tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC July 21, 2017 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT
an excuse to oust sessions, will the base buy it? >> in ten seconds, if sessions holds on, do schumer and democrats point to him to say they shouldn't throw their lot in with trump. >> all right. thank you for joining us. that's "hardball" for now. chris matthews will return monday night. "all in" with chris hayes starts right now. >> good evening from new york. a bad week for attorney general jeff sessions just got a lot worse. the "washington post" breaking the news that u.s. spy agencies intercepted conversations in which russia's former ambassador to washington, sergei kislyak told supporters in moscow that did he in fact discuss campaign related matters with sessions including policy issues important to moscow when the two men during a presidential campaign. and that's according to what kislyak told his superiors.
if accurate, it contradicts claims made by sessions. >> let me be clear. i never had meetings with russian operatives or russian intermediaries about the trump campaign. the idea that i was part of a, quote, continuing exchange of information during the campaign between trump surrogates and intermediaries is totally false. >> one u.s. official quoted by the post said sessions has provided misleading statements that are contradicted by other evidence in a former official add that had the intelligence indicates that sessions and kislyak substantive discussions on matters including trump's positions on russia-related issues. and prospects for u.s. russian relation in a trump administration. joining me now, ari melber, the new host of "the beat" set to debut on monday.
i know where i'll be. i'll be watching "the beat". >> we know about jeff sessions had meetings with sergei kis plaque were belatedly disclosed. one in april and another in july. >> i think this report is bad for jeff sessions if it is completely true. from an investigative standpoint, and this is something the special counsel will want to look at. this is hearsay about what the russians said. so we don't necessarily take the russians and the diplomats at their word. we might be a little more candid than the propaganda and that means they either think they were misleading in a certain way for their bosses. if.
the truth was lied about. you have people saying, well, this means he lied. the other point about this, your reporting has been spot on. the under lying don junior meeting was bad no matter what because we knew from the e-mail, whatever happened in that room. they walked in for an ill list and it potentially illegal purpose. it is possible that a senator could talk to an ambassador about future relations with russia and not being a bad thing. >> and sessions has fallen back on the explanation as united states senator, he had conversations with foreign diplomats all the time peflt didn't necessarily put on the form because he didn't think they were relevant. however, he did recuse himself specifically on the russia investigation, enraging donald trump in the process. this in a sense, if donald trump were of a mind to really want
him gone, this would corroborate the reason why he reaccused in the first place. >> and that raise as question. do we view this obviously hot story in the "washington post" as of a beast people who have been raising red flags about what are suspicious. that doesn't mean guilty but it means take a closer look. of interactions and misleading statements about russia. from a whistle blower model of disclosure or is it something else? if the boss is mad at sessions, let me add to that weight of evidence. it is legally problematic if the reason that donald trump wants to remove jeff sessions is that he made what was according to him, the right call to recuse himself because of his relationship with the donald trump campaign. that would not be a very proper reason to remove an attorney general alone. >> let's listen to james comey.
>> what was it about the attorney general's own interactions with the russians or his behavior with regard to the investigation that would have led the entire leadership of the fbi to make this decision? >> well, our judgment as i recall, is that he was very close to and inevitably going to recuse himself. for a variety of reasons. we were aware of facts i can't discuss in an open setting that would make his continued engagement in a russian-related investigation problematic. so we were convinced. i think we had mattered the career people were recommending that he recuse himself. that he would not be in contact with russia-related matters. longer. >> we were aware of facts that i can't discuss in an open setting. classified facts that had to do with what ever jeff sessions
discussed which he didn't disclose when he was nominated to the attorney general. that would seem to make it worse. he. >> exactly. that testimony looks more interesting in light of this report. we don't know whether they're matching up. a way to think about recusal which sometimes gets all gummed up, if you're a doctor, you definitely can't operate on your wife. it is the climbed of conflict that is going to cloud your judgment. you can operate on a distant friend. what james comey was saying, this wasn't a close friend. this is not with whether he had to recuse. what jim comey is saying is that something tangible that was knowable, evidence, meant wasn't a close call. he would have to recuse. was it this kind? something else? we don't know. >> ari melber, host of the new
