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tv   MSNBC Live With Katy Tur  MSNBC  December 19, 2019 11:00am-12:00pm PST

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3:00 p.m. eastern. here are all the places you can watch or listen to velshi and ruhle. there's no reason not to tune into us all the time. let's turn it over to katy tur. >> other than your mental health. ali, thank you. i'm katy tur. it's 11:00 a.m. out west and 2 p.m. in washington where for the third time in your nation's history congress is preparing to put an impeached president on trial. it is day 87 since the inquiry began, and here is what's happening. it appears as though house speaker nancy pelosi may strategically withhold the articles of impeachment from the senate for now. first she wants assurances that chamber will hold a fair trial. >> i've not prepared to put the managers and that bill yet
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because we don't know the arena that we are in. frankly, i don't care what the republicans say. but we'd like to see a fair process. we'll see what they have and be ready for whatever it is. mitch mcconnell does not seem interested in giving speaker pelosi the ashurns she's looking for. today he mocked house democrats as afraid. and having cold feet. and in response, minority leader chuck schumer accused mcconnell of hypocrisy. >> earlier this week when senator schumer began to search for ways senate could step out of the proper role and try to fix the house democrats' failures for them. and it was made even more clear last night when speaker pelosi suggested that house democrats may be too afraid to even transmit their shoddy work product to the senate. >> leader mcconnell claimed
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impeachment was motivated by partisan rage. this from the man who said proudly, i am not impartial. i have no intentions to be impartial at all in the trial of president trump. what hypocrisy. >> the two senate leaders are expected to meet sometime this afternoon to talk about the upcoming trial. we'll keep an eye on that meeting. down the street at the white house, insiders tell nbc news they're perplexed. one said pelosi's attempt to hold the articles is, quote, insane. things are going well in washington. let's get to capitol hill joining garrett haake. what a mess. >> reporter: yeah, we're waiting to try to understand more about what speaker pelosi's strategy is. she was circumspect this morning largely ignoring questions about impeachment in general. what she said specifically was she does not want to decide how many or who she will point as
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house manager as the prosecutors who present this case to the senate until she knows what the senate is going to do. you might need different people with a different set of skills whether you're going to be questioning witnesses live on the senate floor or whether you're just going to be presenting your case to the senate. we also noted she and chuck schumer met this afternoon. chuck schumer said they're in agreement about a trial, but there are opportunities to put pressure on the majority leader are small. we know that mitch mcconnell is not someone who particularly cares about public opinion even though public opinion is in favor of calling witnesses. he's not liable to cave on that point alone. but some of his more vulnerable members might be more susceptible to public opinion. that's the narrow lever that democrats have to press here. and they have to decide how and when they want to press it while we're in this impeachment perg tory period over the holidays before a trial starts. that not going to happen before the first week of january regardless of how they choose to proceed. >> do they really think some of
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the more persuadable republicans are actually going to be persuaded by withholding articles? it seems like susan collins has already come out and telegraphed where she stands. mitt romney hanlt. this seems like an interesting and not well thought through strategy. >> reporter: if you're a democrat in the senate, you don't have a lot of cards right now. you're in the minority. you do not control the floor, and you do not control how the senate will act. so the democrats are playing the cards that are available to them. and right now that's this decision about how and when to move the articles and start the process for a senate trial. senate republicans for their part have largely been saying you don't want to send them over? fine, we don't want to deal with this. we have more judges we can con firl and other business to do if the house wants to sit on their hands and they're using as an opportunity to argue the democratic case must not be that strong or urgent if contracts aren't in a rush to present it. if you're cory gardener in
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colorado or susan collins in maine and 70% of your constituents want to hear from witnesses in a trial, what are you going to do? are you going to go with the 30% who don't but are more likely to support you and anger the voters in the middle? as much as everyone wants to talk about this when it's convenient for them to politically to describe it as a trial, it is a political exercise and everyone involved is making political calculations to some degree. >> good points. thank you very much. joining me now is texas congressman, a member of the house intelligence committee. so congressman, gairrett and yo were talking about the strategy behind withholding articles. how long do you expect pelosi to keep them in the house before sending them to the senate? >> the first thing is as the speaker has said, she will send the articles of impeachment over. i think she's taken a pause to make sure that there's a fair trial in the senate. the country not just congress and not just democrats, were
