GOP words ring hollow as they block bill on foreign interference


The racial matters show. We at nine eastern on MSNBC. There is a lot going on in the news right now. This is one of those days almost feels like a Friday. So after the president last night told ABC news that he would be happy to accept assistance from a foreign country to win the next election and no, you wouldn't necessarily call the FBI, if some foreign country offered him that assistance after that, after the president basically promised in that interview last night that he was basically looking for foreign help again in two thousand twenty just like he got from the Russians in two thousand sixteen in the wake of that from the president last night. There were a few adorable headlines out there today that suggested that here on earth, where we live Republicans in congress had finally found their breaking point. The president finally said something or did something that the Republicans in congress just could not abide. They would not abide they were going to stand up to him. I mean, this is one of those, those headlines Republicans lash Trump for being open to foreign upo. This one was also. Cute, Senate GOP or racist to break with Trump over accepting for an info. The racing to break with Trump. It isn't endurable idea right that the president inviting foreign adversaries to help him in the next election would be a bridge too far for Republicans in congress. It's cute. I mean if it if it had actually been a bridge too far for Republicans in congress. We wouldn't know it because of headlines like that we would not know it from stern disappointed words, they all had for reporters if what the president told ABC last night in that interview welcoming foreign countries to help them in the next election to help give him another term in the White House. If that actually had been a real problem for Republicans in the United States Senate, you would have been able to tell. Not from their words, but from their actions. Well, that got tested today this afternoon. Democratic Senator Mark Warner's the top democrat on the intelligence committee today. He moved to pass a piece of legislation in the United States Senate by unanimous consent. It was legislation that would do one simple thing, it would require campaigns to call the FBI if they got an offer of assistance for an election from a foreign country. I mean, all of these Republicans today, especially the ones who have to run for re election next year. All of these Republicans today, we're all seeking out the nearest reporter trying to earn themselves. One of these cute headlines which says, you know, of course, they would call the FBI. Of course, they insist that anybody should call. The FBI, of course, foreign interference in our elections is unconscionable in it's illegal and no, they just don't agree with the president here, when he says he would welcome help from foreign countries, and he personally doesn't think he would call the FBI. I mean, they're all saying that they're all trying to get a. Attention for that being their position. But sane is one thing. I mean Mark Warner introduced this standalone Bill today, which literally all set was, hey, let's commit to that. Let's make that a thing that you gotta call the FBI if you get contacted by a foreign government offering you assistance in the US election. If we are all in agreement on that, let's just say, that's the way it has to be. Republicans in the Senate blocked that today Senate GOP blocks Bill to require campaigns to report four and election assistance, Senate GOP also wants it to be known that they're really against it and they're superman at the president for saying that he wouldn't call the FBI and heat, but let's not actually going to do anything about it. In fact, we're going to actively intervene to block the Democrats from doing anything about it while they nevertheless, tried to get credit for being four more patriotic than Donald Trump on this subject. Just a staunching doesn't even take twenty four hours, who we are going to be speaking with President Obama's national security adviser, Susan Rice, live here in just a moment. About those remarks from the president about the president welcoming other countries to intervene in this next election in order to help him, Susan Rice, of course, was President Obama's national security adviser during the Russian interference effort in the two thousand sixteen election. She was a key nexus between the intelligence community and the executive branch when it came to assessing the dangerousness of what Russia was doing in our election in two thousand sixteen at what the US government should have tried to do in response to, to try to stop it. That was a time when we had a federal government that thought for an interference in our election was a bad thing, and it should try to be stopped. Susan Rice will be here, live in just a moment. I'm very much looking forward to talking with her about that. Also, actually looking for talking with her about this sort of, surprise pronouncement today from the Trump administration from secretary of state Mike Pompeo. That Iran, all of a sudden is a dramatically more dangerous threat to the United States than it has ever been before. And the United States is entering into some new sort of heightened oppositional status. When it comes to Iran, which has a lot of people worried that Mike Pompeo is trying to lay the groundwork