tv The 11th Hour With Brian Williams MSNBC May 17, 2017 11:00pm-12:01am PDT
the last word tonight will just be a look at the latest breaking news headline in the stories we've been covering. "the new york times" headline, trump team knew flynn was under investigation before he came to the white house. just to remind you where we are in the sequence of stories, that is the last piece of news that broke tonight after 9:00 p.m. that's where we stand now. that is the last word. "the 11th hour" with brian williams starts now. tonight, it's another bombshell for a still young trump administration already in crisis, and this is a big one. a special counsel appointed in the russia investigation. a veteran fbi director with the
support of both parties takes over and raises the stakes now for donald trump as president. "the 11th hour" begins now. good evening once again from our headquarters here in new york. this was day 118 of the trump administration, and we now have a special counsel to head the russia investigation. the man chosen for the job is not just any lawyer. he is robert mueller. maybe the foremost law enforcement officer in this country today. he is the former head of the fbi, where he took over just before 9/11 and was kept on by president barack obama. bob mueller is something of a hero figure at the justice department and within the fbi, which he ran for 12 years. in all of american history, only j. edgar hoover served longer as head of the fbi. mueller was selected by rod rosenstein, the deputy attorney
general. the attorney general himself, remember, took himself out of this case because of past meetings with the russians. and the reason we know the name rod rosenstein is it was his three-page memo that the trump white house put out as their false cover story for why the president fired james comey as head of the fbi. tonight make no mistake. the future just got darker for president donald trump and all the people in his orbit. no administration wants to see what happened to this administration today. before we bring in our panel to start our broadcast tonigh just a little more on the life and times of robert mueller. he was born in new york, raised outside of philadelphia. he went to a prestigious private school named st. paul's as a young man, then to the ivy league, graduating from princeton. then he went to vietnam as a marine, an officer. he served in combat, earned a bronze star and a purple heart. back home, it was on to nyu for
a master's degree and uva law school. he's been a u.s. attorney twice, in and out of the justice department in senior roles and private practice. he has served his country on and off for much of his life. so with that, let's bring in tonight's panel. nbc news chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell, jeremy bash, chief of staff to both the director of the cia and the secretary of defense during the obama years and former counsel to the house intel committee, matt miller, former chief spokesman for the justice department and an msnbc justice and security analyst, and here in new york, nicolle wallace, former white house communications director for bush 43 and host of her own broadcast here, deadline white house here at 4:00 p.m. weekdays. welcome to you all. matthew, because of your experience at doj, i'm going to begin with you. chiefly, most importantly, what does this do to the investigation? >> well, i think first of all,
it's a sign there is going to be a robust investigation that looks at every possible act of wrongdoing. one of the things about bob mueller, you know, he has -- he's really unique in that he has both investigative experience by leading the fbi and prosecutorial experience as a u.s. attorney and as a leader in the criminal division. i think what you'll see from him is an investigation that is very quiet. he won't be up testifying about it before congress. i think it will be less leaky than the investigation has been up until now. but i think it will be very aggressive and will move as quickly and as far as he can possibly justify. >> nicolle, you know him. you've worked with him. in bearing and demeanor and even his physical height, he could be comey's father in addition to the way he is viewed within fbi and justice. >> yeah, and i like that paternal notion because he is someone -- you know what i was thinking about him when i came out here. if you locked all the publicans in one room and then
you locked all the democratsn another room, which isn't too dissimilar from how they function frankly, and you ask them to come up with three names of people that they would -- >> an organic talent search. >> both lists would have bob mueller at the top of them. he is revered. at a time in our politics when there are so few that both sides agree upon, they actually picked someone revered by republicans and democrats. i first met him because after 9/11, george w. bush took all his briefings from the fbi and cia in person. so george tenant and bob mueller were in that room outside the office before any staffers came in. so we would cross in the hallways, and he had as a central mission keeping this country safe after 9/11, but he had in his mind all the time how to tell the story of the integrity and the mission of the men and women of the fbi. he is of the men and women of the fbi. he has never acted above them, and i just -- this, to me, lands perfectly. >> jeremy bash, so far today,
