tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC June 19, 2017 9:00pm-10:01pm PDT
a 22-year-old american college student, at to warmbier died today. he had visited north korea on a tour. during that tour, trying to leave the country, he was arrested by north korean authorities. they put him in prison for 17 months. we know very little about what happened to him during his 17 months in prison in north korea but he was sent home late last week in a coma and today his family announced that he died. the white house put out a statement mourning otto warmbier's death and condemning the brutality of the north korean regime. but there really is no clarity on what happened here. no clarity on what happened to this young man. and honestly, no sense from the white house or from the administration more broadly that they have any sense that they're going to get clarity on what happened here. but now this young man is dead. we are also watching tonight to see if there's another shoe that's going to drop militarily
after u.s. pilots shot down a syrian jet over syria. and i know at one level that sounds like another fraught thing that happened in the unending civil war in syria but this is actually something that never happens. it has been more than a decade since the united states shot down a manned aircraft from another country's military. it's just something that doesn't happen. but now it has happened and we don't know what the response is going to be in syria or anywhere else. syria's government is internationally isolated but they do have allies. most relevant ones here are russia and iran. both of which are heavily involved in the war in syria on the syrian government's side. we don't know what either of the countries or syria will do in response to this but this shoot down of a syrian military plane, this is a very unusual thing that the united states has just done.
and even though i know that news from the syrian civil war can kind of blur, can all kind of start to seem like a different version of the same story every day because the war is so terrible and going on for so long, the united states shooting down a manned aircraft from another military, this is a very unual situatio and it is worth being aware that there is likely to be a response, possibly a military response in the days ahead. so we have eyes on that. there's a lot going on in international news right now. in international news right now that involves americans. here at home, we've got eyes on capitol hill tonight where democratic senators are planning on being up all night to try to stop what is expected, what's believed to be the republican legislation to repeal the affordable care act. now, nobody has seen this legislation. there have been no hearings on this legislation. nobody knows exactly what they're going to be voting on or when.
but if this senate health care vote happens and the bill is anything like what passed in the house, it's expected that the bill would throw more than 20 million americans off of health insurance. we're going to be talking to one of the democratic senators who basically organized this floor fight tonight. democratic senators have held the floor in the senate already for more than four hours and we're going to be talking to one of the organizers of that fight coming up later on this hour. the other point of political focus, domestically tonight, is that there are two congressional elections tomorrow. one in south carolina, the seat formerly held by mick mulvaney who left to become the budget director for the prussian. tom price left the seat in congress to join trump's cabinet to run health and human services for the trump administration. that race to replace tom price already made the history books, it's already the single most expensive race for congress that
has ever been held in the history of congress. both of those races in georgia and in south carolina are going to be held tomorrow. we'll have more on both of those coming up a little later on in this hour. but "the washington post" broke the news that a federal grand jury in virginia has sent out subpoenas for contracts, communications and correspond related to about two dozen people and businesses that appear to be connected to trump campaign chairman paul manafort or his wife. now, grand juries operate in secret. federal prosecutors, they convene a grand jury. they show that grand jury evidence. they bring witnesses before the grand jury. it's a federal prosecutor's job to convince that grand jury to say yes if they want to issue a subpoena. if they want to force people to hand over documents or force somebody to testify. it's also a federal prosecutor's job to convince that grand jury
to sign off on an indictment if the prosecutor wants to bring criminal charges in a case. the dynamic between a prosecutor and a grand jury, the review of evidence, the hearing from witnesses in terms of a grand jury, the issuing of subpoenas, the filing of criminal charges, all of that stuff, that dynamic is sensitive stuff. even when a case is not something that reaches all the way into the white house. right? just in the normal course of business, the inner workings of a federal grand juror process, that dynamic between the grand jury and the prosecutor, that process is closed to the public. it's always secret. it is always very hard to find out about and therefore it can be difficult stuff to report out. but if this new report now in "the washington post" is true, then it would seem that it is the same federal grand jury in
the eastern district of virginia that is handling the federal investigation into trump national security adviser michael flynn and his ties and it would seem according to the "washington post," the same grand jury dealing with the flynn issue is also dealing with the manafort issue. it also now is handling these inquiries into the paul manafort and his foreign business ties as well. now, that's important because that would seem to indicate they're now bringing the cases sort of under one roof. they're consolidating their prosecutorial efforts. now, we had previously reported there might be indications that two separate federal grand juries in two places were looking into flynn and manafort respectively. whether that was true in the past or not, it appears to not be true now. from this "the washington post" report, we can surmise that it's all happening in one place now. this investigation including both the flynn part of it and
the manafort part of it is apparently now being run out of the eastern district of virginia. and if you're going to pick a place to run it out of that makes sense in terms of what we know about that district. eastern district of virginia right outside washington, d.c. geographically. kind of a mega district of federal prosecutions and those of national security stuff. this eastern district of virginia jurisdiction, that u.s. attorney's office, well, in terms of its specifics, not only handle a lot of national intelligence cases, in particular, they will handle national intelligence cases -- excuse me, national security cases that have an intelligence component to them. you've heard about fisa warrants and the fisa court. all that stuff related to the foreign intelligence surveillance act. there's also specific national security rules and law about that. that stuff fisa stuff tends to be handled through the eastern district of virginia. so national security focus. national security and intelligence focus in particular.
