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tv   All In With Chris Hayes  MSNBC  November 30, 2018 12:00am-1:00am PST

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tonight on "all in -- they said maybe donald trump is involved with the project in russia. the answer is no. >> michael cohen flips on donald trump. tonight the massive trump lie exposed by his former fixer. >> have no business whatsoever with russia. when i run for president that doesn't mean i'm not allowed to do business. >> and why today's revelation is just the tip of the iceberg. >> i think this is just a preview of coming attractions. plus, new breaking details about donald trump and the so-called moscow project. >> it's basically two old friends saying, hey, our guy can become president. >> what we know about matt
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whitaker's role in today's cohen flip. >> i'll do anything to protect mr. trump. >> why the president's family is now exposed like never before. >> time and time again, lie after lie. >> when "all in" starts right now. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. the president of the united states has been lying to the american people for years now, lying that he was ever doing any business with the foreign power which was at the same time committing criminal acts to help get him elected president. >> i mean, i have nothing to do with russia. i mean, i will tell you right now, zero, i have nothing to do with russia. i have no relationship to russia. i don't deal there. i have no dealings with russia. i have no deals in russia. i have no deals that could happen in russia because we've stayed away. i have nothing to do with russia. i have john. john, how many times do i have to say it? are you a smart man? i have nothing to do with russia. i have nothing to do with russia.
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>> we now know that, in fact, trump had a lot to do with russia. according to michael cohen, trump was trying to build a trump tower in moscow into the summer of 2016, a year after he announced his presidential run and at the height of the campaign, the same campaign the russians meddled in. and as he was about to become the republican party nominee. in fact, according to a new buzz feed report the trump organization even offered vladimir putin, or planned to offer him the $50 million penthouse as a gift. much more on that story with one of the reporters who wrote it coming up. but first, to michael cohen, the long-time trump lawyer and fixer who today went to federal court and pled guilty again, this time to lying to congress about the trump tower moscow project. "i had asserted that all efforts concerning the project had ceased in january of 2016 when, in fact, they continued through june of 2016." cohen also said he lied when he downplayed his conversations
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with trump and others about the project. and when he denied ever planning to visit russia in connection with the project. he did, in fact, plan to do just that. so why did he do it? "i made these misstatements to be consistent with individual -- political messages and out of loyally to individual one." i don't have to tell you who individual one is, donald trump, the president of the united states is individual one in the criminal information that was presented today in a federal courthouse. now, cohen had already separately pleaded guilty to a range of other charges, including campaign finance violations for his role in paying trump's alleged mistresses for silence before the election. the new guilty plea is different. it's with the special counsel, robert mueller. and for the first time it involves cohen admitting to committing a crime in order to cover up the president's dealings with russia. mueller revealed in a filing
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today that cohen even had a 20-minute phone conversation with an assistant to long-time putin lieutenant after requesting help in getting trump tower in moscow built. he denied he responded to cohen's appeal, a lie, it means the russian official told the same lie michael cohen did. in other words, think about this, the president's bag man and putin's deputy were both working on the same coverup. confronted with cohen's testimony today trump displayed one of his truly distinct skills, which is to pretend like he has not been caught when he so obviously has been. >> there would have been nothing wrong if i did do it. if i did do it, there would have been nothing wrong. when i run for president that doesn't mean i'm not allowed to do business. i was doing a lot of different things when i was running. even if he was right, it doesn't matter. because i was allowed to do whatever i wanted during the campaign. >> joining me now, latest nbc news investigation reporter, tom
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winter, who was inside the courthouse when michael cohen pleaded guilty today. and a reporter with the "washington post" whose new piece extends trump's quest to expand business in russia. what was that scene like this morning? >> in past scenes we've had a heads up. shortly after 8:15 this morning we received a note and the note said usa versus john doe, and there will be a hearing at 9:00 a.m. and i called somebody and that person said i was strongly advise that you be there. it was a mad scramble for everybody to get to the courthouse. we didn't know right away what it was going to be. we knew because mueller's prosecutors were in the courtroom and his spokesperson was in the courtroom. and michael cohen a few minutes before 9:00 a.m. strode in and was a much more confident, i think a much more calm michael cohen than we'd seen in previous hearings. >> interesting. >> you and i talked when he pled guilty in august. the enormity of that moment hit
