tv The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell MSNBC March 14, 2019 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT
european country, maybe the new right-wing government in italy, anybody will do, to stop the uk from getting this delay its elected leaders are asking for so that britain is forced to crash out in two weeks with no plan. one british paper said having campaigned for most of his life, he's asking the e.u. to go against the british government. and he may be blowing smoke here but that feeling today that i'm pending disaster may temporarily postponed. that may be short lived if president trump's best british friend gets his way. that does it for us. see you again tomorrow. time for "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell. >> the competing for which had a worse day. it's been an amazing thing to watch. incredible. tonight we'll have another episode of meet the freshman and
harvard law school lawrence tribe will join us on how today's vote in the senate will help the lawsuits against the trump declaration of emergency to build a wall at the southern border and also to discuss a new element in a possible obstruction of justice case against the president. and at the end of the hour tonight, we will discuss what to expect in the transition of power when the time comes for donald trump to leave the white house. and show you donald trump of all people saying that he thinks beto o'rourke's hand gestures say he might be crazy. this from the man with the strange's hand gestures in the history of the american presidency but we'll be joined by joy reed on the dramatic vote
in the senate today in which more republican senators turned against president trump than ever before. the republican controlled senate dealt president trump a stinging defeat today voting to end the president's national emergency declaration, at the southern border. donald trump and his white house staff worked hard to pressure republicans before the vote and actually did manage to turn around one republican senator who very publicly had declared and put it in writing that he would vote against the president but one was not enough. 12 republican senators voted against the president and helped the democrats win the vote 59-41. here is the sample of republican senators who voted against the president today. >> never before has a president asked for funding, the congress has not provided it and then the president has used the national emergency act of 1976 to spend the money anyway.
>> the use of powers to the powers is. >> a spending request is designated as an emergency only, only if the need for spending met five-part test. it had to be necessary, sudden, urgent, unforeseen and not permanent. his decision to fund a border wall through a national emergency declaration, would never pass all of this five-part test. >> after the vote the president tweeted he looked forward to vetoing the resolution. nancy pelosi said this is not an emergency and the congress
declared in a strong bipartisan voice the fear mongering doesn't make it one. it was the second time in two days that the senate republicans voted against the president yesterday, seven republican senators voted with the democrats to end u.s. military support for saudi arabia's war and the house of representatives saw the kind of vote today it hasn't seen in a long time on a matter involving president trump. four republicans voted present today just present but no republicans voted against a resolution in the house of representatives saying quote, the report of special counsel mueller should be made available to the public and to congress. the vote for that resolution was 420-0 with four republicans voting present. today senate democratic leader chuck schumer tried to bring up that same resolution in the senate for a vote and republican senator lindsey graham objected and blocked a vote on that resolution.
today, the president was asked if his immigration policies are cruel. >> are your immigration policies cruel? >> no, the opposite of cruel. they have become cruel because they are so ridiculous and hurts people, it does the reverse of what it's supposed to be doing. they are meant to be the opposite and hurting people, they are really hurting people. >> does it hurt -- >> i think that we have done an incredible job, we're apprehending record numbers of people. >> the green you see the president wearing today is celebration of st. patrick's day celebrated early in washington and is, of course, a celebration of the history of american immigration particularly from ireland. nbc news cal perry has once again spent the week at the southern border reporting on trump border policies. today he reported from a place
on the boarder that does have a wall. >> lawrence, we're here at the wall between el paso and juarez. because the trump administration is turning migrants back, what they are doing is coming here to this spot on the fence. why are they coming here? they are coming t asylum and are doing so because we're standing on the mexico side of the barrier, i'm still in america. the border is of course the river, the half way point between that water so all migrants need to do to legally apply for asylum is get to this point and pick them up and start processing them through centers. once they are processed and released into the city of el paso, a city that's completely overwhelmed. >> you'll see a wall in most parts of the county but we're receiving a record number of migrants. the status quo of leaving it up to local communities to deal with the migrants and assist
