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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  January 19, 2021 9:00pm-10:00pm PST

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his having avoided tax charges by fleeing overseas. that caused so many problems for bill clinton, he left on a real down note after eight years in office. and there were allegations that he had somehow committed a crime in abusing his pardon powers. these kinds of pardons do come at the last minute, and they can be so controversial. >> if your wife had not tweeted about the day coming up, this would not have happened. thank you for returning to the camera to help out our broadcast tonight. we know something about the day ahead of you. a quick update for our viewers. we've had the first hints. the first look at what we believe to be a hefty list of pardons on the president's way
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out the door. quite literally. he is wheels up from the white house, 8:00 a.m. eastern, to andrews air force base. a farewell ceremony, then wheels up for florida for the rest of his post-presidency. i will be back to join our morning coverage with nicolle wallace at 9:00 a.m. sharp eastern time, for what will become another long but history-making day, as we inaugurate the 46th president of the united states, joseph robinette biden jr. katy tur, taking over our live coverage right now. >> thank you very much. what a fitting end to the presidency, with pardons coming in at midnight. reporters writing about their final day of the trump presidency stories, staying up
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all night to find out who exactly he pardons. some names will be coming out, names about rumors, steve bannon, according to "the new york times," will receive a pardon. maggie haberman tweeting that the paperwork was signed at 11:30 p.m. bannon was on the outs with donald trump for the last few years of the presidency, having been so close to him early on, because of a book, but it seems like in the final hours, as donald trump is being shunned by the more establishment wings of the republican party, as mitch mcconnell is all but signaling that he may vote to convict him, donald trump is looking to some old allies that he needs close by to him. and steve bannon was certainly somebody who stood close by,
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even in hard times. one of the only aides to stick by him during the "access hollywood" tape drama. as many aides disappeared for many hours or days, or went silent, steve bannon was inside trump tower with him. this is just one name we are so far seeing. welcome, everyone, i'm katy tur. it's midnight on the east coast. joining us, joyce vance, who spent 25 years as a federal prosecutor. we also have mike schmidt, of "the new york times," as well as peter baker. joyce, we'll start with you. if you are -- while you are watching, what sort of red flags are you going to see, people that aren't just routine
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pardons, but people who are defying the norms, people who would offend some americans. >> well, i think what you're talking about, katy, is pardons that are being given for improper reasons. the president's pardon power is broad. he can essentially do almost whatever he would like to do here. but that doesn't mean that pardons can't be given that we would commonly be viewed as abusive. and i think key are pardons given out to politicians who have been convicted of corruption. we've seen this with rod blagojevich, who was released from prison. we would look for that tonight, along with other pardons that are given to people who have engaged in high dollar or serious frauds.
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for instance, the commutation for a florida businessman who defrauded investors in his real estate development of almost $300 million in investments. these are not people who are repentant. these are the pardons that are red flags. the ones that seem to have no merit. >> roll with me here, because we have a lot of gas and we're waiting for a bunch of names. but let's go to michael schmidt, you had reporting out this week about some trump allies -- i'm sorry, we don't have michael schmidt quite yet. there was reporting that schmidt had released about trump allies currying favor with trump because high-profile clients
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were trying to buy their way, lobby their way into getting a pardon. peter baker, those names are yet to be seen. but this idea that there were those around donald trump that were getting paid to lobby him for pardons on behalf of their clients, while not illegal, certainly pretty swampy. >> not illegal, not even really very new. but certainly not the actions of a reforming class of political folks, right, who said they were going to change the culture in washington. but they've taken advantage of it, and profited from it themselves. we don't know if the people who paid these trump associates will get pardons. that's something we'll pay attention to, but it's a big story. i think you're right to point that out, mike schmidt and ken vogel wrote that this week. and it goes to, you know, the
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way the pardon process under this president has been transformed. other presidents have made political pardons, but they still used the pardon office in the justice department for what they did. this president has mostly ignored that process. they've basically been shut out completely. the people who get to the president are people like kim kardashian, or friends of friends who have managed to make a case with the president in some way or another. and some of the pardons may make sense, people who were drug offenders, and got caught up in the harsh sentences for nonviolent offenses. but even in those cases, they're often brought to the president's
