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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  May 17, 2019 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT

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realized that early on, thankfully, and now the yearbook staff has paid them their proper tribute. and that is our broadcast on this friday night and for this week. thank you so much for having here with us. good night from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. thank you at home for joining us this hour. rachel has the night off. she will be back on monday. we have lots to get to tonight, including the latest fight over abortion at the state level. today, two days after alabama's governor signed the most restrictive anti-abortion bill in the nation into law, today the republican-led legislature in missouri passed a bill that would outlaw abortion after eight weeks, no exceptions for rape or incest. you may have been seen one of the republican lawmakers defending today's bill by saying
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that in his experience, most sexual assaults were the result of, quote, date rape or consensual rape. yes, consensual rain. if you're wondering what on earth that is, get in line. we'll have a lot more on missouri, alabama, and the politics of reproductive freedom across the united states coming up in just a few minutes. but we start tonight with the president's tax returns, or the lack thereof. tonight the treasury secretary steve mnuchin recessed to hand over the president's tax returns, rejecting a congressional subpoena that demanded that he do so by the close of business today. house ways and means chairman richie neil first asked for six years of the president's tax returns back in april, citing federal law that requires the irs to give the returns of any individual to the chairman of that committee. neil cited his authority under section 6103 of the federal tax code.
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that section of the law mandates that, quote, upon written request from the chairman of the committee on ways and means of the house of representatives, the secretary of the treasury, quote, shall furnish such committee with any return or return information. the administration twice refused to meet the committee's voluntarily deadline to comply with the law, leading chairman neil to issue a subpoena last week to force the release of those returns. with less than an hour to go before neil's 5:00 p.m. deadline, secretary steve mnuchin sent this one-page response to the chairman. quote, the department of the treasury has consulted with the department of justice concerning the lawfulness of the committee's unprecedented request. necessity rely we have determined the committee's request lacks a legitimate legislative purpose and pursuant to section 61-03,
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the department is, therefore, not authorized to disclose the requested returns. the department of justice has informed us that it intends to memorialize its advice in a published legal opinion as soon as practicable. so the request went up under federal statute from congress to the treasury department. treasury brought it to the justice department and the answer came back to congress. no, no we are not giving you what you say the law requires us to give you. you will not be surprised to hear that chairman neil is sticking with this. he noted tonight in a statement, quote, the law provides clear statutory authority for the chair of the ways and means committees to request and receive access to tax returns and return information. the law by its terms does not allow for discretion as to whether to comply with a request for tax returns. neil says he intends to consult with attorneys in the house on how best to enforce the
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subpoenas moving forward. but earlier this afternoon, the chairman offered a hint about his own thinking on the matter. >> chairman neil, i wanted to see if i could ask you about the deadline for the tax returns today. are you planning to take action against mnuchin? >> he has until 5:00 obviously, that was the deadline. but i anticipate they won't meet that deadline and the result will be that we will likely proceed to court as quickly as next week. >> do you plan to consider holding mnuchin in contempt? >> i don't see that right now is an option. i think the better option for us is to proceed with the court case. >> we will likely proceed to court as quickly as next week. while the black letter of the law appears to be clearly on the democrats' side, this latest stonewalling by the white house on a request is not a surprise. while the battle over the president's tax returns will likely be the marquee court fight, it is one of approximately 20 different congressional investigations that the administration is either ignoring or saying
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either ignoring or saying flat out no to. some of these fights have received less attention. the white house continues to rebuff democratic attempts to get information on the white house security clearance process. and the president's potential violation of the emoluments clause and the citizenship question to the 2020 census. donald trump actively filing lawsuits to stop deutsche bank and his accounting firm mazars from complying with congressional subpoenas to turn over financial information. this latest escalation tonight over the president's tax returns, it's another indication that this standoff between the executive and the legislative branches is rolling to a boil. the chairman of the house intelligence committee, adam schiff, says his committee will take, quote, enforcement action against attorney general bill barr next week for defying his committee's subpoena for the special counsel's unredacted report and its underlying intelligence materials.