show, the beat. monday at 6:00 p.m. joining me, congresswoman waters. you tweeted earlier today that sean spicer, the now outgoing secretary, you said congratulations, sean spicer. you have more guts than jeff sessions. were you surprise that had jeff sessions didn't resign when the president he suggested such open lack of confidence in him and are you thinking he might be the next to tender his resignation? >> i was absolutely shocked that he did not resign. i can't imagine anyone with self-respect being talked about like that by the president of the united states publicly and wanting to remain in the job. i was shocked. and so i don't know what will happen with him. obviously something is very
wrong. if they have information has been intercepted and recorded and even if it is classified, that information can be played with members of congress in a classified session. >> and let's go back and listen to june 13. and this was jeff sessions telling his colleagues, and telling to the interactions that he had and what they were about and not not. >> let me state this clearly. i have not met with or had any conversation with any russians or any foreign officials concerning an election in the united states. >> what he is saying, no interference in the united states. if these were to be believed
wasn't about interference. it was about future policy. in your view, would that be enough in. >> it may or may not. if perhaps he was saying, i think the president leads the sanctions. perhaps that conversation that does not rise with him having interfered in any way or shared information in any way that would cause them to be accused of collusion. if in fact it was about the campaign, something they had complied with, that the russians had shared with them he in order to favor trump over hillary. then that is going to be problematic. but the real problem is, whether or not he is lagging. it doesn't matter.
if he lied, it was, bill clinton was impeached for lying. that's where jeff sessions will have a real problem. i'm wondering if this concerns you. the "washington post" has a free word out in which they talk about the trump team seeming to control or block. saying building a case against what they slag conflicts of interest. clearly donald trump would like to in the best of all worlds for him fire bob mueller. the easiest way to do that sow get a new attorney general who is not recused on russia and have him do it. are you concern that had this week will this interesting timing, so quick will you after "the new york times" interview in which trump said he had no confidence, might push the ball down the road in. >> i think, i believe that the
president would like the get rid of mueller. i think the president understands republicans and democrats saying, i don't think you'd better do that. i think this would be very concerning. i think he would rather not do it. but knowing him and what i've learned about him. yes, i think sessions is either going to step down or he will be fired. he'll find an attorney general that he can depend on and he may try to think that person fire mueller. so all of this, all of these things are possible. each day this drip, drip, drip of information, these re lagss are doing exactly what i've already predicted. that is, it will lead right to impeachment. >> i have to ask you on that note. it seal like the interests of the white house are aligned in this one sense. both would like the russiagate controversy to go away. do you, can you name a few republican who's you think would actually object to a new
attorney general coming in and saying, we finish the investigation, we found nothing. everyone is innocent here. it is all oh. if a new ag would do that, that could help republicans. they could move to cutting taxes and working on medicaid. >> i think they have gone fauf far enough with this president. defending him, excusing him. i think the firing of mueller would push them over the top. it would be more than just a few. i think a number of them would. >> so we thank you for being. tucker carlson claimed last night that you are running for degrees 2020. is there any truth the to that? >> no.
just because i'm going to hal happen to be at a democratic meeting he for a colleague. they're tryinged to everything they can to make people uncomfortable with me. you'll be hearing a lot more from these people are all aligned, around trying to discredit maxine waters because. >> thank you. meanwhile the white house has gone into full combat mode. sean spicer is out. a hard core trump loyalist is in. and they're moving to undermine robert mueller who represents an existential threat to the president. this morning anthony scaramucci was named as the new
communications director. he defended trump's false people illegally voted in the election. >> if the president says it, okay, let me do my research on it. my guess is there is a level of truth to it. some of you in the media think it is true. it turns out it is closer than you think. >> trump seemed to that, that he would cross a red line if the investigation moves into trump's finances. something sarah huckabee sanders reiterate today. >> the president's point is that he doesn't want the special counsel to move outside the scope of its mission. the president has been very clear as have his team that he has had no financial dealings
with russia and i think we've been extremely clear on that. >> but there are reports that already mueller is investigating trump's finances which have included numerous ties russia. i'm going to start with you. you have this piece of the financial post talking about the push to undermine mueller. do you have any reporting to suggest that the white house may be getting rid of jeff sessions as another way to do that? >> we've had this combination in the last part of this week of the president letting off steam about his attorney general at the justice department. and about bob mueller and his investigation. so the two, have been, are intertwiinte intertwined. it would be the justice department attorney general or the deputy attorney general who would have authority over the future of bob mueller's investigations. the two are related.
