tv The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell MSNBC July 17, 2018 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT
tomorrow night i want to let you know right here on this bat channel at this bat time we're going to have on this show a former very senior federal cyber security official. it seems like the right time. this is not a person who does a lot of tv. we are bringing him to new york tomorrow for the interview on this show. i think you will definitely want to see it. there. i said it. that does it for us tonight. we'll see you again tomorrow. now it's time for "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell. good evening. >> good evening, rachel. now i'm busy trying to calculate the age of people who get the bat channel reference. >> oh, good point. >> but of course with tv land i think the batman series reran a lot. >> you know, also when you get old you stopped being able to make fine distinguishing differences between different eras when everybody else is just like mostly younger. you look out at the population, you're like yep, i'm at the top. then you stop realizing like what's generation x versus y versus z.
>> tell me about it. or don't, actually. don't. try really hard not to think about that. >> thank you. >> thank you, rachel. well, today the president of the united states switched from insulting his director of national intelligence yesterday by name and the thousands of intelligence personnel in washington and around the world who supply the president with the very best intelligence that they can provide. the president went from insu insulting all of them yesterday to insulting his voters today. the president told one of those trump lies that no one else in the history of public life in america would ever attempt to tell. donald trump and everyone in the trump white house know that most americans know that donald trump is an uncontrollable liar. the president knew he had no hope of convincing most voters today that he didn't mean to say what he said yesterday. the president knows that most
voters, most americans, most children are way too smart to fall for the lie that donald trump told today. but donald trump must not see his voters that way. former cia director john brennan yesterday said that president trump's comments yesterday why wr imbecilic. and today donald trump took imbecilic to a whole new level. he gave his voters an intelligence test that he seems to be very confident they will not pass, cannot pass. he said that he forgot to say one word yesterday that would completely reverse the meaning of one sentence that he said yesterday. the line that donald trump changed today came in the middle of his response to this question, which definitely was not an actual answer to the question. >> would you now, with the whole world watching, tell president putin, would you denounce what happened in 2016 and would you warn him to never do it again? >> so let me just say that we
have two thoughts. you have groups that are wondering why the fbi never took the server, why they haven't they taken the server. >> as the whole world knows, donald trump did not have the courage or the integrity to denounce what happened in 2016 yesterday, and he did not have the courage to warn vladimir putin, standing right beside him, to never do it again. instead donald trump rambled through a response in which he ended up saying this. >> all i can do is ask the question. my people came to me, dan coats came to me and some others, they said they think it's russia. i have president putin, he just said it's not russia. i will say this. i don't see any reason why it would be. but i really do want to see the server. but i have -- i have confidence in both parties. >> the president very clearly just said i don't see any reason
why it would be. it would be russia. what he meant was it would be russia that mounted a cyber war on the american election in 2016. and today the president tried to repair all of the damage that he did yesterday by simply inserting one word in that sentence. >> i got a transcript. i reviewed it. i actually went out and reviewed a clip of an answer that i gave. and i realized that there is a need for some clarification. it should have been obvious. i thought it would be obvious. but i would like to clarify just in case it wasn't. in a key sentence in my remarks i said the word "would" instead of "wouldn't." the sentence should have been "i don't see any reason why i wouldn't or why it wouldn't be russia." so just to repeat, it i said the word "would" instead of "wouldn't." and the sentence should have
been, and i thought it would be maybe a little bit unclear on the transcript or unclear on the actual video, the sentence should have been "i don't see any reason why it wouldn't be russia." >> did the self-described stable genius come up with that all by himself? obviously not. that's why he had to read a written statement. we know donald trump doesn't write anything. and donald trump is not reluctant to share his ideas. that's why he tweets around the clock. and this was an easily tweetable fix 24 hours ago. 24 hours ago donald trump was at home in the white house watching television and seeing the massive onslaught of criticism he was getting including from republicans for saying what he said yesterday and the line that he decided to change today was quoted many times last night. so obviously, yesterday and last night donald trump didn't think there was anything wrong with saying that he couldn't see any
