tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC December 13, 2018 6:00pm-7:00pm PST
already lost health insurance, and we need to do more than that and ensure that everybody has health insurance. >> that's a god clear answer. i want to get everyone running on this very question. i think that's going to be very important should that come about. julian castro, thanks. >> thanks for having me. >> good evening, rachel. i would pay that kind of money to see that kind of interview and each more with everybody who runs. >> we were talking about that today. anyone who is watching who is going to run for president, come on and we'll do that, or we can do longer. >> it's the truth questionnaire, but it's the chris hayes questionnai questionnaire. i've learned a lot. well done. thanks, my friend. this is turning out to be one of those news cycles this week. it's hard to keep up, not just with the pace of new developments as they're happening, but also, it's hard to keep up with a realistic sense of the weight and importance and even the historic nature of each of these
successive developments, because so many of them have happened in such quick succession. in the past week or so, we have seen at least one news development per day that alone would be the biggest scandal to hit any other president in at least a year if not an entire term in office. we've been having them daily for more than a week now, and they just keep coming. i mean, as yesterday, the president's long-time personal lawyer was just sentenced to three years in federal prison. then immediately following his sentencing, prosecutors almost simultaneously unsealed what amounts to basically a cooperation agreement that they entered into with a company that made illegal payments to benefit the president's campaign in an arrangement that was worked out overtly between that company and the president's campaign. the president's own company appears to have been used to cover up another illegal campaign payment with falsified records and accounts.
there are a handful of executives within the president's company would seem to have had the authority within the company to commit that kind of what looks lucky accounting fraud or potentially tax fraud in terms of writing checks, directing disbursements, creating accounting entries. one of those handful of executives who might have had that authority has now been granted immunity by prosecutors in exchange for cooperation with them in their ongoing inquiries. all of the other executives a the president's company, would could conceivably been involved at that level with that potential crime, all of the others would appear to be members telephone president's family. or, indeed, the president himself. so that's like the last 24 hours. and that would be kind of enough drum for one president total, right? that would be enough drama and presidential scandal and potential legal liability for the president to outshadow the
worst thing that happened in the presidency of most american presidents. but that was just yesterday. that's just what happened yesterday while at the same time this president also has his campaign chairman, his deputy campaign chairman and his national security adviser, all either in jail or out of jail, but awaiting sentencing right now. awaiting sentencing on felony charges. right? and on top of everything that's happening right now, the president has that that he has to think about every day as well. and then today, today happened. including this dramatic turn of events in federal court today in washington, d.c. quote, the judge, all right, mr. kennerson for the prosecution and mr. driscoll for the defense. do either of you have any questions as to the defendant's competence to plead at this time? mr. driscoll for the defense, no, your honor. mr. kenner for the prosecution, no, your honor. the judge, based on answers that
have been provided in open court as well as counsel and the court's own observation of ms. butina, i find she is capable of entering an informed plea. please listen carefully to my questions and let me know if there is anything you don't understand. you have been indicted on one count of conspiracy to act as an agent and one count of being an agent of a foreign government. the judge goes on. this is a case in which there have been a lot of sealed proceedings and motions and things we the public haven't been allowed to see. but today this was open court in washington, d.c. as a 30-year-old russian woman named marina butina elected to change her plea from not guilty to guilty after she was charged by federal prosecutors with acting in this country as a secret agent of the russian government as part of an influence operation, to influence u.s. politics and specifically the republican party in ways that would benefit the interests of the russian federation.
the judge, quote, now ms. butina, your lawyer and the prosecutors have given me a document called the statement of offense that describes what the government would be prepared to prove at trial about your criminal conduct. this is an important document. that's your signature on december 8th? the defendant, marina butina, that is correct. the judge, and by signing it, you are agreeing this is correct and true and this is what you did? i have to make sure of that, because if we come back for sentencing, you can't say, well, i just signed it, but i didn't really do paragraph three or paragraph four, because you signed it. so i have to make sure that you understand it. have you read the statement of offense and discussed it fully with your lawyers? the defendant, marina butina: yes. >> the judge, is that your signature on the last page acknowledging you have read and fully understand? yes, your honor. does the statement of offense truly and accurately describe what you did in this case? the defendant: yes.