them after that i think is grossly unfair. we get no state assistance. we receive no other assistance from any other level of government but the federal government should help communities such as el paso. >> this raises another legal question. we've been told that migrants will sometimes wait for 24 hours on the other side of the fence before customs and border protection is able to pick them up and process them. by law, customs and border protection should be doing it immediately. the problem is they are just as overwhelmed as everybody. >> leading off our discussion now is former democratic senator heidi hide camp and joining us joy reed and host of "a.m. joy" and nbc news correspondent cal perry is joining us from the southern border tonight and senator hide camp, you were working when it was unimaginable 12 republicans would stand up and vote against this president of the united states. >> you say it's against the
president. i like to put it this way, it's for the constitution. it's for article one powers, which is absolutely critical and many of the people who voted that way were appropriaors because if you crack this egg, you can't uncrack this egg. i think you take people like mike lee who stood with principles. where was ted cruz? for the six years i was there ted cruz railed against executive encroachment and critical of president obama. he didn't stand with the constitution today and i really applaud my colleagues that stood with the constitution, stood with the importance of article one. >> knowing them as you do, having worked with them there on the senate floor for so many years, did you have any surprises in the way republicans broke today? >> i thought jerry moran was interesting. he's a great guy. i worked with him quite a bit because he represents a rule state but i think he stood on
principle. lamar is an institutionalest and understands that. he's retiring. susan, no surprise. but i really think there were a number of people like moran who really in their gut believe this was a constitutional vote. a significant vote and that the people who voted the other way will ultimately regret it because just like breaking the filibuster and going nuclear on judges, things will change and then all of a sudden, you're on the other side of it. we have to be for institutional norms and certainly 12 republicans today stood up for the constitution and the institution of the united states senate. >> and joy reed, i was on the hill yesterday and had more than one democratic senator tell me that what the senator said about the ones that voted against it and know what's the right thing to to know it the right thing to
do and trump doesn't want them to do. >> i mean, i'm glad that senator hide camp mentioned the constitution change. what is happening, their own power, they are not just voting against the constitution with all due respect to the senator but voting to diminish their own status and standing as constitutional officers. the constitution is written with the understanding with each branch of government that was equal would jealously guard their power. for somebody like ted cruz to call themself a constitutional originalest and take my power. if my body says no to the president, the president can over ride my body. how do they run for reelection saying i'm the guy that stood for neutering the senate and diminishing the power for the body i wanted to serve in. makes no sense. corey gardener from my home
state of colorado, "the denver post" that shocked everybody by endorsing him thinking he would be a constitutional conservative has withdrawn and said it was a mistake because obviously corey gardener cares more about the second branch of government than the first. >> and joy, you have lamar alexander voting against the president, he's not running for reelection in tennessee. i guess we don't know what he would have done if he was running for reelection and susan collins who is running for e reelection in main and she voted against the president. how do you read the susan collins vote? >> susan collins is in trouble. they are probably the two republicans in the biggest trouble in terms of their reelect. i see susan collins sort of desperately trying to figure out this sort of line that she has to walk between being trump enough to prevent herself from getting primaried but also seeming like a normal republican enough to get reelected. i don't see how either of them get back in. they can get in the good graces
of modern republicans. i think about pat toomey. the problem is this is not a conservative republican party. it's the party of trump. it's a personality colt and you get with the colt or get out of congress. >> cal perry, you're at the border once again this week. this kind of vote has no immediate effect on anything that's happening at the border. what about life at the border as it relates to what is being talked about in the senate or in washington? it seems to be a big disconnect. >> yeah, look in places like el paso where you have 25,000 family units taken into custody in the first four months of 2019 compared to 12,000 in all of 2018, it's crazy to think it's a national emergency. there is certainly a humanitarian crisis going on. people here will say that up front but it's because this administration is doing unlawful
things like turning migrants away at the port of entry. you have the president of the united states saying to a hemisphere come to the ports of entry, enter the correct way and turns those people away so folks are coming to the wall and these little loophole areas where they have to be let in. customs and border protection is holding these people for sometimes eight, nine, ten days and these are family units. these are mothers and fathers with their children and they are being held in the processing centers just not equipped to hold them. you have like 30 people in a cage meant to hold 15 and i'm choosing words carefully because this administration is misleading people about the emergency that exists in this country. the secretary of dhs, secretary nielsen mislead congress when she said these were not cages. el paso is a safe city. crime has not risen even though it's a weigh station for those coming because the situation frankly in south america is deteriorating very quickly.
