tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC May 2, 2019 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT
thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. very, very happy to have you with us. colorado senator michael bennet has just announced today that he is joining the democratic presidential field. we will be speaking live with senator bennet later on this hour. this will be his first interview since making his presidential announcement today. very excited to have him on set to be joining us in just a moment. i also want to let you know we just confirmed before i got on the air that senator kamala harris, one of the leading contenders for the nomination, has just confirmed with our office tonight that she will be our guest on this show here tomorrow. so i know tomorrow's friday. if you were planning on taking friday off, the answer is no. i'm not either. i'm going to be here with kamala harris so you should be here, too. today, though, some of the big news that happened today is that today we got word, i guess, that
robert mueller henceforth shall speak for himself. at least we sort of got that word. now this is only a single source report thus far, and you should consider that, but nbc news is reporting, according to one source dollar with the matter, that the judiciary committee in the house led by new york city congressman jerry nadler, according to nbc news that committee has begun discussions directly with robert mueller's team about mueller himself coming to testify to congress. according to nbc's reporting previously, the committee has been trying to arrange mueller's testimony and they had been discussing that matter with the justice department, assuming that the justice department could speak for robert mueller and would facilitate his testimony. there have been multiple reports and some scathing allegations from democratic members of congress recently that the justice department has been blocking that, that they've been refusing to set a date for mueller's testimony, they've been slow-walking the request
for mueller's testimony from multiple congressional committees. there's been allegations from democratic members that the justice department basically hasn't been acting in good faith despite attorney general barr's public assertions that he has no objection to mueller himself coming before congress. well, now, again, this new nbc news reporting tonight as yet just a single source, not yet confirmed by other news organizations, but this reporting from nbc tonight is that mueller's team is now communicating directly with the house judiciary committee about mueller coming up to testify. now, we got word of that tonight. right after we got word of this from senator amy klobuchar. and i'll tell you what this is. i will give -- here's the spoiler. this starts off kind of normal. i mean, it's really interesting. i think it's really important. it starts off kind of normal. it gets very gunny rigfunny rig
end, which is why you should hear it. here it is. here's the date. may 2nd, 2019. that's today. it's addressed to robert s. mueller iii, office of special counsel, u.s. department of justice. dear special counsel mueller. right off the bat this is interesting. this is not something you see every day. this is on the letterhead of a u.s. senator, amy klobuchar of minnesota, who i should mention is also running for president. here she is writing one-on-one to the special counsel directly, hey, bob, i've got a thing i need from you. dear special counsel mueller, i write to request information related to the report on the investigation into russian interference in the 2016 presidential election which was recently completed by your office. on may 1st attorney general barr appeared before the u.s. senate committee on the judiciary to testify about the evidence collected during your investigation and the findings described in your report. unfortunately, on numerous occasions attorney general barr was unable to speak to certain sections of the report or to the
underlying evidence evaluated by your office. the little shade there is that a lot of people noticed that attorney general barr didn't really seem to know how to answer basic factual questions about the report, which gave rise to suspicions that maybe he never bothered to read it. anyway. back to klobuchar's letter. "i asked attorney general barr whether your office requested and reviewed any of president trump's personal tax documents or the trump organization's financial documents. attorney general barr stated that he did not know and suggested that i ask you directly." now, unfortunately, chairman lindsey graham, chairman of the judiciary committee in the senate, has made clear that he does not intend to call you, special counsel mueller. he does not intend to call you to testify before the senate judiciary committee. accordingly, i respectfully request that you provide answers to the following. number one. did your office obtain and review president trump's personal tax returns? if not, did you attempt to obtain these documents? if so, what years of returns did
you obtain and were the documents complete or were any redactions made? number two, did your office obtain and review financial statements from the trump organization? if not, did you attempt to obtain them? if you did obtain them, what years of statements did you obtain and were the documents complete or were any redactions made to the documents? and then this is how it ends. in addition, i respectfully request that you provide the committee with copies of any of president trump's tax returns and the trump organization's financial statements that were obtained by your office to aid in our evaluation of the report and its conclusions. sincerely amy klobuchar, united states senator." so that's obviously the funny part at the end. oh, and by the way, in addition, if by any chance you it did get trump's tax returns and firearm statements, i would like those. thank you. sincerely, senator klobuchar. i enclose a self-addressed stamp c-130 cargo plane. please, just send those my way.
