tv Deadline White House MSNBC July 21, 2018 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT
been -- having received first responder treatment outside. we are going to continue to monitor this news conference. we'll continue to follow this story. and you can look for updates from msnbc. we continue now with our regular programming. i'm aaron gilchrist in new york. hi, everyone. it's 4:00 in new york. "the new york times" today out with a new bombshell report about the president's long-time fix y fixer and former personal attorney michael cohen. the "times" reveals for the very first time that cohen secretly recorded at least one conversation with donald trump and that the fbi now has its hands on it. in the recording, donald trump and michael cohen discuss hush money payments to karen mcdougal. she's a former playboy model who had an alleged affair with trump. the fbi seized the recording of trump and cohen in a raid on cohen's home and offices earlier this year that donald trump
described at the time as an attack on the nation. >> i just heard that they broke into the office of one of my personal attorneys, good man, and it's a disgraceful situation. it's a total witch hunt. it's a disgrace. it's frankly a real disgrace. it's an attack on our country in a true sense. >> an attack on our country, wow. the "times" writes of the significance of today's revelation. "the recording's existence further draws mr. trump into questions about tactics he and his associates used to keep aspects of his personal and business life a secret." and it highlights the potential legal and political danger that mr. cohen represents to mr. trump. once the keeper of many of mr. trump's secrets mr. cohen is now seen as increasingly being willing to cooperating with prosecutors." joining us by phone from "the new york times," mike schmidt who broke this story along with
his colleagues. joyce vance former u.s. attorney now an msnbc contributor. with us at the table, jonathan lemire, associated press white house reporter and sliding in as only he can do, john heilman is back. >> i've been here all day. >> you've got seven titles i'm not going to read because i didn't think you'd make it. we're glad to have you back. we missed you. mike schmidt, if you contradiction underscore the significance of learning that donald trump was aware months before the election of these hush money payments to karen mcdug daal. >> in early november of 2016, "the wall street journal" wrote a story about this payment and the campaign said that it knew nothing about it. it said this was news to them and whatever. well, what the recording shows is that the president clear will i knew about it at the time. this was something michael cohen had updated him on in september. he was briefed on what was going on. this is obviously something they were trying to do to keep this quiet leading up to the election. it now raises these legal
questions, whether there were campaign finance violations or campaign finance laws that were broken because these payments were made and they were not disclosed and done in secret. >> we've had a lot of conversations in the weeks and months since that cohen raid that the president described as an attack on the nation. but your colleague, maggie haberman work also has a byline on this story, tweeted that cohen's interview with abc got mr. trump's attention and they asked people if mr. cohen was trying to send a message either to him or to the justice department. do you have any sense that your reporting today has exacerbated already pretty raw emotions about the raid and about what mr. cohen may be choosing between in terms of his own personal legal fate? >> i think it's pretty clear that cohen wants to cooperate and that there is a huge rift between him and the president and that the president deeply concerned about this. to look at this from a bigger perspectives you have to understand, the president's fighting a two-front war. he has the mueller investigation
in washington where his lawyers think they have a handle on the depth and breadth of that investigation and now he has this thing going on in new york where his lawyers don't know everything that the feds are looking at and they don't quite know what the case would be and what the actual conduct is that's under investigation. but they do know that michael cohen is out there and that he wants to cooperate. and that he apparently has some stuff that at the very least is embarrassing to the president. >> now, mayor giuliani responds in the record on the piece, nothing in that conversation suggests that he had any knowledge of it in advance. he went on to say that mr. trump had or you guys report that trump had directed cohen that if he were to make such a payment related to the woman, "write a check rather than sending cash." interesting that sending cash was even on the menu. so that it could be properly documented. "in the big keep scheme of things, it's powerful exculpatory evidence," mr. giuliani said. it's tier one spin, but he seems
to break some new ground here in saying not only did the president know when he was having that conversation, but he advised him as to exactly how to make the payment, to send a check instead of a bag of cash. what's the significance of that? >> he's trying to say that the check would be more transparent. that the president wasn't trying to hide anything, that he was simply -- that he knew that there was nothing wrong with what he was proposing and that they should be aboveboard about it. what he's also trying to say about not knowing about it beforehand is that he's saying the president did not know about the payments from the "national enquirer" to the model in the months before and there is no indication that they -- on the tape this is the first time he's learning about it so that he was not involved in the payment that originally went to the model. >> but they don't deny that they've told a bucket of lies about mcdougal and stormy daniels and other women. karen mcdougal's attorney tweeted today, "when real donald
trump said we were lying, do you think he meant we weren't"? a play on his remarkable response to jonathan lemire's question who's sitting at the table with us. hope hicks also you have in your story, that at the time she said, "we have no knowledge of any of this." calling ms. mcdougal's claim of an affair totally untrue. so was rudy able to acknowledge to you and your colleagues that the lies that had been told were, in effect, inoperative based on your reporting? >> what they say is look, this is a political or personal problem that the president has, this is not a legal problem. that is the spin from trump world on this. that this may look bad and this may raise questions about the president politically, but legally it has no implication because the president did not know anything about the original payment and there was never a second payment that was made to the model. but i mean, at the end of the day, whether that stands up or not, i don't know. >> i know that we don't believe rudy to be getting paid.
