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tv   MTP Daily  MSNBC  May 18, 2017 2:00pm-3:01pm PDT

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i stale until 11:00 most days. i get the treat of turning this over to katy tur who is anchoring "mtp daily." >> we're happy to have you over here as well. it is a smaller table but we would love for to you join us. i'm katy tur in new york in for chuck todd. welcome to "mtp daily." welcome to another day of bomb shells, embroiling the president. all 24 hours after the appointment of the special counsel for the investigation. for the first time since allegations were raised against sgroem the president urged him to shut down the investigation into his former national security adviser, michael flynn. it was also the first time he took questions since the department of justice appointed the fbi director robert mueller as a special prosecutor to oversee the wide reaching russia investigation. here's what the president said
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about that issue. >> well, i respect the move but the entire thing has been a wix hunt. and there is no collusion between certainly myself and my campaign. but i can always speak for myself and the russians, zero. i think it divides the country. i think we have a very divided country because of that and many other things. believe me, there's no collusion. >> just hours before the press conference, the president went even further in his criticisms of the special counsel. here is some of what he said during the meeting. i believe it hurts our country terribly. he went to say it happens to be a pure excuse for the democrats having lost an election that they should have easily won. this comes after tweeted this morning, this is single greatest witch hunt of a politician in american history. it is a dramatic departure from his reaction last night when he seemed to welcome the news. in a white house statement he said i look forward to this matter concluding quickly noting
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that a thorough investigation would vindicate him. he was asked about the investigation. >> did you at any time urge the former fbi director james comey in any way, shape or form to close or back down the investigation into michael flynn? >> no. no. next question. >> despite the quick question, it is not going away. in the white hoe, flynn halted a u.s. military operation turkey opposed. this came after flynn had accepted more than $500,000 as a foreign agent to represent turkey's interests. did the trump team know about flynn's conflicts of interests? apparently yes. "the new york times" is reporting that trump told the top lawyer on january 4th, not only that he had double paid lobbying work on behalf of turkey but that he was under federal investigation for it.
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those revelations raised serious questions starting with the president and vice president's claims that they didn't even know about flynn's conflict. >> former national security adviser michael flynn has filed with the department of justice as a foreign agent for making more than $500,000 as a lobbyist essentially for turkey. >> let me say, hearing that story today was the first i heard of it. >> did you know that he had received payments from the russian government? from the turkish government? >> no. but the obama administration perhaps knew. he had clearance from the obama administration. >> all of this as the president says he is close to naming a new fbi director. his top choi right now, joe lieberman. we're joined by ken delaney. a remarkable change if tone from the white house.
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they seemed to welcome the special counsel last night. this morning he said it was a witch hunt. >> he sort of funld middle ground between the printed statement and his tweets. not backing off on the sentiment that he thinks having a special counsel is divisive in terms of dividing the voters, and to pursue his agenda, still critical of the choice but not quite as bombastic as he might have been. at the same time the president was very clear that he thinks this was wrong move but respects that the decision was made. maybe that's the piece that we didn't hear on his twitter feed. so perhaps some middle ground from the initial wave from the white house. so that's where we stand as far as president bracing for what will be a period of time where the issues around russia, around michael flynn, may in fact be
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more subdued, only from the standpoint of a new investigation may tamp down on what is being publicly discussed in terms of questions to him or new developments made public. if in fact robert mueller runs an investigation that is a very tight ship. that does not affect congressional investigations which move on separately. a key point is the president saying that no, he did not tell james comey to slow down the investigation as a direct contrast from what we expect in the memos, as they were described to reporters from james comey's could not temperature pla temperature, could not temperature plane just notes, the president not down but also trying to perhaps appear more respectful of the process. we'll see if that holds but that was a departure from the twitter
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messages. >> oceans a foreign trip tomorrow. there's an expectation that he might name a new fbi director before that. we're hearing that joe lieberman is the front-runner. why? >> the president is saying he is very close to a decision and we don't know if that will be before he leaves. but joe lieberman stands out in part because the president wants someone who will be at least appealing to democrats. we heard on a different matter, the firing of comey yet again, the president said he thought democrats would support that decision because so many had been critical of his handling of the hillary clinton e-mail situation and investigation. so looking for less democratic pushback is one function of the joe lieberman choice. also, he is very experienced but a politician. not the kind of law enforcement or intelligence official that are among other candidates.
