tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC March 8, 2019 6:00pm-7:00pm PST
essentially 30 years because of a revolution in the way all this stuff was done. >> well, i think the other thing you see as a small business owner, i experience this all the time and see it, witness it. you see when companies get big, the first thing they do is increase the barriers of entry to keep people like me from getting into the process. >> a story elizabeth warren told. amazon will sit there and say your plates look nice, we're selling amazon plates now. thank you both for being with me tonight. >> my pleasure. that is "all in" for this evening. "the rachel maddow show" starts now with joy reid in for rachel. >> thank you very much. have a great rest of your night. thanks to you at home for joining us. rachel halz ts the night off. she'll be back on monday. yesterday we were treated to two related pieces of news that were both shocking in their aown way. we witnessed the sitting president's campaign chair being sentenced to prison that that ever happened. that is one. the second piece is what kind of
sentence paul manafort got. one that shocked even veteran prosecutors because paul manafort's sentence of nearly four years in prison on eight felony financial fraud counts was far less than the 19 and 19.5 to 24 years that were recommended by the federal sentencing guidelines for his crimes. far less than we've seen people sentenced for for anything from mistakenly voting in an election with a previous felony conviction or being convicted for marijuana possession, for a lot of people watching that sentence yesterday, felt like an object lesson in rich man's justice and manafort and exited the court with a complete talking point that had nothing to do with what just happened in the courtroom. >> good evening, everyone.
mr. manafort got to speak for himself and seen what we said from day one, there is absolutely no evidence that paul manafort was involved with any collusion with any government official from russia. thank you, everybody. >> what do you think of the sentence? >> thank you, everybody. no collusion. wait, wait, what? even the very lenient judge who said that manafort had led an otherwise exemplarily life that robbed the united states of tens of millions of dollars, that judge said early on the charges against manafort had nothing to do with collusion. to come out of that trial to say see that, no evidence of collusion thanks makes zero sense and today, as if by coincidence donald trump picked up that familiar talking point and ran with it, very pointedly directing reporters to those comments from manafort's lawyers. trump said he was quote honored that the judge and case declared
that there was no collusion in russia. first of all, that's not true. the judge did not say that and again, that's not what the manafort case was about. but trump was very honored by those imaginary words by the judge. he didn't stop there. he kept staring the discussion back to no collusion and even back to his long time lawyer michael cohen and even though there is literally nothing in the cohen saga that benefits him, let's talk about my other associate that is headed to prison soon. a couple things are weird about this. the fact manafort through his lawyer seemed to be parroting the trump script as he prepares to go to another judge absorbed the massive public outrage how short a sentence he just received and more than a few legal observers are thinking the reason he's singing from the trump no collusion song book is part of this. something trump also brought up, unprompted today about michael
cohen. trump told reporters today that cohen lied to congress when he said he had never saw a barden and as soon as he boarded the plane for alabama today, trump tweeted that michael cohen had asked him directly for a pardon and trump claimed he said no. cohen says trump is lying about that but republican congressman jim jordan says he's going to send another criminal referral to the justice department over cohen's alleged lie about whether he asked for a pardon. raising the following intriguing question will donald trump have to be interviewed as part of an investigation into michael cohen's alleged lying into a pardon. if they had a one on one conversation as donald trump alleges in his twitter feed, wouldn't trump have to give evidence? also today, white house communications director resigned meaning this white house has gone through more communications directors than the real housewives had cast members.
bill shine came to the white house from fox news and he will go to work on donald trump's reelection campaign. perhaps one day he'll end up back at fox news. yes. it's the circle of life. and speaking of white house communications, one of the things that made this white house different from all the other white houses is the amount of leaking that happens inside it. this white house is so leaky, last year axios published a piece entitled white house leakers leaked about leaking in which some of the administration's leakers spoke to axios anonymously about what they leak and why. and when it comes to white house leaking, there is the petty score settling kind, there is the kind designed to advance your preferred policy position if you lost internal debate and in this white house, there is even leaking because maybe you think the only way to reach the president is to get something onto the tv so that he can see it during his executive time.
