tv The Beat With Ari Melber MSNBC March 18, 2019 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
city names. i'm looking at you quonakinog. in the meantime, "the beat with ari melber" starts right now. quonakinog. >> great to see you. we're coming on the air during a surge of activity of democrats running for president. that's not based solely on candidates hitting msnbc tonight. kirsten gillibrand with our own chris hayes and cory booker appearing in iowa to take questions from chris matthews. nose are certainly high profile appearances in our neighborhood, yes. but there is also senator elizabeth warren campaigning at a mississippi town hall that will be televised by another network, and a new candidate on the scene taking the lead in the fundraising primary. beto o'rourke raising $6 million in his first day on the trail, as you may have heard by now, that's more than everyone, which is reshuffling early ideas about who the front-runner may be, as
joe biden keeps popping up with signs that he wants to be wanted. that's not a song reference. that's just how he feels, and makes a claim that may, according to some, be hard to back up. >> i'm told i get criticized by the new left. have i the most progressive record of anybody running for the -- anybody who would run. >> the most progressive. well, as we dig in to what we think looks like perhaps the biggest 2020 campaign we get, let's do it "beat" style. if this is going to be ideological, how do the candidates' records stack up. note that senator sanders saying any liberals in this race are effectively following him. >> virtually all of the ideas that we campaigned on are now supported by a majority of the american people and an overwhelming majority of democrats and independents.
>> so if we take the democratic presidential field, you've got candidates now who sound like bernie sanders. so why do you need to run? >> well, maybe the more appropriate question is why do they need to run. >> why does anyone need to run? everyone is welcome to run. it is still a democracy. now this debate is obviously just getting started. sanders points to economic issues, where it is certainly true he has been out front. but we want to begin tonight with this. the wider picture is a lot more complicated. on choice and women's health, there is broad agreement. every member of congress right now running for president in the democratic party has a matching equal 100% rating from planned parenthood this year. same on the environment. whun% ratings for most, and a close 94 for beto o'rourke. then there are the issues of human rights and civil liberties which have become so vital during a trump administration with its policies on immigration and free speech and a lot of other liberties. and here the congressional democrats all dip a little bit together. scores in the 80s from the aclu.
amy klobuchar coming in below, around 64%. or take guns, an issue that often turns on which state people are from and which everyone has been thinking about in the last horrific days. senator sanders has moved towards gun control, and tonight senator kirsten gillibrand making some news, saying that she owns her move towards gun control, going from being a democrat with an nra "a" rating to an "f." >> on guns, i should have done more. i regret actually not caring about other communities. my community didn't have the gun violence that other parts of the state had, and in fact, the biggest issue for upstate new york was hunting rights. my mother didn't just cook the thanksgiving turkey, she shot the thanksgiving turkey. so i came from a different lens. but what i regret is i should have cared more about ending gun violence in other places. so the first thing i did when i became a senator was met with families who lost their loved ones to gun violence. and when you meet a mother or
father who has lost a child to gun violence, there is no way you will ever not answer them directly and say i will do something to end gun violence. and that's what i did. >> her argument there being the answer starts with listening. sometimes listening to voters and constituents. so taken all together, if you grade this preprimary stage by money, sanders and beto are in the lead. if you rate it by joe biden's new ideology frame, a lot of candidates have claims to being the most liberal from warren to harris to booker. and if you rate it by whose doing the best by the voters? spoiler, it's too early to tell so we won't try to. i'm joined by eleanor cliff, washington correspondent for the daily beast, and heidi przybyla, msnbc's national correspondent. good see all of you. what jumps out to you on policy? >> joe biden is saying he has the most progressive record. the key word there record.
he is looking back on a career of 30 years in the senate, and his involvement in the white house. and saying that he actually got things done. he was key player on guns in the '90s with the brady bill and the assault weapons ban. he has called the violence against women act his greatest legislative achievement. he works with anybody. he was good friends with strom thurmond when thurmond was the chairman of the judiciary committee. it was biden who delivered the eulogy at thurmond's funeral. he knows how government works. democratic government is the art of the possible. >> so your making the distinction that he is talking about the most progressive results, not the most progressive person. >> yes, exactly. i think he's clearly not the most progressive person in the field if you're going to define that by whose for every aspect of the green new deal or whose going to call themselves a democratic socialist. obviously he is not in that category. but he does have a record of performance.
