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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  July 26, 2018 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT

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that's "all in" for this evening. >> chris, congratulations on your multiple emmy nominations. my single one, your double one. come organization, come organizati on, big guy. >> any excuse to send anybody tacos when it comes down to it. all right. thank you for joining us at home this hour. i thought today was going to be kind of a sleepy news day, right? at last. it started off as kind of a sleepy news day. then all h-e-double hockey sticks broke out this evening and tonight and now it has turned into another totally nuts news day. as of about 7:00 p.m. eastern tonight, buzz feed news was first to report that the chief strategist for the bernie sanders for president campaign in 2016, bernie sanders's chief
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strategist todd divine will be a witness for the prosecution in the federal criminal case against trump campaign chairman paul manafort. or if he's not going to actually appear at trial as a witness, he now says he is they know prosecutors in rob mueller's office in their case against paul manafort. his consulting firm putting out this statement. the special counsel has asked tad devine to assist in the prosecution of the case against paul manafort regarding his firm's media consulting on past political campaigns in ukraine. we readily provided information. they said they have been, quote, assured by the special counsel's office that we have no legal exposure and did not act
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unlawfully. in some american electoral politics ways, it is jarring to see the guy are the bernie sanders campaign caught up in the manafort case brought by the special counsel, right? but it's not a huge surprise if you have been following the evidence in that case and you know something about manafort's history. up through 2012, we have known that tad devine like paul manafort, he did do overseas political consulting work in ukraine. he worked alongside manafort. and tad devine's name is all over the evidence list submitted just this past week. so that was when the prosecutors were basically notifying court that things related to tad devine, e-mails and documents with tad devine's name on them, they would be cited in court in the part of case. similarly, part of's lawyers filed hundreds of pages of documents in federal court, exhibits basically, in support of their defense of paul
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manafort. in those exhibits you find tad devine's name and e-mail address all over those as well. so it is not that surprising that he is going to turn up somehow in the paul manafort case. now we know how exactly he is going to turn up. so far the bernie sanders campaign has factored into the russia scandal in a very specific way, right? russian messaging, about the theft and the staged dissemination of stolen documents from the democratic party. we know that the bernie sanders campaign factored in because a significant part of those efforts was aimed at boosting the, boosting the sanders campaign against clinton, stoking resendment among the supporters and ultimately trying to prevent bernie sanders supporters from turning up against trump and for clinton.
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we know it was part of russia's strategy in trying to elect trump. now we will see it laid out in court. the relationship between bernie sanders' senior strategist and donald trump's indicted campaign chairman. we will see whatever it is that tad devine is offering prosecutors about his work alongside paul manafort in the former soviet union which has led to this litany of charges. the manafort trial is due to start early next week. wow. that just happened tonight. that came on top of a report that a man has been subpoenaed in the southern district of new york. the federal grand jury considering the criminal investigation into the long time personal attorney michael cohen. the michael cohen case, big picture, it is still basically one big open question in terms
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of what kind of legal trouble might lie ahead for the president himself if his long time attorney who apparently timed his conversations with president trump among other things, whether he is criminally charged by federal prosecutors in new york. we don't know if that will be an issue for the president himself. we don't know how that will play out. serve bank very closely. with you if this guy has been subpoenaed, if this is right, that honestly has way bigger implications than just the case against michael cohen. allen wicelberg isn't a household name. he has been at the trump organization since its inception. he is known to be not only a very senior figure in the trump organization. he's been directly involved in a
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number of financial dealings related to the president and his business that has since come under scrutiny. for example, he is. to have been personally involved in the payments to women who alleged that they had afwars president trump. according to the "wall street journal," he was also close enough to the president and his family that he was the one who handled their household expenditures. personal expenditures and purchases for mr. trump and his family including mr. trump's dealings with various banks. he is the president of the donald j. trump foundation which has just come under very aggressive scrutiny in new york state. he is such an important and senior figure in the president's business empire, when the president announced he was handing off day to day control of his business, now that he's president, the common short hand we use for that transaction is to say he handed over control of his business to his two sons,
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don jr. and eric. but actually, the group he handed over control of his business to is his two sons, don jr. and eric, but also, allen weisselberg. he is the lynchpin of all trump financial matters. not incidentally, he is also reported to have been personally responsible for preparing donald trump's tax returns for years. if he has now been subpoenaed in the southern district of new york, that is a potentially very big deal. we know the president has been particularly sensitive, even particularly emotional around investigators and even the press pushing too hard when it comes to his personal finances and the financials around his business. allen weisselberg has been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury in new york. that is the kind of thing likely to push the president's but the onlies.
