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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  February 26, 2019 6:00pm-7:00pm PST

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live recording of "why is this happening." it's one you do not want to miss. incredible conversation about her career, plans for the future and whether she had gone a day. ton of fun. download it wherever you get your podcast. that is "all in" for this evening. "the rachel maddow show" starts right now. >> did i flummix you? >> every time i do a pod cast test. when we don't do it you're there. when we do the pod cast tease and stretch and like which is itunes and. [ laughter ] >> i want everybody to realize at home you're doing this in realtime. this is live television. somebody is in your ear piece saying we don't know where rachel is. >> exactly. >> i do this just to keep you on your toes. >> you do a good job, my friend. thanks to you at home for joining us.
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i told you this week would be nutty. today is insane. let's jump in. there is a lot going on sand th next 24 hours is going to be nutty. the house of representatives voted to block the president's decoloration, of a national emergency, which is the way he's trying to go around congress to build a wall between the united states and mexico. now this vote tonight in the house is not a surprise. today in congress, the top u.s. military commander with responsibility for homeland defense said directly that there is no military threat related to anything that's going on on the southern border, which is a specific way of under cutting the president's assertion that there is some sort of national
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emergency there. this is also not a surprise in terms of this vote tonight because the house is also now controlled by democrats. the democrats and the house are unanimous that this emergency decoloration, from the president about the border is bogus and potentially illegal. so all democrats voted against the president on his emergency decoloration, tonight in the house. what was perhaps a surprise is more than a dozen republican members of the house crossed over to vote with the dell ca democrats on this resolution. the final vote ended up being 245-182. again, that is the vote to block the president's emergency resolution. well, now this heads to the senate. they have no choice in the senate but to vote on the same thing the house just voted on. the democrats we think all voted for it. if four republicans cross over to vote with the democrats, this thing that just passed the house will also pass the senate. so far, already three of the four republican votes needed in the senate are committed.
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so it really looks like the president will likely lose on this, that the congress will block him from declaring his emergency so he can build his wall. it's just a matter of how long it's going to take for hill to lose. the senate has 18 days to bring up the matter and they do not have a choice. they have to vote on it now that it's passed the house. on a related matter, the house today issued its first subpoenas that to the trump administration since the democrats took control in congress. the subpoenas that issued today are for documents from various federal agencies. documents that the trump administration has thursday far refused to hand over to congress. all on the issue of immigrant kids being taken away from parents at the border. it was a very dramatic hearing on that subject today. the chairman of the judiciary committee put it bluntly and described that policy as kidnapping. again, though, that issue has generated the very first
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subpoenas that from the new democratic controlled congress to the administration. administration has been having a very hard time coming up with a ink is l stor single story to tell about the policy of taking kids away from their parents and the implantation of that policy and specifically have not been able to explain how exactly they lost track of so many kids, why they didn't bother to track which kids belong to which parents. they are going after that and the issue of kidding being taken away, that today the subject of the first subpoenas that from this new congress to the administration. i will have more on that story tonight including a member of that judiciary committee joining us live. today also was the first day of what are expected to be three days of testimony from the president's long-time personal attorney michael cohen. michael cohen of course, has
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pled guilty to nine felony charges inclurding lying to congress and two campaign finance felonies in which he and federal prosecutors told the federal judge overseeing cohen's case it wasn't just cohen that committed those felonies, the president himself was also implicated in them. today's first day of testimony for michael cohen was in front of the senate intelligence committee and although it happened behind closed doors so we don't know directly what happened, cnn reports one of the things that happened in that closed-door testimony is that michael cohen apologized to members of the committee for having lied to them the last time he testified to them. again, those lies he told to congress are part of why michael cohen is about to report to federal prison in may. we're expecting him not only to apologize to the senate intelligence coal mimmittee bute intelligence committee when he testifies to them behind closed doors on thursday. now, beyond his apology for his
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previous false testimony today, we know little about what michael cohen said to the senate intelligence committee today. again, that testimony was given in closed session. that said, i think personally for me, it was a little unnerving to see mark warner, the top democrat on the senate intelligence, vice chairman. he walked out toward the end of cohen's testimony today and talked to reporters very briefly about how it had gone with michael cohen for me, it was a little unnerving, a little unsettling this is what mark warner had to say about what he heard today from michael cohen behind closed doors. >> quickly, we still got a little bit more time to finish, and only comment i'm going to make is that two years ago when this investigation started, i said it may be the most important thing i'm involved in in my public life in the senate and nothing i've heard today dissways me from that view. >> did the president commit any
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crime, sir? >> and he took no further questions. not long thereafter, michael cohen himself emerged from that clos closed-door hearing with senate intelligence committee members and cohen is not in a position to elaborate to reporter what is he talked about in the closed session, that's why it's a closed session but did thank everybody and further raise expectations for what will happen tomorrow when he testifies not behind closed doors, but in an open hearing that will be televised starting at 10:00 p.m. >> first of all, i want to thank you for sticking around and waiting for me. at this point in time, i appreciate the time to clear the record and to tell the truth and i look forward tomorrow to tell the american people my story and i'll let the american people decide exactly who is telling the truth. i want to thank you-all again for stick around. have a good night.
