tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC October 27, 2017 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT
that's out there. and politically, i think if i were -- he could have filed charges against manafort at any point. if i were mueller, i'd look to press charges that brought in directly the collusion issue. >> that's a great point. they basically have michael flynn on his face lying to federal investigators from day one. thanks for joins. the rachel maddow show starts now, which i'm going to watch because i'm like what's going on. >> this is our long awaited night where we take calls from viewers for difficult gardening questions. >> go with your gut on this. >> i'm telling you, every week when susan drops me off at work on monday morning you let me know if you need work to do the gardening show. thanks to you at home for joining thus hour. as chris was alluding to there,
there's a lot of to talk about right this second. i will tell you there have been a whole bunch of scoops that have broken in the press today, this afternoon and now into tonight. this has been a day for a whole bunch of american journalists, for conservatives, for a "wall street journal" from the director of national intelligence made his own news today. we had some really interesting reporting out of the eastern district of virginia, which is a sleeper story. a whole bunch of important news has broken today. we're going to the talk about those tonight. but i have to tell you cnn has reported in the last few minutes, reporting that the rachel maddow special counsel investigation has produced its first criminal charges. i would elaborate further right now on what cnn is reporting on
this matter right now, but that's really all they're reporting. this is not confirmed by national weather service ne nbc news or any other news organi organizati organization. this is cnn's work. they're saying a federal grand jury approved the first charges in the mueller investigation. we don't know what the charges are, they're sealed by a federal judge we'll find out what that means in a moment. we also don't know who the charges are against. if they're against one person or multiple people, or who those people are if there are, in fact, charges against them. we don't have any reason to believe that any of those people have been notified of the fact that they have been charged, if this reporting is accurate. if, in fact, these charges are still under seal. so the headline is very provocative. we know very little detail
beyond that. other than the fact prosecutors associated with the mueller investigation were seen entering the room where the grand jury meets in d.c. in the federal courthouse in d.c., other than the attorneys being spotted in that room, which has happened before, we have no corroborating information about whether or not this is true. so obviously this is a very provocative prospect. we're keeping an eye closely on that for additional reporting. lots of news organizations are scrambling to do their own corroboration and approach to the story. i'll tell you as someone who has covered the russia story and investigation probably more than anyone else in cable news. i will tell you there have been lots and lots and and lots of rumors this was about to happen. there have been lots of sort of credible, single source reports that charges were imminent from
mueller investigators. you follow all that stuff, track it down, but until you have multiple sources it's not rep t reportab reportable. cnn says it's reportable, no one else does. if they're right, this is the first multisource account these charges may happen. on this story as every story there's no reason to speculate further, especially with no further details to speculate on. but based on what they reported so far how we should understand the significance of this, joining us is barbara mcquad. thank you for being here with us tonight. i have a lot of other things to talk to you about tonight but i'm really glad you were here for this. >> you bet. happy to talk about it. >> nbc news has not confirmed the cnn reporting. but let me ask you about some of the terms they're describing as a law enforcement professional, former federal prosecutor. a federal grand jury in
washington d.c. approved the first charges in the investigation being led by mueller. tell us about the work of a grand jury and what it means to say a grand jury has approved charges. >> typically what happens in a grand jury investigation they hear evidence, where it can be one day in a little case or a big dais case like this where they hear testimony and see exhibits over a matter of months. and at some point the prosecutor makes a decision to seek or decline to seek an indictment. they think they've gotten to the place where they have probable cause to go forward. so they draft an indictment, present it to the grand jury, discuss the law and the elements of the offenses, answer any questions they have, and leave the room. leave the grand jury to deliberate among themselves and make a decision whether they prove or decline to approve -- they call it issuing a true bill or issuing a no true bill. it sounds like they issued a
true bill, if this is accurate. >> there's nobody making a presentation to the grand jury that they shouldn't approve the indictment between the prosecutor, right? this is between the prosecutor and the grand jury without anybody intervening the target of the investigation? >> that's right. that's why the defendant is presumed innocent. they have not had a chance to cross-examine witnesses, any of the things at trial. i will say this, you sometimes hear this complaint that a prosecutor can indict a ham sandwich before a grand jury. i don't think that's true. not the least of which it's a strange metaphor but because there is an obligation to present the grand jury with significant exculpatory information so they are understanding the whole story. >> does robert mueller, over his
