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tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  November 25, 2019 7:00pm-8:00pm PST

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schiff of california released a letter to his congressional colleagues today explaining what's happening in the impeachment process now that the scheduled public hearings and congressman schiff saying the committee will start to produce the report on the findings of the investigation but intriguingly, he suggested while new information continues to be produc produced, that will be added to the report as it comes out, they may also, they may also apend new information to the report even after they initially publish their initial findings. the reason that's interesting the question of when the impeachment articles are going to be drawn up and voted on but in the more immediate sense, it may affect when the judiciary committee gets going. this technically is handed over to the judiciary for the drawing of the articles and the preparation for the full house to vote on with the intelligence committee producing its report now as they get ready to hand that over. we have very little insight into
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how judiciary is going to approach work. luckily a member is going to be on with ally in for lawrence tonight so that will do it for me so you can move on to that. see you again tomorrow. now time for "the last word". >> thank you, my friend, good night. i'm in for lawrence o'donald tonight. schiff said its committee preparing to turnover its report to the house judiciary committee soon after thanksgiving. democratic congresswoman zoe will joan in me and michael bloomberg officially entered the race for the democratic nomination for 2020 but his fundraising strategy is ruffling feathers among other dm cat tem candidates. charlie cook is here for strong thoughts but we begin to believe the -- tonight with breaking news. a federal judge issues a rebuke
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to the stone walling of congress that could have ripple effects for other potential impeachment witnesses. tonight, judge jackson ruled that former white house counsel, this man, don mcgahn must testify in compliance with the congressional subpoena. in her ruling, judge jackson rejected the justice department's claim of unreviewable absolute testimonial immunity calling it quote baseless. executive branch officials are not absolutely immune from the process if the president expressly directs such officials non-compliance. this conclusion is inescapable precisely because the appearance by dent of a subpoena is a legal construct, not political and per the constitution, no one is above the law end quote. judge jackson made clear mcgahn could invoke executive privilege
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during his testimony when appropriate. but she declared the presidents cannot unilaterally block judges from testifying stated that the primary take away from the past 250 years of recorded american history is that presidents are not. the chairman of the house jarry nadler said don mcgahn is a witness that president trump obstructed special counsel mueller's investigation and the claim that officials can claim absolute immunity from congressional subpoenas that has no basis in law. now that the court has ruled, i expect him to follow his legal obligations. not sure how promptly that might be. they announceded to appeal the ruling and said it will stay -- seek a stay to block the
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enforcement. mccann's lawyer says don mcgahn will compile with the decision unless it is stayed pending appeal. the doj is handling this case so you'll need to ask them whether they intend to seek a stay. while this legal fight is not over, tonight's ruling has significant implications for other trump administration officials who have been instructed not to testify about donald trump's scheme to pressure ukraine to investigate and the rival in exchange for military aid. those potential witnesses include secretary of state mike pompeo and chief of staff nick mulvaney and former national security advisor john bolton. jonathan schaub, a former attorney in the justice department's office of legal counsel told "the washington post" this ruling could quote cover for other witnesses especially former employees who are inclined to testify but feel compelled by the white house's direction not to. house intelligence committee
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char man adam schiff said the democrats are moving forward with the impeachment inquiry while leaving the door open for more witnesses to come forward. tonight, chairman schiff had this message refusing to testify. quote, to all those witnesses who hide behind fallacious claims of inmun mmunity, this c shows how meritless it is. they will have to decide whether their duty is to the country or to a president who believes that he is above the law. leading off our discussion tonight, former staff member for the house intelligence committee and an msnbc contributor currently vice president of the national security program at third way. a former federal prosecutor that worked with robert mueller and an msnbc legal analyst and former chief counsel to the senate judiciary committee and senior aid to vice president joe biden and president obama. he's an advisor to joe biden's
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2020 presidential campaign. ron. i'll start with you, this is something the white house has been able to hang on to for sometime that don mcgahn central to so many things that donald trump was involved in was able to avoid testifying to congress. there were a lot of people looking for this judgment tonight to understand what was going to happen to don mcgahn. i imagine the white house is very uneasy this evening. >> i think they are. look, it is several more steps before we get the truth out of don mcgahn, the justice department is going to appeal and seek a stay and even if mcgahn, that stay is denied and forced to come before congress, he can assert executive privilege and the fifth amendment to avoid self-incrimination. it's not clear if this will produce truth telling yet but what it does do is sends a powerful signal that the president can't just tell people not to come. the president can't just say hey, we're not cooperating at
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all and it really puts a powerful piece of leverage behind the house committees, the judiciary committee, the intelligence committee to get the ball rolling of high-profile witnesses who they have been absolutely barred from talking to so far. >> glen, let me ask you about this particular part of the judge's opinion i want to read to you. when the doj insists that presidents can lawfully prevent their senior level aids from responding to compelled congressional process and neither neither the federal court or process has the power to do anything about it, the doj promotes a conception of separation of power principles that gets these constitutional commands exactly backwards. accordingly, doj's claim to unreviewable absolute testimonial immunity on separation of power's grounds essentially that the constitutional scheme is unassailable executive branch authority is baseless and as such, cannot be sustained.
