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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  April 6, 2019 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT

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i'm trying to solve the problems of the american people and unfortunately those problems are gathering strength over time. and that's what my campaign is all about. >> thank you very much for making time. that is all in for this evening. the rachel maddow show starts right now with ali velshi in for rachel. >> excellent conversation. chris, have yourself an excellent weekend. rachel is off tonight, but she will be back monday. it's friday night, which these days means we should be bracing for just about anything to happen at any moment. friday seem tuesday be the day where everything happens all at once, so we are ready for anything, but in the meantime consider the week we have just had. and consider the week the president has just had. we are used to the news cycle moving fast now. how quickly one narrative can be replaced by another. but it was just one week ago that donald trump was in the midst of probably the best news cycle of his candidacy.
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now, in normal times not being explicitly charged with a crime would be a pretty low bar to clear for a president in a given week. but these are not normal times, and the president and his supporters one week ago were reveling in his not being recommended for indictment. he was claiming total exoneration by the report from special counsel robert mueller. his complaints that it was all a witch hunt had been vindicated in fact, his allies said that now the tables were going to turn. all the people that had wronged him, now they were going to be at the receiving end of investigations. but the past week has maybe not gone how trump planned. the cracks first started to show a week ago tonight when attorney general william barr sent a third letter to congress about the report delivered to him by mueller. only the first letter he sent was actually required. the second letter in which barr
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offered his own gloss on mueller's findings is what the president used all week last week to claim vindication. in his third letter, barr told congress that whenever he managed to get the mueller report to them, they would not see the whole report, that a lot of material in four broad categories would be redacted. and by the way, bill barr also did not like the way his previous second letter had been characterized. please do not call it a summary of the mueller report, he said. and that apparently was bothering him. at which point it started to seem like maybe bill barr was kind of making it up as he went along. he had issued three letters in a week about the mueller report but no more than a couple of sentence fragments from the report itself. well, last night we got the fourth installment of bill barr wants you to know a thing about the mueller report. this last one came after mueller's team, federal prosecutors and fbi agents who
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worked in relative radio silence in 22 months started to make some noise, triggering an avalanche of reporting about how mueller's team is frustrated by the way bill barr characterized mueller's findings, that it is actually a lot worse for the president than barr let on, and that they had specifically crafted their final report, quote, so that the front matter from each section could have been released immediately or very quickly with minimum redactions. the work would have spoken for itself. in the wake of those reports the justice department last flight said, no, no, none of the mueller report could be released because of a pro forma stamp at the top of each page, a legal disclaimer. you see it here. noting it may contain confidential grand jury material and therefore the juls s department argues it could not be publicly released. every single page has the stamp
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on it. cannot release any of it. all of this comes as the house judiciary committee this week has authorized a subpoena for the mueller report. its chairman, democrat injujerr nadler of new york insists his committee will get it. >> to do our job we need to the mueller report. not the attorney general's summary or his significantly redacted version of the report that the attorney general has offered to give us without the underlying evidence collected by the special counsel. the release of the report in its entirety is part of what we have to do, but an essential part of what we have to do to make sure this president and future presidents are accountable to the constitution, are accountable to the people and are accountable to the democratic institutions of this government. >> jerrold nadler was speaking at a protest yesterday outside the white house. it was one of hundreds of protests held all around the
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country demanding release of the full mueller report. those protests would seem to be the latest indication that the white house is losing its grip on the mueller narrative and that the story of exoneration is giving way to the sense that in fact the trump administration is hiding something by not allowing the report to be released. so fair to say that this week has not been as good as last week was for donald trump and that this is only when it comes to the mueller report. this is only on one front. congressional democrats are als pressing ahead with their investigations into trump's finances. we've learned this week that committee chairs have requested records frm one of trump's banks as well as from his accounting firm as part of their various, corruption, counter intelligence and financial fraud investigations. the company said they would hand over the records if they're issued subpoenas. lawmakers say they'll happily oblige. this weekee also got the first
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white house whistle-blower to come forward publicly on the record. trisha, an 18 year vet on of the white house personnel security office has sounded the alarm now to the public of what she says are deeply troubling practices of getting out security cleernlss cleernl clearances at the white house. overruled at least 25 security clearance denials made by career government employees. trump's son-in-law jared kushner is reportedly one of the people who was given a clearance despite career officials raising serious red flags and recommending that he not get one. oversight committee chairman elijah cummings has now subpoenaed one former senior official in the white house security office. and he says more subpoenas are coming. meanwhile, dozens across the government are reportedly also working with house democrats on a range of issues. so trisha newbold is likely just the tip of the iceberg.
