tv Deadline White House MSNBC September 24, 2018 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT
nicolle wallace starts right now. a swirl of dramatic and conflicting reports throughout the day today suggesting deputy attorney general rod rosenstein's job was on life support. what we know at this hour. rosenstein is still the number two at the justice department. and after attending a meeting at the white house this morning, white house press secretary sarah huckabee sanders issued this statement. at the request of rod rosenstein, he and president trump had an extended conversation to discuss the recent news stories. because the president is at the u.n. ga and has a full schedule with leaders from around the world, they'll meet on thursday when the president returns to washington, d.c. when asked about rosenstein's future, the president was vague. >> i'm meet with rod rosenstein on thursday when i get back from all of these meetings. and we'll be meeting at the white house, and we'll be determining what's going on. we want to have transparency.
we want to have openness, and i look forward to meet with rod at that time. >> what this all means, rosenstein as of this hour is still overseeing bob mueller's investigation. but his fate remains far from certain. sources telling nbc news that rosenstein spoke to white house counsel don mcgahn over the weekend and made clear in that conversation that he would not resign. rosenstein reportedly said he would not accept being terminated by chief of staff john kelly, according to one person familiar with the conversation and said the president would have to fire him directly. the fire drill that landed him in limbo comes into reaction to an account in the friday "new york times" that suggested as early as may of 2017, rosenstein discussed rallying support from among the president's cabinet from attorney general jeff sessions and then homeland security secretary john kelly to invoke the 25th amendment. he also offered to wear a wire. it was described by trump's allies on fox news as a trap for the president, and he was
repeatedly convinced not to fire his d.a.g. who also oversees the mueller probe. it was seen by some as an attempt to distract from the latest allegations against the president's supreme court nominee, especially since his face-to-face meet with trump planned for thursday falls on the day brett kavanaugh and his accuser will both testify on capitol hill. wow. tests your faith in coincidences. here to discuss some of our favorite friends and reporters from "the washington post," phil rucker. at the table, frank figlusi, former fbi assistant director for counterintelligence. former chief spokesman for the justice department matt miller. eli stokeles, white house reporter for the l.a. times. and "washington post" opinion writer jennifer ruben is here. phil rucker, let me start with you and the latest reporting from the white house. what do you hear? >> we're hearing conflicting things, but one thing is certain that rod rosenstein remains as the deputy attorney general. he will stay on the job until
thursday, at a minimum. that's when he's scheduled to meet with president trump here in washington after trump returns from the u.n. general assembly up in new york. i was talking to a senior official in the white house just a short time ago about that meet, and this person just said, look, it will be like the meeting you or i would have with your boss to hash this out. it's unclear at this point whether trump is going to demand his resignation, whether trump is going to fire him or whether they'll clear the air and figure out a way forward, at least through the midterm elections if not beyond. but one thing is clear from just a number of conversations with officials in the broader trump orbit. and that's that rod rosenstein is not long for this world. he is probably not going to be able to stay in this job a whole lot longer after the midterm elections according to people familiar with some of the discussions under way. >> phil rucker, what are you hearing about who is breaking up with who at this hour? that seems to be one of the things in the most direct
conflict. i'd heard over the weekend the president was convinced it was not in his interest to fire rosenstein. that waiting until after the midterms would serve him better, protect him from another data point in the obstruction of justice investigation and this is on rosenstein. we've also reported that rosenstein has said, no, i'm not leaving. where's your report coming down on that question? >> it's a little fluid, nicolle. the troubling situation right now is it's a bit of a mystery. we don't know the exact contours here. what you just said is exactly right. trump was convinced over the weekend not to fire him. he felt he could keep him on. he felt like firing him would be feeding into sort of a plant, a trick. sean hannity on fox news, an adviser to the president, laid it out on his show on friday, that argument that is -- and it also seems like rosenstein in his conversations with the white house officials, with john kelly, don mcgahn over the weekend was very much initiating
the idea of possibliy resigning. what's unclear is how serious that was. whether he said something like i am willing to resign if the president wants me to or whether he said i intend to resign and i'm going to do it on monday. we don't know the exact nature of those conversations. >> eli, i want to hear about your reporting. i want to show our viewers what phil rucker is talking about. let's watch. >> i have a message for the president tonight. under zero circumstances should the president fire anybody. >> if you are laying a trap for donald trump, this might be exactly how you'd do it. >> okay, professor, what will president trump do now? >> well, if he's smart, he'll take advantage of this and not fire either -- any of these people, not mueller, not rosenstein, and not sessions. >> so this is important point because i think a lot of people are really scared after the
