tv The Beat With Ari Melber MSNBC August 29, 2017 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
i had never tweeted is instructive. i at not attempting to teach the world a los slesson. it's teaching me something about the power of fake news. just be careful especially on those twitters. that's all we have for tonight. we'll be back but the beat with ari melber starts now. the pardon powers, i told people you would reveal the answer at 6:02. >> truth in advertising, slightly later in the show but we have a significant report on what happens if there are mass russia pardons. >> fair enough. it's worth sticking around for. definitely for this one. >> appreciate you. robert mueller is closing in. this russia investigation now officially reaching president trump and his inner circle. investigative pressure has moved
to donald trump junior. today he's consenting for the first time to a russia investigator with senate investigators. they had been seeking this since last month. this session sure to focus on his trump tower meeting with vu russians. they are investigating whether president trump dictated a misleading account. could that be part of a federal case for obstruction. trump junior wrote that e-mail saying i love it when offered dirt on hillary clinton from russian people claiming to support a kremlin plot. that meeting was revealed. trump junior claimed it was about adoptions. all of this is coming tonight as we learn that trump was seeking kremlin help separately with business dealings in a new focus on trump's personal lawyer, michael cohen. a republican close to the white house saying this gives mueller all the excuse he needs to open
a full blown investigation into cohen. what more proof of a secret russian connection do we need? i want to bring in our panel. joan, that's a conservative cite writhing. she uses the term connection which is different from collusion. if we take a step back because there's a desensitizing or some people call it normalizing. if you found out a couple months ago or during the campaign before americans made up their mind that in the middle of the republican primary there was help being sought from the kremlin to make money for donald trump. how would that affect thing sns. >> i don't know how it would have affected things?
people put up with quite a lot. his voters loved him sometimes because of his wheeling and dealing. it's beyond that. that's a very light word. i think a lot of mainstream republicans would have made a lot with it. sometimes we read the washington post and new york times post thinking he's pursuing trump tower to become president. maybe it was a bit of both. this is a really deep set of revelations. >> john, joan uses the word inext inextricable. it's hard to say and hard to uninbetween something that's
inextricably linked. it should remind congress and voters that trump continues to receive his money through his businesses from foreign governments. this is the essence of financial corruption when someone benefits financially because of his official position. john. >> jennifer is right. it's inproper for a candidate to solicit help tr a foreign power. they show michael cohen reaching out to vladmir putin's spokesman. he was donald trump's business partner over multiple years was part of the back and forth with michael cohen over getting this
project done. it's alarming and does underscore the issue of the president using his political campaign and now the presidency to profit his own family that we have all been lead to believe. it's never been tested. >> right. that's the case interestingly that is moving through the new york court system. the original judge in that case recused herself from the question of financial corruption because her husband went onto take a assignment with robert mueller. no other president has insisted on doing business this much while in office. a lot of presidents were lawyers. you could charge a real high hourly rate if you wanted to while being president. other people have chosen not to. this president made a different choice. michael cohen someone you reported on a lot.
walk us through that part. >> he's the president's personal lawyer and he's got a long and colorful history with business entanglements with russia. he's very frank. he's acknowledged that he spoke to the president on three occasions about this deal and signed a non-binding letter of intent. i agree with everything that's been said. it's just extraordinary this was going on during the campaign and further it's extraordinary that the president that donald trump denied this was happening. said there was no deals with russia. they are not taking a strategy of let's get everything out. we still may have a lot to learn about meetings, entanglements, potential deals with russia. the other thing is mueller is going at this case like he's investigating the gambino crime
family. there's no holds barred. we saw that with the search of paul manafort's apartment. there's no deference because this is the president of the united states and his team. >> let's make one thing clear, the initial statement that was put out that we now understand the president had a role in, was not just a little lie. it was a gigantic lie. it was saying this meeting was about russian adoptions when we know now from the e-mails that come out that don junior will have to answer questions about before the senate committee it was about working with vurussiao get dirt on hillary clinton. >> right. that is to set the table on a all this, the most controversial meeting that has ever been publicly exposed. it undercut the false statements you see there the people that went to the meeting.
