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tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  April 24, 2019 10:00pm-11:01pm PDT

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>> i'm still pondering fingers and toes and what we've got after that. i guess ears, right? we can use ears. you got that. >> anything. >> so rachel, joe biden because he's not a presidential candidate today, he was not at that forum that joy reid co y, moderated with the presidential candidates, and that means he was not one of the men who was asked why women of color shouldw vote for him. joy reid will join us later in this hour with a lot of highlights from her forum today, which was really fascinating watch. >> it was stunning. > an interesting turning of the tables in so many ways. >> it's a fascinating thing for democratic politics and democrats coming to terms with
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their electorate and the needs of their electorate and who they are and who had he need to stand for. s as a political event, it was astonishing and the tape was amazing. > i hope there's a lot more of them coming. we have so much news to cover tonight and we are lucky tonight to have professor laurence tribe with us, harvard law school's constitutional law professor on a night when the president invoked the supreme court. the president's belief that he can get the supreme court to stop the impeachment process, professor tribe has much to say about that, and what is likely to be now a protracted legal battle between the house of representatives and the president of the united states. and at the end of this hour tonight, we are going to have another episode of political hypocrisy theater. this time with senator john thune. senator john thune has had nothing and i mean nothing to
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say about the revelations in the mueller report about the lies told by donald trump including lies to the american people. but we have video of june thune absolutely outraged, outraged and morally outraged at a president lying to the american people.ri it's what john thune had to say the day before as a member of the house of representatives he voted to impeach bill clinton. you'll want to see this at the ended of this hour because this is story will be moving into the united states senate next week when william barr testifies to the senate judiciary committee. we are going to be seeing the height of hypocrisy next week in the united states senate.ig with the republican members of the united states senate vet very much including john thune.
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but first on the day that the president took the unprecedented position of fighting every single legally issued subpoena by the house of representatives every legal document request by the house of representatives, including the fully legal demant which is not a subpoena but it u is a fully legal demand for donald trump's tax returns by the house ways and means ru committee richard neal on that day on when the president declares he's going to fight every one of those things, hillary clinton published an on op-ed where the country stands u tonight on the verge of what could be another impeachment of a president. hillary clinton drew on her unique personal experience with the last two impeachment processes. the one she witnessed as first lady when her husband bill clinton was impeached by the house of representatives and the one she worked on as a young
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staff lawyer in 1974 when the house judiciary committee voted to approve three articles of impeachments against republicanr president richard nixon. hillary clinton said in her t op-ed piece "congress should hold substantive hearings that u build on the mueller report and fill in its gaps not jump straight to an up or down vote on impeachment. she pointed out that congress can investigate the president es and legislate at the same time d as it has done in the past as is did during the nixon had t impeachment process.di she concluded her piece with this line "now it's up to us to prove the wisdom of our constitution, the resilience of our democracy and strength of our nation. the echoes of history are everywhere now. in the trump investigations and in the echoes of impeachment. donald trump is reverting to a strategy that richard nixon tried and failed to make work.t stonewalling congress, refusingw to submit to congress's legal subpoena power.s congress's legal authority.ow the president is not going to win that contest with the congress in court. is he going to lose. but he is going to buy time in l
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the court with that strategy. i but it is a strategy that has emboldened the congress. there are reports tonight that chairman jerry nadler of the po house judiciary committee is considering fines for trump administration witnesses who do not respond to subpoenas. some legal scholars indicate that the president's defiant actions with congress that have no basis in law can themselves be interpreted as additional leapts of obstruction of justice and could become separate articles of impeachment if we get to that. if the president is impeached by the how was representatives, one of the echoes of history we will hear is mr. sarbanes being asked to vote. john sarbanes is a democratic member of the house of representatives from maryland who will join us in a moment. his father is former senator paul sarbanes among the most
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respected members of the united states senate by both parties. when i was working on the staff of the senate in the 1990s. and before that, paul sarbanes was a member of the house of representatives from maryland. the same district that his son is in now. and paul sarbanes was a member of the house judiciary committee who voted to impeach republican president richard nixon. here is that historic moment in the committee. >> mr. mann. >> aye. >> mr. sarbanes. >> aye. >> and so mr. sarbanes father and son, could become the first father and son in history to vote for the impeachment of a president. but we're not there yet. we may never get there. there may not be impeachment hearings for this president. we are a year and a half away only a year and a half away from an election that could replace
