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tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  May 6, 2019 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT

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them to the place where they discovered that sometimes a little down time can lift you right up. flights, hotels, cars, activities, vacation rentals. expedia. everything you need to go. i am five seconds late. that does it for me. we'll see you again tomorrow. now it time for the "last word" with lawrence o'donnell. >> that's called early. five seconds. come on, just take your time. just let it, just whatever you need. you know what the space is for, this is for whatever you need. >> you're very welcoming at the threshold idea. appreciate it. >> thank you. well, dodues for the nation rifle association are $45 a year and the dues payers are getting
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abused by corruption at the top of the nra and that is according to the officials at the top of the nra. wayne la pierre accused oliver north of corruption and he accused la pierre or corruption including using $200,000 of dues money to pay for wayne la pierre's suits. if you're having trouble picking whose side you're on in this corruption story, i'll show you at the end of this hour why you might not have to pick a side, why they both might be right about all this corruption but one of them is definitely way, way more corrupt than the other and we'll show you why at the end of the hour. also tonight, congresswoman katy porter is back, this time she'll be discussing the trump administration's refusal tonight to compile with a law that no one has ever refused to compile with before, a law that has never been challenged, it the law that requires the irs to hand over donald trump's
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communications but first, today chairman jerry nadler in writing for the first time made the consideration of articles of impeachment against president trump, the official business of the house judiciary committee. he did that in a 27-page report to the house judiciary committee that the committee will use on wednesday morning at 10:00 a.m. as the basis for a vote on holding attorney general william barr in contempt of congress for refusing to meet the deadline this morning for turning over the full unredacted mueller report to the judiciary committee. the report says the reason the committee needs the full unredacted mueller report is to conduct quote an investigation into alleged obstruction of justice public corruption and other abuses of power by president donald trump, his associates and members of his administration, the purposes of this investigation include one,
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investigating and exposing any possible abuse of power, corruption, obstruction of justice or other misconduct on the part of the president or other members of his administration, two, considering whether the conduct uncovered my warrant amending or creating federal authorities including among other things relating to election security, campaign finance, misuse of electronic data and obstructive conduct that the mueller report describes and three, considering whether any of the conduct described in the special counsel's report warrants the committee in taking any further steps under congress article one powers. that includes whether to approve articles of impeachment with respect to the president. or any other administration official as well as the consideration of other steps
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such as tour. that is the first document entered into the congressional record by the chairman of the house judiciary committee referring to the possibility of quote articles of impeachment with respect to the president. president donald j. trump. but that reference is not limited to articles of impeachment against the president, it includes the possibility of articles of impeachment with members of his administration and that's a reference to the attorney general william barr who has been defying chairman nadler. tonight, there might be the beginnings of a crack in the wall of defiance. jerry nadler announced that the attorney general's staff is suddenly eager to meet chairman nadler's staff tomorrow. chairman nadler said in a statement quote i'm pleased that the department of justice agreed to meet with my staff tomorrow, it remains vital that the committee obtained access to the full unredacted report and the under lying materials at the
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moment are plans to consider holding attorney general barr accountable to compile. my hope is that we make concrete progress towards resolving this dispute. the committee remains committed to finding a reasonable accommodation. if they don't find a reasonable accommodation tomorrow, chairman nadler will go ahead with the 10:00 a.m. wednesday committee vote on contempt of congress by the attorney general. the house judiciary committee is trying to schedule a hearing with robert mueller as the witness to guide them through the mueller report. reports this weekend indicated that the committee was trying to lock in wednesday of next week, march -- may 15th but that has not yet been confirmed as the hearing date. in a historic demonstration that we have never seen before, 536 former federal prosecutors signed a statement about the mueller report. it begins, we served under
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republican and democratic administrations at different levels of the federal system as line attorneys, supervisors, united states attorneys and senor officials at the department of justice. the offices we served were small, medium and large and located in all parts of our country. each of us believes that the conduct of president trump described in special counsel robert mueller's report would in the case of any other person not covered by the office of legal counsel policy against a sitting president result in multiple felony charges for obstruction of justice, the mueller report describes several acts that satisfy all of the elements for an obstruction charge. conduct that obstructed or attempted to obstruct the truth finding process as to which the evidence of corrupt intent and connection to pending proceedings is overwhelming. these include the president's efforts to fire mueller and to falsify evidence about that effort, the president's effort to limit the scope of the investigation to exclude his