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todaye started to get some nudging that joe lieberman emerged as potential front-runner. that's why he is being talked about. there are lawmakers on might be more resentmentive to lieberman than some other picks. >> the senate held a meeting with deputy a gmpbl rod rosenstein. lindsey graham, not too pleased about this. >> i don't think we should say lindsey graham isn't pleased. he was emphasizing, in his view, this has moved from a counter intelligence investigation to a criminal investigation. what is the upshot and how does that affect the senate and the rest of the congress? well, according to lindsey graham who heads a sub committee that has asked for documents and even the appearance of james comey before a hearing, that means that congress now takes a back seat. should i hasten to add there are
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republicans who did not, republicans generally katy want to see the congressional investigations put on a back burner. democrats including the top democrat in the senate, chuck schumer, came out and said these investigations need to move forward as quickly as they can. and mike warner, the top democrat felt the same way. on the joe leerieberman queflt is not all rejoicing at the nomination of doctor joe lieberman. joe cornyn said he thinks that it will get all 100 senators if it comes to pass. claire mccaskill was very forceful, no, we don't need a politician to lead to fbi. too volatile a nomination. even senator blumenthal from lieberman's home state of connecticut hedged a great deal. he wouldn't come out and say he was against it but he echoed the thought that a senator shouldn't
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get the nomination. the original purpose. hearing, you rebel way back last tuesday when the controversy struck james comey's firing by president trump, the original purpose was to get rod rosenstein to say whether he was coerced into writing that memo. according to the senators who came out, rosenstein wrote the memo to president trump on may 9th. but according to durbin and mccaskill, he learn that had comey would be fired on may 8. so democrats prn giving up on digging into the tick tock. >> and we'll talk about that a little later. michael flynn has been a big part of news today. a number of different stories coming out about him. run us through those. >> that's right. mike flynn continuals to cast a
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long shadow over this presidency. well after he's been fired. we have two reports on nbc fronts. we're reporting that flynn, i know what the former chairman paul manafort are the prime suspects in this sprawling russia investigation. their conduct, it is not so much at least in public of their collusion with russia. there's really no evidence of that. but it is the other activities. with flynn, it is the three things that we know well at this point. he was paid half a million dollars to lobby on behalf of turkish interests. he didn't disclose that until after the justice department questioned him about it. he failed to disclose that he was paid to appear at a state dinner in moscow on behalf of russian state television. so he seems to be on the fbi hot seat. and we have reporting today from "the new york times" that the administration knew he was under criminal investigation when they
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hired him. so he doesn't appear to have been properly vetted for the job of national security adviser. >> what about these 18 phone calls. reuters reports there were 18 phone calls between the trump campaign and between april and november and the russians. >> it appears to include the kislyak contact. but flynn had was interviewed by the fbi about it. we don't know what he told the fbi. and you know, the other interesting report today came out on yahoo! which suggest that had flynn is still in touch with the president. he told friends that the president sent a message to him to stay strong. for those assuming that maybe flynn will give information about what happened behind closed doors in the trump campaign, that's an indication that they are on the same page. >> all right. thank you guys very much.
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>> one -- while we were on the air here, i heard from a top democratic senate official who said the characterization of joe lieberman being easy to get through with democrats is simply not true. so the assessment from the trump team thinking lieberman would be more favorable according to democrats in the senate, and mike echoed this in his report. i heard as we were on the air here from top officials saying speed bump here. even though they like and respect him, that a lieberman appointment would be easy to get through. >> that shouldn't come as a surprise. nothing has been easy when it comes to the trump administration. at least right now. >> let's bring in our panelists.