and he would know how to be president. and he's got to demonstrate that he can beat trump that i think is still the most defining characteristic that the democratic voters want. >> on that, before we turn to some of the other features here, take a listen to what we've heard from some of the other candidates on the economic populous front. i don't think delaware, the home of where corporations incorporate for a reason gives you that mantle. but we're hearing this again from multiple candidates, not jhun senator sanders, but populists like warren. take a look. >> i am a capitalist. come on. i believe in markets. what i don't believe in is theft. >> i support capitalism. it in theory is something that requires competition, that will allow us to be better and evolve. >> that's what democratic socialism means to me. >> they're not running away 100% from this socialism label, like you saw with bernie sanders, because a lot of the ideas that
they're running on, like medicare for all, which all of these candidates which you just showed support, aren't seen as socialism by democratic vorpts. and do you view social security as socialism? do you view medicare as socialism? i think the democrats are wise in not taking that bait. so you're not seeing them have this gag automatic reaction to that label. but at the same time, i think it was dzhokhar bjoe scarborough wo trap hickenlooper are you a capitalist? at the same time don't reject that label either, because no system is pure. >> who knew that was a trap. the democratic party of the 1980s and '90s that was burning their aclu card and embracing dlc economic capitalism wouldn't know that you'd ever be denying that. >> right, right. well, now i think the real test for the democrats is going to be how they distinguish themselves
on policy, because they are pretty much all in the same buckets here on running. bernie is right. they're running towards a lot of the issues that he embraced, like medicare for all. not free college education, but a green energy plan, medicare for all. and you're seeing with the candidates beto, who have a lot of the sizzle, they're not really there yet on the policy in terms of how they're going distinguish themselves. >> i want to get into some of the big distinctions that are already emerging in the field. be fr we do that, we do have to check the box on the money, because the money matter, even if it shouldn't. so a lot of folks look at this system and say gosh, the money in politics is a big problem. but we hear over and over from democrats they don't want to unilaterally disarm. they want to go up against trump. they want someone who can play in every way from twitter to the bank account. so walk us through, because i know you've been looking at that here at msnbc what's going on with the money. >> beto came in with this earth-shattering number, this number that was higher than even bernie sanders earned, and that earned him kind of the front-runner label. but i think the key distinction
here is where did that come from exactly. it's getting a lot of hype right now that, wow, he really exceeded expectations here, and that means he's in the game for the long run, handy is. that means more staff, more advertising, more buzz. but at the end of the day, how far is that going to get him if it's just a handful of donors and it's not really indicative of this groundswell of grassroots support that you're seeing, for example, with bernie sanders, who has a lot of small donor. >> and barack obama had a lot of small donor. >> right. >> it's often how voters feel about the candidates. $6 million on day one for beto. obama in the entire first quarter had $26 million. three months. and during that time, of course, there were many other distinctions about barack obama. >> it is a massive amount of money, and i am not pooh-poohing that. but at the same time i think just like we rushed maybe a little bit too much collectively as the media to say that he had a horrible roll-out, we can't
say yet exactly what this is indicative of until we see more data, more numbers. ari, just a week ago, he was down by half in the polls in the des moines register poll in iowa. because of his tour, his kind of soul-finding dental visits cross-country tour had kind of put him back on his heels. i think we still need to acknowledge that this is a massive sum of money, but we also need to find out -- >> you mention the dental visits, eleanor. i think that is unfair. who can forget teddy roosevelt's famous cavity fly by g. everybody remembers that. it really turned the bull moose party around when you saw the plaque and the momolars. i'm kidding. >> too much information. tmi. o'rourke has a different way of campaigning. he has not hired a bunch of consultants. for last 40 years, campaigns
have been run on the backs of all of these consultants. i like the fact that he is trying to find his own way. he is doing it a little bit too much in public. so he gets the rap of being too airy-fairy. >> look, eleanor and i are huge dave chappelle fans. i think that's well-known. i was honored when he came on "the beat." he has famously argued about keeping it real. for beto, that has happened in a couple of ways. and the people who are sympathetic say this is the thing. it's more real, it's more raw and it comes out as he thinks it through. other people say we want more from a president. from your analysis, because i know you have been looking at this, we have some of those moments stacked together. take a look. >> i just got a call from my wife amy, who is back in el paso, texas, where she is raising, sometimes with my help, ulysses, two w.h.who is 12 year