the judge: continuing until around 2018 in the district of columbia and a elsewhere, did you with others knowingly combine, conspire, con f confederate and agree together to commit an offense against the united states. the defendant, marina butina: yes. ms. butina, do you understand the charges against you? the defendant: yes. do you understand this plea resulted between your lawyer and the government? and was the decision whether to accept this plea made by you? yes, your honor. do you have a copy of the plea agreement? yes. and the judge says and it's long, single-spaced and contains a lot of complicated terms. have you read it carefully? yes. do you understand it? yes. have you gone over it with your lawyers? yes. have you had enough time to discuss it with your lawyers?
yes. is that what you agreed to? the defendant, yes. do you have any confusion or questions about this agreement that wow would like to ask me or that you would like to ask your lawyers about? the defendant: no. the judge: are you entering this plea voluntarily and of your own free will because you are guilty? the defendant: yes. the judge: is there anything that you do not understand about your plea in this case? the defendant: know. is there anything you want ask me or your lawyer before you plea? no. is there anything you want to plead guilty before you go to trial? yes. what do you want to do? >> the defendant: guilty. that's what she said. she just shouted out guilty. the judge: finally, are you pleading guilty because you are guilty? the defendant: yes. the judge: you may have a seat, ms. butina. i am satisfied that ms. butina
is -- excuse me. i'm satisfied that ms. butina is fully competent and capable of making a decision today, that she understands the nature and charges of the plea, that the plea is guilty knowing and voluntarily, that she is acting of her own free will pleading guilty and there is an actual factual basis containing each of the essential elements of the offense for her plea. besides from the large awkward blurt of the word "guilty," that was a by the book, but still absolutely shocking court proceeding today in federal court in washington. i mean, with this, today, marina butina becomes the first russian national convicted for seeking to influence u.s. politics around the time of the election in 2016. she had not -- excuse me, she had previously plead not guilty after she was arrested in july. she was charged with operating as an agent of the russian government in this country. she initially plead not guilty. what is perhaps most remarkable
about this u-turn in her case now, though, not that she has change her mind and change her plea from not guilty to guilty. the thing that is most remarkable about her plea today is the cooperation agreement in exchange for dropping one of the two felony charges pending against her, butina has agreed to cooperate. this is from that sing-spaced plea deal that the judge warned her she needed to read very carefully in it could. quote, your client agrees to cooperate with the office of the attorney for. your client shah cooperate fully, completely and fort rightly with this office and other state and local law enforcement authorities identified by this office in any and all matters to which the office deems relevant. your cooperation will include
but not necessarily be limited to answering questions, providing sworn written statements, taking government administered polygraph examinations, and participating in covert law enforcement activities. since she was already charged as a secret agent, presumably covert activities will not be a mystifying concept for this particular defendant. but with this cooperation agreement, she is pledging if asked, she will engage in such activities for the u.s. government now, which is quite a turn of events, right? if as prosecutors have alleged she was basically sent to this country in order to run a covert influence operation directed by russian government officials, her decision, which she herself announced in open court today, her decision that she will now become a cooperate with the fbi and with u.s. federal prosecutors, i mean, this part of the movie probably has a darker more ominous soundtrack
in the russian language movie than it does in the english language movie that we're all watching from over here. i mean for us, this is like oh, look, another flipper. for them it's like you're cooperating with who now? on what now? you are agreeing that you will participate in covert law enforcement activities for the united states? da? yeah. and then at the end of all of it, she gets deported back to russia. according to section 12 of the plea agreement, which happens on just the next page. it's just a remarkable turn of events. but there are few interesting things about this case in terms of how it fits into the larger picture that we don't totally understand yet, but that may end up being important by the time we get to the end of this movie in either language. first of all, as i mentioned, this court proceeding in the butina case today, it happened
