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tv   MSNBC Live  MSNBC  January 27, 2018 1:00pm-2:00pm PST

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chair for the rnc. that's amid "the wall street journal" report alleging years of sexual misconduct. we'll look at why wynn is a problem both for the party and for the president. plus, saving the special counsel, democrats and one republican now taking action to protect robert mueller after learning president trump ordered him to be fired last june. but is the response on the hill more of a collective shrug? and how could this impact the potential sit-down between the president and prosecutor? meanwhile, an even exchange or a bad deal, democrats are slamming the white house's immigration proposal calling it a ransom note. but can the two sides reach a compromise in time for the dreamers? we begin with the breaking news casino mogul steve wynn resigning his position as finance chair of the republican national committee, that is according to the republican familiar with that decision. just a short time ago rnc chair ronna romney mcdaniel telling nbc news she accepted wynn's
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resignation. sh comes in the wake of an explosive "the wall street journal" report alleging a p pattern of sexual misconduct that went on for decades. nbc news has not confirmed those allegations. among the claims was a complaint by a married manicurist who accused wynn of forcing her to have sex. in a statement to nbc news wynn called the allegations preposterous and blamed his ex-wife for the article claiming she was pressuring him for a revised divorce settlement. wynn's casino told nbc news they have not received any complaints about wynn. joining me now, nbc ease jeff bennett, alex, reporter with politico who first reported the story and sarah westwood, white house reporter for the washington examiner. alex, i'll start with you, wynn has denied allegations in the past year. why this change now? what was the pressure for him to resign? >> well, the rnc had to do something here. it was unsustainable. this job is really important. it's about who raises money for
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the party committee and they're heading to a really critical midterm year, a year that's already getting tough for the republican party. so it was really just a matter of time once this "the wall street journal" story emerged yesterday for wynn to be -- for wynn to step down. and i understand that this morning the chairwoman of the republican national committee ronna romney mcdaniel did speak with the president, donald trump, and that came after trump returned from davos last night. >> jeff, knowing that the president spoke with the chair of the rnc, we know that the president's also called steve wynn a good friend. what do we know about that situation, the dynamic there? >> friends now, aaron, but that wasn't always the case. they were at one point rivals. president trump himself of course a former casino mogul. interestingly steve wynn attended the mar-a-lago fundraiser last saturday that president trump had to skip because of the shutdown. and people in the room say that steve wynn recounted the moment that president trump hand picked him to be the republican
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national committee's finance chairman for the same reasons that alex points out. you know, there's a perilous midterm election coming and president trump thought steve wynn was the guy to navigate the ship. the president recorded a video message, we're told, and on that video message he thanks steve wynn for his help. i think it's notable and significant the fact that the president played some role in steve wynn's resignation, aaron. >> sarah, what's expected to happen to the money? the donations that wynn has made to republican candidates over the years, what do we know about what's going to happen with those donations? >> we don't know exactly what those committees are going to do over the years. steve wynn has donated about $1.5 million to various republican committees including $450,000 to the nrsc. it's obviously indefensible for a lot of those groups to hold on to the money after they've gone after democrats who have retained their donations from harvey weinstein. but, look, more than the donations themselves, which is a short-term problem for
