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tv   MSNBC Live With Velshi and Ruhle  MSNBC  July 23, 2019 10:00am-11:00am PDT

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and ruhle" mueller day is coming. one day away. we look at what the former special counsel plans to testify about and the limits the department of justice is trying to put on his testimony. democrats hoping more americans watch the movie than the 10% who read the book. plus, jeffrey epstein, registered as a sex offender after that secret 2007 nonprosecution agreement but some of his wealthiest friends stuck by him even after that. we'll look into the latest reporting. remembering the heroes. congress finally set to vote on the 9/11 compensation fund after a very public spat with jon stewart. first you know what we have to cover. it is down to the wire less than 24 hours away from former special counsel robert mueller's testimony before congress. he will be making an opening statement in front of the house, judiciary and intelligence
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committees tomorrow morning and the justice department is warning mueller his testimony must not go beyond his report or his public statement. his spokesman said mueller will stand by the commitment he made back in may to focus only on the report. >> any testimony from this office would not go beyond our report. it contains our findings and analysis and the reasons for the decisions we made. we chose those words carefully and the work speaks for itself. the report is my testimony. i would not provide information beyond that which is already public in any appearance before congress. >> just moments ago, president trump blasted the mueller probe. at the turning point u.s.a. teen action summit. >> no collusion, no obstruction. that's not good enough. let's go more. $40 million. interview 500 people. they got nothing.
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i could find something, i could take anybody in this audience, give me $40 million. give me unlimited fbi. unlimited interviews. unlimited -- they interviewed 500 people. listen to this. 2,500 subpoenas. they did everything. the collusion, no collusion. they have no collusion. >> bravo to those teens in the audience. i assure you at age 16 i was not talking about an unlimited fbi budget or subpoenas. good on those teens. all right. joining me now, the msnbc national security and defense reporter and the white house correspondent for the "new york times." here is a bad number for democrats. polls show as few as 10% of americans have read any part of the mueller report. is the goal for democrats here
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to simply get the contents of that report out there in the open to the american people? >> that is part of it. first of all they've done a very good job of lowering expectations for what we'll hear from mueller tomorrow. they know he is a reluctant witness. they know he is a boring, and is not going to be a fireworks like the michael cohen hearing or the james comey hearing. this is going to be a state affair. but what they're saying to me today is that, you know, most people haven't read the mueller report. this is a way to walk people through it to get it back in ether, to counter the narrative trump and bill barr the attorney general have successfully set that there is nothing here to see. so even if that means asking robert mueller yes or no questions that will help him outline what was in the report, for instance, did you find that the president directed his white house counsel to fire the special counsel, robert mueller could answer in the affirmative to that. they will kind of bring as you
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said bring this thing to life and remind voters on the margins that there is actually a lot of stuff in the report. >> let's underscore just how reluctant robert mueller is. when he made that statement a couple months ago he said, this is the last i have to say about it. everything is in the report. the department of justice puts out a letter yesterday that says, you can only discuss the contents of the report. no conclusions, no opinions, and they didn't put that upon him. robert mueller requested the guidelines. so as annie is saying, democrats have lowered their expectations, have they lowered them enough? he is not just a reluctant star to the movie. he doesn't want to be in it. >> robert mueller is no robert deniro who played him so wonderfully on "saturday night live." >> who is? no one is. come on now. >> fair enough. he is 74 years old. he's not even necessarily the robert mueller who led the fbi after 9/11 as we saw during that news conference. it's a real risk for democrats
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because you're right. everybody's harping on these doj restrictions some of which are unenforceable but the point is robert mueller has promised he will abide by them. his spokesman said we'll enter the report for the record and that is our statement for the record and we won't go beyond the report. that could be a real problem for democrats though they hope to overcome it by getting him to get into the meat of what they consider to be criminal obstruction of justice and getting him to detail that for an american public that largely is unaware of these facts. >> he is a rules guy. he has never been a politician. at age 74 he doesn't want to become one. this event tomorrow is hyperpartisan. jerry nadler has said mueller doesn't have to adhere to the department of justice request or guidelines. look at what he said. >> i think it is incredibly arrogant of the department to try to instruct him as to what to say. >> you don't think they have any authority to instruct him in that way. must he comply with that letter? >> no he does not have to comply with that letter.
