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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  March 21, 2017 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT

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03/21/17 03/21/17 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> and that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the trump campaign and the russian government, and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and russia's efforts. amy: in an extraordinary disclosure, fbi director james comey has revealed the agency is probing possible collusion between the trump campaign and moscow. the fbi probe began months
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before the november election but waited james comey publicly announce the healer clinton program just before the election but keep silent about the trump investigation ununtil now? we will get the latest. first, to the confirmation hearings for supreme court justice nominee neil gorsuch. how muchch of a fight willl dedemocrats put up? in the hobby lobby y was fifth cicircuit, you held for corporation n having religious rights o over s employees health care. your recordrd on corporate verss human lititigants comes s in bye coununt at -two. for corporations. telliningly, big special intntes and the frfragrance are spinning minds of dollars in a dark many campaign to push your confirmation. amy: we will air highlights from day one of the confirmation hearing and look at how the right-wing federalist society is helping president trump reshape the judiciary. the society's vice president,
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leonard leo, is now on leave to help the white house shepherd the gorsuch nomination. all of that and more coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. fbi director james comey has confirmed the fbi is investigating whether president trump's campaign collaborated -- colluded with russia to sway the 2016 election. >> i been authorized by the department of justice to confirm that the fbi, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. and that includes investigating the nature of any links betwewen individuals associated with the trump campaign and the russian therement, and whether was any court nation between a campaign and russia's efforts. amy: that's fbi director james comey speaking before the house intelligence committee monday, issuing the first public
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confirmation of the agency's investigation into the relationship between trump's campaign and russia. comey also said the fbi has no information that supports trump's unsubstantiated claims that president obama tapped trump's phones in trump tower during the electioion. >> with respect to the president's tweets about alleged wiretapping directed at him by the prior administration, i have no information that supports those tweets and we have looked carefufully insiside the fbi. the department of justice has asked me to share with you that the answer is the same for the department of justice in all of its components, the department has no information that supports those tweets. amy: during the hearing, the director of the national security agency michael rogers also refuted president trump's claims that president obama asked the british intelligence agency gchq to carry out the wiretap on trump tower. this is rogersrs being queststid by california democratic congressman adam schiff. >> the british allies have
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called the president's suggestion that they wiretapped him for obama nonsense and utterly ridiculous. would you agree? >> yes, sir. amy: president trump appears to have issued the unfoununded clas that the british intelligence agency gchq carried out the alleged wiretap after watching a fox newsws report last week. fox has pulled its senior legal analyst andrew napolitano, who made the claims last week, off -- following the hearing, president trump refused to heed mounting calls for him to apologize for his unsubstantiated claims that obama tapped his phones. instead, white house press secretary sean spicer said the white house was still looking into the possibility of surveillance. meanwhile, the "new york times" reported monday that former trump campaign chair paul manafort is facing a new round of accusations in ukraine after evidence emerged that he sought to hide payments he'd received
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while doing political consulting work for former president viktor yanukovych. manafort was ousted as trump's campaign chair in august after handwritten ledgers unearthed in ukraine showed $12.7 million of cash payments from a pro-russian party y that were slated to go o manafort, though it is not known , whether he ever received the money. reuters also reported mondayay trtrump's secretary of state rex tillerson is planning to skip an april meeting with nato foreign ministers then head to russia , later in the month. supreme court nominee neil gorsuch is back on capitol hill today for day two of his confirmation hearing. during monday's hearing, democratic senators repeatedly criticized gorsuch's record, as well as their republican counterparts for refusing to , take up the nomination of obama's pick him a judge merrick garland, to replace the late supreme court justice antonin scalia.