times story came out that trump would use that as a pretense to fire rosenstein and, therefore, jeopardize the mueller probe. on the right, the opposite reaction. whoa! maybe this is what it shows we're all paranoid and belong on meds meds. it's fascinating how we recognize the two americans. >> i don't know what alan dershowitz was talking about but it was clear what those on fox news were saying. it would be stupid to do this before the midterm elections. after the midterms, the president might get much different advice from people in that world. but it's true. my reporting lines up with what you have and what phil has about this weekend. the president mainly fixated on the kavanaugh debacle. this was on the back burner. he had gotten conflicting advice about what to do with rosenstein but had decided whatever the ambivalence to hold off on firing him. it's interesting. i don't know where all the stories came from. the initial stories today, but it was easy once that first story was out there to get
rosenstein's people to come out and say, he expects to be fired. his people were putting that out to what end, we don't know at this point but certainly today for all the claims the president having a really busy schedule. he was free today between 9:30 and 2:15. almost two hours he spent at trump tower. he was on the phone with kelly and talking to rosenstein during that time. and this is a man who, as we know, for all the reputation that he loves to fire people, he doesn't like to do it in person. and so the idea that he's putting this off, he had this opportunity today while out of town. if he wanted to do it, didn't take it and then is going to go back thursday to washington and meet with him. it's impossible to predict what this president will and won't do. based on precedent, we know he generally sh lly shies away frot confrontation and firing people face to face. >> the substance of this got lost. the substance of the report that rosenstein may or may not have offered to resign over was as early as may of 2017, 16 months
before the unanimous op-ed shows up in "the new york times," a cabinet official was talking about invoking the 25th amendment and bringing other cabinet officials along to that judgment. and offered to wear a wire to expose the chaos in the white house. he should have worn one today because the white house looked chaotic today. back to the substance of this. the substance of what rosenstein was reported to have been concerned about in may of 2017 lines up with the omarosa book. lines up with the unanimous op-ed and every page of the woodward book and seems to be another pillar in this picture that from the inside, the trump presidency is much more alarming than what we see from the outside. >> that -- the substance of that report was three weeks into rosenstein's time at deputy attorney general. he had exposure to him in two big instances. the dealings around the comey firing and the second was his dealings with the president when he sat in on all the interviews for potential fbi directors. if you read the story, one thing people missed in the substance of that story was the takeaway was that rod rosenstein was
really having a tough time. and whether he was serious or not in his remarks about the 25th amendment, whether he was serious or not in his remarks about wearing the wire, he was a person in some ways a ship without port. was not sure where to go. >> you worked in the justice department. i worked in the white house. i attended a lot of nsc meetings. we made jokes. you don't put in a memo, jokes. >> that is not a suggestion that a deputy attorney general who really is in control of the situation makes in a serious manner because it's never going to happen. but i don't think he was joking. the takeaway is he was not in control of the situation at the time. he's faced a few tests, more than any deputy attorney general in the history with the possible exception during watergate. he failed the first one when he wrote the comey memo. eight days later, another one, and he passed when he appointed bob mueller. he's facing the next big test. will he step down quietly or if
trump really wants to get rid of him, will he make him fire him? it's a critical test for his legacy and independence of the justice department. it would be a massive step for him to step down voluntarily now. >> talk to me about the idea of wearing a wire. that's also in the report and if he's offered to resign or fired, that was also the substance of what that story revealed, that in the spring of 2017, in this period of time before mueller was appointed, when they were interviewing candidates for fbi director. i've talked to some people who interviewed for that job. a couple pulled themselves out of contention. it was a chaotic time for this white house. he suggested that one of the candidates going in and wear a wire. why would you do that? >> prosecutors, fbi agents, cops, the only time they talk about wearing a wire is when it's against a bad guy. so understand the gravity of the deputy attorney general of the united states actually verbalizing, even if in jest, the possibility that he might wear a wire against the president of the united states in the oval office. and what that means about the
mind-set of the deputy attorney general at the time and what the president was doing at that time. but he -- even in jest, he's now handed the president whatever the president needs to plausibly say, i need to get rid of you. whether it's now or after the midterms. he's handed that to the president. >> so what do we do next? >> i think we realistically anticipate the dismissal of the deputy attorney general, whether it's before november midterms or not. if you're on the mueller team, which is what i'm thinking about now, you're essentially doing that embassy consulate drill where the embassy is about to be overtaken and you start assuming you're about to be compromised. >> you start moving cases out? >> you press sunday. the prosecutorial parachute goes to various state attorneys general. >> i heard some advice from an ally close to the president who said the case to be made to rosenstein if it is rosenstein's desire to leave. and we should also remind our
