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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  December 11, 2019 9:00am-10:00am PST

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according to your report, although the fbi already knew the british intelligence and fbi officials discussed the litigation with director comey, the fbi never got steele's statement in that litigation until we provided them. the fbi also never considered updating the court on these statements. why did the court learn -- when did the court learn about these contradictory statements about whether steele did or didn't have contact with the media, and did anyone in the fbi seem concerned at all that it was not updating the court, it was knowingly providing a court with incorrect and misleading information? >> so the fisa court first learned of it in a -- at least as i understand it, in a letter
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sent june 2018, a year after the last fisa authorization. when the justice department lawyers sent a letter informing them of new information that they had learned including from the litigation that mr. steele had acknowledged he was a direct contact for yahoo news in that story. that was the first time the court was told about it. >> would you look at footnote 461 for me? that footnote states a confidential source contacted an fbi agent in an fbi field office in late july 2016 to report information from, quote, a colleague who runs an investigative firm hired by two entities, the democratic national committee as well as another individual who was not named to explore donald trump's longstanding ties to russian
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entities. end of kboet. was that investigative firm fusion gps or did the dnc hire another firm to peddle anti-trump information to obama's fbi? >> i don't know definitively which it is. i can certainly follow up and get back to you on that. >> it is a question you can answer for me? >> i don't know. i'd have to double check with our folks. >> if you couldn't, would that be a case of praif see or something? >> no. i don't know that we ultimately figured out the answer to that question because it was in a different field office with different people to have to interview and that sort of thing. i'm not sure how much we went down that road, frankly. >> okay. thank you. i've been asking questions since september 2017 about what kind of defensive briefings the fbi provided to the trump campaign. the fbi told me its briefings to both campaigns were similar and that it wasn't aware of action that it took as a result.
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chairman johnson and i wrote again to the fbi two months ago. we noted that text messages between strzok and page indicated that the fbi may have used defensive briefings not to warn the trump campaign but to investigate it. four questions along this line. question number one. would you agree that with respect to the defensive briefings the trump campaign's briefings were treated differently than those provided to the clinton campaign? >> if i could, they were called -- it was not an fbi briefing. if they went to an office of the national -- director of national intelligence briefing, it was a strategic counterintelligence briefing. it mention that because it precisely wasn't a defensive briefing. it was an intelligence briefing, and they were treated differently in that the agent wrote it up to the file and put the information in the file.
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the briefings were identical, but the net result was one was for investigative purposes and one was purely for the intelligence briefing. >> i think what you said touches on question two, but i'm going to ask it anyway. in this case the agency at the trump campaign briefing documented statements and interactions of michael flynn and candidate trump for the fbi's investigating files. is it normal for the counterintelligence briefers to document statements and interactions of individuals that they're briefing for investigative purposes? >> it was documented in one and not documented in the other, as you said, senator. based on what we saw, there's actually no policy on it. but based on the reaction of the current leadership and director wray's response where he underlined the word "this will not happen" going forward, i think it's clear what he state of mind is on that. this should not have occurred.
