnesses? or are they getting good lawyers because they have to worry about their own liability too? that's one question. but i think it's an answerable question. here's another question. don mcgahn, the white house counsel, and reince priebus, former head of the rnc, former white house chief of staff, they have both hired the same lawyer for the russia investigation. now, maybe they're just going in together to cut the cost? but i don't think it works that way. but that is kind of strange. isn't it possible that don mcgahn as a current white house official and reince priebus as a former white house official, isn't it possible they could end up having conflicting interests in this investigation? one of them has gone from the
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white house. one of them is still there. they may have been in the room for the same decisions but could have interests mere that diverge or could be called upon as corroborating witnesses for each other's stories. so for them to not just have the same law firm representing them but the exact same lawyer, that seems strange. can they do that? also, one other question. law 360 was the first news outlet to report don mcgahn's new attorney. they report his new attorney is representing don mcgahn "as an individual and not in his official capacity." that's according to a person familiar with the hiring. representing him in his personal capacity not in his official capacity. what does that mean? he's got this new lawyer to represent him for unpaid parking tickets or something? i mean, don mcgahn isn't implicated in this in his personal capacity.
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he's implicated in the russia thing because he's the white house counsel. so you'll represent him but not as white house counsel? i'm sure that means something to people that know this stuff. fortunately someone that knows this stuff joins us next. (honking) (beeping) we're on to you, diabetes. time's up, insufficient prenatal care. and administrative paperwork, your days of drowning people are numbered. same goes for you, budget overruns. and rising costs, wipe that smile off your face. we're coming for you too. at optum, we're partnering across the health system to tackle its biggest challenges.
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at optum, we're partnering across the health system you myour joints...thing for your heart... or your digestion... so why wouldn't you take something for the most important part of you... your brain. with an ingredient originally found in jellyfish, prevagen is now the number one selling brain health supplement in drug stores nationwide. prevagen. the name to remember. joining us now is paul fishman. he served as the u.s. attorney for the great state of new jersey for 7 1/2 years, overseeing multiple criminal investigations and prosecutions involving political corruption and national security. until he was fired by president trump earlier this year. mr. fishman, thank you very much
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for being here tonight. >> it's nice to be here. nice to be back. >> let me jump in with this news. i just want to get right into this. this is one of those situations where i can tell i don't know and i ought to know and you probably do. multiple white house officials and former white house officials have now obtained the assistance of counsel for the russia investigation. and the common thread that i can see for all the different people we know that mueller wants to talk to is they all seem to have been involved at one level or another in discussions to make what ended up being misleading public statements about various acts by the trump administration. lying isn't a crime. >> as a general rule, it is not. >> but if you as a public official are involved in deliberately crafting a false public narrative to cover up a matter that is under investigation, potentially are you treading into obstruction or any form of liability? >> the answer is yes but the
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key word in your question was "potentially." >> yeah. >> it's a crime to mislead the fbi or department of justice. it's a crime to mislead congress when those agencies are involved in normal investigative work. so if people are crafting laws with an intent to deceive those investigators, if they're trying to mislead them, if they're trying to take them off the scent, then that can in fact be evidence of obstruction of justice. >> even if it's just a statement that you're making in public to the press. if it's intended to divert the investigation. >> that's correct. it could under certain circumstances. you'd have to look at the whole package of facts in order to make a determination of what their intent actually was and whether there was a reasonable effect that could have been had on the investigation. but you're right. just lying to the public itself is not a crime. >> so the very narrow circumstances in which people who were involved in crafting false public narratives, people involved in for example whouite house communications, the very
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narrow alley by which they could find themselves being personally criminally liable for their actions presumably that means they're being interviewed as witnesses. >> i think that's right both for the reason you articulated and also because it's still early in the investigation. the truth is in an investigation prosecutors work from the outside in or the bottom up, depending on which visual metaphor you happen to like. so the people generally who are interviewed early in an investigation are not the people likely to have culpability. they're being investigated -- interviewed so that people can get the facts. the fbi agents, the prosecutors can find out what actually happened. and who might have played a major role in trying to deceive. if you're right the person who was trying to deceive was the president, then you're going it talk to people who know what the president said or what the president did in an effort to try to get information before they start talking to people higher up in the food chain as it were. >> and even if you are being interviewed in that capacity just as a witness to try to put together a factual basis for understanding what the real targets of the investigation did, it's still a crime to lie
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to investigators. >> it's still a crime. and that's where people get into trouble. that's one of the reasons people hire lawyers. not so much because the lawyers will tell them not to lie, although they will. but because before witnesses go in to talk to a special counsel or not special counsel, just any prosecutor or investigator in a circumstance like this, you want the advice of counsel to make sure you've thought about the hard questions, to make sure you've got about the facts you might have to explain, to whak sure you've got it right because you don't want to create an impression when you go in the first time that you're actually deceiving -- >> she help you stay within the bounds. >> correct. >> given that, how on earth can don mcgahn and reince priebus have the same lawyer? >> so what that says to me is that they are not actually subjects of the investigation because if there was a potential for them to testify each against the other, the same lawyer would not be able to advise them. because he couldn't say to one you should say that might implicate his other client. what that says more than anything else, they are more in the witness category than anything else.