molly who is 10. >> recently you drew criticism about sometimes helping to raise your kids. >> it's absolutely valid criticism. i'll be much more thoughtful going forward in the way that i talk about our marriage, and also the way in which i acknowledge the truth of the criticism that i have enjoyed white privilege. >> he is hearing the criticism and he is having a positive response to it because it is true. if you want to celebrate the fact that your wife takes on a larger share of parenting your children than you do, then celebrate her and the work and energy that goes into it. don't say oh, i sometimes kind of pop in flippantly. and also recognizing his wife privilege in the "vanity fair" article, i'm born to be in this. what other candidate could say that and still be taken seriously. i think to ellen's point, he is going on the fly here, and it's not being received well because my reaction as a woman, knowing what the women candidates are likely up against, knowing that
the coverage is not nearly as forgive, he has been given multiple chances here, that people of color and women are not typically afforded. so i'm looking for him to clean up his act, be more thoughtful about his language and really find more constructive ways to discuss his privilege and more constructive ways to celebrate his wife, if that's his goal. >> i think it also goes to the sort of we just talked about the money primary. well talked about the ideology primary. there is also the invisible primary of what makes somebody who can incredibly run for president in whoever the eyes are, and i think everyone at this table plays some role in that, however responsibly we try. >> what is the moment that is going to reveal them in a way that is memorable. >> and does being unemployed and having come close in a race, is that enough for a young woman candidate, according to -- that contrast. and i want also for your analysis to play in the same token the trump test that seth meyers did. this is a joke, but it's like a serious joke, because it goes to something where there is so much
concern about donald trump's conduct, and yet if that becomes a sort of biased or reflective attack on donald trump, it doesn't apply to anyone else, that's not necessarily positive for democracy, or by the way journalism. so seth meyers makes this joke for all of you, but starting with juanita. take a look here. >> all right. >> now in the run-up to 2020, we hear at "late night," we're going try really hard and we're going to ask ourselves, would we make fun of donald trump if he said that so let's see. because every word was pulled out of me, like by some greater force which was just the people there. everied were i said, i was watching myself, how am i saying this stuff. where did it come from? no, beto, that was weird. >> seth meyers has got it right. we would definitely make fun of donald trump for saying that. a lot of things that beto said have fallen into that category right now, unfortunately. i think on the flip side of that is he is figuring this out and really living through his privilege of ability to do that.
again, he's got to clean it up and really get hard on facts, hard on policies just like female candidates would. >> yeah, i think we're already making fun of him, right? >> well, seth meyers is making fun of him. i'm just playing it. >> we're reacting to seth. >> a number of other cuts like that, but i think to your point, yeah, he's got get a little bit more specific about what the policy. and i think also that we're going to watch. it's not just this one data point of the money. again, huge amount, but let's see what kind of crowds he draws. let's see what he does in the polling, if he is able to recover from that halving that you saw in the poll. >> maureen dowd did a very snarky takedown. and he reminds me a bit gary hart back in 1984 i guess it was. >> where's the beef? >> where's the beef, exactly. and gary hart when he subsequently ran, he went out to colorado out in the mountains somewhere and had this sort of
very naval gaysing announcement. and gary hart was really substantial. >> this is inspirational, that gary hart was a sort of new age post hippie intellectual. >> right. >> and beto is being cast as, again, and we're still learning, we'll see how it goes, he is initially being cast as a searching millennial. >> right. and we don't know if there is anything really down there that he has found. so that's what we're looking for. i didn't mean that exactly how it came out. >> none of the female candidates could possibly come out here with no hard concrete policy proposals, with no hard facts that they're really taking to drive their campaign. he is like i'm born to be in it, but doesn't have a clear message. >> after the break, real quick, it's a cross between born to run and not all who wander are lost. that's where i led. >> that's straight out of the old testament. >> but what we're going to do is fit in a break. i'll have all of you back for this conversation.
