tv Deadline White House MSNBC September 22, 2018 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
for me? through internet essentials, comcast has connected more than six-million low-income people to low-cost, high-speed internet at home. i'm trying to do some homework here. so they're ready for anything. hi, everyone. it's 4:00 in new york. breaking news from "the new york times" this afternoon. a bombshell of a development sure to have repercussions. deputy attorney general rod rosenstein suggested last year that he secretly wear a wire to record donald trump to expose the chaos inside the west wing. rosenstein also suggested recruiting cabinet members to invoke the 25th amendment to remove trump from office for being unfit to serve. today's account in "the new york times" is the fourth example in as many weeks of a resistance working within the highest levels of the executive branch
of government to protect the country from the chaos surrounding donald trump and the third instance that's been reported in just the last month in which senior aides specifically discussed invoking the 25th amendment to remove donald trump from office. from today's stunning "times" report, mr. rosenstein made these suggestions in the spring of 2017 when mr. trump's firing of james comey as fbi director plunged the white house into turmoil over the ensuing days, the president divulged classified intelligence to russians in the oval office and revelations emerged that mr. trump had asked mr. comey to pledge loyalty and end an investigation into a senior aide. the times also reports, quote, the extreme suggestions show mr. rosenstein's state of mind in the disorienting days that followed mr. comey's dismissal sitting in on mr. trump's interviews with prospective fbi directors and facing attacks for his own role in mr. comey's firing. mr. rosenstein had an up-close view of the tumult.
mr. rosenstein appeared conflicted, regretful and emotional according to people who spoke with him at the time. one of the reporters who broke that story this afternoon joins us now, along with some of our favorite reporters and friends. mike schmidt from "the new york times" along with former u.s. attorney joyce vance, jeremy bash, former chief of staff at the cia appeared pentagon, former fbi assistant director frank figlusi and phil rucker. i joked before the show, we also call you guys our honorary co-hosts. mike schmidt, take us through what you and your colleague adam goldman are reporting this afternoon. >> well, we're looking at this eight-day period of time between the firing of comey and the appointment of mueller. and in that time, it's been widely, from the folks we talked to, accepted that rosenstein was really not himself. he was emotionally uneven. he was struggling in the moment to figure out what to do. the president had just gotten
rid of comey. it was an extraordinary move. a lot of pressure on rosenstein because he had been part of the firing. he provided the rationale for it. he told people he would be vindicated for his role in this. and he considered a lot of measures. he talked to mccabe about using the 25th amendment as a way of ousting the president. he also spoke openly in meetings about wearing a wire. even when asked in that meeting whether he was joking, he said he was not and suggested that fbi agents who were going to interview with trump to be fbi director could wear a wire as well. the pushback, obviously, from the justice department that this was all just a joke, you know, that it was a sarcastic remark. but that's not what our reporting shows. >> let me -- you've taken us back in time. let's stay there for a minute. you also report that none of mr. rosenstein's proposals came to fruition. it's not clear how determined he was about seeing them through.
