tv Politics Nation With Al Sharpton MSNBC December 9, 2018 2:00pm-3:00pm PST
good evening and welcome to "politicsnation." tonig tonight's lead, today we turn our focus to the next five days as we try to figure out special counsel robert mueller's end game and why mueller continues to play his cards close. what we do know is that there was a substantial amount of contact from 2014 to 2016 between russian nationals and associates of president trump. among those so he talks, michael cohen, who is slated to be sentenced wednesday for multiple crimes stemming from actions he took as the president's personal lawyer. this has president trump
expected to name a new chief of staff this week to replace the outgoing general john kelly who will leave the white house at the end of the month. this just in, vice president pence's to me aide nick ayers tweeted moments ago that he is out of the running and, like kelly, out of the white house in the next few weeks after earlier becoming the front-runner for the job. joining me now, conservative commentator kerry sheffield, mark thompson, host of serious xm's make it plain radio show, and christina greer, associate professor of political science at fordham university. a lot came out this week. according to axios, this is what we know for sure. russian officials met with
republicans close to trump, russia offered synergy with the trump campaign, 12 russian intelligence officers indicted for hacking the dnc. roger stone and jerome corsi were in touch with wikileaks regarding clinton e-mail dumps. trump junior met russians regarding dirt on clinton. trump was negotiating trump property in moscow and lied about it. u.s. intel concluded russia influenced the elections. kushner and sessions failed to disclose russian contacts. kushner suggested a secret russia back channel. trump's signed off on comey's sessions. flynn lied, cohen lied. a long list and we didn't nguyen go into trump allegedly violating campaign finance laws and directing hush payments to women who claimed he had had
sexual encounters with them. seems like a lot there to me, kerry, a lot more than you would describe a witch-hunt, which the president has called all of this. >> reverend, we can all agree where there's wrong doing, there should be people held accountable. i want to get the truth. but i will recommend a column by imper kimberly strauss about what was missing, the hold obama officials accountable. so there was nothing did this -- >> that was also a deviation from what we do. >> now if you're going to talk about paul manafort -- >> if we're going to talk about what came out this week based on what was revealed in the information that was released in the sentencing memos on both cohen and on manafort, we've got
to deal with what we know, not what we wish was included on brought on. that's like going to court and you have a person charged with a crime and you say you forgot the guy in the hall that you didn't charge. let's deal with the guy in front of the bench. >> these are things that came out. manafort's alleged crimes are for money laundering that had nothing to do with the campaign. >> i gave a categorical list, kerry. he is not the guy in the hall. i gave a categorical list of the things we learned, and you are deviating. i'm not talking about the alleged crimes that were not mentioned. i'm talking about what we just categorically listed. >> those were things that happened before or after the trump campaign. the charges -- >> some of them were. >> the charges against flynn were about lying subsequent to
the campaign. it has to do with the fact that michael flynn was being arrested and charged after the campaign. >> maybe you can take a breath and we'll come back. >> thanks, rev. >> professor greer, the things that we learned -- i'm not talking about what we did learn, i'm not talking about by and by when the morning come, even though i'm a preacher, we're not talking about that. i'm talking about the facts that we learned. >> we have a lot of facts. >> and we have a lot of facts. my question was, in my opinion, clearly this is not a witch-hunt which the president has tried to call it. >> of course because this president is used to lying. he's used to his new york/new jersey real estate where he's always inflated the truth. he's done that from day one. any new yorker knows that and anyone knows he basically just tells flatout lies to your face. it's not that big of a deal if you're in real estate and people do that.
it is a huge deal when you're talking about to the federal government and dealing with what we would call our largest enemy, which is russia. so the problem is, unfortunately a lot of republicans keep moving the goal post. >> we're moving the stadium. they're not even playing in the same game in the stadium. >> and so what i really worry about is there will never be anything enough for these republicans to just look at the fact and say this man and his family, his children, have been lying. jared kushner submitted his forms multiple times because he just kept forgetting all the millions of dollars that he was getting from foreign entities. we have never seen donald trump's tax returns. those are facts. we don't know where that money is coming from. so we clearly know something is amiss in this particular administration. the president is clearly getting nervous as evidenced by his 6:00 a.m. tweets. but the problem is the republicans refuse to recognize the depths to which this
president will sell out the party and the country. >> mark thompson, we have now mr. barb being recommended for attorney general. and there are reports that he was either interviewed or looked at to be a defense attorney for the president. does that in many ways cause a conflict if he becomes the attorney general and he's overseeing the investigation that he potentially would have been a defense attorney for the subject of the investigation? >> it's definitely a conflict, rev. we know in the past he had tweeted several comments that were critical of the special counsel and investigation, pretty dismissive of it, so that's a conflict of interest. he would do well to do a cue from whitaker. we haven't heard from whitaker.
