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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  January 5, 2018 9:00pm-10:00pm PST

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that is our broadcast for tonight. thank you for being with us. brian will be back on monday. and i'll see you back here sunday night at 7:00 p.m. eastern time for kasicdc good night from nbc headquarters in new york. so attorney general jeff sessions is not invited to camp david this weekend. the only reason that is weird is because the president is hosting at camp david, the vice president, the secretary of state, the secretary of defense, secretary of homeland security. the head of office and management head of epa, the deputy head of transportation department. all of the congressional leadership on the republican side and his chief of staff and hayes top legislation guy and
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the political director for the white house and the top economic adviser at the white house and guy that does the personnel for the white house and sarah huckabee and the steven miller. everybody you have ever heard of associated with the administration who has not already been fired or indicted, and a bunch of people you haven't heard of they are all going to spend a frigid weekend together in camp david. but not jeff sessions. and this is not like some official event. it's not like a state of the union thing where they need a designated survivor. where they need to to keep somebody somewhere safe in case something bad happens. it's not like that. he wasn't invited maybe you feel bad for jeff sessions maybe you think it might be cold up there. it is cold from weekend. he is from alabama maybe that would be hard for him. but i don't know. i mean if this is a big summit because something important is about to happen, and if it is a
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deliberate and important decision that jeff sessions is conspicuously not there, well, i think there might be at least be reason to brace yourself for this weekend in terms of what might be happening here. last night "the new york times" reported in a bombshell pete from michael schmid that the president personally orred the white house counsel to go to the justice department this past spring to try to persuade jeff sessions to not recuse himself are from the russia investigation. this is important for a couple of wreens. one is the reported context according to the reporting in the frorkts last night the president explained at the time why it was so important to him that jeff sessions not recuse himself. he explained that as being based on his belief reportedly that the attorney general should protect him from the russia investigation. another reason this is potentially important is that unthe strict rules that govern the way the white house and the department of justice are supposed to have contact with one another, the white house
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council don mcgann he is one of the few white house officials allowed to have direct contact with the justice department. but the whole reason those rules exist is to prevent the white house -- any white house from having untoward influence on law enforcement decisions that are made at the justice department. there is a reason there is strict rules about not very many people from the white house being allowed to speak to justice department officials. don mcgone is one of the people people allowed to speak to the justice department under the strict rules. but if he was sent to the justice department by the president specifically to interfere with the justice department on a law enforcement matter, specifically to interfere with jeff sessions's recusal decision which is part of how the justice department administers the rule of law, then that would be a pretty obvious violation of those important rules that govern how the white house and the justice department are supposed to communicate with each other so as to avoid white house pressure on law enforcement decisions.
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so if mcgann lobbied sessions on his recusal. if mcgann did what the white house times -- excuse me what "the new york times" reports he did, there is a reasonable legaleth ethics case that don should resign as white house counsel for having done that. that said nbc furthered this story today when they reported that the president didn't just send the white house counsel don mcgann to the justice department to lobby jeff sessions. according to the nbc he sent senior white house personnel to the justice department to lobby sessions that he shouldn't recuse from the russia investigation. so both of those things, both the fact that the president reportedly said the reason sessions shouldn't recuse is so the president can be protected from that fbi investigation, and the prospect that the -- that the prospect that the white house counsel may have violated the rules about contact with the
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justice department that are supposed to protect these things from white house pressure, both of those may prove a problem for the president and some senior advisers in terms of potential criminal liability on obstruction of justice. i mean, if he was trying to interfere with the recusal decision because he thought that would shield him from the criminal inquiry, that is a problem. but that all happened this spring. and now we have arrived at this weekend. with now reams and reams and months and months of reporting about how angry the president is that the lobbying didn't work. that jeff sessions didn't recuse himself from the russia investigation. so the president this weekend is hosting the big republican and cabinet summit conspicuously without jeff sessions in attendance. if this is a prelude to the president fierlg jeff sessions as attorney general that's important on its own terms. pu but it pretty directly gives the president a way to end the russia investigation that animated him and vexed him from
