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tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  September 17, 2019 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT

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. one thing to watch overnight tonight is the election news out of israel. israel just had an election last april. they just had another one today because it was called by prime minister netanyahu he thought the election today would strengthen his standing. quite the contrary official votes aren't in yet but polling showed netanyahu trailing from the centrist party. netanyahu may likely be out as prime minister and the new governor may set up a coalition. he said it appears that netanyahu has lost netanyahu for his part says that he will not concede. he is blaming the media for biased coverage against him. he said tonight that he will attempt to form a governing coalition regardless of the results of today's election. keep an eye on this one overnight and into tomorrow. that does it for us tonight. we'll see you again tomorrow now it's time for "the last word
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with lawrence o'donnell. >> good evening, rachel. we'll be covering whatever is new in the netanyahu race later this hour. there probably won't be too much more coming in tonightbut we'l get to it this hour. >> thank you, lawrence >> thank you, rachel there was much must-see tv in the corwin lewandowski hearing. unfortunate unfortunately, it was hours after people stopped watching the hearing. but we'll show you the best parts of what happened in that hearing room today also, the fallout about new reporting on the fbi investigation or lack of fbi investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct by brett kavanaugh during the confirmation process for the supreme court. presidential candidate amy klobuchar will join us tonight to discuss what she thinks congress should do now and we have breaking news on two major stories in the middle east tonight the trump administration is considering how to respond to an
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attack on saudi arabian oil facilities secretary of state mike pompeo is on his way to saudi arabia scheduled to meet with the governor tomorrow. as rachel said, votes are being counted in israel in an election that's been called a referendum on trump ally benjamin netanyahu. roger kerwin has worked with th "new york times" and has militarized affairs. we are very lucky to have him at this historic moment in the middle east joining us tonight at the end of the hour also toward the end of the hour, cal perry will join us with a really important investigation that he conducted into the potential dangers of process of flaring natural gas in texas you really need to see this. now, if you read the early reviews of today's hearing in the house judiciary committee,
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by which i mean the reviews written about four, four and a half hours into the five-and-a-half-hour hearing, then you would think the hearing was a mess "the daily beast" headline at 5:55 p.m. said, corey lewandowski's hearing quickly dissolves into a mess. a minute later, literally a minute after that was filed, everything changed there was a half hour left in that hearing when everything changed, and corwin lewandowski cha changed. corwin lewandowski ran out of ways of avoiding questions when he faced a full half hour by a lawyer hired by the committee to question his impeachment investigation. they were determined to make a mockery of the committee process from the start we have never seen a more childish and abusive use of committee process and committee rules than what the republicans on the house judiciary committee
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did today. this was the low point in the history of house hearings procedurally the republicans made repeated motions to shut down the hearing, to just adjourn the hearing, close it down and when those motions were defeated instantly by a voice vote, the republicans then called for, as is their right, roll call votes that they knew would take time and they knew they were going to lose, and they were just trying to waste time and add to the circus atmosphere that they created corey lewandowski was ready for a circus he was not ready for serious questioning. when republicans took their five-minute turns at questioning the witness, they ignored corey lewandowski's role in the president's attempt to shut down the mueller investigation, as described by corwin lewandowski's own testimony in the mueller report and his own notes that are reproduced in the mueller report the republican questioning deliberately did not make any sense.
