tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC March 2, 2019 5:00pm-6:00pm PST
obviously, they feel differently about it. they point to the 17 events that he did for hillary in the final week of that campaign, for instance. now, the question is whether this will cost sanders in the democratic race this time around. how deep do the sentiments of clinton loyalists go with democratic voters. polling now suggests, it may not be that deep. sanders' favorable rating with democrats, 75%, to 15% unfavorable. those numbers aren't very different from joe biden's. the real question may be influence, though. the clinton vets, the activists, the folks who do hold a grudge from '16, will they raise their voices loudly to try to stop him? and if they do, will democratic voters listen to them? that's "hardball" for now. chris will be back here monday night, 7:00 eastern. tonight on "all in" -- >> as far as cohen is concerned, he's convicted, he's a liar. >> lying about a liar's lying more a liar continues. >> he said to me, at least a dozen times, that he made the decision on the payments and he
didn't tell you. >> yeah. >> tonight, from cohen to kushner and beyond -- >> the president had no involvement. >> the president's destabilizing assault on reality. >> every day, most of us knew we were coming in and we were going to lie for him on something. and it's exactly what's happening here in government, sir. >> reclaiming my time. >> congresswoman maxine waters on the president's criminal behavior, impeachment, and her interest in the trump foundation. and after a week of hearing from michael cohen -- >> i've never been to prague. >> -- where we stand on the big russia questions with buzzfeed's ben smith. >> there's just so many dots that all seem to lead to the same direction. >> when "all in" starts right now. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. the president and his allies are fully invested in trying to discredit and destroy michael cohen, repeatedly calling cohen a liar.
>> as far as cohen is concerned, he's convicted, he's a liar. he's defrauded, at a high level. got a lot of problems. and, you know, it was very interesting, because he lied so much. >> yes! yes, the president -- the president just said something true. that's true. michael cohen is a liar. he's a completely unreliable character. but that's not our fault. we're the people on the outside of trump's insane tangle of lies, attempting to get to the truth. we have to deal with what trump has given us. and he has surrounded himself with liars. he's a liar, his kids are liars, every around him is a liar. the trump campaign organization is full of on-the-record liars who have been indicted or pleaded guilty for lying. president trump does not get to defend himself by saying everyone around me is an unrepentant liar. yes, that's the problem. and amidst this miasma of lies,
we're the ones left trying to figure out the facts. what did he do? what did the president do? what crimes has he possibly committed or not committed? what exactly happened with the russians or didn't happen? i don't care what the facts are. they could be exculpatory, like the fact that michael cohen apparently did not go to prague, says he was never there, in contravention to the dossier. i just want to know them. but we cannot know them, because the president and everyone around him lie constantly. i would like it to be that there's one reliable person in trump's organization, but there is not. and the thing is now, his organization is our government, ours, represents us. they're going hard right now on michael cohen. and yes, as i said, he's a liar. everyone who worked for the president, basically, is a liar. paul manafort is a liar. rick gaetes is a liar, papadopoulos is a liar, michael flynn is a liar, jared kushner is a liar, don junior a liar,
ivanka is a liar. every one of them is a liar. john kelly got up and lied. kristen nielsen got up and lied. mike pompeo, lied. sean spicer, lied publicly nearly every time he opened his mouth. sarah huckabee sanders has done exactly the same thing. they all lied, they all lie, they lie about big things and they lie about small things. they lie about consequential things and they lie about trivial nonsense. and then when they get caught lying, they don't even admit it. the best example is that trump lied for deals about the trump tower/moscow deal, whether he was working on it during the campaign. his personal lawyer pleaded guilty to lying dong about it. and then the president who had lied about it over and over and over and over again came out and said, yeah, yep, we wanted to build a tower and pursued it throughout the campaign. so what? today they did the same thing. the same exact thing about jared kushner's security clearance. kellyanne conway said today, the president has the absolute right to grant clearance. that's true! completely true. so why did the president and his
senior adviser lie about it tlooeat least nine times? as house oversight chairman elijah cummings said at the end of michael cohen's hearing earlier this week, the deception overwhelming. >> i mean, you know, come on now! i mean, when you got, according to the "washington post," our president has made at least 8,718 -- 8,718 false or misleading statements. that's stunning. that's not what we teach our children. i don't teach mine that. when we're dancing with the angels, the question will be asked, in 2019, what did we do to make sure we kept our democracy in tact? did we stand on the sidelines and say nothing? >> joining me now, a member of the house oversight committee, congressman rokana of california who was questioning michael
