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tv   The Impeachment Trial of Donald Trump  MSNBC  January 27, 2020 6:00pm-10:00pm PST

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should your answer depend on your political party? answer, no. my second observation is that i actually think it's very instructive to watch the old videos from the last time this happened when many of you were making so eloquently, more eloquently than we are the points we're making about thely and precedent. but that's not playing a game of gotcha. that's paying you a compliment. you were right about those principles. you were right about those principles. and if you won't listen to me, i would urge you to listen to your younger selves. you were right. and the third observation in sitting here today, judge starr talked about that we're in the age of impeachment. in the age of constant
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investigations. imagine, imagine, imagine if all of that energy was being used to solve the problems of the american people. imagine if the age of impeachment was over in the united states. imagine that. and i was listening to professional dershowitz talking the shoe on the other foot rule, and it makes a lot of sense. i would maybe put it differently. i would maybe call it the golden rule of impeachment. for the democrats, the golden rule could be do unto republicans as you would have them do unto democrats, and hopefully we will never be in another position in this country where we have another impeachment, but vice versa for that rule.
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those are my three oceans. i hope that's helpful. those were the thoughts that i had listening to the presentations. but at the end of the day, the most important thought is this. this choice belongs to the american people. they will get to make it months from now. the constitution and common sense in all of our history prevent you from removing the president from the ballot. there is no basis for it in the facts. there's simply no basis for it in the law, and i would urge you to quickly come to that conclusion so we can go have an election. thank you very much for your attention, and thank you mr. chief justice. . >> -- recognized. >> mr. chief justice, i ask unanimous consent that the trial adjourn until 1:00 p.m. tuesday, january 28th. and the order also cute the
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adjournment of the senate. >> without objection, we are adjourned. >> chief justice john roberts gaveling to a close today's session of the impeachment trial of president trump. thanks for being with us for our special coverage of the ongoing impeachment trial of the president. i'm rachel maddow here at msnbc headquarters in new york. i'm joined here on set by my friend chris hayes, the host of "all in" here on nbc. also by claire mccaskill, former united states senator from the great state of missouri. chuck rosenberg here, former senior official at the justice department and fbi. we're also joined by our friend eugene robinson, pulitzer prize winner from "the washington post." thank you all for being here tonight. it's good to have you here. hearing pat cipollone proposing a golden rule for impeachments and asking americans to join hands and imagine a time when there is no more impeachment. it was an odd ly -- it felt to e
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like he was joking, but i don't think that he was. that followed a lengthy presentation from alan dershowitz, which of course has been a highly anticipated part of this trial. obviously because of alan dershowitz's recent association with jeffrey epstein and his involvement in jeffrey epstein's legal defense, professor dershowitz was seen as a very controversial choice, and has spent a long time since he was naped to be part of this defense, defending himself in terms of involvement with jeffrey epstein. but his presentation is sort of professorial presentation tonight on the floor of the senate is that presidents can only be impeached for things that are violations of criminal law. which he acknowledged is something that the legal pantheon does not concede. he sort of finished by saying i do my own research. i won't go with the crowd here. but it is heading into this, chuck, i'll put this to you first. i would not have thought that the president can't be impeached
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for something that isn't a crime would have been a sort of hill they were going to die on here. >> yeah, it seemed a little odd to me, rachel. he admitted that he changed his mind. that's fine. people change their minds. we shouldn't hold that against him. but he went from the great weight of legal authority and analysis to a distinctly minority position. and in fact one of the people that he now stands in opposition to in holding that you need a crime or crime-like behavior in order to impeach is a fellow named alexander hamilton who had something to say about this in federalist 65. the framers could not articulate every bad thing a president would do or could do in order to be removed. and so they left it somewhat vague, and they left the sole power to determine that in the house and the senate. as dershowitz himself admitted tonight, he is in the minority position. we heard a lot of very thoughtful academics in the house explain precisely why abuse of power and trust ought to be impeachable. i think that's where the better
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argument lies. >> it is remarkable that this is really the apex of their case. they're doing this in primetime on monday. they spent almost no time -- they spent almost none of their hours on saturday so they could finish up with dershowitz in primetime on monday night. they think this is the biggest audience they're going to get. it was this novel and experimental legal theory that impeachment isn't what you think it and therefore we should never use it. it struck me -- you're an experienced prosecutor and lawyer as well as being a former senator. how did this strike you? >> i don't think harvard is happy tonight. you know, harvard holds a place in the legal community as one where the academics are excellent and the professors are thoughtful. this really lies like a pretzel. he was trying to take what he was dealt and twist it and turn it into a way. i mean, think about how absurd this is. imagine if a president took office and this was written in one of the blogs over the last few weeks by smarter lawyers than i am. imagine if a president took
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office and then said i'm just going to take vacation for a year. i'm going to go live on the mediterranean for a year. you guys take care of it. >> figure it out. >> you figure it out. impeachable? no, alan says, dershowitz. no, not impeachable. >> because it's not a crime to go on vacation. >> i can have a laundry list of things. and also, the weakest argument he made i thought was just because they allege specific crimes within the articles of impeachment, that doesn't work because the article impeachment is not alleging a crime. it's alleging abuse of power. but underlying that abuse of power they lay out the crimes. and so it really i thought it was sad. he is on a very lonely island. >> i thought -- it was essentially a kind of dissident interpretation of what the sort of scholarship says on this, given to you by alan dershowitz. i will say this. it was at least a legal argument. >> yeah. >> literally, hours before you
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had the lawyer reading off the unemployment stats. and after dershowitz, cipollone comes out and says it's never before happened in american history that we've impeached someone in election year which is flatly untrue. andrew johnson's impeachment was an election year. so he was making an argument -- i thought it was a tangentious one, but the legal arguments with legal citations and all that stuff and not quite the level of weird bad faith disingenuous trolling that other people have done. okay, let's have an argument about this sort of constitutional scholarship. >> if you look at the arc of the defense argument over its first two days now, i'm confused. i mean and i'm trying to be, you know, as genuine and objective as i possibly can here. but i thought on saturday they were arguing that of course absolutely there was no linkage
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between aid and investigations. there was no quid pro quo, right? and they sprinkled that argument in today as well, before dershowitz gave the legal scholarship. but this afternoon, i watched all of pam bondi's presentation in which she seemed to be saying of course there was linkage between aid and investigations, and that was his duty to link the two in a quid pro quo. so i don't understand, you know. a great mind is supposed to be able to hold two thoughts in opposition at the same time. but this is stretching that for me. >> they're trying a lot of different things, some of which are legal arguments, some of which are no. i thought the whole treaties about really, we ought to be impeaching barack obama was quite an apex moment for me today. is this really happening? yes. this the argument they're really trying to make. there is obviously also this elephant in the room which is last night we get john bolton's
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manuscript reported by "the new york times" to describe in fact an overt quid pro quo articulated in detail by the president personally to his national security adviser who has committed it to print, thereby probably blowing up any claims of privilege that might arise around those claims, and we already know that he wants to testify. so they're sort of not grappling with that. dershowitz i believe is the first person who talked about john bolton's claims. well, i have to tell you tonight, just in the last few minutes, nbc news has advanced this reporting. this is breaking news reported by carol lee at nbc news who i think is going to be joining us by phone in just a moment. she reports this. a single hardcopy of former national security adviser john bolton's book was delivered last month to the white house for a national security review. what happened to the copy of the book is unknown to bolton's team, but it appears copies of it were made. so he dropped off one. somehow it multiplied inside the
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white house. bolton's team submitted the book, quote, in good faith and now feels that process was corrupted. bolton doesn't intend to speak publicly about the ukraine issue until questions about his potential testimony are resolved. that's important. if we her to testify, he plans to do so as a fact witness. again, new reporting from carol lee at nbc news. joining us now by phone is nbc correspondent carol lee who has just broken this story. carol, thank you so much for taking time. i know this is a really busy time for you. >> of course, thanks, rachel. >> am i right he belief there's has been replication, that he dropped off one hardcopy, one paper copy of the book, and his team, bolton's team is saying that they believe it was photocopied, in order to circulate it more widely? >> basically, yes. they gave a single copy of the manuscript to the white house for that very sort of routine review that anyone who has worked in in administration with the kind of access that john
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bolton did would have to undergo if they're writing a book, a national security review. and given that the bolton team says they had nothing to do with leak of the contents of the book which they're also not confirming or denying, it appears that there would have had to have been copies made of the book. essentially hard to get your head around the idea one copy of a book and everyone is passing it around, and all those people are going and talking to reporters about what they read in this one copy that they've all been sharing. so it suggests that there are multiple copies floating around, and from the bolton team's perspective they're saying we gave them one copy. what they did with it, we don't know, but clearly it's gotten out there and it's not coming from us. they really want to distance themselves from the idea that he is somehow behind leaking this. >> to that last point, when they tell you they submitted the book in good faith, they feel the process was corrupted.
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>> uh-huh. >> that's the contention from bolton's team that they did everything -- they did everything right. they absolutely didn't leak it. the book and the descriptions of the content of the book aren't coming from them. it must have come from the white house. that's the picture they're painting. >> that's right. that's basically what they're saying. it's not from them. and that they were approaching this from a perspective of this is what you have to do when you write a book like this. obviously, this book is a lightning ready for a whole host of other reasons. it's not just some staffer writing a book that needs to get a review on some mundane national security topics. and so but it is a very routine process that anyone who has written a book and worked in a white house or an administration would know what it's like and what they're saying from their point of view, that somehow got off the rails. and this is not how that process was supposed to go. and, yeah, he didn't and doesn't
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intend to speak publicly about this issue until his -- the questions about whether or not he can deliver testimony in the senate trial are resolved. and that he from their perspective, he wasn't leaking on any of this. it's not them, according to them. >> and carol, the point that you also make in your reporting tonight that if he were to testify, he plans to do so as a fact witness. >> yeah. >> can you tell us the significance of that and what exactly that means in this context? >> well, that's what concerns people around president trump, because, you know, bolton's danger, if you talk to anyone who is close to the president and supported the president, well, they'll tell you that his danger is in the fact that he comes with this republican background. he's got a lot of credibility. and if he were to go in there and just say what he knows, he knows a lot. and he knows a lot of facts.
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and even if they can dispute the facts or argue that the facts are not as he outlines them, his coming at this from just being a fact-based witness, not somebody with an agenda is something that could be very threatening to the president just for the simple fact that we saw. we all watched all of the administration officials. he testified in the house hearings and that were fact witnesses, and sometimes when you just say it out loud, it can make the president look really bad. an that's what people around the president are very concerned about. >> and carol, just one last point in this. you mention specifically he is not planning on speaking publicly about the ukraine issue until questions about his potential testimony are resolved. that means i should not be so hopeful in calling him and asking for an interview, not that i ever was. >> i don't think he is going to be sitting down with you any time soon. maybe after his book is out. >> we'll crott that bridge when we come to it.
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but so that -- he is essentially saying i'm not going to talk in another venue other than the trial. >> right. >> is it clear to you why he -- why he would say yes to a subpoena from the senate at this point, but he would not voluntarily agree to testify to the house? that's both an interesting question in terms of what's done so far, and also an interesting question about whether he might testify to the house if the senate indeed doesn't call him. >> my understanding is that he wanted -- john bolton is this kind of -- he has a lot of views about how presidential authority should be exercised. and he believes a lot in that the president has the right to invoke executive privilege in certain circumstances. he has a long history of that. and that's why for him, you
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wanted a subpoena if he was going testify in the house. but not just a subpoena, for a court to decide, to decide whether he should listen to the white house or congress. that changed with the senate. and you can argue the senate is a republican venue. it's not run by adam schiff. it's overseen by justice roberts. and i think the idea that justice roberts is overseeing it is part of what bolton has a lot of respect for him and any process that he would run. but clearly, he also, it's right there and every statement from his lawyer, from others that he really has a story he wants to tell. he saw a lot. and, you know, he is someone who clearly -- the house decided not to move forward with that. and i think i'd be curious to see whether he contested and any attempt by the house now to go back and have a do-over. but the senate process is one that he clearly feels more
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comfortable in. i don't think it has -- i don't think it's -- you can't rule out it's because it's being run by republicans. >> carol lee, nbc news correspondent joining us to help with this new breaking news reported by carol about john bolton's perception of what happened with his manuscript after he dropped it at the white house and his plans moving forward. carol, thank you. i know you're in the middle of reporting further tonight. thank you for taking the time. >> thank you. >> i will say as we are increasingly saying these days, but wait, there is more. so last night we got this reporting from "the new york times" from maggie haberman and michael schmidt. that was dramatic. president trump told his national security adviser in august that he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to ukraine until official there's helped with investigations into democrats, including the bidens. remarkable reporting from schmidt and haberman. quote, the submission to the white house may have given
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trump's aides and lawyers direct insight into what mr. bolton would say if he were called to testify at trump's impeachment trial. it also intensified concerns among some of his advisers they needed to block mr. bolton from testifying. that story broken last night from michael schmidt and maggie haberman at "the new york times." this bolton story advanced somewhat in the past few minutes with this new reporting from nbc news that bolton believes that the white house made copies of the single hardcopy of the manuscript that he turned into them, now also saying according to nbc news reporting tonight that he will not speak publicly about the ukraine matter until the issue of whether or not he is going to testify is resolved. but now beyond that, michael schmidt and maggie haberman have more information that has just posted a the "new york times," also, again, within the last few minutes. headline, "bolton was concerned that trump did favors for autocratic leaders."
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shared his unease with william barr who cited his own worries about the president's conversations with the leaders of several countries. i'll just read. john bolton privately told attorney general william barr last year that he had concerns that president trump was effectively granting personal favors to the autocratic leaders of turkey and china. barr responded by pointing to a pair of justice department investigations of companies in those countries, in china and turkey and said he was worried that president trump had created the appearance that he, the president, had undue influence over what would typically be independent deliveries. again, this information is being sourced to the unpublished manuscript from john bolton that has just turned president trump's world upside down. joining us now is mike schmidt, who broke this story for "the new york times" tonight as well as last night's bombshell along with his colleague maggie haberman. michael, thank you for taking time to be with us tonight. i know it's a busy time. >> thanks for having me. >> so i wonder if you could
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reflect a little bit on the way your scoop has landed. i don't want to ask you to opine on its importance, its political ramifications. i basically want to ask you if you think the country is getting it right, if you think that the scoop that you and maggie had and this additional information is being assessed properly, and that people are understanding what's important about it from the way you understand your reporting. >> i'm not really sure that i've given that particular question a lot of thought. we've sort of been concentrating on trying to learn as much as we can about what is in that manuscript. we believe that it's a critical document. obviously there is a lot of public interest in it. john bolton was the highest profile person that probably could have been a witness at this trial, and we still have not heard from him, but we were able to answer some of the questions of what he would say.
