tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC July 25, 2019 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT
happy to have you here. anybody who tells you they know what comes next, anybody who tells you they know how things are going to go from here on out is wrong. i mean, they might end up accidentally being right, but i mean, to the extent that anybody is expressing any certainty to you right now about what's going to happen next, that person is wrong to be so certain. because what we are going through right now as a country is unprecedented, which literally means we have not done it before, which means there is no previous experience to extrapolate from that might give us a hint as to where this is going next. i mean, even when it comes to just the basic fate of this presidency, as of this morning you might have seen the national headlines, the super sober, super sure headlines how if we know anything about the impact
of the robert mueller testimony yesterday it's that it definitely didn't move the needle one bit on the question of impeachment. if it did anything, it convinced democrats once and for all that they definitely aren't going to pursue impeachment. it killed that off forever. i mean, those were the headlines all over the papers today. as of this morning, as of this afternoon, oh, look, there's five new members of the house who have just come out in favor of an impeachment inquiry, including kathryn clark who is in the democratic house leadership. you might have seen also initial reporting today about how democrats held a meeting in the wake of mueller's testimony, and at that meeting they decided that, you know, they would stick to the same old plan, and the dynamics among the democrats would stick to the same old skrip. same dynamic the democrats have been in for months. they definitely won't pursue impeachment proceedings against the president new york city way, it's done. in fact, further detailed
reporting about that same meeting later today suggests that what the democrats were really doing at that meeting was, for the first time, talking about the nuts and bolts, step-by-step chronological logistics of how exactly they would do it if they were going to do it, including basic questions like, how exactly their impeachment articles would be conveyed to the u.s. senate if the house did, in fact, pass articles of impeachment and it was time to move on to the next step. that's the stuff they were talking about, which is not at all the same old page they were stuck on before. so all of this sort of instant sage punditry and instant news analysis in the world that's trying to be very reassuring now, don't worry, nothing will change, everything is the same. we know exactly how this is all going to go from here on out. i understand the sort of impulse to be soothing. i understand the impulse to broadcast that sort of thing. i think it sort of feels good, particularly in the beltway
press. but the facts on the ground seem to be shifting faster than the a analyze seise has been able to keep up with even over the course of today. now, let me just give you one other sort of case study from our current news cycle. if nothing else should persuade you to keep your mind open to the possibility of something deeply weird happening at any time, that should close your mind only to the possibility that there is somebody out there who knows what happens next. i mean, we are living in deeply weird times. this is a deeply weird presidency. things that touch this presidency, things that happen around this presidency, particularly in times of stress, they have an almost other worldly propensity to go weird if they start off normal. that's not necessarily a good or bad thing. it's just weird. for example, this is my case study. do you know what the president did the night before robert mueller's testimony? we know the president appeared to be a little stressed out about mueller's forthcoming
testimony. he was tweeting angrily that day and that night about the logistics of the mueller hearing and the fact that mueller's deputy was going to be there. that's not fair, very unfair, should not be allowed. we know the president was very wound up about it the night before mueller's testimony happened. what did he actually do the night before mueller testified? turns out he had a public event. he spoke to a right wing youth group, and i think that you have probably not seen this footage. i mean, maybe -- statistically speaking, i'm guessing you are not a member of a right wing youth group watching me right now. if you are, welcome. hope you stay. but we've got the tape and it's sort of -- i think this is a remarkable thing. sort of a crowd's eye view of what it was like to be in the audience of that right wing youth group on mueller eve, awaiting the on-stage presence of the president of the united states.