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>> you can hear where the reporters starts shouting questions to michael cohen about his testimony, whablt he's going to say tomorrow and about the president. the anticipation for what cohen will say tomorrow has been stoked all day today by saying cohen is basically bringing a dump truck with him to describe his years of dealing with president trump and the trump organization. we're told cohen is prepared to testify in matters on everything from the president's personal behavior to the way the president has filed or not filed his taxes to alleged criminal behavior by the president during the time he has been president. and on that last point, which i think is maybe more important than we are ready for heading into that testimony tomorrow, apparently cohen is prepared to bring documents tomorrow to congress that specifically relate to the campaign finance
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felonies for which michael cohen is about to go to prison. the wall street journal put a finer point on this than anybody else tonight in their new reporting and the reporting says that tomorrow michael cohen is going to give congress a check, a check made out to mr. cohen for the purpose of reimbursing him for the illegal hush money payments that cohen made to benefit the trump campaign. the illegal hush money payments related to stormy daniels that said she had a sexual encounter with trump and stopped her from talking about that publicly. that is a campaign finance felony. siting a person familiar with cohen's planned testimony, that quote, his testimony and provide documentation of the
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reimbursement of $30,000 and the journal reports cohen will show the oversight cop mimmittee a sd check. quote, mr. trump signed some of the checks reimbursing mr. cohen that mr. cohen began receiving after mr. trump took office. again, that reporting tonight from the "wall street journal" and again, this hush money stuff is not like the stormy daniels story. this is not just a story about the president and ms. daniels and whether or not the president allegedly had an affair or a sexual encounter with her. separate and apart from sexual content of this story, the play-off element of this story makes this a criminal matter this is a felony and excited to go to prison and in which the president and prosecutors say the president is personally implicated.
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right? prosecutors have described the president as directing michael cohen to commit this felony. they have described that in court filings. they have described that through michael cohen's allocution in open court before a federal judge. if michael cohen is going to provide documentary evidence tomorrow to that effect, if michael cohen is going to give congress evidence tomorrow that implicates the president in having committed financial crimes while he has been serving as president, what is congress supposed to do with that? i mean, what is supposed to happen next after hypothetically congress gets evidence of the president committing crimes in office. this is not a totally, totally unprecedented situation. it's unprecedented in a lot of ways, but it at least has cousins, right? in the case of federal prosecutors obtaining rock solid evidence he had taken envelopes
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full of crash bribes while serving as vice president. the way federal prosecutors responded to that evidence when it came to the vice president in 1972 and 1973 is that they prepared a 40-count indictment against vice president agnew and let them know they had done that, they prepare that indo i want. agnew and his lawyers argued publicly that he couldn't be indicted while in office but nevertheless, they then entered into secret negotiations with the justice department that a agnew would agree to leave office in exchange for pleading to one of the counts they were preparing to charge him with. and because prosecutors in 1973 did not throw the book at agnew and end upbringing the 40-count felony indictment against him and because they let him resign instead of facing that indictment so he only had to
