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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  July 26, 2019 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT

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respect and the same treatment, regardless of your nationality, we all deserve the same respect. we're all people. >> francisco galicia, thank you so much for taking the time. i'm so glad that you're out and be well. >> translator: many thanks, with all my heart, i really appreciate it. >> under god's eyes we all deserve respect. hard to argue with that. and that is all for this evening. the rachel maddow starts now with ari melber. we are in a breaking news, we have got a ruling from the supreme court. it's not a full victory for the administration but it does reopen a door, and we have more later. donald trump using executive power to undercut science. this is a story you may not have heard about anywhere else today. the reporter who broke it will join us live this hour. so we have all of that, but we
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begin on capitol hill where there are actually new steps towards an impeachment probe. now, that is not what the conventional wisdom held would happen when special counsel robert mueller finished testifying wednesday but now as the weekends, the numbers of democratic congress members backing an impeachment probe has grown as the chairman who would lead, jerry nadler is formally invoking the i word in a count. five house democrats have stepped out in favor of an impeachment inquiry, including congresswoman katherine clark of massachusetts, a member of the house leadership, and the highest ranking democrat to publicly take this stance. then you have three more house democrats today announcing support for an impeachment inquiry. annie custer, chris pompous of new hampshire, and mike eleven of california. you that i can that together, and now you have about a hundred democrats backing some kind of impeachment probe. that is the raw tally. the political nose counting
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context of this, and for the house democrats, though, that's not all because there is a new legal move as they try to pry more evidence loose from the white house and justice department taking their case to court to get redacted grand jury material. this is the stuff that actually informed the grist of the narratives until the mueller report, and it picks up the fight over the very ways that attorney general barr held back parts of this report. we all remember the redactions and he did allow members of congress to see behind some of these redacted pages, so members of congress have already seen more than, say, average citizens, but mr. barr never let anyone see the grand jury information. and while this material is generally restricted from the public, it's not always restricted from these members of congress. you can think about recent history, republicans welcomed it, that same kind of grand jury material when ken starr handed over not only a report but all of his grand jury material, no
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redactions, no delays that time, so now you have house democrats insisting they need the same to type of material for their work as a coequal branch of governments this is not a theoretical debate. this is the basis of the hardball of holding mr. barr in contempt, and for the legal case. democrats pressing they must get the material so they can properly carry out their investigations of the president and his campaign. >> you also described in your report that the then trump campaign chairman paul manafort shared with a russian operative, kilimnik, the campaign strategy for winning democratic votes in mid western states, an internal polling data of the campaign, isn't that correct? >> correct. >> did your investigation determine who requested the polling data to be shared with kilimnik? >> i would direct you to the report. what we have in the report with regard to that particular issue. >> we don't have the redacted
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version. that's maybe another reason why we should get that very volume one. >> we don't have the redacted version. maybe we should get that, because in the report or the version that congress got and we have seen publicly, there is information potentially revealing who it was that requested trump campaign chairman paul manafort share this prize internal polling data with the russian operative, and perhaps why, because you see there, we know what was alluded to. it is redacted. the reason it was redacted is because of grand jury material. now, in the court filing today, the house judiciary committee argues there are several episodes that have this kind of information redacted and the committee needs it. they need it because the doj will not allow prosecution of a sitting president and they explained the house is the only institution of the federal government that can now hold president trump accountable for these actions. they also point to the planned questioning of former white house counselling don mcgahn, the star witness of the mueller
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report cited over 150 times. house judiciary making the case if there is grand jury testimony of the president's knowledge of these events and how his campaign approached all of it, that would shed light on what the president might have been trying to cover up with his repeated attempts to of course interfere with and obstruct the mueller investigation. those attempts made, yes, back through mr. mcgahn. his testimony has been blocked by the white house. judiciary chairman jerry nadler announcing today, compelling mcgahn's testimony is the next legal battle. all of that together is the what, the evidence. in court, more than in politics, it's not just the what, it's the why. why do you get typically secret evidence? what is the authority. where in law or the constitution does it give congress this kind of power? and is it so clear that a judge can then order around the doj or who's to provide. this is an interesting part
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today because the why, in this potential arcane legal brief, the why went off like a rocket today. the why is the impeachment power. which is in the constitution. it's one of congress's greatest potential powers right up there with making war or taxes, which are two other things, by the way, the founders put mostly in congress's hands. so you have the democrats brief today stating clearly the house must have access to all the relevant facts and considered whether to exercise full article one powers including a constitutional power of the up most gravity. approval of articles of impeachment. there's that word, and in this new filing, the committee argues here basically for the first time it is entitled to the grand jury materials under this very specific exception to grand jury ske secrecy. the committee seeks to use them preliminarily or in connection