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yesterday the chairman of the judiciary committee, jerry nadler, issued a blistering post to the white house's blunt assertion that he should discontinue his committee's investigation of this white house. we will have more on that particular fight later in this show. but today we saw more evidence that the president and his attorney general are not content to put up a road block against any and all oversight from an equal branch of government. they are also seeking to ratchet up their attacks on the federal investigators at the fbi. today in a tweet, the president declared that his campaign was conclusively spied on. before adding this, treason means long jail sentences. and this was treason. and honestly, honestly unfounded accusations of spying from our president against the men and women of the fbi who were tasked
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with investigating a sweeping and systematic attack on our democracy have become so commonplace that the president of the united states advocating long jail sentences for those who investigate him barely registers anymore. what seems more alarming is the 85th attorney general of the united states, this man, repeating similar talking points in a new interview with "the wall street journal" as well as on the president's favorite news channel. >> people have to find out what the government was doing during that period. if we're worried about foreign influence for the very same reason, we should be worried about whether government officials abused their power and put their thumb on the scale. >> the president calls this a witch hunt. he calls it a hoax. do you agree with that? >> as i've said, if you were the president, i think he would view it as a witch hunt and a hoax. >> democrats will charge that you are the president's attorney now. >> they don't know what they're talking about.
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>> the attorney general of the united states who said at his confirmation hearing that the mueller probe was not a witch hunt today says he could totally see the president's view that the mueller investigation is a witch hunt and a hoax. as of tonight we also know according to treasury secretary mnuchin, the treasury department on the advice of william barr's justice department has determined the democrats' authority under the law to see the president's tax returns, quote, lacks a legitimate legislative purpose and will, therefore, be denied. as mnuchin wrote, the department of justice intends to memorialize this advice in a published legal opinion as soon as practicable. meerjs any number of legal experts say democrats on are solid legal ground in demanding those tax returns. the top democrat anticipates the democrats will proceed to court as quickly as next week, the same week the democrats on the intelligence committee plan on
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enforcement action against the attorney general. how are all these fights going to play out? joining us now, congressman jim himes of connecticut and congresswoman judy chu of california, a member of the ways and means committee. thank you for joining us tonight. great to have you here. >> thank you. >> congressman chu, i want to get your reaction to the news tonight that the treasury secretary, steve mnuchin, will not comply with with chairman neil's subpoena for trump's taxes because you sit on the ways and means committee that has subpoenaed those taxes. your reaction, please, to steve mnuchin refusing to comply with that subpoena. >> i said to myself, here we go again. this is the third request for trump's tax returns. they once again have not complied. but there is a difference with this request. it is a subpoena. so it does allow us to go to court, and one of the options is
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indeed for house counsel to ask the speaker to have a vote on going to court. and we could be in court as soon as next week. as we saw with the subpoena issued by congress member elijah cummings for the oversight and government reform committee, they have already had a court hearing, and there is some possibility that those documents that they requested will come forth, and that is the same result i hope we can see here. >> we played it as chairman neil was coming down the stairs, a report asked him is there some chance of holding steve mnuchin in contempt, and he said the court is probably the better way to do this. but your colleague, lloyd doggett of texas floated the day of holding him in inherent contempt, which means being jailed or detained by the sergeant at arms. your thoughts about that? >> any and all options are on
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the table. yes, it is possible to put him in jail, but i would think that that is not likely going to happen. nonetheless, holding someone in contempt is an option. still, doing a legal action on the tax law itself, 6103, which is the basis upon which chairman neil can ask for those tax returns, that is an important thing to recognize as inherent in the law. in fact, it's a law that still been in place for nearly 100 years, and it was actually enacted in 1924. so we stand on solid legal ground with the subpoena as well as with the tax law in asking for trump's tax returns. i can't even believe we are in this state because for four decades, presidents have voluntarily revealed their tax returns.
