tv The Beat With Ari Melber MSNBC July 8, 2019 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
and that is arnold palm's a. we'll be back tomorrow with more "meet the press" daily. the beat starts now with ari melber. >> good evening. thank you so much. we have a lot in tonight's show including this little nugget. attorney general bill barr just came out and publicly knocked bob mueller's upcoming testimony. we have a special report tonight with some clues on what bob mueller will do when he faces congress next week. we have reporting in there that i can tell you you won't see anywhere else later tonight. at this point it's an increasingly bizarre battle within and inside the trump administration over how to deal with the census after that supreme court rebuke. and a reversal over the holidays if you haven't heard about that yet. so we have a lot, but we begin with the substantive crisis that continues to consume the trump administration. this is one that involves facts mattering. new reporting on appalling conditions from the facility in clint, texas, which has humanitarians concerned and donald trump on defense.
and "the new york times" reporting out break of shingles and chicken pox, evidence of a lice infestation at this clint, texas, site. some of the details would not normally be available to the public. the trump administration strictly limiting access to these now very controversial facilities. one eyewitness, though, recounting 351 children crammed into what was cast as a prison-like environment. tonight we're joined by a lawmaker who just toured this very facility for a fact check of donald trump's attempts to dismiss this entire exhaustive investigative account from "the new york times." take a look. >> "the new york times" story is a hoax. i went to my people and they said it's not true. we told them about a crisis. they said it was manufactured. >> manufactured. now, there are plenty of americans who by now may be basically accustomed to what you just saw on your screen, the president of the united states taking a false and odd effort to
simply ignore and blast through facts and stories that undercut him and, in this case, undercut the united states treatment of people from primarily other countries. so how does this impact our stand in the u.s. standing in the whole rest of the world? well, that brings us to another part of our lead story tonight because you had the holidays, america celebrating independence and all that, and then people go back to work. and much of official washington returned to work today feasting on something of a diplomatic rarity, a british paper's expose on secret cables from their top diplomat in america privately telling his government trump is inept, his administration is incompetent and he radiated insecurity. the paper headlining part of their report, and this might be pretty sweet for people who are a little tired of the way donald trump uses this term, but this is the daily mail telling your president, sorry, mr. president, here's proof it's not fake news. and they quote the secret
cables, as i mention. all of this about how the other diplomats around the world privately view donald trump. they adhere for good measure, quote, for a man who has risen to the highest office on the planet president trump radiates insecurity. on all of the above i'm joined by richard stengel who knows about diplomatic cables. he's the former managing editor of time magazine. kristen leads the group united we dream. she came to the u.s. from ecuador at the age of 13 as an undocumented immigrant and democratic state representative mary
gonzalez who represents a district in the texas house that deals with clint, as we mentioned, a big part of this exhaustive report and has recently visited the facilities. good tway to all of you. >> thank you for having us. >> absolutely. rick, i want to start big picture and burrow in. as a sad factor of the news, we do know about the nature of some
of these facilities and we continue to report on what we learn about each of them. what we don't always know is what diplomats secretly think of this president. your view of that and i don't think it's too big a leap, its connection to the management of this border crisis. >> i think by the way, starting with the border crisis, people around the world look at this as ineptitude by the united states in general. no civilized country should treat people like this, even undocumented migrants. particularly if you transpose the united states and think about this happening in some other country, it would be
a human rights crisis. you would be protesting that government. so the british ambassador, mr. derek or sir derek, was speaking for everybody pretty much. he's speaking for the entire diplomatic core. as they say in washington, the scandal is what's true, not what's untrue. he spoke the truth. it's indisputable that trump is insecure, the administration is incompetent and inept. i don't approve of a leak of a classified cable. i think that's an awful thing.