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but the questioning on the democratic side also mostly didn't make sense because of republican interference with that questioning, and the simple fact which should be obvious by now, that most members of congress aren't very good at this they did not run for district attorney, they ran for the house of representatives and every once in a while they have to play district attorney in committee hearings, and generally for most of them, it doesn't go very well except for the people who have actually been prosecutors. and so for hours on end, it was a chaotic hearing with corey lewandowski becoming increasingly emboldened with his refusal to answer any question for which the answer was not already contained in the mueller report he was asked by several democrats to read passages of the mueller report and he repeatedly refused to do so. he zeroed in on a speech that
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was dictated to him about the mueller organization while jeff sessions was recused from supervising or commenting on the mueller investigation. in the trump-written speech, jeff sessions would announce that the special prosecutor's investigation of the president is unfair, and the special prosecutor would only be allowed, from this point forward, to investigate the possibility of, quote, election meddling for future elections so that nothing can happen in future elections congressman eric swalwell asked corwin lewandowski to read his notes of his conversation with the president as produced in the mueller report, and lewandowski refused to read his words aloud. >> you were ashamed to read them out loud and you didn't deliver those words to the person the president asked you to, did you have a consciousness of guilt? >> i have nothing to be guilty of, congressman. thank you. >> do you still feel guilty today and that's why you can't
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read it out loud >> congressman, you can read it if you'd like. >> when the members of the committee finally finished their questioning, about five minutes after the hearing began, it was finally time for 30 minutes of questioning reserved by gary burke who was serving as chairman of the committee hired by jerry nadler. chaos broke out once again as the republicans pretended there was something wrong with having counsel ask questions even though the committee has done that many, many times before, especially in the investigation of a president and after another round of votes trying and failing to close down the hearing completely, finally, finally barry burke closed in on corwin lewandowski for what was the worst public half hour of corey lewandowski's life >> my question to you, sir, is on national television, did you lie about your relationship with the special counsel and whether they sought your interview >> i don't know. >> prior to the mueller report being published in redacted
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form, did you ever misrepresent what you did on behalf of the president? >> i can't think of an instance where that would have occurred >> let me show you an interview that you did on may 14, 2019 excuse me. i'm going to show it to you from february 22nd, 2019. let me show it to you. >> excuse me, excuse me, may 14 -- >> may 14, 2019. >> i don't remember the president ever asking me to get involved with jeff sessions or the department of justice in any way, shape or form ever. >> did you hear that, sir? that was you saying on msnbc you don't ever remember the president ever asking you to get involved with jeff sessions or the department of justice in any way, shape or form that wasn't true, was t siit, s? >> i heard that.
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>> and that wasn't true? >> i have no idea with the media because they're as untruthful as everybody else >> so you admit you weren't being truthful, right? >> my interview with ari melber can be interpreted any way you like >> why weren't you honest about the fbi asking you about a personal investigation >> he told them he didn't want them to deliver a letter to jeff sessions at the justice department at jeff sessions' office because he didn't want jeff sessions' logs to show he was there. he was asked why he didn't want a public record of him entering the justice department >> isn't it a fact you didn't want a public log because you knew what you were doing was wrong. so just as the president went to an unofficial non-government employee, you wanted to make sure there was no record of it
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isn't that right, sir? >> no. >> do you agree that a log would create a record of a visit with the attorney general >> i would think so, yes >> and you told the attorney general you did not want a public log of your visit, and that's one reason you didn't go to the department of justice, because you didn't want a public log, correct >> i don't go to the department of justice i've never been to the department of justice. i don't want to do anything based on what happens at the department of justice, to be honest with you. >> gary burke insisted that the reason corwin lewandowski didn't deliver that message is because corey lewandowski knew that wouldn't be legal. >> you said so, sir, because you knew if you delivered that message that told the attorney general to instruct the special counsel to limit the investigation to exclude the president, that would not be legal. isn't that correct, sir? >> mr. burke, i didn't have the privilege of going to harvard law cool and i'm not an
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attorney so what i know is i didn't think at the time that the president asked me to deliver a message, that anything was illegal about it i didn't have the privilege to go to harvard law. so if you're telling me that in your opinion that would have been illegal, that's your opinion, too, but i never assumed that, didn't think about it at the time and haven't thought about now. >> why didn't you deliver the message the president asked you to deliver unless you didn't deliver it because you knew it was improper to deliver? >> mr. burke, it wasn't a priority >> it sure reads like a priority in the mueller report. throughout the day corwin lewandowski refused to answer multiple questions about his conversations with anyone working in the white house barry burke showed that this was not exactly a sacred principle to corbin lewandowski. >> i can't speak to conversation i may or may not have with a senior staffperson to honor the
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privilege they invoked they told me not to discuss conversations with any of the president's advisers i am respecting the decision of the white house. >> didn't you publish a book in which you disclosed these very conversations you had with senior white house officials >> which book are you referring to i've written two in the last year, so can you tell me which one? >> i'm talking about the best-seller "let trump be trump. he's one of the able questioners of the house judiciary committee because he is a former deputy district attorney himself also joining me, alice roka, an msnbc contributor. i want to talk about what you said to nadler, and you can tell us if this was coordinated with
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the chairman or not. you specifically said -- you asked them to hold corwin lewandows lewandowski in contempt with the way he was answering questions, and i have to say, with any previous congress, he would have been held in contempt with congress in the first five minutes, based on what we saw. what is going to happen with the attempt to hold contempt for corwin lewandowski it still could happen. empty chairs mean empty pockets, and the other two witnesses need to be fined. i could listen to barry burke all day. he's just masterful and finally the truth came out that's not how an innocent person conducts themselves that's not how someone who wants to help the congress understand the president did would defend themselves the chairman is going to