years in the justice department and fbi, does he have a reputation in terms of how aggressive he might be about charging people? is he known for approaching these things in any way. >> i'd say he's known for approaching investigations with a sense of urgency. we're seeing that here. some people may not think it's quick, it seems quick to me. but it is his reputation to work hard, drive his people hard, leave no stone unturned. so i think we're seeing the fruits of that sort of effort tonight. >> according to cnn's report, this is not confirmed by nbc, in their language the charges are still sealed under orders of a federal judge. what would it mean for the grand jury to have approved a proposed indictment but then for the charges to be sealed? how does that work and why is that done? >> sealing is fairly common at this stage when you have an indictment that is issued -- or approved as it may have been today. and the reason is that law
enforcement kind of wants to get its ducks in a row before they go out and arrest the defendant or notify them. it may be they don't arrest whoever this defendant is because they worked out a relationship with his or her defense attorney to bring them in to appear on the case. it's late on a friday afternoon, they want to keep it secret so at a moment of their choosing they can inform the defendant or surprise them with an arrest whenever they choose to do it. >> can an indictment like this be sealed indefinitely? how long can a seal last. >> it can be sealed for some time. sometimes there's reasons to seal it for longer times. you may want to arrest other people, and you don't want to alert them that someone else has been charged. it could be someone is a fugitive and you don't know where they are, and you don't want to alert them of the charges while you look for them. at some point it is considered against the defendant's speedy
trial rights if you keep an indictment sealed for too long. and certainly there's the five-year statue of limitations from the time the conduct was committed. my guess is they're sealing for some time so they can e chat an arrest plan or an appearance by the defendant in court. >> let me ask you -- i'm not a lawyer, i have no law enforcement connections whatsoever, other than speeding tickets. is it possible -- i'm thinking about the treatment by the special council thus far of paul manafort in particular. the no-knock warrant to go turn up at his house in the predrawn hours, including picking his lock. the reports that prosecutors working with special counsel mueller told paul manafort expect to be diindicted we haveo reason to think these charges, that they have anything to do
with manafort, if they are charges. is it possible that you would bring a proposed indictment to a grand jury, you have the grand jury approve it, seal the indictment, and you would do that basically as a form of pressure on a target? pressure on a suspect, not necessarily because the end game is to put that person in jail but you want to scare that person so they tell you something for a larger part of your investigation. >> that seems unlikely to me. i think even the examples you gave were not so much scare tactics as necessary steps in the investigation. telling someone they're a target of the investigation just puts them on notice, if you want to come in and cooperate now is the time. maybe you can talk us out of it. the no-knock warrant, you have to show a judge that you have a reason for that. there was some legitimate concern, if that report is true, that evidence would be destroyed, deleting of a
document that's saved on a cell phone for example that would be done in a few minutes it takes for a knock. i don't think it's likely they would file an indictment to scare somebody. i think they mean business, if there is an indictment they'll show it to somebody. i think they'll use it to hopefully get cooperation against other offenders. >> let me ask you one last question here and i'm going to ask you to stay with us for the hour and come back and talk to us about these things, but before i let you go for now, you did mention you feel like in your opinion, this feels quick to you? this feels like it was faster than you were expecting for there to be charges or an indictmentna in this case. why did you say that? >> when you think about the big picture, any connections between russia and the trump campaign seems like such an enormous case
it could take many, many months to get to the bottom of it. but even in if it's a charge against manafort or flynn or someone else, it seems there's so much new news all the time that it seems it would take a team of lawyers a long time to get to the bottom of it. but as i said, mueller does have a reputation of working with urgency and he has a team of 16 top prosecutors so they've been working days, nights and weekends to get this done. >> thank you very much. i want to bring in the conversation matthew miller. he's the former spokesperson for the justice department. thank you for being here, i appreciate it. >> thank you. >> you heard the discussion i just had with barbara mcquad. you you've seen the reporting that came out. i need to underscore that nbc has not confirmed this reporting tonight and as of five seconds ago when i last checked with the
control room, no other news agency has as well. this is cnn alone. they're saying the first charges have been brought. they've been brought, they're under seal so we don't know what they are. let me ask your top line response to that news if this turns out to be the case. >> i think what barbara mcquad said is accurate. this shows that bob mueller is moving quickly. there are a lot of people that thought he might pursue this investigation into next year and wrap it all up at one time, with a series of charges or a report to congress about actions by the president, but it appears he's decided not to take that course of action but at least bring one indictment, maybe more than one set of indictments early in this case while he continues to investigate other things. this is important to note. this does not mean we are at the end of the investigation.