for the us waging war on Iran, today, you may have seen the dramatic pictures of two oil tankers that were the subject of some kind of tack in the Gulf of Oman without presenting any evidence to back up the assertion secretary of state. Mike Pompeo rushed immediately to assertive highly produced news conference today at the State Department in which he pronounced that, that attack on those tankers in the Gulf of Oman, was definitely the work of your one, the US government has assessed that, that was definitely a Ron who did it now again, he gave no evidence to back up this assertion, and it's totally possible that it was the work of Iran, but the US government today. Jumping out, basically immediately upon reports of that attack on those tankers. Right. The US government jumping out immediately and saying they've completed their assessment. They have definitively concluded. It's definitely Iran, that is, what is making everybody how flashbacks to the run up to the war in Iraq in two thousand and three what's the evidence here? I should also mention part of this. That's really sticking out for me. While secretary of state Pompeii was making this case against Iran today. I should also mention that in addition to blaming Iran, immediately for the attack on this tankers today, he also tried to put that in context saying, this is part of an escalating series of events by Iran. We're not just looking at us that isolation. We're looking at a series of events in total. And when he talked about that series of events rattled off a number of other recent violent incidents in the Middle East and central Asia, which he blamed on Iran. One of those was a rocket attack in Iraq last month in which a rocket landed near the us embassy of heard about that, when it happened, that was may nineteenth where the reports of that, here, there has never, ever been a public State Department announcement or any formal assessment that it was Iran. Who did that? But today, they just listed that attack is something that Iran has to be held accountable for. They've never actually said that Iran. Did it before today? They put it on a list, along with a whole bunch of other things. They've never said were Iran before, either, including a car bomb that went off enough ghanistan on may thirty first four Afghan civilians were killed for you. A service members were wounded. And again, this was another thing that was on this list today of all the terrible, aggressive provocative. Violent escalating actions that Iran has recently taken that the US must respond to. But as with that rocket attack Iraq on may nineteenth this may thirty first car bomb in Afghanistan that they also put on a list. It also got a bunch of news coverage at the time you servicemembers were wounded, and that's hack. Well, when that happened, according to news coverage at the time the Taliban claimed responsibility for it the Taliban. Again today with no evidence, though, that was described as Iran's attack. It was described as one of the things that Iran has done, which the secretary of state put in this list of unprovoked attacks that present a clear threat to international peace and security. Now it may be that they have newly arrived at evidence that allows them to attribute all of these attacks to Iran, even though they've never done so before, but prove it. I mean, in the midst of everything else, going on the Trump administration does appear to be trying to create a public justification for us moving toward a war footing with Iran, and it is based on this assertion from the Trump administration that Iran is carrying out this, escalating series of violent attacks all over the Middle East, including targeting us. And if they are trying to set that as the context as the justification for whatever it is. They want to do to Iran. Presumably, they will have to actually show some of this evidence, right? They will have to show, some of their work as to how they are arriving at these assertions right now all the stuff they're blaming around for is stuff that has either been ascribed overtly to other actors or there's been no public evidence whatsoever to assert it being attributed to Iran. I mean it does clearly feel like they are trying to start something in terms of potential war with Iran. How they're trying to do it. I think is setting off alarm bells left, right and center, and I think across the partisan spectrum for reasons that aren't just because of what happened in two thousand and three but because they're even perhaps being more reckless in terms of the way they're presenting this public information, not even trying to prove what it is. They're asserting. So as I said, we'll talk with President Obama's national security adviser, Susan Rice about that live here in just a moment. But like I said, it's one of those days, there's just a ton going on the Democratic National Committee as promised they have now announced the twenty candidates who have made the cut for the first democratic presidential primary debate that debate will be well underway. Exactly. Two weeks from right this second. Eek there are I think twenty four declared candidates in the democratic race. Twenty of the twenty four of them are going to get a podium of their own for one of the two nights. That, that debate will span a couple of weeks from now. We'll find out tomorrow night, which ten candidates are on which of each of the nights, but the four candidates who didn't