tv MSNBC Live With Katy Tur MSNBC March 26, 2019 11:00am-12:00pm PDT
including 90% of their constituents who want stronger gun laws. >> shannon, good to talk to you. thank you very much. shannon watts is the founder of moms demand action for gun sense in america. thank you for watching. i'm ali velshi. katy tur is here to pick up our very busy afternoon. >> ali, what a remarkable afternoon. jussie smollett not being charged, and that remarkable press conference between the superintendent of the chicago police department and mayor rahm emanuel. >> who don't seem to agree with the decision. >> do not agree with the decision. they think jussie smollett continuing to act as though he's innocent is -- it seems like they think that's personally offensive. >> it sounded personal. the mayor sounded like this is personal to him. >> we're going to keep talking about this. >> i'll be watching because i'm still trying to get an answer about what happened in chicago, what caused this to happen. we do not have that answer. >> we have some interesting legal minds here who will help us understand. breaking news, chicago's mayor and police superintendent just reacted to all charges being dropped against "empire"
star jussie smollett. and they are not happy. >> you all know where i stand on this. do i think justice was served? no. where do i think justice is? i think this city is still owed an apology. i've heard they wanted their day in court with tv cameras so america could know the truth. they chose to hide behind secrecy and broker a deal to circumvent the judicial system. >> smollett was arrested last month when police said he reported a fake hate crime attack and orchestrated that attack for attention. now the actor's attorney says he was a victim and that false and inappropriate remarks made to the public caused an inappropriate rush to judgment. smollett spoke to reporters earlier today. >> i have been truthful and consistent on every single level since day one. i would not be my mother's son if i was capable of one drop of
what i have been accused of. >> joining me, nbc news investigations reporter andrew blankstein and former assistant u.s. attorney for the southern district of new york and msnbc legal analyst mimi roca. talk to me about what it takes to not press charges in a circumstance like this. >> well, katy, this is so remarkable because as you and ali said, it's not just the prosecutor's decision here that we're hearing about, but it's the police who are the -- were the investigators in this case having a completely different reaction. the mayor is a politician, but the fact the police who were the actual investigators seemed to have such a different view from the prosecutors, i mean, really leaves me a bit baffled, to be honest. the reasons why you would charge a case and then decide to essentially drop those charges,
which is what's happened here in an extreme version. they've even sort of wiped the whole slate clean from his arrest. i don't want to speculate too much because we're going to find out, i presume, but one strong possibility would be that something in your evidence that you were relying on, something changed. so a witness that you were heavily relying on for some reason you now have good reason to doubt the credibility of that witness. that's a possibility. i have seen that happen. if that is what happened, then the prosecutors will have done the right thing here because this is what we want our prosecutors to do. we want them to be able to be flexible and make changes in how they're going to proceed based on what the facts really are and not just having a determinative outcome and ticking to it no matter what. we'll have to see. the reason i'm so puzzled, as we
said, is because the police would presumably also know that, if that were the -- so we really need some resolution to this. >> it's not just the charges dropped, as you said. this is the case being expunged. this is the records being immediately sealed, mimi. >> yeah, no, that's what i'm saying. it's an extreme version of dropping the case. the fact that the records are sealed means, you know, the arrest will never show up on his record, although because he's a public figure, obviously, that's a little hard to sort of put the toothpaste back in the tube. look, somebody knows the answer to this. because of the public nature of this, i think the public deserves some answers to this. and frankly, if he was erroneously charged, then he deserves for that to be known and explained. >> this is one of those cases where i have whiplash, andrew.
initially jussie smollett made these allegations that he was the victim of a hate crime. they took off across social media like wildfire. everybody coming to his defense, denouncing the alleged attackers, denouncing the president, bringing him into it, denouncing race relations in this country. it blew up. then suddenly jussie smollett was no longer the victim. he was being accused of orchestrating this whole thing, of orchestrating this hate crime in order to get more attention. he was being accused of that, in order to potentially get more money from the role he was playing on a show. and he was arrested. and that was a huge to-do, where everybody reacted and said, maybe we jumped to conclusions too soon and how dare you drag the president into this, how dare you drag the country and race relations into this. there was a lot of drama with that. and now it's dropped. can you help me make sense?
