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tv   MTP Daily  MSNBC  July 9, 2019 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT

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glucerna. everyday progress my thanks to garrett, heidi, jason and donna, most of all to you for watching. that does it for us, "mtp daily" with my friend kasie hunt in for chuck todd starts now. ♪ if it's tuesday, new pressure on a top trump official. top democrats are calling for the labor secretary to go, but president trump is standing by him. plus, house democrats step up their fight with the white house. readying new subpoenas in their obstruction of justice investigation, just days ahead of robert mueller's testimony. and president trump is determined to get that controversial citizenship question to next year's census,
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will he defy the courts to do it? if it's tuesday it is "meet the press" daily. good evening, i'm kasie hunt in washington in for chuck todd. we begin tonight with breaking news. it has been a wild day of intensifying political fallout involving the jeffrey epstein sex trafficking case. the floodgates have opened for democrats, their house leadership, senate leadership, members of the rank and file and a number of 2020 candidates now calling for the president's labor secretary, alex acosta, to resign, over his handling of epstein's case when he was u.s. attorney. acosta, however, seems to be digging in. today he responded, defiant about how he handled a 2007 plea deal with epstein that critics argued was far too lenient. especially in light of evidence revealed in yesterday's doj indictment. this afternoon speaking from the oval office the president threw his support behind his embattled cabinet member. >> i can tell you that for two
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and a half years he has been just an excellent secretary of labor. he has done a fantastic job. you know, if you go back and look at everybody else's decisions, whether it's a u.s. attorney or an assistant u.s. attorney or a judge, you go back 12 or 15 years ago or 20 years ago and look at their past decisions, i would think you would probably find that they would wish they maybe did it a different way. i can only say this from what i know and what i do know is that he's been a great -- really great secretary of labor. i feel very badly about that whole situation, but we're going to be looking at that and looking at it very closely. >> there's reporting that some in the white house have been souring on acosta and that there could be more shoes to drop. you heard the president talk about taking a closer look at the situation. he may be referring to a justice department review of the 2007 plea deal between epstein and acosta. democrats like chuck schumer now demanding that the results of
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that review be made public. of course, there's the possibility that the sdny's case uncovers more bombshells about epstein or his associates. the president this afternoon tried to distance himself from epstein who he has previously praised publicly as, quote, a terrific guy who likes beautiful women as much as i do, and many of them are on the younger side. that's what the president said about epstein back in 2002. here is what he said about him just this afternoon. >> well, i knew him like everybody in palm beach knew him. people in palm beach knew him. he was a fixture in palm beach. i had a falling out with him a long time ago, i don't think i've spoken to him for 15 years. i wasn't a fan. i was not -- yeah, a long time ago. i'd say maybe 15 years. i was not a fan of his, that i can tell you. i was not a fan of his. >> we've got a lot of ground to cover so let's dive in. joining me now is nbc news chief white house correspondent hallie jackson.