it is connected to both of them. and it has foinltd what you just mentioned. bob mueller is starting to look into trump family finances and possible connections to russia. >> and we heard today, he thought the start scaramucci era and the way he plans to build it in the had room. this is scaramucci talking about the investigation and what is or not happening. >> the president himself is not under investigation. so i think -- >> that's what not he's accused of. he is accused of his orbit having ties with russia. >> here's the problem. i think that whole thing is a home. >> the russia investigation is a hoax? >> my bad. that's not anthony scaramucci today. that is anthony scaramucci in june with my colleague nicole wallace calling the entire thing a hoax. so you can anticipate more of the same coming from the white
house. >> here's what we learned in the briefing room. i want to go back tom last clip you played. he was smooth, glib, charming. you can tell with scaramucci, trump wanted a peer or a strategy i. things are too far gone to dismiss the russian investigation as hoax. the spounl is calling witnesses, investigating, looking for document stories that come out every night. so scaramucci has to come out with something better than name calling if he wants to steer attention away from the focus on the russian investigation or somehow diminish it. you can't pretend this is not happening. he might want to go through glass. >> they won't do it now. there's an investigation. there's something taking place.
that's called the mueller investigation. if jeff sessions were to be forced out. if this revelation were to force jeff sessions to resign and donald trump were to replace him with a minimally acceptable figure that republicans would surely approve. they will approve almost anything this president puts forward. that person said, we've gone through the evidence. we've wrapped up the investigation. there's nothing to see here. there's no one to indict. no crimes here. that would end it. >> it is not entirely clear what would happen. it is not entirely clear that jeff sessions will resign as a result of the story tonight in the "washington post." if he did resign, bob mueller could continue in his role. and it would be problematic for a new attorney general to discontinue or to fire bob mueller. if that happened, the expectation would be that there would be a fire storm of reaction and not just from the democrats.
there would be republican that's have expressed admiration through the years who would not be pleased to see him depart. >> you have seen this unanimous chorus of trump support no matter what happens. they seem to line up. and i'll wondering, are you beginning on hear rumblings of republicans turning on jeff sessions? that would be a harbinger of what could be an acceptance of a new ag who would clear the russian investigation off the books. >> i don't think it matters who the attorney general would have trouble getting confirmed. if jeff sessions resigned. i would bet this won't happen quick i'll give you my best example. you have to think of who is confirmable. the senators will grill a nominee and get their pledge --
>> kriss krichris christie? >> it doesn't matter who. they would have to enlist the pledge to not shut down mueller investigation for no grounds. so it is too late. it doesn't matter if sessions is in office or not. a replacement will be in no position to shut it down. he wouldn't be confirmed. >> your mouth to god's ear. thank you. coming up, new reports that donald trump is looking into pardons for friends, family, maybe even himself. we'll look at whether or not he has the power to do that. but first, the bizarre situation. repeatedly claiming how much he loves the president.
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jeb bush. but he has come around to trump bigley. so much so that he spent much of his press introduction gushing about his great and abiding love, even admiration for trump. >> i think he has some of the best political instincts in the world and perhaps in history. i love the president. the president has really good karma and the world turns back to him. he is genuinely a wonderful human being. >> i've seen this guy throw a dead spiral through a tire. i've seen him at madison square garden with a top coat on. he is hitting foul shots and swishing them. he sinks three foot putts. i don't think i would be standing here if i didn't have a good relationship with the president. we won the presidency because of donald j. trump. he is an unbelievable politician. if the presses says it, let me do more research on it but there's probably some level of truth to that. here's what i will tell you. i love the president. >> joining me, the democratic
strategist and rick wilson, i'm laughing because i almost expected his next sentence to begin with, when he looks at me -- it was really something to behold. all the love that was shown. is that something that you know donald trump. you were on "the apprentice." you know him better than i do. is that something that donald trump values in an employee? the way nancy reagan used to look at ronnie? >> absolutely. there's nothing more in the world that donald trump loves than adulation. one of the things about scaramucci, he said trump is an outstanding politician. scaramucci is a politician. he is very similar to trump. he got his company to license a show and then remove the host so he could host the show.
