tv Deadline White House MSNBC February 22, 2018 1:00pm-2:00pm PST
nra. you can find out how much your lawmakers got from the nra from the center of responsive politics. go to open secrets.org search the nra. thank you for watching. "deadline white house" with nicolle wallace starts right now. hi, everyone. it's 4:00 in new york. the kids are more than all right today. the survivors and parents from marjory stoneman douglas high school have seen the range of a debate that has frustrated activist ands parents of schools for a generation. for the first time in a long time, the nra looks and sounds like it's starting to sweat. even the mentally ill teenager can get his hands on a weapon of war. the highest ranking officials of the nra the source of crazy paranoid things people say when they're running out of places to hide. things like blaming the fbi and the media. we'll get to all of that, but first the people who are changing the conversation in america about gun violence.
>> dana loesh, i want you to know we will support your two children in the way you will not. the shooter at our school obtained weapons that he used on us legally. do you believe that it should be harder to obtain the semi-automatic weapons and modifications for these weapons to make them fully automated like bump stocks? >> my house is forever changed and because she got hunted at school. she's ki these kids, i'm standing in the park at the amazing memorial this community put together. they got hunted. i don't want to hear people talk about they got shot. they got hunted with the only weapon that could do it. >> i understand you're standing up to the nra and i understand that's what you're supposed to do. but you just told this group of people that you are standing up for them. you're not standing up for them until you say i want less weapons. >> didn't really learn much
today. i kind of expected -- i kind of expected what we were given, you know, the president did his thing, played his game. he had his questions already ready. he already had it written that he hears us. that was kind of something -- i was kind of starting to get on his side a little bit. i did a lot of speaking about ar and assault weapons. and he said nothing. as soon as that meeting started to end and i heard him say the word background checks and mental health, that's when i knew this was not the path that was going to get us where we need to be. >> how would you feel about your teachers carrying a concealed weapon? >> speaking to common sense, that's exactly where i was about to go. that is absurd.
to feel the need to arm those innocent people with the choice of not knowing if they're going to have to kill a kid that day -- granted, it would be protection, but i mean, come on, a shootout in our class? this is not the wild west. >> it sure isn't. the president waded back into the conversation on twitter this morning. i never said give teachers guns like was stated on fake news cnn and nbc. what i said was to look at the possibility of giving concealed guns to gun adept teachers with military or special training experience. only the best. a gun free school is a magnet forbad people. he weighed in calling them patriots. he deserves credit for hosting families of the school massacre at the white house yesterday, but it followed tweets in which he appeared to blame the community and the parkland students for not reporting the
shooter to authorities, which they had done, and the fbi in a sunday tweet for being distracted by the russia probe. the sum total of the president's response is that it's been disjointed at best. for the opportunity he has to do something big on guns is undeniable. axios writing, quote, president trump has a rare political super power. he can get republicans to do what seems like the impossible. he used this super power to soften their opposition to vladimir putin, to instantly stir their distrust of the fbi and embrace trillion dollar deficits. every few months, friends, family and advisors fantasize trump will tap into his super powers a force for good to pass a big infrastructure bill, fight global warming, strike an epic immigration deal. now they dream of new gun controls to protect schools, kids and the innocent. he could, but he almost certainly won't. to help us understand where the president stands this hour, some of our favorite reporters and guests. white house reporters ashley parker with the washington post
and from the associated press jill colvin. ashley, i understand that the idea of arming the teachers and making that announcement yesterday wasn't the white house plan for the day. that wasn't in the president's play book. that wasn't on the card that your paper and others have reported about. >> that's exactly right. this wasn't an official policy ro rollout, or the president's aides necessarily knew he was going to say. that said, in talking to a number of aides, it was also not something they were necessarily surprised that he said. this is an idea that he had been floating behind the scenes for a couple of days now, talking about this idea. it is actually an idea that i understand one or two advisors had brought up to him as this is something some states have considered. it's a possibility that's out there. he started talking about it, floating it, making it his own. and as often happens, when he's in public, he reiterates the things that are top of his mind privately and that's what we saw. >> jill, you heard sam there who