>> that ambition was unmistakably prevalent in young donald's dna. >> he apparently loved military school. he liked the kind of out front, i think, competitiveness of it. there were so many different ways that you could excel and get medals and ribbons. >> donald trump thrived, rising in rank and he was socially popular with men and women. he also gravitated towards sports or rather winning in sports. >> so, this is the right wing teenager's group. it's like a pro-trump youth group and they're watching this hype video about how donald trump was such a popular boy with both boys and girls. and he had such good dna and he was always winning at everything. he got so many ribbons and stuff. this goes on for a long time. this is a long hype video. ultimately they get to the part right after this where they're kind of trying to give an exciting war movie vibe to the room. and so i'm going to show you this next part. i'm going to stop talking here
donald trump is throbbing on the screen. the crowd gets hyped up, there he is, oh, my god, he's in silhouette. that's him! the president walks out onto the stage. i told you things could get even weirder than you thought they could get. but wait, this is even weirder than you think it is because this is what the event looks like once he finally gets going. okay. you see there's like the throbbing name there to the right? see how there is a presidential seal will? the presidential seal there with his name, then there is another presidential seal to the left side of your screen as we're looking at it. the one with his name over it, that's the seal of the president of the united states. on the left side of the screen, do you notice that one looks a little bit different? washington post was first to report on this. i'm not sure how long it would have taken anybody else to notice this happened. how many people were looking at this footage, right? but turns out there is a guy who runs a website called one-term donny, wrist an anti-trump website, you can buy anti-trump merchandise and posters. that guy designed a trump
specific satirical seal of the president of the united states. the real one is on the left. this is the one that was projected underneath the president's name on the left. the one projected on the other side of the screen behind the president as he prowled the stage at this trump youth group event the night before mueller's testimony, that's the one on the right. there are subtle differences. first thing, look at the head. you'll notice in the trump one, the eagle has two heads instead of one. it's pretty much exactly the two heads from the state seal of the russian federation. the two-headed -- yeah. now look down at the feet of the double headed eagle. on the real seal you see on the right, that's the talon of the eagle holding 13 arrows representing the 13 colonies. in the seal that was shown behind the president on mueller eve, it's a little hard to tell at first glance what that is. you can tell it's not arrows. in the terms of the one-term
donny website merchandise producer, he describes what's in the clutches of that eagle there as, quote, little don-don's child sized set of golf clubs for those tiny, tiny hands. no arrows, tiny golf clubs. in the eagle's other little talon where from the real seal you would expect to see the eagle holding an olive branch, the trump-specific seal is instead holding a bunch of cash. and then there's two other alterations i will draw your attention to. one is the shield, sort of the breast plate for the eagle on the real presidential seal. that breast plate is red and white stripes down below and blue field on top. on the one designed specifically for trump, that was projected behind him for his mueller eve trump youth appearance, there's still the red and white stripes on the bottom, but the blue field above the red and white stripes is a little different. see how it's got those little icons there? those are hammer and sickles like from the soviet union -- right. just in case the two-headed eagle from the seal of the
russian federation was not on the nose enough, it's the hammer and sickles. and then the last alteration you should notice is the words written on the banner over the eagle's head on the real presidential sealed, e pluribus unim. the seal trump stood before, that says -- that's spanish, and it means 45 is a puppet. now, this does not seem to have been an anti-trump trick or hack. it wasn't like a rogue projectionist at the marriott in d.c. as trump is speaking to this youth group. this does seem to have just been a thing that the trump right wing youth group got wrong. they accidentally did that and put that up there. apparently the white house advance operations are sufficiently poorest that this sort of thing can happen and, who knows, just blame the
youths. i mean, he was standing in front of that thing for more than an hour. the guy who made the one-term donny website is like -- anybody who tells you there aren't wrinkles in the universe or unexpected hazards or opportunities ahead is just not being honest about how exactly weird this moment is in american political life. i mean, listen, that can happen involving the president in person and his adoring teens. anything can happen. particularly anything can happen in the wake of the jarring claims that were made about the president and his behavior by the special counsel in those seven hours of televised hearings yesterday. >> from your testimony today, i gather that you believe that knowingly accepting foreign assistance during a presidential campaign is an unethical thing to do. >> and a crime. >> and a crime. >> and what about total exoneration, did you actually totally exonerate the president? >> no.
