tv The Beat With Ari Melber MSNBC November 25, 2019 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
stephens, zerlina maxwell that is all for tonight. we will be back tomorrow with more "meet the press daily." with the legal decision coming down moments before the 6:00 p.m. hour, at 6:00 p.m. you have your very own lawyer to break it down. so "the beat with ari melber" starts right this second. ari, you get it two seconds early. >> it's true. we're reading it right now. thank you so much, katy tur. we begin with this breaking news. moments ago a federal judge has ruled in the biggest case growing out of the mueller report ordering former white house counsel don mcgahn, the star witness of the mueller report to testify before congress. as you probably know if you follow the news, this is a big decision that affects not only issues in the mueller case, but the open impeachment probe. implications for many other white house officials have potential witnesses and trump allies who have in various ways been delaying or refusing to testify in the impeachment probe into the alleged you crane
bribery plot. given it's breaking news, we'll bring them right now. neal katyal who has argued dozens of cases before the supreme court, including these kinds of interbranch issues. he also has a brand-new book out "impeach: the case against donald trump" coming out tomorrow. harvard professor lea wright rigger and david frum at the atlantic. good evening to everyone. neal, this is a decision many had been waiting on. we have not read all of it, but we have read some of it. your view of the core holding here. >> it's only come out five minutes ago. i want to caution everyone. everyone's got to study it. but boy, it looks like a complete win for nancy pelosi and the house of representatives and a very devastating loss for the president. what the judge has done is the judge in d.c. said she's followed an earlier precedent by judge bates, a very respected judge appointed by a republican, president bush in d.c. saying
that harriet miers had to testify. this judge said don mcgahn has to testify that has massive implications because mcgahn is all over some of the concerns of the cover-up that happened back with the mueller investigation. so that's one thing, ari. but the other even more important thing is that it's speculated that this may change the dynamics about whether or not former national security adviser john bolton will now testify and other folks. remember, he had asked a court to say hey, i'm not sure if i can testify or not. and it looks like this ruling's logic and reasoning is saying oh, no, you got to testify. i mean, trump made some absurd legal arguments saying he was absolutely immune, and his advisers couldn't testify. and this judge appears to have rejected all of that. >> yeah, neal, you say all that, and as you mention, and i'll remind viewers as well, we are just getting as we do on big supreme court days we get a long ruling and we make sense of the high points.
i'm also in the spirit of legal analysis and reporting going to read some of what at the end looks like a very stark siding with the powers of congress. obviously, this congress being run by speaker pelosi, as you say, to compel this kind of testimony. reading from this again moments ago, just got the ruling, the judge saying look, this echoes the miers decision as you mentioned that was from a different era. the court adds "this is an inescapable conclusion because a subpoena is a legal construct, not a political one." and this is pretty significant, neal, when you think about the debates we're having. it says, quote, no one is above the law. the reference there being to the potential civil defendant, mr. mcgahn is not above the law. do you read the reference that way? >> i read it that way, but i read it more broadly. this opinion from the few minutes i looked at it is a rejoinder to the era of trumpism that means absolute power means you can do whatever you want that is the president's argument in this case. he is absolutely immune from
legal process. and i can't think of something more un-american and judge jackson, following her predecessor, judge bates, appears to have reached the exact same conclusion. >> and david frum, who has served in a white house, including the one that the miers precedent reaches, no one in any courtroom or any congress would say that a subpoena means every single topic must be discussed. there are later protects for that. this was the more initial issue, or what lawyers would say the threshold issue of whether this witness even comes before congress in any valid way. and again, reading from a part of the opinion i haven't read yet, when a duly authorized member of congress issues a valid subpoena to a former or current official and a federal court determines that they as a matter of law have a duty to respond, the constitutional principles that animate the structure of our government are preserved. your view of the judge coming down in with a that way, saying this is bigger than what mcgahn