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both democrats and republicans. why we have to go to this level is something that the american people should be asking. nonetheless, we are taking a step forward if we do indeed go to court. >> congressman himes, chairman adam schiff of the intel committee said he'll hold a meeting next week to discuss whether to hold attorney general barr in contempt for not complying with his subpoena to give the committee the unredacted mueller report. do you think that attorney general barr is stonewalling your committee, and are you concerned you have not yet been given access to the full unredacted mueller report? >> yes, i am concerned about that., unredacted mueller report? >> yes, i am concerned about that. as you probably saw, there have been discussions back and forth between the department of justice and the intelligence committee. those are taking on the feeling of simply stalling. our committee is different than most in that almost everything we do is behind closed doors. it's in a classified environment. things like sources and methods of intelligence, things that might otherwise be embarrassing,
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there is no reason not to provide those to this committee. so chairman schiff didn't actually say -- he said we may take an enforcement action. what you're seeing more broadly, and what judy was describing, is a very deliberate and careful way forward on all these committees. remember, the president said i'm not cooperating at all in any way, shape, or form. that is an impossible position for the president to be in. it is congress, article one in the constitution. the only constitutional reason why somebody can't be forced to testify in front of the congress is the 5th amendment right not to incriminate yourself. congress need not recognize executive privilege. it need not recognize attorney/client privilege. so eventually we win in court, you made a reference to inherent contempt. we may not even need to go to the court to compel people to come before us. but the point us the game the
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white house is playing is one they know they will lose in court, wanting to drag this out as long as they can and set a new standard for eliminating the very notion that there is a balance of power, that there are checks and balances in our government. >> while you're both here, i want to ask you about another important issue developing, and that is having to do with iran. i want to ask you both about a letter that you signed tonight to the president along with 100 other house democrats warning the president about, quote, disastrous consequences of a conflict with iran. congressman himes, you are the first signature on the letter. tell me what's behind this. >> yeah. ali, i wrote that letter and i was just so delighted in a 36-hour period, almost a 36-hour period, almost a quarter of the united states house of representatives signed onto it. i'm not in the habit of praising this president, but i think he has a smart instinct on war in the middle east. he doesn't like the idea of quagmires.
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now, the summary withdrawal of our troops from syria isn't how i would have done it, but what is happening now is people who have spent a long time thinking about how they might draw the united states into a conflict with iran, and i'm talking about of course, chiefly john bolton, i'm talking about mike pompeo, some people in the middle east who would love to have us do their bidding, saudi arabia being at the top of that list. they're setting up a situation where war becomes inevitable. they know enough about president trump to know that if you smack him, he smacks back. that is always true. so if they can set up enough tension, enough heat where the iranians make a mistake or deliberately take a swipe at a u.s. naval vessel or whatever it might be, we will be in yet another war in the middle east, which is why this letter to the president is so important because this is the time for everybody to step back, take a deep breath and make sure we don't find ourselves in yet another disaster in the middle east. >> congressman chu, i want to ask you about william barr's
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comments over the past 24 hours that he wants to make sure that the intel community did not tip the scale. those are his words, in surveillance of the trump campaign's associates. those are surprising comments by an attorney general. >> well, it shows that he is certainly not neutral in what he's saying. he has, in fact, led this -- his administration in bringing forth this kind of suspicion and paranoia about the fbi investigation of russian interference. and i think it is not called for. in fact, i'm outraged by it. >> congresswoman judy chu and congressman jim himes, thank you so much for joining me. we appreciate it. >> thank you. political deja vu, and not the good kind. that's next. stay with us.
