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tv   Deadline White House  MSNBC  August 20, 2018 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT

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louise moment the day "the new york times" reported the president's lawyer in the mueller investigation, that would be ty cobb and john dowd were heard chatting about documents mcgahn had locked in his safe. we now know it was in that moment based on brand-new reporting from "the new york times" that mcgahn made the fateful decision to become a sul summoned ongoing witness in the mueller investigation into russian collusion and obstruction of justice. from that block buster report we learned don mcgahn spoke to mueller in three voluntary interviews with investigators that totaled 30 hours over the past nine months sharing detailed accounts of the episodes at the heart of the inquiry into whether president trump obstructed justice, including some that investigators would not have learned of otherwise. the president responding to the times bombshell in a 14-tweet tirade that is ongoing and includes his most hysterical
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attacks to date on special counsel robert mueller. attacks like this one. quote, disgraced and discredited bob mueller and his whole group of angry democrat thugs spent over 30 hours with the white house counsel, spelled wrong, only with my approval for purposes of transparency. anybody needing that much time when they know there is no russian collusion is just someone looking for trouble. quite a tantrum, even for president prickly pants. maybe don mcgahn knows everything. and so does mueller. the reporters were out of the loop. the times reporting last night, quote, president trump's lawyers do not know just how much the white house counsel don mcgahn told the special counsel's investigators during months of interviews. a lapse that has contributed to a growing recognition that an early strategy of full cooperation was a potentially damaging mistake. so here's some of the flash points in the investigation into obstruction of justice that don mcgahn's 30 hours of defendant
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may have helped make more clear to robert mueller. first, trump's campaign to pressure his a.g. to unrecuse himself in the investigation. in march trump ordered mcgahn to stop sessions from recusing. next the firing of fbi director james comey. mcgahn's aides at the center and how trump would explain it publicly. then there was trump's attempt to fire robert mueller. trump directed mcgahn to fire the special counsel last june. mcgahn this time refused. there are also concerns of witness tampering. "the new york times" reporting in march mueller learned of two conversations in which trump asked key witnesses, one of them don mcgahn, about matters they discussed with the special counsel, raising concerns that the president was acting improperly. and then there is the spark that ignited it all, the firing of national security advisor mike flynn. mcgahn was at the center of that, too. he was the one who briefed trump on flynn's dishonesty.
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and what trump knew about flynn's deception and when he could -- when he knew he could determine whether his pressure on comey to drop the flynn investigation amounted to obstruction of justice. there's plenty of reason for trump's attorneys to worry. joining us from "the new york times" peter baker, ken vogel, frank figliuzzi former fbi assistant director of counter intelligence is also back. with us at the table betsy woodruff, politics reporter for the daily beast. let me start with you, peter. and on this reporting which seems to have ignited even for this president a particularly overheated and hysterical response, 14 tweets since this article first posted on saturday, just on the topic of the reporting itself, don mcgahn and the special counsel investigation. this is obviously struck a never nerve. >> it has struck a nerve. he's taken it to a will you new level. his tweets this morning use adjectives to describe robert mueller he hasn't done before.
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he's attacked robert mueller's operation and the special counsel investigation, but he hasn't used the words like discredited and disgraced to describe mueller before. that seems to be one more level up for him. he's trying to in fact make that a reality. he's trying to discredit robert mueller. but obviously what he's worried about is what don mcgahn could have told robert mueller and the prosecutors because he doesn't really know. i'm sure don mcgahn has given him and the other lawyers around him his take on what has been said, but nobody other than don mcgahn, his lawyers and the special counsel himself really know what he's told them. so that's what's got to be worrying president trump at this point because don mcgahn was in the room for most of these, a lot of these important moments. >> ken vogel, i want to play you something one of your colleagues mike schmidt said on the daily about the extent of what of what mcgahn knows and talk about it on the other side. >> i still don't think they appreciate the extent to which mcgahn has cooperated. we don't know everything that mcgahn did, but it's more than they think.