now, where this comes from is a little notice but a short, sharp and potentially important exchange that happened yesterday's hearing between senator klobuchar and attorney general bill barr. this was at the very, very end of his testimony. had been there for hours. klobuchar had a long series of questions with him and they came back for one quick final round where people just had a couple of minutes to ask final questions. klobuchar peppered him with a whole bunch of quick questions. and i'm not sure if this is how he wishes he would have responded. >> thank you. mr. attorney general, on april 27th, president trump stated "mueller, i assume, for $35 million he checked my taxes and he checked my financials. is that accurate? did the special counsel review the president's taxes and the
trump organization's financial statements? >> i don't know. >> can you find out if i ask later in a written question? >> i -- yes or you could ask bmw when bob mueller when he comes here. >> okay. i'll do that. i think i'll ask you, too. obviously we want to see them as underlying information. during my earlier questions, we went through a number of actions by the president that the special counsel looked into. >> so she just moves on. she just moves on. great. i'm going to ask you. and, yeah, at your suggestion, i will ask robert mueller directly. i will absolutely do that. and if the answer is, yes, he got tax returns and financial statements, obviously we'll expect to see those as underlying information, right? let's move on. next question. barr's just like, say what? hmm? so this was a -- i think this was a good use of that second round of questions from senator klobuchar, right? get him on the record on stuff. get him on the record in this case suggesting that the senator should go directly to robert mueller on this question and get
him on the record -- i mean, get mueller on the record -- he should go -- she should go to mueller directly on this matter to find out what the underlying evidence was that mueller looked at and she should be asking him to obtain it. okay. and to the extent it matters, she gets him on the record, she gets barr on the record not objecting when she notifies him that if mueller did look at trump's taxes and financial statements she and the committee would expect to be furnished with those, since that is underlying evidence related to mueller's investigation. well, william barr struggles to keep up and swallows his tongue and says nothing. it was this very quick exchange. that's kind of what you need to move these things forward sometimes. in this case that moved it forward because that gave senator klobuchar an opening, in fact an invitation by the attorney general for her to start communicating directly with robert mueller. rather than going through him or rather than going through the justice department. and so amy klobuchar has now written directly to robert
mueller and opened up that line of communication with his office. we shall see. i think now that we know a little bit more about what has been going on in robert mueller's life recently, now that we have seen his letter, which was made public yesterday, which is him memorializing in print and laying out clearly the battle that he has been in with attorney general william barr over barr misrepresenting mueller's findings and trying to submarine mueller's whole investigation and misrepresenting it to the public. i mean, one of the things that does is it puts mueller himself back at the center of this drama. after what we have now seen and heard about the behavior of attorney general william barr when it comes do mueller and mueller's report, it should be no surprise that committee chairmen and members of the judiciary committees are going to open up communication with mueller directly rather than routing anything through william barr ever again. i mean, at this point, based on what we've seen just from mueller himself, it's clear that
attorney general william barr is the last person on earth you should be contacting if you are seeking true information about robert mueller or his investigation. now we've got mueller on the record saying barr has been mischaracterizing his work and mishandling his work, right? so the whole idea that barr is one you go to if you want to know anything about this investigation or about mueller himself, that is over now. barr himself elected not to turn up to testify before the house judiciary committee. that will probably take some time to resolve as a conflict. barr had initially volunteered to testify today. that's what he backed out of. he wasn't subpoenaed to testify. now they will likely subpoena him to testify. if he refuses to testify in response to the subpoena, they'll have to fight that. ultimately they may decide to hold him in contempt of congress. that too will be a somewhat lengthy process. by the time barr finally does agree to sit down in front of jerry nadler and the house judiciary committee and their professional staff, we will presumably by that point be some distance further down the road in this ongoing scandal.
one side benefit of that delay is that by that point william barr will hopefully no longer be seen as the guy who you're supposed to ask questions of about robert mueller. by that point, whenever he does sit down with house judiciary, whenever he decides he's ready to face democrats' questions he will presumably no longer be thought of the guy who is supposed to explain robert mueller. at this point by the time we're -- by the time that's going to happen, by the time he sits down and does that, the reason they're going to want to talk to him is no longer going to be that barr is the one who is explaining mueller, right? at that point presumably the reason they will want to talk to william barr is because of barr's own behavior, is because of what mueller himself says is barr's mishandling of his investigation, his misrepresentation of mueller's findings, his creation of public confusion about what mueller did and mueller found.
