Skip to main content

tv   Hallie Jackson Reports  MSNBC  August 11, 2022 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT

12:00 pm
obviously, he is delayed. as soon as he comes out, we're going to go there live. we will take his remarks in full. he is expected to talk about the search of mar-a-lago. that is what we anticipate he will be talking about. the detail that he will get into is still unknown. kelly o'donnell at the white house has said the white house was given no prior indication that merrick garland would be speaking at all, let alone any indication about what exactly he would say. but again, he is around 30 minutes delayed right now. as soon as it begins, we will go there. andrew, you're still with us. i just want to ask again on this, could it be merrick garland comes out and just says we were just trying to retrieve this material, we needed to have it back, it is sensitive information, we needed to make sure we could handle it ourselves, it couldn't just be at mar-a-lago behind a door with
12:01 pm
a commercially available lock or whatever lock they had on it, we needed it, no one is being charged with a crime? >> i don't think that -- i don't think all of that will happen. i don't think that he will say anything about who will or will not be charged with a crime. i'd just be surprised if that conclusion has been reached at this point. i also think that he will -- if he does go down this road he's going to address why a search warrant was necessary. it may not be in detail. i don't think he'll do anything to out any particular source or sources they had. but i do think that if he addresses this he has to address why they proceeded by way of search warrant and couldn't trust a subpoena to be the
12:02 pm
mechanism that was used. and then i think he's going to really assure people about the rule of law, about the system that's used, about the probable cause standard, about what a court needs to do, that it's not just the justice department, and assure people. and i think in many ways merrick garland in his person is such a manof rectitude and has such quiet force, i think that also will speak volumes to people who are not coming at this with closed mind. and i think that also will have an enormous effect. and finally, you know, there is precedent for something obviously not exactly like this, but going -- i'm old enough to remember archibald cox. and there is precedent in unusual circumstances to explain to the american people unusual circumstances, particularly where the investigation itself
12:03 pm
is already public. the thing that i don't think he will do, katy, is anything close to what jim comey did. i don't think he will in any way say anything that is disparaging directly of the former president, even if it may be by inference something that we all can sort of read the tea leaves. but i don't think he's going to go down that road of giving his own personal views of what happened here. >> neal, i'm curious about what you think about the pressure from inside the justice department. by the way, we just got a two-minute warning to attorney general merrick garland, so don't go anywhere. but the pressure within the justice department for merrick garland to say something was very loud among republicans and some folks out there who just want to know more. but there are, according to sources who spoke with kristen welker, my colleague here at nbc news, there were people within the justice department who were saying hey, listen, we've got to
12:04 pm
get out there and say something about this. >> to resuscitate the tradition of trying to have, you know, open dialogue with people who think differently within the department and bubbling all the way up to him. you know, trump basically -- those justice departments were just filled with kind of single-note people who all thought the same way. but garland's really done that. i suspect still the kind of quiet voices, the ones saying let's follow the department's traditional rules will win out in the end. so i don't expect a lot of fulsome discussion here. but i he very well may be wrong. andrew is right more often than i am. so i may lose this bet. we'll see. >> well, we got indication that he's going to be talking about the search. so we'll see if -- how much detail we get about it. again, we should be about a minute away from not less to merrick garland. chuck rosenberg, going to squeeze one more question in to you. what are you expecting? tell us again.
12:05 pm
>> well, i would never bet with neal or andrew. they're both smarter than me and would take my money. but the affidavit has to be unsealed at some point because it will no longer be a legitimate law enforcement purpose for keeping it sealed. so that wouldn't shock me. just to add a little bit of color, as you look at this podium on your screen, off to the left there's a door and behind that door is a small green room with the people who are going to be on the dais, and maybe it will just be the attorney general today, gather and speak. and i see you're panning over to it now. well -- >> there he is, attorney general merpic garland. sorry, chuck, let's go and listen. >> good afternoon. since i became attorney general, i have made clear that the department of justice will speak through its court filings and its work. just now the justice department has filed a motion in the southern district of florida to unseal a search warrant and property receipt relating to a
12:06 pm
court-approved search that the fbi conducted earlier this week. that search was a premises located in florida belonging to the former president. the department did not make any public statements on the day of the search. the former president publicly confirmed the search that evening, as is his right. copies of both the warrant and the fbi property receipt were provided on the day of the search to the former president's counsel, who was on site during the search. the search warrant was authorized by a federal court upon the required finding of probable cause. the property receipt is a document that federal law requires law enforcement agents to leave with the property owner. the department filed the motion to make public the warrant and receipt in light of the former president's public confirmation of the search, the surrounding circumstances, and the substantial public interest in