>> now, in fact, your reports expressly states it does not exonerate the president. >> it does. >> it's fair to say the president tried to protect himself by asking staff to falsify records relevant to an ongoing investigation? >> i would say that's generally a summary. >> but the -- could you charge the president with a crime after he left office? >> yes. >> you believe that he committed -- you could charge the president of the united states with obstruction of justice after he left office? >> yes. >> now, director mueller, can you explain in plain terms what that finding means so the american people can understand it? >> well, the finding indicates that the president was not -- that the president was not excue exculpated for the acts he committed.
>> the russians could record those comments, right? >> yes. >> the russians had a tape recording, they could expose that, could they not? >> yes. >> that's the stuff of counter intelligence's nightmare, is it not? >> yesterday's testimony by robert mueller was so blunt and so unequivocal and at times so simple, i think it would be hard to expect that testimony to not sort of knock this news cycle up side the head whether or not we can predict or not predict how it's going to affect this presidency in the long run. i mean, just bluntly to the extent that presidents have been impeached in the past for committing crimes, for enabling and going along with the commission of crimes, and for lying to cover it all up, i mean, robert mueller bluntly and unequivocally testified yesterday that, yes, president trump did all of those things. >> the trump campaign officials built their strategy, their messaging strategy around those stolen documents? >> generally that's true. >> and then they lied to cover it up? >> generally that's true.
>> blunt testimony like that about the sitting president of the united states. it's not the sort of thing that tends to evaporate into the ether. now couple that today with this new 67-page report that has just been released on a bipartisan basis from the intelligence committee in the united states senate. now, robert mueller yesterday was at his most passionate and honestly his most coherent when he was articulating the scale of the russian attack on our election. its intentions, implications, how serious this was as a threat to our democracy. he said overall the things he has dealt with in his career this is one of the most serious threats he has ever seen to our country. remember, he was fbi director in the immediate wake of 9/11. well, now immediately in the wake of his testimony here today, surprise, is the senate intel committee reporting unequivocally that they have looked into this in detail and they agree with robert mueller. there can be no doubt about what happened here from page 5 of the
report. quote, russian government affiliated cyber actors conducted an unprecedented level of activity against state election infrastructure in the run up to the 2016 elections. i mean, even over the course of those two hearings yesterday, you heard republicans become less able to keep a straight face while questioning or denying that the russian attack happened or that the russian attack was any big deal. i mean, it was poor republican congressman tom mcclintock from california at the morning session who started off saying he didn't believe all these social media manipulation stuff out of russia from the internet research agency. he didn't necessarily believe that was necessarily even from russia. can you prove it? i mean, that was a very strange assertion by congressman mcclintock, particularly because he's from california, right? you sort of think that maybe he might have trouble with that when he goes home. i mean, i guess he's going to say there are internet research agencies everywhere. there was just the st. petersburg franchise.
maybe they kochlt been running that stuff out of the indonesia office. that was nutty in the morning. by the afternoon, even the republicans on the intelligence committee, some of them were paying lip service to the fact that, yes, what russia did was bad and yes, it was serious, and yes, maybe we ought to start thinking about how to stop that from happening again. well, that's yesterday. and then today this bipartisan report from the senate intelligence committee hopefully will help republicans get over whatever this tacit directive they have received from the trump white house they should all pretend russia didn't do what it did. but there's a couple things i think are worth noting about this report over and above its emphatic conclusion that russia attacked the election in an unprecedented way. one of the things worth knowing about this report is how freaking redacted it is. i'm not sure we expected the intelligence committee's report on russian interference to look like a barely unsealed indictment. i set aside a whole big chu a 6
report. got to leave myself time to get through that. not really. it's more like a coffee break read. it's blocked out. all the pages look like this. presumably these redactions are at the behest of the intelligence community, i don't know, but this is a serious toner investment for your printer if you're going to print it out. let me show you an example. this is page 28 of this report from senate intel. you see the heading, naming the section of the report. it's a whole section of the report titled russian efforts to research american voting systems and processes of voting structure. the first paragraph is redacted and the second paragraph and th the section. the whole thing is redacted. wait, there's one sentence in the whole section there that is not redacted that we the public are allowed to see. what is that sentence? the sentence is, quote, it is unknown if tarantsov attended the events. yes, i've googled tarantsov.