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consider contempt, and we're not going to stop it and lawrence, i saw just like you did, the twitter, you know, hot takes on what all this meant, and people said it was messy, it was frustrating, and that's all true. but if the opposite of this is to do nothing and let the president get away with further obstruction, we're not going to do that, either. we have court battles that are ongoing right now, so the president may benefit in the short term from confusing people and telling people to obstruct, but in the long term, there's going to be a cascade of court decisions in our favor and it's not going to be very good for the trump team >> carson, there is anotheral alternate tifr for the messiness of it, and that is letting barry burke do either all the questioning or let barry burke have the first half hour and then let the mess follow that. >> it also just depends as well on the witnesses we should assume that most witnesses are going to be like mr. lewandowski. that's just the trump style. they haven't had to have any
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consequences for that as of late, and yes, i think, you know, just like you want more cow bell, give us more burke he was very, very good >> mimi roka, one of the things you don't have in a courtroom is the other side in the middle of your questioning jumping up in all sorts of histrionic ways if you want to object to something in a courtroom, you better be doing it based on the rules of evidence. the democrats had not just a witness problem, but they had these other -- these republican members on the other side who were willing to play games at every moment of this hearing and interrupt in any way they felt like at any time >> right, that's absolutely right. in a courtroom you have a judge policing it in the moment. here republicans -- as long as they're willing to sort of give up pride, basically, and look foolish, they can object on any basis for as long as they want it broke the flow, and particularly in the first part
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of the hearing, it really, i think, made it hard for democrats to get information out. as time went on, i think they became more accustomed to it and were able to use their time. >> i'm just imagining you watching this, okay, as an experienced federal prosecutor, and, look, there is bad questioning on both sides. we know the republicans are just playing a game but on the democratic side, there was a lot of bad questioning, ineffective questioning, lost points, not holding to a consistent line of inquiry from one member to another. there were very few members, even on the democratic side, who you could even summarize what they were trying to do carson swalwell is one that could do it. how hard was it for you to watch that >> it was very hard. what they needed to do wasn't even about the style of their questioning as much as they let
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the witness control, and that was also because of what the republicans are doing. they needed to take control back that's why when barry burke had a full 30 minutes and is just, as everyone has said, such a skilled questioner, he was able to take control again. he was able to take the narrative and get out where he wanted, and showed lewandowski to just be a complete liar it was so obvious to anyone watching that. there were some good points, though, even before burke. i think this point about lewandowski, you know, have said to mueller that he didn't want to meet with sessions at the doj because of the log, and now he's totally trying to disclaim that. that's a really important point, and frankly, he may have perjured himself about that today because he completely contradicted what he said to mueller. >> and mr. swalwell, you
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completely found him answering completely opposite today. >> there were other witnesses that knew what had happened, but he told the mueller team this was the only time he had ever written down something the president told him to do that's how important this message was. then he told us, no, i took notes all the time i kept every note he gaive me in my safe. we showed that inconsistency again to show he was trying to reduce his criminal culpability with us and minimize it. lawrence, just to defend my colleagues, we have bonded in the last few months over this, and we work very hard to be prepared and you're right, the obstruction from the republican colleagues of ours and from the witnesses makes it very hard but i think this new style of having a cleanup at the end by a skilled litigator like mr. burke will help the american people
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better understand. >> and mimi, one of the things about these congressional hearings is it's extremely hard to anticipate the kind of interference that the republicans launch, because they are violating every norm of committee process that existed in the institution and so when i'm watching this, i don't have suggestions for chairman nadler about here's how to fight these guys, because i've never seen any conduct like this before in these hearings. and what they don't have are the rules that you have in a courtroom that you can rely on a judge to smack down a lawyer who is getting out of order. there is no -- we're discovering the limits of what we thought were the powers of chairmen in this process, because they are abusing this hearing process and there really isn't a way to get them to behave the way they're supposed to in these hearings. >> well, i think to the extent possible, and i realize under
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the procedural rules you can't completely do this, they have to not engage they have to try to shut it down as quickly and as early as possible there seemed to be a lot of debate going on right there in the moment about privilege i mean, this is a bogus privilege that's being asserted. so either they should have said from the beginning that they're just going to let him make these bogus privilege assertions, or they're going to hold him in contempt, one or the other there seemed to be a lot of debate happening in the moment about whether it was, in fact, a valid privilege or not it's not, and frankly i think they should hold him in contempt because otherwise everyone is going to keep asserting this this is a good test case >> the problem with contempt and a prosecution for contempt in congress is conducted by william barr andso that's what makes , in effect, the behavior in ta room unenforcible corwin lewandowski knows he can
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be as much in contempt as he wants, and they will never prosecute him for it >> i think all the guys on the trump team, all they understand is money and fior a lot of reasons they're conduct was about greed. that's why we should use the power to try to find them. i think that might get their attention. >> congressman eric swalwell, mimi rocah, thank you for being with us. amy klobuchar is here after a poll showed today that only 9% of democratic voters have firmly decided who they're going to vote for in the democratic primary, which means anything can happen for any of the candidates who are still in this race amy klobuchar joins us next. i get it all the time.
