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tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  December 10, 2018 7:00pm-8:00pm PST

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breaking news following onto our top story this evening. betsey woodrough, a great reporter at the daily beast who's done of the seminal reporting on the maria butina case, quote, in case there's any confusion she's agreed to fully cooperate, no holds barred. this latest reporting following the news we had first from abc news today and then corroborated by some other news organizations that maria butina apparently will become the first russian national who apparently will be plead guilty in the russia scandal followed by the revelation she apparently will be plead guilty in conjunction with a plea agreement that will involve fully cooperating with prosecutors from this point forward. that's a remarkable turn. anytime somebody flips in this case after initially pleading not guilty, that's a big deal when you are an accused russian
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agent agreeing to flip and cooperate with the fbi and federal prosecutors, that's a whole different big deal. good evening, lawrence. >> good evening, rachel. and thank you for just reminding us that the russia investigation is about russia. >> yeah. >> something it's easy to lose sight of since there's so many other angles going in this including obstruction of justice by the president after the fact of the campaign. but this full cooperation from someone on the russian side of this case, this is an extraordinary turn. >> i mean, the thing that i am -- alt a human drama level it is fascinating to think about somebody who prosecutors have laid out tons of evidence was operating as an agent of the russian government in this country. if she was operating as a russian government agent and now she's cooperating with the fbi and federal prosecutors, the course of her life is about to
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change very, very dramatically. but also if she in her case can shed light on whatever it was happened with the nra and trump and russia in 2016 that will be a great service to us in terms of understanding what happened to us. because that has been a really big weird black box in the middle of this scandal. >> and it could in the end show us the dimensions of interference in the election, the ways it can be done beyond what we already know and what if any role the nra played in that. >> yeah. i mean, reported earlier this year one of the things the fbi was investigating was whether the florida had been used as a conduit for money. we haven't seen the money side of the russia scandal laid out very clearly. if that's actually what happened with the florida and butina was part of that, presumably we'll get access to that. if this was something coming out of putin's inner circle in connection with this russian
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alexander torsion, she's potentially a hugely important new development here if we are going to get clear on what exactly she was up to. >> and it boggles the mind. if she is in anyway a threat to vladimir putin, how is she going to live the rest of her life? how is this going to work? >> i was at my news meeting and my staff today, we heard she was going to plead and so we were all talking about the possibility she would also have a cooperation agreement. and was over there standing there confidently saying that is inconceivable. inconceivable, that definitely couldn't happen. now apparently it's happening. >> here we are. thank you, rachel. >> thanks, lawrence. well, the legal ground has shifted quickly under president trump since he was named as individual one by federal prosecutors on friday. who described in a sentencing memo from michael cohen how donald trump directed michael cohen to commit federal crimes
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to benefit donald trump's presidential campaign. democratic congressman adam schiff who is himself a former federal prosecutor said yesterday that president trump now faces the possibility of jail time. >> there's a very real prospect that on the day donald trump leaves office the justice department may indict him, that he may be the first president in quite some time to face the real prospect of jail time. we have been discussing the issue of pardons that the president may offer to people or dangle in front of people. the bigger pardon question may come down the road as send arti impeachment to the full house of representatives for their consideration. the chairman of the house judiciary committee who will have that duty in a trump impeachment if that happens is democratic congressman jerry nadler of new york city who will become chairman of the judiciary committee when democrats take control in january. at the beginning of last week on this program congressman nadler
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was a bit reluctant to talk about impeachment. it was the day after the president tweeted his approval and encouragement of roger stone saying that he will refuse to ever testify against donald trump. that tweet was reasonably interpreted by many legal scholars to be clearly witness tampering on the part of the president, which was actually one of the counts in the articles of impeachment that the house judiciary passed against richard nixon. i asked congressman nadler how he would approach the possibility of impeachment now that president trump has already publicly crossed a line that richard nixon crossed. >> we're going to have to look at all the evidence. all the evidence that the special counsel comes up with, the things that are being done in public, the things we find out are being done and make decisions. there are certainly things he has done that give the appearance of witness tampering, that give the appearance of