as somebody who covers the legal world, who covers crime, who investigates a lot of this stuff for us. >> if you look at the nature of these original allegations, combustible, and you look at the reaction and you think, okay, you have a week's long investigation. they have video evidence, and they have presumably two witnesses, people who are persons of interest then turn out to be cooperating witnesses. then all of the sudden -- and prosecutors and police throughout that whole period seem to be on the same page. you have a two-count indictment followed by 14 counts, 16 total. you think, okay, this seems to be what it is. i just haven't seen any explanation from state prosecutors other than that kind of vague statement as to what turned. normally in covering these cases, i've seen over the years this very lock step coordination
between police and prosecutors. even when things start to go wrong, you would never get this -- i don't want to say never because of what we're looking at today, but seldom do you ever see, even when things go wrong, this happen, this early on in a case without full explanation. >> well, look at the evidence we've seen so far. there's the video, the surveillance video you were talking about. there are also text messages, correct? and receipts. >> there was the check that everybody showed. there were receipts. in fact, when the search warrant was left at one of the brother's homes, they listed these things that had been purchased at the hardware store where there was also video of the brothers going. and police didn't back off of that today. they are sticking with the story. so we have not heard -- and you would think, okay, you seal certain elements of this case, but what we're not hearing is any kind of reasoning as to why they thought the case wasn't
worth bringing forward and why make this deal. i think the mayor, the superintendent, other people are going to weigh in, but this raises a lot more questions than answers at this point. and given the nature of this case, this is not where you want to be. >> yeah, danny, what do you think? >> suppose you're the prosecutor in chicago, and you develop some insecurity about the case. suppose some of the witnesses are starting to tell slightly inconsistent stories. the likely result might be just going to the defense and saying, hey, here's a lesser included offense for you to plead to, or we'll do a deferred prosecution. we'll hold off on this case for six months, we'll bring everybody back. if nothing bad has happened, maybe we'll think about dismissing it. that's not what happened here. instead, the prosecution of its own accord marched into court, brought everybody before a judge, and chose to null pross the case. in other words, by their own motion, dismiss the case against the defendant. now, the question is going to be why would they do that?
it could be because their evidence went kablooey. there are going to be calls for an investigation because someone -- >> how does the evidence go kablooey in this situation when we have the things that andrew just laid out? >> for example, something may be discovered about the witnesses. take the two brothers, for example. that completely destroys their credibility, something that wasn't known before. that would raise the question, why not bring the police department in on it? why not send them over an e-mail or a memo to let them know, hey, this is what's going on with the case. so that raises the question, what went into the decision to null pross this case? it places him or her back in the position they were before the arrest happened. it's as if nothing ever happened adverse to them. >> mimi, when should we expect to get an explanation from the u.s. attorney's office? >> well, i mean, i would think
we would have had one already. we're all asking a lot of questions and i know frustratingly not giving you a lot of great answers. one thing we can all agree on is that the state's attorney's office in chicago does not seem to have handled the sort of public relations aspect of this very well. if they have a legitimate reason to be dropping this case, wiping the slate clean, as everyone else has pointed out, they really should have brought their investigators into the circle on that so you didn't have this, you know, competing press conference out there saying they simply don't understand this decision. so i would like to say that we would get answers soon, but the fact they didn't immediately explain it makes me wonder they're trying to really keep this all under seal. i don't think that will be tolerated. i think there will be an investigation, but that will take a long time. i think if they have good reason to do this, they need to get out in front of it and explain it,
you know. i assume they gave a reason to mr. smollett. i mean, they presumably didn't just drop it without explaining to him why. i don't know what would prevent him from explaining that. again, we don't know the exact reason. there may be things i'm not understanding about why there might be confidentiality issues or something. >> if the case has been sealed now -- or it has been sealed. does that mean we're not going to get an explanation? will we be able to get an explanation if it's under seal? >> the case being under seal doesn't necessarily mean we wouldn't get an explanation as to why it was dropped. the case being under seal means that the evidence that would have been used to prosecute him and the charges, that whatever evidence was used to seek the indictment, that is under seal. but -- now, again, it's very hard to talk without knowing what the reason is.
