tv The 11th Hour With Brian Williams MSNBC March 28, 2017 11:00pm-11:31pm PDT
and the white house feeling the heat and lashing out. the 11th hour starts right now. good evening once again. day 68 of the trump administration and whatever the elements of their policy agenda may be, another day was dominated by this invesgation into russian ties and the kind of spy level qualities it has taken on over time. there are these two subplots. the first involves the california republican chair of the house intelligence committee, devin nunes. after admitting two visits to
the white house grounds. one to view a source, one to share information from the president. he's ignoring increasing pressure, mostly from democrats to step aside from his post. the list of law makers calling for it includes one republican, walter jones. late today our capital hill. >> so you're not going to tell the committee who your source is. >> we never tell sources. i wouldn't expect you to do this. you're so infatuated with sources. >> and you're waiting to hear back from comey before you schedule yates? >> yes. we have the witnesses we want but we don't know who the democrats want to bring in. >> okay. >> so we're still waiting on
them. >> can you tell us who signed you in to the white house? >> we're not going to ever talk about any of that. >> house speaker paul ryan resisting calls to remove chairman nunes. here he is taking questions from our own casey hunt. >> two questions, if i may. one -- should devin nunes recuse himself and two, do you know the source of his information? >> no and no. >> that was quick. the other story involved sally yates. she was the obama hold over, acting as attorney general who was fired by president trump because she said the justice department would not defend the first travel ban but just before she was fired, she was the very same sally yates that tipped off the white house to the fact michael flynn wasn't telling the truth about his meetings with russia's ambassador to the u.s. and told the white house she was
worried flynn was further vulnerable to blackmail by moscow. she was due to testify in a house intelligence hearing scheduled for today. this is what the testimony would have included according to ranking member, adam schiff. >> it would be very damaging to the white house. she has important information the public ought to hear about what led to the firing of michael flynn. that involves secret conversations on the subject of sanctions. those sanctions dealt with russian hacking of our elections designed to help donald trump. she can shed important light on that. i think for that reason the white house does not want her to testify. let's hear what she has to say. >> today's open hearing was postponed by chairman nunes along with a closed hearing with dren
director comey and the trump administration was in fact seeking to block sally yates from testifying at all. the post report details the back and forth through both letters and meetings between the justice department and yates' own attorneys. the doj considers quote her possible testimony including on the firing of national security advisor michael flynn to be off limits in a congressional hearing because the topics are covered by attorney-client privilege or the presidential privilege. key wording there. they waved any privilege because of past white house statements and she would testify unless they heard back from the white house. yates wanted to know if the white house was bluffing or serious. sean spicer responded. >> i hope she testifies. i look forward to it.
the hearing was never -- was actually never notified. if they choose to move forward, great. the report in the washington post is 100% false but to suggest that we stood in the way of that is 100% false. >> this is where it comes back to chairman nunes. he is the one that canceld the hearing where we would have heard from sally yates and he did so before the administration would have been forced to somehow forbid her testimony. the leader of the free world was back on twitter tonight. another version of nothing to see here on the russia story. another attempt to diminish our institutions, promote fox news. quote why doesn't fake news talk about podesta ties to russia as covered by fox news or money from russia to clinton. sale of uranium? politico senior foreign affairs
correspondent crowley is with us. and host of the national public radio talk show, indevisible, our friend, charl asiekz. michael, did spicer just take privilege off the table clearing the way and guaranteeing yates' testimony? do we assume that was blessed before hand and can you see why democrats are using the word "cover up" for the first time since water gate with real seriousness? >> it's a little hard to tell exactly what spicer's intention was there. i think in theory the white house might be saying she's free to testify as long as she doesn't cover certain topic areas they consider to be privilege. maybe that's the needle they're trying to thread here. but this is one of those stories that becomes a metta story. so we all know the underlying
allegations and the very troubling charges that there was some potential coordination between the trump campaign and the kremlin as part of this kremlin effort to interfere in the presidential election. and now there's this ridiculous process playing out where devin nunes and they're denying, distracting, delaying and it really doesn't give you a sense that there's not an interesting underlying story. and it also just fuels people's interests and attention when there's so much theatrics and diversions and smoke being blown around it. i think they do them selve as disservice and you can understand why they're talking in those terms. >> there's another more serious matter and that is that the people choson for the intelligence committees in the senate and house, it's not being
on the commerce committee. these are the keepers of our secrets. they often times meet more than once a week to go over their business intelligence and by all reports the house intelligence committee has ceased to function regularly. >> it appears to be completely dysfunctional. let's look at this from the point of view of trump world who's arguing this is a fake story. there was no collusion. the trump administration, the trump campaign was completely innocent. in which case, wouldn't they want a credible investigation, something both sides would acknowledge that would exonerate them? they appear to be obstructing it. sally yates' testimony will be more interesting, more dramatic than before. so if it they want to eliminate the distraction, proved innocent, they're going about it in exactly the wrong way and