but it's indisputable what he says is true and it is universally regarded as the truth among the entire diplomatic court. >> right. you're speaking about the way diplomacy works. if you're not allowed to have some space to privately say, oh, well, the emperor has no clothes because the daily mail then tells everyone you said the emperor is naked, then cables probably get less true and more euphemistic, right? you're talking about the purpose of that. but what does it mean for foreign relations here, for the president to know that at the highest levels of this allied government which has given him the big salute, they think he's basically, i use this term loosely, but a hot mess? >> by the way, his reaction completely confirmed everything that the british ambassador said. it was intemperate, it was chaotic. it was refuting a member of the diplomatic core. i think it confirmed everything the ambassador said. >> so, representative gonzalez, take that to what you saw at the facilities and whether the
president is right to claim that all of this is a hoax or whether he is wrong to claim that. >> not only is he wrong, it's insuli insulting to my community and dehumanizing. first off, i saw children in these facilities who don't belong in detention centers. then i saw grandparents, a 70-year-old grandmother who traveled from el salvador. this is insulting he feels it's a hoax. my community has been at the forefront of this a whole year. a year ago we built the tent city, which is only ten miles away from the clint facility where we house thousands of immigrants children. this situation is demoralizing to not only the kids and the families that are in these centers, but the communities outside of them. even if he wants to say this, it's insulting to his own border patrolmen who have a higher rate of suicide than ever before. >> christina take a listen to trump's immigration czar on all of in. >> congress refuses, especially the house, refuses to take the
steps necessary to fix these loopholes that you can drive a truck through. ultimately they're complaining about the numbers that they're attracting here. it's the height of hypocrisy. they just want to politicize it. they don't actually want to solve the probably. >> what i can say is, all of us agree that this crisis is just getting worse by the day. and, in fact, what we've seen is this administration asking for more and more money to help people that are in these camps. and just about a week ago, democratic leadership and republicans gave a blank check to this administration, millions of dollars to address the situation that is happening right now with no restrictions. but in reality what this means is democrats fell for this trap of this administration that has had already a pattern of creating crises. we don't have to have children and adults in cages and children dying in these camps. that's the reality.
but this administration has chosen to go that route and pressure congress for more resources. the money has been given to this administration and the resources are not being used to improve conditions. so the democratic leadership has fallen into the trap of providing more resources that ultimately is leading to, one, more kids in cages, more camps, and more of the horrific images and reporting that we're hearing from this -- >> you're calling it a trap. what we're hearing from the house is they have to do something in a budgetary way to deal with a republican senate because, obviously, what else are you going to do? shutdown the government over this? it's the state of play, isn't it? >> you have many members of congress. can we at least have a debate? if we were to really wrestle with this, have a conversation, talk about how the resources will be used. how can we know the administration is really using resources to improve conditions in these camps? besides the point we should not have children in camps no matter what, but this administration has shown after time and after
time that we cannot trust them. and congress did not even have a conversation about how resources will be used, what restrictions will be there to ensure the resources will use. the fact is this administration and this agency is the most resourced agency in the entire u.s. government. they wanted to use resources to improve conditions, they could do it right now even without the extra money that democrats and republicans already gave this administration. >> and, representative gonzalez -- excuse me, i wanted to also bring you in on the point that the president has made. they've really struggled, other than what i mentioned which is sort of call it all a hoax, they struggle to land on any good ground rhetorically. i think that speaks to the position. there's been a show of bluster, but there have been as you know, a lot of changes on what they're actually saying and what they're actually claiming to do. moving people out of facilities when they get criticized for it then moving them back in, for
one example. the president now has a new talking point that i want to play for you where he says maybe folks are better off than the horrors they were trying to escape. take a look. >> in all cases, if you look, people that came from unbelievable poverty that had no water, they had no anything where they came from, those are people that are very happy with what's going on because relatively speaking they're in much better shape right now. >> your response to that? >> i mean, again, just complete insult -- i'm very insulted by those statements. we should be cherishing children. we should not be keeping them in detention centers in which we are not giving them the resources to have basic riegght and basic dignity taken care of. the president created this situation. we can talk about congress, but his policies are the reasons we have children in detention centers. his policies are the reasons where deep z keeping a
07-year-old grandmother behind bars in a crowded room with not enough space. here's what i did on the ground with my own agents in my district that they have been signalling up the ladder that they have been in a crisis for months. and that those conversations have not been heard higher up. it's really hard for me as a legislator to not -- to not see the intentionality in this creation of a crisis. we heard the president say, i want to make it bad for immigrants. and i feel that's really what he is doing in this situation and deflecting by calling it a hoax. >> representative gonzalez, christina jimenez, and richard stengel, thanks to each of you. we have a lot to get to which is why i want to fit in a break. bill barr back at it saying his old employee bob mueller is gearing up for a, quote, spectacle at this very important hearing. we have a special report on what to expect. also later, jeffrey epstein pleading not guilty in this block buster horrific sex trafficking case. renewing scrutiny as well of a top trump official who once decided to play down epstein's
prosecution. also neal katyal is here tonight on donald trump's new shift in response to a supreme court rebuke on the census which apparently blind sided some of his own lawyers. and later, u.s. women's soccer team returning home today after winning the world cup and igniting this chant. >> equal pay. equal pay. equal pay. >> sounds pretty good. we have a lot in the show. i'm ari melber. we'll be right back. bk. crabfest is back at red lobster with 9 craveable crab creations. from the new ultimate crabfest trio with three kinds of wild-caught crab to the return of crab lover's dream! grab your crab crew, hurry in or order it to go! owe hail from the battlefields to the badlands. from the mountains and the midtowns. from the islands to the highlands. and directly to those who understand...
