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tv   All In With Chris Hayes  MSNBC  August 24, 2018 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT

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thanks for being with us. "all in" with chris hayes starts right now. tonight on "all in" -- >> he has relinquished leadership and management of the trump organization to his sons don and eric and a long-time trump executive allen weisselberg. >> immunity for allen weisselberg, the man trump put in charge of his business along with his sons. >> don, eric, and allen are committed to ensuring that the activities of the trump organization are beyond reproach. >> the man who allegedly helped cohen with his hot money payoff. >> i've spoken to allen weisselberg about how to set the whole thing up with -- >> what are we going to pay? >> funding. >> the man who has been trump's money man for decades. >> my chief financial officer allen weisselberg. wait until you see allen. >> tonight, why this immunity deal could be the biggest catch yet. >> mr. president, what does
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weisselberg know? >> then, just how many different investigations are looking at the president? plus, everything else that's been happening while the presidency is in crisis. >> we're canceling obama's illegal anti-coal destroying regulations. >> when "all in" starts right now. >> allen. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. the president of the united states began this week with a two-day tweetstorm attacking robert mueller and anyone even seemingly tangentially connected with the russia investigation. but as the weekends it is trump and seemingly anyone tangentially connected to him who find themselves in deep trouble. and the thing of it is mueller may be the least of their worries. trump's campaign chairman has been convicted of multiple felonies. just a few days ago. seems like a while. his long-time personal lawyer pleaded guilty to felonies and directly implicated the president in federal crimes. his 23re7bd at the "national enquirer" has an immunity deal, and somewhere the contents of
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that safe full of trump dirt loom over the president. and now today his entire business empire, the very thing that defines donald j. trump, appears to be caught in the crosshairs of multiple investigations. the president has been railing against so-called rats, his word, who cooperate with law enforcement. and today we found out that one of the highest-ranking executives of the trump organization has been doing exactly that. nbc news confirming a report by the "wall street journal" that cfo allen weisselberg, the most senior exec. not named trump, was granted immunity in the investigation of michael cohen. according to the "washington post," he testified before a grand jury in manhattan last month. a source tells nbc news that weisselberg is the individual referred to in the cohen charging documents as executive 1, who according to prosecutors orchestrated the reimbursement to cohen for his hush money payments to stormy daniels under false pretenses. this is from those documents. "executive 1 forwarded the
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invoice to another executive of the company, executive 2, the same day by e-mail, and it was approved. executive 1 forwarded that e-mail to another employee at the company stating, "please pay from the trust. post to the legal expenses. put retainer for the months of january and february 2017 in the description." according to prosecutors, there was no retainer agreement with cohen and the invoice was not connected to any legal services he performed. weisselberg was also mentioned by name on that secret audiotape of cohen and the president planning the hush money payment to karen mcdougal. >> i need to open up a company for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend david so that -- i'm going to do that right away. i've actually come up and and i've spoken to allen weisselberg about how to set the whole thing up with -- >> so what are we going to pay -- >> funding -- yes. and it's all the stuff. because here you never know
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where that company -- >> maybe he gets hit by a truck. >> correct. so i'm all over that. >> our friend david, believed to be david pecker, publisher of the "national enquirer," has also received an immunity deal. of course now that weisselberg has immunity, federal prosecutors can't take any illegal action against him for his role nutt in the hush money payments. but the "new york times" reports that local prosecutors are now look into it. the manhattan district attorney weighing a criminal probe into how the trump organization paid cohen back. it's not clear whether weisselberg's deal ended with cohen's guilty plea this week or whether crucially that investigation is ongoing and weisselberg is still cooperating. we just do not know. but if prosecutors wanted a window into the trump organization, they could not pick a better witness. before the president took over it was weisselberg along with trump's sons who was put in charge. >> he has relinquished leadership and management of the trump organization to his sons don and eric and a long-time trump executive, allen
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weisselberg. together don, eric, and allen will have the authorities to manage the trump organization and will make decisions for the duration of the presidency. >> weisselberg has worked for the trump organization since the 1970s starting as an accountant to the president's father. he's also the treasurer of the trump foundation, which is itself under investigation. and he still handles the family's personal finances. weisselberg even made a cameo on "the apprentice." >> replacing george this week is my chief financial officer, allen weisselberg. and you think george is tough? wait till you see allen. >> well, i think they had a very good plan. they were diversified. not just the location but also in services. and because of diversification and net profit of $307.41. >> 307 bucks. for more on this perilous new phase in the legal jeopardy faced by the president i'm joined by former acting solicitor general neil catial author of a new op-ed in the
