tv MSNBC Live With Katy Tur MSNBC December 16, 2019 11:00am-12:00pm PST
thank you for watching "velshi & ruhle." i'm going to see you back here at 3:00 p.m. eastern. >> i will see you back here at 9:00 a.m. eastern. right now our dear friend katy tur picks up coverage. >> good afternoon. it's 11:00 a.m. at west and 2:00 p.m. in washington where on capitol hill the house is preparing for an historic vote on the impeachment of donald trump. we're days away even as the senate seems determined to quit the president no matter what. it is day 84 of the impeachment inquiry and here's what's happening. in a 658-page report released overnight, democrats on the house judiciary committee argued the president has, quote, placed his personal, political interests above our national security, our free and fair elections and our system of checks and balances. he has engaged in a pattern of misconduct that will continue if
left unchecked. in a fiery dissent, republicans argue impeachment is part of a larger effort to delegitimize the president. impeachment is likely to head to the senate next. senate minority leader chuck schumer who is set to speak any minute now has requested testimony from a number of current and former administration officials including john bolton and mick mulvaney. he says their testimony is necessary to help shore up support among republicans. >> the four witnesses we've asked for, the documents we've asked for are directly dispositive on what the actual facts were. now, the house came up with a whole lot but there are some of my republican colleagues who say the charges are serious but i'm not sure there's enough evidence. that's why these people should come. >> but a number of senate republicans have muld not calling any witnesses at all and majority leader mitch mcconnell is saying he wants to get a
senate trial over as quickly as possible. joining me from capitol hill, nbc news correspondent geoff bennett. articles of impeachment potentially on the floor on wednesday. if they do go through and i assume it's going to be a full day of debates, what is going to happen next? how quickly will this senate trial happen? >> reporter: let me walk you through what happens from right now through wednesday. so you have the house judiciary committee report being released late this morning. that lays out the explanation of and a justification for these articles of impeachment. then tomorrow you have the house rules committee gaveling into session at 11:00 a.m. eastern. this is a small committee that meets in a small room up near the attic of the capitol. it's a 9-4 democratic to republican split so you can bet on that whatever process this committee comes up for for the floor debate will be blessed certainly by house leadership. on wednesday as you mentioned you've got that impassioned floor debate setting up a vote some time on wednesday.
so by this time friday, assuming everything tracks according to schedule, donald trump will be the third president to be impeached by the house. this of course is a red mark that stays on his record no matter what the senate does. now, chuck schumer is set to talk to us reporters any minute now and we hope to get some clarity on these next steps. you saw this letter that he released to mitch mcconnell, the senate majority leader, late last night. the thing is, the two of them have to really hash out these next steps. they have to negotiate some sort of resolution that lays out the rules of the road. it won't be until that point that we really know, katy, what happens in a senate trial, be it when it starts or how long it goes. >> it is going to be interesting, let's say that. geoff, thank you very much. joining me now, "new york times" chief white house correspondent peter baker, former chief minority counsel during the clinton impeachment, julian epstein and core doe za law professor, jessica roth. welcome. peter, chuck schumer today
announced that he wants to hear from mick mulvaney. he wants to hear from john bolton. he doesn't have the power here so what is he hoping to accomplish by putting out what is considered to be a reasonable ask but putting out to somebody like mitch mcconnell who's already said that this impeachment inquiry and the senate trial is going to go quickly and the president will be impeached? what's the strategy? >> senator schumer is laying down a marker in effect saying if you want to have a fair trial, if you want us to call it a fair trial, here are minimum requirements. now of course, he's not likely to persuade senator mcconnell. the question is whether he persuades some of the more moderate republicans who will probably still vote with president trump but want to at very least make sure that their constituents think that they have given this reasonable consideration, that they did not simply swipe it under the rug, that they had a real process.