>> senator, i always like to have cal perry here when discussing anything about the border because these washington discussions almost never have anything to do with the reality there and i want to focus in on one republican who was apparently forced under all the pressure to vote with the president on this. this is thom tillis, north carolina. he wrote a washington post op ed saying there is no intellectual honesty in supporting the president's position on this. that is what he wrote last month. he said in the op ed as a u.s. senator, i cannot justify providing the executive with more ways to by pass congress and today he changed his position on every word that he wrote in the washington post and he voted with president trump. >> well, no one is forced, first off, to vote with the president. you have to make a choice, and obviously, that is a choice that the senator from north carolina made today.
i think that he will roue the due he did this flip-flop because you know, at some point when you say i'm going to stand on principle and then nothing changes but you change your vote, that's a really hard thing to justify at home. because one thing people -- i know in this era where it seems like everything is, you know, there is so much hypocrisy in politics, that doesn't pass the authentic smell test of doing the right thing and standing up for your principles. he would have been a lot better off if he stood with his principals. he wasn't forced by anyone. he made that choice himself. >> that's a very good point. i shouldn't have used the word forced. i've seen senators pressured before but it is not forced. they do have their -- always have their right to vote their conscience and position but i have never ever seen a flip-flop like this. you get "the washington post" of ed, you put it all in writing and then you completely flip-flop and go the other way. i don't think that's ever
happened in the history of senate. >> it's extraordinary because this was a statement of principles but obviously principles mean nothing when it comes to whether or not you are going to turn yourself into an employee of the president of the united states. that is not what a united states senator is supposed to be. you're in a branch of government and i have to say beyond tom 'til lus, i think about the senators from the southwest where i grew up. where was cornen and martha mcsally. if you're from arizona or texas you know this is bogus. you know you have to go back and face a district, you're not in a red december straight but you're facing a whole state you have citizens who know that you're lying, who know that you are dem monoiing them and face those people, too. they can pretend they only have to face trump voters but senator knows a senator runs in a state. you don't just run in a district.
good luck in arizona in places like that facing those voters with a lie. you decide. cal perry can say this is not an emergency. they know it's a lie. they think these senators up for reelection should have to answer for that. >> joy reed, thank you for starting us off tonight. cal perry, thank you for your input. we need that in this conversation and senator, great to have you on a night when there is big action in the united states senate. really appreciate you being here. when we come back, freshman congresswoman ianna will join us and we'll be joined with reaction to new information about another possible obstruction of justice by president trump and today donald trump criticized beto o'rourke's hand gestures and we will do and we'll also study donald trump's
hand gestures and at the end of the hour, i'll discuss something i've been very reluctant to discuss but become a larger worry from some people since michael cohen said this. >> there will never be a peaceful transition of power. >> and then the president gave an interview yesterday in which he said something that sounded to many people like a threat if he lost the election or was impeached and i don't want to fan the flames of panic about this but at the end of this hour i'll tell you what i think will happen in the next presidential transition of power. directly to petmeds.com.
the bipartisan vote in the senate to end president trump's emergency declaration, at theed southern border will be used in court to block the president's emergency declaration. the constitutional law professor lawrence tribe is a co-counsel of one of those cases and we are fortunate once again tonight to have professor lawrence tribe join us. professor tribe, thank you very much for joining us tonight and i want to get your reaction to what is now both the senate and the house clearly voting with clear majorities to try to block the president's emergency declaration, how will that find its way into your lawsuits to block the declaration?
makes the declaration, stronger and in a real emergency of the kind we faced in the korean war when truman seized the steel mills, he was told by the supreme court you can't do that when congress hasn't given you a clear green light because that involves spending money to compensate them after you have seized them. in this case, congress didn't give a green light. it did pass the national emergency act but that is never meant that when the president asks congress for something and says i urgently need it and congress says you don't that you can pretend that you have a clear, green light and if there is any, it was removed. the vote in the senate joining the house. the fact that the president will veto it is not decisive.
