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tv   Hugh Hewitt  MSNBC  December 9, 2017 5:00am-5:31am PST

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you're a go! you got the green light. that means go! oh, yeah. start saying yes to your company's best ideas. we're gonna hit our launch date! (scream) thank you! goodbye! let us help with money and know-how, so you can get business done. american express open. morning glory, america. i'm hugh hewitt. on thursday i interviewed "meet the press" khud todd on my radio show about which of the stories were raining down on us would matter the most five years from now. i think the answer is actually tax reform. we will talk about that next week. later in the show, i will talk about electronic surveillance and sexual harassment.
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i think the resignation of al franken wins and the twists and turns taken in the investigation in the fbi and doj realm the past two years comes in second. not those involving special counsel mueller but others. joining me to review these two issues are three superb observers josh of the national adjourn, ruth marcus of the "washington post", niles of the hill. ruth, i want to start with you. on friday you had a column about al franken suggesting he did not receive due process. and i want you to summarize for the audience why that is a pretty minority opinion. why did you reach that? >> well, i'm actually surprised by how much agreement i'm hearing with the opinion. senator gillibrand said something very interesting when she made her very fateful announcement that it was time for franken to go. she said enough is enough. and we can't be having a conversation the difference
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between sexual assault and sexual harassment and what's boorish and what's groping. they all have to go. i really respect senator gillibrand, and i completely disagree with her on this. i think it's essential that we disaggregate and have individualized justice. i'm going to use a little bit of a prejorative term, and not mob justice. we need to take each of these cases on its merits. harvey weinstein is different from al franken. al franken is different from john conyers. so we need to think about the differences in behavior. we also need to think about what is our capacity to figure out what happens here. there are places -- in work places you kind of don't have to have due process. almost all of us are employees at will. we could be fired for any reason or no reason. when somebody has been elected
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by voters and there is a process available, albeit a faulty process in the form of the ethics committee, i think we need to think about who we are to be pushing them to leave when voters have elected them and whether there is a way to improve our processes. lawrence o'donnell reminded us it took three years to deal with it. that is way too long. but three weeks and no process is way too short. >> i hear the harvard law school trained lawyer coming through on that. i agree with you on one by one. but nile, you're the journalist up on the hill. al franken is the author of the lying liars and the lies they tell. it is not a go. and the guy in nevada. they're all over the place. does due process get much of a
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hearing regarding the due process of the circus right now? >> not really is the short answer. i would disagree with some of the emphasis on the comments. as a political matter, i think franken had to go. it wasn't sustainable for him to stay with this phof allegations against him. if people think the allegations are false, of course they should produce the evidence as to why. ist is an advantage or plus for us as a society that we are moving toward a position where these allegations are at least taken seriously for the default position that they should at least be investigated. people like anita hill, paula jones had compelling cases to make and weren't really given that degree of credibility. and i think that was also a problem. i agree that individual justice much apply. >> let me stay on the politics for a moment. the national journal is, you
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must be following this. chuck made the comment he's not sure that al franken isn't going to run again. and i think of the tweet heard around the world, where he is mockingly assaulting the radio host. i think he can't survive that. but then i think does he have a comeback potential? >> it is amazing a few months ago we thought jeff sessions would be out of job and now he is planning to resign his seat. i think it is is how politics played a role as much as principles and laurels. they have wanted to litigate the case against roy moore and more importantly donald trump in awe way that franken gave a hard time of doing. he was a problem when you're talking about sexual harassment you have a sexual harasser in your midst. they think it is a short-term benefit. get conyers out, tprapen out.
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they may run into a long-term problem, though. they are setting themselves for a standard that it should be reacted to. people might get caught up in this. trent franks. >> gone. >> he is already gone. >> he will have announced his resignation. >> he should be given the seriousness of the allegations. if that's the standard, you're going to see a lot of vacanciev. >> i want to go back to ruth. the two lawyers talking. i have heard the number of 40 in terms of congressional investigations about members elected to office. the same standard, whether it's an r, d, or i. what's the standard, ruth, that we ought to apply regardless of party and tribe as to whether or not a person ought to be obliged to resign? >> you have a very specific standard. i think that -- we are in the middle of a revolution.