reason at all why russia would attack our election in order to help donald trump. but it took a full 24 hours for donald trump to try and insert that one new word into that sentence. and whose idea was that? nbc news national correspondent peter alexander is reporting tonight that a source familiar with the conversation confirms to nbc news that vice president mike pence and secretary of state michael pompeo had a private conversation with president trump to urge him to make clarifications on his comments from the news conference with vladimir putin in helsinki. and so the two mikes came up with the one-word solution. just change that one word and everything's going to be okay. donald trump will not survive the mueller investigation or an impeachment investigation if his lawyers are not much, much better than the two mikes. there were many problems in what the president had to say yesterday, but the one, the one that the two mikes were trying to solve was the spot where the president seems to equate the integrity and judgment of dan
coats, his director of national intelligence, with the integrity and judgment of his new friend vladimir putin. the president said, "my people came to me, dan coats came to me and some others. they said i think it's russia. i have president putin. he just said it's not russia. i will say this. i don't see any reason why it would be." that is what the president said yesterday. and changing that one word changes only the meaning of that one sentence. it doesn't change the meani inif any other sentence the president said yesterday. it doesn't change the part where he equates dan coats and vladimir putin. let's listen to that one more time. >> all i can do is ask the question. my people came to me, dan coats came to me, and some others. they said they think it's russia. i have president putin. he just said it's not russia. i will say this. i don't see any reason why it would be. but i really do want to see the
server. but i have -- i have confidence in both parties. >> but i have, uh, i have confidence in both parties. that sentence came after, after the sentence that the two mikes tried to change. the two mikes did not change that sentence, "i have confidence in both parties." to make the two mikes' story work they would have had to change that sentence too. they two of change that sentence to "i do not have confidence in both parties." they'd have to put another "not" in there. i do not have confidence in both parties. and then they would have had to invent a sentence that tondonal trump never said, which is "i have confidence in dan coats, who told me the truth about russia and i have no confidence in vladimir putin." the two mikes failed but they engaged in a mighty struggle with donald trump because it took him 24 hours to go along with their plan but then even
after executing their plan donald trump ruined their plan by taking his eyes off the words they had written for him and adding a few words of his own. >> let me be totally clear in saying that -- and i've said this many times. i accept our intelligence community's conclusion that russia's meddling in the 2016 election took place. could be other people also. a lot of people out there. >> i accept their conclusion but i don't. could be other people also. as soon as he takes his eyes off the words that the two mikes had written for him, donald trump destroys what the two mikes sent him out there to do. he says it could be anyone who did it, anyone. what does dan coats know? he's just the director of national intelligence. donald trump doesn't have confidence in him. it could be anyone. no confidence in the fbi. no confidence in the cia.
no confidence in the nsa. no confidence in anyone involved in the american investigation of what happened in 2016 and certainly absolutely no confidence in robert mueller's indictment on friday, giving the names, the names of the 12 russian military officers who were launching the cybermissiles into our presidential campaign to hurt the clinton campaign and help the trump campaign. no one believes what donald trump said today. no one. not one member of congress believes it. not one elected republican in washington believes what donald trump said today. today's comments were aimed at trump voters, and no one else because donald trump knows no one else will believe a word of what he said today, and so the question for the remaining trump voters tonight is just how many insults can they take from donald trump? the question for trump voters tonight is is donald trump right about them? will they believe anything that
he says, anything? will trump voters believe donald trump's ridiculous lie today which donald trump himself contradicted in things he said yesterday and again in things he said today after he told the lie? only an imbecilic audience can fall for an imbecilic performance. donald trump proved once again today that he firmly believes that the voters who he once affectionately called the poorly educated will believe anything he wants them to believe and will accept any insult to their intelligence as long as that insult to their intelligence comes from donald trump, as it did today. leading off our discussion now, ned price, former senior director and spokesperson for the national security council in the obama administration. he's also a former cia analyst. jill wine-banks, former assistant watergate special prosecutor, is here. and tim o'brien executive editor of bloomberg view and the author of "trump nation: the art of being the donald."