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hallie, you have some new details about the thinking inside the white house right now on acosta? >> reporter: i do. let me share with you some of the reporting here from sources that we have talked to in and around the white house here. alex acosta is facing pressure really on two fronts, not just the democrats calling on him to resign but also a more conservative faction inside the white house of some people who have been dissatisfied for a while including we're told chief of staff mick mulvaney about acosta's performance overall as labor secretary, unrelated to this latest epstein development. it is not clear yet -- this dissatisfaction stems from the pace of deregulation. there are those hong the labor department can and should be doing more under acosta's leadership. it is not clear yet whether or not these sort of factions here will move to try to have acosta ousted in light of these epstein developments, that is something we're waiting to see how that plays out, but acosta does have a couple things going for him. first of all, it's still not clear what kind of legs this
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news coverage will have, how much this will continue to be a drum beat, but, as we know, that is something that might affect president trump's thinking, but the other advantage that acosta has at the moment is that president trump legitimately thinks he is doing a good job. that is what i have heard privately behind the scenes, that is what the president has said publicly as the president has praised acosta, for example, touting the low unemployment rate, the president talked about how he has been doing a good job in that role. keep in mind all of these calls from democrats for acosta to step down may end up having the opposite effect on this particular president, essentially bolstering the chances for acosta's survival and forcing the president into this defiant position keeping him on board. we have seen that happen before, i think back to, for example, kasie, scott pruitt who stayed on for months even in the midst of congressional investigations into his conduct. you could look at, for example, ryan zinke and tom price in the same way, former members of the cabinet or even current members of the cabinet, ben carson,
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debtsy devos who remain in the administration. so it seems as though president trump is willing to back acosta at least for now. he did hint at that review. we've reached out to the white house for more comment on this, so far nothing yet, but we will let you know. i will note, though, that when the president says things like, you know, he's doing a great job, i've met her for two and a half years, he's doing a terrific job as the labor secretary that is different from when we've heard the president say things in the past from other officials like we'll see. that is a dreaded phrase that has not yet escaped the president's lips as it relates to acosta, at least not at this point. >> a significant tea laef to pay attention to. hallie jackson, thank you for the reporting. let's turn to capitol hill, joining me is delaware democratic senator chris coons who just a few hours ago joined the growing chorus of democrats calling for acosta's resignation. senator, good to see you. >> good to see you, kasie. >> so yesterday when we were initially talking about this, you were talking to some of my
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colleagues, reporters in the hallway, the thinking was congressional oversight might be able to take care of this, but this chorus for calls for acosta's resignation was risen over the course of the last 24 hours. what made you think that this was the right is it ep to call for him to step down? >> kasie, the more i've heard about the arrest of jeffrey epstein and the vault full of inappropriate photos of underaged women and the more i've learned about the details of just how inappropriate this sweetheart plea deal was, that's more than a decade old, but was carried out under the direction of acosta, the more concerned i've become. frankly, as i've heard more and more calls, not just for some oversight, but for some real accountability, the more i've reached the conclusion that he has lost the confidence of so many in my caucus that he can't continue to be an effective secretary of labor. >> he has lost so many in your caucus, but, frankly, the response from the republican
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side of the aisle has been crickets relatively. mitch mcconnell said he defers to the president here. we've talked to other republicans in the halls who have essentially said, you know, it is up to the president to do something here. why the divide and is he going to stay labor secretary until republicans decide that this is too much? >> well, this is another in many cases that i have found disturbing where the president has stood by and defended members of his core team or senior staff accused of sexual impropriety. i will remind you our president when he was a candidate was directly accused of sexual assault by a significant number of women and so, frankly, what i find concerning here is the number of my colleagues who are not calling at the very least for more transparency and more accountability. there is going to be an office of professional conduct review at the department of justice, but i'm not aware of republican colleagues who are even calling for that review to be public and transparent so far.
