tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC January 7, 2019 6:00pm-7:00pm PST
fun discussion. stay up and check it out at 12:35 a.m. eastern on nbc. that's "all in" for this evening. "the rachel maddow show" starts right now. thank you for joining us. for a few weeks the local headlines have described it as a murder for hire case. in part it is. that is one very, very serious part of this case. here is how prosecutors in the eastern district of north carolina spelled out that part of the case in just one of the criminal complaints that has been filed in association with it. they say quote, while living in the united states leonid teyf employed a live in housekeeper who came from russia. the housekeeper, her husband and their son resided with the teyfs. at some point the employment ended and likewise their son left, as well. however, in february of 2018,
teyf said his wife was involved in a romantic relationship with the housekeeper's son. teyf wanted additional proof of the cheating. teyf told the confidential human source he wanted to pay someone to get the housekeeper's son talking, then overdose him on drugs. quote, at another point, teyf told the human source he wanted the housekeeper's son to be kidnapped, taken into the woods, force to admit to having sex with teyf's wife on video and then he should be killed. teyf told confidential human source number one he hired a private investigator to help obtain information regarding the whereabouts of the housekeeper's son. ultimately that private investigator would later himself be arrested and charged with multiple felonies in congestion with the case. but the purported hit man this guy allegedly hired, apparently to kill the housekeeper's son,
that hit man ended up being a bad choice for that particular job because the alleged hit man is also described in court documents around this case as a confidential source who was working with the fbi. according to prosecutors, this past summer, this guy arranged for this would be hitman, a confidential source for the fbi to pick up a .40 pistol wrapped in plastic tape next to the auto wash express car wash in raleigh, north carolina. the gun was left there for the would be hit man to pick it up and that gun that was left there under that bush at the car wash, it also according to prosecutors had its serial number filed off presumably to make it more difficult to trace the gun after it had been used to kill the housekeeper's son, who this guy was stooping his wife.
prosecutors say in addition to providing the would be hit man with the gun with the obliter e obliterated serial number, he paid the would be hit man $25,000 to carry out the murder. now paying the hit man $25,000 to kill the guy using the illegal gun, that was apparently only one of the alleged criminal schemes this guy pursued. prosecutors say he also paid a $10,000 bribe to someone who worked at the department of homeland security because he believed that $10,000 bribe could get this kid deported back to russia. quote, teyf explained to confidential human source one if the housekeeper's son was back in russia he would be quote buried already. so it's actually really two different murder for hire plots, right? he apparently thought that bribing someone from the homeland security department to get the kid deported to russia
would be as good as murdering him because the kid would be killed once he landed in russia. according to prosecutors, it was only when that plot was taking too long the guy, that the guy decided he would go the more direct route and pay a hit man to shoot the kid. the housekeeper's son survived. turns out both the hit man and the bribed homeland security employee were working for the fbi. and teyf, the defendant in this case was arrested and denied bond and he's being held in north carolina. but what makes this just, what makes this a story of national interest now and not just a particularly lured crime saga from the carolinas is that apparently, the fbi and federal prosecutors only stumbled upon this murder for hire, murder by deportation bribery case, they only stumbled upon this by
accident because what they were looking at this teyf guy for in the first place was a gigantic money laundering and theft case, and i mean gigantic. this looks like a government building. this looks like maybe a parliament building. this is his house. this is the house in raleigh, north carolina that belongs to teyf raided by the fbi in the first week overdecembf december. it's a 17,000 square foot house along a golf course behind big walls and gates. after the fbi raided that huge mansion and the first indictments were filed, we learned prosecutors said they intended to seek forfeit of the mansion and another condo owned by teyf turned out to be a safe house where he was storing ammunition and cash and large numbers of guns. prosecutors are also seeking the
forfeit of $400,000 worth of mercedes benz vehicles that belong to teyf and more than $39 million stashed in dozens of bank accounts, all accounts associated with teyf and his family. where did this guy get the 17,000 square foot mansion and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of mer sa dcedes and real estate and $40 million in cash sitting around gazillion bank accounts. he accumulated that through an epic money laundering and theft operation, and the alleged victim of this alleged theft was the government of russia. this is from the justice department press release announcing this indictment.