in federal court in washington, d.c. and that's a court where we've seen a lot of activity related to the special counsel's office. but robert mueller and his special counsel's office were not involved in the butina case at all. this was handled today, as it has been from the beginning, by regular federal prosecutors associated with the u.s. attorney's office in d.c. as "the new york times" described it'd too, the butina case has stemmed, quote, from what officials described as a broader counterintelligence investigation by the justice department and the fbi that predated the 2016 election and is separate from the work being done by the special counsel. so does that make you feel better or worse about your country? does that make you feel better or worse about this scandal, right? this means that if "the new york times" is right, and the inference we can draw from the fact that the special counsel doesn't appear to be involved in the butina prosecution, if the inference from that is right, that means that additional to everything that's being investigated by the special
counsel, that means there is a whole separate criminal and counterintelligence case about a whole another variety of secret russian influence on the republican party around the 20 san francisco campaign. so this was like a spare. but now that marina butina has changed her plea to guilty, and we can see not only her cooperation agreement and plea deal, but also the statement of offense where prosecutors lay out their case for what she plead to. one of the surprises in these court testimonies about her case tonight is that the most serious and sort of worrying evidence that prosecutors are presenting in this case against her is stuff that is not just about her. the most serious and arguably the most worrying stuff in the government's case against marina butina, which we have now seen laid out in documents, the most serious stuff also seems to have involved her american boyfriend, who is a republican activist named paul erickson.
as we've been talking about on the show for a few days now, the daily beast was first to report last week that paul erickson himself received a target letter from federal prosecutors a few months ago informing him that they were considering bringing federal charges against him that matched the charges against marina butina. prosecutors told this american guy, this republican activist paul erickson that they were considering charging him azn a agent of the russian government operating in this country. that's one thing if you are a russian who is operating as an agent of the russian government. but if you're an american operating as an agent of the russian government? now getting a target letter isn't the same thing as being indicted. paul erickson, as far as we know, he hasn't been charged. he may never be charged. but the filings in the butina case really don't make it seem like paul erickson is believed to have been a bystander or even a mere accessory to the steam th -- scheme that she has plead guilty to. in the narrative the prosecutors
are laying out, paul erickson is absolutely a main character, directly involved in the foreign influence operation that marina butina just plead to. in the statement that accompanies her plea agreement today, the person that is described as u.s. person 1 is this american republican activist paul erickson. and they give him top billing right alongside her right from the start when it comes to describing the commission of this criminal scheme. quote, marina butina is a citizen of the russian federation. u.s. person 1 is a united states citizen. beginning no later than march of 2015, butina and a u.s. person 1, paul erickson, agreed and conspired with a russian government official and at least one other person for butina to act in the united states under the direction of the russian official. that russian official is referred to throughout this statement of he is widely understood to be aleksandr torshin, a ranking member of
vladimir putin's political party, and until quite recently, the deputy central banker in russia. some time in the last couple of weeks though, aleksandr torshin suddenly retire and disappeared, out of the blue retired, no sign it was coming, boop, he is gone. one-sentence statement from the central bank. the only signs of life from him since, since he was suddenly and unexpectedly disappeared from his position at the russian central bank, the only signs of life we've had of him since then are some of his more recent musings on twitter in which he appears to be randomly gushing on line about how delicious the food is in kyrgyzstan. i'm relying on google translate there. but who am i to hold it against him if he believes that kyrgyzstan is generally a tasty country? don't hold me to that. that's google translate. but i think that's what he is saying. water is excellent. but that's aleksandr torshin.
