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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  June 12, 2017 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT

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of how even though in the face of something that to all of us would seem, oh, my goodness, this is a four alarm fire that congss would act. at the same time though, i don't know how serious to take this because he didn't necessarily get that firsthand from the white house. i do think there would be a big uproar and demonstrations in the street. maybe that would push congress to do something, but it's not a given. >> thank you both. before we go, a quick note, i'll be signing copies of my new book in new york at the shop on nbc studies wednesday at 4:00 p.m. you can find more information on our facebook page. "the rachel maddow show" starts right now. >> the shop at nbc studios? >> yes, it's in your building. >> i could go see you. >> i would happily sign a book for you. >> thank you. i'll try to prevent my family from enclosing upon you.
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thanks, my dear. thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. happy monday. there are only 100 people who serve in the united states senate. like the how it is, the senate does all its work through committees. that's where they work on legislation and oversight and investigations. there are a lot of internal politics about who gets on what committee and who gets to be chair of a committee. in some states, certain committees are very important and give you a lot of home-state advantage if you're on those committees. you can understand why a senator from iowa would want to be on the agricultural committee or why one from new york would want to be on the banning committee. but some of the committees, no matter where you're from, everybody wants to be on them because they are prestigious in all the right ways for everybody
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in the senate. and so even though there are only 100 u.s. senators in total, 26 out of the 100 senators are on the armed services committee, more than one in every four senators is on that committee because they all want to be on the armed services committee. i think they decided at one point rather than make the armed services committee hard to get onto than make the senators committee, they're just going to let everybody be on the committee. 26 out of the hundred members of the senate. a couple months ago at the beginning of march, national security reporters from "the washington post," they got in touch with every single senator who serves on the armed services committee in the senate. and they asked the one very specific question. they didn't want full length interviews or these senators to weigh in on some controversial
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issue, how they were going to vote on a specific by they just approached them all with a yes-or-no question. and the question was this. senator, you serve on the armed services committee. did you meet with the russian ambassador last year? that was the question. "washington post" asked all 26 senators on the armed services committee. they didn't get a response from all of them. they got a response from 20 of the 26. and every single one of the 20 senators who answered, answer the same way. all 20 of them, 20 out of 20 said, no, thanks for asking, no. i did not meet with the russian ambassador last year. and by the time "the washington post" was asking this question in the last days of february for publication on the first day of march this year, at that time
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one longtime member of the senate armed services committee had just left that committee. in fact had just left the united states senate because at the beginning of february he had just been confirmed as the next attorney general of the united states. his name is jeff sessions, former alabama senator. not course of his confirmation hearing to become attorney general, he had volunteered to minnesota senator al franken that during the course of the presidential campaign where he'd been such a high profile supporter of donald trump, he said he had not met with any russians. he volunteered that under oath at his confirmation hearing talking about to senator al franken. he then put it in writing. senator pat lay hee of vermont submitted a question of jeff sessions in writing where he asked him have you been in contact with anyone connected to
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any part of the russian government about the 2016 election either before or after election day? jeff sessions gave a one-word answer to that question, no. but then on march 1st this year, "the washington post" published this story documenting the fact, quirk with multiple sources, despite thosen jeff sessions stating without any caveat he had never had any meetings with the russians, there's "the washington post" reporters adam ento us, ellen knack she ma, agreeing miller saying yeah our brand new attorney general jeff sessions he did meet with russia's ambassador to the united states. he met with the russian ambassador at a heritage foundation meeting that had been held on the sidelining of the republican national convention last summer. in addition to that, they reported he had a second meeting with the same russian official
