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tv   The Beat With Ari Melber  MSNBC  December 6, 2019 3:00pm-4:00pm PST

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meeting on monday. look what's next for impeachment, jerrold nadler and ted cruz. nadler and cruz this sunday. good evening ari. >> good evening, chuck. we have a lot to get to on "the beat." the white house responding moments ago to congress's offer to participate in the impeachment hearings. also tonight, new heat on rudy giuliani. could he be in trouble on the way he's talking to witnesses. and more on revelations in the impeachment report. we've been breaking news night by night assisted by the new evidence, some of you you may not have heard about yet. but we begin now with breaking news. the white house making it official, they will not participate in this next impeachment hearing on monday. donald trump formally refusing to present any kind of evidence or even engage with what will be the first witnesses presented direct evidence of the ukraine
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plot to this judiciary committee. this is the committee that will be writing articles of impeachment against the president. this breaks with bipartisan precedent. in the nixon and clinton impeachment investigations, those presidents cooperated. even past presidents who faced allegation of corruption wanted to show cop raugs. who is going to defend you better than your own paid employees? skipping the hearing also denies trump the opportunity to offer defenses on the record. consider in all fairness today the white house has pushed back on some of the evidence from this impeachment report that rudy giuliani was speaking to budget officials and they have every right to do that in the public realm and we'll report to you what their defense is. but we're also past the journalistic piece of this story. by skipping next week's hearing, think about it, the white house is giving up the opportunity to make that case directly to the
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congress, directly under oath to say if it is true that there was no contact with the budget officials, people writing the article ls of impeachment need to know that. but the white house doesn't get to just say it. somebody has to say it under oath. donald trump is not going to do that. they're going to boycott the process, as some kind of signal to his supporters that the best way to deal with the overwhelming evidence in that report is to just ignore it. just pretend the 300 pages don't exist. but the pages will be detailed when the committee and lawyers did so much questioning, they'll be up on monday to face questions of their own. and their answers matter because speaker pelosi says members are already drafting the articles of impeachment. preparations already under way in the senate for that rare thing, the trial of the sitting president. and some members are saying today anything can still happen.
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>> have you spoken to a single republican who's considering voting for the impeachment? >> yes. >> you have? >> yes. >> how many? >> it's a small list on one hand. >> i'm joining by former wisconsin senator russ fingal. good evening to both of you. maya, the point i raise is one in all seriousness, in all fairness, if there is real evidence that those calls that appear to be say budget calls between rudy and the white house or something else, let's have the discussion with real evidence under oath. isn't the white house missing an opportunity there? >> the white house is missing an opportunity if by bringing that evidence it helps them. i think the question is why was rudy giuliani having so much
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contact with the white house during these crucial periods of april and august? so i think it will -- the question they have not said, at least nothing that i've seen has said, no, rudy giuliani wasn't actually having contact with the white house. they have to concede that. so, it still creates the question and the appearance, certainly, that he was deeply engaged and things that had nothing to do with an appropriate role for the personal attorney of the president relating to unless they can say it did. >> senator, feingold, we like to do homework around here. we don't just show up at 6:00 and chitchat. we're happy to have you. putting out cheese and chitchat on a friday night is perfectly fine. >> sounds good. >> our team was researching your part on this. you're one of the few people in america that cast a senate vote
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on the procedures as well as the final decision on the presidential impeachment and you broke with your party on that which is interesting with all the talk of the rare precedent coming back as we see a trump impeachment. let's take a look at that history tonight. >> there were two critical votes today, and the republicans held all their members in line. votes to dismiss the trial and to subpoena witnesses. >> on both votes today, only one lawmaker broke ranks, russ feingold of wisconsin opposed fellow democrats, opposed dismissal and for witnesses. >> i wonder if you can educate us to make sure there was a thorough trial process regardless of where people might have been headed in the ultimate vote and what you think the senate's obligations are now. >> it seemed very clear after the house had impeached president clinton, i really didn't understand why they would take that step, especially as a
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lame duck house. but the constitution was very clear that the senate had to have the trial. and every single one of us, ari, was sworn to do impartial justice so help me god. so, for me, after having taken that oath and having listened to the house managers and listening to the president's lawyers, i thought, look, there is a colorful case here for obstruction of justice. but i don't know whether it would be a legitimate standard. but the democrats tried to dismiss the case before we could see any evidence and even deliberate on the evidence. so, i thought that was wrong and a violation of my oath, so i voted to hear the evidence. i had a chance to look at the depositions, and i ultimately concluded that the president -- that the standard had not been met for convicting the president. but i would urge senators in this impeachment trial to do the same, to say, look, let's actually have the trial that the
