tv MSNBC Live With Velshi and Ruhle MSNBC December 4, 2017 8:00am-9:00am PST
>> i'm ali velshi. it's december 4th. let's get started. >> i feel badly for general flynn, very badly. he's led a strong life. hillary clinton lied many times to the fbi and nothing happened to her. flynn lied and they destroyed his life. i think it is a shame. >> president on the attack, criticizing the fbi and the justice department. >> the very american justice system that he swore to protect. >> defending himself in the wake of a guilty plea by his former national security adviser michael flynn. president trump's furiously backtracking from this weekend tweet. i had to fire general flynn because he lied to the vice president and the fbi. >> did his own tweet over the weekend strengthen a potential obstruction of justice case against him? >> the tweeting comment regarding ongoing criminal investigations at your own peril. i'd be careful if i were you, mr. president. >> i think what we're beginning to see is the putting together of a case of obstruction of
justice. >> there is a credible case of obstruction of justice against donald trump. >> you cannot charge a president with obstruction of justice for exercising his constitutional power to fire comey. >> obstruction of justice. >> is it to you? >> no, it's not. >> both of you were clear on "meet the press," that no russians ever attempted to contact you during the campaign. >> correct. >> you did not speak to any russians during the campaign, is that correct? >> to the best of my knowledge, never. >> friday was my single worst day as a u.s. senator. >> republicans passed tax plans in both the house and the senate, but now they have to get their plans on the same page. >> some lawmakers, including democratic senator john tester of montana, decreed the move, arguing lawmakers were not given enough time to review the bill, which was riddled with handwritten, sometimes barely legible notes. >> take a look at this, folks. this is your government at work. here's the bill as written. here's the modifications that are in it.
i can read one word. it's called "add this language." can you tell me what that word is? >> all right. before we dig into that, we've got to look at the markets right now. we also need to put into perspective on that, i've never looked at things like that. maybe it is common there are lots of things written in the margin. when i look at that as a one off, i think, you have to be kidding me. we have to get some historical perspective around it. >> these markets, strong though they are, less strong than a couple hours ago when you were on tv, we were up more than a percent on the dow. this is on news of the tax bill that has passed. >> remember why this is so important. it is not just that it would be good for corporations. this is the first real sign for wall street that this republican administration can get something done. >> right. >> president trump has a lot of talking points, signed a lot of executive orders. what he's done with judgeships matters to conservative christians. for wall street,infrastructure
matters. the administration often walks back the tweets and the aggressive things he says. >> president trump firing back this morning against suggestions that one of these tweets you were just talking about could strengthen a potential obstruction of jus sis case against him. against the president. >> that tweet, quote, i had to fire general flynn because he lied to the vice president and the fbi. the president's personal lawyer quickly backtracked, saying he dictated those words to a white house aide. he also insisted the president did not know then-national security adviser michael flynn had lied to the fbi when he fired him. why does it matter? the tweet implies the president knew flynn lied before james comey says trump asked him to drop the
case against flynn. something the president says never actually happened. this morning, the president highlighted, legal scholar
comments about, quote, the greatest witch hunt in
u.s. political history. >> you cannot charge a president with obstruction of justice for exercising his constitutional power to fire comey and his constitutional authority to tell the justice department who to investigate, who not to investigate. that's what thomas jefferson did, lincoln did, roosevelt did. we had presidents that clearly established that. >> the president's personal lawyer, john dowd, also insisted this morning, the president cannot obstruct justice because he is the chief law enforcement officer under the constitution's article ii and has every right to express his view of any case. it is an interesting point. i just don't know if it holds any water. >> right. and it is a legal point. for all these opinions, it may have to be examined a little more closely. all of this follows president trump's history with both michael flynn and james comey. on november 18th of 2016, donald trump, president-elect trump,
named michael flynn as his national security adviser. you remember that. that's november 18th. on december 29th, 2016, flynn spoke with the russian ambassador after the obama administration unveiled sanctions against russia for election hacking. december 29th. december 30th, vladimir putin announced he wouldn't retaliate. president-elect trump then praised vladimir putin in a tweet. couple weeks later, january the 13th, sean spicer was then the white house press secretary, says, flynn did not discuss sanctions with the russian ambassad ambassador. this is important. on january 15th, two days later, vice president pence, vice president elect pence, said flynn told him sanctions were not discussed with sergey kislyak, the russian ambassador. february 10th, the trump administration is in office, donald trump denies hearing reports of flynn's discussions with russia about sanctions.