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conduct and the president's efforts to prevent witnesses from cooperating with investigators probing him and his campaign. and we are joined now by one of the signers of that statement a former assistant u.s. attorney for the eastern district of virginia. also joining us, democratic congressman hank johnson of georgia, a member of the house judiciary committee that will have to decide to vote to hold the attorney general in contempt of congress and dalia is a senior editor for slate.com and the host of the pod cast amicus and one of the great legal authorities we have on this program and gene, let me start with you on this document unlike anything i held in my hands with all of these federal prosecutors, what brought you to sign this document? >> i have a moral compass and i am embarrassed by the antics of the people who are running the
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department of justice. lawrence, what is important about this document, this letter is it's republicans and democrats but there is one significant to signature that people have ignored, don heir was department attorney general of the united states department of justice under george h.w. bush. '89 and '91 or '90. the same time bill barr was head of the office of legal counsel and bill barr replaced mr. heir. for mr. heir to sign this document is not only a courageous act, he is saying that bill barr's analysis of obstruction of justice is insane. >> and congressman johnson, let me go to you on this. i want to get your reaction to the prosecutor's letter and where it stands between chairman nadler and the attorney general.
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>> it actually an extraordinary letter. it a development that gives me confidence about the fact that we'll be able to protect our republic, preserve the rule of law and ensure we get down to the bottom of any attempts by the trump administration to obstruct the mueller investigation. >> and what about -- what do you know about chairman nadler's negotiations at this stage with the attorney general or the attorney general's staff? do you think there is any chance of coming to what the chairman calls an accommodation before the 10:00 a.m. vote scheduled for wednesday morning is th? >> yeah, the chairman and staff have been almost daily in talks, oral communications with the department of justice staff about reaching a reasonable accommodation. we realize that the department
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of justice has certain interests in protecting information that they have but we also insist upon being able to carry out our prerogatives as the third or as the first co-equal branch of government, legislative branch. we got oversight. we've got legislative and we've got constitutional prerogatives that ensue as a result of this investigation and we are hell bent making sure we carry it out and get to the bottom of everything that happened and air it out to the american people so that we can take appropriate action from this point. >> dalia, this is one of those big days for historians. it will be that document, that first document that the house judiciary committee generated with the words articles of impeachment regarding president trump but i want to go to you first about this letter that so many of these prosecutors, many
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of whom you know and have covered, whose work you covered over the years who have signed on to this letter, what do you make of the legal presentation, the legal scholarship presented in the letter? >> all i can say is the same thing i said a week ago about the note that bob mueller sent to william barr that shocked all of us because it looks as though it's lawyerly and careful but if you read what lawyers write, that was explosive. that was almost excoriating for his conclusions. this is the same thing. this is talking about multiple felony charges of obstruction that are for which he's eligible. this is not mincing words. so i think one thing is that they are not, you know, in any way being caging in the letter about their conclusions of law and about what you, as you pointed out, barr's findings and
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legal analysis is straight up wrong. to me, i see this as a way of saying look, congress has an independent constitutional obligation to look at these obstruction claims because barr punted it. in fact, he did more than punt it. he papered over it and obstruction is an impeachable offense. i see this as congress saying it your turn. >> gene, let me go back to you. what do you see as the omost important element of obstruction of justice you see in the case against the president? >> it the corrupt motive and to me, the corrupt motive is entirely obvious. he's asking the white house counsel to not only lie to other people and to get the white house counsel to make a representation to the attorney general but he's asking the white house counsel to create a false document that history will
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look at, that is incredibly disgraceful and that satisfies corrupt motive, the president obviously knows there is an on going investigation and it did attempt to inpaid and that's the key. you don't have to succeed with obstruction, you have to attempt. when you swing at a fastball and you miss, the swing is the crime even though you missed the fastball. >> and congressman, what do you think a letter like this would mean to your colleagues on the judiciary committee with it's specificity about what -- these are experienced prosecutors and we keep hear chairman nadler and others saying we need to see the full unredacted mueller report. these prosecutors without seeing the full unredacted mueller report have seen enough to in effect bring their own in effect public indictment against the
