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"It's Cohen down for real."

2018-08-23

The President has been implicated by his lawyer in a crime that involves the cover-up of extramarital affairs through illegal campaign contributions, and Republicans in Congress refuse to do anything about it. Then CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin joins Jon and Dan to talk about what’s next for the Mueller investigation, the Kavanaugh confirmation battle, and his new podcast, “RBG: Beyond Notorious.”

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
The presenting sponsor of pod. Save America is zip recruiter. Isn't it cool how, as soon as you finish, one Your streaming, music and tv services suggest new stuff to check out based on what you, like. That's cool. The content never ends. On my way did you enjoy watching this? Well guess what something else is already started Unless, of course, you're trying to actually get anything done, speaking of if you're ever hiring Ziprecruiter also uses technology. That proactively makes recommendations for you, okay, I'll, give it to you. Recruiter, but it was the software that journey Mister Journey to get there. When you post a job. Zip recruiter, review applications, they're, powerful matching technology learns what kind of candidates you like and invites more of them to apply. You like accounts that special corporate mergers cool here's to more you like podcast, Here's with White House experience no problem. We got one yeah, four you like chef's table, here's more chef's table
so go ahead and try it for free. Today, the Booker Dock OM such crickets and get back to binge watching those random korean horror, flicks or checking out obscure eighties bands. It's like, let me figure out who the key group was man. I want to see some credits. People worked hard that zip Kroger dot com, slash cricket. When you go, you get fast person, help finding your next great hire and we get to look smart for sending you a zipper dot com, Slash, Krooked, Zip, recruiter, the smartest way to hire. Welcome to POD save America. I'm John Fabbro, I'm Dan Pfeiffer. Today, on the part we're going to talk about the fact. The president of the United States has been implicated in a felony Jeffrey Toobin.
Again in the new Yorker will join us to talk about the legal implications, while the two of us will scream into the microphone about the political implications big pod today, Dan big POT, and very excited about this since about MID day Tuesday, Few housekeeping items on pod save the world this week time. He talks with former Acting CIA director MIKE Morel Bout President Trump's decision to revoke the security clearances of former officials like John Brent Merrell, explains why this decision to politicize intelligence is so risky and why some spy operations are so sensitive and closely held that former officials John may be the only ones who can explain them to the new CIA team so check that out in the latest episode of cricket conversations, Ben Rhodes, Tuksa, Tommy about Benghazi and how that moment led to Trump as president and what it's like running the deep state, who is Ben, does that clip is going to be used against Ben in his trial to send him to Gitmo? So we should just note for the yeah. Let's clip that we should. We should cut
they're, not but whatever. Oh no, let's definitely, but in its the final installment of Ben Series of conversations this month, exploring the deep state now exploring the issues and themes central to his memoir, the world's it is. It was a fantastic series on cricket convos and if you haven't heard enough of Ben Rhodes, you can hear him on episode. Ten of the wilderness, which is about one of his very favorite subjects. The blob are nickname for the foreign policy establishment in Washington DC. The whole episode explores how Democrats can avoid conventional thinking on foreign policy and what a new era of american leadership. Might look like fantastic episode check it out can can I did before we move on to other units. Can I blow smoke up your? Please do well the always time for that yeah I figured we could slap fit into the outline in the last minute here look, I just want to say, as not just your friend and colleague of many years, but just as someone who consumes a fuck ton of poo.
The media that the wilderness is just superb. It really is. Thank you. It is the kind of content that we do not get about politics. It is both is contextual ising. It is smart. It includes us incredibly diverse array of voices within our party and it takes on a lot of really hard questions that not just about our sorry but also about what we were involved in and where Obama succeeded in where he didn't it's. Just it's really. In addition to the fact that I put my daughter to sleep this is a huge bonus, but it is yeah, but it is I'd. Really it's really a tremendous achievement and you should be very proud of it. Well, thank you very much, POD save America listeners go check it out. I know this a whole bunch of you. They haven't heard it yet and that's ok,
you have to you. It doesn't fit with the new cycle, so you can check it out anytime, if you're looking for some content on a sleepy Sunday check it out, but yeah, it would be. I I don't think you'll be disappointed and if you are you can you tell me about it? Okay, let us get to the news on Tuesday Donald Trump's, personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, but guilty in a New York courthouse to federal crimes that implicated the president himself as an unindicted co conspirator to multiple illegal campaign contributions. While this was happening in the same couple of It's a jury in Alexandria found Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort guilty of eight counts of financial crimes, a mass development into special counsel, Robert Muller Investigation, which is issued more one hundred criminal counts against thirty two people and three companies that has now led to guilty pleas or convictions that include Trump's campaign manager,
Trump's, deputy campaign manager, Trump's National Security advisor Trump's, personal lawyer and Trump's foreign policy advisor so many witches. Dan. Where were you when this all went down and what were your first reactions? I was home and As I am often these days and I was watching it, it was like I'd quadruple screen. Variants I had CNN on. I had I was following twitter on phone. I had my laptop up so that the Double conversations are happening either in the creek media, slack, our the very Obama alumni text chains, just the minute by minute, just accounting county. What's what happened there are highs and lows. There are moments in which we thought Manafort was going to get off and that would Cohen would agree to or testify to would be much less significant than this
and it would basically with the political equivalent of what most of else of America does when there is a really exciting car chase happening is just it was riveting. It was absolutely riveting one of those it's where you needed a whole bunch of screens in front of you, because I need to be like a screen for each Trump official who is being indicted. You needed the view, the Ipad you, the phone, no it's for the slack channels, funny cricket, idea, because we had quite a roller coaster of emotion there, be you know at the beginning that all this is going good and then they were like well codes not going to cooperate, he's just going to plead guilty. And, and then you were very dark and then Brian Butler said it's going to be a good day, but it was it was we decided that it was very good that you were pessimistic about the whole thing, because when you are pessimistic previously, which is most of your life, we won two presidential elections when you suddenly briefly became optimistic in twenty sixteen
We lost so it's good to see you back at the dark side again yeah. I tried on optimism for our just a brief brief moment it when her and went horribly wrong. I do I think if you ever seen the thirty for thirty called June 17th, one thousand nine hundred and ninety four about this day in sports. When all these crazy things happen, it was uh in the world, CO, yeah finals- I haven't seen it, but I know about that one. And there there is that there is a Stanley CUP gave their all was overshadowed by the OJ. I chase right and like this ticket this, like yet Tuesday, felt like the political version of that day. It was all happening at one time and moment that I think, as we think, about the Trump era, if it does not. If he does not cancel the elections and just be rule is a intemperate dictator for the rest of his life. We will look back at this. Is this pivot number? All these really really important. Things happened across the board like it was not even will talk about some of these things, but they were like things that would have
The news in any other scenario, scenario that were buried because they happened on this day of this- was crimes on crimes and crimes. So, let's go through each of Tuesday's developments from big deal to bigger deal. The biggest fucking deal first molar and Michael Flynn jointly requested this week that Flynn sentencing be delayed. This is definitely under the radar. After everything else that happened, Flynn Trump's, former national, pretty advisor, has admitted to lying to the FBI and has been cooperating with Muller since late last year, something people forget and the filing seems to indicate. Flynn still has information that could be useful to Muller's investigation and is still providing that information, which is why they are delaying the sentencing.