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shame, shame, shame, shame, shame, shame, shame, shame! >> protesters at the state capitol in missouri today filled the gallery in the house of representatives as members argued over a strict anti-abortion bill that would
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ban abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy. those floor deities included this guy, republican state representative barry hovis. this guy is a 30-year veteran of the police department. he took to the floor to say that the majority of sexual assaults he encountered were either, quote, date rapes or consensual rapes. he said "consensual rape." his comments were met with hissing in the gallery. since saying that on the floor, representative hovis said that he misspoke and there is, in fact, no such thing as, quote, consensual rape. but if this sounds familiar to you, it's because not that long ago in 2012 another missouri politician named todd akin told a local news station that victims of what he described as legitimate rape rarely become pregnant. he later lost his senate election to claire mccaskill.
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by 15 points. protesters started chanting from the chamber, when you lie, people die, and shame on you. protesters were escorted out so they gathered outside the house chamber, and as the house started voting on the measure, they chanted vote "no" now. the chamber did not listen and voted yes. they voted overwhelmingly to pass a bill that would make it illegal to get an abortion after the eighth week of pregnancy with no exceptions for rape or incest, only for medical emergencies. it now goes to the republican governor's desk to be signed into law. if his twitter is any indicator, he plans on signs the bill. quote, it's time to make missouri the most pro-life state in the country. today's vote comes within days of alabama politicians effectively bands abortion in their state, no exception for rape or incest. women are going to be forced to carry their pregnancy to term. that bill was signed into law by
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the governor on wednesday. that also comes on the heels of georgia signing a bill into law basically bands abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, and that is not including what is happening in plenty of other states such as arkansas, kentucky, mississippi, ohio, and utah, states that have all passed new anti-abortion bills. republican-controlled states all over the country are basically rushing to pass the most restrictive, draconian abortion bills, in some cases, making it a felony offense to perform an abortion with no exception for rape or incest. in doing so, they are effectively trying to mount a challenge to the supreme court's 1973 roe v. wade. this is how the right has decided to run and we're seeing it all over the country. but something has changed in this fight because this time around democrats are embracing their place as a pro-choice party. they're not shying away from this debate. in fact, they're going to the
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heart of it. for example, massachusetts senator and presidential hopeful elizabeth warren introduced a plan to save abortion rights, making the case that congress can protect choice by passing laws to protect reproductive services. new york senator and presidential candidate kirsten gillibrand went to georgia yesterday where she led a round table discussion on the impact of anti-abortion laws. new jersey senator and presidential hopeful cory booker wrote an open letter to men, asking men to support women's reproductive freedoms. and they're not alone. many of the democratic candidates are out on the campaign trail making statements tweeting, publicly running as pro-choice party for all to see. the question is, will this help democrats politically? will democrats start to campaign like republicans always have on the importance of appointing in this case liberal justices to the supreme court?
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joining us now careen jean pierre, chief public affairs officer for thank you for being with me tonight. >> thank you so much. it's a pleasure. >> republicans are back to playing culture wars. how successful have republican and social conservatives been in shoring up their base on issues like abortion? >> they have been incredibly successful, ali. we have to remember what we're seeing right now with republicans, it's not an accident. it is part of the end game of a plan that they put into place decades ago. what i mean by that is, to make sure they stack the supreme court with anti-choice judges and also what then happens is it aggressively pushes legislation to challenge roe. we even heard from justice briar this week where he actually gave a warning saying that roe is in danger. roe is under deep threat. so that is what the difference is now is that people are seeing when you're talking about these
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legislators, these democratic candidates out there speaking because i don't think roe has ever been under threat the way that we see it today. let's not forget what happened in november where women really gave a big, huge win for democrats, not just in the house, but across the country. so there's an understanding that women are standing up, they're running, they're speaking, and we have to listen to that base. and so this is what we're seeing. we're seeing women rising up and making sure their voices are being counted. and i hope more women run. but this is where we are today. we are in a place where republicans want to make sure that women do not have a voice, that they cannot decide what they do with their bodies, with their minds, and that they don't have a choice. we just cannot let that happen. >> to the extent, though, that democrats, many of them often believed in the idea that this has been decided by the supreme court, it has been the law of