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former special counsel bob mueller will testify publicly before congress next week. today attorney general bill barr reemerged to undercut that looming hearing. >> i don't know if i'll be watching in real time, but i'm sure what he says
will get to me somehow. i said all along that i had -- i would not object to bob going up to testify, but after i said that, he indicated he was not interested in testifying. so i was disappointed to see him subpoenaed because i don't think that serves any purpose, dragging bob mueller up if he, in fact, is going to stick to the report. it seems to me the only reason for doing that is to create some kind of public spectacle. and if bob decides that he doesn't want to be subject to that, then the department of justice would certainly back him.
>> that is what shade looks like between a supervisor and his old employee, but that's the barr side. the more important piece is what we can learn from mueller next week. well, in 30 seconds, we have an exclusive report on the clues, new clues about mueller's testimony when we're back in 30. ♪ award winning interface. award winning design. award winning engine. the volvo xc90. the most awarded luxury suv of the century. mr. president, on behalf of every one of the employees you see here before you and around the world, it is my privilege to
welcome you to the fbi. [ cheers and applause ] >> we are not above using this occasion for recruiting purposes. [ laughter ] but you are a wee bit past our age limit. [ laughter ] however, it is not too early for sasha and malia -- [ laughter ] -- to start thinking about joining the fbi. and so we would like to send you home with two official berro teddy bears for them as well as t-shirts. [ cheers and applause ] >> teddy bears in the air. that was fbi director bob mueller a decade ago, of course, speaking there with the first family and barack obama welcoming the new president on
what was his first official visit to the fbi, and handing those two teddy bears over as gifts for the president's daughters. that's about as warm and unscripted as mueller ever gets in public. smiling, leaning into a ceremonial event, honoring the president and the bureau. but you won't find much footage of mueller ever showing more personality than that two teddy bear day. you can scour the archives. we did. that's about as far as it goes. the rest of the time, most of the time, bob mueller is more tight lipped and taciturn. next week he testifies about congress about a probe that is the most anticipated hearing of the trump era. only mueller knows what he intends to say, but right now we have a special report for you on mueller under oath with some clues on his approach, and some reporting on hai bob mueller testifies at hearings. because despite his secretive reputation, mueller's long career means he's testified many times. in fact, you see right here some of them. we scoured decades of his hearings, over 60 appearances
before congress from his service at the fbi and d.o.j.. and we studied how he deals with assertive questioning, how he avoids certain things within his obligation ands how he lives up to a long-standing rep as the ultimate rule follower. now, we found many similar responses from mueller going back to his first fbi director confirmation hearing. this was 2001, and he spard wre with a u.s. senator about a controversial memo that was related to a previous investigation. >> the short answer, senator, is yes. and i think -- i'm not certain what i would do in that circumstance, but i cannot tell you today that i absolutely would. >> are you now saying, mr. mueller, that you would, in fact, have turned over this memo of december 9th, 1996, on your own to the senate oversight committee? >> i can't say with definitiveness now at this time i would. i cannot put myself, without all the facts, back into the
position of the decision maker. >> if this committee -- if those two men, the chairman and the ranking member, can't have access to this memorandum, i don't think senate oversight is worth a tinkers dam. >> i am making a distinction, senator, if i might. i'm saying in a case where there has been a request for this memorandum, i would expect that the request of the committee to get this memorandum would be accommodated. >> well, mr. mueller, that doesn't answer the question at all. >> that doesn't answer the question at all, which may have been mueller's goal. observe the rules, tell the truth, but just don't answer certain questions. he hasn't changed, not even his outfits. the dark jacket, the white shirt, the red checkered tie. that brings me to a classic bob mueller riddle to keep in mind for next week. what's the difference between bob mueller and a bottle of wine? wine changes, mueller doesn't. we checked these tapes and here's how he swats away hypotheticals and questions