The other possibility, I guess for delaying the sentencing, is that the sentence NG would reveal something that mother does not want to be made public, yet anything else, interesting on the Flynn thing for you, I think it's just. We live in a world of cascading crimes that we sometimes forget about the other crimes, and so it's worth noting that Flynn what he knows about right, in addition to being a foreign policy adviser trump throughout the campaign at the time in which collusion has been alleged, he is also someone who is very close to. Russia and very close the Russians and, most importantly and like this, should remain one of the biggest most controversial, an biggest red flag with administration. We forget about it. 'cause it along time ago is that Flynn was intimately involved in having conversations with the Russians before after Trump won. The beef He was sworn in about
doing the sanctions that a bomb had put in place to sanction Russia for helping Trump win the election and also the opening of a secret back channel with between the Russians in question or to help evade us law enforcement intelligencer's, as these are huge red flags things. That Flynn has first person knowledge job in that he's apparently telling mother about so like we forget about Flynn, because we're so focused on Cohen Manafort, but in the Russia part of the investigation he is sort of the Rosetta stone. Yes, yes, I would say that opening a back channel of communication to the hostile foreign government that influenced our election with the purpose of electing Donald Trump is search
a red flag. We're not even mention the fact that he was also intensely involved in a plot to kidnap a turkish citizen on american soil and returned in Turkey for money. So there's also there's also the kidnapping ransom for higher scandal that he was alleged to be involved in who hasn't been involved in a little kidnapping plot right that they goes on to serve in the highest level of the government. I mean this out. You know I mean how many now kids, the Right Tom Donnelly, and he had a couple of those. I know- okay, let's so, let's move on to Manta for who was convicted on eight of eighteen counts, a list of charges that included five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud and one count of failing to close a foreign bank account. The jury couldn't come to an agreement on the other ten counts, because apparently there was one holdout. Everyone was eleven to one on all the other ten counts, but there was one holdout and
basically, the government now has to decide whether they want to retry those ten counts, but even if they don't, even if they choose not to the main, certainly isn't over for Manafort, who is also set to stand trial next month in Washington DC on more than half a dozen other charges, including concp, we're still under money. Failure to register as a foreign, agent and obstruction of justice, Tr but we did on Wednesday that he feels quote very badly for Manafort and his family quotes. This is his tweets, and then he put, of course, this words in quotation marks. As you do, justice took a twelve year old tax case, among other thing, apply tremendous pressure on him and, unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to quote break make and then he said, make up stories in order to get a quote deal such respect for a brave man, large number of counts. Ten could not even be decided. We of course, first of all,
One big lie in that whole thing. Was it wasn't a twelve year old tax case? The fraud was committed in twenty sixteen among a couple of other years, two thousand and fourteen two thousand and fifteen, and of course we also heard on Fox NEWS, win Donald Trump sat down for an interview. There he he basically didn't say yes or no. When asked whether he was a considering a pardon for Manta for it. He just said I, you know, he's been treated very fairly and sort of Demerit Dan. How big of a deal as the metaphor conviction, and what do you think comes next year? I mean it is just worth noting but the president's campaign manager who stayed in touch with the administration in trying to it was in vision of influencing administration. Hires was convicted of eight felonies in stands. Trial for more the president's campaign manager is a convicted felon.
Now insert the names David Pluff, Robby, Mook, and the Republican Party would be filing impeachment articles against Barack Obama or a hypothetical This is it. This is a giant deal on its face, even if it tells us nothing else about collusion. The potential campaign finance violations talk about shortly. Doesn't nothing else. The president, the United States, as a disturbing habit of hiring and hanging out Wes criminals and that should that should also raise some red flags. American people, like I don't the criminals. You hang out with I mean so one one of the many trump reactions and what Trump Trump White House reaction to the Manta for news is well. These were you know these were crimes he committed that have nothing to do with Russia forget about Russian. It has nothing to do with Russia Collusion everything supposed to be rushed inclusion and- and that isn't even true right, so
our friend, normalize and and a few others wrote the top at the New York Times. They said the trial evidence included Mr Manafort's close ties to pro Russia forces and his desperate financial straits. Is he volunteered his time for the next? president, you ever briefings to a pro russian ukrainian oligarch and dangled the position in the Trump administration in front of banker who provided him alone, for which he would not otherwise have qualified. So it does seem like with this trial and with these charges. Muller is setting up a story here about Paul man. A fort is this person who is deeply in debt to pro Russia forces and men out of the blue, said with all this debt that I have. I am gonna volley
here for free to work on the Trump campaign and help them and also by the way, of course, he was in charge of the Republican National Convention that year and the platform and instrumental in changing the platform to a more pro Russia platform when a whole bunch of other Republicans and conservatives in the party disagreed so lot of coincidences there. I guess when you tell that story that you just told which we lose in the moment by moment, twitter out, rages and the things that happen. It is an incredibly can willing and concerning story that you know that, like we said this a thousand times, but is not always true that when there's smoke, there's fire, but there's never been in the history of time that this much smoke and no fire yeah. So the guy with the question, what happens next to Manta for it, his defense at He Kevin Downing said that his client is quote evaluating all of his options. At this point, I don't I don't know how much time that's going to take the,
is with for Manafort, is he has less leverage now, because he is already been found guilty on eight counts and the amount of jail time he could get for those eight counts, even at the least is looking at. You know, seven, eight, nine ten years, the guys, seventy years old, it's a very easily. He could be looking at a life sentence here. So and that's even before the second trial he's about to have in DC, where the is even more overwhelming, and now he goes into that trial. Having already been convicted of eight counts, which doesn't really help, so he seems pretty fucked yeah he's got. He has three choices. It seems like go to jail for the rest of his life. Cooperate in go to jail for a good portion of the rest of his life. Hold out hope that Donald Trump will pardon him and he seems to be leaning to the ladder and Donald Trump through his with his.
Crazy is also imagine this world, where another president's campaign manager was convicted of eight felonies for tax evasion, and the immediate reaction of the president was to tweet nice things about him right, and it seems like if you're Paul Manafort you see that tweet you're like maybe, if I hold that little longer I'll, be pardoned and therefore spend none of the rest of my life in jail, and so
there's a chance he will he may take that path is seems to be the path that he has been on from beginning and it is also worth member because we can never remember all the things that happened is that we know from reporting that John Dowd, when he was Trump's attorney, spoke to Michael Flynn's attorney and raise the prospect of pardons, and so it is also possible that someone close to Trump ordered one from the tourney's has raised the prospect of pardons for Manta for as well. So he made he maybe wait. I mean it's. This is not even reckless speculation, but it it made t very likely could be waiting for someone who to wait for trying to do who was already pardon people like Joe are pie, international issues so part pardoning horrible people is something that he seems pretty comfortable with it and look we're we're gonna talk about what happens if Trump does partner for
but even before we get there, it's worth asking. Why Trump thinks it's a good move to pardon metaphor when pardoning him will help Paul metaphor obviously, but it doesn't help Donald Trump in the sense that, if palm it affords pardon by Donald Trump Paul metaphor, it could then be compelled to testify against Donald Trump by Robert Muller and he cannot take the fifth at that point and if he lies under oath, then he is guilty of a new crime which I guess I guess. Apparently you know Donald Trump could just, pardon Paul Manafort in perpetuity. He pardons him. He testified that Justin Paul Manafort lies. He perjured himself, he gets convicted again fix it again. I guess we could, just you know, pardon Paul Manafort for a for a long time I don't quite know why Trump thinks it's a great idea to to pardon Paul before, even aside from the political implications of what it looks like to pardon you,
former campaign manager, who basically was just convicted of dealing ten million dollars from the american government by not paying his tab as in defrauding the government. Well answer. Your question would be Donald. Trump is an idiot advised by idiots. You know. That's always that's always your best back when you don't know. What's going when you know the real answer that the the probable explanation is. We are run by fucking morons, all right. Let's get to Cohen the big the big Cohen, admitted on Tuesday to violating campaign finance law during the twenty sixteen campaign. When he made payments to two women who alleged to have had affairs with Trump and then, as he stood up in court Cohen, said that he did this, for quote the principle purpose of influencing the election, and then he was directed to make the payments by the President of the United States. Others implicate
in the court. Documents include the Trump Organization american media incorporated in the national Enquirer in or more members of the Trump campaign. According to the wall, Street Journal quote David Pecker the chairman of American Media INC, which publishes the national Enquirer also provided prosecutors with details about payments. Mister Cohen, arranged with women who allege sexual encounters with President Trump, including Mister Trump's, knowledge of the deals. So now here we are on Thursday. It is not just my Cohen's word against Donald Trump's, David Pecker has now also been granted immunity by prosecutors, and he apparently has evidence and has provided evidence, not only the Coen made these payments, but the trump knew about the payments and, of course, even if you don't believe Michael Cone or David Peck,
Trump also did a Fox interview where he admitted that he knew about the payments and admitted that the payments were campaign expense, thus essentially confessing a crime on national television, which is Donald, Trump's favorite place to confess crimes in front of the nation. How big of a day is this guy. Has that question a lot and also times the answer? Is not that big a deal this time- and this seems like a big one, yet this too, as we often do quote for US residents it's Joe Biden. This is a big deal. It is giant deal. It is a joy in there is that, like the different dimensions, a look at how it's a trade deal is so there's the legal dimension. There's the political dimension and there's just the the dimension of american history wrestle. Let's start with the last one.
