tv Weekends With Alex Witt MSNBC September 21, 2019 9:00am-11:00am PDT
s. if we can't offer you faster speed or better savings than your current internet service, we'll give you 300 dollars for your time. call now to get your comcast business 10 minute advantage. comcast business. beyond fast. that's our show for today. "a.m. joy" will be back tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. eastern. up next, alex witt with latest, who is also giving me restaurant tips. >> it's the commercial break that are the most interesting to us, but i'll get you an email with all of that. good day to you, joy, and all of you out there. thank you so much. of course, you're watching msnbc here from the world headquarters in new york. high noon in the east, 9:00 a.m. in the west. welcome, everyone, to "weekends with alex witt." whistle-blower firestorm. the president lashing out after new information surfaces. >> a phone call that critics say could become an abuse of power. >> on july 25th, there's this
phone call between trump and the ukrainian president. >> i think this is beyond just a phone call. >> this is going to be a common thread line that we're going to be talking about. >> it doesn't matter what i discussed. i can say that it was a totally appropriate conversation. it was actually a beautiful conversation. >> inside the complaint. how could the whistle-blower have gotten access to a president's phone call. insight this hour from a former intelligence officer. also among the 2020 contenders, who's the next one out? well, new nbc reporting on a memo to senator cory booker's campaign staff. plus, back to the beach, a cleanup mission bringing attention to a worldwide problem. but new today, the president lashing out after explosive reporting that he pressured the president of ukraine to investigate the son of former vice president joe biden. the president this morning tweeting a highly edited video of biden. the style is similar to a video he previously tweeted to attack biden. trump also repeatedly accusing the media of not reporting about hunter biden's business dealings in ukraine.
but national news outlets indeed have reported about hunter working for a ukrainian gas company. this all comes as the "wall street journal" reports that in july, president trump urged the ukrainian leader about eight times to investigate hunter biden, according to people familiar with the matter. a source tells the "journal" it does not appear the president offered anything in return, but the same month after that call, the administration did block aid to ukraine until just last week. joe biden is calling for the president to release the transcript of his call, and here's the president yesterday. >> do you know the identity -- >> i don't know the identity of the whistle-blower. i just hear it's a partisan person, meaning it comes out from another party. but i don't have any idea, but i can say that it was a totally appropriate conversation. it was actually a beautiful conversation. >> did you discuss joe biden, his son, or his family with the -- >> it doesn't matter what i discussed, but i will say this, somebody ought to look into joe biden's statement, because it was disgraceful.
>> nbc white house correspondent kelly o'donnell is joining us with more on all this. kelly, clearly, the president there, he's defending, deflecting on his story. so, what happens now? >> reporter: well, there are a couple different tracts tracks on this. right now the president's at his golf club in virginia and he seems to be the chief defender in his administration, talking about this issue. and by that, i mean officials here -- and we've been working this hard over the last couple of days, have not been talking to us in any meaningful way about what comes next, what steps they might take. we know democrats on capitol hill in particular are pushing hard to get access to these secret document, this formal complaint from an intelligence official that's going through the process that concern the inspector general for the intelligence community. so, could the details of that move through congress in a way that may become at least known to congress and then maybe by extension known to the public? and certainly, joe biden is calling on the president to
release the transcript or notes of the call with ukraine. and so, there are these different pressure points. what president trump is doing is using twitter to now sort of fashion a new defense and a new media campaign, if you will, that sounds very familiar to things we've all lived through before. we've heard him use witch hunt in past instances of controversy and investigation, and now he is doing that again, referring to this as the ukraine witch hunt, saying that democrats and the media have failed in attempts in the past to land a blow that was successful in hurting the president, so now they're trying again. that's the president's point of view on this. if we take the big-picture view, what is this about? if the president used the office of the presidency and sort of the apparatus of government to try to pressure a newly elected president from a smaller and arguably very vulnerable country, ukraine, to do something that would help the president for his own political purposes, finding out information about the bidens,
biden being a potential political rival, that could be viewed as an abuse of power. there's also this dimension of the u.s. military aid for ukraine, which has now been released, but at the time, that was still a question mark. now, the reporting that has been done by "the new york times" and the "wall street journal," not confirmed by nbc news, is that that military aid was not discussed in this call. at the same time, would that have somehow been implicit in this conversation or a part of the relationship between president trump and president selenski of ukraine? we don't know, but is that part of this? that is part of what needs to be investigated, that needs to be dealt with. if there was an abuse here, how would that be dealt with? certainly, the administration will likely argue that these calls are part of a classified nature, it's executive branch business. we'll have to see what happens with this. the other part of this is that the president is trying to muddy up joe biden by raising issues
about his conduct as vice president overseeing obama foreign policy on ukraine when his son, hunter, was, in fact, doing business in ukraine. at the time, people said that was a conflict of interest. no wrongdoing was found, but the president's trying to shine a light on that and remind people of those business interactions. alex? >> a very comprehensive reporting on a very complicated story. thank you so much, kelly, for that. joining me now is former fbi assistant director for counterintelligence and nbc news national security contributor frank figliasi. the president is calling this, quote, the ukraine witch hunt. but on the face of what we know, what is your interpretation of this complaint, given all of your intelligence experience? >> i look at this through two lenses. one is through the criminal laws they might be looking at here that are in play, and the second is through the counterintelligence lens. so let's quickly look at both. the conduct that's alleged
against the president squarely fits a very popular, very highly used federal corruption statute that basically says this -- if you're a public official and you're seeking something of value in return for a promise of an official act by you, you've violated the law. so, the thing of value would be seeking an investigation of your political opponent, biden or his son. the public -- the official act you could hand them in return for that personal favor would be $250 million in military aid. it doesn't have to be a direct cited quid pro quo. it could be inferred. it could be implied by trump and inferred by the ukrainian. so that's a criminal problem that the president's facing. now let's look at the general counterintelligence problem. when you seek that kind of personal favor from a foreign leader, you are essentially
handing him a means to compromise you. so, i hear a lot of talk about, well, who would have known, who would be in the room, who knows the content of this conversation? well, it's translators, it's aides, it's people in the intelligence community listening to the foreign leader. but let's not forget one of the key people who knows exactly what happened in that conversation, and that's the president of ukraine. at any time now, the president of ukraine, because he now owns our president, can come out and give us the dirt, the details, the skinny on a law that the president may have violated. that's precisely why you can't do this kind of thing with a foreign leader. >> one more detail to drill down on, and that being that even if there is no quid pro quo, there's no allegation of withholding money -- take money out of all of this. if the president is using the office -- the oval office, to dig up dirt on a potential opponent, how does that play out
criminally speaking? >> first, the statute i'm referring to, title 18 of the u.s. code, actually says it could be direct or indirect. so alex, if i've got the ability to give you a ton of cash, and you know that, and i say, alex, i need you to do me a personal favor -- you can infer that that favor is tied to me giving you that cash. and it doesn't have to be direct. and plenty of public officials throughout the united states have been convicted for corruption simply because of an indirect inference or implication. >> okay. i want to take a look at this. earlier, a former fbi double agent, navid jamali, had a different take on the complaint, saying that this person may have been concerned that they were being asked to break a law. take a listen. >> i think this is beyond just the phone calls. i think most likely there was a follow-up action or actions that were meant to reinforce this
push to get ukraine to help him. i don't think the person saw the transcript of the phone call or was in the room with the president. rather, it's more likely they were involved in the subsequent action. this could be something as simple as this person got this order -- they were ordered to act on this specific thing, and they were concerned about breaking the law. but i think that it was also much more practical, which is, they probably didn't want to go to jail. >> look, and i'm reminded that, you remember, rex tillerson came out after he left office saying that part of the consternation between he and the president was that he pushed back when he said the president asked him to do things that were breaking the law. so, put all of this together, what you know about this kind of a scenario. you have investigated leaks. how does this play out for you? >> well, we've got to get to the bottom of this, and we can't rely on leaks and certain or the yea reporters getting certain tidbits of information. this needs to be explored and it's likely this could end up in
a criminal investigation. i've publicly stated that this whistle-blower has about a week to decide whether or not the acting dni's going to do the right thing and give the full substance of this to congress. if that doesn't happen, alex, i believe this whistle-blower can go to the fbi and say i believe i'm part of a violation of law. i've witnessed it or been asked to be a part of it. and that gets the whistle-blower out from under any concern that he's going to be -- he or she's going to be attacked for giving up classified because they're giving it to the fbi. so i think that's one out here. i also think this is very strong evidence of another reason to move forward with impeachment proceedings. we can't rely on the attorney general here to do the right thing, but clearly, this whistle-blower's trying to do the right thing, may have witnessed a crime. i also, by the way, think rudy giuliani is heavily exposed here. we keep hearing about executive privilege. well, remember this, giuliani is the private attorney for the president. that's not executive privilege. it could be attorney/client privilege, but that doesn't
apply to violations of the law. so, giuliani's heavily exposed here. he knows it. the whistle-blower may be exposed, but he or she did the right thing. we need to look at others who are not doing the right thing, call them to testify, get them to tell us what they know. >> here's an interesting angle, though, put out by the "washington post" in a new article, which writes that the president and the public disclosures have become routine and "on the implicit theory that the president's alleged offenses can't be that serious if he commits them in full public view." why does this matter? why is it a danger to national security? >> well, first of all, the president doesn't get half of the national security implications of what he does, and i think this is exhibit "a." he thinks this is totally appropriate. he's said repeatedly, it was a beautiful conversation, totally appropriate. i'm telling you that right now the president of ukraine owns this president. he could come out and tell us exactly whether this president did something inappropriate or not. we don't want our president in that shape.