but there is also leaking out of concern, leaking that appears to be under taken to sound the alarm. it was six months ago this week that we got the astonishing op ed in the new york time when is an anonymous official described of being a senior administration official quote working diligently from within to frustrate parts of trump's agenda and his worst inclinations. quote, believe our first duty is to this country and the president continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic. americans should know that there are adults in the room. we are trying to do what's right even when donald trump won't. now your mileage may vary whether you thought that was courageous or self justifying but the leak in this administration, here is something the american people should know what is happening here there have been a number of
these. at the beginning of trump's presidency, anonymous white house officials leaked details and transcripts of trump's phone calls with foreign leaders, sure, maybe they did that to embarrass him but it seemed that some people inside this white house thought the public needed to know what trump was saying on those calls. there was the report a few months ago the president was carrying on all kinds of sensitive conversations with friends on his unsecured cell phone. conversations being listened to by chinese and russian intelligence. that leak certainly so you believeds like a warning or maybe a cry for help, quote, mr. trump's aids have repeatedly warned him his cell phone calls aren't secure and told him that russian spies are routinely ease dropping on the hauls but aids say the president has still refused to give up his phones. they can only hope he retrains information when he is on them.
we haven't been able to get him to do that dangerous thing so we better alert the public and there are various leaks about jared kushner and his security clearance and officials would not apply for a permanent one and the interim clearance was revoked and then the president reportedly ordered that he be given a top security clearance despite the red flags raised by intelligence officials. the president's chief of staff and white house counsel so alarmed by the president's decision they both wrote contemporaneous memos why they thought jared kushner should not have gotten ain the administrat has a beef. that is certainly possible. this is also someone sounding an alarm that this guy is having a lot of trouble getting a security clearance for a reason. and like i said, we are used to these leaks to the media.
every day we get at least one. but today we got a signal that there may be a substantial shift underway in the nature and seriousness of these disclosures. a shift that has all kinds of implications for oversight and for investigations of this white house. the house oversight committee has been asking the white house for documents on the security clearance issue for weeks. and ever since democrats took over the committee and this week the white house said no, no documents. which is expected to trig aeger subpoe subpoena. today, axios reports the oversight committee has gotten its hands on a number of the documents. they were leaked to the committee by someone inside the white house. quote, the house oversight committee in early february had already obtained the leaked documents, the detail that detail the entire process from the spring of 2017 to the spring
of 2018 how both jared kushner and icvanka trump were granted security clearances. think about that. leaking damaging information or sound the alarm type information to the press is one thing, leaking documents with national security implications to a congressional committee controlled by the opposition party with broad investigative and subpoena power, if this is correct, we may be in a whole now ball game. joining me now is congressman democrat of california who sits on the oversight committee. thanks for joining us. >> good to be on. >> let's go and get into this leak. obviously now the committee has the documents that walk your committee through the process of how jared kushner and ivanka trump got their security clearances. what now does the committee want to do about it? is this going to trigger hearings and could we see ivanka
trump and jared kushner forced to testify or white house officials that granted them their clearances? >> let me explain why this is a big deal. for a president that spend the entire 2016 campaign trail railing against hillary clinton's e-mail servers, this is a far bigger national security crisis. there are allegations that jared kushner had sensitive information that he has allegedly been giving lists to mbs, the saudi crown prince about saudi disdents and what is it in his background that was causing concern, has he been sharing top secret information with people in saudi arabia or other countries? why is it he has not disclosed a number of foreign business relations? this is not a partisan issue.
