tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC June 7, 2017 5:00pm-6:01pm PDT
the white house, then proceed to seek his personal loyalty if he didn't have a problem? that is the same question we've had for months here. why all this talk about immunity and taking the fif amendment and exercise executive privilege if you're not hiding something? why ask the fbi director for a loyalty oath if you're not afraid of him investigating something? that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "all in" with chris hayes starts right now. tonight on "all in." >> the president said, i need loyalty. i expect loyalty. >> james comey on the record. >> comey quotes the president, i hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting flynn go. >> the fired fbi director's sworn testimony about his conversations with the president is released. >> he said he had nothing to do with russia, had not been involved with hookers in russia. >> tonight, based on what comey
says, did the president commit obstruction of justice? plus, the white house responds to the direct contradiction of the president. >> a dinner was arranged. i think he asked for the dinner. >> and what we know about what jamesomey may be holding back for tomorrow morning's hearing. all that and the incredible scene at this morning's hearing. >> why are you not answering our questions? >> because i feel it in inappropriate, senator. >> what you feel isn't relevant, admiral. >> when "all in" starts right now. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. we are just 14 hours from the most anticipated congressional hearing in recent political memory. tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m., the former director of the fbi, james comey, will testify in front of the whole nation that the president of the united states repeatedly pressured him over the russia investigation before firing him abruptly last month. in written testimony released today by the senate intelligence committee, the former fbi
director describes in detail a series of six one-on-one interactions with the president going back to the transition, which raised serious red flags. comey's account confirms some of the most explosive allegations reported by the press, that the president demanded the fbi director's loyalty during a private dinner at the white house. that he explicitly asked comey to drop the investigation into michael flynn after telling other officials to leave the room. and that comey pleaded with attorney general jeff sessions to prevent the president from continuing to communicate with him directly. comey's account of the president's request regarding flynn, in particular, directly contradicts the president's own statement in public on the record. >> did you at any time urge former fbi director james comey in any way, shape, or form to close back down the investigation into michael flynn and also -- >> no. no. next question. >> comey's written testimony does back up one claim by the
president, that the fbi director informed him on three occasions he, the president, was not personally under investigation. according to comey, the president repeatedly pressed him to publicize
that information. the president went on to say that if there were some satellite associates of his who did something wrong, it would be good to find that out, but that he hadn't done anything wrong and hoped i would find a way to get it out that we weren't investigating him. and that came during a previously unreported phone call from the president on march 30th. that's just days after comey had revealed for the first time that the president's campaign was under investigation for possible links to russia's election sabotage. during that same call, according to comey, the president described the russia investigation as a cloud that was impairing his ability to act on behalf of the country. he said he had nothing to do with russia, had not been involved with hookers in russia, and had always assumed he was being recorded when in russia. he asked what we could do to
lift the cloud. the president's outside counsel, marc kasowitz, responded to comey's written testimony in a statement. the president is pleased that mr. comey has finally publicly confirmed his private reports that the president was not under investigation in any russian probe. the president feels completely and totally vindicated. he is eager to move forward wit his agenda. m joined now by senator brian schatz, a democrat from hawaii. senator, let me ask you first, do you agree with the president's lawyer that the testimony submitted by james comey vindicates the president entirely? >> i think it's preposterous. i think if you're arguing that that testimony vindicates your client, your client may be in trouble. you're right, chris, in your lead-up. this confirms all of the reporting of the "washington post" and "the new york times" over the last several weeks and months, and i think on a common-sense level, this is becoming obvious. this is exactly what it looks
