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tv   Deadline White House  MSNBC  July 26, 2018 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT

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looking ahead quickly to tomorrow, expecting at the white house a meeting of top national security officials focused on north korea. we'll have more on that as we learn more. that's going to wrap up this hour for me. i will see you at the white house tomorrow. thank you for watching. you can follow me at twitter at peter alexander. "deadline white house" with my friend nicolle wallace starts right now. nicolle? /s >> hi, everyone. it's 4:00 in new york. a tweet is just a tweet except when it isn't. that's donald trump's new reality today. brand-new reporting in "the new york times" reveals that special counsel robert mueller is examining donald trump's tweets and public attacks on witnesses in the obstruction of justice investigation. special counsel is stitching together details of the president's private conversations with witnesses such as ousted fbi director james comey and embattled attorney general jeff sessions to see if the private harassment
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of both men combined with the public abuse of them paint a clearer picture of obstruction. the times also reports that the special counsel's office is examining the president's tweets under a wide ranging obstruction of justice law that was beefed up, their word, after the enron scandal. from that times reporting, kwoelt, the investigators did not explicitly say they were examining possible witness tampering, but the nature of the questions they want to ask the president and the fact that they are scrutinizing his actions under a section of the united states code titled, quote, tampering with a witness victim or an informant, raise concerns for his lawyers about mr. trump's exposure in the investigation. joining us now mike schmidt who broke this story along with his colleague maggie haberman is at the table along with mimi rocca, former assistant attorney in southern drilkt of new york where everything is happening. jonathan lemire and former u.s. attorney joyce vance. lucky for us all are nbc analysts and contributors.
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take us through your reporting. >> basically mueller is looking at a lot of different things the president has done. and while most people think obstruction of justice is something that happens in private -- >> that's rudy's comment. >> correct. or people make threats against witnesses in a dark alley. the president's conduct here is public. his public statements about comey and sessions, and what was the president doing behind the scenes when that was going on. one of the examples we use is how trump asked comey to put out word that he was not under investigation. comey didn't really want to do that, and then the next day trump went out in an interview and raised questions about comey's job status. >> in an interview with maria bartiromo. what you're basically laying out is the special counsel's office is stitching together what they have uncovered in their investigation, a lot of which you have already reported, with the president's public statements and tweets. and we tried to put some of those together for our viewers. the incident you talked about
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was april 11, 2017, trump pressures comey to put out word he is not under investigation. and then here's the sound that's now under scrutiny. >> is it too late now to ask him to step down? >> no, it's not too late. i have confidence in him. we'll see what happens. it's going to be interesting. >> it's going to be interesting. then he tweeted, fbi director comey was the best thing that ever happened to hillary clinton and that he gave her a free pass for many bad deeds. the phony trump/russia story was an excuse for the democrats as justification for losing the election. perhaps trump just ran a great campaign, referring to himself in the third person. what is it about laying these things together that makes them a powerful proof point in an obstruction investigation? >> 23u look at all the president's conduct, many, i think some legal experts would say, look, there is not enough in every single one of these instance whether it was asking flynn -- trump asking comey to end the flynn investigation or such. but if you tied them all
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together, you could paint a larger narrative about what the president was trying to do. what all these different tweets and things behind the scenes behavior meant, look, there was an intent to obstruction the russia investigation. >> the idea that this amounts to witness tampering, this is the first time i've seen that. why are they looking at this under the witness tampering? >> what this law is, this wide ranging obstruction of justice, basically allows them to look at all the conduct and it's a new and improved thing that came out after the enron scandal. but what it allows them to do is to look at the different range of things and see like, look, was there something he was trying to do. this comes back to the question that they have, mueller has, which is did the president have criminal inat the point when he did all this. >> jeff sessions is not often thought of as a witness in the obstruction of justice probe. but you layout a pretty compelling example of why he might be. let's put up the private action.
