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tv   MSNBC Live With Katy Tur  MSNBC  September 26, 2019 11:00am-12:00pm PDT

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happened, but they are trying their best not to get dragged in to a political fight in the united states but it seems like they have been dragged into one anyway. >> richard, good to see you. thank you for hustling to get on air for us, richard engel in kiev. i'm going to see you back here at 3:00 p.m. eastern. i leave you in the trusted hands of katy tur. >> thank you very much. a lot to get to. good afternoon. 11:00 out west and 2:00 p.m. in the east where we begin with a question, what if there was no whistleblower? if there was no whistleblower the white house would not have been compelled to release the notes of mr. trump's call with the president of ukraine. we would not have seen for ourselves the president ask zelensky for a, quote, favor to investigate his political rivals. and arguably interfere in the 2020 election. the whistleblower's complaint indicates there was already a discussion ongoing with the white house lawyers about how to
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treat the call because of the likelihood that they had witnessed the president abuse his office for personal gain. if the whistleblower did not come forward, we would also not know the white house then allegedly attempted to cover up details of the call by moving the transcript to a separate system, a system used to store and handled classified information. according to the whistleblower, a stand-alone computer system reserved for code word level intelligence such as covert action. after that, the whistleblower was not promptly handed over to congress, the complaint that is, as is law. and house democrats tried to figure out why. >> sir, let me repeat my question, did you ever speaks to the president about this complaint? >> my conversations with the president, because i am the director of national intelligence, are privileged. >> you are not directed to withhold the complaint, is that
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your testimony? >> yes, that is absolutely true. >> you exercised your discretion to withhold the complaint from the committee? >> i did not, sir. what i did was i delayed it because it did not meet the statutorily definition of urgent concern. >> that cannot be -- that cannot be an ultimate shield against transparency. it can't be an ultimate shield against accountability. the president is not above the law. >> many republicans appeared unconcerned. congressman devin nunes warned the acting dni to watch what he says and called the new -- the report, excuse me, the new steele dossier. congressman mel brooks tweeted out a picture of feces. the allegations are serious. republican senators mitt romney and ben sasse have said as much, so did congressman will hurd and mike turner. the complaint says the president not only tried to get a foreign government to interfere in the 2020 election while he was president, but also that his
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white house tried to cover it up and that has also happened before. according to white house officials spoke with this was not the first time under this administration that a presidential transcript was placed into this code word level system solely for the purpose of protecting politically sensitive rather than national security sensitive information. so again, we ask, what if there was no whistleblower? joining me, covering capitol hill, msnbc correspondent garrett headacaike, "washington" and msnbc karen lentic and former assistant director for congressional affairs at the fbi, greg brouwer. folks before we dive in take a look at what the president is saying now and how he's defending himself. this was him moments ago at andrews. >> what these guys are doing, democrats, are doing to this
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country is a disgrace and it shouldn't be allowed. there should be a way of stopping it, maybe legally through the courts. >> the president wants to stop impeachment. we just went through our interpretation of the whistleblower complaint. did we get anything wrong or is that basically the substance of it? the president was asking, according to the whistleblower, a foreign government to try to interfere in the 2020 election on his behalf? >> you didn't get anything wrong, katy. i think there's many two things i would underscore about this complaint. we wrote the gist of it last night and we broke some of the early stories that capture it, with but reading the complaint early this morning when we received it, there were two things that really got me. one is that white house officials, multiple white house officials, who are listening to this call felt they were witnessing an abuse of power. the president engaged in an abuse of his public position for personal gain. the idea of all of them scurrying around as they hang up
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the phone is chilling. the second i would underscore there is a very documented claim by this whistleblower who seem to be channeling different people who have home bases in the white house or other agencies relaying in all of the which the government's foreign policy was essentially high jacked for a bit by rudy giuliani as, you know, skmts envoy, the special envoy of the president, to try to get dirt on a political rival. >> and carole, the whistleblower also says that this phone call was moved to a private server or a different server, excuse me, a server usually reserved for code-level sensitive information, national security sensitive information, the whistleblower alleges it was moved there just because it was politically damaging and that also there are other calls political damaging, not national security sensitive, that were
