tv The Beat With Ari Melber MSNBC November 30, 2017 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
family kicked off the holiday season by lighting the national christmas tree. if massive christmas trees are your thing, well, there you go. here's a live look at the one in the back yard by the way of our nbc news new york city offices. it's always fun to see that as well. it's america's two favorite christmas trees, the one in washington and the one in rockefeller center and of course the one in your house as well. that's all for tonight. we'll be back with more tomorrow. "the beat" starts now. good evening. >> i watched your toss and i just want to share with you if you could tell nicole that like maxine waters i plan to be reclaiming my time. >> there you go. fair enough. but again u you'you're not goin blame me, always blame nicole. >> you were holding a debt that was neither yours on either end. that happens in liefe. thank you.
bob mueller's probe is moving closer to president trump, closer than ever before. we can report tonight that fact because we know now that for the first time there is a leak showing a trump family member was facing a grilling from bob mueller's investigators. at trump's son-in-law, jared kushner. he's facing a lot of questions about russia. so, i begin with a question about the questions. is this bad news for kushner, or is it good news? legally it actually depends. the new reports are that kushner spoke to investigators about mike flynn in an interview that was earlier this month. flynn and kushner met with the russian ambassador at trump tower during the transition and were allegedly brainstorming on how to create a secret back channel for trump aides to talk with putin's government. that proposal is suspicious because it allegedly included a discussion of literally using the russian embassy for those conversations, but there are no reports that kushner suggested that arrangement for talking to any other country in the world. sounds bad.
we will note as well though that he denies that he was pushing that. as for the interview, a source telling nbc news that kushner spoke to mueller's investigators for under an hour. that account would suggest that kushner was maybe a mere witness with a small amount of information to offer and maybe not a focus of the investigation. there's an alternative and that would be that he is going to get more scrutiny later and right now they just happen to be focused on flynn. the idea would be that these investigators might grill kushner in a longer interview down the line about undisclosed russia meetings, about the trump tower meeting as well. that's not all tonight. i can tell you there's another trump family member under scrutiny. news breaking that house investigators will interview donald trump jr. and they're going to do it in a closed session next week. there are sure to be questions about how his father coached his defense for the trump tower meeting as well, and if anything seemed to hinder or obstruct the investigation coming from his
father, the president, now a question about that was what a top investigator said he posed to jeff sessions today. >> asked the attorney general specifically did the president of the united states ever take any action that you believed -- instruct you to take any action that you believed would hinder the russia investigation and he declined to answer that question. >> declined to answer that question and that's a weird question to duck. but i can tell you that the doj is informing nbc news tonight that they say that sessions does deny that trump ever instructed him to do anything improper but he doesn't want to talk about his conversations with the president. in just a moment i'm going to speak to a member of the house intel committee who was in those interviews. first i'm joined by the former counsel and former prosecutor. jill, your view on what it means if the accounts are correct that
jared kushner did attend these meetings, it did touch on flynn and it was under an hour. >> it could be either way and it's just very likely that they are taking their time and doing things in order. they need to have all the evidence and all the documents about jared before they start questioning him. so they may be waiting until they have more of the background information for him, and we know that they have a lot about flynn so calling him in to talk about flynn would be helpful to them on the flynn investigation. but also think about this, if he has information that's helpful about flynn, it's because he was in a meeting where something wrong happened and he is equally complicit in whatever that is. so it's sort of going both ways i think. >> right. i think you put your finger on it. maya, that's the big question when you talk about this in terms of, well, what are they doing. the fbi does not just do
chit-chat. it's not just coffee. they are looking at alleged crimes. indeed, their purview is a counter intel or criminal operation. so they're either looking at bad stuff abroad or legal stuff at home if i may simplify it. let me read what "the new york times" is saying happened in this kushner interview. prosecutors asking kushner about any other interactions between mr. flynn and the russian government. as another lawyer, we have three lawyers here, what does that mean when they're then reaching out beyond that original topic? >> well, i think the point is there are many allegations that they have to chase down. there's not just one. they have several possibilities with flynn but also with kushner himself. i agree that we don't know which way this is going but we have to remember a couple of things. one, mike flynn was able to be in the national security adviser position he was in because of jared kushner, because chris christie did not trust him. so that is a precursor to that