12:07 pm
this matter. faithful adherence to the rule of law is the bedrock principle of the justice department and of our democracy. upholding the rule of law means applying the law evenly, without fear or favor. under my watch that is precisely what the justice department is doing. all americans are entitled to the evenhanded application of the law, to due process of the law, and to the presumption of innocence. much of our work is by necessity conducted out of the public eye. we do that to protect the constitutional rights of all americans and to protect the integrity of our investigations. federal law, long-standing department rules, and our ethical obligations prevent me from providing further details as to the basis of the search at
12:08 pm
this time. there are, however, certain points i want you to know. first, i personally approved the decision to seek a search warrant in this matter. second, the department does not take such a decision lightly. where possible, it is standard practice to seek less intrusive means as an alternative to a search and to narrowly scope any search that is undertaken. third, let me address recent unfounded attacks on the professionalism of the fbi and justice department agents and prosecutors. i will not stand by silently when their integrity is unfairly attacked. the men and women of the fbi and the justice department are dedicated, patriotic public servants. every day they protect the american people from violent crime, terrorism, and other threats to their safety while
12:09 pm
safeguarding our civil rights. they do so at great personal sacrifice and risk to themselves. i am honored to work alongside them. this is all i can say right now. more information will be made available in the appropriate way and at the appropriate time. thank you. >> attorney general, before -- >> excuse me. thank you all for your questions. but as i said, this is all i can say at this time. >> so i just got handed the motion to unseal the search warrant. here's the motion. to unseal the search warrant and the property receipt that was filed by the department of justice in south florida. that is what attorney general merrick garland started off this news conference. so we will get that information. what the search warrant said and what the property receipt lists. he also said, and let's underscore this, that he personally approved this search
12:10 pm
warrant. all indications among everybody that knows how the justice department works were that he would have needed to do it because it would be so sensitive. he confirmed that right there. he personally approved the search warrant. he said the department of justice doesn't take it lightly, and he made a point of saying he also will not stand by when the fbi and the justice department is attacked. that the integrity of his officers and his agents is paramount and that they do a big hard job, my words, not his, of protecting the american public every single day. so chuck rosenberg, you are my man on all things explanatory. explain again to you are o'audience what would be contained within the search warrant and what information we would get from the property receipt. >> sure, katy. so three parts to a search warrant generally speaking. the affidavit, which lays out the government's case for probable cause, which the judge
12:11 pm
reviews. the search warrant itself, which is typically a one-page order. and the inventory that you alluded to, or the list of items that were seized. as the attorney general said, that list of items that are seized, the inventory, has to be left at the home, and so mr. trump presumably has it. the one-page warrant, the order, would be presented at the home at the time of the search. so mr. trump presumably has it. the thing we're all waiting for is the affidavit, the underlying probable cause statement. and that can run many, many pages. so the document you just held up in front of the camera, the motion to unseal is a motion by the government, by the united states attorney to ask the court to make that document public, meaning there's no longer a legitimate law enforcement purpose for keeping it sealed. whatever's in that document we will soon see. whatever's in the inventory we will soon see.
12:12 pm
we can stop guessing and we'll know exactly what it is they're looking for, what crime they believe was committed, why they thought they would find evidence of that crime in the place they were searching, and the things they took as a result of the search warrant. so the other part of this, katy, i am not at all surprised, and i'm sure neal is not surprised and andrew's not surprised and any of us who were up in the department of justice are not surprised that the attorney general himself had personally approved this search warrant, this law enforcement action. it would have been utterly shocking had he not. it would have been a massive dereliction of duty. i've been saying on television for a few days now, i think you can characterize it as my blathering, that it had to be the case. so that is not at all surprising. third thing, i'm very glad that the attorney general spoke up on behalf of the men and women of the fbi. like andrew, i worked there. i had two stints there. i considered it the privilege of a lifetime professionally and personally to have been part of
12:13 pm
that great organization and watching unfounded attacks on those men and women is utterly revolting. the notion that the fbi would have planted evidence at mar-a-lago is a sickening lie. and so i'm glad the attorney general spoke up on behalf of these men and women. it was overdue in my view. >> he said, "i will not stand by silently when their integrity is unfairly attacked. men and women of the fbi and the justice department are dedicated, patriotic public." so i -- there are a couple things in this motion to unseal, the search warrant and the property list. the warrant was signed and approved on august 5th, 2022. i'm not sure if we knew that before this. second question to you. chuck. was going to be when are we going to he know, when are we going to get this stuff unsealed, when will we get this information? and i know you're saying soon, but there's this last paragraph, and i'll read it. in this motion. it says, "this matter plainly concerns public officials or public concerns. as it involves a law enforcement
