tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC January 23, 2018 9:00pm-10:00pm PST
the top democrat in the senate. we are about to get his first interview since the government shutdown. senator schumer had protesters outside his house tonight in brooklyn. there is a very robust and angry debate going on about why that shutdown happened anyway. why schumer and democrats volted to end it after three days on the terms in which they voted to end it.ted to end it after three days on the terms in which they voted to end it. senator schumer will be here live in just a few minutes. again, his first interview since that shutdown. all right. it has been a very busy news day. i want to start in june of last year. june 8th. that's the day the recently fired fbi director, james comey, gave a full day of congressional testimo testimony. that was before republicans
running the various congressional investigations into the russian scandal realized that open hearings were a bad idea. that having these important witnesses give incredibly and dramatic compelling testimony under oath on the russia scandal on tv all day long, this is before they realized that would feel way too much like the watergate hearings and they shouldn't let that go on any longer. as they have been doing behind closed doors since then the on that day in june that james comey testified in congress about his fbi director and what he knew and about his firing by president trump. james comey said something in that testimony that was very memorable and very mysterious about the attorney general, jeff sessions. remember the major point of james comey's testimony that day was that the president had repeatedly pressured him as head of the fbi that he should drop the russia investigation, that he should lift the cloud that was looming over the trump presidency because of these on going criminal and counter intelligence russia investigations, comey says the
president asked him to direct the fbi to let go of the investigation into trump national security advisor mike flynn. so james comey testified about those interactions with the president. he testified that he made notes detailed notes describing the president's directors to him after he had the communications with the president and explained under oath he shared the notes of what the president had done in realtime. he shared them with other senior members of the fbi. but he also explained that he didn't share those things with the attorney general. all right? this is a very mysterious thing he testified to. this is very serious stuff. he was very unnerved by what the
president had done and took copious notes and shared that information with the senior leadership of the fbi so other people would know what happened so there would be documentation of what had happened because he knew it was such a big deal. but even though the fbi is part of a larger organization, part of the justice department and even though he was very aware that this was serious as a heart attack, this was a very serious thing, james comey made a deliberate decision, he would not go upstairs and tell the attorney general what just happened and in that testimony before congress, he explained why not. >> okay. you have the president of the united states asking you to stop an investigation, that's an important investigation. what was the response of your colleagues? >> i think they were as shocked and troubled by it as i was. some said things that led me to believe that. i don't remember exactly. the reaction was similar to mine. they were experienced people that never experienced such a
thing, so they were very concerned and the conversation turned to what should we do with this information? and that was a struggle for us. because we are the leaders of the fbi so it's been reported to us in that i heard it and i've shared it with the leaders of the fbi. our conversation was should we share this with any senior officials at the justice department? our concern is we can't infect the investigative team. we don't want the agents and analysts working on this to know the president of the united states has asked and when it comes to the president, i took it as a direction to get rid of this investigation because we're not going to follow that request and so we decided we got to keep it away from the troops. is there anybody else we got to tell. we considered whether to tell the attorney general, decided that didn't make sense because we believed he would shortly recuse. >> so the senior leadership at the fbi is all in on what the president has just told comey but they decide they are not going to report this to the attorney general, this troubling behavior by the president trying to shut down the russia
investigation. and as james comey explains there, they decided not to tell the attorney general because they believe the attorney general was going to have to recuse himself from the investigation, was going to have to remove himself from it entirely. why did they think that? why did they anticipate that would happen? senator ron wyden went back to this point with james comey and drew him out about it. >> let me turn to the attorney general. in your statement you said you and the fbi leadership team denied not to discuss actions with sessions even though he had not recused himself. what was it about the attorney general's own interactions with the russians or behavior with regard to the investigation that would have let the entire leadership of the fbi to make this decision? >> our judgment, as i recall, is that he was very close to and inevitably going to recuse
himself for a variety of reasons. we also were aware of facts that i can't discuss in an open setting that would make his continued engagement in a russia investigation problematic. can't discuss it in open session but we knew things that we can't discuss in an open investigation but we knew things that let us know what a problem it would be to stay involved to anything related to russia. what were those things? did you know? this was an intriguing question left open by james comey when he testified before congress in june. we had no idea what he was talking about until "the washington post" had this scoop.