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judge gorsuch has a long history of ruling against employees in cases involving federal race, sex, age, disability and political discrimination, and retaliation claims. we'll have more on his confirmation hearings afterr headlines. president trump is expected to seek security clearances so his daughter, ivanka trump, can access classified information. ivanka is also expected to receive an office in the west wing and government-issued communication devices. ivanka trump has been one of her father's most trusted advisers, despite having no official government role. her husband, jared kushner, is a senior white house adviser. top republican lawmakers have announced a slew of amendments to the republican health care plan ahead of the house vote thursday. many of the amendments were pushed by conservatives within the republican party. one amendment seeks s to immediately halt the medicaid expansion program. another would allow states to make it harder for people to receive medicaid by imposing requirements that people have a
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-- able-bodied people have a job or participate in job training programs. a third amendment would allow states to chchoose to o receives federal funding for medicaid. the trump administration has enacted new rules prohibiting some passengers flying to the united states on foreign airlines from carrying on any electronic devices larger than a cell phone. the new rules apply to passengers flying from airports in cairo, istanbul, kuwait city, amman, jordan, casablanca, morocco, doha, qatar, jeddah and riyadh in saudi arabia, and dubai and abu dhabi in the united arab emirates. the e electronic devicices are l allowed to be packed into passengers' checked luggage. a new report by the world meteorological organization warns the planet is experiencing unprecedented increases in global temperatures and rising sea levels that smash all previous measurements. david carlson, director of the world meteorological organization's world climate research program, said -- "we are seeing other remarkable
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changes across the planet that are challenging the limits of our understanding of the climate system. we are now in truly uncharted territory." a high court in india has granted d the ganges and yamuna rivers the same legal rirights s human beings. the ruling comes aftfter the new zealand parliament p passed a lw granting thehe whanganui river fullll legal rights last weeeek. president trump met with iraqi prime minister haider al-abadi at the white house monday, on the e 14th annnniversary o of t. invasion of iraq on march 20, 2003. during their meeting, trump pledged continued u.s. military support for the ongoing campaign against isis militants, including in the city of mosul. on monday, the iraqi government said as many as 180,000 people have been displaced from west mosul, amid the ongoing fighting. more than 100,000 of those who have fled are now in temporary refugee camps. mexican journalist ricardo monlui cabrera has been murdered in the mexican state of veracruz. he was the editorial director of
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the newspaper el politico and the president of the local journalists' association in the city of cordoba. he's the second journalist to be murdered this month after cecilio pineda was killed in the mexican state of guerrero. on the same day as monlui's murder, a mass grave containing nearly 50 cocorpses was discoved in veracruz, only days after another mass grave of more than 250 bodies was discovered in the same state. meanwhile, parents of the 43 missing students from the ayotzinapa rural teachers' college in guerrero met with officials from the inter-american commission on on human rights in washington, d.c., on friday to demand action in the investigation into their missing children, who disappeared more than two years ago after being kidnapped by local police. in florida, the orange-osceola state attorney aramis ayala has received death threats from another government employee after she announced she would not seek the death penalty in
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any murder cases, including in a case of a police officer's killing. after her announcement, the assistant finance director of the seminole county clerk's office stan mccullars wrote on facebook -- "maybe she should get the death penalty. she should be tarred and feathered if not hung from a tree." states attorney ayala is the first african american state's attorney in florida's history. the "orlando sentinel" reports that from 187777 to 1950, more black people were lynched by whites in florida, the most lynchings p per capitaf any u.s. state. in california, a three-day african trade conference at the university of southern california was held without a single person from africa after the u.s. government denied the visas of every single african seeking to attend. organizers of the african global economic and development summit say between 60 and 100 potential attendees from africa all had their visas denied. organizer mary flowers said --
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"i don't know if it's trump or if it's the fact that the embassies that have been discriminating for a long time see this as an opportunity, because of talk of the travel ban, to blatantly reject everyone." "forbes" magazine has published its s annual billionaires list. according to "forbes," president donald trump's net worth s dropped by $1 billion. hihis fortune e is now repororty $3.5.5 billion, making himim the 544th h richest person in the world. in more news on billionaires, banker david rockefeller died monday at the age of 101. one of the heirs to the rockefeller oil fortune, he also exerted extensive political influence worldwide. he was the longest serving member of the council on foreign relations. he was a strong promoter of neoliberalism and involved in u.s. political interventions, le'suding the ouster of chi leader allende.
