Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW Date: December 5, 2017 Guest: Greg Farrell, John Archibald
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST, ALL IN: We should note that Steve Bannon was down there tonight. He is endorsed Moore -- Moore was all but guaranteed to win the primary against Luther Strange, sort of swooped in at the end and has helped maneuver the Republican Party into full-throated support of a man who stands credibly accused of molesting a 14-year-old and sexual assaulting a 16-year-old.
Mickey Edwards and Robert Costa, thank you both for being with me tonight.
That is "ALL IN" for this evening.
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Thank you, Chris. I appreciate it, my friend.
HAYES: You bet.
MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.
All right. Buckle up. Things are getting a little weird. We knew it would happen, but it`s happening.
Since the president`s national security adviser Mike Flynn pled guilty on Friday morning, there have been some strange utterances coming out of the White House about this investigation that threatens to engulf the Trump presidency. Specifically, there have been some strange utterances coming from White House lawyers about this investigation.
We should have probably seen it as the first sign that Mike Flynn`s guilty plea was really rattling the White House. When White House Russia lawyer Ty Cobb gave his initial response to that guilty plea, as if he was beaming into this news story from some other distant backwards planet where this was good news.
Mike Flynn pled guilty to a single charge of lying to the FBI. And he simultaneously agreed to cooperate fulsomely and without limit with the special counsel`s investigation on all other matters.
And White House lawyer Ty Cobb greeted that news by praising, quote, the conclusion of this phase of the special counsel`s work -- as if the whole Mike Flynn issue was all done now. It`s as if you went to see a movie and as soon as the opening credits started rolling, you stood up and try to lead a big round of applause and tried to get everybody in the theater to join in with you. Wow, that was awesome. I love that title. We all came to see the title, right?
That was the first odd response from the president`s lawyers, greeting the Mike Flynn news as if it`s done. As the Flynn is a Cooperating witness chapter of the investigation opened, the president`s lawyer praised the special counsel for wrapping up that part of the investigation, super weird and a sign that they were going to behave strangely after that play.
Second weird set of reactions from the president`s lawyers came yesterday when John Dowd argued to axios.com and then Jay Sekulow argued to Jeffrey the reporter that if the president obstructed justice in this matter or if the president colluded with Russia, who cares? He cannot be an obstructor of justice because he is justice. And Jay Sekulow arguing to "The New Yorker" that it wouldn`t be a crime to collude with Russia to interfere in the election because technically there is no crime called collusion.
Those claims from the president`s lawyers yesterday flipped on what sounded like a laugh track in legal circles all across the country. But they did mark an important moment in this presidency. The moment when the president`s legal team stopped arguing that the president didn`t obstruct justice or that he didn`t collude with Russia, they instead started arguing that, yes, maybe the president did those things but those things are OK for a president do.
So, the weird reaction of the Mike Flynn news over the weekend -- the president can`t commit a crime because he`s the president news yesterday. Well, now, we`ve got the next phase of the response also from the president`s lawyers. It is also a little weird, it`s a little hard to make heads or tails of, but basically what the president`s lawyers started arguing today is that they are not just arguing with reporters, they`re not just trying to shift the narrative about how people describe what`s going on in the investigation, president`s lawyers are now disputing the existence of an important new news story about the progress of the scandal and the investigation.
They`re not fighting about the importance of this news story or the legal significance of this news story. They`re literally disputing whether or not this story exists. This is the story for the record. This is the original version of the story. It`s the English language version of a German newspaper called "Handelsblatt". I speak as much Germans as I do Russian, so forgive me if my pronunciation is an insult to German speakers. "Handelsblatt" is how I think you say it.
And you can see the lead of the article, Deutsche Bank has been served. Mueller`s Trump Russian investigation engulfs Deutsche Bank. Quote: Deutsche Bank has received a subpoena from the U.S. special counsel investigating possible collusion between President Donald Trump`s campaign and Russia.
Now, this is a German news story that`s about a German bank, so they are understandably focused on the implications of this for Germany and for this German bank. But after "Handelsblatt" initially broke that story this morning, then it was picked up and reported out by "Reuters" and by "Bloomberg News" and it very quickly became clear in our country that this isn`t just an important story for some big important German bank, there are is an important story for our presidency.
And that`s because of two important things about this particular German bank. The first important thing to know about Deutsche Bank in this story is that Deutsche Bank is up to its German neck in Russian money laundering.
Let`s say I`m a Russian crook. I`m a thief. I grew up like practicing judo with Vladimir Putin or something and so he has given me leave to steal stuff, like pillage pension funds or strip all the assets out of some formerly state-run company, right?
