Dems preview bribery argument as hearings begin tomorrow
We begin to beat with breaking impeachment. News we are as chuck just mentioned on the eve of history in Washington and perhaps for the nation hours away from this impeachment testimony going public for the first time on live TV and I have a lot in tonight show let me begin. With the context. President trump bracing as more bribery testimony emerges undercutting his defense and a new preview that we just got moments ago on what the Democrats think might be the strongest case to impeach trump. So we're GONNA get into all all of that and the GOP defense has said among other things. There is a new way to defend trump with four key points in a written memo now some of them as we will document can be proven and false can be fact checks. We have more on that tonight but the developing story line also is about Donald Trump's top aides. Someone we've talked a lot about recently on the beat Mick Mulvaney he has been pulling out of a court fight caving in this impeachment suit that was actually technically against Donald Trump himself and now saying he will basically try to follow his boss's orders. Not testify if this sounds familiar. Yes it is classic Mulvaney. He moves around a lot. He was apparently looking for cover. He was trying to join John. Bolton's uh-huh lawsuit. I did a breakdown of that last night. Then he pulled out of that saying he filed his own suit essentially asking the judge to tell him whether or not to testify against his boss trump. As if that wasn't wasn't enough and again people can judge for themselves whether Mr Mulvaney he's public problems are helping or hurting donald trump but now he's tapping out and claiming that he has absolute community one thought about absolute immunity. If you really have it you wouldn't be filing all those motions to begin with Mulvaney. Lawyers say that they will quote rely on the direction of the president. Is it. So here's what we have mulvaney clearly concerned both about what he's going to defend trump and whether he has his own exposure trump's inner circle worried about who will. We'll go to the mat for this president as the evidence piles up and then this news from another top trump tonight former national security John Bolton NBC News reporting that he was trashing trump's foreign policy this. This wasn't a private speech last week saying he believes trump's personal or business relationships were actually dictating the president's position on a whole different country on Turkey rickie. Well that matters if part of the impeachment case is about Donald Trump abusing foreign policy powers to enrich himself held himself politically. Those comments obviously magnified defied with Bolton waiting on whether or how he will testify he has reportedly referred the entire Ukraine. Bribery plot is a quote drug deal and he wants to tell all he's also got a book deal he's also potentially a key witness in these hearings that the first public ones begin tomorrow but even without bolt this impeachment investigation has already shown and clear cracks in trump's case. And does he know that will let me show you some new reporting on how it's playing New York Times. Trump is considered firing the intelligence community inspector general. He was the one who initially deemed the whistle blower complaint both urge an incredible more officials also lining up providing the facts and the evidence to support the allegation that there was quid. Pro Quo bribery. Consider State Department official lower cooper effectively added to the list. We've been keeping here of the people who've alleged faxes support bribery. Meanwhile two other officials have already confirmed the plot diplomat. Bill Taylor and State Department official George kept they are expected to lay it out in the public hearings tomorrow that will be new Republicans. Well here's their response with hours to go. You're looking looking at the selection of basically a lengthy memo. There is a new talking point in here that the money that ultimately went to Ukraine means. Maybe there was no plot if they got the money they want it. Donald trump basically saying well if there was an attempted plot but they ultimately got the money. Maybe no harm no foul and then we have breaking news as well as I was walking out onto the set. I don't have the sound yet. But Adam Schiff has just spoken. He's obviously the point person for the Democrats on impeachment and he is said something about what tomorrow's public hearings may look like. So this is new bribery. Mr Schiff says is what the founders understood not just what is understood in the law today. I'm just got this out. We've been waiting to get this in. This is Adam Schiff and think about the context. He's teeing up the arguments that are going to form the foundation of tomorrow's dramatic public hearings. Mr Schiff bringing in the bribery where it as a core way to potentially impeach the president. Let's listen it. First of all as the founders understood bribery. It was not as we understand it in law today it was much broader. It connotes the breach of the public. Trust in in a way where you're offering official acts for some personal or political reason not in the nation's interest. I want to bring again heather mcghee senior fellow at Demos Nick Ackerman former Watergate prosecutor. Good evening of both you can evening. Nick I start with you here I I apologize for making you do such breaking news but we were literally scrambling to get out of the actual audiotape. We have the written part and I wanna read it again because a close viewers of this on