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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  April 4, 2017 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT

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barnes & noble here in union square and saturday wes lowery joins me for a talk at st. joseph's college. a great event. wes lowery has a book called "they can't kill us all" which i'd recommend to anyone that's interested in those topics. that's, of course, on saturday. as always, check out all of our tour dates at our facebook page, facebook.com/allinwithchris. the book continues to be sold wherever books are sold. independent book sellers who you can support. i've been around the country for the last two weeks meeting a lot of independent book sellers who are fascinating and incredible people who do amazing work and have this incredible sense of who their customers are. they're all over the country and have been amazing to meet. that's "all in" for this evening. the "rachel maddow show" starts right now. >> chris hayes my hero, thank
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you. thank you for joining us this hour. we've had some brutal and terrible news out of syria today. as dozens of civilians, dozens of children appear to have been killed in what looks like a chemic attack of some kind on a syrian rebel-held area in the northwest part of that country. our own richard engel filed a harrowing, harrowing report on this attack tonight for nbc "nightly news." here's part of what richard filed. i will tell you, it is a bit intense. >> reporter: these disturbing images taken just after the explosion. witnesses say it was a chemical weapons attack and in the video, it appears to bear all the hallmarks. this boy using all his strength just to breathe. first responders douse the victims with water stripped off their clothes to wash off what they said was a chemical weapon. medics and volunteers in this
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rebel-controlled part of syria rushed the injured to local clinics. they claim syrian president bashar al assad's regime fired the banned chemical nerve agent sarin. >> the gas attacks are continuing every day and notice o no one is doing anything. >> reporter: other victims were taken to a makeshift clinic built in a cave to protect it. there a father kissed his daughter good-bye. an activist said war planes were still overhead. then -- hospitals are often targeted in this war that respects no conventions. amazingly, the actvisit survived. >> that is richard engel's reporting from n"nbc nightly news" tonight on this incredible attack what appears to be a chemical attack of some kind that killed dozens of civilians, including many kids in syria today. one of the underreported -- underdebated decisions of this
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new administration is that very quietly, they have been moving tons more american troops into syria, into the syrian civil war. now we're used to receiving blunt, terse little notifications from the pentagon or white house whenever any significant number of u.s. troops are moved into war zones. that's the way they've always done it. in this new administration, though, they are not doing it that way. they are moving u.s. troops in considerable numbers but they're not announcing it. last week democratic senator chris murphy on the senate relations committee posted a blog entry on the huffington post as his way of getting word out these big troop deployments to syria were happening. he said quietly, without any official notification, president trump sent 500 new american troops into syria. news reports suggest this deployment may just be the tip of the iceberg with some saying the plan is for hundreds more
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american troops to be added to the fight in coming weeks. quote, nobody actually knows how many u.s. troops are inside syria now because the administration has largely tried to keep the build-up a secret. so there are lots more american troops heading into the war in syria but the administration does not want to say so and they have not been talking about these additional deployments. this is -- whatever you think about the war in syria, this is a fundamentally awkward thing for the basic structure of how our democracy works. this is an awkward thing for civilian control of the military. congress having the ultimate say-so over matterses of war and peace. for the american people knowing about what u.s. troops are doing in our name on our behalf and our ability to be good citizens about that. to debate and ultimately decide through our democratic processes whether those fights are worth it and whether we want american troops engaged in these particular wars. when it comes to syria, that's
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going to be a particularly hard debate to have, if we ever really have one. when it comes to whether or not u.s. troops should be fighting inside syria in significant numbers, americans have found that to be a very difficult question to ask. the last tim the u.s. government confronted the issue of chemical weapons being used by the syrian military against their own civilian population, last time this issue arose was in 2013. david corn today did a really good round-up of how the man who is now our president reacted at the time to that crisis. the last chemical weapons in syria crisis that really became a major issue in this country, round upped up what his public statements were. syria, obviously, is a catastrophe, right? it's a moral and human and geostrategic catastrophe. it's a hard strategic question for the united states as to how to make that situation better. president obama takes tons of heat to this day for not having