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the beginning of the administration. if jeff sessions were removed and a new attorney general was installed, that new attorney general wouldn't be recused from overseaing the russia investigation. that new attorney general could take over responsibility for overseeing the russia investigation from rod rosenstein. in that role overseeing the russia investigation. a new attorney general could stymy the work of robert mueller and the special council thap. that's why everybody is on the edge of the seat about who got invited to camp david and who didn't. that was the glaring exclamation point subtext to the headline you saw today about how much scott pruitt, the head of the epa would like to be the next attorney general should an opening arise. now that is either epa administrate scott pruitt thinking jeff sessions is about to get fired and he is saying
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pick me, boss, pick me or this is a considered effort by the administration which knows jeff sessions is about to get fired and they are floating scott pruitt's name as the new ag as a trial balloon. so i know it's cold. it's dark. it's january. looking forward to turning off the news this weekend and curling up with the latest slow burn podcast. i know. i know you are. but that issue about jeff sessions, and whether it means something more than it looks like that he is not invited to this otherwise big republican and cabinet summit this weekend with the president is -- it's just -- it's worth watching the next couple days. you know, today, was pretty remarkable -- pretty remarkable day of news itself. partisan unity has broken down in some important ways on the two gigantic policy changes the administration announced yesterday and both the administration decision to basically recriminalize pot all over the country in including states that legalized it. and the decision to open up to off shore drilling the east
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coast and west coast including florida and california and the carolins and the rest of it. not just democrats but lots of elected republicans tivgly in affected states today signalled opposition to the trump administration yesterday saying they would fight the trump administration on both parties. there's not a lot of matters there is partisan disunity but those two appear to be one that is can rile republicans who otherwise like president trump. so that was big news today. and from congress, we actually got a big landmark moment today. after the intelligence community released the assessment a year ago tomorrow which said russia interfered with the presidential election to help trump and hurtth. after that came out multiple congressional committees even in the republican-led congress expressed alarm and started full scale investigations into the russian attack and into the crucial question of whether or not the russians had american
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confederates who knew what the russians were doing or might have been involved in what the russians were doing at the time. well that started base country a year ago with that intelligence committee assessment. today after multiple committees and the house and the senate spent a rancorous year investigating and talking to witnesses, subpoenaing documents and fighting about the scope of their investigations, all look at the very serious allegations about russia, today the first time 364 days since the intelligence committee's assessment, today for the first time congress made a criminal referral to the justice department. deriving from its investigation into the russia matter. republican senator chuck grassley and lindsey graham have finally found someone who they think should face criminal charges in the russian attack on the election. they said today that they would like the justice department to consider bringing charges against the one person who actually called the fbi when he found out that russia was trying to play a role in the election
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to help donald trump. you know we count more than 19 different people associated with the russian government who made contact with people associated with the trump campaign or the trump organization while donald trump was running for president. several of these 19 different russians provided -- explicitly provided information that they were there. they were making contact to provide russian government help for the presidential election to the trump campaign. but nobody associated with the trump campaign ever reacted to any one of those overtures by calling the fbi. even after the fbi warned the trump organization to be on the lookout for that sort of thing. there is only one person who we know who actually called the cops when they saw this crime happen. there is one person we know of who observed evidence of russia maybe trying to interfere in the election to help trump. there is one person who saw that evidence recognized it as potentially a very serious crime and 911, called the fbi. the one person who did that is
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the person lindsey graham and chuck grassley today told the justice department to investigate for potentially maybe having possibly committed a crime. they released had this cover letter. but not a classified document. they said it was attached to it. they are apparently alleging that former british intelligence agent christopher stiehl miff mixed up some dates when describing to investigators when exactly he had off the record conversation was reporters about his intelligence reports, the one he handed over to the fbi. you know it is not unheard for for conversions to make a referral to the justice department process the course of slegs they turn up information that law enforcement doesn't have it's not unheard of for congress to notify the relevant law enforcement agent. hey we turned up something that looks like you may want to prosecute. that happened for example in serious ethics cases for members of congress. ethics committees doing intense