on paper, because of that, it makes sense that if these cases around the trump russia investigation, if they are going to get consolidated anywhere, they would likely be consolidated there in the eastern district of virginia. it makes sense on paper. makes sense in theory. in practice, though, it is a little weird because the u.s. attorney in the eastern district of virginia, the prosecutor who runs that district, is somebody who's kind of famous now, right? it's dana boente. remember that dramatic night in the second week of the new administration and president trump fired the acting attorney general, sally yates. they announced a new person appointed to be the acting attorney general now that yates was fired. the new person trump appointed that night to be the new acting attorney general was dana boente. he then served as the acting attorney general until they
confirmed jeff sessions and swore him in. at that point, boente was the acting deputy attorney general and held that job until rod rosenstein was confirmed and sworn in. then in march when president trump and the attorney general jeff sessions fired all the u.s. attorneys, all of a sudden with no warning, when they, surprise, demanded that all the u.s. attorneys all the federal prosecutors had to resign en masse, resign that day, leave office that day, you might remember there's an asterisk on that order. a blanket order to the u.s. attorneys but two u.s. attorneys who had their resignations demanded with everybody else but the trump administration declined to accept those resignations. and those two u.s. attorneys were allowed to stay on and one of them was rod rosenstein who had been the u.s. attorney in maryland who was trump's pick to be deputy attorney general. okay. rosenstein, he submitted his resignation and it was declined. he was allowed to stay on.
rosenstein, of course, now overseeing the trump russia of the justice department and hired bob mueller to be the special counsel who is leading these investigations. when trump fired the u.s. attorneys he made an exception. no, we have a better job for you in mind. you can stay. the other person he made an exception for was dana boente to the u.s. attorney for the eastern district of virginia. the man he hired to be acting attorney general for sally yates and acting deputy attorney general after. once jeff sessions got sworn in, and he got kicked down to acting deputy attorney general and rod rosenstein and no longer needed to fill that job, they gave him dana boente a plum job. a good job at the justice department. they named him head of the national security division at the justice department. but they also had him stay on as the u.s. attorney for the eastern district of virginia.
