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tv   Deadline White House  MSNBC  September 12, 2019 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT

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1:00 p.m. with stephanie ruhle. tune in msnbc.com/now. the msnbc app, and apple tv. and you can always find me on social media, twitter, facebook, ins grarjs snapchat even and linkedin. "deadline: white house" with nicolle wallace starts now. ♪ hi, everyone. it's 4:00 in new york. we are covering the rapidly developing story around the legal fate of former acting director of the fbi andrew mccabe. mccabe has been on the receiving end of a tax from the sitting president who categorize hulled him everything from a sleeze bag to someone guilty of committing treason. at this hour mccabe is once again in the center of an extremely fluid legal situation that could finally decide his fate and answer the question about whether or not an indictment for mccabe is coming. mccabe who took over the fbi when director jim comey was abruptly fired by trump made the decision to open a full
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investigation into whether donald trump himself was working for the russians. mccabe and his wife have been the constant targets of smears from donald trump since before trump was even elected. he maintains -- mccabe maintains that his firing from the fbi was retribution for his decision to open investigation into the president. the news breaking this afternoon that mccabe's appeal to attorney general william barr's deputy jeff rosen had been rejected. that led to this report from nbc news. quote, the rejection may pave the way for an indictment of mccabe, who according to a justice department inspector general's report made false statements to federal investigators about his disclosure of information to a journalist in 2016. but here's where the plot thickens. "washington post" adding this to our standing of mccabe's legal fate. quote, the notification comes as federal grand jury -- as the federal grand jury investigating mccabe was suddenly recalled
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this week after a month's long hiatus, an investigation its members would likely be asked soon to consider bringing charges. but the panel left with no immediate signs of an indictment, a sign they may have bocked. when asked to return later filed a determination under seal. now the mccabe story is complicated by several fact kwors. the first being that that disclosure in question was something he claims he was authorized to do by virtue of his position as deputy director of the fbi. the second complicating factor being that he shared information with "the wall street journal" that was unfavorable to hillary clinton, not donald trump. and what's not in dispute is donald trump's clearly stated and well-documented desire to prosecute his political enemies. "new york times" has reported that trump previously ordered the prosecutions of jim comey and hillary clinton, but it was his now former white house counsel don mcgahn who stood in his way. and all of that is where we start today with some of our
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favorite reporters and friends. msnbc news justice correspondent julia ainsley, former chief spokesman for the department of justice matt miller, mike shift is a washington correspondent for "the new york times" and harry. let me start with the reporters on this story. julia ainsley, what do you know? >> reporter: well, nicole, you laid it out perfectly. if this indictment goes through, which seems more likely today, it will be incredibly polarizing. some people see andrew mccabe as someone who's been caught in the crosshairs, that what he did was really not very legal, white house council for clinton and obama was recently acquitted for and that is lying to federal investigators. and they say his statements to investigators both the fbi and the inspector general of the justice department were not as contradictory as they are being made out to be. and of course the root of what he would be lying about that disclosure to the "wall street journal" in 2016 was not illegal
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in itself. others say that in order to preserve the fbi, this is something that needs to be prosecuted. and so today we learn from a source familiar with the decision that now deputy attorney general jeff rosen said, no. in fact, mccabe cannot appeal to avoid criminal prosecution. imminent. but we understand there are still a lot of moving pieces in all of this, but it's something that we're preparing for here. and it's something that we can see both sides interpret through their own lens as this comes closer to a case. >> mike schmidt can you speak to what appears as a twisty turvy day? let me read you some of what your colleagues posted in the last hour on this story. mccabe's lawyers have vigorously denied that he intentionally lied and believed prosecutors singled him out. false statements made at federal law enforcement agencies are typically punished administratively, not by criminal prosecution. hints of the case's weakness
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have emerged. the investigation was referred about 18 months ago which is an unusually long stretch for an inquiry with a limited set of facts and witnesses. it dragged on for so long that the first grand jury examining the evidence expired before apparently being called back this week. >> so, if we move ahead here to what could be a trial, what you essentially would have is a jury in washington with a -- looking at a defendant who has been repeatedly attacked by the president. and would mccabe's lawyers be able to paint this in a political light and say, look, here is the guy that opened these investigations into the president. the president was clearly out to get him whether implicitly are explicitly, this is what the president wanted his justice department to do, and this is a politically motivated case. and if they could do that, they would probably be able to take away whatever the underlying facts are about the case. and that's what makes this