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president. >> well, i think sensible americans can see the redacted report, see the broad outlines and the conclusions that are made by the mueller investigatiinvestigato investigators and they can see that although mueller did not accuse the president himself of obstruction, he did leave it up to congress and he left it up to the american people to make a judgement about the evidence that he laid out. he laid out a road map towards constitutional action against the president in light of the department of justice opinion that a sitting president cannot be indicted. so what mueller did was laid it out without commentary to the american people. i think most people can see that yes, there certainly is probable cause to believe that the president obstructed justice, not once, not twice, not three
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times but over two hand fulls of times and it pretty clear. >> congressman, what can you tell us about the possible date for robert mueller's testimony to your committee? >> well, that is still under investigation or excuse me, still under negotiation may 15th is a target date but if that date is not the actual date that is arrived at, i think it should be at some point very soon thereafter. so i'm optimistic that the committee will be able to reach an agreement with mueller's representatives and mueller will testify and if the president tries to keep him from testifying, then we'll go back through this process of subpoenaing mueller and i don't think he'll take the same attitude as barr has taken which has been to be flippant this their response to legislative
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oversight. i believe that mueller will respond and it should be pretty easy to get him into the witness chair and i'm looking forward to it and i know the american people are looking forward to it. >> dalia, what will you be looking for? would you want him to be asked and what would you hope he would answer? >> i think i want to know some of the places where he didn't reach conclusions, some of the places where he enlighted hard questions and said the nature of the constitutional question means i can't address obstruction. i would want to press on essentially on the places where we thought he would do more than he did and he opted not to and in many instances we know why. we know for instance that the guidance, the olc guidance played a huge part in his making a decision, that he couldn't indict a sitting president but there are a lot of sections of the report where there is a lot of merck and i would like to
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know what he would have done absent the constraints that he felt he was under and i think that's a place i would want to press. >> gene, one of the distinctions between the attorney general robert mueller is the attorney general went out of his way to say when he was discussing the obstruction of justice components of the report to say there was no underlying offense, there was no underlying crime that the -- and the attorney general's view that the president was trying to cover up and makes it clear that legally an underlying crime is not a necessary component of an obstruction of justice charge. could you explain to viewers who i think would have trouble understanding how can you be guilty of obstruction of justice if there was no crime that you were trying to cover up? >> i'll give you an example. if the fbi serves me with a subpoena for my tax records in a
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field i'm a tax cheater and the irs serves me a subpoena and i'm an honest taxpayer but just mad they serve me with a subpoena and i instruct my accountant to burn my records, i have obstructed justice even though i didn't cheat on my taxes but i want to say this lawrence, there are underlying crimes. we had two indictments, the gru, the ira, we had michael flynn, we had manafort, we had papadopoulos, there are crimes all over the place mmp. more than baskin robins has flavors. so there is no underlying crime is false. >> and dalia, has the judiciary committee goes forward, do you think william barr's attitude, anything that can happen that can change his attitude to the processes? >> i think he's pretty dug in,
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lawrence. he's gotten cut out in being not entirely honest in the rollout and less than honest in his summery. every time he gets cut out instead of copping to it, he seems to dig in more and i think just the post toure he's taken testify in front of the house for reasons about the questioning and refusing to provide the unredacted report, i think he keeps making claims that things are unprecedented, they are actually quite precedent. we call them oversight. so i think he's digging in and i don't know he's doing himself any favors because courts don't like it when you don't attempt to accommodate. >> we have to squeeze in a break here. thank you for joining us. we really appreciate you-all starting us off tonight and when we come back, the breaking news of the night, steven mnuchin has refused to obey the law and hand over donald trump's tax returns as required by law to ways and
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means. this is a law that's never been defied or never been challenged. katy porter will join us next on that. porter will join us next n that feel the clarity of non-drowsy claritin and relief from symptoms caused by over 200 indoor and outdoor allergens. like those from buddy. because stuffed animals are clearly no substitute for real ones. feel the clarity. and live claritin clear.