though he did tell mr. mccabe that he might be able to persuade attorney general jeff sessions and john kelly, then the secretary of homeland security, and now the white house chief of staff to mount an effort to invoke the 25th amendment. what's interesting about that group is that if you put mccabe, sessions, kelly and rosenstein together, i think they represent the most sizable group of people on the receiving end of donald trump's attacks. they seem to, at least in this moment you're reporting on, have represented some guardrails that were in rosenstein's view persuadable on the 25th amendment. is that an accurate read? >> well, look, they were influential people within the administration at the time. if you recall, there's sort of this thing that goes overlooked by history but that kelly actually called comey after comey was fired and kelly said, should i resign? and comey said, no, no, no, don't resign. we need all the good folk there we can have considering what the president -- how the president
has behaved. so, you know, we have no indication that kelly was going along with this, that this was something kelly wanted to do. no indication sessions wanted to go along. all we know is that rosenstein raises this with mccabe as they are considering all of these different things. they are becoming very unnerved by the president. rosenstein in particular thought that he wasn't -- the president wasn't even taking the process of picking a new fbi director seriously. so there's an enormous amount going on. if you recall, in the end, the most important decision and basically only decision that rosenstein makes is to appoint mueller. that's when the eight days end. he appointed mueller and there's obviously a big, new chapter in the story. >> joyce vance, let me get your thoughts. they report that the suggestion itself to wear a wire was remarkable. while informants or undercover agents regularly used concealed listening devices to surreptitiously gather evidence for federal investigators,
they're typically targeting drug kingpins and mafia bosses, not a president viewed as ineffectively conducting his duties. the media sometimes gets attacked for normalizing this president. to overlook the fact that wearing a wire is something usually used to gather evidence about drug kingpins or mafia bosses shouldn't be overlooked today, should it? >> well, you know, i think that's right. it would be unusual, but wearing a wire is one of the tools in the prosecutor and investigator's toolkit. and it does get used in high-level cases. you have these rare instances where a federal judge or a senator is under investigation, and these are tools that are available. so if we just take this reporting at face value, one possible interpretation is that rosenstein was doing what a good prosecutor does, running through the entire array of possibilities.
and some are possibilities you don't typically use, but you have to consider everything to get to the right solution. >> jeremy bash, just weigh in on the twin pillars of this story today. one, that rosenstein in this period after comey's firing, his emotional state and what he was willing to do to sort of bring to light or to try to address his concerns about the president. wear a wire and rally support. in this report he talks about perhaps being able to persuade john kelly, then the secretary of homeland security, someone you know pretty well. and attorney general jeff sessions to see it the way he saw it to maybe bring them around to supporting the invocation of the 25th amendment. >> under the constitution, under the 25th amendment section 4, there's a provision that says if the president is unable to discharge the duties or responsibility of his office. then the majority of the cabinet and vice president basically can go to congress and congress has to agree and the president can oppose that. the phrase unable to discharge
the power and duties of his office does not speak to mental illness. it does not speak to physical impairment. it really is an open-ended invitation by people around him to say this president is compromised for reasons we may not fully understand. either he's under the authority and control of a foreign power or he's not mentally with it. or for other reasons but clearly you seen that rod rosenstein had grave concerns in those days that the president was unable to discharge his duties. and that's a significant issue. whether he'd wear a wire, that would go more to criminality or a national security violation. the kind you would investigate in a counter-intelligence case. we need to know more about what rosenstein was thinking about when he invoked these amazing powers that authorities have. >> frank you served at the highest levels of the fbi. one of the things weighing on
rosenstein was the way that donald trump was going about conducting interviews for the director of the fbi. the man or woman who would become comey's replacement. let me read some of the report that speaks to that. during their discussion, rosenstein expressed frustration at how mr. trump conducted the search for a new fbi director saying the president was failing to take the candidate interview seriously. a handful of politician, including mr. mckay, were under consideration. to rosenstein, the hiring process was emblematic of further dysfunction. both the process and the administration itself were in disarray according to two people familiar with the discussion. and it was from that realization that he raised the idea of wearing a wire. what do you make as someone who served at the highest levels of the fbi with how disturbed rosenstein was by the process that the president was undertaking? >> well, first, i cringe at the thought that this was a chaotic moment trying to select someone who leads the premier domestic security agency of our
government. i know some of the folks that were actually considered, even brought in to the white house for interview. and i can tell you in at least one case it was basically, who is nearby? who can drive over and have a chat with us? it wasn't -- it was, who is in driving distance? and it worried us all at the time. but i'm looking at this from two ways now. i think rosenstein is in deep trouble. i think that with this president. he's denying it but he's denying the accurate portrayal of what he said. so i'm looking at the fact the deputy attorney general of the united states at one point in his tenure, if not now, had the actual mind-set to even possibly consider recording the president of the united states in the oval office. if that's even true, if that's true at all, we're in even deeper than we thought. why would he do that? either he thought evidence of a crime was going to play out or evidence of mental incapacity was going to play out.