cohen earlier this week. congressman, i want to talk about the specifics, but first the question is, are we closer to the truth? do you feel after the hearing and with the agenda before your committee now that we are getting closer to the truth? >> i think we are. we know that there was a criminal conspiracy between the president, his son, weisselberg, and cohen for financial fraud and that the southern district of new york is investigating this ongoing conspiracy. so that is closer to the truth. we need more people to come before the committee to testify to continue to corroborate it. >> i want to play you something that rudy giuliani said about the reimbursement payments. of course, this is something they have lied about over and over, the president lied to everyone on air force one when he asked about it, lied about it consequently. and this is rudy giuliani today, today, what he had to say. take a listen. >> we brought out ten months ago that he made the payments. it's our view of it that the
president didn't know about it at the time. and then the president, when he found out about it, made arrangements for reimbursement. >> there is literally tape of him talking to michael cohen about it at the time. what is your response when they try to sort of gaslight us all this way? >> well, obviously, they're lying. but it's more serious than they're lying. the president didn't just pay michael cohen through his personal check. he set up an elaborate trust through his financial organization, the trump organization, and they cooked the books in the trump organization to reimburse cohen. and they're -- and cohen brought in the checks. here's the thing, every time they attack cohen's credibility, you don't have to believe a word cohen says. he has smoking gun evidence. just look at the evidence. cohen corroborated everything he alleged with evidence. and the evidence was that the president, his son, and weisselberg elaborated a whole scheme to commit financial fraud. >> your committee has announced,
the chair, elijah cummings, it already was looking into the security clearance issue, which has opinion an issue above and beyond just jared kushner. the chair wrote another letter today in the wake of the kushner revelations in "the new york times." explain why this is an important issue for oversight and isn't just something that the president can grant or not grant as he pleases. >> well, here's why it matters. the president has had a systemic assault on expertise and civil servants in our democracy. look, i know jared kushner. we work at the white house office of innovation to pass a bill on the idea act. and this isn't a partisan issue. but who puts jared kushner in charge of middle east peace? and when you give him a top-secret clearance and you know that he's on whatsapp with mbs and saudi arabia and that this may be affecting things like the war in yemen, there are real concerns. so this isn't some partisan issue. this is saying that the president has disregarded foreign policy advice, he's put his son-in-law in charge of the middle east peace process, and
the son-in-law is getting sensitive information that he may be sharing with mbs and who knows else around the world. >> there's reporting today from nbc that the house democrats are preparing a case to request the president's tax returns. that would be the ways and means committee. that's the one that has jurisdiction. but it's been coordinated with chairs of other committees. is that something you would support? >> absolutely. and let's remember why we have this authority. i want goes back to the 1920s, the teapot dome scandal, when there was corruption and bribery. and congress said, well, we can't just rely on the president to tell us if there's corruption. we've got to get the tax returns. so there's precedent for this and we should absolutely get the tax returns. >> all right, congressman khanna on the oversight committee, thank you so much. joining me now, michael steele and michelle goldberg, both msnbc political analysts. you know, i find myself just
exhausted. this is one of those weeks where it's exhausting, that giuliani clip. because unless you are paying -- here's why it is exhausting. it's effective in its own way. unless you are paying extremely careful attention -- it's my job to do that -- i was even like, oh, no, did he know about "the times"? and someone had to be like, buddy, there's a tape. i was like, oh, right, we already know that. but the barrage of the lies is so constant, it creates a sort of noise. it can hollow out people's memories. >> and that's the whole point. and you put your finger on the play from the very beginning of this. and it is, i think, sort of the calling card of the trump environment that you throw everything at once into the mix and let people figure it out. meanwhile, i'm going to skip to the loo over this way and when you catch up to me, i've got another pile to throw out there for you to look at, too. >> and when you catch up to me, this is the key part, i'm never caught. that was to me, kellyanne conway said, the president has the