they're very similar. who better to host the show than someone like trump? >> it does seem what donald trump is doing is he is amassing a mini army of people who will go around the table and tell him how wonderful he is but also have that secondary element of looking tv the way donald trump expects a person to look on tv? >> sure. the good suit, the hair product, the wall street look. he is this titan of industry. and scaramucci tries to play that same kind of role. with the relentless sucking up vacuum. he is on fire with how much he lost donald trump. >> there is something about it that is a bit authoritarian. the way people around those leaders talk about it. but it is interesting.
i want to turn back to sessions for a moment. one of the things we do see reported in the "washington post." an attempt to undermine bob mueller. to try to cast dispersions. one way they're doing it is by talking about, they donate to democrats. anthony scaramucci has a long history of donating to democrats including al gore, big money to hillary clinton, barack obama, on and on and on. does that then undermine the case for getting rid of mueller? >> scaramucci as i have saying earlier. he is an operator. he is a guy, i was having a conversation with a friend of mine. a conversation director for candidates. and we were laughing saying, i remember when he was at all of my fund-raisers for all of my democratic clients. she is hoping. so trump's arguments are always
projection base. trump supported the governor, the democratic governor for whom i worked. he goes on the defensive with the projection and then homes no one brings up the hypocrisy they don't care he was a democrat, an independent, a republican. bounced around ideologically. and they don't care that this guy, that he gave to democrats. also called donald trump the queen's real estate bully. attacked going after wall street. would you expect if this is sort of a maneuver that the trump team could pull out. would you expect this new breed of republican. >> no, no. they've completely abandoned the
rule of law. the only thing they enjoy is watching donald trump tear thing up scream bs the liberal media blarks bla bla. so they semithose heresies. let's put it this way. he also donated to the person investigating donald trump's frauds in new york. he has called for gun control and gay marriage. i don't know how these conservative guys, they're all great with another -- declaring him the miracle worker. he will fix everything in trump world. the fact is, they will ignore and ally any possible sin that anybody around trump has committed or anything way off the reservation just because it keeps the sweet, sweet tricks. zm and whatever you think of
jeff sessions, he has been in the conservative camp solidly on immigration and everything for decades. do you expect he will last? will he resign or stay in i think this came from the white house. i think they're trying to, no jeff sessions out of the box. >> so am i. i think he is hanging on by his claws. >> we appreciate it. the report that the president is considering pardoning himself. can he even do it?
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we now know that donald trump is talking to his blaurs pardons. the big question is could donald trump pardon himself? it is not clear that he could. in 1974, the off of legal counsel told richard nixon that he could not pardon himself and nixon thought it would be dishonorable even to try. so he never got to test the theory. donald trump could wind up giving us one more constitutional lesson. that's next. er visits. and hey, unmanaged depression, don't get too comfortable. we're talking to you, cost inefficiencies and data without insights. and fragmented care- stop getting in the way of patient recovery and pay attention. every single one of you is on our list. for those who won't rest until the world is healthier, neither will we. optum. how well gets done.
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the power of the president to pardon is in the constitution this way. and he shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the united states except in cases of impeachment. whether the president can pardon himself for an offense is a legal gray area. but two things. a president who pardons himself would not protect himself from the process of impeachment, and a president who pardons himself would by definition be admitting to a crime or crimes. joining me now, a former congresswom congresswoman. great to have you here. thank you for coming. >> let's get to that first question kflt a president pardon himself? >> i don't believe so. i believe it would be completely invalley and i h invalid and i don't think it is a gray area. it is true the constitution doesn't say the president can pardon himself.