it's not a burro ceaucratic iss >> john kelly, the former chief of staff and don mcgahn wrote about these two obtaining the clearances, do you-all have the notes? >> i don't think we have those. both john kelly and the white house counsel at the time were opposed to the decision to give jared kushner top secret clearance. they were so opposed they felt the need to write a memo documenting how concerned they were and why jared kushner shouldn't get this information. this has implications. the president made jared kushner the point person on middle east peace and middle east policy and we need to know what information he has and who is he sharing it with. >> in the documents leaked to the committee, is there anything in the documents that indicates to you that jared kushner might have shared classified information with the saudi prince? >> i can't say it's in that but there is public reporting on a number of key points. one that jared kushner had
access to the presidents' daily brief. in that daily brief were numerous reports about saudi disdents and shared that with the saudi crown prince and he had meetings without having anyone in the embassy there and we know the crowned prince most likely ordered the killing of khashoggi. we know his ordering the bombing of hundreds of thousands of civilians in yemen and here there are ser dwroious allegati what he is sharing. this is not a burro ceaucratic issue. >> we know just from public reporting that one of the challenges jared kushner had getting a clearance is the fact he was in a lot of debt. he had a building in manhattan with a big balloon payment due and his father was looking, helping him to look for ways to
pay the bill. have you found anything in the leaked documents, anything that would indicate to you that jared kushner was seeking funding, seeking money from the middle east while he was in the middle east proputurportedly negotiati behalf of the united states? >> the public reporting, this are huge reports that jared kushner hasn't been fully forthcoming about his overseas business dealings. and all of his foreign contacts. i had a security background check when i worked at the commerce department. you have to disclose every single person you've ever met with in a foreign country in the past seven years. and for kushner not to disclose the contacts puts him in a country in a vulnerable spot. it may not be in a spot but that's why we have background checks to see if someone could take advantage of and i have concerns whether the saudis have
been taking advantage of the situation. >> congressman, thank you. appreciate your time tonight. >> thanks for having me on. if this report is accurate, someone in the white house leaked documents and how jared kushner and ivanka trump got their security clearances refusing to hand over that committ committee. how big of a change is that? how worried should the white house be? joining us is nbc presidential historian michael. >> thanks, joy. >> give us the answer to that question. how unprecedented is it for the white house to refuse to hand over documents of this sensitive nature related to national seek cu -- security? >> that's the thing. anyone complaining the trump white house is not full of invasions, this is one of them. usually you see someone in the white house leaking something to the press and if there is an investigation in congress, the
committee uses it. the trump white house if that is the source of these dock thes has cut out the middle person. joy, maybe two of the biggest revelations of a government secrets in the last 50 years were the pentagon papers and nixon tapes. the pentagon papers were leaked by a former pentagon employee daniel ellsberg to the new york times and washington post because he felt that this was something that americans needed to see how we got into this catastrophic vietnam war. and the nixon tapes, that was one of the most closely held secrets in the nixon white house, a member of the senate watergate committee staff basically guessed that perhaps nixon was taping his private conversations and asked a serving white house aid alexander butterfield, that's the traditional way very different from what we're seeing with the documents from the trump white house.
>> to take it further, if donald trump, the president of the united states ordered the security clearances to be granted over the objections of national security, national security staff, grant testified in the whisky ring scandal. there is a president for a president of the united states giving testimony to a special prosecutor no less. >> sure. >> could you see he has to do that. >> gerald ford testified before the house saying that there was no deal leading to the nixon pardon. he did that to the fall of 1974. there sure is. some of these old traditions, executive privilege is a tradition. it's not something that's in the contusion. >> yeah. and lastly, is there an person that has so much debt looking for it for foreign sources and who is in a position to read the presidents' daily brief? >> and if he used his position, if he did, to essentially compromise our american security interests to get money to
bailout his family in that bidding, that is something that we have never seen before and you have to assume that whoever leaked this, if this is someone in the white house felt that this was such an outrage and such a danger that there might be future such behavior if jared kushner or wife had top security clearances would be a clear or present danger, we have to look at this as a cry for help. >> extraordinary. he knew historical record being set every day. nbc presidential michael here to unpack it for us. appreciate it. >> see you soon. >> still ahead tonight, a little court transcript theater, get your popcorn. wait right here. we'll be right back. popcorn wait right here. we'll be right back.