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attention through personal friends and not in a process that is meant to weigh them on their own. >> and my colleagues at nbc news have reported it's unlikely that the president will pardon himself or any immediate members of his family, his adult children. does that reporting still hold? are we still confident that he's not going to do that? and if so, what begged him off? >> it holds right up until the minute it doesn't. i would never make a prediction with this president. we have 12 hours, or slightly less than 12 hours left. anything can happen. but in part, the conversation was that it would look like they were admitting culpability, that they had done something to be pardoned from. and this president, worried about civil liability, if there
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are lawsuits about january 6th, and there will probably be, would it hurt his chances in civil court if he had given himself a pardon for that? that's the discussion you hear from some of the lawyers around the president. >> joyce, what do you think of that? >> i think it's remarkable that we're having this conversation, we have a president having to contemplate this untreaded path because of his conduct in the white house has not only exposed himself to the possibility of criminal culpability but also his children. but that aside, i think the insight that peter offers here is really very interesting because this is a perilous course for the president. the pardon power is a double-edged sword. and every person that he pardons, although he potentially frees them from criminal
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liability if the pardon is worded carefully enough, it exposes that person, who no longer has to be afraid of convicted, to testimony. they no longer have a fifth amendment right to assert, they can't say they're worried their words will incriminate them. if they're subpoenaed, they'll be obligated to testify truthfully. they don't have any way to duck that obligation. and these folks may ultimately provide the vehicle for the american people to learn the truth about some of the most important issues about the trump presidency. >> and we also have neal katyal with us. steve bannon is already getting some reaction, this pardon of steve bannon. again, this is reporting from "the new york times."
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nbc news has not independently confirmed. but adam schiff says, steve bannon is getting a pardon after he defrauded trump's supporters, into paying into a wall trump said mexico would pay with. he's been charged with defrauding donald trump's own supporters, and again, trump promised that mexico would pay for the wall. >> yes, it's going to be a long 12 hours. and the pardons are really a microcosm of the trump presidency. trump has taken this really noble part of our constitution, and he's warped it in the service of his ego and rewarding his pals. the pardon power, you go to hamilton, saying this is necessary because otherwise
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justice would wear a countenance too sanguinary and cruel. but trump doles it out for his friends, and this pardon for bannon is akin to so many he's done, like manafort, papadopoulos, and jared kushner's dad, or michael flynn. and a lot of these folks didn't go through the pardon process. they just went -- they didn't do anything. trump just gave it to them. so the bannon pardon, it stinks to high heavens. >> what about a pardon potentially for a corrupt politician, one of the names being floated around was sheldon silver, a new york politician
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convicted of corruption, and sentenced to many years behind bars. there is word that he's no longer on the pardon list because of some editorials asking the president not to do so. what would it mean, because you never know until you know, but what would it mean if he did in fact follow through with a pardon of a corrupt politician? >> it would be kind of amazing. first of all, as i understand it about that case, he was the only one being looked at for a pardon, but he was one of four people convicted in that case. he pardons his friends, but other people languish in jail for the very same crime. that's one problem. another is, the fact that he's spent so long thinking about people like this, they're all
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what we call white collar criminals, not the lion's share of people in the criminal justice system. for those folks, donald trump doesn't give one whit. but thinking about what the pardon power is all about, it's all about even-handed administration of justice to all. it's not about some sort of tool to reward your pals. i think the reports are tonight that trump backed away from the pardon of silver, because it was republicans who said in new york, don't pardon this guy. we don't know. we'll find out. but i can assure you, one thing i don't think is going on is donald trump weighing the kind of traditional things that presidents weigh when they're supposed to dole out pardons, mercy. have they shown repentance, have they admitted their wrongs? instead, how much did you do for trump? >> again, the only pardon that we've so far seen, and this is
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reporting from "the new york times," is a pardon for steve bannon, we have not gotten any other names from "the new york times" or anything official yet. nbc news has yet to confirm the reporting on steve bannon. but let's bring in michael schmidt, what can you tell us? >> well, you know, the president spent much of the day going back and forth about the bannon pardon. he wasn't sure what to do or at least was saying that. bannon called and spoke directly with the president, to make his appeals. he was looking for others to put pressure on the white house to make his case. bannon's pardon is different than the pardon of many others who have been granted clemency. bannon has still not gone to trial.
