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tv   All In With Chris Hayes  MSNBC  September 24, 2018 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT

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be heard and respected. that's "hardball." all-in with chris hayes starts right now. >> tonight on all in. >> we believe women. we believe women. >> protesters fill the capital as kavanagh campaigns on trump tv. >> the truth is i've never sexually assaulted anyone in high school or otherwise. >> tonight, why neither side is backing down in the supreme court fight. and what we're learning about new allegations against brett kavanagh. then rod rosenstein's white house fire drill. >> a meeting with rod rosenstein on thursday when i get back from all of these meetings. >> new questions about why the man overseeing the mueller probe was summoned to the white house today. as lawmakers in both parties raise alarms. >> this looks to me like a slow-moving saturday night massacre. >> "all in" starts right now. >> good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes.
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tonight in the wake of a second on the record accusation of sexual misconduct against supreme court nominee brett kavanagh, the white house and the republican party have embarked on a coordinated counter offensive to save kavanagh's nomination. and they've done it by casting the alleged victims as part of the smear campaign orchestrated by the left. >> this is starting to feel like a vast left wing conspiracy. >> this is shameful, shameful smear campaign has hit a new low. >> it is amazing to me that these allegations come out of nowhere at the last minute and that they weren't brought up earlier in this process. and it's not untypical for our friends on the other side to pull that kind of crap. >> for people to come out of the woodwork from 36 years ago and 30 years ago and never mentioned it, all of a sudden it happens. in my opinion, it's totally political. it is totally political. >> in a letter this morning kavanagh complained of character
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assassination and wrote, these are smears, pure and simple. he appeared alongside his wife for a sympathetic interview on trump tv in which he proclaimed the accusations false and said he is, quote, not going anywhere. >> the truth is i have never a sexually assaulted anyone in high school or otherwise. i am not questioning and have not questioned that perhaps dr. ford at some point in her life was sexually assaulted by someone in someplace, but what i know is i have never sexually assaulted anyone. i want a fair process where i can defend my integrity and i know i'm telling the truth. i know my lifelong record. and i'm not going to let false accusations drive me out of this process. i have faith in god and i have faith in the fairness of the american people. america is about fairness and hearing from both sides and i didn't do this or anything
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resembling this. this is wrong. >> kavanagh's first accuser christine blasey ford said that a drunken kavanagh assaulted her during a party at high school with another man present. yesterday after protracted negotiations she agreed to appear before the senate judiciary committee this thursday to they will her story. that hearing has been announced and noticed. last night in the new yorker, a second accuser, deborah ramirez, alleged sexual misconduct by kavanagh when he was in college, saying kavanagh had exposed himself at a drunken dormitory party and caused her to touch his genitals without her consent. now, to be clear, this new allegation reported in the new yorker is embedded in a more complicated story and there are conflicting recollections about what exactly happened. but ramirez felt confident enough to come forward prompting senator dianne feinstein, the top democrat on the judiciary committee to call for the cancellation of thursday's hearing and an fbi investigation into both allegations. the president has steadfastly
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refused to order such investigation and top republicans say they will get kavanagh confirmed no matter what. >> in the very near future, judge kavanagh will be on the united states supreme court. so, my friends, keep the faith. don't get rattled by all of this. we're going to plow right through it. >> we are going to plow right through it. , says mitch mcconnell. today hundreds of black clad protesters including students from yale law school, kavanagh's alma mater went to the supreme court to protest the nomination and tell their stories of suri vieflz. >> i never told a soul for ten years, and even then it was only my mom. please don't put someone like my abuser on the supreme court. it's not the risk. women deserve better. >> joining me now a lexus goldstein, the same school attended by christine blasey ford. she helped write a letter in
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support of blasey ford. alexis, i'll start with you. the hardening line from the gop in light of the letter that you have signed and organized? >> well, the community wanted to stand with dr. blasey ford. this is a story that resonated with our community as we say in the letter, we believe dr. blasey ford and we have called for a thorough and independent fbi investigation. and i think what america is about to see is the strength and power of america's women and america's survivors. because this story is one that i am hearing everywhere. i heard -- the community was galvanized by this. they want to show up in support of dr. blasey ford. we are in awe of her courageous us in and strength. this was signed by over 100 alumni. this is a huge chunk of our community because this is a school that is very small, about 80 to 100 women are in every single class. so i think what we've seen so far is disappointing, the lack of an fbi investigation is
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disappointing. but i think the community who signed this letter are here to say do not mess with dr. blasey ford and do not mess with survivors because this is not 1991, and this isn't even 2016 and america has the back of survivors. >> barbara, there's been two lines i think republicans have been attempting to sort of navigate. one is they clearly don't want to come off as being dismissive of dr. blasey ford's allegations. but i think the second allegation has kind of emboldened them to basically say, look, this is ridiculous. this is all crazy and we're going to go ahead anyway. this is what senator lindsey graham had to say. i'd like to get your reaction. take a listen. >> what am i supposed to do? go ahead and ruin this guy's life based on an accusation? i don't know when it happened. i don't know where it happened. and everybody named in regard to being there said it didn't happen. i'm just being honest. unless there is something more, no, i'm not going to ruin judge kavanagh's life over this.
