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tv   MSNBC Live With Alex Witt  MSNBC  July 21, 2018 5:00am-6:00am PDT

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s. so no matter where you're going... we're right there with you. the powerful backing of american express. don't do business without it. don't live life without it. a very good morning to all of you, i'm alex whit here. it is 8:00 a.m. in the east. the secret tape. what to make of the bomb shell levlation about a recording between the president and his former personal attorney. >> did michael cohen betray you? >> the league late. >> the russian probe and a manhattan madame. >> after the summit, a reality
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check on if america is safer or more in dank are dav danger? and we start with michael cohen secretly recording a conversation with donald trump about paying a playboy play mate. >> we talked for over an hour. i really sensed that he was very troubled. he felt that he was being in many ways cast wrong, and i feel that he was saying 245 he had been abandoned by mr. trump, what i sense from him is that he is really trying to be very clear that he is independent of mr. trump, and he will tell the
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truth, whatever that truth is. >> news of the secret recording came on the same day that we found out an associate of roger stone is in the special investigation. the man haten madden said she cannot offer any information about russian collusion. we have our panel here, kelly o connell, melanie, and sean, ken, first to you. i know you're joining us from a very early hour there. the new subpoena, ken, from the manhattan madame, who is she and why does robert mueller want to talk to her. >> she was the manhattan madame who brought down sean spitzer,
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but she had a drug charge, and now is a confident of roger stone. appare apparently she kept stone's travel schedule. she said that she believes they want to talk about roger stone, but to the extent that she knows details about stone's travel, that may be it. >> okay, speaking about how -- what would be some of the things that could be peripheral characters in roger stone's or bio orbit. are they trying to accomplish a link back to the president. >> i think they're trying to establish if he had contact with the russian operatives that were
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part of the collusion. those kinds of things appear to be the things that he was investigating. was stone in contact, we know he was in a twitter exchange with a russian operative. he says that was innocent and he didn't accept any e-mails, but robert mueller is pursuing whether or not stone was the point man for collusion. >> okay, it is set to be a conversation between trump and michael cohen about a payment, to the best of our knowledge, who says what on that tape? >> that is the $64,000 question. we don't have those details, but what has been reported is that it is a two minute face to face conversation where michael cohen
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proposes they make a payment to the woman that had already been paid by the "national inquirer." the question is whether or not the tape shows there was any discussion that this was campaign related. if this was made to help his election campaign, then it was a political con tr bugs thuntntri properly accounted for which could be a big crime. >> the arrest of the alleged russian agent accused of trying to infiltrate the u.s. political system. >> in 2015, she asked candidates questions. >> what will be your foreign policy with relationships with
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my country. >> who is this woman, and what was her alleged role. >> this is a remarkable story. she came here as a college student, that was her cover, a student at american university in washington. and she insinuated herself into republican circles and nation rifle association circles, she was a russian agent, not a spy seeking information, but an agent of influence trying to sway officials to have a different mind towards russia. essentially to improve russia's image in russia. including a different policy of russia's stance on crimea.
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there is a lot of these kinds of foreign agents in washington. often the fbi follows themselves around. in this case they arrested her and are now prosecuting here, and the question is does it have anything to do with the russian campaign that helped donald trump's election in 2016, there is no evidence of that but robert mueller is watching that. >> i recently saw "red sparrow" and i thought huh, maybe there is more to it. let's go now to the secret recording make by michael cohen. kelly o'donnell, any reaction from the white house on all of this? >> well, i saw "red sparrow" on an airplane, too.