was in that meeting yesterday, the president listening session, talk about what he could see from even where he sat. he was pretty close to the president. but he saw some of these messages on the president's note card. what else was on that card and how did you all learn about it? were you able to see it in your shots? we couldn't see it from here where we watched. >> you know, we weren't, but one of our photographers has very good eye and he was able to at one point take a picture of that card. as your viewers can see, i think the item at the bottom there was the one that got the most attention. him being told he should make clear to the students, quote, i hear you. the president has sometimes in the past had some difficulty kind of demonstrating the kind of empathy you expect from the president at moments of national tragedy. it's very clear there that they wanted to make sure that the president really emphasized that point to the room. >> ashley, legalit me read to y something from your colleague adam blake. tragedy after tragedy, quality is missing from trump's
reactions. he is focused on first responders than victims. he has joked around when he probably should have been somber. it is clear when he's expressing others' pain isn't his strength which is why he needed a couple remindsers wednesday. as a former white house staffer there is nothing wrong with coaching your principal, but this is a unique place to have such a deficit in the times in which we live. how does the white house senior staffers feel like this is going for the president? >> well, the staffers i talked to, they felt the criticism on the note card was unfair. i will say that criticism comes against a backdrop of this president, as jill said, having trouble expressing empathy, often seeming more comfortable sort of with the heroes and the first responders and the more vulnerable victims. so, you can understand why people might interpret it that way. but again, what the white house told me was that the president was very adamant about wanting to have a sort of unscripted,
raw, emotional discussion with these people he invited to the white house yesterday. and he also realized that in moments like that when the atmosphere is so charged, things can get a little uncomfortable and tense and he started to talk through these reminders that he wanted for himself including to make very valid message clear. he can't necessarily feel their pain. he doesn't know what it's like to experience losing a child in a shooting, but he hears them and so he jotted down those notes for him before he went out into that meeting. >> let's add to the conversation our panel. joining us is former secretary of state for public diplomacy, former communications director for the obama white house, and clinton campaign brett stevens op-ed columnist. susan glasser, chief international affairs columnist for politico. also joining us, frank, former assistant counter of
intelligence. president obama uses his twitter account sparingly. young people help move our great movements. how inspiring to see students standing up to be safe, fighting to make the world safe. we've been waiting for you and we've got your backs. i read it six times and i get chills, we've been waiting for you. these kids -- and i mean this, i said this the day after dave cohen who wrote a book about columbine, this feels so different post columbine and post new town, america. we were talking in the makeup room, this is a post 9/11, post columbine generation and this looks like the beginning of the me too movement. this looks like some of the early iraq war protests. this looks different from other gun protests. >> yeah, and i work for president -- i was in the white house on the day of columbine. i was in the white house on the day of newtown. i know exactly what was in
barack obama's head when he said we've been waiting for you, because if you, in your presidency, you live through something like that, both clinton and obama it is the more searing moment of their presidency, those iconic school shootings. there was no greater disappointment than obama had than the failure to get anything passed through congress. if only to give some relief to those families, the father of daniel who was at the white house yesterday, the mother of daniel hawkly killed in newtown, just to show we can do something, reassure these kids who feel hunted, who feel like they are sacrifices, that we are willing to sacrifice their lives to show that we can do something. and it does feel -- i thought a lot about why it's different this time. these kids than newtown can speak out for themselves. newtown were fourth graders. i would hope the classroom of first graders would be enough. each american has to experience
this again and again and internalize it in their own way. and for whatever reason, this time it feels like it's broken a wall and it's a political and it's from the ground up. and i think maybe not this year, but it's going to result in change. >> brett, i think one of the other things that are different is the arguments on the other side used to be civilized and now they're repugnant. >> well, there doesn't seem to be even a moment of silence and compassion and thoughtfulness on the part of gun advocates for what has happened. there is something kind of aggressively and inhumanly repetitive about this line that guns are essential to american liberties, hard one to stomach when so many thousands of people are dying every year for this so-called liberty.