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the land since 1973, that roe v. wade is actually about privacy as much as it is about women and abortion. but democrats do not seem to have embraced the idea that appointing judges across the board up and down the ladder is the way to go. are you seeing a change in the way the democrats are responding to this? >> i do see that in the candidates who are running for president. they have been a few of them who said they would put liberal judges up if they were to become president of the united states clearly in 2020. so i think there has been a change. we cannot sit back and take this lying down. we have to be as aggressive as republicans have. we have to make sure we protect women because if we don't, women will die. if we go backwards, if we don't stop what republicans are doing across the country. so they do have a leg up. we have to remember one of the main reasons donald trump was
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elected in 2016 was because of the scotus pick. republicans got their basic side -- republicans got their base excited and made them understand if you care about their pro-life movement, their anti-choice movement, then you have to focus on scotus. that tide has changed for us a little bit, especially with the kavanaugh pick that happened and all the energy that went around that. now we have to tap into that and make sure that women's voices are heard and we're hearing them and that we're fighting for them because if we don't, we are going to be losing this battle in a big way. >> karine jean-pierre for appreciate your time this evening. >> thank you so much. >> one thing we keep an eye on as we head into next week, planned parenthood is planning nationwide protests against the anti-abortion bills passing in the states. the national day of action will be on tuesday. protests are planned in all 50 states. more ahead tonight. stay with us.
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>> ms. vitter, do you believe brown v. board of education was correctly decided? >> senator, i don't mean to be coy, but i get into a difficult -- a difficult area when i start commenting on supreme court decisions which are correctly decided and which i may disagree with. again, my personal, political, or religious views i would set aside. that is supreme court precedent. it is binding. if i were honored to be confirmed, i would be bound by it, and, of course, i would uphold it. >> so you believe it was correctly decided? >> yes, senator. as a judicial nominee, it's not appropriate for me to comment on the correctness of the particular precedence. i would follow it. >> was brown v. board of education correctly decided? >> senator, i don't think that it would be a productive
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exercise for me to go through the most -- thousands of supreme court opinions and say which ones are right and which ones are wrong. >> senate judiciary democrat richard blumenthal made a point of asking trump's educational and justice department nominees to answer a question that should be a no-brainer. was the supreme court right to strike down separate but equal doctrine 65 years ago today? lately a whole slew of nominees have been dodging that very question. yesterday the republican-controlled senate confirmed one of these nominees who you just heard about, wendy vitter, to the lifetime position of federal district court judge. by one count, there are 24 more nominees on deck for confirmation who have also refused to say whether brown v board was correctly decided. mitch mcconnell said given the choice to pass a bill or confirm a judge, he'd confirm a judge. that's how committed he is to reshaping the courts. he's made it a priority, so the
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senate is moving at break-neck speed to make that happen. but democrats and many legal experts are alarmed at what they're hearing from people who are on track to get those seats like civil rights attorney sherrilyn ifill who set said, quote, brown should be regarded as a low bar to clear for any judicial or justice department nominee. that scores of trump nominees have been confirmed despite a refusal to even approach this simple question is a shameful reminder of how far we have moved away from principles that once enjoyed broad consensus in this new normal. nominees either support brown, the rule of law, and equality under the law, or they do not. and they do not, they put our very democracy at risk. joining us, sherrilyn ifill, president and director counsel
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of the naacp, legal defense, and educational fund. good to see you again. thank you for joining us. >> thank you, ali. >> what do you make of senator blumenthal's strategy by asking this question of trump judicial nominees? >> it's funny, ali. we were with senator blumenthal yesterday on capitol hill. we had a rally to commemorate the 65th anniversary of brown. and he confirmed what i believe to be true. he confirmed there was no strategy. the question he thought was a simple one, a kind of softball, giving a nominee an opportunity to kind of talk extemporaneously about issues ever of race and equality. he was stunned with these nominees, wendy vitter gave the answer she gave. he has continued asking the question because of what wendy vitter responded. and andrew hold am you showed in the clip.