the beat of hurt US report on this but a lot of people here tuning in and say wait a minute. What's all the impeachment? All about Mr Schiff saying it is fundamentally about Donald trump quote offering official acts for personal or political reason. What is the significance of chairmanship discussing impeachable bribery tonight? Bribery is specifically typically mentioned in the Constitution as an impeachable offense. I mean we clearly have is bribery. They're under any definition whether it was back back in the time the constitution was written or up to today bribery bribery. Even if you take the statute that's on the books. Today it's still comes. Within the bribery bribery definition. The quid pro quo has to be done with the corrupt intent. Corrupt intent is simply an improper purpose. When you start going out and taking taking four hundred million dollars? That's that's appropriated by Congress to defend Ukraine and then you hold back a visit to the White House that grains we need in order to give them the posture that they want against the Russians not to mention the funds they need to defend themselves against the Russians and you demand and in return that you investigate your chief political rival. I mean that is classic. Bribe this seems to go to the Republican defense offense which I mentioned in which we're going to cover more in the hour and I think it's very important to look at the defense but it seems that Chairman Shift here is outlining a theory of the case for tomorrow Laura. He didn't say this a month ago and didn't wait till after the public hearings today on the eve of the public hearings he says the founders had a broad view of bribery the Republicans say will maybe aby. We didn't ultimately hold up the funds. I ask you. Is that a valid factual defense. Absolutely not I mean. An attempted bribery is the same as bribery. Abry in fact with the facts do show is that but for the fact that certain Congress people in Congress both Republicans and Democrats prevailed on the White House was to release those funds. Not knowing what was going on behind the scenes with Rudy Giuliani and the rest of the crowd. That was trying to get this quid. Pro Quo for investigating hitting the Biden's that money was released. Only by coincidence they waited a couple of more days it would been effective. I mean this was a classic contempt of bribery. Define before I turned to had there. Because you are Watergate Special Prosecutor you have the unique experience of what it means to investigate a president before I turned to heather. Where do you view chairmanships strategy tonight focusing on bribery rather than obstruction and other issues? How would you great I give him an a plus? This is opening statement statement. This is part of their opening gambit. On this thing this is phase three of this whole impeachment proceeding. It started off with the closed hearings. People got a little bit of information. It offense second-phase was the release of the transcripts. People got to really see what this was all about. But tomorrow is it this is this is game time showtime we are actually going to hear from the witnesses. You're going to get a real feel for how they felt at the time what they saw what they heard trump say during this phone call. I'm when you've got the ambassador Taylor who's got very meticulous notes that he kept all of his conversations. I mean this is like the Nixon tapes. All over Oh wow I turn to you. Nick Ackerman has handled a lot of the law. I turn to you as we often do as a broader voice on the left or the Senate left your view of what it means for the Democrats to be unveiling some of their argument as they go into these hearings tomorrow at big picture for folks that they mentioned some folks live in lives busy the what does it mean to have impeachment hearings start tomorrow tomorrow. History will be made made is a very big day But I WANNA make sure that we're judging winging it not just about the television optics right. I think we made that mistake with with the Muller testimony but rather making the very plain case as I think the Democrats crafts have actually done a very good job of so far of doing exactly what Mr Ackerman said laying out the facts that donald trump pressured a foreign the government to do something that would be in his personal and political interest and used the office of the presidency. The Office of the purse of the Congress and in many ways our foreign policy and our national security to do so That's got to connect back to Americans lives. I mean I sat there watching on Monday Eh. Donald trump in my town of New York City at the veteran's Day parade. You know someone who decided to use any excuse. He could not not to go into service when he could stand there. And you know law the service veterans at the same time. He's absolutely been corrupting our national security security policy for his own ends personally financially and politically. You've got to make those connections to say that it's not just that he's the bad guy because everyone knows he's corrupt but it comes home to roost. Strategy is putting our brothers and sisters in arms in danger by warping our national security policy for his own ends. I mean think about what happened in Syria right after all of this came out it is very much connected. He's ability ability to just turn a blind eye to what's in the best national interest for whatever person is in his ear talking about how he personally gain that's threat to our national security already. You mentioned national interest. We cited the reporting about John Bolton raising flags with