i have no idea. we're allow today know that one thing. who is this? why is this less important than the stuff -- all of the other paragraphs in that section, all -- everything else in the report about the russian government casing our voting systems and the elements of our voting struck toor, researching them, suss them out, i mean, i don't think what was expected from this report -- it's intriguing, frustrating depending on your mood. but even with all of these myriad redactions, the senate intelligence report does make a few sobering assertions, including confirming publicly that russia attacked the election, unprecedented scale and breadth. but also including in no uncertain terms that russia attacked including russia successfully accessing and stealing voter information from voter registration databases in the states. like the actual voter registration databases that are
used by the states for us to vote in the presidential election in at least a couple of instances they broke in, it was successful and they got that data. and again, a ton of the descriptive stuff in here is blacked out. we can tell reading between the black boxes, i think the committee is telling us at least two states had their voter information cracked by the russians where the hack not only succeeded, but they got the data. we also got lots of information about how unnamed individual states didn't believe it when they were warned about these attacks by russian government cyber actors. the individual states, again, they're not named, they're numbered as states. but after time and time again, one after another, they deny these attacks were any big deal. state after state refuses government help when it was offered to them. that is not heartening. and so at this sort of typically weird moment where i do think that kind of anything is possible in terms of where the news cycle is going next and
where the presidency is going next, i do have to say the only place that kind of feels like it might be a real cat bird seat in this moment in american life is if you have a seat in one of the intelligence committees. that seems like an excellent place to observe what's going on in our country right now and the most interesting things about it because, let's say you're on the senate intelligence committee. presumably that means you can read all of the redacted stuff in today's report. and you can, you know, you can find out what's actually there because you're cleared to read exactly how bad the russian attack was and how it worked, how far they got in different states and which states it was that blew off the warnings and let the russians in, denied there was any problem. presumably that would also let you as a member of the committee read how far we have advanced since 2016 towards stopping russia doing it in the next election as well since both the fbi director and former special counsel are now warning us explicitly they have every intention of doing it in 2020 as well. i mean, do the thought experiment, right? let's imagine it's a close
election in 2020. can't possibly -- yes, imagine it's going to be a close election. what if it comes down to a hand recount in one stant and the presidency is on the line based on that recount? that happened 2000 in florida, right? then it turns out as we're doing that hand recount and the whole country is riveted to whatever state it is, turns out that's one of the states where russia didn't just probe and prod, they actually accessed, they got their hands on all the voter data from that state. now, the question arises in the country as we're wondering to find out what happened in this recount. russia got in there. did they mess with any of that voter data? did they corrupt it? did they tilt in one direction or another? how would we know if they did? what would that do to our ability as a country to trust the results of something as sensitive as a recount or even just a count in the first place that might determine whether or not donald trump gets four more years in office? i mean, if you were on the
intelligence committee, you would be able to read the whole report. also if you were on the intelligence committee, you would be in a unique position because of your oversight role over the intelligence community. you would be in the unique position to get the real story, the real dirt, perhaps, behind the work that robert mueller said yesterday he and his team did not do. one of the most fascinating revelations from mueller's testimony yesterday was mueller talking about the compromise of potentially the president and members of his campaign. the counter intelligence issues about foreign intelligence services and foreign governments compromising u.s. officials and other people in u.s. national life as a way of compromising our country. i mean, as blunt as mueller was in explaining how members of the trump campaign and the president himself were compromised by russia or might have been compromised by russia because of their secret dealings with the russian government which russia knew about and they could leverage to compromise these folks and extort things from them and put national security at risk, as blunt as he unexpectedly was about those things, mueller also said
