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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  May 30, 2018 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT

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bought a $36 million gulfstream 5 jet. >> praise god. >> reporter: the two kmiz rated how they can't fly or pray with commercial airline passengers. >> this dope-filled world, get in a long tube with a bunch of demons. >> right. >> reporter: it's deadly. >> reporter: we asked jesse duplantis and his ministries for comment to respond. so far no indication whether he's received any contributions for his jet. tom costello, nbc news, washington. >> if he buys the jet perhaps they'll name is hutzpah. thank you so very much for being with us and good night from nbc news headquarters here in new york. thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. if you are going to be corrupt or if you were going to be a serious criminal, word of advice. if you have the choice, it is probably also a good idea to be
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a politician. and that's because politicians, people elected to public office, by definition, they have one very special thing that they can use as a get out of jail free card. they have a thing that other people don't have that they can trade to prosecutors to keep themselves out of jail when they get caught for serious crimes. the thing that public office holders can offer that nobody else can offer is they can offer to resign, and that will be a significant offer to most prosecutors. i mean, if you drive a bus for a living or if you sell lawn mowers, if you get caught doing something really illegal and you get charged with a serious crime, prosecutors are going to assume you're going to lose your job because they're going to convict you and lock you up in jail. that will just be a little externally at this to your case. but if you hold political office, even if you are potentially on the hook for very, very serious crimes, it's
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pretty much accepted practice -- it's in the u.s. attorney's manual -- that prosecutors may very well be persuaded to make the charges against you go away, to make your potential jail sentence go away if you just agree that you will resign from public office. happens all the time. that's what happened to the mayor of nashville, tennessee just a few weeks ago. plea deal, she pled guilty to a felony, but she got no jail time. she got unsupervised probation. how did she get such a sweet deal? well, as part of the deal with prosecutors, she agreed to resign. same thing happened last year to alabama republican governor robert bentley. the governor who you might think would be voted least likely to fall victim to a lurid sex scandal, one if which there were tapes, but governor bentley did not get prosecuted on ethics charges. he instead made a deal in which he did community service and he agreed to resign from office. and in his case he not only
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agreed to resign from office, he agreed to a lifetime ban on him ever again holding any other public office. prosecutors thought that was a pretty good deal. now, today it is missouri republican governor eric greitens. there has been serious scandal swirling around him since the beginning of this year. in missouri he was facing possible impeachment. he was facing an ethics inquiry, a reported fbi investigation, a felony charge from one prosecutor, another felony charge from a different prosecutor. a charge that had been filed against him and then dropped, but it might be filed again by a special prosecutor. all of this swirling around governor eric greitens. the top prosecutor revealed her agreement with the governor, that she would drop one pending felony charge against him in exchange for him resigning from office. he so will be out as missouri governor by the end of this
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week. and then not one felony charge again -- that one felony charge against him will be dropped. the document spelling out that deal is amazing and we have it to show you later on in this hour. one of the things fascinating to watch here is whether this deal eric greitens just cut is going to be enough. eric greitens traded his job as governor in exchange for this prosecutor dropping one felony charge against him. but what about all the other pending investigations and potential charges he's still facing? i mean, that's the problem here. if you're going to be a criminal and you're going to get caught, it is great to also be a politician. so, you have that get out of jail free card so you can make charges against you go away if you resign in disgrace. easy peasy, we should all be so lucky. but the trick there is you can only do that once. i mean, depending on what happens overnight tonight in missouri and into the next couple of days, governor eric greitens may end up regretting
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that he has but one public office from which he can resign because what's he going to trade away now? another fringe benefit to being in politics if you are also in crime is that depending on what kind of charges you're facing, depending on how many other people you might conceivably bring down with you as you are going down, sometimes people will set up legal defense funds for you to help you pay your legal fees. again, if you drive a bus or sell lawn mowers for a living and you get caught up in some sort of criminal enterprise, not likely to happen. but with public figures, people caught up with politically tinged scandals, stuff related politician, it's a common thing. it's nice. another thing that is sort of an added benefit about being in a public corruption scandal. but legal defense funds often also end up being super shady. or at least they have a history of themselves becoming magnets