maybe when i'm back in washington, we'll do it the same thing. thanks to each of yourk. thank you, heidi. good to meet you. cory booker, chris matthews, iowa. you don't want to miss that. and at 8:00 p.m., chris hayes hosting this town hall with kirsten gillibrand in michigan. we have a lot more on "the beat," including my special report on what bob mueller has achieved, and what could be left in his to do box. and have i mueller's chief of staff on set. that's next. and later pushing to get donald trump off the ballot entirely. it involves forcing his tax returns to come out. we have the senator leading the effort. also rudy giuliani weighing in on whether donald trump banned him from television. i'll give you a hint. the comment he made was not televised. and aoc break downs how a cabinet official she says may have broken the law. she does it on instagram with the census and a potted plant. all that.
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and that dependability is what we want to give our customers. at comcast, it's my job to constantly monitor our network. prevent problems, and to help provide the most reliable service possible. my name is tanya, i work in the network operations center for comcast. we are working to make things simple, easy and awesome. the mueller probe just capped one of its most ooefblg eventful weeks ever. a long assistance for paul manafort topped by new state charges against him that the president can't pardon. rick gates is still helping multiple investigations, all these developments come against a backdrop of pundits speculating mueller is about to finish. who knows. but as trump allies increasingly argue whenever mueller does
finish, if he doesn't do something major to take out trump, then this was all some sort of desperate pointless fishing ed expedition. >> now on day 561 and desperate for any dirt on donald trump. >> mueller is desperate. he doesn't have a tase cayce he can make. >> the collusion case died. so now they're on to the so-called obstruction of justice case against president trump. >> if there is no evidence of a crime, and if this is all based on some type of counterintelligence investigation in search of a crime, then the special counsel needs to end. . >> there are basically two arguments there, and they're both wrong. first, the idea that mueller hasn't achieved much, aka witch hunt, and second, if mueller's not going to take out trump, then they argue it doesn't matter what any mueller report says. that's why donald trump's now boasting he told republicans to, quote, play along with releasing any report. he is assuming such a report won't push for indicting or
ousting him, and that could be the case. but these arguments are wrong, and the actual record is our special report tonight, because this witch hunt claim gets mueller's results exactly backwards. this is actually one of the most effective investigations of the white house in modern history, as you're to be see. and the other argument is something rare as well. it is a way of looking at the mueller probe that trump supporters and trump critics actually have in common. evaluating this probe primarily on whether it gets trump or not. boosters of trump saying if it fails to do that, it was this sort of distraction. people in the resistance sometimes eye every mueller action as a potential step towards getting rid of donald trump. but the fact is the special counsel's legal assignment is not to go after the president. in fact, after trump suspiciously fired james comey, the doj appointed mueller to investigate links or coordination between the russian government and trump associates. that means starting with people around trump, not starting with the president, and then following the facts.