So this is. We now have the present at states as a de facto unindicted, co conspirator in multiple felonies, and that has been testified to in court with enough evidence that way, there's been presented by federal authorities- and that is something that has not happened in United States history. It a huge deal, the present it states is implicated in a felony and, like would matter what else happens in twenty eighteen and twenty twenty? We will look back when we survive as a nation at this moment, and it will be this it we are in Watergate territory. Now this is not reckless speculation. This is not Louise Mensch style impeachment yourself. We now have the president's states implicated in a felony to influence the election and for all of the
numb nuts like match lap and others who say well, there's nothing about Russia in here. It is also be legal to collude with an american citizen to influence elections, and that is what has been alleged about that'll trips. This is it. This is again it deal, and we, I know we will move on to the next absurdity or Omarosa will put out a video tape or something absurd, but we had. This is a critical historical juncture for how the Trump presidency, in this era in american politics, we viewed for the rest of time. Yeah and look- I mean in Chris, Hayes put it well too. He tweeted the other day yeah. The president was accused in federal court of ordering the commission of a crime which was the successful attempt to cover up damaging in for days before an election. He narrowly won so this this. When we talk about collusion here and here influencing election, we forget that the whole crime here is not just some campaign finance file.
It was deliberately covering up information from the american people that could have influenced the election they could have when an election that was won by seventy seven thousand votes across three states? Yeah, that's exactly right. Let's talk about Donald Trump's response He had one good response and all the rest were quite bad, so start with the good one is to good morning Wednesday morning. If anyone is, and for good lawyer. I would strongly suggest that you don't retain the services of Michael Cohen, which I have to a genuinely funny tweet from the president. It's ok. You can admit that he did you're you're got your radio everything everything on a curve here for funny right. So in a more serious no, what do you make of Trump's official response during the Fox interview?
that the payments were his money, not campaign money. It is the president is dumb. I don't know I this is he is he is so stupid. He just he doesn't know anything any chooses to three main stupid, because the one of the ways as much you stopping stupid. You read things and he doesn't believe in reading. I would know that the President estates believes that reading is a waste of time. That's pretty cool, but he spent the entire campaign, basically lying about how he was going to self fund his campaign. He would not be owned. He would not owe anything to the donors in the rich people, so he was different than JEB Bush or Marco Rubio, who are out raising money and had billionaire Super PAC supporters and all that. Because he was a self made man. He was going to spend his money and then He raised money, but it doesn't.
The money comes from you. That is also a campaign expense you have to report. If you give money to your campaign, you can self on your campaign, but it has to be reported 'cause. That is the whole point of the system. Is that candidate is at the pub has a right to know who gave the money how the money spent and what it was spent on and that It doesn't matter whether it was from the campaign account or Trump's wallet. They were one in the same, and we know this 'cause. He told us he was self funding his campaign. So, as you pointed out, he doesn't. He is too dumb to know the crimes that he is admitting to yeah, and it's not just that he's too dumb. It seems he's been advised. This too, I mean Rudy Giuliani, had made that point on television months ago right that somehow the fact it was Trump's money and not the campaign money exam rated him when that's actually the act that incriminated him I mean this is like these people don't have a basic understanding of election law or they do when they're lying to us or some combination of both.
So another response from Trump in the White House now has been Obama. Did it too Obama had a massive campaign, finance violation, but that he had a the general who didn't come after it Dan. What what's the response that, what's what's the story with the Obama campaign finance violations? Well, with the Obama campaign, the FTC fined the Obama campaign paid was for failure, notification about money that was raised in excess of people's limits, and it's an accounting mistake. There was not handled right in they paid a fine to the Fec is a supplement that has nothing to do with Barack Obama himself. There's no implication that he directed anyone to do that. And what we have here would note again is the testimony of the president's lawyer and fix are in
for it to the President directed him to make these payments in violation of election well, and so these are very different. This is something about look if the Trump campaign had raised, you know which happens. Sometimes you people donate more than they're allowed to do, because they don't keep track of the nations. Are they don't know what the limits are and maybe there's an accounting screw? here there and like this did there's there is between the campaign organization, making a mistake, as many have done, and the President of the United States, the candidate himself or herself, directing the cut knowingly directing the commission of a crime yeah and, like I said this, It's one, the yeah, it's one thing to sort of up Miss Report camp that happens all the time. You know you miss reporter Campaign donation are you I donated to late or something like that? This was much more of a conspiracy in that they were to bury information. They were trying to specifically hide the campaign donation now, a certain period time, but forever and it
also way past the legal limit way past the legal limit which you know, which is why they set up fake shell companies to hide this whole. Yeah, that that was a real clue that this was that they went to my home state of Delaware to set up a shell company to hide the donation. That is indication that maybe they were trying to keep it secret right exactly so other responses from Trump in this Fox interview is just a thing. He said what Michael Kohn played to warn campaign related, they weren't, even crimes. Of course, that's not true, and then he he also said this. So we have some tape of this. Of about Cohen, basically what he said in his guilt
flea implicating the President of the United States. It's not fair Becaus. If somebody's going to give spent five years, like Michael Cone or ten years or fifteen years in jail because of a taxicab industry, because he defrauded some bank, the last two were the tiny ones. You know campaign violations are considered not a big deal frankly, but if somebody defrauded the bank and he's going to get ten years in jail or twenty years in jail. But if you can say something bad about Donald Trump and you'll go down to two years or three years, which is the deal he made in all fairness to him. Most people are going to do that and I've seen it many times. I've had many friends involved in this stuff, it's called flipping and it almost ought to be illegal. I mean he's,
sounds. Like a fucking mob boss, he sounds like the dumbest mob boss. You ever met like what he also bye so aside from trying to make cooperation with prosecutors illegal or thinking that it ought to be legal. He then goes on to say about impeachment. I guess the constitution something like high crimes and all I don't know how you can impeach somebody who's done a great job. Then he said the stock market would crash. If he were impeached mean it is unfathomably stupid. Every part of it. We have elected as President states to lead our country and large parts of the free world we have. Did an idiot criminal like that is what it is like. It sounds harsh, but if you you are a person who knows
who follows the news who knows about the law and you listen to interview. You can't possibly think this person should lead our country. You can tell yourself that it is okay to have this idiot criminal the country because he will pass tax cuts and trying to take healthcare away from people, and that's your abiding passion in life, Paul Ryan, but it is You know like I, I tweeted once in the middle of some insanity that this, what that the Trump White House was the plot of house of cards with the cast of it and I've been beating this dead horse of a joke into the ground ever since, with you know, after Paul after we saw all the money laundering that Michael Komenda, I said it was the plot of Ozark with the cast of veep. It is now the plot of sopranos. In this case, other Americans brought to buy stamps dot com stamps these days.
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Ok. So, let's talk about the republican response to all this beyond Trump you mentioned match lap and some of our favourites, awful conservative commentators, one big response has been, there's been no collusion. This was all supposed to be at Russia and it's not about Russia. Basically, this You know this is just like treason in a jv crimes. The president is allowed to commit any crime he wants as long as its domestic just gonna, keep it at home. What make of this whole. You know attempt to say that and less There is no evidence uncovered of you, know Donald Trump calling up let
Putin saying hey, let's steal an election together, the president is allowed to do whatever he wants. Yeah, that's where we are, that is the Republican Party of today on Tuesday. As we have said again- and I will say every day until down Trump in office- that the president was involved in the commission of multiple felonies. The reaction of that is to shrug their shoulders and to do nothing and look. I think the Republicans. I even I believe that, even if you got to collusion like documented beyond one hundred percent locked in collusion audio videotape, under a testimony from Bella Vita, were put in the public. It's also shrug their shoulders at that. I think they have. They are not a party, a political party anymore. They have, they have are nothing more than a collection of supplicants who are in it to line their own pockets.
And so I don't think that matters. But it is it's just worth noting that in a normal world, with a r founders, maybe naively, but anticipated three functioning branches of government- that even that this would open an investigation from Congress because yeah right where this ends is, The president, the only legal recourse only way just can be served, the only way to find out what happened and decide whether in to hold a trial to hold the president accountable for crimes is within the congressional process of impeachment. Your first step would be to open a process to investigate and they have not done that, and they will not do that and they will not do it because they care more about their party than their country, and that is a hard thing to say about people, but the evidence is fucking,
overwhelming that that's the case and has been for a really long time, and I will say- and this is you know it was- it was stunning watching the news on Tuesday, but it and we sort of we could have guessed. This is how the Republicans are going to react. Of course, we could have guessed as we've been talking about how they would react like this. For months- and you, when it actually happened. I was still able to muster the sense of like shocked, outrage which I know seems naive because I do they would do it anyway, but watching it happen is still so fucking disappointing and it's not just like you expect it from the Hannity and the Trump aides in the White House and his staunchest allies in congress- and you expect it from fucking Pool Ryan, pretends doesn't read the news and me
Mcconnell all the rest. But there was not one of them. There's not one fucking Republican in Congress who was elected. Who has said so far, let's open an investigation into the fact that the President of the United States was just implicated in a fucking felony, not Susan Collins, not J, flake, not any of them, not Bob Corker, not the most moderate Republican in the most moderate swing district and by the way I didn't see a whole bunch of damn saying: let's open up an investigation into what happened now, that's probably because they can't do it. They don't have the power to do it, but it seems amazing to me here we are on Thursday. This news happened on Tuesday and it's like nothing has happened in Congress about this. The president was implicated in a federal crime. Nothing has happened,
as as a society, we have become comfortably numb to the criminality of the President states. We expect this from him. This is the softap bigotry of low x rated for Trump and the one thing that I do think we talk about we talked earlier about how big a deal this moment was the one thing we forget. What the Republicans did forget why the media did. I do think that at least for the press, this. This was a pivot point. It's going to be hard for the trump to go back on, because up till this point, the the basic approach of everyone in politics, with the exception of very partisan Democrats, was on all things weather It is financial crimes, collusion campaign, finance violations that Donald Trump was not guilty by reason of stupidity, and because everyone that he was too dumb to hatch a conspiracy. His staff was too stupid to be involved in conspiracy.