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for scandal. for example, in the iran contra scandal and the reagan administration, one of the people who ended up pleading guilty with that sprawling scandal was retired air force general richard sea court. richard see cord once he started to realize he was in pretty serious trouble, he solicited donations to a legal defense fund. he specifically wrote to hundreds of special forces units in the military, personally asking active duty service members to donate to his legal defense. he signed more than 1200 of those letters by hand asking people in the military to give him money for his legal defense. it was a little weird. richard sea cord appeared to profit quite handsomely himself from the iranian arms sales that were at the heart of the iranian contra scandal. he recently bought himself not only a new porsche, but a new private plane, nice. but he pled poverty and specifically targeted members of
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the military to help pay for his legal fees. set up this legal defense fund, send in all those blind requests for cash. but then very quickly it got very seriously weird. >> former defense department official noel cook revealed he designed as head of general richard sea cord's legal defense fund. he quit after the fund received three anonymous deposits totaling $500,000. the money came from a swiss company that managed funds for arms dealer albert hakeem and for sea cord himself. although sea cord said he knew nothing about the contribution, cook said he was concerned it was improper. a >> for general sea cord you would have to assume numbers of that magnitude from that particular source, from a swiss bank, had a peculiar odor to it. >> a peculiar odor. you know it's bad when your own lawyer running your own legal defense fund quits and walks
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away to try to keep the stench of your legal defense fund off of him. we still don't exactly know where that half million dollars for richard sea cord's defense fund came from but it was a swiss bank where the iranian arms dealer friend had in fact stashed millions of dollars that they had found for themselves in the middle of that scheme. as i mentioned, richard sea cord later pled guilty in that scandal. legal defense funds are supposed to help people who have been caught up in a scandal, but they can themselves be a scandal. they can be opaque if you're not careful. they can very easily become slush funds where you take in money from people you shouldn't be taking in money from. you pay it out to people who shouldn't be getting paid. even when you do it super carefully and try to be completely aboveboard, something rotten always happens with these things. and the white water scandal in the clinton years, the clinton administration set up a legal defense fund and they dotted all their i's and crossed all their t's. they did it quite openly. they made a big public
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announcement about the details of the fund. there was nothing secretive about it. they appointed independent trustees to manage it. they made clear they would refuse to take any money from any lobbyist or anyone in any foreign country. they even sent a low cap, a low dollar amount cap for how much any one person can contribute so nobody could give a gazillion dollars to the president's legal defense as a way of currying favor with the president. even still, even in that case, as we have covered before here on this show, that white water legal defense fund ended up with a mini scandal. in the case of that fund, it was when a whole bunch of american followers of an obscure taiwanese religious cult banded together to stuff over $600,000 into the white water legal defense fund. there was this individual cap for how much any one person could give, but there were all these other rules. but one guy basically bundled all the money from all the followers of this cult. it kind of felt like it was part
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of a major international money laundering operation. it was part of a really weird cult and the clinton legal defense fund ended up embroiled in its own mini scandal about that money and ended up giving all that money back. so, even when you try to do it right, even when you set one of these things up cognizant of the dangers, it is very hard not to end up in a mess. in watergate, nixon stepped in it a million different ways. he tried to pay some of the legal fees of his watergate henchmen with campaign funds to reelect the president. they figured out it might look bad to do it with campaign funds. nixon was going to pay their legal fees himself out of his own pocket. it turned out nixon thought he maybe knew a guy who could pay for the legal defense of these guys. there's a million different ways these things can go wrong. and the current scandal facing this president, so far we have had the republican national committee, national republican party, or the trump reelection campaign at times picking up the
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legal bills for the billionaire president himself. and for his eldest son, for hope hicks. apparently she's having republican donors pay for her legal fees. maybe the legal defense for michael cohen has been funded by republican donors. you might remember the white house did set up a morph usually defined legal defense fund that has made no disclosures as to what kind of money it's taken in if any. it has no mechanism for disbursing funds either so we don't know what is going on there. despite the strange seemingly dead end effort of setting up a white house legal defense fund. a small group of adjacent trump figures caught up in the russia scandal started setting up their own funds. you might remember rick gates had one before he decided to plead guilty. he got in trouble with the court at one point for making this weird hostage video skyped in statement to a fund-raiser that had been called on his behalf.