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what's become clear by this succession of nominees answering the question in this way is that this is not an accident. this is orchestrated. what is critical for viewers to know is this is not the norm. this is not a conservative/liberal thing. conservative justices have been asked this question in the past, particularly justices nominated to the united states supreme court, and they have answered the question. they have chosen not to answer, for example, questions about roe v. wade, but they've always answered questions about brown. chief justice roberts talked extensively about brown at his confirmation hearing. justice alito described brown as vindicating the true meaning of equal protection under the 14th amendment and the guarantee of equality for all races. justice kavanaugh last year at his confirmation hearing described it as the most important case in the history of the supreme court. so it's not as though this has been some line in the sand of conservative ideology.
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something new has happened, and what we are seeing from these judges beginning with wendy vitter last year and other nominees, including the deputy attorney general who was just confirmed yesterday, is a decision to refuse to endorse brown, which used to lie at the center of the cannon, the center of the condescension within the legal profession. we should take note there's a concerted effort to move brown to the margins. >> to what end? are these judges that do not believe the doctrine of separate but equal is invalid? are these judges who one day might take a chance of overturning this landmark ruling? >> that's why you ask the question because you really want to understand what do they think. is that what they think? chief justice roberts felt comfortable talking about brown, he said, because he put brown in that category of cases like mar berry versus madison, the 1803
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decision that established judicial review. he put it in that category that they were unlikely to ever return to the supreme court. so that's what chief justice roberts thought in 2005. are there now members of the legal profession who believe that brown, the question of whether state-sanctioned apartheid is constitutional or not? they believe that's an issue that might return to the supreme court? what possible reason could one have not to answer the question? and i do think it sends a signal. there's some signaling happening that everything is on the table. and it's important for people to remember that brown wasn't just about school desegregation. what brown symbolizes, i think, for many people, particularly on the far right is kind of an entire project that transformed our democracy. it's a project that opened the doors to groups, to african-americans, to latinos, but also to women, to members of the lgbtq community. it was a new way of
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reinvigorating what the meaning of the 14th amendment and equal protection meant. and there are many who are in opposition to some elements of that. by simply refusing to talk about brown, it sends a signal, it's a flair, a shot across the bow in my estimation that we should not ignore and we should not have a failure of imagination with anyone proposed by this administration that they might carry extreme views. >> speaking of a failure of imagination, sherrilyn ifill, every time i speak to you, i get smarter about something. now you know. sherrilyn ifill is the president of the ncaa legal defense and education fund. we appreciate your time tonight. >> thanks. much more ahead, including a letter of the strongly worded variety from a politician who's not playing around. stay with us. -we bought a house in a neighborhood
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we would be derelict in our duty to them if we fail to pursue our mission expeditiously, fully, and without fairness. the aim of the committee is to open public testimony in order that the nation can proceed towards the healing of the wounds that now afflict politics. it is our aim that we are here to pursue today within the terms of the mandate imposed upon us by our colleagues and in compliance with applicable rules of law. the nation is watching us. we cannot fail our mission. >> senator sam ervin of north carolina. he liked to say he was just a country lawyer. but he was also the powerful chairman of the senate watergate committee. for 51 days in 1973, senator sam ervin had the nation enthralled as the watergate hearings played out on tv. in the rear view mirror, it is easy to take for granted that the dominos feel the way they did, that congress completed
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its duty to investigate and then nixon eventually resigned. but every domino had to fall in just the right way, including and especially congress investigating. yet, right now in 2019, as congress tries to investigate the trump administration, that's exactly what the white house is arguing against, saying congress is not entitled to a, quote, do-over of the mueller investigation. even going so far as to tell house judiciary chairman jerry nadler that they should, quote, discontinue the inquiry and leave the investigations to the justice department, which you will recall is part of the executive branch. as far as is white house is concerned searching for obstruction of justice or threats against the rule of law does not justify opening an investigation. quote, it is not the compete's function to conduct a detailed inquiry into a particular event or series of events in order to reconstruct a
