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tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  May 21, 2018 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT

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quick programming note. tomorrow night right here live in stud owe, here for the interview will be james clapper, the director of national intelligence during the obama administration. he served right up until inauguration day 2017 when trump was sworn in. he has a lot to say, and he's going to say it here tomorrow night in an extended interview. i'm very much looking forward to it. which means i'm nervous. see you again tomorrow. now it's time for "the last word with lawrence o'donnell" good evening, lawrence. >> good evening, rachel. you'll be great tomorrow night. don't even think about it. i watched your opening tonight with -- and i -- you know, i had actually forgotten some of those horrifying moments in what is now the recent history of the justice department, the last year and a half of the justice department. but the thing we're dealing with
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this tonight, the way rod rosenstein responded yesterday to the president's tweet and today in the meeting. the longer i've stared at it i find myself coming down on the side of what other choice did he have? the live to fight another day view of it. >> talking to congressman jim himes, talking to ben wittes, both of them actually sort of came to the same conclusion, this is horrible appeaseable, slippery slope stuff, they are breaking precedents that are priceless and can you blame them? >> right. >> given the circumstances that they're in, maybe there is a greater good that they are trying to sacrifice for. the question is whether or not the sacrifices buy them anything toward that greater good and we just don't know it yet. >> i always found -- i had to learn this, actually, working in
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the senate. when the other side is demanding something of you, you always look at it, as long as you can trying to find, is there anything in there i can give them, is there anything? and rosenstein is now in politics, in a way na-a deputy attorney general hasn't been for a very, very long time. this takes us back to a previous era of politics when the justice department was politicized but in the modern era it hasn't been. so he's in politics now. when he looks at a trump moment, he has to look at it like a politician and figure out is there a way i can deal with this that looks like i'm dealing -- that trump will believe i'm dealing with it at least. >> there's also a reptilian brain level at which this operates, which is when you show weakness you invite bullying, when you give you you invite the next shove to be harder.
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for the justice department to be breaking precedent over and over again, you've seen the way the trump administration, the president himself, have reacted by asking for more and more more outrageous, more outlandishing with more damaging information and forcing the justice department to give it and give it to the point they're giving information that would be absolutely unimaginable for the justice department to cough up even a couple months ago. the fact they are apparently at this meeting giving congressional investigations information about a confidential source in an ongoing investigation and this is something the justice department sees as crown jewels that it has to protect, the fact they have to hand that over in some way, shape or form tomorrow or when ever they host the meeting, that gets you to places where you never could have seen yourself
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behaving quite recently. >> rod rosenstein has to think that, every day and night, what is trump going to demand of me next and is that the moment i have no choice but to resign? what's that next thing he's going to ask for? >> where is my -- where am i unbreakable? why would i know that i am doing more damage by saying yes than by saying no? all of these lines that you would have drawn in advance of this situation we have already passed. >> yes. long past. >> now that we're in them each new calculation brings us into uncharted territory. >> thanks, rachel frmg be thanks. >> at the end of his first year of president, donald trump decided to once again give an exclusive interview to the newspaper which he calls the failing "new york times." and each time he gives an interview to that newspaper that he calls the failing "new york
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times," he's really proving that his real view of it is the important "new york times." and in that interview, the president of the united states said, i have absolute right to do what i want to do with the justice department. now that statement was a public threat to the integrity of the mission of everyone working in the justice department, including the fbi, which is a part of the justice department. since the j. edgar hoover era of the fbi, when presidents routinely tried to use the fbi for their own political purposes, the fbi and the justice department have worked very hard to establish operational independence from the president. after president richard nixon was caught trying to use the fbi for political purposes and forced to resign the presidency, all subsequent presidents were careful to never appear to be trying to influence the work of the fbi or the justice department. when special prosecutors were appointed to investigate presidents or their
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administrations, which was traditional for the presidents attorney general to choose a special prosecutor from the opposing party of the president so that the investigation would be considered uncompromisable by the special prosecutor's political affinity, if not loyalty to the president. then donald trump changed all that. donald trump got a special prosecutor, who is a rubble. a special prosecutor who is a member of donald trump's own party. but that didn't stop donald trump from attacking the special prosecutor for leading a witch hunt, as he called it. everyone working in the justice department has known for a long time now that the integrity of their mission is under attack by the president of the united states. an attack that has been joined by many republican members of the house of representatives. and so you have a choice to make, if you're working in the trump justice department. you can completely sell out all of your integrity to donald trump, which no one in the
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justice department seems to have done, not publically anyway. you can resign. you can resign from the trump justice department over the principle that the justice department must be operationally independent from political pressure from the president. but no one in the justice department resigned when the president said last year, i have absolute right to do what i want to do with the justice department. another president saying something like that could have easily provoked the resignation of the attorney general and the deputy attorney general, and the assistant attorneys general. a third option for people working in the trump justice department is to adapt. adapt to the president's assault on the integrity of the justice department, and figure out a way to continue doing your jobs. while the president continues his attack on the integrity of the justice department.