like. you have a president who intervened with the director of national intelligence, with the head of the national security agency, and with the head of the fbi six to nine times to basically tell them to knock it off, to stop this investigation. so it's increasingly hard to argue that this isn't exactly what it looks like. >> i want to get your reaction to a few parts of this, and this is a particular one we've previously reported but now on the record from comey himself. the president saying to comey at that dinner, i need loyalty. i expect loyalty. comey saying, i didn't move, speak, or change my facial expression in any way during the awkward silence that followed. we simply looked at each other in silence. he then said, i need loyalty. i replied, you will always get honesty from me. he paused and then said, that's what i want, honest loyalty. i paused and then said, you will get that from me. how would you characterize that? >> well, i think he was trying to get the fbi director to
behave as though he was a political patron of the president. i don't think it's really unclear at all. even in comey's accounting, i thought he was sort of generous to say, well, we may have had different understandings of what they met by honest loyalty, but i don't think that's true. i think what the president wanted was for the fbi director to kind of understand what side his bread is buttered and to take care of the president in the way the president wanted to be taken care of, which was specifically to knock it off when it came to investigating what michael flynn was up to. >> so i guess the question to you, senator, is what does that add up to? the president requesting the director of the fbi lay off his close aide, apparently, it appears, deceiving us, the press and the public, about that request or misremembering it, i suppose is the most charitable interpretation. then firing the fbi director when he did not essentially heed that request from the president. what does that add up to you,
senator? >> well, i think i'm going to be one of the last to opine on this because i think it's really important that we all understand where we're going. every day it looks more and more likely that members of the united states senate are going to be sitting in judgment of this and other questions. and so i think we ought to be precise with our language. i think we ought to be expeditious and aggressive with our investigatory processes. but i think members ofongress ought to be precise with their language. i will say this. for thoseho are arguing that it isn't what it looks like, it becomes sort of a vanishingly small island to stand on. it is really difficult to come up with a charitable explanation of what just happened. whether it meets some legal standard of obstruction of justice, i don't think we're there yet. but i will tell you that it is a lot easier to argue that it is obstruction of justice than it is to argue that this is something benign. you read that memo or that
testimony from james comey, and it's pretty clear what just went on. the other thing i'll add for your viewers because they don't live and -- some of them do live and breathe politics, but some of them may have just gotten home. read the testimony. it is beautifully written. it is interestingly written, and it really tells the story of what has transpired over the last three or four months, and it is shocking. >> senator brian schatz, thanks for joining me. joining me now, frances rooney. are you okay with the president of the united states contacting the fbi director nine times and explicitly leaning on them to end an investigation into a member of his campaign slash administration? >> i haven't read it that closely yet. i scanned it, and i saw where director comey made clear that the president was not under any investigation. personally. >> right. but are you okay with the other parts? i'll read you part of it. >> sure. >> this is comey talking to the president of the united states. he described the russia
investigation as a cloud that was impairing his ability to act on behalf of the country. he said he had nothing to do with russ, had not been involved with hookers in russia, and alwa assumed he was being recorded when in russia. he asked what he could do to lift the cloud. >> that sounds perfectly logical to me. the whole russia thing and the comey thing have become such a huge distraction from pursuing the tightening up of our foreign policy, the developing a tax return program that will get our country moving again, all that kind of stuff. >> are you a family man, congressman rooney? >> i absolutely am. >> does it strike you as strange that the president's response to an acizaticusation that he hire prostitutes is not, i'm married, and not, i'm not a bad person, but, rather, i knew i was being taped? >> well, i just assume that there's -- i don't know the background of that or the context. i just assume there's been some allegation that they tried to frame him or something. you know, it's very common in intelligence to try to frame people using human shields.