is he now on womangate? is he now the point of contact for questions about payments? we have the sound, i think, of him on hannity describing the operations for funneling money through cohen. let's listen to that real quick and talk about it on the other side. >> sorry, i'm giving you a fact now that you don't know. it's not campaign money. no campaign finance violation. >> they funneled it through the law firm. >> funneled through the law firm and the president repaid it. >> oh, i didn't know -- he did. >> hannity's reaction there, priceless to me, at least. do you have any sense that they are -- that this is an active line of the investigation, the operation of funneling money as rudy giuliani describes there, to other women, even if there aren't other recordings? >> well, we know the feds want to look at this and figure out whether there was a campaign violation. there is a fight going on between the justice department and trump and trump's lawyers and cohen's lawyers about what
the government can have access to. so we know that they want to look at it. they know that they want to examine it to figure whether there was a law that was violated. i think the reason that they wanted rudy out there to respond to this is the president sees rudy as his best spokesman. he believes rudy has done a lot of good for him since he came on this spring. and rudy has said a lot of different things that make this very confusing. he said things that contradict themselves. at the same time, he has helped erode the public view of the mueller investigation. and i think the president thinks that he's his best advocate out there for him. >> let's ask joyce vance if muddying the waters and saying a lot of things to confuse things is a good legal strategy. joyce, can you weigh in on that question as well as the news that mike schmidt and his colleagues break today in "the new york times"? >> well, whether or not it's a good political strategy, it's a terrible legal strategy. it's ineffective, it's likely to not at all impress anybody on the prosecution side of the
equation. you know, here's the president two months out from the election. the "access hollywood" tape is out. there are a lot of other women coming forward. and a payment is made to karen mcdougal with whom he had had a 10-month affair ten years earlier to keep her quiet. there is no one who believes that that's not a payment made to affect the election. so really the only question here is whether or not they had the requisite intent and knowledge and whether it's a criminal prosecution or an administrative kind of issue. i'll just say john edwards was prosecuted for this same violation. the government did not get a conviction in that case. this case is much stronger. the payment is much closer to the election. it's much more clearly related to the election, not as it was in the edwards case to concern about the woman. i think we have not heard the last about this yet. >> heilman, you're nodding. >> well, i think joyce is making an incredibly relevant point in that the context here is everything.
and that period of time post the "access hollywood" tape, post all the accusations of sexual assault, sexual harassment. more than a dozen women came out. that was the moment the campaign believed that trump's candidacy was hanging by a thread. this was, having beaten back most of those allegations over the course of that ten days or so, having stopped republicans from defecting from his campaign, they seem to have pulled it together. this story, keeping this story from coming out a few days before the election, especially in the context, again, of what else is going on? the comey matter with hillary clinton. suddenly it looked like the doors had opened up where trump could maybe, from their point of view, could maybe have a shot at winning this thing. it was essential to shut the story down. so the political purpose here, the desire -- the importance of this, shutting this story down at the moment when it was about to come out and what the potential consequences if they didn't were extraordinarily high. everyone on the campaign was
aware of how important it was to not have another woman-related accusation that would come out, especially a credible one like this one, on the eve of the election that could turn the tide again against trump. >> joyce, let me ask you. that makes a lot of sense as somebody who worked on campaigns. but is that part of an investigation? do they look at what the motive might have been and line that up with the actions that we've seen reported in the "new york times" story today? >> yeah, absolutely. for a campaign finance violation, that's actually critical, whether you have the requisite intent to engage in manipulation of money in advance of the campaign and influence the election. there are a lot of thorny questions here, though. the biggest problem we have right now is we haven't heard the tape. we don't know exactly what's on it, so that makes it very difficult to know what thread investigators are following. but, you know, one thing that i would stake some money on is that rudy giuliani, who apparently is not being paid by the president here, is giving the president, you know, full worth for the money that the
president is paying. how insane that this is exculpatory is just a horrible idea. it really sets the president up down the road because i guarantee nothing on this tape will be exculpatory. the only reason that rudy would come out and try to dismiss this so early on is probably because this is one of the worst pieces of evidence that comes out of the search of cohen's business and residence. >> okay. let me ask a dumb question as a nonlawyer who knows everything about the law from tv. exculpatory means this is helpful information, helpful to the president's legal cause, is that what that means? >> yes. exculpatory means facts that make it less likely that you're guilty. so defendants always want to have exculpatory facts. and, in fact, the government is required to turn over to defendants anything that's exculpatory because it's evidence that means that it's less likely that the defendant is guilty. >> and even though rudy has not practiced law in a long time, i'm pretty sure rudy would agree with joyce about that one thing.