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and that seems to be what most people in the justice department have done. they have adapted. they have adapted to trump so that they can continue to fulfill the oath they all took to, quote, defend the constitution of the united states against all enemies foreign and domestic. some people using the old model of what justice department officials should do if the president tries to interfere in their investigations predicted yesterday that deputy attorney general rod rosenstein would simply have to resign on principle after donald trump tweeted this. i hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the department of justice look into whether or not the fbi/doj infiltrated or surveilled the trump campaign for political purposes. and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the obama administration!
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but rod rosenstein was ready for this. he could see this one coming. and because this is not the old world order in which justice department independence is prized by everyone in washington, rod rosenstein did not resign in protest over a donald trump tweet. instead, within hours of that tweet yesterday afternoon, rod rosenstein issued a statement saying, if anyone did infiltrate or surveil participants in a presidential campaign for inappropriate purposes, we need to know about it and take appropriate action. now understand rod rosenstein is in a position to already know whether anyone did infiltrate or surveil participants in a presidential campaign. he already knows that that did not happen. rod rosenstein certainly already
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knows what has been publically reported, that someone in england had a couple of conversations with a couple of people who were affiliated with the trump campaign and that source, in england, told the fbi about those conversations. that is not infiltrated or surveilled, as donald trump put it. so rod rosenstein already knows that no one is going to find that the fbi infiltrated or surveilled the trump campaign for political purposes. as the trump tweet put it. rod rosenstein knows that there was an investigation of russian interference in the presidential campaign and possible russian influence and assistance to the trump campaign, and that that investigation was not conducted for political purposes but for national security purposes. and so, it is no big deal that rod rosenstein and the justice department, in response to the president's tweet, quote, asked
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the inspector general to expand the ongoing review of the fisa application process to include determining whether there was any impropriety or political motivation in how the fbi conducted its counterintelligence investigation of persons suspected of involvement with the russian agents who interfered in the 2016 presidential election. so yesterday after noon the president demands via tweet that the justice department investigate itself and the justice department said, okay, we will. and in the statement announcing the investigation, very conclusively, without a shadow of a doubt, the statement said that russian agents interfered in the 2016 presidential election. in that same statement the justice department says that it was a counterintelligence investigation. the president's tweet yesterday came a day before a
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long-scheduled meeting at the white house with the president, deputy attorney general rod rosenstein, fbi director christopher wray and the director of national intelligence dan coats. so media speculation was filled with the question of would rosenstein basically passing of the trump tweet to the inspector general be good enough for the president? will the president demand something grander than a inspector general investigator? will he demand a new special prosecutor when he met with rod rosenstein at 3:00 p.m. today. and once again, rod rosenstein appears to be one of the expert adapters to the presidency of donald trump because the president did accept rod rosenstein's handing off of the president's demand to the inspector general. and so, rod rosenstein did not resign today. that's the big news. rod rosenstein did not resign today. rod rosenstein did not do what most members of previous justice
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departments would have done if a president publically threatened the integrity of their mission. rod rosenstein did not give the president what the president has wanted so badly for so long, rod rosenstein's resignation. instead, rod rosenstein gave the president an investigation by the inspector general. the lowest level investigation that the justice department conducts, and it is an investigation to which rod rosenstein already knows all the answers. rod rosenstein knows that the inspector general is not going to find that the fbi, doj infiltrated or surveilled the trump campaign for political purposes. the president did not get rod rosenstein's resignation today. so the president will not be appointing a new deputy attorney general tomorrow who would be empowered to immediately close down robert mueller's investigation.