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also this week congress delivered not just a foreign policy rebuke to donald trump but an historic one. yesterday the house joined with the senate with bipartisan majorities in both chambers in passing a resolution to end u.s. support for the saudi war in yemen, which is the first time congress has ever successfully invoked the 1973 war powers resolution. who says trump can't bring congress together? also this week the president folded on his renewed push for a republican plan to replace obamacare. right in the middle of his victory lap over the invisible buzz exonerating mueller report last week trump announced that republicans would come up with a new amazing health care plan for the country. this week he said that meant they would do that after the 2020 election. he never meant they would do it right now. and then yesterday after days and days of insisting he would close the border with mexico, economic consequences be damned
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unless mexico did something or unless congress did something, it was never quite clear what he meant. yesterday trump completely caved on his threat and settled for a vague warning to mexico in pretending that mexico has changed its policies this week to meet his demands, even though mexico says it did no such thing. speaking of pretending trump was at the border wall today admiring his wall. but meanwhile, he was hit with two new lawsuits from the house of representatives, and from 20 state attorneys general seeking to block his emergency declaration that would ostensibly fund that wall. we're going to have more on that in just a moment. but of all the things that have gone wrong for trump this week, the thing that may be bothering him the most is the thing that brought us to the metaphor portion of the news, and not the subtle kind. quote, this is a hill and people would be willing to die on it. a member of the trump administration telling cnn today
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that if congress wants the president's tax returns they had better be willing to climb a very steep, very symbolic hill leading all the way to the supreme court. the next big fight in washington kicked off this week when democrat richard neil, the chairman of the house ways and means committee sent this letter to the irs politely asking to see six years of tax returns from the president and his business. he cites an arcane piece of tax law that allows him to see any american's tax returns as long as it's for a legitimate legislative reason. now in this case congressman neil says this has nothing to do with partisan politics. he says he needs the president's tax returns to check in on how the irs, quotes, oversees and audits tax laws against a sitting president. right away the president was adamant he would not release his tax returns without a fight. he says the law is 100% on his
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side, that the irs has no reason to give in to the democrats' request and turn over his returns. and today the president escalated that fight over this by hiring a lawyer. a lawyer who sent this letter to the irs calling into question the legal ground that democrats are standing on. quote, i write to explain why chairman neal cannot legally request and the irs cannot legally divulge the president's tax returns. requests for tax returns and return information must have a legitimate legislative purpose. chairman neal's requests flout these fundmental constitutional contraints. ways and means has no legitimate committee purpose for requesting the president's tax returns or return information. chairman neal wants the president's tax returns and return information because his partly recently gained control of the house. the president is their political opponent and they want to use the information to damage him politically. so the initial legal battle
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lines appear to have been drawn today, and the president says his side is ready to fight all the way to the supreme court. what's the view from the congressional side? well, joining me now is a democratic member of the house and ways committee, which has seconds the irs for the president's tax returns. congressman, good to see you. thanks for joining us tonight. >> thanks for having me on. >> the president's lawyers have told the treasury department your committee requests for trump's taxes has no chances of standing up in court because it's politically motivated. what's your response? >> first of all, it's not politically motivated. and chairman neal faced a lot of criticism because people said he wasn't moving fast enough. look, there's a legitimate public policy question that the ways and means committee is attempting to address, and it's not up to the president or some lawyer that he hires to determine for the congress when
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it has a legitimate public policy question that it's attempting to address. that's up to us. we have a separation of powers in our country. the constitution makes it clear that we have the authority to exercise our responsibilities. in section 6103 of the tax code, it makes it crystal clear that the chairman of the committee can order a tax return to be delivered to him in order to inform the committee when it's deliberating on a public policy question. there's a big question as to whether or not the irs is legitimately exercising its responsibility to audit the president and enforce tax law on him. he says he's under audit. we've asked for -- the chairman has asked for six years of returns for the president and eight separate entities. i don't believe it's possible that every one of those returns is still under audit. and even if it is, there's
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nothing in the law that says the fact the returns might be under audit somehow exempts them from this 98-year-old lulaw that gives the chairman of the committee the ability to access any tax return -- >> so congressman to be clear -- not just some taxpayers but any taxpayer return. >> to be clear your public objective is that the irs may not be doing what it should be as it relates to auditing or managing the president's taxes? >> we have very serious questions as to whether or not the irs is properly enforcing the tax law. and of course those questions are made a little more relevant when we see the president's lawyer writing to the commissioner of the irs essentially threatening them or ordering them to take certain actions relative to this request. who's in charge here? >> so the irs commissioner -- charles redding had written a piece in forbes before the election basically arguing the
