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tv   Democracy Now  PBS  August 2, 2017 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT

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[captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> my loyalty is to the constitution, to the rule of law and to the mission of the fbi. amy: five senators voted against christopher wray. before yesterday, only one sender had ever voted against an fbi nominee. we will get a look at the explosive lawsuit filed by a former fox news contributor, alleging fox news fabricated and worked directly with the white house to push a fake news story to prop up conspiracy theories
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linking the murder of a dnc staffer last year to the wikileaks publication of internal dnc emails. look at the shocking story of how u.s. customs and border protection agents told a 16-year-old mexican teenager to drink from a bottle of liquid meth at a border checkpoint in san diego, causing him to die from an acute drug overdose. >> my brother is dead. he was in pain. amy: all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. "the new york times" is reporting the justice department is preparing to investigate and
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sue universities for affirmative action policies, in the latest assault against civil rights by attorney general jeff sessions. "the times" says the justice department sent out an internal announcement looking for lawyers to lead up, quote, "investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions." quote. the supreme court has upheld the constitutionality of affirmative action policies, which take race and ethnicity into account in college admissions in efforts to address centuries of institutionalized discrimination against people of color and women. the naacp legal defense fund promised to sue the administration if it attacks a friend of -- affirmative action
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policy, saying, quote, "we will bring the full force of the law if this justice department attempts to resegregate our institutions of higher learning." on tuesday, the senate confirmed former justice department lawyer christopher wray as the new fbi chief, nearly three months after president trump fired the agency's previous director, james comey. five senators voted against wray -- the most votes against a nominee for fbi director in u.s. history. before tuesday, only one senator had ever voted against nominating an fbi director. as fbi head, wray will now lead the agency during a federal
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probe into allegations of collusion between the trump presidential campaign and russia. we'll have more on christopher wray's confirmation and the fbi investigation later in the broadcast. in may, former d.c. homicide detective rod wheeler appeared on fox news' "hannity" to discuss seth rich's murder. rod wheeler is claiming fox knowingly used made-up quotes from him. as a pawnhe was used in a plan by the white house to "shipped the blame from russia" speculation.ed
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wheeler was being paid for investigate the rich killing by a trump supporter in texas named ed petoskey. the lawsuit also claimed he received a text message from and saying "not to add any more .ressure to the president read the article. he wants it out immediately." he alleges he told him "one day, you will win an award for having said those things you didn't say." we will have more on the story later in the broadcast. we will be speaking with marcy wheeler. the u.s. is testing an intercontinental ballistic missile this morning from the vandenberg air force base in california, amid rising tensions with north korea. on july 28, north korea launched a similar missile, which experts say may be capable of reaching the west coast of the u.s. on
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on tuesday, secretary of state rex tillerson said the u.s. is willing to engage in direct talks with north korea, and claimed the us is not seeking regime change there. >> we have reaffirmed our position towards north korea. what we are doing, we do not seek a regime change. we do not seek the collapse of the regime. we do not seek an accelerated you read that reunification of the peninsula. excuse to gok an north of the 30th parallel. we are not your enemy. we are not your threat. you are presenting an unacceptable threat to us and we have to respond. amy: secretary of state rex tillerson is heading to asia later this week, visiting thailand, malaysia, and the philippines, where he'll participate in a regional security meeting with asian leaders about denuclearizing the korean peninsula. meanwhile, china's state media has criticized president trump for repeatedly complaining about china and north korea in twitter rants.