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obstruction of justice. whether they amount to that and whether you can prove those charges is a different question, but there's certainly evidence. and we'll have to look at all of that. >> that was tuesday night, perfectly reasonable response. there's evidence, we're going to have to look at all the evidence. here's jerry nadler yesterday discussing what we learned on friday from the federal prosecutors who said in writing that michael cohen committed federal crimes to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, quote, in coordination with and at the direction of individual one. >> if its proven, are those impeachable offenses? >> well, they would be impeachable offenses, whether they are important enough to justify an impeachment is a different question. but certainly they'd be impeachable offenses because even though they were committed before the president became president, they were committed in the service of fraudulently obtaining the office. the fact of the matter is what we see from these indictments
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and charging statements and is much broader conspiracy against the american people. >> in less than a week the incoming chairman of the house judiciary committee has gone from careful statements of having to wait and look at all the evidence the special counsel comes up with to yesterday saying, yes, what we learned on friday about donald trump would be impeachable offenses. individual one has changed everything. the presumption that has floated around washington for decades that the president of the united states cannot be indicted is being challenged more and more every day. harvard law professor lawrence tribe has now concluded that the president definitely can be indicted. he will join us later in this hour with his reasoning for why the president can be indicted. individual one really has changed everything, which is to say michael cohen has changed everything for donald trump. michael cohen's guilty plea combined with the federal
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prosecutors putting it in writing michael cohen's crimes were committed in coordination with at direction of individual one has changed everything from donald trump. now there is talk of indicting the president. now there is talk of jail time for the president. and now there is talk of impeachment. the chairman of the committee who has jurisdiction over impeachment in the house of representatives is saying, yes, if the federal prosecutors on the michael cohen case can prove what they about individual one, then, yes, president trump committed impeachable offenses. washington can feel where we are now. washington can feel what is coming now. an impeachment investigation by the house judiciary committee is all but inevitable. when he becomes chairman jerry nadler no dut will wait for robert mueller to complete his investigation, and that could take several more months. but then jerry nadler's judiciary committee is going to have to investigate what he
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called impeachable offenses yesterday. at minimum the house judiciary committee is going to have to investigate how the president coordinated with and directed michael cohen to make illegal payments to two women to buy their silence in the final days of the presidential campaign about their sexual affairs with donald trump. even individual one now realizes that impeachment is a real possibility. cnn.com is reporting tonight that a source close to the president says that president trump sees impeachment as, quote, a real possibility. everyone in washington can feel where this story is going now including individual one. the united states senate has a literary form called the dear colleague letter. it is usually a letter sent by one or more senators to all 100 senators. a dear colleague letter can be about relatively obscure unimportant things, but sometimes they are about the
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most important issues of the day, and tonight in "the washington post," 44 senators have published and cosigned an extraordinary dear colleague letter to all 100 united states senators. the 44 senators signing this letter are all former senators, both democrat and republican. it says dear senate colleagues, as former members of the u.s. senate democrats and republicans, it is our shared view that we are entering a dangerous period, and we feel an obligation to speak up about serious challenges to the rule of law, the constitution, our governing institutions and our national security. we are on the eve of the conclusion of special counsel robert s. mueller iii's investigation and the house's commencement of investigations of the president and his administration. the likely convergence of these two events will occur at the time when simmering regional conflicts and global power confrontations continue to
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threaten our security, economy and geopolitical stability. during our service in the senate at times we were allies and at other times opponents but never enemies. we all took an oath swearing allegiance to the constitution. at other critical moments in our history when constitutional crises have threatened our foundation, it has been the senate who has stood in defense of our democracy. today is once again such a time. we urge current and future senators to be steadfast and zealous guardians of our democracy by ensuring that partisan or self-interest not replace national interest. leading off our discussion now mimi roca, former federal prosecutor, and judge sugarman, and ryan klaus. and it really does seem as if
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individual one has changed everything about this and very quickly. you hear adam schiff talking about jail time. we're going to hear professor tribe in a another segment talking about of course the president can be indicted as a sitting president. jerry nadler now, these are impeachable offenses. 44 united states senators tonight thinking this is the moment. and they describe it there as the convergence of both what they believe is the end of the mueller investigation and what they are sure is the beginning of an impeachment process in the house. they didn't use the word impeachment but they're talking about house c feel where this i now. >> and part of that lawrence is for so long we were only hearing trump and giuliani and his surrogates, and they were controlling the narrative. what you have now both from mueller and the southern district is facts and evidence are coming out. and you can spin those, you can make arguments, but it's really hard to really knock those down