sessions discussed trump campaign related matters according to u.s. russian intelligence intercepts. ambassadors said he discussed campaign-related matters with jeff sessions during the 2016 presidential race. ambassador kislyak's accounts of the conversations with sessions were intercepted by u.s. spy agencies. jeff sessions initially failed to disclose his contacts with kislyak and the information comes from u.s. intelligence on kislyak's communications with the kremlin. it's remarkable jeff sessions stayed on and that he didn't quit or was fired. he insisted in person and under oath that he had no contacts with any russians or anybody
connected with any part of the russian government. >> i'm not aware of any of those activities. i been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and i did not have communications with the russians. >> attorney general saying i didn't have any communications with the russians. that was in january. on march 1st, "the washington post" reported, oh, yes, you did. he said he would no longer oversee investigations relating to the russia scandal or anything having to do with the 2016 campaign. in recruiting himself, even still, he kept up the denials. >> let me be clear. i never had meetings with russian operatives or russian
intermediaries about the trump campaign. >> so in january he says i definitely didn't meet with russians. in march, okay, i met with russians but it wasn't about any campaign-related matters. it was about campaign-related matters. the ambassador called home and what u.s. intelligence agencies heard him say was that in fact he talked to attorney general jeff sessions about the campaign. now, that ends up being important given the news we learned today about the attorney general. michael schmidt was first to report jeff sessions, the attorney general, top u.s. law enforcement was interviewed for hours by the special counsel robert mueller. we don't know the scope of the special counsel's questions for the attorney general. we don't know if it's of interest to the special counsel but the attorney general has apparently made repeated fact misstatements about the
-- his own contact with the russian government, about the frequency of the communications and the content of those communications. lying about contact with the russian government is something that has brought about guilty pleas from felony charges from the trump campaign that have been cooperating witnesses from the government. i think we can assume the attorney general is smart enough that he wouldn't lie about his contact with the russian government to robert mueller. [ laughter ] >> to the special counsel of his investigators but he has repeatedly said untrue things about the contacts in the past including under oath. so we don't know if jeff sessions' own contracts and communications and statements about the contacts and communications will be of direct interest. jeff sessions headed up the national security and foreign policy teams on the campaign during the election. theoretically at least,
that means both men who have pled guilty and become cooperating witnesses in the investigation thus far both reported to him during the campaign. but there's another reason why that early, mysterious warning from james comey about the attorney general is newly important in what has just happened in today's news. that's because jeff sessions isn't the only high ranking person in the president's orbit who has been called out or caught in a bad spot, particularly because the intelligence heard it.
because of intelligence intercepts. right? because of surveillance. jeff sessions tried to deny he met with russian officials. later when he had to admit he did meet with russian officials, he tried to say he didn't discuss the russian campaign. they captured a russian official describing contacts in a call home to the kremlin. intelligence intercepts that brought down mike flynn. we know from the statement of his offense in the criminal case that mike flynn also tried to deny contacts with the russian government, tried to lie about the content of the communications with the russian government and u.s. intelligence intercepts, u.s. intelligence surveillance of the russian ambassador proved him wrong. that's what put mike flynn in the pickle he finds himself. the same thing with presidential son-in-law jared kushner. may 26th, quote, according to intercepts of russian communications reviewed by u.s. officials, russian ambassador sergey kislyak discussed the possibility of a secret and secure communications channel between the transition and kremlin.