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peter kwong, a leading scholar of asian-american studies and immigration, has died. worn in taiwan in 1941, he was a distinct professor of urban affairs and planning at hunter college in new york and a professor of sociology at the graduate center of city of new york. his work was twice nominated for the pulitzer prize. in 2010, he appeared on democracy now! to talk about his oscar-nominated film "china's unnatural disaster: the 10 years of sichuan province." .his is peter kwong ironically, ours is the only document of history -- this is the only thing left. so it is, therefore,e, very, vey important for us to continue to push -- peoplele in china are pushing, but we have to do our task. this is really very impoportant bebecause the parents knew, we'e building once good let the rest
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of the world no. amy: peter kwong talking about the film "china's unnatural disaster: the tears of sichuan provovince." peter kwong died this past weekend. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. juan: and i'm juan gonzalez. welcome to all of our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. supreme court nominee neil gorsuch is back on capitol hill today for day two of his confirmation hearing. each senator on the senate judiciary committee will be allotted 30 minutes to question the federal judge who was tapped by president trump to fill the seat left vacant by antonin scalia's death over a year ago. presidenent obama nominated merrick garland to replace scalia, but republicans refused to even hold hearings, fearing that garland would tip the ideological balance of the court to the left. during opening statements on monday, democratic senators repeatedly criticized their
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discourse it is record and took aim at the republican counterparts for refusing to take up the nomination of garland. this is democratic senator sheldon n whitehouse of rhodode islandnd. >> now, where do you fit i in? when hobby lobby was in the 10th cicircuit, you help fofor corpororation haviving religious rights over its employees health care. a record on cororba versus s hun lititigants comes in by onene ct at 21-2. for corprporations. tellllingly, big special interet in their f front groupups are spending millions of dollars in a dark money campapaign to push your confirmation. we have a predicament.t. in ordinary circumstances, you should have the benefit of the doubt b bed on your qualificatations but several things have e gone wrong a shift the benefit of the doubtbt. one, justice roberts sat in that very seat, told u us he just called balls and strikes and then letet his fivive person republicican majority on t that activist five before political
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shopping spree. once burned, twice shy. confirmation etiquette hahas ben unhinged from the truth. two, republblican s senators s y any semblance e of due legislate .rocess s to our l last nominee one,e, i would say e even m more qualifieied than you, and that s saying something. why y go through the unprecedend political trouble to deny so qualified a a judge, e even a hearing, if you don't expect something more amenable to come down the pipe? those political expectations also color the benefit of the doubt. amy: that is rhode island democrat sheldon whitehouse. in his opening statement, neil gorsuch warned against judges being "secret legislators." on the rope, i am also reminded that under our constitution's for this body, the people's representatives, to make new laws. for the executive to ensure those laws are faithfully executed and for neutral and
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independent judges to apply the law in people's disputes. if judges were just secret legislators declaring that with the law is but what they would like a to b, the very idea of a government by the people and for the people would be at risk. and those again before the court would live in fear. never sure exactly what the law requires of them except for the judges will. as alexander hamilton said, liberty can have nothing to fear from judges who apply the law, but liberty has everything to fear if judges try to legislate, too. amy: that a supreme court justice nominee neil gorsuch. to talk more about the judge, we're joined by ian millhiser. he is a senior fellow at the center for american progress action fund and the ededitor of thinkprogress justice. he is the author of the book, "injustices: the supreme court's history of comforting the comfortable and afflicting the afflicted." so, ian, what to get your view of thehe first day of the heari. the judge was not questioned,
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the senators just made their statements. youtalk about what -- what thought was most important came out of yesterday's hearing. >> sure. i was really struck by the difference between judge gorsuch's rhetoric at the hearing and what i see in his record as a judge. judge gorsuch comes out over tradition that has become particularly problem on the right since barack obama was sworn in. it calls for judges to be more active, more aggressive in pushing a conservative agenda, more hostile agency regulation, more hostile to laws like the affordable care act. and everything i see in george gorsuch's record suggests he very much believes in that agenda, whether you look at his hobby lobby decision, his efforts to dismantle many of the powers that agencies like the epa has. this looks like he is going to be a very aggressive judge. i was surprised to hear him talk about judicial modesty and not
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behaving like a super legislature. record, theat his modesty does not seem to be what he is interested in. one cup let's go back to part of the opening statements by neil gorsuch before that senate judiciary committee. >> in my decade on the bench, i try to treat all c caps or me fairly and with respect. and afford equal rights to pour into the rich. i've decided cases for native americans seeking to protect tribal lands. for class s actions like one tht ensured compensation for victims of large nuclear waste, pollution problem, produced by corporations in colorado. i've ruled for disabled students, for prisoners, for the accused, for workers alleging civil rightsts violations and fr undocumented immigrants. i ruled against such persons. my decisions have never reflected a judgment about the people before me.