and then here i'm looking at it also from the sense of what's mueller doing right now? if i'm on mueller's team and watching this show right now and watching this news break, i have to tell you, their time is shrinking. they have an even shorter shelf life today because i believe this is going to eventually result in rosenstein's removal, sessions' removal, perhaps even faster than we realize and that means mueller's tenure is very limited. >> mike schmidt, let me read you rosenstein's denial and let you respond. "the new york times" story is inaccurate and factually incorrect. i will not comment further on a story based on anonymous sources who are obviously biased against the department and are advancing their own personal agenda. but let me be clear about this. based on my personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th amendment. not sure if that's meant to reassure any of us. but an interesting parse denial. do you have any idea who he's talking about when he references anonymous sources who are obviously biased against the
department in advancing their own personal agenda? >> no. i don't know if he knows who the sources are in our story. but the only thing i'd point out is that in our story, we say that a spokeswoman for the justice department provided us with a background statement from someone that was in the room who said that rosenstein had said this. they don't contest the fact that he had said this but that it was done sarcastically. and that is in our story but as we pointed out earlier, the -- rosenstein was asked in the meeting whether he was kidding. and he said he wasn't. that's where we ended up on our reporting and we feel comfortable. rosenstein is in a very difficult spot where he has to explain why this happened. in many ways, he sees himself as the protector of mueller. so i guess that's where we end up with this statement.
>> joyce, let me ask you to pick up on frank's thread about any additional pressure this brings to the mueller probe. do you think that today we are going to talk about it some more later in the hour but we've already seen some incoming from the president's son, some of the president's allies on another network calling for rosenstein's immediate firing. >> well, look. firing rod rosenstein as the deputy attorney general would undoubtedly impact the mueller investigation. but i want to pump the brakes a little bit here. rosenstein, who i worked with, is a very dry guy. he has the ability to say something where he's being sarcastic and to look deadly serious. so for people who were perhaps new to working with him in a very tense situation, rod's sarcastic response might could have come off as serious. he's issued a denial to this story. he's pretty much a straight shooter. before we all decide that the
president will accept this at face value, i think we need to contemplate that they've increasingly had a good relationship and the president may see this exactly the way that rosenstein does. and so perhaps it will end there. if it does lead to rosenstein's firing, though it will do incalculable damage to the mueller investigation, as frank says, speeding up the timeline of what mueller has available to complete his work considerably. >> phil rucker, i take both of joyce's points but the interesting one is that it may actually shove rod rosenstein into trump's camp in terms of creating a common enemy in the fake media. if rosenstein is saying, his statement is basically that this is inaccurate and not true, the white house has pointed to rod rosenstein's response as essentially their response. i'm not sure i remember that ever happening again. what do you make of the fallout, and what are you and your colleagues reporting on the story, if anything? >> so i think that could happen but knowing donald trump and his pattern and the way he thinks about these issues, i think he's
always going to believe that there's some truth in this report, even if there's some sort of strategy that's concocted. i don't know that it is, but if they were to go after "the new york times" and deny it the way rod rosenstein did, i still think the president is going to believe there's some truth there because he always sees a hidden hand. he's been suspicious of rosenstein. he's been suspicious of the leaders of the justice department who he thinks are out to get him and out to undermine his presidency and this is going to add a whole lot of fuel to that fire. and i think there's a lot of his allies who are going to be coming forward saying he needs to be fired today just as laura ingraham, the fox news host who talks to the president informally as an adviser, on twitter and through tv, i think that call is only going to get louder on the right. >> frank, take us back out to the forest. we've been staring at the trees. the doj/fbi culture where