they are all msnbc contributors. and ned, i want to go to you on what donald trump did again today. he once again today publicly said he does not believe the american intelligence community, he does not believe dan coats. it could be anyone who did this. and he said that in a mission, he was obviously primed for by others in the white house, apparently mike pompeo and mike pence. he said that in the middle of that mission, where he was supposed to go out there and express confidence in the intelligence community. >> well, that's right, lawrence. if you think our heads are spinning trying to disentangle, trying to fathom how the white house could think we are so imbecilic, to use your words, just imagine how this is playing out at langley, how this is playing within our national security workforce. you know, as i was digesting all of this yesterday and reflecting upon what has to be one of the most shameful days of the trump presidency, i heard from a
former colleague who's still currently at cia, and this person started his message with "what in the hell are we doing?" what in the hell are we doing? and he wasn't talking at a policy level. he wasn't talking about bilateral relations between moscow and washington. it was an existential question. an existential question that has to be on the mind of all of those or at least many of those who have dedicated their careers with little pay and even less recognition, risking in some cases life and limb to protect their country for a commander in chief, a first customer who is willing to trash them on the world stage and to trash them in front of their nemesis no less. and you know, we talk a lot about workforce morale in the federal government and the implications therein. you know, there may be less productivity if workers run happy, or if they don't get their annual pay increase. but there are real implication when's it comes to our national security workforce and especially our intelligence community. and what scares me about all of this, lawrence, is that
sometimes we don't see those implications until it's far, far too late. >> jill wine-banks, we saw again today a vacation of why donald trump's lawyers don't want him to go anywhere near a grand jury or anywhere near an interview with robert mueller. here he is trying to correct a statement that he made yesterday and trying to do it in the most unbelievable possible way by trying to insert this one word. and then in that process of trying to fix it he says the thing again that he wasn't supposed to say. >> it is a big mistake on his part. but even the idea of correcting one word is absurd because it isn't just the one sentence or the one word that was upsetting to the american people yesterday. it was the whole context. it was his standing side by side with president putin and ignoring -- first of all, he said that coats said he thinks it's russia. coats did not say he thinks it's russia.
he said it is russia. all of the intelligence agencies have said that. a detailed indictment was issued. and it's being prosecuted now by the national security division of the department of justice that names 12 gru russian military intelligence officers as defendants and it lays out very clearly the acts that were done by the russians under the the leadership of putin. and when donald trump stands there and says, well there, was nothing i could do except ask the question, that is not true. he is the president of the united states. he could say i will not meet with you, i will not negotiate with you, i will not cooperate with you unless and until you extradite these 12 men to stand trial in america. and even putin said it's up to our justice system to resolve these things. if that's true, then he should be grateful for the opportunity to send these people to america to stand trial and for people to see exactly what putin and the
g.r.u. did to interfere with our election. and we need to protect our election. we need to take action to stop this from happening four months from now. >> tim o'brien, mike pence is one of the co-authors of the new version of the trump statement. i think it could be interesting to listen to what mike pence said yesterday about donald trump. and this is after donald trump had completed the press conference. mike pence seemed to think yesterday that every word donald trump said was great. let's listen to this. >> and earlier today president trump completed what he described as a direct, open, and deeply productive dialogue with president putin in helsinki. what the world saw, what the american people saw is that president donald trump will always put the prosperity and security of america first. >> so that's the guy. yesterday he saw nothing wrong with what donald trump said yesterday.
