Skip to main content

tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  January 24, 2018 6:00pm-7:00pm PST

6:00 pm
doing things that will make the remaining immigration much more white. >> democrats are going to change daca status for like restricting immigration down to 1920s levels? >> no. i will tell you, the deal lies between the wall or border security, doesn't have to be a wall and daca. i think that's clear. and i also think, my sources tell me, there are negotiations going on between republicans and democrats in the senate, but i got to tell you this. as someone who lived and died by polls my whole life, every election, oh, my god, where am i. if i stahe starts deporting the d.r.e.a.m.ers, and these d.r.e.a.m.ers are going to have the face. he's going to go down below 30%. it's a powerful issue. >> thank you for joining me. thanks my friend. thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.
6:01 pm
all right, deep breath. i sort of felt like yesterday's news cycle was a little overwhelming, overwhelming,es pers overwhelming, especially because into the afternoon and evening a bunch of different stories broke about the russia investigation that is enveloping this new presidency as it hits the one-year mark. we have six or eight large stories breaking on that one scandal in the afternoon and the evening. but it turns out yesterday was nothing in terms of today. just in terms of the sheer quantity of developments that we have had even just in this one scandal over the course of today. it's a lot. it's even a little overwhelming. so we're going to try to methodically go through these one by one so you know what's happened over the last day and this evening. the news keeps on breaking. and i will tell you it's a lot.
6:02 pm
and we don't know exactly why it's breaking right now. but the one national security reporter who broke more of this news today than anybody else is going to be here live in just a minute to help us understand. so i think that's going to be a big help. we're also going to try to stack these up one after another so we're all clear on what's going on right now and what it connects to in the news. so let's start with the president himself. president himself making a surprise appearance in front of a whole scrum of white house reporters. he made off the cuff remarks to these reporters tonight about his legal standing in the russia scandal. now the president's remarks did not apparently cause immediate cardiac arrest among his russia lawyers, but he did definitely shorten the lives. he definitely shortened the expected life-span of his entire legal team tonight when he popped out of john kelly's office surprisingly and surprise, said this.
6:03 pm
>> are you going to talk to mueller? >> i'm looking forward to it, actually. >> you want to. >> just so you understand, there's been no collusion whatsoever. there's no obstruction whatsoever. and i'm looking forward to it. >> do you have a date set? do you have a date set in. >> i don't know, they're talking about two or three weeks. subject to my lawyers and all that, but i would love to do it. >> are you going to do it under oath, mr. president? >> you mean like hillary did it under -- who said that? >> i said it. >> did hillary do it under oath? >> i have no idea. >> wait, do you really not have an idea. >> i don't remember. >> i'll give you an idea. she didn't. but i would do it, and you know she didn't do it under oath, right? >> if you didn't know about hillary then you're not much of a reporter. >> you're going to do it under oath. >> to reach a higher standard, you would do it under oath.
6:04 pm
>> i would do it under oath. >> okay. after the president made those remarks tonight to reporters at the white house, volunteering publicly that he would love to and he will testify under oath in the russia investigation despite the fact that those are exactly the kinds of terms his lawyers have been very carefully negotiating with the special counsel about for weeks to try to limit his exposure, potential legal liability in the event of any such interview, after the president made those apparently off the cuff remarks tonight, his lawyers, thereafter, had to rush in with proverbial mops and buckets, reminding every other lawyer in america why they did not volunteer to be donald trump's lawyer in the russia scandal, quote, ty cobb said after the president's remarks that mr. trump was speaking hurriedly. he said the arrangements were being worked out between mr.