this is the first indictment, first set of indictments, we'll see when the charges are unsealed. and there are more to come. >> part of the reporting that cnn has done tonight which is more background rather than it is sort of some new fact that they've dug up. the way they're characterizing their report tonight is that the deputy attorney general, rod rosenstein, who's overseeing all matters related to the russia investigation because of the recusal of attorney general jeff sessions, rod rosenstein as the person overseeing the mueller investigation, would he have had to see the proposed indictment? would he have had to have been informed about these proposed charges in order for the mueller investigation to have gone this far? >> technically under the regulations, he wouldn't have to see the indictment. it would be up to the relationship he and mueller worked out under the terms of the appointment. the appointment document itself is narrow, it sets out the things mueller can investigate,
it doesn't set out the relationship he and the deputy attorney general would have. i would have expected mueller would have informed rod rosenstein about this. would have briefed him about who he plans to indict, when he plans to do it. i don't know if he would brief him on what he's actually found. i think, especially given the real concerns that people have raised about rod rosenstein's independence, mueller will be aware of those and he might be careful about how much detail he does share with the deputy attorney general. >> matt, on the issue of the political opposition that the mueller investigation and that the congressional russia investigations have run into, one of the things discussed over the last few days is whether the mueller budget request, the funding, that needs to go through congress to keep the investigation going, whether that might be a point of leverage that the republicans in the white house could use against the mueller investigation and given the timing of when that investigation started, when he
was put in charge of this probe, which was just about six months ago, maybe that question was starting to come due. i want to know what your reaction is to that recent reporting and those concerns by people who were worried about the independence of the investigation. >> i think it's clear that everyone from the president to his allies in congress to the conservative media have been orchestrating a drum beat against the special council, which includes raises questions about his budget, whether he should be fired. and i think that shows nervousness on his investigation, where he might go, ha what he might find. if indictments come out, it means you're interfering with an investigation that a grand jury has found probable cause to charge someone criminally. it becomes a question of really -- it's obviously not obstruction of justice for congress to do that, but it
becomes, you know, blocking an investigation that as borne fruit. it becomes a more questionable activity after he filed charges than it was before. >> one last question for you, matt. one of the stories that we were planning on leading with tonight before this news broke was the interesting and unexpected news out of the eastern district of virginia, was that the attorney, dana boente, who has played a number of stand in roles, being brought on as acting attorney general, acting deputy attorney general, he's now the acting assistant attorney general on security matters, he announced his resignation today. that may be a totally separate matter from this, it may be absolutely unrelated. there's been some speculation that dave briggs because of t that dana boente hbecause of th job he had in the trump administration -- there's been some reporting, speculation that
maybe dana boente may end up being a witness in part of this investigation, maybe that has something to do with him stepping down today. do you have any thoughts on that matter? >> i don't know if it's true he'll be a witness. i talked to someone today that said they talked today dana, where he's been excited so he could retake his job in the eastern district of virginia. what that says is he did not decide two days later to resign, but he was forced out by the trump administration. we don't know the answer to that, we don't know whether it has anything to do with the mueller investigation, but the timing has been curious with his sudden leaving of the department. >> that was a conversation he had a couple of days ago in which he did not express any desire and, in fact, expressed enthusiasm of continuing in the
eastern district of virginia and today surprisingly, mysteriously, he resigned. >> right. you can draw it wasn't a resignation that wasn't of his own volition. >> matthew miller, thank you for being with us on short notice matt. i appreciate it. i want to bring into the conversation now, another former u.s. attorney, paul fishman who was the u.s. attorney representing new jersey. thank you for joining us on short notice. >> thanks for having me back, rachel. >> let me underscore again this is news not confirmed by nbc, this is one news organization reporting that the first criminal charges have been filed in the mueller investigation. we don't know what the charges are, they're reportedly still sealed, this is unconfirmed news, this is cnn's reporting. i know you're familiar with what cnn is reporting. let me ask your top line response to it? >> obviously, rachel, when we talk about this investigation,