meeting that flynn was in with kushner. the other thing though is if i'm the fbi and i think there may be a connection with kushner too and michael flynn may be cooperating with the fbi or may be considering cooperation with the fbi, they also might want to test some of the things that they think they might have on kushner to see if he says anything inconsistently with what flynn is telling them. >> right. and we've been really spellbound all week, jill, about this idea and a lot of indications that they are getting closer to cooperating. one big one was the reporting that flynn's lawyers basically pulled out of any cooperation with the trump white house which may be concerning to the trump white house dmeepending on what they think trump knows. would mueller ever want to change the timing here? what can you infer from the fact that while there may be a cooperation discussion going on, they went ahead to talk to
kushner and does that put pressure on kushner? >> it does. first of all, if, as we suspect, there was a proffer by flynn of evidence, it means that they can follow up, they, mueller's team, can follow up on anything he said. so if they gave him any clues about kushner, they can certainly question kushner about that and as maya was suggesting, test his investigator os veraci. so again, it's putting the pieces of a puzzle together, and you have to start somewhere and build. you want to have documents first because those are the things that trip people up the most. people who don't go through them as closely as investigators do and then they say something that they want to be true but that isn't and it's proven to be a lie by the actual document. so i think it could definitely be what you're suggesting. >> then you have jeff sessions, another individual who has forgotten some of his meetings.
>> a lot of them actually. >> here he was using that defense a lot in previous testimony. >> i don't recall. i don't recall it. i don't recall it. i don't recall that. >> in your testimony today you have stated "i don't recall" at least 20 times. is that fair to say? >> i have no idea. >> does that work well if this becomes something that mueller actually cares to pick at? >> it does not look good. it is not a good look. so first of all, you have jeff sessions saying not only in his confirmation hearing that he did not have any meetings with russian foreign nationals, but we know he met twice with russian ambassador kislyak, he also failed to disclose that on his security clearance form. and then he doesn't remember the conversation he had with carter page at a dinner wherein carter page told him he was going to be traveling to russia. and then he doesn't remember once again what george papadopoulos says about a
meeting that he was in with papadopoulos when he was going to brief some of the campaign members around what his conversations were with russians. so that's a lot of not remembering a lot of stuff related to russia. >> maya wiley and jill wine bakes, thank you both. i turn to mike quigley who was on that committee and one of the members interviewing today attorney general jeff sessions. let me start with what you can tell us. did you walk out of there today feeling more confident that everything is on the level and there's no problem or less so? >> i think i left with the impression that the american public has two bad choices. either the attorney general is one of the most forgetful persons who works out of washington d.c. and in our nation's history or he's being less than candid with the american public through his testimony through the senate and/or the house. >> you say and/or the house. do you feel that he was less than candid today?
>> well, you talked about the "i don't recall" number that was evident in the senate testimony. i think he easily eclipsed that number today. >> really? you think he said "i don't know" more than 20 times? >> it's i don't recall, i don't know, i don't remember, the best of my recollection, or he would answer an answer and say, i believe. there were very few definitive answers, yes, no, absolutely. that doesn't engender a lot of confidence in his testimony. obviously the question that he refused to answer from the ranking democrat was the most troubling one. it wasn't that complicated. there clearly is no privilege there and there hasn't been a privilege evoked. even if there was a previousivi evoked, he would be talking about something that's a criminal act. the president hindering the investigation would be a criminal act and there's no
privilege at all with that. >> to put it in plain terms, there is no way that you could use even a legitimate privilege to hide an ongoing crime or criminal conspiracy. you're referring to the fact that he appeared unable, according to ranking member schiff, to rule out whether he was part of the investigation. part of my job is to ask questions and process everything. it is no longer far fetched at this point given what has leaked out that donald trump would be asking senior officials to do things they're not supposed to do. i mean, that is what jim comey testified under oath regarding flynn. that is what there have been reports about other folks in the intel community including folks mem oralizing it. so it really is at this point i think a flipped thing which is why wouldn't jeff sessions have run into this by now and if so, why can't he say i may have been asked something inappropriate but i assure you i said no.