12:14 pm
action taken at the property of the 45th president of the united states, the public's clear and powerful interest in understanding what occurred under these circumstances weighs heavily in favor of unsealing. that said, the former president should have an opportunity to respond to this motion and lodge objections including with regards to any legitimate privacy interests or the potential for injury if these materials are made public. to that end the government will furnish counsel for the former president with a copy of this motion. so what's your sense of timeline, chuck? >> so that shifts it slightly, katy. and by the way, i think that's a very sensible thing for the government to do. in the ordinary case, and i've done a whole bunch of ordinary cases, the government files a motion with the court to unseal the search warrantor the arrest warrant, the affidavits, whatever the documents may be, and the judge signs it. so in the ordinary case it would probably happen by close of business today. this is not the ordinary case. and so i think it's absolutely appropriate for the government
12:15 pm
to invite counsel for mr. trump to weigh in. now, there is still a very, very strong predisposition in the law for documents to be made public because of the public interest in knowing what the contents are. so the judge may invite a brief from mr. trump's lawyers. he may hold a hearing. none of that would be inappropriate. to your primary question, it'll slow things down a bit. but this is the first step in getting the affidavit. and again, we ought to be careful in the interim of conjecture, of guessing, speculating of what's in it. we know certain things about search warrants. so we can tell you how they work. we can tell you how you obtain one. we can tell you the legal standard for it because it's contained within the fourth amendment of the constitution. that's all stuff we know because that's search warrant law 101. but what's actually in the affidavit, what the procedural history was, which we alluded to
12:16 pm
earlier, whether they asked nicely several times, whether they issued grand jury subpoenas, whether they resorted to a search warrant, because none of those other things worked, that will probably be in the affidavit too. and we will see it. we just have to be a little more patient now. >> just to help reset everything, chuck, you're also joined, we are also joined by msnbc legal analyst neal katyal, the former acting solicitor general. former fbi general counsel and former senior member of the mueller probe andrew weissman now an msnbc legal analyst. former u.s. attorney joyce vance. nbc news white house correspondent mike memoli, who's traveling with the president, president biden in south carolina. josh dawsey, political investigative reporter for the "washington post," along with jake sherman, co-founder of punchbowl news and msnbc political contributor. in talking about how long this is going to take, joyce, the modus operandi for former president donald trump in most of his legal dealings if not all of them is to delay. he often finds a way to delay. i imagine that his team would use the same strategy for this.
12:17 pm
i mean, they have been exploiting the lack of information right now, donald trump has, to his own advantage, claiming all sorts of baseless things like the fbi was potentially planing evidence at his house. >> doj has really put mr. trump on the horns of a dilemma here because he's the one who's accusing them of misbehavior. he's the one who's been on the offensive so far. he did that, one would suspect, thinking that doj would not respond. and now merrick garland has jumped a little bit in front of where the trump camp is, offering the search warrant unsealed to the public, which chuck has done a great job of explaining the search warrant is where we would expect to receive a lot of information about the basis doj had for asking a federal judge to issue this search warrant. so delay may not be as friendly for trump as it typically is. usually, it just works to his
12:18 pm
advantage to string things out. but when he's come to the public for these last 48 hours, a little bit more than that, trying to put the justice department and the fbi in a bad light, well, now here's the opportunity for the truth to be revealed. and it strains belief a little bit that even trump's followers will permit him to say, well, i didn't really mean it, we shouldn't expose the truth, when exposing the search warrant for the public's view is the best way for all of us to understand precisely what's been going on. >> what about who is listed on this motion to unseal? and i don't know if you have a copy of it, andrew, right now. but i'll tell you. juan antonio gonzalez, the united states attorney. also j.i. bratt, chief counterintelligence and export control section, national security division. do you know those two gentlemen? does it indicate anything to you
12:19 pm
that they are signees? andrew's not with us right now. i don't see him. oh, no, he is. oh, you're nodding. i don't know why my executive producer got in my ear there. tell me. >> so j. bratt is the person who by all accounts was down in mar-a-lago in june. he's a career employee of the national security division. and the other gentleman is at the local u.s. attorney's office. so this makes total sense that they would be signing it. i wouldn't read too much more into it. i think to follow up on what joyce said this is really merrick garland calling donald trump's bluff, because this basically says, you know what, if you think that this violates your civil liberties, if you've got a concern about privacy, you can oppose this motion, but we are willing to make all of this public with court approval and they can see for themselves that everything was done right here.
