tv The Impeachment Trial of Donald Trump MSNBC January 29, 2020 6:00am-10:00am PST
>> announcer: today, a new phase of the impeachment trial begins. >> you are being asked to remove an elected -- duly elected president of the united states. >> announcer: senators will ask questions. >> i can't anticipate everything we're going to be asked but we can anticipate a lot of it. >> with the key question on witnesses still unanswered. >> i think it could be close. >> it's a critical moment in the impeachment trial of donald trump.
good wednesday morning, for anybody that has lost track of our days of the week this month, i'm chuck todd welcome to msnbc's special coverage of the impeachment trial of donald john trump. today we have a cliff-hanger in the senate. this morning it appears that no one, including majority leader mitch mcconnell, is unclear which way the vote on witnesses is going to go. that was clear last night when they came up short of the votes needed to block witness testimony. republicans say they are confident they'll ultimately succeed but they needed to buy time and it's no sure thing. >> the witness vote i think could be close. >> get the witnesses in. i want to hear them say we need witnesses. >> i don't think we need more witnesses. >> republican colleagues are really searching their souls, i know of a couple who are very
close to saying they want witnesses. >> without a question, a vote either way will make some people happy and make other people not so happy. >> the uncertainty over witnesses is the backdrop for the new phase of the president's trial which gets under way in a few hours, it features 16 hours of q&a split through two days. many have already submitted the questions. they'll be read by chief justice, and answered by the house managers or the president's defense team. they have to be directed to one or the other. it -- expect the white house team to argue witnesses are unnecessary and won't change the outcome. leadership on both sides in the senate will be working behind the scenes to try to sway the handful of undecided senators. one thing to keep in mind, republicans feel like they've
weathered the storm from the additional details in bolton's book, but the dynamic could change if more revelations come out during the q&a. we have our nbc and msnbc reporters spread out in iowa and joining me here, jay johnson, shana thomas, ari melber, and peggy nunnan. let me get to our reporters, let's start with garrett haake on capitol hill. a night of sleep, has the count changed? >> reporter: it doesn't seem to have. this is going to come down to the wire here. if you're counting votes here, republicans feel there are two solid republican votes for witnesses, mitt romney has been clear from the beginning he wants to hear from john bolton and susan collins has been leaning that way. in the toss up category is lisa
purr cow s murkows murkowski. and then there's the missing fourth vote. there could be five or six other republican senators potentially in play here, everyone from lam lamar alexander to jerry moran to rob portman, floating out here who have not come down one way or the other. no one wants to be the 51st vote. that's where we're stuck. if it looked like 53 votes i think we'd lean more that direction. if it looked like there wouldn't be 50 we'd shut this down. but this is a rare jump ball in the u.s. senate. >> the questions have been submitted to schumer and mcconnell. so one would assume they're sorting it out and that they want to have a strategy. schumer essentially told lester holt and i yesterday it is all about making the case for witnesses. i assume mcconnell has a
strategy here with his questions? >> republican senators are going to try to make this politically ba embarrassing. they're going to ask about adam schiff and the whistle-blower. and the democrats trying to move this case forward. i think realistically, the thing that will move this case one way or the other on the question of witnesses is probably not what happens on the floor. it's going to be what happened with the bolton book or lev parnas, or any outside players. the next 16 hours are as much a play for time on both sides to see what else comes out, than it is we'll find some new damaging piece of information just because senators are asking questions on the floor. >> you brought up lev parnas. we learned yesterday his lawyer got a ticket to watch, he's going to watch the proceedings and so did lev parnas but he needed permission since he wears
an ankle bracelet. is he there? >> reporter: i have not seen him yet. our understanding is that will happen later in the day. what a time to be alive, chuck, we have all kinds of interesting characters coming down here. >> it's like a weird tourist stop for some folks. let's move to hallie jackson at the white house. the president has been active this morning, the campaign to go after john bolton has begun. i assume this is about sending a message to any other republican senators that want to cross the president? >> reporter: no kidding. what a time to be alive indeed, chuck. i cosign garrett's statement on that. this is a guy the president hired, had him in his inner circle, even with factions inside the west wing that had been sniping at bolton, concerned he was not the right choice to sit alongside, next to the president like in the shots you're seeing now. you and i talked a couple days ago when the bolton book dropped
about this effort to discredit him. you're seeing it for example from senator rand paul, calling him disgruntled. that's how people are trying to paint him, including the president and the president's personal attorney, rudy giuliani calling bolton a back stabber. the president questioning his former national security advisor asking why he didn't say anything earlier. i think this is the direction you're going to see things head over the course of the next 24, 48 hours. with the senate q&a, and the reporting i've been doing on that, i'm not sure it's not going to make a difference in some respects as it relates to the witness vote only because i heard from sources about how there will be questions about bolton from democrats and from republicans that's the expectation according to sources close to the president's legal
defense team. and part of that is they want to make sure that republicans in particular are hearing the answers they want to hear about john bolton and could that alleviate some of the concerns or give some of the republicans cover, that seems to be the question, chuck. >> we'll watch on that. let me bring the panel in. ari, today the best argument you think basically adam schiff and his team can make during this question period about why they need bolton and the best argument pat cipollone and jay sekulow can make to say you don't need this? >> i think you'll see the house managers take any question about witnesses, as well as other questions that go in other directions and turn it to you don't have to make up your mind but if you want a trial at all, wouldn't you want the person in the room, who was a trump person and a conservative person and a bush person, and twist it into there? i think what you're going to hear potentially from the trump
side is, this is way more complicated than it looks. you're being sold a book of goods about you can get your one perfect witness, get in, move on, it'll be fair, let you look fair, and no, there's going to be executive privilege debates, they're going to want more than one, it's never enough. steve bannon for all his problems with the white house, often channels the trumpian id. he says it's never enough for them anyway, why give them anything? i'm not saying that's true, but there will be a legal version of that on the floor. >> peggy, your column last week seemed to impact a handful of senators, because they brought it up and with a handful of them i brought it up. if you're sitting here complaining that the house did its job in a bipartispartisan w repeat the same mistake? that seems to be the dilemma they're facing. >> sometimes as we said, you can
be generous to history and in doing so, you'll be being generous to yourself. >> right. >> i think there will be a certain stigma that attends the end of impeachment if the senate does not call more witnesses at this point. after all, i mean, i was just thinking last night, impeachment is among the gravest of political acts. this one, this historic one is based on the charges that have been brought against the president. the democrats look at those charges and say, he did it. the republicans have looked at those charges and said, he didn't do it. now someone from inside that white house, who worked with the president, says, according to reports, oh, guess what, he did it. wow, you couldn't have more important testimony. get that man on the record under oath. >> by the way, joe manchin,
democratic senator when asked by willie about if he hunter biden is a relevant witness, joe manchin believes, i think so, i really do. shana thomas, are democrats prepared for the fact if they want bolton, this is what it's going to be? i get the sense the senate democrats are fine with that, the biden campaign is not? >> the biden campaign does not want to bring hunter biden or joe biden into the senate bp but i think senator joe manchin is actually saying what you said, what everyone knows, is that you got to make a trade. >> of course. >> this is how politics works. this is about history and i get this, but it's also about politics. there's no good political reason for senator mitch mcconnell to not keep his party in line if he can't get something out of this. i would also say, i agree with ari that the house managers are going to play to this austere body of the senate. there's a lot of senators, republicans and democrats, who
have been there a long time and they want to keep up the idea the senate is a more holy place than the house of representatives where everyone is scrappy. i think there is a way, that's why you saw pat toomey in the screen grab you had before, because those men do believe in what this idea of the senate is. i don't know if the senate is that anymore. >> but they want to be it is. >> they do. they want to believe their jobs mean something. >> they have pride. >> you know who thinks the institutions matter still, our friend jay johnson. >> that makes me happy. >> you're a believer in the institution. can the senate rise up and pull this off? >> ever of course. i worked for the united states senate when i was a college intern, 1978 for daniel patrick moynihan. i don't believe republicans have weathered the storm on john bolton. i believe they're in an untenable position right now. the man script is sitting in the
office building across from the west wing. the book is going to hit bookshelves in march. he's going to be on a book tour, on tv stations, this is topic a. how can a senator look their constituents in the eye and say i did my job when they failed to call someone who's now out on the book tour circuit. >> you just made a political case for why you want to hear bolton now. >> exactly. >> don't give him 60 days of him touring the country with brand new information. make it seem like old news. >> you failed to take advantage of while the trial was ongoing. that's an untenable position in my view. politically i don't think that works. people understand a trial should mean witnesses. if you watch crime shows, you know a trial involves witnesses and they knew he was there, he had written a book, they had the manuscript and they failed to call him. it's untenable. >> i'm going to play a montage
of republican attacks on bolton, basically the president's support ers are now get bolton. take a look. >> i think john bolton is a disgrunt disgruntled, angry fired employee who stands to make millions of dollars with testimony. >> classic back stabber. so i feel i got a swamp character here. >> john bolton himself has been reduced to a tool for the radical dems in the deep state. >> somebody is trying to increase book sales. "the washington journal" said john bolton why don't you tell us what's on your mind. so you've thrown the country in the ditch here. >> is attacking john bolton the right idea here? to somehow get john bolton to somehow be on the reservation? i think it's a huge miscalculation. >> i think it's kournts intuitive and counter strategic. he's a proud man. he is, i think, in his 70s.
he's had a serious career of half a century. he's now being toyed with and smacked around. i -- let me cut to the chase. no one is more candid than a man who just lost his base. that man lost his base. i do expect candor from him. you know, they say they don't like aosat a times but they burn heretics. >> i was -- >> were you going to say that? >> no, i was going to say it differently. >> rap lyric. >> trying to debate peggy is a losing proposition. it's like debating walt whitman, i enter with that knowledge but i approach it differently. i agree with everything you said but both things are in play. the republicans have no credibility to attack someone who has been such a conservative republican leader for so long in
so many administrations. i agree with you. they are also on the way saying a true thing in addition, i wonder how americans will hear it. john bolton has determined he doesn't think this is classified, endangers national security, he's holding it back to monetize it. and i think people are sick and tired of people in washington saying i have a story, if i can make millions of dollars on it i'm going to hold it back. he could speak right now. >> totally fair point. i have to tell you, totally fair point. >> i think he realized he can't hold it back, which is why he said i'll testify in subpoena. >> i think he's sensitive to this, which is why he put himself out there saying please subpoena me. >> i hate to ground check a television show here on the weekend on sundays. mr. bolton can go on "meet the press" on sunday, or any other show, he can go on "meet the press" and talk to you about it
and still have a lucrative book. >> full hour, i would have to take a couple commercial breaks but he can have the full hour. >> he has a rolodex, this is something we've seen with john bolton since he left the white house. he can call peter baker of the "new york times." he is fine with talking and putting out his point of view. >> except i think he's sensitive it's not a good idea to do it the first time through the press. that's in some ways not the best avenue. >> except the manuscript got to the press. >> it did. >> i think he's thinking of these things we said and he wants to be credible. >> if the government lanes close, we know in american life, it's a good thing for the first amendment, the press. and he's not exercising it yes. >> it is. ari you have to go and get ready for your third show in a couple hours. the rest of you are staying with me. coming up we're five days from
iowa and the candidates are making a final push. one of the senators did an overnight trip there. could the q&a session today actually change things up? a man who has a stake in both the questions and iowa, democratic senator and presidential candidate michael bennet joins me next when our coverage of the impeachment trial of donald trump continues. trial of donald trump continues. tender wild-caught lobster, dig in to butter-poached, fire-roasted and shrimp & lobster linguini. see? dreams do come true. or if you like a taste of new england without leaving home, try lobster, sautéed with crab, jumbo shrimp and more, or maybe you'd like to experience the ultimate surf and the ultimate turf... with so many lobster dishes, there's something for every lobster fan so hurry in and let's lobsterfest. or get pick up or delivery at redlobster.com introducing ore-ida potato pay. where ore-ida golden crinkles are your crispy currency to pay for bites of this...
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special coverage of the impeachment trial of president donald trump. soon we will hear from senators but not out loud but through questions they write to the chief justice to ask the house managers or the president's legal team. joining me is michael bennet. welcome back, sir. >> thank you, chuck. good to be with you. >> what is the -- what is your philosophy on how you want to ask questions and what are a couple of the most pointed that you'd like to see answered? >> well, i think we want to focus, as you said earlier, on the need for witnesses. but i also think we need to focus the country's attention on the compelling case that the house managers have made and basically a lack of a defense, other than simply denial, that the trump lawyers have made. you know, yesterday they kept
asking a rhetorical question out loud, which is is this the basis for an impeachment, some article in a newspaper quoting john bolton and the obvious answer to that is this is the reason we need witnesses and i think we can expose that with these questions. >> were you moved at all by the president's legal team making the case that this is an election year. we're very close to the election and the voters should have some say? you're running yourself, i'm sure you're sensitive to the fact this is an election year. should that be a factor here in making this decision about whether you are taking this decision away from the voters? . >> i think that everybody who's an elected official, in particular, should be sensitive to that question. it's a -- this should not be something that anybody takes lightly. but i don't think it's being taken lightly here. at least not by the people that are trying to get more testimony, more evidence in
front of the american people. but on the other hand, i'd say this, chuck, i think that if we allow this kind of conduct to go without any effort to get to the bottom of it, we're going to find ourselves in a place that every future president can deny questions asked of them by congress and we will lose oversight. so my view is that if anybody's got any respect for the institution which we serve, we should be using this as an opportunity to get witnesses and to establish a standard of conduct we want out of the president of the united states. those are important equities here, too. >> your colleague on the democratic side, joe manchin believes that hunter biden at this point is a relevant witness. this is a political proceeding. you may disagree on some things about whether this would be a relevant witness if this were a -- part of the judiciary
branch, this is not. it's a political proceeding. if you want bolton it probably comes at the price of hunter biden. are you okay with that? >> you know, here's the way i look at that, chuck. i would rather have relevant witnesses. i don't see how hunter biden has anything relevant to share here about what president trump's motivations were when he tried to extort the leader of ukraine. but it doesn't matter what i think. i think the democrats ought to have a list of witnesses we want, the republicans can put together a list of witnesses they want. i don't even want to be constrained to just one and one or two and two. i think we should have multiple witnesses here to get to the bottom of this. this is not -- it is political. but this is not, in the end, the senators' democracy or the president's democracy, this is the american people's democracy. and they deserve to know what misconduct their president has been involved with, or if he hasn't been involved in misconduct. i think the politics of this are going to be very difficult for
people who had the only responsibility out of 330 million americans, there are 100 people with the responsibility to decide whether there ought to be more evidence here. 75% of the american people are saying, we need more witnesses, we need more evidence. i wouldn't want to cast a vote against that 75%. >> you and your fellow colorado senator, cory gardner, have certainly in a public way, at least give the perception that you guys get along. at times you might work together. so i'm curious, what kind of -- are you having conversations about this trial? are you at all trying to be coloradoans first before being democrats and republicans on this? >> we do have a good relationship and we do work together. we have not spoken about this. and my door is always open. but we've not talked about this. >> is this something it's an election year for him too and
it's at this point since you have a close friend running against him, that becomes a nonstarter? >> i think that's it, chuck. thank you. >> okay. sometimes you just say the quiet part out loud, i guess. i apologize for that. let me ask one more question about your presidential campaign. it does feel as if whatever you -- that whatever the president's intentions were about biden, it is -- it has been the wet blanket over this entire campaign. up or down, whatever you think of biden, positive or negative. is that fair to say this is just -- when you look back on this, are you going to say the impeachment, the ukraine situation, it just made it impossible to break through? >> i don't know. . with eel have to see what happens in the end. i've been working really hard in new hampshire, i've spent more time there than any other candidate. we're getting momentum, we've had good endorsements recently.