senator mcconnell of course doesn't want to have witnesses, he doesn't want these witnesses and he doesn't want to have the witnesses that president trump would like to have, hunter biden or joe biden or the whistle-blower or those kinds o 12 days, get it over with and move on. what we don't see -- what we don't know yet is what pressure he'll come under from his own caucus to go beyond that. >> follow up on that, jessica. >> it strikes me that the most important audience for senator schumer's letter is those moderate republicans. it may be that ultimately they vote to acquit the president but they are interested, i think, in the legitimacy of the process and actually considering the evidence. mitch mcconnell needs their votes for eve procedural rules that he's going to establish for the government of the trial. >> mitch mcconnell doesn't have -- and i was talking about this with michael bneh mcconnele ultimate authority here. yes, impeachment and removal is a high bar for the senate but the process, the rules, he's got to play it a little bit more
fair than he normally could otherwise because of mitt romney or susan collins. >> exactly. he needs 51 votes to decide upon the rules governing the process and we have at least two or three moderate republicans who are interested in actually having a trial it would seem. so he needs them to come on board with the process. >> let me read to you something from larry tribe. he's citing schumer's proposal to mcconnell and tribe argues that if mcconnell rejects these reasonable ground rules and insists on a nontrial, the house should consider treating that as a breach of the senate's oath and withholding the articles until the senate reconsiders. explain the strategy behind that because wouldn't it be a welcome thing for mitch mcconnell if democrats say we're going to withhold these articles? >> well, i think tribe's notion here and a few others have put this out there is that if the senate isn't going to take this process seriously, you kind of
hold -- you vote for impeachment and then you hold this scarlett letter over trump. he's been impeached as a president and carries that scarlett letter but you don't send the actual articles of impeachment to the senate until you get an indication they're going to treat it seriously. i don't think that's likely to occur. i think that's an ivory tower musing. i don't think it's going to occur. in 1998 we didn't have fact witnesses after the house impeached president clinton but that was because all of the facts were on the table. years of investigation. every witness had been deposed or testified before the grand jury. here, you really don't. you have, for example, pompeo, mulvaney, bolton, all of whom have very important testimony that could be persuasive to the senate. the republican argument right now is kind of twofold. one is that the democrats don't have the goods on the quid pro quo or the bribery, and two, that the president's motive was benign. those three witnesses could be very, very influential on both of those questions and i think very adverse to the president. what the republicans and mcconnell are counting on right now is that the public is largely split.
you've got basically a 47/44 split for impeachment and removal and the democrats are getting the slight edge on the argument. that's sort of the high water mark for the republicans right announce and that's where they want to keep it there. the danger of course is that some of those numbers could move and if enough people in the middle swath, the independent voters start to think that the senate is now part of the coverup by keeping these witnesses out of the senate for testimony, those numbers could move further south and that could put pressure on senate moderate republicans. so it's a dicey game that mcconnell is playing. >> you invoked a poll so let's put the suffolk poll up. these numbers, while they remain relatively steady, could move from now on and democrats aren't even paying attention to these numbers anyway. rudy giuliani, there's new, i guess you could call it evidence against him, a new yorker
article where rudy giuliani admits basically to wanting to get marie yovanovitch out of the way because he thought she would stand in the way of the investigations that he wanted to pursue, the investigations into the president's political rivals. what do democrats do with information like that, jessica? do they enter that into their reports? do they feel it's anything that could be persuasive, stuff that would mean that rudy giuliani should be called? >> i don't know what they do with rudy giuliani's statements. he's had so many of them in the past as well. certainly from an evidence law perspective they would be admissible against trump because he is -- giuliani is trump's agent. we're not operating by the traditional rules of evidence. we're in a political process. whether or not the democrats want to use those, it would seem that hearsay is going to be admissible in that senate trial. they could admit it as hearsay through those reports and just add it if you will to the volume of evidence they already have proving what the scheme was. >> i wonder, julian, would you
want to get rudy giuliani up there because he told this to adam en tus and i don't have the quote in front of me right now but he said he wanted to get marie yovanovitch, the ambassador to the ukraine out of the way because he felt like she was standing in the way of these investigations. does that not mean that someone like rudy giuliani is someone that should be necessary in order to make this a fulsome or a well investigated and well argued trial? >> he was the leader of kind of the three stooges. he was the guy who basically ran this parallel foreign policy. he is central to the case and how the senate republicans could say they don't want to hear from him is beyond me if you're treating this seriously. he's kind of like jack nicholson in "a few good men." he could be easily baited into saying you're damn right i wanted to get rid of her. you're damn right we wanted a quid pro quo. you're damn right we were do coming up with this bribery. he can be easily bated into it.