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moved to this different server. what more do you know about that and i assume people are looking into what else could be there? >> two elements of this, though, to really intriguing to me. one is our past reporting, we know that after the "post" reported on two sensitive phone calls, that the president had with the leaders of mexico and australia, that there was an effort to clamp down on who had access to this kind of information and again an intensifying of that clamping down after the "post" reported about the do not congratulate call that the president had with president putin of russia. when that news broke, even though there are digital fingerprints to see who sees these transcripts it's too large a body of complaint. in this second, the second piece, the whistleblower is essentially saying there's a whole new realm of ways the white house tries to conceal
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politically dangerous, politically humiliating, political tnt if you will and hiding that in an off book network of their computers and that has happened more than once. i think that's really interesting and really interesting that that requires a formal request from someone senior in the white house and now we've got to wonder who was the person who directed that. >> no doubt about that. garrett, congressman schiff has called this a road map for impeachment. nancy pelosi says that inquiry, the investigation, is going to focus narrowly on the ukraine scandal. walk us through what's happening next in congress? >> well that road map will have a bit of a pit stop in it. congress goes on recess starting on friday, scheduled to be out two weeks. steny hoyer told reporters he wants members to go back into their districts and dot work of selling this, eng plang to the american people why the democratic controlled house has taken these steps. adam schiff told reporters this afternoon he does expect work to
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continue behind the scenes as it relates to this particular incident, to start to line up some of the players here. there have been conversations with the whistleblower's attorney getting he or she on to capitol hill to testify in front of the house intel committee. based on what we learned from the whistleblower complaints this morning there are are number of officials within the administration that whistleblower relied upon to come up with their report. those officials will become a focus of the intel investigation as the folks whose names were used today, rudy giuliani and the attorney general barr are both people who the house democrats on the intelligence committee following this closely will want to bring down here when they are back from that recess to continue this discussion. at the rate this story is developing, i'll be curious to see if we end up having this entire two-week recess. >> whether or not it gets canceled. there are two aspects of that reporting i want to focus on. start with attorney general barr and julia, you have been
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covering the justice department throughout all of this. i want to know what the justice department's response is to the attorney general getting name checked now not only in the whistleblower complaint but also in the phone call, the notes that white house released, and the doj, their involvement in deciding that this whistleblower complaint didn't violate or the president didn't violate a federal elections law, that it -- that basically it was nothing to see here and move it to the side? >> right. so barr's exposure really is on two levels. one, his involvement or potential involvement in these investigations that the president wanted to launch. the president uses barr's name in the same breath as rudy giuliani, his personal attorney, not how you are supposed to use your attorney general. and then the second level of exposure would be how involved barr was in the decision by the justice department not to take this review any further. they did not go any further than the read out that we saw of that
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call yesterday, which we know wasn't even verbatim. they did not interview the officials the whistleblower names in the road map he lays out in the complaint. instead, they stopped there and said that it didn't even rise to the level of interview. the question is, how involved is barr in that process? right now justice department officials are saying that the attorney general was generally aware, but he did not have hands on day-to-day involvement in that opinion, not to release this to congress. of course the whistleblower complaint now has been released to congress. or in the decision not to elevate this investigation and look into a possible criminal violation of campaign finance law. but that he was generally aware, although he did not sign off. it also said his hands are clean on the ukraine investigation issue, that the president never talked to barr about this, other officials from the white house reach out to the attorney general, there are many different channels through which the white house and the justice department can communicate. >> we know that the president has asked a number of the people
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around him to go talk to the attorney general in the past, at least when it was jeff sessions. >> that's spelled out in the mueller report. the only reason that conversation didn't happen with corey lewandowski and jeff sessions because one of them went out of town, sort of just chance or good luck on the part of this administration, that that conversation did not happen. also the timeline is short. if you think about it just yesterday, we got the memo, the notes of that call, and the call only happened two months ago. could that have happened further down the road if this news had not come to light? we also understand that attorney general was on vacation in the last week of august, is that a time where they may have wanted to reach out to william barr. at this point, the justice department is saying unequivocally that the attorney general was never contacted about the investigation into the bidens or any other investigation that the president wanted to continue in ukraine. this is something we'll have to continue to look into, because as we know this attorney general