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with a judicial proceeding, the committee investigating whether to recommend articles of impeachment and this why argument explains congress has a stronger hand when demanding information when it has a committee that seeks to use that very information linked to a judicial proceeding. the committee here conducting this investigation. so this is crucial. this is not an aside. this is not a throw every reference at the wall kind of argument. this is not, we really want this stuff. let's mention any potential rationals and maybe footnotes or argument in the court. this is now today for the first time, the core of what the house says it's doing. we could put these headers back up and you'll see from the new filing, an investigation regarding impeachment is preliminary to judicial proceeding the democrats say, or this other heading, judiciary committees investigating whether to recommend articles of
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impeachment. and just to drive the point home, they even quote the chairman of the house judiciary committee in 1974, allowing the judge to request grand jury materials, and the judges 74 order releasing grand jury material. as a strategy, this whole option has long been available and that's known not only to lawyers or watergate experts, it's probably known to you as a news consumer. rachel has reported on how the best legal argument for getting the grand jury material is for democrats to establish that they are in the am bit of a jish proceeding, aka an impeachment probe. congress is giving itself a six weeks recess and let's be honest, this isn't maybe the typical way that political parties announce a formal impeachment probe, especially with a speaker who keeps tamping down expectations for all of this. so what is this. is this a step towards an
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impeachment probe or a preimpeachment strategy? or some kind of onramp to impeachment. is impeachment a spectrum? well, the explanation at today's judiciary committee press conference sort of ranged. >> given what you have said about this filing, comments that you have made in hearings in recent weeks, are you all beginning to shade into an impeachment inquiry even if you haven't held the formal vote of the house? is that what's going on here? >> what's going on. >> we don't need it. >> what's going on is i think too much has been made of the phrase, an impeachment inquiry. you may want to call that an inquiry or not. whether you call that an inquiry or whatever you want to call it, that's what we have been doing and are doing and will continue to do. >> you're saying there's no difference between what you're doing now and an impeachment inquiry, right? >> in effect. a lot of people believe we have been in an impeachment inquiry
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ever since we started looking into potential high crimes and misdemeanors and the misconduct of the executive branch. other people think an impeachment inquiry doesn't begin until you have articles of impeachment, i would say we're in an impeachment investigation. >> going to court today is this an escalation in your investigation? >> it's the next step in our investigation. and yes. i don't know if you call it an escalation. >> we are now officially entering into an examination of whether or not to recommend the articles of impeachment, so we have crossed a threshold. i just wanted to make that real clear. >> do you believe president trump will ultimately leave office being impeached by this house regardless of time line? >> i don't know. >> you have a momentous briefing there ending with that shrug and the chairman walking off stage. one way to look at it is it's
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vividly honest, you ask him what is this, he says call it what you want, you ask him what will it lead to. and he says i don't know. are there more answers here? well, we have an extraordinary guest right now, to help understand what this judiciary committee is doing right now, and why it might matter regardless of what it's called. jamie raskin, a member of the house judiciary committee is here on the show. thank you for joining us. >> i'm delighted to be with you. >> is this an impeachment probe? >> sure. we were just confronted with overwhelming evidence with high crimes and misdemeanors, ten episodes of obstruction of justice, a presidential candidate in his campaign welcoming with open arms, foreign interference in our presidential election. you know, if bill clinton can be impeached for telling one lie about sex that's low crimes and misdemeanors, this is in the category of high crimes and
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misdemeanors, and we're investigating it, and we're trying to figure out whether these are high crimes and misdemeanors that justify impeachment, but i would say that our investigative future involves a lot of other issues. you know, i think the american public has the sense that money is really at the heart of the trump white house, and he has essentially converted the presidency into an instrument of self-enrichment, a money making enterprise more himself and his friends. we need to investigate whether the foreign article 1 section 9 clause has been violated. there are reports that 24 foreign governments have been filling donald trump's pockets through the trump hotel, through the office tower, through the golf courses, there's the domestic emoluments clause which says he's limited to earningize salary, we can't increase and decrease it, yet every time they
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go to mar-a-lago, they're spending 75 or $100,000 that goes directly from frovederal government agencies to the trump hotel. that i would say should be the beginning of following the money but we remember that donald trump said that he would basically blow up the special counsel investigation if they looked at his finances. he's not going to be able to hamstring the u.s. congress in the same way. we're going to get to the bottom of all of it. >> do you think there's a high crime that the president obstructed justice. >> certainly. multiple times. each one of those episodes described -- >> if that's the case, let me press you on that. everything you just laid out viewers would say, yeah, that sounds bad and certainly in the congress's ambit to do something about it, but why would that require any further delay? there is a concern that the democratic party in the house talked a lot about waiting for things, waiting for mueller to finish, and waiting to get the report and waiting to get mueller to testify.