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it's an overdue revolution. i was around for anita hill. i was around for paula jones. i think the question about -- which will have more effect on people in the long term is a very close call between the tax bill and this sexual harassment reckoning. i think we need to kind of as courts do, work our way towards what the proper standard is. and maybe recognize that it's not a one standard fits all. it might depend on what job you're in. somebody who is in media and who is going to be in the situation of judging other people may be held to a higher standard than somebody who is in a different private job. somebody who is in public service, senator gillibrand said this, may be held to a higher standard than somebody who is in
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preuft s private sector job. at the same time, we have elections. that's a way of holding people responsible. i think we need to figure out some adviindividualized approac. >> common law journalism. >> yes. . common law justice and furring out what sort of process we think is due. >> that's what the sports leagues have done. they have worked their way through every incident. before we run out of time i have to bring up a second major story. when al franken was resigning, director wray in which it was raised the possibility that many members that a vast conspiracy involved with special agent stroke and associate deputy attorney general orr that had to do with krchristopher steele. i could not answer some of these questions. i'm probably the only broadcast
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host who held clearances for foreign surveillance act applications. but niles, that hearing unleashed a lot of fever swamp talk. is it going anywhere? is there going to be a second special counsel to look at the doj? >> there could be. one of the problems is it is so polarized. they were exclusively republican. that doesn't mean they're wrong, but that does mean that it's all part of this divisiveness we're seeing around this investigation. i think a lot of people want to know is the information correct. lots of emphasis is did this agent have that political view or the other political view. we don't generally assume that people can only get a fair hearing from law enforcement officials. >> absolutely. i never ever hold it against
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someone in law enforcement whether they're republican or democrat. we have the are phofl of mr. orr who made with the british spy steele many times. rob rosen stein pulled his ticket. >> i think there is a lot of speculation. jim jordan raised the theory and tried to force chris wray to contradict him for various reasons. it is so political, so tribal. it wasn't that long ago during the 2016 presidential race the democrats were accused of favoring trump in the new york field office. now the tables are turned. it is strictly political with the republicans all raising these types of questions. it wasn't that long ago when the shoe was on the other foot. >> last question to you, ruth. i had a column in your paper, "washington post", my paper as well. saying second special counsel. it drew 3,000 comments.
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most unhappy with it. >> yea! no, i mean, they can be happy or unhappy. as long as they're commenting, bring it on. i think we have a process in place that is the inspector general who was already looking at this. they don't -- they can make recommendations. we need to figure out before we start. i thought conservatives weren't into the notion of special counsels. before we start leaping into those extreme things, we need to think about whether we have an institution in place that can deal with these significant questions. the inspector general is looking at this. i think josh makes an underappreciated point as conservatives are all going crazy about these tax and other things about whether it was really pro trump fervor reported in the new york fbi field office that had a bigger impact
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perhaps. >> that's a good question. >> on the 2016 election. >> i just think this is one of those rare instances where a conservative wants another pair of eyes. thanks to all three of you for coming in. when we come back, the third ranking official at the department of justice. the need for surveillance and the pursuit of sexual predators in housing. stay tune. i kept looking for ways to manage my symptoms. i thought i was doing okay. then it hit me... managing was all i was doing. when i told my doctor, i learned humira is for people who still have symptoms of moderate to severe crohn's disease even after trying other medications.