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when they come out. and i think that's what happened on friday night. you had this trilogy and three different documents about donald trump, individual one in one document and clearly implications about him in the mueller document that just scream of criminal behavior, frankly. it's like reading a book where you have separate chapters and we've got a few of the chapters and some of the lines are blocked out like the flynn -- but we're starting to get all of the chapters and we need to see the whole book. with cohen, with that memo that the southern district wrote, they laid out as good of a case as anyone could about how this president with cohen manipulated the american public to get to be president. and that is serious. and by freezing it the way they did they essentially said without using the fact words, we can prove this. and it's not just michael cohen. i really believe that's the way
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it should be read. >> and that's the kind of latest stage of revelations. james comey in an interview with nicolle wallace, took us back to what it now seems like a story so long ago -- the obstruction of justice that might be brought against the president and possibly an impeachment process, involving him telling james comey to drop the flynn case. let's listen to what james comey said thaubt that because it's important to remember this is also part of the totality of the house of representatives will be considering when they take a look at the president's conduct. let's listen to this. >> he asked me to drop the investigation. i just replied by saying, agreeing that flynn's a good guy. which had been my experience, had been a friendly, nice person in my interactions. and shortly after it ended and i left very quickly and writing down everything i remembered. and i e-mailed my staff, a lot of work to prepare me to give
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the first briefing to the new president. and i said the briefing went fine but now i have to write another memo. and they knew what i meant, something had happened. i sat down with them and said, read my memo because obviously it's obstruction of justice. >> obviously evidence of obstruction of justice. >> yes, i think that's actually several points that we have on a case of obstruction of justice. but i think what makes the obstruction of justice claim much stronger than it has been, there's already been evidence and trump essentially confessed to obstruction when he told on nbc to lester holt that he fired jim comey because of the russia investigation. that was already enough for many people, for me, to conclude it was obstruction. but the key thing is we're going to learn why flynn pleaded guilty and what he's given to mueller that will deepen the understanding of what trump was doing when he asked comey to let him go.
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that's another key episode in his obstruction claim. keep in mind that while michael cohen may be facing four years for a certain amount of crimes, flynn is facing zero jail time based on mueller's request and he was implicated in crimes that are arguably far worse than cohen's. so what i'm reading in between the lines here is flynn has given the goods and information to mueller. and if we find out what that is, that would make sort of a vague obstruction case to the public, much deeper and much more alarming. >> and brian, when you look at the list of those 44 senators who signed that letter tonight to "the washington post," 11 republicans, many of them very solid republicans, allen simpson, these are many of the really serious players in the senate during their time in the senate like bill bradley, bob
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bradley, john carry on the democratic side of it. i'm not sure when the concept for this letter was borne, but i'm sure it was speeded up after individual one was described by the federal prosecutors. >> yeah, i mean, this is people from both sides coming together and saying this is bigger than one party. this is about rule of law in america, democracy, things we should agree on. and i think when you look at the totality of the picture here you have five people around the president, senior people. his campaign chairman, deputy campaign chairman, foreign securitya advisor and the net i closing in on donald trump. you have credible allegations now of him basically committing felonies around campaign finance. you have him conspiring with the russians. you also have the obstruction of justice charges and then you
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have adam schiff talking about credible allegations of money laundering. all of this stuff is stuff we should not disagree on. it's not acceptable. it's disqualifying, and it's so sad to see we have lowered the bar so much you just have to commit a crime on the republican side. >> that seems to me what the senators were going for in their letter. they're talking about let's rise above partisanship. it seems to me that letter is much more directed at the republicans in the senate who have been so reflexively defensive of everything the president does. >> the sad thing about that letter is a lot of republicans are a dying breed of the republican party. we're not enemies, that doesn't cheer when the president says the press is the enemy of the people, that uses the law as
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weapons against his political opponents. so i think there needs to be moments in this country when we come together and stop having blue and red especially red in this instance that are absolving the president of etively criminal behavior, alleged criminal behavior. >> let's listen to something that was probably a surprise for fox viewers to hear from andrew mccarthy talking about the case against michael cohen. >> the southern district of new york case which is district from the mueller case, on cohen they are clearly going after the president on campaign finance violations, and i think if you read the sentencing memo the southern district filed in cohen's case it's clear trump is the target and he'll be indicted eventually. >> mimi, your reaction? >> look, i think what's clear from the memo they have evidence of his participation, his direction, his coordination.