he was done it on television. it's not just that but he is central to this case. >> julian, hold on a second. i got to go to chuck schumer who's addressing reporters. sorry to interrupt. stick around for me. >> the main purpose today is to follow up on the letter i've sent to leader mcconnell about the potential senate impeachment trial and rules for them. but let's not forget that there are many other things the senate should be working on right now. this month we've recognized the seventh anniversary of the sandy hook massacre. in the seven years since that unthinkable tragedy, america has experienced countless incidents of gun violence ranging from horrific mass shootings to the thousands of shootings that devastate communities every day. the senate has not even debated background check legislation. the senate hasn't debated legislation to reduce the cost of health care, college
education or prescription drugs. republican leadership has even refused to work with democrats on bipartisan solutions to secure our elections and deter foreign adversaries from interfering in our elections. all the productive activity in the congress is coming out of the house. the senate remains a legislative graveyard for so many different issues. now on impeachment, as you know, the house is expected to vote on the articles of impeachment this week. assuming the articles are adopted by the house, the senate will serve as a court of impeachment. conducting an impeachment trial in the senate is an enormously weighty and solemn responsibility. it's one of the most important things that the founding fathers air gaited to the senate. senate democrats believe strongly that the trial must be
fair and it's very important that the american people judge it to be fair. a fair trial is one where senators get all the facts and one that allows them to adjudicate the case impartially. two weeks ago now i told leader mcconnell i was ready to discuss trial rules. instead of talking to me, he spoke publicly about what a trial may look like and said he was taking his qcues from the white house. it was very partisan, very slanted, very unfair. so to get things back on track, i sent a letter to leader mcconnell last night outlining a very reasonable structure that would result in a fair trial. this morning i sent the letter to every united states senator, democrat and republican. i hope that all of my colleagues
will look at this proposed structure and make up their own minds. the four witnesses we propose have direct knowledge of why the aid to ukraine was delayed. we don't know what kind of evidence they will present. they might present exculpatory evidence that helps president trump. it may be incriminating against the president, but they should be heard. but, by virtue of the senior administration positions they occu occupy, each of them will have information to share about the charges made by the house, information that no one has heard at this point. in fact, in the case of mr. bolton, his attorney stated publicly that he has additional relevant information to share, information that has not yet
become public. how on such a weighty matter could we avoid hearing this, could we go forward without hearing it? that is why i sent the letter, in part, to leader mcconnell. we also propose that subpoenas for documents that are directly related to the charges brought by the house come forward. there's always a lot of attention on the question of witnesses, but these documents are also of great importance when it comes to making sure senators have what they need to make a fully informed decision. right now i think the house has amassed a great deal of evidence, much of it in the form of testimony from the president's own appointees that the president committed impeachable offenses. but, a good number of my republican colleagues have said they believe the charges are
serious but there isn't enough evidence yet for them to make a decision. we believe these witnesses and documents would provide the evidence they're looking for without being dilatory or letting the trial drag on for too long. i haven't seen a single good argument about why these witnesses shouldn't testify or these documents be produced unless the president has something to hide and his supporters want that information hidden. the trial structure i outlined in my letter to leader mcconnell will ensure that all the relevant facts come out without dilatory action. you know, there is a grand american tradition of a speedy and fair trial. that's just what we've proposed here and i expect republicans would be sympathetic to our
proposal for that reason. the president and house republicans have resisted letting all the evidence and facts come out. the president hasn't offered a single exculpatory bit of evidence that refutes what's in the house impeachment charges. they have not refuted them. our document could be summed up by joe friday on "dragnet." just the facts, ma'am, that's what we're interested in, not diversions, not conspiracy theories that are irrelevant to the case. just the facts, ma'am. as i said, the president has offered nothing exculpatory to disprove the evidence that has been put forward. instead, he's orchestrated a coverup. it's left many in the senate and
millions across the country asking what is the president hiding? why doesn't he want the facts to come out? in their investigation the house compiled and presented an enormous amount of evidence in support of the articles of impeachment. but, as i said, some of my republican colleagues are saying there isn't enough evidence. the trial structure i outlined in my letter to leader mcconnell will ensure all the facts come out. so, in the coming weeks, senators, particularly republican senators, will have a choice. do they want a fair, honest trial that examines all the facts, or do they want a trial that doesn't let the facts come out. trials have witnesses. that's what trials are all about, and documents. it's not just the prosecutors in
this case, the house attorneys make their case, the president's lawyers make their side. we know that already. we've heard that. we need to know the facts from those who are in a position to know and from documents that accurately reflect them. so, to engage a trial without the facts coming out is to engage in a coverup. to conduct a trial without the facts is saying we're afraid. we have something to hide. to conduct a trial without relevant witnesses who haven't been heard from to just rehash the evidence presented in the house just doesn't make any sense. if leader mcconnell doesn't hold a full and fair trial, the american people will rightly ask, what are you, leader mcconnell, and what is president
trump hiding. i'm ready for questions. one at a time. >> back in 1999 you did not support a hearing from new witnesses in the senate trial. why do you feel differently this time? >> okay, here is what i said at the time. these are exactly my words. my view is we've heard from most of these witnesses over and over again. we've heard the same story. the witnesses in '99 had already been given -- had already given grand jury testimony. we knew what they were to say. the four witnesses we've called have not been heard from. that is the difference and it's a difference that is totally overwhelming. >> of those four witnesses, some of the republicans have suggested that it's not the senate's job to get these witnesses. that was supposed to be done by the house democrats and the house democrats decided not to go to court and get these witnesses. should the democrats in the house have pursued these witnesses? >> look, i'm not going to second guess the house.
there is virtually no argument, no good argument if you're interested in the facts in not having these witnesses come forward now. and remember, the standard at a trial is different than the standard when a prosecutor, in this case the house impeachment authority, puts together a case. a trial is a place for witnesses. >> do you have now or are you confident that you will have the support from 51 senators? >> i expect to have the support from democrats and republicans because the argument is so strong. many republicans have voiced to me and many of my colleagues privately that they think what the president did is wrong, but they're just not sure enough facts have been presented to make an impeachable case, high crimes and misdemeanors. this is the way to do it, the way we outlined. >> the four witnesses, just four, you didn't call for pompeo or giuliani.