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only a judgment ababout the law and the facts at issue in each particular case. a good judge can promise no more than that and a good judge should guarantee no less. for a judge who likes everyry outcome hehe reaches, probably a pretty bad judge, stretching for policy results he prefers rather than those the law compels. , whatian millhiser about these particular words of neil gorsuch and could you talk about -- later on in the hearing, he also talked about his admiration or justice robert jackson and how he compares to that former justice? >> sure. i think it is important to note -- gorsuch is right about this. judges tend to operate with broad ideological brushes. a bad judge is someone who looks
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at each individual case and figures of the result they want in a individual case. gorsuch does not seem like someone who does that. what he does do, though, is he believes in a comprehensive, very conservatative ideology whh will sometime reach results that are good, but very often reaches results that a very sweeping implications, that i at least think are pretty bad. to give an example of that, there was a case involving an immigrant, someone who was sent back to mexico and wanted to reach her the united states -- reenter the united states and was very poorly treated by the federal government. gorsuch ruled in favor of this very mistreated immigrant. but in the process of doing so, he laid out a broad rule, which is or taken up by the supreme court, would make a difficult for the epa to operate, would make it difficult for the department of labor to enact a number of regulations protecting workers, who potentially would have implications for food
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safety and other areas of the law. he painted with a broadd brush and the breath of his opinion was broad enough doubt this one immigrant. broadt of his opinion was enough to help this one immigrant. the much bigger implications that i think should be frightening. , justice jackson, he praised jackson in his hearing. jackson is someone who is associated very much with judicialal restraint. it was anonother example of gorsuch trying to paint himself as the picture of judicial modesty. but again, i look at his record as a judge and i just ocv modesty that he describes in his testimony there. amy: let's go to utah's republican senator mike lee. >> you have the resume of a supreme court justice, but i think what is most impressive, and for our purposes what is most important about your career and about the approach you take to the law, is your fierce
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independence from partisan influence and any personal biases that you might otherwise be inclined to harbor. amy: several democratic senators, including dick durbin of illinois, talked about how republicans blocked obama's nomination of judge mayer arland. -- judgment garland. >> president obama met his constitutionally required obligation by nominating judge merrick portland to fill that vacancy in march 2016. senate republican leader mitch mcconnell announces for the first time in the history of the united states senate he would refuse judge garland a hearing and a vote. he went further and said he would refuse to even meet with the judge. it was clear that senator mcconnell was making a political decision, hoping for republican president would be elected. hehe was willing to ignore the of theon and precedent
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senate so you consider this witness table today. amy: that was senator dick durbin. -- millhiser, as we wrap up next we will be talking about the fefederalist society -- but what about what is going to happen right now? garlandover 320 days, never had a hearing. they are talking about fast tracking this -- when would be the vote? >> we're probably looking at sometime in april. they want to get this done as quick as possible so something like, say, for example, an fbibi investigation into the president of the united states does not derail this confirmation. republicans know what is at stake. there's a big gerrymandering case that will be heard by the supreme court next term. there is a bunch of cases involving the future of voter suppression laws in places like north carolina. amy: the travel ban.
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>> right. these guys have done a great deal to manipulate the way that our elections are held and make it easier for republicans and harder for democrats. if the supreme court takes that away from them and if mayor girling had been confirmed -- merrick garland have been confirmed, they would say, no more, you don't get to me to relate elections, the republicans would be a difficult position. they want their conservative majority that will protect these laws that allow them to manipulate how our elections are held. amy: ian millhiser, thank you for being with us. we will check back with you, senior fellow for the center of american progress action fund and the editor of thinkprogress justice. piece, -- we your will link to your piece "the , judge gorsuch who spoke in the senate today is nothing like the man who wrote his opinions." en is the author of the book, "injustices: the suprememe cou's history y of comfortrting the comfortable and afflictiting the afflicted."" when we come back, eric lipton on the federalist society,
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particularly its vice president who is on leave now, coordinating the whole presentation of justice gorsuch. this is democracy now! stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. as we continue our coverage of supreme court nominee neil gorsuch, we're joined by "new york times" investigative journalist eric lipton. he recently cowrote a piece headlined, "in gorsuch, conservative activist sees test case for reshaping the judiciary." the piece looks at how a top official at the federalist society named leonard leo is playing a key role in helping trump behind the scenes. amy: leonard leo is currently on leave from the federalist society to help shepherd gorsuch's nomination, in addition to nominating gorsuch
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to the supreme courtrt, presidet trump has 123 other judgeships to fill because in a republicans blocked many of obama's nominees. eric lipton, welcome to democracy now! why don't you start off by talking about the conservative shaping of the judiciary, in particular the role of the federalist society. >> first off, you introduced them once by describing them as a right-wing group. i would not call them a right-wing group. i think our group of conservative legal scholars who see themselves as an alternative voice and they really got started through law schools in thereited states where was some concern by law professors that there was not a forum for conservative people to sort of, you know, meet and discuss theories relative to the court that could sort of be an alternative to the more liberal dominant thought in the core system. at the federalist society has grown into an organization that has incredible influence in the
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u.s. it has many lawyers are lawyers working for different corporations and it has judges that are members and it has gatherings around the united states that pull together conservative legal minds. it is funded by a combination of conservative foundations that want to try to change various standards in american society, as well as corporations that like the ideas of the federalist society in terms of limited governing as sort of trying to knock down federal regulations. so the thing that a sort of interesting at this moment is the judicial philosophy of the federalist society and of groups that are related to it in the conservative world, they are better positioned at this moment than they probably have ever been in modern times. and because of a series of events that have occurred. you have the president who is essentially allowing them to help pick supreme court nominees