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and instead of a new deputy attorney general closing down the mueller investigation tomorrow, rod rosenstein will go back to work tomorrow at his desk in the justice department overseeing and supporting robert mueller's investigation of the president of the united states. joining our discussion now jill wine-banks former assistant prosecutor, harry litman, deputy attorney general under president clinton, and david frum, senior editor for the atlantic and author. jill wine-banks i want to go to you with your prosecutorial experience and your reaction to how rod rosenstein handled this latest public crisis? >> i think rod rosenstein played this exactly right. it's not an ideal world because in an ideal world the president would not be demanding this, and
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if he did demand it, the answer would be, i know the answer and the answer is that you have no evidence to support this, and we only start investigations when there is probable cause, and there is no probable cause here, there is nothing to be investigating. that would be the ideal answer in an ideal world. but in this case we have to play chess with the president who doesn't know how to play chess and the fact that rod rosenstein is still the deputy attorney general is a good thing. and so, i think he handled it appropriately. i'm outraged that the president is asking for this. i'm also disturbed because i believe that the president and his base will not believe the answer when it comes out, saying there is nothing here. there is no evidence to support it and the investigation was totally appropriate, it started based on someone from a foreign country reporting to the fbi
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that there was something going on between russia and your campaign. and that evidence was true and correct and deserved to be investigated. so it's a very tricky question because after this investigation it's still not going to be believed, even though it should have been believed right now today, rod rosenstein could have said, i know i've investigated this and i know that there's nothing there. >> harry litman, to jill's point. rod rosenstein, better than anyone since -- unlike the attorney general who's recused himself, rod rosenstein has overseen everything, he knows everything, is in on a position to know everything about how all of these investigative processes started, what they know, what they've discovered. so he's sitting there tonight, it seems, knowing the answer to what the president wants answered. >> that's the strength, as jill said, that can form his actions.
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i would use a baseball analogy instead of chess, he threw a bean ball at the head and rod rosenstein was able to foul it off. the ig referral is the right place for something like this. the wrong place is a criminal investigation. it was outrageous and grewsome for trump to request it. when anybody, citizen or president of the united states, says an fbi agent has acted inappropriately, that's the ig's province. so it isn't outrageous. i think it's correct. that he was able -- this was a temperatu -- makes sense. i would distinguish it with the other action that they agreed to show the confidential information to nunez and company, that's an abomination. >> there's some question about what they will see.
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jim com john kelly saying they're going to review the information. i don't think we'll know what they'll be shown and what will be revealed to them in that kind of meeting. >> may i disagree with the entire panel, with you, rachel, and ben wittes, but that means i'm probably wrong but i'm going to disagree with you. >> please do. >> i understand where people say rod rosenstein did the right thing, because they are thinking very much in the way lawyers think. a lawyer doing his job properly is found with something grossly improper, maybe illegal, maybe not illegal, request from the president and he's fended it off to live another day. and to think i am going to be fired one day and my job here is to find the maximum damaging time for that to happen and to if i c pick that moment at the right moment and do as much as i can to draw public attention to it.