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>> question three. did the fbi make any vittive use of the information garnered in the defense briefing, for example, to inform its later interview with michael flynn? >> i don't know definitively whether that did occur. that was certainly the stated purpose for the agent being present. >> lastly, campaigns place trust in the fbi to provide an environment of cooperation and honest assessments about the risk of foreign threats. how can the fbi repair that trust after obviousing the briefing process? >> well, that's where we make the recommendation. we think the fbi has to clearly state what its policy is. it does these kind of strategic briefings, as the chairman mentioned, for members of congress, for private citizens, companies when they get attack ed on their computer systems, for example, for transition
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purposes as was the case here. there needs to be clear guidance and rules so those getting the briefings understand. >> on another point, according to your report, bruce ohr said that steele's reporting had gone to the clinton campaign november 2016. by january 11th, 2017, key investigators knew the dossier was prepared, in part, for the dnc. by february and march 2017, quote, unquote, it was broadly known in the fbi and by senior justice department officials that simpson was working for the democrat party. how many people in the fbi and doj knew the steele dossier was political opposition research funded by the democrats, ond who were they? did any of them approve information in the fisa or any of its renewals while knowing
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who was paying for it? >> so, on the fbi side, as we lay out in the report, it's page 258 forward, there were a number of people who knew. it's challenging, getting back to the chairman's question, to know precisebly what was known t the highest level and when at the director and deputy director levels because of the lack of any record of entire briefings, there's much information known at the fbi. at the justice department much of that information was not known. in fact, one of the concerns we note in the information about what mr. ohr did, mr. ohr was passing along this information from mr. steele to the fbi. that information was not being given back by the fbi to the justice department. the colleagues of mr. ohr at the justice department were approving and reviewing these fisas didn't know the colleague
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passed along that information to the fbi. >> we'll go with senator leahy and then we'll break for lunch and come back at 1:00 and we'll go vote. >> thank you. mr. horowitz, it's good to see you again. i've read an awful lot of ig reports in my years here. am i correct that when the justice department disagrees or has comments about a report, the general practice is to provide you with a written response to publish along with your report. is that zplekt. >> that's correct. we would always include that in our appendix. >> my staff wrote 797 inspector general reports filed since your tenure began. they found three dozen reports for the justice department, a
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compone component. how many ig reports under your name involved the justice department arguing that, in fact it committed more misconduct than your investigation uncovered? >> i don't recall that happening before. >> i tell you right now none, none. that's why i found it very unusual that attorney general barr didn't send you anything to go on the report. he just went to the television cameras to talk about it. there was a lot about the personal text messages involved in your 2018 report involving fbi lawyer and the agent's investigation, personal animus towards president trump. you also, didn't you, in your investigation, find pro trump, favorable trump text messages from agents who worked on the
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russia investigation including one that was an expletive written exchange where the agents were enthusiastically talking about trump's election and their desire to investigate the clinton foundation under president trump. you found that, too, didn't you? >> that's correct. that's in the report. >> i think it's potentially problematic whether they're pro trump or pro clinton. i assume fbi investigators can have strong views on politics. the question is does it impact their work. >> exactly right. i think it's very important to keep in mind that while they frankly should never be using their government devices to have political discussions, whether they're working on a sensitive matter or not. in our view -- we took this view last year and laid it out.
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we were not holding or referring people for performance failures simply because they expressed support or lack of support for a candida candidate. >> whether pro trump or pro clinton. thank you. there was one occasion where i think bias did impact one or more russian works. the fbi appropriately kept quiet about the trump russia investigation during the 2016 election. the same can be said about the clinton administration. rudy giuliani and others appeared to receive highly sensitive leaks from the new york fbi field office, leaks that likely contributed to director comey's public announcement that he was reopening the clinton investigation just days before the election. i asked then director comey about the leaks, he said he was investigating.
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now, we know that a number of these leaks to mr. giuliani which he then ran to the cameras and actually bragged about talking about. what can you tell us about the new york field office's field office leaks to rudy giuliani and others? >> as we noted publicly in our report, we were very concerned about that. we put in appendix charts showing all the different contacts. subsequent to that report, and this continues to this day, we are investigating those contacts. we've issued a couple of public summaries so far about people we found violating fbi policy. we have other investigations on going that when we conclude it, we will also post summaries of. it's what's proving to be very hard, is to prove the actual substance of the communications between the agents and the reporter or the individuals.
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as you might guess. but we can prove the contacts, and under fbi policy you need authorization if you're going to disclose information and have certain contacts. >> thank you. >> your central findings regarding ties to the trump campaign was not influenced by political bias. the opening of the investigation was not connected to any of the bias texts that we identified. >> now there's an alpha in the room, maybe a herd of them. at the president eats direction, the attorney general has been combing europe for fringe theories to cast doubts on the russia investigation. i'm not clear what legitimate law enforcement purposes serves. how do we know that politics is not driving the bar.