people took a lot of memos. it's a culture of police reports on steroids. people right down things that happen in meetings. it's a lot of people -- i imagine everyone there has some version of this event that's going to be tough to push become on this story. i think that's why i've had two calls myself with people explaining what joyce just did. the nature of rosenstein's sense of humor, and this is the kip of thing he would have said, but sarcastically. but also talk about where this leaves the fbi and the justice department at this very fraught moment in their battle with the president. we were talking earlier this week about the president's call on monday. he's had to wave a white flag but on the declassification of documents. he's in a hot war period in his own battle with the justice department. >> so first, the culture issue. there's no question that within doj and at fbi headquarters, once you hit the assistant director or above level, or even senior executive level in either building, right across the street from each other, you become -- the habit of
documenting important conversations throughout the day or at the end of the day becomes almost automatic. you're doing that for two reasons. one is you are handling a volume of intense decision-making all through the day. so if someone the next day says, hey, at 10:00, you mentioned doing this. you literally have to -- there's so many that you have got to look to your journal to understand what happened. and secondly, it's self-protection, self-defense from those who said you said something different about a major decision. this declassification battle that's going on doesn't need this inserted into it. we need rod rosenstein to be someone who is viewed with respect and credibility by the white house. i like what joyce was saying. i hope, indeed, that the president has a relationship with rosenstein that allows him to laugh this off. but i fear that this will be used on a bad day by the president as one more straw on the camel's back to fire rosenstein. >> it's a very tired camel. frank, thank you for starting us off.
i know we lose you, but we're grateful have had you to start us off today. after the break, does rosenstein survive? the president's son already on the attack against the president's perceived enemies within. how will this story land in an already destabilized west wing? and the president unloads on judge brett kavanaugh's accuser attacking professor ford's credibility and talking about her parents. an unbelievable new low for a president already governing at unthinkable depths. in and steve schmidt weighs in on today's big story. is rosenstein offering to wear a wire? and the president's attacks on the alleged victim of sexual assault. stay with us. fact is, every insurance company hopes you drive safely.
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rosenstein suggested he secretly record trump and discussed invoking the 25th amendment to remove him from office ignite ing an outcry from the president's allies. as phil rucker said, allies like laura ingraham who tweeted rod rosenstein must be fired today, tagging president trump and don junior tweeting, shocked. absolutely shocked. oh, who are we kidding at this point? no one is shocked these guys would do anything to undermine donald trump. don junior may himself benefit from rosenstein's firing if it should come to pass. and the disruption of the mueller investigation which rosenstein now oversees. mike schmidt, jeremy bash and joyce vance and phil rucker are still here. talk about rosenstein as a figure at the intersection of the mueller probe and the comey firing. the comey firing, something trump liked and trump used rosenstein's memo with -- as one of the rationales for the firing. obviously the mueller investigation, something the president doesn't like. >> remember back early in may of
2017, trump wanted to fire jim comey as the fbi director and got attorney general sessions but more importantly deputy attorney general rod rosenstein to write these letters. building a case, a rationale to fire comey. but then the president got disenchanted in the next few weeks because he was upset rosenstein turned around and hired mueller as the special counsel and didn't sort of forcefully get out there and defend the president's decision to get rid of comey. and he's been suspicious of rosenstein's loyalty ever since, which is interesting because rosenstein is a political appointee. >> a republican. >> trump's chosen deputy attorney general. he's not some career long member of the deep state who doesn't have a partisan affiliation. he is a republican. >> and a politically appointment by a republican president. take us through the comey firing and its significance in the obstruction of justice investigation into the president. >> well, i mean, the comey firing is the thing that sort of
sets this off. and the days after that, the fbi is pushing rosenstein to appoint a special counsel because they don't believe the rationale provided. that being the one that comes from rosenstein. you have to remember, despite the fact that rosenstein was the one that wrote the memo, that was used as the rationale for this, he appoints a special counsel eight days later and is now the person overseeing that investigation. and if you talk to the president's lawyers, they say rosenstein is one of the president's best witnesses in the comey firing. the question of whether that was about obstruction because he is the one who said, yeah, here's a rationale. it's about hillary clinton's e-mails. so rosenstein had only been on the job for two weeks. they brought him to the white house. the president wanted to fire comey. rosenstein offers to write this memo. and enormous blowback on rosenstein for that. and that's where we find him in this story where he was considering these different measures.