12:20 pm
and now the ball's in your court to say wait, i want to hide this from the american public. the other thing i think that's worth noting that merrick garland said is he made an allusion to the fact that they did try other means before they went to resorting to a search warrant. he said typically that is what you would do. and i think that's his way of signaling that i think when we actually do get the unsealing of this material that we're going to see that the justice department as is merrick garland's want has probably gone very carefully in trying to do this through means that were less draconian than a search warrant. >> neal, the attorney general came out and he was very judicious. he was careful about what he was saying. you could tell he was reading from a teleprompter. now, he didn't reveal all that much. he's leaving it to the courts to
12:21 pm
reveal what's in the search warrant and what's in the inventory list. and as we've been talking about, he's now putting the ball in donald trump's court to say hey, no, we don't want anyone to know about what is there, calling donald trump's bluff essentially, as we've been saying. what did you make of what we saw there from the attorney general? >> that was a true attorney general of the united states, katy, acting like the way attorneys general typically have throughout our history sxept for, you know, a four-year blip recently. you know, it's such a contrast with donald trump. just take, for example, merrick garland's three points today. one, the importance of the rule of law as the fabric of our society. two, the importance of the evenhanded application of the law. and third, the presumption of innocence even for the former president in the context of this search. all three of those are kind of hallmarks of the department at its best. it's not surprising to me to see
12:22 pm
garland doing it. nor is it surprising for me for him to file this motion to unseal but to say look, donald trump, this implicates some of your interests, even though strictly speaking we don't have to tell the court to go and seek out your views, we're going to do so here and be particularly solicitous of getting that information to the court and so it will be briefed up. and that is going to delay things, no doubt. but there is a way in which this is a key chess move as well. it's the right thing to do, but it's a key chess move because for the last 48 hours donald trump has been blathering on, along with the republican party, saying this search is abusive and so on, and we've all been saying look, you've got the warrant, you know, release it to us. and now garland's figured out a way to get that released, which is to go to the court and do so and force trump to take a position, to say oh no, now this should actually be maintained confidentially and quietly away from the eyes of the american public. so i think this was a brilliant
12:23 pm
press conference and the right thing to do in this extraordinary circumstance. the last thing i do want to say is i do think andrew's right in saying the one piece of detail we really got here besides the attorney general personally approved the search was that they had tried less intrusive means. that looks like a subpoena requesting the documents. they couldn't get the documents that way. so they had to take the extraordinary step i think for the first time in american history of going into a former president's home with a search warrant to get the material. >> and the "new york times" reported today that there was a subpoena. nbc news confirmed that as well. again, this confirmed triply now, it seems, from attorney general merrick garland. josh dawsey, i know you are in touch with folks in donald trump's world. any reaction from them so far? >> i do know there's been a change in the opinion of some of the trump advisers i've spoken to this week. the initial observations seemed to be they thought this was an
12:24 pm
overreach by the department of justice, and they thought that it would actually play to his favor to some degree. but there seems to be over the last couple of days a realization that they may not have known other things he took and he may have taken some things that could be problematic. i mean, you have maggie haberman reported this earlier, and this is true, you have some folks that are around the former president telling gop leaders, you know, kind of dial back with stuff on the fbi and the doj, you know, we -- this sko get rockier in the coming days. there certainly seems to have been a sea change in the past couple of days in trump world. one of the things, katy, is a lot of the folks around the former president don't really know what was in those boxes. there are some aides who do. some have been questioned by the fbi. but a lot of his current folks aren't really sure what he took. and i guess either they don't want to ask him, haven't asked him. i don't know what he's told them. but there really is some consternation because there seems to be in trump world not a full sense, at least among the
12:25 pm
folks i've talked to, and i think some of my competitors, that they really know all the facts here. >> all right. jake sherman, a lot of the people that have been rallying to the president's defense are republican lawmakers, being pretty forceful about what they -- to put it nicely said is an overreach but they've used much stronger terms. in some cases likening the department of justice and the fbi to third world -- third world countries. marco rubio did that. what might their reaction be now? >> katy, this morning steve scalise went on fox news and said -- and fox news pushed back to their credit. but said that this is a rogue fbi operation, that the fbi is out of control essentially, and sharply criticized the fbi. i mean, in the overarching story of the house republican leadership, which has stood -- which by the way stands on the precipice of winning the house majority but also stands firmly
12:26 pm
under any circumstance with donald trump, i mean, this is going to be, if you believe -- and again, having no ideal what was in the search warrantor the property receipt, if he improperly as josh and maggie and others have reported, if he improperly took sensitive documents from the white house and yet you have the republican leadership suggesting that it is -- that one of the chief law enforcement agencies in the united states has gone rogue, it's going to be a horribly embarrassing incident to the house republican leadership. and remember, this is a long time ago, but the last time the republicans took the majority they said they were going to be the sober leaders in this country. we're very far from that. and maybe this will teach them a lesson, katy, and if they haven't learned this by now maybe it will not. but maybe it will teach them the lesson that trump isn't honest. because i know people who have had dinner, the republican study committee had dinner with donald trump at bed minister and i
12:27 pm