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how do we know that politics is not driving the trump durham investigation? >> i'm not sure anyone does know unless you do an investigation. as you look through, for example, what we do here, a million records and exhaustive effort. >> you would agree that justice department investigations have to be free of improper political motivation? >> absolutely. 1,000 percent. i ran the public corruption unit in the southern district of new york. you lad to be straight down the yellow line in the middle of the road on anything you touched. >> does it concern you the attorney general is running around europe to find any kind of theories that might cast doubt on the russia investigation? >> i think you have to ask the attorney general about those meetings. i don't know what those meetings
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were about and obviously haven't done any investigating. >> i'm concerned because it did not follow the procedure normally if they have a question or disagreement with the inspector general's report by letting you know before the report comes out so you can include and would include any disagreements that went to the press with it. think about when fine investigated the politically motivated firing of nine u.s. attorneys during the bush administration, he said that department leaders abdicated their responsibility to ensure that prosecutorial decisions would be based on the law of the evidence and department policy, not political pressure. in this case for the first time questions were not sent to you by the attorney general, but given to the press.
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is that correct? in your experience? >> i don't know of another situation where we we didn't get those add attached in our appendix to our report. >> thank you, chairman. >> thank you senator. >> thank you for your comments about senator lee and myself. >> absolutely. we will adjourn, recess until 1:00. i'm ari melber reporting live in msnbc headquarters. we have been watching live coverage of this much anticipated and at times admittedly dry senate judiciary committee hearing. this is all about an exhaustive report on what started the now very famous russia probe, the origins of which were cleared by this report. the justice department inspector general, the witness you've been hearing from, not exactly allows hold name, but an important person within these debates, michael horowitz is the sole witness in today's proceedings. what he just laid out were some
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of the key findings of this investigation. a committee right now is taking a break, as you heard for senate votes, and we're going to show you everything you need to know as well as give you the latest on impeachment news in washington right now. i can tell you this witness, horowitz has been questioned by graham, feinstein, leahy and grassley. >> we did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced the fbi's decision to conduct those chs operations. additionally, we found no evidence that the fbi attempted to place chss within, report on the trump campaign or recruit members of the trump campaign as chss. >> that was an important moment and still, as we selected it, full of some washington, d.c. jargon. let's make it plain. chs is fbi speak for confidential human sources. the point there is again another piece of debunking of which hunt
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claims by the trump administration which included the thought that maybe they were targeted, politically targeted. horowitz, who did find some problems in the probe was saying just there that didn't really happen. i'm joined by former federal prosecutor carol lamb, former civil prosecutor maya wiley and fbi assistant director frank figliuzzi all with me at the table. in washington we have chief foreign after sfars correspondent andrea mitchell as well as nbc news correspondent heidi przybilla. i will obviously go to andrea mitchell first, who walks us through so many of these big washington moments. andrea, i think it's fair to say that whether or not you have a law degree or follow washington closely as you do or follow the fbi or the state department or all the other international intrigue, this was at times a fairly weedsy and confusing
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conversation for experts and lay viewers alike. i'm wondering if you can walk us through as what you saw as important bottom line coming out of the first part of this hearing. >> well, bottom line, michael horowitz who is a highly respected inspector general, neutral arbiter, if you will, defending his report and conclusions. those conclusions include something for everyone, which is what lindsey graham is seizing on, very clear mistakes made by the fbi in the first approval and subsequent reapprovals, submissions for authorization by the fisa court, that special security judge who approves surveillance. a particular point, something that is egregious, the altering of a document to not inform the court and to not inform others that carter page who was a former associate trump campaign associate of the president's was actually also at times a confidential source of the cia. to not share that information is
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pretty -- which would have been obviously exculpatory which might have led the judge to not approve the surveillance warrant on him. that is a key thing that of course lindsey graham, in defense of the president, now the chair of the judiciary committee and the president on the stump are seizing on. what they're ignoring is overarching conclusion of this very comprehensive inspector general report there was no political motivation, that the whole lisa page and peter strzok business had nothing to do with it. lisa page had no supervisory role in the origins of russia investigation which became the mueller probe, that the fbi was justified in its original decision to investigate the russian connection, possible connections to the trump campaign and in particular, what william barr said to our colleague pete williams which was completely not really relevant when william barr is seizing on the fact that's doesn't believe there was a predicate, a legal justification