viewers of all the bleep he's put up with. he's got an entire house republican caucus that's drafted in articles of impeachment for him. he faces abuse every time he's on capitol hill. trying to release unredacted memos with state secrets in them to protect president trump from the russia probe. one scenario he's agreed to stay until mueller's investigation is over and the two walk out arm in arm. >> that would be the best possible scenario that he actually allows this to be completed. i think what you saw here was an effort, a game of chicken, as one former u.s. attorney said to me. an effort to get rosenstein to see if he could be bullied into resigning. to see if he would go quietly. when that was impossible, they backed off a little bit. and i think the reaction from capitol hill, from the media was sufficient to back them off. but this is a temporary stay of execution. and i think what all of us and what the commerngress has to st
thinking about is who would succeed mueller -- who would succeed rosenstein, excuse me. would it go to the solicitor general? does he have conflicts? >> that's noel francisco. but his firm jones day represents donald trump in the russia investigation. >> exactly. sounds like a conflict to me. >> and there may be something directly on point, according to other ethical people who say like he can't do this. then you drop down to olc. and goodness knows how far we're going to go with this. but it is important to remember that somebody other than jeff sessions is going to be managing that mueller probe, unless the president fires the attorney general and the republican senate, if there is one, confirms somebody new. number one, i think the senate owes the country the obligation of saying we will not replace jeff sessions with a presidential pick until the
mueller investigation is complete. and number two, i think it behooves mr. francisco to be very up front and clear about what his ethical obligations are. in that case, there will be a career individual in the justice department who is supervising the mueller probe. >> rod rosenstein's deputy, callahan is the political appointee. there are other names there. we have to watch that line of succession. i don't want to lose the thread on this. i want to bring phil and eli back on this. i want to remind everyone why rosenstein is such a trigger for the president and why most of the venom the president has unloaded, until recently about the russia investigation, he unloaded on rosenstein. he didn't name mueller until about eight, 12 weeks ago. and part of that was because rosenstein was the official who signed off on the raid of michael cohen's offices. the president has tweeted about him, i am being investigated for firing the fbi director by the
man who told me to fire the fbi director. witch hunt. the president has laid so much hate red for the justice department at the feed of rosenstein. >> he's praised him for other things the doj has done. it's hard to follow. when the president is the angriest about where he is with the mueller probe, with sdny, he does come back to rosenstein. and he does grumble about it. he does tweet about it. and i think has felt boxed in because of the fact that he can't, or hasn't been able to feel like he can do whatever he wants to because of the political implications. when he expresses frustration, i'm the president, why can't i do this, a lot is directed at rosenstein and feeling boxed in. this is an interesting moment for him. >> it's an interesting moment to wonder if the congress, if democrats take over, should bring every cabinet secretary up to the hill and ask them to festify whether they think the 25th amendment is necessary. it's the fifth account we know of the cabinet talking about the 25th amendment. one guy isn't into the 25th
amendment. that's mike pompeo. let's watch that and talk about it on the other side. >> if you can't be on the team, if you aren't supporting this mission, then maybe you ought to find something else to do. i've told that to my senior colleagues and junior folks, we need everyone who is engaged in helping achieve president trump's mission. i hope that everyone in every agency, doj, fbi, state department, is on that mission. if you aren't, you should take this time to go do something more productive. >> and i assume that talking about wiring the president, talking about the 25th amendment is not being on the team. >> not remotely. >> is it possible that if you think he's cuckoo, it's called being on team america, phil rucker? >> well, what you just heard there from secretary pompeo is the prevailing view inside the white house. and at the senior ranks of the administration which is if you can't get on board with what this president is trying to do, then what are you doing in this job? but there are people with sort of mission critical assignments
like rod rosenstein overseeing the russia investigation who see it as their mission, their duty to the country to continue to do that work. remember, it's not an investigation into donald j. trump personally. it's an investigation into a foreign government, in to russia's attempt to interfere in the u.s. election in 2016. to interfere in our democracy. and that's what the department of justice is trying to get to the bottom of with the mueller investigation. i think rosenstein sees it as his duty to stay in that role at the tip of the spear as long as he can to protect the integrity of the investigation. >> frank, i worked in a white house for six years. plenty of political problems, national security challenges, criticized from the right and the left. never one did i hear a joke about the 25th amendment. i had to google it. didn't know what it was until i started watching "homeland" last season. always ahead of the curve in american politics. the 25th amendment being
discussed. the woodward book, the omarosa book, unanimous op-ed and report friday about rod rosenstein. should we start separating the cabinet secretaries, put them in categories of political stooges and truth tellers? who goes in what category? mattis and rosenstein belong in the truth teller category. >> 25 years in the federal government, 25 years in the fbi, lots of gallous humor and joking. never once did anyone ever joke or mention the 25th amendment involving the president or wiring up against the president, even in jest. and i have to tell you something first. that's the first time i've heard the full clip from mike pompeo. he specifically mentioned the fbi. as somebody that, as a team that needs to fulfill the mission of the president, that is not the role of the fbi. and on a larger scale, as you're saying, when it comes to the 25th amendment if you think the president is unable to fulfill his duties and powers, you're on team america.