So he had this presumption of innocence, and I think that has started to go away and you saw that in how the White House briefing was handled. You saw that in like the front page of the New York Times on Wednesday morning and that that is problematic for Republicans, just in the long run, because the consequences, even with the independent voters who are going to decide some of the districts that Trump won the able get like this. This makes it harder for that, and this does could this be, creates a bigger permission structure for all the fans. Voters are for answers, as we would call them to elect Democrats as a check on the culture of corruption and criminality entrance Washington. I think that's right. I also think I mean by
king this whole case that you know it. There hasn't been any collusion and your molars and found anything. Yet all this for nothing. I will say the Republicans are also setting themselves up for yeah potential disappointment when Miller does finishes investigation and doesn't fact find evidence of a conspiracy with Russia. So back of your brother, what and also like I I stand why you know you could get away with alright. Obviously, there's potential come reality here. The government seems to have documents which suggests that the President of United States directed this crime. But let's wait for Waller to finish his investigation will do it all at once. Like okay, I guess, but also this idea that they're setting it up for like Mahler finding nothing is crazy. Colin attorney, Lanny Davis has been all over tv in the Cohen is willing to testify before Chris, without immunity and Davis. Also
told Rachel Maddow on Tuesday night, the Coen quote, has knowledge on certain subjects that should be of interest to Miller's team Davis. Said Colin, is more than happy to tell the special counsel, all that he knows quote not just about the this possibility of a conspiracy to collude and corrupt the american democracy system in the twenty sixteen election, but also knowledge about the computer crime of hacking and whether or not Mr Trump knew ahead of time about that crime and even cheered. It on Davis, also to Khan, was present at a meeting with Trump and Don Junior, where they talked about the famous June Trump Tower Meeting He also by the way, said to Jonathan Swan of Axios that Cohen does not know if Trump had advanced knowledge of that meeting, which was a CNN report from a month ago. So I'm a little confused about that. He seems like he seems to be saying that Cohen does not know if Trump had advanced knowledge of the meeting and yet cone was it a
was it a meeting where Trump and Don Junior discussed that meeting. So I guess we'll figure that out book. What do you make all this Lanny Davis stuff that he's out there talking about that cone once acquired with molar and by the way has photo on Trump. Knowing about the Dnc hack, I mean be very alarming to me. If I was Donald Trump or one of his minions, you know it's. It is always hard to tell it is. I would say this is out of character. For Lanny Davis is a particularly flamboyant media, hungry spinmeister. It seems likely that Michael how it knows a lot and it's not. There are other crimes here right. There is also investigate a state investigation, New York, about improprieties within the Foundation, that Michael Cohen, probably knows that knows a lot about right. There are just general, proper business deals, larger tax issues. That Michael Cohen, probably knows a lot about ways in which Trump may have tried to hide money. So there's
he just those a lot and he seems willing to unburden himself, which is probably why trump, as you just pointed out, believe now that it should be legal for people like Michael Cohen, to testify against in exchange for leniency, and so yeah should be very it should be, are concerning what we don't. I would, I think we should set our expectations in the right place, and he may not know. Thing in like we still are ready as a political culture set the bar too high for what we expect in what we feel like? We need to somehow get Trump out of our lives and in a week because this has Vince every day and were distracted by tweets and like crazy, like Trump taking away security clearances and all of that that every day sort of the Republican Party, aided and abetted by the media in some ways moves the whine about what that Trump cannot cross back. If
which right like, if you would look like if you had presented what we know now to the Republicans in January of twenty. Seventeen, if you had said, I know you guys are pro trump you're concerned about. You know you're concerned about this. What see evidence hypothetically, if we just learned on Tuesday happened, would that be an offense that would be worthy of it? Consider people probably said yeah. Whenever we have slowly moved it back to the point that it is uncrossable an which is why it always comes back to the fact that this is so important that this is interesting. It is important. It is important that we know what happened in this election is important and we know what Trump is doing and has done what crimes the president and his aides have committed if they have committed them. It is important that justice be delivered to the people who committed those crimes and, on behalf
people were victims of those crimes which are the american people, but at the end of the day, we are no more likely that for the Republicans in Congress to remove Trump from our lives than we were before the Cohen, Manafort and Flynn NEWS we spent the last hour talking about it still comes down to voters. We're the only people who can do this. We only people looking but Democrats in power who are actually open investigations to find out which really and there are people who can defeat Trump, because Republic, as Donald Trump is the head of Republican Party. That is completely comfortable with keeping a criminal in office as long as he continues to sign their bills and raise money for them. Rotten to core is the modern republican Party I mean just just to give people an idea of go hill we have to climb here with some of these Republicans here is a
the most senior members of the Republican Party, Orrin Hatch, Senator from Utah here's here's his quote: about what happened over the last couple days. Eight to ten years ago, Trump was not what I consider to be a pillar of virtue. I think he has changed a lot of his life once he was elected. I think Trump is a much better person today than he was then. I think most people in this country realize that Donald Trump comes from a different world comes from New York City, he comes from a slam, Bang Diffi Cult world. It is amazing he is as good as he is. If anything you have to give him plow it's for the way he is run. The country president. This is the quote: from senior republican Senator two days after the President, United States was implicated in a felony. What I would like to see the mental image that Orrin Hatch has of New York city? Is it like straight out of the godfather?
It is amazing he came from this swamped of criminality and has been able to run his life. I mean it is been, almost two years since we paid hush money to cover up a in order to help influence election. That may is there a Nobel Prize for morality. Let's give that to him. I just the these Republicans in Congress. Are. These are the most pathetic people in in the country I mean I just like just to give you an example to I thought was really fascinating, or if you saw the story, Fox NEWS found a man of Fort juror to interview, and this woman turns out, of course Fox founder is a huge trump fan. She had her that you know she posed for a picture with the mega hat. She said she had it in her car every day on, way to the trial. She said going to vote for Donald Trump again in two thousand and twenty. She said that she believed
Is it the molar investigation? Is a witch hunt? So all that's not that great it is evidence that Donald Trump's public comments on this trial about him are poisoning jury pools everywhere, and yet this is what the woman said to Fox. Finding miss Manafort guilty was hard for me. I wanted him to be innocent. I really wanted him to be innocent, but he wasn't that's the job of a juror. You have to have due diligence and deliberate and look at the evidence and come up with an informed and intelligent decision, which I did this woman. Who is this huge trump fan
is able to put that aside and realize that Paul Manafort Trump's campaign manager was guilty and she was fine doing that. And yet these fucking senators and these congressman of part of the Republican Party, they can't even bother themselves to hold a hearing, an investigate this because they are such pathetic supplicants to Donald Trump. It is the worst thing I've seen in politics net. They have broken government if they have tried to break politics and there we have to beat all of them every single fucking one of them, and we have to send a message, because this, the stakes are so incredibly high, we're it is easy. It is easy in the midst of the craziness, to lose track of the very real threat that the country faces right now. This is a threat to our democracy, how we see ourselves as a nation. What the idea of american government
the means, and that is what is on the ballot in two thousand and eighteen there's one on the ballot in twenty twenty, and if we get this wrong, we may not come back from it. You know America will still exist, but it will be different, and I know that sounds fucking hyperbolic, but we have to understand that we have a system of government that counted on two functioning parties in three functioning branches and right now we have very little of both of those we have the Republican Party which controls all the levels of government, including the judicial branch. Frankly, is broken. It stands for nothing, it means nothing. It is only about the acquisition and maintain Minton of power and nothing else, and when that happens, and you pair that with a dangerously unfit or rational
criminal Pressey knighted states, it's a huge. It's not great John, is what I would say it is decorated. Well, this is a good segue into how Democrat should respond to all of this, which I have very very intense thoughts on for whatever watching this unfold over the last couple of days in the New York Times will start with this in the New York Times republican strategist, Rob Stutzman said quote, I think impeachment is now squarely going to define the midterms it's inescapable now that Democrats can legitimately raise that issue. We also had conservative columnist, Bret Stephens say that Trump should be impeached and yet there's a buzz feed store yesterday, where a bunch of demo strategist or saying democratic candidate should stay far away from impeachment. Ac Pelow, see Nancy Polo see at the other day said. Impeachment is still not on the table Dan. What's your take here, should Democrats be arguing for impeachment now.