you have the kitchen cab flinet there and manaforth, the chairman at the time. the way things leak out, you put it very pressuurchased because s your mayture. you said they're not following the strategy of getting everything out. i would go further and saying denntist who don't have to pull as hard as bob mueller to get any of these out. this was about how these things come out and fighting within the kingd kingdom. people close to president trump wonder aloud whether it was kushner's team that leaked the don junior e-mail to the new york times in first place. the implication that kushner was willing to sacrifice his own brother-in-law to distance himself from the uncomfortable reality of the meeting. shee he seems to excel at waging war against people who seem detrimental to his
father-in-law. >> there's also speculation that it was manafort's team who made it public. it's extraordinary. one thing we know is that robert mueller is investigating why the president caused that misleading statement to be issued. not necessarily because that's an illegal act but because it may show a consciousness of guilt. it raises the question of why did they want to dissemble about the meeting and put out a false story with russian adoptions when clearly it was a meeting about sanctions involving russians with links to the kremlin. >> this is the time in the broadcast i will repeat we don't know where the facts will ultimately land in this inquiry. this could ultimately be positive for donald trump for it finds no wrong doing or only finds wrong doing far afield from him. that's possible. i cover cases that look one way and land another way. the question for republicans is do they say that. let's see where it goes or do
they have some difference response to this lifelong republican prosecutor digging in? here is one response. a republican floating the measure to defund the mueller probe. putting forward a provision that could halt funding from mueller's probe six months after his amendment passage. it also could prohibit mueller before investigating matters that occurred before june 2015. you know i like to be fair. there's no fair interpretation of telling a prosecutor don't look at certain felonies because they happened at a certain time. if you are a lawmaker, you should care about the violation of the federal laws you pass. that's what mueller is investigating regardless of when those potential felonies occurred. >> absolutely. i hope this measure doesn't go anywhere. paul ryan has to put a stop to it. i don't know what it'sgoing to be like when they all come back in september, ari.
they really need to start speaking up about this and at least speak up on behalf of the process as well as speaking up you're going to get into this notion of pardons later. you know more than i do but speaking out the notion of after indictment pardoning any of these players that they be held to pay if he does something like that. we haven't heard anything like that yet. >> we have a special investigative report on that later this hour. what else are you hearing in washington. the old cliche was in late august, everybody chills. the breaking news suggests it's not that kind of day in washington. >> that's right. i think that events are moving in a very negative direction for the president. not only if you had this high profile demonstration of moral indeference after the charlottesvil charlottesville incident. the same repeated with joe
arpaio, the county sheriff from arizona which the former george w. bush speech writer said in a column was the most straight up racist incitement of the trump administration given what joe arpaio was accused of doing in arizona to latinos. that combined with the accelerating momentum for bob mueller's probe makes it increasingly difficult for republicans to stand up and defend him. they will not defend him if he issues preemptive pardons against people involved in the russia investigation. we have seen an erosion in his polling support. he's now been consistently for more than a week at 35% or less in the tracking poll and about 60% in disapproval. that's a dangerous place to be if you're a republican trying to
get reelected in 2018 and it's a tipping point where the fear of the republican base in a primary is soon going to be out weighed by the fear of what happens to you in a general election. there's a will the on the line for them. >> people say his base sticks him. the numbers showing otherwise. he won with 46% which was the second in the popular vote and a very narrow way to get an electoral college victory. you're describing him falling from 46 to 35. that's a big change. joan, stick around. i want to talk to you again. coming up, we have an msnbc legal exclusive report on what could happen to the russian probe if donald trump does issue these pardons. the answer may surprise you. president trump on the ground in texas touring the devastation there. details on that and the funding fight over disaster relief that's dividing some republicans. some new polling out. we're going to show it to you
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republicans are doing that in the wake of hurricane sandy. >> the congressional members in texas are hypocrites. i sit back in 2012, they prove to be hypocrites. when kwloyou're a state with col exposure, you'll wind up having some type of disaster then all of a sudden you're not going to want a conversation of the philosophical niceties because people are suffering and dying. >> christie's version of the record is true. nearly texas republican who was serving in congress at the time of sandy voted against this $50 billion aid bill. this was ted cruz defending that history. >> i and a number of others enthusiastically supported hurricane relief for sandy. the problem with that particular
bill is it became a $50 billion bill that was filled with unrelated port. two-thirds had nothing to do with sandy. >> the problem with that statement is it's totally misleading. fact checking the claim and said it was mostly false because that was hurricane relief funds in the main. jones is back with me. this is a debate that could be important. why is ted cruz, according to the washington post account misleading about it? >> ted cruz is trying to put principle here and talk about how on the surface it looks like the sandy aid bill had all this pork thrown into it. a $100 million for head start. it went to rebuild facilities where head start took place in new york and new jersey.