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>> what do you think that of? >> yeah, it's so interesting that the focus is about ruining judge kavanagh's life. i think something else much greater is at stake, and that is the legitimacy of the supreme court. our courts are all about process, and so to ignore process in this case and plow through in the words of mitch mcconnell just to get him on the court really ignores it. and i think if judge kavanagh does end up on the supreme court, he will forever have a cloud over him and the court will forever have a cloud over it. it's a lifetime appointment. there is no reason not to slow down, take a couple of days to have the fbi investigate both of these allegations, provide that information to the senate judiciary committee, and then have a hearing so that they can ask informed questions of both dr. blasey ford, perhaps ms. ramirez, and then also judge kavanagh. and then the senate judiciary committee can make a decision and it is all transparent for the american people to see. when they go to this rush to judgment focus on ruining his
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life, i think it does diminish the complaints of people like the women who are writing these letters and all of the women of america when they see how these things are treated including the basketball team that judge kavanagh coaches. >> i want to say that lindsey graham said everyone said it didn't happen. that is not accurate. there is a third person mark judge who said he didn't recall it happening, which is an important distinction. the milieux you described about dr. ford that is the subject of intense interest because of the nature of the allegation, judge kavanagh spoke about that and spoke about drinking. i wanted to get your reaction to his denial of the sort of description of the sort of activities they were up to. take a listen. >> and, yes, there were parties. the drinking age was 18. yes, the seniors were legal and had beer there. yes, people might have had too many beers on occasion, and people generally in high school -- i think all of us have probably done things we look back on in high school and regret or cringe a bit.
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but that's not what we're talking about. >> what do you make of that? >> i mean, excessive drinking happens everywhere. i think everyone does different things. but that's not what's at issue here. i think people are talking about this as if it's a court case and the smearing of this man and ruining his life. no one is entitled to a seat on the united states supreme court. this is a job application. and if everyone wants to get to the truth of this matter then an fbi investigation is the next logical step and that's something that dr. blasey ford has always called for. you know, if kavanagh says all i have is some under age drinking and that happens everywhere, he should have nothing to fear from an fbi investigation. dr. blasey ford has come forward at incredible personal cost to herself. i've seen it reported she's had to move out of her home, that she's received death threats. deborah ramirez has come forward at great personal cost to herself as well. i should note there's 1200 yale women who have signed a letter in support of deborah ramirez as well. there's no reason not to have an fbi investigation at this point
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and if kavanagh is saying this was just about some cringe worthy under age drinking i don't see why anyone including him should have a problem with a fair and thorough independent investigation. >> all right, alexis goldstein and barbara mcquade, thank you bothment for more on the senate battle over this nomination i'm joined by senator richard blumenthal who is a member of the judiciary committee. senator, can you give us some details if you have been filled in about what is taking shape for this thursday? >> what's shaking shape for this thursday is two witnesses, judge kavanagh and dr. christine blasey ford, probably in reverse order. she'll go first, and then he'll follow. but that has not been finally determined. and what we are pushing to do is have that fbi investigation before there is any hearing because otherwise this hearing is going to be more a show and a sham than a real effort to elicit the facts and evidence. and what we're seeing is really
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a demeaning and degrading of these courageous survivors, sexual assault survivors who have come forward at great cost to themselves and they are asking for an fbi investigation. the administration, the white house, judge kavanagh, simply are blocking it. and that is reprehensible against these very credible allegations. >> do you have a response to orrin hatch who is your colleague on that committee who says this is the kind of thing that our democrat friends have done in the past, that this is all essentially kind of a conspiracy, a trap created by some set of political interests to spring upon brett kavanagh and the republican party? >> how demeaning to these brave sexual assault survivors to portray them as puppets, essentially, under the thumb of some democratic kabal. they have come forward at great