he's got both of those jobs now. and that's apparently where all of this investigation is happening now. right? dana boente was originally appointed to that u.s. attorney job, he was originally named the u.s. attorney, the chief federal prosecutor for the eastern district of virginia. he was originally given that job by president obama in 2015. but all the other major job titles and promotions since then including a brief, glorious stint as attorney general of the united states, is thanks to president trump, and now his office, dana boente's office, is where the open federal investigations are unfolding. the ones we know about from trump's national security adviser flynn and campaign manager paul manafort. trump's campaign chairman paul manafort resigned from the presidential campaign august
19th, last year. when paul manafort resigned, he stepped down as campaign chair, it was a very dramatic thing. and people at the time and since have attributed his resignation to this article in "the new york times." this article as you can see is dated august 14th, so it's 9 days before manafort resigned and pointed out that paul manafort's name had been listed multiple times, turned up multiple times in a mysterious ledger that had been found in ukraine after the dictator in ukraine was deposed. and that ledger was basically a list of payments earmarked for specific people and it was a list that was kept by the political party of the recently ousted pro-putin dictator who manafort represented for many years. "the new york times" reported august 14th that his name appeared in this ledger, that he was earmarked to receive $12.7 million. paul manafort at the time denied
vociferously that he had after received $12.7 million. whatever it said in that ledger, he said that he didn't get that money. denied it all. but then when he resigned, five days after that article came out, common wisdom was that it must have been the reason why. something about that ledger. something about that "the new york times" article about that ledger. maybe that was it but if they were concerned about the press reports linking paul manafort to russia and shady sources of cash and ukraine, it wasn't just one piece about the ledger in "the new york times." that piece came out august 14th. but on august 18th, the day before paul manafort resigned, this came out in the morning. nbc news published this piece detailing a bunch of manafort's business deals and ties with
russian oligarchs close to vladimir putin including firtash and came out and nbc news on august 18th in the morning and then august 18th at night politico published this. manafort's man in kiev. the trump campaign chairman's closeness to a russian army trained linguist turned ukrainian political operative is raising questions, comma, concerns. that was published on the night of august 18th. a politico profile of manafort's right-hand man in ukraine, konstantin kilimnik and now he quit on the 19th. and now, today, the "washington post" reports that that same game, turns up by name in these previously unreported subpoenas
that we are just learning about today that are coming out of the eastern district of virginia as federal prosecutors and a federal grand jury proceed with whatever it is in their federal investigation that concerns paul manafort. now, the reason kilimnik got his own profile in politico.com, the reason he's consistently been a point of interest in this ongoing story is not just because of his ties to manafort, not just because he was running paul manafort's office in ukraine, not just because he was involved as a business partner with paul manafort and the big money deals he was involved in with putin. the reason he is point of intrigue here is before he ever worked with manafort in ukraine he worked in moscow at an american nonprofit called the international republican institute. and when he worked at the international republican institute for like a decade he was very open about the fact that he was russian military
intelligence. and he would tell people, openly, it was widely known and widely discussed about him, that the reason he learned such good english, the place he had gotten all his great training that made him so valuable to that american nonprofit in moscow is because he was gru. he came out of russian military intelligence. from that politico profile back in august. they called him kostia, a nickname for konstantin. the guy from the gru. when he was asked how to speak such fluent english, he responded russian military intelligence. not a secret. he eventually while he still held that job at that american nonprofit he started moonlighting with somebody connected to paul manafort, the international republican institute got rid of him because of that. after thereafter, paul manafort picked him up full-time and his
close association with paul manafort carried on for many happy and rich years thereafter. by the time paul manafort was involved in the trump campaign, he and kastia, they were still meeting. according to "the washington post" they met in may, may of last year. a couple of weeks before paul manafort was elevated to be trump campaign chairman. and then they met again in august at a cigar bar in new york city called the grand havana room which i should tell you is located, incidentally at 666 fifth avenue which is jared kushner's family property. they met there in early august 2016. just two weeks before paul manafort ultimately resigned. previously reported by politico that after that meeting with manafort in august kilimnik went home and started bragging openly about the role he had played in changing the republican party platform on ukraine and russia.