i'm wondering why you settled on this four and why not -- >> right, these are the four who have the most direct contact of the facts that are in dispute, most particularly, why was the aid to ukraine delayed? these are the best four witnesses for that case. by the way, we don't want to be dilatory. we don't want to stretch this out any longer than we have to, but these people crucial and haven't been heard from. again, that's the difference with 1999 and it's a total difference. >> did you get depositions on these -- >> i'm not going to get into that. i'll negotiate with mcconnell but let me tell you live testimony is the best way to go. >> in 1999 the linchpin of the deal between senator lott and daschle was the fact that they did not want live testimony. they had a little bit of
videotaped testified. they thought it would bring discredit on the senate. i spoke with senator lott a few days ago and he indicated that he thought the integrity of the senate is at risk here if you have live witnesses on the floor. two-part question, why is that not the case and despite what you said about not hearing from these four and number two -- >> you can't say despite what i said. that's the whole case. we've heard from them. >> number two though, do you genuinely think -- >> 1999 was a different case. there were all the obvious reasons why they did not want a witness like monica lewinsky testifying in public. i was there and it related to what the questions might be about, that the whole nation including children would be watching. it's a totally different situation. there's no analogy. >> how democrats feel that they have enough evidence to impeach without hearing from these four witnesses, why isn't that enough here in the senate? >> the bottom line is there are some who may think it's enough. we all have to wait and not
prejudge the case, but there are many who have said these are serious charges but i'm not sure there's enough factual evidence to merit impeachment. these people know better than anybody else the facts. there is no reason on god's green earth why they shouldn't be called and testify, unless you're afraid of what they might say. >> if you can't reach an agreement with mcconnell on witnesses, would democrats force motions on the floor? >> we'll cross that -- i am hopeful -- leader mcconnell has finally said that he wants to sit down and talk and i am very eager and willing to do that. as i said, we want to come up with a fair trial where the facts come out, without dilatory actions and without making this into a circus of unrelated conspiracy theories of either the right or the left. last question. back there with the beard. >> senator, on that last point, there are republicans including
the president of the united states who have some ideas for witnesses that they might want to call. are you willing, if senator mcconnell were to say we'll do some of your witnesses but you have to do some of ours, are you willing to do that? >> again, i think the trial should be focused on the facts that the house presented, not on conspiracy theories that some established liar puts forward and then someone says let's hear if the conspiracy theory is correct which has no relevance to the facts here. so we ought to stick to the facts and if there are other witnesses who might have witnessed what happened, who might have very strong evidence on the facts that the house presented, i'd certainly want to hear who they are. thank you, everybody. >> that was minority leader in the senate, chuck schumer, talking about why he wants to call four new witnesses in a senate trial. that's what he's asking from mitch mcconnell. for anybody who might be tuning in, one of those witnesses is john bolton, the former national
security adviser. another one is mick mulvaney, the chief of staff to the president, also the head of omb. mike at duffey who works at omb and robert blair, senior adviser to mulvaney. back with me is peter, julian and jessica. julian, you served as minority counsel during the clinton impeachment and i want to remind our viewers of that. when you hear the argument that senator schumer is making to call live witnesses and the argument against it -- one of the reporters mentioned trent lott, saying that it would compromise the integrity of the senate to have live witnesses. another reporter asked about a position that schumer had in 1999 saying that no more witnesses were needed to be called in the clinton impeachment because it would be political theatre. you were there. tell us about how you perceived the criticism and schumer's arguments today. >> he said exactly the right
thing. in 1999 it was an extramarital affair and a sex scandal and so there was a fair amount of question as to whether the senate really wanted to get into the nitty-gritty details of that and whether it would be demeaning to the senate. secondly, the more important point is that all the facts were on the table. all the witnesses had been heard from in an over year-long investigation with independent counsel, ken starr. so there really weren't any fact witnesses that hadn't been heard from. i think schumer made that distinction well. i think democrats will make that distinction. i think going back to 1999 and republicans using that as a precedent is a dog hunt. schumer was the only member in 1999 that served in the house for the impeachment and then won a senate campaign and was an actual juror in the senate or actually heard the case in the senate. i worked very, very closely with him during the impeachment and he's a guy that smells blood in the water when there's blood in the water and he smells blood in the water on this argument. the key word that i think he used was coverup.