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personal physical risk, not to mention the emotional trauma that they have to relive. and the cost is not only to them as individuals. it's to the entire survivor community. and so i would just say to my republican friends, really, this hollow hypocrisy about acting respectfully towards survivors really has to be for real. they have to understand what is at stake for them and really authorize an fbi investigation so we can see all of the facts in real-time before we undertake this hearing. >> two questions about the hearing. the first is there have been reports, republicans were looking into hiring a lawyer, a woman who would do the questioning out of fear i think of some of the political optics of the 11 men of the judiciary
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committee. do you have confirmation that the questioning is going to be done by a third-party lawyer? >> that's the direction that they are moving, to have a third-party lawyer do their questioning for them. my view is we have a constitutional responsibility as senators to do our own questioning. examine for them to resort to this extraordinary delegation, in effect ceding their responsibility, i think shows something about how hollow their claim of wanting to get to the truth is. the question is what is the white house hiding? why are they conceal ing it? what are they afraid the american people are going to see? and why this rush to judgment, setting arbitrary deadlines when there is no time pressure? and we're dealing with the highest court in the land, a lifetime appointment that the affect real people's lives in real-time for decades to come. >> final question. mark judge, my understanding is there was a push from both
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dr. blasey ford and democrats on the committee for him to testify under oath as well. he's given a letter to the committee saying he doesn't recall anything like what is described. do you expect him to be there or is that just not going to happen at this point? >> that's a really key question, chris. we have been pushing for mark judge to be a witness because he was in the room when christine blasey ford, according to her allegations -- and i believe her -- was molested by judge kavanagh, then brett kavanagh, a 17-year-old person. and we have been pushing as well for other witnesses who can offer facts and evidence as well as documents. the more evidence and facts, the more likely it is we will uncover the truth. and for a survivor who has taken a polygraph, who has named witnesses, who has therapist notes from six years ago, well
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before brett kavanagh was even contemplated for the united states supreme court. this kind of evidence really has to be considered in another hearing, along with testimony from deborah ramirez. these women survivors, courageous survivors coming forward should be heard. >> all right. senator richard blumenthal of connecticut and the judiciary committee. thank you for making time this evening. >> thank you. >> coming up, we'll break down what we know about deputy attorney general rod roads enstein's trip to the white house today and did the president mark the calendar for the beginning of a constitutional crisis? the fate of rosenstein and the mueller investigation next. one. one. why accept it from an allergy pill? flonase relieves sneezing, itchy, watery eyes and a runny nose, plus nasal congestion, which most pills don't. it's more complete allergy relief. flonase.
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we continue our breaking news coverage. the news in washington, the showdown between rod rosenstein and president trump. deputy attorney general rosenstein at the white house this hour with pete williams reporting that rosenstein was summoned this morning, but has no intention of resigning, that if they want to get rid of him, they're going to have to fire him. >> so, there was a bit of a constitutional fire drill in washington this morning. you might have noticed. amid reports that deputy attorney general rod rosenstein was called to the white house either expecting to be fired or preparing to resign depending on who you ask. that was after "the new york times" reported last week that rosenstein last year suggested secretly recording the president and discussed attempting to remove him from office under the 25th amendment. rosenstein denied the times reporting. turned out that rosenstein was at the white house for a previously scheduled meeting. when he left, he was still the deputy attorney general, still in charge of overseeing robert mueller's investigation.