devin nunes is not their friend, not an asset to them. >> and beyond smarter people than me have made the point the president could with one statement end so much of this by saying we're going to throw open our offices, our books. i want to get rid of the whiff of any complication with russia. we're going to cooperate fully. talk to all of our folks if you want to. >> which is what anybody else would do. and news flash he can tweet all he wants, this is not going away. this committee should be on the same team and it seems we have two investigations going on. one on leaks and one on connections to russia. if you do timing and go back, it does seem to be shocking and a step back when he heard from the fbi director that this administration was under investigation. we know these investigations last months, if not years and he
would start to get in front of the story as opposed to reacting to it and calling it fake news. i know you agree with me that two people to watch throughout this are mccain. and graham. >> i think there needs to be a lot of explaining to do. i've never heard of any such thing. >> i think you put his subjectivety in place. and if he's not able to say who he met with and what he was told. >> i've always made the point that members of the house love hearing from members of the senate about their behavior. these are two very important
guys who will get a big roll in this. how is he indeed in an untenable position? >> what matters more is the house. they feel safe in their seats. i think they're rallying to nunes. was an early opponent of the iraq war. mccain and graham are a party of two. they're not democrats but they are at odds with the republican party in a lot of ways and not fans of donald trump. however, they're quotable, they're good talkers, they're smart and the media. we enjoy hearing from them. because they talk well and they cut to the heart of things.
they are not good enemies to have. so nunes might be on his feet. >> life long loyal republican. think of what's not being talked about right now. >> there's so many things. this is part of the problem. you have the house republicans who have pretty significant heavy lifts coming up. raising the debt limit, the spending bill, infrastructure, all of that. they've decided they're going to stay joined that hip with donald trump. but the problem is how much political capitol do they want to invest in appearing to cover up something that may turn out to be a scandal. they're making analogies to 1974. was that good judgment on the part of republicans to go all in? which is why i've argued that the smart political move was for congress to push this off into an independent credible
commission to find out what the truth is, which is a good bipartisan american thing to do and not to have a distract from their agenda like it is right now. >> and one could argue that jeff sessions recused himself. a lot of pressure on nunes to do the same if for no other reason than the credibility of the investigation going forward. >> how do you decide when you start your day how to react to what the top of your ticket is doing and what you're going to say. how deep are you going to go in defense of this guy? >> especially when you hear more and more about associates. jared kushner having met with a russian ceo andole gark who sanctioned by the united states having met with him during the transition. why are we just now hearing about this? what does this have anything to do with american voters and the president and there's so many questions. if this had been laid out on the
table, maybe we wouldn't talk about it right now and people are wondering what else do we not know. >> we're going to take our first break. when we come back, we'll be join bide a member of the senate intelligence committee on how they plan to conduct this very same investigation and how both parties plan to write their report together when it's over. imagine that when the 11th hour continues.
to update us into russia's interference in american elections. as the house committee implodes on its own, the senate investigation is moving along largely under the radar. this evening i spoke to senator angus king who caucuses with the democrats and i started out by talking about how the practices from his committee differ from the colleagues in the house intelligence committee. >> we are really working hard to make it bipartisan it's eight republicans, six democrats and me. it's a well balanced committee. and everything we are doing now
is to maintain bipartisan approach to it and i'm hoping that we're going to be able to come out with the unanimous report. i think that's important. when a report finally comes out, it's got to be credible. and that's why what happened last week i think undermines the credibility of what the house is doing. we're trying very hard to avoid that. >> the democratic leader, mr. schumer from new york yesterday said nunes should step aside as head of the committee. do you agree? >> i think that's his decision and that's the decision of the house committee. i don't feel comfortable deciding what he should do but i think it's a mistake and i think it's compromised the ability of their committee to come out with a credible report and he's got to weigh that. >> are you making any pledges
about the amount of testimony you want to remain public that we can look at. >> in fact our first hearing is tomorrow, an open hearing in stwo parts. probably about four hours. having it in public is part of the process of producing a credible report. if we go behind closed and come out with a piece of paper and say this is what happened, i don't think that's going to cut it and a big part of this is educating the american people about what the russians are up to so that they'll know the next time that this is what the russians do and i've talked to people in eastern europe. i said how do you defend yourself against this. they're doing it all the time. they say everybody knows it's the russians.