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republicans, it's the long-term implications of losing this fund raising giant for the rnc. the reason why the rnc ended last year with an enormous fund raising advantage over democrats even though democrats are perceived to be in a stronger position politically is in part because steve wynn has so many connections to big ticket donors. and he was able to leverage them. so without steve wynn that puts the rnc at a pretty big disadvantage heading into 2018. >> and, jeff, sarah did mention the dnc here. have we heard anything from them, reaction to this? >> well, before news of the resignation came out the dnc put out a statement yesterday, if you throw it up on the screen i can read it to you because it really speaks to the underlying political dynamics at play here. do we have it? there we go. since this is the republican party, this is the party of donald trump, roy moore, joe arpaio and trent franks, democrats will refuse to stand by while the republican party denigrates women. we will continue to march side by side with women all across
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the country because we believe that women must be empowered and respected. now, all sorts of people have said allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment are not partisan issues, but you can clearly see here how both sides are using this issue to their political advantage, aaron. >> and, alex, we know that wynn's name is all over las vegas. there's a new property that was coming up in massachusetts. what about wynn's company here? where does that stand? >> well, it's unclear. you know, his company took a dive yesterday in the stock market and we'll have to see what happens going forward. there is an investigation under way at his company into these actions. and we're just going to have to see how this unfolds at this point and whether wynn decides to say anything else today in light of his decision to step down from the rnc. >> and, again, you mentioned the rnc, sarah, where does the rnc go from here? after we now have seen mr. wynn step down, what's next for the rnc? >> well, that's the million dollar question. they have to find somebody who
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can try to match wynn's fund raising ability. there's not that many people out there who have so many tentacles in the donor world who have those kinds of connections to people who want to donate millions of dollars and be associated heavily with president trump. that was something wynn was in the unique position to be able to do. now they're going to have to start a scramble to find a new fund raising director at the same time they're starting to try to gear up for the midterms. this is not the time you want to be without somebody capable at the helm of the fund raising machine for the party. so for republicans this is an extremely difficult problem. it's more impactful for republicans than the loss of harvey weinstein because this wasn't the loss of a big name donor, this was a person coordinating a lot of the donations for the rnc. >> we'll have to wait and see the next few drops on this one. thank you all. and for more on this now let's bring in chris, democratic strategist and former chief of staff of senator joe manchin of
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west virginia and jennifer reuben, author of the post right turn blog. jennifer, the president has been silent on this so far. are you surprised by that? >> no. every time one of these episodes comes up, it is one more reminder particularly for women voters that this was a man who had about 20 accusers. he's never had to answer for these in any kind of detail. he's never had to explain himself. and it is one more irritant for voters, particularly for women, who support his losing by tremendous numbers. he's now losing white women, which is hard for a republican to do, quite frankly. so i think it's not surprising he wants no part of this. i think it's not surprising that it took less than a weekend for steve wynn to go away. but they do have a problem. and one senator, dean heller has a problem too. that's the republican from nevada and his associations with wynn and whatever associations
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and moneys he's gotten from hymn, him, he'll have to get rid of those quickly. >> this is what president trump had to say about wynn back in february of last year. >> and another great friend of mine, somebody respected by everybody, a great friend of phil too, mr. and mrs. steve wynn. stand up, steve. stand up. steve is always calling, he's always got advice, right, steve? donald, i think you ought to do this and that. his advice, i like to listen to, i'll be honest. >> we know today the president's twitter account liked a post, that post from the "the wall street journal" about this story, but that was quickly deleted. chris, does wynn's resignation solve any potential political problems for the white house? >> oh, i don't think it solves them. it exacerbates it. i mean, losing, i think, an rnc finance chair at any moment's going to be pretty devastating under these circumstances i think it's even worse. they're going into an election season where it's already the political winds are against them.