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in private, one-on-one, in his senate office on september 8th. and when this "washington post" reporting came out on march 1st, jeff sessions and the new trump administration spokesperson at the justice department, they insisted there was nothing at all strange, nothing even unexpected about the fact that jeff sessions would be having a one-on-one meeting in private in his senate office with the russian ambassador eight weeks before the presidential elections. they insisted this had nothing to do with the trump campaign and it was a normal, totally forgettable meeting, because this is the kind of thing they do all the time. this was just related to his armed services committee membership. that's what this is committee senators do. that was their defense. that's why it was particularly awkward that the "washington post" learned that not a single other member of the enormous
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senate armed services committee had taken even a single meeting with the ambassador in the last year, let alone two. nobody else was doing this. there are a lot of other senators on the armed services committee, only jeff sessions was meeting with the russians. so this has ended up being a problem for attorney general jeff sessions in an ongoing way for a few reasons. the first is that these meetings, these contacts remain unexplained. the russian attack on the u.s. election to try to help hillary clinton, help donald trump, that was well underway by the time of the conventions when the first of jeff sessions' first meetings took place with a russian official. by the time of his second meeting with that russian official, not only had the russian attack been going on for months, by that point it was very big news. "washington post" says that second meeting between sessions and the russian official, the one that happened one-on-one in private in his office, they say that happened on september 8th,
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that was a thursdays. the start of that same week, monday, "the washington post" had run this screaming headline. u.s. investigating potential covert russian plan to disrupt november elections. that same day, president obama had met directly with vladimir putin and told -- look at the look on his face. that is the week that obama met with putin and told him to knock off these russian government attempts to affect our elections. cut it out. and then just a few days after that, the top russian government official operating in the united states takes a one-on-one private meeting with the first senator to endorse donald trump who's the most prominent senator in the trump campaign. this was happening when the russian attack on our elections was a huge news story.
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i mean, that week, our president confronted their president about it. it was on the front page of the national papers at that point. that's when sessions met with kislyak. did that he talk about the russian attack on the election? given the news at that moment it would be weird if they didn't, right? any high ranking american meeting with any high ranking russian at that point presumably would have been talking about the russian attack on our election. this was an affront, right? did they talk about it? i should mention that there are also numerous unconfirmed routers that there may have been a third meeting between attorney general jeff sessions and that same russian official. it's been reported that fired fbi director james comey might have discussed that alleged third meeting in closed session last week right after his testimony we saw in open session on thursday. but the justice department and jeff sessions himself have
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insistly and consistently denied that there was any third meeting. as yet, truth be told, there has been no public evidence that any third meeting took place. you know, as a general principle, until you have compelling evidence to the contrary, you want to take the top law enforcement official at his word as to what he did or didn't do. and that brings us to the other reason these russian meetings have been such a big problem for jeff sessions. you want to take him at his word, but with jeff sessions, there's a problem with that. if these meetings he had with this russian official were innocuous, nothing to write home about as the attorney general has repeatedly claimed, why did he deny for so long these meetings ever took place? he denied he had these meetings out loud under oath. he denied he had these meetings
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in print in his written answers from his confirmation hearing, and when the "washington post" first started reporting out these meetings, they went to attorney general jeff sessions for comment, and he denied it to them too on march 1st, "the washington post" reported these two meetings included in the report, sessions' statement, quote, he never met with any russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign. i have no idea what this allegation is about. it is false. "washington post" story comes out march 1st. the next day, march 2nd, jeff sessions gives a hastily convened press conference where he announces he is recusing himself from anything that has to do with the presidential campaign. now, that recusal is often described, often reported as jeff sessions having recused
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himself from overseeing anything that has to do with the russia investigation. and in part, that is true. the russian attack on your election, the possibility the trump campaign colluded in it, investigations into that, that is part of what jeff sessions is recused from. but if you look at his recusal which he issued in print, he recused himself from any investigation that has anything to do with the whole 2016 election campaign. so that recusal was announced on march 2nd. and that ended up being really, really important and at question. a couple months later when the trump administration decided they were going to fire the fbi director james comey. now, you might remember the administration had a song and dance about the whyway they fired james comey. they published the a "a" memo from rod rosenstein.