and to that point, to that point of william barr's behavior and what he has done here and how it may still be affecting what we know about this investigation and what impact it's having on this presidency, to that point, after his testimony yesterday we are still trying to get to the bottom of this. >> was it special counsel mueller's responsibility to make a charging recommendation? >> i think the deputy attorney general and i thought it was. but -- but not just charging but to determine whether or not conduct was criminal. the president would -- would be charged -- could not be charged as long as he was in office. >> do you agree with the reasons that he offered for not making a decision in volume ii of his report and why or why not? >> i'm not really sure of his
reasoning. i think that if he felt that he shouldn't go down the path of making a traditional prosecutive decision then he shouldn't have investigated. that was the time to pull up. >> that was the time to pull up. right. said oh, i'm going to land this plane. no, they're saying to pull it up. i mean, the justice department and attorney general william barr have confirmed that robert mueller told barr that he didn't believe he was allowed to make a declaration as to whether or not president trump committed crimes because of the justice department policy that says you can't charge a sitting president. as mueller explained in his report, if you can't charge someone it's not fair to accuse them of a crime. the whole point of charging someone is that you then give them their day in court so they can defeat the charges, they can beat the charges that they didn't commit the crime, so they can clear their name, so they
can be acquitted. you don't give an accused criminal that right if they don't get their day in court without actually charging them and putting them on trial and letting them prove they didn't do that. that was mueller's reasoning. whether or not you agree with that reasoning, that is what mueller explained in his report about why he felt constrained by justice department policy that he couldn't say one way or the other whether the president committed crimes when it came to obstruction of justice. well, william barr and the justice department say that they learned that that was mueller's position at a meeting between barr and mueller on march 5th. march 5th of this year. that's the first time the two of these guys met after william barr was sworn in as attorney general, after he was cleared by the justice department ethics office to take over oversight of mueller's work. well, how did william barr respond to that news flash from mueller when mueller told barr on march 5th that he believed he couldn't make a traditional prosecutive decision about the president? how did barr take that? how did he respond?
well, now we know in his own words. >> i think that if he felt that he shouldn't go down the path of making a traditional prosecutive decision, then he shouldn't have investigated. that was the time to pull up. >> so that was the time to pull up. if you're not making a charging decision and you say you're not then the way william barr thinks about it means you can't be investigating. you can't be using grand juries. you can't be using subpoenas. you can't be using all of the tools that prosecutors use to investigate toward the ultimate aim of assembling a criminal case. you can't do that. you can't use any of those tools. not if you're not going to assemble a criminal case, not if you're not going to file criminal charges, you can't be investigating if at the end of the day you are not going to charge, says the brand-new attorney general, newly installed to oversee robert mueller's work. and less than three weeks after
that first meeting we get word from the justice department that robert mueller's investigation is over and his report is in. 2 1/2 weeks after barr was allowed to take over oversight of the mueller investigation, the mueller investigation was ended. did barr end it basically as soon as he got into the justice department? what he has explained since then in public testimony is his own belief that mueller had no right to even look at potential obstruction of justice by the president. to investigate the president's conduct at all. not if mueller at the end of the day wasn't going to declare whether or not the president could be charged with a crime. so we're still trying to figure that out. i will note for the record just answer aside, there are two volumes of the mueller report. victim i volume i is about russia, victim ii is about -- his office had been conducting this
investigation of the president's behavior in the first place. justifying and defending the fact they were investigating the president for obstruction of justice even though they weren't considering charging him. the way he described it at the very end, the very final section of volume ii of the report, that was mueller's defense of the fact that his office was working to "ascertain whether the president violated obstruction statutes." their defense of the fact that they were even trying to ascertain that by investigating the president's behavior is the end. is the closing argument of the obstruction section, page 178, it's the very last thing they argue. that same defense of the fact that they were investigating the president at all is literally on page 1 of the obstruction section as well. page 1 of the obstruction section says "while the olc opinion concludes that a sitting president may not be prosecuted, it recognizes that a criminal investigation during the president's term is permissible." so why is it that robert mueller
and the special counsel's office felt it was necessary to open and close the whole obstruction section of their report with a defense of the fact that they had been investigating the president at all? who was asking them to justify that? i mean, is that at all related to the fact that the attorney general has now articulated multiple times in public that he believes if mueller wasn't going to say at the end of the day whether president trump committed crimes or not then mueller shouldn't have been investigating trump at all? at that point the investigation is inappropriate. i mean, did barr should mueller down? when mueller told him he wasn't going to say whether or not trump should be charged? if so, was the grounds on which he did so that barr thinks that that precludes you from even investigating? i don't know. and neither do you. but robert mueller knows. and now according to this new reporting from nbc news tonight, the judiciary committee in the house is negotiating with