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concurrently with whatever sentence the judge in his d.c. case issues next week. now here is the transcript, i cannot do this as well as rachel but go with me. quote, your honor, there is one other issue we'd like to raise manafort's lawyer told the judge. it has to do with whether or not you can order this sentence to be concurrently served with at which point the judge interrupts him to say quote i can't but she can. i don't believe i can if you find in the law that i'm incorrect, you can bring that to my attention. the judge then adds, i think it is entirely up to her whether any sentence she imposes is to run concur rent to thrent to th, anything else? no, your honor. of course not. it takes a special level of rich guy privilege to think you could ask the judge who just cut you a massive break to make sure that
the next judge makes that break stick. so clearly, there is no sense of contrition or remorse from manafort's camp, none. rather, a pretty bold presumption that the system should and will continue to work for him. next week, manafort will be in court before judge amy berman jackson that ordered manafort to jail for tampering with witnesses that could tack on as much as ten years to the four he's already facing behind bars. manafort's ultimate fate next week comes as the prospect of mueller's report looms over everything. today the top republican said that he met recently with attorney general bill barr and predicted that the public may only get a short summery of mueller's findings. great. this is all fine. his remarks today come as the democratic chairs of six house committees introduced a resolution that when completed, the mueller report should be
made available to the public and congress. joining me now is david corn, washington burro chief of mother jones and former u.s. attorney from virginia. david and chuck, i appreciate your time. how unusual is it from your point of view for a defendant who was just sentenced to say to the judge, hey, judge, can you make the next judge make the sentence concur rerent to have s time? is that normal? >> i was a prosecutor in federal court and defense attorneys asked for all sorts of crazy things. this is easy. there is a federal statute on point. i'll be a nerd here but if your viewers want to know it, title 18 of the code, the simple answer is no. the next judge amy berman jackson gets to run the accept tense consecutively or concurrently if she wants or some combination of the two. i've seen lots of defense attorneys ask for things they know they can't have.
and the judge was right in this case to say not in my court, not in my jurisdiction, i don't have the authority to give you what you're asking for. >> chuck, to stay with you, a lot of people were shocked by how little time manafort was given for this sentence, this stuff about him leading an exemplary life. do you think that shock and outrage people felt around the country will impact and judges react to the public reaction to other sentences. >> you know, they probably try not to but they are human beings like all of us and inevitably, she saw what judge ellis did in virginia and had some sort of reaction to it i'm sure in her own mind, probably already having read, joy, the presentence report from mr. manafort in her court. she has an idea in what she thinks is the just outcome thing here. was i shocked? not entirely.
i've practiced in front of judge ellis for many years as a federal prosecutor. was i disappointed? i was deeply disappointed. i think it was the wrong call, bad call. here is why. many, many years ago, congress past passed a statute to bring parody into the system. somebody who did what manafort did in san diego or spokane or whatever would get the same sentence regardless of which court and judge was handling the matter and so this was not just a departure. this was a dramatic departure and it was a departure without a motion from the government. normally if someone helps the government, if they are truthful and corporative, the government will move the court, ask the court to depart downward. manafort did not help. he lied. he did not earn a departure and certainly not entitled to what he got. he got a lucky break in front of judge ellis. i don't think the same thing will happen in front of judge
jackson. >> david, that's part of what is so outrageous. you have michael cohen out here bearing his soul in front of congress and going back over and over again to be helpful without a deal. he knows he's getting three years regardless. maybe he'll get a break down the road but manafort wasn't even helping the government. he was obstructing the government's attempt to find the truth here. tampering with witnesses, all the other things he did. just preview for me how it's -- i guess not the optics is the wrong word i feel but if the end this man that did not help, the mueller report comes out and we don't get to see it, what are we left with as a country after having gone through three years of this? >> that won't be the end of it. let's just -- i'm a little frustrated joy that people seem to be putting their eggs in the mueller report basket. and mueller has no obligation under the justice department guidelines to produce a comprehensive report telling stating what he found out and
what he learned. his only obligation is to give a report at the very end to the attorney general explaining why he prosecuted cases or declined to prosecute other cases. it could be a 12-page report. telling without getting into details or if he chose to, it could be the 5,000 page report explaining everything he found and why he decided to prosecute or not. we don't know. so it may be at the end of the day, if it's a more limited report, there may not be much to show and this gets back to the point we have discussed previously, it's not his job to tell americans the truth. that's not what he was hired to do. he was hired to prosecute look for him and prosecute criminal cases. it's congress' job and we're an independent commission to dig this and tell us what happened with the trump, russia connections and intervention because a lot of probably what went on may not have been a crime. it could be wrong. you can have scandals that
