tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC September 5, 2018 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT
that is our broadcast on a wednesday night. we thank you so very much for being here with us. good night from nbc news headquarters in new york. us good night from nbc news headquarters in new york in 1962, john frankenheimer made "the manchurian candidate," one of the all-time classic american political thrillers. frank sinatra as the hero and angela lansbury as the creepiest mother who is not in a horror movie, lawrence harvey as the brain-washed communist plant who is inserted into u.s. politics at the highest levels. one of the greatest american movies ever, as far as i'm concerned. the original, not the remake. two years after the manchurian candidate came out, this came
-- this same director came out with "seven days in may." it was made in 1964, but because it was thought of as such a sensitive subject, they set it a decade in the future in the 1970s to try to not freak people out so much because of the plot in the movie potentially unfolding right then and there in the united states in the early 1960s. "seven days in may" is another classic scary american political thriller. it's about the u.s. military rejecting civilian control of the military. the u.s. president, in the movie, he signs a nuclear disarmament treaty with the soviet union and the senate ratifies it and military leaders freak out and decide they disagree with that so strongly that the leaders of the u.s. military plan to launch a coup. drama ensues. as americans, we've got a great
pantheon of these great, great, dark american political thrillers, these movies and books that simultaneously freak us out and also serve the constructive purpose of spelling out the kind of outlandish dangers and threats we might maybe conceivably need to protect our country against some day, right? at the very, very edges of our constitution, at the very edges of what we might imagine is possible in u.s. history. here's another that ought to be thought of in this same breath. as manchurian candidate and seven days in may. it's called "night of camp david," written by the same guy who wrote "seven days in may," about the military coup. had john frankenheimer made a movie for this book like he did with the others, it might be another one of those cultural touchstones we all now know
about even decades later, a movie that still entertains us but gives us a sort of cultural vocabulary for talking about what otherwise might be kind of hard to imagine threats that might some day arise around a u.s. presidency. in "night of camp david," the book, not a movie, not nearly as well-known, the serious problem that befalls the presidency and the country in that book is that the president goes nuts. an otherwise unremarkable senator from the president's own party figures out the president is going nuts because the president repeatedly invites him up to camp david for late night chats at camp david and in those chats the president turns out all the lights and sits in the dark and rants and raves and tells the senator all his destructive secret paranoid fantasies and tells the senator his rather insane plans for the country and the world, some of which seem like they might be
things that the president is ruminating about, some of the things the president has started to hint at and make mention of in public but nobody's taking it too seriously it yet. and the senator realizes, oh, wow, people better take this seriously. this is the book when it came out in paperback. the big titled "night of camp david," you look at the top you see the grab the reader subhead. "what would happen if the president of the usa went stark raving mad." it's fiction. it does have a snappy ending, i promise you. here's what the "new york times" said in their book review when "night at catch david" came out in 1965. the portrayal of a mentally competent president was quote a little too plausible for comfort. our hero senator's dil plame as he discovers when he tries to enlist the help of some elder statesmen in washington is that the president turns out to be a borderline case in terms of his mental infirmity.
the times" asks in their review, at what point is the president's pathology obvious enough to justify action and who gets to make the decision? who does get to make the decision? previously unimaginable things keep happening now in our politics, in the white house specifically. unprecedented behavior by a u.s. president means literally specifically we don't know of any historical examples of any other president ever behaving this way. that's not only to say these things are remarkable, there's a practical consequence of these things being unprecedented. the practical consequence of this unprecedented nature of this presidency and this president's behavior is that history is no help to us. history is of no help. core precedent is of no help in terms of us sorting out as a country the range of options we might reasonably have for how to respond to a situation like the one that we are in.
history can't help us, court precedent can't help us. fiction can at least help us imagine it, right? there's frank sinatra in "the manchurian candidate," desperately trying to unprogram "the manchurian candidate," to stop him from being a foreign agent to try to unbrainwash him to save the country. "night of camp david" the every man senator trying to convince the wisest of wise men he can find in washington that something has to be done about the president increasingly going insane. he goes to the upstanding leader of the defense and to the president's own party. he goes to the president's white house physician. can he convince them all? is this the right group to try to convince? if he does convince this group what, outcome do they try to achieve and under what authority? books like that, thriller books and movies like that invite us as americans to imagine what we might do with a presidency gone that haywire.