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most of those who have been granted some sort of clemency got it after they were convicted. but bannon was indicted last year, he is still awaiting trial. but here's the president dipping his hand into the justice system, and essentially preemptively pardoning bannon and clearing his record and making it so he does not have to go to trial, does not have to hire a lawyer to do that. and will not have to face charges. >> and michael, what about your reporting from earlier this week that there are trump allies who have been paid to lobby him to get him to pardon their own clients? any new news on that? >> yeah, so, the, you know, one of the most glaring cases that we wrote about was the case of john dowd, the president's former personal lawyer, who had
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been intimately involved in representing the president in the mueller investigation. had been accused of having conversations with others about pardons for mike flynn, as the investigation was going on. and the dowd took money from a convicted felon who was looking for a pardon. a guy by the name of billy walters. and he had been investigated by the prosecutors in the southern district of new york, the same office that investigated the president. and dowd, after representing the president, had marketed himself to other, you know, potential convicts, basically saying he had an in with the president, and he could help them get pardons. nothing about walters' fate has been announced. he was not included in the earlier batches of pardons
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around christmas. >> michael, hang on for us. let's bring in josh, you're reporting that the number of pardons -- i'm sorry, say that one more time? >> hi, can you hear me, katy? >> josh, i can hear you. i'm sorry, there's a little back and forth going on in my ear. i apologize. you're reporting that the total number of pardons could reach 150. what names are on that list? >> among them is steve bannon. also elliott broidy, a former detroit mayor, rapper lil wayne. the majority of them are not the most high-profile, famous names. but celebrities, top allies of the president, and some who the
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president was urged not to pardon. but it appears he's doing them. we're expecting a release to go out within the next 30 minutes or so. looks like this will be one of his final acts in office as president. >> why is he doing this at midnight tonight? >> there's been a frantic back and forth all day on whether he should pardon bannon and others. we were told last night that bannon was unlikely to get a pardon. i think the president has had frenzied discussions. as of 11:00 p.m. tonight, he still has not signed some of these, and he's done that in the past hour. i think he's mercurial, and goes back and forth on these, and he felt conflicting emotions on these. the white house has frequently put these out late at night, but this to some degree is taking it to another level. >> let's talk about bannon for just another second. what does it say to you that he
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would do this for somebody that has been on the outs with him for years now, that was saying nasty things about his family, quoted as saying nasty things about his family in a book? it seemed like bannon would not be able to get back into trump's inner circle. why does he feel like he needs him now? >> they've had an extremely complicated and dynamic relationship. in the past year or two, bannon has returned to going on his podcast, on newsmax, attacking anthony fauci, and he's been one of the chief people who has said falsely that the president won the election, when other folks were not doing it. he's also known bannon for a long time. early in the presidency, one of
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the reasons that bannon had so much power in the white house was because of his relationship with the president on the campaign. obviously that soured and turned into an ignominious firing, but he's come back into his good graces in recent months. >> let's go to carol, also of "the washington post." who are you watching out for? >> i think josh gave a great summary. steve bannon looks like he's pretty much a done deal, although we haven't confirmed it at the moment. and lawyers for bannon and broidy say they're confident they'll get pardons, and also, the flip-flop on shel silver. and the idea that the president held his nose about silver because he was accused of
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corruption. that hasn't been an issue for the president. he said he wanted to get rid of the foreign corrupt services act. and people have been upset about the last minute nature of donald trump's review of this, because the president was obsessed with undermining the results of the election, challenging it in court, failing, challenging it in television, public opinion ratings and polls, failing there. challenging it in congress, leads to the fatal and scary siege of the capitol. because of all of that, it sucked up all the time that the president and his aides and his white house counsel would have had to review these. so here we are, nearing 1:00 a.m., and we don't have clear answers. it is also interesting -- >> go ahead. >> there have been intense, the
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equivalent of verbal fist fights in the white house about the president's interest in pardoning himself. with the white house counsel urging the president to think twice about that, that it was a bad idea. there have also been members of the president's family concerned about whether it makes them look guilty to get a preemptive pardon, when they don't feel they've been engaged in a crime, and others warn them they have legal exposure. but looks like we won't get those tonight, and we'll see. >> carol, donald trump has a lot of potential legal exposure when he leaves office. we've heard about it for some time, especially within certain states. new york being one of them. if he does pardon himself, and the reporting suggests that will not happen, he would not be pardoning himself from state crimes. which it seems right now, that's where a lot of the liability is.