>> clearly the question gave him pause and trouble. that's not what you want to hear from the number one law enforcement officer in the united states, the number one attorney for the united states. it would have been very simple for him to answer one way or another. it was indeed a troubling day in testimony. >> congressman mike quickly, thank you for joining us. coming up, there are reports of a new shakeup in the trump administration. rex tillerson on shaky ground. what does this do to national security this many staffing changes. also, we have reporting on how trump's anti-muslim tweets are actually sparking real security concerns for americans overseas and condemnation from our allies. >> he is either a racist, incompetent, or unthinking or all three. >> it is offensive to all decent british people. >> we'll show you more of that. and we are now, very important, hours away from a vote on a bill that could give the trump family up to a $1 billion tax break, and also as we have meticulously documented
betray his campaign promises. later, lawrence o'donnell is here to break it down. you're watching "the beat" on msnbc. accumulations up to 8 inches... ...don't know if you can hear me, but [monica] what's he doing? [lance] can we get a shot of this cold front, right here. winter has arrived. whooo! hahaha [vo] progress is an unstoppable force. brace yourself for the season of audi sales event. audi will cover your first month's lease payment on select models during the season of audi sales event. we're on a mission to show drip coffee drinkers, it's time to wake up to keurig. wakey! wakey! rise and shine! oh my gosh! how are you? well watch this. i pop that in there. press brew. that's it. so rich. i love it. that's why you should be a keurig man! full-bodied. are you sure you're describing the coffee and not me? but he hasoke up wwork to do.in. full-bodied. so he took aleve. if he'd taken tylenol, he'd be stopping for more pills right now. only aleve has the strength to stop tough pain
donald trump has been tweeting conspiracy theories and attacks. there is a problem in his white house tonight that he apparently does not want to get attention. it is a slow motion decay at the state department beginning with career diplomats that's in the middle of the chart and now may soon reach the very top. reports the trump white house approving a plan to fire secretary of state rex tillerson, payback apparently for tillerson calling trump a, quote, f-ing moron as nbc news reported. the president ducking the issue today. >> do you want rex tillerson on the job, mr. president? he's here. do you want him to stay in his job? >> thank you very much, everybody. thank you. >> that is the tension inside the white house. historians now saying that the firing of this secretary of
state in year one would make this one of the highest turnover administrations on national security ever in a first year. shakeups at the department of homeland security, the nsa, now possibly the state department, not to mention the trump officials that along with mike flynn that are gone like reince priebus, steve bannon, sean spicer, m.i.a. that's the decay at the top. here on "the beat" tonight we have more to this story. i can report exclusively on a 35-year american diplomatic veteran who served under presidents of both parties now sidelined. linda green feld speaking in her first television interview since leaving the state department is one of many diplomats saying they're being pushed out, a hollowing out of expertise and she spoke to me about impact. >> we lose influence. we lose the ability to change people's minds, to get their
support when we need their support, for example, at the u.n. it's our ambassadors that can go into heads of state and encourage them and urge them to support the united states when we need them the most. >> when we need them the most. and that is a deeper issue here. while these posts remain vacant, a vacancy at the top also could be filled by a republican hawk, mike pompeo, from the cia. there's reporting that spot would then be filled by trump with tom cotton, which, yes, leads back to russia. sorry, you can't make it up. as mother jones notes, quote, trump would install one of the most vocal supporters of his efforts to dismiss the trump campaign suspected collaboration with the kremlin. a lot of dominos and here to play dominos with me is katherine rand pell and howard fineman for "huffington post." if you want to be as fair as possible, there's turnover in every administration and the first year is harder than the