quote, the indictment alleges that between 2010 and 2012 leonid teyf was the deputy director of voentorg, a deputy director of a company which contracted with russia's ministry of defense to provide the russian military with goods and services. teyf arranged for subcontractors in russia to fill the various sources. teyf and others devised a scheme to agree a certain percentage of the government funds they would receive for completion of the work would be paid back to leonid teyf and the kickbacks were paid in cash and amounted to more than $150 million over an proximate two-year span. $150 million over two years. that's a lot of cash. that's a lot of kickbacks.
that's -- i mean, if that's the kick back amount, that's a lot of contracts for which he was getting these kickbacks. $150 million has to be a portion of the overall contracts that he's given out if that's his cut. it's interesting, though. this is a u.s. criminal case. all of that money was allegedly stolen from russian defense contracts, but the government in russia apparently does not much seem to mind. they have not been pursuing this guy for this. it's u.s. prosecutors who are pursuing him, and it's u.s. prosecutors are saying he did it and that, that may be an important clue as to what's really going on here and the overall importance of this case. on its face, this is a riveting lurid crime story for all sorts of obvious reasons. the condo with no furniture in it stashed full of guns and ammo and money and the hit man and bribe for the deportation and the hiding the gun with the
obliterated serial number and bush at the car wash and mansion and expensive cars. you can imagine l.l. cool j. and chris o'donnell solving this one on "ncis." this is over the top. here is the big twist that makes this not just a crime story and not just a north carolina story. in russia, independent media of course has been ruthlessly targeted and shutdown and criminalized but independent media in russia is not gone all together and one of the fearless outlets that remains in the putin era is the journalists that are regularlyinfrequently n vladimir putin's russia and uncomfortable news stories the russian government doesn't want anybody reading about and they just reported something new
about this lurid murder for hire crime case in raleigh, north carolina. what they are now reporting is a sort of crucial alleged detail about how this guy, leonid teyf got on a kickback scheme in russia where he siphoned out $150 million from russian defense contracts, $150 million in two years without anybody in the russian government batting an eye and with nobody coming after him. according to the newspaper, teyf sitting in jail in north carolina while prosecutors make plans to seize mansions and cars and tens of millions of dollars he stashed in dozens of north carolina banks, according to them the way he got the money in the first place was yes, through this kick back scheme he was able to pocket tons of money himself for dueling out contracts for the russian military but specifically what they are reporting now is that
the contracts he was dulling out, the person he was steering billions of million dollars to in this scheme is this guy. the reason he looks oddly familiar to you is because he is becoming famous in the united states in his own right. he's the guy they call putin's chef. he's the billionaire oligarch close to putin that became one in large part because of the huge contracts he was given from the russian defense ministry reportedly through this guy that's arrested and sitting in jail in north carolina. he is believed to operate the merge narcot operation in syria that put russian paid fighters into direct battle with u.s. troops and also famously the guy that ran the internet research agency which resulted in him becoming a defendant in one of the major indictments brought by special
counsel mueller last year. he was charged personally along with his companies and along with a whole bunch of russian military intelligence officials. together they were charged last year with running the online social media operation of the russian government's campaign to disrupt our last presidential election and throw it to donald trump. now when mueller and his prosecutors brought that case against those russians, the olga ga -- oligarch, nobody thought the russian defendants would see the inside of a u.s. courtroom let alone a u.s. jail. everyone thought this was a speaking indictment to let the american public know what mueller had found out about the behavior of these russians. nobody ever thought any of those defendants would ever even bother to enter a plea in congestico conjunction with this case or engage with the case or u.s. courts in any way. it came of something as a surprise when in fact, the companies hired u.s. lawyers.
and engaged on this case. they entered a not guilty plea in the criminal case. it seemed like a legal oddity at first. but it soon became clear that the point of hiring american lawyers and contesting this case in court was to try to use the case and use those lawyers to challenge robert mueller, to challenge the special counsel's investigation, to try to maybe even mess up mueller's inquiry. you've probably seen coverage about the tactics because they are deseigned to get headlines. the tactics include increasingly snarky and profane court filings. produced by his lawyers, they promoted the animal house and characters and used curse words and made increasingly lured allegations about mueller
personally. you might have seen reference in the last week or so to sort of joking reference in a court filing to a nude selfie that may exist in the mueller case and that came from one of the super filings from his lawyers but the attitude from his lawyers and the, i think admittedly deliberately provocative nature of the way they argued this case for the russian clients, doesn't mean they aren't doing something serious here. i mean, they have attempted to mount a serious challenge to mueller's authority as the special counsel and trying to get the special counsel's investigation shut down. specifically they have the defense strategy to try to get something the russian government might want out of the special counsel's investigation and structured the defense strategy to try to obtain massive amounts of information about the operations of the u.s. government, and specifically, the operations of the special counsel's office.