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glen, the only sentence i understand there is baseless and as such cannot be sustained. tell us what the rest of that means. >> i'll tell you, the judge got it exactly right and it is a very forceful opinion and also a lengthy opinion. 120 pages long. one of the other sentences that really caught my attention is when judge jackson said and i quote, mr. mcgahn's failure to appear was without legal justification and let me take that one step further. donald trump's ordering mr. mcgahn not to appear was without legal justification. that is darn near being able to say it was illegal. i don't want to mince words but -- so i think this is really going to give the house some additional fuel for adding obstruction of justice as an article of impeachment because the president has never had a
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lawful basis to order all of these people not to appear, whether it's mcgahn or pompeo or mulvaney or hicks. so hopefully we will now begin to see these people testify and provide some accurate information of what was going on behind the curtain. >> of course, mika, we're reaching out to those people, pompeo and mulvaney and bull ton. mulvaney's lawyer said this ruling does not affect whether he'll testify. this is robert driscoll, the attorney acting for white house chief of staff maick mulvaney. he said he'll continue to follow with respect to the house subpoena. anybody hoping that everybody whose been resisting these congressional subpoenas that will gave as a result of tonight's ruling will have to wait a little longer. >> that's right. this opinion is mid stream, usually when you have a
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disinstrudistrict court ruling, everything will be on pause. to m co-bacome back to your ini question, congress is the branch that constitutionally is designated to do oversight of the executive branch. so for the executive branch to say it's people don't have to show up in response to a congressional attempt to conduct oversight, that subverts the entire structure of the constitution that the department of justice is arguing this goes against the founding of our country but also it goes against pass precedent and sites the example of harriet myers, the bush administration white house counsel also ordered to testify and also made a similarly broad claim that she was absolutely immune and that was also rejected. >> ron, what do you think the white house's strategy will be in the face of adam schiff saying they basically conducted and finished -- got the information they need for the report that's going to go over to the judiciary committee?
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momentarily we'll speak with the representative who is the second highest ranking democrat on the committee. but at this point, this thing is -- the horse left the barn. the white house is going to have to pull together a strategy that makes more sense than the one they employed so far. >> yeah, well, white house strategy is an oxy moron in this context of this presidency and administration and, you know, what we seen is already the complete blowing up of their strategy. yes, they were able to keep several of these high profile witnesses from appearing before congress but devastated by the career people, the less famous people until last week who came before the congress and told the truth in such a powerful way like fiona hill for example. and so now they face the risk that these higher level people are going to be either compelled to testify or merely get the fig leaf they need to testify. will john bolton use this as an excuse to come forward and testify? will other ex officials who
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maybe are less friendly to the president start to testify? so this takes what was already a five-dimensional chess game and adds three or four additional dimensions to it. >> glen, let me read another piece of this ruling in which the judge talks about what is missing from the constitution. she writes, what is missing from the constitution's frame work as the framers envisioned it is the president's purported power to kneecap house investigations of executive branch operations by demanding that a senior level aid breach their legal duty to respond to compelled congressional process. this judge is not holding back on her view how the president and his legal team have interpreted congressional subpoenas that and as mika talked about, congressional oversight. >> yeah, there are some people who are, i think, baselessly claiming maybe some of these judges just don't like trump or his policies. you know, i'll tell you, i think the judiciary doesn't like people disobeying the law or
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making up laws like executive privilege to really try to avoid proper oversight function. so i actually think i heard you say mick mulvaney put out a statement he's going to refuse to compile and listen to trump if trump continues to say don't testify. i have to tell you, that couldn't be a more squarely unlawful act and it is in contempt of what a federal court judge just said with respect to the law. so i think these people now are really putting themselves in harm's way. >> what does this do, mika, to democratic strategy now? adam schiff said the investigative work tonights. we're learning additional information every day but while we don't with the investigative work and do not foreclose the possibility of further depositions of hearings, we will not allow the president or others to drag this out for months on end in the courts. he basically said by next week,