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fund-raiser itself was weird. it seemed to have been attended mostly by journalists there who wondered who would turn up. they realized they were all writing about each other. michael flynn has pled guilty. he's awaiting sentencing while he cooperates with prosecutors. he, too, has set up a public facing legal defense fund. now today there is a new one. a sort of, well, it just seems a little off kilter. a strange new legal defense fund for donald trump for president campaign chairman paul manafort. now, i need to tell you we don't know exactly who set this up. part of me thinks it might be a prank. the washington post reports tonight that it looks like it was initially registered as a web domain right after christmas and that it was updated somehow in late february. but today it went live. today unnamed and unknown self-described long-term friends of paul manafort put out a statement announcing the existence of this website and
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this, what purports to be this fund. i say it seems like it could potentially be a prank or stunt or it is at least a little strange, in part because this website that they launched today, this paul manafort defense fund kind of feels like it was cheaply translated from some other language. quote, let's band together and allow paul's position to be fully expressed and create an even playing field. in english, playing field is two words, and somebody expressing their position doesn't make sense in this context. but, i mean, who knows. some of this is probably just inevitably unavoidably awkward. there is a section of this website that tries to define paul manafort's lifetime of service to the united states. paul has spent his life advancing american ideals and principles. that may or may not be an effective plea to donors, but it doesn't quite reflect the spirit
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of what paul manafort is on trial for, which is, among other things, lots of tax evasion and money laundering for his time working for the pro russia party of regions in ukraine. and the successor hard line anti-american, antiwestern opposition block, which is what manafort's clients in ukraine had to rename themselves after their previous leader fled to russia to for putin's protection. this is not easy to concoct a tale of american patriotic service. but even still, a lot of this makes no sense. look, quote, president ronald reagan appointed paul as a director, a member of overseas private investment corporation. paul, quote, acted as liaison between the white house international and national security and energy related departments. oh, lady's lingerie, international -- i mean, okay.
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nobody is admitting to setting this up. nobody is putting their name out there as the long-time friends of paul manafort who have established this website and what appears to be this fund-raising effort for him. but they definitely say they're taking money. quote, checks and money orders should be made payable to the legal defense fund irrevocable trust and mailed to this random p.o. box in clifton, new jersey. notice they're setting you up for maximum anonymity here. the name of the entity they want you to make your payment to is completely jerry lewis ne completely generic. that turns up in your check register, is anybody going to know what that is? certainly doesn't mention the name paul manafort. they also insist repeatedly in bold, quote, the trust will maintain strict confidentiality of the identity and information of those who choose to contribute. crucially, they do not suggest that donations should be limited by any particular cap.
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they say they are happy to accept donations, quote, in any amount. and you know, if by any chance you're reading this in a foreign country, perhaps the one in which this was drafted, the only warning that you get as a potential foreign donor is, quote, donations from foreign individuals, corporations and other entities are subject to public reporting. at least the mike flynn legal defense fund says they're not going to take foreign donations. paul manafort says no such thing. part of the -- that peculiar odor emanating from richard sea cord's legal defense fund in the contra days was the lack of any identifying information that accompanied those gigantic donations to sea cord from swiss bank accounts where he and his coconspirators in that international scheme had stashed some of their ill gotten gains. i don't know who set up the do not say paul manafort legal defense fund irrevocable trust and started soliciting donations for it today with this my space
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website. but it really does appear to be a pretty slop dash effort. a lot of the i had i don't me a lot of the idiom is super weird. there is no reason to think we would have any disclosure as to who set up this anonymous legal defense fund and who fills it up with money for paul manafort's use. they do take credit cards, they take checks, they take money orders. presumably you can drop off some jewelry you want to pawn. and the new mysterious manafort legal defense fund has opened up today on a day when things are otherwise moving ahead now newly quickly in this scandal. we've got plenty on that ahead. stay with us. feel the clarity of non-drowsy claritin with powerful 24-hour relief from symptoms triggered by over 200 different allergens like those from buddy.