the other thing is he totally ignores the advice and counsel of the intelligence community and gets into these traps. so, we have a president who's simply established repeatedly that he is compromisable, and it takes us right back to the russian allegation of, you know, we all were scratching our heads, saying, could he be compromised? how could that have happened? we've just watched this play out in the example of ukraine. he could owe something to the russians. he may have asked them to do him a personal favor. and we're seeing the evidence in plain sight and no one seems to be making those connections. >> thus the effort to get that transcript. okay. frank figliuzzi, thank you. always great to see you. john harwood, editor at large and melanie, welcome to you both. john, now that the "wall street journal" report's out and it suggested that the president asked the ukrainian president eight times about the biden investigation, what do you think would still be left in a whistle-blower report? >> well, the actual contents of
the conversation. as you indicated in your conversation with frank, we know some things about the substance of the whistle-blower complaint. some people have reported that there was not a quid pro quo suggested on the call, but we don't know that. and of course, the president says it was perfectly fine and appropriate. if that is the case, the obvious answer is to release the transcript or tape of the call. the president and his legal team, both the doj and the white house counsel, are resisting that. the only conclusion you can draw from that is that it was not appropriate, that it was not a pitch-perfect call, as the president says, and anyone with common sense can see that it is grossly inappropriate for an american president to ask a foreign power to damage one of his opponents. that's not ambiguous. it's not a witch hunt. it is a simple matter of right
and wrong, and the president's on the wrong side of it. >> so, look, melanie, it all started with a whistle-blower complaint here, and now we're getting the number of times the president reportedly pressed ukraine, that being eight, about biden with this investigation. my question is how did all this information materialize so quickly? >> well, reporting in the press, for one, is how we're learning about a lot of this information. but democrats are still really struggling to dig deep and to get more details about this whistle-blower complaint. i mean, they're trying to subpoena it, but they're not getting any luck there. they had a briefing behind closed doors thursday with the intelligence community's inspector general, and he wasn't able to provide details. and i don't think a public hearing next week with the acting dni is going to produce many results, either. so, the options are limited for democrats. they can either sue and try to get this matter resolved in court, but that could take who knows how long. they've also threatened to withhold funding from the office of the dni, which is another
potential path. but what you're seeing is democrats are growing increasingly restless and frustrated with the administration's stone-walling, and it really feels like we're potentially at an inflection point here. i think you're not only going to see pro-impeachment, more democrats join the pro-impeachment camp, but i think you're going to see some of those democrats who are already there on impeachment start to go more aggressively to try to force some action on this issue. >> mm-hmm. of everything we know about this whistle-blower story, john, what parts are generally believed to be the most egregious? >> the content of the phone call. and not only that, but the fact that the phone call came a day after robert mueller testified before the congress. his testimony was seen by many people as not advancing the ball beyond what was already known, sort of in effect signaling the demise of the mueller investigation and its reverberations in congress, and
the president felt emboldened enough to do, on this telephone call, precisely what he had disclaimed having done with russia, that is to say, collusion. if you ask a new head of state, if you're the most powerful man in the world, the elected president of the united states, you ask a new head of state to assist you in sullying a political opponent, that is soliciting collusion. it's not just responding to incoming, that's asking for it yourself. if your personal lawyer, rudy giuliani, is going over there asking for it, openly asking for it, the president's doing things right out in the open that he was investigated for with respect to russia and claimed he didn't do. >> you have the acting director of national intelligence, melanie, who's agreed to testify on thursday before the house panel. he, of course, the one who has refused to relay to congress, as required by law, this whistle-blower complaint. does congress expect to learn
anything new? >> i don't think they're expecting to actually learn about what's in the complaint, but what i've heard from democrats who are on this committee is that they want to really grill him about what direction he received from the white house in this. they want to know what role there was. in fact, the "washington post" just reported either this morning or yesterday that the white house counsel was more involved than previously known in directing them not to turn over this information. so, perhaps they could get some details there. but as i mentioned before, at the end of the day, this trump administration has been stone-walling the oversight efforts, and it's paid off for them. they haven't paid any political repercussions for going through this. in fact, it's been a very effective strategy for them, so i don't expect them to change course at this point. >> speaking of strategy, john, the president today's already tweeted a campaign-like ads, and that includes the media reports about hunter biden's ties to ukraine and clips of the former vice president. we're looking at it there. has the president already put democrats on defense mode? i mean, how should the party,
how should joe biden respond? >> well, i wouldn't presume to say how joe biden should respond. we know that he has said that people have looked into his role and that there is no evidence that he as vice president did anything wrong. that's not to say that hunter biden was not working as an influence peddler. of course, he was. he's trying to surf on his father's name and reputation for his career. we know that. but if joe biden himself is not involved in that, if he didn't take any actions, if his urging of the firing of that prosecutor was unconnected to his son's work and his son's exposure or the son's company's exposure, that's not really on joe biden. that's a -- influence peddling is a very common issue in washington for many people connected to powerful people. but i think, you know, this is
something for the house democrats, where they're all going to have to say, we see what we see, what are we going to do about it? right now, nancy pelosi is shying away for political reasons from moving ahead on impeachment. that's going to get harder to do. >> okay, john, melanie, good to see you both and having this conversation. thank you so much. >> thank you. let's go to iowa. we've been talking about joe biden. let's go to our nbc road warrior vaughn millard. you're there at the stake fry and joe biden is expected to be there any moment. is he within your sight now? is he there? i think he's here. >> reporter: you're watching joe biden. he just met up -- a drum line just greeted joe biden. this is the iowa steak fry. thousands of folks here four months from the iowa caucus and you've got 17 democratic presidential candidates and i think you're looking at a live shot of joe biden. he was just greeted by a couple hundred of his supporters as well as a drum line here. he is about to talk with reporters here and i think you probably have a better shot from our colleague's camera right now. joe biden is in front of a fire
truck. essentially, you have the 17 democratic presidential candidates that are all descending here on des moines. this is the big kickoff here heading into these final four months. we're going to take a listen here into joe biden here. >> how do you plan to address similar issue voters who are pro-life? >> who are pro-life? well, they should have an open mind about making sure that people have an opportunity to make their own judgments. there are a lot of decent, honorable people who have a different view than they do, and i think they should have the right to be able to have the access to what the supreme court has allowed. >> mr. biden -- >> who are pro-life? >> yes. >> well, i'm going to say, they should have an open mind about making sure that people have an opportunity to make their own judgments. there are a lot of decent, honorable people who have a different view than they do, and i think they should have a right to be able to have the access to what the supreme court has allowed. >> mr. vice president, how many times have you ever spoken to your son about his overseas business dealings? >> i've never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings.
