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tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  December 1, 2017 7:00pm-8:00pm PST

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and he's to espionage what she is to terrorism, a veteran prosecutor with the justice department and it had been interesting enough when we learned he had been leading the grand jury in the eastern district of virginia into michael flynn when muller took overall matters involving flynn in may, brandon was the only prosecutor from that investigation who muller kept on. he dismissed everybody else, kept the spy guy. so you've got famed terrorism prosecutor, famed espionage prosecutor working with muller for months now. we haven't known where or when they would turn up. look look, the statement of offense signed brandon, l. van kbrks gr. when it comes to winning cases, quote, cooperators are the
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unsung heroes. they always know more than they think they know. tell me more. that does it for us tonight. see you again tomorrow. time for "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell. good evening, lawrence. >> good evening, rachel. >> what did the president know and when did he know it moment? there is that scene at mar-a-lago in this information of michael therein getting the word prfrom apparently jared kushner to go ahead and as a private citizen negotiate on behalf of the united states with foreign countries and where was president elect donald trump when that conversation was going on? did he hear jared kushner say that? did he tell jared kushner to say that? >> and we've got these two different points that are raised in the statement of the offense and in the plea deal. we got that discussion that you're talking about there, which is reportedly jared kushner advising flynn to have those conversations about that
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u.n. resolution. then we've also got flynn talking to mar-a-lago, talking to somebody from the presidential transition team about his conversations with the russian ambassador over sanctions and nbc news is reporting the person he was talking to on that matter was mcfarland and the reason that ends up being important is because whale it is conceivable that mike flynn might have thought he had to answer to jared kushner on the u.n. resolution thing, there is no chance on earth that he ever thought he had to answer to fox news personality mcelderry forlafo -- mcfarla mcfarla mcfarland, it wasn't to get instruction but the person that nbc news reports she was staffing at mar-a-lago when the conversations were happening is the president himself. flynn has a lot to say and i have a feeling the prosecutors know almost all of it already? >> they wouldn't have gone
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through the deal. they first of all get a very clear outline of it in the proffer from his lawyers as we know and before they get to this stage today, they have to sit with him and get it all down and michael flynn risks committing another crime if he lies to them when he's telling them what he's willing to testify to. and so this is the scariest night yet in the white house. >> yeah, you know, the agreement -- paul fishman was the u.s. attorney from the bridge gate case, talking to him about that negotiation, he said what really stood out for him in the court filings today was how there was basically no room to breathe for mike flynn in these filings. what he's agreed to cooperate for and about is limitless and the only thing that he's given a break on in terms of knowing what his fate is is on a very tiny slice of what they might conceivably charge him for.
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he's got to cooperate up to taking a polygraph if they want him to and engaging in target operations on behalf of the prosecuto prosecutors. he has to do everything and the only thing they promised is anything they want. >> his son is sitting there liable for criminal charges if michael flynn doesn't deliver. >> we, i think as a country, it's important right now to watch for how the president weighs his pardon power and not just push other people but individually personally try to
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end this by going after muller and if he does either of those things this is becomes a very different situation for the country. >> well, it's a little too late. you've got someone charged with that crime and that case is filed. i think the president is learning tonight if he hadn't learned already how limited those powers are when it applies to this case. rachel, thanks very much. former prosecutor, bet si and nbc's kendall will join us on the flynn guilty plea and the muller investigation and the turn it has taken today and also we'll be joined to discuss what's happening with the republican tax cut bill on the senate floor tonight and if it pasts the senate tonight, what will have to hatten to pappen t again in the house and senate in identical form because right now they are different. that's what it will take, at