authority. right! so why'd you lie about it? oh, yeah, i wanted to build a moscow tower. then why'd you lie about it? >> because you spent all the time going after the president's lie. and they come back and go, well, he had that authority all along. why are you so upset, chris? >> and it's not just trump, right? this is the hallmark of a lot of modern authoritarian states, none more so than russia. there's this book that's called "nothing is true, everything is possible," this book about modern russia that will give you a lot of insight into the terrorism that the trump administration practices on us every single day to keep us in this state of derangement and feeling slightly off-centered and not being able to get your bearings in this miasma. >> i thought this was an amazing statement to the emipistilogica terrorism, nine times, the president of the united states, kushner and ivanka all deny that jared kushner was granted
special clearance over the objection of others. we now that's not true, there's memos moralizing from don mcgahn and john kelly. so a spokesperson for abbe lowell says the following, in 2018, white house and security clearance officials affirmed that mr. kushner's security clearance was handled in the regular process with no pressure from anyone. that was conveyed to the media at the time and if news stories, if accurate, do not change what was affirmed at the time. meaning, we lied, and just because it's now true doesn't mean that we didn't lie. what the hell kind of a statement is that? because, again, if you want to deconstruct the administrative state, it starts with deconstruct the way you think and the way you perceive reality. >> okay, but is it that strategic? >> yes! >> or are they just hustlers who are caught? >> well, even hustlers have strategy. >> that's true. that's true. michael cohen showed that on the stand. a canny hustler. >> particularly when they're in an environment where they don't have absolute control on every inch of the outcome, which is one of donald trump's biggest frustrations, is he doesn't know
exactly all of what mueller has. and so now with cohen sort of fi filling in some very important gaps, it gets a little bit more dicey. so what do you do, chris? you throw a little bit more miasma in the miasma and you're ready to go. >> there's also the fact, michelle, what is remarkable is that there is a broad consensus, you almost saw it from the republicans defending trump, i think there's generally consensus that the president has probably committed indictable crimes. i don't think people really think that's outlandish, right? that's just priced in. it's just like this weird question of -- >> even donald trump jr. at one point was saying, well, they're going after things from 2006, as if you get like quota -- >> if not a pass because it was 2006. >> but in a weird way, it's like the sort of estimation of his character, which i think is low even among republicans on the hill, right, what they think he can or -- is or is not capable of -- >> there is a genuine concern about how this plays out legally from a federal standpoint.
what i've always said, and i think all of us here know, his problems just are beginning at the federal level. it's the state of new york that's sitting there waiting for him in either 2021 or 2025. so the reality for donald trump is, he still has to keep throwing as much of the bright, shiny stuff out there. the question for the press is, and for others is, how much of that do you discount and just flat-out set to the side? >> well, i also think that democrats might be making a mistake by sort of waiting for this consensus to emerge, that a certain level of criminality is intolerable, right? i mean, somebody has to build the narrative, kind of. they have to go hard, make the republicans set -- you know, make them say outright, we're willing to tolerate this amount of criminality. the republicans did that with kind of completely nonissues, you know, benghazi, complete fantasies. but they were able to build a narrative and put democrats on the offense i have. and i think democrats are
waiting for the reality to set it independently and then they'll act on it. >> i think that's a great point and i just saw some polling about, people were asked about when cohen was raided, is he part of a larger pattern of illegal wrongdoing, and 38% said yes and now it's 41%. i think there has been a -- the thing i keep coming back to is the president is implicated in a federal crime that's already been pleaded to. it's not theoretical -- >> and a federal crime that's material to his election. >> winning the election. >> but you have -- here's the problem, and this is why the democrats moved the way they moved on this part of it. because you still have the question of, can you actually bring this man to heal? can you actually indict him? can you bring these charges and make them real? you don't want to be the democrat out there sawing from that limb to have it sawed off at some point, not by republicans, but by other democrats. and that's the problem. >> but i think the point there is that they have not worked to build the political -- i mean, i think they slowly but surely are, but in some ways, what's weird -- >> you might be going out on a