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and then they also published the you're fired letter from president trump to james comey telling him he was out of a job. for the first 24 hours or so after they fired the fbi director, the rosenstein memo and the sessions letter created -- i think it's fair to call it a pretext for the white house to argue that comey wasn't being fired because he was overseeing the russia investigation. comey was being fired because of how he handled his public disclosures around the hillary clinton e-mail investigation right before the election during the campaign. that was the pretext they created for why comey was fired. they did that in writing with that memo in that letter, they did it in statements with white house officials, even speaking from the podium in the white house briefing room. the president himself blew that pretext and explained that
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wasn't the reason. actually he had been thinking about the russia investigation when he decided to fire comey kmoimt. in either case, jeff sessions has a continuing problem here. if the president fired comey because of his oversight of the russia investigation, attorney general jeff sessions should not have been involved in that, right? he was supposedly recused from that. so if you're recused from the trump-russia investigation, under no understanding of a recusal, should you be able to fire the person running it is a & say you're recused? even if the president hadn't fired comey because of the russia investigation or the hillary clinton e-mail thing during the campaign, like it said in that memo from rod rosenstein and like the white house explained 3w40e8 first day and a half, even if that were true. that too would be a problem for
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attorney general jeff sessions because he also should have been recused from that. his recusal said he would not oversee anything at the justice department that had anything to do with the 2016 campaign. both the reason james comey was fired, russia, and the fake pretext they came up with, clinton e-mails, both of those are squarely in the bounds of jeff sessions' recusal. he's supposed to be recused from anything to do with the campaign. in either case, he should have had nothing to do with firing james comey. if the fbi director was fired for either of those reasons, the attorney general should have been recused from that and arguably, he shouldn't also have been recused from the process of hiring comey's replacement. but jeff sessions absolutely has been involved in the process of selecting james comey's replacement. he's been doing the interviewing. he was involved in that firing
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decision too. we still don't know exactly how many times jeff sessions met with russian officials during the campaign, nor do we have any explanation from jeff sessions as to what happened at those meetings, particularly because they happened in the midst of the russia attack on that election in which jeff sessions had such a prominent role. nor do we have explanation about why he lied about and concealed those meetings repeatedly and for so long. when it comes to that private september 8th meeting in his office, one-on-one with the russian ambassador f he tries to say the armed services members do that all the time, then you have permission to jeer at your tv screen or laugh out loud because none of the senators were meeting with the russians. it was just jeff sessions for whatever reason. senator sessions will have to
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answer questions about at least some of this stuff tomorrow. his testimony starts at 2:30 eastern time. he'll be in front of senate intelligence committee. on friday night i told you jeff sessions was do you to be testifying tomorrow morning in the house and then in the senate in a couple of subcommittees that oversee the funding of the justice department. he ended up cancelling both of those appearances. we will be able to watch it on tv tomorrow. you will notice as soon as he starts testifying this is the same committee that heard from james comey in open session. this is the same committee that took a long meeting today with the former secretary of homeland security, jay johnson. this is the same completed who's on-site classified facility, their skiff was apparently the sight of a meeting with mike rogers tonight. mike rogers testified over and over again last week before that
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committee that he wouldn't say in open session whether or not the president had asked him to intervene into the fbi's ongoing criminal investigation of mike flynn. it was interesting, the director of national intelligence testifying at the same committee, he kept seeing he wouldn't testify about that either, but he didn't have a reason why he wouldn't testify. admiral rogers, head of the nsa, at least he had a reason. he said his discussions were classified with the president for some reason, and he said that gave him a reason not to talk about it in open session. but that excuse not to talk about it in open session also means those senators would have expected to get his reel answers in closed session at that skiff where they met with him late this afternoon and into this evening on capitol hill. there are only 100 people in the whole united states senate.
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after their hearing last week on wednesday fold the next day on thursday by their open session with james comey, followed immediately thursday afternoon by their classified session with james comey, followed today by their extensive interview with homeland security secretary jay johnson, followed by tonight, their classified session with mike rogers, tomorrow those same senators from the intelligence committee are going to get jeff sessions in person in open session. i don't personally know -- i don't have a personal relationship with any of the senators on the intelligence committee. if you do by charges send them health food. send them vitamins, some of those creepy green juices or something. everybody makes fun of congress and their easy work schedule, but right now at least those senators are really earning their keep. and we'll see a lot of that tomorrow. but we'll be right back tonight.