other countries We do not know how much any of this investigation about. Donald Trump's potential abuse of the powers of the presidency to help them win reelection could overlap with the secrets in the famously hidden tax returns. Were there's questions about whether there are business interests that compromise it here and if someone is willing to according to the Democrats argument seek a bribe arrive for the personal political interests. They may also for their personal enrichment. And so I wonder if we look to tomorrow's hearings that fits in the other thing. We try to avoid around here his predictions actions. Because we don't know what's going to happen it's interesting looking at the New York Times about something that people might have predicted a six months ago. which is the level of high high? Hi Senior officials infighting I mentioned the Mulvaney what I call the phone Mulvaney. which is when he does something that contradicts himself and then tells you it didn't happen We have a version of that here in a post reporting here will they need. Office blames the White House counsel now for not doing more to stop other government officials from participating in the impeachment inquiry. Meaning trying to get government lawyers. Here's to prevent people from talking to Congress. That lawyer has fueled any only made matters. Worse with his. Yes infamous October. Seventy news conference when he publicly acknowledged alleged. Quid pro quo bribery. Heather take your pick analyzing any of that. You know I think that Mulvaney has. It's been one of those figures that will be studied in case studies and personnel case studies. He has been behind his held. Eighty seven roles and the administration. So now I think he is held so many roles in the administration and left awake a wave of corruption in his wake at every single one of them whether it's the consumer in Financial Protection Bureau the budget. This is the last straw the fact that he has been really at the center. Mulvaney on the official side Giuliani on the personal side of of this web of corruption around Ukraine and that he wasn't even duplicitous enough to lie about it on national television Asian in some ways almost feel badly heather Afghani told the truth. He lied about his truthful confession. That's that's right. That's that's right. In fairness he did cover both basis. I really liked the full of amy. Let's see if I could is that you know. I almost feel badly for him because he is one of the many Republicans who right now is really trapped in trying to figure out as more and more details unfolding. Exactly what what the Republican line is going to be I it was no quid pro quo. Then it was a quid. Pro Quo is not a problem. Now it's trying to chase around a process. Then it's going to be bribery. Once the Democrats get into making that the central argument saying that bribery is not actually a crime. Somehow it's difficult. The facts are pretty plain and simple somehow the trump administration and has continued to have these goals at least in the transcripts. As if they were exonerating. Somehow I think it's great that we've had so many members of our public service. Hello come out. And actually follow the law and follow their subpoenas and go in and has to find give their accounts. Those accounts of built the evidence of bribery shifts. Saying tonight tonight. It's all about abusing the quote official powers the founders obviously. We're worried about bribery. And as I think you both know. Bribery is is an archaic word. As well for the swab. This is the swamp they were supposed to clean up. You can't go to Washington and sell your office. That's literally the first thing you're forbidden to do. I got to fit in a break because we have so much going on their McGee. Thank you so much for joining us. Always a treat to see you. Nick Ackerman stick around. We may have more breaking news for you coming up. I have tonight tonight. A special report to set up some of the issues. Tomorrow's impeachment hearings including new reporting on the roots of Giuliani's conspiracy theory later. We have a full blown alone special preview for you. We've been cooking up so you have everything you need to know for what I bet you'll be watching at least part of tomorrow the first hearings. We haven't seen in a generation and finally a revelation on the last day of testimony in the Roger Stone case with new questions about whether Donald Trump lied to molar. All that exclusive guest. What a front row seat in the last impeachment speech with also tonight? I'm telling you the big show remember watching the beat on. MSNBC CONTOUR from Cox has all your favorites all in in one place and with the contour remote you can use your voice to fund them on live TV on demand and streaming APPs like netflix prime video and more see Cox dot COM com for details. Donald don't trump sufficiently closer to impeachment ever on the eve of these first public hearings which will probe into the scandal that has paralyzed his presidency for now and we turn to our special report report beginning with a question. How did we get here? The answer begins with a country that was rarely in the news. And when the first reports of the whistle blower emerged in the Washington Post long long before we ever saw that complaint we were all waiting and wondering and trying to figure out. What does this have to do with Ukraine by by far the biggest news of the day? Which is this whistle blows store whistle blower story which is now going officially nuts? Shane Harris in the Washington. Post tonight is reporting that the whistleblower complaint