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today may have been that day. i think there's a strong case that the country would today -- i understand the reasons why the country is well off and served by mr. rosenstein, which is another scenario. he comes to the president, i won't do it sir and i won't quit. you can fire me. and by the way, mr. rosenstein has three other resignations in his pocket. and you create -- you respond -- rachel said a very good thing, you respond to the lizard brain you treat this like a confrontation to a dangerous president. maybe it eats you anyway and we're in a constitutional crisis. but this slow moving of norms -- we're all worse off than we were. and at some point someone is going to have to fight and maybe today was that day. >> jill, david really writes a very compelling scene there, and
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i suppose the question for rod rosenstein is simply, is this that day? that moment that david puts in the scene where rod rosenstein is looking for if it's going to be his exit, is this the maximum impact exit that he could have? i, for one, would suspect there are other days coming to rod rosenstein where he'll be faced with this decision. >> i think i agree with you. david definitely made a very compelling case. and it is something that has concerned me almost since the election, because i think we saw, in hitler's day and i know people don't like that analogy, but he didn't change everything all at once, he ate away at the fabric of society, a little at a time, first it was one thing, then another extension and another extension. so david's point is very well
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taken that that's what we're seeing is one step at a time. we faced this during watergate, when the saturday night massacre happened it wasn't clear whether we the staff had been fired or only archie cox had been fired. we debated whether we should resign in protest, and archie met with us and said absolutely not. you know this case. if you leave, it will delay things, hurt the final outcome. you need to stay as long as you possibly can to get the maximum evidence that you can. and so, we did not resign in protest. and we were reinstated. it turned out we had been fired, the office had been abolished. but because of the public reaction of absolute horror of what had happened, president nixon was forced to reappoint a new special prosecutor and he was forced to reappoint us as an
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office. it may be they're very close to having enough evidence that they can use to show the american public what is really happening and if they can stay for even a little longer it's a good thing. we don't know that. right now we just have to trust that rosenstein made the right decision and that at some point people will stand up and say, enough is sufficient, and we have to defend democracy. >> harry militman, i was confidt in my view of this until i heard david frum lay out that scene which is so morally powerful and compelling. i just rewatched "judgment at numberberg" where the defendants were complaining of how can you blame the 6 million on us, they were judges in that case, you'll remember, we just sentenced individual people, and the great spencer tracie line at the end of the movie where he says the
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first time you sentenced someone who you knew was not guilty, that's when you became responsible for all of them. >> look, that's a sympathetic line. but i think what david is portraying, and he does do it compelingly, is essentially a political analysis, when can i do the most damage? i wouldn't say that's the analyst. the analysis is when have i been asked to do something that violates the dna of the justice department and that's when rosenstein should stand up and there's the tangible offer of going to court and winning. i don't think it would be the ig investigation, but it would be showing devin nunes the confidential informant. when we come back it turns out that donald trump jr. did have another meeting in trump
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tower with people from foreign countries trying to help the campaign. and that meeting has proven that one witness testifying to the house has probably committed perjury. but as it grew bigger and bigger, it took a whole lot more. that's why i switched to the spark cash card from capital one. with it, i earn unlimited 2% cash back on everything i buy. everything. and that 2% cash back adds up to thousands of dollars each year... so i can keep growing my business in big leaps! what's in your wallet? if you have moderate to severe plaque psoriasis, little things can be a big deal. that's why there's otezla. otezla is not an injection or a cream. it's a pill that treats psoriasis differently. with otezla, 75% clearer skin is achievable after just 4 months, ... with reduced redness, thickness, and scaliness of plaques.
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the weekend the "new york times" revealed another meeting at trump tower in which representatives of foreign governments apparently offered to help the trump campaign. erik prince arranged the meeting
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on august 3, 2016 with donald trump jr., george nader, who is an emissary for two wethy arab princes. and an israeli social media specialist. nader told donald trump jr. that the princes who led saudi arabia and the united arab emirates were eager to help his father. by that time his firm had already drawn up a multi-million dollar proposal for a social media manipulation effort to help elect mr. trump. the times said donald trump jr. responded approveingly according to a person with knowledge of the meeting. the times adds, quote, after mr. trump was elected. mr. nader paid mr. zamel a large sum of money, described by one associate up to $2 million.