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precise picture of the facts. in other words, the white house is telling the judiciary committee stick to your knitting, we'll handle the facts. as you might expect, that didn't go over so well with chairman jerry nadler. in addition to calling their take on the mueller report, quote, astounding and dangerous, chairman nadler seemed to channel sam ervin, as hepped it during the watergate hearings in a blistering eight-page letter they wrote to president trump's lawyer. quote, the committee has the right, indeed, the duty under the constitution to investigate. your sweeping claim that the committee has no right to seek documents and information related to the issues investigated by the special counsel is unprecedented and unsupported by law, history, and practice. the administration's position that the president cannot be indicted by the department of
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justice and that congress cannot investigate him effectively places the president above the law. quote, that claim, like your demand that the committee discontinue its inquiry, is inconsistent with the most basic principles underlying our constitutional system of government. chairman nadler is invoking the idea of a constitutional crisis. is he right? joining me now is michael beschloss, nbc news presidential historian. michael, it is great to have you with us tonight at this important moment in history in which we have to understand because chairman nadler says is the white house position that congress doesn't have the right to investigate is as he says, quote, unprecedented and unsupported by law, history, and practice. you are our expert. is it? >> yeah, and also unsupported by the constitution. as you know, ali, you go to the constitution, what james madison wrote is one of the most
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important checks congress has on unwarranted presidential power is investigation. so for the executive branch to say congress cannot investigate the executive branch, that's absolutely crazy. >> up until now, michael, the white house and congress have been going back and forth over granular things, documents, witnesses, testimony, timing, scope of questions, i can understand if a viewer might get a little bored with that because it's complicated. but this new argument that the white house is putting forward feels like a species jump forward. we're not daegt what they'll hand over. they're calling into question the right of congress to investigate. >> oh, absolutely. if congress gives into this, you may as well fold up this democracy and say this is over because this is the way our system of government works. and so what jerry nadler is doing is not only asserting the right of his committee to get the information it wants in a much more broad way, it's
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asserting the necessity for congress to get information from the executive branch to investigate things that they think that are just wrong. you don't have that, you don't have a democracy. >> at some point a lot depends on this office of legal counsel memo that says that you don't indict a sitting president. this is my paraphrase because the president is busy doing other things and that would be something he wouldn't be able to handle. that is not the law. >> no. that memo is a piece of paper by some lawyers within the department of justice who could change it tomorrow if they wanted to. there's nothing like that in the constitution. for instance, in 1973 it wasn't a president, but vice president spiro agnew, as rachel has shown in her wonderful podcast, he was threatened by the then-attorney general elliott richardson who said basically you have two choices, you can quit because of these crimes that we have
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evidence that you've committed, or if you don't quit, you will go into a trial where it's almost certain that you will go to jail. that to a great degree established the fact that presidents could be indicted. show me in the constitution where it says that a president can't be indicted while in office. >> fortunately that can't be found in the united states constitution. michelle beschloss, nbc's presidential highwaystorian. thank you as always. still to come, what an illegal dishwasher looks like. more on that. stay with us. on that stay with us other child. or their new friend. or your giant nephews and their giant dad. or a horse. or a horse's brother, for that matter. the room for eight, 9,000 lb towing ford expedition. nueven if you try to eat well,.
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you might fall short in key nutrients. get more by adding one a day. it's the #1 multivitamin uniquely designed for men and women. one serving, once a day. one a day. and done. leaders of the democratic party. for over two years, this president has broken the law... and nothing happened. you told us to wait for the mueller investigation. and when he showed obstruction of justice... nothing happened. when this president took money from foreign governments and blocked the release of his tax returns... nothing happened. and when his administration illegally refused to testify nothing happened. now you tell us to wait for the next election? really? really? really? this is why we volunteered, raised money, went door to door and voted in the last election. our founding fathers expected you - congress - to hold a lawless president accountable. and you're doing nothing. nothing. nothing. he broke his oath of office. he's defying you. he's laughing at you. and he's getting away with it.