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in less than a week now, special counsel robert mueller's office has advised a judge in washington, d.c. that prosecutors are ready to move ahead with the sentencing phase for two witnesses who pled guilty months ago in the russia scandal and who have been cooperating with prosecutors ever since. today it was richard penato who was charged in february in conjunction with the indictment of all those russian individuals
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and organizations that were charged with conspiracy to defraud the united states by way of their russian propaganda campaign that was mounted against the 2016 presidential election. mr. panedo was charged in conjunction with the identity theft and bank fraud parts of that indictment. and now mueller's prosecutors say they are ready to go ahead with the sentencing part of his case. last week it was george papadopoulos, trump campaign foreign policy advisor. he was charged last fall. he's pled guilty. he's been cooperating with prosecutors ever since. for several months now mueller's prosecutors have asked for and received extensions from the court to keep putting off the eventual sentencing of both of these guys because apparently both of these guys were still cooperating with prosecutors. prosecutors were still providing -- still finding them helpful in terms of getting useful information out of them. prosecutors weren't done with them yet so they didn't want to move ahead. well, now in both of those cases, prosecutors have stopped asking for any more extensions,
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for either paneto or papadopoulos. they asked the court to move ahead toward starting the process of sentencing them. of course both of those men will expect lien yens in their sentencing to reflect the degree to which they cooperated with prosecutors and helped prosecutors build other cases. so far paul manafort is the only american charged in the russia scandal who has pled not guilty and is instead fighting the charges against him. prosecutors wrapping up their involvement with these other guys who did plead guilty and cooperated. may essentially be a message to paul manafort hey, if you agreed to talk, if you had agreed to cooperate, you might be halfway home now, too. but as it stands, manafort is still facing many, many felony charges. he's looking at not one, but two major federal criminal trials starting this summer. and as i just mentioned a few minutes ago, his approach to paying for his legal defense now involves a brand-new dodgy as heck sketchy website pleading
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for money for him. meanwhile in federal court in the southern district of new york today, it was a bad day for the president apt personal lawyer michael cohen. michael cohen hasn't been charged with any crime but he is the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation being run out of the u.s. attorney's office in manhattan. and there have been a lot of court proceedings already related to michael cohen, even though he hasn't been charged because prosecutors got warrants to search his home, his office, hotel room where he was staying, even a safety deposit box he maintained. they got those warrants to seize records and documents they say are related to their criminal investigation of mr. cohen. the judge today described the wrangling over the review of those documents and what prosecutors are ultimately going to be allowed to see. she described that wrangling as, quote, a potential precursor to a criminal trial if charges are filed against mr. cohen. this this precursor today to what is ultimately widely expected to be a criminal trial involving mr. cohen, cohen's lawyers today argued sort of
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begged for more time to review everything the government had seized. they want to review the stuff to declare if any of it should be kept confidential, kept away from prosecutors because it is part of mr. cohen's privileged attorney/client communications. we got the courtroom transcript from what happened today in federal court in new york and it's really not good for michael cohen and his lawyers. here's one of cohen's lawyers. quote, we are moving heaven and earth, your honor. we have people working all night. we have people sleeping on couches in our offices. we have people who worked all through the memorial day weekend. i had an associated yesterday who filth a tremor in his hand for lack of sleep. i had to send him home late last night. he came back at 7:30 this morning. we are working around the clock. the judge, quote, by approximately what point in time do you expect to have reviewed the remainder of the files? cohen's lawyer, quote, we estimate we will be done fully with the review approximately mid july.