every time he doesn't want to answer. >> i hesitate to speculate because i have just a piece of the puzzle also. i would have to check to make absolutely certain. in every investigation particularly a fast-moving investigation, there are steps taken that may not workout. it's very difficult to generalize or to reach some sort of understanding or make progress with that generalization. >> those all sound like basically true statements, but they stop short of what the congressional questioners wanted to know. the point here isn't that mueller's past hearing suggests he's trying to only be evasive or protect anyone, but rather that even when he's sitting on block buster evidence or dramatic stories which you are about to see, his style is almost always just the facts. and that brings me, as i mentioned, to a key part of this report tonight on mueller under oath. a huge legal scandal where you actually can get an apples to apples comparison of how bob mueller testifies about a
compared to a peer. consider a secret scandal that rocked the bush administration and it boiled down to what mueller and one other official knew about pressure that was applied, potentially illicitly, to the attorney general while he was lying in his hospital bed and how these two officials, who, spoiler, have both served as fbi directors, how they ultimately addressed this scandal when later questioned by congress under oath. so, this is like perfect mueller ology. it aull started with a seen tha could have been out of "borne identity." lying in bed the attorney general john ash croft. they wanted him to approve an extension of the secret nsa warrantless eavesdropping program over strong objections even though ash croft was seriously ill. even though this all happened a few years ago, the details just revealed today could spell new trouble for the current attorney general alberto gonzalez.
>> the scandal was gonzalez trying to strong arm the attorney general to approve a program that comey and mueller thought might be illegal. when the story finally came out, james comey gave a dramatic rendering of it to a rapt congressional hearing. >> i raced to the hospital room, entered, and mrs. ashcroft was standing by the hospital bed. mr. ash croft was lying down in the bed. the room was darkened. the if in fib instructed agents present not to allow me to be removed from the room under any circumstances. and i went back in the room. attorney general ashcost then stunned me. >> stunned me. comey goes beyond what happened. he faxed the confrontation. he was stunned by what happened next. and comey wants his listeners to be stunned, too, because, well, we know this by now. he's a vivid story teller. at that hearing then comey accounts the attorney general's next move. >> he lifted his head off the
pillow, and in very strong terms, expressed his view of the matter, rich in both substance and fact, which stunned me, drawn from the hour-long meeting we'd had a week earlier, and in strong terms expressed himself, and then laid his head back down on the pillow. seemed spent, and said to them, but that doesn't matter because i'm not the attorney general. >> the last line showed ash croft's commitment to the rules. the acting attorney general is in charge. that the maers for who is going to approve that program or who appoints a special counsel. it matters a lot. comey's testimony was accurate and gripping, but if you had to rely on mueller's testimony to learn about that same event, mueller being the other official who knew what went down, you'd get a pretty different picture. here was mueller's testimony about that interaction in that hospital room, and this q & a is like pulling teeth with mueller intent on saying as little as possible. >> were you surprised when you received the phone call from
mr. comey indicating that there was going to be this visit to mr. ashcroft by gonzalez and card? >> it was out of the ordinary. >> you're the fbi director, a senior official calls you and says, make sure that i'm not evicted from the room -- and i'm sure that must have struck you as being an unusual request, didn't it? >> yes. >> did you take notes and memorialize your conversation with mr. comey at that point? >> i don't know. at that point i did not. >> at some point did you memorialize your conversations regarding this visit with mr. comey? >> i may have, yes. >> do you still have those notes? >> yes. >> and are they available to the committee if the committee were to ask for them? >> i would have to get back to you on that. >> tell me why you decided to make notes of your conversation with mr. ash croft. >> it was out of the ordinary. >> what was out of the ordinary, mr. mueller? >> being asked to go to the hospital and, and be present at that time. >> this is incredible.