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>> you did say yesterday that you don't think that acosta is going to be labor secretary for very long. what's your thinking behind that? i mean, what could push him out of his role in your view? >> well, perhaps i had underestimated just how hard president trump would dig in and defend someone who was responsible for inking such an obviously inappropriate plea deal for a sexual predator. so i can't believe i am still surprised by anything that president trump does, but i had been assuming given the early details i had heard yesterday about epstein's arrest and the underlying facts and the plea agreement that he would be quickly headed for the exit. now that president trump is digging in and defending him and relatively few of my republican colleagues are speaking up, asking questions or raising concerns, he may be with us for the longer haul. >> you have a legal background and one of the things that the minority leader chuck schumer is calling for is a release of documentation and information from this review that was done
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of the plea deal. what do you think we could learn from that review? there seems in particular to be some questions around how mr. acosta treated the victims of jeffrey epstein. >> well, i don't think there's any doubt about a ruling by a federal court holding that this plea agreement was inappropriate, in fact, it had violated federal law because of his failure to notify the victims here, but what there isn't much knowledge about yet publicly is exactly what information he had available to him as u.s. attorney to charge jeffrey epstein with, i assume that where secretary acosta is going to go is saying that he got as strong a plea agreement as he could given limitations in the information he had available to charge him with. i find that not particularly credible given just how much information a "miami herald" investigative reporter who i
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will remind you has dramatically fewer prosecutorial and investigative tools at her disposal than a u.s. attorney who has fbi agents and a grand jury and a subpoena process that he could have used. what we don't know is how strong a case acosta had available to make at the time against epstein, what we do know is that the plea agreement that was reached was inappropriate, in fact, violated federal law in terms of the lack of consultation with victims. >> and we do know that that incredible work by the "miami herald" was driven quite a bit of the renewal of the focus and doj interest in this case. >> absolutely. >> how hard, senator, should democrats fight to get him out? what tools do you have at your disposal? >> well, in the house they have the ability and the judiciary committee to use compulsory service subpoenas to get witnesses to come and testify and i suspect they likely will. one of my colleagues senator blumenthal has called for
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oversight into the relationship between trump and acosta and epstein regardless of whether acosta leaves the cabinet. the larger issue here really, kasie, is about rule of law. i will remind you a troubling development today that we're not talking about is the argument in front of the fifth circuit court of appeals that was made in the case texas where the trump department of justice is not defending the affordable care act even though it was upheld by the supreme court. this could have a consequence for 130 million americans with preexisting conditions who if the republicans, if the administration are successful in getting the court to overturn it could really lead to a significant loss of coverage for millions of americans. >> it's definitely something we are absolutely paying attention to. senator, big picture here with jeffrey epstein, i mean, the reality is, you know, his only ties to prominent politicians in the united states, it's not just donald trump, he also has ties to bill clinton, he has ties to prince andrew in the uk.
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what does it say about our society that this is something that was allowed to continue and go on for so long with so much seeming, you know -- with it seeming to happen basically in plain sight? >> well, this is part of what the whole me too movement has been about which is to finally blow the whistle on this kind of good old boy behavior where not just inappropriate or unseemly action, but in this case actually criminal behavior, vulgar and repeated and long standing abuse of children, human trafficking, sexual exploitation of teen and preteen girls was allowed to continue because of the influence and the reach of the relationships of this mr. epstein. i am very hopeful that he will finally face accountability and face a very long jail term after the actions of the u.s. attorney in new york. >> senator coons, quickly, before i let you go you do sit on the foreign relations
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committee and i wanted to ask you about something else that has been quite the talk of the town here in washington and that is kim darroch the ambassador from the uk who obviously is very well connected both among the press and lawmakers here in washington. do you think he can continue to serve as an effective ambassador considering what's happened and do you have any concerns about the source of these documents and how they were leaked? >> well, kasie, as you know, the reason that a nation sends an ambassador overseas is to get a blunt and clear-eyed assessment about how a foreign government, whether an ally or an adversary is functioning and sir kim darroch the uk ambassador certainly delivered a blunt assessment of the trump administration. i think it's unfortunate that the leak of these confidential documents, these cables between the uk embassy here in washington and the home office in london is causing some challenges to our relationship,
