tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC December 6, 2017 6:00pm-7:00pm PST
and progressive lawmakers but all those who violate the sanctity of women and men too when they harass and assault and force people to go silent because they fear for their own safety and losing their jobs. >> 15% of the democratic caucus women, 5% republican. would be good for everybody if the numbers came way up. "the rachel maddow show" starts now. >> thanks my friend. appreciate it. it's been a busy news day. tracking a number of stories tonight including uncertain fate of minnesota democratic senator al franken. 20 days since the first woman came forward to allege that senator franken behaved in sexually inappropriate manner towards her some years ago at uso event and half dozen more have come forward to describe
actions. mostly groping in a public place or workplace environment or inappropriate attempts to kiss women against their will. it's not clear tonight if one of those galgsss with viewed as significantly more important than the others or maybe the sheer number of them now, but something happened today to break the political dam in terms of senator franken having the spoufrt his colleagues. nearly three dozen democratic senators came out to call for him to resign. senator franken's office announced a public statement tomorrow, midmorning. shortly thereafter, reported that senator franken would announce resignation from senate but shortly after that report, senator franken's twitter account contested that reporting. saying that npr should change
story, had made no such decision. number of big questions around the fate of al franken. one is what is going to happen tomorrow. on that one, i have a feeling we'll just find out tomorrow. other big question, what drove this dramatic news today? what happened behind the scenes among democratic senators that caused so many of them to come out in quick succession today, all uniformly calling for his resignation? getting story from one of those democratic senators who made that decision, mayesy hore ownno from hawaii, going to join us live in just a moment. and dramatic news out of southern california, los angeles in bull's eye of number of large and mostly uncontrolled wildfires. no rain expected in immediate
forecast. forecasters had predicted might be a dangerous fire situation this week, sant anna winds from the desert expected to reach 60 miles per hour. in concept not a surprise would be fire trouble in southern california right now but i don't think anybody anticipated scenes this dramatic out of the nation's second largest city. fires scary in any circumstance but assume human terroristic value when we see fires this big in such proximity to so many people and houses and l.a., cars. some of the most dramatic footage is taken by people sitting in cars in traffic on the 405 freeway, before it was shut down because of the fires today. most dangerous of these fires are still almost entirely
uncontained. expect that danger in southern california and massive fire and safety response will continue through the night. in southern california. we'll keep you apprised as best we can. but in addition to those fires and major political drama over senator al franken. u.s. government also instigated a major international controversy today when the president announced his intention to eventually move the u.s. embassy in israel to jerusalem. if you don't follow things closely, may not seem immediately apparent why this is a cause for consternation in middle east and around the world. west jerusalem is mainly jewish, eastern jerusalem is not, mostly palestinian and contains holy sites for the three religions. ever to be a two-state solution,
palestinians hoped and expected that capital of the country would be in east jerusalem. regardless of how you feel about israel's claim to the whole city of jerusalem and palestinian's hopes for national capital in east jerusalem, the sensitivity of this issue not just to israelis and palestinians but everybody in the middle east with a stake in the conflict, that sensitivity is a well-known thing. that's why no u.s. government no matter how hawkish and pro-israel ha pro-israel has done this before. why the state department issued safety warnings. in the wake of the decision, engle in ram you will la, protests started almost immediately. significant protests in gaza. see them lighting the flag. very large protests in turkey. thousands turned out in protest
today. hamas announced today that trump had quote opened the gates of hell with this decision. hamas is calling for a day of rage in response. so that is just an international cauldron that has been deliberately stirred by the trump administration with this announcement today. governments around the world, including closest allies expressing alarm and dismay over the decision. may be emergency u.n. security council meeting over this. over half the members have called for meeting to come up with a plan to handle the aftermath of that decision. this major international bure brouhaha is continuing to unfold and will be important as we see the full scale of the response in the middle east. here at home another story we've been following today.