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investigation of a member of congress accused of ethics violation. they turn up evidence of criminal wrongdoing by that member of congress, wrng doing not otherwise known to or being pursued by the relevant law enforcement agency. in cases like that the ethics committee would finish their report, their ethics committee report on the member's behavior but might make a criminal referral to the appropriate law enforcement agency if they turned up something serious that law enforcement wasn't otherwise onto. that's not what happened here. in this case senator chuck grassley lindsey graham do not appear to have turned up any new information concerning former mi 6 spy christopher stiehl. the reason the so-called criminal referral to the justice department about him today is in part classified is because what these two just sent to the justice department about christopher steele is information they got from the justice department about christopher steele. they didn't turn up anything in
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their congressional investigation that the justice department didn't already know about. what they did today was they gave the justice department back their own information that they had obtained from the justice department about christopher steele. saying, hey, have you seen this? no, seriously this stuff you gave us, have you seen it? we're sending it back to you. that's the way these things usually go. for obvious reasons that's not the way these things usually go. but they did put out a very strongly worded press release about it. they got lots and lots of headlines how they want this guy criminally prosecuted, the dossier guy. you know it's incredible. once -- once upon a time -- it is incredible -- once upon a time this white house was actually concerned that the republican-led congress and its congressional investigations into the russia matter might be something the white house had to worry about. a that the white house should try to shut down. we know from "new york times"
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reporting this fall that the president directly contacted senator richard burr on the intelligence committee and senator roy blunt on the intelligence committee ob the mitch mcconnell the top republican in the senate. the president directly contacting them pressuring them to drop the congressional russia investigations. we sure he needed to bother? i mean waste received more attention are the president's efforts to stop not the congressional investigation but the fbi russia. the president lobbying jeff sessions do not recuse him telling dan coats to press the fbi to stop the russia investigation. president president telling the fbi director james comey he needed to remove the cloud of the russia investigation over the trump presidency. he needed to lay off the investigation into mike flynn. he needed to be loyal to the president. the president firing james comey when comey didn't agree to any of that. once robert mueller was appointed special counsel we know the president pressured tom tillis to drop his legislative efforts to protect robert
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mueller from being fired by the president. all right, that has received a lot more attention the president trying to shut down the fbi investigation. but if the president had once upon a time been worried that the investigations in congress also might pose a real threat to him in terms of expose attention what really happened with russia i think those worries it's safe to say have probably been resolved. because one year on basically what these republican-led committees in congress have turned the investigations into are full-time battering ram efforts to protect the president from the fbi. to protect the president from the ongoing criminal investigation. to discredit robert mueller, the special counsel, the discredit the fbi as best they can. when james comey documented the fact that the president pressured him to drop the russia investigation before he was fired. republicans in congress went after the memos that comby wrote up to document the president's behavior. saying those memos might have been classified. or they should have been
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classified. and when comey talked about them he leaked classified information or you know at least he leaked government property. when the fbi and the justice department brought it to the white house's attention, that the trump national security adviser had been secretly talking to the russian government and lying about it, republicans in congress joined the white house to try to make the scandal there, the fact that the fbi knew about what mike flynn had done. they wire tapped us. there's been unmasking. republicans in congress have tried to say the real scandal is not what russia did in the elections or the questions of whether or not they had help. the real scandal is uranium one or the clinton foundation as that's the real russia investigation. republicaning supposedly investigating the russia scandal have decided the real scandal that they really want to look into is that some people inside the fbi or working on special counsel team are people who privately expressed pliking opinions of wide ranging
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ideological streets which is something fbi agents are allowed to do. it has been republicans in congress who have aggressively procuresed the story line that christopher steele reports on traesh and russia and russia intervejs in the election the intelligence reports in themselves are terrible. it's bad that they exist. when christopher steele handed them over to the fbi because he was concerned he stumbled upon evidence of a monsterous ongoing crime that tainted the fbi as well. and so a year ago tomorrow, when the intelligence community put out the assessment about what russia did, there was a moments of bipartisan near unanimity about this was bad news and maybe we should get to the bottom of it understand what happened. find out if there are americans in on the attack who need to be brought to justice. just one year ago people pretty much agreed on that even