on february the 14th, sean spicer says trump asked flynn to resign because of an erosion of trust. also, the same day, february 14th, valentine's day this year, according to james comey's june testimony, that's the day that president trump asked james comey not to investigate michael flynn. february 16th, you'll remember that now famous press conference, president trump discusses flynn's resignation and says, quote, flynn is a fine person. what he did wasn't wrong. he did not give flynn a direct i have -- directive to talk to russia. march 31st of this year, donald trump says flynn should ask for immunity and calls the russia investigation a witch hunt. may 9th of this year, president trump fired james comey as fbi director. little -- about eight or nine days later, may 18th, deputy attorney general rod rosenstein named robert mueller the special counsel. jump ahead to last friday,
december 1st, 2017. michael flynn pleads guilty to lying to the fbi, becoming the first top administration official to cooperate in robert mueller's russia investigation. here's the president this morning talking about flynn. >> i feel badly for general flynn. i feel very badly. he's led a very strong life, and i feel very badly. i will say this, hillary clinton lied many times to the fbi. nothing happened to her. flynn lied and they destroyed his life. >> we should point out, the fbi has never asserted that hillary clinton lied to them. >> james comey, in the testimony to congress, when asked, said, i have no evidence that hillary clinton lied to the fbi. so we think the president might just be making that up. >> joining us now, former new york democratic congresswoman and member of the judiciary committee during the watergate scandal, has some good experience, liz holtzman, also a
former prosecutor. what is your take on president trump's tweet that he had to fire flynn because flynn lied to the vice president and to the fbi? could trump be in real trouble here? >> absolutely. first of all, he is in trouble. mueller has gotten his target right on him. is he going to get him? we don't know. but he is definitely under investigation and he is looking. for the president basically to admit in that tweet, despite all of the claims that he didn't write it, does he know what he's tweeting, was his brain even there at that moment, we won't go there. but the fact of the matter is, the president tweeted that he knew -- that tweet says, i knew that flynn lied to the fbi before i fired comey. what that suggests is that he has got a motive to fire comey, which is to cover up for flynn and to stop the investigation of
flynn and not because flynn is a good guy and a friend and a pal and loyal, but because flynn has lied. >> lived a strong life. >> lived a strong life, yeah. >> not sure what that is. >> in 2000/2001, when you were working at wall street and i was a financial reporter, there were all these scandals. a bill came in that said a ceo or a senior officer of a company can no longer say they didn't know about the shenanigans that were happening below them. >> the buck stops with them. >> does it matter that the president's lawyer, john dowd, comes out and says, i dictated that tweet to a third person. the point being, the president had nothing to do with the tweet. >> well, it was as hague said about the 18.5-minute gap that was erased on the white house tapes, it was a sinister force. was it a sinister force that tweeted this, or was it donald trump? whose finger was on the button? it was donald trump's finger on the button. did donald trump understand what he was doing? did he read it?
now, it seems as though we're seeing some suggestions -- if i read the papers correctly this morning, his lawyer is saying that donald trump probably knew that flynn had said the same thing to pence as he said to the fbi, which meant that he was telling something that was untrue. i'm not sure i understand what kinds of machinations they're now engaged in, to try to back off from what seems to be a strong suggestion of a cover-up. but he is focusing the attack on hillary clinton. she wasn't sworn in. the president doesn't get it. you don't have to be sworn in. if you lie to the fbi, whether you raised your hand or you put your hand in your pocket, it's a crime. he said this twice. i don't think he gets it. he thinks that just lying to the fbi is okay. it's not. >> well, he also thinks that this thing is going to get wrapped up by year's end. while president trump might like to move jeff sessions out or