it's a little circular. i don't see why that would prevent them from putting out some kind of explanation or statement as to why this happened. that's within their discretion, i think, subject to grand jury secrecy and all those kind of rules. there seems to be, to me, room for explanation here. >> in illinois, you're allowed to move for immediate expongment. exupon expungement is understandable. how fast that happens, it's hard to say under chicago procedure. >> everyone, thank you so much frp helpi for helping us try to make sense of this. now to washington, where last hour president trump arrived on capitol hill to meet with senate republicans. donald trump, who was peppered with questions from reporters on the mueller report, called the special counsel's findings great. in fact, actually, we're not going to go to tape.
or is this live? this is live, folks. the president now leaving capitol hill. not quite sure what he said there. earlier, though, he said that the special counsel's report was great, and here's that. >> the mueller report was great. it could not have been better. it said no obstruction, no collusion. it could not have been better. >> okay. so the attorney general's summary of the mueller report, which included a quote from robert mueller, said there was no collusion, yes. however, mueller did not find no obstruction. that's not what his report said. as a result, democrats want to
see more. they've stepped up the pressure on william barr to release robert mueller's full report. >> right now the message should be clearly, let us see this report. i have great respect for special
counsel mueller, but let us see the report. we don't need an interpretation by the attorney general, who is appointed for a particular job, to make sure the president is
above the law. we need to see the report. >> the american people need to see the whole report. we'll be discussing with leadership, if necessary, what steps are going to be required to make that happen. >> in a three-page letter to william barr, six democratic committee chairs in the house said the summary he provided was not sufficient for congress. they've given the a.g. an april 2nd deadline to submit mueller's find in addition writing, and they say this, to the extent you believe applicable law limits your ability to comply, we urge you to begin the process of consultation with us immediately in order to establish shared parameters for resolving those issues without delay. on monday, senate majority leader mitch mcconnell blocked a resolution that would have made the report public. never mind the measure passed unanimously in the house. never mind that the president
and some of his advisers have repeatedly said that they would be okay with its release. so the big question we are asking today is, to what lengths are democrats willing to go to make the mueller report public? joining me now is connecticut democrat senator richard blumenthal. how much focus should this be for the democrats moving forward? >> we need to focus on other issues as well. health care, our veterans, our national defense, rebuilding our roads and bridges, but protecting our democratic institutions from this kind of interference is absolutely essential. we need the full mueller report. more than we, the american people deserve full disclosure. they paid for this investigation. they deserve to know everything that was found, and we know it found that there was no exoneration of the president of the united states of obstruction of justice and that there are ongoing investigations in the
southern district of new york, in the counterintelligence unit of the fbi, spawned and spun-off as a result of the special counsel investigation. so where will we go? we'll subpoena if necessary. we ought to be calling both attorney general barr and robert mueller to testify, to demand an explanation for how close they came to finding proof beyond a reasonable doubt on collusion and what evidence there is of obstruction as well. >> senator, the president is not happy about the way in which this investigation was talked about on television by lawmakers and by former officials as well. his campaign is not happy about it. in fact, according to axios, they sent a letter to television producers, i didn't get one on this show, but basically saying to us in the tv world to take some caution with some of the people that have been talking on television, including yourself, senator richard blumenthal,
connecticut. the evidence is pretty clear there was collusion between the trump campaign and the russians. you said this on "all in" on october 17th, 2018. what is your response to the white house when they put out something like that? >> my response to the white house is, number one, we know as much as we do about the abuses and wrongdoing within the trump campaign and within this administration because of reporting by the press. and so any effort to chill that reporting is really unfortunate. number two, when i talk about there being evidence of collusion, i stand by that comment. i also said that the question is whether it rises to the level of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. there's plenty of evidence in the trump tower meeting involving agents and top officials and family of the trump campaign, in the sharing of polling information with
russian agents while they were conducting this campaign of social media manipulation, in the negotiations on the trump tower moscow, on their celebrating and encouraging the release on wikileaks of hacked, stolen information taken by the russians illegally. the evidence is abundant, and lying about that evidence is one reason why top trump officials were convicted and some may go to prison. it may not have risen to the level of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. as a former federal prosecutor, as a united states attorney, there were plenty of times when i reluctantly declined to prosecute because we had very good evidence but not rising to the level of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. one reason we need to see the mueller report, not the barr summary, is to see how close the
evidence came and to see where it may have been lacking, on which element. for example, on criminal intent because that would raise the question as to whether obstruction of justice may have hindered the effort to get that evidence. >> nobody was indicted on the charge of conspiracy in donald trump's orbit, nobody that mueller's team got pled guilty to that or was indicted for that. they pleaded mostly to lying about their contacts with russia but not about conspiracy against the united states to collude with russia in the election. given that and given what the report says on the issue of conspiracy, when you look back, do you wish that you spoke about it a bit differently that, there was more caution taken in talking about what the investigation may or may not find?