everyone i've talked to with the kind of experience nicolle has, the kind of experience you have in and out of government says the same thing. an organic talent search. if you would ask me to name one person ideally to run this investigation, everyone would have come out at bob mueller. you could feel some of the pressure go out of this today as people knew it was going to be in good hands. but at the same time, jeremy, it landed like an anvil. >> yeah, brian. you said it's a darker hour for the trump administration. i think it's actually a brighter hour for the united states and for the rule of law. if you read the rosenstein order -- and this was clearly the right decision by the deputy attorney general, who actually signed the memo as the acting attorney general because the a.g. is recused, it was clearly the right decision. the order of the rosenn order is broad. it sets no time limits on the mueller investigation. it basically says he can investigate any matterer wan he
to that rises. in his sole discretion, he can prosecute federal crimes. it basically makes bob mueller the united states attorney for the district of donald j. trump. >> so that means he decides on scope. he can say what is related to russia, what is not. does that mean he can impanel a grand jury? does that mean he can recommend or even further bring charges? >> yes and yes. he can prosecute the case. he is, in effect, the chief prosecutor. he's not merely the top fbi official. he is standing in the shoes of the attorney general tonight. >> andrea mitchell, balance this in all you've seen in washington. i feel compelled to remind everybody this is day 118 of a new presidency, and also andrea, include the fact that, oh, by the way, the first foreign trip is leaving either way friday night. >> and they had thought that these two weeks were going to be, as they themselves put it, a graduate seminar for donald
trump on the foreign trip, which is fraught with peril for even an experienced foreign policy commander in chief and chief executive. and this is one of our first modern-day presidents with no government experience, not military, not any kind of political experience as well. so this was going to be a challenging trip. they've laid it out for him with a very friendly venue in the first stop, which is riyadh, suounded by 50 arab leaders who are all going to be singing his praises because he is also helping them circle the wagons against iran. so they laid it out that way for him, but there are still so many things. i mean this is a president who blurted out information to lavrov, to the russians, that had not been pre-cleared by easy rea -- israel, this is a team who refused to acknowledge that the western wall, the holiest place in all of judaism is within the confines, the borders of israel.
confusing the dispute over different parts of jerusalem as a final status negotiating situation with the western wall, which is the holy place of judaism and israel. i mean the kinds of insults that have been leveled and the absolutely substantive violation of international -- national security agreements, intelligence agreements with israel just infuriating the friendliest government that netanyahu has ever had, which is donald trump. so this is already a difficult trip. but anytime a special proper -- and you and i both remember back in 1994 when under very different circumstances, bill clinton, out of town, heading to moscow, had the final decision to agree to a special prosecutor back when that was still the law, which this is a different process. but that which hillary clinton had fought against, and he did it while he was overseas, and the entire white house changed
from then on because it takes it out of their control. >> nicolle wallace, the press shop is always looking for silver linings. you guys are the department of good news ideally. is sean spicer walking into the oval late today and saying, boss, here's the good news. the good news is you have an auto-deflect, an excuse not to answer any questions about investigations or russia until this thing is over. is that likely to be happening, and is the question about the boss's discipline? >> i did a lot of reporting on the white house staff the last 48 hours. >> what's it like in that west wing? >> so here's where they are. i found them -- they have gone from tense to nearly morose in terms of their inability to control and sort of boost the spirits of the president and the spirits are important and relevant because when he's low is when he's dangerous and reckless. and they're sort of careening from self-inflicted clamity to
self-inflicted calamity is all tied to one thing. the sort of what's happening in the headspace of the president. and i think just, you know, we can look from the outside. what is happening is there is no one there who can sort of reel him back in. and much has been made of jared kushner's role. i understand jared to be actively engaged in trying to get him to a better place, trying to get him to a less reckless place vis-a-vis twitter and the sort of comments he makes. but as andrea just pointed out, this job may be bigger than what he's capable of at this moment. >> jeremy bash, you and i discussed it last night, and i almost hate to raise it. what if the reality of the presidency, any one of these days from any corner of our globe or a domestic state comes crashing down on this president and the mechanism around him? >> and the reason you need a well functioning national security team -- and he's got great professionals in h.r.