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he doesn't work for them. that letter asks things that are beyond the power of the agency to ask even if he still worked for them. >> here's the thing. how frustrating is that for democrats? when you've got an administration who doesn't adhere to things, without knowing that there are consequences, kellyanne conway has laughed at hatch act violations. steve mnuchin is in no rush to have the department of the treasury release the president's taxes. for robert mueller to say, what are the guidelines, sir, i'm here to comply, he is asking bill barr who adheres to no guidelines. >> that's right. in this case it's clear. the courts have held time and time again that once somebody in the executive branch leaves the employ of the executive branch and are a private citizen the only real restriction they have is they shouldn't be revealing classified information. this letter today from the doj to robert mueller has really no legal effect whatsoever. and, frankly, if you're robert mueller you're thinking, look. i don't want to be testifying
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anyway. the last thing i want is for the doj to send me a letter threatening me subtly to not stray beyond the boundaries when i don't want to be testifying even within the boundaries to begin with. i want my testimony if i'm robert mueller to be, hey. it's in this little book that came out called the mueller report. you can pick it up anywhere and i've told you as much that i'm going to essentially read from it like an audio book if you call me to testify. that's what he is going to be looking to do tomorrow. >> annie, we know that both republicans and democrats have practiced, rehearsed for the big event tomorrow. realistically, especially since democrats have lowered their expectations, what are they going to try to get at beyond getting him to present the report? because people kind of have their views set in stone. what do they most want him to articulate? >> well, they're holding mock sessions today. they have someone playing mueller. that's a big secret. >> ooh i wonder who it is. >> i couldn't get anyone to tell
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me. that would be a good scoop for somebody. they're holding mock sessions trying to figure out how -- and they are very aware that this is, like, a stone in front of them that doesn't want to give them what they want. ideally what they would like is a sound bite that robert mueller says but for doj protocol i would have indicted this guy if he wasn't the sitting president of the united states. that is clearly not going to happen. but i think what they want is through a series of questions where he outlines, especially on obstruction, the acts that the report concluded that the president participated in, that there can be no clear conclusion, other than he obstructed justice. i think that's what they want and then they want the pressure on -- then we'll see. does it lead to more democrats calling for an impeachment hearing or does it simply -- i heard this from some trump critics saying the effect here
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will likely be just another crack in trump's framework. another -- for voters tuning in across the country for those on the fence voters, not part of his base, who cheer for no collusion, but those marginal voters. are they going to say, this is just too much. i don't want this for another four years. so the effect they expect to be on the margins here. we'll see. it could go the other way and the white house's strategy has been to downplay this. trump says it's another bite at the apple. kellyanne conway was out there messaging yesterday that, you know, congress thinks you're too stupid to read the report yourself. there is nothing to see here. and if mueller stonewalls them, this is really their last big moment and it could be the case that the white house comes out and says, now we're finally done with this. we'll see. >> is this an opportunity or are -- or will republicans take this moment to go after robert mueller, who does for the most part have a pretty spotless record? are they going to quickly pivot
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to fbi misconduct, struch, lisa page, jim comey? >> the point is they are trying to be restrained because they know it is a huge risk for them. but there are fire brands on those committees that will not be able to help themselves. for months president trump and his allies on those committees have been impuning the integrity of the fbi, accusing the fbi of committing misconduct and accusing mueller of running a biased, unethical investigation and saying his staff consisted mostly of democrats who contributed to hillary clinton's campaign. >> much like the president contributed to hillary clinton's campaign, jared kushner and ivanka trump all who contributed to hillary clinton's campaign. >> exactly. i think this is a real risk for republicans because this is where we could see some fireworks. robert mueller when you watch his past appearances in congress when he gets his back up is when he feels like the fbi is under attack. that's his institution. he built that place up after 9/11 and saved it from being split into two agencies. if they go after the fbi, if they go after the integrity of his staff then i think we will see robert mueller rise up and