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we are now past all of that, and so a conversation about the trump hotel or, you know, legitimate concerns about constitutional limits about foreign bribes makes sense but not necessarily has a reason to wait further to deal with whether or not there's consequences for what you define as obstruction. >> i'm not talking about waiting. i'm talking about aggressively accelerating our investigation into all of the corruption and criminality that pervade the white house and executive branch of government. most people understand despite donald trump being able to gerrymander the subject matter of the mueller investigation that all of that started because donald trump wanted to build a -- make a billion dollar deal for trump tower in moscow and meantime was collecting money that was being laundered from russian oligarchs through the hotels and through the variatou businesses. that was the genesis of the relationship with the russians. it was not a political conspiracy as mueller found, you
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know, viewed and russian intelligence did not need donald trump jr. and eric trump to execute their plot against america. they just used the trumps but they didn't conspire with the trumps to make it happen. unfortunately the trumps never called the fbi. they just said come on in, and you know, find the e-mails and dump the wikileaks and so on. but look, money was at the heart of it, and money continues to be at the heart of it, and there's a very important constitutional principle here. our founders wanted the president of the united states, and every member of congress to be 100% devoted to the public interest of the american people. and not to saudi arabia and united arab emirates and turkey, and any government that comes over that decides to fill the president's coffers. the presidency is not supposed to be a money making operation. we've got to vindicate that principal, but i agree we've got to do it quickly. >> did you learn anything from
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bob mueller's testimony that was not in the report. >> no, i read the mueller report i think three or four different times and he stuck extremely closely to the text. i think he opened up a bit in the afternoon when he was willing to say that all of the president's conduct was unpatriotic and unethical and immoral, there he strayed, you know, a couple of feet beyond the four corners of the text, but basically what he recited to us and confirmed for us were all of these episodes of obstruction of justice with michael cohen, where they called him up to try to butter him up to say, you know, stay on the team, stick to the party line, and when he decided he couldn't lie anymore and spilled his guts and told the truth about donald trump and the payoffs to stormy daniels and so on, at that point they turned on him and, you know, trump basically threatened to drop a dime on him saying we know about your father-in-law, and we know about this member of your family and that member of family. you know, if the president's got evidence of criminality among his staff or friends, he should turn it over to the fbi and not
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hold it in store as a form of leverage against him to keep them from testifying against him. that's what mob bosses do. >> congressman jamie raskin, on a night what you have been busy and thank you for joining us. >> thank you for sharing the story. i hope everybody gets comfort nl, and in the article one branch we are going to zealously uphold and defend the constitution. >> you heard it here. and i wish you a good evening as well. let me tell you what we have in store tonight, the democrats are looking at a court battle. we have experts on how it's going on. later as we mentioned, breaking news later on friday about the border wall from the supreme court, we have that. a lot to get to on this very busy evening. stay with us. o on this very busy evening stay with us is the best in town. [ soft piano music playing ] mm, uh, what do you do for fun? -not this. ♪ -oh, what am i into? mostly progressive's name your price tool.
