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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  June 29, 2017 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT

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administration, the republican party have abandoned this idea that america is a place for refugees to come to the united states and benefit from the opportunities, the freedom and the security that this country enjoys. >> linda sarsour and gadeir abbas. the "rachel maddow" show starts right now. >> there is breaking news from the wa"wall street journal" tonight that is a big story. there's a guy named benjamin wittias, he's not a household name. for a long time he covered the justice department as a reporter for "the legal times" and written for "the weekly standard, " "the atlantic," a
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long time at the "washington post" on the editorial staff. i don't think he is a lawyer himself but he is definitely nope for his writing, for his very good writing actually, on legal issues, particularly as legal issues pertain to national security. ben runs a well-regarded blog called lawfare, which i think is a pun on warfare? ben wittes did this online, on twitter. which is a weird thing. nobody knew what was wrong with him. nobody knew what this was about. you can see the time stamp there, he sent it at 3:18 p.m. on may 16th. hey, ben wittes, what's that about? then later, boom. literally the word boom.
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two hours and eight minutes after that initial tweet, we now now in retrospect what that tick, tick, ticking was about. he tweeted "boom" and a link to that story, "comey memo says trump asked him to end flynn investigation. it was a huge story when it broke and somehow ben wittes knew it was coming out because he tweeted "tick, tick, tick, tick, tick" once it came out and "boom" once it landed. two days after that, ben wittes started ticking again, at 2:44 in the afternoon, "tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick" and sure enough, four hours later, "boom." and what he sent out, once again the "new york times" posting another huge story. this time it was comey unsettled
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by trump is said to have wanted him kept at a distance. that was may 18th. then the very next day, may 19th, freaking ben wittes, you're stressing me out, he starts tick, tick, ticking again. this time the boom goes off twice in one day. pt first boom is just six minutes after he published the "tick, tick, tick," trump told russians that firing comey eased the pressure from investigatiinvestigation. and eight minutes after the first boom, a second boom, the bombshell russia story, "russia probe reaches current white house official," a person of interest in the fbi. now he's become the guy who
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ticks. he's continued to do this over and over again. on may 24th, he used a video of a literal burning fuse and a tiny explosion, instead of typing out tick, tick, tick, tick, he burned the fuse on a tiny cannon and, boom, it was the "new york times" against. "top russian officials discussed how to influence trump aides last summer." so ben wittes has been doing this over and offver again. here he was on june 6th. please don't read anything into this but "tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick" and two and a half hours later we got the boo.
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"comey told sessions don't leave me alone with trump." so tick, tick, tick. ben wittes with these particuti particula tick, tick, he has become a very reliable provider of stress and anticipation when it comes to almost all of the new developments in this scandal that has enveloped in i don't think -- young presidency. every time a scandal, tick, tick, tick, tick and within hours, a matter of time it pays off. tonight ben wittes gave it up. said he's going to stop doing it. he said i am officially retiring from doing the tick, tick, tick, tick thing. he said as to everyone he stressed out, apologies. i should tell you, he did get in one last one today and this one
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he actually started the fuse burning on it a few days ago. a few days ago it was actually all caps. he said the all caps on the tick, tick, tick that time were in honor of the expected magnitude of the detonation. it was june 23rd. nothing happened that day. three days later, monday this week, he kept it going. a few minutes after that, he clarified, he says this, three things, number one, not all tick, tick, ticks are related to james comey, who ben wittes is known to be friends with. number two, fuse length, meaning how long this is going to keep ticking, remains uncertain. so that's why it's been a few days he's been ticking on this one. and then his third point there he gives a hint. interesting preemptive defense of collusion happening. so that was ben wittes, right, the hashinger of scoop er er off
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schools, that was ben. and tonight we have finally got the boom. he said it's his final boom, this is it. and the final one tonight is in fact a bombshell breaking news story about what he was hinting at, about what appears to be collusion or maybe an attempt at collusion. so for the final time on this tick, tick, tick, boom stress cycle, this is the story that just broke tonight in the wall street journal. this is a big deal. you see the headline there, republican operative sought clinton e-mails from hackers. now, the reporters is shane harris, shane will join us live here to talk about the scoop. what he's reporting is about something that took place last