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him. he got choked up at one point. today he was anxious, ready to deliver the allocution, ready to speak, had his notes and was ready to go. there was a much different feeling in the courthouse today and that's somebody who's been involved with this prosecution team now for some time. >> rosalind, as someone who's covered this, what information from your perspective? >> the thing you mentioned about the conversation between cohen and the assistant to dmetry peskov is hugely significant. we know there was direct contact between the trump organization and the russian government as early as january 2016 where there was some conversation about what trump wanted. and the question becomes did the russians kind of think about how they could do things that trump might want? >> yes. >> and does that ultimately then result in part of the decision
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that putin makes to go ahead and push so hard in the u.s. election to help elect trump and give him what he wants? >> that is a great point, which i had not thought of in quite that sequence. i want to read from this criminal information today. this conversation, to me, is kind of mind blowing. to set the scene here, peskov is putin's number two, his guy. >> yes. he's a press secretary, but he's not sarah sanders to president trump. this is his right-hand man. >> here's the criminal information. on or about january 20th, 2016 -- campaign's happening, we're in the thick of it. january is like iowa, new hampshire. we're going into the whole thing. on or about january 20th, 2016, cohen received an e-mail from the personal assistant to russian official one stating she had been trying to reach cohen, requesting he call her using a moscow-based phone number. cohen called assistant one and spoke to her for approximately 20 minutes. cohen requested assistance in moving the project forward. both in securing land to build
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the proposed tower and financing construction. assistant one asked details stating she would follow up. this is the president of the united states, personal bag man, secretly calling the russian president's office, to ask, to beg for help to get a deal cleared. >> it's an extraordinary moment in there. i mean, this is something he's lied about, that he was not truthful with congress about. so he's lied. he hadn't fully disclosed that before today. and then you have this discussion. it was interesting to me, everything in this criminal information, even though michael cohen pled guilty to it, the special counsel's office has to back it up. it's their duty to back it up. so the fact that notes were taken, the fact there were these type of intricate details in there, the fact that there are elsewhere in the information it states there's actual messages quoted in there tells me they have a lot of evidence. >> that is a great point. >> it backs these up. >> assistant one has details and took notes.
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how do they know the assistant took notes? >> that's very interesting. presumably michael cohen doesn't know whether or not somebody's taking notes. he's having a phone call with them now. was that because the assistant followed up with a note later? e-mail traffic that occurred? it raises a lot of questions about what we don't know here. >> rosalind, something else that jumps out at you off the page, the family, that michael cohen briefed members of individual one, the president of the united states', family about this deal. >> that's right. he had previously said he spoke to trump only three times. he now says that was a lie. he talked to trump more times. they have not given us an exact number but he spoke with the president repeatedly about this. and they also say he briefed members of the president's family. and, of course, don jr., at least, has also testified on the hill. we were closely reviewing the one transcript that's been public from his appearances
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there to the judiciary committee today to see how they square. i would imagine that mueller's office is looking at his appearances that we don't have in front of senate and house intelligence as well to see whether or not he was truthful about these events. >> we should note that the wall street journal reporting that investigators have e-mails from late 2015-2016 in which cohen copies don jr. and ivanka on exactly this, that ivanka recommended an architect. we'll talk more about as the night goes on. thank you both for being with me. i want to bring in daniel goldman. the first question i want to ask you, and tom made this point earlier when he was talking to some of us here in the office, that the difference between that first time that michael cohen's in there with the southern district, where it's stuff that's in their purview, and the fact he walks in today with mueller's team by his side, there is a mueller phenomenon, what that mean? >> well, it's a significant event obviously. he's been meeting at least seven times with mueller and he's
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entered into this agreement with the special counsel. so obviously the special counsel has found there to be a lot of material to be going over with michael cohen. he may have just pled guilty to the specific false statements related to trump tower moscow. but you can be sure that michael cohen is giving robert mueller a lot more information about a lot more topics than just this. >> so the first round of charges he pleaded guilty to, which had to do with the southern district of new york in a variety of things, tax evasion and criminal violations of campaign finance law, which he said came at the direction of the president, we should note, he was talking the southern district. he's now talking to mueller's people, seven times at least. how extensive does that cooperation look to you, to someone who's worked in the u.s. attorney's office once? >> it's a lot. there's reporting he's also been talking with the southern district as well, and perhaps even the state ag's office.