they have tried to use their role as a defendant in this case to get information about what the special counsel's office has turned up. while it's been looking into russian interference in our election. and of course, the rubbssian government would love to get their hands on the information. there is a serious litigation battle going on where his lawyers are arguing in federal court in washington that they want to use the discovery process in this case to obtain tons of information like decades worth of information about the operations of the u.s. government. they want to obtain decades worth of information about operations of u.s. foreign policy, u.s. military policy, u.s. intelligence agencies, u.s. operations overseas. they want to obtain as much information as they can about the u.s. government, particularly as it pertains to russia and about the special counsel's office and what mueller's investigation has turned up thus far and specifically, one of the things they have been fighting about in court is that they want to not only obtain that information as
part of this court case, they want to then provide that information to the afghan, the oligarch back home and he has no desire to come to the united states and get arrested and face trial but his lawyers say this information, the sensitive national information about the investigation should be extracted from mueller and extracted from the u.s. gov government and sent to him in russia and that would be a serious thing, just the same as sending that sensitive information directly to the kremlin. so that's what this litigation fight has been about. the national security division at the justice department is involved and special counsel is involved and u.s. attorney in d.c. is involved. it's been interesting litigation but that's what made it amazing today in federal court in d.c. when the federal judge who is
providing over this case, presiding over this legal wrangling basically decided to stick a pin through his lawyers and pull the dude's wings off. we got the transcript from today's proceeding. quote, the judge, all right. i scheduled today's status conference for several years. i would like to set a hearing date on motion for approval for concord's motion for approval to disclose the discovery and the fire wall process to make sure we're on the same page and finally i want to discuss concord's pending motion to compel discovery, which is now ripe. i will address the merits of the motion in a sealed proceeding. but then the judge says this, to eric who is the lawyer for concord management, the judge says quote, mr. dubelier, i will
tell you that that i found your recent filings to be unprofessional, inappropriate and ineffective. in a few weeks once concord's motion for approval to disclose sensitive discovery is ripe, i will again consider arguments that concord previously raised about the scope of discovery provided to the officers and employees and i issued several rulings on the premotions and hope to discuss the timing for trial date at the next court date but mr. dubelier you will prevail on your motion for release of sensitive discovery if and only if the facts and the law are on your side. meritless personal atax on the special counsel, his attorneys, and fire wall counsel will play no role in my decision on your motion, nor will inappropriate and what you clearly believe to be clever quotes from movies,
cartoons, elsewhere, your strategy is ineffective and undermining your credibility in this courthouse. i will say it plain and clear, knock it off. he will say whether certain proceedings should happen in open court or the court under seal and she turns back to eric, the lawyer for the concord management and turns back to him. the judge says quote, mr. dubelier why shouldn't requests to share sensitive information with attorneys, para legals, translators and other who in no way will be witnesses for concord in this case at trial, why should that not be litigate in open court? >> y >> the judge, i think you have been. dubelier, that's what you accused me of. i need to go now and discuss that with my client and see if my client wants to continue to retain me and represent them
since there seems to be bias on the court against me. the judge, there is no bias on the part of the court, dubelier when you say to one in public they are unprofessional and inappropriate, i take that -- the judge, what have you been personally saying about the special counsel and trial team in open court? mr. dubelier, i've been telling the truth. every pleading i told the truth. the judge, mr. dubelier you have had many inappropriate remarks in your filings and you know it. your honor, that's your opinion, i disagree with you but that's your opinion. you're entitled to it. what i'm entitled to do is discuss it with my client before i go further. the judge, you're entitled but i'll direct you and the government to sit down and meet once you spoke with your client and assuming you're still representing your client and work with these issues with the protective order. we tried to do that and the government's answer to