somebody probably educated him about john mitchell and he wouldn't want to take the same steps. the long list you gave, if somebody is checking it, and checking it twice, we see who's naughty and who's not nice. and i think with that list the trump presidency is effectively over. it's just a question of whether or not he'll finish out this first term. he is definitely not a second-term president. whether the democrats move to impeachment proceedings or not, that's some pretty damning stuff, and it's not over yet. >> if 2016 showed anything, never say never about president trump ever. >> but i think -- i would also say if we want to talk about insubordination, the fact that the doj has been fighting against this own administration. so, of course, the president who is dually elected by the american people would want his own people who have the interests of the american people
at heart, the interests of the president at heart, and not people like sally yates who is a traitor who was fired for insubordination. >> sally is not the subject of -- just a second now. sally yates is not the subject of what has come down from this investigation and the southern district. so what i'm saying, you began the program by saying you want the truth. these lists of things, if you want the truth, shouldn't they have to come forward and explain why they lied? that is a fact that the -- not al sharpton, not anyone else, the government is saying they lied. >> and they should be held accountable. i agree with senator rubio about the question of pardoning paul manafort. i don't think it would be wise to use this in this case. i think people should be held accountable for insubordination, for limes, crimes, whether that's sally yates in her
insubordination and turn her back to the american government to the dually elected president. i think that the former obama administration officials who unmasked michael flynn should be he would accountable for their possible crimes. i think people who leaked to "the washington post" and to "the new york times" highly classified information as chairman devin nunes has showed, they should be held considerable for their crimes. >> the people who were dealing with russia, the people who had communications talking about synergy, they should not be held accountable? >> we know that democrats and republicans -- >> they should not be held accountable? >> if there is a crime, then they should. but reverend, we know people have contacts with foreign governments -- >> they're not talking about synergy in contacts? >> they absolutely are. >> if you're talking about to a foreign enemy about having synergy in a campaign, that is a big difference than having some
casual contacts. >> we're not talking about just a foreign entity, we're talking about russia and putin who's been playing a long game with trump for a long time. the fundamental problem is the republican party does not want to deal with what is. they want to go back eight years. obama did whatever. it doesn't matter. we're not talking about right now. we're talking about the sitting president possibly being a in real collusion with a foreign power which is our arch nemesis and lying about it constantly and having the u.s. government say this is a problem and having him say, no, you all are actually out to get me. these are she says who have detect dedicated their lives for the good of the country. >> should the democrats go after this in terms of hearings? you have jerry mad low of the judiciary. not only do you have the southern district and the mueller investigators, but you have congress that can call this
into question because some of this clearly is of interest to the american people, even republicans. >> i think they have to because i think the american people will demand it. i think the facts demand it. you can't just ignore it. now, there is some concern on the part of democrats which i think is overconcern as to whether or not they want to jeopardize themselves as the republicans did in '98 going after clinton. but that was very different. this is glaring in terms of problems, in terms of working, practically being an agent for russia. i don't think democrats can ignore. >> it let kerry talk. i'll give you the last word on this segment, kerry. you don't need a question, you just go. >> i want to respond to what was said about russia. the proof is in the pudding. president trump has been a leader at getting nato to do what is turned retreat to expand their defense spending.
and who is the most at risk when there is a strong nato? putin. who is most at risk when our soldiers arm the ukrainians? putin. who armed the ukrainians? >> and who was offered a huge, beautiful palatial penthouse in the trump projected hotel in moscow? putin, the same putin. >> before the campaign. >> coming up next, does congress have enough evidence to move forward on impeachment? we'll be right back. for brokerage accounts. and zero minimums to open an account. we have fidelity mutual funds with zero minimum investment. and now only fidelity offers four zero expense ratio index funds directly to investors. because when you invest with fidelity, all those zeros really add up.