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least one more big round for it to get to the president's desk for him to sign it. but first, it is too late. sometime today an enraged and very likely panicked president of the united states no doubt had to be told that it is too late to use his ultimate power. the only seemingly absolute power granted at the president of the united states in the constitution, power to pardon. a close reading of the constitution shows that there is an exception to the pardon power written right into the constitution. he shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the united states except in cases of impeachment and so no, the president cannot pardon himself to avoid impeachment. the president cannot pardon the
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vice president to avoid impeachment of the vice president if for example michael flynn were to offer testimony to special prosecutor now that he's cooperating that would implicate donald trump or mike pence in crimes. but today, president trump had to be schooled in the uselessness of his pow tore pardon michael flynn. before michael flynn was allowed to plead guilty to the felony of lying to the fbi in exchange for a light sentence or possibly no sentence at all, michael flynn had to tell special prosecutor robert mueller everything michael flynn knows. that begin with his lawyers making what they call a proffer, the legal term for what they call the special prosecutor what michael flynn, their client could tell them if the special prosecutor offers michael flynn a plea deal. before robert mueller and his team heard a word out of the mouth of michael flynn, they had
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already heard from michael flynn's lawyers and what michael flynn had to say, something very helpful to the prosecutors and then when they questioned michael flynn, michael flynn knew lying to them would be another crime that he could be charged with so robert mueller took in everything flynn had to say about donald trump, donald trump junior, jared kushner, jared kushner's wife, ivanka trump and jeff sessions and paul manafort and everyone else working in the trump and only after michael flynn every question honestly to the s satisfaction was he offered a deal announced today in federal court or michael flynn showed up to plea guilty after walking through spectators on the sidewalk shouting lock him up in echo of michael flynn having
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said this about hillary clinton at the republican convention last year. >> lock her up. lock her up. >> lock her up! lock her up! lock her up! >> you guys are good. damn right. exactly right. there is nothing wrong with tha that. you know why? you know why we're saying that? if i, a guy that knows this business, if i did a tenth, a tenth of what she did, i would be in jail today. >> a guy who knows this business. it is too late to parten michael flynn because he's told the special prosecutor everything he knows and for president trump, the whole point of pardoning michael flynn would be to save
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him from having to tell the special prosecutor everything he knows but even that would not have worked. the fbi has known pretty much all year that michael flynn committed the crimes that he admitted to today. if donald trump had pardoned michael flynn on the day that he fired him in february, that would have done donald trump absolutely no good. that simply would have met michael flynn would have been forced to tell his story to the special prosecutor even sooner. if the president pardoned michael flynn on the day he fired him, he would have saved michael flynn from being indicted and pleading guilty today but a person cannot -- but a pardon cannot save you from having to testify under oath after being subpoenaed to robert mueller's grand jury. if michael flynn had been pardoned when he was -- and then sworn in as a witness for robert mueller's grand jury, he would have no fifth amendment rights because then michael flynn would not be able to incriminate hill
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sel -- himself with his testimony because he was pardoned so the problem with issuing a pardon to michael flynn early in the year that would have freed michael flynn up to immediately become an under oath witness for the special prosecutor knowing that the special prosecutor could still indict michael flynn for any perjury he might commit while testifying to the grand jury and so today was probably the day when donald trump was finally told by his lawyers that he cannot pardon his way out of this investigation and it seems very clear that the trump lawyers do not try to give donald trump any of the bad news before they absolutely have to. it even seems that donald trump's lawyers try to communicate with him and only with him in the press releases that they issue about this
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investigation because only donald trump could believe a word of those press releases. here is what the white house lawyer ty cobb said today. a former national security advisor for 25 days during the trump administration and former obama administration official entered a guilty plea to a single count of making a false statement to the fbi. the false statements involved mirror the false statements to white house officials, which resulted in his resignation in february of this year. nothing about the guilty plea or the charge implicates anyone other than mr. flynn, the conclusion of this phase of this special counsel demonstrates again that the special counsel is moving with all deliberate speed and clears the way for a prompt and reasonable conclusion and so that is clearly what ty cobb is trying to say to the president today in the oval office. ty cobb is just showing us his