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the news agency wrote, quote, "emotional venting cannot become a guiding policy for solving the nuclear issue on the peninsula." in news on healthcare, a us .s. appeals court ruled tuesday that democratic state attorneys general can defend federal subsidy payments to insurance companies, which trump has threatened to stop paying amid his frustration over the republican party's failure to repeal the affordable care act. this comes as a bipartisan group of senators, led by republican senator lamar alexander of tennessee and democratic senator patty murry of washington, said they will hold hearings on how to strengthen the health insurance market. the move is a rebuke to trump, who has said he wants to let the affordable care act implode. in a statement, republican senator alexander said, quote, "if your house is on fire, you want to put out the fire, and the fire in this case is the individual health insurance market. both republicans and democrats agree on this." unquote (vo vo)
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following republican senators' failure to pass a healthcare plan, lawmakers are now focusing on tax reform. the white house is pushing to cut the top corporate tax rate to a mere 15%, down from 35%. on tuesday, senate democrats sent a letter saying they wouldn't support any plan that includes tax cuts for the wealthiest 1% of americans. the white house has confirmed president trump weighed in on his son, donald trump jr.'s, misleading statement about his meeting with the russian lawyer promising damaging information about hillary clinton during the 2016 campaign. this is white house press secretary sarah huckabee sanders. >> the president weighed in based on the limited information that he had he certainly did not dictate. he weighed in and offered suggestion like any father would do. amy: the misleading statement, helpedresident trump
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craft, according to "washington post," described the meeting as short and not focused on campaign-related issues, withholding important details despite objections from trump's senior advisers. former white house ethics lawyer richard painter says he think s trump's role constitutes obstruction of justice. this comes as president trump's son-in-law, jared kushner, claimed in a speech monday to a group of congressional interns that trump's campaign couldn't have colluded with russia because the campaign was too dysfunctional. foreign policy reports kushner said, quote, "they thought we colluded, but we couldn't even collude with our local offices." senator jeff flake of arizona has slammed his own party in an article for politico, accusing republicans of being in denial about president trump and the chaos in the white house.
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in the article, writes, quote, "too often, we observe the unfolding drama along with the rest of the country, passively, " all but saying, "someone should do something!" without seeming to realize that that .omeone is us he also writes quote "one doesn't ever want to believe that the government of the united states has been made dysfunctional at the highest levels, especially by the actions of one's own party." the acting director of the drug enforcement administration, chuck rosenberg, has condemned president trump for endorsing police brutality during a speech to police officers in brentwood, new york last week. in an internal email, rosenberg told dea staff members not to follow trump's directive to be rough with suspects when putting them into paddy wagons. he also wrote that he was speaking out against trump's quote, "wecause h,
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have an obligation to speak out when something is wrong." the white house is trying to claim that president trump was joking when he endorsed and encouraged police brutality. the department of homeland security says it will exempt itself from having to follow environmental rules while constructing trump's promised wall on the mexican border. the army corps of engineers has already begun drilling at some places along the border. lawyers with the center for biological diversity say the move to exempt dhs from following environmental laws is unconstitutional. in more environmental news, a new report accuses the meat industry of polluting the waters of the gulf of mexico, chesapeake bay, and the great lakes with toxic chemicals from manure and fertilizer, causing massive "dead zones." the report from the environmental group mighty says the toxins cause algal blooms, which then decompose and deprive the water of oxygen, causing fish and other wildlife to die off. the national oceanic and atmospheric administration is expected to announce this week that more than 8,000 square
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miles in the gulf of mexico are a "dead zone," an expanse of water about the size of new jersey. the report says the meat giant , tyson foods, is the dominant influence in the pollution. in afghanistan, a suicide bomb attack killed at least 29 people during evening prayers at a shiite mosque in the western city of herat. the taliban has denied involvement in the attack. in turkey, a mass trial has begun for nearly00 people who are accused of orchestrating last year's failed military coup. the defendants include army generals, pilots, and fethullah gulen, a turkish dissident who is living in the poconos, in pennsylvania, and is being tried in absentia. if convicted, the suspects face life in prison. turkish president recep tayyip erdogan has used the failed military coup as a pretext to launch a widescale crackdown against dissidents, human rights activists, journalists, opposition lawmakers, and kurds in turkey.