and there is also -- other than saying no, you don't hear a lot -- maybe banning bump stocks, you don't hear a lot from the gun lobby that says what exactly do you have to say to the parents and the families of these children? and the truth is they have nothing to say. they have an idea logical dogma. we agree entirely. after columbine and savafter sa hook, this feels like another me too movement. something changed that people said this is enough. >> frank, i was on the air wednesday as this tragedy unfolded with former police commissioner bratton and clint and other law enforcement voices as this was unfolding before we knew how many innocent lives had been lost. prominent voices, respected not just in this country, but around
the world on law enforcement matters were calling for gun control while the tragedy was unfolding. it took me aback because our political discourse -- people take away a lot of points for making a case on any side. but it's stunning that law enforcement seems to be saying enough as well. >> we're finally hearing the professionals who carry guns for a living saying there are too many guns and the wrong kinds of guns in the wrong hands. i think, nicolle, what really is at the heart of that is the assault rifle component here. if you talk to any law enforcement officer, active duty police officer today, and ask them what it's like to pullover a car on the night shift when they know they might be facing automatic weapon fire, they'll tell you they're outgunned. peek into that patrol car in most major cities tonight, you'll see shotguns, you'll see machine guns, and that's why this whole issue of arming
teachers and putting an arms race inside our classrooms makes little sense to a law enforcement professional. he's pulling out his machine gun, he's pulling out his shotgun on the night shift. how is a school teacher with a hand gun concealed supposed to deal with what happened in parkland, supposed to deal with an ar-15? what are the logistics? it sounds nice to say that. it makes no sense to a law enforcement officer. >> let me underscore that with words from sheriff israel. let's watch. >> the same old same old just ain't working. you know, you can talk about gun control and what have you. we need less guns in america, not more guns in america. guns should never fall into the hands of people who are in no fly zones, convicted felons. and while i pray for people who suffer from mental illnesses and i want them to get better and i want them to heal, if a person is suffering from a mental illness in the opinion of this sheriff, they shouldn't be around a gun, able to possess a gun or buy a gun.
>> how do the voices of law enforcement, the voices of the victims and the voices of the majority of americans who are for common sense restrictions on -- i agree with you -- so-called right not breakthrough this time? >> you know, i think we're all sort of sitting here and saying, do we trust our political instincts which tell us time and time again there have been horror after horror and we talk about it for a week and then the political realities of the way congress works, the way our state legislatures work kickback in. and i think all of us are struggling between that analysis which is based on fact, a painful fact, and seeing this and recognizing there's a different kind of grassroots movement here. somebody compared this to me to gay marriage, and in the sense that it was a long time coming, the change in the politics of it. but then when it happens, ed, i was in the course of a couple years. i don't know that we're seeing that, but it does feel, as you
said, very clearly, something different. right to spotlight that it's law enforcement as well that we're hearing something new from. my guess is some of this very heated rhetoric you're seeing from the nra right away instead of this we can't talk about it. the kids changed the agenda right away by talking about it immediately. even while they were still in the school. >> by filming their own massacre. the early images -- the first journalists on the scene were these students who were in the words of a father who lost his daughter, the hunted. >> yes. to susan's point with social science it shows change takes a long time. when it starts happening, it's a tipping point. the students in a way are the avatars of that. only a general hates war. they are soldiers who have experienced this and they have a credibility that almost nobody else has. and the nra strategy which they have had for years now is you can't even get an inch or they'll take a mile. that's the people on terrorist watch lists can buy an ar-15.
people who have assaulted their wives can buy an ar-15. the fact they will not compromise is the thing that will hasten the change. >> i was going to say i agree with what susan said. gay marriage i think is a very good analogy. i think you can take it in a different direction. part of the failure of efforts so far is that there hasn't been a great goal toward which to work. i've been saying in the pages of the times, we should repeal the second amendment. and i say this for a variety of reasons, but one of them is often piecemeal gun control efforts don't work because if you can buy one kind of gun in indiana, you can bring it into illinois. but the other thing is it's going to be very difficult to get at the root of the problem, which is about 300 million guns swimming around in the united states, unless you say, no, in fact, you do not have an automatic constitutional right to buy these kinds of weapons often in unlimited quantities.