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summer. you will remember the democratic party had its e-mail server hacked and data stolen last year. it was not until the fall that we got an official declaration that the hack was the product of a russian government attack. by late june, it was credibly being reported that that attack appeared to be an attack by the russian government. by labor day, "the washington post" reported this mega story on the russian attack on the institutions of our election and u.s. government efforts to identify and counter the attack. tonight "the wall street journal" reports, shane harris reports, on that very labor day weekend last years, a wealthy chicago republican named peter smith, who had a history in the
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arkansas-based efforts to come up with scandalous dirt on bill clinton in the 90s, peter smith, a committed republican opo guy, over the labor day weekend this past year according to "the wall street journal," quote, assembled a group of technology experts, lawyers and a russian-speaking investigator based in europe to try to acquire e-mails that the group theorized might have been stolen from the private server that hillary clinton used as secretary of state. so put yourself in the time frame we're talking about, this is labor day weekend. by that point, by that time there really had been democratic e-mails stolen from the dnc and we would later find out there were e-mails stolen from clinton's campaign chairman as well. clinton's e-mails from that private server from her time as secretary of state, that was a whole different matter. but peter smith and these people
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who he assembled, they apparently read the news that democratic servers had been hand by the russians and they mounted an effort to try to get hillary clinton's private server e-mails off the russians because they thought they must have hacked those, too. quote, in an interview with the journal, mr. smith said he and his colleagues found five groups of hacks are wers who claimed t possess hillary clinton's e-mails, including two groups who claimed to be russian. we knew the people who had these were probably around the russian government, said mr. smith. he's out there to try to contact russians, the russian hackers, to try to get e-mails they might have stolen from hillary clinton. and he contacts five different groups of hackers, at least two he thinks are definitely russians. does he get anything from them? interesting answer. quote, mr. smith said after vetting batches of e-mails offered to him by hackers groups
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last fall, he couldn't be sure enough of their you a then at this tease to leak them himself. he told all the groups to give them to wikileaks." this stuff, wikileaks never published those e-mails or claimed to have them. this is a republican operative convening a team to try to work with people who they expect and believe to be the russian government to try to get from them what they hope are e-mails stolen from hillary clinton. it's clear the reason they wanted to get them is because they wanted to use the e-mails here in the united states against hillary clinton. i don't think i'm going too far out on a limb here to call that a literal example of colluding with the russians in their attack on the united states, or at least trying to collude with them. you can see why ben wittes went "boom" on this today for his
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final boom. important note on this story. there is nothing that suggests that the guy who convened this group and hired the russian speaker and all the rest, there's nothing to suggest that he was part of the trump campaign or that he was doing this on behalf of the trump campaign. as the journal puts it, "this appears to be an independent campaign by mr. smith." nobody says peter smith was part of the trump campaign when he did this with the russians. so to the extent he might have did this as an attempt to collude with the russian government while they were attacking our election, to extent that's what it is, that is on him and the other americans who worked with him. that is not on the trump campaign. except for one thing. according to multiple sources quoted in "the wall street journal" tonight, this republican operative, peter smith, he told people involved
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in this project in multiple ways and at multiple times that what he was doing, this little project he was working on to try to get these clinton e-mails off the russians, he told people over and over again that he was doing this with mike flynn, who definitely did work for the trump campaign at the time. this was all happening around labor day. mike flynn had joined the trump campaign months earlier. he was a senior adviser to the trump campaign. peter smith, this republican operative in chicago, reportedly said he was in direct communication with flynn about what he was doing while he was doing it, quoting from the journal tonight, quote, in conversations with members of his circle and with others he tried to recruit to help him, mr. smith replied he was working with retired general michael flynn, at the time a then senior adviser to candidate donald trump. he said i'm talking to michael flynn about this, if you find anything, can you let me know? that was said by eric york, a