6:05 pm
trump's personal team and the lawyers. mr. trump was not volunteering to testify before a grand jury, which is how prosecutors speak to witnesses under oath. the president tonight apparently thinking he was getting in some good shots at the press about them not remembering stuff about hillary clinton. but he volunteered to testify under oath specifically before a grand jury in the russia investigation, which is something his lawyers do not want him to do. oops! so, yeah. that is one thing that happened just tonight. that is amazing. speaking of lawyering. at about 6:00 eastern time tonight, this was weird. lawyers for trump campaign chairman paul manafort, paul manafort currently facing multiple felony counts, paul manafort's lawyers around 6:00 this evening appear to have mistakenly uploaded their own
6:06 pm
notes on manafort's case to the publicly-viewable docket that the court maintains in this case. now i can't overemphasize how weird this is. i don't know a ton about criminal cases, but i can tell from following news stories like this that there are a few different levels upon which these cases happen and we the public have different visibility to those proceedings. sometimes stuff will get discussed in open court and we get visibility into those proceedings because people can sit in court and take notes on what happens and report it out. sometimes we get a publicly-released transcript of what happened in a court proceeding. so sometimes stuff gets acted out. but then there's the part of court proceedings that happen in writing. the court itself, the judge, they all file various written documents over the course of a federal criminal case. they file motions and the judge makes rulings and stuff like it that. unless those documents are sealed, we the public can monitor those written proceedings as well. they will often get posted
6:07 pm
online, in a publicly-facing docket that you have access to with your computer. so you can read when rick gates has made a motion that he wants to go to his kids' school christmas pageant and you can use the judgment's decision on y yes, you can go or no, you can't and this is why. his lawyers were apparently trying to file a motion regarding to a scheduling issue. the motion included an attachment. but then they uploaded the wrong attachment. and it is now publicly available so we can all see what accidently appears to be their case notes on how the special counsel's office obtained the evidence that they used in the indictment. what robert mueller and his team put in their search warrant. what materials paul manafort's spokesman was forced to turn
6:08 pm
over to the counsel while they were building their case against paul manafort. it's all there. we don't know exactly what all of these notes mean. search warrants, paul manafort being paid through the ukrainian black ledger. we don't know what all of their notes mean. they're clearly some sort of internal work product that wasn't meant for the public, but we can tell this is not the right attachment. this is not something that was supposed to be filed with the court today let alone shown to everybody. so that happened tonight as well. and, you know, hey, lawyers make mistakes. and that brings us to the almost unbelievable third development in this story today. we're going to have more on this coming up a little later in the show. but a sharp-eyed legal affairs correspondent at cnn appears to have spotted a big new development related to the defense lawyers for the trump campaign personnel in this scandal. it's a development that suggests that robert mueller and his
6:09 pm
special counsel team may be about to flip somebody else. they may be about to get a new cooperating witness. right, they've got two already. foreign policy adviser george papadopoulos, mike flynn. they've both not just pled guilty. they've both flipped. they've both become cooperating witnesses for mueller's interrogation. they may be about to get cooperating witness number three. if this new reporting is accurate, the new cooperating witness that robert mueller is about to get is somebody who appears to be way better positioned than george papadopoulos or even mike flynn. to help mueller out with inquiries that he might have about the campaign, about the republican national convention, about the transition, about the inauguration. about even the outside network of pro-trump groups that
6:10 pm
supported supported after the campaign was over. there's also a surprising water gate connection that will blow your mind. it's not just an analogy. it's actually related to actual watergate. so that story's coming up a little later on this hour. we're barely getting started here. this is steven e. boyd. steven e. boyd is the assistant attorney general at the department of justice. we have watched house republicans and conservative media whip itself into an increasingly out of control frenzy against the fbi, led by california republican congressman devon nunez to try to create alternate scandals that the white house likes better. devon nunes is the guy behind the "they wire tapped trump tower" allegation. he's the guy who tried to make it into an unmasking scandal.