>> so you think that there's some attempt to frame the president for this behavior? >> no, i don't know. i don't know any of the context about why that comment would have been made or not made. but, you know -- >> let me ask you this. i understand the sense, the frustration that you have and others in your party share about the sort of distracting nature of this. you guys were still able, of course, to pass the ahca in the house. it looks like the senate is trying to do that. but on this sort of core legal question of obstruction of justice, i mean you would agree that it is possible for a president to commit obstruction of justice, right? >> well, we had one back in the '70s that apparently did. >> right. i mean twice articles of impeachment have been drafted against a president for committing obstruction of justice, richard nixon and bill clinton. so you think that is something that the president -- that would count as a high crime and misdemeanor? >> but i haven't seen any fact that comes anywhere near what nixon did. what we've got here is a president calling for what did he say? he wants his people to be honest
or something or -- >> loyalty. he demanded loyalty. >> yeah. intrinsic values that you would want out of everybody you're associated with. that has nothing to do with alleging a crime or anything like that. >> well, but it goes a little past that, right, because we have james comey saying the president explicitly told him to lay off an investigation into michael flynn, an investigation that had been precipitated by flynn lying in a conversation with fbi agents, which looks on its face a contravention of federal law. the president explicitly telling the fbi director, don't investigate my campaign staff and then firing them when they continue. what would you call that? >> well, see, this is whereas an outsider, a business guy, i kind of sympathize with the president. you know, there's always all these political nuances and overtones to every word that you say in this business when, you know, he might have just been saying -- intending. i don't know what his intent was. he might be saying look, we
already beat this guy through the weeds. he was a general, did serve our country. let's get him out of here and move on. >> i wonder if the inverse would be true. would it be okay for the president to tell the fbi direor explicitly to go and vestigate someone and open a criminal investigation? >> i don't think the -- i think the fbi is an independent agency that has to do what it needs to do regardless of who tells it to do anything. >> so you can understand why exactly that's the issue. we don't want the president ordering someone to investigate someone, say his political enemies. and we don't want the president telling them not to investigate a political ally when the president numerous times leans on the fbi director to do precisely that, you can understand why that's problematic, right? >> well, if it was as aggressive as you're implying, maybe perhaps. but i'm not hearing or reading those kinds of words in what i'm seeing. i'm seeing some comments that might have been misconstrued. i'm seeing some references to wanting intrinsic values of honesty and integrity out of his team. >> i just want to read you one
more portion of the former director's testimony just so that i can get your reaction. he talked about a one-on-one dinner. he told me the my instincts told me that the one-on-one setting meant the dinner was at least in part an effort to have me ask for my job and create some sort of patronage relationship. that concerned me greatly given the fbi's traditionally independent status in the executive branch. do you think the traditional independent status of the executive branch of the fbi is important? >> of course it's important. but i must be the dunce of the week, but i'm not connecting up those words with the implications that you're saying. i might have to read that and study that some more. >> the president did contact james comey nine times in four months. he says he only had two conversations with president obama during his entire tenure, and during some of those nine conversations, it was an explicit ask that he stop investigating someone. >> yeah, i can't totally understand why the president didn't get rid of comey the day he took office after the way he botched that clinton deal.
obviously comey was on his mind as a problem from day one. >> here's my question. there's a lot of people who basically feel the republican party sort of in for a penny, in for a pound with president trump, whether they personally support his agenda, they feel personal loyalty, he's a member of the party, that there's basically no thing that could come out that would cause them to reassess that or to move towards impeachment. is that true? is that a fair characterization? >> no, no, i don't think that's a fair characterization. if there's something that comes out that's tangible, that implies elements of a crime, that would be a whole different deal. but i'm not seeing anything anywhere near that right here. >> but you're keeping your mind open is what you're telling me? >> i think we're all supposed to have an open mind about everything. but i'm just thankful that donald trump is president and we have the chance to drive the kind of agenda that we're driving and that we've got neil gorsuch on the supreme court. >> all right. congressman, it was a great pleasure. joining me now, colonel lawrence wilkerson, former chief of staff to then secretary of state colin powell. you're someone who has navigated
the halls of power in washington, d.c., kind of understands both the sort of explicit rules and the unwritten ones. i'm just curious your reaction to reading what comey has laid out. >> chris, my reaction to what comey wrote for his prepared statement for his hearing tomorrow and what the senator from hawaii said earlier are almost diametrically opposed. i'm not stunned at all. i know the senator was speaking for political impact as well as other things. but i'm not stunned at all because this seems to be, probably is the nature of the trump administration. it's like a mafia family. and what comey's testimony -- prepared testimony read like to me was someone from the outside with some integrity commenting on the nature of a mafia fami. i mean that's essentially the way i view president trump now, as a godfather, as a member that