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case for donald trump not to disclose his taxes. what's your thought on that? >> well, then i would suppose the commissioner has a bias, which maybe he ought to set aside and actually just look at the law. i mean, he can have his opinions as to whether the president should voluntarily release his returns, but he can't have an opinion as to whether or not this law, which was passed in 1921 following the teapot dome skan scandal, that gives this extraordinary to the chairman, he doesn't have an opinion relative to this day and to this particular taxpayer the law governs. the law is the law, and he should follow the law. >> congressman, last night "the new york times" reported that he asked senate majority mitch mcconnell to prioritize the confirmation of the irs counsel reportedly indicating it was a higher priority than confirming will kwm barr as the attorney
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general. "the times" said the president made this request on february 5th. that was well after your committee had made it public it was seeking the president's tax returns. do those two things have a connection to you? >> well, it's certainly curious. i mean, the president seems quite willing to use his authority to defend himself personally whenever he wants to. and again, this just elevates our concern about this question. we are considering legislative proposals that could change the way the irs deals with presidential tax returns. largely because this president is the most opaque president in recent history. i mean, he broke with nearly 50 dwreerz years of tradition by first promising and now absolutely refusing to release his tax information. and let's be clear, there's also a legitimate question here of legitimate public value in knowing whether or not the president's personal financial interests, which he claims and
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we know to be quite vast, which he still has control over, whether those interests somehow influenced the public decision making that he's engaged in. there's a legitimate question here, and we need to know whether or not in that context, in that already really interesting and difficult context, whether or not the president or the irs itself is somehow engaging in a way that does not fully enforce the tax law on the president of the united states. he says he's under audit. we don't know that he's under audit. the law doesn't require an audit. there's been a practice of the irs to audit presidents who are holding office, but there's no law requiring it. so we have an -- we have an absolute right to be informed as we make these very difficult decisions. the idea that the president is somehow uncomfortable now because he's trying to keep something from the chairman of the committee -- now, these returns wouldn't be made public. this would be for the chairman of the committee in order to
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evaluate the policy questions that we're trying to address. that's a legitimate public person. >> congressman, good to talk to you. thank you for joining me tonight. coming up, they had fun hats and long capes and big gowns, and they're making an unexpected cameo in the newest legal fight against the trump administration. that story next. stay with us. tion that story next. stay with us ♪ limu emu & doug look limu. a civilian buying a new car. let's go. limu's right. liberty mutual can save you money by customizing your car insurance, so you only pay for what you need. oh... yeah, i've been a customer for years. huh...
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you know reliable support when you have it, 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.
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all right, it was not a light friday at the office for house democrats. late today democrats in congress filed this lawsuit against the trump administration in d.c. district court. arguing that the president is breaking the law by declaring a national emergency to get money to build his border wall. house speaker nancy pelosi announced yesterday that the suit was coming, but we had no idea it was coming with ye olden times references. quote, even the monarchs of england long ago lost the power to raise and spend money without the approval of parliament. last month congress overwhelmingly passed a bill to undo trump's national emergency on the border. the president vetoed that bill and is now using the national
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emergency to now reallocate money from other parts of the government which house democrats allege is against the law. to be clear the constitution gives the legislative branch the power of the purse, not the president. and now that legal argument is barrelling towards the president not just from that lawsuit in washington but from one of the most potent successful forces of opposition to the president and his agenda, the states. 20 states led by the attorney general in california are asking a judge for a nationwide injunction that would block the president from diverting taxpayer money to build his border fence. the california attorney general calls trump's national emergency, quote, a threat to our democratic institutions. he and 19 other attorneys general from across the country are asking a judge to stop the president from spending federal money on a border wall and to declare his national emergency
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unconstitutional. this is from their motion. quote, the u.s. constitution entrusts the power and purse to congress and denies the president the powers to legislate or appropriate. the president's actions amount to a aserpation of congress' legislative powers. president trump's actions in effect unilaterally modified congress' limited appropriation in violation of the constitution. the court should grant state's motion for preliminary injunction from taking any additional steps. with the president stumping for his wall and his national emergency these states are asking the court for a full stop. okay, joining me now-conduct attorney general william tah.
