tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC November 8, 2019 5:00pm-6:00pm PST
there, you who get together with me with amazing faithfulness. we love this country. that's why we care, why we hope, and why we will through sickness and health, through sorrow and yes national disgrace, one day march forth to save it. and that's "hardball" for now. "all in" with chris hayes starts now. tonight on a special edition of "all in." >> all you have to do is read the transcript. >> damning transcripts keep coming. tonight as we learn even more about the trump plot to extort ukraine. >> all you have to do is read the transcript. >> why the president is undeniably correct about reading the transcript. >> read the transcript. you see how perfect it was. >> then steve bannon testifies to the prosecution in the wild roger stone trial. emily inside a trump white house
at war with congress. and steve car nocky on the actual take-aways on the first election in the impeachment era. >> you can't let that happen to me. >> live from studio 6a in rockefeller plaza, "all in" starts right now. hello. hey, everybody. how are we doing? welcome back. welcome, everybody. thank you. it's great to have you here. it's great to be back here. it was a crazy, crazy week. we learned the impeachment hearings of the president will be televised next week. we also got hundreds and hundreds of pages of impeachment transcripts released including two key ones today. and we also had the first national election in the impeachment era. and the white house wants the
supreme court to rule on the president's tax returns. we're going to get to that as well. but i think it's useful to remember this entire scandal starts and revolves around the notes of president trump's own call with the ukrainian president zelensky, right? it's a call he said was perfect and that's the call that prompts the whistle-blower complaint, and that in turn gets the house to formally announce the impeachment inquiry. and when people start clamoring to know what did he do in this call, the president releases the call notes. and everyone gets to see in their own eyes what transpired. and now the president is attempting in a clever or dumb or just sort of ferrule animal instinct kind of way, he's telling anyone that will listen is pay lots of attention to the single most incriminating piece
of evidence against him. so those are the call notes of his call with the ukrainian president. trump calls the notes a transcript. that's it. we know it's not a complete transcript, and we're going to get to that in just a bit. but what he's trying to do here is the same transparency gamut that worked for him in the past. remember when he said, russia, if you're listening, if you can get access to hillary clinton's e-mails you'll be rewarded mightily. that was an aid of solicitation of foreign intervention in an american election, and it was successful one. the russians tried to hack the servers that night. but he just did it in front of the cameras, right? and the idea is if i do it in front of the cameras it is not improper or illegal. and so now the most recent iteration of that is the slogan "read the transcript." here's the president at a rally in kentucky with a bunch of people who just random elajuly e
same organic idea to print up the t-shirt and stand behind the president. i'm kidding. you can actually buy them on his website. it's a limited edition t-shirt. it has this marketing copy, if you just read the transcript, it's clear president trump did nothing wrong. the transcript speaks for itself. don't let shifty schiff and the rest of the democrats lie about what's in it. so the president is banking on the idea if he says read the transcript, what he can do is wash the devastatingly incriminating nature from his mind. and this stuff does kind of work. i saw this poll i think this week it's pretty remarkable, only 40% of republicans -- only 40%, a minority, thinks trump specifically mentions the bidens in the call. he does.
we'll get to that. he does mention the bidens. and the concede on the president trump's approach here is basically he tells people to release the transcript and if he talks about how perfect the phone call is, then the only way it could have been wrong is if the president himself was stupid enough to extort a country and do something wildly incriminating and impeachable if he knew someone else was listening. he tweeted this, quote, is anybody dumb enough to believe i would say something inappropriate with a foreign leader on potentially such a heavily populated call? could the president be so dumb as to commit a flagrant abuse of power, extort a foreign country while a bunch of people were listening? the answer is yes, he could be.
