tv Deadline White House MSNBC December 30, 2022 1:00pm-3:00pm PST
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hi, there, everyone. it's 4:00 in the east. it took years and one court ruling after another, appeal upon appeal and even a trip to the united states supreme court, but today the american public finally has its hands on something donald trump has so doggedly sought to conceal -- his tax returns, six years' worth. an unprecedented window into his financial picture. this public release, which among other things shows that donald trump paid very relatively in taxes in the years before and during his presidency, is the end product of an effort undertaken by the house ways and means committee. after securing the returns which cover the years 2015 through 2020, that panel voted along party lines to hand redacted versions of the returns over to the public. before we get into what these thousands of pages reveal, in a
way, those of us who are not account tantants can understands worth note hough the committee got its hands on these returns in the first place. it's the end result of an investigation into a irs policy that mandates audits of returns filed by presidents and vice presidents. from nbc's reporting on this story, "the committee found that the irs had largely not followed its own internal requirements. beginning to examine trump's returns only after the house panel inquired about the process, just one year of trump's returns was officially selected for the mandatory review while he was in office, and that audit of trump's 2016 taxes was not complete by the time he left the white house. according to the report. now, in addition to new information on his income and other financial figures, there are a number of new revelations. for instance, despite repeated boasts having to do with charitable donations, trump reported zero dollars of charitable giving in 2020.
he also maintained foreign bank casualtieses while he was the president of the united states. predictably, trump spent his day throwing a fit, releasing statements, some by video suggesting the release is, quote, going to lead to horrible things for so many people, end quote, and whether or not there's a threat of retaliation and one to be taken seriously, one thing is for sure -- this is a day that donald trump hoped and worked very hard to make sure would never come to pass. it's where we begin today with some of our favorite reporters and friends. harry lipman is here, former depp city assistant attorney general, and the host of "the talking feds" podcast. also joining us, a "new york times" reporter on investigations. his by line is on the "new york times" blockbuster reporting on the personal finances of donald trump. russ, i think most of what we knew before today we learned from your journalism, your investigative reporting on this topic. so tell me what you learned today when these were released.
>> i think we learned the trends we've seen looking at 20 years of his tax returns before and the money he inherited from his father, that continued during his years in the white house. one thing that jumped out for me in this, you see in this six years of returns the one year we had a positive income was 2018. he reported $24 million in taxable income. that was the first time in a decade he had reported positive taxable income according to your documents. and when you look at the documents closely, that all came, $26 million of it, from assets that he inherited from his father that he sold in that year. so even in the one year where it looks like he's turned the corner and doing well, it's just really a continuation of businesses he run himself and not doing well and being able l to subsidize that with the half billion dollars he inherited
from his father and the other half billion dollars he got tied to his role on the apresent technical analyst and the endorsement deals oop -- "the apprentice" and the endorsement deals there. >> in addition to the forensic accounting that has been done by you and your team at "the times" and what came out today, there's this bigger piece of the story that i think you're getting at, russ, which is that the way he became president was by convincing enough americans that if he could run the country as successfully as he ran his businesses, the country would be in good hands, and he won. i mean, enough people accepted that. it seems that between, as you said, what you've reported on and what's clear today, is that none of that was really ever true. he has wealth, but it's not because he was a superb businessman making lucrative and successful deals that grew his company exponentially. >> you know, you're exactly right, and you see that in his history, not just when he ran for president but from a very
young age when he was still in his 20s. he was telling reporters he'd already taken over ownership of his father's company. it was not true and would not be true for another 20 years, but that is how he sort of presented himself, and i think that's why he fought so hard to hide these documents from public view. that's a huge part of his psyche, just the idea that he is wealthy on his own and that everything he's got he built himself. don'tly untrue. these businesses are losing tremendous amounts of money. you see that at the old post office where in 2020 it lost another $16 million. he over his life and ownership of that building from the documents we have was investing $8 million to $9 million of new cash every year just to keep that thing afloat before he finally had to sell it. so to your point, it's right, sort of the fundamental lie of donald trump's life.
>> russ, when you look at it, other than taking away his bragging rights, is there anything that confirms the claim he made over and over again that the reason he couldn't release his taxes while he was a candidate for the presidency was because of an audit? >> yeah, that's a great question. i mean, you don't see that in the report that the house ways and means committee released. what they assert is that the presidential mandatory audit policy was not followed during his presidency. that seems true. but there's also a reference in there to something that we reported, which is a massive are fund of $73 million that he claimed in about -- starting tax year 2009. that audit had not been resolved by the time this window begins, and the committee's report makes reference to that, saying that that audit period 2009 to 2013 was still unresolved and still sort of lingering, there are
unresolved issues in that. and they never come back to that. it would not be uncommon -- and they can cite that as a reason that the 2015 audit was delayed, but it would not be in common from what i've been told from people who work at the irs, for subsequent audits to be put on hold until something of that size progressed. but the upshot, you're right, is that he was not completely audited during those years. the irs makes clear they have no aspiration to completely audit him. they're foxing on a few companies. and it does seem that this lingering issue that could total $100 million in liability to him if he had to give that money back, is still linger 12g years later and after he's left the white house. >> you know, russ, the other thing that lingers is a perception problem i think at best and some real questions maybe oversight questions for the irs itself. your paper has also reported on extraordinary audits of andrew
mccabe and jim kuo know, who received audits that are described as autopsies without the benefit of death. and this sort of way that we got this release, that the mandatory required audits of a sitting president hadn't happened, what are the sort of legitimate questions on the table now for the irs? >> i think that's an excellent question. one i just alluded to, why does the president, former president and the irs still have an unresolved issue over $100 million from 12 years ago? obviously the irs has not backed down on that, trump has not backed down on that. why is that still lingering? why did the irs not assign more people do this? there's remarkable line in some of the reports that they initially had one person looking at these tax returns. there are 500 business tax returns that donald trump files every year. it's impossible to look at those with one person. after our article, they assigned
a total of three people to it. it kind of embarrassed me to say "the new york times" had three of us working on this for almost six years and we're not the irs. >> yeah. >> like, it's just insane that that's where we are, that these kind of questions are lingering for more than a decade with that kind of money on the table while he has influence over the irs, and the irs is really not doing anything to look in total at his businesses and how money flows between the different entities. >> yeah. harry, it is at this point only fair to say that we don't know what we don't know, but from the outside it looks exactly as russ describes its, at times having three people investigating this and that happens to be the number of same people that the irs had. what is your reaction? then i want to go through some of the things we've been talking about, about how we now know for certain that the reputation of a