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donald trump jr.'s attorney released this statement. prior to 2016 election, donald trump jr. recalls a meeting with erik prince, george nay der, they pitched him on a social media platform, he was not interested in. erik prince's roll in arranging the meeting contradicts his testimony to the house committee in a way that sure looks like perjury. togeth according to the transcript he had this exchange. aside from writing these papers donating, supporting in a -- mr. prince, yard sign in myrd -- my yard. mr. rooney, so there was no other formal communications or contact with the pain? mr. prince correct. joining us now the co-author of
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the new book how to rig an election to be published tomorrow. and david frum is back with us. brian your reading of this. >> it speaks to their willingness to at least attempt to collude with foreign actors in the election. and it talks to the fact that they ever willing to use business interests with groups like saudi arabia and the united arab emirates to influence foreign policy. remember president trump attacked qatar on twitter which is a rival of the saudis and the arab emirates. so is it because of the this? there's this pattern of willing to collude, whether or not they succeeded, they tried. that's something disqualifying, even if not illegal. >> there's so much to talk about
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here, but the one point that jumps out at me is the casual ease of which erik prince person purgers himself with the campaign, saying the lawn sign and nothing else. here he is donald trump jr. confirming that erik prince was in that meeting through his lawyer. >> here are a couple of other things that leap out. notice the disparaging way that uae and saudi talk about jared kushner. notice how jared kushner is doing business shortly thereafter with qatar. it looks like what is going on is a bidding war in which qatar is placing its chips on jared kushner. and saudi arabia and uae is trying to buy their way to donald trump jr. it's not that the campaign is for sale, it's that it's for auction. i think jared kushner probably comes at a higher price than don
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junior. the other thing that's striking is a business partner of george nader and people remember him because he's the man, although he hires sophisticated lawyers, hired michael cohen to deliver funds to a woman with whom elliott broad dy said he had an affair, a baby, that was aborted by the woman. and the next day, after the payments were issued, elliott bro bro broaddy got a meeting with the white house. i think there are a lot of pieces with the puzzle. >> let's listen to what congressman adam schiff said t about it. >> if these facts are accurate. it demonstrates not only how willing but eager the president's son and trump campaign were to solicit to receive foreign help. receiving, soliciting with, using foreign assistance is a
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crime. you're not allowed the help friendly or unfriendly. >> it's not career what donald trump knew about the legality about this. >> that's not an excuse from the presidential campaign. if you think about the drip, drip, drip of these stories of foreign influence in the election. if they all dropped at one time, we would have been shocked. we would have realized this campaign had engaged in disqualifying behavior that meant they should be nowhere near america's national security, secrets, the integrity of our elections. yet because it's every few months a new story comes out, the trump tower meeting of july, the trump tower meeting of august, these things are building a pattern that should really shock us, i think unfortunately we're becoming numb to this pattern of disqualifying behavior and every time they deny it and there's more reporting and it becomes clear they're lying and then they acknowledge it and the goal
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posts move. we need to acknowledge this is not acceptable for anyone trying to become the president of the united states to behave like this or their family members to behave like this in a run up to the election. >> congresswoman swalwell said what worried him is the word got out about the vulnerability of the trump campaign. >> what is so unusual is the number of foreign nationals reaching out to the trump campaign. i think part of what was going on here is that the candidate himself was inviting russia to attack and other countries started to see this guy, he's open to doing business with anyone. he's transactional, gullible. maybe we can get our interests before him. so he's almost inviting them to come and make these different approaches. >> david frum, your reaction to that. >> rudy giuliani said what about the rest of the world. stories about japan making
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the only true progressive for senate. change california now is responsible for the content of this advertising. . the last thing you want is diplomacy to be ended or to have a meeting with president trump and you continue to play him because they've done that for 30 years.
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trump is not obama. he's not going to tolerate that. he wants a win-win. if they don't show up that's the end of diplomacy. if they do show up and try to play trump that means military conflict is the only thing left. and if we have a conflict with north korea they will lose it not us. >> so we are back to military threats. the "new york times" reports president trump increasingly concerned that his summit meeting in singapore next month could turn into an embarrassment has gun pressing his aides and allies about whether he should take the meeting that he leapt into accepting. on thursday and friday, he peppered aides with questions of the wisdom of proceeding. and on saturday night he called president moon of south korea to ask why the public statements seem to contradict the statements con veyed by president moon.