so could he also be so dumb to tell everybody to read a transcript that incriminates him? i don't know, but let's read the transcript, okay? remember the call starts with trump laying the groundwork with the ukrainian president for the coercive ask that he's going to get to, saying the relationship between the two countries has not been reciprocal. he says the united states has been very, very good to ukraine. i wouldn't say that it's reciprocal necessarily. keep in mind, almost 17,000 square miles of ukraine is currently occupied by russia. they've already lost crimea. since the start of the year at least 72 ukrainian soldiers have been killed in ukraine. and they've been waiting on aid, which is 10% of their military budget. this is not pennies. so the ukrainian president says we're almost ready to buy more
weapons from the united states for defense purposes and the president responds i would like you to do us a favor, though. and he goes on. there's a lot of talk about bidens son, that biden stopped the prosecution. a lot of people want to find out about that, so whatever you can do. whatever you can do. manufacture dirt on my political rival who i just named, and that's the four alarm fire moment, right? that's the moment where holy crap, that might have been illegal, and the phone call reverberates throughout the entire government. we know from the impeachment transcript depositions that have been released including today, people are freaked out. former u.s. ambassador to ukraine marie yovanovitch said she was dismayed. deputy secretary george kent said he was told the conversation went into the most extreme narratives, one way of putting it. fiona hill, she's the former senior director of the national security council, she said reading the call notes raised an awful lot of concerns. she said it was her worst fears
and nightmares, that it was an effort to subvert the national security process and turn a white house meeting that's a meeting with president trump into a dangled asset. none of those people were on the call, so they're hearing about it. and today we've got another transcript with lieutenant colonel alexander vindman. he was on the call. he said he was concerned with what happened. he did not think it was proper to demand a foreign government investigate a u.s. citizen. he said it undermined u.s. national security. he said the call strayed from material he himself had prepared. and he said there's no doubt in his mind the president was asking for a deliverable. and get this, immediately within an hour the phone call happens, vindman's on the phone, listening and like yikes. and within an hour he goes to the top lawyer of the national security council in his office and for backup he brings along his twin brother. this is a real detail.
his identical twin who also works for the national security council as a lawyer handling ethics issues, that is them, by the way. both of them. i don't know which is which. so not only did he raise alarms with the lawyer, vindman also notices as he's going through the document that's circulating that the rough transcript was not correct, actually. so he made substantive edits to the call notes because he wants the record to be correct, and those edits were not taken, which hadn't happened before. he had it was totally abnormal and then they lock down the transcript in a secret server, and lieutenant vindman was concerned about the phone call. he registered those concerns up the chain of command. he and a bunch of his colleagues recognized how awful the call was at the time, and the white house acts to cover it up. the thing is the plot does not originate on july 25th, right,
when the phone call takes place. all of this groundwork was laid well before as we learn through this testimony. but the people who laid the groundwork at least had the good sense to act kind of stetchy about it, okay? they understood you can't just say it, you've got to be a little unclear, a little ambiguous, operate in the shadows, hints and implications, wink, wink, nudge, nudge, do us a favor. maybe that can happen, can you get the deliverables? everyone who's doing this, they recognize what they're doing is wrong and corrupt, and then the man at the center of the conspiracy gets on the call and just out-and-out openly extorts the ukrainian president to manufacture dirt on his political opponent. he does the one thing -- the one thing everyone's worried he will do and that no one else is dumb enough to do. right?
because who would be dumb enough to explicitly extort the ukrainian government for dirt on the president's political rival when a bunch of people are listening? well, there's one person in government who is dumb enough to do it. >> my phone call was perfecto. it was totally appropriate. read the transcript. read the transcript. all they have to do is read the transcript. and if you want to read the transcript, you see how perfect it was. >> so the president says you should do it, i say you should do it. we are all in agreement in this contentious time when we're divided we're in agreement about this one thing. if you like the president or don't like the president or you don't know whether the president extorted the president of ukraine, yes, by all means everyone listening to my voice and the president's voice please for the love of god, read the transcript.
for more on what we've been learning from the depositions this week i'm joined my michael mcfaul. let me talk to you first. one thing that comes out in these transcripts is that the folks piecing this together whether it's fiona hill that was at the nsc where you used to work or lieutenant colonel vindman or others, they're not getting the full sfory because someone is hidesing the ball from them. because the people that are running the rogue operation are wise enough to understand what they are trying to do is probably illicit and inappropriate. do you get that sense from what we learn? >> that's exactly what happened. the career foreign service officers were shoved aside. the national security experts would make a recommendation to the president, and the president would agree to it and the career
people follow it out. sometimes there's a political appointee involved in this. but the president shoved that aside and had rudy giuliani and some russian oligarchs and ukrainian corrupt goons who are actually now under indictment in the u.s. justice system, try and pull a fast one on the u.s. government and extort ukraine. and the difference here for the president is he's always been able to control his narrative. he's brilliant as a showman and obfisicating what really happened and he's up against career bureaucrats who are patriots telling the truth, and he's not going to be able to run away from the truth. and all of those around him are going to have to make a decision. are they going to have to justify it was okay to hold up aide for the president's game, or come out and tell the truth and say, no, i'm not actually onboard with that?