successful, swashbuckling businessman was always a hoax. >> we don't know what we don't know, but everything we've learned has not taken us by surprise, has been a piece of the fundamental man he is, the brazenness, the shamelessness, the dishonesty. and we did have of course because of russ and his colleagues, have a lot of good reporting already. the top line here has to be, well, two things i would say, the losses. they are gargantuan. we're talk about hundreds of millions of dollars year after year after year. that's true losses. his vaunted empire was simply gushing red ink and that's all it was doing. the only way, as best i can tell, he ever made any money at all was from cashing in things that his father had given him or a couple of deals where real estate appreciated. that's it. but the point you were just talking about is at least the
second headline here, what the hell? he's a complicated taxpayer, fine. but not doing it at all and then only assigning one person? and even to this day the irs is basically saying, oh, it's so complicated, they're kind of throwing up their hands. how can poor old us, we're outgunned by big mr. taxpayer trump. that is bizarre and not credible. it turns out the very reason that this motion to get the taxes initiated, to find out about the audit program, was very well taken, not withstanding everything you hear trump and marjorie taylor greene saying today. it's a very good thing on top of everything else that we learned about this kind of massive failure to go forward with a required mandatory audit program for president. >> harry, leapt me -- i want to turn to his foreign bank
account, but let me first play what he said in a presidential debate in 2020. >> we don't know all of his business dealings, but we have been told through investigative reporting that he owes about $650 million to wall street and foreign banks or maybe he doesn't want the american people, all of you watching tonight, to know that he's paid nothing in federal taxes, because the only years that anybody's ever seen were a couple of years when he had to turn them over to state authorities when he was trying to get a casino license, and they showed he didn't pay any federal income tax. so -- >> that makes me smart. >> -- he's made zero. >> that was part of his identity as much as anything, harry litman. >> yeah. he's a guy who's from the start, you know, been ask not what you can do for your country, ask what your country can do for you. i just want to repeat, you know,
everyone's donning their green eye shades and going through the fine print, and that's going to come -- you know, disgorge lots and lots of revelations, but at its most basic, we've known this since back then, we've nonit from his smug nondenial of smile and other denials of it, we know he's been hiding things, and that was the real reason he wanted to avoid. none of this takes us by great surprise, and it fills in a picture that has really emerged this year with increasing specificity. the facts are coming out, and now it's time for accountability to follow. but this guy is just what -- you know, at worst he looked to be years ago, and everything that reporters have found, everything he's denied has turned out to be
true and he's just turned out to have a secret power of shamelessness and lying anytime. >> russ, i want to play one more sound bite from the debate four years later on the question of his finances still very opaque to the voting public. but what we do learn i think today, and, again, it's something that was probed but i believe this is the most clear it is, that he had a bank account in china from 2015 to 2017 according to his tax returns. let me show you what he said when kristen walker, my colleague, asked him about doing business in china in a presidential debate. >> a report this week which was referenced does indicate that your company has a bank account in china. so how can voters know that you don't have any foreign conflicts of interest? >> i have many bank accounts and they're all listed and they're all over the place. i mean, i was a businessman doing business. the bank account you're referring to, which everybody knows about it, it's listed, the
bank account was in 2013. that's what it was. it was opened -- it was closed in 2015, i believe. and then i decided, because i was going to do -- i was thinking about doing a deal in china like millions of pooerm, i was thinking about it and i decided i'm not going to do it, didn't like it, i decided not to do it, had an account opened and i closed it. >> okay. >> excuse me. and then, unlike him, where he's vice president and does business, i then decided to run for president after that. that was before. so i closed it before i even ran for president let alone became president. big difference. >> russ, those statements on the debate stage are not true, are they? >> it looks like that china account remained open for quite some time. i mean, he was referring there i think to an article we'd written a couple weeks before that, and he does open accounts in most place where is he has any kind
of, like, cash business, he has accounts in scotland and the uk and in different countries with licensing deals. i don't know there's a nefarious thing in that. it is interesting how widespread his businesses are. there are a million ways that if someone wanted to get him cash and have it look like a business transaction but not really be one, that would be very simple. you don't need an account in china to do that. you could just rent a thousand rooms at the old post office hotel for the weekend and not show up. and that would be a huge gift to him that would have the patina of legitimacy to it and would be not discoverable by our financial disclosure forms or even these tax returns. >> you know, harry, to your point before about a bigger picture, there was a sense when questions of trump's criminality dominated the conversation about his presidency, that the norm busting sort of receded.
but in a lot of ways, the norm of releasing your taxes when you're a candidate for public office, that norm falling without enough sort of hew and cry led to some of the biggest questions about possible corruption of the trump era. you still have jared kushner at the trough of middle east sovereign wealth. you have joe manchin raising money from people who was treasury secretary, a policymaker of great influence to their fortunes. all of that became secondary to questions about criminality and coordination with russia. but i wonder if you think the country has the appetite to debate having stronger laws around disclosures and transparencies when it comes to a candidate's finances. >> so, first to your point, it's just spot on. all of the -- in the first few months i would say going to maybe the firing of comey in
march 2017, all the themes were out there on the table. the important points were an open hand for us, and they just continued to play out in different and increasingly precarious and eventually republican threatening ways, but they were all before us, and, you know, part of what historians are going to be doing is really excavating the role of the american people. and, look, you know, for -- we're coming a long way. it's the end of the year. a lot of people are saying we've turned the corner. i think we have. we still have to reckon with the fact that even the minutes after the insurrection, some 120-plus republicans vote to nullify the election, some are still in that camp, but it's all been done. there's no way that any of those apologists can say, well, it took us by surprise. it really was laid out so
clearly. do american people have the appetite? i think so. this is what happened after watergate, a general move for transparency. it's hard to be against transparency. the real question is whether the gop will permit it. if there were still a democrat majority in the house, i think they would go for more transparency, and it would be a very hard thing to object to. but that, the sort of more specific republic politics, trump, still the leading candidate for president, astonishingly, and the like are the bigger impediments rather than the will of the american people. this year, and i think the last midterms, showed the american people still do have the interest and the will to know what happened and reject the assault on democracy that trump represents. >> always good to remind ourselves of that pocket of good news. really before today, most of what we knew we knew from russ'
reporting and that of his colleagues. when we come back, more on the release of donald trump's taxes and the final end of the ex-president's campaign to hide hem from the american public. a member of the committee that won this legal battle over his taxes, congresswoman judy tsu will join us. and stunning optics and conversations between a sitting united states supreme court justice and his wife. we have new details on the capitol insurrection and the trump coup plot from the testimony of key witnesses to the january 6th select committee. and later in the program, we'll talk to the man whose stunning revelations back in 2009 made the push to seek trump's taxes even more urgent. we're talking about donald trump's former fixer, michael cohen. lactaid is 100% real milk, just without the lactose. tastes great in our iced coffees too.