6:11 pm
susan rice is the real scandal here. devon nunes says the real scandal is uranium one. the fbi being corrupt and terrible. over the past week, that congressman, devon nunes has led a conservative media and republican full-scale, freakout over a memo. a memo that conservatives insist will be magic antidote to the robert mueller investigation and a get out of jail free card for anybody implicated by the mueller investigation. this was written by devon nunes himself. his office wrote it and he and republicans and conservative media and lots and lots of russian bots online are all now insisting with increasing ferocity that this memo that devon nunes wrote, it must be released, even though it contains classified information, because if this memo is released, that will bring down
6:12 pm
the fbi. devon nunes has written the memo that reportedly says the fbi behaved badly somehow when it obtained search warrants from a court to collect evidence in the russia investigation. this, this memo that he wrote has been an all-consuming thing in republican congressional politics and technically in conservative media and at the fox news channel for the past week. they like didn't notice there was a government shutdown because they were so excited that devon nunes wrote a memo that he then demanded must be released. well, tonight, big new development on this. steven boyd, assistant attorney general at the justice department who is no liberal snowflake. he has now written to congressman devon nunes warning him about what he is trying to do about this memo. dear mr. chairman. recent news reports indicate a classified memorandum prepared by intelligence committee salve
6:13 pm
alleges abuses. we provided more than 1,000 pages of classified documents related to the fbi's relationship if any with a source and its reliance if any on information provided by that source. okay. media reports that the committee's memorandum contains classified material confidentially provided in a secure facility. they then explain in a footnote that when the justice department gave this classified information to devon nunes and the intelligence committee, he wasn't supposed to share it. he wasn't then supposed to show it to every other republican member of the house, which is what he has now down. quote, the terms of access for that classified information stipulated that review of the documents would be limited to the chairman, mr. nunes or his designee, adam schiff or his designee and two staff members each. that's it. the department takes any
6:14 pm
allegation of abuse of our justice system seriously. further we assume that intelligence committee members want to provide evidence of any allegation of misconduct to officials so we may take appropriate action. in addition we've heard that your committee is considering making the classified memorandum available to the public and media, an unprecedented action. we believe it would be extraordinarily reckless for the committee to disclose such information publicly without giving the fbi an opportunity to review the memo and advise the risk of harm to national security and ongoing investigations that could come from public release. indeed, we do not understand why the committee would try to disclose classified information without first consulting with relevant members of the intelligence community. so the letter goes on. we have obtained a complete copy of the letter. we've posted it at nano if you want to read it.
6:15 pm
if you're uncomfortable giving the memo that you wrote about the fbi to the fbi director or deputy director general, if you're uncomfortable, there's lots of other officials you could give it to. it is dangerous to national security. now this is a remarkable push back from the justice department. i have a feeling that conservative media and republicans in congress won't care. right? this threat to national security? oh, pshaw, show us what devon wrote. i have a feeling they will keep doing exactly what they're doing here. but if you are wondering when someone, anyone, inside the trump administration might feel compelled to stand up for the fbi against this assault on the fbi by republicans and congress and the conservative media, this letter tonight, this brush back. this is the first sign that somebody is at least trying to stand up for the fbi against what republicans are trying to
6:16 pm
do to them. so now we've got this hard shove back from the justice department against what republicans have been doing. and we also now have a whole bunch of competing demands to release different memos. different documents alongside what devon nunes has been trying to do with his. today the top democrat on the intelligence committee, adam schiff says that democrats on the intel committee have now drafted their own classified memorandum, which purports to explain what's wrong with what the republicans have been trying to do with their classified memorandum. they want their memo shown to all other members of congress. if devon nunes is recklessly hoei showing his to congress they want to too. grassley wants to release the referral where he and lindsey graham said that christopher steele should be investigated for charges, the former agent who wrote the dossier should be
6:17 pm
investigated. chuck grassly now wants that released as well. and then senator richard blumenthal came out and said, you know, if we're declassifying stuff, if we are releasing stuff and letting people see important, damning information we want the transcript of donald trump jr. testifying to the senate judiciary committee. donald trump jr. testified for hours behind closed doors, right after he gave that testimony, one of the senators on the committee chris coons put out this statement reminding everyone that it's a crime to lie under oath, mr. trump jr. we didn't know what that was about at the time. but senator richard blumenthal said that whatever donald trump jr. said in those transcripts it's important and should be released, if not to the public
6:18 pm
at least to the special counsel, should be given to robert mueller, because they say that transcript of what donald jr. said is relevant to mueller's investigation. so what this means, bottom line is that congress is freaking out right now. i mean, whatever you think of the various investigations or lack thereof on the russian scandal and congress, there is a wide scale, fast-paced freakout happening in both the house and senate as of today. and it's creating a lot of pressure to publicly release stuff the public has not yet seen. and i don't know if we'll ultimately get those documents. i don't know what is causing that freakout, but we have had a ton of developments on this story in the last 36 hours, and maybe all of this stuff is starting to flood out all at once, but it really does feel like it's happening all of a sudden for a reason. and one of the reporters who has been breaking this dam, saying
6:19 pm
loose this torrent of new information joins us next. stay with us. . just like some people like pre-shaken sodas. having their seat kicked on an airplane. being rammed by a shopping cart. sitting in gum. and walking into a glass door. but for everyone else, there's directv. for #1 rated customer satisfaction over cable, switch to directv and get a $200 reward card. call 1.800.directv let your inner light loose with one a day women's. ♪ a complete multivitamin specially formulated with key nutrients plus vitamin d for bone health support.