talked to a couple of people who had dinner with him said he doesn't seem worried, he thinks it's completely boeingus and it's fine. he said it's no big deal. i mean, we're going to see whether that's true or not quite soon. and based on that press conference, it certainly doesn't seem -- and again, i'm not a lawyer. this is conjecture. but it does not seem as if merrick garland would have motioned for this to become public if they just went in, got nothing and moved on. so again, could be a quite embarrassing incident for the house republican leadership, which by the way the house comes in tomorrow, there's going to be plenty of opportunities to ask these lawmakers this question. >> a lot of no comments, i imagine, like we used to see when donald trump was in office or a lot of scurrying off down the hallways and pretending like they didn't hear. what about republican leadership in the senate? mitch mcconnell took 24 hours to comment on this initially. what's your expectation on their reaction? >> well, mcconnell, if you noticed, katy, merrick garland should address this, and
12:28 pm
merrick garland has addressed this. he has not said this is a rogue operation. mitch mcconnell wants literally nothing to do -- his statement about this raid, or about this search did not even include donald trump's name, katy. so he will have no problem, if the evidence presents itself, throwing donald trump under the bus. absolutely no problem. despises the man at this point. and the senate leadership has been john thune didn't endorse donald trump last time. i don't anticipate he will ever endorse donald trump. the senate republican leadership is a little bit different, save rick scott, who takes every opportunity to tie himself to trump. and who has also similarly criticized i believe this raid -- this search warrant situation. so you'll see a big split there between mcconnell and mccarthy, the two republican leaders who have taken very different tacks when it comes to donald trump. >> joyce, again, we don't know what we don't know. and so i don't want to go out there and guess what they might have found or might not have found. but i'm curious if you have a
12:29 pm
reaction to what jake just said there, which is that merrick garland didn't seem like somebody who came out and didn't get anything at mar-a-lago. he sounded more confident than that. >> i think jake is on to something here, and this is consistent with what we've seen from merrick garland and his goals for the justice department under his leadership. he's tried to be a steady hand. he's restored the rule of law. he's done the right thing but has also done the right thing in the right way so that americans can have confidence in the justice system. he's taken this fairly unusual step of speaking to the country today, but he did so in a very measured way, again, not talking about the substance of the investigation very much, talking more about the procedure and the way doj conducts itself, but committing to unseal it sounds to me, katy, like the portions
12:30 pm
of the search warrant that would have been left at mar-a-lago for trump. so it's not entirely clear to me, having had a chance to review some of the paperwork that we'll see the entirety of doj's evidence, but we will understand what they went there for. we will understand what they came away with. for something that's highly classified, even compartmentalized national security information, it's likely that the description will be somewhat obscured because revealing too much detail what was seized would defeat the purpose of protecting that national security information. but the reality is we classify information in this country when its release would damage the national security. and if unsealing these documents conveys to americans that mr. trump was willing to hold on to this information even when it was requested from him, even i suspect when doj pointed out that he wasn't entitled to it and that his continued
12:31 pm
possession violated the law, revealing that entire train of events and talking about the type of damage that could have been done even in vague terms could perhaps finally break through with some folks who have held on to trump for this long. >> chuck, to go back to what we were talking about earlier and what joyce was just talking about as well, for probable cause for the search warrant, i know we don't know what the probable cause was, we haven't seen the search warrant, but is there just a general, you know, variety of causes that are out there that might apply to something like this? can we make an educated assumption? >> yeah, well, let me give you a framework which might help, katy. there are various standards in the criminal law that we use all the time to convict someone at trial it's the highest standard of proof, beyond a reasonable doubt. for a verdict in a civil case it's a preponderance of the evidence. a lower standard. for a search warrant it's the lowest standard that we
12:32 pm
routinely use in the criminal law. probable cause. why? because it's an investigative step. you're at the beginning. it would be crazy to require proof beyond a reasonable doubt to get a search warrant because you don't have that quantity of evidence when you're starting an investigation. now, here i imagine we're not quite at the beginning of it, but we're certainly not at the end of it. and so probable cause is by design a lower standard of proof. it's tethered to the fourth amendment of the constitution because our founders understood that in order to initiate a case or to further an investigation it would be crazy to require the highest standard of proof. so probable cause, to your question, means probably. and it's based on the facts and circumstances of any particular case. right? so if somebody saw highly classified documents, and i think neal and andrew both alluded to this earlier, they're easy to spot. they have very distinctive cover
12:33 pm
sheets. they're marked on every page. i mean, unless someone went and tore off the cover pages and cut off all the markings, you know that you have a classified document in front of you because they are easy to spot. so if someone saw that in the house, if someone heard trump brag about keeping this stuff, if someone did that recently, that can be probable cause in and of itself. remember, again, it is by design and purposefully so a relatively low standard. now, we'll able to judge for ourselves at some point because i imagine that the search warrant affidavit will be unsealed once the president's team weighs in, as i hope i mentioned earlier, there is a strong predisposition in the law to making documents public because of the public interest in all criminal proceedings. but particularly so when a president or former president of the united states is involved. so probable cause means probably. it's not a harnd standard to achieve.
12:34 pm
and that is by design. >> not to get out ahead of our skis, not to be irresponsible in what we are -- i don't want to say guessing but what we're taking away from what the department of justice is doing, but they often say they speak through indictments. i'm wondering, do they speak through unsealing, motions to unseal? what does it suggest to you? does it suggest there is a larger investigation, criminal investigation going on if they're motioning to unseal the search warrant and the inventory? or is it nothing at all? >> maybe there's a better way to say it than they only speak through indictments. they speak in court. i think that's the way i would say it. indictments in court, trials in court. but also motions in court and search warrant affidavits in court. and so is there something bigger coming? maybe. does it involve donald trump? will he be charged with a crime? i literally have no idea.