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democrats i think are much more energized and mobilized in particular at the base. and when you're facing an election where the other side's more energized, you have to raise significant amount of money to make up for that difference for that lack of energy. and i think when you lose a chair and someone who is clearly disconne disconnected amongst the financial elite, amongst the right wing in the republican party, it's a pretty serious negative impact. and it's going to have a serious negative effect for the republicans far beyond the next few days. >> jennifer, we know the democrats felt some pressure to give back those political contributions from harvey weinstein after the allegations against him. at that time the rnc's ronn amc daniel said that during the three decades worth of sexual harassment allegations harvey weinstein lined the pockets of democrats to the tune of three quarters of a million dollars. if democrats and the dnc truly stand for women like they say they do, then returning this dirty money should be a no brainer. so the question, jennifer, do
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you expect republican candidates who've received donations, you mentioned the gentleman from nevada, people who've received these donations from wynn to give back that money? >> well, the chairwoman of the dnc could take the statement, change the name and dollar amount and send it out right now because you're right. they have the exact same problem. they may try to resist for whatever reason, but it's really futile. they should do it quickly, rip the bandage off so they have time to re-raise the money later on and get this behind them. does no good to hold onto this money. >> i want to play another piece of sound for you. this is what wynn said during an interview on fox news. listen. >> it seems to me that on the subject of the presidential sexual contact -- behavior, that being -- seems to be a -- this discussion of the sex lives of our politicians is a
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distraction. >> that was back in 2016 wynn there talking about candidate trump at that point in time. jennifer, do you think have attitudes changed since then? >> well, i think attitudes weren't too accepting of them back then, but, yes, i do think we've gone through a sea change. and if that's the attitude of any current incumbent or candidate, he better rethink or his run for whatever office he's running for. and remember now we have a pennsylvania congressman who has announced, again, his intention not to run for re-election. so we've not heard the last of these. i'm sure we will have a never-ending stream of these people for quite some time now. >> so, chris, how much political h hay can democrats make of this issue when you have the weinstein issue and some who look back at president clinton, that scandal still sort of lingering over the party with this wynn instance do democrats do something with this or just move on? >> i don't think it's a question of moving on. i think it's part of the larger
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narrative of what republicans stand for. in terms of how their issues and their positions and their rhetoric and their actions impact women, impact students, impact immigrants. and i think that is the dangerous part for republicans is they keep reinforcing this very negative narrative in perception of them through their actions of their leaders, whether it's their president on the way down. and i think at some point the american people want to believe in their government. they want to trust their government. they want to admire their government. and when you don't have a government that you can do any of that with, as is the case i think right now, you want to make a change. and i think that's what you're going to be, i think, seeing and hearing a lot of over the coming months. because i think it's where the country is. and it's definitely i think what democrats are going to try to play off of. >> we should know we're just hearing from the white house that both the president and rnc chair -- the president and white house were made aware by the rnc that wynn would be resigning
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from that post. chris and jennifer, we thank you for your time. >> sure. >> thank you. next, the president's failed attempt to fire robert mueller and how senate democrats are trying to stop it from happening again. (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. discover card. i justis this for real?match, yep. we match all the cash back new cardmembers earn at the end of their first year,
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there is renewed push in washington to protect robert mueller. several democrats and at least one republican have called for a vote on legislation that would prevent the president from removing special counsels. >> the president has to be sent
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a message that there will be a firestorm, that republicans and democrats will join together in the kind of reaction followed the saturday night massacre. >> this after nbc news confirmed that back in june trump ordered the firing of mueller and was only deterred by his white house counsel who threatened to resign. joining me now is josh letterman, national security and foreign policy reporter with the associated press and eliza collins, capitol hill reporter for usa today. is there push to prevent mueller's firing, but there aren't many republicans onboard with this that we've heard publicly anyway. why isn't the gop more supportive of this legislation? >> well, i think the gop doesn't want to get out in front of this story. they don't want to do anything to make president trump mad, especially if president trump isn't going to fire mueller. so i think you're seeing someone like senator lindsey graham who has this up and down relationship with trump but you can't deny he doesn't speak his
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mind, he's a co-sponsor of one of the bills. and senator tom tillis who is sort of more rank and file republican is also co-sponsor of one of these bills, but he sort of stepped back. his office is saying, look, we're not going to push for it right now because we think president trump is not going to fire mueller. i think they just don't want to do anything that can kind of draw the anger of the president when they think it might not actually happen. now, if it does happen, i think you will see some more republicans speak out, but really we don't know what they'll do. >> now that we know that this happened, that there was this movement at least to try to fire mueller, why is that not enough for some republicans? >> i think republicans don't like getting involved in anything controversial with the president. they never know what they'll say and what he'll tweet three hours later that might make them look bad. and so they really like to stay out of it, stay quiet. their favorite things are when these stories break late in the week and they're home and they're not here in washington
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to be asked these questions by reporters. and that's sort of how it's happened. they're not going to get in front of this story. i think if you were to ask most republicans when this comes up they say it would be a bad thing for him to fire mueller, but i don't think he'll do it. that's sort of the line they're pushing right now. >> so knowing that republicans control both the house and the senate, could we expect this push to protect mueller to actually go anywhere? we heard from richard blumenthal a moment ago. is this something they want to have an action taken on or is this really about making a statement? >> well, these bills have been around since the summer and they haven't moved. they're slightly different. so they are saying they're working on a way to combine them. you know, they're not moving quickly and like you just said republicans control the house and senate and they don't want to make the white house angry. so i can't imagine they're going to move quickly on something. now, with this recent news i can bet democrats are going to really be pushing this. >> josh, hypothetically speaking here, who takes over if mueller is removed as special counsel, special prosecutor? >> well, it's a good question.