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donald trump very angry, and you interviewed him about this. he said he never would have picked sessions as attorney general if he was going to recuse himself. he asked his then chief of staff reince priebus to get a resignation from sessions. priebus refuses. that's the flash point under scrutiny by the special counsel investigation. and then here's the president attacking his sitting attorney general in the rose garden. >> i told you before i'm very disappointed with the attorney general, but we will see what happens. time will tell. time will tell. >> and then because there is a tweet for everything, here's the president's tweet. attorney general jeff sessions has taken a very weak position on hillary clinton crimes where are e-mails and dnc leaker. i think everyone is conditioned on the attacks of comey. we don't think of sessions as the one that could undo the president in the obstruction probe. >> the president was furious with sessions for recusing himself in the russia
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investigation. the president wanted -- he said openly in the white house, he wanted someone loyal to him to be overseeing it. he tried to get sessions to resign. he tried to get him to go. the president didn't want to be seen politically as firing him. when that failed, he undertook a public exam pain exactly a year ago today where he went after sessions and galvanized the far parts of the right against him to try and pressure him as much as possible. so what mueller wants to know is why did he do this? what was the motivating factor behind that? >> joyce, let me bring you in. we've all witness and had watched the slow motion train wreck that is rudy giuliani and donald trump's character assassination against jim comey. but it seems like that effort would be trickier with our sitting attorney general who as mike and his colleague maggie haberman layout in their piece, really does touch all three of these, you know, examples where bob mueller wanted to show private conduct. he also asked him to reverse his recusal so that he could go back
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into the investigation and defend him. he attacked him publicly. and there's the tweet. how do you see this all coming together if you're putting together an obstruction case? >> it is tricky because it's not enough to try to abuse sessions publicly, to demean his character. the president actually has to do any one of a number of specific things. that can be somehow influence sessions, if sessions is a witness, to keep him from testifying truthfully. or perhaps to get him to alter documentary evidence, or even to take the more macro step of terminating the investigation altogether. so prosecutors will have this narrow focus on proving the specific elements of the statute when it comes to the president's conduct, vis-a-vis the attorney general. >> joyce, what do you make of the use of this beefed up witness tampering law? it's the first -- this is the first i've heard that that's something that they're using to examine all this conduct. >> so, the statutes were amended
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in 2002 because there were some difficulties that were encountered in the enron trial. people felt like prosecutors needed to have a few more tools in the tool kit. the statute is more specific. it's broken out for different kinds of conduct. and i think what we're looking at here for the first time, nicolle, is this idea of tampering with witnesses. you know, people who you expect to testify, are you trying to exert influence on them in an effort to get them to change or withhold their testimony. >> and, joyce, what about the defense from the president's lawyer rudy giuliani that obstruction only happens in dark dark alleys? it seems like he's ushering in a new era on the legal front as well? >> so, rudy giuliani is wrong, that's not true. you would have to be a stupid defendant to try to obstruct justice publicly. you know, the drug king pen who walks into the food court and threatens somebody in front of 20 witnesses. it's no less obstruction than if you do it privately just because
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you do it in front of a lot of witnesses or everyone on twitter. >> so, jonathan lemire, most of the people that get tripped up in special counsel's investigations get tripped up for obstructing justice or perjuring themselves. this is no exception. george papadopoulos pleaded guilty to making false statements. mike flynn same thing. rick gates. van der zwaan, scooter libby was prosecuted for obstruction of justice and perjury. how about the fact that we now have sort of another front that we understand to be under scrutiny, do you think that is likely to make this already trigger-happy, greatly stressed out white house even more anxious? >> i think it's interesting what a public life of drubl leads, it's out there. it's become a cliche. remember the press conference he said in july of 2016 when he asked russia to find hillary clinton's e-mails. the process had been, if that was discovered in an e-mail, if trump had e-mailed ask russia to find e-mails, that would be the end of him. that would be dark and shadow
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and mysterious. because he said it publicly, pipe l said, well, it's donald trump, he says things. it is obviously key here to mueller these are public statements being viewed as valid and potentially as incriminating as something he would say in private. and there is a sense around the white house, you know, since day one of this administration, they have tried to control what he can do on twitter to zero avail. john kelly tries to give his input here, this input here. maybe bill shine is involved. donald trump does what donald trump wants on twitter and he is -- he gets himself into political hot water at times with that. and now potentially some legal issues. and i think it is another front for people around the president to be anxious about. and another front we will see how donald trump reacts to this likely on twitter. >> we'll see if he tweets or stops targeting people on twitter. you and your colleagues reported on this. people would come back from answering questions and he would want a read-out. so they would have to feed that
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information back to the special counsel's office. witness tampering, i don't know if it rises to that level legally, but certainly witness commingling is something the president has been engaged in since the beginning. >> most legal experts would say that you should not talk about an investigation if you're under investigation, especially if you're under investigation for obstruction. so here he is looking at obstruction investigation and he continues to talk about it and talk about the derogatory -- against the investigation, against people like comey. even last week taking this action where he was trying to take the security clearance away from these former national security officials, two of them comey and mccabe, are witnesses in the investigation. to the average person, i see where they may look at this and say, no big deal. this is the president just being the president. but when it comes to mueller, i'm not sure he'll have such a favorable view. >> do you think this story, when they process it -- my read is that the president will read
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this and want to be interviewed even more, and that the lawyers will read this and want him to be interviewed even less. >> probably. but the thing is the president's public criticisms have not been as much focused on obstruction. he focuses a ton on the russia question, on collusion. he seems to have a difficult time separating interference from collusion. but he really just talks about russia. he doesn't talk about obstruction. >> he never denies obstruction. >> correct. that was the thing when we sat down with him last july. he said, look, i never would have made sessions attorney general if he would recuse himself. i was shocked for him to be so public about his feelings on this. >> joyce, what do you think when you hear that, i never would have appointed sessions if i knew he was going to recuse himself and not protect me? the spirit of the rest of that conversation was what he warranted him to do, he wanted his guys. he admired eric holder because in donald trump's view eric holder protected obama. does that give you a window into the state of mind questions that we know robert mueller wants answered?