qualify. Either either by pulling or by fund raising our former Alaska Senator at a previous presidential candidate named Mike gravel. Also, the mayor of a small, Florida city named Wayne Messim. He's the mayor of Miramar Florida also democratic congressman and decorated Iraq war veterans, Seth Moulton and also the two term democratic governor of red state, Montana, Steve Bullock, who is it's I mean he is one of the most popular governors in the country. He is running on the basis of his true claim that he is the only candidate in the race who has won a Trump state nationwide. Governor Bullock started his run quite late after overseeing the end of Montana's legislative session this year, which included him signing into law, some long, fought legislation, including Medicaid expansion in Montana, which got like ninety or one hundred thousand people in that state covered by health insurance. So Bullock has been vocally aggrieved about the fact that he has not made it onto the stage for this first debate. I think none of these four are happy about it Bullock. Has been the most outspoken about how upset he is that he's not going to be there on the stage, but neither Bullock, nor Molton or Wayne mess him, nor Microsoft is going to be there. That said, it's the it's the first debate I don't think there's any reason to expect that any of the four of them is going to drop out of the race because they're not going to be there at the first debate. But we shall see we'll have we'll have more on that coming up a head. We also learned today from the White House that White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders is going to be leaving her position among other things. She will go down in history as the White House spokesperson who stopped doing White House press briefings. She just stopped those eventually kind of all I have to say about that, which I think is fair. Given you know. Over the last few days, we have been covering the snowballing corruption accusations against a Trump cabinet secretary named Elaine. Chao Elaine Chao is the wife of the top Republican in the Senate. Mitch McConnell, she's the head of the department of transportation over the last couple of weeks, Elaine Chao has been the subject of just a remarkable string of news reports about how efficiently the department of transportation has been turned to the apparent financial advantage and political advantage of Elaine Chao and her family since she has been at the helm of that, large public agency, politico dot com. Reporting that Elaine Chao set up a special staff, arrangement inside the transportation department where a senior staffer was assigned specifically to oversee requests for federally funded transportation projects from her husband. Requests, that would benefit his state specifically, and that his Senate office, specifically prioritized as the Senator is running for reelection next year that politico dot com. Reporting follows reporting from the New York Times that Elaine Chao had also tried to get the State Department to arrange meetings for her family members with Chinese government officials Elaine Chao family owns a shipping company that does a ton of business with the Chinese government when she was about to visit China for the first time as Trump's transportation secretary she according to the New York Times called the US embassy in Beijing. To try to get them to arrange for her family members to sit in on meetings with Chinese government officials, while her family is doing business with the Chinese government. It was so wildly inappropriate as a request. It calls it caused the embassy in Beijing to contact State Department headquarters in Washington to say. What do you what do we? Seriously? I don't think that's exactly how they phrased it. But you get the ethics officials also reportedly alerted at both the department of transportation and the State Department ultimately after those ethics officials were alerted to what she was trying to do. Elaine Chao called off that trip. But that is not the first time since she has been Trump's transportation secretary that she has reportedly tried to hook up her family members and their business in politically sensitive ways, and that follows reporting from the Wall Street Journal that although Elaine Chao was told by US ethics officials that she had to divest from the country's largest supplier of wrote, making materials, which is not artificial out. Right, literally, she is the secretary of transportation, she's in charge of building roads. So that person can't be personally financially invested in the country's biggest road-building company because of that very obvious conflict of interest. She was told to divest from that company, she signed an ethics agreement saying, she would divest from that company. But then the Wall Street Journal recently reported she did not. She did not. And she continued to hold stock in that company as she has been serving as the transportation secretary hundreds of. Thousands of dollars worth of stock in that company, while at the same time her every utterance about infrastructure and road building and the potential priorities of the transportation department would goose the stock price of that company in which she holds tons of stock. The Elaine Chao growing ethics and corruption. Scandals would be would be amazing on their own even for the Trump cabinet. Right. Which is a very specific level of that's a threshold. I