he is russian official 1. u.s. person 1 is paul erickson. and so knowing that, we can sort of get a pretty distinct and pretty hairy plot line here out of the butina court documents. quote, with paul erickson's assistance and subject to the direction of this russian official aleksandr torshin, butina sought to establish unofficial lines of communication with americans having power and influence over u.s. politics. butina sought to use those unofficial lines of communication for the benefit of the russian federation. now from the original court filings where marina butina was first charged, we have the text of an e-mail that paul erickson sent to an acquaintance just one month before the 2016 election. that e-mail said, quote, have i been involved in securing a very private line of communication between the kremlin and key republican party leaders through, of all conduits, the nra. again, this is a month before the 2016 election. why would republican party
leaders knee an all caps very private line of communication to the kremlin? why would republican party leaders need that through the nra or through anybody else? i mean, that's kind of the $64,000 question right now, right? but here is the republican activist whose bringinging that he had set that up for the republican party leaders who would need this secret line of communication to the kremlin. shortly after the trump inauguration, marina butina used her contacts in the russian government to bring over a delegation of russians to attend the national prayer breakfast in washington, d.c. she and paul erickson, according to prosecutors, then overtly discussed the fact that all of these russians were coming over to washington right after trump's inauguration for this prayer breakfast event. quote, to establish a back channel of communication. it like they're saying the quiet part outloud. well, in the new court filings in butina case today, paul
erickson, he also bragged in an e-mail to somebody else that he was going to monitor the american reaction to all these russians who were coming over here for the prayer breakfast. he would convey that information about how these russians were received over here. he would convey that information directly to the office of vladimir putin. from today's filing, quote, butina e-mailed the list of delegation invitees to paul erickson. butina explained that the people on the list had been handpicked by torshin and me and they were coming to establish a back channel of communication. later erickson son e-mailed another person copying butina to say this, quote, reaction to the delegation's presence in america will be relayed directly to the russian president and foreign minister. it is stopsing that an accused russian agent has agreed to flip and become a cooperating witness as prosecutors investigate russia's interference in our 2016 election. that happened today. that is astonishing. now they're flipping russians
too, right? but in some ways it is even more amazing that prosecutors say that as part of her scheme, it was an american guy over here who was guaranteeing direct access to vladimir putin when it came time to report become on how this russian influence operation was panning out over here right as trump was taking office. so, again, as far as we know, this american republican activist who really is the star of the marina butina statement of the offense today in court, and not in a good way, as far as we know, he has not been charged. but prosecutors are spelling out a lot about him here that makes it hard not to wonder, you know, what he's up to tonight, and what he's expecting for his next few days in the news. and if that's not enough, then tonight we got this new scoop from "the wall street journal." this is brand-new from "the wall street journal." and to the trump administration and the president, this late-breaking headline from "the wall street journal" tonight has to feel like they were already playing tennis against like roger federer, right?
they're already playing tennis against a guy who was pretty good. but then that guy got a second tennis racket in the other arm and turns out he is ambidextrous. turns out he is an octopus. each one of those arms has a racket, and he's good with all of them. and oh, god, don't say racket. that's the one thing they're not getting charged with yet. this is the lead from "the wall street journal" tonight. "trump inauguration spending under criminal investigation by federal prosecutors. probe looking into whether committee misspent funds and top donors gave money in exchange for access to the administration." quote, federal prosecutors are investigating whether president trump's 2017 inaugural committee misspent some of the record $107 million it raised from donations. it's also examining whether some of the top donors gave money for access for policy concessions or to influence official administration positions. giving money in exchange for political favors could run afoul
of federal corruption laws. diverting funds from the organization could also violate federal law. the investigation partly arises out of materials seized in the federal probe of former trump lawyer michael cohen's business dealings. so what a day, right? what a moment that we're all living through. just to draw the bottom line here, the president's campaign chairman and deputy campaign chairman and national security adviser have also plead guilty to felonies, and they're all either in jail or awaiting sentencing for felony convictions. the president's lawyer is going to prison. the president's business is in the crosshairs for throws one of the felonies for which his lawyer is now going to children. his adult children are now on the hook for that specifically or directly. his inaugural committee is now under federal criminal investigation. and this is all separate and parrot from the special counsel's investigation which continues to aggressively investigate whether he and his campaign conspired with russia to rig the presidential election. and oh by the way, in that one
they're now starting to flip actual russians to get to the bill of that. how was your day? i mean, i don't know who you know or how old they are, but nobody else has ever lived through a moment in the american presidency like this. we're the first. we'll be right back with up with of "the wall street journal" reporters who broke tonight's scoop. that's next. i never knew there was a different solution to my constipation until my doctor recommended miralax. stimulant laxatives forcefully stimulate the nerves in your colon. miralax works with the water in your body, unblocking your system naturally.