>> and so, how do you know -- >> here's what i know, i know trump deserves to be investigated. he is violating every basic norm of a president. you should be asking him the question, why is he on the phone with a foreign leader trying to intimidate a foreign leader, if that's what happened? that appears to have happened. you should be looking at trump. trump's doing this because he knows i'll beat him like a drum and he's using the abuse of power and every element of the presidency to try to do something to smear me. >> should he be -- >> everybody looked at this and everybody's looked at it said there's nothing there. ask the right question. >> mr. biden, if you've never spoken to your son -- >> should he be impeached for this? >> depending on what the house finds, he could be impeached, but i'm not making that judgment now. the house should investigate it. the house should investigate this. this appears to be an overwhelming abuse of power. to get on the phone with a foreign leader who is looking for help from the united states
and ask about me and imply things -- if that's what happened -- that appears to be what happened -- we know that's what giuliani did. this is outrageous. you have never seen anything like this from any president. >> is this a preview of the general -- >> one of your concerns was about your family being brought into this race. are you comfortable running a campaign -- >> i know what i'm up against. i know what i'm up against, a serial abuser. that's what this guy is. he on buicabuses power anywhere can, and if he sees any threat to his staying in power, he'll do whatever he has to do. but this crosses the line. >> sir -- >> this crosses the line. i'm calling the president to release the transcript of the call, let everybody hear what it is. let the house see it and see what he did. that's what i'm calling on. >> thank you so much! thank you, guys! we've got to go! thank you. right this way. >> i think i've got you guys here. >> yeah. >> so, you just heard joe biden
here. he just arrived to the polk county steak fry here in iowa to give you the idea, there are 17 presidential candidates descending on here. usually this is very much of a celebratory event, kind of like the iowa state fair just last month in which was coming off a couple days after that el paso shooting. again, very serious allegations that are coming out of washington, d.c. and while this is usually a celebratory event, as you just heard joe biden talk about there and saying that the whistle-blower's allegations need to go forward to congress, that the director of national intelligence needs to turn over not only the whistle-blower's complaint, but the white house also needs to turn over the transcript of the president's call with that foreign leader that the whistle-blower is alleging a complaint about. you just heard not only that taking place, but also saudi arabia and united states deploying military to saudi arabia. again, i can't -- it's hard to describe this moment here when you've got 17 candidates, you've got very much of a celebratory
activists on the ground, thousands of people that are descending on des moines, but this is no ordinary political season here in iowa. and all of these candidates are going to be talking from the stage, and i think that we'll be paying attention through the afternoon to see whether the message you just heard from joe biden is a similar message that they're delivering to the thousands of folks here in iowa. >> yeah, listen, vaughn it was extraordinary, the president -- i mean, the vice president, rather, former vice president, he responded at first with a blanket statement saying that he has never spoken to his son, hunter, about any sort of business dealings overseas. i mean, he did that, and then it all got to the attack mode on the president and trying to hold him accountable for the actions that he says are criminal in content. >> reporter: and pushing back. and you just heard, he was defiant that, as he said, the wrong question is being asked and that folks should not follow this rabbit hole of president trump or rudy giuliani about these allegations and that this puts into people's minds, essentially, a false narrative about his own family's relations
with a foreign nation, saying that that is not the path that folks in the press, quite frankly, should be following him down, saying that the question should be focused clearly on president trump and his conversations with a foreign leader and the director of national intelligence refusing to turn over a whistle-blower complaint, which by law he is supposed to do, to the intelligence committees of the senate and the house. you just heard the vice president very defiant about what the question and what the focus of this conversation should be. >> okay. vaughn, thank you very much for that from the steak fry there in iowa. we appreciate it. and by vaughn's description and all of you looking at this video and seeing the live event right now, as he said, boisterous. it's an energy drumming up, potentially, also they get more money, people start donating because they feel emboldened and empowered by the candidate that they're supporting there. there is an issue about money right now. alex siteswald has been reporting from washington and will join us now.
alex, i want to ask about your reporting regarding cory booker and his campaign, but first, respond to what we heard from joe biden, very emphatically and definitively saying that he had never spoken with his son about any of this is overseas business dealings and going on to say that the proper question to be asked right now is what this president has done, and basically he needs to be investigated. >> right. i think this is a strong statement from joe biden, and i'm sure lots of reporters and others are now going to dig into it and see that is accurate and if it holds up. i think what he's really trying to avoid here is a kind of hillary clinton email situation with some question of a scandal, whether there's anything of substance there or not, just that the question of it is hanging over him. so he's trying to blot it out immediately and turn it around, back on trump and say this is not an issue about him and his son, but it's really an issue about the white house and the abuse of power and we'll see what happens on capitol hill to advance those questions. >> we've got to wonder how effective he'll be to turn this around, because we know that there's already a trump campaign
ad or campaign-like ad it's being described of that's out there. it's raising questions and talking about the media coverage that existed about hunter biden and his dealings being, i believe serving on the board of a company that was ukrainian. >> right. and as john harwood said earlier, i think it's not really in doubt whether hunter biden did try to use his father's name. this is not uncommon in politics, unfortunately. but whether anything untoward happened is a totally different matter. and trump, who has faced many ethical questions of his own i think is trying to muddy the waters here and say that the candidate who at the moment is leading the 2020 field is the most likely at the moment to be his opponent has his own issues which would really go against -- joe biden, say what you will about him, he has a perception of being authentic, of being honest. so if trump can try to get into that, tarnish that reputation, that could politically be advantageous for him. >> yeah. can i also ask you about whew
originally wanted to talk to you about your reporting about an internal booker campaign memo that talking about a beleaguered state of finances within the campaign? what do you know about all this? >> yeah, alex. so, cory booker's campaign manager this morning sent a memo to staff and supporters painting a pretty bleak picture of the campaign's finances. he's obviously struggled to get ahead, about 2% in our most recent nbc news/"wall street journal" poll. and what he's saying is if they don't raise another $1.7 million by the end of this quarter, which is ten days from now, booker might have to drop out of the race. and he's very blunt about this. they're definitely trying to use this to raise money, without a doubt, but it's a desperate move. it's a hail mary, a healthy coffer and campaign doesn't say they're going to have to drop out of the race in the next ten days. >> right. there are some -- i guess they could say he's using this to try to drum up money, but that's not the kind of image you want. how much are we talking about? >> they're saying $1.7 million, which would be a big goal for
him in the last ten days of the previous two quarters, me raised $1 million in the first quarter and $1.4 million in the second, which included the debate. so, this would be more than he has in the past. basically what they're saying in this memo is that the campaign is at an inflection point right now, that it's not good enough to just continue at the pace that campaigns have been going. they need to build out ahead of iowa and new hampshire next year and that booker doesn't have the money to do it, and in fact, they argue that only four campaigns have the money to do that, that the top four, joe biden, bernie sanders, elizabeth warren, and pete buttigieg, who raised more money than anyone else last quarter, and they're saying cory booker doesn't want to stay in the race just for the sake of staying in the race, so he's going to kind of use the next ten days as a trial period to see if people want him to stay in, and if not, he might quit. and i think a lot of democrats have been watching this race, they've been watching this enormous field and they've been expecting that they'll have a lot of choices come february in the iowa caucuses, and i think what this memo is warning and what i've heard from my
reporting from talking to other campaigns is that may not be the case, that a lot of these campaigns are really facing some tough questions right now. >> all right. well, you were certainly the first on this story and reporting, so well done, alex seitz-wald. thank you for joining me. >> thanks. the president versus the golden state. why california is suing the white house and it has to do with climate change. the white house and it has to do with climate change. plants capture co2. what if other kinds of plants captured it too? if these industrial plants had technology that captured carbon like trees we could help lower emissions. carbon capture is important technology - and experts agree. that's why we're working on ways to improve it. so plants... can be a little more... like plants.
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today, divers in santa monica are joining hundreds of thousands of volunteers around the world hitting the beach to fight against ocean trash. let's go right now to darsha phillips with knbc, joining us from the santa monica pier on a beautiful saturday in southern california. what are you seeing there, the efforts to make that region even more beautiful by cleaning it up, right? >> reporter: absolutely, alex. we are seeing 1,000 to 2,000 volunteers in santa monica helping clean up the beaches, parks, creeks and oceans here in this area, and we see a lot of folks picking up trash on the beaches. we've also seen some divers go into the water and get debris out of the water. this is one big piece of plastic that they were able to pull out of the ocean just moments ago. this was brought out by a diver. so, this is a lot of the trash
and debris that we're seeing in our oceans and on our beaches. we're also seeing, again, dozens of volunteers picking up trash with trash bags and buckets, really trying to clean up the area here. now, this is really part of a much larger event, coastal cleanup day is all about millions of people coming together across several countries to help clean up our oceans and parks and our creeks. now, if you do not have the ability to do that today, you can actually do that on a website called free the ocean. and we spoke to the founder of free the ocean. she's here as a volunteer. and here's what she had to say. >> it's really affecting everyone, whether we realize it or not. people, our planet, marine life, it's having a detrimental impact. and the issue can seem really daunting, and i believe people want to be a part of the solution. you know, i'm 23 and just seeing like this younger generation coming up and caring so much about it, because i think they
realize more than anyone, like, that we need to do something about this. >> reporter: now, all the data and the debris is going to be collected today and also give folks some information about how they can make some choices on everyday life about trash and debris. we'll send it back to you guys. >> and i'll take it. it's a very worthwhile effort there. thank you so much, darsha phillips. developing this hour, california's leading a lawsuit against the trump administration, part of an attempt to stop the white house from revoking the state's authority to set stricter rules on greenhouse gas emissions for cars and trucks. joining me is california representative norma torres. welcome to you, ma'am. glad to have you to talk about this. can you outline to the viewers the details of this legal back-and-forth between california and the white house in terms of what it's all about and the ramifications to california's efforts to combat climate change, if the white house wins in court? >> this is critical for
california. we are in the midst of ensuring that we are able to continue to legislate on behalf -- and on behalf of the best interests of our constituents living here, and it is real. climate change has impacted every part of our state of california, and we have joined 22 other states have joined with us in telling the white house, in telling president trump that it is unacceptable for him to go back into a policy that was written in 1970. and president obama has allowed states like california to regulate for themselves. in my district alone, we have some of the worst air quality in the state of california. we can't control which way the wind is blowing, but we certainly could control how we behave and how we treat our constituents here and how we address this growing issue.