repeatedly is that although those were huge risk ands they did observe all the elements of compromise and potential blackmail there, that wasn't something his team worked on. >> not in our report. we refer to the counter intelligence goals of our investigation, which were secondary to any criminal wrongdoing that we could find. i cannot get into that mainly because there are many elements of the fbi that are looking at different aspects of that issue. >> currently? >> currently. >> for instance, since it was outside your purview, your report did not reach counter intelligence conclusions regarding any trump administration officials who might potentially be vulnerable to compromise or blackmail by russia, correct? >> those decisions probably were made in the counter -- the fbi. >> counter intelligence section
of the fbi would be working on that. are they still work being on that? how did that go? are they looking into that stuff? time and time again yesterday, mueller surprisingly answered questions about the potential issue of being compromised by russia and how that risk attends to not just the president's campaign, but also the president, and he described things time and again as being subject to investigation, the subject of ongoing investigation, things that were being looked at or were looked at by the fbi as counter intelligence matters. things that were not being evaluated by his team, no, you need to ask the fbi. you need to ask the counter intelligence section at the fbi. that was about not only wikileaks releasing all the stolen stuff that they got from russian intelligence. it was not only about donald trump, jr., communicating with wikileaks about that material. it was not only about the extent of mike flynn's compromise with russia as he was lying about his interactions with the russian government while he was holding a very sensitive national
security position in the u.s. government. it also includes the basic question of whether or not the president is or was compromised by russia because of his hidden financial dealings with them that they could expose at any time. apparently to the extent this stuff has been looked at, it was never a mueller matter, it's an fbi matter. it was and is an fbi matter. in some cases he said explicitly, it is an ongoing counter intelligence matter at the fbi, or presumably a matter otherwise for the intelligence community. well, the intelligence committees and house and the senate have oversight over the intelligence community. they're the only ones who do. and now they have just been given an open door from robert mueller inviting them to find out what is going on with those investigations because mueller says, yeah, those are real investigations and those are serious real national security issues for our country. and you should ask the fbi about that. the intelligence committees are sort of the only ones who are allowed to get those answers.
they're the only ones allowed to know as far as i understand it. well, senator michael bennett of colorado is a member of the senate intelligence committee. he released his own additional views that were appended to today's highly redacted intelligence committee report on russian interference in the election. senator bennett is also a member of the democratic party who is in contention for his party's presidential nomination this year. senator bennett joins us next. stay with us. stay with us solution. try great-tasting boost glucose control. the patented blend of protein, fat, and carbs is part of a balanced formula that's clinically shown to help manage blood sugar levels. in fact, it provides 60% more protein than the leading diabetes nutrition shake and contains only 1 carb choice. enjoy the balanced nutrition of boost glucose control as part of a healthy diet. a cockroach can survive submergede guy. underwater for 30 minutes. wow. yeah, wow.
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so there's this new 67-page report on russian attacks on our elections that was released today by the senate intelligence committee. it is very largely redacted, but the last page of the report, page 67 of 67, is different from all the rest. you can see there at the top, additional views of senators harris, bennett and heinrich. that's kamala harris of california, senator bennett running for president, and senator heinrich had something to say not reflected in the broader report. they are mysterious about what
it is. we do not endorse every recommendation in the committee's report and we share some of our colleagues' concerns about the vun rablts we face sprtly at the state level where counties with limited resources must defend themselves against sophisticated nation state adversaries. we do not endorse every recommendation. tell me more. joining us now, senator michael bennett, member of the senate intelligence committee, 2020 presidential candidate. thanks for making time. >> thanks, rachel, for having me. >> you do not endorse every recommendation. you and senator heinrich and senator harris have set yourselves off. what do you see that others don't? >> two things. we need to make sure that we have a national response to this. we can't leave this just in the hands of, you know, counties like broward county to defend themselves against russian intelligence and expect that we're going to be able to protect the country.