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the way these things work, and i think this week is a really good example of how it works, in dealing with someone like jerome corsi and in seeing paul manafort. the mueller team is going to gather all of the documentary evidence that they have collected, whether it's e-mails, phone records, contracts, bank records. i mean, everything you can imagine. and they have those records that are relevant to that witness in front of them. and they will go through e-mail after e-mail after e-mail and say what is this? what is this? when someone is cooperating. so michael cohen can provide a road map to any e-mails that he's on, but he can also explain the context for other e-mails they have. and what we saw this week, chris, and tom mentioned it a little bit earlier, is mueller has documentary evidence for everything that he asserts. you saw it in the jerome corsi draft statement of offense where
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there are e-mails. you see it today in the information where there are written communications. and you can be sure that they are not accusing paul manafort with lying just based on the testimony of others. so when donald trump claims that everybody else is lying, and that robert mueller is forcing people to lie, he's playing a very dangerous game because at some point this documentary evidence is going to come out. and it is going to corroborate the allegations and assertions and testimony of the witnesses that robert mueller has. >> final question. you had tweeted this today. there was some news about deutsche bank being raided. deutsche bank has been in the target of a lot of international law enforcement, the books and money laundering. it appears michael cohen pled guilty related to the trump org deal. info provided by cohen, that's i believe a reference to chicago, and primary lender db also searched. do you think this is coincidence?
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>> it may be. it was -- it was somewhat tongue in cheek because it is interesting that all of these events have connections to michael cohen. obviously his guilty plea, the alderman, michael cohen would know who they would use as outside counsel for the trump organization and we know deutsche bank is the banker for the trump organization, sort of the last one. there's additional reporting that it may relate to another investigation, and it was a massive undertaking in germany. so it's unclear that it's directly related to this. but i think the point is that the world seems to be closing in around particularly the trump organization, and their financial dealings, in somewhat of the offshoot of that is some of the campaign-related information. it's just another example, another day where we see a lot of legal activity that can
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relate back to donald trump. >> daniel goldman, thank you for making time tonight. joining me now, neil cockatiel, what's the cig tance of today to your mind? >> i think it's huge. so i think, you know, the facts aren't all in but i think we very well could look back on this day, november 29th, 2018 as the beginning of the end of the trump presidency. and i say that for three reasons. one, what we've been talking about, the criminal stuff mueller has on trump. there are two other important things going on. one is the house investigation. now the house is controlled by democrats. they'll take power in january. they'll be able to investigate all of these lies to congress. and the second is, even if the democrats don't want to do it, impeachment. they almost are going to have to look at it very, very seriously now because this isn't just criminal. this is the president
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campaigning in 2016, and hiding all of his negotiations with russia. not the russian-like businesses like marriott hotels or something, but with the kremlin itself, the number two person as you were saying at the kremlin. so that -- you know, that's bad and the american people obviously should have had a right to know that at the time. but also just think about the last two years have been a period of intense compromat. the russians have known that trump lied to the american people for two years. imagine all the subtle things they could have done to get their bidding done over the last two years. >> it's a great point. independent of whatever else they may have on him, they did know he was lying to the american people about this deal because they were on the other side of it. >> exactly. we're very much at the pants on fire stage. we as americans are only learning about it today but the russians have known about it for two years because obviously they were party to all of those transactions. so this is now not just a criminal matter, but this is -- and not just a political matter,
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this is a matter about the national security of the united states. >> there's two points i want to follow up on that. one is about the constitution and the founders. obviously you're somebody who studies the constitution and is arguing cases before the supreme court. the founders were obsessed with foreign dependence, of american officials not being dependent on foreigners, not being dependent on foreign interests. a guy who would later become president having his person calls up the president's office of russia, a hostile foreign power to basically say can you work something out for us? that is dependent on its face. >> absolutely. the founders put things like the emoluments clause in the constitution, federalist papers are all about this, the dangers of a president being be-holden to a foreign power. they cared about one other thing, popular accountability. look, sometimes every executive is going to have to do things that come up to the line. as long as it's disclosed to the people and the president is accountable, then it's maybe okay in certain circumstances.