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treasury will not as required by law turnover donald trump's tax returns to the chairman and treasure rye sy secretary says determined the committee's request lacks a legitimate legislative purpose. two things, he has no leg the rig -- legal right to determine that and the committee does not need a legislative purpose. the law specifies the chairman can have returns for any reason. there is absolutely no limiting reason. on the chairman getting these returns and so, secretary of the treasury rejected the house democrats demand. chairman neal's demand for six years to the president's pers ' personal tax returns and compiled to the deadline by sending this letter defying the law. and now we have. what is going to be a battle between the white house and congress that we've never seen before, a legal battle and the letter, the treasury secretary
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said in rely jeiancereliance, i determined the committee's request lacks a legislative purpose and the department is not authorized to disclose the requested returns and return information. every single word of the secretary's letter is not true. and is legally false. every word of it. secretary mnuchin refused, could not explain his rational for not compiling. couldn't explain it because he said the justice department is working on a legal reason and the justice department, attorney general william barr will publish a legal opinion as if that has any legal weight. richard neal issued a statement saying that he will consider what action to take, what legal action to take but if this is a legally unprecedented territory that we have entered tonight. the chairman said i'll consult with counsel and determine the
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appropriate response, that response is something that no chairman of the house ways and means committee has ever, ever had to come up with in a situation like this, every single time the chairman of the finance committee demanded to see tax returns under that law, those tax returns have been immediately delivered by the irs. that is the way the law is supposed to work. we're joined now but freshman democratic congresswoman katy porter from california. she's a member of the house financial services committee. congresswoman katy porter, thank you for joining us. i want to get your reaction. this is a very simple law as you know and you're a law professor, you know how to read these things. there is not much in the tax code that is simple but this is and simply says that the secretary shall hand over those tax returns. >> yeah and the use of the word shall is important. so this is not a discretionary option, this is not, there is not a list of exceptions, there
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is not a bunch of defenses here. this is a very simple law passed back in 1924, not new, it been long part of our country's history and obligates the treasury secretary to turnover the taxpayer's tax returns, in this case president trump's tax returns and mr. neal asked for six years of business and personal returns in order to allow congress to do it job which is oversight. >> it seems legally -- what do you see here as legally the next potential step? >> i think this is going to result in litigation. i think there are two choices chairman neal and congress could use. both will be protracted and delay from the important other work that congress should be doing so one option is to subpoena the tax returns and the other option is to sue under the statute itself in federal court. either way, this will have the house's lawyers will have to bring the salutes and the
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president is throwing plenty of other work at the house counsel office suing for example to overturn the affordable care act. this is another stall tactic. this president doesn't want to provide anything. he doesn't want to provide the underlying documents that mr. mueller used. he doesn't want to provide the tax returns. he doesn't want to provide this and that. this is one constitutional crisis after another. all of which is avoidable if the president will simply understand that in the united states of america, nobody is above the law. >> and we are about 18 months away of the tax returns being handed over if there is a new president after inauguration day because there would be a new irs commissioner and treasury secretary that would not defy this law. >> correct. these tax returns are very likely to become public at some point if congress continues to pursue them and i think my view for president trump is if there is nothing to see here then allow the american people to see them. so you either did something
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wrong, you did something you're embarrassed of, maybe you're not as rich as you told everybody you were, you know, this is a valid congressional purpose and the law itself doesn't require a purpose so here we see chairman neal going out of his way to set forth a purpose that's to do oversight and the president is continuing to obstruct that purpose. it extremely unproductive what the president is doing and i fear it's ultimately causing to continue to weaken the american public's confidence in the president and congress and so this kind of bipartisan bickering back and forth just turnover your tax returns. it's what the rest of us have to do to the irs. we're not in public life like president trump is. >> to the extent you could divine a purpose to this law since it was passed in the wake of the teapot dome scandal, it was actually a law passed specifically in response to corruption, perceived corruption at the presidential administration level and so the