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founders of this country insisted on and not abuse the process. otherwise, ari, i think the senators are complicit in covering up the acts that trump has committed because they turned the trial into a farce. >> you served in this institution, you bend not only on the senate floor but in those private cloak rooms. i was a staffer. i would watch people like you when i worked in the senate. and there was sometimes more collaboration or comedy across party lines behind closed doors than in public. i wonder if you can give us insight into what your former republican colleagues are thinking privately? do you think think of them are pained at the prospect of looking at all this evidence, particularly the national security stuff, and cosining it and saying this is going to be fine? >> i think they are. and there are some senators who were there at the time who came to me and said let's sit down with a constitutional law professor and have lunch and talk this over together, a
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republican senator. it was a real process. we really ugh stralled with it. we really looked at the facts as colleagues, not as a democrat and republican. we did that kind of consultation. and i think that should be the way in which senators should approach this. the truth is the proceeding started off pretty well in terms of agreeing on the process. but i think the point at which it got off the rails was by dismissing the case too soon and i'm hopeful the entire trial will occur because the constitution demands it. this president has committed such serious offenses there should be a vote on whether to convict the president. it shouldn't be short circuited. >> i don't want to make senator fooin gold blush here but i do think it's fair to say whatever one's politics, the senate could use more people like that who are willing to go against party and say let's hear the evidence. i wonder your reaction. >> my reaction is exactly the same. i really appreciate your comments, senator.
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and particular given the evidence that we have seen in the house intelligence report which is put together in a way that makes three things clear. and i think they came out clearly. representative raskin really summarized it well in his questioning of the constitutional scholars. there's evidence of all three things that the founders were worried about. one was abuse of power for personal gain. the other was, you know, sacrificing the national security. and the third was literally interfering in the electoral process. there's evidence for all three of those here. so how can the senate not do exactly what senator fooiengolds suggesting? >> should congress write the articles of impeachment on just the articles of ukraine or go back into the mueller report and
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alleged obstruction. speaker pelosi won't say either way yet. >> yes. >> do you want to see elements of the mueller report or these other investigation -- >> i'm not going to talk about that. my chairman will be making recommendation as to what the -- our counsel, our lawyers, our chair, the staffs of the committees have been sensational and will look through them for their judgment. >> joining our conversation, congresswoman who serves on the committee. let's take a look at what you were saying in the momentous wednesday hearing. >> if we don't stand up now to a president who abuses his power, we risk sending a message to all future presidents that they can put their own personal political interests ahead of the american people, our national security, and our elections. and that is the gravest of threats to our democracy.
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>> where do you come down on how many articles they should be and does it include past alleged obstruction in the mueller case? >> ari, all of that is being discussed right now sense the speaker assigned chairman nadler and our committee to look at articles of impeachment. we're still in this process. i will tell you this: what we saw with ukraine is so much worse than what we saw with the mueller report in this respect. this all happened while the president was in the white house as the president of the united states. this complete abuse of that office and of the sacred trust that voters have given him to conduct their business, not his business, but their business. and at the end of the day, the ultimate thing that i took from those legal scholars on wednesday is that this ability to interfere in the election and to actually take that process that gives the power that the
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people have to the president is through the election. so, if the president is abusing his power to interfere in our elections, that really is the greatest threat to our democracy. >> right. and i think it's almost clear -- you can tell us if we're wrong -- but it's almost certainly clear that there will be at least one article of impeachment on the ukraine issue because that's what the whole intelligence report is about. >> right. >> as you know and a lot of viewers know because people are following this pretty closely, there's only ten weekdays left before congress adjourns before tend of the year. mitch mcconnell is keeping january open for the trial. i'm going to press you as such, if your colleagues aren't ready to tell us whether or not obstruction for mueller is impeachable, to paraphrase someone, if not now, when? >> well, i, as you might know, i read the mueller report three times because we had that hearing with robert mueller and i came out afterwards and said i
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thought there were acts in the mueller report that were impeachable acts, at least five of the ten instances of obstruction of justice. what occurs to me is however we approximate draft the articles, they are literally following a pattern of behave r i don't, a pattern of abuse of power, a pattern of obstruction of justice, and a power of subverting the nation's office for personal political gain. i think showing that pattern in the articles that we draft is very important. this is not the first time that this president has done this. the president started with russia, are you listening? went on to the white house lawn, said china, i would like i don't to engage. now we see ukraine unfolding in front of us. i do think that that pattern that was documented in the mueller report is very important to include. how that gets included, i don't -- i don't know yet, and obviously that's a decision that the chairman and the speaker are going to have to also weigh in on. so, we're in that process.