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this is our democracy. but congress is part of the system and the system is broken. we have to fix it. need to impeach is responsible for the content of this advertising. who used expedia to book the hotel which led to the discovery that sometimes a little down time can lift you right up. expedia. everything you need to go. they're america's biopharmaceutical researchers. pursuing life-changing cures in a country that fosters innovation here, they find breakthroughs... like a way to fight cancer by arming a patient's own t-cells... because it's not just about the next breakthrough... it's all the ones after that.
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remember last year when trump cabinet official ben carson tried to spend $31,000 on a dining room set for his government office? how could you forget that dining room table set? last night we learned from the governmentbility office that it wasn't just the dining room table set, it was also a dishwasher for the office kitchen. and both those purchases broke the law because carson's office did not get congressional approval which is required by law for purchases over $5,000. oops. that is a big deal. and not something to lose sight of. up next, another story about a trump cabinet official breaking the rules. this time with a fun twist. stay with us.
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ah, control. (vo) go national. go like a pro. we want better kids, we've got to be better parents. sometimes that starts with something as simple as dinner. >> the more you know. on this show, rachel and the gang like to give a nod to nbc's beloved psa campaign. our off-brand cable news version is a little different, though. rachel breaks it out. when the news ends in a kind of cliffhanger and you weren't sure how it was going to end, she calls it you know more now. so here we go. i've been practicing this all day. ♪ >> thanks, sam. here's the story. remember this guy? scott pruitt, donald trump's first epa administrator who resigned amid an astounding number of ethics and corruption scandals tied to how he was
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spending the government's money. there was the private security detail. the first class flights. the fake security booth, the mysterious tactical pants. scott pruitt improperly spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars while he was running the epa which is why he is not running the epa anymore. he resigned last july amid a list of controversies that practically stretched from washington to, i don't know, the sun. it's been almost a year since scott pruitt packed up his tactical pants and left the cabinet. all this time it's been a mystery whether or not the government would ever get back all money he spent, whether the government would send scott pruitt a bill for his expensive stay as epa administrator. well, you know more now. this week, the epa concluded its investigation of scott pruitt's spending, specifically about the money he spent on travel. it concluded that pruitt spent
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$124,000 "without sufficient justification and initially without appropriate approval authority." the inspector general said the epa should decide if it wants to try to get that money back and who it would ask to pay for it. they say it's up to the epa whether or not it wants to try to collect from scott pruitt, and the epa has decided it's all good. it does not want that $124,000 that scott pruitt improperly spent on upscale travel. quote, epa believes that the trips were authorsed by an appropriate official make manage cost recovery inappropriate." so now we know. the epa will not be sending scott pruitt a bill to recoup his extravagant spending of taxpayer money because that would be inappropriate. still a mystery what happened to those tactical pants. but we live in hope. ♪
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thanks, sam. that does it for us to want. rachel is back on monday. you can catch me monday at 1:00 and again at 3:00. now it is time for the last word with lawrence o'donnell. okay. >> we live in hope. >> i'm going to keep that right here. thank you, ali. tens of thousands of people marched through the streets of new york city chanting "i can't breathe" after watching a video of eric garner saying i can't breathe 11 times as he was being choked to death by a new york city police officer five years ago. yesterday, just yesterday a new disturbing quote was added to that story. it was the first official reaction from a superior officer in the nypd when he heard about the killing of eric garner. he immediately said, not a big deal. those were his exact words. not a beeg deal. that was revealed yesterday in court, not in court but in a proceeding yesterday in new york city in the police department in cross-examination