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Maddow: With The Rule Of Law Failing Under Trump, Just Diagnosing The Problem Isn’t Enough | MSNBC

Maddow: With The Rule Of Law Failing Under Trump, Just Diagnosing The Problem Isn’t Enough | MSNBC

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a couple of days after the 2016 US presidential election a journalist a Russian American journalist named Masha Gessen published what was basically an alternate concession speech for Hillary Clinton Masha Gessen said on election night that same week in November 2016 when it became clear in the wee hours of the morning an election night that Donald

Trump

is gonna win the presidency Gessen argued that Clinton instead of giving the speech that she gave she could she perhaps should have

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said this and I warn you this is a little dark it is a little stark but given that she wrote this basically hours after election night it also feels oddly prescient

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a few years down the road now so here's the here's the alternate concession speech for Hillary Clinton as imagined by Masha Gessen it starts thank you thank you my friends thank you we have lost we have lost and this is the last day of my political career so I will say what must be said we are standing at the edge of the abyss our political system our society our country itself are in greater danger than at any time in the last century and a half the president-elect has made his intentions clear and it would be immoral to pretend otherwise we must band together right now to defend the laws the institutions and the ideals on which our country is based that's not what Hillary Clinton said on election night but the week of the 2016 election journalist masha gessen who had spent muster most of her life in in...
maddow with the rule of law failing under trump just diagnosing the problem isn t enough msnbc
Russia and much of her much of her journalistic career writing about the rise of Vladimir Putin in Russia she said that that or something like that is what Hillary Clinton should have said and the early morning hours of Wednesday that first week in November when the election results came in that article by masha gessen has has I think is still seen as a landmark these three plus years later that articles remembered less for that alternate proposed concession speech for Hillary Clinton calling on the country in that moment to band together to defend our laws and institutions remembered less for that than it is for the set of

rule

s that masha gessen went on to lay out for how to survive and preserve your sanity in a country that is shedding its democratic foundations and is shedding the strictures of the

rule

of law

rule

number one first on her list of

rule

s was most memorable one this one that still wakes me up regularly to this day

rule

number one quote believe the autocrat he means what he says whenever you find yourself thinking or hear others claiming that he's exaggerating that's our innate tendency to reach for a rationalization as an example Masha Gessen provides this quote

Trump

has received the support he needed to win and the adulation he craves precisely because of his outrageous threats

Trump

rally crowds have chanted lock her up they and he meant every word well fair

enough

that is in fact the world that we have ended up living in over these past three and...
maddow with the rule of law failing under trump just diagnosing the problem isn t enough msnbc
a half years but over the last 48 hours as the

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ice Department has been thrown into crisis and chaos and for the first time we are starting to get resignations on principle from career

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ice Department personnel who cannot abide what's being done to the

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ice system by this president over these last 48 hours

rule

number three for Masha Gessen is sticking with me as well quote

rule

number three institutions will not save you it took Putin a year to take over the Russian media and four years to dismantle its electoral system the Russian judiciary collapsed unnoticed the capture of institutions in Turkey has been carried out even faster by a man once celebrated as the Democrat to lead turkey into the European Union Poland has in less than a year undone half the accomplishments of a quarter century in building a constitutional democracy of course the United States has much stronger institutions than Germany did in the 1930s a Russia does today the

problem

however is that many of these US institutions are enshrined in political culture rather than in law and all of them depend on the good faith of all actors to fill their purpose and uphold the Constitution institutions will not save you they depend on the good faith of the actors within them boy are we living that that was Masha Gessen