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but oh, wait, there's more. brews beyond that from the daily beast. this is an important story. tomorrow there will be a little bit of a strange scene at the white house. they are apparently planning tomorrow on bringing in the president himself to make big a show of him personally chairing a national security council meeting about election security. a meeting about keeping the mid-term elections safe from any external meddling. that is rich given that it is unanimous everywhere else outside the kremlin that russia interfered in and cast doubt on our last election. but they'll trot out the president about keeping our next election safe, to run it himself. so that should be fascinating. mid-term elections only about 100 days away. democrats have been really stamping their beat the the
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security of. election. they've been scamping their feet with increasing fervor and even desperation over the past few days and weeks. you might have seen a few days ago -- this was democrats in the house shouting, usa, usa, on the floor of congress as they stopped republicans from zeroing out. democrats lost that fight to get that funding for the states, but they made a huge show of it. they went down swinging. soon there after, 20 states attorney general asked to protect the elections in mid terms this year. even a former senior trump administration official, trump's
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white house homeland security director said today that trump's decision to eliminate the jock of the cyber security chief in april, he tells isikoff that was a dangerous decision. he said it leaves no one, quote, minding the store when it comes to stopping efforts by foreign adversaries to hack into the mid materials like they did in the election if 2016. so on the issue of security from this election, from which we're 100 days out, a lot of people have been throwing red flags about this. dan coats gave this on the us in speech. he said about cyber attacks in the upcoming mid-term election, he said the warning lights are blinking red. he said he was choosing that language because it was then language used by craft george tenet to warn about the
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impenaltying 9/11 attack in the summer of 2001. dan coats said he is deliberately choosing that same language to talk about the threat we are facing, including from russia going into our next election. after dan coats made those sort of alarming remarks two fridays ago, a vice president at microsoft gave an interview at the aspen security forum, he announce that had even just his one company, just microsoft, they had already found at least three congressional campaigns for this year's mid terms already being attacked by russian state sponsors. >> we did discover that a fake microsoft domain had been established as the landing page for phishing attacks and we saw a meta data that suggested the attacks were being directed at three candidates who are all standing for election in the mid-term elections. >> in this year's election. phishing attacks. >> of three candidates for election. >> can you tell houston they
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were? >> we can't disclose that information because we maintain our customers' privacy so we won't go there but i can tell that you they were all people, because of their positions, might have been interesting targets from an espionage standpoint as well as an election disruption standpoint. >> so the staff of three congressional candidates being attacked by russian hackers using the same techniques we saw used to such great effect against clinton campaign and the democratic party in 2016. that was a microsoft vice president saying a few days ago that his company has caught efforts by russia to attack at least three specific candidates in this year's mid terms. but he wouldn't say who they were. now tonight, thanks to new investigative reporting from the daily beast, we know who at least one of those candidates is. and surprise, it is the number one most wanted democratic senator being targeted by republicans in u.s. senate
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elections this year. here's the report from daily beast. quote, senator claire mccaskill is a top target for republicans. it turns out russia's fancy bear hackers are going after her staff, too. that makes the missouri democrat the first identified target of the election interference. the attempt against her office was a varant of the password stealing technique against clinton campaign chairman in 2016. they sent forged notification e-mails claiming the target's microsoft exchange password had expired and instructing the target to change it. if they clicked on the link, they would be tina login page, a single sign-on point for e-mail and other services. each one had a different link coded with the recipient's e-mail address. that's important because that allowed the fake password change
