On Monday night, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow unpacked a number of critically important news stories that have been largely lost in the shuffle amid outrage over President Donald Trump’s racist attacks on Democratic congresswomen — stories that could be critically important in coming weeks, and problematic for the president, but that he doubtless was grateful didn’t dominate the cycle.
First, Maddow noted, there was “what they announced in terms of changes to asylum law … maybe this president’s most radical effort to change laws along racial lines since the Muslim ban that he tried to implement as soon as he got into office. It’s part of a larger mosaic in terms of how the president is running and using race to get himself reelected.” The law would ban any migrants from receiving asylum if they failed to apply for asylum in any country they passed through, which would be impractical or ineffective for many of them.
But even more than that, Maddow pointed out, there were significant developments in the Russia affair.
“Today was the first day of only the second criminal trial to have resulted from the Mueller investigation and the Russia scandal,” said Maddow. Until now the only Trump official to actually be tried and convicted was campaign chairman Paul Manafort, but the trial has begun for Trump transition official Bijan Kian, “the number two official on intelligence matters, which means he was involved in the Trump transition on things like little stuff like picking new senior leadership with the CIA.”
Also developing is the ongoing legal quagmire facing former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. “He pled guilty to lying about secret communications with the Russian government during the transition and became a cooperating witness at that time,” said Maddow. “Flynn was apparently a good cooperator for a while. The special counsel’s office recommended to Flynn’s sentencing judge that Mike Flynn should get zero time in prison as recognition of how much help he was able to provide them as a cooperating witness.” But all of that has subsequently fallen apart, as Flynn has hired a new team of confrontational defense attorneys and prosecutors have reclassified him from witness to co-conspirator.
Amid all this, Maddow also pointed to a new report from CNN documenting a possible way that WikiLeaks could have obtained the Democratic emails stolen by hackers affiliated with the Russian military.
“CNN obtained surveillance that appears to show how Wikileaks got that stolen material from Russian intelligence in the 2016 campaign and it is a fascinating story,” said Maddow. “It is the logs for a security firm they published tonight that appeared to show how they transferred to Wikileaks the reams of stolen material that Trump celebrated. That Wikileaks released in the campaign to cause maximum damage to Hillary Clinton and maximum benefit to Donald Trump.” The logs show how Assange worked together with middleman German hackers and Russian officials passed along a package to a security guard at the Ecuadorian embassy that seemed to contain the stolen files.
“How do you keep this all in perspective?” concluded Maddow. “How high up do you need to get in elevation before you can look down at this news cycle alone and say yeah, this is fine. We can handle this. Just a remarkable day in the news.”
Sondland blasted Rudy Giuliani for messing ‘everything up’ — but with far more colorful language: report
The first reporter to obtain a copy of David Holmes' opening testimony behind-closed-doors to Congress continued to flush out his reporting on Friday evening.
Holmes' opening was first obtained by CNN's Manu Raju.
"Testimony undercuts key WH defense: That Trump was just concerned about corruption in Ukraine. After talking with Trump, Holmes asked if it was true that Trump didn’t give a 'sh*t' about Ukraine; Sondland responded that Trump only cared about the 'big stuff:' probe into Bidens," Raju reported.
WATCH: AOC dunks on GOP for ‘beclowning themselves’ during Trump’s impeachment
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) blasted her Republican colleagues on national TV on Friday.
Ocasio-Cortez, also known as AOC, is the youngest woman ever elected to the House of Representatives. She was interviewed on MSNBC's "All In" by anchor Chris Hayes.
"Midway through today's impeachment inquiry, the president was accused of witness tampering," Hayes noted. "One of the sharpest rejoinders came from Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez."
The host read her tweet to the live studio audience.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) November 15, 2019
‘The worst day of the presidency so far for Donald Trump’: Advisor to four presidents
President Donald Trump has not had a worse day in office than he suffered on Friday, according to a top former White House advisor.
David Gergen served in the administrations of Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. He was interviewed Friday night by CNN's Anderson Cooper.
"If you are looking to throw somebody under the bus, Gordon Sondland would probably be a prime candidate to be next in line to be thrown under the bus," Cooper said.
"I think the president will wait patiently to see what he says and then decide," Gergen replied.
He then offered his analysis of the situation.