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guys, there's so much going on. and remember, this is the witching hour, 5:00 is usually when more news comes out. so we'll wait and see when that happens. but given all the noise, what is the most important thing? what is the most important piece of news? >> well, i think the most important piece of news in the last 24 hours is clearly the mueller appointment. this basically means that our institutions are strong and resilient, and that we're going to be okay as long as there's not a war that donald trump gets us into that costs a lot of lives. that there will be pushback from these very strong institutions of government. that there are a lot of people who recognize we live in a society with the rule of law, and that the president can't just shut down an investigation. so the system responded and i think we should all be happy about that. >> if it does slow down a congressional investigation, or even putting speed bumps into a
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congressional investigation, lindsey graham saying it will make it. more difficult to call witnesses. they want to haul before congress. does that mean the information drip to the american public will also dry up? >> probably it will be less if the senate isn't investigating this. the fbi does intel and crimes. and rod rosenstein went in and briefed them. that he, rod said this should be treated as if it were a criminal investigation. not confirming that it is, but that gives of course the senate more of a chance to say yeah, we should take a back seat. >> what is your reaction to the president coming out saying basically deputy ag would write that memo because of the poor performance that the fbi director comey gave. and then we heard from the deputy ag according to senators mccaskill and durbin that he knew trump would fire him
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regardless of the memo. >> president trump can't keep his story straight. when you're a child and your parents tell that you the truth is always the best way to go simply because you aren't going to mess up your story. he doesn't know, or he has a story that he doesn't want to tell the public. i was in d.c. yesterday and it was really surprising to me how many republican s are taking ths seriously and are alarmed. >> what do you mean by taking it seriously? >> the potential exposure by not only donald trump but perhaps mike pence. republicans are very concern that had this is full blown crisis mode. >> if a circumstance comes, and there are bliss pores capitol hill about how much better a president pence would be. people have said that all along, privately, not publicly. is president pence somebody, if trump did leave the presidency in some manner, is governor pence or vice president pence
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someone that would be able to take over that role in a clean way? >> well, it was complicated in the last couple days. because it came out that even though he is not a liar on the scale of president trump, he lied. he was alerted that the new national security adviser was on the pay roll of the turkish government and was asked about it directly on fox and on nbc, and he said no. he had said no. bere it came out. so thas tcredible. >> and flynn alerted the transition. he was the head of the transition. >> one point on that. i think the theory of the case which is how investigators look at it. what kind of case is it? is this the theory where there was an incident and afterward, people are trying explain it or cover it up? or is the theory of the case that there is an ongoing problem? that's the worst situation for the company and certainly for the people involved. if that's the theory of the case and that doesn't mean it's been
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proon, that would explain some of the odd ongoing behavior. you're not just trying to get your story straight about one thing and put it behind if it is ongoing. are there ongoing relationships or financial questions that may or may not touch the presidency. the grand jury, to finances. related to the financial decisions, payments, the nonregistration. it is a felony if you fail to register. it is not often prosecuted. it doesn't mean that you made a deal with a foreign adversary. it might just mean you failed on disclose. if it is ongoing and the theory of the case, to your point, how do you get people, african, with good behavior, and b, how do you recruit new people if you want a shake-up do people want to enter that environment as a place to work. >> how consequential are donald trump's conflicting statements?
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>> well hugely if it rises to the level, it is disfavored under longstanding bipartisan precedent. in other words, criminal investigators, even in a special counsel scenario, are not usually focused on the president's conduct and you do not indict a are president. it is not good, if i can restate the obvious, to have other recent former aides, senior aides, implicated in what sally yates said underlying criminal nduct. >> if there's nothing to hide, why would you be calling it a witch hunt? >> it could be that donald trump never wants to back down. looking at it from a psychological standpoint of how he behaves, it could be him not refusing to admit any wrongdoing whatsoever even if it was not so significant initially. >> and there may not be collusion at the end of it. it could be there are no
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indictable crimes. but this reuters story, that there were 18 contacts between people from the trump campaign and the russians is a big story. because you have to believe for the president, or then candidate donald trump not to have been implicated, that they took place without his knowledge. >> this is an ongoing crisis primarily because of mike flynn. separate of everything else. mike flynn's conduct has really caused such a serious problem with the white house. and you look at president trump's response to it and his inability to cut ties with mike flynn, and his ongoing support of mike flynn, despite these allegations that are quite incredible. he was accepting money from the turkish government and called off an operation, centcom wanted an operation to go forward. and because mike flynn was on the pay roll of the turkish government, he stopped it.
