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tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  August 1, 2018 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT

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but behr premium stain y can weather any weather. overall #1 rated, weathers it all. find our most advanced formula exclusively at the home depot. that does it for us. now it's time for the last word with lawrence o'donnell. i'm sorry i'm late. i'm still getting the hang of this. >> take your time. big legal night tonight. the president tweeting his way into a federal criminal investigation and a federal criminal prosecution, the mueller -- the manafort trial. and it seems as though so many
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people have forgotten that the president of the united states must not ever make public comments about ongoing investigations and trials. >> which he used to claim he wouldn't do and is one of the many things that i think had his lawyers back peddling as we have been reporting. if everyone liked what he said, they would standby it. instead, they were arguing all day. he didn't say this was an order. >> thank you, ari. >> thank you, sir! >> today is a truly historic day in the trump presidency, in this country. it is a historic day in the history of the presidency because today we did really arrive at the fifth avenue moment. >> i could stand in the middle of fifth avenue and shoot somebody and i wouldn't lose any voters, okay? >> today was that day. today the president appeared to
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commit a crime in public. and for the last two and a half years since donald trump said he could shoot someone on fifth avenue and get away with it, he has been preparing his voters for this day. and he has been preparing the american news media for this day. and the president's plan appears to have worked. he has successfully brainwashed his voters to the point where they just don't accept -- they don't just accept. they cheer for it. as we saw last night, they will scream and curse and threaten any reporters who challenge the president in any way for the fifth avenue moment today. the republican party which sent 16 candidates into battle with donald trump has completely surrendered to donald trump and those defeated candidates where
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they could control the trump presidency have completely surrendered to the trump presidency. they all appear completely brainwashed now. we have never seen anything like this in american politics. and today is the day that the president needed them to all be brainwashed. senator ted cruz said absolutely nothing today, not one word, when donald trump had his fifth avenue moment, when donald trump publically obstructed justice today, which he did in more than one way, which we will get into a moment. not one word from ted cruz about that today. and here is what that same ted cruz said about the president two years ago. >> this man is a pathological liar. he doesn't know the difference between truth and lies. he lies practically every word that comes out of his mouth. the man cannot tell the truth, but he combines it with being a
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narcissist. a narcissist at a level i don't think this country has ever seen. the man is utterly immoral. morality hadoes not exist for h. >> ted cruz has forgiven every sin donald trump committed against him, against his father and the horrible things he said about ted cruz's wife. ted cruz has even forced his young children to shake the hand of the man he called utterly immoral. marco rubio did not sound afraid of donald trump two years ago. >> he's a con man. i think it is time to unmask him for what he is. >> i will not allow the conservative moment to be taken over by a con artist by the name of donald trump. >> and today that same person sounded brainwashed. >> president trump is calling on
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ending this witch hunt before. >> he said that before. i already told you guys my feelings about it. i think mueller should finish his work. >> he said that before. no. he hasn't said that before. the trump brainwashing is working. when donald trump says something outrageous and criminal that he has never said before and it feels like, sounds like he has said it before, it's the brainwashing that makes it feel that way. the year and a half of beating down any and all republican resistance to the point where every new crazy illegal thing that the president does feels familiar, feels like a place we have already been, we are in a new place tonight, though. thanks to the president's tweet this morning saying attorney general jeff sessions should stop this witch hunt right now before it continues to stain our
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country any further. bob mueller is totally conflicted and his 17 angry democrats that are doing his dirty work are a disgrace to usa! there are two potential crimes in that tweet, two. one of which has not been mentioned at all today. our first guest tonight noticed it and she and i will discuss it later this hour. democrats were outraged by the president's obvious attempt at obstruction of justice today. but republicans in their surrender to trumpism have forgotten what they used to think about special prosecutors investigations of presidents of the united states. >> mr. president, i am deeply troubled today because judge star's pursuit of the truth is being undermined every step of the way, every single day in the press by those whose sole mission is to atake and impugn the court appointed independent prosecutor and the process.