might like to fire bob mueller, those don't look like things that are going to happen. but there are reports out there that congress could de-fund robert mueller's efforts. they'll spend $5 million. some conservatives can say, there's smoke but i have yet to see fire. how realistic is it that congress could pull funding? if so, it is an expensive operation. then what happens? >> to be clear, you wrote the initial -- you were part of the team that wrote the initial legislation to get a special prosecutor initially, which has evolved into the special counsel. >> right. could have been -- it was court-appointed then, so it made it harder to remove the special prosecutor. but could congress do it? i guess if they had the votes, if they can overcome a filibuster f t filibuster, if the senate allows a filibuster for something like this, maybe they could do it, but it would be a complete outrage. you have to let the criminal justice system work its way. the idea that the president is suggesting that somehow there is a double standard here is
outrageous. i mean, one of the things we try to do in law enforcement is to make sure there is a single standard, no matter how high you are. no matter how low you are. you still have to obey the law. the law applies to you equally. if they de-fund mueller, that's the biggest sign the republicans themselves think that the president of the united states is guilty. >> interesting. i wonder how that would go over politically. right now, there is not enough for a lot of republicans to get on the bandwagon versus trump, but i wonder whether they're prepared to face the wrath of de-funding robert mueller. >> it would be an outrage. >> good to see you. thank you for joining us. liz holtzman, former new york democratic congresswoman, part of the judiciary committee during watergate. standby. the gop tax plan one step closer to president trump's desk after the senate version passed this weekend. it would be the first overhaul of the tax code in more than 30 years. republicans say it is going to pay for itself. >> except there's no evidence to that. if we're going to break down
welcome back to "velshi & ruhle." republicans on capitol hill are beginni inning the process of mg the sweeping tax plans passed by the house and senate, reconciling the two won't be easy with big differences between them. the house version keeps obamacare's individual mandate. the senate version repeals it. the house bill condenses seven tax brackets to four. the senate keeps the seven but lowers the top rate to 38.5%. also, the house caps the deduction for mortgage interest at $500,000. the senate leaves it alone. >> either way, the president and republicans say their plans are going to mean a huge tax cut for the middle class and a huge boost to economic growth. for fact's sake, most
independent evaluations of the cut don't agree with the assessment. >> president trump and congressional republicans made a lot of promises about their tax plan. it is focused on the middle class. it's not. won't benefit the rich. it will. it is bad for trump's family fortune. not even close. they also claim, despite the $1.4 trillion price tag, that the tax cuts will pay for themselves. even more, they say it will actually help pay down the national debt. how? by boosting economic growth so high, that government revenues will increase from taxes, even as businesses and households pay a smaller share of their incomes to the government. numerous republicans say that tax cuts need only boost the economy by 0.4% we are year to cover the price tag of their tax plan. how hard can it be? apparently, really hard. there have been huge changes made to the tax code throughout u.s. history, yet we've seen no observable shift to long-term growth rates in the last 150 years. which have hovered at an average
rate between 1.8% and 2% growth per year. don't take our word for it. studies by moody's and tpc all found that the congressional tax plans will increase u.s. debt between $1.3 trillion and $2.1 trillion over a decade. even the consecutive tax foundation, which is in favor of the gop plans, estimates between $500 billion and $1 trillion of additional debt. to a tee, they all say slashes taxes now while keeping government spending at current levels will widen a hole in the current budget. don't believe them? a poll of 42 leading economists found not a single one thinks this tax plan will pay for itself. tax cuts, any cut, sound great, but if we're going to bust the bank to enact them, we should be honest about what they're going to cost us. now, gold man has come out with its assessment of the senate version of the tax cut, with
respect to gdp growth. basically, it says it'll have a bit of a bump from the long-term trend in the 2% range, and then it reverts back to the trend, possibly even having a bit of a negative impact on gdp growth after 2020. >> a negative impact. add $1 trillion in debt. >> the two are connected to each other. what the president and republicans keep promising may not actually come to pass. according to pretty much every study that's come out on this. >> almost all studies. i want to bring in -- we'd like to bring in republican congressman chris stewart of the state of utah. he serves oen t s on the house appropriations and intelligence committees. one of the last-minute changes made to the senate bill before it passed saturday was to keep the alternative minimum tax that affects, obviously, the highest of high income earners and corporations. the house bill eliminates us. why would this bill be put back in, and could it be a deal breaker? >> yeah, i don't think it is a deal breaker. i don't think anything at this