so we'll have to see what happens there. i'm going to stay in until we see what that vote looks like, i've made that commitment. anyone who wants to come to new hampshire and knock on doors we'd love to have you there. >> michael bennet from colorado, stuck right now not able to campaign but on jury duty. >> thank you, sir. up next, there are a lot of questions about today's questions. and next we'll get answer from someone who asked them before and someone who answered them when our coverage of the impeachment trial of donald trump continues. erage of the impeachment trial of donald trump continues. [ applause ] thank you. it's an honor to tell you that liberty mutual customizes your car insurance so you only pay for what you need. i love you! only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪
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in light of the confession of manager hutchinson that judge wright's order had no bearing on the intensity of the job search, can you comment on the balance of his claim on the previous question? >> chief justice, could i object to the form of the question? that was not proper characterizing to what i just stated. >> i don't think the -- i'm not sure whether the -- can the managers object to a question? >> i withdraw my objection. >> that was a rare moment of bipartisan humor during the q&a
portion of bill clinton's trial. the chief justice misreading the question. joining me is the guy who objected, now governor of arkansas, asa hutchinson and i have someone who asked questions, senator byron dorgon. i want to start with you, we want to give viewers insight about what to expect. what did you feel like was accomplished doing the q&a portion of the clinton trial? >> well, you're able to rebut what the other side has hit you with and make some points with the jury. and so, the questions will all be designed to elicit a response or a weak point to be addressed in the case. obviously the president's lawyers have to address the issue of witnesses very importantly on the managers'
side, they have to address profess professor allan dershowitz's arguments that there was no crime alleged and you cannot remove a president when there was not a crime alleged. this is something the house managers have to address and i'm sure they will today. >> senator, let me start with you, you can ask a pointed question but if you don't like the answer, how do you follow-up? how did that work in '99 senator? >> there isn't much follow up to it. the question period here is slow and cumbersome. you get a preprinted card, the card says, mr. chief justice senator blank from the state of blank wishes to ask the following question and then you write out a question. this is like visiting through a translator, it's slow and
difficult -- >> you're not selling it well. >> what happens is you ask a question, and it may well be whoever you directed the question to decides that's not the question i want to answer, they can answer what they want to answer. i don't think this is the most interesting part of the trial because i think each side plays to its base. >> governor, how frustrating would it be for you sitting there when you wanted to rebut something that perhaps the other side said but you can't. you have to almost wait until the next time you're addressed? how did you handle that back in '99? >> it is cumbersome, the senator is right. but i also think the way this trial has shaped up, this could be very, very interesting and critical to how some senators decide the issue of witnesses. so it's a very important time. i think you will see the chief justice could insert himself at this juncture of the trial -- >> how? >> -- more. well, for example, a question is asked to the house managers, he might decide to give the other
side an opportunity to spontaneously respond to it or vice versa. >> that's at his discretion? >> i think that he -- chief justice could assert. it's not defined in the rules. so i think there can be that sense of fairness. that's why the chief justice is there, to make sure there's a fair proceeding. but if it's not that, then obviously the next question, you know, the manager or the president's lawyer is going to say what needs to be said to rebut the other side. i think there'll be a lot of give and take today. ordinarily this will probably be shorter than the 16 hours allowed, but i think they will, particularly the house manager side, drag this out and try to utilize all the time. >> senator dorgan, it's our understanding that chuck schumer got all the questions submitted to him on the democratic side and mitch mcconnell on the republican side. if you want to follow-up, feel
like getting another point, does it take two or three questions? how do you communicate that to schumer when you can't really talk? >> no senator is allowed to speak at this point. even though it's a question period, senators are not uttering anything audible. i think what is happening is senators on both sides are working together to try to submit questions they think will be instruckive. but, you know, all during this process the question will be what do you do at the end of it in terms of those who have information that has not yet been heard. let me say with respect to the chief justice, frankly i think he's going to try to stay out what he considers harm's way. i don't think he's going to want to involve himself in this trial to the extent it becomes a controversy. >> well, i -- i have to say, governor hutchinson you're saying this is going to be fantastic television today we're all going to watch, senator
dorgan, you're basically saying don't get your hopes up. >> it's going to be -- there could be some instructive things here but i think it's playing out a playbook here and at the end of the day everyone is going to wonder what happens on friday with respect to witnesses. >> governor you think this will be better than we think? >> i think it will be instructive. i think you have a number of senators that are very much undecided on exactly the role of witnesses in this case. i think they're balancing this is a case that needs to be dismissed, the american public wants it to go away but it has to be done in a fair way and they're balancing that. i think dershowitz's question has to be answered, the question of witnesses will be answered today. i think it'll be good tv. >> appreciate you both being on together and giving us a history lesson from 20 years ago. up next we are five days away from the iowa caucuses.
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it was not what i planned, but it's what i'm asking you to do. >> welcome back, with yesterday's impeachment arguments wrapping up early, one of the candidates running for president decided to use that time, candidate amy klobuchar jumped on a plane, got an event in last night in iowa, the only senator who decided to pull that off with five days to go until the iowa caucuses. and our cone katie tur was at the event and then some. so who knew that in the middle of an impeachment trial you might see a presidential candidate? >> reporter: you know, the senators had been saying that they want to try to make it out whenever there is a break. and yesterday they ended quite early. so i was wondering who we would see. we did not end up seeing warren or sanders i would assume partially because they have ground games in place here but klobuchar is somebody who stands to gain a lot having face time. it took her longer to get her
ground game going here because she didn't have the money in her bank as the other candidates did. so the face time is important. she showed up to counsel bluffs around 7:00, four hours notice, backed a bar with around 150 people. i would say there wasn't even standing room, there was barely breathing room in that bar. she talked about impeachment, chuck, which is what i'm hearing nobody wants to hear about impeachment but this crowd did and they were hanging on every word. i will say when people were leaving i got a few people that told me that they are more seriously considering her after seeing her in person. she had an energy in there that i don't know comes off on the ads or certainly not the tele-town halls. and there are people who said they were convinced after walking into that room. i did have a chance to catch up with her a little bit before the event and i asked her about not
just impeachment and if they call witnesses and she can't be here on caucus day and potentially not in new hampshire in the leadup before their primary vote in a week and a half from now. here's what she said. >> i have a constitutional duty. i have a job. you know, i don't have the ability to say, let's turn off the tv or go flip the channel and watch cartoons. i don't have that ability, i have a job to do. >> sounds like a swipe at pete buttigieg. >> you have to understand, it may not be pretty but you want a president willing to take on the tough issues and stand up for the constitution and that's what i do. >> reporter: that was a little swipe at pete buttigieg who has been saying at his events that impeachment is so exhausting for people that they want to shutoff the tv and watch cartoons. she doesn't like hearing that because that is the job she does. >> i remember hearing it from him the other day and thought, for someone who's usually good at picking his words, i thought
that wasn't the best. i didn't know that was his best moment there. i think it's why it earned that swipe from amy klobuchar. katie tur, snowing, that's what you should have when the caucuses are around the corner. i hope you enjoy it. >> i probably should have a hat as well. i'm a mother now, i should know better. >> yes, you should know better. we'll remind you of that. get a hat for the next time we see you. up next what senator susan collins just said about witnesses when our special live coverage of the impeachment trial of donald john trump continues. e impeachment trial of donald john trump continues. r risk of stroke due to afib not caused by a heart valve problem. so if there's a better treatment than warfarin, i'll go for that. eliquis. eliquis is proven to reduce stroke risk better than warfarin. plus has significantly less major bleeding than warfarin. eliquis is fda-approved and has both. what's next? sharing my roots. don't stop taking eliquis unless your doctor tells you to, as stopping increases your risk of having a stroke.
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it was important that we hear both sides present their cases. because otherwise, we wouldn't know who we might need, what gaps remain. and it is also important that there be fairness that each side be able to select a witness or two. >> as definitive as she's gotten yet. that was susan collins earlier today, back with me jeh johnson, peggy noonan and senior fbi official chuck rosenberg there. susan collins making it pretty
clear where she stands. chuck, while -- i want to start the question with you and use your legal mind here. which is this. so bolton -- if this witness swap happens and we're a long way before friday and that witness vote and the president invokes executive privilege, i have to say i have been persuaded with my lack of law school education, but it an pyres that the -- appears that the federal judiciary branch has no role whatsoever in adjudicating executive privilege on a senate trial. where do we go? >> just because the federal judiciary may decide it shouldn't decide the question doesn't mean the president won't seek to invoke the jurisdiction so that could take time. >> but can't we quickly say, the federal judiciary has no jurisdiction in an impeachment trial which the constitution says sole -- the word sole. >> right. the senate has the sole authority to try cases of
impeachment. but the president may be take a position that this not an impeachment question. this is an executive privilege question and the right place to answer that is in the federal courts so you have different places that the question may be asked and therefore different answers you may get as a result. if the president's tactic is merely to delay, to run this thing out then i imagine they might go to federal court. may not succeed which is your point. but there may be another goal. >> the interviews with the witnesses we would not see them. they would most certainly be behind closed doors? >> it defends. if clinton is a precedent, no, we won't see them. then they can vote on if you see the whole tape or parts of it but they can put it to the vote basically. >> well, that -- yeah. >> we're not going to see john bolton on the floor of the senate. >> peggy noonan, why does mitt romney get attacked for saying he wants witnesses but susan
collins doesn't? >> i think when mitt romney came into the senate a year ago he came in feeling have been the nominee of his party for president, he came in feeling like i'm a big dog. and he said some things, he declared where he was going to be. and i think his fellow senators, fellow republican senators, looked at him and thought, really, i'm a big dog. you're not a bigger dog than me, buddy. i think there has been that tension between him and the rest of the republican caucus or conference ever since. can i just jump in here and say, man, at this point in this drama, president trump would be so unwise to go down the executive privilege path. if it turns out we have witnesses it will be because members of his own party said we have to do. this. >> he's thumbing his nose at his
own party. >> it would be unwise and unjudicious and a losing hand. he will say, i'll be generous like ronald reagan with iran/contra. i won't put executive privilege, let everybody speak and then let it get really messy. that's the play. >> i do think, shauna, that susan collins now it's solid she's a vote. >> i think so. because she has the memes around her as well. she has a hard race. >> it's hard to imagine that lisa murkowski doesn't vote with her at this point. >> and also lisa murkowski has a much more independent streak than collins does. it's been played out over elections and everything else. >> you're krowski drop the mic. >> those are always the three, mitt romney we don't always talk about with those two, but those are the people we have been talking about. find me the fourth that fall in line behind mitch mcconnell. >> you have pat toomey talking
about one for one. joe manchin talking about yeah, hunter biden is relevant. do you think in general the bidens have handled this correctly? >> well, last week in this chair, i threw out the notion that joe biden should say i'll show up in the senate floor if bollton and mulvaney show up. i think the equation has changed now because of the revelation about the manuscript and i believe bolton really does want to testify, provided he's made to testify. i don't think bolton wants to wait for the commercial opportunity to be the moment when he tells this story i think he realizes he's got -- he's got to put -- got to make an effort to come forward here. and so i think that's where it lies right now. >> also, what if they call witnesses on monday? >> we have been figuring that out. then we'll miss the new hampshire primary, in caucuses.
it's a good way to start our morning. so thank you all. coming up, one of the president's impeachment attorneys robert ray will be here when ari melber picks up the special impeachment coverage of president donald john trump. e of president donald john trump how well does your financial advisor know you? if they saw you on the street would your advisor recognize you? at ameriprise, we see you as more than a client. that's why our advisors care about what's important to you. they offer personalized advice to help you prepare for what's expected and even what's not. giving you the freedom to live financially confident.
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good morning, everyone. we are gathered, i'm ari melber, anchoring the special coverage as it continues of course. looking at president trump's impeachment trial. on this day, the proceedings enter a new phase. there's no doubt about that. oral arguments are over from those owning arguments by both sides and we enter two critical days. let me tell you exactly what's going to happen before we bring in this expert panel. all 100 senators will be driving things in writing, submitting the written questions to both the house managers and the president's team. but the bigger question looming over those questions is whether there will be witnesses. mitch mcconnell making waves by telling his own caucus and quickly thus telling the world he doesn't have the votes right now. the president's lawyer meanwhile has argued that the accusations levelled by the witness everyone is talking about, former national security adviser bolton remain quote irrelevant to this case.