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a couple days after the 2016 election not long thereafter Timothy Snyder's book on tyranny was published shortly after the inauguration and it followed a similar line of logic...
maddow with the rule of law failing under trump just diagnosing the problem isn t enough msnbc
looking at lessons from the collapse of various democracies across Europe over the course of the 20th century to learn lessons for us to learn lessons for how to protect our democracy and how to know if we're losing that fight to protect our democracy and what we should do then snyder quote the european history of the 20th century shows us that societies can break democracies can fall ethics can collapse and ordinary men can find themselves standing over death pits with guns in their hands we might be tempted to think that our democratic heritage automatically protects us from such threats this is a misguided reflex Americans today are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism Nazism or communism in the 20th century our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience now is a good time to do so and he published this book right at the time of the inauguration of Donald

Trump

and then the book very short book goes on to lay out 20 lessons from the 20th century for Americans to consider today and some of these lessons some of these

rule

s keep me up two for example

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number one from Timothy Snyder do not obey in advance most of the power of authoritarianism is freely given in times like these individuals think ahead about what a more repressive government will want and then offer themselves without being asked a citizen who adapts this way is teaching power what it can do I would amend that in our time to say a senator who adapts in this way...
is effectively teaching power what it can do there's also

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number eight which is stay out quote someone has to it's easy to follow along it can feel strange to do or say something different but without that unease there is no freedom the moment you set an example the spell of the status quo is broken and others will follow is that true here's the one that is sticking with me right now given what is going on at the

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ice Department and the sort of crisis that we have been thrown into in terms of the

rule

of law in this country over the past 48 hours its Snyder's

rule

number to quote defend institutions it is institutions that help us to preserve decency they need our help as well do not speak of our institutions unless you make them yours by acting on their behalf institutions do not protect themselves they fall one after another unless each is defended from the beginning so choose an institution you care about a court a newspaper a law a labor union and take its side that's interesting right we get this one prescient warning from the Russian American journalist institutions will not save you they will fail do not count on them to save you and we get another warning from the eminent historian of 20th century collapse of democratic and in

rule

of law countries he says yeah institutions are important but institutions do collapse unless each one of us actively defends and saves them from the kinds of pressures they're about to come under pick one do...
something to support it so in the middle of the New Hampshire primary yesterday right this very important moment for the Democratic Party trying to pick their nominee to run against Donald

Trump

we get this other story right this new milestone that we have hit in the

Trump

administration on

rule

of law issues and it is a big

enough

story that it resulted in split front pages all around the country today this was the front page of the New York Times this morning on the right hand you see there's the politics Sanders is winner in New Hampshire on the left side in all capital letters

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ice Department acts to ease sentence for

Trump

Ally for US prosecutors quit Stone case after bosses step in to over

rule

them all the way across the country here's the Los Angeles Times and there again is the picture of senator Sanders the triumphant picture and you see the headline on politics half way down the front page Sanders edges Budaj edge in New Hampshire primary but then right underneath the masthead there at the top the competing story left two columns prosecutors quit over bid to lessen stones sentence here's the hill newspaper in Washington DC quote DOJ in chaos here's the st. Louis post-dispatch four column headline all caps bold headline right all four prosecutors quit stone case

Trump

Trump

tweets pers concerns of DOJ interference here's the headline in the Minneapolis star-tribune today and yes they've got full coverage of Sanders grabbing the win in New...
Hampshire and also on the front page today hometown senator Amy Klobuchar surging into third place in New Hampshire we're gonna be speaking live with Senator Clovis Shar here in

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a moment right here on this show but look at what's on top the whole front page DOJ revolt over leniency for

Trump

pal so we are here believe them when they say who they are right you know we are at that moment that this president did in fact promise during the campaign right and everybody said at the time how outrageous it was how much it crossed a red line for him to say as a candidate that when he's president he did instruct his Attorney General to prosecute his political opponents he did instruct his Attorney General to pursue criminal cases on his presidential orders to serve his political needs punishes enemies protect his friends when he said he would do that as a candidate the outrage but did you believe him oh here we are right and all of the alarms are going off about this this is a front page thing and it is as serious as you think it is here's a former senior

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ice Department official who actually served well into the

Trump

administration David Loughman was head of the counterintelligence division at the