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president trump will meet with president moon tomorrow to prepare for the summit with kim jong-un. joining us rick, stengle, your reaction to the latest of it. >> well, barack obama used to say about any negotiation with the other country, we can't want it more than they do. president trump wants it more than kim does. president moon is desperate for it. that is the problem, they have leverage over us. i want to make the case for good old facted pain staking diplomacy. that means you have to negotiate before you deliver the president. you have to say what do you mean exactly by denuclearization? i would wager what we mean and north korea means is wildly apart. nobody did that because trump dl delivered himself before any
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negotiation. >> there's a smoke and mirror of the presidency. and people say is the nobel peace prize something he deserves. but the supporters believe he's won in north korea already. what's risky here as we go rushing in to this high-stakes summit and it doesn't work because trump doesn't do his homework, listen to experts and doesn't get the job done because kim is not willing to denuclearization. so the real risk is once that diplomatic road ends, what else is there? that is where we are rushing twashds a very serious escalation of the conflict due to trump's ignorance of diplomacy and the region. >> what other president would you swing between two extremes like donald trump, peace and nobel prize or nuclear
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armagedd armageddon. he doesn't have an in between because he is ignorant, he doesn't know how to negotiate. he's in a position where it's a wonderful thing or disastrous thing. >> it seems like lindsey graham has decided the good cop president needs a bad cop and lindsey graham is going to be the bad cop and start threatening war again with north korea. >> that's extremely dangerous. if it's nuclear it's going to be potentially millions of people. if it's conventional war, seoul could be decimated. so we have high stakes with a president who makes foreign policy on twitter without listening to experts, running it by his aides, without thinking of the next strategic step forward. now they put out a coin that has president trump's face next to kim jong-un. the white house released it. they're putting the stamp of approval of the white house on the most murderous dictator, aside from assad potential, in
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the world. they're giving up massive amounts of lev raj and we're convening towards a break down in diplomacy, with little optimism of them giving up their weapons. >> thank you both for joining us, appreciate it. coming up, paul ryan's reign as speaker of the house is to end in january of next year but some how republicans want to get rid of him right now. (vo) why are subaru outback owners always smiling? because they've chosen the industry leader.
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republican source blaming house speaker paul ryan for the collapse of the republican farm bill last week. obviously the house freedom caucus is to blame but this is the problem when you have a lame duck speaker who announces he's leaving eight months in advance. he can make calls to members to vote for something but who cares? why announce eight months in advance? some other candidate has to run in your place so you have to announce and should announce sooner than that. so what other models do we have of a speaker of the house deciding not to run for reelection to his seat and still maintaining speaker of the house. there's tip on kne'neil who annd that 1984 would be his last
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campaign. so he ran as a self-proclaimed lame duck for what would be his final two years in congress. and tip o'neill exercised his full authority as speaker of the house every day of those final two years in congress with everyone in washington knowing that tip o'neill was a lame duck and when he did not run for his district in 1986, the democrats easily held onto his seat and picked up five more seats in the election of 1986. paul ryan's career in congress is on its way to ending in a whimper, unless it ends in outright humiliation by a group of republicans who are reportedly plotting to throw paul ryan out of the speakership this summer. not even let him serve out the rest of his term in the speakership. by the time paul ryan publically announced he was not going to run for reelection for his seat
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in wisconsin he was already facing a strong democratic challenge for that seat led by randy bryce and now paul ryan may be facing a challenge to his remaining days as speaker. he might just get kicked out by his own republicans. "the washington post" columnist, e.j. deon joins us to discuss the collapse of the speaker ryan leadership. whatever you do to stay healthy. you might be missing something. your eyes. that's why there's ocuvite. ocuvite helps replenish nutrients
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i've said all along my plan is to stay here and run through
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the tape. i've talked to a lot of members, a lot of members who think it's in all of our best interest for this leadership's team to stay in place and run through the tape. >> run through the tape. paul ryan's dream of running through that finish line tape, at the finish line of his speakership, might be destroyed by some republicans who want to throw him out of the speakership as soon as possible. we're joined now by e.j. dionne, an opinion writer for "the washington post" and msnbc political analyst and co-author of the new book "one nation after trump." e.j., we have seen speakers leave congress, go into retirement, do it quite gracefully, hold on to every bit of their power right up until the last day because the speaker is always the speaker. but apparently the speaker is not always the speaker if the speaker is paul ryan. >> exactly. i mean he may run through the tape, but they may move the tape up about five miles in that race.