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computer security expert from atlanta, who did look for people who might have access to the clinton e mal-mails. in one smith e-mail, smith offered to make introductions to mike flynn's son, who worked at chief of staff in his father's company. in another recruiting e-mails seen by "the wall street journal," a law student mr. smith described as a close colleague included links to the web site and linked-in profiles of people purportedly working with smith's team trying to contact the weapons. at the top of the list was mike flynn's consulting groups. according to the expert, he told mr. smith he was in direct
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contact with mr. flynn and himself. the trump campaign is trying to push this so far away from themselves that at this point they're dangling it from the window, quote, said that peter smith did not work for the campaign and if mike flynn coordinated with mike smith in any way, it it would have been in his capacity as a private individual, even though flynn was a senior adviser to the trump campaign. flynn was senior adviser to the trump campaign at the time this was happening, soon to be designated as trump's pick to be national security adviser. if he was working as part of this effort to contact the russians to get what they had on clinton, that's -- boom. and here's probably the most important part. this piece in "the wall street
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journal" tonight is multiply source. shane harris also reports that smith died ten days after doing this wall street journal interview. in terms of corroborating his account, quote, the operation peter smith described is consistent with information that has been examined by u.s. investigators probing russian interference in the elections. according to u.s. officials with knowledge of the intelligence, quote, investigators have examined reports from intelligence agencies that describe russian hackers discussing how to obtain e-mails from mrs. clinton's server and then transmit them to mr. flynn via an intermediary. in advance of this report tonight, ben wittes was tick, tick, ticking like you can't
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believe, for days. and you know, conservative media and republicans really did start to pro actively say that colluding with the russian attack, maybe that's not such a big deal. in the last few days, conservative media, supporters of mr. trump have started to say if anybody did collude with the russians in this attack, that's okay, we're not going to be upset about that if we learn that. here's what appears to be the first concrete evidence of an attempt by americans to collude with the russians in their attack. boom. joining us now, shane harris, national security senior writer for the wa"the wall street jou." mr. harris, congratulations on this tonight. >> thanks, rachel. glad to be here. >> let me ask if i got anything wrong in the way i explained that? >> no, you got it right. >> i have to ask you about a
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small but human detail. peter smith, he died about ten days of a you spoafter you spok. can i ask you about the circumstances of the interview and of his death? >> oddly enough peter smith reached out to me. he apparently learned i was looking around and interested in him, which is true. my knowledge of what he was involved in predated my first contact with him. he reached out to me and we had a conversation about what he was doing, which was fairly extensive and obviously he's quoted in the story. and it was at that point that when we suspend that conversation that i continued doing reporting and assumed in this case perhaps incorrectly that i would have the chance to go back and discuss this further with peter smith. but obviously he died about ten days after i spoke with him. so it was on the record. he reached out to me. he was in no way ashamed of what he had done. he was actually quite proud of it and fervently believed these
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e-mails would eventually surface. he believed at the at the end, at nearly the last chapter of a long saga and that soon these e-mails would come to light and he would ultimately be vindicated in this quest he was on. >> and from the way you describe your interview with him, it seems clear he was fully aware to the point where he engaged a russian speaker as part of his efforts, he was fully aware that he was dealing with russian hackers and embassy polixplicit the people he would be trying to reach would be close to the russian government. he seems to have known this was a russian government attack and he was trying to reach out to them to try to use what they'd been able to find here. >> that's right. i think he concluded and perhaps not illogically that secretary clinton being a former secretary of state, russians were believed to have hacked the dnc, that he
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was likely to find a potential group of candidates, people who might have this information among russian hackers. he was a little cautious in describing exactly who this investigator was that he had hired but clearly he had a network of people working with him that he believed could make contact with folks who might have access to this information and he set up a fairly elaborate process to try and vet it as well. but, yes, he nuclearly when going into this that he was likely to run into russian individuals claiming to have hillary clinton's e-mails. >> now, shane, on the point of the connection to the trump campaign, general flynn did not respond to your request for comment, you noted in the piece and flynn has not commented publicly on this matter whatsoever. but if this is an example of people trying to contact the russians to get what they have to use it here, that's obviously a very sensitive issue if that can be linked directly to the trump campaign. that's a matter of investigation.