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and we're sort of putting our heads down here as we continue to try to learn more about that, to illuminate that question, which is hanging over this impeachment, and in some ways hanging over the country. >> michael, one of the things that is unusual about the sort of timeline that you and maggie have laid thought your reporting is the fact that the white house, if they've had this since the end of december, if they've had this since before new year's eve and it has these incredibly simple and inflammatory claims that are directly related to the impeachment, it is hard to know how that didn't ultimately make its way to the president's defense council, to mitch mcconnell, the majority leader of the senate, or indeed to any of the other people who might be sort of decision-makers in terms of the way the white house has approached this defense. can you shed any light on that? >> well, so we really have only so many data points on that question. we know that the manuscript went to the white house on december
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30th. we know in recent weeks the president has spoken publicly about how he does not want bolton to testify. we know that the president's aides have pushed that notion that the white house has communicated this to capitol hill and that mitch mcconnell certainly knows that the president doesn't want him to testify. i think the white house knew for a long time that there could be problems if bolton testified. certainly when his aides testified and their statements came out, it was not good for the president. so bolton was sort of always this big bad question for trump. but if they saw the manuscript, it would certainly cement for them the motion that testifying by bolton would damage the president. . >> the president has made sort of mixed messages, put public messages about testimony, about whether he would welcome witness, what kind of witnesses he would like to hear from, what sort of complications there might be if witnesses were in fact asked to appear. do you have any understanding
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now as to what sort of panic level the white house is at with renewed interest based on your reporting among republican senators to get bolton into the witness chair? is the white house concerned enough about that that they might try to throw a legal hail mary, that they might try to have some sort of restraining order, or they might try to blanket classify everything that bolton might say? do you know how they're going to approach this to the extent they see it as a threat? >> so word than sort of spread around today that the white house was ready to go to court to try to prevent bolton from testifying. they've done that with other witnesses, and certainly at this stage of an impeachment where you have john roberts sitting there, i think it's a pretty complicated question about whether it would go to the courts or whether roberts would decide it. but we heard a lot of churn about that today and that the president was very upset and wanted to do everything to stop bolton in the same ways he has for the past few weeks.
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the white house, some people at the white house knew what we reported today many weeks ago so, this wasn't really a surprise to them. but what it does is it puts that pressure on those moderate republicans and the real question that we'll have to see, and it certainly hasn't moved in the past 24 hours, not to the point that it's gone over the edge. is there enough pressure to get at least four republicans to vote with the democrats to call bolton as a witness. >> mike schmidt, pulitzer prize winning correspondent with "the new york times." congratulations on this groundbreaking reporting, mike. thanks for taking time to be with us tonight. >> thanks for having me. >> we're going to take a break in just a second, but i will say the bolton developments, and if they are going to keep trickling out, if there are a number of people who have seen this manuscript, and now people know it's out of the bag, people know what's in it, if this is going to be a daily news dribble in terms of what bolton has to say. the political pressure to actually hear from him in this context is going to become
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inexorable, won't it? >> yes. and republican senators are upset because they feel like they were blindsided. mcconnell is upset because he feels like he was blindsided. >> like the white house, you had this. how comb you didn't warn us. >> right. and the other thing that happened today, trump of course is so good at screwing up his case. he did it again today by tweeting first of all, the privilege is basically gone once bolton talks about the conversation. and then he tweeted today, trump did, that he denied that the conversation was what it was. so once you start talking about a conversation, that executive privilege disappears. chuck knows more about it than i do, but it's gone now. >> i think factually claire is right. but this becomes a really complicated question, as michael schmidt alluded to, if i may for a second. >> please. >> privilege is a real thing. the law recognizes that certain conversations may be between an attorney and her client or between a president and his
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advisers ought to be kept confidential. so privilege is a real thing. to claire's point, waiver is also a real thing. under certain circumstances, if you're my attorney, rachel, and i share confidential information with you, but do it in front of chris hayes, then that confidentiality is waived. so waiver is a real thing. here is the problem. here is where it gets complicated. who determines that? it's not us sitting here. claire is right. i think it's waived, but typically, that's resolved in court by a federal judge. and in this circumstance, it could conceivably be a question submitted to chief justice roberts and the senate. but if the white house just wants to run out the clock going to federal court and seeking a restraining order or an injunction is not a bad play. >> it would be so transparent that that's what they're doing at this point that even that would be harder -- >> don't you think the courts would expedite it? it took three weeks in nixon for it to go all the way to the supreme court.
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i would have to believe this thing would go like lightning through the system. >> i would hope so. >> we're going take a quick break. when we come back, i do believe we're going to be talking with the top democrat in the senate, chuck schumer. he is not quite standing by, but we're chasing him. so hopefully that will be right after the break. stay with us. us >> man: what's my safelite story?
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i'll be amazed if there is a strong push to say no, we're not going to allow john bolton. it's one thing to say we don't know what he's going to say. we don't really need to hear from him. but if there is some indication that he has information that bears directly on the heart of the case, to willfully say we don't want to hear that, to me basically just undermines the idea that this is a real trial. >> you would need four republicans to cross the aisle. do you think there might be four? >> i think there will be more than four. my bold prediction is there will be five or ten. >> independent senator angus king of maine who caucuses with the democrats today, making the bold prediction there will be five or ten republican senators who would vote in favor of hearing from witnesses. he did say it was bold prediction, but it is his
quote
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prediction. joining us now is the democratic leader of the united states senate, senator chuck schumer of new york. thank you so much for making time for us tonight. >> good evening, rachel. it is bold, but there is no question we're making good progress here, and we're a lot better off today than we were yesterday with the bolton revelation. you know, when you hear two people with diametrically opposed stories, and one is willing to swear under oath it's true, and the other who denies is not willing to swear under oath and is trying to shut the guy up who is willing to swear, who do you think is right? and i think our republican senators are sort of realizing that. so we're doing better and better. but this is the one place i'd be a little less bold than angus. don't underestimate the power that trump and mcconnell, the squeeze that they will place on these members not to do it. the last thing they want to do is extend it outward because every day there seems to be new revelations. in a certain sense, it's a
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little like watergate. things keep dripping out, drip, drip, drip. and the truth comes out, and the republicans and the president lose ground. . can you tell us whether or not there are crossparty conversations? when you say you feel more confident there will be a vote for witnesses than you did before, is that a general impression of what the climate feels like or are there individual conversations and individual senators who are having those conversations? >> there are individual conversations, but no one comes up and says i'm definitely with you, no matter what they do to me, that kind of thing. but there are, and the fact that senator toomey today who had not said a thing about witnesses was talking about witnesses. the fact when they came out of their lunch, usually they're all united and we're going to move forward and all mcconnell could say to them is keep your powder dry because he knew he was
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losing ground. when you're around here, you pick up all the signals. at least today things are moving in our direction. i don't want to get too optimistic, but we're making -- we're making progress. and the reason is because our argument is right. a trial, you know, you had mr. starr argue that we are a trial, that we are a trial. well, what trial do you know that doesn't have witnesses and documents? >> senator, the -- again, i don't want to get too far ahead of this story, and i hear your reticence to do so either. if you do end up with john bolton in a witness store, one of the things that everybody has now started gaming out is the means by which the white house might still try to keep him quiet. they might assert some sort of privilege. they might try to classify his testimony or the material that he has put in his book. they might try to have a restraining order on him. all sorts of things are being described in terms of what the white house might try to pull, even if he is approved, if he is
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approved for his testimony. what do you make of those reports, and what kind of planning are you doing inside your caucus about that? >> well first there is one reason why the white house wouldn't want to do all of that. they want to get this over as quick as possible. they would have tried had they been able to vote dismissal the day after christmas, had nancy pelosi sent them the articles right then and there. so they don't really want to drag it out because odds are very strong that new evidence will come out, just like what came out with bolton yesterday, and now there is a few new revelations, at least in the "new york times" tonight about the book and conversations with erdogan and conversations with orban, and who knows what was promised there. we do know that certainly in turkey, the trump organization has actual financial interests. i don't know what the articles, if it alleges that. it probably doesn't. but who knows? i'm not sure they want to drag it out. and second, trump is talking what was said. you can't claim privilege on
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somebody else and talk about it yourself, because if it's privileged, no one should talk about it. so the idea that they can drag this out for months, i don't think will happen. i think the courts are going to regard any climb of privilege keptcally because trump is talking about it. and because in a senate impeachment trial, senate has far more rights to get the information than the house did. if the chief justice signs the subpoena, i think, a, the courts are going to be very reluctant to overturn it and very reluctant to drag it out. >> senator schumer, this is maya wiley, your constituent. >> hi, maya. yes. >> how you? >> yes. no longer in city government. >> no longer in city government. >> thanks for your service to new york city. >> but always in service. >> yes. >> my question is i think you make a very important point about the fact that the republicans don't want this to drag out, and that's clearly true for all the reasons you
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stated. there is also the question of how long the democrats are comfortable with the process continuing given the election cycle, given that you have four senators there who themselves would like to be on the campaign trail. do -- is there a timeline for democrats on if the republicans were willing to agree to a deal on witnesses or at least a deal that says let's go to the courts and let's ask the courts together to expedite a decision on what's privileged and what's not. what's the democrats' drop dead date? >> two good questions. first and foremost, we want the truth. we want the facts. this is very serious stuff. and we want the documents. we haven't tried to be dilatory. we just have four sets of documents and four witnesses, all of whom were eyewitness contemporaneous to what happened. so our goal would be to get the truth out as quickly as possible. we don't want to truncate it so
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we don't get the truth, but i think if things continue to move, both sides will want to get this thing done, will not want to drag it out. as for the presidential candidates, i'm sorry. they have a greater responsibility than being on the campaign trail. they have the responsibility to be here. and when -- no candidate has even requested to their everlasting credit, the senate candidates that are still running, to speed it up or to not have any events on this day or that day. >> chuck, a quick procedural question. if they vote for witnesses and documents, can mcconnell then offer an amendment that says they want to call two witnesses at once? can he offer first, which i assume he can, and could he offer an amendment that says biden and bolton in one amendment that everybody would have to vote on? >> well, he could try, but then we would probably be allowed.
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i don't know if he would offer it or the house managers. but if the president's lawyers tried to do it together, we would move to split. we could move to bifurcate the amendment. and we will get our own opportunity. once we win on the general idea of having witnesses and documents, we will have our right to offer amendments as well. now remember, they have the majority. so they have something of the upper hand. but i think that there are a lot of them who don't want to make this a circus the way one of those president's lawyers -- he gave just a political speech on the floor today. i don't know if you saw him. totally political. i don't think the public likes that. i don't think it will inure to their benefit, and i think some of the republican senators realize that. >> chuck schumer, top democrat in the senate making time for us tonight. thank you, sir. >> good night. >> good night. much more to come tonight. we're going to be speaking with senator kamala harris shortly. stay with us.
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that's why there's covered california. we're the only place where you can get financial help to pay for your health insurance. new this year, almost a million people could receive additional financial help from the state to help lower the cost of health insurance... more for those already getting it, and new help for many who haven't gotten help before. so check to see how much you could save. it only takes 5 minutes. the last day to enroll is january 31st. so get covered today. rudy giuliani is the house manager's colorful distraction. they've anointed him the proxy veil lane of the tale, the ledder of a rogue operation. mr. giuliani has always been somewhat of a controversial figure. mr. giuliani is just a minor player. that schoohiny object designed distract you. >> first of all, i don't think it's nice to call him shiny. second of all, call rudy.
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i need you guys to call rudy. joining us now is senator kamala harris, democrat of california, member of the judiciary committee, former attorney general of the great state of california, until recently a presidential candidate. senator harris, it's great to see you. thanks for being here tonight. >> thanks. it's great to be with you, rachel, thank you. >> so today was the first full day of the president's case, the case as laid out by the president's counsel. let's get your top line reaction to the trial and the arguments thus far. >> well, i'll just pick up where you left off about rudy giuliani. yes, all those statements were made today, but let's couple that with the statement made by john bolton which rudy giuliani is a hand grenade. let's couple that with the fact that when the house managers outlined their case, part of the evidence and support of the fact that the president was engaged in violation of the public trust, which is part of article i of the impeachment, part of the evidence to support that which is he was doing this for personal benefit, not in the
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interests telephone public or american people, he hired an attorney to be his personal attorney. it was rudy giuliani, his personal attorney, his fixer. so that is just one example of how a lot of what was presented today was really presented out of context and out of context with the facts that have already been presented in this case, much less what we know is still out there that should be brought before the senate, including now the most recent revelations about john bolton and also the statements that were made by bill barr. >> senator, chris hayes here. i'm. >> hi. >> i'm curious how that news has landed in the democratic caucus. it hasn't changed the position. the democratic caucus' position has been there should be witnesses and documents. we've seen the possibility of a deal. what is your perspective on conceiving of ways you can imagine that door opening? >> well, i think the door opens whenever especially even today one of the president's lawyers
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went on and on about the factors of fundamental due process. what is an indication of the fact that due process exists, and he waxed on and on about the importance of cross-examination of witnesses. well, he was making our argument. the trial has begun. we are in the midst of the trial. this is when that should happen is that witnesses should come forward. they should be cross-examined. let's determine their veracity, their truthfulness, their bias, their ability to know that which they talk about and testify about. but really, i think right now the issue before us is that there is so clearly much more evidence that is out there to support the evidence we already have, and to just bolster the arguments that have already been so strongly made by the house managers. >> in terms of the evidence that is out there, we just talked with senator schumer about how this is sort of a watergatesque drip, drip, drip, that new information keeps coming out all the time. >> yeah. >> i was struck earlier today by one of your democratic colleagues, senator doug jones of alabama suggested that even
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if for some reason, you can't get john bolton subpoenaed to appear as a witness, then maybe the senate should at least subpoena his book and try to obtain the information that way. >> yeah. >> which struck me as kind of an odd approach to it. but i think people are starting to get creative now thinking both in terms of how the white house and republicans might try to keep this stuff bottled up, but also ways that democrats might try to pry some of this stuff loose. how advance ready those conversations among you and your colleagues? >> i think it's a great idea that we get the manuscript, but really the best evidence is john bolton himself, and that's where we should start, where we can have him, we can ask him questions. and again, he'll be subject to cross-examination because certainly the president's defense counsel has a right to question him as well. let's bring him forward and everyone can test their theories, including his ability to tell the truth in an unbiased way. but let's start with the witnesses. and chuck schumer was right to send the letter immediately saying and outlining four
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witnesses that we need to hear from that are critical, john bolton being one of them, former members of the omb, the office of management and budget. but let's also have the documents, because there has been an outline of documents that range from those in the department of defense to the department of energy that will clearly support a lot of the testimony we've already heard. >> the president's lawyers today approach the defense of the president from a few different angles. we got an impassioned case today that president obama should be impeached today, not president trump. there was also a long discussion from one of the president's lawyers today really going after the biden family, going after vice president joe biden and going after his surviving son hunter. for a long time and with a lot of relish. >> yeah. i wonder how that lands with you, how it lands in the room and whether this is going to effectively accomplish some of the president's goal to put joe biden on trial in front of the american people instead of himself?
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>> well everything they did today in that regard, rachel, was completely predictable. first of all, let's all be honest that donald trump has been obsessed with barack obama, so it is not so it is not surprising that his attorneys would try yet again to revisit the excellence of barack obama's presidency. coupled with that, when we're talking about the bidens, this is about basically red herrings to distract from the issue that is before us, which is that the president of the united states elicited from a foreign head of government an investigation and an attempt to have an american citizen who happens to be the former vice president of the united states and wanted that investigation to take place for his personal and political benefit. that's the allegation, and any facts that relate to that are relevant and nothing else is. so it's not only a red herring, i think also for political purposes, it's red meat for the president and who he thinks will support him and why they will support him. but the reality is that it is
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clear that this has nothing to do with the issues before the united states senate which is to determine what the president's conduct as it relates to his outreach of president zelensky and article 2 of his trying to cover it up. >> kamala harris, thank you for joining us tonight. >> thank you. >> we're going to talk to one of the democratic managers tonight. stay with us. lots to come. lots to come ♪
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motor? nope. not motor? it's pronounced "motaur." for those who were born to ride, there's progressive. no one testified in the house record that the president ever gsaid there was a connectin between a meeting and investigations. those are the facts, plain and simple. so much for a quid pro quo for a meeting with the president. >> no one testified in the house record that the president ever said there was a connection between a meeting and investigations.