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for launching that probe in the first place and that the trump campaign should have been warned. in fact, the trump campaign was adequately warned by john brennan and others at the time, during the transition and when donald trump was the candidate when he was the nominee, that there was the possibility of russian interference, that they should be on guard against it. there was plenty of justification according to fbi officials and other and michael horowitz for not telling the trump campaign that there could be a mole in the trump campaign. it's one thing for john brennan to say to the russians in moscow, hey, we know what you're doing, cut it out. for barack obama to say to vladimir putin at the g20, we know what you're doing, cut it out. but they have argued, and a lot of democrats disagree, they think they should have done more. they argued they didn't want to seem to be putting a finger on the scale against donald trump as the party in power, as the democrats during that period, presumably on behalf of hillary
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clinton, so they didn't do more to make it obvious that there was a russian interference and it was coming from the military, an intelligence branch coming right from the kremlin, coming right from vladimir putin. but that said, they had no obligation. in fact it would not be standard prosecutorial protocol to tell the trump campaign that there was a suspicion of a mole because that person could then be warned off. that would spoil any future prosecution. >> andrea, you're walking through both sides of it as we heard from the different questioners. senator feinstein raised the very question of, okay, what did you find, does it mat to a deep state? if we think of the different political parties represented on the judiciary committee as some of the combatants, horowitz in the jargon is supposed to be a referee. let's look at an exchange where she got him to confirm as a
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referee that there wasn't this deep state by his plot. take a look. >> your report states that you didn't find documentary or testimonial evidence that plight bias or improper motivation played a role. >> that's correct. >> thank you. and you didn't find a deep state conspiracy against candidate or president trump. >> as to the opening, we found no bias, no testimonial documentary evidence on that. >> no rationale for a deep state. >> we look at mr. priestap as the decision maker and did not find evidence in his emails or texts of having engaged in any bias or having any bias. >> andrea, was that important? >> absolutely critical. that goes to the very foundation of the conspiracy theories being spread by the attorney general of the united states in charge of, of course, the entire
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justice department, the entire criminal justice system for which michael horowitz, the inspector general is an independent watch dog over with. also, the theories expounded by the president and his supporters, most notably chairman of the committee lindsey graham now, not what he said when this was first being suggested in 2016. i think, ari, at this stage, everybody is locked into their positions. you're never going to persuade the partisans who support the president's conspiracy theories. you see them at the rallies and out on the campaign trail, you're never going to persuade them that mr. horowitz was correct and there was no poisonous, deep state conspiracy here, especially when you have attorney general fueling it with the continuing investigation by the assistant u.s. attorney from
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connecticut, mr. durham. >> very important points you raise, andrea. i want to take it to frank figliuzzi, an fbi veteran. frank, what about what andrea lays out here, that there are details that can be fixed, but the overall headline was not a lot of political bias or medium political bias or another option on the menu, some political bias. it was after exhaustively turning over every rock, no political bias in starting the russia probe. >> right. senator graham repeatedly today made statements to the effect that he wants everyone to think that this was all about bias, that we wouldn't even be here today if it wasn't for the mindset against trump. the ig found quite the opposite. >> let me support you for your analysis with evidence as we like to do. i want to play a little bit of what graham was saying, where he
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talked about a term that will ring in the ears of people around the country. he talked about abuse of power which is also today the first articles of impeachment. take a look at that moment. >> i hope we understand that what happened here can never happen again because what happened here is not a few irregularities. what happened here is the system failed. people at the highest level of our government took the law in their own hands. when i say deflawed the fisa court, i mean it. to your team you're able to uncover and discover abuse of power i never believed would actually exist in 2019. >> abuse of power in 2019. >> we've heard this before
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because that's the articles of impeachment we're dealing with. we also heard senator graham use the phrase massive criminal conspiracy. again, we've used that phrase when describing the trump administration. he's playing right to the public on this, using the same language being used against president trump and turning it on the bureau, on the inspector general, on the criminal justice process. >> maya, in fairness, this is also a sophisticated legal technique known as i'm rubber and you're glue. >> yes. frank is absolutely right. i don't know if i'm rubber of you're glue or you're glue or i'm rubber. >> we're such fans of your legal analysis, i will be rubber or glue for you. >> so important here is that abuse of power is not what horowitz found. what mr. horowitz is saying, and andrea said it very well, he is saying there are things that