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but the u.s./uk relationship is very deep, very long, it's rooted in our shared values as well as our shared interests and it's my hope that he will be able to continue as ambassador, but if not that this will not long harm what is one of the most important relationships in the history of the united states. >> senator chris coons, thank you very much. always great to have you on, sir. >> thank you. coming up, what senate majority leader mitch mcconnell told me about the calls for secretary acosta to resign. plus, the other fight that came to mcconnell's door today. and later more subpoenas are coming ahead of a hearing with the former special counsel. house democrats' investigations heating up. what do all these people have in common, limu? [ paper rustling ] exactly, nothing. they're completely different people, that's why they need customized car insurance from liberty mutual. they'll only pay for what they need! [ gargling ]
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well, there's no question that the accusations against epstein are horrendous, and i think it's good news that they
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are being pursued further. as to secretary acosta's continued service, he serves at the pleasure of the president and i'm inclined to defer to the president to make that decision. >> welcome back. that was senator majority leader mitch mcconnell this afternoon responding to my question about whether the president's labor secretary alex acosta should step down, making it clear that republicans are once again in lockstep with whatever president trump decides to do or not do. democrats, on the other hand, want acosta gone now. let's bring in our panel of experts, kimberly atkins, senior correspondent at wbur, matthew kontinetti and ruth marcus, "washington post" columnist and an msnbc contributor. thank you all for being here. matthew, let me start with you because the president on the one hand defended acosta today in the oval office and he distanced himself from epstein, but on the other hand he did seem to leave
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the door open in a way that suggested at least to me that he may not be willing to, you know, stick it through anything with acosta. what's your sense of where the president really is on just how much heat he's willing to take for his labor secretary? >> president trump values one thing above all it's flexibility and maneuverability. so he's always going to allow himself the option to change his mind or to change his policies. i thought hallie jackson made a key point which is that we haven't heard those two words which usually spell doom. >> we'll see. >> we'll see. instead president trump has said he likes the job that secretary acosta is doing and based on that i would say that the labor secretary is safe in his position for now. >> so democrats have obviously been piling on here, i want to show you kind of how this has unfolded over the course of the day, this includes members of congress and 2020 candidates as well. take a look. >> i am calling on secretary acosta to resign.
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it is now impossible for anyone to have confidence in secretary acosta's ability to lead the department of labor. if he refuses to resign, president trump should fire him. >> he needs to go because this is such a -- the "miami herald" and others have laid bear that this deal was such an egregious deal that he needs to go. he is in the position where he is in an enforcement capacity right now. we know when he had an earlier enforcement job he cut a sweetheart deal for a powerful person at the expense of vulnerable people. >> he should never have been there in the first place, which is why i voted against him. >> you think doo he should resign or the president should fire him? there is a lot on the record already. >> i think so. >> so kimberly atkins, democrats obviously enemin mass. they don't, though, necessarily have a ton of tools at his
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disposal to push him out of way and this can push the president to double down and say the democrats want me to do something, i'm not doing it. >> right, the president loves to fight with democrats, loves to defend people who he thinks they're somehow being challenged within his administration, which is why i think it's interesting the reporting that within the white house there is an effort to try to convince the president that, no, no, not because of this, but because he's really not carrying out the agenda that you want, perhaps that's a way to get to him to say -- that's a way to put the fire out without the president having to say that he's capitulating to democrats. he is actually saying, no, he isn't doing as good a job as i thought he is, maybe we'll start to see that we'll see if they can get his ear. but it's up to the president, the democrats can call for resignations as much as they want and as you said, it will just probably be the fight that the president loves to have. >> ruth? >> i'm going to differ with matthew in particular because this does not feel like a stable situation to me for secretary
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acosta and i agree the president likes maximum flexibility and, yes, it may be that democrats demanding acosta's head will back him into that corner, but this is a different situation than, say, the president dismissing a case brought by robert mueller, or the president dismissing arguments from partisan democrats. this is a case brought by his own justice department, excuse me, by the southern district of new york. obviously not against acosta, but it implicitly says alex acosta did not do his job very well when he allowed this person to skate and to have very low punishment for a terrible, terrible crime. why does the president want to spend any of his political capital on a child sexual predator? it doesn't make a lot of sense to me that he's going to be sticking by alex acosta for very long.