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we must make sure there is no witness record other than the house record. chris hayes, after -- i think we've seen the meat of the case from the president's defense counsel, certainly ending up with their prime time switch show tonight. heading into their last day tomorrow, what do you think they could do in terms of changing the momentum here? >> eugene was talking about it earlier, kind of arguing the alternative. in some ways this makes sense for their audience. they're trying to give as many different kinds of things that different senators could grab onto. but it was interesting to me that what i felt coming through much of the day was, a, a thinly veiled threat to democrats that we're going to do this to you the next time we have the opportunity, right? that's the ken starr/pat cipollone point when they talk about an error of impeachment. and two, senator collins says we hang together or you will hang
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separately. it's like the constant invocation of the democrats, that is directed to the senators to say, these are the people we will turn on you, and these are the people that will be upsetting and that's the real core of the argument they're making in that room. >> it's also the definition of impeachment that you're removing an elected official. that's what an impeachment is, even if it's not the president was united states. we're going to take a quick break here. in just a few minutes bewe'll b joined by one of the democratic impeachment managers. we also have some late reporting on what some of the senators are proposing as a way to try to get witnesses to testify. that's all ahead. stay with us. we'll be right back. >> man: what's my safelite story?
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this is special ongoing coverage of the impeachment trial of president trump. we have now wrapped up day 2 in the senate's defense. they had just a brief two-hour opening presentation on saturday. they used almost none of their time on saturday. i think it's fair to say that heading into today, the biggest open question about today's arguments from the president's lawyers was how they would contend with the very big news that broke late yesterday, that president trump's former national security adviser, john bolton, contends in a forthcoming book that trump told bolton personally and directly
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that yes, indeed, he wanted to hold up all aid to ukraine until the ukranian government agreed to announce investigations into joe biden. if that new reporting from the "times" is accurate about what mr. bolton said in his book, mr. bolton would testify to that confrontation to the senate if he was subpoenaed. he said he would comply with a subpoena if one was given to him. so when that proverbial rocket went off with the "new york times," it was asked how the senate would contend with him. at the very, very end of the day, they did not contend with it at all until the very last few moments of the proceedings when alan dershowitz was giving a constitutional argument that a president cannot be impeached unless he commits federal crimes, until the very, very end of their presentations today, they essentially pretended that all of the bolton news just didn't happen. they pretended bolton doesn't exist. earlier in today's arguments,
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two of the president's lawyers in rapid succession repeated their central claim that no witness has said that he or she personally heard the president himself link military aid to these biden investigations. that's a great argument from the president's lawyers, again, if john bolton doesn't exist. if john bolton never becomes a witness, they can continue to claim that. or mick mulvaney, for that matter, the white house chief of staff who has also admitted to the quid pro quo and talking with the president about it explicitly. but the absence of any real reckoning with the new john bolton reporting was sort of reflective of a theme in today's arguments from the trump team. the they were honestly most notable for what was missing. there was hardly any discussion in the trial of the president of the united states and what he did or didn't do. ken starr opened the day opining about why the clinton impeachment was legally and historically valid but this one
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is not. sizing up his own arguments, mr. starr said at bone point, quote will law professors agree with this? no. but they did find one, alan dershowitz who closed out the night, arguing that this impeachment was unconstitutional. in between judge starr and professor dershowitz, though, we also had deputy white house counsel fuhrman about how careful they are in carrying out their investigation. we heard from someone who portrayed rudy giuliani that uncovered shocking truths about vice president biden. she also described giuliani as a bit player who really has nothing to do with all of this, and you definitely shouldn't think too much about rudy giuliani. rudy giuliani, talked to rudy,
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talked to rudy, don't think about rudy giuliani. and another thing about rudy. pam bondi then gave her portion today about joe and hunter biden, including a 100% up is down, day is night revisionist history about joe biden's intentions in ukraine when he was vice president. the rubber i'm glue goes to a councilman who has represented donald trump for years in his various bankruptcies and fraud lawsuits. mr. herschman worked himself up in the course of an hour to say that not only is joe biden the real corrupt one -- not donald trump -- but instead of impeaching donald trump, it is actually former president barack obama who should be impeached right now. yes, let's impeach obama. let's start work on that today.
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that was today. perhaps best summed up as whatever donald trump may have done, we don't want to talk about that, but what everyone else has done is worse, anyway. joining us is congressman davis crow. he's from colorado. he is one of them responsible for convicting the president and removing him from office. congressman crow, thank you for being with us tonight. we appreciate you making the time. >> good evening, rachel. >> so you don't get to make a formal rebuttal to the president's counsel. the trial isn't structured that way, but i wanted to know how you assess the arguments they've made both over the course of saturday and today, how you're feeling about the state of the trial. >> well, today, other than about two hours where they pedalled in russian propaganda and conspiracy theories, they actually made a lot of points for us. they talked about the need for cross examination as one of the best tools to actually get to
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the truth. we couldn't agree more. that's why mr. bolton needs to come and testify. you know, mr. dershowitz actually said the legal consensus was his legal statements were not valid. they kind of went through and made a lot of our points. they made an approach to just throw things at the wall to see what would stick today. >> congressman crow, this is claire mccaskill. it's my understanding tomorrow they will finish their case and then you will adjourn until wednesday when the questions will begin on wednesday. my question is, are you all consulting with the democratic leadership over those questions, which ones would be most important to get asked and in what order, and i'm curious, because i have not heard anyone say, is that 16 hours divided evenly between the democrats and republicans, or is it a total of 16 hours that anyone can take as long as they still have a question? >> it's supposed to be evenly
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divided, but if one side runs out of time or runs out of questions, then that remaining time can be spent on the other side. so what's supposed to happen is the senators submit written questions to chief justice roberts. he's supposed to alternate between the sides, counting down each side's eight hours, but if one side decides they've answered enough or asked enough questions, then the remaining amount can go over to the other side. in terms of coordination, we're trying to avoid that. weefr not koo we're not coordinating or making sure the process is fair and open, we're looking forward to receiving questions from both sides. ultimately we want to get to the truth here, we want this to be transparent, and we're we will cockidoc -- welcoming a robust discussion of the facts. >> i believe you're neither the house or the house judiciary committee and you watched this
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as a concerned citizen and as impeachment manager. did the house move more quickly? should they have called more witnesses there? do you feel there is any lingering effects of those decisions, right or wrong, on the current proceeding? >> i think the house proceeded in the way that it should have proceeded. there was urgency, but it was also thoughtful and deliberate. it occurred over several months' period of time of time. the intel committee did a thorough job but there is an emergency here because we're dealing with undermining and fair elections, so it deals with elections later this year. there is also a national close security tie. that's something i've been vocal about the entire year. back in september when i joined a couple of my colleagues in writing a "washington post" op-ed about the national security implications, that is an urgent issue. we have over 60,000 u.s. troops stationed in europe right now. if the ukraine conflict explodes or spills over the borders, it's
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those troops that will have to do something about it. but the trump legal team's argument that we should have subpoenaed, we should have gone through the process, we subpoenaed don mcgahn's testimony back in april, and that's still being litigated. and by the way, they're also simultaneously making the argument that courts can adjudicate issues like this. so they're making both arguments that are contradictory at the same time. >> councilman crow, it's lawrence o'donnell. thank you for joining us. there is a rule that says he can subpoena on his own, and any of you managers could stand and ask the chief directly to subpoena john bolton. have you had a chance to read that piece today and have you considered that option? >> hi, lawrence.
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i haven't read that op-ed, but at the end of the day, 15 senators can decide how they want to proceed. even if the chief justice rules on an issue, 15 senators can call, or one senator can call for a vote, 51 can overrule any decision. at the end of the day, you have to have at least 51 folks to get something done regardless of whether or not chief justice roberts wants to exercise a little bit more control over that process. >> jason crow, democrat of colorado, one of the house impeachment managers, thank you for making time for us tonight. i know you're right in the middle of it. thank you. >> thank you. >> one of the points he made there that i've been very interested in but i'm not a lawyer. a number of you are, so perhaps you can help me. in the don mcgahn case, that's the case we've got where, listen, we requested his testimony, ethe said no. then we subpoenaed him. he went to the court where it's
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been fought, this has been in the court for months. they have been arguing in the don mcgahn case, the justice department has been arguing that the court has no role here. that the court cannot say whether or not the subpoena is valid. if the president is telling him not to obey that subpoena, that's good enough. it's a fight between the legislative branches and the court should stay out. they're arguing in the impeachment trial that you have to let these subpoenas go through the courts and we have to have the courts deciding these things and we should let the court weigh in on these things. those two things are absolutely contradictory. is it their right to make contradictory arguments in these two different trial environments, or does one of those arguments undercut the other and hurt thecm, for example, in their don mcgahn case? >> there is a tradition in the law, and i think chris hayes mentioned it earlier of arguing in the alternative. very simple illustration. you and i are neighbors and your goat eats my roses.
quote
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>> she's like that. >> i know. i've lived next to you for a long time. but you would argue in the alternative. that's not my goat, those weren't your roses. by the way, if that was your roses and that was my goat, my goat is insane. so even though it seems contradictory, lawyers always make arguments in the alternative hoping that one will land with the court or with the jury. >> so is it going to hurt the government's case in mcgahn where they're trying to block that subpoena that they're making a contrary argument in a different venue. sdp >> yes, it is. >> so the court doesn't have to be blind to the fact that there are contradictory arguments being made. >> chuck is right. lawyers do this all the time. even in the brief, you would expect the lawyers for donald trump, or for the government in this case, to say, we don't think you have jurisdiction, but even if you think you do have jurisdiction, here are our arguments about why you wouldn't have let this go forward. that's done all the time. but in a context in which they
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did not make alternative arguments in their brief in mcgahn, they just said, huh-uh. you can't do this. and, in fact, the lower courts said, you got it exactly wrong. and in this case, that's why you have the house lawyers actually submitting a letter saying, judge, we want to bring to your attention the fact they just made this completely inconsistent argument. because i do think constitutionally the issue is -- constitutionally, that's separate from how you argue it in the courts -- you can't have it both ways constitutionally. you can't say the constitution lets you withhold everything from congress and nobody gets to decide whether or not you were right or wrong versus we would have worked with you to get a decision in a timely manner so that we all could have had a constitutionally appropriate resolution. that is not what the government
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put on the table here. >> and the question is whether or not they are taking the risk knowingly, saying, we realize we are going to shoot ourselves in the foot for our court case here, but we have to make our points. >> today was the political argument for president trump because the first day was literally the phrase repeated, the president did nothing wrong. did nothing wrong. cut to robert wray this afternoon, president's lawyer, saying, quote, it may have been a less than perfect phone call. that's the first time you ever heard that, less than perfect from the perfect phone call defense. so it switched today to it may have been a less than perfect phone call, and then that's followed by alan dershowitz saying, whatever happened here. however it's described, whatever level of imperfection there might be in the phone call, none of this is impeachable, absolutely none of it.
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so those two switches today, this was the day when if you think the president might have done something wrong, alan dershowitz is here to tell you it's not impeachable, and robert wray is here to tell you he thinks it's entirely possible that it was a less than perfect call. >> i feel like -- obviously they have to make a legal argument because this is sort of a trial, but really they're making a political argument. it feels to me like the strongest political argument would be, listen, we're not going to deny the quid pro quo didn't happen. it happened, it's unfortunate, you know what this guy is like. it just doesn't rise to the level of something that you should remove him from office for. that's the politically -- that's the centrist political argument. >> and the selection election i november. >> the election is in november. the president is an orthodox person, he doesn't know what was wrong. even if it's all proven, and if
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john bolton testifies, and they say he shouldn't be removed from office for it. even if they say he did nothing wrong, it was a perfect call, it's the house democrats that are terrible, president obama ought to be impeached. the fact they're glomming onto all this stuff, i feel like they're losing their one chance at an argument that might work. >> they're pleasing their client. talk about the elephant in the room. i mean, it's him. that's what all those senators are thinking about. they're thinking about what he's going to do, and all those lawyers, that he thinks they've been boring. he probably was ecstatic when they started talking about obama today. well, it's about time. >> bring me his birth certificate. >> if they had thrown hillary clinton in jail, he would have
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been really happy. sdp >> they have a few hours tomorrow. >> i thought alan dershowitz made a good quid pro quo argument. that would be perfectly okay to condition something to israel on their cessation, let's say, of building settlements without weighing that issue. of course that would be okay because you're advancing some public policy on one side or the other. that has nothing to do with the quid pro quo at issue with respect to president trump. conditioning the aid to another country on voting rights or human rights happens all the time. we're seeking a public good in return, we're seeking to advance some interest of the united states. what the president was trying to do in this case was advance his own personal interest. >> the other problem with that argument from dershowitz, too, and that stuck with me as well. i don't know if he ad-libbed and
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stuck that on at the end without thinking about it, but he said if the israeli prime minister came over here and the president of the united states said, i am going to deny you congressionally appropriated aid unless you stop settlements, that would be okay. but if it is congressionally appropriated aid, the president cannot deny it to any other country on the basis of any reason, good or bad. it's a violation of the control act, good or bad. he would not be able to do that even if we're talking about the four corners of the law. >> the gao said it wasn't -- not just in terms of the act itself, but in terms of the the distribution of powers that cross government. separation of powers is a central concept and a central
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principle to our constitution. in addition to dershowitz, it's like mr. philbin also made this bizarre argument in my view of sort of saying, the president can deny congress oversight, and it's congress that's violating the separation of powers by insisting on oversight when that's exactly why the article of impeachment exists in the first place and how it's supposed to function. so this conflict that's been created around, are we protecting the constitution by defying it or are we protecting it by protecting it? i think i would argue that we're protecting it by protecting it. >> all foreign aid is conditioned. this aid to ukraine, this military aid, was conditioned. it was conditioned by the congress. it was written into the legislation authorizing it and ukraine met all of the conditions. >> officially.
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certified. >> that's why donald trump had to stop it, because ukraine had met every single specified condition and there was nothing else that could stop it except the president telling people they must. we're going to take a quick break right here. senator chris coons will be joining us, robert costa will be joining us. plus we'll be talking about the somewhat unexpected appearance of vice president pence in the middle of today's proceedings. stay with us. (ran you folks need bear repel? (woman) ah, we're good. (man) yes. (vo) it's a big world. our new forester just made it even bigger. (woman) so what should we do second? (vo) the 2019 subaru forester. the most adventurous forester ever.