mueller directly to range his testimony where upon he can presumably tell us that and everything else he knows. here's the flip side, though, which i think is the worrying part here for attorney general william barr and for the white house. over the last 24 hours or so you've seen ed he linheadlines one. "republicans turn against robert mueller." the attorney general calling mueller snitty. based on a false accusation and illegitimate. this today from emmet flood, the president's russia lawyer, deriding robert mueller. saying what mueller turned in was some sort of law school exam paper. all that mueller's investigation produced was a bunch of political statements in that report. emmet flood sneerg at mueller's report in his findings by calling the report from mueller a "prosecutorial curiosity." we're watching republicans in congress and the white house and the president's legal defenders
all starting to round on robert mueller. forget all this stuff like, oh, mueller's an honorable guy. mueller's exonerated the president. no, now it's mueller is deranged. mueller is terrible at his job. mueller's a disaster. and the problem for them as they make that turn is that mueller is alive and mueller is starting to communicate with the outside world in his own terms that we now know includes at least some lines of communication directly from the judiciary committees to him. and that puts william barr and the trump white house in a bit of a corner here because in order to try to cast aspersions on what was wrong with mueller's investigation and what's deficient about mueller himself, in order to have possibly justified shutting down mueller's investigation in the first place when barr took over as district attorney, they had to make this very aggressive argument about what it is that mueller did wrong, right? what was so wrong about mueller saying that he felt constrained by justice department policy, such that he did not believe he was allowed to say whether or not the president committed
crimes? they have hung their hat on that being the disaster of what mueller did. right? i mean, here's -- here's how barr himself put it in his opening statement for the senate yesterday. "the role of the federal prosecutor and a criminal investigation are well defined. federal prosecutors work with grand juries to collect evidence to determine whether a crime has been committed. once a prosecutor has exhausted his investigation into the facts of a case he or she faces a binary choice to commence or decline prosecution. the appointment of a special counsel and the investigation of the conduct of the president do not change these rules. at the end of the day, the federal prosecutor must decide yes or no." the federal prosecutor must decide yes or no. ryan goodman singled out this part of barr's opening statement yesterday at just security noting that, you know, this might make for great rhetoric for barr deriding mueller, claiming that mueller didn't do his job, but it also creates a big problem for what he does
next, as long as mueller is alive and can speak for himself on his own terms. "in his report, mueller took the view that he didn't have authority under the justice department's legal opinions to make a federal criminal accusation against a sitting president. barr's statement to the senate now resets that framework. indeed, barr's clarification of the rules appears to state that mueller has a duty to make exactly that call about the president. whether or not barr articulated this legal framework to justify his decision in the mueller investigation, what it means is that special counsel robert mueller may now be able or in fact required to say on the record whether he believes president donald trump committed the crime of obstruction. mueller should have the opportunity to do so in congressional testimony soon." in other words, all these guys, barr and all the rest of them, they're all round denouncing mueller for having botched his investigation when he refused to state whether or not he believes that president trump committed crimes. i mean, it may in fact be possible that barr told mueller
his investigation must end if he was going to continue do refuse to say if president trump committed crimes. well, robert mueller is about to come to congress and testify, as far as we can tell, and if this whole attack on mueller's findings and what might have been the whole effort to shut down mueller once barr took over at the justice department was all based on it being a huge problem that mueller wouldn't say whether or not trump should be charged. if barr is demanding now that what the justice department rules say is that robert mueller must declare if donald trump committed crimes, well, it no longer matters that mueller didn't do that in his report. right? now we're in the new phase where the report may be the past on that point and in the future what this will mean is that robert mueller will be sworn in before a congressional committee and he will be asked by jerry nadler or by amy klobuchar or by kamala harris or any of these folks and robert mueller will not just be able to explain under oath whether or not he believes the president committed crimes, he may be obligated
under the justice department rules as newly explained by attorney general william barr. he may be obligated to say, to declare if the president is a criminal, and if that is what his investigation found. that is the box that attorney general william barr has created for himself and for the white house with the way that he has attacked robert mueller. and now it is robert mueller's time to speak. more ahead. stay with us. use. i have a system. -keith used to be great to road-trip with. but since he bought his house... are you going 45? -uh, yes. 55 is a suggestion. -...it's kind of like driving with his dad. -what a sign, huh? terry, can you take a selfie of me? -take a selfie of you? -yeah. can you make it look like i'm holding it? -he did show us how to bundle home and auto at progressive.com and save a bunch of money. -oh, a plaque. "he later navigated northward, leaving... progressive can't protect you from becoming your parents. but we can protect your home and auto when you bundle with us. but we can protect your home and auto what do you look for i want free access to research.