everything is no. the judge, i'm directing them to sit down with you again and try to work through some of those issues pursuant to my order. understood? mr. dubelier, understood. on a very basic level, the way the oligarch thing works under putin, if you're the right guy, it's always guys, never ladies, if you're the right guy, putin will get you get rich. fabulously rich. he'll happily and profoundly rip off the russian people, rip off the russian government, rip off the assets of the russian nation to make you personally fabulously wealthy. but then he owns you, and you serve him. you as a fabulously wealthy person serve the interest of vladimir putin and the interests of russia and the russian government as defined by vladimir putin. a system was devised mostly involving russian defense contracts that would make him
spectacularly wealthy and he is. the apparent bag man who ran that operation was allowed himself to skim off $150 million in cash over just two years. he is now sitting in a jail cell in north carolina where prosecutors are pursuing him not only for the lurid double-murder for hire plot he apparently carried out against the guy he thought was with his wife but the massive theft from the russian people and the money laundering operation that followed that allowed him to accumulate such wealth and then try to stash and spend it in the united states. the russian government appears to be fine with that but u.s. federal prosecutors are not. now that they've got him, what threads does that guy's case pull? right? for his part in terms of his service to vladimir putin and the russian government, he ran part of the russian intelligence operation for 2016 according to mueller's prosecutors, he ran
the social media stuff that targeted our election to try to swing it toward trump. he since tried to turn his own indictment in the case to the advantage of the russian government by using the u.s. court system to try to extract sensitive national security information from the government and from the investigation of the special counsel. this week a trump employee brush that effort back with a public dressing down and a public humiliation of the american lawyer who was trying to carry out that effort and make a public spectacle of it at the same time. depending on what happens next here, it looks l s like that la may be out and that may indicate weirder terms. this is already a weirder story line in the russia scandal and the whole mueller investigation. that said, new weird stuff happens all the time. i'm sure we have not hit the
bottom on weird and for what it's worth, the federal judiciary as a whole is due to run out of money in four days. as of the end of today, the federal government shutdown, we're enduring is the second longest one in u.s. history. if the shutdown persists through the end of this week, the u.s. federal court system announced the u.s. federal judiciary will be out of money and will have to triage operations as of friday this week. if the shutdown persists beyond that, if it goes on through saturday, that will make this the longest u.s. government shutdown in american history. the consequences of the shutdown are becoming increasingly serious and expensive as we head into the third week of this and that's not just for federal workers and families but whole swabs of the u.s. economy that crank down and stop working when the federal government does, too. we had government shutdowns before but again, this is becoming one of the longest ever. one of the things we are
learning in this one, is that it matters when there is a shutdown whether or not the government is generally being well run or poorly run. that can make a difference as to how well the shutdown goes, too. and that is why one particular white house proposal about this shutdown is putting a real sliv shiver down people's spines. that story is next. n people's s. that story is next y minute coun. and you don't have time for a cracked windshield. that's why at safelite, we'll show you exactly when we'll be there. with a replacement you can trust. all done sir. >> grandpa: looks great! >> tech: thanks for choosing safelite. >> grandpa: thank you! >> child: bye! >> tech: bye! saving you time... so you can keep saving the world. >> kids: ♪ safelite repair, safelite replace ♪ stimulant laxatives forcefully stimulate i switched to stimulant-free miralax for my constipation.
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as the government shutdown hits the 18th day, the president announces he plans to give the first ever national address from the oval office at 9:00 p.m. eastern time to talk about the border and the shutdown. welcome to 9:00 p.m. eastern, mr. president. come on in, the water is fine. as we get ready for that, there is rising concern the president might decide that he might even use the speech to announce that he's declaring a national emergency to theoretically set the stage to reallocate from the pentagon to try to build this wall on the southern border if congress won't appropriate any money for that. given the legal novelty of that
kind of approach. the controversy around that approach if the approach goes that way. what kind of situation would it be and whether or not to sign active duty soldiers related to that? if this emergency decoloration, from the president were ultimately considered to be illegal, would the actions of u.s. troops or officials who are ordered to carry it out also be illegal potential dill lem ma arrives after the resignation of james mattis, it was not clear whether there might be an exit at the pentagon. we learned the chief out staff to secretary mattis pentagon chief of staff, now the "wall street journal" the nation was not voluntarily.