potentially important for the u.s. presidency. knew would be covering it over the course of the day, didn't expect covering it into the course of this evening as well. but it went really long. president's eldest son, donald trump jr. ended up testifying before the house intelligence committee today for what appears to have been an eight-hour stretch. went in 10:00 a.m., didn't get out until 6:00 p.m. closed door session. we don't know what the president's son testified to. but starting to figure out closed door sessions. appears to be agreement within that committee that members aren't allowed to come out of the closed door sessions and describe what a witness testified to behind closed doors. but a member of that committee can come out from behind closed doors and describe something that a witness refused to
discuss. something -- a question a witness refused to answer. can't say what they said but what they wouldn't say. and i think that's the rule. i think that's also the rule that explains why we got that very dramatic news last week from congressman adam schiff, top democrat on the intelligence committee when he told reporters he questioned attorney general jeff sessions directly if president trump ever told sessions to hinder the russia investigation. he would not answer that question whether the president ever told him. had the attorney general answered one way or other, said yes or no, i think congressman schiff couldn't tell reporters what the answer had been. but when he refused to answer, amd schiff could say he refused
to answer this. seems important. attorney general won't say under oath if the president told him to block these investigations. i think that's the principle at work. how we got that dramatic story about jeff sessions last week. s similar principle appeared to be at work. came from behind eight hours of testimony closed door hearing where he made announcement, told reporters there was something important that donald trump jr. wouldn't answer in his questioning today. according to congressman schiff, wouldn't answer a question that might have been most important one he was there to answer today and reason he wouldn't answer is absolutely dumbfounding. neither donald trump, the president, nor donald trump the junior is a lawyer. but according to adam schiff,
donald trump jr. is refusing to answer questions about conversations he had with his dad, and basis on which he's refusing, citing attorney/client privilege. again, neither of them is a lawyer, let alone a lawyer who has one of the other of them as a client. they're just father and son, not lawyers. that's apparently what he's saying. >> good evening. we just concluded several hours of asking donald trump jr. questions about not only the meeting at trump tower but a range of other issues as well. he answered the overwhelming majority of our questions. there was one significant area though where he declined to answer. he acknowledged having discussed the june 9th meeting and e-mails that went into establishing that
meeting after those e-mails became public. he acknowledged discussing that matter with his father but refused to answer questions about that discussion on the basis of a claim of attorney/client privilege. in my view there is no attorney/client privilege that protects a discussion between father and son. >> who is attorney and who is client in that construction? >> claim of privilege is that at a time when father and son were discussing the june 9th meeting and e-mails that led up to it, they had discussion in presence of counsel. presence of counsel does not mean communications between father and son are privileged. did not ask them to relate any communications he with had with his counsel. and i don't believe any attorney/client privilege can shield the conversations that
trump junior had with trump senior. >> argument is because there was attorney in the room, anything they discussed was privileged? >> that's the nature of the claim. yes. >> since national security adviser mike flynn pled guilty to lying to fbi and thereby implicitly announced he would become a cooperating witness, we've seen the legal defense of the president on the russia scandal get a little henky. weird things. first ty cobb came out and praised special counsel for bringing mike flynn part of the investigation to a conclusion. it's not concluded. mike flynn only pled guilty to one count because he's now cooperating with government in ongoing way. that was strange entertainment right off the bat from the president's -- one of the president's russia lawyers. strange presidential legal
defense statement number one after the flynn guilty plea. then we got a bunch more. then the president's lawyer started saying by definition the president can't obstruct justice. whereupon the grave of richard nixon starting throwing up dirt, spinning around rapidly and digging in grave. another lawyer said it would be fine if they colluded with russia to influence the campaign because who could object to that? and yesterday among reports that president's largest lender, implicated in multibillion-dollar russian money laundering scheme, among reports that had been subpoenaed, responded to that news denying there was any such