whether or not that's part of the mission of the president. so, yes, indeed if the right people were in charge of congress, we would be having hearings. we would be getting cabinet members in a room alone and asking them whether or not he can fulfill his duties. and that's not going to happen under this congress. >> all right, phil rucker and frank figliuzzi, thanks for scaring me. the saturday night massacre. that's how the ranking member of the house judiciary committee describes the president's war on justice. we'll get his reaction to the latest news about deputy attorney general rod rosenstein. also ahead -- the president doubles down on his supreme court nominee as new allegations emerge. and the midterm elections are shaping up to be a worst case scenario for republicans. new polling spells trouble for their chances of holding off a big blue wave.
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but will you fire rod rosenstein based on this treachery? >> i don't want to comment on it until i get all the facts. i haven't gotten all the facts, but certainly it's being looked at in terms of what took place, if anything took place. and i'll make a determination some time later. but i don't have the facts. >> rod rosenstein's fate still hanging in the balance this hour. his critics bracing for a potential constitutional crisis. the top democrat on the judiciary committee saying we've been watching a slow-moving saturday night massacre with donald trump firing comey and mccabe and his attacks on doj officials and special counsel mueller. if potus fires rod rosenstein, it would be a serious escalation in the case for obstruction of
justice. joining us now is congressman jerry nadler and former u.s. attorney barbara mcquade. thank you for being here. >> thank you. >> are you worried? are you scared? >> i am very worried. we have seen from this administration an attack on the institutions that we depend on to preserve our constitutional order and liberties, attacks on the press othe judiciary, on the fbi, attacks on the department of justice. and we know that there is massive russian interference in the last election. and there's a proper investigation of that to see what they did and who in the united states abeded it. and we know that there's been a -- that the president has persistently attacked that investigation. and it's, as i said, it's a slow motion saturday night massacre start with his demanding loyalty from comey, then his firing
comey, firing mccabe. his attacks on the doj, attacks on individuals in the doj, his attacks on rosenstein, his attempts to fire sessions. his attacks on bruce orr who is a career person in the doj. his attacks on the fbi. this president is willing to subvert major american institutions in the service of himself. and rosenstein has been in charge of the mueller investigation, making sure that mueller has the wherewithal and the freedom to pursue the investigation where it leads, which is what this country needs. i'm very concerned that if they fire rosenstein, they'll put in somebody who will, in fact, constrain the investigation and we'll not find out what we need to find out, and we will not be able to contain the damage to our institutions that we depend on for our liberty. >> rod rosenstein and bob mueller are both republicans. is it a strange position to find yourself in where -- and you
talk about the saturday night massacre. the ultimately, nixon faced a congress that once they had all the facts and saw obstruction detailed in full light, they fulfilled their duties. are you concerned that as more and more evidence comes out, it seems to have no impact on republicans in congress? >> i am very concerned. in fact, the republicans in congress have been -- some of them, the chairman of the judiciary committee, the chairman of the investigations committee, the heads of the freedom caucus, various others have been doing whatever they can to -- >> is that mark meadows? jim jordan. >> bob goodlatte, trey gowdy. they've been doing what they can to subvert the investigation, to attack the investigation. to launch an investigation of the investigation. >> why do you think that is? >> to protect the president. i think they are putting the welfare of the president personally and politically above the welfare of the country. and i think the character of the republican party over years has
changed. i am not at all sure that they would go along with impeaching nixon today with the evidence that they had. so i think that i don't say this in a partisan base, i though it will be hard for people to believe, but i think for the welfare of the country you have to have a democratic congress because, or at least one house because the republican congress has absolutely refused to do their constitutional duty, which is to be a check and a balance on the president, to exercise account, to force accountability, to launch investigations and to be the check and the balance that matters in the framers of the constitution insisted the congress be. and without that check, an executive who has no c compunctions and no sense of institutional integrity can run amok as this president is doing. >> not strange to hear democrats
say that, but there are other republicans -- you're in that camp. so this is now the view not just of democrats but of everyone who is interested in protecting trump no matter the fact. is it weird, as a democrat, as a former democratic operative, former democratic justice department official, to be the one standing on the line protecting republican officials like bob mueller and rod rosenstein? >> no, because there is a long tradition that people inside the administration, you expect to have respect for certain fundamental values like the rule of law. that's not supposed to be a partisan issue. that's supposed to be believed by democrats and republicans between administrations and also on the hill. the weird thing is the caucus of republicans that believe in just basic institutions has shrunk so -- to be so little. one of the things -- >> i go further. they're corrupted.