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because it's under order. i'll release them when the order is completed. nobody would release when it's under -- i've had order for 15 or 16 years. every year itch a routine audit. i'm under a routine audit. as soon as the audit is done it will be released. tax returns are under audit. gee, i've never heard that. oh, gee, i've never heard that. never heard that before. well, look, as i have told you, they're under order, they have been for a long time, they're extremely complex, people wouldn't understand them. at some point i look forward to -- frankly i'd like to have people see my financial
statement because it's phenomenal. >> its up to you. >> no, it's not. it es up to lawyers and everything else. >> the guy who magically declassiied things in his brain could never find a way to release his taxes to the public. this day is one he has sought to avoid for as long as he's been on the public stage. his tax returns, though, from 2015 through 2020 are now, as of today, a matter of public record. joining us, democratic congress welcome judy chu of california, member of the ways and means committee, harry and russ still with us. first, tell me your retax to -- you've seen this before, you have, you'd had more time to mull it over. what are for you the revelations? >> for one thing, he is not the great businessman he claimed to be when he was running. he was able to pay only $750 in taxes in 2016 and '17 due to these mammoth business losses,
reporting $30 million in earnings but then also $60 million in losses. this is something that has to be investigated in terms of the rack ra si of the net carryover losses. but the other thing that struck me was how much ma mip lags there was in terms his deductions. he had so many questionable deductions that the joint committee on taxation pointed out that should have been investigated. for instance, the charitable deduction of some conservation easement, he claimed $21 million in deductions. that's very questionable. the loan to the kids. was it a loan or was it a gift tax? and was that his way of evading a big gift tax that he would have had to have paid? and then there were his business deductions, which magically equaled, dollar for dollar, the amount of income for those
businesses. well, it is questionable as to whether those really were business deductions or were they personal expenses. that should have been investigated. so there are many questions that were raised. >> congresswoman, the irs has its own criminal enforcement division. do you have questions for them about why none of those things were investigated? >> i have many questions as to why there was only one agent assigned to the mandatory tax audit and why they did not start the mandatory tax audit until chairman richie neal of the ways and means committee wrote a question about releasing the tax returns. in reality, there should have been a minimum of at least five agents assigned to this, and they should have had amongst them a foreign tax specialist and a financial products
specialist. but this agent actually said that they didn't need the specialists and that he could handle it all, and, in fact, took the words of these accountants at face value, not questioning it. that is what is so apparently wrong in this process. and to why we actually wrote legislation after we saw this to ensure that there is a mandatory tax audit that is reported on continuously to the public and where there are parameters for when they should be reported on and also where they would actually release the president's taxes. >> congresswoman, i think i remember reading somewhere that this might be happening, that an inspector general review of how trump's taxes were both handled and investigated to your point, only one agent assigned to them, and not released to congress, i
mean, would you like to see the irs investigate itself? or would you like your colleagues in the senate to convene hearings? what would you like to see happen to get answers? >> i would certainly like to see an inspector general report on what happened. i would like to see, if anything, the g.a.o. or something that would show us why it happened the way it did, though we can surmise that this also has something to do with the starvation of resources to the irs over this last decade in which 30% of their tax experts have declined and where 70% of the audits of the wealthy have declined. i would like to see that. though i have to say now with the house being taken over by republicans, this will have to be in the purview of the senate over the next two years. >> do you have larger questions
about the politicization at the irs given "the new york times" reporting about the extraordinary audits of jim comey and andrew mccabe and the handling of trump's tax returns and audits? >> i do have questions about how these decisions were made during these last four years, and we certainly saw the pushback on our request for the tax returns over and over again, and we were rebuffed many times, even though we had the right, of course, our chairman had the right to be able to see these returns. and yet the commissioners there, treasury secretary mnuchin rebuffed our attempts each and every time. so we need to get the politicization out of the irs,
and we need to have a light shined on the process by which these -- certainly by which these mandatory presidential audits are done. >> i want to bring russ back into this conversation. russ, the hurdles put in front of congress have an echo i think in some of the hurdles that you all faced, investigating his taxes. this was something that almost more than anything else donald trump did not want into the public arena. what do you think the next phase of accountability is now that we have this information? >> well, i think the most important things might happen in private. the congresswoman mentioned that $21 million charitable donation. that was an audacious claim. it was fallow property that he tried to develop and failed, so then he got an appraisal that said it was worth $21 million seemingly based on the idea that
it was developable. the irs has since looked at it and said maybe it's worth there are 8 million, maybe it's worth nothing as a tax deduction. those kind of things could have a big impact on him. he's not terribly cash rich from what we can tell. and also as i mentioned that audit, it's been outstanding for 10, 12 years, if that goes against him, that could be as much as $100 million or more he would have to come up with that he's had in his possession for all these years but very well could have to pay back to the irs. some of those things may happen in private. we may never know what they are. i do think it will be interesting to see if there is some kind of real effort to figure out how we would deal with another president who has as many ways to be conflicted as donald trump has. i don't think this has ever happened before. and how we would figure that out, how the american people could know. the financial disclosure system is wholly inadequate for this purpose.
even releasing tax returns is really not sufficient to figure out some of the ways a person might be conflicted or receiving money in illicit ways. it would be interesting to see if there was a real effort to address that in a public way. >> you know, harry litman, as russ is talking and the congresswoman has been explaining the process, i'm thinking of john bolton's book where he revealed for the first time that he went to bill barr because he was concerned that donald trump was conflicted and that u.s. foreign policy was wrapped into donald trump's business interests in turkey, with erdogan, and other countries. these aren't suspicions held by "the new york times" or democrats in congress. these were suspicions held by donald trump's own national security adviser. how do we have a system -- right? >> yeah, because all of the cautionary institutional barriers were broken or dissembled. look, what russ said is right, but what do other presidents do? they put all their assets into a
blind trust and they have no stake in what happens in their businesses. trump didn't do that. again and again he simply broke the rules and we have so much sort of 'splaining to do. russ is totally right about those two big-ticket items, but as the congresswoman pointed out, we have probably two dozen issues that come up in both the deductions, which are very poorly documented to say the least, and expenses, which are fishy as can be. will we ever get to the end of that trail? it seems unlikely to me that full accountability will happen here, but looking forward, the notion that we just can't permit the already institutional safe guards to be simply demolished, and, in fact, we have to strengthen them, that's got to be the lesson.
of course to learn that and execute it, you need some cooperation from congress. and that's where things remain tenuous. >> one last question for you, congresswoman. if you could just step back and share any sort of analysis in this question that i have had, do you think he worked so hard to hide his taxes from the public because he didn't want people to see how little he made compared to what he boasted about or how little he paid in taxes? what is your sense of what he was trying so hard to hide? >> i would think that the major issue is that he had so many business losses that it would be impossible for him to claim that he was the great, incredible businessman that he portrayed himself as. these losses are enormous, and
the fact that that was the way that he used to not pay taxes was very, very instrumental for his survival. but nonetheless, it was that image that i think he was riding on that clearly is not a correct depiction considering what we've seen so far. >> amazing. the guy behind the curtain. congresswoman judy chu, harry litman, russ buettner, thank you so much for spending time and starting us off today. we're grateful. up next for us, the incredible and extraordinary and historic back and forth between the january 6th select committee and the head of donald trump's security detail on what he knew before january 6th. that's next.