it's not just one investigation. there are multiple parts and moving pieces to it. there's the manafort piece, the flynn piece, the obstruction of justice, the collusion with russians. it looks from the team that bob mueller has assembled he has different groups of lawyers working on different aspects, and that makes sense. it seems like one particular piece of that investigation has now gotten to a place where mueller is comfortable returning charges against one person if cnn's reporting is correct. that doesn't mean they're finished, those will be all charges against that individual, but he's gotten to a place, if the reports are true, where he's comfortable asking a grand jury to indict knowing he shouldn't or wouldn't do that unless he has sufficient evidence to convict. >> in terms of how this is being handled, again if the cnn reporting is accurate, if the charges are sealed, cnn reports plans were planned today for
anybody charged to be taken into custody -- we just got an explanation from barbara mcquad about what it means for a judge to have sealed these charges. what is your take on the decision to seal them? the possibility they'd be unsealed on monday? and the question of whether or not attorneys for the targets of this reported indictment will be notified? >> well, so i think all of those things are possible. typically, when an indictment is returned what it means is the majority of the grand jury has voted that the person should be charged and then the indictment is presented to a judge and then it's filed on the docket of the court. if the prosecutors, the federal prosecutors, believe there was a reason to seal the indictment right away, they can ask the judge to do that until certain things happen. there's always a reason that the prosecutors would give to the judge.
sometimes, as barb said earlier on your show, it's beau they want the element of surprise for the arrest, sometimes it's because the investigation is continuing, sometimes it's because they haven't had a chance to tell the lawyer for the person or people who are getting indicted and because they've been having a dialogue, they think out of fairness they would like the opportunity to do that before it becomes a matter of public record. >> in terms of the question i also asked barbara mcquad, is it possible that these are charges that are going to remain sealed for a long time? that this is something being used as leverage against somebody in this investigation who is maybe a smaller fish who they're trying to pressure into talking about stuff they haven't previously been willing to talk these investigators about? is a sealed indictment used that way. >> sometimes it can be used that way.
it's not typical. in my experience when somebody like bob mueller gets to a place he's ready to indict, a conversation will insue between him and somebody on his staff, saying we're ready to go, here's a copy of the indictment. it's time to come to the table and talk, if your guy is going to come to the table. typically, if the person says, no, indict me, that's what happens. and then the person will be arrested or given an opportunity to voluntarily appear in the courtroom and answer the charges and enter a plea of not guilty. so what we don't know -- we'll see on monday. we'll have a lot more information then, if the story is true. it's possible someone could be arrested over the weekend or monday morning opinion it's possible bob mueller or somebody could have a press conference announcing the indictment and the person's appearance will follow by some number of days.
we just don't know. it's too early to tell. >> one last kind of dumb question for you. if there are people who could potentially be indicted and they just heard there's a sealed indictment, is it possible people could flee the country? >> my guess is if bob mueller or any of his team had a fear anyone was going to flee, they would have taken them into custody today or over the weekend. i think that's unlikely under a circumstance like this, especially when people have known for a while their conduct has been under examination. >> mr. fishman, thank you for joining us on short notice. really appreciate it. >> thanks. >> this is news not con firnled by nbc news or any other news organization, but cnn is reporting that the first charges have been filed in the special counsel investigation led by robert mueller.
that investigation started six months ago, the overall investigation started over a year ago. mueller is to look at the russian attack on the election and whether or not anyone in the trump campaign was in cohoots with that attack. we don't know what the charges are, they're described as sealed charges that we may find out about monday if they're unsealed on that day. again, unconfirmed reports as far as nbc news. this is cnn's reporting. we'll stay on it. stay with us. where's gary? 'saved money on motorcycle insurance with geico. goin' up the country. later, gary' i have a motorcycle! wonderful. ♪ ♪ 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.