>> and in essence, aren't the automakers more in line with what california wants to do? they're taking a more comprehensive approach and looking at the carbon emissions and the like. i mean, they're the ones who are also setting standards that are syncing up with what california and these 23 other states are doing. >> automakers are not simply responding to what california is demanding of them. automakers are responding to the consumers. the consumers that are demanding better. the consumers that understand that polluting cars, and that we have to address this issue because it is impacting, number one, our health, it is impacting our food supply, and it is impacting our future generations. what kind of world are we going to leave behind for my children, for my grandchildren and great grandchildren? so, you know, this notion that we are antibusiness because of the legislations that we are putting forward -- no.
california is responding to its consumers. it is responding to its constituents. >> so, we have california governor gavin newsom who shared this about the legal battle. let's listen. >> really political. pure politics. and it's disgraceful politics. and unless he can get them to back off on the voluntary agreements, then they're going to go with the higher standards. trump will lose. >> look, the president's taking on the state of california on multiple fronts. that includes targeting the homelessness that he did this week during his trip there in southern california. is this about politics and issues, or do california democrats feel there's something personal about all of this, given that california is a state that goes democratic? >> we all know that president trump doesn't care about anyone but himself, his own ego. he is now looking at the homelessness issues not only in california but in other states that have resisted his
convoluted policies of trying to allow for, you know, big business to continue to pollute our communities and has failed to address many of the growing issues in our communities. if he truly wants to address the issue of homelessness, if he truly wants to help us build the quality housing, the affordable housing that we need, not just here in california, but across the country, then we would be dealing with those issues, we would be funding affordable housing projects, like we would be fully funding a cdbg budgets for our communities, but yet, that is exactly what he's cutting because he doesn't want to address this issue. what he wants is to continue to be this ongoing negative issues against our community so that he can get re-elected, so that he
can continue to be the president that has these unethical issues and continues to violate the rule of law. we see right through it. >> i want to ask you your perspective on this particular issue, because you have a unique one on gun violence. you are the only former 911 dispatcher now serving in congress. so, given your firsthand experience, how could your bill -- it is the multiple firearm sales reporting modernization act -- how might that help reduce gun violence in our country? >> the fact that gun violence and mass shootings continues to be a growing problem in our community, this summer alone was the bloodiest summer in america with 46 mass shootings across the united states. we need to ensure that everyone who buys two or more long guns -- and that includes ak-47s and ar-15s -- that those gun
sales are reported. and currently, that is not the law. you can go and buy, you know, three ak-47s, and that information does not currently have to be reported. >> so, that's what you will address with this. california representative norma torres from, thank you for joining me. >> thank you. whistle-blower fallout. the timeline of the situation and why it could make a big difference in 2020. and why it c difference in 2020 s the lexus r. as many safety features as the rx, the new... the lexus rx has met its match. if they're talking about you... you must be doing something right. experience the style, craftsmanship, and technology that have made the rx the leading luxury suv of all time. lease the 2019 rx 350 for $399 a month for 36 months. experience amazing at your lexus dealer. man 1 vo: proof of less joint pain woman 1 oc: this is my body of proof.
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trump's doing this because he knows i'll beat him like a drum, and he's using the abuse of power and every element of the presidency to try to do something to smear me. everybody looked at this and everybody's looked at it and said there's nothing there. >> former vice president joe biden moments ago unleashing on president trump. and joining me now is danielle moody mills, host of woke af on sirius xm and host of the democracy podcast, francesco desoto at lbj's school of public affairs and republican strategist rick tyler and msnbc political analyst. with a welcome to you all, danielle, i'll let you respond first to what you heard the former vice president say there and we should say that that followed his statement that he, when queeried, said that he had never spoken with his son, hunter, about any of his overseas business dealings. >> look, we know that, first of all, that trump is a liar.
we know that he is incredibly dubious, that he has used foreign interference before in our elections and that he will do that again. he has said so. he said it on abc with stephanopoulos. so, this is not news in the way that it is, oh, are we surprised that trump is doing this. and i think that joe biden's response is good. it's a forceful one. him saying that he's going to beat trump like a drum. according to the polls, they're saying it too, but i think biden's camp needs to make sure that they remind the american people that donald trump is not to be trusted, that he has used foreign interference before, that is against the law, and he needs to continue to do that. because what is going to happen is that this story is going to meld together with biden and trump, and voters are going to be like, hmm, did he do something wrong? should we trust him? should we just stick with the devil we know? and that's going to be the job that his camp needs to pay attention to. >> is this something you, victoria, agree with, that you think the biden campaign's looking at this like we have to go on the attack? because it's clear the president
is going on the attack, having already created a campaign-style ad that's out there highlighting all this in the media coverage of hunter biden. >> all right, so i have a slightly different take. i think that while this is a huge deal for our democracy, the fact that there's a lack of respect for our institutions and our rules, and this is how democracies fall apart -- that's the big picture -- in terms of the actual horse race, i don't see this affecting biden that much. he has shown to be a tough long candidate throughout the campaign. he's had lackluster debate performances. he, you know, he continues with gaffes. it's just, you know, he's not the biden we saw in 2016. nevertheless, he keeps that strong positioning in the polls. continued to be after this last debate. so, i don't think it's going to hurt him much. and recently, axelrod came out and said, this could potentially boost joe biden because folks are seeing that trump is really scared of joe biden because he thinks he can beat him, so he's throwing whatever he can at joe
biden, which makes folks most confident that he is the democrat to beat trump. so, you know, my crystal balling here, i think it slides off of biden. >> do you agree with that, rick? how would you advise -- i know you're a republican, but how would you advise joe biden to handle this? i mean, if he's being put a bit on the ropes, so to speak, how should he handle this to be most effective? >> i think he should handle it the way he handled it, that is he's pushing back on it, but it also reinforces his message, i'm the candidate that is most likely to beat donald trump, beat him like a drum is what he said. and this -- i agree, this reinforces that message. it's his strongest message. but look, they have to understand, this isn't that complicated to understand -- hunter biden worked for a company, a gas company that was owned by a ukrainian oligarch. that oligarch was an officer in viktor yanukovych -- he was the corrupt russian former prime minister who was ousted and
thrown back into russia. it was paul manafort who worked foran kovich, for which now, because of his dealings in ukraine, he's now serving a seven-year sentence. but the timeline doesn't even match up. when biden was trying to throw out the prosecutor -- his name is victor shokan -- in the ukraine, right, he was trying to throw him out not because he was aggressively investigating corruption. he was thrown out because he wasn't investigating corruption from the previous administration, and that happened a year after the case against the russian oligarch of which biden's son worked for. that happened a year before that case had been closed. so, what trump is now asking the president to do -- who, by the way, was elected on an anticorruption platform -- is to be corrupt and to open a
ukrainian federal investigation against biden for which there have been no investigations. >> okay. let's bring in a legal mind now to the conversation, former assistant u.s. attorney for the southern district of new york, that being msnbc legal contributor mimi roca. mimi, with a welcome to you. so, all that's being reported here, if it is accurate, does all of this, these actions by the president, does that violate criminal federal law? because i want to remind folks about nbc national security analyst jeremy bash. he outlined three underlying concerns here, or crimes. let's listen to what he said. >> i see three crimes here. one is extortion by the president, which is basically using a threat, a threat of withholding aid to obtain something of value. his second crime is conspiracy to engage in extortion between the president and rudy giuliani. and a third crime is conspiracy to violate federal election law between the president and rudy
giuliani to obtain foreign interference in the united states election. >> extortion, conspiracy to engage in extortion, and violating federal election law. do you agree with all those premises? >> i doalex, and i would add one to that, which is federal bribery. here, trump essentially was trying to get the ukrainian president to bribe him, give him information about his political opponent in exchange for aid to the country. so, that is soliciting a bribe. and you know, look, we can get into this more. obviously, this is my area of expertise, whether something violates federal criminal laws, but i do worry that we're going down a path that we went down with the mueller investigation, because for the president of the united states, that is not the standard. i think rudy giuliani should be investigated. i don't know if this department of justice is independent enough to do that. he is a private citizen, though. he can be prosecuted. the president we know cannot be