mick mulvaney, giuliani, william barr, what's he doing now? all these people need to realize the truth is something they cannot run away from anymore. >> mick mulvaney i want to get to in a second, but ambassador mcfaul, i read a story today about republicans in the housework shopping their defense of the president. and one of things they're workshoping -- >> a hard job. >> yeah, it is a hard job and i don't envy them. and they've decided that maybe one idea is like everyone was freelancing, like gordon sondland and mick mulvaney and the president, and this was a defense that worked for ronald reagan in iran contra. but ronald reagan never called up the ayatollah and said we're going to sell you some weapons -- >> i'm really glad you're
pivoting back to the transcript because that's exactly right. i kept saying on television programs like yours there's no way they'll ever release a transcript of a presidential conversation, and then when he did, i was shocked at what was there. and i don't think you need to know anymore more than just two things, just the transcript and then the text messages that we know from the three amigos that were released when kirk volker testified. because those two things showed two things that you underscored. i just want to keep making it simple. one, this is what they're asking for, the quid pro quo. and two, there was a long period that they were doing it both before the call and after the call to try to make this quid pro quo happen. >> ambassador soderberg, you mentioned mick mulvaney. about five minutes before his appearance the white house said he'd not be appearing because of absolute immunity.
but he was the one who gave the order to up hold the aid. that is the thing they were dangling over the ukrainian government. do you think he's going to be able to avoid having to account for what he did throughout this entire process? >> no. all of these guys are going to have to lawyer up and ultimately decide are they going to lie for the president of the united states and go to jail or are they going to come around like sondland did the other day and fess up to exactly what happened? now, remember, mick mulvaney is on the record saying in a press conference, get over it, this is what we do all the time. but i think all of these -- all of these people are going to have to recognize that they are going to have to choose are they going to try and cover for the president or face their own lawyers and what's going on in congress? the truth we know what happened. and i think the latest of trying
to throw the deputies under the bus as if they weren't working for the president of the united states is going to be a 24-hour trial balloon that's going to rapidly burst. and partly because the president is controlling this narrative, and it's changing daily. so the poor guys who are trying to implement this scheme in whatever the latest president narrative is, it's like a keystone circus if it weren't so serious. and they need to start thinking about what is the future for their own career and what culpability are they going to face personally for participating in this scheme. it's all going to come out and i think you'll start to see people peel off. >> ambassador mcfaul, another argument i've seen floated today i think by former ambassador nin nikki haley and other people, is that it didn't work. they didn't get an interview
where zelensky announces a big new investigation and aid was released. as someone who worked inside government, how serious do you take the argument that they failed in extorting the ukrainian president? >> well, i also worked at the nsc. you know, i worked three years at the nsc as well, and i want to underscore this other point you made earlier that we were just talking about. remember when they say well, with my aides -- i had no idea who was working for me, remember mr. giuliani works directly for the president of the united states. he likes to emphasize that all the time. i'm the president's personal lawyer. so you can't blame the deputies. you can't blame the ambassadors when that person is the main person trying to run this drug deal. so that's the first thing. the second thing is attempted murder is a crime. attempted theft is a crime. i'm not a lawyer, right, but i
know right from wrong. this was obviously wrong. and the fact that they didn't get what they want doesn't mean they weren't attempting to do so. and they were doing what i teach at stanford here, we teach about corruption and the rule of law. when you use your public office for private gain, that is the fundamental definition of corruption. >> all right ambassador michael mcfaul, ambassador soderberg, thank you so much. great to have you. donald trump's political fixer and advisor roger stone went on trial this week. and glen kirschner has been watching it unfold in the courtroom. he will join us next. don't go anywhere. courtroom. he will join us next don't go anywhere. ♪ (mom vo) it's easy to shrink into your own little world. especially these days. (dad) i think it's here. (mom vo) especially at this age. (big sis) where are we going?
