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tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  May 31, 2017 7:00pm-8:01pm PDT

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that is our show for tonit. i am ari melber in for rachel. you can find me online at medical bettlb. or e-mail me. snout knew a special guest, al franken. good evening. thank you for helping rachel get this relaxing time off that she needs. >> you got it. >> thanks, ari. we have three breaking news stories tonight in the trump russia investigation. the president may be rewarding the russians by removing an element of the sanctions. and there are new subpoenas that have been issued, including as predicted here last night, subpoenas to michael cohen. donald trump's long-time personal lawyer. and as ari just mentioned, senator al franken will join us tonight with his reaction to the breaking news that attorney general jeff sessions might have had yet another secret meeting
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with the russian ambassador during the presidential campaign that he did not disclose in his senate testimony in response to a question from senator franken, and that he did not disclose in his correction to that under oath testimony that he gave to the senate judiciary committee. >> what could be the most dramatic showdown in washington to take place in a generation. >> james comey has the green light to testify to congress as early as next week. >> donald trump has called him crazy. he called him a nut job. >> showboat, a grandstander. >> and is expected to be asked about what the president said to him about the russia probe. >> i said if it's possible, will you let me know am i under investigation. he said you are not under investigation. >> nobody believes that james comey would say that to the president of the united states. >> so this sets up real dilemma. who are you going to believe? the head of the fbi or the guy who is definitely lying?
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>> k >> covfefe! >> the president is tweeting gibberish. >> do you think people should be concerned? no. >> i thought it was hidden message to the russian. >> the president and a small group of people know exactly what he meant. >> can you not just say it was typo? >> why can't they tell the truth even about easy stuff? >> can you give people watching a hopeful note what is happening in washington right now? >> no. >> yep. >> a new book. >> we're going have some breaking news stories tonight involving the investigation of russian interference in our presidential election in favor of the trump campaign. "the washington post" is reporting tonight that the russian interference in the election, which was designed to help the trump campaign may be paying off very soon. the post reports the trump administration is moving toward handing back to russia two diplomatic compounds near new york city and on maryland's
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eastern shore from which its officials were ejected in late december as punishment for moscow's interference in the 2016 presidential election. then president barack obama said december 29th that the compounds were being used by russian personnel for intelligence-related purposes, and gave russia 24 hours to vacate them. these are the russian government's playpens here in the united states. they are luxury retreats where russian diplomats play tennis, swim, and sail and apparently plan their attacks on american democracy. the other big breaking news story tonight in the investigation involves attorney general jeff sessions, who famously told senator al franken in his confirmation hearing that he did not have communications with the russians during the trump campaign. jeff sessions gave that testimony under oath. senator al franken will join us tonight, and we'll get his reaction to a new report that
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congressional investigators and the fbi are investigating another possible meeting between jeff sessions and russian ambassador sergey kislyak, a meeting that the attorney general has never revealed and did not reveal in his corrected testimony to the senate judiciary committee. the fbi is a looking into whether there was an additional private meeting at the mayflower hotel in washiton. and earlier today, nbc ns learned that former fbi director james comey is expected to testify in public next week after having been cleared to testify by special prosecutor robert mueller. the "wall street journal" reports that james comey is expected to testify that president donald trump asked him to back off the investigation of former national security adviser mike flynn, according to a person familiar with the matter. the special prosecutor is expanding his staff now to include an expert on foreign corruption.
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bloomberg reports that andrew weisman, the head of the justice department's fraud section in the obama administration will join the special prosecutor's staff of attorneys. according to bloomberg, weisman's specialties have included corporate wrongdoing and foreign corruption. weisman previously worked for mueller as the fbi's general counsel from 2011 to 2013. the house intelligence committee approved four subpoenas today for former national security adviser michael flynn and one of michael flynn's businesses as well as subpoena for president's person lawyer michael cohen and a subpoena for michael cohen's business. the republican and democratic leaders of the house intelligence committee said there was bipartisan support in the committee to vote to approve the issuance of those subpoenas. joining us now, ed mcmullan, former independent presidential candidate. he is the co-founder of stand up republic. also wit mieke eoyang, a lawyer and former house
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intelligence committee staff member. and the vice president of the national security program at the third way. and eugene robinson, pulitzer prize winning opinion writer for "the washington post" joins us tonight. he is also an msnbc political analyst. and gene, i want to go first of all to what could be the trump administration reward to russia, giving them back their playpens on long island and on chesapeake bay where president trump -- president obama said they actually used those facilities not just for recreation, but in those facilities part of the planning of the interference with our election took place. you would think that a trump administration sensitive to appearance would say, well, no matter what we think of the merits of the case, we can't give those things back. it will just -- it will look bad. but apparently, there seems to be no inhibition about that in the trump white house. >> apparently no inhibition.