i mean, let's have real talk. when a constitutional crisis goes down in a hospital room and people with guns have to protect the acting attorney general from the president's counsel, yeah, it's out of the ordinary. it's a pretty understated way to put it. you can see this contrast and how comey describes the fallout from that incident, and these other officials who were basically prepping a saturday night style massacre of sorts for bush. >> i prepared a letter of resignation intending to resign the next day, friday, march the 12th. >> you believed that others were also prepared to resign, not just you? is that correct? >> yes. >> okay. was one of those director mueller? >> i believe so. you'd have to ask him, but i believe so. >> comey's touting his readiness to resign. comey changed under that pressure. mueller found a way to even avoid confirming this directly. he quoted comey and waived off request to interpret this episode.
>> i don't dispute what mr. comey says. >> okay. what do you make of that whole episode -- >> unfortunately, congressman, i don't think it appropriate to speculate. i can answer questions as to what happened to the extent that i'm able to, but beyond that i'd be happy to answer any further questions -- >> can you confirm that you and some of your agents were prepared to resign because of leading up to this controversy? >> again, i'm uncomfortable getting into conversations i had with individuals because i do believe that individuals are entitled to my unfettered thoughts. >> then the tricky learning kicks in. the congressman presses mueller on whether he did prepare to resign over this, and mueller evades it by emphasizing, well,
comey's testimony said you'd have to ask mueller. >> was he correct? better yet, were you that person? >> well, i was that person to whom he refers, yes. >> did you consider resigning? this is your own mind. >> i understand -- i understand why i cannot say that i do not dispute what mr. comey says because mr. comey says ask mr. mueller. i will tell you that i don't believe it's appropriate for me toe get into conversations i've had with principals on that issue. >> there was a central question. mueller slices it into pieces, dances around it and says, hey, i'm not going to tell you. i don't think it's appropriate. this is really important for next week, and the criminal evidence against the president. congress never got a fuller answer on that issue there, so you can contrafrt now these two top officials discussing the same incident as a preview for next week. >> i raced to the hospital room, mr. ash croft was lying down in the bed, the room was darkened. >> it was out of the ordinary? >> i prepared a letter of
resignation to resign. >> i don't believe it's appropriate for me to get into conversations i've had with principals on that issue. >> mueller will have even more rationales next week for why some answer is unappropriate. grand jurd i law, d.o.j. rules, the credible consideration that people mueller indicted are still awaiting trial from the russians at large to roger stone. those rationales are legit, but we also know mueller errs on the side of less common regardless. past counsels have spoken freely. mueller's team never did. >> if you're the spokesman for the special counsel's office, your job is to never say anything. >> no comment from the special counsel's office. >> the special counsel's office basically never says anything ever about any story ever. >> the special counsel's office declined to comment. >> the spokesman for the special counsel's office is declining to comment. >> the special counsel's office declined to comment. >> the special counsel's office almost never makes public comments. >> that's just a choice. we know that because other prosecutors would speak out far more starkly.