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we'll see some fireworks. >> republicans should play risk free defense. that means run out the clock. maybe even grandstand a little. >> run out the clock is president trump's jam. >> that is their thing. maybe they'll take it from his playbook. if they're smart, that's what they'll do. maybe they'll attack the genesis of the investigation, the struch involvement. the lisa page and the carter page fisa warrants. those are avenues they could explore. if they're smart they'll stay disciplined and just run out the clock on this one. in a sense mueller, and i am using huge air quotes, is a friendly witness. >> before we go you mentioned the fbi. christopher wray the current head of the fbi appointed by the president was testifying today. i want to share what he said. >> are the russians still trying to interfere in our elections system? >> the russians are absolutely intent on trying to interfere with our elections through -- >> is it fair to say that everything we've done against
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russia has not deterred them enough? all the sanctions, all the talk, they're still at it? >> well, my view is until they stop they haven't been deterred enough. >> i don't know, annie. call me a naive optimist but is there any way that robert mueller presents whatever evidence he does tomorrow and let's remind our audience it's the first paragraph where he writes, sweeping and systematic influence from a foreign government. is there any chance that both parties come together and stop talking about the president and say, what are we going to do about interference? what are we going to do about russia, and actually do something? >> i mean, that's the huge over arching problem here. that is why the special -- why we started this inquiry in the first place, to look into russian interference in the 2016 election. at this point i don't think that is the focus of tomorrow. i think this is about grilling him on trump's actions and that is where both parties are going to be focused.
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>> so right there, annie did say, you know what, stephanie? you're naive. she was just nice about it. thank you all. tomorrow, you must watch msnbc all day long live special konk coverage of the mueller hearing beginning right here at 8:30 a.m. eastern. next, we have got to go to the hill. a huge day from the senate taking up the 9/11 victims fund after it was blocked last week. rand paul, mike lee, looking at you, to a new defense secretary who was just confirmed into a deal over the debt limit. here is a question. will republicans support it? a big, big budget. last i checked the freedom caucus isn't very into that. u h, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea. ♪ (vo) try new pepto liquicaps for fast relief and ultra-coating. (flight attendants) ♪ nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea. ♪ (vo) get powerful relief with new pepto bismol liquicaps.
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welcome back. in about one hour the senate is poised to authorize the 9/11 compensation fund. the bipartisan bill championed by jon stewart would permanently compensate first responders who are injured during the 2001 terrorist attacks and its aftermath. the bill is expected to overwhelmingly pass today's vote with 93 cosponsors in the senate. it will then head to president trump's desk for the final sign-off. the house passed the bill by a large margin earlier this month. last week republican senator rand paul blocked the bill pointing out concerns over the growing national debt. critics of senator paul called the reasoning for his objection
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hypocritical as he voted for president trump's $1.5 trillion tax cut back in 2017. a cut that increased the national deficit by nearly $100 billion. a cut that many corporate ceos said, yeah, we'll take, but it doesn't need to be this big. breaking news on capitol hill. the senate just confirmed mark esper as the new defense secretary. the military veteran and former army secretary took on the role as acting secretary of defense last month. it took the administration seven months to permanently fill the role. it's been the longest vacancy the defense department has ever seen. joining mae now our nbc pentagon correspondent. now that there is one less vacant position in the trump administration how has that empty vacancy impacted operations a the pentagon or has it at all seeing there was somebody there in an acting capacity? >> reporter: the best way to describe this is, you know, the trains at the pent gorn still