So I`m a Russian bad guy. I`ve got some ill-gotten gains. I`ve got some stolen money and I would like to enjoy my stolen money.
And so, in order to do so, I have to secret those funds away somewhere where they won`t get noticed by law enforcement, where they won`t get taxed, and where anybody who might prosecute me or persecute me for the way that I illegally got this money, they won`t be able to find it and reclaim it and trace it back to me. So let`s say just for the sake of argument the amount of money that I, crook, want to get out of Russia is like $10 million.
If I want to get $10 million out of Russia, I ideally want to convert it from rubles into some other currency, preferably dollars. In order for me to get that money out of Russia without anybody noticing, it has to look like that money is leaving the country as some part of legitimate transaction, and, on the down low, slightly, I probably also immediate it to be OK with Putin that I`m taking that money out because he tends to know these things. That`s where Deutsche Bank comes in.
There`s a lot of different ways to launder money, but from about 2011 to 2015, Deutsche Bank ran this scheme that was not very complicated at all when it comes to money laundering schemes. But because it went through a big legit-looking European bank, this scheme they were running was super effective at moving money not just once but lots and lots of times, tons and tons of monies out of Russia and into the West. And they were able to keep the scheme going for years before people finally started to realize that even though this was a legit-looking European bank, this was a huge, fairly simple criminal operation that they were running with Russian illegal money.
And it, again, it was pretty simple. I mean, usually money laundering is designed to be purposely complicated so you can`t follow the money. In this case, it was a simple scheme, right? Here`s how it work.
You can`t just ship your money from Russia like wire it to the Cayman Islands or Cyprus or New York or London and deposit it, right? You`ll get caught doing it that way if you`re a Russian crook.
So, instead what you do is you say I don`t want just to send my money abroad to park it somewhere, I don`t want to just open an account in a foreign country and move it there. I can`t do that with money like this. Instead, I want to buy something. So, you need to have something that you`re going buy for a lot of money.
So, you have somebody abroad go to Deutsche Bank and they tell Deutsche Bank abroad, hey, I have something to sell. I have like this highlighter, and I want to sell this highlighter and the price of this highlighter I want to sell is $10 million.
Miraculously, simultaneously, at that same moment, you pop up in Moscow with your $10 million in ill-gotten rubles and you say, hello, Deutsche Bank, Moscow office, do you know anybody who`s selling something I might be able to buy for $10 million. I was thinking about maybe investing in a highlighter, do you know anybody that`s selling one for $10 million?
And Deutsche Bank says, you know, we can help you out with that. We can do that transaction for you. We can handle that.
And so, then, think about how the money moves. I`m the dude in Russia. I hand $10 million in dirty rubles over to the Deutsche Bank`s Moscow office. They say, thank you very much. You`ve now just purchased a highlighter.
Then over in their other office, abroad, in London or whatever, that Deutsche Bank`s office, they pay their client $10 million in euros or dollars or whatever, and they, you know, collect the highlighter that`s just been sold. And that`s it, that`s how the money moves -- $10 million goes in in Moscow, $10 million pops out in London.
And thanks to the fake jerry-rigged sale price of that item they were supposedly buying and selling there, that $10 million highlighter, you just moved $10 million from Moscow to London using the offices of Deutsche Bank do it. And your ill-gotten $10 million that you stole from little old ladies in Moscow somewhere, that`s no longer on the books as money that you stole from those little old ladies. It`s now money that you can access in the West because it`s the proceeds of a perfect lawful transaction conducted with a totally legit, big name European bank. That`s how it works.
I mean, they don`t do it literally selling highlighters or some other tangible goods. They do it with stock trades instead. But that was the principles. They used real stocks. They used a real bank, but it was all fake for the purposes of just moving money. It`s a scheme they call mirror trading, right?
And you can see how the mirror works there, right? I want to sell something for 10 million bucks, I want to buy something for 10 million bucks, and then poof, the money moves. Somebody ostensibly selling in London or Cyprus or some tax shelter island somewhere, and then somebody else buying in Moscow.
And there was something like 6,000 of these fake mirror trades. And in most these cases, the buyer and the seller were actually the same entity. There weren`t two different people who where are really buying and selling anything to anyone else, these were just fake sales events.
Fake stock sales that were -- they used real stock but the whole point of it was just a way to move tons and tons and tons of illegal Russian money out of Russia and into the West. And I mean tons of money. This was multiple billions of dollars, more than 6,000 trades using multiple Deutsche Bank offices over a period of years.