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>> i think it puts up a big red flag that forces you as a prosecutor to investigate whether or not obstruction was taking place because the president is, in essence, saying i wanted to be in control of the investigation. i wanted someone who was concerned about protecting me, not about investigating in the name of the american people. excuse me. and so that's what forces investigators to undertake additional inquiry into the president's state of mind, into the actions that he took so that they can determine whether or not there is obstruction. obstruction is pretty hard to charge. it's not brought a lot because the intent element is such a stringent burden. but here there is an obligation on investigators to make sure that obstruction did not occur and if it did, to charge it. >> joyce, can you get to the bottom of that question without interviewing the president of the united states? >> it's a lot easier to get to the bottom if you interview the president, but nothing good for the president happens in that interview. he would likely be shredded by
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even the most junior prosecutor on mueller's team. hard to imagine how he could sit down for an interview and not give mueller additional evidence of obstruction, even potentially make the case just given the way he speaks about these things, sometimes with so much candor. it's the one area where he seems to be candid. his desire to control this investigation. so i think it would likely be malpractice if his lawyers were willing to bring him over voluntarily for this interview. >> joyce, you find yourself in vigorous agreement with the president's legal advisors right now, 414 on thursday. don't say it never happened. mimi, let me ask you, i want to pick up on a point jonathan was making about if these tweets were texts or e-mails, they could be potentially devastating and they could represent a real gold mine for a prosecutor. is there something about the fact they are public they are less valuable or less enticing? >> not to a prosecutor. people are having the reaction
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they are as jonathan said is because they are out in public and people don't think someone -- this is essentially what giuliani is saying. you'd have to be stupid to do this publicly. it really is what he's saying. one, he could be that stupid. it could be more machiavellian than that. if i do it in public it won't be seen as something nefarious or possibly criminal. and trump, as we've all said, is not past doing things in broad daylight that other people wouldn't do. it's not going to be less valuable to the prosecutor. i think the way they're going to look at it is if you take the body of the tweet and you put it in a text to a confidant, what would i think of it then? you know, and it's going to take on a different light. so you have to analyze it that way. i also think, just building on what other people have said, this is not only relevant to a potential witness tampering charge, which i think is very -- it is a very serious charge. let me just say that first, and they get charged all the time and, you know, come back to this
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theme of our criminal justice system cannot function if people go around trying to corruptly influence witnesses in any investigation, let alone a counter intelligence investigation about russia attacking our country. so, i think for people to sort of write it off as -- >> it is a moment to sort of hit pause on. we are now talking about whether or not the president also is a witness tamperer. >> but to the broader point of it's -- it can be a separate crime, but it's also evidence in the broader investigation. >> right. >> this question we all keep asking, why is he trying to stop this investigation? why is he trying to interfere with it? consciousness of guilt, that's one of the most powerful pieces of evidence that prosecutors use. >> all right. we're grateful for your reporting. thanks for sharing with us. when we come back, if you think the president is acting rattled and scared about what his former fixer is sharing with federal investigators, you probably haven't seen anything yet. that's because the president's former financial gate keeper is the latest witness in the criminal investigation into
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michael cohen. also ahead, inside the republican effort to impeach the republican overseeing the russia investigation which is being run by, you guessed it, a republican. and then trump's putin love is getting harder to defend on capitol hill. we'll show you how one of the president's top national security officials boxed himself in when fielding questions about trump and his pro-russia policies. stay with us. this is a tomato k from farm, to pot, to jar, to table. and serve with confidence that it's safe. this is a diamond you can follow from mine to finger, and trust it never fell into the wrong hands. ♪ ♪ this is a shipment transferred two hundred times, transparently tracked from port to port. this is the ibm blockchain, built for smarter business. built to run on the ibm cloud.