prosecuted, but this is something that congress must take action on now. and one other point with respect to what you were saying in the prior conversation with the other panelists. you know, this isn't about what joe biden's son did or didn't do. there are avenues to investigate united states citizens through a process known as mutual legal assistance treaties. the department of justice does it all the time. if there is reason for a u.s. citizen to be investigated and the aid of another country is needed, there are proper channels to do that through, and they don't include the president of the united states calling up the leader of another country and demanding it in exchange for foreign aid. i think we're going down a rabbit hole there. >> let me ask you, though. you bring up this fourth point that you believe a crime has been committed potentially on bribery. if the specifics of withholding money was not addressed in the phone call on july 25th between the president and the ukrainian
president, is that still bribery? >>er and here's why. most -- you know, any bribery case, extortion case that i was involved in as a prosecutor -- and most will tell you this -- that as not how they do. it they don't say in one conversation, if you do this, you know, i will give you money, or if you don't do this, i am going to hurt you. i mean, frankly, this is very moblike. it's all tied together, and that was made clear to ukraine. it doesn't have to be in one conversation. it is clear that the review of the aid to ukraine was tied to whether or not they complied with this. it can be an implicit quid pro quo. i think here it's pretty explicit. just because it's not explicitly said in the same phone conversations with trump and the leader of the ukraine, it is clear that the two were tied together. so, i think, absolutely, you could make that case that there was a clear quid pro quo here. >> and what kind of hot water could rudy giuliani be in for
having gone over, and potentially at the president's behest, have these conversations with the ukrainian president and leadership? >> i mean, look, to my eyes, the case against rudy giuliani for all of these crimes that we're discussing is quite clear. i mean, particularly, the campaign finance violations. he is beyond familiar with those. i mean, he just spent two years arguing why trump didn't violate them. and now here they are soliciting aid from a foreign country to get information on a political opponent. and he's acting as trump's lawyer, especially working for his campaign. i mean, there's no attorney/client privilege here. there's, you know, there's just no governmental privilege here. i mean, he is acting as a personal representative of the president's with respect to his campaign. and i think he's also liable for conspiracy with respect to
bribery and extortion. i'm not saying it's an open-and-shut case right now here today, but boy, if i were a prosecutor working for an independent department of justice right now, i would want that case. i would want to investigate it, and i think you could really bring strong charges. >> i think all four of you guys for weighing in on all this. mimi, victoria, danielle, rick. thank you so much, guys. >> thank you. the potential fallout from the -- politically, that is -- from the whistle-blower controversy for president trump and for possibly joe biden. that's all ahead. d for possiblyn that's all ahead award winning interface. ♪ ♪ award winning design. ♪ ♪ award winning engine. ♪ ♪ the volvo xc90. our most awarded luxury suv. ♪ ♪
whistle-blower frenzy. the president on the attack with joe besiiden in the past hour fighting back. >> i know i am up against a serial abuser. that's what this guy is. he abuses power everywhere he can and if he sees any threat to his staying in power, he'll do whatever he has to do, but this crosses the line. >> also biden and other 2020 dems are descending on iowa right now. why today's gathering is a big deal. plus, race and policing. five years after eric garner's death, how policing needs to change. reverend al sharpton will join me this hour. good day, everyone, from msnbc world headquarters here in new york, welcome to "weekends with alex witt." we have breaking news this hour. just a few minutes ago, former vice president joe biden decried in very strong terms president trump for attacking him and his son. biden reacting after three national media outlets reported that president trump pressed the president of ukraine to
investigate biden's son. biden says he never spoke with his son, hunter, about his business dealings in ukraine. the former vice president also wants the transcript of the president's july 25th call to be released. listen to biden's strong words just in this last hour. >> trump deserves to be investigated. he is violating every basic norm of a president. you should be asking him the question, why is he on the phone with a foreign leader trying to intimidate a foreign leader, if that's what happened? that appears to be what happened. you should be looking at trump. trump's doing this because he knows i'll beat him like a drum, and he's using the abuse of power and every element of the presidency to try to do something to smear me. this appears to be an overwhelming abuse of power. to get on the phone with a foreign leader, who is looking for help from the united states, and ask about me and imply things -- if that's what
happened -- that appears to be what happened -- we know that's what giuliani did. this is outrageous. a serial abuser. that's what this guy is. he abuses power everywhere he can, and if he sees any threat to his staying in power, he'll do whatever he has to do. but this crosses the line. >> from iowa there. to the white house now and nbc's hans nichols. hans, where do things go from here? >> reporter: well, the president is renewing his call for the media to investigate joe biden. when you listen carefully to what the white house, and importantly, what the president's own lawyer's saying, they're not explicitly denying this. they're saying that this is fake news. but what they really want to do is shift the attention and shift conversation to this idea that joe biden intervened on behalf of his son when there's a corruption project, a corruption probe going in taking place in ukraine back in 2016. this is classic muddying of the waters from president donald trump. he clearly wants to distract and deflect attention. you look at his twitter feed
this morning. that's what he's focusing on. that's what he's pressing on. it's a version of what he said yesterday in the oval office. >> do you know the identity -- >> i don't know the identity of the whistle-blower. i just hear it's a partisan person, meaning it comes out from another party, but i don't have any idea, but i can say that it was a totally appropriate conversation. it was actually a beautiful conversation. >> did you discuss joe biden, his son, or his family with the leader of ukraine? >> it doesn't matter what i discussed, but i will say this, somebody ought to look into joe biden's statement because it was disgraceful. >> reporter: now the question is, will the president release the transcript or some sort of readout of that call? it happened in late july when ukraine clearly had a lot to benefit from the united states at the time. the u.s. had suspended some $250 million in military aid. and that wasn't reported until later in august, but clearly, there are things the ukrainian government wanted from the u.s., and mr. trump, according to the
"wall street journal," asked eight times to cooperate with his lawyer, rudy giuliani, and look into what was happening in ukraine as it relates to joe biden's son, hunter biden there. so, we're at the beginning of this story. we don't know where it's going to end up, and we've only heard from the president through twitter. we still haven't heard from him on camera today, but joe biden clearly angered and clearly going on the offense. alex? >> quite clearly so. hans nichols from the white house. thank you for that. joining me now, california representative john garamendi. w welcome back to the broadcast, sir. i know you heard the strong reaction from joe biden. in fact, we saw you through the camera nodding your head to that. what is your take to his response? >> he's doing exactly what should be done and what congress should also be doing. we need to push back on this president. this president's conduct is absolutely outrageous, most of it is illegal. quite probablied it engage in extort i extorting the new president, selenski, of ukraine, eight
times. he did -- you notice the president didn't deny that he had said those things. we want the tapes. we want the information. we want to end the stone-calling that has gone on, and biden is absolutely correct to go right back at this president, punch back at him, because it is, in fact, the president of the united states that is outrageous in his activities. he is a serious abuser, just as the vice president said. >> so, when we heard the president say in his own words, when queried, it doesn't matter what i discuss, i imagine you probably vehemently disagree with that? >> well, in fact, it does matter exactly what he discussed. but what's important about that statement is that he didn't deny that he did say, one time, eight times, whatever number of times, asking the president of ukraine to investigate biden. that, at the same time, knowing that the president of ukraine, knowing that the president of the united states has within his
power $250 million of very necessary military aid to ukraine, so that ukraine can push back on putin. once again, we're back to putin, aren't we? >> yeah, well, look, i know you're traveling to ukraine next week. >> that's correct. >> what is it that you are going to do there? what are the questions you're going to be asking? to whom will you be asking those questions about all of this? >> well, when we started this two months ago to go to ukraine, we were going to look into the use of the american money, $250 million to support the ukraine military. is it enough? is it the proper equipment that they need? that's why we were going there. we were going to visit the ukraine military and the appropriate ministers. obviously, things have changed in the last week and a half, as we are now looking at a situation that is way, way beyond the military, although $250 million, and perhaps another $140 million is involved here. we're going to meet, hopefully, with the appropriate ministers.