they don't just not believe. the caucus of republicans has been corrupt. that's why i asked you why. they've been corrupted by something. >> and the conversation that every democrat has had is, what would we do if we were in this situation and you like to think you'd do the right thing. we'd be one of the republicans like jennifer who would stand up and say, i can't believe this is happening. i'm not going to put partisan loyalty ahead of the country and the basic values that we hold dear. you don't know until you face the test. watching all the republicans on the other side, they've all crumbled until you're left with almost nobody in either house of congress. >> i want to bring barbara mcquade in. >> the congressman raises the important point which is there are so many different ways in which the congress has failed. first of all, they've rubber stamped every single nominee who has gone through, whether that's judicial nominees, whether it's cabinet positions, many of whom have had to leave because of corruption. they've not had any oversight on the meddling within the justice department. they report is policed their
own. no ethics probe with devin nunes as to has revelation of classified material or his efforts to uncover the name of a -- outing a confidential source. they haven't had any investigation as to the efforts, the plotting to fire rod rosenstein, to manufacture these sorts of crises. so there are many, many things that a normal congress would be doing. they'd be having oversight. they'd be calling in rod rosenstein and asking, did the white house ever instruct you to do x? did the white house prevent you from doing y? and that is completely absent because, as you say, we do not -- we no longer have a system of checks and balances. we have one party that has thrown up the constitution and thrown up our democratic institutions and they don't care. >> barbara mcquade, i want to ask you about some reporting in "the washington post" today, part of the rosenstein watch, if you will. the post is reporting that this
person said rosenstein had expressed to others he should resign because he felt compromised. felt very compromised and was now a witness in the russia probe, rather than a supervisor. what did we learn in the last couple days that turned him into a witness instead of a supervisor of that probe? >> well, if he is someone who is involved in investigating the president or if this report is true that he offered to wear a wire to obtain incriminating statements made by the president. we still don't know what all those facts are, whether he did this, whether he did so in jest or had a genuine concern about the president's ability to serve and was acting the best interest of the country by invoking the 25th amendment. what president trump is doing is actually making sense which is, let me talk to him face to face on thursday and get a sense of what this is all about. but it could be that rod rosenstein, even if he survives his job finds himself in a position where he has to recuse himself from the investigation
and then in effect may be the same which is that we now have someone else taking over the supervision of this investigation. >> you are shaking your head. i want to let you react and also ask you if you should take over control of the house which looks increasingly possible by the chaotic day. were you prepared to embark upon impeachment proceedings for the president? >> i think it's too early to say that. we don't know enough yet. we have to wait and see more facts. and that's one of the reasons why the mueller investigation is so important. it's certainly a possibility. certainly if the president were to act in a way to shut down the mueller investigation or greatly impede it, that would be another major indication of the president involved -- being involved in massive obstruction of justice. probably an obstruction of judgment, too, but that's -- >> probably predates the obstruction of justice. >> it's an impeachable offense, but i think it's too early to
make those determinations, and we should concentrate now on making sure that the investigation can go forward properly. the investigation of the russian involvement in our election and the investigation of the ongoing obstruction of justice which is equally important. and we should -- we won't, but we should pass that legislation that's been pending for, what, four, five, six months to protect the mueller investigation. but that's of key importance. >> last question. if the president has been convinced by people like sean hannity and tucker carlson, for better for worse not to fire rod rosenstein, what would your message to rosenstein be today? to hang in there? >> to hang in there as his patriotic duty to make sure that mueller can follow the facts where they lead and that he's not either fired or compromised in terms of the investigation being told don't look here, don't look there. that's rosenstein's duty, and i don't think he's got -- no
matter what happened in that disputed conversation, which led to nothing. there was no invocation of the 25th amendment. no wiretapping of the president. i don't think that precludes him from -- or puts him in a conflict of interest situation that would preclude him from doing the job we need him to do. >> thank you for spending time with us. after the break, the kavanaugh nomination was supposed to supercharge republicans as they limp into the midterms battered by an unpopular president and constant chaos. how his crisis has rocked republican chances. could help them save money on car insurance? yea,that and homeowners, renters, motorcycle and boat insurance. huh.that's nice. what happens when you catch a fish? gecko: whoa. geico. more than just car insurance. see how much you could save at geico.com. i'm ok!