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the judge says, quote, let me hear from the government as to the reasonableness of this proposed deadline. the government prosecutor says, quote, we do not believe that that is a reasonable deadline. one of our concerns as the court is aware from the beginning is delay. that is an unreasonable delay. the judge. well, what if your view would be reasonable given your familiarity with the material? prosecutor says, your honor, mid june. and the judge says to michael cohen's lawyer, how many lawyers are working on this full time? cohen's lawyer says 15, your honor. the judge, full time? the lawyer, 15 plus two data folk, two data specialists. the judge: and they are all working full time on this? the lawyer: yes, judge. the judge: okay, mid june is the date. another one of cohen's lawyers pipes up. your honor, can i be heard for one minute? the judge, yes. i want the judge to understand something about the materials we
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were delivered. there is 3.7 million files. one of our attorneys that's ho listen to that hour. i don't think i can maintain control of a larger staff of attorneys working on this matter than we currently have. your honor, the 1.3 million records we are threw is a demonstration of how hard we have worked. we are working flat out, we are doing candidly a great job on this and i do not think we could do more. an unrealistic deadline of mid june, i don't know that we can make that. i just don't know what i'm going to do to get that done. i need more time than that and i think -- i just ask for you to consider that in your ruling. then the judge responds, mr. cohen's review of the materials currently in their possession must be completed by june 15th. it is important for the court to balance the slow deliberate needs of those who are asserting attorney/client privilege with the need for an investigation to go forward. michael cohen's attorneys today begging the judge for more time.
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mid june, two weeks from now, are you kidding, mid june? we can't have it done by mid june. begging the judge. getting nothing from the judge. and then there is a this which was spelled out by prosecutors right at the start of this hearing today under questioning from the judge. the judge says, quote, i will begin by seeking the government's update on its production of material. prosecutor says, yes, your honor. as reflected in the report of the special master dated yesterday, we completed our rolling production of material to mr. cohen and the special master on may 22nd with the exception of three items. namely, two blackberries that quantico is still working on getting into, and the contents of a shredding machine. we expect to produce those materials within two to three weeks. the judge says, very good. do you have any idea of the possible volume of materials that represents? prosecutor, the black berries we can't be certain because we're not in them so we can't tell the volume of electronic material. i do not believe the contents of
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the shredding machine are voluminous at all. the judge says, okay, thank you. and when you shred stuff, it -- the contents of the shredding machine whether voluminous or not, the reason prosecutors are saying those can be produced in two to three weeks is because apparently at quantico they're not only working on getting into what were described in court today as michael cohen's wife's black berries, they are also apparently assembling whatever was shredded by michael cohen and then retrieved by federal agents from michael cohen's shredding machine. today i learned that, yes, they put that stuff back together. so, things proceed apace. federal agents are unshredding whatever it is michael cohen tried to shred. as much as michael cohen's lawyers begged to stretch the process out, it looks like prosecutors are going to get access to all of cohen's files in two weeks. cooperateers are moving into the sentencing phase at least two of them now.
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and today paul manafort or somebody purporting to act on his behalf but refusing to identify themselves, opened up a sketchy public facing website to pay for his defense just weeks before his first trial starts. and last night "the new york times" broke a very important news story about the president and possible obstruction of justice. story last night relates to attorney general jeff sessions and the president's pressure on the attorney general. "the new york times" has also just broken a second story tonight about a previously unreported memo written by fbi deputy director andrew mccabe concerning the firing of james comey. things are moving fast now. time to pay attention. joining us now is one of the authors of two of those scoops, "the new york times" reporter michael schmidt. mike, thank you for being here. >> thanks for having me. >> let me ask you about the story that broke tonight. andrew mccabe wrote a confidential memo last spring related to the firing of james comey. this is something that's being reported for the first time. you guys have this scoop.