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but that status quo may not last long because rosenstein is now scheduled to meet with the president on thursday when the president returns from the u.n. general assembly in new york. >> i'm meeting with rod rosenstein on thursday when i get back from all of these meetings. and we'll be meeting at the white house and we'll be determining what's going on. we want to have transparency. we want to have openness and i look forward to meeting with rod at that time. >> to help make sense of awful these developments i'm joined by nbc news justice correspondent pete williams. it's been a very confusing situation. what, as best as you can tell, happened today? >> well, you're calling it a fire drill. there certainly was smoke at one pointed to. here's the best way we understand it. the story comes out in "the new york times" friday. rosenstein has some conversations with white house officials who say, you've got to put a stronger denial out than
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the weak statement that you've made, rosenstein does so. he said the story is absolutely inaccurate, absolutely false. but then rosenstein starts thinking over the weekend according to people that are close to him, thinking, you know, who leaked this story, why would they say these things about me, maybe i've become a distraction, maybe i'm not as effective as i was, maybe i should just step down. and he starts having these conversations with some officials at the white house. by monday morning as he goes to work and that picture we've shown of him leaving his house, we're told he had no intention of resigning. and then we had the first report, i think it was from axios -- >> right. >> -- that he was on his way to the white house to resign. that's what they were saying at the white house. they were saying, well, he's coming here. yes, he's going to have this previously scheduled principles meeting filling in for the attorney general who was traveling today. but he was going to have a separate meeting with john kelly before that, perhaps don mcgahn the white house counsel.
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and certainly white house officials thought he was coming there to resign. the justice department people were telling us, no, he's not going to resign. if they want him out they're going to have to fire him. so that was the narrative that we heard mid-morning. and then it became clear that there was a third option here, which was neither of those two things were going to happen, that he was going to leave with his sword intact and he was going to go back to the justice department still being deputy. and then you have this extraordinary picture of the white house chief of staff john kelly, that man in the blue suit that you can't quite see through the leaves, walking out with him, sort of downington abby style, thank you for visiting the white house, clearly to be seen sending the message that all was still right, everyone was still in their places. so, we have to wait until thursday. of course, a couple of other things to note. you have sean hannity to whom the president listens closely
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saying, don't fire anybody. the possibility that this meeting is going to be on thursday, the day brett kavanagh we think is going to be testifying about these sexual harassment allegations. and you have the midterm elections coming. so it doesn't seem likely the president would fire rod rosenstein on thursday, but then, of koercourse, today didn seem likely either. >> pete williams, thank you for making some sense of that. i guess we'll get more clarity thursday altogether about what happened. thanks a lot. >> you bet. >> for the huge political legal and constitutional ramifications let me bring in nbc news analyst nick ackerman, former watergate prosecutor, and elizabeth, author of the case for impeaching trump. i want to read something. i don't know which is accurate. you've heard people say this idea that he's not going to resign if they want to get rid of him they'll have to fire him. that's what some people have been reporting. this "the new york times" rod
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rosenstein about his trip to the white house, grew emotional about his his trip to the white house, is concerned trump will fire him if they don't have an amicable split. wants to testify on the hill. what are you making back and forth about this? >> i don't think this makes any sense. this is just -- this is donald trump's reality show world. that's what he's doing. this all started out when the republicans, that group that little kabal on the hill tried to get him to release all of the documents on the russia investigation and take the classification off it. somebody somehow talked him out of it. and then as a back juup, what ty did to put the screws to the russia investigation, put out this story, which on its face is ridiculous. there is no way rod rosenstein is going to talk about using the 25th amendment on donald trump. it doesn't even apply. >> let me just say, i don't know if the story is true or not, i really don't. i trust the reporters who are reporting it, although there is
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lots of back and forth about the nature of it, the joking nature and who said what. let me just say that. >> but again, for the 25th amendment, you've got to get the vice-president, half the cabinet to vote. you have to go to the speaker, the president pro tem. then if the president says, hey, i'm okay, i can serve. then it has to be to go back yet again and two-thirds of each house has to then vote him out of office. that's not going to happen. nobody realistically rod rosenstein is never going to believe that. >> i agree. i mean, it's not plausible that he talked about the 25th amendment with some lower level justice department people and the fbi. first of all, rosenstein himself has no legal standing under the 25th amendment. it's not -- he's not a cabinet member. only cabinet members get to vote on the 25th amendment so why would he be talking about it? with regard to wearing a wire, you're a witness. deputy attorney general is going to make himself a witness? i don't think so. neither one of these stories really is very plausible.