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there's a complicated process that would have to play out, even just the act of firing the special counsel would really require the deputy attorney general who's now overseeing that in the place of jeff sessions who has recused himself to actually do the firing. and of course if he refused to do so, the president could fire the deputy attorney general and try to find someone who would be willing to do that, setting up a complicated process where everyone would have to take a step back and determine how are we going to restore some legitimacy to making sure this investigation continues. >> so, josh, we know mueller has been interviewing white house staffers for months now. is it reasonable to believe that he knew he was almost fired? and how could that play into his investigation? >> well, it's a good bet that mueller has a pretty good sense of what's been going on behind the scenes with a lot of this because we know he's been talking to dozens of white house officials and others and intimately involved with this and reviewing all of that. so this has to be something that
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is keenly on the special counsel's mind, especially as he's looking into these potential obstruction of justice considerations related to the russia investigation. >> and so what do these developments mean for the potential sit-down between the president and special counsel here, josh? >> aaron, they probably don't have a lot of bearing on whether the president will sit down with bob mueller eventually, that is probably something that's going to happen based on what the special counsel decides he needs to do regardless of whether the president wanted him in that position or not. but what's so striking about it is it shows just how much this crosses a red line that for republicans that even other parts of this investigation did not. and this is one where they're all putting their foot down and the president is obviously going to have to take that into consideration as he looks forward. >> josh ledderman and eliza collins, thank you, appreciate it. 12 days away from another possible shutdown and daca is still on the line. just how much will democrats have to give in order to save
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hundreds of thousands of dreamers? and mayors take a stand after the white house threatens the funding of several sanctuary cities. we'll talk with one of the mayors who boycotted a meeting with the president after the break. why create something this extravagant? or make a back seat that feels nothing like a back seat? why give it every feature you could want, along with a few you didn't know you needed? it's simple. you can build a car, or you can build a cadillac. come in now for this exceptional offer on the cadillac ct6. get this low-mileage lease on this 2018 cadillac ct6 from around $549 per month. visit your local cadillac dealer.
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welcome back. i'm aaron gilchrist at msnbc headquarters in new york city. breaking news, casino mogul steve wynn has resigned as finance chair of the republican national committee. follows a bombshell "the wall street journal" report alleging wynn engaged in a pattern of sexual misconduct that went on for decades. in a statement to nbc news wynn called those allegations preposterous. wynn's casino told nbc they have not received any complaints about wynn. a white house official says president trump was alerted to wynn's resignation before it was made public. at least 95 people are dead and 158 wounded after a taliban attack in afghanistan. the attackers rigged a bomb in an ambulance and drove it past a police checkpoint into a secure area in kabul. the state department condemned today's bombing and says the u.s. stands with the brave people of afghanistan. a growing number of children are falling victim to the flu this year. the centers for disease control
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says 37 kids have died from flu-related illnesses. this year's outbreak is now considered the worst flu since the 2009 swine flu pandemic. ahead of next week's state of the union the white house revealed its immigration plan. it proposes a path to citizenship for daca recipients and eligible dreamers but in exchange president trump wants $25 billion for a border wall and an end to so-called chain migration and the visa lottery system. critics have called the proposal a ransom note. a reminder that lawmakers only have weeks to reach a bipartisan solution here. the president set a march 5th deadline for a daca fix. i'm joined now by contributor raul reyes. thanks for being here. >> my pleasure. >> when it comes to daca, president trump goes back and forth everyone proposing a bill of love. at the same time this is a president who signed a travel ban who's cracking down on immigrants we know. is this latest proposal a daca fix?