>> the trial of the leader of the free world and the duly elected president of the united states. it is not a game of leaks and unsourced manuscripts. unpublished manuscript that may be some reporters have an idea of maybe what it says. i mean, that's what the evidence -- if you want to call that evidence, i don't know what you'd call that. i'd call it inadmissible, but that's what it is. the bar for impeachment cannot be set this low. >> jay sekulow and robert ray who you see on the screen are two of the lawyers part of the key closing case on behalf of the president. you have to reckon with what they're arguing, what they're saying to the senators whether you agree it or not. that's how trials work and i'm thrilled to tell you robert ray is making his first msnbc appearance this hour. all of that later. also we'll discuss the possibilities of what happens
when the senate does reconvene as early as the end of this week to vote on whether if there are witnesses and if there are witness votes, numero uno john bolton expected to be a big part of that that can come on friday. the big bid to block this from happening has been going on behind closed doors on capitol hill. republicans whipping votes, mitch mcconnell telling the world he doesn't have them. behind the scenes we're told there are party leaders who say this is all part of mitch mcconnell putting the word out to consolidate and ultimately get to 51. we have quite the panel of all-stars joining us. msnbc analyst and contributors, jelani cobb, a writer for the new yorker. maya wiley, former federal prosecutor, chuck rosenberg, michael steele who used to run the republican national committee in a different era. you wouldn't run it right now, i don't think.
>> no. >> a little context. joining our coverage as well is kasie hunt of course host of kasie d.c. i invite you to listen in as we begin the analysis and then we'll go to some of your reporting because michael steele, this is what you know all about. >> yeah. >> this is taking a party which from afar everyone says, well, that party has one view, they disagree on everything. they want to block witnesses. then all of a sudden last night, it's not so simple. >> yes. but then no. yes, it's not so simple because you have three senators who have now come out and stated or started to state their intentions that they want to see more witnesses, but here's the part not so much that. and that is at the end of the day there will be no more witnesses added to this conversation. this is pretty much over. i mean, i think we need to wrap our heads around and this think about the -- and think about the
longer game to come. >> do you have any sources on that or a strong feeling? >> a combination of two. and being in the room and knowing how mitch mcconnell plays his game, he doesn't mind this little float out there where he goes, i don't know if i have all the votes yet. head fake. mcconnell knows every move he'll make before he makes it and the people in the room know when he's done making those moves it's over. there's no more okay, you get to go out and play your game the way you want to. so he'll get -- >> you're saying with the moves mitch mcconnell is telegraphing something in public but watching each of the senators and he's saying every move you know, every vote you take i'll be watching you. >> he knows there's not a fourth vote. you don't hear it. you don't have anyone making intimation that, well, this senator is possible.
you have got -- you've got the three. murkowski, collins and romney. the narrative on the street has already started. you can see it on twitter and in the room. where those three are now under fire. you have -- you know, people are talking about okay we're not going to fund their campaign, why is the rnc funding them, they're traitors. the question is once you get this thursday/friday scenario, how does the president set up his game man for his one-on-one on super bowl sunday with hannity? and then how does he go and position the argument he's going to make to the country next week at the state of the union? >> so your thesis -- this is why i mentioned we'll do analysis and bring in the reporting but your thesis is the so-called street. you're talking about the republican street and the maga street? >> yeah, maga street, babe. >> this is a pressure tactic on the street? >> yeah. >> all right. so kasie hunt, you heard a
former head of the republican party lay that out. what's your view? >> yeah, so i'm standing here -- this is our street, the marble hallways. so on the street here in the capital in the marble hallways i -- our reporting is not as far along as michael steele's definitive analysis, but i would say that the broad picture being painted matches with what we're reporting up here. which is, you know, mcconnell's comments were reported last night, read as breathlessly, he doesn't have the witnesses, but there was a point in time where there was very real nervousness on the part of the white house and inside the republican conference about where things stood. there was a legitimate panic style reaction to that "new york times" story and it did scramble the calculus up here. but by the time that meeting was under way, that had started to
subside and calm down a little bit. they had some time to digest it and this, by the way, is a classic mitch mcconnell strategy. he's trying to put as much time between that revelation and the actual vote on witnesses as is realistic to give him time to get people in line. that message that he sent about, you know, not actually knowing that they have 51 votes, you know, it was a little bit of a warning to the people that are still undecided. we know that there are -- there is still a group of undecided republican senators but the reality is while we have one, two, three votes for this, nobody wants to be the fourth one than hangs mitch mcconnell out to dry. and the challenge there is, okay, if you guys are going to want to call witnesses you have to get together, you have to figure it out. give me the group that's going to push forward with this and so fourth that fourth witness just simply hasn't surfaced. >> right. >> one dynamic that i think is
important here, ari, there are a bunch of vulnerable republicans up for re-election in 2020. you know their names very well. martha mcsally, thom tillis, others. none of them are at the point where they want this trial to drag on. it's a no win situation for them. and that ultimately and michael steele, back me up here, mitch mcconnell wants most of all to remain majority leader, not minority leader come next year. >> tah-dah. that's exactly that -- that is the ultimately end game. if you're going to play a long ball with mcconnell, come january of next year, am i still the majority leader in the senate and the answer for him is always yes. so every move and calculation made up to that point is towards that end game. white house notwithstanding, the white house will not come between him and that opportunity. >> yeah. this has been very elucidating to hear, even though there's further up predictable parts. kasie, you know what -- i was going to say -- oh, she's gone.
>> no, i'm here. they were letting me go. >> i know you're working a source. i was going to say thank you. >> thank you. >> she's running right back out to talk to people. that's what we have on the hill or or as michael steele put it on the street. >> on the street. >> this is a point that often comes up on lower -- on the big senate votes which is being the tiebreaking vote or the vote that changes everything, the fourth vote as kasie said the hardest to find. being fourth is the loneliest number if the maga street is going to come down on you for that. >> sure. but i think there's a kind of parallel to this. if you remember the democratic side of this conversation, when impeachment first came up, and nancy pelosi wanted no parts of it to so long. one of the reasons she didn't want that was that there were vulnerable democrats or democrats that were in swing districts. she didn't want to force them to take a vote on that. and then we see ukraine, she
says okay, we have reached a point we can't avoid this and people have jumped on board. there's a kind of flipped version of that. if you're going to say this, then this is going to -- we're going to have proceedings in which there are no witnesses. when 75% of the public wants there to be witnesses that's really hanging people out the die. i think the conflict that people are look at is between mitch mcconnell's fealty to donald trump and his own personal desire to remain majority leader. >> yeah, we have heard the argument, you know, romney, collins, the others, they are in public going beyond what they need to do to just protect their flank, particularly romney. he's effectively probably whipping against mcconnell which is a reminder that the things are not as neat and tidy as they may appear. take a listen to them.
we got that? we playing that? >> i'd like to hear from john bolton and i think the idea that's been expressed in the media about having each side being able to choose a witness or maybe more than one witness on a paired basis has some merit. >> there have been a lot of discussions but i have no idea how the votes are going to fall. it's also very important that there be fairness. that each side be able to select a witness or two. >> so what i hear in that is really their effort to thread the needle on the 75% of americans who say, wait, trial? witnesses. and the fact that the republicans are trying to protect donald trump and so the idea of making clear that they will be supportive of bolton and supportive of something that requires other witnesses meaning
witnesses that maybe donald trump wants to see like joe biden is something they're hanging out there as a way of threading that needle. the problem with this i think and i just want to shout out again senator claire mccaskill for saying this, if they want joe biden they have 53 votes to vote for joe biden. >> yeah. >> there's -- the idea this is a negotiated deal is really just a political -- it makes the point. >> that goes to chuck -- joe manchin, more conservative democrat out today was saying well he wants witnesses. he's joining the democrats on that but he's already said he's own to the hunter bider quote swap which is not a real thing, but could happen. not as a swap but you can call any number of witnesses. what struck me about what senator manchin said, he says he views hunter biden as a relevant witness. that strikes me as legally wrong. if as a political matter you say i will sign on to a compromise
to look reasonable in west virginia you can say that. hunter biden does not become relevant to the actual two articles because he doesn't know anything about the alleged obstruction of congress or the investigation to investigate him. >> relevance to maya and me has a specific meaning. there's a legal relevance standard. this is not that. i completely agree with you. there's no way to construe hunter biden as legally relevant. might be politically relevant. so i'm not sure that senator manchin is thinking of relevance the way we do. federal rule of evidence 403. i think he's thinking that hunter biden can help make a political point, one way or the other. >> one more thing to get in and michael steele this was a big deal. you know, we get so lost in all of these little details we forget the big picture. i'm talking about the chocolate
milk. i think we have a sketch of mitt romney violating senate rules, mr. chairman. holding what -- you can see it labeled in a very nice -- chocolate milk with the arrow. he's holding a bottle of chocolate milk. he's in the chamber. he broke the rules. >> but to be fair, the rule just says milk. it does not specify that it has to be -- >> oh, the antidiscrimination argument from michael steele enters the conversation. >> i'm just -- >> you can't segregate the milk. >> i'm just saying. the rule on its face, prima fascia says milk. >> i thought we were just talking about milk. now i feel like we're talking about something else. >> i mean, you could have pastries that include milk, baked with milk. any milk by-product. ice cream is a possibility. >> that's why we have -- >> it will be on your desk and it will milk. i've got milk. >> you've got milk. >> michael steele gets the first word, the last word.
the whole panel will be back later on in the hour. also we'll begin the pose the questions to both sides, the trump team trying to get the acquittal without the witness. we have the former prosecutor robert ray here live next. when you shop with wayfair, you spend less and get way more. so you can bring your vision to life and save in more ways than one. for small prices, you can build big dreams, spend less, get way more. shop everything home at wayfair.com
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attempting to spur action by a foreign government in coordinating law enforcement efforts with our government to have done so through proper channels. while the president certainly enjoys the power to do otherwise, there is consequence to that action as we have now witnessed. after all, that is why we are all here. >> attorney robert ray, you see right there on the floor of the united states senate making the case defending president trump before this impeachment trial. and mr. ray, fresh off those arguments joins us right now. they for being here. >> nice to be here. >> you go down there, big case, big argument, were you nervous? >> of course. it's a big case. when to you ever get to argue before what is essentially is a jury of a hundred and the united states senators at that. so -- >> what did you see looking out at them? because the viewers can't,
c-span, the senate won't give us the audience. what were you seeing when you looked out at them? >> every once in a while they mingle in and out of the room but i saw a hundred senators paying attention that to what you're doing. >> attentive across both parties? >> correct. it's a relatively small room. i don't think people see that necessarily from tv and, you know, at the podium with regard to the senators that are in the front desk you can almost reach across and shake their hand. >> now, mitch mcconnell is saying as of last night they don't have the votes to block witnesses. your team was arguing there's been enough -- they should block witnesses. >> i think the key word was yet. >> let me ask you straight up, does that mean so far your side has come up short on that? >> look, you don't know.
if anybody needs a historical reference with how things played out in the senate during the clinton impeachment. you don't really know on something as important as that until actually the votes are cast. >> do you think people get out ahead of that on both sides? >> probably. but you know for me, i'm still part of the trial team. a case is still on trial. i have to be very careful. >> i understand. >> that's the senate's prerogative. >> let's look at the case. >> you know, just so that it's clear, it's entirely unto them. >> yes. >> we submit arguments on both sides about what we think the state of play is and the case and whether or not witnesses really are necessary. but ultimately, it's their call to make a judgment about whether or not they think it's appropriate. from your last segment, i mean, you and i are lawyers. we know the legal issues and those are certainly relevant here. but, you know, as this thing gets closer to friday, it's the -- it becomes apparent to the american people this is principally a political process. >> i hear you on that.
let's look at you on the senate floor. >> no amount of witness testimony documents high fives, fist bumps, signing pens or otherwise are ever going to be sufficient to sustain this impeachment under the democrat's own standards. >> you say the evidence is not sufficient. let's look at some of it, right? >> sure. >> you have ambassador taylor and other employees of this administration saying, well, they are withholding assistance throughout the campaign and new bolton book said that the president demanded freezing the aid until the officials helped with the investigation into the bidens. is your core argument in this senate trial that is false or it doesn't matter if it were true, it's still okay? >> let me tell you, the president is entirely permitted to withhold assistance temporarily to see what the ukrainians do.
and i think at best that's the import of what even if you credit what is in a book that i haven't seen yet and don't know what it says what would potentially come from mr. bolton. and that is to say so long as aid is not conditioned with the ukrainians on that matter and that issue that there's nothing illegal about that. and nothing -- therefore impeachable about that. >> but if the aid is conditioned on getting the biden probe that's illegal? >> that's fundamentally what is a quid pro quo. but the part that makes that condition corrupt is that that would have been -- it would have been necessary for that to have been communicated directly to ukraine and they have denied that that happened. that there was no pressure. and again, to re-emphasize the point there's nothing unlawful or impermissible about the president temporarily withholding assistance to see what the ukrainians do. >> let's dig into this. because i can imagine some heads
are exploding what you're saying on the facts that are uncontested. so there is a more than one set of arguments, there are trump administration officials who say that the ukrainians not only knew but were asking about it. everyone has a public record, mr. starr who you replaced has a public record. here is you telling us what would be illegal. >> what's illegal is express expressly -- you know, conditioning it on that only one will be done in exchange for the other. >> only one in exchange for the other and the evidence i know you're familiar with it, it was played in this senate trial. donald trump was asked what do you want to do, temporarily holding up. the deal is what he wanted in return and here he was admitting his objective, his own words. let's see that. >> mr. president, what exactly did you hope that zelensky would do in this phone call? exactly. >> well, i would think if
they're honest about it they'd start a major investigation into the bidens. >> again, my point -- >> is that a corrupt goal? >> no, what's in the president's head and what he wanted which is the essence of what mr. bolton would testify to if called as a witness. that isn't reflective of a corrupt and illegal quid pro quo that would lead to bribery. as we have argued and has mr. dershowitz has argued and frankly the entire president's defense team, even you credit all that, that's not sufficient. >> it sounds like you're going farther than some of the other trump lawyers. you're saying it's fine to demand a probe of a domestic rival? >> look, i addressed that during the course of my remarks to the senate and i have said that many of the senators have or potentially will conclude that the call was less than perfect. that's not the issue. the issue is whether or not the
conduct is sufficient to warrant the president's removal from office. >> let me press you on this, robert. isn't this about the corruption of the goal? isn't this the question, he says i want you, foreign government, i want you to go after the rival that's a corrupt goal? >> what he would like to see as it was expressed in "the new york times" article about what donald trump wants only to the extent that as i said during my remarks the conversation would have had to have been significantly different. it would have had to have been something like, listen, here's the deal. you're not getting foreign aid unless i get what i want. now, that's another question, that never happened. and our position is that short of that, the conduct is not sufficient to constitute an abuse of power warranting the president's removal from office and my point is if you accept that proposition, no amount of witnesses or documents are ever going to change that. that's why witnesses are not
necessary. and i believe on a bipartisan basis that senators can unite around that proposition. >> you may be hitting something that some republican senators welcome. >> i hope so. >> you're raising the bar even if it's a potentially corrupt intent, even it's a demand to go after rivals or an interference, even if there wasn't an exchange in the quid pro quo bribery you're good? >> you've reconstructed that a bit. because the last part makes it corrupt, not the first part. okay, it is only corrupt if there's clear and unmistakable evidence that there was an improper bargain for exchange. what the president would like to see the ukrainians do is not illegal. and again i'll go back to the original premise. if if what the president was temporarily withhold aid to see what the ukrainians would do, even if it's something he'd like
done, as long as he doesn't condition it on one or the other it's not bribery, it's not sufficient to removal from office. >> this is an abuse of power charge. it sounds like you're make an argument that attempt is not fully an abuse of power. >> no. >> but if's unsuccessful does -- because you waited out the ukrainians. >> no, the intent is important as you suggest. and i acknowledge the proposition that obviously an -- you know, a not completed intent is not required under the law to constitute corruption. but this is not corruption because the president is entitled to withhold aid in order to see what the ukrainians do. and -- >> what if they do the bad thing? anyone listening -- see, you have to understand, someone is saying wait and see what they do. what if you announce the investigation of the bidens and you give them the money that's the alleged abuse.