and then when investigators did find criminal leads on manafort, the doj authorized mueller to investigate that, along with some other things that remain redacted. so that's the mandate. and we should care a lot about how it's going. so forget the predictions tonight. if you look strictly at the facts and the results thus far, what has this special counsel achieved? the answer is one of the fastest, most effective special counsel probes in history. one of the toughest stances on foreign election interference taken by a u.s. prurks aosecuto a demonstration of some of the highest crime rates to aides to any modern president in the shortest time. that record regarding trump advisers does look bad for trump. so here is the record tonight. mueller found and charged specifically 12 russian perpetrators involved in the hacks against the democrats. he deployed details indictments to expose the russians' tools and tactics in order to reduce
their impact in the future. how the interference continued on through 2017, including brazen efforts to try to smear the very special counsel probe into russia's acts by attacking mueller. that's something americans should care about as americans, not as democrats or republicans. then when mueller found crimes well beyond his jurisdiction, he took the evidence and handed it back to the places they occurred like with michael cohen where his interaction to maybe the most damning insider ever to testify against donald trump in public. now some experts note that division of labor continues in cases mueller didn't technically hand off. the doj has these other russian espionage and spying cases ongoing. and then you get to the indictments of all these people who are so close to trump. beyond cohen, there was a top campaign adviser and first national security adviser mike flynn. there was the campaign adviser who first heard about the stolen e-mails, his longest serving political adviser roger stone, trump's deputy campaign chair
rick gates, now helping several investigations, and of course paul manafort, who now holds the dubious distinction of felony convictions in virginia and d.c. while awaiting this new trial for felony charges in new york. just take that all in, because it's a lot, and that's before you get to the president or anything else mueller does in the future. it's a lot of crime. in fact, it's 37 different defendants charged by mueller. and while some await trial and are presumed innocent, no one has faced down mueller in this probe and been acquitted yet. this is serious stuff. we're not talking misdemeanor missy elliott here. we're talking jo felony. and for all the tock whether judges let manafort off easy, he still got one of the longest prison sentences in any white house probe. he could face additional time on top of that in new york. these frequent comparisons of trump and nixon do something important that i also want to flag for you tonight. they lower the bar. why only compare the current
president to the one president busted for crimes on tape driven out of office? now there is one reason which is the factual similarities. watergate and the russia probe began with thefts to benefit one side in an election. no one knew watergate was going to go all the way to potus. no one knows where this digital break-in of the dnc will lead until the probe is over. but to more broadly assess this probe involving trump, we're going to do some homework for you with other administrations. nixon holding the record of 12 aides charged in watergate hechlgt was in office nearly six years. clinton saw three associates charged from eight years in office. obama went eight years with no criminal probe and had no top aides indicted. and trump, just over two years in, and as you see on that scale there, already on quite a base. indictments of six former advisers. what you see on your screen is pretty damning. the mueller probe resulting in donald trump having effectively
the highest rate of indictments for his aides than any president ever, and he just got started. and this is true no matter what comes in any later mueller findings. this is a damning fact. so damning that while famously president obama avoids discussing his successor much, even he has weighed in to note that donald trump's crime rate far outpaces the obama advisers' crime rate of zero. >> in washington, they have racked up enough indictments to field a football team. nobody in my administration got indicted. >> that may sound like a political comparison that drew cheers, but it's actually what's known as facts. facts. and these facts bring us back to mueller's results. he's done all this in just under two years thus far. now indictments aren't the only metric to judge i should say a criminal probe.
a good prosecutor's got to know when not to charge. but for anyone still claiming this is a witch hunt, still look at this comparison of roughly indictments per year. special prosecutors like fitzgerald and starr indicting far fewer people per year, having run a longer time than mueller. facts. mueller has already produced one of the most effective far-reaching probes into the white house in history. that's true even if he disappoints some people by never making trump testify or unloading legally on the president, and it's also true even if he disappoints other people by finishing his work in a way that does put new legal heat on the president. so in a way, right snow a pretty good time to take stock of the facts, because they're worth keeping in mind whether you like how this probe ends or not. as for what comes next, now mueller is operating at this important stage, i will be joined by bob mueller's former chief of staff and an ace washington prosecutor when we're back in just 30 seconds. (vo) parents have a way of imagining the worst...