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roger stone went on trial this week. he of course is the president's long time and many decades political advisor, associate, one of history's legendary political villains, sort of self-made image to be honest. he's now facing years in prison on charges of obstruction of justice, witness tampering as well as lying to congress. and so far just a few days in it does not look great for roger stone. covering the circuit of this trial is legal analyst glenn
kirschner. it's good to have you. you've been watching the trial. stone is being prosecuted for witness tampering and lying. what's the government's case basically? >> so the government's case is built largely on e-mail traffic and text messages, written communications between roger stone and randy credico or roger stone and steve bannon, for example. and basically what those written communications do is they squarely contradict and undercut the testimony that roger stone gave to the house intel committee. so as a former career prosecutor, i only wish i had evidence like this at my criminal trials. it's a little like shooting fish in a barrel. >> well, so the specific thing here, right, is everyone has sort of wondered about did the trump campaign have advance
knowledge of wicky leakileaks, there's a lot of flirting between the two. they're kind of in touch and there's these intermediaries where he's trying to get to assange. and the government's case is like, no, no, no here's what you were trying to do behind everyone's back? >> yeah, chris, and if it went from flirting between the trump campaign and julian assange and wikileaks -- >> careful. >> -- after steve bannon's testimony i think they are probably on the honeymoon at this point. they're beyond dating and beyond marriage. so here's what steve bannon gave everybody today, and i don't think anybody saw it coming. steve bannon testified, you know, among other things, yes, i became the ceo of the trump campaign in august of 2016. as ceo i was basically the number one guy right below the candidate himself. i was in charge of operations.
and then all of a sudden he was asked you know roger stone, and you had frequent conversations with roger stone about his access to wikileaks and julian assange. and all of a sudden bannon backed up and said, nah, no, i don't know about that. the prosecutor said, really, let's go to your grand jury transcript when you testified in the mueller investigation. and then the prosecutor did what was textbook impeachment by a prior sworn statement. he took bannon through his statement to the grand jury where he said, yes, i had frequent communication with roger stone about his access to julian assange and wikileaks. and then, chris, the testimony moved forward a few minutes and everything was back on track. and then came the money question. that question was did the trump campaign have an access point --
that was the term that was used -- an access point to julian assange and wikileaks? and you would have thought bannon would have learned his lesson by that little impeachment episode a few minutes earlier, but, no, bannon said -- here was his answer. i don't think we had one. let's go to the grand jury transcript. sure enough bannon testify today the mueller grand jury something that i don't think we had heard before. he said the trump campaign's access point to julian assange and wikileaks was roger stone. boy, that sort of brought those two things, the trump campaign and julian assange, together in a way that i don't think we'd heard before. >> so one of the things that happens in this trial is roger stone is kind of a notorious b.s. artist. almost i think by his own
telling he'd tell you that. he says a lot of stuff and he's boastful. and there's been all these very weird lame lies he kept getting caught in. so at one point he texts randy credico prepare to die. and when he's asked about it by reporters he tells mother jones he was actually telling them get your affairs in order because you have terminal prostate cancer, and credico is like i don't have terminal prostate cancer. and it just seems a me stone is playing the role of a gangster, playing the role of like a mobbed up guy but in a pretty halfhearted way that is not really fooling anyone. is that a fair characterization? >> i think that's a perfect characterization because at its core he is on trial for lying to congress. his defense to that charge is oh, yeah, i'm a great big liar but i to my friends and
associates in my e-mails. i didn't really lie to congress. when you're on trial for lying, using the defense you're a liar is probably not the strongest defense. >> that's a great point. although maybe the one honest thing stone has ever said. glenn kirschner, thank you for joining us. >> thank you, chris. when we get back the first election of the impeachment era is in the books. there's a lot to learn how america is voting in this moment, and steve kornacki has the most important results for us. he will be with us right after this. after this great presentation, tim. could you email me the part about geico making it easy to switch and save hundreds? oh yeah, sure. um. you don't know my name, do you? (laughs nervously) of course i know your name. i just get you mixed up with the other guy. what's his name? what's your name? switch to geico®. you could save 15% or more on car insurance.