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i said for some time that i hope to be able to hear from john bolton. i think with the story that came out yesterday, it's increasingly apparent that it would be important to hear from john
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bolton. i, of course, will make a final decision on witnesses after we've heard from not only the prosecution but also the defense, but i think at this stage it's pretty fair to say that john bolton has a relevant testimony to provide to those of us who are sitting in impartial justice. >> senator, have you spoken to any of your republican colleagues? do you get the sense that more of them will be on board with voting for witnesses? four of you need to say yes. do you think there are four votes? >> i think it's increasingly likely that republicans will join those of us who think we need to hear from john bolton. whether there are other documents or witnesses, that's another matter, but john bolton's relevance has become increasingly clear. >> utah senator mitt romney today saying it looks like it's getting better for prospects of a vote to hear from witnesses in the impeachment trial of
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president trump. senator coons is here. thank you for being with us tonight. >> thank you, rachel. it's been a very long day here in the senate. >> it has been. i can tell you watching from outside how long of a day it's been. do you have a sense of how long this part of the trial is going to continue? do you have any guidance in terms of taking the full 24 hours versus wrapping up with less than that much time expired on the president's counsel side? >> well, the president's attorneys will resume making their case tomorrow at 1:00. how late into the night they'll go, we don't really know. i was surprised at some of the attacks they took today. their last point literally arguing that obama should have been impeached, so it was a pretty broad tour of a wide range of legal, constitutional and political arguments, some of which were predictable, some of which, like that last one, i really did not see coming. >> the sort of apex argument at
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the end of the night from professor dershowitz was interesting on a lot of levels. obviously professor dershowitz is a bit of a household name and he was the hotly anticipated portion of the trial, i think, but his argument was -- i don't want to say eccentric, but it was a novel argument that the president cannot be impeached for something that isn't a violation of federal law. he conceded this is not a mainstream view. by putting it tonight in prime time of their arguments, they do seem to be hanging on that. what was your reaction there? >> that was implicitly a concession by the president's team that a fact-based point going by the house's detailed and fact-based accusations would ultimately not be successful for president trump. basically the argument dershowitz is making is, it doesn't matter. if all of this is true, it's
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still not impeachable. his argument boils down to abuse of power is so vague a charge so as to be an unacceptable basis for impeachment and removal. let the electorate decide it in november. >> chris, it's clear what everyone's reaction in the room was when they started about this trope about joe biden. no evidence, absolutely not one single fact ever uncovered by anyone that he did anything unethical other than he was trying to fight corruption in the ukraine. how did it feel in the room when they were just trying to tear him apart limb from limb? i notice joni ernst afterward today said in a press gaggle, i hope the people of iowa are taking this into consideration. it looked obvious to me, did it feel obvious in the room that this was a political play to try to hurt biden in iowa? >> absolutely. i hope joni is right but in the opposite way that she means. i think in reinforces president
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trump has long viewed joe biden as his most capable adversary. that is, after all, the charge that's in front of us that president trump working through rudy giuliani cooked up a scheme to try and pressure ukraine and its president zelensky into announcing a baseless prosecution and investigation against joe biden so that he could use it to gin up opposition to him in our upcoming election. i frankly think what the president's team was trying to do today here during the prime time nationally televised portion of the impeachment trial was to accomplish on the floor of the senate what they weren't able to accomplish through pressuring ukraine. as you say, clair, there have been dozens of leading journ journalists that have looked at these and said there's nothing to it. quite the opposite. joe biden was leading a corruption crusade on behalf of our senators, a lot of allies. he has a spotless record in this area, and i frankly think the
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president's advocates hurt his case today. >> senator, it's lawrence o'donnell. has there been any discussion among the democrats of participating in any kind of deal that would bring in both john bolton and hunter biden as witnesses? >> no. in fact, i'll give sheldon whitehouse credit for saying in the cloakroom, why on earth would we engage in that kind of a appraise quid pro quo where we trade a relevant witness for an irrelevant witness in the middle of a quid pro quo trial? to the extent there was any discussion of it, it was just a uniform passion about rejecting that as any kind of a reasonable path forward. look, as adam schiff reminded all of us near the end of his argument in chief, the facts of this case, the truth will eventually come out. cases will eventually produce all the emails and texts, and we know in bolton's manuscript there was more released tonight,
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a story saying bolton told barr that he was very concerned that president trump was doing favors and cutting corners for authoritarians. i think it has really caused concern among my republican colleagues that this bolton manuscript is going to be public sooner rather than later, and that they may look terrible in the eyes of history if they have just voted unanimously to acquit the president and to refuse to even ask for more documents or more witnesses. as i've said before, the key difference between a trial and a cover-up is that trials have witnesses and evidence and cover-ups don't. >> senator chris coons, democrat of delaware, thanks for being with us tonight, sir. appreciate you taking the time. >> thank you, rachel. as i mention the, there was a little bit of a surprising appearance in the middle of today's proceedings from vice president mike pence's office. in any impeachment, the daily doings of the vice president suddenly take on a different cast because whatever is going on with the impeachment trial of the president, the question,
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really, is at core whether the president will be removed from office and his vice president will be elevated. hearing from vice president pence's office sort of out of the blue and on a surprising topic today put an interesting cast on his continuing role here and his continuing connections to the scandal as it continues to be unfolded. we're going to be speaking in just a moment with "washington post" reporter who was with mike pence covering his travels at a key moment in the scandal who has also been doing some intense reporting on what's likely to be happening next with republican senators as they consider these next big votes. that's ahead of us. we'll be right back.
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vice president pence was supposed to come to the inauguration, it was already discussed, and they were planning that out in the conversation. i told him the announcement was key at the time because of the inauguration, and if pence didn't show up, nobody would show up to his inauguration. >> unless he announced an investigation into joe biden, mike pence would not come to his inauguration. >> mike pence would not go. >> so following that meeting, i believe it was the following day that, in fact, vice president pence's visit to the inauguration was canceled. >> i called back and said, no go, and rudy said, okay, go see.
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to my awareness trump called up and said make sure pence doesn't go there. >> so you believe mr. pence's trip to the inauguration was canceled because they didn't agree to announce the investigations into biden? >> i know it is. >> that was a couple weeks ago, my interview with lev parnas, an associate of rudy giuliani who was working on the president's legal defense tomorrow as an extension of rudy giuliani. it has been claimed he made a couple explosive claims about vice president mike pence. one you saw there in which he claimed he was meeting with a top-level aide in ukraine to the zelensky administration, laying down, he said, in harsh terms the trade that was expected of him. that not only so many other things they were hoping from the u.s. government did not come to pass but explicitly vice president mike pence would not come to the zelensky
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inauguration unless the ukranian government agreed there would be investigations into joe biden. when vice president mike pence did later go meet with the president of ukraine, he met with president zelensky on september 1st on a trip to poland, he said that on that trip, vice president pence was tasked with continuing to pressure them for the quid pro quo, pressuring them to announce investigations of joe biden or lose their u.s. support. those claims about vice president biden were fairly explosive. if you had to ask me to name one thing that happened in the interview with lev parnas, that was kind of a big hairy deal. those claims about vice president mike pence and his alleged role in the scheme, that would have been it. like i said, that was a couple weeks ago. i haven't really heard much from vice president mike pence or his office about those claims other than the vice president saying he doesn't know lev parnas, which would not be relevant to
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either of those claims. then out of the blue today, we got a statement released from vice president mike pence's office, and i'm not sure why they released this today or why this seemed like the right day or what this was about, but this is what they're now saying. it's attributable to mark short who is the chief of staff to vice president mike pence. quote, as a matter of policy, we don't typically share conversations between the president and vice president. but given the journalistic fury of alleged conversations, the president has given me permission to selt the record straight. in every conversation with the president and the vice president in preparation for our trip to poland, the president consistently expressed his frustration that the united states was bearing the lion's share of responsibility for aide to ukraine and that european
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nations weren't doing their part. the president also expressed concerns about corruption in ukrai ukraine. at month time did i hear him tie aid to ukraine to investigations into the biden family or burisma. why did they release this statement today and why did they release this to the chief of staff of the vice president rather than having him say something about it himself? robert costa was on the plane with vice president pence for his trip to warsaw when the vice president did take that meeting with president zelensky. robert costa, it's great to have you with us. thank you very much. >> i was actually in the room with vice president pence and president zelensky september 1st. i'll remember it for all time. they announced they were going to uphold military aid and then it wasn't. it was strange, the ukranian delegation seemed tense. the president's administration
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was bouncing his knee, and the next day we asked vice president pence as the press corps, did you discuss giuliani, did you discuss joe biden? he just kept telling us in broad strokes, i discussed corruption with president zelensky, i discussed corruption, nothing specific about biden or giuliani. we were all taken aback a little bit. it's so indicative about how vice president pence operates, careful about his audience amid a trump administration that was mounting a pressure campaign. >> robert, was there any indication heading into that meeting that the aid was in the balance, that whatever message was going to be conveyed by vice president pence and the response from zelensky would make the difference as to whether or not the aid was released? was there a sense of anticipation that that meeting in warsaw was going to be a sort of make or break moment in terms of u.s. support for ukraine? >> it was. it was an important moment because not only was ukraine in a hot war with russia, but you had pressure from some u.s.
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lawmakers at the time about why this aid was being withheld. it's important to remember september 1st, 2019 when pence meets with zelensky. it's two weeks before the whistleblower complaint is first published in the "washington post" and we first hear about it. nobody is talking about the president's campaign. vice president pence was trying to isolate him at times from all the discussion about president zelensky and ukraine, and you see him trying to underscore, and he is insisting vice president pence was isolated even though we've told you in some other organizations that he had some kind of awareness. >> to that point, the warsaw trip, that september 1st trip that you were on, was -- that one happened, but there had been previously scheduled another trip by pence to go to the zelensky inauguration. was there ever any discussion,
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has the vice president's office ever addressed why that was a late cancellation? we've heard impeachment inquiry testimony from a staffer that was tasked to the office, that it was a very last minute cancellation, that the president himself ordered that vice president pence should not go and nobody ever understood why. has there ever been a characterization by the vice president or his office what president trump told vice president pence as to why he should cancel that inaugural trip? >> there's been limited information. it's important to remember it raises serious questions about secretary of state pompeo, because vice president pence is number two in the government. at the same time, secretary of state pompeo has a bit of a rivalry, based on my reporting, with vice president pence. the secretary of state tries to control foreign policy in all ways. so on the plane over to warsaw, for example, jennifer williams was sitting a couple rows in front of me with keith kellogg, the foreign policy general, but
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he doesn't have a big footprint in the u.s. government when it comes to foreign policy, so pence continues to insist about his limited knowledge or no knowledge. what did he really know back in the spring when lev parnas was referencing that whole episode and again on september 15? >> robert, i know you've been doing some intense reporting as to whether or not the senate wants to hear from witnesses particularly in light of what's been described as former security adviser john bolton's upcoming book. what's the latest as you understand it in terms of who is thinking about voting for witnesses and how they might get there? >> one quick scene briefly. earlier this month general patton voiced having bolton for biden, one for one, as part of the agreement. democrats have balked at this
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suggestion, but republicans say the fact that toomey even spoke out shows there is a little fluidity on the republican side. later at the lunch, leader mcconnell didn't say much. he wants to have a discussion about witnesses after the arguments are made, but you do see romney, toomey and others, and for others who are close to senate leadership, that's significant. it's going to be a question of what democrats do to try to bring them further along that line. >> robert costa, reporter from the "washington post." thanks a lot. >> thank you. >> i will say the pence stuff, i feel like, is like the back burner stuff that's been simmering from the very beginning here. the more we hear about it, the more you start to see and you realize his staff is doing all they can to get in the middle of
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this. >> i still wonder if that was the vice president's staff speaking or was that the vice president speaking in that written statement? who was speaking for whom? >> i think it's a statement from the vice president's chief of staff about his own knowledge. >> that's what i think, yes. >> there is a wrinkle there. mark short was a top, top staff member for donald trump. he was legislative director, left. it was kind of weird. he left and everybody was trying to figure out why, and he said, i want to spend time with my family. and like nine months later, he resurfaces as pence's chief of staff. so i'm reading into this that mark short knows what meetings with donald trump are like. he knows the crazy stuff he says, and he is trying to insulate his boss because he knows that if he is going to follow trump in any way into the office of president, he needs to get as far away from this as he possibly can. >> isn't this weird just to bring this up randomly to that?
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i did the lev parnas interview a little while ago, and people watched it and stuff, but that piece of it, it's not like it's been percolating and there is a journalistic scramble around it. >> bolton says, yes, donald trump told me, john bolton, that holding up that aid was about getting the investigation of the bidens. now here's someone else in the administration saying, i never heard donald trump say that. >> i didn't get that same instruction. >> whether it's the chief of staff or the vice president, one of them is saying, i never heard what donald trump say what john bolton says he heard donald trump say. >> we'll see. more ahead here tonight. stay with us. do you have concerns about mild memory loss related to aging?
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couns counsel, they have done a poll on whether the senate should remove and convict trump. can we put up the final results of that poll? fox news polling onthere? fox news polling on trump's renewal. should the senate convict and remove trump? this is not the right -- you guys can do it. element 11. i know you can do it. should the senate convict and remove trump? the answer, according to this new fox news poll is 50% of the country says yes. 44% says no. but in terms of the way that breaks down by party, it's fascinating. we have seen -- there's a gremlin in the system. we have seen this sort of mirror image where republicans and democrats have almost numerical opposite views in terms of whether or not the president should be removed from office. in this new fox news poll, it's no different.
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it's 81% of democrats who say he should be convicted and removed. 84% of republicans say he shouldn't. the thing that has to worry the white house at this point is there is a 20-point gap among independents. if you ask independent voters whether or not president trump should be convicted and removed from office, by a margin of 53% to 34%, independents say yes. so you've got exact book ends when it comes to democrats and republicans, but the third of the country that identifies as independent is very strongly with the democrats on this. that, particularly because it's a fox news poll and therefore has to be covered on fox news, which means the president will see it, i have to imagine is driving some of the sort of churn right now at the white house and all of the different things they're throwing up. >> it certainly drives churn among those senators that are in the tough states. i mean arizona, colorado, iowa, north carolina, even texas. >> mm-hmm. >> because you are seeing more and more texans identify as independents. so i think this is frankly
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probably helps us gets witnesses and documents, this coming out today more than anything else we've talked about. >> because republicans will be willing to let this go on for longer? i mean it's getting worse over time in terms of their overall polling numbers, but they can't -- >> if you've got a 20-point margin for removal, can you imagine what the mar skbrgin is witnesses and documents? probably 50 or 60. >> in comes back to politics. the impeachment process does include politics, and we hear that on the senate floor today when there's this constant refrain about you would be overturning the trump voter decision to put donald trump in the white house. that poll shows there are more people now who want him out of the white house than voted him into the white house. >> in terms of what happens here, i do feel like my guiding principle for these past weeks has been that impeachments are wild animals. >> yes. >> they're very rare. we have very little -- the way
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we make predictions is by looking at historical data and context and saying, this is the way this has gone in the past or in analogous situations, this is the result. we have not enough data to project from in terms of how these things go in the past. i feel like with the bolton testimony, this bombshell with the manuscript, with the way the polls has tracked away from the president's side, with the overwhelming public support for witnesses and evidence, and we know witnesses and evidence are going to make the case against the president stronger, i do feel like humility is in order still. but every trend line here is against him. >> yeah. i've been thinking about the constitution is a magnificent document. it's not perfect, but it's a magnificent document, and it's fascinating. i think you can safely say the two biggest questions that the constitution poses for americans through our congress is whether to declare war and whether to remove a president from office who's been impeached. and so just put aside for a minute the thing we keep saying,
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which is that all trials have witnesses and documents, and just reflect on the fact that this is one of the most important questions that our framers included in this incredible document. >> yeah. >> and then why wouldn't we? and it's not just bolton. i feel like we're sort of feeding off of table scraps. we're fighting for four votes so that maybe we can hear from one witness who might have some stuff that's important. when you think about all the people who should be weighing in, be a part of this monumental decision, mr. pence and mr. bolton and mr. mulvaney -- >> pompeo. >> -- and mr. pompeo and on and on and on, it just seems odd to me we are so grateful that someone might consider giving us one witness. >> maya, if you were one of these impeachment managers and if the trial rules were going to be decided by the chief justice and not just going to be a partisan decision, would you want donald trump to be one of the people who testified here? would you want him testifying on his own behalf in this trial?