i've requested a meeting with the president, mr. zielinski, and we'll discuss ukraine's future. ukraine needs to have the support of the united states to push back against putin. we know putin took over crimea. know that putin's little, green men are still operating in eastern ukraine. and we have a president that apparently, apparently is using leverage that he has available to him, withholding funds or promising additional funds to try to get an investigation under way. that is illegal. that is wrong. that is corruption. >> if you get that meeting with president zelenskiy or have a phone call with him, are you going to ask him what exactly transpired on that july 25th phone call? >> i'm sure we'll have many, many questions. i'd rather not answer your question right now. it may lead to no meeting at all. but we have a series of
fundamental issues to talk to the president about, specifically about continuing united states aid to ukraine so that they can push back on putin. that's the reason for the trip. that's why we want to be there. by the time we get to kiev to talk to the ministers, and hopefully the president, this issue may very well have been resolved one way or the other. >> look, one of your capitol hill colleagues, that being senator chris murphy, tweeted this -- "a few weeks ago in ukraine, i met with president zelenskiy and we discussed the surprise cutoff of aid and the inappropriate demands the trump campaign was making of him. the obvious question everyone in kiev was asking was, were these two things connected?" would you like this answered as well? >> of course i would. and i suspect in the next two weeks, we'll be getting some additional information. specifically, we need the whistle whistle-blower's information. we need to end the stone-walling
that this president has put around everything and every investigation that congress has undertaken -- >> but congressman, to that effect, what can congress do in this regard to hold the president accountable, that they haven't already tried to do? >> well, i think there's one thing we should have done with that judiciary committee hearing, and speaker pelosi said it. that is to bang the gavel down and hold in contempt the president ooze fo president's former campaign manager, and we do have the ability to throw him in jail. we haven't used it for perhaps a century, but congress can apprehend a witness or someone who is in contempt to congress and throw him into the congressional jail. and i think we should have done that. and we need to be strong. we need to be bold. and we need to get away from all this lawyering and use the power that we have within our own article one of the constitution,
and that is to investigate and to hold in contempt, and literally hold in our congressional prison, and we have one, those who are in contempt. >> i do want to ask you about the escalating tensions with iran, because it's certainly a hot-button topic here with the president having weighed in on his options to responding to an attack on that saudi oil facility a week ago. the u.s. has certainly blamed iran for this. let's take a listen. >> and again, kept working. and at the last second, his fastball -- >> parents understand that we're studying -- system, and it's going to be at the highest level of sanctions. it's too bad what's happening with iran. it's going to hell. they're doing poor ly poorly. they're practically broke. they are broke. and they could solve the problem very easily. all they have to do is store with the terror. >> and just want to clarify for our viewers, we had a little bit of a technical difficulty at the time.
the president said we have just sanctioned the iranian national bank. they may not have heard that. so, that is the right move at this time? and aside from more sanctions and deploying more troops, any other actions that can be taken? would sdploediplomacy be a viab option? >> certainly. these are not the first sanctions. there are previous sanctions. keeping ramping those up is good. the issue of diplomacy is front and center here. the jcpoa, which was put in place to deal with the iran nuclear situation, involved allies, european allies, and people that we don't normally work with, china and russia, all together to end, temporarily, for the next decade, perhaps for the next 20 years or so, the iran nuclear armament situation. trump pushed all that aside and divorced us from our allies that
work together now. can we get those allies back together? we really cannot do -- we really should not do anything more militarily in that area unless we have our allies with us. we do work with the saudi arabians and with the uae in that area, but that is not a sufficient number of allies to deal with iran and to put the kind of economic pressure on iran to force them to deal with the issues of terrorism in the area, the support that they have for the houthis and for hezbollah and others in the region. >> congressman, i do want to ask you about whether or not this president is violating the emoluments clause. and we'll go to this detail. according to the pentagon documents released, the u.s. military spent nearly $200,000 at the president's scottish resort after he was elected, between the years of 2017 and 2019, this year. the last time you were on my show, you said you were going to look into these reported issues surrounding trump's turnbury resort. so, what have you learned?
>> well, we've learned that there is much more here. we did learn about that $184,000 or nearly $200,000. that did come from the meetings that i had with the united states air force. i have demanded that they provide additional information. we're working with the oversight committee in the house of representatives together to gather up the necessary information, including specific receipts that the military has to have in order to pay the per diem that these airmen have collected as a result of staying at the resort. we've also asked for information for every other trump-owned facility around the world. i suspect that it is not only tu turnberry, in which the u.s. military has participated or has sent their people. it is a clear violation of the article two emoluments clause which says very, very clearly that the president of the united
states can only receive his salary, nothing more, from the united states government or from the states of the union. it's absolutely clear. however, it's equally clear that the president has received taxpayer money from the united states government through the military, and the outrage is that the justice department tends to spend $30,000 at the trump international hotel here in washington, d.c., in direct violation of the emoluments clause, the article two emoluments clause. and we could also add the article one emoluments clause which deals with foreign governments patronizing the president's own hotels and facilities around the world. and then if you want to add one on top of that, what the president has suggested, that the next g7 meeting take place
at his facility in florida. all of these are direct violations of the emoluments, and in my opinion are reasons for impeachment. >> congressman john garamendi, you certainly have a lot on your plate right now that you're tackli tackling. >> very busy. >> safe travels to ukraine. come back and let us know how things went. >> i'll do that. thank you. trump's tactics. next, how the president's using a familiar playbook to refute the whistle-blower allegations. and later, justin trudeau blames his place of privilege for his racist faces of the past, but is that any excuse? reverend al sharpton will weigh in on that pretty soon. reverend al sharpton will weigh in on that pretty soon humira patients, you inspire us.
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do you know the identity of the -- >> i don't know the identity of a whistle-blower. i just hear it's a partisan person, meaning it comes out from another party. but i don't have any idea. >> more reaction from the president to the whistle-blower complaint story. joining me is sima mata with the "los angeles times" and bob s z kluzak from "the hill." what do we know about the whistle-blower and how does the president know he or she is partisan, coming from another party? >> that's a good question. we don't know a lot of information about the whistle-blower, but they have filed a formal complaint but the justice department has not turned this over to congress like they're supposed to, so there are a lot of questions. we're seeing the president use the issue to further this story that he's trying to sort of get
out there of joe biden and his son and ukraine without getting into details about what he did when talking to the president of ukraine. >> in terms of what he did, bob, former fbi double agent naveed jamali had a different take on this complaint, saying this whistle-blower may have just been concerned that they were being asked to break the law. here's what he said, naveed. here it is. >> i think this is beyond just the phone calls. i think most likely there was a follow-up action or actions that were meant to reinforce this push to get ukraine to help him. i don't think that the person saw the transcript of the phone call, was in the room with the president, rather, i think it's more likely that they were involved in actually the subsequent action. this could be something as simple as this person got this order, they were ordered to act on this specific thing, and they were concerned about breaking the law. but i think it was also much more practical, which was they probably didn't want it go to jail. >> how plausible is this? what are your thoughts on this? >> i think it's an interesting
point that it may not be somebody in the room, because if it's somebody in the room, that is somebody that is obviously probably close to trump, probably not a partisan, probably partisan to trump, but then it could be somebody who was, as he said, just arranging some type of deal. the thing here is, in order to get the smoking gun, you have to have, okay, are you going to reopen this investigation of the bidens and connecting it to the $250 million in military aid to the ukraine. there has to be that connection, not just an eye wink. i mean, that's what democrats want and they're frustrated that he can't get information. >> a connect, bob, in forms of a transcript from the call, right? i mean -- >> yes. >> that's the only thing that really can do this effectively. >> yes. yes, that's right. and democrats, and obviously, the administration is not giving it. now, the one thing -- michael atkinson -- this is a trump-appointed inspector general. if you look at his -- i was looking at his questionnaire he filled out to the senate before he was confirmed. he is a strong proponent of congressional oversight. he is not part of the republican club. he worked in the department of justice. he has found this credible.
and the thing is, the interesting thing is, we were finding out more through leaks. so, someone is leaking out this information. it's interesting. >> hey, guys, hold on just a moment. we're going to take everyone to the steak fry in iowa. that is because vaughn hillyard has got cory booker there just strolling along behind you. what's the latest there, vaughn? >> reporter: yeah, welcome to the scene here. we're heading into the polk county steak fry, alex. 17 of the democratic presidential candidates are going to be here, including this one, senator cory booker. >> how are you? >> reporter: good, thank you. you've got a few hundred folks here behind you. >> yes. >> reporter: what is the importance of this moment here? tell me, your campaign just released a memo earlier today. tell us, what are the stakes of these next two weeks for your campaign? >> well, for us, this is it. we have built a campaign here that is clearly winning. in iowa, we have more endorsements than any other campaign, from state legislatures, local electors, activists. we have done more with less than the four best financed campaigns, but the fourth quarter is when you've got to grow, grow or get out.