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republicaning enough to start the republican-led investigations at least. but now at the one-year markets remarkable to see how far most republicans in congress have swung toward aggressively trying to stop the criminal encounter intelligence investigation into what happened. not only are they not using their own investigations to figure this out but they are using their power in congress to try to stop the external investigation that's happening at the special council's office. if we are being honest, though, and clear eyed about this, i think it's also worth recognizing how successful their efforts have been to stop this investigation. i mean not just to stop their own investigations in congress. which they have largely done but to use their power in congress to stop the criminal investigations into these matters happening first at the fbi and then in the special counsel's oh office. it's one thing to see 9:45 republicans in the white house push. it's another thing to see itwork with, to see the justice department and the fisher roll
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over and give them what they want. just -- just take stock of this for a second with this weird gam bit today, referring christopher steele for criminal charges. whether or not that effort results in there being criminal charges about him you can guarantee that means he will not be coming to the united states of america to give any public testimony about what he found when he did his investigation into trump and russia. republicans have also succeeded in blocking the public release of hours and hours and hours of sworn closed door testimony about christopher steele's findings when they prevented the release of the transcripts of testimony from fusion gps who hired christopher steele to do hiswork. they have succeeded in harassing fusion gps foengsly to the existential limit. today they forcinged fusion bank to hand over financial records relating to the firm. all financial records relating to the firm which may very well zri them as a firm. after paul ryan intervened on his behalf crusading trump partisan congressman devin nunes heading up the intelligence
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committee succeeded in forcing the fbi to hand over quote fisher investigative documents considered law enforcement sensitive and are rarely released or shared outside the bureau. the fbi had resisted handing over the documents because they're relevant to the ongoing investigation, the law enforcement sensitive. but now justice department doesn't feel that strongly about it anymore. they caved handing them over in the middle of the investigation. they're also handing over high ranking fisher officials who will now be questioned by nuns and his committee even though the same officials have said for them to testify at this point about what they know would interfere with the fbi's ongoing criminal investigation. those officials include one of the five top fbi leaders briefed by james comey contemporaneously about the president reportedly telling him to shut down the fbi russia investigation. one of those guys the republicans are getting to testify now even though he says his testimony will interfere with the ongoing investigation. another one of those guys who
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comey has a contemporaneous witness a another one of the five is fbi director andrew mccabe who has been under sustained republican attack most of the last year over the holiday break it was announced he will be retiring from the fbi. he is 49 years old. another one of the 5 corroborating witnesses for james comey in terms of interactions with the president is fbi counsel james bake are popular recently announced without explanation he will be reassigned at the bureau from that high ranking position. that's three of the five plus the way they've gone over comey, republicans in congress are also about to ob hundreds if not thousands of more personal -- hundreds if not thousands more personal texts from fbi and doj officials between fbi and doj officials in a relationship having an affair. one the texts are released to republicans in congress they will leak them to the press for maximum partisan and humiliating
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effect. they're getting those texts personal texts bus the fbi is handing them over to the republicans in congress. having already given several hundred to reporters. this is the fbi's own agents, handing over the personal texts. and the to cap it oef over the last 24 hours the fisher and justice department confirmed that whatever else they are giving up in response to all the republican pressure on the russia investigation the fbi and the justice department have confirmed they are actively looking into uranium one and the clinton foundation and hillary clinton's emails again. it's been one year in that year republicans have turned from ostensibly wanting to get to the bottom of what russia did to now doing everything they can to stop that investigation. but if we're being clear eyed about this it's also worth noting that the fbi and justice department are in a very different position than they used to be in. they have gone from resisting that republican pressure and that white house pressure to handing over the agents, handing over the officials, handing over
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sensitive documents, and agreeing that, yeah maybe they should be looking into whether somebody ought to lock her up. we shouldn't be surprised by the pushback that evolved over the course of the past year. we maybe should be surprised that it's working. wes o whatever it r.