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notes of what he tried to tell the president to calm him down today. only donald trump. maybe donald trump junior and sure, eric trump and other people who spent too much time in the bubble could believe anything and ty cob's statement today. a former obama official was president trump's idea. michael flynn is the lynch pin in a case of obstruction of justice against donald trump. michael flynn may have told the special prosecutor that donald trump knew that michael flynn was illegally negotiating on behalf of the united states with foreign countries while still a private citizen worksiin workin trump transition team and told him donald trump ordered him to do that directly or indirectly. we do know that the acting attorney general sally yates
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made emergency trips to tell white house counsel that michael flynn was in big trouble with the fbi. she discussed the possibility of michael flynn being prosecuted for what she was reporting to the white house. she was in the white house discussing the possibility of michael flynn being prosecuted for what he had done and donald trump chose to do absolutely nothing about that, nothing at all and then "the washington post", days later revealed michael flynn and the white house had been publicly and michael flynn had no contacts with foreign governments other than to exchange please sentries and after "the washington post" exposed that, only then did president trump fire michael flynn, allowed michael flynn to call resignation 18 days after the white house was told by sally yates that michael flynn had been caught up in an fbi
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criminal investigation, 18 days. what were they going to do? was president trump going to do if the washington post did not report that? the day after president trump fired michael flynn, knowing michael flynn was under investigation, donald trump asked the director of the fbi james comey to let the investigation go. >> this is the president speaking, you're letting this go, letting flynn go. he's a good guy. i hope you can let this go. those are his exact words, correct? >> the reason, i took it as a direction. as the president of the united states with me alone saying i hope this, i took it as this is what he wants me to do. i didn't obey that. >> that's the clear line of the obstruction of justice case
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against donald trump and now there is one more fact we know about michael flynn. he was guilty. the president of the united states was trying to stop an fbi investigation into someone that worked for him, someone who was guilty and when that fbi -- and when that fbi investigation did not stop, the president then fired the director of the fbi and when he talked about his reasons for firing the director of the fbi he said this. >> what i did is i was going to fire comey, my decision. >> you made the decision before they came -- >> i was going to fire comey. there is no good time to do it, by the way. they -- >> because in your letter you said i accepted their recommendation. you made the decision. >> i was going to fire regardless.
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>> he made a recommendation. he's highly respected. very smart guy. democrats like him. he made a recommendation but regardless of pledge dagrecomme was going to fire comey. >> he said he was thinking about the russia investigation when he fired james comey. special prosecutors investigation has now landed just one person away from donald trump. michael flynn is that person, one person away from donald trump. donald trump has to be more worried about the muller investigation than anything he has ever worried about in his entire life. because donald trump doesn't understand the law himself, he may be wondering tonight if he said anything to michael flynn that constitutes a crime. donald trump might be wondering tonight if he ordered michael flynn to do anything that is a crime and donald trump is definitely wondering tonight exactly what michael flynn has already told robert mueller.
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jeff sessions is wondering tonight what michael flynn has already told robert mueller about jeff sessions. donald trump junior has the same worry. jared kushner has already been exposed today as the person who might have the most to worry about in michael flynn's testimony because nbc news confirmed the transition official referred to in documents filed today is jared kushner. it was jared kushner that told michael flynn to break the law and negotiate on behalf of the united states with foreign countries while michael flynn and jared kushner was private citizens. so it is already publicly clear michael flynn has given up jared kushner in his plea deal with the special prosecutor so tonight jared kushner should wonder what does he have to give up to the special prosecutor get him out of trouble? if jared kushner needs a stay out of jail card, whose name is
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on that card? who can jared kushner give up to the special prosecutor? we'll be right back. ♪ when food is good and clean and real, it's ok to crave. and with panera catering, there's more to go around. panera. food as it should be.