turns out, that all might have been good training because today's news invites us americans to consider the same, "the the times today is taking the rare step of publishing an anonymous op-ed essay, we have done so at the request of the author, a senior official in the trump administration whose identity is known to us and whose job would be jeopardized by this dis. we believe this is an important perspective to our readers. this is the headline as past practices follow would not have been written by the author, the times' editors. "i am part of the resistance inside the trump administration." subquote i work for the president but like-minded colleagues and i have vowed to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations. >> like-minded colleagues and i. who's "i." the speculation all day has been
very fun. honestly, we do not know. it's all speculation. if we believe "the times," a person serving in a senior role in the administration, currently in that job, not a former official, a current official, whoever this person is, he or she has made the truly unnerving decision to stay in the white house as a senior administration official while also secretly notifying the public the president of the united states is unfit to be president, and part of the reason this person is sounding that alarm anonymously rather than quitting in protest is he or she believes he or she needs to keep that white house job so he or she can keep using that job to secretly undermine and sabotage the president is trying to do do in an ongoing way to hurt the country. yeah. happy wednesday. i wish this was a novel. "president trump is facing a test to his presidency unlike
any faced by a modern american leader. the dilemma which he does not fully grasp is that many of his senior officials in his own administration are working diligently to frustrate his agenda. i would know. i am one of them. to be clear, ours is not the popular resistance of the left. we want the administration to succeed and think that many of its policies have already made america safer and more prosperous. we believe our duty is to this country and the president continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the public. that is why many trump appointees have vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institution until he is out of office. this is a currently serving administration official saying he or she speaks for others, other senior people in the administration who have quote vowed. vowed? vowed to each other like in an organized way, to thwart the president's actions to save the
country from him because he continues to act in a manner detrimental to the health of our republic. then, we get this warning first about the dangerousness of the president's character and second, about the dangerousness of what will this senior administration official says is what the president wants for our country. quote, the root of the problem is the president's amorality. anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making. although he was elected as a republican the president shows little affinity for ideals longest p.o.w.sed by right-handed, free minds and free markets. the press is the enemy of the people mass marketing, his impulses are anti-trade and anti-democratic. it does not mean he is against the democratic party, means he is against the democracy quote in public and in private, president trump shows a
preference for autocrats and dictators, says a senior white house official. quote, from the white house to executive branch departments and agencies, senior officials will privately admit their daily disbelief at the commander in chief's comments and actions. most are working to insulate their operations from his whims. meetings with him veer off topic and off the rails. he engages in repetitive rants and his impulsiveness results in half-baked ill informed and occasionally reckless decisions that have to be walked back. the op-ed then describes the president as em pet use adversarial, petty, describes his behavior as "erratic." since this was published this afternoon, there's been a lot of attention to who the author might be. understandably. a lot of speculation maybe it's mike pence, the vice president. the vice president apparently really likes using the word lodestar in a lot of other prepared remarks. same goes for the praise "cold
comfort." both those appear in this op-ed. under that semi mathematical reasoning, maybe it's the vice president or somebody who regularly writes remarks for the vice president or maybe white house counsel don mcgahn on his way out the door, we know has been talking to the special counsel at length and we know has an uncanny way of getting his perspective into the newspaper without ever having his name explicitly on it. you will have noticed now don mcgahn is the hero of every story that mentions him which usually tells you a little something about the sourcing of these stories. don mcgahn is supposedly behind the engine to get his friend, brett kavanaugh onto the supreme court. if you think the kavanaugh nomination started to crash and burn today with this litany of serious allegations kavanaugh may have lied under oath on multiple occasions the last time he was before the senate, maybe it's worth seeing this op-ed that came out this afternoon as a way to distract from brett
kavanaugh's sinking fortunes. that said, if you think the kavanaugh nomination is going well anyone hoping for him to get onto the court probably wasn't happy with this bombshell op-ed because someone in the white house screaming the president is off his rocker will presumably give some patriotic senators pause doing something on behalf of this particular president at this particular moment. it's also been discussed it could be somebody in the white house communications shop or white house press shop, since this whole operation with the "new york times" today would have required some considerable savvy when it comes to dealing with the press. maybe. we do not know who it is honestly and the speculation thus far is interesting but just speculation. something worth noting, at one point in the op-ed this anonymous senior administration official turns reporter and stops giving his or her own take on the matter and instead quotes someone else.