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this is that evil combination in which you've got negotiations with a foreign government, and for money, for greed and things like that. and it was hidden from the american people for the last two years and it took mueller, the so-called witch hunt, to find that out. and, you know, mueller deserves a lot of credit tonight for bringing this scheme to the fore. >> a question about -- final question about the department of justice and the acting attorney general there, mr. whitaker. "the washington post" reporting that he was notified in advance of the cohen plea. he didn't appear to veto it. does it ease your concerns at all about the integrity of the rule of law and his position that he did not block this? >> no, it doesn't. in fact -- you know, first of all, i think whitaker is trump's lackey. he is the most unqualified person to serve as attorney general in any of our lifetimes. and the constitution doesn't allow him to serve because the senate requires it. but beyond all of that that post story causes, i think, grave
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concern to me because the ethics office should have been examining whether or not whitaker could actually serve as the acting attorney general, given all of his statements about mueller and the like. and so there's only two possibilities. either -- and they're not telling us, which is the most amazing thing. we don't know, the american people don't know who is the acting attorney general for purposes of supervising the mueller investigation. the two possibilities are, number one, they're still waiting for an answer, in which case the idea that whitaker had advanced heads up on this is absolutely a violation of every justice department protocol if you might be recused you can't sit on it. number two, very concerning for trump, whitaker had been cleared which i can't imagine given all the things he said. if whitaker is cleared and he still let the mueller investigation do what it did today, boy, that's really bad news for donald trump. and i suspect the next shoe to drop will be something about mueller. >> neil katyal, thank you.
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much more on the widespread implications of michael cohen's shocking guilty plea today and the trump family members he might have implicated. plus, why were members of trump org planning to offer vladimir putin a $50 million penthouse in trump tower in moscow? i'll talk a reporter who just broke that story next. this isn't just any moving day.
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direct knowledge to the trump tower moscow negotiations told buzz feed earlier this yeerd that cohen was in frequent contact with foreign individuals and that some of these individuals had knowledge of or played a role in 2016 election meddling." this comes, of course, from the same reporting team that six months ago wrote this piece that almost matches word for word today's indictment. they got it completely and totally right. here to talk about all of it, one of those reporters, jason leopold. everything you said shows up today. the reporting you have tonight, what was this plan and how far did it get? >> well, first, thank you, chris, i appreciate that and the kind words. the plan was discussed prior to january 2016 when michael cohen said that all of the negotiations related to trump
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tower moscow ended. felix sater is the one who said he came up with the idea for giving vladimir putin -- or handing this penthouse to vladimir putin as a way to entice oligarchs into purchasing the rest of the apartments in trump tower moscow in which trump organization and michael cohen and felix sater could earn quite a bit of money. it obviously didn't get very far because the entire project fizzled. but michael cohen did discuss this, as you noted, with a representative of vladimir putin's press secretary. as we saw in today's -- in the complaint against michael cohen, what we saw was that there were phone calls that michael cohen had with dmitry peskov, with representatives for dmitry peskov who said previously these communications never took place. he sent an e-mail to an e-mail address and that's the last of
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it. we now know those conversations were quite extensive. >> again, the president's number two, michael cohen, talking to the office of putin's number two, peskov himself or his assistant. okay, your reporting suggests that the plan to give putin the $50 million penthouse, that was actually discussed by cohen when he was talking to peskov's office? >> yes, in fact, it was. we have confirmation from that, of that. from at least four sources. and i want to make clear that anthony and i have been working on this for a good six months. and obviously what transpired today sped up our reporting quite a bit. so we -- you know, we put this together at this point. >> but that's -- take a step back here, that's an astounding thing to say. i mean, that the man who would later become president, partly because of the criminal sabotage employed by vladimir putin, at putin's direction, at the beginning of the year that would elect him president, his number
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two is in direct contact, offering a $50 million gift. >> in addition, as we know, working very diligently to try and move this project forward. one thing i do want to note is that anthony and i obtained documents, text messages between michael cohen and felix sater, and you can see in these text messages how -- i hesitate to use the word desperate, but i'm going to use it here, how desperate michael cohen was to get this project off the ground. i mean, he and felix sater were going back and forth with each other. they were cursing quite a bit. and michael, prior to this phone call in january 2016, was pressuring felix to get this done. so this was clearly a top priority for michael cohen. >> okay. i want to ask you two more questions. so one is -- >> sure. >> about how long this goes. we're all focused on the january 2016. which, again, i just think you