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running on time but you really need someone directing them where to go. that's been missing during this time. secretary mattis then secretary mattis resigned in december, acting secretary of defense patrick shanahan has served in that job until about june when he very surprisingly and quickly resigned. and then mark esper took up the helm as acting secretary of defense in mid june. as you said he was just confirmed. this also just unleashes another row of dominos at the pentagon leadership. david norquist who has been serving as acting deputy secretary of defense since patrick shanahan moved up to acting secretary of defense, the white house just forwarded his nomination to be the actual permanent deputy secretary of defense. he pushes back to the comptroller role and then the secretary of the navy richard spencer becomes acting deputy secretary of defense. there is this whole game of dominos that continue to fall as each of these vacancies is finally filled with a permanent secretary and now deputy secretary. david norquist is expected to sail through a confirmation and
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be sworn in, confirmed as early as next week, steph. >> i realize he is obviously new to the position but do you have any historical perspective on how well he knows president trump, what their relationship is like? >> mark esper? >> yes. >> he's been the army sect tri for about two years and he's been -- had a great relationship with president trump and really good relationship with the hill during that time. that is one of the reasons his nomination animation was accelerated. it all went through in about two weeks which is very fast for this. i think part of that was the fact that members were tired of having an acting secretary of defense and wanted someone in a permanent position especially given all the tensions with iran, all of the world issues going on right now. they really wanted someone who was in there as a permanent job. mark esper is said to have a very good relationship with president trump and also with some of the people who surround president trump on defense and national security issues. he is a west point grad and he went to school with some of the people who are the trump
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whisperers on these issues. he is expected to have a more powerful position and have more juice in the job than acting secretary of defense patrick shanahan did. >> all right. courtney, thank you so much. now let's turn to the white house and congress. where is my bipartisan horn? struck a budget deal that would raise spending by $320 billion and would suspend the nation's debt limit for the next two years. president trump who is expected to sign off on the agreement announced the news via twitter calling it, quote, a real compromise. in order to give another big victory to our great military and vets. the bipartisan deal suspends the debt limit until july 31st, 2021 and would put an end to the automatic spending cuts known as the sequester, secure resources to modernize the military, increase funding to combat the opioid epidemic and provide an additional $2.5 billion for the 2020 census. joining me now chief economic correspondent at politico, ben
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white. the president considers himself the deal maker in chief, given his personal business history, he loves being -- he's a guy who knows a lot about debt. you know who doesn't like it? republicans. >> right. >> tea party members. how is this going to go when it hits congress? >> it's probably going to pass. i mean, it's just amazing to me that we had republicans in 2011 essentially threaten a debt default, force the budget control act, and force the sequester cuts and then subsequently completely abandoned them entirely. >> that's amazing to you? i'll introduce you to merritt garland. >> having lived through it and covered it and what a nightmare it was and how bad for markets now all of that history seems to not exist anymore. there are republicans, conservative republicans in the house, the freedom caucus, jordan meadows, now saying they don't like the deal. my politico playbook colleagues reported this and will oppose it but they're not necessary for it to pass the house. democrats control the house.
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they can pass this thing and send it over to the senate where it'll probably get enough republican support. trump in the past we've seen has, you know, embralsd these budget deals then gotten pushed back from the right, sean hannity and others and said oh, it's not such a great deal. we've seen this movie so many times. in the past versions of this movie, trump has pulled back and said, i need to get more spending concessions, more money for the border wall. always ends up getting nothing and eventually signs off. does he fast forward through that point and go to the end where he signs the deal? i think he probably does and everybody goes home for recess at the end of the week. >> then is this a win for everyone? usually budget deals involve a whole lot of compromises. >> right. >> it seems especially given the dollar amount that everybody gets a pony. so is it a win for both sides? especially given the president trump's narrative that he likes to say, democrats are obstructionists who aren't willing to work on a legislative agenda. >> there are wins here for democrats in that there is more domestic spending on par with