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welcome back. there is a debate heating up among members of congress on whether there's enough evidence to start impeachment proceedings against president trump. nearly 60 democrats voted last week in favor of impeachment. [ no audio ] -- on special counsel mueller to release his findings soon. so congress can look at the evidence. joining me now is the newly-elected chairwoman of the congressional black caucus and a member of the judiciary committee, congresswoman karen bass, she was one of those who voted for impeachment last week.
congresswoman bass, do you think there's enough evidence to move forward with impeachment proceedings? >> i actually don't think that there is now. what they can have on friday, i think, is very, very significant, but i really think that we should not move forward until mueller releases his report in its entirety. and then even if we are pushed in a position where there is so much evidence of criminal activity, collusion, conspiracy, et cetera, that we have to move to impeachment, people do have to remember that the house is just one half of the process. it also would have to take place in the senate as well where he would be tried and convicted. and you and i know there's no way that's going to happen right now. however, as more and more evidence comes out, it is possible that the republicans begin to crack because it's pretty hard to say, well, yeah, he committed a crime, but we can
ignore that one. many of the republicans are saying that right now, well, that was just related to a campaign, so i don't know if that's an impeachable offense. >> now, do you look at the fact that you now have a situation where the nominee for attorney general, mr. barr, is going to come in front of the senate and it has been reported he was either seriously looked at and possibly interviewed to be part of the defense team of president trump in this matter, and this matter will now be under him and reported to him, the mueller report, if he's, in fact, confirmed. will that be an issue? >> i think that's absolutely an issue. but let me also just say too that you and i know over the last two years there has been no oversight. this president hasn't been held accountable for anything by congress. and so when we take the gavels in january, we'll actually be
able to provide the oversight that hasn't taken place over the last two years. so when you are talking about moving forward with impeachment, there's the mueller report, but there's also our responsibility to do oversight, and in doing that, there is a huge possibility that we will find more and more reasons. for example, all of his conflicts of interest have not even been looked at. so i think it's very important that we not rush. but the other reason why, too, reverend, there's so much the democrats want to do that has not been done over the last two years. shoring up the affordable care act, addressing income inequality, prescription drugs, voting rights, looking at voter suppression and voter fraud, something that the republicans always yell about, but where did we see voter fraud in this election? north carolina, georgia, and it was on behalf of the republicans. so we have so much work to do.
i don't want us to get completely wrapped up in this and not be able to move forward on a proactive agenda for the american people. >> i want to push you on that because there were record numbers of voters in the midterm elections and many voters are saying -- they're concerned about health care and criminal justice. they're concerned about voting rights, climate change, gender equality. the democrats should not just be focused on going after trump, but they also have to deliver what the voters gave them the majority in congress for. >> exactly. and that was exactly the reason that i listed off all those other issues that we need to address. it's not like we won't address an impeachment if that's what we're required to do, but, again, after so many years of republicans being in charge, we are backed up with issues that we want to address. criminal justice reform, you
know we had the bill that stalled in the senate. it doesn't look like it's going to pass. maybe there's a possibility for us now to deal with sentencing reform and prison reform. my focus is going to be on the plight of women in the criminal justice system. so i just think we have a large agenda, and i don't want to see us get stuck on just looking at trump. >> now, you are the newly elected chair of the congressional black caucus, and it's been reported there is a difference with the minority leader who will be, we presume, the speaker after the new congress is seated in january, on giving or conceding the question of seniority on chairmanships, limiting the terms that they can serve as committee chairs. do you support the limiting of chairs or do you not support it,
and how do you feel about your colleagues in the caucus that say this will go against minorities, blacks in particular, achieving chairmanships? >> let me just say a lot of things. next year when democrats take over, members of the congressional black caucus will be chairs of five full committees and 28 subcommittees. and so for many of these members they have waited a very long time to receive these positions, and i think that they absolutely should be able to take those gavels. i will tell you that it is not just an issue for the congressional black caucus. there's over 21 committees, five of them being chaired by members of the cbc, the majority are chaired by white members and white members are very, very concerned about term limits as well. once they have achieved that status of a chair or subcommittee chair, they're not anxious to say we only want to be there for a few years as well. so i think it impacts the black caucus, but it impacts the