we need to have our people understand this isn't a one off. they're going to continue to do this. they're going to come after us in a variety of ways and that's why it has to be as public as we can possibly make it. >> you're one of the senators to make the ride to langly over intelligence. you've seen all the smoke signals. how much fire in your view, granted before your investigative work starts, how much fire do you think is here? >> i think there are three parts of the and i know what you're referring to but the first part is what did the russians do in our election and that's pretty well established and there's a lot of fire there. i don't think there's any doubt it was the russians. that's part one. part two i think is what all the public interest is. was there some cooperation between the trump campaign and the russians. that's what we're going to dig into along with the first part.
there's a third part that hasn't gotten as much publicity i think may be of great significance and that is the russians were sad to probe and attack the voting systems, registration rolls and they were doing it as near as we can tell, all the intelligence says it didn't succeed but they weren't doing it for fun. they were probing and experimenting and they're going to keep tat. so i think that's something we're going to have to work with the states and the localities how to keep the integrity of the voting system. imagine if they had managed to change 100,000 votes and we could determine that, it would be chaos and that's what they want. that's a piece i think is also very important. >> you probably don't agree with dick cheney on much but did you agree when you heard him call
this an act of war. >> i did not hear him say that but i said that about a week after it happened. i don't know how you define that term but this is an attack on the united states. another way to think of it is what if they had dropped in paratroopers, broke in, stole the computers and took off in a submarine down the potomac river? who would not call that an act of war? this is very serious stuff and they're doing it now in france, germany, eastern europe as a regular thing. they've learned how to wage war on the cheek and that's why it's so serious and it's not going to stop and it's a nonpartisan issue, bryan. marco rubio who's on our committee gets that. he keeps saying look folks next time this could be us. putin's not a democrat or a republican. he's an opportunist and a bad
guy and he could just as soon turn his guns against the republicans. so that's why this has got to be i believe a totally bipartisan investigation because the stakes are so high. >> have you determined how you're going to vote on the gorsuch nomination? >> i have not. i've been working it. i had a listening session, four hours, 77 people spoke. everybody had their say. i went to his hearing even though i'm not on the committee. i've read articles about him, met him. i'm still trying to figure this guy out and i haven't decided yet one way or the other. i'm going to wait and see. a friend of mine on the committee put in questions i thought were important. i want to see thencer to the questions he's going to file in the next couple of days. this is a very weighty vote. most things we do can be amended
and changed next year. this is a 30-40 year decision. he's going to be there for a long time if he's confirmed and that's why i think we've really got to try to do our very best to understand what his philosophy and temperament is and that's what i'm trying to do and i'll reach a conclusion but i'm not ready yet. >> senator angus king, we have tried to find a louder hallway but we were unable to so i hope this will sufies thank you, senator, very much. and one piece of business out of that discussion, the hearing he mentioned tomorrow is happening thursday. senator king's office emailed us after his comments to let us know. coming up a white house consumed by questions about russia and showing its frustration from the podium. and later did sean spicer just give melissa mccarthy a set up? ♪
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>> i've said it frump the day i got here until whenever. you've got russia. if he puts russian salad dressing on his salad, somehow that's a russian connection. >> sean spicer got increasingly hostile with reporters in the briefing room today. hear a bit more of the back and forth with april ryan there at urban radio networks. >> at some point report the facts. the facts are every single person that has been briefed has come up with the same conclusion. i'm sorry that disgusts you. at some point the facts are what they are and every single person that as the been brief would the situation with respect to russian, democrat, republican, have all come to same conclusion, at some point you're go having to to take flow a