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and these attackers are not the journalists or the broadcasters. mr. president, what troubles me the most here is that these reckless attacks, these ruthless onslaughts are being carried out by the closest advisors to the president of the united states. my point here, mr. president, is simple. they are unfounded and unproductive, unconscionable. >> this is the moment in mitch mcconnell's career when standing up to the unconscionable is the most important thing he can do. it is the most important moment in mitch mcconnell's career. there will not be a video library that lives in history showing what mitch mcconnell had to say at this point in the challenge that donald trump presents to the united states of america because mitch mcconnell has been so silent at every turn. in history, we will be turning
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to the bank tape of mitch mcconnell saying nothing about what donald trump does. mitch mcconnell was silent today. he was silent today in the face of a president publically obstructing justice. mitch mcconnell could not find one word to say about it. presidents of the united states cannot comment on ongoing prosecutions and mitch mcconnell used to know that. everyone knew that. prior to donald trump it only happened once in the modern history of the presidency, and it was a shocking mistake made by the well-trained lawyer turned president richard nixon. >> i noted for example the coverage of the charles manson case when i was in los angeles. front page every day in the papers. it usually got a couple minutes on the evening news. here is a man who was guilty, directly or indirectly, of eight
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murders without reason. >> and the country and the news media were stunned because the problem was charles manson was still on trial for those murders when the president of the united states said that he was guilty. and so immediately that very day in court in los angeles charles manson's lawyers moved for a mistrial in the case because the president of the united states prejudiced the outcome. president nixon's press secretary immediately issued a statement saying the president did not mean to suggest that charles manson was guilty and later that same day president nixon issued a statement saying i do not know and did not intend to speculate as to whether the sharon tate defendants are guilty in fact or not. all of the facts in the case have not yet been presented. the manson trial judge was able to deny the motion for a mistrial only because he believed no damage was done by the president's comments because the jury was sequestered in the ambassador hotel in los angeles
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where they were not allowed to read or hear any comments about the case. but paul manafort's jury is not sequestered. they are going home every night with an instruction from the judge to not read or listen to anything about the case. so the manafort jurors are at home tonight in a country where the president of the united states today called the prosecutors in their case angry democrats who are doing dirty work. richard nixon at his worst moment wouldn't dare call the lawyers defending charles manson a disgrace to the usa, and that is exactly what the president of the united states called paul manafort's prosecutors today, a disgrace to usa. so the president is actively interfering and he is trying to stop any other prosecutions brought by robert mueller and stop the mueller investigation entirely. and he did all of that in public today because his lawyer told
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him to. last week rudy giuliani said if you are going to obstruct justice, you do it quietly and secretly, not in public. he is insisting it is impossible to publically obstruct justice. today his defense turned on the meaning of the word "should". >> what it is is that we said it's an opinion and he used his -- he used a medium that he uses for opinions, twitter. one of the good things about using that, if he's established a clear sort of practice now that he expresses his opinions on twitter. he used the word "should ", not "must." there was no presidential directive to follow. he didn't direct him to do it and he's not going to direct him to do it. >> should. rudy giuliani said he carefully used the word "should." on the advice of his lawyer, did ru rudy giuliani advice the president to use the word should
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so he could defend him publically and base that defense entirely on that one word, "should"? what most republicans lost sight of is that presidents must not give their opinions about ongoing criminal investigations and prosecutions. there is no innocent persian of the president of the united states putting his finger on the scales of justice. but a year and a half into the trump presidency, the president today decided he was ready to say the thing that he had not publically said before. attorney general jeff sessions should stopped this rigged witch hunt right now. if there was a tape of donald trump saying that in the white house today, it would be the smoking gun in an obstruction of justice case. but rudy giuliani has told him to do his obstructing in public as if he was standing on fifth
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avenue with a gun. there was a deeply perverse twist in donald trump's tweet today. right after he tells jeff sessions to stop the mueller investigation, attorney general jeff sessions should stop this rigged witch hunt right now before it continues to stain our country any further. there is now not a day that goes by that donald trump and rudy giuliani don't find new ways to continue to stain our country. former assistant watergate special prosecutor and conservative opinion writer at the washington post. and, jill, we are going to talk later in the show about what you see as the trump tweets effect on the manafort trial, which is hugely important.