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always happens on a friday. we're following some breaking news tonight. according to cnn the investigation being led by special council robert mueller has v issued its first criminal charges. the charges are under seal and we don't know what they are, who may be charged, we don't know if this is accurate. nbc hasn't confirmed it. we'll give you more details on that front. that's cnn reporting. i have to tell you, this has been a wild day of scoops broken by reporters across the kcountr. let me start the wall street journal. it's about a crucial time when we first became aware as americans that russia was doing something in the election. the first report that we as a country had about that was on
june 14th last year. "the washington post," last summer, the headline, russian government hackers penetrated dnc, that was the first indication we had as a country that something was up in our election that had to do with the russian government. now the date of that first public report ends up being important. that was june 14th, last year. keeping that in mind, there was some interesting reporting earlier this week from the wall street journal, that was about the data firm cambridge analytica. cambridge analytica is now famous as the data firm that worked for the trump campaign. but rebecca ballhouse was first to report that investigators have seen an e-mail in which the head of cambridge analytica says that last june, june 2016, he made an on verture to wikileaks. he offered that cambridge analytica, his firm, would like to help wikileaks, disseminate all of those thousands of documents that had been stolen
from democrats during the campaign. they specifically offered to index the stolen documents to make them online searchable so there could be more stories written about them so they could spread further. that offer from cambridge analytica to wikileaks that's potentially important fp you're looking for evidence of the trump campaign helping out in the russian plot to interfere in our election, that looks like a big deal, right? here's the trump campaign data firm offering to help more efficiently distribute the democratic documents the russians had stolen. that's potentially huge, right? here's the problem with that. here's the reason the cambridge analytica thing didn't ring everybody's bell this week. if that offer from cambridge analytica went to wikileaks in june of last year, the first important thing to know about that is that in june of last year, cambridge analytica didn't work for the trump campaign. they didn't start working for
the trump campaign until the following month, in july. also, though, again about that timing. we don't know exactly when in june that offer was made from cambridge analytica to wikileaks. because of that we also can't assume that cambridge analytica knew the stolen democratic e-mails they were offering to help distribute, we can't assume they knew those e-mails had been stolen by the russian government. the first reporting was june 14th. if they made this offer before june 14th, maybe they had no idea what they were planning to do is weaponize documents. maybe they didn't know. now if the offers happened after june 14th, after it became public knowledge that those documents were stolen by the russian government that would be a different story. that would be an interesting thing to figure out if that's ta
t case. is the overture before or after june 15th, before or after you knew those things were stolen by the russian government. that puts a spotlight on cambridge analytica. they should probably explain the specifics of that time line so they knew what they were doing in making that overture and whether they knew they were offering to help a russia intelligence operations. so there's more reporting to do there. but even if the worst is true, it remains the fact they weren't working for the trump campaign at the time that overture happened so that still doesn't implicate the trump campaign in what might be russian collusion. if you're looking to implicate the russia collusion, you had to wait for rebecca. remember that first specific date when we learned the democratic documents weren't
randomly taken by some thief, they were taken as part of a russian intelligence operation. when that news broke on june 14th, it was not a subtle thing. it was everywhere. this was that initial report, russian government hackers 3e7b penetrated dnc. that started a lit any of reporting about this. u.s. officials say little doubt russia behind dnc hack. spy agency hacked dnc. fbi investigating possible connection to the linked dnc e-mails. it was everywhere. even if you can't read and sometimes watch the tv news, no matter what kind of tv news you were watching you couldn't help being expoed to this story, even if it's on fox. >> from the campaign trail "the washington post" reporting the russian government hacked into
the computer network of the democratic national committee. >> they were able to access all e-mails going in and out of the dnc since last summer. these hackers, and apparently the russian government, now have inside information. >> we're tracking another major story case, a case of cyber espionage tracking the democratic parties. russian cyber spies hacked the dnc. >> this was a clear attempt by the russian government to steal information about the u.s. political process. >> the clues point to two russian intelligence agencies. >> a weird story now, "the washington post" reports the russian government hacked into the computer network of the democratic national committee. >> three private security firms concluded the hack was russian. some say russian intelligence could be behind the attacks with the goal of interfering in the election.