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>> this is a fiercely important point. donald trump cuts people loose without a thought. he even cut roy cullen loose when he had aids. the only people that he doesn't have a nasty word for in the last two words are vladimir putin and now mike flynn. so what do they have on him? that's t questwe have to ask. >> that's a good point. flank donald trump has let a number of people go that have been loyal up tol point, useful to a point, and then not so useful any longer. nicole wallace made this point. she said three of the most loyal surrogates and advisers, chris christie, rudolph giuliani, and one other that is escaping me at the moment, none which of got any sort of role. gingrich. that's who it was. newt gingrich. none of them got a role in the trump administration. the white house spokesman is now saying "the new york times" story is flat wrong. neither michael flynn nor his
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authorities told transition counsel that he was under federal investigation for secretly working as a paid lobbyist for turkey during the campaign. so they are denying that michael flynn or any of his representatives told the troongs january 2 that he was under investigation. >> and briefly the problem with that is that mike flynn has criminal exposure for the failure to notify. because under the foreign payments did he receive, he should have notified and didn't. so he is kind of in a bad spot either way. did you notify people in the transition about something true or did you fail to do so? it is not good either way. >> when he gets squeezed, it will be very interesting to see what he says. right now he's supportive of the president. but down the road, as the wheels of justice grind down, he'll have to tell what he knows. >> we'll have to leave it here because we want to get the rest of the breaking news. the news of the hour in. we'll come back later in the hour to talk to you guys. there's a lot more we need to get to on all these breaking stories. and don't forget 5:00 p.m. has
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been the witching hour for breaking news. you never know what will break next. coming up, we head to the hill where rod rosenstein just wrapped up a briefing with senators. ♪ this is a story about mail and packages. and it's also a story about people. people who rely on us every day to deliver their dreams. they're handing us more than mail. they're handing us their business. and while we make more e-commerce deliveries to homes than anyone else in the country we never forget...
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welcome back. here's what republicans were saying before robert mueller took over the russian probe. >> the notion that somehow a special counsel will bring facts on light just isn't true. this command for a special prosecutor every time you turn around is sickening. >> we don't think it is necessary. you have a house committee, a senate committee and house justice all working on this. >> to suggest that would say i don't think i can do my job. >> i don't think that's a good idea. i think the intelligence committees are the ones who should do this. >> a new investigation which could only serve to impede the current work -- >> i see no need for a special
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prosecutor. it is not a criminal investigation. >> less than enthusiastic. today they were much more open to a special counsel saying they commend the department of justice, they welcome mueller's role. more "mtp daily" in 60 seconds. can we push the offer online? brian, i just had a quick question. brian? brian... legacy technology can handcuff any company. but "yes" is here. you're saying the new app will go live monday?! yeah. with help from hpe, we can finally work the way we want to. with the right mix of hybrid it, everything computes.
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i was thinking around 70. to and before that?re? you mean after that? no, i'm talking before that. do you have things you want to do before you retire? i'd really like to run with the bulls. wow. hope you're fast. i am. get a portfolio that works for you now and as your needs change with investment management services. >> do you believe the deputy attorney general knew before he wrote that memo that james comey would be fired? >> yes. >> what was it that he said that led you to believe that? >> he knew the day before. >> i'm not sure he address that had with the level of clarity. >> he did acknowled that he ew comey would be removed prior to him writing his memo. >> welcome back. one day after he jolted the political world by appointing a special counsel to handle the fbi's investigation into russian interference in the last election, deputy attorney general rob rosenstein went to capitol hill to brief the entire
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senate. chuck schumer initial will invited him to speak about the firing of the former director james comey. but we've had quite the week of fallout since then. roen roenls of course is seeking, since jeff sessions recused himself. joining me now, one of the senators that went to that briefing. chris murphy of connecticut, a member of the foreign relations committee. thank you for joining us. >> i'm going to get a little clarity from you. did you hear that rod rosenstein knew the president would fire james comey before he wrote his recommendation? >> clear as day. there's no question about it. it was in his opening statement. he laid out the narrative that ultimately led to the decision to fire comey. now there are lots of holes in that narrative. in his own opening statement he told us very clearly that he found out the president was
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planning on firing trump and then he wrote the memo which was used as the justification for it. the dates on the memo already hinted that's how the time line worked but he confirmed that this morning. it means the pler donald trump delivered to james comey which said he relied on the recommendation of the deputy attorney general just isn't true. >> did he indicate that he really also wanted comey tgo? did he believe this as well? >> he did. now he was totally unable to discuss his conversation with the president. he didn't want to talk about the circumstances surrounding the memo. he did stand by what eventually ended up in it. he believed the conduct merited his dismissal but he would not confirm that was the reason that led the president to make that decision. he hinted that was not ultimately the reason. we all know now that wasn't.