the journal is reporting kevin sweeney did not leave on his accord. the chief of staff of the pentagon is forced out of his post by the defense department's new acting head. sweeney worked alongside mattis at several points of his career. the bond was a source of concern at the white house u.s. officials said adding that the appointment of pat shanahan defense secretary was seen as an opportunity to remove mr. sweeney. he expressed a desire to stay on as recently as last week. recently as last week. then they pushed him out. we all expected or anticipated or at least wondered if one of the consequences of mattis leaving would be officers and senior civilian staffers who were running things under mattis might go in his wake, as well. we have seen some high level departures since mattis left but if that's not the full story of what is happening, if part of what is happening now is the
white house and the new trump acting defense secretary are going in and picking off people at the pentagon who are mattis like and getting them out of the pentagon behind mattis' departure, that's an entirely different dynamic, isn't it? joining us now is congressman adam smith. congressman smith, mr. chairman, thank you for being with us. thank you. >> thanks for the chance, rachel. appreciate it. >> the pentagon chief of staff didn't resign. he was pushed. i want to ask your response and if you're concerned about senior staffing at the pentagon in the wake of secretary mattis' resignation. >> i am. because i'm really concerned about secretary mattis departing. we've read the story. he was the adult in the room, right? he could check some of the worst i impulses, obviously not all of them. he had so much credibility with the military and national security and as a person his
word carried a lot of weight and he has a lot of allies and friends in the pentagon and when the president, when secretary mattis resigned, he could no longer work for president trump because he didn't agree with the decisions but the more important part, he didn't agree with the way the president made them in such a chaotic off the top of his headway that was not well thought out and didn't have a plan behind him. so the less stable people there are at the pentagon, the more nervous we should be. secretary mattis leaving is a huge blow, but we need to keep as many people there as possible who understand the way things are supposed to work because clearly, the president does not. >> with the government shutdown now becoming the second longest ever and no real end in sight, the president has announced this prime time address to the nation first from the oval office tomorrow night. how seriously do you take the discussion we're hearing about the president considering a decoloration, of an emergency so he can take funds from the
pentagon and essentially use those funds to build his wall or do whatever else he wants to do without congress appropriating the money to do so? >> i take it very seriously. precisely because this president is so unpredictable. he changes his mind depending on who talked to him last or what story is done on fox news so the fact that he might want to do this is a distinct possibility and i think it would be a colossal waste of money. building a wall isn't even going to help with border security and we don't have a border security crisis. to take and keep 5 billion, 6 billion in this dispute the president shut the government down over but if he builds this wall he's muttering about, it will cost between 20 and $30 million and if you take that much money out of the pentagon and it comes specifically, the emergency clause that he's referencing would come specifically out of the military
construction budget in the pentagon. this would undermine the readiness of the national security and take money away from building the facilities that our troops need to train, be equipped and prepare for the missions we want to send them on and spend it on the wall and i think the president, we've seen he makes decisions like this all the time. there is a risk he could do it and it would be a huge waste of money. i think he should be subject to a court challenge quickly. as i understand it, this authority has been used to build things in iraq and afghanistan. once money is obligated in the pentagon, the president can't decide to change it unless he declares an emergency. so in iraq and afghanistan a few times, the presidents did that because they need to build something in the places in light of the troop presence there but to do it for a wall on the southern border, where is the emergency? i think the courts would overturn this quickly except of course, for the fact as we all know, the supreme court these days seems to be simply a rubber stamp for trump's agenda and
they have forgotten about the fact there is supposed to be a judicial branch. there is a risk they would let him get away with it. >> congressman adam smith, you have a huge responsibility with the job. thanks for making time. i hope you come back in weeks and months ahead. i know you have a lot on your plate. >> any time. thank, rachel. >> much more ahead tonight. stay with us. hel. >> much more ahead tonight stay with us ♪ [friend] i've never seen that before. ♪ ♪ i have... ♪
the question isn't whether he should be impeached any imore.... he's the most corrupt president in american history. and we all know it. the question now is, how fast can we move past this president so we can build a more just and prosperous future? please, join the more than 6.5 million americans who are demanding action now. because there's nothing more powerful than the unified voice of the american people. together, we will make this happen. need to impeach is responsible for the content of this ad. not to the finish.t.