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what about my life? what about me? maybe even laugh while crying. so you know, even if you're a psychopath, it touches your heart. sounds pretty great, right?" we're on to something. come on. and the best part is it's easy to upgrade. just say, "add epix." epix has a whole lot more. whoa! i've spoken to alan weiselberg about how to set the whole thing up with the way we are funding -- yes. and it's all the stuff -- all
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the stuff, because here you never know where that company, you never know where he's going to be. >> going to get hit by -- >> correct. i spoke to alan about it. when it comes time for the financing which will be -- >> listen, what financing? >> well, i have to pay -- >> the secret trump-cohen reporting introduced us to a new character in trump's new legal sagas, alan weiselberg discussed as a player -- i think i'm going to say in a play by --. the "wall street journal" braek being the news weiselberg has been subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury in a michael cohen criminal case. bad news for cohen and also for donald trump because of weiselberg's resume as described in the jushl as, quote, for decades, mr. weiselberg has served as executive vice-president and chief financial officer at the trump organization and was once described by a person close tote company as the most senior
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person in the organization that's not a trump. after mr. trump was elected, he handed control of his financial assets and business interests to his two adult sons and mr. weiselberg. joining us from the washington post, moderator of washington week robert costa. political times, nick. joining us at the table, charlie sykes mimi and jonathan are still here lucky for us. let me start with you, charlie. so, i've heard people say today that if michael cohen knows where all the bodies are buried, mr. weiselberg did the digging. this is someone who knows everything. >> yeah. in trump world this has got to be the most terrifying possible scenario when you think about it, that kwlyour fixer is flipp on you and the guy who has all the financial secrets is flipping on you. in terms of -- we've said for some time the trump white house recognizes that michael cohen might pose the greatest
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existential threat to the presidency even more so than the russian collusion allegations. but now it seems to be weaponized. >> southern district of new york, we talk a lot about the mueller investigation. before there was a mueller investigation, sdny was sort of the -- where all the all-stars came to prosecute the toughest and most important cases. this certainly looks like, has the hallmarks of the way southern district prosecutes a case like the cohen case. >> absolutely. this is a classic southern district case frankly. so this isn't going to be new to them. i mean, you know, it's higher profile. >> right. >> plenty of high profile -- >> just the president's tapes, conversation talking about a play boy play mate. >> your everyday -- >> it's almost old now. >> we're so dead inside, good god, i mean, let's just stop. i know we have commercials to get to. let's just stop, let's stop. we are talking about how this is
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a normal case for the southern district. no, it's not. this is the president of the united states who has someone with the title "fixer" and the fixer and the president have someone who was their financial guy who has now been subpoenaed. there is nothing normal about this. >> i agree. what we're referring to is the broader skeleton type of case of it's a financial fraud case, it looks like in a lot of ways. >> cases are similar, james comey writes about how it was a mob family. is that the kinds of cases -- >> yes, i think it's a combination. look, most mob cases have a financial aspect because at the end of the day organized crime is about money as well. >> tax fraud. >> enforce it with violence as opposed to just intimidation that we were just talking about on good old twitter. mob doesn't use twitter. but yes, this reminds me of many mob cases that i and many others did in the southern district for many years and are still doing. and, you know, in a couple of ways.
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one is the trump-cohen relationship which is like -- there is no other way to describe it. it is very much like a mafia boss and his consigliary, trump one trusted him with many things and this man would, quote, take a bullet for him until he won't, because every mob boss is brought down and really, you know, the families have been decimated for that reason, because of their most loyal soldiers and cappos turned on them. when faced with prison that's what they do. if i can say one thing about this weiselberg subpoena, this to me shows the danger to michael cohen of what he is not yet doing, which, as far as i know from an outsider looking in, he is not yet going in and speaking with prosecutors. he's doing this p.r. campaign. weiselberg is getting subpoenaed. cooperation is very much a race who is in the door first and who is going to be the most cooperative. truthfully cooperative, but
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cooperative. cohen should really look at this now and where this is going. >> weiselberg may know more than him and cohen may not be valuable to them any more. you only flip if you're viewed as someone they can't get somewhere else. >> you hit the nail on the head. >> robert costa, let me ask you about your fantastic reporting today. i'm not going to be a punching bag any more. picking up on mimi's point about michael cohen's p.r. campaign. inside the trump white house, trump raged about the release of his and cohen's 2016 conversation about financing the deelt with mcduelingal, former play boy model to sell 9 rights of the alleged 10-month affair with trump which they never published to her account. did he rage because people found out about it or did he rage because he's in legal trouble because of it? >> talking to white house officials and friends of a sen outraged at michael cohen. they thought he was the ultimate