he too knows what the word exculpatory means, although it probably doesn't apply in this case. >> legal terms for dummies. >> i was iffy on exculpatory. >> i ask everyone. i'm here for all of you. we're in this together. let me ask you, thanks in part to you, this white house has had one of the most brutal weeks i would say of the presidency. you've reported or you're reporting out on sort of the degree of alarm inside the white house among his aides. you compare it to the low points like charlottesville. talk about how this story probably landed inside the west wing today. >> sure, that's exactly right. talking to people in donald trump world, inside the white house but are close to the president who are comparing this week to the charlottesville week. there have been other moments. right? the furor january 17 about the travel ban. the family migration separation at the border. this is landing differently. this is a white house that's back on its heels and everything that happened since helsinki. day after day it is more condemnation from both sides of the aisle. >> their own intel.
>> that's exactly right. each walkback attempt is feeble and failed to this point. >> and phony. they're walking back their own -- >> feeble, failed and phony. now we're seeing this. this is another distraction they don't need. it's another thing hanging over their heads. more al morale in the west wing is as low as-heard. it's a steady stream of people for exits. they are having trouble finding good qualified competent people to take these jobs. this is going to make it harder. of course, hanging over all of this, what else does cohen have? what else does michael cohen know? is michael cohen going to cooperate? >> what would donald trump's white house rather talk about, canoodling with playboy bunnies or canoodling with vladimir putin? >> they'll take this story over the other one i think. i think it's easier for the trump base to have him canoodling with the playboy bunny than the dictator in russia. >> as long as it doesn't lead to
campaign finance -- >> at this point it could cross the threshold whether there is a legal problem, not just a political one. >> mike schmidt, the other thing that they have hanging over them is the mueller investigation. can you -- you touched on this a little at the top of the show. pull the string out for us on sort of the twin pillars of the president's legal angst of these two tentacles that michael cohen seems to touch for him. ever >> so, cohen is being looked at in both of them. cohen's ties to russia, efforts to do business deals with them during the campaign, what that was all about. cohen is an issue there. he's obviously an issue on the new york side. and then on top of all this, with everything that's going on, with all the stuff on cohen, the president still has probably the most significant decision to date to make about the mueller investigation, whether to sit for an interview. the president's lawyers have drawn this out of their, you know, week after week saying they're very close to a decision, very close to a decision. at some point i think bob
mueller is going to say, hey, enough of this back and forth. is and he'll have to make a decision whether to subpoena him. the question is does bob mueller want to have that fight in court before the midterms. is that something that he thinks could undermine him, i'm not sure. but that would certainly bring the issues that trump has with the investigation to the forefront and make it even more of a political issue for the president to seize on. >> joyce vance, let me give you a shot at trying to answer that for us. is bob mueller someone who would raise the heat on this investigation, raise the heat in this confrontation with this president and subpoena him before the midterms? >> you know, i don't think he will, and here is why. that issue about whether the president has to respond to a subpoena, even if mueller wins, that issue becomes the product of lengthy appellate litigation. it will go first to the district judge, the trial judge. then to an intermediate appellate court, a court of appeals. and then on the way to the supreme court. that process more than likely lasts through the midterm
elections, so it's just sitting there putting everything else on hold. it seems like an issue that even though it may be should be resolved as a principle of law, isn't really something that mueller needs and there's no reason to chase after it. >> hey, joyce, it's heilman. i want to ask you a quick question about the subpoena thing. right? >> yeah. >> there's been some speculation about the notion one reason mueller might not want to try to subpoena trump is if trump has moved from being a subject of the investigation to a target of the investigation that there is some argument for why that would make it less likely that mueller would try to subpoena him. is that right? >> so, you know, i'm still in this camp of people that believes that mueller and the instituti institutional forces he has zrund surrounded himself with won't indict a sitting president. but that doesn't make it impossible for trump to be indicted after he leaves office. i always thought that was one of the reasons that made a subpoena for testimony less likely
because if he did talk to a grand jury under a subpoena now, none of that testimony would be available to prosecute him at some point in the future when he leaves office. now we hear that the state of new york is potentially looking at criminal charges related to the trump foundation. that could hinder their prosecution, too. i just think it's unlikely that he receives a subpoena. >> all right. fridays, joyce vance takes us to law school. mike schmidt, thank you for spending some time with us. thank you for the story. when we come back, an attorney for another woman paid hush money after an alleged sexual relation ship with donald trump joins us to discuss breaking news. also donald trump's war on intelligence may be backfiring. detailed reporting on the malaise inside donald trump's west wing as the country's top intelligence official seems to laugh at donald trump's stunning embrace of vladimir putin. and is rod rosenstein getting his groove back? he was greeted with a standing ovation from national security experts and he appears to be finding his sea legs after months of being on the receiving end of pointed attacks from the president. but is he safe?