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plead to one count because of that president, the agnew case is controversial but it is also the president here. and if this reporting tonight from the "wall street journal" is correct and if michael cohen is in fact about to hand over to an investigating congressional committee tomorrow evidence related to the president committing financial crimes, felonies while in office, we are now getting to the point where that agnew president crashes into the current history we're living through with this current sitting president. so we're going to have the lead "wall street journal" reporter coming up here live in a moment. i will say, though, because of everything that's being reported in advance of michael cohen's open testimony tomorrow, because of the anticipation of the kinds of documents that cohen might be about to hand over, what he may be able to testify to in terms of the president's behavior, i do think it's reasonable to expect that the prospect of michael cohen's open testimony tomorrow may be causing
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probables at the justice department right now, right? this doesn't happen very often. but if clear evidence of the president's involvement in felonies since he's been serving as president, if clear evidence of that is made public tomorrow, i mean, the justice department has to be prepared tonight how they will react tonight or not of the evidence and presumably preparing for the possibility this evidence may generate a formal criminal referral from congress concerning the president's alleged crimes. they may refer this matter for prosecution to the justice department. now in terms of whether or not the president can be indicted and can be prosecuted for a crime, the somewhat shaky justice department internal policy is based on part in the agnew justice department guidance that said that a vice president could be indicted but a president could not. and i described that as somewhat
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shaky justice department policy because of the evidence we've turned up, which suggestions that people involved in the initial creation of that policy in the agnew era never intended for that to be the last word on whether or not a president could be indicted, even if you ignore the historical origins of this justice department policy, which suggestion it should have never led to any permanent policy that the president can't be indicted, even if you ignore that interesting history about the or g origins of the policy, look at what is going on with president trump and that policy now. if this "wall street journal" report tonight is correct and michael cohen is in fact going to hand over financial documentary evidence tomorrow of the president's involvement in that illegal campaign finance scheme, which cohen has pled guilty to already, i mean, think about it, this is already a case where federal prosecutors right now are butting up against this idea that a president has nothing to fear from the criminal law, right?
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this idea that a sitting president just can't get in trouble for any crimes he committed either before or during his presidency. i mean, on these specific issues and on this specific set of facts, about which cohen is reportedly going to testify tomorrow and about which he is reportedly going to hand over incriminating documents tomorrow, federal prosecutors in the southern district of new york have already told a federal judge the president is personally implicated in the commission of these felony counts. right? if there is such clarity in the justice department that a president has nothing to fear from the criminal law, how do you explain that? that federal prosecutors told a federal judge the president is implicated in those felonies. depending on what happens tomorrow and what evidence michael cohen makes public, potentially we are getting to the part of the plot here where we'll learn if there are federal prosecutors who may try to challenge that internal justice department policy, which says
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you can't indict a president. if prosecutors don't intend to try to defy or challenge that policy directly, there is also the possibility, which is being increasingly discussed in legal circles that prosecutors may try to interpret that current justice department policy in such a way they couldn't attempt to directly prosecute the president right now while he's in office but might potentially bring a sealed indictment against the president, one that would only be unsealed once the president is no longer in office. now such a move would have two advantages from prosecutor's perspective. first, it would effectively stop the clock on any statute of limitations and crimes committed by the president, right? that would make it so the president couldn't use his de facto immunity from prosecution while serving in office to run out the clock on the statute of the limitations for any of his crimes. so that's one benefit to the sealed indictment approach.