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in that album, you get this photo of the mystery senator getting out of a car, then this one of him wearing protective eyewear. touring a lab wearing a nice suit. there's one of him wearing slightly larger protective eye wear. this time he's got a hard hat. all those photos ran with this ap story titled "colorado is still sizing up its new senator." that was in 2009 because michael bennet was still relatively unknown not just in washington as a new senator but even to people in his own state. 2009 is the year that michael bennet was appointed to the u.s. senate seat vacated by ken salazar when ken salazar was brought to washington to join obama's cabinet. when salazar got that nod, every well-known democrat holding office in the state of colorado wanted to be in the running for that appointment to the u.s. senate. the surprise pick though was this guy who had no statewide profile at all, the superintendent of the denver public school system. school superintendent to u.s.
senator, not necessarily dots you would think ever connect. they don't usually connect to each other without anything else in between. but that is what happened to michael bennet. bennet was a yale educated lawyer, at the justice department under president clinton, became managing director at an investment firm run by a really conservative politically active billionaire. bennet was not conservative and not a republican, but he thrived there. made a bunch of money. he did end up becoming managing director. but the public service bug really bit him and when his friend became the mayor of denver, a man by the name of john hickenlooper, you might have heard of him, bennet said yes when the new denver mayor asked him to become his chief of staff at city hall. went on to run the public schools despite not having a background in education.
if you need a barometer of how he did, he was the runner-up to be the education secretary for the whole country under president obama. so, yes, mike the bennet may have been a mystery senator when he was appointed in 2009 but he was an impressive mystery, right? what was challenging in terms of the politics is that bennet was only appointed in 2009 with zero name recognition and having never run a campaign in his life, but after getting appointed in 2009, he actually had to get elected, he had to sort of get relent-elected to h the seat in the very next year in 2010. remember, 2010 was a huge backlash year against the democratic party, a huge red wave that year. in that a.p. article, the one with the mystery senator photos, they talk to republicans in colorado who were excited but also a little vary of picking him off. "republicans say michael bennet's an untested newbie they can pick off next year, but privately they say bennet has shown he has some serious
political chops." they probably further thought they had him on the ropes when he came out in favor of obamacare and put it this way. >> i want to try one yes or no question on you. a new senator on the ballot next year in a tough state. if you get to the final point and you are a critical photo for health care reform and if every piece of evidence tells you to cast a vote and lose your job, would you cast a vote and lose your job? >> yes. >> that tape will be held. i hate to tell you that. >> that tape was held. bennet did vote for obamacare in the united states senate, but he got re-elected in colorado in 2010 in that red, red tea party year, this brand-new senator who nobody had heard of a year before, i mean, in the primary he had to beat a democratic challenger who had the backing of former president bill clinton, after having a tougher than you would expect primary, he had to go on to the general and eked out a win against a strong but slightly insane
republican in a year when a lot of slightly insane republicans actually did great. democrats lost six senate seats that year, but not michael bennet's. in a purple state michael bennet held on in the worst possible environment. by the time he was up for re-election again in 2016, he was definitely no longer still a mystery. he won by over 150,000 votes. during bennet's time in the senate he's gotten the reputation as, god forbid, a man who reads. i know. he is known to be a senator who is pragmatic. he's still pretty low profile and soft-spoken, except when he's not, like this signal moment where he blew his stack at texas senator ted cruz on what was then day 34 of the government shutdown. >> so the only thing that is necessary to pass a clean bill paying the salaries of every man and woman in the coast guard is for the democratic senators to withdraw their objections, is that correct?