"there is literally no telling whether he might change his mind from one minute to the next. a top official complained to me recently, exasperated by an oval office meeting which the president flip-flopped on a morning policy decision he had made only a week earlier. this is the op-ed writer stopping just giving his or her own take, here is something somebody else told me coming out of a white house meeting with the president. if that's true, which ever top official said to another senior administration official there is no telling whether he might change his mind from one minute to the next, the person who said that knows they said it, and they know to whom they said it. so if this anonymous op-ed writer is telling the truth about that interaction, that top official who uttered this quote knows who wrote the op-ed. for all the attention trying to figure out who the op-ed writer is and the white house calling
had treason and the "times" on national security grounds has to hand over this person to the government, for all the attention this was, this op-ed writer does not purport to be acting alone here. quite the contrary. like-minded colleagues and i. trump appointees vowed to do what we can and many senior officials in his own administration trying to parts of his agenda and worst inclinations. some aides have gone to great lengths to keep bad decisions contained to the west wing. all the focus on who the author might be ignores the fact that this op-ed purports to be from effectively the spokesperson for a group within the white house. a group that wants to be seen as unsung heroes. quote it may be cold comfort in this chaotic era but americans should know there are adults in the room. we fully recognize what is happening and we are trying to do what's right, even when donald trump won't.
a few possibilities here. it is always possible the "times" is getting hoaxed, right? not at all likely but possible. halloween comes early, boo, the cold bony fingers of insanity and authoritarianism to grab your ankle when your foot drops off the bed, ha harkes it's a hoax. also possible the "times" is getting played by the white house.also possible the "times" getting played by the white house. maybe this is a white house endorsed effort to make the president seem so besieged from withinton justifies extreme action by the president to clean house and fire lots and lots of people without too much scrutiny on any one of those firings. there's no reason to think either of those things is what happened and no reason to think the "times" would have done anything other than their best due diligence on this in terms
of figuring out the origins on this and not getting played or getting hoaxed. there's every reason to think it is what it appears to be. if it is what it appears to be, if this is a real senior administration official that feels the need to sound this alarm about what is wrong with the serving president, why are they making this public case now and what exactly are they trying to get us the public to do about it? you can snipe these sort of comments in gossip. you can make these sort of plans and plots among your fellow co-conspirators in the white house if you're actively working to sabotage the president's worst impulses and thwart him from the worst things he wants to do to the country. you can do that you will without signaling to the public, hey, op-ed, "new york times," you need to know this is happening. why signal to the public? what are they asking of the
public here? i ask that specifically because this op-ed has a little bit of false ending. this is the end of it looks like it's supposed to be the ending quote there is a quiet resistance within the administration of people choosing to put country first. but the real difference will be made by everyday citizens rising above politics reaching across the aisle and resolving to shed the labels in favor of a single one, americans. and that is very nice. let us all be americans again, americans first, let's come together. that is definitely the way that a nimble politician would end any op-ed no matter the topic. right? unimpeachable solid sentiment there. what's the instruction? hey, public, you need to know to do this? hey, public, you need to know this is happening. we're sounding the alarm here. here's what you do. that closing is maybe sort of notice to the president's supporters they should stop blindly supporting him, that even the president's own officials within the white house say he's not worthy of support.