point is a deal breaker really. i think the republicans are so committed to giving tax reform and tax relief to the american people. i was listening to your analysis going into this, and there's so much of it that i disagree with. >> like what? >> let's go through it. >> let's do it. but let's start with this, why is there so much resistance to allowing the american people to keep more of their money? why is there so much resistance to trying to achieve better economic growth than we've had over the last seven or eight years? that's the thing we're trying to achieve here. >> you just heard it. i just quoted four studies, saying the economic growth, no one sees it coming to pass. everyone sees addition to the deficit. >> that's nuts to say no one sees the growth coming. of course there are some who do. now, the people you quoted said we're not going to get -- >> goldman sachs. the tax foundation. >> i can assure you -- >> warton school. >> i can assure you i can list, and i could list, other
reputable economists and studies. they'll certainly get economic growth from this. >> like whom? >> no question we will. american enterprise. the heritage foundation. like our own independent studies coming out of the congressional budget office. very clear when you cut taxes, you get economic growth in that. look, you don't have to be an economist to understand this. it is common sense. if we have the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world, you have to know that that's not good for business. >> you know that's not true, right? when you talk about these groups you talk about, even they admit our corporate tax rate, the effective rate is 18.5%, not 35%. >> even if it wasn't, we're still not the highest. >> it is one of the highest. it is higher than it should be. look, i guess we could quibble over the details, and you could list this study and i could list another, but the american people want us to do this. >> actually, so this is where i take issue with you, chris. >> wait, wait. you have to let me finish a
sentence here. >> right. what i can't let you do is sort of pitch it. you've listed a bunch of things you didn't agree with, so you have to let us question the things, right? >> okay. go ahead. >> you said the american people wanted us to do this. i don't remember in the coverage of the election anybody saying, cut corporate taxes. the corporate taxes are permanent. the individual taxes, the ones that go to the -- >> i can tell you i've met with thousands of constituents. i mean that really. thousands of constituents. >> who said, don't cut my taxes but cut torp rat tcorporate tax? >> they do. they're smart enough to realize it'll cause the economy to grow. >> corporations -- >> look, there's three basic principles we're trying to do here. we're simplifying taxes. we want people, the vast majority of them, to be able to do their taxes on a postcard sized sheet of paper. >> sir -- >> that is a good thing. >> i 100% -- >> allow the american people to keep more of their hard-earned
income. it is a good thing. we're going to achieve economic growth. it is a good thing. >> first of all -- >> i don't know why you all oppose this. >> let's start with something. i take issue with being referred to as "you all," but we'll put it aside. >> okay. >> number two, we're achieving economic growth. let's supercharge it. i agree. >> we can agree on this. >> in terms of simplifying the tax code, what sim plification, what loophole is being closed for corporate america? i agree, our tax rate is too high and too complicated. let's lower it and close the loopholes. what loopholes for corporations are going to be closed? >> oh, my gosh. there will be dozens. >> like what? >> i'm talking primarily -- >> please, sir, tell me one. >> with interest deductions. with expensing accounts. there's all sorts of deductions. >> tell me one. >> i just did. >> one example -- >> primarily -- >> -- of a loophole being closed. >> i just did.
>> you didn't. >> primarilprimarily, we're foc the loopholes for individuals and simplifying for individuals. i'm not arguing -- >> sir -- >> i need to finish my point. >> okay. >> why wouldn't we close the loophole for corporates? you have to lower the tax rate and get rid of the loophole. >> and broaden the base so everybody pays a lower rate. >> what loopholes are closed for corporates? if you do, you'll lower the base and keep the loopholes so they'll end up paying less. give me an example of one. >> that's our point. for corporations to pay less. that's the point. that's how you get economic growth. we're not trying to achieve higher taxes on corporate taxes. >> you're not asking my question. >> we want them to pay less. >> look at the -- >> we're trying to have the american people pay less. we're trying to simplify priai y primarily for the american people. we want to simplify taxes. >> why is carried interest still in there?
