tv Politics Nation With Al Sharpton MSNBC October 26, 2019 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT
tonight's lead, direct link. that is the conclusion after another consequential week for president trump in the impeachment probe. following the bombshell testimony of bill taylor, the lead u.s. envoy to ukraine who democrats said made that direct link between donald trump and the withholding of military aid to ukraine for political gain. republicans did what republicans do best in recent weeks, avoid responding directly to his testimony. any testimonies for that matter. and instead of dealing with the substance, they attack the process and stormed a secure closed deposition. democrats meanwhile continued to work over the weekend. earlier today another deposition of another high-ranking state department official took place, and we know now that the justice department's investigation of
its own russia meddling in the 2016 election is now a criminal inquiry. what crimes are they looking into? that is unclear. last night a federal court ruled that the democrats' impeachment inquiry is, in fact, legitimate and ordered the justice department the turn over unredacted grand jury material from the mueller report to congress by next week. so another week, another escalation, and a president who reports suggests is on edge. did i mention that democrats issued another round of subpoenas? three more administration officials for next week, and that former national security adviser john bolton may be ready to come forward to talk with house investigators. let's take a deep breath and invite my panel.
brett stevens, an op-ed columnist for "the new york times" and msnbc political contributor, and dean obje obeidallah, radio host at sirius xm. brett, let me start with you. from all appearances, it has not been a great week for the president, and from his reaction, he seems a little rattled. >> it's been a particularly bad week for two reasons. the first is the credibility of bill taylor and the power of his testimony, which showed that the president was attempting to orchestrate a kind of a shadow foreign policy that was directly at odds with not only the american interest as you and i would probably agree what it ought to be, but what the administration's own policy was supposed to be with potential benefits, even financial
benefits for the president's lawyer. but the second thing, and i think this can't be understated, is john bolton turning on his former boss. when bolton was quoted by "the new york times" describing the mulvaney/giuliani efforts in ukraine as a drug deal, alerting lawyers, that is devastating, i think, for the president, and it's also devastating for at least a few wavering republicans in the senate when things have -- mitt romney, susan collins, perhaps susan murkowski and ben sass who might be thinking about how they would vote in the event an impeachment takes zblas dean, how much i forget -- of a threat is john bolton? a person to the far right that many that like trump respect him. how big a threat is he if he comes forward? it appears he's in discussions.
>> to your very point, it's because he has credibility among republicans. he says something, donald trump can't dismiss him as some liberal guy. the guy was on fox news for many years as a commentator. it brings me an inappropriate . a joy to watch donald trump freak out this week. it's a guilty pleasure. look what's going on, though. there's something important that i hope the media focuses on. bill taylor in his testimony he said more ukrainians would undoubtedly die, talking about the withholding of aid. this is far more than watergate. people could have died. >> life a death situation. >> 25 ukrainians died since july 18th in the fighting. we don't have direct causation, but trump knows withholding aid knows someone could die and trump turned his back like he did with the kurdish allies. it's all about donald trump. what helps donald trump, that's his only motivation.