6:20 pm
your one a day is showing. ltry align probiotic.n your digestive system? for a non-stop, sweet treat goodness, hold on to your tiara kind of day. get 24/7 digestive support, with align. the #1 doctor recommended probiotic brand. also in kids chewables. do you like freshly steamed lobster? do you like the word and? then you'll love outback's steak and lobster. back by popular demand, only $15.99. so hurry in now.
6:21 pm
outback steakhouse. aussie rules.
6:22 pm
yesterday we learned that the top law enforcement official in the united states, attorney general jeff sessions met with, was interviewed by special counsel robert mueller last week for several hours. within hours after that revelation, we learned that former fbi director james comey, who was fired by president trump, he also has met extensively with robert mueller and his team. that happened last year. both of those revelations happened yesterday. then today abc news added a whole new raft of stuff that we
6:23 pm
didn't know before. starting with michael flynn. one year ago today, january 4th last year, which was four days into the trump administration, two days after flynn had been sworn in as national security advi adviser this day last year, andrew mccabe's office called national security adviser mike flynn's office at the white house and scheduled a meeting through flynn's scheduler, a meeting that we didn't really understand the contours of until now. nbc news reports that mike flynn took that initial meeting with fbi agents, four days after the inauguration, two days after he was sworn in. he met with those fbi agents alone, no lawyer present, and then nbc news reports he told no one that the fbi had visited him and questioned him in his office at the white house. that happened on january 24th. two days after that is when sally yates came up to the white
6:24 pm
house and essentially pulled the fire alarm about mike flynn. we had previously known that sally yates warned the white house that mike flynn had been lying about his contact with the russian government, that he was potentially compromised by the russians. this was dangerous because he had access to information. in addition to all that information that sally yates conveyed to the white house on january 26th, the other thing she told them that day which was news to them was that mike flynn had been interviewed by the fbi. that interview had happened in the white house. in his office. it had been set up through official white house channels. but flynn at that point had not apparently told anyone that the fbi had come to visit him, to interview him about his foreign contacts. why didn't mike flynn tell anybody once the fbi showed up in his office and tartstarted questioning him?
6:25 pm
we obviously have no idea, but this does add to the mystery of how on earth the trump white house decided that they would react to that warning they got about mike flynn, right? upon being informed that the serving national security adviser was lying about his foreign contacts, was compromised by a foreign government and that he had been interviewed by the fbi at the white house and hadn't mentioned it to anyone, the white house, upon learning that information decided to do nothing. decided to keep him on for another 18 days. what, is it weird to have a national secure visadviser who' the subject of an active counter intelligence investigation and is lying about it? shouldn't we to something? in addition to james comey, the acting attorney general who gave this warning about flynn, sally yates she also met with mueller and his team, quote extensively.
6:26 pm
the head of the national security agency, mike rogers and the director of national intelligence, dan coat and mike pompeo, they have all been interviewed by robert mueller and his investigators as well. that may end up being really important if, as reported, mueller's particularly interested in potential obstruction of justice by the president. dan coats, national intelligence trektser and meek rogers, both of them were reportedly asked by president trump to make public statements exonerating him on the russia matter. in march, the president also reportedly asked the intelligence director dan coat if he would intervene with the fbi to stop the russia investigation. cia director mike pompeo was reportedly in the room when the president made that request. that coats should intervene with the fbi to stop this inquiry. well, now all three of those leaders have been questioned by the mueller investigation, and we're all reminded that in one
6:27 pm
of the impeachment proceedings that was brought against, one of the articles of impeachment brought against richard nixon in watergate, one of the things they were going to impeach him for was trying to use the intelligence community to stop the fbi investigation into water gate, because that's obstruction of justice. joining us is political reporter and author of today's big compound news scoop. congratulations on this huge story. >> it's great to be with you, thank you. >> i just tried to down load some of the stuff. >> great job. >> tell me if i got any of that wrong or misstated any of those facts. i know that was a big download. >> no. the only thing is flynn was interviewed by the fbi the day after he was sworn in. he was sworn in on a monday with all senior staff and interviewed on that tuesday. very nicely laid out. >> so his second day as national security adviser, two days after his swearing in.