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save up to $400 a year on your wireless bill. plus get $250 back when you buy a new samsung note. click, call or visit a store today. today the new book "the education of brett kavanaugh" brought by reporters was officially published when the times called for brett kavanaugh's impeachment from the supreme court. amy klobuchar went into action by demanding from the fbi and the justice department, quote, all communications between the white house and the fbi regarding the scope of the background investigation and supplemental background investigation. the new book shows that the fbi did not investigate dozens of
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claims by people, including classmates of brett kavanaugh's at yale who believed the accusations against brett kavanaugh at his confirmation hearing were consistent with behavior they had seen or heard about at yale. last night on this program, the authors of the new book described some of those witnesses. >> we both spoke to numerous people from justice kavanaugh's high school as well as yale and other parts of his life as well who contacted the fbi. there was a schoolteacher who was in his class at georgetown prep in san francisco, took a day off, prepared a letter, worked with a lawyer, went to the fbi office and was told to call the tip line, was told to file an online form. he did all these things and there was no follow-up he felt that he was never heard. he was extremely frustrated. we heard this story over and over again from people >> joining us now is amy klobuchar, a democratic senator from minnesota, a member of the
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senate judiciary committee and a presidential candidate senator klobuchar, what was your reaction when you read the "new york times" article about this on sunday? >> well, i would say it wasn't one of surprise, lawrence. and i think you know my role in that hearing, i was the one that was calmly asking the judge, trying to mesh the stories, the credible story of dr. blaze ford i asked him if he had blacked oud a out and then he shot back if i had blacked out. he later apologized, but that's been etched in my memory part of what i thought about this whole thing, one, he shouldn't have been hand-picked to begin with, he was hand-picked by his view of executive power. but that hearing putting aside the facts was outrageous, and he brought down not just the supreme court but his whole
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judiciary with his demeanor and how he was so partisan during that hearing from there, as you know, it launched into this additional very brief fbi investigation to explore some of these other allegations. and that's something i've never really had much time to talk about and why i'm not surprised at all by their findings and that is that we were put into this room and we had one hour, and then the other party took an hour and we could come back i went back there three or four times, and it was literally stacks of documents like this, all mixed up together. there would be cranks basically, like tips, strange tips that were called in, just nutty things, but then mixed in would be an actual one, like what you may have just referred to, things like that and it was impossible to triage, and then you add to that the calls that i got as well as other senators got, which we then tried to report and i look at this more than just the fbi it's really an issue of the white house that was limiting
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the focus of this investigation, and that's why i called to get those documents. i think that's what we need. we need those documents and i know it's similar to what the house is talking about you can't make a decision about impeachment or anything like that until you have this underlying information >> when the process was stopped by dr. ford's emergence and there came a point where jeff flake decided to basically join with the democrats to delay the confirmation process and have more of an fbi background check, what was very clear pretty quickly was that, okay, this was going to be a time-limited fbi background check once i heard that, that the fbi background check is time limited, i think we all knew then it can't possibly be complete you know that the background checks that they run on your confirmations, they don't have any time limit on it
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they don't deliver you a background check until they have finished it, and some of them take longer than others for a bunch of reasons >> cannotexactly. i mean, i've had numerous judicial nominees, attorney nominees that went on for months, and they look up people from their past from high school like you're talking about, from college, and it can take a long time that's why this was this time limit made it very hard to look into all of these tips and allegations. but the concerning part is when you see those, and again, i can't reveal what i saw, but when you see these, you know there were people that desperately wanted to be contacted and had information. and it was just a sham, it what it was in the end, and it's very unfortunate for our democracy, and that's why i've continued to believe and have always believed that two sets of things have to come out the first is the 100,000 pages of documents from the time that