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"new york times," "this conspiracy theory should worry trump." let's start with that op-ed. you outline why you think the legal developments this week in the case before the southern district are so perilous for the president. why are they? >> yeah, this is really, really serious. if this were against any other individual in this country who wasn't the president of the united states, they would be indicted at this point. so you know, trump claims to have a get out of skral free card because he claims he's the sitting president. and you know, we can talk about that later. but these are incredibly serious allegations. what michael cohen said on tuesday as you were saying in the setup, chris, was that the president was directly implic e implicated in these payments. it's one thing campaign finance violations, there's any number of ways to try to understand them. but i think here the allegation is very different and that's what the "new york times" op-ed is about. the allegation here is that trump actually conspired, he induced someone else, at least one other person, cohen and maybe more with weisselberg and others, to engage in this kind
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of cover-up scheme over campaign finance violations. it would be one thing if this happened at any time in our history, but it happened just a couple of weeks before our election. this information was kept from voters. these are very, very serious things. >> i want to talk about something you just mentioned about indictment. there's been a big debate about this. the white house has done a very interesting, i think clever thing where they say the president can't be indicted pursuant to an olc judgment by the department of justice, and then when you ask them questions about michael cohen they say well, the president isn't facing any charges. but of course the first implies the latter. what do you think about the status of that conventional wisdom and legal policy in the department of justice about the president being subject to indictment? >> well, i don't think the president's lawyers even believe what they're saying because they keep saying he's not going to testify because he's afraid of a perjury trap. now, the only way you can have a perjury trap it seems to me is if you can be indicted for perjury. and if they think a signature
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president can't be indicted that's a little tough. >> that's interesting. >> there's a really interesting legal debate that constitutional scholars, you know, have wrestled about. can you indict and try a sitting president while he's president? but i think the difficulty that the trump folks have with that is twofold. number one, there was a clinton versus jones decision in 1997 which effectively said no one is above the law including the president. that was in a civil context but the language is pretty powerful. and number two, even those justice department opinions talk about the actual bringing someone to trial. they don't talk about indicting someone. and here there's already a very, very strong case that the president should be subject to an indictment, as indeed, chris, if you and i were subject to these allegations that michael cohen said, i think we'd be looking at an indictment pronto. >> yeah. if you or i were -- just to stress that, if you or i were individual 1 or individual 1 were anyone other than the
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president, you're saying it's clear there's sufficient evidence to charge that person with a federal crime. >> yeah. you have already the sworn statement by michael cohen. presumably the prosecutors themselves have verified that. so yes, i think there is enough already. and it would be of course these are incredibly serious charges. it's two weeks before an election this information is covered up. and you know, the campaign finance disclosure rules are written for exactly this reason, so that the american public knows who they're voting for and where their money is coming from. and that's why, you know, i think you hear the president this week talking so much about how rats and flipping is bad and all these things. he's got to be really, really scared at this point because frankly everyone he's worked with appears to be a witness to some federal crime or other that he committed. >> as someone who has spent much of your career as a lawyer in government, around government, arguing before the supreme court, in the justice
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department, where are we after the end of this week? have you seen something like this before? is this entirely uncharted waters or is it not? >> it's a despicable, terrible place we're in. i've seen video reels of nixon in 1974, and frankly, that's the closest. but i can tell you, you know, having served twice at the justice department and having a lot of friends who are there and friends who are leaving because they can't stomach it, this is unprecedented. this is a president who you know, he started out sounding like a white supremacist in 2017 and he's evolved really to sound like a two-bit criminal, or devolved. i mean, the language that you're hearing about rats and flipping and praising former convicted felons like paul manafort, this is not becoming of the president of the united states, who after all in article 2 of our constitution takes an oath to faithfully execute the laws of the united states. and that is the opposite of what's going on here.