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♪ will you create something entirely new? ♪ our dell technologies advisors provide you with the tools and expertise you need to do incredible things. because we believe there's an innovator in all of us. we continue to learn more stunning new details every single day from the january 6th select committee. it is releasing hundreds of pages of transcripts that give us a deeper look inside the chaos in the days before the capitol attack and insurrection. they reveal testimony from trump aides that raise more questions than they answer, including the many warnings prior to january 6th that went unheeded, the colossal intelligence failure in the words of steven son, the form e capitol police chief. in today's batch of transcripts we also got trump aide and
former secret service agent tony ornato's testimony, in which the committee is skeptical of his ability to recall seeing any of the intel on january 6th or to think of a specific or general memory from his 12-minute phone call on january 6th with the ex-president's lead secret service agent. seem like the kind of thing one would remember. one witness told the committee one reason the national guard deployment was delayed 3 authorities and 19 minutes was concerns from higher-ups over the, quote, optics. former commander of the d.c. guard walker told the committee -- "i think it would have been a vastly different response if those were african americans trying to breach the capitol." let's bring in "washington post" deputy national editor phil rucker, plus clint watts, former xlant to the fbi counterterrorism division, now a distinguished fellow at the foreign policy institute. and tim mack. all are msnbc contributors.
phil rucker, these are for me like a strobe light. i can't figure out where to look. the transcripts are chock-full of new pieces not just of color but of really damning evidence of the way some of those people closest to trump testified and the depths of commitment really to the coup plot itself. >> i think that's right. and what's been striking looking at these transcripts is just the breadth of the work of this committee. they didn't just -- >> yeah. >> -- get to a couple front people here and there, but they were talking to people from the inner sanctum of trump world, and to read the transcripts you see how they think, you see how they're processing information, how this dialogue is taking shape. it's like the kind of material that those of us who cover the current presidency would have only dreamed of having in real time in those real moments and now for the benefit of history we can really piece together in as thorough a way as possible what was happening on the 6th
and the run-up to the 6th and as best as we can what was going on in the former president's mind. >> yeah. i mean, they get us all the way into that deep, dark place, the ex-president's mind. let me read some of this new transcription, steven son, to you, clint watts. question -- and this is about the intel they were in receipt of on january 3rd and 5th. "the one for the 5th is in exhibit 6 and it rates the, quote, level of probability of acts of civil disobedience and arrests as impossible for a few pro-trump groups, which it says translates to about 20% to 45% chance. how did you interpret this improbable level of risk?" sund -- "there's not a high level of or a strong probability of arrests or civil disobedience associated with them. "did you come away thinking violence would be improbable? "it doesn't read we're seeing a
significant issue coming down the pike that we knew. we knew we were expecting we'll have some pockets of people that would be problematic but not a wide range of violence, no." this is -- this stream of intelligence, clint, seems to point very squarely to an intelligence failure, whereas what janell harvin, who was here yesterday, head of homeland security in d.c., led him to believe there would be a mass casualty event in d.c. why the disparate streams of information going to law enforcement? >> yeah. it sounds like a hear no evil, see no evil. you get what you want based on the intelligence you select or how you interpret it. it was very clear. we had seen it in december. there had already been violence in streets of washington, d.c. it was well-known. we had seen it in december. everyone knew it was coming that was watching social media. you could even see it that day. there were people masked on the mall. you heard it from the rhetoric from the night before starting
on january 5th and ending on the 6th. so it was no real surprise it could get out of control. then when you have the president, also the commander in chief for the military, priming the audience with, hey, let's go to the capitol, let's walk to the capitol, that's direction, that's intention, and that is why we saw what happened that day. so i don't think anyone was that surprised about what happened. sure, maybe the degree to which it got out of control was shocking to everyone probably because we never had seen anything like that in american history. but for the most part, it was not a surprise what occurred on that day. you could see it in the open source. and now we see through the report there were lots of people reporting in to the government from different directions that there was intelligence that there were accounts of people trying to actually bring a plot to fold on that day. when i hear those reports like you read there, i have to laugh. it sounds like somebody was going to see what they want in the information they get. >> okay. i saved the best for last, tim.
this is from the transcript with ginni thomas. are you ready? is everybody ready? >> give it to me. >> "question --" about her texts with mark meadows. sort of gets to a love triangle. it's riveting. meadows responds, "this is a fight of good versus evil. evil always looks like a victor until the king of kings triumphs. do not grow weary in well doing. fight continues." and she responded, "thank you. needed that." "this with a conversation with my best friend just now. i will try to keep holding on." "question -- do you recall who you were referring to when you said you just had a conversation with your best friend?" "it looks like it was my husband." "do you remember what you talked to justice clarence thomas about that made you feel better and
allowed to say, quote, keep hanging on? " iish i could remember. my husband offers spousal support to the wife who is upset. i assume that's what it was. he is my best friend. mark meadows is getting pretty close, though." tim, i have no words. you'll have to pick it up from here. >> i have no words because my breath has been taken away by phil rucker's christmas tree backdrop. >> it's beautiful. >> between that and the ginni thomas text, i'm struggling myself but i'll do my best. we've been saying this since i've been on this show where i said, you know, this needs to be looked into. what clarence thomas knew about the intented coup and what his involvement was needs to be looked into. it is not a stretch to say that there are concerns that need to be raised.
what were they talking about at the dinner table? if ginni thomas is texting the chief of staff about a coup where they're trying to make i guess donald trump the king of kings, a little sacilegious around christmas, i don't think then she's talking to her husband about the weather at the dinner table. they're also having these sorts of conversations and thomas is the one to dissent on various court hearings. so i think that this bears out more investigation. i think it's obviously deeply concerning, you know, that a supreme court justice could have at least at some level, you know, had a relationship with this effort to overturn the election. and, you know, my own observation about those texts, they were close to being right, it was a fight about good versus evil, they just didn't know what side they were on. >> there's so much more to say and ask about ginni thomas' text messages and her conversation with her best friend and the
fact that right after her best friend comes mark meadows. i'll ask all of you to stick around through a quick break. we'll be right back. okay everyone, our mission is complete balanced nutrition. together we support immune function. supply fuel for immune cells and sustain tissue health. ensure with twenty-five vitamins and minerals, and ensure complete with thirty grams of protein.
better and allowed you to say, quote, keep hanging on. ginni thomas says, i wish i could remember, but i have no memory of the specifics. liz cheney to tony ornato, the secret service agent, says to ornato, the fbi, doj, u.s. secret service, department of homeland security all provided detail about the potential for violence and you were unaware of it. you forwarded an article to mr. engel that talks specifically about the potential for violence. says, ma'am, i received hundreds of emails. i don't recall having that knowledge. cheney, so you didn't read the intelligence and you didn't read the article that you forwarded? that's your testimony? ornato, i don't know if i did, ma'am. i'm sorry, i just don't recall. stephen miller forgot a whole lot of things. so did donald trump jr. i wonder, as doj digs into
potential criminality around january 6th, if you think people's memories will come back, phil. >> it could. look, this was a historic day in this country. and i think if you were in a position of leadership, as tony ornato was on that day, these are the types of things that would probably stick with you. but who knows what his memory is. we can't speak for him or for ginni thomas. it is important to keep in mind that this is not a criminal proceeding. it's a political act. certainly they're testifying under oath here, but it doesn't have the same criminal consequences it would have in a justice department investigation. but these transcripts are now part of the public record, which means fbi investigators and others who are actively investigating all of this right now at the justice department and making decision about whether to bring charges and against whom, they access to all of this material.