it is a loophole that even the financial industry assumed would be closed. >> the president said it would. >> mnuchin, gary cohen, lavar alexander. >> we're going to agree on this, thankfully. we found something we agree on. i actually would support eliminating that. >> tell me why it is still in there. >> well, we'll see in the final bill if it is. >> but it is not in the house bill or the senate bill. why not? >> there's still compromises and still conversations going on. let's wait and see. >> it is in neither bill. >> we're on the same side. >> this is not something you'd be stuck on. the republicans in the house and the republicans in the senate didn't see fit to take away carried interest. yet, tax rebates -- or tax reductions on people who earn less than $75,000 will sunset and go away. but corporate cuts are permanent. again, i don't understand it, sir. look at the performance in corporations over the last ten years. they have done spectacularly well. money is basically free. corporate profitability is very high. why did they need goosing but the average american gets a
sunset on their tax cuts? >> the average american is going to get a significant tax cut in this plan. the average corporation is going to get a significant tax cut in this plan. why do you think that's a bad idea? why do you think it's a bad idea to simplify it? >> you keep saying the average -- >> let me ask you -- >> go -- >> respond to my question now. why is that a bad idea? >> who said it is a bad idea? >> why are you fighting against it? everything in your conversation indicates you think it is a bad idea. >> it is disingenuous. >> why are you opposing the republicans on the plan if you support us in the goals? >> the average corporation is getting a tax cut that is permanent. the average taxpayer is getting a small tax cut that is temporary and will result in them paying higher taxes, starting two years from now. >> if we made those permanent for the american people as well as corporations --
>> then you'd have a huge deficit. >> would you support it? >> it tends to be a problem for republicans. >> if that is what you're objecting to, would you support us if we made it permanent for individuals, as well? >> no, you have to look at a few things. >> that's my point. why do you object to this? oh, my heavens, this is simple. >> congressman -- >> we're cutting corporate taxes, people's taxes and simplifying. >> republicans used to care about deficits. you don't care to now. estimates are between $500 million and $2 trillion in additional deficit. that's after you use dynamic scoring and gop growth. >> so glad you brought that us. work with us then to do additional cuts so we don't have a bigger deficit. >> the bottom line is, we don't have guarantees of that. my only concern, sir, is if your corporation -- >> would you work with us for additional cuts? i'm not talking tax cuts. i'm talking cuts in spending. >> why are we getting corporations tax cuts when you cut things regular people use
and not give them permanent tax cuts? >> because it grows the economy. >> when this goes through and there is a trigger -- >> i -- >> -- you'll see medicaid get a huge cut. >> okay. >> that's a positive for you? >> no, no. of course not. >> when you add to the national debt, you're going to cut programs. >> you guys are so fun. this is fun for me. look, will you work with us then to cut spending so we don't have national debt? i promise you, you guys haven't been worried about our debt for a long, long time. now with this corporate and individual tax cuts, you are? so let's talk about cutting spending. will you work with us and agree that we need to cut spending so we don't -- >> explain that to me. >> so we don't have a deficit. >> why can you not cut the corporate taxes? are companies in america suffering? >> because you have to grow the economy. >> look at the stock market, it is record highs. >> it is going to grow the economy. >> do you think all these
companies that are at record high equity prices and record high profitability are going to somehow say, hey, we got a tax cut. what are we going to do, build another factory and employ more people? >> of course, that's exactly right. you got the picture. >> -- demand, consumer demand causes growth, sir. >> bank of america/merrill lynch did a survey of ceos. when asked what they'd do with the additional money, they said buybacks and dividends. >> what happens to the money when it is paid out in dividends? it causes the economy to grow. >> that's basic trickle down economics, which we don't really have a lot of evidence it works. >> when people have more money -- >> you see the experiment they tried in kansas? they had to reverse it. >> when people have more money to spend, it grows the economy. that's a simple fact. >> all right. when regular people have more money, and they're not getting more money out of this. >> how many people get dividends? tens of millions of regular people. >> the stock market benefits mostly the wealthiest people in the country. >> fun talking to you.
i wish we had more we agreed on. once again, you keep fighting, but we're going to keep saying tax cuts for middle america simplifies and grows the economy. >> doesn't seem to be what this is. but we thank you for your time. >> we'll see. >> congressman chris stewart of utah is on the appropriations committee and intelligence committee. standby, everyone. supreme court is hearing arguments this week over a baker who refused to make a wedding cake for the same-sex couple, citing religious beliefs. can business discriminate against kcustomers based on sexual orientation, race or religion? we'll speak live to the couple at the center of the suit in their first live tv interview. stay with us. you're watching "velshi & ruhle."