orchestrates everything within his team and expects honeloyalt honest or otherwise. it's going to take a while for my political party because they think, as the other spokesman just said, they're going to accomplish all these goals. it's going to take a while for them to realize they aren't going to accomplish a thing, that what they're doing is hurting this country. >> you know, i want to ask you about that characterization. you worked in the bush administration, and you've been around other politicians and leaders in washington. the kind of way in which the president is approaching comey here -- and we now have multiple reporting about having everyone leave the room and the one-on-one ask. is that the kind of thing you're familiar with, or is this distinctly different kinds of norms of behavior? >> well, of course, i've seen -- i won't say i've seen the same thing, but i've seen similar activities and taken some umbrage about them myself. i've always been involved in activities like that. for example, one of the places
in comey's written statement that i took some exception, but i had to kind of check my own shame in that regard was when he said honest loyalty because that's essentially what i provided for colin powell when i prepared him for the 5 february 2003 presentation at the united nations. so i've seen these kinds of situations before, but this one is bizarre enough and yet in character enough that it makes me deeply concerned for the integrity of the white house, the integrity of our institutional process, and ultimately the danger in presents to this country because this is going to happen again and again and again and probably in far more serious situations than the one we're talking about now. >> what do you make of the defense that congressman rooney sort of offered, and i've seen other people offer a variation, which is basically this. the president is a culturated to new york real estate and deal-making. it doesn't have the same
etiquette basically of washington, and he just doesn't understand what he's doing. he doesn't know where the lines are. maybe he's a little clumsy, but cut him some slack. >> i think there's some truth to that. i think his gross inexperience reflects that. but i also think there are institutional -- there is institutional webbing around him. everything from the attorney general to the whole department of justice to all the other departments within the inner agency group, and he ignores them. he pays no attention to them. he does policy by tweet. this is absurd, and it's dangerous as i indicated before. the institutional checks and balances can't operate on an individual except in a draconian way like article 2 impeachment if he's operating in this sort of inexperienced and yet drive-ahead way. so i take that characterization as probably accurate, but it needs to change, and it needed to change t day he raise his hand and took the oath. >> well, so then what is -- you make a great point here, that
the recourse, draconian, extreme, article 2 impeachment. people have talked about the 25th amendment. i mean really extreme constitutional procedures to attempt to bring to bear the kind of institutional norms. is there anything short of that? >> there's the institutional check itself, which is already happening. i'm watching it happening from the state department where the ambassador in london had to sort of modify the president's impacts of his tweets. to the ambassador in qatar who had to make some remarks today about the president's really inept tweets with regard to the situation -- very dangerous situation, i might add, between qatar, saudi arabia, the other members of the gcc and so forth. so, yes, there are some institutional checks and balances that ought to wrap him up and keep him from doing more dangerous things. let me say this, though. i think our founding fathers would have thought that they afforded us in the article 2
impeachment clause the ability to throw some scurrilous dude out about every generation, and i think every one of them -- every single one of them would be utterly surprised that we have not done so and that on most attempts to impeach, we have been rather feckless. bill clinton, andrew johnson. the only successful one we've had was when the articles of impeachment were so strong against richard nixon, he chose to resign. i don't think it's catastrophic for e country to take that action. i tnk it's healthy for the country to take that action. >> i want to ask your reaction to this finally, again, because of your experience sort of mitigating and negotiating these different power centers. this is comey pleading with jeff sessions basically, do not leave me alone in the room with the president of the united states. he says, i took the opportunity to implore the attorney general to prevent any future direct communication between the president and me. i told the ag that what had just happened, him being asked to leave while the fbi director
remain behind was inappropriate and should not happen. he did not reply. it seems that sessions at some level is somewhat implicated in the unraveling of these norms you're talking about as well. >> i think so. i think that's an extraordinary display of cowardice in the face of his duty and cowardice in the face of leading his subordinates the way he should. i'm reminds of dwight eisenhower's statement. when eisenhower had figured out how dangerous a man alan dulles was about the seventh or eighth year of his presidency, he said, don't ever leave me alone in the office with that man. that's the kind of thing that comey was telling sessions, and sessions just ignored him. just ignored him. >> colonel lawrence wilkerson, it's always a pleasure to have your time. i appreciate it. up next, based on what we now know from james comey's prepared testimony, is the president of the united states guilty of otruction of justice? what legal experts are saying after this two-minute break.