has something to do with Ukraine something to do with Ukraine but what would be scandalous about Ukraine policy. Most people had not heard enough about trump's policies towards that country to even guess at the time and if you were learning about this story from the Washington Post The Times or or most national news in September when Rachel was reporting that out it was all new. Yeah but if you happen to read conservative articles in the opinion section of the hill back in March you'd see the seeds of this Trumpian conspiracy theory. Here's a headline quoting. A foreign officials unsupported allegation that the Obama Administration demanded Ukraine simply. Avoid prosecuting certain people a pretty silly article. Here's another from April in the same basic format a single Ukrainian source claiming the. US didn't want evidence on Democrats. Now you can see where this is going again. This was back in April before any of this blew up but around that same time. Here is the Cherry on top of this conspiracy theory Sunday quote Joe Biden Haydn's twenty twenty Ukrainian nightmare a closed probe is revived the second part of that clause. This was back in April is just not nothing yet. Close pros close pro revived hadn't happened now. America at that time in April was waiting for the release of the Miller report. It was three weeks away. There's a lot of other news but this writer over the hill was speculating about this fight and nightmare that virtually no one was losing sleep book. This is important. What's going to happen tomorrow? Because at that time there'd be no way to distinguish distinguish this from thousand other headlines for websites outlets varying credibility but those three articles. I mentioned they all have something crucial in common. They're all oh by John. Solomon a conservative writer. who used to be at the right wing Washington Times and also is an analyst at Fox News and has links to top conservative operatives Columbia Journalism Review is referred to him has been basically a history of bending the truth and distorting facts? You should know that up front if you haven't heard much about Solomon well you may be about to hear a lot more about him in the impeachment hearings Mr Solomon and president trump also the same taste in lawyers Solomon hired Joe Digenova a lawyer that trump tried to hire and like some other politically aggressive lawyers that donald trump favors these days. Agenda Does more than litigate he pushes political agendas. Agenda's goes on Fox News and that's where he dramatically previewed his disturbing material that would come from his now climate. Solomon this was back in March. There are some very disturbing details about it. There are about to come out and reporting by John Solomon and I think once those details come out. I think there's he's going to have to be a full-fledged criminal investigation wow full-fledged sounds like he has the inside scoop on what his own client is writing. That Fox News segment was touting the piece I just mentioned that Oh so understated headline which reads Info Wars Fan fiction. The one about the Ukrainian any a nightmare and the reviving of Appro. Step one. Have your lawyer hype the piece on Handy. Like they're some independent interest in it step to well obviously go on Hannity. The yourself here was John Solomon citing his mysterious Ukrainian sources for then obscure story now the story behind the story a full report investigative reporter the hills. John Solomon is with us. There's a pattern here of hundred Biden being in the countries where the vice president has a foreign policy portfolio folio and somehow mocking awesome. Nice paydays. And they're telling me tonight Sean that they've been trying to get this information to the US Justice Department for more than six months well if there was a US government conspiracy by the Justice Department or State Department. That would sound bad right but of course that lasts six months that would implicate the trump administration degenerate and hannity support trump. Obviously the other thing here is that the top people involve all say what you just heard from Solomon is false. In fact Solomon's angle has been backfiring in two ways one as political propaganda mission to help trump. This has of course now brought trump closer to impeachment than ever to as a conspiracy theory that Ukraine allegation got really big too big and it blew up in Solomon's face sparking investigation that has now publicly shredded. His claims aims you original whistleblower. Complaint says in March Twenty nine thousand nine hundred of these series of articles in the hill quoting several Ukrainian officials and those allegations citing Solomon's work and that's part of what trump in so much hot water. Then there's the trump officials and diplomats who fact check Solomon again. I WANNA be clear. We only know about this because it backfired it because of the pro but now I can tell you. Three different officials who served in the trump administration say when it came to Solomon's Ukraine writing all the key elements were false. I former army officer vitamin another saying Solomon pedals baseless conspiracy theories and other diplomat. George Kent will hear from publicly tomorrow was blasting testing Solomon's fabrications as utter nonsense but that's not just a big rebuttal. Let's testimony from people speaking under oath under the threat of perjury. Legally that obviously carries more weight potentially more legal peril than what you say Sean Hannity Segment. So that's a lot where we going. Well I began this report with the question. How did we get