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>> but doesn't having -- let's say hypothetically, i'm just making this up. let's say the special counsel is interested in whether or not the james comey firing was an obstruction of justice and therefore the motive and the articulated reasoning of the president around that firing is important. don mcgahn and reince priebus both of interest to the investigators as witnesses to those machinations. >> right. >> sharing the same lawyer means they are collaborating with one another in terms of telling a story that is precorroborated through their attorney. >> my guess is first of all they wouldn't be meeting with each other to talk about the testimony. the lawyer would be smart enough not to do that. but it's not uncommon in investigations for people without culpability -- and if the investigators or bob mueller thinks there's a problem he actually can ask, bring it to the attention of the lawyer and say you've got a conflict, you can't do this. ultimately he can go to the grand jury judge, the judge who's supervising the grand jury selection process and say i'm
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going to make a motion to have this lawyer conflicted out of the case entirely. i can see why it might create some concern, but as a general rule it happens fairly frequently. >> and there's way a to correct it. >> exactly. >> that's why i wanted you to come in and someone these things in plain terms. >> i'm happy to do it. it's ironic because ultimately the reason that letter -- the president apparently didn't like the original letter because he wanted to say that comey would not say that he was not under investigation. now hts really hard to draw any other conclusion. >> paul fishman, former u.s. attorney for the great state of new jersey. thank you very much. we'll be right back. stay with us. i count on my dell small business advisor
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while the whole country was riveted to the spectacle of hurricane irma swarming its way toward the florida coast friday night the white house did something absolutely gobsmacking and it has gone almost unnoticed because of when they did it. some things are hidible for a little while in a friday night news dump but ultimately if they're bad enough and weird enough they do come out. and for this story, ultimately is next. each year sarah climbs 58,007 steps.
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okay. this is nuts. this is not the biggest thing in the world but i feel like i sort of need to stick a pin in this. because i just -- i can't believe they did it. i can't believe they did it again. all right. you remember the last time the russian ambassador stepped foot in the oval office it was the day after trump fired fbi director james comey. the only reason we came to know about the president hosting the russian ambassador on the right, the russian foreign minister, the other guy in the oval office the day after he fired comey, the only reason we came to know about it was because the russians posted pictures of it. right? no u.s. cameras were allowed into the oval office meeting but the russian foreign ministry brought in a russian state media photographer to the oval office and that's how we got these pictures of the president laughing and joking with these senior russian officials
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including ambassador sergey kislyak, the guy on the right. the same guy who had all those meetings and contacts with jeff sessions and jared kushner and mike flynn that the trump folks tried to keep secret. they're all now central to the russia investigation. it later emerged that the president during that oval office meeting gave those russian officials highly classified code word intelligence from one of our allies. also he told them in the oval office that he had fired "that nutjob james comey" and now that he'd fired that nutjob "i faced great pressure because of russia but now that's taken off." so that was the -- that was the last time the president hosted the russian ambassador at the white house and we had to learn about it from russian state-run media. then on friday afternoon, with the whole country focused on hurricane irma, they did it again. quote, "president trump received me in a warm and friendly way, the atmosphere was very genial, constructive and welcoming, russian ambassador anatoly
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antonov told the russian state-owned news agency." this is the new russian ambassador. not kislyak. he's a former deputy defense minister. he's subject to sanctions. new ambassadors do have to present their credentials to the president. we know that president trump has done at least two of these credentialing ceremonies for new ambassadors before last week. he did one in april. he did one in july. both times those meetings with new ambassadors were listed on trump's public schedule, sent out the previous night. but on friday with the new russian guy? the white house didn't mention it. it was only after russian state media started reporting that it had already happened, avenue the meeting happened, then the white house sent out this belated press release announcing that oh, yeah, the president met the new russian ambassador. now, if we want to know what trump told the new ambassador about the fbi's russia investigation or about one of our ally's code word classified intelligence things, presumably we'll have to wait for that to turn up on "russia today" or
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sputnik and then we can find out what happened. sure enough late friday night it was the russian embassy that produced the picture of the meeting. on their twitter feed. next time a senior russian official is going to be in the oval office maybe just insisting on that. or maybe with this new administration that will always be something that moscow knows about before we're allowed to. we'll see you again tomorrow. now it's time for "the last word with lawrence o'donnell." >> you're just saying that because you're trying to get more enemies for america. you're just -- >> you know me. >> turn russia into an enemy of america. charlie asked the question of why doesn't the president ever say anything about russia? i mean, the answer being, we don't want to create another enemy. >> you know what? if he keeps saying nice things about russia we can invest in the inne


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