and we are not in this for an ego exercise. this is not a vanity play. i'm in this to win the nomination and beat donald trump. and so, if you believe in my campaign, if you believe in my voice being on this stage, this is a determining moment for us. we either are going to reach our $1.7 million to stay in this race or we're going to have to make tough decisions. >> reporter: $1.7 million by the end of this month? >> yes, yes. >> reporter: i've got to ask you out of the white house, all of this as the fanfare of this democratic race is going on, at the same time, very serious conversations are taking place in washington, d.c. when you see the whistle-blower complaint that has now made its way to congress, what is your message to the whistle-blower and what does congress need to do? >> we want transparency and accountability. this president has been doing time and time again things that are the equivalent of moral vandalism against our founding ideals and the constitution of the united states of america. if this whistle-blower has come forward with, it's potentially explosive, it's a potential
betrayal of our values and serious, serious misconduct, misconduct greater than anything i've seen in my lifetime. and so, we need to know the truth. we need to know the truth. and so, i'm asking, i'm demanding as a united states senator for the truth to come out. >> reporter: thank you, senator. >> actually, vaughn, go back one more time -- >> reporter: cory booker is making his way -- >> i wanted to see if you could ask him, although i know he's taken away. i was going to ask you ask him what he can do within the senate to try to get a hold of that transcript on july 25, the conversation between the president of the united states and the president of ukraine. it seems everything is contingent upon getting that transcript, so i just wanted to ask him what he was going to be able to try to get a hold of that. but i think the moment is passed because he's gone to another reporter there. >> reporter: it's a little hard to hear you, alex. i think you were asking about the transcript which i know that we're going to get the chance to talk with senator booker on that, and i know he's also doing an interview with reverend al sharpton later on.
those are important conversations that we'll ask him as well as the other candidates as they make their way in. >> good job, vaughn hillyard. sorry for throwing you a curveball. we have sima and bob stull with us as well. look, the president says this conversation with the ukrainian president was beautiful and there's no there there, according to the president. so, why not release the transcript? >> i think that's the point that democrats are making. it's also -- i mean, the president often describes his communications with world leaders as beautiful, including kim jong-un from north korea, the letters. so, this is part of an ongoing way of describing his relationships, but yeah, that's exactly the point democrats are making, which is, release the transcript and then we'll knoe exactly what was said and what wasn't said. >> yeah. acting director of national intelligence, bob, has agreed to testify on thursday before the house panel. and of course, he's the one who refused to relay to congress -- by the way, as required by law -- the whistle-blower complaint in the first place. any expectation that congress will learn anything new from this testimony? >> i would expect a grilling,
but i don't think this administration is going to change its views, that it doesn't have to fork over this. and adam schiff, the chairman of the house intelligence committee, he is contemplating a lawsuit. i mean, democrats on capitol hill are so frustrated because they want to complete their investigations and nancy pelosi wants to talk about agenda going into 2020. she doesn't want to talk about impeachment. that didn't win her back the speaker's gavel. but they can't because they have to do their oversight, and then they get stone-walling from the administration, and then they have to go to court. and everything is being decided by the court. and now adam schiff may go to court to get information that the administration's not giving on this. >> all right. bob cusack and sima met hdi, thk you. and sthu for sticking around during the break. still ahead, the effort to stop police misconduct and get justice for victims. how their families are taking the fight to capitol hill and what they want to accomplish. e what they want to accomplish ♪
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say no to juul, no to big tobacco, no to prop c. a new push for congress to pass laws to curb police misconduct came before the house judiciary committee this week. among those making the case for reform was gwen carr, the mother of eric garner, killed during an arrest for selling loose cigarettes in july 2014, as he told officers he couldn't
breathe. she spoke about how the fight for justice affected her family with more recent deaths of her granddaughter and husband. >> how come no one was held accountable? the entire family is traumatized. each and every time we enter the courtroom or watch the officer responsible for my son's death get a pay raise or hear the department of justice saying they're not going to seek charges, or what the officer who is the commanding officer of the person who was on the scene when my son was murdered, said it was not a big deal that eric laid on the ground doa. >> joining me now, reverend al sharpton, who also testified, and who i might add was sitting at the right hand of gwen carr as she was making that testify, offering your support. you helped put all this together. first of all, tell me the
reception. how did you feel that the testimony was received there on capitol hill? >> i thought that the judiciary committee took it very seriously, and i felt that it was necessary to, after the police officer that choked eric garner to death, holding this locked position, even though garner said 11 times, "i can't breathe" -- i thought after we had finally gotten him fired -- this took five years. federal government wouldn't indict. local authorities -- >> only happened like a month ago. >> and that we went to washington and asked the judiciary committee to have hearings because we want to see legislation where choke holds are illegal on a federal level. there's a responsibility, alex, now, i think, for the federal government, after all of these cases, from ferguson to baltimore to tamir rice in cleveland, for federal law to be made on how do we deal with this, because this will protect policemen from all being smeared
as bad cops and it would protect the community. the outcome of the civil rights movement in the '60s was civil rights act, '64, voting rights act, '65. the outcome of all of this must lead to legislation, and i thought it was a big step that we started on the other day. >> you know what's interesting, too, we listened to what the five years have been like for gwen carr and her family. and we don't often revisit victims and/or their families and what happened in their life preceding it and also what's happened in the aftermath. what do you hope was accomplished on that front? what might this do to help people deal with these traumas and tragedies? >> i wanted the american public to see, these are human beings. gwen carr and her daughter daughter-in-law, granddaughter who died, you saw the widow, the daughter-in-law. these are human beings who lost their son, their husband, his
children, emerald and the others. these are not activists. she has become an activist because of what happened. and sometimes i think people say, well, there's al sharpton and there's the naacp. we step back and i say, no, look at this mother and explain to her, congress, why there is a law not stopping this from it happening again. and i thought she was very effective in that, because this means, people look at this and say, well, this could be me. this could be anybody. and you've got to put a human face on it. i remember from those that raised me in the civil rights movement that rosa parks who sat in the front of the bus that caused the whole movement around desegregating of public transportation, was the perfect person because of her demeanor, because she just was the victim. people looked and said, this frail-looking woman is a threat? and sometimes, you've got to put the families out there and say, fine, you can have whatever opinion you want of me, but
explain to this mother why her husband's dead now and her grandchild, and she feels all stress because they dnlz get any justice, watching that tape over and over again of the policemen choking her son. >> i'm sure gwen carr is grateful that she came to you, the national founder network and you've been part and partial in lockstep bringing her story to the forefront, both to the country conversation and there on capitol hill. i want to talk with you about one of the other day's big stories, because you're a new yorker. you know two ultimate new yorkers, those being donald trump and rudy giuliani. relative to the whole whistle-blower debacle, if you will, what's your take on all of this? >> i think you've got to realize donald trump is a guy who rose to prominence cutting deals over real estate, and he is a deal-maker. he was never in public service, elected or unelected. he's a deal-maker.