>> that's correct. >> thank you. >> madam president? >> senator from colorado. >> madam president, i seldom, as you know, rise on this floor to contradict somebody on the other side. i've worked very hard over the years to work in a bipartisan way with the presiding officer with my republican colleagues, but these crocodile tears that the senator from texas is crying for first responders are too hard for me to take. they're too hard for me to take. because when you -- when the senator from texas shut this government down in 2013, my state was flooded. it was underwater! people were killed! people's houses were destroyed! their small businesses were ruined forever! this government is shut down over a promise the president of the united states couldn't keep!
and then ameriat america is not interested in having him keep. this idea that he was going to build a medieval wall across the southern border of texas, take it from the farmers and ranchers that were there and have the mexicans pay for it isn't true! >> senator michael bennet is no longer a mystery but he is occasionally still surprising. he is also as of today the latest entrant in a field of democratic candidates for president that has 21 people running as of today and counting. senator michael bennet joins us here next. our yard, but so are they. the triple threat of dandelions, lurking crabgrass and weak, thin grass! scotts turf builder triple action. this single-step breakthrough changes everything. it kills weeds, prevents crabgrass for up to 4 months, and feeds so grass can thrive, all guaranteed.
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. joining us now for the interview and michael bennet. he's the senior senator from the great state of colorado. as of today he is the newest entrant into the democratic presidential field. senator, thanks for being here. >> thank you. >> how has day one been? >> it's been good. i told my mom i was going to be 22nd. i'm 21st. >> you're 21st. >> i am. >> already moving up in the polls. >> it's been a good day. >> i will say, i've been looking forward in particular to you declaring so i can say this year's candidates include beto, booker, buttigieg, bullock and bennet. the point there is that there are a lot of b's, but so many
democrats running that evil alphabetical running at this point doesn't help. the fact that there were 20 people in the pool affect your decision about getting in? >> well, i think in some ways it made it possible, to be honest with you, because if there were two people in the field and people said who is this guy who was a superintendent from denver, it might make it hard for me to run and compete. i think the fact that the field is as big as it is, has coalesced as little as it has, creates a real opportunity for all of us in the race. there are some great people in the race. overall i'm really happy that we've got a large diverse field, in part because i think the american people don't know what the national democratic party stands for, and we're going to use this process, i hope, to figure out what it does stand for so we can beat donald trump. >> because president trump is a different kind of president and because people i think particularly on the democratic side of the ledger believe that he may be a uniquely bad president or a uniquely
threatening president in terms of american traditions, i think even more so than usual a lot of the discussion around the primary is electability. >> right. >> who can win. >> right. >> and more broadly, how can this giant primary be conducted in such a way that it's going to be putting a nominee forward who is as strong as possible who has the best chance of winning. do you have concrete ideas about that or do you think it will work itself out? >> well, i think it will work itself out. i know a lot of these people. they're good people. there's nothing wrong with having a competition of ideas. we should have a competition of ideas. we should see what democratic voters want and want to support. i agree with you that the essential question is going to be who can beat donald trump. that should be our number one question. but we also, going to the point of the fate or the state of our republic, we have got -- it's in shambles and we have got to figure out how to govern this country again. one of the reasons i got in is because i came to believe that if you look at the last ten years of our political system, which was mostly a case of tyranny by the freedom caucus,
we got almost nothing done. and if we have another ten years like that, my generation's going to be the first generation of americans to leave less opportunity, not more, to the people that are coming after us. in other words, i don't accept that we can continue to accept the degraded political conversation we're having in this country. and a degradation of our institutions and expect that our exercise in self-government is actually going to work. and that is not just a trump problem. he is a huge manifestation of that problem, but that existed long before he was there. it existed because of the tea party. it existed because of mitch mcconnell's strategic cravenness or craven strategicness. and i think democrats need to own up to the fact that we haven't won every one of those battles and what are we going to do different to stop losing on judges and on climate and to be able to actually create