>> well, and then obviously he walked into the same whirlwind that trump did after all of this hit the news, which is that everyone watching that show globally saw trump behaving exactly the same way he's been behaving over the last year. he has repeatedly been an apologist for vladimir putin. he has repeatedly tried to absolve the russians from any involvement in this. and nothing was really new about that except for two things. he was standing next to putin. and it was televised. and i think they all realized when they came back home that they had to somehow try to roll this back. but you can't roll donald trump back. as you saw, even scripted he could not stay on script because we know already there's a voluminous record about how he thinks about this. and he is not going to acknowledge that russia played a role sabotaging the 2016 election because it cuts to the core of a couple of things he's deeply concerned about, one of which is the mueller investigation. >> jeanne shaheen and other
democratic senators are now calling on the interpreter, the u.s. interpreter who was involved, to participate in a hearing. jeanne shaheen said, "i'm calling for a hearing with the u.s. interpreter who was present during president trump's meeting with putin to uncover what they discussed privately. this interpreter can help determine what potus shared/promised putin on our behalf." and ned price, that is unprecedented, but the meeting was unprecedented and we've already seen that donald trump can't keep his story straight from one day to the next in terms of dealing with vladimir putin. and these translators do often take notes because as we saw yesterday, for example, with vladimir putin, he can speak at length. and for a translator to translate it all they have to write down certain notes about what vladimir putin said. what do you make of this democratic demand in the senate to hear from the translator? >> well, you're right, lawrence, that this would be unprecedented. but all of this is unprecedented. i think we have to throw this quaint notion of precedent out
the window. when it comes to the motion that senator shaheen put forward, look, the fact of the matter is this translator if i'm not mistaken say state department employee. at the very least is a u.s. government employee. and this translator not only has information that could well be relevant to ongoing congressional inquiries but is certainly relevant to our national security, is certainly relevant and is in fact what was agreed to behind closed doors between vladimir putin and donald trump. and just today the russians, as we expected all along, have started to roll out statements about oh, yes, this agreement that the two presidents reached. well, we didn't hear about any of these agreements the two presidents reached. only one other person on our side dp, and it's this translator. it's incumbent upon the u.s. congress to perform this oversight role because the white house is not interested anybodying candid with the american people. congress must.
congress must get to the bottom of what exactly was agreed to for our own national security's sake. >> jill, will robert mueller subpoena the translator to testify to a grand jury? >> i'm not sure there's anything directly relevant to the mueller probe in this except if he did actually talk about anything to do with the interference in the election. and although he says that he raised the question, he doesn't say that they had any lengthy discussion about it. with all the things facing mueller i would say that the translator is not going to be high on his list. nor do i think actually subpoenaing donald trump should be high on the list because we've seen time and time again that his answers do not have any relationship to the truth or the facts. and so why bother asking him any questions that you will not get truthful answers to? we need to have more interviews
of people who don't have a preconceived notion of what they're going to say regardless of what the facts are. and there's a lot that still needs to be done. i hope that mueller can be left alone and that we can stop attacking him. this was another attack on the department of justice. he, donald trump, ignored the indictment, which is so detailed that it's hard for anyone to read that and not see that president putin was in charge of interfering in our election. that is a big threat to our democracy, and it's something that should have been the number one thing on donald trump's agenda in protecting america. he took an oath to protect our laws and to see that the rule of law took place, and he is absolutely not doing that. and that concerns me the most of all. >> thank you to everyone for getting us started on our first panel tonight. and when we come back, a republican senator says the dam
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it feels like the dam is breaking. that is how republican senator bob corker described his republican colleagues' reaction to what the president said yesterday in his press conference with vladimir putin. >> it feels like the dam is breaking. i was really glad to see people on both sides of the aisle condemning what happened yesterday strongly, finally seeing people speak out forcefully. some have been doing it all along, but look, yesterday was uncalled for, unacceptable. and was damning to our standing in the world but certainly damaging to just who we are. and it really strengthened putin. i mean, it was just a -- watching that take place on the stage it took place on was really, really disappointing, distressing. >> reliable trump ally peter king didn't sound so reliable today.
>> first of all, to take the word of a former kgb agent and a liar like putin over dan coats, a dedicated patriot who's director of national intelligence appointed by the president himself, to me -- and to do that on the world stage was to me indefensible. >> senate majority leader mitch mcconnell delivered the senate's own message to europe in contradiction to what donald trump had to say yesterday. >> make no mistake about it. i would say to our friends in europe, we understand the russian threat and i think that is the widespread view here in the united states senate among members of both parties. >> and here's what the speaker of the house had to say today. >> vladimir putin does not share our interests. vladimir putin does not share our values. we just conducted a year-long investigation into russia's interference in our elections. they did interfere in our
elections. it's really clear. there should be no doubt about that. >> joining our discussion now, david frum, senior editor for "the atlantic" and author of trumpocracy, the corruption of the american republic. also jonathan cape particular, opinion writer for the "washington post" and msnbc contributor. david frum, will donald trump's changing of one word, attempt to change one word of what he said yesterday, put that republican dam back together for himself in the congress? >> well, here's why the dam is in so much trouble. you cut paul ryan's quote a little short. because paul ryan went on to say something very remarkable. he went on to say, i have after saying it's very clear that russia interfered. he said it's also clear that they did not materially affect the outcome of the election. now, how can paul ryan possibly know that? we don't know exactly what russia did and we know even less about what the trump campaign did in return. donald trump with his animal cunning has always understood that it's much more defensible to say russia did nothing than it is to say russia did something but it didn't matter.