...especially when your easily distracted teenager has the car. at subaru, we're taking on distracted driving [ping] with sensors that alert you when your eyes are off the road. the all-new subaru forester. the safest forester ever. continue our special reporting on the mueller probe and what might be coming next, i'm joined by former federal prosecutor john flannery, who was special counsel to three congressional investigations and the former chief of staff and senior counsel to bob mueller when he ran the fbi, jon karl lynn. thanks to both you have for being a part of this discussion. >> thanks, ari. >> what do you think of what bob mueller's achieved regardless of one's views on donald trump? >> we should be proud as
americans but also alarmed at what he has been able to show us has occurred. he has brought, as you've said, over 30 indictments, but what he has also done in a historically short period of time is shown an international conspiracy involving hundreds of millions of dollars in trained operatives to undermine our election, to put corrupt cash into the campaign manager of one of our major parties. people have plead guilty to having contacts that they didn't report at the level of the national security adviser to the united states. and importantly, it's not just what mueller has done and revealed. it's the wheels he's put in motion that have allowed other prosecutors and investigators to follow up. so while he revealed and indicted over 12 people, millions of dollars laid out how two companies tried to exploit social media and undermine the 2016 election. you've already seen another prosecutor's office pick up the baton. my former division, the national
security division in the eastern district of virginia, they've shown that the russia action continued into 2018. >> which is so important. to put it in other words, shout out national security division. they're familiar with nonpartisan shout-outs. >> they have done a great job in the administration and prosecutors. >> i want to make this clearly. on the one hand, it's been band for donald trump that there has been so many indictments. we heard president obama talk about that. on the other hand, this obsession with whether the end game hits trump does seem to miss out on what mr. carlin was just laying out. >> i think what we're doing is we're trying to keep a bad player, mr. trump honest by having the pressure that we've had. and you can't say that birds of the feather don't flock together. i mean, he sits at the center of a crime syndicate. and to say that he has nothing to do with it is a bizarre statement. and whatever else mueller has that we don't know about, the one thing that we do know is the transparent efforts to obstruct at every point in this
investigation, the investigation itself of him and of his confederates. >> so the best thing you can say about that is that it was elements or evidence of obstruction waged to protect them and not himself. >> that's the best. >> and the worst thing you can say is the theory that he actually is covering up something worse. >> well, and when you consider, for instance, don jr.'s statements that he rewrote, which cover up his son because it covers up him in my belief, and we see that where the money flows when we talk about cohen, the money flows to trump. none of these other people get the money on the trump tower. and what russia wants in terms of sanctions, who can give that? the president. not any of his aides. and when we had back channels set up by his associates and friends, who is that for? we have the seychelles meeting, we have the meetings with kislyak, and we have the president doing high-fives after he fires comey, these are undeniable questions. and when people like on fox make fun of oh, what's obstruction of
justice, obstruction of justice is an abuse of power. it is consciousness of guilt. and whose guilt is it about? is he protecting manafort? is he protecting flynn? no. he is protecting himself. he is protecting what he did. and we see at every stage, we have the most immoral president perhaps in american history, particularly because of the foreign influence of russia that has compromised our ability to sanction russia, it's compromised our international trade, it's compromised our alliance with europe. this is perhaps the darkest hour. now, some of us are going to be terribly disappointed if mueller doesn't find something. but it's hard to believe that a prosecutor of mueller's testing and experience would come to the end of this and not have something to say about these terrible offenses. not be imaginative enough to find a way to pin the tail on the donkey, the fellow in the west wing. >> look, it's our job to follow up on what he's already made
public. and it's incredible that we're not doing more with what's been laid out in terms of the actions that russia has taken to interfere with our democracy and democracies around the world. >> i suppose where john's concern reaches your national security emphasis is whether those russian actions appear or suggest are linked to the president himself. what does bob mueller to do about that if he were to find that, as his former chaff, what would he do? >> regardless -- he is going to follow the facts where they lead, and he is going to declare what his findings are. >> meaning he thinks there are findings congress should really deal with, he'll make sure to find a way that congress has them and leave them there? >> there are many tools for which congress can then obtain that information. >> do you think if he finds something, because john is partly outlining the use or abuse of money and debt to have leverage over a sitting president. >> yes. >> which as you understand, everyone's learned as we've all been learning about this stuff,
that might not be an active felony. but if you or the national security division and bob mueller in a different year found that about anyone who worked at the white house, you would go right to the white house and say we've got to fix this. the problem here is how do you go to the white house when it's from the top? >> it is true when we saw a counter of intelligence threat, you would go and brief the relevant official at the white house or a member of congress and say here's what we've seen. here is the threat you. should remediate it. regardless of what's done in the report, they've already done it. >> they did it in this case when they went and said about flynn, what did they do? they shut down the acting attorney general and kept flynn there. only when the pressure became enormous, and i'm sorry i interrupted, john, that's when they got rid of flynn. >> that seems right factually in terms of what happened with flynn. but what we've seen here, they've already made it public not just to the white house be, tao the entire american people what it is they've seen after indictment after indictment after indictment. it's already time, then, for us to act both either through the vote or through elected representatives to say here's