entire democratic caucus. i'm sure at some point we will vote on it and we will see whether or not term limits will be in place. the republicans have term limits, and a lot of people believe that's one reason why they have a lot of havoc all the time in their caucus because it's a dog-eat-dog environment. so we will see. but i'm very excited at the role the congressional black caucus is going to be chairing. 55 members, reverend, for the first time. nine new members. >> now, you and i worked down through the years particularly in california, but even beyond, on criminal justice issues and voting rights. as the new chair of the caucus congressional black caucus to be specific, will there be an aggressive plan by the caucus to really enhance in these areas? >> absolutely. it's going to be one of the first issues that we address, is the voting rights act. one of the things that we need to do is really establish a
record. and, boy, did this midterm election give us an awful lot of evidence. i believe stacy abrams is the one that should be sworn in as the governor of georgia. that election was just stolen from her, and now there's a crazy evidence out of north carolina where that election might wind up being invalidated. we need to repair the damage that was done by the supreme court. that is going to be one of the first orders of business. we do have a bill that's going to be introduced, hr 1 has several components to it. voter expansion is one of the components. a lot more needs to be done specifically and separately for the voting rights act, and that's going to be issue number one on our agenda. >> congresswoman karen bass, thank you very much for being with us. >> thanks for having me on. up next, you can run, but you can't hide.
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will be certified as in 2018 gubernatorial election. but to watch an leaked official who claims to represent the people in this state pin his hopes for election on the suppression of the people's democratic right to vote has been truly appalling. so let's be clear, this is not a speech of concession. >> and now for this week's gotcha, it's been a little over a month since the midterm elections, and perhaps the most controversial race this go-around was for georgia's gubernatorial seat. republican brian kemp ran against democrat stacy abrams. from the onset there were concerns about the integrity of kemp's campaign against abrams. you may remember then-secretary of state brian kemp oversaw the very election he was running in, an outright conflict of interest. and he abused the power of his office by purging over 53,000
african-american voters from the election rosters, tossing out provisional ballots, and closing polling sites in high-poverty areas. to the dismay of many, it seems these tactics led to his victory. [ no audio ] -- said he wants answers. he call governor-elect kemp in to testify about voter suppression. where there's smoke, there's fire. mr. kemp, you may think ig got away with securing georgia's governor seat, but the last time i addressed you in a gotcha, i told you that you can't stop progress. now it seems it's safe to say
tomorrow president trump will make an announcement about who will replace white house chief of staff john kelly. until minutes ago, nick ayers, vice president mike pence's right-hand man was considered the top contender. however, nick ayers himself tweeted that he will be leaving the administration altogether at the end of the year. as they couldn't agree on the time frame for the job, the president says he wants his next chief of staff to hold the position through the 2020 election. back with me, radio host mark thompson, conservative commentator kerry sheffield, and political science professor christina greer. all right, kerry, who's going to be the new chief of staff, even though we all know donald trump is his real chief of staff. >> i learned never to say
anything definitive with this administration. i do want to talk about general kelly and say his 1.0 career in the military, as we know, there's no greater love than to lay down your life for someone, and that's what he was willing to do in his military service. my concern is while he was chief of staff and the lack of vetting he did with rob porter, that endangered the president. so i understand why he's looking to replace him at this point. what nick ayers is doing to leave the campaign is very smart. the house went to the democrats in the midterms, and it's smart nick is doing this. as a republican woman myself, i was sad to see we're going from 23 republican women in the house to 13. >> we make up for them with democratic women. >> yeah, from 54 to 89, so i'm conceding there is a need on the campaign trail. >> maybe because women supported
democratic women more, carrie. as we seed this shakeup in the white house, around the same time these investigations now are beginning to show more and more that there is some serious concerns here, how do we look at the fact that the president is changing chiefs of staff, we see that his inner circle has been really accused of real crimes by the federal authorities. and i might add, some of what comes out of these districts are people that this president appointed the new head of the southern district. how do we view all of this and the shakeup in the middle of all that we're facing as a country? >> i think we view what we just heard from nick ayers this evening, i don't know who it's going to announce tomorrow. anybody who takes that job is