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>> well, absolutely i would want it. i would want him under oath answering the question about whether anything that john bolton is saying about what donald trump himself has said he is going to say is true or untrue. you know, to chuck's point, this ultimately is about congress debating the gray areas. this is the first national security impeachment we've ever had in this country, and one of the things we know from the two impeachment trials that have preceded it is that congress, senators specifically in a trial context, debate what is constitutional and unconstitutional. they debate what is impeachable and what is not impeachable. but how do you debate that well if you don't have all the facts? >> mm-hmm. >> and if you haven't heard from the president himself about why he believed it was within his power constitutionally.
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>> my long shot bet here, keeping in mind my principle that anything can happen and impeachments are wild is that if there are going to be witnesses and there's going to be a debate over who should speak on whose behalf and who's going to make the best case, i believe the president is so assured of his own powers of persuasion and so assured about his own ability to communica communicate, which he thinks is unequaled, that he will insist. if there are going to be witnesses, he will insist that he can be a best witness that there could be and that he should be -- >> yowza. >> nobody would advise him to do this. if there's going to be witnesses, though, you know he's going to want to -- >> he's absolutely going to want to. >> i think he's a much more cowardly person than that. he didn't do it when mueller offered him the opportunity. >> a girl can dream. don't go anywhere. our coverage of the impeachment trial continues in just a moment. stay with us. managing lipids like very high triglycerides, can be tough.
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the day was overshadowed by the new and explosive revelations from a forthcoming book by trump ex-national security adviser john bolton, who has now blown a hole in trump's defense in realtime. in keeping with the required number of daily mentions of hamilton during impeachment season, the book is appropriately titled "the room where it happened." and as "the new york times" maggie haberman and mike sha submit report, in the book, bolton said trump told him the freeze on nearly $400 million in congressionally approved aid to ukraine was indeed tied to the request for investigations into former vice president biden and his son hunter. vers here is what harvard law professor alan dershowitz, a member of the trump legal team, said tonight about that. >> if a president, any president, were to have done what "the times" reported about
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the content of the bolton manuscript, that would not constitute an impeachable offense. let me repeat. nothing in the bolton revelations, even if true, would rise to the level of an abuse of power or an impeachable offense. >> his, right there, was the only mention today of bolton's allegations during the president's team's opening statements. and tonight "times" correspondents haberman and schmidt are back up with new reporting from the same book. they say bolton also writes he told attorney general william barr last year he was concerned that trump was granting favors to autocrats like the leaders of turkey and china. trump has indicated he would block bolton from testifying at the senate trial if subpoenaed. here's how he reacted today when asked about bolton's allegations concerning ukraine. >> what's your response to the bolton manuscript, and does this increase the chances he could be
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called to testify? >> i can tell you nothing was ever said to john bolton, but i have not seen a manuscript. >> what about the allegations of the bolton manuscript? >> false. >> and of course on a normal day, we would talk about trump's house guest tonight, bibi netanyahu. the national security council says it wasn't them. they say they never passed the book along to any unauthorized personnel. tonight nbc news correspondent carol lee is reporting that a single copy of the book was delivered to the white house last month for that national security review. she reports bolt en's team says it appears there were copies made and bolton does -- until questions about his potential testimony are resolved. bolton's reports allegations about trump and ukraine have already roiled the impeachment trial and for some senators, they bolster the case for calling witnesses. >> per the story that came out
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yesterday, it's increasingly apparent that it would be important to hear from john bolton. i think it's increasingly likely that other republicans will join those of us who think we should hear from john bolton. >> romney is one of four senators who have indicated they are open to hearing from witnesses. today another member of the senate suggested that number could grow. >> we'll be ten or more that will say we at least have to look at calling witnesses. then we go and talk about each one individually. i think you're going to see a number, perhaps double digits of republicans who are going to say, look, we can't defend this. >> interesting prediction by the independent senator from maine, angus king. meantime, robert costa of "the washington post," who joins us in just a moment, reporting tonight that republican senator pat toomey of pennsylvania is talking with his colleagues about a possible deal to call two witnesses to the impeachment trial, one from the republican side and one for the democrats.
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here at the table for our leadoff discussion on another consequential night, two pulitzer prize recipients from "the washington post," philip rucker, white house bureau chief, and investigative reporter carol leonnig. they also happen to be co-authors of the new book "a very stable genius." we'll talk all about it later in the hour. also with us, anita kumar, associate editor for politico, who was in the senate chamber for today's proceedings. there i'll say it. room where it happened. and steve kornacki, our national political correspondent. and with us from washington tonight, michael schmidt, pulitzer prize-winning washington correspondent for "the times" along with robert costa, national political reporter for "the washington post" and moderator of "washington week" on pbs. michael, let me begin with you. the new tranche of reporting that you and maggie are out front with tonight, tell us about this, the collection of concerns bolton had.
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and what i was interested in, the fact that barr engaged on the topic. >> yeah. so last year bolton and barr had a discussion in which bolton said he was concerned about the president's relationships with dictators around the world. and was he, you know, doing favors for them. and barr reacted that he concurred, that this had created a perception problem, that he singled in on contacts that the president had had with turkey, the leaders of turkey and china, on these issues. basically two of the closest people to the president talking together about how they didn't understand why he was taking different moves in regards to national security, in regards to justice department investigations. and it was just striking to us to hear and see into that conversation the way that we did through our reporting, which
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gives a sort of bigger, greater sense of what bolton could testify to. >> phil rucker, let's be honest about something that involves our business. when a much awaited book, usually in galley form, arrives, even if a deal has been done with a news organization to be the exclusive purveyors of that big splashy book campaign, often copies are made, and employees who are trusted are entrusted to read along so they'll be up to speed the day the book drops. this happens in my experience throughout life, and i've rarely seen it broken, the implicit deal. is it possible that just one set of eyes at the nsc and maybe one set of eyes at the publishers has seen this book? >> brian, surely that's possible, but i have to tell you it's probably unlikely. certainly when you speak about the publisher, i would imagine a
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number of people in side simon and schuster are involved in the production and editing process. >> but they're used to secrecy too. >> and they do this year after year with so many top secret books. at the white house, if the book were handed to only one national security council official, you would imagine that just by sheer doing the job, that person would be informing some other colleagues this is a highly sensitive manuscript that's being shared. it's something that has been awaited within the trump administration for some time. it would be very surprising, although i don't have any reporti reporting to know whether this was the case or not, it would have been very surprising for it to have only been seen by one person. >> carol, we've put together a collection of how donald trump's feelings about mr. bolton have, shall we say, migrated over time. >> john bolton is doing a very good job. but he wasn't getting along with people in the administration that i consider very important, and i hope we -- we've left in good stead, but maybe we have.
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maybe we haven't. it just didn't work out. i don't know that he got along with rudy giuliani. i don't know if we left on the best of terms. i would say probably not, you know. so you don't like people testifying when they didn't leave on good terms. >> carol, like so many things, especially in your book around this president, that went south in a hurry. refresh our memory. when bolton arrived, we all knew his kind of neoconpast and how he was regarded in the party. was he a consensus choice that was handed to the president? obviously he didn't leave as such. >> you know, john bolton was somebody the president was sort of eager to have onboard, especially after he lost his other two national security advisers, one, because he was under fbi investigation for lying, the second because the president didn't get along with h.r. mcmaster. you remember he used to mock mcmaster to his face as we reveal in the book. this third person, a very well
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known conservative, was viewed with great happiness inside the white house. finally somebody super conservative and, in fact, the president used to brag that he loved having bolton onboard because it was somebody who looked more conservative and more bellicose than he is. but that changed, as it often does with the president, brian, when this national security adviser started to suggest to the president that the direction he was going was unwise and the counsel he was listening to, especially rudy giuliani, was dangerous. and those instructions and those warnings were things that the president did not enjoy, and they parted because of that. >> robert costa, the movie "the blind side" was not written about mitch mcconnell, but it might as well be if all reports are true that he learned about this pretty much along with the rest of us because of how it's now changed the sequencing that he thought he was in control of. give us your latest report on the potential for witnesses
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appearing. >> reporter: earlier today at the u.s. senate, republicans had a private lunch, and leader mcconnell listened to senator romney speak. but then he saw senator toomey of pennsylvania, a conservative, one of his closest friends in the senate, speak up. senator toomey said why not think about witnesses one for one, bolton for biden. make a trade with democrats. republicans in my room based on my reporting perked up their ears and said if toomey is talking about witnesses and it's not senator alexander or collins or romney, if toomey is speaking up, that's a crack. not a significant crack at this moment but it shows more conversation about witnesses. mcconnell didn't embrace toomey's position at this moment, but this idea of witness reciprocity floated by senator cruz last week has now been picking up steam within the republican conference. that shows some reaction to the bolton revelations by mike schmidt and maggie haberman. >> anita kumar, not all of us will get the chance to be in a gallery during an impeachment.
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you've witnessed it. you've experienced it. what are we missing watching on television? >> the senators drink a lot of water. >> okay. better that than some other beverages, i suppose. >> but today was odd because you would have not realized -- you didn't realize what was going on with john bolton if you were inside that chamber. there was no reference. i think the only reference was very much at the end. >> dershowitz. >> yeah. but if you were out in the corridors, if you were talking to senators, if you were in the halls as bob mentioned, if you were behind closed doors for that lunch, that's all they were talking about. that's what they were talking about at the white house. that's what they were talking about around town. but in that chamber, the trump team went exactly -- came in and did exactly what you thought they were going to do, what they probably had planned to do and didn't dpeefiate from that. they talked about the bidens. they talked about what was an impeachable offense and what wasn't. but they didn't really talk about john bolton, the thing that everybody sort of wanted them to talk about. >> steve kornacki, they always say ideally your rookie year in
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congress, you should spend listening. there's a new senator in georgia who did the opposite of that today, and i want to read you her tweet. after two weeks, it's clear the democrats have no case for impeachment. sadly, my colleague senator romney wants to appease the left by calling witnesses who will slander donald trump during their 15 minutes of fame. the circus is over. it's time to move on. and they say people speak for an audience of one in that party. >> well, kelly loeffler, i think, what you just put up there, illustrates the politics that these republicans in many case who's are up this year have to worry about. it's not in many cases just the general election or the general election at all. it's winning their own primary or, in the case of the special election in georgia, it's sort of going to be an open jungle primary. basically she's got a threat on the republican side, and that threat to kelly loeffler is doug collins. we've all seen doug collins from georgia being the most vocal leader in the house opposed to
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impeachment. she's got to worry about him outflanking her on the pro-trump right. a lot of these sort of swing state republicans up this year, mcsally, ernst maybe in iowa, gardner in colorado, tillis in north carolina, they're not getting to the general election unless they first get through republican primaries. i think it's complicated their political thinking on this significantly. >> bob costa, you could make an argument that these party caucuses spend nowhere near this much quality time together during the legislative year this. is highly unusual. they're lunching together as a caucus every day. they are seintentionally seated there without any devices on the senate floor for hours on end. this could make for some real discomfort with the former standard bearer of the republican party, mitt romney. >> it's clear that many of senator romney's colleagues don't exactly love him on the republican side. he's someone with strong opinions, a national profile. he has not made many friends. he is respected by conservatives in the senate for having his own
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point of view. but just because senator romney is speaking up about witnesses does not necessarily mean that leader mcconnell is listening or that other republicans will rally to his side. what you see with senator toomey and senator cruz is an idea of not so much making sure bolton testifies, but could they give the republican party cover by saying politically we at least tried to get witnesses in some fashion by urging democrats to give us hunter biden in exchange. so they could argue to voters, democrats would say in bad faith, but they could argue we at least tried to get witnesses. so that's what you see on the republican side. it's more about the political argument they can make ahead of the 2020 elections rather than saying to senator romney or senator collins, we're with you on just getting bolton up here. >> phil rucker, in case book tour exhaustion prevented you from seeing "snl." i have something for you. this is how our friends a few stories from up where we are dealt with senators collins and mcconnell.
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>> boy, if trump ever tried to intimidate susan collins, i'd walk right up to him and say, you don't do that. well, the evidence against trump is pretty damning, so i'm still on the fence. >> they do artfully or inartfully ask the question, who are they scared of if not the constituents in maine and kentucky? >> oh, they're scared of president trump because of the influence he has over the constituents in maine and kentucky. what steve was saying about the politics in the republican party is absolutely right. trump is popular. his support among republicans is intense, and that's why you've seen so few senators, at this point only mitt romney, willing to really confront him and try to bring witnesses, find new evidence, and hold him accountable in this impeachment trial. >> our conversation goes on. we only have so much time. we have to fit in our first break. more of our special coverage ahead. coming up, where the head count might be in the senate right now
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over a potential vote on witness testimony. >> someone telling "the new york times" what john bolton's draft manuscript supposedly says doesn't change the underlying facts. >> don't lose sight of the fact that the facts haven't changed. >> you have all the facts you need. you met on an app. delete it. why? he's the one. gesundheit. [sneezes] i see something else... a star... with three points. you're in a... mercedes. yeah, we wish. wish granted. with four models starting under 37 thousand, there could be a mercedes-benz in your near future. lease the gla 250 suv for just $319 a month with credit toward your first month's payment. i wanted more from my copd medicine that's why i've got the power of 1, 2, 3 medicines with trelegy.
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iowa caucuses are this next monday evening, and i'm really interested to see how this
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discussion today informs and influences the iowa caucus voters, those democratic caucus-goers. will they be supporting vice president biden at this point? >> you'd be forgiven for thinking the two of them are supposed to be unrelated. this is not supposed to be that. but of course the iowa senator is talking about what we'll be covering a week from tonight. it reminded's few people about a moment of breathtaking candor that congressman mccarthy of california had on live television that arguably cost him a bigger job. >> everybody thought hillary clinton was unbeatable, right? but we put together a benghazi special committee, a select committee. what are her numbers today? her numbers are dropping. >> our guests remain here with us tonight. robert costa on the hill, sometimes people say what they
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mean. >> you saw from senator ernst, who is facing a very tough re-election fight this year in iowa, a partisan perspective on this entire episode of president trump's impeachment trial. she is a partisan figure in iowa. she's popular with conservatives. but you see republicans here really struggling at times to make sure that they keep this in a neutral territory. they are supposed to be impartial jurors who are not adjudicating this in any way that's politically driven. of course that's not the case. when you're up the senate -- but senator ernst, she is someone who is going to have to make a decision just like senator romney and senator collins on whether she wants to allow witnesses to come up or not. so far she's been pretty quiet. she has not even voiced support for someone like senator toomey or senator cruz's position. >> also joining our conversation tonight is florida democrat bill nelson, an 18-year veteran of
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the u.s. senate. before that he was a 12-year veteran of the house, and for good measure, he spent six days in space onboard the shuttle colombi columbia. thank you for coming on tonight. how many of your former colleagues are you in touch with, and are you in touch with enough of them to speak with any clarity about how this witness issue may be migrating? >> brian, i've been staying away from him, but i know him well, and i can tell you that the two senators, lisa murkowski and susan collins, are very uncomfortable. i bet that susan wishes that when she considered two or three years ago running for governor, that she had now run for governor. but at the end of the day, i'm going to democracy a prediction that they will vote for witnesses because the case is becoming very, very compelling.
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>> well, and the problem is we can all imagine this happening in our modern day and age. they vote -- if they vote down witnesses, the bolton book, which we've already seen a bunch of, comes out on the market, and we get the print version of what john bolton might have testified to, perhaps changing the course of history. >> and hopefully that will change the mind of lamar alexander, who is not running for re-election, and a few others because they are running for re-election. and once bolton comes in front of the senate and testifies, i think it's katie bar the door. >> tell us about lamar alexander. such an interesting case. he's a very close friend of mcconnell. he's an institutionalist. we've watched other senators drink the truth serum of retirement.