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this president and the legal process may grind slowly enough that there is not time to complete an impeachment process before the next election. but president trump is now publicly afraid of the impeachment process. after having claimed the opposite. he demonstrated his public fear today in his usual forum for expressing his desperate fears, twitter. he began by using gangster language in a tweet saying that the mueller investigation "didn't lay a glove on me." didn't lay a glove on me is the language of a criminal who knows he is guilty but cleverly escaped detection. it is not the language of a president, it is not the ng language of an innocent i president. the president also tweeted the single most ignorant and desperate thing ever said by an american politician about impeachment. the president said, if the
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partisan dems ever try to if impeach i would first head to o the u.s. supreme court. and, of course, the supreme court wouldn't say to him what are you doing here because they wouldn't let him in the door. we will hear from harvard constitutional law professor laurence tribe about the absurdity of that statement by a the president today. first we're joined by john sarbanes.rs also matt miller attorney general for eric holder who has great experience dealing with subpoenas from congress. and an msnbc contributor adam jentleson, the former chief of c staff for senator harry reid. representative sarbanes, i want to start with you. i thought of your father today when i thought of the possibility of this vote coming to you because it feels as those we took one step, one step of what might be a thousand steps,
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but one step closer to possible impeachment process today with the president making this unprecedented declaration that he would not cooperate way single subpoena for anything, witnesses, documents, anything. from the house of representatives. it's an outrageous position, obviously in my estimation for the president to take. but we ought to keep in mind when he is taking that position, it's not just about disrespecting congress, ou lawrence. this is about disrespecting the american public because we were told in no uncertain terms in 2018 in the midterm elections by the electorate, we were told as democrats if we got the gavel, people wanted to see oversight an inquiry and investigation. and we came to hold the president accountable after the 2018 election. so when he rebuffs that, when he
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says he's not going to cooperate when he says he's not going to respond to any subpoenas and by the way, gives that edict to to everybody in his administration, that's not about disrespecting congress. that's about disrespecting the american public that wants ut answers and wants at accountability. >> and what has it done today to your colleagues in the house? what are you hearing? has this, i mean, i know you're on recess. it's not one of those days where you can all get together. are you getting a sense the president has changed the dynamic today? >> i think all the president did today was he made democrats more determined to get to the bottom of all of these inquiries and continue in a very steady and diligent and deliberate way to try to get the facts. and we're trying to get those facts so we can put them in front of the citizens out there who are the ultimate jury when
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it comes to this president. we want to equip the country with the facts that they need to go make a judgment next november. i mean, the president will need his political maker on november 3rd, 2020. he was made by this electorate and can be unmade by this electorate particularly if theyi have good information at their fingertips. we're even determined today based on the statements that he made to go find these facts than we were yesterday. >> and matt miller, in the history of administrations >> dealing with subpoenas, we've never had an announcement that they simply won't cooperate with any committee for anything. >> yeah, it's completely lawless behavior by the administration. i think in some ways it's kind of a continuation of the k activities we saw laid bare in the mueller report last week where we saw a president who behaved lawlessly on the nt campaign trail, behaved lawlessly as president and doing it here and resisting anyone whg
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tries to hold him accountable. the statement he made today, obviously, it exposes that but i think it has a way you have backfiring. you ask the congressman how that statement is being interpreted by his colleagues, i think there's a very good statement that that statement comes back ' to bite him in the courts. the courts are usually reluctant to get involved in disputes between the executive and congress.ee they want time to accommodate each other, take time to work it out. there's a process they expect them to go through. part of the thing that gh underlines that is an expectation both sides are working in good faith. when the president makes clear like he did today there is no good faith on his part, he's going to resist and say no even to inquiries where congress has gotten documents and testimony, it raises the chance the courts can intervene more quickly and forcefully than in the past and
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the timeline on his side, maybe that gets compressed in ways we haven't seen previously. >> let's listen to what senator kristin gillibrand said today about the subpoena fight. >> if president trump takes on nancy pelosi whether he's going to respond to her subpoenas, i will put my money on nancy pelosi every time. >> adam, she's going to win that bet. t it's a question of how long it takes to win it. >> that's right. president trump is picking a battle he ultimately cannot win here. matt and i were talking about this before. i think one of the problems with the blanket statement that he's putting out therein a saying he's going to fight every subpoena is that he's turning this into a very clear issue of separation of powers and whether congress has the ability to exercise oversights over the executive branch. it clearly does. it's one of its main responsibilities.