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>> ken vogel, how can this be the case, that this far into it and despite rudy giuliani going out on the shows yesterday and saying, oh, you know, he briefed john dowd and they were aware. it seems like if you look at all the flash points in the obstruction of justice prong of the investigation, don mcgahn is potentially a pretty incriminating witness if the president is found to have obstructed justice. >> yeah, absolutely. you laid out some of those flash points, nicolle. they deal with the firing of james comey, the pressure on attorney general sessions to unrecuse himself from the investigation, and all manner of other pushback, not to mention setting aside the obstruction case after the mueller investigation started. don mcgahn was there at the center of the campaign during pivotal moments. he was one of the earliest hires of the campaign. he would have potentially had insight into some of the key moments during the campaign that mueller is looking at including
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that june 2016 trump tower meeting, and it just really legal malpractice. it's not one or the other. you don't have to like completely cooperate or completely assert executive privilege. what could have happened here is that the president's lawyers could have briefed don mcgahn's lawyers or asked them ahead of time before he went in to talk to mueller. what are the types of things that he intends to talk about, where might there be particular issues we would like to assert privilege. they didn't do any of that. now they're scrambling and donald trump as you and peter just discussed is freaking out in plain view for the world to see on twitter. >> that could be a new bumper sticker, donald trump is freaking out in plain view for the world to see. frank, let me ask you, one, to pick up on that, what that looks like to an investigator. let me read you a quote from the report on saturday. a prosecutor would kill for that. oh, my good, it would have been phenomenally helpful to us. it would have been like having the keys to the kingdom. that was from deputy independent counsel on the whitewater investigation.
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how valuable is it to have somebody as ken was saying, wasn't just at the scene of the potential crimes in the obstruction investigation, but possibly a window into everything that happened during the campaign where it's being investigated as to whether or not a conspiracy was underway between the trump campaign and the russians? >> it's particularly valuable as it goes toward obstruction of justice because remember, and your viewers know now, proving obstruction is about proving obstruction, mind-set. when you have the white house counsel talking to you 30 some odd hours voluntarily, this is not talking about the ball game. this is talking about what's going on inside the president's head. and don't forget, it was mcgahn who was calling the shots on whether certain witnesses on the hill should assert executive privilege or not. steve bannon, hope hicks, what questions they could answer,
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what they could not answer, and that's going to be involving exchanges with the president. what don't we want them to talk about, what are we okay with them talking about? this all goes toward a tremendous progress now toward obstruction of justice. >> and let's get in the weeds for a second, peter baker. this is also about saving don mcgahn from getting thrown under the bus should an incriminating report come out that finds that the president did objestruct justice. this has the effect, i don't know anybody's motive, but this has the effect of exonerating him in terms of crafting a strategy of cooperation. it makes abundantly clear that the strategy was created by ty cobb and john dowd. christy seems to be on board with the strategy. let's watch him from yesterday. >> this shows what a c-level the president had at the beginning in ty cobb and john dowd. you never waive that, absolutely not.
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it put don mcgahn in an impossible situation. once you waive that privilege, turnover all the documents, don mcgahn has no choice then but to go in and answer everything, every question they can ask him. and this is not in the president's interest. it wasn't in the president's interest. if he had gotten good legal advice at the time, he would have done something a little less, i'm confident it's bad legal advice, bad lawyering, and this is the result of it. >> so, chris christie obviously on the save don mcgahn team. is it going to work? >> well, look, he makes a point there in terms of obviously not wanting don mcgahn to go in there because he could provide insight into what the thinking was behind all these different decisions. if you're in the room when the president is making the decision to fire jim comey when he's making the decision to go after jeff sessions, you know, and don mcgahn is there to hear everything and passes that along to the special counsel, that obviously could be incriminating. i don't know whether or not they could have necessarily successfully stopped him from doing that. keep in mind that, you know,
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during nixon, during the clinton episodes, courts rule against the idea that a government-paid attorney has attorney/client privilege with the president. now, obviously he can try to assert executive privilege. he can try to assert attorney/client privilege, but those things have been whittled down by the courts over the years. not clear don mcgahn could have gotten away with not testifying, not talking to prosecutors in the first place. having said that, it's important to remember he's a lawyer. he doesn't want to be caught on the wrong side of, you know, something that might be looking illegal to bob mueller and his team of prosecutors and he's going to do what he can to make sure that he's not violating what he sees, at least, as both his legal ethics and, of course, his self-interest. >> betsy, peter has say great point. this is more than don mcgahn going along with a legal strategy he didn't agree with and hadn't bought into this. this is don mcgahn trying to save himself. there was concern what ken overheard ty cobb and john dowd