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look, i did nothing wrong. you have to understand, this stuff would have come out a long time ago. i did nothing wrong. i didn't do anything wrong. it's really nice. >> is he still your friend? >> i always like michael cohen. vrng >> is he still your lawyer? >> not my lawyer, any more. but i always liked michael and he's a good person and i think he's been -- excuse me, do you mind if i talk? you're asking me a question, i'm trying to ask it. >> just wonder if you're worried he's going to cooperate -- >> no, because i did nothing wrong. >> got it. >> i'm not worried because i did nothing wrong and but it's an attack on the nation. hmm. we've been discussing breaking news from "the new york times" today the fbi has seized a recording of a conversation between donald trump and michael cohen about a hush money payment to playmate karen mcdug al. michael avenatti, the attorney
for stormy daniels also locked in a legal battle with the president over hush money says it's not the only potentially incriminating recording out there. he joins us now, we're happy to see him back. also joining the table emily jane fox senior reporter for vanity fair and msnbc contributor. michael, take us through your thoughts on the reporting today. >> well, nicole, i'm not at all surprised by it -- >> you predicted it if i remember in one of your early appearances in this program. >> not only did i predict it, i stated it back on may 30th. i told the world there were trump tapes. i used that phrase. and i had a press conference outside of the courthouse on may 30th, so almost two months ago. i demanded their release. i then went on msnbc and cnn and discussed the existence of these tapes. so, you know, i think it's great that it's getting all this attention seven, eight weeks later. but this really isn't breaking news, nicole. i disclosed the existence of these tapes two months ago. >> for a dozen donuts i'll let you write the banners on the bottom of the screen next time you're in new york. but whether we describe it as
breaking news or not, take me through the legal import of now having it confirmed by the president's own lawyer rudy giuliani that the president did indeed have nothing two months before the election is what the "new york times" is reporting, of the existence of payments and he was so steeped in the payment conversation that he suggested paying with a check rather than cash. -6 to me that seems to be the kind of statement that will cause more problems down the road. who is getting cash payments if he was considering that as an option? just take me through the response from donald trump and his lawyers today. >> well, i agree with you, nicolle. i think that's going to pose a problem. but look, i want to be really clear about something. this is not the only recording. there are multiple, multiple recordings. our position is they should all be released. they should all be released now. it's obvious to me and it should be obvious to anyone that knows anything about this case where this recording came from. michael cohen and his attorneys leaked this particular recording to "the new york times." i mean, i know it and anybody
that's paying attention knows it. it's obvious. it obviously did not come from the southern district of new york and i believe i know the reason why they leaked this particular recording to "the new york times," which is one of many. >> what is the reason? and we haven't as a news organization confirmed who leaked it and the "new york times" does not address that. i want to be clear to our viewers that's your position. but tell us why you think this particular recording was leaked. >> because it's one of many recordings, and it was leaked as a further shot across the bow aimed at donald trump and the white house to let them know that if they don't play ball with michael cohen and get him in the tent very, very quickly, that there is going to be significant fallout. and you've seen a progression over the last few weeks of these continual warning shots aimed at donald trump. you know, we've heard from lanny
davis and others that michael cohen, he's a patriot, he loves his country, he's going to put his country and his family above all else. well, look, if that's true, he should disclose all of the tapes and all of the evidence. there is nothing stopping him from doing it. the fbi is not prohibiting him from doing it. the southern district of new york is not prohibiting him from doing it. i mean, he should do it. >> let me ask you about something that sam nunberg said. he's a former campaign aide to donald trump. and he said in an interview about his time -- his interview with the special counsel. he said, ari melber asked about payments to women. they were asking if i knew anything about it. they asked if you knew anything about payments to women. nunberg said it's obvious they're looking into this. steve bannon says allegedly in "fire and fury," marc kasowitz, one of the early lawyers took care of hundreds of women. remind me and remind our viewers that beyond potential campaign
finance violations, what sort of legal peril could payments to women represent for the president? >> well, the key -- >> and i'm sorry to interrupt, but why would bob mueller be asking the president's aides about payments to women? >> the key, nicolle, is how the money flowed from one place to another and how it was handled, whether it be by money laundering techniques, whether it be by bank fraud potentially relating to the opening and closing of various accounts, for instance. we know that the account that michael cohen opened at first republic bank, it's clear now that he lied to the bank in connection with the purpose of that account. i believe he stated it was for real estate consulting purposes. he lied to the bank about how many transactions were expected to occur in that account. that could potentially give rise to bank fraud. so the key here is, separate and apart from the campaign finance violations or potential violations, is the flow of the money and how it flowed in and out of these accounts and how
these payments were made. and i happen to agree with you, by the way, your observation that cash was even on the table was even an option when you're talking about a $150,000 payment. that in and of itself is disturbing. >> okay. and let me ask you, emily, to respond. "the new york times" is updating the updated story saying giuliani called back. he said trump and cohen were discussing buying the rights to mcdougal's story from the "enquirer," effectively reimbursement. there is a large body of reporting about the symbiotic relationship between donald trump and michael cohen and ami. if you could just speak to -- and you've done some of that exquisite reporting about just how interconnected, how they really functioned as one when it came to protecting donald trump and attacking anyone that may represent, as heilman said, a threat to him in those final days and weeks before the election. >> it's interesting, michael cohen has been friends with david pecker i believe longer than -- >> the head of a.m.i., "national enquirer." >> yes.