4th or 8th. having said that, what do you see at the state department that's problematic for national security because we're hearing from a lot of people about expertise problems. >> well, the entire administration is now part of the gig economy. everything is a temp job. the thing here with the state department is it stands in the way of how donald trump operates. everything is about him. everything is about his ways, his whims, his political wants. he's the center of attention and anything that smacks of process and expertise like the state department is out the window. secondarily here, i got to say, maybe we can talk about this a little later, i think this is about to some extent not just iran and the hawks taking over to go after iran and not just about aligning with the saudis and the gulf states over there. i think there's a russia angle to this story that i think we need to get to when you got a minute. >> i got a minute. you do it quickly and then i'll go to katherine. >> one of my best sources on
this story, you got to look at the whole chess board. rex tillerson is closer to vladimir putin than donald trump will ever be. they go back a long time. putin has a nuanced view of all that. putin can be a danger to donald trump if he decides to mess around with the investigation. pompeo and cotton, two military guys, two harvard law school graduates, two very respected guys on the hill i think are being put into place to take on the fbi and robert mueller down the road on the russia investigation. these are guys that are going to try to undermine it and say that national security means that it has to be shut down. i know that's a big prediction on my part but i'm going to make it right here. that's their role ultimately. >> katherine, that's something that has come up in the nixon administration and other times, whether you can get the muscle if you will at the intel to override everybody else. >> yeah, this administration has been full of so much tumult and
turnover and turbulence, it's really hard to wrap your head around basically. it's bizarre in that already a year into the administration they still don't seem to have settled on any sort of approach to how we should be conducting foreign policy, how we should be interacting with our allies, let alone our enemies. it's hard to get a sense of where things are going forward. but i can tell you this much, given how many people have left, i doubt you that many of those people miss their days in this white house. >> howard, you outlined a theory that the president is just focused on himself. i'll play a little quiz with you. who said, i'm the only one that matters? you get one guess. >> i think it's beyonce. no, it's donald trump. >> we'll go to the tape. here's who said it. >> are you worried that the state department doesn't have enough donald trump nominees in there to push your vision
through? >> we don't need all the people that they want. you don't need to fill slots, don't fill them. i'm the only one that matters because when it comes to it, that's what the policy is going to be. >> howard? >> well look, as i said, he's going to pursue the policy of siding with the saudis and the gulf states against iran. both of these people, both pompeo and cotton are down the line hawks on that view, totally with the president on it. i think they will reflect the instincts and the moves, the impulsive or otherwise that donald trump has made, will make. but i also think there's a russia angle to this because i think they will -- they've not only expressed their skepticism in various ways, they are guys who are respected on the hill, tight in the republican
conservative establishment on the hill, not the mcconnell stuff but the hard liners and they're going to be there to take on and push when it comes to that down the road. there's going to be a reckoning. >> i think it's an important point as you look around the corner. katherine, also you mentioned all of the turnover. the other departures here, they really stack up. you look at reince priebus, katie walsh, sean spicer, sally yates, preet bharara, keith chiller. yeah. >> there's so many of them. so few of them have managed to leave with their dignity intact which would also be an interesting point to make here. a few of them, yates, probably comey who is probably the only one who left with a better public image than when trump came into office. walter shoud, he's another one. but the rest of them, they've ripped off taxpayers and have
been caught for it, they have crossed the president's son-in-law which is not terribly advisable if you want to stick around. they've done all sorts of things that have humiliated themselves, that have humiliated the country. >> i want to thank you both. up next, this rage towards donald trump is bringing internationally over the retweets of anti-muslim propaganda. >> donald trump is not actively sewing seeds of hate in our country. >> it's stupid what he did. >> jelani cob on how the fbi may be targeting black activists. we'll explain.