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but i think there's a lot of information. >> one more thing i wanted to ask you, is chairman schiff also taking the lead in writing these articles? >> chairman nadler is the leader on writing the articles. but of course with all of the chairs who have been involved they're all going to be a part of that consultation process. and speaker pelosi is obviously going to have a big say in all of this as well. but chairman schiff, the intel committee will present their report, not the chairman, but the council will report. the fact that the president does not want to come and testify says everything about how week his defense is. i agree with maya on this. if he had a defense, he would come and testify. the republicans would question not just process but would actually question facts. they're not doing that and i think that says everything about the president's defense. >> yeah, that jumped out a lot to us as well, pretty striking choice. and really breaks with
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bipartisan precedent. we greatly appreciate it. thank you for coming on "the beat" tonight. >> thank you ari. >> i want to keep our other two panelists. russ feingold you have dealt with the country. take a look at how this is playing in a couple of different ways because those of us in the nationals are following closely. here's the "chicago tribune" where you see the wednesday hearing, three scholars outline the case for impeachment. anyone who missed the hearing or was busy working two jobs or picking up their kids from practice is going to see that sooner of later. contrast that to what we found in other parts of the country. here's the tuscaloosa news front page. you can see like so many places it's not the top story. it's not the second story. other important things, real things, local things. and it's really tucked below the fold. and i wonder what your view is
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about how important it would be for speaker pelosi's case to get this to break through the nation, not just people who tend to follow things closely. >> this is where the congressman was so right about talking about showing the pattern. i'm not sure that the answer is to send over all kinds of articles of impeachment. there's nothing wrong with the judiciary committee looking at all of these things so people across the country can see the variety of offenses that the president has committed. maybe they send only a couple of ones over to the senate for a trial that are much more clean and specific. but to educate the public about the pattern that this administration has conducted is absolutely crucial so that the american public understands if it's clear to the united states senate that this man should be removed from office, which i of course think he should. but it's better than you have more public support for it even though i think the senate has a clear duty to act regardless of what the level of public support is. >> we have a lot in the show tonight. i only have 30 seconds left, maya for your final thought.
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>> ditto. the short answer is i think it's really important that they include articles of impeachment on obstruction because that is the key component where as representative said substantial evidence, that's what the mueller report said on some of those instances of obstruction. and the president is still doing it. and so it's not -- it's not disconnected. it's in fact the very reason why there wasn't more evidence related to russian interference in the election and context with the campaign were various forms of obstruction of the investigation. so, i think those are important. i think they should be included. and i absolutely agree with the senator. there has to be more development of more evidence on some of these other issues that are clearly serious but in order for the public to be brought along and understand them. >> really interesting to hear your thinking laid out. thank you and have a great weekend. coming up we have new
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reporting on giuliani's trip to ukraine with questions about whether anything he's doing might open him up to witness tampering investigations. we're on the trail of the missing $35 million of military aid that still hasn't gone to ukraine, a report we brought you first on "the beat," and key revelations. plus michelle goldberg and a pl playwright. you're watching "the beat." playwright you're watching "the beat.