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ice Department calling this a break glass in case of fire moment here's former attorney General Eric Holder going right there as well quote do not underestimate the danger of this situation the political appointees in the DOJ are involving themselves in an...
inappropriate way in cases involving political allies of the president in a statement last night Attorney General Holder saying quote actions such as these put at risk the perceived and real neutral enforcement of our laws and ultimately endanger the fabric of our democracy equally stunning is you know as the Attorney General is intervening to take over these cases of interest to the president both to help the president's friends and to target the president's perceived enemies to target anything that poses a perceived threat to the president equally stunning alongside what bill Barr is doing is the fact that the

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ice Department is now starting to respond there are now resignations from the

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ice Department in protest three line prosecutors working on the Roger stone case withdrawing from that case after bar intervened after the president expressed his displeasure with the recommended sentence that stone had had put forth to the court by these line prosecutors three of them resigning from the case a fourth not only withdrawing from the case but resigning from the department altogether former Obama White House Counsel Bob Bauer today describing that as a quote major event and for Bob Bauer the least hyperbolic man on earth that's like a ten alarm fire for him to call something a major event Bob Bauer saying today quote dramatically forceful responses to mr.

Trump

's assault on

rule

of law norms have been all too rare a resignation can set off an alarm valve...
for an institution whose

failing

s and official may be unable to bring to light any other way or as effectively he says quote it upholds

rule

of law norms in the very act of signaling that they are

failing

they are

failing

so like I said the alarms are ringing what dual arms do they're supposed to wake us up well in this case we are all awake what do we do now that we're awake it's now hiding the importance of what's going on here the country is well aware of what's going on here all the people in the position to know how dangerous and bad this is have struck the alarm bell right and so now what do we do about it the idea of being a of law country it's not

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about the you know the technocratic prowess of your law enforcement system and your

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ice system I mean that matters but it is bigger than that it's also bigger than individual politicians or powerful people being able to get away with stuff unfairly by somehow working the system again that's part of it but it's not all of it the reason that people use

rule

of law countries as a way to define what is not an autocracy what is not an authoritarian regime is this bigger sense of what it means to be a

rule

of law country I mean those things matter but the worst collapse and the most consequential collapse of the capital our

rule

of capital L law is when the law becomes a tool of the political leader where the power of the criminal

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ice system and the law enforcement apparatus of this...
country is employed for the pleasure and the benefit of a president who was supposed to allow it to operate independently but we have now crossed the line on that he told us he would do it he has now done it and all of the alarms have sounded they are ringing incredibly loudly and we don't know what comes next but what do we do next what do we do now that we are awake to what is going on I mean

diagnosing

that the

problem

exists is not the same as curing the

problem

I mean I think that when all is reasonably well and we're reading dystopian fiction or we're smugly reading history about other countries falling on hard times and losing the

rule

of law and losing freedom and losing democracy when we imagine these moments is happening to someone else or happening in fiction we imagine what would happen in this country when the things that make us a free country start to collapse when they erode and crumble and fall away I think if we're honest a sort of naive fantasy that most of us have about moments like this about what it'll be like is that you know good people doing good things will fix it that's smart people in a position to know being alert to the danger and pointing out that this terrible Rubicon Rubicon has been crossed that would somehow be

enough

to stop us from going any further in that direction and to bring us back to this safe side of it somehow be

enough

to call out the danger to get us to recognize the danger to make us not go there turns...
out it's not

enough

turns out we still go there I mean I think we imagine when we tell ourselves optimistic fables about these kinds of things that in the event that something did go totally wrong and terribly wrong in America and the president's attorney general started personally intervening in criminal cases to help the president president's friends and to gin up investigations into people he wanted targeted for political purposes I mean in the movie version of things going wrong that way in America one of the ways we start to pivot toward the inevitable happy ending of that kind of movie is that we think principled people in a position to know what's going wrong and in a position to alert the country about it they will say resign in protest sound the alarm that way that will let everybody know what has happened and those resignations will have such a dramatic effect but they will catalyze a sort of positive contagion they'll become a moral beacon they will set a moral example that other people will step up to because other people will snap out of what other to whatever torpor or fear they have been in and they will realize oh we don't all have to go along with this actually this is something to save our country that must be stopped it's time to you know lay down on the proverbial gears of this machinery we all can do something here and all of us who can must in the movie version of this that's how we imagined this goes indeed last night the...
former Inspector General of the