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what you describe as being this evide effort by mr. smith and as being part of what u.s. investigators have seen looking into this, is it clear to you that u.s. investigators stumbled on evidence or found evidence of what smith was doing and that's part of the potential collusion that they are investigating? >> that's not entirely clear at this point. i think my best kind of assessment of this is that what we have found may be one end of something that other investigators are looking at. you know, as we said in the piece, it's not entirely clear that investigators who have seen this intelligence about russian hackers describing a situation looks very similar to the one that peter smith described, it's not clear he has been identified in any way or anyone associated with him as the intermediary. i think what we may have potentially found here, and we do not know, is perhaps the other side of a coin that investigators were looking at. the time frames are very similar, the activities that are described in the intelligence
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reporting as we understand it are very similar to what peter smith described. >> shane harris, senior writer on national security issues for "the wall street journal," sole byline on this major story tonight. thank you for being here tonight to help us understand it. >> thanks for having me. i appreciate it. >> the wa"the wall street journ breaking this news and if this bears out and the white house is not commenting and mike flynn is not commenting, this appears to be the first clear reported connection between the trump campaign and michael flynn and the russian attack with this well described, well-sourced effort by american operatives looking to contact the russians who they knew were attacking the united states to try to get stuff from the russians on clinton that they could use here. if flynn is implicated in that effort, that would seem to mean
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that the trump campaign is implicated in attempting to work with the russians to further the aims of their attack in this country. it's a really big deal. much more to come tonight. stay with us. a millie dresselhaus doll! happy birthday, sweetie! oh, millies. trick or treat! we're so glad to have you here. ♪ what if we treated great female scientists like they were stars? ♪ yasss queen! what if millie dresselhaus, the first woman to win the national medal of science in engineering, were as famous as any celebrity? [millie dresselhaus was seen having lunch today...] ♪ [...rumors of the new discovery...] what if we lived in a world like that? (crowd applauding) ♪
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combined with the most wifi hotspots. it's a new kind of network. xfinity mobile. shane harris's scoop that a republican operative said he was working with russian hackers that tried to get clinton e-mails from him that could be used against clinton in the cam pan. it -- campaign.
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now, if the connection between that russian -- excuse me, that republican operative, if that connection between the republican operative and mike flynn is substantiated, if flynn was also aware of or involved in that effort, that would be the first reported direct evidence of the trump campaign itself trying to collude with the russians in their attack on the election. so that's just broken tonight in t"the wall street journal." in addition to that very big new news tonight, here's something about the fight over this investigation. i tried to give a little heads up about this on last night's show. we flagged this letter from the republican chairman of the senate judiciary committee, chuck grassley, and senator lindsey graham, they wrote a letter to the fbi requesting the fbi hold over all its warrant
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requests, all its draft warrant requests that they issued so far in their russia investigation and in the investigation into whether the trump campaign colluded with russia. they also have demanded to see the response that the courts have given after the fbi has made these requests for warrants. now, as i said last night, what lindsey graham and chuck grassley appear to be up to with this request is not only attempting to lay bare everything the fbi is working with in their investigation, but it would appear to be part of their attempt to discredit and say it all stemmed from that famous dossier of allegations against trump and his campaign promised by buzz feed in january. graham and grassley are basically implying that dossier of material is unproven and suspect. they are implying with this letter that the fbi's whole
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investigation of the trump campaign is based on that dossier and therefore, it's all suspect, the whole fbi investigation is suspect. i also noted last night that conservative media have started this week to go after andrew mccabe, who is the acting director of the fbi. he has been acting director of the fbi since the president fired james comey. i gave you that heads up last night that this new strategy was taking shape, these republican attacks on the fbi, basically to give that heads up so you should know to be on the lookout for the stuff coming down the pike. even though i gave that heads up last night, i was surprised myself at how fast it sort of all came to fruition. because today there is this new letter from chuck grassley to the justice department. this one alerts the deputy general rod rosrosenstein.