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one understands why ambassador sergey kislyak would want his dacha back or his dachas. >> yes. >> he would love to have them back. but this administration seems incapable of that over reflection. and that sort of calculation of risk-reward. and as a result, you know, the story like this comes out. and once again, creates yet another cloud of smoke that signals to people looking at russia, the russia issue that there must be a fire some place. they keep doing this. and i don't quite understand why. >> evan m mcmulland, in order t relax it, you presumably would have had to get something from the russians or some kind of corrective in russian behavior for that to happen. what has the trump administration gotten from the russians? >> well, that's the million dollar question.
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i think you gene provides a very good analysis under traditional terms. what has happened here that would justify the return of these properties. but i'll tell you that we're in nontraditional times. we're in uncharted waters here. i would propose there is a reason, probably a well thought out reason that the trump administration wants to return these props. i don't think it's a good reason. i think it's the type of reason that warrants an investigation. but clearly, the kremlin has leverage of some kind or heavy influence of some kind over this administration. and you're seeing evidence of it in this story. >> mieke, when it looked at from moscow's side of this, if moscow really does want influence with the trump administration and it wants to kind of get away with using that influence, wouldn't they say, you know what? keep the villas for this summer. we'll somehow survive because we don't want it to look like we
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own you. >> so i think that the russians would be more clever than the trump administration if that's what they're saying to them. i mean, it seems very simple. if trump believes that the russians actually helped him win this election, then this is their reward for doing. so but if trump is really the defender of the constitution and the defender of the american electoral system, then show be wanting to punish the russians for their interference, not just against hillary clinton, but against other republican candidates and stop them from doing it again. but that he gives it back now? it really looks like a reward to the russians for helping him across the finish line. >> yeah, and eugene, that's the question that adam schiff asked tonight in a tweet. why reward them. >> yes. >> and it's not clear that we're ever going to get answers to that. now that basically communications about this are being kind of shut down within the trump white house. things are getting referred to lawyers d all that sort of thing. as the subpoenas start to fly we talked about this last night on this program, that michael
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cohen, donald trump's lawyer refused to cooperate with the committee. so the next stage is of course he gets hit with subpoenas. now we're seeing michael flynn, michael cohen faced with this decision about how do they comply with these subpoenas. >> that's right. one wonders if they will comply fully with the subpoenas and what further steps are available to the committee and are taken by the committee. meanwhile, the big investigation, the serious investigation, robert mueller's investigation continues, and will clearly want to look at and talk to and examine records from these individuals as well as others. but the point that you just raised, though, the russians are sophisticated about this sort of thing, right. so i wonder why they didn't just say ix-nay on the villas or
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perhaps they did. and the trump administration made these preliminary moves to give them back anyway. it's all very strange. and you have to wonder, is it that unsophisticated? or are they that beholden to the russians? >> mieke, i want to talk about the subpoenas specifically issued to michael cohen. because he might have an attorney-client privilege claim on some of the matters that are subpoenaed. but a lawyer does not have an attorney-client privilege claim if the lawyer himself or herself is engaged in criminal conduct or suspect conduct. that claim won't svivend those kinds of circumstances. so what are you expecting to see in the execution of those subpoenas against michael cohen, donald trump's personal lawyer? >> right. so i think that they might have this attorney-client privilege issue except that you have to look at the time frame in which
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they are asking for his information. if it was a time when he was on the campaign as a staffer there and not serving as trump's lawyer, then you don't have that preserved defense, and they can ask for documents. for he is serving the corporation, a corporation doesn't have a fifth amendment right to hold back the documents. so they could be asking for the document there's too. but what the subpoenas really show is that the house is working very hard to get their investigation back on track. >> evan mcmullin, i want to go back in time a little bit to a to a report that came out about a secret meeting that was made when you were in the house of representatives. and it showed kevin mccarthy last year in a meeting of house republican leadership talking about the idea of russian influence. and he said in that meeting that he believed that, to quote him from the tape, he said there are two people i think putin pays, dana rohrabacher and donald