And part of the reason they got away with it for so long and to such a huge extent is because this big legit seeming bank was involved. They couldn`t have done it without Deutsche Bank facilitating these trades. And Deutsche Bank couldn`t do it without connections in Russia, because nobody gets millions, let alone tens of millions, let alone hundred of millions, let alone multiple billions of dollars shoveled out of Russia without the Russian government being in on it and saying OK.
In the new book "Collusion" written by "Guardian" reporter Luke Harding, he reports out some of the apparent Russian government involvement in this scheme. You know how they say in American personnel is policy? In Russian politics, personnel is policy, it`s also money, it`s also often criminal connection dollars.
A guy named Andrei Kostin, somebody who Vladimir Putin has installed at the very top of Russian state-run banking. Kostin is thought to have KGB/FSB connections of his own. Putin put him in charge of a state-run bank in Russia called VEB. VEB Bank is now famous in our own country for having sent their chief executive to meet with Jared Kushner during the transition, what was that about?
But Andrei Kostin, at one point, he had been installed by Putin as the head of VEB. Putin later installed him as the head of VTB, which is another state-run bank with very close ties to Russian intelligence. When did it came time for Deutsche Bank to staff up its office in Moscow, one of the people they installed in that office was Andrei Kostin`s son, also handedly named Andrei Kostin.
Soon, as documented by Luke Harding in "Collusion", the spigot turned on in that Moscow office of Deutsche Bank. Billions of dollars in elicit Russian money started getting flowed through that office, started getting spirited out of Russia through that Deutsche Bank Moscow office and this multibillion dollars criminal scheme they were operating. Deutsche Bank ran that scheme out of their Moscow office using their offices in the West as well.
But that whole thing happened, they did that because they could, thanks apparently to their connections to the Russian government, Russian intelligence services, and Putin, right? They did it because they could. But Deutsche Bank also did it because they got paid, right? Because they got a cut.
You`re moving multiple billion of illicit dollars, yes, you`re taking a cut. That Moscow office of Deutsche Bank, according to Luke Harding, started clearing profits of a half billion to a billion dollars a year in profit, that one office. Thanks in large part to that office`s very friendly relationship with VTB, the state-run Russian bank linked to the intelligence services, which happened to be run by Andre Kostin`s dad.
So, if that bank, if Deutsche Bank is now getting suspected by the Robert Mueller investigation, one reason that`s important is because Deutsche Bank is one of the clearest windows we`ve got into Russian money laundering over the last 10 to 15 years.
But you know what? It`s interesting to know that Mueller is looking into that. But it`s not like this hasn`t been investigated before. It`s not like he`s about to uncover this scheme. Part of the reason we all know about the scheme and I can talk about it on TV is because Deutsche Bank and it`s money laundering scheme got busted a few years ago.
In January of this year, they paid over a $400 million fine for that Russian money laundering scheme to New York state. New York state is home to the headquarters of lots of domestic and international banks so lots of financial crimes yet prosecuted and pursued by New York state financial regulators. So they had to pay -- Deutsche Bank had to pay over 4-million dollars to New York state because of that money laundering scheme.
In addition to New York state going after them, one of the interesting dogs that didn`t bark during the first year of the Trump administration is that even though Deutsche Bank settled that case with New York state and paid that gigantic 4-million dollars fine to New York state in January, a lot of people were expecting that that was the small penalty, that the big fine they were going to pay, the one than wouldn`t be hundreds of millions of dollars, that would be billions of dollars, that would be paid by Deutsche Bank after the feds got through with them.
It`s one thing to have New York state regulators coming after you. It`s another thing to have the Justice Department coming after you. So people expect that it was going to be a ginormous fine against Deutsche Bank, maybe an existentially challenging fine when the Justice Department case about Russian money laundering came to its conclusion either in the courts or in a settlement.
Well, that Russian money laundering case against Deutsche Bank had been run in the Justice Department by Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York. Quite famously, Preet Bharara was fired by President Trump, even though President Trump had previously assured him that he could keep his job.
Well, since then, since the start of the Trump administration, it`s possible that the Justice Department`s Russian money laundering case against Deutsche Bank has been chugging along quietly in the background and we don`t know anything about it, but it`s moving along full steam ahead and someday we`re going to find out something dramatic has been going on. Maybe that`s happening and we don`t know about it.
But from all outward appearances, the Justice Department investigation for Deutsche Bank and in this Russian money laundering thing, since the Trump administration has been in office, that investigation appears to have gone dormant. That was the phrase CNN used a couple weeks ago when they checked in on that Justice Department case against Deutsche Bank for the money laundering thing, they found that it had gone, quote, quiet, gone dormant.