there was stuff to repair one of the roof of smithsonian museum. it looks like pork but it was dealing with sandy. it was damaged by sandy. there were other things that look like pork like money for alaska and the salmon fishing industry. that was to deal with a prior disaster because they couldn't get the funding there. ted cruz said he did support hurricane sandy release in another bill. it was a chance to give sandy relief but only if we cut government spending across the board and that was not a time to have that. >> bringing the receipts to the conversation. >> let the republican do the job that i was prepared to do. >> these are the facts. this is the problem. >> absolutely the facts. >> with ted cruz trying to have it both way. if you want to say the federal government shouldn't do disaster relief, that's a position you can take and see what people
think about it. most americans in both parties have said this is a good role. i want to play president trump here. this was this week in the press conference taking out the broad position that congress is going to help out. unaware of the fact there is this republican debate. here is president trump. >> you're going to see very rapid action from congress, ser certainly from the president and you're going to get your funding. it's a terrible tragedy. we expect to have requests on our desk fairly soon. we think congress will feel very much the way i feel in a very bipartisan way. that will be nice. >> it should be bipartisan. it used to be but in the last four or five years has republicans have gotten more conservative, disaster aid is no longer bipartisan unless it happens to them. everyone's a socialist after a national disaster. they want funding quick. they want the government to be there for them and that includes
ted cruz. >> there's no atheists in fox holes. >> this is just the beginning for that slogan. ted cruz is not stupid. if ted cruz wanted to master the details of that bill; he could. he likes to remind us he went to great ivy league schools. he's a brilliant man. he's not interested enough or perhaps lying and so there is just a level of hypocrisy. i don't often agree with chris christie. peter king in new york. they are livid at this. >> this is where the politics are the policy. what chris christie is saying i'm not criticizing texas because i want something from them or i want to win an election. he's saying is i see you i remember when you stood up there and said you were against this
funding. you're only against it for his state and not for texas. it's not to di finiminish the f that the larger point is let's get people the help they need. what do you make of chris christie picking this fight? >> first of all, this isn't politics. it's reality and people's lives. reality doesn't have a ted cruz bias. he went out and tried to play politics and it's blown up in his face. new york republicans to push back against what jones said, new york and eastern sea board republicans we have always stood up for disaster aid no matter where it is. it's important note that new jersey republicans, pennsylvania republicans who are always there when people need help. in terms of chris christie calling him out on it, i don't know if it's fight we should be having what's going on now. i think we should be helping them first. i think at the same time we do have the responsibility to remind people later on when we have the political aspect. >> did trump have his empathy moment today? >> he didn't have it yet.