if that's the message here of this op-ed, honestly "the new york times" op-ed page was an odd choice to deliver that message to trump supporters. what will ought to have been a clarian message ended up hard to make out. this appears to be sort of a false ending to this piece. here's the real one. given the instability many witnessed there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th amendment which would start a complex process to remove the president but no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis. so we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until one way or another it's over. until one way or another it's over. 25th amendment to the constitution as everybody and their mother googled today we all now know came into effect in 1967 after the assassination of john f. kennedy to clarify the
procedures for handling the succession of handling the line of the president if he became unable to fulfill the duties of the presidency. there's more to it but section 4 of the 25th amendment spells out in that instance the vice president and a majority of the cabinet would notify the house and senate the president is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. and with the senate and the house so notified, the vice president would then assume the powers and duties of the office as acting president. it gets more complicated from there. the basic idea if the vice president and the cabinet have enough unanimity on the subject of the president's ability to serve as president and know there's no case law or historical precedent establishing exactly what that threshold might look like, but if they all got there together, theoretically the 25th amendment might be useful for removing president trump
from the office of the presidency, from within, at least temporarily. is that what they're telling us needs to be done here or is going to be done here? in the michael wolff book, "fire and fury thirks came out early this year, steve bannon is quoted twice invoking the 25th amendment when it comes to president trump. spicer, priebus, cohn, powell, bannon, tillerson, mattis, mnuchin virtually the entire staff of the presidency had traveled through the stages of adventure, challenge, frustration, battle, self-justification and doubt before finally having to confront the very real likelihood that the president they worked for did not have the wherewithal to adequately pungs in his job. the debate, as bannon put it was not about whether the president's situation was bad but whether it was 25th amendment bad. a few pages towards the end of the book, bannon is quoted predicting that there is a one-third chance ta trump sbou limp to the end of his term, a
one-third chance that the mueller investigation would lead to impeachment of the president and a one-third chancesome that trump would resign perhaps in a wake of a threat of the 25th amendment about his incapacitation." >> maybe we should have seen this coming. that book with warnings about the president being removed from office this way, that book came out the very start of the year in january. since then, we got the first book from a former senior advisor to the president. she chose as the title to her book, the word "unhinged," and she was not talking about herself. we're about to get the book from bob woodward. it's not technically out yet but we know from people getting advance copies of the book but it talks about senior officials stealing documents from the president's white house and senior members of the white house telling him he's not ordering things that he is absolutely trying to order up to
and including the assassination of foreign leaders. military is saying yes, sir, and then not doing it. >> that might make you root for the military, thank god they're not following insane orders from this president. but oh, boy, is that a dangerous thing to break. there is a reason why the u.s. military not answering to civilian leadership anymore is the stuff of dystopian novels and movies like "seven days in may." those things make it into political thrillers because the thrill is they're supposed to scare us. in this case today, not "seven days in moi," more of a touch of "camp david," someone in the house is trying to warn the country that the president is nuts and unfit and the senior people who work around him know it. the end is near. maybe in the form of the invocation of the 25th amendment by the vice president of the
united states and the majority of the president's cabinet. if this is what it appears to be, if this is true, then, one, hey, this is a remarkable time for the senate to rush ahead to try to install a nominee from this president on supreme court as a lifetime appointment. two, if they're not too busy trying to move ahead with the president's nominee for this lifetime appointment, hey, maybe this is something congress might want to look into. as of today, a senior white house official says members of the president's cabinet have discussed invoking the 25th amendment to remove the president from office on the basis of the fact they believe he's unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. they only held back because of worries of removing him might cause a quote crisis. now, something has happened since then that has this senior administration official warning the public even though they elected not do this before the public should start thinking
of this now as an option moving forward. that might seem the kind of thing congress would want to look into. of course, the unavoidable last question here is what has this set in motion? the 25th amendment discussions in the president's cabinet may have been secret before but they are public now on purpose because of somebody who works at the senior levels of the trump administration. why did they make this public now? this is a stark warning from somewhere near the top of the government. if the president is amoral and anti-democratic and erratic and impulsive and reckless and all the rest of it, then, what do we expect him to do next now in response to this? who's ready for it inside and outside the administration? i know you're sick of hearing the word unprecedented when it comes to this president and this administration, but that word is not being overused in this
administration. it is apt. when the previously unimaginable keeps happening, we do need to think urgently and imaginatively about how our country comes out whole and responsible and constitutionally in tact on the other side of this. you can be in your element, in any element. ♪ experience amazing at your lexus dealer. we really pride ourselves on >> temaking it easy for youass, to get your windshield fixed. >> teacher: let's turn in your science papers. >> tech vo: this teacher always puts her students first. >> student: i did mine on volcanoes. >> teacher: you did?! oh, i can't wait to read it. >> tech vo: so when she had auto glass damage... she chose safelite. with safelite, she could see exactly when we'd be there. >> teacher: you must be pascal. >> tech: yes ma'am. >> tech vo: saving her time... [honk, honk] >> kids: bye! >> tech vo: ...so she can save the science project. >> kids: whoa!