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possibly as early as next week they could hand this over to the judiciary committee. >> yeah, i think it's clear what we learned over the course of adam schiff's hearings is greater detail and filling in of a story the president admitted to from the very beginning. we've known from the start the president brought a pressure campaign to bear against a foreign power to force the investigation of his most feared political rival and that is just fund mentally wrong. so i think that adam schiff is feeling like it's so wrong, we cannot delay, you can't allow the president or his aids to hold the process hostage with endless appeals in courts and so what we know is the department of justice will try and delay this effect of the mcgahn ruling and any other ruling to prevent these witnesses from coming forward to talk to congress. >> thanks to the three of you for getting us started. coming up, chairman adam schiff said the intelligence committee is working on the report on the impeachment investigation and as we discussed, it could be delivered
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as a federal ruling puts pressure to testify, house democrats are not willing to take the next big step to impeach president donald trump. chairman adam schiff said soon after thanksgiving the intelligence committee will deliver a report with all of the impeachment evidence to the judiciary committee, which will
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then draft and vote on articles of impeachment. chairman schiff writes quote we will catalog the instances of non-compliance with lawful subpoenas that as part of the report to the judiciary committee to allow the committee to consider whether an article of impeachment based on obstruction of congress is warranted along with an article or articles based on this under lying conduct or other presidential misconduct. one of the democrats that will decide is congresswoman zo of california. she was involved in the last two presidential impeachments. in 1974, there she is on the right. she was a congressional staffer when the committee prepared articles of impeachment against richard nixon and in 1998 she was a member of congress on the judiciary committee and voted against impeaching president bill clinton. now congresswoman zo joins me
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for a second conversation. good to see you. thank you for joining us. i want to get your comment on what adam schiff said that they on the intelligence committee are looking at these refusals to be present for congressional subpoenas that and provide testimony as possible evidence of obstruction of justice but that is for you on the judiciary committee to determine whether that makes its way into articles of impeachment. give me your thoughts on that. >> i think adam has it exactly right. the intelligence committee has done the fact-finding. we can't be held up for months at a time through frivolous appeals of very well reasoned decisions. we've got to move forward. the fact that the president has instructed people not to compile with lawful subpoenas that and he's done other things, a lot of si
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-- not a single document has been released as evidence only he's hiding something but he is refusing to compile with the lawful requests of congress and that's an obstruction matter. that was the third article in the richard nixon impeachment. >> there are lessons from the richard nixon impeachment that there are a few people like you who were there then, you were there for -- proceedings against bill clint clinton. what do you see here that you've drawn experience from here in the past? >> certainly a picture of misconduct on the part of the president has emerged over these hearings and it has everything to do with sthe constitutional system for his personal interest. that certainly was not present with bill clinton. he was charged with lying about sex, not an admirable thing but not much to do with the constitution. we're not talking about
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president trump lying about sex and lying about paying off these women that he was caught with. that has nothing to do with the constitutional order. what we're talking about is activities that really threatened the national security and the will of appropriations to keep russia from tramping over ukraine. >> one of the new lines of attack and there are several from republicans since this news about the quid pro quo for an investigation into joe biden came out. one of the latest is that you-all are so occupied with this that no legislation is being under taken and nothing is being passed. you took issue with that? >> i certainly do. we've passed over 300 bills out of the house of representatives that are just sitting over in the senate. i don't know what mitch
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mcconnell is doing but not doing any legislating. everything from closing the loopholes on background checks for guns to the violence against women act, we did a huge ethics reform, the biggest ethics election reform in many decades. we've done measures to reduce the cost of prescription drugs, just this last week in the judiciary committee we marked up a bill to deal with the farm labor in the united states as well as decriminalizing marijuana because half the states have legalized it and the federal government has not followed along. we're very busy, but we can walk and chew gum, i wish we could say the same for mr. mcconnell there in the senate. >> you said just this last week that belies what some of your colleagues from across the isle are saying. you're actually getting
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legislation done in the midst of this. for those americans and many millions of them watching the impeachment proceedings, they got to see devin nunes there, the ranking member on the republican side. something very interesting emerged about devin nunes. there are allegations that he sought info about joe biden from ukraine and i want to play one of the interactions he had with a fox business news host about this. >> bottom line, were you in vienna with shokin. >> look, i really want to answer all of these questions and i promise you i absolutely will come back on the show and answer these questions but because there is criminal activity here, we're working with the appropriate law enforcement agency. >> that's a weird statement. were you in vienna because there is criminal activity i can't tell you about? this is the ranking member of the house intelligence committee. >> well, i have no idea what