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different than many of the other cases that have come up in recent times out of the mueller investigation or from the fbi. so it's a political public relations aspect in which the president's twitter feed would be entered as evidence. >> and you've previously reported -- i think this is from 2018 that trump wanted to order the justice department to prosecute comey and clinton. president trump told the white house counsel in the spring that he wanted to order the justice department to prosecute two of his political adversaries, his challenger hillary clinton and the former fbi director jim comey according to two people. isn't that exactly what william barr is set out to sort of undertake with an investigation into the origins of the russia investigation which was opened by mccabe himself? >> well, not necessarily. the problem is, is that the president has done so many things in private and public that it allows people to raise that question. it's the perception that is the
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issue here. the president may have done something like, you know, what we reported about, how he's talked about how he wanted to prosecute hillary and comey. but in this case you have the president out there saying these things about mccabe. put aside whatever he did behind closed doors. he has advocated for this in public. this is something that he has wanted. and if mccabe goes on trial, his defense lawyers will simply point to that and say, look, his political appointees at the justice department were following what the president has said. this is why the president's lawyers told him not to talk about these types of issues publicly because it would undermine a case if it was ever going to be made. >> and, julia ainsley, william barr was extremely cautious when he was asked by senator kamala harris about prosecuting the president's political enemies, which, as mike's reporting by donald trump's twitter feed, clearly mccabe falls in that category. let's watch this and talk about it on the other side.
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>> has the president or anyone at the white house ever asked or suggested that you open an investigation of anyone? yes or no, please, sir? >> um, the president or anybody else. >> seems you'd remember something like that and be able to tell us. >> yeah. but i'm trying to grapple with the word "suggest." there have been discussions of matters out there that they have not open an investigation. >> perhaps they have suggested? >> i don't know. i wouldn't say suggest. >> hinted? >> i don't know. >> inferred? you don't know, okay. >> so, julia, what's remarkable about that is that barr doesn't blink or bock about prosecuting political enemies. he just can't figure out, he's not sure if it was suggested, insinuated, pointed to. this is the justice department on the record as being open to
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investigating donald trump's political enemies. it seems remarkable to me that any jury would think that the prosecutors had anything other than a political agenda. >> reporter: right. well, and of course for the attorney general not to take that opportunity to assure the american people that the investigations that they are opening are not politically motivated and dictated by this white house is an extreme missed opportunity. i think in anyone's opinion there to just sort of parse the words apart. the other thing you can look at, going back to this greg/craig trial. the jury said that they acquitted him, that there wasn't enough, and some of the jurors did raise que someone who worked in democratic administration. so, it is already a hit to this prosecution before they even move ahead with an indictment that those jurors saw that case in that light when this one pending against andrew mccabe is so similar.
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another thing i would say just building off of mike's point is that someone people at the fbi would look at what has already happened to andrew mccabe. he was fired just days before qualifying for his pension that that in itself was already enough of an administrative punishment. the going forward with criminal charges is a step too far. but others of course have said that he should be an example. so, again, it's very divisive. but as you can see what is really at the heart of this is whether or not this justice department is opening investigations based on political motivations. no matter your opinions on andrew mccabe, i think that's something everyone wants to get to the bottom. matt miller, let's get back to what may or may not have happened today. "the washington post" on their story writes this. to bring an indictment, prosecutors would have to convince 12 of the 23 grand jurors to sign onto the decision. if grand jurors turn them down, it's possible for prosecutors to call in a new group though they'd have to then start the process over. your thoughts about what this