>> that's why it's so uncertain and i guess to get back to your point, while acknowledging that could still be a problem, you have to understand also that your principal witnesses here which would be the ukrainians have said that no pressure was implied and the president said to ron johnson and to ambassador sondland there was no quid pro quo. >> but it's not dispositive. i think viewers are getting your view on that. but i want to play something else that was interesting that you said on the senate floor. so much happened so fast. unlike some of your other co-counsel, you went farther in what i would call the reasonable side of the argument which was to say some of this wasn't great. that doesn't mean you remove a president over it. which is something that the senators are wrestling with. let's talk about the channels used. we have heard so much about shadow foreign policy. >> it would have been better in attempting to spur action by a foreign government in coordinating law enforcement
efforts with our government to have done so through proper channels. while the president certainly enjoys the power to do otherwise, there is consequence to that action as we have now witnessed. after all, that is why we are all here. >> i could see that appealing to some senators. that's your whole job. they're your jurors. >> sure. >> were you referring then to the idea that rudy giuliani was an improper channel? is that why he was not on the public floor? >> that's the call to be made by the president's principal legal advisers and the president himself. all i can say, we're in the business in terms of getting the defendant which is the president of the united states safely through an impeachment trial. and the instruction wasn't to me personally but generally to his trial team. be honest and tell the truth. and in that regard, it's
important to acknowledge i think that, you know, look, you can have a reasonable dispute about whether or not you think it was an error in judgment to proceed during this course. i'm unconcerned about people who are saying isn't that inconsistent with the rest of the president's defense? look, i'm here to persuade people, even people who don't agree with me or us and part of that is to acknowledge what they may be concerned about and address it. and that was an opportunity for me to do so there. >> i thought that was striking. i mentioned something that looked reasonable. we have to get into something else. you mentioned honesty. >> yes. >> some of your co-counsel who went to the senate floor and said something that is historically false that disagrees with precedent. they claim that abuse of power which as you know as a former independent counsel and you replaced ken starr and he knows because he pursued it was an original article of impeachment against nixon and bill clinton. yet, we see this new found argument that the arguments for the benefit of the viewers let
me play that. then you get your time. here are several lawyers arguing along the lines. >> it would have inconceivable that the framers would have deployed a team as abuse of power to be weaponized as a tool of impeachment. >> impeachments should be evaluated in terms of offenses against established law. >> violation of law necessary to sustain impeachment as an abuse of power. >> why go before those senators who know better and have the president's lawyers and others went farther than you, mr. dershowitz, certainly the farthest, and tell them something that's historically false when we know abuse of power is impeachable. i want happened in the last -- it happened in the last two impeachment probes. >> because abuse of power i'm not sure you want to exclude that as being potentially impeachable when it has been done it hasn't fared well. it has not enjoyed bipartisan
support. >> what you just said is more accurate -- again, this is for the public record, this matters. in the middle of the trial what you said is more accurate than professor dershowitz. you said it can be impeachable. he said on behalf of the united states abuse of power is not impeachable which is false. >> let me say what i think is the -- hopefully the clearest and well stated proposition about what is and what isn't impeachmentable. well founded references to the constitution, the founders' intent and significantly historical practice are those that allege high crimes, things treason, bribery and things like that. okay? that also constitute an abuse of power and in the context of a presidential impeachment essentially are tantamount to the violation of the president's oath of office. >> you don't deny the house
judiciary committee did impeach president nixon for abuse of power? >> well, it's a little tricky because it was tethered to the first article of impeachment as i explained. >> i appreciate -- >> which alleged -- >> i appreciate what you're saying, but again, i can read from it. it's the article three against nixon was abuse of power as you say in addition to the other article. >> article two. the third was -- >> with clinton -- >> obstruction of congress. >> you have misuse and abuse of the high office. misuse and ken starr recommended the capstone of the article against impeachment against clinton. >> but that made never made its way to the senate trial. >> again, the fact that someone might be acquitted of murder does not distinguish the fact that murder is a potential offense. and professor dershowitz has been telling the nation you can't impeach for abuse of power and it seems you're acknowledging there's more to it. >> there's always more to it
because we have president ford's famous comment that essentially, you know impeachment is in the house of representatives. whatever a majority of the house says that it is. but he also recognized and i alluded to this as well during my remarks that in connection with presidential impeachments you have to be very careful because, you know, you're attempting to take out an entire branch of government and with regard to presidents it truly does have to be treason, bribery or something like that. my only point is that in the context of abuse of power you better be really sure and really clear about that. otherwise, what you have is a standardless impeachment. we're beyond what the house did. the point is for historical practice and also for what follows this impeachment, people need to understand that in order to be at that very high bar with a two-thirds necessary from the senate to remove a president from office, abuse of power in the context of what the house managers have done here does not
enjoy bipartisan support and it's the reason why we're here now talking about that. where everyone acknowledges that the president is not going to be removed from office and there's a reason for that. >> well, robert ray, you're in the middle of this trial. you came here after presenting on the senate floor. we wanted to press you on the issues and also give you time to make your case so i appreciate you coming on. >> always a pleasure. thank you very much, ari. >> we'll fit in a quick break and we have an impeachment juror, senator heinrich live next. an impeachment juror, senator heinrich live next do you have concerns about mild memory loss related to aging? prevagen is the number one pharmacist-recommended
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i'm joined now by democratic senator martin heinrich, thanks for joining me on a busy morning. >> you bet. >> i wanted to give you chance to weigh in and if you heard anything of the trump lawyer robert ray making this argument that ultimately even if in his view the president did ask to go after his rivals which is farther than other trump lawyers have said because they denied that fact, it's okay because it wasn't a formal condition. what do you think of that here or stated on the senate floor? >> i'm not a lawyer, but one of the things that mr. ray said that i agreed with is be honest and tell the truth and for the first half of this trial we heard from that team over and over again there's no quid pro quo. now they've completely changed that argument and they're saying maybe there was a quid pro quo. it doesn't matter.
that's a hugely different standard and it makes me want to ask a lot of questions and hear from some witnesses. >> what questions do you want to ask in this next phase? >> well, i would like to know whether the defense team that -- the team for the president was aware of this manuscript. they were telling us that there was no quid pro quo at a time when the white house already had a copy of this manuscript. was reviewing this manuscript. and knew that it had a first person witness saying, yes, of course, there was a quid pro quo. there was a this for that with a corrupt intent. >> yeah. that makes sense. you know there's been a ton of tea leaf reading about mitch mcconnell. i'm curious where you come down on it. you're closer to it than most of us. does he typically announce or let it be known when he does haven't the votes, do you view this at face value or an effort to press other republicans as
some of the analysts have suggested today? >> i view it as part of the strategy. usually everything that leader mcconnell says is designed to get to the outcome that's favorable to him so i'm sure this is part of his strategy to maximize pressure on a number of senators who are looking at this from a fresh perspective rather than as a member of his caucus. >> that makes sense to me your point is it's not just random information. it's information designed to get somewhere. do you think that an impeachment vote of this magnitude on how the witnesses and evidence is structured do you think it should be whipped in a political frame? maybe i sound overly idealistic or naive. >> no, the framers thought it would be a trial and certainly whipping votes is not part of a
trial. >> what do you expect to see in the next two days? >> you know, i haven't been through this process before. i think we'll learn some things probably not as much as we'd hope. the piece i'm interested in is when we get to the motions as to whether or not to have witnesses. we heard over and over and over again from the president's own attorneys that cross-examination is the greatest engine for the discovery of the truth. we ought to be able to cross-examine those people who were in the room when these things happened. i think that will be the moment that really determines the direction of this entire trial. >> that makes a lot of sense when you it put it like that. if one entertains the trump side argument that john bolton is either not credible or has such an ax to grind that he's not telling the truth, that could be an interesting avenue of questions and as you say that the avenue for that is cross-examination under oath. even if it's -- >> that's right. >> to the president's benefit. i know it's a busy time so thank
you for joining us. >> it's been my pleasure. thank you. >> thank you. sir. when we look at this key question which is all about the questions, what will they be asking and as the senators bear down on both sides, will this push back into the endless debate, seemingly endless although it may come to an end on friday, whether this will be witnesses. take a listen to something at play during president clinton's trial. >> this question is from senators hagel, abraham and hatch. white house counsel has indicated their opposition to calling witnesses asserting that calls witnesses would not shed light on the facts and would unnecessarily prolong the proceedings. but it is the responsibility of the senate to find the truth and if any senator's reasonsably believe that hearing witnesses would assist in finding the truth why shouldn't they be called?
>> mr. chief justice, me thinks thou doth protests too much. i don't know why, but the white house counsel don't want witnesses. they don't want -- what you normally have in a trial. >> there you have it, republicans asking and answering the question about including witnesses at trial. we turn to former u.s. senator russ feingold of washington. good to see you, sir. >> good to see you, ari. >> this may be the most arcane part of this process. we just showed a short clip. i don't know if i would call that a trailer for people, because i don't know the reading those things looks like something you'd tune into the whole bit of it but yet it's so important. how did it work when you were there? what about that moment on witnesses? >> well, the question process that you just showed was a very useful process. you know, senators were just sitting there and listening to the arguments by the house managers and the president's lawyers for a couple of weeks. when you get to the questions, you start getting a sense of
what the other senators are thinking. what they're asking. so you know i submitted a question about what the standard of proof should be. whether it should be beyond a reasonable doubt or a preponderance of evidence. then senator collins and i did the only bipartisan question which was about whether you had all -- can prove all of the elements of the crime such as intent. this is a good way to signal what you're thinking and then we had real debate and deliberation on the motion to dismiss. by the way i don't think they'll do that, on whether they have to have the motion to dismiss to pass. that's a critical element here. >> you said there were several days of private debate a vote on whether to make it public which failed. what happened in there and what purpose would that serve here? >> well, you know, if you have a jury you'd have deliberation.
and deliberation is in private so it seemed like a reasonable thing that senators would spend some time to listen to each other and spoke for ten minutes only the motion to dismiss and then when it was time to convict or not, the same thing happened. this was a very good part of the process. it is something that's necessary and i think mitch mcconnell is going to try to avoid it. so what you have here, ari, is not just a rush to judgment. this is a rush -- this is a rush to actually be part of the crime as far as i'm concerned. this is part of the cover-up. to not have real deliberation and a process in the senate and eliminate the deliberation that even occurred in 1999. >> well, you lay it out there and it's something for people to really consider. that's the serious stuff. on a slightly lighter note, as a former senator i did want to give you the chance to weigh in. do you have a view on senator romney taking the chocolate milk to the floor like that? >> well, first of all, i'm irritated that we didn't get to
take milk out there 20 years ago. if i had known i could take milk even chocolate milk out on the floor instead of water it would have made it a lot easier. so these guys are getting off easy, ari. >> well, you make a wisconsin point. can you bring the whole cheese head down to the senate floor? depending on the day and the topic, may be. >> might have been more problematic. >> thank you so much, senator feingold. lematic. >> thank you so much, senator feingold at leaf blowers. you should be mad your neighbor always wants to hang out. and you should be mad your smart fridge is unnecessarily complicated. make ice. making ice. but you're not mad because you have e*trade which isn't complicated. their tools make trading quicker and simpler so you can take on the markets with confidence. don't get mad get e*trade and start trading commission free today.
>> we're hours away from the next phase of this impeachment trial and we moments ago heard from robert ray saying the president in his view not only didn't do anything illegal but the entire level of remotor vehicle -- removing him from office has not been met. >> the president is entirely permitted to withhold assistance temporarily to see what the ukrainians do. and i think at best that's the import of, if if you credit what's in a book that i haven't seen yet and don't know what it says, what would potentially come from mr. bolton. that is to say, so long as aid is not conditioned with the ukrainians on that matter and that issue, that there's nothing illegal about that and nothing, therefore, impeachable about that. >> you'll notice it's a moving
of the goalpost that also responded to john bolton. it's the kind of the argument you make if you think you have to defend evidence of a quid pro quo. we'll be right back. quo. we'll be right back. an help yout slow turkey. along with support, chantix is proven to help you quit. with chantix you can keep smoking at first and ease into quitting. chantix reduces the urge 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. tell your doctor if you've had mental health problems. the most common side effect is nausea.