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saying was an effort to lay this at his feet. he has things locked in his safe, he wasn't turning things over. ken, jump in if i get this wrong. something to the effect the president didn't do anything wrong, we're going to turn everything over. if don mcgahn felt like he was being set up he had his back against the wall. >> there was friction between ty cobb and don mcgahn. their relationship started off on a rocky footing. they disagreed on basic questions as to how the legal matters related to the mueller probe should be handled. one thing i can tell you about this mcgahn issue, i had a conversation earlier this afternoon with a person quite close to the president's legal team. their thinking on the testimony is going on offense. the way they would do that is what i was told is john dowd and ty cobb waived executive privilege. so many people including don mcgahn could testify to mueller. they waived that within the executive branch. hypothetically, let's say mcgahn
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told mueller -- gave mueller evidence that a white house official broke the law. the president's legal team's thinking is that mueller would not be able to introduce that evidence to a grand jury which is part of the judicial branch, not the executive branch, without getting a subpoena. and the president's legal team could then fight it. they could say you can't use that, you can't take what mcgahn told you and use it to build a criminal case. now, there are legal experts who are going to disagree with that analysis, i'm not cosigning it. i'm telling you that's the thinking and the strategizing the president's team is going through in the wake of this story. >> ken vogel, you were the one, i remember you came on the show that day. there was something tongue in cheeky about these guys speaking to loudly. do you in hindsight -- is it interesting to you that was sort of a pebble in the pond that had all these ripples and now bob mueller is perhaps sitting on incredibly detailed knowledge of contemporaneous testimony from the white house counsel about what was going on inside this west wing the day that comey was fired, the day that sessions was asked to unrecuse, the day that
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flynn -- the president was told that flynn had to go? i mean, does it seem sort of twisted now that that lunch at some point was chaukd up to -- i watched some of the cable news coverage from that day. there was a debate about whether they were incompetent loud mouths or a strategy. do you come down on one side or the other? >> yes, i definitely come down on the side of incompetent loud mouths. as much as the point of the light bulb moment for don mcgahn that may have shifted his approach to this and thinking on the legal theory and ultimately led to his extensive cooperation with mueller, it should have been a light bulb to the rest of us as to the incompetence of this legal team. it was really just the beginning of a succession of bad decisions, including the decision that they were talking about at the time, which hadn't been fully made yet, but they ultimately prevailed on to cooperate fully and to waive privilege.
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additionally as i discussed this idea that they cleared people, they could have had a consultation to sort of assess whether executive privilege might be in play before individual officials including don macon, georgia began actual -- don mcgahn went in to talk to mueller. that leaves no clue what was talked about. that, to me, was the beginning of the revelation for the rest of us just how bad of a job these folks were doing. as to betsy's point whether they could retroactively assert privilege on some of the things don mcgahn told them, i also think that that is misguided. it's almost like with the reporter where you hear something off the record, you can't use it in your reporting from that person. but you can use it to shape your reporting as you approach other sources and so certainly anything that don mcgahn told them, even if it doesn't wind up in a report that mueller issues, could shape mueller's subsequent investigation and inquiries with other people. >> and to that point, betsy, obviously as ken is saying, shape the line of questioning
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to -- i think there are more than two dozen witnesses who have gone through it. it probably shaped the questions for other people that mueller was able to put in the room based on mcgahn's testimony. there were a whole bunch of people who now have to live up to or their veracity has to measure up to what don mcgahn testified. >> absolutely, without a doubt. don't forget the associates in the white house were brought in by mueller. mueller isn't just talking to the principal of the white house counsel's office, but lawyers who worked under him, people who have smaller public profiles, associates, that's something where mcgahn's testimony would certainly be quite useful for potentially building an obstruction case. >> frank figliuzzi, when the story hits and the president explodes like he has on saturday to this report and the subsequent report yesterday, i always wonder what my 6-year-old wonders every day when he wakes up, what happens next. rudy sought to answer that note in a tweet. time for the mueller investigation to file a report, like his client, a lot of
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grammatically sound things in here. i'll do my best to clean it up. the president had nothing to do with russians. he didn't obstruct an investigation. 1.4 million documents and 32 witnesses no privilege raised. now, i had a serendipatous call from rudy saturday night. he thinks he's innocent in the obstruction of justice investigation or clear in the minds of his own legal team on all questions of conspiracy. every time he opens his mouth. >> rudy continues to harm the president every time he opens his mouth. and, look, his statements regarding the truth isn't the truth, this goes right back to don mcgahn cooperating. how do you establish the truth? you get enough people to tell you what happened, what people said immediately after events. they are indeed in panic mode and rudy is imploding upon
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himself. this is an act of desperation that we're seeing from rudy giuliani, and it will be his legacy forever more that america's mayor has become trump's stooge. >> oh, gosh, wow. i feel like you guys are speaking in t-shirts, i love it. peter baker and ken vogel, thank you for starting us off. congratulations on your paper's reporting on this story. after the break, rudy giuliani as we talked about steps in it again. this time on the question of truthiness and on russian collusion in the trump tower meeting . also ahead prosecutors are about to charge the president's former fixer, michael cohen, with bank fraud and campaign finance violations. can he still save himself by flipping on the president? we'll bring you the latest. and john brennan versus donald trump round two as the president's rhetoric against the former cia director heats up. former intelligence and military luis palomi luminaris rush to brennan's defense. all those stories next. how do you win at business?