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sometimes history moves slowly, other times it takes 13 minutes. on march 1st, 1974, the foreman of the water gate jury held a
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black briefcase with a carrying handle at the top, and inside was one indictment and one sealed report. special report jaworski's deputies handed over a second briefcase it was locked and over stuffed according to the account in the "new york times" and the whole thing took some 13 minutes. inside the second briefcase were transcripts of testimony, subpoenaed documents, white house tapes and other items of grand jury evidence along with what is now known as the road map, and the house judiciary committee was considering speech impeached richard nixon, they wanted that grand jury material. sounds a little familiar and i can tell you a month later, march 18th, 1974, all the material went to the house, the grand jury stuff because this third branch of government, the judiciary was backing up another branch of govrernment, the congress, specifically the judge ordering the materials to go to the house which means that order has the force of law.
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the judge ruling that based on the contents, there was really no question regarding their materiality to the house judiciary committee's investigation. the echoes are in the new filings we have been reporting on. congress invoking one of its strongest authorities in separation of power, a check on an executive to pry loose the yes, grand jury material from the mueller report. now, that doesn't mean it's easy. the so called road map that was stuffed inside that briefcase and presented to judge in 74. it took 44 years before it was unsealed and after a s.w.a.t team went to get t the federal judge who ordered the road map to be unsealed is the same federal judge the house judiciary committee appealed to today in this newfound quest to get grand jury material for the mueller case. there are notable similarities here as well as some differences and here to help us understand them is a member of the s.w.a.t team that got that watergate
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road map ultimately unsealed, joined by law fair ben wittis and joyce vance, former u.s. attorney. good to see you both. >> good to see you. >> hey, ari. >> hey, there. so ben, let's start with you, you were responsible for getting the road map unsealed for the public. it didn't take four decades for the judge to turn over the grand jury evidence so walk us through how you see all of this. >> right so as you said in your introduction, there's some substantial similarities. there are also some important differences between this situation and the unsealing of the road map, so the biggest difference is that in the case of the original road map, it was the prosecutor that wanted to turn it over to the congress and to the house judiciary committee and the house judiciary committee said, sure, give it to us. it's relevant to our impeachment inquiry. here you have a slightly
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different situation where the prosecutor wanted to give them everything except the stuff they wanted to redact, and they have no particular -- the justice department has no particular interest in turning over the sealed grand jury material in here, and so i don't think you would have in this situation the justice department would really resist the production of that material, i think, in all likelihood that the committee is asking for. on the other hand, as you point out, there are some real similarities here and one of them got more similar today when the house judiciary committee and the house leadership said hey, i know we haven't called this an impeachment inquiry, but it kind of is an impeachment investigation and that actually has legal significance because the reason the dc circuit court of appeals allowed that transmission in 1974 was that
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there was an impeachment inquiry going on and so by situating the current request as part of an experiment investigation, the democratic leadership makes it more similar to the proceeding that took place in judge serika's courtroom. >> this is a clearly strong precedent to super size the request that congress already can make. joyce, the other part of this that is different is you can make a broad argument that this time around they got the road map, the mueller report is the road map. it's hundreds of pages. and while mueller spoke very carefully as he warned he would, he told everyone he was going to be a hostile witness. that's why there was a subpoena. we have reason to believe that his prosecutors and the experts who helped write that report, saw it as a road map because several sections made the case that the evidence showed the
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president committed crimes in office. to use the language of the mueller report, as you know, joyce, substantial evidence in five or more case of obstruction. so is it better to have a road map if congress wants to do something about it? >> you know, it's better to have both, and i think congress is now entitled to have both. what we're talking about here is the grand jury material that was redacted in the mueller report. prosecutors call that sixy for shorthand, that's the rule that governs disclosure of grand jury material, and that rule says that it can be released either preliminary to or in connection with a judicial proceeding. an impeachment is a judicial proceeding, so today the judiciary committee has clarified that they're involved in a process that's preliminary to that judicial material. they're entitled to get that material. it's also important for them to get it.