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sent u.s. troops into the war in syria. but what he actually did, if you remember, is he asked congress to authorize that. he asked congress to authorize a war in syria, if that's what they wanted. the way congress responded was by doing nothing. obama asked congress to authorize that and they went -- us? huh? they would much prefer to criticize the white house. criticize anybody for what a disaster that war game rather than get on the record for what should be done about it. most people with political aspirations would like to avoid making any overt declaration about what is the right move in syria. what would improve things in syria. what exactly should american troops do in ri most ambitious politicos would stay out of that one and they've proven that by the fact they did stay out of it when they were asked to make that call. but you know what? donald trump was not shy about
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it. as a real estate developer and reality tv show star at the time in may 2013, he was quite clear about what should be done. congress didn't want to weigh in on it. he was very clear about what needed to happen. specifically about what should not happen. here he was. may 2013. quote, syria is not our problem. donald trump, may 2013. by the following month, by june, quote, we should stay the hell out of syria. what will we get for our lives and billions? zero. that was june. by august, stay out of syria. by september, he was having back and forth with people on twitter about it. here he was posting a public reply to @bigsexybdavis. mr. trump could attack syria or no asked bigsexy bdavis. mr. trump responds, no. in case that colloquy was not clear enough, 15 minutes later,
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trump posts again. what i am saying is stay out of syria. okay. got it. then two days later, do not attack syria. then two hours later, this time in all caps, do not attack syria. september 7th, president obama, do not attack syria. september 9th, don't attack syria. september 11th, forget syria. september 13th, stay out of syria. a lot of people, congress itself did not want to go on the record about what the united states should or should not do in syria. president obama went to congress in august and explicitly asked them. you want a war in syria? authorize it and we'll go. congress' response was no comment. they did not want to vote on that or be on the record saying what ought to happen in syria. donald trump not afraid. very clear about it with bigsexy bdavis n everybody else within
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sight and sound of his twitter account. totally clear. stay out of syria. well, now after today's horrific attack in syria, the white house has issued a response in president trump's name. his response to this syrian attack today is to blame president obama for not attacking syria back in the day. quoting from today's presidential statement, these heinous actions by the bashar al assad regime are a consequence of the past administration's weakness and resolution. the white house response is to atribute to to president obama because president obama, quote, did nothing in syria. president obama, in fact, did not invade syria. maybe because he was persuaded by donald trump's arguments by it at the time talking about it on twitter with bigsexy bdavis saying syria is not our problem.
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that syria is their war. now he's saying everything that's happening now is because obama didn't go in. but you know what? hypocrisy is cheap. saying one thing and doing another, condemning other people for things that you yourself are guilty of, we wouldn't have half the parables in the bible if human beings had come up for a cure of that particular affliction. the thing that is new under the sun, a thing that is new about this new administration that we're just figuring out now is their unusual decision-making process about when they choose to operate behind closed doors and when they act out in the open. every administration likes to play up its strengths and downplay its weaknesses. their behavior is weirderhan that. they're now writing theirwn essays, making their own public blog posts. they're having to do that
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because the white house is not telling us that information on its own anymore. that's a strange decision on their part. eventually we'll find out these are not covert actions that these u.s. troops are taking. these deployments are not classified. so by just not announcing when troops are going and what troops are going, they're not keeping the information actually secret. we'll find out. they're just obscured a little. they buy themselves a little time in which they don't have to answer any questions. by not announcing these troop deployments, the white house avoids or delays there being any political fight in washington over whether or not there's a good strategic reason to send more american troops into the middle of that syrian war and why the president has changed his mind about that. it is presumably easier to blame the previous administration for bad things that happen somewhere than it is to argue for what you want to do differently. so they've come up with this closed door strategy on syria at
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least where they are not arguing for what they're doing. they're not announcing it or explaining it. not making a case for themselves. they're just doing stuff without saying that that's what they're doing. and that's not the way it is supposed to work when it comes to americans putting their lives in danger in war. and so that is where it stands out the most. but that is not just their m.o. on national security matters. the new administration does this on other stuff. the president has signed some of the furthest reaching legislation of his young presidency. he just signed a bill that lets your internet provider sell all of our personal data. your online usage data, financial data, anything they've got on you. they can sell it without your permission or even your knowledge. this is a big deal. this is going to be a big deal for all of us that your internet service provider can do this. this is a material change from the way your data is handled