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>> we've seen him stick by roy moore. he is not afraid to use his political capital even in -- >> didn't go that well. >> that's true. >> he has pulled his support, but he has still maintained that he thinks he's an okay guy? we are in the opening stages of this story, obviously. acosta hasn't spoken much about this case, the few times he has done it included his confirmation hearing for labor secretary and there he said that he did not like some aspects of the deal, including the kind of work release program that epstein was on. so i think you will have two forces trying to convince the president, one, which we hear from the democrats and many others saying that this was a bad deal, that acosta authored, but the other was acosta himself saying, you know, i did the best i could under certain circumstances, the state government, the state authorities, were even more lenient than i was, and it just depends on who trump listens to in the end. >> yes, but as a factual matter it's just not that convincing, especially since he did not
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allow the victims their right, which they had under law, which a judge has found he did not give them to be aware of this incredibly lenient deal that he says he was somehow bullied into. federal prosecutors aren't supposed to get bullied by defense lawyers. >> and that's been a big part of this story as well, kimberly, the idea that epstein was able to hire essentially every big name lauwye lawyer available tod that stacked the deck and in many ways the doj got rolled. >> it seemed almost more than the doj getting rolled, it seemed acosta had a collegial relationship with the defense attorneys in this case based on the information that came out. so i think there is still a lot of unanswered questions there. i don't know how much more we will learn about the way that case was handled but i think when it comes to these kind of charges and teenagers who were the victims here, i think whether or not the president
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realizes it, it's a big political problem. >> i think we could learn a lot about it. there is an office of professional responsibility investigation that's happening at the justice department, that can become public. you asked what leverage democrats have, not very much, but they do have the house, which means they do have investigations, they can get access to that -- that investigative document if it's not public and they can get testimony. so that's some leverage. >> it is true that many conservatives feel that acosta has been slow rolling some of the labor deregulation agenda of this president and so you might get a replacement for him should he resign who would actually be much more forward leaning in terms of deregulating the labor market. >> that's the other piece, too, kimberly, of why this president, you know -- and hallie touched on this as well, you know, why this president might not be all in on acosta because there are people inside his own
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administration way before this who were saying, hey, this guy is not doing what we want. >> right, i think that gives him an out here. yes, i think it will give conservatives exactly what they want in this case. whether the president is playing that kind of chess i don't know, but we do know he likes to dig in with a fight for democrats and if schumer is calling on him to do it makes it less likely that he will do it. >> what does it say about our culture and politics are changing that jeffrey epstein could actually face justice? >> well, good for the southern district. good for the southern district to take another look at this case and to find based on what's been reported, they found when they conducted their search after he was arrested, to find evidence that this man who was accused of being a sex offender appears to have continued to offend. these are not victimless crimes,
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these are crimes with the most vulnerable victims. and i think -- it says two things about where we are at once. this becomes increasingly intolerable, the number of people who talked about jeffrey epstein as, oh, he likes young girls, as if this was just a kind of interesting facet of his personality, like he tends to wear his ties long or something, that's not acceptable anymore. >> right. >> at the same time it is the ultimate swampy story, right, with all the people who gathered around him. >> it's amazing all who are tied up and involved in it. you guys are going to all stick around. coming up, we have some breaking news involving the president's attempt to add that controversial citizenship question to the census. a federal judge just dealt his justice department a potentially major setback. also ahead, some 2020 math. if you take away one candidate but then you add another, you still have a lot of candidates. that's next. a lot of candidates that's next. most people think a button is just a button.
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tom steyer threw his hat in the crowded democratic presidential primary today. he says he will spend at least 1 $100 million of his own money on his campaign and he is already buying a million dollars worth of ad time in early states. and in kentucky former fighter pilot amy mcgrath has his sights set on senate majority leader mitch mcconnell. >> everything that's wrong in washington had to start someplace. how did it come to this? it started with this man who was elected a lifetime ago and who has bit by bit, year by year, turned washington into something we all despise. >> mcgrath narrowly lost a house race last year but taking on mcconnell in a state president trump won by nearly 30 points will be much more difficult. both steyer and mcgrath have uphill battles ahead of them. they are both trying to position themselves as outsiders in their races and both will likely have a lot of cash to help them out.