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welcome back. you are watching "velshi & ru e ruhle" on this monday. this week, the supreme court takes us one of the most closely watched cases this term. what happens when religious freedom collides with freedom from discrimination? >> same-sex couple, mullins and craig of denver, said a cake shop refused to make their wedding cake five years ago. the bakery owner said it is against his religion, forcing him to express views against his religious beliefs, violating his rights. colorado courts ruled in favor of the couple. now the supreme court takes up
phill phillip's appeal tomorrow. >> mullins and craig joins us now for their first live interview. gentlemen, welcome. i mean, did you ever guess, or were you hoping that this argument, this fight, would go this far? >> well, hi. i think we want to start at the beginning here. you know, five and a half years ago, charlie and i were getting married. we were really excited. like all couples getting married, we had a million details to finalize. on this particular day, it was really special. charlie's mom was in town for a business conference, and this was kind of her one chance to be involved in planning the wedding with us. so our reception planner suggested masterpiece cake shop to us. we looked at their website. thought they looked good. so we made an appointment. we went in. myself, charlie and his mother, deb. we went in and charlie was carrying this binder full of all these ideas and concepts that
we'd come up us. we never even got a chance to open it. as soon as we sat down with the owner, he asked who the cake was for. we told him it was for us. he immediately informed us that he would not make a cake for a same-sex wedding. what followed was just this horrible pregnant pause, as what was happening sunk in. we were just mortified and humiliated. and the fact that charlie's mother was there just made this all the worst. you don't want your mom to see you go through something like that. so very quickly, we gathered ourselves and we left. >> so he's written an op-ed in "usa today" this morning in which he sort of says, look, a cake is not a tower of flour. it is artistic expression. he has to believe in what he is doing. he said, the two men who came into my shop that day were living out their beliefs. all i did was attempt to live out mine. i respect their right to choose
and hoped they would respect mine. what do you say to that? >> we were not in there asking for a piece of art. we were asking for food to serve at our wedding reception. you know, when you're open to the public, we feel like it is important that you serve the public equally. >> the conference of catholic bishops says, quote, there is more at stake in this case more than jack phillips must bake. it is about the freedom to live according to one's beliefs in daily life. charlie, why don't private businesses or private individuals have that right? >> right. so when a business decides to open its doors to the public, they need to serve the public equally. you know, this whole time, that's what we've been asking for. just to be treated equally in the public. the reason why we're here today is because we've heard so many
stories of discrimination nationwide over the past five years. you know, we're standing up for ourselves in this, but we're also standing up for all these other people so they don't have to go through the same thing that we had to go through. >> what do you think -- >> and -- >> go ahead, david. >> i would also like to add that religious freedom is fundamental and essential to our country. that's why it is protected in the constitution. but you cannot practice your faith in a way that denigrates others or excludes them from public life. >> charlie, what's your sense of how this is going to go? >> well, i'm not a lawyer, but i am excited. we are going to sit in on the argument. you know, it is very exciting to be able to witness, you know, such a landmark case. >> guys, we will follow it closely. thank you for taking the time to be with us this morning. >> thank you. >> thank you, as well. standby, everybody. we're digging back into the
russia investigation now that flynn is cooperating. who is in president trump's inner circle, and what could be next? that is coming up right after the break. stay with us. you're watching "velshi & ruhle." if you move your old 401(k) to a fidelity ira, we make sure you're in the loop at every step from the moment you decide to move your money to the instant your new retirement account is funded. ♪ oh and at fidelity, you'll see how all your investments are working together. because when you know where you stand, things are just clearer. ♪ just remember what i said about a little bit o' soul ♪ things are just clearer. ♪ thingthis holiday,earer. the real gift isn't what's inside the box. it's what's inside the person who opens it. ♪ give ancestrydna, the only dna test that can trace your origins to over 150 ethnic regions- and open up a world of possibilities. ♪
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needs to be reconciled with the house bill, something republicans would like done before the end of the year. with former national security adviser michael flynn cooperating with mueller's investigation, will another person in trump's inner circle flip? a reminder of which officials had contact with russia from the "new york times." at least eight people spoke with russian officials or business people during the campaign and transition. donald trump jr., jared kushner, michael flynn, jeff sessions, paul manafort, michael cohen and former campaign advisers, george papadopoulos and carter page. two of those people, don junior and george papadopoulos, were told the russians wanted to share damaging information about hillary clinton to help trump's campaign. three people met with russians as a result of those conversations. don junior, jared kushner and paul manafort. as part of mueller's investigation, two former officials pleaded guilty to lying to the fbi about their conversations with russians.