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back in the united states, in the cousin of philando castile, who was killed by a police officer during a traffic stop last year, is fighting trumped up charges after he protested his cousin's death. 38-year-old louis hunter is facing two felony riot charges stemming from his participation in a demonstration on interstate 94 in the days after officer jeronimo yanez fatally shot philando castile through the car as his girlfriend's killinr four-year-old daughter, dae'anne, was sitting in the backseat. officer yanez has been acquitted. but, louis hunter is now facing up to 10 years in prison. this is hunter, speaking to supporters on friday outside the offices of ramsey county attorney john choi. >> the trumped up charges they are giving me -- i lost my home,
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i lost my business from all this . that is not right. my kids are overwhelmed in all this. my family and all of us. london, workers at the bank of england have walked off the job in the first strike at the bank in 50 years. on tuesday, dozens of the bank's workers picketed outside the headquarters in london to demand a pay raise that keeps pace with inflation. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. on tuesday, the senate confirmed longtime corporate lawyer as fbi chief by a vote of 92-5. the vote comes nearly three months after donald trump fired the agency's previous director, james comey. wray will lead the fbi during a
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federal probe into allegations of collusion between the trump presidential campaign and russia. in an unprecedented move, five senators, all democrats, voted against wray. before yesterday, only one senator had ever voted against an fbi nominee. the five democrats were kirsten gillibrand of new york, ed markey and elizabeth warren both of massachusetts and jeff merkley and ron wyden both of oregon. in addition, three senators did not vote. richard burr of north carolina, minnesota's al franken and arizona's john mccain. in a statement, senator wyden criticized wray because of his stance on government surveillance. wyden said, quote, "in his public and private statements, chris wray failed to oppose government backdoors into americans' personal devices, or to acknowledge the facts about
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encryption. that it isn't about liberty versus security, it's about more security versus less security." the american civil liberties union also criticized wray in part for his work at the justice department under george w. bush, when he worked with many of the key architects of the u.s. torture program. for more on christopher wray, we are joined by two guests: marcy . marcy wheeler is an independent journalist who covers national security and civil liberties. she runs the website emptywheel.net. and, joining us via democracy now video stream is economist and lawyer james henry. he is a a global justice fellow at yale, senior advisor with the tax justice network and former chief economist at mckinsey & company. his recent article for the american interest is "no wray." welcome to democracy now! > he was overwhelmingly confirmed because he gave these reassurances that he was not any investigation into russia and the collusion with the trump administration.
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at the same time, the confirmation process did not get into a lot of the questions he might have faced about his own tenure at doj in the bush administration. it didn't get into his own actions that would answer whether or not he was going to be independent. wyden had additional concerns about wray's response on encryption come on whether or not the fbi will continue to seek backdoors into secure communications. amy: 92-5 sounds like a pretty overwhelming majority for confirmation. i'm sure most people see it that way. it is quite something that it is the largest no vote in the history of confirmation of fbi directors. only one director voted against him, rand paul.
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he was opposed to comey because he wouldn't rule out drone domestic surveillance. frankly, the numbers shouldn't be that overwhelming ever p. the fbi director is a tenure position. all of these people had controversial things in their past there is thinoti that we ha to ve unanimo approval. that shows a lacof skepticism. here, there was the view among some people in the democratic party and it should be more broadly that trump is getting rewarded for having fired jim comey come as you described at the top of the show. we have two new pieces of evidence that trump is obstructing justice into the russian investigation command to comey's firing. yet, he still gets to replace
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-- we wouldomeone have his deputy, which would be a status quo. yet now, trump gets to reward himself for having gotten rid of the guy who was investigating him and his family. amy: he has been attacking mccabe, along with jeff sessions come on twitter. role is tot this since there is a special prosecutor because jeff sessions recused himself to the tremendous iraq president trump. ire of tremendous president trump. james: he curiously said he believed the fbi director reports directly to him. he mentioned wray's confirmation in that process. for the first time
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that the fbi director works for him. that is something that seems the senate judiciary should have gotten back to get wray address. this question of whether he will be sufficiently independent. wray will be the boss of the fbi agents working with robert mueller comeau conducting this investigation. he will have some say over the resources that are given to mueller for that investigative side of the investigation. he won't be in charge of robert mueller he won't be able to fire robert mueller. he didn't respond to a question about that in his confirmation process, which i found a little disturbing. he does have 8:08 in the process and he does have the ability to influence the process. toe indoes have a
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the process and he does have the ability to influence the process. it is fair to raise questions about whether or not he will be independent. he gave well rehearsed refuseces that he would to quash any investigation into the russian allegations. as i mentioned, there are things that wray was involved with when he worked for george bush, most notably he was briefing john ashcroft about the cia leak investigation -- highly inappropriate. recusalohn ashcroft's from that investigation. he should have been asked about thise did that and then investigation into russian tampering. a question he wasn't asked.