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and told him that he is going to also allow them to provide input to other judges. you have a congress that is controlled by republicans. you have state governments throughout the u.s. where the majority of the governors and legislatures are under republican control. and you have board vacancies pointed to this two-term president -- and you have more vacancies going back to carter. president trump and republicans are better position at this moment to reshape both the federal and state judiciary's than they probably have ever been. the federalist society and letter leo are sitting there ready to help that process. amy: and can you talk about the foundations that are supporting the federalist society? like the koch brothers? >> yes. you have everything from google and microsoft, which are donors to the federalist society, as well as major energy companies like chevron for devon,
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especially devon, try to challenge much of the obama administration's regulatory agenda when it comes to the environment. you also have very conservative family foundations like the mercer foundation or the koch brothers foundation that see their giving, if you look at her donor patterns, as a way to try to influence american society. mean, the federalist society is a forum for these lawyers to discuss legal approaches that they can then use an to fine-tune them and they -- the federalist society argues it is a nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) that does not -- is not an advocacy organization. it is pretty clear they have a very conservative eagle philosophy when you look at the forms they hold in the debates they hold and the people that are members of it.
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you look at the judges that they align themselves with. almost has a medical status almost an illegal -- mythical status in legal status. leonard leo is helping organize. you are likely to encounter, at least when judge scalia was alive -- judge scalia, judge thomas. he is very well respected among that circle and has a great deal of influence. juan: how did he get to have this influence? he is almost like the go-to guy. he also shepherded through the confirmation of justice roberts and samuel alito as well. how did he get to that position? ,> federalist society basically, fraternity, good seo sorority, of like-minded lawyers. it is a club. ofis essentially a club
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like-minded lawyers. maybe they judges or corporate lawyers or academic lawyers, their regular meetings and conferences and leonard leo is sort of like the head counselor of this group. -- respectedwere guy, very intelligent guy. for washington, very low-key. wasdo not hear his in the debates. he is very much beyond the scenes, but has a great deal of respect among this universe of folks. he came to prominence at first in george w. bush's administration when he was named to serve as a sort of intermediary for catholics and the republican party. and he himself is catholic and very serious about his beliefs. he transitioned from that role too early in the bush
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administration, their trouble getting through some supreme court nominees, and harriet miers was nominated and backed out. there was frustration among conservatives that bush was not taking advantage of the power that he had to fill the federal courts. leonard came in and, leonard leo, and he helped set up a process that not only identified candidates that were conservative and they could get confirmed, but also a process to then build public support across the united states to execute on those dominations what they were made. leo has also been associated with this. he helps fund the money. they began a public relations campaign nationally to get the conservative judges confirmed, once folks like leonard had help them get nominated. eric,ou begin your piece, by saying --
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"deep in the senate 20 page questionnaire judge gorsuch, the supreme court nominee was asked how he come to president trump's attention and he said "i was contacted by leonard leo." can you also talk him as yoyou e w, talkingng about the allied organizations and those that leonard leo works with, like john balchem at the heritage orkery, whoann c oversees the judicial crisis network with her husband, and you say related dark any groups that also support the cause. >> yeah, i mean come as a reporter, as a person that believes in transparency and also someone who likes to decipher riddles, i find it interesting to observe this kind of aligned parties and the various roles they have set up. yet the federalist society in leonard playing a role in helping identify candidates to
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nominate and to bring them to the administration and to get the process started. then you essentially have a handoff because he is a 501(c)(3). he comes from that world. then you have his hand off to this group, judicial crisis network, which is an advocacy organization spending somewhere upwards of $4 million on television commercials and radio and other media, particularly, in the states where there is in a democrats who are up for reelection next year and states where trump won. these are democrats that live in red states were vulnerable. gorsuch will need their votes in order to get confirmed. otherwise, unless the 60 vote rule is overturned in order to get desperate and the dust he does not need it for maturity, he needs it to get the vote of the floor. that is where judicial crisis network comes in. this is organization set up in approximately 2005 and it is a
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dark many group. they will not tell you who their donors are. if you look at their 990, their tax form, which i have a copy here, and the thing that is so interesting about it to me is they show they had a budget of not that much, but one of many allied organizations. then you go to the page that shows who their donors are and it is called the schedule b of the 990. if you look in the normal tax records, you won't find it, but you can ask for it. you'll see all of their money can from to donors. although, the names are not there. $5.75 million came from two people. you look at the 990 in you say, how many people work for you? how many volunteers? zero employees, zero volunteers. so what is this group? all of it is money that comes from two donations. how much of this is a grassroots organization and how much is it an organization that takes
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checks from players who wanted influence the federal judiciary and funnel the money through this organization to try to create an appearance it is a grassroots organization? amy: do you know who those two people are? >> if you reverse engineer the irs records, which i did, you could backward -- you could find his organization called the wellspring committee. the wellspring committee, which --based in virginia, is run this is their 990 -- it is ann corkery. on the judicial crisis network, this document, who signed the? her husband. her husband helps run the judicial crisis network. -- look at the back of their who does the wellspring committee give money to? million to the judicial crisis network in 2014.