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of course, the second major benefit to prosecutors, if they brought a potential sealed indictment against the president, is that that could set the stage for negotiations of the same kind that the justice department entered into with agnew in 1973. negotiations in which this office holder knows that he is up against serious felony charges, but he has this one great advantage and plea negotiations with prosecutors a great advantage no other criminal defendant has that this office holder, the president could like agnew offer to trade away the resignation like he did in exchange for prosecutors making some of all of the charges. again, i think this might be -- i think what's about to happen might be a bigger deal. on the eve of this testimony
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from the president ee's long ti with these reports michael cohen is about to provide evidence to congress and criminal acts while in office. it's starting to look like we're getting into the kind of territory where the agnew president becomes very relevant. where the issue of the president's potential indictably, potential prosecutebility are maybe treated as separate matters. maybe the president can't be prosecuted but maybe that's a separate issue and if the president can be indicted, is the president allowed to essentially negotiate with prosecutors over his own fate? as it balances against those potential criminal charges. if that is the part we are getting to, then this is also the part of american history where the character and independence of the u.s. justice department becomes the most important thing we may need to
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know about this moment in american history. i mean, just think about this from the big picture, right? think about this like it's 50 years from now and your grandkids or great grandkids are looking back at this time in history, right? if we are living through a moment in which there is an active criminal in the white house, somebody coal mimmitting felonies while serving as president of the united states. if we're living through a moment there is a criminal in the white house but the justice department and our system of law enforcement and oversight has integrity and independent and acts the way it's supposed to in moments like this, the history of the moment is the fact there is a criminal in the white house and an interesting story in american history about the criminal in the white house. on the other hand, if there is somebody searching as president of the united states and committing felonies while holding that job, and our
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justice department and system of law enforcement and oversight doesn't have integrity and isn't inde independent and helps to make it okay those crimes were committed simply because the criminal held a high office when he did it, well, in that case, that means this moment in history is not just about there being a criminal in the white house that means we have a real problem as a country that is going to be harder to fix than if this is just a problem with one bad guy. so this scandal surrounding this president and the on going legal troubles of this president, at one level are a human drama, at another level they are an american drama and independence and integrity right now is the pivot on which we decide which of those this is. so this is a very delicate moment and this is a very important time. tonight, a protrump republican
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member of congress c, congressm of florida began threatening cohen for tomorrow and led to discussion whether or not a sitting member of congress can be legally liable for violating the federal laws that protect against intimidating witnesses participating in law enforcement proceedings including proceedings before congress. today in a federal appeals court in washington d.c. the special counsel's office had a major and long-awaited legal victory. a bunch of defendants and witnesses in the russia scandal so far have tried to challenge the appointment of robert mueller as unconstitutional or improper. mueller has beaten back those court challenges but by my count, there are four or five of them today and he beat back the most serious one. the case involving andrew miller, one of the random young men loosely connected to the president's long-time political advisor roger stone who had recently been arrested and charges with felony counts.
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andrew miller was subpoenaed last year to supply testimony to the grand jury. miller had resisted the subpoena and conservative legal organizations had taken up miller's case as their best hope to challenge the existence of the mueller investigation, to basically have the mueller investigation declared illegal and have the whole russia investigation annulled legally. well, today in a unanimous ruling from a three-judge panel on the d.c. circuit court, andrew miller and conservative legal organizations lost that case against the special counsel's office. now they may yet further appeal either to the full on bank d.c. circuit or supreme court, but as of now, they have lost. and it looks like as of now andrew miller is going to have to respond to the grand jury subpoena and we'll find out in the end we expect what exactly that might be leading toward when it comes to andrew miller's testimony. it also means that the mueller investigation is still batting
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1,000 in terms of defending its existence against these various legal challenges. also today, the accused russian agent maria butina appeared in court for what many observers thought would be the beginning of the end of her case. her defense lawyer told us that her passport had been handed over to u.s. immigration authorities in the hopes of quickly facilitating her deportation to russia, upon what they hoped and expected to be the quick conclusion of they are case. well, at her court hearing today in washington, it didn't go that way. prosecutors told the judge that actually maria butina is not done in her occooperation. they don't expect to be back in court to start the sentencing for at least another four weeks. now, we don't know what she is still cooperating on but prosecutors do want more of her time. so we are in this moment, right? where we have seen all these obituaries for the russia investigation. all these stories how the mueller investigation is wrapping up and they got nothing