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he's given a lot of assurances that the senators seemed to find compelling. there were some questions that could have further been asked of him. amy: the significance you just referred to of the latest washington post expose saying donald trump was basically in charge of the response to the expose about his son -- his son revealed his own emails about eight peopleith that included the russian lawyer and others and jared kushner as well. it is a sign that trump is inventing stories. he says the meeting was exclusively about adoption. there was no follow-up. interestingly, the line that trumped used -- trump used about adoption is one he said he spoke to vladimir putin about the day before the statement. what appears to have happened is the white house got questions they startedeting,
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discussing about how to respond and they were going to respond honestly and then trump asked vladimir putin specifically about adoptions, about what ended up being the public statement about the meeting and then wrote the statement for his son. now, he is excusing it as something all dads would do. it is yet more evidence that he is telling stories about the russian investigation, about his ties to russia. that is not itself a case for obstruction but adds to the case that he fired comey to obstruct the investigation into him and his family and he's inventing stories to obstruct the investigation. he said, is this really what fathers would do for their sons unless he's already planning to pardon him. marcy: right.
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pardon him and kushner and everyone else. there was another article that described the trump believing he has no criminal exposure here. that is hard to believe. i think trump honestly believes he's going to beat the wrath of having at least let himself be elected by the russians if not included with them. we keep finding more and more evidence of trump's personal involvement, which the statement is a testimony to. amy: i want to go to james henry. you've also written about christopher wray and expressed another area of concern. talk about his record and the significance of him now becoming the director of the fbi. james: i compared chris wray's background in detail with the seven previous fbi directors.
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what really stands out in that comparison is not only that here , ahave a very nice guy patrician lawyer whose father , he hasll street lawyer no law enforcement experience to speak of. he's come from a goldplated existence. that's what we really need now -- the senate vote is understandable. what is otherwise striking about his comparisons, chris wray spent the last 12 years, 70% of his entire legal career defending white-collar corporations, mainly banks. when i first ran across his representation in the context of the 2014 plea bargain with
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credit squeeze in which he was representing this giants with guiltyhich was pleading to corporate felony for having taked 22,000 americans their money abroad and avoid taxes -- he was basically spending -- this is unprecedented for a white color defense lawyer -- white-collar defense lawyer to be head of the fbi. it is a good example of state capture by the banking lobby. for defending banks like hsbc and deutsche bank and credit suisse, all of which have been --aged in cereal crimes crimes since the 2008 financial felonies and
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settlements by the top 22 banks in the world -- chris wray has been basically doing nothing but that for the last dozen years. i think that is a direct conflict of interest. it was an issue that wasn't explored at all by the senate confirmation. fact withbasic respect to the trump investigation is a very important case involving felix, who was given immunity on the part of the eastern district of new york at a time when people like loretta lynch and andrew weissman, who is now mueller's deputy, were involved.
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in this basically allowed felix to go on and raise money fraudulently for investments in the trump soho and quite a few other projects. wray will be asked -- amy: talk more about felix seder. anytime you're talking about trump soho, that is the investment of the russian firm -- so many of the millions that were spent on trump soho. james: about a $400 million project. it was failed. born ater was a russian monster who came to the united states in the 1980's with his father. he went on to become a felon -- he was convicted twice a felonies. the first time for a $40 million financial fraud -- he didn't do
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any jail time for that because the eastern district of new york .ecided to cut him a deal that secret deal basically survived until at least 2009 and during that whole period, he was able to go out and raise lots of money from investors for the sake of these trump projects. whether donald trump knew about his felony status is an interesting question. there are indications that he may well have, in which we are talking about securities fraud and maybe money laundering. he's been a controversial figure throughout this period. the key point about wray, many of his colleagues from the justice department that wray was closest to were deeply involved in this cover-up. there are some problems for both parties in the felix case.
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wray will have his work cut out for him to toe the line here. amy: can you talk about his record with credit suisse? james: credit suisse was engaged in toewo different felony prosecutions -- wray involve them in a case -- represented them in a case involving sanctions busting. in 2014, he managed to negotiate a settlement with the holder justice department that basically got credit suisse no jail time for any executives, no withdrawal of corporate licenses, a tax-deductible $2.6 helpingfine -- this was 22,000 americans evade more than $20 million of taxes. taxes, allion of decade of misbehavior.