he claimed credit for that famous, weird, still unexplained incident at the republican convention last year where the trump campaign intervened in the platform writing process on one issue and one issue only and they wanted the party statement about russia invading ukraine to be watered down to make it more pro-russia. so, again, "the washington post" is now reporting that a federal grand jury in the eastern district of virginia issued subpoenas related to manafort and those subpoenas specifically name this guy with a russian military intelligence background who worked closely with paul manafort for years and reportedly met with him at least twice during the presidential campaign. we can also surmise from this new reporting that it appears that the various threads of the federal investigations around this scandal will being woven together now through this one federal jurisdiction. incidentally headed by somebody who donald trump let keep his job. it seems like the prosecutors,
the investigators who are working on this stuff are using that federal grand jury and that eastern district of virginia to get their work done through that prosecutor's office. and that much seems like solid in terms of what we know. but you know what? do not underestimate how weird this can get and how fast it can get weird. things are -- i mean, things are weird right -- things are weird in general right now. things are weird just today. today, for example, the white house held a press briefing and not only did not allow cameras into the briefing but they would not allow reporters to use any recording devices at all. for the press briefing. you're not allowed to record the sound of the white house spokesperson's voice. while that person gave a briefing to reporters. huh? did the person stand behind a little sheet? put a flashlight behind his or her head so you can only see
them in silhouette? speak through a device that makes you sound like this? why are they doing this? we don't know. very strange. also strange, on a fres no, california, radio show, the chairman of the house intelligence committee, the guy -- the republican congressman famous for being a trump supporter, a member of the trump transition team, he announced today on a fresno, california, radio show that actually, contrary to popular perception he's not really recused from overseeing his committee's investigation of the trump/russia issue. devin nunes is being investigated for the handling some very strange episodes in the early days of that investigation. we believe that he was no longer involved that investigation because he publicly announced that he was stepping back from that role. but he now says that was all fake news. he's still in charge. he's not recused and he's still controlling the subpoena power on that committee. that's weird. inside the white house, the
president himself continues to add piecemeal to what's turning out to be an eclectic unconventional team of private lawyers who are representing him in this scandal. there also remains very interesting, unanswered questions of whether or not the vice president is pseudo publicly raising money now to fund his own private legal defense. things are getting weird. and they're honestly have been weirder and weirder developments and responses to this scandal every day, particularly since it was reported last week that the special counsel's investigation now includes not just the issue of potential trump russia collusion but also potential obstruction of justice, maybe even by the president himself. as the obstruction part of it has been reported out over this past week and as it's made everybody go a little nutty, it's made everybody get their own lawyers, appears to be driving the white house to bizarre behavior and distraction, that turns out that it's not just the obstruction
thing that sort of need keep in mind right now. that's central original question is still out there. and it is apparently at the very center of what federal investigators are very actively looking at here. yes. the obstruction of justice thing is something we newly know about and it is newly interesting and it's making people crazy but that central first question is still there. did the russians have help when they attacked our election last year? did they have help on the trump side? more to come. stay with us. garfunkel (instrumental)
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on friday night our guest for the interview on this show was president obama's white house counsel bob bauer. today, bob bauer published this at lawfare in which he argues something that made lawyers and politicians hairs stand up on end all over washington. bob bauer in a new piece just published says, you know, when the justice department determined in watergate that a sitting president, i.e., richard nixon, could not be criminally indicted, could not be criminally charged holding the office of president, they came to that conclusion because they reasoned it would be too disruptive to the presidency if a president faced criminal charges. well, bob bauer argues today that by the end of watergate even though nixon wasn't ever criminally charged and he couldn't be criminally charged
while he was in office, by the end of the watergate investigation, president nixon was so politically disabled by the investigation into watergate that the idea that an investigation itself wouldn't be disabling to a president but an indictment would be, that was just proven false by the way we lived through that scandal as a nation. and you follow that logic to its conclusion and you get to the part that freaked people out today. president obama's white house counsel is now making this public case that if a president can be investigated, if we all agree a president can be subject to a federal investigation, then there's no rationale still standing that says he can't also face criminal indictment. the investigation is destabilizing enough. there's nothing inherently more destabilizing about facing charges at the end of the
investigation. investigation's going to be hard enough. if you can endure that, you can endure the logical end of a federal investigation that collects enough evidence to charge you with a crime. and that's why every republican in washington today doubled their dosage on the blood pressure medication because the investigation into president trump and the trump administration and the trump campaign, it proceeds apace. not just on whether the president or other people in the administration tried to obstruct the russia investigation, but also, because the russia part of the investigation is alive and well, too. "the washington post" breaking the news today thaa federal grand jury in the eastern district of virginia issued subpoenas for information related to trump campaign chair paul manafort, subpoenas that include specific mention of former business associate and former business partner who visited with him at least twice during the campaign.