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trump. their defense on that was that, oh, he meant it as a joke. when you heard iin tt room, did it sound like a joke to y? >> no. not by him there was a lot of laughter in response to what he said. he didn't mean it as a joke. but there were maybe some chuckles in there, as i recall. but they're the kind of chuckles that you make when you're talking about something that is so uncomfortable and so serious that, you know, it's all you can do to try to deal with it. so it's just one of those things, you know. we've all had conversations or all said tough things in situations where the way we act about it is perhaps a bit uncomfortable. and that's how i would describe it. >> and he immediately followed it up according to the transcript in the face of those
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chuckles with an insistent "i swear to god." it read to me like he was trying to emphatically be serious about it. >> yeah. a lot of people laughed. and he was trying to make the point that there was something there, i thought. >> and your experience, is that generally the way people with the doors closed in the republican meetings and the house of representatives talked about donald trump and the campaign? >> that conversation stood out. but i will tell you that house republican leadership understood that russia presented a serious threat to democracy both here and n the united states and in europe. and they saw the threat emerging and emerging here, and understood donald trump's strange relationship, understood as far as they could with vladimir putin or understood that it was unhealthy. and unfortunately that. >> decided that instead of
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opposing him, they were going to ultimately get on the trump train. and that's highly disappointing. and i think we need to expect more and better from our leaders. >> gene robinson, there may be finally someone closing in on the trump tax returns. politico reporting that the special prosecutor does have the legal authority to obtain those tax returns in his investigation. and so donald trump must be pondering tonight just how wise it was to send his administration down a path that led to this special prosecutor. >> obviously it was unwise. robert mueller, if you look at his career and his reputation, he is nothing if not thorough. so i doubt seriously he'll just go for one were to years' worth of tax returns. i think he'll go back. i think he'll look at corporate subsidiary corporate entities, all these companies within companies that trump has.
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but step back for a second, lawrence. all that news that we've had in the last five minutes, you know, these days this is just like wednesday, right? this is just a day. it's kind of like that. it's really quite an extraordinary moment that we're living through. and it's exhausting, but i have a feeling it's going to be this way for a while as this story comes out. >> and mieke, we're going to have an extraordinary day of mucinex week that we'll all be covering and discussing. apparently james comey's testimony as early as next week. and what do you anticipate will be revealed in that? do you think we'll actually see or the committee members will see the notes that he took about those conversations with the president? >> so they may see them in closed section. i think there is a real question about whether or not the public will get to see them. but you'll see the members
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questioning him about these interactions with trump, which may or may not lead up to obstruction of justice, where trump is asking him to go soft on flynn. >> and mieke, quickly, before ywe get a break in here, what do you suppose were involved in comey's discussions with the special prosecutor about his senate testimony upcoming. what does it mean to say that the special prosecutor cleared him to testify to the senate? >> so i think that the special prosecutor needs to know what he knows in advance, just to make sure that there is no nafgs special prosecutor might want to hold back for a criminal case. and perhaps also to look at it for questions of executive privilege, other reasons why such testimony might not be okay, classified information, things like that. >> mieke eoyang, and eugene robinson, thanks for being with us. coming up, president trump's tweets could be used against him
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in the russia investigations. and later, senator al franken will join us. we'll get his reaction to the breaking news story tonight about attorney general jeff sessions and what's so important about that is the under oath answer that jeff sessions gave to al franken in his confirmation hring. that could come back to haunt him. ♪ ♪ (vo) you can pass down a subaru forester. (dad) she's all yours. (vo) but you get to keep the memories. love. it's what makes a subaru, a subaru.