limb to say, let's indict him for being a russian asset, but you're not going out on a limb to say, he was part of a criminal conspiracy involving campaign finance reform and he probably wouldn't have been elected absent this crime. >> so then the question becomes, so what? what do you do about that? and how do you legally address that shall with the sitting president of the united states? >> and the answer to that, i mean, there's all of this question about indicting -- >> right! >> -- and benjamin netanyahu got indicted today, silvio berlusconi, other countries do. but in this country, it's generally agreed you have to do impeachment. >> i think that's going to change after that. >> yes, that might change, too, because watching everyone twist themselves in knots to deal with this is really something else. michael steele and michelle goldberg, thank you next. up next, congresswoman maxine waters, what she's learned in two minutes. waters, learned in two minutes dancer, casting directors will send me a video of choreography. i need my phone to work while i'm on the subway. you'll see me streaming a video, trying not to fall. (laughs)
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awareness that there now seems to be plenty of evidence that the president committed crimes. and the big question is, so what are democrats going to do about it? which may seem to be an odd way to look at things, but an inevitable one, nonetheless, since the only thing republicans have done is to insulate the president from accountability. joining me now, one of the president's most outspoken critics, maxine waters, the chair of the financial services committee. congresswoman, do you feel like you learned up in things at the cohen? did it change your mind? did it intensify your feelings about things you already thought? >> well, as you know, i have been looking at this president before he was inaugurated and i came out early, talking about impeachment, because i knew all about manafort and flynn and sater and all of these people and so i'm not really surprised, not a lot of new information. but it's information that needs to be investigated, needs to be explored, because the republican certainly did not do anything
with this information. and so whether we're talking about collusion or obstruction of justice, we're talking about finances, we're talking about the foundation. this really needs to be investigated and explored. >> well, isn't dish mean, don't we already -- i guess my question is, is there not already evidence that he has -- he's implicated in at least one criminal conspiracy, what has to do with the hush money payments, and is that not in your crime a high crime or misdemeanor? >> oh, certainly. absolutely. this president has lied. he said that, you know, he had not -- the president said he has not paid off anybody, but he certainly has. >> let me ask you this. there's now a movement among -- you're in democratic leadership, of course. you chair the finances -- the financial services committee. there's a movement among leadership, sort of coordinated move the chair of the ways and means committee is going to move towards the president's taxes.
that's something you've called for in the past. you happy that seems to be happening? z >> well, as you know, there's a coordinated effort between all of us, the five different committees that we chair. i'm on financial services and of course, we have judiciary. we have oversight and investigations and we have the ways and means committee. and foreign affairs committee. we're meeting, so that we understand what each other are doing and that we are not necessarily bumping into each other and so we're coordinating our efforts and i think it's a very good thing that we're doing. >> do you -- but just to be clear, you favor or endorse them moving forward to try to acquire the president's tax returns? >> oh, absolutely. and that's in the ways and means. >> right. >> and yes, absolutely! this president has lied about his tax returns. he said that they were being audited and that, because of that, he could not share them. but he's never intended to share his tax returns, because he
knows we're going to find out a lot about him when he does. and the lies that he's been telling. and what i really want to know, and it may not be in my jurisdiction, but what i really want to know is whether or not he performed services that he got paid for and he did not want to pay taxes on them, and so he told the people to put the money into the foundation. >> right. >> i believe there's a lot of evidence for that. i've even gotten some calls from people who are close to this information, who are sharing it with me. and it may be information that i give to the ways and means committee. we'll see how to work it. but there's a lot of information about how this foundation was used or misused. >> interesting. so the foundation. i want to ask a few other oversight questions. you already sent a letter to mick mulvaney, who is the head of omb, current chief of staff, acting, and was the head of the cfpb for a short while, saying
that you may want him to come before your committee to talk about his tenure there. what do you want to learn about what he did there? >> we know that mulvaney was sent to the consumer protection bureau in order to dismantle it. the republicans hate the financial services protection bureau. they hate the bureau. and so they want to get rid of it. and they have undermined it in every way that they possibly can. so mulvaney was sent there to do it in. and basically, we want him to come and talk about some of the things that he has done to undermine the financial services protection bureau and see what he has to say. >> another area of oversight that you've been focused on for quite a while has to do with deutsche bank, which is in your portfolio at financial services, is also the sort of loan bank lending to donald trump after his multiple bankruptcies. there's some indication they are cooperating with your committee now and investigating or with the democrats more broadly?