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what was the memo and what's potentially important about it? >> the memo was about rod rosenstein's explanation, the deputy attorney general, the person overseeing the mueller investigation. it's about his explanation of his role in helping the president fire comey and how the president had asked him to include russia in the letter and that rosenstein had not done that. and the question being, what was it about russia that the president wanted him to include? was it simply the fact that comey was leading the russia investigation and that he wanted him gone? or was it more narrow? was it that the president wanted him to address the issue of how he was not under investigation in the russia investigation, something that comey had told him three times, and something that rosenstein did not put in his memo but the president ultimately put in his letter that was sent to comey. >> so, rosenstein tells mccabe, yeah, i wrote this letter about the president's reasons for firing comey. he wanted me to mention russia and i didn't. i refused. i left it out and hoped he
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didn't notice. we don't know the circumstances. >> it was not -- he said, look, i didn't need to do that. he did not need to go that far he did not believe to provide a rationalization for why comey should go. there a lot of reasons why people thought comey should be fired, some of them legitimate about the way he handled the clinton e-mail investigation. but the question about the president and comey's firing has always been what did it mean about the russia investigation. what were the true motivations about the president. and that's what bob mueller wants to ask the president about. what was your intentions when you had comey fired. what was really behind that. and the president is probably the only person that can answer that question, although the president's lawyers will tell you there's white house memos and officials who can give you an idea what he was thinking. >> you also report that the president's -- the president had drafted his own letter explaining the justifications for firing comey and that robert mueller has now obtained that. >> yeah, and that letter was so
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out there that the white house counsel, don mcgahn, said this letter cannot go. and he made sure that the president met with sessions and rosenstein who oversaw comey, and that's when the memo from rosenstein was created and a letter endorsing that from sessions was signed. >> so, so out there could never be publicly released, but not so out there that it didn't end up somehow -- >> rosenstein had a copy of the letter when he wrote his memo. he knew what was in that when he wrote the memo. now, the question about rosenstein in all of this is that this is the person overseeing mueller and there's been questions, how could he not recuse himself if he is a witness in the central issue million mueller is investigating. >> uh-huh and to the point mueller is investigating, the scoop last night about attorney general jeff sessions, we had had some inkling before that mueller might also be looking, not just at the firing of comey, but whether or not his pressure on jeff sessions about his recusal from the russia investigation, whether that
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might also be part of the obstruction of justice inquiry that mueller is pursuing. you're reporting now that it absolutely is and that, in your words, this demonstrates jeff sessions' overlooked role as a key witness in the investigation into whether mr. trump tried to obstruct the inquiry itself. this seems like a much more serious parliament of the or instruction inquiry based on this new reporting. >> the attorney general is a witness in the obstruction investigation. the top law enforcement official in the country, one of the president's closest allies politically at least until he recused himself. the reporting on this started when we looked at the 49 questions. there were many questions about sessions, and in those questions was one about efforts the president had to reverse the decision. we knew that there was lobbying that went on from the white house before the recusal. the president had don mcgahn lobby him. we didn't know anything about reversing. was there something --
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>> unrecuse himself. >> how do you unrecuse yourself. most lawyers would never come up with that idea. but the president has quite a creative mind and thought that unrecusing was okay. you have to remember, the president on recusal, he's very open about is this. he said on the record in an interview we did last july, i would not have made him my attorney general if i knewways going to recuse himself. he does not hide from this issue. today after we wrote our story, he posted his tweet with quotes from tray gowdy in which he talks -- there denigrating sessions. he said he shouldn't have appointed sessions again. he does not hide from this issue at all, but mueller wants to ask him about it. rudy says he shouldn't answer questions about it. >> and now we've got, based on your reporting, we've got not only the president telling reince priebus that he should get sessions to resign, not only the president telling don mcgahn to get jeff sessions to unrecuse himself, but now we have the president himself directing jeff sessions that he should unrecuse
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himself, which again previously unreported before this scoop. michael schmidt, thank you very much for coming in to talk to us about this stuff. i feel like i want to send you right back to work. thank you, sir. thanks. >> thank you. >> we'll be right back. stay with us. face the world as a face to be reckoned with. only botox® cosmetic is fda approved to temporarily make moderate to severe frown lines, crow's feet and forehead lines look better. it's a quick 10 minute cosmetic treatment given by a doctor to reduce those lines. there is only one botox® cosmetic, ask for it by name. the effects of botox® cosmetic, may spread hours to weeks after injection, causing serious symptoms. alert your doctor right away as difficulty swallowing, speaking, breathing, eye problems, or muscle weakness can be a sign of a life-threatening condition. do not receive botox® cosmetic if you have a skin infection. side effects may include allergic reactions, injection site pain, headache, eyelid and eyebrow drooping and eyelid swelling. tell your doctor about your medical history, muscle or nerve conditions, and medications including botulinum toxins
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earlier this month the attorney general jeff sessions and the department of homeland security announced they would start taking babies and kids away from their parents. if they were caught crossing the border without papers. previously border agents would
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send members of the same family to a detention facility together. under the new policy parents and kids get forcibly separated by the u.s. government. parents go to one facility, kids go to a different one alone. even babies. there is no question that our immigration system is screwed up in lots of ways. immigration detention is screwed up. the deportation process is screwed up. legal representation for people caught up at any point of the process is screwed up. that's why we've been talking about immigration reform for decades. because people who have wildly different ideas about what would make for a good immigration system in this country can all still agree the system we do have is messed up nine ways to sunday. and it has been for a very long time. but this policy decision to take little kids away from their mothers and fathers, that is a brand-new policy and it was invented by the trump administration and is being implemented by them.