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it was going to be squeaky, squeaky, squeaky clean. that's what the head of the donald trump inaugural committee told the press a year ago. a full and clean external audit has been conducted and completed of the inaugural committee's finances. really? is that so? and then the associated press asked to see that squeaky clean audit. quote, the trump inaugural committee would not share a copy of the audit with ap or even say who performed it. just trust us. there is obviously nothing going on that's funky with our finances. we can prove it. we did a whole audit. it was a super clean audit. we came out perfect. but it's also secret, and you have to trust us that it happened and we're not going to tell you who did it.
see? are we good? are we square? that was june of 2017. since then, the associated press has tried to get their hands on that mystery audit of trump's inaugural finances. we on this show have tried repeatedly in a whole bunch of different ways to track it down too, but no dice. and you know, part of the reason we were so interested is because it was clear from the very, very, very beginning that there was something funky about the trump inauguration and the money that was raised for it and spent on it. and this picture i know causes a lot of people a lot of angina. this picture makes the president crazy. it became part of the first ridiculous scandal of this new administration on its first half day when the president told government officials they needed to lie about the size of the crowd at his inauguration compared to the size of the crowd at the obama inauguration from 2009. but that picture and that truth about the inauguration for mr. trump, that is also part of the very clear evidence that something was wrong with the money part of the trump
inaugural, because obama's inauguration in 2009 really was way bigger. and i don't mean that in anned a hominen way. it was just a big thing. it was a previous -- it hit a previously unimaginable fundraising and spending record. when obama was inaugurated for the first time, that was the largest presidential inauguration in history for obvious reasons. the event was just huge. the cost was huge, $43 million they raised and spent for that inauguration. that was a record by a mile. now in contrast, the trump inauguration, i do not say this to be mean, but the trump inauguration was a comparatively small affair, and there comparatively wasn't that much to it. >> it was baton twirlers and tractors. it was not like 2009. but somehow, somehow the trump inauguration ended up more than
doubling the amount of money that was raised and spent as compared to the gigantic obama inauguration eight years earlier. which is nuts. and honestly, the bottom line for us from the very beginning just felt like, well, it may be a good idea to figure out what happened to all that money, because they didn't spend it on the tractor bleachers. the trump inaugural committee did start saying they did great in their audit, but nobody has ever seen the supposed audit. when we look looking for the audit, along the way we did manage to find the treasurer of the trump inaugural committee. his name is doug emerman. and we figured, you know there was some higher profile people associated with the inauguration. the head of the inaugural committee was tom barracick. the deputy chair was rick gates who is now a felon, currently awaiting sentencing. but we figured the treasurer, lower profile guy that he would know what happened to all the
money they raised and spent. we tried to get ahold of him and ask him questions. we never, ever, ever heard back. and then we figure out he himself was a weird choice to be the president of an inaugural committee because the other thing he ever has been named in his life was an undieted conspirator in a criminal case against 17 other former tax professionals. we never found the audit. to this day that full and total accounting remains a mystery. now, however, according to a scoop in "the wall street journal," there is a new and different kind of accounting going on. this is the headline tonight in the journal. quote, trump inauguration spending under criminal investigation by federal prosecutors. joining us now is rebecca o'brien. she is reporter for "the wall street journal," one of the reporters behind this scoop tonight. ms. o'brien, it's great to have you here. you guys have been doing great work. had a lot of scoops lately. congratulations. >> thank you so much. thank you so much. >> so we've been interested in this inaugural funding story for a long time on this show for
some of the reasons that i explained there. and there has been previous reporting, six months or so ago, about federal investigators looking into the possibility that foreign money might have gotten into trump's inaugural funds. that came up, for example, in the indictment of sam patton, one of the lower profile indictments in which he was accused of setting up american straw purchasers so that a foreigner could actually spend a bunch of money and go to the trump inauguration. but what you guys are talking here is a federal investigation not into the money coming into the inauguration necessarily, but the spending. >> right. i think what we're looking at is beyond the role of potential foreign influence or foreign money coming into the inaugural. it's looking -- this investigation, which to be clear is in its very early stages as we understand it is looking at money in, but also money out. and the money in isn't just foreign. it's also looking at who -- whether individuals or entities give money in the expectation of receiving some sort of special benefit from the administration.