what's going on there? >> yes, they are. as you know, we started sending letters to deutsche bank last year and they were not responsive, because they did not feel that we had the authority to demand anything from them, the documents that we wanted. but now that i'm chairing that committee and the democrats are in charge of the house, they have said they will cooperate. we have people that are going up to new york to sit with his people and to go over our document request and we're going to find out a lot about deutsche bank and his -- and that bank's relationship to the president. we are very concerned about money laundering. we know that deutsche bank has had a reputation for money laundering for a long time. and it's the only bank that would really deal with the president. the other banks said, hands off, they had enough of him. his bankruptcies, his suing, you know, even deutsche bank. and so deutsche bank is, you
know, the bank that he has been dealing with and his family have been dealing with deutsch bank. they all, i think, have loans. big loans from deutsche bank. so we are really interested in his finances. and they have done rooueviews. we want to know what those reviews tell them about what he's doing. >> so you have staffers that are coordinating with attorneys at deutsche bank on document production right now? >> yes, i do. >> i think i learned something new there. congressman maxine waters, thank you so much for making the time. >> well, thank you so very much. still to come, michael cohen's testimony shed light on some of the biggest outstanding questions from the infamous steele dossier. we'll go over it all with buzzfeed's ben smith, next. smit and more people than ever struggle with debt. intuit is here to change this story... with giant solutions like turbotax, quickbooks and mint that give everyone the power to prosper.
the central council issued this very vague statement. we're eager to know what he's talking about. we have two federal enforcement officials who have told us that president trump directed michael cohen to lie to congress about negotiations to build the trump tower in moscow. >> you might remember, one of the biggest questions heading into michael cohen's testimony this week was how to understand that blockbuster report from buzzfeed a few weeks back. in it, they said the president directed cohen to lie to congress about the moscow project they were working on through the 2016 campaign, which would be a crime. robert mueller's office took the unprecedented step of shooting down the thrust of that report, though buzzfeed's editor, ben smith, stood by his reporters and their story. the whole thing was genuinely baffling. then this week, cohen himself appeared to resolve the tension, testifying the president sent
any clear message without explicitly instructing him to lie. >> so you had a conversation with the president of the united states about your impending testimony before the house intelligence committee? is that correct? >> that's correct. >> what was the nature of that conversation? >> there is no collusion, there is no -- there is no deal. he goes, it's all a witch hunt. and he goes, this stuff has to end. >> did you take those comments to be suggestive of what might flavor your testimony? zp >> sir, he's been saying that to me for many, many months. and at the end of the day, i knew exactly what he wanted me to say. >> cohen also confirmed some other key aspects of buzzfeed's reporting and explicitly addressed some of the most contested parts of the steele dossier, which you might remember buzzfeed first published just over two years ago. for an update on where all of this stands, i'm joined by
buzzfeed editor in chief, ben smith, who was sued over dossier until cohen dropped the lawsuit. so everyone was trying to make sense of this situation. you had reporters with an incredible track record on this story, the special counsel's office came out, fairly carefully worded, but pushing back. do you feel like you understand the discrepancy now? >> you know, i feel like i understand what we reported and what cohen said. i think i still would -- you know, it was a very careful statement from the special counsel. and just to step back, when he put out that statement, you were fairly cautious about what you said about it, but a lot of people said, what that means is he's rejecting the core elements, the central thesis of the buzzfeed story. >> that the whole thing is knocked down. >> i think if you watch what cohen said, he -- you know, the two really core central pieces of that story were, cohen thought he had been told to lie. hi certainly said that. he used the word "told." and two, this was in our story,
although it didn't get that much focus, but the testimony was that the president's lawyers allegedly conspired to on his false testimony to congress. that's a very important claim. and cohen, again, alleged that. you don't have to believe michael cohen, but i think that if you read our story and watched cohen's testimony, i think those things line up. >> here are a few key details independent of, did he instruct him to lie, that appear to be confirmed. that trump briefed cohen on moscow project around ten times during the 2016 campaign, a part of the testimony and a jaw-dropping part of that story. >> yes, just to step back. the reason that the moscow tower project is now right at the center of every -- of this conversation between trump and russia is because of how jaw-dropping it is. this is deep into the 2016 campaign. we're talking the summer of 2016. this is what jason and anthony revealed, they were having that conversation about a $300 million deal to build the tallest building in europe and give vladimir putin the penthouse. that is an amazing thing.