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president trump and his aides have done many controversial things and several criminal acts which is why so many trump advisers are convicted or incarcerated now. but nothing that any of them did has taken president trump closer to impeachment than rudy giuliani's bumbling incriminating trips to ukraine which makes it truly remarkable that as the house moves towards impeaching president trump, this week rudy giuliani was back in ukrainian. >> rudolph giuliani is in ukraine tonight. >> his business dealings in ukraine are being investigated by the southern district of new york, but that's not stopping
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giuliani from traveling to ukraine and continuing his work that's under scrutiny. >> what is wrong with rudy giuliani? hou how is he in ukraine doing the criming we're discussing at this moment? >> what's the ukraine trip about? >> i am doing all day and all night probably, i'm representing my client. >> i guess he had to go back. he's going, going, back, back to kyiv, kyiv. he's going, going, back, back, to kyiv, kyiv. and has everyone asking why. if giuliani's pushing the exact same plot that's getting donald trump impeached this month and now even some of donald trump's closest republican allies will not defend this trip. >> i think it's a little period that rudy giuliani is over in ukraine right now and i'm not here to defend rudy giuliani. you know, there's apparently an
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investigation going on and that'll go where it goes. >> so, that's the response to giuliani pushing this same plot. and there's also another possibility that's very important. rudy giuliani knows he's under investigation. and he used to run these kind of probes, so he knows that means possibly surveillance. he also watched his call records get splashed across every tv in america which cited him 500 times in 300 pages. if giuliani wants to speak to witnesses in ukraine who know about what he did without leaving more evidence and phone calls and records, he may be willing to take this risk just so he can talk to these people in person in ukraine, these key witnesses. as a general matter, anyone who tries to shape testimony to alter a probe to try to shape what other witnesses can say can end up on the hook for witness tampering, a separate offense.
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so, there's more than one thing that could trip up his trip in kyiv. here's something that hasn't gotten as much attention yet. his calls to patel followed him talking to the mysterious one, who may be donald trump. giuliani doesn't have a chain of command or legitimate role in discussing national security policy with the security council and this staffer used to work for devin nunes. what was discussed? well, if it was classified government business, that answer might be privileged, right? but patel now seems to be waiving that argument claiming this was just a lengthny personal phone call discussion. >> that was a personal conversation that i was delighted to have with the former mayor of new york city
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where i grew up. and we discussed personal things. >> not ukraine, not the hold on military aid, not the bidens or investigations? >> no. >> here's the problem with that denial. if it was really truly personal, those things aren't classified and probably not privileged. giuliani's the president's lawyer, not national security counci counsel which means congress has a good chance of compelling him to testify. while the report doesn't venture into what was discussed, it adds damning evidence that giuliani and trump may have viewed him as a point person. this is where the plotting meets the bumbling, at least according to the narrative in the report because star witness fee know i can't hill testified that patel wasn't the ukrainian director but donald trump's sudden interest and micromanagement stood out as damning because he
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had never otherwise asked to aspeak to any nsc before about anything leading to think this was a sondland like problem, a fixer role, not for security but for the politics he was doing, for the ukraine plot. and she added this whole thing bottom line was a red flag. this raises a lot of big questions because this report has so much in it, so many front page level bombshells that everyone is just trying to make sense of it as the congress rushes with, as mentioned, ten work days left to decide if they're going to do impeachment. what does this new stuff mean for the criminal case that involves giuliani as well as the impeachment? the reporter who has been all over the giuliani story is here with us live back in 30 seconds. with us live back in 30 seconds. ♪'cause no matter how far away you roam.♪ ♪when you pine for the sunshine of a friendly gaze.♪
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♪for the holidays you can't beat home sweet home.♪ the united states postal service goes the extra mile to bring your holidays home. i'm joined by "the daily beast" aaron who's been reporting for some time. her new piece has been making waves about the ill-fated ukraine trip. thanks for joining me. >> thanks for having me. >> your headline, ukraine freak out trump's lieutenants and giuliani doesn't care. what did you find in your reporting about this trip? >> so, we originally hopped on this story a couple of days ago when the news first broke. and what was sort of alarming to us, speaking to top trump administration officials is that no one really seemed to understand what exactly giuliani was up to overseas. some people we spoke to knew he