>> he didn't hug a mom or hold a baby or shake someone's hand or ask a senior how they were doing. he acted tli eed like this was field trip and it was the biggest and best response. we're going to congratulate each other later. it was typical donald trump without an ounce of em pa thi. >> he's never really had to deal with real hardship along these lines. >> thank you both. coming up, we will now go to the msnbc exclusive that i mentioned. a new report on whether president trump can use his pardon power to shut down the russia probe or as we have found there might be a new door opening if he does that. this is a beat exclusive, next. i take pictures of sunrises,
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now to our special report, president trump's early pardon of sheriff joe arpaio has many asking if trump will pardon any others in bob mueller's russia probe. >> he's sending a message to people that may be under investigation by bob mueller that i have your back and i have pardon waiting for you. >> trump said he has complete power to pardon people but pardons are for criminals. this is welcoming the most significant legal question of the trump era. would he use pardons to end the prosecution of all crimes related to russia's 2016 election meddling? we have the answer in our special investigative report tonight. the answer is no. even mass mar dpardons by presi trump would not close the door to all prosecutions to crimes related to the 2016 meddling. if trump were to pardon every person facing scrutiny in
mueller's russia probe it would halt federal prosecution for those crimes but president george h.w. bush pardon his defense secretary two week for trial for congress. it ended the case for good. end of story. the russia allegations are potentially different. they do not only implicate federal crimes and tonight for the first time we can report new findings from an msnbc legal unit investigation into the other way this russia probe could continue even after pardons. through prosecution for state crimes. bob mueller's investigating these federal crimes and when the investigation is complete he can charge people and report to congress on my misconduct found in the white house. while reporting on the allegations in the russia probe shows several state crimes koulcould be implicated. president trump has no power to pardon state crimes and depending on the facts state prosecutors would pick up the
case where bob mueller leaves it. if even americans were involved with russian hacking at the dnc they could face charges in virginia where much of washington's tech support is located. if any americans were involved with russia intrusions into state elections they could face charges in some of those 39 states. third if any american involved in other state with conspiracy charges in those states. if americans try to commit a felony with russians they could face charges. states usually differ to federal investigators. if trump issues mass bpardons that legal door would be open in some states. they may also obtain grand jury material. if mueller's investigation p -- in fact, i can report a source with knowledge of one state
attorney tells me that office is already looking at its potential jurisdiction for russia related crimes. the source also notes the feds generally do go first. there's a lot we don't know. we learn some investigators are look at his efforts to do business. >> mueller was looking at your finances and your family's finances unrelated to russia. is that a red line? >> would that be a breach of what his actual -- >> i would say yes. by the way, i would say, i don't. i don't say it's possibly there's a condo. i sell a lot of condo units. i don't make money from russia. >> whether a state prosecutor picks this up depends on not only if trump pardons people but
when he might do it. this has never been reported previously but several key state laws on double jeopardy would turn on the timing of any federal pardon. translation, an early pardon by trump would leave the door more open to state prosecution. that's the case for example in illinois where we found state hacking laws would be easier to enforce in the russia case if a pardon came earlier rather than later. as the law empowers state to pursue grand jury material it's possible for state to hire mueller for his team down the law. the laws vary but states allow the hiring of invest investigators. one of its core foundation s federalism at the federal and state governments do have separate authority to pursue criminal inquiries. when the federal system takes a backseat, sometimes states step up. president trump my test the limits of this pardon power on this russia case at his own
peril. nick, if there are mass pardons, is this an alternative route for criminal investigations of the russia issues? >> there's no question about it. it really comes down to what are the facts. what kind of facts are uncovered. i can give you one example. in new york state, criminal possession of computer data is in itself a crime. it's felony. if you take the situation with the meeting at trump ptower on june 9th where it was promised that he was going to deliver documents to donald junior. if those documents had been hacked from hillary clinton's campaign office and were brought to that june 9th meeting, if that could be proven by a local prosecutor, you would have a
prosecution for a local, federal felony for the criminal possession of computer data. yes, the answer is yes. i think where it goes off is this obstruction of justice that donald trump has got himself involved in lying to congress. all of these are federal crimes. >> right. >> you would not have the ability to prosecute those. >> that's the difference in the bush example. those were excusively federal crimes. what our reporting finds is in some states, there are also potentially state infractions. >> that's right. what state prosecutor can deal with whether it be attorney generals or local d.a.s are state crimes. to the extent there's a big national or international investigation, that's less within their scope and their target. to the extent there crimes that are committed. that are krcommitted in state a violate state law, there could
be path forward. >> trump's defenders, i want to play some of the president bush senior. the pardon power is broad a absolute for federal crimes. he was was bush senior defending those pardons i mentioned of his own aides. >> i prides myself on 25 or more years of service of serving honorably, decently and with my integrity in tact. >> his argument is he respected the law while using his pardon power in way that was seen as self-interested. that ended the case although the independent counsel complained about it. the difference being is this is such a sophisticated plot, 39 states implicated that it does have a door number two. >> of course it does. look, most crimes started out as state crimes.
you're talking about lying or stealing. all the crimes we have as federal crimes have an analog in the state system. the difference being that you have federal jurisdiction by virtue of interstate, commerce or by virtue of using the internet or anything that revolves interstate. there's a wide array of federal crimes. in some instances you may have better crimes to charge on the state level than on the federal. >> you say that. that's such a key part of this. i want you to stay with me. there's so much intention on the state key and e-mail. the other part of the russia not that michael riley broke the story was all of these intrus n intrusions in 39 states hit by russian hackers. the obama administration was sent into a tail spin. any americans involved in that, a presidential pardon wouldn't help them. i want to expand our discussion.