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this is dated november 12th, 2016, which is the first weekend after the presidential election this past year. november 12th, quote, a protection. donald trump will make novel and unusual use of the president's pardon power. okay. just a few weeks after that prediction, the person who made that prediction showed up again, this time has the lawyer for trump national security adviser mike flynn. the same game guy who predicted this, here he is just weeks
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later asking for immunity from prosecution for his client, mike flynn. ever since he asked for immunity from prosecution and his lawyer promised that he had a story to tell, ever since then, there has been this real live possibility lurking out there that the president could stop attempting to interfere around the edges of the mike flynn investigation and instead just pardon mike flynn. presidents can do that. a president has the power to wipe away a conviction. he can grant pardon to someone who's never been charged with anything, whether presidents should do that, that's a different question, but presidents can. they also have the power technically to fire a special counsel who's leading an investigation into the president's campaign or into his associates or even into the president himself. and whether or not that is wise decision, apparently on the president's side, they are now mulling that as well. >> i think he's considering
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perhaps terminating the special counsel. i think he's weighing that option. i think it's pretty clear by what one of his lawyers said on television recently. i thk it would be a significant mistake even though i don't think there's a justification. and even though -- here you have a situation. >> you don't think there's a justification for -- for a special counsel in this case. but also robert mueller, there's real conflicts. he comes from a law firm that represented members of the trump family. he interviewed the day before he was appointed special counsel with the president who was looking at him potentially to become the next fbi director. that hasn't been published, but it's true. and i think it would be strange that he would have a confidential conversation and then a few days later become the prosecutor of the person he may be investigating. i think that mueller should have not taken the position if he was
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under consideration and had a private meeting with the president and was privy to his thoughts about that investigation or other matters before the bureau. >> that's chris ruddy who's a friend of the president speaking with judy wood roof on pbs tonight. robert mueller has been interviewed by the white house to potentially come back in as fbi director again after they had fired james comey. silly me on friday night, i thought that would make it harder for the white house to slime bob mueller somewhere down the line since they themselves considered hiring him for that top job. now they're floating the idea they will use the fact that they thought about hiring i am for that top job as a reason to fire him as special counsel: that possibility being discussed on pbs tonight, but it was first raised by one of the president's lawyers this weekend. >> and finally, will the
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president promise not to interfere to order the deputy attorney general to fire robert mueller? >> the president of the united states as we all know, is going to seek the advice of his counsel and inside the government as well as outside. i'm not going to speculate wheal and will not do. >> he might, he could. that's jay sec low who we learned is working as a private lawyer in dealing with the russia investigation. if he looks familiar, he is a famous and accomplished attorney for the religious right. he started off working for the tell evangelist side of the religious right. now he does religious civil rights cases for a very conservative law firm. he's a very accomplished attorney in that field. but defending a sitting president on constitutional issues like this? that is very far removed from the kind of law he's done his
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whole career. that's also the case with the president's other personal lawyer, marc kasowitz. he's an accomplished civil litigator. he's fought sexual harassment allegations, but he has no constitutional law background. he has no background even as a criminal attorney. these lawyers are not bad lawyers. they are kplishd in their own ways, but hiring them for this kind of the wednesday is like hiring a good house parent inte paint your portray or an excellent barbecue master to run your vegan juice bar. we can tell the presidency is going to be consumed by the legal fight over what may be the
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existence of this presidency. as these investigations continue at full speed and continue to expand with the attorney general getting sworn in and testifying before congress tomorrow. it's starting to get important that the people that the president hired to be his lawyers here, they've never done anything even remotely like this before. hold that thought. ahh. where are mom and dad? 'saved money on motorcycle insurance with geico! goin' up the country. love mom and dad' i'm takin' a nap. dude, you just woke up! ♪ ♪ i'm goin' up the country, baby don't you wanna go? ♪ ♪ i'm goin' up the country, baby don't you wanna go? ♪ geico motorcycle, great rates for great rides. ♪ if you have moderate to severe plaque psoriasis,... isn't it time to let the real you shine through? maybe it's time for otezla (apremilast).
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there are some republicans out there saying that robert mueller sbhont doing this job.
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is president trump prepared to let the special counsel pursue his investigation? >> well, i think he's considering perhaps terminating the special counsel. i think he's weighing that option. >> that's chris ruddy who's a friend of the president saying president trump is thinking about firing the special counsel, bob mueller, who's in charge of the russia investigation and looking at the possibility of obstruction of justice by the president himself in the course of that investigation. this discussion being floated on the eve of the attorney general's testimony tomorrow. in the 23ir789s he will have testified since he recused himself from overseeing the russia investigation or alienation relates to the 2016 campaign join us is matt miller, mr. miller thanks very much for joining us. appreciate your time tonight?
