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tv   Alex Wagner Tonight  MSNBC  September 21, 2022 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT

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ever had legally. >> all right, as, always a pleasure, thank you very much. >> thank you, chris. >> that is all in on this wednesday, alice wagner starts right now. good evening, alex. >> good evening, chris. you know, it is a series of developments for donald trump and his legal woes. >> quite a day. >> as evidence of, that the fact that we are all gonna be seeing the phrase on bank review, on bank review. >> well i will do it like that. >> the french version. >> i said it wrong that i said it right. >> do you find, human to human here, just ask you a question. >> not like their cameras on. >> it stresses me out, but the notion of having that much legal weight bearing down on me gives me like a visceral stomach ache. >> yes. >> and it is just wild to me to just live your life this way. >> in the middle of a male strung of all-time's. but obviously, his constitution is different than ours because he is sending up fundraising emails. to some degree, this is oxygen to him. >> absolutely. >> it is also elemental, because, wealthy cruel of wealth, successful and winning.
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that is central to his whole ideology, it is being. so this is kind of the ex central fight for his life that i think he relishes. >> so alien to me, just as a person. i can't imagine. but, you know. >> yes, well i will think twice about suing you, yeah. >> please don't. >> thank you, chris, as always. thank you this at home for joining us this hour. it is been a bad day for donald trump. this morning he was sued by new york attorney general, a lawsuit that could potentially bring him out of business in the state of new york. and tonight, just in the last few hours, trump has suffered a legal step back in a different case. the one regarding the materials seized from his florida beach club. appeals court has ruled that the justice department can have access to roughly 100 highly sensitive classified documents that were taken from mar-a-lago. trump has been arguing that all of the documents seized from his club are as personal property and that if the fbi found anything classified in their, well, trump magically declassified it when he was president, even though he has no record of ever dunning that.
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trump got a lower court judge, aileen cannon, who he appointed. to agree that a special master should go through all of the documents. and in a ruling that was widely ridiculed, cannon said that while the special master's going through all these documents the justice department is not allowed to look at the classified documents or to use them in a criminal investigation into trump having the documents at's beach club in the first place. but tonight, three judges of the 11th circuit court of appeals, some trump appointees, have brushed back that lower court judge. eileen cannon. and said that, yes, justice department can indeed have access to those classified documents after all. the judge is right in their opinion. quote, for our part, we cannot discern why plaintiff trump would have an interest in or need for any kind of the 100 documents with classification markings. a person may have access to classified information only if, among other requirements, he has a need to know the information. the requirement pertains
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exactly two former presidents. as to trump's argument that he secretly magically declined the document at some point. the judge is right, quote, it's a classification argument is a red herring, because to classifying an official document would not change its content or render it personal. so even if we assume that plaintive trump did declassify some or all of these documents, that would not explain why he has a personal interest in them. this ruling is really a pretty full-throated rebuke of aileen cannon's ruling in trump's favor. it also seems like it allows the justice department to immediately resume its investigation into trump for hoarding the classified documents in very first place. joining us now to help understand all this is barbara, quaid former u.s. attorney for the eastern district of michigan. barbara, thank you so much for joining me and helping us all decipher the import of this most recent ruling here from the 11th circuit court of appeals. it seems like a very big win for the department of justice, it seems like to the casual
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observer, a rebuke of aileen cannon down in the district court, how did you read all of this and what happens next? >> yeah, a resounding victory for the justice department. also a very swift victory. they filed their reply brief only yesterday. and immediately we saw the appeals court issued this ruling. i was little stunned to see it come out so quickly, frankly? but the language is very clear and they explain why classified documents are so incredibly sensitive. incredibly important. not only removing these from the special master's review, but -- criminal investigation, can possibly separate the two, let you get back to work here. here you go take you documents, go. i would imagine this will take effect immediately now that donald trump has some options here. you can file an appeal, as you were just mentioning, with a full 11th circuit court of appeals. that isn't on bank review for the full court to look at. that could happen.