mcmaster, dina powell, and others, the reason you need them to be firing on all cylinders and he needs to heed their advice, because if a crisis does e represent anywhere in the world or at home, you need the president to act definitively and use all levels of power to defend the american people. i think again, back to the mueller issue, brian, this is a good decision. they should see this as a way to put this matter to the side so they can focus on their agenda. mueller knows the russia file, though, and he will be a formidable prosecutor. he prosecuted and brought to justice the russian illegals in 2010, the deep cover russian intelligence officers who were living in the united states as americans, you know, to show the americans he basically outed them. he knows this file. he is goingoe a very tough special cosel in this case. >> matthew miller, in the meantime, how do we explain the story that came out on the "new york times" tonight, the headline "trump team knew flynn
was under velgs befoinvestigati he came to white house." who do we see about this, and how do we process this? >> it's stunning. i can tell you from in the obama administration, someone who is under active criminal investigation from the fbi couldn't even get hired for a staff assistant job, let alone be the national security adviser with access to the united states' most important secrets. you have to raise a couple questions. the first one is about don mcgahn, the white house counsel who apparently got that warning. what did he do with it? did he take it to the president, and if he did, was he overruled by the president? if he was, it brings us back to that question which has been really behind a lot of strange decisions by president trump in the last few months. why has he always been so eager to protect michael flynn? that is, you know, the question that has led him to potentially cross lines with his behavior towards jim comey, potentially why he even fired james comey. we don't know whether it's out of loyalty to mike flynn, out of friendship to mike flynn, or if
it's something darker, if he's worried mike flynn had something he would tell investigators if he ever felt he was in legal jeopardy. >> andrea mitchell. >> well, there are a couple of things about that. i was told early on that mike flynn was vetted, and his attorney was in touch with don mcgahn early on in january. the fact is that that's what they called a vet. they knew about his representation of turkey at the time, before it was publicly disclosed, and they still said it was okay for him to become national security adviser even though he had written a column on election day urging that gulen be returned to erdogan, a controversial position without disclosing that he was representing turkey, lobbying for turkey, even though we now learned that he had argued against a key military operation against raqqah because it involved syrian kurds and erdogan was not happy about that. so he was taking policy positions while being paid secretly as a lobbyist for turkey before he was even national security adviser.
and mcgahn -- dan mcgahn knew this, and it really raises serious questions about what they considered a vet. i think they considered it vetting him to know what his problems were rather than to disqualify him. and it's similar to the fact that they were sending nominations up of people for cabinet positions who had not yet been given fbi clearance. they took this all so casually, and it seems to me it's because the big man, the boss man wanted him, and therefore it was good enough for them. they have a lot of answering to do, the legal team, for how they let these people get into that high position. >> nicolle wallace, we've been talking about the president's state of mind, what it's like to work for him. "the washington post" reports they're going to stages of grief. i want you to imagine the following as we run this next clip. your son or daughter is graduating from the coast guard academy. on a hot, sunny day, you've gathered for graduation. the president is the keynote
speaker, but as one "new york times" reporter instantly labeled it, instead gave the me-note speech. here's part of the president's remarks. >> over the course of your life, you will find that things are not always fair. you will find that things happen to you that you do not deserve and that are not always warranted. but you have to put your head downnd fight, fight, fight. look at the way i've been treated lately, especially by the media. no politician in history -- and i say this with great surety -- has been treated worse or more unfairly. you can't let them get you down. >> yeah. >> nicolle? >> so it's just what you want your 22-year-old to here. first the word "surety indication. and second, complaints from the
most powerful man in the world. this was stunning in that in front of a group of people about to embark on the most chapter of their lives, he's complaining about the scrutiny he gets as the most powerful person in the world. there was no one more loyal to donald trump than rudy giuliani, who was the only surrogate who went on television and defended him after access hollywood. chris christie took plenty of lumps for him. they got nothing. the michael flynn explanation cannot be loyalty to a man he met the summer before he became president. >> jeremy bash, you want to take a whack at that one? >> well, one thing is flynn was his conduit to russia. again, i think it does raise the spectre of why that relationship was so significant to the president. you know, it doesn't mean necessarily that flynn held something over the president, although now flynn is requesting immunity. and if there is an investigation by a credible special counsel as there is now going to be, you better believe flynn and his attorney are going to be first in line to get some immunity
about that one. >> nicolle, you and i are going to be back here at 3:45 tomorrow afternoon. the president is supposed to have a bilateral appearance and ke two queions from an overseas press corps, two questions from you. what do you counsel the president to say or not to say? >> whatever i say, he'll do the opposite. so let's see. i think that what he has an opportunity to do -- let's answer it that way -- is to say that we now know we will get to the bottom of russia, and that is what i want to happen. and i think his actions for the first time match that. his justice department has put a revered figure in charge of getting to the bottom of the russia question. >> and, matt miller, from a lawyer's point of view, what legally can he say, should he say? >> he should say exactly what nicolle said, which is to now take this as a political opportunity to never talk about this again. and by the way, that's something he should do publicly. it's also something he should do privately. >> yes. >> one of the things, if he has personal legal problems in this, it's not just because of what
happened in the campaign. i always thought it would be very unlikely that he personally, you know, participated in collusion with the russians during the campaign. but if he has any liability, it's probably something related to obstruction of justice for his conversations with jim comey. he'd be smart to stop talking about this case privately and publicly, leave it to the justice department. >> well, nicolle, right there, that advice from a smart, learned lawyer, i've heard television college professors say on television, the president needs to get a lawyer because the white house counsel is there for the white house. >> yeah. and he may not understand that, but the white house counsel is the white house's lawyer. the white house as an institution. and i'm told that we should be surprised if he has a lawyer by the end of the week. >> what about other staff positions, especially chief of staff? there's got to be a reexamination of the people around him, i'm guessing. >> that re-examination runs on a
loop. what i've heard is that the volume is up a little higher, thatresident trump attributes a lot of the fallout from the comey filing to a botched surrogate strategy that he attributes sort of the inability to get back on offense to staff failures. and i think that the chief of staff is probably in a pretty vulnerable position right now. >> andrea mitchell, paint a picture for our viewers, please. friday, the overseas trip. the trip is spread out into several parts. obviously the president, the close staff around him, a tight pool as it's called of news media who get to see what they can see. there is a full press plane going, accompanying the trip, and obviously support aircraft. what's it likely to be like on air force one going across the ocean? >> awkward indeed because you've got different factions. you're going to have steve bannon there. you've going to have reince priebus and sean spicer and kushner and ivanka.