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now. it's one thing if there are specific websites or specific apps that collect data about you and what you do online. whether or not you care about that if you care about it you have options. options as a consumer to choose to not use those websites or not use those apps if you don't like their privacy policies or how th deal with your information. but your internet provider? it's not like most of us have a lot of choice when it comes to who you get your internet service from. in massachusetts, there's one way that internet can come into my house. it's through dsl and there's one company from which i can purchase at dsl service. that's it. but now thanks to this bill that president trump just signed, my internet provide are and yours can take your browsing history, their record of everything you have ever downloaded, can take their data about anything you have ever done online, all of your financial information, everything they have got on you and they can sell it to anyone
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without even giving you notice that they're doing so, let alone allowing you the opportunity to object. if you don't have a lot of choice of internet providers, your only option for opting out of this system, for protecting yourself at all is to not use the internet? i mean, really? but that change is now official and it's thanks to president trump and republicans in congress. basically a party line vote to pass this thing and president trump just signed it. as you might imagine, this thing is radically unpopular. even the radically pro-donald trump corners of the internet at the donald sub reddit which is famously pro-trump community online. trump supporters are freaking out that he just signed this thing. yougov did a national poll on this. they describe what the bill does and then asked, should trump
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sign this or veto it? 11% said donald trump should sign this bill. the purroportion that said he should veto it? 74%. 74% say do not sign the bill. he signed the bill. and courage, he did it behind closed doors. no photo op. no stand-alone press release. no awkward ceremony where he gets up and starts to walk away because he forgot to sign the bill and has to come back afterwards and make sure he really signs it. this one they did behind closed doors. no press, no tweets no, cameras. they do not want to talk about it or defend it. no human wants this. and so they signed it in secret. we're still new here, right? we're still figuring them out. but we're starting to figure out a little bit about how they do things. remember this big photo op day? get the women in here.
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this was the signing of the promoting women in entrepreneurship act. that same day they also signed the inspiring the next space pioneers act. awesome. very well staged photo ops. executive orders that did absolutely nothing substantive whatsoever to promote women entrepreneurship or to promote women pioneers in space. not a single dollar or cent moved left, right, up or down because of either of those all for show executive orders. but they did put on a show. they got their big photo ops. and then that same day, they cleared all the extras out of the room, pushed out all the cameras, closed the doors and very quietly that same day, the president also signed a very consequential bill which makes it easier for seriously mentally ill people to buy firearms because you remember how everybody campaigned in november on the more guns for the seriously mentall ill platform,
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right? that one they did not want to talk about. that one, they wanted to do it for some reason but they knew they couldn't defend it. so that one they did in secret. they still did it but they did it in secret. we're starting to learn the ropes with these guys. they will make a show out of anything they want to. but we're also learning that they are unusually afraid. they are deathly afraid to talk about their own actions that they can't defend where they are acting not because a single identifiable human being wants them -- wants them to act that way but for some other reason they still feel compelled. whether it's guns or the internet or the secret escalation in syria that they cannot defend and that before he was president he was so opposed to. whether it's any of those issues, we now are starting to figure out what they are doing and why they are doing it when
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they retreat behind closed doors to do so much of what they do. and we've got a scoop on that tonight. we've got some leaked documents out of the epa that have never been seen by the public eye before. we've got them tonight. that's coming up. stay with us. ♪ (phone ringing) they'll call back. no one knows your ford better an fd and ford ser. right now, during the big tire event, get a $140 rebate by mail, on four select tires. ♪ dude. your crunching's scaring the fish. dude. they're just jealous. new kellogg's raisin bran crunch with crunchy clusters and the taste of apples and strawberries. (excited) i got one! (jokingly) guess we're having cereal for dinner. new kellogg's raisin bran crunch apple strawberry
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want to update you on something unexpected happening tonight, right now. it's about the neil gorsuch supreme court nomination. we've goa live picture. this is a live picture of the senate floor right now. the gentleman in the tie is oregon democratic senator jeff merkley. the reason this is news is because jeff merkley has been
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standing there doing this for a very, very long time tonight. we have just learned that apparently he's just getting started. senator merkley is now planning on holding the floor overnight tonight, talking all through the night to oppose the nomination of judge neil gorsuch to the supreme court. he started speaking around 6:45 eastern time tonight. as you can see, he is still going. his office tells us he intends to continue speaking as long as he is physically able. so far senator merkley has spent his time talking about george gorsuch's record, why he's opposed to judge gorsuch and also what he says is the only relevant context in which this nomination is playing out. what he calls the theft of a supreme court seat that should have been killed by president obama's nominee. >> the majority team in this chamber decided to steal a supreme court seat.