12:35 pm
i was in the justice department for a long time but i'm not there now. i have lots of friends who still work there. but they would never share that kind of information with me, just as i would never have shared it with someone on the outside when i was on the inside. so i think it's fair to say this, katy, and it may be somewhat unsatisfactory to your viewers, but we know relatively little. there's a lot more that we don't know. the affidavit will clear some of it up. it will tell us the basis for probable cause. as i think a number of the panelists have mentioned in the course of the last hour or so, there would have been a very, very careful review of this affidavit. it would have been scrutinized at the highest levels and multiple times. and by the way, we all know this as former prosecutors, but your viewers may not. we don't really like to go into
12:36 pm
court with just probable cause even though that's all we need. we like to go in with a lot more. we don't go to trial against somebody if there's only a reasonable probability of conviction, which is the standard we use to assess our case. we go when we think we have overwhelming evidence and are likely not only to win a conviction at trial but to sustain the verdict on appeal. so we talk about mere probable cause or just probable cause or the fact that probable cause is all that is required, a relatively low level of proof at this stage of the investigation. but i imagine you're going to see when you do see the affidavit significantly more evidence than mere probable cause. >> and it could be some time before we see that affidavit. but andrew, what do you think of that? is chuck right? do you go in with a lot more than probable cause? >> oh, yeah. absolutely. if you're doing this i think there's a reason that merrick
12:37 pm
garland is saying, you know what, you don't want this to make it public, donald trump, you're going to have to publicly say that you want to keep this secret, because he's confident that this is a strong document. there's something really interesting here, which is katy, you read the last part of the motion that we now have and it says a copy of this is going to be given to the former president. so presumably that means that the former sxrnt his counsel have the motion and the underlying application because in order to actually decide whether they want to object or not i think they would need to be given not just the warrant and the return but the actual underlying affidavit. so they actually now are going to be i think seeing all of that information which is going to make it, as joy said, an even harder proposition for them in
12:38 pm
terms of do they object knowing what's coming because they see just how strong that -- presumably how strong it is. the other thing they might do is they could leak it because this is the kind of thing that is now going to be in the hands of quite a number of people. but it certainly would give the former president a chance to figure out what he's going to say and figure out, you know, what his best attack is in light of what we're all going to learn. and this i have to say does remind me of the moment where, if you remember, del bard knew what was in the special counsel report but there were three weeks where we in the special counsel knew what it was and bill barr knew what it was but everyone had to live with bill barr's summary. but i think we may be in this position where the president -- the former president and his people know what is in that
12:39 pm
affidavit, the doj knows what's in the affidavit, but we're all sitting here waiting. but i don't think this will be a long time before we get this made public. i don't think that the former president can take the position that this cannot be made public. i think that is an untenable position. >> you know, i was anchoring when the bill barr summary came out. and looking back on the span of my career, volunteering to anchor that day might have been the biggest mistake i ever made. and i say that very seriously because we got handed a really short document with no underlying evidence, with one half quote, i believe, from the actual mueller report, and that's all we had to go on. we couldn't cross-check it with anything from what you guys had found. and it allowed bill barr, with this summary which was misleading, to get a head start on the truth of the mueller report for many weeks. and it's a real problem. it's a problem that the trump administration exploited by the way that we work in the news
12:40 pm
business. and so i guess that leads me to my next question, which is donald trump could release, as you said, the search warrant. he could release the inventory list. he has that power. he could do it right now. they could leak the affidavit. they could ask for a delay. they could object. if they do object, what's the timeline on that? how long could they keep this from the public? >> well, the court is going to set a time frame. i mean, the court is not going to wait a long time. a typical amount of time would be a week or maybe two weeks to be heard. obviously with the former president if he asked for two weeks i don't think you're going to hear the court saying that's unreasonable. but i strongly suspect that whatever amount of time the former president would ask for that the court would then quite quickly decide it. i don't think, just as a political matter, that the
12:41 pm
former president can object to this. maybe there are certain redactions that he might ask for. but even that i doubt. >> we will see. we also get a lot of indication on how the president feels about what is in that affidavit if they get a little bit more information on it by the way that he acts publicly, what he starts saying on the social media accounts that he's allowed to use right now and what his allies start saying on, you know, social media accounts but also fox news and other friendly outlets. mike memoli, i know you're traveling with the president. the white house did not get a heads-up about this. they weren't told that merrick garland was going to speak. they were not told what merrick garland was going to say. what are they telling you right now? do they have any reaction to what he revealed? >> nope. no, katy. they have no reaction so far to what merrick garland just announced, nor as we saw the other night when the search was
12:42 pm
executed at mar-a-lago was the white house in a position to say anything other than they learned of it only -- and the president importantly only learned of it from public news reports. and that is not just done to frustrate reporters like you and me, who are covering this and trying to learn anything we can about how the administration is responding to this. this is exactly the way it should be working in the view of white house officials. you remember president biden ran during the campaign on restoring the integrity and the independence of the justice department. and that means, as the president so often put it during the campaign, not treating the justice department, not treat ing the attorney general like he's your own personal attorney. this is why, and this i think speaks to the decision that was made in the fall of 2020, 2019 leading up to it, to choose merrick garland as the attorney general nominee. you used a word earlier which i think is appropriate. he was judicious. and that is exactly -- it's hard to separate merrick garland in