so this ukrainian thing to me is a life and death issue. that's bill taylor's own words, the ambassador. i'm hoping more administrate media focus on that and not on the process and the taxpayer funded pizza party the republicans threw in skiff this week. >> brett, let's go to the fact that also when you remove the military, the american u.s. military, from the northern syria, it opens up for assad and putin. i read your columns, don't always agree, but i read them. it would seem to me that any self-respecting conservative, which you are, would be very concerned about the global consequences of this act. aside from the fact that it was used probably as a threat
according to witnesses, we're talking about really giving a foothold to putin in the middle east. >> it's grotesque on three levels. obviously most importantly it's grotesque on a humanitarian level that we are abandoning the kurds yet again to a set of wolves, whether it's erdogan in turkey or putin or the iranians. it's grotesque from the standpoint of american interests that we are ceding. i criticized president obama back in the day when he withdrew from iraq, creating the kind of vacuum into which isis came in. you can agree or disagree from an ideological perspective, but
if trying to -- any self-respecting conservative has to do the same of trump. what is so disturbing is how many republicans are willing to go along, how they're willing to completely abandon what had been long-standing conservative foreign policy because they're sucked into a cult of personality of donald trump and will follow him wherever he leads. >> dean, the other side of that is, if you are talking to the president of ukraine, and clearly they have held up approved congressional u.s. congress-approved military funds and say i need a favor, work with my personal attorney and the attorney general on a specific investigation. he didn't say on corruption, he said on this particular investigation, how does anyone rationalize that this was not, in fact, asking for something that would be to his benefit, political or otherwise, and
financial? >> brett deserves to be an award for being a republican and not have a double standard. >> former republican. i'm a conservative, former republican. >> i say this who disagrees with a lot of what you where i, but i appreciate conservatives that have been steady fast in their principles. we need more conservatives to do that. >> how many in the senate are going to do that is the question. >> i don't think the senate removes them. one, there's the trial and he's acquitted, two, it gets so bad, republicans say you got to go. there is no defense for this. the whistle-blower is donald j. trump. he gave you say transcript that says he put up joe biden. we gave aid to ukraine. why did he bring up corruption then? why did you wait until the middle of the campaign? fox news came out with a poll that morning, donald trump down ten points by joe biden, and
trump tweeted about that poll at 7:30 morning. talks to zelensky at 9:00 in the morning. republicans, i wish they would have more principles on this, but they seem to be more enamored with trump. >> where are the political -- what is -- let me put it that way, the political ramifications for senate candidates? some senate candidates, 20 seats up, some republicans in, some potentially tight races. when do they decide, wait a minute, this is going to be very dangerous for my own re-election and have to go with where the evidence apparently seems to be headed? >> i think a lot of republican candidates both senate and house are essentially passengers on the titanic because they understand that the margin they need to win is going to depend on that hard-core of trump supporters who will never abandon trump no matter what he does. on the other hand, there's so many wavering voters who they
are also at the same time turning off by sticking so fiercely with their man. so you look at people like joni ernst attempting linguist tick eequivalent indications saying that's trump being trump, never confronting the central prop problem of their party, which is that they have a president who is ethically and potentially legally corrupt, who doesn't abide by any conservative principle, is a pure narcissist, to whom they have nonetheless tied themselves to his mask. >> dean, without getting too much in the weeds with our viewers, we're talking plainly about holding up money, u.s. money approved, do me a favor on my opponent, and we're going to give a foothold ho russia to do what they want to the kurds, which includes et nick cleansing. this is as serious as it gets
and costs human lives. >> it's about lives. trump doesn't care about anyone but his own, frankly. as a lawyer, when you look at the elements of extortion or bribery here with trump, i think you have got crimes there. you've got campaign finance violations. i don't know what it takes for republicans to wake up, except for the fact close to election day and polls showing -- lindsey graham could beat mitch mcconnell. the list goes on. susan collins could lose. we have to win so big in 2020, democrats and get the senate. that's the only chance the republican party has to free itself of the cancer of trump it ism. >> only catastrophe ends trump. >> brett stevens and dean obeidallah. coming up, ukraine, syria, turkey, how has the intense heat
from the impeachment inquiry influence trump's foreign policy? we'll ask a senator who sits on the armed services committee, gary peters of michigan. but first, my colleague richard lui with today's top news stories. richard? stories that we're watching this hour for you. right now out of control wildfires are impacting millions up and down california. evacuation orders are in effect for more than a half million and precautionary power outages could impact as many as 2 million. so far the fires have forced the governor to declare states of emergency in los angeles and sonoma counties. the biggest concern for fire crews remains in the northern part of the golden state where strong winds are forecasted throughout the weekend, which could make conditions worse. overseas in syria, nbc news confirming a military convoy flying u.s. flags crossed the border from iraq going into syria earlier today. this is the first video we're seeing of the u.s. troops on the move heading south.
to the location where markers per said they are being redeployed to guard oil fields. take a look at this. new pictures of russian citizen and former agent maria butina arriving in moscow this morning. butina was removed from the u.s. friday by immigration and customs enforcement officials pursuant to a judicial order. she pleaded guilty and was convicted of conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government. stick around, more "politicsnation" with reverend al sharpton right after this. i...decided to take the dna test. and i...was...shocked. right away, called my mom, called my sisters. i'm from cameroon, congo, and...the bantu people. i had ivory coast, and ghana...togo.