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just to take flipping. if the president's views were accepted, the idea that flipping should be made illegal, that's what prosecutors do every day, day in and day out. we'd have thousands of criminals on the streets if our justice department listened to what this president is saying. and you know, there is something deeply corrosive and deeply off about donald j. trump. >> neal katyal, thank you for make something time tonight. >> thank you. >> for more on what prosecutors may be getting out of allen weisselberg's immunity deal i'm joined by msnbc legal analyst paul butler a former federal prosecutor with the justice department's public corruption unit. and nbc's legal analyst daniel goldman, federal prosecutor in the same u.s. attorney's office that prosecuted michael cohen. okay, let me start with you because you were in sdny. what is sdny doing? i cannot piece it together. what are they doing? >> i'm not entirely clear, to be honest, and i have been trying to channel my inner sdny this week and figure this out. i do think that the immunity compulsion orders, and i think
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it's very important to differentiate between that and cooperation, it sounds like from the reporting that weisselberg and pecker were compelled to testify by the prosecutors giving them immunity. that is very different than what we would normally call cooperating or being voluntarily a cooperating witness. >> the difference being if you are called in to testify and you say i'm not going to say a word, i'm going to plead the fifth, if the prosecutors then say no, we grant you immunity for everything you say you've got to talk. >> you have to talk under penalty of perjury. it's your legal duty to do so. but you can be dragged in there kicking and screaming and you will say whatever you need to say in order not to lie. >> so that's a crucial distinction. granted immunity as a sort of compelled matter versus affirmatively cooperating. >> right. what is interesting about this -- what i was getting at, i think most likely that weisselberg probably doesn't have the same criminal culpability that cohen and perhaps the president do in connection to the campaign finance fraud and pecker has this whole press exception dicey
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area that the prosecutors may just want to avoid. so to the extent that he was more involved in this they may just say we'll give you immunity because there are legal issues there. so that's as it relates to them. as it relates to michael cohen, it's -- it's a real quandary. i think it's one of two things. one is the election is coming up in november. there's an unwritten moratorium that everybody has talked about, that rudy giuliani thinks means an investigation has to end but it really just means you cannot make any overt investigative moves in the 60 days or so. and it may just be that they wanted to charge michael cohen with the crimes that they had him on and that everybody knew about before it got too late. and then you start to bring him in and cooperate him. or it may just be that there's nowhere for him to go with the sdny in terms of cooperation and so he's sort of the top of the rung right now other than the president in connection to this crime. >> although, again, allen weisselberg has been donald
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trump's money man for decades and now he is forced to sit with federal prosecutors and answer everything they want to know for as long as they want to question him. can we just ponder that for a moment? can you imagine? now, there is a question about what the end game is. robert mueller is probably going to write a report that will go to congress regarding impeachme impeachment. the southern district is bound by doj guidelines. so no matter what they find about trump's criminality, they can't charge him with a crime. >> so that's the question. right? this is joyce vance, who was a u.s. attorney down in alabama, we have her on our show. she says you don't give trump org cfo weisselberg and david pecker immunity just to prosecute michael cohen. this is a big question. why did they get immunity to prosecute cohen? the other question is who is executive-2? right now we know everyone basically who's floating around this world on the tape. it's cohen talking to the president. i'm going to roll in weisselberg. pecker is our friend pecker. there's an executive-2 in there. we don't know who that person is. if i were that person i'd be a little worried.
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>> we don't know who that is. i would caution a little bit on the view that weisselberg was being asked every question under the sun about trump organization going back ten years. and i think that's the critical difference between this immunity compulsion order which is generally specific to a live questioning or some criminal activity and cooperation, where weisselberg would give up everything that he knows. executive 2 to me seems to be a lesser player than weisselberg in this whole thing. so it's unclear to me that there's that much more to get out of executive-2. but to joyce's point, you know, i think we're a little bit in the dark and it is confounding to all of us who look at this that they would just go ahead with a straight plea deal and not even meet as far as we know with michael cohen. there has to be a reason, and i just can't figure it out. >> they've got him. he's a convicted felon eight times over now. these are pyramid prosecutions. you start with the bottom and go up. but if you're starting with the
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ceo now within the trump organization the only way up is donald trump, possibly don jr., ivanka or jared kushner. >> you know, there was this moment in the charging information i thought was really interesting, which is that one of the orders is to pay the money from the trust. right? they say pay the money from the trust. allen weisselberg, trump jr. sign a new certification of trustee on february 10g9 stating they can distribute funds from the trust, holding president trump's business assets for his maintenance and support. you saw that big -- the press conference with the stacks of paper. four days later trump org executive e-mails cohen an order to pay from the trust. we don't know if that's the same trust but it sure does look like the president while the sitting president is using his trust to make this hush money payment. >> which is fine. he's allowed to use the money. i should say it's fine for him to use the money. >> from a legal sense. but it also shows there's no wall there. >> well, i don't know. if there's a blind trust he's allowed to get money out of it. he's not necessarily allowed to know what the assets are invested in.