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disturbed when the person who is running the trial in the senate, mitch mcconnell, said recently that he wasn't going to be impartial. that she's working lock step with donald trump. and i think the speaker just like other americans is concerned about what's going to happen over there. but, of course, we will forward those over to the senate. >> respectfully, did you actually expect mitch mcconnell wasn't going to be a partisan in the senate, wasn't going to be arguing the president's side? >> i think there's a difference between being a partisan and being completely in the pocket of the president. of course he's got an r by his name. we have ds by our names. everybody has a political party attached to them, but that's different than letting the white house run the whole trial and that's exactly what mitch mcconnell has suggested he's going to do. >> well, i guess some people might say that's what was going do happen anyway, at least maybe he's putting it in the public and making it clear what he's doing instead of trying to cover
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that up. >> well, i mean, if that's the case, and everything is going to be a sham, and everything is going to be filled with cynicism andfatalism, it's corrosive to the system and affront to our constitution what he's doing. >> the strategy here, withholding the articles and putting a pause on it, i was told by many house democrats on my air on the 5:00 p.m. show and in private that this is something that needs to happen now. there is an immediacy to this because they're worried the president is going to try to cheat again. that's part of the reason why more witnesses were not pursued through the courts. how do you both argue that there's an immediacy to this that you cannot wait but then also sit on articles for any period of time? >> yeah. i think that's a fair question. look, we have been proceeding with the idea that things needed to move expeditiously as the
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speaker originally said, because we feared that president trump is going to continue this egregious behavior. at the same time, i think everybody took pause when mitch mcconnell said what he did and started -- we started to fundamentally question the fairness of the process over in the senate. you know, that's not snag we wish upon the senate or the country. >> what's going to change between now and when the articles are sent over? are you expecting or waiting for an assurance from mitch mcconnell that he will not locke stop with the white house? are you going to be waiting for gardener or someone to say no, we want to call witnesss? what needs to happen before those articles are sent over? >> well, look, i can't guarantee you that anything is going to change, but i'll tell you why it's important that the speaker did what she did. number one, because she said she needs a little bit of time to come up with decide on the house managers and who is going to manage the process over there. secondly, katy, because this
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discussion needs to be had, and the public needs to spend some time thinking about how mitch mcconnell is running the senate, and running this process. and then finally, as you mentioned earlier, that leader schumer and speaker pelosi have had a chance to meet and yes, i think all the leaders including mcconnell and speaker pelosi should sit down and talk about the ground rules and the rules of evidence and which witnesses are fair game for the process. and i think that we can certainly afford to spend a few weeks having the public think about the meaningfulness and the impact and kobs kwenss of what's going on, and also negotiating the senate trial. >> you say a few weeks. does that put us on target for a trial starting in early january, january 6th? >> i will ultimately leave that to speaker pelosi and mitch mcconnell to decide, but like i said, i expect that we'll send over the articles of impeachment and we'll get this going. >> congressman, thank you very much for joining us. and former -- joining me is
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andrew weissman and former senior council for the clinton impeachment investigation, paul rosenstein. i'm trying to get behind the strategy of democrats. i get they don't have a lot of leverage. the senate is controlled by republicans and mitch mccovernn announced he's going to work with the president. are they opening themselves up for the obvious attack from republicans and the president that they're not confident in their own articles of impeachment and they don't want to let the senate make it fair and show the president is actually innocent? that's what the president would say. that's what republicans are saying. >> i do think there's some responses the democrats have. i mean, mcconnell in his letter today talked about the paucity of evidence. well, the democrats get to say well, if you're dplcomplaining about that, don't block the witnesses. if you have firsthand witnesses blocked by the white house, that's a really sort of ironic thing for mcconnell to say.