mean Pruitt price Zinke, Alex IB anyway, it would be a big deal. Those corruption scandals even just for the Trump cabinet, but because she is also married to the Republican leader of the Senate. And because he's implicated in some of this stuff. He has been given millions of dollars by Elaine. Chao father. As Elaine Chao has used her position as transportation secretary to boost her father's business in China. Right. He has been, he has personally benefitted from that to the tune of millions of dollars. Because the Elaine Chao corruption. Scandals are not just a Trump cabinet scandal, because they are also scandals that have proven to be of direct financial benefit to the top Republican in the Senate. This is this is bad. This is in this is back in a few different ways so far, the containment effort via lane Chow, and Mitch McConnell on this has been to try to laugh, it off play it all down. Assure everybody that this is no big deal in these allegations. Don't even bother them at all. Well, the Wall Street Journal reports tonight that Elaine Chao has now, finally actually sold off her gigantic stake in the building company from which she has been profiting, as recently as this month as secretary of transportation. So apparently, all this reporting did bug them a little mater, finally sell off that stock. But this, this is just one of those amazing days where like the news, a won't stop and be it keeps driving home, the same point over and over again. I mean when it comes to using your public position for private gain today, the Washington Post was first to report that the president and his family just pocketed, a few million dollars from the sale of this property in Beverly Hills, California. Now, it's obviously a very nice place. It's apparently like five thousand square feet. It's in Beverly Hills swimming pools movie stars, and this is an expensive property. President Trump owned in Beverly Hills. President Trump bought it twelve years ago, two thousand seven four seven million dollars. But you know what properties often a good investment that property has gone up in value last year. It was assessed by Los Angeles County to have appreciated significantly in value depreciated by over million dollars. Right. It was a seven million dollar purchase. When President Trump. Bought it in two thousand seven seven millions last year. It was assessed at eight point three million dollars. Has gone up last year assessed at eight point three million dollars. Turns out he just sold it for thirteen and a half million dollars. Hold on a second. That's almost double what he paid for it, and it's a sixty three percent hike over its assessed value from just last year. Why did somebody just radically overpaid the president for that property in Los Angeles? The Washington Post even contacted local experts to find out if maybe there was something going on here, that made sense in real estate, terms that wouldn't make sense to the rest of us just from looking at the basic math turns out. Nope. The chief executive of a luxury homes real estate agent local to the area tells the post, quote, seems a little rich to be perfectly Frank. Unless there is something spectacular about this house that I am missing. I don't think it's anything about the house that you're missing here. I mean, what may be missing in terms of understanding, the very, very inexplicably generous price that was paid for this property. Could be nothing about the house itself could be who owns it and who's buying. The house is owned by the president. We now know it was bought by an Indonesian politician. Somebody who ran for vice president in twenty fourteen in Indonesia, and according to the post, he is considering running for president of Indonesia, very soon. What better if you're going to run for president of a foreign country, right? What better way to cultivate, the affections of a very important very influential international ally? What better way to cultivate the interest influence and favor of the leader of the free world than just by stuffing several million dollars into his pocket. The post further reports that the sale was conducted off market, which means other people were not in bidding not involved in bidding on this thing. And of course, if it were involved in open market bidding, that would be one way to tell whether or not this was actually a fair market value for this property, but conducted off market. So it was a closed sale one bitter. And of course, the money really does just go to the president, because he never divested himself from his businesses, or his business holdings, nor did he ever set up anything like a blind trust. So he wouldn't know who was bribing him. I mean paying him for stuff. So that just happened. I mean it's been that kind of day, the White House today. Rejected advice from a federal ethics watchdog that Kellyanne Conway should be fired should be removed from federal service for repeatedly violating the law. That says you cannot while you are a public servants campaign for individual candidates, or try to influence elections. She had repeatedly broken that law, according to the ethics watchdog, a federal agency that oversees implementation of the hatch act, which bars that sort of thing, she repeatedly broken it, they assessed her conduct after they had repeatedly warned about her previous illegal actions of this kind, the White House is blowing it off. And denouncing the agency for having