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formally raised security concerns for americans overseas. it all stems from him posting and retweeting these anti-muslim videos which came from the leader of a far right group called britain first. the u.s. state department now warning the white house that his actions, those tweets, could actually endanger the security of u.s. officials abroad. concerns also in the british house of commons. this is what we were showing you a little earlier in the broadcast. it's really extraordinary. a display of lawmakers going out of their way to specifically condemn an american president. >> by sharing it, he is either a racist, incompetent, or unthinking or all three. >> not just offensive to british people of muslim heritage, it is offensive to all decent british people. >> tweets by extremist offensive and racist organization is not fitting of someone holding such high office and must be condemned. >> donald trump is not actively sowing seeds of hatred in our
countr country. >> the president was stupid in what they did. >> their blunt legislature. british prime minister teresa may who is usually a trump ally calling out his actions today. >> the fact that we work together does not mean that we're afraid to say when we think the united states have got it wrong and be very clear with them, and i'm very clear that retweeting from britain first was the wrong thing to do. [ applause ] >> two international experts on this transatlantic issue. nile, how unusual is this level of specific rebuke from so many people across the political spectrum there in the u.k.? >> it's absolutely extraordinary, ari. i mean, this is yet again an instance where we have to remind ourselves during the trump presidency this is not normal.
you played the prime minister's remarks there, you played some of the members of parliament's remarks. we had today two members of the british parliament say that if donald trump visits the united kingdom, he should be arrested for incitement. this is members of parliament in a stalwart u.s. ally saying that about an american president. again, it's just an extraordinary incident that we're facing here. >> you mentioned the idea of what would happen if trump goes to the u.k. after doing this and not taking responsibility, certainly not apologizing for it. steve, take a listen to that. >> the united states should not be afforded a state visit to the united kingdom. one of the key dangers is that we have absolutely no idea of what the president will state or tweet next. >> we cannot simply roll out a red carpet and give a platform for the president of the united states to sow discord in our communities. >> action is needed now.
not a slap on the wrist. cancel the state visit. >> steve clemens, from a foreign policy perspective, is this bad for america? >> as nile said, it's unprecedentedly bad. this is a situation in which the united states and the united kingdom and their alliance is one of the most vital and important in the world and donald trump has just ripped the heart and soul out of it. no matter what we do as partners in the future, there will be no enthusiasm for it. there will be no energy of the british people for projects that the united states needs british support for despite their own interests. it's an unbelievable moment. we've seen donald trump take what happened in charlottesville and send it global. >> steve, you talk about charlottesville which is a place where there was some free speech and there was also hate crimes and also violence and there was also, as mentioned earlier in this broadcast, the notion of incitement because there are some things you cannot say if
they get too close to a conspiracy to advance violence and it is that subject which also arose today. take a listen here. this is a conservative leader. this is on the right side of the political spectrum in the u.k. on those issues. >> if twitter is genuine in its commitment to fight hate crime online it should have no he is tense in taking down the twitter account of the first citizen of the u.s. as it would any other citizen of the world who pedalled such hate crime. >> the first citizen being a reference to the president posting these kind of messages. >> it's outrageous and i think the president of the united states right now is giving a wink and nod to hul begans who are racists and bigots and this is something we've seen happen in the united states. one of the advisers to the trump campaign is frank gaffney who is a very well known anti-muslim bigot who has run campaigns against previous appointees who were muslims. he and pam gellar. they're close to people like
mike pompeo. this is not an anomaly for donald trump. this is part of the composite of personalities around him. i think many of us are just unwilling -- we shouldn't accept that fact but it's been part of the equation of the trump presidency so far. they've kept it buried but now we see an explosion come out and have global consequences. >> global indeed. steve clemens and nile thank you both. big news on this show last night alleging serious concerns emanating from the white house. >> i know that two different people from the white house or at least saying they were from the white house and that turned out to be a white house number have called somebody i know in the last several weeks to say we are deeply concerned about his mental health. >> new yorker's jelani cobb will join me on that and other issues. also this trump backed tax plan could save his family a billion. what happened to the middle class that was supposed to get taken care of? lawrence o'donnell about to tell
us. he is live next. it lets you know where your data lives, down to the very server. it keeps your insights from prying eyes, so they're used by no one else but you. it. is. the cloud. the ibm cloud. the cloud that's designed for your data. ai ready. secure to the core. the ibm cloud is the cloud for business. yours. was supposed to be a wake reup call for our government?sh people all across the country lost their savings, their pensions and their jobs. i'm tom steyer and it turned out that the system that had benefited people like me who are well off, was, in fact, stacked against everyone else. it's why i left my investment firm and resolved to use my savings for the public good. but here we are nine years later and this president and the republican congress are making a bad situation even worse. they won't tell you that their so called "tax reform" plan
is really for the wealthy and big corporations, while hurting the middle class. it blows up the deficit and that means fewer investments in education, health care and job creation. it's up to all of us to stand up to this president. not just for impeachable offenses, but also to demand a country where everyone has a real chance to succeed. join us. your voice matters.