They should, and he let me let me offer some before my mentions or destroyed on Twitter. Let me offer some context here. If I were a member of Congress, I would vote to impeach Trump. I think he is committed impeachable offenses, but the problem we currently what is it is a political exercise with no actual outcome, because the Republicans there is no world in which the Republicans in the Senate will convict Trump. So what I would recommend is the Democrats should be campaigning against can't be running on the idea that they will be a check on the corruption in the crib and that they will open hearings and get to the bottom of this, and if, at the bottom of this, we find hard proof of impeachable offenses, which I think is highly fucking likely, then that should be on the table, but I think it is a
step by step process and part of the challenge here. Is we have a very compelling argument to make the voters about health care in taxes in the economy, and you can you can see how you can get wrapped around the axle on on this specific issue. So I think it is a step by step process. We should be very much make the point. The democratic, controlled house means getting to the bottom of things. Republicans will get about it because we are going to be a check on that. That is what we are going to do. We've seen what happens with republican control of Congress, you have people like Duncan Hunter and Chris and Chris Collins getting indicted for massive corruption. You have half the Trump cabinet residing in disgrace. You have the present eight states being implicated, a felony and we are going to. We are the change. We are the reform and we are going to be a check on that. That's how I would think about it. So I have a slightly to
take here. It's a little nuanced on the impeachment question, so I think that there is a difference between talking about impeachment, making impeachment your message and being in favor of impeachment. If you are asked the question- and so I was not- I had this debate with Brian Beutler a couple of months ago, because Brians take a couple of months ago was Democrat should not be afraid to say. If asked the Donald Trump should be impeached, and I said well, you know what there's been a ton of good reporting. That would lead us to believe that he should be. She should be impeached. There's been evidence on earth already through good reporting and through you know already what Muller has come out with that Donald Trump should be impeached, and yet, There has been no legal action that is implicated. The president in and- and I was saying to brian- I think we need to wait for that before we can say for politics aside, just from a from a legal constitutional basis,
You need some sort of legal action that implicate the president in a high crime or misdemeanor before we can say that he should be impeached, that legal action has now happened and the and the and the President cannot be indicted under Doj guidelines as they are written a sitting president can't be indicted, and one of the reasons he can't be indicted is because we have decided as a country that the remedy for. Presidents. Misconduct is impeachment, and now we are faced with the need to use that remedy, because it is the only remedy we have to hold this man accountable, and I also think that people confuse sort of impeachment as an outcome versus a process saying that you're for impeachment doesn't mean. Yes, I vote to convict Donald Trump of the crimes. It is a process to say: okay, since we can indict a sitting president, we have to have a trial in the Congress or the president
still refute. The charges can still prove that he is innocent, but at the very least this is our ability to hold this president accountable. This process that has been laid out in the constitution and if we were to use that remedy. Now, if Democrats refused to say that they're willing to use that remedy, because where what scared of polls scared of what strategists are telling us, then what happens when he decides that he can another crime, because everyone let him get away with the last one. I mean these are slightly different, takes with the sort of the same point. I think it's also for people to understand how the impeachment process works right. Yes, so the how this would work is the House withdrawal of articles of impeachment and they would have hearings right and so the vote, and we know this because this happened and the Clinton administration to Bill Clinton and which I would recommend people listen to the next season of slow burn, which looks at the Monica Lewinsky case, and so it is actually it's it's. It's superb,
but it also is a good primer for a lot of what's happening for the context of what's happening right now, and it's hard into it and not realize that the parallels between what Republicans voted to impeach Bill Clinton for and the very minimum of what Trump has been accused of in simply the common allegations are quite similar, but put me as they in like if, if the house were to impeach drop, so you begin the process, you have impeachment hearings, there is a vote at the end. That is essentially the political equivalent, an indictment he has been in like it is a black. It is for sure, a black mark on your standing in the hall of Presidents at Disney World, but it is a it is simply the decision to begin a trial in the Senate and so the play. I would think about this. As a house Democrat running for reelection or potential or a candidate running is sir.
Need probable cause. This is a. It is a big deal to begin this process in the house and you need to sort of the equivalent of probable cause and that can take two forms that could be Muller's report. So you get Muller's report of what, if it said, if it, if it is compelling enough that you think it needs to have further investigation, then you you have those hearings at the end of the hearings, everyone will get to make their case. People will testify and then you will decide how to vote and Republicans get to vote. Democrats get to vote. There were people testifying on both sides. Sure it'll be. It is essentially it's a grand jury hearing in the house and the other piece of We now have to your point another piece of probable cause, which is you have an allegation under oath with corroborating evidence, apparently that the present United States directed the commission of a crime that influence the election, and so that is a no the.
Reason to look at it, but I think the point for Democrats is we're going to be the ones who get to the bottom of this, because the Republicans have been unwilling to do their jobs that are paid for with your tax dollars. We're going to look at the question of obstruction of justice. The question of collusion, the question of Michael Cohen's allegations were also going to look at corruption, emoluments all of the things that we feel people the Trump Administration public woman getting over on the american people. We want to look at that and if we find things then we will either in the case of the president, have a vote on impeachment or in the case of other things, make referrals to the justice are for prosecution around thing about what Scott Pruett may have done, or what time price may have died, or people in the Trump White House in so we are going to be the people who get to the bottom of the corruption in Washington, including Trump. Yes, no, so I mean we agree here. It's just that. I think I've
If I was a democratic strategist democratic running for in any of these races, I would say like yeah, obviously don't go out on the stump and and talk about impeachment, don't run ads about impeachment. You know, don't do the go go with the some tough times dire approach, because I think there is not right. I don't quite buy into the fact that the more you talk about it, the more it riles up trumps base, no vote like if you really love Donald Trump and you're part of the base, you're going to go out to vote if you're disappointed in Donald Trump and you're wondering whether you should vote or whether you should vote Democrat. I don't think talking about his impeachment is going to get you out to the polls, but I don't think I don't think focusing on impeachment really hell get voters out and non voters out who are thinking. I don't pay much attention politics, and what I want is someone to fight for me and what I care about in my life and help me get a job in improving health care and all that kind of stuff. So I think that your message should be squarely focused on what matters to people's lives and also the corruption Washington for sure, But clearly we know that every reporter is going to try
corner every single Democrat running on. Do you support? each point yes or no, and every Republican in every debate with these democratic candidates is going to say, do you support impeachment or no, and what I want to make sure is that Democrats don't try to play too cute by half with this and try to give some mealy mouth answer that their strategist and pollster comes up with, because they are so afraid of a democratic candidates, saying what is obvious now to everyone, which is that the president was implicated in the crime and there has to be a process for holding them accountable and that the process that we've been look that has been laid out in the constitution is impeachment, and I just I think they were better off being honest with voters. Instead of being scared and sort of, and trying to find out some other way to phrase it so that we don't. I don't know, touch off some tripwire. Yeah the way? I would answer this question where I to be a candidate for Congress, which I will never be, is.