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i suppose from there, one could even go to the supreme court. but this is such a loser, such a losing issue. i have to imagine even those decisions would be done very swiftly because of the recognized harm to national security that occurs every day, every minute that goes by the justice department does not have the ability to investigate the disclosure of these documents. >> you know, trump clearly was willing to roll the dice here, elise's legal representatives were. they got a very favorable ruling initially from aileen cannon, the 11th circuit, six of the 11 judges seated on that court are trump appointees. perhaps i thought the mouth was in their favor. but as the documents show us, being a trump appointee did not seem to matter here. two of the judges who ruled on this for trump pointy's. when he was an obama appointee. this was a pro curium order, which means no particular judge takes credit for this. that is meaningful, do you think, barb? in terms of showing traditional
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solidarity as it were? >> i don't know, i don't know their motive in doing it. but i think it does. to the extent that people like to think of the world as trump judges or obama judges. it is a great moment for the rule of law that the court held. you know we saw this back in the 2020 election. when all of these frivolous lawsuits, faceless lawsuits, were being filed all around the country to try and get the election thrown out in various states. the courts held, in 64 lawsuits, the trump team failed to succeed in these frivolous lawsuits. that is because our course held, even trump appointees. so that's really heartening to see, here once, again we have that bump in the road with judge cannon. i don't know what her motives were. but she issued what i think really seemed like a nonsensical opinion. now to see these three judges, two of whom were trump appointees, you know, completely reject those frivolous arguments. i think it's a very reassuring day for the rule of law. >> and we like to hear that. so, in other words, if trump's
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team does not make another move. the justice department could have his classified documents back in their possession, well, they are in their possession. they could continue to use them and also the intelligence community assessment, oh dni, that investigation, that assessment could continue as well. very important for national security. barb, in a minute, i want to get your thoughts on the other major news from trump legal world that is happening today. so hang with us, if you might. it is hard to recall now, buried amid so many years of outrage and scandal in the trump president and post presidency, that before trump even entered the white house, practically the very first thing he did after getting elected in 2016, the first thing almost, was to pay out $25 million to thousands of people who claimed he had defrauded them. this was just ten days after his election. thousands of former students at trump university accused him of running a scam. saying the whole university was
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a grift, a moneymaking scheme. joining all those students was a new york attorney generals office. cristiano trump had been running this scam university out of new york. the attorney general basically stepped in and said, no, not in my state. so trump had to pay up. trump university is no more. couple of years later, the new york attorney generals office came for donald trump's sham charity. the trump foundation was ostensibly trump's charity organization. but the new york attorney general alleged that it was basically a trump slush fund. trump used it for campaign stunts like handing out money to veterans charities, even though he wasn't actually giving much money to veterans charities. he used the charity to settle hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of legal problems, even used for the charitable cause of buying a 10,000 dollar giant portrait of himself to hang in one of his golf clubs. do you remember this? the new york attorney general that that factually shut down.
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accusing it of a shocking pattern of illegality. trump to pay $2 million to actually charities. so if you are sensing a theme here, you are not a face. it is all scams, frauds, university, charity. in that vein, it could make sense that trump's entire business might be run on scams as well. and that is what is alleged in today's sprawling 200 plus-page lawsuit by, once again, the new york attorney general. today, ag letitia james accused donald trump, and three of his children, and his company, of having, quote, engaged in numerous acts of fraud and misrepresentation in representing the value of trump's aspects. inflated values they then used repeatedly and persistently to get more favorable loans and coverage from banks and insurers. and doing, so she said, they violated a host of state criminal laws over a period of ten years, from 2011 to 2021. the lawsuit details more than 200 alleged false asset valuations.