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this letter from grassley demands to know what steps they are going to take to address the appearance of conflicts of interest. they are carefully footnoted in senator grassley's letter. always properly cite your sources. we saw this being foretold over the last week or so. but what chuck grassley is doing as the republican chairman of the judiciary committee, it's important. there are two republican senators who are in charge of leading investigations into russia and the trump campaign and obstruction of justice, richard burr in intelligence and chuck grassley in judiciary and one of those republicans has now decided that the fbi is the problem here. he is going after the fbi and apparently trying to discredit
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their investigation in terms of its origins and to discredit the man leading the fbi right now, andrew mccabe. this new strategy to go after andrew mccabe is important not just because he is acting director of the fbi while the fbi is doing these investigations. the reason it's important they're going after him is because he's also potentially a corroborating witness in an obstruction of justice inquiry into the president. andrew mccabe now is acting director of the fbi. used to be deputy director of the fbi. when he was deputy director of the fbi under james comey, he was one of the handful of high-ranking fbi officials who james comey went to and talked to about his conversations with president trump. when he says trump told him basically to kibosh the russia investigation. james comey wrote contemporaneous memos about those conversations with president.
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he also at the time briefed a handful of trusted fbi colleagues, including andrew mccabe, which means andrew mccabe conceivably can cooperate comey's testimony that trump asked him to drop the fbi investigation. if they can tarnish the whole fbi investigation and the credibility of the acting director of the fbi, if they get andrew mccabe specifically, they have taken a big step toward undermining, for one, the incredibly damning testimony of james comey against the president in this obstruction of justice inquiry. if they can muddy the waters enough, that's the strategy we can see taking shape before our eyes right now. it is fascinating to watch the white house fight back against this investigation and try to smear everybody who is part of
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vetting the preside investigating the president and part of his campaign. and for some reason it's not really being treated around the country as big news but it's not exactly happening in secret. you can see it if you just look at what they're doing. stop listening to the noise coming out of the white house. watch what people are doing. joining us now is nmatthew miller, former chief justice of the justice department. thank you for being here. >> of course. >> let me ask you about chairman grassley, for example, raising a question about whether or not the acting fbi director is somehow tainted, whether he should be recused, is somehow suspects and therefore the fbi is suspect in terms of its investigation into michael flynn. what do you make of those accusations? >> they're pretty frivolous.
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there are a number of reasons why you have to recuse yourself, you have a personal stake, a financial stakes, say a spouse is involved in an organization or a close friend of yours or in other circumstances where you may be a witness in the case you can't be involved in the investigation. i think it's a pretty frivolous attempt by grassley to discredit him. but it's in keeping what they've done. remember, they've been attacking bob mueller, the republicans have been attacking a number of the people who work for bob mueller, pointing out they donated to the democrats in the past. it's long been assumed you can work at the justice department and donate to democrats, to republicans and that does not taint your ability to workin the justice department of the united states. >> the president already did fire james comey. we've seen political attacks and
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criticism and now accusations of bias from republicans and from the white house against bob mueller, against james comey, who was fired, against rod rosenstein, including directly from the president himself, now after andrew mccabe. comey's obviously already been fired. but are these other officials vulnerable to pressure to being fired, to being somehow pushed out of their role in this ongoing investigation? >> let's start with the most important one, bob mueller. i don't think bob mueller is vulnerable to pressure in any way at all. i worked with him. he is as tough a guy as there is, and he's going to do whatever he wants is to do in this investigation, no matter what anyone does to put pressure on him. that said, he can be fired. it would be complicated, it would be difficult. the president would have to do it by either directing
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rosenstein to do it and hoping that rosenstein would do it, something he has implied he would not do or he could waive the regulations and eventually fire mueller. it's possible. i don't think he's going to succumb to pressure but he could be fired. but rod rosenstein has been talking a pretty good game before he hired bob mueller. he's the person that wrote the memo justifying james comey's firing. it's hard to believe he didn't know why comey was really being fired. you'd like to think he could withstand the kind of pressure a president can put on you but we've seen in the past that's not always been the case with him. >> matthew miller, appreciate your time tonight. thank you very much. >> thank you. >> i will say just keep your eyes on what happens here with this judiciary committee investigation. this is supposed to be looking at obstruction of justice. so far the chairman of that committee is leading the charge
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to try to discredit the investigation being conducted at the fbi into exactly that same thing as well as the fbi investigation into the russian matter more broadly. it seems like a really big deal to me to have the republicans who are directly involved in those matters trying to discredit the fbi. maybe this will become a bigger story soon. but in the meantime, watch for it yourself. we'll be right back. thanks for the ride around norfolk! and i just wanted to say, geico is proud to have served the military for over 75 years! roger that. captain's waiting to give you a tour of the wisconsin now. could've parked a little bit closer... it's gonna be dark by the time i get there. geico®. proudly serving the military for over 75 years.