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that's where the conflict of interest comes in. but the point i think you're really getting at is the president is directing this reimbursement. and by the way, while he's president but also to gross up the money sow increase it so you're taking out the taxes that cohen pays. i mean, this is all very criminal enterprise type of behavior -- >> sounds like federal rico but also state charges and the significance there is is if he's prosecuted by the state, cohen is, then he can't be pardoned by trump. again, i don't think at the end of the day they're real concerned about cohen. i think they're especially concerned about the president of the united states. >> the real interesting thing here to me is maybe just cohen doesn't have that much to give the sdny and everything lanny davis is talking about relates to mueller's organization -- investigation. if mueller truly -- and there's some reporting in the "washington post" at least this week that mueller is potentially not interested in speaking with
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cohen. if that's the case, i cannot fathom the amount of evidence that robert mueller has on russia collusion. >> that's a great point. paul butler and daniel goldman, thank you both. still ahead, the president's legal troubles extend well beyond just the mueller probe. we'll go over the multiple ongoing investigations. it can be hard to keep track of them. into the president and his associates after this two-minute break. let's do an ad of a man eating free waffles at comfort inn. they taste like victory because he always gets the lowest price on our rooms, guaranteed, when he books direct at or just say, badda book. badda boom.
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brian's back? he doesn't get my room. he's only going to be here for like a week. like a month, tops. oh boy. wi-fi fast enough for the whole family is simple, easy, awesome. in many cultures, young men would stay with their families until their 40's. so how many different entities or offices are currently investigating the president of the united states or his associates or businesses? trying to tally it up. here's what we came up with. until very recently we were all focuses on the office of the special counsel robert mueller and the investigation of russia interference in the 2016 election. that's already led to indictments or plea deals involving michael flynn, paul manafort, rick gates, george papadopoulos, a dozen russian intelligence officers, more than a dozen russian nationals, and three russian companies. along the way mueller also referred the matter of michael cohen to the southern district of new york since cohen's crimes
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didn't appear to come under the umbrella of mueller's russia investigation. but just look what that now has led to. not only to michael cohen pleading guilty to eight felony counts but to a criminal investigation which may implicate both the trump organization and certain unnamed executives who aided in the illegal hush money scheme. that also led to a grant of immunity to "national enquirer" publisher david pecker and to trump orc cfo allen weisselberg. meanwhile, the state of new york started its own line of inquiry. they filed a civil suit against the trump foundation as well as referring its findings to both the irs and the f.e.c., which may or may not act on the information. and now we know the manhattan d.a. is also eyeing the trump organization. all this raises the question, how likely is it that one or more of these lines of criminal and civil investigation will lead back to the man at the top, donald trump? to help assess this vast landscape of potential legal liability let's bring in attorney lisa green and attorney elie mistal, editor of the legal blog above the law.
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a lot's proliferated it seems to me over the course of the week particularly when you pair two things. the subpoena that came from michael cohen the day after he pleaded to the state. and the argument from "the new york times" saying the manhattan d.a. is eyeing charges as well. >> this is the week where the marine corps band stopped playing hail to the chief and started playing rains of castamere. the daggers are out now and it's coming all around him. the legal exposure for donald trump is great. one of the things about having so many irons in the fire is that one of them is almost at this point bound to pay off. in that report that you just said you didn't mention michael avenatti, who's still out here running for president and trying to get his own -- >> right. civil routsuit, right? >> barbara underwood the a.g. is contemplating criminal charges in addition to the civil charges. the exposure for donald trump is as great as has been for anybody in the history of his office. >> or maybe lawyers' clients ever. to start to narrow it down let's
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look at taxes. because we've all really wanted to look at president trump's taxes since the time he ran for office. if his office, if allen weisselberg, who by the way, can you not picture him with a green eye shade and an adding machine? his old-fashioned way of doing business. every check is cleared by the president. let's say they misallocated the hush money payment as a payment to a lawyer, which you get to deduct from your taxes because it makes paying for lawyers easier. >> in the information that's what prosecutors assert. >> right. >> it was wrongly charged. >> guess what? potential tax fraud. how do you prove tax fraud? tax returns help. so there's a lot of cascading legal problems. but that seems to me one that isn't related to russia and is fairly easily carried forward by state authorities or federal authorities. >> i don't even think trump's exposure is what trump should be most worried about right now. he it's his children. that's what all of this is leading up to. if you look at all the people who've got immunity.