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president trump and robert mueller asking some of the same questions. where's the collusion? that's what trump tweeted this morning. quote, where's the collusion? they made up a phony crime called collusion, and when there was no collusion, they say there was obstruction of a phony crime that never existed. too bad that tweet came just after trump's lawyer rudy giuliani went on tv and basically admitted the campaign colluded when it met with russians in trump tower. >> the meeting was originally for the purpose of getting information about, about clinton. the meeting turned into a meeting -- >> which in itself is attempted collusion. >> no, it's not. >> you just said it.
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the meeting was intended to get dirt on hillary clinton from a foreign lawyer. that was the intention of the meeting, you just said it. >> that was the original intention of the meeting. it turned out to be a meeting about another subject and it was not pursued at all. of course any meeting with regard to getting information on your opponent is something any candidate's staff would take. someone said i have information about your opponent, you would take that meeting. if it happens to be -- >> from the russian government? >> she didn't represent the russian government. she's a private citizen. i don't even know if they knew she was russian at the time. all they had was her name. >> i think they knew she was russian, but okay. >> she speaks with a translator. joining betsy and me at the table, steve schmidt, a.b. stoddard, and nbc news and national affairs analyst john heilman. frank figliuzzi is still here, of course. we never let him go. steve schmidt, go. >> well, look, you know -- >> he didn't collude except when
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they colluded, she's not russian except she worked for the kremlin. what is going on? it's not truth, it's truth. >> the thing here is collusion is not a crime. conspiracy against the united states is. the investigation will determine if the collusion which took place was, in fact, a conspiracy and a felony. they met with intelligence agents of the russian federation for the purposes of receiving dirt on the democratic nominee, which is an attack from the russian federation upon the sovereignty of the united states. we are a government of the people by the people, for the people, that is sustained in an electoral process that was undermined by a foreign power. and going all the way back, what is it that george washington told us as he left office? he warned the country about tribalism. he called it factionalism and he
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worried about foreign influence undermining a fragile democracy. that's what they did. >> they did pretty great until this motley crew came along. >> i would pay money to hear steve schmidt do one last time from hamilton. do the whole song. >> we will broadcast that online. >> that's tomorrow's show. >> that will be a -- we'll get that to you today. fig, can you jump in? how is it not a conspiracy? we have the e-mail traffic. here's the problem with rudy's statement and i might need to see it again. we know even if rudy didn't know they were russian, they used translators. and two, the e-mail don junior sent said this was to help your dad. >> we have violations of conspiracy to violate the federal election campaign laws, violating the emoluments clause. the e-mails that were hacked, we
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could have accessory after the fact or coconspirator with regard to federal hacking violations. you know, i worked a bank robbery when i was a really young fbi agent. the bank robber suited up, armed up, bag, everything, car, switch car on his way to the bank. gets to the bank. shows up at the bank, stikds up the bank, the teller says to him, i don't have the cash. the cash just got put in the main vault and i don't have the combination to the main vault. the bank robber panics, walks out of the bank. guess what? we arrested him for attempted bank robbery, conspiracy to rob a bank. that's essentially what we have here. >> and a.b., it seems like the effort to claw the president away from this is almost incriminating the people who were in the room every time anyone opens up their mouth. every time they talk about the trump tower meeting, they seem to make more clear the people who did participate were guilty and they go out of their way to say, but the president didn't know about it. >> well, the trump tower
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meeting, you're right, is becoming increasingly problematic, particularly for i think republicans on capitol hill. the weekly standard had an editorial on this recently. the fact they continue to pre2e7bd thpr pretend is not problematic is going to be problematic for them. when you look at rudy giuliani, he has actually said out loud, and i believe it was an interview with cnn a month ago on sunday, basically he's on a publicity campaign to make sure everyone only believes what's in a trump rage tweet. that's the only truth ever. he underscored that yesterday. the scary thing about the trump tower meeting whether or not president trump knew it is michael cohen and don mcgahn. in 30 hours of testimony, did don mcgahn actually reveal that president trump has discussed the fact that he knew about that meeting and helped concoct a false statement on air force one on the way back home from germany about it? and did -- was michael cohen telling the truth when he said he's prepared to tell mueller that president trump knew about the meeting in advance. >> heilman, what do you make of
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the president's reaction to this reporting over the weekend about mcgahn fuk mcgahn functioning as an -- i won't say informant because it has a technical meaning. as a.b. just said, some of the flash points in the conspiracy investigation? >> well, look, one of the consistent through lines in all of our analysis of donald trump is you can read his temperature pretty clearly by his twitter feed. it's one of the reasons i think his twitter feed is invaluable to all of us. it gives you a look into the mind of the president and his temper. >> 14. >> 14 on this and ongoing. the number of tweets, vitriol on the tweets, they tend to be when he does something, a twitter tirade of this kind, it reflects anxiety, fear being panic, anger, lashing out. when he just wants to make a