what we need to do to combat the russian threat. and there has been so much focus on what's going to happen next. it's great you took the time to focus on what we already know and what we should be doing now. we don't need the wait for more information to take action to protect us. >> we learned so much from both of you during this pivotal stay with much we still don't know. john carlin, john flannery, our two legal johns here. thank you so much. really appreciate it. up ahead, an exclusive with a state lawmaker with plans that are being voted on to force trump to either release his tax returns or be shut off a key ballot in a key state. or later, what does one freshman star, aoc have to do with potted plants and the census and holding ross accountable? all that later in the show. the way they subscribe to movies. we don't follow the naysayers. ♪ ♪
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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. now to something you don't see every day, but you might be seeing more. new members of congress have been using social media in ways we just haven't seen in
government before. you may recall day one they were showing people around the congress, sharing selfies with other brand-new members of this new congress, or jokingly responding to questions and having fun. it's all been used as a mega phone as well to deal with critics and even trolls. we're also seeing the power of this way of talking to people go well beyond a casual encounter here or there. take a congresswoman you've probably heard about by now, aoc, who has been using social media to basically first win one of the biggest upsets in modern democratic history, taking out a member of leadership. but now as a member of congress, she will basically use these platforms to go live and talk to her own constituents and others about all kinds of issues. now these videos are not just an indulgence. they're actually a direct line for her to talk to constituents and to disintermediate around criticism or even the media. you can think of it as a 2019 version of, yes, the famous fireside chats.
the difference here is it's even more organic and live, which brings us to a new aoc video where she basically uses instagram to live broadcast, this is like using social media to do live tv, and she was talking while repotting a plant over the weekend. >> i have never repotted a plant before. this is a really big milestone for me, to have not killed a plant. you can see how crowded this guy has been. i'm sorry. >> so that's your normal green thumb sunday part. but then she uses this same video to get deeper into an important exchange she says she had with the secretary of commerce wilbur ross, who's dealing with a big battle over trying to get the u.s. census takers to press people on whether they are citizens. this is a big hot question. and during the hearing, aoc was grilling ross' attempt to push the census question forward and potentially ignoring binding guidelines.
>> what we don't have is the required report to congress. the question i have is why are we violating the law to include any question whatsoever in the 2020 census? >> i believe she is out of time. >> but please do answer the question. >> i don't have any need to respond, sir. i will take up with counsel the suggestions that have been made by the congress person, and we will get back in due course on the record. >> that's secretary ross sounding okay but sort of stonewalling. i don't need to respond. i'll talk to my lawyer. we'll talk to you later. and that's where many congressional inquiries might die. but aoc was using this video, and yes, the somewhat fun element of the plant to try to draw more attention to many people about ross' actions and how it could affect regular americans. >> what they're trying to do is
add a citizenship question to the u.s. census to scare immigrants out of answering the census. that will consequently cause your community to have less congressional representation. wilbur ross is trying to rush this process through. as a result, it looks like they're breaking a lot of laws. >> and then the congresswoman does something that you really can't do during those brief five-minute q&a sessions during the hearing itself. she tells people, her viewers or constituents what they can do to take action. >> do not get scared out of answering the census. we need to get -- we need to make sure that every single person in this country, your aunts, your bodega guy, everybody needs to fill out the census, because if not, your community is not going get school funding and a large other amount of resources that it
needs. >> a large amount of resources. you know, what struck us is candidates also typically need many resources to ever reach hundreds of thousands of voters in the first place. they raise money from donors and by tv ads. the grassroots model here, which is a lot of new members and younger members seem to be using is relevant to our politics. aoc has over three million people following her social media accounts, which means she can potentially reach millions and use this to expose what she calls the trump administration's effort to manipulate the census and hurt certain communities. aoc was also invited we should note to teach a social media class to other members of her democratic caucus. republicans also looking at getting in on this. policy debates on the new green deal and republicans' efforts to defend trump, and of course the tax returns. all of these issues are now playing out in a fundamentally different way on communication, aoc being one of the newest members to drive it. as for twitter, where we often know about the president driving
the news cycle, aoc has a lot more interaction, as you can see, than many other leading people, including former president barack obama. another sign that these platforms aren't just platforms, although it's easy to kind of diminish them because they look fun or is there a passing moment. aoc seems to understand that you can use those passing moments to drive people back towards things that are in her view are important or may not even be getting attention from the congress or the press. and that's something that goes well beyond a green thumb sunday. so we wanted to show you that. now turning next, we have a promise president trump made long ago about his tax returns. >> my lawyers, they say don't do it. you don't release your returns until the audit is complete. when the audit is complete, i'll do it. >> he never did. and coming up next, a state lawmaker who is trying to force donald trump to either release his taxes or face a very sad political outcome of losing a spot on the ballot. and later, breaking news on that from the governor of that state, next. mom.