>> it helps to break this down a bit. what the rushes were doing is they were stealing e-mails from the dnc and leaking them to wikileaks and bloggers and all sorts of people. that create a chain of custody where you can try to chase the information and see if there's any collusion there. the 39 states come in to the second bucket because what the russians were doing was hacking or probing state election systems from voter databases down to systems that were used on election day. the fear of the obama administration that was they were trying to learn enough to create some sort of discorruption on election day.
so much so that they used the cyber red phone to warn moscow they needed to back down. they didn't pull the trigger on election day but we don't know why. >> briefly, did your reporting shed light on the question of whether americans could have been involved in that or that was purely and wholly foreign? >> the obviously the information piece and information distribution piece, possibility of collusion brings up a lot of elements that come back into the u.s. in terms of way the information was distributed.
it's possible. keep in mind the act ta turns out to be tied to the fsb used hackers that included a hacker in canada to do a lot of work. >> you mentioned that russian yahoo hack. there were indictments on that. they were federal in may. profess so far, if president trump does use what he calls his complete power to pardon people, is that a bar to potential state prosecution? >> no. it's pretty settled that the pardon power only applies to federal offenses. i just had to say that sometimes with trump you have to be careful not to look for the bottom of something that isn't chal low. what feeds this concern about the achkts of the russian probe is that this isn't a policy. it wasn't a policy decision or a result of reflection of how to
use the clemency power. i don't think the 10 or 11,000 people that have applications in for clemency are rejoicing. i think this is a punch in the stomach for them. it feeds the misconception that pardons are for rich people, cro cronies. >> you're speaking about all this in the wake of arpaio. tie this all up for us, if you would. the white house is looking at the pardon power. donald trump is tweeting about it. bob mueller will move taforwardn this investigation no matter what. mueller is closed down if it applies to enough people. the only other game in town is this new reporting on the states. >> if he winds up giving broad pardons to all the people under investigation, he's closed down.
there's no question about it. that leaves it to the state district attorneys, state attorney generals to fill in the void. there's no reason why they shouldn't. >> this is something we wouldn't normally be talking about this early but for a lot of what we heard out of trump white house and his supporters. thank you all for making time. appreciate it. coming up, a long time trump aide getting the ax. we'll tell you why the president was not happy after this rally in phoenix. try. my ancestry dna results are that i am 26% nigerian. i am just trying to learn as much as i can about my culture. i put the gele on my head and i looked into the mirror and i was trying not to cry. because it's a hat, but it's like the most important hat i've ever owned. discover the story only your dna can tell. order your kit now at ancestrydna.com.
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president trump under fire for returning to an obsession that dodged his first days, crowd size. he did still marvel at the crowd. >> i want to thank you for coming out. we're going to get you back and operating immediately. thank you, everybody. what a crowd. what a turn out. >> new reports that trump even fired a long time campaign organizers after a sparse crowd at his rally in arizona. the rally crowd thinned out toward the back of the room. one can blame the event or the organizer. trump hailed the crowd at the start of the rally. >> what a crowd. i'd love if the cameras could show this crowd because it is rather incredible. it is incredible.