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. welcome back. following up on our impeachment conversation, let's focus foment on its effect on the president's foreign policy. if the cases of ukraine and syria are any indication, experts are concerned that we can expect the trump administration's decisions to be erratic and ineffective. let's bring in democratic senator gary peters of michigan. he's the ranking member on the senate homeland security committee and is a member of the armed services committee. senator, i want to talk to you about several things, but let me start with that. you're on homeland security, you're on foreign affairs. in the middle of this impeachment inquiry, we're seeing the president, who is already in my opinion been erratic, even seems more
erratic. how are you seeing this and are you concerned that he could cause some serious or more serious damage to how we are viewed around the world and how we do business as a foreign government super power with other governments? >> well, i am. i'm very concerned. as i think most americans are right now. you mentioned what happened in syria. that caught everybody by surprise. that's not where the military advisers were. we had a presence in syria. it was a limited number of soldiers, but they were leveraged in such a way that was creating stability in a very complicated part of the world. those were all the briefings that we received, including classified briefings as to what was happening in syria. and then all of a sudden you get the president completely seemingly just on a whim allowing turkey to move in and pulling out our troops. the chaotic scenes that we have
seen as u.s. service members have been withdrawing and abandoning equipment and blowing up our equipment in a rush to exit out of that area, i served in the u.s. not that i am aware of reserve, nobody who is in the military ever wants to see that happen. it simply should not have happened. we can't run foreign policy the way we're seeing the president run it right now. >> as i said, you're on foreign affairs but you're also on homeland security. just the thought that members of isis could be freed once the kurds have no protection, and, in fact, a deal is made to tell them to leave northern syria within five days, it is a potential, physical threat to american people, if isis terrorist are let loose like that. >> i think you're absolutely right. one of the biggest takeaways, and there are many takeaways from this abrupt withdrawal from northern syria and abandoning our kurdish allies is that america is less safe now.
isis was contained. we had many isis prisoners being watched and guarded by our kurdish friends. now we know they are leaving, some of them are escaping, some are walking away. those fighters will likely reconstitute themselves and will reform, and we could see five years of work that was painstaking work to contain isis as well as to limited all of their territorial possessions, break them up, all of that could go down the drain and isis could reconstitute and threaten the homeland. what i see happening in syria direct threat to our national security here in the united states. >> wow. let's go to domestic politics for a minute. you represent the state of michigan that went for donald trump in 2016. clearly he is the presumptive nominee for the election and
according to polls, it's very close or up and down. what is the mood you're picking up around michigan? is trump vulnerable in michigan? do you feel that you will be victorious? what's the mood you're picking up in a state that was one of three that flipped the electoral college his way? >> that's right. in fact, michigan will likely be one of the key battleground states of the country. everybody knows that's going to happen. as far as i'm concerned, i'm going to keep focusing on the issues i've always focused on, which is to make sure we're dealing with the health care costs, especially skyrocketing prescription costs. we want to make sure everyone has skilled training so everyone has a shot at the middle class, as well as protecting the great lakes, which is an incredibly important issue for us in michigan. to your question, the point especially with the actions in syria, i've certainly just really noticed a real change in how people are looking at the president and how erratic he is
behaving, particularly in the area of foreign policy, something that you expect the president to be a steady hand for the united statesment i think there's no question that president trump is not that steady hand in any way right now and is actually harming our relationships with allies all across the world. >> senator, you were on my national radio show and we talked about the national crime justice commission act that you put together with two republicans, dprlindsey graham john cornyn. >> that list has expanded. we have 19 corespondesponsors. this is a top-to-bottom review of the criminal justice system, something we haven't done for 50 years. given all the challenges we're facing right now in that system, it's time to have that top-to-bottom review. we were able to pass it in the senate last year. we've now reintroduced it. hoping to get it through the senate again. and now i think we have a
friendlier house to see it getting signed into law. it's something that we know when it was done 50 years ago over 200 recommendations came out of that commission, most all of them adopted. some of them as common sense and just straightforward as 911. 911 came out of the commission. so it's time to do it again. but it needs to be done in a bipartisan way from law enforcement to civil rights groups all around the table thinking this through in a comprehensive way. that's goal of the commission. >> well, when you come back, you have to tell me how you got lindsey graham to work with you. but we'll do that next time. thank you, senator gary peters. >> thank you. coming up, contrary to popular believe, president trump is actually helping students at at historically black colleges and universities. i'll explain how, next.