can and can't say. it is in the interests otfr u.s. constitutional order that mr. mcgahn and potentially other people like mr. bolton potentially face congress. >> one of my lodge standing worries about the trump presidency was president trump's extreme claims in bad cases. we're going to take a lot of issues that had always been kind of blur, exactly the olympics. executive privilege. these questions have been blur because they tended not to be litigated. the branchs have mutually adjusted rather than refer them to the court. president trump has made a decision about outrageous, broad, crazy claims about presidential power. and he is doing it obviously to cover up wrongdoing. and so the courts, how can they do anything otherwise than sharply limit presidential power? but some day we're going to need that presidential power. i worry a lot president trump trying to corrupt the presidency is going to leave behind an institutionally weakened presidency against future congresss with a lot of case law that says congress can do more
than we imagined three or four years ago that congress could do. >> well, it's funny to hear you say that on a night like tonight, when the white house getting a real stinging rebuke and loss in federal court, ordering mueller's star witness don mcgahn to testify before congress, an issue live and in the heart of the impeachment probe. but david, you're also partly echoing the concerns of another conservative former colleague of yours, jack goldsmith, who has argued, and he is known as a conservative able legal mind, but he said what you have said. basically, if you die on too many hills and fight too many fights with bad arguments for executive power, you actually -- he argues trump weakens the president. >> one of the questions that has always been obscure in american history, what are the president's criminal liabilities in state law. the shoot the man on fifth avenue claim. and it's kind of blur, because
weirdly, we've gotten through all these years of the republic without litigating because presidents have gotten through without committing state crimes to litigate. when you have a president who commits a lot of state crimes, it raises questions. probably we're going toned up with a supreme court ruling that question, the president is subject to state criminal due process during his presidency. that's a bad outcome from a public policy point of view. it's better never to have tested it. but the way you don't test it is you don't commit crimes, and that seems too high a bar for this white house. >> i want to get neal and then come back to you. professor gore was riding along with us. i'll do what i've been doing which is read another new part to you and our viewers that is brand-new when we get breaking news. this is a little interesting to me. what don mcgahn did is cooperate with mueller. indeed, mueller give him a lot of credit for that cooperation. he is more cited than anyone else in the mueller report. on that level, he got a good gray. then he went ahead and fought this fight to not cooperate with the congress.
and so this is interesting in that context as i read to you from this judge, siding with pelosi over the trump folks saying the law luau has remained the same from the bush era when then counsel harriet miers did not have absolute immunity to testify, and it remains the state of the law today. and then a professor, this judge write, quote, it goes without saying the law applies to don mcgahn, just as it does to other current and former senior level white house officials. i don't think you need to be a scholar to note that is a big red flag for john bolton, because that is basically saying nobody, not the lawyers, not the national security, nobody has absolute immunity, professor. >> i think it's a big red flag for everyone right now. and if i were in the trump administration, i'd be running around in a panic. either that or i would be furious. it's a slippery slope. it opens the door four not simply souchs high level
officials, but also tosses out the idea that people can be exempt. so it creates a way of going after not only the people that we are talking about, say mcgahn, who we're talking about with regard to the mueller investigation, but also has applications and has consequences or results for the current impeachment inquiry that is happening right now. so if you're john bolton, you should be paying careful attention to this because this may change your friday night plans this week. but i think there is something else too that's really important. we've been in the midst of what we might call a constitutional crisis, or the beginnings of a constitutional crisis. i think this puts us full speed away into a constitutional crisis because we know that the trump administration is not going respond well to this, and we know that they're going to do everything within their power not to agree with the court, not to comply with the court. so it will be interesting to see what they do going forward. >> neal, i know you wanted to get in as well. >> so the big question in the
