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tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  July 30, 2018 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT

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eastern, i will be doing my show, the beat, and i have the congressman and former republican governor joining me. she now says she's determined donald trump is unfit for office. that is our show. i want to hand it over to the last word with lawrence o'donnell. good evening, lawrence. >> good evening. thank you very much. there are exactly two people publically defending donald trump on the possibility that he might have committed obstruction of justice. just two. those two public defenders of donald trump are rudy giuliani and donald trump. that's it. that is the public defense team for the president. giuliani and trump. and both of them are completely incoherent when it comes to publically defending donald trump, and that makes perfect sense. what they say doesn't make perfect sense, but the fact that both giuliani and trump are incoherent in their attempts to
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publically defend donald trump does make a certain sense and it means that there is no evidence based defense of the president that is available to donald trump or rudy giuliani because if there was an evidence based defense available, at least one of them would use it. the country and the world are long used to the fact that donald trump is generally incoherent most of the time about most times. he could conceivably have a very good legal defense that could be presented by a good or average or below average defense lawyer. but that's not what we have here. we have donald trump who has been a public liar his entire life being defended by the newly incoherent rudy giuliani. that is a very, very big deal. and what it tells us tonight is that the president of the united states as of now has no good
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legal defense against any of the accusations the special prosecutor robert mueller might bring against this president. it doesn't mean that the president is guilty of anything, but it is just stunning. think about it. stunning that the president of the united states and rudy giuliani as of tonight have no good public defense of the president. it's one of those things that's a very big deal but we can't yet be sure of what it means. >> nobody can be sure of anything. >> he's absolutely right about that. nobody can be sure of anything. none of us can be sure of what to believe as of now, but how strange is it that that was rudy giuliani's answer to this question. >> the meeting with the russians, how can you be sure if the president didn't know
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beforehand. rudy giuliani's answer to that was, nobody can be sure of anything. with defense lawyers like that, who needs prosecutors? so why hasn't donald trump replaced his weak, tv defense lawyer who is doing a terrible job of defending donald trump? well, there are a few real possibilities and rational possibilities for that. one is that donald trump doesn't know what good lawyering looks like and sounds like. after all michael cohen was donald trump's lawyer for years. the same michael cohen who rudy giuliani now describes this way. >> the way is unethical. is a scum bag. he is a horrible person. >> will donald trump's next lawyer be describing rudy giuliani that way some day? another reason he has not been fired is that it is actually impossible to do a better job of defending donald trump. that might just be it. it is impossible to do any better than giuliani has done. he goes into tv interviews with
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no real ammunition and just follows the donald trump, kellyanne conway model of speaking as fast as he can. it doesn't matter what the words are because there is nothing honest to say that could be helpful. there is nothing you can say that is both honest and helpful to your defense. so one possible explanation for the public verbal incontinence of rudy giuliani is that he's representing a guilty client. yesterday donald trump rose in defense of president trump with a tweet that, as usual, has absolutely nothing to do with evidence. is robert mueller ever going to release his conflicts of interest with respect to president trump? including the fact that we had a very nasty and contentious business relationship? i turned him town to head the
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fbi one day before appointment to special counsel and comey is his close friend? this morning rudy giuliani was asked about the president's accusation that robert mueller has a conflict of interest. >> how can the president make this claim and not support it? >> he doesn't have to. >> what's the conflict? >> i can't tell you. i'm not sure i know exactly what the conflict is. >> that's it. that's the best giuliani could do with his client's own line of defense. now, i'm sparing you a bunch of high speed incoherent words that rudy giuliani added to that answer that had nothing to do with the question. and here is another example of rudy giuliani's ignorance of his own defense case. alisyn camerota asked about phone calls donald trump made to a blocked number.