and who is believed to have been trained by russian military intelligence. joining us now is tom hamburger, a "the washington post" reporter who broke the story today. sir, thank you very much for joining us today. >> thanks. good to be with you. >> as far as i can tell, i might be wrong here, correct me if i'm wrong, seems like this is the first reporting we have had that this federal grand jury in virginia sent subpoenas relating to paul manafort. is that right? >> to my knowledge it's the first subpoena we have seen to specifically target paul manafort, some of his businesses, and as you said, specific folks with whom he worked when he had an office doing major business in kiev, ukraine. among them, kilimnik in a sense his office manager, his translator, and as you suggested was somebody who was trained, at least in his youth, by russian army intelligence. >> tom, do we have reason to believe or is it starting to look like all the federal investigations related to this matter are being run out of that
one jurisdiction, eastern district of virginia? i feel like we're starting to sort of see that evidence pile up. do we have reason? is it fair to guess that's how this is being run? >> you know, rachel, i want to blow a note of caution here that subpoena which we reported on today in "the washington post" was issued in late spring. now, that was before the special counsel bob mueller was named and one of the things we've also reported since that time. my justice department colleagues at "the post" say tha mueller is working to actively consolidate various investigations going on, not only with paul manafort but with others connected with the trump campaign and may have knowledge, if it exists, connected with the russians. there is an active effort to consolidate here. we don't know for sure.
but we know there is a grand jury. at least one impanelled in the eastern district of virginia and some weeks ago issued a suspect requesting information of paul manafort and his businesses operating in kiev. >> and interesting, good detail that you mentioned that this subpoena before the time of bob mueller empowered a special counsel. good to know. >> correct. >> i noticed and sort of stuck out for me in your reporting today that you got a statement from kilmnik in response to the reporting and issued to you. through paul manafort's lawyer. is paul manafort's lawyer also representing kilimnik or an arrangement of convenience? >> he is not. let me tell you the story of how this unfolded. when we learned about the subpoena and we also learned and reported today that the senate intelligence committee is actively interested in this fellow, kilimnik who is
representing paul manafort and his business affairs in kiev, we went to paul manafort and to his lawyer and they have repeatedly said that they wish to cooperate with investigators. and they responded and said we'll answer your questions and they provided to "the washington post" for the first time some details about kilimnik's activities, he was indeed in the u.s. twice during the campaign in 2016. once in may and once during a critically important moment in august. that's the moment when kilmnik and manafort had their reunion d dinner, if you will, at the grand havana room in new york city a few blocks from the trump tower in the 666 fifth avenue
building and they described in some detail what the conversation was about. where it happened and what was discussed. and they did it, this is manafort's legal team describing this to us, they did it because they feel they have nothing to hide. they're confident that while some may view it as evidence of a collusion, it is, in fact, just conversation. and it's conversation that is permissible and that they think will not turn out to be legally troublesome for paul manafort for kilimnik going forward. we'll see. >> fascinating. tom hamburger, "the washington post" court reporter, thank you. >> thank you. tonight we have a little game of what do these guys have in common? what do they share and why will it keep you up late tomorrow night? that story is straight ahead. stay with us. what's with him?
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that's why we're working every day to make pg&e the safest energy company in the nation. something in common beyond the obvious. and all loving red ties. these four people all used to be republican members of congress. but they all left their jobs in congress, the beginning of this year, because they took new jobs in the trump administration. that's the head of the cia. top left. and then the hhs secretary. and then the budget director and then the interior secretary. all of those guys vacated their congressional seats to take on the new jobs in the administration. that meant they left four open seats in congress. two seats were filled in special elections and republicans held
on to both of those. for mime pompeo's seat in montana. but that leads two of those seats still open. one of them from georgia, one from south carolina. when the administration plucked those four red tied wonders out of congress to fill up the trump cabinet, the white house was making what i'm sure they thought was a very safe bet that the congressional seats vacated by these four guys in red ties would definitely, definitely, definitely, no questions asked, stay republican seats. and so far they have pulled it off but tomorrow's going to be a very interesting test. tomorrow in georgia voters pick a replacement for tom price. trump won the tom price district by less than two points in november. so democrats have been seeing this race as their best shot at a pickup. republicans are absolutely desperate to keep that seat red. all in all, more than 50 million bucks has been pumped into this race which makes it the most expensive congressional race ever. the other lower profile race tomorrow is for mick mulvaney's
old seat in south carolina. that georgia district, trump won it less than two points. trump won the south carolina district by 18 points. so, democrats are sort of quietly hopeful that they might turn out a win there or at least a good run there. because they love their candidate there in particular. but democratic party nationwide spent almost no money in south carolina to help their candidate and on paper that one looks like it would be very, very,ery hard for democrats to flip. both of the special elections tomorrow in geora and south carolina, the polls will open at 7:00 a.m. eastern time and close at 7:00 p.m. eastern time. which means by this time tomorrow we should be getting at least an early idea about how those races are shaping up and who might eke out a win but honestly, i've already cancelled my plans for tomorrow night and am planning to be here late. okay. got it.