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surgical political strike against nfl players kneeling, it's one or two tweets. they're controlled. they're obviously manipulative, but they're calculated. this is not calculated. this is the raging of a guy who recognizes that something is out of his control, that calculations that were made by others, some people he doesn't trust and doesn't like like ty cobb and john dowd he was suspicious of -- >> even by firing mark wkasowit. he put them there. >> he looks back on it all and says, wait a minute, people who i never trusted and liked who were always part of this white shoe washington legal world who gave me advice that was always contrary to my instinct which was to fight and lash out, cooperate was what they told huhu him. he looks at it and says, is this coming back to haunt me in some way, is there information that's
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been told and i don't know about? >> the interesting thing in the saturday night story, the president is referred to someone as king kong. this is someone who doesn't respect the commander in chief for whom he works. think about don mcgahn as white house counsel in these crises might have shared with bob mueller. >> i believe don mcgahn told bob mueller the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. >> what does that include? >> everything don mcgahn has seen, has heard, has been a witness to, he told the special counsel. i was next door to don mcgahn at the national republican congressional committee, he was my next door neighbor. i've known don for years. i like don mcgahn. don mcgahn is a good lawyer. he is a careful lawyer. don mcgahn is not getting disbarred or going to jail for donald trump. so i guarantee you, and i bet my life on it, don mcgahn answered
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every question directly with maximum knowledge, whether it incriminated the president or not. and what the trump people don't understand is this. he's not the president's personal attorney. he is the white house counsel. he is an assistant to the president. he is a commissioned officer. he doesn't work for donald trump. he works for us. he works for the american people. he swore an oath to preserve, protect and defend the constitution in much the same way that donald trump did. that's what his obligation is. it's not to lie for the president. it's to tell the truth to the special counsel on behalf of the american people for whom he works and serves. >> it's a good point. real quick, when george w. bush needed a lawyer in the valerie plame investigation, the white house counsel was not said lawyer. he had a personal attorney, jim sharp. this idea that mcgahn worked for
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trump is false. even the president's tweets since the story came out suggests he doesn't yet understand that. >> what is important here as context is the president's relationship with mcgahn has never been particularly warm or communicative or friendly. we reported months ago that over the last six to nine months or so they probably had less than five conversations one on one these are not two men who confide in each other. who have a particularly trusting relation ship. mcgahn has been making noise for months about his desire to get out of the white house, he wants to go back to private practice. >> his successor emmet flood. >> he brought in emmet flood who may be waiting in the wings to take over his job once he leaves. what that means to mueller only mueller knows. it would give 67 aid and comfort to the president this guy who knows a lot who probably doesn't particularly like him had a
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candid conversation for 30 hours. >> i ask you this question. "the new york times" reported that last summer the president of the united states asked don mcgahn to go fire bob mueller. that's been reported, right? the likelyest question in the world, the conversation he's had with bob mueller, is that the only time the president asked you to fire bob mueller? there is no one who has a sense of donald trump who hasn't watched the arc of this, he has grown more agitate ed about robert mueller. if he tried to fire him last year, he said you didn't fire him the time i told you to. fire him now. it beggars belief he's asked him more than once. >> here's why trump is in so much trouble. when you look at the incompetence of this white house, they have only done one thing well. there is only one competent parliament of this white house and that is the arm of the white
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house that moves judicial nominations forward to confirmation. >> counsel's office. >> and the person who is in charge of that also happens to be the singularly most competent person in the white house, one don mcgahn. so don mcgahn has seen everything, knows everything and don mcgahn is going to tell the truth. and that is why the president had a meltdown because he figured out probably this weekend that, no, the guy who is the white house counsel is not your lawyer and he didn't lie for you. >> really quick, frank, we're way over. do you think that firing don mcgahn is off the table for the president? would that be viewed as obstruction of justice? is he stuck with don mcgahn and his truth telling in his open line to bob mueller? >> i think he's boxed, strapped in the corner. i think he wants to, he knows he can't do it and it's going to drive him crazy increasingly. >> i think he wants to because he called him king kong. thank you. after the break prosecutors are reportedly preparing criminal charges against the president's former personal
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attorney michael cohen. could cohen emerge as the latest cooperating witness in the multiple investigations into this president? let's get started. show of hands. who wants customizable options chains? ones that make it fast and easy to analyze and take action? how about some of the lowest options fees? are you raising your hand? good then it's time for power e*trade the platform, price and service that gives you the edge you need. alright one quick game of rock, paper, scissors. 1, 2, 3, go. e*trade. the original place to invest online. these are the specialists we're proud to call our own. experts from all over the world, working closely together to deliver truly personalized cancer care. expert medicine works here. learn more at