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lock him up! lock him up! >> it impossible to over state what a big deal this is. >> nobody just lies. what is the lie covering up? >> my hope is general flynn will tell everything he knows. >> if i did a tenth, a tenth of
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what she did, i would be in jail today. that's right. lock her up. >> our guests, she's a legal contributer. jared kushner's role in the legal filings that the special prosecutor filed today. >> that's right, lawrence. nbc news is reporting that jared kushner is the very senior transition official who tasked mike flynn with going about this united nations security counsel resolution condemning, that the ocho bop bama administration wo pass and ultimately did pass. the israelis hated this resolution. the trump team is very public and opposing it and what hike
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fly -- mike flynn is doing is try to derail it and pieces of evidence here that the trump team was essentially negotiating before it took office with the russians on foreign policy. and what that looks like according to one person i talked to today is a conspiracy to violate the logan act. a law that says you're not supposed to do that. that's never been prosecuted and no documents have mentioned it but an interesting idea and we know as a matter of tradition, we have one administration at a time and not considered proper for the income to be negotiating in the current administration? >> david from, as we close out this day of coverage on this, i want to get your reaction to everything that has unfolded today and whatever order you'd like to give it. >> in your opening monologue, lawrence, very powerful describe
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the walls closing in on the president but there is one other piece of the wall closing in today and that's a different track and that is the senate tax bill a lot of people watching your show have not enthusiastic about the bill but the thing to keep is mind that's the devil's bargain and struck with donald trump. once they have his signature on that bill, they don't need him as much as they do. their business, that's another piece of closing in wall he has to contend with. >> i want to go to the question that has been vexing me all day, why would he lie? he had to know lying to the fbi is a crime. he seems to also be aware that the conduct he was being asked about, if admitted to, constitutes a crime. so do you -- can you -- do you
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imagine he was sitting there staring at these fbi agents asking them these questions realizing if he admits to this, he's admitting to violations of the logan act, if he doesn't admit to it, he's taking his chances on getting away with the violation of the logan act and getting away with lying to an fbi agent, which just seems, i don't know, inconceivable to me. >> yeah, it's difficult to know. one thing that it's important to understand is that when fbi agents are interviewing somebody as part of an investigation, it is part of the protocol to tell the person that it is a crime to lie to the fbi. part of that is just sort of fair notice to the witness but the other part of it is, it's an element of the crime they have to prove that the person knew it was against the law. the very first thing they do, show them badges and make sure that everybody knows that this is for real and serious and it's a crime to lie to the fbi. so with that, this is not a passing moment of laps of
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judgment. you have to think very carefully about whether you want to tell the truth in this situation and so to decide to lie, it is -- it's hard to know exactly what was going on in his mind but a number of possibilities. one is that i knew i was violating the logan act. i'm not sure you did. it's a fairly obscure law. maybe he did or didn't know there was a crime on the books. i have to think most people understand you can't undermine the foreign policy of the united states and that he was protecting not only himself but others higher in the administration and the stakes were high. >> barbara, when you say the fbi agents announced it's a climbrio lie to them, in your experience, does that function as an incentive for more people to tell the truth, some whom might have been thinking about maybe shading things a little bit ? >> you hope it causes them to make a sober assessment.
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you can't blow smoke. you can't exaggerate. this is serious business. the time is now. we'll ask you questions and we need you to answer them truthfully and it's a crime if you lie to us. you would hope that sends a message to most you need to take this seriously and answer questions truthfully and if you don't, there could be serious consequences. >> you worked in government. i'm not sure any one government from the interns up have to be told that the worst possible thing that can happen to you is to discover that the fbi has some things they would like to ask you about that they have been doing. it should be enough straight into what you need to do which is tell them the truth. >> also, all the other things you might be in trouble for easi easier to defend. the name was never prosecuted
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because the fbi and special prosecutor asked them but he told the truth and the truth was the actual underlying act was not illegal but the people who lied to the fbi got in trouble. i mean, if all that michael flynn had done is violate the logan act and the fbi, looking bark, i probably violated the logan act and i don't feel sorry about it, nothing would have happened. nobody has prosecuted for violating the logan act and that makes me think it has to be more than that because for the logan act, why would you lie? >> what does this tell us about where we are in the investigation? there have been those utterly silly comments out of ty cobb at the white house saying that, you know, it looks like it's wrapping up soon. those are comments that he must be trying to convince donald trump of because nobody else can believe that. >> yeah, it wasn't a good day for mike flynn and not a good day for ty cobb for that
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position he's been espousing for weeks, lawrence. clearly, there is a long way to go but i'll say this, these court documents today did not really speak to the central issue of this muller investigation, did the trump campaign collude to intervene in the election? there coordination over the leaked e-mails? you know who would know whether that happened if in fact it happened, mike flynn would know because he was in every significant meeting around national security. he was in every important meeting in the first three weeks of the trump administration. you can bet that, you know, robert mueller is expecting to hear everything that mike flynn may or may not know about the campaign's contacts with the russians and don't forget the wall street journal story that robert mueller is investigating whether mike flynn was part of an effort to find the missing hillary clinton e-mails during the campaign. so i think there is a lot left to learn about what mike plflyn may know. >> ken dilanian, appreciate it.