subpoena. appears to have been a subpoena. everybody who report on the deutsche bank subpoena stand by the reporting. but president's lawyers say there wasn't. it will be proven one way or the other. they might not know that deutsche bank doesn't have to tell them if they've been subpoenaed. it's been a weird few days for the president's legal defense since mike flynn pled guilty. appears to have caused a few short circuits among the defense on this massive scandal. but this one today kind of tops it. if the president's son, not a lawyer, is refusing to testify to conversations with father, also not a lawyer, using claim of attorney/client privilege to avoid talking about those conversations, i mean that's -- i remember when a nevada senator john ensign was under
investigation a few years ago. senator tom coleburn of oklahoma was his dear friend and asked in the scandal investigation to describe his conversations about the sex and money scandal that was the cause of ensign's problems. he announced he wouldn't characterize them because of doctor/patient confidentiality. tom coburn was ob-gyn, tom ensign, veterinarian. basis is either that coburn was his gynecologist or coburn was his cat? dog? who's the patient? before now most remarkable and
remarkably insane claim of miraculous privilege to shield a conversation from investigation when it came to a prominent politician. in that case dr. and senator ensign resigned so that claim was not dealt with which i hoped it would be. now claiming that one is secretly a lawyer or there was lawyer nearby and that's good enough, may well get tested. congressman adam schiff will be here to talk about that unusual claim. house intelligence committee has also now released a verbatim transcript of the testimony they obtained a few days ago from erik prince, appears to be a whopper of new revelation in that transcript, that's next. statins lower cholesterol,
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this is the brother of education secretary betsy devos. also recognizable as founder of the controversial iraq war era security contracting firm blackwater. he was a trump donor that electoral cycle. erik prince. also the subject of a bombshell "washington post" report in april that he as emissary of the incoming trump administration had gone to secret meeting in the transition in seychelles islands with emissary from vladimir putin's office. subsequent reporting revealed that the russian he met with was
head of the russian sovereign wealth fund, fund that's subject to sanctions by the u.s. government. we now know because transcript of his testimony to house intelligence committee has been released today, based on the transcript he denies he went to the meeting in the seychelles on behalf of the incoming trump administration. also denies that he had any idea before he got halfway around the world to seychelles islands, no idea while he was there would be meeting with this head of the russian sovereign wealth fund. had no idea that's what he would do. but admits once he got there, met the russian guy. and now first time we have erik prince's characterization as to what that meeting was about. quote from the transcript. so we talked about like i said trade matters and how the united states and russia should be working together.
schiff -- trade matters can mean a lot of different things, particularly talking to someone controlling sanctioned financial institution. what in particular did you discuss regarding trade? did you discuss some trade was prohibited due to sanctions? prince -- i wasn't talking about trading with him, just he was saying how much he wished trade would resume with the united states in a normal way. in this previously secret meeting 20 erik prince and head of russian sovereign wealth fund is resumption of normal economic relations between the united states and russia and how great that would be. that means end of u.s. sanctions against russia. u.s. government and european union have levied sanctions against russia, most recently for them invading ukraine. sanctions on russia.
if you were going to get a tattoo to remind you what this scandal is about on the russia side, why they wanted what they wanted and why they did what they did to us last year in election, if you wanted handy picture oral reminder, come up with something that means sanctions to you. over and over again, it's russia's clear animating force. their motivation, comes up over and over again. involving nearly 20 different russians connected to russian government as they approached trump campaign one by one by one. over and over again what they were all bring up, looking to discuss and trying to bring conversations around to was sanctions. over and over again, that's what the trump side agreed to discuss with them and later tried to cover up. mike flynn pled guilty to lying
to the fbi about his conversations with the russian government concerning sanctions. vice president mike pence right this second is roasting on proverbial spit about his discussions with american people not just about mike flynn but whether he was talking to the russians about sanctions. thanks to the guilty plea and releases, lots of people on the transition were involved in discussions during the transition about sanctions. knew that mike flynn was talking to russians about sanctions. all also knew that vice president mike pence was lying to the american people about sanctions. that trump tower meeting about which donald trump jr. is now exploring the concept of attorney/client privilege -- what is an attorney really?