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in terms of federal crimes, is there a lot circulating that he could be looked at for incitement? the doj has said they don't expect that to happen, that obviously could change with a new attorney general coming into office any day now if he gets confirmed. what exactly, beyond the idea that he didn't want to admit to guilt, what exactly was pulling him back, because that doesn't seem, from all we know about donald trump, that doesn't seem like something that would necessarily be so convincing for him. >> agreed. and i think your instincts are right on. this may be the only president in history who in his first few months in office who asks
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lawyers who came in to be hired whether he can pardon himself. they had their jaws on the ground. you're so right to distinguish the federal from the state charges. a pardon will cover the federal ones and not the state. but think about the federal ones in play from the reporting, the president, at least before he became president, appears to have some evidence of avoiding taxes for many years. in ways that are straining credulity. year after year, you have absolutely zero income, in a very complex labyrinth of organizations, llcs, different arms of your company. it's just unusual. so there are many people who have said, prosecutors who have
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said to me that he should be investigated for potentially decades of avoiding taxes, and potentially illegally doing so. and then the issue of the southern district of new york, there is always the charge being looked at about what happened with his hush payments to a porn and also dancer, and whether or not he was engaged in a federal crime, using payments to keep her from coming forward in 2016. >> and michael cohen. keep going. >> the list is a little long. there's also the issue of, you may remember the district attorney was looking at donald trump's children for a series of fraudulent claims they made with
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regard to the trump organization. ultimately, the charges were dropped or the case went silent. it was a mystery to many people at the time. there were people engaged in the case who found that hard to believe with the evidence they had. there's a statute of limitations on everything. so we'll see. but if there was a conspiracy to defraud investors or partners in the trump organization, that has a federal charge possibility. >> there's a lot out there. and joe biden has been public about saying at least in terms of federal charges, he has a hands-off approach to his justice department, and it will be up to them to see what they pursue. carol, thank you.
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peter, this is a point just brought up by bill krystol. and the tweet says, the pardon of bannon makes it a lot more likely that donald trump is going to be convicted in the senate. let's talk about bannon in terms of who he is to the republican party, the establishment republican party, who he has been to somebody like mitch mcconnell. >> remember, of course, steve bannon, the 2018 midterm elections vowed to take out a lot of establishment and incumbent republican senators. he was very vocal in his criticism of mitch mcconnell. and mcconnell's primary mission as majority leader has been to keep those incumbents in office. he didn't take kindly to bannon threatening his members. so he's never had a soft spot for bannon. and kristol's point is that
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bannon doesn't have a lot of friends in the senate. i don't know if it will change anybody's mind, but it will not be a popular idea with some republicans. and mcconnell's language today was striking. he didn't have to say that, and he accused the president of provoking the crowd that stormed the capitol. it doesn't mean he'll vote to convict, but it's out there that it's possible, and that's different from the impeachment from a year ago. >> and mcconnell, you don't get leaks out of his office, you don't hear him saying something he doesn't necessarily mean. you don't hear a lot of people contradicting him. his office will say certain stories are false. so when mcconnell comes out today and says the siege, the
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riot, was incited or caused by the president's own rhetoric and lies by other powerful people, i'm curious who he's talking about there. and when "the new york times" reports that he hasn't made up his mind on whether to convict donald trump, it seems like he's sending a very public message to the president to behave, i wonder how much the advisers still remaining around the president are repeating that to donald trump. >> yeah, it's a very good argument to make with him. but i don't know how much water it carries. the president is so angry at mitch mcconnell for what he sees as a betrayal on his part, a lot
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of people are trying to urge him to be cautious about the pardons and his final days in office. sometimes he issues videos meant to show him denouncing the violence in the capitol, but broadly speaking, he's only listening to people who tell him what he wants to hear. he doesn't want to hear that he could be possibly convicted in a senate trial. that's something he's really gambling with by alienaing mcconnell further. republicans are being told that mitch mcconnell may vote for that, and that's interesting. >> it's 30 minutes past midnight on the east coast, it's 9:30 p.m. out west.