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a second person has accused brett kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. this time while he was in college. this latest claim detailed in the new yorker comes from a yale classmate named deborah ramirez. she says she remembered, among other things, that kavanaugh exposed himself. she admits some of her memory of that night is fuzzy but insists it was absolutely kavanaugh. kavanaugh denies the allegations
saying in a statement, quote, once again, those alleged to have been witnesses to the event deny it ever happened. there is now a frenzy to come up with something, anything, that will block this process and a vote on my confirmation from occurring. these are smears, pure and simple. and the president agrees with him. again voicing support for his supreme court nominee this morning. >> he's a fine, fine man. a great scholar. great at everything he's ever done. and it would be sad indeed if something happens to reroute that. this is a fine man. and we certainly hope he's going to be confirmed and quick ly. his family has suffered. his family has suffered. what's going on is not something that you should happen. brett kavanaugh is an absolute outstanding person. hopefully he will be confirmed quickly. thank you very much. >> that was just moments ago in new york. joining us is ron clan, former chief of staff to biden and gore
and former chief counsel to the senate judiciary committee during the clarence thomas hearings. barbara mcquade is still with us. let me start with you and your thoughts about, not just where this nomination stands. it seems to be in serious jeopardy, but the conduct of the president and the republicans seems to be to allow no prospect, no possibility that these allegations, which as detailed in "the washington post" last week, couldn't be read any other week than as credible. >> yeah, i think they've -- i think what that says about their view about women in these claims is one thing but as a matter of process, it's hard to explain. i was chief counsel of the senate judiciary committee when democrats controlled it and george h.w. bush was president. we sent it to the fbi, the white house. a conservative white house counsel sent it on to the fbi. and the fbi ran it to ground. the assistance by the trump white house and by the
republicans on the judiciary committee that the fbi would not be brought in to look into this charge, to look in the other information that's coming out, does no service to the process. in the end, it does a great disseverance to judge kavanaugh because there's no independent investigation for the senators to go on and as they go weigh this information. >> i want to let you elaborate on that. this is a point getting lost by republicans who probably intend to make things better for kavanaugh but not allowing her account to be viewed as credible. whether you believe her or believe him, this is about getting to the facts. can you elaborate on that point? i think it's important and lost. >> sure. no nominee likes to be investigated. let's just accept that, nicolle. but it's in the interest of the nominee, him or herself, and the institution to which they're going to be names, the supreme court, to run these things to ground. to find out what happened.
that means having the fbi interview the person bringing the allegations. interview the nominee. look at the available evidence. we hear third hand, fourth hand. he has calendars from his high school days. he is talking to friends. but all this is being done in a slap dash extraordinary way. that's why the fbi, professional, neutral investigators, look into this material. supplement background files with new information as it comes up and create a basis on which people can make a judgment. the effort to rush this nomination from the start, to not turn over all of judge kavanaugh's white house papers, to just kind of ram this thing through is kind of part of what's coming home to roost here instead of running this through the appropriate, regular full, complete process. >> what ron is perhaps not articulating completely, but i sure will is that this will not end, even if he gets on the court because we have had no
vetting of all of these allegations. the fbi has not gone out to interview the yale people who say that they heard deborah ramirez calling out brett kavanaugh's name or others heard this about this incident because we have not had that. these can always be raised again. there may be other women. there may be more people who come forward. and what do we do then? we embark on an impeachment of a sitting supreme court justice? there is no way that kavanaugh wins with questions still pending, with controversy still out there and how many of us are confident that we've talked to all the women that we've heard from all the women who have witnessed or been a part of this? we now have one of the witnesses from complainant number one, mark judge, who makes an appearance in the new yorker story as someone who apparently told an ex-girlfriend, yeah, i was involved in this incident of having sex or more than one people having sex with a woman who was drunk. gosh, don't you think the fbi
should go talk to him? what if he writes a book later on where he confesses what he told to his girlfriend. this has the opportunity, this has the possibility of corrupting the supreme court, of throwing in doubt every decision they make with him on the court. this is serious stuff. and they are treating this like just another political game. i would also add this notion, particularly by lindsey graham, which i find appalling for a military lawyer that there is nothing to investigate is preposterous. ronan farrow and jane mayer are out investigating and finding witnesses and finding confirming evidence. you can't simultaneously say there's nothing to go on and and at the same time say the fbi can't go look. those two things are completely incompatible and it's indicative of people running scared and people who think they can just jam it through because they have the votes. well, we're going to test the meddle of people like jeff flake and susan collins and lisa murkowski. >> those are the four.