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it can be documents and other materials, connection pursuant to grand jury subpoenas, without having seen that and been behind the vail ve veil of all of those redacted comments, we don't know how valuable that is, but congress is entitled to find out, and i expect that a court will order this on an expedited basis. >> do you think there's grand jury material that could change anything fundamental? i mean, i was sitting in the back of that mueller hearing room on wednesday and one of the reasons that i think so many people said, well is that it, is that all was that everyone basically stuck to their points. we saw some democrats at the top of the show move to impeachment. we had a lot of democrats who were for impeaching in president, including mr. nadler. you had republicans who were critical. you had mueller holding the line. is there something in the grand jury material that moves things, do you think? >> i suspect there's good information there. a lot of people kept saying in
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advance of the mueller hearing that they were looking for the movie version of the report, and it's clear mueller doesn't win any academy awards for best dramatic actor, but what happens here is the report is maybe a sleeper documentary in that academy awards hunt, and the grand jury material, prosecutors don't go into grand jury with the witness unless there's something important that they need to pin down, something important that they want to preserve, so not getting that full flavor means congress may be lacking some of the best evidence, the most sensitive information. if i were in congress, i would be demanding this material too. i expect it will be productive. >> we're almost out of time, but ben, to joyce's point, rarely do you see great method actors appearing under subpoena. i mean, there were a lot of clues that mr. mueller was not going to give much of what some were hoping for. >> there sure were. so anybody who expected bob
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mueller to be charismatic and narrative and really sort of tell the story in a capacious fashion has no experience with bob mueller. that is not who he is and to the extent that we kind of conditioned our expectations of what fbi director testimony sounds like based on these sort of dramatic testimonies by jim comey, we were, you know, not considering who bob mueller really is. that said, he, you know, there's a lot of, if you take the time to listen to extended passages of it, he -- the democrats on that committee, both of those committees, did a relatively good job in my opinion of drawing out in these extended segments, you know, important factual information in that report, and i do think that
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exercise was valuable for people who really want the full extended dance version, dramatic of the report, you know, we have a podcast called the report that's been trying to do exactly that. >> ben wittis, going right into the podcast plug. you know, rachel is a big podcast person, so i think you did that on the right show. >> she was very good to us last week. >> so you're in the right spot and i know as you mentioned, it's the report if people want to check that out. joyce vance, former u.s. attorney and professor at the university of alabama law school. appreciate both of your expertise tonight. >> thank you. >> thank you, guys. we have a lot more to get to and that breaking news out of the supreme court, which is next. f out o the supreme court, which is next y managers might seem the same, but some give their clients cookie cutter portfolios. fisher investments tailors portfolios to your goals and needs. some only call when they have something to sell. fisher calls regularly so you stay informed.
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much of the political center of gravity this week has been fixed of course on the mueller testimony wednesday, then on the house judiciary committee's response this morning but there's another question that has been looming, will the president be allowed to use money allocated for the defense department to build hundreds of miles of wall on the southern border. the white house had been blocked from using any of that money from a smack down by a lower court that said this 2 1/2 billion pentagon dollars could not just be moved, that only congress can appropriate and make that kind of decision. now, in appealing the ruling, the administration first said they needed the money by early
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july. then they found a work around which said the supreme court could go juto july 26th. the doj asked the supreme court to rule today. and late this evening, the conservative majority gave a narrow ruling, 5-4 vote, saying the border wall money will not be stopped for now and the majority gave a reason and it's not an endorsement of the wall but rather a rejection of the people bringing the case saying they didn't have the right legal status to challenge the matter in court. that doesn't mean the supreme court is affirming that this use of the money is definitely constitutional but instead that to the extent that these are the people suing, they were the wrong people. now, tonight some of those very people associated with the sierra club and other groups say they will keep fighting the construction of the wall. they say this is not over and there are of course open cases. now, as a matter that began as a standoff for a president who wanted this money for a wall and
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a democratic house that said no, there are a lot of other folks reacting to this news, including what the role is in fighting this administration's seizure of this funding. so let's turn now to democratic congresswoman raja of illinois, which has been dealing with the administration's handling of the southern border among other issues. thank you so much for being here. >> thank you. >> what does it mean that the supreme court says this money can actually be used for now, but they haven't ruled on the merits, as we say, of the larger question. >> well, it looks like they may have even hinted what they're going to do in the underlying lawsuit. they said that the plaintiffs appear not to have standing in this case, environmental groups. but the second thing that i would just point out is i believe that the government should not win on the merits of the underlying lawsuit, mainly because they need to show that