light of what david said a moment ago which is the trump's actions here so risk this important resource of executive privilege, executive power, the question is why would he do it? and i think the answer is, and we're seeing this both in the context of mcgann, but also in the context of impeachment in which he stonewalled congress and said zero documents and zero witnesses is one thing. he's got a lot to hide, a lot to hide. and that is going to change i think not just mcgann and mueller and all that stuff. maybe this changes the dynamics of impeachment as well, because it puts the finger back on trump's conduct in really trying to undermine the investigation, and there is all this talk about whether congress is going to add an obstruction of justice count. and this kind of pattern of behavior, even though it's a separate investigation, it's about mueller, it's kind of the same basic pattern which is hey, i don't have to bother showing up to congress. i can going automatic of my employees. i can prevent all the documents from coming over because i can
just on my own declare this investigation illegitimate. what the judge appears to have done is huh-uh, not in america. you have legitimate investigations by the congress of the united states and those will go forward, and you will provide that evidence and testimony. >> and, neal, the other thing that i'm reading as i'm going through this, and it's always tricky to read a case on live tv. but we do it from time to time, all of us here together, so ride with us. on page 39, i see a judge really sledding what has become known to some degree as bill barr's executive theory. he is not the only one. he just gave quite the controversial speech about some of these issues and likens part of the doj's position to the animals in "animal farm." it quotes the doj position and then says for a similar vantage point, consider george orwell
and "animal farm." unfortunately for the doj, while there are strong executive powers in this country, the way that they've made contentions, quote, the trump administration has, quote, distorted separation of powers principles, quote, beyond all recognition. now neal, i would caution for viewers, this isn't a supreme court opinion. we're not rewriting the entire balance here, but what does it say to you in a case that is likely to go up and up the line that the judge is putting this mark down against these doj bar claims. >> i doubt this case will actually get to the supreme court, because i think these arguments are so silly that i just don't think the supreme court is likely to take them in tend. but that's the ultimate point. there is unitary executive theory, which is nothing to do with what bill barr said. it's about administrative agencies and things like that. what barr has said is something no responsible constitutional scholar in our history has ever adopted which is the idea that the president on his own can
basically run the government and be immune from any sort of secondguessing or criticism. he can't be indicted and he can't even be investigated. and by the way, they say he can't be impeached because that would be a coup. it's king georgi iii plus what barr is advocating for. along with the overwhelming consensus of people in this country, scholars from the left and from the right, this is ridiculous. these kind of views are really written in crayon. they're not written in any analytically sophisticated or even accurate way. >> and neal and david, i'm reading few again, breaking news. response from william burk, the attorney for don mcgahn who says mcgahn will comply with judge jackson's decision unless it's pending state appeal. whether they intend to seek a stay, neal? >> so burke is an excellent lawyer. that's exactly the right response. unfortunately, this justice
department has really sided with the president in ways that i've never seen before in my life. i mean, normally the justice department is supposed to have some insulation and independence and not make crazy crayon arguments. but that's unfortunately what they've been doing. so i suspect they will try and appeal this to the court of appeals in d.c. i expect they will lose quickly. i think the house of representatives will say look, you want an appeal, fine. but let's brief this thing. in under a week, we're ready to argue. we're ready to go. i expect a quick ruling from the d.c. circuit as well. that's what happened in the nixon tapes case. everything start to finish was three months, and this went all the way up to the supreme court. and as i say, i think this one, the president's arguments are so weak, i don't see it going to the supreme court in its current posture. >> david and then leah. >> i think donald trump has arranged his schedule so he is going to open 2020 with the longest string of losing presidential cases both in his
public and private capacity. he is going to be losing cases on business documents, losing cases on tax returns. by stonewalling it so long and successfully stonewalling it so long he is going to have the worst possible time for himself where all of these things are going to be coming to the light of day just as the american people focus on an election year. >> leah? >> yeah. so i completely agree with this. i think i'd also point out it shows the kind of resiliency around our american democratic institutions. so even as we have these larger questions about stonewalling, about the way donald trump has had a complete disregard for law that again and again, the courts and the institutions surrounding the courts have shown a kind of resiliency around answering this question. on top of that, i think two -- one of the things we talked about early in this conversation, donald trump does have a lot to hide. that we wouldn't be having these questions if the documents, the court, the institutions didn't