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we are old in cable news years. i mean, some of us are old in general. but this show has been on the air for more than eight years now. it will be nine years in september. and there is something that i have been waiting to happen in the news for the entire nine years that we have been on the air doing this show. honestly, we've covered it every year that i have done this show. i had started to believe it would never, never, never, never happen. we've been waiting all of these years. you know what, you could have knocked me over with a feather if you ever tried to convince me that after all these years, this thing we've been waiting for would finally happen now. there was something no warning that it was going to happen now but finally today it happened. i'm absolutely flabbergasted. i've been waiting for this for almost nine years. the only person more surprised that this happened today than me is the person who made it happen herself. and she joins us here tonight
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introducing the easiest way to get gillette blades noo text "blades" to gillette on demand text to reorder blades with gillette on demand... ...and get $3 off your first order i almost cannot believe this happened. an incredible thing happened in congress today. incredible in the literal sense, not credible. i almost do not believe it. completely unexpected. it concerned the law passed by congress right after the 9/11 attacks. it was the law that gave the president at the time, george w. bush, authorization to use all necessary force against those who planned, authorized,
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committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on september 11th. one lawmaker, only one lawmaker, voted against that authorization for the use of military force at the time in 2001. it was california congresswoman barbara lee. she cautioned that it was overbroad and it would be used to justify things beyond just an immediate response to 9/11. but she was the only one who voted no. and over the years that law, that 9/11 go get 'em law has been used by presidents of both parties over these 16 years as the legal basis for lots of stuff that has nothing to do with 9/11. they've used it as the legal basis for everything, for at least 37 different u.s. military operations in at least 14 different countries. drone strikes in pakistan and yemen and somalia, wars and military actions in ethiopia, the wars given the islamic state
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in syria and iraq. it's always been a little strange that these wars were all justified by that one law passed right after 9/11, authorized only against the people specifically who attacked in 9/11. but it's gone on and on. the idea of finally closing out that authorization and debating a new authorization for the wars we're fighting now has become a boutique interest of a small cadre of mostly democratic lawmakers but some republicans, too. but people who have taken a high-profile role, tim cane, adam schiff and congresswoman lee. they've tried unsuccessfully to enlist their colleagues into narrowing the scope of that overly broad authorization,
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toward getting us honest of what we're doing with military force in that 9/11 authorization. on this show we have extensively covered everything that's happened militarily, supposedly under the auspices of that authorization. without any reasonable expectation that it would change. after 16 years, why would it change now? there's always been very good reasons for why it should change. it's never going to change. and then today, members of the house appropriations committee stood up to support barbara lee. she has put this up for the past decade. >> i think she has raised an important point, done it
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repeatedly and effectively and i think the congress ought to listen to what she has to say. >> i know from my friends who are the military now, they noticed congress doesn't have the guts to stand up and have this debate. >> i want to rise and support, too. we've seen a disproportionate sacrifice with the military community who has gone over and over again and i believe that we owe them the debate. >> i'm going to be with you on this, and your tenacity has come through. i think right now that this is what's important for america and that we need to move forward on this. so we're going to -- i'm going to vote yes. >> thank you. you're making converts all over the police, miss lee. >> you can hear them realize something's about to start happening there. you saw the partisan affiliations of all those people speaking there, right? it was a bunch of republicans and democrats. she's been bringing this up every year and never gets anywhere with it but then today something even more remarkable happened after all the shows of support, when it came time to actually vote on barbara lee's
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amendment. watch. >> this resolution came before the congress three days september 14th. it was overly broad, it was 60 words. i think at this point, 16 years given the nature of the threats we face, that we should in a bipartisan way support my amendment. thank you. >> thank you, ms. lee. the question is on the lee amendment. all those in favor say aye. >> aye. >> although opposed say nay. >> nay. >> in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. thank you, ms. lee. further amendments? [ applause ] >> spontaneous applause breaks out after the vote. the chair is like, oh, that just passed. that vote caught everybody by surprise. obviously including the chair. but the surprise went so far as to include congresswoman lee herself. look at what she tweeted afterwards. whoa. whoa. my amendment to sunset the authorization for use of military force in 2001 was
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adopted. no one as surprised as she was. she did it. it took her all these years. she did it today. congresswoman barbara lee joins us next. eye drop approved for both the signs and symptoms of dry eye. one drop in each eye, twice a day. common side effects include eye irritation, discomfort or blurred vision when applied to the eye, and unusual taste sensation. don't touch container tip to your eye or any surface. remove contacts before using xiidra and wait at least 15 minutes before reinserting. chat with your eye doctor about xiidra.