universal health care in this country, rather than just have a debate where they ignore us and ignore us and ignore us and we don't really make progress, i don't think, with the american people. that is a big task for us. >> do you think that -- i mean, one of the -- you wrote this manifesto today and one of the things that you described there was that the solution to that can't be that democrats have to win everywhere, that you have to have democrats have unity party rule because as long as the republicans are there, nothing will happen. once you're in power all you have to do is roll back everything the other party did. you're talking about an idea where there has to be, again, a sense that both parties have a role in pluralistic governing. and i -- if i had a magic wand, i would want that to be true too. i feel better ideas come from competition among potentially pliable and viable ideas from both sides. but because of what you're describing there, whether it's mitch mcconnell or the freedom caucus or anything else about the republican party, i don't
think there is any hope for democrats and republicans to work together to make a thing happen. >> first of all, let me profoundly thank you for actually reading -- >> i read the whole thing. i have a quote from the part that i'm bothered about. >> i hope you'll raise the part that you're bothered by. >> i will. >> i hope others go read it because i spent some time on it, and i think it's -- i hope that it's provocative. i was trying to be provocative. because there are a lot of people who feel like you do. and let me be clear about this. i do not believe the freedom caucus can be negotiated with. i do not believe they can be compromised with. i do not believe mitch mcconnell will ever do that unless, i mean, when i think about mitch mcconnell, i think of a guy who is completely immune to give and take unless he's taking everything. >> hmm. >> which he often does. and he often has over the ten years that i've been in the senate. but i represent a state that's 1/3 republican 1/3 democratic and 1/3 independent.
i don't think those republicans and independents are represented by the freedom caucus in washington. i think the freedom caucus in washington is supported by a few billionaires in this country and by fox news. and so is donald trump, by the way. and at a certain point we've got to find a way to beat them. we have to find a way to close over them, and i think the way to do that is by isolating them and then by pursuing a set of policies that are popular to the broad swath of the american people. so we're not just talking to the coasts. we're not just talking to people who already agree with us or are convinced by us, but we're actually making an effort to reach because because i do think we need to build a constituency for change in this country. you know, it's really easy to have a constituency to keep stuff the same. we've seen hthat for ten years. what have we accomplished? we were able to pass the affordable care act. some of it through reconciliation and that's a good thing. they were able to pass their tax
bill. that's a bad thing. i suppose we can say dodd/frank. other than that, we've really done nothing. so we have to find, i think, a way in this country to reconstruct that pluralist politics, and the argument -- one of the arguments i make in my piece is that everywhere in america that goes on every single day, except in congress. >> mmm-hmm. >> and the whole system is based on the idea not that we will agree with each other but we will disagree with each other. rachel maddow will have her views. michael bennet will have his views. kamala harris, who is coming on tomorrow, will have hers. and mayor pete will have his. then you've got the republicans. and what we have to do is figure out how to go back to a place where we don't expect unanimity. we don't have a tyrant or a king to tell us what to think. we expect to have division and disagreements. how do we dpafashion those disagreements into imaginative and durable solutions is the work of a democracy and we have completely lost it in our time. >> michael bennet is the senior
senator from colorado. will you stay there? i promise i'll tell you about what bugged me in your manifesto. >> i want you to. >> i have a question -- i'm going to break my rule to never talk to people about their families. i have a good reason to break that rule with you. we'll be right back with senator michael bennet right after this. >> thank you very much. >> thank you very much
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president in 2020. senator, thank you for sticking around. >> thank you for letting me stick around. >> all right. i want to ask you about your dad. >> this is just like being at home without a tv between the two of us. >> sort of. you can't turn me off quite as easily. >> that's true. you can't walk away. >> the mute button doesn't work in person. i'm asking you about your dad which is an awkward thing. you are a special case. you were born in india. i learned today because your dad was working for the embassy there at the time you were born. your father was an assistant to vice president hubert humphrey, he was staff director of the senate budget committee. he was the head of u.s. aid under president carter. he was the president of npr and he was the president of the wesleyan university, where you ultimately got your undergrad. and i think my dad is awesome, obviously, but that's like the combined resume of ten men. >> yeah. >> how has that affected you? that's slightly insane. >> somebody today had said to me that they found a resume that put our two resumes together,