here to paraphrase? The talking heads David Byrne you may find yourself in another part of the world. You may ask yourself well. How did I get here? That's what we all want to know. We got to this other part of the world because of this plot a plot that began with this serious information propaganda and then was supersized and weaponized. This is important by the current president by his top advisors and was allegedly deployed it through the arm and the power of the US government. That's a big deal. Democrats say it's an impeachable a big deal so way back in March local. Donald Trump was re tweeting. Yup The the Solomon Theory citing Fox News while Giuliani literally travelled around the world. Trying to will Solomon's theory into reality. Guiliani may not really really expect Ukraine to ever what indict the vice president or his family. The former vice president but weaponising propaganda isn't about facts. It's about impact impact. Tried to get the talk of the investigation going maybe sparking actual investigation Ukraine was very close to doing that. When the money was finally unfrozen then Giuliani tries? Just add more smoke and Innuendo and damage to the Biden's which did of course draw them out on defense. You have to see how this works to a knock against the misinformation. We all know the expression shoot first. Ask questions later. I'm showing you. How the Solomon Guiliani plot works smear? I ask questions later than gin up the process to legitimize that original smear whether it's DOJ investigating the investigators or trying to get this foreign country review. The case the idea is that later action. This is his wife tricky. The later action tries to trick you into thinking that he original outlandish theory has now become more substantiated by external events by the smoke. So that is why I'm about to show you something really interesting given tomorrow's hearing it's vital that trump and Giuliani that Solomon ultimately taken seriously. Which is why you you have? Giuliani's ridiculous calls for Solomon to win journalism awards call it Pulitzer Traffic Ukrainians trainings for me substantial evidence of Ukrainian collusion with Hillary Clinton the DNC. George Soros Josh. Solomon who should get a Pulitzer Prize by the way put put them all on tape. So many great people John Sullivan should get. That's what the trump fans hands hearing and that stadium if you hadn't heard that before you see how that matters to this impeachment pro. John Solomon should get the Pulitzer Prize. That's when teed up to Fox viewers to Maga- fans even as the staff inside trump's own administration was reaching out ringing alarm bells. Look at this. They directly contacted Hannity's show to emphasize Ukraine allegations. Were false false George Kent confirming. They suggested Hannity. Stop covering them but handicapped putting Solomon on air for his breathless dispatches Ukrainian and law enforcement officials saying yes we did try to tip the two thousand sixteen election in favour of Hillary Clinton Joe binded to thwart an investigation of his sons company and Ukraine and the Clinton in campaign. The DNC did to solicit Ukraine south. You're going to hear from the Ukrainian embassy they have in my possession documents from Ukraine General Prosecutor's office they wanted to interview was Hunter Biden specifically about three million dollars. Solomon problems lots of scoops endured sources and he has a First Amendment right to say and write and speculate on what he wants but as this thing has blown up in the faces of these trump allies Americans and impeachment. Investigators are now seeing Solomon's work and some of his sources exposed boasts. One source and collaborator. Indicted Giuliani associate left parties. Who did vetting and translation for Solomon on these very stories diplomats warning partner was trying to subvert? Our democracy. PARNIS is now cooperating with impeachment investigators on this website. That publishes the opinion pieces. The Hill has caught heat for publishing so many pieces of opinion by Solomon just like it also caught heat for publishing an opinion piece by convicted. Felon Michael Flynn. which was later a key piece of evidence in the Mueller probe for undisclosed foreign lobbying? I should mention. The Hill has updated that piece on their website. Given that controversy the Solomon Articles stand the way they we are. We asked them for comment by the way they declined to comment on the record. They did tell us that Solomon no longer works for the hill website though reportedly close to giving Giuliani podcast. Casteel PROPUBLICA reporting that today. And then after all those hand the appearances Solomon has now been formally hired by Fox News as a contributor which his handy because after trump Ukraine scandal was exposed Solomon abruptly left his perch at the hill national security side just security noting that and adding that Fox News provides a place where Solomon can deploy a quote misleading image of an investigative reporter while maintaining radio silence but the details of his own convoluted role in all of this. Interestingly that article scrutinizing Solomon's role which we relied on partly for reporting night that was written by Sidney Blumenthal the author former Washington Post and New Yorker journalist who knows his way around impeachment probes. He's a former witness in the star probe. He was a senior advisor to president. Clinton the White House Mr Blumenthal here on the beat for the first time. I have a lot of questions for him. And we're back live in thirty six Welcome back and joining us. Exclusively Nights