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we want to help you too. find out how much you can save in just two minutes at well, i just had the opportunity to have an excellent conversation with president elect trump. it was wide-ranging. we talked about some of the organizational issues in setting up a white house. we talked about foreign policy, we talked about domestic policy. >> and that was the day, that was the meeting in which president obama warned donald trump not to hire michael flynn for any job in the trump
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administration. joining us now, betsey woodriff and advisor more mccain and max boot, the president of the united states has to be regretting tonight he did not take barack obama's advice. >> that's for sure. although we also read that he's regretting that he didn't continue pursuing the allegations that president obama wasn't born in -- >> yes. >> in kenya. he has a lot of regrets. >> a life of regret. >> it was obvious, anybody that knew mike flynn and you remember in december 2015 he went to moscow and acre cementse accept and of course in the fall of 2016 while he was the chief p n foreign candidate for trump, he
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was an unregistered agent. the trump with mike flynn goes well beyond the fact he lied to the fbi and knee-deep in complicity with the russians. he was doing all sorts of stuff that would set off alarm bells in any normal campaign. for trump it was business as usual and the disturbing thing is perhaps the fact that flynn appeared to be so corrupt was part of the selling point for trump. he liked the fact that this guy had this entree with the kremlin and dealings you take money from the kremlin for somebody like trump would be a recommendation. it would be a reason to judge him instantly. >> i had not considered that donald trump could have been hearing the reasons from barack obama why he shouldn't hire michael flynn and that sounded to him like reasons to hire him. >> right, i can't speak to the conversations that current and former president had but what we can say and know without a doubt
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is that this just highlights the extent to which the trump presidency has over seen a dramatic and potentially irreversible shift in republican foreign policy just about any other serious republican candidate that ran in 2016 all those folks shared one basic view about russia, which is that this country was a geopolitical threat and unlawful and threatens stability throughout eastern europe and on the russia and vladimir putin would be viewed with a high degree of step m step mistep tim mism. the thing that struck me today looking at the statement of offense that came out this morning, is the fact that just four days after trump became president on january 24th, michael flynn and his national security advisor sat down with an interview with the fbi and the lies he told the fbi he
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admits to telling agents were specifically about two efforts that the trump transition team under took to influence the russians and we focus on russian efforts to influence american politics but a case where it's a flip. the opposite. americans trying to persuade russians to take certain actions. that's a massive shift in the way the republican party operates and it's a change that republicans will have trouble potentially reversing if they like to. >> i want to listen to what president trump said about michael flynn just three days after flynn was fired. >> regardless of recommendation, i was going to fire -- mike flynn is a fine person and i asked for his resignation. he respectfully gave it. he didn't have to do that because what he did wasn't wrong. >> we know that donald trump knew that what he did was wrong
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because sally yates made those two emergency trips to the white house to tell the white house exact exactly and saying what he did wasn't wrong and that same president fires jim comey because he doesn't go easy on flynn. >> trump has an inverted moral code. what everybody else thinks is normal he thinks is wrong and vice versa. he attacks everybody on -- elizabeth warren and everybody in washington but he has nothing bad whatsoever to say about mike flynn and even in the last few months, he's made comments that indicates he has a lot of affection for mike flynn. he was really doing what trump wanted, which was to reach out to the kremlin and one of the spins that you hear today from some people today that are friendly to trump is, you know, what he's pleading guilty to is
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basically something that any normal national security official would do reaching out to the kremlin. there is a reason he was lying because they were under cutting american poll ee aicy and i sus this is part of kwquid quo pro d the deal he was communicating with him. >> the day will come when priebus and mceldermcgann will oath and tell the president what they did and that got the president to fire michael flynn and we heard michael flynn tell america, we heard donald trump tell america that michael flynn didn't do anything wrong. >> right and there are certainly some perplexing disconnects in
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the public statements that senior, current and white house officials have made about flynn's short tenure and the statement that flynn signed on to this morning only exacerbates the disconnects that exist. one thing that's important here is that the vice president has been emphatic and consistent and that he did not know about conversations that flynn had before he apparently learned of them, he said he didn't know about them. probably about the same time, the statement that flynn said indicates that he was talking with very high-level transition team officials while pence was running the transition team. how is the transition team operating? kind of leadership is in place there? we have learned raises a lot more questions. >> max boot and betsey woodriff. >> donald trump tweeted a word with michael flynn with the special prosecutor.