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i do also think there's something interesting here. there's a wild card which is that the trial is overseen by the chief juice tis, and there are rules that govern the impeachment process, so rule 7 gives the chief justice the power to decide motions that are made to the chief justice. >> a house manager could make a motion to call bolton or giuliani or mulvaney? >> exactly. motions can be made on either side. now, it's unlike a normal judge. because although the chief justice has that power, the rules say that he does not have to exercise them. he can just say you know what? i'm going to punt that to the senate to decide, and then a majority vote will govern. the others that if he does decide it and the senate thinks that it's wrong, they can overrule it. but it's still -- so i don't expect that the chief justice will be very proactive, but it does give the ability of the democrats or the republicans to
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make a motion and force a vote. so if it is true that you have 70 % of the country thinking you know what, if you have nothing to hide, why not call the witnesses? that has a lot of appeal to people. put the evidence out there if you think there's a paucity of evidence, let's hear from everyone so you can decide. this forces the senators to take a vote. >> paul, do you think that's where this is going? >> in the end, it's going to go to the senate. i think i share your skepticism that there really isn't that much value in withholding the articles of impeachment at this point. i think susan collins would like nothing more than for this to go completely away and not have to vote on anything which is what withholding the articles means. i agree with andrew that there's a possibility for procedural maneuvering in the senate. the reality is sadly whether we like it or not, it takes 51 votes in the senate, and unless four republican senators are
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willing to stand up and say we want witnesses. we want a trial. we want to cross examine people like john bolton, it's not going to happen. i suspect that what leader mcconnell is saying right now to those people, susan collins, cory gardener, is i want your vote on process. you can vote whatever you want to to save yourself in -- when it comes to the -- when it come to the ultimate result because i know removal is just not likely to happen. but i need and expect your vote on process. >> that's interesting. i wonder if house democrats and those are the ones who are the impeachment managers or the house managers, if they have no ability to call new witnesses, how do you go about prosecuting this case in the senate? how do you go about making sure that your argument, what you found in the house gets properly and convincingly conveyed not just to the senators there but to the american public who will be watching? >> i think you'll see a repeat of what you saw in the house. they won't have the witnesses live. but they are on video tape.
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this is the kind of thing -- >> they'll replay it? >> i think you'll have the highlights and you'll see a condensed version of the written report can be done in a format that's a little bit more spoon fed so people can see the witnesses testify. >> paul, if you were giving advice to speaker pelosi, what would you say to her about how this case should be prosecutore prosecuted? what should you not do that you've already done? what's the best way to move forward? >> i would say this isn't an argument about removing the president. i think the absence of some miracle that the result in the senate is foregone. this is an opportunity to make the case to the american public. i would say use witness testimony that's been recorded. use videotapes. use demonstrative exhibits. take advantage of the fact that so many people who might be undecided are listening and try and make the case that this is
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about more than just presidential misconduct. it's about an abuse of power. it's about obstruction and american norms. i try to make that resonate with people. it's a difficult argument but it's the only thing they've got. >> you've watched the hearings. who would you use as a house manager? >> they have a lot of good people. adam schiff, obviously, seems like a no-brainer. he's a former prosecutor. he's done this before, so he's somebody with experience. and then there were a range of people who i thought were very, very smart. i think you probably are making that more on a political basis. >> where the person is from, what sort of district they represent? how much credibility they might have in that district? >> paul? >> i have heard and i like the idea of appointing amash. it lends a patina of nonpartnership. if you've listened to him, he
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has been standing up for the fundamental principles that i think are at the core in a way that's ar tick you ladr articulate. he's been strong. >> pathank you both. we appreciate your time. coming up, how to handle impeachment in the senate when you're a democrat from a red state. jon tester of montana is one of them. he's going to join me. plus why the impeachment of president trump was both predictable and a rare consequence. and later, a bipartisan mission to make your life better. house democrat and a house republican are working together to fight surprise medical billing. both of them will join me live. e
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it was weird sitting down with donald trump, a candidate nearly everyone called a joke back in 2015 of july. it was surreal seeing him overcome scandal after scandal to get elected. it's dressing but not surprising watching him bget impeached for abusing power. this is the first time he's suffered political consequences for his actions. he faced none during the campaign, not for the muslim ban or the access hollywood tape and the dozens of women, more than a dozen women who have accused him of sexual harassment or abuse.