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but in your case, proximity doesn't mean understanding, since you wouldn't let those students into your audience. as one of your first executive orders, you promised to make these schools, quote, an absolute priority in your administration, and you gathered about 100 hbcu presidents in the oval office just to prove it. but you've always been more style than substance, and your administration's actions showed that you betrayed that promise to our students of color. your very first budget submitted just months later proposed hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts to programs that help students attending hbcus, including pell grants, which 90% of students who attend these institutions rely on. but a new study published by
rutgers out this week says you may have inadvertently helped these schools by creating a climate of pap palpable racism and bigotry that black high school students feel the need to avoid primarily white colleges for their own safety. that study found the sharp increase in applications and enrollments in hbcus in the last three years corresponds directly with the social and political atmosphere of your presidency. but there's certainly a silver lining for our young black men and women. your racist conduct like call white supremacists in charlottesville, quote, very fine people, will undoubtedly lead the black excellence. while only 22% of black college graduates receive their degrees from hbcus, those graduates represent 40% of the black members of congress, 40% of
black engineers, 50% of black lawyers and college professors, and a whopping 80% of black judges. so mr. president, while your racist actions have created a climate of hate and fear for many americans, you've also inve incentivized black students to be their best in spite of you. i'm not sure if they covered this in your racism for dummies class, but that's what we call an unintended consequence. be right back. memory support brand. you can find it in the vitamin aisle in stores everywhere. prevagen. healthier brain. better life.
criminal justice matters to our families and to our future. it matters to everybody's family and future. the way i've been talking about it as senator as & vice president over the years is i go into communities where there are low crime rates and point out why it's important we invest in juvenile justice, criminal reform, a whole range of issues. criminal justice reform san issue that should unite all americans, not divide americans. everyone understands there are too many people incarcerated. the fact of the matter is 93% of all those incarcerated are incarcerated in county and city and state prisons. and too many of them are women and men of color. >> that was former vice president joe biden just moments ago laying out his vision for the future of criminal justice
reform. just 100 days from the iowa caucus, candidates are taking part in the second step presidential forum. the event kicked off yesterday by a speech by the president and continued all day today with multiple 2020 candidates taking the stage. joining me now is a surrogate for the biden campaign, atlanta mayor keisha lance bottoms. mad madam mayor, thank you for being with us again. you are not just a surrogate, you are mayor of one of the largest cities in the world, and you have a particular passion for criminal justice that you've shared on this show because of your own family has been touched by this. why do you think vice president biden has the best plan and is the one that can really effectively deal with the need for criminal justice reform? >> thank you, reverend al, for
having me. it's always an honor to join you. i believe in joe biden. and the reason i believe in him is because when i first met joe biden in atlanta, we sat down and talked about criminal justice reform in the city. we talked about many other things that we are doing, including the elimination of cash bail bond in atlanta and for those who don't really understand what that means, if you are arrested for a petty crime, you don't have to pay cash to get out. what was happening is people were being incarcerated simply because they were poor. we talked about the changing of our city detention center into a center of equity. and the passion we have and the ground swell from our communities to do something on the front end to combat crime in atlanta. what touched me most of all about vice president biden is
that when he formally rolled outeries criminal justice, he incorporated so many other things we talked about in this city. he's not just the candidate who's coming to the table with all of the answers, but he's willing to listen to what we need in our cities. his formalized plan has incorporated many of those ideas, including helping funding for cities -- helping give funding for cities like atlanta who are doing proactive things to make sure the criminal justice reform is a priority. >> now, earlier today i spoke with senator kamala harris about some of her ideas for criminal justice reform. watch this. >> what was your message putting donald trump aside? >> so first of all, we need to end the is them mass incarceration. and i know it. i know as a former prosecutor i saw and witnessed the war on drugs, which was a complete failure and ended up criminalizing and incarcerating
hundreds and thousands of people for drug crime when, in fact, what it should have been addressed as a public health matter instead of a criminal matter. so there is -- what i intend to do about expungement of records, meaning looking at the people who have already suffered under the system, much less what we need to do to correct it going forward. >> when she refers there, senator harris, refers to the opioid crisis, look, looked at at a health crisis when it was a crack epidemic and other problems in the kblak black community, joe biden was in the senate in that period and helped to orchestrate the omnibus crime bill and incarcerated a lot of people she's talking about. why do people feel that he has grown beyond that, and why should they trust that he could undo some of the damage that may
have been unintended or not that was done from the '94 bill, some of which she's addressing in her remarks? >> reverend al, you were one of the few people who thought that crime bill was a bad idea in 1994. what we now know is that it was a huge mistake. but you have to remember where we were as a country. we were at the beginning stages of the crack cocaine epidemic in this country, and many people didn't understand the differences between crack cocaine and powder cocaine. that being said, the 1994 crime bill was supported by many senators, including senator bernie sanders, many people forget that he also voted for that bill. also by african-american mayors across this country and by the clinton administration, which was friendly to the african-american community. so now -- >> and the congressional black caucus, many of the congressional black caucus, i might add was fighting on this.