he suggested using diplomatic facilities in the united states for those communications. now it's happened again. the bombshell reporting. evan was on the show here last night. it reports that once again u.s. intelligence intercepts, surveillance of foreign government officials, caught out again u.s. chance chinese officials said their apps and jared kushner discussed kushner's business interests along with u.s. policy while
they were holding meetings to prepare for the chinese president's visits to mar-a-lago last spring. it's the surveillance, right, it's the interseptembers. they make public denials or they make denials to the fbi and then though december niles get blown out of the water by evidence, specifically by intelligence intercepts, by surveillance information, right? collected by intelligence agencies while they are surveilling government pb. >> how do you fix that problem? if you see that as a problem, how do you official that? well, republicans are in congress are dramatically stepping up their attacks to attack and deand at the end of
last week republicans in the house were opening up a new offensive to try and shut down the russia investigation some other way. house republicans have written a memo indicting the fbi for its collection of intelligence intercepts in the russia investigation. these republican-written talking points indicting the fbi say that the fbi's surveillance tactics in the russia investigation, the means by which they collect information, particularly on foreign sources, that itself is the scandal here. that republican memo designed to attack the fbi specifically on intelligence intercepts, that i'm guessing should probably be coming out any day now. i wouldn't be surprised if it came out tonight, late tonight or tomorrow morning the way they're trying to get that out. but while trump-supporting republicans in congress are going right at that key and
often deadly core competence of u.s. law enforcement and u.s. intelligence in this investigation, they're also continuing to collect skcalps a the fbi itself. very specific scalps. let's go back to the dramatic comey testimony. as i said before, he left at that dramatic question hanging out there, why he and the fbi didn't tell attorney general jeff sessions about what he felt was very troubling behavior by the president, to kibosh the russian investigation. james comey explains why he didn't tell jeff sessions about that, given what we now know to the sessions' own implication in that scandal. the reason he's explaining that is because there are a bunch of other people he did tell for a very specific reason. >> i knew there would come day when i would need a record of
what happened not on do defend myself but my fbi and the independence of our institution and our investigative function. >> who did you talk with about that, lifting the cloud, stopping the investigation back at the fbi and what was their response? >> i discussed lifting the cloud and the request with the senior leadership team, who typically and i think in all these circumstances was the deputy director, my chief of staff, the general counsel, at deputy director's chief council and i think in a number of circumstances the number three in the fbi and a few of the conversations included the head of the national security branch. so that group of us that lead the fbi when it comes to national security. >> that's who he tells. and, right, just think about the circumstance he's in right there. this is a very serious thing. the fbi director is essentially rattled. he believes that the president of the united states is directing him and directing the
fbi to shut down an investigation, a criminal and counterintelligence investigation into his own campaign. he concludes rightly that the president may deny he ever says those things to the fbi director. so he wants to document what the president did, he wants to have corroborating support in terms of what he witnessed in terms. president's behavior and statements so he preserves the evidence. he writes it down himself and tells other senior leadership at the fbi, contemporaneously, in the moment. when he testifies about that last june, he doesn't list those other officials he told by name but we've been able to figure out who most of them were based on their titles and this is now really important for all of us. if the president of the united states is going to be potentially liable for obstruction of justice in this matter, pressuring the fbi to
drop the russia investigation, firing the fbi when it didn't happen, if that's a potential criminal liable for the president of the united states, then the people who have the evidence, they're really important, right? that list of senior fbi officials who were brought in by james comey into what he witnessed, those are people who can -- who retain and can support the evidence of what the president did. these are the people who will provide that evidence. who can support the evidence that comey collected. and it's a short list. right? one is james comey himself, right? well, the president has already fired him and the white house and republicans in congress have been smearing james comey and denouncing him and doing everything they can to undermine his credibility. one of the other people comey brought in, andrew mccabe, deputy director of the fbi, who
the president has been publicly denouncing for months. he is reportedly getting retired out of the fbi, at the old age of 49. there's been reports that the attorney general has been pressuring the fbi -- current fbi director chris wray to get andrew mccabe out there. we believe he's still going to retire out very shortly. one of comey's other corroborating witnesses was the general counsel of the fbi, james baker. he has mysteriously been reassigned to a job nobody can describe with responsibilities no one can name. nobody knows where he's been busted down to some tertiary spot where he's basically responsible for watering the plants.
but the president has been taking shots of him at well. and then there's jim rybicki. there are six people on the list that we know of who are in on the evidence, who have evidence of the president's behavior in that matter. of those six, four of them have now been ousted or sidelined at the fbi and smeared by the white house and republicans. four of the six. when comey came up with the evidence that the president had tried to obstruct justice on the russia matter, the preside-- he backup.