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and there are different sort of strengths and weaknesses to eact of the cases that the trump administration -- where the trump administration are trying to deny an official from testifying. by making this blanket statement it's going to be denying testimony in all cases it's sort of glossing over some areas where it may have strengths and trying to deny a specificness and putting it on weaker ground for the trump administration and saying we are trying to blanket deny congress. it's basic oversight responsibility. >> congressman sarbanes, there's a new afghanistan p. poll saying 53% believe that congress should continue the trump russian investigation. 45% say no. we heard the other day nancy pelosi when she was discussing it public high here in new york at the time 100 discussion, she cited polls repeatedly in her response where the congress stands now and how the last polling she saul is as opposed to impeachment. in your discussions with your fellow members, how often do polls come up and what the public is thinking and how much does that is control your next
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steps? >> we're extremely respectful of what the public's view of this whole matter is, the mueller report, the way we're handling these investigations. because as i said a moment ago, we very much see ourselves as carrying out the mandate and the direction that we received from the american people every two years when they go to the polls. and they said to us that they wanted to see the kind of oversight of this administration that had been missing for the last two years when the g republicans head the gavel. so we came with that charge beginning with this congress in january of this year that we were going to provide the accountability that had been missing before.ha and by the way, the public's interest in understanding t russia's interference in our elections is exactly on target. we should be on red alert right now because the mueller report detailed exactly how russia
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interfered with the 2016 election, tried to sow discord, tried to undermine our democracy, fundamentally undermine our democracy.nt and we need to respond to that. there's another election coming. it's next year. russia's not going away. they're going to come back and try to do the same thing.ba so we should be collaborating, cooperating. republicans and democrats together. i don't know where the republicans are.i they're missing in action when l it comes to protecting our democracy.ti this is not about democrats and republicans when you talking de about fighting back against russian interference. that's about being american patriots and mcconnell and the republicans are missing in action when it comes to taking n up the sort of proposals and measures that we can put in place and by the way, were put in place by house democrats with hr-1 the for the people act that can prevent the kind of interference that we saw in the
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2016 election. happening again next year. over. >> matt miller, congressman sarbanes red alert sounds like one of the other possible outcomes of these kinds you have hearings. in the last election, the public was not aware of what was going on, what the russians were doing in the ramp -up to the election but weise hearings would certainly be emphasizing that. >> yeah, an they'd be ha emphasizing that and kind of showing the american people in a way they're not going to get er from reading the report because most people won't read the ng report, what it is that trump has done in office. there are a lot of things the president doesn't understand. television is one of them. if the mueller report is the te script, the hearings are the tv show.pt that's why you see him fighting to keep witnesses like don mcgahn, people no longer in the administration from being able r to testify.ni if you kind of look at what the judiciary committee has said they're going to do, they want to take a lot of witnesses who showed up in the mueller report and have them come systematically in open hearings where the public can see just
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what it is the president was asking these people to do, just how he was behaving, how he was breaking the law in the white house. to this question whether the e. public supports impeachment or not, where they are now is not necessarily where they will be after they've seen dramatic television hearings.ti the president very much gets s. that. that's why you see them resisting so, so much. >> adam, i'm glad congressman sarbanes mentioned hr-1. it goes to the point hillary clinton makes. the congress knows how to conduct regular business and legislate while an impeachment process or investigation like that is going on. it has always done that. always been able to do that. and in nancy pelosi's case, she's already done it. se >> theater. hr-1 is the first bill they passed. it's passed the house but gone nowhere in the senate because t mitch mcconnell refused to bring it up. senator mcconnell also denied the public a full accounting of