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again, such a theft never, ever has happened in the history of our nation. the majority said we intent to pack the court of the united states of america. there was no principle to the position. it was a warfare tactic of partisanship to pack the court. it was a end justifies the means even if the means violates the core premise of the constitution and does deep damage to the nate and does deep damage to the court. >> that was senator jeff merkley of oregon speaking earlier this evening, but he is still there. again, this is a live picture. senator merkley is in hour three right now. in terms of the context, democrats have announced they'll filibuster neil gorsuch's nomination. they do have the votes to do that. that drama is getting under way in washington now. it will play out over the next couple of days. earlier today, maine senator
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angus king became the final senate to announce how he plans to vote. he'll oppose gorsuch's nomination and support the filibuster with angus king weighing in, all senators have declared their intentions. we believe that neil gorsuch will likely have 56 votes which means he will be four votes shy of the 60 votes he'll need to overcome a democratic filibuster. the only way republicans will be able to get him through, onto the court is if they kill the filibuster. well, today the top republican in the senate mitch mcconnell set up the next key votes on judge gorsuch. he set them up for starting thursday morning. if they do decide they'll go through with this, all the way, if they do decide to kill the filibuster and change the united states senate forever just to get him through, that vote, that key vote will be expected on friday. meanwhile, oregon democratic
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senator jeff merkley intends to hold the senate floor all night long tonight to try to stop gorsuch from going through. he's at about 2 1/2 hours so far and counting. we don't know how late he's going to go. but watch this space. important to me than my vacation. so when i need to book a hotel room, i want someone that makes it easy to find what i want. booking.com gets it. they offer free cancellation, in case i decide to go from kid-friendly to kid-free. now i can start relaxing even before the vacation begins. your vacation is very important. that's why booking.com makes finding the right hotel for the right price easy. visit booking.com now to find out why we're booking.yeah so we know how to cover almost alanything.ything, even a coupe soup. so we know how to cover almost [woman] so beautiful. [man] beautiful st like you. [woman] oh, why thank you.
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all right. here's an exclusive story. you'll not see this anywhere else. the man standing just left of the president in this picture, his name is andrew liverus.
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the ceo of dow chemical which is very nearly the biggest chemicalmaker in the world. he serves on the president's manufacturing council and on the previous president's export council. he seems to like the new one more between the two presidents. he says rather than entering a vacuum, i'm getting e-mails from the president's team, if not every day, then every other day. hours a what we're working on. we need another meeting. that's him enthusing to "the washington post" about how good dow chemical has got it now with this new white house. three days after doing that quote, the trump administration gave dow chemical a present. the new epa administrator was overrue overruling the scientific findings of his own agency and deciding personally that he would okay the use of one of dow chemical's pesticides despite his own agency finding it was too dangerous and too toxic for use in the united states.
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scott pruitt said it would be greenlit. under the previous president, dow chemical had been losing the fight over that pesticide. but the new president and the daily phone calls and the here's what we're working on and we need another meeting and can you get us more input on this, dow chemical feels it's winning. and there's nothing illegal or inherently wrong with the ceo relishing his new access with the white house and benefiting from the policies but it's a nice tidy demonstration of how things are getting done now. they're not shy about it. here again is that photo op one more time. the ceo of dow chemical on the left side there. what the president is doing in this photo op is signing an order to broadly upend the way public health and safety get protected by the government. he was signing the executive order for agencies to start wholesale deleting health and safety regulations. watch what the president does when he finishes signing the
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thing. >> should i give this pen to andrew? dow chemical. i think maybe, right? >> give the pen to andrew. dow chemical. pleasure working with you. that was the president rolling out executive order 13777 enforcing the regulatory reform agenda and thanking, by name, andrew, ceo of dow chemical for all the help. tonight we can report exclusively on how one part of the government is responding to that executive order. how it's going to work in real life. we got this exclusively in the sense that we have obtained new internal administration documents that have not been publicly released. we believe them to be genuine but the epa is not answering our questions about them. what these documents appear to show is a fairly sweeping change and how the government deals with questions like whether to ban a pesticide from dow
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chemical when the government's own scientific studies have determined that pesticide is unsafe. and it isn't just about pesticides. it's broadly about clean air and clean water and things like keeping the public safe from radiation. again, the epa did not answer any of the questions we asked them about these documents but wh we believe these are are internal memos from inside the epa, and they show the first steps in how that part of the government is going to carry out that, here's your pen, andrew, executive order. the one about health and safety regulations. the memos appear to be from epa administrator scott pruitt dated march 24th. you can see there it says -- see the from line? from e. scott pruitt. then it looks to be his signature off to the side on the right. this first memo calls for epa regulators to start reporting any action they take, any regulatory action anywhere in the country. needs to now be reported in a central database.