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committee actually, the chairman of the committee wanting to see anyone in the administration's tax returns for possible corrupt purposes, corrupt investigations of corruption is exactly what it was designed to do. >> correct. this is the purpose of the law. the purpose of the law is to allow congress to make sure there isn't corruption going on. it was passed in the 20s in the wake of scandals including teapot dome at the time there was a law to allow the president to obtain anyone's tax returns for any reason upon the president's request and designed to empower congress to have the co-equal power. so this is really a balance about powers between congress and the president and a result of the secretary mnuchin's flat out refusal to cofollow a clear law and we'll see it go to the courts. >> one of the reasons this
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hasn't come up before is because traditionally presidents release tax returns. thank you for coming. >> thank you. >> when we come back, the president has had a very strange weekend of tweeting. it has scared a lot of people about what is going to happen on the next inauguration day. when we come back, i'll tell you why you have nothing to worry about. l tell you why you have nothing to worry about. moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis, month after month, the clock is ticking on irreversible joint damage. ongoing pain and stiffness are signs of joint erosion. humira can help stop the clock. prescribed for 15 years, humira targets and blocks a source of inflammation that contributes to joint pain and irreversible damage. vo: humira can lower your ability to fight infections. serious and sometimes fatal infections including tuberculosis, and cancers, including lymphoma, have happened, as have blood, liver, and nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions, and new or worsening heart failure. tell your doctor if you've been to areas where certain fungal infections are common,
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learn more at theexplorercard.com. one of the easiest things for the media to do is overreact and tweets and provided another opportunity for that retweeted or ridiculous tweet saying the
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president trump should have two years added to his first term as president. that is as silly as saying that donald trump should have two inches added to his height. but many took that to be the launch of a power grab to add two years to a press desh teidem but he tweeted they stole two years of his presidency that we will quote never be able to get back. that the the president himself acknowledging it's impossible to add two years to a presidential term but a "new york times" interview with nancy pelosi inadvertently added fuel to this nutty fire when people misinterpreted her comment that the democrats need to win big in the presidential election so donald trump cannot challenge the legitimacy of the election and a close reading what the speaker said shows she simply means that the democrat haves to win big so that donald trump can't get away with saying that
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it wasn't illegitimate election. she was simply referring to donald trump's rhetoric after the election, not his actions after the election if the democrats win the electoral college. she did not say or significaugg any way donald trump would be forced to leave the white house on or before inauguration day if he loses the electoral college vote. the inauguration of the next president has nothing to do with the current president and it never does. donald trump does not have to show up at the inauguration of the next president. he doesn't ever have to concede the election. three presidents repfused to shw up at the inauguration of their successors because they were so bitter. john quincy adams and andrew johnson were so disappointed in the election result that they did not show up at the inaugu l inauguration to hand off the presidency to their successors.
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donald trump has absolutely no power to prevent the transfer of power to the next president and he knows that as his tweets suggestions but donald trump is happy to let the world think that he does have that magic power to extend the years of his presidency. political scientist brian kloss has studied donald trump and called the president quote a want to be. he will join us after this break. want to be he will join us after this break.
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donald trump really seems toed a vier the heto ed admire the heads of state that do not have materiterm limits. >> this president is dazzled by putin and authoritarian leaders of brazil. he gets on the phone and looses it, gets googlely eyed. >> assistant professor of global politics london. thank you for joining us. appreciate it. i want to get your reaction to first of all, donald trump's attempt to create for himself a person s persona that resembles the putin per ssona and leaders like him around the world. >> he has a serious case of dictatorship. donald trump is someone that admires dictators and wants to
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emulate them and wishes he was tree to d free to democratic constranints. with bar fan thnan with bar fan thnaa republicans the car. there is still damage to the democracy and that's something we need to pay attention to. if you accept the authoritarian that is unthinkable and he can do serious damage despite the fact that are we still account tri -- a country of rule of law and we can't prolong his term of two years. >> i want to read a tweet i found powerful in relation to this. can you believe the world isn't screaming about the fact trump talked to putin about mueller but refused to talk to mueller about putin which country is 45 loyal to, what oath did 45 take? your reaction to that?