that was a point of emphasis for us as much as anything else. i would says what's more important about this report is that it was issued in a strong bipartisan way from the senate intelligence committee. and the conclusions that russia attacked this democracy in a very fundamental way is now unassailable and in front of the american people. and one thing that's not redacted in the report are the recommendations that are made about how we need to approach this going forward. so i think it's a good piece of bipartisan work that takes very seriously this assault by the russians on our democracy. >> in terms of those recommendations, obviously one of the things that's been sort of mind bending over the past couple of years is the extent of the russian attack has become more clear and more firmly documented. is that in the senate under mitch mcconnell, he really has not wanted to do anything, has not wanted to pass anything. he's blocked even consideration of bipartisan legislation to do anything to change the way that we run our election s to try to
stop this from happening again. is there an expectation that since this is a bipartisan report, since chairman burr has signed off on this, that this might have been what mcconnell was waiting for that he might allow some of these recommendations to be enacted? >> i certainly hope so. just today he blocked two pieces of legislation from going to the floor on election interference by the russians. one of which would have required candidates to inform the fbi when there was interference from a foreign government. the other one of which would have supplied resources to local governments. so as far as -- my count is mitch mcconnell has blocked eight such pieces of legislation. maybe this report will jar that loose. the other problem he's dealing with is he's got a president who continues to deny that the russians did this, you know. in helsinki, stood next to putin and took putin's word on the world stage. in japan he made a joke about
this with putin. i can assure you our people that produced this report do not think this is a joke. this is serious, just like western democracies all over europe who are dealing with the fact that russia is interfering in this way in their elections. so i think it's really important that our government, and frankly our country have a strategic response to what russia did in '16. we still haven't responded to that as a country. and to make sure that we're coordinating homeland security, fbi and local governments to do a better job of making sure this doesn't happen again in 2020. and will -- it will happen again. we just need to make sure that we're defending against it. >> robert mueller was very clear on that last point yesterday, saying it is happening as we speak. >> that's right. >> it will happen in 2020. they expect it. >> that's right. >> he was also, to my mind, what was most striking to me about yesterday's testimony is how blunt robert mueller was about
the issue of toe pension compromise, how people in the president's campaign did things and had financial entanglements that absolutely exposed them to being extorted and compromised by russia and the president did to director mueller, these are matters not in the purview of his report. this is stuff that's looked at or is being looked at by the fbi. made me curious as a member of the intelligence committee as somebody who has oversight over intelligence, is that the sort of thing you will -- that you and your committee will be able to pursue? mueller is essentially saying the fbi has been looking into the question of the president being compromised by russia. he didn't suggest that investigation is over. >> well, we know from the public record that there were numerous contacts between the campaign and the russians, though president trump denied that over and over again. it's not true. i can't speak to what we're doing inside the committee. that wouldn't be right to do. >> in terms of what the public does know.
i'll ask you one quick question, this is what the report looks like today. it uses a lot of toner, it's really redacted. are we the public going to see any more of this or is this all we're ever going to get? >> i don't know. i think that this is a negotiation between the committee and the intelligence community. i do think what's critical is the public does know what we need to do as a country to respond to this and not just to protect ourselves, but to punish people who do this to the united states of america. the first step there, of course, is having a president who is willing to push back on tyrants that are attacking the united states rather than coddling them. and a majority leader who can actually pass election protection legislation instead of blocking it from even coming up to a vote. those would be two important steps forward to being able to deal with this very real threat. >> michael bennett, member of the senate intelligence committee, 2020 presidential candidate. it's always a pleasure to have you here, sir.