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here are just a couple of the big ones. here is trump's favorites trump tower penthouse, nice place if you are into gilding. and at 10,000 square feet, by new york city standards, it is certainly a big apartment. but for the purposes of valuing his assets, donald trump claimed the apartment was three times bigger, over 30,000 square feet. because it was so huge, a few years ago, trump said it was worth 300 and $27 million. trump's own chief financial office admitted in testimony that that evaluation of trump's apartment amounted to an overstatement of, quote give or take 200 million. just for context here, the most expensive apartment on the market in new york city last year was listed 469 million. trump said his apartment was worth almost double that, seven years ago. nice try, donald trump. then, there is trump's florida beach club, mar-a-lago. to get tax breaks, trump signed
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on to all kinds of restrictions on what could and could not be done without property. which included a proud-ish an on turning it into residential real estate. even into those real estate, even under those restrictions, the club was worth a cool 75 million. but, when it came to assessed its values as one of his assets, trump pretended that none of those restrictions existed. and the whole place could be developed and sold for residential use. he said that mar-a-lago is worth about 75 million, but 739 million. literally ten times its value. >> this investigation revealed that trump engaged in years of illegal conduct to inflate his net worth. to achieve, to deceive bank of -- the people of the great state of new york. claiming you have money that you do not have does not amount to the art of the deal, it is the art of the steal. and there could not been any
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different rules for different people in this country or in this state. former presidents are no different. >> letitia james said today that trump's conduct appeared to violate not just new york law but federal law as well. specifically laws against fake fraud. she says there may have been tax violations as well. so she has referred the evidence to the sdny, the u.s. internees generals office in manhattan. as well as to the irs. even if no federal judge comes out of this, the new york ag has the power to impose severe consequences on trump and is a business. after all, that office already essentially sat down trump's sham university, his victory. james can't criminally indict trump and she can't explicitly seek to dissolve the organization the way the university and the charity were. but she is seeking to borrow trump and his children from ever running a business in new york again. to bar them from getting loans or acquiring real estate in new york for five years. and to recover 200 and $50
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million in alleged legal gotten gains. that is no small sign. but all that together, this lawsuit has the potential to put the trumps out of business in the state of new york. joining us once again is barbara made, former u.s. attorney for the eastern district of michigan. carved, expecting with me. what do you make of the strength of the ag's case, she cites ten years of trump's stance on his wealth. this is a scathing, scathing document that she, 220, clocking in at ten or 20 pages. how do you, how strong is this given the sort of far in terms of standards for a civil case? >> it looks incredibly strong to me, alex. this is not the cliffsnotes version of allegations. this is detail. more than 200 pages, detailing all of those fraudulent claims. some of what you just highlighted. you know, prosecutors love cases like this. because they are built on documents as opposed to eyewitnesses.
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witnesses can fall apart later. their observations can be impeached. their credibility can be undermined on cross examination. but documents, don't forget, documents don't lie. if you shown one document that an asset was valued at one number and then another document the acid is valued another number. , those inconsistencies can really only be explained by, are you lying now or are you lying then? some people still money with guns. some people still money with lies. these were sophisticated schemes, but at the end of the day, it is really just about stealing money. and i think that that documents lay out the case in great detail. you asked about the standard of proof, in a criminal case, of course, the gate -- go behind a reasonable doubt. a very high standard in terms of very difficult approve in terms of intense is an element. but here the civil case, the standard is only a preponderance of the evidence would suggest 50%. so with that standard, and these detail and those
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documents as evidence. i like her odds. >> we'll, to that and, trump and i believe eric trump had to testify, answer questions about his net worth under oath. that was an august. both trump and his son, eric, took the fifth. for, over 400 times. i think trump took it 440 times. eric took it over 500 times. that is meaningful in a civil case, is it not? with all of the documents, the affirmation documents, we discussed. >> it is, you know, all of us have a fifth amendment right to avoid answering questions that might incriminate us in a criminal case. you know, if they answered questions in the civil case, a criminal prosecutor could obtain those transcripts and use that as a basis for a prosecution. so, we all enjoy that right. and if this were a criminal case, those statements could not even be introduced to a jury. they could not even know that the person had invoked their fifth amendment right against self incrimination. that is not true in a civil case.