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it cleans better. it's four times stronger and you can use less. enjoy the go with charmin. today sean spicer's job got significantly simpler and more meaningless. >> cnn is reporting that james comey will testify that the president pressured him to drop the michael flynn investigation. did the president engage in obstruction of justice in repeated meetings with james comey? >> our job, we are focused on the president's agenda and going forward all questions on these matters will be refer to outside counsel, marc kasowitz. >> in other words, all of the most important questions of the day will now be ducked by sean spicer and passed along to the president's criminal defense lawyer, who will, of course, not answer any questions. and so the white house press
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briefings, if you can still call them that, which have been absurdist displays of misinformation and lies from the beginning of the trump administration will now be even less worthy of news coverage. but always have something riveting about them because of the comic tragic performance of sean spicer,hich every day falls farow the standards set b previous white house press secretaries. joining us now, ron klain, former chief of staff to vice presidents joe biden and al gore, and a former senior aide to president obama. he was also former chief counsel to the senate judiciary committee. and back with us evan mcmullin. ron, i want to talk to you about something we're also going to talk to senator franken about. that is jeff sessions' system given under oath in which he said he had no contacts with russians during campaign. he then amended that in a written amendment to his
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testimony. identifying some contacts, but not identifying a possible third contact being reported tonight with the russian ambassador. what does that mean to the attorney general? there was already talk of possible perjury in his first version of that answer. >> lawrence, look, if this is true, then the attorney general has to resign. as you noted, his first answer to senator franken, you're going to have him on in a few minutes was incomplete and inaccurate. he has asked for a do-over. in the do-over, he did not mention this other meeting. it is hard to understand how he could have inadvertently left out a second meeting after he was called on the first meeting. and with what you have going on today, the handing back of these dossiers back to the russians or more improprieties with russia, the idea that our attorney general had multiple secret meetings with russia a lied to congress about it is an outrage. and it's going to have to be addressed. >> and ron, i want to stay for a moment with your
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experience working on that committee, it was a different senate judiciary committee that you worked on. this committee has changed to the point where they're actually defensive, republicans on the committee are defensive of this sort of thing. and it's hard for me to imagine a majority of the republicans on the committee being defensive of this kind of thing when you were working on that committee. >> it, lawrence. it is obviously a very sad development. but i thought the saddest thing today frankly was president trump's tweet where he said that john brennan and james comey had given false testimony to the congress. and here is the thing. i don't agree with everything john brennan and james comey said. i've criticized some of jim comey's decisions. but i don't know anyone who has ever called these two men a liar let alone a felonious republican. he served in the bush administration. they were named by president bush. the senior republican senators in congress have been briefed by these men. no one stood up today and said i'm sorry, president trump, this is too far.
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you can not accuse these two men of lying under oath without some kind of accountability on it. that's a sad statement where republicans generally other than people like evan have gone in the trump era. >> what you're referring to, ron, was in a tweet that he did early this morning about carter page. apparently, in reaction to seeing a report about this on fox news. he said, the trump tweet said, "so now it is reported that the democrats who have excoriated carter page about russia, don't want him to testify. he blows away their case against him and now wants to clear his name by showing the false or misleading testimony by james comey, john brennan. witch-hunt." evan, this is possibly about the timing of his testimony and the committee doesn't want his testimony until they've done enough homework to be ready for his testimony. that's true of all witnesses. but your reaction to the totality of that quote,
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including president trump jumping in there to the defense of carter page publicly who is someone who may be accused within this investigation. >> well, a couple of things. first of all, he has claimed not to know carter page in the past. now he seems to he -- or claims to have information about what carter page might testify. that will have to be worked out. but lawrence, if i could, i'd like to build or something ron said. and ron, i appreciate the kind words there is something everyone, and especially donald trump needs to understand about the men and women who work in our intelligence services and in our law enforcement agencies. you know, they don't make a lot of money. they don't become most of the time well-known for the things they do. but they have their love of country and they have honor and trust that they earn and that they're expected to have from day one. and that's required.