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website, the fake one, to display the e-mail whaeds the target arrived at that address, making the site appear all the more convincing. the daily beast reporters explained how they investigated which congressional candidates might have been targeted following the announcement from microsoft that microsoft had spotted three targeted campaigns. the daily beast reporters explained, a snap shot of a deep link on the phishing site taken by a website security scanner showed the fake password change page with the senate e-mail address of a claire mccaskill policy aide on display. that's how they figured out the first known target of russian mid material election this year is claire mccaskill. joining us now, the senior
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national security correspondent for the daily beast. thank you for being here. >> thank you for having me. >> so this is impressive detective work. at least as far as i can tell. >> how did you figure this out? did you start this reporting twral that announcement from microsoft? did they give you enough to go on to piece this together? >> they did. if you actually watched the full presentation, the microsoft vp is talking about a legal case that microsoft brought that gave them ultimately the try it grab these website addresses once they identified them as being the russian hackers and that's what led to them discovering this. with that information, i had enough to go on. >> actually, it is a reporting point. it is also, i think, a big, sort of a citizenship point. one of the things i think regular citizens have been our hands with, it is the question
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of defense. what defenses we have against them doing this stuff. marchly because we knew they did it before. it does seem like it was a federal court ruling that helped microsoft catch this attack in action and that in turn helped you figure out who one of the targets was. >> yeah. it was a real interesting case, microsoft going into court and suing these hackers as john doe defendants because they didn't know the names and of course, they didn't show up so microsoft won by default and that puts them that a position to actively interfere. >> without getting too much into the technicalities here, as far as i understand it, and i understand it from your writing about the ruling, microsoft noticed that these hackers, which it seems like according to the recent indictments from the special counsel's office. one of the things they did was
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they used pages that were designed to look like microsoft properties to lure them into them. they engaged with microsoft and their products because it was a kind of infringement on microsoft's trademarks. microsoft was able to seize control of the fake websites, the fake dmans that they were using and watch them commit crimes using the fake microsoft sites. >> exactly. and now gru is koofg and they're using microsoft themed web addresses less and less. it is pretty rare now. >> fascinating. >> it definitely gave microsoft an advantage for a while. >> i want to ask but senator mccaskill specifically. she said while this attack was not successful, it is outrageous that they think they can get away with this. i will not be intimidated. i've said it before and i will
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say it again. putin is a thug and a bully. she said this attack was not successful. is it absolutely clear to you from your reporting that this attack definitely was not successful? is there a way to know if this was just one attack on claire mccaskill? is there a way fong there are other variants of them getting what they wanted? >> i'll take microsoft at their word that this attack was thwarted but there could be other vectors that the gru used to try to get into this candidate's files. we know nothing parallels with other candidates. we know there are at least two more. so there's a lot yet to be known about the activity out there. >> senior national security correspondent for the daily beast. one of the reporters who broke this news tonight.
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that senator mccaskill has been targeted by russians. thank you for your work. you make this stuff make sense to those of houston don't necessarily always get the technicalities. >> thank you. much more ahead including what i'm told is more breaking news. we'll be right back. it's easy to think that all money managers are pretty much the same. but while some push high commission investment products, fisher investments avoids them. some advisers have hidden and layered fees. fisher investments never does. and while some advisers are happy to earn commissions from you whether you do well or not, fisher investments fees are structured so we do better when you do better. maybe that's why most of our clients come from other money managers. fisher investments. clearly better money management. i love you, basement guest bathroom. your privacy makes you my number 1 place to go number 2.