now, i know that that right now when i say that, people say it's a pipe dream, it's never going to happen. 25 years ago if you had said marriage equality -- you set out the goal and then you work toward it. >> but the supreme court has said that already in heller. it says the second amendment is not an unlimited right. you cannot buy a warehouse of ar-15s if you have mental illness problems. there already is limits to it. what i agree with you about is there is no big goal that everybody can march behind. just to say gun control is not the sexiest thing that is going to get everybody -- >> let me give jill colvin the last word. a lot of people who oppose gun restrictions say, that change in law wouldn't have prevented this. that's their excuse. that wouldn't have prevented las vegas. that wouldn't have prevented this. what is the white house saying behind the scenes about the fact that the public response is just not having that any more? >> well, i think you've seen
this both privately and publicly with the fact that the president, somebody who takes not very lightly the fact that he was endorsed by the nra early on, is very good friends with the folks who run the organization, has nonetheless come out against them with this idea of raising from 18 to 21, the age for purchasing shotguns and rifles. that's something the nra came out last night very strongly they oppose. you see on the margins here the president is kind of willing to shake this republican orthodoxy and break with the nra. the things they are proposing are kind of piecemeal. they said today that when it comes to changing the background check system, the president isn't really interested in fixing those gun show loopholes. he's really interested in the mental health aspect of this. you see him kind of chipping away on the edges. this is a president who is very interested all the time in kind of checking the box, in trying to have some type of victory that he can tout. he's somebody who wants to be able to sell himself as the bipartisan deal maker. so, he's looking for those areas where he can kind of go on the
margin and feel and say he accomplished something on this very contentious issue. >> the first time i hope he's watching all the tv he doesn't watch because he's reading documents. ashley and jill, two of the best on the beat. thank you. coming up, the nra loses it, blaming the media and the fbi. sound familiar? also ahead, as other countries work to protect their democracy from russian meddling, the official white house position is stay tuned. and the trump kids as diplomats. we'll show you where in the world ivanka trump and donald junior are today. whoooo.
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but as we've learned in recent months, even the fbi is not free of its own corruption and its own unethical agents. i can understand a few bad apples in their organization as large as the fbi, but what's hard to understand is why no one at the fbi stood up and called b.s. on its rogue leadership. [ applause ] i mean really, where was the systemic resistance and repulltion that should protect every powerful institution that serves us? >> any of that sound familiar? nra apparently following chapter 1 of the donald trump guide to redirecting blame. and it doesn't stop there. looks like they read chapter 2 as well. >> many in legacy media love
mass shootings. [ applause ] you guys love it. now, i'm not saying that you love the tragedy, but i am saying that you love the ratings. crying white mothers are ratings gold to you and many in the legacy media in the back. [ applause ] >> we'll deal with that in a minute. as if there were any doubt, trump went to bat for the nra on twitter. what many people don't understand or don't want to understand is that wayne, chris and the folks who work so hard at the nra are great people and great american patriots. they love our country and will do the right thing. maga. frank, speak to me about how you feel about wayne lapiere's attack on the fbi? >> let me call b.s. on the nra
for trying to deflect their blood on the fbi, law enforcement, mental health professionals and everybody else but them. let's examine what they're saying here. the fbi has already conceded that it screwed up in mishandling this tip about nikolas cruz, but the entire system failed, failed the students at douglas high school. there were 39 police calls for service to his residences, people coming out of the woodwork to say, i'm concerned, he's talking about shooting people. broward sheriff's office, broward county social services, the system failed and it's time to change the system of looking at mental health and assault weapon ownership. anything other than that is a mere deflection away from the true issues, and that's what the nra is trying to do and they're taking a page right out of president trump's handbook. >> wayne la piere's comments to me felt dangerous about the fbi. >> dangerous in the sense that
we're attacking the institution that's supposed to be protecting all of us, attacking the institution that stands for national security, stands for excellence in law enforcement. so, when you see people attacking the institutions like the fbi, you see a break down in our democracy. this is actually a challenge to our democratic way of life when we have the nra saying, i'm going to put gun ownership, assault weapon ownership over the safety of our kids and i'm going to attack the institutions that are supposed to protect us. this is an unprecedented time we're dealing with. >> the president and one of the chief spokespeople of the nra to suggest legacy media loves mass shootings, let me follow your lead, frank, and say b.s. but let me open this up to you, jen. >> it is -- if you also look at what la pierre says, that is what the kremlin -- those are kremlin tactics, distrust the
media, try to sow dissension among americans. have questions about law enforcement. and it is -- i think if we hadn't read the indictment last week and saw how deep mueller is going into and understanding how expansive the russia operation was in our country in elections, people would think i was crazy, some people may still. but i believe more and more about russian involvement in the nra. it was reported last month, yeah, that the fbi is investigating russia's involvement in funding the nra and the 2016 election. they spent $12 million on romney. they spent $30 million helping donald trump. and when they ran ads, they ran against hillary, they were about benghazi, they were not about guns. and there's a lot of ties with don junior and a russian that is involved in the right to bear