>> i was cautious about saying that a charge, criminally, would have to involve evidence beyond a reasonable doubt, and of course it would have to be on all the elements of the crime, including intent and lying about the contacts, the potential collusion certainly supports the evidence of that actual contact and collusion. the point here is we need to see the whole mueller report, and the american people deserve it because it will present additional evidence of possibility complicity. again, mueller concluded that the evidence didn't establish -- that's his word, not that there wasn't evidence, but that it did establish enough to charge criminally. i think the full mueller report will be revealing about that point and about obstruction. we'll learn more in the ongoing
investigations, one of which involves charges against michael cohen, which in turn named the president as an unindicted co-conspirator. >> let's talk about the green new deal. senator mcconnell will be bringing that up for a show vote today in the senate. you've signed on to senator markey's green new deal. how will you be voting today? >> i support the green new deal. we may be voting present simply as a kind of protest against the mcconnell stunt here. it really is, in a way, a real disservice to the legislative process to put on the floor a proposal that he knows the president won't sign that is done just to drive a wedge between different parts of our democratic colleagues. so -- >> hold on.
there's legislation that it is known the president would not sign that democrats want to bring to the floor or legislation that they know would fail with republicans. if this is something you sign on to and you agree with, why not just vote yes to it? why not just support it? >> well, i do support it. i will vote yes if we have a real vote, no the a show vote. you've characterized it exactly right. it is a show vote. and we've asked senator mcconnell to have hearings, to actually go through the legislative process so that we can amend it if necessary. it may not be perfect in its present form, but i'm going to continue to be a strong supporter. i hope we have additional votes on it when i will vote yes. >> i want to play mike lee real fast mocking the green new deal on the senate floor. >> i rise today to consider the green new deal with the
seriousness it deserves. this is, of course, a picture of former president ronald reagan naturally firing a machine gun while riding on the back of a dinosaur. this image has as much to do with overcoming communism in the 20th century as the green new deal has to do with overcoming climate change in the 21st. >> senator, do you want to respond to your colleague? >> you know, the green new deal is dealing with a problem that is so profoundly serious. we have to recognize that our planet is in danger, climate change is real. people who deny it are living in that age of the dinosaur, and i'm proud to be a supporter of a set of goals that are truly achievable, maybe not in ten
years, but john f. kennedy, and i recall his prediction, said we put a man on the moon at a time when we didn't have the technology. we have the technology right now to deal with climate change, to end emissions, to do renewables, and to put people to work. it's a job-creating program. it will drive economic progress. it may not be perfect in its present form. let's talk about how we do it and how we improve it. but to say do nothing, i think, is an ab rogation of our profoud responsibility to our children, to ourselves, and to america. >> senator richard blumenthal. senator, thank you very much for joining us today. a little bit of breaking news. the house failed to override president trump's first ever veto of the resolution terminating his emergency declaration. that vote was 248-181. as you well know, they would
need two-thirds of the house in order to override that veto. then that would have to go to the senate. just 14 republicans joined with democrats today. that's one more republican than the original vote in february. joining me now is political senior writer and msnbc political reporter jake sherman, and msnbc legal analyst mi mimi rocah is back as well as mn msnbc contributor tim o'brien. mimi, on the question of obstruction, that one is open 100%. the president wants to say mueller didn't find obstruction, but mueller was clear in his findings. the president didn't commit a crime, but the report also does not exonerate him. what sort of evidence would need to be in this report that would be above and beyond what we've already seen in the public sphere? >> well, katy, first of all, i just want to rephrase something a little bit.