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loyalist soul they could convince to stay and not work or cooperate with federal prosecutors at some point in the future, to not be releasing these tapes. they also are alarmed he's working with lanny davis, former advisor to the clintons. he said michael cohen was pushed to this point, that he wanted to stay loyal, but he thinks that rudy giuliani, the president's lawyer, has said things that are untrue and it's time for cohen to get out there and tell his stories, and he's going to keep telling the story even if the white house doesn't like it. >> robert costa, you tweeted something that was so interesting to me and so inside trump's head where you spend more time than anyone should have to. but you wrote about how the selection of lanny davis itself, a clinton family loyalist, was like salt in a wound for donald trump. talk about that. >> it was, because lanny davis was someone who wrote a book about how he believes the election was stolen from secretary clinton in 2016 by russian interference, by
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different factors. and you see now this white house seeing davis alongside michael cohen, it brings back memories of 2016. it puts the ultimate foe in their mind, the clintons, with the ultimate loyalist michael cohen and that's a jarring image for those close to president trump. >> and, nick, there are signs of strain at the white house, a big flash point yesterday with the reporter getting kicked out of an event. the president hasn't taken any questions since the cohen tape was released. he usually likes to field at least a few shouted questions or walk up to the reporters on the north lawn or the south lawn. they are not acting, i guess in the jonathan lemire inspired post helsinki and the cohen -- release of the cohen tapes, they're not acting like a white house that feels confident about anything. >> look, smart questions and good journalism are a death ray to a white house in trouble. and this is a white house in trouble. if it's a mob novembermovie, it
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farce. it's not just that you have cohen. how many of these mob movies the plot revolves around the accountants? now you have the concigliary and the accountant flipping. that is terrible news. if there are many bones buried at trump tower, and if there are bones buried there, these two guys know what it is. so all along we see, when the president is under great pressure, he lashes out. i think in this case, look, i think he knows that by taking a swing at cnn, he's going to get all of us in a mood to talk about the media for a couple of days, which is never a good look for us and we're already stopping talking about putin. but who can blame us if the accountant is in the crosshairs? i just think they are trying to distract us a bit and do their favorite thing, which is to make us talk about ourselves as if we're really important. >> all right. we're going to resist it the way
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i resist doughnuts when i walk by. we're going to get at the signs of strain at this white house. i blame lemire for it. if you want to get back to the idea, every white house deals with the crushing burdens of the job. this white house is dealing with the crushing burdens of the president's own misconduct because whatever you think of the fact that michael cohen recorded his conversation with donald trump, this white house now has to find someone to field questions and to field the legal liabilities that come with a brand-new bucket of questions, brand-new line of inquiry, at least public facing new lines about the relationship with national enquirer, whether those amounted to gifts, whether there was collusion between the campaign and a media outlet and whether that outlet was operating as a media outlet. i think the first amendment is applied legally to justifying publishing a store i. i'm not sure if it's a defense for killing a story with money. the investigations seem to
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multiply. >> it is a crushing pressure on the west wing right now. it's a west wing that is a.m. hemorrhaging staff, that has lost people. more departures expected in the coming weeks. they are having great difficulty bringing in qualified replacements who, people who want to come in that building right now knowing all that's going on, knowing that robert mueller is watching everything. seeing these new fronts opening up seemingly on a daily basis. yes, this is a white house that has dealt with some external kriegs ea crises. it is picking a fight with iran. so much of this is what the president has brought on it himself. whether it is his sins from his past life as a celebrity businessman or his conduct in office. and it is driving 350edriving pe around him -- he is having good aides around him more yes men aren't challenging him and who are willing to do his bidding, including not to dwell on it, picking fights with the media this week when they are clearly looking for -- >> are you surprise today see bill shine not leaving a mark or not doing anything to make the problems less glaring?
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since he's arrived, all of the weaknesses, all the structural weaknesses of the trump white house are, if anything, more clear. >> everything jonathan said is true. but also donald trump has too things going or him that he's counting on. number one, he has succeeded in getting a large portion of the population to distrust the news media. he has immunized himself against a lot of this reporting and he's going to continue doing that to dee legitimatize the fact. number one. number two, he has a base that frankly does not care whether the president lies. they don't care whether he was having a -- an affair with a porn star or with a play boy model, or that he lied about it or that he paid money to cover it up. these are two things, these are almost like the super powers. his main super power is his complete shamelessness. but those are things he has counted on. and i think he continues to count on. >> we at this table have banned conversation about the almighty powers of the 40% because they weren't -- trump's base wasn't enough to have written a victory speech.