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status is at this hour. >> yeah. it's not clear at all what happened today. but it's clear that something strange did. look, grand juries are secret for a reason. usually what you expect is that an indictment was going to be forthcoming. obviously they're not in the investigative stage anymore. they are not in the fact-gathering stage. this case has already been briefed up to the deputy attorney general andrew mccabe's lawyers have been appealing to the deputy attorney general. so the idea that the grand jury would be meeting together facts i think doesn't hold any water. you would expect the grand jury to be meeting at this point for one purpose and one purpose only and that is to bring forth an indictment. it may mean the grand jurors wanted to see more evidence, although i don't know that the department would have any more at this point. it may be that they expressed some doubts about the indictment. it could be even that they were presented indictment and voted against it, that would be an extremely, extremely embarrassing thing to happen to the justice department. it almost never happens and it
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would be a pretty clear sign of how weak this case is. but we don't know that that's happened. but it's clear that something strange did happen today when we all expected to see an indictment, that didn't occur. >> harry litman, here is andy mccabe on his fateful decision to open a full investigation into donald trump and the question of whether or not he was working for russia. >> our folks felt like we had an articulable basis to believe that the president might have engaged in obstruction of justice in the firing of jim comey and that, if so, there might be a natural security risk associated with that obstruction. that is of course the standard for opening an fbi full investigation. >> so it was a full investigation, not a preliminary? >> that's right, a full investigation. >> so, harry, you have the man who made the decision on the recommendation of his staff he went on to explain there to open
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a full investigation that the firing of comey wasn't just potential obstruction of justice trying to end ornvestigation in meddling but that it was in and of itself also potentially collusion. you also have attorney general barr who opinion appointed, the specific questioning from harris doesn't rule out that it's been suggested that as the new attorney general for donald trump, he prosecuted the president's political enemies. >> look, as a law enforcement matter, there is no doubt that what mccabe did was legitimate and even necessary. so if the american people come to think that that's the real reason for this indictment, it's absolutely damning of the department of justice. this isn't even like craig one way i slightly disagree with julia. we have over 50 tweets starting from way before this calling him every name in the book including guilty of treason. it just can't be separated out.
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the big fight at trial, in fact, will be getting that in. but if they do, it's crippling to the case. and, remember, it's not simply whether he did -- was not candid. in order to bring this, they have to find also a conviction is probably and given the facts and the evidence they have, i think that's very sketchy. and also that it's fair as a matter discretion back to mike's point. there is no precedent for somebody's being prosecuted in a situation like this where they've already been drummed out of the department, and there was not even an underlying crime. >> so, harry, you are talking about the accusation of treason. let's watch it. >> yeah. >> it's been an incredibly -- >> sir, the constitution says treason is punishable by death. you have accused your adversaries of treason. who specifically are you accusing of treason? >> well, i think a number of people. and i think what you look is that they have unsuccessfully
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tried to take down -- >> who are you speaking about? >> the wrong person. if you look at comey, if you look at mccabe, if you look at probably people higher than thatha that -- they want an insurance policy. remember, 100 million to one, maybe he said 100 million to nothing, but should she lose, we'll have an insurance policy and we'll get this guy out of office. that's what they said and that's what they meant. that's treason. that's treason. >> so, harry, why does that matter? >> well, first, it's not treason. it's not treason. treason is defined in the constitution aid and comfort to the enemy. it couldn't possibly apply. but why does it matter? it's only one of the more serious of a a lot of charges to be the real reason for this prosecution which basically stinks on the evidence and looks totally overbearing. a couple of the professional
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prosecutors actually quit the team. but even as doj tries to make the point that it's straight up on the merits, it'll be very hard for people to believe when you see all the evidence like that of the commander in chief's wanting to bring him and having such vitriol and resentment toward him. >> we all covered and/or watched the president's inauguration address where he talked about human carnage. i think to a person, everybody covers individuals behind a story. here's andy mccabe about the assault that it's taken on him and his family. >> it's been an incredibly tough two years and particularly this last year. but, you know, nicole, all families go through tough times. and this is ours. and i think like all families that are challenged and have to step up to -- have to endure situations that they never asked for and didn't deserve, this experience has made us stronger.