that's what paul ryan and the others are now. russia did something but it didn't matter. this administration is heading toward a legitimacy crisis because what we're about to learn is more and more about what russia did. we're about to learn more and more about how important it was. and the argument that donald trump would have been president even if russia hadn't helped him, that argument is going to disintd grait. >> marco rubio yesterday tweeted a kind of forceful objection for marco rubio to watt president said. but now let's listen to wa maha marco rubio said after the president corrected that one word. >> he said he was -- >> i'm just glad he clarified it. i don't -- i can't read his intentions or what he meant to say at the time. suffice it to say that for me as a policy maker what really matters is what we do moving forward. >> jonathan capehart, the one word apparently did the president a lot of good with some people. >> yeah. with some people.
so so much for that, you know, dam breaking that senator corker talked about. look, as long as it's only senator corker, only senator mccain, only those senators who have already announced that they are retiring, if they're the only ones who are speaking out against obvious outrages, then the inaction that we've seen from capitol hill will continue. it's what -- you know, the montage of clips that you showed of people, republicans sort of condemning what the president did in helsinki is sort of the foreign policy version of thoughts and prayers that we hear from republicans every time there's a mass shooting in this country. if the dam is truly to break among republicans in their sort of steadfast support of the president, they have to move from thoughts and prayers and twitter condemnations and verbal condemnations and doing their legislative duty, their constitutional obligation to be a check and balance on the
executive. if the helsinki press conference wasn't enough for congress to exercise their constitutional duty, i quite frankly don't know what it will be that will get them to do what they clearly need to do but are afraid to do. >> well, james comey actually in the last few minutes just tweeted directly to that point. james comey tweeted, "the republican congress has proven incapable of fulfilling the founders' design that ambition must counteract ambition. all who believe in this country's values must vote for democrats this fall. policy differences don't matter right now. history has its eyes on us." and david frum, there is republican james comey who if you didn't think he was in politics before, as of tonight he's officially in politics now as an activist. >> you know, bob corker, we quoted him before. he's chairman of the senate foreign relations committee. this is a job that henry cabot lodge had when he stopped woodrow wilson and the league of
nations. whether you think henry kablt lodge was right or wrong, it was an important job. this is the job that william fulbright had when he broke lyndon johnson over vietnam. and whether you think fulbright was right or wrong, it was an important job. why isn't it an important job now? why is bob corker so weak and feckless in the chair of cabot lodge and william fulbright? >> and jonathan capehart, james comey has really stepped into this now politically, calling on voters to get rid of this republican congress. >> look, he had a partisan message there in the tweet that you just showed. but i think helsinki sort of highlighted that what is happening now is no longer partisan. it is now an american issue. to watch the president of the united states throw his intelligence advisers, throw american democracy under the bus the way he did, standing next to america's chief adversary, against a president and a nation
that would love nothing more than to see american democracy disintegrate and crumble is just galling. and i think democrats and republicans, independents, anyone who loves this country must demand that the white house be held accountable. and if congress isn't going to do it, then it's we the people through our power at the voting booth who will have to do it by putting people in congress who will hold the executive accountable. >> yeah, james comey clearly now believes that the only way to break this dam is in the voting booths in november. jonathan capehart, thank you very much for joining our discussion tonight. appreciate it. after helsinki the reporter who has seen donald trump's tax returns says we need to see the trump tax returns now to find out what that was all about with vladimir putin, how much control vladimir putin actually has over donald trump might all be
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these bizarre actions that he has taken which seem so to indicate that president putin has something over president trump, something personal, and it might be financial. we need to see the tax returns. >> the only reporter who has ever obtained the trump tax return is tim o'brien, who got it because donald trump made the big mistake of suing him o'brien. and before donald trump lost