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jeff flake comes to mind. but do you think lamar alexander is legacy-minded in this way? >> lamar is a real gentleman, but he's also a partisan when he needs to be. and he has an excuse to support mcconnell, he's going to. but on something that is so stark as this question of whether or not to call john bolton, i think lamar will be in that column with the two women senators that i mentioned. >> senator, my last question for you has to do with the institution you loved and left, and that is the health of the u.s. senate. how it appears to you watching by day and by evening on cable television, as i assume you are, i'll ask the question they asked years ago in philadelphia. is the glass half full or half empty? >> increasingly it's getting a lot more difficult, and therefore the answer would be
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it's half empty. there was a significant change in the senate in the 18 years that i served. there was much more collegiality, civility, bipartisanship when i came in. after the 2000 election, even after that very tough presidential election. but it's fotgotten to the pointw that what's happened to the senate has happened to our neighborhoods back home. friends are now split because of politics and don't talk to each other because of politics. we can't really run a democracy like ours until you can get people of good will that will come together, be reasonable, listen to the other person's point of view, and then try to build consensus. that's the ideal of american
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democracy. >> senator, great to see you again. thank you for joining us. i wish you good health. thank you very much. >> thanks, brian. >> and robert costa still with us for one more from capitol hill. bob, you cover this for a living. if and when people ask you to trace back to a single person or event, exactly what the senator just said, and we hear it from obviously a ton of people, what's your answer? what changed? what snapped? >> in terms of the institution of the senate? >> yeah. >> what you really see is the rise of populism and nationalism in this country, the rise of the tea party movement. you look back at 2010 when i first started covering politics in congress, and the scrutiny on every kind of deal, any kind of negotiation. flash flo -- it was immediately vilified. you've seen on both sides of the
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aisle people who are more populist rise as insiders who used to cut deals in congress have become villains of the entire process. leaders in the democratic party and the republican party in congress are detested by many core voters in those respective parties. we have a washington right now that does not function congressionally and congress is even struggling to be the oversight branch. it's seized to, in many respects, be a legislative branch and has turned into an oversight branch. and now because of the way executive privilege is asserted, you don't really have it even doing oversight. so it's, to say the least, as a reporter, an amateur student of history, at a bleak and troubling moment. but i'm an optimist when it comes to american institutions. >> robert costa, thank you. if you're looking for any of your co-workers, they're all sitting up here with us in new york. we appreciate you answering the bell after another long day on the hill. othanother break for us. coming up, what rudy has been up to according to the president's legal team.
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in this trial, in this moment, mr. giuliani is just a minor player. that shiny object designed to distract you. senators, i urge you most respectfully do not be distracted. >> no one says anything accidentally on the floor of the senate, so we're going to talk
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about why she might have said that just then. jane raskin of florida today during the senate trial. during impeachment hearingsn the house, we heard a very different story from multiple credible witnesses about rudy giuliani, and last week how managers highlighted their testimony. >> if we wanted to get anything done with ukraine, it was apparent to us we needed to talk to rudy. mr. giuliani was expressing the desires of the president of the united states, and we knew these investigations were important to the president. >> ambassador bolton had looked pained, and he then, in the course of that discussion, said that rudy giuliani was a hand grenade that was going to blow everyone up. >> the odd push to make president zelensky publicly commit to investigations of burisma and alleged interference in the 2016 election showed how the official foreign policy of the united states was undercut by the irregular efforts led by mr. giuliani. >> joining our conversation
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tonight, veteran political journalist andrew kurtzman. back at the height of rudy's power here in new york, andrew wrote the appropriately titled biography for his times "rudy giuliani: emperor of the city, about his years as mayor." he is now working on a follow-up book which i assume will have a quite different title. in his spare time, andrew runs his own public affairs communications firm. we thought of you today as we do often because we were sitting wondering why would they go out of their way -- >> right. >> at very minimum rudy was practicing statecraft without portfolio in the name of our country overseas. why would they go out of their way to praise him? >> well, it's a very important question. it pertains to what they did today and also the larger issue of why has trump just kind of kept so close to giuliani? why hasn't donald trump cut him loose? i mean giuliani has, you know, caused huge problems. you could argue none of this
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would be happening without rudy giuliani. i mean the attorney for the white house went on the air today, went on national television on the senate floor and tried to do two opposite things. number one is to minimize his role, literally called him a minor figure. but on the other hand, she also kind of validated him as always being right. it was almost as though she were playing to giuliani to signal that trump is still loyal to you, but then signal to the rest of the world that, oh, what he did actually doesn't matter. he's just kind of a colorful guy, right? it's like a very strange dance that she was playing. and again, kind of just raises the large question of what is going on between donald trump and rudy giuliani. and i think that when the history of this is all, you know, written, it's going to come down, and much of it is going to come down to this kind of odd kind of co-dependent relationship between donald trump and rudy giuliani.
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it's fascinating. >> and because we're living in a scorsesen movie every day, you glanced on this in your answer. he could be the man who knew too much. this will be the carve-out in donald trump's life, the guy he never turns on. >> you know, i'm not going to speculate on motives, whether trump is just loyal to him or afraid of him. it could be that. it could be a mixture of both. but, you know, giuliani has -- giuliani is a former kennedy democrat. he's a former reagan republican, right? he was someone who very much comes from the mainstream, but he's not in the mainstream anymore. you could argue he's even gone a little beyond fox news. they're beginning to question him now. he's gone on to kind of this other channel which will, you know, kind of entertain his very, very extreme conspiracyial views. >> phil rucker, let me play for you a bit because it's related, the lev parnas tape from the now famous dinner with trump.
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>> how long would they last in a fight with russia? >> i don't think very long. without us, not very long. >> without us. >> getting over for the moment how mind-blowing it is that someone could record the voice, the casual dinnertime, unfettered voice of the president of the united states, how does that happen in our country today? >> you know, the reason lev parnas got to close to president trump is in part because of rudy giulia giuliani, because rudy giuliani is this outside fixer working on trump's behalf, friend of the president, informal diplomat to some degree, and invites these people into the trump orbit at the trump hotel, in other environments, at mar-a-lago, and so forth, and it's this really colorful cast of characters that has inhabited this trump world from day one. and we saw some of them even got positions in the administration
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at the beginning. but it continues to infect this presidency to some degree according to some of the more -- the senior officials who are very wary of these figures, including rudy giuliani. >> anita, on your beat, i noted politico reported the faint notion of maybe an oval aoffice address as a victory lap when impeachment is over. is this like everything else? is strategy kind of hourly, daily basis? >> well, that story was pre-bolton, i would add. >> yeah, true. >> i still think that people in the white house and close to the president are still very much thinking that the president's going to be acquitted. i mean it's hard for us to believe at this time that this many republicans, or any really republicans would vote to remove him from office. so they still feel good about that, but now there's this big unknown about john bolton. there is a lot of worry about that. they don't want this to last too long. they don't want it to go through the state of the union, which is
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just next year -- next week. they don't want it to last through all the primaries. they just want the president to be out there doing what he's doing. so now there is the fear just that it's going to drag on. and so you've seen the rnc, the white house, the trump campaign kind of blast things out today, and here's what our message is. but in the end, it's just these handful of senators, so they're really trying, trying so hard to influence them and push them. >> andrew kirtzman, thank you for joining our merry band. by the time they're in trade paper back, maybe you'll be out in hard cover and we can just keep this going. andrew kirtzman, our guest tonight. quick break for us. coming up, we'll ask the two authors, phil and carol, what it's like to be attacked on twitter by a man whose label for himself is the title of their book when we come back. (whistling)
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there are those that think i'm a very stable genius. >> stable genius, your words. >> i am a stable genius. i'm a very stable genius. i'm an extremely stable genius, okay. >> if the book came with a video segment, that would be it. it's deny described as a comic horror story. the reviews of this book as recently as today have been universally excellent. "a very stable genius," donald j. trump's testing of america unearths scathing details about our 45th president, forever marked in history now as impeached. the authors are still here with us, two friends of this broadcast, phil rucker and carol leonnig. also remaining with us, anita kumar and steve kornacki. carol, there is a scene from the book between scaramucci and trump. scaramucci asks trump, are you an act? and the president replies, i'm a total act, and i don't
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understand why people don't get it. so often just in this hour-long broadcast we've returned to the theme of when people try to tell you who they are, believe them the first time. >> absolutely. and, you know, anybody who watched donald trump in new york, as you did closely before we even caught wind of donald trump's candidacy, he was calling page six, you know, pretending to be john barron, letting people know donald trump was dating a hot new starlet. he's a master marketer. we should give him credit for the way in which he markets himself, the way he marketed his business, and the way as president, you know, as phil and i found in this reporting, he puts his self-image and winning the day above almost everything else. and he's been fantastic at it. >> like the biblical tale of the blind men and the elephant, everyone's going to come away from this book with a different favorite passage. mine in terms of it being gripping was the vignette you
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told of the mueller meeting with barr and all of their seconds where the barr team tries to look at mueller, and it's just beautifully written. i can never do it justice. explain to our viewers what they will read before. they try to look at mueller and say, okay, just so you know, here's how we're going to phrase this. here's how we're going to handle this. >> yeah. so this is a period that viewers of this program remember very well. it was near the end of the mueller/russia investigation, and there were all of these careful negotiations back and forth between the special counsel team and the department of justice leaders, bill barr and rod rosenstein chief among them about how to conclude this investigation, how to inform the public of the conclusions, how to make clear that president trump is not going to be indicted but is also not totally exonerated as the president claimed. and wa carol and i did in this book is we get behind the scenes and into that room, and there's dialogue, rich dialogue between barr and mueller where mueller is accusing barf misleading the
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public with that four-page summary of conclusion that he issued, and is furious at barr for this, thinks he's, you know, trying to pull a fast one on the american people on behalf of his boss, the president of the united states, but doesn't go public with that information, doesn't say anything publicly. and it's one episode in which barr completely outfoxed mueller, and a lot of prosecutors believe that was a fatal error on the part of bob mueller, the former fbi director of unimpeachable integrity, who just couldn't keep up in the 21st century of the twitter universe we're in. >> carol, the number of sources is staggering. of course i'm telling you. in your career as a reporter, have you ever encountered so many people to feel compelled to cooperate? if used to be you were pulling people through cheesecloth. so many people have just said, i need to share my story with you. >> you know, it's true. more than 200 people agreed to speak with us.
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of course we work for "the washington post." we wanted to get this stuff in the newspaper in realtime. but some people, their dna basically was telling them, run. run from reporters. but for history, they wanted to get it right. they wanted us to get it right. and, you know, there is a moment in the book, brian, that i wanted to share that has to do with these sources. intelligence and national security people, these are sources in my experience who never speak to reporters. it goes against everything that they believe in. but when president trump threatened to take away the security clearance of former cia director john brennan and bill mcraven, like the number one big boss s.e.a.l. operator came out publicly and said, you're embarrassing me, mr. president. you're embarrassing the country. you're embarrassing our children, and you cannot take away the security clearance. and if you do, take mine too. when that happened, a group of what i would call, you know, mid-level people, other patriots in this field, decided they had to come forward too and share what they saw in the room
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because it was so upsetting to them. even though it was against their code to talk to reporters, they wanted us to get it in the history of donald trump. >> the authors of this book. our conversation will continue. "a very stable genius" will be on sale for the rest of our natural lives on this planet. they're finally printing enough copies to fulfill all the back orders. we'll pause here. we're back after this. >> listen, i don't know what john bolton's book says or doesn't say. i've seen "the new york times" coverage. but at the end of the day, it doesn't impact the legal issue before this senate. ♪
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someone new joins your network. only with xfinity xfi. downlaod the xfi app today. if there's any suggestion i would have for the president's team tomorrow, maybe just a little more pizzazz. maybe just a little less atticus finch, a little more miss universe. >> okay. for clarity, he said that yesterday. don't know if it measured up to
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mr. gaetz's standard. tomorrow the president's legal team begins day three of presenting their defense. the president will hold a rally in wildwood, new jersey, on tuesday to support democrat-turned-republican congressman jeff van drew. back to our table and our conversation, steve kornacki, this is a democrat who switched parties, managed to anger basically everyone south of philadelphia, the entire south of the state, so he's now an "r" with a huge target on his back. >> yeah. jeff van drew is interesting. i started covering new jersey politicians 20 years ago. >> i'm so sorry. >> it was the funnest three years of my life. i can tell you. van drew is one of the first people i talked to. he had just been elected to the state legislature as a democrat from a district that never elected democrats. and i talked to him about how he did it. he basically talked about the constant challenge in that district of needing to have some distance from the democratic leadership in trenton at that point. i think he was one of the most
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cautious members politically of the legislature, and it's the same guy i see now who ends up in congress 20-something years later. he represents a district that's always been sort of conservative culturally but swung towards donald trump. it had voted for obama. it went to trump by five points. i think there's some thought this district in new jersey could go for trump by even more in 2020. so that's where sort of the current was, and i think he got there in that old instinct of wait a minute. i'm from a trump district, and my first act as a member of congress is going to be to impeach this guy? that was not in his political character to do. then he found out if that's going to be your position, there's no place for you in the democratic party of 2019-2020. so he goes to trump's party. he pledges his loyalty to trump. he's got the rally, and he's going to see if trump can carry him to a republican nomination and if trump can win those blue collar voters and get him elected to congress. >> anita so much to say about wildwood and my home state. it puts the wildwood in wildwood once year when the annual
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firefighter convention is down there. it's a party. it's a three-day back nallia. new york-based writers don't usually see these events as local news stories. our local news stations here in this city have been doing the economic impact, the wildwood restaurants and hotels that are psyched to be hosting this rally tomorrow. back to your beat, there's absolutely no telling how far he'll go at this rally. >> no. we say that every time there's a rally when there's a different place in this impeachment trial. so we'll see what he has to say after these bolton revelations, just sort of how much he goes at it. i went to a rally maybe a week and a half ago, and i feel like every rally i've gone to gets a little further, a little more aggressive. the crowd's more into it. there's more from him. there's just more. he has what he wants to say, and he's also, we forget a little bit, running for re-election. so he's going to talk all about those accomplishments that he
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says he's done for the last three years. >> he's going to visit a red dot in a blue state tomorrow. phil rucker, you're lucky enough to be off that travel beat right now for this job. but otherwise "the post" will throw you right back in the pool. >> i'm eager to get back because it's a lot going on. the state of the union next week. in addition to the beginnings of figuring out who his democratic opponent is going to be in the iowa caucuses. >> as we heard the iowa senator speculating earlier. and carol leonnig, you employed a life of sources on the kind of national security front for your portion of this book. none of them go dark. they will just keep pumping out information, i assume, under your byline. >> we'll try to add another epilogue to this book, see what the last year brings. >> ah, news was broken here on our hour tonight. we are still just scant minutes away from tuesday, another day. more coverage certainly. by this time tomorrow night, we'll learn a whole new set of
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things. to our friends, phil rucker, carol leonnig, anita kumar, steve kornacki, special thanks as well to mike schmidt, robert costa, senator bill nelson, andrew kirtzman, who joined us earlier tonight. that's going to do it for our broadcast for this evening. thank you for being here with us. good night from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. see you at noon tomorrow with nicole wa nicolle wallace as we kick off our coverage. do you have concerns about mild memory loss related to aging? prevagen is the number one pharmacist-recommended memory support brand. you can find it in the vitamin aisle in stores everywhere. prevagen. healthier brain. better life.