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cannot overstate enough the significance of the fact that michael cohen's got a direct line to putin's guy. we're there between these two guys. they've got a channel open, right, and they're discussing business and discussing the possibility of donald trump giving vladimir putin $50 million worth of real estate. >> correct. >> number two here. the thing keeps going till june. one of the things we learn, that's also striking to me. they're talking about this a lot, and discussing getting this plan as donald trump starts to win primary after primary as he goes from like sort of weird joke to the actual republican nominee, this thing is still playing out. >> yes, it's going deep into june and close to the republican convention. in fact, felix sater and -- discuss with michael cohen when he should expect donald trump to go to -- to go to russia to perhaps discuss this and when michael intended to go. that discussion took place in
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june. michael said, actually in may of 2016, michael said me first before cleveland, and then after the convention donald trump. so these discussions were taking place deep into the campaign. which is what we reported earlier this year. >> all right, so yes, exactly. you guys nailed this. again, as i said, just tip of the cap. so here's my question. why it ends up getting cancelled, june 14th is a key date in the criminal information. i want to show you what felix sater said to me when i asked him about why it fell through and what we actually know about the reason. take a listen. why does the deal fall through in moscow? >> the trump organization announced they were not going to do anymore international deals. >> that's not true. they dropped the deal in june before they make an announcement like that. >> right. i think that, first of all, from
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what we've seen in the text messages, it's a little unclear as to why this -- these discussions just abruptly ended. because they were making plans to go to the economic forum where they would be discussing this deal and the financing revolving around the deal. then the text messages from what we have that were turned over to the fbi, turned over to congressional investigators, they just sort of ended. i think that that is the excuse or the rationale that the trump organization put out there at the time. but we have not been able to determine exactly why the talks just abruptly broke down. >> let me just say that my understanding is felix sater is on the record tonight to someone basically saying that the pub listity is what abruptly cuts it. one could also imagine other reasons why that spot being blown up might chase people away.
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>> felix was working directly through michael. in some of these text messages, as we reported, he's saying that he will kind of be in the shadows on this. and michael cohen is the point person. so what felix was told was coming directly from obviously from michael and he was apermanently getting some word from higher ups inside of the trump organization. >> all right, jason leopold, part of an amazing investigative team over there at buzzfeed, who's been a great journalist for a long time, doing great work. thanks very much, jason. >> i appreciate that, chris, thank you. we learn new details about the trump family's involvement in the effort to build a trump tower in moscow according to the charges filed against michael cohen by the special counsel today. he, cohen, briefed family members of individual one, that's the president within the company about the project in moscow, especially interesting considering what the president's son and top organization official donald trump jr. told
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the senate intelligence committee in september 2017. trump jr. said he knew "very little" about the trump tower moscow deal and he wasn't involved. i'm joined by eric swalwell, member of the house you judiciary committee. congressman, did they tell you the truth? >> i don't think they did, chris, and we had this concern for a long time. and i think that mueller actually could have reached this plea today much earlier had chairman nunes and the republicans allowed us to send over to the mueller team our transcripts. we have in the basement of the capital pages of lies of trump campaign witnesses and their transcripts. they came to us. and those witnesses and their transcripts sit in the capital, protected by chairman nunes. i think that is delaying the mueller investigation. >> wait a second. i knew -- i was operating under the knowledge that the senate transcripts made public and
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yours did not. i just figured they'd been shared with mueller even if they hadn't been made public. you're saying mueller hasn't seen them? >> he has not seen any of our transcripts with the exception of carter page's and also eric prince's because they asked for them to be released. roger stone who did not testify to the senate, his transcript sits locked up in our basement. and we have tried -- mr. schiff has asked a number of times, has made motions to send those transcripts to the special counsel because we have concerns about the voracity of the statements, and devin nunes has blocked it each and every time. >> did you guys ask michael cohen and don jr. about it? >> it was a thorough examination and that's why we wanted those transcripts first to go to mueller and also, as soon as possible, to go to the american people. >> so you're going to get the gavel in a matter of weeks, i
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think, at this point. >> i think it's 34 days. who's counting? >> right, exactly, not fun to be in the minority in the house. so what are you going to do? >> well, first thing we're going to do, we're going to send those transcripts over to mueller. we're going to make sure they're seen by the american people in short order as well. but most importantly, we're going to follow the money. we wanted to look at the money laundering issues for a long time, particularly with deutsche bank, particularly with bank records that would never be subpoenaed and bank witnesses that we could have brought in. so we will first, you know, answer those questions. but also as it relates to the trump tower meeting, we will know what knowledge donald trump had because there are a lot of gaps that the republicans would not let us fill in, particularly around who donald trump jr. was talking to on the phone, or messaging at the time that the meeting was set up. >> there's a report in politico today that democrats think michael cohen could be a linchpin in their upcoming efforts to spotlight the president's relationship with russia. hoping he'll testify before the house.