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is someone whose record throughout the mueller report and the aftermath was really questioned because of his close relationship with the president, his decision not to continue with an obstruction of justice charge, his calling into a potential spying investigation, he used that word, there are a lot of questions that have led up to the way we already see the relationship between the president and his attorney general. >> one message that's been sending to those who work at the justice department, bill barr's general attitude toward investigations into this president, the way he summarized the mueller report, talked about needing to investigate the or begins of the mueller report, and whether that has sent a message without him having to say anything, i'm not sure that's an open question. greg, there was another moment that was really interesting in the hearing. this came from joaquin castro when he was asking acting dni maguire why maguire decided that the president was outside of the intelligence community. take a listen. >> you keep saying the president
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is not part of the intelligence community. i believe he is. the president has the ability to declassify any single intelligence document, do you agree that is true? >> the president has original classification authority. >> how is that person outside of the intelligence community. >> he is the president of the united states above the entire executive branch. >> greg? >> i think that's wrong respectfully to the admiral. the president is not above the executive branch. he's at the top of the executive branch. whether it's the intelligence community, the law enforcement community, the military community, he's not above it, he's part of it, he's the top, the commander in chief. i just can't understand how anybody could credibly think or say that the president of the united states is not part of the intelligence community for this purpose. >> just to wrap it up, carole, i have one further question to you and i know that the democrats really focused on process today, what was the process by which
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maguire handled this whistleblower complaint, why did he go to the white house first, why did he go to the doj, after all the white house was the subject, the president was the subject of the complaint and the attorney general was name checked in the complaint. by doing that, though, by taking that avenue going to the white house and going to the doj and having the white house slow walk it or the doj say nothing to see here, did he indirectly show how this -- how this entire system, the white house and the doj, operate? did he indirectly point to a cover-up or obstruction or, you know, at worst corruption? >> i think what we know from our reporting and separate from this hearing, although the hearing he's answering the technical questions, with our reporting combined with this, we know that maguire was trying to get some advice about whether or not this met urgent concern. his lawyer was essentially consulting with the law of the
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land, the department of justice when it issues an office of legal counsel opinion, that is the law of the land. and when that was handed back to him, it was you know what, we don't need to go any further. your question really evinces something deeper which is at the justice department this review was a one-pager. i don't know very many prosecutors who look at the transcript of a call here say all done here, i've done my work, i don't need to open a case. they only looked at campaign finance violations, not the idea of obstruction or extortion, the hobbs act violation. none of that. same with the white house counsel's office, slow walking this information and saying we don't agree, we've got maybe some legal claims about why you can't release this. come to find out we can release this whistleblower complaint. and the two together, the department of justice and white house counsel seem to be focused
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on the one call without wanting to look deeper and that is intriguing. >> indeed. might be more telling than if he had just handed it directly over to congress. carole, thanks for being with us. greg, thank you as well. julie and garrett, thank you also. and congressman jim himes had perhaps one of the most revealing lines of questioning in the hearing. he joins me next. mentioned more than 30 times in the whistleblower complaint, we will ask this again, what the heck is rudy giuliani doing? heck is rudy giuliani doing? these are real people, not actors, who've got their eczema under control. with less eczema, you can show more skin. so roll up those sleeves. and help heal your skin from within with dupixent. dupixent is the first treatment of its kind that continuously treats moderate-to-severe eczema, or atopic dermatitis, even between flare ups. dupixent is a biologic, and not a cream or steroid. many people taking dupixent saw clear or almost clear skin.
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during a revealing moment at today's hearing the acting director of national intelligence was asked whether he discussed the whistleblower complaint with the president. it was a question joseph maguire refused to answer. >> did you ever speak to the president about this complaint? >> my conversations with the president, because i am the director of national intelligence, are privileged and it would be inappropriate me for me, because it would destroy my relationship with the president in intelligence matters, to divulge any of my conversations with the president of the united states. >> so we can be clear for the record, you are not denying that you spoke to the president about this complaint? >> what i am saying, congressman, is that i will not divulge privileged conversations that i have as the director of national intelligence with the president. >> has the white house instructed you to assert that privilege? >> no, sir.