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one of the first people that took a really aggressive attack at trying to get to the bottom of the watergate scandal is this man whose name is rick patman. what five men broke in, he had been serving in the house of representatives for more than four decades. he was chair of the banking committee and decided the way he would approach the watergate burglary would be to, say it with me, follow the money. why did the burglars have so much money on them when they got caught and even more, why did they have such large amounts of seemingly political money in their bank accounts?
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well, it turned out that the money had come from president richard nixon's reelection campaign so he was asked to approve subpoenas that. makes sense. but the white house successfully pressured enough members of that committee they could not get a majority vote for those subpoenas that and the country yawning about the snooze fest watergate break out thing, richard nixon went on to win a second term. patman failed. the watergate investigation came to a promising place but politically got stopped. you know what, the scandal came roaring back in the president's second term and the truth did come out and within two years, nixon's attempt to interfere with right patman's
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investigation, that ended up being included in the articles of impeachment against nixon. that story, the story of his early failed attempt to investigate richard nixon, that's one of the stories told on the pod cast called slow burn that gives listeners a sense of not just what happened in the watergate scandal but what it was like to live through the scandal in the moment when nobody knew what would happen next when it wasn't clear that nixon would ever be busted for what he did. when nobody knew how it would end, how did it feel like to follow the scandal in realtime. if you're not listening to slow burn yet, you should be. as we hit the one-year mark since the intelligence community assessment that russia attacked in 2016, i've been wondering if watergate can give us a good perspective what it's like to be in a sprawling investigation when the push back trying to thwart the investigation seems like it might be winning the day.
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joining us is the host of slow burn. thank you for being here. >> thanks for having me. >> congratulations on the success of this effort and on the ambition, you're doing a great job. >> thank you. >> the idea of the investigation being successfully thwarted by skillful political players. >> uh-huh. >> you used the story of patman to tell that effectively because very much lost the history. are there other examples of that? >> well, i mean, of course, the big effort to stymie the federal prosecutor was when nixon fired him. that didn't work out, either. in the end it didn't work out. initially it seemed possible that the office would be closed when nixon fired cox, there was confusion as to whether the investigators who worked for cox would continue the work or not. there were fbi agents who swarmed the federal prosecutors office and sealed it off and looked on tv like this was the
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end. the evidence would be taken away, who knows what would happen to it. but the public pressure was so intense that nixon had to capitulate and say okay, we'll install a new federal prosecutor and i'll give you the tapes you want and of course, that was the beginning of the end. >> one of the things i find about a lot of news stories, not just gigantic like watergate, the further you get down the road in time the harder to realize affiliation. patman was a democrat so it matters there was a democratic majority and nixon was republican. you start to lose track of the affiliations. in the moment when watergate was the end of the first material for nixon, how strong were the partisan affiliations in terms of the affiliation? >> not like a straightforward answer. there were partisans that stood with nixon because he was the
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political ally but moderate republicans so for instance, after the saturday night mass cure, there were plenty of republicans said this is uncomfortable. there were a few who said it was. there was one that spoke to the house of representatives, a congressman from tennessee said don't let this become a legislative lynch mob and took out a noose that he brought with him and held it up. >> wow. >> so there was a little bit on both sides. one thing that's interesting is cox like mueller has not faced any of these attacks on the grounds that he was a democrat or that he was a kennedy guy even though his whole biography was working for kennedy and he was a harvard law professor and the total cartoon of east coast elite guy and nixon's white house didn't go after him. >> they were so attuned to that as a source of political attack. >> you would think. >> the cultural politics was
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elites and liberals. >> it's shocking. i've been asking people why do you think they didn't? the answer i have gotten is partisanship was different back then. republicans are respected. he had been the solicitor general. who cared if he worked for kennedy. he has a pristine reputation and that was enough to win him the credibility he needed. >> the other thing that i feel like is very striking to me at this one-year mark since the intelligence community assessment came out is the attacks on the fbi as an institution and efforts by republicans almost large within congress to say the fbi is a bad institution and corrupt and should be purged along partisan lines. how do you compare that in terms of the fbi's role with watergate? >> there were no such attacks by nixon. in so far is there was anger from the nixon white house towards cox, sure. there was plenty of that even
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though it didn't blow up publicly very much, if you listen to the nixon tapes, he said all sorts of things about cox privately but no, the fbi, as far as i know did not sustain any kind of attacks like this. >> leon is the host of slates pod cast about watergate called slow burn. i am obviously a fan and i really appreciate you taking the time to be here. >> thanks for having me. >> will you come back? >> please. >> yes. much more, stay with us. lief ch. with more acid-fighting power than tums chewy bites. mmmmm...amazing. i have heartburn. ultra strength from alka seltzer. enjoy the relief.