that trump tower meeting has been kept secret nearly a year. they've been downplaying idea anything at that meeting was of significance or importance. believe them or not, one thing they for sure spoke about at that meeting, sanctions. trump's personal lawyer and mob connected russian ex-con who has worked with the trump transition met to write up new peace plan and reportedly delivered to mike flynn in person, reportedly a plan to lift sanctions on russia. we know as of today that mysterious erik prince meeting in seychelles islands in the transition was a meeting about russian sanctions. over the past couple of weeks there's been a flurry of reporting about mike flynn
pursuing and getting paid to pursue a plan to build nuclear power plants all over the mideast. first broken by newsweek tlt. doesn't disclose he was working on that as paid operative or trip to middle east he took to advance that plan. next tier scandal is he apparently continued to pursue it up to highest levels of the white house after he became national security adviser. despite fact you're not supposed to work on anything you had a financial interest in once you're public official. but the night after he pled guilty, reuters advanced that nuclear story in what is now a familiar direction. turns out the mike flynn nuclear plants in the middle southeast plan was also a plan to get rid of -- say it with me now --
russian sanctions. plan to build nuclear plants with sanctioned russian companies. if flynn succeeded and policy of the u.s. government to pursue this plan, only way could be effect waited was if the sanctions were dropped. and trying to bring ukraine along. reason russia has the sanctions. they would freak out if u.s. dropped them. in order to get ukraine to not squawk about it, sweetener deal to cut them in on the deal so they wouldn't mind too much about the sanctions on russia getting dropped. nuclear plants in mideast plan, what could possibly go wrong? if they had convinced trump administration and succeeded in making it policy of the trump administration to pursue that, would have created political
imperative in u.s. policy that would have required dropping of those sanctions. had a plan to clear political way doing that, buying off ukrainians who would otherwise object. and house democrats have made public that witness while trump was giving inaugural speech mike flynn was allegedly texting one of the businessman to drop russia sanctions and pursue the nuclear plants, reportedly texted during inauguration that the plan was good to go and assured him russia sanctions would be ripped up immediately as trump administration's first order of business. company is denying that flynn sent those messages but elijah cummings says the communications are a matter of record and could prove it one way or another if
it were properly investigated. appears that republicans in congress are not going to be persuaded to investigate it but mueller investigation may be working on it or have already covered it. congressman cummings makes clear that mueller investigation was notified of new evidence about another effort to drop russian sanctions, using a nuclear scheme that mike flynn was paid to represent. cummings notes that in this case staff consulted with the officer who asked office to hold public release until they completed certain investigative steps. they have now informed us that they have done so. in other words, handed this to mueller, we'll look into it. now they've cleared elijah
cummings to let the information be publicly known. lot of movement on this today. lot of stuff coming to light every day now. every quarter of news cycle a new piece comes to light. bottom line, that weird flynn nuclear deal appears to have been about russian sanctions. secret ukraine peace deal cooked up by trump's personal lawyer and russian guy appears to be about sanctions. seychelles secret meeting. trump tower meeting. what flynn lied to fbi about. sanctions. what vice president mike pence lied to american public about, sanctions. now apparently what president and his son are pretending to be lawyers about, how they cooked up their public statements about that meeting, that was about sanctions. lot of news going on right now. lot to get to even over the
course of the rest of this hour. but with the news we got today, at least finally seems clear that we know now what russia was after from their side. seems indubitably clear what the quo was in any quid pro quo from the trump campaign. ♪ let's go! ♪ mom! slow down! for the ones who keep pushing. always unstoppable.
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somehow now rnc is giving money? doesn't make any sense. >> even republicans are at a loss to explain why the republican national committee, national party, is suddenly writing checks to roy moore's alabama senate campaign again, after they previously cut ties with roy moore following reports from multiple women who accused him of sexual misconduct when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s. special election is less than six days from now. republican party is uneasily lining up behind roy moore ahead of the election. simultaneously, senate democrats as unit decided to turn against their colleague al franken. first accused by radio host of having forcibly kissed her in uso tour and allegations of
groping have followed from other women. congressional staffer in 2006 when franken tried to forcibly kiss her after taping of radio show. he denied latest allegation, quote, categorically not true. look forward to fully cooperating with the ongoing ethics committee investigation. i don't know if that allegation, that story is what broke the dam or not in terms of the timing of this, that appears to have been it. but after the politico story, midday today, large simultaneous wave started break of al franken's democratic party and independents who caucus with the democrats. post after post on social media, senator after senator all called
on senator franken to step down. 32 by our count. this afternoon franken's office announced he would be making announcement midmorning tomorrow. soon thereafter minnesota public radio reported he would resign in that announcement. but they pushed back. writing on twitter franken is talking with family at this time, plans to make announcement tomorrow. any reports of final decision are inaccurate. so will he resign? and what caused this group, led by democratic women senators to choose this moment to demand that he must resign? how did they decide what to do and when to do it? joining us is senator maisihrona from hawaii. thanks for being here.