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to say that they're going after him, you know, i just don't think we know that yet because there are a lot of legal and logistical hurdles, right? for the southern district to indict trump, i don't want to get too much into the sort of legal weeds about it but there's a statute of limitations issues and whether or not those would sort of stop and you can hit pause because he's the president and maybe he can, maybe he can't. i know there's a strong view that he can, but they would need to get the permission of the attorney general. there's a lot of hurdles for the southern district to get over, but what's clear i think is that they have the evidence. so the question is what happens to that and should the president be immune from that simply because he is president. and then the idea that the statute of limitations might run when he's president and the whole way he got to be president to enjoy this immunity is through manipulation i think of the system, the campaign finance
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system and deception. so it doesn't make sense that he can't be held accountable, so he does need to be held accountable. whether or not the southern district's going to be the one to do that and bring charges i think is very much an open question. but it's hugely important as we were just saying that they have the evidence. and that evidence needs to go somewhere. whether it's through them or to congress or some other mechanism. >> well, the southern district has never been a supplier of information for an impeachment proceeding, but this might be their first time. thank you for starting us off tonight. and when we come back, what would happen if president donald trump actually did shoot someone on fifth avenue as he once suggested he could do and get away with it? harvard law school professor lawrence tribe joins us next with the answer, which is of course he would be charged with that crime. and later no one, and i mean no one wants to be donald trump's chief of staff.
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so what would happen if donald trump went out on fifth avenue and shot someone duri? during the presidential campaign he said he could do that and his supporters would still vote for him. and that might be true of his supporters but what's also true is the nypd would immediately either shoot and kill donald
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trump on the spot or arrest him and charge him with murder. today harvard law school professor lawrence tribe tweeted, if trump shot someone he'd be indicted in a new york minute. nothing in the constitution prevents his indictment for directing a criminal conspiracy to steal the presidency. certainly not a justice department policy. joining our discussion now lawrence tribe, harvard law professor and constitutional scholar. he is also the coauthor of "to end a presidency, the power of impeachment." thank you very much for joining us tonight. you've published an op-ed piece in the boston globe about the ability to indict the president. how do you see this? >> it seems to me that the only argument against indicting the president is an assumed policy on the part of the justice department that says he's too busy and therefore we should wait. that's not a very convincing
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argument. if he's got time to sit for a senate impeachment trial he's got time to sit in an ordinary criminal courtroom. besides it's not a binding policy. and what has occurred to me is it couldn't be a binding policy. it would be unconstitutional to immunize a president who has committed a serious crime, especially a crime of fraudulently obtaining the presidential power and to immunize him until he leaves office. people worry about trump abusing the poweller of tr of the pardo there's another way the power enters the picture, the way gerald ford pardoned nixon. the framers were absolutely clear that because a president that was convicted by the senate of impeachable offenses cannot
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be punished, he can just be excelled from office. but there he sits with all his ill-gotten gains, the emoluments from saudi arabia, russia, every place and he gets to keep it all in the meantime he does a lot of harm to the country. that's not what they had in mind. they specifically said in article one, that because the president cannot be impeached by the senate he has to remain liable afterwards. now, how could that work if the president and vice president as part of a ticket ever since 1804, they've run together? if they get into office together the president leaves his power or leaves under threat of impeachment or eresigns for some other reason or is actually convicted, all he does on the way out is arrange with pence, look, why don't you get the national nightmare over with and
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pardon me and pence says you're pardoned. i then he can never be held to account. and those who say, well, of course the president isn't above the law, he isn't outside the law, he's not a king, not a monarch, not a two bit dictator, we'll get him eventually. but eventually is never if the scenario works out the way it would obviously do. now, i'm not saying there's necessarily a corrupt bargain between pence and trump, but noi president is going to pick a vice president who isn't at least likely to give him a get out of jail free card on his way out the door. and that means that the only way the framers design to hold everyone accountable to the law can be made to work is not having a policy against indicting and trying a sitting president. if the president were indicted and openly indicted while he's