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welcome back. house democrats are ramping up their fight with the white house over obstruction of justice. the house judiciary committee announced they will vote thursday to authorize 12 new subpoenas and there are some big names on the list including jared kushner, former attorney general jeff sessions, corey lewandowski and john kelly. all this comes before the mother of all hearings, special counsel robert mueller's scheduled appearance before the house judiciary and intelligence committees a week from tomorrow. kimberly, matthew, and ruth are
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back. ruth, what are the stakes for democrats when mueller comes next week? >> the stakes are actually not that high in this sense, mueller has told us he doesn't want to talk, we've also learned that when mueller says something, even if it's something that he said before in writing, that people listen to it and people respond to it. so asking smart questions that will elicit greater understanding from him of a few things underlying his report could get democrats a long way if they figure out smart ways to ask their questions and to get him to explain what his understanding was of what was -- what were the elements of obstruction of justice here, what was it that was potentially obstructive conduct and likes that. so i think that the -- he has told us he doesn't want to talk so the expectations are rather
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low. so if they get a little bit from him just having that video could go, i think, a longer way than we're anticipating. >> i think that's right and i think what he said was he doesn't want to say anything more beyond what has already been put out, which includes a 400-plus page report that i think that the democrats would be more than happy just -- they would be happy for him to read it. they would be happy for him -- >> just a dramatic reading. >> any aspect of this as much as they can for the exact reason you said. they want the mueller report the movie because most americans and many members of congress have not read that report and as we see a growing number of people, more than 80 now, members of congress and growing calling for impeachment hearings to begin, i think hearing from robert mueller's mouth, particularly those ten points of potential obstruction is going to go far to try to change minds. remember watergate, it was the haer hearings that got the public before. they didn't really care before that, the democrats are hoping
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for that kind of this i think. >> i will take your point on needing a movie because apparently there are more lawmakers than i even realized who have not -- and they are willing to admit that they basically haven't read the entire mueller report. it says a lot of americans haven't read it. tim scott, republican in south carolina, what's the point according to "politico." senator lisa murkowski, it's tedious, senator tim kaine, why i have to read it, i lived it. fair enough to him as the vice presidential contender. congressman david price, i need to spend some more time with it. i spoke to congressman woodall of georgia who said straight up he didn't read it. clearly there is a gap here, matthew, however, they're putting the movie on in the middle of july. who is going to be watching this cable made for tv movie in the dead of summer? is that a problem for democrats? >> we will be watching, the press. >> we will. >> so we can talk about it, we
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can guarantee you that. beyond this audience i'm not sure. i think the problem is when you read the report, i have, you come away, at least i did, somewhat dissatisfied, i was reading volume 2 and i wanted robert mueller to say did trump commit obstruction of justice or did he not? mueller never says either way. he presents the scenarios and he says, well, in these scenarios one might have a legal reading which suggests that, yes, obstruction of justice was committed. if that's all -- if that's all mueller says during the hearing next week, i'm not so sure how successful the democrats are going to be. what they need is mueller to say definitively, yes, my investigation found that the president committed obstruction of justice. >> we pretty much already know the answer to that question. he's not going to do that. >> i don't see the numbers changing in a pro impeachment direction after this hearing. >> so it's a different question about what the stakes are for democrats or whether this is going on its own to change anything. on its own it is unlikely to change anything because unlike those watergate witnesses, we are not going to get new facts here. we are just going to get new
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video. we've learned that that's important. but i do think that you've identified really the central question for mueller, which is, he did not say in the report whether or not he would have brought charges, obstruction charges, but the torn general has told us that based on his reading of the law he did not think it rose to the level of an obstruction case. it seems to me to be a fair question for mueller to be asked and, in fact, a question that he should really be called on to answer. do you agree with the attorney general's reading of the law because he says -- the attorney general said he doesn't agree with mueller's reading, or do you think there is a reasonable obstruction case to bring and would a reasonable prosecutor bring it? absent the other issues of fairness and going after a sitting president that you've identified. that's the central question. that's the one that could really be -- get people's attention, even in the middle of summer and we did have a lot of people watching that debate. >> if he answers it. >> if he answers it. >> is there any chance,
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kimberly, that he answers a question about whether he believes congress should launch an inquiry to find out the answer to this question that he says he couldn't answer. >> that's essentially in the report. he said if he could have said definitively that the president did not commit a crime he would have said so and he said it was within the purview of congress and that he was prohibited by doj regulation from going further than that. it depends on how the questions are asked and how he delivers those responses. we also know that robert mueller is a very thoughtful guy who doesn't say things haphazardly and chooses his words carefully. so i don't know how much of that will come out, but i think if you read the mueller report it all but says that already. >> i think there is no way he's going to tell congress how to do its job. the question of what should congress now do -- >> they want him to. >> some might want him to, but that's actually a question that he shouldn't answer because the right question for that is you are the members of congress, you get to decide what to do here. >> he said that it's congress' job to decide.