is the senate going to participate in a coverup by denying four very, very important fact witnesses that can shed important information that we don't have on the table at this point. as schumer is pointing out, there are senators who are saying, yeah, there aren't enough facts to persuade me there really was this bribery or quid pro quo scheme. so i think schumer is onto something here. >> peter, you were also there, covering it, and you've written a book on impeachment. you weigh in on that. >> i think it is fair to say that by the time it got to the senate in 1999 the witnesses had been heard from but the difference was they had been heard from in a grand jury and no member of the house or the senate had actually seen them face-to-face. they had never seen them even on video. remember, these grand jury proceedings took place behind closed doors and the house members and senate members were dealing entirely off of transcripts. so the reason why it mattered to have those three witnesses were
interviewed on the senate trial via video deposition, the first time those witnesses had been questioned in a way that anybody, especially the general public, much less the senators, could see and hear for themselves. it turned out that monica lewinsky was an expert witness. she had done it so many times before the grand jury that she had managed to control her deposition better than almost any other professional lawyer could have done. the question that was asked of senator schumer he didn't really answer is what about rudy giuliani. we picked these four witnesses because they're the ones who would know the most. there's nobody who's going to know more other than the president than rudy giuliani who is part and parcel of this whole effort, still out there trying to drum up information about ukraine. >> what is the hesitancy to call rudy giuliani, peter? >> it's a great question on both parts. i don't think the republicans want to call him either. he's a wild card at this point. i think that he has given so many interviews to reporters and he's said so many things on fox news and other television outlets that i think that his
story is kind of complicated. i think it's possible that the democrats don't want him up there because he'll get into this whole conspiracy theory and if you let him up there then you start heading down a rabbit trail about the bidens and all that. republicans probably don't want him up there because he'll probably say stuff that would be incriminating against the president. he has already, the one you cited at the new yorker is an example. i think he's a wild card for both sides. >> jessica, you're nodding your head. >> yes, he's absolutely a wild card. one of the other things in this proposal is time limits for the presentation of arguments and evidence and questioning of witnesses and i can see giuliani running out the clock for the time that either side have to present evidence so i think they're smart to focus on other witnesses who are likely if they present testimony to be more focused and not run out the clock. >> julian, if you want to chime in, go ahead. >> i think a contrary view might be no pain, no gain. the public is split right now and i think he is a wild card for all the reasons that peter points out but i think he's a
very impeachable witness and would say things that are very helpful. peter is correct about the depositions. my answer to your earlier question was about live testimony and live witnesses which is what schumer was saying. >> exactly. peter, i want to get your take on one other thing. william webster, former fbi director, well respected man, he has written an op-ed and he's taken the president and william barr and rudy giuliani to task. he calls william barr a close friend. he calls rudy giuliani a close friend. he says, i'm profoundly disappointed in another long-time respected friend, rudy giuliani, who spent his life defending people from those who would do us harm. his activities of late concerning ukraine have at a minimum failed the smell test. i think he will redirect to our north star, the rule of law, something so precious it is greater than any man or administration. we've had a lot of former
officials come out over the past three and a half years and taking the president to task for the way that he's spoken on the campaign trail, for the way that he's behaved towards law enforcement and toward our intelligence community as he has been president, op-ed's about william barr as well. does william webster have anymore sway than anybody else? >> well, he has credibility obviously of having been an fbi director for a long time, appointed by a republican president, george h.w. bush. i think he speaks for a certain segment of the law enforcement community that's frustrated that they've been targeted in this way. you're in a really odd position basically in america in 1919 where it's the democrats largely who have been defending the integrity -- that's what they call it anyway -- of the law enforcement agencies and the fbi and republicans are using terms like dirty kochcops. that was a term used the other day by the president of the united states. really kind of an unusual political turnabout we've got here. it's president trump's attacks
on law enforcement and intelligence communities have been one of the central themes of his presidency and has been very, very uncomfortable i think for a lot of republican and republican leaning people who have veteran experience in law enforcement and intelligence who have traditionally relied on republicans as their chief allies. >> i got a text from a recently former dhs official after the president tweeted dirty cops and the text was just disgusting so, yeah, he's certainly not making a lot of friends within some parts of the law enforcement agencies that we have. peter, julian, and jessica, it's going to be a wild ride. thank you guys very much. the debate got lively inside a michigan town hall today, the impeachment debate that is, as freshman congresswoman elissa slotkin explained why she is supporting impeachment. >> the president of the united states came out and his lawyer came out and said very specifically that they had
reached out to a foreign power. rudy giuliani said it openly on television. the president responded accordingly when asked by a reporter. and for me that was fundamentally different. >> there are about 400 people here to listen to her. please let her be heard. >> as a cia officer and as someone who has sworn an oath to protect and defend the constitution, reaching out to a foreign power is something fundamentally different. guys, let's try to have a civil conversation, okay? >> just for the record, you can't impeach a representative, so there's that. you saw those signs in the back. slotkin flipped her district from red to blue. she said she was undecided about impeachment until today. this morning before facing those voters she released an op-ed in the detroit free press saying she was ready if necessary to pay the hard political price for supporting impeachment. she said there are some decisions in life that have to