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what was happening with russia attacking our elections in the fall of 2016. so that tells you where his priorities are. he has shown through his actions that when he has to choose between supporting the president and giving the public the information they need about potential threats to our democracy, he will choose to side with the president. >> adam gets the last word in our first round tonight. john sarbanes, matt miller, thank you all very much for starting us off tonight thank you. right after this break, an harvard's constitutional law professor laurence tribe will join us to discuss account president's new legal bat with congress and the president's dreams about how one day, his supreme court justices can somehow stop impeachment. and joy reid will be joining us after she co moderated a presidential forum today where eight of the presidential
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the president has not read the mueller report or the constitution. and that is why the president once again today proved himself to be the most ignorant person in the history of the american presidency and possibly american politics. by saying that he would turn to the judges that he has appointed
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to the united states supreme court to save him from impeachment. that will never happen but it does seem that today is the first day of what promises to be a trump administration illegal war with every house committee seeking information and witnesses from the trump administration. and we are very fortunate tonight on this first night of this epic legal battle of trump versus the congress to be able to take our constitutional guidance from our next guest, harvard law professor laundry tribe, a professor of constitutional law at harvard law school and has argued dozens of cases in the united states supreme court. something that most lawyers don't get to do even once in their career. joining us now is professor laurence tribe. he is co-author of "to end a presidency, the power of impeachment." and professor tribe, i think your impeach. book, is it about a year old now? >> right.
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it came out in may of 2018, and the paperback with a new epilog just came out in march of this year. so depends on how you count. >> and much of what you, the guidance you gave us in that book was in many ways putting the brakes on talk about impeachment that we were hearing then. this story has changed dramatically to where we are tonight. >> certainly has. i was saying impeachment can be very divisive. it can have a big backlash and look like we're trying to undo a election. we have to go slowly and carefully. after the mueller report came out with all after its astonishing revelations about the systemic and sustained russian attack on our democracy, and the president's sustained efforts to obstruct inquiry into that attack, even inquiry of a counter investigation type that would enable us better protect
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ourselves from going on attack in 2020, it game clear there was no time to lose. so that's why i'm very much in favor of the kinds of hearings that representative nadler already as chairman of judiciary is engaged in now. they're not called impeachment hearings but the impeachment process for anyone who understands what's going on is underway. it's under way but they don't have the bumper sticker yet. they're looking into all of the evidence connecting the dots and as you're earlier guests said, putting live witnesses on the air. so that people can see for themselves through people like don mcgahn, just how corrupt and fundamentally criminal this president was. and we cannot assume that public opinion will be completely impervious to that demonstration. that's why the president is trying to shut them all up, trying to stonewall in this
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unprecedented way, not invoking real legal privileges but just saying i'm the president. and i say i don't want any of you to cooperate with congress. whose congress anyway? a punch of pols. it's an astonishing exercises in arrogant obstruction of justice, very much like but much worst than what nixon did leading to article 3 of his ars of impeachment the article about contempt of congress. that's what we're witnessing, we're wit netting contempt of congress, contempt of law and contempt for the american people. >> i have that article right here. it is exactly what the president is doing today. it says in this of article of impeachment it says he failed without lawful cause or excuse to produce papers and things as directed by duly authorized subpoenas issued by the committee on the judiciary of the house of representatives and
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willfully disobeyed such subpoenas. that was an article of impeachment. it says in that article the president interposed the powers of the presidency against the lawful subpoenas of the house of representatives. what the president did today was an article of impeachment against richard nixon. >> exactly. he did it today in a context where the national security is at stake. that is nixon -- bad as nixon was with cash and the plumber esunit he wasn't inviting a who is fill foreign power to keep invading our country and our sovereignty. he was not engaging in treacherous betrayal of the american republic. he was being a scoff law. being a crook, but now we've got somebody who is fundamentally engaged in treasury. nothing could be more serious. i have enough faith in the american people to believe that when they see this live and not just in a kind of dead 428-page thing that i'm sure the