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we are getting a sense tonight of how this anonymous op-ed from inside the trump administration ricocheting in washington. one official at thing "the washington post" tonight "is the problem for the president is the author could be so many people -- that's insightful, is, eke -- the sleeper cells have awoken an serred on text messages on aides and outside allies. it's like the horror movies when everyone realizes the call is coming from inside the house. joining us now is nicolle wallace. host of deadline white house". she served as a senior official in the george w. bush white house as communications director senior advisor to john mccain during his 2008 presidential campaign. thank you for being here. >> thank you for getting on the phone at 4:00. >> right when this broke and you were handling the enormity of this when it was all emerging.
a lot of people talking about the fact today that this is something unlike anything else that's ever happened in any other white house. there was a lot of drama in the george w. bush white house, there were those that left and wrote damning books about their time. anything like this? >> those were indictments of policy decisions. it was dick clark after 9/11 saying he jumped up and down and tried to warn the president, condi rice of something 9/11-like, indictment of policies and enhanced interrogation and others. there was never anyone that came out and wrote anonymous op-eds that the cabinet talked about invoking the 25th amendment. never happened. never ever happened. what's so extraordinary in that piece from ashley parker and phil rucker and their colleagues is so interesting because these are the kinds of things people close to trump have been saying since he was 1 of 17 candidates in the primary.
the criticism of his character. >> criticism of his character, observation of not a man who reads books and wasn't a titan of business and essentially ran a family office and was television talent. people that were in the room on the day that the access hollywood tape came out didn't describe a man worried about embarrassing his dogs or his wife. it was someone trying to figure out, is that trump? is that me talking about himself in the third person. this is someone for whom sort of the rot of his own character is known by everyone in contact with him. no one thinks he's a good guy. >> this isn't a story of him going nuts and saying i started working for him because he was all right when i started working for him and now sounded the alarm. mechanisms to prevent something like this happening. >> like the movie "dave." the president has a stroke, he's notice basement. that is not this. >> or presidents known to pick up the bottle at times in their
administration. it's not something like that. something was fine and not become fine. what you're describing is consistent with my own understanding of the people involved here, the president is not seen as being any different than he was. so why has this alarm been sounded now? >> because since the beginning the people that have worked in the national security apparatus at the white house and as i understand it at the state department and the defense department and other places have truly seen it as their jobs and when pressed after something like charlottesville, they were the ones on the phone saying you don't want me to leave. i hear you. i hear what you're saying about how we're all stained with the president's racism. believe me, if you knew what i know you wouldn't want me to leave and the national security officials are there. >> they are there sabotaging the president's intentions? >> they wouldn't say sabotaging, they would say preserving the country's national security. >> if you have to be there or it doesn't happen or the president will cause damage,
then what they're doing is undermining and sabotage. >> it's a cover-up. you should go to congress. the other problem is the committees in congress that used to be the bipartisan security net safety net for our national security agencies are broken. where would you go? would you go to the house intel committee where devin nunes is a trump stooge? if you were a whistleblower at the white house, who would you call? >> in fiction, people find wise men and find, go talk to the chief justice of the supreme court or talk to an upstanding cabinet secretary who seems to be outside the fray or they find individual lions of the senate or old hands in the house who can be trusted and there's an informal sort of caucus of gray beards for lack of a better term who come together to make sure things land right. is that real or is that only in fiction? >> i think that may at one time have been real when there were people like ted kennedy and john mccain who had a bipartisan
relationship there. they may have been viewed as someone who sort of caught somebody if they felt like they were hurtling toward the unknown. i don't know who that is. lindsey graham went from being present at john mccain's funeral to beak grow developing before this president in whiplash speed in hours, not days. the idea there is anybody on the hill you could go to seen as a nonpartisan protector of our country's national security i think is truly and sadly a fiction. >> so where this person has decided to go with this incredibly serious alarm is to the public. >> is to "the new york times." the decision to go to the times" is interesting, too. that is not a journal of sort of the right. >> it's not where you go to speak to trump supporters. >> when you go to speak to trump because we know he reads it, he rages against it. this person sounds like a republican to me. he or she, sounds like he's
described as a man sounds like he's trying to speak to republicans. i don't understand why republicans, they now know from a person high up in the trump administration, a political appointee, someone that may have worked on their staffs, a lot of people in this administration came from capitol hill. they have now said donald trump's cabinet, all political appointees, all republicans have talked about invoking the 25th amendment. why there haven't been calls for congressional hearings, even if they're in secret and closed from the public right now, every cabinet member should be called before a closed hearing to be asked what is at stake? what is at risk, as long as there are men and women in our military in far-flung places with their lives on the line. >> nicolle wallace, host of deadline". on issue of whether the person is a man, that was from "the new york times" tweeting out the op i.d. and it said he, an administration official. then, then everybody is like oh, it's a man. we at least know it's not kellyanne conway.
like there's all that many women working in the trump white house. the "times" clarified the person who wrote the tweet does not know the identity. >> okay. >> including the gender of the op-ed writer. even though they had given that clue, they said, it's not a clue. won't be long before it comes out. thank you. stay with us. when it comes to strong bones, are you on the right path? we have postmenopausal osteoporosis and a high risk for fracture, so with our doctors we chose prolia® to help make our bones stronger.