keep revealing misdoings, misdeeds, and at the very least unethical behaviors. so now what we're beginning to see too as these things come down the pipeline, it is painting a picture that is deeply damn fogger the american people and that is forcing people to pick a side, whether it be this president is corrupt or to showcase their partisan -- their partisan loyalty. so ignoring all of the evidence in front of them. >> so much to think about here and so well put, guided by our experts, leah wright rigueur, neal katyal. neal, congratulations on the new book. if you're joining us here on a busy monday night, what's happening. we had one show planned and threw it out the window. we have a lot more in this breaking news. what i'm holding is that very rare thing. it is an order for don mcgahn, a former stop white house counsel of the president donald trump to testify. reading from it, it says mcgann,
quote, is not immune from compelled congressional process, that he has no lawful basis for refusing to appear before congressional testimony before speaker pelosi's house. that's something as you know has been fought tooth and nail by the trump doj and mr. mcgahn here for quite some time and he is ordered to appear. this sets off implications for the obstruction part of the mueller probe and the open issues in impeachment. the timing, well, we don't make it up. well just respond to it. we're going have a lot more on this breaking news with some of our best experts in tonight's show. we're going to go into the judge ordering this, what it means. we're also going to look at other breaking news. new subpoenas from federal prosecutors going right at rudolph giuliani's consulting firm. we have that story with one of the reporters who broke it tonight, and a whole lot more on the breaking news. i'm ari melber. you're watching "the beat" on msnbc. n msnbc.
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the breaking news tonight. this federal judge ruling former white house counsel don mcgahn must testify before the democratic congress. this decision could have far-reaching implication, including shaping whether other white house officials current and former are allowed to duck witness testimony, including this impeachment probe. all this comes as the heat is getting hotter on another potential witness, or in the sdny, potential defendant. "the wall street journal" reporting new subpoenas seeking information on rudy giuliani's consulting business as a parade of witnesses have publicly accused him in these hearings of
coordinating the ukraine bribery plot. behind the scenes, another impeachment witness lev parnas is transitioning from a giuliani client to a defendant potentially flipping. look at these new reports, parnas giving congress video and audio recordings that include allegedly giuliani and trump, according to abc. as if all of that wasn't enough, also reports it was parnas who helped arrange secret meetings in ukraine for the top republican on this same committee, devin nunes. allegations are that nunes hid all of that from schiff, a report that suggests a major conflict of nunes who stands accused of trying to execute the very parts of the trump plot this committee is investigating. about material that might have helped donald trump's reelection campaign. nunes is denying this. he says the reports are part of a campaign of a, quote, totally corrupt media. he has also been dodging questions about the details.
the white house began the impeachment hearings trying to stonewall. but as we've seen tonight with these other individuals who are talking and cooperating, in many way, the stonewall strategy is failing before our eyes, and the pressure is increasing on key people, including of course giuliani. i can tell you he was back out on tv touting his good relationship with the president. wall also stating he has some sort of insurance against his own client, donald trump. >> you can assume that i talk to him early and off. >> yeah. >> and have a very, very good relationship with him. and all of these comments, which are totally insulting. >> yeah. >> i've seen things written like he's going to throw me under the bus. when they say that, i say he isn't, but i have insurance. >> but have i insurance. look, if you take that insurance threat as literal or serious, well, it's literally potential blackmail and likely a ethics
violation for a lawyer to make against his own client. some that of may be larger than the actual criminal exposure. giuliani now insists those references were sarcastic and not direct threat to trump. but he also cryptically warned that evidence will come to light immediately if he disappears. we're going to get into this and other breaking news when we come back with the panel in just 30 seconds. seconds. like living room up to 70% off. storage solutions from $9.99. and area rugs up to 80% off. plus, tons of limited-time mystery flash deals. and free shipping on everything when you shop from thanksgiving through cyber monday. and we're just getting warmed up. our black friday blowout is happening now through december first. shop the event of the season, only at wayfair.com.