Big NEWS: if yes, the are at large member in Delaware, is just sighing relief, could answer this question by saying, if I'm elected to Congress, I will do my constitutional duty to provide checks and balances on the president and executive branch and I believe, but we should have oversight, hearings into investigations into allegations of corruption and criminality, and if we find evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors as outlined in the constitution, then I believe that we should undertake impeachment, but step one is to get there and do the investigation. I think it is that simple, but she is if we find something like we are, allowing the Republicans and the media to put the cart before the horse on our message when it should be pretty simple yeah. Let's talk about how this effects the
having a hearing which is we are barreling towards is going to be the week of September. Fourth on Wednesday, Chuck Schumer said that the Senate should immediately pause the consideration of the nomination of Brick avatar the Supreme Court following the conviction of guilty plea of metaphor and Cohen, and the news of course that the president has been implicated in a federal crime, of course, Chuck Grassley spokesman, he's this Senate Judiciary Chairman said that the hearings will begin as planned on September. Fourth, Susan Collins, one of the Republicans who vote would be necessary for almost any effort to stop or sink Emanation have said she sees no basis for delaying the hearings. We've also had senators, some democratic senators say you know what, after the news on on Tuesday President implicated in a crime, absolutely not, he shouldn't get to nominate a Supreme Court justice. What. What we think of this stand like this does what happened on Tuesday sort of help our argument
on Kavanaugh? Does it give permission to Democrats in red states to push for delay? or even vote. No and what we do, but the fact that it seems obvious that Mcconnell and Grassley will not be delaying this hearing. Yes, is the answer question it Should it give it creates, there was already sufficient political and substantive evidence for Democrats. Even in the red States, devote now just a simple fact that we're not going to see the overwhelming majority of his papers is a reason enough for a Democrat is a rational reason that will be to extend the voters even care about this, which I am pretty fucking, sceptical,
This would you have a goodnight. You ever get an answer. The question, which is, I would only vote for someone for a lifetime appointment if I got to fully vet them. I was not given that opportunity to work in that area, so you had that permission anyway. This is even more of a big deal, because now it raises the stakes on this vote, and so you can do this and I think it I applaud, Ed, Markey and Maisy Horado and others who cancelled their meetings with Kevin all over this. That is good. The problem we have is: we have zero levers of power. There is nothing we can do to stop Mcconnell from holding these hearings and holding this vote. That is the sad fact if not having control the Senate and we need to fucking take it back. So we are limited the one thing: everything is an interesting idea. That would be to make the case both in the hearing and peoples meetings and even for some Republicans, some Democrats who may be opened
voting for Kavanaugh is to make the case that he needs to recuse himself from any case involving the molar investigation. 'cause he's been appointed by Trump it's hard to me. I don't. I don't pretend to know the exact rules of conflict of interest, but this seems like it is a pretty fair argument that Trump is stacking, the jury having picked the among the his menu of right wing ideologue candidates. He happened to pick the only one who has a public position that president cannot be indicted or sp So there's an argument here that he should recuse himself and I think that would be interesting because If you were to get him to make a to agree to recuse himself, that would be helpful and with the eventual focus he could very well be the swing vote on a on a case. If you were having eight justices, do it and it is, and it is in the what comes to the Supreme Court is a view of the president can be subpoenaed than four hundred and forty one
send it back as I understand it in a way in which he could be speeded yeah I mean, I think they absolutely should push for that. You know. I don't know why we haven't heard very much about that yeah. They're, probably trying to delay the hearing altogether or you know, get all Democrats on board's nose. First, and then probably once the hearing begins. Maybe that will be the next part of the strategy to at least try to get a recusal. Like you said, the problem is Susan Collins in every fucking. One of her statements so far since Kavanaugh has been nominated seems like she's trying to get to yes on this. She does not seem like a gettable vote. And, like you said it's infuriating, and it's not a done deal yet and it's it's not going to matter who pressures her in the Senate,
or even who pressure in the media. It's going to matter whether people in Maine people who live in Maine, actually pressure Susan Collins with she hears from her constituents like she did during the attempted, repeal the affordable care act, but that's where we are now. I still think it is important for Democrats in Red State Democrats too. Oppose this nomination and say that they oppose this nomination. Not just because this is someone going to rollback reproductive rights and criminalize abortion and potentially repeal the affordable care act and hurt workers, rights and all the other reasons, substantive reasons that we don't want cabin on the bench, but also because The president is under criminal investigation and has been implicated in a felony and he's going to get to pick his judge who, who might hear this case at some point and like look it if Mitch Mitch. Mcconnell made a rule. Obama could nominate someone to the Supreme Court
because it was the last year of his fucking presidency, and we can't make a rule that Donald Trump can't nominate to someone to the Supreme Court while he's been implicated in a federal fucking crime. Are you kidding me if you can't? If a Democrat can't stand up- and ok, that's a problem and they're going to oppose this nomination on that basis. What the hell are you doing? I get so angry. I get angry that we are in a position that they can jam a fucking Supreme Court nominee through who can literally tilt the balance of whether the president has to testify in front of Bob Muller like that is infuriating is infuriating that at least some Democrats, or at least still abiding by this old, Politics idea that made it was probably never even true, but that somehow voting for some small handful of the president's nominees for anything will help you win elections, it'll bizarre, it's fucking! It's a consequence of fucking democratic consultants and strategists being like people, don't care much about this or p
I want you to be- it says here that, if you're in a red state that has in Trump's approval rating is very high in this red state and because Trump's approve, it is very high. If you can show that sometimes you cooperate with Donald Trump and that sometimes you work with Donald Trump, then therefore the voter, your state will like you and vote for you, because they think that you sometimes cooperate with the president that they still like that's the meaning they used to tell people this because there's certainly not like. No one really cares. No voter really cares exactly about like how many trump nominations you supporter oppose. That's not something, but they think this general idea of red state voters want senator to be open to cooperation with the president who a majority of them approve of, and then they take this as an example of where that senator that politician to take a stand on the issue. Look in my in the days before in the years before I work for Brock about my, I worked for mostly red state senators up for reelection and
there isn't. There is an element of truth to this, but the mess which not cooperation for cooperation sake. It is that I read so Senator acts and willing to put the interests of my state over politics, and so there are times it makes sense to cooperate with those times are things that are very specific to the state. It could be if you were in a steel, producing states supporting Donald Trump on the tariffs. It could be on this specific you that this you don't like I energy issue were form issue. That is good for the state. Operations for cooperation sake is DOM person's idea of a smart strategy. It's sound good looks good in a power point. It sounds good when it said by a consultant, but it is not right the what the Serbs, if you if you go to your voters and we've seen this from of day
to win in red and purple states. It's say I stand for these progressive values, which is why you are donating to my campaign, making phone calls and knocking doors. I will always put Ohio Wisconsin my interest first, and you can point times. Were you have done that maybe surprise you did step out on your own break for the party ever else, but is good for your state. Then you will be successful. That is when the for me, for a long time, we just have forgotten what that formula. It's been it. It's like the person to watch here who has been very good at this, is Jon tester. He has found a way to win in a like my
The montana are more complicated than simply this receipt devoted very huge for Trump, because Democrats have been winning the governor's level at the Senate level for a long time, but is able to be to keep progressives, energized and still win in this red state and is the the danger of voting for the cabin nomination. Is you're gonna get no points from the right and you're gonna deflate the enthusiasm of your base, and I mean I like, I feel like we're a shouting into the wind here. It would be to not that nobody's I'm I'm it's crazy right, tester too, because it, you know it goes
to show Jon Tester is in a very tough race for reelection in a red state, and he is in much better shape right now not guaranteed to win at all, but he's in much better shape. Right now, then, his next door, neighbor Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota, who has been doing this dance on just about every issue, or you know, trying to hug trump on just about everything and tester has been, or look at a great example of a person who does this well is better O'Rourke in Texas. Right now, who you know pull yesterday, had him four points behind TED Cruz in Texas. This can pull by the way that has the democratic candidate for governor about thirteen or fourteen points behind the Republican for governor. So it's not just some skewed poll here and better O'Rourke when he was asked about impeachment, was very honest and thought that there is enough evidence to impeach Trump talks about progressive issues. All the time is running around Texas, a deep red state, but the way that he answer some of these questions. The way that he talks to his constituents is like you know, reasonable people can disagree on this issue