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the walls seem to be closing in around donald trump from a thousand different directions this afternoon, but it's quite possible nothing worries him more than this. his former fix era peers to be on a collision course with the special counsel. "the new york times" is reporting investigators are looking into whether michael cohen committed bank and tax fraud. they have reportedly zeroed in on more than $20 million of loans obtained by his taxi business. more concerning for donald trump, quote, investigators are also examining whether mr. cohen violated campaign finance or other laws by helping to arrange financial deals to secure the silence of women who said they had affairs with mr. trump. the inquiry has entered the final stage and prosecutors are considering filing charges by the end of august, two of the people said. joining our conversation,
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corrine jean pierre, what do you make of all the legal pressures which have been side shows, they've been the background or the cloud hanging over them, they're all moving onto center stage for this president? >> i mean, it's been pretty spectacular the last few days. you have mcgahn who is possibly going to -- possibly did flip on him. you have cohen, the feds are closing in on him. you have rudy giuliani who has a train wreck of an interview on "meet the press" with chuck todd. and clearly, you know, i think you guys were talking at the last segment that donald trump has no poker face when it comes to his tweets. you know exactly what he's thinking. he doesn't know how to hide that. and that's how you know the walls are closing in. but i have to tell you, i think at the end of the day, we are probably going to see more than one john dean in this white house because of all the things that we're seeing right now. and, yeah, if i were donald trump, i'd be really, really scared as well. >> speaking of john dean, at the
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intersection of michael cohen and don mcgahn, lanny davis who is michael cohen's lawyer acknowledged reaching out to him. what do you make of that? >> well, you know, i think they know each other and you've got a guy who has been through something that looks an awful lot like what we're going through now. a guy who knows what it's like to become a cooperating witness having been a loyalist at one point. as much as anything, i don't think for legal advice. i don't think you're going to john dean for helping -- if i were a lawyer and i were representing michael cohen, he'd be figuring out the psychology of what it's like to have gone through what he went through and the price he paid. i think he went to jail for a very short time on -- >> something more like house arrest. >> on a relatively minor charge. what's the psychology of that and how does your psychology, your experience, does that help me inform my client about the psychic calculation ands costs
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and benefits of what michael cohen may or may not be about to do? >> a prosecutor called it joining team america when mike flynn did that when he went through a similar process. it's usually borne out of staring at the faces of your loved ones and deciding i'm not going to jail for the person i did crimes for. people come on the show, joyce vance, cohen expressed willingness to do a deal and/or flipped already. what do you make of the fact he may already be providing information helpful to either we said the special counsel, but the southern district of new york also investigating cohen and the president? >> i think that people -- and i don't know obviously. it could turnout that he only pays off porn stars and he's in a lot of trouble with taxi medallions. the problem for the president is michael cohen was a part of the organization and he did deals with the president, with ivanka. there are financial crimes that
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will be uncovered by bob mueller -- we don't know that there are -- any money laundering, any russian oligarch money ending up in luxury real estate in the u.s. through the trump organization, michael cohen could know about that. so michael cohen is the source for potential surprises that have nothing to do with stormy or taxi -- >> it's a great point betsy. everything i learned about fixers i learned from ray donovan. it is a family business and it's not like doing something for the trump organization that is sketchy as a one-off. it's usually because there is an ethical code or lack of one set from the top. so when you go -- i always go back to this. donald trump called the raid on cohen's offices and homes an attack on our nation. an attack on our nation. talk about the known unknowns of potential cooperating witness, someone like michael cohen flipping. >> what we know is that michael cohen has been sending shots across the bow for several months now. that first interview he did with
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george stephanie clifford white. lanny davis was instrumental in helping stage that project. michael cohen not only stated that he was willing to sort of help out with investigators going after the president, but he also took some deliberate not necessary shots at the white house, talking about how he respects the fbi, talking about the fib fox business was professional in the raids. >> exactly right, countering the president's characterization of this law enforcement action that targeted michael cohen. michael cohen defending the people who raided his home and hotel. what all of that indicates is that cohen is basically sending up a big flag saying, let me help you, let me find a way to try to get out of this legal mess that i'm in. and the new revelation that's we've had over the last couple days indicate the extent to which cohen really needs that help. it seems like he himself has made some big mistakes. he could potentially be in for significant legal consequence.