>> and also, that he briefed ivanka and don junior on the moscow project, that he considered traveling to russia during the 2016 campaign, and that, like you just said, and this again, sort of a bombshell moment, one of the biggest takeaways is that the lawyers edited cohen's house intel testimony. >> these are michael cohen's accusations and you can see why a prosecutor would be uncomfortable going to court as michael cohen their star witness. that was the point republican made over and over. but this is what we reported, as we reported the special counsel's investigation, the investigation in general, and told congress. >> so when you guys published the dossier, which was extremely controversial at the time, you faced, if i'm not mistaken, multiple lawsuits about that. how many? >> there were initially three. are you down to one now? >> it's going through the courts, but we won a really crucial verdict in florida. >> so cohen was one of the people who initially sued you. he also -- i think he like gave
a picture of his passport, and he said, the reason is because it alleges that he plays a central role in the dossier. it says that michael cohen traveled to prague and he picked up the deal from manafort to pay the hackers, basically. it's very james bond, cloak-and-dagger thing. i want to play the testimony of him saying i did not go to prague, which was a big moment in that testimony. take a listen. >> have you ever been to prague? >> i've never been to prague? >> never have? >> i've never been to the czech republic. >> you testified today that you have never been to prague and have never been to the czech republic. do you stand behind that statement? >> yes, i do. >> does that have some meaning or significance for you since you guys testified, you first published the dossier? >> i think that was an incredibly explosive allegation. i want to separate these things, though. the story that we were reporting about cohen's testimony to the special counsel was based on senior law enforcement sources. the dossier, we published and we knew -- we said it was an important, important historical document that was not verified. >> you did not vouch for everything in there. >> and so i think those are
really important claims. i think cohen, under oath, saying he hadn't been to prague, it's pretty -- that's important and there has not been compelling evidence that he was in prague. >> where are -- you know, in sort of a grand sense, as someone who's editing jason leopold and ann cormy who has done a lot of the work, particularly on the moscow power, which is front and center, do you feel like you have a clear picture of where we stand? >> i think anyone who is pretending to know what bob mueller knows, i don't believe him. i certainly don't think i know that. he has been in some sense lowering expectations for the mueller report, which also means you should have low expectations or high expectations. and i have not talked to anybody who really thinks they know. >> about what he -- >> about what he has. i think he has a lot of different ways he can have things that you and i do not have and know things that you and i do not know and i think we're all waiting for that. >> ben smith is the editor of buzzfeed, buzzfeed news, it's great to have you here. >> thanks for having me on. ahead, the problem with framing the impeachment question
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to lead this country. that is according to the guy in the my pillow commercials. >> as i stand before you today, i see the greatest president in history. of course he is, he has chosen by god. >> this week, the true believers could see a symbol irk version of the wall that trump failed to build and a cocktail named after hifz broken promise that mexico would pay for it. cpac was a place to hear how hillary was going to pay. the one and only sebastian gorka still has the art war mobile, but the time on his parking meter is over.cpac also did get big names including trump, who will speak tomorrow. we already heard from mike pence and ted cruz and senator josh hauly who hilariously was served with a subpoena as he exited the cpac stage. but the biggest star of the conference so far is not any of those people. it is, instead, a certain democratic socialist that the cpac crowd just cannot stop
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so there were two main themes for the maga friends at cpac this year. the glory and wonder of donald trump and oh, my god, we're obsessed with alexandria ocasio-cortez. everywhere you looked, it was the very, very scary aoc and she's apparently coming for your cows. >> with this green new deal, they're trying to get rid of all the cows. >> let me say, i support cows. i hope to see peta supporting the republican party now that the democrats want to kill all the cows. >> as far as those cows you mention, i've got a hundred cows. you just let alexandria cortez show up at my house and try to take my cows away. >> i love cows, jerry. they're delicious. >> the obsession with ocasio-cortez was truly something to behold. panels were named after aoc and dedicated to attacking her,
video splashed the word "radicalism" in scary front while showing the scary new congressman from the bronx, while cpac featured a life-sized cardboard cutout of her. and you have to think that aoc must truly be on to something if she can inspire this kind of terror into mthe manliest of manly man. >> that is why alexandria ocasio-cortez -- has introduced the green new deal. they want to take your pickup truck, they want to rebuild your home, they want to take away your hamburgers. this is what stalin dreamt about, but never achieved. plp b
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. here in the united states, there is currently a very active debate about whether a sitting president can be indicted. but, some other countries have already decided that, yes, you can indict the sitting head of a government. in italy, for example, silvio berlusconi was indicted while still prime minister. and in israel, the attorney general has announced his intention to indict prime minister and trump ally, benjamin netanyahu on corruption charges. now, you will never guess how netanyahu is attempting to fight off the charges, as the bbc reports, he said, quote, the left knows kit not beat us at the polling both, so for the past three years, they have been carrying out an unprecedented witch hunt, which has one aim.