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what do you think of that? >> few witnesses lived in all three of donald trump's worlds, his political world, his financial world and his personal world. and michael cohen lived in all three. and now that he has come clean and come forward i think he could shed light on what we all would like to know, which was what was candidate trump's knowledge, what actions did he direct others to do? and whether or not he, today, as president of the united states, is compromised. >> what do you think about pleading to lying to congress, and what legal exposure that might open up for other people? >> it should send a message, that it will be prosecuted, and as i said there are a lot of witnesses who came in and we don't think were straight with us. but we weren't allowed to test their testimony or to contradict it or collaborate it. i hope that when that's sent to bob mueller that he does hold those individuals accountable and that when people come forward in this new investigation that they come clean because there's really no way around the mri that bob
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mueller and his team will take to the truth. >> congressman eric swalwell, thank you for joining me. while the president frantically rambled about michael cohen pleading guilty, he said does not add up. explain after this. if you have medicare, listen up. the medicare enrollment deadline is only days away. choosing the right medicare plan is no laughing matter, pick the wrong one and you might end up with a doctor you're not so comfortable with. i'm not so comfortable. or even worse, be forced to pay thousands in medical expenses due to coverage limitations. that'll be how much? understanding all the options, let's face it, it can be downright confusing. and that's why i love healthmarkets, your insurance marketplace. they search thousands of plans from leading insurance companies to find a plan that's right for you. plans that have prescription drug coverage, dental and vision care, and that offer extra benefits you may not even know were available.
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♪ your insurance marketplace healthmarkets ♪ call now before the deadline to take advantage of this free service. call the number on your screen. only days left... find out now how easily you can save. call healthmarkets at this number now. before michael cohen pleaded guilty to lying to congress, there were signs the president might be worried about something. last night he suddenly up and bailed on the national christmas
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tree lighting ceremony. this morning, before the public knew that cohen flipped trump fired off a tweet calling mueller's federal investigation a "illegal joseph mccarthy style witch hunt," and "no collusion with russia." tonight we basically know it was chafing him. cnn reporting tonight the justice department notified the trump legal team on wednesday night about michael cohen's planned plea. but perhaps the strangest turn of events took place after cohen pleaded guilty. that's when trump came out and said cohen was lying to get a lighter prison sentence. but trump wanted -- the president's written answer to robert mueller's question about the trump moscow project was basically identical to what cohen admitted today in court. in other words cohen is a liar who is telling the truth on this and also the president is too. talk more about how the president is handling this, i'm joined by kim wehle. ben, i'll start with you, you
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just wrote a piece on the law fare blog, how to read michael cohen's latest plea, what is your takeaway about the import of today, the president's answers he submitted to mueller? >> that's one of the big questions, you know, if the president submitted answers that are, you know, inconsistent with this document. and i notice that giuliani was quoted today saying that everything the president said is consistent with this document. you know, that's a potential problem because this document is not simply what mueller has from michael cohen. it's what mueller has from michael cohen that he can corroborate, feels he can prove in court beyond a reasonable doubt. and so i do think to the extent that there's major inconsistencies between anything
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the president said in that testimony -- in those written q&a and this document, that's going to be a major problem. now, if you were his lawyer, and you were competent, and you had the opportunity to be -- to answer questions in writing, you might try to do them at a level of altitude and vagueness that's so extreme that it's not amenable to factual contradiction. if you look at what giuliani says they said in that written submission, it's kind of at that level of altitude. but then, of course, you raise the question that you just raised, which is how then is michael cohen supposedly lying? >> right. and that's -- and i thought it was interesting today, the first initial instinct is, michael cohen's lying, but then he comes out and says, you know, when he's standing by the helicopter, you know, look, we had -- i'm doing deals, you know, and if i lose, i go back to doing deals which contradicts everything he
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said. and kim, you worked for kenneth starr, the independent counsel under a different statute and obviously the president at that point, bill clinton lying became a huge part of the impeachment proceedings, he lied in a deposition, or accused of lying in a deposition. in that case he's got a talk in the moment. here you've got the written answers, big difference. >> there's a tremendous difference. although with respect to this grand jury testimony there were some, you know, rules set up that made it easier for him. but sure, i agree with benjamin that lawyers are going to craft these things in a way that makes them bullet proof for a perjury and obstruction of justice charge. there are lots of differences between the whitewater investigation and today. one is what you mentioned, under that investigation, actually a statute that insulated ken starr from bill clinton's influence. we don't have that here. we have a regulation that's internal that mr. whitaker technically, arguably has some power, unless someone holds him accountable.