here's a prosecutor who probed a democratic white house and told america his own conclusions. >> the president repeatedly tried to thwart the legal process. the president chose deception. >> here's a prosecutor who probed a republican white house and told america his own conclusions. >> the iran contra cover up has continued for more than six years. a part of a disturbing pattern of deception and obstruction that permeated the highest levels of the reagan and bush administrations. >> it can be done. you can hit the president with a 2 by 4 after you investigate him if you want. rhetorically, but bob mueller doesn't do that, and that brings me to the other thing you need to know if you want to understand the predicate and the facts for next week's block buster hearing. i'm talking about beef. how do people who wield the greatest power to investigate, to detain, to execute, how do they act when they surrender
those powers when they have rivalries, beef with the new folks who come into office? well, some use their position to blast their foes in the new administration. with trump shattering norms, we've seen some veterans of public service go after him as basically a liar who is, quote, worse than watergate and even guilty of, quote, treasonous conduct. >> when i use the term this is nothing short of treasonous, i'd equate it to the betrayal of one's nation. aiding and abetting giving comfort to an enemy. >> watergate pales, really, in my view, compared to what we're confronting now. >> those were lies, plain and simple. i'm about to talk to him about allegations that he was involved with prostitutes in moscow and the russians taped it. >> that's one way to do it. our reporting, though, tonight is after reviewing mueller's 60 different times he testified before congress, that's not mueller's way, which gives you
two implications for next week. those who want a barrage against trump that goes beyond the evidence in the report, mueller's testimony typically does not opine. it doesn't traffic in the rhetoric of lies or tampa bay rays trees on or unverified information. he's not just the anti-trump in a way. mueller is also the anti-comey and the anti-brennan, and really while we're at it, the anti-media. trump is a reality tv president. he's adept at that part. mueller is a facts prosecutor. he's adept at that part. the mueller report is about facts. what they found, what the evidence shows, what the provable facts are. that is why, remember, so many people have already been charged and convicted from the mueller probe. it's why donald trump broke the record for most advisors convicted this early in his presidency, what you see on your screen. not a record most presidents want to win. a useful hearing here could
focus on the facts in the mueller report. be ready for critics who then say this hearing is just another round of the same old thing. president trump recently tried out a version of that talking point. it's old news. but the point next week will not be about the age of the evidence against trump. it will be about the truth. i don't know if bob mueller has ever listened to the raber lec rae, but he has some bars that apply exactly. people say i talk about the same old thing. the reason why i sound the same is because the truth don't change. the truth is the mueller report lists substantial evidence the president obstructed justice several times in office. next week, americans will hear bob mueller present his findings under oath for the first time. the truth as his investigation determined it. people can assess what those findings mean. should congress do anything about them? should they impact whether this president is reelected? those are open questions that,
according to our research, bob mueller will not answer. it will be just the facts. the rest is up to everyone else. up ahead, we have a lot more on our show including billionaire jeffrey epstein facing very serious sex trafficking charges, renewing scrutiny on the trump official who went easy on him, and first the trump administration ignoring a key supreme court ruling undercutting the rule of law. some owe former critics say obama counsel neal katyal joins me for opening arguments next. .
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the trump administration was recently rebuked by the supreme court over the sense he us controversy. it said it was backing down then reversed itself saying it would still try to get a citizenship question on the census. that's not all. the news tonight is fallout over the d.o.j. replacing the lawyers working on this issue. the supreme court ruled against
the administration, the context is they basically said there weren't good enough reasons to add the citizenship question to the census which of course controls everything. politics, resources in america. now, a lot of people have pointed to this story and the evidence presented and say part of the illicit goal of the administration was to basically depress participation in the census from democratic areas. now, the trump administration had initially, as i mentioned, accepted defeat. the census bureau said we won't put in any citizenship question any more, but this is the trump administration. it doesn't look all that organized because then donald trump overruled his own employees and said, we're absolutely moving forward. d.o.j. lawyers appeared caught off guard. one told the judge, quote, the tweet was the first i'd heard of the president's position, and i'm doing my absolute best to figure out us whawhat's going o. this week president trump insists it's full speed ahead. >> we could do a memorandum. we can do an executive order. we're looking at different
things. i believe our attorney general is fantastic man and i think he has it well under control. >> so what does it mean when you have this much zigging and zagging and replacement of lawyers at the d.o.j.? let's learn from someone who held a position there including arguing obama at the supreme court. acting solicitor general neal katyal and took speaker pelosi's side in the case. thank you for being here. >> thank you. >> as some loyal viewers may know, you and i have this regular date, which we enjoy. >> best day of my week. >> you are also literally the most qualified person to explain all this. before we get to the debate part on the census, meaning the contents, the substance of it, i'm really curious if you can explain to us in plain english what it means when the justice department swaps out lawyers midstream. does that usually happen? what's going on? >> it never happens, ari, and i