The reason I say that`s the dog that didn`t bark in the Trump administration, is because while Deutsche Bank was in this years long, multibillion dollars money-making scheme to launder money out of Russia, they were also cultivating an otherwise sort of inexplicable major financial relationship with now President Trump. Let me quote Luke Harding again from his new book "Collusion".
Quote: A Kremlin bank, VTB, run by proxies of the Russian intelligence services had seemingly captured Deutsche Bank`s Moscow outpost. Deutsche Bank London and New York divisions were economic beneficiaries of this arrangement. While it was going on, Deutsche Bank in New York lent hundreds of millions of dollars to the future president, right?
So, this is the second reason why it`s very important to the American presidency right now if Deutsche Bank really did just get subpoenaed by the special counsel`s office, right? There`s the Russian money laundering thing they`re up to their neck in. There`s also their relationship with their president.
This is the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago. To build this lovely edifice, the president borrowed over $600 million from Deutsche Bank. Now, that itself is remarkable because Mr. Trump as a businessman by the 2000s, he was very famous for finding ways not to repay loans that he had taken from banks. It became part of his business image. He bragged about that and wrote about it in his books as one of his secrets to success.
Whenever banks loaned him money and he didn`t want to pay them back or didn`t have a way to bay them back, he would write about how he saw that as the bank`s problem, not his problem and he figured out some way to stick it to them.
So, he had been doing that and writing about it and bragging about it for decades. So, by the time Trump was borrowing money for this building in Chicago in 2005, there were not very many banks who wanted to do business with him anymore. But Deutsche Bank for some reason, they were happy to. They loaned him the money in 2005.
By 2008, he had already started defaulting on his obligations to repay that loan. So, Deutsche Bank came after him for a $40 million payment that he was supposed to make on that loan. He responded instead by turning around and suing Deutsche Bank. He said, no, no, I`m not going to pay you the $40 million I owe you. Instead, you need to pay me $3 billion, because you caused the financial crash.
It was -- that was insane. It was that kind of thing that had resulted in all of the other major banks who deal in major real estate loans deciding they would never again do business with the Trump Organization or Donald Trump.
But for some reason, in 2008, after Trump said he couldn`t pay Deutsche Bank back what he owed them and he filed this insane lawsuit against them and tried to get out of ever paying them that money, for some reason after he pulled that in 2008, Deutsche Bank didn`t decide to cut him off. They decided to give him a ton more money. They decided to double down and triple down. They started doing tons more business with him.
And nobody quite knows why. And nobody quite believes that they have seen a complete or accurate statement of the president`s financial situation. But as best as we can tell from around the time that he became president, Deutsche Bank holds the lion`s share of the hundreds of millions of dollars that the president has in outstanding debt. That`s Deutsche Bank on the far right side of your screen there.
The money that they`ve loaned him that he has outstanding in terms of loans with them include that loan that they kept going on that building in Chicago, even after he defaulted and sued them over it. It includes loans for his golf course at Doral. It includes $170 million he took as a loan from them for his hotel in D.C.
I mean, compared to other major real estate lenders, Deutsche Bank has been inexplicably generous to Mr. Trump personally. And at the same time they were inexplicably dangerous to him, the bank was we now know laundering billions of dollars out of Russia in a scheme that appears to have been tied to the Russian government.
A combination of those two dynamics led Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters, the top Democrat on the House Finance Committee, to start pushing the administration on this very early on. On March 10th, Maxine Waters said that her committee, financial services committee, should, quote, examine the Deutsche Bank`s Russian money laundering operation and assess the integrity of the U.S. Justice Department`s ongoing investigation into that scheme, given the Trump`s administration`s conflicts of interest in the matter.
Republicans running the Financial Services Committee had no interest in doing any such thing and she`s just a Democrat on the committee, and the Republicans runs the committee. So, a couple of months later, she was just like OK, I`m going to write myself to Deutsche Bank. She wrote to Deutsche Bank and she told them they needed to hand over to her committee, to her, the internal reviews they`d done as a bank on their Russian money laundering scandal and on their banking relationship with the president and his business and his family.
Deutsche Bank responded to that demand by saying, no, we`re not giving you anything.