to topple the right-wing government, which i lead. sounds familiar. there is a question, of course, about whether netanyahu's hard-right supporters will even care if he's indicted or even found guilty. but this makes obvious the connection between corruption and the worth elements in domestic politics. because when faced with a looming indictment, netanyahu turned to an alliance with the political party, a hard-right political party so despicable, so outwardly racist that groups like aipac and the jewish community took the very rare step och denouncing the move. one israeli journalist writing for axios described it as, quote, equivalent to a u.s. president cutting a political deal with david duke, the former kkk leader. all makes one wonder, what exactly will donald trump do politically if he's the one backed into such a corner? he's backed into such a corner? mean. kind of like how you get 24/7 access to licensed agents with geico. hmm? yeah, you just go online, or give them a call anytime. you don't say.
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pg&e wants you to plan ahead by mapping out escape routes and preparing a go kit, in case you need to get out quickly. for more information on how to be prepared and keep your family safe, visit pge.com/safety. in the wake of michael cohen's testimony, there is a strange congealing conventional wisdom about what impeachment of president trump would mean political, and it's not strange
because it's necessarily wrong. the notion is that the democrats have a dilemma on their hands because while there seems to be evidence the president committed a crime or more, there's a strong impulse among many to pursue impeachment, there are possible political risks in doing so, and all of that may be true enough, but it also kind of misses the point. there is something odd about framing the president's criminality as a problem for democrats. by any normal standard trump has committed numerous impeachable offenses. special counsel robert mueller is almost assuredly going to tell us about many more. if impeachment is the remedy toe a manifestly unfit president it's long overdue. joining me now is independent journalist, along with former congresswoman elizabeth holtsman who served on the committee which voted to impeach richard nixon. dan, i really liked your piece. what were you trying to get at there? >> i'm really disappointed in the coverage of the topic of impeachment in the mainstream
media. they tend to cover it as just sort of a political story about optics, when will the democrats do it. will there be a backlash. i think the country is actually in need of a full throated discussion about has donald trump committed impeachable offenses, what are they, you know, and they need to be laid out in front of the country by congress, and whether you call this -- you know, there's a big difference between impeachment and impeachment hearings or investigative hearings or a select committee investigation of impeachment hearings. instead the press is talking about will the democrats, you know -- are they ready for backlash or what have you. i think it's crazy. >> what do you think? >> well, i agree with dan. i mean, this is a really important conversation to be had. the president is as i see it is that donald trump is a genius at just throwing facts against the wall -- i should say lies against the wall every single day, and new facts about
criminality misconduct come out every single day, and it's impossible for the public to absorb this and put it into a narrative, and that's what really needs to be done. but i think the other thing is the democrats need to stop thinking about the clinton impeachment and go back to the road map that was created in the nixon impeachment effort, and there what happened was you had a senate select committee. they did some very, very important work. they educated the public, had the key witnesses were there in public. they framed the issues for the public, did the president orchestrate the cover-up, did he know about the cover-up, or didn't he, and so when the saturday night massacre happened and the special prosecutor was fired the american people said enough is enough. >> dan, what do you think about the relationship between the impeachment as a political process and the democrats in the house and the mueller report? i think that's one of the most vexed part of this. i think there's a sense in which democrats will say we have to
wait for the mueller report and i understand that, but it seems like outsourcing of a constitutional dye duty that is fundamentally theirs. >> there's a thinking process that a lot more will come of it when the mueller report comes out, but that shouldn't forestall their investigation. there's no reason why they have to wait until the mueller report is out to begin investigating all sorts of things, much more openly than they have, and i think the antedote is putting this in the context of impeachment and putting in the narrative of what happened, what did the president do, what is he doing, what is he lying about now? >> well, i think one of the key things to start out with is you don't have to commit a crime to have an impeachment offense. there were three articles of impeachment against nixon, the second article was about abuse of power. it did not talk about crime. even the first article did not mention criminal code.