and somebody i had worked with before at the justice department. >> an encyclopedia of jobs. >> look, my family -- when i was in the second grade, my brother remembers this, when i was in the second grade we were asked in my classroom to line up by whose family was here the most recent, whose family was here the longest. and i was the answer to both questions. my mom and her parents were polish jews who survived the holocaust. they went to stockholm. two years in warsaw after that. went to stockholm. went to mexico city. came back. came to new york. the only country in the world they thought they could rebuild their shattered lives. they had a business in new york. they paid for my education and my kids' educations. my dad because he had all those public interest jobs couldn't actually support us the same way that my immigrant grandparents did. >> yeah. >> but -- and his family actually went all the way back
to the mayflower. >> wow. >> people we don't remember were leaving religious persecution. so it's this odd thing that a family that i was raised in, but the commitment to our country and to opportunity and the idea that we are a pluralist society, and that if you come here you are an american, no matter where you came from. somebody attributed the society and the idea that we all have a responsibility to make it better, not take it for granted, understand how meaningful this symbol is to people in the rest of the world who don't have benefit of a free press, benefit of the rule of law, benefit of an independent judiciary. those were all things that my grandparents, you know, intuitively understood and my dad's belief was that public service was noble. and i was raised believing it was noble. i still believe it's noble. you know, when i see what's going on in the justice department today, a place where you said i worked, and i did
work. >> mmm-hmm. >> by and large the people in that agency are unbelievable patriots. committed to the rule of law. committed to this country. we've got to restore that. we've got to restore decency in the federal government. we've got to restore integrity in the federal government. the tea party has done an unbelievable job of separating the american government, the federal government from the people in america. and i worry a lot about that. that's the stuff that -- when they're saying, you know, when they shut the government down, when they do all that stuff and then they go -- ted cruz is my favorite on this. they go back and say see how terrible those guys are. they deserve their 9% approval rating. but the reality is that it the way we make decisions in america. it's not how we make them in china. it's not how they're made in iran or russia. that's how they're made here. and the federal government in many ways is corrupt. it's bankrupt. it's controlled by big donors. we have all kinds of problems
that we've got to solve, but we can't turn away from it. we have to mix it. we have to fix it. we have to solve it. that's how my dad and grandparents would have felt about it and how i feel about it. >> senator michael bennet, i have a million questions to ask you. it just means you have to come back. >> i'll come back. i want to hear the critique of what i wrote. >> oh just you wait. >> i appreciate it. >> day one of senator michael bennet's run for the presidency. it's -- i love -- it's an honor to have all these conversations with these candidates, particularly early on as they're starting to run. this has become the most fun thing about my job. we'll be right back. out my job we'll be right back. they're america's biopharmaceutical researchers. pursuing life-changing cures in a country that fosters innovation here, they find breakthroughs... like a way to fight cancer by arming a patient's own t-cells... because it's not just about the next breakthrough... it's all the ones after that.
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one final story for you tonight before we go. i want to close out the show with a little bit of new reporting tonight, and it's about the house intelligence committee and the team of staffers and investigators that that committee's chairman adam schiff has been building to investigate, among other things, the president's conduct, both before and during his time in office. with a particular eye toward the president's business dealings and finances. congressman schiff has explained over a period of months that he believed that mueller was not looking at the president's taxes and finances and he believed that meant the intelligence committee needed to do so in order to find out if that path led toward any evidence of the president being potentially compromised by a foreign power. earlier this week it was reported in the daily beast that
chairman schiff has hired the former chief at the fbi crimes division. we can add a little bit of new reporting on that tonight. intelligence committee staffer tells us tonight that former fbi team investigating the president now, one of six. in addition to that fbi financial crimes schiff's team includes three former assistant u.s. attorneys and a russian speaking investigator. that core team will be supplemented by several other committee staffers who will devote significant portions of their time to the ongoing investigation. six staffers working full-time on the presidential investigation in the house and the intelligence committee into the president's business and finances and conduct. while, of course, the president does everything he can to slow them down. full speed ahead. that does it for us tonight. we'll see you again tomorrow. it's time for "the last word with lawrence o'donnell." >> i've got a bunch of new questions for eric swalwell, a member of the intelligence