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because of the things that they're asked to do for the country, they're often asked to do these things alone or with minimal guidance or supervision. they come back and have to say what happened and people have to trust that, and we make life-and-death decisions based on what they say, what they said they saw, what they say they know. and so integrity and honor is a really big thing for people like james comey and for people like brennan and others. and so one thing you've got to understand if you're president of the united states or anyone else is that if you're going to attack the honor of men like this or women like are in these services, then you better be right. because if you're not right, you can count on them to defend. you can count on these men and women to defend their honor because they have to. without it, they have nothing. they can't do their jobs. so they are -- they willdend their honor. and i wil tell you that president trump's decision to attack them over the last several months is a huge
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mistake. he is going to pay for it because they're simply going to defend their honor. and in doing so, they're going to expose some very problematic things for president trump. >> ron, there are so many legal elements in that tweet that the president issued, including, as you say, accusing james comey and john brennan of committing perjury. he said "false testimony." they took an oath in that testimony. that would be perjury. norm eisen has said that about this, he said the conventional wisdom is when someone has exposure to obstruction of justice liability as trump certainly does, he should avoid unnecessary reaching out to others involved in the investigation lest he make things worse for himself. this is what he meant. this kind of reaching out to others in the investigation. this is the president of the united states publicly reaching out to carter page, trying to
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communicate with him in effect this way. >> yeah. and we know also that he called mike flynn several times after he left the white house, after he himself allegedly fired mike flynn for lying. then he started calling him. he tweeted that he hadn't talked to roger stone in many months. the day after he tweeted that, he called roger stone. the president is trying to do what people who are in trouble in these investigations do wrongly, which is manage the witness, influence the witnesses, try to curry favor with them. and that's going to -- that's agenda up to his problems here, lawrence that's adding up to the toll of things he is going to be held accountable for. but i do think there is a broader version that all republicans have to face about him coming after comey and brennan who served president bush, who defended our country after 9/11 and calling them felons. and that is a new low. and the fact that that's gone on all day and no one seems to care about it just shows you how president trump is lowering the bar in our country and creating a new norm about what we accept from our leaders that just shouldn't be acceptable. >> and ron, one of the things
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the president doesn't seem to understand is one of the very first questions by the special prosecutor, by the congressional investigative committees to people like roger stone will be when is the last time you talked to the president, what did you talk to him about. and that's one of the many reasons why lawyers and people with experience in these areas don't want you reaching out and communicating with people who might be in this investigation. ron klain, ed mcmullin, thank you both for joining us. really appreciate it. >> thanks, lawrence. coming up, senator al franken will join us on this news breaking night with his reaction to this new revelation about attorney general jeff sessions possibly having another undisclosed meeting with the russian ambassador, something he said under oath did not happen. senator franken is our next guest. what are we gonna do? how about we pump more into promotions? ♪ nah. what else? what if we hire more sales reps? ♪
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at jeff session's confirmation, al franken asked the question that led to jeff sessions recusing himself from the russia investigation and might lead to much, much worse for jeff sessions. >> if there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the trump campaign communicated with the russian government in the course of this campaign, what will you do? >> senator franken, i'm not aware of any of those activities. i have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that
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campaign. and i did not have communications with the russians. >> since then, senator sessions corrected his under oath testimony and revealed that he had two meetings with the russian ambassador during the presidential campaign. reports tonight indicate that he might have had a third meeting with ambassador sergey kislyak. joining us now, senator al franken, whose new book is entitled "al franken: giant of the senate." senator franken, we want to discuss your book a little later. but i want to get to this breaking news tonight. so this -- you have this moment in the hearing where he said "no contact with the russians." very clear. he corrected that. >> he didn't correct it for over 70 days. and he only corrected it after "the washington post" broke the story that he had met twice with kislyak. >> so more than enough time for him to comb his memory, to comb his records and find every conceivable meeting that could be applicable to that testimony.
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>> yes. and we asked for a letter for him to explain this. and it was very unsatisfactory. and, in fact, senator leahy who is also on the judiciary committee and i sent a private letter to cia -- then cia director comey asking -- >> fbi director comey. >> sorry, fbi director comey, asking him and the fbi to investigate whether in fact sessions had met other times with russians, including this meeting that we're talking about in the mayflower. >> did you know than meeting in the mayflower when you sent that letter to the fbi director? >> yes. now it had been characterized one way, but we had some reason to believe that it -- that wasn't the case. it had been described in a way that he could plausibly say i don't remember that.