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i have two children who i am so proud of. they have had to kind of live with the president taunting and bullying their father on twitter, which is just a strange thing. >> and mother. >> and mother, absolutely right. and they have emerged as independent and strong and i'll say very politically teenagers. i am just thankful to have their support and their love and we'll get through it. >> matt miller, to you, on the toll in terms of human capital, morale, commitment to -- not the mission, i know these are professionals who do their jobs every day, but the belief that the mission is protected at the highest levels of the u.s. government. >> i think it will wear heavily on every person at the fbi and at the justice department because it gets to this question that we've been talking about throughout, which is can you disentangle the president's attacks on the decision the justice department appears ready
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to make? and the answer is that you can't because if you look at every other argument for this case, the strength of the case, whether it's selective prosecution or not, everything argues against bringing an indictment. you don't have to spend more than five minutes on the department of justice's website to find example after example of employees of the fbi and the justice department who lied to internal investigators. and not only were not prosecuted for it, weren't even fired. they were just allowed to resign. what happened in this case not only was andy mccabe fired just hours before he would receive his full pension. but now it appears the department's going to prosecute him with a case that's extremely weak, a case that they very well right lose. and the only difference between that of andy mccabe's case and other department employees is that the president called for him to be fired and called for him to be prosecuted. it appears both of those things are going to happy. >> to matt miller, julia ainsley, if anything changes in the next 40 minutes come, on back and fill us in.
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when we come back, the debate stage is set, and all eyes are on a surging elizabeth warren. but will the candidates focus their fire on each other or on donald trump? also ahead, we'll go inside the mysterious contortions underway up on capitol hill about whether impeachment proceedings are underway or not. and "the washington post" goes there describing trump's mistreatment of staff as cacaesque. all those stories coming up. 3 out of 4 people achieved... ...90% clearer skin at 4 months... ...after just 2 doses. skyrizi may increase your risk of infections... ...and lower your ability to fight them. before treatment your doctor should check you for infections and tuberculosis. tell your doctor if you have an infection... ...or symptoms such as fevers,... ...or if you plan to or recently received a vaccine. i feel free to bare my skin. visit skyrizi.com.
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when the 2020 democrats
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descend on houston for tonight's debate, they will find themselves in a fitting location for the existential question facing the entire field. who is the political adversary in this story and has the path to the democratic nomination one that requires me to attack my fellow democrats or focus all of my attention on donald trump. democrats will be standing in a gop stronghold that suddenly bathed in a purple glow following two mass shootings and months of devastating headlines will donald trump's harsh immigration policies. tonight will also be the first time we'll see all the frontrunners on one stage with joe biden right in the center standing for the first time on a 2020 debate stage right next to elizabeth warren, who's likely to be one of biden's potential targets tonight. an average of recent polls shows that warren has climbed further this summer than any of her opponents. joining us at the table "washington post" columnist eugene robinson and ben hoeds.
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with us in houston where all the action is msnbc and nbc analyst john heilemann and maria theresa kumar, president and ceo of voto latino. let me start with you. what are you looking for? >> so one of the things that will be interesting is the reception that folks have here in texas, specifically with elizabeth warren because it's s. but trump here is only here in texas is only at 44%. and his approval rating is incredibly low for a state that has been historically red. so considering that elizabeth warren is more on the progressive agenda, it'll be interesting to see how well she plays. julian castro will be coming into town. he's been called the quiet moral conscious of the democratic debate stage. and again these tragedies that have occurred in texas, it'll be
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interesting to see how both he and beto are received in their home states. then whether or not kamala harris is going to really pop. but again the atmosphere of where we were in texas even just a year ago has changed dramatically, not only because of the president's policies, but also the gaining of the momentum and the political opportunity here. you have an increased opportunity with young voters here in texas. one out of five voters that voted were young people. but then you have 2.5 million unregistered hispanics here in the state that are young and paying attention. >> john heilemann, one of the resounding critiques of the second debate was that the democrats went after democrats including president obama. have you heard from inside any of these campaigns, any course correction on those decisions? >> uh, well, there's two different decisions there, nicole. one of them is the decision to attack, criticize at least barack obama and his policies and his record. i think that there is a