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effective immediately, epa program and regional offices shall report all regulatory actions in the agency's regulatory management system. regulatory actions to be reported include but not limited to those relating to any statutory or deadlines, pesticide tolerances, significant new use rules, delistings, permits, federal implementation plans, state implementation plans. they should air on the side of including actions in the system. basically that means that if any action is taken anywhere by any epa office, any epa personnel anywhere in the country, a statement on how much pesticide it's safe to leave on a crop or response to a petition or response to a court, anything has to be reported to headquarters in d.c. everything, everywhere in the country goes through d.c. now. everything. so that's memo one. that's the first thing that we obtained. that's new.
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then there's the second memo we obtained. it specifically cites that, here's your pen andrew executive order. and then it says this. by may 15th, the offices of air and radiation, land and emergency management, chemical safety and pollution prevention, water, environmental information, congressional and intergovernmental relations and small and disadvantaged business utilization should provide the task force with recommendations regarding specific rules that should be considered for repeal, replacement or modification. while we intend to do some outreach rargd this effort, i'd like the recommendations from those offices to be informed by consultation with their particular stakeholders and that is all supposed to be done by may 15th, which is six weeks from now. and that's the first step in the process. obviously, it makes it a huge difference who the epa considers to be a stakeholder affected by their regulations. if it's the dow chemicals of the world getting daily calls and
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ceremonial pens from the white house, we can imagine some of what dow chemical would like to have happen. having it done by may 15th should be no problem for them since they're talking every single day anyway. but if it isn't just dow chemical, if it's also like our lungs and skin and vital organs that have a stake in these regulations, are those interests getting consulted, too? as we wholesale plan to get rid of health and safety regulations? that we don't know. we talked to two leading environmental groups today who have been epa stakeholders in the past. each of them said they've heard beans from the epa about these new processes that we have documented in these two memos that we have obtained. one of them told us they used to talk to epa all the time under the old administration but under the new administration their official communication is down to zero. maybe that will change. they have a whole six weeks. something else interesting to watch here, we spoke with one
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lawyer who represents companies that to v to submit to epa regulations. they are worried about the huge budget cuts that have been revealed in other epa documents leaked to the press. even from the corporate side. they are worried about the epa no longer having enough staffers even just to do the permitting work that industry needs to move ahead. as long as we're going to have any regulations left. that lawyer says the industry has not heard anything from epa about this broad national review of every last single health and safety regulation, including anything about any regulations that the industry might actually like to keep. so that's curious. there's definitely a mismatch between what epa is doing internally and what everybody who deals with epa has heard from them and thinks is going on. now that said, what does dow chemical think of this? we asked. we asked dow chemical. they did not answer our question about whether epa has reached out to them about these new
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processes. the company spokespeople did tell us that, quote, dow works closely with epa every day on matters that affect dow. yeah, we know. dow also told us as a company they support the epa decision not to ban their pesticide. well, blow me down. if we hear more from the epa about these memos, about this radical new process they apparently are putting in motion very fast without telling very many people about it, we will let you know. in the meantime, we're going to make these memos public now. we're going to post them at m maddow blog.com. if you would like to get something into my hands, whether or not the epa will ever answer my questions about it, please, send us what you've got. you can do so through a website we've set up, www.sendittorachel.com. what do you got? thank you in advance for
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going where they'd offer their expertise on just how much trouble president clinton was in and how many crimes he had committed. at one point joe gave a newspaper a scoop about a secret service agent having caught president clinton and monica lewinsky in a compromising position. ooh, ooh, yeah, that didn't happen. he said it was true but it was not true and the paper had to retract the story. in the first month after the lewinsky scandal broke, joe and his wife were quoted or appeared on television over 300 times. it was one of the unavoidable and now legendary things about that scandal. by the spring of that year, some folks were sort of starting to sour on the lewinsky investigation. the head of the bar investigation was questioning the tacts of the special prosecutor ken eths star. even some republicans were saying the special prosecutor should step down. an ap headline said starr takes
