tv MSNBC Live With Craig Melvin MSNBC October 31, 2019 8:00am-9:00am PDT
to participate and actually defend itself a on the substanc? or was does it do? is it all bombast all the time until we get to potentially an impeachment vote. >> i want to delve deeper into that point and also tell our viewers here, as we're at the top of the 11:00 hour on the east coast in washington, you're watching msnbc's special live uninterrupted coverage of what all agree is a historic day on capitol hill.c this is the preparation for a house vote on resolution 660, providing for the rules for the potential impeachmentth of the current president donald trump. what you see on your veen is a countdown that will result in proceeding to thatsu vote. so the current count you see on your screen has not yet arrived under the house procedure on the phone. what i can tell you, in a matter of moments when you sigh this count run down,u within the ne nine minutes, we expect the house to, proceed then to the
actual vote on the impeachment resolution and trules. we also are told in a departure from then normal course, speak pelosi will be presiding over this, speaking and going up in front ofnd the entire congress there to preside over this vote. speakers also, asis you may kno from watching the news, speakers don't usually vote on each provision becauseea the speakerf the house controls everything and can control when there are votes and when there are revotes. we're told thel speaker may also -- we're watching to see if the speaker votes on this resolution as well. i want to bring in garrett haake who has been keeping an eye on all ofpi this directly for us o the dihill. what happens next, garrett? >> reporter: i'm still seeing the s majority of members have t yet voted in this first series.i usually the first votes of the day are the first time a lot of members set foot onme the house floor. folks are coming from their offices, from their apartments around town. a lot of membersou starting the day rolling m in for this first vote. we'll see thiss timer probably expire and then have some additional time before the
second advote, the key vote of e day takes place. ida want to point back to kevin mcincarthy, the republican lead in theth house who just finishe his remarks. he made a couple of political points that i think you can expect to heart a lot more, particularly as the process changes here and the process arguments having been used by republicans up to this point become less valid. first is ais circular argument, but you'll hear it a lot. that this cannot go forward if it's not a bipartisan impeachment. he will b be calling back to nay pelosi's party line, essentia y essentially, for the last year and a half. the impeachment has to be done on a bipartisan basis. pelosi would talk about that a lot as a means to forestall impeachment on earlier issues brought forward in this administration. but republicans, by whipping veryan aggressively to keep the membership in line can prevent this from becoming bipartisan. inmi fact, the only republican that's come outt, in favor of impeachment so far, justin amash from michigan is no longer a
congressman. they don't want to talk about the ideato that this is -- what democrats are investigating hert is the idea that the president is trying toth influence the election in 2020. but i they want to try to turn f independentff voters, independent-minded americans who are justed so tired of the mueller-russia-2016 story line. any time you hear republicans refer back to the impeachment vote is an invalidation of the last election, that's what you're seeing signaled here. here is the president trying to change theth results of the 202 election, you'll get a different reaction from people, than anything that reminds peoplem the long relate gags of the 2016 campaign. mccarthy laid down the marker there.he expect to hear those two lines of political spin here for the nextn month or so. >> garrett haake, we are six minutes out of this vote, thank you.te we'll be coming back to you. i want to turn back to jeremy bash.
as you know, jeremy, most members come down to the house floor and that's where they make their votes known. in a social media era with a twitter presidency, we sometimes get otheren indications. everyone knows that justin amash who left the republican party has broken with r the president already. heth has a new tweet that may ge a sense of where he is today. pretty striking. his tweet says, quote, this president will be in power for only a short time, excusing his misbehavior will forever tarnish your name. to my republican colleagues, quote, step outside your media and social bubble. history will not look kindly on disingenuous, frivolous and falsesi defenses of this man. jeremy. >> congressman amash has been a leading voice outside of the democratic caucus for holding the president c accountable for this conduct. i don't know whether or not he's going to have other people join him. right nowotop it looks like abo
half the democrats and half the republicans have voted. right now it's breaking almost entirely on party lines with the exception of one democratic who hasra voted no on this initial resolution. i thinkal what you'll see from here over the next five or six minutes, the rest of the house members will come to the floor. the bells are ringing around the capitol to signify minutes taking down onig this vote. they d will extend it to allow almost everybody to vote. they vote by an electronic key card they slide into a slot in the house well. then you'll see nancy pelosi at the podium. she probably will get a number ofl inquiries from republicans trying to sort of gum up the works,f but she will ultimatel gavel down the proceedings, call probably a five-minute vote and that will be the vote on this resolution, and that we expect toat largely break down along party lines. ing the next couple weeks, arii think you'll see open hearings on tuesdays, wednesdays and ne thursdays. you'll hear the familiar names,
vindman, volcker, sondland, taylor, fiona hill. beyond that i don't thinkfi there's a lot more evidence beyond thatre testimony, the te messages and the july 25th phone call. we'll be back here watching the house floor probably around thanksgiving or before the december holiday break. >> jeremy, lau do you view those depositions? as you mentioned, some have details leakingso out.ta mr. bolton and others are still being summoned and they're figuring that out. this set of rules, if it passes today, brings all of those out intol public view. >> reporter: that's right. one of the provisions in the house resolution isvi that the chairman of the committee, adam schiff can make public, essentially posting on a website the depositions. this was done in the benghazi inquiry and others, where essentially you see a live transcript of those depositions.