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it was a nice deal for the bank. wray was deeply involved in obtaining the settlement. it's one of many settlements he obtained during that period on behalf of major banks. amy: you also write in your toce intimate connections the professional network that operates at the highest levels of u.s. criminal justice system. explain. if you look closely at the career paths of people like wray and loretta lynch and andrew weissman -- i found it astonishing with the network analysis of all the cross reporting relationships since the 1990's showing there is a relatively small group of a few hundred people who happen circulating around the justice department in and out and through the revolving door system connecting them to major wall street and washington law firms. they are all very intimate with
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each other. --y work with each other to it is certainly a structural problem for the with the justice department operates in a world in which there is so much influenced by wall street firms. says he wants the fbi to focus more on corporate crime. what would that look like? james: there's a precedent for kennedyinting the elder to run the sec because he knew what people were capable of. if wray does what he says he's going to do, he can use the expansive knowledge she no doubt -- i'mut misbehavior skeptical that he's going to be able to turn over a new leaf. there's a certain blind eye that one acquires through long
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periods of working with these people. , these aret suisse really troubled institutions that have engaged in misbehavior time and again. we still don't have a good way of punishing them for this kind of behavior. amy: i want to thank you for being with us, james henry. wheeler of emptywheel.net. we would like to ask you to stay with us as we look at the remarkable federal lawsuit by a fox former employee against the fox network. stay with us. music break]
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amy: democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman.
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we turn now to look at a stunning new lawsuit filed by a former fox news contributor which accuses the network of working with the white house to pedal fake news about the murder of seth rich. rich was an aide at the democratic national committee who was fatally shot in washington, d.c. in july 2016. in may of this year, fox news published an explosive piece online titled "dc murder mystery: slain dnc staffer was wikileaks' source, say investigators." the article claimed that rich, not the russians, provided wikileaks with internal emails from the dnc. but, within weeks, fox retracted the story. now, the only person quoted in the piece, retired d.c. police
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rod wheeler, is claiming fox knowingly used made up quotes from him. the lawsuit also alleges direct white house involvement in the story. he received a text message saying not to add any more pressure but the president just read the article and he wants the article out immediately. tuesday, sarah huckabee sanders was questioned about the lawsuit. >> there's a report out today based on a lawsuit that was andd that said sean spicer a campaign donor and a journalist from fox news were pushing around this story that seth rich was perhaps the one responsible for the wikileaks breach. shon said it wishes a brief meeting and said the guided another president. the lawsuit alleges the president knew about it and had an influence on the story. did the president know about the
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story and if you have an influence? >> the president had no knowledge of the story and it's completely untrue -- beyond that, this is ongoing litigation and i refer you to the parties involved, which is not the white house. >> the president of the united states give this incredibly pushed back -- does it disturb you that there's an allegation out there in the lawsuit and sean spicer admitted to meeting with these two individuals that this was discussed in your white house -- >> i don't find that to be -- you guys are all members of the media. >> it's a story that was later retracted because it is false. does it say anything about the white house that you would entertain that? >> it doesn't bother me that the press secretary would take a meeting with some of the involved in the media --
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somebody in the media. amy: still with us is marcy wheeler. no relation to rod wheeler, who brought the lawsuit against fox. explain. lay this tangled web out. this is not an easy lawsuit to understand. marcy: when the story first came out in may, sean spicer was asked, did you have any involvement in this? he denied it very aggressively to nbc. yesterday, he was quoted as confirming that he was involved prior to the actual release of the story. all of a sudden commit now that spicer is losing his job at the white house, his story has changed. amy: let me play what sean spicer said, then the white house secretary in may.
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>> [indiscernible] -- generallyare of come i don't get updates on former dnc staffers. i'm not aware of that. implicationslot of -- >> i understand that. for me to comment from here about an ongoing investigation, i believe it is still ongoing. it would be highly inappropriate to do that. amy: that was sean spicer in may. he had a meeting in april with petoskey and wheeler. marcy: right. all of a sudden, his story has changed. that's one of the most important parts of the lawsuit. a lawsuit is just a lawsuit. you can make any kinds of claims in that that you want.