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a jury may draw an adverse inference from the fact that someone invoke their fifth amendment right. so, the jury would be told when the person was asked whether they have an honest explanation for these allegations, they invoked their fifth amendment right against self incrimination. so, that could be a powerful inference in those cases. you know, it does not make the whole case. but if you've got other evidence that tends to show evidence of a crime, and the person stands silent in the face of those accusations, that, that alone can really be the tipping point to put you over that 51%. >> and we now also know that the fdny, the southern district of new york, and the irs, this case has been referred to them. they are not giving up any information on that. but we will be following developments on that front as, well. barbara mcquade, former u.s. attorney, thank you for your time and your expertise as well. >> thanks, alex. much more ahead on trump's legal problems this hour. coming up, i'll talk to someone who first start documenting donald trump's rise back when he was just a new york city
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real estate mogul. but next, new york times investigate reported suzanne craig won a pulitzer prize for reporting on donald trump's finances. she is here with us next. stay with us. stay with us bipolar depression. it made me feel trapped in a fog. this is art inspired by real stories of bipolar depression. i just couldn't find my way out of it. the lows of bipolar depression can take you to a dark place. latuda could make a real difference in your symptoms. latuda was proven to significantly reduce bipolar depression symptoms. and in clinical studies, had no substantial impact on weight. this is where i want to be. call your doctor about sudden behavior changes or suicidal thoughts. antidepressants can increase these in children and young adults. elderly dementia patients have increased risk of death or stroke. report fever, confusion, stiff or uncontrollable muscle movements,
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an untuned your page filing today, new york attorney general letitia james leads the
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case against donald trump, his children, and the trump organization for financial fraud. and the businesses multiple attempts to conceal that fraud through financial entities. attorney general james notes a pursuit that when deutsche bank, for example, asked trump since business questions related to this new york times article from 2020, which mentioned an irs investigation into a 72.9 million dollar tax refund. the trump organization did not respond for months, that reporting is just one of the series of blockbuster reports by suzanne craig, new york times investigative reporter. she has covered trump's finances and attacks not just for years, and she is one of -- the pulitzer prize for her work in the year 2019. she was one of the first people to shed light on trump's potential illegal financial schemes. now, today, new york ag is carrying that mantle, potentially to court. joining us now is suzanne craig, new york times investigative reporter. susan thanks for being here tonight. >> thanks for having me. >> i do like this is a combination of so much that you set in motion. so let me just first ask, what
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stood out to you from this? it is a monster, it is a monster lawsuit. >> yeah, i've got it here. >> and there is so many egregious examples. >> there is. i think just the volume and the specificity page after page after page. what i found compelling is someone, you know, as a reporter we usually has a lot of stories that take different components to piece it together. sometimes you have, one case of 2020. we had a huge volume of this tax returns some 20 years other stories, we have a lot of component pieces. in 2018, we were able to show, because we had banked statements, we had financial statements. we were able to show fraud. that's what they've got here. they've got statements, they have got interviews from people. emails across a huge number of entities from the accountants to bankers. that is what i was reading, page after page of difference >> it's full color, it's full
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spectrum. >> yeah, yeah. >> is there a property that struck you as the most egregious in terms of asset inflation, in terms of fraudulence? >> there is two different questions. the asset inflation, it was striking to see just the percentage of some of the, over 1000 -- they were inflating that asset by just huge amounts. >> he bought it, i think, $5 million, the jupiter golf club. 5 million in cash, less than a year later, values the same property at $62 million. >> wow, those sort of numbers. i mean, when you do appraisals, and i have learned this just over the years covering trump's finances, there is a language among the people who do defied ants appraisals. they say, make a charitable donation -- the praise or kind of knows that. i'm gonna value something for the state, that's coca-cola. you don't want to pay the taxes on that. so there is an understanding. i think there is some leeway in what you can do.
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but there is, this is something, some of the stuff is off the charge. >> 1100 percent is not normal. >> no. >> do you feel, so, when we are talking about this lawsuit, it is centrally about donald trump. but what makes this different, and perhaps more damning for trump at large is that it also implicates his children. right? >> right. >> we are talking about generational fraud. he is naming ivanka, he is naming eric, he is naming donald trump junior. and for donald trump, that seems meaningful. now, bill barr earlier today was suggesting that, quote dragging the children into this was an unsavory thing for the attorney general to do. but from what you have read, does it sound like they played meaningful roles and all of this? >> two things, i want to take you to an example, i think they are powerful. the trump organization is not fortune 500 company where there is thousands of people. there are small groups of people, donald trump has, by his decision to whittle it down, top executives are largely as
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children. he has made that decision. so there is a small group of children that are very involved. one of them, one of the examples that stood up to me today was the appraisal and what happened at seven springs. seven springs is in a state in new york. donald trump brought it for a few million dollars in 1995. then turned around and later, the number of thought, yeah, here, for, he later puts it at $250 million. well, seven squares is important. for a couple of reasons. first of all, eric trump was very involved in it, he was at times living there and his wife is now there. he had a very sentimental attachment to it. but this is a project. donald trump won it with, i think, just grand ambitions for it. he wanted a golf course on it. you want to put some mentions on it. boy, did he hear from the neighboring communities, very wealthy, for five different municipalities just screaming bloody murder on him.