aren't necessariliy illegal but contain acts of profound betrayal. we still have the house democrats have taken control of the intelligence committee going back over an investigation that the republicans turn sed into a clown show. there is that. and hopefully they will give us some deeper and wider answers than robert mueller was ever asked to do. >> but, you know, david corn, my friend, you and i both know what the democrats are saying publicly and hearing in the reporting is that they are hanging everything on the mueller report, that they don't want to talk about impeachment, which is the hearings that would get the public the answers you just described, they would have a public hearing. it's not removal but impeachment. they say no, not unless the mueller report comes out. >> they are setting up expectations and standards for the report that may well be unjustified and sort of pinning themselves into a corner. you can have a robust
investigation with public hearings into the russia connections and into, you know, into, you know, trump bad business practices. you can do all that through these committees without it being impeachment proceeding. i would argue it's more responsible of democrats in congress to look at the various things that need further digging and scrutiny and that the public deserves to know about the security clearance issue that you talked about earlier in the show and they should spend their time not worrying about to impeach or not but go after the tax returns, look at the insurance issues that michael cohen raised, the tax fraud story that the "new york times" put forward a couple months ago about the trump family getting away with hundreds of millions of dollars in tax fraud. that's amazing. they should look at each and every one of these and then at the end of the day, then they can have a debate over whether to impeach or not and might be election time but the republican
is owed answers and you don't need impeachment to do that. >> we're out of time. chuck rosenburg, can you envision a leak of the mueller report, whatever it is coming out of that white house counsel's office if it's not released? >> i can't imagine it coming from the mueller team, joy. almost everything becomes public in someway at some point. my guess is that we'll see it but not from bob mueller. he's running a very tight ship over there. >> yes, he is. david corn, washington burro chief for mother jones and former u.s. attorney from virginia. thank you very much. all right. i'm not an accountant, tax law is not my thing. statistically speaking, probably not your thing, either. there is a strong possibility that it's about to be. more on that in a minute. stay with us. about to be. remo on that in a minute stay with us after months of wearing only a tiger costume, we're finally going on the trip i've been promising. because with expedia, i saved when i added a hotel to our flight. ♪ so even when she outgrows her costume,
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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. the new democratic house ushered in a lot of changes, the freshman meshes and speaker at the helm, the change in leadership in the committee means that we are seeing oversight for the first time since donald trump entered the white house. and that kicked into high gear this week when the house judiciary chairman sent over a sweeping document request to 81 people, entities related to trump world. that happened on monday. on tuesday, we learned that the house weighs and means committee is preparing to go after a decade's worth of trump tax returns and plan on doing so after using a 1924 law that ghighi
gives the chairman broad power to demand the tax returns of white house officials. in this case the white house official is the president. we're learning that committee might be taking that request one step further. they are looking at the pblt toy of broadening the request to ask for donald trump's business returns. now trump owns more than 500 companies and teentities. that means donald trump's business is not really a business in the sense we understand it. those more than 500 companies are all a series of llcs that normally should show up on your personal income taxes. that setup is common in the new york real estate business. so for the cop mitt mmittee, th step is to get trump's personal returns and look for the 500 plus llcs and if they are not listed, step two is to try to get donald trump's business tax returns. so it could get complicated. the chairman of the house weighs and means committee tells
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was a way to run for president as a democrat. that way was to run as a sen try to run as a democrat and working class suburban voters that fled to nixon and regan in 1980 and number one on the list of things you needed to do is talk tough on crime. it worked for bill clinton. it's a way clinton got elected in 1992. though he wound up apologizing for his part in mass incarceration once his wife was running, being tough on crime and end iffing off rep -- fendi republicans is how he signed in 1994. democrats trying to run from the same playbook are finding themselves in a very different democratic party where the progressive wing is getting stronger again and winning elections for congress. candidates for president who might naturally have appealed to the rust belt white working class voter 20 years ago are struggling to figure out a credible path to the nomination. this early on in the race, and it may be impossible to say what
kind of candidate or platform will work in the democratic primary. this week we've seen a number of potential candidates from that more wing, attorney general under bill clinton and president obama says he is not running. then senator jeff merck irkley new york mayor michael bloomberg this week hillary clinton confirmed in the local television interview that she was not running for president again. in the latest senator shared brown from ohio announced that he would rather stay in the senate. which brings us to joe biden. the former vice president of the united states, the ride or die besty of barack obama is reported to be seriously considering his third run for president. the challenge is joe biden comes from that law and order school of democratic politics. if you reach into his crates, what you'll find is the dialogue on crime that used to be the way