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defense spending. actually a little more than defense spending. defense hawks get to say we're improving the military. the only real losers are fiscal conservatives who spent so many years in the obama administration railing about how dangerous the deficit was and near term they're not that dangerous. longer term the debt to gdp ratio grows and they could be dangerous. right now nobody cares. >> just stay with me on that for a second. as soon as i say deficit people start falling asleep in their seats but for years and years republicans said this is massively important. but if i sat here with five people at the table and i said the deficit is a kagillion, a billion. no one would know the difference. why for so long have republicans said this is a problem and articulate for me again why you don't think it is. >> okay. so what they've said, they said it's a problem because the government is spending well beyond its means. >> they always do. >> eventually that is going to mean that interest rates go up when the economy slows and the
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debt is a bigger part of our economy and eventually crowds out government spending and other stuff because we have to service the debt. then maybe we have a debt crisis in which foreign investors are no longer willing to buy our debt and it could be really bad for an economy. the u.s. is not greece or the smaller economies that have run into trouble but if you lack over a long-term horizon and the portion of our economy, the portion of gross domestic product that is spent servicing the debt does become problematic if you get where it is sort of basically a hundred percent of debt to gdp right now. the size of the debt is about the size of our annual economy. we can manage that but if we get to 1.5 times our economy, 2 times our economy, other investors start to look at the united states and say that's risky investment. i don't want to buy that debt. then we're in trouble. >> hold on. even if we get to that point is there really going to be another nation looking better? we're still all those, prettiest girl at the dance, whatever. >> yeah. sure. i don't know. the extent to which china out paces us in terms of growth or
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the european union gets its act together and is more attractive as an investment destination. right now we are the most attractive person at the party by far. the greatest economy in the world. >> europon union get its act together? come on now. >> over the long-term horizon it is not a guarantee the u.s. economy is always going to be the best place to put your money and debt. right now it is certainly. but just to give a nod, one out for the deficit hawks over the long-term horizon, you do have to worry about the size of debt if it eclipses the size of your economy. >> i invite you to join me on october 31st where the new british p.m. boris johnson says they are going to officially leave the european union. >> that will be fun for markets. >> there you go. ben white, thank you so much. pour one out for conservative republicans right there. as registered sex offender jeffrey epstein languishes in a new york detention certainty, his web of wealthy and extremely powerful connections is slowly being revealed. what we're learning next. (vo) parents have a way of imagining the worst...
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welcome back to "velshi and ruhle." new questions about the business and personal relationships of registered sex offender jeffrey epstein, who was charged last
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month with sex trafficking of minors. epstein has pleaded not guilty and according to his filing made this morning his attorney says they will appeal to the judge's decision to deny him bail. in a close look at epstein's circle, "new york" magazine examines the, quote, cess pool of elites many in new york who allowed jeffrey epstein to flourish with impunity including former president bill clinton and ousted cbs anchor charlie rose. joining me now the deputy editor of "new york" magazine david wallace wells. david, i must read this. very top of the article. this quote is stunning to me. for decades, important, influential, serious people attended epstein's dinner parties, rode his private jet, and furthered the fiction that he was some kind of genius hedge fund billionaire. there is a long list of elites. some of the most powerful people in new york. why is it, how is that this guy was able to get so many of them
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in his web? >> i think it's a complicated question and i don't actually feel like we know the answer yet. i think the story is still very much behind closed doors. we don't yet totally understand how epstein made his money. he's said to be a hedge fund manager but we only know he ever had one client who dropped him 15 years ago. nobody on wall street has any memory of any dealings with him at all. there is some thought he may have been setting up tax shelters for some of these billionaires, some thought he may have been trafficking in saudi money because he has relationships in saudi arabia. there was even an implication kind of unfounded he may have some intelligence relationship with israel or the u.s. i don't think we know yet the nature of these relationships but it is clear he had not only some of the most powerful people in new york but in the world. prince andrew from the uk. now, the nature of these relationships is similarly unclear. he seemed to have a social relationship with many of these people almost all of whom are men. some were at parties where some kind of unseemly things were