6:28 pm
roger that. obviously, this story that you broke today had a whole bunch of news that we did not know before. and it comes on the heels of a whole bunch of other revelations that have happened on this scandal. technical particularly on the legal side. do you have any accept sense as this is break now? >> i think it's a couple thins. one is you're seeing the number of people that the special counsel is interviewing has just expanded. so anytime that you have more witnesses, it gives reporters more opportunities to try to learn what's on the mind of investigators. what kinds of questions that they are asking. so that's one piece of it. and i also think it's just moving faster, you know. we're at the point where the president himself could wind up sitting in front of the special counsel's team within a matter of weeks. and so that has led people to think that, you know, robert
6:29 pm
mueller's getting closer and closer. he's got a bunch of the big fish around the president who's come, everybody's come and talked to the special counsel and he's going to go to the president and that could mean we would see some sort of conclusion on the obstruction piece of this. so i think it's both of those things. >> in terms of all of these people who we are now learning, including high-ranking officials, law enforcement officials who we now know have gone before mueller and his team. i have two questions about that. one is, are these witnesses, these people who have been called in and asked to talk to the special counsel's office, are they bound by secrecy? are they not supposed to be telling people if they've had those interviews? >> so it depends. sometimes technically, no. they can talk. but it depends what the relationship is, sometimes the special counsel will say we don't want to you, and people will take that very seriously.
6:30 pm
and so you may not get, get as much information out of them. >> okay. let me also ask you about this flynn scoop that you've not. the story that you're able to tell, not just you about that timing but about the fact that flynn apparently, according to your reporting, didn't tell anybody in the white house about this interaction with the fbi. did he know that he wasn't just having a friendly meeting with the fbi? that they were actually questioning him to, in a way that should have indicated to him that he was under investigation? >> you know, it's interesting. it's a great question, because we've, i talked to people who were in the white house at the time, who were, they've, you know, involved in this, and in some way, and they said it just seemed like he didn't get it, but he didn't understand the significance of it. and part of that could have been the way he was approached. you have the fbi call out his scheduler and say we need to talk to him. can you put us on the schedule. and that is not entirely unusual, because they may come
6:31 pm
over and have some sort of counter intelligence brief or something like that. and, but typically, if you're a national security adviser you would then notify the legal team of the national security counsel so you could have a lawyer in a meeting like that. and flynn didn't do that, and he didn't tell anybody. and he also suggests, because he didn't have his own personal lawyer in there, that he didn't necessarily, either he didn't get that he might need his personal lawyer in there, and this is about his personal conduct and he was vulnerable or he just thought he could handle it. and you talk to some experts, and they say, you know, military, decorated military folks like flynn whose, you know, has worked in intelligence feels like he can handle this, and why would he need a lawyer. so we don't no. but it could be any combination of those things, but it definite definitely seemed that it was haphazard and showed up and didn't tell anybody. >> i've never been in this
6:32 pm
situation, but i have to imagine if you've had a meeting with the fbi, even if you didn't know what it was going into it, if once you've had that meeting, you think you shouldn't it tell anybody about it, it probably means you should a, get a lawyer and b start telling everybody about it. >> yes. >> just remarkable human side of the story and remarkable what we know. carol lee, congratulations on this huge scoop. >> thank you, rachel. >> i will say. in all of the news breaking today, one of the things i am most fascinated by is the news that mike pompeo has sat down with mueller's investigators. very careful word choice in carol's report today. she described mike pompeo as also having been interviewed by the special counsel. mike pompeo has an incredibly born role to play in this scandal at a lot of different levels. him talking to the mueller
6:33 pm
investigation is a big deal. stay with us. we'll be right back. and at our factory in boston, 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. the great emperor trekking a hundred miles inland to their breeding grounds. except for these two fellows. this time next year, we're gonna be sitting on an egg. i think we're getting close! make a u-turn... u-turn? recalculating... man, we are never gonna breed. just give it a second. you will arrive in 92 days. nah, nuh-uh. nope, nope, nope. you know who i'm gonna follow? my instincts. as long as gps can still get you lost, you can count on geico saving folks money. i'm breeding, man. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance.