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special counsel robert mueller was many things at his congressional testimony yesterday. one of them consistently was terse, which made for at times a hearing that was difficult to watch. but there were moments when even his terse answers came off as not just terse, but direct and unequivocal and very surprising
given the provocative nature of the question that he was being asked. >> could you say, director mueller, that the president was credible? >> i can't answer that question. >> director mueller, isn't it fair to say that the president's written answers were not only inadequate and incomplete because he didn't answer many of your questions, but where he did his answers showed that he wasn't always being truthful? >> theory would say generally. >> isn't it fair to say the president's written answers were not always truthful? i would say generally. lying is a sin, right? you shall not bear false witness. lying is also a pain in the butt in a practical sense. if you tell lies you have to remember what they are forever which is an act of rote memorization that might fail you some day and expose you as a liar. it's much easier to tell the truth. you never need to remember anything. but if you lie to federal investigators, that is something more than a sin or a pain in the
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don't miss your gto experience our most advanced safety technology on a full line of vehicles. now, at the lexus golden opportunity sales event. lease the 2019 es 350 for $379 a month, for 36 months, and we'll make your first month's payment. experience amazing. characterizing that effort. >> thank you. in your report, you concluded that president trump and his personal counsel rudy giuliani, quote, made repeated statements suggesting that a pardon was a possibility for manafort while also making it clear that the president did not want manafort to flip and cooperate with the government, end quote. is that correct? >> correct. >> and as you -- >> joining us now is congresswoman from washington. she's a member of the house judiciary committee. you saw her there questioning robert mueller yesterday. congresswoman, i appreciate you making time to be here. thank you. >> it's great to be with you, rachel. >> first i have to tell you i've been looking forward to talking to you about what you took away from this day of testimony. yuri you're coe chair of the
congressional caucus, outspoken, on the rise in the democratic caucus, noticed by all sides, you had your own chance to question him. what meant the most to you about mueller's testimony? >> i think kind of the most important pieces were that he repeatedly basically said that the president was lying on a number of things. he was not completely exonerated. he actually did have substantial evidence that the president committed acts of obstruction, and we went through five of those in fairly granular detail. what robert mueller didn't say, didn't really matter because what he did is actually validate everything that was in his report that we know most people haven't read and most importantly we know bill barr tried to mislead and lie to the american people. so as i was sitting there listening, i just kept thinking about how the republicans kept actually asking things and reading things that helped us because when ken buck asked
robert mueller, can the president be prosecuted after he leaves office, he asked that twice. he seemed surprised by the answer. there were other times where they read parts of the march 27th letter. you know, there were a number of times when i thought the republicans felt very scattered in their approach. i think that you noticed a big change from when they were with us to when they -- the afternoon intelligence committee hearing, they were much more gentle in some ways with robert mueller because i think they came across as looking very petty, undermining this guy who has a long history of credibility working for republican presidents. so to me it was a really important groundbreaking moment because we were able to get a lot of things on the table that we knew were there, but the american people did not. >> one of the reasons i particularly wanted to talk to you tonight is because of your role on the judiciary committee. i wanted to ask you about something that actually happened in the other committee hearing. in the intelligence committee
under questioning from congress v woman val demmings, there was a jaw droepg moment when she asked if the president had been untruthful in his testimony to investigators. director mueller said generally yes. effectively, that was the exchange. to me that seemed like a very big deal, particularly for your committee, the judiciary committee to have notice confirmed by director mueller that the president was untruthful in his written testimony to federal investigators. that seems to me like a pretty serious allegation of criminal behavior on the part of the president. i was wondering what you thought of the significance of that moment or am i reading too much into it? >> no, i thought it was very significant. but don't forget that he has committed a number of acts and that's what we confirmed throughout. i think val demmings' questioning confirmed another thing we already knew, which is he is not generally truthful. but that was true even in the acts of obstruction. so if you look at the fact that he engaged in direct witness
tampering, the fact that he dangled a pardon, the fact that he told many other people to lie, the fact that he tried to get through cory lewandowski, he tried to get the special counsel fired, i mean, these are all acts that anybody else does these things, they would be prosecuted. and so i think we ended each of our pieces with that, and i think val's piece was the perfect capstone in some ways because this is a guy who is not trug truthful. none of the people around him are truthful. this is a campaign rife with contacts, lying, saying things didn't happen. don't forget also that hope hicks lied to us. we are going to have hope hicks back before the judiciary committee. she said she had no knowledge of the hush money that trump paid. that turns out to not be true. this is just a network of lies. the president is sitting right in the middle spinning all of
these lies and everybody around him is helping him to just continue to cover up. >> congresswoman, democratic member of the how committee, coe chair of the progressive caucus, thanks for being here. >> thanks, rachel. >> more ahead. stay with us. when i book at hilton.com i get to select my room from the floor plan... free wi-fi... ...and the price match guarantee. so with hilton there is no catch. yeah the only catch is i'm never leaving. no i'm serious, i live here now. book at hilton.com and get the hilton price match guarantee. and here we have another burst pipe in denmark.