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so far, "the new york times" is reporting that steve bannon will get a pardon. that the president has already signed the paperwork, and he did so at 11:30 p.m. last night now. this has not been confirmed by nbc news, this is reporting that is being hung right now on "the new york times" but as josh reported we're expecting a release in just the next few minutes. so we're watching for that. in the meantime, a little refresher on what donald trump has most recently said about steve bannon. >> i feel very badly, i haven't been dealing with him for a long period of time, as most of the people in this room know. he was involved in our campaign, he worked for goldman sachs and
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a lot of companies, but we worked for the campaign for vey early on. i know nothing about the project other than i didn't like it when i read about it. >> so the president saying that he felt bad for steve bannon, that was a real turn of tone towards his former top level adviser, a man that stuck with him in the darkest days of his campaign, when many other aides decided to abandon him. but someone that clashed aggressively with a number of people within donald trump's close orbit, including donald trump's own children. we're awaiting a number of other names that have been tossed out there. elliott broidy, a republican party and trump fund-raiser,
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also kwami kilpatrick, serving a 28-year sentence. let's go to joyce vance, she spent 25 years as a federal prosecutor. i imagine as a federal prosecutor, when you find out that the person you worked so hard to put behind bars has been pardoned or granted clemency, it's got to sting. >> you know, sometimes, katy, but not always. the sort of public corruption pardons are always a little bit difficult. so i assume my former colleague, who was in detroit, who was responsible for the kilpatrick conviction, may find that one to be a little bit difficult to take. but on the other hand, in many cases, prosecutors work hard to
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aid the pardon attorney at the justice department to determine which people in custody or finishing their sentence are good candidates for a pardon. because the pardon process is supposed to be about justice and mercy. so prosecutors will work with judges and defense lawyers to determine whether or not a defendant has been rehabilitated in prison, whether his sentence was a sentence that was disproportionate, and in some cases they'll become advocates. we've found one defendant would serve more time than he should, and we made sure to convince the
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folks in washington that a pardon had to be granted to do justice. that's the problem that happens when the president's children weigh in on pardons, when they become gatekeepers to the process. you want a fair process where everyone is judged against the same standard. otherwise, the presidential pardon power becomes whimsical, where it's used to reward his friends or people who may have information that would damage him by using it. >> oftentimes, he's been listening to the lobbying of those on fox news, family members and friends going on fox news and asking the president directly for a pardon. and we've seen in the last few weeks, a number of people who have been arrested and are now charged, asking the president
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directly for a pardon. i want to ask if that's even a remote possibility, but let's take a very short break. we'll be back and just a second.
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and we're back. we're awaiting the list of pardons, commutations, clemency grants that the president will release. we're hearing it could come at any moment. so far, reporting from "the new york times," steve bannon will receive a pardon. and people who rioted at the capitol asking the president for a pardon.