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>> of course. >> could the president really fire bob snurl could he fire the special counsel? >> yeah, absolutely. he could do it one of two ways. he could repeal the regulations under which he was skpoontd directly fire him. and the second way is probably the more likely way and one with historic cal precedent. i think there's a big young question whether we would see that principle at doj now. >> am i right in what i remember about the special counsel regulations? it's not a statute or law. am i right in remembering those regulations say if the special counsel is fired, it has to be for good cause, it has to be for
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an egregious violation? >> that's right but those regulations are turned president's purview. all that authority extend from the president's constitutional authority. so he could repeal the regulations, interpret the regulations to find some cause for firing him. obviously that would be controversial. i would hope you would see mass resident nations at the justice department, not just in the leadership but the career ranks, and outrageous in congress. but i think that is an open question, certainly the second part of that. >> the difference here, the prospect of mass resident nations particularly at the career level of the egypt is that this white house might delight in that. >> right. >> as might some of their supporters. matt, speaking of controversy, the attorney general is going to be, surprise, testify tomorrow in the senate intelligence committee. there have been some reports that he's signaled that he will refuse to discuss his conversations with the president, which, of course,
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will be a big part of what the senators want to ask him about tomorrow. would that be an executive privilege claim that he would be making there? >> yes. there are two big areas he's going to get questioned ability you covered the conversations he had with the russian ambassador. likely he will answer questions about that. but the second area is his involvement with the firing of jim comey. and i think there are two big sets of questions about that, one, are his conversations with the president. and two, are any conversations he had with jim comey and anyone else at the justice department. comey said he was concerned about being left in a room alone with the president. we know comey's side of the story and we need to hear jeff sessions'. fit turns out jeff sessions knew in any way comey was being fired because the president was unhappy with the russia investigation, for him to have signed off on that is really the
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biggest scandal at the department of did you see since john mitchell went to jail. i think the answers are probably bad. that's my suspicion, and i think that's why you'll see him cite executive privilege to avoid answering the first set. >> matt miller, former chief spokesman for it is justice department. i didn't know we were going to have a big week of being glued to congressional testimony, but happy to have you here to understand what's going to happen. much more ahead tonight. stay with us. america's beverage companies have come together to
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today in russia the country's critic of vladimir putin, alexey mulvaney was arrested again. he had been on his way to anti-government anti-corruption protests he helped organized today. we walked out of his apartment to head into downtown moscow and was scooped by police right at his apartment building. his wife tweeted this photo of him being taken into custody. it did not stop protesters from turning out in force today in central moscow and across the country as well in hundreds of sites across the country. lots of people turned out. thousands of people turned out in cities all across the russia. hundreds of people were arrested at multiple sites, including a lot of young people who
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reporters said police appeared to just pluck out of the crowd at random no matter what those individuals were doing at the moment. it's unclear exactly how riot police targeted the people they did arrest, it's unclear how many people they took in. one russian website is reporting that 750 people were arrested today in moscow. and even more than that, 900 people were arrested in st. petersburg. these protests were some of the biggest since the huge nationwide protest in 2012 that unnerved vladimir putin. we here in the states focus on the russian attacks on our election and the question of whether or not there were any american con fed rats in those attacks, this is the way putin's wielding his power at home. as we continue to watch these protests struggle and their leaders get attacked and people get arrested, varjs ongoing question as to whether or not these people trying to opposite
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putin have any hope in making a dent at home. joining us is michael mcfall, former u.s. ambassador to russia. appreciate your time tonight. thanks for being here. >> sure. thanks for having me. >> this is not the first time i've had you join us when people are facing arrest, the prominent leaders being arrested and sentence today jail time. what do you think about the last question i asked about whether or not there's hope they'll ever change things for their own government? >> well, you know, we political centrists bad at predicting revolutionary break throws. before they happen they seem impossible, but after they happen they seem inevitable. i have been on your show, rachel she already this year to talk about this. this seemed bigger to me.