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>> well, it could potentially be in theory a daca fix. the problem with it is that it has upset people on both the conservative side and the progressive side of the aisle. for instance, conservatives do not like this plan because they see it as offering what they would call amnesty to the dreamers. it also does not include e-verify, which many conservatives feel is a minimum for any type of immigration deal. and they also feel that it prioritizes a class of undocumented people over immigrants coming here through legal channels. on the other hand you have progressives who don't like this obviously because of the wall, because of this notion that it's pitting one group of immigrants against each other because it would end failing migration and most importantly we have to step back and look at what this plan is doing potentially in exchange for saving the dreamers is really what amounts to a radical restructuring of our legal immigration system. and many of the analysts that i've spoken with about this trying to feel out where they stand on it have pointed out
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that when a country like the united states clamps down on legal channels of immigration, one of the very serious unintended consequences could well be more illegal immigration. >> when we look at the fact that there are so many millions of lives that are going to be impacted by whatever happens, so many lives in limbo, can this plan get some bipartisan support to avoid a shutdown? is there some way to make this more palatable for those who seem to be on opposite ends but not liking this plan. >> that's been a big challenge. as you said the president has varied in terms of what he views as dreamers versus some of the things in this plan. i believe the path forward as seen by lawmakers on both sides is try and come up with some type of narrow fix, basically pairing the dreamers and fix for daca with some type of border security money. not necessarily overall but the only way forward would be a
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narrow fix. the problem with this framework as it's outlined right now is that it's so broad that it's hard to get a consensus. and the other thing is that it's hard to make an economic argument for curtailing legal immigration at a time when our unemployment rate is at a 17-year low, the dow is at 26k, you know, our economy whether you like president trump or not our economy is doing well. so many policy analysts are saying what is the -- what are the policy reasons underlying this type of program? that's a big wild card along with the president's somewhat erratic leadership around this issue. >> we know in congress there are already some members working on an immigration plan, do you think they ignore the president's proposal and keep working to come up with a congressional solution? >> that would seem like it would be the most likely way to achieve some type of success. i mean, it seems to unusual that they would leave the chief executive out of negotiations on something that has -- that is so pivotal and so critical to the
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future of these young people. but that seems to be the consensus in terms of a more realistic approach. you know, immigration obviously is a very contentious issue, but up to now the fate of the dreamers is one thing that has broad public support and even support among lawmakers. the problem is as you add more and more issues and bring in different elements of legal immigration, the diversity lottery, all these other things, it gets harder and harder to get support. so it seems to be the approach worked out by lawmakers keeping it narrow and focused would have the best chance to succeed and actually land on the president's desk. >> raul reyes, thank you. >> thank you. as the fight over immigration continues to heat up, local governments have been caught in the cross hairs. this week the department of justice threatened to pull federal funding for so-called sanctuary cities if they fail to cooperate with immigration officials. in response several mayors decided to boycott an infrastructure meeting with the president including denver mayor michael hancock who tweeted,
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quote, denver doesn't violate federal law and won't be intimidated. mayor hancock joins me now to talk a little more about this. mr. mayor, thank you for being here. >> you bet, aaron. >> you called the doj's immigration letter, the subpoena threat, a quote, destructive ploy meant to distract from the mother probe. what did you mean by that? >> we have seen this time and time again over the tlast 12 months with this administration. every time there seems to be a rise in the investigations around the russian issue or whatever else might be getting to the administration at the time there's always something to distract the media and the nation and to pull them away from the true stories of the day. so it's just another destructive ploy. we saw it and it was really disappointing when mayors were gearing up just a few hours later to go meet with the president. >> now, i know that you had -- you were originally not planning to go to meet with the president and decided to boycott and to make that public once we heard about some of the president's planning and you got this letter