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widespread sense of consensus that that was a problem in the second debate and that no one gained anything politically from doing that. and i don't think you're going to hear much that far tonight. i think the other, which is the attacks or criticisms or contrasts or whatever of candidates with each other on stage, i've just never seen a presidential debate where that doesn't happen. it's going to happen in this debate, too. you have now a very clear top tier in this race. you have three candidates in joe biden, elizabeth warren, and bernie sanders who tower above the others. you have pete buttigieg and kamala harris who occupy the sort of second tier. and then five candidates up here who are in single -- low single digits. they will be on stage at the next debate in october. but we are getting to the point where for those candidates, not for the ones at the top but for those candidates it's getting late in this race. and donors are looking at them and saying i'm not sure i want to write a check to someone who is still in october or late
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september at 2%. so those candidates have got to do something to get out of that position. just the nature of the way politics works, contrasted not attack, contrasts something to try to get some distance to put some contrasting flavor between them and the people at the top is necessary if they're going to survive. >> i've been involved in preparing candidates with story debate performances. but there's so much for these democratic candidates to contend with. there's what john heilemann's talking about. you know, you can't get on the stage and ignore the fact that you're in a contest against one another. what maria is talking about which is you're in a state where some of the most egregious trump policies are playing out, including the refusal to do anything on guns. but you're also at this what feels like a crisis moment of the trump presidency where people who have opposed john bolton forever did a little eh
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about him walking out the door after he objected to a meeting with the taliban. >> when are we not in a crisis mode with the trump presidency? you and i have probably said that ten times on this show. but it does seem like the wheels, the one wheel that might still be on is off now. who knows where we are heading. so that's got to be a subject of the debate. i think that tonight is more about show than tell. because it's really -- democrats are sitting at home and they're wondering, okay, who's going to beat donald trump? who's the one to do it? and i don't think you can just say i'm the one and expect that to work. you have to show that you're the one. and that is not necessarily by attacking and trying to, you know, rip the eyeballs out of your fellow democrats. and it's certainly not by criticizing president obama who
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enjoys something like 95 or 97% within the democratic party. but to demonstrate that you're the one to stand next to donald trump on the debate stage, assuming donald trump debates in the, you know -- i don't assume anything. and i think that's what they will be trying to do. and i really do think it's those top three candidates who have the most to gain and the most to lose. >> i want to put you on the spot because you know these players best. so i think president obama is more popular among democrats of which there are more than even donald trump is among republicans which there are fewer. so the attacking of the idiocy of donald trump has never made sense to me. >> my only assumption, nicole, is that they thought they could wound biden. i prepared for 20 primary debates in 2008. you will have 2008 if you
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remember with hilly. they've been previewing the attacks before the debate in these kinds of clumsy ways. and they think the only way to get a moment is by ripping apart someone on the stage. i think that's been a turnoff to voters. and, frankly, even when kamala harris got a short boost, she fell back down because a lot of people said we want to come together to fight trump. i think the second thing though -- >> can we try to answer this because i get asked this all the time. i think the reason that biden's opening video is so powerful was because he took a 2-by-4 to what is really the most heinous part of trumpism, the racism. and i just wonder what happens. i know what debate prep is like. you get in a silo, you stop sort of being in touch with voters and you get into that mindset. but would you say that if people go after each other that it's a grave mistake, they should keep their fire aimed at trump? >> sure. but have your moment be a compact way in which you're making the argument about what is happening in this country.
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the crisis is not the small differences between their respective plans. the crisis is the trump presidency. and 90% of democratic voters think that. maybe on twitter there's more fighting about different health care plans. but is why i am running for president. here is what separates me in terms of the case i can prosecute against trump, not the case i can prosecute against the other people on that stage. >> maybe it's the clarity of this not being my party. every single one of them, and even when there are 20 would be better than the current occupant of the oval office. what is the sort of distance though between that assessment and what was likely to happen tonight, likely will include attacking one another? >> i think you and i are aligned. the democrats, the leader and the person that will win will say at the end of the day we can talk about policy, but we are talking about shades of gray. we all believe that she should
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have certain unalienable rights. trump is a clear and present danger. as we try to digest who to go for, this is how we will basically write the course. the person that's able to say that and basically tide back all of the democratic vision of a future that is such a contrast to who this president is, that person's going to be the one that is a leader. you're going to have a lot of texans paying attention. it is 38 electoral votes, and it is up for grabs. >> i'm coming right back to you, one for a reality check because sometimes i get aaron sorkenned up, and all i want is, you know, to hold their hands, sway together and say trump bad, we're good. but i also want to come back to the point you've made at this debate, and i believe before the last two. that if this is the measure for some democrats, then someone like pete buttigieg or beto o'rourke who now has said my favorite thing about the press, stop asking questions you know the answer to, could have a