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he's talking about, but i don't really want to comment on mr. nunes. i'm sure that whatever occurred will ultimately be revealed. what we're focussing in on is president trump and whether his actions threatened our democracy, whether they threaten our national security and if so, what should we do about it. >> it would be strange to have a congressman who oversees some of these hearings being involved in the actual thing that's being investigated. >> well, yes, it would but i don't want to jump to a conclusion based on snippets of news reports. we'll wait happily for the full piece of information to come out. meanwhile, we have our job to do coming up in the house judiciary committee, which is first to receive the information from the house intel committee to evaluate it against the standard in the constitution, which is
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misconduct on the part of the president that constitutes treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors. now what does that mean? there is a meaning in it and back in the '70s when i worked on the nixon impeachment, the staff, i didn't write it, other staffers did, did a document explaining what is impeachmenim? do those words mean? i got that report on my website so if people want to early entree into the history and legal meaning, what do the founders think? go ahead and read that little report. it's very revealing. >> those used to be dry reading for nerdy folks but now it's the hot ticket. thank you for joining us. coming up, at what point does republican loyalty to donald trump become republican complicity in russian disinformation to obscure it's
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on going attacks? we'll discuss that with the next guests after this break. we'll discuss that with the next guests after this break. good. after building a business that created thousands of jobs he took charge of a city still reeling from 9/11 a three-term mayor who helped bring it back from the ashes bringing jobs and thousands of affordable housing units with it. after witnessing the terrible toll of gun violence... he helped create a movement to protect families across america. and stood up to the coal lobby and this administration to protect this planet from climate change. and now, he's taking on... him. to rebuild a country and restore faith in the dream that defines us. where the wealthy will pay more in taxes and the middle class get their fair share. everyone without health insurance can get it and everyone who likes theirs keep it. and where jobs won't just help you get by, but get ahead. and on all those things mike blomberg intends to make good. jobs creator. leader. problem solver. mike bloomberg for president.
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republicans and white house officials portrayed the decision to with hold $400 million in military aid to ukraine as standard operating procedure but emails from within the federal budget office, the omb show that those officials were actually scrambling to find a justification for the decision and wondered if it was even legal. "the washington post" reports that the white house has uncovered hundreds of documents that reveal extensive efforts to
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generate an after the fact justification for the president's decision to freeze the aid to ukraine and a debate over whether the delay was legal according to three people familiar with the records. one person briefed on the records told "the washington post" that white house lawyers are expressing concern that the review has turned up some unflattering exchanges and facts that could at a minimum embarrass the president. it's unclear whether the acting chief of staff mick mulvaney or records pose any legal problems for trump in the impeachment inquiry but some fear they could pose political problems if revealed publicly. the new report adds to the pile of undisputed evidence that president trump pressured ukraine to investigate his political rival based in part on a russian conspiracy theory that ukraine, not russia, ukraine attacked our democracy during the 2016 election. and we're starting to learn this
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a growing number of republicans are not only embracing that out la landish notion but defending it, defending a conspiracy theory that goes against the findings of the entire american intelligence committee. here is republican senator john kennedy of louisiana. >> senator kennedy, who do you believe was responsible for hacking the dnc and clinton campaign computers, their emails? russia or ukraine? >> i don't know. nor do you. nor do any of us. miss hill -- >> let me just interrupt to say the entire intelligence community says it was russia. >> right. but it could also be ukraine. i'm not saying that i know one way or the other. i'm saying that ms. hill is entitled to her opinion but no rebuttal evidence was allowed to be offered. >> senator kennedy made that
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wildly unfounded remark just days after the new york times reported that american intelligence officials informed senators and aids in recent weeks that russia had engaged in a year's long campaign to essentially frame ukraine as responsible for moscow's own hacking of the 2016 election. it seems someone wasn't paying attention during class or didn't want to. after the break, we'll discuss the growing embrace of a russian conspiracy theory and what it means for the 2020 election with ron and david jolly. election wh ron and david jolly. along with support, chantix is proven to help you quit. with chantix you can keep smoking at first and ease into quitting. chantix reduces the urge so when the day arrives, you'll be more ready to kiss cigarettes goodbye. when you try to quit smoking, with or without chantix, you may have nicotine withdrawal symptoms.