Sidney Blumenthal. Thanks for coming on the show. Sir Thank you very glad to be here. I read what you wrote. What is the importance in your view of both Mr Solomons writings and the way they seem to have hijacked part of US foreign policy? John Solomon's work which laid out The Beginnings of What has now become an impeachment inquiry wary into president? Donald Trump was not journalism it was an essential part of dissent in this information operation. It was false information. Put out as propaganda to create a certain political outcome. And that's why it was put out. There's a good deal we don't know about it. We have not gotten to the bottom of the sources of it. We have not gotten to the bottom of of the money behind it. We certainly see that John Salman is in the middle of this Giuliani gang and he has many connections to it. Alleged left Parnasse Giuliani's associate was hired by Salman as a quote translator. Par Nas also was hired hired by Salman's lawyers Joe Agenda and Vicky tensing as a translator working for another client of theirs. who was we now? Know One of the sources of his material Dimitri for tosh Ukrainian oligarch closely tied to Vladimir Putin certain and to the Russian mafia who is under indictment for corruption in the United States fighting extradition sitting. You know any one of those things things sounds bad you just named like five bad things. your reporting lays it out what other people take away from all of this suspicious smoke and the message coordination that you wrote about that. We just show where Fox and trump and everyone wants to build this person up as if they're an award-winning journalist when what you're arguing is there associated with indicted individuals and a foreign money To some degree and the hill has previously got uncaught publishing material that was secretly funded to the degree. That Miller was investigating it as breaking a foreign lobbying laws. Where does it all land from here? Well this is a kind of a truce KC and we need to get to you know. Eat unpack each of the dolls and John on Salman When we look at his work we see Giuliani with whom he had a business deal was trying to develop one and with whom he is working. Hand in Glove and Giuliani sent his Bogus articles to Secretary of state. Mike Pompeo in order to fire are US ambassador. Marie Ivanovich and That was a very deliberate. Disinformation operation. Operation on Salman's parts. Let me ask you this because it's so many details there are but do you think they're fundamentally good at this because they got this far or fundamentally bad at it because it blew up and became a basically the road to trump's impeachable. Well they got tripped up by the by the professionals on the inside right. Who are you know understood that this was was a violation of US national security and and they went to one of their own? Who is the whistle blower? Who wrote it up? And it's only because of that that we know about this otherwise this may well have been successful. Trump himself is trying to replicate what he did. Hillary Clinton in two thousand sixteen and the email right. Well that's such an important point. I want to slow down. They learned what the emails it was. Not About Hillary Clinton actually getting indicted right. It wasn't about that it was about having enough smoke endlessly that even reasonable people well not the core hand the audience but other people you know a lot about this from the history of American politics would say well just hear so many bad things. It sounds like something. There's something something there. Trump had identified. Joe Biden as his Unlikely opponent as the Democratic Front runner under and his most formidable adversary the former vice president any wanted to develop a something that was the functional equivalent of how the emails August Hillary Clinton thousand six. That's interesting Sydney because not a lot of people compare this directly the emails. I mean you might be obvious you because you write about it and your your bright bright guy but that's not what we've heard this is the Biden is is e mails to point. This is think about it as a political. Oh tactic as a strategy and trump felt that it worked Before and he's taken some of the material that was developed corrupt in the first case in the Hillary Clinton case and then worked at it and John. Salman has been involved in at Sydney before. I let you go. Oh I got to play old school blumenthal for viewers remember the impeachment case. Here you were as a witness among other things take a the president then his account of what happened between him and Monica Lewinsky as I recall. Did the president tell you. It is fairly rapidly as I recall at that point and said that She'd had come onto him all right. Can you describe the president's demeanor when he shared this information with you. Yes he was very upset. I I thought he was a man in English. Big Picture as someone who has been through a White House when there's been a criminal probe and an impeachment Peach Mint different factual allegations. But what do you see in today's battles at the White House when we see Mulvaney and the lawyers fighting we see the pressure. When we see Bolton looking at testify what jumps out to you just big picture given the unique experience? You have. Well one point that I would make is that that I was. I was a senior advisor to president. Clinton I was assist. My title was assistant to the President. And I fully cooperated and testified defy truthfully before the impeachment trial and I cooperated as well with the independent counsel and so did many other people in