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>> when don jr. made as you know that day before the meeting and i think after calls to a blocked number. was that the president? >> i don't know. >> i don't know. that is a very important question about the president's knowledge about the trump campaign's attempt to conspire with russian government officials. and rudy giuliani's answer is i don't know. robert mueller probably knows. and rudy giuliani knows that robert mueller probably knows whose blocked phone number donald trump jr. was probably calling and that's why rudy giuliani said i don't know instead of a good, strong clear denial that donald trump jr. was calling his father to tell him about the russian meeting before and after the russian meeting. giuliani is right for all of us out here wondering what happened in trump tower and in the trump campaign and in the trump white
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house. nobody can be sure of everything. but rudy giuliani is certainly acting as if he believes that robert mueller is sure of something, something that is very bad for the president of the united states. joining our discussion now, former assistant watergate prosecutor, former federal prosecutor and deputy assistant attorney general under president clinton and the president of the center for american progress. and jill, this issue of giuliani's public performance, the newly utterly incoherent rudy giuliani seems to me to make a certain sense if giuliani actually does have nothing better to say. if the evidence that he is aware of in this case gives him nothing else to say, it makes a certain sense that he talks as fast as he can, as if he went to
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that kelly anne conway school. >> i think the better answer for him ought to be him staying silent. if this is the best he can do, he is hurting his client. what he is saying really makes no sense. i read the transcript of that full interview, and it's almost impossible to understand what point he was even trying to make. and i think as a prosecutor or as a defense lawyer, you quickly learn that sometimes the facts are just completely against you and you're better off saying nothing. and in this case, that's what it is. but he also hasn't got the law on his side. when he's yelling that there is no crime, that also isn't true and this argument about whether the word is collusion or conspiracy or aiding or abetting is simply a question of
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terminology. somehow the american public picked up the word collusion. there is no crime of collusion in the statutes, but there is a crime of conspireing together, of agreeing together, of working together, of aiding and abetting. if you take criminal conduct, the hacking, and you use that material, you are part of that. and it doesn't matter if you are the gunman in a murder, when you go in to rob a bank and someone gets killed, if someone else pulled the trigger, you are still guilty of murder because you were part of the conspiracy. i would say that we have plenty of evidence of conspiracy here. >> what jill says about staying silent is absolutely true for most of possible criminal suspects in their attorney-client relationship. but a politician, as you know, is in a different situation. and politicians feel compelled to defend themselves publically at every stage of these kinds of processes and we have seen democrats in the past also find fault with prosecutors who were
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investigating them. we haven't seen anything quite as noisy as this. but if giuliani has nothing better to say and if there is a political calculation by donald trump and rudy giuliani that someone has to be out there defending the president on tv, there is probably a better way for giuliani to do this. just talk fast, don't make any sense, don't worry. donald trump's voters voted for someone who doesn't make any sense. >> i think that's what's happening here is really that they don't have a case -- they don't have a legal case, right? this whole debate about collusion, i mean, first, we should just point out donald trump said there was no collusion for a long time. now giuliani is saying, oh, there was collusion but it's just not illegal. they're really playing semantics
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games to give an argument to their base at this moment. what i think is really happening is that they don't have an argument for the prosecutor. they probably know the prosecutor has a pretty strong case of aiding and abetting a crime, conspiracy of a crime. they're not really disputing that. giuliani is playing a semantic game about collusion itself, which no one has said the word collusion means a crime. obviously criminal conspiracy is a crime. but he's playing these word games. i think what he really is trying to do and what donald trump has been doing this entire year is he believes he will skate free of this if republicans are unable to act on any report of indictment offenses. and he's disciplining his troops and disciplining the republican party to attack mueller, to oppose to say everything is political, to make up this new argument that there is conflicts of interest, but they won't tell
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what you say the conflicts of interest are. so republicans will not act on a report. and that is why these elections coming up in 99 days are so vitally important, because donald trump is placing a bet that the republican party -- he could -- he could be found colluding or criminal conspiracy, abetting or even shooting somebody on fifth avenue and the republican party will do nothing about it. that is why we need checks and balances and democrats to take a house of congress for some accountability for this president. >> let's take a look at some of the risks involved in the giuliani tv strategy of talking so fast. today he revealed and it seemed to be by mistake that he believes rick gates, who has been indicted by the special prosecutor and is cooperating with the special prosecutor, was actually in a meeting strate strategizing how to handle the