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not for calling mexicans crossing the border rapists. not for calling on russia to interfere in the 2016 election. not for calling his political opponent to be locked up. not for denigrating a gold star family or hocking his families for campaigning. and he hasn't faced any political koconsequences since office. not for undermining american intelligence or revealing classified intelligence to russians in the oval office, not for separating families and traumatizing children. not for profiting off the presidency. not for filling his cabinet with people who abuse taxpayer money. not for lying about dumb things like crowd sizes or big things like obama wiretapping him. not for anything, until now. now for asking a foreign power to investigate a 2020 political
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rival and a debunked conspiracy theory, both of which could help him win a second term and for refusing to cooperate with congress's efforts to investigate, donald trump is facing consequences for his actions. he's now only the third president in american history to be impeached. no matter what happens next, even if the senate acquits him, even if he is reelected, he will forever have a mark next to his name. joining me now is ashley parker. ashley, by my count, this is the first time donald trump has faced any political consequences, and you wrote about his rally last night. he was at the rally, when he was officially impeached. you talked act what he looked like and how it belied this calm demeanor the white house had been trying to sell for weeks. >> yeah. that's exactly right. and i've had this same thought you just outlined for more
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articulately than i have so far about all the things president trump paid no consequences for. but i was struck watching that rally. i mean, i wrote in my piece that he was sort of red faced to the shade of burnt sienna, and he was sweating. you could see the sweat beading his upper lip, and this was a president who was furious and was angry, because as you said, whether or not he wins reelection, whether or not he gets acquitted, impeachment is for life. it is for eternity. it is real. it is historical and will stay with him forever. and that is something that is going to nod donald trump long after people stop talking about it. this is a president consumed with his legitimacy and legacy. and impeachment is a dark stain that no matter what else happens undermines all of that. >> do you think he was expecting this? i mean the republicans like to say democrats have been trying to impeach him since day one. was he expected it to actually happen? >> it's a great question. as we were leading up to this at
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the point where this whole thing has felt preordained, i was asking people if in some ways this was inevitable in the sense that they always believed democrats were out to get him and democrats always believed the president was going to misbehave in ways that could be construed as high crimes and misdemeanors. the answer was in retrospect maybe, but i think when he took office a year ago, no one and certainly not the president himself could have expected this. did he expect this the previous months, weeks, days? yes. but i think it took him a while to come to terms that he would be unable to squirm his way out of that. >> he was warned against this behavior, warned by multiple people. he was warned by john kelley. he didn't heed that warning. don't act this way. i guess -- can anybody get in his ear? and tell him to stop even when it's harmful for him? have we totally gone past the
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point of no return and i wonder what that means for post january, post february when this trial is over. >> well, i don't know currently in the current world instead of people he surrounded himself with that anyone is at this point really trying to get in his ear, but there certainly were people early on in his campaign and in his presidency who did caution him about things. again, i would point you back to the litany that you opened this segment with, and there is thinking in trump world and by the president himself which is you know, that these political wise men, these pundits, these so-called smart advisers who have been around the swamp forever said i couldn't do this or that. said this would be career ending or that would be, and none of it was. even when he did hear the notes of caution which he's hearing far less now, he was often able to dismiss them by saying i've crashed through all the norms and faced no consequences. >> looks like he will be
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acquitted from the senate. ashley parker. ashley, thank you very much. we appreciate it. and still ahead, freedom caucus founder mark meadows will not speak reelection. he wants to work more closely with the president. first, how do you handle impeachment if you're a red state democrat? montana's jon tester joins me next. me next as a struggling actor,
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and keep the public safe. before the article's even passed the senate democratic leader went on television to demand this body redo house democrats' homework for them. that the senate should supplement chairman schiff's sloppy work. so it is more persuasive than chairman schiff himself bothered to make it. >> he's the president's case so weak that none of the president's men can defend him under oath. if the house case is so weak, why is leader mcconnell so afraid of witnesses and documents? i have yet to hear one good argument why less evidence is better than more evidence. >> they are supposed to sit down and come to an agreement on the
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rules for the impeachment trial that will soon face their chamber. mitch mcconnell and minority leader chuck schumer are locked in a battle over the process. schumer's request for white house witnesses was roundly rejected by mcconnell who last week admitted openly that he is not an impartial juror. with the senate leader already promising to kpan raexonerate t president, can it be fair? jon tester is with us. thank you for joining us. you're in a really interesting position. you have are a democratic senator from a red state. talk to new about your calculus when it comes to this impeachment trial and what you think from both mitch mcconnell and chuck schumer. >> it is a trial, and the senate is the jury, and we need to get all the evidence we can lay our hands onto make the good decision. i think one of the problems over