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and jenna ryan, the realtor who asked the president directly for a pardon because she felt she was there because the president wanted her to be. josh, any chance that the president will be giving pardons to anybody that was involved in the insurrection? >> we do not believe so. we believe those are discussions that happened over the weekend, but we are told that is unlikely to happen. and no one involved in the insurrection will be pardoned by the president. >> but there were discussions about it? >> yes, for the last three or four days at the white house, it's been almost constant discussions. republican congressmen, pat
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cipollone, and that was one of the people that came up in the discussions. >> josh, i'm sorry. i'm just having a hard time believing they would even entertain that. i'm having a hard time believing it because i don't believe anything. but it's remarkable that they would even entertain that, given what happened there on that day, and given what the president is accused of. >> yeah, i mean, the president has been very -- i guess vacillating in the last two weeks on how he handled it. initially, he didn't want to put out a video, didn't want to do too much about it. then was later convinced to put out a video, then regretted it, he told his allies he regretted putting that out. we reported that tonight. the president sees these people as allies. lindsey graham said last week,
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the president was slow to act because he views these people as allies, people who are out fighting for him, and he's reticent to criticize them. >> any word on the timing for the list? >> we've been told for about two hours now, i think about every white house reporter and everyone else is waiting by the minute. but it has not come yet. we think there's probably going to be about 150 of them. so there will be a copious number to go through in the upcoming hours. >> do you think this might be because they're trying to deprive the white house reporters of a few extra hours of sleep on the last day that they can? >> well, i'm down in palm beach, and the president is leaving at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow, he's supposed to be here at 11:00 a.m. until then, i would not expect many dull moments. >> i hope you at least enjoy the
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warm weather. josh, stick around as long as you can. but let's bring in andrew weiss, he's a distinguished senior fellow at the nyu school of law. good to have you. we've been tossing out a lot of names. the one we seem to know right now is steve bannon. what is your reaction? >> it's very hard to say that you're surprised. given that the president has pardoned murders, corrupt politicians, corrupt law enforcement, major fraudsters. the fact that he and bannon had a falling-out doesn't seem to be something that would preclude his granting a pardon. in the same we he wasn't
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particularly enamored of paul manafort, and he gave him a pardon. and this idea of would he pardon people who engaged in the january 6th insurrection, i think the real question is, if the president, since he's really just a creature of what is in it for him, if the president were not facing a trial on the impeachment, would he in fact pardon them? because i think that is really the issue for why he is not doing it. it's not because there's any love lost, given that he's pardoned people who engaged in conduct that is far worse than what some of the people there have done. i think it's more that he knows if he were to do that, his chances of being convicted in the senate go way up. >> let me play just a moment from steve bannon. i know he's not somebody that
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has been on our television screens recently, he was around a lot more in the early days of the presidency. but let me remind you of a warning that he sent to those across government who i guess he felt were not in line with donald trump. >> second term kicks off with firing wray, firing fauci. i want to go a step farther, but i'd like to go back to the good, old times of tudor england. put heads on pikes at the corners of the white house, as a warning. either get with the program or you're gone. >> peter baker, just a reminder for everybody, that is who steve bannon is. >> absolutely. he's a provocateur, he courts controversy, he loves to get
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attention by saying outrageous things. he relishes that, it goes back years and years. it's not normal for a senior white house official, but this hasn't been a normal white house. you've seen him over the last four years play a lot of roles for this president, as an adviser on the inside, an ally on the outside. as a person who challenges president trump's anger at the deep state. you've seen people who you thought were on the outs, who offended him in some way, people who were tossed out get pulled back in, because he decides they're useful to him, or they say nice things about him or defend him or become useful in some way. but this is an extraordinary
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case, bannon hasn't been convicted. and the thing he's been accused of is fleecing trump's own supporters. which you would think would be something that would have a particular impact on the president. but i think he sees this as a case of political persecution, the way he interprets all of the investigations like the russia probe. it's through that lens that he's looking at these pardons right now. >> peter, there are those out there arguing, republicans included, that the president himself has been fleecing his own supporters for the last few months, since he lost the election. but sending out fund-raising emails and saying you got to donate to me for our fight against this fraudulent election, even though the election was not fraudulent. even after he lost court case
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after court case, court case after court case was dismissed, still sending out the fund-raising emails. >> and people saying a lot of the effort to continue the fight over the election was about continuing to raise money, about having a cause around which to rally. and i think they raised around $250 million based in part on the appeal, and he's not admitted he lost to election, he's only admitted that biden will take office tomorrow. and this will resonate with some of his supporters, that they were ripped off or cheated in some way. and he will successfully turn that into a fund-raising operation. and to what end, we don't know. obviously, he wants to continue to play a part in politics.