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going. he plans to attend the senate trial today. many have called for him as a potential witness, particularly after he broke his silence in an interview with rachel maddow. we have a lot more today as chris matthewsation ovthews tak continuing coverage of the trial of the impeachment of donald trump when we return. of donald trump when we return ♪ limu emu & doug and now for their service to the community, we present limu emu & doug with this key to the city. [ applause ]
good morning. i'm chris matthews, picking up msnbc's special coverage of the impeachment trial of president trump. now that both viesides have res their case, the senators will submit written questions when the trial gets under way in two hours. off the senate floor, republicans leadership is waging a major campaign behind closed doors, strongly urging republican members against calling witnesses this friday. that's when the decision is made. mitch mcconnell acknowledged privately he does not have the votes yesterday to block that effort yet. he said that yesterday and he said "yet." the situation is exciting and fluid. democrats need four republicans to add to their 47 to break ranks and chuck schumer told me last night he thinks it up to a dozen republicans, he said that many republicans are at least in
play. >> i think there are ten to 12 republicans who are in play, and these are ten to 12 people who have never said a negative word about witnesses and documents. so there's a real chance here to get more than four. >> this is exciting stuff. take a look at who arrived on capitol hill for the trial, at least to watch, lev parnas, the indicted associate of rudy giuliani. chuck schumer provided the tickets. obviously this is part of the gales here. they are games to some extent, even though the stakes are enormous. we're keeping an eye where president trump is about to sign into law a big trade deal with mexico and canada to replace nafta. joining me is maya wylie, chuck rosenberg, former u.s. attorney and senior fbi official michael steele, former rnc chair and
analyst par excellence. let me go to garrett haake. how are we doing on the numbers? >> reporter: the numbers appear to be in. they have three but it's hard to get to a fourth. a lot of these folks who we thought would be in play have been incredibly tight lived. sullivan wouldn't talk to a reporter today, jerry moran disappeared like a ghost, pat toomey said he's leaning against witnesses. the possible votes for witnesses appear to be evaporating here as republicans are whips against this. we still heard some hope from susan collins. here's what she had to say. >> there have been a lot of discussions, but i have no idea how the votes are going to fall. it's also very important that there be fairness, that each
side be able to select a witness or two. >> that last bit from collins is important if you think about what might be the majority leader mitch mcconnell's strategy here. we know he does not yet have the vote to lock down the question of witnesses. imagine him in a fighting retreat here. you want there to prevent being witnesses called. if you can't prevent that, you want to make sure there are witnesses the president wants called. you have these fall back positions that republican senators seem to be laying out here if they're not able to stop witnesses from being called. right now it seems like they have frozen the playing field. that's probably where we're at unless something else drops from bolton or another outside source between tonight and friday night probably when that vote occurs. >> thank you so, garrett. great reporting. i'll be waiting to hear everything you hear throughout the day. this is the story. i love politics. i think the lawyers have to step back for half an inch here
because this is sheer friggin' politics, sheer. michael, you're sitting in the leadership office. my gut told me the wind has changed in the last two days. you have a lousy debate performance, it seems to have a half life. and it just seems to fade after time so two weeks later it doesn't matter. >> exactly right. >> this time the book comes out, it's in a manuscript, it's in there by posterity written by bolton, he's writing for the ages. does mitch weather the storm? >> absolutely. the fact is the book is going to come out. that's going to be what it is. that's a long play. mcconnell is not playing long play. he's do the short term. what do i need to do between now and state of the union? >> to get it over. >> to get it over with. that's the deal inside with the white house, that's the deal inside the caucus. yes, you had this flittering at
the moment when the book came out and now it settled down. the question is who do you want to be majority leader next january, me or chuck schumer? >> people say it smells like kerrey's going to be the next governor, i've been in rooms like that. what's your sense of inconstituent about thinsteninc about this the way mcconnell can hold congress? >> it seems remarkable. every time a new witness came forward, not just here but other hearings, whether it was bob mueller or comey or cohen, you thought it would happen in the end but it didn't. i'm with michael. i have the sense it's going to hold but i rely on people like michael for my political judgment. >> i'm always asked the question and i've been through this with the o.j. trial and every time there's a trial and you guys know the law, i asked a simple question, where do you come from
and who are you going home to? we're getting interrupted here by schumer. chuck schumer. >> no etymology on my staff's names today like we had yesterday, which his whole family is calling up about, nguyen's whole family. yesterday as you know the president's counsel ended their defense of the president. up until the very end, mr. sekulow kept making the argument that the case against the president lacked eyewitnesses, knowing full well that his client, the president, was blocking the very eyewitnesses he said the trial lacked. knowing full well he knew full well that one of the eyewitnesses, john bolton, wrote that the president told him he wanted to continue the delay in military assistance to ukraine until it announced the political investigations that he was seeking. precisely the conduct charged in
the first article of impeachment. mr. sekulow had the temerity to stand on the floor of the senate and say you must acquit the president because there are no eyewitnesses to the conduct alleged by the house and also that senators must not call eyewitnesses who could confirm it. of course ambassador sondland was an eyewitness. mr. mulvaney admitted the president held up the aid at a press conference. nonetheless, the president's counsel said you must have additional eyewitnesses but you're not allowed to have them. mr. sekulow's view of a trial is downright kafkaesque. remember the book "the trial"? is it -- >> it's a novel. >> it's a novel. it's a short novel, not a long story.
frankly, the hypocrisy of sekulow's argument was not lost on senators. if anything, he made the case for witnesses and documents even stronger, so inadvertently, he helped us. now, i remain hopeful four republican senators will join us in supporting witnesses and doubs in this trial. it's an uphill fight, as i always said but the public is on our side and truth, above all, is on our side. that's why we're still in the fight. that's why we're still in the ballpark. now, i want to talk about three lines of push back that they're using with tremendous pressure of trump/mcconnell is using on republicans senators to try and get them to avoid the crucial friday vote on witnesses and documents. the first is, well, it will take too long. we've heard that one and that's what they're using number one in their own caucus.
this debate over witnesses and documents began a week ago with republicans saying we're not against new evidence, we're just want to consider it later. now that the later is about to arrive, the argument has become if we vote for witnesses, the trial will drag on too long. i predicted this. we said you may remember this a week and a half ago they're going to say let's wait and then when we wait they're going to say it took too long, we shouldn't have wait. again, just double talk to avoid the truth. that's what they're doing. they're tying themselves in all kinds of pretzel knots to avoid the truth but the american people know the truth. so, as i said, weeks ago i said democrats want an agreement on witnesses and documents up front because if republicans punted the decision till the end of the trial, they'd claim it would take too long and democrats were trying to drag and out and lo and behold that's just what's
happening. but the republican argument is wrong. it won't take too long. if my republican colleagues vote with us to subpoena relevant witnesses and doubcuments, thers no reason for a protracted trial. the four sets of documents we've requested have already been collected. they're ours for the asking. mr. bolton has already said he'd testify. there's no reason for delays if the senate summons bolton, mulvaney, blair and duffy. in the clinton trial the three witnesses were each deposed in one day. if the u.s. senate issues a bipartisan subpoena, signed by the chief justice, any lawyer would advise their client to comply. if someone like mr. mulvaney still refused, we'd
make a motion asking the chief justice to order mulvaney to comply. we could settle any and all
potential claims of executive privilege -- >> we're going to keep on this trial -- if that press conference leads to something. i want to ask you, the democrats keep saying all the chief justice has to do is join them in a subpoena and it doesn't matter if there is executive privilege claims. is that true? these are different branches. >> here's the thing -- let me apes it quickly. i think the answer is yes but i think the answer is yes not because of the question you were about to ask me on the law but because bolton has already said he would come and testify if subpoenaed and it becomes much, much, much more difficult, i think for him not to in particular if all of the participants in the trial have lined up around it. the truth about executive privilege but going to the legal point, one, the constitution gives the senate the sole authority to govern its trial and the impeachment clause is very clear on this, executive privilege is the kind of privilege you assert by showing
up and then the president is able to say that question i think is privileged and the chief justice could say yes or no. in other words, it doesn't erase the ability to say i think this is off limits. but let's just be very clear here. what is at issue is what donald trump was thinking and the only way in an impeachment you can ever get at what a president was thinking is to talk to the people he talked to. so you're essentially eliminating the impeachment clause if you say, no, if you say, one, you have to have direct evidence and, two, you can't talk to anyone who has it. >> do we have reason to believe the chief justice would join in a subpoena? >> my guess is no. he's a very restrained chief justice. that's the appropriate role for the courts. if there's an issue he has to decide, because he has to, he'll decide it but i don't see him interjecting himself into the process.
>> i've got to go to you. your gut right now, which way is this going for the fourth republican to show up and say i'll take the heat or not? >> i'm leaning towards michael's perspective that this is figured out. there were three maestros on capitol hill who are masters of timing. one is mitch mcconnell, the or nancy pelosi and the third chuck schumer. of note is siyncsyncopated. this reminds me of the classic dance when you're close to a vote. three votes i think gets you three. four may get you six or seven. everybody's waiting. there's a reason in garrett's report where those other senators are silent. if there are four in the bank, they may join based on their own politics. right now it's this. you go first. >>
i love it because we know about this president apart from the party leadership tried to destroy after he died john
mccain, the war hero, remember? because he dared to do this on getting rid of aca. remember? we know what fourth is going to feel like on the white house. that person will be tarred and feathered by donald trump. maya, thank you. everyone else is sticking with us. much more of our coverage of the impeachment trial of president trump. will a fourth person show up and say i want witnesses on the republican side? trump is speaking in less than two hours. the next phase picks up when the senators ask questions, eight hours today, from 1:00 until about 9:00. tomorrow more eight hours of questions from both sides, equally asking questions. it going to be real. we're going to see the senators for the first time today in the audience i assume asking the question. up next, democratic senator richard blumenthal of connecticut will join us.
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this morning washington's on edge waiting for new clues on the looming vote on whether to call witnesses in the senate impeachment trial, the vote that could up end the whole thing. right now it looks like it could go either way, but today we could get some new signs about how key senators are leaning.
in about an hour, hour and a half, the impeachment trial moves to the question and answer period and each senator has the right to write questions. some are signaling questions about rudy giuliani, joe biden and criteria tofor impeachment. i'm thinking about how the president's defenders are finally having to adjust their defense, as we say in sports. they weren't ready for bolton and now they have to be ready for the bolton manuscript. perhaps they resort to yeah, it probably true, the president has the power to do that, abuse of power is not unconstitutional, it's certainly not impeachable, that's the dershowitz argument, we already know there was a
deal, we don't need more witness ed. we stipulate that, there was a deal. but it not beyond a president's power and not impeachable. would that fly? >> no, it would not fly, chris. number one, the president did commit a crime. it called bribery. the president solicited something of value to him, namely an investigation by a foreign leader to smear a political opponent in return for an official act releasing that $400 million in taxpayer money desperately needed by ukraine. and alan dershowitz will say, well, bribery wasn't defined at the time of the founding, but it is a crime of bribery. and that's why testimony from bolton is still highly relevant to corroborate what we already know. they're the ones who are
characterizing the testimony potentially as unscripted manuscript or hearsay, but let's hear from john bolton himself and at the very least without any delay the notes of his conversations with the president, when we called it a drug deal, the notes of mick mulvaney when he took orders from the president. so the dershowitz defense in no way gives them a free pass. >> let's talk about what just developed today. your californolleague from west virginia was asked about witnesses on "morning joe" this morning. let's watch. >> is hunter biden a relevant witness, senator? >> you know, i think so. i really do. i don't have a problem there because this is why we are where we are. now, i think that he could clear himself of what i know and i've heard, but being afraid to put anybody that might have pertinent information is wrong. >> senator, the problem with that, there's what catch 22 there. i've thought it through and been corrected on it, if there's
something fishy about hunter biden's role in this whole story, this whole saga, then the president was right to check him out. if you say there's something fishy about hunter biden, you're saying the president was probably right to dig into what the fishiness was all about. >> you know, i respect joe manchin as a colleague. he is a wonderful senator. i disagree with him strongly about the relevance of hunter biden. and in fact, my republican colleagues could subpoena him literally this afternoon if they really wanted him to testify, but apparently they don't have the votes. and the reason they don't is he is irrelevant. and his appearing before the united states senate would cheapen and demean this proceeding, the idea that we have been trading witnesses there have been none. in an ordinary trial, you call your witnesses, i call my witnesses, the judge, in this
case the chief justice, decide on relevance. maybe that is a question to put to the chief justice but hunt are biden is a distraction. here's a really important point, chris. think of it for a moment. the president of the united states went to a foreign leader, another country, to investigate a united states citizen. one of the questions i have for the house managers today is why did our department of justice either decline or was never asked to investigate the supposed corruption or wrong doing by hunter biden. if there's so much corruption there and so much criminality, why did the department of justice either decline to become involved or was never asked. why did the president of the united states solicit a foreign leader to investigate a u.s. citizen? and i think that tells you a lot about the irrelevance of hunter biden, as well as the merits against him. there is nothing there. the theory of his supposed wrong
doing has been discredited and debunked. my republican colleagues know it. >> senator richard blumenthal, former attorney general of connecticut, thank you for joining us. joining us is correspondent andrea mitchell. i grew up in a world where there were moderate republicans in pennsylvania, democrats in west virginia. everything has changed now. it shows how little overlaugh there is, joe manchin, who is talking hunter biden and then you got the four or five republicans who may feel uncomfortable coming home and saying no witnesses. but there's so little overlap than their used to be. >> the polarization is profound. the other question that senator blumenthal didn't mention is why all of a sudden the question about hunter biden and joe biden if that were the premise.