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thanks for being with us for our special coverage of the ongoing impeachment trial of the president. i'm rachel maddow here at msnbc headquarters in new york. i'm joined here onset by my friend chris hayes, the host of "all in" here on msnbc. also by claire mccaskill, former united states senator from the great state of missouri. chuck rosenberg is here, former senior official at the justice department and the fbi. we're also joined by our friend eugene robinson, pulitzer prize winner from "the washington post." thank you all for being here tonight. it's good to have you here. we heard closing comments there from white house counsel pat cipollone, proposing a golden rule for impeachments and asking americans to join hands and imagine a time when there's no more impeachment. it was an oddly -- it felt to me
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like he was joking, but i don't think that he was. that followed a lengthy presentation from alan dershowitz, which of course has been a highly anticipated part of this trial, obviously because of alan dershowitz's recent association with jeoparffrey epn and his involvement in his legal defense. he was seen as a very controversial choice and has spent a long time since he was named to be part of this defense defending himself in terms of his involvement with jeffrey epstein. but his presentation tonight on the floor of the senate was that presidents can only be impeached for things that are violations of criminal law, which he acknowledged is something that the legal pantheon does not concede. he sort of finished by saying, i do my own research. i won't go with the crowd here. but it is heading into this -- chuck, i'll put this to you first. i would not have thought that
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the president can't be impeached for something that isn't a crime would have been sort of a hill they were going to die on here. >> it seemed a little odd to me, rachel. he admitted that he changed his mind. that's fine, right? people change their minds. we shouldn't hold that against him. but he went from the great weight of legal authority and analysis to a distinctly minority position. and in fact one of the people that he now stands in opposition to in holding that you need a crime or crimelike behavior in order to impeach is a fellow named alexander hamilton, who had something to say about this in federalist 65. the framers could not articulate every bad thing a president would do or could do in order to be removed. and so they left it somewhat vague, and they left the sole power to determine that in the house and the senate. and as dershowitz himself admitted tonight, he is in a minority position. we heard a lot of very thoughtful academics in the house explain precisely why abuse of power and trust ought to be impeachable, and i think that's where the better argument
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lie lies. >> it is remarkable this is the apex of their case. they're doing this in prime time on monday. they spent almost none of their hours on saturday so they could finish up with dershowitz in prime time on monday night. they think it's the biggest audience they're going to get, and it was this sort of novel and experimental legal theory that impeachment isn't what you think it is, and therefore we should never use it. you're an experienced prosecutor and lawyer as well as former u.s. senator. how did it strike you? >> i don't think harvard is happy tonight. you know, harvard holds a place in the legal community as one where the academics are excellent and the professors are thoughtful. this really -- well, it was like a pretzel. he was trying to take what he was dealt and twist it and turn it into a way. i mean think about how absurd this is. imagine if a president took office and this was written in one of the blogs over the last few weeks by smarter lawyers than i am. imagine if a president took
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office and then said, i'm just going to take vacation for a year. i'm going to go live, you know, on the mediterranean for a year. you know, you guys take care of it? >> figure it out. >> you figure it out. impeachable? no, alan says. dershowitz. not impeachable. >> because it's not a crime to go on vacation. >> of course he also -- the weakest argument he made, i thought, was saying just because they allege specific crimes within the articles of impeachment, that doesn't work because the article impeachment is not alleging a crime. it's alleging abuse of power. but underlying that abuse of power, they lay out the crimes. so it really -- i thought it was sad. he's on a very lonely island. >> yeah. i thought -- i mean it was essentially a kind of like dissident interpretation of what the sort of scholarship says on this given to you by alan dershowitz. it was at least a legal argument. like literally after he -- like
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hours before you had the lawyer reading off the unemployment stats and right after dershowitz is done, cipollone has come out to say it has never happened before in american history that we've impeached someone in an election year, which is flatly untrue. so at least alan dershowitz was just making an argument in like a recognizable form. and not quite the level of like weird bad faith, disingenuous trolling that other people have done. i thought it was sort of a victory in that sense. okay, let's have an argument. >> if you look at the arc of the defense argument over its first two days, though, i'm confused h. and i'm trying to be, you know, as genuine and objective as i possibly can here. but i thought on saturday they were arguing that, you know, of course, absolutely, there was no
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linkage between aid and investigations. there was no quid pro quo, right? and they sprinkled that argument in today as well before dershowitz gave the legal scholarship. but this afternoon i watched all of pam bondi's presentation in which she seemed to be saying, well, of course there was linkage aid and investigations, and that was his duty to link the two in a quid pro quo. so i don't understand, you know. a great mind is supposed to be able to hold two thoughts in opposition at the same time, but this is stretching that for me. >> they're trying a lot of different things, some of which are legal arguments, some of which are not. i thought the whole treatise about how really we ought to be impeaching barack obama was quite an apex moment for me today. i was like is this really happening? yes, this is the argument they're really trying to make. but i mean there's obviously also this elephant in the room, right, which is that last night we get john bolton's manuscript
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reported by "the new york times" to describe, in fact, an overt quid pro quo articulated in detail by the president personally to his national security adviser, who has committed it to print, thereby probably blowing up any claims of privilege that might arise around those claims. and we already know that he wants to testify. so they're sort of not grappling with that. dershowitz i believe is the first person who talked about john bolton's claims. >> yep. >> i have to tell you tonight just in the last few minutes, nbc news has advanced this reporting. this is breaking news reported by carol lee at nbc news, who i think is going to be joining us by phone in just a moment. she reports this. a single hard copy of former national security adviser john bolton's book was delivered last month to the white house for a national security review. what happened to the copy of the book is unknown to bolton's team, but it appears copies of it were made. so he dropped off one. somehow it multiplied inside the
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white house. bolt nl's team submitted the book, quote, in good faith and now feels that process was corrupted. bolton doesn't intent to speak publicly about the ukraine issue until questions about his potential testimony are resolved. that's important. if he were to testify, he plans to do so as a fact witness. again, new reporting from carol lee at nbc news. joining us now by phone is nbc news correspondent carol lee, who has just broken this story. carol, thank you so much for making time. i know this is a really busy time for you. >> of course. thanks, rachel. >> so am i right he believes there has been replication, that he dropped off one hard copy, one paper copy of the book, and his team, bolton's team, is saying they believe it was photocopied in order to circulate it more widely? >> basically, yes. they're saying that they gave a single copy of the manuscript to the white house for this very sort of routine review that anyone who has worked in administration with the kind of access that someone like john bolton did, would have to
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undergo if they were writing a book. it's a national security review. and given that the bolton team says they had nothing to do with this leak of the contents of the book, which they're also not confirming or denying, that it appears that there would have had to have been copies made of the book. essentially it's hard to get your head around the idea you have one copy of a book and everyone is passing it around and then all of those people are going and talking to reporters about what they read in this one copy that they've all been sharing. so it suggests that there are multiple copies floating around and from the bolton team's perspective, they're saying we give them one copy. what they did with it, we don't know, but clearly it's gotten out there and it's not coming from us. they really want to distance themselves from the idea he is somehow behind leaking this. >> to that last point, when they say -- when they tell you they submitted the book in good faith, they feel the process was
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corrupted, that's the contention from bolton's team that they did everything -- they did everything right. they absolutely didn't leak it. the book -- the descriptions of the content of the book aren't coming from them. it must have come from the white house. that's the picture they're painting. >> that's right. that's basically what they're saying. it's not from them. and, you know, they were approaching this from a perspective of this is what you have to do when you write a book like this. obviously this book is a lightning rod for a whole host of other reasons. it's not just, you know, some staffer writing a book that needs to get a review on some mundane national security topic. but it is a very routine process, and anyone who's written a book and worked in a white house or in an administration would know what it's like. and what they're saying from their point of view, that somehow got off the rails, and this is not how that process was supposed to go.
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and, yeah, he doesn't intend to speak publicly about this issue until the questions about whether or not he can deliver testimony in the senate trial are resolved and from their perspective, he wasn't leaking any of this. so it's not them according to them. >> and, carol, the point that you also make in your reporting tonight that if he were to testify, he plans to do so as a fact witness -- >> yeah. >> can you tell us the significance of that and what exactly that means in this context? >> well, that's what concerns people around president trump because, you know, bolton's danger, if you talk to anyone who is close to the president and supports the president, they'll tell you that his danger is in the fact that he comes with this republican background. he's got a lot of credibility, and if he were to go in there and just say what he knows, he knows a lot, and he knows a lot of facts. and even if they can dispute the
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facts or argue that the facts are not as outlines them, his coming at this from just being a fact-based witness, not somebody who has an agenda, is something that could be very threatening to the president just for the simple fact that we saw. i mean we all watched all of the administration officials who testified in the house hearings and that were fact witnesses, and sometimes when you just say it out loud, it can make the president look really bad, and that's what people around the president are very concerned about. >> and, carol, just one last point on this. you mentioned explicitly that he's not planning on speaking publicly about the ukraine issue until questions about his potential testimony are resolved. that means i should not be so hopeful in calling him and asking him for an interview, not that i ever was. >> i don't think he's going to be sitting down with you anytime soon. maybe after his book is out, but, no -- >> we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.
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so he's essentially saying, listen, i'm not going to talk in another venue. >> right. >> other than the trial. >> right. >> but is it clear to you why he would say yes to a subpoena from the senate at this point, but he would not voluntarily agree to testify to the house? i mean that's both an interesting question in terms what he's done so far and also an interesting question about whether he might testify to the house if the senate indeed doesn't call him. >> my understanding is that he wanted -- john bolton is this kind of -- he has a lot of views about how presidential authority should be exercised, and he believes that the president has the right to invoke executive privilege. he has a long history of that. that's why for him you wanted a
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subpoena if he was going to testify, for a court to decide whether he should listen to the white house or congress. that changed with the senate, and you could argue the senate's a republican venue. it's not run by adam schiff. it's overseen by justice roberts and i think the idea justice roberts is overseeing it is part of what bolton has a lot of respect for him, and any process that he would run. but clearly he also -- it's right there in every statement from his lawyer, from others, that he really has a theory he wants to tell. he saw a lot and, you know, he is someone who clearly -- you know, the house decided not to move forward with that, and i'd be curious to see whether he contested any attempt by the house now to go back and have a do-over. but the senate process is one that he clearly feels more
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comfortable in. i don't think it's -- you know, you can't rule out that it's being run by republicans. >> carol lee, nbc news correspondent, joining us to help us with this new breaking news reported by carol about john bolton's perception of what happened with his manuscript after he dropped it at the white house and his planning moving forward. thanks for taking the time. >> thank you. >> and i will say as we are increasingly saying these days, but wait, there's more. so last night we got this reporting from "the new york times," from maggie haberman and michael schmidt. that was dramatic. president trump told his national security adviser in august that he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into democrats, including the bidens. remarkable reporting from schmidt and haberman. quote, the submission to the white house may have given trump's aides and lawyers direct
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insight into what mr. bhoeolton would say if he were called to testify. it -- they needed to block mr. bolton from testifying. that story broke last night from michael schmidt and maggie haberman at "the new york times." this bolton story advanced somewhat in the past few minutes with this new reporting that bolton believes that the white house made copies of the single hard copy of the manuscript that he turned in to them. now also saying, according to nbc news reporting tonight, that he will not speak publicly about the ukraine matter until the issue of whether or not he's going to testify is resolved. but now beyond that, michael schmidt and maggie haberman have more information that has just posted at "the new york times," also again within the last few minutes. headline, bolton was concerned that trump did favors for autocratic leaders, the book says. the former national security adviser shared his unease with
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attorney general william barr, who cited his own worries about the president's conversations with the leaders of several countries. i'll just read you the lead. john bolton, former national security adviser, privately told attorney general william barr that he had concerns that president trump was granting personal favors to the autocrat uk leaders of turkey and china. barr responded by pointing to a pair of justice department investigations of companies in those countries, in china and turkey, and said he was worried that president trump had created the appearance that he, the president, had undue influence over what would typically be independent inquiries. again, this information is being sourced to the unpublished manuscript from john bolton that has just turned president trump's world upside down. joining us now is mike schmidt, who broke this story for "the new york times" tonight as well as last night's bombshell along with his colleague, maggie haberman. thank you for making time to be with us tonight. >> thanks for having me.
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>> so i wonder if you could reflect a little bit on the way your scoop has landed. i don't want to ask you to opine on its importance or its political ramifications. i basically just want to ask you if you think the country is getting it right, if you think that the scoop that you and maggie had and this additional information is being assessed properly and that people are understanding what's important about it from the way you understand your reporting. >> i'm not really sure that i've given that particular question a lot of thought. we've just sort of been concentrating on trying to learn as much as we can about what is in that manuscript. we believe that it's a critical document. obviously there's a lot of public interest in it. john bolton was the highest profile person that could have probably been a witness at this trial, and we still have not heard from him. but we were able to answer some of the questions of what he would say, and we're just sort of putting our heads down here
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as we continue to try and learn more about that, to illuminate that question, which is hanging over this impeachment and in some ways, hanging over the country. >> one of the things that is unusual about the time line that you and maggie have laid out in your reporting is the fact that the white house, if they've had this since the end of december, if they've had this since before new year's eve and it has these incredibly simple and inflammatory claims that are directly related to the impeachment, it is hard to know how that didn't ultimately make its way to the president's defense counsel, to mitch mcconnell, the majority leader of the senate, or indeed to any of the other people who might be sort of decision makers in terms of the way the white house has approached this defense. can you shed any light on that? >> well, so we only have so many data points on that question. we know that the manuscript went to the white house on december
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30th. we know that in recent weeks, the president has spoken publicly about how he does not want bolton to testify. we know that the president's aides have pushed that notion, that the white house has communicated this to capitol hill and that mitch mcconnell certainly knows that the president doesn't want him to testify. i think the white house knew for a long time that there could be problems if bolton testified, certainly when his aides testified and their statements came out, it was not good for the president. so bolton was sort of always this big, bad question for trump. but if they saw the manuscript, it would certainly cement for them the notion that testifying by bolton would damage the president. >> the president has made sort of mixed messages, public messages about testimony, about whether he would welcome witnesses, what kind of witnesses he would like to hear from, what sort of complications there might be if witnesses were in fact asked to appear. do you have any understanding
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now as to what sort of panic level the white house is at with renewed interest, based on your reporting, among republican senators to get bolton into the witness chair? is the white house concerned enough about that that they might try to throw a legal hail mary, that they might try to have some sort of restraining order, or they might try to blanket classify everything that bolton might say? do you know how they're going to approach this to the extent they see it as a threat? >> so word about that sort of spread around today, that the white house was ready to go to court to try to prevent bolton from testifying. they've done that with other witnesses. certainly at this stage of an impeachment where you have john roberts sitting there, i think it's a pretty complicated question about whether it would go to the courts or whether roberts would decide it. but we heard a lot of churn about that today and that the president was very upset and wanted to do everything he could to stop bolton in the same ways he has for the past few weeks. the white house -- at least some
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people in the white house knew what we reported today many weeks ago, so this wasn't really a surprise to them. but what it does is it obviously puts that pressure on those moderate republicans, and the real question that we'll have to see -- and it certainly hasn't moved in the past 24 hours, not to the point that it's gone over the edge -- is that is there enough pressure to get at least four republicans to vote with the democrats to call bolton as a witness. >> mike schmidt, pulitzer prize-winning correspondent with "the new york times." thanks for making time to be with us tonight. >> thanks for having me. >> we're going to take a break in just a second, but i will say the bolton developments -- and if they are going to keep trickling out, if there are a number of people who have seen this manuscript and now people know it's out of the bag, if this is going to be a daily news dribble in terms of what bolton has to say, the political pressure to actually hear from him in this context is going to be become inexorable, won't it?