that's going to set a foundation for the hearingso so members kw what to ask the witnesses, know where to go. it's roadmap to the substance of their testimony. i thinkbs once you see those depositions in public, you hear the s testimony, you see the evidence. i think again members will have basically everything they need toy know to know whether or no they can impeach the president of the united states. >> jeremy, thank you. we'll beer coming back to you. gene robinson is here as part of our special coverage at headquarters. we're a couple moments away from this procedural vote and then we get to the bigvo show. what are you watching form, particularly when we see reporting out of the white housh that the president has done something which he's known to do, call republicans and askwn r help. >> we're looking to see if republicans -- if anyone who strays. justin amash is no longer a
republican. we expect him to vote for impeachment. do any of the retiring republican members of the house, will hurd, for example, the other 20 or so have announced they're retiring. do any of them vote for the impeachment rules? that would be a shocking thing for the white house to see any republicans. i predict it would probably launch a tweet storm. meanwhile, there's nothing on the president's agenda today, as i think was pointed out. he's doing thes same thing we' doing. he's sitting there watching. >> they're watching carefully. of course, as there may be a few republicans whoma stray, there e also potentially democrats who stray or who the speaker doesn't feel are s needed to get over t
majorityve hurdle here and may allowed to stray. i want m to go to kristen welke keeping a keen eye on this both from the white house and working your sources on the hill. what are you hearing? >> reporter: ari, we know the white house thinks, as many as four to five democrats actually may flip, to your point there. they'll be watching that closely. we know president trump has been working the w phones. he started his day in the residence. as of about a half hour or so ago, so likely making his way over to the west wing where he and others will undoubtedly monitor theseun proceedings ver closely. the president tweeting about it, yet again calling it a witch hunt. the question becomes what will the white house strategy be moving forward. we know themo president has bee working theha phones. he maywo meet with lawmakers lar today. the white house signaling they're going to beef up their communications strategy. before this vote, ari, the ar administration, the white house argued thisni was an illegitima process because there i hadn't
been as vote. the question becomes will that have to zmang will they have to fight this battle on substance moving forward? i put that question to kellyanne conway earlier today. she made the nwcase, look, it i both substance but is also the process. i think you're going to see both. >> let me ask you about that. that's so fascinating. senator mccaskill was discussing this set of rules, if it passes, affords the white house more options toth engage and send people down and make their case. it alsoma threatens them with a remedy where if they continue in the view of the house defy lawful subpoenas and requests, they may lose those rights. its wonder, at this point, any indication who the white house would tisend? do they send white house counsel and government hilawyers? do they send rudy giuliani, jay sekulow? do you have any clues or tea leaves to ready there? >> i would be very surprised if it was rudy giuliani. my anticipation it would be
likely, if not the white house counsel, someone who hashe been working very closely with the white house vecounsel. of course, the leader there. that would be my anticipation. i think you did hit the nail on the head here, ari. right now the administration feels it has a strong argument to make to say, look, administration officials cannot testify because they would undoubtedlyld be testifying abo material they're arguing is protected by executive privilege. that argument getsby tougher to make once this vote takes place. thatke doesn't mean they're not going tosn try to block testimo. for example, all eyes are going to be on john bolton. if he's subpoenaed, will he show up? his attorney is saying he's not going to show up unless he's subpoenaed. what legal recourse would the administration have given that this vote would basically say, look, the white house could bring its, own counsel into the proceedings, ari. >> senator, you look like you might want to get ngin. int wanted to note that we have thet triple zeros. you can explain how this works.
we have no time remaining, but a lot of voeks bmissing. if you total it up you have 351 members of congress voted. it's not like they didn't know today was a big day. >> this is oneda of my pet peev, they let the mother control the time of t the vote.th we would quickly cut off the vote whenut the vote was suppos to be cut off. invariably they let it go on and on, so g members know they've g a graceno period with which the can get to the floor and cast their vote. i predict this thing stays open for another ten, 15, maybe longer. >> i feel like what m you're saying when it comes to deadlines, members of congress, like us. st >> exactly, procrastinate and know you can still get in under the wire. the point i wanted to make before, as we were talking about members conflicted about this vote, there are two kinds of memberser conflicted by this vo. one are the democrats that took out republican members of congress in districts that t ar veryn divided on this issue. the other are republicans who remain in congress that are in
districts that are very divided by this issue. and if you look to the senate, the president is not only making calls,nl he's doing something ee that is remarkable. some people would say this is like bribing a i jury. he put out a fund-raising plea forin joni ernst in iowa where he's upside down in favorability, tom tillis in north carolina where he's upside down in h favorability and mart mcsally in arizona where he's upside down in favorability. they will get millions of dollars in their campaigns from the s president's efforts just the last 24s hours.th that is really outrageous. we're so busy talking about so luchin outrage, there hasn't be time to focus on this. think about that. he is basically providing cash for candidates who are very conflicted about this vote because they're from states where this is not an easy call for them. there is a whole lot of folks in
their states thatfo believe wha the president has done is just flat wrong. >> jury tampering i think. or bribery, whichever way you want toor go. dicey. >> it's extraordinary. the president has the fact of his control of the republican base, basically, and his power to essentially determine whether members of congress or members of the senate get re-elected or get primary. you know better than i do what that feeling in the pit of the stomach would be like for a senator ine that position. >> i certainly do. the day kennedy resigned. >> so that's another avenue where you'll see the president exercising his power along with
the bombastic tweets, along with the complaints about process. along with whatever sort of obstructionist parliamentary things the house can do about process in the house itself. what does it all get you in the end is the question when the substance is there? >> melissa, i want to reset again here again, at 11:15 on the east coast. the house has finished the allotted time andni is still tabulating, as the senator is explaining, some procrastinators who have come to the house floor. the 227-187, those have been be rising, which gets us closer to the actual vote. that gets use back, professor,o whatto is proverbially known in the constitution as the big enchilada. i wonder if you can set the table for folks, what does it mean that the houselk is about set up the blueprint for the potential impeachment of donald trump?