that you became the nominee. whether it's the way he over saw clearance thomas hearings and the treatment of anita hill or wrote and defended the 1994 crime bill thanks will sound very different when you hear it played again today. for joe biden, the upside is he would enter the race as the front runner if he gets in, full stop. he was the vice president, everybody knows him but the risk is the replay. today "the washington post" published parts of an interview that biden gave in 1975 to a local delaware paper. at the time, he was a freshman senator on the verge of surk stressfully passing a measure to block federal funding for bussing that would help integrate school systems. he argued against that saying quote, the real problem with bussing, you take people who aren't racist, people who are good citizens and believe in equal education and opportunity and you stunt their children's intellectual growth but bussing them to an inferior school and
fill them with hatred. he said i do not buy the concept popular in the '60s that said we suppressed the black man and the white man is far ahead for everything our society offers. to even the score, we must give the black man a head start or hold the white man back to even the race, i don't buy that. joining me now is chief public affairs officer and a former deputy director for president obama's 2012 campaign, great to see you. >> good to see you, joy. good to see you. >> thank you. let's talk about this. biden spokesman, this is a quote from bill russo about "the washington post" article said he never thought bussing was the best way to integrate schools in delaware, a position most people agree with. russo said he said during those many years of debate that bussing would not achieve equal opportunity. it looks like on this and on the crime bill and other things,
teal bid team biden is doubling down on what he said before. is that-wise in today's version of the democratic party? >> it is not wise at all. full disclosure, i know joe biden well and as i mentioned, i worked for obama on the campaign and obama administration where i got to work with joe biden and look, it is a complicated position that joe biden is in. he is incredibly popular, people remember him fondly and connect joe biden with the successes of obama and that will help him in the primary especially in a state like south carolina and where joe biden is now, he's in a situation where the last time that he ran alone without obama was 12 years ago. and now he's going to be in a situation where his 40-year record is going to be exampined and a fresh new look and things like the crime bill, things like
anita hill, the hearing with thomas, clearance thomas is going to come up and so the thing is here that they have to deal with this head on because 40 years ago was a different time. we have moved away from that. we're talking about structural inequality. we're talking about things that have really hurt the brown and black community over the last few decades so they need to talk about how that was a mistake. they need to talk about how the things that he has done in the last 15 years that dealt with the talking about civil rights issues and talk about women's issues and have to talk about that, as well but say you know what, where i was 40 years ago was a mistake and talk about why. by doubling down on things on records, on things he said in 1970s where he voted on the anita hill is a huge mistake.
>> we know young black voters held hillary clinton first lady at the time, she didn't pass or sign the crime bill. she was the first lady. she got tagged with her comment, super predators about the crime bill in this cycle kamala harris is being really tagged by a lot of -- not a lot but some african american voters because she was a prosecutor and prosecuted people in california in the way that office ran. can biden i don't know how to put this but biden's legacy is obama, his support for barack obama. if he runs, does his legacy then get relitigated by young voters who really weren't around during his tenure in the '90s but learn the things they learned about hillary clinton about him? >> 2016 should be a wakeup call for joe biden and everyone jumping in and clearly folks that decided they were not going to jump in. remember we had the black lives matter movement that happened around that time and led to
really playing a big role in the primary of 2016 as you mentioned with super predators that hillary clinton said first lady that hurt her and that primary. and so we're in a different time joy and you cannot, you cannot go by and not talk about your record because you're going to be called out for it and this is where we are. there is an energy and activism and conversation happening. people are calling out white supremacy and we also have donald trump who is in the white house who we're doing a bunch of things that hurt, you know, front line communities so we need candidates, not just talking the talk but walking the walk, not just having lines about the community, the african american community or brown community in their stump speech but actually putting forth what are they going to do? is the thing, the reality is you cannot, a democrat cannot win
the primary without the african american vote. they cannot win the general election without a high turnout in the black vote. black community and women in particular, black women hold the key to the white >> yeah. in sort of the reverse way. one might envision some more of the philadelphia speech, what president obama did to sort of fix an issue that came up regarding past associations. >> they have to deal with it. >> people might have to do it. karine jean-pierre from moveon.org. you are the best. appreciate your time. up next, special purpose communication tubes. it's all going to make sense. i promise. stay with us. st chow down midda? -you mean, like, lunch? -come on. voted "most likely to help people save $668 when they switch." -at this school? -didn't you get caught in the laminating machine? -ha. [ sighs ] -"box, have a great summer. danielle." ooh. danielle, control yourself. i'd like to slow it down here with a special discount for a special girl.