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strong words today from legal experts on former fbi director james comey's planned testimony. legal analyst jeffrey toobin, the new yorker, tweeted comey's statement establishes obstruction of justice by trump, period. lawfa lawfare's benjamin wittis, wrote that his statement is the most shocking single document compiled about the official conduct of the public duties of any president since the release of the watergate tapes. and laurence tribe repeated, when comey repeats under oath on pain of perjury, the die will be cast. joining me now an associate dean at yale law school, and jill wine-banks, former prosecutor and general counsel of the army. jill, let me start with you. i have to show the nixon articles of impeachment which quite explicitly talk about
obstruction. this is something you were very closely involved with. e interfering or endeavoring to interfereith the conduct of investigations. that's one of the things that's right there in that article of impeachment that was drafted. based on your experience, if the comey testimony is true under oath, he's going to swear to it, does it meet the standard? >> i think that before i answer your question, i want to say listening to all your guests has been very enlightening, and i've enjoyed it, especially as a former -- in addition, i was an organized crime prosecutor. so it's like watching an episode now of "house of cards." but, yes, the answer to your question is yes. if we look at what richard nixon had the articles of impeachment about and what all of his top aides went to jail for, there's a lot of similarities to what we think comey will testify. but it's a question of putting the case together. it's not one thing standing
alone. it's not just the request to can't you leave flynn alone? but it's the asking sessions and vice president pence to leave the room before he had that conversation. it's the other possible conversations that he had. so you put together a compilation of the evidence, and it does look like the kind of obstruction of justice, the abuse of power that happened in the nixon administration. >> asha, the defense here seems to be essentially ignorance. as far as i can tell -- and it's interesting to me the president's personal lawyer's reonse to these seven pages of written testimony is n to say that is untrue. james comey is not telling the truth. instead it's to say he's vindicated because of a very, very narrow portion of that. if they stipulate to the facts and they defend the president by saying, he just didn't realize that any of this was inappropriate or untoward, does that work? >> well, i think what the lawyers are trying to get at is that he didn't have the intent
to corruptly influence an ongoing proceeding, which is what would be required under the obstruction of justice statute. and unfortunately for president trump, that's just not going to hold water because even if we were to credit that fully and say, he just didn't know what he was doing when he was approaching comey with these requests, comey's opening statement, which was released today, states that in the very first meeting, he explained to the president the historic independence of the fbi and the department of justice, that these kinds of communications between the president and the director of the fbi are not appropriate, that that's there to protect both the integrity of the agency and also the president. so even if he were ignorant of this, he got a lesson in civics and how these institutions work. so i just don't think that that's going to hold water. >> to asha's point, jill, it's interesting to me that comey
notes, that, i spoke with alone with president obama twice in person, never on the phone. and i can recall nine one-on-one conversations with president trump in four months, three in person, six on the phone. and ultimately after working him over multiple times one-on-one, he fires him, which we should not lose sight of the firing here as a huge part of what the sort of facts on the table are. >> that is exactly right. that is one of the key issues that leads to a compilation of evidence. but i would also point out that he can't get away with saying, i didn't know. a big campaign issue for him was when president clinton got on attorney general lynch's plane. there is no evidence there was any conversation about an ongoing investigation, but the candidate trump complain ted bitterly about how wrong it was for him to get on the plane and to have any possible conversation about an ongoing investigation. that shows that he knew the law. he knew that what he was doing
was wrong, and he excused people from the room so that he could have this conversation in private. that's another indication that he knew he was doing something wrong. >> asha, i'm going to ask you a question i've asked jill before, which is that. there's two tracks here, right? there's the underlying first order question of the scandal vis-a-vis russia, election sabotage and the possible complicit or collusion on behalf of anyone in the trump orbit. that's one. then there's a second order question of whether the president obstructed the investigation into that first order issue. and my question to you is can there be obstruction without the underlying facts being established or even being established against the presidt or his campaign? can you obstruct an investigation that would have cleared you? >> so just to clarify your question, you're asking if there was an investigation on him in the first place, could he obstruct it? >> i'm saying basically if the underlying -- if we don't know the underlying facts of what the campaign is accused of or it turns out the campaign did not collude with russia, is it still