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russian meeting. let's listen to this. >> he stated there was a meeting two days before the meeting took place with donald jr., jared, manafort and two others. gates and one more person. cohen also now says, because he says too much, that two days before he was in a meeting with roughly the same group of people, but not the president. definitely not the president. in which they were talking about the strategy of the meeting with the russians. the people in that meeting deny it, the people we have been able to interview. the people we have not been able to interview have never said that about that meeting. >> your reaction to that, harry? >> you know, it is a complete slip of the tongue by him. the only sort of use -- you're right. it's all been incoherent. two big slip ups in the first. that's the first revealing not
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just gates is there but the very existence of that other meeting. and then the whole trying to move the goal post on collusion, years of no collusion, no collusion and, oh, wait, what's collusion? it was incoherent and frenetic and you were looking for someone to cart him away and give him a sedati sedative. i don't agree that it's the best he can do. even if they don't have much in substance, you can try to contrast with the manic and krkra crass -- speaking of crass, how about the moment of, mueller, stand up and be a man? he could at least speak with some dignity, some calm, make certain legal points. even if you're chastising mueller, there is a way to do it that people might actually
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listen. this frenetic unhinged performance makes you think that nobody has any idea what they're doing over there and the real lawyer in charge must be tearing his hair out listening to both trump and giuliani completely losing it on national tv. by the way, at least trump's tweets are all going to be admissible. everything he says would come into court. just misstep after misstep. >> and it seems that rudy giuliani's calculation is that what worked for donald trump in the campaign to eek out a win in the electoral college would work here. >> i have to say for everyone on tv what part of the donald trump presidency has been dignified so far? who associated with donald trump thinking the first job is to be
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dignified in their response on tv or anywhere else? but i think truly that rudy giuliani is just doing a kind of carnival barker experience here, experiment and trying to just throw sand in the air, muddy the waters, make people believe there is some response. donald trump has been incredibly successful in getting a minority of the country to agree with him on some pretty wild claims. i think that is their strategy going forward, to just get their base to believe this whole thing is tainted. the one thing i would say, though, is that this strategy will be much less successful because people saw themselves, the broad public saw themselves bowing down to putin. and this whole issue of russia was made really clear to the american people and public polls
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have shown stronger support even amongst republicans for the mueller probe and for finding out what happens. and that's why i think the white house is almost in this panic and guy's piuliani's performanco panicked, particularly on the eve of the manafort trial. >> as to the question of conflict of interest for mueller, the rod rosenstein said in testifying to congress that there is a process in the justice department for bringing conflicts of interest to them. they're open to it. you want to bring them a conflict of interest, they will examine it. he said there are no conflicts of interests with robert mueller. and the notion that the president offered him or considered him for fbi director is unclear. we have never heard mueller's side of that conversation. it could be that mueller went in there to explain to the president that he could not do it and possibly make some suggestions to him what who he
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should choose. we don't know what was in that conversation. >> exactly. all of this is nonsense because there was a lot of discussion about potential conflict of interest having to do with mueller's golf club membership at a trump club. and some dispute about the fees. and that was resolved a long time ago. it was reviewed by the department of justice. there is no conflict of interest. the president is simply repeating over and over again because it seems to have some effectiveness. he just keeps saying in the same way he says in collusion. and then hopes that his base will believe that, even though it isn't. he argues as he has done, that the facts are not there, that the law isn't there. and, you know, the truth is if the law is against you, argue the facts. if both are against you, you better plead guilty. and i think we're getting to the point where we can see guilty very clearly. and i think he is now worried
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because i think he finally has seen all of the evidence that came from cohen's office. and i think if there is any leaks coming, it is coming from them to get out ahead of this. they want to protect and sort of get the first word. it is a very basic tenant of trial advocacy that if there is something bad, get it out yourself on direct examination. don't wait until cross. >> thank you for starting us off tonight. really appreciate it. when we come back, former trump campaign chairman paul manafort surrendered to robert mueller on one side of his legal issues today. that's next. and donald trump is threatening a government shut down over the trump wall, a government shut down that republicans fear. ♪
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today on the eve of jury selection in what is scheduled to be paul manafort's first of two criminal trials brought by robert mueller, paul manafort surrendered to robert mueller on a frivolous lawsuit. a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit in april. paul manafort filed a hopeless appeal to that decision. and today paul manafort finally dropped the appeal and dropped that case entirely. today in a filing in the criminal case that will be heard in federal court in virginia,