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ice Department man named Michael Bromwich posted this what he called a memo to all career

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ice Department employees he was the former inspector general at the

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ice Department and he says in this in this note memo to all career DOJ employees this is not what you signed up for the four prosecutors who bailed on the stone case have shown the way report all instances of improper political influence and other misdeeds to the Inspector General who is required to protect your identity and you know Michael Bromwich is in a position to know and to give that kind of advice having until recently been an inspector general at the

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ice Department but simultaneous to him giving advice we've got the news now that one of the people the president is looking to fire right now is the Inspector General of the intelligence community because what did he do wrong well he got a whistleblower complaint about malfeasance and indeed what turned out to be illegal actions inside the

Trump

administration including by the President and that whistleblower seeing those things and deciding to properly follow channels reported that material to the Inspector General who is legally obligated to protect that person's anonymity the Inspector General treated that complaint basically the way the law said he must he ended up passing it on to Congress which the law says he must you really had no authority to do anything else with that he followed the law and...
protected the anonymity that whistleblower that Inspector General has now got his own head on the block reportedly as the president rips these systems out by the root and as Republican senators hunt the identity of that whistleblower so here's the question with these four prosecutors stepping up and resigning at the

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ice Department over the president reaching into the criminal

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ice system reaching into law enforcement to override independent prosecutorial decisions and instead insist on lenience for his friends and lenience not incidentally for people who could potentially testify about the president's own behavior related to the things for which these guys were all charged I mean now that we've got these prosecutors resignations including one career prosecutor who has resigned entirely from the

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ice Department what if the moral beacon phenomenon here either doesn't work or is overshadowed what if instead of waking people up and inspiring others to not go along with this dangerous fundamental breach and who we are as a country and how our system works and what the legal system could be perverted for in the hands of an authoritarian what if instead the example that we're living the example that's being set by these principled resignations and also by the career public servants and diplomats who came forward and defied the threats and obeyed the subpoenas and told the truth what if the example we have of them the example that's being...
broadcast to the entire country right now and every day since these people started coming forward is that when and if you do what is right when and if you stand up when and if you simply obey the law and don't go along with something illegal the president wants you to do what if the example being set by all of these noble actors is that if you do the right thing if you stand up if you tell the truth if you resign in protest to sound the alarm the result for you is you will be crushed I mean what is the example that's been set for the country by what happened to for example Alexander VIN Minh I mean right Colonel van Minh testifies dad do not worry I'll be fine for telling the truth he said in his opening statement of his testimony I recognized that my simple act of appearing here today would not be tolerated in many places around the world in Russia where his family had emigrated to this country from as refugees in Russia my act of expressing concern to the chain of command in an official and private channel would have severe personal and professional repercussions but he said you know here in America quote dad do not worry I will be fine for telling the truth well he is not fine he has been fired from the White House he has been marched off the grounds a relative of his his brother has also been fired from the White House and marched off the White House grounds Marie Ivanovich US ambassador who was bizarrely and unfairly targeted by the president's allies and...
and by the President himself lost her job as US ambassador because of it her career is now over - she is now retired and gone from the State Department and it is not hard to see why given what they unleashed on her after her testimony ambassador bill Taylor who was called out of retirement is basically a favor to the

Trump

State Department to go fill in for her in Ukraine he made the mistake of testifying truthfully - now he's been yanked out of that post as well I mean even the ones who might have thought they had some you know