arms organization in russia. and i think that when you see -- and i notice when i worked for president obama, we saw at some point the nra change where they used to try to reach out to more people and expand their base of support and get more extreme and start hitting their base on issues outside of guns. you know, i'm suspicious this is at least a part of a russian effort. >> it also tells you how far the republican party and the conservative movement have fallen because i remember ten years ago, five years ago, certainly 20 years ago if conservatives stood for anything, they were on the side of law enforcement, right? that was the standard republican position, trust the cops, trust the bureau, trust the institutions. now, civil libertarians might have claimed for legitimate or illegitimate reasons. >> they were outlier, right. >> what you see is this decisive shift at the heart of the conservative movement, which is
an attack on the core functions of government. i get if you're a conservative and you're saying, i don't know, government shouldn't be mandating what's taught in classrooms, or government is too intrusive in our economic life, that's standard conservatism. when you're going after what a core function of government is, which is public safety, right, a core constitutional function, then you're talking about a very different kind of republican party and what you're saying is exactly right. this plays into the russian agenda because what russia really wants to do is sow profound distrust among americans at basic federal and state institutions. that is, that is their goal. it is essentially operation chaos from the kremlin, and they now have an agent, an unwitnessing agent, i hounwitti agent in the name of wayne la
piere. >> when the trump campaign became public, the endorsement, the ad buys, talk about the time line you've been putting together and how the nra, russian interference, and the trump campaign are all interconnected. >> well, i think the most important thing to remember is that donald trump is nothing if not conscious of who is loyal to him and who is not. that's the way in which he looks at the world. who is with me and who is against me. and it's not an accident that the nra, after the famous october 7th day and the access hollywood tape is released, is also the same day, of course, that you have president obama's government coming out and publicly saying, you know, it was the russians who are intervening in our election and hacking. these happened on the same day. after that it was the nra that redoubled its efforts to make ad buys on behalf of donald trump at a time when even many of his allies, people who are now supporting him every day in congress, were abandoning trump. the nra stood with him.
and i think trump remembers that. >> let me show that. i've got trump thanking them for coming through for him. let's listen. >> you came through for me, and i am going to come through for you. [ cheers and applause ] the eight-year assault on your second amendment freedoms has come to a crashing end. [ cheers and applause ] you have a true friend and champion in the white house. >> look, i think that this rhetoric that you see from wayne la piere, trump's different handling, they never expected. they thought that with him winning the presidency -- they just never thought it was going to be an issue. now they're frantically scrambling. i have to give you props.
you have the president of the nra quoting a 17 young woman who gave the speech of her life. >> speak in front of the nra. let's show you and we'll talk on the other side. >> the question is actually, do you believe it should be harder to obtain the semi-automatic weapons and modifications to make them fully automatic to make them bump stock? >> i think the atf is responding about bump stocks. the president asked -- >> i'm asking you as a representative of the nra. >> the nra position -- >> what's yours? >> the 5 million members i represent, that's what they have been on. that answers your question. and they spoke about that before the president made a move and they spoke about that before attorney general jeff sessions made an announcement about that, too. so, that answers your question with that. >> for a second. i understand you're standing up for the nra and that's what you're supposed to do. you just told this group of people that you are standing up for them. you're not standing up for them
until you say, i want -- >> you know, what's scary about their line -- and i go back to bhau said about waywhat you sai la piere, the idea these people have second amendment is to give the people the right to protect them from an overleaning federal government that is trying to invade their homes, which is why the second amendment was passed let members participate in militia because they were afraid of the government coming in. i'm going to ask you this. i remember a few years ago there was a time we did a cover story on the nra. if was reading it, didn't edit it. they actually don't give a lot of money to candidates. lots and lots of people give more money to candidates. sheldon adelson gave more money to donald trump than the nra did. the nra's hold on these republican legislatures is a bit
of a mystery and quite i understand what it is unless they have tabloid fodder against them because they don't actually contribute that much. they gave $1 million in the last election cycle to candidates other than donald trump. that's nothing. >> but it does suggest a lot of intimacy with donald trump. let me see, frank, do you have a theory? >> so, look, my theory is that this is greed, greed for self-existence. they view this as an existential threat, the nra. any move toward more gun control is seen as a slippery slope to taking away their existence, taking away their guns. that's what it's about. i think we should be applying president trump's lens that was talked about earlier, either you're for us or against us and apply that to the nra. they're taking money from russia. they're sitting back while russian bots come out after the parkland shooting, telling us that it's all about mental health. they're going to take your guns away. they're saying nothing. it's time to wonder whether the nra is for us or against us.