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i didn't see don jr.'s name. i didn't see eric's name. i didn't see jared's name. all of this is coming at his children. barack obama after sandy hook said that having children is like walking around with your heart -- having your heart walk around unprotected. now, i don't know if donald trump has the parental instincts of like a mammal. i'm not sure he's there. but if he is that's where they're going to squeeze next. that's where all of this is coming from. you don't need weisselberg to get cohen. you need weisselberg to get executive-2, which may or may not be donald trump jr. that's what you need and that's who they're going to squeeze next. >> can i just add that in addition to the people who may be squeezed there are the potential volunteers. here's what i mean. royalty is probably something you earn one to one. disloyalty i think is contagious. and if other people in the trump orbit, i'm speculating, are watching what's happening and maybe get reacquainted with their sense of a conscience this week after what they saw, who's to stop them from volunteering information we don't know? >> part of what's strange about this entire thing, you think about all these different
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investigations all looking at this stuff now, is the kind of implicit assumption by everyone including the president of the united states when he talks about people flipping, is that of course there are chargeable crimes that exist in the record of the president and his organization. i don't even think that's really a thing that anyone too strenuously attempts to dispute, whether to be rudy giuliani or the president's defenders on trump tv. the assumption is just do they find them and do they have the kind of political wherewithal to go after them? >> this is where i think professor alan dershowitz, one of my former professors, and i try not to be mean to him on television. but like this is where he's out to lunch. all right? because dershowitz is one of these guys who has taken intent, who has taken criminal intent completely out of the situation. yes, campaign finance laws are complicated. yes, people often violate them accidentally. yes, tax laws are complicated. yes, people violate them sometimes accidentally. if trump meant to do it, if trump did this on purpose to influence an election, that is
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criminal intent. that is part of the question here. >> and listen to that tape. and those aren't people bumbling their way backwards into not filing forms. these are people engaged in a sophisticated scheme to cover something up using a variety of channels of money intentionally with the intent to deceive. >> familiar territory. i've mocked on this air the essential consultant's agreement because it just looked so amateurish. but what's clear from that audiotape is familiar territory for the president, for michael cohen, perhaps, we don't know, allen weisselberg's level of knowledge, and an unnamed executive. >> well, that's also part of it. they have this issue in front of them which i think to most people would seem like a novel issue. someone has come forward alleging that you had an extramarital affair and is going to blow the whistle on that perhaps in a public fashion, you know, in a tabloid and you need to figure out a way to pay money. it's dealt with in a way that feels fairly rote. i mean, that's part of what's
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interesting. the routine to do it where you gross it up, you throw in the bonus, you make it a retainer, you do it monthly, you do it through the org, all that stuff seems like they -- >> because this isn't their first rodeo, right? as you were saying earlier, right? the most interesting person to me here is david pecker. david pecker has that trump vault. there's something -- like you were saying, it's not geraldo. there is something in the vault that we want to find out. right? >> lisa green and elie mystal. i think that's the consensus. coming up, did the white house tank a bipartisan bill to protect elections? that story's next. ♪ ♪ i don't care where we go ♪ and i don't care what we do ♪ just take me with you there are roadside attractions. and then there's our world-famous on-road attraction. the 2018 glc. lease the glc300 for just $459 a month at your local mercedes-benz dealer.
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secure election act seemed like a sure thing. a bipartisan bill with the sole purpose of protect our voting systems from interference. republican roy blount was the chairman of the powerful senate rules committee. was set to mark up the bill on wednesday, with the expectation of a full senate vote in october. that markup never happened. no explanation was given as to why. until yesterday when yahoo! news reported the bill had "been held up in the senate at the behest of the white house, which opposed the proposed legislation." the white house then told yahoo news that while the administration "appreciates congress's interest in election security, the department of homeland security has all the statutory authority it needs to assist state and local officials to improve the security of existing election infrastructure." lead democrat on the bill senator amy klobuchar of minnesota joins me tonight. what happened here? >> it was a shocker, chris, because the bill was going so well. senator langford and i introduced the bill, and he's still devoted to getting it done. as you know, he's a conservative
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republican from oklahoma. and senator blount in good faith set the hearing. so what we heard was there was objections from republican leadership in the senate and then some republican secretaries of state. i talked today with the head of the secretary of state association, the vermont secretary of state who's a democrat, and he wants to work to get this done. we also of course had the white house making calls. i heard this personally. from some senators. and then i think the statement pretty much backs it up. not only did they say the part you that read, but they also said "we cannot support legislation with inappropriate mandates or that makes -- moves power or funding from the states to washington for the planning and operations of elections." so chris, what the bill does is it just creates incentives by saying you're not going to get federal money for your election equipment unless you go to backup paper ballots. and nine states only have partial paper ballots. five including new jersey don't have them at all.