breaking news on this monday night. a federal judge ruling former white house counsel don mcgahn must testify before congress. a big win in the house. a big loss for the white house. a decision may obviously impact the other white house officials who try to stonewall or duck these requests, including from the impeachment probe, including, of course, the john bolton issue. all of this comes with new heat on rudy giuliani, which we've been reporting on, along with new reports from "the wall street journal," shelby holliday uncovering some of those photos of the indicted giuliani associates with parnas, trump and trump jr. and she is on a new article today. we're joined by mother jones washington bureau chief david corn. shelby, a lot is flying around tonight. but the giuliani news is very real, and it's criminal investigative developments. explain the import. >> right. "the wall street journal" reporting tonight that various subpoenas have gone out. and it suggests that the southern district of new york is casting a wide net, and they
have a very broad investigation going on right now. but in those subpoenas specifically mentioned is rudy giuliani and giuliani partners, his consulting business. so the subpoenas indicate that the southern district of new york isn't just looking at lev parnas and igor furm. giuliani denies wrongdoing and says at least in ukraine, he has had in no clients since he became president trump's personal attorney. but when you look at what's alleged over the course of the last few weeks is giuliani was orchestrating a campaign to oust the ambassador over in ukraine and also to get ukrainians, pressure ukrainians to investigate joe biden. this news is very significant. among the charges listed on the subpoenas is failing to register as a foreign agent, also obstruction of justice, moneylaundering, conspiracy to defraud the united states, mail
fraud, wire fraud, the list goes on. more than half a dozen possible charges. big news tonight for rudy giuliani. >> yeah, it's a huge development. and david, this is one of those times where a reporter like yourself, who has been tracking all this during the 2016 campaign is really invaluable. i see a lot of things coming together here. one of the fairest defenses that trump's allies made early in the mueller probe was the worst stuff like manafort wasn't all done the way mueller wrote it on behalf of trump there was other dirt. now that still leaves a lot of responsibility for who is the number one person running your campaign, but there was that argument. put that in the context of what we see here, what shelby just describe, mr. giuliani under heat for things he is doing, explicitly not only on donald trump's behalf, but on behalf of the reelection campaign combined with the other breaking story we're going the stay on, which is the defiance of witnesses in the mueller context coming home
to roost. >> well, i don't think we have enough time to cover all of it, ari. i feel like carrie matheson in "homeland." if you do flow charts here, what the democrats thought was very simple case of donald trump making a phone call, taking a couple of discreet actions to lean on the ukrainians in order to get political dirt on joe biden and to try to prove that the russians didn't hack the election in 2016 to benefit him has turned into a much more wide ranging conspiracy, or i should say plot or controversy or whatever you want to call it that involves business deals, perhaps in ukraine, involvement with rudy giuliani, perhaps with a ukrainian oligarch who has been indicted in the united states, who is fighting extradition, and there is the possibility that rudy giuliani said that he would help him if this guy produced dirt on joe biden. the lev parnas and igor fruman
cuz were narrow, but involved hundreds of thousands of dollars that are not accounted for that went to illegal campaign contributions. they also gave giuliani a questionable $500,000 payment. so there is really a lot going on here. maybe this is what rudy was counting on. he believed or was acting on behalf of president trump to get the dirt and get this information, and all the other stuff he thought perhaps he'd have some cloak of presidential privilege. >> right. >> in order to make all these other conversations and these side deals to deal with the ukrainian oligarch, whatever was going on. but he got into bed with some dead-enders who have accused of violating campaign finance law. from that this is snowballing out. i don't think we have a full idea of the size of this yet. >> well, you make such a good point there that part of what might look now in the light of day a real recklessnesses or even self incriminating mistakes
was placed on, so we can stonewall everything. mueller didn't throw a fastball right at the oval office, and we'll wait it out and no one will have to testify. and that failed because of, a, this ruling tonight rejecting the stonewalling, forcing don mcgahn to testify. b, everything we saw the last two weeks in the impeachment hearing, the cooperation of other witnesses, including current employees like sondland. i see your homeland reference, mr. corn, but then it starts with the diagram is ex-story election help out of ukraine with some unsavory case, some who are indicted. and then you see devin nunes working with the same unsavory now indicted characters. gosh, how many people are in the center of this diagram for you and shelby i want to give you devin nunes's semi response. take a look.