longer than donald trump and david pecker. >> it was cohen's relationship. >> it was all of their relationships. they all had individual relation ships and that just speaks to how interconnected -- >> hannity was another one of cohen's clients and he also did a lot of this work, defending the president, attacking the accuser, attacking people who criticized him. >> it was all hands on deck. this was a period of time where it was incredibly important to keep the story out of the news and everyone was there to help keep it under wraps. i will say from people i spoke to today around cohen's orbit, this is something that they see as coming from the president's camp, that this was a complete strategy executed in order to throw cohen under the bus. and so they see it very differently than mr. avenatti sees it. this was something that they think -- >> how is cohen under the bus based on today's reporting? >> they are controlling the narrative of what is on this tape. michael cohen and his attorney will not comment on what is on this tape. this is not something that they're looking to get involved in at all right now.
>> but if cohen's looking for some sort of deal from the southern district doesn't it help to show -- >> the southern district has the tape. the southern district has the transcript. the southern district already knows what is on that transcript. what we know, the public, about what is on that tape is what president trump's lawyer has commented on about. so that narrative is controlled right now solely by rudy giuliani. so we don't know what michael cohen's side will say is on that tape. i have reason to believe that story may be different than the one we have out tonight. >> jump in for me, jonathan, and just sort of bring us into whether or not these relation ships still exist for the president. he says on the tape we just ran, no, michael cohen, haven't talked to him forever. we know on the friday the week his offices were raided, donald trump called him. so he only shuts down these relationships usually for a spell of time and often not completely. >> right. certainly a truism in trump world that you're out only as long as -- >> until you're back in again. >> yeah.
>> cory wly lewandowski, chris - >> steve bannon manages to be out. i'm sure at some point he'll come back, too. with cohen, certainly before that, he was seen with melania trump at mar-a-lago a short time before that. my sense of it is, and others can speak to it too, is that relation ship does not exist at this moment. rudy giuliani has said publicly the two don't speak. he would not advise the president to speak to cohen with all this going on. but certainly the relationship dates a long time and it's not just that cohen, of course, knows a lot of things, but this is how trump deals with people. he uses them while they're useful and then he casts them aside. and right now cohen presents a real jeopardy to this president and it has been interesting to watch how that plays out publicly. we've seen trump distance himself from him different times on the "fox and friends" interest view, the clap you just played. didn't we see the national inquirer story, part of the president's bidding. there does seem to be this sort of like cat and mouse game as to
who is going to land what attack first. >> "the new york times" had a pretty detailed account of just how badly the president treated michael cohen over the course of even the high water marks of their business relationship. so this isn't someone, even though he said he'd take a bullet for the president, i don't see all of the inputs that donald trump made to that relationship. >> i think it would be fair to say if you step back and looked at it from 30,000 feet that the high water mark of the trump/cohen relationship was years ago. it's been in steady decline. michael cohen thought he was going to be an important part in the 2016 campaign. was not. thought he was going to have an important part in the white house. did not get it. wanted to go to washington. was not brought there. in a desperate i would say some what pathetic way he was just pieng after trump for months and months and months after trump had long used up what he was going to get from michael sxhoen cast him aside. the only reason donald trump cares about michael cohen at is this point is he suddenly has looked up and said oh, my god, this guy who once upon a time was intimate will i involved in
all of the stuff i was doing not much legal work and the most interesting thing about that white house lawn tape is the way in which trump says, "my lawyer? what do you mean my lawyer?" then he says he hasn't been my lawyer for a while. i don't think trump ever thought of cohen as his lawyer. he thought of his as his biz dev guy, flying around the world and trying to stack his name on torch buildings and doing dirty deals around the world that had little to do with lawyering. and suddenly trump looks up and sees himself at legal risk and realizing that for once in his life someone who he's abused and used has suddenly come back to haunt him in a really inopportune time and ina lethal way. suddenly he's scrambling around trying to throw some more love at him at various times. throw shade at him at various times. trying to intimidate him, trying to scare him, seduce him, whatever will work at this point. but this is not a clean relationship. and certainly there has been a giant disparity in terms of the way in which the two parties have felt about each other for quite a long time.