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still president, there's no way pence would get away with pardoning. and after that the only reason that ford could get away with pardoning nixon without himself being impeached and removed for abuse of power is that nixon had not been indicted of any crime. but in this case we have what looks like a looming indictment of a serious felony that was directed and coordinated by the guy who wanted to be president and in order to help him become president. seems to me that all those people who said that a sitting president cannot be indicted will have to reconsider in light of this serious constitutional argument. >> you know, i've always believed the president can be simply because if the founders wanted otherwise, it would be as easy as possible sentence to assert in the constitution, to simply say the president cannot be indicted. but it does seem to me on the
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impeachment clause in the constitution there is the possible implication of this because it says that after the president is impeached and removed from office the president can then be indicted. that would be an implication of possibly that the president should not be indicted while a sitting president. do you think that -- you don't seem to think that is a strong enough implication in the constitution if it is one. >> i think it is not a strong implication. on the contrary it gets things upside down. the language that you're talking about, lawrence, of article i, says the judgment in an impeachment case shall not extend further than to removal from office and disqualification but the person convicted shall nevertheless be subject to indictment and punishment according to law. that says he shall be liable. and if he could be pardoned
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easily by the person who assumed the presidency without ever being elected, by virtue of being the vice president, could simply wipe that away, then he would not be liable to punishment. the ordinary sequence might well be to impeach and remove first. but if a president has committed a crime in order to get to office and has combined the office and his business interests in a way that might be animical to the united states in order to enrich himself and his family, then the only way to carry out the constitution's design without making the pardon power and the guaranteed liability to criminal punishment clash with one another is to remain open to the possibility of indicting and trying the president while he is in office. and it seems to me that that's
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the only coherent way to read the constitution and to understand its history. because the framers said they were concerned about the corrupt acquisition of presidential power. the incentives would be all the wrong way if a president could bribe electors or hide things from the voters in order to become president and then be guaranteed that he would never serve a day in jail. >> harvard law professor lawrence tribe an honor to have you with us once again. really appreciate it. and when we come back, president trump likes to humiliate the white house chief of staff especially when he's firing the white house chief of staff. but the guy who donald trump tried to hire as the next white house chief of staff has now humiliated donald trump. look, if you're not the lead dog, the scenery never changes. that's why this is the view for every other full-size pickup. and this year, it's déjà vu all over again. 'cuz only the ford f-150
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white house chief of staff is one of the most prustijestig and sought after jobs in washington. i mean it was until donald trump took the oath of office. and now no one wants it, i mean literally no one wants to be the next chief of staff. the president loves humiliating the white house of staff by firing him publicly before the chief of staff gets the word from the president. on saturday announced he was dumping john kelly to reporters before getting on a helicopter to go to a football game. >> john kelly will be leaving at the end of the year. we'll be announcing who will be
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taking john's place. it might be an an interim basis. i'll be announcing that over the next day or two. >> that was saturday. and now after a day or two the president has been humiliated because the person he was going to name as the next white house chief of staff in the next day or two decided to turn down the job on twitter on sunday. nick ayers who's been serving as vice president pence's chief of staff tweeted thank you president trump and vice president, my great colleagues for the honor to serve our nation at the white house. i will be departing at the end of the year but will work with the trump team to advance the cause. "the new york times" is reporting advisers to mr. trump were stunned by the turn of events. one former senior administration official called it a humiliation for mr. trump and his adult children, an emotion that the president tries to avoid at all costs.