>> joyce, take us through whether or not, if the firing of comey is a flash point in the obstruction investigation, could the firing of rosenstein also be viewed as trying to get rid of someone overseeing an investigation into the president himself? >> you know, they could easily end up being the book ends on an obstruction case because at this point with all we know, firing rosenstein based on something as thin as this would look very pretextual. it's really interesting, though. we see -- i don't know what the opposite of an echo is. sessions is not his attorney and doesn't represent him. and this whole notion that trump has never fully understood that the attorney general works for the american people, not for the president. i think we see this same thing with his interaction with rosenstein early on. rosenstein was working for the justice department and the american people. he believed that jim comey had violated doj policy.
he believed that that warranted removing him from office. i feel certain he would have been equally appalled by the idea that comey would be removed from pretextual reasons to shut down an investigation. you can see how at this early point in time the president and the deputy attorney general had a real parting of company at least in how they viewed what needed to be the course going forward. >> jeremy bash, we ask this question all the time, why do they stay? about the national security and doj and law enforcement officials. and i guess we have part of an answer today. if rosenstein was so concerned about the chaos around this president that he talked about wearing a wire and rallying support from invoking the 25th amendment from john kelly and jeff sessions, he must stay to protect that department from the president's whims. can you extrapolate that idea and that mind-set across the agencies you're so familiar with at the justice department, intelligence agencies and
department of defense for >> i think rod rosenstein long ago had the justification, the off-ramp to get out of there, basically to go into the private sector and live a quiet life. he could have said i'm a witness in this investigation. i wrote the memo justifying comey's firing although i was duped into doing so. i don't fully believe in that justification anymore, and he could have said, therefore, i can't be part of this investigation. instead he's stuck it out. i think he's really worried that the president would insert somebody over bob mueller and be a crony of the president and do the president's bidding. i think rod rosenstein, even though i haven't agreed with everything he's done in the matter, i think by and large, he has stood his ground because he understands that what's at stake is not just this presidency but, in fact, our constitutional system. i'll just note, nicolle, and may
it's a question for michael. rosenstein's denial was pretty general and then specific saying there is no basis to invoke the 25th amendment, not saying there was never any basis and he doesn't specifically deny the wearing a wire aspect. i am curious why michael thinks that is. >> go ahead. >> i've got to let their response speak for itself. that is what they said. and in -- also as i was pointing out, they gave us this statement from a person in the room on background who said that, yes, this had come up. but it was in a different context. we didn't -- when our reporting showed that rosenstein had been asked whether this was a joke and he said it was not and i'm going to just have to let rosenstein sit there and stand for it. the statement but when you see in the press that people are quoting a source who was in the room that said this was said sarcastically and given to us by the spokeswoman for the justice
department. >> phil rucker, you guys don't like to serve as analysts for the stories you reported out. what's your sense of who rosenstein is in sort of the trump melodrama which is what it is at this point? he's too conservative to be a hero to democrats but he's too much of a truth teller to be a hero to trumplandia. in some ways, a man without an island. in other ways he represents everybody. the vast 60% of americans who have grave concerns about donald trump's conduct in office. >> i would have a slightly different interpretation which is if democrats are looking for a hero in the trump administration, rod rosenstein is that person. he's not a full hero to democrats, you're right. but they see him as a vanguard protecting the institutional norms and institutional integrity at the justice department and trying to ensure this mueller investigation into russian interference in the election can continue completely and uninterpreted and serve as a guardrail against the president. certainly he's a partisan
figure, and a lot of things democrats don't like. but it's one of the reasons chuck schumer put out a statement almost immediately after mike and adam goldman's very good story today saying this should not be used as a pretext to fire the deputy attorney general. >> it's an interesting realignment when you have laura ingraham and don junior attacking him. >> absolutely. jeremy bash, thank you for spending the first half of our hour with us. when we come back, steve schmidt weighs in on the resistance within the trump administration and calls for the 25th amendment. that's next. you wouldn't accept an incomplete job