i mean, you're going to have the different jockeying for positions. i believe you're going to have ga gary cohn and certainly dina powell and mcmaster. there are a lot of internal jealousies and differences of opinion. i mean steve bannon having been demoted from foreign policy is now going on a major foreign policy trip, and the first stop is the arab world. and this president, who spoke about the muslim ban and echoed bannon's theories of the case is going to be courting the arab world with a lot of money, you know, hundreds of billions of dollars on the table in terms of arms deals as well as the anti-iranun versus shia -- or anti-tehran position even as iran is electing a new president in a very fraught election where conservatives might hold sway over rouhani being punished precisely because he did the deal with the west, the nuclear deal with the west that this president has derided but has
again today agreed to continue upholding. there's so much going on there in riyadh. and then on to israel with all of the tensions over this breach, this incredible intelligence breach with the crown jewel of israel having a human agent somewhere in syria embedded with isis, having disclosed that to russia, which is allied to iran and to assad in syria, israel's enemies, is just extraordinary that all this is happening. then on to brussels, to nato, derided by donald trump as obsolete. now he's come around that it's not really obsolete because they're paying up, which they always were paying up, but he didn't say so. and then foreign policy magazine was the first to break the fact that the leaders there have been told to keep their interventions short and to the point because he has a very short attention span. i can tell you that in london, in berlin, and in paris, with
all of these governments, they just don't know what to make of this president. i was with foreign visitors tonight. they don't know what to do make of donald trump, and they don't know very frankly in our closest allies, they don't know in british intelligence how to trust him anymore. >> jeremy bash, a couple questions here about this investigation that is about to be headed by robert mueller, who famously hates leaks. will he have t power to loo at trump's tax returns? >> well, i think he will have the ability to subpoena documents that relate to the matter he's investigating, and i think if he has good cause to believe that the tax returns provide an evidentiary trail to matters he's investigating, then the answer is yes. >> if it comes down to a case -- we've been talking about the learning curve, about donald trump being new to elective office on politics and certainly the presidency and all things presidential. if it comes down to something like what we witnessed, you
can't say -- you can't reference the russia investigation and fire the director of the fbi. the first time i ever heard the expression "ignorance of the law is no defense," it was being uttered by a police officer in new jersey. i was a young driver, and i've never forgotten it since then. is there any similar defense for a president in front of a special counsel who didn't know the rules of road? >> i don't think so. but i think fundamentally, although i do think at the end of the day bob mueller will have to interview the president -- and that's going to be a critical moment in this investigation. at the end of the day, i think the likelihood the president would face criminal charges is very low as matt and others have pointed out on other broadcasts. there is justice department policy, opinions that state that you would not indict a president. if you found criminal wrongdoing by a president of the united states, you would basically turn that over to the congress and let them handle it under their article 1 powers. >> oh, and nicollnicolle, that'
juicy question. what does this do to republicans? we're going to talk more about it later in the hour, but what could be happening? >> so this is where the white house is right now. i know they're on the eve of this really important trip, but all their eyes are on the republicans in congress. and not the canaries in the -- not the mccains and the grahams, who were sort of the first to voice their concerns on these matters. but they're watching that next level under them, and even sasse is a constant sort of critic of the way trump rolls, if you will. they're watching that next level. and if they see some softening, if they see real reluctance, if they see republicans in the senate running from the cameras and running from the microphones, i think they know they have a real problem on their hands. i think the decision to appoint mueller was in large part a gesture to shore up those republicans in the senate and to keep them from running away from this white house. >> our thanks to andrea mitchell, jeremy bash, matt miller, nicolle wallace. sharp-eyed viewers will note we
have limited commercial interruptions tonight because of the breaking news we continue to cover. coming up after our first break, what more could james comey be holding on to? what else have we yet to learn? we're right back after this. e m? cialis for daily use treats ed and the urinary symptoms of bph. tell your doctor about your medicines, and ask if your heart is healthy enough for sex. do not take cialis if you take nitrates for chest pain, or adempas® for pulmonary hypertension, as this may cause an unsafe dropn blood pressure. do not dnk alcohol in excess. to avoid long-term injury, get medical help right away for an erection lasting more than four hours. if you have a sudden decrease or loss of hearing or vision, or an allergic reaction, stop taking cialis and get medical help right away. ask your doctor about cialis.