Trump

insurance Ambassador John Bolton

Trump

appointees national security adviser he decided he wouldn't testify told House impeachment investigators no no he wouldn't do it decided instead he would write it all in a book well for his trouble the White House is now saying they will block the publication of his book and the president reportedly trying to arrange some sort of convenient criminal prosecution of john bolton ambassador gordon sunlit he might have thought he had

trump

insurance bought himself an ambassadorship a complete diplomatic amateur bought himself an ambassadorship by virtue of a million dollar donation to the

Trump

inaugural you might think that would be

enough

to keep this president smiling on you but no he's ain't he's fired as well the US attorney in Washington DC

Trump

appointee a member of the

Trump

transition team she apparently did not jump high

enough

when the president's demands for his friends...
Mike Flynn and Roger stone came to her door as US attorney in the jurisdiction where they were being prosecuted she was unceremoniously removed from her post as US Attorney promised a different job and now that job offer has been yanked - it took

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minutes for the resignation of those four prosecutors those prosecutors working on the stone case who all resigned apparently out of principle over the perversion of that case by the President and Attorney General William bar it took all of minutes for the president to start personally attacking them and threatening them as well now that they've come forward what do we expect for them and their families so what do we do because seeing the attacks seeing the personal threats seeing the career destruction the uniformed career destruction and in some cases the personal destruction of people involved in standing up to this president or being involved in investigating this president in any way I mean seeing them destroyed it makes us feel bad for them as human beings right who didn't do anything wrong who were doing their jobs who were brave and patriotic in some cases in the face of something very damaging happening to our country that they decided to tell the truth about makes us feel bad to see them retaliated against to see them targeted to see them hounded to see their careers ended but beyond us feeling bad about that I mean we as a country for the health of our country for the health of our democracy for our continued...
existence as a

rule

of law nation we need there to continue to be those people those types of people to stand up to let us know what's going on to continue to signal that it's alright to stand up against it and to stop it

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squawk about what's happening with each additional person who is demonstrated in the country that when you come out against this president your life is ruined we are further hurt as a country in terms of our ability to resist what this president is doing so it's not about empathy with those individuals as important as that is it's not about being nice or being decent toward them or even represent or recognizing their patriotism even if we have none of those feelings to protect ourselves as a nation the destruction of them for coming forward is something that can't stand but what do we do what can we do to support the brave well let me

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end with this because here's one small way to go about it tonight at Georgetown University ambassador Murray Ivanovitch whose career was destroyed who was personally targeted first as part of some scheme and then it seemed almost for sport now ultimately it seems like they're making an example of her Murray Ivanovich tonight at Georgetown University was given an award for excellence in the conduct of diplomacy by the Institute for the Study of diplomacy at Georgetown University this is tonight watch what happened in the room there tonight when people saw ambassador Jovanovic you

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...
kept going and going and going going Laurie Ivanovich honored tonight at Georgetown University while the president and his supporters remain engaged as ever in efforts to destroy her for having had the gall to stand up and testify truthfully about one of the myriad things that has gone dramatically wrong in this administration because you can't let people who stand up survive what kind of example would that set what can we do as a country to counterman that what can we do as a country specifically to support the people who do come out and stand up and tell the truth and if need be resign because there's no line that this president will not cross I mean tell me if you could imagine one tell me the thing that would be bad for America but good for him but he wouldn't do it because it'd be bad for the country what's beyond the pale for him seriously there's nothing he might conceive of as being to his advantage that he would not do to this country to get it right we get that now alarm sounded we're awake we're at the point though we're

just

pointing this out isn't

enough

we have to recognize that pointing out where we're at doesn't stop our country from sliding further into a non

rule

-of-law situation pointing it out sounding the alarm knowing we're there isn't

enough

we're there we now have to plan specifically for how to survive it and how to fight it hey there I'm Chris Hayes from MSNBC thanks for watching MSNBC...
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