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>> did he say why he decided to appoint a special counsel to bring in bob mueller? >> again, he was very reluck the tanlt to go into details. i think he said it was combination of the unique nature of the investigation and he wouldn't go into any more detail. and the fact the public faith eroded in the ability of the fbi and he wanted to restore that faith. and i take him at face value. i'm glad he appointed not only a special counsel will but somebody both parties should have faith in. and he made several assurances during that meeting that he would let mueller bring this investigation wherever it led. that he wasn't going to have to come back and check with rosenstein to make sure that the investigation was as expansive as it needed to be. >> are you confident now in the deputy ag? the ag? >> i would have liked him to answer more questions today. i took his carefulness around giving details as an indication
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as to how expansive that he thinks this criminal investigation will be. he would not talk about the circumstances that led to his memo being released to the public, which suggests he thinks that there's a potential that even his memo is subject of an obstruction of justice case, that the new special counsel may be pursuing. he took pains to tell us that there was going to be no political check on the scope or size of this investigation. and i'm trying to take him at his word. >> what else did you want to hear from him? >> i guess i was a ltle shocked at how littl he wa able to tell us about the exact nature of the conversations and the construction of the memo that led to comey's fearing. and the reason for that seemed pretty clear. that there is a potential obstruction of justice case surrounding the way comey was fired and he felt he couldn't share those details with us. he said i stand by the memo but
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i can't talk to you about almost anything else surrounding the decision to fire comey because that's potentially within the scope the of the special counsel. that was a little stunning to many of us. >> did he say he thought it could be a criminal investigation? or that it in fact was a criminal investigation? >> emthis all could be within the criminal investigation. i think his main message baltimore he wanted to allow for mueller to be able to decide the scope of that investigation before he gave us any the information that might end up being inside that scope. so no. i don't think he was telegraphing that there was definitely a criminal case to be made on the construction of his memo or the firing of comey. but he certainly didn't rule it out. >> so my question is, how does this affect senate investigation in lindsey graham said a criminal investigation would limit the authority that congress has to call certain
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witnesses because the special counsel cld put the kabosh on that. are you concerned this will jam up your investigation? >> i think that was always the potential. if there is a criminal case moving forward, whether it was under the fbi or a special counsel, that would limit the investigation that could go to the senate or the house committee. so there would always be restraints on our process. that's why we wanted the special counsel. in the end our job is different. we are not trying to come up with charges. we are on a fact finding mission in part to understand whether the senate and the house need to take action against executive branch and will be informed by that investigation. we won't be coming up with our own criminal allegations. >> what if congress doesn't agree the findings that robert mueller gets? >> that's why we're going to be doing an independent review of
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the information they glean. i think once they have gotten to the logical end of a potential criminal case, they can forward information to us. and they can do so along the way as well. i think the intelligence committee will be getting information are plenty of other sources they have independently subpoenaed. so there is some concurrent fact finding that can be done. >> senator chris murphy, thank you very much. still ahead, robert mueller's fact finding mission. we'll talk about the scope of the russia investigation. keep it right here. you do all this research
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up next, we'll hear from a d.c. legal titan who first wrote on the watergate case. he joins us on his case on what's ahead. first, here's hampton pearson with the cnbc market wrap. >> so we have stocks rebounding from the biggest sell-off of 2017 as at least some investors will shake off the latest controversy and move ahead with his pro business agenda. the dow adding 56 points. the s&p gaining 8. the nasdaq advancing by 43 points. fewer americans are filing for unemployment. weekly job claims fell by 4,000 in the last week. a surge helping walmart sales.