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on the other hand, there have been people who have had their long knives out to get rod rosenstein for a long time as part of an effort to shutdown the mueller investigation. that's something that the president wants to see happen. that's something that a lot of republicans, particularly very right wing republicans want, but the american people want mueller to continue to do his job in a professional way. and that's really where the crunch is here. >> i want to read this from john brennan today who was formerly with the cia. any attempt by the white house to subvert or manipulate law enforcement should be resisted. rather than resigning officials should stand their ground and wait to be fired. resisting abuse of presidential authority is not a policy resistance. don't resign whatever you do. >> that is absolutely 100% correct. that they have to stand their ground. everybody that's in there is a career person. they have all had experience in the department of justice. and i think that all of them are
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going to stand their ground. i don't see anybody in there that's going to knuckle in and want to suddenly be the person who basically obstructed justice by killing the russian investigation. >> just think about whose reputation in watergate with stood the test of time? elliott richardson who said no to president nixon. he was the attorney general. i'm not firing cox. the deputy attorney general, bill said i'm not firing cox. and robert bork who fired cox wanted to be on the supreme court and he didn't make it. in the end, he did a cowardly thing. you have to stand up. if you want any measure of respect in history you have to stand up and do the right thing here. >> i'll give you another take on robert bork. i was told this by bill ruck ls house. >> he told him to do it. in the interest of sort of preserving continuity. >> right. in the interest of not having some hack come over from the white house. >> right. >> and take over the department. >> which brings us back to the modern day, the question of i
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guess to you guys, how constitutionally crucial is rosenstein here? like how much, if in fact we find out thursday he's leaving his job under either situation, either he resigns or is fired -- again, i don't know what makes sense, the conflicting reports. what does that mean? >> it's not positive by any means. on the other hand, i think that the department of justice has enough institutional integrity that there are going to be the people standing their ground. the mueller investigation has gained so much momentum that there are so many successes in little less than a year and a half, that it's hard to believe that anybody is going to want to be part of any situation that would bring down that investigation. >> well, i wish i could be as optimistic as you. we have a president who wants to shut it down. and i don't know whether people and everybody is going to be willing to stand up against that. and there are ways -- the person
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who will now take over, assuming there is not a new deputy attorney general, can throw a monkey wrench into this investigation in many ways because he's going to have to approve various kinds of techniques, tactics, maybe even indictments. mueller was sharing a lot of information with rosenstein basically to show that he was cooperating. he wasn't a rogue prosecutor. this person may say, oh, you want to bring this indictment? maybe you need more evidence. maybe you need more this. i'm not going to approve that. and we won't really see that. that's the problem here. >> all right. nick ackerman and elizabeth holtz man, thank you both. still to come the top democrat in the house intelligence committee is warning of a slow motion saturday night massacre. congressman adam schiff joins me right here next. don't go anywhere.
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california had the worst wildfire season on record. scientists say, our weather is becoming more extreme and we all have to be better prepared. that's why pg&e is adopting new and additional safety precautions to help us monitor and respond to dangerous weather. hi, i'm allison bagley, a meteorologist with pg&e's community wildfire safety program. we're working now, to enhance our weather forecasting capabilities, building a network of new weather stations to identify when and where extreme wildfire conditions may occur, so we can respond faster and better. we're installing cutting edge technology to provide real-time mapping and tracking of weather patterns. and we use this information in partnership with first responders and california's emergency response systems.