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prosecutors say they can prove the former trump campaign chairman is guilty of tax and bank fraud. they say they can move that he earned more than $60 million working as a consultant on behalf of a russia backed ukrainian political party and hid the money in offshore bank accounts. "the new york times" reports that prosecutors claim that beginning in 2006 he d$2006 he millions of in income that he received from the ukrainian government and the ukrainian oligarchs to promote a pro-russian leader when he fled to russia after a popular uprising in 2014. the funds dried up. they charged that mr. manafort resorted to bank fraud to maintain his lifestyle. >> rudy giuliani said this poses absolutely no threat to the
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information. >> he has no information incriminating of the president. i know that for a fact. they can squeeze him. paul manafort does not know anything. nor could it be possible that he did. he was with him for four months. >> joining us now is the national security and justice reporter for nbc news and harry is back with us. what could paul manafort possibly know in just four months with donald trump? >> quite a lot, lawrence. i mean, he was the campaign adviser. it is not like he was a low-level position. even the campaign volunteer new quite a bit about the ofgs of the campaign and how they worked in their social media strategy. so in this case, what paul manafort knows is interesting only if they can actually squeeze enough out of him. giuliani is right insofar as this exact case that we will start hearing starting tomorrow does not have a lot to do with russia or the trump campaign. it has to do with paul manafort's work were a
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pro-russian interest and his effort to cover up with that money was coming from later on. this will only tell us about what the president did or what paul manafort knows about the president if they can present enough information that paul manafort at this point way down the road would decide he wants to start cooperating in order to lessen his sentence. >> listen to what donald trump during the campaign about paul manafort. >> are there any ties between mr. trump, you or your campaign and putin and his regime? >> no, there is not. it is absurd. you know, there is no basis to it. >> paul manafort has done a fantastic job. and all of paul's people. paul brought on the staff. and we really do. we have a great staff of talented people. >> donald trump also said that paul manafort, to the best of
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his knowledge, had nothing to do with russia. and he said i have nothing to do with russia. and then donald trump said about paul manafort, i think he represented ukraine or people having to do with ukraine or people that whoever. and harry, it turns out that paul manafort, who donald trump has known for a very long time in ways that we do not yet know, had obviously a criminal relationship going on in the ukraine. >> yeah, that's right. so your first point is, sally and lawrence, they were sort of priva privateers together in 2005 through 2016 out there. we should distinguish what manafort knows and what the case is about. the case doesn't concern the russia connection to the campaign except in one particular, which i'll get to in a minute. but manafort surely knows quite a bit. he's at the center of the
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efforts to change the platform to make it a more pro-ukraine. he is in the russia meeting. he's in the lead-in to the russia meeting we find out today. he's in the thick of it. it's just that's not part of the case. the case does, however, have a detail which is after he goes belly up and he is deposed, he needs money and he promises this is going to be part of mueller's proof, a banker in chicago that he'll get him a job in the campaign if he'll make a -- if the banker will give him a phony loan. so there is a sense in which manafort's conduct at trial gets into the thick of the campaign. but surely he knows quite a bit about russia and the campaign for another day. >> and julia, when the trial zeros in on exactly human fort's
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needs interacted with the campaign as harry says, we don't know what the special prosecutor has there. there could be some real surprises in that testimony. >> that's right, lawrence. i mean, one thing we have been doing in the past few weeks to get ready for this is to look at pieces of evidence that have been approved by the judge to see what can be exhibited at trial. right now it is just detail upon detail of this very expansive money laundering scheme that paul manafort used. everything from landscaping to what kind of properties he bought in new york and florida and also a lot about his character. some of the characters that he worked with in ukraine. as we know tomorrow, it's going to be moved up about an hour earlier. jury selection will begin at 10:00 a.m. eastern. but at 9:00 a.m. eastern, the judge will be hearing from counsel and particularly to hear from the defense who wants to limit the information that they can use on his relationships
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with ukraine. really, they might be scared that with that much information, a jury could be convinced that anyone who would work with those characters isn't someone to be trusted. and of course at the end of all of this, as harry pointed out, it is not necessarily this case has a lot to do with russia, but in the broader context of the mueller probe, if he is convicted, that is another feather in robert mueller's cap to show this is not a witch hunt. that there are substantial crimes that have been committed here. >> thank you both for joining us tonight. really appreciate it. up next, what donald trump thinks he knows about the wall that republicans don't know and why republicans agree with democrats that a trump government shut down over the wall during the re-election campaign will help democrats. (vo) what if this didn't have to happen? i didn't see it. (vo) what if we could go back?