the shlike a bald penguin. how do i look? and get medical help right away. [ laughing ] show me the billboard music awards. show me top artist. show me the top hot 100 artist. they give awards for being hot and 100 years old? we'll take 2! [ laughing ] xfinity x1 gives you exclusive access to the best of the billboard music awards just by using your voice. the billboard music awards. sunday, may 21st eight seven central only on abc. i'm sure we're going to go on to hear fromr. comey. >> i think it's so important that director comey come testify before us. >> we haven't heard from comey. >> the real thing that the american public wants to hear is
they want to hear from james comey. they want to hear from him in open hearing. >> the bipartisan calls for former fbi director james comey to testify before congress are only getting louder. right now he has standing invites from three congressional committees, but what will he say, and what more does he know? will we ever see him before those committees? matt miller still is with us, and with us as well, charlie savage, msnbc contributor. notably you've seen his byline twice in the last 12 hours. his latest piece is a deep dive into the mechanics of tonight's big story. why it's hard to have an independent russia investigation. welcome to the broadcast. we know you've been working hard. matt, we'll begin with you just on the legal angle. number one, what's the chance that comey can avoid congressional testimony and say
there's a much larger investigation going on and, number two, talk about his personal habit, his meticulous note-taking and why there's likely more than what we've already seen. >> yeah. before today i think it was very likely that we were going to hear from james comey at a hearing very soon. obously they've called him. he has leaked o thrgh associates that he wants to testify. but i think that might change rather quickly. i think one of the first conversations he's going to have is with bob mueller. i suspect bob mueller is going to call james comey. they know each other well. they've worked together. he's going to call james comey and ask for a briefing on the investigation. and i think one of the things he'll do right away is make a decision as to whether he wants james comey to testify or not. remember, some of the things that james comey would testify to would be these memos that he took. these memos that he documented. apparently one of every conversation he had with the president. and if bob mueller decides early on, by looking at these memos --
and he'll clearly have access to them -- and talking to james comey, that he wants to look at potential obstruction of justice by the president or anyone else, he may not want james comey going up and testifying, and he certainly may not want those memos being turned over to congress because he's going to want to have the element of surprise when he goes to interview the president or staff. >> charlie, as i mentioned, you've had a hand in two explainers in just, i think -- it feels the last 12 hours. the first one was the definition of obstruction of justice and does this fit? the second one, why a special counsel is going to be tough in this matter. please free associate. they're called explainers because they're helpful to all those in the audience who read them. can you answer bothquestions? >> absolutely. well, can i do it in the way that makes it all make sense? i'll try. >> please. >> you forgot a third one there about the mechanics of how impeachment would work if he ever get that right although
it's premature. this investigation is hard because it's very awkward to try to get to a place where you have a sense of genuine independence when you're investigating the president of the united states. we used to have, after watergate, an independent counsel, a special prosecutor law. you continue to hear members of congress calling for that, which is rather wistful. either they don't understand or they're in denial about the fact that congress in 1999 let lapse the law that created a prosecutor who could not be fired by the president, a reform that was put in place after the saturday night massacre of watergate fame. we as a country now simply lack a criminal investigative mechanism that does not ultimately subject to the president's direction and control. so the appointment today of a special prosecutor -- sorry -- a special counsel, not a special prosecutor, not an independent counsel, but a special counsel, and especially this one, bob mueller, who seems to be a man
who is very hard to intimidate or push around, should give us a measure of independence. but at the end of the day, if president trump wants to direct him to be fired, he can do so. and so that is one of the things that's going to be looming over this investigation that was not looming over independent counsel investigations in the '80s and the '90s. and of course an investigation, a fact-finding investigation from congress itself, or if they were to appoint a commission, would still be in some senses a partisan exercise, be made up of republicans and democrats or appointees of those parties, and as we've seen in the benghazi commission and so forth, it quickly denigrates into helping your team or trying to get the other team, which is not always conducive to finding out information. so i'll pause there for a minute. >> charlie, let me ask a follow-up. that is haven't they chosen the one guy who is difficult, if not impossible, to imagine getting fired from this role?