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wheeler claims to have documentation of petoskey, the donor with a fox journalist involved -- they attributed these quotes to him. he claims to have his own quotes he gave to the journalist, which were scrapped in favor of these. which basically said the dnc or d.c. government has ported the investigation into seth rich's computerd said rich's had evidence that he was in communications with wikileaks. that's what the gist of the lawsuit is about. wheeler says you invented these quotes and you attribute it them to me. you have not retracted the association between me and those quotes. he's asking for compensation for having been deep aimed by fox news because those quotations
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are still there in his name and he never sent them. amy: talk about that text that got from the donor, the longtime trump supporter and donor, that said the president has read this and he wants this to be published. marcy: right. is adea is -- again, this really well-written lawsuit to capture the attention of the press. ey srt wh th text. the end yet is these quotations, which were not wheeler's, he claims, these quotations ended up in the story attributed to hibecae the present wanted them there. because the president wanted to push back. the lawsuit makes it very clear, this story came out in the wake of the jim comey firing. in story gets started back february, it is turning all
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along the way. jim comey gets fired and within days, fox news presents this story trying to create an entirely different narrative about russia's involvement and the rich's involvement in leaked emails to wikileaks. it's in response to the jim comey firing. it's an attempt to present an alternative story. another lie that came from the white house about the role of russia in getting trump elected. texas, at least , he said the president had already seen the story and was pushing the story to get on the air on fox news. he may one day be put under oath by somebody like robert mueller. wherenother incident
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donald trump personally involved -- wheelertuesday, rod appeared on msnbc to talk about his lawsuit against fox. >> i learned about that from ed petoskey. i will show the email. he said the president has reviewed the story. this is the story the reporter was going to release. this comes from ed butowski. they lured me into this
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to substantiateclaimi this russian narrative thing or debunk that. amy: that is the fox news contributor who is suing fox right now. it's important to remember that he went along with the story. he's not 100% credible. documentationf and butowsky is saying, hey, i was just joking. story that fox news invented about a guy who got murdered. they retracted the story but they have not retracted the quotes. it's interesting in the lawsuit, it makes it very clear that the journalist involved and butowsky
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both said they got the substance of those quotes from some guy at the fbi. that they didn't name. wheeler suggests that fbi guy was invented which would make it brettr to a story that pulled on fox news before the election where he said a bunch of fox -- a bunch of fbi agents were sure that hillary was going to be indicted. it would be a second case where fox had a story alleging fbi claims that then got retracted that was really central to politics. because sheting gave a statement to seth rich's family where she basically blamed it all on wheeler and when he asked her about it much you is like, well, this is what the lawyers and fox news told me to write. i didn't write the statement.
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fox is blaming this on wheeler. he seems to have a fair amount of documentation to show that he theset up to voice conspiracies about this murder. amy: we have to move on to our next segment. butowsky and benghazi -- can you talk about the connection? marcy: butowsky in one of the texts says i'm responsible for most of what we know about benghazi. he's not only responsible for this conspiracy about seth rich, but he himself claims to be responsible for the conspiracy about benghazi. amy: explain that. news and the republicans made a big deal about the death of water people in benghazi in 2012. ed butowsky, a classic
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republican operative, he claims the benghazi scandal came from him as well. he has a history of inventing conspiracies where none existed wheeler'sends toward credibility in this lawsuit. amy: finally, the casualty here is the southridge family, who are dealing with the death of their son, the dnc staffer. rich's family. marcy: they have wanted to just grieve and ideally get the murder solved. being turnedps into a conspiracy that it's not. one of the most appalling things yesterday, butowsky came out and
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delete at his twitter account and sent people are saying mean things about me on twitter. dude, you just invented a conspiracy about a murdered guy and you're complaining about people being mean to you on twitter. it's appalling that the rich family has to continue to have their son being turned into the fodder of this conspiracy. amy: i want to thank you for being with us. his is democracy now! when we come back, young men who've come over the border -- border agents forced him to drink what he's carrying. he dies of convulsion. they are forcing him to drink liquid meth. stay with us. [music break]
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on democracy now!,
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demo i'm amy goodman. newly released video shows u.s. customs and border protection agents telling 16-year-old mexican teenager cruz valazquez acevedo to drink from a bottle of liquid methamphetamine at a border checkpoint in san diego, causing him to die from an acute drug overdose. in 2013, the teenager was crossing from tijuana to california with two bottles of what he claimed was apple juice. the newly released video shows the border agents, who suspected the liquid was liquid meth, then repeatedly encouraged him to drink from it, to prove he wasn't lying. minutes after the teenager sipped on the liquid, his body began convulsing, and he began screaming "mi corazon," or, "my ." rt he died two hours later. this is cruz velazquez's younger sister, reyna, speaking to abc "20/20." >> they were laughing. my brother was shaking and screaming.