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>> well, it's one of the main things that the president is supposed to put at the center of their presidency is to protect the united states and at every turn, when it came to russian information ware far attacks, trump sided against law enforcement trying to protect the united states. to talk on the phone with vladimir putin and agree with him it was a hoax when it was clearly not and it was directed perpetrated by valladimir putin himself and to continue to prize him despite the fact he's a dictator or to say he's in love with kim jong-un who murders people for sport and a few days ago trump said i'm with him. i think this is a president tern of authoritarian style behavior and conditions the republican party to accept unthinkable actions and i think that's what is going to out last trump. he might lose in 2020. he might leave the white house in 2020 but that aspect of his presidency will linger on and
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take root in the republican party after donald trump leaves the republican party or white house. >> brian, one reason i want to talk to you about this is donald trump is absolutely no power to extend his term one minute beyond what the contusion allows but he does clearly have an attraction to the people who do, who are allowed to be able to go on as long as they want, not the least of which the north korean dictator who once again tweeted about he's my guy, i am close to him, and the president seems to have the belief that his personal relationship with kim jong-un is more important than any actions that kim jong-un takes including firing off some new test missiles. >> yeah, it's just astonishing what we have grown used to because he's saying i'm with somebody who as i said murders people for sport, murdered an american, young american and
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threatens to incinerate american cities. if any other president did this, it would be the scandal that defined their presidency and for donald trump it's another monday or tuesday or wednesday and it's becoming more frequent and in terms of the admiration for those who do not have to ocabid term limits, trump praised that decision and then said i might have to try that. now of course, he can't but the fact that he's trying to instill in his supporters the notion that maybe actually democracy is not so great, that's i think the toxin injected into the american political blood stream and that will be hard to find an about a an dote for. >> the vast majority is against this and any president in the history of polling and so his
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attachment is only to this minority that can't control an outcome like that. >> that's right. that's why i think that the appropriate response here is not just for congressional oversight, which is essential but also for voters to say you know what? it doesn't matter whether you're a democrat or republican, we believe in democracy and if you believe in democracy, vote out the person that's the greatest menace to it. that is donald trump. >> brian closs, thank you for your perspective on this. appreciate it. >> thank you. when we come back, the democratic candidates for president are running not just against donald trump but also against donald trump's most important enabler. that's next. blatc
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. the democrats running for president are not just trying to defeat trump but hoping to defeat or demote president trump's most important ally and enable lr in washington. here is beto o'rourke today in iowa. >> you asked specifically about mitch mcconnell, someone who when barack obama was elected to be our president of the united states of america, the president of everyone republican, independe independent, he said his number one job was not to find common ground with him and work on issues of common cause and concern but to defeat him at the ballot box, to make him an unsuccessful president. mitch mcconnell kept president
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obama from fulfilling his constitutional obligation of nominating a supreme court justice a year out from the end of his administration, cutting a year arbitrarily off of his duly elected term of office. this guy is a bad this guy is a bad actor, does not believe or live the democracy that you just described right now. the best and surest path to addressing mitch mcconnell is to ensure that he is the minority leader of the senate in 2020. and we all have an opportunity to do that. >> mitch mcconnell is running for reelection in kentucky, which should be easy for a republican senator, but mitch mcconnell's polling in kentucky could not be worse. the latest poll shows his approval rating is only 33%, which is unbelievably bad for a republican senator in kentucky. no democrat has yet announced a challenge to mcconnell in kentucky. up next, the national rifle association, the leadership of
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the national rifle association is a cesspool of corruption according to the leadership of the national rifle association. that's next. " with a barbershop quartet? [quartet singing] bum bum bum bum... pass the ball... pass the rock.. ...we're open just pass the ball! no, i can't believe how easy it was to save hundreds of dollars on my car insurance with geico. yea. [quartet singing] shoot the j! shoot, shoot, shoot the jaaaaaay... believe it! geico could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance. thanks for coming. believe it! geico could save you fifteen percent no problem. -you're welcome. this is the durabed of the all new chevy silverado. it looks real sturdy. -the bed is huge. it has available led cargo area lighting.