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he worked in the white house in the white house counsel's office we were denied access to those documents to begin with. and the second were these that we just discussed. and that's one of the reasons, by the way, lawrence, that i really want to be president, because i think, one, we have to nominate judges that have the integrity to never act like that again at a hearing, and that we also want to have a process that works, a vetting process that the public would be proud of and that is not what happened with this president when he hand-picked this nominee >> senator, we have to squeeze in a break when we come back, i'd like to ask you your position on impeachment. some of the fellow senators and presidential candidates have called for impeachment of brett kavanaugh. and i want to get to other campaign issues right after this break. >> because i'm here at philadelphia at the workers summit here, lawrence, so there is take lot goinong with our campaign >> i want to hear all about it after this break we'll be right back. too many people in pain settle
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we know a thing or two because we've seen a thing or two. even a- (ernie) lost rubber duckie? (burke) you mean this one? (ernie) rubber duckie! (cookie) what about a broken cookie jar? (burke) again, cookie? (cookie) yeah. me bad. (grover) yoooooow! oh! what about monsters having accidents? i am okay by the way! (burke) depends. did you cause the accident, grover? (grover) cause an accident? maybe...
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we're back with senator amy klobuchar, candidate for president of the united states senator, as you know, at least six of the democratic presidential candidates have called for the impeachment of brett kavanaugh, including three senators, senator warren, senator harris, senator booker senator sanders has called for an investigation, joe biden has called for an investigation stopping short of impeachment at this point what is your position on impeachment of brett kavanaugh >> i think i was the first to come out of anyone, and i said that we should have an investigation. and the reason i said that is because of what i just talked about. you need to have the informat n information. as compelling as these reports are, you have to look at the underlying documentation, and that is something that the house, who can start an impeachment proceeding, has to obtain i did my own request from the senate judiciary standpoint, but the house is going to have to make those decisions and we do have to uncover it
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what this is really about is they're lying under oath that is at the core of this. i hate lying, lawrence, i hate it, and i certainly don't want to have judges that lie under oath so that is what this is about at its core >> let's take a quick look at the latest nbc news "wall street journal"ist poll joe biden at 31%, warren at 25, sanders at 14, buttigieg at 7, harris at 5, yang at 4, klobuchar and booker at 2. 9% of people have decided who they're voting for, and that means 91% are still open to -- what brings your campaign to philadelphia tonight >> a very important tour that we are taking to make the point that remember what happened in
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2016, lawrence we lost three states that we should have won: pennsylvania, michigan and wisconsin thou this is the blue wall tour of those important what should be blue states that we need to keep in our column in this 2020 election so for that reason, plus the fact i'm from the midwest, watch for those polls in iowa coming up, by the way, lawrence, just a little tip and i have been gaining momentum in fact, even in that poll you just showed, i doubled my support. i'm ahead of 19 people in this field. and one of the points i'm going to make here were we were going to meet with workers in pittsburgh and be with a number of students at the university of pittsburgh and go to a dairy farm in wisconsin and meet with workers at the port there in detroit. i want to talk about infrastructure, this president's broken promises. he promised us a bunch of building of bridges and roads and rail and doing something
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about royal broadband. these people haven't felt it our farmers, those soybean farmers that are having their soybeans mount up in the bins out there. the trade war, the effect it's had on people, we got to an $891 billion trade deficit where he's treating these farmers like poker chips in one of his bankruptcy proceedings i'm taking it right to where he won to areas in wisconsin, in areas in pennsylvania, and i'm going to keep doing this because, yes, it's about the early states where i think you're going to see me rising up and doing quite well we're gaining endorsements all the time but it's also about these blue wall states that we have to win. as i said at the debate, i don't want to be the president for half of america, i want to be the president for all america, and i want to bring these people with me. >> when you're in michigan, will you be meeting with the striking auto workers at the gm plants, and do you support their strike? >> of course i will.