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was on a flight from roam to budapest and then on to kyiv. so many one seemed to know who he was meeting with or what he was doing. as we continued to talk to these officials, they began to learn exactly what giuliani was doing overseas and started to sort of raise the alarm bells, hold meetings, conversations. this is in the upper echelons of the trump administration, senior officials. what we learned is even as giuliani's continued to meet with these people, top nsc officials and other people in the state department are getting information about, you know, sort of the ins and outs of these giuliani meetings and sort of sitting around asking the question what's giuliani doing? right? i think they were really surprised by the visit to kyiv. i don't think anyone was president examing it. i think some people knew that giuliani was headed to budapest, were not prepared for him to land in ukraine. so, they were pretty alarmed, these people we were speaking to for the story. >> hanging over this as you and others have noted is the open
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investigation. you report on the awareness of the surveillance. everyone now has seen all the call records. and you write it could be unwise for even trump allies to contact giuliani at this time given how his text messages and phone records have become a topic of congressional investigation plus sdny. what do you think of the theory that has been put out there that he wants to talk to people in person to avoid that potential surveillance? >> i don't have any direct knowledge about that, but what's interesting is we did talk to individuals who had spoken to ukrainian officials and representatives close to zelenski who had advised those individuals not to meet with giuliani, specifically asked them this is not the time, don't go near him. the message they got back was don't worry, i'm out of town, i wouldn't dream of it. what we do know is that several poll tugss -- and ukraine did meet with giuliani. giuliani is meeting former special prosecutors. he's meeting members of
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parliament who have dispersed information about the bidens -- disinformation i should say -- in the past. >> let me play you one more thing. i just sat down with one of giuliani's contemporaries, huge legal star. in his 70s, had a long career. we discussed what happened to giuliani as some of his friends would even put it. take a look. >> what happened to rudy? >> i think he went crazy. i mean, as best i know people used to respect him. he was america's mayor. he was not going to be on anymore afternoon talk shows. he was not going to be important anymore. and so, you're looking for a way how can you become relevant. >> in your reporting do you see any concern among the white house that some of what giuliani's doing while he says it's on behalf of trump may also be his own issue oris needs? >> i think it's definitely concerning officials that he's
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even overseas at this point. but i think we have to look at this in the larger context of what we know about mr. giuliani, right? we know that he's continued to say that he's simply just representing his client which is mr. trump, president trump. but we also know that rudy giuliani has a knack for going overseas and trying to find business. so, what we don't know is what else is going on behind the scenes in budapest, in kyiv, and elsewhere around the world. there have been report that is have come out over the past six or eight months or so that giuliani and his associates are strapped for cash, looking for money. >> sure. >> and so in that context, i think both of those things are concerning for top officials, the sort of con flags between giuliani looking for business and then giuliani representing president trump because that line is very thin. >> and representing president trump for freebie getting paid by someone to go on these big trips and do this work.
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now to newly revealed impeachment evidence that actually shreds a core trump defense you may have heard from the president himself. as we reported on "the beat" this week, this comes from a key part of the report that has flown under the radar. it demolishes a key defense trump allies have been saying, and you've probably heard this. one of the defenses has been to claim that that military aid ultimately all reached ukraine. >> the real bottom line is he got the money. >> the ukraine i don't knows got nothing to as far as investigations goes to get the aid released. >> those funds were paid. they were fully paid. >> note trump there falsely claiming the funds were fully
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paid. let's hear that part again. >> as far as withholding funds, those funds were paid, they were fully paid. >> fully paid. false. first of all, it's not a valid bribery defense to say your bribery didn't work. but what's new here in the report is the way they're lying about this as a factual matter the house impeachment report reveals those funds did not fully get to ukraine, not last month, not ever. page 145 of the report, pentagon officials confirming to investigators ukraine still has not received $35 million of the security assistance yet to be dispersed. 35 ms, that's a big deal. that's in fact 14% of the entire amount in the alleged extortion plot. how dig a deal is this? a pentagon official under oath confirming that money never got to ukraine in the impeachment hearings. >> mr. cuber, was dod able to
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put all the security funds into contract before the end of the fiscal year? >> no, sir. >> and how much were they not able to obligate? what was left unobligated? >> i believe the figure was 35 million. >> i'm joined now by former federal prosecutor john flannery who has been counsel to three congressional investigations, the right expert. good evening sir. >> good evening. >> we talk about law. we also talk about facts. there are legal defenses and failing at bribery is not a good legal defense. then there's factual defenses. so, focusing your laser analysis on the factual part here, do you view it as important that the impeachment report surfaces the fact that when donald trump says ukraine got fully paid, that itself is false? >> i think that's significant, and it sort of shows that he just can't let it go. and he still is pushing it and