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breaking news tonight. washington governor and 2020 candidate jay inslee has just confirmed to the beat that he is backing a state bill that would actually result, if passed, in kicking donald trump off the ballot in his own state unless he releases his tax returns. the governor's team saying he's supportive of this new bill. this is not theoretical.
i'm joined by the sponsor of the bill, a washington state senator. thanks for being here. >> thank you for having me. >> i know we got you hooked up here basically, i think, initially through skype because this is important. you just had progress in getting this partly passed. now tonight what is your reaction to the news that governor inslee is on board? >> i'm very happy about it. it will make it easier to get it through the house, so it's good news. >> what would your bill do? >> well, the bill would require president and vice presidential candidates to release the last five years of their tax returns. remember, this has been information that we've had for the last 40 years, that candidates have voluntarily provided that for us. many of us use that in vetting our candidates. it's vital information in knowing what are the connections that these candidates have. now, remember president is very different from other elected offices.
this is the office with your finger on the button. this is the office that does trade agreements with foreign countries. this is the office that commands a military. i think it's important for us to have that information so that we know exactly who we're voting for. >> so if this passes the other house in washington state, it would go to governor jay inslee who said he'll support it. that means any candidate in the general election who didn't release their tax returns would automatically be removed from the ballot. so if donald trump continues the way he has that would apply to him. what if senator sanders is running and doesn't comply with this bill. could you have a situation where multiple candidates aren't voted on in washington state? >> of course. not voted on, on the ballot. you do remember we still have write-in capability. lisa murkowski won in alaska like that. it's not like you couldn't vote for that person if they weren't
on the ballot. but they won't be on the ballot if they don't provide their tax returns. this isn't a democratic or republican issue, ari. this is really an american issue. this is a national dialogue that's going on around the country. we have 26 states that are looking at doing this. and i'm very proud of the fact that we've introduced this legislation and that it's moving forward. it shows that washington is continuing to be a leader in election reform. it just builds on what we did last year with expanding access to democracy, same-day voter registration, automatic voter registration -- >> let me fit in one more question. >> sure. >> if jay inslee is the nominee and stands to benefit from this, is there an argument that he should recuse himself from signing the bill? >> i don't know how you benefit from it if you're a candidate for president and this is our law. you either comply with the law or you don't. and for those who decide -- >> i just mean if he ended up running against trump. >> well, he happens to be the
governor of our state. i think he's doing an excellent job. you know, he's looking at the legislation not just for 2020, he's looking at it going into the future. and this is going set a precedent, i hope, for other states to follow suit because we can't exactly expect congress apparently to act on this. like i said, this breaks 40 years of tradition where we've had this information and come to rely on it. >> washington state senator with a bill that's making some news. thank you. we'll be right back. >> thank you, appreciate it. >> thank you, appreciate it. swi. we switched. i switched to chevy. i switched to chevy. we switched to chevy. we switched for value. for family. for power. it was time to upgrade. i switched from ram to chevy. see why people are switching to chevy. we love our chevy. i love my malibu. my colorado. my camaro. my traverse. why did we switch? just look at it.
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you know, there was one prosecutor donald trump called after his election? preet bharara. he was also, as you'll see right here, the one prosecutor who refused to resign when trump demanded he go and he was then fired. he is my guest tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. eastern on "the beat." a big discussion of law and justice in the trump era. don't go anywhere, "hardball" with chris matthews and a special edition with cory booker is up next. have you no decency? let's play "hardball." good evening, i'm chris matthews from chicago. donald trump is showing right now a viciousness we have never before seen in the american