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with pg&e in the sierras. and i'm an arborist since the onset of the drought, more than 129 million trees have died in california. pg&e prunes and removes over a million trees every year to ensure that hazardous trees can't impact power lines. and since the onset of the drought we've doubled our efforts. i grew up in the forests out in this area and honestly it's heartbreaking to see all these trees dying. what guides me is ensuring that the public is going to be safer and that these forests can be sustained and enjoyed by the community in the future. can a sitting president be required to respond to a subpoena? >> that's a hypothetical
question. >> trump claims he has an absolute right to pardon himself. does he? >> the question of self-pardons is something i have never analyzed. >> i would like your commitment you will recuse yourself if there is an issue involving his criminal or civil liability. >> i should not and may not make a commitment about how i would handle a particular case. >> do you still believe a president can fire at will a prosecutor who is criminally investigating him? >> that's a question of precedent. >> i'm asking about your position that you stated in this law review article that a president is not subject to investigations while in office. >> sarah, i'm not going to answer hypothetical questions. all i can say, senator, is that was my view in 1998. have i not taken a position on constitutionality before.
i need to be careful and i need to stay not just away from the line but three zip cos away from the line of current events or politics. today's marathon confirmation hearing, senator after senator pressed brett kavanaugh on the less and less the hypothetical question all the time of a president facing serious criminal investigation. could he be indicted, could he be subpoenaed, copardon himself? despite judge kavanaugh's extensive public comment in public records saying he believes the president should be excused from the legal system while serving as president that a president shouldn't answer subpoenas that he shouldn't even be questioned today when pressed on those matters judge kavanaugh gave to answer, no answer, no answer, no answer which is kind of the thing you expect at a con firmation hearing these days. that's typically the way these things go. but then remarkably, in addition to the no answer stuff we knew to expect. senators ended up pressing brett
kavanaugh on three separate instances in which they say he may have lied to the senate during his confirmation hearing for a seat on the d.c. court of appeals. during the first question that seemed to catch him by surprise had to do with a former staffer as having leaked troves of documents taken from senate democrats on the judiciary committee. at that 2006 hearing for his judgeship, brett kavanaugh was asked whether he had any knowledge that staffer was behind those leaked democratic documents. as an attorney in the white house counsel's office, brett kavanaugh had worked closely with that staffer on a number of judicial nominations, sir, did you know anything about it? brett kavanaugh back then denied knowing anything about it. today, senator leahy of vermont said he has seen e-mails that call judge kavanaugh's telling
that have matter into question. is he trying to get republican chairman chuck grassley to release those e-mails to the public so the public can see if brett kavanaugh lied under oath on that matter. pat leahy also called into question his questioning in 2006 he had no involvement whatsoever in the bush administration's warrantless wiretapping program suggesting again, evidence withheld from the public's view contradicts what brett kavanaugh told them under oath the first time he was before them in 2006. the democrats were giving no quarter today pressing him on his prior testimony, not being involved in policy involving enemy combatants when credible reporting suggested he absolutely was involved shaping those policies and asked about the extent of his relationship with a federal judge who was accused credibly of sexual harassment who stepped down from the bench because of it. he says he knows nothing about that. they pressed him on his noted
antipathy to -- kavanaugh says he knows nothing about that. they pressed him to his noted antipathy to affirmative action and whether the things he said under oath has been true. it doesn't usually come up in a supreme court confirmation hearing that a nominee is accused of having repeatedly lied under oath the last time he or she has appeared before the senate. that is what has now happened with brett kavanaugh. one of the senators who just wrapped up his turn to question brett kavanaugh joins us next. senator cory booker. t kavanaugh. senator cory booker. i'm ken jacobus, i'm the owner of good start packaging. we distribute environmentally-friendly packaging for restaurants. and we've grown substantially. so i switched to the spark cash card from capital one. i earn unlimited 2% cash back on everything i buy. and last year, i earned $36,000 in cash back.