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thank you for joining me. what's the argument that the states have about the president diverting federal money that's already allocated? what's the state's argument? >> state as argument he's hijacking $1.6 billion already committed to the states through federal funds, military construction, military spending that states rely on for public safety and law enforcement. my own state police in connecticut, the department of public safety in connecticut are depending on this money, and the president's just taking it away from us when he has no right to do so. and it would be funny that in your last segment you mention the president's lawyers are complaining and demanding we stay within the constitutional restraints. it'll be funny if he weren't blowing through them himself and
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tramping our constitution and our political norms. >> so just tell me what it looks like if your injunction is granted, what happens? >> so we stop the president from taking that money, and then we move onto a full-blown hearing on the merits. and i think what federal courts will find. and we're confident not just the district court but appellate court and also supreme court will agree with us and with both houses of congress. we're talk about the u.s. senate and the house of representatives that the president has over stepped his power under article one, that congress shall have the power to appropriate money, and that the president is abusing his power under the national emergencies act. >> how do these two cases differ, the one filed by nancy pelosi and house democrats? they're making different claims. do they end upcoming together at some point as far as you can tell? >> you know, i think the claims are different because the states are sovereign. i'm the attorney general for the
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sovereign state of connecticut and the constitution is really an agreement among the 50 states bound that will agree that state has limited powers that will follow the rules set forth in the u.s. constitution. the president has decided i'm not going to follow those rules. i'm going to build a border wall for a national emergency that doesn't exist, and i'm going to do exactly what congress and the constitution forbids me from doing. and what's really scary are there are other national emergencies like gun violence or listening to the director of the fbi today, christopher wray, saying that hates and the rise in white supremacists and their activity, that's a real national emergency, not some manufactured national emergency at the border. >> you're a long way away from the border and someone criticized you don't know what's going down at the border and whether it's a national emergency. >> i was down there two weeks
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ago. i crossed the border into tijuana and the only thing i really saw were mexicans legally crossing the border into the united states to go to work, which they do every day to help power our economy. i also saw they way in which we turn our backs on people, you know, for all of my life and most of our history, if you were in fear for your life you could knock on the door at the border and the united states would open the door and say, you know, how can we help you? and, you know, if you were understand imminent threat of harm or feared for your life, we might help you and grant you asylum, and we had that conversation. now we don't do that. now we turn our back on people and right across on the border we literally disavow human beings who need our help. >> attorney general, thank you for joining us. up next a court ruling today has raised new questions about who gets to material in the mueller report. stay with us. ts to material in mueller report stay with us i knew about the tremors.
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last year the intrepid reporter petitioned the d.c. district court to unseal 11 miscellaneous dockets in the ken starr investigation into former president clinton. the judge who decided that case, her name may ring a bell. chief judge howell. that's her grand jury. she was going to have a big say in terms of whether secret grand jury information in mueller's report ever sees the light of
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day. and one year ago in that other case involving cnn and the ken starr report judge howell said some things that in the rearview mirror seem kind of important. she cited case law that grand juries are an appendage of the court and said because of that the court, which in this case is her, has authority over the grand jury and its records. that the district court, which, again is her, that the district court has an inherent authority to unseal and disclose grand jury material. and then she says, quote, the d.c. circuit which in rock, paper, zizzescissors, she is sa my court has the inherent authority to decide whether grand jury material goes public. and even the mighty d.c. circuit court of appeals agrees with me on that. except maybe not anymore.