the grand jury is conducting some of their own interviews. it is certainly a different context in that investigation with different consequences, where this material can be used in that form as well. >> tim, i've got one more chunk of ginni thomas' transcript. congressman jamie raskin asks her, mrs. thomas, what was the most significant case of voter fraud you were concerned with after the election took place. this was ginni thomas. thank you for the question, congressman. i cannot say i was familiar at the time from any specific evidence. i was just hearing it from news reports and on the ground, grass roots activists that found things suspicious. so, i don't know. i was not an expert on the fraud and irregularities talked about. ginni thomas drafted a letter to go the other direction. she sent a letter to miller to have electors replaced because she argued there was evidence of voter fraud. which under questioning from a
congressional committee, she said she never knew anything about. >> what a great question for congressman raskin. sometimes, to these liars, the best thing to do is to ask them open ended questions. they'll often expose themselves. this is true. from the start ginni thomas, it's clear, everyone who was complicit in this effort in 1/6, none of them have specific voter fraud issues because there weren't any. there's a group of people who hallucinated dominion voter machines that were untrue. and there was another batch of people who really just wanted donald trump to be impounded. that's what it comes down to. the right wanted donald trump to be in power. she was willing to go along with anything that would, in her view, advance that goal. and the specifics, the truth, be damned. and i think this testimony shows that and her lack of willingness to provide specific answers to that question but then to other
questions when asked to remember what she did on this very historic day, you know, shows that that was the real underlying motivation, keeping donald trump in power, not any legitimate grievance. >> phil walker, tim watts -- still ahead for us, the one and only michael cohen on how the release of donald trump's tax returns puts his shadowy business empire under the lights. don't go anywhere. e lights don't go anywhere.
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it was my experience that mr. trump inflated his total assets when it served his purposes, such as trying to be listed amongst the wealthiest people in forbes, and deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes. when telling me in 2008 or 2009 that he was cutting employees' salaries in half, including mine, he showed me what he claimed was a $10 million irs tax refund. and he said that he could not believe how stupid the government was for giving someone like him that much money back. >> hi, again, everyone. it's 5:00 in the east. it was not surprising, but it was shocking and balling. donald trump, the businessman turned american president, took pride, revelled in taking full advantage of the government for his own financial gain.
that detail from trump's former lawyer, michael cohen, was yet another in a series of revelations about trump's tax-paying habits that have come to light in recent years, including the mammoth piece of reporting by "the new york times" starting in 2020 that exposed trump's chronic losses and years of tax avoidance. but today an inflection point, a day that never seemed like it would come. after years of attempting to keep his tax returns private, donald trump's returns have been made public, six years of them from 2015 to '20 showing that he paid little in taxes before and during his presidency and that he reported no charitable contributions in 2020. follows a years-long court battle by the ways and means committee. here's loyd dogged, a democrat from texas, on what, in his view, was uncovered. >> here is the most powerful man in the world, the self-described
clever genius, who brags of his wealth almost daily, and he did not pay the taxes that the most modest wage earner in this country would pay. nothing in one year. $750 a year in others. all of this related to the claims for big losses, big deductions, big credits, taking advantage of every loophole. and because of the sorry job that trump's internal revenue service, we don't know how many of these were legal loopholes for the rich and how many of them were unjust and illegal because the irs didn't do the job of auditing. i think americans should be greatly outraged. >> now, as the public continues to sift through these never before seen tax returns, it's hard to forget this other message that michael cohen has shared with us. here's what he said back on this show just a few months ago about his former boss. >> let's stop the nonsense. let's go after the low-hanging
fruit, the al capone theory. we already know he tax evaded. enough. why are we worrying about this? don't worry about murder, racketeering, extortion, as they did with al capone. get him on tax evasion. let's put this menace, this mussolini menace, behind bars, which is where he belongs. >> that is where we begin the hour. michael cohen is the author of the important new book "revenge: how donald trump weaponized the u.s. department of justice against his critics." david farn that will is also here, msnbc contributor. he won a pulitzer prize while at "the washington post" for his reporting on trump's charitable giving or lack thereof. michael cohen, to you first. >> i can't believe i said that on your show, but it turned out to be true.
i seem to have been accurate again. i think donald has -- as you appropriately put it, i think donald's time has come. and i think he will have to reconcile with all of these things that he has done as it relates to his tax returns now that they have been exposed and now that they have been given to the public. >> let's put a pin in the political piece because i think it's just jaw dropping that his entire political identity was a hoax. he's, you know, in the words of some of the reporters here, it was all basically a lie here. let's deal with the legal implications. you heard the congressman there talk about potentially legal conduct. michael cohen, you're a lawyer, what laws maybe have been broken. >> first of all, i was a lawyer until i got involved with donald. that's a whole other story. what laws did he break? we don't know. and to be honest with you, i
don't think his response was 100% accurate, maybe even 50% accurate. and i say that because if there are loopholes that benefit the wealthy, the uber rich in this case, that doesn't mean that it's illegal or improper for donald to take. the real question here that we now have access to his tax returns, which he so vehemently fought in order to protect, is we now know the truth about donald. we know that first and foremost, he's not as rich as he claimed during all those years. okay. that's just one in a basket of lies. but what it also does is it proves what i had said at the time of my house oversight committee hearing, that he inflates his assets for his net worth, for his personal financial statement, so that he can get benefits, whether it's on loans, whether it's with insurance, whether it was trying to get a deal like the old post office, or the doral, or any of
the other acquisitions that he did. he takes the same assets, and he devalues them for tax purposes. that's illegal in and of itself right there. and that's what i was referring to when i was on your show and we talked about his trip lakes apartment, which is not 33,000 square feet and over $300 million. it's 11,000 square feet, and the price per square foot that he was referencing in the personal financial statement is completely overinflated. these were done with intent. and, again, as i expressed, the intent was solely to keep himself high up on that "forbes" list, which was incredibly important to him. but more than that, it was to be able to use the personal financial statement so that he could benefit from that as well. >> michael, what do you think drove trump to fight so hard and to use his own treasury department. and we don't know what we don't know about what pressure he may
have placed on the irs as well to shield these returns from public view. was it not wanting people to see how often he failed in business? or was it not wanting people to see how little he paid in taxes? or are they inextricably linked? what was he hiding? >> everything, right? i mean, everything across the board and then some. one of the things, of course, again, is the fact that he's not as wealthy as he purported. but also he's clearly not as charitable as he wanted to purport. and then on top of everything, the way that he used the system -- for example -- i'm sure david can speak to this at length. but one of the things that he would do is he would take worthless land at the back of some of the golf courses, and he would then donate it as a deduction. the problem is that he would take that piece of property and he would value it the same as usable property, despite the
fact that this property was marshland. it was underwater. and he would then take that property, deduct it, and, you know, it's not a proper deduction. and that's how he ended up, again, with that $10 million check, plus a whole lot more over the years. >> is that illegal? >> to be honest with you, there's a lot of people that will have to answer, including the people from the state who ended up accepting it and not challenging when he donated, for example, ten acres, claimed each of those acres was worth a million dollars. why they just fell for whatever trump and weisselberg said, i truly don't know the answer. but, again, what it goes to is failures the in our system of checks and balances, especially on the uber rich. there's a failure of checks and balances. and while he is responsible for that because he put that down in
the tax returns and so on, i think there are other people that need to be held accountable as well. >> david, i want to give you sort of a two-part question here and then let you go. one, what sticks out for you in terms of your first look? this just came out this morning. and two, what do you think the new buckets of questions are after seeing this today? >> well, i'll tell you two things that stand out. the first one was, trump, before he took office, said he would donate all his presidential salary. he doesn't need the money. very common thing he had done with donations his entire life. i'm doing this new thing, but i don't need the money. i'm going to donate it. what we learned is he often didn't live up to it. his promise to donate his presidential salary seems to have pete erd out the last year. we see no donations of anything else.