and quote, the special counsel's office at the white house has indicated to the white house that the central subjects investigations wish to discuss with the president are the departures of flynn and comey and the events surrounding their firings. "the washington post" reported right after he fired james comey, he summoned andrew mccabe to the oval office. before long he asked him a pointed question, whom did he vote for in the presidential election? mccabe said he did not vote. and trump vented his anger at
carol leaning from "the washington post" joins us next. in the last 12 hours we learned the current attorney general and former fbi director was interviewed by the special counsel's team. jeff sessions was interviewed for hours last week. james comey was reportedly interviewed before the turn of the year last year by special counsel robert mueller and his team. as republicans and congress keep up their attacks trying to undermine the fbi and senior leadership over the russia investigation amid reports that the attorney general himself has been pressuring the new fbi director to get rid of senior
officials at the fbi, "the washington post" broke the news that shortly after a fired fbi director james comey, president trump summoned the deputy director andrew mccabe into the oval office. once mccabe was there, the president reportedly demanded that mccabe tell him who he voted for until the 2016 -- in the 2016 election. the deputy director reportedly responded that he did not vote. this matter, this conversation, is now reportedly a matter of interest to robert mueller. amid these breaking news stories today, we also learned in the washington post, robert mueller wants to talk to the president in coming weeks about perhaps the two highest profile excites from his administration, those of michael flynn and james comey, one of the reporters behind that scoop joins us now. carol, thanks very much for being here.
it's been a heck of a busy day. >> it's been pretty busy at the washington post today. >> yeah. it's -- i feel like every time i stop clicking refresh on the front page, i'm being irresponsible. >> yeah. >> let me ask you about your reporting specifically on the interest in the special counsel in talking to the president. there has been previous reporting that a potential appearance by the president in front of the special counsel was being negotiated, that the president's legal team was offering ways that they wanted to do it, there was some discussion or speculation as to what the special counsel team might want to talk to the president about. what is the -- how far can we explain now in terms of how far those negotiations have gone? >> so in early january, which feels like a year ago now but it's only a few weeks, we reported basically that mueller had made his first signal to the trump lawyer team. look, i'm going to be interested in interviewing the president and that shouldn't be shocking to anybody that the special
counsel wants to question the person who headed up the campaign, the transition team and ultimately the oval office that is the center of the probe. however, what is new and interesting since is that in the last week or two, we understand the special counsel has made clear to the legal team the topics he wants to probe and question the president about. and because those are squarely in the area of the president's own actions, your firing, mr. preside president, of michael flynn or pushing him out of office and your firing in may of 2017 the fbi director james comey. we know this is a probe very much focused on the president's actions, decisions and also, whether or not he or any of his other aids sought to blunt and thwart this counter intelligence into russian meddling in the 2016 election. now, you asked the question,
rachel, smartly, what do we know about the negotiations? we know is the legal team for the president crafted what they hope to get from mueller. and our sources tell us that mueller will receive this and decide as he will because ultimately he has the power to issue a subpoena to the president. he doesn't really have to meet any demands coming from the witness.
>> that's an important point. one of the things hard to view as a layman outsider, as a citizen watching this stuff is how much negotiation there ought to be. how much the special counsel feels he must negotiate these terms with the legal team, whether it's about the exact circumstances how and where the president testifies or whether they actually need to disclose in advance to the president's legal teal the ground that they will cover. and feel limited to that. >> it seems like a natural courtesy. when you're a federal investigator or prosecutor and requesting an interview with the president, it's not a small matter. there is some precedent of proving establishing that you really need the president's testimony and you can't learn what he has to say from any other document or any other method, that there is something relevant and important to your probe, it's not a small matter. that being said, previous investigators negotiate because
generous terms, if you will, about the way in which this interview will take place. some have gotten a little more rough as when ken star and bill clinton's legal team squared off and ultimately, the star investigation subpoenaed bill clinton. he was the first president to be interviewed under grand jury subpoena and hooked up by live audio and video link to a grand jury. i don't think it will get to that with president trump but i don't think that the trump legal team will get everything they want. part of what they want is written questions and the ability to submit written answers on his behalf. we'll see and we don't know the special counsel office is going to agree to that. >> i would want that, too. we shall see how this flushes out. national reporter and incredible thank you for being here. >> thanks. >> we got much more ahead tonight.