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because today the mighty d.c. circuit court of appeals may have just thrown a hurdle up in terms of having the secret grand jury material in mueller's report come out. now, this was a totally unrelated case, a murder mystery involving a columbia university professor who disappeared in 1956 and an historian i was researching a book about the murder and wanted access to secret grand jury records. the district court in that case, the howell in that case claimed that it, quote, had inharpt authority to disclose the grand jury records. the same super power she argued she had in the ken starr case last year. but today the mighty d.c. circuit court of appeals ruling not so fast. ruling the district court does not have the inherent authority to release grand jury material. quote, the district court has no
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authority outside rule 6e to disclose grand jury matter. rule 6e, you'll heard this referred to in william barr's letter being the federal statute that lays out under what circumstances secret grand jury information can be made public. today's ruling in that case may have just handcuffed george howell and any of her attempts to release the secret grand jury records in the mueller report. this is getting interesting, so i have the perfect person to complain it to us. joining us now barbara mcquade, and thankfully a professor because this is hard case. barbara, i really appreciate you being here tonight. could today's ruling in this murder case actually handcuff george howell in terms of releasing mueller's secret grand jury information? is there a difference here in terms of releasing it to the congress or to the public? >> it could impact her ability
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to release it, but i don't think it's going to prevent it. what the court said today in the d.c. circuit contrary to some other circuit courts of appeals that have decided this, the court does not have inherent power to release the grand jury material. instead it is bound by rule 6e you mentioned. but it does have some permission for a court to disclose grand jury material. it has about five different provisions there. and one of the things that the d.c. circuit court said today is that it distinguished the case involving this historian in this book from disclosures to congress that occurred in the watergate era because it said those disclosures, although the case wasn't clear, were likely done under rule 6e, which permits a court to disclose grand jury material to another proceeding. >> why did you do that because what you're referring to is they
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cited a previous case during watergate, hollerman vs. nixon. why did that even come up? >> well, the dissent raised it and said that is basis to show that the court does have inherent power, because look this very same court allowed the disclosure of grand jury material to the case. yes, it did allow that release, but they didn't really say why, and we can reconcile that holding with rule 6e, and so we will say it is permissible for a court to release grand jury material to a congressional committee under rule 6e without resorting to that larger inherent authority. so it may limit disclosure to the public at large, although i'm not sure that the equities are there yet on a case this recent anyway, but i don't think this ruling is going to prevent a court from disclosing the
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mueller report on the basis of grand jury material to congress. >> today's ruling seems to say until now cases of intense political or historic interest they weren't on that list of exceptions but the court has inharpt authority to release that grand jury information. in your opinion does today's ruling end that grand jury arrangement? >> it may but i don't think this is going to be the last word on this issue because as we've other circuits have found a dawntrary view, the second circuit, the 7th circuit. both of which are influential. we saw in recent weeks them get disclosure of the watergate road map. so i could see at some point this issue going to supreme court, but i don't know that's going to happen very quickly. probably not. but in the meantime i think that congress can still get robert mueller's report based on this rule 6e exception.
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>> barbara ma former u.s. attor eastern district of michigan. just when you thought your next story could not get anymore bizarre, it took one wild turn. this one involves lysol and the leader of a state republican party. stay with us. a state republican party. stay with us -we're doing karaoke later, and you're gonna sing. -jamie, this is your house? -i know, it's not much, but it's home. right, kids? -kids? -papa, papa! -[ laughs ] -you didn't tell me your friends were coming. -oh, yeah. -this one is tiny like a child. -yeah, she is. oh, but seriously, it's good to be surrounded
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all right, i should warn you this next segment is a little bu, not in the sense of blue versus red politics but in the sense of pg-13 so you might want to clear the little kids out of the room. okay, the story begins in 1996 with a hotly contested republican primary for governor of north carolina. one of the candidates running in that primary was this guy, congressman robin hayes. now part of what made that primary contentious is that hayes' opponent accused him of being so conservative that he would never be able to win the general election. among the things they pointed to was the fact that as a u.s. congressman he was a fervent backer of abstinence based sex
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education. one of the north carolina nuclear weapons noted at the time that hayes had, quote, denounced programs teaching children about birth control saying they were, quote, based on lust. instead he had pushed for a curriculum called choosing the best. now, choosing the best was and still is pretty out there. a narrator on one of the program's educational videos tells students if they have sex before marriage, they, quote, just have to be prepared to die. do not pass go, do not collect $200, just be prepared to die. but what's even more shocking is that the program congressman robin hayes was advocating for also taught students to, quote, prevent disease by washing their genitals with rubbing alcohol or lysol after sex. and one of his opponents dubbed him the lysol man. soon attack ads cropped up with one of them showing a picture of hayes dissolving to reveal a
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bottle of lysol disinfectant. the lysol man never became governor. he did, however, become the north carolina republican party chairman, and this week he was indicted. charged with bribery and other crimes officials say were related to a scheme designed to aid a major political donor in the state. that donor, an insurance executive named greg linbering has donated mostly but not solely to republicans. he was also charged this week with two other men. they're accused of trying to bribe the north carolina insurance commissioner with $2 million in campaign contributions to, quote, get him to take actions favorable to one of linbering's companies am. those favorable acs involves the removal of one of lindbergh's