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>> joining me now is the lawmaker who posed that question, connecticut democratic congressman jim himes. congressman, always good to see you, what was your broader takeaway from this hearing today? >> the broader takeaway is two fold. number one, boy, do we have stuff to look into here. i think i was as shocked as pretty much anybody else who read first the release from the white house of the notes from the conversation with the ukrainian president but the whistleblower complaint, which by the ways has credibility added to it because the description of the phone call in the whistleblower complaint turns out to be pretty accurate. so i mean we've got the possibility that president extorted somebody else for political gain, we've got rudy giuliani running around apparently, you know, doing his own personal diplomacy on behalf of the president, an allegation that the white house staff may have known what kind of trouble they were in and sought to sort of cover it up by moving transcripts to, you know, whatever, secret computer systems. it goes on and on. there's a lot to investigate there, which we will
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investigate. of course the other thing is, you know, i have a lot of respect for the dni, and i think that he is a, you know, life-long military officer who got put into a very difficult position, but at the end of the day, information that was to have been conveyed to the congress by law did not get conveyed to the congress. i'm still not satisfied that we know why. he wasn't told that he couldn't do it based on the interpretation of the law, he was told they might exert executive privilege, whatever the explanation was we didn't get information but for the fact that inspector general came to us and said there's something big out there that you don't know about. >> let me ask you this, because i posed it to carole, by going to the white house first and then the doj and having the white house slow walk it and having the doj say there's nothing to see here, did he reveal much more about how the white house and the doj operate? >> well, you actually highlighted a key question that i asked in the hearing when i
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said, did you talk to the president about this complaint and he wouldn't answer. what's interesting about that for the benefit of the normal humans out there who didn't watch three hours of testimony is that elsewhere in the testimony, and your people can find the tape, when he was asked did the president ask you for the identity of the whistleblower, he said well, i don't ordinary talk about my conversation but i can say unequivocally no. you don't get to pick and choose where you protect a conversation with the. you do it or you don't. to me the fact that he wouldn't answer my question about whether he talked to the president about this, i'm tloefleft to assume h. he otherwise denied things in other parts of the hearing. i want to know what sort of pressure the president put on him. we know from the mueller report that president is not one bit shy about pressuring attorneys general, pressuring people like jim comey, to do what he would have them do. i think that's a thread that needs to be pulled on a little bit. >> i have a few more questions, i want to get through them.
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the whistleblower complaint says there were a number of other white house officials who were witnesses to the call that took place or who told the whistleblower of other alleged conduct. do you know who those people are? do you have plans to bring them before you committee and if you don't do you have a process by which to find snout. >> we do not know who they are. we have no mechanism of knowing who they are. we anticipate talking to the whistleblower at some point in the next couple weeks. he may or may not tell us who they are, but, you know, at this point, they have an obligation, you know, one of their own, one of their colleagues, you saw what the president said in new york about what they do to spies. the president is basically threatened the life of this whistleblower. it's the responsibility of other people who have information here to come forward and to say what they know. if not we'll try to find out who they are and if we need to we'll compel them to tell the congress. >> adam schiff called this a road map to impeachment. nancy pelosi says this will be
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focused narrowly on ukraine. how long do you expect this to take and do you feel like you're under some time pressure here that there is a limited window to work on this before the president potentially muddies the while or while you have the attention of the american public? >> well, let's be really precise here. we have a series of allegations that are extremely serious. about as serious as they get. there are allegations. we will undertake an investigation and do it quickly to determine whether these allegations are true or false and if they turn out to be true, yeah, this guy's opinion is that trying to extort a foreign leader to interfere in a u.s. presidential election, by the way when you just went through an investigation on precisely that topic, to me that is clearly impeachable behave he. we have to do the investigation and quickly. >> do you think it needs to happen before the end of the year? >> all i can tell you we have plans now to hold hearings and
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to call witnesses starting next week. logistically we'll see if we can make that happen. >> no recess? >> it is our hope as a committee we would be working over the recess, yes. >> got it. congressman jim himes, thank you so much for joining us. >> thank you, katy. >> rudy giuliani was mentioned in the whistleblower report more than 30 times. what's going to happen to him? m? ♪ when you have diabetes, dietary choices are crucial to help manage blood sugar, but it can be difficult to find a balanced solution. try great-tasting boost glucose control. the patented blend of protein, fat, and carbs is part of a balanced formula that's clinically shown to help manage blood sugar levels. in fact, it provides 60% more protein than the leading diabetes nutrition shake and contains only 1 carb choice. enjoy the balanced nutrition of boost glucose control as part of a healthy diet.