But Maxine Waters did not give up. By July, this summer, she was still pushing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MAXINE WATERS (D-CA), RANKING MEMBER, FINANCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE: Donald Trump is clearly hiding something when it comes to his finances. There are many unanswered questions. Why does Trump refuse to reveal his tax returns to the public? Why was Deutsche Bank, a bank that has been fined for Russian money laundering and many other violations of the law, willing to lend hundreds of millions of dollars to Trump after his bankruptcies when no other bank would lend to him?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Congresswoman Maxine Waters has been Johnny on the spot on this issue from the very beginning. Republicans on the various committees have had no interest whatsoever in pursuing this line of inquiry. But the Democrats really have.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Donald Trump has said a number of times that he has had nothing to do with Russia, and I want to ask you, Director, if you`re familiar with Deutsche Bank and its $300 million loan to Donald Trump and his organization?
JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: That`s not something I`m going to comment on.
SWALWELL: Director, are you aware that Deutsche Bank has been investigated and fined over $400 million by New York state for failing to stop the corrupt transfer of more than $10 billion out of Russia?
COMEY: I think generally from press accounts.
SWALWELL: So an individual`s association with a bank that has had dealings with Russian money laundering, that would be something that would be a red flag for a counterintelligence investigation I would assume.
COMEY: That`s a hypo I don`t want to answer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That`s a hypo, a hypothetical I don`t want to answer.
James Comey did not want to answer those questions from Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell back in March.
But now, according to "Handelsblatt", Deutsche Bank, how`d they put it? Deutsche Bank has been served. Or maybe they haven`t.
This is where this story today diverted from fascinating to uh? Two of the president`s lawyers today put out identical statements claiming that this isn`t real. There is no subpoena.
Both Jay Sekulow and John Dowd put out the same statement today. Quote: no subpoena has been issued or received. We have confirmed this with the bank and other sources. OK.
Then, another White House lawyer Ty Cobb seems to have put a telling finer point on it, saying today, quote, previous reports today about subpoenas for financial records relating to the president and his family are false.
After Ty Cobb told that to the "Wall Street Journal," "The Journal" changed their sub-headline of their story, I kid you not, subhead had previously said that Mueller`s subpoena had requested data and documents about President Trump`s Deutsche Bank accounts. They changed the headlines, so it now says the Mueller subpoena isn`t about President Trump`s accounts, it`s about people or entities close to Mr. Trump.
You know what? That said, "Handelsblatt" paper was first to report this, they`re not changing their reporting at all. Bloomberg and "Reuters" were first outlets to pick up on the story after "Handelsblatt" was originally broke. "Reuters" updated their headline on the story but neither "Reuters" nor "Bloomberg" changed their story today, changed their reporting despite the White House lawyers crowing about it.
If the epic Russian money laundering machine, that is Deutsche Bank, is now handing over financial records to the Mueller investigation, if they`re handing over records related to their financial relationship with the president and/or his family and/or people near him, this is the next great leap in this scandal. This is where you get to when you follow the money, which is how these things always get solved.
And the president`s lawyers are being a little nutty about this, like they have been on a number of things since the Flynn scandal broke. Are they just being nutty? Are they only correcting part of this? Are we sure these subpoenas have happened?
Why are some news outlets changing their stories about this today and others are sticking with it, sticking with their original reporting? This is really, really important stuff and it`s getting weird just as fast as it`s getting interesting.
Greg Farrell from "Bloomberg News" is here next.
MADDOW: So, today, with this important new reporting about special counsel Robert Mueller looking into reportedly the president and Deutsche Bank, we got one story after another all reporting despite these interesting denials from the president`s lawyers that, yes, special counsel Robert Mueller has subpoenaed that bank that`s extended hundreds of millions of dollars to the president in recent years when other banks didn`t want anything to do with him.
Now, what exactly the special counsel is trying to get, whose data or records he`s looking for, that part we don`t have clarity on. Part of the reason we don`t have clarity on it is because of the president`s lawyers saying there`s no subpoena. People who have reported this out today say, in fact, there is.
Regardless of the ways in which there`s some muddiness around this today, thanks to the pushback from the White House, I think there`s one good reason we should have all seen this coming today. Over the summer, in mid- July, we got this from "Bloomberg News". Mueller expands probe to Trump`s business transactions.
Quote: The U.S. special counsel investigating possible ties between Donald Trump`s campaign and Russia in last year`s election is examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump`s businesses, as well as those of his associates according to a person familiar with the probe. According to that source, quote, FBI investigators are looking at Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump`s involvement in a controversial Soho Development in New York with Russian associates, the 2013 Ms. Universe pageant in Moscow and Trump`s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008.