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...and there's no looking back, because i am cured. talk to your doctor about mavyret. the national rifle association's long-time ceo wayne lapierre has accused the president of the national rifle association of corruption, and the president of the national rifle association, colonel oliver north, has accused wayne lapierre of corruption.
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and any fair reading of the evidence indicates that they're both right. wayne lapierre won the power struggle with oliver north recently in which they both accused the other of corruption, but wayne lapierre is the one who faces the biggest legal risk now. the board of the national rifle association sided with wayne lapierre against oliver north and forced oliver north out of the nra presidency last week. they each accuse the other of using the nra's advertising agency for corrupt purposes. wayne lapierre says that the advertising firm that the nra has been using for decades paid oliver north millions of dollars for 12 episodes of a series called "oliver north's american heroes," but only three episodes have been actually produced. oliver north accused wayne lapierre of funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars in travel expenses through the advertising firm without
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providing documentation of those expenses and what those travel expenses were actually for. the travel included wayne lapierre's trips to europe and the bahamas, which wayne lapierre charged directly on one of the advertising company's credit cards. the nra a federally recognized nonprofit organization, recognized by the irs as a nonprofit, then reimbursed the advertising firm for wayne lapierre's travel, using the dues money of nra members who have absolutely no way of finding out what good work wayne lapierre was doing for them at their expense in the bahamas. as bad as that sounds, wayne lapierre has been up to something much worse and much more clearly corrupt, and much more likely to involve hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax evasion, criminal tax evasion. oliver north has accused wayne lapierre of charging over
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$200,000 in clothing to the nra's advertising firm, and the nra is completely admitting to that one. the nra has publicly told "the wall street journal" that they are completely cool with $200,000 in nra members dues money being used for suits, italian suits, xenia suits for wayne lapierre. "the wall street journal" quotes nra officials have said the spending was justified because of his numerous speaking and tv appearances. unfortunately for wayne lapierre, the internal revenue service doesn't see it that way. tax law takes the common sense approach that if your employer gives you $200,000 in clothes, that is $200,000 in taxable income to you. and so ask yourselves, what are the odds that wayne lapierre,
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who is paid millions of dollars a year in salary by the nra declared the $200,000 in suits as income on his tax returns? you can all make your own judgments about that. my personal calculation is that there is a 99.9% chance that wayne lapierre did not declare the $200,000 in italian suits purchased in a beverly hills store as income to him. and so he surely did not pay the approximately $80,000 in income taxes that a top tax bracket earner like wayne lapierre would owe to the irs on those italian suits. so wayne lapierre may be guilty of at least $200,000 in tax evasion, and that he and the nra have in effect confessed to that publicly when they admitted that the nra and the nra's advertising company had been paying $200,000 for wayne
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lapierre's suits. and wayne lapierre could be guilty of much more tax evasion than that, depending on whether all of his expense paid trips to the bahamas were really personal trips or business trips. here is what those nra dues payers get for their money. a suit that looks really good holding a rifle and a suit that looks even better, especially good beside a guy who wears ill-fitting jumbo-sized suits that he can't even button. and so wayne lapierre is definitely the winner of the corruption competition and the nra leadership between oliver north and wayne lapierre. and the losers are, of course, all those nra members who pay $45 a year for their membership cards that now clearly identify them as the people who pay wayne
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lapierre's millions of dollars in salary and hundreds of thousands of dollars in italian suits from a beverly hills store. >> the elites don't care, not one wit. >> and by the elites, he means of course the leadership of the national rifle association. that's tonight's last word. "the 11th hour with brian williams" starts now. tonight, the treasury secretary refuses to hand over trump's tax returns to congress, which means this battle is likely headed to the supreme court. also, a bipartisan group of more than 500 former prosecutors comes forward the say that if donald trump weren't president, he would be charged with obstruction of justice. the president, meanwhile, has changed his tune on mueller's testimony. now he says he's had two years of his presidency stolen thanks to the investigation. and michael co