6:34 pm
but prevagen helps your brain with an ingredient originally discovered... in jellyfish. in clinical trials, prevagen has been shown to improve short-term memory. prevagen. the name to remember.
6:35 pm
woman: so, greg, it's a lot to take in. woman 2: and i know that's hard to hear, but the doctors caught it early. hi, blake! my dad has cancer. woman: and i know how hard that is to hear. but you're in the right place. man: and dr. pascal and her team, they know what to do. they know what to do. the doctors know what to do. so here's the plan. first off, we're going to give you all... (voice fading away)
6:36 pm
national pancake day. a day for flipping flapjacks everywhere. you can flip flapjacks for a cause in new bern, north carolina. in wichita falls, kansas. it is such that you can get ms. pennsylvania in her crown and gown to come to your town and flip pancakes on pancake day in
6:37 pm
allentown, pennsylvania. national pancake day. it's a real thing. doesn't roll around until march 4th this year. so you have a little time to practice your flip. in the meantime, if you want to warm up, you can watch special counsel robert mueller who looks like he may be about to flip a new cooperating witness in his special counsel investigation. the evidence on this is absolutely fascinating, and that story is next. patrick woke up with a sore back.
6:38 pm
6:39 pm
6:40 pm
but he's got work to do. so he took aleve this morning. if he'd taken tylenol, he'd be stopping for more pills right now. only aleve has the strength to stop tough pain for up to 12 hours with just one pill. tylenol can't do that. aleve. all day strong. all day long. and for pain relief and a good night's rest, try aleve pm for a better am.
6:41 pm
the watergate scandal, of course, resulted in the resignation of president richard nixon. his successor, gerald ford then pardoned hum. he was never impeached or prosecuted for anything related to that scandal. he's kind of the only one who got away clean, though. 69 different people were indicted in relation to the watergate scandal. and a lot of them went to jail. john mitchell. one was an assistant attorney general of the united states. he'd been part of creep, the party to elect the president. he was up to his neck in the watergate break-in. his name was robert martian. he was trying to get the
6:42 pm
burglars out of jail once they were arrested. he helped with hush money and with concocting the false stry . robert martian was indicted in conjunction with watergate in 1974 and ultimately convicted and sentenced to ten months in prison. but in 1976 his conviction was overturned for a very unusual and specific reason. assistant attorney general robert martian did not have to go it prison for watergate. he got his conviction thrown out, his sentence thrown out in the end for a very specific reason. because in the middle of his trial for water gate, his lawyer collapsed in the courtroom and wasn't able to go on. his lawyer was sick. he passed out in court during martian's trial. he was too sick to continue with his representation of his client. the judge informed a jujunior lr
6:43 pm
who had been helping with the case, hey, now, you're the lead counsel. for the assistant attorney general. that junior lawyer was 33 years old at the time. i'm what now? but he stepped up, mounted that defense. in 1976, by which point the original distinguished defense lawyer had died. that young assistant who had been unexpected think thrust into that case, he got his client off. he got robert martian off. b got the jail time thrown out and the conviction thrown out and that was probably the end of robert martian being famous for the watergate scandal, but it was unexpected for the kid lawyer. that kid lawyer was named tom green. and tom green has been representing political figures in massive political scandals ever since his strange tart sta watergate. after accidently representing
6:44 pm
the assistant attorney general in watergate, he went on to represent defendants in the whitewater and iran-contra scandal and the state department passport scandal. when the same prosecutors who convicted spe convict convicted spiro agnew, he represented a senator named david duringberger when i ghe g indicted. i represented the governor of puerto rico. the horrifying scandal involving denny hastert. tom green represents denny hastert in that scandal. if are you a significant political figure but even if you're not and find yourself criminally charged in a political scandal of any size,
6:45 pm