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separately, there was lawsuits from the nation. so, they then went and they decided that they would make a charitable contribution in order to get a charitable contribution which is great for your taxes. and here, it says he points out that air trump was very involved. he knew that the projections that they had in that they were giving two appraisals were not feasible. secondly, it says here that they failed to inform the appraisers on the restrictions. they pushed the appraisers to do other things. they falsely informed the appraisers about other things, like, this is like, i'm just reading this list. >> they being, implying the trump organization, including eric trump. >> right. and then it says the cushman appraisal, was assaulted because of what the attorney general was saying, false misrepresentations. that the appraisal that came out of material overstated the value of the seven springs property by tens of millions of dollars. and even a page, and guess
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what. they submit it to the irs as part of this something that reduces mr. trump's tax liability by three point $5 million. he was able to reduce his taxable income by that much because of what the attorney general is saying is a lot of false information that was given to the appraisers, led by eric trump. >> also, the irs has been referred to them, it's hard to see they don't see interest in following this. >> other people have written about it. but the granular, the details that we knew about it, but to read the point -- >> it's almost a kind of forensic examination of what's going on. i know what you did would less information i'm eager to see what you gonna do this information. suzanne craig, new york times investigative reporter, it's really good to have you on set like nights like this. i really appreciate your time. thank you for being here. we have more ahead this hour. coming up next, i will talk with kurt anderson, the former
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magazine editor who covered donald trump back in his new york city real estate mogul days. and later, kim schneider, an expert on authoritarianism joins us to discuss flattering putin's major escalation of the war in ukraine. stay with us. with us a kohler home generator never misses a beat. it automatically powers your entire home in seconds. and keeps your family connected. with a heavy duty commercial grade engine and no refueling, even when the power goes out, life rocks on. right now get a free 10-year extended warranty and up to $750 off. for people living with h-i-v, keep being you. and ask your doctor about biktarvy. biktarvy is a complete, one-pill, once-a-day treatment used for h-i-v in certain adults. it's not a cure, but with one small pill,
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today, russian president
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vladimir putin threaten the west with nuclear war. in a pre-recorded televised speech, putin lied, claiming that nato countries has threatened to use nuclear weapons against russia. he then said that quote, in the event of a threat to the territorial integrity of our country and to defend russia and our people, we will certainly make use of all weapons systems available to us. this is not a bluff. the mention of territorial integrity of russia there is significant. because on friday, the four regions of ukraine that russia has seized in this war will begin to vote on a referendum on whether to officially become part of russia's territorial integrity. those referendum are fully expected to be damned. now, the white house has said that the u.s. will not recognize those results. but russia would and these areas, the ones that are currently the active frontline of russia's war of aggression, they would be places putin claims to use nuclear weapons to defend.
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so there's that. and then there is the other more immediate declaration that putin issue today. though he stopped short of a draft, he announced today what he called a partial mobilization. what that means is mandatory deployment to ukraine of 300,000 russian military reservists. estimates put the troop number in ukraine somewhere around 200,000. an influx of 300,000 reservists could more than double russia's military presence in ukraine. that is a major escalation. but it is also a sign of desperation. last month, before ukraine's latest big military advance, the pentagon estimated that as many of as 80,000 russian troops have been hurt or killed in ukraine, taking them out of commission for this fight. last week, video surfaced showing the de facto leader of a russian mercenary group offering russian conflicts the chance to get out of prison in exchange for six months combat to her in ukraine. he tells me they have to make the decision in five minutes. as outlined as as that sounds,
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it fits into russia strategy so far in this war. putin has been doing everything he can to keep any russians with a semblance of political power as far from this war as possible, record -- recruiting soldiers in rural, poor areas. one of the reasons why it shows desperation is because it breaks for that strategy. the russian legislator passed new laws yesterday that made deserting the military punishable by up to ten years in prison. now, 300,000 russian reservists are being told they have to go fight. that is going to take the warholm, for all those people's friends and families across russia. and we are already seeing how well the people of russia are taking this news. flights out of russia to countries where you don't need a visit are selling out or skyrocketing in price. inside russia tonight, more than 1000 people have been arrested in 38 different cities, all of them protesting against the new military mobilization. as brutal as this all is, it really shows how much putin has been backed into a corner.