>> in terms of their power, i think their power has always been that their membership, those people vote on guns. >> right. >> maybe not single issue, but pretty close to it. and on our side the problem has always been that our side or the side that is not -- doesn't have to be the left any more, but the side that is concerned about guns doesn't care so much to make it a voting issue. and with their voters it really is. and i think that's what's changed. i don't have a lot of faith in congress right now. i don't know that it's changed enough that they are going to be able to pass something, but i think there has been a watershed moment where the country feels it is turning on the nra in ways you haven't seen -- things like that -- >> 75% of gun owners support background checks -- >> 85% -- >> by the way, i want to add one other note. try to have a private gun in russia. you cannot. that is absolutely impossible. >> the answer to your question is the nra is not buying
politicians. it's representing a broad segment of opinion which means that it falls to opinion makers and shapers to change those views. i mean, here we are in new york city. new york city has registered some of the most historic drops in crime in the last two decades, accounting for a large -- which is a large reason why crime nationwide has fallen so much. talk to bill bratton, talk to ray kelly, talk to anyone who has been in charge of security. they will tell you that aggressive enforcement of gun laws has been a huge reason why this city went from north of 2000 homicides a year to whatever it is, i think under 400, historic lows, not seen since the 1940s or '50s. so, conservatives are supposed to believe in the empirical evidence, here is the empirical evidence. i don't think it is impossible to make the case to sensible
americans that far greater restrictions on their so-called gun rights is imperative for public safety. it is an argument we can win. that being said, one of the reasons they succeed is the view like we're here to take your guns. >> right. >> i'm not here to take people's guns. i'm here to simply say guns should be owned by responsible people and there should be high tests -- >> i have to interrupt you. we have some breaking new, brand-new charges filed in the mueller investigation. we're going to take a break. we'll be right back. you may reveal... and the reign continues... oooh. as the earl of sandwich, i dub thee... the sandwich! (gasps) brilliant! well played my lord! there was a time when the next big thing in food was stuff between bread. now, the next big thing is the capital one savor card. earn 3% cash back on dining,
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we've helped the marine mammal center go solar, install electric vehicle charging stations, and become more energy efficient. pg&e has allowed us to be the most sustainable organization we can be. any time you help a customer, it's a really good feeling. it's especially so when it's a customer that's doing such good and important work for the environment. together, we're building a better california. we're back with some breaking news. we said earlier this week that the mueller probe was taking on a pace that was more like a drum beat than drips that we've seen last year. the washington post headlines, mueller files new charges in the manafort-gates case. new charges were filed thursday against former trump campaign
chairman paul manafort and his business partner, ratcheting up the legal pressure on them as they prepare for trial. later this year, a new indictment has long been expected in special counsel robert mueller's prosecution of manafort and right hand man rick gates on fraud and money laundering. he served as campaign chairman from june to august of 2016. he served as top official on trump's campaign. the new indictment contains 32 counts including tax charges. frank, the 12-count indictment in october, we were told at the time that might not be it, but tell me what's changed other than bob mueller and his investigators have now had in their offices for days on end many more figures from the trump white house, the trump campaign, and the trump orbit. so, what is the significance of new charges being filed today against donald trump's former campaign manager and his deputy? >> a couple of take aways here. so, first, the continued charges
on gates tell us that he's not yet committed to cooperating and many of us thought he was on the cusp of cooperating. that clearly is not happening. his defense is in chaos right now. his attorneys, as you know, have pulled away from him, asked to be taken off the case. he hasn't signed up a new attorney yet. and mueller is saying, you know what, while you're figuring that out, the charges continue to pile on. with regard to manafort, look, this is all about having manafort flip on trump. it's all about showing the russia connection. manafort has that kind of information available. he's not flipped yet. he's not cooperating. and i'll tell you what, if he doesn't do it with these new tax charges, you're looking at manafort literally dying in federal prison based on the tax charges are horrific in terms of the gravity of it, the time he'll spend in prison. and this takes awhile. to get the irs to sign off on federal tax charges, you've got to really make your case and
mueller has clearly made it here. >> i want to ask you about two men, andrew weissmann, one of the prosecutors on the special counsel investigation who has made a name for himself in prosecutorial circles as someone who knows exactly how to prosecute crimes like this. i want you to speak to that as well as steve bannon's claim in the book "fire and fury," that the way to get to trump is right through manafort, right through kushner. there are a couple of bad words in there i can't use, but straight to donald trump. that's how they bleep him is what steve bannon allegedly said to fire a"fire and fury" author michael wolff. >> look, the team that mueller assembled is a dream team in terms of different prosecutor skill sets and different criminal statute expertise. so, he's got the right team. weissmann knows how to work this. and i'm telling you, as you said, manafort is about getting to the russian collusion with trump. and until manafort gives it up,