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president hasn't read but lots of other people who can read haven't read, then i think things will change. but of course, the president is not satisfied with that. he's as you said, he's threatened to go to his supreme court. an amazing idea. >> professor tribe, i am embarrassed to use your brain power for the answer to this question. but let's just pretend that you are visiting an elementary school somewhere in cambridge, fourth grade, second grade. and a kid there. >> i've done that. i like doing that. >> and a kid there raises his or her hand and says, can the president stop impeachment in the supreme court, what would be your answer? >> well, i would say that presidents can't do that. the supreme court just a few years ago said that it had no role in the impeachment process. and actually, kids, this is a good reason. back when the framers met in philadelphia, they were wonder
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who should have a role in the removal of a president. in charging him through impeachment and then putting him on trial. and a lot of them initially thought, well, how about the supreme court. they wear black robes. they're going to be good guys. and eventually, there was an overwhelming rejection of that idea for several reasons. first of all, the president might have appointed some of those guys in black robes or now women in black robes. they can't be objective. secondly, there was a concern that after a president is kicked out of office, he can still be tried criminally. and that hopefully will happen when this president leaves office because he's committed a lot of crimes. but who is going to hear the appeal from a criminal conviction of a president? well, that would have to be the supreme court. but they would already have ruled they had a role in the impeachment process. and then on top of that, there was a concern that the supreme
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court would be too clubby and small and too easy to corrupt. whereas the senate they hoped unfortunately, they might have hoped too much, the senate would be incorruptible and large. finally they thought the supreme court wouldn't have the prestige that it would take to stand up to a president of the united states because the court hadn't yet developed that prestige so for all those reasons, they said, we're going to have chief justice preside over the senate but we're not going to give the court any other role and that's where it stands now. so that the most ignorant thing the president could possibly have said and insulting to the justices that he named to the court, justices gorsuch and kavanaugh was you're my guys, i'm going to get help from you. i think that nobody would advise him to alienate the court that way, but i'm frankly not all that upset that he did because now they're going to have more backbone.
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>> they will have to. professor laurence tribe, thank you very, very much for joining us tonight on what may be the first night of a long legal battle between the president and congress. really appreciate you being here. >> thank you, lawrence. my pleasure. >> thank you. up next, joy reid is going to join us. she moderated co moderated today's democratic presidential forum which included a warning from senator kamala harris about the mueller report and how it applies to the next presidential election. so, you're open all day, that's what 24/7 means, sugar. kind of like how you get 24/7 access to licensed agents with geico. hmm? yeah, you just go online, or give them a call anytime. you don't say. yep. now what will it take to get 24/7 access to that lemon meringue pie? pie! pie's coming! that's what it takes, baby. geico®. great service from licensed agents, 24/7.
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you inspired us to create internet that puts you in charge. that handles anything. that protects what's important. and reaches everywhere. this is beyond wifi. this is xfi. simple, easy, awesome. today, eight democratic presidential candidates gathered in houston, texas for the she the people presidential forum.
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the event was co-moderated by joy reid who join us in a moment. senator kamala harris talked about the findings in the mueller report, about the russian attack on our election. and what it means for the next election. >> the intelligence community came out with a report of what happened in 2016. now let's speak truth because some people aren't true about this. not any of us. russia interfered in the election of the president of the united states. okay. so the intelligence community has done a report on what happened. included in that analysis is that an adversarial country who was attempting to destabilize our democracy decided that they would try and interfere with our elections and make the american public insecure and suspicious. and so they decided to target our vulnerabilities.