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in the house was the president denied the house the people they wanted to testify and give them information. he denied all that. he said he couldn't get a fair trial in the house. we're working to make it a fair trial in the senate. let's get the information, the good information so we can make a decision whether it comes out of mulvaney or bolton or pompeo or whoever, but the truth is to have a trial without any witnesses and any information is a mockery of the constitution, and quite frankly, wouldn't allow the american people to witness how governments should work how the forefathers meant it to work with three co-equal branches of government. >> what kind of trial do you want to see? >> a fair one, a transparent one. one where all the information is put on the table so not only the senate can make a decision but the american people can. >> in order to do that, it sounds like you're going to need to heal from people like john
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bolton and mulvaney. are you having any conversations with any of the other republicans that might feel the same way in the senate? ones that could vote on the process and force leader mcconnell's hand to call those witnesss? >> well, you know, it's interesting. there's been a lot of action on the impeachment in the house, but in the senate it hasn't come over. after the first of the year it will be. i've left it up to leadership. senator mcconnell and schumer to do a negotiation to get a fair set of rules that works for the american people, and so there hasn't been a lot of talk, at least not between myself and republican colleagues. i was with a few the other day, and just talked about how long they thought the trial was going to go and stuff. i don't know that anybody has a good call on that. but the bottom line is that this is a very serious issue. these are very serious charges. and we need to make sure that we get all the information, every bit we can get our hands on, so we can make a decision to the
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best interest of this country. there's been a lot of talk about what happens if he's acquitted or what happens if he's convi convicted. you need to have good information. if we have good information, even representatives from red districts or red states i think the american people will appreciate it. >> is that the reason why leader mcconnell doesn't want to call mulvaney or bolton? because it's not good for the president? is that the reasoning? >> well, you heard senator mcconnell say he's going to take his cues from the presidential team. that's what the presidential team did in the house. it shouldn't be surprising they don't want witnesses in the senate. i think we need to demand it and the american people need to demand it because we need to have good information if we're going to make good decisions. >> a lot of republicans have said they don't want to waste their time. they could get more done. the senate hasn't touched people. you haven't had any of your plate. if v you been getting anything done on the senate? >> we're getting some stuff done
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in the senate. there's about 400 bills mcconnell has not allowed to come to the floor. they're partly sunny bills for the most part. they're not that controversial. let's have the debate and move forward. and i think we can continue to have committee meetings while the impeachment trial comes on. if we're working six or eight hours a day, there's nothing wrong with working 12 or 14. i do it all the time on the farm. i think legislation is really important. how we fund community health centers and take care of the elderly and youth. it's all very important. we should be doing it all. and we shouldn't just have pieces of legislation that are hand picked by senate mcconnell to vote on. we should have all of them on the floor. it's supposed to be the greatest dlib rative body. dl -- let's have the debates and vote. >> thank you. why did the white house endorse bipartisan legislation on
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surprise medical billing just stall in congress? the house democrat and house republican behind the effort are going to join me. but first, congressman mark meadows is not running again. instead, he may go to work for donald trump. why? i'm your 70lb st. bernard puppy, and my lack of impulse control, is about to become your problem. ahh no, come on. i saw you eating poop earlier. hey! my focus is on the road, and that's saving me cash with drivewise. who's the dummy now?
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he suggested to politico he could leave before his term was up. he didn't elaborate further. we do know that he was previously on a rumored short list to be president trump's chief of staff. someone who might know more is politico's senior writer jake sherman. he joins me in studio. jake, this kind of puzzled me this morning. mark meadows wouldn't be facing a tough reelection. >> he would not, but his district was redistricted. it went from a strong republican to a less strong republican district. i think here's the overall banner headline. republicans are in the minority. they don't look to be heading toward the majority any time soon. mark meadows would be a power broker in the majority. if people are leaving like mark meadows, republicans don't think they're getting the majority c back. he would deny that and say he wants to save donald trump, and there's an argument to be had that he's used as a de facto
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chief of anyway. i think people are thinking mulvaney is always on thin ice and when you work for donald trump, you're always on thin ice. it makes it a curious decision. >> why would they do that? >> i was talking to a former staffer who said going to the white house is a tough thing for meado meadows. >> who has left in a better position? >> sean spicer did "dancing with the stars." >> i don't think that's a better position. >> i think that measuriark mead would be a -- he understands donald trump, but remember, this is a guy who has -- >> everybody thinks they understand donald trump. >> until they get there. right. but this is a guy who had veto power when republicans were in the majority. going from that to a staffer, i don't understand how that transition works and also leaving in the middle of a term is drastic. >> is it to be part of his