for viewers watching saying, oh, my god, this looks like a big day. what does it mean that the president have done so many things objectionable, ideological, lemorally, politically, in the eyes of so many, that this scandal about ukraine brought us tos this point. >> you have to first understand the constitution is document about limiting government, limiting the congress, the executive, thegr judiciary, so each has an opportunity to check the other branches so no branch can aggrandize power and overwhelm the people. that's the whole point of the constitution. this impeachment process is not about subverting the election, about overriding the will of the people. w it's about allowing the will of the people to be heard because the president has exceeded the bounds of constitutional authority, and congress and the other branches are supposed to check that. eugene's point is really right on. congress created impeachment as
a remedy. what they didn't anticipate is you'd have constitutional law oa the side of the godfather. the idea that senators who will function as jurors would receive payments from the president for their high ln contested -- >> you say -- >> like aou condiment. it's constitutional law. thenit you have this mob lawyerg on the side. it's incredibly suspect to go and provide these kind of paymentses to senator ernest an these senators that are in conflicted dikts, martha mccosally, knowing they will be theno ones ultimately to vote o whether or not this president is rude. it's handhanded, tight fisted. ultimately it may be very y effective. that's not something the constitutionom contemplated. >>ns it's corrupt is what it is too. >> to vote the prosecutors first, in the johnson impeachment, there was also a lot of horseim trading and ultimately historians say, bribes, which is quite striking
considering thatui bribery is a impeachable offense. you're speaking to what you see as the potential further influence campaigns to try to get theseto votes back. i do have to ask you, aside of the y godfather, would >> only if there's a horse head in your bed. i thinkea the framers always expected, regardless of of how tough things got, individuals would put country over their own individual y interests, over pay interests if those are at play. that's not what we're seeing. this is perhaps the failure of this document. it expected too much. >> that's why it's going so crucial to have these hearings play out incr public. if we start from the premise that perhaps t the ultimate jurs in this case, the senators, may not be completely impartial jurors as we would hope to have in the criminal context, the real audience has got to be the american people. if wes have these hearings playing out in public where the
people can see the witnesses, can see who they are, what bias they , bring, what credibility they have and what they know, ultimately they're the ones that can put pressure on the senators to say, look, the facts support this. >> this is something we're hearing from republicans who don'tin have a strong take on ts which is to say -- there are republicans we've spoken to in washington, not attaching names to this, said, look, we'd rather there's no impeachment to deal e with. their concern is that televised hearings with people with a chest full ofle medals and diplomatic history could actually move people in red parts of the country. >> well, it could. we've all looked back through the history books of how public opinion moved during watergate and during the nixon process. as those hearings on television, alexander butterfield and the
tapes and everything. you saw most republicans and most voters who had voted nixon stuck with himni up to a point d then the needle really moved and it was afterly that public exposure. we have a conversation about the founders and what they'd think of what's goingrs on now. one thing they were totally concerned with ista the impact foreign powers on our government. so the constitution is also like aio giant sort of dam to try to keep that out. the emoluments clause, for example. why ise. that in here? rich countries like spain and england from influencing -- >> when you talk about foreign money. this is something that was f on the table very recently until
the president completely backtracked one using his hote for theng g7. i want to bring in more reporting, viewers will note we'veno been on triple zeros foa few minutes. most of the votes are in. garrett, i want you to walk us through what you're hearing and i'll bringar in heidi as well o of i washington. to both of you, really teeing up the question, what will happen next when you look at the people who may leave their party on this great. >> reporter: it looks liketh they're calling this first vote here so we may stop when they start the second. this is the vote we've been watching for all day. this will not be an exact party line vote. we know of two democrats who our team expects to cross over and vote with republicans against resolution. they have very different profiles here. jeff van drew, a freshman member from new jersey, just elected as part of the blue wave, just told one ofav our colleagues in the basement --he >> i'm going to jump in to
listen to the speaker. >> those in favor please say aye. >> those opposed say no. >> the ayes have it. the res dugs is adopted. >> on that i would request the yeas and nays. >> the yays and nays are ordered. members will record their votes by electronic device.d. this is a five-minute vote, colleagues, a five-minute vote. >> garrett, we're proceeding to the key'r and critical vote. walk us through exactly what's happening right now. >> thisha vote should go much quicker. all thed members m are in the chamber. they came during the last first vote.het you're starting to see numbers on the board. two democrats have voted
against. i can't see the big board with their names. i cane tellwi you they probable jeff van drew, the freshman congressman from new jersey and collin peterson, a long serving congressman from minnesota, one of the last conservative blue dog democrats. both of them have signaled for quite a long time they were unlikely to up sfupport impeachment. i would be much more surprised if weuc see any republicans crossing over to vote with the democrats here. you see a present vote. that's interesting. that will take some explanation. that may come off the board. republicans are unlikely to vote with democrats here even if they are concerned about the president's behavior, in part because they simply don't have to. in pure naked lizard brain political terms here, there's no reason tol vote with democratsn a procedural vote here that i don't know democrats can carry and stick your neck out for the next month to just get hammered by your republican colleagues.