>> the court can still take note of these votes and that they are majority votes and -- >> right. >> when what do you see as the timetable for these cases? >> that's a little hard to say. we're suing in the eastern district of texas, there are other cases and other districts. the government may slow walk them because they don't really believe there is an emergency. they may take quite awhile but it is clear that once the government files its answer, we can move to seek quite immediate relief and we're looking forward to that because as judge jackson said in another case just the other day, courts are one place where facts still matter and even though courts are differential to the president, the fact that there is no emergency at the border as joy reed so eloquently described and as we've seen as everybody knows, that fact will make a difference.
even if there were an emergency as i said, the president can't take the power of the person to his own hands but here there is no emergency and that makes this a very strong case against the president. >> as usual, today in washington here in washington in the age of trump, there is more than one important legal story. i want to turn your attention for a moment to house judiciary chairman jerry nadler who participated in an interview of matthew whitaker who was temporarily the acting director of the fbi in his public testimony. matthew whitaker certainly intended to give the committee the impression that he was his work was never interfered with in any way by president trump but let's listen to what jerry nadler said today about what happened in his closed door interview with matthew whitaker this week. >> when presented directly with an opportunity to deny that the president talked to him about the michael cohen investigation,
he refused to deny it. he evaded a lot of questions but refused to deny that. this goes to the heart of our investigation, which is obstruction of justice and abuse of power. if the president is seeking to influence that investigation in which he was possibly implicated, that's a very grave abuse of power. it's a very grave obstruction of justice. >> your reaction to that? >> jerry nadler is right. the facts need to be developed and are being developed by the judiciary committee. if it's the case as it appears to be that the president tried to get whitaker when he was acting attorney general to lean on the acting head of the southern district u.s. attorney's office and to get trump's friend unrecuse himself and there isn't such thing but if he was learning on whitaker
to try to put back one of his political allies to run the prosecution in the southern district, that becomes instance of obstruction number 257 or 258. i'm losing count. but it's certainly contributing to the pattern. >> i think i spoke and called him the acting director of the fbi and acting attorney general in a much more powerful position. professor, thank you for joining us tonight. appreciate you being here tonight. want to remind the audience, the professor's most recent book, the power of impeachment and when we come back, the last time commerce secretary wilber ross testified, today was a very different story for wilber ross and his story actually has changed. freshman democratic congresswoman presley delivered her share of the tough questions and she will join us next and later, the president told us to
>> that is how donald trump's secretary of commerce wilber ross was greeted today. it was his turn to discover how voting changed since they decided to give democrats control. last year when republicans controlled the house, wilber ross testified how he added a question about citizen ship to the census because the justice department asked him do that. >> we have had a request as everyone is aware from the department of justice to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. we are responding solely to the department of justices' request. >> since that testimony in the discovery process of a lawsuit, e-mails have been revealed showing that wilber ross' staff made repeated requests to the justice department to send them a request for the change in the
census and a legal justification for the change. that lawsuit has also revealed that wilber ross spoke to ban bannon and others. that's why you just heard congressman clay telling wilber ross you lied to congress. in today's hearing ross discovered what it's like to go up against the freshman in the house of representatives this time it was massachusetts congresswoman presley's turn to force the commerce secretary into a corner where he was afraid to answer the question. >> on any of your calls with the attorney general, did you ask the attorney general to send you a letter requesting addition of a citizen ship question, yes or no? >> as i have said before, the content of my conversations with the attorney general are confidential. >> it may be confidential but it's not privileged.
so again, one more time, could you disclose what was the nature of your phone call with the attorney general if at any point you asked him to include the immigration question in the census. the citizenship question. >> the answer is the same as what i gave you. >> okay. >> after republican congressman said thomas jefferson believed there should be a question about citizen ship in the census, wilber ross said this. >> well, i'm a great admirer of thomas jefferson. >> that's the kind of thing a cabinet secretary could say when 81-year-old wilber ross was in college and there were no black women in the house of representatives but now there are black women in the house of representatives and black men that know about thomas jefferson's treatment of sally hemmings and know the way thomas jefferson believed we should count human beings in this country.
>> mr. ross, you're aware also that thomas jefferson believe that slaves should be counted as three-fifths of a person for population basis. so i'm not sure if thomas jefferson should be the litmus test for what we should be doing for accounting census. >> that was stacy of the virgin islands. we're joined by one of the freshman in the house of representatives changing how the trump administration is being held accountable. congresswoman pregnancy, democrat from massachusetts, member of the oversight and reform committee. thank you very much for joining us. really appreciate having you here. >> thank you for having me. >> another six and a half hour hearing. you get your shot and you corner the secretary and he claims, he claims something that doesn't exist. he has no right to say none of them do that the communication was confidential. this administration seems to think there are rights that they don't have.