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no official reaction from the white house, we have seen an outside manner, they represent the lawyers on the outside. that includes rudy giuliani. they spoke about the fact that this was a conversation that was short in length, that according to giuliani would be exculpatory giving the president a defense that there was discussion of including a proper paper trail if it was to happen. we don't know what else is on the fap, we don't know if it really is exculpatory. it is the first lady's office when asked about her plans this weekend and reaction to this story, they say she is here for the weekend with her family, but
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they described her as having no comment on this subject. she is focused on being a mother and first lady of the united states. so the white house is trying to parse this out. that makes rudy juliani -- giuliani the spokes person. and there are pieces of the story that comes against clear evidence that has been assembled by the special council team. so a challenge by the white house that the president and his allies have said for a long time. >> let's bring in melanie and sean. sean, we're going to start with you and get your take here on this michael cohen recording. we don't know who exactly leaked
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this, but who stands to benefit from this revelation? >> it is interesting when you look at this conversation and what we learned about this conversation from the reporting of my colleagues and others. it looks like mainly it sheds more light on michael cohen's thinking at the time from what we have seen in the recording there is not much here in terms of new revelations about what the president said, but one thing that stands out here that is interesting is that what this recording shows is that the president apparently at the time was actually aware of the payment that was made to ami, the parent company of the national inquirer. this is contrary to what his spokeswoman has said in the past. so this certainly raises questions about whether or not it is a story that we have seen publicly and if it is correct, but it raises questions about what other conversations authorities have collected between michael cohen and trump.
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these two men were very close for a very long time and it could be the first of potentially many revelations about their private conversations that should be troubling for cohen and the president. >> how about in terms of being troubling from a political perspective? how will that weigh in? >> i think it is a major credibility issue for the white house. if he, the white house, and the campaign have been lying about this issue, it is reasonable to question if the stormy daniel case was the truth. it is unrelated but also in the spotlight. what lengths was the trump campaign willing to go to cover up alleged affairs. i think this could also be damaging for the white house, and it comes as they're dealing with russia fallout this week. so it is not a good week for the white house and the president. >> all of this in terms of timing comes on the meals of the
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helsinki summit. i know your colleges are out with a new resport that says that russia continues to shoot the narrative about the agreements that the two presidents made what is the thinking in the white house to have the president tell the american public what he agreed to in a private meting with vladimir putin. >> i think that is a question that a lot of people have and a lot of lawmakers that i have talked to over the past week on capitol hill, and political observers, have raised this sort of question. going into that meeting, a lot of people wonder why wouldn't the president bring his top representatives his top aides into the meeting. this is the risk that i think a lot of them worried about. without having u.s. officials briefed and involved in these meetings, you run the risk of allowing russia to shape the narrative saying we agreed on x,
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y, and z when in reality it is possible there was no agreement. it was unorthodox, it made a lot of people apprehensive, and after the fact now we're seeing some consequences of trump going into the meeting without the usual accompaniment of top aides and officials going in alongside him. >> i want to ask you about the helsinki summit, the president weighed in in a tweet. inconceivable the government would break into a lawyer's office early in the morning, almost unheard of, even many inconceivable that a lawyer would tape a client. totally unheard of. but the good news is that your favorite president did nothing wrong. back to the issue with helsinki and the fallout there, there has been talk about whether or not dan coats job was in jeopardy
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after his reaction to the summit and his coming meeting with putin, but the intelligence communities assessment about russian meddling, also secretary pompeo, they cannot fire everyone. and besides that, doesn't it make it harder for the administration to stand by the claim that they're working on the integtive of the upcoming elections. >> coats sort of made a joke when she informed him on stage that the white house invited putin. he made a joke out of it, it may have just been his nervous reaction to being totally caught off gauard, but it did not sit well with the president because he went out of his way to praise coats the day before, saying he still had a trust with his advisors after throwing them
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under the bus on monday. >> right, it is valid to question if coats will want to stick around. moral is low, or will he be on the way out. somebody coming out of this, but we will have to wait and see. >> sf you look at what secretary pompeo said, we know that he is set to feotestify on wednesday. to what end will it reveal? >> the first question is what, if any new information he will learn directly from the president about this meeting in helsinki last week. what will they talk about when
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it comes to russian interference in the election. what light can be shed on what was said in that meeting and how it squared with what trump and putin and what they said publicly at the press conference. how much does he know and how much is he willing to say about that in this hearing that he takes part in. i think a lot of lawmakers a curious just in terms of getting to the basic facts, what was discussed. we heard from the comments coats made last week, even he is not fully aware of everything talked about or agreed to. >> all right, scene and melanie, thank you very much.