chuck schumer, the top democrat in the senate, is about to join us live for his first interview since the government shutdown. stay with us. so i went onto ancestry, soon learned that one of our ancestors we thought was italian was eastern european. this is my ancestor who i didn't know about. he looks a little bit like me, yes. ancestry has many paths to discovering your story. get started for free at ancestry.com
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heavy, labored breathing heavy, labored breathing coughing breathing through oxygen mask breathing through oxygen mask breathing through oxygen mask breathing through oxygen mask covered california. it's more than just health care. it's life care. senator chuck schumer is in washington d.c. and he sometimes gets protests at his home in brooklyn, even when he's not there, which is tonight. this comes after the end of a three-day government shutdown many thought would be a means of
democrats forcing some progress in the law for d.r.e.a.m.ers, for young people brought here as kids who are now facing deportation under the trump administration. the shutdown did not achieve anything concrete for the d.r.e.a.m.ers other than a vague promise that they would work on it and might allow a vote on it in the future. the vagueness of that prospect and realization republicans in the house have no intention at all of fixing anything for the d.r.e.a.m.ers, even if the senate miraculously does something, that provided a very hard landing after this weird three-day shutdown for democratic leader chuck schumer in particular and he join us here live since the shutdown next.
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with advil's fast relief, you'll ask, "what pulled muscle?" "what headache?" nothing works faster to make pain a distant memory. advil liqui-gels and advil liqui-gels minis. what pain? we had a government shutdown for three days from friday to monday. it's over now but it seems absolutely feasible we're about to have another one two weeks from thursday, which is when the government is slated to run out of money again. this is, as they say, no way to run a country. joining us now for his first interview since the three-day shutdown is senate democratic leader chuck schumer. thank you for being here. >> hi, rachel, good to hear from you again. >> liberals and a lot of democrats are furious with you right now the way they see this shutdown is that democrats raise the prospect, raised hopes by sticking together through the shutdown and sticking to their
principles, they could get protection for the d.r.e.a.m.ers passed into law. that obviously didn't happen. democrats split and voted to reopen the government without that happening. what's your response to all that anger? >> well, look, we advanced the cause. what people have to understand and i think most people do, most of the democrats here on capitol hill perfectly understand, we don't have the levers of power. we have a republican president, republican senate, a republican house, all three of the most anti-immigration that there is. so we have to be smart and thoughtful and careful about how we advance the cause. and i sat down with president trump on friday and offered him quite a bit. he made an offer for a wall. i said if we do full d.r.e.a.m.ers, we'll give you the deal and he basically agreed. we were close. then he pulled out and backed off so now i've taken the wall off the table because they
backed out of that deal. and then he shut the government down. for two days the government was shut down, but all of us in the democratic caucus, not just the moderates but the liberals as well, came to the view that if we carried on much longer, two things would happen -- a, no one would budge. the public would lose support of the shutdown. the public does not like shutdowns. and we would lose support for the d.r.e.a.m.ers, too, because people love the d.r.e.a.m.ers but don't want the government shut down for it. we cut the best deal we could. it's more than a vague promise,
rachel. mcconnell said on the floor, he said on the floor we will definitely get a vote on february 8th of a bipartisan bill on d.r.e.a.m.ers that has my okay. it will be a good bill. the thing about the promise, he didn't just make it to me. he made it to ten republican members of the caucus. a leader is very, very reluctant. so now we have a chance to get 60 votes for d.r.e.a.m.ers in the senate. and i met today with the d.r.e.a.m.ers and all the other groups and we all agreed we're going to focus our energy on fighting the fight we have now. every democrat, all 49 are for d.r.e.a.m.ers. if we get four or five more, we can get the vote in the senate. you say that's not the house, that's correct. nothing will force the house because mcconnell refused to put any of the d.r.e.a.m.er legislation on the must-pass bill. that was the hope when friday night began and trump shut the government down. but if we pass it in the senate with a bipartisan vote, we have a good chance to put pressure on the house to do it, particularly if they don't do it by march 5th, the awful, awful, awful
pictures of d.r.e.a.m.ers being deported, i think will rally the nation and the house will be forced to do it. so this was what we thought was the best shot we had. you know, when trump shut the government down and we wouldn't go along, it's the first time democrats do it for d.r.e.a.m.ers because we care, but we have to use the few tools we have to get the best result. >> on sunday night you turned down the chance to vote for the funding of the government without the things that you were standing up for, with the strategy you're describing here but then the following day, yesterday, you took that same deal that you had turned down the night before and i hear what you're saying in terms of what power you had but that can't have been the plan to stand up for it for a few days and ultimately vote for what you previously said no to. >> no, we didn't have -- rachel, we didn't have the offer until late sunday night. susan collins, who has been a good person on this, came to my office. i said the vague promise mcconnell made isn't enough.