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here is what might be donald trump's strategy for winning the election that is 99 days away. >> if we don't get border security after many, many years of talk within the united states, i would have no problem doing a shut down. it's time we had proper border security. we're the laughing stock of the world. we have the worst immigration laws anywhere in the world. we need border security. border security includes the wall. i would be certainly willing to consider a shut down if we don't get proper border security. >> with the latest polling showing 58% disapprove of the
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president's immigration policies, democrats believe a trump government shut down over the wall, which would occur about a month before the election would be good for the democrats. republicans think the democrats are right about that. last week paul ryan and mitch mcconnell thought they worked out a deal to avoid a government shut down and delay funding for a wall. >> as far as the wall is concerned, we've gotten some wall funding already underway. the president is willing to be patient to make sure we get what we need so that we could get that done. >> is the funding of the border wall going to wait until after the midterm elections. >> probably. >> so you're not worried about a government shut down? >> no, that's not going to happen. >> now that the president has threatened a shut down at the height of the election campaign, republicans are very worried. >> don't think it would be a good idea, and i don't think it will be necessary. >> democrats aren't -- no one
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wins. i think the american people expect us to do our job and should. >> i think it bad politics for the republican party to shut the government party. we'd get blamed. so i prefer a deal that would be a win win rather than shutting the government down. >> donald trump has never been in step, especially when he first announced his campaign for the wall when he was a candidate. in a new piece today, in a field of republicans who were trying to change the party to appeal to a rising hispanic electorate, trump was alone in speaking to republican voters who didn't want the party to remake itself, who wanted to be told that a wall could be built and things could go back to the way they were. joining our discussion now is the editor at large of fox and host of the ezra klein show. his piece is entitled "white threat in a browning america."
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what does donald trump think he knows about the wall that the republicans we just heard from do not know about the wall. >> two things. one is that donald trump believes you get your base out. he is not a persuasive politician. what he tries to do is tell people that he agrees with them. he tries to get people who feel ignored by the political system, who are angry particularly at the republican party to turn out to vote. one way donald trump talked about this before is he thinks a shut down might actually help him because he'd have his base, his people activated, upset. they'd be watching fox news, coming out to vote. maybe. the other thing and this just goes to donald trump. this is a way in which donald trump's authentic. he's not kidding around. he really believes the border is insecure. he beliefs that america is being overrun from countries that i
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will not use his term on the air. he is actually on the importance of the policy of it. >> and in your piece you talk about the linkage here of what caused what. there has been this common theory since thor her against of the trump vote, big enough vote to win the electoral college that anxiety activated the resentment that was manifest in the trump campaign. in your piece you find plenty of evidence that racial resentment activated the economic anxiety, that the racial resentment came first and the people that harbored racial resentment had a higher level of economic anxiety. >> i'm so glad you asked me about this, yeah. so a lot of this data. there had been a ton of studies, but a lot are coming here from a book called identity crisis, which is a best look of election data from 2016. it comes out in two months. they have found this very convenient theory of the
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election. and the way it goes is this. donald trump, you're not seeing in his a racist america. you are not seeing a white identity backlash. you are seeing a bad economy that makes people scared and makes him ready to pull back and blame others. all you need to add is some kind of combustible agent like donald trump and you get what we got in 2016. and the reason that's a reasonably convenient view is that it means we can fix it. we can fix the underlying thing in a way we can agree on. we just need to make the economy better. the problem is that just doesn't appear to be true. racial resentment led how people voted in 2016, at least the ones that were changing their votes. one of the ways we know that is before 2012, before 2016 back when you were looking in 2007, if you looked at how resentful people were racially, it had no