possible to obstruct the investigation? >> i believe so. that's an ongoing proceeding. there are several different obstruction of justice statutes. they don't actually have to apply to something that comes to the point of prosecution. >> right. >> so if that was -- if there are these ongoing investigations and he tries to stop them, then that would definitely count. and i think we need to also point out here that there are two different attempts that were being made as described in comey's testimony -- or opening statement, which is, one, that president trump wanted him to lift the cloud over him personally in terms of any association he might have to this underlying investigation. but then there was this very direct request with regard to mike flynn. >> right. >> which was a concrete investigation that he knew existed. >> yeah. jill, you look like you wanted to answer as well. >> well, my answer is yes.
there's no question in my mind that if you interfere with an investigation, even if ultimately the investigation would have proved there was no underlying crime, you have still interfered with an investigation. >> right. >> so you can't do that, period. >> all right. asha and jill, i thank you both for your time. up next, the fireworks from today's hearing, not tomorrow's hearing, today's hearing where the senate intel committee got stone walled by top security officials. what happened after this quick break. award winning design. award winning engine. the volvo xc90. the most awarded luxury suv of the century. visit your volvo dealer to take advantage of our midsommar sales event offer. visit your volvo dealer to take advantage yet up 90% fall short in getting key nutrients from food alone.
let's do more. add one a day women's complete with key nutrients we may need. plus it supports bone health with calcium and vitamin d. one a day women's in gummies and tablets. with former fbi director james comey set to testify before the senate intelligence committee tomorrow morning, four top national security officials testified today to that same
committee. among them, dan coats, the director of national intelligence, who when asked about a "washington post" report that the president asked him to talk to comey, to quote, get the fbi to back off its focus on former national security adviser michael flynn and its russia probe, said he, quote, never felt pressured to intervene but pointedly declined to deny that president trump made the request. similarly, while nsa director mike rogers said he had never been pressured to do anything illegal or unethical, he declined to discuss his conversations with the president, who according to the post, asked rogers to publicly deny any russia collusion. senator mark warner expressed frustration with those responses. >> the question was, did the president ask them to back off the fbi investigation or to downplay the fbi investigation? we still don't have that answer. >> when we come back, much more from that hearing, including some remarkably contentious exchanges involving an increasingly frustrated group of
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did the president -- the reports that are out there -- ask you in any way, shape, or form to back off or downplay the russia investigation? >> i'm not going to discuss the specifics of conversations with the president of the united states, but i stand by the comment i just made to you, sir. >> joining me now to discuss the refusal of top national security officials to discuss their conversations with the president, congresswoman jackie
speier of california, member of the house intelligence committee. congresswoman, you're sitting on the house version that is running its own investigation, parallel to the senate version. i want to get your response to a few moments in this hearing because they were, i thought, important. first this moment with senator heinrich and dan coats. take a listen. >> you clear an awful lot up by simply saying it did not happen. >> i do not share with the general public conversations that i have with the president or many of my colleagues within the administration that i believe are -- should not be shar shar shared. >> i think your unwillingness to answer a very basic question speaks volumes. >> this was the senator asking him to knock down this report the president went auto to him and said, can you get the fbi to back off flynn? what's your interpretation of that exchange? >> well, i think it's painful to watch because it's pretty obvious to anyone who is viewing