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congress had not already denied funding for the purpose for which they're seeking the funding, in this case, a border wall. in the january/february time frame, we had the longest partial government shut down in history, and it was very clear coming out of that that congress did not want to provide funding for the border wall. they only appropriated a fraction for certain border securing measures but not the wall specifically, and so the third point i would just make is that this sets a bigger precedent than just in this case, namely that the executive can basically misappropriate money by declaring a national emergency and this is a very bad precedent for the future. >> isn't that the obviously wild part of this. >> yeah. >> even though this is as i mentioned a narrower ruling than the president seemed to suggest
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on twitter, no shocker there. but if a couple billion can be moved around, what's stopping a president from moving ten bil or a hundred bill. if the scale were a dollar or a cup of coffee that you didn't appropriate. i think reasonable people might say leave it alone. but if it's three bill to stop a hundred bill, what's the point, does that cut the independent taxing and authority. >> the power of the purse belongs to congress and what this ruling does is it basically e v that power. the house and the senate in bipartisan majorities voted to disapprove of the declaration of the emergency by the president. interestingly in the senate, 12 republicans joined with 47
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democrats, so 59 members of the senate voted to basically disapprove of this declaration of the emergency, not enough for a filibuster proof of majority, which needs 60 votes, however, very close. the question is whether any republican senators were hanging back, expecting the courts to basically smack down the president's declaration, now that we have seen what's happening in the courts, whether there might be some additional votes in the senate to go forward with the filibuster proof majority disapproving this national declaration of an emergency. >> i'm realizing filibuster proof majority, hard to get, hard to say. >> there's got to be a better word. there's got to be a better word. >> i mean, lawyers and politicians, you know, always have extra fancy terminology, but we're keeping up with you. the filibuster being something
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as you mentioned, you have to get over if you want to do some of the accountability and you have this president. congressman, i know you have been all over this issue. and i really appreciate you walking us through some of it tonight. >> absolutely. i'm going to the border on wednesday of next week, and, you know, it's really sad what's happening down there. i want to see how our moneys that were newly appropriated are being used. we can't treat people the way we're treating them at the border right now. >> i appreciate you saying that, and i think it's also an educational reminder for us, we use the term recess lightly, it sounds like you're using your recess out of washington next week to go to work, and do oversight and we'll say on behalf of msnbc, we would love to keep up with you and learn what you're finding down there. congressman, thank you. >> thank you. >> we have much more ahead, stay with us. we have much more aheay with us.
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i was in the olive oil
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business with his father, but that was a long time ago. that's all. >> good old frank pentangeli a character from the god father two, who folded under threat, personifies witness tampering, which seems down to invoke him as a to temperatutem felony the prosecutors found it important, they quoted that very reference in a case against stone. the case includes a charge of tampering with a witness. when stone was indicted in january, bob mueller's team alleged he told creditco meaning hide what he knew or lie to congress. mr. stone is fighting all the charges and he has explained the god father reference as a nod to ran randy credic o's impression. he is a comedian who does do
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impressions. when i interviewed him about this case on msnbc, he told me that stone is a liar, but he also broke out into some of his impressions during the news interview. >> you're going to do a tricky dick, richard nixon on me. roger stone is a trickster. roger stone is a shady character. okay. i know roger stone and i'm doing my reagan right now. as nixon, you know, he worked for nixon. >> all kinds of impressions. so which is it, a bizarre reference to those impressions or a menacing reference to the felony of witness tampering. roger stone's freedom may depend on the answer and while mueller handed off this case to career prosecutors in washington, they're doubling down on this point that it was a felony, and the god father proves it. and you can see this today in their new court filing headline governance motion to admit movie
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click, stone urged credico, adding, i know roger stone he was in the olive oil business with my father but that was a long long time ago so i told them roger stone this, roger stone that. now, prosecutors are calling stone on his drama here, saying since he brought this up as the foundation of what he told a witness to do, they intend to show jurors exactly what stone is referring to, adding to not show the clip at trial would deprive jurors of significant context for understanding critical messages in this case. and the god father series, the message was lie to the feds, lie to the prosecutors, lie to congress, or somebody gets hurt. now, prosecutors are telling roger stone quote that gangster attitude as your mantra at your own peril. >> i was in the olive oil business with his father but that was a long time ago. that's all.