that lawsuit he was forced to hand over his tax returns in the discovery process of the case. and today in bloomberg tim o'brien wrote this about the trump tax returns. "they would reveal, among other things, sensitive information about his business activities, conflicts of interest and financial pressures that might come to bear upon him in the white house. pressure from places like russia, for example." and back with us for a discussion, tim o'brien and david frum. so tim, you've seen them. you've seen the tax returns. but you are now sworn as part of the settlement of the case to not reveal things you actually saw. >> specific line items. but i can talk generally about why i think he's worried about them getting released. >> can i ask you a preliminary question? did you see just personal tax returns or company tax returns and personal tax returns? >> i just saw his personal tax returns. >> yeah. and for us to find everything we need to know about his business transactions would we also have to see his corporate tax returns? >> yeah. and relevant business records. i think the goal here isn't
complex. it's to see whether or not the president of the united states is beholden to anyone. and that was the question sitting overt whole helsinki conference is trump goes to europe and he begins by insulting angela merkel. along the way he undermines theresa may. and then he goes out of his way to coddle vladimir putin. to the surprise of no one i think except trump's apologists in the gop and the media who've been making excuses for this behavior for over a year. >> so based on what you've seen, you believe that the trump tax returns would be very helpful explainers of the behavior that we've been watching? >> absolutely. absolutely. there's an issue as to why he keeps making excuses for vladimir putin. and we know in his business history he has sold, you know, tens of millions of dollars' worth of condos to russian oligarchs and high-end russian home buyers. he's done projects like the
trump soho with business partners who are tied to organized crime. large amounts of cash came into his business between 2006 to 2016 that still aren't really well accounted for. >> how many years of tax returns did you see? >> i saw several. i can't remember exactly. >> what years did they cover? >> you know, the '90s to the mid 2000s. >> and even there do you believe back then there were influences in his financial life that would be -- help explain things we see today? >> i think donald trump has a long history of associating with people of questionable backgrounds and murky finances. yes. >> it's fun watching your face when i'm getting close to what you can't say. david frum, you said today, you tweeted today, "at this point disclosure of trump's tax returns has become a crucial national security counterintelligence concern." >> well, first i have to say i can't imagine what it's like to
be tim o'brien. he's like the guy in the horror movie who can see the ghosts that no-no one else can see. it must be very spooky and unworldly to be him. but as tim was sort of indicating to us, he didn't say this but he was indicating it, that this is no longer about one businessman's criminality or one businessman's ethical misconduct. we can all see the points of pressure that vladimir putin has, or to switch the analogy we can all see the iron filings moving on top of the table. so we know there's got to be a magnet down there somewhere. but how do we find out what the magnet is? again, as tim was suggesting and as you were suggesting, the personal tax returns may not tell the whole of the story. but they probably tell enough to get americans, to alert americans to how is their president making his decisions. >> and tim, we do know that he kind of -- he ran out of financing in new york and in the world that knew him, he ended up, we discovered, doing a lot
of financing through deutsche bank. is that possibly a rich area of information on trump? >> it's the crucial area. you know, after he almost went belly up in the early '90s most major commercial banks in the united states would not lend to him because he was toxic. he was a black hole for commercial loans. he ended up with deutsche bank. he sued them in the mid 2000s. and then there's this period where he goes on this spree of buying golf courses that aren't necessarily great business propositions for what he and his sons say is cash. but they've never really accounted for where that cash came from. and i think that's why that moment at the end of the -- >> so suddenly the guy who couldn't buy anything without a loan and a big loan is out there -- >> and always preferred debt to cash anyway. >> never wanted to use his own money. is suddenly out there using large amounts of cash that in any accounting we knew prior to that moment didn't exist. >> at least about $400 million
or so. >> and one thing to add about the golf course, the scotsman reported just today that the u.s. taxpayer paid 50,000 british pounds to cover trump's costs staying at his own turnberry golf course over the weekend when he was waiting to meet with vladimir putin. >> david frum gets the last word on the tax returns tonight. david frum and tim o'brien, thank you both for joining us tonight. i appreciate it. >> thank you. >> when i come back, i've had many discussions and i'll have another one on this program with jill wine-banks about how to serve a subpoena on the president of the united states. qi question has always been, wouldn't the secret service just block the service of that subpoena, make it impossible for you to actually serve a subpoena on the president? well, it turns out that is exactly what the secret service has been doing for months for jared kushner. jill wine-banks and i will cover this when we come back.