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legislative process and a markup in the senate finance committee. my next guest knows that process well. lawrence o'donnell was the top staffer on the senate finance committee in the 1990s and hosts of course "the last word with lawrence o'donnell". >> put that back. it's a great picture. >> when i was writing tax law i had so much more hair. >> with moynihan. >> senator moynihan. >> and you know, john mccain is, to put it mildly, exaggerating. this was not regular order on tax legislation. that's right outside the senate finance committee hearing room and the senate finance committee staff offices where reporters will hang out forever trying to find out what's in the bill. >> you're saying mccain's not quite right? >> they didn't have any real hearings at all. a meeting of the finance committee is not a hearing by definition, as you know. they marked up the bill and they did do a markup which is when the committee meets and votes on the bill. but that's the very end of the process of regular process in
the committee. that was the first thing they did. so mccain is -- the notion of regular process is hanging by a thread there. it's certainly a lot more regular process than they used on other things that they've just rushed straight to the floor. but this is an inconsistent moment for john mccain. he voted against the bush tax cuts. he voted against them on the basis of what they would do to the deficit. here he is voting for an explosion in the deficit in this next time. there's no consistency at all in his position but this bill is in a remarkable amount of trouble for a republican tax cut bill which always flies through. it always flies through, and republican tax cut bills always fly through with democratic votes because a tax cut is an r irresistible thing to vote for. they don't want to be accused of being for higher taxes. to get no democratic votes on
this is really one of the indicators of just how bad a bill this is. senate parliamentarian as we speak has a very big problem with their latest zany idea which was bob corker's idea about why don't we have a trigger if the deficit is not reduced as much as we say it will be, why don't we have a trigger in there to raise revenue to make up for that which is to say a trigger somewhere in the future to raise taxes that the parliamentarian could not allow something like that in the bill because it's unscoreable. there's no conceivable way you could say how much a future tax increase would raise somewhere down the road. it's impossible to do. so that won't be in there. it was a bad idea to begin with. >> you're making a nuanced and complex point about how that works. >> i'm sorry. >> i have a simpler one for you which is isn't it weird, aka,
hypocritical for republicans who always said you got to run the government and the budget the way you run a household, how much debt you can take on to come up as you're describing the thing that's supposed to save this bill is a thing where you literally wouldn't know in the long run what it would cost and what would happen and what the financial and economic reactions would be. isn't that a weird position? >> it was bob corker's idea and i guarantee you that all of the worst ideas in tax bills always come from members who are not on the tax writing committee. the finance committee members sit there and they look at this nonsense, you know, when it's pouring in at the last minute and people are trying to do something that will make them more comfortable with the vote. and they all know that this is absolute nonsense. it was from the start. but in this kind of thing where you're trying to hang onto every vote, humoring bob corker for a few days on a thing like the trigger helps you build momentum, and one of the things that happens with these senators, as you get closer to the finish line, it becomes more difficult for them to vote against it and so if you've
strung bob corker along for a few days and in the meantime he has seen john mccain move into the yes column and bob corker feels more and more isolated, the likelihood of corker voting against it goes down. but they can always afford to lose two republicans on this so we'll see. >> let me play for you donald trump just pitching this tax plan with a lot of predictions. here he was yesterday. >> under our plan middle class families will not only see their tax bill go down, they will see their incomes go up by an average of around $4,000. [ applause ] that's because we're going to cut taxes on american businesses so they will compete for workers. they'll raise salaries. the business is going to be haem a happy and the workers are going to be happy and the country is going to be a happy place. >> i haven't found the happy place quite yet, but what do you