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and that is why a lot of us bipartisan felt that we should have that requirement in place if they wanted to get the federal money as well as require audits so we can check up on all of this later. we are under attack by a foreign government, and we have to respond. >> so two things that are strange here. one is the white house will oppose legislation all the time. that's a thing that happens. it happens under democratic control, republican control. but there's a weird kind of shadiness here. the white house could have just issued a statement where they said we don't like this bill. they could have been public about it. but instead blount just kills it out of nowhere and then finally when asked about it they release a statement. was that weird to you? >> it was. although i will tell you, even the night before roy blount called me and he's trying to get this thing pulled together, we're going to continue to work on this. i felt like there may have been influences with the federalist society. you name it. i have no idea. but it felt like they were pushing back because of some attempt to put best practices
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into law so we can -- at least if we're going to help the states since maine and north dakota and arkansas cannot protect themselves from a vladimir putin cyberattack then we put some best practices into law. i still think we have a chance to move forward. i wish they'd been more forthright and certainly done it early on because langford and i have had this out there for a year with senator kamala harris and senator graham, senator burr and warner support the bill. this is a major effort. and so we just have to get this done 74 days before the election. >> here's the thing. this is the kind of legislating that i think there was more common as sort of an older model of how congress works which i think has changed in lots of ways. and the white house comes in and they basically nuke it. but you know, you're a co-equal branch of government. roy blount doesn't take orders from the white house. roy blount is a united states senator and he's a powerful member of the senate. you guys could just pass the thing. if you like it -- >> let me get to the problem here.
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we had the votes, that's true with senator blount's support. but we didn't have the republican support we needed on the committee. not to pass it but to then pass it on the floor. and we needed senator mcconnell to bring it up on the floor. so now we're going back p negotiating again. practically we want to get this done more than score a political point. >> speaking of bipartisan legislating i want to ask you a question about someone you're close to, john mccain, the senator from arizona of course whose family announced today that he will be refusing any subsequent medical treatment for his cancer and thanking all the people that have scarcared for . and i'm just wondering as someone who's worked with him your thoughts about senator mccain today. >> well, this was heartbreaking today. my husband and i went to visit john and cindy a little over a month ago, and i'm telling you, he still had his humor, this r
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irascible spirit. and he's someone who's shown this incredible independence. for me he's a mentor. he went with me and took me on a trip to asia where it was all filled with men in every room and he would always say when they would turn, he would say senator klobuchar is the ranking democrat on this trip, she will go next. and he is someone that has done that for so many members of the senate. so our heart goes out to them right now. and this is a terrible, terrible disease as cindy mentioned to me when we communicated in the past week. and we're just hoping against hope that something changes, but right now it seems like a very difficult situation. >> you just said something that chris murphy said earlier today. it's something i think i didn't quite have as clear a picture on, just his role in mentoring members of the u.s. senate when they get to the senate, whether they be republican or democrat. >> exactly. and he was willing to go on bills with me and has been willing like that honest ads act about taking on the social media
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companies. and he's done that so many times. where for some of us on the democratic side sure, he takes positions we don't agree with but many times mentoring is introducing people to things, taking them around the world so they understand, including conservative republicans, how we must work with the rest of the world. being strong on immigration reform. being out there taking on the mean-spirited rhetoric of the trump administration. he has been a true leader for this country. >> senator amy klobuchar, thank you very much for making time tonight. >> well, thank you. still ahead, while the president's legal troubles mount, republicans are still full steam ahead on their agenda. what they've been up to. all the guilty verdicts and the immunity deals dominate the news. coming up. plus thing 1, thing 2 next. it's so simple, i don't even have to think about it. so i think about mouthfeel. i don't think about the ink card. i think about nitrogen ice cream in supermarkets all over the world. i think about the details.