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pamela as she was this is a live picture of the floor of the united states senate. democratic senators have been holding the floor for hours already tonight to protest what they think is about to be a vote by the republicans in the senate to kill the affordable care act. that won't be just any vote. the house already voted to do that if the senate does it, too, that will mean some version of killing the affordable care act is going to go to trump's desk for him to sign it and become law. i say some version because nobody has any idea what the republicans are actually planning to vote on.
no text has been released. there have been no public hearings. even republican senators for the most part admit they don't know what it is they're going to be voting on. nevertheless, republicans are supposedly aiming to serve this mystery meat for dinner really soon. they want to bring it up for a vote next week. we're just guessing at what it might end up being. 13 republican senators, this united colors of benetton men's chorus meeting for weeks behind closed doors but it is a secret. we expect or we're at least guessing that it will resemble the plan that house republicans passed last month. the cbo said it would result in 23 million americans losing health insurance coverage. but tonight, democrats are holding the floor. protesting the senate version of this bill, whatever it is. they're vowing to fight it any way they can. ey say they're not just going
to hold the floor all night like they are tonight they're also going to use all the parliamentary tactics at their disposal to slow down all upcoming business in the senate, that includes floor votes and committee hearings and nominations and everything else. they say they're going to make everything stop. democrats started speaking on the senate floor tonight and around 5:30 this evening and they say they plan to go for hours into this evening yet. more than 20 democrats have already taken to the floor to slam what it is the republicans are doing. >> they don't want you to see that millions will lose coverage. >> there's only one word for what the senate republicans are doing with this bill. shameful. it is shameful. >> massive tax breaks worth hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars to the wealthiest and same time cutting the social safety net. >> permanently decapitating medicaid. >> no consideration in committee. no consideration for amendments.
no opportunity for experts to weigh in. >> the american people deserve greater transparency. >> we will fight this bill with all we have. >> we have got to stand up and fight in an unprecedented way. to make sure that that legislation never sees the light of day. >> joining us now is oregon democratic senator jeff merkley who just spoke on the senate floor. he's one of the senators who helped organize this effort tonight. thank you for being with us. >> thanks so much. this is so important, this secret strategy to destroy health care for millions of americans. >> is there -- can you talk to me about the extent of your powers, the extent of the democratic caucus's powers in the senate to stop this thing? obviously you guys are bringing allot of attention to it tonight with this long period of holding the senate floor and talking about what's happening. what else do you see as being in your tool chest? >> so, we can do things like objecting to other bills coming through the floor.
we can object to hearings being held outside the hours that the rules allow. those seem like minor obstructions but what we're really trying to do is wake up america because right now when folks are on summer season and across america, schools are out, and russia is in the headlines, at this moment it's just ten days now before the republicans want to bring this bill to the floor, no committee hearings, no chance for the citizens of america to weigh in, no chance to have a public debate, no chance for amendments in committee. and just a single day on the floor of the senate and then it's a done deal. and so, we need grass roots america to come out in every possible way and say it's undemocratic, unacceptable and raise their voice because we need three republicans to stand up for our we the people republic and say the secrecy without public input is unacceptable here in the united
states of america. >> you say you need three republican senators, the math is 100% party line. one of the big criticisms that republicans had -- >> yes. >> -- of obamacare, affordable care act when it passed and years it's been in effect it didn't include enough republican input, didn't get republican votes, that it wasn't a bipartisan approach. that's been the republican case against the affordable care act from the very beginning. have they made any effort at all to try to win over any democratic votes? there's some pretty conservative members of the democratic caucus in the senate. have they tried to get democrats on board or only do it with republicans? >> no. just with republicans. they have been very clear about that and the irony here is in 2009 we had 100 -- just the senate we had 100 hearings, roundtables and walk throughs, we had the longest ever meeting of the health committee with television cameras rolling while we marked it up. second longest ever meeting of the finance committee.