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we reported op a story this week that got a ton of response from -- from our viewers. lots of people contacted about this story. including a heads up about a possible monkey wrench in the story itself which i will get to in a second. one of the first appear basically still unexplained legal controversies of the trump administration started back in march when the president fired all the u.s. attorneys from with no warning, no successors lined up, no time to plan for the hand often ongoing work in the prosecutor offices we don't know what that was all about last march. but this weeks week was the next surprise move on the federal prosecutor positions thursday marked 300 days since they initially fired them all with no warning, no explanation. but on the eve of the 300-day milestone on wednesday of this we can they suddenly appointed 17 new ones all at once.
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and there are a few intriguing things about the timing of this and whether they had to make all the appointments by yesterday as a specific deadline. and why they again made a huge decision about tons of federal prosecutors as a gigantic surprise with no warning and no time to plan. but there are question base who they are putting in the important jobs and why. back in october we learned that president trump had been personally interviewing candidates for the prosecute prosecutor jobs in jurisdictions where his family and his business and his campaign have key interests. two of those key districts are places where they suddenly announced new appointees wednesday southern within eastern districts of new york. home base for the trump organization and jared kushner family real estate empire. well, this week home state senator kirstin gillibrand threw a penalty flag on the southern district of new york home to trump tower and trump organization and not
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incidentally every bank and financial institution trump has done business through. the previous prosecutor in the southern district of northern was preet bharara. he was fired in march along with the rest. well on wednesday trump installed a new u.s. attorney in that jurisdiction to replace bharara. him and 16 other people and 16 other jurisdictions. the guy he put the southern district of new york someone a member of the trump transition team. someone a law partner of trump's close friend rudy gul giuliani. service of process kirstin gillibrand released a statement in connection to that. and that may be a real problem for the administration. home state senators traditionally get a say in appointments in their state for judges and prosecutors. kirstin gillibrand doesn't want the u.s. attorney in the southern district of manhattan. that means that usually that
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doesn't happen. in the eastern district of new york that is the prosecutor office reportedly been subpoenaing bank records related to presidential son-in-law jared kushner. new york senator chuck schumer says i supports the appoint owe to run that office. this is a potentially an issue for the trump administration with the crucial districts that may really affect interests that are near and deer to the president personally. home state senators not backing a nominee for u.s. attorney in their state usually is a big deal. in addition to those concerns, though we also as i mentioned got a heads up about another potential monkey wrench in the story or something wrong with the justice department explanation of what they just did here. it was spotted by somebody in a position to see it when no one else could and understand it when no one else would. this is an important thing we think we caught here and the eagle eyed guest who saw it and can explain it joins us next. stay with us.