make of the actual claims? >> it's the funniest thing anyone's ever said about a tax bill that wages are going to go up $4,000 a year. it's just ludicrous and laughable and he doesn't care. he has never cared in his life about these things. whatever he has to say today is what he says, and he doesn't care if he's proven wrong the next day. in this case we won't be able to prove him wrong for a couple of years. once we've done that, he absolutely won't care then. and so you've got someone who's willing to say absolutely anything to try to pass this bill and what's so fascinating about it, it's not working. trump voters oppose it. he doesn't have as much support for this tax bill as he had in voters when he was elected on election night and later through the electoral college. so you've got 49% opposition to it. the support for it is in the 20s. that's the support they have. so you have republicans opposed to this out there because
there's -- quite rightly, there's nothing they see in it that is for them and there is some vague understanding out there that the deficit is bad and eventually we're going to have to pay off the debt and the deficit. so voters know there's nothing in this for me and there's some big explosion of the deficit. >> right. and that's the debate that's going to go into tonight here as we looked at bernie sanders and marco rubio which means into your show. >> we will be covering it live at 10:00 p.m. tax debate on the senate floor. >> 10:00 p.m. every night on msnbc. also, check out his new book "playing with fire", the 1968 election and the transformation of american politics. >> it's for aging hippies and any aging hippies you know and love, they will happily accept it as a holiday gift. >> a holiday gift for all the hippies in your life, whatever age bracket really. >> you're probably desperately trying to understand aging hippies. this is your manual for that. >> this is how to do it, all right. >> translate it all.
>> fantastic. lawrence o'donnell, always a pleasure when you stop by "the beat." coming up, is donald trump's justice department targeting civil rights activists. jelani cobb is on next with me. and why does the trump tax plan punish teachers and do a bunch of things that don't have anything to do with taxes. my fact check later this hour. i've always had that issue with the seeds getting under my denture. super poligrip free. it creates a seal of the dentures in my mouth. even well fitting dentures let in food particles just a few dabs of super poligrip free is clinically proven to seal out more food particles so you're more comfortable and confident while you eat. super poligrip free made even the kiwi an enjoyable experience try super poligrip free. ♪ when this guy got a flat tire in the middle of the night. hold on dad... liberty did what? yeah, liberty mutual 24-hour roadside assistance helped him to fix his flat
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hate crimes are up in america 4.6% from last year. now, of those, about half were committed by white offenders, about a quarter by african-americans. now, those numbers are from the fbi. what is trump's doj doing about it? an internal report zeros in on what it calls, quote, black extremis extremists, but that report was not public. it's not part of trump's twitter storms or distractions. it's not what the administration apparently wants you to see. it was obtained by foreign
policy magazine which led congresswoman karen bass to press jeff sessions for examples. >> there are groups that do have an extraordinary commitment to their racial identity, and some have transformed themselves even into violent activists. >> could you name an african-american organization that have committed violent acts against police officer? >> i believe i could but i would want to be -- to confirm that and submit it to you in writing. >> has the fbi done a report on white supremacists that are likely to target officers? >> i'm not aware of that. >> cobb argues that trump's native inclinations are targeting civil rights leaders like mlk. jelani cobb is here. you write about this term, black identity extremists.