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>> yes. and the republican senators are upset because they feel like they were blindsided. mcconnell is upset because he feels like he was blindsided. >> like the white house, you had this. how come you didn't warn us about it? >> and the other thing that happened today, trump of course is so good at screwing up his case. he did it again today by tweeting. first of all, the privilege is basically gone once bolton talks about the conversation, and then he tweeted today -- trump did -- that he denied that the conversation was what it was. so once you start talking about a conversation, that executive privilege disappears. chuck knows more about it than i do, but it's gone now. >> i think factually claire is right. but this becomes a really complicated question as michael schmidt alluded to if i may just for a minute. >> please. >> two basic principles. privilege is a real thing. the law recognizes that certain conversations, maybe between an attorney and her client or between a president and his
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advisers, ought to be kept confidential. so privilege is a real thing h. to claire's point, waiver is also a real thing. under certain circumstances, if you're my attorney reaching, and i share confidential information with you but do it in front of chris hayes, then that confidentiality is waived. so waiver is a real thing. but here's the problem. here is where it gets complicated. who determines that? it's not us sitting here. claire's right. i think it's waived. but typically that's resolved in court by a federal judge. and in this circumstance, it could conceivably be a question submitted to chief justice roberts in the senate. but if the white house just wants to run out the clock, go into federal court and seeking a restraining order or an injunction is not a bad play. >> it would be so transparent that's what they were doing at this point that i think even that would be harder than just -- >> don't you think the courts would expedite it? it took three weeks in nixon for it to go all the way to the supreme court. i would have to believe this
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thing would go like lightning. >> i would hope so. >> we're going to take a quick break. when we come back, i do believe we're going to be talking with the top democrat in the senate, chuck shechumer. stay with us. of time in my truck. it's my livelihood. ♪ rock music >> man: so i'm not taking any chances when something happens to it. so when my windshield cracked... my friend recommended safelite autoglass. >> tech: hi, i'm adrian. >> man: thanks for coming. >> tech: oh, no problem. >> tech: check it out. >> man: yeah. they came right to me, with expert service where i needed it. that's service i can trust... no matter what i'm hauling. right, girl? >> singers: ♪ safelite repair, safelite replace. ♪ wherever, however, whenever. we'll deliver lunch or dinner right to you. order delivery at panerabread.com. panera. food as it should be.
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i'll be amazed if there's a strong push to say, no, we're not going to allow john bolton. i mean it's one thing to say we don't fknow what he's going to say, we don't need to hear from him. but if there's some indication he has information that bears directly on the heart of the case to willfully say we don't want to hear that, to me basically just undermines the idea that this is a real trial. >> you would need four republicans to cross the aisle. do you think that there might be four? >> i think there will be more than four. my bold prediction is there will be five or ten. >> independent senator angus king of maine, who caucuses with the democrats, today making the bold prediction that there will be five or ten republican senator who's would vote in favor of hearing from witnesses. he did say it was a bold prediction, but it is his prediction. joining us now is the democratic
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leader of the united states senate, senator chuck schumer of new york. senator, thank you so much for making time for us tonight. >> good evening, rachel. it is bold, but there's no question we're making good progress here and we're a lot better off today than we were yesterday with the bolton revelation. you know, when you hear two people with diametrically opposed stories and one's willing to swear under oath it's true and the other who denies it is not willing to swear under oath and is trying to shut the guy up who's willing to swear, who do you think is right? i think our republican senators are sort of realizing that. so, you know, we're doing better and better, but this is the one place i'd be a little less bold than angus. don't underestimate the power that trump and mcconnell, the squeeze that they will place on these members not to do it. the last thing they want to do is extend it outward because every day there seems to be new revelations. in a certain sense, at least in this sense, it's a little like
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watergate. things keep dripping out, drip, drip, drip. and the truth comes out and the republicans and the president lose ground. >> can you tell us whether or not there are cross party conversations? when you say that you feel more confident that there will be a vote for witnesses than you did before, is that based on a general impression of what the political climate feels like or are there individual conversations and individual senator who's are having those conversations? >> there were individual conversations, but no one comes up and says, i'm definitely with you no matter what they do to me, you know, that kind of thing. but there are and the fact that senator toomey today, who had not said a thing about witnesses was talking about witnesses. the fact that when they came out of their lunch, usually they're all united and we're going to move forward and this witnesses and documents thing is bull, and all mcconnell could say to them is keep your powder dry because he knew he was losing ground. so you know, when you're around
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here, you pick up all the signals. at least today things are moving in our direction. i don't want to get too optimistic, but we're making progress, and the reason is because our argument is right. a trial, you know, you had mr. starr argue that we are a trial, that we are a trial. well, what trial do you know that doesn't have witnesses and documents? >> senator, again, don't want to get too far ahead of this story, and i hear your reticence to do so either. but if you do end up with john bolton in a witness chair, one of the things that everybody has now started gaming out is the means by which the white house might still try to keep him quiet. they might assert some sort of privilege. they might try to classify his testimony or the material that he has put in his book. they might try to have a restraining order on him. all sorts of things are being described in terms of what the white house might try to pull even if a subpoena is approved
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for his testimony. >> right. >> what do you make of those reports and what kind of planning are you doing inside your caucus about that? >> first, there's one reason the white house wouldn't want to do all of that. they want to get this over as quick as possible. they would have tried, had they been able to, to vote dismissal the day after christmas had nancy pelosi sent them the articles right then and there. so they don't really want to drag it out because odds are very strong that new evidence will come out just like what came out with bolton yesterday, and now there's a few new revelations, at least in "the new york times" tonight about the book and conversations with erdogan and conversations with orban, and who know what was promised there? we do know that in turkey, certainly the trump organization has financial interests. i don't know if the article alleges that. it probably doesn't, but who knows? i'm not sure they want to drag it out. second, trump is talking about what was said. you can't claim privilege on somebody else and talk about it
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yourself because if it's privileged, no one should talk about it. so the idea that they can drag this out for months, i don't think will happen. i think the courts are going to regard any claim of privilege skeptically because trump is talking about it and because in a senate impeachment trial, the senate has far more rights to get the information than the house did. if the chief justice signs the subpoena, i think, a, the courts are going to be very reluctant to overturn it and very reluctant to drag it out. >> senator schumer, this is maya wiley, your constituent. >> hi, maya. >> yes. no longer in city government. >> no longer in city government. >> thanks for your service to new york city. >> but always in service. >> yes. >> my question is i think you make a very important point about the fact that the republicans don't want this to drag out and that's clearly true for all the reasons you stated.
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there's also the question of how long the democrats are comfortable with the process continuing given the election cycle, given that you have four senators there who themselves would like to be on the campaign trail. is there a time line for democrats on -- >> yeah. >> -- if the republicans were willing to agree to a deal on witnesses or at least a deal that says, let's go to the courts and let's ask the courts together to expedite a decision on what's privileged and what's not, what's the democrats' drop-dead date. >> two good questions. let me answer both. first and foremost, we want the truth. we want the facts. this is very serious stuff, and we want the documents. we haven't tried to be dilatory. we just have four sets of documents and four witnesses, all of whom were eyewitness, contemporaneous to what happened. so our goal would be to get the truth out as quickly as possible. we don't want it truncated so we
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don't get the truth, but i think if things continue to move, both sides will want to get this thing done, will not want to drag it out. as for the presidential candidates, i'm sorry. they have a greater responsibility than being on the campaign trail. they have the responsibility to be here. no candidate has even requested, to their everlasting credit, the senate candidates that are still running, to speed it up or to not have any events on this day or that day. >> chuck, a quick procedural question. if they vote for witnesses and documents, can mcconnell then offer an amendment that says they want to call two witnesses at once? can he offer first, which i assume he can, and could he offer an amendment that says biden and bolton in one amendment that everybody would have to vote on? >> well, he could try, but then we would probably be allowed -- i don't know if he would offer it or the house managers.
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but if the president's lawyers tried to do it together, we would move to split. you know, we could move to bifurcate the amendment, and we will get our own opportunity. once we win on the general idea of having witnesses and documents, we will have our right to offer amendments as well. now, remember, they have the majority, so they have something of the upper hand. but i think that there are a lot of them who don't want to make this a circus the way one of those president's lawyers -- he gave just a political speech on the floor today. i don't know if you saw him. totally political. i don't think the public likes that. i don't think it will inure to their benefit, and i think at least some of the republican senators realize that. >> senate minority leader chuck schumer, thank you. great to have you here. >> good night. >> much more to come here tonight. we are going to be speaking with senator kamala harris quite shortly. we've got further reporting to get to tonight. stay with us. busy evening.
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rudy giuliani is the house managers' colorful distraction. they've anointed him the proxy villain of the tale, the leader of a rogue operation. mr. giuliani has always been somewhat of a controversial figure. mr. giuliani is just a minor player, that shiny object designed to distract you. >> first of all, i don't think it's nice to call him shiny. second of all, call rudy. i need you guys to call rudy.
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joining us now is senator kamala harris, democrat of kacaliforni until recently a presidential candidate. senator harris, it's great to see you. thank you for being here tonight. >> thanks. it's great to be wu, rachel. thank you. >> today was the first full day of the president's case, the case has laid out by the president's counsel. let me just get your top-line reaction to the trial thus far and these arguments today. >> well, i'll just pick up where you left off about rudy giuliani. yes, all those statements were made today, but let's couple that with the statement by john bolton, which is that rudy giuliani is a hand grenade. let's couple that with the fact that when the house managers outlined their case, part of the evidence in support of the fact that the president was engaged in violation of the public trust, which is a part of article i of the impeachment, part of the evidence to support that, which is that he was doing this for personal benefit, not in the interest of the public or the american people, is that he
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hired and had doing his dirty work his personal attorney, not someone from the department of state, not someone from the department of justice. it was rudy giuliani, his personal attorney, his fixer. so that is just one example of how a lot of what was presented today was really presented out of context, and out of context with the facts that have already been presented in this case, much less what we know is still out there that should be brought before the senate including now the most recent revelations about john bolton and also the statements that were made by bill barr. >> senator, chris hayes here. i'm curious how that news has landed in the democratic caucus. obviously it hasn't changed the position, the position has been there should be witnesses and documents. we just talked to chuck schumer. we've seen reporting about the possibility of a deal. what's your perspective on conceiving of ways you could imagine that door opening? >> well, i think the door opens whenever -- especially even today, one of the president's
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lawyers went on and on about the factors of fundamental due process. what is an indication of the fact that due process exists, and then he waxed on and on about the importance of cross-examination of witnesses. well, he was making our argument. the trial has begun. we are in the midst of the trial. this is when that should happen, which is that witnesses should come forward. they should be cross-examined. let's determine their veracity, their truthfulness, their bias, their ability to know that which they talk about and testify about. but really i think right now the issue before us is that there is so clearly much more evidence that is out there to support the evidence we already have and to just bolster the arguments that have already so strongly been made by the house managers. >> in terms of the evidence that is out there, we just talked with senator schumer about how this is sort of watergate-esque drip, drip, drip. i was struck earlier today by senator doug jones of alabama, who suggested that even if for
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some reason you can't get john bolton subpoenaed to appear as a witness, then maybe the senate should at least subpoena his book and try to obtain the information that way, which struck me as kind of an odd approach to it. but i think people are starting to get creative now, thinking both in terms of how the white house and republicans might try to deep this stuff bottled up but also ways the democrats might try to pry some of this stuff loose. how advanced are those conversations among you and your colleagues? >> i think it's a great idea that we get the manuscript, but really the best evidence is john bolton himself, and that's where we should start, where we can have him. we can ask him questions and again he'll be subject to cross-examination because certainly the president's defense counsel have a right to cross-examine him as well. so let's bring him forward, and then everyone can test their theories, including his ability to tell the truth in an unbiased way. but let's start with the witnesses, and chuck schumer was right to send the letter immediately outlining four witnesses that we need to hear
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from that are critical, john bolton being one of them. former members of the omb, the office of management. but let's also have the documents because there has been an outline of documents that range from those in the department of defense to the department of energy that will clearly support a lot of the testimony we've already heard. >> the president's lawyers today approached the defense of the president from a few differentabdifferent angled. we got an impassioned case today that president obama should be impeached today, not president trump. there was also a long discussion from one of the president's lawyers today really going after the biden family, going after vice president joe biden and going after his surviving son hunter for a long time and with a lot of relish. i wonder how that lands with you, how it lands in the room, and whether this is going to effectively, you know, accomplish some of the president's goal to put joe biden on trial in front of the american people instead of
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himself. >> well, everything they did today in that regard, rachel, was completely predictable. i mean first of all, let's all be honest that donald trump has been obsessed with barack obama, so it is not surprising that his attorneys would try and yet again revisit the excellence of barack obama's presidency. but coupled with that, when we're talking about the bidens, this is about basically red herrings to distract from the issue that is before us, which is that the president of the united states elicited from a foreign head of government an investigation and an attempt to have an american citizen, who happens to be the former vice president of the united states, and wanted that investigation to take place for his personal and political benefit. that's the allegation. and any facts that relate to that are relevant, and nothing else is. so it's not only a red herring. i think also for political purposes, it's red meat for the president and who he thinks will support him and why they will support him. but the reality is that it is clear that this has nothing to
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do with the issues before the united states senate, which is to determine what the president's conduct was as it relates to his outreach to president zelensky and also his ability in article ii of the impeachment to try and cover it up. >> senator kamala harris, democrat of california. senator, thank you so much for taking time tonight. >> you're welcome. >> much more ahead here tonight. more news and we're going to be talking with one of the democratic impeachment managers who is standing by to talk with us tonight. stay with us. lots to come. man: sneezes
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house record that the president ever said there was a connection between a meeting and investigations. those are the facts plain and simple. so much for a quid pro quo for a meeting with the president. >> no one testified in the house record that the president ever said there was a connection between a meeting and investigations. we must make sure there is no witness record other than the house record. chris hayes, after -- i think we've seen the meat of the case from the president's defense counsel, certainly ending up with their sort of prime time alan dershowitz show tonight. heading into their last day tomorrow, what do you think they could do to change thinks in terms of the momentum here? >> i mean i think honestly the sort of -- eugene was talking about the arguing in the alternative in some ways makes sense for their audience. they're trying to give as many different kinds of things that different senators could grab onto. it was interesting to me that what i felt coming through much of the day was, a, a thinly
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veiled threat to democrats that we're going to do this to you the next time that we have the opportunity. that's the ken starr/pat cipollone point when they talk about impeachment. and, two, to the senators like susan collins and others, is that you hang together or we will surely all hang separately. like this idea of overturning the will of the people and the 63 million trump voters, that is directed to those senators to say, these are the people that we will turn loose on you, and these are the people that you'll be upsetting and fundamentally that's a real core of the argument they're making in that room. >> it's also the definition of impeachment that you're undoing an election. that's what an impeachment it even when it's not the president of the united states. we're going to take a quick break. as i mentioned earlier, we're going to be joined by one of the democratic impeachment managers. we've also got late reporting on what some senate republicans are
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thanks for being with us for our ongoing special coverage of the impeachment wrapped up day two of the president's defense in his senate impeachment trial. it was the first full day of arguments from the president's team today. they had just a brief two-hour opening presentation on saturday. they used almost none of their time on saturday. i think it's fair to say that heading into today, the biggest open question about today's arguments for the president's lawyers was how they would contend with the very big news that broke late yesterday. that president trump's former national security adviser john bolton contends in a forthcoming book that trump told bolton personally and directly that, yes, indeed, he wanted to hold up all aid to ukraine until the ukrainian government agreed to announce investigations into joe biden. now, if that new reporting from "the times" is a

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