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so looking forward to talking to you, my friend. thank you very much for making time. >> thank you, rachel. >> when you watched the robert mueller testimony yesterday, did it seem to you like that word that we all bandy about way too easily now, did it seem like an unprecedented thing or did it resonate with you as -- with other moments in american history? >> it did resonate because, you know, you're looking at moments in which a special counsel testified or an important witness like john dean against richard nixon in 1973. so it was sort of like that, but at the same time this was a special counsel being almost dragged in there, rachel, against his will, and the reluctance you could see on his face all the time. but i think there are moments that will linger, and one of them for me is something i didn't expect, which is when he was talking about the attack on our democracy, and he said, i fear this is going to be the new
normal. that's something i think we'll be reading about in 20 years. >> one of the things that i think happened immediately upon mueller sitting down and starting to speak is that there was a lot of reaction to him as a human being, to him as a man, to his perceived sort of frailty, the halting nature of his speech. he's a public figure who hasn't spoken in public in a long time. >> right. >> it's part of the miss tee mystique of the special counsel. it was hard to escape during the hearing and over the day, his affect, he was delivering a lot of information, quite block buster, i wonder if there is precedent for that, the demeanor of a witness ends up being for important or forgotten in the long run. >> that' staged and the fact he was so reluctant, probably to some extent undercut this.
we can think of other people who have testified before congress in situations like this who are a lot more eager. >> in terms of the watergate precedent, i was thinking about what you said about john dean's famous testimony. we look back on that 45 years later and we get these hot moments from john dean, these sound bites where he says incredibly devastating things. >> right. >> but, in fact, in real time when dean was giving his testimony, wasn't he reading like hundreds of pages of an opening statement that just went on for hours and hours and hours with no interruption? >> absolutely. he was told not to use his contact lenses because it might make him blink so he got some old glasses. and he was told by his lawyers to speak in a very low voice because he was going to speak for such a long time, they didn't want his voice to get raspy and therefore, perhaps, not as believable as it would be as he did. >> one of the things it seems to me is an important potential path from mueller's testimony is the issue of the president's finances. >> right. >> i was struck by the fact that
eight minutes after the mueller hearings were gavelled to a close, the president's lawyers were in court filing an emergency writ to try to block his tax returns from being released. we've talked a number of times about, a, historical it is he kept his tax returns from public view. >> right. >> did you sense there may be more urgency around that issue now? certainly the white house seems more urgent about it. >> might well be. there's a historical parallel to that because in 1973, richard nixon, there was a leak from his taxes, showed he paid a thousand dollars in 1970, 1971, and so, therefore, there was a clamor for nixon to show why he had paid so few dollars on very big income. so he released his taxes 1969 to 1972. irs looked at it, so did the joint committee on taxation of the congress. they felt that he had under paid his taxes by about $475,000. the diamond in the chandelier here, rachel, is that that committee also went to the irs
and said, these years are not enough. we want nixon's taxes also from 1966 to 1968, and the irs complied. they did give up those tax returns. >> now part of the argument in the courts for why the committee should be able to get trump's taxes, too. fascinating. >> everything old is new once again. >> nbc news presidential historian michael beschloss, great to have you here. >> thank you, always a pleasure. >> we'll be right back. >> we'll be right back ♪ limu emu & doug
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free wi-fi... ...and the price match guarantee. so with hilton there is no catch. yeah the only catch is i'm never leaving. no i'm serious, i live here now. book at hilton.com and get the hilton price match guarantee. that is going to do it for us tonight. see you again tomorrow. now it's time for "the last word" with the great lawrence o'donnell. >> you did my favorite guest introduction when you said someone who needs no intersection, which has a certain cliche ring to it, which is true and you say the part that i really liked and for whom there is no need for an explanation about why he's here. cut to michael -- >> yes, sort of the only person i could do that from but honestly, if you just like the cameras came on and oops, wrong cameras came on and showing michael instead of me, everyone would know why he's here. >> yes. i did not know who you were