but there's nothing in the history that says the president has the power to pardon himself. it goes against everything in the constitution, which is, we have a government of limited powers. just think, if a president could pardon himself, he could commit whatever, or she, whatever monstrous crime he or she wanted to. >> murder. they could do anything. >> murder. anything. that's not what the constitution intends. and there's part of the debates on the constitution that make it very clear that the framers understood that there wasn't going to be a pardon power. because they talk about how a president can still be prosecuted after some acts take place. and they would never be able to talk about still being prosecuted if a president had pardon power. i wrote an op ed piece. i think it is completely conclusive. >> what you're saying is the president had pardoned himself, it would not be prosecutable so
it wouldn't make sense. >> but he will still be prosecutable so there was no idea -- >> let's play this out. we are dealing with a very sue-generous situation. the faith in minimum we've seen from republicans seems to be absolute. let's say donald trump tried it. he tried to pardon himself. maybe it was litigated and he won. and he wound up a pardoned president having admitted to crimes. how could he serve? >> he konltd serve. he would be thumbing his nose at every institution of our government. the idea that the president is the chief law enforcement officer of the country. sworn to uphold the laws. to take care, faithfully executed. it would be an outrage of everything we stand for. and i saw what happened during watergate. president nixon was elected with one of the biggest land slides
in american history. that was this november 1972. just about ten months later, october, 1973, the american people said congress had to act on impeachment why. ? because they saw the evidence against the president. so the american people changed their mind. they had supported nixon. they said more important than the president, than a party is the constitution of the united states. and democratic institutions that have kept us going. >> another question i've had is whether or not -- spiro agnew, was he indicted while he was in office? >> the question of a president, that has never been decided. i think it could happen. the only person that has had any authority, and ruled on this was jaworski who was a special prosecutor against nixon. the grand jury in the watergate matter wanted to indict richard nixon. and he said to they will, you cannot do this because a sitting president cannot be indicted.
that was his decision. one personal. it's not a court. he wasn't a scholar. the grand jury compromised. they named him as an unindicted co-couldn't spear or t co-conspirator. >> is there a red line with the gop on trump? at what point would he go too far? first a look into the archives in tonight's thing one, thing two. your brain is an amazing thing. but as you get older, it naturally begins to change,
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association. >> why is he resonating? >> from queens county, bring it, donald. >> oops! we dug into the archives to find another scaramucci classic. how to be fair with president obama. you'll want to see that. it is thing two in 60 seconds. phone with our allstate agent, and i know that we have accident forgiveness. so the incredibly minor accident that i had tonight- four weeks without the car. okay, yup. good night. with accident forgiveness your rates won't go up just because of an accident. switching to allstate is worth it.
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maybe you don't feel like you're whacking with us a stick. >> what i hear from folks who say we're being too tough on wall street, but after a huge crisis, the top 25 hedge fund managers took home a billion dollars in income that career. a billion. if you're making a billion dollars a year, after a very bad financial crisis where 8 million people lost their jobs and small businesses the can't get loans, then i think that you shouldn't be feeling put upon. the notion that somehow me saying maybe you should be taxed more like your secretary when you're pulling home a billion dollars or $100 million a year, i don't think is me being extremist or me being anti-business. [ applause ] that's the confusion. ♪
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i predicted the president would get a win in health care. that's my honest prediction. i've seen him in operation over the last 20 plus years. the president has really good karma. >> mitch mcconnell is still planning to vote to open debate next week. what is in that health care bill? well, that's a little hard to say right now. even for the people casting the votes. senator susan collins of maine who helped scuttle the last two attempts said yesterday, i don't even know what we're proceeding to next week. republican senators are noncommittal because they aren't sure what the bill looks like and they fear starting a it's pro he is with an unknown ending. the latest battle, whether some of the bill might need 60 votes. more than the 50 mcconnell has already struggled with. if that happens, as matt fuller
tweeted, it's dead. at least one person who doesn't seem to care what's in the bill as long as anything gets passed. this is all happening as investigations continue and indeed expand into russian interference in the 2016 election and whether trump's campai campaign kahut said in that effort. potentially taking away health care from tens of millions of people. is there anything that trump can do, anything at all, that would slow republicans down? or even make them react? do republicans have a moral, ethical or constitutional red line when it comes the trump? we'll discuss next.