be made based on what you know in your bones is right, and this is one of those times. joining me fromi michigan, leane caldwell. you were in that room and the question i had this morning was, we heard those loud trump supporters, those anti-impeachment protestors. they were really loud in there, but was that the balance of the room? was the room anti-impeachment or were they there to hear what elissa slotkin had to say? >> elissa slotkin called for civil discourse. on one side it was definitely not that because protestors tried to disrupt her question and answer speech throughout. but the majority of the people in the room, katy, were, in fact, supporters of elissa slotkin and she got a lot of standing oh vacatiovatioovation when she started to talk about impeachment. on the other hand, there was a portion of the room, not just
the protestors in the back but there were people in the audience too who did not support that position. but elissa slotkin continued to plow on through, continuing to talk about it and her position. this is how she put it and this is how people responded. >> i want people to think about where we will be if it becomes normal to ask foreign governments to intervene in our political process. what if that becomes normal? what if next time we have a democratic president asking the chinese government for a cyber attack, for something new, for some intrusion. for me this is something that i cannot abide, that i cannot accept. [ applause ] [ boos ] >> she's getting a standing ovation there. leanne, you've been covering congress now during this whole
impeachment trial, much before it. did you get a sense from being in that room, from being out there in this district of the way impeachment is playing and the way that politically speaking people like elissa slotkin, what it means, i guess, for 2020, what it means for the senate trial? >> yeah. i asked elissa slotkin after this if she regretted that decision based on this town hall and she said absolutely not, it was the right thing to do. but slotkin is in a district that trump won by nearly seven points so it's going to be a difficult re-election for her in 2020 and someone in a neighboring district, haley stevens, another freshman democrat, she is also undecided at this point on impeachment. she's also struggling with this because this is not just about slot skin akin and haley steven. this is about the president's
re-election. he needs these districts, he needs michigan in order to win in 2020 and he's actually going to be here in the state on wednesday to try to shore up support here. so there's an eternity between now and the election but impeachment is hot and heavy here. when i ask people what sort of outcome it's going to have next november, they say we just don't know, we just have to wait and see. elissa slotkin is hoping that it obviously falls in her favor. >> leanne, thank you very much. still ahead, impeachment, acquittal and 2020. what will donald trump do next if he faces no consequences in the senate. mp do next if he faces no consequences in the senate
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concerned about what else he might do between now and the 2020 election when there are no restrictions on his behavior. chris koons warned that if donald trump is acquitted in the senate, his behavior might only get worse. eli, the president called the president of ukraine on july 25, the day after the mueller -- a day after robert mueller testified on congress and called him and said i want you to do me a favor though. so if he was emboldened then, what will happen now if he's acquitted in the senate? >> who knows, katy, but he's always been emboldened. he's never really worried too much about the rules, the constitution, about behavioral norms. he's been the same way throughout his presidency and probably will up until election day. the impeachment inquiry as it's gone through the house has focused him somewhat in that he
has tried to present himself to the public as a president who is getting things done. he's tried to hold up progress on trade, but he continues to kind of undermine that possible narrative by tweeting things over the weekend about the speaker, pelosi and her teeth. he's kind of always all over the map and probably will continue to be going forward. i think it's just incredibly telling that his campaign believes he has a good story to tell on the economy, unemployment, 3.5%, that's incredibly low, and yet the new poll out today shows 50% of the country supports impeachment. so the president believes he has a strong case and that the economy will work for him but it may not be enough given that half the country still supports his impeachment. >> rick, let's be very serious about this because what the democrats are alleging and why they're moving forward as quickly as they are on impeachment is they're saying the president is a danger to our elections, he tried to cheat, he's going to try to cheat
again. they are not saying, oh, we can wait about this, they're considerably worried. is it too hair on fire to actually worry that the president will try to cheat in the 2020 election and potentially i guess change the result of the vote? either indirectly or directly? >> i don't know about change the results of the vote per se. technically that's a tough road to hoe. >> i mean with -- hold on. i don't mean actually changing ballots. let me be clear about that. i mean with changing opinions, with poisoning the water about nonsensical investigations into joe biden, that sort of thing. >> he's doing it right now. he's retweeting this stuff from rudy giuliani's interview with aonn, whatever the hell that is, all day today and yesterday, this crazed interview about all
this incredible lurid conspiracy theories they're dredging up in the ukraine in order to destabilize the 2020 election. trump does not have boundaries. he does not obey norms or laws or rules, so of course the democrats trying to sanction this thing and trying to bring this trial into the public view, it's the right thing to do. however, mitch mcconnell has a thumb on the scale. lindsey graham has a thumb on the scale. quite obviously they're going to do everything they can to short circuit this thing and i think trump will be so unbounded after this -- and eli is right. he's never been a guy who obeys the rules but he's going to be in full, like, throwing the poop out of the monkey cage mode the minute he gets the senate -- the senate gives him a, quote, clean bill of health. >> what about van drew, congressman van drew of new jersey who's considering switching parties. a number of his staffers, at least six of them, have quit in protests because he says he doesn't believe in impeachment.