the testimony that theseere national security representatives whare highly placed, who are walking a very tight rope and do not want to necessarily offend the president, but clearly are not going to perjure themselves either. and that is why you heard the kind of response you did and the dance that they all engaged in, which was pretty transparent, i think, to the public. >> yeah. i guess my other question is how normal is this, this kind of answer from these sorts of officials to their oversight committee in an open hearing? >> well, what's interesting about this one -- and it was angus king who made the point. if you're not saying that this is classified, then you have no grounds on which not to answer the questions we're posing to you. and i think that was very compelling when he made that particular statement. under closed session, they always are forthcoming. they're a little less
forthcoming in an open hearing. but, again, they weren't being asked questions about classified material, and that's why it was very frustrating for everyone. they should have been able to answer those questions. >> the point about angus king is well taken. not just classified but he specifically says, look, are you invoking executive privilege to keep these sort of conversations out of our purview. i want to play that exchange because it illuminates what you just said. >> is there an invocation by the president of the united states of executive privilege? is there or not? >> not that i'm aware of. >> then why aren't you answering my question? mr. coats, same series of questions. what's your basis for refusal to answer these questions today? >> i'm not sure i have a legal basis. >> that's a pretty remarkable answer from the director of national intelligence. >> you can be assured that the president is going to ream him out about that too. >> you think so? >> i think so. >> so what does this mean for the ability of congress to actually effectuate oversight,
particularly on this particular topic that obviously we know the president is extremely sensitive about? >> i think that we're going to be able to get to the bottom of this. it may be in closed session, but we will get answers to these questions. and i think the senate's frustration today was obvious. they could have, i guess, held them in contempt tore nfor not answering their questions. i don't think they wanted to go that far. at this point, they're going to rely on closed session to get the answers they need to their questions. all it does is postpone for the public access to what's pretty obvious but not being said today. >> i want to be clear. the closed session/open session dichotomy exists in these questions because of classification. but what you're saying, for political purposes so as not to alienate the president, you expect more forthcoming answers in closed session having nothing to do with classification just because then the president won't be mad at them? >> well, it won't be public, so
they can be saying this in a confidential setting and privately, yes. >> congresswoman jackie speier, thanks for being with me tonight. still to come, the former top security official who says watergate pales in comparison to what's happening right now. plus some creative suggestions for watching tomorrow's comey testimony in tonight's thing 1, thing 2 after this break. you doyou'll see whatet but in you're really made of. after five hours of spinning and one unfortunate ride on the gravitron, your grandkids spot a 6 foot banana that you need to win. in that moment, you'll be happy you partnered with
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and their aides. and the scene adds to the sense of drama as the senate opens what is likely to become the most serious investigation it has ever made. the investigation of the american political system and the presidency itself. >> there's fred thompson right there. tomorrow, all three networks will once again air live capitol hill testimony with newsmen and women as will this cable channel when fired fbi director james comey addresses the senate intel committee. but if you'd rather watch tomorrow's testimony with friends and with booze, d.c. of course predictably has you covered. that's thing 2 in 60 seconds. time's up, insufficient prenatal care. and administrative paperwork... your days of drowning people are numbered. same goes for you, budget overruns. and rising costs, wipe that smile off your face. we're coming for you, too. for those who won't rest until the world is healthier, neither will we. optum. how well gets done.
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toward the end of today's senate intel hearing there was a remarkable observation after dan coates refused to publicly talk about a conversation that was fully detailed in this morning's "washington post." >> it's -- just shows what kind of orwellian existence we live in. it's detailed, as you know from reading the story when you met and what you discussed, et cetera, et cetera, yet you're in a public hearing before the american people we can't talk
about what was described in detail in this morning's "washington post." >> just because it's published in the "washington post" doesn't mean it's now unclassified. >> well, do you want to tell us any more about the russian involvement in our election that we don't already know from reading the "washington post"? >> if today was orwellian, what can we expect tomorrow when james comey takes the stand?