pretty much going to be managing sort of a transition. i like what karen bass had to say, but whether there's a call for impeachment -- there are going to be hearings. teen voters will want that. the chief of staff in the white house is a liaison between the white house and congress. whoever takes that job knows he or she is stepping into that liaison and those negotiations with congress, with subpoenas, all of that, not to mention the criminal investigation that is ongoing. i don't know anybody who would want that job. it's not going to be a glamorous job to have. i was going to unemployment carrie because she's so committed, but i like her too much. it's going to be an impossible job. >> i wouldn't wish that an carrie. i need her here to keep us fired up. professor, let me ask you. you and i can remember the clinton impeachment proceedings. assuming there are impeachment proceedings here, and we do not know that for a fact, one of the
things that was striking to me is that the clinton white house, even during that time was able to continue to do what it was doing in terms of the presidency. it was almost amazing that he could be focused on moving his agenda while defending himself. so a chief of staff would be, in many ways, expected to be able to help guide this president, who his own former secretary of state now says he doesn't read that much, he's not disciplined. how do you manage through this when his own secretary of state implies how unmanageable he is, not knowing the responsibilities of the office. >> we're looking at the most indisciplined presidency in the history of our nation possibly because there are people who aren't public servants who don't understand how government runs. these are institutions. there's norms, culture, a history.
so as much as we may poo poo about the fact that there are many incumbents, many of them understand how government works. this president doesn't understand it, nor does he respect it. he hires people who are just people who are sycophants. you should be in a position because you are a radio host, or you said nice things about me on twitter. so when he's going to have to deal with possibly an aggressive democratic party that's going to have to walk and chew gum at the same time because they're going to have to appease democratic voters who want to see a policy initiative. they want to see some sort of forward progressive thinking from the party. so as democrats have worked to do on their end, and anybody knows nancy pelosi can get that done, she also understands how government works. she's in a position of power to appoint people who've been there for a long time. this president is going to be on unsteady are waters because his new chief of staff is going to have to get in, understand his
management style, in quotes, understand how congress and the relationship with the executive works, and also try and have a vision for the nation at the same time. >> wait, carrie. wait for it. it's coming. the question is, there's a report in "the new york times" that the son-in-law of the president, jared kushner, has been advising the crown prince even after u.s. intelligence forces say they believe the crown prince was involved in what happened to "the washington post" columnist, mr. khashoggi. does that as a republican bother you that even after there was the belief by intelligence forces that he was involved in the execution of a journalist who lived in the united states, he was giving him advice on how to handle the crisis? >> i think the president has
spoken out against the murder. >> i didn't ask you that. did it bother you that jared kushner, the president's son-in-law may have been giving advice to someone that the intelligence of this country suspects was involved in the killing and dismembering of a journalist living in this country. >> whether it's saudi arabia, whether it's china, iran, any of these nations. >> russia. >> in russia as well, that have limited respect for humanitarians, no matter who is in the oval office, we need to understand that they are dealing with people who are of a different moral compass than us. >> but they're not giving them advice. >> you don't think obama gave advice to the russians. >> killing somebody? >> that's what is russians did when they poisoned people in the u.k. when obama was president and obama said i will have more leniency. obama gave advice himself.
he said don't worry about it. >> do you have any evidence that anyone in the obama administration or circle was giving them crisis advice when it was found that they were involved in this? because this is what the "new york times" is saying jared kushner was doing. >> we know obama himself said to the former president of russia, i will have more flexibility when i win my re-election. >> that's apples and twigs. >> it's the same because when you're dealing with rogue regimes that don't respect humanitarians, whose hands are clean in these countries? we have to decide -- >> you are very good, but i think that one you wouldn't come near swinging at. we're talking about advising, crisis management advice to someone under that. but thank you, carrie. >> would you prefer goggles to the ukrainians. >> someone accused of dismembering and killing someone than someone who is in the government giving clearances
would not be giving them advice if that report is so. thank you, carrie receive field, mark thompson, and christina greer. coming up, how hard is it to reform criminal justice in the era of trump? that's next. we'll be right back. (nicki palmer) being a verizon engineer is about doing things right. and there's no shortcut to the right way. so when we roll out the nation's first 5g ultra wideband network, it'll be because we were the first to install the fiber-optics and small cells, and upgrade the towers that will change the way we learn, work and live. and i'll always be proud that we're not just building america's first 5g network. we're doing it right. the meeting of the executive finance committee is now in session. and... adjourned. business loans for eligible card members up to fifty thousand dollars, decided in as little as 60 seconds. the powerful backing of american express. don't do business without it.