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we don't know how much influence he's having. we don't even know what information he's sharing with the president day-to-day. we heard a lot about manafort's lawyers talking to him. we don't know what mr. whitaker is telling him. the other thing that's different is just the internet and the sort of rapidity, how quickly news comes out. we used to circulate xeroxed clips. what struck me as a young lawyer in that investigation is how expensive and time consuming this process is, for everyone within the executive branch, who gets a subpoena, who has to respond to these as well as the lawyers, i think they're probably thinly staffed and there are regular people that are career public servants that get hurt by this process. >> yeah. >> and that also, i'm sure, is going on to a large degree right now and we -- it's the last thing i think on everyone's minds because the implications are much bigger here for democracy than they were under
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ken starr. >> ben, the president has already put the rhetoric up to ten and there's a sort of question of where could he -- how does he go to 11 at this point? right? he said everything he could possibly say about robert mueller. many have gone after him. what is containing him right now. what are the available avenues for him? >> for the president? >> yes. >> i mean, i think nothing is containing him. he is a -- you know, he's giving vent to his anger on a regular basis, both in -- on twitter and to anyone who will ask him about it. look, i mean, the thing that constrains him, to the extent that anything does, is, i think, that his lawyers, at least don mcgahn used to, have some ability to say if you do this the consequences will be such
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that i can't protect you. >> right. >> and there do seem to be a set of things that he decided to do and then backed down from because he couldn't actually face the likely consequences of doing them. and i actually continue to believe that firing jim comey was something he did kind of by accident. >> yeah. >> that he thought that chuck schumer was going to call him and congratulate him for it because everybody was mad about the hillary clinton e-mail stuff. and, you know, his bark generally is worse than his bite. whitaker, the appointment of whitaker is certainly an exception to that. but, you know, generally if you look at the list of things that he's threatened to do it is much, much longer than the list of things that he's actually done. >> what do you think of that, kim? >> well, i think as a factual matter, the mueller investigation and what's being -- what we know publicly, we're getting close and closer to what
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the president calls collusion -- no collusion. we're lining everything up and connecting the dots with respect to that connection. then the question really becomes how does the house of cards fall or not? i think at this point it's really unlikely it won't fall. but i think the two big pieces for this president would be his family, number one, and his organization. >> yup. >> if he's going to pull a lever, i don't think it's going to be around michael cohen yet. >> kim wehle and ben wittes, thanks very much. the latest in an unthinkable series of lies over many years by the president and just about everyone around him. if you have medicare, listen up. the medicare enrollment deadline is only days away. choosing the right medicare plan is no laughing matter, pick the wrong one and you might end up with a doctor you're not so comfortable with. i'm not so comfortable. or even worse, be forced to pay thousands in medical expenses due to coverage limitations.
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the president and nearly everyone associated with the president have lied. so often, so freely, so brazenly about every aspect of the russia story from the first moments right through today. it began back in 2016 when they tried to pretend we don't even know who did the hacking.
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>> i don't think anybody nose it was russia that broke into the dnc. she is saying russia, russia, russia. yoen i don't -- maybe it was. it could be russia. it could also be china. it could be lots of other people. it could also be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, okay? you don't know who broke into dnc. >> ah, yes, the 400-pound hacker. we know now, we have a good indication then it was russia. and long after the intelligence community had so publicly concluded it was russia, of course, the president kept denying it, kept throwing ink in the water, even siding with vladimir putin, standing shoulder to-shoulder at the helsinki summit. >> was there any contact in any way between trump or his associates and the kremlin or cutouts they had? >> i -- i joined this campaign in the summer, and i can tell you that all the contact by the trump campaign and associates
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was with the american people. of course not. why would there be any contacts between the campaign? >> why would there be any contacts with anyone but the american people? but there was contact with russia. here's a partial list of trump associates or campaign officials who had contact with russians during the campaign. donald trump jr., jared kushner, jeff sessions, michael flynn, remember that guy? michael cohen, paul manafort, george papadopoulos, currently in prison, carter page, roger stone. and of course the lie, the big lie about having any business dealings in russia. >> i mean, have i nothing to do with russia. i don't have any jobs in russia. i'm all over the world, but we're not involved in russia. >> i've had audits for 15 or 16 years. every year i have a routine audit. under audit, when the audit is complete, i'll release them. but zero. i will tell you right now, zero. have i nothing to do with russia. >> that's july 27th, 2016, it turns out that his surrogates were discussing the moscow tower
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deal just like a month earlier. today we found out trump was looking at business deals with russia during the campaign and after russia had hacked into the dnc. the president and his associates have repeatedly and voraciously lied about russia from the start, so what happens now that is all catching up with them? next. i'm alex trebek here to tell you
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let's bring in attorney elie mystal, and former congresswoman elizabeth holtzman who served on the house judiciary committee which voted to impeach richard nixon and brother the special prosecutor statute and is also the author of "the case for impeaching trump." in terms of historical resonance today, as someone who was there with nixon, what do you make of the significance of this day?