>> bottom line, were you in vienna with shokin? >> yes. look, maria, i really want to answer all of these questions, and i promise i absolutely will come back on the show and answer these questions. but because there is traditional activity here, we're working with the appropriate law enforcement agencies. >> david? >> you know, if someone accuses me of being in a european capital with an indicted guy, meeting with a ukrainian oligarch, whatever it might be, and it didn't happen, i would say it didn't happen. that's about as shifty a response as i can imagine. a member of congress, and i was in the room, other people were there watching on tv sat through and watched him for hours in the last two weeks. if he was in touch with shokin while this was going on, that's the corrupt ukrainian prosecutor who kicked off the dirt digging operation against biden, and he didn't tell anybody that?
it staggers the imagine chation >> i think it's interesting when you look at the comments coming from lev parnas' attorney that lev parnas is ready to turn over his videos, his text messages. "the wall street journal" a few weeks ago published a story about lev parnas' instagram feed. it didn't include every picture he had. he also had a facebook page where he was posting all kinds of photos. the man documented his life quite well. he took tons of pictures with rudy giuliani. he also took pictures with various republican officials. when we were doing that story, he never took photographs with ukrainian officials. is there is evidence devin nunes. >> are you saying he did it for the gram? >> he did a lot of it for the gram, but he also did a lot for facebook, and we don't have those photos. there is a lot out there that we don't no. >> and on giuliani, i know that it can be tiresome to even look at what he is saying. >> yeah. >> but when we cover potential
investigations and potential cases, we always look to both sides. ms. problem has been how weak his side has been, david. but this was giuliani basically talking about, well, blame somebody else. take a look. >> i expected the moment i heard biden's name. >> sure. >> i told my colleagues they're going try to kill me. because they're going to kill the messenger. but damn it, the mafia couldn't kill me. your colleagues are not going to kill me. >> david? >> that's what's kind of sad here. having been in new york the time that rudy giuliani was going after the mob, he was courageous, and he also won against wall street traders, inside traders in the 80s. he really cared about corruption. and now he is totally on the other side of the coin. and it's very simple, rudy. if you have the goods, produce them. but every fair-minded assessment is there is no fair allegation
that joe biden did anything wrong. so it just looks like you're trying to trump things up and working with joe digenova, victoria townsend, i dimensioned before dimitri ferret tash, and it:00 it look looks property on the to the core. i think if he had something to show, i think he would show it. >> i think that's fair. we will obviously endeavor to include the defense in other arguments. but they are as a factual matter unavailing. shelby holliday, thank you. david, you're going to stay with me. i have been here going through what i can of this ruling, but we have another prosecutor in a separate location. david stays with us, our other prosecutor is going to weigh in, having studied this. we're getting word on what the doj is going to do with what is a huge loss on presidential power and whether witnesses have to testify, when we come back. y ack. ahhhh! giving one. the lexus december to rembember sales event lease the 2020 nx 300
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a federal judge ruling donald trump's former counsel don mcgahn must testify to congress. the court finding white house officials do no have anything like absolute immunity from testifying, quote, even if the president expressly directs such official's noncompliance. the court also like erning the doj argument to an orwellian "animal farm" quoting "all imagines are equal, but some animals are more equal that others. mcgahn says he will comply regarding the case is not further tied up in the appeals process. barr's doj, which just lost this round is expected to appeal this ruling. jerry nadler has a new reaction, basically touting a victory. he says mcgahn is central to the investigation and he expects him to testifiment joining me by phone is glenn kirschner. good evening to both of you. glenn, your first bite at the