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not kidding. legitimate breaking news. since we've been on the air accident cnn is reporting that michael cohen, the president's long time lawyer and quote/unquote fixer, is prepared to tell special counsel robert mueller that donald trump as a then presidential candidate, he knew in advance about the infamous trump tower meeting in june 2016. this, of course, was the meeting where mr. trump's son donald trump jr., his son-in-law jared kushner, his now indicted campaign chairman paul manafort, they all met with a slew of russians. it is a meeting we know was
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pitched to deliver political girt hillary clinton to the trump campaign from the russian government. that is part of a russian government effort to help trump win the election. now cnn is reporting that donald trump senior, according to michael cohen, not only knew about this meeting in advance but he approved of the meeting in advance. this was a meeting explicitly pitched as a delivery of dirt about his possibly in the election. this meeting was with a russian lawyer who has always claimed to be a private lawyer who happens to be russian with no ties to the russian government. that said, according to e-mails and documents under covered by our own richard engel a few months ago, and more evidence just published tonight, natalia is in fact deeply tied to the russian government. since the 2016 trump tower meeting came to height last
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summer, president trump and his eldest son have repeatedly depend donald trump sr. knew anything about that meeting before it happened or after it happen. after it happen has turned into, it has turned into its own scandal. you might remember that donald trump jr. release what had turned out to be a very misleading statement about the purpose of the meeting and what happened at that meeting. it has been reported that president trump himself was directly, personally involved in drafting that false statement. that false statement has been a focus for robert mueller's investigation. but now again tonight, cnn reporting is that michael cohen claims, and should i tell you, there started out as cnn reporting, nbc news has now confirmed michael cohen claims that donald trump the president knew in advance about the trump tower meeting with those
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russians offering clinton dirt. now, what we're told is that cohen is willing to make that assertion to the special counsel robert mueller. michael cohen apparently alleges that he was present along with several other people when donald trump was informed about the offer and according to mr. cohen's account, trump approved going ahead with that meeting with the russians. in terms of the origins of the story, nbc is confirming the same lines of reporting that cnn first broke this evening. there is question as to where this is coming from. right? michael cohen is reportedly the subject of, actually, i can say he is the subject of an open criminal investigation in the southern district of new york. we know of multiple subpoenas that have been issued to people the testify. as far as we know no, charges have been brought against mr.
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cohen. nor do we have any indication that he has entered into any formal discussion about prosecutors about whether he might cooperate in further operations, up to and including the president. that said, while a special master has been going through the evidence that was seized from michael cohen, from his home, his office, from a hotel room in which this he was hifg, while he's been through through to decide if it can be handed over to prosecutions in the case they're trying to build, we know about haurs for the president and lawyers for mr. cohen have been getting access to those documents. they've been able to see when the fbi seized. since that started happening, there have been at least a couple of leaks of hugely inflammatory information in the
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possession of michael cohen that has nevertheless not been proffered. it has instead been floated to reporters. the question overriding all of this strategically, legally and in terms of the president's legal jeopardy, and michael cohen's legal future, is whether or not the president's lawyers have been selectively leaking the worst stuff that has been seized in order to get ahead of that story. to put the same spin on it. and to sap the value of those items of evidence in case michael cohen wanted to trade his own fate with prosecutors in exchange for providing that evidence and fwefg that evidence against the president. nbc news white house correspondent hallie jackson has just confirmed this. thank you very much. much appreciated. >> reporter: one of those nights, rachel. glad to be with you. this is what we can share based on our reporting. that is from myself, from my
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colleagues, a knowledgeable source says michael cohen asserts says he knew donald trump knew, he was told specifically by his son of this trump tower meeting. this now infamous trump tower meeting before it happened which is obviously significant that he would be willing to tell special counsel robert mueller that. this comes, i can tell you in the last few minutes. i was with the attorney for michael skoeb declining to comment. he reached out to giuliani for more. it comes after davis told kristin welker that, signaling, they are ready to be more and more aggressive on this. this is ramping up in a serious way, rachel. we knew, michael cohen, long time fixer for donald trump. his right hand man, would take a bullet for him. you know this. now it appears, and he didn't say it ultimately, but he all
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but said that cohen is ready to flip. they specifically declined to endorse the word flip, that he is only willing to tell the truth but cohen has truth on his side and that's all he'll do is tell the truthful it is just signal upon signal from team cohen that they are ready to be very aggressive on this. i will tell that you about an hour and a half ago, we were standing on the white house blaun this. he is ready to answer questions ever since quled the reporting came out from his rival from the midwest. right around 8:50, 8:30 eastern time. he has tweeted about it but other than that, no response from the president himself in person on all of these developments related to somebody who was by his side for years and years. so it is certainly very interesting developments here. >> let me ask you the objection
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strategic questions here. you're quoting michael cohen's lawyer talking about the fact they're ready to be more and more aggressive. he is declining, we don't have any indication that he's open to prosecutors but they are senting these signals that michael cohen is open to doing that. if michael cohen has information that prosecutors might use in a politically potent way in some sort of case involving the president, indication, for example, that the president was tape-recorded talking about a payment to a woman had a alleged she had an affair with the president when the pleasant publicly said that he had no knowledge of that. or for example, if the president was said to have advance knowledge of the trump power meeting that was an offer dirt from the russian government to help him in his election. that would seem to be incredibly valuable for prosecutors to have
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if they were involved. if michael cohen wanted to with prosecutors. he would not be giving this to reporters. in fact, giving to it reporters might lessen its value to prosecutors. if that is the way it is going, that would steeem to indicate i is not from michael cohen. >> reporter: i don't know if i can figure out what the sourcing is, only that the information is now out there. it being public knowledge now, confirmed by us about, what the president knew and when. that has for a year and change almost been a central question to all of this. did the president know that his son was meeting with these russians who were offering dirt on his political possibly, specifically people linked to russia. so this is giving a significant new twist on that story.