and the money out is looking at, you know, as you said, there has been great reporting out there about the murkiness of what happened to this more than $100 million that was spent on the ostensibly. >> ostensibly. >> that's right. we don't know it. it's a big trick here. the tax returns say they spent it on this, and they don't say that much. but it's trying to get to the bill of that. there is a lot of qualifiers there. but -- >> on the issue of spending money, donating money to the inauguration with the expectation that you'll be treated favorably by the government in some policy context, or the terms of some kind of favor, i feel that's the open secret of inaugural donations anyway, that most people don't give to an inauguration out of the goodness of their heart. corporations and rich people presumably all do that us be a they want to curry in an abstract sense some sort of favor. is this investigation looking at acute allegations of real liquid pro owe that there were real favors traded in exchange for
donations? >> i'm not certain about that. certainly money and politics, democrats do it, republicans do it, and -- all. >> exactly. and this office and other federal prosecutors and state prosecutors look into this kind of stuff all the time. sometimes they don't turn up anything. it's hard the make cases about money and politics for reasons we discussed. it's all over the place. >> this is a fairly new investigation at the southern district of new york? >> i think new, early stages. it's one of these things from my understanding it's receiving different kinds of evidence from different -- from different places, and make it's all starting to coalesce into something that will look like an investigation. >> some of the evidence that you describe in your piece tonight is there are intriguing. i'm just going to read to you from your own reporting. in april raids of michael cohen's homes and hotel room, fbi agents obtained a recorded conversation between mr. cohen and stephanie winston wolkoff, a former adviser to the first lady who worked on inaugural events. in the recording ms. wolkoff
expressed concern about how the inaugural committee was spending money. this is according to a person familiar with the cohen investigation. "the wall street journal" could not determine when the conversation between mr. cohen and ms. wall could haolkoff too when it was recorded. maybe that might explain some of the timing as cohen as now moved on to his sentencing. >> right. we know that they seized the raids took place in april, and it took some time for the review to take place. so the prosecutors didn't get it for a while. but yeah, this is an potentially important piece of evidence that was taken. >> i have to also ask you just as a matter of personal obsession, have you been able to get a peek at that full and clean external audit that they say exists and shows they were perfectly squeaky clean? >> i think the story would be longer if i had. >> yes. well, they would be clean completely exonerated obviously. >> well, time will tell. >> time will tell. thank you. rebecca o'brien, reporter for "the wall street journal." again, you and your colleagues a the journ have reason to take a
victory lap this week. the am ireporting that you guys did at the journal was born out in court documents today almost as if it was "the wall street journal" story just written by the southern district of new york. well ahead of that story and so many other angles in this scandal. congratulations. >> thank you so much. i appreciate it. >> lots more to get to. stay with us.