a guy who is physically almost the giant comey is, and is a looming presence over american law, justice, and the fbi? >> well, you know, before the president fired comey, i didn't expect that to happen either. we are sort of in uncharted territory here, and the sense of things that could happen in theory but we don't think will happen because it would be strange. it would be a violation of norms and traditions and the way things are done and optics. that does not seem to be a particularly good guide to how things happen in 2017. and so i think that the fact that something is possible is something that we should not look away from as we embark on watching bob mueller try to make sense of this incredible mess. >> hey, matt, speaking of the incredible mess, am i correct that the congressional investigations -- i thought it
was all going to be put in a wheel barrow and brought over to wherever mueller rents office space. they're going to continue concurrently, so we're going to have that noise and stress and leakage and all of that? >> they're going to continue concurrently, but i think what you'll see is bob mueller try to deconflict the investigations to make sure that there is never -- you know, that the senate and the house investigations don't do anything that will possibly interfere with his ability to eventually bring criminal charges. and so i think as an early sign, if we see the jtice department not turn over these memos that james comey wrote and they do it at mueller's request, it's probably because he thinks that's something -- potentially obstruction of justice is something he needs to look very strongly at. but i'll say at the end of the investigation, one of the things i think can be particularly unsatisfying about a criminal investigation, at the end of this investigation, bob mueller will either bring charges, or he won't bring charges, but what i don't think we should expect from him is a big public report.
he'll write something private that will go to the justice department. they could release some version of it, but it won't be the kind of report you see from a committee or from an inspector general or from a commission, and that's why it's appropriate for these committees to proceed separately so they can have public testimony. they can reach conclusions outside of criminal law. they're still things that were deeply inappropriate, deeply in conflict with our values. they can expose them and write reports and let the american public decide on their own. >> terrific, informed conversation, gentlemen. we'll be calling on both of you again many times. thank you so much for staying up late with us tonight. matt miller, charlie savage of "the new york times." up next after our next break, congressional investigators not slowing down as we've been saying in the wake of this bombshell news. we'll look at that ahead when we come back.
this was coming at 6:00 eastern time today? >> no clue. >> in fact, i found out just before we came on the air with you. >> in the first moments live on the air after we got the story of the mueller appointment, that reaction from two members of the house intelligence committee says just about everything you need to know about what the folks on capitol hill knew about this appointment of a special counsel before it happened. that was congressman mike quigley, democrat on the left. congressman chris stert, a republican, on the right. tonight the senate intel committee chairman has made clear this new development about robert mueller will not stop its investigation, but it will rather continue. and we have two former members of congress with us tonight. both of them recovering. donna edwards, a democrat from maryland, and david jolly, republican from the state of florida. mr. jolly, not just because you're here with us in new york, we're going to begin with you. what must it be like to be one of your old colleagues, an
elected representative in the house or senate with the r after your name? >> it is remarkable, brian, tonight how many republicans support a special counsel once the decision has been made. and i think we've watched that. listen, view this through the short lens. the short lens, this is actually win/win. democrats get the investigation they think is right for the country. republicans have an opportunity to put the investigation over here in this lane and then say, okay, now we get to get back to legislating. but in the long lens, donald trump's done. he's done. there's no question about that. he's done. look at what happened in the first 100 days. director comey, one of the top law enforcement officers in the country, makes memos of everything interaction he had with the president of the united states. tonight, rosenstein comes out in the brief two or three weeks he has to make an impact and says, we need a special counsel. that is historic in terms of 100
days of a new president. >> so if this doesn't end with the ejection of a sitting president, when you say "he's done," you mean effectively the business of the presidency? >> so the legislative agenda, they have an opportunity, if they can right the ship on this, right? but if not, we're looking at 18 months before democrats likely will take control of the house. and then you have a sitting president who, last we saw was in 199 when george bush, 41, was challeed by pat buchanan. if trump decides to run for re-election, i think you see a primary. >> congresswoman, that's breathtaking to hear from a former member of congress. you are one too. same question. >> it is. but i tell you i don't think it's over for republicans. in fact, i think republicans in the house and the senate can breathe a sigh of relief because there's been the appointment of a special counsel. but it doesn't relieve them of their responsibility. and i think it's now going to be incumbent on the republicans to get together with democrats and