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reelection bid? >> i think if i had to guess, he did not -- we did not talk about this, but i think he would like go to the go into the administration for part of the time. he sees himself as a political director. >> i think you hit the nail on the head for why it matters. if the republicans thought they were going to win back the majority, meadows wouldn't be somebody resigning mid terp. i want to get your take on something else. the withholding of articles of impeachment. we went through it all in the beginning of the show. you and i have talked about this before. the strategy here, it -- is it going to backfire? >> i don't understand the strategy to be honest. i don't understand. here's the general kind of canvas of issues. >> pelosi is not -- we've been talking about it. keep going. >> if pelosi withholds these articles, mitch mcconnell country go to trial. i don't understand how pelosi has any leverage over mitch mcconnell, and mitch mcconnell doesn't have to go to trial, he won't go to trial. and the impeachment ends? . >> and senator collins or gardener, are any of them facing
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intents who say we want a trial? >> but think about the position that they'd be in. they either are going to have to choose whether to vote to impeach donald trump or not, or if there's a trial. if pelosi holds it back, they can say we want to put him on trial. i would argue it's beneficial for people like collins and gardener. it's a benefit to have pelosi do this, and we know mitch mcconnell. right? we know he doesn't feel external pressure on almost anything he. he didn't have votes on judges during the obama administration. >> i thought it was rich him talking about precedent and completely forgetting about the fact that he refused to have a confirmation hearing for america garland. merrick garland? >> there's not a ton of precedent. we don't have impeachments all the time. it makes it difficult. if pelosi holds the articles for two month, what do you do if you want to put the president on trial? i expect pelosi will send them
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over by early january. >> i got the same sense. it sounds like they're going to see how it goes for a few weeks. jake, always good to see you, especially in person, my friend, my friend. tonight is the sixth democratic debate, and the last of 2019. don't worry. there will be a lot more in 2020. seven candidates will take the stage in los angeles. the smallest and least diverse group to date. the stricter debate requirements mean that many candidates did not make the cut. including former new york city mayor michael bloomberg. you know who he is because you see an ad on tv about him about every four seconds. bloomberg just spoke with stephanie ruhle the an exclusive interview and one of the things that he addressed was something that we've talked about quite a bit on this show. his stop and frisk policy. why it was so controversial, and why it remains so controversial today. listen. >> you're running for president. you know you're going to be
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scrutinized. i want to talk about a few of the things. stop and frisk. >> sure. >> you aggressively supported something that overwhelmingly targeted african american and latino men. you have since apologized. what are you going to do to show the black community that you're going to work toward making the criminal justice system more fair? >> when i came into office, there were 650 people getting killed in new york city every year. mostly poor minority males. i said i can't do this. these are people's lives. innocent people are getting shot. we have to do something about it. yes, i made a mistake in doing it too long. maybe even the whole program you could have done something else. who knows what would have happened but i made a mistake and i apologized and i'm onto keep going and the objectives haven't changed. >> you can see the entire interview tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. eastern right here on msnbc. and next, why did legislation debate on surprise
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if you could declare one winner of congress's year-end funding bill, it would have been the health care industry. because with just 12 considered days left in the year, efforts to reign in the high cost of prescription drugs failed. and the one piece legislation you'd think would transcend politics, a bipartisan bill to protect patients from surprise medical bills, didn't make the cut either. instead, the healthcare industry was given a massive tax cut. a tax win to the tune of some $373 billion. and that is thanks to special interests and a massive lobbying effort by doctors and hospitals. joining me now are two men that we've had this conversation with before. new jersey democrat congressman frank palone and oregon republican congressman greg walden. so, gentlemen, last time we talked about this, we talked a lot about dark money and how they were working overtly and covertly to make sure that this legislation failed. it seems like they -- they won.
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>> well, if you want me to start, they only won for now. we are determined to move this bill beginning in january. this is only the first year this congress. and there is a lot of support for putting an end to surprise billing. and we actually started today to continue and expand our investigation into these corporations that have now purchased physician practices, as well as the insurance companies, to find out why this is happening. so that we can better prepare for how to stop it. but i don't want you to think for one minute that we've given up on this because this is a bipartisan, bi camera, both house and senate effort. >> that's exactly right. i would just say the letters we have a sent to top insurers and top staffing companies are going to find out the facts. we are asking them for the information about how they operate and why consumers are the ones getting ripped off in this process. so if anything, we're doubling down.