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it's been years of breathless iterative, reductive reporting on how much trouble nancy pelosi is in, how nancy pelosi definitely can't be speaker again, how nancy pelosi is in so much -- nancy pelosi is on her way. a groubl p of rebel democrats a going to take out -- after barrels of ink spilled on that story, perhaps we can please wipe that up now and acknowledge what that was all about. now after going through that once again, we now have the unofficial but basically definitive word that hey, nancy pelosi has the votes she needs to become speaker when the democrats take control of the house early next year. surprise! now that she has the votes to become speaker, which honestly was never in doubt, that vote will not happen until january 3rd. in terms of who the democrats will put in charge of the house committees which right now feels like one of the most important imaginable things in american politics, the house democratic steering committee has already
made its recommendations for most of the chairs for most of the committees, but we still don't know the final date for the full caucus vote. nancy pelosi's office tells us the chairs will likely be chosen before they vote formally on her. in terms of the really big high profile committees and the committees that might have a high profile to play concerning the scandals swirling around this president, the house intelligence committee we are anticipating will be led by adam schiff. financial services it will be congresswoman maxine waters who drives the president absolutely crazy. and on judiciary, which is important for a whole slew of reasons, the incoming chairman of judiciary is our next guest. stay with us. ♪
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you about, but i actually have to talk to you about some breaking news that we've just received, and i know you've seen the headline since this just broke. this was just posted in "the washington post." you see the headline there. 7-year-old might grant girl taken into border patrol custody dies of dehydration and exhaustion. a 7-year-old girl from guatemala died of dehydration and shock after she was taken into border patrol custody last week for crossing from mexico into the united states along a remote span of the new mexico desert. according to customs and border patrol records, the girl and her father were taken into custody about 10:00 p.m. december 6th south of lordsburg, new mexico. more than eight hours later the child began having seizures. emergency responders arrived soon after. they measured her temperature at 105.7 degrees. according to a statement from customs and border patrol, she reportedly had not eaten or consumed water for several days. this is an announcement tonight from customs and border patrol. i just have to get your reaction to this, sir.
>> my reaction is obviously outrage. number one, you know in no particular order, why are we learning of this now from "the washington post"? number two, how can you run a detention facility and not take a look at the kids who you know have been walking across a desert and how they're doing, give them water when they come in. this is part of the absolute insensitivity to migrants, to people seeking asylum on the part this administration. we're going to have secretary nilssen. especially the children. when you take 7-year-olds who you know have been walking across the border, walking across a desert, you don't check them, you don't take their temperature? you don't give them water to drink? for eight hours? >> there is obviously an issue across multiple policies, multiple policies in this area of just increased hostility towards immigrants of all kinds
and in all sorts of circumstances. in this case, that would seem to hit in excess with the sheer issue of competence. once you have taken somebody into u.s. federal government custody for any reason in any circumstances, those people become the responsibility of the u.s. federal government. >> it's more than competence. it's total disregard. you don't give a damn. that's what this shows. >>ing you said that secretary nielsen will be called to answer for this. when the democrats take control of the house soon, and you as expected become chair of the judiciary committee, obviously, you have all sorts of leverage that you never had before. but with the senate still under republican control, with the administration still under the control of a republican white house, how do you strategize as to how to be most effective, especially on an acute accountability issue like this when you may not have any sympathy across the aisle? >> well, there are a number of things you can do. you can subpoena witnesses. you can get the secretary in front of you. you can demand answers to
questions. you can condition appropriations on proper conduct, on proper policies, on just getting the information. so there are all kinds of things you can do. it takes two houses to pass an appropriation. there are lots of things you can do. and we're going to have to in our question and the judiciary committee and in the house generally, we have to do two things. we have to hold this administration accountable. we have to -- which the republicans in congress have absolutely refused to do. and at the same time we have to pass legislation to do the things we promised with ewould do, to lower health care costs, to put people -- to raise people's paychecks by an infrastructure bill by rebuilding america, all sorts of things we have promised, voting rights, you name it. and we can do more than one thing at a time. >> when you say -- you mention the issue of appropriations need to get through both houses. do you think on the issue of treatment of immigrants, especially again with this
breaking news tonight about a 7-year-old girl dying of dehydration and exhaustion in u.s. federal custody, border patrol custody, do you think that there is an appropriations fix, that there is a way to deny funding to the administration for some of the policies they've pursued that have been the most dangerous or egregious in your eyes? >> i'm not an expert on that, but i think there are. there are ways of using appropriations and denying funds to various things or conditioning funds and putting mandates into appropriations bills, yes. >> i want to ask you about some of the things that have happened within the past week. it's been almost every day there has been an almost unimaginable new reveal in terms of the scandals that are attending this president and the legal trouble that he and his administration and maybe even some of his business associates may be in. today marina butina plead guilty to being -- to conspiracy to act as an agent of the russian government in this country, and one of the things that struck me in terms of the prosecutors'
assertions in her case is about the nra. there have been questions raise ed ed as to whether or not the nra illegally cooperated in spendin there's a question whether they might have been used as a funnel for foreign money into the campaign in 2016. butina also describes a meeting she brought florida officials to moskow, had them meet with russian officials and after their visit butina sent russian government officials in russian translated to saying we should let them express their gratitude now, we will put pressure on them quietly later. given the role of the nra in u.s. politics, if senior nra officials participated in this oprati operation, is that itself a concern separate and apart from the influence they might have had in the election?