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he thought they were all that, he would have written a victory speech. let me ask you about another piece of reporting in the washington post. robert and his colleagues report tuesday's public release of the trump-cohen audio came as a surprise to prosecutors happenedling the cohen case in the southern district. cohen seen as someone angling for a plea deal was putzled he would choose to make potential evidence public. that kind of maneuver angers investigators and can make it harder to cut a deal. you take that reporting with your analysis of the accountant now being subpoenaed. do you think cohen is in a weaker pogts today than he was on friday? >> i think the southern district will march ahead with their case on cohen until the day his plea agreement, if he ever signs one, if he's in court. that's the kind of guy he is. you're never going to assume things are going the way you think they're going until they actually happen. so they're going to guard against that. they're going to march ahead. they're going to keep doing their investigation. weiselberg has information about many people. but yes, if i were a prosecutor on this case, i would be incredibly annoyed and irritated by what cohen is doing.
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i thought that first interview he did where he kind of came out and showed the world, i'm changing. he made very vague statements. my understanding from the reporting is that guy petrillo had some influence over that and seemed to control it. i have to say since lanny davis has gotten on board, you know, it's been a little more out of control and i don't think he's helping himself with getting a cooperation agreement. >> robert costa, you're in touch with lanny davis and others around michael cohen. any sense that they feel like mimi's analysis is wrong, that releasing this evidence strengthened their client in some other capacity other than legal that we're not talking about? >> they believe that since cohen is not charged at this moment with anything, clearly he's under scrutiny having his offices and his hotel room and all of that raided by investigators. they are trying to make a public case. and cohen is someone who is very cognizant as someone who worked for president trump for a decade about public reputation. and they're trying to show that he's -- he has material on the
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president, he has material on many things he's done over the years. the key thing i'm wondering as a reporter is this really a play for a pardon. davis denies that it is. michael cohen has not said nilg overt about looking for a pardon. people are skeptical and they say maybe they're trying to signal to president trump, if you want to stop this, this release of tapes and protect yourself from cohen's information, which he's signalling he has a lot of information, maybe that puts him in play for a pardon. but so far both sides are denying. giuliani is denying he's considering it, the president, and cohen denies he's playing for t. >> if you get a pardon, you still have to testify, right, mimi, if you get a pardon? >> yes. >> pardoning him really doesn't protect -- >> and he still has the new york ag's office to worry about. it's not a smart play for him. >> robert costa, thank you for spending time with us. we debunk the articles of impeachment against attorney general rod rosenstein. those spearheading the license
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debunked conspiracy theories and political attacks. stay with us. that's nextment .
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even in an era full of blatantly political charades, this one is laying it on thick. donald trump's allies in congress introduced a resolution in congress calling for the impeachment of deputy attorney general rod rosenstein who happens to be overseeing the investigation of robert mueller. democrats are against it, but perhaps surprisingly many republicans are as well. house speaker paul ryan said it was cavalier and this morning attorney general sessions reiterated his support for rosenstein. >> my deputy, rod rosenstein, is highly capable. i have the highest confidence in him. you probably know not only did he go to wharton school of business, but he graduated from harvard right here in this area. so, what i would like congress to do is to focus on some of the
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legal challenges that are out there. >> naming the colleges seem to be mentioned for a college of one. donald trump likes fancy schools. let let's put up the articles of impeachment. here we go from the articles of impeachment, meadows and jordan believe appointing a special counsel is rehashing an argument that you' now been rejected by two federal judges. joyce, the idea it is an impeachable offense to have appointed robert mueller seems to be not a good way to leave the impression that this is at all remotely serious. >> right. typically when you're upholding your oath of office in the best traditions of the justice department and you appoint someone who people as varied as newt gingrich and hillary clinton approve of, it's going to be awfully hard to make a case for impeachment on that basis. >> also the articles of
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impeachment they write mr. rosenstein's memo raise concerns for alleging collusion between the trump campaign and rash whether these allegations result ed in potential crimes warranting investigation. my understanding is, joyce, collusion in and of itself isn't a crime, and that the entire mission stem from the unanimous conclusion of the intelligence community and law enforcement that russia meddled in our election. why are republicans coming down on the other side of getting to the bottom of what an american adversary did in our democracy? >> i keep wondering when this fever dream that congress is suffering from is going to break. i mean, you know, the primary mission here has always been at a very serious level. to deal with the idea that russia was interfering in our elections, and also to determine whether or not the trump campaign was involved in that interference in any way. that's an american mission. it's not a partisan mission. and it's still hard to understand why congress can't wrap its mind around that. the idea that they would try to pin it on rosenstein, of all
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people, this innocent third-party, not ionvolvnvolvede campaign, trying to get it right, who has bent over backwards to give them access to documents in a way frankly that goes far beyond what congress is entitled to see. this is a rank piece of political activity. it looks like it's going to fail and be reduced to some sort of censure motion. even that should fail here. this is just inappropriate and purely political. >> nick, they also re-up one of their favorite attacks, the fisa application for carter page which was reauthorized four times when the original surveillance proved fruitful to the investigation. what do you make of the fact that they are now sort of resorting to the bottom of the barrel things that even some of the anchors on fox news have suggested have no credibility? >> well, look, i think this document is best understood as part of the campaign platform for congressman jordan's campaign for speaker. it's a political document.