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today's breaking news on rod rosenstein for "the new york times" feels like the next logical step in an increasingly credible series of on-the-record accounts from inside the administration. cries, from within, and now this. rosenstein did tell mccabe he might be able to persuade attorney general jeff sessions and john kelly, then secretary
of homeland security and now white house chief of staff to mount an effort to invoke the 25th amendment. in his statement to "new york times," rosenstein didn't specifically deny that reporting, but instead insisted that based on his personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th amendment. steve schmidt joins us now. you and i have done a bit of parsing in our careers. felt like a carefully parsed nondenial. >> yeah, of course it was. for sure, no deputy attorney general joking in the obama, bush, clinton, truman, roosevelt administrations, any administration post-25th amendment about removing the president from power because of some level of unfitness. >> steve schmidt, weigh in on the picture that's coming into view. you and i have been in some difficult stretches of time on campaigns and in a white house. and one thing is always true. no matter how chaotic it looks
from the outside, it's always worse on the inside. that holds true with the mccain/palin campaign and the harry meyers nomination to the supreme court. other challenging periods in the government and campaign jobs we've held. this picture coming into focus from the woodward book to the omarosa account to the anonymous op-ed to mike schmidt and adam goldman's reporting today about rosenstein talking with -- whether he was joking or not about the 25th amendment and wearing a wire. talk about how alarming that picture is that's coming into full view. >> well, it's an extremely alarming picture. if you read the bob woodward book, if you read omarosa's book, if you just look at the comportment of this president on a daily basis from the lying to the lack of rectitude and probity, you look at his erratic behavior, lack of self-control, indiscipline. all the contemporaneous accounts. anonymous op-ed from "new york times," it paints a picture of a president of the united states,
the commander in chief, the man who sits atop the world's most powerful nuclear arsenal as mentally, psychological the temperamentally and intellectually unfit to hold that power. >> a lot of people have the observation that the anonymous op-ed and the pace of the news cycle seem to wash bob woodward's really stunning body of reporting out of the news cycle more quickly than a woodward book is usually washed out. i think the opposite is true. literally everything that's happened since his book came out, there's been some reporting from this network about the fraying ties and in "the new york times" between secretary mattis and the president which seems to undergird what wouldward is reporting about. you've got another account today about another cabinet secretary talking about the 25th amendment.
just talk about what these people in there who think they're doing some good, but i know it's a debate that former government officials have that they're keeping this secret and not doing any good. talk about where that debate stands with another piece of evidence. >> well, i think it's very clear that this president, and he's proven it himself, we don't need any confirming accounts that he's fundamentally unfit for the office that he holds. that there's chaos in the white house. that it's a food fight. that it's, you know, a bunch of monkeys throwing excrement at each other on any given day. we've watched it play out for years now. i do think there's a couple categories of people in the white house. there are accomplices. sarah huckabee sanders would fall deeply in that category. there are people who are serving necessarily. jim mattis. and i think there would be global panic if you saw the
secretary of defense step down from his post. you have careerists in the white house. those people are people who like the title, like the motorcade, like the fancy situations they find themselves in but don't particularly like donald trump. and they think there's some virtue in that. and, lastly, we just have your plain old hypocrite. people in there executing the president's wishes on a daily basis who some day soon, when this is all over will be out there saying donald trump who? i was fighting him all along from the inside. so we have a mix of people, you know, there, and there's a few of them, though, that i think are vital to protecting, let's say, the armed forces from the president of the united states. protecting the world from the whims of the president of the united states. because on any given moment, the combination of his erratic behavior, his ignorance could pose a profound danger to every
single person in this country and literally every inhabitant of the planet earth. >> i want to jump ahead. you unloaded on twitter over the last 24 hours over the conduct of this president and his treatment of the woman accusing judge brett kavanaugh of sexual assault, professor ford. i'm going to give you a chance to elaborate on the points you've been making. >> well, it's disgusting behavior. we don't know what happened in that room 36 years ago. there's been an allegation made. it deserves to be investigated. professor ford deserves to have an opportunity to testify. this is a lifetime appointment to the supreme court. we see a president of the united states who is credibly accused by his own admission. of course, 19 other women of being a sexual predator. we see this president going all in for judge roy moore.