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i don't think you can go to michigan and not meet with them right now. here they are, we've seen some really hefty profits the gm has brought in, and yet the workers, so many of them in temporary status, so many of them not sharing profits, health care issues, there's all kind of things you have to be able to have shared prosperity, not only with that company but really across america. and that's why i favor increasing the minimum wage and why we have to do something about antitrust enforcement. that was the subject of the hearing that i co-chaired today. there has to be more balance here in our economy so everyone will share in the prosperity and that is something that donald trump has not delivered for these people that he made all these promises to. all he's done lately when it comes to the economy is whine. and people don't want a whiner in the white house they want someone that's going to bring people together, change the tone and move this country forward. and that's where i come in and what i've been talking about
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since the moment i announced in the middle of that blizzard. >> we all remember that shot in the middle of the blizzard presidential candidate, senator amy klobuchar, thank you very much for joining us tonight. please come back >> thank you thanks for having me on, lawrence coming up, we have breaking news secretary of state mike pompeo is now on his way to saudi arabia for meetings with the saudi government about the attack on saudi oil facilities last weekend and votes are being counted at this moment in the election in israel tonight where it is still too close to call. the "new york times" calling roger cohen, an expert of all the matters in the middle east, will join us next. humira patients, you inspire us.
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to leave your psoriasis symptoms behind. ask your doctor for ilumya today, for a clearer tomorrow. tomorrow secretary of state mike pompeo is traveling to saudi arabia to meet with the minister of saudi arabia as the secretary of state makes his way to saudi arabia, it is electi -- the election in israel tonight at this point is too close to call, benjamin netanyahu trying to hold onto his position as prime minister joining us now is roger cohen, an opinion columnist from the "new york times" with his opinion on israel and saudi arabia let's start with saudi arabia. i know with discussions in the middle east, we'll cross borders on every part of these subjects. pompeo is on the way there what do you make of the trump administration response so far
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grant and granting and putting aside the fact the president's tweets were idiotic. tweets aside, the behavior and what they've actually done so far. >> i think the behavior has been all over the place, and i think secretary pompeo is waiting fo big mass he held iran personally responsible for the attack, then the president was less invasive, and then he said we'll do whatever saudi arabia wants us to do, which is a first for the united states and the military then you've the houthis claiming responsibility they're 500 miles away and how they get a drone to do this precision attack, i don't know and the saudis, they've been pretty restrained. they're not calling for an all-out attack, so it's a very confused response, and it's unclear what will happen i personally do not think we're about to go to war with iran >> why >> well, first of all, the
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president knows that his base does not want war. he became president saying he wanted to get the united states out of foreign wars. he's been trying in a very messy fashion to get the united states out of afghanistan that didn't pan out too well, or hasn't yet so on the eve of the u.n. general assembly, for the united states to start bumming around, bumming oil facilities, bumming nuclear facilities, i don't know what iran is a big, serious country in the middle east it's got a very ugly regime, but it's a complex country that's little understood, i think and to embark on something like that would just seem way too risky and really contrary to what this president, for all his words, actually wants to do. >> are you surprised by the election results tonight in israel which are not quite results yet. >> well, lawrence, i'm kind of a little encouraged as a long-time
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critic of prime minister netanyahu. he was desperate before the election he was saying he was going to annex the jordan valley, he was going to annex all the settlements, he was inciting hatred of the israeli population of israel, that's 20% of the population despite that, he has no rightle a right wing coalition which could accomplish any chance of a constitution he is facing possible indictment it looks like benny gantz's movement party could have more votes at which netanyahu would maybe turn to gantz and ask him to form a government i'm encouraged but it's too early to say >> is the lack of a mandate for netanyahu scandal fatigue,
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fatigue within the administration >> i think it's both those things he first became prime minister in 1996, and these possible indictments possibly as early as october are hanging over him for corruption fraud and other charges. israel is divided, and prime minister netanyahu has basically said, if i'm reelected, i am going to set this country family on a course of one state, then how does his role remain jewish and democratic into one state? i think all the israelis are thinking carefully about that and they seem to have said, we're not ready for such a radical step >> mr. cohen, thank you very much for joining us. i really appreciate it when we come back, a new msnbc news investigation into the dangers of massive gas production in texas. this is important reporting from cal perry.