barr's letter, and you've made this point already, it's not mueller's report because we haven't seen that yet. but barr's letter, which is nothing if not favorably written for the president. even that letter acknowledges not that there was no evidence of obstruction but that there is evidence of obstruction. it's not that mueller said, according to barr, that he didn't commit a crime, the president didn't commit a crime but that he decided not to make that conclusion at this point. so mueller is trying to lay out the evidence about obstruction, and he decided not to make that determination himself. i believe he was trying to get that evidence to congress in order for congress to be able to make that determination because mueller is the kind of prosecutor that i think believe should be in the political sphere. we don't know that for sure, but that seems to me like what his intention was, and barr seems to me to have sort of hijacked that
process. now, it may be that it's mostly what's in the public record, but even barr refers to the fact that there seems to be evidence of obstruction that's not in the public record. he says that most of the evidence has been publicly reported. well, that means that some of it hasn't. so we know that there's some things, even about obstruction that, are not known to us at this point. even the things that are known to us, part of bob mueller's job, part of a prosecutor's job is to marshal the evidence. we know he fired jim comey. we know he wanted to have jeff sessions unrecused and then fired him because he wouldn't. you could sit here and go through ten things that we know. but we don't know the details. we know the broad outlines. bob mueller did not spend 18 months just figuring out that trump fired comey. he interviewed people about it. those interviews, by the way, if they were done outside of the
grand jury and according to barr's letter they were, at least hundreds of them, those are not grand jury material. search warrants are not grand jury material. i mean, there is a lot of information that it seems to me should not be subject to the grand jury secrecy rules that should be available quite quickly and that will help inform us about what the evidence is that mueller found. >> nbc news is reporting today, tim, that the president's legal team were more worried, was more worried about the issue of obstruction and what mueller might have on him with that than they were about conspiracy. >> well, it's clear from the way they fought this from the very beginning they were more concerned about that. i think one of the key things they want on here is that the president never sat for an interview with bob mueller's team. and bob mueller never issued a subpoena to compel him to do so. i think that's one of the glaring omissions in the way
that the investigation was conducted. i think no one doubts bob mueller's integrity of dedication. he's a well-regarded public servant, but that to me feels like a hole in this investigation. the whole issue of obstruction is spinning around intent. what did the president intend to do when he talked to don mcgahn about possibly firing mueller? what did the president intend to do when he asked rod rosenstein to draft a memo so he could fire james comey? we only know about this elliptically because ultimately what mueller got were written responses to a series of questions. so that issue was never pressed. i think it was probably pressed because bob mueller to his core is an institutionalist. he respects the office of the presidency and didn't want to go there. he also, i think, didn't feel it was within his boundaries or i think probably bob barr's to go ahead and indict or try to prosecute a sitting president. i think he was going to punt that to the congress to decide. but on this very issue around
obstruction of justice that had to pit off what was in the president's mind, information about that wasn't full my gathered during the investigation. then bill barr inserted himself into the process and made a judgment call. i think that's something that still has to be examined. >> there are so many examples, you could argue, were obstruction of justice that have already been out there. so many things people have already pointed to as evidence of obstruction of justice. my question is if the democrats really want to pursue this as a line of investigation, how much more do they need than what is already out there? >> well, i think they still need everything that's in that report. i know that's going to become a political football, but it's an important document for the public record. this is a taxpayer-funded investigation. i think the public has a right to know. be that as it may, this isn't the end game here. there's still, as we know, about a dozen probes of various stripes that are still looking at the president's finances and business dealings that i think are going to come into the fray.