>> we're going to leave the escalating numbers on the screen as berereport this out in realtime. rarely is the floor of the house this exciting. >> that climbing yea number, 183, joined by one independent is this united states house on the road to passing rules to provide for the potential impeachment of the sitting president. what is the magic number they need toe hit? >> 218 if everyone is present. i didn'tne see the totals on th last vote. i believe that will be the number today. democrats have the number to clear it here. t they can afford to lose -- a half dozen or more wouldn't be politically problematic. if you lose more than that, you're having a -- you saw the two nays pop up very quickly. if there are other wavering members on the hefloor, i suspe they're being spoken to in hush
tones on the floor as we speak by thes member of the whip tea from thesehe parties. look, this is part of the case that nancy pelosi made when she came out to run for speaker again, that she is a master vote counter. they're not going to make mistakes in terms of knowing they have the i votes to carry this. i saw that republican vote pop up and r come down very quickly here. iqu expect the republicans to b in lockstepi on this as we approach the magic number. >> i might point out that, if you are going to vote in a way that there's going to be extreme pressure on you by your party, there is a saying that you're told, and that isg vote early d get out of there. because if you stick around, whether you're a republican trying to defy the republican party oro a democratic that's votingoc differently than the majority of the fedemocrats, if you stickjo around on the floor it gets very painful. your elbow gets twisted so hard that you have to go see the chiropractor. you vote andse you get out so there's no more pressure put on
you. >> senator, i'm jumping in to say it would appear that the democrats have passed the majorityse hurdle at 220 votes, 221, rising, as we report in speak in favor of this resolution providing for rules for the potential impeachment of president donald trump. garrett, we are looking at the democrats. asg t you see, speaker pelosi count. it would appear she has counted up enough votes with plenty of room. nothingnt official, formal or wh the support of the house authority until thise is final and gaveled. the speaker doesn't usually -- we see her in red at the top of the screen by theat flag.sc the speaker does not usually physically preside in this manner. garrett, when you look at these numbers hitting 227 votes, it would appear the house is on the way to passing this resolution of the rules for impeachment. >> that's exactly right. what we always caution not to getys ahead of ourselves until these votes are called, you're
operating with a pretty healthy margin here, and you're not seeing really any party crossover beyond the two democratsso voting with republicans who wevo suggested earlier. this speaks to the partisanug nature of s this, and i think bh parties will use these vote totals asot talking points here democrats voting to what will be a strong majority here, keeping all their members home to vote inmb favor. republicans will turn right around and say thisan is a partisan exercise, that there were no erepublicans, at leastt appears, with still three not voting, to cross over and support democrats on this issue. so in their partisan lanes going forward, and as i said earlier, no one is making on this vote -s no one is making it in the way that it needs to be done, the argument towards patriotism, country over party and so forth. it'sh. very easy for republican membersor in particular to shru that off given that this is a procedural vote. there's not a lot of political upside spending the next month
defending a proceed yurl vote being made d here. above 232 hvotes, this is well beyond the margin for error for democrats here. >> how does the house floor look to you as they've just finished the time? we'll jump in the moment we hea the speaker preside. does it look any busier, different, more intense to you on thisou historic vote? >> members sticking around, the galleries were packed as we got toward the start of the vote. a lot of staff present. there was the feeling that this was ath meant tuesday, not a normal everyday n vote.da to senator mccaskill's point, there's another six votes in this series. for folks trying to avoid the uncomfortable feeling, they have votes to t come if they want to head to the exits. >> we see the speaker consulting there with the house staff and stepping towards s -- looks lik
she's stepping towards the microphone and the gavel. let listen in to this moment on the house floor with the majorityhi of votes. >> on this vote the yea are 232. the nays are 196. the resolution is adopted. without objection, the motion te reconsider is laid upon the table. >> you hear the gavel at 11:29 a.m. >> does the gentleman from missouri seek recognition? >> i request permission to speak for one minute -- >>e any objection? without objection, the gentleman is recognized.