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steyer: the president's national security adviser -- guilty. his campaign chairman -- under indictment. his son-in-law -- secret talks with russians. the director of the fbi -- fired. special counsel robert mueller's criminal investigation has already shown why the president should be impeached. you can send a message to your representatives at and demand they finally take a stand. this president is not above the law.
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saving you up to 30%! you'll be bathing in savings! tripadvisor. check the latest reviews and lowest prices. ai'm begging you... take gas-x. beneath the duvet, your tossing and turning isn't restlessness , it's gas. gas-x relieves pressure,bloating and discomfort in minutes !! so we can all sleep easier tonight. okay check this out. wednesday, justice department announced the appointment of 17 interim u.s. attorneys. 17 new federal prosecutors in districts all over the country including some big important powerful ones. this is the next big surprise move about prosecutors the trump administration made singles timothy surprise fired just about all of them in march.
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46 of them. out of blue in warning all on one day this week here comes 17 replacements. the justice department explained all of the appointments all had to happen on wednesday all at once for a very specific reason. this is from their press release, quote. some of those acting united states attorney also have served the maximum amount of time permitted under the vacancy reform act, 300 days. so that explains the sudden rush of 17 new prosecutors. that deadline arrived. they announced the 17 new people were in right under the wire at day 299. on wednesday. quote, the appointments announced by the attorney general today filled the vacancies. well we and everybody else in creation noted that 300 day delinquent and figured oh, okay that's the rush. that's why it happened. maybe not. a veteran justice department official looking at this same story that everybody reported the same way suggested that this is actually worth a closer look. joining us now for the interview
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a matthew axle rd. mr. axle rod thank you for being here to help us zblunds thank you rachel. >> it makes sense in terms of way the justice department explained it. they fired all the u.s. attorneys at once, 300 days ago. the federal vacancy reform act says you can put the first deputy in the offices in charge of the office for 300 days but then you need to appoint somebody new. seems to me like they hit the dloin and time to rush a whole bunch of new nominees in there. what's wrong with the understanding? >> you know what's wrong with that rachel you got the first part right, which is under the vacancy reform act when they fired the u.s. attorneys, the existing number 2 officials in the office ascended and became the acting u.s. attorneys in the districts. and there is a fixed time period after which the vacancies reform act doesn't work any more and
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the authority ends. but what normally happens is the attorney general uses a separate authority to appoint the same people to continue serving just under a separate statutory authority. here, what happened instead, is that with some of the people the attorney general did that, which is the normal course. and for some of the people in i think ten of the districts, the attorney general did something different, which was to bring in new people to serve under the second statute, to use as interim u.s. attorneys. >> so what's the advantage to the justice department to doing it the way that you just described? >> yeah, and look i should say there is nothing improper or illegal or unethical. i mean the attorney general has the authority to do it this way. >> right. >> i think the thing was unusual was how it was messaged by the department of justice. i think to answer your question, rachel, the vacate youcy reform ac, the only personal under the vacancy reform act who can become the boss, the u.s. attorney, is the person
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currently serving as the number two in the office. under the separate statutory authority, the zwroernl has the authority to bring in people from outside the justice department and that's what happened in at least some of the examples here and in the districts you mentioned in the southern and eastern districts, the attorney general has appointed people who were not presently working at the department of justice to come in and be the united states attorney. >> okay. and that is why i'm particularly interested in this. because me and everybody else in the country who doesn't know what we're talking about on these issues, we've been very focused on the southern and eastern districts in new york in particular because of the particular interests of the president and his family and ongoing investigations, et cetera. we don't need to go into it in detail. but in the southern district in new york, senator kirstin gillibrand is calling foul basically on the appointee and specifically the fact that the president personally met with that appointee before making
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this nomination. i mean, these 17 people who were just announced, they are going to need senate confirmation. is doing it this which the way you're describing by the justice department, is it going to help them end run around objections from senators? is it making the confirms something taking place a later date or tougher or easier in the long run. >> we have to wait and see how it plays out. that's a good question. one of the risks of doing it this way is that home state senators might be upset. and it turns out in new york one of them appears to be upset. because i think it sounds like senator gillibrand perceives this as an end run around her traditional authority to have input into the selection. now none of the processpeople have been nominated yet. but i think you can expect that particularly in the -- you know the southern and eastern districts within and the district of new jersey where people left law firm prrns to take the jobs that they're expecting to be the nominee. >>en a everybody again outside
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this system who has been watching the jurisdictions in particular -- by the justice department and i think you have done at least -- you've done me a great service helping me understand the subtleties what they did here. i hope for the viewers as well. thank you for being here. i appreciate it. >> that. >> matthew is a former senior justice department official. we will be right back. now you can join angie's list for free.