When that story came out from "Bloomberg News" in July, there was quite a lot of pushback to it. But "Bloomberg" stood by their reporting, as did the follow the money reporter who broke that news. And he`s here with us tonight amid what appears to be a full scale White House freak-out over today`s news that his earlier reports were correct and that part of Mueller investigation now involves a subpoena, one that Deutsche Bank appears to be complying with.
Joining us now is Greg Farrell, investigative reporter for "Bloomberg News".
Mr. Farrell, It`s great to have you with us here tonight.
GREG FARRELL, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, BLOOMBERG NEWS: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: You blush when I cover that stuff, sorry, I don`t mean to embarrass you.
Let me just ask you -- I`ve tried to explain the potential importance of the Deutsche Bank subpoenas. Did I say anything that struck you as wrong or that we should clarify?
FARRELL: No. We stand by our reporting. But yes, it was interesting you correctly noted. It`s strange to get that level of pushback from the White House.
MADDOW: OK. And the White House is pushing back, help me understand this. Because we saw a few things change today, once the president`s lawyers started making these statements about their not being a subpoena. And it`s hard for me to parse exactly what it is that they are contesting. We saw "Reuters" change their headline but not their article. We saw "Wall Street Journal" change their sub-headline but not their headline or their article. You guys are just standing by their reporting.
Do you understand what it is that they`re raising an issue with?
FARRELL: Well, needless to say after the strong pushback we went and, you know, we were confident that, you know, the original reporting is correct.
FARRELL: So, we stand by that. I do think that you`ve got to look at a subpoena for records related to Trump as whether or not it was for all records related to Trump or if it was lots of business transactions that touched on Trump -- Trump family, Trump associates, et cetera.
FARRELL: So, there`s a lot of wiggle room there.
As you refer to the story in July, when you`re looking into all these real estate transactions that occurred over so many years, of course, a lot of them would have been done through Deutsche Bank as well as other banks. So, to that extent, I didn`t find the Deutsche Bank part a surprise.
MADDOW: When we talked about Deutsche Bank and their potential -- them potentially being of interest to the Mueller investigation, when you did that earlier reporting this summer, one of the things we talked about was the Deutsche Bank may have been well within its rights when it refused those requests for information from the U.S. Congress, when they responded to Maxine waters and said they were not going to send you anything. They were polite about it. They wrote to all the Democrats on the committee.
But you said at the time that as far as you understood, the compliance obligations and the privacy obligations of banks in this regard, they really were not allowed to respond to anything but a subpoena.
FARRELL: Yes. I think they would need and would want to have a subpoena to cover themselves. They can`t get a reputation for just giving away sensitive client information. They can defend themselves by saying an arm of the U.S. government issued a subpoena requiring us to turn over this information. That`s why we`re doing it.
So, they have this now. They didn`t have it when Maxine Waters and the other Democrats on the House service dollars committee asked for that information.
MADDOW: We`ve heard the president tell "The New York Times" that if the Mueller investigation started looking at his personal finances and his business deals, he would consider that a violation, that might be something that he would consider to be out of bounds for the Mueller investigation. We`ve seen this very strong and a little -- in my estimation, a little weird reaction from the president`s lawyers today, now that this story about the subpoena has come out.
Given that kind of reaction and those kind of red flags that the Trump side has waved about this, do you think that they are right to be freaked out? Do you think this is potentially of an area of real danger for them in terms of this investigation?
FARRELL: I think what happens with the Mueller investigation is because his -- it`s been such a black box that any small show or particularly the news as you highlighted last week about General Flynn, has the tendency to freak people out. So, it`s -- you know, I wouldn`t be so hyped up about this because the Mueller team seems to be approaching in a rational way.
Months ago, we talked about this, they issued a subpoena for records for lots of banks regarding Paul Manafort and lo and behold, a couple months later, you had a detailed indictment of Manafort and Gates that had a mountain of information about business transactions, financial transfers from Cyprus to a variety of, you know, rag dealer, landscape, architects here in the U.S. So, they collect that information.
This doesn`t appear to be a fishing expedition. It seems that the Mueller track record seems to be to go find something when they think there`s something of interest there. But we shouldn`t assume that it`s nefarious or roof some of wrongdoing, as much as it`s necessary for them to make the next step to did what never going to do.
MADDOW: OK. So, we can observe or freak out by the president`s lawyers, there`s no reason to assume that that is warranted. But this is a serious matter in the terms of the way the Mueller investigation say approaching it.
FARRELL: Right, I don`t think he`s on a fishing extradition. There must be a reason for them to want the information they`re trying to get. But having said that, you know, I don`t think we should get all hot and bothered that something`s happening next week or by Christmas or something.