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have to be fixed to ensure these very important and high standards to protect civil liberties of citizens are protected. he explicitly said he doesn't know if the warrants would have still been issued or not. he didn't see a problem specifically with using an informant which lindsey graham refers to as a spy. he does think how that's approved should be different. so his point really is no deep state and, yes, some important fixes to protect civil liberties. those two things can coincide. and that in and of itself is very far from a criminal conspiracy. one thing we should note, this is the same fbi leadership that we're talking about at this time that also released the letter -- james comey released the letter relating to hillary clinton emails in october. so if this deep state was there trying to undermine the trump
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campaign, why was it also undermining hillary clinton's campaign. the context is there was human error, mistake in judgment and it actually went to possibly harming hillary clinton much more than donald trump. >> i want to bring in carol joining our coverage for the first time, former federal prosecutor versed in these issues. as i mentioned to andrea in our coverage, even if you follow this closely as some of us do and many of our viewers do, we don't usually uncover inspector general watch dog hearings gavel-to-gavel. the context is not that mr. horowitz is a star or any individual warrant application gets this attention. the context is that there was a probe that involves oiks members of the trump campaign. three of four of them were ultimately convicted of felonies. there was russian counterintel that remains an issue including the president who stands accused and is denying that he abused
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his power. against that backdrop there's more interest in this notably at times obscure hearings. this is what we're dealing with. it is 400 pages, this thick. this is the report, supposed to guide the facts today. as a prosecutor watching the hearing, putting as much politics aside as you can, how much of what you saw in congress was following these facts versus just trying to layer right over them with other views? >> as a prosecutor, criminal prosecutor, i worked for all moefrt two decades with the fbi on many, many sfrp warrants and many, many wiretap applications. i think what gets lost in all of this, and i know frank will back me up on this, is when you are working on an investigation like this, and you're beginning the initial investigative steps, you don't know if you're looking at pretty much the whole picture or
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just looking at the tip of the iceberg. you're generally under a lot of time pressure, doing the best you can. to maya's point, that a lot of the inspector general's findings didn't have to do with so much violating existing regulations, but prescribing new regulations for the future which can be better. you have to really read this report carefully to parse out where the inspector general is putting blame and not putting blame. >> you seem to be making a subtle report, if the report's conclusions are we need new rules to prevent something, that would imply the old rules didn't ban it. >> that's absolutely correct. that's what the inspector general said. >> frank is shaking his head. he really likes this level of regulatory analysis. >> i'm in the weeds on this. here is the big picture. we saw a very exercised senator graham, deeply aggrieved. much of it is absolutely valid when it comes to the carter page fisa.
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here is where it's invalid. we faced an unprecedented scenario in the law enforcement, we had a presidential candidate suspected of being a national security threat. the fbi followed existing rules, the ig found existing rules were followed. if senator graham is upset about those existing rules when it comes to investigating candidates, let's have the discussion and change the rules, not smear the fbi. >> you used the word upset. i don't try to quibble with our fbi analysts, but there was a different word used by senator graham and that is he is pissed, he would be pissed if he was given aa briefing. let me play that for you. >> you don't have the foundation for the weren't -- i'm seerry. go ahead. do you need to say anything else? >> i'm sorry.
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the incident, the event, the meeting, was a briefing and the fbi considered and decided to send the agent there to do the briefing. the agent was actually doing the briefing, but also using it for the purpose of investigation. >> okay. i hope that doesn't happen to us tomorrow. i'll be really pissed if it does. >> lightning round for each panelist. that's a moment that will stand out because you hear the chairman, the senator say i would be pissed if i were treated like that. people at home say does he have a point? >> i hope it's not happening tomorrow that senator graham is sis suspected of being a national security threat. there will be an fbi agent investigating him anyway the law allows. >> carol? >> i agree with frank. you have to be very careful here that we're not -- as much as a lot of caution should be exercised in these types of investigations, there cannot be a double standard, frankly, for different citizens of the united
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states. >> ditto, and mr. horowitz said each campaign got the same briefing. what they were listening for and the notes sent to file were different. but the important thing is, they each got the same briefing. >> i want all panelists to stay. i want to tell viewers, if you're thinking, is the inspector general watch dog report the only thing happening in washington this week, your instincts are right. it is not. there's a ton happening on impeachment, including knew announcements that the judiciary committee is going to begin marking up the articles of impeachment against president donald trump in the capitol building you see starting this evening. we have special coverage on impeachment when we come back after the break. thbre eak. are critical skills for scientists at 3m. one of the products i helped develop was a softer, more secure diaper closure. as a mom, i knew it had to work. there were babies involved... and they weren't saying much.