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to not be explain sd ced is cra >> that was william taylor before the impeachment inquiry. david jolly former republican congressman from florida an msnbc political analyst. good to see you. david, this is strange. there is no part of the republican party prior to 2015 that would knowingly be part of spreading russian disinformation about having hacked in the u.s. election. it's not something that would have happened. lindsey graham wouldn't have tolerated it. john mccain wouldn't have tolerated it. people like you wouldn't have tolerated it. what has happened the republican party has become attached to a russian conspiracy theory? >> it reveals a lot about true motivations. first, let's recognize what they are doing now, what senator kind ev
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kennedy said, it's gravely dangerous through their ignorance, negligence, they are being used by russia. republican senators and republican members of congress tonight are being used by russia because they are unwilling to look at the truth, and ali i would offer perspective as a former republican and democratic friends may disagree i was on the hill during the 90s and law and order principle and perjury or obstruction of justice and i thought i'd belong to a for tpa that would agree with that. i didn't think he had the executive authority to do dock da daca. i thought i belonged to a party that opposed that on constitutional grounds. what i've learned these last three years is it wasn't a law and order party, just a party that hated bill clinton. it wasn't a constitutional party
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when barack obama was in office, it was just a party that hated barack obama. we're seeing a party embracing donald trump because they have a quest for power, proximity for power and they want within the reach the ability to self-deal. this is a party today without conviction and they are willing to be used by russians. >> regardless of where one stands on the impeachment of president trump, there was a lot of testimony that was valid to listen to. bill taylor, fiona hill was a great example. she had a lot of depth of knowledge. there was one piece of testimony that fiona hill provided that's been repeated many times and deserves repeating one more time as it relates to this particular topic that we're discussing. let's listen to it together. >> based on questions and statements i have heard, some of you on this committee appear to believe that russia and its security services did not conduct a campaign against our country and that perhaps somehow for some reason ukraine did. this is a fictional narrative
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that's been perpetrated and propagated by the russian security services themselves. i refuse to be part of an effort to legitimize a narrative that the ukrainian government is a u.s. adversity and attacked us in 2016. >> ron, i think we get why donald trump wants to perpetuate this. why would senator john kennedy, why would others appearing in the media in the last few days and this is an orchestrated message, why would they go down this road? does the republican who gets to out live donald trump gain out of perpetrating this? >> well, clearly, they are trying to favor with president trump and this is the number one way to get favor with donald trump, which is to repeat the kind of conspiracy theories and craziness and untruths and lies and criminality that president trump is spreading.
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i can understand if republican senators want to guy trump is my guy, i don't want to vote him out of office or trump is my guy -- >> that's different. what is going on here is something very different, which is the affirmative decision to spread unsure information about the geopolitical situation, the decision to spread a russian intelligence myth that points the finger at ukraine in an effort to help siukrainian sovereignty. to answer senator kennedy's question, we do know who interfered in the 2016 election. not only has the intelligence community found that but they prosecuted russians for interfering with our election. so let's just get over the idea that we don't know about it or this is anything other than a russian conspiracy theory to try to reverse the geopolitical situation in ukraine. >> david jolly, you know, a quarter of americans believe in
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conspiracy theories fairly serious ones, probably more than a lot of people in the western world but not the basis for the republican party. regular main stream republicans can't possibly be buying this because it's dangerous to do so. >> look, i'm a bit at lose for words as we keep having a conerconre conversation nationally. there is a conspiracy theory that can be debated. at the end of the day it's a moral failure on the part of our republican leaders. it's an abandonment of truth, one of which they have no self-respect or self-reflection and i'm surprised they can look themselves in the mirror much less constituents. the american people should be able to trust elected leaders whether from the party or not, republican or democrat. we put our trust in our elected leaders. the republican party today has abandoned truth and failed the american people and frankly failed themselves and one day will recognize that and regret it.