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remember, these are illegal so people are going knowing that they're going to be arrested and they're still showing up. >> the people who are being arrested, whether it's these young people, looks like a lot of teenagers got arrested, these people are being arrested, also the named leaders who are getting arrested, how much danger are they in? >> first of all, your point about the youthful figures, the faces i saw were really shocking because even going back all the way to 1991 when those demonstrations lady-led to the collapse of the soviet union, the youth were not a part of that. this is different from 2012 or going back 20 years earlier. with respect to fear, of course people should be fearful. you have vladimir kara-murza on
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your show. other people have died. mr. mulvaney is threatened often and people should be worried about their security without a question, especially him. >> has there been a softening of the united states government role in trying to protect those dissenterds and trying to keep russia on the straight and narrow when it comeso the way they treat the protesters? >> well, i was heart understaen a statement by the administration condemning these arrests. i know a lot of individuals looking for asylum in this country. they are seeking that. that's a good sign. what i don't know is what the president himself thinks, president trump. i've never heard him talk about democracy and human rights in any country, let alone russia.
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at the end of the day that's going to matter for signaling support or signaling to putin not to do the most dramatic, dishlgs violent measures against these protesters. >> michael mcfall, former u.s. ambassador to russia a thorn in the side to president putin while he was there which everyone let you forget for a moment. appreciate you being here. >> thanks for having me. >> all right. kbrooish balance we'll be rig isaac, are you ready? yeah. chase. so you can. "america" by simon and is that good?strumental) yeah it's perfect. bees! bees!
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hey you've gotta see this. cno.n. alright, see you down there. mmm, fine. okay, what do we got? okay, watch this. do the thing we talked about. what do we say? it's going to be great. watch. rememberhat we were just saying? go irish! see that? yes! i'm gonna just go back to doing what i was doing. find your awesome with the xfinity x1 voice remote. . having just been out sick
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for an extended period when i was out for ten days, take it from me, there is really good television on at like 2:00 in the afternoon. tomorrow, for example, there is a new episode of general hospit"general hospital." it's the 13,826th episode of "general hospital." woo! there is also a show called "wild russia" that is not about them attacking our election or anything. it's about crazy wildlife creatures that live in russia. but tomorrow there is going to be competition and not just from cable news as you are used to seeing it. tomorrow there will be the attorney general of the united states testifying at the u.s. senate about the russia investigation and his role in it, or lack thereof. and you know what? there is one thing that is not really being talked about in advance of that big important surprise hearing tomorrow. but i think it is super important, and he really better get asked about it. and that is our closing segment tonight, and that's next.
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we're both stuck in this cube farm and you're about to hit 'send all' on some embarrassing gas. hey, you bought gas-x®! unlike antacids, gas-x ® relieves pressure and bloating fast. huh, crisis averted. p3 planters nuts, jerky and i like a variety in my protein. totally, that's why i have this uh trail mix. wow minty. p3 snacks. the more interesting way to get your protein.
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okay. there were elements of the transition, the obama administration to trump administration transition that did not go well. for example, on the big day when the president-elect and all his top people went to the obama white house for the first time, we now know that at that meeting, president obama warned mr. trump that he should not hire mike flynn for any important job. incoming president ignored that and how did that work out?
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there was also that embarrassing report that senior trump folks at that day, at this visit that day kept walking around the white house, asking various obama white house staff if they were staying on at their jobs, as in it will be good to be working with you in a few weeks. and the obama white house staff had to gently inform all the trump people, no, no, we're leaving. we're all leaving. you guys actually need your own people to run this place, right away. you're hiring for that already, aren't you? so there were some weird things about the transition, which overall was not run very well. but it wasn't all bad. some things in the transition proceed kind of normally. i will admit to being surprised, pleasantly surprised to hear it at the time. but when i interviewed the outgoing attorney general loretta lynch, one of the things she told me was the transition at the justice department proceed kind of normally. she said there was a normal
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qualified trump landing team there was a professional and thorough preparation by the outgoing obama folks. she said they met in a timely way. the obama folks handed over all their stuff. they had discussions. they made policy decisions about how the justice department was going to handle important aspects of the transition. i'm sure it wasn't perfect, but at least at doj, by all accounts, the transition was not nutty. it was reasonable. it was okay. and that is how we learned that one of the decisions the incoming administration made, the incoming trump administration made was about u.s. attorneys, about federal prosecutors. the transition team recommended explicitly that even if the new president, even if president trump wanted to replace all the u.s. attorneys, which all presidents have a right to do, if he wanted to do that, the transition team recommend and the trump people accepted the recommendation and agreed that trump would not fire them all, all at once. nobody pressured them or lobbied them on this.