credibly accused of being a child predator. we see this president, again and again, insulting women, degrading our discourse and dialogue. this is a private person thrust into the spotlight being targeted by the president of the united states in the most cruel and vile way. it's disgusting. and so you have two political dynamics at work here. you have a president of the united states supported by a base who 100% believed that this is a smear and do not want to see this president back down, not one inch. they want to see him attack that woman. now on the other hand you have mitch mcconnell who would like to stay majority leader and control of the senate is tenuous. he knows politically the worst, almost apocalyptic scenario is when those republican senators, starting with grassley and going to orrin hatch, out of touch, start interrogating dr. ford. and it's going to be a political disaster, the like of which we haven't seen since the anita hill hearings and that ushered in, in 1992, the year of the woman. some of those women like patty
murray, are still in service in the united states senate. we know already this will be the largest elected class of female candidates up and down the ballot in american history. and i suspect at the outcome of this, no matter which way it goes, whether kavanaugh is confirmed or not, is going to energize female voters across this country, including female republican suburban voters who will be pulling down democratic ballots for the first time. this will have a profound implication in the november elections. >> steve schmidt ran the confirmation campaigns around now-sitting supreme court justices roberts and alito. we'll ask him if kavanaugh makes it or not, after the break.
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so i'm more than confident. kayak. search one and done. the dam has finally broken. after days of being celebrated for being restrained and even called medicated by one outside adviser for not attacking kavanaugh's accuser, professor christine blasey ford, trump finally let it rip tweeting, i have no doubt if the attack on
dr. ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local law enforcement authorities by either her or her loving parents. can't believe he writes this stuff. i ask that she bring those filings forward so we can learn date, time and place. the radical left lawyers want the fbi to get involved now. why didn't someone call the fbi 36 years ago. trump's meltdown was no doubt a blow to aides who said things like this. you have no idea how hard it's been to keep him from attacking his supreme court nominee's accuser. joining the table is the rev al sharpton, host of "politics nation" on msnbc. i don't know where to start. first of all, no concept of what it's like to be a victim of sexual assault. the vast majority of them do not report those incidents, and a lot of them take many, many years to go to authorities, if ever. >> i have fought issues on both
sides of this, and i think there's a certain level of you would regard the president of the united states to respect both sides, if that's his choice and let them litigate it or deal with this in front of the senate. but to come with the weight of the presidency where he is clearly castigating this dr. ford, again shows why, as you've been discussing on the rosenstein issue, why people feel he is not fit to be president. i think that his aides were advising him in the best interest of not only where we want justice, but our president should be able and you're dealing with such a serious issue as a lifetime serving on the supreme court. there are issues that rise that need to be dealt with. >> where do you think the kavanaugh nomination stands right now? >> i think that it is now really
in jeopardy because i think that given where we are in the -- in terms of these accusations and the behavior that has circled these accusations, the one or two republican moderate republicans that were undecided, i think are going to have a lot of pressure now to tilt toward nonconfirmation. and they can do it without convicting kavanaugh of what's been accused, but by just saying there's too many questions. i think that the president might have tilted it in a way that he really will regret. >> phil rucker, i want to hear from you but let's watch susan