>> well, this is the day of reckoning under chairman initiation -- cummings. this administration was given a pass and those days are over. >> can i pause you for a second. >> sure. >> this hearing would never have occurred -- >> that's right. >> if the republicans were in control. if you had been elected into the minority, you wouldn't have had any minutes with wilber ross today. >> that's right. dave and chairman cummings said the challenge in charge of us for oversight and reform committee to be effective and efficient in pursuit of the truth. we attempted to do that today. i do believe that we were stone walled at every turn. and in fact, this was incredibly frustrating for six and a half hours when we could produce documents and in fact video that showed that secretary ross was in contradiction with previous
statements and that's a very serious thing. michael cohen perjured himself and he's going to jail. we don't take this lightly and i cornered him and during the round of questioning, he said my time was up and i had to remind him it was not up to him. that was up to the chair. so. >> i want to go to something that happened on the house floor today that looks extraordinary from us out on the outside. 420-0 was the vote on the house floor saying that of course robert mueller's report should be released to congress and the public. were you surprised that there was zero votes against that? >> no. you know, i consider myself to be an internal optimist.
that report should be made public. again, there are indications but we won't know if any of that is substantiated or real until we receive this report and the american people deserve full transparency. >> i know when you were running in massachusetts gun legislation, gun safety issues were important to your campaign and i ran into you one summer day in the middle of your campaign in massachusetts. you were behind in the polls but confident you would win and you did. the ruling saying that yes, the gun manufacturers can be sued for the way they are both marketing and making these guns available to what turnout to be mass murders. that is a big breakthrough in this field. >> absolutely. speaking of the massachusetts seven, gun violence is an issue or consequence. it is -- i am heartened and inspired by hundreds of family members i met who have suffered
tragic loss and become advocates in gun violence prevention to make sure that no other family knows that hurt and ache. this is the year it seems for accountability. it's an exciting precedence. we can't return those 26 souls but i hope it puts these families on a pathway to peace and healing and to justice and it's an encourages precedence. you know, in the spirit of accountability, i actually when wells fargo was before the financial services committee, this was my line of questioning because unlike other banks that have die vested from gun manufacturers and the nra, wells fargo continues to invest formittbly and we took them to task on that. they should be held accountable for the contributing role they are playing in this public health crisis and epidemic that is gun violence. >> can you stay with us for one more question after a commercial break? >> absolutely. >> i want to ask you about this proposal about voting that nancy pelosi has now endorsed. we'll come back with i anna
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that guy's the worst. i myself, not speaking for my caucus, i myself is lowering the voting age to 16. capture kids interested and learning about government to be able to vote. >> she was talking about you. she was actually asked about your proposal to lower the voting age to 16. now you have the speaker on your side. >> yes, my very first amendment that i proposed we reported. no easy feat for a freshman.
and we did earn 126 votes on the record in support of lowering the voting age and proud to have john lewis enthusiastically cast a vote and learn today the speaker is supportive. we've advanced the debate and conversation. as many people have been able to get on the record on the issue and although we weren't able to get it included in h.r. 1, we'll continue to work on that. >> it used to be 21, it was lowered to 18, the argument is look, if you can draft young men at 18 and send them off to vietnam to die, they should have a right to vote. what's the argument now? >> first, let he say very appropriate it was senator ted kennedy that proposed that. massachusetts is still, you know, offering these amendments and i'm proud to keep that history going. for me, in 2019, 16-year-olds
are dealing with 2019 challenges, hardships and threats and we should show some 2019 courage that's with what they are facing. they are leading on the threats to society and gun violence prevention and so many other issues and clearly have a steak in the democracy and be able to cast a ballot. >> ayanna pressley, you're a former senate staffer and now you're in there asking the questions. thank you very much. >> pleasure. >> thank you. >> appreciate it. thank you. when we come back, the man in the glass house ridiculed the hand gestures of all things and asked us to study beto o'rourke's hand gestures. we decided to study them instead and that is next.