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perhaps that's why rudy's over there as well. but one of the important things about it, it was $35.2 million and it was important to the national defense because these items go for grenade launchers, secure communications, and naval combat craft. that's an important thing for a vulnerable nation adjoining russia that has military involvement in a hot war that's still going on in ukraine. he's having it both ways. not only do we have him holding back the funds -- and for no good reasons -- vindman testified that when they held the funds and then released it, there was nothing substantial that had changed on the ground that would require them to withhold the funds at any time. so, this 35 million which happens after that is not withheld for any good reason either. nobody at the pentagon can give
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us a good reason. so, what we have is we have more proof for the misconduct for bribery and extortion and abuse of power and obstruction because he's lying to the public even as we're sitting here. >> john -- >> yes? >> there's the case and all the facts in the report, and then there's how you present it. i want to put up on the screen the president's false claim that we dug out of the report to fact check because when you look at that image of him saying "fully paid," you have a report that really fact checks that. or we can maybe tee it up if we want. we have in control in the video, we can do the short version. do we we want to see that, donald trump claiming fully paid. >> as far as withholding funds, those funds were paid. they were fully paid. >> fully paid. i wonder if folks are hearing about this from legal experts, from journalists, do you think the democrats if they're going
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to make this case have to get that fact out stronger and larger? because you can write all the books and reports you want -- >> right. >> -- but what the public and the senate deals with is what is known top of mind, right? >> well, how you would try this case in the senate is significant because you would take out magic moments in this case. i mean, for example, the read out on july 25th, that's a magic moment. but you take that statement you just did and you show him to be a liar by then showing the transfer of funds and using the other tape or the witness again to demonstrate that. that same witness, i believe, said that there was an inquiry by the ukrainian embassy on the very day of the july 25th call about where's our money which is what anybody would expect of a nation that's under arms and concerned about what russia can do in the eastern province where they're active on behalf of russia.
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so, i think how do you try this? >> one out of eight bucks is missing money. it's striking. >> it is. >> mr. flannery, often a legal witness for us. tonight a bit of a fact witness. you'll permit -- i don't even know if it counts as a legal joke, just a legal reference. we appreciate you in all of our expert testimony, sir. >> well, i appreciate it. it's served me to have read the thing. but there are pearls in them there hills -- or gold, i guess. and it's worth the read. and the read is going to be what brings down this president. one way or the other, he's going down. and the republicans who think they can vote to save this guy in the senate, you know, one month after that trial is over, whatever the result is, he'll do something else while we're still trying to get rid of him because he was convicted or because he's beginning his campaign. that's the story of america. >> we'll keep an eye on all of it. mr. flannery, always good to see you on this friday night.
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breaking news, friday evening in washington, chairman adam schiff still at work. this letter breaking in our hour. formally calling on the trump administration to do something unusual and declassify part of testimony given by a key aide to, guess who, vice president mike pence. schiff saying testimony from jennifer williams has additional
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information about a call that pence made to the ukraine president in september, another indication that schiff is hard at work and mike pence an interesting figure when there's an open impeachment probe into his boss, the president. up next we have some interesting arguments trump defenders make right now. arguments trump defenders make right now. i'm a verizon engineer, and i'm part of the team building the most powerful 5g experience for america. it's 5g ultra wideband-- --for massive capacity-- --and ultra-fast speeds. almost 2 gigs here in minneapolis. that's 25 times faster
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that's when you know, it's half-washed. try downy fabric conditioner. unlike detergent alone, downy helps prevent stretching by conditioning and smoothing fibers, so clothes look newer, longer. downy and it's done. and now it's time to fall back. i am joined by a playwright who
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is taking broadway by storm right now, jeremy o'harris. he's also won playwrighting accolades and we're joined by our friend michelle goldberg, member of a pulitzer prizewinning team and author of "the means of reproduction" which won the ballard book prize. very exciting and i saw your show and we'll get to that but let's start with what's your on fall back list. >> my number one thing on my fall back list is probably because i think everyone at trump's administration need to fall back about talking about famous pop stars who should be released from jail. >> and this is really wild. i happen to love hip hop. i think death row music put out