this is, if you want to keep up the analogy that you and ron have talked about, this is the political game they're playing. lisa murkowski, susan collins, jeff flake and bob corker. those are the votes they're watching. is it your sense the white house thinks this is salvageable or a sure thing or in peril? >> i think they think it could be salvageable but they're worried about it and look at their options and don't have a better option than trying to keep going. if this falls apart, they're not getting another nominee put through before november. they look at the impact on november and they want to animate conservatives and excite them by putting another conservative on the supreme court. they're trying to get everybody to go back to their corners by turning this into yet another partisan fight and getting everybody to look at it through that lens. but there is risk in that. as they try to attack the process and try to attack democrats, you heard mitch mcconnell doing it again. the president saying the same thing. it's hard to do that without at least implicitly attacking or dismissing the women here.
and saying, you know, like the president did, this happened 30 years ago. why are we just hearing about it now? it's awfully fishy. mcconnell last week told the president that's not helpful. today was saying the same thing on the senate floor. as women see these accusers dismissed leading into the election, whatever cahappens wi kavanaugh, that's not helpful for republicans. >> professor ford has invited the scrutiny and, really, the turning upside down of her life and of this, hat she describes as a painful memory by the fbi. when an accuser does that, what does that look like to law enforcement? does that usually mean these confident in her facts or that she's telling the truth? >> yeah, i think that there are a couple things she has done that enhance her credibility. one is inviting the fbi to come in and look at her past. look at her life and scrutinize this story. the other thing she's done that gives her credibility is putting at the scene mark judge. this is somebody who is a friend of judge kavanaugh.
someone who would likely take his side and yet she puts him at the scene to say ask him. i think both of those things lend credibility to the story she's telling. there's two issues going on with the members of congress here and mitch mcconnell. one is saying, you know, do we believe her? and if we -- even if we do believe her, is this a big deal? he seems to be suggesting by his words and actions that the answer is no. most people would say the answer to those might very well be yes. do we believe her? let's at least find out what she has to say by giving this a full investigation. and if we find it to be true, is it a big deal? sexual assault is a crime. if someone commits it today at age 17, they'd be charged with a crime as an adult. if they were convicted could be sent to prison and would be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of their lives. those are the stakes. and i think she has suggested that she's very open to an investigation. i think we owe it to her and all the girls on judge kavanaugh's basketball team to send a message that we take these allegations seriously. >> last word.
>> i'm not surprised by the moral failing here. the refusal to even give any space to the idea that she might be telling the truth. the victim attacking they continue to do. they don't care about any of that. they want the seat just as they didn't care that donald trump had confessed on tape to sexual assault. they wanted the presidency. i'm surprised by the political blind spot they can't see how this plays around the country with, and not just with women but with a lot of men, too, who have seen this awakening in this country in the last year and a half about the way women are treated. and that awakening has not extended to the republican members of the united states senate. there's time for them to withdraw this nomination and still get another nominee confirmed before the new senate takes place in january. they could do this in the least politically harmful way possible. they seem dead set against not doing that. >> all right. barbara mcquade, thank you. when we come back, you've heard of the blue wave. get ready for the pink wave. new reporting from "the washington post" about how women may help usher in an electoral rebuke of donald trump's alpha male style of governing. alpha
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well, the fate of the kavanaugh nomination is still unclear. the accusations against him could prove to have dramatic political consequences come november. especially for a party led by donald trump. "the washington post" reports quote strategists in both parties say trump's agenda and style and the fact that the gop leadership stands mostly in lock step with him are undoing years of often painstaking work to court more female and minority voters. he solidifies the republican party as the party of men. he's framing the midterm elections as a referendum on his presidency and that has leaders and operatives in the party fearing what has been termed a pink wave of women powering a democratic takeover of the house or perhaps the senate to deliver a rebuke to trump. if you wonder how the
president's female advisers stand by while he attacks and anchors plastic surgery or makes derogatory remarks about female politicians or stands by roy moore, consider this from "the post" report. inside his orbit there's been what one former white house official called a mindness to gender issues. as a political liability in part because the president resents the accusations that have been brought against him personally and because they see the broader issue as a liberal talking point. i'm sorry, it's not a liberal talking point to think that women deserve better than a president who stands by his endorsement of an accused child molester of roy moore. >> this guy reminds you of your abusive ex-husband. he's a bully, he lies. he makes your life miserable. you feel the contempt from him. he makes you feel like a nonperson that's what american
women see when they look at this man and when he stands by as you said roy moore, when he goes after multiple now women complainants who have come forward to lodge complaints against judge kavanaugh, and pursues either a mistaken identity thing or a nutty and slutty theme as they did with anita hill, the american recoil and i think men as well. you have already seen the women running for office like never before. we saw a little bit in my home state in virginia in 2017. suburban women turned out in droves. >> ron, let me fete you on the politics and get you on the one woman who seems to break the mold, stormy daniels, she's out with a new book and she's outtrumping trump by being more crude than him, talking about the body parts. this is a body part day and getting under his skin by going
at him where it hurts. his -- you know, his ego. his frail male prowess if you will. and it seems like if there's a political lesson here it's sort of fighting fire with fire. is that something the democrats have to take into consideration? >> i don't know about that -- >> you're not going to nominate stormy daniels? >> no, nor am i going talk talk about where it hurts. the big ore issue -- bigger issue is how the republican party is remaking itself in the american image and not that trump carries a pall over his party, but the republican candidates kind of mimic trump. so you have the republican nominee for senate in north dakota this week running against an incumbent woman, heidi hide camp, say about this kavanaugh incident that, you know, it was just the attempt that never went anywhere. as if, you know, what happened, what wasn't a serious attack at all.