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we're about a year out from the 2020 election. trying to figure out what exactly does a white working class voter in michigan want? what do they want from a presidential candidate? but this week those people did not need to rely on polls. it wasn't calling people up and asking who they're going to vote for. it happened on ground and it's much better data to analyze than polls, i think. the top line is there was a lot of good news for democrats. they took unified control in
virginia, and democrats did extremely well in the suburban districts that are seen as crucial to winning elections in 2020. and there were also data to give people opposed to the republican party concern. here one of the best analysts out there msnbc national correspondent steve kornacki. how are you, buddy? so, you know, one of the biggest trends i think it's fair to say in the trump era since that 2016 election, special elections, in the mid-terms is the suburbs, right? what is going on in america's suburbs in the trump era? >> i think a couple of things. number one, just in term of opposition for trump, the energy, the motivation to get out and vote it's very clearly there, it's a story in pennsylvania. this week local elections, county elections in
pennsylvania, suburbs of philadelphia, democrats were taking over governments there in some places they hadn't led and -- >> those races, those pennsylvania race, virginia is on this weird schedule so there's a bunch of people on the ballot. those are real just local county races happening in pennsylvania, people still coming out. >> and i think what it reflected there what's the difference. i think what you're seeing there is the sinking up of national politics with everything down ballot from there. because you have counties in southeast pennsylvania that have been trending towards the democrats. hillary clinton had won by 9 points in one county, by 22 points in the other county. still there was residual republican strength at the local county level, and i think this is one of the stories of the trump era is everything below present on the ballot is kind of coloring itself in. so i think that's one of the things you're seeing there in pennsylvania and other places. >> there was also some interesting results in the
cincinnati suburb, a few counties up there in the northern county of the state that really helped that democrat pull off that upset victory. >> this is really interesting story because matt bevin lost for a number of reasons. they account for 10% of the vote statewide, if he'd done what a republican normally does, he is still the governor. instead the democrat actually won two of the three counties. >> which is just not really heard of in sort of big races like this. >> you're talking trump getting in the high 50s to high 60s. and bevin was getting into the 40s and low to mid-50s. did that reflect the same thing we're talking about in pennsylvania and nationally, or did that reflect something that was more bevin specific? and the reason i think that's a question there were five other statewide elections in kentucky.
the other five republican candidates got the number republican number in those three counties. >> that leads to me i think the big question about the suburbs. which is are we seeing some kind of pendulum or a realignment. if you go back to 2010 and look at a lot of these suburban areas, they moved a lot to the right. they said a lot of republicans, a lot of republicans take over the statehouses, and that's a kind of motivational question who's coming up to vote largely in those mid-terms, but then the other comparison is how the solid south used to be democratic and they started voting and moved down the ballot until every last county commissioner is now a republican as well. what do you think the evidence says about what we're seeing in the suburbs being something permanent or something cyclical. >> nothing is permanent. i think it's longer term because we already know it's longer term. we have a longer term trend in american politics, going back
decades now where we talk about white college educated versus non-college. what we've seen for decades now is a trend in democrats favor and a trend decidedly away from democrats and towards the republicans among non-college whites. if you take that and add in the fact that suburbs generally in a lot of places are getting more racially and ethnically diverse, democratic constituencies for a long time now, those two factors, i think it's a long-term trend that doesn't show any sign of ebbing. >> the composition of the suburbs is changing is a big part of the story. the other part of the story to me is turn out. so the good news for republicans in the trump era is they really are juicing turn out in these rural red districts and goosing enormous margins, right? we did see that in kentucky. >> and we saw that in pennsylvania. we had the story of philadelphia suburbs. go to western pennsylvania. there are counties in western
pennsylvania mirror image, long-term democratic counties that flipped to republican on tuesday. i think there are cautionary notes here for democrats who look at the notes and extrapolate that and say there is what's going to happen in 2020. chuck schumer he was asked about pennsylvania -- key senate race in pennsylvania. and he said don't worry, we're fine. for one every democrat we lose in western pennsylvania, we gain two suburban republicans. math didn't work out that way. >> it's generally been working in the suburbs in 2018 in special elections. matt bevin if i'm not mistaken he gets 200,000 more votes than 2015, and he still loses because both sides are so activated. >> massive turn out. 1.4 million people turned out in
that national gubernatorial election. 2015, 973,000. mid-term turn out last year you're talking over 115 million people. normally you're getting about 85 million. in a presidential election you get 130. i think there's talk next year just given these turn out trends we're seeing, 145, 150 million, easily going to be the highest turn out in our presidential election history. >> and the beginnings of campaign are well run, one will think of -- and they'll do the math and that'll determine the field plan, their advertising buys. they're trying to figure out how do we add up enough votes to hit the number we need? and one of the things that leads to upsets is you just get the vote number wrong. you say we need nice many votes. matt bevin said if i got 700,000
votes i'm good to go, and he got 700,000 votes. >> we talk about rural areas, you talk about ex-urban areas where republicans are still showing strengths. the big exfactor in all of this is you know the suburbs, anti-trump folks in the suburbs are determined to get out there in every single election right now and vote against trump. but there's still a lot of ground republicans could gain yet in those areas. >> and someone said i think there's about 45 million non-white college voters not voting. there's a big pool. it is not the case the trump base as a sort of electoral force is maxed out. >> right, and i think the dynamic here you're really seeing, each side is just reacting to the other, and the best source of turn out for one side is the other. >> steve kornacki, that was great. thank you for being with us.