you described a tipping point with senator franken. something about the latest accusation, the number, what brought about the tipping point? >> this was not a moment we arrived at, i certainly didn't arrive at it easily. it's been a struggle. especially when it involves a colleague and friend which al is. i serve on two committees with him, i know how hard he works. but it was difficult. when fourth, fifth, sixth woman steps forward, you come to what i would describe as tipping point and need to take a position. and i have been talking with some of my colleagues. and we independently came to the point that this was it. i consider this a cultural change moment where, i've been talking about the need for cultural change so these actions by men mainly do not continue to occur in all phases of life and
all workplaces. this kind of cultural change where women are no longer viewed as objects and toys and are respected for talents and achievements, this is a moment. and i believe that we need to step forward, each of us is the change that we seek. and that change is to stop viewing women as objects and toys so this kind of behavior can stop. >> senator hirona, can you give us a little bit of a window into how the decision was made in the democratic caucus. you're able to speak eloquently to your coming to this decision, what is important about it. but there was coordinated effort to roll out the statements all at once. impressive number by end of the day, number of democratic senators who did this. how was it organized? >> it was not coordinated. i did talk with with a number of colleagues, women and others.
i think we were all wrestling with this. latest ail gag wllegation impelo come forward. i did talk with kirsten among others. when she issued statement, i had prepared a statement for today. i decided to issue it then. lot of other people i know that struggled with the decision decided it was time to comb forward. >> do you expect that senator franken will resign tomorrow? mentioned in the introduction ambiguity on the subject. reports in afternoon that his announcement will be of resignation but there was push fwpush back from his office. do you think he will? what will happen next if he chooses not to? >> i hope he will do the right thing and step aside. we can't force him to resign but
think so many of us have called him to set example. we should be held to a standard. example that we shouldn't tolerate this type of material. men of power have manipulated and assaulted women and harassed them, gone on far too long. not anymore. note that "time" magazine today called the women who came forward the persons of the year. that says to me this is a moment of cultural change. we finally recognize this kind of hasling and harassment has gone on too long. we each have a responsibility to step forward. we each is the change that we need. >> senator hirono from hawaii. thank you. more to come, adam schiff on deck. stay with us.
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president's eldest son donald trump jr. today spent eight hours testifying on capitol hill to the house intelligence committee. we don't know what he told the committee behind closed of that trump jr. testimony will ever be released. but already democrats who were inside that room today for the testimony are claiming that mr. trump jr. not willing to discuss conversations between him and his father when the president drafted the initial misleading statement aboard air force one to describe the june 2016 trump tower meeting by his son, son-in-law and campaign chairman along with a ga zillion russians. whether donald trump jr.'s unwillingness to answer the questions about that, whether that bothered members of the committee at all, well, that depends on which one you asked. >> do you feel like he was able to answer all the questions about the trump tower meeting, his communications with his
father -- >> as i said, my answer's no different. he answered the questions. >> when he answered the question, in detail or -- >> he answered the question. he answered our questions. >> as to this very central conversation between father and son, the witness declined to answer the questions. he acknowledged discussing that matter with his father. but refused to answer questions about that discussion on the basis of claim of attorney/client privilege. >> top republican on the committee says he answered all of our questions. top democrat on the same committee hearing the same testimony said we didn't answer those questions. joining us now, congressman schiff. thank you for your time tonight. >> you bet, rachel. did you compare me in the tease to the george foreman grill and may have been the nicest thing anybody said about me. >> the fat rolls down. it's really different. yes. in that -- in that construction, you would be the grill and not the chicken burger. >> okay.