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but first of all, let's go to what rudy giuliani is saying today about the word "should" is not an order. what do you make of giuliani's defense of what the president was saying today? >> i think it's a very weak defense. and i will also say that it is a question for the jury as to whether should is an order or just an opinion. and i think that when presented to a jury, they would find in the context of all of the other tweets that the president has done and all the other actions that he has taken, including the firing of comey, that they would find that the word "should" was an order. and that it was intended that it be obeyed. the attorney general is recused in this case, and he cannot take any action. but the president doesn't care about that. he said it should be ended. and it goes along with all of his other tweets that have said this is a bad investigation. it's a hoax.
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it is a witch hunt. mueller is bad. his staff is bad. sessions is bad. the fbi is bad. he has undermined the investigation from day one. he has polluted any possible impact on a potential jury in any case because of what he is saying. >> jennifer, help us pause for a moment and consider where the country has come. from that nixon slip of the tongue, and it really was. there wasn't anyone out there who watched richard nixon out there who thought he didn't make a mistake. he corrected it as fast as he could. we've gone from there to now where it is considered absolutely routine that of course the president of the united states gives his opinion. rudy giuliani said it is a well established pattern that the president of the united states gives his opinion. of course the president of the
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united states must never, ever give his opinion on an ongoing investigation and/or prosecution. >> i think there are three things to keep in mind. first is to remember this occurs during the pendency of a trial. in the past when we had these conversations about obstruction of justice, there was some question does it really count that it is just an fbi investigation? maybe he's not really interfering with a proceeding under the law. this is clear. it is a trial. he's asking not only that the entire investigation be stopped, but the trial be stopped in its tracks. i can't think of anything that is more evidentiary, and this goes to the second issue, of corrupt intent. that's the name of the game. evidence that donald trump from the get-go as intended to obstruct, delay, short-circuit this investigation. and when he says things like this, it is not only that in and of itself it is obstruction, but
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it is evidence of intent. and that, i think, is now so plainly clear that all he has cared about is getting rid of an investigation into his cronies and into himself that the issue of corrupt intent will be easy to prove in this case. the third thing i think we should remember is that everyone was assuring us that the paul manafort trial didn't have anything to do with donald trump. i beg to differ. i think this is the beginning of the end. what did donald trump do again and again? he denied he or anyone on the campaign had ties to russia, had any communications with russia. and this is the first time that we're seeing evidentiary proof that that is false. and donald trump i think knows very well where this is leading. we are going to learn a lot about in this trial but more so in the next one in d.c. that paul manafort was thick as thieves with the russians. for him at that level of the campaign to have those
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relationships with the kremlin and kremlin type figures i think goes a long way towards proving the collusion/conspiracy theory. >> matt, i know with your experience in the justice department, you know that previous departments have not even been tempted. not even tempted to make public comments about ongoing criminal investigations and ongoing currently underway criminal prosecutions. but your reaction to what you saw in the president's tweets today and in rudy giuliani's defense of them. >> you are right, lawrence. you are right, lawrence. it is a red line for any president to cross to interfere with an ongoing investigation, a trial, any justice department proceeding or anything the justice department is pursuing. the problem with the president, yes, this was an escalation today, but he crossed the red line a long time ago and he never went back after he crossed it. he stayed on the wrong side of that line and has been continuing to pressure the
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justice department, not just publically in his tweets and speeches but also privately in pressuring jeff sessions to back off from his recusal, pressuring rod rosenstein. every one of these is an inappropriate action by the president. and i think, you know, the defense that rudy came out with today i think is probably the best you could do in this circumstance. what it ignores is the totality of all the evidence. and the interesting thing, i think the interesting thing, the most interesting thing about what he says that's been lost on a lot of people, he granted that, you know, it would be legally problematic if the president was issuing an order here. that's implicit in their defense. that may be the best he can do for today. but the president has issued orders in the past. let's not forget "the new york times" reported he ordered don mcgahn to go to the justice
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department and get him fired. it is legally inappropriate for the president to issue a direct order interfering with the investigation, that's something his client has already done. >> jennifer, count me as one of those people who still cannot get used to the idea that mitch mcconnell and paul ryan and the republicans just sit there and accept this and with their silence they are in effect cheering it on to see that video of where ted cruz was talking about donald trump from his heart about what a pathological liar he is and to listen to the sound of ted cruz's silence today remains an extraordinary thing. >> it does. and even people who are supposed to be the good republicans like suzanne collins makes these statements, oh, he really shouldn't do that. he should just let the prosecutor do his work and finish. there is no sense of outrage. there is no desire to defend the institutions of democracy.