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next. remember how the economic crash was supposed to be a wake up call for our government? people all across the country lost their savings, their pensions and their jobs. i'm tom steyer and it turned out that the system that had benefited people like me who are well off, was, in fact, stacked against everyone else. it's why i left my investment firm and resolved to use my savings for the public good. but here we are nine years later and this president and the republican congress are making a bad situation even worse.
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they won't tell you that their so called "tax reform" plan is really for the wealthy and big corporations, while hurting the middle class. it blows up the deficit and that means fewer investments in education, health care and job creation. it's up to all of us to stand up to this president. not just for impeachable offenses, but also to demand a country where everyone has a real chance to succeed. join us. your voice matters.
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for having lost an e lex. >> joining us is jonathan and msnbc contributor back with us. the lester holt interview remains possibly the most important televised presidential interview ever done. other than possibly david frost's interviews with nixon after he was driven out of office but there he is saying i was thinking about the russia investigation which is to say i'm thinking about michael flynn when i'm firing james comey. >> yeah, i mean, it was bombshell news when it came out at the time when lester, you know, just happened to have that interview the day after flynn was fired and then the president after that letter went out saying we fired him because he really treated hillary clinton so poorly in the e-mail investigation but then the president sits there and tells lester holt, hey, i was thinking about russia. i was going to fire him because of russia and today we see with
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the flynn guilty plea that conversation, that interview takes on a whole new importance and i'm not sure that the president really realized then and maybe he realizes now just how much trouble he's in. >> david, there are reports indicating that michael flynn might have felt betrayed when the trump decided not to michael flynn's and not michael flynn. >> we've all seen in front of the world over the past year, the president both with his comments from platforms in twitter seem like to michael flynn. we're good, right? we're friends. you did nothing wrong. he's given michael flynn more compliments than anybody in his administration, more than his vice president and any member of his team, more than the first lady. now that relationship is
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repertoired and we're re ruptured. does he tweet from a place of strategy or pain and uncontrolled impulse because he's going to wake up and know i should keep my mouth shot but maybe i can't help it. >> but jonathan, you know, when he understands how much trouble lester holt interview has put him in, for him to wake up tomorrow and not be able to control himself on twitter about this, i mean, i would think for donald trump to tweet about michael flynn at this point that michael flynn will have to take a knee at an nfl game. [ laughter ] >> that is good but you know what? but you know what, lawrence? anyone that's been paying attention to the president and his twitter habits knows that the most tweet storms that come from the president come usually saturday morning and so
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president doesn't go on a tirade on twitter, maybe that will be the sign -- maybe it will be a sign of a could things, one that the enormity is sinking in and he realizes he shouldn't be on twitter or two, someone should wrestle the machine out of his hands to keep him from tweeting. we know him. he's going to erupt. it's a matter of when. >> what michael flynn admitted to, prosecutors have been telling us all day, take a glance at that because what they have done is they have got michael flynn to admit to the tip of the iceberg of what they could charge him with so that michael flynn knows there are other charges that he could get hit with. michael flynn knows what those
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are. probably others in the white house don't know and guessing what they are and might be guessing who of them might be sunk in the possible other charges that the special prosecutor could bring against michael flynn. >> well, i'm thinking about what jonathan said in the last segment in the last answer and whether the right thing for the president to do from a cold-blooded theory is not just actually -- this is the moment to escalate. he in a short time may confront the success or failure of the tax bill. once it succeeds or fails, his relationship becomes radically different. if the bill succeeds, they don't need him as much as they did. if the bill fails, they will be looking out for themselves. he needs somehow to make his survival priority a for the republican party and escalating this, by creating some kind of crisis, whether firing muller or something else, that may be his best and maybe only plan.
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>> we'll consider some of that in the next segment. thank you both very much for joining us. >> thank you. >> coming up, the republican tax bill is moving through the senate tonight towards senate passes without help from president trump who is no doubt locked in distraction about something else. >> violet section 302 f of the congressional budget act of 1974. >> m a type of irregular heartbeat not caused by a heart valve problem.