coming up, so what happens when a president and congress essentially go to war? emily of "the new york times" has a great new piece on just that and she will tell us. don't go away. anything. the problem is corporations and the people who run and own them have purchased our democracy. here's the difference between me and the other candidates. i don't think we can fix our democracy from the inside. i don't believe washington politicians and big corporations will let that happen. the only way we can make change happen is from the outside. for me, this comes down to whether you trust the politicians or the people. and if you say you trust the people, are you willing to stand up to the insiders and the big corporations, and give the people the tools they need to fix our democracy. a national referendum. term limits. eliminating corporate money in politics.
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least they talk a lot about a constitutional crisis in this era we find ourselves in, but they're not that specific about what they mean by the term. in the literal sense i think you could define a constitutional crisis as happening when different branches of government are at war with each other, and there's no controlling authority to say who wins. we are apparently close to that situation right now as the white house has taken a really unprecedented approach to not just how it defies congress but the law itself. remember when trump said he could shoot someone on fifth avenue and not lose any voters? did you know the president's lawyer in federal court last month argued to a judge the president could literally shoot someone on fifth avenue and not even being investigated for the crime. listen to this. >> what's your view on the fifth avenue example? local authorities couldn't investigate, they couldn't do anything about it? >> i think once a president is removed from office, any local
authority -- this is not a permanent immunity. >> i'm talking while in office. that's the hypo. nothing could be done, that's your position? >> that is correct. >> only if he's in office. my next guest has written a feature in a magazine on us hurtling towards a constitutional crisis titled what happens when a president and congress go to war. please welcome emily bazalon. hey, have a seat. it's a great piece. >> thank you. >> so you mention this example in the sort of first few paragraphs of the piece because it's so shocking. today we learned the district judge ruled against the white house. they're going to go to the supreme court on this. what do you think about that case? >> so this is a case about whether the district attorney in manhattan can get president
trump's tax returns for purposes of investigating the hush money payments he made to stormy daniels. so what we have here is the authority of a local prosecutor to investigate. i would think that the supreme court would come in on the side of the authority of that prosecutor. the prosecutor is representing state government. this is outside of federal authority, outside of the president's control. but we just don't know the answer. it's amazing how little supreme court precedent we have about questions like this. and that's one of the reasons there's so much uncertainty right now. >> and the reason we don't have that much precedent is usually the white house acts somewhat differently than they are now, is that fair to say? >> you're right. usually what happens is congress is investigating, they issue subpoenas, there's some resistance, usually an opening gambit. we're not going to turn over all the documents, you can't have all your witnesses.
but then you have hillary clinton showing up and testifying for 11 hours about benghazi, you have the attorney general for george w. bush testifying before congress. we're not seeing that this time. we're seeing this utter refusal blanket claims of immunity, and that is different. >> i think it's hard because people think that the party is very polarized and they're sort of at each other's throats, that the white house refusal here is par for the course. but it is in the breadth of what they're asserting legally in terms of what congress can and can't do a sitting administration, it really is way out past what other white houses have asserted, is that correct? >> yeah, what's important i think the distinction useful for me is it's one thing for the president and his folks to challenge a specific request from congress, right -- >> like you can't have this because -- >> yeah, you can't interview my white house council because of my executive privilege over that, very private zone of confidential communications. okay, maybe the courts rule in
your favor. you can see the logic of that, right? forget about this president for a moment. you could see you'd want a presidency would have that kind of executive privilege. this is different. this is basically challenging the legitimacy of a congressional investigation writ large. and that's a different position. that's really challenging congress. >> this is letter the white house council wrote. he said president trump and the administration cannot participate because participating in this inquiry under the kurncurrent unconstitutional posture would inflict lasting damage to this rap rat s of powers. here's the question, who gets to say? i mean, right now congress is in court with the executive branch. right, they're trying to get certain things enforced, but the way political time cycles work it's very easy for courts to kick the can down the road and