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the president's personal attorney rudy giuliani's name appears in the whistleblower report more than 30 times, again more than 30 times, in just nine pages. on the first page he's called a, quote, central figure in the president's effort to solicit interference from ukraine in the 2020 u.s. election. today acting dni maguire was asked what exactly rudy giuliani's role was. >> in the complaint it talks about our national security, about inspector general talks about this as the highest responsibility among those that the dni has and obviously mr. giuliani is playing this role. to your knowledge does he have
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security clearance? >> i don't know. congressman, i'm neither aware or unaware whether or not mr. giuliani has a security clearance. >> before this all happened, were you aware of his role or understanding what his role was? doing what you do? >> congressman, my only knowledge of what mr. giuliani does, i have to be honest with you, i get from tv and the news media. >> joining me now is nbc news national political reporter josh letterman and former senior director of the national security council under president obama ned price and a national security analyst. josh, do we have any real clarity on exactly what rudy giuliani was doing and was he only acting on behalf of the president or were there other agencies involved? >> rudy giuliani claims that he was acting on behalf of the state department, which he says enlisted him to essentially have these interactions with ukraine. the state department has tried to put a lot of distance between themselves and giuliani saying
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he's a private citizen, he doesn't speak on our behalf, but certainly there are a lot of questions about what he's doing. we know that giuliani has told us that he was -- he had information that could be helpful to the ukrainians on corruption and not only just on biden, but he's not going into a lot of detail. >> what has he been doing? he spent the better part of a year investigating what he says is corruption by the bidens on -- for the president's behalf in ukraine. >> that's the big question and one we know that democratic lawmakers are eager to get to the bottom of. rudy giuliani is being very defiant today. he spoke with nbc's kristen welker telling her that he considers everything that we heard this morning in that hearing to be hearsay, that none of it would be admissible in court because it was secondhand. the whistleblower acknowledged in the complaint that the whistleblower wasn't there for those meetings. >> the president released notes of a phone call yesterday where he raises rudy giuliani multiple times as said in the same breath as he has his attorney general, saying that he would get him in
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touch with zelensky and his team to investigate this corruption that the bidens had allegedly perpetrated according to donald trump. again there's no evidence of that, i want to be clear. >> absolutely true. >> how could it be hearsay when the president released it? >> rudy giuliani is struggling to try to call of this into question. this does not make him look goodp in in the same complaint we read this morning talks about how rudy giuliani was essentially harming u.s. national security and senior officials at the state department had to get him on the phone to try to basically put an end to the damage he was doing. >> let's play a little bit of rudy giuliani talking about this on fox news and i think i believe cnn as well, in the past week or so. >> did you ask the ukraine to investigate joe biden? >> no. actually i didn't. >> so you did ask to look into joe biden? >> of course i did. >> you just said you didn't. >> you know who i did it at the request of? the state department.
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i never talked to a ukrainian official until the state department asked me to do it and then i reported every conversation back to them and laura, i'm a pretty good lawyer, just a country lawyer, but it's all here. right here. >> i should sue you for libel because you irresponsibly -- >> oh, please. >> well you actually usually say incredibly stupid things. >> you're a public figure. >> yeah. and by the way, do you have any idea that the state department -- >> you know the libel law. >> shut up, moron. >> hold on. >> shut up. you don't know what you're talking about. you don't know what you're talking about idiot. >> did you read the transcript? >> let's say it was read to me. >> it was read to you the whole thing? >> i hope. >> you have a text message from giuliani? >> you saw rudy giuliani holding his phone up to show he had his evidence. he forwarded to nbc's kristen welker the text message he says he got from ambassador volcker saying mr. mayor really enjoyed breakfast this morning as discussed connecting you hear
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with andre yermack close to president zelensky, i suggest we schedule a call on monday. >> i guess the state department will have to answer for that at some point. ned price, what chal what is your take on this? rudy giuliani seemed to know there was something wrong because he gave an interview to the "new york times" a few months ago talking about how he wanted to talk to the president of the ukraine about corruption. there was a big uproar after that saying it was interference in the 2020 election and he canceled that meeting. and yet we're seeing it was still ongoing behind the scenes. >> you know, katy, i think before this week we could have been forgiven for assuming rudy giuliani efforts were those of a private citizen, he was on his one-man crusade trying to do a couple things, one, to continue to undermine the or begins of the mueller investigation and number two, as a private citizen to dig up dirt, purported dirt, i should say on the bidens. but this week what we learned was startling this was an official effort on the part of
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the president of the united states to enlist rudy giuliani as his personal emissary, but using the offices of the president of the united states to do that. rudy giuliani said something really telling in a recent media interview, i don't do anything that involves my client without speaking to my client. i think what we're seeing here is the start of an effort to scapegoat giuliani, to put the blame on him and to say this is about one man run amok, but i think rudy giuliani is going to push back and it sounds like he has the receipts to say that this was not my own initiative, thifs an endeavor i was sent on by the president of the united states. >> and two quick things, ned. the president has a call on july 25th with the president of ukraine. on august 2nd, mr. giuliani reportedly traveled to madrid to meet with one of the president of ukraine's advisors, an dre