12:43 pm
his current government job as the attorney general from his most recent government job, which was the chief judge of the d.c. circuit court of appeals. the decision to choose merrick garland for one of the most sensitive positions in the government as attorney general, especially given the day president biden as president elect announced his choice of garland, the day after the january 6th insurrection, spoke to the sensitivity of this position. and the white house has been at pains to say that throughout this process they have not been getting any sort of formal briefings or heads-up about these tactics that are being employed by justice department officials in the course of their investigation. and in fact, katy, an administration official told me that the white house at least at this point expects that the only heads-up they would get before the public is made aware of something would be a charging decision or a declination to charge a senior official in the previous administration regarding anything that they're uncovering adds part of a wide-ranging investigation. so the president of course here in south carolina enjoying a little bit of r&r. they would prefer, much prefer that i was on the air now
12:44 pm
talking about what has been a largely successful period for this administration in getting his domestic agenda through. so in that respect politically the timing of all of this is certainly unwelcome. but obviously they're choosing to highlight at this moment the fact that as we just saw from merrick garland this is an administration, this is a justice department that is trying to operate within a very narrow fine line and independent of the administration of the president who appointed him. >> we've lost jake sherman, but we do -- we are getting some reaction from house republicans that he was curious how they'd react. well, here's marsha blackburn -- i'm sorry, senators. here's senator marsha blackburn. merrick garland personally approved a search warrant to take down joe biden's top political opponent. this is a politically motivated witch hunt. so still using the preferred language that donald trump likes to use whenever there's an investigation into him. chuck, the -- and this can go to chuck, to joyce, to andrew and everybody here. the fbi, the department of
12:45 pm
justice, they've taken a hit in their credibility with the american public over the years since donald trump started going after them, since 2015, 2016. they've gone down in public approval roles -- polls, excuse me. most notably with republicans but also with some democrats, or democrats it's gone up i should say. how do they gain it back? how do they get people to start trusting them again? can they do it if there's a wing of american politics filled with some big name leaders in the republican world going after them and calling them political operatives and calling them witch hunters? chuck. >> right. so katy, doing hard things is not always popular. and some of this is cyclical by nature. but when you have a president who disparages the men and women of the fbi and the justice department at every turn, you have to expect some of this. so how do you get it back? well, you do the right thing in the right way.
12:46 pm
you make principled decisions based on law and fact. you're not running popularity contests at the department of justice. and you understand sometimes when you charge certain people or take certain actions there's going to be blowback. but if you did the right thing in the right way, you made principled decisions based on the law and the facts, i don't mean to be cavalier about it, right? but so be it. you really are not running for election. this is an important part of the justice department a lot of folks don't understand. the fbi has 37,000 people. and when i speak publicly about it, i always ask folks in the audience to tell me how many of those 37,000 they believe are politically appointed. and you get all kinds of interesting answers. hundreds. 500. 30. 70. the answer is one. the answer is one. it's the director of the fbi. joyce was the united states attorney for the northern district of alabama. i don't know quite how many people she had in her office.
12:47 pm
she'll know of course. but how many of them were politically appointed? and the answer is one. joyce. and by the way, joyce was a career official before she was ever a political appointee. and so the political layer by design in the department of justice and the fbi is actually very thin and very thin for a reason. it enables career men and women, career prosecutors and agents to do the right thing in the right way for the right reason. and if people don't like it or don't understand it or wish he did something else, you know, you can't always accommodate that. and that's the way it goes. >> joyce, you were invoked, so i'll go to you. but there's also this idea, and the president, former president himself has said he would do this if he were re-elected, that he'd institute something he calls schedule f. it's an executive order that he put in place in the later days of his term in office. president biden undid it. but it would essentially be a litmus test for those non-politically appointed
12:48 pm
officials and staffers within the bureaucracy, including the department of justice, a loyalty test essentially to donald trump, sniffing out what he has alleged is the deep state. what do you think of that? >> well, we don't have to think very hard to reject this as just a terrible idea. you're exactly right when you call this a loyalty pledge. and we know from donald trump's early interactions with jim comey that what he's looking for is personal loyalty. that's not how our government runs. it's not about having career public servants who are loyal to a president. it's about having career public servants who are loyal to the constitution and who work on behalf of the american people. do they take orders from the president? do they take direction from the policies of the current administration? of course they do. but in my office we used to sometimes laugh when we talked
12:49 pm
about political appointees and we would say we're bes. we be here when they come. we be here when they go. and career public servants across the government take enormous pride in doing their jobs, as i think chuck and andrew and i have all invoked today, in the right way, for the right reasons, in service to the american people. katy, the final thing that i'll say is this. our justice system like so much of our government can only be effective as long as americans have confidence. and in perhaps one of the greatest, i'll use the word crimes, although maybe not technically a crime that donald trump committed, was compromising the confidence that americans have in federal law enforcement, in prosecutors, in agents, in the intelligence services, and doing that without having any basis for doing it. it's appalling. it compromises the functioning of government. and very much so at doj we