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one would imagine it is certainly of interest. the timing is interest because you know what happens at the white house tomorrow. the national security meeting with all officials about russian interference in the election just as we are learning now from senator mccaskill's office that in fact russians tried to hack into her system, she is now talking about this publicly after the daily beast broke it today. inning and that meeting will be held by the president himself who hack the denialist in chief. thank you very much. i know you're continuing to report on this. i'll let you get back to your sources. >> i can actually advance this story a little bit right now and we should put this, i know have
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be been, if we can, in the lower third. even if you're not a lawyer, you can understand the basic strategic question here. if michael cohn considering negotiating with prosecutors to cooperate with them in their inquiries about the president and anybody else, one might expect that poet enpotential evidence like this is what he would give on prosecutors. he wouldn't give it to the press. now we have an on tthis. lanny davis says in general, i cannot comment. he also then says, but i have to wonder why the trump people would put that out. it was not from us. so according to michael cohen's lawyer, michael cohen is not the one who leaked this story. and cnn and nbc news now confirming the claim donald trump knew in advance of the
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trump tower meeting and in fact that he approved going ahead with that meeting, knowing it was an offer of dirt on hillary clinton from the russian government to help him in his campaign. michael cohen claims that, according to this reporting, and is willing to discuss that with the special counsel, but that claim is not being leaked by michael cohen. it is being leaked by michael cohen. joining me now, the reporter from vand"vanity fair." >> let me ask you, i've been reporting this as breaking news, as it is coming across, as i'm getting little pieces of payment across my desk on this. have i said anything that does not comport with your understanding?
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>> reporter: no. and i will say cynic the time was released on friday, people in cohen's camp had believed exactly as you were saying right now. that part of these leaks were coming from somewhere in trump's orbit. whether it was from his personal attorneys or something else related to the president in order to hinter him. a big threat if michael cohen cooperates, for exactly the reason that we learned this week. that he knows a lot and he is potentially and increasingly likely to share what he knows. that someone close to the president would leak and it know that it is true. and just because micha, just be rudolph giuliani said they didn't leak it doesn't mean it. it is hard to get to the truth but if you look at this from a
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logical standpoint, it doesn't seem it benefited michael cohen. and i reported on monday that he is privy to information. and three people over the weekend told me that part of that is related to what he knew about the trump tower meeting. we're getting more details about it. this is something that people who know what michael cohen knows have been telling me for days now. >> and let me ask but the clear logic of this. and that is, obviously, this claim that the president knew in advance about that trump tower meeting, obviously, on its face, it is bad for the president. he has told an opposite story of that in public. he said he didn't know anything about it before the meeting
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happened. he didn't know anything until it was disclosed in the press until a year later. it is also bad for the president, both politically and potentially legally if he as a candidate for federal office, knowingly semied this offer of help from a foreign government to try to hurt his opponent. so the facts of this look bad for the president. you're saying logically it might make sense that the president's side has leaked this. specifically so they can do it on their own time for their own purposes and potentially to hurt michael cohen's ability to testify. how would it work that this would hurt his ability to testify? >> reporter: again, i don't know where this came from and i don't think that really anyone exempt for, whoever leaked this out would know it. i will tell you, what this does is it takes card out of michael
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cohen's deck. if he is going to cooperate with investigators, if things that are incredibly valuable as the information is that you just described, are already out there, and there is a public domain, it takes something away from his ability to bring something to the table when he sits down with investigators. >> you imagine the converse story. maybe michael cohen does have a story to tell. he enters into plea negotiations the government. the first thing they say what do you have to offer us? we have x, y and z against you. what do you have to offer us if you want to escape liability for these sorts of charges? he might offer them this information. the idea that he would clear it is insane. to use in it ongoing investigations, they wouldn't want it leaked to the press. now that it has leaked to the