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congresswoman barbara lee of california is on the appropriations committee. she's been a voice in the wilderness trying to get congress to vote on military force, to debate military force, to stop relying all these year i later on the last time they did that in 2001 on 9/11. today after years of trying to get it done, she got her amendment passed. it was approved in committee today, tons of bipartisan support. an apparent miracle. spontaneous applause. congresswoman barbara lee joins us now. >> thank you. i'm happy to be with you, rachel. >> i can see that in your smile. am i right that even you were caught by surprise after all these years of trying to do this? >> well, rachel, first let me say this is really a big deal, and i was cautiously optimistic. i'll tell you why. i have been working day and night and talking with republicans and democrats at least for ten years about why we should repeal this resolution -- this authorization, excuse me. and i have tried every which way
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through amendments and appropriations, through amendments on the defense authorization bill, through freestanding legislation where i think the last time we got about 140 votes on the floor, somewhere around that. and so we've been building. i've been working. i've been working very hard with my colleagues to try to get to this point. and so this was a major victory, i think, today for the american people, for our young men and women in uniform, and for the country because congress must stop being missing in action on matters of war and peace. >> now, am i right on the specifics of this, that this would give -- if this passes t would give the congress eight months, a good, long amount of time to come up with a new authorization for the use of military force, something new to declare -- something new to declare that authorization so we're no longer relying on what happened back 16 years ago? is that right? >> right, rachel. upon the signing of this legislation, it would stay in effect for eight months. that would give us time to
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debate the pros and cons of a new authorization to use force, bring forth however many there would be, debate the issues, and then vote up or down on a new authorization. and i just have to say that the 2001 authorization, rachel, it was passed in three days with a couple of hours of debate. i don't even think it was two hours of debate. so believe you me, congress can and should pass a new resolution within eight months because the american people deserve this. it's our job. we have been missing in action, and i am so pleased that we had bipartisan support to do this. >> congresswoman barbara lee of california on the appropriations committee. a model and monument to perseverance. will you come back as this goes through the process here? we'd love to stay in touch with you through this. >> i will, rachel, because this is a major first step, but we have a long way to go. hopefully the republican leadership hears the voices of the people and the voices of their caucus and continues to help work with us to get this done.
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>> i hear you tonight, congresswoman barbara lee. thank you very much. appreciate it. >> thank you. >> we'll be right back. i no longer live with
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ask your hep c specialist about harvoni. that does it for us tonight. thank you for being with us on this fine thursday night. we will be back tomorrow night on what promises to be an excellent night for friday night news dumps. friday night after close of business is always a great time to dump bad news or at least embarrassing news. but friday night before a holiday weekend? come on! you're guaranteed to get good stuff. that does it for us tonight. now it's time for "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell. good evening, lawrence. >> good evening, rachel. so you're just inviting them? tomorrow night would be convenient for you if they were to do that tomorrow night. >> let us just be aware of the fact that it is inevitable that it will happen. >> yes. it's going to be a big night for that, and what it's not going to be -- you're not going to have a tense night wondering if mitch mcconnell is going to emerge from his

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