that's one thing. michael was not surprised by this. we spent all this time talking about trump the businessman, what is he doing? he is this genius. what are his plans. i spent a lot of time figuring out what his different businesses are doing. come to find out, the only really success he had during his four years as president was due to his father, fred trump. the one good year he had, according to tax returns, was when he sold some of the last pieces of fred trump, who by then had been long dead, of fred trump's real estate empire. all the things he wrote about, all the big developments, those lost money. fred trump, from the grave, is the only thing that helped donald trump's empire this entire time. >> does that explain the fervor to keep the secret that he was not good at business? >> yeah, and just to add to david, one of the other successful ventures that he's part of is a venture that he doesn't even control. they control. and they're really professional. so, when they refinance, he had
his percentage, and that of course all goes from what occurred on the west side highway when he took over that property. but there are so many things that are coming out right now, the volume of information that's coming out, it's so enormous that it's going to take some time to digest. one of the things that we all had seen as well is the way that they manipulated the numbers. for example, with his aircrafts under, for example, the company is called t.a.g. -- t-a-g, trump aviation group. the way donald trump would set up these companies is tag would have -- underneath him. one would be, for example, his trust. and the other would be another incorporated llc they would use as an additional layer of protection. if you notice, it claimed, for example, he had earned $860,000 for the use of the plane. but the expenses equalled exactly $860,000 or whatever the
exact number was. that's extremely curious, especially if you're a forensic accountant or now the irs. but the same thing happened with the helicopters. and, again, it's the same way that they established the companies. the big llc, then the sub-llcs, and it's also, again, difficult for the irs to track what's going on here. well, now they have plenty of time, and there's going to be plenty of people taking a look at all of these documents. and my feeling is his goose is cooked. >> his goose is cooked. speaking of, i guess, geese, the perception problem for the irs is real and significant, david. your colleagues have reported on incredibly intrusive audits, known as autopsies about the benefit of death for andrew mccabe and jim comey, coincidentally -- >> and michael cohen.
>> and michael cohen. and on it, it was supposed to happen by law. it never did for donald trump. what is sort of the op-ed of questions for the irs? >> there's two big groups of questions. one is about the way they treated trump when he was president. they didn't do the audit they were required to do. his treasury secretary, steve mnuchin, showed fealty to trump all the time, lived in trump's hotel for a long time. so, the irs didn't seem to do even what it was required to do to audit trump while he was president. step back and look before he was president and you see the greater weakness michael is talking about. donald trump is not the richest person in america, and i doubt he is the most complex taxes in america. but what you saw was they had one revenue agent assigned to this huge serpentine set of tax
returns. that idea that if you make your tax returns complex enough the irs itself won't know what's in them and won't come after you for them, that's a worrisome sign for tax enforcement on the entire country. >> michael, you're right. you were also audited. i mean, "revenge" deals -- you describe yourself as a political prisoner. a lot of the focus is on doj. but a lot was the irs. what are your questions for the irs? >> senator dick durbin put out a letter to the internal revenue service asking for my irs audit to be reviewed the same extent they're reviewing both comey and mccabes. the interesting thing, in my entire life, i have never filed a late tax return. i have never not paid taxes. in fact, the two years that trump, the rich man that he is, paid $750 per year and as
disclosed in "revenge," i paid over $3 million. and i'm the tax evader? i never received a letter from the irs. no overseas accounts, no business, no nominee. every single dollar was deposited into capital one bank. but nevertheless i was given 48 hours to plead guilty to this crazy five-count tax evasion or they were filing an 80-page indictment that was going to include my wife. and there was no way i was going to put her through this, and especially in 48 hours. you really don't have time to think, to plan a strategy. but yet they didn't do any of this with donald. and the question, as david just put forth, is why? why didn't they do it? and i really hope that senator durbin continues to push the issue, not just on mine but on mccabe and comey. because all of these people are involved with donald for whatever their reasons might be, and this is exactly what he was hoping to do, which would openly
destroy our democracy. >> yeah, i mean, he is accounted for august -- i wonder all the action would be in the senate as republicans are set to take over the house of representatives. i wonder if you can speak to these questions of politicization. it does, again, seem like there's more now that is at least suspicious or unanswered than there is answered and defensible. >> i think that's right. i think that will be a focus of the senate democrats going forward now that they have a slightly larger majority and control committees. i think they will do a lot of investigations of why were these audits done. why wasn't trump audited even before he was president? hopefully we'll get a few more answers out of them during the next two years. >> michael cohen and david farn thaul, thank you for joining us this hour. happy new year to you both. >> to you as well. enjoy. be safe. >> thank you rg both of you. when we come back, the growing isolation of one
vladimir putin, as his war in ukraine continues to falter on the battlefield, there's a deepening divide between the russian president and at the leets in his own country, many of whom have recently turned up dead in recent days. later in the program, our panel looks back on the year that was. democracy passed a major test at home and abroad. the legal peril facing the twice impeached disgraced ex-president continues to snowball. "deadline: white house" continues after a quick break. don't go anywhere. continues after a quick break. don't go anywhere. treat it that way with aveeno® daily moisture. formulated with nourishing, prebiotic oat. it's clinically proven to moisturize dry skin for 24 hours. aveeno® ♪ what will you do? ♪ what will you change? ♪ will you make something better? ♪ will you create something entirely new? ♪
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president vladimir putin began his war in ukraine with hopes that this would be the beginning of his grand mission to reunify the former soviet union. but as we have seen over the past year, putin was wrong. he severely misjudged the strength, wisdom, the resiliency of the ukrainian military and people. putin has suffered humiliating defeats on the battlefield, and rallying the international community behind ukraine, while making putin a pariah. the russian president has grown more isolated in his own country. "washington post" reports that putin always wanted to keep a small circle of confidants, has become increasingly distant from much of the elite as the war falters. the divide opening up between those wanting putin to end the war and those wanting him to be more aggressive, suggesting a weakening of the kremlin's
influence over the ruling class. nearly two dozen notable russians have died under mysterious circumstances over the past year. what "the atlantic" has joined sudden russian death syndrome, a phenomenon that has claimed the lives of a flabber gasingly large number of businessmen, bureaucrats, and oligarchs. joining us now, michael mcbalance. ambassador mcball, i don't believe in coincidences. who's killing all these russians? >> i don't know for sure. i want to be clear about that. but it is not coincidence that so many of these russian people fall out of windows is striking, in terms of a way of killing them. this suggests to me that there's enfighting amongst elites, kremlin elites, people that say things they don't like, they face consequences. that's among the oligarchs, the