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but what's coming out today i believe is that that may not be the case. and if this the true, that would be extremely disturbing. >> and your letter with senator leahy to the fbi, you haven't publicly revealed that before. >> no. >> what about tonight's breaking news makes you feel that you should publicly reveal that you've asked for this investigation? >> well, because it's tied very closely to this breaking news. you know, i've been in our -- our office has been in contact with the fbi on this. and they said they were crafting a response to us. it sounded to us that something was about to break on this. >> so you're not completely surprised that this has -- this story has developed publicly now the way it has? no. >> what can you tell us about what more you expect to find out about a jeff sessions meeting
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with russians? >> well, you know, again, this is a very serious charge if it's true, it's extremely disturbing. and i'd rather let it come out the way it's going to come out. >> you said when we first discussed this on this program that his omissions to your question in the live testimony under oath, you saw that as perjury at that time. what about this new revelation? >> well, he testified falsely under oath. and it seemed like that would be perjury. but uthis obviously, it depends how this comes out. this fits a pattern with the trump people. they don't act like people who have nothing to hide. and we've seen it with kushner
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not disclosing meetings, flynn lying about meetings. this has been a pattern. and it's very serious. >> it is a kind of stunning pattern that it's across the board. it's hard to think of has anyone of this administration when asked about contacts with russians been forthcoming and kind of opened their books and said here, here is what i have done? here is everyone i have met? >> no. this is something you're supposed to do when you apply for a security clearance. this is what jared kushner didn't do. this is -- senator sessions' letter to us was insulting our intelligence when he said why he didn't do this. it actually contradicted his own explanations in the press conference. and when he recused himself, that was a significant moment. that's really what i had asked
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him. i had asked him if it turns out there were these contacts. >> what would you do, yes. >> and he answered a question i didn't ask. then he offered. he pivoted, i guess, and said i have not -- didn't meet with any of the russians -- any russians during the campaign. a lot of people have thought that i was like playing dplee three dimensional chess and anticipating his pivot. he just answered a question i didn't ask. and maybe it was pivot away from not recusing himself. but he ended up recusing himself. now we have a special counsel who is going to be looking into this. and we will get to the bottom of this, i believe. i think bob mueller is the right guy to do it. >> we're going have to squeeze a break in here. when we come back, we're going to ask how that question that you asked and the answer senator sessions gave how that has led
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us to this special prosecutor. we'll be right back. [boy] cannonball! [girl] don't...
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we're back with senator al franken. and there is plenty of theory that there would be no special prosecutor in this case if you hadn't asked that question that led jeff sessions into saying something that was not true about his own contacts with russians, which then forced him, as you say 70 days later, to correct the record. and then ultimately forced him to recuse himself from the russia investigation. if jeff sessions did not recuse himself from the russia investigation, do we have any reason to think that attorney general jeff sessions would have appointed a special prosecutor in this case? >> probably not. because he recused himself, rosenstein, after comey being fired, and i'm not quite sure how sessions was allowed to be a part of that because he recused himself. but after that, then rosenstein
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went ahead and appointed mueller, the special prosecutor in this matter. so, yes, you could make the argument that we're not for me, we wouldn't have a special prosecutor. i wouldn't necessarily make that argument. but this is -- i'm saying this three dimensional chess people thini'm pying when i'm four steps ahead. >> you feel like you got lucky in a question and answer where the answer went beyond the question or in a direction unanticipated by the question? >> that might be an interpretation. the other interpretation that i knew -- exactly what i was doing. >> of course. very cagey question. >> yes. >> james comey will be testifying next year. well hoewon't be testifying thrh your committee. he is going to be testifying in the intelligence committee. >> that's also their jurisdiction. >> yes. >> very much so. very much so.