>> interestingly, jake sherman, when i asked my first question of senator blumenthal a moment ago, you probably had your ears perk up too, about the mueller report he said, you know, i think we should be talking about issues. he mentioned health care, mentioned infrastructure and a couple others. hakeem jeffries did something pretty similar today as well. let's play that sound. >> house democrats are focused on kitchen table, pocketbook issues. nowhere in the agenda does it talk about russia. nowhere in the agenda does it talk about collusion. nowhere in the for the people agenda does it talk about obstruction of justice. the for the people agenda is about lowering health care costs for the american people, strengthening the affordable care act, protecting people with pre-existing conditions, increased pay, and a real infrastructure plan. that's what house democrats are
focused on. today, tomorrow, anded from the rest of this congressional session. >> jake, what does that say to you? >> fascinating, right? it says that democrats understand that this can't be their singular focus. now, a bunch of committee chairs have asked for the mueller report. this is not -- it's not like they're backing off and saying we're not interested in this, but you know just based on your reporting and based on your experience covering donald trump, he's going to use the mueller report to bash democrats over the head during the 2020 campaign. and house democrats clearly want to insulate themselves from being painted as singularly focused on the russia probe, on mueller, on obstruction, on all of those issues. so they're trying to give themselves space and talk about the things they believe they got elected on. now, you can make another argument that a lot of people voted for democrats because they wanted a check opt administration and wanted to get to the bottom of the russia
stuff, of the mueller stuff. so there's an interesting political dynamic going on. it'll be an interesting balance for democrats to strike. but they're clearly showing they're not going to let this be their only focus. >> but at the same time, as you're hearing that from richard blumenthal and from hakeem jeffries, rashida tlaib is circulating a letter about impeachment. >> there's no question there's a clutch of house democrats that believe the president needs to be impeached now, not yesterday. her letter, which we wrote about this morning, asks for a probe about whether impeachment is appropriate and proper at this time. but listen, nancy pelosi made it clear, and a lot of her allies say she was pretty presh end last week. but it's going to be tricky for democrats to try to get this under control as they try to legislate and oversee the trump
administration. >> jake sherman, mimi rocah, tim o'brien, thank you very much. and there are new efforts to dismantle obamacare, not just parts of it, the entire thing. stay with us. entire thing. stay with us ♪ baby i'm not even in a gown ♪ and the only thing u have to say is wow ♪ ♪ make you're jaw drop drop say oh my drop drop drop ♪ ♪ make u say oh my god my drop drop ♪ ♪ make you're jaw drop make u say oh my god ♪ ♪ and you never felt this type of emotion ♪ ♪ make you're jaw drop drop say oh my drop drop drop ♪ ♪ make u say oh my god my drop drop ♪ ♪ make you're jaw drop make u say oh my god ♪ plants capture co2. what if other kinds of plants captured it too? if these industrial plants had technology that captured carbon like trees we could help lower emissions. carbon capture is important technology - and experts agree.
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tax penalty for failing to buy health insurance. after taking back the house by defending the aca, democrats appear eager to once again run on the issue of health care. >> this is actually an opportunity for us to speak to the american people with clarity. they say one thing and they do another. they say they're going to protect pre-existing conditions as a benefit, and then they go to court to strip it and strip the whole bill. that means that tens of millions of people, 20 million people will lose their health care. >> but president trump remains confident. >> the republican party will soon be known as the party of health care. >> joining me, nbc news justice correspondent pete williams, mit professor of economics, jonathan gruber, widely credited with being an architect of what would later become obamacare, and
former rnc chairman and msnbc political analyst michael steele. first to you, pete. walk us through what the justice department is trying to do here. >> sure. you go back here to the supreme court in 2012 when the supreme court upheld obamacare. now, then in an opinion writtenly chief justice john roberts, the court said you can't require someone to buy something that's sold on the open market. it said the individual mandate part was unconstitutional, but it said obamacare could be upheld because of a tax. if you didn't buy health insurance, you had to pay a tax penalty. on that basis, on the basis it was a tax, obamacare was saved. then congress set the tax at zero, and last december a texas judge based on a lawsuit filed by texas and several other states said, well, if there's no tax, then obamacare has to collapse because the supreme court said the whole thing rises or falls together. so it's that view that the justice department has now endorsed when the case is before the fifth circuit court of
appeals. i should say that the other side in this dispute, other states that are fighting to preserve obamacare, say no, no, that judge has it wrong. if there's no tax, then you don't have to buy health insurance because there's no penalty, so there's no mandate anymore. and now obamacare becomes, in essence, sort of a choice. so it should be upheld, it should still be constitutional. so that's the issue before the fifth circuit. that's the position that the trump administration now takes, and frankly, it's going to come back to the supreme court and if it does, i can't predict what would happen, but john roberts voted to save it not once but twice, and might he do it again. >> do we have any guess, pete, about a timeline for this, when the fifth circuit would hear this and once they make a ruling what the timing would be for the supreme court? >> well, we're looking at least a year, possibly a year and a half would be my guess before it comes to the supreme court. maybe next term.