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it is if as it is all some kind of game that their highest obligation to defend him or whatever political position, whatever looney tunes legal argument he is making, and they are completely devoid of any view, of any belief that their highest obligation is to the country. we talk about donald trump betrying the united states by being an agent or an accessory for vladimir putin. what about these people? they're doing the same thing. they have betrayed the country. they have betrayed their oaths of office. and i fail to see how any of them are fit for office after that. >> thank you for starting us off tonight. we're going to discuss the point that you raised with us earlier today about what you saw in this tweet, and that is the possible crime of jury tampering, which no one has been focussing on. we're going to go in and take a
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sharp look at that. also communication with robert mueller apparently a communication between the trump lawyers and robert mueller this week might have set off the tweets we started off today and some might have been co-written by the trump lawyers, including rudy giuliani last night. perhaps the word "should" was rudy giuliani's idea last night. that's coming up. a hotel can make or break a trip. and at expedia, we don't think you should be rushed into booking one. that's why we created expedia's add-on advantage. now after booking your flight, you unlock discounts on select hotels right until the day you leave. ♪ add-on advantage. discounted hotel rates when you add on to your trip. only when you book with expedia. dinner date...meeting his parents dinner date. why did i want a crest 3d white smile?
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multiple reports that a discussion the president had with his lawyers last night inspired the president's tweets this morning saying that the attorney general should stop the mueller investigation. one report states the tweet was discussed and planned in the president's meeting with his defense lawyers last night. rudy giuliani told nbc news that robert mule're latest proposal is to narrow the scope of a possible interview with the president. there was slight movement. not enough to answer the concerns but enough to at least continue at least discussing for a while longer obstruction or collusion or pre-presidency or both-presidency. he made it clear that the president's team does not want to discuss anything that happened after the president took the oath of office. giuliani said every question
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they propounded on obstruction, he's already answered publically. what they really want to do, we think, is get him under oath so then even though we say he's telling the truth, they can say comey contradicts him. and, david, we have reporting tonight from multiple sources indicating that what we saw on twitter today came out of the meeting with the trump lawyers last night. >> well, i guess that's a little surprising because it usually seems like he's tweeting completely on his own without any guidance. the fact, though, that they are guiding him this way is also kind of unbelievable because he's out there saying one lie after another.
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i mean, each week i feel like we hit a different rock bottom. the depths of his audacity is unbelievable. yes, i said the word lie because it is a lie. so if his lawyers are advising him to put out tweets like this, they are advising their client to lie. i don't think that's going to end up being a good strategy in the long-run. >> and tim, there is a report in "the new york times" tonight about the status of the interview discussion, which this program's official position is it has always been fraudulent. there is never a chance that donald trump would ever sit down with an interview with the prosecutor. there is a report saying mr. trump has told advisers he is eager to meet with investigators to clear himself of wrongdoing, the people said. in effect, he believes he can
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convince the investigators for special counsel of his belief that their own inquiry is a witch hunt. now, i don't believe "the new york times" has ever printed a more gullible sentence that donald trump believes he can convince mueller's team that what they're doing is a witch hunt. >> i'm going to surprise you because i think that sounds very much like donald trump to me. >> you think he's that sick? >> he has this sense of himself as constantly in control of processes that he's not in control of. and that's why you see these collisions with his lawyers who know that they have on their hands a profoundly loose cancan. i think everything they want to do is avoid having him sit down with mueller. rudy is spouting off all this stuff is he's already answered in public about this obstruction. what they're afraid of is under oath donald trump will sit there and he will present a preponderance of the evidence that contradicts everything he's saying, everything he hasn't seen before, and he will get --
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he will damage himself under oath. i know he's capable of this because he's done it in front of me. he lied under oath about a number of things and when he was forced to comment about records in front of him, he was put in the corner. they don't want him there. the problem with him is his ego is so massive and he doesn't have a sense of his own faults that i think he does think he could sit across from robert mueller and convince mueller and mueller's team that they're wrong. i actually think that that times report sounds spot-on to me. >> and, david, the man who is now saying today that they should end the mueller investigation said this about james comey. this is december 2017. he said i never asked comey to stop investigating flynn. and if there is anything that is credible about donald trump, it's that he asks people to stop
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investigations as he did today publically. >> you know, i run a burrow of 20 people. if i say to someone, you shouldn't write this story, in my mind, i'm instructing them to write this story, and i expect to see the story. but, you know, without getting caught in semantics, this is what the beginning of a constitutional crisis looks like. the president of the united states asking or telling the attorney general who is recused to unrecuse himself and stop an investigation that seems to be getting even closer to trump and his inner circle. we get distracted by the outlandish drapings that come out on these decisions and then we get bogged down with rudy giuliani's sesemantics. but at the core is a fundamentally un-american authoritarian impulse. and that should frighten people.