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he was in pain. how can our government allow that? that fool was the greatest person i ever knew. amy: the officerrs have not been disciplined. the u.s. has paid the family $1 million in a wrongful death lawsuit. however, there was no apology and no admission of wrongdoing. critics say velazquez's case is just the latest example of rampant abuse and mistreatment by border agents. sean spicer said the president wanted to take the shackles off immigration customs agents. >> especially after the last administration where there were iceany carveouts that
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members had to figure out each individual of whether or not they fit in a particular category. the president wanted to take the shackles off individuals and say you have a mission, there are laws that need to be followed. amy: for more, we go to houston, where we are joined by john carlos fray, a two-time emmy award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker. his work focuses on the experience of immigrants on the u.s.-mexican border. john carlos: good morning. this is a shocker. i was given this surveillance video from inside the building, the port of entry between tijuana, mexico and san diego, l 40. it depicts every bit of detail of what happened to this young man. he was coerced by a local cartel
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to carry methamphetamine in a solution, which is a way some people are kind to smuggle drugs across the border -- the young man was smuggling drugs. there was something suspicious about his behavior. he got pulled over for secondary inspection. the two agents examined the contents of his backpack and took a look at the liquid and they opened the bottle and smelled it and it appeared they suspected this was an illegal narcotic and instead of testing the liquid, which is what protocol would require them to do, they decided to play with young man and they could be seen laughing in the video and made some hand gestures for him to go ahead and sit it. the surveillance video has no audio. were not sure what was said. in testimony we obtained after
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of the female agent ,asically said if this is juice go ahead and drink it. he took a couple of sips and the agents were not satisfied. they asked him to take a couple more sips. this is highly concentrated methamphetamine. it is boiled down in a liquid so you can pack it into solution. it is viscous. it is sort of like syrup. according to forensics, it's about 10 times the lethal dose. the young man didn't know what he was drinking as he went ahead and followed the ectives and within 45 minutes he was dead. amy: i want to turn to the agent,ion of the border officer adrian perallon.
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>> did you ask him to take a drink from the bottle? >> i never asked him to. he volunteered to. we gestured to him to go ahead. >> did you gestured to him suggesting he drink? >> are. he volunteered -- no, sir. he volunteered to drink. >> you told him to go ahead and drink. >> no. >> are you sure of that? >> i'm sure. talk more about this and what these agents admitted and didn't admit. admitarlos: they both they had nothing to do with the kid drinking the liquid. here are two officers in charge of allowing this young man to either enter the united states or hold him and protocol would
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be if they suspected it is an illegal narcotic that he's carrying, they are supposed to remove it from the person and separate the drug from the individual and test it and if it tests positive for an illegal narcotic, they are supposed to arrest the young man. today andbe alive probably have a jail sentence if that is the case. that procedure was not followed. you have a 16-year-old boy who is from mexico who doesn't speak english. neither of the agents spoke spanish. he is scared, he knows what he has and the agents are toying with him. he's going to follow directions. it doesn't appear that he grabs the bottle and voluntarily brings it. there are gestures and some sort of command or directive to go ahead and drink it. the agents appeared to be lying. seem to betatements
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in conflict with each other. someone there behind the desk is lying. amy: we only have about a minute to go. i want to ask you about the $1 million settlement and what it means. and also overall, what is the message that president trump is sending? we just heard sean spicer talking about cracking down. there's a civil lawsuit that was settled a month ago in the amount of $1 million. the federal government paid the family of cruise velazquez in that amount. there was no admission of guilt. the federal government wrote a check for $1 million and said he they did nothing wrong. the trump administration is adding another 5000 border patrol agents and another 10,000 ice agents. and security dhs at the border to be upfront on the front line of defense.
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we are increasing the size of our forces at the border with and very little of a reprimand structure. these two agents involved in this particular incident on video were never reprimanded. they were on the job the very next day even though they didn't follow their own procedure and a 16-year-old boy died. amy: we will do part two of this discussion and post it on democracynow.org. john carlos, thank you for joining us. that does it for our show. to democracynow.org. democracy now! is produced by mike burke, deena guzder, nermeen shaikh, carla wills, laura gottesdiener, sam alcoff, john hamilton, robby karran, hany massoud, charina nadura, and andre lewis.
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i'm amy goodman.
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