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the general consensus, it was good decision to pick a special counsel. i think the shock to the body is it is now considered a criminal investigation and congress's ability to conduct investigations of all things russia has been severely limited. >> welcome back. that was lindsey graham. so with former fbi director robert mueller taking over the investigation, how will that impact the other ongoing investigations in congress? is congress side lined? let's break it down with, let's break down what the appointment of a special counsel or prosecutor means.
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one of the lead prosecutors during watergate and he served on the bipartisan 9/11 commission. special counsel versus independent commission. what is the difference? >> a special counsel is far more powerful in the sense that a special counsel is in the same position as the attorney general of the united states for could not this investigation. mr. mueller will have at his resources the fbi, he will have the benefit of everything that has been investigated to this point. he will have such agents as he needs, resources, he will have a staff among prosecutors who are now in government as well as
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others who he will bring into the fold. the task of the independent, rather, the special counsel, is to investigate and then if warranted, to bring charg through grand jury, indictments for violations of criminal law. and that's much different than a commission such as the 9/11 commission which was empowered to investigate and make recommendations. both of those are different than senate investigations. >> that's my question. will this have a problematic effect? at least side line the investigations? >> no. it should not. there should be coordination between the special counsel and between senate intelligence committee and the house intelligence committee so no one is stepping on the other's work.
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but the priority will be that of the special counsel in doing his investigation. that doesn't mean the senate and house committees who have independent constitutional obligations to investigate should be side lined. this is in addition to the work that the congressional committees are obliged to do in question, oversight. so what is the obligation that a special counsel has to keep the public updated and eventually to inform the public of the findings of their investigation? >> well, the special counsel really has no obligation to speak, other than through official acts, meaning the return of an indictment in the trial of a case. so, and to explain in connection with those public actions what the meaning is o what he's
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doing. but it is not for the spe counsel to keep the public apprised about what he's doing. contrary to that, it is very much the job of counsel to bring the public along, utilizing their power of compulsory process, subpoenas, to get that out in the public and to bring the public along. where there is potential conflict is in witnesses who are reluctant or unwilling to testify, the power invested in the attorney general, and now the special counsel to be able to trump the invocation of fifth amendment privilege by granting use immunity to witnesses who assert their privilege. now it would not be appropriate in my opinion in this case now,
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that we have a special counsel, for congress on its own to grant immunity to any witnesses without explicit coordination with the special counsel. >> thank you so much for giving us clarity. a lot of definitions for those terms and we appreciate your expertise, sir. >> you're very welcome. still ahead, president trump is making fundraising great again but not in the way might think. to a different company with car insurance, and i was not happy with the customer service. we have switched back over and we feel like we're back home now. the process through usaa is so effortless, that you feel like you're a part of the family. i love that i can pass the membership to my children, and that they can be protected. we're the williams family, and we're usaa members for life. call usaa today to talk about your insurance needs. people spend less time lying awake with aches and pains with advil pm
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welcome back. a big sign that president trump is motivating democrats, at least when it ces to their pocket books. the democratic campaign committee announced they have $20 million in online contributions since the beginning of the year. that's already more than they raised during all of 2015. the most recent off election year. and that's not the only good news about campaign money for democrats. montana's special election candidate announced he surpassed $5 million raised from more than 200,000 krebocontributors. that doesn't sound like a lot of money but it agencies long way in montana. you don't let anything
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led to comey's firing. and the reason for that seemed pretty clear, that there is a potential obstruction of justice case surrounding the way in which comey was fired. >> that was senator chris murphy moments ago and that brings us back to the lid. the panel is here ari, elise, and jonathan. guys, chris murphy, you just heard him talking about the meeting that the senors had with rod rosenstein saying that he wasn't very forthcoming on how the recommendation process came the other week when donald trump asked the a.g. to layout the case for firing deputy a.g. -- the case for firing comey. there is a potential political obstruction case there, ari. >> look, there's three categories here. there's what they were originally investigating, if there were any crimes committed. then there's whether there was any inappropriate conduct in covering that up. and everyone knows watergate was more about the cover up than the
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original bungled burglary. and because the way donald trump has spoken in public and what comey has appeared to release through contemporaneous documentation, there is a wider question apart from all that to shut down the investigation. with today's news we don't have any reason to believe mueller and the special counsel will be focused on the third door. >> if mueller only focuses on whether or not there was collusion or coordination between the campaign and the russians, is that going to be enough for folks out in the country who say they want to know everything that donald trump is trying to do, and that does include whether or not he's trying to impede an investigation? >> well, that depends on how aggressive mueller is, and his history is as a very aggressive prosecutor. before he was head of the fbi he was a very, vy succel prosecutor. actually left private law practice at one point, even though he had held a senior position in the justice department, to go work at a local level prosecuting crime.