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what is his motivation, why the president is reluctant to be critical of vladimir putin. oh jeez! that's our truck! it's our truck! and they're our cars! that's my chevy! chevy's the only brand to earn j.d. power dependability awards across cars, trucks and suvs three years in a row. awesome. i'm proud. it's like a dynasty. it's impressive. your hair is so soft! did you use head and shoulders two in one? i did mom. wanna try it? yes. it intensely moisturizes your hair and scalp and keeps you flake free. manolo? look at my soft hair. i should be in the shot now too. try head and shoulders two in one.
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we have some breaking news, the white house has announced on twitter that vladimir putin is coming to the white house in the fall. >> say that again. >> vladimir putin is coming -- >> did i hear you -- >> yeah, yeah.
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>> okay. that's going to be special. >> dan coates thes finding out same time as everybody else that vladimir putin was invited to t the white house. joining me in aspen, ken, great to have you hear early p i'm curious about the gathering there. what is the reaction to this apparent break and what are the risks of this. >> i think what you had was director coats reacting to the surprise of the meeting, but the case of that announcement in the wake of the controversy in helsinki. i think what you have is the
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president making a decision which to the mind of directors that it is not a good idea. he said earlier that it is not a good idea. that he didn't like necessarily the meeting between them. the announcement came, you have legitimateization and normalization of vladimir putin while you have policy remaining to isolate russia. that is really a point of contention. and you heard that here in aspen and you have certainly seen that in the policy from the department of defense, the department of treasury, and the other parts of the administration. so the policy of isolation and a russia that remains aggressive and seemingly acting in u.s. interest. >> to that end, a lot of contention over the fact that
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there is no real certainty over what was discussed in that one on one meeting. let's talk to dan coats about that. >> he was alone for vladimir putin for more than two hours and there was only translators, how do you know what happened? >> you're right, i done know what happened in that meeting. >> how could the detecter of national intelligence not know, and that is likely still the case. he is not likely to be briefed until this week. the president may be relying on others.
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keep in mind the director was not in the lunch meeting. so he didn't have the benefit of that discussion either. it is critical, i think, for the president to layout what was discussed. and also what russians are going to do in offer that meeting. ideally you want an invitation for a head of state as they work towards fulfilling promises in a prior meeting along a diplomatic track. it's not clear what came in out of helsinki. >> can i ask you about your
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experience in the administration, is there any merit or any conceivable reason to cherry pick communication between people responsible for national security and intelligence? i mean telling some people thinks and not others at the same time, is there a benefit to that? >> there bha certain circumstances where information is so sensitive or parts of the discussion are policy or even intelligence. they need to be handled in discreet ways. so the information that the north koreans were helping the syrians build a nuclear reactor. and the people have confused them for operational reasons. so the information about potentially -- there are reasons to keep things secret but when
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you a broad diplomatic engagement, that will probably drive diplomacy, you need a degree of clarity for your diplomats so they can begin to prepare, collect, assess, and prepare the president for the next time he meets with president putin. >> the president appears to be reluctant to criticize vladimir putin? >> i think, you know, there is a benign explanation and a very me in fair yourself and suspicious explanati explanation. he butts great value in his ability -- he is driving with his instincts and his personality engagements and he thinks that he alone can breakthrough in these relationship that's have proven