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click, call, or visit a store today. special purpose communication tubes. they are a thing that looked like this. they did not seem to do very much, even though these three gentlemen are making some pretty intense eye contact with them. those tubes had something to do with radar technology. they were made by a company called the interings naal telephone and telegraph company, itt for short. they took this video when they opened a new radar tube plant in virginia in the late 1950s, but itt was not just a special purpose communication communications tubes company, they were a huge phone company in their day, and in 1970s, itt wanted to get even bigger. they started gobbling up other companies to make one big monster conglomerate and they were eventually sued for it. during the nixon administration, the justice department filed a
lawsuit against itt for bull king up their company in a way that potentially lie lated federal antitrust law. it was a huge ordeal for itt, being sued by the justice department. until richard nixon made the whole thing go away. in what wound up becoming kind of a sibling to the watergate investigation, nixon ordered the justice department to drop the antitrust lawsuit against itt and let them go ahead and make their mega company, and he did it in exchange for a $400,000 check from itt written out to the republican party. the watergate special prosecutor archibald cox set up a task force to investigate that payoff and the allegation that the president leaned on the justice department to get them to drop a lawsuit. the special prosecutor reportedly turned up so much evidence of wrongdoing around the itt scandal that they were planning a prosecution, but they never got the chance. richard nixon, of course,
resigned and was pardoned before he could be held accountable for his conduct in the oval office. now, rachel has talked about this on this show before because there is a lesson here that is important. the president cannot interfere with the justice department. the president is not allowed to lean on or give orders to the doj about who they do and do not prosecute. that kind of thing is illegal. whether it comes with a $400,000 check from the telephone company or not. hold that thought.
this week, jane maier at "the new yorker" reported that in 2017 the current president tried to pressure the justice department when they were trying to decide whether to open an entrust lawsuit against at&t. at&t was trying to merge with time warner, which owns, drum roll, cnn. the president has repeatedly attacked cnn at his rallies and on twitter and made cnn his number one enemy in the media. even before he was elected he said that he did not think that the at&t/time warner merger should go through.
now, mind you, blocking that merger from happening would have been really bad for those companies' business, but donald trump -- from donald trump's point of view, it also would have been a kind of punishment for cnn. according to "the new yorker," donald trump as president demanded that his advisers instruct the justice department to open that antitrust investigation into at&t. a roundabout way of ordering the doj to meet out that punishment against the company that owns cnn because he doesn't like the way he's being covered. the justice department did wind up filing a lawsuit to block the at&t merger that the president wanted. a case that they eventually lost. doj says the president had no say in their deliberations when deciding whether to bring that suit, but now that the democrats control congress, they say they are going to find out for sure. democrats on the house judiciary committee have sent two letters, one to the justice department and one to the white house counsel, requesting a trove of documents relating to the president and his involvement in the at&t/time warner merger.
the document request spans a time period of more than two years. they're essential asking for any piece of paper or communication that might document donald trump's actions or directions surrounding the merger. they write, quote, even the appearance of white house interference in antitrust law enforcement matters, undermines public trust. the fact that actual interference would constitute a serious abuse of power. democrats are asking for those documents by march 20th, so hold on to your radar tubes, everybody, and watch this space. that does it for us tonight. rachel will be back on monday and i'll see you tomorrow morning on my show "a.m. joy." now it's time for "the last word" with the great ali velshi in for lawrence o'donnell. >> there are really valid reasons. >> totally. >> the one that donald trump picked is the wrong one. >> yeah. >> not liking how they cover you. right cause, wrong reason, once again. >> yeah, absolutely. can i just say, ali, just to give you a quick compliment.