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happening. it's not clear which of them were involved to what degree, who may be implicated beyond just having a friendship relationship with him. for me, the question is, how did so many people especially after he pled guilty to soliciting prostitution in 2008, how did so many of these people continue to associate with him in the years since? he has been really involved with harvard funding a lot of their scientific research. he's been a major fixture in the new york social world since peggy siegel has been throwing parties for him -- >> what has been the argument from these people? if i'm the founder of apollo and i have access to the most sophisticated tax preparers on the planet, what is the rationale being given by some of these luminaries as to why exactly jeffrey epstein was in their life often when it is a genius investor they could point to it and say, john paulson is the godfather of the sub prime
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trade. he made me all of this money. what is the explanation from these people? >> mostly they've pled ignorance and actually don't have financial relationships that we know of to him. as i said, there is only one person we know ever had his money managed by jeffrey epstein and that is les wexner the founder of victoria's secret among other things and kind of epstein's patron and gave epstein the home he lives in which is the biggest house in all of new york city. >> has he given any rationale behind why would he give him a home that is now valued at --? >> $77 million. >> -- $77 million. >> no. it's a quite murky story. he made a statement to his employees last week. >> which was? >> just that i cut off my relationship with him after he -- the crimes came out in 2008 but gave no full accounting why they had a relationship in the first place or what the nature of the relationship was. it is very unclear and it is quite possible as the criminal proceeding goes forward we learn a lot more. it is especially notable that the charges were brought by the
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public corruption unit of the southern district of new york which suggests that at the very least some public figures are involved, are going to be involved in the scandal. they may even in some ways be a target of the investigation though we haven't yet found that out. >> i want to share a couple names that are noteworthy and news worthy but we haven't heard in a while. people might not rellize their relationship with jeffrey epstein. it's about epstein's relationship with charlie rose, saying epstein had recommendations for whom rose ought to hire as his next assistant. written call logs from 2005 and 2006 show epstein and his own assistant calling dozens of times making plans for lunch and tea in manhattan or to try to meet up in paris. epstein also called with a total of five women's names and phone numbers. one woman was described as the world's most perfect assistant. she used to work for harvey weinstein. he's lucky if he can get her. another entry reads, jeffrey epstein wants to talk to you before you call these two girls.
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what does it mean that jeffrey epstein found girls and then recommended them for jobs for people like charlie rose and former president bill clinton? >> i want to be careful and not go too far in suggesting the relationship these men had and how they manipulated and took advantage of some of these women but i think it is certainly very telling there seemed to have been a quite close network of predatory men, powerful, predatory men in the new york elite social world who were in some sense coordinating their actions with one another. whether or not jeffrey epstein was making a totally above board recommendation for an assistant or something a little more scandalous we don't yet know but the fact that there was this shared association and they were trading information about these young women is, itself, quite sickening. >> near perfect assistant. she worked for harvey weinstein. we did reach out to charlie rose's team for a statement and have not heard back yet.
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president bill clinton's press secretary did give us a statement. i want to share it. president clinton knows nothing about the terrible crimes jeffrey epstein pleaded guilty to in florida some years ago or those with which he has been recently charged in new york. he has not spoken to epstein in well over a decade and has never been to little st. james island, epstein's ranch in new mexico, or his residence in florida. david, thank you so much. guess what? you have a lot more reporting to do. >> tell me about it. >> david wallace-wells. next, 2020 candidates are taking the fight to some of america's most iconic brands. brands. that's right. from minimum wage issues to monopoly accusations. we'll look at just which companies are taking fire and why. you're watching "velshi and ruhle." memory support brand. you can find it in the vitamin aisle in stores everywhere. prevagen. healthier brain. better life.