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the wesby case, in my view, had nothing to do with that issue. >> i tried to give you some time there. this is what i'm hearing now, sir. you know, and i appreciate your rhetoric on these matters. again, you are going to be a judge on the supreme court if you are confirmed and have the power to make massive differences in our country. these are real issues. i asked you if the fisher case was rightly decided. you refused to answer. i asked you whether you believed adversity was a compelling interest. you didn't answer that, sir. that's not good enough for the nominee to the highest court. >> his confirmation hearings have been extraordinary in a lot
of ways. not just because of the protesters in the hearing room or democrats insisting that these hearings be delayed at least till they can review kavanaugh's very lengthy paper trail by is being denied to them and also to the public and the judge's unusual amount of public statements whether a president has to sub at this time to an investigation given the president is already tied up in a number of ongoing criminal investigations. durings the confirmation hearings thus far judge kavanaugh has stood accused seriously of not telling the truth on at least three substantive matters. the last time he was under oath and before the senate being confirmed before a judgeship in 2006. joining us now, senator cory booker from the great state of new jersey. i know it has been a long day for you. thanks for being with us tonight. >> it's good to be with you. >> give us your top line
assessment of the status of this nomination and what you make of judge kavanaugh thus far. >> the he's managed to try to duck and dodge a lot of the very direct questions a lot of folks want to know. where is he going to be on rowe? he won't spec directly to those issues even though donald trump said it is a litmus test for who he put onto the court especially with the jeopardy growing around donald trump and being in effect an unindicted co-conspirator and the investigation ongoing. refused to talk about recusing himself when we know he wasn't in the early lists from the federalist society after this investigation began and trump picked him because one of the factors in my opinion was his views on whether a president had immunity or not in effect. it's been a frustrating day. what most frustrating is how many of these e-mails, correspondences and papers they're hiding. i had a tense moment with a
friend of mine on the other side of the aisle, somebody i have a lot of respect for, mike lee, just about some of these things that are called chetd confidential. e-mails that literally labeled racial profiling that has this candidate's views there something they've been trying to shield from the public. it's frustrating. we have another day tomorrow and hopefully to make a really good case to the american people that should this man man become a supreme court justice, it's our health care and access to health care. it's what's going to happen as he's issues around the president continue to unfold. so many aspects of our lives. the effect it is a lifetime appointment for years to come. all this is at stake. we all need to not just senators all americans should be speaking up but this nomination. >> you referenced that e-mail, that document that you are not allowed to read from and describe in public that you say is labeled racial profiling and
contains judge kavanaugh's views on that subject. we've also seen a number of different times documents, e-mails, communications some senators have suggested provide evidence that judge kavanaugh wasn't honest under oath the last time he testified to the senate in 2006 when he was first confirmed. with all these things being labelled is committee confidential with this weird process where it was a lawyer who is a friend of judge kavanaugh who decided what he gets handed over to the committee for review, a lot of people have started to wonder why democrats are essentially respecting that designation. these documents have been labeled committee confidential. you believe some shouldn't be kept confidential. the people should see them. what would be the consequences if you decided to read it into the record? >> well, i pressed that very hard today to the extent that it definitely caused some conflict, let's say. i think that's going to continue to happen over the hearings tomorrow. but remember, these committee
confidential, which there are rich nuggets that reveal his thinking, reveal dishonesty -- reveal his honesty about some of these issues, that's still only about 7% of the total documents we're asking. of the universe of his documents of his career, we've only got about 10% of those documents. we are doing a job interview only knowing about 10% of this candidate's resume. i wouldn't hire an intern with only 10% of their resume. there is so much more the american public should see about this candidate and should be able to see the public eye before we put him on the highest court in the land, the backstop for human rights, for access to health care, for so many of the issues for the rest of his life. he is a relatively young man. this could affect america for decades to come and we do not know what his record is. >> nor, you described is judge kavanaugh's record on the issue of the president's susceptibility to investigation, the question of presidential
immunity, discussions on pardons and things as essentially making him somewhat of an outlier. he wasn't on the earlier lists that the federalist society put forth for the president to choose from for picking his nominees. he seems to be somewhat unusual for his views on those presidential immunity and presidential susceptibility immunity issues. a senior administration official sounding the alarm on the president's fitness for office, do you feel like those issues dob tail at all about whether or not this changes any of the calculus whether you this president should be making a nomination let alone this nomination at this time, particularly when his own white house is signaling that he may be in the position of potentially being removed from office by his own cabinet? >> this has been a stunning two days. in the midst of this debate, people on both sides of the aisle say it's one of the most important things we're doing, these one-two punches land where
people around this president have been sounding the alarm almost like a pull revere moment coming out and saying such dramatic things. i said to one of my colleagues today, if we were reading this four years ago and somebody said it was a novel, we would think this is wild fiction. there is nothing normal about this, that you have people making serious allegations that are close to this president literally talking about invoking an amendment in the constitution about taking a president away from power. this is a very, very not strange time, not non-normal time. this is an alarming moment in american history. and so my job, and i'm grateful that i have had some partnerships on the other side of the aisle, people like lindsey graham who stood with me to introduce and get out of our committee, efforts to protect this investigation and protect mueller, we've got to really start understanding the constitutional implications the crisis that can come to our country if we're not prepared to deal with these crises.