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break-out moment by that standard. >> well, yeah. i guess i'd say two things, nicole. one is that it's possible -- there is an actual argument within the democratic party. i take what ben says is a legit point of view. but there is a genuine argument among the ideological polls within the democratic party. there is a question about what the democratic party stands for, how moderate the party should be versus how progressive it should be. whether you're attacking, quote, unquote attacking other candidates, there are legitimate differences in terms of policy among these candidates on stage. i think some of them feel that the way in which they make the moment is why they're the best to take on trump because they represent a set of views and a set of values that are at some variance with another faction within the party. and i think you can do that in a way that doesn't seem like you're trying to rip someone's eyes out. the other person, look, i've said that i think the lower tier
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candidates, the 1-2% candidates, i think eugene said that the top three have a lot to gain and a lot to lose. really the person who has the most on the line here tonight is joe biden who has been the frontrunner since the beginning of the race has had various stumbles, has made various mistakes. last week when he was on stage, at the climate forum that cnn did, he had a terrible night. he got trashed by a voter in the audience. he had an issue with his eye. with no pressure, not in a confrontational setting and he had made other mistakes that week, exaggerating other things about a story about a war hero. he's made a series of mistakes. voters have proven to be very forgiving but not entirely forgiving of that. and we have seen biden lose some altitude over the course of the campaign. so the question now which comes back for every democrat. who is the best to beat donald trump? the pressure is always on the most on joe biden in some sense. can he continue to perform at a level that voters stay
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comfortable with that he will be the nominee? if he can do that, he'll be the nominee. but if he continues to make these kinds of errors and makes them particularly in a big stage lie this, unforced or forced, he is going to have a problem. >> all i would add is that his poll numbers suggest that for all the negative coverage and all of the attention paid to all those gaffes, voters are not only immune, they see it all, and so far they don't care. i thank you maria kumar, for spending time with us. impeachment is just a word, right? it's also becoming a very, very touchy subject on capitol hill where today they seem to go to commence impeachment-ish proceedings. we'll bring you that story next. 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...
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but i don't want to get caught in smantices. >> essentially, the impeachment inquiry has already begin. >> so it's a bit technical inside baseball maybe. >> we are holding hearings for the purpose of investigating the
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possibility of voting articles of impeachment against the president. >> for anyone that was confused, we are in the midst of an investigation. >> people can call this whatever they want to call it. >> really? [ laughter ] okay. so, is it impeachment or not? welcome to the club if you're confused. democrats have been asked for weeks exactly what they're doing without much clarity emerging. while most of them insist that something's happening, an investigation, inching toward impeachment, their answers on impeachment have run the gamut as you saw there from noncommittal to words don't matter to completely contradictory. so after the house judiciary committee today voted along party lines to give itself more tools for something, by outlining the rules and scope of its investigation, chairman nadler sought to set things straight. >> we will begin next week an aggressive series of hearings
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investigating allegations of corruption, obstruction, and abuse of power against the president. some call this process an impeachment inquiry. some call it an impeachment investigation. there is no legal difference between these terms. and i no longer can't argue about nomenclature. >> so it's our fault that we're arguing about the words. watch this. short time later house speaker nancy pelosi who's at times contradicted nadler on the question of impeachment was pointed and her response to questions about our confusion. >> legislate, investigate, litigate, that's the path we have been on, and that's the path we continue to be on. >> if i may, is this specific language not important? i mean, how should the american people understand when members are speaking very differently about it? >> you are the only ones who are sowing this -- >> it's not true, ma'am. >> look, i traveled the entire country. come with me sometime, and you'll hear from the american people are saying.
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they understand that impeachment is a very divisive measure. but if we have to go there, we'll have to go there. but we can't go there unless we have the facts and we will follow the facts and we will follow the obstruction that the president is making of getting the facts and make our decision when we're ready. that's the only question. that's all i'm going to say about this subject. >> okay. we're excited to welcome back to our table my colleague and friend katie tur, plus entering the conversation jake sherman. jake, let me start with you. so i'm reluctant to say this. but she's wrong. i'm a republican and the question i get asked by the most people who i worked with either in a republican white house on republican campaigns or in the dog park or at drop-off is why the bleep aren't they impeaching donald trump for crimes found that he committed in the southern district of new york and the ten acts of criminal obstruction of justice that robert mueller handed them in a bound report?