to appoint an independent commission to really look broadly at this so that there can be some kind of public record for the meddling that took place in the 2016 election and for the ongoing activities of this very brief presidency. but it's not over. and as much as republicans would like to set this aside, it's not going to be set aside by the public. the criminal investigation will go on with robert mueller, but there's still an investigation that needs to take place independently in the house of representatives and the united states senate, and i think that has to be done by an independent commission. >> respectfully in the congressman here is saying the business, you can just forget about it. you can forget about progress legislatively, on top of mueller's work product, house intel, senate intel, you're saying we need to be following a commission which will take up all the air left in the room in the house of reprentives? >> what i'm saying is that all of this really has to be put
together in the independent commission. it's really clear that the political process and the partisan process is not going to be ample to deal with what has to be i think a public investigation. i mean robert mueller, when he finishes at the end of the day, he may make some criminal referrals. on the other hand, he may simply provide a report to the acting attorney general, and it may not become public. so it's incumbent on the congress to exercise its responsibility as well and not just simply pass it over to the special counsel. that's one process, but the other process has to be a fully independent investigation. and all of the efforts of, you know, just like the 9/11 commission, for example, all of those efforts can be brought under one house. and frankly it would actually make that deconflicting that has to take place with robert mueller and the materials from the house and the senate come together much easier. there must be an independent commission. so the republicans' work is not
done. >> congressman? >> i think donna and i are trying to get to the same place. i would say based on my 20 years working with capitol hill, i've never seen a congressional independent committee that's actually independent, nor leads to anything of substance. i think we should bring back the independent counsel statute that expired in '99. but short of that, it was replaced by the special counsel. so could we create more independence for that? yes. but listen, robert mueller is getting bipartisan praise tonight and rightfully so. his report should be submitted to the administration doj, they won't do anything with it. t submit it to congress and let the judiciary committee do their work. when we had the independent counsel, ken starr did his work, submitted it to congress, and you saw the judiciary committee ultimately pass articles of impeachment. >> if we had followed just a percentage of what was in the 9/11 commission's report, we'd doing better off probably today. i keep asking rhetorically which
coal miners got back to work this week, which seniors got a better tax plan this week? that is to say there's no work product. and then tonight there's this. "washington post," house majority leader kevin mccarthy made a politically explosive assertion in a private conversation on capitol hill with his fellow gop leaders that trump could be the beneficiary of payments from russian president vladimir putin. and this, in normal times, as they say, would have been our lead story tonight. quote, there's two people i think putin pays. congressman rohrabacher and trump, said mccarthy according to a recording of the june 2016 exchange, which was listens to and verified by "the washington post" and congressman rohrabacher, who is say california republican. house speaker ryan immediately interjected, stopping the conversation from further exploring mccarthy's assertion. some of the lawmakers laughed at mccarthy's comment. then mccarthy quickly added
"swear to god." congressman jolly, again, your party. what do we do about this? >> i've had every job in the u.s. house of representatives, starting as an intern answering phones, sleeping in my car. every staff job up to being a member of congress. i have never been more disenchanted than when i actually served as a member of congress. both parties, the leadership of both parties neglect their responsibilities and faithfulness to the people. there is a lack of fidelity to the job to which they were elected. and what you're seeing there is a carelessness of house leadership on the republican side, but i believe personally it exists on both. the detachment that the american people feel from congressional leadership is reflected in exactly what kevin mccarthy joked about. that is not a joking matter, and he offended the job he holds, and he offended the american people, who entrust him to serve as majority leader of the house of roipepresentatives. >> congresswoman, your purpose is not to defend your former
colleagues in the house, but what is one deliverable that at the end of the 2017, members of the house, both parties will be able to go home on that final recess and say to the folks at home, we worked on this. we worked on this together. we voted, passed it. it was signed by the president. >> well, i'm not sure what that is, and i have to say i thought that one of the most explosive parts of that transcript was the fact that they were also joking about the fact that the democratic national committee had been broken into or hacked by the russians and they didn't see any need to do that. and that was actually before we knew all of what we know now. i'm not sure what's going to be delivered. i know the american people must be greatly disappointed that they put all their eggs in the baskets of a republican house and republican senate and a republican president who are letting them down whether it comes to creating jobs. i notice that today the democrats introduced legislation to rebuild the nation's infrastructure. we could work on infrastructure
if the republicans would come to the table. but my fear is that they're going to go back to the same drawing board, go back to tax cuts, go back to repealing the affordable care act, taking health care away from 24 million americans, and that is just not going to cut it anymore. i think it's really time for republicans to realize why it is that they were elected and to get down to the business of people. >> it almost sounds like you're still in congress, congresswoman. >> it doesn't really ever leave you. >> donna edwards, democrat of the state of maryland. david jolly, republican, state of florida. thank you both so much for adding to our broadcast tonight. coming up after a quick break, an unprecedented ten days in may and a trump presidency where a week feels like a year every week that goes by.