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>> david jolly, thank you for your analysis. coming up, details about the federal investigation into roue g rudy giuliani show the president's personal lawyer could be in trouble. that's next. t's personal lawyer could be in trouble. that's next. . without putting his heart in danger. at bayer, this is why we science. a peaceful night sleep without only imagine... frequent heartburn waking him up. now that dream is a reality. nexium 24hr stops acid before it starts for all-day, all-night protection. can you imagine 24 hours without heartburn? (vo) the flock blindly flying south for the winter. they never stray from their predetermined path. but this season, a more thrilling journey is calling.
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tonight the "wall street journal" says the subpoena was issued to giuliani and his associates are examining giuliani's business dealings. they listed more than a half a
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dozen potential charges under consideration including obstruction of justice, money laundering, conspiracy to defraud the united states, making false statements to the federal government, serving as an agent of a foreign government without registering with the justice department, donating funds from foreign nationals, making contributions in the name of another person or allowing someone else to make -- to use one's name to make a contribution and mail fraud and wire fraud. reuterss obtained one of the grand juries subpoenas that that request the recipient provide all documents including correspondents with or related to rudolph giuliani or related person or entity and documents related to any actual or potential payments or agreements to or with giuliani. glen, mika are back with us. what do you make of this new reporting that will are actual, actual investigations and grand
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jury inquiries into things having to do with rudy giuliani? >> yeah, i think this comes as little surprise given that his two associates were arrested trying to flee the country and he is up to his ears in something really confusing and terrible and i think it's really a fair question to ask was rudy giuliani acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign power because his behavior in this ukraine investigation as we have seen his relationships with the former prosecutor general of ukraine, the stories he was spreading makes no sense that he would be doing this unless there were some other financial motive because these stories are so bizarre -- >> yeah. >> it's hard to understand where they come from. >> there is only one thing more bizarre, glen, that is the conversation rudy giuliani had with ed henry on fox news on saturday discussing his relationship with president trump. let's listen. >> you can assume that i talked to him early and often.
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>> yeah. >> have a very, very good relationship with him and all of these comments, which are totally insulting. >> yeah. >> i've seen things written like he's going to throw me under the bus. >> right. >> when they say that i say he isn't but i have insurance. >> he isn't but i have insurance. glen, what is he saying there? it sounds like a threat but he kind of talks like a mob boss. i'm not quite sure what to make of that. >> it's really unusual for an attorney to issue sort of a public ultimatum against his clima client. there are so many data points that suggest rudy giuliani is sort of up to his neck in potential criminal conduct and if we look at all of those da pa -- data points, not only the eight or nine crimes might be easier to list the crimes he's not being investigated for but his associates are already indicted, perhaps his future
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co-conspirato co-conspirators. there is reporting lev is getting ready to cooperate and lord di lord, he may have tapes and rudy issuing the strange ultimatum. these suggest that the south earn district of new york is hot on his trail. here is the one great unknown that really does concern me, ali is bill bar going to put his thumb on the scale and prevent the southern district of new york from going after rudy giuliani perhaps as a way to prevent rudy giuliani from working his way up the chain and flipping and cooperating against trump? i mean, thus far, it seems like bill barr has let the sdny do what it does so well aggressively investigate crime and bring prosecutions as for example against lev and igor. let's see if he continues to give the sdny the autonomy it needs to bring charges against
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giuliani if appropriate. >> thanks to both of you again. glen, good to see you. coming up, how bernie sanders and elizabeth warren welcomed billionaire michael bloomberg to the presidential race. that's next. bloomberg to the presidential race that's next. ♪ ♪ experience the power of sanctuary at the lincoln wish list sales event. sign and drive off in a new lincoln with zero down, zero due at signing, and a complimentary first month's payment.