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and it's coming to an end. turns out, it proceeds a pace including from the special counsel's office specifically but this thing that's going to happen tomorrow in congress is potentially a huge deal with michael cohen's expected testimony tomorrow, we are hitting what appears to be a significant cross roads if the "wall street journal" is right tonight and congress is about to be given evidence tomorrow, physical evidence of the president committing financial crimes while serving as president, as a country, we're going to have to decide which way we go with that. right away. like right away, like before this time tomorrow. so let's get to that. the lead reporter on this story from the "wall street journal" joins us next. y from the "wall street journal" joins us next. of psoriatic arthritis. but you're still moved by moments like this. don't let psoriatic arthritis take them away. taltz reduces joint pain and stiffness and helps stop the progression of joint damage. for people with moderate to severe psoriasis,
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so here is from the "wall street journal" tonight. michael cohen plans on wednesday, meaning tomorrow, for the first time to publicly accuse president trump of engaging while in office in criminal conduct related to a hush money payment to a porn star. quote, mr. cohen's planned testimony comes 13 months after
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the journal first reported cohen paid $130,000 in october 2016 to former adult film star stormy daniels to buy her silence after she alleged having a sexual encounter with mr. trump. in december, federal prosecutors in new york for the first time directly implicated the president in the pay off scheme referring to him in court papers as individual one alleging that trump played a key role in the payments. cohen plans to give his most detailed public account to date of trump's alleged direction of the hush payments as well as how trump was involved in efforts to conceal them from the public weeks before the 2016 election. cohen also plans to allege that allen weisselberg, the chief financial office was involved in those efforts in his testimony on wednesday, cohen will provide documentation of his reimbursement for the $130,000 payment to stormy daniels he received in monthly installments of $35,000 throughout 2017, in other words, while trump was
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president. quote, mr. cohen intends to show the panel a signed check. this is the news tonight broken by the "wall street journal." the president's long-time lawyer will show the house oversight committee a signed check documenting him being reimbursed for this illegal campaign contribution, hush money scheme. which raises some questions, right? some very important questions in terms of what is about to happen next with this presidency. if the checks to cohen covering that illegal campaign contribution, hush money payment were signed by the president, what does that mean legally for the president? and if as prosecutors say the money for those hush money illegal campaign contributions was falsely booked as a legal fee when in fact it was not that at all, what does that mean for the president and for the president's business itself? joining us now is rebecca ball
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house, congratulations on this tonight. this is an important story. >> thanks for having me. >> your reporting that cohen intends to accuse trump of criminal conduct while in office. so i imagine the distinction is between what he said in the allocution in federal court in new york when he accused the president of having directed the commission of the felony would have been something that happened during the campaign before he was sworn in. you're saying what he's going to provide tomorrow is evidence that the president's criminal involvement in this scheme persisted and extended into his time when he was serving as president. >> that's right. and it's a key distinction when a lot of lawmakers ralzised questions if you're beginning impeachment hearings or looking at that, can you examine actions done to win election or does it need to be actions that were committed while in office? >> in terms of the check that mr. cohen is due to show this
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committee tomorrow, this is a check -- is it clear from the context or from the document itself that this check is in fact a reimbursement for cohen's -- cohen putting forth money in this illegal scheme as opposed for this check being for some kind of legal fee or retainer as it appears the trump organization might have put it in their books? >> that's a question we don't yet know the answer to and the context in which cohen puts this tomorrow will make the difference. we do expect him to as you mentioned show a signed check to the committee that is a reimbursement for the payment he made to stormy daniels in october 2016. we don't know if the check is going to be marked for stormy daniels. i would expect that it would not be marked that way, and we don't know if he's going to talk about any conversations that he had
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with the president about that e reimbursement while in office. something like that would make the difference in terms of making the point that the president was aware of this stormy daniels payment in 2017, which the president has said he was not. >> if the president's business was used essentially to try to cover up and hide the existence of this illegal campaign contribution, right? i'm describing it as an illegal campaign contribution thatbecau that's what michael cohen pled guilty to these two campaign finance felonies. if this was all done and covered up through the president's business, what is the significance of the president as an officer of that business versus weisselberg, the chief financial office, how does mr. weisselberg play into this? how is the president's business potentially implicated here as a business entity? >> i think we know already from the charging documents from august that were filed in the
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manhattan, did the manhattan u.s. attorney's office that the -- that officers of the trump organization are implicated. we've reported that executive one who is named in the documents is allen weisselberg, the company's long-time cfo and we know michael cohen is going to testify tomorrow and has already told prosecutors that weisselberg was involved in trying to cover up this stormy daniels payment. we also have reported that sdny since michael cohen's guilty plea broadened the organization to look at the trump organization and possible campaign finance violations by the company. i think the degree to which the president is implicated in the investigation into the company remains to be seen. he of course has turned over management of the company to his adult sons and mr. weisselberg and does still retain ownership of the company. i think the degree to which he was involved in organizing that