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thing 1 tonight. there's been a lot of reporting this week about what the u.s. attorney must have on michael cohen that made him suddenly decide to plead guilty, but it seems there may have been another factor in cohen's decision, protecting his wife, who was also implicated reportedly in potential criminal activity based on evidence that included bank records, tax filings, and loan applications as the couple filed their taxes jointly. now, we are not saying that michael cohen is some kind of heroic figure here. but compared to duncan hunter, he sure looks like spouse of the year. >> she handled my finances throughout my entire military
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career, and that continued on when i got into congress. whatever she did, that'll be -- that'll be looked at too i'm sure. but i didn't do it. >> damn, dude. that's thing 2 in 60 seconds. making cars lighter, it's a good place to start, advanced oils for those hard-working parts. fuels that go further so drivers pump less. improving efficiency is what we do best. energy lives here. so you have, your headphones, chair, new laptop, 24/7 tech support. yep, thanks guys. i think he might need some support. yes. start them off right, with the school supplies they need at low prices all summer long. like these for only $2 or less at office depot officemax. mom: okay we need to get all your school supplies today. school... grade... done.
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done. hit the snooze button and get low prices on school supplies all summer long. like these for only $2 or less at office depot officemax. when duncan hunter showed up in federal court yesterday greeted by protesters chanting "lock him up," you may have noticed he was accompanied only by his lawyers and not his wife, who is indicted along with him for misuse of campaign funds. but margaret hunter arrived separately, with her own lawyers. and then inside the courtroom the hunters reportedly didn't even look at each other. now, there are some clues in the actual indictment about what could be going on there. in june 2011 congressman hunter allegedly stayed at a capitol hill hotel named, i kid you not, the liaison with an individual described as someone who had a "personal relationship with hunter." in march of 2016 hunter allegedly again stayed at the
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liaison, this time with a person described in the indictment as his wife's close friend. so that would be the context to keep in mind as you watch duncan hunter go on national tv yesterday and completely throw his wife under the bus. >> when i went to iraq in 2003 the first time, i gave her power of attorney and she handled my finances throughout my entire military career. and that continued on when i got into congress because i'm gone five days a week, i'm home for two. and she was also the campaign manager. so whatever she did, that'll be looked at too i'm sure. but i didn't do it. (vo) people with type 2 diabetes are excited about the potential of once-weekly ozempic®. in a study with ozempic®, a majority of adults lowered their blood sugar and reached an a1c of less than seven and maintained it. oh! under seven? (vo) and you may lose weight. in the same one-year study, adults lost on average up to 12 pounds. oh! up to 12 pounds?
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there has been a string of explosive headlines this week about the president's legal troubles, but those troubles haven't altered one very important reality. donald trump, his cabinet, and republicans' congress are still very much running the country and they are still very much using their power. on tuesday as the president was touting "clean beautiful west virginia coal" we learned his administration's move to weaken pollution restrictions on coal-burning power plants that could also lead to as many as 1,400 premature deaths annually by 2030. that is according to trump's own epa analysis. 1,400 deaths every year. just yesterday we found out that betsy devos, the secretary of education, is considering using federal education grants meant
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to help the poorest students in order to put guns in schools. and then there's the courts. senate republicans are moving full speed ahead to try to confirm brett kavanaugh to the supreme court even though the president who nominated him is now implicated in his former lawyer's illegal schemes. and trump and mitch mcconnell continue to pack the lower courts with hardcore conservatives, having already broken a record for getting appeals court judges confirmed already. this is just a small sampling of what's going on under trump and the gop congress. and at least in the short term there is nothing that robert mueller or anyone else is going to do to stop that. the only real binding constraint on much of that power is what happens in november. are there enough voters to show up to give us a congress that will put checks on a president and a republican party that currently refuse to police themselves? now, if you happen to be one of those americans, the majority according to polls, that want change soon, it's a good thing to remember. it is not robert mueller you should look to. it's the midterms.
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we finally have an official winner the last special election of the 2018 cycle. republican troy balderson was today named the winner ohio's special house election with a margin of victory of less than a point. it's technical a win for republicans, but not much of one. this is a district trump carried by 12 percentage point which is the gop had to spend $5 million to narrowly hang on to and it will be contested once again in a few months in november. joining me for more on the midterm landscape with 74 days until the election, former republican congressman david jolly of florida, also former democratic senator barbara boxer of california, host of fight back with barbara boxer. david, let me start with you. two interesting things happening in the way this midterm is shaping up. one is if you look at folks who want -- are you more likely to back a candidate who promises to provide a check on trump? 48% say more likely, 23% less likely. you also see this there the asymmetry of intensity of feeling about the president.