the white eight house including The chief of Staff John Podesta and today I see that members of the White House staff and the administration are not not cooperating and I urge them to cooperate and to testify truthfully. What message do you think it sends on an issue of this national security import when they when they won't go tell their story go to Congress? It's an obvious message that they have something to hide. And there's more that There is to learn about this. They know Oh that they are shielding from the public. And they ought to testify Sidney Blumenthal for the reasons mentioned and quite a unique guest with a lot of expertise. I appreciate come in the beat. I hope you come back Sir thank you thank you Your latest book. I should mention viewers who were interested is all the powers of earth the political life of Abraham Lincoln another prize. It you know something about Thanks to you ahead. Did Donald Trump Donald trump justice department just proved that in open court well new testimony out of the Roger Stone case. We'll get into it and I the breaking story tonight up next we return to chairmanship laying laying out the new public argument for how they want to impeach Donald Trump. It's bribery Eh. We're back with Nick. Ackerman Watergate prosecutor hours away from the first televised impeachment hearings of President Trump with obvious echoes to the Watergate Watergate processed intelligence committee chairman. Adam Schiff making ways tonight for anyone who cares about this rattling the White House previewing. What's going to happen? And the strategy for tomorrow's I was hearing with a new focus on bribery first of all as the founders understood bribery it was not as we understand it in law today it was much broader. It connotes the breach of the public. Trust in a way where you're offering official acts for some personal or political political reason not in the nation's interest nick. Akron joins me now. This is striking because it previews the hearing Amar. What does it mean? In your view. As a prosecutor in someone who's led this kind of fact-finding in the unusual context of a White House President That shift is basically basically telling everyone. Will this one theory of the case before the questions begin tomorrow because I think what he wants to do is put this in context so when the public hears this is testimony they'll understand where each piece of evidence fits into the entire picture. I think what you're going to see. Is this evidence is going to go back. It's not going to just start with that phone call on in July were. Donald Trump spoke to Zelinski. But what they're GONNA do is they're gonNA put him proof that goes back prior to the Lonski being voted ended in his new president. They're GONNA put in the efforts they made with the former president to try and get him to open an investigation into the Biden's and into this crazy theory about about the Ukraine being the focus of the attack on the Democratic National Committee. So what they're GONNA do is they're going to take this way back. Put the whole story together. But you can't put it together with just one person. It takes a number of witnesses to put together this entire story including the documents. The corroborate people. Taylor's going to come in with all kinds of notes and books that he's going to be able to use but he only came into the picture at a short time and I don't I want to oversimplify but when we think about the hearings including what people witnessed in the Muller hearings which include Bob Mueller's testimony ultimately Corey Lewandowski and other experts there. There was a lot more talk about process obstruction than there was about the underlying issue which was alleged potential collusion in election conspiracy Chrissy. I'm not minimizing Norwood you obstruction but do you see what what chairmanship doing tonight as previewing something that whether or not obstruction is ultimately an article of impeachment it. It won't be the first and it won't be the most important no not at all. The most important piece here is going to be that. This president engage in a systematic pattern. Bribery Burri that started long before presidents Alinsky was elected and that continued right up until the time he was forced to give up that money to the it to Ukraine in order that they could use it to buy the weapons that they were also at a time based on the evidence. Where do we stand compared to the public evidence against Nixon when those hearings began all? It's completely different. I mean this is actually a dynamite case. They have got excellent evidence that got great witnesses. They've got credible witnesses. Smart witnesses and lots of corroborating. You have time for a quick lighthearted absurd question absolutely did President Nixon chief of staff ever confess at a at a national press conference and then take it back no but this was donald trump making his chief of staff right and legally there are no back sees right. There's no you can't take it back. There's no back so you know when you when you say I robbed the bank and then you're brought into trying Obama. It was a joke. Yeah I didn't really mean it. That doesn't count. Yeah a Nick Ackerman. we appreciate your clarity in your in your experience. We've had a lot of experience people on the night and now we're better for thank you. Thank you appreciate you up ahead guilty trumpet Rick Gates taking the stand. Did you hear about this. This against trump adviser Roger Stone also the Republicans have their own bribery defense We're going to show you what you need to know. We got a lot more coming