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to learn more about the community wildfire safety program and how you can help keep your home and community safe, visit if in fact rod rosenstein does end up resigning because of statements he's made, i think it clearly becomes necessary and appropriate whoever the person that's put in charge of this, in other words, whoever becomes the deputy attorney general acting which may be the solicitor general, francisco, or whoever is actually handling this special counsel inquiry, in light of all of this, i think it's really important that there be a step back taken here and a review and basically a time-out on this inquiry. >> the president's own lawyer jay sekulow on his radio show giving away the game today on
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what they hope would be the outcome if, in fact, deputy attorney general rod rosenstein loses his job. as sekulow puts it, a time-out on the mueller investigation. for reaction to those comments and rosenstein's uncertain fate i'm joined by congressman adam schiff of california, ranking member of the house intelligence committee. let me start with that, the president's own lawyer on the radio saying time-out, a step back. what does that mean, what is your reaction to it? >> this is certainly the trump lawyers giving away exactly what this is all about. they want to get rid of rod rosenstein. they want to make a halt to the mueller investigation. they call it a pause, but they want to see the mueller investigation go completely away. and they think the opportunity of getting rid of rod rosenstein, putting someone else in his place, the president's own personal version of roy cohn who will do his bidding is exactly what they are after. and i think under no circumstances should rod rosenstein play into those aspirations by resigning. if the president is going to
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obstruct justice, he needs to own it. and more than that, congress needs to step up and take up legislation to protect him now and not wait until there is a catastrophe. >> do you remain confident in rosenstein's integrity, competence, independence and ability right now? >> look, i haven't always agreed with rod rosenstein and for months i have urged both he and the justice department to stop providing materials to congress in the pending investigation that we have no business reviewing. and that they are merely going to provide to the trump legal defense team from his allies in congress. i haven't always agreed with the judgments he's made about this, but i do believe he has the best interest of justice at heart, that is protecting the mueller investigation to the best of his ability, and that is exactly what he should be doing. and i can understand the pressure that he's under and wanting to -- if he is to leave the justice department, not go out in the middle of a spat with the president, but the higher obligation here is to the constitution, the interest of
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justice. and that means that you do not resign. if the president is going to order you to do something unethical, you refuse, and you allow yourself to be fired, but you don't create a vacancy under the vacancies act that will allow the president to surk um vent t -- circumvent the rule of law by putting a crone i in that position. >> if he in fact is going to be taken out of the job? >> it's crucial in two respects. it's crucial if he resigns as opposed to being fired, then the president gets to replace him on an interim basis with somebody who will simply do his bidding. but it is also important in the case that bob mueller may be putting together on the issue of obstruction of justice. in that case, the firing of james comey is exhibit a, and the firing of rod rosenstein would be exhibit b. if he resigned, that makes it more murky as to whether this constitutes a further act of
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obstruction. >> what's your worst fear about what happens if rosenstein were to go? >> my worst fear is that the president puts someone in that position that will essentially tell mueller to stop the investigation. that will tell mueller with respect to anything further that they might do, that you will not look at this, you will not look at that. those conversations would all be private. one of the things that bob mueller, i believe, needs to do, to do a thorough investigation to determine whether the russians were laundering money through the trump organization, whether that is the leverage the russians may have over the president of the united states. well, rod rosenstein makes that decision now. if he is replaced, someone else would make that decision. >> do you have -- sorry. do you have reason to believe that's the case the russians were laundering money through the trump organization as the leverage? >> there are many serious allegations about this and we can see in statements that the president's own sons have made at a time when they were buying properties like golf courses
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with cash and they were asked, where are you getting all this money? one of the sons said we're getting from russia. we get all the money with he need from russia. we don't basically need to deal with american banks. and at any other time one of the other sons said, we get a d disproportionate share of our assets from russia. you see there is certainly evidence of the purchase of properties by russia, the flipping of those properties. of course, the most egregious example is that residence in florida that was purchased by trump for something in the neighborhood of 40 million and sold a few years later in a declining market for about double that price. >> right. >> purchased by a russian oligarch. >> so what do you expect, how are you preparing yourself for the thursday meeting between rod rosenstein and the president? >> right now we need to be sounding the alarm and we need to be calling out the republican members of congress who have been all too timid and at times complicit with the president's attacks on the rule of law.
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the speaker and the senate leader cannot plausibly claim any more if they ever could that the prospect of interfering with the special counsel is theoretical. >> yeah. >> it's real. and they can't stop -- they can't continue to hide. they need to do their jobs. we should take up legislation if they're serious about protecting the rule of law and the integrity of this investigation that protects bob mueller. >> all right. congressman adam schiff, thank you. >> thank you, chris. >> still ahead, what happens to the mueller investigation if rod rosenstein is no longer the deputy attorney general. plus, what republicans are staking everything on brett kavanagh.