apple. david and have i been trying to make sense of this. what jumps out to you? >> i was looking at the judge's two-page order sort of formally implementing what is in her much longer legal opinion. and the first thing that jumped out at me is this language. she concludes that mr. mcgahn's failure to appear was without legal justification. and, you know, the reason that i think that's important is because the trump administration has been directing people to refuse to appear, and we now know that that is entirely without legal justification. i hate to split hairs, but it really is illegal. it really -- it's a contemptuous act. when you receive a lawfully issued subpoena from congress and you have zero lawful basis to resist it, you are involved
in an illegal act. so that becomes important in my opinion because trump has been telling people to commit the unlawful act of failing to appear to lawfully issued subpoenas which i think will add fuel to the obstruction of justice fire that is likely to end up as one of the articles of impeachment. >> well, you just put your finger on it. and david, this goes to the heart of it. try to use our words very carefully. because this case has moved through normal courts, not unlike precedents like the bush miers precedent, i wouldn't call this alone any constitutional crisis. but i would say, david, and i'm curious your view, this coupled with everything else the administration is doing is constitutional crisis adjacent. meaning in some ways that views of precedent and n a lawful process and other ways in rank and of course defiance, what
comes together is manage the congress has to consider which is at what point do all the patterns become a potentially impeachable event? and where does tonight fit into that? david? >> well, you remember that during the trump russia investigation in the house intelligence committee when it was controlled by republicans, witnesses came forward from the administration, hope hicks and others and refused to talk about things without even citing executive privilege. they just said i'm not going to talk about my conversations with the president. why? well, because they told me not to. is that executive privilege? no. they weren't even citing a real privilege, which may not even have covered it. they were just refusing to cooperate. and many folks said the donald trump jr. cited attorney/client privilege for conversations with his dad and things like that. this all leads me to 1974. why do you ask? because article iii, as you talked about of the watergate impeachment articles was the president did not comply with congressional subpoenas. so as we've seen with mcgann
case, this goes directly to that. whether there is a right of congress to seek information from the white house and the executive branch, particularly when there is an impeachment proceeding at stake, or anything else that's serious. and the white house position has been no, you don't got that. this decision today starts changing the balance here. >> well, david, you said why 74. i said maybe there was a particularly good dead show at the film noir. but that's just because i know. >> i've been to one dead show my entire life, and it wasn't 1974. >> well, that's your mistake, your life mistake given the decades we've lived through. >> we can argue that. >> but look, the other thing between the nixon '74, is there has been many comparisons across the country in washington and law and politics to the mueller hearings and now these very powerful impeachment hearings. but the big difference people kind knopf but is easy to forget and tonight puts such an explanation point on it is what
was powerful in these impeachment hearings was the witnesses and the people involved testifying. in the mueller hearings by definition that never happened. if you ran the impeachment hearings like the mueller hearing, adam schiff would vietnam be at the main witness table. but that doesn't make a ton of sense because the prosecutor can only take you so far. i want to play for you a reminder who we're dealing with. don mcgahn is the guy dealing with everything in those heady first years of the administration that got up to or over the legal line, to the point he said under oath to mueller, he threatened to resign rather than carry out criminal obstruction. that's the guy we're dealing with. take a look at him at cpac. >> it's essentially government law that the president has to encounter on a day-to-day basis. >> and that involves you in just about everything? >> unfortunately, yes. >> hard for you to say i didn't do it. >> unfortunately, everything. and david, what does it mean if
he does come out? because he would not be asked about things that are relevant in trump's efforts in mcgahn's view break the law, but also could inform the current impeachment probe. >> look what happened the last two weeks. almost everybody who testified had given a very lengthy deposition. we knew 90% of the story. there were some surprises that came out, but by hearing it directly from the player, it really helps get through a lot of the complications. and you didn't have that with the mueller investigation because, a, mueller didn't want to be there when he testified. and he gave a very lackluster performance. but this is what this fight is all about. mcmahon didn't testify him. there are other witnesses who won't be called who were in government and some who were not in government. so i don't think the public got the full flavor of the story part because of this stonewalling from the white