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we have been watching quite a dramatic fire work hearing at the senate judiciary committee, but we also are watching developments in the impeachment probe. i want to bring in maya wiley still with me, former sdny
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prosecutor as well as in washington geoff bennett and heidi przybilla who are following where congress goes on the other big story, the impeachment of president donald trump. jeff, going straight to you first, what is happening tonight. we don't usually do evening markups. >> you're right about that. it's another day of split screen drama on capitol hill. a few hours after we expect the senate judiciary committee to wrap up, you have the house judiciary gaveling back into session. they're going to hold this markup at 7:00 p.m. eastern of the two articles of impeachment. a markup is the process by which congressional committees debate and amend legislation and measures. tonight there will be plenty of debate, but on the amendments it's a different story. house leadership tells us democrats aren't planning to introduce any amendments to those the articles of impeachment which makes sense, why would democrats change something that the house speaker
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and house sleet ship have already blessed? you can bet republicans will try to throw up procedural obstacles and offer up amendments because democrats control the committee, not republicans. democrats will likely be victorious in shutting down those kind of proposals. but tonight is devoted to speaker statements. each lawmaker gets time to state his or her case. this is really the last appeal to the nation on impeachment. tomorrow it will pick up again at 9:00 a.m. eastern. that is when you'll hear the debate about the amendments and -- about the articles of impeachment and there will ultimately be a vote on both articles of impeachment. democrats control the committee. that will move the articles to the house floor which sets up a vote by the entire house by the end of the year, certainly by christmas which is what house democrats have been tracking for months now. i suspect you'll hear republicans try to pick up where lindsey graham left off in trying to relitigate the opening
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of the fbi investigation related to the trump campaign. >> hang with me, geoff. on the first point you raised, i want to bring in maya wiley as well, just on what the democrats are doing here. ultimately it's not automatic that impeachment be so organized. we've seen speaker pelosi has kept her caucus very united. when the republicans were doing this, they started with four articles of impeachment and chopped it all up on clinton and landed ultimately on two. as geoff is reporting, all elements and reporting we're getting is there's going to be nothing like that, that nancy pelosi is saying these two are it. let's go. >> she has made sure they have a clear, simple, extremely understandable set of articles, two articles. they take all the primary issues and put them in those two
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articles. solicitation, scheme, corrupt intent, obstruction. those are the key words in those two articles. they cover all the evidence we heard in the hearings. they were concise, they were clear. they don't want the waters muddies. what the republicans will need to do because they didn't have evidence is muddy the ut wahhers. that's what we're going to see tonight in this markup. >> geoff, taking what my wra is saying there, what do you see the republicans doing beyond messaging? in other words, the markup is an actual process whereby there is debate, discussion, editing of what are articles of impeachment. is there any indication there will be anything other than sort of debate, protest, disagreement? are there any other maneuvers you might see out of the republicans in that markup beginning tonight? >> reporter: not really. here on the hill, majority rules in these committees and because democrats are in majority, they have at their disposal, all the
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technical tools you speak of. really one of the reasons you hear republicans making arguments about the process and all that, that's really all they can do is make those arguments. one of the things we've been doing, and we heard some of that today from lindsey graham, is to try to relitigate 2016, saying impeachment is the end of a year's long fishing expedition on the part of democrats to undo the results of the last election. they're not engaging with the arguments that democrats are making. one of the main arguments is one of the reasons they're moving so quickly about impeachment some would say is they're trying to preserve the integrity of the next election, that president trump was trying to cheat in the next election and that's why they have to hold him to account right now. >> geoff, stay with me on the hill. i want to bring in heidi przybilla who has been watching all aspects. the president was back at it in this rally last night. vi a brief clip that's relevant. take a look. >> the house democrats announce these two flimsy, pathetic,
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ridiculous articles of impeachment. this has to be a first in history. they're impeaching me. you know why? they want to win an election. that's the only way they can do it. >> heidi. >> this is why you can connect what's happening on one end of congress to the other end of congress. here today, ari, when you look at what lynd /* lindsey graham is doing and why there's so much drama over delegitimizing horowi horowitz's work, because he destroys a key pillar of trump's defense, there has been this deep state coup out to get him and essentially overthrow the results of a u.s. election. remember, republicans are expecting there to be a bombshell. comey told us the other day that he was booked on "fox & friends," and after the report came out they called up and abruptly canceled him. they had really built this report up. comey said his own mother-in-law thought he was going to jail.