think that's the -- the census decision already was a big deal for the chief justice and four of his colleagues to rule that president trump's rationale for the census wasn't just not good enough, which is what you said before, but also he said it was, quote, contrived, made up. so that's a big deal. you know almost never hear the supreme court saying that about any government official, let alone the president of the united states. but now it's getting way bigger. it's not just about the census. it's about the department of justice and president trump's credibility in the supreme court of the united states. and the reason for that is, just to take you through the back story, 11 days ago, the supreme court issued this ruling saying that he with had won, that the census question was illegal. then we read the decision. we knew we won. the secretary ross who administers the census read the decision said we won. the justice department's own lawyers went into court and said we won. only donald trump, the one guy who doesn't read all that well,
came to a contrary conclusion and said, oh, no, we can still do it anyway. and the real problem here and why these lawyers are leaving and all that, has to do with the fact that the government's top lawyer, the solicitor general of the united states, the position i held in the obama administration, has gone to the supreme court five different times. in january, said we have to have this all decided by june 30th. in an extraordinary request said we want to skip the court of appeals supreme court. we need you to decide this by june 30th. even 11 days ago the solicitor general told the supreme court that and said there was no appropriations money past june 30th. now all of a sudden it's july 8 and president trump wants to do something else. if he can do this, then when will the trump administration ever have any credibility whatsoever in the supreme court? >> just on that point and i'll let you continue. the point you're making is when lawyers go to the supreme court on behalf of the united states government and make a claim, they both are bound by all the obvious ongoing oath and perjury
laws. but they are also speaking for the united states. and so you're saying donald trump has put these lawyers in a position where if they simply continued along this road, they would effectively be caught in a lie in court on behalf of the united states? >> you got it 100%, ari. and so, you know, the solicitor general, i think when you hold that office, the most important thing you do is preserve and protect the credibility of the justice department before the supreme court. every predecessor does that. and i know there are a lot of cynical viewers out there who think, oh, government does this or that. every solicitor general goes to the supreme court, for example -- >> sure. >> -- and says, hey, supreme court, we won this case in the lower courts. we're actually wrong. we should have lost it. the interests of justice require us to -- require you to rule against us. that's the kind of credibility i'm talking about, which has been built since 1870 over generations, and the president is just literally torching that right now and saying, all of
these representations that were made, even the very fact the supreme court heard the case because of this june 30th deadline, oh, that, no, disregard that. and that's why i think you see all these lawyers from the justice department. i've gotten calls all day from justice department lawyers. >> really? >> who are saying, this is horrible. please, you know, help us, you know. that's a pretty sad state of affairs. >> you've heard from multiple career justice department lawyers -- currently serving the trump administration -- calling you, you said, quote, horrible? >> yes. i don't remember the exact words, but the effect of it is horrible. and unprecedented. and lawless. i heard the word lawless by two different people. >> right, thank you, first of all, for your reporting. neal katyal, he does more than one thing. but it is true reporting. we often talk to folks and as we all know, most folks in the administration at any level -- that's a fireable offense -- if they said that on the record. they say it to people they trust. sometimes those are colleagues, former colleagues, sometimes
they're reporters. that right there is interesting reporting. then i want to as promised get more into the meat of
it. li listen to the current attorney general bill barr on this issue. >> we've been considering all the options. i've been in constant discussions with the president ever since the supreme court decision came down. and i think over the next day or two you'll see what approach we're taking. i think it does provide a pathway for getting the question on the census. >> what would that pathway look like? since you've already stated some of your views, why is he wrong there is a lawful way to shoe horn this back in? >> yeah, well, first of all, i don't think that was quite a ringing endorsement by barr even. when you're the attorney general and can defend the president on something, i don't think you say we might provide a pathway to do something. that already shows the lack of faith in this and there's a lot of reporting in all the newspapers today that says all of the justice department's top lawyers think that this is going nowhere. and that is, of course, what the
justice department concluded last wednesday before the president's trite. two reasons. the supreme court said the rationale that was being used was contrived. and the rationale back then before, whatever they meant the new one to be, was we're trying to enforce the voting rights act. something i'm not sure the trump administration knew existed before. but i think the kmechief justic said right through that. no way, that is a mismatch with what you're doing on the census. for them to come up with something new now is to basically admit that the game was rigged all along. they've been saying over and over again there's only one rationale for this, the voting rights acts. now there is all of a sudden a magic new rationale. that's one problem. the other problem is the timing problem. they told the supreme court in solemn filings june 30th, june 30th, june 30th. now they want to do something else when they've told the supreme court they don't have the appropriations funding. can't do it.