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joining us now is the formy deputy chief of staff to harry reid. adam, the white house chief of staff job has been the top achievement. most people have had the job, that's the biggest thing on their résume. and now literally everybody whose name in washington whose name gets mentioneds a possibility immediately says i don't want it. >> i've never seen anything like this. it's the most powerful staff job in the world. the white house chief of staff is more powerful than many members of congress. to turn it down is unbelievable. to do it in the way ayers did it, like you said is humiliating. i think the only reason you would do that is if you were afraid of the position that having the job would put you in. >> yeah, and the other thing is everyone knows -- everyone knows what is going to happen to the next white house chief of staff.
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at some point you are going to be fired publicly on twitter by donald trump before anyone tells you that you're fired. >> yeah, that's right. and, you know, i mean it's such a powerful job that some people might take it even knowing that the end would result in humiliation. but at this point with everything you laid out in the previous segment about where the mueller investigation is going, i think there might be an even bigger consideration which is being afraid that having the job would place you at serious legal liability and involve you in something that is probably going to end in jail time for a lot of people. that has already ended in jail time for a lot of people. so, you know, a lot of people out there are probably shameless enough to take the job knowing they'd be humiliated. but going to jail is another thing entirely. >> congresswoman barbara lee tweeted on sunday, before general kelly steps down i hope he will offer a long overdue
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apology to congresswoman frederica wilson about lying about her in the press. john kelly has revealed himself to be every bit as horrible a liar as donald trump. i learned everything i needed to know about him in that exercise where he completely lied about congresswoman wilson and then the most important part of it, did not apologize when it was all made public that he lied less than 24 hours after he did it, he never apologized. >> that was a shameful episode. you know, there's a saying power doesn't corrupt, it reveals. and what it revealed about john kelly is he's a man that likes to use his power to hurt and humiliate people just like his boss. there's an episode you mentioned. and of course he oversaw a policy of ripping screaming children out of the arms of their mothers at the border.
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so this is a man who seemed to relish the opportunity to use his power to hurt people, and that tells you everything you need to know. >> thank you very much for joining us tonight. >> thanks, lawrence. and when we come back, the author of the article that is headlined "mueller is telling us he's got trump on collusion." i can't tell you who i am or what i witnessed,
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after bill's back needed a vacation from his vacation. so he stepped on the dr. scholl's kiosk. it recommends our best custom fit orthotic to relieve foot, knee, or lower back pain so you can move more. dr. scholl's. born to move. a new article in the daily beast suggests where the mueller
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investigation is going under the headline "mueller is telling us he's got trump on collusion." max birdman writes, special counsel robert mueller's investigation will likely implicate the president, his campaign and his close associates in aiding and abetting a russian conspiracy against the united states to undermine the 2016 election. the article uses the public documents released by the mueller investigation to piece together what's next. birdman writes in michael cohen's sentencing memo mueller said that cohen provided his office with useful information on russia related matters core to its investigation. one of those central elements according to the justice department, any links and/or coordination between the kremlin and trump campaign figures. collusion, in other words. the article notes that the sentencing memo on michael flynn says that flynn's calls with the russian ambassador during the transition were material to the
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investigation into links or coordination between russia and individuals associated with the trump campaign. and finally birdman points out that cohen's plea deal reveals that trump was compromised by a hostile foreign power during the election because while trump claimed during the campaign to have no business dealings with russia, he was negotiating a wildly lucrative business deal not simply with russian businessmen but also involving the kremlin itself. max birdman will join us next. i switched to liberty mutual
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russia, if you're listening, i hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing. >> russia was listening. joining us now, max berg mman, director of the moscow project at the center for american progress. max, in your article, you make the case that mueller is already telling us through his court filings that he does have the president on collusion.revealed pleadings? >> lawrence, i think the range of potential outcomes of the russia investigation have really narrowed in the last three
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weeks. three weeks ago you could sort of say, well, maybe this isn't going to pinpoint collusion, maybe this is about obstruction of justice, but, no, i think we now know mueller is focused on his core mandate which is to identify coordination between the trump campaign and the russians. . we know that for a number of reasons. one, as you outlined, there's a number of people cooperating now with the mueller investigation about collusion. that is, paul manafort, that is michael cohen, and michael flynn who have all been providing information that is important to whether the trump campaign coordinated with the russians. we also now know trump was compromised during the election. we know this because of mueller's findings, about trump trying to negotiate a deal with the kremlin during the campaign over at trump tower in moscow. the third thing is we now know this is going to be really expansive in terms of the potential cover-up. in terms of the obstruction of justice. michael cohen was not just -- didn't just plead guilty to
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lying to congress, bullet he al also admitted to potentially providing information publicly that other people could use to sort of participate in this cover-up. we know that paul manafort was secretly trying to back channel information potentially to the trump legal team. i think we're looking at really broad-breadth investigation, but importantly, we know that the collusion story is core to mueller's mandate and it's one that he's focused on intently. >> and it happens today the latest news we have about a cooperator with the mueller investigation is the russian maria butina, who presumably will have a whole new world of information to open up to robert mueller. >> yeah, this is potentially really significant because maria butina, she pinpoints what is a broader russian effort to interfere in our politics. not just the 2016 election, but our broader politics. and what were the russians trying to do?