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and they exposeded america's achilles heel. the issue they kept bringing up because they knew it would cause heat and dissension among us? race. so guess what, the irony of it all is that what otherwise we have been always knowing as a civil rights issue has now become a national security issue. and we need to deal with it and we need to deal with it knowing what they did in 2016 because it didn't result in any real consequence. they will do again in 2020. and it will be about misinformation, that is being done with a targeted effort to create dissension which will lead to suppression because people will get turned off and they'll decide you know what, i don't like any of these people. i'm not going to vote. we are going to have to really be vigilant in calling out the untruths when we see them because i think this is where the power of the people is going to be critical to counter acting what will invariably be efforts
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to manipulate this election for president of the united states. >> thank you. >> quickly. >> we have to squeeze in a break before joy reid joins us with more from the other candidates who appeared today at the she the people presidential forum in houston. so, jardiance asks... when it comes to type 2 diabetes,
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woman running mate? >> the question if you didn't hear it would i pledge to have a woman running mate? i will have a woman running mate. to me it's clear that we do that. >> joining us now joy reid, the comoderator at the she the people forum today in houston. i watched a budge you have it. i couldn't watch all of it. it was so fascinating see especially the men candidates being asked about about the women running including that question you asked more than once, why should women be voting for you instead of a woman and in particular in some cases a woman of color. >> it really showed you i think, lawrence, how much the debates are going to change everything about the calculus where this race is going. the polls right now show a lot of name i.d., but once some of these candidates get on stage and are able to articulate
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themselves it, shows you who has the potential to pop. cory booker had really strong issues on responses of race and gender. he resonated with the crowd when he talked about it and his answer why is voting for him. people responded to it. beto o'rourke is like a machine. you give him input and his output is like a computer goes off in his head. he did a great job . he referenced congresswoman sheila johnson lee whose district it is, he talked about slavery and reparations. he was so spot on that even though it was a hometown crowd, you could see that he was really winning them over. some other candidates struggled. bernie sanders had a tough day in the room. there was a lot of sort of jeering at certain points from the crowd because when he was asked about questions about race, he returned to his program and things that he wants to do
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and he sort of repeated them and at one point he went back to marching with dr. king and the march in washington and people groaned because they felt he anti-wasn't answering the question. for the guys they've got to the answer the question and some do it well. >> it seemed to be one of those situation whereas you could see the answer was actually in effect custom made for this room for this audience which is the way it's supposed to feel. and it's the way it's supposed to feel in iowa and what i saw for senator sanders is the answers tended to be long and tend to be segments of his stump speech. let's listen to be what elizabeth warren had to say. let's go straight to that. >> i want to talk to the hospitals who is where my births take place and i want to talk to them in the language they understand. money. here's what i'd like to change right now in maternal health.
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and that is to say, the hospitals are just going to get a lump of money. and if they bring down did the maternal mortality rates, then had he get a bonus. if they don't, they're going to have money taken away from them. >> joy, that struck me as an sample of it's not just a woman shows up at a women's political forum. audience is almost what, entirely women, 90% today. >> probably 90%. >> she's talking about something i haven't heard her talk about before in other appearances, talking about something she knows speaks to that audience. >> and you know what was really remarkable was elizabeth warren got a huge ovation when she walked in to the room. and she held that audience throughout because she was giving both specifics and anneck dotes. she had stories to tell.
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she was interacing with the audience. when someone yelled out tell us what you think. she said i'm going to tell you what i think. she was at the personable. kamala harris had a lot of specifics well. junal castro i would say the same kind of thing giving you specifics. what that crowd wanted because remember these were a combination of local people here from houston and a lot of activists who flew in from all over the country women working for low income wage increases, nurses, teachers people working on the ground and working in the world. they wanted answers. they didn't want to have platitudes and feel good dictums thrown at them. they wanted to hear what the candidates were going to specifically do abwanted their questions answered specifically. elizabeth warren soared in terms of that and some of the other candidates did, as well. i think the audience appreciated that. the last thing i will say about what warren was able to accomplish is that she was also able to supply inspiration. i said earlier on "all in" that this race has been waiting pore sort of a lord of the rings moment for somebody to give that
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fighting speech there is what we can do. we can do it. don't be afraid. you can nominate a woman and take a chance. warren had that moment today. >> joy reid, thank you very much for joining us. you can come home now, joy. >> i'm going to head back soon, thank you. >> thank you, joy. when we come back, this is something very unusual. we have rare video of a congressional republican condemning lies by the president of the united states. and if you feel there's some sleight of hand involved, you're right. that's next. at hilton.com,
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we have rare video tonight of republican senator john thune speaking publicly about what he sees as the president's criminal conduct. >> either we are a nation of laws or we are not, and if we are those laws have to apply equally to all people. >> sharp-eyed observers will note senator thune looks younger there than the last time you saw him and he's standing in the house of representatives because that's 20 years ago where john thune had to take a stance. he's always in the shot when mitch mcconnell is talking to reporters. he's always over mitch mcconnell's shoulder because john thune, it just gives him
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the right to always be over mitch mcconnell's shoulder in the photo-ops or on his way to being mitch mcconnell's shoulder in the photo-op. we're going to insert a final commercial break right here so that will give us enough time to sehad you more from john thune on what he thinks about a president's betrayal of trust. and it will leave you wondering not just about donald trump's betrayal of trust but what has clearly become john thune's own personal betrayal of trust. they're america's biopharmaceutical researchers.