collins who spoke out on that point you're making now. >> i was appalled by the president's tweet. first of all, we know that allegations of sexual assault, i'm not saying that's what happened in this case, but we know that allegations of sexual assault are one of the most unreported crimes that exist. so i thought that the president's tweet was completely inappropriate and wrong. >> we're going to put up on the screen for our viewers the latest in the negotiations between professor ford and judge kavanaugh for that hearing. but you've got some new reporting from your colleague. >> seung min kim is reporting that there are negotiations ongoing. and that the senate republicans on the judiciary committee are suggesting that she come in for a hearing on wednesday of next week instead of thursday which apparently her lawyer had suggested. and also importantly, that she testify first before kavanaugh speaks. there had been some discussion about whether she'd be able to speak after kavanaugh, but, no, the senate republicans want her out first. >> and what's the significance of only having two witnesses
called? why do they want that? >> well, according to her account, in the story in "the post" last weekend, there was a third person in the room during this assault. a man. and he's not been called to testify. you know, he would, obviously, if it happened, he would have been a witness to this. he could have recalled what he saw. there would be an opportunity to compare what he witnessed and saw with what she and kavanaugh are testifying to. there seems to be no interest in the leadership on the republican side in the committee to have him come forward and join. >> joyce, why, if you want to be viewed as a legitimate truth-seeking body, why not subpoena the only eyewitness known? >> you know, that's exactly the right question to ask here. what senate republicans seem intent upon doing is ensuring that this remains a he said/she said. and then they'll be able to say, well, we can't know for certain.
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republican senators, but if they also force it through it will sbeps fit passions, and drive women turnout, and i thinking size of the blue tsunami, and i think there is one coming i think it's going to grow. botho o'rourke narrowly being defeated, and beto o'rourke narrowly winning that race the no matter what, this is a terrible circumstance. let me just say that i think it's going to be impossible to find out what happened in that room between teenagers 36 years ago specifically if there was any knowledge by justify
kavanaugh about the ed whelan conspiracy theory where a middle schoolteacher was smeared and publicly identified as the person who possibly did that, if that was a coordinated strategy -- i'm not suggest fog a second that brett kavanaugh had any knowledge about it. i say this as someone who ran two of these, the nominees don't have much say in the political strategy, but if he knew, then i think that disqualifies and has to go down. at the end of the days this, collins and murkowski will be the two senators who determines whether he sits on the court or doesn't. >> the legacy of anita hill is appreciated by many, in part very limited, but powerful appearances.
i think that anita hill's appearance, if it had been in this time probably would have been the end of clarence thomas' nominati nomination. and i think that you have different factors now. not only do you have the me too movement and women empowered, you also have a difference in terms of the allegation, because we are dealing with the race factor. you don't have that here. it's going to be a lose-lose either way for the republicans. the question is how much they'll lose? all right. profound thoughts. thank you, we have to sneak in our very last break. we'll be right back. of nowhere. you do, too, but not in time. hey, no big deal. you've got a good record and liberty mutual won't hold a grudge by raising your rates over one mistake. you hear that, karen? liberty mutual doesn't hold grudges...
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my thanks to our guests. that does it for this hour. i'll see you back here on monday at 4:00 p.m. \s lighting the fuse. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington tonight. we're awaiting word from lawyers representing christine blasey ford on whether or not she will testify before the senate judiciary committee next week. the senate republican chairman of the committee has set a deadline of 10:00 p.m. tonight for her lawyers to respond and said the committee will vote on this confirmation on monday if ford's lawyers do not meet the deadline or if she decides not to testify. so we could be having a vote this monday. we're going get to that next with a friend of dr. ford's who is a fellow student.