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complexity is neal katyal former solicitor general under president obama. all right, neal, it is complicated. what happens if rosenstein is either fired or resigns? >> well, a lot of bad things can happen. i think rosenstein is the acting attorney general is basically the most important person in the world when it comes to the mueller investigation. the special counsel regulations which i had the privilege of drafting in 1999 put rosenstein in the driver's seat supervising all aspects of the prosecution from who to indict, who to even subpoena, all sorts of decisions are made ultimately by rosenstein. so if rosenstein goes, then you know you could be replacing him with someone who is the president's lackey and the president is fond of doing that in all sorts of other areas, which is one reason he has been so critical of rosenstein. and when we wrote the regulations in 1999, we understood presidents were going to do bad things at various
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times. we thought about nixon who was kind of an amateur level wrong doer. trump has taken this pro. he's gone pro on this. that's the real concern, that you can have someone come in as acting attorney general and really stymie or end the mueller investigation. >> the actual attorney general jeff sessions is recused from the inquiry so they would be functioning in their stead, right? >> correct. >> so here's my question. my understanding now is that if he's fired, then it just goes to the next person in the department of justice line of succession which nolan francisco which has your old job as solicitor general. is that correct? >> that's correct. he is a bright lawyer, an appellate lawyer like ken starr. he's not a prosecutor and i think it's fair to say he's been a particularly partisan solicitor general, overruling past solicitors general than all of his predecessors who are combined alive.
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it is a pretty worrisome thing. >> here's an op-ed from him october 5, 2016 a month before the election. fbi has treated clinton with kid gloves. writing that in the "wall street journal" opinion page. investigators went after governor bob mcdonald with every tool they had. the double standard is obvious. can be a little taste of his perspective. >> right. as i say, rosenstein did the right thing by nominating mueller for this position. mueller was a republican, well, well respected by both sides of the aisle. fbi by director, republican president and the like. noel francisco who is a great bright lawyer doesn't come from that pedigree. >> now, that's if he's fired, right? my understanding is if the president -- the president says you're fired, what controls is the department of justice line of succession. absent someone newly to the post. if he resigns under the vacancy reform act can put in somebody
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already considered for the job, right >> there is a debate about that double acting poe hibberttion and so on. whenever there is a debate, the administration short circuits it and does the wrong thing. i'm not optimistic about what would happen in that scenario. i think the most important thing rod rosenstein has protected the mueller investigation, let it go forth, and you've seen plea after plea, indictment after indictment. the president's national security advisor pleading guilty to felonies and all sorts of things. none of that would have happened were it not for rod rosenstein. >> all right, neal katyal, thank you for joining me. there are many conservatives could back. why are they fighting so hard for this one? more on that coming up.
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in central park begins 3:00 p.m. eastern here on msnbc. you do not want to miss it. just ahead, since president trump has a whole pre-approved list of conservative judges he could nominate to the supreme court, why are republicans holding on so tightly to brett kavanagh? are republicans hold on so tightly to brett kavanaugh? that's next. with advil liqui-gels, what bad shoulder? what headache? advil is relief that's fast strength that lasts you'll ask... what pain? with advil liqui-gels moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis was intense. my mom's pain from i wondered if she could do the stuff she does for us which is kinda, a lot. and if that pain could mean something worse. joint pain could mean joint damage. enbrel helps relieve joint pain, and helps stop further damage enbrel may lower your ability to fight infections. serious, sometimes fatal events including infections, tuberculosis, lymphoma other cancers, nervous system
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there's a chance that could be one of the single most
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unfair, unjust things to happen to a candidate for anything, but i am with judge kavanaugh, and i look forward to a vote and for people to come out of the woodwork from 36 years ago and 30 years ago and never mentioned it, all of the sudden it happens, in my opinion, it's totally political. it is totally political. >> republicans are moving ahead with what appears to be coordinated all-out campaign to save brett kavanaugh's supreme court nomination. the question is why. kavanaugh could well turn out to be an excellent supreme court judge for republicans justice, but then again so could a slew of other judges that were hand-pickford trump who would just as easily reshape the supreme court for years to come. judges who as far as we know have not been accused of sexual assault. talk about what is more going on here, i'm joined by the assistant professor of public policy and jennifer rubin, columnist for "washington post."