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>> well, there's a lot to unpack here. so let's start from the top. top. he is saying they are investigating whether they should impeach the president. that is true. now, he is balancing that by saying some call it impeachment. the reason he's doing that, it would seem to me, is because almost his entire committee wants to impeach the president and is out saying they want to impeach the president. now what pelosi is saying is we are investigating, we'll see where it leads us. not different from what nadler is saying. she does not want to impeach the president, period. she's made that incredibly clear. she thinks it's bad politics. her aides say, her advisers say it and her allies say it. but what's going on here and why you put up our headline "the impeachment dumpster fire," because democrats are saying 500 different things about impeachment. no one knows what they're doing. no one could explain what stage in the process they are or at what time they might start
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considering actual impeachment articles, if ever. so, given that set of circumstances that no one knows what's going on, it's allowed this vacuum to exist. this happens in the capitol sometimes. people feel like they're making the right argument. because it is technically true. technically true doesn't matter. people on capitol hill live in a different world than the rest of the country where people are saying either you shouldn't impeach him or you should, stop being in the middle. so we're caught in this vortex. we are caught in this maze, so to speak. we don't know how we are going to get out of it. it seems clear on one level. nancy pelosi decided a long time ago she would not, she could not under no circumstances would she permit anybody else under her iron fist to commence impeachment proceeding against donald trump. and her excuse is that it's politically unpopular. but perhaps it's politically unpopular because she says every time before she's a microphone that impeachment is unpopular. >> that's a chicken and egg thing. look, i don't think the
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democrats can do themselves a huge amount of political damage with all this mess, but they are trying. [ laughter ] they are doing their best. either do it or don't do it, right? >> you know when, i was a republican you know what i would say to that? that's why you people lose elections. i mean, you're right. it's like they are trying to take something that wasn't doing them any harm and harm themselves. >> so, pelosi doesn't want to do it. so don't do it. but nadler says we are going to investigate and we're going to investigate corruption. okay. the president is enriching himself with money from the defense department with the crews that are staying over in his failing scottish turnberry, in his failing scottish golf resort. that should never happen. the president of the united states should never profit from the defense department of which he is commander in chief. that's corruption. you've got your corruption. they are going to investigate, um, on obstruction. well, the mueller report just
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cut and paste, that takes five minutes. they're going to investigate abuse of power. look at his immigration policy. he defies the courts. he defies congress. he does all sorts of rogue e-lyle things. that's abuse of power. you and i could sit around for an hour, we could come up with the articles of impeachment but they don't want to do it or pelosi won't let them do it. >> what i don't understand is congress is inspector clusseau. >> i was talking to a democratic aid yesterday while i was on the hill. and i asked this person why there is so much confusion, what's really going on. and they told me two things. there is concern about the frontline democrats, the ones who just eeked out a win in the 2018 election from trump districts or districts that hillary clinton barely won. they're worried about their re-election prospects in 2020. and, number two, there is a feeling that robert mueller didn't do them any favors when he was testifying on the hill.
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the fact that he did not come out and say that donald trump committed a crime took a bit of the wind out of the sails for democrats. so that's why you are seeing this union over the issue of impeachment. but i'm with you. i wonder what message it sends to american voters when they're looking at who they want to put in power, do they want republicans who seem to always be on the same page about everything regardless of what you think about the president? or democrats who are fighting, fighting, fighting? >> i mean, this is where republicans and they are ruthless. they wouldn't have waited for bob mueller -- they would have said crimes are committed by the southern district of new york. in robert mueller's -- and let rudy giuliani go out there and explain. there is a lack of ruthlessness. let me just ask you this. if donald trump's re-elected, do you think nancy pelosi will regret her campaign against impeachment? >> yes. and first of all, if impeachment isn't for this president, then why is it in the constitution? >> right. if it's not him, then who? >> michael cohen testified in
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front of the democratic house about a crime that the president of the united states committed in the campaign finance violation about stormy daniels. they could have impeached him by now. and instead we've had this dance back and forth. and being caught in the middle is the worst place to be in politics. where is just the oversight in general? we've got donald trump changing the direction of hurricanes with a sharpie. we've got mass corruption in terms of the money flowing into his properties. we've got a state department official trying to buy an iranian oil tanker with cash. >> tried to buy a tanker. >> and the republicans have investigated me more aggressively for four years in the second obama administration. >> so why is there not that desire to get him? >> part of it is you have to choose something. you have to say here is how we are going after this person. here is what the overarching narrative is. and it's staring them in the face. it is corruption. because all of these things are corruption. the stormy daniels payment, that