five violations of the u.s. pipeline safety act and obstructing an ntsb investigation. pg&e was fined, placed under an outside monitor, given five years of probation, and required to perform 10,000 hours of community service. we are deeply sorry. we failed our customers in san bruno. while an apology alone will never be enough, actions can make pg&e safer. and that's why we've replaced hundreds of miles of gas pipeline, adopted new leak detection technology that is one-thousand times more sensitive, and built a state-of-the-art gas operations center. we can never forget what happened in san bruno. that's why we're working every day to make pg&e the safest energy company in the nation. we wanted to take just a moment here as a reminder of where we've been with thanks to
our political unit for the following. we take a look back at -- let's call it these ten days in may. last monday, we learned that obama warned trump about flynn. last tuesday, trump fires comey on the recommendation of rosenstein based on mistreating hillary clinton's e-mails. one week ago trump visits with the two sergeys, lavrov, kislyak, and a photog from tass is allowed into the oval office. images beamed around the world. thursday trump says he was going to fire comey no matter what. friday, trump suggests he has tapes of private conversations with tomemcomey? remember that one. sunday, professional fbi agents are paraded in front of the cameras. trump met with four candidates today. sunday, golf. monday, trump it turns out shared highly classified intel with russians. yesterday, the comey memo saying the president asked him to make
the flynn investigation go away. and tonight we've been covering the reaction to the department of justice appointment of a special counsel. in short, this will decide the future of the trump presidency. that's been made clear by our guests so far tonight. we have one more. john meacham is here with us to put all of this into perspective as smart guys do. he's a pulitzer prize-winng historian and author. among all of his works, these days i'm pushing this one "destiny and power," his terrific recent biography of president bush 41. what are we witness something. >> history in hyper drive. it used to be watergate took from june 17th, 1972, until august 9th, 1974. >> yeah. >> and cox had 14 months. cox and jaworski. and i remember, you know, you read the woodward and bernstein
books, you read sam dash's memoir. you read all those accounts, and it was rapid, but it wasn't like this. and we haven't even gotten, interestingly, to the underlying -- the infrastructure of the entire question of whether someone associated with the president of the united states or perhaps the president of the united states committed treason by constitutional definition, giving aid and comfort to the enemy. so these have all been process points. it's been, you know, the question of a cover-up, the question of dropping an investigation. we haven't even begun to get to what that investigation might actually produce. to me, that's the most remarkable thing about tornanig because if anyone can do it, it's robert mueller. >> what he said about himself today at the commencement, i've heard others say it, was recomme reminiscent of nixon's tearful, wide-ranging, is he going to be okay, my motheras a saint speech. >> rit. >> in that it dwelled on him,
and it was a woe is me content. >> the difference with that, though, is that was august 9th, right before he went out to get on the helicopter. >> marine one. >> and, you know, he read a letter of t.r. writing about the death of his wife, which i'm sure made mrs. nixon even feel better that day. but one of the things about that tearful farewell is nixon at that point actually appeared self-aware for the first time. he said never let your enemies get under your skin, paraphrasing, or they'll destroy you, and then you'll destroy yourself. i didn't hear that today. i heard instead a kind of institutionalized self-pity from the president. and, yes, jfk said life is unfair. and, yes, all presidents have a kind of enforced sol up citizen ma . that's the nature of the job. the man is given a card every morning with the codes to
actually unleash armageddon if he believes the national security interest requires it. we expect them to have a temperamental balance, a sense of character, a sense of self that is healthier than what we're seeing. the greeks said character is destiny, and the donald trump who is president today is the donald trump who ran for president. so we can be surprised perhaps by the pace of events. but i think a reasonable person could have assessed his character last year and not been too far off in predicting what's happening. >> is there a chance that the ultimate irony is going to be that the clinton presidency model becomes the rule of the road now as in how to conduct a presidency, do your job every day, pursue initiatives and big ideas, small ideas, while being under active investigation? >> he had -- bill clinton had a remarkable capacity to compartmentalize. it got him in trouble in some
ways but it did in fact save him in the end because 'this approv ratings throughout impeachment were quite high relatively speaking. i remember you and i were covering this. >> mm-hmm. >> people like us were saying all the time, well, as soon as america hears x, as soon as they see the videotape of the grand jury testimony, then they'll turn on him. well, they wouldn't actually because they were able to compartmentalize themselves that clinton was going for the country if not particularly good for his marriage or his personal relationships. they hired him to do a job, and that is, in a interesting way, what americans do. they hired donald trump. they rolled the dice because fewer than three out of four americans trust the government. 17% trust washington to do the right thing some or most of the time. we have a $72,000 gap in household income between what it requires to lead a middle class life and what household income is. from 1980 until this year,
except for two years a i bush or a clinton was on every national ticket. this was an elemental cry to undo the establishment and try to reverse some of those numbers. the tonight on "all in." >> with all due respect, i want to see it done properly. >> another day, another bombshell. there will be a special counsel in the russia investigation. >> to be clear, mr. mueller's purview will be the entire russia issue. >> former fbi director bob mueller takes over. tonight, reaction from a stunned white house.