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from the doj. would it have been more helpful not to boycott, to be there in front of the president to air your grievances with president trump? >> actually, when i got -- you know, invitation from the white house just a week prior to going to washington for the meetings, i reluctantly rsvp'd to go. i was about 90% sure i wasn't going to go. but the 10% was about the fact it was not about my personal political thinking around this, the president, his policies and his administration, but the fact that i'm sworn to represent the people of denver. and so i left that option open, but that letter was really the straw that broke the camel's back. and i thought what exactly happened was exactly what i thought would happen, a photo op and theatrics. i've spoken with several mayors including democrats and republicans after the meeting who did participate in the meeting and it turned out to be exactly what i thought it would be. they said it was theatrics, really nothing of substance. the questions that they had planned were scripted and it was
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really just a waste of time and disappointment when they went over there. i don't feel bad i didn't go. >> and you didn't think you'd have a chance to look the president in the eye and say, mr. president, i disagree, this is what i think you're doing wrong? you didn't think there was an opportunity to take advantage of? >> no, absolutely. listen, we have been -- i've been mayor now for almost seven years and gone to that white house dozens of times where we can have honest and candid conversations with the president. there was nothing about this administration, this president gave us any indication that we would be able to have that kind of open communication. and quite frankly that's exactly what happened when the mayors went over. >> so ordinance in denver is that city employees can't ask about or share a person's legal status effectively if the feds ask, the answer would be i don't know. if the feds ask something of the city of denver. is that cooperating with the department of justice and immigration? >> you know, we believe that we are in full cooperation with the federal government with regards to immigration. what we said is we're not going to do your job.
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so the best way to do this to make sure that we don't violate any tenants and values of this city is to make sure our city employees, one, don't ask for information they don't need, any more information they don't need. and, two, if immigration agents want to know the status or the situation of someone who's in our detention, they can present to us the legal warrants and we'll make sure they have the information they need. but other than that we're not going to do the job of i.c.e. >> just a few seconds left here. i do want to mention we know you've been tapped to lead the national conference of democratic mayors now. what's your message for the administration going forward? >> that it's no longer about the administration. at the end of the day this reality show has gotten old. it's the same story week after week. and just like all reality shows it gets old and stale, we move onto other things. it's not about trump. it's not about this administration or our congress that isn't working. quite frankly, mayors are the one who is are getting things done in this nation. the american people are looking for a message that speaks to them as americans and know that their faith in government should
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not and cannot be lost. so we're going to really put mayors to work to begin to spread information around the country with policies and meeting the american people where they are that really i think hopefully sustains and restores the faith that the american people have in their government. >> all right. denver mayor michael hancock. mr. mayor, thanks for being here. >> you bet. thank you, aaron. president trump ordered the firing of robert mueller last june, but backed off when his white house lawyer threatened to quit. does it help make a case for obstruction of justice? we'll discuss that next. first though, a quick programming note, technology makes us faster, smarter and better, but at what cost? msnbc's ari melber and recode co-founder cara switzer discuss how we deal with technology's rapid pace of change in a special msnbc town hall event. one of the topics, russian interference in the 2016 election. >> i think when we look at the elections and stuff, you know,
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democrats see fundamental difference on these things working well and all of us are obviously, you know, very upset that somebody could have influenced the elections. and any part we have played, we want to understand every one of the elections coming so we're all working harder. >> be sure to watch "revolution" google and youtube changing the world tomorrow at 9:00 p.m. eastern on msnbc. one thing in common. they read more. how do they find the time? ... with audible. audible has the world's largest selection of audiobooks. for just $14.95 a month... you get a credit good for any audiobook ... and you can roll your credits to the next month if you don't use them. audible members get free no hassle exchanges ... and use the mobile app to listen anytime, anywhere. start a 30-day trial and your first audiobook is free. listening, is the new reading. text audio22 to five hundred five hundred to start listening today.