>> but let's talk about the chicken burger. the president's son, you came out of this eight-hour-long stretch of testimony with the president's eldest son today saying he claimed there was an attorney/client privilege between him and his dad and that's why he wouldn't testify about their conversations. i'm quite sure i don't understand what he might have meant by that. >> well, that was the claim that he wouldn't reveal the conversations he had with his father after the e-mails about the meeting at trump tower became public because he and his attorney claim they were protected by the attorney/client prif lenl. i think the claim based on fact of other attorneys present but as i understand the prif lenl, the privilege exists between the attorney and their client to protect communications where you seek from your attorney counsel about your particular legal situation. they can't be used to shield conversations between two people who don't enjoy the privilege between themselves.
and i don't think this claim can be maintained. the only question is, will the house insist on getting the answer? >> what was he being asked about when he gave that as his reason for not answering? >> well, specifically, he was asked did you and your father discuss that june 9th meeting at any time and tell us about those conversations? now, a lot of this difference of perspective that you played earlier between mr. conway and myself goes to a very fundamental question which is will congress insist on getting the answers or will we take -- i'd rather not answer that question along with a meritless claim of privilege as the last word? we had this issue come up as you pointed out last week with the attorney general who wouldn't answer a question about whether the president of the united states had ever instructed him to take action when he believed would hinder the russia investigation. that is also not privileged. but congress's ability to get the answers is only as good as
the willingness the insist on it. otherwise we don't get the answers in our investigation and set a precedent for future investigations that you can stonewall congress just by making a e luis ri claim of a privilege. >> one of the other ways to get pressured to answer these questions when they refuse to is when people are publicly aware of the fact they're refusing to answer these questions. and you've made some of that public, that information public when you talked about attorney general jeff sessions refusing to answer a question about the president, and donald trump jr. did today. the other ways we have had access to information about these sort of things, transcripts. we got a transcript today of eric prince's testimony to your committee, carter paige's testimony and said there won't be a transcript of donald trump jr.'s remarks today and not for attorney general jeff sessions last week. how do they nees things get decided of whether or not we get a transcript? >> very ash trailly by the
majority. we had a practice not releasing transcripts and without consulting with us and for reasons not apparent to us they decided to make exceptions when they choose. that's obviously not a good investigative practice. there are reasons to have these meetings in private. the number one reason from my point of view is you don't want witnesses to be able to coordinate their stories and if they testify and a transcript is released then steve bannon knows what eric prince has to say an align his story with eric prince's and then others of carter paige and align their version with carter paige. i would hope that when the investigation is over we would disclose all of these transcripts so the public can see exactly what don jr. had to say today and what the attorney general had to say. and that others can scrutinize these transcripts. so i think there's good reason ultimately to make it public and good reasons during the investigation at least for fact based witnesses to keep them private. i think when you are talking
about experts, one thing. agency heads is another thing. but for these what i consider fact-based witnesses who were there then i think there's an investigative purpose behind confidentiality. >> congressman adam schiff, top democrat on the intelligence committee, thank you for helping us understand that, sir. i proosht your time tonight. >> thank you. >> all right. we'll be right back. stay with us. for the holidays, we get a gift for mom and dad. and every year, we split it equally. except for one of us. i write them a poem instead! and one for each of you too! that's actually yours. that, that one. yeah.
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at least just in political news. chuck and nancy, chuck schumer and nancy pelosi, top democrats in congress are supposed to be going to the white house to meet with the president tomorrow. maybe. you'll remember there was a big kerfuffle in washington when chuck and nancy pulled out another similar planned meeting with the president but what they have to talk about tomorrow is the impending shutdown. house is set to vote tomorrow on a spending bill, very short-term spending bill the try to keep the government up and running past the end of the week and funding runs out on friday if they don't pass something and there's a meeting at the white house tomorrow with the top democrats and the house is going to try to vote tomorrow to avert a shutdown for a big two weeks. wow. aim high, you guys. one of the many russians orbiting planet trump reportedly due to testify very soon, probably as soon as toshl. his name is felix sadir, a russian/american real estate
developer/inform tonight/ex-con. and set to testify behind closed doors and may happen as soon as toshl. we'll be watching for that. but also, tomorrow, on this show, i got to tell you, we are going to have an update on a story that has haunted me since i first heard about it and first covered it. it's a story about a dramatic arrest that happened a year ago at a meeting of intelligence officers where they came in to this meeting of intelligence officers and arrested one of their own people. this crazy story. they literally threw a bag over this guy's head at the meeting and dragged him out of the room. we now may know at least specifically why they put a bag over his head arresting him that day before they dragged him out. we've been following this story for a year since we first learned about it and may have the explanation for it and will have it tomorrow night. that does it for us tonight. see you again tomorrow. now it's time for "the last wor
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