this case is not going to be over yet. and it's a domino effect, right? you get gates, gates flips on manafort, you get manafort, manafort flips onto trump. and you'll understand the inner workings of how the russians were working the campaign. that's what this is about. you'll continue to see charges until there aren't any left to charge on manafort and gates, and eventually one of them or both of them is going to break and cooperate or, as i said, die in federal prison. >> and something a u.s. attorney said to me, reminded me last night, you're not still doing deals unless you have a bigger target in sight, as frank said. so, you're not still interested in doing a deal with someone like gates if all you want is manafort because they've already charged him with 12-inch diem i plus -- so manafort is not the target. who should be worried today? >> well, look, first of all, these charges are very serious
and i think it is important to point out this is tax evasion, number one. it's based on apparently tens of millions of dollars in unreported income that manafort and gates were earning. this is back in their representation of ukraine's basically deposed leader, the pro russian leader of ukraine who is toppling in the ukraine resolution which triggered the hostility between united states and russia. it is important to say they're not directly related to donald trump, but the reason that mueller is interested in them certainly is directly because of donald trump. >> go ahead. >> that's the line trump is going to take -- >> that's exactly right. >> this has nothing to do with me. but two points are important to make. it's just fascinating how many people from the top to the bottom of the trump campaign, whether you think it was coffee boy, papadopoulos or chairman
manafort had these ties to russia and to a candidate who is so manifestly and suspiciously pro russian. the other thing, this is a point i feel keeps getting missed, okay. if manafort had not been exposed through a story in "the new york times," he may have ridden the campaign to victory and then had a powerful position within the white house along with gates. in that case, he would have been in a way that would put mike flynn in the shade, profoundly susceptible to russian blackmail. bill casey went on to be director of cia. what job would manafort have asked for had he survived. >> let me push back. it was no secret in washington, d.c. how dirty paul manafort's book of business was. it was not a secret in john mccain's world how dirty paul manafort's client list was. it was not a secret among
washington lobbyists. it was not a secret to republicans. when manafort joined the trump campaign, everyone knew that trump was in bed with a guy that did dirty business. >> and that it was related to russia and ukraine. >> that's the other thing. it's very important to note that what were they discussing apparently with the russians? they were discussing lifting sanctions on ukraine. well, when paul manafort was running the trump campaign, what did they do? they changed the plank in the republican national platform dealing with ukraine, okay. so, it's not like these are -- oh, there's just a sleazy business deal. it goes to the core issue. and, by the way, even after paul manafort left the trump campaign, it's important to note that mike flynn and apparently donald trump were interested in continuing, presumably, the lifting of sanctions that manafort would have supported and that reorientation --
>> trump complains about has been instrumental in forcing the trump presidency to change its attitude toward russia. >> i was in ukraine in 2014, 2015, 2016. people talked about anecdotally cash changing hands. dozens and dozens of millions of dollars. and he worked for yanakovich who was a puppet of the russians. nobody has made the connection and maybe it will be made of a collusion between russia through manafort to trump. maybe that is the goal at the end of the rainbow he's trying to do. you have a buffet of potential charges against manafort and what mueller is doing is reeling him in, a mixed metaphor. squeezing and squeezing, third metaphor, to get to that possible connection. >> let me give lyndsay the last word. before we 'niqsneak in our last break. one thing no one has been able to answer after mike flynn
pleaded to lying to the fbi, why did he lie, who told him to lie, who knew he had lied? if you're mueller, if you're overseeing the entire special counsel probe, what are your theories on the answer to why? counsel probe what are your theories on the answer to why? >> so you have this bizarre sense of loyalty that is particularly someone who is a general will have to the commander-in-chief. we've got that. we've got -- we're in this together and we're going down together and we all have guilty knowledge. so you've got that. but i'm here to tell you, there is somebody else cooperating that we don't know about. these charges against manafort and gates, when you are involved in dirty business deals like manafort, there is a line out of the door of people willing to give you up. that is partly reflected nat digs -- additional charges. it is a mystery of who it is but it is a line. >> and there is paul manafort today in washington, d.c., as new charges filed against him. we have to sneak in a breck. when we come back, president trump claims he is tough on