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it's intended to win the approval and support of the president, i think, to signal where these men stand on the great issue of the day. i don't think it will actually go to anything beyond possibly censure, as joigs was saying. it's not a serious document in a legal sense. it is not a fair and accurate reflection of the facts of any of these matters. it feels like it's been dredged up from twitter and the comment boards on breitbart. but it will be effective as a political document for certain people in the house. >> they also blame rosenstein for the application, which was submitted and approved by four republican -- four judges appointed by republicans six months before rosenstein was on the job. why do you think the white house, people like don mcgahn and john kelly and kellyanne conway's husband is prominent in respe respected legal circles. why do they stay with a full-on war being waged against rod rosenstein?
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>> nick's read is exactly right. this is a political document. these are allies of the president who are trying to ally themselves with him. >> whatever the document is to charlie's point, 40% of the country believe it to be true. >> sure. it is yet -- also, it is the latest distraction. it's uranium one. it's the pakistani i.t. guy, hillary clinton's server. it's just another method to muddy the waters, to throw something out there to confuse the public to give them something to bat on, a news cycle or two and move on. to your question about resignations, we just don't see that in this white house. at this point there's been perhaps one resignation out of principal when gary cohn over tariffs. he stayed during charlottesville. >> it would have taken a higher job. >> who would still come back for chief of staff, but this is something we've seen time and again people have made the decision to stay in this white house. they are not leaving because the president's behavior. >> everything you said is right about this, the distraction. what is striking about this is that this is not just a hack job. it is an embarrassing hack job.
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>> right. >> it is 23ifilled with factual errors. its legal argument is laughable. you would think if, in fact, they wanted to go through the motions of doing something like this, they wrote come ould come something that is not this laugh out loud -- >> have you met jim jordan? this is exactly bwhat jim jorda would present. he's a joke. >> he is a joke. whatever was left of his reputation has been shredded on as he launches his campaign. >> it is a time of peril for him. >> i feel like you all have amnesia. let's remind everyone who jim jordan is. >> i wonder why you won't give us what we've asked for. >> sir, i certainly hope your colleagues are not under that impression. that is not accurate, sir. >> it is accurate. we have caught you hiding -- >> mr. chairman, did we allow the witness to answer? >> you're using this to attack me ternlly. >> point of order, mr. chairman. the witness be permitted to answer the question? >> i appreciate your service. it's not personal. we just want the information. >> i appreciate your saying it
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isn't personal. sometimes it feels that way a. >> it is personal. he's under scrutiny for his role as an assistant wrestling coach in a scandal. i'm sure he runs his staff to produce that. >> if your boss is a moron, isn't the job of the staff to protect you from going out in public and confirming you are a moron? >> i can itthink it's worse thag a moron. this is debasing the republicans in the house. and i guess, nick, that's where we are. they are now happy to be debased in servitude to donald trump. >> you know, he's correct. it's not personal, it's business as they say. it's politics. it is not about rod rosenstein. they would say the same thing about whoever was in that job who had taken the same actions. it's about power, nicolle, preserving power, extending it, and protecting this president. >> joyce, will you just give us some sort of rope to grab onto
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that we will be pulled out of this upside down, down is up, up is down, where republicans attack a republican appointee who -- if any one of the other 16 republicans had prevailed, rod rosenstein may have been appointed to the same job. i'm guessing the white house wouldn't green light attacks on him from other republicans in the white house. >> the good news is this impeachment document won't reach the floor of the house for a vote. there won't be a serious effort to remove rosenstein from his job to facilitate the white house in doing that. everyone needs to remember that not too far behind these efforts to attack rosenstein is an attack on bob mueller, an attack on the ongoing russia investigation. this is all part of kowtowing to trump and trying to bring that investigation down, which i guess takes us full circle back to obstruction. >> back to obstruction and the president's tweets. i don't know. maybe he'll stop tweeting. joyce vance, thank you for spending some time with us. when we come back, stumping the
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now has 33% more protein, along with 26 essential vitamins and minerals boost® high protein. be up for life. we focus on words from the president because our allies and our adversaries listen to those words and they calibrate their actions based upon those words. you're right that the president about 20 to 30 hours later did correct himself after the helsinki summit to say that he did indeed agree with u.s. intelligence services and not with putin. five days later he went back on twitter. that's the most recent statement from the president saying that russia's interference in the election is all a big hoax. so i guess my question is why shouldn't we accept this most recent statement from the
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president as u.s. policy rather than the statement that you referenced on july 17th? >> senator, the policies are themselves statements as well. indeed they're the most important statements that the administration makes. >> policies are statements and statements are policies. >> no, that's not true. that's absolutely not true. i make lots of statements. they're not u.s. policy. the president says things. the president makes comments in certain places. we have a national security council, we meet, we play out strategies, we develop policies. >> how do i know the difference? >> the president sets the course. >> how do i know the difference between a presidential statement that is not a policy and a statement that is? >> mike pompeo has squarely entered it depends on the what the definition of "is" is territory. what was that? >> essentially ignore that guy. ignore what the president says, just look at what our policies are, but it's a hard -- >> where did he land too? >> he had to back track a couple of times. >> what was the final answer?