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yermack, the text message. the officials characterized the meeting which was not reported at the time as a direct follow-up to the president's call with mr. zelensky about the cases they had discussed. a direct follow-up. >> absolutely. i think if you read that transcript you will see time and again, president trump asking president zelensky to have his people meet with donald trump's person. that's rudy giuliani. the other important piece of context here, the july 25th phone call is the second time that president trump and president zelensky had spoken. the first time was back in april of this year and as we understand it or at least has been reported, it was also in that april phone call where president trump encouraged for the first time president zelensky to have his people meet with rudy giuliani. this was not about one phone call. this was a converted effort over the period of months involving communications between these two presidents and presumably and i think perhaps just as worrisome, efforts on the part of others
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within our government to subvert american foreign policy and to put rudy giuliani, a private citizen, in charge of matters that have profound importance to our national security. >> ned and joshings thank you very much. up next, what the president said about the whistleblower today behind closed doors. eli has the tape. and he joins me next. ns mnee xt! hey. this is amazing. with moderate to severe ulcerative colitis, are you okay? even when i was there, i never knew when my symptoms would keep us apart. so i talked to my doctor about humira. i learned humira can help get, and keep uc under control when other medications haven't worked well enough. and it helps people achieve control that lasts. so you can experience few or no symptoms. humira can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal infections and cancers, including lymphoma, have happened; as have blood, liver, and nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions, and new or worsening heart failure.
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it eliminates odors and refreshes lightly-worn clothing. breathe happy febreze... la la la la la. they're really a disgrace, it's a terrible thing for our country. they can't do any work. they're frozen. the democrats are going to lose the election and they know it. that's why they're doing it. it should never be allowed what's happened to this president. >> the president saying that it shouldn't be allowed, that he is getting impeached. he's clearly frustrated with house democrats. that was him when he landed at andrews air force base a little earlier today. this morning while at a private event in new york the "l.a.
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times" is reporting the president called the whistleblower almost a spy, along with anybody who might have helped that person. eli stokele reports that the president went on to say, you know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart, right? the spies and treason? we used to handle it a little differently than we do now. eli from the l.a. times joins me and from capitol hill geoff bennett. eli, you have an audio version of this what was supposed to be i guess a meeting with diplomats earlier today. how did it -- how did it start? what happened? >> well, we'll be posting that audio clip soon on the l.a. times website, working on getting that file unloaded soon. but, you know, trump, as he does, comes in the room, a small gathering of officials, people who work for the u.s. mission to the united nations and he takes the stage and immediately starts riffing. we've all seen it a million times, stream of consciousness,
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similar to what he does out by the helicopter in the oval office, on the stage at a rally, sort of free associating and the very first thing on his mind it seemed was the whistleblower and that -- the impeachment saga and so trump starts in with all of that and he starts talking about and questioning the voracity of the whistleblower's report because as we've heard from other republicans, using the same talking points, that they're trying to say even though the whistleblower report corroborates much of what the white house transcript is, they say it's a secondhand account, based on conversations this person had and so the president points out this guy just heard something, this person. we don't know if the whistleblower is a man or woman. the president is basically saying look, they just heard something, they didn't even know it firsthand and then he says that's almost like a spy. he goes on to say he would like to know who spoke with the whistleblower and equated them to spies. again, these are law abiding officials of our government, still don't know their identity, but this whistleblower is
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someone who at great risk to themselves went through a legal process to put this out there and the president starts talking about them as if they are spies and then makes sort of this casual off-hand riff about you know what we used to do with spies and treason in the old days, elicits a couple laughs in the room, it was not full laughter, may have been more awkward in the room than the clip we have conveys, but, you know, he's joking about some sort of capital punishment it seemed that the whistleblower could face if it were just the old days. whether the president meant sirtss youly, i think it is being taken seriously at the moment. the president, he's always kind of in this glib, sarcastic, aggrieved persona. can't really come out of that. it leaves a little bit of room open to interpretation for people to be able to say he's just joking about that, but, you know, to put it plainly, this is the president of the united
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states now joking, stating allowaloud before a private group, this whistleblower in his view should be subjected potentially to some sort of very severe punishment for coming forward. >> geoff, the president is trying to turn the tables. he's trying to demean the whistleblower, to demean their credibility, question their credibility. he is also trying to turn the tables and make this about the democrats, the media, joe biden. he's throwing everything he can against the wall to see what will stick. it's the same way that he sloughed every controversy and allegation he's ever come into contact with. it worked to his advantage in 2016. how are other republicans dealing with this in devin nunes his demeanor different normally than in these hearings and some republicans throughout who have admitted this is a very serious situation.