if somebody loves you, if somebody loves you enough, think will look into the possibility of whether they can hire tom green to be your defense lawyer. he's the head of the white collar practice at a big law firm called simply austin. and i don't mean to be rude or insulting or anything. i really don't. but it remains one of the unusual things, and maub oybe of the important thins abogs about scandal of this presidency. even at the highest levels, they have secure legal representation for themselves that isn't quite impressive. yesterday we got news that attorney general jeff sessions spent hours last week being interviewed by the special counsel. alongside that news was the news that he brought on his old friend from alabama as counsel. his old friend from alabama is a
6:46 pm
well-known d.c. lawyer but what that lawyer is known for is losing gay marriage case and cases about putting up statues of the ten commandments. he's not a white collar criminal scandal defense lawyer. the president himself has hired a legal team that, again i don't mean to be rude, but they're more like people's court than supreme court. and if this president's going to get charged, it's not going to be before judge wapner. the discarded lawyer who got in swearing, screaming matches, the spokesman for that era of the president's insane legal team just hired his own lawyer. he hired a husband and wife legal team who go on fox news and say they have secret sources who say they are going to spill the beans on the uranium hillary clinton sold to russia. the firepower on the robert muller side of investigation is considerable. the legal firepower on the other
6:47 pm
side, the defense counsel hired by people in the administration, in many cases it has not been as impressive, nearly as impressive. but one person on the trump side just got tom green. just got the guy you want. he just got upgraded his previous legal team to add tom green to it. which is a very serious move. and what makes it potentially a really important move for this whole scandal in this whole case is that the guy who appears to have hired tom green is already charged with multiple felonies. rick gates. cnn probibroke news that rick g add the tom green to his defense team. he was seen outside robert mueller's office. there's a few things you could draw from this. one is that gates could be facing more charges. the special counsel has prepared additional charges, a so
6:48 pm
superseding indictment to go along with a dozen criminal counts already being faced. it seems that they could be negotiating something. the gates side could be negotiating something new with mueller's office. we know gates alawye' lawyers a working in tandem. gates is free to operate on his own without manafort or anybody else knowing about it and all of that leads to the inevitable question, which is maybe what they're negotiating that robert mueller's about to get a new cooperating witness in the form of rick gates? if you're the special counsel, if you are trying to find witnesses to flip against the president or other senior administration officials, rick gates is a human through line. before the campaign he worked with manafort, they were
6:49 pm
business partners for years, with clients like oleg pole gas ca. managed the day to day operation of the campaign, traveled with the president, even after manafort got fired off the campaign, gates stuck around right through the election. after that, the trump folks took him on to help with the transition they hired him to help with the ninauguration. he helped launch a nonprofit to support the president's agenda. working with lots of people who had been part of the trump campaign. the doll eaily beast reports as as june he was seen at the white house. we do not know what rick gates was up to at this nonprofit or the campaign, his involvement has never really made clear sense at all from day one. but we do know he has a front row seat to everything that has
6:50 pm
plagued this president since his campaign got off the ground. you can wager a guess that robert mueller would very much like to hear about it. we asked whether it was true to gates's reported new lawyer, we also tried his law firm, nobody is calling us back yet. they do seem busy, though. (vo) i was born during the winter of '77. i first met james in 5th grade. we got married after college. and had twin boys. but then one night, a truck didn't stop. but thanks to our forester, neither did our story. and that's why we'll always drive a subaru.
6:51 pm
6:52 pm
this is food made to sit down for. slow down for. put the phone away, and use a knife and fork for. and with panera catering, it's food worth sharing. panera. food as it should be.