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that we study beto o'rourke's hand movement. >> so i've never seen hand movement. i watched him a little while this morning doing, i assume, some kind of news conference and i've actually never seen anything quite like it. study it. i'm sure you'll agree. >> okay. >> any single democrat running today, and i may not be able to enumerate every single one of them right now, would be far better than the current occupant of the white house. >> and now, let's study the man in the glass house, who should never throw this stone. ♪ >> hands, hands.
♪ >> i don't know what i said. i don't remember. >> is he crazy? that's what most of the world wonders when they see donald trump, whether he's moving his hands or not. also today, donald trump said what might be the most insulting thing ever said about trump voters, they are violent criminals poised to commit treason. he didn't say it in exactly those words, when we come back, you be the judge. of what donald trump meant. -here comes the rain. [ horn honking ] [ engine revving ] what's that, girl? [ engine revving ] flo needs help?! [ engine revving ] take me to her! ♪ coming, flo! why aren't we taking roads?! flo. [ horn honking ]
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mexico will pay for the wall. >> mexico will pay for the wall. believe me. >> so much of what donald trump says is a variation on that, a complete fantasy or an outright lie that he knows is untrue. and i believe that's what we're dealing with in a breitbart interview yesterday where the president said something that many people have now interpreted as threatening a coup, a foreshadowing that he will not leave office if he is impeached or defeated in his re-election campaign. i can tell you, i have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the bikers, for trump. i have the tough people. but they don't play it tough until they go to a certain point and then it would be very bad. very bad. now, i don't actually believe the president was threatening a coup or an armed insurrection of some kind in support of trump as president for life.
i believe that was jibberish from the man who said, mexico will pay for the wall. i think the full context of his comments went on to say, the left plays it tougher and cuter like with all the nonsense they do in congress. bikers aren't what they used to be. you walk into a harley-davidson dealer tomorrow. you're looking at prices that are the cost of a car, up to $45,000. harley stopped being tough guy transportation decades ago. there's a lot of dentists on their harleys every weekend. he let's all relax about bikers for trump. they have never unholstered their guns because of a presidential election result and they never will. they have families, children, futures, comfortable retirement benefits coming to them if they put in enough years of service.
in other words, they're every day americans with a reliable paycheck. even if the majority of them support trump that leaves at least $300,000 police officers who don't support donald trump. let's relax about the 1.2 million people in the military. they're not going to suddenly start rolling tanks down pennsylvania avenue because of an election result. they are professional, they are dutiful, they are not going to make war on americans or each other for donald trump. remember, even if the majority of the military support trump, that leaves hundreds of thousands of military personnel that don't support donald trump. it feels ridiculous to even have to say any of this out loud. donald trump has pushed the country to this place. to this level of suspicion about what he wants. and i'm sure donald trump would
like to have the police and the military, and bikers for trump take up arms if he loses an election. but they won't. they won't because they are better people than donald trump wants them to be, they are not violent criminals, ready to commit treason and murder. for donald trump. there are not millions of people in america ready to grab their guns and go to war against americans for donald trump. president trump's rhetoric has given aide and comfort to hateful murderers in this country. on august 12th, 2017, a white supremacist drove his car into a crowd of opponents of white supremacists and deliberately murdered heather higher. that was soul crushing for the country to witness, but it was not contagious. none of the others who shared the feelings of that murderous
driver murdered anyone else in charlottesville. a heavily armed anti-semite who believes donald trump's rhetoric about an invasion on our southern boarder and specifically blamed jews for the invasion, donald trump said was taking over this country entered the tree of life synagogue in pittsburgh and murdered 11 people. donald trump's rhetoric helped drive those murders, so he is already guilty of inciting murderous violence in america. we will probably see more of that kind of violence in the age of trump. another synagogue, another group of protesters against white supremacy. a reporter donald trump calls an enemy of the people? we don't know. but that am, that is worth worrying about. not the next presidential transition of power.
let's not help donald trump fan his imaginary flames. that's tonight's last word, the 11th hour with brian williams starts now. tonight, two of robert mueller's top staffers depart signaling the potential end phase of the russia investigation while across town, in a congress that can't agree on anything, unanimous support in the house, 420-0 to publicly release mueller's findings. plus, a dozen republican senators break ranks and vote against trump's border wall national emergency. his response is to promise his first veto. and he ran and lost for senate and now he's running for president. a glossy magazine campaign rollout for a congressman that excites the