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john thune is the over the shoulder guy. there he is in his standard spot over the shoulder of mitch mcconnell. he's much more noticeable because he's so much taller than the other shoulders that are usually around him. the shoulder john thune is permanently attached to is mitch mcconnell. he has the title of assistant majority leader often referred to as the whip. there is no job there. it's just an honorary title. the majority leaders and minority leaders of the senate have been doing their own vote counting for decades. everyone deals directly with the majority leader and minority leader but phony leadership titles are thrown around in the house and senate to give the leaders something to boast about back home. and for john thune it means pretty much every shot that appears in south dakota news media is also a picture with south dakota senator john thune.
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and the good news for john thune is there's only one guy who can muscle him out out of the picture with mitch mcconnell and that's the president of the united states, a state donald trump won by 30 points. even though john thune is theoretically and only theoretically the number two guy in the senate leadership, it's not like he's the second most talked about republican senator. he doesn't come in second to mitch mcconnell about comments of affairs of state. in fact john thune's career is mostly a silent movie. and that works for him because it works for south dakota where he's been elect today the senate three times, once unopposed. in this free space tonight where we'd like to show you video of the damning accusations against the president of the united states exposed in the mueller report, we have nothing. john thune has not rushed to the
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camera or microphone to issue his moral guidance on what we've been reading about the president whose shoulder he gets to stand on sometimes. but thanks to congressional record and c-span video we know exactly what john thune thinks about this sort of thing especially a president lying to the american people. that was one of the impeachment charges against president richard nixon in 1974 back when john thune was in middle school lying to the american people. and we know how john thune feels about lying to the american people, and we know that because when john thune was in the house of representatives dreaming of someday grow up to be the over the shoulder guy in the united states senate he let us know just how strongly he feels uba president lying to the american people. this is what congressman john thune said on the house floor the day before he voted to impeach president bill clinton.
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>> there's one other issue and important issue i'd like to address and that is the matter of trust. lying to the american people is a betrayal of trust and the pattern of deception and dishonestly that acts as a bodyguard to this president strikes at the very core of his ability to lead. either the president chooses complete contempt and disregard for the truth or his conscious is so diminished as to leave him unable to zurn the truth from his lies. >> betrayal of trust, strikes at the very core of his ability to lead. he didn't mean any of that. not a word. we didn't know that then. we didn't know enough about john thune to know he wasn't telling the truth. he was in his first term of the house of representatives but now we know. john thune's silence about every lie president trump has told as documented in the mueller
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report, not to mention the 9,000 lies "the washington post" reports the president has told publicly, that last line that you heard john thune say about bill clinton certainly applies to donald trump. his conscious leaves him so diminished as to leave him unable to discern the truth from his lies. let's watch john thune say those words one more time, words that were no doubt written for him by his congressional staff and think about who else those words might apply to. >> his conscious is so diminished as to leave him unable to discern the truth from his lies. >> isn't that also a description of john thune in his years of silent service to the presidency of donald trump? >> leaves us with no alternative but to vote in favor of
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impeaching the president. >> john thune gets tonight's "last word." "the 11th hour" with brian williams starts now. tonight the threat from russia that donald trump won't discuss as a former cabinet secretary reportedly wasn't allowed to bring it up around the president. our security experts are here with us tonight to talk about the danger that russia poses to our next election. plus the dual roles on display from this president. victim of a witch hunt, never getting credit for his accomplishments versus the victor totally exonerated if you ask him. and taking on angry democrats and investigators. and the new michael cohen recordings among our other stories tonight as we are joined by four pulitzer prize winners over the course of the next hour as "the 11th hour" gets under way on a wednesday night.

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