and it's part of why this is such a precarious moment for trump and for cohen for that matter. >> it's a hallmark of many of the president's relationships and might be why he finds himself where he is. look in the mirror, mr. president. we're going to ask everyone to stick around. when we come back, a new development in the mueller case. we'll bring that to you next. you're turning onto the street when you barely clip a passing car. minor accident - no big deal, right? wrong. your insurance company is gonna raise your rate after the other car got a scratch so small you coulda fixed it with a pen. maybe you should take that pen and use it to sign up with a different insurance company. for drivers with accident forgiveness liberty mutual won't raise their rates because of their first accident. liberty mutual insurance. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty ♪ she pretty much lives in her favorite princess dress. but once a week i let her play sheriff so i can wash it. i use tide to get out those week old stains and downy to get it fresh and soft. you are free to go.
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we have something we rolled out from the only in the time of trump files for you. breaking news, nbc news has confirmed a report that manhattan madam kristin davis is being subpoenaed by robert -- special counsel robert mueller. going to read this to you so i get it just right. davis, the manhattan madam, just told nbc news that someone in robert mueller's office called her lawyer yesterday to ask if she would accept a subpoena or if the fbi would need to serve her. she says her lawyer called back today saying she accepted but had no more detail.
she says, "for them to come to me for information on russian collusion, i don't have that. but she adds, i worked for roger stone many years." ding, ding, ding, madam. "i've been with rogers since 2010 doing web design," multi talented, madam. i can't believe i'm reading this. heilman, say something. >> as the -- >> heilman is speechless. >> we've been focused for a while on look -- i don't like the noose tightening metaphor. but you know, roger stone is in deep trouble, and he's been -- >> why? >> because of the fact -- >> he was the colluder? >> we don't know. we don't know. >> really? we know a lot about -- >> we certainly know he was in touch -- there's still a question about whether what he knew about guccifer 2.0 -- that questions is still unresolved. we know on the basis of the indictment a week-and-a-half -- only been a week, mueller indictment of the russian grus, he was in touch with gucifer among others. we don't know what roger stone knew about gucifer at that time. that's still to be shown.
the pattern over time, timing of communications, the pattern of the fact that so many people around stone have been subpoenaed, have been brought into the mueller probe, and that he has not been interviewed yet is such a sign that he is a target. and to have this woman who is a relatively obscure figure in roger stone's political world, madam of manhattan, now being dragged in, they haven't spoken to him one more sign mueller has his sights trained on roger stone and he has an indictment or more than one indictment coming his way fairly soon. >> joyce, let me ask you to explain two things to me. and they don't have anything to do with how a madam is also a web designer. but explain to me -- >> if joyce can explain that, that will be the ding ding ding of the day. >> joyce, explain to me, first of all, it sounds like she said she would appear and answer questions. so perhaps she avoids being subpoenaed.
i understand that to be a tool you use if a witness is unwilling. but also explain what heilman is alluding to, this idea that around roger stone is sort of a crushing effort to learn everything from everyone that may have seen something or known something about his contacts with russians. >> so i agree with heilman. you know, it looks like roger stone's time in the barrel is just about upon him. he has not been interviewed, which as we've discussed previously is a strong indication that he's a target of this investigation. and i would add to john's questions about roger stone, in my mind the biggest unknown is what was stone communicating to trump about this entire process he was involved with guccifer in? were they conferring about it regularly? did trump know the details? if so, this looks a lot more ominous. so it seems likely that mueller is tying down his case against stone, and for whatever reason, the madam turned graphic designer will play some role in that investigation. >> she's graphic in a number of different ways.