of attention yet but that probably cannot last. for the past couple of -- i know we're just out of the holiday and everything but this is important. for the past couple weeks including over the holiday, we've been watching what looks like a concerted effort by the democratic leaders who control the u.s. house of representatives a concerted effort by them to overturn a bit of conventional wisdom. i'm not sure if people are really picking up on the importance of this yet but i think it's clear what is going on, what they are trying to do, leading democrats in key positions in the new congress are actively trying to disappoint buidi disappoidisabuse the public a president cannot be indicted. chair of the judiciary committee told us he doesn't believe that justice department guidance on that question is correct, that's a big deal, right? he's the guy that would take the lead on any impeachment proceeding and he's saying publicly, no, no, no, the
president doesn't have to be i'm peached, that's not the only remedy, the president absolutely can be indicted. then just last week the new democratic speaker of the house backed jerry up on that, nancy pelosi telling nbc news whether a president can be indicted is quote an open discussion in terms of the law. saying that the olc memos from the justice department that say a president can be indicted, she does not believe those are conclusive. this is something people have been treating as a settled issue, right? justice department rules say they can't be indicted but the head of the judiciary committee are both saying they disagree. and now another top democrat has joined them. >> there is an awful office of legal counsel memo in the department of justice, i think it dates back to the nixon years but maybe i'm wrong but it states that a sitting president should not be indicted. that's not a rule or law but suggest from the justice department. >> i think actually when you
look at the opinions, there is a very powerful case to be made that you can indict a sitting president. it's more difficult to make the case they should be tried while in office because that would very disruptive of the president's responsibilities but the only argument and it was really not the focus of attention in the prior olc opinions, the only argument made it was stigmatize the president. the justice department already crossed that when they said individual number one the president was implicated in these two crimes. so that has already, that bar has been passed. >> congressman adam schiff speaking there about those two crimes and the campaign finance felonies the long-time lawyer plead guilty and federal prosecutors said in court filings, president trump directed him to commit. congressman adam schiff said if they have a case against the president on the felonies, not only can the president be
indicted but they should go ahead and indict him now to make sure he doesn't run out the clock on the statute of limitations of any crimes he's been charged with while he's in office. meanwhile, another intel jones committee of california, he has been saying in vent darecent da thinks it's possible prosecutors may have already indicted the president and it is a sealed indictment. so top democrats are going out of their way to signal when it comes to the criminal investigation surrounding the president, you shouldn't rule out an indictment for president while. among other things that could have major implications whether house democrats are starting impeachment proceedings against him. if leaders decided if indicting the president is possible after all, is that effectively a way of getting impeachment questions off the table? are we seeing the democrats punt to the special counsel and federal prosecutors to let them handle this issue instead.
quote, the united states has never had a president as unfit for the office as trump and it's becoming clear that 2019 is likely to be dominated by a single question. what are we going to do about it? "the new york times" editorial page went big, 3,000 words big with a long and potent argument from columnist david making the case that the president's as he argues unfitness for office should call the question now as to how the president should be removed from office. now. quote, the easy answer is to wait to allow the various investigations of trump to run their course and ask voelters t deliver a verdict in 2020. it would avoid the trama of overturning an alert but waiting is too dangerous.
the cost of removing a president from office is smaller than the cost of allowing this president to remain. joining us is columnist for "the new york times." thank you for being here. >> thank you for having me. >> this is provocative and powerful. i felt like i heard every argument about the damage that could be done from this president remaining, and you have put this out there very potently. i wanted to ask you why now? what makes you feel like you need to break glass in this case of emergency? >> i feel like in the last two months since the mid terms of 2018, we saw more of the risks, what feel like the beginning of the tail end risks of the trump presidency. he shut down the government essentially because cable tv news hosts and nothing against cable tv news hosts but they shouldn't run down the government. >> if i tell anyone to shut down the government, feel free to ignore me. >> told him to and he's pulled the united states troops out of syria or began to do so because
tu turkish autocrats told him to do so. the risks of the damage he could do are growing. i'm not suggesting, we may talk about this, impeach him but come to terms act the fact we should do anything we can to get him out of this very important job. >> when you talk about the tail end consequences we can see, do you think that some of the danger you're describing there, some of the increased danger is because of the president's increased liability in terms of the investigations that surround him? >> yes. >> because they are in a more desperate situation. >> there is this fiction that existed. i was unprovable there is a fiction to the midterms that he was politically invulnerable and somehow come magic sauce and we saw the midterms. the senate is tricky to look at because so many races are in