>> there's an objection. >> -- is heard. t >> the united states house of representatives, 11:29 a.m. on the east.m coast, has passed th resolution providing for the rules for the impeachment of president donald trump. this is the first time the full house has held any floor vote whatsoever on impeachment. the party line vote provides a preview, and we hear this from both sides, of what is coming. democrats completely united, moving forward on impeachment on a way they were not united even within the past few months. republicans united against the balance of power in the house standsow with speaker pelosi an the democrats. that's a preview of what could be in short order in the coming weeks a vote on the actual impeachment of donald trump. we're going to keep an eye here on this house floor. but i want to bring in our panel that's been assembled precisely for this reason. senator mccaskill, you've been walking us through how this works. we had thelk t party line vote
thety substance. what does it mean right now, thh congress closer to impeaching donald trump? >> i think now it's a timetable issue. how soon will the public hearings begin. i'm told by my friends on the hill they anticipate public hearings beginning the middle of november. i think they will probably -- we already can kind of guess who the witness list is going to be. the witness list will be trump appointees like ambassador taylor who was brought into the state department by donald trump.de lieutenant colonel vindman who obviously is not c somebody whos onwh anybody's fund-raising lis or f is a political person in a way. volker, sondland. i think you'll see that list and beginnd to see those hearings, e beginning of november. i anticipate those hearings will complete by probably the middle of lydecember, and it wouldn't surprise me if there are articles of impeachment that
work their way towards the senate before santa gets here. >> you're talking about impeaching donald trump before christmas. i want to bring back in garrett haake who has been following all of this. garrett, this is a turning point. it would appear now with these new rules passed that this united states congress is closer to the impeachment of the sitting president than it has ever been since it was constitutedsi after the midterm. >> it's very hard to see how democrats turn back from impeachment now. you've just set the table for open hearings. first in the intel committee, these rules prescribe potentially open hearings after that.ib a lot of movement afoot. a ton of pressure on democrats to wrap up this deposition stage, the closed door process they've been using thus far and move thishu impeachment effort intoim the sunlight. in fact, there were a number of democrats who had been cautious about supporting the impeachment inquiry or who had held off for a long time, who put their support of it in these exact
terms today before this vote saying they wantbe to move this into sunlight, that they're not exactly voting for the president or the sayinghe they think the evidenc is strongth enough to do so yet but that it's time to move forward and to make this process public. so i suspect, and there's no reason to think otherwise, we'r going to start seeing so much more of s a public-facing effor by democrats. they have to takeef the evidenc that's come h out of those of depositions, largely in the forms ofon leaks and releases b attorneys of openingea statemen, and turn that into a public argument. nancy pelosi has been very clear on this from day one. you cannot impeach the president without the public's support. while they may not be able to turn t very many republican members, they won'tli need themn the nevotes. they need republicans, independents, regular people across the country to get on board with them, ari. that starts now. >> we'll go now to the white house, t kristen welker. >> ari, president trump tweeting just moments ago, the greatest
witch hunt in american history. this is how you can expect the president and his allies to frame what they have just witnessed on the house floor. we're also anticipating a white house statement at some point today. just to reiterate a point, we know thee president has been working the phones. weg expect he may actually mee with republican lawmakers a little laterwi on today. bottom line, they're going to continue to try g to discredit this entire process. the president has already begune campaigning, trying to paint the democrats as t the do-nothing no democrats. they put out an ad last night during the world series, in fact, to that effect. it's underscored by the tweet that president trump just put ru out. what happens moving forward? we know there are a number of key witnesses that the white house is going to be focused on. tim morrison obviously among those setus to be on capitol hi today. heap announced yesterday that hs going to be leaving the
administrati administration. he is the second white house official to be on capitol hill beth phone he july 25th call between president trump and the president ofe ukraine that ates the heart of all of this. of course, john bolton has been called to testify, his lawyer making it clear he's not going to dor so unless he's subpoena. you can bet the white house focused onit that potential testimony as well again, with this vote it essentially means that at some point those testimonies will be able to take place in public view. while the p white house has bee calling for that on the one hand, on the other hand, it could complicate the political procedure. >> thanks to kristen welker for that response. i want to bring back jon meacham, presidential historian. there are many daysia where we talk about history but they're not historic days. this now officially formally would appear to be one. particularly when you look at donald trump as an elected president facing now the
potential impeachment inside his first term. only the second elected president who will ever be impeached. what do you see as the historical significance of congress being on the precipice of doing, having passed these rules moments ago? >> i suspect the president will become only the third president to be impeached. andrew johnson, bill clinton and i nowns suspect donald trump. whether he's removed from office is an entirely different question. in a way, the country itself is nowco on trial. the white house chief of staff, and i suspect strongly, i bet a lot of money that the president will end t up saying, yes, i di this. this is how i i govern and the bidens were in the wrong. i was trying toin find out abou this, they're corrupt, what are you going to do about it.'r
do we, in fact, care that the president of the united states violated, t attempted to violat the sovereignty of our national elections. i think that's -- for all the nuances, for all the niceties, for all the procedural points we spend a lot of time on, that is theon fundamental question confronting the fucountry. a 48-48 country with a few folks on the nerve's edge in betweene these two tribes, wha will we decide is acceptable behaviorac from the president o the united states. inor many ways, far more so tha the bill clinton example, more like the richard nixon example, more like the johnson example, it will tellhn us a great deal about who we actually are right now. >> what is they ar nature of th allegations, jon, tell us about the j unpredictable part of washington, that sixbl months a no one thought we would be here
today.be we've been on some of these special coverage days before. we live in a world where things are treated as impossible and then obvious, with almost no processing inos between, particularly with the hot takes in washington and sometimes online. many people said this isn't happening, the mueller report, whatever it did, did not close the circle, and we're getting into 2020 and the debates have begun. all of a sten, facts, whistle-blowers, evidence piles up and the congress gets to thir point today, fool house floor vote, these are the rules, these are the rights of the president. and it would appear -- i say this as a reporter watching it, it would appear the house saying, mr. president, get ready, you are about to be impeached. >> it's fascinating. it's a fundamental feature oft' histor and reality that most of life is like an iceberg. we see part of it but there's a huge amount we don't see.