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>> and democrats won't be the only ones asking questions. the republicans have their own lines of inquiry into robert mueller, including the origins of the investigation, including the -- >> do they risk going too far. >> the conduct of the investigation. the republicans? >> do you think that they -- >> i don't think so. >> is there enough public against of robert mueller as this unimpeachable figure. >> mueller is a trusted figure, that's clear from the opinion polls, i think there are two parallel hearings that will be going on next week, one is the democratic hearing where they want to get this question -- they want some new sound bite for robert mueller that would push the case for impeachment. the republican hearing is going to be when did you first learn that there was not sufficient evidence to say that there was a conspiracy between the trump campaign and they are going to want to know about strzok and page and the other details of the have eggs. >> kimberly, matthew, ruth, thank you all very much for a great conversation tonight. coming up next, we've got breaking news, another blow to the president's plan to get a citizenship question on the 2020 census. the attorney who argued against
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the trump administration before the supreme court joins me live coming up next. the president knows that there is constitutional legal ground, the supreme court didn't issue a legal impediment decision, if anything chief justice roberts left the door open and this president plans to barrel through it. esident planso barrel through it. ♪ "shaving has been difficult for me i have very sensitive skin, and i get ingrowing hairs" "oh i love it. it's a great razor. it has that 'fence' in the middle. it gives a nice smooth shave. just stopping that irritation.... that burn that i get. i wouldn't use anything else" ♪ when you start with a better that's no way to treat a dog... can do no wrong. where did you learn that? the internet... yeah? mmm!
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fight over whether a citizenship question can be included on the census. minutes ago a federal judge rejected the justice department's request to assign a new legal team to its lawsuit. the judge says the department of justice didn't provide a legitimate explanation for the change, which it announced on sunday. this comes a day after attorney general bill barr said he believes there is a legal path to adding the citizenship question to the census. with me now is dale ho director of the aclu's voting rights project who argued the organization's case before the supreme court. sir, thanks for being here. >> thanks for having me. >> so let's start here. do you read anything into this breaking news that the doj -- or that the federal judge says the doj can't change their legal team midstream? >> i do. the administration's acting like it has something to hide. it's very unusual, in fact, i think it's unprecedented for an administration to swap out its entire legal team that's been working on a case for over a
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year the way the trump administration has tried to do here. and i think it's related to a key representation that the trump administration has been relying on throughout this entire litigation which is that to the census form can't occur after june 30th a date that's already passed. the trump administration used that representation to convince the supreme court to hear this case on an expedited basis. now they're coming back and saying well even though that june 30th deadline is past, we're still considering making further changes to the census questionnaire. that leaves two possibility, either one the administration lied to the supreme court or two, the administration is lying now when they're saying they might change the census questionnaire without it affecting the accuracy of the census and the team of lawyers at doj that was withdrawing from the case might mo the ains to that. >> so the president and the attorney general have both suggested that they have options
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obviously beyond what had happened in the arguments that you made before the supreme court. barr said yesterday we've been considering all the options. i've been in con stand squugs with the president. i think over the next day or so you'll see the approach we're taking. i think the decision does provide a path for getting the question on the census. do you have a sense of what the administration's path is that they intended to take? >> i don't. i think it's pretty telling they haven't come forward with their secret plan yet. i think it shows a lack of confidence in the legality of what they want to do here in the first few days after the decision, the administration conceded in court and said that they weren't going to try to add the question. i think that reflected a recognition that they didn't have any good legal options and then the day after that, trump threw a temper tantrum and on twitter announced he would put the question back on and the attorney general said we might