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at the same time when it comes to talking about impeachment, democrats never want to say the word and republicans are talking about it all the time. what do you make of that? >> a couple things. this might be a rare election where we see voter intensity diverge from turnout. but everybody is against corruption but the moment you start to talk about impeachment, you have to justify it. i'm a republican who thinks democrats should talk about impeachment. we have a president who just this week we know has either lied to or admitted to participating in behavior that a federal judge said was a crime to which michael cohen copped to and federal prosecutors have jugted is a crime and the president of the united states said yes i part it in that. i understand looking at november suggesting we need to focus on
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corruption but the reality is it's also time for either party and i know republicans won't do it and i'm disappointed in them. but i would hope democrats would at least begin to approach the conversation of impeachment. >> senator, this is exactly the issue david said. the republican party won't do this and it comes down to how the constitution of the government works, whether any of the chambers change the party in power. >> that's right. but i do think that the democrats are wise not to run on impeachment. because i ran so many times, four times for the united states senate, five times for the house, twice for local government and what you have is the kind of two factors, you have to background which is what's happening in the nation. and we know what that is. we've got a president acting like a mob boss, praising people who will not talk to
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investigators and calling people rats who are telling the truth. that's in the background, everybody knowings about it. but all politics is local. i learned that from tip o'neill tunnel all those years ago. for example, we have about eight to ten seats that we could flip in california. some of them are on the coast and the issue is shall we do you have a shore oil drilling or protect the coast? there are farmers who are concerned about tariffs. so, yes, all of this is in the background and i think candidates have to address it. we're waiting for a report from mueller and we have no control about when that will happen. so i would stick to tip o'neill tunnel's voice. i would. >> i respect the senator greatly but i'm a republican today who can't believe my own party and i am looking for somebody to believe in. the reality is if you're not willing to talk about that impeachment should be on the table, right? the fact that the democratic
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party is suggesting the president has now become so compromised that the senate should not entertain his nomination of kavanaugh, how do we stop short of suggesting he's so compromised we can't have a broader conversation about impeachment? and i understand the electoral convenience of trying to get through next 75 days. i get it. both parties do that. you have to win in november but at some point, listen, the republican party sold their soul at the altar of convenience and what i'm seeing right now and the democrats being unwilling to talk about impeachment is almost the same thing. why aren't you willing to talk about it? >> no. oh, no. oh, no, no, no, no. dave, no. what we're saying is we're going to have a robert mueller from mueller. we don't even know how many counts will be in that report, how he's going to define high crimes and misdemeanors. we're not hesitant to go out and say donald trump has to have a check and balance, he's a rogue president, he acts like a mobster, he is enriching
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himself. >> so talk about impeachment. i'm a republican willing to say impeachment, why won't the democrats say impeachment? >> i've said the word impeachment. but we know that will come when we get a report. in the meantime they're not putting back the parents and the children. and they're separated. our farmers can't sell their products. i think we should talk about it all so wrong we should forget about the fact that everyone in these districts we're trying to flip, we want to win these districts. >> but senator, that's a deflection from the real issue of impeachment. i mean, i get it. i agree with your policy, he separated families and he shouldn't have, but the democrats can talk about that and impeachment at the same time. >> let me interject one thing so people know there are still over 500 children in i.c.e. custody that haven't been reunited.
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numbers pursuant -- let me ask you this question -- >> and how about our farmers going broke? they're crying everyday. so dave should go out and talk about impeachment and i'm for it. but we're trying to win back the house. it's serious. >> quick question to you because i think david made an interesting point. the argument of all house -- all senate members of the senate judiciary democrats have said they don't want to move forward on brett kavanaugh. what do you think about that argument as we head towards those hearings. >> what do i think? >> yeah. >> i think they should absolutely not move forward on kavanaugh and if i were there i would pull out every trick in the book. i would spend all my night on the senate floor, i would stand on my feet until i couldn't stand on my feet anymore. first of all, he's a federalist society, he'll destroy a woman's right to choose and he thinks the president has ultimate power and he has a conflict of
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interest because the president may welcome before him in a lawsuit. >> david jolly and barbara boxer, that was enlightening in a lot of different ways. conservatives are saying democrats are obsessed with impeachment, we have the inverse argument on our air. thank you both. >> thank you, senator, thank you, chris. if you haven't caught up on our podcast, now would be a great time because we talk about money and corruption, zephyr teachout holds this podcast. the rachel maddow starts with ali velshi in for rachel. >> thank you and have a great evening and thanks for joining us. rachel has the night off. she will be back on monday and we have a lot to get to tonight. the friday night of what has been a roller coaster week for the president and his associates we have a bunch of great reporters and legal