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tough or confrontational. one explanation for the one on one is he wants to create that personal bond. he wants to breakthrough, and he thinks that only he can make those determinations. the nebraska fair yourself explanation is that he may have some sympathy for -- there conspiracy theories there was collusion. and you have a wide speck trump. i think what you have at the end of the day is a president that is working on instincts, and he will keep moving forward despite what his advisors say. and ie chronically here, despite
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the fact of his engagement in russia with u.s. policy. >> thank you for joining us. >> what robert mueller wants to talk to a former manhattan madame about in the robert mueller investigation. ♪ this is a story about mail and packages. and it's also a story about people. people who rely on us every day to deliver their dreams they're handing us more than mail they're handing us their business and while we make more e-commerce deliveries to homes than anyone else in the country, we never forget... that your business is our business the united states postal service. priority: you ♪
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a new subpoena this morning in robert mueller's russia probe. >> she has no knowledge whatsoever of any russian collusion, collaboration with wikileaks or anything else improper or having to do with the election. >> and they said her work for me is perfectly legal. any insinuation to anything else will be accidentble in court. >> here is the thing, this manhattan m manhattan madame, roger stone is the godfather to her son. i don't know if robert mueller
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will get a lot of information out of her, it is not so much her involvement in the campaign as her eight year relationship with roger stone. and what they can provide is things like who, what, when, where, and why. they want to know who was having contact with someone like roger stone in at advance of the campaign. it's not like they say hey, i'm a russian political operative and i want to meddle in the u.s. election. she wrote "position marijuanas" for roger stone, so what were those exactly. that is what mueller is looking for. >> environment and beyond, okay, so a mom shell, of course. now nbc news has girled that they discussed payments to a former playboy model who say shed had an affair with trump.
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the president has denied that affair. they confirm that the president's attorney rudy julianny, he has directed mr. cohen if he were to make a to the woman, write a check rather than send cash so it can be properly documented. is there a chance that we're looking about potential charges against the president here? >> you're going to have to link it all together and that will be the issue. violations include not declaring this money being given, exceeding the violations -- exceeding the campaign contribution amounts, but hope hicks said they were unape ware of this payment, you have trump and cohen talking about it in 2016. they spoke about being reimbursed for this money. i don't carry around $150,000 in
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cash in my pocket, but it just goes to show that this money was paid, and it was paid to sigh lenls somebody in advance of an election, it is not legal. >> the president has been ruminating about all of this. inconceivable that the government would break into a lawyer's office, almost unheard of, even more inconceivable that a lawyer would tape a client, totally unheard of and perhaps illegal. is it normal for a lawyer to tape a conversation with a client? >> it's unusual, it's not encouraged. i mean the conversation happened in person, not over the telephone. what you're not allowed to do is use like a spy type of machine, like the cap of a pen, that type of a thing, to record. we don't know the circumstances under which he was recorded. i don't think michael cohen is
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worried about the violations of recording his kwlient, he has bigger fish to deal with. i think with this point in time, michael cohen knows exactly what he should be doing which is fully cooperating with federal investigators and the investigation. >> thank you for cooperating this morning. >> and without a subpoena. >> coming up, secret recordings of the president. and whoopi and the judge. >> you know what is horrible when the president whips the hell out of people. say goodbye. sfx: [cell phone dialing]
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we have a bunch of questions, did we see anything like that before. >> did it end? is it still going on? am i asking the right questions here? should those dots be connected? am i right to see it that way.