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connection to how they thought about the economy. so you had this thing happening where if you were more racially resentment you believed tun employment rate was worse than it was. you believed the economy was going in the wrong direction. and donald trump was one of these people. he was out there saying that the real unemployment rate was 42%. after donald trump won the election, the economic optimism of the most racially resentful flipped. this is not what you would expect if what was going on was an actual economic conditions problem. it is what you would expect if people were filtering their feelings about the economy through their feelings about whether or not their group is rising or falling. >> and it seems possible even by the evidence in your piece that the russians who were attacking our election process were actually more aware of this. you say there is a reason why when the russians wanted to sow division in the american election they focussed their social media trolling on america's racial divisions. >> yeah. this has been reported widely.
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usa today did a great analysis of this. if you look at the russian troll farms and bots, they were doing black lives matter trolling. they were trying to get into america's racial divisions. this is the thing. america pretends an innocence about its own racial past but racial present. we don't like to be told these are divisions. we don't like to be told about problems in our country. we want to believe we have all become color blind, that it is all just a completely easy going conversation about economic anxiety and politics as policymakers would have it. but we have these very, very deep cuts. we have a lot of trouble talking about them. but those who want to influence our elections don't. political consultants know how to do these things. we have seen for years, ads. people are trying to move our politics know how to activate it. >> thank you very much for joining us. i really appreciate it.
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>> thank you. and coming up, why does donald trump try to help vladimir putin every chance he seems to get? that's coming up. jardiance asked: when it comes to managing your type 2 diabetes, what matters to you? you got a1c, heart, diet, and exercise. slide 'em up or slide 'em down. so let's see. for most of you, it's lower a1c. but only a few of you are thinking about your heart. fact is, even though it helps to manage a1c,
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crisp leaves of lettuce. freshly made dressing. clean food that looks this good. delivered to your desk. now delivering to home or office. panera. food as it should be. the biggest problem for vladimir putin and the russian government is sanctions. sanctions imposed on russia by the obama administration and nato allies after russia innexed
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crimea. this is why donald trump's attacks on nato -- that was attended by jared kushner and paul manafort possibly with donald trump's approval beforehand was about getting sanctions lifted. but nato is not lifting its sanctions on russia. so putin hopes to tear apart the relationship between nato and the united states and is trying every way he can to do that. our next guest is former ambassador to russia, michael mcfaul, who donald trump was considering surrendering to russian authorities when he was meeting with vladimir putin and possibly even discussed that. today the president said he
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would meet with anyone, and that now includes anyone in iran. ambassador mcfaul will join us next to discuss what all this means to the trump-putin relationship. man: these truths are self-evident. woman: brett kavanaugh on the supreme court endangers protections for people with pre-existing health conditions. woman: puts a woman's right to choose gravely at risk. man: and threatens to continue selling out america to powerful corporate interests. woman: we hold these truths to be self-evident. man: and we will hold our senators accountable. end citizens united is responsible for the content of this advertising. end citizens united is responsible but behr premium stain y can weather any weather. overall #1 rated, weathers it all. find our most advanced formula exclusively at the home depot.
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are you prepared also -- are you willing to meet with the iran president and under what
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conditions? have there been any discussions? >> i will meet with anybody. >> do you have any preconditions for that meeting? >> no. if they want to meet i'll meet. any time they want. any time they want. it is good for the country, good for them, good for us and us an for the world. no preconditions. if they want to meet i'll meet. >> joining our discussion now michael mcphaul. your reaction to the president's willingness to meet with anybody including anybody in iran. >> incredible. what can i say? it doesn't sound like the trump administration's policy towards iran. i recall a lot of preconditions that the secretary set out in a big speech he gave about iran. that is the way the president likes to roll. he says whatever is on his mind and then they work it out later. >> as to the issues with vladimir putin and the n.a.t.o.