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press, it has to lose its value. at least that's how it appears. >> reporter: that's how it was suggested to me by a number of people who are familiar with it. just in terms of the recordings last week, having that out there, people were already feeling that way. this was a big fat hand in michael cohen's deck. and it is something that i can't imagine michael cohen is particularly happy about right now but again, i don't know that that is true. just looking at the logic of it right now. >> thank you for your work on the story and for joining us on zero notice. i really appreciate it. i'm going to take a quick break here but i'll tell that you there are three legal questions that off the top of my head arise from this stunning revelation. the first one is if this is true, if michael cohen can
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convincingly testify to this fact, or if he can provide supporting evidence, if he can prove it, what kind of liability does this represent for the president of the united states? if in fact as michael cohen reportedly claims, he has evidence that the president, then as a candidate, knew in advance that the russian government was sending people to trump tower to meet with his campaign torsion offer the campaign negative information on his point, as part of the russian effort to help him win the election. if the president was notified of that, if he was asked if he was okay about it, if there are witnesses who heard him say yeah, do it, go ahead, what liability is that for the president? we know the patriotic thing in that moment is to say who offered you what? give never number for the fbi! if you don't do that, is there legal liability for the
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president? my other question is if there is evidence that the president tried sap the impact of the public revelation of this fact, if this is the product of the special masters, if this is designed from trying to prevent michael cohen give anything to prosecutors, can he do something to stop it? it devolved from a search warrant legally served that was used to stop the public leaking of evidence that was seized by the fbi in those raids? if that's what's going on here? and is emily jane fox right? is my supposition here right? that this is designed to and it may take a card out of michael cohen. does the public disclosure of this, if cohen was holding this and potentially planning to give
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it to prosecutors, to give it as something of value. does this hurt the ability of prosecutors to use this information? three legal, the only person i know of who could potentially answered all three of those questions has just agreed to join us but we have to take a quick break first. that's next. ♪ ooh, heaven is a place on earth ♪ uhp. i didn't believe it. again. ♪ ooh, baby, do you know what that's worth? ♪
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continuing to cover the stunning breaking news, now confirmed by nbc news that michael cohen, the long time attorney for president donald trump, claims that president trump then as a candidate knew in advance of the trump tower meeting that was held in the summer of 2016, june 2016, in which emissaries from the russian government offered to meet with senior members of the trump campaign to deliver to them what they described as a russian government dirt on
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hillary clinton. it was described overtly, an e-mail setting pup meeting as a meeting to help donald trump in his election effort against hillary clinton. michael cohen is reportedly prepared to tell robert mueller, the special counsel, that trump knew of and approved of the trump tower meeting before it happened. cohen is apparently willing to tell special counsel he's alleging, according to this reporting, that mr. cohen alleges that he was present i know what several other people when donald trump sr. was informed about this offer of the meeting. he was informed of that by donald trump jr. and by mr. cohen's account, donald trump sr. heard the pitch basically, and overtly approved going ahead with that meeting with the russians. i have questions about the implications of this revelation tonight. joining us now, chuck rosenberg, former u.s. attorney, thank you
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for joining us on zero notice. i appreciate it. >> it's my pleasure, rachel. >> you've heard my efforts to sum this up. let me ask you about your first reactions. >> extraordinarily important. at the same time, not terribly surprising. >> in terms of legal liability for the president here, putting aside how this came to light, if the president knew overtly, if he was advised in front of other people this was the russian government offering negative information on his point in order to help him in the election, he weighed that, approved taking meeting and accepting the information, directly on that matter, are there legal implications? >> absolutely. a really important question is, did 10:00 russians were coming, did he know they were coming with dirt, and if he knew they were coming with dirt, did he know where they got it from? the answer to each of those
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questions would probably open up a different theory of liability. if he knew they were russians coming with dirt, that they had stolen from hacked computers, that means he might have joined their conspiracy. if he simply covered up the fact afterwards, maybe he is an accessory after the fact. so all of these are highly fact dependent on, i hate to be so cliched, what he knew and when he knew it. >> and you put emphasis on whether the president was advised or learn that had the supposed dirt on hillary clinton was obtained by legal means. whether it was stolen or hacked information. what if that wasn't part of the equation? what it was that the russian government had dirt on hillary clinton, full stop. he didn't know where it came from. would that change it? >> it might. but i can think of another theory. prosecutors ten to be creative. i can recall the president's son, donald trump jr., testified