but go ahead. >> absolutely. not to excuse it. i think that people did then what they knew to do, in the words of maya angelou, now they know better, they should do better. that's what you're seeing from vice president biden. vice president biden will see to eliminate cash bail bonds at the federal system. you heard him say the reality is this, though. 90% of people who are incarcerated are incarcerated at the state level. but vice president biden will eliminate mandatory miuslim at the federal level. we've talked about this when i joined you previously. my father's incarceration, my father was major lance a well-known singer who was incarcerated and sentenced to ten years in prison for distributing cocaine in 1978. those are state charges. thankfully he only served three, but i can tell you my family was broken after my father's
incarceration, and it changed literally my family for generations. so i know firsthand what mass incarceration does, and i know what happens when people are penalized for addiction. i cannot stress to you enough, if i didn't think that joe biden were not genuine and sincere in what he feels about the future of criminal justice reform is in this country, i could not sit here and advocate for him. >> that is keisha lance bottoms with the passion i know. mayor of atlanta, thank you for being with us. coming up, amid the rampant shooting of black americans at the hands of police, a new book po sits that there is a, quote, legalized genocide of colored people happening in this country. our conversation with the author is up next. perfect mattress.
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civil rights attorney benjamin crump, he's been on the front line of many cases, involving those of trayvon martin as well. he argues the criminal justice system in the u.s. prejudiced against blacks and only protects those who are wealthy and white. also i wanted to join with us pastor kiev tatum of the newmont rose missionary of fort worth, texas, for following the case of atatiana jefferson, who was shot dead in her own home s calling for a federal court-ordered consent decree to force changes in the city's police department. let me welcome both of you to the show. >> thank you, rev.
>> ben, let me start wow. in your book you talk about genocide. i'm sure some will say that's a strong term. why did you use that term in describing what is going on with black americans, in terms of the relationship with law enforcement in this country? >> yes, reverend al. it was intentional. i am very unapologetic with what's happening to our children. when we were in ferguson, missouri, after the tragic killing of michael brown who had his hands up that afternoon and was killed in broad daylight a young man said right in front of the national guard with all the cameras there, they were trained on him, he said go ahead and kill me now while the cameras are here, because you're only going to kill us when they're gone. it's important that the world see how you are all killing us. and that was riveting to me, reverend al, because he was
right. it is important for the world to see how they're killing us, but not just in these high-profile police shootings with bullets, but more poignantly, how they're killing us with the courtrooms with the law that is supposed to protect us. 1 in every 5 black men in america, if you look at the statistics across state lines, are convicted felons. and experts believe if this trend continues in the next 25 years, 1 of 3 black now and then in america will be a convicted felony. how can you say this is not them killing us whether with bullets or with the law? >> pastor tatum, your city was rocked with the shooting of ms. jefferson in her own home while she was playing -- babysitting
her own nephew. you stepped up and began rallying, whatever the family and legal matters were, you said it was time for leadership in the community and that the firs incident. you called on the federal government to intervene and consent decrees, which is in the same spirit of this book by benjamin. why did you do that? >> well, when i received the call saturday morning about this latest shooting by the police, this was the tenth police shooting since may 20th. when the first african-american police chief, dr. joe fitzgerald was terminated unjustly. >> the tenth in ft. worth? >> ft. worth leads the nation in the last six months with police-involved shootings. now, to put this in context, ft. worth is the largest, most conservative, confederate city in the country. so we have to deal with the same mentality that the nation is
having to deal with with president trump. there's a callous cold spirit about where police officers are always given a pass, especially when it's in the african-american community. the last four have been young african-americans under the age of 29. and we're seeing a pattern and a practice from our police department. the irony of this latest shooting when i received the call, it was right down the street from my church. so i knew the good lord was saying you have to call for something larger than this. and when i had a chance to speak to the neighbor, mr. james smith who called the police department for a welfare check, he said if i had not called the police, my neighbor would still be alive. and that's no way for a community to feel that when they have concern about their neighbors or if they see crime or some other incident happen in their community, that they don't feel comfortable calling the police. and we've seen it time and time