documents taken in the attack have shown up on line. >> russian's goal in leaking the e-mails was to sew chaos in american politics and help donald trump win the press den si. >> they were trying to geft give trump an indirect weight by which he can accomplish his goals. >> the dnc was hacked by both the cyber units of the russian military intelligence and kgb. they used signature ip addresses and malware. >> secretary of state john kerry this morning raised the issue with russia's foreign minister. >> that was what the news was like last summer after "the washington post" first broke the news that the russian government was behind the stealing and hacking of e-mails and documents
out of the democratic party. now there was a lot of news like that. it was not subtle. if you were contacting wikileaks and offering to help in this operation in early june, before any of that reporting started, it's possible you might not have known this was understood to be a russian operation that wikileaks was helping with. but once june hit this was not a story hiding its light under the bushel. by july 25th, trump himself was joking about russia leaking the e-mails, because putin likes me. he was making his joke, if you're listening, russia go get more clinton e-mails. this is a discussion in the regular media, conservative media, on the campaign, it was widely reported international diplomacy between the united states and russia. starting in mid june and through the end of june into july, into
august, it was no secret that russia, the russian government, hacked the democrats e-mails. tonight jessica ball reports on july 26th, so after the involvement was widely known, rebekah mercer, major trump do nor, founder of cambridge analytica, brigon august 26th s directed cambridge analytica to help wikileaks distribute the democratic e-mails that by then everybody knew had been be stolen by the russian government. we know from reporting this week that cambridge analytica had that idea on their own a couple months earlier, but she directed them to do it once we all knew those wikileaks documents were part of a russian intelligence operation. and she directed cambridge analytica to help with that once
the mercer family was very much a part of the trump campaign. that means, bottom line, the major funder of the trump campaign, appears to have knowingly tried to help out with the russian hack of documents, to better weaponize them to help out in the trump campaign. that's a scoop by rebecca ballhouse. then tonight we have another one. we have the scoop about the republican funder behind fusion gps, which is the firm that pr deuced the christopher steele dossier on president trump. we knew last year, we knew they'd been initially funded by a republican who was opposed to trump in the primary, then after trump got the nod, they found a democrat to fund their work.
we knew that from the beginning, from david corn's first initial report on halloween night last year. we learned earlier this week that the democratic funder of the research was a democratic funder in support of clinton, it was a law firm connected to the dnc and the clinton campaign. tonight byron is the first to report that the initial funder was the washington freebeacon. huh? it's one of these flurry of republican web publications that started up. no snark intended here at all, serious credit to byron york. he'd done really good work on this store. interviewed tons of republican
operatives and candidates. he got lots of them on the record about not being the republican funder. but after having done the leg work he was tonight rightfully first to report who was the funder. now we know. on the trump dossier, whether or not you care who funded it. it's flown a little bit under the radar in the last 24 hours that the general counsel of the office of national intelligence, the guy who's the top lawyer there. he has come out and declared in very blunt terms that when the intelligence community put out its assessment that russia did attack our election, they didn't rely on the dossier to produce that report. they didn't use the dossier to produce that conclusion. robert lit was the top lawyer under the obama administration when that came out, he's in a position to know.