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♪ applebee's new sizzlin' entrées. now starting at $9.99. now that's eatin' good in the neighborhood. with less than three months another entrant joined the
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already crowded field. michael bloomberg made his entry into the 2020 contest official yesterday. the 77-year-old billionaire has vowed to self-fund his campaign and kicked off his campaign with a $37 million ad buy for context that is more money than elizabeth warren, pete or elizabeth warren have spent so far and barely less than the entire amount already spent by bernie sanders. again just on one ad buy. progressive opponents have already taken aim at his lavish spending. >> we do not believe that billionaires have the right to buy elections. multibillionaires like mr. bloomberg are not going to get far in this election. >> michael bloomberg is making a bet about democracy in 2020. he doesn't need people.
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he only needs bags and bags of money. >> charlie cook is the editor and publisher and he's an nbc news political analyst. charlie how does this change the race? >> it's funny. it's easy to be dismissive of bloomberg. and he's a billionaire business man at a time when the parties go in a progressive collection. and come up with good reasons why each one of them can't win the nomination. every single one of them is going to. the fact that he doesn't have to spend time on iowa, new hampshire, nevada, south carolina, he could be spending time, spending his ad buy on 2 dozen states at once. worry about 56 other states or
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46 other states rather than just those four. it's really interesting to see that it could be like a whole new paradigm kind of like trump being able to run. last time with spending less money. because the current paradigm that unless you come in first, second or third in iowa you are not a contender. >> exactly. that's all about momentum. the first four states are about momentum and then the last 46 are about delegates because there aren't that many delegates in the first four states. bloomberg can concentrate on delegates from the get-go. it's interesting. i'm a little sceptical but he is going to -- he may have a whole different set of rules than every other democrat has to run with. >> you base this on the math that you have run on delegates and how this works. if this race continues to be as competitive as it is and somebody doesn't get a majority of the first round of delegates the whole situation at the convention changes because a second vote includes a whole lot more delegates.
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all the superdelegates then come in so if somebody doesn't get a majority of the 1,600 or so delegates on the first ballot, a contested convention, unusual though it is could be the kind of thing he could be looking at. >> exactly. 70% of the delegates are going to be picked by the end of march so that if you don't have someone with anywhere near a majority at that point and they're only 25% of the pledge delegates left from there until june, then, you probably aren't going to have anybody anywhere near a majority going into the convention but i would just never use the term brokered convention. we don't have brokers in american politics anymore but that's a real possibility. >> you wrote something interesting in your column, you said notice these arguments. the arguments against the existing contenders. if all taken equally seriously
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effectively eliminate every critical democratic contender. someone has to win the democratic nomination. you're right, logically but the point that michael bloomberg is trying to make and he makes it -- he made it today actually when someone said are you saying that no one else can beat donald trump. listen to it in his words. >> some are saying they see your decision to run now as an indication that you feel that the current candidates in the field are weak and they can't get the job done. is that accurate? >> let me phrase it this way. i think that there is a greater risk of having donald trump reelected than there was before and in the end i looked in the mirror and said i just can't let this happen. >> there's a weird flavor the way he talks about himself but he is making a point, that he actually doesn't think the others can win and he can beat donald trump. >> exactly. the thing about it is i disagree with the question that was asked of him is i think he's afraid that elizabeth warren will win the nomination and can't beat
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president trump and he has no confidence or very little confidence that vice president biden can. i think if biden were doing better or warren was doing worse, then i don't think bloomberg would be in this race. i mean, if he just wanted to stop warren, you know, he could just run -- he could just pay for a super pact to stop her. but i think he sees an opening here. >> you think about this a lot. do you share his view that any of the other candidates in there are not as likely to beat donald trump? >> some are more likely than others. if this is a referendum up or down on trump he loses that. if it's someone else. if democrats nominate just someone that's not as polarizing as president trump is they will win that election. the question is, are they -- what is the risk tolerance for democrats in this race?
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>> thank you. the 11th hour with brian williams begins right now. other officials will see if they could speak up. possible money laundering and obstruction of justice while his former associates are spilling details about his efforts to make big money in ukraine and a united states senator from a deep red state literally repeats russian propaganda on live television after being told by our own nations top experts that it's russian propaganda. as the 11th hour gets underway on a