12:50 pm
viewed the public's trust, the public's confidence in us as something like a reservoir that filled with water very slowly, a drop at a time. that was difficult and painstaking work, and you had to be very careful to constantly work in a way that integrity. sometimes things went amiss and that was difficult and people would bend over backwards to try to fix it and get it right, but that reservoir is like a balloon in the sense that one pinprick in that reservoir of trust and confidence that the public has and all of that water that you've spent so much time building up, it can all leak out very quickly. i think unfortunately, we face that prospect today. merrick garland is working as hard as he can to demonstrate through his actions that the public can trust the work that he is doing, that the career employees of the justice department are doing. donald trump is working as hard as he can to protect himself at the expense of some of the
12:51 pm
public servants of the fbi who are some of the finest people that i've ever worked with, and we have the unfortunate specter of elected republican leadership who will not expose what the former president is doing and call it out for the travesty that it is. it is in many ways incumbent upon them to come forward, and as i think chuck has pointed out and jake has pointed out, the embarrassment will be theirs that as we are about to see the contents will begin to be unsealed and we'll see how the president's conduct was and how his republican allies have supported him nonetheless. >> andrea, i want to get you to react to lindsay graham who has just weighed in. he said the primary reason the attorney general are being pushed to disclose why the search is necessary is because of the deep mistrust of the fbi and doj when it comes to all things trump such as the crossfire, hurricane and mueller
12:52 pm
investigations. >> well, that's coming from somebody who is at the very least a witness in the fulton county criminal investigation and soon may have some interest in denigrating law enforcement. the irony that this is coming from a party that said they backed law enforcement is -- is palpable. katie, the one thing i would add to chuck and joyce, and i do think to your point earlier that you are going to see the department, and i think it's necessary for the department and law enforcement in general to be thinking about the public education function and there is a reason why the jury system is such a wonderful thing in this country because american citizens, day in and day out, get to see how courts work and they're part of the process and it cuts down on the cynicism and
12:53 pm
the sort of conspiracy theories because they're there. they are the ones who are making the decision. that's not the case with, you know, criminal law enforcement other than those people who sit in a grand jury and it's very useful to have merrick garland and chris wray and other people speaking about the process and what it's done and not just thinking that rectitude itself will carry the day when you have such a large megaphone on the other side and it's necessary, i think, to really be thinking about that public education function in a way that traditionally you haven't had to because you don't have the party that really runs on a ticket of den grading law enforcement. >> civics. could also use it with journalist to educate the public on how we operate. nbc news has reached out to two of donald trump's lawyers to ask
12:54 pm
for their position on the unsealing of the warrant. yesterday vaughn hilliard spoke to a source within the trump team about their intentions and yesterday this person said, no, we're not releasing a copy of the warrant. there's also lara trump, donald trump's daughter-in-law saying merrick garland did nothing to reassure anyone that this wasn't a political attack. we have a couple of minutes left, and i left the best for last. michael beschloss, i know you've been waiting patiently, but i intended to come to you right now because i do want you with all of your historical perspective with all of the knowledge that you have to put this moment into context for us. >> well, i think you have to say here's a case where an ex-president who is in danger of being on the wrong side of the law is trying to trash the entire american people's confidence in the rule of law in the system that administers it
12:55 pm
and it's hard to escape the conclusion that you've got a president who is very happy to take down the system if it means that he is going to get some kind of immunity and what could be the cost of this? you know, katy, at the beginning of these last two hours and you have been absolutely superb, by the way, all of the way through with all sorts of unexpected developments, here's a case where what we made, the price americans may have to pay for this could be classified documents that are shared with a foreign government that does not wish us well. we'll know that soon or outbursts of violence in america may begin to mount. i don't worry about a civil war like 1861 with two armies fighting each other over different -- from different territorial sections of the united states. what do i worry about is mounting violence by people who hate our system or love donald
12:56 pm
trump or both, and now, unlike 1861, have access to social media and in some cases conservative media sphere and can use those to aggravate one another against the federal government and organize quickly in much the same way as happened on the 6th of january. i hope that none of that happens, but democracy is always fragile. every single one of united states always has to be vigilant. >> i know you can't talk about the details of the meeting that you had with the president and michael beschloss, thank you very much for being so patient. i did want you to wrap it all up. one update on another story. a standoff in ohio is under way after a suspect raised an ar-15
12:57 pm
at police. they pursued the suspect before he eventually exited the vehicle and began shooting at officers. we know no officers were hurt in that shooting, but it is unknown if the suspect sustained injuries during the exchange of gun fire. he is currently still in a standoff with the fbi and law enforcement officials. we'll have more as we have it. that is going to do it for me for this past two hours. "deadline: white house" is next after a quick break. "deadline: after a quick break. look what i! liberty mutual! they customize your home insurance... so you only pay for what you need! ♪young people having a good time with insurance.♪ ♪young people.♪ ♪good times.♪ ♪insurance!♪ only pay for what you need. ♪liberty liberty. liberty. liberty.♪
12:58 pm
12:59 pm
1:00 pm
♪♪ ♪♪ ♪ alaha, konichiwa and namaste. i'm john heilemann in for nicole wallace. what a week for her to be on vacation. from the completely unprecedented to highly unusual, we had another extraordinary moment. the united states attorney general merrick


1 Favorite

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on