MADDOW: I just get hot and bothered whenever they do. It`s human nature.
Greg Farrell, investigative reporter for "Bloomberg News" -- Greg, thank you, really appreciate. Thank you.
All right. Much more ahead. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Congressman John Conyers stepped down today. The Michigan Democrat announcing his retirement effective immediately. Following a string of allegations of sexual misconduct, including a new allegation from yet another Conyers staffer levied against him today.
Congressman Conyers has denied all of the sexual harassment allegations against him, but pressure had been mounting steadily from within his own party that he should resign. So, now as of today, he is out of Congress. He has retired today effective immediately.
Very different story playing out in Alabama where the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate has faced allegations that he made unwanted sexual advances to teenagers when he was a grown man in his 30s. Despite those sexual harassment and sexual assault allegations against teenagers, Roy Moore seems now to be picking back up support from national Republicans.
The National Republican Party had cut ties with the Moore campaign last month, but as of last night, they`re back. They have reinstated their support of Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore.
Now, what`s a little weird about this, and a little telling, is that nobody at the National Republican Party, nobody at the RNC wants to admit to who made the decision that the RNC would get back into business with Roy Moore. Nobody will even talk about their decision to do it.
Tonight, "BuzzFeed" is reporting, quote, no one at the RNC is actually defending the decision publicly. When asked for comment, RNC officials would only speak, quote, on condition that they not be identified.
Quote: Senior party leaders punted questions to spokespersons who declined to comment. The silence, speculated several GOP sources, is reflective of tensions between the RNC and the White House. But in getting back in bed with Roy Moore as it were, the RNC is essentially following President Trump`s lead.
There`s one person I know to speak to about this who I think knows how this all turns out more than anybody else I can imagine. And he`s our guest next.
MADDOW: The great state of Alabama holds a United States Senate race one week from tonight. This is the Democratic candidate in that race speaking today, Doug Jones.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DOUG JONES (D), ALABAMA SENATE CANDIDATE: It is crystal clear that these women are telling the truth and Roy Moore is not.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
This is about decency and not a political party. And anyone who thinks otherwise should be ashamed. I damn sure believe that I have done my part to ensure that men who hurt little girls should go to jail and not the United States Senate.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That is Doug Jones, the Democrat running for U.S. Senate in Alabama, the man he facing is Roy Moore. That`s also the man he was referencing in those last remarks.
Roy Moore appeared at an event tonight in Fair Hope, Alabama, with former White House strategist Steve Bannon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISOR: This is going to be decided by the good men and women in Alabama next week. But the whole nation and the entire world is watching.
ROY MOORE (R), ALABAMA SENATE CANDIDATE: We`ve got six days left and the people -- and the people of Alabama are going to speak to the people in Washington, D.C.
They don`t want me up there. I know that. They don`t want somebody up there with an independent mind, somebody that will do what they believe is right under the Constitution.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Nor do they want someone who makes them answer questions about 14- year-olds for the entire time that you`re in the United States Senate.
Joining us now from tonight`s rally which just wrapped up in Fair Hope, Alabama, is John Archibald. He`s a columnist for the "Birmingham News" and AL.com.
Mr. Archibald, it`s great to have you with us tonight. Thank you for your time.
JOHN ARCHIBALD, COLUMNIST, THE BIRMINGHAM NEWS: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: What was the rally like tonight? What was the mood like? I understand there was a pretty good crowd but also some protesters?
ARCHIBALD: There`s some protesters who cleared out and were allowed to walk away. It was in a barn in South Alabama where "Sweet Home Alabama" played continually for a while. But there was a ruckus crowd, much of what you would expect when Steve Bannon came in. He got a lot of applause.
MADDOW: Steve Bannon obviously runs "Breitbart" Website. He was very closely associated with the president`s electoral victory and with the Trump White House.
Is he considered to be a powerful figure in Alabama? A lot of people have been trying to game out at the national level whether it makes a difference that the president has now explicitly endorsed Roy Moore. Do Bannon and/or the president have enough sway to make a difference potentially in the vote?
ARCHIBALD: Well, I think they do. I think Steve Bannon is pretty popular and he was certainly here honestly sometimes he seemed popular than Roy Moore did, certainly when the crowd was more attentive when Steve Bannon was speaking than when Roy Moore was.
But, you know, he made it fairly clear in his -- Bannon made it clear in his discussion that this is a referendum on Trump in Alabama and I thought that was a standout moment.
MADDOW: John, what do you think people watching this race for this final week now around the country, obviously, it`s important for the balance of power in the Senate? It`s also important in terms of what these two parties stand for and how these allegations against Moore were handled and all the rest of it.