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we're going novemb we're going to move forward. we're disappointed this bill didn't get into the final spending package. but we're still standing shoulder to shoulder to get this done. >> it seems like everybody got a piece of that spending package. every district got a piece of that spending package. why was this thing left out? was it because of the power behind lobbyists, the healthcare industry, lobbying, individual members of congress? was it -- was it because they have more say in how certain congressmen and women operate than their constituents do? because this is not something that anybody who is a patient is supportive of. going into their hospital they think they are covered by and getting a surprise medical bill from somebody who was -- might have been doing the rounds that evening. or giving you anesthesia that evening who was not in your network. i mean, there's no patient out there that says, hey, yeah, we should protect this. so how -- how in the world -- how in the world did this not get into this spending bill? >> well, you have to understand
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that these corporations, we call them private equity firms, that have purchased the physician practices, make a lot of money on surprise billing. which, of course, is out of pocket of the consumer. and so they started running all these ads. tens of millions of dollars with ads that influenced a lot of members. and when you're trying to put something in a bill at the end of the year, it's very easy,you know, to say, well, we'll deal with that another time. >> how does that influence members, though? members are certainly smarter than that. they should know that -- that what -- what is happening is they're being convinced by the dollars of a private corporation. right? i mean, you guys knew. you've been talking about this. you've introduced legislation. we've talked about it on this show. there have been articles written about it. local news has done investigations on it. people knew about it. it wasn't -- wasn't kept under cover. >> well, the other thing i'd say and i agree with the chairman. but the other thing is, this bill also generates savings to the federal government that we were going to use to fully fund our community health centers for the next five years.
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and so there are those who had their eye on the money. that this would save, too, for the government. and had other ideas about how to spend it. so it was a little more complicated than just the typical lobbying influence or the ads, although both were in play. there's more to this that we have to overcome. but the key is we got to keep a focus on the consumer, who's getting ripped off at the emergency room. as you said, one out of five emergency room visits now ends up with a surprise bill. and we have evidence from our initial investigation that frank and i are leading that -- that says that these companies buy these practices, take them out of network, which means no insurance is covering 'em. drive up the billable rate by 96% in one case. and so it's jacking up the overall cost of healthcare, even if you're not a recipient of a surprise bill, your costs are going up as a result of the action. so it's no wonder everybody's in this the way they are. we're going to peel each layer of this onion back till we get to the facts. and we're going to change the law to protect the consumer going forward. >> is there one big -- i guess
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one big bad guy here? is it doctor/patient unity? or a number of different ones? who are you eyeing? >> i think that what you're seeing primarily are these corporations that have purchased these physician practices. so what we find, for example, is when there's a physician practice. for example, they'll buy an emergency room practice. right? then what happens is there's a lot more surprise billing. the cost of reimbursement rate goes up. and the expenses go up. so a lot of this surprise billing is being initiated by these corporations. you know, wall street firms, whatever, that have purchased the physician practices. particularly, in the emergency room. and that's where we have to focus the investigation. and that's what we're doing today with the letters that we're sending out. >> congressman walden, really quickly before we go, what can individuals do in order to make sure this is in the next spending bill? or at least it gets passed. >> there are membeir members of
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senate. and also, if you are a victim of surprise billing, tell us about your story. i think that will help us put a human face on this. we have a number of stories. they really make the case of why we need to act and act now. every day that goes by, somebody's getting jammed with a, perhaps, financially-crippling bill that they should never have to pay. and so we need the public's help on this one. we're going to continue to stand strong. we're not going to be intimidated by the ads or anything else. but we've got to win over some people who maybe aren't as informed on this as we've become. and that our investigation will lead us to become even more informed on. >> and i don't want you to think we're waiting for a spending bill. i mean, this -- this bill can and we plan on dealing with it as an independent bill. the effort to link it to the spending bill was something we tried. but this doesn't have to be part of a spending bill. this can move independently as a package. >> it can stand alone. got it. congressman frank pallone and congressman greg walden. gentlemen, thank you very much and we'll be right back.
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on this thursday afternoon. ali velshi is here. >> thank you, friend. good to see you again. have yourself a great rest of the day. >> you too. >> all right. it's thursday, december 19th. president trump is in fighting mode. pelosi feels her phony impeachment hoax is so pathetic she's afraid to present it to the senate. this is president trump taunting the house speaker by twitter just one day after he became the third president in u.s. history to be impeached. the president attacked pelosi after she declined to give a timeframe for sending the articles of impeachment over to the senate for trial. the senate majority leader mitch mcconnell echoed the president's view on the senate floor this morning. >> looks like the prosecutors are getting cold feet. in front of the entire country. and second guessing whether they even want to go to trial. they said impeachment was so urgent that it could not even


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