no, I'm I'm in when I'm looking to cooperate where I can, with Republicans on issues that may affect your lives. Like he's, he on one hand he's strong he's a strong, progressive he's. An unafraid progressive is a confident progress about a whole bunch of different issues. From other he's willing to use a language that says, yeah, I'm willing to co compromise our listen, Republicans win. It helps your life and he's just he's honest about his positions, and I think that you're, always better you're, always in better shape, honest about what you believe and where you stand then trying to Aqsa in your mind, with your staff, where some imaginary middle of the road voter may be. Yes, there's no such thing as a middle of the road voters. That's not they're, not people, it is it this imaginary thing that exists in politics for a long time. We think that there's just some people who think the exact right position in politics is equal distance between the Republican Party in the Democratic Party that there are people. I
that, in there all right, columns in Washington DC like that that that is, that is who they are and that's not how voters like they're, they have new ones, views about what is best for their life and what they really want is someone who's going to fight for them tell the truth and we would be remiss without pointing everyone to the video that gone viral over the internet of Beto answering a question from a constituent at one of his men. Any town halls all across the state of Texas. From a constituent who was concerned. In upset about NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem and trying to get better his view on that, and it is a booth,
question, which was one I was not angry. It was respectful someone trying to actually deal with an issue that a complex issue and asking a question of a politician and then the answer the bet so gave, which was both just incredibly moving and powerful support for the protest against systemic racism and police violence, while also being respectful of people who may disagree with that point, is the exact It's exactly what we need in politics in twenty eighteen to be also encourage everyone to go, watch that- and it's become such a viral sensation that Lebron James tweet it out today. So there you go, Yeah I mean it reminded me of Obama's two thousand and four conventions. You know, and I know that's over used health talk, but honestly it was the call it that's. The first thing that came to mind when I saw that answer, and it was also an off the cuff answer and again you know we don't know if that can pull this off, but the campaign that he is running
and and how he answers questions and how he talks about issues that is the model for candidates in twenty eighteen and twenty twenty, whether or not he pulls this off, because he I it's, you know it's refreshing. Okay, great, I will says I've never seen anything like both the response in Texas. We were there in the national response to to a Senate candidate, like we all have our better for Senate Tee shirts that we got. We were in Texas, yeah, where mine a decent amount. I wore it to the gym today. Someone stop me on the street to say something about better. Not, though idea that, like not like a from the pot, is the person who was interested but I'll, never my books are. I talk to people who were volunteering remotely or headed to Texas to help him out. It is like, like you said, this is a really hard race. If anyone can do it, he can do it by it. There is something happening both in Texas in
across the country about this person. That is very special yeah and it's something the Democrats should should look to and learn from. When we come back, we will talk to CNN's Jeffrey Toobin where is brought you by square space. Make it dream it speak it have you ever thought about starting a blog John. Have you ever thought of learning log? No, I have not do you have products or services to sell? Yes, we do. We have great content. We have great podcasts t shirts? Maybe you have a business to promote hush money to pay me promote democracy or an upcoming event to announce. Well, a dream is just a great idea that doesn't have a website, yet is what they always say, as they say, make it a reality with square space. Square space is encouraging folks to make it aim for the stars landed square space easily. Is sending website by yourself using beautiful templates created by world class designers. Like Michael cutter template, I say template I do both I do put yeah
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love it. You sent me twenty dollars as a wedding gift. I didn't go into the cash up to accept it and it just expired now at this is like. I got on a plane again John problem on a hit, something your loss, get more money from you. It's going to delay the thank you note just a little bit more- we do. Have a very thankful. Thank you know in the office. I actually are you writing it in phases as well. That's correct with different color pens, basically just a cup and I am when I reach doing the letter a day- have come up with a genuinely cool gift, for both of you know that I will be put into action. It requires a little bit of subterfuge and I can't say more because it would obviously defeat this up for huge. So in time I don't know when you will get a gift over here. First folks, will our wives,
you could download the cash app was a former wives too. I tell you that your wives will fucking love it. It will love this gift that I have planned. You download the cash at the end of the code. Pod save Lock box goes to you five dollars. Is to all these organizations gonna tell you order were being treated like shit by this government and your gift to yourself into them. That's right, put in the code pod save download the cash app fastest and easiest way to pay people back and get paid back. It's great. We love it! Well, let's see what the largest reaction is allowed. I texted you with the secret gift is Oh, my god, they're going to love it on the plus. Today we have chief legal analyst for CNN Jeffrey Toobin, who is also the co host of the new podcast Rbg beyond a taurus which explores the life and times of Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg on September. Third CNN will premiere the documentary Rbg, which is directed and produced by Betsy. Why
and Julie, Cohen, Jeff, welcome to the broadcast hi guys, so we originally booked you to have you on just to talk about your new podcast and the Rbg film. But there was some legal news this week, so we thought we would ask you about that. You are so you initially reacted to the Michael Cohen plea by saying the President appears to be coconut. And or eight are in a better of a federal crime. Trump has responded to the news with a couple of different explanations, but he has said these weren't even crimes that Michael Cohen essentially lied about Trump's involvement in order to get a more lenient sentence. Can you help us cut through all of the excuses here and explain,
Why this is a crime? Why it implicates the president and why the government believes it can prove all of this. Ok. Well, you know, as my dad like to say, to make a long story unbearable. The federal election law is designed so that people know who save the money and what the money is used for. Right I mean those you have the money came in and where it where it went out. What Michael Kohn Did- and he says at the instigation of of the candidate Donald Trump- was he lied about both ends of that transaction? He covered up the fact that this money came in and it remains somewhat mysterious what the ultimate source of it was. It was it Trump Corporation. Was it trump himself, but clearly they
was money spent on behalf of the campaign and it was spent on this improper purpose. It you know paying it paying off these two women arm for a hush money on the eve of the election, and you know it's just worth stepping back and pointing out that this is precisely why there is federal election law so that the public could know. For example, web for one of the candidates for office is paying hush money to women. He slept with me. This would be Alvin information to voters. I think we'd all agree with that and the fact that they engaged in this elaborate, I would call it a conspiracy to cover up both the sore. And the spending of this money shows why this was a genuinely serious crime. Yeah, and do you think like do? We have to take Michael Cohens word on this, or it seems like from the
comments you know associated with the guilty plea the government has, more evidence than just Michael Cohens test. Is that correct? Well, that's certainly seems to be the case, and- and you know it it's worth pointing out that what, when you have two people with opposing stories, as we appear to have here between out own and Trump, you don't just sort of look each one in the eye and decide who's telling the truth. You look for corroboration. You look for other witnesses who were familiar with the facts. You look at documents, you look at. You know emails of that one where, where the, where the checks that that that were involved in this transaction, you are you look at if there are any tapes or or video, I mean that is going to be enormously important here and we have heard nothing from from
cone at this point except his bare bones, guilty plea in court. But but you know it certainly seems like there is considered, corroboration of cone story, plus it's worth focusing on just the simple question of who benefited from this illegal act? Was it Michael Kohn? Was he the one running for president? Did he get elected president? No, I don't think so. It was Donald Trump whose campaign was protected by this expenditure. So I think the idea that this was somehow instigated by Michael Kohn, without Trump's knowledge or involvement seems on its face, pretty preposterous Jeff. This is obviously treated a certain way because Donald Trump is President knighted states. What would have happened in this case if Donald Trump had Loste is Michael Cohen, it's still being investigated and this this away
illegality, it happened. How would the justice system have treated Donald Trump, where he not President states right now? Well, at least based on the evidence that I, scene and, as I say, it's only what was presented in court. We haven't heard Michael Collins testimony as I expect we will in one form or another, but I think it be indicted. I mean I think Trump would have been indicted. Now the he is not going to be indicted because there is this Justice Department, PA
let's see long in a fact: it's not a law, it's not part of the constitution, but it is formal Justice Department policy that says no incumbent, president should be criminally prosecuted, while he or she is an office that is protecting Trump now, and that has moved everything regarding his misconduct here to the realm of the political and impeachment. But I I I absolutely believe, based on what we have seen so far, that it's very likely trump would have been indicted for that. For this misconduct again based the on the idea of who benefited from this transaction. It wasn't Michael Kohn, it was Donald Trump. Could you help explain how that guidance came into place because of the we sort of were having a debate in the world of politics and we will come and local commentators, about whether a sitting president could be indicted. And then there were sort of reporting that Muller was going to abide by that guidance but like, as you put it,
It's not law. How did it come play? Does Mueller have to abide by it Is there an? Is there an opportunity for someone to not abide by it at the episode of curious that this idea that the Whiting the president, cannot be indicted and you agree. That's the right approach. You know I actually do agree. You know we have three. This is of government, the executive, the legislative and the usual in only one of those branches has a single person in charge of it, and you know the is that the framers and certainly as the constitution is developed over you know. Almost two hundred fifty years has has basically said that the president is a unique figure in in our constitutional system and the the experience of being a criminal.