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there is a lot of people you can make a call to the pen and start them warming up right now. amy coney barrett who is very conservative, was just confirmed last year. she is a woman. so the optics of it would be quite different and would probably be more right wing than brett kavanaugh. so what is this about? >> i think there is a practical reason and a ideological reason. the practical reason is they're afraid they won't have time to get someone through if they lose the senate. and that's perhaps realistic. the other is they love to fight when they can create an enemy, and now the enis my the left wing conspiracy. now the enemy is you and me. now the enemy is these dastardly women. so that's what they think their base likes. that's what they serve up. and just the fight then, they think will help them survive the midterms. i think that's wrong, but that's what they're banking on. >> you know, what do you think of that, leah? >> i do agree. i think there are a couple of things going on here. first of all, we're talking about a group of people who
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really still don't understand sexual harassment, rape culture, who idealogically just don't see this in the same way. >> yeah. >> that they see their partisan opponents or even accusers, the accusers in this case. but then the other side, i do agree with jennifer on this is that they think that this is a good tactic for revving up the base, for giving the base something, but then also they're thinking about we have to give our base a conservative court. we promised them a conservative court. we promised them a win. and if we back down now, then we look weak. >> right. >> then we look like we've given something up. so they're pushing this ahead because they're saying, you know, we're damned if we do. we're damned if we're not. this is what we think our base wants. >> i should also be clear here, i personally think motivated reasoning is powerful. it's powerful on all of us, myself included. and a lot have convinced themselves it's not true. a lot genuinely think that it's really being run by some dodgy
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sorrows backed conspiracy ring. but there is an important principle here that republicans are standing to to their view. this is what steve king said, iowa congressman who finds himself with the mountain if a close race. is there a man in this room that wouldn't be subjected to such an allegation, a false allegation? how can you disprove something like that? which means if that's the new standard, no man will ever qualify for the supreme court again. it's become an ideological drive. >> the republicans have discovered gender profiling, apparently. there is what has them up in arms. the solution would be to nominate just women there are many men, including neil gorsuch, including sam alito who have all passed muster. >> of course it's just a year ago. >> there is not a woman hiding under every rock, and for them to make this claim is perpetuating this notion that there is hysterical false bearing witnesses all over the
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place out the get them. and it's insulting to these women. it's not true. but it does sort of promote the view that you should promote a lot of women. and there are a lot of women running this time. >> leah, this is something that fox reporter chad pergrom said kavanaugh nomination is in trouble. that's why mcconnell made blistering speech today. mcconnell trying to get gop peers to run out every ground ball to salvage nomination, kavanaugh lacks the votes right now. what do you think of that? >> yeah, so i do think the kavanaugh nomination is in trouble, even if it goes through, even if they force this through. what you've done is taint him for the rest of his career even if he is successful, and you've tainted the supreme court. we already know that the supreme court has been in trouble, is an institution that americans are questioning, are troubled with. but this, the circus around it, it recalls moments like clarence thomas and anita hill. it recalls kind of the circus of
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other political moments that have really torn down institutions, and also recalls the circus of donald trump and his election and all of the things that came along with that. >> yeah. >> so, you know, you are in trouble, and i think that republicans right now are thinking yes, we're in trouble. we have to push this through. we have to think about our base. but they're not necessarily thinking about the big picture. >> yeah. >> of what this means, especially in the midterms, especially for motivating democrats to turn out. the message that they're sending to women of all partisan affiliations about what it means to be a woman and what it means to be a man in the republican party. >> yeah, and i should note that there is a possibility of catastrophic success in the short-term which is if they win, there is a midterm backlash. >> correct. >> right. >> i would say on the supreme court the difference between clarence thomas in this case was the fbi investigated last time. >> yes. >> so it ended. they had closure. here there has been no fbi investigation, and presumably, there could be people who would come forward after he was confirmed and then we're into a
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circus. turkey, unite all today's news themes, here is a picture from 1996 i believe that shows ken starr's team, and in it you'll see brett kavanaugh there standing up there, and down in the lower right-hand corner, why rod rosenstein is there. we're all just reliving the ken starr team in perpetuity. leah wright. good evening my friend, much appreciated. how was your weekend? mine was fine. i caught a brown trout, which was awesome. and i put it back. i was supposed to get a new washing machine this weekend, but i blew it off and didn't do it. so that means the old washing machine has another week to blow up and leak. i did some filing. susan made shepherd's pie. the patriots lost. remember normal weekends, right? this weekend i actually tried to pretend this things are normal now. clearly, they are not. even before we had our national fire drill this