republican soil but the house, the democrats won the vote by nine percentage points. he got stomped. he realizes he has vulnerability. republicans realize republicans realize he has vulnerability, and mueller seems to be closing in and so what i worry about are one as mueller continues to close in or as he fights for his re-election he could do many worse things. i also think we are not paying attention to the possibility that something terrible external happens, a war, a financial crisis, a terrorist attack, a terrible national -- >> a non-self-inflicted externality. >> yes, and i'm not the biggest fan of george w. bush's presidency, but george w. bush remained a competent president to the end, and he had none of the ethical issues that trump does, and if you think about what bush did in his last two years, he managed the disaster in iraq responsibly, and he managed the financial extremely
responsibly. i'm not saying he doesn't deserve blame for what happened before, but imagine donald trump trying to manage a national disaster or a war or financial crisis. i find it frightening and i worry we would look back and say how did we not get rid of him before hand. >> there's one element of how this is or may be proceeding that i want to ask you about which is, i think, a new spin on how the prospect of impeachment and the prospect of indictment are interacting with each other. can you hold on one second, we'll have that discussion when we come back. we'll be right back. we'll be right back. i tell everyone to take the ancestrydna test
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david leonhardt. he wrote a 3,000 word argument about the urgency of the need to remove this president from office, and in part, david, i think you're trying to change the common wisdom about whether or not republicans would ever support the removal of this president from office? >> yes, yes. >> you think that that's something that is sort of ticking in the direction of removal. >> potentially. i think there's a lot of conventional wisdom that donald trump's approval rating is 40%, it's never gone below that roughly. i think that's wrong. if you look at the history, you know the history of spiro agnew, if you look at agnew is and nixon they had unbelievably solid support in '73 and then it went away. as more allegations and more
revelations come out, i think it's possible that republicans will decide it is no longer in their own personal political interests to support trump. i wish i thought they would do it on the merits. i think that's probably unlikely, but i do think it's possible they will look at this and say this is a bad deal for us. >> you're describing a couple of different times since we've been talking, describing continued revelations from the mueller investigation from other criminal probes as potentially being an engine driving broader political considerations around the president? that whatever the investigation can do in its own terms when it exposes potential wrongdoing by the president, that will change the political realities on the ground? there is a really serious question, though, as to whether or not the investigation itself might produce some sort of actionable eject button for this presidency, whether the president could be indicted, whether or not the president has been indicted already under seal as congressman swalwell from the intelligence committee is now suggesting. what do you take about that dynamic as democrats in positions of leadership
increasingly highlight their view that apparently they think the justice department policy precluding an indictment might be soft, might be overturnable? >> i guess i'm a little small c conservative on that because i think there's enough debate about whether a sitting president can be indicted. i don't think there's any good substantive debate about whether donald trump is fit to be president. i think he is not, right? so i guess i would rather see the attention focused on the things he has done wrong, the ways he has violated his constitutional oath and broken the law and i think pressure needs to be put on republicans to eventually get rid of him, and i'm then open to the question of whether a sitting president can be indicted or whether he could be indicted when he left office. i guess i worry a little bit, his sins have been so bad, i would rather keep attention on that rather than on the procedural questions of what do we do about the terrible things that president trump has done. >> david leonhardt, columnist at the "new york times" calling the
question on this in a very eloquent way. thank you for being here. >> thank you. >> we'll be right back. stay with us. stay with us >> tech: at safelite autoglass we know that when you're spending time with the grandkids every minute counts. and you don't have time for a cracked windshield. that's why we show you exactly when we'll be there. saving you time, so you can keep saving the world. >> kids: ♪ safelite repair, safelite replace ♪
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that does it for us tonight. thank you for being with us. we will see you again right here at this time tomorrow, but keep in mind, the president, 9:00 p.m. eastern tomorrow is going to be giving his first address to the nation from the oval office. you will want to be here with us for that. now it's time for "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell. good evening. >> good evening, rachel, and we now know exactly how far behind you i am. >> what do you mean? >> i mean six years. i mean you were on the simpsons in 2013, and i was on the simpson's last night. >> yay. >> and that is -- that is how far behind rachel maddow i am, six full years. rachel, tomorrow night. >> that was so good. >> tomorrow night we're going to leave that picture up later in the hour. tomorrow night how much time do you want? because apparently the presidens