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attacks that the president consistently goes out of his way to do, there was a hearing in the foreign relations committee in which the secretary of state was asked should we pay attention to what the president says or should we pay attention to administration policy? and mike pompeo kept pointing out the sanctions are in place. in effect he was saying do not listen to the words of the president of the united states, they have no meaning. >> pretty incredible hearing. i don't remember a time in american history going back to the time i have worked on it or the time i have written about it because i used to write about earlier periods where you had such a disconnect between the president on the one hand and the administration on the other. that is why the secretary kept having to say policy and not the statements. he is wrong to say that the president's words don't matter. the president did tremendous
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damage to unity and the alliance when he was in europe and our credibility to defend our n.a.t.o. allies is connected to what the president says. he did damage to our russia policy by all the lavishing praise he gave vladimir putin in helsinki. that sends a signal to vladimir putin that if i can work this guy behind the scenes i will be able to undermine the policies that secretary pompeo was talking about and in a couple of paces it looks like he may have succeeded. >> there is a report that u.s. spy agencies are seeing signs that north korea is constructing new missiles at a factory that produced the country's first intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the united states according to officials familiar with the intelligence. if the north korean negotiation -- i don't know what you call this thing, the approach -- let's call it the
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approach to north korea fails and fails as spectacularly as that article might indicate that it could, what does that mean to trump policy going forward? >> well, all of these things are connected, actually. you just heard the president say i will meet with everybody. meetings are good. that is not the way diplomacy works. meetings are used to achieve ends. they are a means to concrete american national security objectives. and previous presidents, democrats and republicans, have always used them that way. what this president does is he has these meetings and then we don't know what the objectives have been achieved. i would say that was true in the north korean summit, the singapore summit. it was true in helsinki when he met with vladimir putin. i think his team needs to work on that, to stop saying meetings
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are good but to use the meetings to achieve objectives and sometimes use other means including coercion and including not meeting. the president thinks diplomacy is all about his personal relationships with these autocrats. it's not. it is about advancing america's national interests. >> is it possible that the president's line of i will meet with anyone and meeting with kim jong-un and now i will meet with anybody in iran, is something he believes will allow him, help him actually have future meetings with vladimir putin because he is the guy who will meet with anyone? >> maybe. it's a great point. you know, he most certainly seems eager to meet with vladimir putin and this new offer to go to moscow means there will be no demonstrations against trump or putin. i won't be there because i'm not allowed to travel to russia. it will keep me out of the
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equation. he seems intent on that. i ask the simple question, are we better as a country, are our national security interests better or worse after the helsinki summit? i don't know of a single individual who thinks we are now better off as a result of that meeting. and therefore i think that causes question. we should question the judgment of the president. why are we so eager to have these meetings? what objective is being achieved? i can't see one. >> former ambassador michael mcfaul thank you for joining us. tonight's last word is next. ♪ video-game dance music
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time for tonight's last word. tomorrow is justice anthony kennedy's last day on the supreme court. justice ruth bader ginsburg yesterday said she is not going anywhere. at an event in new york city the 85-year-old said she doesn't plan on retiring after the 2020 presidential election. the "new york times" reports on the subject of her own eventual retirement came up she slighted the example of justice john paul stevens. he stepped down when he was 90,
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she said. so i think i have at least five more years. next week will be justice gi ginsburg's 25th anniversary on the supreme court. that is tonight's last word. the 11th hour with brian williams starts right now. rudy giuliani's wild ride. is he changing moving the goal post on the fly as we watch. paul manafort faces the first trial of the mueller investigation just hours from now. and the president's threat to shut down the government, something you just don't hear when the same party controls the white house, house and senate as the 11th hour gets underway on a monday night.