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the attorney general himself announced it. the homeland security administration is now implementing it. and as people have learned more about the fact that, yeah, we're really doing this, there has understandably been some outrage. understandably. when it comes to outrage related to immigration, though, this president has loved that. this president has played that to his partisan advantage with great relish. >> we're going to have a real wall and who is going to pay for the wall? >> mexico. >> who? >> mexico. >> i have to listen to pelosi and these people saying we have to respect them. they're human beings. they're not human beings, they're not human beings. >> no! >> and this is why we call the blood thirsty ms-13 gang members the name i used last week. what was the name? >> animals. >> animals.
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>> you don't like it when i use the word animals? say it with me now, animals. should i not have called mexican immigrants rapists? let me say it again. should i not have said that an american federal judge is a mexican and therefore can't hear a case? how about i do it again. this is how the president has dealt with every racial provocation he has been able to think of on immigration, which is double down, triple down, right? find out what offends people and then do it ten times more. it works for him politically. on this issue of taking babies and little kids away from their mothers, though, this one is not playing out the way the other ones have. with this one, he's calling this a horrible law that separates children from their parents, misspelled there. by the way, it's not a law. it's a new policy that his administration just announced and started to implement. but unlike everything else on immigration that he has turned into a racial nuclear rhetorical
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weapon, on this one he's calling for people to, quote, put pressure on the democrats to end this horrible law that separates children from their parents. put pressure on the democrats to end his new policy that he made up. the president has no qualms riling people up, turning it up to 11 about anything related to immigration. he has no problem churning up racially inflected fury. hoards of rapists crossing the border. the backlash to those policies and to those rhetorical pronouncements has just made him jen them up all the more. it is a process he enjoys. but when it kpucomes to this on separating kids from their parents, the thing his administration just started doing, the president is doing this one differently. he's not taking credit for it. he's trying to blame the democrats for this new policy. what does this mean? what does this mean for that policy and what does it mean for what is going to happen to those
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week. a member of that committee, congressman ted lu from california is circulating a letter from his colleagues asking for an explanation of this new policy of separating little kids from their parents, asking for homeland security's view of whether taking kids away from their parents might violate international human rights law. he asks about homeland security's plans to ensure that families are some day reunified, and about homeland security's efforts to ensure that separated children are not placed ultimately with human traffickers. gianniing us now is congressman ted lu, democrat of california. congressman, thank you for being here tonight. i appreciate your time. >> thank you, rachel. >> so, the president has enjoyed stoking outrage on the issue of immigration. i think that it's plain to see that he sees it as something he can stoke all sorts of concern and particularly racially inflected rhetorical excess on the issue of immigration and it
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all redounds to his benefit. he he's to be taking a different tack. he is not touting it, he's blaming it on democrats. it is a democrat law and democrats need to be pressured to end this. what is your take on what is going on here? >> thank you, rachel, for your question. you know it's got to be bad when donald trump won't even accept responsibility for his own administration's policy. that's because ripping children away from their parents is completely indefensible and the president understands that the american people put children in a different category. we want to protect children, not abuse them. i think that's why you also see the president have a different tone when he talks about daca. i think he understands that the american people view children as separate and different. we need to be protecting them, not abusing them. >> in terms of the actual policy and these questions that you've posed to secretary nielsen about this, do you know the answers to any of these already? do you know, in fact, whether or not there is a homeland security policy, procedures in place to ensure that these families
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ultimately get reunited after the u.s. government separates kids and parents? >> we do not. that's what's so troubling. we have heard anecdotally that you have children that are not able to be reunited with their parents and we also want to know what is causing this change to happen. what really was a crisis they were trying to deal with because we haven't seen any crisis that would result in this kind of horrific policy. and the american academy for pediatrics issued a statement that said that when you separate children from their parents, it could disrupt their brain's architecture, something known as toxic stress which can have lifelong consequence for the kids. and our government is doing that right now to all these children. >> do you have any idea of the extent of the implementation of this policy thus far? i ask that because the immigration system broadly is so opaque, it's unaccountable in part because it's dispersed, there is very little public facing information that is put out by immigration authorities. and even at the best of times,