that brings, as you said, these supreme court deliberations back to the center. and a president who in the midst of all this crisis unprecedented and an unindicted coconspirator, more and more indictments coming out, more and more guilty pleas coming out, he is not above the law and he should not be able to pick his own judge. that is an affront to our ideals of justice. written on the supreme court equal justice under law. he's not above the law. so that's another reason why we should not be doing this. i think history will look back at this as a moment you rushed to support a supreme court justice at a time when our country was in crisis. the white house now, the three cs, they are in crisis, chaos and now revealing true corruption. >> nor cory booker, democrat from the new jersey. thank you for talking to us again. very long day today and another one tomorrow. thanks for being here. >> thank you for having me. >> on days like this where you keep thinking we are really in unchartered waters, on days like this, we like to talk to the
counsel -- we like to seek the council of our next guest. michael beschloss, presidential historian. thank you for being here. i feel like you're a buoy bobbing in very choppy seas for me right now. >> i feel they are choppy seas. you're absolutely right. happy to help that i can. >> you're the reason i read "night at camp david." because i was trying to get my head around at least fictional precedent if we couldn't find real historical precedence. is this really something we've never seen before? there have been discussions about the 25th amendment before, yes? >> yes, there have been but never came near to being invoked. it will be hard to do if it were because you do have to get those two-thirds of congress. i think we're in a national emergency and today it goss worse. this morning you had this nominee for the supreme court, judge kavanaugh who is filling
the seat of anthony kennedy who was almost rushed off the supreme court by donald trump. in comes kavanaugh with almost fringe views how much a president should be allowed to get away with. then this afternoon, this can cry for help from someone high up in the trump administration saying, things are very bad and they're getting worse and beak, we don't know if we can hold things off for very much longer. >> do you know of other high-ranking administration officials who have taken a step like this to denounce the sitting president while still serving that president rather than resigning in protest or writing a tell-all book around the world? >> never in real-time. you know, you had for instance, james schlessinger nixon's secretary of defense at the ends, he was worried thatnismon would use tanks to surround the white house. might even threaten to use nuclear weapons to somehow keep himself in office and not resign. he delivered an order saying if
nixon gives any order like that to the pentagon, make sure that i, the defense secretary countersign that. but you have never had in real-time someone who is in place saying something like this to something like "the new york times." it is incredible. >> the president responding by calling this treason saying that "the new york times" must hand over the identity of this op ed writer to the government as a matter of national security. is there anything we should look to in terms of historical precedent and understanding the way the president is reacting to this? >> yes. that's what authoritarians do. that was what joseph stallone did. he was planning a purge of everyone around him and he was getting paranoid and saying who around me is not loyal and committing treason? i do hope we're not in a position where our president of the united states does anything that reminds us of those times. >> presidential historian michael beschloss, please, if you have any other fiction
recommendations for me, that can help me keep my head on straight if only because i'm thinking about not real things, il always welcome them. >> i will think hard. be well, rachel. good night. >> we are going to have to -- someone is going to have to because i can't invent a new, bigger version of the world "unprecedented". >> yeah. >> it's run out of gas. >> yeah. >> we need something stronger. >> well, the practical consequences of something being unprecedented is that we don't know where to look in order to figure out what we might do next because nobody has gone through it before. >> yes. we've never been through it before. >> we usually think of ourselves as like standing there in a stick -- with a strike like even if we're blindfolded we know what we're hitting at. in this case we're the pinata. it feels like we are not in control of our destiny because we don't know what options are available to u