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don't we have the blob? we have the blob? have you seen the movie the ob blob? do we have it? thank you. i was, like -- i was expecting a blob. friday night sometimes the blob comes slow. the block blob was a 1958 syfy horror female. is runs to earth consumes everything in the pag. the blob has become the way we have understood personnel policy at the trump administration. and i don't mean in the sense that it's -- they're like gel atnous or terrifying. but they cause people to flee. one of the unusual things about the life we are living through right now unprecedented we have a administration in washington
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they haven't hit the one year mark yet but they shed people like shaking dog sheds rain. unprecedented peace. they flee don't walk from the administration. they joined not that long ago. we tried to keep track. it's hard today. a senior position at the treasury that was filled by shannon mcgann, wife of white house council don mcgann. that became vacate when she left the position at treasury. worked for steven mnuchin today is her last today. mike pence lost his domestic policy director. he also lost his chief lawyer, lost two senior staffers in a day. white house chief of staff john kelly's senior -- senior adviser is also out. the white house says they found some other job for him at a foreign aid agency. but out of the white house and now head of the ns. afrmt and cybercommand will be gone as of the spring.
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these those are the people relearned about today. if you are trying to keep track of the departure list from the trump administration it has become an uks ears challenge. health and human services secretary, chief of staff, deputy chief of staff and another deputy chief of staff director of public leasen. press secretary and assistant press secretary two communications drrkt. rapid response drrkt. two deputy national advisers. adviser to the national security. director of intelligence programs petition national security pch deputy chief of staff. national security. a director of strategic planning at the national security punl. seener director for middle east a chief white house stragist high pressure fisher director dozen sees of u.s. attorneys and national economic council drept about a democrat police counsel deputy director. the press acceptability to the vice president the director of the office of government ethics and karl special adviser to the president of regulatory reform. and then today you can add
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counselor to the secretary of the vice president chief counsel to the vice president senior dwishz to the white house chief of staff and the director of the nsa. they're not add a year yet. it's the blob. run, don't walk. factory in bos, 1,200 workers are starting their day building on over a hundred years of heritage, craftsmanship and innovation. today we're bringing you america's number one shave at lower prices every day. putting money back in the pockets of millions of americans. as one of those workers, i'm proud to bring you gillette quality for less, because nobody can beat the men and women of gillette. gillette - the best a man can get.
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started off tonight by talking about the conspicuous fact that attorney jeff sessions is not going to camp david with the congressional leadership and the president and vice president this weekend. and that's interesting bowing for jeff session's feelings and the prospect the president might be get getting rid of him and how consequential that might be for the russia investigation. two republican members of congress called for jeff sessions to resign. jim jordan of ohio appear mark
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meadows of north carolina. tonight we got a third. chris stewart from congressman from utah the third republican member of congress calling for him to resign. again the attorney general not >> in the words of donald trump that is not nice. he came out and endorsed him. a big deal. >> here's one thing this might be nice about it. alabama never gets as cold as camp david is going to be this weekend so it's possible he's a delicate flower. >> well, there's that. >> and the president wanted to spare him. >> usually i do the awkward handoffs with ari melber and can be awkward and not sure how to throw you off your game, though. >> oh, there's -- i can give you infinite possibilities. you just sit here and look at me weird for a few seconds and i crumble. see? okay. there you