he says they came to their conclusions about the russian involvement in the election based, quote, entirely on other sources and analysis. they didn't use the dossier, so that's important for the political maneuvering, the white house is trying to use this report as who funded fusion gps as a way of saying the whole story is some kind of hoax of russia interfering in the election. the logic is thin in that claim anyway. but among this fireworks show of scoops we've had in the past 24 hours is this news that the intelligence community came to its conclusions about what the russians did in our election with no reference to the dossier whatsoever. so the intelligence community must also naturally be denounced and discredited, it's terrible, for having found a true thing.
so in all that breaking news, from last night into tonight, there is one other scoop that broke, that i think is the most interesting, especially given the late breaking news from cnn about robert mueller reportedly issuing the the first charges, the thing that's the most compelling, serious and i want to figure it out story of the day is next. stay with us. magic...is pretty amazing. it can transform a frog into a prince. but it can't transform your business.
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doesn't really ring a bell, right? we did put his name up there which helps. without the name i couldn't pick him out of a lineup. you recognize his name, right? it's pronounced dana boente. the eastern district of virginia is a powerful prosecutor's office. they end up doing important terrorism and national security cases. then in the trump era dana boente became everything. he got all the jobs all at once. it was a weird thing for somebody who nobody had really ever heard of before. if you're in law enforcement circles you've heard of the guy, right? but outside of law enforcement circles why did dana boente
start getting every job? within the first two weeks of president trump being in office. you may recall he fired sally yates, she was the acting attorney general she came to the white house to warn them that national security advisor michael flynn was compromised by the russians where they didn't respond for 18 days. she wrote a memo explaining the trump muslim ban was unconstitutional. he fired her. and he needed someone to come in and act as the attorney general, and he chose dana boente. he became the acting attorney general of the united states. he served in that role until jeff sessions was confirmed by the senate and sworn in ten days later on february 9th. so at that point dana boente is no longer acting attorney general. at that point he became the acting deputy attorney general. deputy attorney general is the person who run it is justice department on a day-to-day basis. he went from being acting ag to
acting deputy ag once sessions got there. he served as acting deputy attorney general until rod rosenstein got confirmed by the senate to be the confirmed deputy attorney general as of late april. you might remember in the meantime president trump decided to fire all the u.s. attorneys all over the country. boom no warning. get out. be gone by midnight. when it came time to do the firing, i think it was dana boente who was the acting attorney general who got on the phone and did the firing. then rod rosenstein came on, and then dana boente got another role. he became acting director of national security. and yes, in addition to all of that he stayed on as the u.s. attorney in the eastern district of virginia. so the guy had five jobs.
that is, you know, that's a lot. even just the eastern district of virginia is a big, important prosecutor's office even in normal times. at these times, though, in the addition to all of the other jobs he was dealing with at main justice, in the eastern district of virginia it was dana boente's office to see the subpoenas related to paul manafort and looking into criminal charges associated with wikileaks and dana boente's office, the eastern district of virginia, robert mueller started to use a grand jury. so this dude is like right in the middle of everything. and today he quit. now, i don't know what that's about. we're about to talk to somebody i hope who might know but here's one last really important point to what he's been involved in.