>> and the question anyone praising their crowd size is whether the praise is for the crowd or the speaker? >> i wonder if the television cameras will follow you. they don't like doing that when they see these massive crowds. >> we had a massive field of people. >> looked like a million, million and a half people. >> i just got over from los angeles. we had a tremendous crowd there too. why is he harping on crowd size and even terminating people over it? >> i think it's because he's allergic to accountability. he'd rather not take account for the fact that he bored a lot of people in that audience. washington post reported a lot of people leaving, getting tired of the president's message or because it was a school night. people had to go home. the president needs to
understand that no one cares about how big his crowds are except for him. maybe that's all he cares about whether or not he cares. when you look at firing people over the crowd size, i think it's real shortsighted move. he's going to be surprised the next time when people are not quite as enthused about his message. he's at 35% approval. that's on him. >> professor, he understands the difference between any large number of people you gather in person and the larger numbers he used to tweet a lot about. crowds can be big. crowds can be small and you can still win. seems like a whole mismatch premise. >> right. i think it reenforces the idea we're on the most disturbing season of celebrity apprentice yet. we have a president whose really
concerned about ratings and abstract ideas of crowd size which is also a pretty low, low bar. these are things that matter to him. ratings and crowd size matter more than actually the humanity and the nation as a whole. i'm not surprised to see that he is firing people over this because that's who he is. that's how he has dictated himself. when you think that life is a fwam sh game show then you fire people willy nilly. >> can we talk about the young people for a second? >> yeah. >> we'll move from crowds that are scientific to more scientific polling. this is voters under 30. this is an all time low. trump peaked at 36% among these young people. it's now fallen to 20% in gallup. what do you make of that because
one interesting thing in the campaign is that there was a belief that trump wouldn't do well among young people but he did slightly better than expected given the historical turn out. here we're seeing young people leaving in droves now. >> they weren't a lot of them in the first place. i toured a lot of college campuses last year and folks were not hearing his message. there's a core base of republicans that are young. obviously, we see that he appeals to young white extremists. let's not pretend there isn't a base of young conservative people who don't hear what he's saying or not buying what he's selling. 20%, you can't win national elections with that. >> i want to talk about what is sometimes called affectionately a javonka. i don't know if you saw the report in fancy fair. vanity fair calls them exiles on
pennsylvania avenue. i'm going to read this. what is off putting about them, jared an ivanka trump is they don't grasp their relevance. they think they are special. there was a lot of talk lot of nepotism. that seems to have curled, a lot of people in washington feeling these are two people who don't quite know their place or have the proper deference. what do you make of this sort of fallout? >> right. so i don't think the shocking part of the "vanity fair" article was that washington elites, or washington, people about town and policy makers and legislators don't particularly care for jared and ivanka. the shocking part is that they came to town thinking they would be different. they haven't really done anything in the white house. there was a lot of talk about how ivanka would be a mod rating presence. we would see liberal policies
come through. that jared would clean up the government and none of that has happened. instead what we've seen is that they're simply enablers and they often give the president cover for some of his worst excesses and poor behavior. so it is no real surprise that they're on the outskirts. not only of washington, d.c. but also just kind of political life in general. >> and is there an issue with them being spread so thin? they're in charge of everything but that can mean you're in charge of nothing. >> and they have no experience doing the things they're being asked to do. if they want to show they're important, if they want to show that they have some kind of meaning in the white house, or frankly, in our politics, something they can do is take some of their money and send some boats to houston. they could do some actual public service as opposed to dancing
around these roles in the white house. like lee has said, providing cover for the extremist agenda that's coming from the trump administration. >> right. and i think they started the tradition of blind leaks saying they were against something that would happen anyway. and now we've seen it. i really oppose this but i'm leaking that i don't likeett. and the question is will you ever do anything about it. we'll be right back. patrick woke up with back pain. but he has work to do. so he took aleve.
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. if you're not honest, your reputation will suffer and once lost, a good reputation can never be regained. as the saying goes if you have integrity, nothing else matters. if you don't have integrity, nothing else matters. >> next monday, i hope you'll join us for a labor day special on "the beat" focusing on
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when trump went to the vatican, sean spicer did not get to attend the meeting with the pope, although he is a practicing roman krathsds. at the time, glenn thrush called it depressing. but this past weekend he got to be there taking pictures of the poem. a nice coda. trump in texas. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm steve kornacki in for chris matthews. the city of houston facing a worst-case scenario. it has seen as much as three and a half feet of rain in some areas, and that rain is still falling. the catastrophic flooding in houston now threatening to get worse as two nearby