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reimbursement and when he signed those checks could be really important here. >> rebecca ballhaus, reporter for the "wall street journal." this hush money story in particular, thanks for helping us understand your reporting. appreciate you being here. >> thank you. >> we got much more to get to tonight. stay with us. e got much more to tonight. stay with us sources say liberty mutual customizes your car insurance, so you only pay for what you need. over to you, logo. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪
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one day, i found a lump on my right breast. in a small town, we don't have a health center on every corner. it would take three to four weeks to be seen. so i called planned parenthood, and they got me in that day. the trump-pence administration just issued a new policy blocking access to care at planned parenthood which could have a devastating impact on millions of people nationwide. had i have waited a day, i would have had stage iv cancer. planned parenthood saved my life. text titlex to 22422 to learn more. in your opening statement you say the threats from the
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nation on the south earn borern are not a threat to the border. does it represent a military threat? >> senator, first, i think a secure border does reduce threats to the homeland. specific to your question about is it a military threat that is coming towards us, it is not a military threat. >> it is not a military threat. that's the top u.s. general for homeland defense saying clearly today there is no military threat emanating from the u.s. southern border. that of course, is not helpful to a president who is trying to declare the southern border to be a national emergency to justify the president taking money from the military's budget to instead build himself a wall between us and mexico. but now this is interesting. today two members of the house armed services committee sent this letter to the pentagon demanding written justification for the idea of using the
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military's money to build the president's wall. what is most interesting about this is this a bipartisan letter signed by the chairman of that subcommittee and also signed by doug lamborm. they are demanding an answer to their letter by friday and justification for why the president is going to take military money to build that wall on the basis of that so-called emergency decoloration. so stick a pin in that. they say nothing bipartisan ever happens anymore. that was bipartisan. this has been a day of unusual things happening on capitol hill. the other must-see news from congress we have coming just ahead. do stay with us. >> when a stranger rips a child from any parent's arms with no plan to reunify them, it is called kidnapping. them, it is called kidnapping.
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the subpoena cannon fired its first shots today. they approved the first subpo a subpoenas that of the congress. they will require the white house to turnover records about the trumped ed administration's policy about taking kids away from their parents at the southern border. two republicans voted with democratic colleagues to issue the saubpoenas that elijah cummings said that the subpoenas that are part of his committee's job to protect kids from what he called government sponsored child abuse. when the trump administration started forcibly taking little kids away from their parents at the border, as a matter of policy, part of the moral and legal disaster of that policy is that they made no plan to track those kids after they took them away from their parents, let alone a plan to eventually reunite them with their moms and dads. today the democratic led judiciary committee held a
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hearing to find out why. most of the headlines about the testimony today were about how senior trump administration officials admitted they did nothing when they were warned that family separations would harm these kids and harm their family, they went ahead with it anyway. but part of what was so striking about this hearing today was the way members congress have started talking about the family separation issue. the focus is not just on the number of kids taken away and statistics, from the beginning today it was striking. this hearing was about what this policy did, what the u.s. government has done under president trump to essential ll negotiate the value and null if the idea of family ties and the impact the trump administration and this policy had on moms and dads and kids and about the outrage that came out of what the trump administration did when they basically decided to
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annul the family bonds of these families, to dissolve what held them together and present nothing relevant did. no regard for their value as a family, no plan to put them back together again when you treat families like their family bonds don't matter to you and don't exist, it ultimately leads to criticism like this. >> wihen a stranger rips a chil from their parents' arms without intent to reunify them it's kidnapping. >> when it's framed as invasion by aliens and we refer to children as u.a.c.s it's easier to pretend they are not human or worthy of compassion. >> that the focus was on first and foremost criminal aliens. >> by criminal aliens, you mean human beings, is that correct? >> yes, sir, illegal alien is a common term but immigrants. >> did you ever say this really
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goes against humanity, we should not be doing this to children? >> i did not say anything along those lines. as a parent -- >> did you your child -- >> if a parent is deported and they know where their child is in the united states, how do they get their child back? >> congresswoman karen bass from california there at the end asking question that the trump administration had no plan to answer when they started taking kids away from their parents, how do they get their child back? >> joining us is karen bass, democrat of california and member of the judiciary committee and chair of the black caucus at today's hearing. real pleasure to have you here tonight. thank you for joining us. >> thank you. >> first of all, i'll struck by the fact as far as i can tell, these are the first subpoenas that to the trump administration and to have it happen on this issue and see that pointed and