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before the senate judiciary committee and. his near absolute floy knowledge of the meeting before it happens. if that turns out to be true, did the father counsel his son to lie? did they conspire for the son to commit perjury or obstruct justice. prosecutors are quite creative, and they will have a lot of facts to work with here. >> i want to ask you about how we came to know this information. we got a statement tonight from lanny davis, who told us i have to wonder why the trump people would put that out. it was not from us. that's mr. davis' statement. you take it for what it's worth. if he's right, and this was the trump people, the trump side, mr. trump's lawyers putting this out, presumably because they want to get ahead of this story. obviously, this story doesn't look good for the president, so they would want to get out ahead of this. there is a lot of discussion as to whether or not the president's lawyers may have done that in part to undermine the ability of mr. cohen to
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provide this information to prosecutors in a way that would be a benefit for mr. cohen, but also so that they could use it for that are ongoing investigations and other related investigations. what do you make of those factors? >> so a couple of thoughts. let's assume for the purposes of my answer, rachel, that mr. cohen is cooperating. they made the decision he is going to tell prosecutors what he knows and they are going to do that honestly. he signed up. he's on the team. if that's true, there is no way in the world that mr. cohen would leak this information. it just doesn't make any sense. on the other hand, i don't really think the leak, if it came from the trump team, undermines cohen's value as a witness. here's why. the government still needs to prove it. they still need to have somebody who can get on the stand and testify to it. they need to corroborate it. so the fact that it's already out there is not good for the
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government because they don't want details of their investigation made public before they choose to make it public. but they still need mr. cohen as a witness. somebody has to put meat on that bone. and an anonymous leak from an unknown source, that's not going to cut it from a prosecutorial standpoint. that's information, but not evidence. if they are trying to undermine mr. cohen's value as a witness, i think that fails. >> you say that, a, that's a crucial point and thank you for making it and being so clear. but you mentioned that, of course, this isn't good for prosecutors. it means a potentially important part of their investigation is now out in public. if this was made public after being obtained by the president's lawyers during that process of that special master
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sorting out all the evidence seized from michael cohen under a legally executed search warrant in april, it is my guess that that might be where the president's lawyers got this information, if that is, in fact, where this information has come from tonight. it would seem to me that's also where the president's lawyers may have obtained the tape or the transcript of the tape that was released earlier this week to such fanfare. if they're taking evidence from that process, as the special master is going through stuff, all this stuff that was seized from the fbi, if they are taking that evidence and putting it out in the public domain, does michael cohen or anybody have a way to stop that. is it illegal to be doing that with evidence seized in that way? >> again, possibility. i hate to give you so many possiblies, but if it was under a protective order, than anybody who leaks it could be violating that order. that could be a contempt of
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court. could michael cohen enforce that? probably not. in fact, off the top of my head, i can't think of a way that he could enforce it. but the government can enforce it. and they could do it by charging people with a whole variety of crimes. from the ones you and i have already discussed to possibly obstruction of justice if they can show the reason for these leaks were to hinder the investigation, undermine the prosecution or try. and again i think it would only be a try, not a success. try to undermine the value of michael cohen as a witness. look, if he really knows this stuff, rachel, he's a valuable witness. leaking the information is not ideal, but they're still going to need mr. cohen. >> former u.s. attorney, former senior fbi and justice department official ringing clear as a bell tonight. che thank you very much. >> my pleasure. >> it is five minutes before the top of the hour. we will have more on this