suggested that she should be fired for breaking that law. What a stupid law. This is this is one of those days that just kind of remind you how far you can slide as a country over a short period of time when there really aren't breaks. To stop a determined president from blowing up all these norms that we thought were permanent things. Even though Susan Rice was national security advisor, as recently as two and a half years ago because of how far we have slid. In the meantime, Susan Rice, literally at this point feels like a visitor from another planet. But I'm happy to put on my spacesuit and meet her here next stay with us. Hi, it's Katy Tur. Wanna keep up with MSNBC while you're on the go. Subscribe to the MSNBC daily newsletter you'll get the best of what you've missed or in this unprecedented era of news, text MSNBC, two six six eight six six to subscribe. This is one of those striking moments. That happens sometimes in an interview, not frequently, but every once in a while you're doing an interview where you think you know where it's going, you think you understand how the conversation how the QNA is going to proceed. But then all of a sudden something happens, and it's like Powell right in the kisser. Imagine Rachel that you had one of the democratic nominees for twenty twenty. On your show, and that person said, you know, the only other adversary of ours, whose anywhere near as good as the Russians is China. So why should Russia have all the fun? And since Russia is clearly backing Republicans. Why don't we ask China tobacco us, I hereby tonight, ask China. That's right. And not only that China if you're listening. Why don't you get Trump's tax returns? I'm sure our media would richly reward shoe. So if after this hypothetical democratic candidate says this on your show, within hours, all of a sudden, the IRS offices are bombarded with incredibly sophisticated cyber tools looking for Trump's tax returns, and then extracts them, and then passes them to whatever the new WikiLeaks happens to be, and they start being unraveled and disclosed. Nothing wrong with that. I mean, if you're going to let Russia get away with what they did and are still doing according to Christopher Ray. The current FBI director who said that last week there in our election systems. We're worried about twenty twenty. He said, so, hey, let's have a great power contest in, let's get the Chinese in on the side of somebody else, just saying that shows how absurd the situation we find ourselves. And I was former secretary of state, former democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton here on this show last month with a hypothetical a hypothetical meant to be so outrageous, it could rhetorically dramatize, how bad, it is that Republicans in the Senate or blocking the passage of any legislation to secure our elections in two thousand twenty given that the Russians intervened in our last election to help their party's candidate win. I mean, this, this was a rhetorical device from secretary. Clinton last month. Now just imagine heading into twenty twenty if some candidate just flat out openly started seeking the help of more foreign governments. Well last night. In fact, President Trump told ABC news that he is totally open to taking political assistance from foreign governments for the next election sees no problem with it, quote. They have information I think I would take it. Until recently, it would it would have been unthinkable, that someone in US politics, would try to get away with accepting foreign assistance in a presidential election until very, very recently. It was unthinkable that anybody would admit to doing that, even if they had tried to get away with it secretly. But now, now it's even a promise for the future planning on it. Joining us now for the interview, I'm very pleased to say, Susan Rice, Dr Rice's, national security adviser, and US ambassador to the United Nations, and the Obama administration's, he's also the author of tough love, which is a new memoir, about her life and career in public service. That is due out this fall ambassador rice. It's really great to have you. Thank you so much for making time tonight. It's great to be with you. Rachel who Nanu exactly? My spacesuit has a leak. Let me I've mentioned that I felt like you were from another planet because I do feel like talking to you about your time in the Obama administration is like visiting a time when not only did a lot of norms in our politics exists. But we thought they were durable and one of them was the idea that it would be for boating, embarrassing, and potentially career ending to be caught. Accepting foreign helping an election, let alone bragging that you'd want to do it in the future. What was your reaction to hearing that from President Trump last night? I mean, Rachel all of us have heard so many things over the last two and a half years that it takes a lot to shock one or shocked me even and yet again, this was one of those crazy moments the thought that the president of the United States, who sworn an oath to the constitution is essentially saying that he is playing on the foreign team rather than the American team is extraordinary. He invited yet again interference in our electoral process. He admitted that he has no problem with collusion and would happily do it again. And worst of all, in my opinion, he seems to have no concern about the consequences of an American president being