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>> and to give you a full sense of it, katy, i have to tell you the day before the white house released that summary of the president's interaction with his ukrainian counterpart i asked a number of republican senators how they viewed the white house taking that step and the ones who opposed it said publicly that they didn't like the idea of the bad precedent that it would set. they said that any foreign leader should be able to have a private conversation with this president or any other president moving forward and not feel like those details might one day become public. they might actually believe that on the merits but there's a secondary level to all this those republican senators didn't want to find themselves in the position they find themselves in now, that's having to defend what democrats say is the indefensible and then you have all of the fallout that comes with it to point to eli's reporting as the president tries to defend himself. to give you a sampling of what we heard today here are marco rubio, the senator from florida, and ron johnson, these are two of the senators our team caught up with today. take a listen. >> i'm not discussing it at all.
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i've learned that, right now i have more questions than i have answers and i've learned that you should have your -- you should have more answers before you talk about it. >> i spoke to zelensky. i got no indication whatsoever he felt under any amount of pressure whatsoever. it all makes sense to me. i know everybody wants to paint this as a horrible thing. it makes sense to me. >> for the most part, republicans are dismissing democrats' attempts to impeach president trump, but generally what you don't see and hear are republicans defending president trump on the merits, defending the fact that he tried to press a foreign lead near the service -- leader into the service of his political campaign to dig up dirt on a rival. the thing we're watching for today is where the republicans on the senate intelligence committee stand you have the acting dni and the intelligence inspector generally meeting privately with that panel as i stand here and talk to you. watch for folks like marco
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rubio, ben sasse, susan collins, others, democrats say it's not a lot if the impeachment question moves to the senate all the republican senators would not vote to convict. katy? >> geoff bennett, thank you very much. eli stokeles, we will await that audio. appreciate. it the dam has broken, a majority of the house supports the impeachment inquiry. what happens next? pbeat music ♪] you got this. you got this. you got this. you got this. red lobster's endless shrimp is back for just $15.99. get all the shrimp you want, any way you want 'em.
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a majority of house democrats to support some form of impeachment, many observers say they are wary. they look at the clinton impeachment and see its fallout and see a rocky future for the party. but is that an accurate comparison. joining me the man who knows all things the '90s, bill clinton and impeachment, is steve kornacki. also new york university constitutional law professor rick pildis. steve first to you. walk us through what happened with clinton and why it not might not necessarily apply today. >> i think it's relevant here because i think the clinton impeachment and the lessons learned then politically are one of the reasons that until now nancy pelosi and a lot of democrats had not been willing to go forward on impeachment, the lesson was the party that impeached clinton did pay a price in public opinion. but trump's approval rating right now sits at 45% as house
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democrats enter this impeachment inquiry. a poll this week, the most recent number we have, it was taken early as the story was starting to hit, this is a number we've been seeing on impeachment for trump for a long time now, more opposition than support. a big question is what is the polling going to look like a week from now after americans have absorbed this. compare it to where bill clinton stood in the fall when the republicans opened their impeachment inquiry against him. his approval rating going into it was much higher, 22 points higher than donald trump's is right now. there's more good will toward clinton that he had to work with. there was opposition against impeachment but it was stronger. we saw 47% for president trump
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it was 64 for clinton. what was the blow back for republicans? they launched the inquiry october '98, the midterm election was four weeks later. this is every election after world war ii, the white house party basically always looses seats in the midterm election, remember that from 2018, the first exception right here 1998, four weeks after republicans opened the impeachment inquiry that the public said it was against, clinton and the democrats gained five seats. the only other example was after 9/11 when a white house party gained seats. otherwise it's generally big losses that was the price the republican paid back then for doing something the public said they didn't want when it came to impeachment. that's part of what has held nancy pelosi back i think. see if these numbers go up next
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week, but the president doesn't go into this with the goodwill that clinton had in '98. >> bill clinton was accused of obstruction of justice and lying to the fbi to cover up an affair. these allegations are so much more serious and they concern national security and a cover up and obstruction, and our election confidence. so people will point out that difference. rick, walk us through what happens next in congress. i know we've been talking about impeachment a lot the past year, i think people assume once you say impeachment you're voting and that's it. it's over and that's not the case. >> that's not the case. a huge difference between the clinton impeachment and this one, in the clinton impeachment there was a special prosecutor and the house didn't conduct any new evidence gathering, they didn't have witnesses, there weren't facts to be developed. we knew everything we were going to know at the beginning of that process. here at the beginning we are just beginning to get the