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if he isn't able to offer something big, i think that's part of the reason that cohen is advertising so dramatically that he may have something really big to offer. >> and to go back to something we've talked about on the show before, if you start at the end, you start at their "end game," the "end game" is for special counsel investigation with zero credibility among their base, they may achieve that, but it still doesn't exonerate -- only the president can sort of face an impeachment process instead of a criminal proceeding. there is so much potential collateral damage along the way of his family, of other white house aides. it seems like he's leaving a lot of people exposed. >> that's exactly right, which could be the reaction we're getting in those 18 tweets. he knows this is coming. cohen decided i learned the loyalty between me and trump is only one way street so i have to move forward and mcgahn is clearly learning that. when your lawyers start getting lawyers you know you're in big trouble. one more thing i wanted to add to this, we are less than 80
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days to the midterms. one of the most critical midterms for donald trump in his presidency thus far, right? first midterms. and we have so much corruption, so much corruption around him that it stinks. and so vote erdos ars are going seeing this and they're going to be voting, starting to vote early in a couple months. what are they going to do with that? i think that's a key thing as well. >> voters don't like corruption. we know that. after the break, itching for another legal battle, donald trump says he welcomes a lawsuit from former cia director john brennan. that's his more than 60 ex-cia members condemn the president's attacks on brennan and his attempt to silence him by stripping away his security clearance. that story next. your mornings were made for
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the price we're going to pay to prevent donald trump from doing this against other people, to me it's a small price to pay. so i am going to do whatever i can personally to try to prevent these abuses in the future. and if it means going to court, i will do that. >> after having his security clearance revoked last week as punishment for his critiques of the president, former cia director john brennan saying he's not afraid to take action, meaning the all-out war between trump and the intel community rages on. the president tweeting this morning, quote, i hope john brennan, the worst cia director in our country's history, brings a lawsuit. it will then be very easy to get all his records, texts, e-mails and documents to show not only the poor job he did, but how he was involved with the mueller rigged witch hunt. he won't sue. he then goes on to call brennan a political hack. never missing a chance to weigh in, rudy giuliani responded to brennan on fox news. >> what are you going to do now if john brennan sues you? >> we take his deposition right
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away. i'd love to have brennan under oath. i don't know, how many days, two, three days? we'll find out about brennan and we'll find out what a terrible job he did going back to being the head of mission at the towers was bombed and marines were killed. we can see what he said about benghazi. he claims to be a great lover of islam, islamic religion. he says the hajj was one of the most beautiful things he ever saw. how does all this square up? >> heilman, when did -- george w. bush after 9/11 was a trip to a mosque. when did loving islam something you use as a political weapon? >> other than the obviously demagoguic racist nasty mao maoing, i have no idea what he's talking about. >> nobody does. >> most of the things coming out of his mouth with respect to
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john brennan is pure gibberish. when you get to the islam piece it's obvious what he's doing there. it makes clear as if any further clarity is necessary, to be a t lawyer, but now he's engaged in just the purist kind of political hackery when he goes on television and says the things he says. you can make the point about his obvious lies earlier where any real lawyer would know the e-mails contain the profession of the fact that natalia veselnitskaya was coming on behalf of the russian government but rudey is now a tv hack. >> what is going on with maria bartiromo, though. if you are a fox news, news host and no matter what you think about trump, right, left, trump, anti-trump, why don't you push back against someone who is spewing islamophobia on your air. >> why doesn't she? >> is she not a real -- >> i don't know her.