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he recently returned from texas where he was investigating the impacts of a controversial practice of burning off natural gas known as flaring cal, what did you find >> lawrence, the president is playing a new note in his rallies, his speeches, whatever you want to call them and that is american energy independence and american power america is about to surpass saudi arabia as the next one exporter of oil in the world we went to west texas to find out what's going on. the president is only telling the american people part of the story. >> reporter: this is what it looks like to be number one. >> the united states has tremendous wealth. the wealth is under its feet we are now the number one energy producer in the world. >> reporter: and this is what that smells like. >> i guess it's a little rotten
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egg smell. it's really putrid and horrible and you can't breathe. >> makes you dizzy it's making me dizzy. >> it will affect your eyes, it will give you a headache and it can kill you. >> people report the rotten egg smell, the hydrogen sulfide smell, if you smell it, you should move away. >> reporter: some res dens are already moving away, citing health concerns, including sue and jim franklin. >> why did you move to fort davis? >> to get away from the wells, all the stink and the stench and smelling all that. >> reporter: that smell is the toxic air being emitted from the energy platforms through a process called flaring, burning the natural gas off as well as sites that are just leaking. some say this is dystopian landscape is slowly poisoning west texas. >> there was a situation down in the area where we were a lot of the gas and oil wells were leaking and sue got very sick from
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fumes. >> reporter: so this is what they were living with. >> right, surrounded, they were surrounded and the tanks are venting a perfuse amount this flare is just blasting hydrocarbon gases into the air. >> reporter: sharon wilson is a certified gas imaging -- simply put she takes $100,000 infrared camera around the country to monitor methane and other emissions. >> these emissions are invisible to the naked eye if the public could see this there would be no fracking boom. >> reporter: the air pollutants exceed nationally mandated standards. a recent study found methane trapped heat at a rate more than 80 times that of co 2, accounting for a quarter of current global warming but this is texas, a state where the energy companies tell the
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regulators how much they are polluting. >> when they flare that gas, when they burn that off it releases a lot of sulfur dioxide. it's a dangerous pollutant we've got this massive air quality problem. and the state of texas and the epa are just not monitoring out there. the reason they're not monitoring is because their formulas are dependent on population >> reporter: the permian basin is 86,000 square miles, extending from texas into new mexico, bigger than the state of kansas. there'sing on one functioning sulfur dioxide air monitor in the entire texas portion, it's right here in big spring. >> one of the two state regulators in charge of the tceq, texas commission on environmental quality declined to be interviewed on camera for this story but the agency, the texas railroad commission, did sit down with us. >> well, if you are an american
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out there and you say, look, energy costs are a big deal to me i'm filling my gas tank up or paying my electricity bill energy prices are one of the big things hitting my budget if i don't let people flare the cost goes up dramatically. >> reporter: it's the most profitable oil field in the world. changing economics for the entire country but at the same time it's incredibly wasteful. more gas is flared off here into the air than it would take to power all the residential houses in texas. >> it's very important, i think, for consumers to understand that any energy source produced at scale is going to have an environmental impact so that's a factor that we need to -- needs to be a part of the conversation. >> i want everybody to see this. so the oil and gas industry has been lying to the public for over a decade. they're saying that natural gas is a clean energy. you can see it's not and until they stop expanding and drastically reduce their
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emissions we will keep on this rapid warming trend. >> you can divide everybody involved in this into two categories, those who will engage with the public, and those who will not including in those who will not, unfortunately the regulatory agency supposed to be looking out for everybody. they sent out this pamphlet. it's useless shows you which end the flame comes out. and it's an indication of how much respect the agencies have for journalism in the age of trump. those who do want to talk about this, ryan sitten from the railroad commission and shell, shell says to nbc news in response "shell remains committed to achieving our target of maintaining methane emissions below 0.2% shell's u.s. assets will continue to contribute to the global target. while the law may change in this instance our environmental commitments will stand so another very strange place
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we've reached where big oil is more concerned about the environment than the executive branch. >> something similar in the auto industry on the emissions issue. call perry, great reporting. that's tonight's last word "the 11th hour" with brian williams starts now. tonight the preponderate on a rare visit to the west coast, his agenda remains undecided, pressure on him now because of his own words on iran. then there's the u.s. senate, a rare late shift tonight on the subject of guns. plus corey lewandowski goes to capitol hill claiming executive privilege having never worked in the white house. he made the democrats angry but that's as far as it went and the new numbers out from the nbc news poll. a measurable shift toward a candidate who has chosen hand to hand and photo to photo combat out in the wild. as the 11th hour gets under way on a tuesday night

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