seems more likely the term after that. these things are a little hard to tell, if there's expedited consideration, but that would be my guess. >> so 2020 potentially this will be an issue that will be in the courts and certainly an issue for the 2020 democrats while they are campaigning. jonathan, if this is taken apart, if this is taken away, what happens to those who are currently using or what do you think would happen to those currently using obamacare? >> look, it's clear if the law goes away, then at least two important things happen. first of all, 20 million americans lose their insurance coverage. let's dive into politics for a second here. remember, the opposition to obamacare was largely based on the fact that something like 3 million americans would lose their crappy individual insurance market coverage. now we're instead talking about taking it away from 20 million people. but there's a bigger problem here, which is very important. before obamacare, america was the only developed nation in the
world that allowed insurers to discriminate against the sick, to deny sick people coverage, to deny pre-existing conditioning. we would return to those days if obamacare is repealed. republicans campaigned explicitly on covering pre-existing conditions. this action explicitly goes against that by saying we would return to the bad old days when insurers could discriminate against the sick. >> why is that? why would this allow insurers to go back to that? >> because the law before that did not bar it. if you're an insurer, look, if there's no individual mandate and you're an insurer and you say, look, my job is to avoid sick people. they had reams of people whose job was to void sick people. if you got sick, your price went up. if they reviewed you and you'd been sick, they denied coverage. or they could charge you 10 or 20 times what someone else charged. let me be clear about one thing that's important.
it's not just about pre-existing conditions. it's about the general discrimination in the mark. even if we say they have to cover pre-existing conditions, it doesn't matter if they can charge those sick people 20, 30 times what they can charge a healthy person, which was perfectly legal before the affordable care act. >> let's look at some numbers. i have a few of them to put on the screen. the kizer family foundation poll february of 2019 finds that 50% of americans support the aca, 37% oppose it. in the 2018 midterms, democratic ads on health care, 54.5% of ads that were run for democrats mentioned health care. there were a number of prominent examples of democrats who unseated incumbent republicans because they ran on health care. democrats took back the house, arguably on the issue of health care, michael steele. why after everything that's happened with the mueller report, the good few days the president has had, why would
they turn to obamacare and make it an issue for 2020? >> well, as maggie haberman reported in conversations with officials, way too much good news. we need to shift the story to something else. this is what they've chosen to shift it to. why? because in many respects, they still see hanging this particular noose around the political neck of democrats to work on a broader national scale. you can target individual congressional races where you may have a leg up as a democrat, but as -- and remember, republicans did not engage on this issue in the 2018 cycle. so democrats were largely left to their own devices and their own narrative and their own messaging. they want to create a much more competitive space on this front, and that's the thinking of those inside the party and inside the administration. i don't necessarily know if i agree with that. i think the points that have been made are important with
respect with an individual's ability to get coverage and sustain that coverage. if you're now taking it away, as the polls are showing, majority of american people have come around on this issue. i think it's going to be a hard harder narrative on a national basis than folks saw at a congressional level. >> jonathan, the proposals that were out there on the republican side, none of them passed. there was no replace when they were trying to repeal obamacare, but there were proposals. do any of them protect pre-existing conditions? do any of them do an adequate job of covering what obamacare covered? >> no. there's been no proposal that doesn't completely remove the coverage in obamacare and often go further by cutting back the medicaid program, which many realize is a vital safety net for our country, both for our country's younger individuals and for our country's seniors. look, republicans just say they want to cover pre-existing conditions, but if you look at their proposals, none of them
do. moreover, even when they say they want to cover pre-existing conditions, once again, katy, the most important thing to emphasize is they don't ban insurer discrimination. as i said before in the show, my wife is a breast cancer survivor. even if insurers said, fine, we'll cover your breast cancer, but we'll charge you a hundred times what we charge a healthy person, how is that insurance? it's not. >> jonathan gruber, pete williams, michael steele, thank you, guys. michael, don't go anywhere because you're coming back. while you weren't looking today in the house, texas republican congressman louis gomert brought up a boogeyman. >> the potential is out there for another hitler, socialist like hitler to come along. >> the awful thing about that, they were the nazis. >> they were fascists. they weren't socialists. they were fascists, the nazi party. >> they claimed to be socialists, and they were. >> oh, boy. for the record, the national