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general, welcome. >> good to be here. >> the second one is about sexual harassment, public housing. the first we can't talk about, russia. i want to make clear you don't have the russia portfolio. >> i do not. >> as a result, you're the third ranking member but you are not having anything to do with overseeing robert mueller? >> no. >> what happened if rosenstein gets hit by a bus or recused because of his memo. do you take it over then? >> in the order of succession, yes. but i don't like to engage in hypotheticals on that. i'm focused on doing my job every day, which does not include that and i don't have any reason to expect it will. >> that is why we are not talking about russia. it's not her job. i want to talk about the fair housing act. before harvey weinstein surfaced, a note was put out in november to people who had been victimized by harvey weinsteins in their neighborhood, their housing developments. >> the fair housing act makes sexual harassment illegal under
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federal law. that term doesn't really capture what we're talking about here. we have seen examples from everything from grope to go rape happen with landlords, housing as far as, real estate agents. and that's not only a crime in some context. if it's rape, for example. but it is illegal under federal law. we want women to know they have a place to go. even if the police won't help them, they can call the u.s. department of justice. we have a hotline, website. and doj will bring a case on their behalf. >> i didn't think that problem could be that epidemic. that was before the weinstein era. they don't think about recourse. >> we have seen it in the most vulnerable in the housing. single moms. they won't mite find themselves homeless if they don't give up to the landlord's sexual
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advances. it is all across the country in various socioeconomic strata. some of these cases are truly outrageous. >> we will follow up on that. this is the provision of the federal law that allows us to surveil foreigners overseas believed to be involved in terrorism. the department of justice is okay if this debate goes into the spring. is that true? >> we knew this authority would be authorize said this year. it expires december 31. now if congress has not reauthorized about pwr that, we will have to immediately start winding that down. we have to find out the communications of terrorists outside the united states. we're talking isis fighters in iraq and on from there. we need to know their communications, their networks, sources of of financing, what they're planning. the best way to do that is with this particular tool. >> we have been doing
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surveillance under three presidents. does this change at all in your opinion? >> i don't think so. when i have been talking on the hill with previous administration in my previous roles, there are wide-ranging views but they don't break down on party lines. >> we know what the good stuff is. we don't want them to communicate without nsa or another intelligence agency knowing about it. what are the gentlemen will he skwreut mat concerns from people like me who say, okay, i have some questions. what do you hear? >> what i hear is folks want terrorists to be surveyed but they don't want americans to be surveill surveilled. i agree with that. when the rub or hits the road on 702, if a terrorist in afghanistan e-mailed to me that he mailed would he mail would be collected.
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we have all kinds of protections that attach once a u.s. person's e-mail is collected. those protections have long been on the law. when i was on the oversight board, a bipartisan body that overseas the counterterrorism agencies, we all looked into this and thought it balances national security and privacy well because of all of those protections. >> you collect all of this massive amount of data. it has been going a number of years. it gets bigger every year as your tools of collection grow. how do we know the bad guys can't break in? we have had snowden, any number of breaks. people are in the public eye find everything that's been known about them and collected by the government is spewed out there not because you wanted it but because someone broke in. >> with snowden, it was a significant concern. intelligence is working very hard to make sure that doesn't happen again. when it comes to section 702, though, that wouldn't be the place where you could get the intelligence to dock somebody with. you can't target an american
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over 702. only a foreigner located outside the u.s. one or two e-mails might get collected but only those e-mails. if a terrorist e-mailed you, you don't become a target. we're not getting all of your e-mails at this point. that's not really the problem when it comes to section 702. >> okay. now, in the public mind, they hear about unmasking, this discussion with the panel about director wray, jim jordan, adrian stroke. their concern is this is surveillance going exponentially out of control. >> whatever i understand legitimate concerns people have about making sure the u.s. government is not spying on american citizens, they are legitimate concerns. i share them. the important thing for me is making sure the legitimate concerns people have about that kind of thing do not become confused with section 702, a farthered program, targeted towards foreigners outside the
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united states with many privacy protections. >> it is all one conversation on the radio and television. how do you get people saying 702 is very different. we need this for a specific purpose, believe me. that's what you're saying, right, trust me. >> it's not just trust me. this is what the law says fpltd i hate to keep going back to the privacy is civil liberties, but that is its purpose. it is is not under the supervision of the president. we didn't have to run our conclusions by the president. the five of us ranging from conservative republicans to liberal democrats looked at all the classified intelligence and concluded it was lawful and operating consistent with the statute and that it was highly effective. it is not just trust me. you can look at our 150 page report. >> one minute left. why don't we give six is months and talk about it. what's wropblg with that
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approa approach? that's better than nothing. but in six months, we'll be back here again. >> he may not have used the term six months exactly. if it was a time certain where we had a public debate about the 6th's of the risk of disclosure you would be okay with that? >> we have been having that for five years. i had four meetings on the hill yesterday on this issue. we are doing that work. i don't want to short circuit the debate. i think congress needs to act this year. >> how many years? >> a permanent reauthorization. >> permanent reauthorization from rachel brand. thank you for joining me. i'll be right back. i just got my cashback match,
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hey there. good morning, everyone. i'm alex witt at msnbc world headquarters in new york. the first big storm of the season has dumped record-setting snow in the deep south. it has caused driving nightmares in many cities unaccustomed on the wintry weather. and icy pavement led to this 15-car pileup. the storm has already


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