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so, what comes next? joining us now is timothy snyder, professor of history at yale university. he's also the author of on tyranny, 20 lessons from the 20th century. and he's just back from a visit to ukraine where he met with president zelenskyy in kyiv last weekend. thank you so much for joining us, professor snyder. what is your reaction to this assessment that this latest maneuver from putin is a sign of desperation, that he is in fact, a man in a corner. >> yeah, militarily it's a sign that they're losing. he needs these 300,000 men that he imagines will appear in order to build up and defend the line. ukrainians are winning the war, russians are losing. ukraine counteroffensive, for the russian point of view, has to be stopped. this is what these 300,000 men are for. politically speaking, ease between a rock and a hard place. he does not want to mobilize the population, because they do not only mobilize. he just wants a tv war, not a real war. on the other, hand they are
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propagandist and hard-liners who say we have to win now. he's looking for a middle route, saying it's a mobilization, but not really mobilization, it's just a partial mobilization. it's the sign of someone who's feeling pressure from both sides. >> and his defense minister concurrently is sort of trying to downplay how many people this will be. he said the russian defense minister, sergei's troy who, only those with relevant combat and service experience will be mobilized. 25 million russians fit that criteria but only about 1% of them will be mobilized. >> well, on the one, hand the law that they passed says that essentially anyone in the country can be mobilized. he uses the phrase partial mobilization, but it should be understand that special military operation, it's euphemism. basically any man in russia can now be mobilized. shoigu and putin's gloss on this is noelle, just be a few people for now. but i think russians understand it could be anybody. >> which is why you see young
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man trying to leave the country in droves. i wonder, obviously there is the reality of war, there is the reality of the politics back at home. but it also feels like some of putin's allies around the world are tiring of this. that they're beginning to break with him. whether they're actually tired of it, or they think russia's weekend, and weaker than they previously thought it could be with a military the size of what we presume the military to be. and the end, indian prime minister modi said now is not a moment of war. president xi jinping of china has questions and concerns. turkish president erdogan this week says russia should return ukraine's land. i want to quote, the lands that were invaded will be returned to ukraine. this is what is expected. this is what is wanted. i mean, in no uncertain terms, speaking to putin, how meaningful is it that those men are saying these things at this juncture? >> well, when you run every gene that's based on the idea that might is right and power is everything, and then you
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lose a war, obviously you want to lose credibility around the world. i mean, putin does not actually stand for anything, except the idea that russia is a superpower, right? the way he's prosecuting this war involves horrible crimes. the things that i saw on ukraine involved, you know, crimes against humanity, things that amount to genocide. so in addition to the leaders euless, there's also the people who care about things like that, as well as the ukrainians themselves. but the fundamental point i think with the man that you are mentioning is that he is losing the war. china would be happy, was happy to have a quick war. but it is not getting a quick war. just like the russian population would be happy to have a tv war, but now it's not getting a tv war. and i agree with you, that's why we're at a turning point. >> what have zelenskyy? you saw him last week. he spoke of virtually at the united nations. do you have a sense of how much he was prepared for something like this to happen, to the degree that putin has been sort of telegraphing, a ramping up, if you will?