beholden to a hostile foreign power. Because any foreign power that offers the president of the United States or his representatives information that helps him in his election campaign knows that president if elected is in their pocket and they can manipulate him, which may in fact, be what we've been seeing for the last two and a half years. So it it's quite extraordinary as you said that it's so out in the open. It shows extrordinary disregard for our democracy, for the integrity of our elections for our values nation. He aligns himself against our institutions are law enforcement are FBI, our intelligence community and sets himself on the side of leaders like Putin and Kim Jong UN. It's a very, very distorted upside down world, and I hope very much that the American people do not forget the difference between right from wrong normal and absolute. Abnormally, which is what we're experiencing in these times. I think when we as Americans had a conceptualize this type of problem, a president, being allied with a foreign entity welcoming foreign assistance to undermine his domestic political enemies, and we thought about that even we conceptualize it for fiction and scary movies, and stuff. I think we all assumed that the remedy for it would be exposure that the way that you would fix some sort of threat like that in our country and respond to it would be to investigate it prove it brought to the attention of the American public, and then it's over. Right. We thought that would be the way that it ended what you're describing here about somebody, having benefited from foreign influence, then potentially being in the pocket of a foreign country because of having accepted that assistance. What is the remedy for that? If exposure doesn't work well, exposures critical and the role of the free press in our society, particularly in these times cannot be overstated. But there's also something called separation of powers and checks and balances and our system is constructed on the premise that we have three Coequal branches of government, and that requires that each of the three branches uphold their constitutional responsibilities. And I think the greatest weakness in the system apart from, of course, what we see in the White House and throughout the executive branch is the failure of the president's party in congress to uphold its obligations to accountability to oversight to truth indecency, and in that context, what we're learning is when one branch falls down on its responsibilities. And another branch doesn't step up to do its job. Our system is, in fact, not as strong as we, perhaps, thought it was, I'd like to ask you a process question here that I think there's a factual answer to it. And I think you can tell me I don't think it's any I don't think it's a secret. And I think for me it helps me understand how the lines of accountability should work here. If for example in twenty twenty. Some countries some adversary somewhere or some, some country that has interests in the United States and once its way with us does decide that they are going to intervene in our election substantive way that they're going to put their they're going to use their intelligence capacity. They're going to provide assistance. They're going to tap one candidate or the other, and try to help them or use them in some way for their own aims. If the intelligence community realizes that's happening. They, they figure that out through their own capacities. If the element in the US election system that is getting that help that has had those foreign contacts. And that's accepting it is the president's campaign who should the intelligence community briefed that information to. I mean you wouldn't go to the perpetrator to say, hey, we've got important information that you're the perpetrator, would you would they go to the gang of eight would they go to congress and not directly to the president. If the president turns out to be the bad guy in something they figured out is going on. Well, fortunately, that's the dilemma we haven't encountered today, but it would be in my estimation, the obligation of the intelligence community to not only brief the appropriate executive branch officials, including the president's cabinet the president and the vice president. But it would also require that they do brief congress. And as you said, the gang of eight which, as you know, are the four leaders on either side and the leaders of the intelligence committees. And that is the inner sanctum so to speak of congressional oversight of the intelligence community, and the intelligence community has a long established relationship with that gang of eight as well as with the intelligence community committees themselves. So I would think it would need at a minimum to brief the gang of eight and possibly more broadly, the intelligence committees on both sides. But if the president. Was the one who was working with a foreign power in a way that was illegal under US law and an intelligence concern for the intelligence communities. They would have to brief it to the president. It's hard to see how they avoid that and less, they refer through law enforcement channels. And. The Justice department cough and. The courts are able to do their duty, but it's hard to imagine how the executive branches is uninformed at the highest levels about a finding of that, sort. By the intelligence community. Wow. Even when it implicates the head of the executive