so, when we hear people say, he's talking to a head of state and possibly what it was, was trying to get him to make a deal to do something in terms of investigating and work with his lawyer, rudy giuliani, to smear the son of his potential opponent, it sounds in the corridor of what donald trump would possibly do. now, we'll see if it's confirmed. but as the one that's seen him over the years, him making a deal like that is not at all surprising or shocking to anybody in new york. >> not unreasonable. >> now, what was a little surprising was rudy giuliani's interview the other night where he inside of one minute said he didn't do something and turned around and said he did it. now, usually he takes five minutes to contradict himself, not one minute. >> i was going to ask you, you're surprised by that? but the rudy giuliani that's been affiliated with this administration has done this repeatedly and gotten into hot
water with the president sometimes. >> he's actually not bound to where the next question he says the opposite of what he did. but many of us in new york tried to tell people that had exalted him, this was the kind of person he was all along. you've got to remember, he led marches that turned into violence here in new york when dave dinkins -- and i'm not saying he did it, but he certainly spoke when dave dinkins was mayor. so i mean, we've always had these disagreements with rudy giulia giuliani. now the country's seeing, maybe they weren't that crazy when they were questioning him. >> justin trudeau, the blackface, three pictures surfaced, i think a fourth is coming out there. your thoughts on this. is it just sheer stupidity, a lack of understanding about the implication? i mean, what is this about? >> i think that, clearly, it is some deep-seeded insensitivity that is really harboring bigotry. it's one thing to say something that people could say, well, that was off color, that was
wrong and you say, well, i didn't mean it that way. but you deliberately put on black or brownface. you think about that. that is no impromptu reaction to something. and for him to feel over a period of time -- we're not talking about one time -- that this was all right means that he finds no problem with mocking people, whether they be black or brown. >> do you think there is a different perception, though, of that in the country of canada? they do not have the history of slavery that we have and grappled with for a couple of hundred years in this country. is it different up there? >> i think that he is going to have to convince the voters. he has an opportunity before the october 21st election. and when you look at the fact that many of the minority voters, particularly around the toronto area, voted for him, that come from the united states and come from the islands where slavery was, this is nothing short of mocking people's skin
color. and i think that no matter where you are in the world, it would be you mocking them. and i think that it's very difficult for anyone to look serious -- he's supposed to be this great liberal, inclusive guy. he never came out with this until it was revealed. he could have preempted it earlier when he ran before and said, let me tell you, i've had to get over some things. i've said things i wish i hadn't said. a lot of things they're saying i never said, but you come out and you put it out there, you own it so you can help other people understand it. >> get ahead of the story. >> he did another do that. >> yeah. well, we're going to remind everyone right now what you're doing at 5:00 today, which is appearing on your show, of course, reverend al. founder and president of national action network and also host, star of "politicsnation" 5:00 p.m. weekends. and cory booker is on your show. >> he will be a guest at 5:00 hour. i'm very anxious to ask him about the state of his campaign because we hear there was a note sent around saying they need to raise almost $2 million in ten
days or he's out, which sounds really something i need to ask senator booker about. >> that's a tall order. we'll look forward to that, appointment tv. thanks, rev. >> thank you, alex. president trump lashing out at democrats after a whistle-blower complaint against him. how it could end up being destructive for both the president and his opponent in 2020. both the presidenant d his opponent in 2020 as a struggling actor, i need all the breaks that i can get. at liberty butchemel... cut. liberty mu... line? cut. liberty mutual customizes your car insurance so you only pay for what you need. cut. liberty m... am i allowed to riff? what if i come out of the water? liberty biberty... cut. we'll dub it. liberty mutual customizes your car insurance so you only pay for what you need. only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪ ♪ ♪ award winning interface. ♪ ♪ award winning design. ♪ ♪
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top democrats blasting the president as demands for action and for answers grow louder. >> trump's doing this because he knows i'll beat him like a drum, and he's using the abuse of power and every element of the presidency to try to do something to smear me. >> donald trump appears to be collaborating with foreign governments to attack america's democracy. he clearly doesn't get the job of what it means to be president of the united states. >> this is extremely disturbing. it really raises so many questions about what is happening, what they're trying to hide and why. >> it's time for congress to step up and begin serious impeachment proceedings against this man. >> joining me now is policy strategist alaina beverly. she worked in the obama administration. peter everson, and political columnist amy holmes, former speech writer for senate majority leader bill frist. with a welcome to all of you,
peter, first your reaction to joe biden, going on a tear there in iowa. it happened in the last hour. he also said that he never spoke with his son about his overseas business dealings. so, how pivotal is all of this going to be heading into 2020? look, all the democrats, clearly, they're going toe to toe with the president. >> well, beat him like a drum is music to my ears. finally a democrat standing up with passion and anger and just saying what every american who is opposed to this unlawful presidency is saying -- we've got to beat it. and so, consequently, up until biden said that, even those quotes from the other candidates are feeling like we're going up against darth vader and valdemort with knives, biodegradable knives because they break at the slightest pressure. i believe biden, vis-a-vis his son, doesn't compare to the president of the united states and his children running around the world cutting deals. so, there is nothing more
beautiful, as trump likes to say, than treason by a sitting president and a disgraced former mayor who's his attorney. >> are there any concerns, alaina, that the president's attacks could be damaging to biden? >> there is a school of thought that by virtue of the fact that vice president joe biden's name will be mentioned in this controversy over and over again by trump, and frankly, that this is going to be a sound bite war, because that's how trump launches his fights -- he does it in sound bite form to capture the attention of voters. i think, though, voters are going to see through this. i think they're going to see this for what it is, which is trump's election limbo, that there is no -- he cannot go lower. how low can you go? there is nothing that is too low for donald trump in terms of attacking joe biden's family and so on. and i think that voters will also see this as a clear demonstration that joe biden is perceived as the threat to
donald trump, that donald trump sees the fight with joe biden as being the one where he has a possibility of losing the election in 2020. >> you know, i want to ask you that, amy. do you think it's more evidence of that sentiment? biden says the president is panicking about running against him. do you agree? >> well, there's a saying in washington that you're only as big as your biggest enemy. and so, for joe biden to be, you know, the target of president trump means that he is, you know, at least in trump's perspective, the top-tier candidate. but look, "the new york times," politico, you know, not just a school of thought, are reporting that this could be a real double-edged sword that democrats, and particularly biden supporters might not want to grip too lightly, lest they get cut as well, whilst we're throwing around metaphors here. the other candidates could be benefiting from this, that they get to kill two birds, biden and trump, with one ukrainian stone, by saying let's get to the bottom of this! let's have a full hearing, a full airing of what this is all about in terms of joe biden,
what donald trump was trying to do to investigate him or put heat on him. that's not great news for joe biden. and one last thing. we also have the vice president on video, on tape -- i watched it -- speaking at the council of foreign relations, talking about how he put pressure on the ukraine government to try to drop this prosecution. and we know that video goes a lot further in trying to per situate the public than tweets. >> peter, do you want to comment on this? >> i think she's got a very good point. and one thing we're missing in all this is, of course, joe biden's opponents. this is a huge opportunity. there's some little blood in the water now, and consequently, to think that democrats are just going to sit by and support joe biden against the president is unlike that. i mean, just this morning, joe kennedy, the congressman, announced against a stalwart of the democratic party, ed markey in massachusetts. so, democrats love to eat each other up. >> is that what you see happening, alaina? >> you know, i actually think that everyone needs to rise
above in this moment and stop focusing on biden and focus on what trump has done, because this is evidence that our elections are vulnerable. this demonstrates exactly what special counsel robert said, that there are systematic efforts to undermine our elections, that those systematic efforts are ongoing and now the allegation is donald trump is undermining our election. it is time for congress to act. >> thank you both for joining us. good to see you. going back to the beach. a cleanup mission bringing attention to a worldwide problem. ♪
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new this hour, volunteers in santa monica making progress at an international beach cleanup. tracking that progress for us now, darsha phillips from knbc in los angeles. as i understand it, mostly it's focused on extracting this trash and plastics from the water there behind you. right? >> reporter: absolutely, alex. plastic, a huge deal here on our beaches, and in our oceans, because they have the most negative impact on human life
and marine life. the stuff just does not break down. we have seen so much plastic come off the beaches and in the water. we've had divers go in to the water and come out with large bag fulls of trash. also we've seen things like plates come out of the ocean as well as scooters. all sorts of trash and debris coming out of the ocean. now, also, this trash isn't just going to be thrown away at the end of the day. it's going to be analyzed. all the data compiled to give us a bigger snapshot of the problem, and this is a worldwide event. it's going to be millions of people across several countries picking up trash on beaches, in parks, in rivers and creeks. now, if i want to give you an idea what we're picking up here in santa monica, 1,000 to 2,000 volunteers picking up buckets of trash like this one here filled with plastics, straws, plastic bags. so this just gives you an idea
how much trash we still have out here in santa monica on just this little stretch of the beach. send it back to you. >> kills me, the ones you see, like, those plastic rings that will hold together, say, a six pack of soda, and those are the ones that fish get caught up within those rings. i volunteered years ago at the monterey bay aquarium and northern california and learned people have to cut those things up and throw those i way responsibly. you see those, the worst. all bad, but glad people are doing the efforts behind you. thank you so much from santa monica beach there. up next, the potential political fallout from the whistle-blower controversy and possibly for joe biden. every day, visionaries are creating the future.
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we have hit top of the hour which means i'm out of time. i'm alex witt. my colleague is taking over. great share a studio. take it away. >> you as well. appreciate it. in today for kendis gibson. alison morris. and president trump using twitter to respond to the call for impeachment. former vice president joe biden says he won't be intimidated by president trump's ukraine claims against him and his family. >> abuse of power in every element of the presidency to try to do something to smear me. everybody looked at this and everybody's looked at it says there's no there. ask thri