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welcome back to "velshi and ruhle" democrats calling out a number of different issues on the 2020 campaign trail but one strategy that most if not all of the candidates are using, they are taking shots at some of the nation's biggest brand names. a new axios report says this. there's more pressure on companies to stand for social policies than ever before. but unlike candidates, brands risk losing trust if they hit back too hard on certain issues, which is why they tend to respond more slowly. more progressive candidates are taking advantage of this dynamic cycle. let's talk about why. joining me now the ax yoes senior media reporter. let's start with this. we know if a candidate goes after a company especially on
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social media they get huge support. but there is a really big difference between the twitter democrat and the democrat out there in america. >> there is a huge difference. we know that the twitter democrats are going to be much more active and enthusiastic about going after some of the big companies and some of the more progressive policies whereas your average, every day democrat, who mate not be on twitter, mate not be very engaged in the campaign cycle, might not is as enthusiastic about going after some of these companies. candidates take a little bit of a risk if they hit at someone like a walmart or mcdonald's. you might be hitting at a potential voter who likes one of those companies or has a good relationship with them. it can in some ways be a little risky. >> your piece notes some issues are gaining momentum on the trail but they're not always resulting in major companies getting called out. give me an example. >> yeah. i'd say the drug industry is a great example of this. we're talking about things like tech or banks, consumers have
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great, direct relationships with their bank or with the technology platforms they use in their phone every day but they don't have great direct relationships with eli lilly or purdue pharma or johnson & johnson and politicians know that. that's why when they're going after the big drug companies they're not going after specific targets. they're kind of just saying those that are responsible for the opioid crisis or whatever epidemic it is. and that's kind of giving these drug companies a little bit of leg room. >> for now. sara fischer, thank you so much. i appreciate you joining me. next, she didn't act like a rape victim. i'm going to say that one more time. she didn't act like a rape victim. that is the startling headline of an op-ed by a military veteran who writes a disturbing account of how rape is treated in the military. we'll be speaking to that veteran about why most survivors don't report rapes and instead choose to suffer and recover in silence.
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welcome back to "velshi and ruhle" a new op-ed suggests rape
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in the army is only rape if you yell, cry, and fight about it. i'll say that one more time. in the army, it's only rape if you yell, cry, and fight about it. a rape playbook one might say. in her "new york times" piece titled "she didn't act like a rape victim" army veteran ryan lee dosty says her reported rapes and those of two other women in the army were dismissed by officials and says a fourth woman kept quiet about hers because, quote, she knew better. dostie writes, quote, our rapes were on us. the army was telling us and neither i nor the specialist nor the staff sergeant acted enough like a rape victim. a mantra often repeated by the investigators in my own case. in a statement to nbc news an army spokesperson said this. commanders take every report of sexual assault, sexual harassment, and associated retaliatory behavior seriously by employing a wide variety of judicial, nonjudicial, and
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adverse administration actions to address the conduct for all founded reports. sexual assault is contrary to army values and a critical readiness issue. joining me now, the author of that "new york times" op-ed, army veteran ryan lee dostie also the author of a new book "formation" a woman's memoir of stepping out of line. thank you. thank you for being here. rape in the military. you would think the army, there to protect us, is where members of the army should feel protected. so, first, when i just read that statement that we got from the army, is that something you've heard before? is that their standard line? >> i've never heard that before. i'm sure that is their standard line. i don't mean to scoff, but for them to say that that commanders take it seriously, it -- i'm sure there are some commanders who do take it seriously and there are plenty who do not. that's part of the problem.
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>> then why tell your story now, for that problem exactly? >> i would like to tell -- part of the reason i told may story was for myself. you know, just to be able to talk about it and get it out there but alsohopefully to help other military sexual trauma victims so that they feel like they can have a voice and talk about it, too, and they don't have to accept this kind of behavior when the military, whatever branch it is, is covering it up on them. >> help me understand what the culture is. you are talking -- why is it that you can't come forward because you write in your piece that three judges on an army appeals court overturned a 2017 rape conviction because the alleged rapist didn't try to hide any evidence. so his brazenness and unwillingness to cover up is what set him free? >> exactly. that's what they're arguing, exactly. and the problem is, women or sexual assault victims in the
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military, they know what the reporting system is like and how they'll be treated, which is usually with derision, their careers can be compromised or threatened. they're called a multitude of names that i won't repeat. >> by whom? >> it can be by the commander. it can definitely be within the ranks, other soldiers pass it on amongst each other. in my case, my commander pretty much said i was lying. called me a bold-faced liar and told the men in the platoon, while we were in a formation, that men, if you didn't do anything wrong, don't worry about it if a woman reports. >> and you were literally report you didn't act like you were raped? what is that? >> i don't even know what it means because i thought i was acting -- well, however i felt i was acting. but they had written several times that i didn't act like a rape victim. one of the points against me was when i was in the mp car going
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to the station, the mp station, the officer was speaking with me and i spoke back to him and apparently that went in the report. that was not the right thing to do. >> the officer who committed this act against you spoke to you and you responded? >> no, i was in the vehicle going to the police station, the mp station, and just the regular police officer who was taking me, just having a conversation, small talk. and i did small talk back just to drown out the noise in my head, just to normalize for a second. and that went into the report as me not acting like a rape victim. i wasn't hysterical or incapable of talking or whatever it is that they say a rape victim is supposed to be. >> there is no criterion for what a rape victim is supposed to be. there's something else you wrote. every rape in the army is unreal, unbelievable, but only because we already know that almost no one will believe. what? >> yeah, and it's perpetuated both with men and women.