michael flynn and george papadopoulos. two others were charged with crimes not linked to the campaign according to court documents. paul manafort and former campaign adviser rick gates, who both pleaded not guilty. >> joining us now is the former deputy assistant general from 2007 to 2009. he also served as a lawyer for george w. bush. tom, good to see you. what does the flynn guilty plea tell you about where mueller is in this investigation? >> well, it tells me a few things. the first is that it tells me that mueller is probably getting near the end, at least of the people that he needs to talk to as an initial matter. flynn is obviously fairly high up in the pecking order, and you've got to think that given the nature of this plea agreement, that mueller has what he wants from flynn. at this point, it's mueller's decision as to whether he has enough material and evidence now to indict additional people. whether he needs more interviews or whether he's going to fold up
his tent. >> all right. it is important to clarify that, that you're not saying robert mueller is almost done, finished, the russia investigation is over. what you're saying is, he's done with interviewing this first round of people, is that correct? >> that's correct. i think that he still has a ways to go, but what my point is, in terms of the universe of people he needs to talk to, i think he's made at least initial contact with pretty much everyone he needs. the fact that he's already got this agreement in place with flynn tells me that he's fairly along in the process of where he needs to be. >> stephanie just laid out the various overlapping, the eight people who sort of overlap and some talked to russians and some had meetings as a result and some clearly the june meeting, we know, there was some discussions about russian sanctions. the "new york times" editorial board predicts the next person, the next obvious person to be swept up into the investigation is jared kushner because he played a key role in flynn's communications with kislyak. you know, and other parts of it.
what do you think of that? >> well, we're speculating at this point, of course. my sense is that in order to get someone to flip, there has to be some sort of underlying criminal liability or underlying criminal exposure. in other words, there is no need to flip if you haven't done anything wrong. we don't know at this point what bob mueller knows. keep in mind, when he's gotten these people to flip, it's not on any underlying substantive offense concerning some sort of treasonous activity. it is false statements, perjury, obstruction. in other words, crimes that these people committed in connection with the investigation itself. because we don't know what either kushner or other people have been saying to federal agents, what they've been testifying to under oath, it is really hard to make a prediction as to who could be the next person to fall. >> democrats are calling for it, but that's no prizsurprise. your take on former adviser mcfarland. they're calling she should
testify. it was revealed she wrote last december in an e-mail that russia has, quote, thrown the presidential election for trump. the "times" points out it is not clear whether she believed the election had been, in fact, thrown. a white house lawyer told the "times" the comment meant only that democrats were painting russia's role in the election that way. what's your take on this e-mail? >> my take, first of all, is i'd be very surprised if that were a statement of fact. my question would be, how the heck would she be in a position to make that sort of judgment? i will say this, given the e-mail, i don't see any problem or concern with her speaking to bob mueller and his investiga investigato investigators. in fact, i think it can be helpful, for her to put the e-mail in context, to say, yes, i sent this. here is what i meant. and to field questions about what led her to write it, to frame the e-mail and phrase the e-mail as she did. i see no downside in her cooperating and talking with mueller and getting it out there in the open. >> that's the difference. democrats are saying they want her to testify. speaking to mueller and testifying before congress are two different things.
>> they are different things. i think in this case, i think both would be appropriate. if for some reason she can't testify in a public setting because there is classified information at stake, congress has the procedures to take her testify in closed setting. it would be salutary for her to talk to congress and mueller, to put the e-mail, which is eye catche catching, into proper context. >> many people are talking about the pardons the president can give out to people who are indicted or who pled guilty. ultimately, there is a lot of study that has gone into the way mueller is doing this, in which he's sort of maybe not putting out charges there that various states can put in, so there isn't a double jeopardy issue, which means the president may not be able to pardon people because they may face state charges opposed to federal charges. >> i'll tell you this, bob mueller is smart. bob mueller plays hardball. i strongly suspect, particularly with the team that mueller has assembled, who are very familiar
with landscape of the criminal law, very familiar with the constitutional extent of the president's pardon power, that that is something that has occurred to bob mueller. and you're absolutely right, that although the president does have the power to pardon for federal offenses, that wouldn't necessarily get all these folks off the hook, to the extent they may face liability separately under state criminal law. >> tom, good to talk to you. thank you for joining us. former deputy assistant, tom dupree. >> i'll say it again, you know who won the election? lawyers. >> no kidding. stick around, everyone. right now, president trump is on his way to utah, where he is set to make a big announcement on several national monuments. we'll tell you about his plans to dramatically reduce their size and make way for big business. we're also going to speak with former interior secretary under president obama, sally jewel. we want to hear from you on this issue. tweet us at #velshiruhle. i don't want to sound paranoid, but d'ya think our recent online sales success seems a little... strange?