again where african-americans are calling the police for a neighbor. in jaclyn craig case. when she call for a domestic dispute with her boyfriend, they ended up going to jail. so people are real concerned and it's having -- not only as you talked about unintended consequences, this untreated trauma and this unaddressed toxic stress has ft. worth leading the nation in african-american males with the lowest life expectancy. african-american females with the highest infant mortality and black children are incapable in many cases of learning in school where black males show no record of academic success and black people are dying from heart disease. so it's having a -- a -- a -- >> the ramifications are broad. and ben crump, in your book, i think you laid this out. one of the things that has impressed me about your career is you take cases and talk about
the broader social implications. it's not just a particular case. it's about the real showing of this is happening on a larger scale, not just to the individual situation that you're dealing with. and i've seen you do this firsthand as probably the most high-profile civil rights lawyer in the country right now. you take a case like those that with rosa parks, she was symbolic of everybody that had to sit in the back of the bus. and the communities been where people are afraid, as pastor tatum said, of the cops and the robbers is a very traumatic thing. >> yeah. and, reverend al, you know better than many because you've been doing this for over the life of your career fighting inside and outside the courtroom. and what pastor tatum was articulating is the ways police deal with us but we have the
united states supreme court backing them with saying in grand v connor and garner v tennessee the police just out there feel threatened. and then say you can shoot at our houses. you can shoot alten for stealing his car. and it goes on and on. but it's not just how they're killing us in those ways. it's also the school to prison pipeline. also, environmental racism, reverend al, that would see children in south central los angeles have a third of the lung capacity as children in santa monica, california, because we have legalized toxic pollutant chemical plants in our community within breathing space of where our children play and go to school every day. so when i argue genocide that has been legalized, i'm looking at how the legal system continues to sanitize all these
injustices. we always seem to be no matter what the situation is, getting the most of injustice and the least of justice and i think this is done intentionally, reverend al. >> all right. well, the name of the book, again, is "open season legalize genocide of colored people" and people need to read it for themselves. pastor tatum certainly leading the fight that you're going to be hearing more and more about around what is going on in ft. worth. we should not let it just go unresolved. ten shootings. i appreciate you, pastor tatum and attorney crump. up next, my final thoughts. stay with us. my final thoughts stay with us so i can buy from enterprise car sales and you'll take any trade-in? that's right! great! here you go... well, it does need to be a vehicle.
i was told as a young activist the struggle continues and as the years have rolled by, i've found that to be true. look it in the last three weeks. amber guyger, law enforcement convicted of murder in texas for shooting bartham john in his own home. convicted. sentenced only ten years in jail. hugged by the judge. yet, she appeals the case. two weeks later, the police officer in new york that choked to death eric gardener and was fired from his job after a long trial after waiting five years to get that trial to see if he'd
be criminally prosecuted, he has now announced he's suing the city to get his job back and his pension. yes. these are things that make people keep standing up. saying that all police are not bad. we don't even say most are. but those that are wrong must pay in terms of being held accountable. otherwise, we have to continue the struggle to make this nation what it should be. that does it for me. thanks for watching. i'll see you back here tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. eastern for a new live edition of "politicsnation." up next, nbc live coverage continues with my colleague richard lui. >> and thank you, rev. hello, everyone. i'm richard lui. live at msnbc headquarters in new york city. thanks for being with us this day. we're following three major stories for you from coast to coast. washington is where we're starting. a rare weekend deposition in