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. the united states senate is voting on amendments with a vote in final passage in the senate expected later tonight. bob corker is the only republican senator that said he'll vote against the senate bill the senate bill is different from the bill that pasted the house of representatives. after the senate passes this bill, the senate bill and house bill that are different will have to be reconciled into yet, a third bill that both houses -- both the house and senate will then have to pass in identical form. every word has to be the same in those two bills, what would be the real final bpassage before t can be signed into law. as usual. when legislating, the senators who are actually voting for the bill do not know what they are
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voting for. >> page 257 out of the 479. why did i pick this page? they didn't have time to type it. they wrote it out in long hand. i defy anybody to read it because the problem is when they copied it, they chopped offli s off lines. there aren't full sentences. these are parts of words. this is the united states senate at work. this is what happens when you push through a bill late at night desperate to pass it without really stopping to ask yourself will this make us a stronger nation? >> joining us now a congre congressional scholar one nation after trump. no one watched more of this legislation than you have and when i was writing tax legislation at the senate finance committee and bringing it to the senate floor, we never hand wrote it. it was never handwritten on the way it is tonight with the republicans.
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>> well, you also didn't have an almost 500-page amendment that nobody read and brought to the senate a couple hours before the vote and the most stunning vote we've seen tonight, lawrence in a bill that has gone through a process unlike anything i believe in the history of the entire country and unconscionable process, i never seen anything like this before. democrats said we haven't been able to look at this, give us the weekend all 52 republicans including john mccain who had given that wonderful speech about the regular order threw all of that out the window and said no, we'll rush head long into voting for this tonight and that including bob corker that may vote against this on final passage but voted in the budget committee to have this bill come to the floor and voted not to give it extra time. you have all 52 who are culpable in what is a disaster for the
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nation and destroys the senate and everything it's supposed to be. >> yeah, in simple terms, the democrats in effect offered a motion to read the bill, to actually read it and the republicans voted against reading the legislation. the big difference between the senate bill and house bill, they have two choices here go into a conference and try to work out yet a third bill that would then have to pass each body or the house could just take up this senate bill and pass it right through. can they do that? it violates a lot of principles of the house bill. >> sure, i think what may well happen here, there is nervousness on the part of republicans at this point. they lose another vote and get a little time to look at what might go into both of these bills and it could blow up this process given what happened with trump and muller and the other things going on. i think there is a real chance they will start a conference here but if it doesn't look
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good, they will bring that senate bill to the house floor and paul ryan will say to his colleagues including the freedom caucus, sorry, this is the only chance, this is the train going out of the station, the only way to get those tax cuts for your donors and to starve government because this is also going to have a devastating effect on medicare and a lot of other programs with the pay as you go provisions. so you either take it or we get nothing. so this may be the senate bill and the senate bill is going to have provisions in it that are impossible to enforce and probably in many cases, illegal. >> of course, norm, as i know you've heard when they have those meetings, this is the way we have to do it, they promise the reluctant members that don't worry, we'll fix all of your problems next year and of course, then they don't do that. but norm, there is this theory developing today that when and if the republicans get this bill passed, if they get the bill signed by the president, they don't need donald trump anymore and this actually puts more
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pressure on donald trump via the investigation. >> and i think there is truth to that but remember, they are intimidated by that base out there trump will whip up to keep them in line. i think some of the votes tonight were because of the muller announcement today. they are in a little panic to get this one big thing that is the one big thing they have wanted but their attachment to trump because they have nothing significant else on the agenda they want to move forward on is going to be diminished and of course, trump's detachment from this entire process not getting involved in the tax bill despite saying he would be there full boar, also tells you that they haven't had any interest in having him be a partner in the legislative process. they want a guy that will sign whatever they send him and do a spike of the football in the rose garden to declare victory. >> gets tonight's last word. thank you, norm. >> thank you, lawrence.
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>> "the 11th hour" with brian williams starts now. the breaking news after this eventful day, michael flynn is now a felon. he pleads guilty to lying to the fbi as this russia investigation now reaches inside the trump west wing. nbc news sources revealing jared kushner was the quote very senior member of the transition directing flynn to contact russia. also tonight, a west wing taken by surprise and what this means for donald trump. what stories does flynn have to tell to avoid decades in jail? "the 11th hour" on a friday night begins right now. and good evening once again from the nbc news headquarters in new york. day 316 of the trump administration, it's one that will be remembered in history. the day president trump's former national security advisor, one of the first real allies and friends i