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subordinates. they were caught because the commissioner they were trying to bribe was actually working with the fbi and secretly recording their conversations. there's more. i'm not done. the indictment refers to someone as public official a, whose-pack took $150,000 from these guys who were trying to get him fired. they turned around and made multiical call tuesday get that official axed. politico is not reporting that official appears to be current republican congressman mark walker who could become a headache for republicans not just in north carolina but d.c. so in one fell swoop you have that major republican indicted along with the chairman who's a former republican congressman as well as a former county chairman and a public official, a, who appears to be an apparent congressman from north carolina and an illegal vote buying and ballot stuffing scheme to
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benefit the republican candidate, and that's on top of the recent court ruling that the state republican party illegally rigged congressional district maps to benefit themselves. i know we do talk about blue versus red politics but what's going on right now in north carolina is more like red versus red. one key state's republican party unable to get out of its own way. stay with us. way. stay with us is boost® delicious boost® high protein nutritional drink has 20 grams of protein, along with 26 essential vitamins and minerals. boost® high protein. be up for life. but allstate actually helps you drive safely... with drivewise. it lets you know when you go too fast... ...and brake too hard. with feedback to help you drive safer. giving you the power to actually lower your cost. unfortunately, it can't do anything about that. now that you know the truth...
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ifor another 150 years. the fire going ♪ to inspire confidence through style. ♪ i'm working to make connections of a different kind. ♪ i'm working for beauty that begins with nature. ♪ to treat every car like i treat mine. ♪ at adp we're designing a better way to work, so you can achieve what you're working for. ♪
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you know reliable support when you have it, 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. so let me introduce to you the next president, the next
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vice president of the united states of america, joe biden. >> and that was barack obama in august of 2008 introducing joe biden as his running meate. he accidently referred to him as the next president of the united states. and shortly after that he referred to senator obama as barack america. his apparent entry into the 2020 race is proving to be much rock yr. today he all but declared his inteengz it run for president telling reporters, he's, quote, getting everything together and he always intended to be the last person to announce their candidacy. early in the afternoon he made his first public remarks since acswrags emerged he had made several women uncomfortable with his physical contact. biden tried to push past the controversy highlighting the need to restore the middle class in this conty. but he also cracked jokes about the recent criticism he has
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received. after hugging the union president, he told the crowd he had gotten permission to do so and made a similar joke after putting his arm around a young boy, but later biden had this to say to for someone who wants it say i am sorry, are you sorry? >> i'm sorry i didn't understand. i'm not sorry for any of any intentions. i am not sorry for anything i have ever done. i have never been disrespectful intentionally to a man or woman. >> biden was asked whether he could win a primary in a democratic party that has many thinking it's drifting to the left. >> the fact of the matter is, the vast majority of the members of the democratic party are still basically liberal to moderate democrats in the traditional sense. and if you look at those, i went into 65, 66, 67 races on the
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ground. i campaigned i think for virtually every one of the 41 people who won. show me the really left, left, left wingers who beat a republican. a republican. so the idea of the democratic party has stood on its head. i don't get. by the way, the party should welcome this what i don't know how you want to characterize it, the progressive left. it should be welcomed. we should have a debate about these things. that's not a bad thick. but the idea all of a sudden the democratic party woke up and everybody asks what kind of democratic, i am an obamacare/biden democrat. >> fair enough. the question is whether democrats want an obama/biden democrat for 2020. joining me to discuss this, an msnbc political analyst, zerlina. he said that most people in the
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democratic party are liberal to moderate democrats in the traditional sense. do you believe that to be true? >> i think the party is diverse. i think we are in a moment where there is this push and pull and there is a robust policy discussion happening where people are, you know, taking out different flanks and people are putting out specific policy plans that put them all over the spectrum that i think is center left. but the people, the voters, are actually dictating a lot of this. the people are saying do something about health care. costs are too high. i don't have access. do something about child care. give me plan. show me what you are going to do. in a lot of ways the politicians are following the people in terms of policies they are putting forward and some is progressive. >> how much is policies that may make sense that republicans are targeting as progressive? we talked about this. i'm from canada. universal health care there, single payer is not a conservative or liberal philosophy. to what degree do democrats push back and say these aren't
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progressive left policies? >> they need to push back strongly because we need to understand that there are special interests making sure that the system stays the way it is so that companies are profiting, right? and so the system is not actually helping and caring for the people and their health, and that's what we need reform. we need to make sure people have access. just because an insurance company exists doesn't mean you can afford the health care that you and your family may immediate. this policy discussion is long overdue. we tried this in many different incarnrations. we have obamacare. progressives are putting forward a vision for where we are going in the future. that is a progressive vision. i don't think that the party is moving and swinging wildly far to the left. i think it's the voters that are demanding changes on these critical issues. >> let's talk about the controversy surrounding joe biden. what did you think about the way he handled it? >> it is too soon to be making a joke about this.