in, you know, the spring after several years of being in the administration, why suddenly are they asking about joe biden exactly when joe biden declares that he's running for president? >> but you know why. you're being logical and a reporter, but isn't there a political ploy? you can go home to your people and say, yeah, i accepted the testimony of bolton, which is going to hurt the president but i voted for hunter biden to stick a needle into these guys, too. >> west virginia went by 45% on the plus side for donald trump. so he's got to go back home and he's got to be able to justify to his constituents that, yeah, i did the thing that i thought was appropriate but i also wanted to have the opportunity to bring a joe biden into the conversation. to your point, andrea, which is an important one, we look at the 201 appropriation and the 2018
appropriation that the white house signed off on for aid to ukraine. hunter biden was sitting on the board of burisma. he'd been there since 2014. the corruption that burisma had been known at that time, this was not something that just popped up in 2019. wasn't until after joe biden announced his candidacy and more to the point fox ran the poll showing that mr. biden was beating donald trump that all of a sudden it became important to key in on that. >> the other quick point is that ukraine would not have gotten that appropriation if that country had not met every standard. >> that's right. >> it was highly, i mean, congressman steve israel knows this. it was bipartisan, everybody wanted ukraine to get that money because they are all understandably worried about russia having attacked ukraine. >> this has always had a two-edge sword aspect to it. the bidens have been the target
of the president and now he continues to be so as the democrats pursue impeachment. we'll all be right back. still ahead, a totally upside down world. that's how one senator describes democrats embracing john bolton. while republicans close to the president are deriding the guy. he used to be their angel, now he's their devil. what it underscore about the trump presidency. trump presidency humira patients... this one's for you. the heroes who won't let your disease hold you back. you inspired us to make your humira experience even better with humira citrate-free. it has the same effectiveness you know and trust, but we removed the citrate buffers, there's less liquid, and a thinner needle,
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well, the reports of john bolton's manuscript in "the new york times" is showing us once again how fast things can turn upside down in the trump presidency. the former security adviser's world flipping instantly with the whole nation watching. peter baker writes about this as the new reality. "suddenly john bolton, the conservative world hawk and favorite villain of the left is the toast of senate democrat, the last best hope to prove their abuse of power case against trumps. democrats who once excoriated him are trumpeting his credibility as they seek his
temperatu testimony in donald trump's impeachment trial while republicans are brushing him april side. peter baker joins us, an msnbc political analyst. pet peter, it's interesting how people do this, they don't do it with any shame, embarrassment or irany. they do it like he's our guy or no longer any good, quickly dismissing or beloving the guy. >> that's washington. if you told people in washington john bolton was going to be your guy, they would is laughed at you. they had very stark differences of opinion on policy. those haven't changed. they still consider him obviously too much of a war hawk in their view, too ideological, too conservative in their view. so that hasn't changed but it ironic somebody they have spent so much time battling is now the person they're relying on as potentially their star witness
if there are in fact witnesses when we vote on friday. >> i thought it was interesting that john kelly, the former chief of staff and former military guy said today we disagree on almost everything but i think he's a trustworthy person. whenever i hear that from somebody, i'm impressed. i don't think he was swinging with the crowd, kelly. that's where he thinks. >> i think that's right. in fact, john kelly and john bolton had famously a shouting match filled with profanity just outside the oval office that led kelly to storm out of the white house and not return that day. they are definitely at odds at times over policy. tho he to hear john kelly say for all of that, he's still a t trustworthy guy is a -- broadly
speaking, one thing john bolton is known for is telling it the way he sees it. he's very, very candid. that's something the bush administration learned, they didn't netcessarily like it. he wrote a moment owe themo thas and it shouldn't come as a surprise he would be the right thing here. >> when it was written, you would have this awful guy, a bully, a bad guy, you're sitting next to new a trench with the germans coming at you, you have a ditfferent view of the guy al of a sudden. they call it cosmic shifting. all of a sudden everything is different and this guy looks different. >> the enemy of the enemy. when you get him in a situation where the interests align. that's what we have here.
bolton's experience around this issue is relevant to the discussion. >> now we go to a real turncoat, lev parnas, who was now on the side of rudy and the worst angels is now on the side of the prosecution. there he is at the capitol with his lawyer. >> are we about to listen to mr. bondy, the attorney? >> without witnesses or evidence you don't have a trial. >> reporter: do you think that -- >> i think john bolton, absolutely. >> i said that before, john bolton is the key. between me and john bolton, we put the guts together. >> mr. parnas, john bolton's reporting is said to be a bombshell. is what you have to offer going to be equally telling as well in. >> absolutely. >> how so? >> i want to testify under oath so we don't have to do this in the media. i think i said a lot and a lot has opinion proven by my evidence that i turned over to the house. so the next things is i'd love
to do it under oath and i'd welcome all of them, i welcome rudy to testify under oath and the president to testify under oath and pompeo to testify under oath. >> is that going to be enough to change the minds of 67 senators? >> i mean, i don't know. some of these like i saw the trump world is like a cult and a lot of these senators are in the cult. so i don't know if anything could change some of their minds but hopefully the public will know what's going on and hopefully maybe some of them if we get witnesses and they really hear the truth, maybe their conscience will overwhelm them and they'll understand. >> rudy giuliani says you're a back stabber. >> he has to look in the mirror. >> lev parnas showed up at the capitol. they apparently got tickets from chuck schumer, who has his own interest in getting him in there. he wasn't allowed -- the capital police would not let him in because he has an ankle bracelet
on. if he can go in there, he wants to get his sentence reduced. he clearly wants to become a witness in the senate trial, which gives huge stakes to the prosecution here. >> the irony is he's now projecting that he wants bolton to testify. bolton was protesting, according to his own writings and what we've heard, about the rudy giuliani drug deal with involved lev parnas. parnas was with giuliani on all this and not certainly with the john boltons. and just your point about the flipping of things. rand paul has always objected, conservative republican, has always objected to john bolton because boaton was a war hawk and rand paul is a noninterventionist. >> at least rand paul. let go come back to parnas's lawyer. >> it happens to converge with his interest in his criminal case, thank you all. >> is he looking for a deal?
>> he's looking to it will truth and for there to be consideration there. >> is he looking for relief by showing up whoer today? >> yes but there's a problem here. mr. parnas is a criminal defendant in a proceeding in the southern district of new york. the only people on the planet who can give him consideration, relief are the prosecutors. not the senate. no senator. congress cannot do this. >> so what's his motive for showing up? >> he's trying to show publicly he's important in some way. here's another problem. why isn't he cooperating with the southern district of new york? there's a couple of theories. one is that he's not valuable to them on the things they charged him with. perhaps he's not credible to them on things they want to investigate. those two things, i don't know if they're true or not burr keep in the back of your mind he might not be valuable or credible, we ought to be careful
about wrapping our arms around lev parnas in any proceeding. >> and what is the role of the attorney general here who has been suspect on a number of issues, including his credibility. the they have to answer to the attorney general and whether they proceed. >> i think it's a great question, andrea. i'm biased. i'll tell you how i think about the us southern district of new york and the other offices around the country. they are overwhelmingly staffed by career public servants. the southern district of no, has one political pointies and hundreds of we interest i to pulling is i think you would have a riot on your hands and i don't mean a laugh riot. moreover, the agents working on the case are all career publicer vants. so if there really was some machination at the top, if they are trying to steer certain agents or prosecutors in a certain direction, i believe we would hear about it.
>> let's go back to peter baker. the old express for mr. dooley is politics makes strange bedfellows. this is strange. parnas finds himself with an ankle bracelet so ehe canhe can into the gallery but can get to the press gaggle here so they can keep this thing shaken up. >> this is what what -- it's less about party or philosophy or policy as much as it is about donald trump. you're either for him or against him. that's the dividing line in washington right now. we see it with people like john bolton or john kelly or anyone who leaves this white house. if they leave on certainly or that be a and even those who
have been friendly or allies of john boltons for years, the imwho haithey are saying, he's not someone to trust, he's got a book out. the dividing line right now is if you are a trump follower. >> which side will justice roberts go for when it comes to the crunch on friday, if it comes to a question of subpoenaing witnesses? will he join the call for witnesses? >> i'm sorry, it's a good question. i don't know how he would do that. i suppose there's a request, it it's, would he try to break the trial? there is some precedent. you hear and it a really good
question. i don't know procedurally how it would work. i think he would rather leave it to senate and impose his open view didpeter baker, it's great to have you on. everyone is staying with us, except peter. stick with us for special coverage as we continue into the exciting moments when senators get to ask the questions. the qs your home at a great price, the way it works best for you, i'll take that. wait honey, no. when you want it. you get a delivery experience you can always count on. you get your perfect find at a price to match, on your own schedule. you get fast and free shipping on the things that make your home feel like you. that's what you get when you've got wayfair. so shop now! whit looks like this. heart failure look like? ♪the beat goes on entresto is a heart failure pill
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we're a little over an hour an a quarter from the start of the eighth day of president trump's senate impeachment trial. still with me, andrea mitchell, steve israel of new york, chuck rosenberg and michael steele. we have two poll signaturiticia great attorney, one straight arrow, down the middle great reporter. andrea, if you were selling people to watch between now and friday evening, wa would yhat w say is the important part of what they should be looking for to watch, why it's so important? >> who asks what questions and how they get answered. this is a free for all. we have no way of knowing. they've clearly organized. schumer had given them a friday deadline as of then and of course things changed so i'm sure they opened it up again to submit their questions so they wouldn't be redundant. that's what you're doing when you're moderating a debate,
figure out who gets to ask what. >> who decides the order of questions? >> that would be adam schiff. >> you can order your own party's list and the chief justice has to draw off the top of each list. >> but it would be adam schiff who decides what the sequence will be because you're trying to build a case. this is their only chance of rebuttal -- >> i have to have a follow-up question on that. can you do that? >> i would think so. the chief justice organizes the back and forth, but i don't think that -- >> there is question where if a prepared question is asked and it is responded to -- >> pull it out. >> but, oh, there's another piece you want to add to that, he can get it up there. >> on the c-span cameras, steve, we still can't see the senators. >> no, you can't. >> this is so strange. >> we know how this book is going to end. it's going to end with the acquittal of president trump. the questions are being designed
for two purposes. number one, democratic strategy will be to design questions that continue to build a cloud over that acquittal. this has been the strategy from day one. we know he's going to be acquitted, he's going to pull a repeat of what he did with the mueller report, see, i'm innocent. democrats will continue to build a cloud over that so that the 20% of the electorate that has not yet made a decision in the november election realizes he may have been acquitted but it tastes bad. >> here's chuck schumer responding to what one of his democratic members, may have been off base here, had to say about maybe bringing in one of the bidens. >> hunter biden is irrelevant and a distraction. but beside that is correct it's not up to joe manchin. it not up to any of us. the republicans could call hunter biden today. they have the votes. trump and mcconnell could call for hunter biden today. they don't want to. they know it would turn things into a circus. >> you know, i've been thinking
about this all week and it has to do with our journalism and this whole debate. when somebody is asked to testify in court, they're asked to give the truth, whole truth -- >> which are three different things, by the way. >> nobody tells the whole truth. they tell their truth. they say, you know, we didn't bring any republican witnesses in because they were all protected by executive privilege, but that's the whole truth. they never tell you that. the democrats do the same thing. and so, you know, when they just said, well, they could have called biden, that would have been opening it up to witnesses and probably having to pair him with a witness that they didn't want. it isn't just -- i mean, chuck has been saying this over and over again. it's not the whole truth. they would have had to have brought in matching people. that's true. >> i don't know if they would -- chuck probably would have insisted at that point, yes, we would like to have our witnesses
now brought to the table. but on its face, he's absolutely right and that is the whole truth when you stop and think about it. >> which 51 members would have done that? who would have called joe biden's son and nobody else as a witness? >> that's the -- that's why what chuck is saying is true because mcconnell knows he doesn't have necessarily all of those votes locked in. not every republican wants to -- >> who would have only called hunter biden? only? >> a good number that would have called hunter biden. that's a good number. >> it's what you do in court and what michael is describing which is literally true, that chuck schumer literally is telling the truth but practically it's unlikely to happen. >> exactly. >> donald trump is being impeached and we have invoked joe biden's name 15 times in
this conversation which is what the trump strategy was built around. >> the other piece to what steve israel was saying, what the president wants is an acquittal before super bowl. he wants that halftime interview that the ads -- he wants that moment to tell the world that he's been acquitted. >> and i bet you that ad is built around that acquittal having taken place. >> coming up, much more of our special coverage of the president's impeachment trial as we enter the crucial next phase, the questioning part. garcy
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my thanks to andrea mitchell, of course, steve israel, chuck rosenberg, michael steele. this is the big day. the coverage of the impeachment trial continues with the questioning by the senators. i'm chris matthews up in new york. my colleagues brian williams and nicolle wallace will pick it up from here. now in one pot, and with tendercrisp technology, you can cook foods that are crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. the ninja foodi pressure cooker, the pressure cooker that crisps. i appreciate what makes each person unique.