>> national security, it could be national security but it also could be obstruction of justice. and it's part of a larger pattern. a total culture of corruption. we now know that the trump campaign was involved and alin some illegal actions, ami, all these different things and this all has to be investigated by the special counsel, by the congress as part of our oversight responsibility. and the essential question comes back to what they asked in watergate, what did the president know and when did they know it? there's a pattern here of the president being surrounded by crooks. by people who are now convicted or pleading guilty, an extraordinary number of people around him have admitted to crimes. that raises all sorts of questions we have to get to the bottom of on behalf of the american people. at the same time that we're delivering results for the american people on the
substantive issues that they want, whether it's health care or the economy, et cetera. >> if the president himself is implicated as prosecutors have suggested in the felonies to which michael cohen has pled and for which he'll now go to prison, is that something that you believe the congress would take up on its face, that you would take the information that has been presented by prosecutors and pursue it in terms of criminal investigation? >> we have to wait to a larger extent to see what the mueller investigation reveals. what's very clear is that mueller investigation knows more than we do. but we will use our subpoena power to find out a lot of things, too. we don't want to step on them, but we will find out a lot of things. and at some point we'll have to make decisions. but that's down the road. >> congressman jerry nadler of new york, thank you, sir. >> thank you. >> we'll be right back. stay with us.
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...well almost anything. leave no room behind with xfi pods. simple. easy. awesome. click or visit a retail store today. tomorrow will be the opening of yet another little compartment on what is turning out to be the worst advent calendar ervin u.s. politics. toorl tomorrow is going to be another one. told a judge this week that flynn should get zero jail time despite the fact he pled guilty to lying to the fbi. and they're saying he should get zero jail time in part to his
cooperation to the special counsel's office. but they're also saying general flynn wasn't warned by fbi agents if he lied to them there would be penalties associated with that. basically saying he was ambushed by fbi agents who he thought were nice guys. sort of a gambit from flynn's defense team. tomorrow if robert mueller's team wants to respond to any of that or contest any of that the deadline to do so is 3:00 p.m. eastern. the judge in this case has also set a deadline of 3:00 tomorrow for both sides to turn over records related to the fbi interview of flynn. as with an advent calendar there's sometimes a surprise. you never know. stay with us. ( ♪ ) what do you get the person that loves to tailgate? (click, beeps) ( ♪ )
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thank you for being with us tonight. as i mentioned just before the break, we do expect that tomorrow's going to pea another doozy. we'll see you again tomorrow night. now it's time for the "last word" with lawrence o'donnell where lauri velshi in is in. tonight the president's private business. his presidential campaign, his transition team, his white house and now his inaugural committee all to varying degrees under criminal investigation. wall street journal reporting an investigation into trump's inaugural committee in its raids of michael cohen's home, office and hotel room. quote, federal bureau and investigative agents
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