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breaking news in a minute. there is another story that is unfolding over the course of this evening. at midnight tonight the trump administration is going to hit a court ordered deadline for giving 2,500 kids back to their parents after the trump administration took them away from their parents at the border. that deadline is about two hours away. it hits tonight at midnight. there is a lot of uncertainty as to whether or not those kids are, in fact, going to be returned and in what numbers. joining us how is the deputy director of the immigrants rights project. thank you for joining us. i know this is a crucial time for you and your team tonight. >> thanks for having me. >> so tonight is the deadline for kids ages 5 and older. and there has been a lot of discussion about the actual numbers and what the government is claiming in terms of their success rate at reuniting these kids with their parents. when we hit the deadline, how many kids that were taken away by this government at the border will not be reunited with their
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parents? >> i think we're looking at between 700 and 900 kids who will not be reunified. the government is going to claim they made the deadline, but that's only because they took out those 700 to 900 kids and said we can't reunify them by the deadline. so we're going to define who is eligible to meet the deadline. people should understand that there are hundreds and hundreds of kids who will still be sitting alone tomorrow without their parents. >> and, lee, part of the reason i'm sort of desperate to talk to you about this tonight is because i think that a lot of people on a lot of different fronts are putting a lot of faith in the article three courts in this country, into the judicial branch being governed by the rule of law and being orderly and making stuff right when nothing else can. in this case, your lawsuit brought by the aclu brought about these deadlines that this
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judge sen forcing with the government. what do you expect the judge to do when this deadline passes? the government is still saying, yeah, we're done but never mind these seven to nine hundred other kids. >> without the courts, i think we would be in real trouble, given that congress has not stepped in and the president is obviously trying to take each step with the immigration policy more draconian. i think without -- let me be clear. we are thrilled that this judge has gotten 1,600 kids reunified and these children will be with their parents. i think what the judge is going to say to the government tomorrow you are absolutely not done. i want these reunifications to continue promptly. i think he's going to set additional deadlines for the remainder of the kids and i think eventually we will get these kids reunified. it will come way too late. these kids have been traumatized
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probably permanently. and the last time we were in court the government seemed to be wanting applause for having reunified even this many kids. you know, the government hasn't rushed in to deal with a natural disaster. they created this disaster. they shouldn't be looking for applause for having reunified some of the kids. and yet it seems like the government wants to have applause for doing even this much. >> the way that this is getting fixed, piece by piece, too slow piece by too slow piece is because of the legal work that's being done to force the government's hand here, and a good deal of it is being done by the deputy director of the aclu immigrant's rights project. i know this deadline is crucial. please keep us appraised. we will be desperate to know the next steps. >> thank you. >> thank you, rachel. >> again want to bring us back to the breaking news that we started covering a few minutes into our show tonight. again, cnn was first to break this. nbc news confirmed that michael cohen, the president's lawyer, is apparently prepared to tell
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special counsel robert mueller that donald trump, then presidential candidate donald trump was aware in advance of the trump tower meeting that took place on june 2016 in which emissaries from the russian government came to trump tower with the overt intention, the overt advance spelled out intention of delivering to the trump campaign adverse information about hillary clinton that they thought could help trump win the presidential election. now, this is important because the president has said publically that he had no idea that that meeting was happening. if michael cohen's claims are true, that would mean that the president has been caught in a lie. as we spoke about with chuck rosenberg, former cia justice official moments ago, if the president has been caught in a lie here and he did have advanced knowledge and he knew that the russian government was bringing information to him about hillary clinton that was potentially stolen information, information that had been obtained by means of a crime, that could potentially put the
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president right in the heart of their criminal conspiracy as a coconspirator if he didn't even know that in advance but knew about it after the fact and helped cover it up, that might put him in the possession of having aided and abetted the conspiracy. there is criminal liability here from the president on the horizon with these claims. i should tell you that the president's lawyer has responded to this report tonight by saying michael cohen is not credible. he cannot be believed until it is corroborated five times. i don't know what book of the bible the five times comes here from, but this is -- this is important breaking news tonight. our coverage continues now where it's time for the last word with lawrence o'donnell. good evening. >> we have been watching this unfold and michael cohen is apparently prepared to tell robert mueller that donald trump knew about the meeting in trump tower with the russians during the campaign before the