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i could say michael corlioni did this and michael did that, so i said yeah, sure. beep goes off ]
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one-third of the whole state. >> it sets aside for conservation an area larger than the state of california. by designating about 100 million acres for new parks and wildlife areas, the united states has, as of today, doubled the size of its national park system. >> december, 1980. president carter signs a law of that expansion of protected lands. it dramatically helped the arctic national wildlife ref ur, pristine land in native alaska populated by caribou and sits on top of the largest oil reserves in north america, billions of barrels. the refuges remained free of drilling despite many interests and republican administrations, but now that whole status is in jeopardy when trump passed that tax cut at the end of 2017, the legislation he signed included a provision to open up about 1.5 million acres of the refuge to oil and gas leasing.
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now investigative reporter adam fetterman reports in politico the administration is rushing to get those leases approved by the end of the year despite the way this is supposed to work. objections from career scientists part of a mandated review. the work of the career scientists has been altered or sd disregarded to underplay the impact of the lease development. it reversed from saying the impacts of seismic surveys on polar bears were harmful to a finding that would be less than significant. another employee surprised to find an entire paragraphs on impacts to native communities were scrubbed. also reporting a third scientist who studies fish and water noting the fundamental inaccuracies have been introduced into his section without his knowledge. now, this is not the first report of the trump administration burying climate science data. rachel has extensively covered
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efforts under way at the u.s. department of agriculture and bureau of land management to move career scientists and experts out of washington and into places like kansas or colorado in a transparent effort to just hollow out the agencies, deplete them of the nonpartisan employees who have the scientific expertise. now, this explosive report is the latest that shows something about this trend line. the administration not only rushing to undo basically 40 years of policy to prevent the oil drilling there, but also willingness to basically scrub scientific findings of the nonpartisan career scientists to speed up a process that otherwise might not be happening. as promised earlier in the show, adam fetterman, the investigative journalist and reporting fellow with investigations who was in this story reporting this out for politico and that partnership is here. thank you so much for being here. >> thanks for having me. >> break it down. these trump officials are overriding scientific environmental concerns about how
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this should work in anwar? >> it's worth pointing out that this administration has been hellbent on conducting a lease sale in the arctic wildlife refuge before the end of this year, even though the tax bill gives them through 2021 to conduct a more complete and thorough review of potential impacts. you know, what my reporting shows is that the department of the interior has changed and in at least one case modified the conclusion of career blm scientists charged with evaluating the impacts of these seismic surveys on wildlife, on native communities and other resources. and the department has yet to explain how these changes were made, who authorized them and what it says about the larger process. >> right. >> and the effort to -- >> let me ask you this. do the scientists see this as
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basically a binary bad thing or as a thing where even if it's not ideal to drill, if it were done through science on the right timeline, it might be less damaging to those populations we mentioned? >> i think career scientists at the bureau of land management and fish and wildlife service understand that they're going to be working under republican and democratic administrations with very different priorities and they're perfectly willing to carry out their duties, but they're going to do it in a responsible way. you know, that's their mandate. and i think what we see in these documents and in other reporting around pushback from the fish and wildlife service is that the department and the administration is pushing this forward at such speed that they're cutting corners and sacrificing science. >> and so what happens next in a nutshell? >> so the department says it plans to release the final draft of the environmental impact statement next month and at that point they can schedule a lease
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sale for sometime later this year. you know, environmental groups will likely sue, but it remains unclear if that will be enough to delay or postpone the first-ever lease sale in the refuge. >> it's an important and historic story, and we are truly grateful for your investigative reporting, as shown. it really matters in helping understand where this is going and how the administration is doing it. adam fetterman, thank you so much. >> you're welcome. >> appreciate it. and we will be right back. >> appreciate it and we will be right back. don't miss your golden opportunity
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that does it for us tonight. i'll see you again if you tune in at 6:00 p.m. eastern on my show, "the beat with ari melber." i'm wishing you a wonderful weekend. now it's time for the last word. joy reid is in for lawrence tonight. good evening, joy. >> good evening, ari. i am joy reid in for lawrence o'donnell and this week my colleague, joe scarborough, and other americans dubbed him moscow mitch. mitch has made it clear he willig nor robert mueller's warnings about ongoing foreign interference in our elections and block all election security bills that could protect your vote from the russians or the saudis or the chinese or donald trump's newest best dictator friend, kim jong-un. mitch mcconnell will do that because clearly he believes donald trump might need foreign help to get elected just like he had in 2016 so he will not allow

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