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each day unearthing a new revelation or giving us a glimpse into exactly what special counsel robert mueller is looking into. the headlines came fast and furious from learning that attorney general jeff sessions spent hours being questioned by mueller's team last week to perhaps the biggest development so far. the "new york times" first reporting that president trump ordered mueller fired last year but was talked out of it. all of it putting an increasing focus on whether president trump obstructed justice. joining me now to break this down msnbc legal analyst and former federal prosecutor paul butler. and nbc news national security contributor and former assistant director -- fbi director for counterintelligence frank figlusi. we appreciate you being here. paul, i want to put to you first the question -- looks like we're having trouble with paul being able to hear us. frank, i'll ask you to look at this idea of mueller being -- the firing of mueller being ordered even though it didn't
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ultimately happen, is this an example of obstruction of justice? >> yeah, i think it's important to understand that the statute that talks to obstruction of justice federally includes the word endeavor. so you don't actually have to go through with the event to obstruct. just trying or attempting can satisfy the elements of the statute. so ordering the firing, wanting to do it is part of a long list now that we have of everything that the president has done that points toward obstruction. whether it's firing jim comey, whether it's telling the attorney general not to recuse himself, whether it's writing a letter that says that the meeting at trump tower with the russians was all about child adoption. this attempt is just yet another piece of evidence toward an obstruction case. >> frank, there's a good chance that robert mueller knew -- already knew that the president wanted him fired. what does that do for this investigation? what does he do with that information? >> well, i think it's important
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that he already knew for a significant legal reason. he already knew because likely he was told by white house staff, right? we know he's interviewed approximately 20 members of the white house staff including the white house counsel. so we have the president coming out publicly as he's leaving davos, right? he says this is fake news. this never happened. he's actually potentially impeaching the credibility of his own white house staff and can be confronted with this with the written statements of his own staff saying, no, boss, we told mueller you wanted to fire him and now we've got this back and forth where the president's credibility is impeached by his staff, the president is pointing fingers at his own staff saying that that's not accurate. it's quite a dilemma that the president has painted himself into and his legal counsel now is between a rock and a hard place when they negotiate an interview or not an interview with mueller. and this is the real question, who does it harm more if no interview takes place?
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there's an interesting theory here that it might actually harm mueller more than the president if no interview takes place because any charges brought against the president are more likely to end up in an impeachment proceeding than they are in court, especially if it's obstruction. and so that court of public opinion becomes really important. and if congress members, partisan politicians can say our president never had the chance to defend himself, never set the record straight with mueller, this is going to be a problem for an impeachment proceeding. >> i want to bring in paul butler now. paul, when you look at what we know so far in this investigation, last january president trump asked the fbi director then james comey for his loyalty, in march the president reportedly asked comey to let go of the michael flynn investigation, that same month the president reportedly fumed about attorney general jeff sessions recusing himself from the investigation. we know comey was fired in may. and now we know the president ordered the firing of special counsel robert mueller.
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could you make an obstruction case out of all those things? >> you can. so president trump's defense has been that he's clueless, not corrupt. he's just not familiar with how washington works and the separation between the executive and the justice department. but that defense falls apart when we see this long and distinguished list of law enforcement officers who the president either fires or tries to pressure. so we recently learned about mueller before as you note it was comey. it was sally yates. he's made inappropriate overtures to fbi director christopher wray, to the deputy director andrew mccabe. so there comes a point when this is strong evidence of his criminal intent, which is what's necessary to make an obstruction case. >> so, paul, will we see obstruction charges before or after the entire russia investigation is wrapped up including the aspect looking at collusion?