we need him to commit that a, we would get a vote on a clean bill, b, that it would be a vote of a bill that i okayed so it couldn't be a fake bill or a bill filled with lots of poison pills and would come to the floor a specific time, the week of february 8th. is there a guarantee mcconnell keeps his word? no. we'll hold his feet to the fire and everyone in your audience who cares about d.r.e.a.m.ers should focus on mcconnell. that's what we agree to today. we had a very good meeting. there was a lot of upsetness, not of us but because the d.r.e.a.m.ers haven't gotten what they need and the time is ticking but everyone agreed the focus should be on mcconnell and the republican senators. democrats are all for d.r.e.a.m.ers and to get in a circular firing squad when we don't have the power and have to used limited power we have. that's what makes sense, focusing on the republicans.
>> senator, i'm not a politician and i know that you're a good one. >> you're good at understanding this. >> i have tried to explain people's behavior for a living. that's what i try to do. >> yes. >> looking at this from a strategic point of view, every passing day more people who were brought here as kids are closer to deportation because of that. the way this fight unfolded doesn't feel like it got us closer to solving that problem, even though you're saying it -- >> you know what, rachel -- >> the reason it doesn't feel like we're closer is because republicans think they won this. republicans think that democrats stood up for something and caved and that essentially gives them a scalp that emboldened them -- now in the house -- >> rachel, with all due respect, if we have that attitude, that we can never accomplish
anything, we'll lose. the d.r.e.a.m.ers who we met with who were heads of the organizations and all of us, dick durbin who has been the leader on d.r.e.a.m.erss myself, believe we have a chance two weeks from now; is there a guarantee of success? that's what you seem to be asking for and we don't have a guarantee of success. we have to do everything we can. i'm passionate about the d.r.e.a.m.ers. my middle name is ellis, ellis island. we named the middle name of my daughter emma for emma who wrote the pope, "give me your tired, your poor." we're doing everything we can. what people have to understand is we don't have a magic wand. if we become the majority next year, if the house is the majority, we will get d.r.e.a.m.ers. obviously, we don't have the time with what trump has done but we have a chance in february. do not give up. we're only four senators short. this last three days has focused more attention on the d.r.e.a.m.ers than ever before. we're trying to get corporate ceos who know these republicans to call. we're trying to get every citizen. we have the list of 11 or 12 who are possible who could vote for us.
we only need four or five more to call, to e-mail, to write. that's what should be done here. we're doing everything we can. i don't mind the protests outside my office. i cut my teeth in the mccarthy campaign where there were protests, but i'm on the side of the d.r.e.a.m.ers and i'm doing everything i can. we need more people to join us so we get 60 votes in the senate and now we have a chance to get that. >> at this point in the fight when i look at republicans in the house, i see them just over the last couple of days as becoming even more hardline than they've ever been on this issue. steve scalise said today no deal with the house, basically there's no chance that we're going to bring this up. you see the super anti-immigrant hardliners in the republican caucus thinking they're going to get the most anti-immigrant bill they could possibly hope for pass in the house because they got a scalp for the shutdown. do you think that this politics is hard i don't knening in the
party and, if so, is there a democratic plan to counter that? >> the tea party, one of their fundamental values is anti-immigrant, which is horrible, disgusting, but that's who they are. but here is what we think. if the senate passes bill, there might be enough mainstream and moderate s in the house, particularly if these sons of guns wait until the rally. and then you have the whimsical, that's a kind word, donald trump. he may wake up one morning and say "get this bill done, we're still in play, we're in better shape than we were five days
ag ago," and you're right. and we got to maybe not lose the spirit of the fight. i'm not giving up. i hope you won't, rachel. >> keep us apprised. >> you never know what happens and you got to keep fighting. >> all right, we'll be right back. tance helped him to fix his flat so he could get home safely. my dad says our insurance doesn't have that. don't worry - i know what a lug wrench is, dad. is this a lug wrench? maybe? you can leave worry behind when liberty stands with you™. liberty stands with you™. liberty mutual insurance. i'm never gonna be able i'll take a sick day tomorrow. on our daughter's birthday?