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>> of course the dangling still of the pardon to manafort. remember, one of the grounds of the impeachment of richard nixon is that he dangled pardons, authorized pardons to be dangled before the burglars to keep them quiet and protect him and his aides from prosecution. >> that was one of the reasons he was impeached. >> correct. and another reason that he was impeached was that when the attorney general went to congress to be confirmed as attorney general, richard klein deans, and klein deans lied to the senate, and nixon knew that he lied and failed to correct the record. that was another ground for his impeachment. so if we think about the paper who now appear to have gone before the congress and lied, and if the president knew, kept quiet, this could be impeachable offense. >> that's amazing. basically, the congress says you have a duty to uphold the law.
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that if one of your surrogates or underlings comes before us and lies to us and you know it, you have a duty to correct the record. there is ten articles probably staring the president in the face right now. >> we were in real life, this would be game over already. but we're more in like a crazy trump movie. i just think that today is the day, today is the part of the money where michael corleone brings carlo into the room. robert mueller has basically told donald trump i got your manafort, i got your cohen, i got your barzeen any, i got your at the talia, i got your kim corsi, i've got your assange. don't insult my intelligence, right? all of the walls are closing on him, and we also know trump is zhiefrd because he is reacting like a feral cat in a corner, lashing out on twitter to all these people. so i think earlier in the day katyal said this could be the beginning of the end. i think in the movie version of this, we are finally getting to that.
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>> the thing about donald trump, it feels like it could be the end from one week in. john mccain, i like people that weren't captured. okay, this is the beginning of the end. never underestimate the ability of the guy to survive. that's all i'll say. but that's why it's important to me in some ways to look at what we're learning, because the actual substance of what we're learning, what you're saying there, that was an article of impeachment of richard nixon, we've got his people going before committee after committee, one who pleaded a line to congress, and it looks like a lot more probably did. >> correct, and he knew about it. this is an abuse of the power of his office. what people need to focus on here is that this is not just about one particular misdeed, another particular misdeed. >> that's right. >> this is about an investigation into whether a foreign government, the russian government tampered with and interfered with our presidential elections. that is primary. >> and he is basically admitting it. >> yeah, that's a good point. >> trump is basically running around saying i never sniffed in glue, and michael cohen is dude,
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i bought you a whole glue factory. and now trump is out here saying yo, i could have sniffed glue, i could have sniffed all the glue i wanted and it wouldn't be a problem. he literally today admitted the thing he had been lying about all this time. >> that moment today was so remarkable, and it's part of his pattern of course where he goes from denial to of course i did that. i just imagine a universe where he'll come without the helicopter whirring this the background and scowl and be yeah, i included. of course. i said all along i included. -- colluded. the seamlessness from which they go from denial to it's not a big deal. it's still a big deal on its own merits. whatever weird sort of jedi mind trick the president tries to to be it, and particularly when it's robert mueller who still holds the cards here. and also, as he flies down to argentina and cancels a meeting with vladimir putin we should imagine a fact that never have the russian had more leverage over him than right now.
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think about that. think about the things they still know that we don't know as he goes down to negotiate with world leaders. elie mystal, elizabeth holtzman, thank you both. that is "all in" for this evening. "the 11th hour" with brian williams starts now. >> michael cohen is working with the feds as he admits to lying in 2016 out of loyalty to donald trump. it's a bombshell in mueller's russia investigation as trump arriving tonight in argentina calls off his weekend meeting with putin. and here at home, a huge reaction in the legal community. we have it all covered from the white house to trump tower, from the justice department to the fbi and c.i.a. as "the 11th hour" gets underway on a thursday night. well, good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. day 679 of this trump administration.