>> michael avenatti -- no, no, stop. michael avenatti, save us. you're a lawyer. weigh in. >> well, evidently the first choice for web designer had a headache. >> oh, god, you guys, thank god it's friday. >> look, here's what i'll say. with each passing day and each passing subpoena -- and i will tell you there is a host of subpoenas that have not been reported on and i'll just leave it at that. this situation becomes worse and worse for roger stone, worse and worse for michael cohen, and far worse for the president. the problem is, and i've been saying this for a while, the president trusted his innermost secrets to a fixer in michael cohen who wasn't smart enough and tough enough to serve in that role. you know, sooner or later things like this come back and bite you and i think that that's what you're seeing. and it is remarkable to me,
nicolle, and i think john touched on this earlier, what is most remarkable to me is this. if you know that you've got a guy that has your innermost secrets and is this dangerous, he's probably one of the first people you give a job to in your new white house. he's one of the first people you bring into the tent and you make sure he's taken care of. and the fact that michael cohen was not taken care of shows the fact that donald trump is not smart. he's dumb when it comes to this. he's arrogant when it comes to these things. and it's going to come back and it's going to bite him. >> i know you and michael disagree on where the recording came from, but do you agree with his assessment about his treatment of michael cohen? >> absolutely. the people who are closest to michael cohen told me today that today was another example of how dumb strategists, the people around the president are. because to alienate him further at a time where he's so clearly indicated he wants to cooperate is just the silliest decision that you could ever make. >> michael avenatti, emily jane
fox, thank you for spending time with us. when we come back, in the dark. we still don't know what happened between donald trump and vladimir putin behind closed doors in helsinki. and apparently neither does the military. the behind-the-scenes confusion and the chaos it caused. that's next. it's willingham, edge of the box, willingham shoots... goooooooaaaaaaaallllllll! that...was...magic. willingham tucks it in and puts the championship to bed. sweet dreams, nighty night. as long as soccer players celebrate with a slide, you can count on geico saving folks money. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance. pressure, what pressure? the players on the... welcome to holiday inn! thank you! ♪ ♪ wait, i have something for you! every stay is a special stay at holiday inn. save up to 15% when you book early at hollidayinn.com
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[ laughter ] >> vladimir putin is coming -- >> did i hear you? >> yeah, yeah. >> okay. [ laughter ] that's going to be special. >> that was one of the most amazing things i've seen on television. between your question monday in helsinki and andrea's interview yesterday of dan coats, two remarkable, remarkable events. and to be a fly on the wall in the oval office watching tv when that happened. if you saw it and didn't immediately worry about dan coats' job security, you haven't been paying attention. the "washington post" reports, "inside the white house trump's advisers were in an uproar over coats' interview in aspen. they said the optics were especially damaging, notesing that at moments coats appeared to be laughing at the president, playing to his audience of the intellectual elite in a manner that was sure to infuriate trump. coats has gone rogue, said one
white house official who spoke on the condition of anonymity and provided a candid assessment." with us is jonathan swan, national political reporter for axios. and evan mcmullen who ran as an independent for president. jonathan swan, i'm sure you have your own vast body of reporting of how this week has gone down at the white house but if you could just speak to what these moments are like for the president when among people that he would like to approve him desmid despite all of his railing against elites and the media he pays very close attention to how elites and the media score him and judge him, what they say about him. so i'm sure that seeing coats so well received got under his skin. >> i haven't discussed this with the president, so i don't -- i can't speak to his -- >> safe answer, safe answer. >> i'm just being honest with you. but at this moment i, too, spoke to senior officials yesterday including one in real time while it was happening. and they were sort of -- you know, the reaction was basically, he's got to go. well, he's got to go.
he's got to be fired. and this is a sort of preemptive anticipation of how the president is going to react based on their experience previously. look, if you were going to create a moment to engineer someone being fired by president trump, you can't do much better than going to aspen among the national security and foreign policy elite and effectively being in on the joke that there is this guy who nobody in the room has much respect for who is conducting foreign policy in, again, universally acknowledged among the people in the room, a reckless way. and then dan coats made i thought four pretty stunning points, although people who pay attention to the intelligence won't find them that stunning. the first one was he thought it was a mistake for the president to meet alone with vladimir putin. the second is that he obviously was dismayed by what the president said.
the third, that he didn't know about the russians being invited. but the fourth, which i thought was the most important, and is really the revelatory point, is he still doesn't know, the nation's spy chief still doesn't know what was said between president trump and president putin in a one-on-one meeting. that is stunning. >> that is stunning. and i think jonathan swan just hit on the lasting damage from this meeting because a lot of other -- the other critiques can be sort of excused away as a break with convention. i think donald trump has a good case for saying, well, we didn't need all those conventions, but not this one. let me read you something from the "washington post" today. "days before the summit meeting military officials pressed the national security council for mr. trump's proposed talking points and received no response. the lack of information handcuffed general joseph voto, the head of united states central command at a news conference on thursday, who
said, we have received no further direction than we've currently been operating under." so we now have the head of central command with no idea what military -- and we know that there were arms treaties came up. it sounds like they discussed whatever putin wanted to discuss. the president heard no reporting or push back on the idea putin drove the agenda for the two-hour secret meeting. but can you just speak to what a cross roads we're at when the military -- and the president's title is commander in chief for a reason. >> there's a general disconnect, a general sort of divergence of the federal government and donald trump. you have most of the federal government still sort of keeping its oath to the american people, keeping its oath to the country, defending us against foreign adversaries including especially russia and then you have the president who has his own