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i have no idea why she's doing what she's doing. she seems over the course of her time from going from a business journalist to a very pro trump voice on television. increasingly over the last year and a half. i have no idea what's motivating that but it doesn't surprise me given her behavior other the last year or so that she did not push back. >> i would bet a lot of money that shep smith, dana perino, brett baier, would say what are you saying? >> rudy -- i agree that that required some pushback. i've noticed in a lot of interviews rudy just goes on and on into no man's land where no one understands what he's saying and he doesn't get a lot of pushback and that's really across the board. >> blinded by the stupidity? >> he just comes to vomit something out. and on the john brennan thing --
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i think it meant it doesn't bother him. he's long since in this process given up with his credibility. he's parted ways with the preservation of his reputation. as far as bren nnabrennan, theym to take the bait and elevate him as a foil to the base and they know mueller won't fight back and so he wants to be in a battle with brennan and make brennan the face of the russia probe. and so when he goes on tv and says i might take legal action, they love that. there is a bill out now from senator marc warner, there's going to be some moving in congress, couple that with all of the pushback from national security officials who are signing now a third wave of letters and signatures, i think that there is going to be a proper response and i think that means brennan won't sue. then you'll see donald trump respond in a few weeks saying, see, i backed him down. he wants a fight with bren nnab.
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he wants a public punching bag. >> i know we get to the fact where we say everything he says is mularkey, but he's got his facts wrong. brennan was gone from government before a special counsel was named. >> that doesn't matter to them. >> facts doesn't matter. >> we shouldn't be -- i hear your point that we're blinded by the stupidity. we're blinded by the stupidity of rudy giuliani. >> they want to find a way to have a face with someone who will go on tv the next night andy gauge back on mueller. >> and let's remember, jewel aunau -- jew giuliani, the reason he's gone on this tv blitz saying things that are wrong and not making sense and making claims about foreign policy that the white house does not co-sign, remember, he said the president supports regime change in iran. rudy giuliani said that. the reason he's been able to get
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away with all this is because the president is okay with it. rudy giuliani is not going rogue here and acting in isolation, he's saying what the president wants to say. he's saying what the president wants to hear and that's why all of this is happening. it doesn't just reflect on rudy, it reflects on the commander in chief. >> and rudy's audience is one plus, right? the one being donald trump and the plus is the base. i mean that's who he's talking to when he says this racist thing about islam, that's who he's talking to. he's on fox and knows exactly who's watching, donald trump and those 35% of core folks that will never go anywhere. >> but he is part of a legal team, or maybe it's spokesperson, it's joe peschi like figurehead. >> joe peschi in "my cousin vinny" might have in the end been a better lawyer than rudy giuliani is today. >> what if jay sekulow and emmet flood and other lawyers involved in actual lawyering, do with this?
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>> i think they have long ago recognized that there is a legal process that they are engaged in that they cannot accommodate to what the president's political and psychological needs and they recognize rudy fulfills a function. probably for them it takes some of the president's ire away from them. since emmet flood came in, you have not heard about conflict between trump and flood. >> i'm convinced he's in the peyock. >> rudy has become a safety valve for trump. he wanted a lawyer to go on television and make these crazy arguments and do this political meowmeowing. if you're emmet flood, i don't ever have to go on television, he's not been on television. that's because he's got rudy doing the things he needs him to do. >> i've got this image of trump on tv thinking you complete me. we will be right back.
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we're back. betsy woodruff, i can't let you go without asking you what you read into the mueller team's recommendation for six months jail time for george papadopoulos. >> what it means is that papadopoulos was not particularly helpful to mueller's investigation. this is the typical sentence length that would be recommended for someone who committed the crimes that papadopoulos has pleaded guilty to. what it means is that mueller is not particularly grateful to papadopoulos for giving him anything. in fact in the document that mueller's team submitted to the
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court where they laid out their recommendation for his sentencing, they took some jabs at him. they said he wasn't helpful. >> is this a sign to flynn? >> i'm not sure, that's a good question. it's possible. i'm certain flynn has read it, is keeping an eye on it. >> we know he watches the news. my thanks to you, that does it for this hour, i'm nicolle wallace. "mtp daily" starts with katy tur in for chuck. >> what was that in front of you, nicolle? >> he is the unsung hero of our hour but i think he was -- >> he is a beast. he does my hour sometimes too. we all walk in front of a camera from time to time. >> it's a better shot him than me, so it was a little extra, monday extra. >> nicolle wallace, thank you very much. kareem, thank you as well. if it's monday, we're talking truth, justice and the american way. tonight, the truth about truth. how time trump is in overdrive working to cloud the


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