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emotional hearing today, i wanted to get big picture, your perspective on whether or not this is going to change, whether or not this is something that can be remedied and whether you think congress can make progress? >> i absolutely think it has to be remedied but there needs to be legislation that absolutely requires the government to take responsibility for reunification because you know right now the government is not responsible. i think that the parents that were deported, they need to send the children back. they also need to incur the expense because i've been told on numerous occasions that families have to pay to have their children flown home, but one of the things that concerns me a lot, rachel, is this category of parents that were considered ineligible to reunify with their child. there is no basis for a border patrol agent to determine who is eligible for ineligible to be a parent. we do not treat children that
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way in the child welfare system when their parents have been charged with neglect and abuse, so why on earth would we do that to parents who have not had any charge like that at all? >> the slipperiness of this as a policy is part of any charge like that at all? >> the slipperiness of this policy is what has been hard to cover and hard i think the general public to keep track of whether or not progress is being made and attended by this administration. part of what i feel like you were getting at today in some of your questioning and some of your other colleagues is the issue of whether or not the administration actually has a coheerc coherent policy on this. whether there were still ways that families are being separated even when the administration says the policy broadly is over. do you feel you and your colleagues are getting to the bottom of is this happening and
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to what degree? >> their policy is to punish parents and have gnat be deterrent so that people won't continue to come across the border. one of it most egregious policies that i think we will look back years from now and say that we cannot believe that our government actually did this. so i think they have a coherent policy. i do think progress is being made on the children that are party to the lawsuit of the aclu. but the children that were not involved in that lawsuit before the case was filed and after, i'm not sure what's happening there. i do believe separations are continuing because it's not clear who they decide is a family member or not. does a grandmother qualify? does a sibling qualify? does an aunt qualify? i don't believe they do, and they do still separate the children. and i don't believe that they know how many children were separated. i believe they are annal accounting for the children in the lawsuit. not the ones before and not the
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ones after. >> congresswoman karen bass of california. thank you for your time tonight. i know this is just the start. i hope you'll keep us apprised as you guys keep digging into this. >> absolutely. i need to tell you since we have been on the air tonight we have just gotten an opinion, an important opinion on this question which may be coming up soon, which is the question of whether or not a sitting president can be indicted. since i have been on the air tonight we have had an opinion issued on that subject from someone who is very qualified to take a position on it. i'm going to get this together on a commercial break. it's just happened. we'll have that story for you next. it's just happened we'll have that story for you next biopharmaceutical researchers. driven each day to pursue life-changing cures...
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former attorney general eric holder is reportedly mulling a potential run for president this year. attorney general holder has not yet said one way or another if he is going to run, but the fact he last talked to reporters about that possibility while he happened to be visiting des moines, iowa, tells you that he is definitely thinking about it. tonight, however, former attorney general eric holder has just made some news for a different reason. since we have been on the air tonight just a few minutes ago amid this cascade of news about the president's former lawyer, michael cohen, testifying in open session tomorrow to what we're told to expect will be alleged criminal conduct by the president while president trump served as president, while we have been talking about that anticipated testimony tomorrow from michael cohen attorney
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general eric holder has just tweeted moments ago, quote, a sitting president can be indicted. he wrote the quote, the constitution does not anticipate allowing a president who used prod to obtain the office to remain in power. executive branch paralysis during the criminal process is not a compelling argument against the ability to indict a president. consider the 25th amendment, a sitting president can be indicted. again, eric holder posting that this hour. we are living through a wild moment in american politics. we are living frankly through a wild moment in american history. there's more to come. stay with us. n history. there's more to come stay with us
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which is serious and may lead to death. ask your doctor about farxiga and visit farxiga.com for savings. if you can't afford your medication, astrazeneca may be able to help. i can't imagine you have not already called in sick on the occasion of this, but just so you know the michael cohen testimony tomorrow is due to start at 10:00 a.m. eastern time. you should absolutely plan to watch it live right here on msnbc throughout the duration of that hearing. then we'll see you tomorrow night. now it's time for it "last word" with lawrence o'donnell. >> rachel maddow calls for a national sick out for michael cohen day in america. >> well, we didn't rent the movie theater, so i feel like i got to do something. got to at least plan for some sort of accommodation. i'm not planning on coming to work. i'm planning on getting in my jammies, all pie snacks, calling the dog walker, and then we'll be here tomorrow

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