branch himself. That's amazing. As I said, we this is uncharted territory thankfully, and let's all pray that we don't get there. But if we did, I think the intelligence community would have obligations to brief both congress and the executive. Well, Madame amounts to have an another matter like to ask you about something that we learned about in the news today if you could stick around with us, I'd love it. Good to be with you. We'll be right back with former national security adviser. Former US ambassador to the UN Susan Rice, stay with us. Joining us once again is Susan Rice, former national security advisor in US ambassador to the UN, and the Obama administration investor rights, thank you for sticking around much appreciated. One of the things I wanted to ask you about was from today's news today. Two tankers two ships were attacked in the Gulf of Oman, almost immediately. We got anonymous US officials telling reporters that Iran was to blame for the attack and then right away. Really quickly this afternoon. We got secretary of state. Mike Pompeo setting up a press conference in which he stood in front of photos of the burning tankers. And he said that the US government's official assessment is done, and it is unequivocal, and he is now on the record publicly accusing Iran of that attack and a whole bunch of other attacks. The secretary of state didn't present any evidence to support any of those assertions, but he is accusing Iran of an escalating series of violent attacks in a way that makes me feel very nervous. And one of the reasons I wanted to ask you about this not. Because I know that you don't have current knowledge about what's going on with this exact situation. But I wanted to ask if this looks to you like a normal process in terms of how our government is handling this and how responsible they're being in terms of what they're telling the public in terms of evidence for these assertions. But Rachel obviously, I don't have the benefit of the latest internal information. But I thought it was very swift. And very unequivocal. Pinpointing of Iran is the perpetrator. I'm a no position to say it's mis- misleading or false. And in fact, Iran has threatened to take action that would impede the free flow of shipping in the strait of Hormuz as a result of the extreme economic pressure that the administration has placed on Iran despite the fact that Iran was adhering to the nuclear deal. But we what we have now is a very dangerous situation. What happened today in the Gulf was was illegal? It was dangerous and it could have cost lives and it could lead to a very. Dangerous. Escott escalatory spiral. And I do think as you earlier in the show, went through the litany of sins that secretary Pompeii was -scribed to Iran much of those that litany of sins has not been validated. Indeed attribution for today's attacks have not been backed by any evidence and I think in the current environment, even if the or even or especially the administration is confident in its evidence, it ought to share it and share it. Not only behind closed doors in the United Nations Security council. But with the American people in the world more broadly, because for variety of reasons, not least, because we have a president who according to the Washington Post is told more than ten thousand lives during the course of his tenure, there are many who rightly are questioning the veracity of what is said by senior members of this admit. A stray Shen. I hope that, that is not the case in this instance, I hope that the secretary of state would not stand before the American people. Tell a bald face lie about something as important as this. I want to believe that when he presents such evidence that he does so in good faith, and on the best information, but there is nonetheless, quite a lot of reason why people in this country and elsewhere would question it, and therefore disclosing the evidence making it plain to everybody to see and then to be very thoughtful and deliberate about how to respond to that evidence is critical. Now, Susan Rice, former national security adviser, former US ambassador to the UN and the Obama administration, author of the forthcoming book, which is called tough love about her life in public service, not a master. It is really excellent to have you here. I hope you'll come back sooner than it has been since the last time I saw you. It's really nice to have you on the air. Thank you. I look forward to coming back. Thanks very much. All right. Much more to get to tonight. Stay with us. All right. Here's something that I think is a sort of remarkable update a remarkable next chapter in a story that we've covered from the very beginning on this show, the Flint, Michigan lead poisoning disaster. You might remember that the poisoning of the water supply in Flint, wasn't a natural disaster. It was a man-made catastrophe that poisoning happened because of over actions taken by that state's government under Republican governor Rick Snyder. Well, one of the things that has happened in the wake of the Flint disaster. As Flint has tried to take care of the people who were poisoned and take care of the damage in their city, which is still an ongoing fight. One of the thing that has happened since is that there have been criminal prosecutions as of last year. Fifteen state and local officials had been charged with crimes for that disaster crimes ranging from neglect of duty to involuntary