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welcome back to "velshi and ruhle." right now president trump is traveling to utah where he's expected to dramatically shrink two national monuments sites his predecessors tried to protect. >> they include bears ears monument said to houses tens of thousands from of cultural artifacts. it could be cut up to 92% and the grand staircase, home to dinosaur fossils. it could be cut by nearly half. it is a combined 3 million acres
of once untouchable land and utah conservatives have lobbied hard to regain control of it. joining us now former interior secretary under obama sally jewell who helped establish the monument during her tenure. let's start. the administration claims utah needs the land back because cattle grazing is limited and it's taking 3 million acres out of state. it's a power grab. why don't these arguments make sense to you? >> they don't make sense because these have been federal lands all along. and the national monument that was proclaimed by president obama and the one proclaimed by president clinton both honor valid existing rights including gragz privileges on these lands. to suggest these monument designations are taking away the ability of people to continue to earn their livelihood is not true. >> take us into the minds of those who would not like this. the concept of land conservation has been with us for a long time. president trump asked the
interior secretary to look at 27 different parcels of land that had been designated since 1996. he they were an ajeejious use of government power. why would the government want to take these out of protected stat us? >> it is certainly not egregious use of federal power. this is something used by 16 presidents, half democrat, half republican since the antiquities act which is the legislation was passed in 1906. so we have grand canyon because of the antiquities act. we have places like acadia national park in maine or zion national park in utah. so what happens is, a president has the ability to move quickly when assets are at risk. as they were in the case of grand staircase escas lan ta from the threats of significant mining activities and as they are in bears ears because of the desecration of sacred sites of
looting and of additional threats from exploitation from oil, gas and mining to areas that are critical to native american tribes in the area and also areas of stunning natural beauty and wildlife habitat. presidents have the had the authority to protect these through the antiquities act. it has never been appealed or rescinded and president trump is taking actions never done before. >> the attorney general for the navratilova hole nation says they've already got papers drawn up and they're going to fight this and will have this trapped in gridlock for years and years. >> i think that's absolutely right. there's no question that people will take legal action. and it will put the antiquities act to the test. this is all about politics in utah. the utah delegation and people generally that i have met with in the state don't like the fact that there are public lands. but these were granted to the public and set aside from state
lands at statehood for utah. they have always belonged to all-american people. so trump's actions absolutely should be challenged in court and we believe that they are illegal because we believe based on subsequent legislation that the antiquities act is a one-way rasht. it protects lands and only congress canning undo those or in the case of acadia make these national parks. so many of the places we take for granted today as being iconic places we visit were actually set aside by presidents using the antiquities act over our nation's history. >> the "washington post" got hold of a report by the new interior secretary over the summer that listed the two sites among six to shrink, also sites in oregon, california, and in the pacific ocean zinke says are needed for commercial fishing and timber. what's the response to that
argument? >> that argument is nonsense. first, the marn international monument first set aside by president george w. bush and further expanded by president obama was designated because of the risk of commercial fishing to the incredible biodiversity, marine biodiversity we have in that part of the pacific. likewise off the atlantic ocean, the northeast canyons and sea mounts are areas of extreme importance from an environmental standpoint that are at risk of commercial fishing or overexploitation which we've seen in fisheries around the world. in california, the monuments there are not significant to mining industries but are very important to cultural resources and preservation for habitat and human visitation. so all of them have their story. we wouldn't have taken monument action if they weren't critical to be protected. >> foper secretary of the
interior sally jewell, thanks very much for joining us this morning. >> i am a national monument enthusiast. i love the ocean. >> it's time for monumental americans where we spotlight people who may deserve a statue of their own. today it's ella baker. >> she was born in 1903 in norfolk, virginia and began work as a journalist in 1929 writing for african-american publications and encouraging black economic development. in 1938, she began her long naacp. >> she became the director of branchs in 1943, the highest ranking woman in the organization. she traveled the south and organized civil rights activists. she died in 1986 in new york city. to honor her legacy, the had ella baker center was founded in california in 1996. >> a life well lived. if you have a monumental american, we'd love to feature him or her on the show. send us a tweet #"velshi and
ruhle." >> that brings us to an end. i'm al have i velshi. i'll see you back here at 3:00 p.m. eastern. >> we hand off to andrea mitchell for "andrea mitchell reports." >> stand by his man. president trump defends his former national security adviser who pleaded guilty to lying to the fbi, trying to turn it into a false claim against hillary clinton. >> i sal say this, hillary clinton lied many times to the fbi. nothing happened to her. flynn lied and they destroyed his life. think it's a shame. >> tale of the tweet. the president's lawyer says he wrote the president's controversial tweet this weekend which some call evidence of obstruction of justice. >> i see it most importantly in what happened with the firing of director comey, and it is my leaf that that is directly because he did not agree to