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that's how much the republicans really thought this was going to prove everything they've said about this deep state coup against the president. what we found out there was no deep state, no plants. there was a proper predicate for opening this. what we did have that republicans are seizing on is pretty serious violations of the fisa process. what they're trying to do is take that and apply it to say that the entire process and the entire report, in fact, itself, is completely tainted and to confuse people really, to blur the lines between those two things to help prove the president's point which he's going to continue to make there in rallies, ari, throughout the country, that he just has these enemies who have been out to get him and the whole process since day one has been illegitimate. >> heidi, thank you for that. bringing it back to our table of experts. frank, to heidi's point, one would be forgiven for having the
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misimpression that it's donald trump constantly being beleaguered and investigated and pursued when, in fact, today's hearing was an investigation of sorts, a review that his side was seeking when they didn't like the outcome and the findings, they jumped on to the next one which is this whole debate about attorney general barr who is so clohas so closel protected donald trump, rushed out to try to recharacterize the mueller report wbefore it had been released. now the next investigation is, it's not by the enemies, but this handpicked prosecutor from mr. barr. that came up today, too and goes to the shadow boxing we're seeing, the house preparing articles of impeachment and the senate finding ways to debate anything but the core of the ukraine plot. the republicans don't want to talk about rudy giuliani. they also don't want to talk about the fact that in donald trump's mind on the call notes, that his white house released,
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giuliani and barr were function nl. giuliani or barr, they'll call, they'll be in touch, go after my rivals. they don't want to talk about that. they want to talk about someone americans have heard less about, mr. durham. take a listen to that reference today. >> did your office ask attorney general barr and u.s. attorney john durham to share whatever evidence they have that might be relevant to your investigation? >> we asked mr. durham to do that. >> and what about attorney general barr? >> and attorney general barr. >> so thing they could provide altered your office's conclusion that the fbi did not place spies in the trump campaign. >> none of the discussions changed our findings. >> frank, what do you call it when you have -- folks may get tired of me doing it, a report of this magnitude, with this
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number of witnesses, pages, evidence, stacked up against barr and durham saying we disagree but we won't provide a page to explain how that's supported? >> when pete williams asked the attorney general, do you plan on issuing a public report on the durham case, i don't know yet, i haven't talked about it. it's going tok to be lingering over everybody's head as a tool, political tool. the goal posts have moved as you said. now we're all supposed to be focused on durham. we learned something today in the hearing that we didn't previously know. much of horowitz's testimony was a rehash of his report. we learned something about durham and horowitz. he said that the objection that durham had with predication. remember, john durham in violation of doj policy issued a statement to the policy saying i disagree on the issue of predication. today horowitz says that was durham saying the fbi should have opened a preliminary inquiry, not a full investigation. and ig found the fbi didn't even
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use techniques requiring a full investigation. they stayed within the boundaries of a pi. >> you say they moved the goal posts. i wonder if whether they've turned the goal posts into evidentiary russian nesting dolls. it started with witch hunt, bias. that didn't wash. inside that doll, this problem with warrants. that doesn't really wash because it doesn't touch donald trump and doesn't show any real problem. then inside there, now it's what you just said which again, i don't think most people can follow what you're saying, i say that respectfully. down to the tiniest russian nesting doll, the lawfully ordered investigation that is now approved by this report should have maybe been called preliminary and it wasn't, but it doesn't matter. >> if we're to understand horowitz correctly, it's not that durham objected to the cases being opened, he objected
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to the kind of case being opened. >> to what it was called. >> that's right. >> this is also important. that means in your analysis or your theory of the case, as lawyers say, mr. barr has a public goal, which is to say a non-substantive, non-investigative goal. that goal is to say words that help donald trump which is not really what the attorney general is supposed to do. the staff has staff who can do that, publicists, political staff, people who do that for a living. the attorney general is not supposed to. you're saying he will seize and take anything from durham and you may find six, 12 months later, it doesn't matter. at what point do you think attorney general barr's comments are in question here? >> we've crossed that line. i said that last night. he is misleading the public repeatedly. it's okay to question the facts. it's not okay to ignore the facts and even worse to make up the facts and it up the facts a