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as well take a shot which is the not exactly the most confidence inspiring statement about a legal plan i've ever heard. i mean the supreme court's decision said at -- said a lot of things but two in particular. one this decision has to happen by june 30th because you can't change the forms after that date, and two, the attempt to put a citizenship question on the questionnaire is illegal. i think that ends the story. >> so what happens if the president just does go ahead and put this question on the census forms? mean, what does that mean in the context of the law and is there any recourse for those of you who are arguing against it. >> well, i think you know, we'll have to see exactly what it is that the president has planned here. i don't think they quite note yet at this point either. but if the president goes forward and tries to add the citizenship question to the questionnaire, he'll be in open defiance of a ruling by the united states supreme court and to that all i can say is we'll see him in court. >> does that seem like an
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unprecedented situation to you for this administration. >> i mean, this administration has been a basket of unprecedenteds. so it's hard for me to sort of identify this as you know, the most unprecedented thing that this administration has done. but look, they lost in the supreme court. they said june 30th was the deadline. the deadline has passed. there's no mulligan here. >> so they also, the president in the wake of this decision has also seemed to be relatively clear about his motive for wanting to put this question on census which has been the subject of all these original debates. take a look at how the president framed it. >> you need it for many reasons. you need it for congress, for districting. you need it for appropriations. already with the funds going? how many people are there? are they citizens? are they not citizens. you need it for many reasons. >> isn't the president essentially making the case
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there is that has all about politics, it's all about redistricting. > he is making the case that it's connected to a long-term strategy to try to drain political representation from communities of color and to boost the prospects of the republican party and which secret documents revealed non-hispanic whites in the words of a republican redistrict strategist. i think it directly connects to the allegations that from the beginning this has been motivated by an attempt to harm minority communities. >> dale ho, thank you very much for your insights today. >> thanks for having me. >> coming up next, remembering a truly independent voice. truly independent voice. across the country, we walk. carrying flowers that signify why we want to end alzheimer's disease. but what if, one day, there was a white flower for alzheimer's first survivor? what if there were millions of them?
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>> the party's over. and it's time for the clean-up crew. >> you have said ta part of your def fit reduction is $180 billion. >> yes, may i finish. >> may i finish. it was a simple question. >> you've already finished. >> you don't care about anything but making money, there would be a giant sucking is sound going south. >> he was brash, he was he can cent tick and a force to be reckoned with. texas billionaire ross perot died today. he could have gained fame from being a self-made tech entrepreneur but became a household name by getting into politics running as a third party candidate for president twice in the 1990s. he garnered 19% of the popular
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vote in 1992. and many still claim he kept george h.w. bush from winning a second term. perot was famous for his tv appearances while other candidates bought 30-second spots, he bought 30 minutes, lecturing americans in primetime on the deficit with a stack of charts. he was widely lampooned and caricatured most famously by dana car have i on "saturday night live." to the extent people made him a punch line, it was perot who often laughed hardest. ross perot, a text-sized is force in american political history was 89. that is all for us tonight. chuck will be back tomorrow with much more "meet the press" daily". catch me every weekend on k cdc" right here on msnbc. the beat with ari melber starts right now. >> being, thank you so much. this is "the beat with ari melber"". we have a lot in tonight's show. republicans totally torching
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their detectpecter justin an match who left the party after calling for trump's impeachment. democratic leaders say a trump cabinet official should go because of the special treatment he gave toy jeffrey epstein who faces brand-new charges from the doj right here in new york. and a challenger for trump's biggest enabler for mitch mcconnell, i am thrilled to tell you have a one-on-one interview with jelani cobb on that and broader civil rights issues. a lot to come in tonight's show. we begin with new developmentses in what is to be clear, the most significant congressional hearing of this year if not the trump era. bob mueller testifies next week. tonight there are clear signs trump's team is worried and trying to get ahead of whatever bob mueller will say. bill sbrar dismissing it as a


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