the president i'm sure is going to use this to his advantage. republicans will use it to their advantage to say that democrats are ahead of their skis and doing the wrong thing. >> i think it's gotten a lot of attention, understandably so, but it may be an outlier. the president wants people to focus on this one case but this is a lawmaker who stood to lose his own primary on the democratic side. that was clearly part of his thinking here. i think perhaps more representative is what you played in the block earlier with representative slotkin. she's one of about half already. there are 31 democrats in the house who won seats that trump won in 2016 and already roughly half of them are out in favor of impeachment in spite of the political risks that they acknowledge. if you want to look in the aggregate, that seems to be more representative for people who have something to lose than the one lawmaker switching parties because he also seemed to be up a creek. >> rick, last word. >> i think the van drew thing is
an outlier and it will be interesting to see how the republicans do when the d triple c releases van drew's opposition research file today. >> thank you all very much. still ahead, a new analysis out of georgia shows a clear link between efforts to reduce voting access and voter turnout. sort of sounds like voter suppression. but first, new questions about a lack of diversity on the democratic debate stage. rsy on e democratic debate stage. smoking. so chantix can help you quit slow turkey. along with support, chantix is proven to help you quit. with chantix you can keep smoking at first and ease into quitting so when the day arrives, you'll be more ready to kiss cigarettes goodbye. when you try to quit smoking, with or without chantix, you may have nicotine withdrawal symptoms. stop chantix and get help right away if you have changes in behavior or thinking, aggression, hostility, depressed mood, suicidal thoughts or actions, seizures, new or worse heart or blood vessel problems, sleepwalking, or life-threatening allergic and skin reactions. decrease alcohol use. use caution driving or operating machinery.
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♪for the holidays you can't beat home sweet home.♪♪ we go the extra mile to bring your holidays home. with less than two months to go until the first votes, most democratic voters have not decided on a candidate. a new poll from pbs news hour, npr and marchist found 76% of democrats and democratic leaning independent voters have not made up their minds. just seven of the remaining candidates qualified for the next debate this week and if democratic voters are unable to hear from the entirety of the field before the end of the year doesn't make it more likely that they will be undecided.
joining me, reed epstein and democratic strategist joel payne. reed, you talk about tom perez in a recent article you wrote for "the new york times." he's the head of the dnc and the one helping make all these rules about who can get into a debate, what the thresholds are. there is criticism of the dnc that they have their finger on the scales and when the field is this large and that many voters are undecided, is it the best way to go about putting people on the stage by using poll numbers and fundraising numbers? >> katy, i don't know if it's the best way to go but it is the way that tom perez has chosen. he is under a lot of pressure from dnc members and other officials in the party to winnow down the number of candidates that are on the stage at this point. there was a lot of griping and complaining over the summer when there were two nights of ten candidates and then later when there was a 12-candidate debate in the fall. there is a lot of pressure on him to get the debate stage into
a manageable number, and while that has led to a debate later this week where six out of the seven candidates are white, perez said to me that it's not really his fault that candidates like cory booker and julian castro haven't demonstrated more than scant amount of support in the public polling. >> joel, what do you think? >> i think reed's reporting is right and reflective of the challenge that the chairman has. look, this is difficult. this is not about the party trying to force a candidate or a number of candidates on the electoral. it's about what the electorate is telling you both in terms of fundraising, also support. you look at a state like south carolina which is really controlled by the african-american vote. cory booker is barely registering. kamala harris was really struggling to level off there before she exited the field. i'd also say at one point in this race kamala harris was leading the race and she had about the most money in the field. so i don't know if it's a
consistent argument to suggest that the unpalatable for candidates of color to be successful. i'd imagine barack obama was running this cycle, i'd imagine he would be pretty successful. i think you have to marry the potential with the actual conversion of support. >> let me ask you this. 76% of democrats and democratic-leaning independent voters say they are undecided. that is a vast majority of democratic voters. are they just undecided between the top six or seven candidates? or does that undecided feeling extend to the entirety of the field? would somebody like cory booker or julian castro or andrew yang have more support if there was more opportunity for them to be heard? and -- and i guess the debate's the best format to do that? >> katy, i think that last point you made is a good one, right? i don't know if the debate has been the best format to -- to demonstrate that you're part of the big field here. i mean, pete buttigieg made his
movement before a lot of the debates even started with his field organization and with his relationships out in the early states and places like iowa and new hampshire and nevada and so on and so forth. so, yes, the debates are important. and it's important to be on that stage if you want to be competitive. but, you know, if you're going to really build a lead and be competitive here, it's going to go beyond the debates. and i think, you know, cory booker invested a lot in early states like hatnew hampshire, sh carolina, iowa. that's a bet he's made. you're right. there is a lot of undecided vote. >> joel payne. reid epstein. >> this afternoon, a judge in georgia halted a massive voter purge. the purge would have affected over 300,000 voters, some of whom have died or moved. but the majority simply had not voted since 2012 or could not be reached by mail. it is the latest fight over george's use it or lose it voter registry law, which slashed over 1.4 million voters from the
rolls between 2012 and 2018. allegations of voter suppression are nothing new in georgia. but a new analysis from the "atlanta journal constitution" found that the state is particularly good at making it hard to vote, especially for black voters. joining me now, the co-founder of black voters matter fund, la tasha brown. latasha, always good to see you. i do want to note at the very top that voter purge law was instituted in the late '90s by a democratic administration down there in georgia. but -- and this is a big but -- what we've seen in georgia in the last few years are a number of poll places closing. a number of polling sites closing. and -- and people who might've had to walk down the street to vote or go a mile away to vote, are now finding themselves ten miles or more away from a voting booth. and what they found in the "atlanta journal constitution" was that that affected black voters 20% more or a lot more than white voters.