house. so i think now if he and others have to testify, i don't know what the democrats really do in the impeachment front in terms of their timetable. we've seen so much come out in the last couple of day, so much come out from the hearings, they deserve further investigation. we still have the mueller story to tell more fully, the russian story to tell more fully. i don't know where their heads are at in terms of the presenting that to the public. some of the public deserves be, are the democrats really at this point going to give them the full story? >> hmm. all fascinating questions advanced by this ruling. david corn here doing multiple topics for us. glenn kirschner phoning in from his msnbc issued prosecutorial bat phone on a big night. my thanks to both of you. still to come, i want to dig into the impeachment revelations that are important and that go to what mick mulvaney and mike pompeo are up to this week. and later, which have news on just how many of you were watching these hearings and what it means about evidence reaching
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infamous freezing of military money. newly revealed documents showing an after the fact cover story that would be providing a later and misleading justification for the money. the washington post is reporting on, all of this suggesting a coverup. the white house worried their personal review is coming up one flattering facts that could embarrass president trump. in in cscandals it takes month o come out. they are happening at warp speed. he went publicly admitting the ukraine plot. at the time that looked like a self reported first hal-- gafff. it looks like mulvane may have been trying to get ahead of his own rule, that he knew, not
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have you noticed of all the different stories and scandals and investigation of this trump era, the impeachment hearings have stood out in several ways for their seriousness the way that offer the nation a chance day after day to witness these witnesses and learn about the facts if people choose too.
during the hearing a top committee member proved to be false. he claimed they were down, that people were not watching. >> well, ambassador and mr. morrison, i have some bad news for you. tv ratings are way down. way down, don't hold it personally, anything it's you guys. whatever drug deal you democrats are cooking up, you are on the bias, american people aren't buying it. >> that proved false, the data for audience ratings is in for the full week. we lived through, it shows 12 million people, millions more watching coverage, clips, portions online. the hearings may have at times looked like cspan, these numbers are at the level of monday night football and popular tv shows like ncis. do they reflect opponents of trump are seizing of what may be a tough story for him?
>> no. viewership was at record highs that includes right here on msnbc, highest week eever and at fox news, bringing out their best ratings of the year so there you have it. tens of millions of americans are seeing these hearings with their own eyes, a notable thing to consider when you remember that the factual issues here are a can dal that is in large part about misinforming the public. remember, trump trying to extort ukraine to announce a fake investigation to mislead americans about the bidens. a plot that backfired leading to what is now yes a real investigation. so don't forget. the key to this whole plot was that it be announced on tv. >> he had to announce the investigations. he didn't actually have to do them as i understood it. >> this was a demand that president zelensky personally commit on a cable news channel to a specific investigation of president trump's political
rival. >> yet, it was all about reaching people. the way they wanted to reach people turned out to proceed up in their face. it was a failure. and the investigation, well, that now is reaching millions of people. what they think about it. what they do about it. well, that's up as always to the american public. thanks for joining us on quite a busy news night. i'll be back 6:00 p.m. eastern tomorrow. requested hardball" starts now. ♪ the dam is breaking. let's play "hardball. reque ." . reque ." good evening, i'm chris mathews in washington. there's break news tonight that could have huge implications for the trump white house and the ukrainian investigation. a federal judge has ruled in the last hour the executive branch officials are fought absolutely immune from compulsory congressional process. even if there