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but they talked about it overtly. the obama folks, the outgoing folks overtly made a recommendation, and the trump folks overtly made a decision about it. the decision the trump people committed to was the new president would not can the u.s. attorneys all in one fell swoop. and then after they made that commitment, they made that policy decision, something happened apparently, because then they did end up firing all the u.s. attorneys all at once. it was 180-degree u-turn from the policy they had agreed they would pursue. just a few weeks later, why did they change their minds? we don't know. we still don't know. and now given everything else that has happened in this administration, particularly around the russia investigation and these questions of possible obstruction of justice by the president or other members of the administration, now that mass firing of the u.s. attorneys back in march, it sticks out more than ever. and tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. eastern time, the attorney
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general who did the firefirings is going to be testifying in congress for the first time since the fires. it seems leer he is going to get asked about his own contacts with russian officials. he is likely to be asked about his recusal from things related to the trump campaign. he is going to be asked about his role in firing the fbi director. he is likely to be asked about all of that. but there is also the u.s. attorney fires, which he was right in the middle of, and which still make absolutely no sense there is no explanation for them. preet bharara was the highest profile attorney in the country by a long measure. preet bharara had been assured by the president and jeff sessions, the attorney general, that he wouldn't be fired, that they'd want him to stay on in the new administration. so that would be one question for jeff session. why did preet bharara get fired after you guys repeatedly told him he would be retained. here is question two for jeff
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sessions on that report. it has been reported since then, preet bharara's office was investigating the possibility of moneylaundering involving either trump personally or the trump organization. so that's a second question for jeff sessions. was he aware of any investigation involving the president or the trump organization or any member of the trump family by any u.s. attorney's office, including preet bharara's office in new york when this sudden decision was made to fire all the u.s. attorneys. i mean, other presidents have removed all the u.s. attorneys. presidents have a right to do that. presidents have done that before. it has never been the case that they were all fired en masse on a friday all at once. that were all told with no warning that they needed to be out that day there has never before been a mass firing of u.s. attorneys with no warning, no time to plan for any transition out of office that. has never happened. so that's a third question for jeff sessions tomorrow. why the unprecedented never before seen rush to get all of those prosecutors all at once that day?
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remember also that the trump administration had no replacements ready for any of these jobs. it has been more than 13 weeks. it's been more than three months since they were all fired, and just today the trump administration made the first nominations of anybody to replace them. why did they rush so fast to force these people out with no warning, no time to prep anything, and with apparently for months no idea who they would even put forward to replace them? why the change? did something come up? what happened? because it seems like something came up. multiple u.s. attorneys have told us even just on this show that as late as two days before the mass firinfirings, they wer the phone with attorney general jeff sessions giving them instructions about how he wanted to change their priorities and prosecutions around violent crime. rationally, that's not something he would bother doing if he knew all the people he was speaking to were about to get canned and forced to leave office less than 48 hours later.
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what came up? and there is this fact that this was a total reverse until policy at the trump justice department. they had explicitly agreed to a plan for dealing with the u.s. attorney offices that explicitly rejected the idea of firing them all at once. a few weeks later, they fired them all at once. mr. attorney general, what can you tell us about that dramatic change in policy at justice? did you make that change? did the president tell you to make it? was there a reason? what happened there? there is going to be a lot to ask jeff sessions about in his first testimony since he supposedly recused himself from overseeing anything having to do with the trump campaign, including the russia affair. but there is this sleeper issue here that is still the unexplained, unprecedented sudden reversal of course and firing all those prosecutors. not that long ago an attorney general lost his job because of a firing of a handful of u.s. attorneys for improper reasons. this time it was dozens of them fired a week after sessions was exposed in "the washington post" for his


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