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what do you make of that decision? what does that sound like to you p? what is this mean. why is that? why is that? lots more to get to tonight, stay with us. new reaction to the "new york times" bombshell report on candidate donald trump. they are claiming the tape of expressing payment to karen mcdoogle is probably not the only recording. >> i think he recorded a lot of things. some people would say don't go into michael's office, he is recording everything. >> i think this will be very, very propmatic. he is the one guy who has more information on potential m
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misdeeds of the president than anyone else. >> joining my is host of podcast woke af. good morning to the three of you, rick to you first here, you have rudy giuliani confirming that yes, the tape exists, but the payment was ultimately never made. so give me the political fallout implications of all of this for the president. any risk here? >> i don't really know that there is a lot. we have not learned much. the wall street journal contradicts what giuliani 15id. i think the journal is sticking by their story that the payment was made to ami. in the end i think the violation is campaign finance reform. but michael cohen has recorded a lot of conversations and if this was leaked, or for what purpose,
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this is probably not a single one off recorded of he and the candidate, that there is probably a lot more. >> to rick's point, dane yell, rudy julianny saying nothi nn ng it has nothing to do. similar claims from michael cohen's payment to stormy daniels. >> this administration's new man t mantra should be "sex, lies, and audio tape." how many more times do we have to hear him talking about women, or covering up affairs, it is baffling that we have 80% of white evangelicals that think
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she a -- he is a deity. >> and the after math of the president's summit, what is your read on him inviting the president for the second summit in a matter of months. >> it is surprising to many people. i have known dan coats for a long time, and the lack of communication between the president and the leading avad s -- advisors in the intelligence community is unfortunate. but he is completely in the dark about what happened at the summit. >> and you have to wonder what message the president sends to the intelligence community with that. you have the washington post
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saying that coats has gone rogue. what is your take on that? is he next on the chopping block? >> i'm sure that he will be next on the chopping block because his reaction to that summit was like wow, i cannot believe this is happening, like everyone that was watching the summit. i thought it was troeasonous. we have republicans still coming out with mild we actions. saying we should not do this, russia is our enemy, when is enough going to be enough, two hours he met with putin and no one has any idea what they discussed. we don't know what agreements he made, we have no idea where this relationship is going and if it is endangering the american people. we need republicans to come out and say we need transparency here. she a former kgb agent, and the
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president is siding with him. it is just unheard of. it is unheard of that an american president would be doing this. so for them to have yet another meeting on person soil, we need to understand what putin is doing, what trump is selling to putin, and what the relationship will cost americans down the road. >> you know what is so interesting, rick, i want to pull up some new numbers here, 50% of americans disapproving of the president's handling of the situation, but 79% of republicans give it a thumbs up. why do republicans have such a positive view? reverse trump derangement syndrome? i think when polls answer questions it's not to the substance of the question of the poll. they say we support trump, and so people are getting into their
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corner, but look this is very concerning. trump seems to ignore history with russia, vladimir putin had a chance 18 years ago to reset the soviet union, but he is not going to chance. she a kbg agent, the president raised him up, the russian economy is very small. we have all of the leverage in the world, but he went and made america look very weak. it has been a remarkable weak. what he said about montenegro, and turning over american ambassador to the kgb, it is just appalling. >> and you know what was appalling as well? well, i want to talk about this. i hope you have time to weigh in
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here. the scene that unfolded this week between whoopi goldberg and jean jeanine pirro. >> how long is the deep state here -- >> i want to answer your question. your opening statement, which is how horrible it is that donald trump is talking about -- >> that's what you said, you said -- >> be here and murdering children of american citizens. >> you know what is horrible when the president of the united states whips up people to beat the hell out of them. say goodbye. >> i dare anyone to do a transcript of that one. how do we get to this point, joe, is the jegenie out of the bottle? is there anything question do to stop this discourt? >> right now smerk a pretty
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divided place. i'm african-american, whoopi is african-american, she is sizing up how many african-americans feel about what is going on in this country. and she is speaking very openly and honestly. and she got angry, so be it, she got angry, and she has a right to do that by the way, there are a lot of people watching, certainly people of colors, and that is what she is saying about one of them. >> danielle, quickly to you, and then to and then to rick. and then whoopi was showing is that she had enough, she has had enough of the lies and the conspiracier in ris and she wants to get to the truth which is that hate crimes are up under this administration. he whips up hate and divisiveness.
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i think think that is what she is angry about. >> i like whoopi goldberg, she is good people. >> good to talk with all three of you, thank you so much. we're going next to the summit fallout, the biggest worry of american intelligence officials after the victory marks. and then congress trying to protect the midterm elections from the russians. i'm a four-year-old ring bearer with a bad habit of swallowing stuff. still won't eat my broccoli, though. and if you don't have the right overage, you could be paying for that pricey love band yourself. so get an allstate agent, and be better protected from mayhem. like me. can a ring bearer get a snack around here? i've been making blades here at gillette for 20 years. there's a lot of innovation that goes into making america's #1 shave. precision machinery and high-quality materials from around the world.