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flag from several sides. on a sunday morning, things not going his way, joe went on "meet the press" and did a little something called changing the narrative. he brought notes to help him remember what he was changing the narrative to. >> if you let me just say something. this is fascinating. i think while people are concerned about ken starr's tactics, they ought to be concerned about the white house tactics. i'll tell you why. last week i got a telephone call from a correspondent for a national weekly telling me that word had gotten around town that i and my wife were being investigated by a private investigator with link to the white house and attorneys representing the president. >> do you know for certain you're being investigated by private eyes? >> we've been told by correspondents for one national magazine. the chairman has been informed by another national daily that he's being investigated and we have been told by numerous other
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correspondents in this city that that is what is being done. i hope it isn't true. i would hope their firm denial would come from people. if the white house is condoning the investigation of private citizens looking into their lives, if they are trying to intimidate people from exercising their first amendment freedom to speak out on issues regarding the law of this land and the president of the united states, that's truly a frightening development. >> frightening development. president of the united states sending private eyes after his political enemies. wow. and you know, joe digeneva got a call from a guy who said it's true. maybe someone told a congressman about it or maybe numerous people who -- in any case, that's definitely the real scandal here. that's definitely the real story. and if joe digeneva was looking to change the narrative it worked. it was all about the white house denying it sent private investigators on joe and his wife. ken starr started calling white house officials to testify about whether they were trying to
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intimidate people and the narrative became war between ken starr and the white house and everybody is using dirty tactics. my favorite was from "usa today" at the time. "clinton versus starr turning nasty." who can claim truth or objectivity anymore? who indeed? there are specific people who are called upon to play this particular role. in the d.c. business of partisan scandal making and scandal distracting. people who are called upon to muddy the waters, shift the focus, confuse the narrative. during the benghazi investigation, joe digeneva was back tedling claims the obam marg was intimidating witnesses. during the presidential campaign, joe digenova was back regularly citing supposed inside sources telling him that hillary clinton was definitely about to be indicted over her e-mails. she was guilty of several felonies. she couldn't be elected because
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she was definitely going to jail. and now act 17 in this life-long play. late last night a conservative website posted a story claiming that obama national security adviser susan rice ordered intelligence agencies to compile spreadsheets of intercepted communications between donald trump and his staffers for purely political purposes. their source for that info was? joe digenova. he said susan rice engaged in illegal activity. you just have to take his word for it. and that was the latest evolution today of this alternate story ne, this parallel republican-friendly universe in which the real scandal is not russia attacking our election, is not what anyone in the trump campaign might have been to potentially coordinate with russia to undermine our election. no, the real scandal is
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something the obama white house did. >> the allegation is that in one case, they are alleging in the daily caller that there was a spreadsheet you put out of all of these names. >> absolutely false. >> and circulated. >> no spreadsheet. nothing of the sort. >> now susan rice has to give her denial of what joe digenova said to a right wing blog. war between the trump and obama white houses. everybody is using dirty tactics. the exclusive sit-down today susan rice and andrea mitchell was an epic moment in the clearing up of this particularly muddy moment in this scandal. it was epic and andrea mitchell joins us next. stay with us. businesses will need legal help as they age and grow. whether it be with customer contracts, agreements to lease a space or protecting your work. legalzoom's network of attorneys can help you,
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the allegation is that somehow obama administration officials utilized intelligence for political purposes. that's absolutely false. >> do you seek the names of people involved in -- to unmask the names of people involved in the trump campaign, people surrounding the president elect in order to spy on them and to expose them? >> absolutely not for any political purposes to spy, expose or anything. >> did you leak the name of mike flynn? >> i leaked nothing to nobody and never have and never would. >> former national security adviser susan rice in an epic ber view denying these reports