often what happens is it is the province of history to go back and find these stories that were below theto surface. what's happeninge. now in this sped-up world is that we find it out far more quickly. we're on a kind of warp speed for revelations. x number of weeks ago, ukraine was not top of mind at all. it shows us that, a, we have the single most self ave. vowedly unconventional president in presidential rehistory. he'sen knocked down many, many the guard rails that have kept the republic going. so they're flattened. the question now we have to answer is n do we care about the guardrails. >> do we care and how does the public assess t something that today out of the house was a party line vote, but when the evidence piles up, might move other people. a one-way or the other. if it's going to be a fair process, it's going to have to
leave with evidence. stay with me. kristen welker, on many, many days the news comes from donald trump's impromptu press conferences, his availabilities and his tweets. is, as you pointed out, a bigger day, more formal day. we have a more formal, traditional written statement from the white house responding to frthis, not just a tweet. what aret you hearing? >> reporter: that's right. in addition to the tweet that president trump sent out calling this the greatest witch hunt in american wihistory, we got the statement from the white house. i'll readhe it to you. the president has done nothing wrong, itha says, and the democrats know it. nancy pelosi and the democrats unhinged obsession with this illegitimate impeachment proceeding does not hurt president trump. it hurts the american people. instead of focusing on pressing issues that impact real families like reducing gun violence, improving health care, lowering prescription drug costs, securing our southern border and modernizing our aging infrastructure, the democrats
are choosing every day to waste time on a sham impeachment, a blatantly partisanch attempt to destroyem the president. it does go on to take jabs at house speaker nancy pelosi and morey broadly adam schiff and essentially concludes bynd sayi the democrats want toy render verdict without giving the administration aou chance to mot a defense. that is unfair, unconstitutional and fundamentally un-american. so that is the statement coming out of the white house at this hour. again,is ari, to underscore thi point, it's a preview of the strategy that you're going to see moving t forward, the president, this administration, the president's campaign are going focus on all these policy issues that you just heard in that statement and the fact that there's unlikely to be action on any of those issues. he's going to try to campaign on it. he's going ton try to rally support today by working the phones andby possibly holding meetings, ari. >> kristen welker at the white house with the new statement.
the house has n voted on the rus for the impeachment of president donald trump,ac party line vote. speaker pelosi has been seen leaving the house floor. we'rein keeping an eye on wheth we can get anymore availability or reaction from her. she did say when walking by reporters that it is a sad day. you can see a some of that righ there, walking by some of the hill statues with our own reporter. our special experts are here. we're also waiting, i should tell you, for the chairs of the relevant o committees who have been newly empowered including intelligence and judiciary to step to their lectern and say what they want to say about what comes next. this is a busy and tumultuous day on the hill. turning to our experts, senator mccaskill, our job is to help folks understand not only what's happening and what isnd being said, but what is true, what is unknown and what is unknown. we have evidence that suggested there was a prid pro quo and we
havend denials. we'll continue to report that out. we also have the white house saying things today in the new statement thatto are abjectly a provedly false whichec is striki given that we're in this full debate with the resolution and the rulesre coming forward. what do you make of the fact that thef white house's statemh says the new rules have, quote, violations of due process, that the new hearingses fail to provide, quote, any process, quote, whatsoever. because as we've reported and the rules are written and the public can read them and we'll see them, they not only provide a process, but they actually provide what are traditional due process rights, not required by the constitution, but exceed what past presidents have been afforded. first of all, this white house lies more often than most people brush theire teeth. b them lying in a statement is not newsworthy because n they lie constantly. but the american people will, in fact,eo decide whether or not ts is fair.ct this is goinghe to be on tv. i was thinking, as i was working
through in my head when these hearings will begin and thinking aboutan the coverage these hearingse will get and that th american people will tune in an watch this.er what if a you're running for president right now as a democratic? what if november 20th is one of the key witnesses of this impeachment inquiry and there's at debate that night? what ift? the hearings run over and all of a sudden we're in a situation where we've got the contenders to take on donald trump. >> and a weeko until iowa. >> way back in the cheap seats, way back in the cheap seats and everyone is focused on this drama? i do think it's a challenge for our candidates to manage, to keep talking about, just this week the senate had a very important vote tory protect pre-existing conditions. bunch of senators voted with trump to do away with pre-existing conditions in junk insurance plans. that barely got a peep because
of the drama of this moment in american f history. it's important for ouram in the i to stay forefront as they're working right now, in really the home stretch for iowa. >> as we look and report on whae we're hearing in the response, melissa, i have something you wantss to weigh in on. areo you ready? i'm ready. >> pelosi quoted ben franklin and thomas payne. others quoted founders in both directions in this high stakes, high level debate on the house floor. ivanka trump tweeted a quote of thomas jefferson writing to his daughter, quote, surrounded by enemiesun and spies, catching a perverting every word that falls from my lips or flows from my pen and inventing where facts fail them, and she adds to this, after describing, that's jefferson to his daughter, readds in a new tweet, quote, some things never change, dad, exclamation point. >> i went to uva so i can quote thomas jefferson with the best
of them. let me just say, all of the statements coming out of this white house are not justin untr, they'ret totally off base. as a professor when i listen to the president's statement, all i can think about is will this guy just do the reading? will you read the constitution, the resolution? the constitution says explicitly the opening of impeachment articles is notch the trial t itself. you will have thee opportunityo make yourll case heard. y you will have the opportunity to present the case to a bunch of jurors that you've already seated in you behalf by providing them with campaign g funds. there's going to be an opportunity for him. this is an opportunity for the people to hear what the congressmen already know and for them to makedy a judgment about whether or not this is a a plac they want theor country to be i. thomas jefferson, for ivanka trump's ownka edification, is ao someone who thought the presidency should note be abov the law.ho he said a that over and over again. the treed of liberty should be pruned periodically. impeachment is one of the ways
wef ensure we remain a republi and not an autocracy. >> absolutely right. there's line in that white house statement that i says the houses attempting to render a verdict, weighing in on this unfair process. of course, the house does not render a verdict at all. it wills be the senate who ultimately, if the president is impeached, renders the verdict.e i think that's really where a lot of focus -- we'll really have to have a split screen now. the house will be conducting the inquiry, but we'll have one eye on the senate which ultimately, i believe, will have to make that decision. i've spoken with a number of republican senators that have come uppu with the position tha well, i may have to be a juror, so i can't comment on the substance of the president appears to have done.