What do you think people watching this nationwide should have an eye on for the next week? What do you think is important and how do you think it`s going to work out?
ARCHIBALD: Well, I mean, I think it`s going to be really tight. I mean, I have not seen the Democrats this motivated in maybe ever, honestly. And, obviously, Roy Moore`s people are also highly motivated.
It`s going to be intense and it`s going to be -- it`s going to be something kind of election we haven`t seen in Alabama probably in my lifetime. And, obviously, everybody knows turnout``s the key to getting it out and that`s what`s going to happen. But it is -- it is -- it is intense.
MADDOW: John Archibald, columnist of the "Birmingham News" and AL.com, joining us from right outside a Roy Moore rally tonight. It`s nice to have you here. Thanks for your time tonight.
ARCHIBALD: Thank you.
MADDOW: We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Representative Barbara Comstock`s office in Sterling, Virginia today. A whole bunch of people and a large chicken -- that is a Trump chicken, if we`re going to be precise. This was outside Comstock`s district office in Virginia.
While simultaneously across the river in Washington, D.C., this was outside Barbara Comstock`s office on Capitol Hill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have spinal muscular atrophy.
CROWD: I have spinal muscular atrophy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I cannot go to the bathroom.
CROWD: I cannot go to the bathroom or take a shower.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Or take a shower.
CROWD: Or take a shower.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Without assistance.
CROWD: Without assistance.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is provided by Medicaid.
CROWD: This is provided by Medicaid.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It took my God-given right.
CROWD: It took my God-given right.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To work and live like everyone.
CROWD: To work and live like everyone.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, don`t send me to a filing cabinet.
CROWD: Don`t send me to a filing cabinet.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don`t kill me.
CROWD: Don`t kill me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kill this bill.
CROWD: Kill this bill.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Megan Anderson was one of the activists at the Capitol today, along with a ton of people with disabilities and health conditions, people advocating for those folks who stage protests and sit-ins outside Capitol Hill offices of House Republicans today, pleading with those members of Congress to not vote for the Republican tax bill that among other things will cause 13 million Americans to lose all health insurance coverage.
This was outside Pennsylvania Republican Ryan Costello`s office today where several people were eventually arrested, including one woman with a double mastectomy was demonstrating shirtless with the word "shame" written on her back. There was also a sit-in outside Republican Congressman Darrell Issa`s office and outside Moscow Republican Dana Rohrabacher`s office.
The crowd also descended on New York Republican Claudia Tenney`s office.
Graduate students held a sit-in outside Paul Ryan`s office protesting the potentially devastating cuts to higher education in the tax bill. We`re told that nine of them were arrested.
And while there was this particularly intense action on Capitol Hill today, it was another day of protest against this tax bill all over the country today too. This was Roseville, California, outside Congressman Tom McClintock`s office. The organizers said they had a couple of hundred people in Roseville today.
This was Portland, Oregon, today.
Demonstrators gathered in downtown Charleston, South Carolina today, including one person promising free money. And then you see the asterisk, it says for millionaires only, courtesy of Republican Congress.
Republicans in Congress are planning to still try to gin up a final version of this tax bill before it goes to Trump`s desk. That means it isn`t finished yet in terms of what`s in it. It`s not passed yet either. And that`s why you`re going to keep seeing this. That`s why people are not letting up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROWD: Kill the bill!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The Russian Olympic Committee put on a big glitzy event in Moscow last week to roll out its exclusive new team uniforms and fan merchandise ahead of the winter games that start in February. They had nice turtlenecks and some snazzy scarves. They also had this for the Russian sports fan who has everything. An official Russian Olympic sweatshirt that proclaims in English "I do not do doping."
The International Olympic Committee for the past year has been investigating an extensive state sponsored doping program among Russian athletes. Today, the IOC released its decision in that matter and Russia will be banned from the Winter Games that start in two months.
Russia will however -- excuse me, the IOC, however, will allow clean athletes, individual clean athletes to compete in Pyeongchang even if they`re Russian, but they won`t be allowed to compete for Russia.
These athletes will be introduced as Olympic athletes from Russia. They`ll be only allowed to wear generic uniforms that bear the Olympic flag not the Russian flag. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the doping scandal is purely political. It`s just meant to humiliate him. He hasn`t responded directly to today`s announcement but expect that when he does respond, it won`t be pretty or classy. But we`ll see.
That does for us tonight. We`ll see you again tomorrow.
Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL".
Good evening, Lawrence.
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