>> right. you laid out so clearly, as you know better than most, our em supreme court cases that are fundamentally close calls. that's why they're at the court. hearing you break it down at this stage, maybe not the inception, but at this stage with what's going on and how they've really owned their own rationale, it doesn't look like a close case any more. john roberts would never put it this way, but d.j. khalid would tell the trump lawyers here, you played yourselves and it's zbam over. neal, good to see you. >> thank you, sir. >> if you want to see this and other neal katyal break downs, it's our dedicated page. there is a lot of stuff including stuff that is relevant, including mueller preview stuff. neal also gave us, you can check that out online. now, up ahead, we have a lot to get to, including something that is roiling the trump administration because they are tied to hedge fund king pen jeffrey epstein who stands accused today on new charges of sex trafficking. sex trafficking. (vo) parents have a way of imagining the worst...
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another important story. hedge fund kingpin jeffrey epstein pleading not guilty today to new charges in new york. he's facing sex trafficking of minors accusations. "accused of exploiting a vast network of young girls down to age 14. pays hundreds of dollars in cash for what ultimately amounted to illegal sex acts." prosecutors also say they found an extraordinary volume of photographs in the new york home that will add to the evidence.
the head soft southern district of new york saying this. >> beginning in at least 2002 and beginning to 2005, epstein is alleged to have abused dozens of victims by causing them to engage in sex asks with him at his mansion in new york and at his estate in palm beach, florida. >> the embattled multimillionaire facing now 45 years of potential prison time. what we can report from the case is he will remain in prison for at least a week because the bail decision is being considered. epstein was a rich person with a lot of high-profile friends, which include as pliskly documented him and president bill clinton and the current president donald trump. donald trump in 2002 told "new york" magazine that epstein was a "terrific guy" and then "he likes beautiful women as much as i do, and many of them are on the younger side." that was back in 2002. the case putting scrutiny, though, on something much more recent.
a very top cabinet official in the trump administration, labor secretary alexander acosta. he had the key post as the top prosecutor in southern florida. which is where epstein last faced these kinds of charges. there was an unusual 2008 non-prosecution agreement reached with epstein. earlier this year a federal judge actually ruled that epstein's accusers should have been legally consulted and informed of that agreement before it was made, that alone making it controversial, among other reasons. now, i should note that nbc has requested for comment from acosta. he hasn't given it to our network tonight. we'll bring it to you if he does. when he defended the the deal at an april hearing, he emphasized epstein did serve a partial sentence of 13 months. we will stay on this story. we'll be right back. be right ba. depend® fit-flex underwear features maximum absorbency, ultra soft fabric and new beautiful designs for your best comfort and protection guaranteed. life's better when you're in it. be there with depend®.
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one more story. america uniting in celebration of the world cup championship team. usa women's soccer victory. there's new video of the world champs landing right back here in the u.s. today. they'll be honored into a ticker tape parade wednesday down the canyon of heros in new york. the winners of a record four world cups still make less than men. here are chants that rang out after this win. >> equal pay! equal pay! equal pay percent. >> millions more viewers tuned into the women's world cup final
than the men's final in 2018. did you know that. u.s. women's game actually generate more revenue than the higher paid men's games. this was a special moment and we at "the beat" want to wish everyone congratulations. that does it for us. "hardball" starts now. a 2020 reckoning. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm ali velshi in for chris matthews. it remained in washington today. a lot. these are the scenes in the nation's capital where a flash flood emergency was issued. flights were cancelled. motorists stranded. even the white house basement was flooded. in short, it was a total mess, and that is why i am anchoring