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>> he got himself tied in pretzels in that. >> it's another example of the president versus the presidency and people around him trying to govern and manage him. at the end of the day we're told whether he's in the oval office or a tweet, those are positional statements. and whether the white house considers them policy or not, people around the world do. global capitals do. the senator is right, they calibrate their reactions towards them. >> words matter from the president. >> that's why nbc's hans nichols is here because he works at the building where words matter the most because lives are on the line literally, the pentagon. since helsinki there have been real questions from the military, from the pentagon, about just what was agreed to and those decisions and those agreements have real-life consequences in that building behind you. >> well, what they say here is until they get something official, and by official they mean in writing and not in twitter, to answer that question, they treat it as notional. we know it because of the transgender debate. the pentagon slow walked that until they had official guidance from the president.
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they said nothing is going to change. so here the view is very clear that when there's a presidential tweet, it doesn't equate to policy. now, in terms of what actually happened in that helsinki meeting, officials here are still waiting on an official order to somehow take it to the next level. we've talked to general votel who has been very clear that nothing has come out of that, nothing secretary mattis had had his briefing from the president, but so far there have been no policy changes. look, in general here they do monitor the president's twitter feed very quickly but don't think of it as policy. >> nick confessore, i want to bring to the conversation something that national security advisor john bolton, who's done a decent job flying under the radar since he's joined this white house staff, said yesterday. he said the president believes that the next bilateral meeting with president putin should take place after the russia witch hunt is over. i couldn't get any farther than that because it was shocking to hear a national security advisor call a probe by robert mueller who, let me just point out, i
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worked with robert mueller during the bush years, he was the fbi director. john bolton also worked with robert mueller. it was jarring to hear john bolton, a former colleague, call his investigation a witch hunt. what corrupts all of the national security officials around donald trump or not all of them, i shouldn't say all of them. i think coats distinguished himself last week. admiral rogers has testified to being befuddled by the russia policy. what krupcorrupts so many peopl this west wing? >> if you're john bolton and you want a good russia policy, you probably don't want the next summit to come while the investigation is still happening. so to me kind of using that phrase, "the witch hunt" is maybe a way to get the president to buy into your idea of putting off a summit that you think is a bad idea in the first place. >> but you're grading him on a curve. >> but that's how -- that's how this white house works.
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>> that's like telling my 6-year-old eat the medicine, it tastes like cherry. >> it's the same as jeff sessions saying that rosenstein had gone to wharton. it sounds too dumb to be true but it sometimes works. >> hans, let me give you the last word here. it's too dumb to be true. how do they deal at that with the pentagon. like a parade maybe? >> they just make sure all the medicine here is cherry flavored, nicolle. what they try to do here is get clarity. you have to almost appreciate the position that mattis and the whole joint staff is in. if they say something publicly that's crosswise with the president, that diminishes their ability to influence the president they serve. i think we can all be sort of on the same page here that you would want secretary mattis and others want secretary mattis to maintain his influence with the president he serves. >> we do. real quick. >> well, your question what
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corrupts. it is the fact that you have to play to the president's narcissism all the time. obviously that keeps them viable, but on the other hand it corrupts the process. >> exactly. we have to sneak in our last break. thank you, hans, for spending some time with us. we will be right back. it's pretty amazing out there. the world is full of more possibilities than ever before. and american express has your back every step of the way- whether it's the comfort of knowing help is just a call away with global assist. or getting financing to fund your business. no one has your back like american express.
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ai ready. secure to the core. the ibm cloud is the cloud for smarter business. i'm going to say thanks for charlie, jonathan and nick. "mtp daily" starts right now. >> that's pretty good. you did that in three seconds. >> i didn't want to take away any of your time. >> thank you, much appreciated. well, if it's thursday, as george orwell said, it's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. tonight, the real motive behind the president's growing authoritarian behavior. >> just remember, what you're seeing and what you're reading is not what's happening. >> plus, tweet exposure. why the special counsel is zeroing in on the president's tweets. and tariff


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