over 300 amendments considered. over 100 republican amendments accepted in the bill and 25 days of debate on floor of the senate and the republicans said, wait. that's not enough. we need more input from the people. and, well, now they're at the other end of the spectrum and saying, no input from the people. and this is -- and something that's so much goes to the quality of life, of working americans and struggling americans, middle class americans, all americans, really, because those who lose health care will also not be able to pay a bill and that undermines the finances of clinics and opts of everybody in america. >> jeff merkley of a rolling ho the for effort of democrats to stop the republicans on this health care bill, senator, thank you for your time tonight. i know it's been a very long day. thanks for being with us. >> thank you very much, rachel.
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i think we are on to something concerning vice president mike pence. so far he will not tell us yes or no, so we can't be sure if we really are on to something. but the fact that he won't say either way is starting to become a telling thing. it's at least starting to make me more and more interested in this story. okay. the vice president and his family are not rich. it is -- it's not like the guy at the top of the ticket, right? the pence family, unlike the trump family, they have normal american family finances.
they are not trumps. they are not kushners. they're not even manaforts. and that ends up being relevant to the recent news that the vice president has now hired a high-end personal lawyer, a well known, well regarded former u.s. attorney who will be vice president pence's personal lawyer, representing his personal interests in the trump/russia investigation and any other related investigations. now, the very next day after we got that announcement about vice president pence hiring this new fancy private lawyer, the day after that, we got word that vice president pence would be doing a fund-raiser in his home state of indiana for his new pac, his new political action committee. now, i cannot tell you whether the vice president intends to use that pac money to pay for his personal legal defense. i cannot tell you if he talked about it at the fund-raiser on friday night. this picture from the vice president is one of the very few bits of information we have about that fund-raising event at all.
the vice president's spokesperson on friday would not tell us whetr or not pac money will be used or could be used to fund the vice president's legal bills. the only thing they'll tell us about the vice president paying his legal bills is that that money will not come from tax dollars. mike pence is listed as the chair of his political action committee, but we have also asked the other people in charge of that pac. so far they are not answering our questions. we are still trying to figure this out. we still have hope even if they would prefer to keep this whole thing in the dark. but if it is true that the vice president is already going around the country raising money for his personal legal defense, that's a big story. that will eventually be too big a deal to hide. eventually they're going to have to answer this question yes or no. they're going to have to reveal whether they are raising this money for the pac and only for political purposes or whether this money is going to his legal defense. they're eventually going to have
to say it, not just to us because we're going to badger them, which we will. they're eventually going to have to say it publicly because it's the law. when you have a pac, you do have to explain these things. that's how it works in this country even if you don't want to answer pesky reporters' questions about it. we'll keep being pesky in the meantime, though. we'll be right back. a millie dresselhaus doll! happy birthday, sweetie! oh, millies. trick or treat! we're so glad to have you here. ♪
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people all over the country poised on the edge of their seats. there's a little drama for these races. the south carolina race is to replace republican congressman mick mulvaney, who left congress to become trump's budget director. the georgia race is to replace republican congressman tom price, who ended up being an unexpectedly controversial pick for health secretary in the trump administration because of his own ethics issues that followed him out of congress into his new gig. the race to replace him, though, is absolutely red-hot. the republican candidate in the race is named karen handel. she's a hard conservative right end of the spectrum republican. this is not that kind of republican district. she is sort of considerably more conservative than the district. the democrat who is running against her, trying to flip that seat from red to blue is jon ossoff, who has proved to be not only a focus of national
attention for liberals and democrats, but who has helped make this the most expensive congressional seat that has ever been run for in the history of this country. democrat jon ossoff on the eve of that crucial race is going to good evening. i should give you the list of all the guests on the show so you can lead in so gracefully to that. pretty exciting to have jon ossoff here on "the last word" to get his last word in this campaign before the voting starts tomorrow. and, boy, these special elections just get more and more tense. this is the one that has had all ofhe pssure on it. >> yeah, you know. it's interesting. that south carolina race is -- that was like a trump plus 18 district. so that one feels like almost an impossible climb for the democrats there. but even if that race, even in the south carolina race, you talk to democrats in south carolina. they love their candidate. they're psyched for that rac