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>> yeah, we have to distinguish between how we react and how the ukrainians react. because much of the rhetoric that putin uses is meant to push our buttons. for example, when he tries to conduct the nuclear threat to other things, he's been talk about nuclear war for six months, basically, uninterrupted. but he knows that will push our buttons. and he knows that will stop us, or headdress, or at least slowest down from helping ukrainians. the ukrainians, on the other hand, have already factor this in long ago. they read the russians much more quickly and effectively than we do. and the fundamental reaction is this just means we have to win the war by the fall. >> their tenacity and resilience in this has been absolutely stunning. i want to ask you about one last thing as we talk about putin standing in russia. there been reports from inside russia that russian businessmen are being, are dying from suicide, accidents, it sounds like it's the fsb at work, eliminating people who may be threats to putin's power. ten people have died under suspicious circumstances since
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the war in ukraine began. do you draw any lines there in terms of putin's paranoia, his power grabs? how do you frame that in the context of this war? >> i think we're in the late stages of a regime where the various entities, among which putin kept the peace, are now beginning to centrifugal really separate from one another. there is the chance, there is the -- , there's the army with its loss and prestige, there is the businessman, there's a lot of things going on in addition to the death. things are blowing up in russia. military recruiting posts are being put on fire. and that's not on the ukrainians. so it's hard to do kremlin-ology, but i think you are basically right. what we are seeing is the man that is always the arbiter is losing the ability to hold things together. >> that seems both, like, perhaps there is light at the end of the tunnel. but perhaps we are in an unstable in precarious moment. >> they always fall, dictators always fall. you just have to be ready. >> we will leave it there with you.
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professor snyder, tim snyder, professor of history at yale university. thank you for joining us. author of on tyranny, 20 lessons from the 20th century. thanks for your time. coming up next, kurt andersen, the former magazine editor who cover donald trump going back decades, joins me to react to trump's big legal news. stay with us. stay with us and 43 we won! yes! noooo... noooo... noooo... quick, the quicker picker upper! bounty picks up messes quicker and each sheet is 2x more absorbent, so you can use less. i'll hold onto that. bounty, the quicker picker upper.
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mr. trump. >> i would what trump's game is this time. >> trump got a new game. >> trump's got a new deal. >> heard about trump's new deal? >> trump got a new game, what is it. >> mr. trump! >> mr. trump, please! >> my new game is trump, the game. >> trump, the game, were you deal for everything you've always wanted at home. because it's not whether you win or lose, it's whether you win. >> yes! >> play trump the game, from milton bradley. >> i think you'll like it. >> mr. trump's proceeds from trump, the game will be donated to charity. >> trump, the game, it's not whether you win or lose, it's whether you win. that was a tagline for donald trump's board game in the late 19 80s. at the time, trump was just beginning his journey from new york celebrity to nationally recognized figure. played out basically the same way everything else plays out when it comes to donald trump. you caught what they're saying at the end there? mr. trump's proceeds from trump the game will be donated to charity. trump claimed to have donated 1 million dollars in proceeds from that game to charity. years later, huffpost did some
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digging and found out that surprise, there is no evidence that trump never did such a thing. back in 1989, the nation had yet to learn the extent of donald trump's huckster-ism, his propensity for shameless lies and endless self promotion. but in his hometown of new york, trump was already well known as a charlatan. and perhaps no one knew that better than the good folks at spy magazine, the irreverent and statistical magazine made it their mission to poke and mock and expose trump at every turn. the same year that trump the game came out, spy magazine ran an article titled the art of the art of the deal, dedicated to exposing trump's many lies about his wealth. it was perhaps the very first investigation into trump's inflated assets. by 1991, they had dug even deeper into trump's financial chicane horry was an article titled all the, people all the time. how donald trump fooled the media, use the media to fool the banks, use the banks to fool the bond holders, and use the bottle of space for the yachts and mistresses.