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republicans are saying absolutely nothing about what i hate to say is kind of a historic moment. >> tim, rudy giuliani today saying the special prosecutor should put up or shut up at the same time that he has spent the entire year, that the trump team has spent the entire year avoiding an interview that the special prosecutor has been asking for. >> they want to speed this along to the extent they can because they want to limit the scope of this investigation. everything is in bob mueller's favor to continue probing this. it is not only just an obstruction and a collusion investigation. there is also a possible high crimes misdemeanors. bob mueller knows way more than the press knows and more than giuliani knows and giuliani is frightened by that. trump never gave any guidance around the flynn issue, we know from reporting this week in the
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new york review of books that there was a white house memorandum in which both reince priebus and don mcgahn told the president the fbi was interested in flynn before trump talked to comey. >> tim o'brian and david corn, thank you for joining us. >> sure thing. >> coming up, congressman eric will join us. he crossed what may be a line for him today when he tweeted to the president about robert mueller, you fire mueller, we fire you. and the other potential crime in the trump tweets today that no one has been talking about. jill saw it. she will explain it next. two words to contemplate during the break, jury tampering. i've been making blades here at gillette for 20 years. i bet i'm the first blade maker you've ever met. there's a lot of innovation that goes into making our thinnest longest lasting blades on the market. precision machinery and high-quality materials from around the world.
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. a former prosecutor who chooses his words very carefully. he is always a calm, deliberate speaker and today in reaction to the president's tweet saying the attorney general should end the mueller investigation, congressman swalwell replied, fire mueller and we fire you. today the democrats in congress have come to the impeachment cross roads. he is a member of the house judiciary committee, which has jurisdiction over the articles of impeachment. impeachment is something that democrats have avoided talking about up until today because the leaders of the party have believed impeachment is not part of their winning campaign
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formula. >> i had hesitated to use impeachment. people wanted me to impeach president bush going into iraq and impeach president clinton. there is an investigation. let it take its course. but i do not think that impeachment is a policy agenda. >> that was on may 23rd. what is now a long time ago. today donald trump took two big steps closer to impeachment if congressman swalwell and the democrats have the majority 97 days from now. jill wine-banks who was part of the team who delivered the report to the house judiciary committee that was used as the basis for the articles of impeachment that forced richard nixon to resign the presidency said that donald trump is now guilty of jury tampering with the manafort jury today. that wasn't part of nancy pelosi
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and the democrats calculations yesterday. what do the democrats do now? what will they do and say about impeachment in the 97 days before the election? congressman eric swalwell will join us next. had age-related macular degeneration, amd, i wanted to fight back. my doctor and i came up with a plan. it includes preservision. only preservision areds 2 has the exact nutrient formula recommended by the national eye institute to help reduce the risk of progression of moderate to advanced amd. that's why i fight. because it's my vision. preservision. also, in a great-tasting chewable.