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that is exactly the same amount of money that the judicial crisis network spent in 2014. ann corkery gave all of the money -- you wonder, where does well spring get its money from? you begin the process, because of the federal government does that require disclclosure of donors, you end up at an old brick wall. you cannot find out where wellspring committee gets its money from and you end up in the dark money circle. basically, what you see is this is an interconnected network that is moving money around in a way to try to hide who the original donors were. and the connections between the federalist society and the judicial crisis network and ann and neal corkery and letter leo and wellspring committee, they're all interconnected. they certainly have the right to influence ththis process. i mean, it is a democracy. you raise money, you spend
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money. i think it is interesting to bring light to this and to examine this network. that is their right to do it and they are doing it. , honestly,lipton there are now using this entire machinery dealt get judge gorsuch -- to help get judge gorsuch approved for the supreme court. i would ask about the article , the potential impact of judge gorsuch's views on federal regulatory policy in terms of how he might shift the court in this direction. theo me, forgetting all of tweets and the headlines that trump has generated so far in his administration, there are two really big things that are happening. i'm sorry, i one more caveat, besides the immigration fight. and those are regulatory policy, which there are major things happening on the regulatory
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front. gorsuch is just the start. there are 120 four vacancies. there is major stuff about to happen. on the regulatory policy, gorsuch, you know, it will be interesting to watch. this is a guy who in terms of the famous chevron deference decision, took the position to oppose the chevron deference which allows that federal agencies have the right to interpret the law in a way to then write a regulation that is offered essentially there to rotation. chevron deference from the court ruled, they have the right to do that. he has ruled against that. that is like a fundamental ruling that really has shaped the powers of federal agencies to interpret the actions by congress, therefore, to build off of that legal action. if chevron deference is overturned, then we will have a
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very different regulatory system in the u.s. to further that answer, you look at judicial crisis network. who, in addition to spending millions of dollars on ads to get gorsuch confirmed, what else does the judicial crisis spent money on? millions to get republicans elected a states attorneys general. the reason that is, they won't republican attorneys general to bring cases in state and federal court that challenge federal regulations which they think are overreaching. and then to get those cases into the court in which they then help pick the judges and have more conservative judges. and then will have decisions with -- which limit federal powers. gorsuch -- if you look at his record, it is reasonable to expect he will believe in a more now into rotation of the law and that anytime a federal agency goes too far, it is appropriate for the courts to review it and decide if it is a step beyond its ground.