and perhaps h they'll stick wit that line. but i think that will make the white house very nervous, that republican senators areat not o there actively defending the substance of the president's position on the allegations. >> berit, this is a nation that has always been steeped in legal culture, if notd always a deep obsession with all the specific rules. since everyone has been quoting the h founders, toke ville talk about thatde and how the seatin of the jury system was so important because over the course of civic life in america, people sooner or later, they or their family, ended up on juries and it was kind of a training. he was speaking to the fact that at the time people didn't have much access to education or higher education for sure. it can beca positive or sometim negatives when people say we're
all too lawyerly, even when you take thewy lawyers out of it. for viewers joining us here as we near noon on the east coast, the house hasst taken a step th all our reporting suggests is highly unlikely to be unwound, a step towards the trial of the president of the united states, something we rarely see and something that connects r with l our notions of what it means to be fair orof for those who obje to wthis, who see it as the presidentee putting it as a wit hunt or as overkill, the concern that sometimes there is nork justice inat the legal process. so, as we look to that and you think about that as a prosecutor, what should americans keep their eye on the they're wanting to wait and see whether this looks fair before theyr ultimately make up their minds? >> my response would be that the facts will be the best antidote to the rhetoric. what thishe next stage will giv us an opportunity to dig into is the facts. we canis put aside the rhetoric put aside claims that it's a witch hunt and focus on what the witnesses will actually be saying.
we areesll talking about some o these things with any of us here having had the ability to actually see or hear what these witnesses haver said in its entirety. to have the ability to get their comprehensive statements, to see the facts itself, to see if what these witnesses are saying corroborates what the initial whistle-blower says, to see how thisay plays into what we heard from thent president's own mout in that initial transcript. that is going to be the best remedyg to all this political rhetoric. as much as the senators will be the ultimate are we. they're going to have to convince us that there is a there there. and at least from what we've seen so atfar, the witnesses brought in bring with them an amount of contributed and knowledge that's going to be hard for rhetoric to overcome. >> that's brings to the fore what you and our panelists are speaking about. facts that moved the democrats and concern so many americans, the majority now backing impeachment according to polls,
even before publicg hearings, d the unity of trump's defense in the republican caucus. heidi przybyla, you do a back of the envelope calculation, heidi, and one of the things we see is no republicans who are still members of the party, there's one who left the party over this, an independent, mr. amash, but no current members of the housere republican caucus crossg over. by contrast, while democrats widely and strongly obtained to the nature of the attacks and investigation of president clinton and their view of whether those were impeachable offences however objectionable the conduct was, 31 democrats backed the actual initial probe. what does it tell you that the president's party is living in its own bubble now? >> i can tell you, ari, based on my reporting which includes
meeting with a number of these moderate republicans that they are deeply troubled by the president's behavior. but theypr view this vote todays largely a procedural vote, and that many of their objections, just like their leadership has been voicing, have been along the process lines. to garrett's point, many republicans felt like if they were going to dissent, this is not the vote they are going to dissent on.to we need to keep that in mind as we look at the vote totals. this is not comparable to previous initial votes on impeachment in that sense. i also want to correct for the record, ari, since this is a moment for history, and fact check some things that leader mccarthy said about this being un-democratic, because this vote hasn't taken place until 37 days into the process. do you know why that is? number one, this vote is not required under the constitution. there's nothing in the
constitution that says that they needed to hold this vote. and also, the part about this being closed, behind closed doors, it is the republicans themselves who allowed this to happen, because the republicans changed the rules in the last congress, in the 116th congress, to allow the democrats to go ahead and issue t all of these unilateral subpoenas. they didn't have to hold a vote because they already had all the subpoena authority. now they did have the hold the vote becauseho they have to set out the rules of the road. they had to change that 45-minute questioning rule, for example. and so thatru is why you're seeg this vote today. and just one last note, it was trey gowdy himself, head of the oversight committee, who said for the initial phase the only way to actually get truth is to do it behind closed doors when you're in the fact-finding part of the investigation. >> important context there. i want to turn to geoff bennett.