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it is up to the president of the united states to be able to confront the russians and be able to talk very publicly and directly about the threat that they pose and the consequences that they will face if they continue to do this. but up until now, i think he just continues to -- donald trump continues to point the fick -- the fingers of blame at others instead of his responsibilities as the president of the united states and that includes keeping our democratic foundations and elections as secure as possible. >> that is former cia director john brennan on the president's failure to publicly hold russia to account for meddling in the 2016 election. it is six days since deputy attorney general rod rosenstein announced 13 indictments against russian nationals. five days since the president's
own national security adviser said there was incontrovertible proof on our democracy and plus zero sanctions despite legislation passed by congress. zero words of condemnation from the president against vladimir putin and no plan that the public knows of to deterred russians from meddling again in 2018 or 2020. yet senior administration are calling this criticism of his russia policy, a, quote, unfair narrative and these o -- ofictions are working to deter future deterrence and not said what they are. just because sanctions haven't been imposed today doesn't mean they couldn't be imposed tomorrow. but until that day comes, director brennan said being tough on russia in secret isn't enough. >> i've seen donald trump says nice things about mr. putin and continues to deal with the
russia investigation in a very questionable manner. so i don't see the pushback. maybe there are things behind the scenes but if there are in terms of being tough the russians, he need to say that to the american public. >> and let me start with you, rick. what are the possible explanation other than we are talking about. in my experience in politics is that the most obvious answer is usually the right one. why can't he say anything tough about or to vladimir putin. >> we've seen the fact he confuses his own circumstance with the nations. his number one job as commander-in-chief is to protect america from a foreign adversary and he sees everything about that as being somehow reflecting on him and some idea of collusion with russia. he's not doing his main job and that is super unfortunate. >> a former prosecutor said the
value of the 13 indictments last friday was on many levels, but one it fortified the people inside of the government, inside of donald trump's own cabinet who are urging more public facing displays of strength about and toward russia. do you have any sense that the president will use the bully pulpit to call for anyone to do anything differently? >> no. absolutely not. we have a couple of years of experience now. but i found good about the indictment was to see it -- to see the operation spelled out and how it actually worked, that is illuminating for us and now we know how to combat it and recognize it when we see it. >> but let me stop you. we know how but we don't have a president that wants to. >> we don't have a president -- everybody has to do it for themselves. the kids in parkland have to stand up and go to tallahassee and come to d.c. and make their points and use their own voices
and american citizens will have to arm them to figure out what is true and what is not and be suspicious of information that seems fault that comes from bots and that is what i thought was useful about the indictment, just the information for us to know how to -- how to fight it next time. >> i was very critical of the obama administration for what i thought was a relatively weak approach to russia from the re-set toward the end. and so were other conservatives. but what is so interesting to me is how the other conservatives who would say one thing about obama's relative weakness on russia are absolutely adamant in refusing to criticize this president for far more egregious behavior. >> and they are featuring the daughter of la pierre at cpac. and it is an umbrella for a bunch of corrupt special interests that are in cahoots with russia. >> this is very similar to the gun fight and on the russia conversation, which is the con
flation of the state and the president defining it in terms of his own personal interest. and i think that goes a long what to explaining why we're still debating the mystery of why he won't say anything about russia. the answer is because he feels that being tough on russia or talking about russia is somehow acknowledging the compromise nature and the legitimacy of his own election. putting that aside, we've seen consistently for months now, i've heard this pushback from top officials in the trump administration, well we have a really good russia policy. they've said that directly to me. and the people who are following this, i think it is almost a case of this split screen identity. you could take individual tough measures. you were both in government and in the white house. individual policy actions, sending lethal weapons to ukraine or continuing the deployment of nato troops and u.s. troops in eastern europe. those are tough measures.
does that mean we have a tough policy by donald trump on russia? i think most people would say no. >> exactly. my thanks to frank and rick and jim and brett and susan. that does it for our hour. i'm nicolle wallace, "mtp daily" starts right now. hi, chuck. >> hi. you did it get. you handed some breaking news. >> i wanted to say you were on time for the second time. >> i don't care about. >> that you are always on a deficit. >> you owe me an hour. >> that is a good deficit. >> good evening. we have more breaking news and i'm chuck todd here at "mtp daily." robert mueller just filed new charges against paul manafort and his top deputy rick gates which means rick grates hasn't flipped and according to the -- this big indictment, manafort laundered more than $30 million with the assistance of gates. there have been reports gates was close to the deal with mueller perhaps to flip against