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watch. be interesting to that said, we're going back to a five-four court, which is where was before. willoughby that radically different from the what we had before justice scalia died? probably not. amy: in your piece on conservatives using the gorsuch nomination to press overhaul and judiciary, you mentioned attorney general, the oklahoma attorney general scott pruitt, who is now head of the epa. you talk about how he's sort of quit when -- quipped when leo leonard calls that you answer. scott pruitt stayed. you talk about who was at that dinner. >> again, shows you what incredible status leonard the ohio. scott pruitt was in town for federalist society meeting. scott pruitt is very active in the federalist society. these are people with like-minded philosophies about the benefits of limited government. leonard approached scott and
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said, scott trust over friday night for dinner. i think you'll enjoy. scott t pruitt shows up for the dinner -- it is in a basement, which is interesting. they don't specify why it was held in the basement location and washington, d.c. and who is at the dinner table but justice scalia and justice thomas. these are the kind of folks when leonard leo has a friday night dinner and a vice the attorney general from oklahoma to join them, these are the folks he has around the table. one of the interesting things, this little anecdote, which scott pruitt mention in a speech he gave in michigan last year, this came up during scott pruitt confirmation hearing because this moment occurred at a time was attorneyuitt general and he had a number of cases in federal court, including several that had reached the supreme court. you have to wonder, here it is the attorney general of oklahoma with a number of matters pending before the supreme court, is it appropriate for him to be having have a conversation's in a dinner in an undisclosed location with two members of the
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supreme court? scott pruitt was asked that in the questions, written questions, that were presented to his confirmation. he said he does not remember the specifics of what was discussed, but he is certain he did not discuss pending court matters. again, it sort of shows you leonard leo's really pretty unprecedented and underappreciated reach in conservative legal world of the united states that he could bring together the attorney general of oklahoma and two sitting members of the supreme court for dinner. amy: eric lipton, we will ask you to stay with us investigative reporter at the , "new york times." we will link to your piece "in , gorsuch, conservative activist sees test case for reshaping the judiciary." you have also written about what is going on right now around fbi director james comey and other issues. we would like you to stay with us when we talk about this extraordinary moment yesterday when the director of the fbi james comey revealed the agency is investigating links between
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the trump campaign and russia. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace reportrt. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. in an extraordinary disclosure, fbi director james comey confirmed on monday that the fbi is investigating whether president trump's campaign collaborated with russia to sway the 2016 electction. >> as you know, our practice is not to confirm the existence of ongoing investigations. especially, those investigations that involve pacified matters. but in unusual circumstances where it is in the public interest, it may be appropriate to do so. as justice department policies recognize. this is one of those circumstances. i have been authorized by the department of justice to confirm that the fbi, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is
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investigating the russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. and that incncludes investigatig the nature of any links between individuals associated with the trump campaign and the russian therement, and whether was any coordination between the campaign and'russias efforts. as with any town or intelligence investigation, this will also include an assessment of whether any crimes were committed. amy: james comey also said the fbi has no information that supports trump's unsubstantiated claims that president obama tapped trump's phones in trump tower during the election. >> with respect to the president's tweets about alleged wiretapping directed at them by the prior administration, i have no information that supports those tweets and we have looked carefully inside the fbi.. the department of justice has asked me to share with you that the answer is the same for the department of justice and all
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its components, the department has not information that supports those tweets. amy: comey testified on monday along with nsa director admiral mike rogers. to talk about the hearing, we are joined by national security reporter marcy wheeler who runs the site emptywheel.net. and still with us is pulitzer prize-winning "new york times" investigative reporter eric lipton. in he co-authored a major december, investigation headlined, "the perfect weapon: how russian cyberpower invaded the u.s." the hearingover closely yesterday. talk about how unusual it is and what you thought was most significant. >> it is actually -- the hearing we have had on the russian investigation. the confirmation, which we already knew, but the explicit confirmation that trump's campaign is part of that was an important part of that, but i think even more interesting was way at the end of the hearing in exchange between commerce woman
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from upstate new york and james comey where she asked why the fbi had not briefed congress about this investigation until the last month, she said, and he explained they had not followed the normal policy, which is he , youibed you go to the dni go to justice, go to the white house and then you brief sogress because it was sensitive. he sort of suggested the order there could not be done with this investigation. so i think that provided in addition to the confirmation he gave early in the hearing. some sense of just how sensitive , as the congresswoman said, how serious this investigation i shall he is. juan: we have a clip of that exchange with republican your commerce woman elise stefanik questioning director comey about
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when he notified the congressional leadership about the agency's investigation, which the investigation began in july. >> just to drill down on this, if the open investigation began in july and a briefing of congressional leadership only occurred recently, why was there no notification prior to the recent -- the past month? >> i think our decision was, it was a matter of such sensitivity we would not included in the quarterly briefings. when you say our decision, is that your decision? is that usually your decision, what gets briefed and those quarterly updates? >> no, it is usually the head of our counterintelligence division. >> again, to get the details on the record, why was the decision made not to brief senior congressional leadership until recently when the investigation , ae been open since july very serious investigation, why was the decision made to wait months? >> the sensitivity of the
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matter. juan: that was republican new york congresswoman elise to phonic questioning james comey, director comey yesterday. marcy wheeler, your reaction? said, one of the implicit things is the fbi was keeping, at least for a period, possibly at the beginning of the trump administration, was keeping the description of this investigation so narrowly held such that they were not willing to -- not even talking the full intelligence committees. we're talking just the gang of four. so devin nunes, adam schiff, richard burr, and now congressman -- senator warner from virginia. four people they were not willing to brief because they were keeping it so closely held. that suggests how concerned they were that the investigation might be compromised by it
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leaking. amy: as the fbi confirms its investigating the donald trurump campaign, the white house is attempting to distance itself from judah former top aides for general michael flynn and paul manafort, who both have established ties to russia. this is white house press secretary sean spicer yesterday. >> even general flynn n was a volunteer of the campaign. obviously, discussion of all manafort who played a very limited role for a veryry limitd amount of time. can he stop interrupting other people? jonathan, somebody is asking a question. it is not your press briefing. julie is asking a question. please call down. >> raising the president is aware -- not beeng that has grievously discussed. amy: marcy wheeler, better sean spicer trying to say, oh, this guy general flynn was just a volunteer and manafort did not spin much time with.