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i talk in the op-ed, about, even when it's other women. there was another woman who was raped and i had heard about it, we're both women. we're both raped. you'd think we'd go to each other and talk to each other and try to find some kind of solidarity. >> what happened? >> we ignored each other. >> why? >> it's easier to believe what everyone says than to come up and talk to the person and face what's happening in such a large numbers. it's easier to deal with your own trauma than to have to go and try to help somebody deal with theirs. and i don't think we mean to do that. i don't think we mean to ignore each other, which just makes us weaker. it takes away our strength, but i think it's -- we know if we get together and talk about it, we only become more of a target. oh, look at them. the two rape victims are talking to each other.
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they're conspiring. you are so aware of what everybody says to you or about you and you are so aware of your actions. >> well, right now a lot of people are saying about you and to you, thank you. and there is nothing weak or weaker -- just think about this, please. she didn't act like a rape victim. that is a thought felt in communities that simply shouldn't. ryan, thank you for writing this. thank you for everything you've done. i appreciate it. ryan leigh dostie. earlier this month, mike pence mysteriously scrapped a trip to new hampshire at the very last second. we now know why. we'll tell you on the other side. let's get down to business.
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welcome back to velshi & ruhle. mike pence canceled a trip to new hampshire recently. now we're finding out why. so the vice president would not have to be associated with the drug trafficker. geoff bennett has more. >> reporter: new details about why vice president mike pence abruptly canceled a planned trip to new hampshire earlier this month. suddenly scrapping the scheduled roundtable discussion on the opioid crisis. >> there's been an emergency call back. the vice president was asked to return to washington. so at this time we're going to cancel today's event. >> reporter: sources briefed on the incident tell nbc news the vice president's staff was
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concerned about pence's potential proximity to an employee at the facility under federal investigation for dealing fentanyl, a deadly synthetic opioid. that employee, former nfl player jeff hatch. accused of trafficking more than $100,000 worth of fentanyl across state lines. according to court documents obtained by nbc news. hatch pleaded guilty friday to a lesser charge. the former offensive tackle for the new york giants and tampa bay buccaneers has spoken candidly about his addiction which ended his football career. >> i was a first team all-american third round draft pick of the new york giants. and i'm a drug addict and alcoholic. >> reporter: it's unclear whether hatch was the sole reason for pence's cancellation. scrapping a trip just moments before a presidential aircraft is scheduled to take off as pence did is rare. despite the confusion and speculation in the weeks that followed, the white house refused to provide an
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explanation as president trump played up the suspense. >> there was a very interesting problem that they had in new hampshire. >> what kind of problem? >> i can't tell you about it. but had nothing to do with the white house. there was a problem up there. and i won't go into what the problem was, but you'll see in about a week or two. >> reporter: the vice president in a new interview with cbs still declining to clear things up. >> it was circumstances on the ground in new hampshire that made our trip there no longer appropriate. i hope to have a chance to speak about it at some point in the future, but i can't talk about it now. >> nbc's geoff bennett, thank you for solving the vice presidential mystery for us. right now i hand it off to chris jansing. >> stephanie ruhle, good to see you. >> i'm chris jansing in for katy tur. there's a last-minute twist in the run up to tomorrow's big mueller hearing. we'll have more on that in a moment. but just a few hours ago, a


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