business people. and the journalist. that's more clear cut. s that the regime trying to kill them as they did with alexei navalny because they know putin is not as popular as they want the world to believe. you don't have to kill or imprison your enemies -- just went to jail for eight and a half years because he said something about the war. you don't have to put those people in jail if your war is popular. maybe this war is not as popular as some people believe. >> you know, i think one of the mistakes we make from here is thinking that that will -- you know, effects him why? if that's the case, he's going to be voted out. that's not the case in russia. tell me, if that's not the case, what happens? >> you're exactly right. we superimpose that russia is a democracy. there's people in opposition to the president. he's going to be voted out of office. this doesn't happen in russia. it doesn't happen in russia. there hasn't been a free and
fair election there for a long, long time, which is not to say the folks around him, just as you were reporting -- you know, i can't think of a single interest group in russia that is benefitting from this war. and just because they're not speaking out against it doesn't mean that they support the war, right? even the military, for goodness sakes, this is a war they didn't want. they got dragged in my putin and his intelligence officers. it's going badly. they look bad. the russian business people, of course they don't support it. but they don't have the ability to remove putin from office. and he is increasingly isolated. he's been isolated for a long, long time, for years and years. covid exacerbated that. he doesn't listen to any of his advisers today. and therefore, the idea that a group can get together and convince him to stop the war or to overthrow him, either of those scenarios, i think, are very unlikely. >> let me read more from this really shocking "atlantic"
reporting about sudden russian deaths. over the weekend, pavl antov, a sausage executive, a man who had reportedly expressed a dangerous lack of enthusiasm about putin's war in ukraine was found dead. antov was reported to have fallen to his death from a hotel window. it is not uncommon to be told, we can come to you or you can do the manly thing and commit suicide. take yourself off the chessboard. at least you'll have the agency of your own undoing. that's michael weiss, journalist and author of the forthcoming book on the gru. did antov fall out of his window, pushed by an agent, or get a call from his family that gave him no other option but to leap. all of these are possible. do you agree? what does that mean for us? if they're getting people to leap to their death or pushing
them to their death by threatening their family, is it time to move more aggressively to classify trump -- i'm sorry -- putin as a state sponsor of terrorism. >> first, that report is chilling, isn't it, that that's what's happening. and especially something i know from other cases, they use the threat against families all the time. even if you're living in exile, your families are not. they use that all the time as a technique. i think it says two things. one, terrorism works inside. threatening people, as putin does. it makes people fearful. it doesn't motivate them. and i think that's part of the problem on the battlefield for the russian soldiers. they're fearful. they don't want that. they're there under coercion. but they're not motivated to fight in this war. that's number one. but number two, it is -- he is a terrorist. he's a terrorist at home. he's a terrorist in ukraine. and i have long-held the idea that russia should be designated a state sponsor of terrorism.
>> i haven't had had a chance to talk to you since president zelenskyy's address to the congress. but what, if anything, do you think changed from his trip here? >> well, i hope he reached out and connected to americans because it can be kind of abstract. why do we care? where is ukraine? far away. for me, listening to that speech, he explained why this is not just a fight between two slavic nations. it's a fight between dictatorship and democracy. it's a war just like world war ii where annexation is part of it. if we don't stop putin in ukraine, he will continue to march towards our nato allies. i thought he made the case very compellingly. i hope americans heard that message. that most certainly was the message i took away. >> you know, our viewers are so, i think, moved by the ukrainian leader, the ukrainian people. it's amazing to me that some on the right criticized president
zelenskyy and slurred him and talked about him having his hand out. do you think the sort of partisan politics around the war in ukraine get better or worse in the new year? >> nicolle, you're the expert on american politics, not me. but i do -- i was very disturbed by those comments. it made -- you know, people not seeing the big picture here, the idea that the sland rouse things that he said. and i thought about, you know, back in 39 and 40, i'm listening to rachel maddow's fantastic podcast that, yes, we did have those kind of voices in america before world war ii. but look at how outrageous those voices now look because we know what happened. i hope those people, when they're saying those things, might think about those parallels to the earlier history and think a little harder about making those kind of comments. this is a heroic figure, president zelenskyy. we don't get a chance to be around heroic figures very often
in history. these are heroic people. they are literally fighting for freedom of their country and for the rest of europe and for the rest of the world. we are the leader of the free world. we have been for a long time. we should be in the future. that, i think, means we need to be supporting these heroic figures, zelenskyy and the ukrainian people. >> yeah, it's just something to keep our eye on because the fact that you've got republicans taking control of one chamber and some people on the right really on the fence, and some indifferent, to zelenskyy's heroic leadership of his country against russia's terroristic campaign in ukraine is disturbing. former ambassador michael mcfall, thank you for being here today. happy new year. when we come back, our panel will look back on this very consequential year of 2022, the year that saw democracy begin to bounce back and the law begin to
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. you know, tuesday was a good day for america, a good day for democracy, and it was a strong night for democrats. >> the american people showed that even in a midterm election, when the pendulum tends to swing to the out party, even under those conditions, the people are going to stand for democracy, for freedom. >> the last couple of weeks, a bunch of people who were die
hard trump supporters are quitting trump. >> this is the first time we've seen trump trailing other republicans since the early days of his primaries in 2016. >> donald trump's legal problems are stacking up yet again. a new york jury found his company guilty of tax fraud. >> we believe that the evidence described by my colleagues today and assembled throughout our hearings warrants a criminal referral of former president donald j. trump. >> i think the legal system is catching up with him, and i think he has sort of run out of his string of good luck in terms of what he's been able to avoid. >> 2022 was a very good year for democracy and a very bad year for the twice-impeached, now criminally-referred, disgraced ex-president. it was a bad year for authoritarians, from putin to brazil's bolsonaro, who was defeated for re-election. it was a good year, relatively
speaking, for democracy. there is the biggest loser of the year, the incredible shrinking former guy sulking in his florida lair. let's bring in top state department official, rick stengel. plus joyce vance is here, law professor at university of alabama, also msnbc legal analyst. and reverend al sharpton is here, president of the national action network. rev, where do you put the year, this inflection point. joyce reminded me on twitter, this is our last show of 2022. >> well, i think that we've had a very good year in terms of democracy. you've seen real significant pushback about the fact that the red wave ended up less than a red huddle, the fact that we've seen donald trump melt down like a snowman in july.