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that she was the one that sought to unmask the names of personnel, specifically, for political purposes. she's been unmasking politically and circulating it beyond any intelligence or -- in any intelligence or other proper purpose. joining us now is andrea mitchell. thank you for being here. >> you bet. >> so let me ask your big picture take on what you made of what susan rice told you today, whether anything she said today surprised you and how it made you feel about this over all allegation that there is an obama administration scandal here. >> well, i've got to tell you, i was surprised by one big thing and a couple of little things. when she said she was unaware that mike flynn had been unregistered agent for the
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turkish government during the transition. and that she read it in the newspaper or the press when she learned about it as we did very recently, belatedly. that surprised me because if she were tracking these transition officials so closely and tracking mr. flynn, in particular, who had risen to a high profile of inquiry because of his contacts and the surprise that everyone in the national security field have that vladimir putin did not respond or retaliate to the obama sanctions, that was surprising. but she wasn't tracking him that closely and now we learn, according to the "wall street journal," if they're correct tonight, our colleagues there reporting from republican source, whom they cite. there were two officials, unmasked, if you will, from the trump. one did not relate and one was mike flynn and that it was not susan rice who unmasked them or
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requested from the cia that they be unmasked, it was some other official in the white house. >> in terms of susan rice as a point of focus for conservative media, obviously they zeroed in on her in the benghazi controversy with incredible ve rosst -- ferocity. i know that it was more convenient than it was warranted. i think there was a lot of resentment for the role that she was chosen for in that political scandal. is there any sense that this is carry-over from that, especially if there's contrary reporting that it may not have been her at all. the sources in terms of where this allegation comes from, isn't just thin, it's laughable. >> well, it was very clear from a couple of things that were said on capitol hill, that they were putting her in this
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framework of benghazi and blaming her for everything. senator cotton called her that she pops up in all these scandals. it seems she was convenient foil, people have been talking about susan rice and not talking about eric prince, not talking as much about carter page. so if the distraction is the goal, it's working and what john, the former acting director of the cia and academic and intelligence prosaid to me today that this is all going down blind allies and taking peoples attention away from the main act, did trump officials collude with russia when they attacked our election. the fact is the more we talk about this other stuff, which will be picked up and investigated and they're saying they want to call her as someone on the witness list said, not so much yet, but all of these different diversions or other
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issues, if you will, mean that the less attention, at least from the committee that's being paid, if not to the -- by the fbi, to the main act, which is russia. >> we've got about a minute left and i don't want to dwell on this at length. i know it's not your favorite topic. i have to ask you about white house really attacking you today. they responded, the white house responded by accusing of you being a democratic pr person, which, of course, just getting my back up because i don't like people attacking you. i just want to know, if you had any response to that, or is that just sort of par for the course at this point. >> i always prided myself on not being a pr person for anyone, so, you know, that's the lane i've chosen is to be a journalist. and being apartisan, it's not what i am. it's not who i am. people judge me by my work. i've been as resented by the clinton and obama white houses, than i have by the reagan and
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bush white house and now i guess the trump white house. >> maybe it's a badge of honor. >> badge of honor, officially, bestowed by me. angela mitchell, host reports, congratulations on this interview today. thanks for being with us. >> thank you. >> all right. we'll be right back. (de♪p breath) (phone ringing) they'll call back.
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extent that he can, on the investigations into the russian attack on our election last year and the investigations into the possibility that the trump campaign may have cooperated in that attack somehow. now, obviously, this is a big deal because he's the former acting director of the cia. but it is also a big deal, because in the intelligence world was a russian specialist, so he knows of which he speaks on these matters. you're about to hear from him right now on this subject, he's joining lawrence o'donnel on "the last word" right here on msnbc. good evening. >> when you were saying all of that's i was getting ready to go, and rachel guess who my first guest is. she's going to love this who she hears who we've got. >> i'm inside your brain right now. >> you are. >> great. another great rachel and andrea segme segment. if you can just keep t

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