what are we talking about? >> that's the question, what are we talking about? it appears to be a very arbitrary designation and so if you read the report, they talk about people who have anpolice, motivated by what they perceive as racial grievances. but there is no connection to an organization or to a kind of ideological leader figure, cult figure. then they say they're worried about some of these individuals being radicalized by the sovereign citizen movement. but then they later in the report say that there's no evidence that there's actually any interaction or connection with the sovereign citizen movement. so at the end of it, it seems as if the report exists solely to create a kind of language, an umbrella that you can arbitrarily use for all sorts of purposes, very many of which would likely be surveillance of african-american activists. >> isn't there a big difference that there was a lot of violence
in the '60s and '70s, and while there was an assassinations of african-american leaders, there were also unrest incidents, there were also riots. >> sure, right. >> right now as someone who covers lawful issues, most of that has been on the hate crime side of white supremacist groups and rallies and disappear the jews and charlottesville -- how do you account for that? >> there's been a great deal of led that are gy around this. if you remember, one of the things activists have pointed out even going back to what happened in charleston in 2015 is that there was no designation of dylann roof's actions as terrorist by the fbi. something bennett james was criticized for. >> when he was targeting a black church explicitly. >> explicitly. the attempt to create a kind of racial conflict. >> race war. >> race war. the u.s. code defines terrorism as ideologically motivated violence intended to produce a
political outcome. there has to be an element of political outcome to it. that's certainly a political objective but the fbi refrained from that. so there's been a weird kind of asymmetry in terms of how they use these designations. >> it's such an important story and your article in the new yorker is really an important contribution to it. i want to ask about something else entirely. you've been such an interesting analyst and critic of the president. i was speaking last night to the coauthor from "art of the deal," tony schwartz, the interview with him made some news. tony knows very well donald trump, having worked closely with him. here is part of the interview where he made a revelation. >> i know that two different people from the white house, or at least saying they were from the white house and turned out to be a white house number, have called somebody i know in the last several weeks to say, we are deeply concerned about his mental health. i believe there are people who are concerned. most of them i think are hostages to a cult leader.
when you watch sarah huckabee sanders right now you feel as if you're watching somebody who is being brainwashed. all of america needs to understand that this is a person who is now exceptionally dangerous because he is losing his grip. >> coauthor of "art of the deal." that is not what we would call medical evidence. >> right. >> it's not from a doctor are doctor. but it is journalistic evidence what was he calls two people in the white house lodging this concern. as a journalist and analyst, how do you view this? >> well, i don't even have to kind of goperspective. "duty to warn," a book in which 25 people who are mental health professionals said they were deeply concerned. these are people who have not treated or examined mr. trump in person, but they've said in their clinical opinions that he exhibits many characteristics and traits that they find to be consistent with a mentally unwell person. that's something i think we should take very seriously.
these are not conversations that we typically have. we would say, oh, well, obama did this, that's crazy. or before that people would say, bush did this, that's nuts. but they meant that kind of colloqui colloquially. we're having actual substantive conversations with people who know about these issues saying this is something we at least need to examine and discuss. yeah, i think that's important. >> cobb, a voice of clarity, thank you so much for being here. up ahead, this is a fact check i mentioned earlier. there are some oddities inside the tax plan, and then 4-gettable kiss, that's next. patrick woke up with back pain.
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you know, there are certain questions that keep recurring in the trump era, like, is this normal? or, is this real life? well, now let's turn to one of the most fundamental questions that does arise when it comes to the trump administration. the question is, but why? tonight we're asking about about the tax plan which the white house rolled out with affection. >> great job, thank you. i didn't know i was going to be given -- >> don't lose it. >> the tax proposal has changed in the last 28 days since that outline. the senate rushing a vote on it as we speak.
consider how many things in this bill might make you go, but why? this plan specifically hikes taxes on teachers, for example, but not all teachers. this plan singles out teachers who choose to spend money out of pocket to get supplies for their students. trump's plan cuts their $250 deduction. the bill also loosens restrictions on political activity in church. it rolls back a 60-year-old law banning churches from politicking. church donations generally tax deductible to encourage charity, political donations are not. while republicans say this is a tax plan, consider that it also tries to give new legal rights to fetuses. a nontax provision that experts say could violate supreme court precedent, the bill attempts to change the federal definition of the homo sapiens species in order to give people early savings accounts for future education. but why? why stiff teachers? and deregulate campaign rules?
and redefine the federal definition of a fetus in a so-called tax bill is? >> but why? but why? but why? but why? but why? but why? but why? this is going to kansas me a fortune, believe me, believe me. this is not good for me. >> not good for him. trump drawing attention to the fact that he's the only modern-day presidential candidate to insist on hiding his tax returns from voters. but why? that's the question i leave you with. "hardball" starts now. helter skelter. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. president trump's one-man foreign policy is becoming a three-ring circus driven by his mercurial personality and ego. "the new york times" reported this morning