made black voters 20% more likely to miss elections because of long distances. and it's estimated 54 to 85,000 were prevented from casting ballots on election day last year. how do you fix things in georgia to make it easier for people to exercise their fundamental, constitutional right to vote? >> we've got to -- we've got to address these strict voting laws. you know, the commission on civil rights did a study and they had five -- five tools in which they look how does it impact voter suppression or voter turnout? georgia was the only state out of 50 states that met all those requirements the requirements in terms of creating additional barriers for voter access. when we think about in 2017, july of 2017, 500,000 voters were purged from the rolls in one day in georgia. that's the largest disenfranchisement of voters in u.s. history. so clearly, georgia has a problem.
and we've got to deal with that problem. one, we really got to deal with the strict voter laws that are in this state. secondly, we've got to challenge these acts of voter purge -- voter purging. that's why i'm so happy that fair fight georgia is actually taken this and has taken this to court. it's because of their work and for their intervention that ultimately the judge has a -- has a hearing today around the prevention of 120,000 voters that are going to be purged that were scheduled to be purged tonight. so i think there is a couple things we really have to do. you know, i think the biggest threat to democracy is really voter suppression. this isn't a partisan issue. this is a democracy issue. >> it's also a voter apathy issue, in addition to voter suppression. and voter suppression's a big deal. but also, getting people interested and feeling like they have a say in it. and part of that is -- is having a polling place that is close by. part of that is saying, hey listen, it's easy for you to vote. you go right down there. the arguments against this is -- or against making it easy to vote is this -- this fear of voting fraud. but it seems like the fear of
almost nonexistent or very, very minuscule voter fraud is outweighing what is, again, a constitutional right to vote. so do you need to go to court to keep polling places open? what's -- what's the horizon on that? >> you know, let's see -- let's let -- from 2013, when there was a stripping of the voting rights act when section 5 was pulled out. these are the states, georgia, is a deep-south state that has a horrendous history of really preventing the voting rights, particularly of black voters. and so when we're looking at this, there is a racial element behind this that is targeting, particularly, disproportionately, black voters and voters of color. and so what we know is that the further that there is a polling site, it's less likely that people will vote because there's a transportation issue in this state. so when we ultimately are looking at what is happening, what we've got to do is really address this voter suppression issue, not as if it's a partisan issue, but that it is a democracy issue. you know, one of the things i like to talk -- tell people when
they're talking about, well, these are people who haven't been voting in a couple years. so isn't it okay to purge 'em? i say, well, let's look at the driver's license. so should -- who would think that it's okay that if you don't drive this year or next year, you lose your driver's license? the point of democracy is to have free and fair and open access to -- to the ballot so that people can participate. >> driving is not a constitutional right. latasha brown, thank you very much for joining us. good to see you. >> that's right. >> and we will be right back. >> and we will be right back
that is it for me. ali velshi is here right now. hey, ali. >> nice to see you, friend. >> you too. >> are you doing 5:00 today? >> i am. >> that's what you do because it's monday. >> i have a big smile on my face. >> have a great rest of your day. it's monday, december 16th. this is an enormously-solemn responsibility. just 48 hours before the house vote on whether to impeach the president of the united states, senate democratic leader chuck schumer is framing how the process could continue in the senate. in a letter that he wrote to senate majority leader mitch mcconnell, his counterpart, it suggested the timetable for the trial and that it should be based on the rules that were adopted for bill clinton's impeachment trial in 1999. schumer also proposes the chief justice john roberts who would oversee the trial, issue subpoenas for four witnesses, including acting white house chief of staff, mick mulvaney. former national security advisor, john bolton. he says it's necessary to hear from these witnesses in order to get the full story of what happened in ukraine.