up so we're back with even more news. We're only getting two right now. I mentioned the Republicans releasing a new eighteen page document the most basically sweeping sweeping set of defenses of trump. We've ever seen let's go through it quickly. With some fact checks one they say in this new defense that Republicans argue the July twenty fifth call. Summary is basically basically the best evidence of the entire conversation that happened with Ukraine and they argue. It doesn't show the kind of pressure you'd need extortion bribery. And then let me show you number two I think we have this Republicans arguing both sides have said there was no pressure on the call. The other evidence has pointed in other direction remember trump donor ambassadors sunland had to revise his testimony ultimately to explain. He's thought there was pressure point. Three in his new memo Ukrainian government government the Republicans say was not aware that the US money was ever frozen. That's an interesting defense that we might hear a lot more about that including tomorrow the idea that whatever went down ultimately d'amitie the money was released and then number four quote the US money as mentioned flow to Ukraine in September twenty nine thousand nine hundred and Republicans say Ukraine never formally investigated the Biden's again part of the new factual defense which you'll notice different from some of the more sweeping defenses. We've heard from the White House. Let's get into it right now with former Reagan speechwriter and commentary writer. John Hauritz. How you doing I'm good? This is a more specific and more factual defense from the House House. Republicans than what we've heard from Donald Trump's team himself that's right so they are trying to figure out how to lay out before the before things go a what they're supposed to say. which is that? The call wasn't bad. The aid wasn't the aid was suspended but nobody knew the aid was suspended. Nothing happen no harm no foul. This is all ridiculous right. That's that's the line. If you go on and then my call was perfect. Fall back. Well it echoes. My call was perfect. Since it says that the July twenty fifth call was ultimately anodyne right. They were kidding. The tone was friendly family Trump said look. I WanNa do me a favor. And he wasn't even talking about about by was talking about twenty sixteen election interference. and which is which is the continued continues the line what. I'm what I'm struck by. Here is is the way in which this entire documents eighteen page page document says and you know what everything is. Good trump has a long history of concern about corruption Ukraine. We have actually approach we. We have that quote. The body of evidence. Republicans argue today shows trump holds a quote deep-seated genuine and reasonable skepticism of Ukraine due to its history three of pervasive corruption. Now you know I try to. I try to take the argument seriously. That one's very we know yes. So so what. What what this whole thing is I think is laying out a series of serious efforts to address the points beforehand? I suspect I know Oh. You don't like predictions. But I'M GONNA make. Prediction may not be tomorrow. But it'll be sometime during this process public process that there will be a stunt that Republicans the poll whole a stunt. They want to de-legitimize these hearings. I do not want to act so the hearings are legitimate fair reasonable or purposeful and one of ways they may do that is to take a page out of of all people. Abbie Hoffman the Chicago seven trial and do something to make a mockery of the the proceedings. We saw a little hint of that when Corey Lewandowski testified before the House Judiciary Committee. I've never heard of Eric. I've never heard Jim Jordan Suggested as a dog or seven often ask figure there you got but you know when you when when when what you WanNa do is make is literally make a choice to make a mockery read the proceedings. It's a risky would be risky maneuver with nationally. Televised hearings all the networks. Shut off right showing it but They they want to. They want to make it clear that they think that this preceding is illegitimate and the best way to do. That isn't to let it isn't to be well. That's `have quietly that's why we are covering this. This eighteen page. I've told viewers is a more serious reckoning as you say that might be a prelude to something very serious or arguing. It's a kangaroo court John as always thanks for being here we got one more thing when we come back in the Roger Stone trials coming out today and it has new new information that's casting doubts. Donald Trump's own sworn statements to Bob Muller Rick Gates a former campaign officials who plead guilty testifying stone told the campaign about wikileaks information coming on Hillary Clinton months before the hack material became public gates also detailing how trump himself was allegedly on a call with stone about wikileaks. Six remember trump told Muller and written answers. He didn't recall anything like that. Raising the questions with that was at the time a deliberate lie. Another thing we wanted to tell you about. We'll have more on that that later this week I'll be back at six. PM Eastern tomorrow and tonight. If you around I'll be filling in for Lawrence O'Donnell at ten P. M. Eastern with a lot of news tonight new for for me to press the Chuck Todd Cast. It's an insider's take on politics. Twenty twenty election and more candid conversations with some of my favorite reporters about things. We usually discuss off camera. Listen for free wherever you get your podcast.