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i mean the house republicans have gotten so close to trump that they are really channeling the white house's approach to governing, which is all back-stabbing all the time. their caucus is a mess. the freedom caucus is always in rebellion on the right wing, but now moderates are also in rebellion. it was that twin reaction that brought down the farm bill. republicans fear that they are going to lose this fall's election, that they're going to lose their majority, and this puts no one in a good mood and makes everyone a bit paranoid. then you've got house majority leader kevin mccarthy, who has a lean and hungry look even when he denies that he wants to knock out paul ryan. you have all kinds of people leaking that really they should replace ryan with mccarthy. president trump is much closer to mccarthy than he is to ryan. but mccarthy's problem is that he doesn't seem to have 218
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votes right now. so even republicans who want to knock out ryan may not yet have the capacity to do so, which will only let this roiling mess continue. >> and mick mulvaney, the president's budget director, who was just prior to the trump election a member of congress, house chairman -- he told a "weekly standard" conference last week that they've been thinking about this and discussing it. he said he discussed it with kevin mccarthy. he said, i've talked with kevin about this privately but not as much publicly. wouldn't it be great to force a democrat running in a tight race to have to put up or shut up about voting for nancy pelosi eight weeks before an election? that's a really, really good vote for us if we can figure out how to do it. and so, e.j., he's there coming
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up with the theory that what this will play as for them is that the democrats all getting together on that vote comes for a new speaker to vote for nancy pelosi while the republicans are all voting for kevin mccarthy, and everyone will notice that the democrats voted for nancy pelosi, as if that would be the news of the date in that story. >> yeah. this misses on a number of levels. first of all, the main story would be that the republicans can't even keep their speaker there through the election. but secondly, i actually looked at charlie cook's numbers. and if you look at the five most vulnerable seats, four of them are open seats. so there wouldn't be anybody there to vote for nancy pelosi. that wouldn't be a problem for them. and at most there would be a handful, maybe a half dozen members, most of whom have already cast votes for pelosi. so i don't think this works as politics, and i think the
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spectacle of republicans knocking out their leader would inevitably be the big story. but the fact that mulvaney is leaking stuff like that suggests how much pressure there is against ryan and maybe how much the trump white house would still like him out of there. >> e.j. dionne, thanks for joining us tonight. really appreciate it. >> great to be with you. thanks. tonight's last word is next. hold on dad... liberty did what? yeah, liberty mutual 24-hour roadside assistance 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. ( ♪ ) it's the details that make the difference. only botox® cosmetic is fda approved
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thursday marked the one-year anniversary of the start of
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robert mueller's investigation, which is the first anniversary trump actually remembered. just ask his wife, melanie. >> staten island's colin jost gets tonight's last word. "the 11th hour" with brian williams starts now. tonight the supervisor of the mueller effort, rod rosenstein, shows up at the white house after the president demands an investigation into his investigators. we've got the latest reporting from inside the west wing. plus another trump tower meeting involving donald trump jr. and foreign nationals of interest to robert mueller. and the president now wondering aloud how smart it is to sit down with kim jong-un. what it might mean for the summit which is supposed to be under three weeks away. "the 11th hour" on a monday night begins now. on a monday night, good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. day 487 of the trump