and he's going into new year's eve with his whole reputation tattered. because even those that had said that we needed someone like donald trump, who was a very shrewd and cunning businessman, now sees that he is a loser of the highest order, according to his own taxes. and i think when we look even to the georgia runoff, where they threw in so much money and lost the senate and in fact the democrats gained a seat. so, i think it was a good year for democracy. it was not a great year. but we faced the head wind. we didn't have the wind to our back. we were facing the headwind, and we were able to survive it. >> joyce, your highs and lows for 2022? >> so, i hope we'll look back on
2022 as the year that the fever dream broke, the year that the inevitable decline of donald trump began. but i'm clear about the fact that he is still a free man walking around at mar-a-lago and eating at the dessert bar. and we still don't know the answer to the question of whether our criminal justice system is up to holding him accountable. i thought some of the biggest news this year involved breaking the mar-a-lago document story. that was out of the blue, completely unexpected. and at the same time, a very -- i shouldn't say very simple, but a much simpler, more linear, sort of a criminal situation where i think we'll see relatively quick action from the justice department, which is, of course, as everyone knows, sort after i lumbering giant, for very good reasons when it comes to doing its cases, but in a way that's very frustrating to the public. we also saw that this immaculate
work by the january 6th committee. i think really without their effort, we would not be viewing donald trump the way the country is. and much of that work, along with the low points of the year, the supreme court's decision, and dobbs, the abortion case, i think propelled voters to the polls for the midterm elections, with results that were good for democracy. it's easy to be disappointed because democrats don't control both houses and some of the much-needed reform, voting reform, immigration reform, may not happen. but the reality is that democracy is always aspirational. we never quite get there. we're always working towards being more fair, more inclusive, more just, and holding the bad guys accountable for their misdeeds. i feel like 2022 was a year where we started moving in the right direction. >> rick, i don't envy you. i think she made me cry twice. this idea of the immaculate work product and the immaculate
cohesion -- i mean, i don't know the last time we saw a congressional committee work like that. some of it was because, while they were not united in their party affiliation, there were two republicans who were given very prominent roles in the committee, they were united in mission. and it was miraculous to be reminded of what that looked like. just take us through your highs and lows. >> just on that point, the last time was probably the watergate hearings. and like the watergate hearings, the january 6th commission served an educational function. just seeing smart people who are civil, who are using the law, who are deferring to each other, it makes people have some respect for congress again. i think that was super important, in addition to the historic referral and indictment of donald trump. but you also saw in washington, this is one of my highlights, a return to bipartisanship. i mean, the chips bill, the gun safety bill, the infrastructure bill, those were all bipartisan
bills. those were all bills that benefit the american people. so, i'm somewhat hopeful that in the new year, even with a republican house, that we can restore some of that bipartisan initiative because those bills and those infrastructure is not ideological. everybody can get behind that. and i agree with both the rev and joyce that there's been a return to common sense, a return to normalcy. i hope that will prevad the legislative agenda over the next two years as well. >> all right. no one is going anywhere. and your ears are not betraying you. you're hearing some optimism. but we have to fit in a quick break. we'll be back with more of it on the other side. k with more of in the other side
this is going to be great. taking the shawl off. i did it. is he looking at my hairline? my joint pain isn't too bad. well, it wasn't this morning. i hope i can get through this. is plaque psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis making you rethink your everyday choices? otezla is a pill, not a cream or injection that can help people with plaque psoriasis achieve clearer skin. otezla is proven to reduce joint swelling, tenderness and pain in psoriatic arthritis. and no routine blood tests required. don't use if you're allergic to otezla. otezla can cause serious allergic reactions. it may cause severe diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting. otezla is associated with an increased risk of depression. tell your doctor if you have a history of depression or suicidal thoughts or if these feelings develop. some people taking otezla reported weight loss. your doctor should monitor your weight and may stop treatment.
today president joe biden pardoned six people. this is the second time he has issued pardons during his presidency. gary parks davis, 66, who pleaded guilty to using a telephone to facilitate an unlawful cocaine transaction at age 22 received a pardon, as did charlie byrnes jackson, 77, who sold whiskey without a required tax stamp. edward lincoln de coito, 50, who pleaded guilty to a marijuana conspiracy. vincente ray flores, who
consumed ecstasy and alcohol while in the u.s. military. john dix nock. and 80-year-old beverly ann tamas who was convicted of murder for killing her husband. she was pregnant at the time and testified her husband had beaten her throughout her pregnancy. what do you learn about president joe biden, the man, through his selections for presidential pardons? >> i think that it shows that president biden really serious about reforming unfair and unjust sentencing, as well as the criminal justice system not working the same as it should for people under circumstances like an abused wife or like people with minor infractions
who maybe should be held accountable, but certainly not the kind of time that these people were given. and i think that that goes along with his doing the -- around policing and other things since he's been in office. and many of us in the civil rights community, that have raised these challenges, have noticed that there is a consistent pattern, that even when he's not being challenged, that president trump has shown a real decisive way of using his office to try and point out some of the things that need to be corrected in the criminal justice system. and i think this was an excellent way for him to end the year. >> joyce, what's your reaction to the recipients of president joe biden's first round of pardons -- or second round of pardons? >> well, i agree with rev. i really admire the way joe biden issued these pardons. many of these people have long since finished serving their
sentences, and they've gone on to do really important things. they've gotten college degrees. they're engaged in community work. in the case of the woman who was convicted of second degree murder of her abusive husband, the trial judge in that case didn't permit her to offer that evidence in in her own defense. so, this is a recognition that the pardon process is meant to be used for justice and for mercy. and it's such a sharp contrast to the former guy, who dangled pardons of people who he thought were at risk of offering evidence to federal authorities that could potentially incriminate him. it's a very refreshing use of the pardon and the way it's intended. >> yeah, rick, you cannot talk about this president's restrained, appropriate use of his pow e, almost unilateral power to pardon individuals in contrast to his predecessor.
steve bannon, mike flynn -- who else? there's a list. it's like a rogue's gallery of -- oh, jared kushner's father, charles kushner. paul manafort. roger stone. george papadopoulos, i forgot about him. the prolific maker of movies that bill barr called ludicrous and laughed at. and sheriff joe arpaio, i believe was the first pardon. >> it's like murderous row. the pardon power is the single most unqualified power the president has. it's the one sort of thing that's least like the rest of thepresident's powers in the constitution, because there are no checks and balances to it. and as joy said, the origins of pardons is in a religious sense. shakespeare said mercy and
justice are twin sides of the same coin. that's what we have seen with joe biden's pardons, a sense of mercy and justice. and in so far as people in america can get a sense of the person who gets pardons, as the reverend said, trump dangled the pardons in front of people, using it as a moral arbitros. biden is showing it for people who believe in second chances. that's what pardons should be used for. >> rev, i want to ask you to look ahead for us. what are you sort of watching for in the new year? >> well, i'm watching for how we see on the democratic side whether the president runs again. i think he's earned the right to run. i think he's done a lot more than he's given credit for, and how the democrats will deal with a senate kind of landscape, the
senate races that they're going to have to battle to try and not lose some of what they have gained, because the senate races are stacked one way. the real challenge and the real thing that we're watching for is will there really be an effort in the republican party to move past donald trump? will someone have the courage to stand up and take him on, even if they're sacrificing a lot of their own? if they do not de-trump themselves, they will end up trumped in history. >> such a good place to stop. rick, joy, reverend, thank you for spending time with us. thank you for everything you do all year long for us and our show. a quick break for us. we'll be right back. eak for us we'll be right back. will you make something better? create something new? our dell technologies advisors can provide you with the tools and expertise you need to bring out the innovator in you.
democrats are touting a monumental achievement as they close out the year. joe biden is outpacing the former president in seating federal judges with 97 confirmed and in a 50-50 senate. among those appointments was the historic appointment ketanji brown jackson to the supreme court. three out of every four judges
tapped by joe biden in the past two years were women. about 2/3 were people of color. we want to take a second to thank you for letting us into your homes every day, especially during this holiday week. we're grateful for every single day you come back. thank you so much. from all of us here at "deadline: white house" have a happy and peaceful and restful new year. chris hayes picks it up after our break with a special edition of "all in." our break with a special edition of "all in." create something new? our dell technologies advisors can provide you with the tools and expertise you need to bring out the innovator in you. research shows people remember commercials to brwith nostalgia.ovator so to help you remember that liberty mutual customizes your home insurance, here's one that'll really take you back. wow! what'd you get, ryan? it's customized home insurance from liberty mutual!!! what does it do, bud? it customizes our home insurance so we only pay for what we need!
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