Defendant is all consuming, both in terms of time, intellectual, energy and emotional energy and and the idea that the country could have a president disabled by that sort of burden. It is one that that the constitution should not allow when I actually agree agree that that's the case, especially since there are alternatives. I meet most prominently. There's impeachment, I mean if some, if a president engaged in conduct, that is so. You know that is criminal. That is in keeping with that. Is that simply disqualifies him from being President Congress? Has the power to get rid of
In addition, under most statute of limitations, it's very likely that a departed president could still be prosecuted if the Justice Department thought that was appropriate after after he left office. So it's not like this policy puts. The president above the law forever. It simply recognizes his unique status in our constitutional system. It's interesting, that you mentioned impeachment there, because it wasn't one of the reasons that Doj felt it was okay to create the Guidelines that a sitting president can be indicted is because they believed that the remedy for press- angel wrongdoing, while he's still in office should be a conga. Is that at the very least, invest it's that RON wrongdoing and at the most
you know, begins impeachment proceedings to at least hold the president accountable. For that right? That's right. I mean the Justice Department policy is very explicitly based on the idea that they are not creating some sort of permanent immunity and absence of consequences for a a a vet president who, who has committed high crimes and misdemeanors that the constitution explicitly contains a a a provision for getting rid of someone. Now that that presupposes a congress that is somewhat concerned about its constitutional obligations rather than being primary it from the right, but the the the the the at least the structure of of our constitution allows for impeachment. Even if our current house of Representatives was
the ease is certainly not interested in in this subject at all Jeff. What? What should we make of the fact that there wasn't a formal cooperation agreement with Michael Cohen and the government? What what do you make of this and we make of this dance- that Lanny Davis is doing Michael Collins Attorney, where he keeps saying television that Cohen information that could be useful to Muller like? Why hasn't he just called Muller told him that privately. Why does it seem to all be playing out in public? Well, because Lanny Davis is land. Dave, you know and and and cable a cable news is the very oxygen he breathes out, but you know look I I You know we are all guilty a little bit of operate on a in a contemporary
recycle basis, rather than a more considered approach has pled guilty literally a few hours ago. Isis acted. The prosecutors in the southern district are saying to him. Look, we don't want you making statements we're going to reviewing other witnesses. Don't we don't want you out there in public right now, perhaps into influencing other witnesses. I do take. Lanny Davis is at his word that a cone will cooperate with smaller with congressional investigations. So I don't think the failure that of con to speak out immediately
means that Lanny Davis is somehow lying in in terms of his his interest. As for why there wasn't a written cooperation agreement, I admit to being somewhat puzzled by that. I think are part of the reason may have something to do with the the haste with which this was all done to get it in before the mid term, elections and prosecutors, sort of taking Collins representation that he was going to cooperate anyway. If he does cooperate, if he does talk to Mahler, if he continues to talk to the southern district, he could still get credit from the judge when he sentenced and and that's a Lee is his priority, but the lack of a formal agreement. It is somewhat puzzling to me sort of moving on to our other criminal associate of the president. A couple of it's about Manafort one: are you surprised, given the What seems to be a significant amount of evidence against I'm not just for this case but for the upcoming case about being unregistered foreign agent? Are you surprised that
he has been unwilling to cooperate, and second, now that he has been convicted in this case? Is there are unity or pressure on him to cooperate to. If can he make a different decision about cooperation to affect his sentence in the in the in the commission that commissions that we got this past week? Yes- and yes, yes, I was surprised. Yes, he can still cooperate. I that evidence presented in in Virginia seemed as close to me as a slam dunk as white Caller cases I have ever seen, you know, did he evade taxes? Did he lie on his applications to the banks for these loans? then there there there really wasn't any contrary evidence. I
it's not surprising to me that he was convicted and that, based on this recent juror interview on the other ten counts, it was eleven to one for conviction. I mean it was just an absolute slam. Dunk of why he didn't cooperate, you know there are some people for whom that is just constitutionally in there it's just goes a it's their nature. Obviously a pardon may have been on may have been on his mind and if you listen to Donald Trump's interviews, since the conviction he's been very favorably disposed towards man a fort, I also think, given the very nasty battlefield, a political battle field on which he played with Ukrainians and pro Putin Russians these people
play and if he cooperated against them, I think he might have some serious fear for his own. Well being for all that being said, I think he you know, I I I thought cooperation would have been sensible just as Rick gates his deputy made made. That decision can he still cooperate sure he will not get the same benefit in terms of sentencing then he would have had he cooperated from the beginning, but he still facing an enormous amount of problems. Remember he could be retried on those ten counts on which the jury broke. Eleven eleven to one for conviction he's got this trial in in Washington coming up in September, where the evidence of wrong this is a seventy year old man who you know
thrown around a lot of numbers like it's hundreds of years in prison, is not gonna get hundreds of years in prison, but you know ten years is certainly within the realm of possibility and in federal court. You have to serve eighty five percent of your sentence before you're eligible for release. You know he's looking at the prospect possibly of a life sentence, and you know that that may change his mind about cooperating, but you know he's lost all the leverage he he had because he's already been convicted. What kind of time line is Robert Muller on now going into the fall and and what it? What are you looking at most closely over the next couple weeks in terms of legal developments from this case yeah? What is Robert Maulers agenda and time line? Can I use the phrase beats the out of me. You know you have the answer. I you know this is an office that has been deeply successful.
In not making anything known about its internal deliberations. I think the one thing we can say with some certainty is there will not be any indictments or or major public actions and downs after MID September. I I think, can I see the the James call me? Model of interfering in elections is one that prosecutors will be struggling for decades to avoid, and I'm certain Muller will not one at the? U N, interjecting self in in the mid terms, but after that you know the the one piece of evidence, you know the the one sort of thing I know I I think I know about Mahler is that there will be to report
one report will be about the general issue of the president and obstruction of justice. The the you know, the call me firing on all the related activities, the other a more complex and probably did further down. The road issue will be. You know, reports about rush in russian collusion hovering over. All of this is the question of whether will agree to testify and if he doesn't a subpoena and and the subpoena comes from Mahler. That litigation, which will certainly go to the Supreme Court, could delay things quite a few months in and of itself so at all, all all of which is in a aberration on my answer that I don't really know, but you know certainly not ending anytime soon. Jeff let Let's talk about a happier subject: Ruth Bader Ginsburg
She has reached a level of fame. That is pretty shocking for Supreme Court justice I mean there are, I see, people walking around to Michael's delete bubbles or Cisco with notorious Rbg shirts. What are you hoping that people who listen your podcast and watched a documentary understand about her story and where it fits into the bigger story of this country? Well, I I, I think, the the arm, you know the the thing to know about Ruth Bader Ginsburg is that she would have been one of the most consequential lawyers in american history if she'd never even been a judge on the Supreme Court or anywhere else and you know. She began litigating women's unit right the the cases involving the rights of women at a time when the laws were nearly incomprehensible. You different from the way they are now you too, when she was litigating.
American Civil Liberties Union. No women couldn't get credit cards independently of their husbands or out with the the the you know, went women's pension benefits were defined differently than men and, of course, you're a disk. Nation in employment was not even considered discrimination. You know that there were advertise classified advertisements and some people in your audience may need to google what a classified advertisement is, but if there had women's jobs, separated from men's jobs- and you know, hurt litigation strategy, was you know a brilliant success in the nineteen seventies and and it led to you- know her
dominance in her appointment to the court of appeals and then the Supreme Court. The story of her tenure on the Supreme Court in many respects is very different because she was a liberal justice is a liberal justice in a conservative time and she has not been as influential as a she might have in, but but her life, as as we tell on the podcast and is the wonderful film makes clear, is just a big story and it's also a great love story about her routed Marty. Ginsburg. So I mean it's it's it's. This is not homework. I mean this is really a great story and you know it it's it's. It was a fun to help. Tell you wrote in twenty thirteen that you asked Ginsburg about whether justices take into account the party the President deciding to leave, and she told you I. It is for all of us that
before the Merrick Garland Fiascoes, before Trump put courses down the court and, of course was before Trump got a second chance to put a conservative on the court. What do you make of the situation in front of her and us right now? It's a matter of how Joker cheats it it. You know I a she eats. She is obviously and she's made no bones about this she's going to try to hang on in till there's a democratic president and- and- and I think you know, amid all the praise that she has justly received from Liberals- there's a lot of criticism for failure to leave when she could have when, when President Obama unambiguously had the chance to fill to fill the seat. I think that's real mark on her legacy. Now. You know, if
Michael Avenatti becomes president in two thousand and twenty one. He may have the opportunity to replace her and that's all with Bernie Davis, of course, what with with Lanny Davis right uh or me, for example, but but it's it's, in which case you will all sort of come out in the wash. But if nature takes its course- and you know Ruth Ginsburg's, eighty five- and let me just say eighty five is not the new anything the it is that that we were. You know the the court, which is already moving in a substantially more conservative direction, with Ginsburg replaced by Donald Trump appointee. You know we we are heading into uh, we would be heading into genuinely unrecognizable territory, we're going to move on to a happier subject, but instead we ended here. It's right, Jeff. Thank you. So much
were coming on the podcast. Everyone go check out: Rb G, beyond notorious your new podcast and, of course, on September third check out the documentary Rbg, which will be on CNN Jeffrey Toobin, thanks for stopping by thanks guys, thanks again to Jeffrey Toobin for joining the pod. Today, thanks for sticking with us, I know this is a long one, but you know there was lots of talk about today than it was a big week big week. What a week, what we can say what week we will talk to you guys are on Monday by everyone on Tuesday.
Transcript generated on 2019-10-13.