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our broken system is hard of suss out in terms of human impact. with this particular policy causing so much concern -- and it is a new policy of the trump administration -- do you know how many kids are affected or how big they see this getting? >> it's going to be very big. let me explain what happened under the obama administration. when these people present themselves in these interviews, about 76% according to the latest data have a credible fear during their interviews of going back to their country. that means they can file an asylum claim. and under the obama administration, they would let the asylum claim go forward before they would do any prosecutions. attorney general jeff sessions completely reversed that. he's prosecuting every single person even if they have a legitimate asylum claim. that's what's causing all these separation ands that needs to be reversed because it doesn't make any sense. >> congressman ted lu of california, thank you very much for joining us tonight, sir. very much appreciated. >> thank you, rachel. >> more to come tonight. stay with us. be a big deal.
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i am not perfect. but i have not broken any laws nor committed any offense worthy of this treatment. >> it was a surprise when missouri's republican governor eric greitens announced yesterday he was resign forgive office. his resignation announcement came after he spent the last four months battling separate sexual misconduct allegations and campaign finance scandals, an effort by his own party to impeach him and remove him from office. greitens insisted over and over
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and over again under no circumstances would he even ever consider resigning, no way, no how. and then he did. suddenly. finally yesterday. well, today we learned why. turns out the governor's legal team over the last few days reached out to prosecutors over the weekend seeking a deal for the governor. if they would drop a felony charge of computer tampering which related to the governor's campaign finance scandal in exchange the governor would agree to resign. that was the deal. kansas city star published this today. they got this wrinkled copy, they got this basically a photograph of a wrinkled copy of the agreement between the governor and the prosecutor. the deal apparently included seven terms, two of them redacted with a sharpie marker. there is a handwritten notation in the margin there that says, under seal. but you can also see here in this thing that they published where he spells it out. the prosecutor would drop that
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one felony charge, quote, upon receipt of the defendant's resignation from office by the secretary of state of missouri. which means they still haven't dropped that felony technically because greitens isn't technically resigning until friday. if the deal holds, greitens will have successfully rid himself of that felony charge, but he did it by trading away himself the biggest thing he had to offer prosecutors, his job as missouri's governor. meanwhile he is still being investigated by a separate prosecutor for his alleged conduct in a 2015 affair that resulted previously in a felony invasion of privacy charge. that charge was dropped, but the special prosecutor has the option of reinstating it. the governor denies wrongdoing. he could end up facing new charges. he's also facing other ethics complaints and that lingering impeachment investigation. what happens to that now that he's leaving? what could he trade away for that stuff? that will be for him to work out as a private citizen. missouri governor eric greitens due to step down friday at 5:00 p.m. we'll be right back.
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it's hurricane season again. for eight months and ten days now, we've been trying to get a credible number for the american death toll from hurricane maria last year when it devastated puerto rico. as of tonight, the official death toll from that hurricane in puerto rico is 64, a number that does not square with 1 1/2 million americans living in darkness and drinking from streams for months. for eight months and ten days study after study has pointed
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toward a death toll that is many times the 64 deaths the government officially admits to. now a new study published in the new england journal of medicine shows that researchers led by harvard school of public health have harvard's math will prove to be the answer here. but nearly nine months after hurricane maria, we can be sure the death toll is nowhere near 64. not even close. that does it for us tonight we'll see you tomorrow. now it's time for "the last word with lawrence o'donnell" good evening, lawrence. >> good evening. we're going to have a discussion of the harvard study later in this hour. it includes deaths that occurred after the hurricane because people were denied medical care during and after the hurricane for many, many months after the hurricane, people couldn't get life-sustaining medical care. so many of


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