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already a wild day. we're just getting under way. welcome back to our special coverage of the senate impeachment trial of the president. brian williams and nicolle wallace here in new york with you. in about an hour, the chief justice is going to take a more vocal role in the new phase of this trial. he's going to spend the day reading questions submitted to him from senators to the house impeachment managers and the trump legal team and the big question is still whether there will be enough republican support at the end of the week
to call new witnesses, john bolton, obviously the man of the hour, every hour, at the top of the democrats' list. in just the last 30 minutes, that man, lev parnas, showed up on the hill, as he does. he cannot go into the chamber for the trial because he's wearing an ankle monitor and how often has that happened to you? he did have a message for the president's inner circle. >> i want to testify under oath so we don't have to do this in the media. i think i said a lot and i think a lot of this is proven by my evidence that i turned over to the house. so the next thing is i would love to do it under oath and i welcome all of them to come and testify under oath. i welcome the president to testify under oath. i welcome pompeo to testify under oath and definitely attorney bill barr. >> let's introduce everybody. we're happy to be joined today by our panel of familiar faces,
former democratic senator claire mccaskill, the state of missouri, and bursting to speak today, former assistant u.s. attorney maya wiley, former chairman of the republican national committee, michael steele. and let's show what the president tweeted this morning, shall we? there's a familiar pattern developing, nicolle, and that is most people, according to his tweets, beg him to be hired and then leave in tears and that's what he said about john bolton this morning. >> 16,347 lies now. i think they have a hard time hires largely because of the presence of jared and ivanka. john bolton didn't beg for a job there. i think he had a lot of misgivings about it -- >> don't do it, sir. >> yeah. for a guy who couldn't get approved years ago. i worked for the president who appointed john bolton but it was because he called for several
floors of the u.n. headquarters. it gets to the heart of why this is so hard for republicans. listen, here's where republicans have to go home and night, shut down their devices and have some alone time and mull. every single call about donald trump's criminality and his fundamental lack of fitness to be the country's commander in chief, every call has come from inside the house. now the call is from an a man with his own oxygen supply. john bolton doesn't need donald trump's money, base and hands on him to make him any sort of relevant figure in this conservative party. he has decades of ideas that have attracted republicans since the reagan era. john bolton may finally be where the rubber meets the road in terms of donald trump's bullying tweets. now what seems to be in question as it has been every day this week is whether or not he will
testify in front of the senate. he will testify. and he will testify to donald trump's corrupting of foreign policy. he's alluded to it when it comes to turkey. he will testify to the quid pro quo that 17 other witnesses have testified too. he will do so in a book that's already preselling on amazon and likely in interviews. what the senators have to i think sort of look in the mirror and ask themselves is not whether or not bolton will testify, he'll testify. every american will know what donald trump did and every american will know that the story is not coming from any deep-state actor. it's coming from a right winger's right wing nut, john bolton. and they have to ask themselves do i want him to testify in our house where i can take credit for bringing this information to the public or do i want to be seen -- the book is out in three weeks. >> it will be on your show in this studio. >> god-willing. this is not anymore about whether or not john bolton testifies. he will testify to the facts of the quid pro quo and he will be a corroborating witness for the
other 17 executive branch witnesses that have testified to what donald trump did that donald trump's lawyer don't dispute at this point. this is about where he does it. >> and cooler heads are realizing that every time trump comes after him, that changes the calculus. >> i think it shows john bolton, a reality of being john bolton over decades now is that john bolton is his own man. a lot of it for his own doing. his policy positions don't change whether they're popular or not, whether they contradict the president. he believes in what he believes. but i think the more that the trump white house isolates him and smears him, the more incentive he has to tell his story. >> really important figure there. in a moment we're going -- kasie hunt was able to talk to mitt romney at her camera location. garrett haake also standing by for us on capitol hill. garrett, what a day. one more time up there.
>> reporter: i think that's right. if john bolton wants to testify in the senate, he's probably going to have to release some new information in the next 24 hours to get a chance to do that. i don't want to step on what i think kasie is going to report which is our witness whip count at this moment, but it does not appear to be moving in the direction of calling john bolton or anybody else. in the meantime we're going to have this question-and-answer session on the floor today and tomorrow and senators have been doing their homework. i talked to jeff merkley who said his office has written more than 20 questions. those are going to go through the leader's office and get whittled down. and there are questions that are designed to illicit actual information, questions that designed to highlight what witnesses could tell us that we don't already know and some questions that are designed to embarrass the managers or democratic politicians. the republican from missouri put out his list of questions and a lot of them are going to be what did adam schiff know about the
whistle-blower and what conversations did schiff's office have with witnesses. the gambit of questions is large. i can hear claire mccaskill laughing. >> thank you, garrett. before we hear from claire mccaskill, over to kasie hunt who has talking with mitt romney. >> reporter: hey, guys. it's been fun to listen to your conversation today. we are sort of here down in the basement tracking all of these critical votes here and senator graham just actually blew right by our cameras which is unusual behavior for senator graham. he put out a statement earlier today essentially -- it read to me like a warning to the white house to stop trashing john bolton's credibility for some of those very reasons that nicolle was laying out, saying you're going to make this worse for us if you keep going down this path. i spoke with senator mitt romney of utah. he was very clear in wanting to
send the message again that he still really wants to hear from john bolton and that message of course likely meant for the white house but likely meant for the audience of senators in this building some of whom are still undecided. we've been reporting throughout all of this that there was a bit of panic after the bolton book dropped. that seemed to have subsided after mcconnell was behind closed doors. here's what romney had to say just a couple of minutes ago. >> have you been able to convince four republicans, including yourself, to vote for witnesses? >> i haven't got a nose count. that's something you would have to speak to the leader about. i don't know where the senators are but i know where i am. i would like to hear from john bolton because i think there are questions that i have that he could answer. >> reporter: you said before there were others -- >> reporter: so of course romney saying i'm not counting votes necessarily. i think you should read that as
romney being very polite which i know brian and nicolle, he's somewhat famous for that. i read it as a marker that he is putting down to whoever is still in play, hey, i still have your back. i'm still with you if you want to come out and do this. i will keep the door open and keep defending the flank, if you will, for the people who potentially still want witnesses to be called in this trial. >> kasie hunt in the basement. thank you, kasie. claire mccaskill, your name was invoked in the previous segment. >> yeah. i was giggling about the senators from missouri who beat me and took my place. >> we all giggle about -- >> let me say this about what we're facing. first of all what's going to happen today, the questions went through the leaders' offices. everybody won't get every question they asked. the leaders are going to decide -- by the way, they're calling around to the offices to avoid duplication.
it won't surprise me to hear the chief justice say this question is coming from a, b, and c senator, three senators at once. and the order of the questions, will be, but i'm pretty sure that's determined by the two leaders. >> it's choreographed. >> the second thing is let's make sure we know what the witness vote is. if there are enough vote for witnesses, then there are enough votes for john bolton to testify. what is not clear, are there enough votes to get the bidens or adam schiff for the whistle-blower? if there were, i'm pretty sure they would have already done that. i'm pretty sure they would have already said we're going to have the bidens come in. there are no enough republican votes for biden. they know if in fact it gets to that, they lose control and you know what mitch mcconnell loves more than being in power, control. and so mitch knows he's in a box canyon.
if the witness vote goes, then he's got to decide what's the next thing that goes on the floor, is it a vote for bolton? that's going to pass. if it's a vote for bolton and the bidens, how embarrassing if that doesn't or just to vote for the bidens. how embarrassing if that doesn't. then he's confronted with a new kett kettle of fish and a new problem. >> and that happened to him at the end of his government shutdown when he lost members of his caucus. his measure fell short. we know he doesn't like that. i want to ask you, though, kasie hunt and willie geist made some news this morning with senator manchin. they may not have all the republican votes but they may pick up manchin? >> maybe. maybe they get 50 for biden and manchin is 51. they get -- 50 for biden and manchin is 51.
i don't know. but i know this, i am sick and tired about everything what about the trade? if they had the votes for biden, they would have done it already. >> let's play that joe manchin moment. nicolle's right, it was an important thing this morning. >> is hunter biden a relevant witness, senator? >> you know, i think so. i really do. i don't have a problem there because this is why we are where we are. >> there have been a lot of discussions but i have no idea how the votes are going to fall. it's also very important that there be fairness, that each side be able to select a witness or two. >> so, claire? >> that's a phony fairness thing. if they wanted a witness or two, they could have them now, they're in control. here is the thing joe said this morning they're leaving out, if the chief justice thinks it's relevant, then i'm fine with it.
here's what would happen, the chief justice under the rules, the chief justice would have to rule whether biden is relevant or not relevant. if he says it's not relevant, than the senate has to vote to overcome his sustaining of that objection. if they don't to overcome the chief justice, that doesn't mean that joe manchin will be with them. he's saying if the chief justice says it's relevant, i say it's relevant. >> and his biggest wiggle room is the fact that he's the senator from a state that donald trump won by 45 points. so at the end of the day, you can do the senate all day long. manchin was telling the people of west virginia that if you want joe biden, i got you. i'm going to give you joe biden. >> at 7:00 a.m. so that all day long that will be the story of west virginia. >> it's filtering into the political ether in west virginia. he's covered his backyard but he's also the guy who says, yeah, we want to have more
witnesses and he's also the senator who said, i could split my vote on the articles too. on the second article -- >> let's not forget that. >> so he recognizes his political space and his political awareness very keenly. >> how crazy is it that john bolton is at the center of the democrats' need to prove their case? >> the irony is not lost on a lot of us who have watched and listened to democrats this man over the last 28 years or so. politics as we talked before makes some strange bed fellows. when those interests aligns, it doesn't surprise me and it shouldn't surprise anyone that the guy who was inside the white house who had the president's ear is prepared to say what he knows and what was said, whether it's in the interview or if it's standing in the well of the
senate under cross-examination by claire's colleagues. >> maya? >> i was just thinking, well, democrats excoriated bolton on principle -- >> not all the time. >> i don't think the democrats excoriated him for lying which i think is the point you've been making for days now. no one's ever accused him of lying and as democrats have smartly said throughout this whole process, we don't know, we don't have depositions of these folks and we want other people who we don't have depositions for, we don't know what they will say when they come in here and yet we still want them, why don't you? >> something schumer has tried to point out. a quick break in our coverage, about 45 minutes away from hearing the gavel from the chief justice in the senate chamber. but now quickbooks helps me get paid, manage cash flow,
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john bolton himself has been reduced to a tool for the radical dems in the deep state. >> he's a neo con. >> he's betrayed his former boss, donald trump. if you have something to say, john, come here. you worked here. if you could explain john bolton to me, i don't recognize what i'm seeing. i really don't. >> it's disturbing. >> wow. >> is there someone that can help find my jaw, it's on the
floor. >> when they turn -- >> these people -- look, i know all those people. i used to spend time on that network. the people who have changed, the people who are unrecognizable are them. those are the unrecognizable people. those were the loudest and the biggest and the most robust advocates for the wars in afghanistan, they were to the right of john bolton on every single foreign policy idea in the last 20 years. those are the people who have changed. our viewers probably neither care nor have either sympathy and probably view this fight as akin to as ta ran chew las in a bowl, let no one come out in terms of the foreign policy debates on the right. however, where this could backfire, anyone with a little kid who has seen the movie "inside out" will get this. feelings are described as characters. john bolton is a cool customer until he isn't. what i don't know, john bolton
has long and deep -- decades' long relationships with senate republicans and i imagine there are some back channels under way right now. the same way that communications were alive and ongoing during the cold war. i don't know what is burning between the phone lines between bolton world and republicans in the senate. but i would take kasie's reporting very seriously. if lindsay gam raham is warninge white house to back up, he may know what else is in this book. >> this used to be your party, mr. steele. >> nicolle nailed it. this is a part of the narrative that trump doesn't get. loyalty stops at the water's edge. there is a point and place where it's no longer relevant. with someone like john bolton who has a history that runs deeper and that is more important to the leadership on the hill, interest on k street,
folks around the country, then there will ever be with trump, that's the rubicon you don't want to have to cross. and to the feelings thing, i noted this earlier today, bolton is at the point where he's not liking what he's hearing, all of this stuff on fox, you want to ramp that up laura ingram? you don't want bolton to turn that ire on you. and that's what lindsay graham is trying to get trump to understand right now. there's a point where you can go too far with him, don't do it. you had the book inside the white house. they could have vetted all of this and negotiated a conversation with bolton before it was finally published. >> you know what i would say, watch pence. when bolton was shoved out, mike pompeo took to the podium with -- who is the guy, mnuchin
and they trashed him and they could barely keep their mouths from turning up in grins that the power struggle between pompeo ended with pompeo as the victor. pence didn't pile on and pence had reportedly sided with bolton two days before the 9/11 anniversary. pence is perhaps bolton's long game. here's the deal with public opinion, you could sell pence to the trump base in three weeks as a trump alternative. this goes sideways for trump, he has -- if we end up in some long-shot scenario where trump resigns before some embarrassing vote, pence would be very acceptable to the trump base. he's to the right of trump on judges. he's done all the same sort of maga things. he has not trashed bolton and i would keep a laser focus on mike pence. >> i think that's exactly right.
and, again, to what i was saying and what nicolle is saying, there are reasons why you don't see that scenario play out nor has it played out beforehand when bolton left. the pence staff, the pence team have been very quiet and they have in many respects kept the lid on a lot of things with respect to bolton and the explosions that occurred during the course of a lot of these instances that we're beginning to hear about. i think you're right on that point. >> is what you're describing a kind of current transactional fear-based feelty versus a long time deep loyalty. >> the witnesses to trump's lunacy include mike pence. mike pence saw everything john bolton saw, he just didn't write a book yet. jim mattis -- and ashley parker wrote a piece about phil rucker's reporting about this briefing at the pentagon. another person who was in the room when donald trump called all of the leaders of the
military dopes and dummies was mike pence. so there's nothing that john bolton wrote that mike pence didn't also witness and i would guess if i had to guess and bet agree with. >> will the senators who have received a $10,000 check from bolton be under pressure from the trump base to return that money? >> that's really interesting. >> tillis got 10,000, tom cotton got 10,000 and cory gardner got $10,000 from bolton's pac. will the base call on those three senators, you've got to give that money back or you've got to give it to charity and all of a sudden will bolton's pack -- >> you devil, you. >> ashley parker with "the washington post" has been listening to your conversation. ashley, do you care to weigh in on the topic on the table?