right? he had the jobs and running this crucial eastern of virginia district job and special counsel mueller is reportedly looking into whether president trump obstructed justice firing james. he put pressure on him about the russia investigation before he fired him. according to james, one of the witnesses to those inappropriate overchurs by the president was dana boente. >> after april 11th, did he ask you more, ever, about the russia investigation? did he ask you any questions? >> we never spoke again after april 11th. >> you told the president, i would see what we could do. what did you mean? >> i was kind of slightly cowardly way of trying to avoid
telling him we're not going to do that. that i would see what we could do. it was a way of kind of getting off the phone, frankly, and then i turned and handed it to the acting deputy attorney general mr. boente. >> after that discussion, did you take phone calls from the president? >> yes, sir. >> why did you just say you need to talk -- why department you say i'm taking that call? you need to talk to the attorney general? >> well, i did on the april 11th call and reported the calls, the march 30th call and april 11th call to my superior who was the acting deputy attorney general. >> the acting deputy attorney general at the time was dana boente who today just quit. maybe he quit because he's tired of being central to everything. he's exhausted from playing every instrument in the band. maybe that's just tiring. is it possible he had to quit because he's maybe going to have to be a witness? if somebody brings charges against the president on the obstruction of justice matter? former doj spokesman matt miller reported on our air moments ago
as recently as a few days ago, dana boente said to a friend he was handing off the control to get back to work. that was two days ago reportedly. but then suddenly today he quit as u.s. attorney. we don't know why that is. we are trying to figure it out. we are literally actively tryinging as i speak to figure that out. joining me again is barbara mcquaed. given your understanding of the role, not just as a u.s. attorney but the interesting roles he played in the trump administration thus far, what do you make of his resignation today? >> i was surprised to see it. in fact, he is like rod rosenstein, someone i take great comfort in knowing he is there, actually. he is a career prosecutor working through republican and democratic administrations and i think cares about the institution and so his departure concerns and alarms me a little bit and i don't know the reason. >> is he the person called on to
fire you and other u.s. attorneys? >> yes. i got a call from dana. you know, athey nounsed it publicly 3:00 p.m. and then began making phone call it is each of us. we're all in contact and e-mails each other and i heard from people in alphabetical order and close to the "ms" my phone rings and i see it's dana and take the call, i said is this my grim reaper call and he said i'm afraid it is. he was professional. i commented to a colleague i was disappointed he didn't push back about the decision and my colleague pointed out that we don't know that he didn't. i always had great respect for him and sorry to see him. >> thank you for being with us tonight, barbara. we'll be right back.
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so the big news we have been following tonight is a report of cnn that the first charges have been filed in special counsel robert mueller's investigation. we don't know what those charges are, if they exist, when's been charged. nbc news has not confirmed that reporting tonight but we have some exclusive news on the mueller investigation that could prove relevant particularly if the news of charging bears out. reuters yesterday reported a kind of bonkers story about the former cia director james woolsey who adviser of trump in the transition and this spring he told "wall street journal" he was present at a meeting in the campaign with several turkish officials and mike flynn.
flynn was then national security advise tore the trump campaign and secretly on the payroll of the turkish government. james woolsey said there was a serious, unnerving discussion about kidnapping a dude in the united states and shipping him off to turkey in the dead of night. james woolsey apparentlien nerved by that meeting and doing stuff like that is illegal. now reuters reported that he himself the very next day after that meeting he had his own meeting with the turkish businessman who was paying mike flynn and according to reuters woolsey offered his own services to the turks for $10 million to mount a lobbying and pr campaign to discredit the same guy that mike flynn discussed kidnapping. according to reuters says that woolsey -- spokesman for woolsey tells reuter that is woolsey has no recollection of this proposing this $10 million deal and did say that the people that
funded mike flynn, they're trying to smear jim woolsey. look at the quote. quote, with growing speculation that indictments could be handed down soon, it is not a surprise others attempt to accomplish in the press what they can't in the grand jury room. so this story about woolsey wanting $10 million to -- from the turks to -- this story's coming out right now because everybody else is about to be indicted and turning on each other? interesting theory. we is reached out to the spokesman and gave us this statement which is exclusive us to and nbc news. they have been in communication with the fbi. regarding these september meeting, ambassador woolsey invited to attend by one of general flynn's business partners. they responded to every request from the fbi or recently from the office of the special counsel. it's unfortunate yet predictable that in an effort to defend
themselves certain individuals attempted to impugn the woolseys' integrity. this is the first we know of requests of james woolsey saying he was at the crazy meeting with turkish officials and mike flynn while mike flynn was a trump campaign adviser and secretly on the payroll and went public about the meeting in march. since then, he's been in chungs with the fbi and with the mueller investigation. and now, according to him, the people who had mike flynn on their payroll shopping this story to make james woolsey look bad. and we don't know why. these are very intriguing allegations from people we understand very little about. why is this happening? why now? and is there any connection to this reporting tonight from cnn that mueller has actually filed the first charges in his investigation? we don't know but