geoff, our cameras briefly caught you trying to briefly catch the speaker who obviously wasn't going to take live questions. there's that shot. what's happening now, as the congress continues to work on two tracks, passing these rules and also conducting these private depositions? >> reporter: right. well, two floors beneath us in the basement on the house side, house investigators are deposing tim morrison, outgoing russia director for the white house, we learned yesterday he was stepping down, he will be the third white house official to step downth from their official capacity. the last two did that in part so they would be more free in what they're able to tell house investigators. as thisou closed door investigation proceeds, they're getting closer and closer inside the white house. they've already got the view of what happened in o ukraine. they talked to foreign service officers who were there as this ukraine pressure campaign came to be.
today throughig next week you he house investigators, house democrats, requesting interviews with the nsc legal adviser, the chief of extra of to mick mulvaney. it's not clear, ari, if any of those people will show up. but house investigators want to get their testimony to really put the pieces together. morrison, we know, based in large part on the testimony of bill taylor who appeared if not this past weekend, but the weekend before that, had misgives abomi misgivmi misgivings about the phone call between president trump and president zelensky. but what's so interesting about this, witness after witness is offering these investigators different chapters of the same narrative, that president trump deputized his personal attorney, rudy giuliani, gordon sondland, ambassador to the eu, rick perry, energy secretary, and to some degree, mick mulvaney and kurt volker, to run this pressure campaign outside of the normal state department channels. and when career officials, respected career officials like
marie yovanovitch raised legitimate questions about what it is they were doing, those folks were targeted by a smear campaign and ultimately moved out of the way. that's one of the reasons, house democrats say,ne that when you hear president trump make the point that the phone call was perfect, lindsey graham, his chief defenderis on capitol hil says he's not bothered about the phone call, the phone call itself isca not the entire picture. it's what happened before the call and after the call that house democrats are investigating and in a couple of weeks they will bring that allv public, ari. >> reporting live from capitol hill, thank you for all of that. a lot going on. i want to bring it back here as we approach the noon hour and get ready for andrea mitchell, to my esteemed experts, a quick yes-or-no question followed by your final thoughts today. yes or no, today's vote means it's almost certain the house will impeach donald trump. >> yes. >> yes. >> yes. >> yes. >> which is really striking.
i didn't know i would get four yeses. what's the most important thing for americans to take away from all this, whether they support president trump or not, whether they know about whether it's an impeachable offense. >> set your dvrs to tape the testimony and theo these xamination of crucial fact witnesses, and make up your own mind. try to tune out all of the noise and listen, like you're a juror, listen from the jury box to the witnesses. and then decide where you stand. i think people are changing their mind about this. and i think the fact witnesses are going to be key for whether or not we get more than ake handful of republican votes in the senate for removal of office. >> and jean, a migene, a mind i terrible thing not to change. >> exactly. i just hope people pay
attention. there's going to be an attempt toe paint this as a strictly partisan politics, essentially. there is a tendency, understandably, amongen people just sort of, "oh, they're all politicians, they're all out for themselves." >> because it's breaking news, i have to correct myself, my apologies, i'm told the chief deputy whip of the democratic caucus has found an nbc camera coming out of this vote. congressman from michigan, dan kildee, thanks for joining me. >> thank you very much. >> does today's vote mean you're going to impeach donald trump? >> it's a step that sets the framework for us to make that decision. a number of us have seen enough evidence to come to that conclusion. but i think the process has to play itself out. but this will give us an orderly process that republicans asked for, and of course now they object to it. but this is the way our democratic system works. we layys down the rules that wee going to follow. we're going to follow those rules and we'll come to a judgment based on the facts, which by the way are facts that
so far republican members seem completely willing to ignore. >> you say it sets out the rules and the process, and we've been reporting on that. within those rules, what would be the main reasons to impeach donald trump in plain english? >> well, for me, when the president by his own admission solicited the help of a foreign government to investigate one of his political opponentsve and tn did everything he co-uld to try to cover that up, that's a fairly plain set of facts that doesn't need a lot of analysis. but we have a responsibility to get all the evidence we can surrounding that particular question and any other questions that might come up. and that's what is going on right now. and what the public hearing process will be intended to display for the american people and for members of congress. >> congressman, i'm sure you're familiar with some of the pushback already from the white house because it's echoed what they've said previously, the white house saying today there's no due process, there's no fairness, they have no rights. what do you say directly to the presidentct about that?t
>> the president will be given more than ample opportunity for him to defend his own behavior. that's what due process is, to be able to face those that are bringing this information forward, which we are doing right now. republicans, by the way, are in the room questioning these witnesses as part of these depositions. so the idea that the president has nore representation first o all is flatly false. the process that we just outlined will include the president having thetl ability have representation. but here's the thing. they don't want to talk about the facts. they don't want to try to defend the president's egregious behavior. they want to talk about the shape of theto table in the roo. and we're just not going to let that happen. >> congressman dan kildee, a member of leadership on this busy day, thank you for joining us.bu i want to give special thanks to everyone who is a part of our msnbc special coverage today, that includes gene robinson, senator mccaskill, heidi przybyla, jon