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watergate pales really in my view compared to what we're confronting now. >> strong words. so, from the republican party standpoint, they are -- i think they are in for a penny, in for a pound. there's no set of facts that could come out that will detach them from donald trump, correct? >> well -- >> i'm not saying that jokingly, i honestly believe that. short of the fact that he secretly harbors a desire to raise tax rates to 90%. >> they're in lock-step with the president, no question, at least from a political and public front. behind the scenes you hear them, as i do, everyone is complaining
about the president's actions. >> are they worried -- my question behind the scenes are they worried they do not know the facts at the heart of this. they would worry me. they don't know what happened. they don't know who talked to what russian. >> yes. there are some republicans who have said this publicly, including senator mccain, senator graham, what they're concerned about is the role of russia in our elections. that is very real. unfortunately, a lot of this has been overshadowed by crazy tweet, firing of fbi -- those are all significant things, don't get me wrong, i'm not discounting them as not being significant. there's no way when you have these other things out there the republicans can even get to that. >> those things were done on purpose to make sure republicans couldn't get to it. >> it all comes down to
everyone -- what republicans would really want and some are saying, just let the former fbi director do his special investigation, let us get off the hook about talking about this because the more we're talking about it the more we're losing. this is not a good issue for republicans to hold the congress in 2018. >> the issue is the razor theory a lot of people on the left have and liberals and democrats, they obstructed the thing because he's covering up the thing he did wrong. >> it's obvious, we can all see what's happening. the fact republicans are not as in lock-step with the president as they could be is born out by the fact no republican is standing up and saying this will blow over and this is nothing and the president did nothing wrong. there isn't anybody doing that right now and this is shocking. >> they aren't saying the president necessarily colluded with the russians. >> the problem is everything he's done since he's been
president seems like a cover-up of something. >> it is. >> no one's contesting to your point, just be clear here the president directed his fbi director to lay off an investigation of his campaign aide and associate, michael flynn. he lied to the american people whether he did that, again, not contested it, then fired the fbi director. those three facts are not contested by any of the relevant parties. >> say it out loud enough republicans will eventually realized he is so compromised he can't help them in the republican agenda. >> i will flip that around. i think there's also a case we made russia is helping the senate pass the healthcare bill. i think there was more -- i mean this totally entirely. they would rather do this with no public scrutiny or coverage what they're doing and flip out a bill in 48 hours and vote on it. you say they don't want to be talking about it, i think they
would rather talk about this than their healthcare bill. >> you can see when they only had it for the 24 hours they did, the dramatic response from the american people was overwhelming. it will be again. the american people can walk and chew gum better than republicans in congress can. >> the americans care much more about the healthcare bill than they do what's going on in russia. i think they will start. >> yes. here's the last thing about the politics of this. i do think there's a degree to which the norms that have been transgressed by the president vis-a-vis james comey are quite important and shocking actually. i think they're quite remote to voters. there's a little bit of educational opportuny for senators tomorrow, both parties to explain to people why it matters that the president doesn't go around saying, he's my buddy, would you lay off? when you're the president, would you agree? >> what's not remote to them is their own healthcare and
insurance. that's why i don't think they can sneak this under the radar. if they do the political price they will pay in 2018, the juice is not worth the squeeze on that one. these aren't republicans who need to hang their career on something that unpopular because donald trump is making it that unpopular. they can let him loose, cut him loose, they don't need him. >> one thing republicans can run away from is the ad campaign the rnc has out bashing comey. that has political repercussions. >> thanks for making time. that is all this evening. the rach"the rachel maddow show right now. >> good evening. thanks, chris. thanks for joining us this hour. anything going on in the news? one of those times. after the presidential election we the taxpayers pay for the person who has just won that election to set up offices in washington, d.c. taxpayer funded