we don't need that. what people have to understand is that, yes, right now you have the outlines of a number of impeachable offenses. what congress has to do is strategically fill in the facts. it's like you have the outline of a puzzle, put the facts in. they're not doing that yet. >> right, and we should say that the house oversight had this big public hearing. it was the first public hearing of their kind. they're now talking about calling other people. felix sater is going to be testifying publicly. part of the issue is that there is no select committee. there's no sort of central warehouse. to your point, dan, impeachment itself provides a narrative framework because the question is that's the thing that you're filling in, otherwise it's sort of scattered? >> right, and it's important for the press to keep reminding you of that because otherwise it becomes too normalizing of this very abnormal presidency. >> do you think -- what do you think about the political point that is being made about democrats? i can't sort of figure out the degree to which that is a kind
of story from the outside and how much it's actually reflective of an organic sort of thing that they're working through? >> i think it's a legitimate story to some extent. i think they do have a political conundrum on their hands. but that is so far and above not the issue we should be discussing front and center. >> you know, the thing that i keep coming back to is just the straightforward and simple story right in front of us which is that the president's henchman fixer bagman lawyer already pleaded guilty to a federal felony that he's going to do time for, that he says was directed by the president, that he has evidence was done by the president. he has a phone recording conspiring with the president to do, that he has a check that the president wrote him to pull off, and said crime was committed in pursuit of the election itself. like, that's -- that's on its face that's all right there. >> yeah. >> it could well be an impeachable offense. there are other things he's done, for example, all of the
efforts to dangle pardons in front of people to keep them from cooperating with mueller. that was part of the impeachment of richard nixon. all the efforts to shut down the investigation, that was part of what the articles of impeachment were. the people need to know that. you don't have to have a crime. >> and also, you know, there are the emoluments issue. >> yes of course. >> there is the issue that liz describes of his just having a totally inappropriate response to the russian hacking. her book is a litany of really terrific examples. if you -- your benchmark is nixon, even by nixon standards, the sky is ripe. >> part of the issue is this basic conceptual question we keep coming back to. what are we talking about? what is the thing that's an impeachable offense? is that the category of the federal criminal code? >> no, definitely not. definitely not. you don't have to, the whole nixon impeachment never mentioned violation of a single statute. it's really important to understand that.
never mentioned the violation of any statute. >> why not? why that choice? >> because we don't want to be bound, congress can't be bound by the criminal law. >> because it's a completely different proceeding. >> correct. not only different proceeding, but the idea is an impeachable offense is an egregious abuse of power, misuse of the power of the office of the presidency, and that's the key. >> that's the deep constitutional question. i will note that one of the articles of impeachment against andrew johnson was basically about how he talked about congress. [ laughter ] >> and how he lied, literally, it was about his rhetoric. thank you both. >> thank you. >> i should mention our podcast why is this happening has some great episodes about these very questions we're talking about, for instance nick akerman talked to me about his personal story about investigating the president during watergate. we did an hour about why -- and while you're bingeing, may i recommend our most recent episode with stacey abrams who is a truly captivating
surprising person. i had a great pleasure to interview her live. you can find all of those episodes wherever you get your podcasts. that is all for this evening, the rachel maddow show starts right now. >> good evening, chris vhave a great weekend. >> happy friday. since it's friday that of course means ten pounds of news in a five-pound bag as usual. we should get a bigger bag for this day of the week. we got a lot to get to tonight, including the still expanding, still developing story first broken in the "new york times" last night that president trump overruled career national security officials and ordered that his son-in-law jared kushner be given a security clearance despite whatever it was that turned up in kushner's fbi background check and in a cia review that led to him being denied a permanent security clearance until his father-in-law had to intervene. the president, the president's