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is a corruption, a campaign finance violation just like efforts to enrich himself are corruption. just like you've had multiple cabinet officials who have had to resign because of vuption scandals. but you have to be aggressive. and you know if there's a big hearing, the press will cover it. but they keep seeming to wait for something else to happen. just like they waited for mueller to come into save them. >> jake, let me ask you about how political this all has been from its inception. does anyone feel like that's working against them? pelosi has made no secret about katy's talking about that the politics in her view didn't work. well, the way republicans would deal with that would be to change the politics. >> and it's interesting because she, one, if you listened to her and if you were on the campaign trail last cycle, she won this election, and one of the things she kept saying is we need to
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kind of clear out this corruption and clear out not the swamp so to speak, but clear out how business is being done in washington. and one way to continue that narrative in this cycle in these two years is to say the president is spending money at his hotels. all the things that you guys just mentioned. and the politics, you take it a step further. they have not decided what to investigate. and as ben will remember quite well, i mean darrel wei is so was saying you need to get this to me by the end of the week. they didn't have five committees investigating in john boehner's house of representatives. they had one or and a speaker who still does not want to impeach. sohe trump inner circle has been compared to "game today's "washington po describes trump as kafkaesque. and it's perfect. that story next. if you live with diabetes,
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for an straadministration feeling more and more like the few that might not be the best. over 50 high profile dehe part churs. and "washington post" explains why. he is unvisible, quote, there are unspoken rules that he expects his advisers to follow. he tolerates dissent as long as it remains private and expects advisers to follow in line and demands absolute loyalty at all times. rupture between trump and john bolton is chronicled in private and public accounts. an unusual set of demands and expectations, he sets for those in his direct employ. joining the conversation, from the "washington post," bill rutger. this story is amazing. i had to google it.
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take me through it. >> and yesterday we tried to come up with the right word to describe the president's management style. and ashley threw it out. it is a nightmarish illogical, you know, unusual management style reminiscent of the novels. and that is indeed what current and former officials and other advisers have described to us in our reporting. >> and this story has everything as i said, let me read this quote from anthony scaramucci. you are there as and an notice answer, but not to do anything other than be back lighting.not answer, but not to do anything other than be back lighting. he nt wapswants a catatonic loy. there is one light and it is
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shining on trump. >> yeah, nicolle, we've seen this from the beginning of the administration. but a lot of the people in the senior roles in the government are not necessarily making decisions, rather they are around the president, they are answering his questions when he has them. but otherwise they are there as a supporting cast to go out and defend whatever it is the president decides to do at any moment's notice. and it seems more and more as we're now in year three of this presidency that the functioning of the white house of the government is all in service to donald trump to president trump's whims. what he wants to do. and frankly his ego. >> and is it functioning though 1234. >> it depends on your definition. it is not functioning in a traditional sense. trump's critics have pointed out that he has done a lot that they would like to undo. he has taken on the regulatory
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state. so he is taking actions. but in a tradition at sense a xwoechl government well functioning, are foreign allies confident in the american leadership, the answer is no. >> an amazing piece of reporting. thanks for spending some time with us. we'll be right back. ks for spen with us. we'll be right back. woman 1: i had no symptoms of hepatitis c.
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katy tur came back yesterday with a bang and reminded us why we missed her so much. talk about your moment. >> i wanted to make a point after coming back after five months of the importance of maternity leave. i took about five months. more than the vast majority take and we had it paid. mothers need fathers to help support them especially in the first few months after they give birth. and it is an issue that is fundamental. if everybody got the same paid time off and mothers and fathers were treated the same both at
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the workplace and the home, it would help to solve a lot of the issues that we have that are so fundamental to us not being totally equal. >> and if men had wombs, the entire history would be -- but they don't. you have a beautiful son and beautiful family. we missed you so much. >> i missed you guys. >> come back and have this conversation. >> anytime. we have a lot of politicians coming on and back ground conversations. it is coming together. >> all right. my thanks to you for watching. that does it for our hour. chuck todd starts now.

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