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but the events of january 6th have shown that that may not work. >> and neal, you wanted to add something? >> i think you were saying before that the president did evidently according to reports decline to pardon the january 6th direct insurrectionists. but bannon is pretty darn close to that. he's spent the last several months saying there was election fraud, the statement about heads on pikes, about the fbi director, there are allegations that he knew about the january 6th event in some way, and gave aid to the folks going there. this is not a guy who is clean as a whistle when it comes to the january 6th stuff. so when the president, i think, is appropriately chastened by
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the impeachment proceedings, but bannon is pretty darn close. even before the january 6th events, the idea that this guy had any business being in the white house as he was in the early years of the trump presidency is astounding. and the idea that now, after he's been charged in a federal indictment with fleecing trump supporters, and trying to get money to supposedly build the wall, but diverted to other things, it's beyond bizarre that trump would pardon him before his trial. and "the new york times" is reporting that elliott broidy is on the pardon list as well. what's the commonality between them? they're both money people. and trump is facing serious
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money issues. and i just wonder, what is the relationship between the two pardons and trump's financial future? >> so we just got the list, we're looking through it right now. i'm looking for elliott broidy. it's a long list. so far i have not seen his name. steve bannon, i can confirm that. president trump granted a full pardon to bannon, he was pusued with fraud charges. mr. bannon has been an important leader in the conservative movement and is known for his political acumen. a number of other names, we're still working through it. broidy as well, right above it, i'm sorry, right above bannon. president trump granted a full pardon to mr. broidy, the
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deputy finance chair of the republican national party. eric branstadt, rabbi steven -- there are a lot of other names. mr. broidy was convicted on one count of conspiracy to serve as an unregistered agent of a foreign principle. as we look through this list of names here, neal, what would be definitively crossing the line? i mean, the president has broad pardon power. he can pardon whomever he wants. there are questions about
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pardoning himself. but what would be crossing the line? >> constitutionally speaking, very little would be crossing the line. bribery would be one of the things, that's why i point to the financial issues involved in some of these pardons. that can be a serious problem for the president and create criminal liability. beyond that, our founders said it's a matter of judgment. obviously, they did not foresee someone being elected who has this astounding lack of judgment. but the question is, is it right to pardon someone like broidy, who was working as an unregistered agent for malaysia, promising he could get because of his connections, get charges in an investigation against certain malaysian officials dropped, things like that?
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these are really bad, serious offenses. they're not, you know, minor things or done because broidy was a republican or something like that. these are prosecutions brought by the trump justice department, for god's sake. even the one against steve bannon, the trump justice department were the ones prosecuting bannon. and now trump is afraid to even let that go to trial. so he doles out a favor to his friend in advance of trial. these things really, really stink. they're not just substantively problematic, they're also procedurally problematic. many of these didn't even apply for pardons, they just get them because they're friends of the trump family and the like. they didn't go through the justice department process as they should have. >> kwami kilpatrick, but no trump family members, nor trump
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himself. there was some speculation about tiger king getting a pardon. he's not on the list. and rudy giuliani is not on this list. there are still, though, 11 hours left in this presidency. a chaotic presidency coming to a chaotic end tonight. again, 11 hours left. so who knows. stay with msnbc for special coverage of joe biden's inauguration all day long. the inauguration itself is promptly at noon eastern, with my thanks to all of our guests for extended live coverage, for sticking around with me late into the evening, i'm katy tur. up next, a special encore paren case of joy reid's exclusive interview with house speaker nancy pelosi.
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