manslaughter. Then this year, the state government in Michigan turned over a new democratic governor, new democratic attorney general, we're elected by the people of Michigan. And once they took over at the start of this year. We started to get the first inkling that there might have been something wrong there that there might have been something going on under the surface with those Flint criminal prosecutions something that for some reason was greeted with alarm by the incoming administration. Once they got in there and figured out, what was going on. Well, it's all been vague. There's been a lot of hints, but no real specifics until today we got the most dramatic possible announcement about what's going on here today. They announced they have dropped all pending Flint water prosecutions. They've dropped all eight of the pending cases dropped them without prejudice. Which means they are signaling. They could bring them back. They could bring new prosecutions in some other way possibly and other charges possibly against the same people. Possibly against new people. The fact that they were dismissed without prejudice means that this doesn't mean that charges won't come back. But why are they all dropped? Leading up to this news. There had been reporting over the past several weeks about an extraordinary amount of potential evidence that the new prosecutor said had never been examined by law enforcement. The way it should have been. As part of that reporting. There was a little ripple of shock that went through the Michigan president a little bit through the national press, when it turned out that one of the things prosecutors wanted to see from scratch, a new was Republican governor Rick Snyder zone phone, and his state provided computers and devices. Governor Snyder's devices are now being looked at by the new prosecutors who have taken over these cases with this change in Michigan government, and that may be part of what's going on here. But here to me is the most interesting thing Michigan. Michigan attorney general's office, made this renown dramatic announcement today about dropping all the pending Flint water prosecutions, and they told people, yes, we know this is going to cause a lot of questions. We understand we have a lot of explaining to do about what happened here about what we think was wrong, and why we have taken this dramatic step and what we are about to do next. But they said today, we are not going to do any of that explaining until June twenty eighth. No questions until then. Well. What's June twenty eighth? Turns out, June twenty eighth is when the lead prosecutors are going to do any event in Flint for the people of Flint. So the people of Flint can hear the explanation I in terms of what happened, and what is next and then after the people of Flint have been briefed, then the rest of it can hear it after. So June twenty eighth whatever has gone on here. The people of Flint are going to get the explanation, I they are going to be the first people who have the opportunity to ask questions about it, and then the rest of us come next. This is not like a surprise curveball. Right. This is like a UFO landing in the infield incredible development in the story. I would usually at this point say, watch this space, but honestly watch Flint. Today. You might have seen that Trump national security advisor, Mike Flynn received a subpoena to testify intelligence committee, about the Muller investigation. He and Trump deputy national security adviser. Rick gates were both subpoenaed today, and it may be a little tricky, because both of them are also simultaneously awaiting sentencing right now on federal felony charges related to stuff that turned up in the Muller investigation. But when it comes to Flynn, this may be trickier. Still this is something we've been watching develop all week as Flynn heads toward what we expect to be the end of his own criminal case, as you know, Flynn recently, fired his longtime lawyers and instead hired a new lead lawyer, who's a regular on Fox News, where she calls, Robert Muller, the real crook, and the FBI, the real crime, family and says that Flynn never should've pled guilty and the judge of his case doesn't know what he's doing because Flint hiring that lawyer, there's been a lot of speculation that Flynn might have hired that new. Lawyer because he's trying to persuade the president to give him a pardon. This isn't the kind of lawyer, you would hire to persuade that judge to give you a light sentence. We've been watching this over the course of this week watching for signs that any sort of pardon effort might be coming from Flynn. Well today we got a pretty good sign. The president's first tweet of the day, praising Flynn for hiring, this great new lawyer, a presidential thumbs up for Mike Flynn president has so far, not pardoned anybody in conjunction with the Russia scandal. But it does feel like those are the train tracks that are being laid down in the Flynn case. So watch this space, stay with us. Told you this felt like a Friday, doesn't it amount of news that broke over the course of the day, and then into the night and no rest? Well that does for us tonight. We will see again tomorrow high. It's Lawrence O'Donnell, if you love MSNBC where your heart on your sleeve, you can gear up with t shirts. Hoodies hats and more from the last word and all of your favourite MSNBC shows you can shop now at MSNBC store dot com.

Coming up next