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as vanity fair mentions, the founding editors spy magazine, great and carter and -- , recognize trump by what he was, -- an aggrandizement bully with a curious relation to the truth and his supposed wealth and business hakeem. and now more than three decades later, trump is finally facing -- for his misdeeds. new york attorney general accusing trump of systematically misstating the value of his properties to the tune of billions, purely for financial gain. and it is fitting that it's happening right here in new york, a place that made trump could now and may come. i can think of no one better to talk top two in this moment then kurt andersen, one of the founding editors of spy magazine, and the author of evil geniuses, the unmaking of america. and kurt andersen joins us now, it's good to see you. i mean, that article should be decided in letitia james's lawsuit. it outlines everything he has done for 30 years, kurt. my question is, why did it take
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so long? >> it is extraordinary. and it's one thing to be able to say, 31 years later, we told you so. but i'm like you, read that story today, in my case, the first time in 30 years, and you don't read it then, because you are a child. but it was extraordinary. it is the same stuff. it is inflating wealth to cheap investors basically. and just as he's been alleged to have done by the secretary general in new york. and again and again and again in doing that and again, we have this nine piece, nine-page story, that had him to write. and he never -- us, he never sued us. of course, he threatened to sue spy more than once. but the fact that people who around you your can say, as your introduction suggested, well, we knew he was a charlatan. we knew he was a -- but we really did. and it wasn't just we knew it like you have a hunch. >> it was in broad daylight,
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right? >> correct. >> i mean there are ads for trump the game. and the tagline is he donated the money to charity and. of course, he did not donate any of it. but he was allowed to go on as this kind of larger than life character in new york. and i want to get your sense of how moments like today might be hitting someone who's central being it is tied to the notion of wealth and success. we talk a lot about how trump's terrified of being a loser. but in the filing, then you are 80 quotes a forbes magazine article that said no one has been fixated on his net worth on a year-end basis than donald trump. he is a subject he cares about to the depths of his soul. >> right, any spent a lot of time we'd allaying and bludgeoning the forbes people each year to try to get him on higher and higher on that list. sometimes under pretending to be his publicist, and calling him up, and badgering him. it is clearly beyond his
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pathological, addict like need for attention, which is like no person i've ever seen. this particular thing of i am richer than i am has always been his thing. it's always look like oh, yeah, he's hundreds. as his famous phrase for it in the art of the deal, his first book, it's truthful hyperbole. it wasn't truthful, it just lies. but call it truthful hyperbole. but it was never, at least back man, regarded -- he never got called out on it, let alone sued or charged criminally for it. and how perhaps, he will be. >> do you feel like there's some, as a new yorker, as a dennison of this town, as someone who has chronicle trump's exploits, do you see some sort of poetic justice here, that new york, the city that really made donald trump, could be courtesy of laetitia james, a city that does something to him, it won't probably land him behind bars, but it could stop him from
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doing business in the city. and to trump, that feels like a blow like no other. >> and i think that's right. and stop his children from doing this. >> yes. >> and we all saw, or some of the saw bill barr on fox news. and oh, why did she drag the children into it. the 38, 40, and 44 year old children who were ev and chair of the company, respectively. as ridiculous. new york, i mean, laetitia james is not a new york city, but she is certainly the state ag. and there is something in fiction that would be almost two path, that this is perhaps where the walls begin to really close close in on him. >> one does wonder how a man -- i talk about this with chris hayes, how he is managing these parallel investigations and fundraising off of all of it with a sick draw at the same time. >> this one, though, will be somewhat harder to fund-raise.
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i mean, he can say it's political, she ran, letitia james, in her campaign said i'm going to go after donald trump. she did, and that was a mistake. and i think she admitted. but this is less obviously political. it's not the fbi in the department of justice. it's not anything he did as president. it's what he has done recently. not years and years ago. not when we are running. but in the last decade to essentially sheet banks. and, and, and the degree, the brazenness of his exaggerations. we are talking about it before we started. but 6 to 10 times their actual value. -- there were $7 million a. pete or mar-a-lago, it's worth whatever he said it was, 250 -- >> 750, it's astronomical. >> and yet, of course, his first, trump organization's first defense is, these banks knew i was lying, essentially.
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>> they were in on the grift. >> they went along with it. no, it's remarkable. and it's great to have it spilled out this way, and have to have him be held accountable. and again, the fact that he -- this is the case, people may not connect all these dots, in which he took the fifth minute more than -- >> 400 times, you know, go read your old spy magazines is what i have to say to all of our readers. kurt andersen, cofounder spy magazine, thanks for being here tonight. >> i appreciate it. >> we will be right back. ll be right back striving to reach the ultimate goal of zero poverty takes more than everyone's hopes and dreams. at citi, it takes a financial commitment to companies who empower people to lift themselves up. it takes funding and building on our know-how to help communities grow.
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we'll see you again tomorrow. now, it's time for the last word with lawrence o'donnell. good evening, lawrence. i know you have a lot to get to. >> this is a very, very big night in donald trump's legal history. and he's got some very bad night tonight, and he has more bad nights coming, based on what we know tonight. >> he's in the middle of the


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