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from the congressman that if trump were to find a way to fire bob mueller that there would a backlash, republicans would break from him? >> no. it would require strong evidence of criminal violations, more ground breaking reporting where mueller reports -- kind of like when we saw bill clinton and the perjury charge. that's why you're seeing the white house undermine mueller. even when there was evidence of perjury against clinton, the number two democrat in the house, he took to the house floor and said how dare the american people and this congress try to deny us a president that was dually ele l duly elected. >> you know, charlie, the difference is that bill clinton was accused 0 lying about was a sexual affair with someone while young was an adult. in this case we're talking about
collusion with an adversarial foreign power. and republicans haven't blinked. paul ryan has blink into the camera saying we're going to cut taxes and do what we need to do. do you believe that firing bob mueller would not be another instance of them saying well, you know, he a has the right to do that. >> i think that's a tramp of hope over experience. if there is a red line, we have not seen what it is. the republicans haven't indicated that they're prepared to blink on any of this. and you know, we may about to find out. because there's in question about it that the trump white house and the trump media seems to be preparing the battlefield for all of that. i mean they seem to be gearing up and you get into -- get very very close to a real constitutional crisis. by the way, this is where someone like john mccain is so crucial. you remember back in 1974, during watergate, it was republican senator barry goldwater who led the republican senate delegation to go meet with president richard nixon and
tell him, you know, your support is gone, you need to go. i can't imagine anybody other than mccain at this point leading that delegation to say. this is the red line, you've gone too far. in his absence, where are we going to get the leadership? >> barry goldwater did that despite the fact that nixon's support among his die hard voter was not gone at all. let's ask the same question second round. if trump was to find a way to pardon himself, the there was a lawsuit and he won the lawsuit in one of the federal courthousings and he's continuing to serve. but the republicans continue to serve a president who essentially admitted to crimes and pardoned himself? if he pardoned himself, that is admission of gift. you would see the house move to. republicans were elected by
republican voters largely. they don't get additional votes by coming out against donald trump. i was a moderate republican member of congress and i remember an adviser saying to me, you might be in favor of marriage equality, but you're not going to get any extra votes for that, you're just going to lose votes. the republicans are faced with a quandary right now. if they come against donald trump, they're not going to get additional votes for that at home. the democrats aren't going to move to paul ryan and yet he's going to lose the base of republicans that elected him. hopefully at nom point republican s follow folks who sy this is not the right president for the party nor for the country and now is the time to give voice to that. >> charlie, you're from wisconsin. you've seen sean spicer pushed out. reince priebus, member number two of that club on tinder hooks
and paul ryan in the middle. do you see any evidence that people who support paul ryan in the house would start to move away from donald trump now that he's pushed on an rnc favorite? >> not really. if it will be interesting to see what the dynamic is, if sean spicer starts to see respect having been the first member to resign. maybe getting in the life boats of this political titanic is not that bad of an idea. but david's analysis is absolutely correct. as long as the republican base is behind trump, do not expect republican elected official to move. i mean at this point i'm more likely to run over a unicorn on the way home than we are to see republicans who are going to stand up to donald trump in the absence of something really outrageous and egregious, which they don't think that they've seen at all yet. >> let's go to jeff sessions. and this will be round three on this question. jeff sessions who is a member in good standing of the far right conservative movement, a former member of the body, a former
senator. if he were to be pushed out, do you see fellow republicans turning on him and shoving him the rest of the way out the door or turning on trump for pushing him out. david first. >> no, not at all. the trump base moves trump when his back is against the wall and in a corner we're seeing that. listen, trump hired attorneys for his son two weeks before news of the russian meeting. he distanced himself from session as couple of days before we saw the news report tonight. they're going to stick with trump. my question and to charlie's point is what does sean spicer do with the new platform he has when he leaves in august. scott mcclellan left bush and turned and and criticized him and wrote a book. does sean spicer give evidence of what trump has done or does he fall in line? >> no, i wouldn't expect that he would do that. he wouldn't do that either. >> yeah. >> look, jeff sessions is not going to be a make or break. if in fact this story is true.
if it is true, then i think his time is up. but then donald trump is already basically implied that he's prepared to throw him under the bus. >> thanks for joining me. the rachel maddow show starts right now. good evening. >> good evening, joy. you're working seven day as week again aren't you. >> i am. >> i blame the white house. >> exactly. all of us are like surveying our failing health, you know what i mean? >> lots of eye drops happening around here. >> eventually our bosses are going to relent and start main lining us vitamins all day long while trump is president. >> hopefully. >> hope you get some sleep. thank you. thanks for joining us this hour. we have just had a remarkable communication from the president eats t 's top lawyer. his top lawyer had been marc kazowitz, a new york lawyer who has