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>> and so it seems the reports indicate that the special prosecutor has kind of cleared him, has kind of said go ahead, testify. do you expect to finally see those notes that comey has made about his conversations with the president? >> i don't know how -- what's going to be open and what's going to be closed by the intelligence committee. i'm sure he'll testify about those contemporaneous notes about whether -- we've heard leaks that the president asked him to drop the flynn investigation. that seems like somewhere near obstruction of justice. you've been talking about the president's culpability in all of this. you know, the cer-u is always worse than the crime, although in this case, it may be because there was a crime. we don't know. and the special prosecutor will determine that. >> we're going to take a quick
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break. when we come back, i want to talk about some of the things in this book, including your personal relationship with jeff sessions, which is a really surprising element of your book. we're going to be right back with senator al franken. calori. with more great tasting beverages with less sugar or no sugar at all, smaller portion sizes, clear calorie labels, and signs reminding everyone to think balance before choosing their beverages. we know you care about reducing the sugar in your family's diet, and we're working to support your efforts. more beverage choices. smaller portions. less sugar. so we know how to cover almost alanything.ything, even a coupe soup. [woman] so beautiful. [man] beautiful just like you. [woman] oh, why thank you.
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we're back with senator al franken. his new book is "al franken giant of the senate." andou have a joke right there of a book that is a serious memoir with funny observations and one of the things that strikes me is i know some people advised you to not tell any jokes for six years. so that you could prove to washington that you were arriving as a serious man and you seem to have snapped out of that. >> i won the first time by 312 votes and i really had to convince people i was serious
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sdw was a vicious campaign and it took every piece of comedy i'd ever done and put it through a $15 million machine called the dehumorizer built with israeli technology and robbed everything i'd ever done of the context and made me sound like i wasn't -- like i was a terrible person and so i think i had to tell the people of minnesota i was serious about doing my job and i was. so i became a work horse and a show horse and now i'm a work horse but with a sense of humor aagain. >> the sense of humor's back. really surprising stories in here for people who don't know anything about senate life. for example yourelationship with jeff sessions and your wife's relationship with jeff sessions' wife. >> as you know in the senate there are only 100 senators and
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you need be culiegeal and that means forming friendships with people that you don't agree with on much of anything, which is me and jeff sessions and i was tough only him in those hearings. and we -- i went to every judiciary hearing and he was the chairman and it was the three of us most nights for the prefungtry nomination hearings and he liked that i was prepared. and one day the way he had to do an appropriations committee. and i was chairing so i got there early and he came in and said well, meteoric rise and he laughed and i like anyone who laughed. and we became friendly and mary sessions knit a blue blanket for my first grandson and it's his
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favorite blanket. so it's hard to hate a guy -- and i've been very critical of him. this news today made me very, very serious. >> so what does it feel like up there on the panel in the judiciary committee hearing when you're being so tough with that personal history? >> i told him the day before to eat his wheaties. >> he knew what you meant? >> uh-huh. >> the book is giant of the senate. >> al franken giant of the senate. >> al franken. that's right. and thank you very much for joining us tonight. it is lawrence, isn't it? and you know how many tweets i got before the show saying it's lawrence, right? it's intern night tonight.
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♪ and now it is time for a fond fair well. we are joined now by last word intern joseph de la cruz on his last day here at "the last word." joseph, can't thank you enough for aervg you've done. you graduated brooklyn college yesterday. >> yes. >> and now you're off into the world. >> now i'm off into the world. >> so what drew you to this business? >> oh, um, i think i was more my dad. he was a newspaper guy. so growing up, he instilled keeping up with the news and it led into something else and here i am. >> you're one of our interns who has been with us the longest and you're starting a new job next week in this business. you know where i'll be next
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week? >> where? >> sitting right here talking about the james comey hearing and everything that happened next weak and the next couple of years. >> i look forward to watching the show for the next couple of years. >> thank you for everything. it's been great. joseph de la cruz gets tonight's last word. the 11th hour with brian williams starts right now. tonight jim comey has been clear saed for take off. set to testify before the senate intelligence committee. plus new subpoenas issued for trump's attorney and michael flynn. also the washington post reporting the trump administration may return to suburban u.s. compounds to russia after president obama threw the russians out back in december. meanwhile, the president back on twitter previewing a big announcement tomorrow