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a lot of music but i would be against pardoning shug night. >> and someone that seems so far from any sort of sense of social justice would take any case upon himself to take it to the white house and it would be taken seriously. the thing about kim kardashians advackacy, whether you like her show or whatever, she did actually align herself with a social justice movement before going to the white house and letting off a litany of people. >> and she's advocated for non-celebrities. >> yes. and there seems to be more altruism there even if people have a lot of other issues with her in that case. this one on the other hand seems purely like a spectacle. >> michelle, what's on your list? >> one of things that's been driving me crazy amid this sort
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of tsunami of disinformation about faith is the claim you hear that impeachment would overturn the will of the people. because the thing that the constitutional mechanism that overturned the will of the american people was the election, right? it was the insulation of donald trump in the white house despite losing the popular vote. so i would say what should fall back is the electoral college. >> well, the electoral college itself and that talking point could fall back. and your second point not as important as your first the constitution provides for this remedy, so to say that the remedy itself overturns the will of the voters is really just to say we don't have a rule of law, but in fact the whole point of rule of law is that you have these rules that govern the people in power. and if the president is lawfully removed, the vice president who ran on that same ticket takes the place. so it's not like you lose the
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administration. >> and the whole reason we accede to the legitimacy of this administration is we are willing to recognize constitutional provisions over the popular will. you know, and then as an aside at every point in this process at least since the revelation of this quid pro quo plot, impeachment has had more popular support than the donald trump presidency ever has. >> stephen miller was on my fall back list and his e-mail chain. again, the sense that the white house could come out publicly and say we know this man, we know him deeply. and we know he hates bigotry, obviously. his name is stephen miller and he's a jewish man. what jewish man do you know that likes bigotry? that's psychotic. >> we're talking about him. >> yes. >> your play is very interesting. i got to see it. very controversial. i've got to ask you the question that every playwright hates for people who haven't seen it yet
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watching across the country what are you saying with this play? >> i see so many things that are racist all the time and it's so ingrained in the dna of our country, in the dna of my body i haven't processed the weight of child slavery in our country's dna. >> and some of this is uncomfortable difficult in the public realm and your play is highly sexual in its exploration of american racism. why? >> well, i think sex is at the core of so many of our discourses right now. and if you look at the person leading our country sex is at the center of his discourse. even so much of what we know about donald trump he's a philandering misogynist who has said public grab them by the p word you know?
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and i think this play is a great vehicle for that question because also we're all watching porn, we're all having sex, we're all like having big questions that we think we're alleviated from any of these questions. but actually that's when we can get to the truest most deep answers what we do about power and how we wield it. >> i saw your play which was an absolute aastonishment. and to me the most interesting about it is it operates within the -- within kind of a bunch of social justice assumptions, i think, and yet challenges the idea that you hear all the time that art is now really safe, that you can't say anything shocking anymore. i left it feeling sort of speechless. and it was the first time i don't know a decade that i felt like shock was deployed productively in art to kind of open up part of you or a part of the discussion that had
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previously been closed. >> thank you. and a professor said in a negative way at school it's like you just released a nuclear bomb in the middle of the institution, and what's going to happen. and maybe i did. maybe i released this bomb to explode all these walls we put around discourse, it flattens our discourse and makes it one-dimensional and let's make these questions, these inquiries three-dimension three-dimensional again because they are. we can't figure out with just words. we have to figure out beyond the words we know and figure it out by hitting our gut in someplace that shocks, maybe some splinter from that explosion as it hits us for us to make sense of what's happening. >> shout out to flattening the discourse. >> thank you for having me, ari. >> thank you for having this conversation. you're on "the beat" and we'd love to have you back. if you want to flatten the discourse a little more check this out in new york this
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sunday. you can actually catch jeremy o'harris and that's and if i were you, i'd want to go see jeremy and chris. that does it for us. we'll be back monday 6:00 p.m. eastern. and i also have a special series sunday night 9:00 p.m. eastern, white house in crisis. and "hardball" starts now. speechless. let's play hardball. good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. president trump was left speechless today passing up his last chance to defend himself, acknowledging he faces


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