>> absolutely. there's a number of interesting points you have been discussing. first of all, i think, you know, the president so far has proven himself impervious to the rules of political gravity. but john bolton is someone who cannot be underestimated and he's someone who is a bureaucratic infighter, has a history of turning on administrations he's worked for. and unlike the trump people, even now, he understands the levers of power. he understands the pressure points. he understands how government works. and so if there ever is going to be a formidable foe to go up against the administration, it will be john bolton. it was interesting just how the administration's stance has shifted so quickly when i first talked to them when the news broke, there was a sense that john bolton was not actually planning to turn on the president himself and they were trying to keep him a little bit
in the tent. obviously the book disclosures were not great, but they did not think it was a one on one war between the two men. now they have made it as such. you have the rnc attacking him, fox news attacking him, the president's tweets today attacking him. if he's going to have any move, it's going to be double-down, go back to that yellow notepad where he took notes and reveal drip after drip after drip. >> and listen to ashley's great reporting to, the republican party used to be -- it's hard was the foreign policy that john bolton advocated. he's now trying to speak to -- back to my movie analogy, the core memories of what the gop once was, do you care about his fundamental lack of fitness. and you see giuliani, the other
thing is trump's attack dogs are decidedly low brow. i think what the republicans are looking at are pam bondi, rudy giuliani, and these people who couldn't make it to the tier -- it's this idea of, you know, do thoughts and ideas and policy still matter are we thugs and political bruising. >> he wants to mix it up, he wants to take that brawl right to the streets and have the blood on the road. the interesting thing that i'm seeing right now relevant to the trump universe is bolton is the first of these main players, closest to the president, in the president's ear, who is coming out and have positioned himself in a way unlike others and that has thrown everything into a little bit more of a tail spin because with the other books, you know, you've got all these stories that come up, but then you don't have the mattiss
coming in saying, yeah, i said that. bolton is the one who's saying, i'm ready to testify. i'm ready to put it on the record. not just in my book. and that changes how people inside that world are looking at how this plays out. >> if you could have waited a decade, you could have been a thug. but you went the gentlemen route. a break in our coverage. ashley parker stays with us, our friends stay with us. we're back after this. this commute's been pretty rough, huh? it's great actually, i've been listening to audible. it's audiobooks, news, meditations... gotta go! ♪ ♪
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welcome back. our coverage continues. we're watching arrivals, the now familiar door at the senate. we've watched alan dershowitz come in. there are microphones and cameras set up. and our coverage is about 30 minutes away from being gavelled into order. >> ashley parker, i wonder what you're hearing in terms of tactics from this white house. it's been reported that they may sue over executive privilege and all sorts of lawyers have punched holes in that argument. the president is talking about john bolton all the time.
there's some reporting and other news organizations that they may try to block publication of the book. what are you hearing in terms of tactics that the president is going to use? >> so the strategy generally is that they are moving for the worst and fighting that quite aggressively in private back channels and on capitol hill, but also remaining cautiously optimistic. they're preparing very hard to fight the possibility of witnesses while also hoping that maybe, just just maybe, this will end without john bolton ever being called. they were working back channels on the hill. one of the talking points they said early on is that the facts on the ground have not changed. the facts on the ground, frankly, have changed. so it's not a particularly effective argument and i was talking to some senate republican aides who said, yes, they're making inroads but they pointed to some days they didn't
get talking points all morning. so that's kind of their strategy and then i think the other thing to keep in mind is -- like they have always, starting with mueller, they're fighting this in the court of public opinion, right? you had the president coming out very strong, tweeting about bolton, trashing him, and i do believe there is a world where if he does end up testifying or his manuscript comes out, gives a press conference, by the time he does, regardless if what he's saying is true, you had john kelly saying, if john bolton says it, i believe the man. and the two clashed sometimes in the white house. this is more about his integrity than just blanket appreciation of john bolton. if he does testify, i think their hope from what people are telling me is he will be so tarnished that whatever information he shares is just undermined by how much they have undermined him. it's undermine of the court of public opinion, it's undermine
with voters. that's the key thing they care about. >> we want to bring in a new guest and point out it's a big day for the university of pennsylvania. in addition to being ashley parker's alma mater, it's home to our next guess. she teaches ethics and the rule of law. i note your work in the era of ethics and rule of law, also the law of warfare, making you the perfect guest to talk about just where this debate is and i guess my first question is, what happens to the argument if the president wants to exert privilege, is that done and dusted? >> this is the question of the day and it's also a really important question regarding the second article of impeachment because the question of the scope of executive privilege is critical here. so the argument would be with
regard to someone like john bolton, even though he's willing to testify, he doesn't have the right to testify because we -- the white house, the president, i'm going to assert my executive privilege to bar him from testifying. at that point, he has a choice. he could defy the president and choose to obey the congressional subpoena, he could say, hold on a second, i need a ruling from the chief justice on this as to whether or not executive privilege is a valid argument, or i suppose he could turn to a court and say i need a court to rule. the chief justice has the power to say this is not a valid argument for the white house to make. you should go ahead and testify and obey the congressional subpoena. whether he would do it is another question. one worry then arises what about with regard to an unwilling witness, somebody like mike mulvaney who doesn't want to
testify and would be delighted for the white house to say, you may not testify on grounds of executive privilege? there you can imagine it would be a lot easier for the claim of executive privilege to really block things up and to lead to a protracted battle. >> and this leads me to my other question for you, and i realize this may call for speculation. a lot of people are attributing qualities to the chief justice and it sounds like wishful thinking. he has already cited the rehnquist standard for the phase of this we start today. what gives people the idea that this chief justice is suddenly going to have an expansive view of his role, very little of which was laid out by our founders as no one needs to remind you. >> there's some precedence for chief justices in this role exercising their judgment, but
it doesn't seem like justice roberts is going to be that chief justice that will play that role. one could see that if for example there were three republicans voting along with democrats in favor of calling witnesses, that he might decide to cast a tie-breaking vote, but it's very unlikely that he's going to do as was suggested, while it's a great idea, just go ahead and say we need to have these witnesses because they're relevant. i could possibility see him saying that hunter biden is not a relevant witness, but if a majority of senators were to vote in favor of having hunter biden, i doubt that he would be willing to play that role. >> this portion of our broadcast bought to you by the university of pennsylvania. professor, thank you for taking our questions. we greatly appreciate it. >> thank you for having me. >> maya, i think what brian said, there's pent-up
exasperation. this feels cooked and entrenched on the right, the party that controls the senate. i think there was maybe misplaced hope and optimism that the chief justice would breakthrough in his cape and save the day. not going to happen? >> i absolutely agree with the professor. i was not one of those people. i was trying to tamp down -- tamp down expectations and one reason that's very legitimate for chief justice roberts to not play a very active role is that the constitution itself gives senators the sole power to decide what the impeachment trial is. now that doesn't mean he couldn't. but if you are an institutionalist in the way that justice roberts is, your thinking -- and, remember, this is the justice roberts that said i don't think courts can here the extreme gerrymandering case. i think that's too political. it's working very hard to steer the court clear of appearing to
be partisan in any way. he is not going to sit over something as serious as impeaching a sitting u.s. president in his first term and appear to be making decisions that implicate what happens and the outcome. >> before we scoot to a break, claire mccaskill has details on how today's going to go. >> yes. every senator is going to get a question and how this is going to work, a singular question. and then many senators will be part of a question that other senators have joined in on. senators will be recognized at their desks. they will then -- by name. and they will pass the question up to the chief justice who will then read the question. the question will contain who it is addressed to. every senator will get a singular question. some senators will be part of a question that was asked by numerous senators. the unanswered question is, what order do they go in and who decided that? nobody is saying who decided it, but i'm thinking that somebody
that's in -- staffs of the majority leader and staff of the minority leader probably decided the order. >> and, yes, those watching just saw alan dershowitz walk through the room brandishing a bag of potato chips. it's one of the things we can't explain as part of our coverage today. >> we're on it, though. >> make up your own story lines at home. our coverage continues after this. my truck...is my livelihood. so when my windshield cracked... the experts at safelite autoglass came right to me. >> tech: hi, i'm adrian. >> man: thanks for coming. ...with service i could trust. right, girl? >> singers: ♪ safelite repair, safelite replace. ♪ frustrated that clean clothes you want to wear always seem to need an iron?
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we're back and truth in advertising, this is going to be another long day's journey into tonight. senator mccaskill, we've been trying to remind people the volume of questions here as we watch the house managers in a bit of a live picture that looks like an oil painting coming across the -- sometimes electronics work and other times the paintings behind them have more clarity, coming across the rotunda. what kind of volume are we talking about here? >> these senators have sat quietly for a long time, and that is against -- that is not what they're used to. so the fact that they're going to have their name said out loud by the chief justice is important to them. so i think what they will -- if you do the math, if everyone gets a singular question and if they stay to the five minutes,
100 times 5 minutes, but you're going to have questions where -- >> i just started to sweat. >> then there might be another 50 that are duplicate questions that they join senators together in. so -- i'm willing to bet all 100 want their name read in the impeachment trial by the chief justice. maybe i'll be proven wrong that we don't have 100 questions from each individual senator. but that would be my gut that you would see 100 questions plus before this thing is shut down for the debate to begin on the question that is the question of this trial. are they going to for the first time in history not have new witnesses called in an impeachment trial in the united states senate. >> and a question that calls for speculation on your part before we gather to watch mr. mahomes do his magic on sunday, are we here and talking about this and
covering this on saturday? >> if everything goes according to mitch mcconnell's plan, they will vote no on witnesses and documents and the howling will begin and the political consequences will begin to set in for those republicans who were refusing to hear witnesses. then we go to a stage of the trial if there are no more witness and is documents, we go to a stage of the trial where each member will be allowed to speak 10 to 15 minutes on the acquittal question, the removal question. that will probably not be done in public. they will shut off the cameras and the debate on the actual removal will probably be done behind closed doors. now, that might make those speeches shorter and people would maybe submit their speeches for the record, but it is a long process. the question is, will they try to short circuit that to get the acquittal by the close of business on saturday in order for the president to ring
triumphant right before my chiefs win the super bowl or will they wait until monday and try to clear him quote, unquote, before the state of the union on tuesday night? >> wow. >> so much there. i guess if we sort of deal with what's just in front of us, i'm actually going to ask you the question i'm dying to ask you, do you think your chiefs' victory is more likely or they vote yes on more witnesses. >> for sure the chiefs' victory. >> that could be a new betting line. that is not even close. i would say -- even though the line says pick them on sunday, i think our defense is going to arise to the occasion. don't get me started on this topic. but i do think it is probably less 50/50 proposition that they will vote for witnesses and documents because mitch mcconnell said what he said yesterday to put the screws on the members that have not committed to him to vote against
witnesses. he wanted their phones to ring off the hook from trump land. that's why he said it out loud i don't have the votes because he wanted -- unlike most leaders who want to keep their members from exert every onunce of pressure he can. >> didn't the founders say deliberations shall finish by kickoff? isn't that in their founding documents? >> it was debated. in the end, i think it was left out. >> it's unbelievable. >> i will say the best sentence in sports is pitchers and catchers report. that's about two weeks away. >> this is the nfl and we're mixing in a different sport. >> let's bring to chuck. tell me what sorts of strategies. it's daunting the idea we're going to hear the question from all of them or a few. what sorts of buckets of questions? there has to be a strategy and the at least democrats have had a clear strategy.
are they trying to put the president's lawyers on the defense? are they trying to remind people of the facts because we're broadcasting? >> there is an ask in questions to elicit certain types of responses. let me fall back on my federal prosecutor days. we can ask open ended questions where we want the witness to tell us something we don't know. why did you look inside the t k trunk of a car? where did you take the evidence? what happened next? these are open ended questions typically asked by a prosecutor on direct examination of a witness that she called in trial. on cross-examination we ask leading questions. isn't it true, nicole, that you had never met brian williams before tuesday night? isn't it true, nicole, trying to establish a point with the question that we ask and that we often ask those questions of
hostile witnesses or on cross-examination they're designed differently and have a different affect. if we know the truth, it almost doesn't matter what you think. the question matters and the answer matters less. for an impeachment setting there's a third type of question that matters. where a senator might want to know something. is there a particular burden of proof that the house managers need to establish? how do i weigh the evidence? what do i consider when i'm considering whether or not impeachment and removal is the appropriate sanction? help me understand the law here. and so those are the three different types of questions probably speaking each with a different purpose. >> can i follow back up at an important point you made, chuck? that is what is the truth? because one of the things that the republican side has been doing for quite some time, even leading up to, we saw it play out in the mueller trial, the
mueller case, was this sort of taking what objectively is true, fact, we know it, here it is, black and white, and just kind of shaving a little bit off here, a little bit off there. so how do democrats in their questioning, rehabilitate their points? >> i'll give you an example of a way to do it in an open ended way and in a cross-examination leading way. let's say the point you want to make michael is that there's no way in the world you would ask ukraine for assistance investigating u.s. persons suspected of corruption. so one question might be in a sort of a direct examination way, an open ended way, tell me the process for opening an investigation of a u.s. president. >> what do you call? >> who do you call? tell me the process. how does that work? another way to ask it in a
leading way where you make the point with the question is isn't it true that under no circumstance would you turn to one of the most corrupt nations on the planet in order to ask it to do a public corruption investigation of u.s. persons? same question, but asked for a very different purpose. and so i think one way of steering it is whether democrats ask friendly open-ended questions of democrats, or whether they ask sort of hostile leading questions of republicans. and vice versa. >> to all the criminals who encountered chuck in a court of law, we tried to warn you. i'm sorry about that. a break in the coverage. when we come back, right before we get gavelled underway today, a veteran congressman from new york is making news on this bolton case. >> a democrat. >> yes. a democrat. thank you. at leaf blowers. you should be mad your neighbor always wants to hang out. and you should be mad your smart fridge
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prevagen. healthier brain. better life. welcome back. about a minute and a half to go until gavel time as we look at lamar alexander, and as we have a story we're covering. >> we just got this statement coming across the wire from our representative engle who adds this to the public discourse today about his interactions with john bolton. he says that he, john bolton and
i spoke by telephone on september 23rd and on that call ambassador suggested to me unprompted that the committee, he's the chairman of the house foreign affairs committee, look into the recall of ambassador marie yovanovitch. he implied something improper occurred around her removal as our top diplomat in kiev. i mean, geoff bennett joins us. this is whistleblower 2.0. this is john bolton telling a democratic house committee chair to investigate the removal of marie yovanovitch. we now know that was executed by secretary of state mike pompeo and polluted by rudy giuliani and lev parnas. what is the impact of this revelation and why is it coming out now? >> it's remarkable. john bolton was telling engle to look into this marie yovanovitch situation before she was a household name among those of us
who closely followed the news. in that statement, eliot engel says he told his staff to reach out to john bolton on september 19th. engle says he and bolton had a long relationship, a cover jurd relationship. they spoke on december 23rd when bolton relayed his concerns about the ousting of ma yovanovitch. the next day is when nancy pelosi fully embraced the impeachment inquiry making clear the six respective committees would do the work that led to impeachment which brought us to this trial. this is just another data point in this simmering senate saga, really, surrounding john bolton's potential testimony. and you have to imagine as you mentioned rl earlier this hour, this book comes out in three weeks. you can imagine day by day, there's more development like this. senators have a real
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