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>> of course you're not. you're not being fair. >> president trump's defenders want retribution and an apology. president trump and allies went on the offensive vowing to pursue and punish those responsible for the russia investigation. mr. trump calling them treasonous people guilty of evil deeds and should be investigated themselves. peter baker and back with me, former rnc chairman, michael steel. welcome. the president and allies want heads to roll. they sent this memo to producers saying here's who you shouldn't book considering what they said and the president was on twitter saying the mainstream media is under fire as being corrupt and fake. et cetera, etc. what are they hoping to accomplish? >> a mixture of grievance and
frustration on their part after two years of investigation that ultimately of course has not resulted in any charges against the president himself. and a calculation that it's important to try to define this moment before we see the full mueller report and define it as a period where not only was the president not charged with anything, in their view he was completely exonerate and the fact of the investigation was illegitimate and a product of a correct deep state system working in favor of democrats against him. this is the argument and he has now further ammunition to advance that argument to his own supporters and put the democrat who is have been pursuing him on the defensive. whether or not he gets an investigation of the investigator, what he has damage is successfully, i think, told his own supporters this was
illegitimate and there was nothing to look at. even if there are things we see in the mueller support that raise questions that may or may not be criminal, but objectionable. >> there are op-eds talking about whether people should be looking back on how they reported things and what they said on television and how they characterize this investigation and whether there should be a reckoning. peter, you were among those asking for that on friday and before the mueller report came out, it will be a reckoning for the president, et cetera, but you asked whether journalists will be questioning themselves and if they connected dots not worthy of connection. now that the summary at the least is out, what do you think? >> i think we are going to have that debate. there is a healthy debate to be had about the limits of our ability to report things until an investigation is complete. at the same time of course we heard this in 2016 from hillary
clinton supporters, too. why are you supporting about the fbi investigation into her e-mail? the fbi was investigating a major candidate for president. we are going to cover that kind of thing. you had special counsel investigation into the sitting president of the united states. we are going to cover that kind of thing. we should be. the question is whether or not we take the facts that we did have and went too far interpreting them. that's always a question we should be asking ourselves. it's not something that means we should sit back and say there is no there there when in fact there are professional investigators with subpoenas and plenty of indictments of people around the president looking at very, very serious issues. >> 37 indictments. a number of guilty pleas. there was one conviction by trial. there is still the unanswered question of why so many in donald trump's orbit lied about contacts with russia if there was nothing wrong there.fusing
folks. over the past two years, do the results of this investigation so much of what we have seen so far, we haven't seen the entire report. does that give the president enough of a win to drown out everything else, all of the other controversies? >> absolutely. i think you can head this whole thing up by if you go after the king, you better get him. they didn't, apparently. that's the view that a lot of the president's supporters had. certainly within the administration itself. peter put his finger on a number of important salient points and reasons why this all works at the end of the day to the full advantage of the president of the united states. one, mueller by the way this report was presented and what we know of it so far himself gives off the impression there is no there there.
two years in and the big kahuna doesn't fall. the big get is not gotten. it diminishes the full impact with everything that leads to the second point, may this on the tip of the spear sat donald trump. to now come back and say let's open up the report and see what's inside. it may not be criminal, but it could be immoral or imperfect. people don't care about that. the tip of the spear was one based on illegal criminal behavior. three, you talk about the whole idea of what the fbi didn't do and what it did do. yes, they investigated hillary clinton, but didn't disclose that they were investigating donald trump, too. in the eyes of the viewers and the listeners out there, there is a lot of questions out there that the media failed to address. >> peter baker and mike em steele and to all of you viewers
that will do it for me. pop quiz hot shot, a koala bear is not a bear, it is a -- >> marsupial. isn't it? >> yeah. >> i rarely get these pop quizzes right. thank you, friend. i thought you were going to ask me what was going on in chicago with the jussie smollett thing. which i haven't. >> they have not given anyone an explanation quite yet. >> we are looking to figure that out. okay, friend. you are on 5:00 all week. >> 11:00 on friday. it will be a big week. we are tempting fate here. >> i was going to say. you might get a call at 9:00 p.m. on friday. >> i would be proud to be replacing you because you are having a baby, friend. >> the battle over health care is backment health carens