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>> right, and we have confirmation from one of eric's colleagues last night of details that had been leaking on the internet in the last two months about $750,000 that was laundered to manafort. there are a couple of other shoes i think about to drop on manafort. so we have details now fleshing out about manafort taking money from russian favorable people in ukraine -- presumably giving what comey testified to yesterday, at least some people the white house, have now been briefed on the scope of the investigation. i find it interesting that at the precise moment that comey was laying this out before the house intelligence committee, sean spicer was here tried to distance himself from these two people who would be among the first people targeted in the investigation. it certainly seems like confirmations from the white house as well that of the direction the fbi is going in. juan: i would like to get back to eric lipton.
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your reaction to yesterday's stunning testimony from the fbi director, both in terms of the ongoing investigation of the potential links of some key trump campaign officials to the russian efforts to sway the us election and also his discounting of trump's claims that president obama tapped his phones? >> you call them stunning. i was quite unimpressed with the hearing and did not find much about it stunning. or that surprising more informative. i think that the fbi is investigating russian interference in the election and that it would be looking as part of that investigation, which we are known for months is going on, of course it would have to address questions as to whether or not there was any coordination with the trump campaign, even if it concludes there was not, these are questions that they honestly would have to address. in the notion it was no evidence
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that the trump tower have been wiretap is something both the democrats -- i'm sorry, the republicans and the house and senate have said. that was not that surprising. to me, what was most evident through that hearing was the steps in which the democrats and republicans were seeing is an opportunity to pontificate and share their points of view as opposed to really digging more deeply into the questions that are out there relative to exactly what happened during the 2016 election. --is unfortunate that we even calling comey in a public setting like that before you have made much progress in your investigation, i think, to me, i would be much more interested in having a serious investigation that would draw new fax out that they then could question comey on the record. i know see any evidence of our they have the staff or the use
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of subpoenas to really dig more deeply into exactly what happened. i think that is unfortunate because there are a lot of open questions, a lot of ground that a powerful committee could really dig into. so far i don't see they are doing it. amy: what about sibley the question, he chose to publicly announce they were possibly clintonating hillary -- even at that time, saying at the same time, we're looking at the other candidate donald trump and the campaign's ties to russia? >> your point is well taken as to why, if you felt the need to publicly announce that in a letter to congress and its investigation -- although, at the time in july, what they begin was an investigation of the russian hacking. so it is unclear exactly when they began to address questions as to what role and potentially any trump candidate folks played in that. you don't know that became a part of the examination until potentially after the election was over.
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for him simply to have said in the fall of 2016 that they were examining the potential for russian interference in the election would not have been, i don't think that would've answered your point. amy: then you have comey addressing the issssue that you investigated, eric, which is, would he have done things differently when it came to alerting the dnc, low-level person ending up talking to a consultant at the dnc said, yes, i would have sent out a larger flare. we just would have cap banging and banging on the door for stuff i guess i should have walked over there myself. >> even the fact they did not begin formally investigating the apparent interference by russia in the american election until july of 2016, that -- they had october 2015ort of that there was russian hackers that had gone into the computer
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system of the dnc. that is when an fbi agent first notified a low level technical the tech help guy. that is who they called on the phone to say, by the way, it looks like basically you have russian hackers inside the dnc's computer system. it took months and months before it really got elevated at the dnc. it was not until may 2016 that the dnc confirmed they were present in a computer system and they have been hacked and compromised. that began a whole series of disclosures that ultimately brought down the leadership of the dnc and it was months of documents that then became public. why the fbi did not escalate the investednd why -- formal investigation was not announced and why it was not a treated to russia earlier than october, which was the first of the federal government attributed it, those are all important questions we still don't have answers to.
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in go we will have to leave it there but look at all of these issues. andant to thank eric lipton marcy wheeler. her website is
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earth treks s made possisie by the generous suprtrt of iloo inns, wi l locatns t thrghout the westn unitedtates. this is mount kinabalu, the highest pepeak in all of southet asia. hi, i'm joni ravenna, stay with us as we s show you this and may other places on this episode of "earth trek."

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