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the democratic national committee filed a lawsuit in april of this year suing russia and other defendants including jared kushner for participating in russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election. lawyers have been trying to serve the legal papers on defendant jared kushner since april with no success because the secret service protects jared kushner's home in washington, d.c. and the secret service has told the professional process servers who have repeatedly gone to jared kushner's home that they will not allow legal process to be served on jared kushner. and so the lawyers bringing the lawsuit have now made a motion in federal court to get around the secret service. when we come ak, jill wine-banks will tell us how she and the watergate prosecutors served a subpoena on president richard nixon and what robert mueller might have to do to get around the secret service.
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we have the broad and targeted reach you need to access the customers you're looking for on tv and digital platforms. then we connect you to our team of media experts, who are ready to help you maximize your budget while elevating your advertising effectiveness. sounds like an advertising opportunity knocking. visit comcastspotlight.com today. if they issue a subpoena, that will be -- that will be unprecedented in the sense that it's pretty clear that a president can't be subpoenaed to a criminal proceeding about him. >> and jill wine-banks, who subpoenaed a president, is back with us. jill, rudy giuliani, of course, is legally wrong about that. in the watergate case, you clearly established that the president could be subpoenaed, but tell us how richard nixon was subpoenaed.
how did you actually serve that subpoena to get richard nixon's tapes? >> it was something we actually had to think about, but it turned out to have a very simple answer because for all the bad things that richard nixon did, he did have some respect for the law and he allowed his attorneys to accept service of process. which is a very typical way of any defendant being served, is the lawyer for the defendant accepts the service. but it would be very hard. you can't just walk into the white house and you can't just walk up to the president, so it isn't that easy, just as we've seen now with jared kushner, you can't walk up to jared kushner and say, hi, i have something for you. you have to have a way to get past the secret service. if they are determined to protect him, that's going to be very hard. >> so now the lawyers who have been trying to serve this legal process on jared kushner have
gone into federal court explaining to the judge we have exhausted every method for doing this and what we would now like to do is simply send him this legal process in the mail, just in first-class mail, not in certified mail because they've already tried that. that requires a signature. in cases like this when the judge believes you've exhausted every conceivable way of getting through some kind of roadblock on a subpoena, judges do typically allow these works around those kinds of roadblocks, don't they? >> yes, they do. this would be a very logical way because the u.s. mail does get through. so it would be delivered to his house and that would be enough. they also sometimes allow e-mails to be sent to deliver the documents. so i think this is the only way around it. they filed a motion and they've laid out why they cannot use any of the other normal means of
service, why they have been repelled from being allowed to do that, and that this is the only thing left that they can think of, is to actually just mail the documents to him. >> but jared kushner has managed to eat up three months of the clock. >> yes. >> through this. that's exactly what we can expect president trump to do if there is any subpoena coming his way. >> i would say the president can do it for even longer, lawrence. >> even longer, yes. jill wine-banks, thank you very much for joining us tonight with your unique experience on subpoenas for presidents. tonight's "last word" is next. (vo) this is not a video game.
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>> each day's news cycles bringing more head spinning and disturbing headlines. we see the utter loss of shame among political leaders, where they're caught in a lie and they just double down and they lie some more. and you -- look, let me say, politicians have always lied, but it used to be if you caught them lying, they'd be like, oh, man -- now they -- >> barack obama gets tonight's last word. brian williams will ask former cia director leon panetta if he agrees with former cia director john brennan, that donald trump's comments yesterday with vladimir putin were nothing short of treasonous. that will happen next on "the
11th hour" with brian williams, which starts right now. tonight, the president stumbles while attempting a walk-back after a global drubbing for siding with putin at their summit. he now says he got a word wrong in his statement. he reads a statement saying he agrees with the u.s. intel finding that russia hacked our election, but then he adds that it could also be other people. tonight, the president is back to calling the meeting a great success while his white house struggles to contain the mess created in helsinki. and we heard from the mueller investigation today, asking for immunity for five people so they can testify against manafort at his trial next week while a russian woman with ties to the nra is due in court in d.c. tomorrow. all of it as "the 11th hour" gets under way on a tuesday night. well, good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters in new york. day 544e