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. many have dubbed this year's election cycle as the year of the woman, one of those creating that reality is rachel rawlins. outside of boston you probably haven't heard of her, but she's already making history. rawlins is the first woman of color elected to be district attorney within the jurisdiction of boston. her mission now, help law enforcement focus less on nonviolent crimes and more on violent crimes and solving homicides. rachel rawlins, incoming district attorney, welcome, and thank you for being here. >> thank you so much. >> tell us. you have talked about how you want to see law enforcement to refocus on violent crimes,
solving homicides, and not as much on nonviolent crimes. and you ran on this and run. explain to our viewers what it is you're saying and why you think we need this # or investigating and utilizing resources on crimes and substance abuse disorder and poverty. and what i would prefer that they do is channel those resources into the more serious and violent and we have and so, for example, i came up with a list of people that i said in
the first instance we would not be incarcerated for the individuals for the crimes. you know, breaking and entering. they're seeking shelter. and in between dying on the street or breaking into an band on building and with shelter, i don't think somebody should be arrested and incarcerated as a result of that. i think what we should be doing is looking at it is a more social issue than it is a sort of and the attorney. we really need to focus on homicides, violent crimes and
obviously they elected you. and that's running counter to what some cities have done in past years where they went building you p quotas on things. >> absolutely, or we're seeing a trend and turnstile jumping, people will either be issued a sikt for that as opposed to being arrested and incarcerated as a result of that. in massachusetts, and boston in particular when is part of suffolk county, we are -- we have hundreds and hundreds of unsolved mom sides. and there was a recent "washington post" article that really spoke to the fact that when law enforcement can't solve homicides, communities where the homicides are happening start losing faith quite frankly in the system and in law enforcement. and what we have is this
cyclical problem where on the one hand some of these communities feel overpoliced or overprosecuted but on the other hand the homicides are not being solved. and that's a tension we feel like we need to start speaking out a little bit more about. so if you are going to arrest somebody for petty crimes and p bring the hammer down for those happen in that same community. and reline and shift our focus on to the more serious crimes and a way from the less serious ones. and what i want to make sure i say out loud is people say to me back, oh, well are you -- you don't want to hold people accountable. i have two answers to that. to the things that they should be held accountable for, i don't believe accountability has to equal incarceration. there are many other ways we can hold people accountable.
and number two, i don't accountability isn't even the right word for for example somebody being pure. i won't penalize you because you have amental health issue. i won't hold you actable and what i think we need to do is recognize and they have this and they have been kicked down. and now we are hand willing this as a criminal justice issue. and in fact, it's really a social issue. and we can sfand up & i'm going to have to leave it there. thank you very much.
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receive the death penalty and they were proven to not be guilty of the crime they were accused of. he still wanted them to be penalized and denied a settlement. all the way to him being a face of the birtherism movement. built as much as i want to see this congress hold them accountable and they must do that, i do not want them to just do that. they must deal with health care. they must deal with criminal justice reform. they must deal with voting rights. they must deal with climate change. they must understand that the people that turned out in record numbers expect them to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time. if they were not prepared to do that, they should not have run for congress. so, yes, it is extremely disturbing what we're hearing about what has come out of this president during his campaign from many of those around him and possibly he himself.
but let us not forget the other concerns and move forward just as aggressive at the same time. that does it for me. thank you for watching. i'll see you back here next saturday and sunday at 5:00 p.m. eastern. up next, "meet the press" with chuck todd. the russia investigation. federal prosecutors say michael cohen paid off women to remain silent about their affairs with, in coordination and at the direction of individual 1, donald trump. the president denies it. >> sir, did you direct michael cohen to commit any violations of law? >> no, no. >> prosecutors also say mr. trump's russia connections began sooner than we knew with a russian offering his campaign political synergy and synergy on a government level. >> the last thing i want is help from russia on a campaign. >> and he insists things are going his way in robert