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they were trying to infill ratr the republican party, infiltrate the far right. they way they figure it out, the way they identified how best to do that was by infiltrating the nra. and this is an extremely important case and i think one we're going to hear a lot about in the days, weeks, months going forward, and as a lot of implications on what the nra actually did during the 2016 election with all their spending that was at record high and some of the money that has allegedly been received from russia that contributed to nra's efforts during the election period. >> we saw in this extraordinary letter by 44 former senators to the united states senate tonight that they seem to believe that the mueller investigation is nearing its conclusion, which is why they wrote that letter. as you put these pieces together, do you have a sense of where, a guess, i would say, about where we are in the timetable of the mueller investigation? >> you know, this is a really
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tricky question. i think one thing that we can say for sure is that mueller is very far along in his investigation, that when you have as a cooperating witness the national security adviser, the president's personal lawyer, the deputy campaign chairman, and then for a time in paul manafort the campaign chairman, you have a lot of people that are participating in this investigation, helping you trying to advance it. so i think we're looking at mueller moving forward, but one of the problems, lawrence, is everywhere mueller looks, he finds potential crimes. and so that is, how does mueller cut the threads on the investigation and bring it to a close is a big question. we may be far from the end. >> you're saying that if the information would just stay static, the end might be closer, but the crimes keep tumbling out and adding to what he's looking at. max bergmann, thank you very much for joining us tonight. really appreciate it. >> thank you. tonight's "last word" is
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time for tonight's "last word." last week we introduced you to tiffany, a kind fund scholarship recipient who is now in her first year at chancellor college in malawi. she got there with the encouragement of her grandmother, rose, who insisted that tiffany work hard in school. dora tweeted, "lawrence, i cried l listening to tiffany. i look forward to more success stories." and summer tweeted, "i start a new christmas tradition this year with a gift of education to a girl in malawi." donna tweeted, "made my k.i.n.d. donation. i loved school and these students are an inspiration." the k.i.n.d. fund, kids in need of desks, is the partnership i created with msnbc and unicef to provide desks to schools in malawi and scholarships for girls to attend high school in
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malawi, where the girl's graduation rate from high school is much lower than the boys. there are many reasons why girls have more of a struggle staying in high school in malawi. you can help girls like tiffany finish high school or you can contribute desks to schools at lastworddesks.msnbc.com. you can specify your contribution is for desks or girl's scholarships and you can do it as a gift for anyone on your holiday gift list and unicef will send them an acknowledgement of your gift, any amount that you can contribute will be very helpful. tiffany would not be in college today if you had not supported her with this scholarship that got her through high school. >> i just want to say, again, that i'm grateful for this scholarship that you give me. i am here because of you people, and thank you very much. >> tiffany gets tonight's "last word." "the 11th hour with brian williams" starts now.
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tonight, is donald trump's presidency in real peril? the white house appears to have no clear strategy, as questions mount over whether trump would be indicted if he were not president, whether he'll be indicted the day he leaves office. also tonight, she certainly stood out, a red-haired russian who loved guns and the nra and republican politics. she is now an accused russian spy, apparently cooperating with team usa. and after dumping john kelly, trump's first choice for chief of staff says no to the job. in an episo

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