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i say this in my role not as a lawyer but as a concerned citizen and republican, that this election is going to be
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about impeachment or no impeachment. >> joining our discussion now by phone is congressman eric swalwell. he is a member of the house judiciary committee and a member of the intelligence committee. we're not going to lead with impeachment. we're going to lead with health care. if he wants to fire mueller, he can see us in the judiciary committee and he can sue thousands of people until the streets that have already signed up at trump is not the law
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dot-org. firing i believe the number of democrats who support it now more than doubled. i believe republicans can come on board. i say that because i topped to many privately who have drawn that as their own red line. this is not the mueller investigation. this is the united states. and actually i think the way mueller has conducted this investigation, mueller has kept quiet and followed due process. the evidence in this case is not going away. >> your colleague, adam schiff, the top democrat on the
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intelligence committee, said the president of the united states just called on his attorney general to put an end to -- if this is obstruction of justice today, why would democrats be reluctant to talk about impeachment? >> we shouldn't be. i think we should just make it clear that we still prioritize the needs of our constituents, which is their rising health care costs, their uncertainty about where the next paycheck is going to come from, and concerns that there is corruption in government tied to all the outside influence of money. but we also have a responsibility to make sure that nobody including president trump is above the law. and also, you know, lawrence, the president has to know that bob mueller has already written a, if you're reading this i've
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already been fired, letter. he's probably sent it to the southern district of new york and the attorney general of new york. so again, this isn't going away. he can fire all the lead investigators he wants but people will continue to work on this case. >> it seems he can expect the president's jury tampering in this case to continue, because his objective is to do whatever he can to get a hung jury, anything that isn't a successful for robert mueller on that first prosecution, the president must believe that would be a huge win for him personally. >> yes, it seems that he is trying to in any way inflame the proceedings. but as you pointed out earlier on the show, and i have prosecuted dozens of cases to verdict and have talked to the jurors afterwards, overwhelmingly they follow the instructions from the judge. they don't talk about the case during the trial. they don't listen to outside influence about the trial. and so it looks like the case
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here is one that is going to heard fairly, whether the president likes it or not. >> and with 97 days to go in the campaign, it's impossible for democratic strategists to anticipate how this issue of impeachment could be different a week from now, how it could be different tomorrow. do the people quietly, however they're talking about this in the house, realize that, that whatever plan they have to put impeachment at the low end of their public priority list, it's not up to them what president trump might do to change that? >> you know, lawrence, our first responsibility is to defend the constitution and the safety of the american people. if we have a president who is just a wrecking ball to norms and institutions, we have to be agile and ready to act. the best thing is to have the house called back into session and to preserve the investigation as it is. there's already legislation that's passed the senate judiciary committee that mitch
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mcconnell should bring up and i believe the house should also pass that legislation to show the president that there is no way out of this. but again, republicans, this is their red line as well. >> congressman eric swalwell, thank you very much for joining us on this important news night. we appreciate it. tonight's last word is next. rou. say what? trout. trout. all right. you don't think i need both? why does he have that axe? make summer go right with ford america's best selling brand. now get 0% financing for 72 months plus $1,000 ford credit bonus cash on a great selection of suv's. during the ford summer sales event, get our best offer of the season 0% financing for 72 months plus $1,000 ford credit bonus cash. your hair is so soft! 0% financing for 72 months plus did you use head and shoulders two in one? i did mom. wanna try it? yes. it intensely moisturizes your hair and scalp and keeps you flake free. manolo? look at my soft hair. i should be in the shot now too. try head and shoulders two in one.
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crisp leaves of lettuce. freshly made dressing. clean food that looks this good. delivered to your desk. now delivering to home or office. panera. food as it should be. one person who is apparently not worried about mueller's investigation is donald trump. for over a year now, his catch
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phrase has been "no collusion." >> there has been no collusion at all. no collusion, no nothing. no collusion, no nothing. no collusion. no collusion. >> he uses it for every occasion. it's like his "aloha." it means both hello and i'm guilty. >> stephen colbert gets tonight's last word. and that word is "guilty." "the 11th hour with brian williams" starts now. tonight, the president calls for an an end to the mueller investigation. a trump confidant telling the ap that he's in a dark case. those around him fear he's made a possible obstruction case worse. jeff sessions in the hot seat with trump, quote, constantly bashing him. "the washington post" reporting