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i feel like joe biden is a genuine advocate for survivors of sexual assault. he was there. i met him at the academy awards in 2016 when we were there with lady gaga. he is very genuine. he makes that connection. that is part of his appeal. that's the kind of politician he is. in this moment, in this cultural moment i think, you know, its parties having a policy discussion, the country is having a cultural discussion about women's place in our society. what is their role in society? how should we treat them in the workplace, on the street, in the classroom? all of this is a party of a cultural moment and a turning point and joe biden actually is a person i think that can take that mantle. he has a network of survivors he can speak to and listen to. he said i'm going to listen respectfully. so i think in this moment, don't make jokes about it. this is a serious issue. when women are saying i am uncomfortable, they are not claiming assault. she said i felt uncomfortable. so joe biden needs to listen to
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us and take our concerns seriously because it's not a joking matter. >> we all need to listen. thank you so much for joining us. zerlina maxwell former clinton campaign advisor. one more story for you right here. stay with us. ♪ limu emu & doug mmm, exactly! liberty mutual customizes your car insurance, so you only pay for what you need. nice! but uh, what's up with your partner? oh! we just spend all day telling everyone how we customize car insurance because no two people are alike, so...
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and let's make it work! they're tool free and they hold strong. or change your mind damage free. like a pro. command. do. no harm. this is dr. charles. he is one of on our left in both of these pictures posing in front of those flags. he runs the united nations's chinese friendship association.
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he calls himself the secretary-general of the group, like the secretary-general of the united nations. in a 2017 posting the organization run by dr. charles listed congresswoman grace meng and congresswoman judy chi and transportation secretary elaine chao as honorary chair persons. i should tell you the united nations chinese friendship association run by dr. charles is not affiliated with the united nations. you probably saw this coming. dr. charles is not a real doctor. he runson influence business where he promotes and sells access to american power in the form of memberships to his organization, but it's not just that. in a press release from 2012 dr. charles promoted the fact that he met with the deputy director of a unit in china responsible for coordinating influence operations. here he is standing with the deputy director of that group on the right. dr. charles is also a regular at the president's resort in florida, mar-a-lago, so much so
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that over the weekend when a chinese woman allegedly tried to sneak into mar-a-lago carrying four cell phones, two passports, a laptop and thumb drive with malicious drive ware, prosecutors said she was there to see dr. charles. that woman made an appearance in the federal courthouse in west palm beach. she is charged with lying to a federal officer. she has not been charged with any counts related to espionage. now, the fbi is also reportedly looking into whether mar-a-lago in general is vulnerable to foreign spying. democrats on capitol hill are also pushing this issue because you cannot join the white house, but you can join mar-a-lago. once you join you can go inside. it's not up to the secret service. one intelligence veteran described mar-a-lago to us this week as an incredible treasure chest for foreign intelligence, a soft target for malfeasance from tinkering to the computers,
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to listen into conversations. this is the ongoing vu vulnerability that you would expect to spark concern, and apparently it has. that does it for us. rachel will be back monday. kpa time now for "the last word with lawrence o'donnell." >> good evening. thanks for filling in for me as often as you do. thank you. we are going to have another tax class tonight now that the president is desperately trying to prevent the irs from handing over his tax returns to the house of representatives. in tonight he is class i am going to be the student. our first guest tonight is the highest authority that we have ever had on this program on taxation. he is a former chief of staff of the joint committee on taxation you don't hear about that much. the joint committee on taxation is a congressional committee composed of house members and senate members and the staff of the joint committee actua

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