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information. and undoubtedly, the house investigative committees are going to call in the people who were around the president during the time these discussions took place. there's a lot that may or may not come out when we find out what conversations took place, for example, the most explosive thing would be if the president said to az aides i'm going to hold back that military money until he agrees to do something about the biden investigation. so there are a lot of facts to be developed here so it's very different than clinton. >> how quickly do they need to do it? >> that's sort of a political matter but i hope they give it the amount of time -- there's going to be court fights about some of this, so they are going to call in people who were party to conversations with the president, there will be exertions of executive privilege that may go to the court. the president does have some executive privilege in talking to his top aides but that can be overridden. in the context of an impeachment investigation we don't have much
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law, but that is going to be a fight. i expect this to take a number of weeks. i'm sure they'll push to do it as fast as they can, but they have an obligation to actually get it right. and a lot can change before we know what the full story is here. ultimately, there will probably be a vote on articles of impeachment, this is a formal, legal process. that will be done in the judiciary committee. they will draft those articles to the extent they think it's appropriate. that committee will vote on each article of impeachment, if there's more than one, that will go to the house, the house will vote on those articles, if they approve any of them, then it will go over to the senate and then there will be, presumably a trial in the senate, although there is some discussion about whether that trial would, in fact, actually take place. >> rick, if this goes forward you have to come back to us and walk us through all the next steps once again. >> happy to. >> i know it gets complicated. thank you so much.
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and steve kornacki, thank you as well. president trump asked for a favor, moments later the president of ukraine mentioned he stayed at a trump hotel. as "the washington post" put it this could be the other ukraine problem. joining me now is david ferrenthal, what did you find? >> you found the president of ukraine say the last time i was in new york i stayed at your hotel. and you have leaders saying president trump i like your golf course, your hotels. it's a way that leaders see his properties as a way to influence him: it's important to note as well, david, we don't know when he stayed at the hotel, whether it was president at the time. >> that's right. there's a distinction that matters if you look at the emoluments issue. was this a foreign country paying him.
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the president of ukraine was just elected this year so it's possible it happened before he was president. >> in looking at the totality of your reportings when it comes to emoluments and business dealings -- sorry, we're on camera. it's okay -- what can you tell us about the pattern this fits into? >> what we've seen the that foreign countries and companies, domestic companies that wasn't things from the trump administration have been regular customers of the trump businesses. and, you know, we haven't seen any case where anybody has explicitly tied quid pro quo for a favorite to trump but everything from the saudi government to t mobile, trying to get a merger approved, has become good customers of the trump hotel. what it appears is side benefit of the presidency to trump's business. >> what would zelensky bring this up in the conversation? >> think you're talking about two people that haven't met each
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other, obviously from the context we've seen the last few days, zelensky is thinking he's in trouble with trump, trying to get in his good graces without maybe offering the investigation he wants. so on the phone with the guy why not say i like your hotel, a way to create a connection that wasn't there before. >> and normally something that would be a conflict of interest. >> we have never had this before. every other president stayed away from the conflict of interest. jimmy carter put his peanut farm in a blind trust. we've never had a president that blended the presidency in his business to the degree trump has. there's no precedence for this, we're seeing this experiment in real time. if a president is sets up a way to pay him, who takes advantage of it. >> david, thank you for joining us. we appreciate it. >> thank you. that will do it for me this
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hour. ali velshi is here. >> that would be wild if there wasn't a mention of emoluments in the konsz constitution. >> even without it. if you look at the way business operates, the way we operate, the way politics operates, you protect against seeming like -- >> seeming like. >> -- for your own pocket. >> even if the impression is there you protect against that. this was the danger when people didn't take the emoluments clause seriously when we discussed it. it becomes more and more on normal. >> we started discussing it the way he was inaugurated, talking about the trump d.c. hotel and it has been a consistent issue ever few months since then. new stories arise, does donald trump, is he working for himself, is he working for the american public, his golf course in scotland -- >> the blind trust that's not blind. the a


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