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he loves finding where crimes have been committed. the reason that so many democrats also want a broader congressional investigation is that that is so focused on criminal -- potential criminal activity that it might miss larger lessons that we need to protect us against the russians should they try to interfere in another one of our elections, which i think is inevitable unless we develop some means of guarding against that. so, that kind of thing, which the public very much wants to hear about, it's not clear whether that will be covered by this investigation. >> so, elise, what does this do for republicans on capitol hill? does this give them some breathing room or does this underscore the significance of the questions about how influential russia was and whether or not there are ties between the trump transition, trump campaign, and a foreign government? >> well, i'm just watching senator mitch mcconnell really closely because he is going to kind of -- congressional republicans are really going to
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follow the tone that he sets. and so far it looks like he's letting senator burr do what he wants. and he and senator warner are like minded with how they are going to proceed forward with intel committee. so, i think that while republicans are wary of what the results are going to be, they're keeping their distance because they just don't know what's going on. >> but ultimately, this is a question of a foreign government infiltrating, trying to manipulate, trying to attack, if you will, our sovereignty, our democracy, our election process. that at its core has got to be something that republicans, you would imagine that they would be a little bit louder about that. >> well, you know, for the past 16 months donald trump has forced republicans to defend the indefensible so many times. i mean, you have, just from the access hollywood video, you know, our traditional values -- >> that's crude language. this is a foreign government. a but donald trump's behavior
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throughout the course of the campaign and the thing -- you know, his supporting single payer health care, republicans have abandoned all those principles and they decided let's go with donald trump. now, though, his behavior while in office has been so destabilizing, they can't just do that any more because the stakes are so high, and because they've seen how his own staff, they're just dropping like flies, abandoning their integrity when they enter the white house and try to back him up. >> the truth is going to come out. the question is will we see the taxes or not. i think with mueller in there, there is a better chance before this is out, we'll know what's in those donald trump taxes. >> we will see. that's quite a tease to stay -- ari, hold on, i've got to go. i'm getting -- >> death and taxes are the only two things -- >> ari who always wants the last word. appreciate it. guys, thank you very much. up next, senators, they're just like us.
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go to in case you missed it, senators, they're just like us. a photographer snapped a few shots today. republican senators tom cotton and ben sass shooting the breeze with their colleagues. the pictures show a side of the senate we don't often see on cspan. they hang out in workout clothes, chat outside their office when they're supposed to be inside work. holy moly, it looks like we're smoking reefer outside of a wedding.
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that escalated quickly. that's all tonight. we'll be back tomorrow with more mtp daily. hopefully more funny pictures of senators hanging out in workout clothes. i'm katie tur. "for the record" starts right now with greta. >> i watch you every day. president trump tweeting the word witch hunt and later boldly stating, no collusion with russia, speaking for the very first time about the comey memo and his one on one meeting with the now fired fbi director, the president denying any wrongdoing in the russia investigation. >> did you at any time urge former fbi director james comey in any way, shape or form to close or to back down the investigation into michael flynn? and also, as you look back -- >> no, no. next question. >> next question. as you look back over the past six months or year, have you had any


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