essentially the white house win snz. >> so delay favors the status quo, and in that case this means the executive branch. so congress has gone to court over the tax returns bought congress has not gone to court over the impeachment inquiry. they withdrew a subpoena from this one witness, charles cupperman, who he went to court himself. he said wait a second, i don't know what to do. the president is telling me not to talk, i want the courts to settle this. and congress said this is going to take forever, effectively this is political theater an your part, we are withdrewing a political subpoena. all these people who testified, most of them are career professionals in the government, they are seeing things that truly alarm them, and they are choosing to defy the president's directive to show up and talk and that's because they think what they have is say is
important to hear. >> there's the delay aspect of it, but i wondered also if the house was worried about an adverse ruling. so cupperman is a deputy of bolton, and he's the first person who actually says i don't know what to do. i'll affirm lavatively go to th court and ask the court to tell me. do you think the house folks, schiff and the rest were worried if a court said, no, you don't have to go that would shutoff the spigot of witnesses? >> i think that's possible. i also think they look at this very conservative supreme court. some of its members have shown they think executive power is a really important value. so if you're congress and you think, well, this is going to take so long anyway, by the time i get any information it's going to have lost its political value and there's some chances the supreme court is going to rule against congress, setting a
precedent that would be bad. like what's the point of this, and that's another reason to withdrew the subpoena. >> we've got the district attorney cy vance going to supreme court. so there's three levels to the federal judiciary, the district court, then appellate court, circuit courts and supreme courts, just three. and one of things this administration has done almost more than any other administration is to skip a step. we've got our bros, gorsuch, we've got kavanaugh. we're good, let's get to the supreme court, we can count to five. you're laughing but it's true. are we going to end up with some of this in front of the supreme court it seems we don't get out this year. >> you're right, the trump administration has said we are going to ask the supreme court to take this case. the supreme court could say no. it's a really good appellate court decision, pretty basic.
and that could keep it out of the courts at least for now, but there are other cases bubbling up, too, another case about congress trying to get the tax returns from trump. that's in the d.c. courts in washington and that case also looks bound for the supreme court. it does seem likely we're going to hear from the court in at least one of these matters. >> right now the setup everyone's sort of been using is you've got three branches of government and article 3 is the referee who comes in and says who's right. a constitutional crisis is when no one can say who's right. or when the court says do this, and the executive says we're not going to. like how close are we to that moment. >> we haven't gotten to that moment yet because the courts haven't ordered the president to do something he hasn't complied with. and the other thing important to understand about all this subpoena investigation talk, congress has its own powers. congress could issue its own
subpoenas and could go back to its practice of sending the sergeant of arms to arrest them and jail them. and if that sounds out there to you, it also could use the power of the purse. everything the executive branch does requires congress. there are a lot of things, levers congress could pull its own powers as a branch. >> it's interesting to think of both of those things as the next step as we get there. thank you so much for being here. >> thank you. don't go anywhere, we've got a special announcement and rachel maddow is coming up next. so just stay right there. next. so just stay right there and etfs, plus zero minimums to open a brokerage account. with value like this, there are zero reasons to invest anywhere else. fidelity. there are zero reasons to invest anywhere else. liberty mutual customizes your car insurance, so you only pay for what you need.
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thank you all so much for joining us tonight. we'll be back here in studio 6a next week. and catch me and my amazing guest, the great author and playwright tony kushner. tickets are available right now. that is "all in" for this evening. the rachel maddow show starts right now. good evening, rachel. >> good evening, chris. and hello to your live audience. i love these live shows. thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. happy to have you here. by this time next week congress would have completed the first
two public hearings in the impeachment proceedings against president donald trump. the first one is going to happen on wednesday. i will tell you one of the things i did today is i just cleared my wednesday morning calendar. we think these hearings are planned to start at 10:00 a.m. eastern time. so if you've got something you were planning on doing mid-morning on wednesday, now's the time to find that tiny bottle of liquid paper you keep in your third drawer to white out whatever else you had on your calendar that day. we know the first hear, that wednesday meeting was going to be dramatic if only because of the first hearing. there haven't been very many public impeachment proceedings against a sitting president of the united states in our history. so wednesday is going to be exciting if only because it's such a historic occasion. but in terms of the specifics we know that day we'll hear from ambassador bill taylor and from the deputy assistant secretary of state george kent. now, over the course of these past few days we've received transcripts from each of the