6:53 pm
we usso why do we pay to havers a phone connectede days. and with panera catering, it's food worth sharing. when we're already paying for internet? shouldn't it all just be one thing? that's why xfinity mobile comes with your internet. you can get 5 lines of talk and text included at no extra cost. so all you pay for is data. choose by the gig or unlimited. and ask how to get a $150 prepaid card when you buy a new lg x charge. it's a new kind of network designed to save you money. call, visit, or go to busy news right is chuck
6:54 pm
rosenberg, former senior justice official, former fbi chief of staff. thank you for joining us. there's so many going on. >> my pleasure rachel. >> the president surprised everybody tonight told reporters he's happy to testify under oath to the special counsel. his lawyers appear to be freaking out about the president's remarks trying to say that's not what the president meant. are they right to be concerned? is a statement like that binding from the president? might that short circuit conversations that have been happening about this. >> it's not legally binding. they can take it back, it sounds like they have. people smarter than me can argue whether it's politically binding. but it has no legal value. if he changes his mind, he changes his mind. >> the justice department tonight releasing a letter to congress, specifically to devin
6:55 pm
knew necessa nunez, allow the department to look at a memo that mr. nunez has written, the justice department warning that could be damaging to national security if he does it without doj and the justice department to review it. how strange is that warning? is there precedence for that? >> it's a strange warning. i have a rhetorical question. do you care about good government? if you care about good government you think the fbi did something wrong -- look, the fbi is awesome, they're good, but they're not perfect. if you think the fbi did something wrong, and care about good government, you give it to the fbi to fix it. if you don't want the fbi to fix it, you give it to the office of inspector general. there's also the privacy civil
6:56 pm
oversight board. you can give it to them. if you care about good government there's a bunch of avenues you can walk down to fix whatever you think what went wrong. if you care about politics and do what the folks on the house intelligence committee appear to be doing, you politicize it. >> one of the things i've been thinking about is a lot of republicans seem to be ramping up and get extreme in their criticism of the fbi, i've been wondering in these circumstances who stands up for the fbi, prote protects the fbi in terms of its investigations and integrity in order to act like an independence law enforcement agency. >> good question. let me take the first part of it. is it dangerous? i think it is in the following sense. we send fbi agents out in the field and ask them to do
6:57 pm
important stuff, find missing children, political corruption, domestic violence on reservations, the way we do that, is if people believe the fbi is going to handle the matter in a sensitive, thoughtful way, faithful and honest way. so the more you chip away at that, the more you undermine their work in the field. so yeah, it's dangerous. it's also very, very sad. it's hard to imagine our political leadership undermining the fbi. we ask them to do really hard things. let's support them when we do it. >> chuck rosenberg, appreciate your time tonight, sir. thanks for being here. >> my pleasure. >> we'll be right back. stay with us. you two had been through everything together. two boyfriends, three jobs...
6:58 pm
you're like nothing can replace brad. then liberty mutual calls... and you break into your happy dance. if you sign up for better car replacement™, we'll pay for a car that's a model year newer with 15,000 fewer miles than your old one. liberty stands with you™. liberty mutual insurance. i'm the one clocking in when you're clocking out. sensing and automatically adjusting to your every move. does your bed do that? i'm the new sleep number 360 smart bed. let's meet at a sleep number store. jimmy's gotten used to his whole yup, he's gone noseblind. odors. he thinks it smells fine, but his mom smells this... luckily for all your hard-to-wash fabrics... ...there's febreze fabric refresher. febreze doesn't just mask, it eliminates odors you've... ...gone noseblind to. and try febreze unstopables for fabric. with up to twice the fresh scent power, you'll want to try it... ...again and again and maybe just one more time. indulge in irresistible freshness.
6:59 pm
febreze unstopables. breathe happy. alright, i brought in high protein to help get us moving. ...and help you feel more strength and energy in just two weeks! i'll take that. -yeeeeeah! ensure high protein. with 16 grams of protein and 4 grams of sugar. ensure. always be you. it has just been an incredible night for breaking news. just before we got on the air
7:00 pm
tonight. the president volunteered to reporters at the white house in a surprise press availability that he would love to testify in the special counsel investigation, he would love to speak to the special counsel, and he volunteered under oath. when you speak under oath in an investigation like this, that means that you are sworn in before a grand jury, which mean it is president publically volunteered tonight that he will testify tonight before a grand jury in the mueller investigation. his lawyer, ty cobb said mr. trump didn't mean that when he said it. but the president said it. we'll see who win that is fight. it's been a remarkable day. we'll see you again tomorrow. now it's time for "last word with lawrence o'donnell." good evening, lawrence. >> good evening from chicago. i pretty much just ran