personal agenda we're trying to learn more about, we're trying to learn what drives that. what i see happening here is now the president is doubling down on putin on that relationship. he's inviting him to washington. to many of us that seems crazy. why would he do that at all? but the numbers actually tell us why. only 55% of americans disagree with the way trump is handling this relationship. 72% or more republicans support it. he's look at these numbers and saying the numbers are already pretty good, and they're moving in my direction and he wants to move them further -- >> let me just interrupt. national security used to be a pl place where your poll numbers didn't matter. these are axios poll numbers and you've been reporting on this all week so i know it to be true. let me just ask you, the president's own national security appointees don't seem moved by the poll numbers, thank
god. and there's a lot of sort of conversation right now how christopher ray when asked by lester holt had he thought about resigning and hadn't. and dan coats, and just the overall sense he felt unshackled. he didn't pretend donald trump was normal. he didn't pretend donald trump was doing a good job on national security or intelligence. what is the collective feeling among the white house staff that donald trump's own appointees who had arguably the most important government agencies, the ones in charge of our military, our intelligence, our law enforcement are no longer pretending that donald trump isn't ridiculous? >> well, i think some of them are still pretty buttoned up, kirsten nielsen being a prominent example. >> right, because she said there's no evidence russia wanted to attack our elections. >> but more broadly, yes, one thing we are finding more and
more often when we talk to people who work in the white house or a senior level in the administration is we'll ask them why did trump do this thing, whatever it might be, the helsinki press conference or whatever. in the early administration you could expect an answer that analyzes and game theory and now they're just like -- it's trump. they sort of have stopped bothering trying to explain him. and also really stopped p pretending they know what's going on or what's going to happen. it makes reporting difficult because no one really knows anything. >> i don't even know what i'm going to ask you. >> the second thing i want to say is you must get ptsd every time the phrase going rogue comes up. coats is going rogue.
>> apparently it means going the other direction, though. it doesn't mean going towards responsible governing. >> here's what happened this week, and this is why this week is good week. it's a good week in america because at the beginning of the week because of this guy and some other folks over at helsinki everybody got to see the degree of leverage -- we don't know exactly what it is, but the degree of leverage that vladimir putin has over donald trump was laid bare on the international stage with the hot lights of the world watching on monday. and at the end of the week with all the walk backs and nonwalk backs we got to see it again. at the end of the week he came out and said he's inviting him to washington and going to give him a big fat reward for hacking our election and messing with our democratic processies.
there's not a perb in the country right now who doesn't see donald trump's in the bag for vladimir putin at the end of the this week. that's why people have been saying something that's fundamentally true, that you could hear the fabric of the presidency ripping this week. this is the week when even the people who were in the dark, who wanted to be in the dark, who were praying it doesn't true, whatever, they couldn't imagine somehow -- many of them critics of donald trumps, couldn't imagine he could really be for the russian president, the former kgb spymaster, no one who's sensible can deny it now. because we saw it on monday and after all this we saw it on friday. it's an embarrassment to anybody who can't acknowledge this fundamental truth. >> i agree it's patently clear the president is under the influence of control of vladimir putin.
i think more people are being woken up to that. but the reality is the numbers are not moving in the right direction. the reality is again i'll say only 55% of americans oppose the way trump is handling his relationship with russia. so there are a lot of people who actually aren't following this very closely and they generally support what trump is doing. that is extremely dangerous and something we have to think about. ultimately this will come down to a political question in congress to hold the president accountable. the politics really matter. >> all right, we have to sneak in our very last break. don't go anywhere. we will all be right back. -right away, i could tell his priorities were a little unorthodox. -keep going. stop. a little bit down. stop. back up again. is this adequate sunlight for a komodo dragon? -yeah. -sure, i want that discount on car insurance just for owning a home, but i'm not compromising. -you're taking a shower? -water pressure's crucial, scott! it's like they say -- location, location, koi pond.
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don't start xeljanz xr if you have an infection. tears in the stomach or intestines, low blood cell counts, and higher liver tests and cholesterol levels have happened. your doctor should perform blood tests before you start and while taking xeljanz xr, and monitor certain liver tests. tell your doctor if you were in a region where fungal infections are common, and if you have had tb, hepatitis b or c, or are prone to infections. xeljanz xr can reduce the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis. don't let another morning go by without talking to your rheumatologist about xeljanz xr. we're all talking about making jonathan's sound effect. we're going to give you ten seconds about this week because you a put a lot of it in motion. >> the relationships with putin, his refusal to condemn russians and support his own intelligence
agencies, it's going to have ramifications like charlottesville. we're going to see it play out. >> my thanks. that does it for our hour. i'll see you back here monday for deadline white house at 4 p.m. another day, another bombshell, let's play "hardball." good evening, i am steve kornacki in for chris matthews. president trump began this week in helsinki claiming he believes russian president vladimir putin over his own intelligence. as the repercussions of that continue to reveberate, "the new york times" first revealing the president's personal lawyer and fixer michael cohen secretly recorded a