August 23, 2018

Rep. Eric Swalwell joined Rachel Maddow literally moments after breaking news came across the wire from the New York Times about possible pending criminal charges against both the Trump Org and Michael Cohen. This would be a stunning set of charges, devastating for a litany of reasons, the biggest being that Donald Trump cannot pardon any of them. And the evidence for these charges may already be in the possession of the D.A.'s office as part of the SDNY probe into Michael Cohen. Little leg work needed, already a guilty plea to part of the charges on a federal level that may have similar state counterparts. Just stunning.

Here is a bit of what Rachel and Rep. Swalwell discussed:

MADDOW: Joining us now is Congressman Eric Swalwell. We are absorbing another night of breaking legal news related to the President and his businesses and his campaigns. It is really nice for you to be here with us. Thanks for being here.

SWALWELL: Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW: We just heard just announced in The New York Times that state level criminal charges are being weighed against the President's business in New York, The Trump Organization. Also state level charges being weighed against the President's lawyer, Michael Cohen, who has already this week pled guilty to eight felonies in federal court. Let me get your reaction.

SWALWELL: The President right now is facing legal liability on multiple fronts and not just criminally, but also civilly. And now tonight this news shows that much of the liability is also pardon proof and with investigators closing in on his family, on his businesses, on his campaign and his administration officials, the best thing is just come clean with the American people, to sit down with Bob Mueller... because a lying President, an obstructing President, a witness tampering President is a weak President. I don't think he could continue to lead with all these clouds circling around his private businesses and the White House.

COHEN: Some of the clouds as you described them, do seem centered on his business in a way that we have not seen as intensely as we have seen right now and business associates of him, including Michael Cohen. What's your feeling about the seriousness of the campaign specific charges in which the President has been implicated? Mr. Cohen pled guilty to two campaign finance charges. He said the President directed him to commit those crimes. The President responded by saying they "aren't a big deal. Nobody would get prosecuted for them if I weren't getting witch hunted for them." Do you think those are serious charges?

SWALWELL: As a former prosecutor, I don't see how you can separate michael cohen's allocution and what he pled to and the person that directed and cooperated with Michael Cohen. I believe that if Donald Trump was not the President of the United States, he also would have been indicted earlier this week and also there is a theory in the law called corpus delecti which is you can't take a guilty plea from the defendant unless there is some other evidence. So that means that the prosecutors had other evidence. We're seeing that right now with Mr. Pecker's evidence. I think a lot of people are asking what's in that safe and how do we crack it so we know what else is out there?

MADDOW: With so many people close to the President talking with prosecutors, not only his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, who obviously is in a different position with regard to prosecutors, with his representatives saying he'd be happy to talk to Robert Mueller, with this report we cooperation and maybe immunity for Mr. Pecker, I find myself just as a citizen worried that the President may feel very squeezed. That doesn't give me any pleasure because I don't want to think of him either as having done anything he feels worried about being exposed, nor do I want to think about how he may lash out. Are you worried the President may take extreme action or do something unwise?

SWALWELL: Yes. and last night we saw him stoking racist beliefs, trying to bring up things that are just not true going on in South Africa. He received a sharp rebuke from the South African government. Who knows who else he could lash out at. But right now he sees he will not be held accountable for anything he does because he has a Republican Congress completely unwilling to stand up to him. I think the best thing we could do for the American people is to unearth the investigations that the Republicans have buried and not tomorrow when the Judiciary Committee and the House meets go back and look at Hillary Clinton's e-mails, which is what we will do tomorrow, but to look at the conduct so alarming from this president and the people around him.

MADDOW: Literally, the meeting tomorrow is on Hillary Clinton's e-mails?

SWALWELL: They are bringing in someone who investigated the Hillary Clinton e-mail case, and that was scheduled the day after that Michael Cohen pled. So they knew what was on the line and what the American people cared about, and they chose to go in that direction.

Well, we see where the Republican priorities are: Investigating Hillary Clinton's email (non) scandal from 2016, while simultaneously ignoring Donald Trump's corruption, conspiracy, racism, sexual assaults, emoluments violations, degradation of the Office of the Presidency, coordinated hacking with Russia, more corruption, mental decline, stupidity, etc.

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