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>> you know that's all in the hands of special counsel mueller who's keeping his cards close to the vest, very appropriate for a prosecutor in sensitive investigation like this. he's got a couple of options. he could bring charges against everybody but president trump since most lawyers think that the president can't be indicted while he's in office. but he can write a report suggesting that congress consider impeachment hearings. and, aaron, one concern about this very important breaking news about the president inappropriately trying to pressure mueller is that there's been a big lack of outrage from republicans, and republicans are the people who will be responsible for impeachment. so we have a crisis in our democracy if it turns out that the president has obstructed justice and the congress -- the republicans let him get away with it. >> all right. paul butler, frank, we appreciate your time, thanks. >> great to be here. who knew and who kept quiet? next, michigan's attorney
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general announces a major investigation into how dr. larry nassar's abuse of women went unnoticed at michigan state university for nearly 20 years. , you want to protect it. at legalzoom, our network of attorneys can help you every step of the way. with an estate plan including wills or a living trust that grows along with you and your family. legalzoom. where life meets legal. we are the tv doctors of america, and we may not know much about medicine, but we know a lot about drama. we also know that you can avoid drama by getting an annual check-up. so go, know, and take control of your health. it could save your life. cigna. together, all the way.
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>> more fall out from the sexual abuse scandal. an open and on-going investigation regarding sexual misconduct at the university. it comes on the heels of the sentencing of the former michigan state physician dr. larry nassar. he is accused of abusing 150 girls and faces up to 175 years in prison. lindsay gibes, for "thing progress." you have been following u.s.a gymnastics for a while, now that entire board has retired, what is next?
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>> usa gymnastics is facing civil liability, they are losing sponsors, threatened with de-certification. >> we know the board resigned. that was a requirement here. the olympic committee wants them to undergo training, ethics retraining within six months, is that going to be enough? what more needs to be done to remedy all the damage that is being felt by so many women in the sport? >> you have to change the culture. all of these rules and regulations are good steps and necessary steps, unless you change a culture that is suppressing the voices of the
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athletes, making them too afraid to speak up when things are wrong, and abuse, verbal, physical in this case, sexual, you are not going to change anything. you have to somehow empower the women and put things in place that you know, make officials more afraid of not protecting children than afraid of being liable for something. >> getting rid of the board start that process, do you think? >> yes, i think it is a good start. i don't think you can go forward with the board in place. there is a long, long way to go. there needs to be oversight and transparency every step of the way. we haven't seen they they are willing to do that. >> the michigan attorney general is praising the victims for their bravery. listen to this. >> if we have learned anything from the nassar sentencing, there are too many voices of too
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many victims have been unheard for too long. of the many decisions we made in the nassar prosecution, one of which i am most proud is the decision to require to insist upon victim impact statements. >> how much weight did the victim impact statements have in the courtroom? >> enormous weight. are you talking about 156 survivors who told heart-breaking stories, and showed tremendous bravery. the reporting indy star has done on this has been out there for a while. it is only now, when the world sees these brave women telling their most deeply personal stories in public, people are finally beginning to notice and that goes double for rachael hollander, the first one to come forward by name, to indy star in
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august of 2616. >> i am curious. women calling for a select committee to investigate theus olympic committee and usa gymnastics now, how does this scandal compare to other recent sports scandals in recent history? >> usa swimming and with sex abuse scandals. there is a culture that is really unsafe especially for young girls and young aths let, we have to change that. and congress investigating is a good start. >> thank you both for your reporting, and for being here today. >> thank you. >> breaking news, casino mobile steve wynn steps down as finance chair in wake of sexual misconduct investigation. what the move could mean to republicans he donated to and
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the president.
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we begin with breaking news, billionaire, steve wynn, has resigned as finance chairman of the republican national committee. a short time ago, nbc news received a message, today, i accepted steve wynn's resig nation as republican national committee finance chair. this after a report alleged that
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he -- wynn casino has not received any complaint bs wynn. joining me now, political, i want to start with you, we are getting new information about what the president was told about wynn's resignation, what can you tell us about that? >> we learned that ryan mcdan l mcdanieled president trump t she called the president when he was on air force one, returning from switzerland. this has become politically