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is russia still -- targeting the u.s., mr. president? >> thank you very much. >> is russia still targeting the united states. i think we would be foolish to think they're not. they have capability, they have the will. we have to be prepared. >> at the aspen security conference. joining me now, former director of the national counterterrorism center also msnbc national security and intelligence analyst. nicholas, to you. how do you characterize russia? adversary? enemy? something else? how do you see it? >> good morning, alex. rather than putting any one single label, enemy or adversary, any engagement entered into with russia we have
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to enter into it knowing we are probably talking to somebody whose interests do not align with ours, talking to somebody likely to gain advantage over us and, of course, all of that was true even before we knew about election meddling. i think that's what's given the intelligence community and others longtime russia watchers discomfort about the president's interactions with president putin. it's that we're just not confident all the time that he understands the full range of russian motivations, and this is not to say there aren't discreet things we can cooperate with russia on. certainly in syria are at a point a couple years ago had higher hopes we could make some progress and bring the conflict in syria to an end by working with russia. of course, those hopes have not been borne out and it's clear what russia wants and syria and we want are simply not aligned. >> do you agree with those, nicholas, who say we're at the
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lowest point in our relations with russia and to what effect does president trump and his approach have to those relations? >> well, in terms of being at the lowest point, it's worth remembering where we were at various points during the cold war where, you know, hundreds and thousands of missiles pointed at each other. nuclear brinksmanship, concerns about third world flashpoints, all of that. i wouldn't gho that far, at our lowest point but entering the equation and something that should concern americans the most, election meddling. putting us at odds on the hot spot in various places around the world and here's in the united states. something we should all take personally. >> this president's one-on-one meeting with putin was not a first. reagan met with gorbachev in
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'85. this is different. why is there so much concern? >> the gorbachev-reagan meetings as i understand it came with established relationships. a president who already had interaction with gorbachev. more than that, it was clear president reigh hadn't a well articulated and die fi-- define understanding of the soviet union. what made it difficult to understand in this environment, a first real sit-down conversation between president putin and president trump. it wasn't building on an established relationship and so that raised the costs or the risks of miscalculation or misunderstanding in that meeting, and, of course, even worse, there are a lot of people who question whether the president heal has a clear-eyed view what russia is all about. that raises questions about whether we would ever get an accurate picture of what that conversation between president
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trump and president putin really entailed. as we've seen in the days since helsinki, we're still trying to figure out exactly what commitments were made, what the content of the conversation was, and in the absence of that, the russians are left to shape that narrative. that's not something that should make us feel good. >> and do you think the president should be meeting with putin in september? in washington? >> well, as one of your earlier guests pointed out, typically you want a follow-on meeting to come as part of a sequence where commitments made have been kept. where we've made progress on issues we a agreed to work on, laid serious groundwork for a next set of conversations. the way the announcement was made earlier in the week, i don't know exactly what drove times of the announcement but seemed like an impulsive decision to schedule this meeting and certainly in the context of fall elections here in the united states, it raises questions about timing. again, without knowing every bit
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of detail what the calculations were inside the white house before the decision was made, it raises a bunch of questions about how delicate that conversation, whether it takes place in october or november could really turn out to be. >> not knowing those details nor the details of the first one in the conversation between the two. thank you for weighing in. appreciate it. see you again. coming up, why the so-called manhattan madam is now caught up in the russia probe. why robert mueller wants to talk to her. [ coughs ] ♪ ♪ [ screams ] ♪ [ laughs ] ♪ whoa, whoa, whoa. your one item would be the name your price tool? it helps people save on car insurance. why wouldn't it save me? why? what would you bring? a boat. huh. if his denture can cope with... a steak.
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