so, you know, i think it's not trump himself is a problem for republicans but republicans are acting very trumpy and that's going to get them in trouble. record number of women running for office, 180 democratic women are running for the house, 50% more than any year in american history. the previous record is 120. that's a pink wave coming and it will have a big impact this fall. >> god willing. we're due a pink wave. let me put up something that came into us. kavanaugh and his wife sat down with martha mccallum on fox news. let's look at a clip. >> did you ever say, we're out, this isn't worth it? >> i won't let false accusations drive us out of this process d and, you know, we're looking for a fair process. i can be heard and defend the -- my integrity, my life long record. my life long record of promoting
dignity and equality for women starting with the women who knew me when i was 14 years old. i'm not going anywhere. >> eli? >> well, i think it's interesting. that has to be viewed in the context of the last 48 hours and the republicans ramping up this line of the democrats and they're politicizing this nomination pro ses. what you see is a political shop and the rnc everybody trying to defend him. you see them putting kavanaugh on television fighting this in the pr space ahead of thursday's hearing. ahead of when dr. ford is supposed to testify first. she will testify after this interview tonight. she's reportedly turned down a lot of press interviews and wants to keep this just in the space of the senate hearing on thursday. but they're out there. they are fighting a pr battle on the republican side.
they are digging in on this because again i don't think they see any other great options for them at this point. and, you know, this is -- it's just fascinating. i think people will be watching this tonight. but he's telling his story and getting out in front of the accuser for sure. >> and he's doing it on fox news. speaking to for human beings, murkowski, senator corker and senator flake, do you think that is helpful? >> it might be helpful with the few senators. look, obviously it's the playbook from a number of male accusers. they do the interview with their wife and bill clinton did that in 1992. they're worried he doesn't make it until thursday because you could come out before the hearing and answer these accusations then. i think they're worried that if lisa murkowski and susan collins said our votes aren't there, don't put the country through the hearing, don't put the republican majority through the hearing where you have 11 male
republican senators glowering at dr. blasey ford from the dias, it will be harmful for us. they can't wait for thursday to tell the story and let's be honest they need to do it under much friendlier questioning. he won't be asked did he drink until he blacked out, is there other women? he'll get a much more friendlier audience. >> there are some questions that he deemed too personal. >> that was first sense i got that there are people in the white house who would rather he not go through this. you do not leak those source of details if you have complete confidence in the nominee. it was an effort that he should wake up or maybe we should get him out of to way. this is not going to end on thursday. you have another accuser, deborah ramirez, with multiple confirming witnesses. how does susan collins and jeff
flake who said i'm not going to vote until i hear from this woman. this not going to end on thursday. >> let me give you the last word. can you speak to how you see this interview in the context of what we're discussing all hour about this nomination in controversy? >> i think it's a sign of the politicization of the process, they're putting him out on fox, as opposed to the neutral outlet. but you know the last time the republicans jammed through a nominee was 1991 and they got their man in the end. but they lost the elections badly in 1992. you know, justice should be done -- as with judge kavanaugh, but then the women of america will have the final say come this november. >> do you think there's any space in this debate to slow this down? do you think it would behoove the republicans to say at the beginning of your appearance here it's in his interest too to slow this down.
if you're confident in the facts you want to get them all out? >> i think they made a decision on that last week, right after dr. ford went public. they'd try to jam it. so i think they're on a path to jam it. i don't think think they'll back off of that. >> all right. that does it for this hour. "mtp daily" starts right now, katy tur in for chuck todd. >> thank you. if it's monday, we're talking about thursday. good evening. i'm katy tur in for chuck todd. welcome to "mtp daily." as if things in washington couldn't get any crazier the deputy attorney general rod rosenstein who oversees the russia investigation is staying on despite a frenzy of speculation today that