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wagons. see, test drive and compare the economy champ of all compacts, the lark. >> the lark, by studebaker. the lark was a compact car. started hitting the road in 1959. now in the beginning, it was a teeny, teeny tiny little two-door sedan. but by 1961, the fine folks at studebaker had an engineering breakthrough, sort of. at least that's how they pitched it. >> feel cramped in the compact you bought? the old squeeze got you down? when you close the doors of your compact, do the passengers feel like this? maybe you should have looked at the lark by studebaker first. roomy comfort for six people. the only compact that gives you that big car feeling, lavish interiors, rich fabrics or pleated vinyl. give the lark that continental touch. >> that continental touch. it's got pleated vinyl. so it feels bigger.
the 1961 studebaker lark was not just a compact sedan, they literally advertised it as a clown car. yeah, it may look small on the outside, but room for you and everybody else on the inside! did we mention the vinyl is pleated? the lark. that clown car dynamic is playing out in our politics right now in a story with a surprisingly huge number of people crammed inside it. by now you may have heard that for the first time in nearly 20 years, we are sending a sitting american president to the elite of the elites, the world economic forum in davos, switzerland. the last sitting president to go to davos was bill clinton in the year 2000. president trump is going this year. he is scheduled to arrive tomorrow. there is a question as to whether the government shutdown would derail the plans, but the trip is on.
have you seen the list of people who are going? it's a big thing for the president alone to be going to davos. but look at everybody he's bringing. all of these people are going to davos. the president. also treasury secretary steve mnuch mnuchin, john kelly, rex tillerson, h.r. mcmaster, director of the economic national count gary cohn, senator adviser to the president and jared kushner.
secretary of energy rick perry, kirstjen nielsen, and he's also bringing -- oh, yeah, secretary of labor, secretary of transportation, the u.s. trade representative, the director of the national institutes of health, the commissioner of the fda, the assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, and the director of strategic initiatives at the white house. plus the president. and that's just the ones we know about. when we saw this list, i wondered, a, is there going to be a designated survivor? but i also wondered if hope hicks is going to be going or ivanka trump or stephen miller. we asked the white house about that tonight, and they told us this. quote, we did not list all staff traveling, but simply said staff there are several staffers traveling who are not on that list. so it's not just it. there is even more than that who are going. davos hosts this event every year there is lots of protesters usually. when you have that many world leaders in one place, that is inevitable. this year the protesters seem particularly inspired. "trump takes the fun out of fondue." inside the president will be walking into a room full of folks not phased by the six feet of snow they just got in davos. in particular, he is going to be greeted by a lot of russians. lots and lots and lots of high profile russians.
particularly high profile russians from the finance sector are going to be at davos this year. executives from veb bank, the bank that met with jared kushner during the transition that he didn't disclose. also vtb bank, rumored to be the financing for trump tower moscow. sberbank, the russian who founded kaspersky labs. a lot of trump administration i wonder who they will hang out when they're there. that does it for us tonight. we will see you again tomorrow. now it's time "the last word with lawrence o'donnell." >> will i see you this weekend? >> no, no. because i want to work on remodeling my kitchen. >> who is going to be there to answer the phone at the white house? they're bringing the entire cabinet and the entire white house staff. >> well, there is no government shutdown. so they will have someone to answer. rachel, i was so glad to see you interviewing senator schumer tonight. because if you couldn't do it tonight, and i had to do the schumer interview, it would have been so short. it would have been me saying, well, i get it. i see why you did what you did. and that would be it. be
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