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appears that's what's the agent is doing. >> it is important to recognize what's going on here, i would love to be the fly on the wall to hear the discussions among the attorney general durham and the inspector general the last few weeks. the inspector general has a lot more independence than durham does. he can not just be hired and fired by the attorney general. he's senate confirmed position and his term goes on and on. and so he's doing exactly what he's supposed to be doing. he's following all the rules and what we are seeing here with the attorney general is doing and what john durham is doing is what happens when all the rules go out the window. for people who have worked in the department of justice for a
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long time, this is very, very difficult to watch because the politicalization that has gone on here is unprecedented. criminal investigations for no good reasons or purpose, this is unprecedented. >> i am old enough to remember when people are critical of public safety and publications. >> that's the rule. >> maya, i want you to broaden out for us. we gotten expert analysis on the details. we watched this hearing. the hearing really battles this out. again it comes against the backdrop of another check on potential of abusive power which is the congress using the ultimate most serious authority. most congress in american history have never used even if they strongly disagree and oppose the president, that's the impeachment tonight. for people watching all of this
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here thinking donald trump is pushing things to the limit. it seems there actually is in the whistleblower and the ig report and congress. how does it fit into all of this when defense of the president and the hearing we saw which we'll come back to it in a few mens as we minutes. he unjustly pursued an investigative attack. that seems the explanation for the investigation. >> yeah, what's so disturbing is that we are throwing about the terms of abusive of power. abusive power is something we have to be concerned about to protect our democracy. essentially what the white house judiciary committee and house leadership is saying is we try to avoid to get to this point where we are using this article of the constitution to use our sole authority to call abusive power on the side of the president and which they did not
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do a number of other instances to your point did not pull a trigger on other instances. now we have the defense of the president from that we are hearing right now in this hearing in the senate being abuse of power. what william barr is doing as an agent of the president is using the powers to direct the public's attention to debunk conspiracy theories that the independent non partisan public servants have said, no, there was no political bias here. that's really what we should be concerned about. we don't want any abusing power, we don't want the fbi abusing power. we should correct any procedures that do not protect us from fbi abusive power but we absolutely can't allow a sitting president
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to use his powers to direct the highest law enforcement officer in the land. we don't know if this is happening. it is a real question to protect him when he's abusing power. that's exactly what this is about. >> right, that's why there is a sculpt and a magnitude to it. >> more on the impeachment articles and the march up tonight and the continuation of the watchdog here. e continuatio the watchdog here.
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hisamitsu. welcome back to msnbc's special coverage. an ongoing hearing of the russia probe. you can see the room has not felled backup yet. we'll bring you the important part of the hearing. the news that would dominate no matter who's president or what hearing is going on, the historical occurrence of the escalating impeachment of the
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sitting president of the united states. another mark up hearing tomorrow morning which is expected. the imminent impeachment on the house floor of president trump. i want to bring in our correspondent, i believe we have garret headache aake on the hil his first appearance here on the hill. we have seen you a lot garret. we have some folks looking at that hearing, you have been looking at impeachment. speaker pelosi has telegraphed a narrow case that could be pushed through judiciary, our colleague geoff bennett did not see the democrats splintering or holding other amendments here. they want to get this through you kn unified. what does your reporting show about that? >> that's right. we have been starting to put the pieces together on a senate trial which is